Articles by "Magic Teepee, Author at PORTALS"
Denver psyche rock outfit Tjutjuna is currently wrapping up a coast-to-coast tour with Japan’s Acid Mothers Temple. I recently had the pleasure of catching their Mercury Lounge show in NYC, which was definitely the best show I’ve seen them play (minus some house party destruction sessions). To celebrate the end of tour, the band has just released their second LP, Westerner, on vinyl, which you can purchase via Fire Talk. Westerner is seven tracks of meandering transmissions and textures that build, sometimes roar, and subtlety dissipate as if they ceased to exist. If you live in California, there are still a string of dates left for what will go down as quite a momentous and memorable tour for the band and fans alike.
In celebration of their upcoming show at the Bootleg Bar in Los Angeles on April 27th, TV Girl and Monster Rally pressed record together to create “Average Guy (Blame)”. This track is classic TV Girl, the only catch is Ted Feighan slips in an exotic rave loop for Trung and Brad’s voice to swing from tree to tree on. Hopefully this collaboration doesn’t end here and is only a taste of what will be in store for that evening and the future.
Imagine going up in a hot air balloon on a nice spring morning, only to find the basket of the balloon soon evaporates with the intensifying sun, and in it’s place is an enormous labyrinth. At the moment, that’s how School Knights‘ new album Lethargy makes me feel when I listen to it. It’s eight tracks of amazing, airy but dense, alternative punk orchestration. I got a chance to catch up with front-man Michael Stein about what makes Lethargy different from previous School Knights creations.
We definitely approached this album in a totally different way than with the last effort, and I think you can definitely hear that. ‘Lethargy’ is way more of a collaborative process than anything we’ve previously done. We spent a lot of time just writing, work-shopping, and practicing these songs. We recorded demos and practiced specific vocal parts and all that. We got really fucking sick of what we were doing prior to songs. This band has gone through a lot of changes in line-up and it continues to change in sound. We all have short attention spans, and we listen to so much music which makes it hard for us to be satisfied. I don’t know what happened, but pretty much within a month of recording the ‘Free’ EP, we were sick of it. A lot of people really liked that EP, and it’s weird, but we just didn’t care about that at all, and if anything, it made us even more sure that we didn’t like it. A lot of the songs were childish and poorly constructed and Ben, Morris, and I all knew it. It’s definitely a drag when all the people who write the music can acknowledge that the songs are shitty or at least that we weren’t happy with them.
The title ‘Lethargy’ really came last in the overall process. After we recorded everything and listened to the finished album a million times we came up with the name. It has two meanings for me: for one it’s how we started feeling about music after our last release (the ‘Free’ EP). We got to a point where we couldn’t even listen to our own songs and everything felt really stagnant. On the other hand, I guess its also how the album made us feel to some extent. A lot of the songs that I thought were happy songs ended up sounding like sad songs, and the whole thing is kind of long and pretty spacey sounding. I think ultimately, it’s a good album to listen to when you’re feeling bummed out and bored, when you feel lethargic, hence “Lethargy”.
As far as recording goes, we went to a great studio called Black in Bluhm here in Denver. Chris Fogal (The Gamits) runs that place and he’s a bad-ass. We spent three days in that studio laying down tracks and using a metronome with all the different time changes made it pretty tedious, but we really feel we got the best takes possible for each part. Then once we started mixing, we would show Chris songs that we like and say: “we want the bass to have a tone like that, but cleaner and we want it to pop” and we would play him our demos and be like “we want the noise that we had here” and then we would go get him tacos and he would just make it happen.
We really wanted to record one song on our own, and that ended up being “Heritage II”. We had a lot of other ideas for songs and noise things that we wanted to record, and we kept recording shit and then deleting it, and then the deadline came up, and I think we were supposed to have it done by 2pm, and we woke up at noon and rushed over to the practice space we use (since our neighbors are dicks) and just knocked out “Heritage II” in a half hour.
I will say though that we are proud of ‘Lethargy’. I am sure we will continue to change, but to me ‘Lethargy’ is what I wanted for this band. It is, in my opinion, the highest point for School Knights, and I am really happy it exists and I hope people dig it.
You can grab Lethargy on School Knights‘ Bandcamp, and on a beautiful cassette released by Bridgetown Records (Kevin Greenspon). A few weeks ago The Miscreant posted the jam “Low Tide”. Here’s a deeper look into the album via the track “Silicone Drip”.
I recently stumbled upon Dråpe, a shoegaze pop band from Oslo, Norway. As I play their new single, “Memories”, it takes me back to my own days of being carefree, hanging out with friends 24/7, and even memories of a sun-kissed musical infatuation, West Indian Girl. I look forward to hearing Dråpe’s debut album Canicular Days, when it comes out April 19th (via Riot Factory). If you happen to live in Europe, Dråpe has scheduled appearances this summer at Rosklide and Øyafestivalen.
Early this Year of the Snake (known for blessings, turmoil, and transformation), music being created in the western half of the United States is shedding expectation and genre faster than what’s expected to be possible.
Flower Orgy resides in San Francisco. The current trio consists of it’s lead member Nate Luce, his lady friend Anna, and ex-Girls guitarist John Anderson. Hit play a few times on their addictive single “Our Song”, and you too might be shedding a few layers of old skin. Pre-order Flower Orgy‘s upcoming Our Song 7″, due out May 15th on Fire Talk. Here’s to green plants and living out our dreams!