Now before you say “Isn’t that so like them to pose like that in a photo,” listen up: It is. And they did. So what? Phoenix (yes, that French band) have a new album, entitled It’s Never Been Like That, hitting stores May 23rd on Virgin Records (yes, that weird half-label/half-airline). I had only known Phoenix because of their song on the Lost In Translation soundtrack, a damn fine song I might add, one so fine and “eighties” that I figured Phoenix to be some one-hit wonder from the Reagan years…but I’m glad I’m wrong.

Upon first listen, It’s Never Been Like That is a very well crafted pop record. I’m a little surprised that it’s actually good, but it is, seriously. If you’re a fan of Goldspot and Air, you should listen to these tracks:

[MP3] PhoenixLong Distance Call
[MP3] PhoenixRally

And here’s the track from Lost In Translation:

[MP3] PhoenixToo Young

Nathaniel’s gonna update you all with the Guillemots contest winner very shortly, and then I’m gonna have another awesome contest! Woo-hoo, free stuff!

I feel like I need some sort of divine intervention right now. Something to, perhaps, prevent finals from starting tomorrow. I don’t want to take finals at all, but I want to get out of school. Sorta like how you don’t want to drive 15 hours to Florida for vacaction, but you want to go to the beach. I suppose the end justifies the means.

Anyways, that being said. My eyes have been reading books, notes, and index cards while my ears have been on hiatus. Sorry! But here are some nifty “indie” songs by a group called Indie Rockappella.

[MP3] Indie RockappellaCome On! Feel The Illinoise!
[MP3] Indie RockappellaAnnie Waits
[MP3] Ben FoldsAnnie Waits
[MP3] Sufjan StevensCome On! Feel The Illinoise!

Enjoy. I’ll hopefully still be alive to post after my physics final tomorrow.

Asobi Seksu


Hell yes. Asobi Seksu has a new CD, Citrus, coming out May 30th. You’ve got the artwork, so here’s the tracklist (with a couple hidden gems):

Everything Is On
Strawberries
New Years
[MP3] Thursday
Strings
Pink Cloud Tracing Paper
Red Sea
Goodbye
Nefi And Girly
[MP3] Lions And Tigers
Exotic Animal Paradise
Mizu Asobi

Listen and tell me this doesn’t blow her debut out of the water. If you can, check her out on tour:

May 6 – Over The Top Festival / Toronto
June 1 – Joe’s Pub/NYC (Release Party!)
June 16 – The Kyhber / Philadelphia, PA
June 23 – Cafe Nine/ New Haven, CT
June 24 – Great Scott/ Allston, MA


I recently got the chance to chat with the guys from Oh No! Oh My! about various things, some related to music and some, well, not. Regardless, the (long) interview was full of positive outlooks, good times, sarcasm, and more information than I could ever want to know.

Before I delve into the abyss known as Oh No! Oh My!, their drummer (Joel) had come up with a few [unheard] funny songs to entertain the guys about BBQ and Monsters. I convinced them to send the songs to me (what a hard job that was) and they’re very enjoyable. So, I give you the solo vocal debut of their drummer Joel in a humorous new song that’ll be sure to make you hungry and laugh. As exclusive as these MP3s are, which have been dubbed “the twin set,” don’t take it as a sign of things to come from the band. Joel was just messing around and making the other guys laugh, and if you’re human..you’ll laugh with them.

[MP3] Oh No! Oh My!BBQ Ballad
[MP3] Oh No! Oh My!I Am Not A Monster

Nathaniel’s iGIF Interview with Oh No! Oh My!

I Guess I’m Floating: So, I’m just gonna jump into it right off the bat. You guys have been making the Oh No! type music for a good while now, how does it feel to finally get your album mastered?

Greg: It feels goood. Finally, we have some closure. Haha.
Daniel: Oh yeah, well it feels great to get a mastered copy done. Originally, we weren’t even going to master the tracks and just touch up a few things we didn’t like on the Pre-Release. But then Greg suggested we get it mastered..
Greg: …Cause I’m awesome.
Daniel: Yeah… ANYWAYS.. The only real reason we even got it mastered was because we sold so many Pre-Release copies. I would’ve never thought that so many people would’ve bought them, but they did and we’re glad! So, we decided to get it “professionally finished.”

So you’re shopping around for people to master your record and you decide to ask Ryland from The Robot Ate Me. I mean to have all people master it, how was it having Ryland do it?

Daniel: Uhh… OH!
Joel: No! Oh My!
Daniel: It was nerve racking. In the sense that…I was going to send him the CD’s…and wasn’t sure if he would hate it or not. Well, I sent him the CD’s…and he sent me back what he had done.

Did you just sit back and let him work his magic?

Daniel: We asked him to compress it a little bit lighter and that’s about it, otherwise it was all him.
Joel: And it sounds great!

Very Postal Service-esque, eh?

Daniel: Yes, very! I emailed him one day and he called me and said “Uhh…cool. Here’s my address!” And that’s about it.

Nice. It’s too bad it’s not all THAT easy.

Daniel: Sorry, my story isn’t that amazing- it’s pretty simple. But it was cool when he wrote back on his own saying he liked the songs, mainly because I was too afraid to ask…fearing he wouldn’t reply.

When you got the record back and listened to it was is pretty much what you would have expected?

Greg: I actually haven’t listened to the mastered version all the way through yet.
Daniel: ..Cause you suck.

Hahaha!

Daniel: The first version…like I said had some compression issues. But the 2nd version totally exceeded all expectations. I mean…for the amount of time he spent on it; and he did the whole freaking thing for $200- which…is crazy!

Yeah, wow.

Daniel: The guy that masters Sufjan and all those people costs $125 an hour. Yeah we looked at that and were like….yeah right. “Yeah…$125 an hour doesn’t fit our ‘budget’ “.

It’s refreshing to see established artists willing to help out the “littler” guy- especially when it’s the guy who gave you your motivation for a band name.

Joel: Yeah, it sure is.
Daniel: Oh yeah.
Greg: I think that is the coolest thing about it. I like telling people the guy who mastered our album is they guy we named our band after.
Daniel: Yeah, I was pretty nervous after my initial email to him. I kind of threw it in there…like “Oh yeah….and we named our band after one of your songs…hope you don’t mind… GOTTA GO BYE!”

Haha, speaking of band names, was it hard to part from “The Jolly Rogers”? Do you miss that?

Joel: I still wear my eye patch! Arrrrg!
Daniel: Hold on, Greg is typing an essay…

Hahaha, how literary.

Greg: The Jolly Rogers name was actually getting a little annoying, I felt a little embarrassed telling people that was our name. They would laugh and when they did and I felt like an idiot.

Aw. Poor Greg..speaking of poor, how’d you go from the band name (poor) yorik to The Jolly Rogers?

Joel: Daniel smoked a cigarette.
Daniel: We kindof let (poor) yorik be…and then made a bunch of new songs. We hate naming things and Greg is a very indecisive human being. So…to convince him to let us name the band “The Jolly Rogers” I had to smoke a cigarette for the first time.
Greg: Yep, we didn’t actually call ourselves “The Jolly Rogers” until those songs were recorded.

Ha! Oh yeah, so what type of toilet paper did you end up going with Mr. Indecisive? [Editors Note: It should be noted before the interview started, we were all waiting on Greg to return from the store with toilet paper. Apparently their next-door neighbor had used all of their toilet paper and Greg was forced to "stop his natural processes" for nearly 2 days. Once returning from the store, he was (oddly enough) no where to be found for 10 minutes.]

Greg: Charman! It has the cute cuddle little bear.
Daniel: Oh yeah…I was wrong about what brand I grew up with. It’s the one with the kids on the cover..I don’t know. But the bear one rocks my world now.

Do all of you musical influences derive from toilet paper, then?

Joel: And napkins..
Daniel I’d say it’s a major part of our sound.
Joel: For me… mostly paper plates.
Greg: And zombies!
Joel: Greg always has to bring up zombies.

Man. I just laughed at my computer screen. Wow, yeah..

Greg: I have no idea how you’re gonna make this into and interview.
Daniel: But it sure is fun!

The Anti-Interview, eh? I’ll ask enough questions and piece it together.

Greg: Have fun.
Daniel: Make us so we don’t look like idiots!

I’ll try my best, but I was thinking about just posting the entire chat for everyone to see. iGIF Interview: Unplugged, if you will.

Joel: Hahaha!
Daniel: Fine with me.
Greg: Yeah, people would flock to buy the CD. They’d be like, “Man those guys are huge losers!” ..And it’d be true.

Haha. “They need money. FOR CHRIST’S SAKE!! THEY NEED TOILET PAPER!!”

Daniel: Hahahahaha!
Greg: Dude, seriously. The toilet paper issue was huge today. Forefront in my mind.

For obvious reasons. So, as far as recording goes. How do you guys usually go about making new music? Do you both write equally? I know everyone has different approaches.

Greg: Usually I’ll sit down with the guitar and I’ll come up with a cool hook I like and record it in Garageband…so as not to forget it. Then later I’ll muse it over in my mind during school or whatever and usually arrange it like that.

Do you usually go with music first then lyrics?

Greg: Lyrics are the last thing I write. I record mumbling things for the melody and usually write lyrics before we record them for real.
Daniel: ..And I write things completely different. I usually have a guitar…and start playing random things and saying random things until something sticks…and I write lyrics right along with music. Then I’ll show it to Joel (most of the time) to have him put drums and stuff to it.

Neat. Do you ever end up disappointed in the direction a certain song has taken on by the end?

Greg: I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want the song to sound like but while recording it usually ends up evolving.
Joel: Greg has shown me a lot of stuff he has been working on lately and some stuff from awhile back and I can’t wait to see how those evolve into good songs.
Daniel : Aww, how sweet Joel.
Joel: I love you Greg.
Greg: Shucks!

Hahaha. So is the end product of your songs what you’ve always wanted to convey to listeners since you first wrote them?

Daniel: We cant really get everything across with the limited means we have to record.
Greg: Yeah, I’m pretty happy with how the songs have all turned out.
Daniel: I think we get the “main” idea out there.

What about your early sound [ (poor) yorik ].. does any of that ever show up in the Oh No! type music?

Daniel: Uhhm. No. Not at all.
Joel: The two different styles clash WAY too much.
Daniel: We still have about 450 CDs left from (poor) yorik.
Joel: Would you like some?
Daniel: We give them away as coasters
Greg: ..And frisbees!
Joel: Yeah, they work great.

Yes! I’ll call dibs on one because it’ll end up being an Oh No! hard-to-find demo CD someday. Sign it too, then I’ll be rich via eBay.

Greg: I hope so, because I’d be rich too!
Daniel: The the (poor) yorik thing we went into the studio for 3 days and recorded there. Most of the guitar and drums ended up getting looped.
Joel: Yeah, I apparently wasn’t good enough.
Daniel: Haha, well.. that’s where we were at the time and when we went on to the Jolly Rogers Demos we wanted a more organic sound and never wanted to make the (poor) yorik sound again. We try to play each part through all the way with very punch-ins.
Joel: And Daniel is a hard ass at recording..
Greg: He makes me cry sometimes.
Joel: I just wet my pants.

Which one of you is the Walrus?

Greg: Joel.
Joel: Dammit!
Daniel: I’m the Eggman.

Every musician usually has a specific moment in their lives that inspires them to make music. Like a certain song, or concert, something like that. What is it for you guys that sparked the urge to make music?

Joel: Well for me… Probably when I got the Beach Boys Greatest Hits album…I couldn’t stop listening to it.
Daniel: Something that changed the way I thought about music and how it relates to people was when I bought Kid A and put it into my CD player for the first time and heard the opening chords of “Everything In Its Right Place.”

YES! That song was the same way for me, it is one of my all time favorite songs. It’s a piece of Thom artwork.

Daniel: Yeah, I think Radiohead was band that brought us all together.
Joel: Agreed.

What is one musical fetish(es) that you’re completely embarrassed about?

Joel: I went to the Ashlee Simpson concert in Austin, TX. I like some Britney Spears songs.

Agh, Ashlee Simpson..

Joel: Shut the hell up! No, I do realize that Ashlee Simpson sucks ass..I just like it for some reason.
Greg: I really like a lot of cheesy 80’s music, but I’m not really embarrassed about that..
Daniel: I like Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Eat World, and that Natasha Bedingfield song “These Words” ..Yeah… I really like that song.

Haha. So, if you had the power to turn any musician to stone, like Medusa. Who would you stone? (Thus preventing them from making music)

Joel: Nickelback. 3 Doors Down.
Greg: Scott Stapp.

What do you guys think of the whole downloading era and blogs? Being musicians who are starting to gather steam.

Daniel: Well I love the idea of being able to download songs…and read about bands instantaneously, but I don’t think a lot of people realize how important it is for people to support small bands just starting out, like ourselves. I mean, as you can tell, we totally don’t mind letting people download our songs but if you like them…we’d really like to think you’d help us out….so we can make more music.
Greg: Yes, music blogs are really great. I’ve found a lot of really great bands through them like Page France and whatnot.
Daniel: But at the same time it bothers me that people will spend $30 for a haircut that lasts for 2 months and wont spend $13 for a CD that can theoretically last them for the rest of their lives. I mean…right now…that’s what determines what will happen to our band in the next year…how many CD’s we can sell.
Joel: Yeah…we’re all blog readers.

Well, that’s not a bad thing..for my sake!

Daniel: Or ours! They’re the only reason anybody knows anything about us, so I freaking love them.
Greg: Yeah, I love you.

Haha, it’s a mutual love, no doubt. So, I’ll make this last official question since it’s so easy to get sidetracked with you three…

Daniel: …I’m sorry. We’re just so easily entertained with ourselves.
Greg: What this whole thing isn’t the interview?
Daniel: We’ve been sitting here laughing at our own witty remarks the whole time.

Out of the two Oh No! Oh My! era records, which song has the most meaning to you/was the most enjoyable to record?

Daniel: The Backseat is the most meaningful song to me…as I had plans with a certain female in my life…and had known for almost 5 years now and planned to marry and stuff.. and then 2 weeks after we moved to Nashville she called and told me, “She didn’t want to be with me anymore and had met someone new,” in the 16 days that I had been gone. So…that song is my lament….and…yeah. So…that was the most meaningful but…not the most fun at all to record/write.
Greg: The whole Jolly Rogers album was a blast to record, especially “Pirates Anthem” where we chanted about drinking wine.
Joel: Yeah, that kicked ass.

What is the best hidden message/theme/story behind one of your songs?

Greg: Skip the Foreplay.
Daniel: Greg has 34 bastardized children.

Haha, so is it a true story?

Joel: Yes and no?
Greg: Yeah, that was one of those songs where I wrote it, then my brother got his girlfriend pregnant, so he’s convinced the song is about him…while really I wrote it before it happened. Just an odd coincidence I guess.

I can tell you what isn’t a coincidence, these guys and their music. They’re producing some seriously catchy/really good music right now, and to top it all off they’re a bunch of down to earth fellas. They’ve got a show coming up on May 8, their first “real” concert together, and I’m gonna be there to cover as most of it as I can.

These guys have had more of “do-it-yourself” mentality than any band I’ve ever seen, and now they have a great NEW mastered CD to replace those CD-Rs they’ve been mailing out. If you want a CD that you’ll never regret buying and only love more and more with each subsequent listen.. then BUY their debut (mastered) album for a mere $9. Seriously, that’s considered grand theft in some states.


Today, Pitchfork reviewed and released an exclusive new track from Sufjan’s upcoming The Avalanche release, a mix of Illinois outtakes and rarities. Check it out:

[MP3] Sufjan StevensDear Mr. Supercomputer (via Pitchfork)
One of the earliest and most common criticism to come against Illinois was the “it all sounds the same” attack. I don’t necessarily agree with that (I mean…even if it does all sound the same, it’s all still pure genius), but here’s a track that sounds almost nothing like anything on Illinois, yet it still manages to approach brilliance. That’s it…I’m now just about convinced that this man will be the next George Martin (in terms of orchestration).

If you’ve been counting (you know I have), that makes four songs that have been released from The Avalanche. If you’re a little slow, here are the other three:

[MP3] Sufjan StevensAdlai Stevenson
[MP3] Sufjan StevensThe Henney Buggy Band (via Stereogum)
[MP3] Sufjan StevensThe Avalanche

Jesus…four great songs already! I’ve got this weird feeling….that The Avalanche just might top many year end lists (including mine?)… I guess we’ll have to wait and see!