Notes on Los Lobos’ “Native Sons”

Los Lobos

No More Beatlemania, Once Was Enough!
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Notes on Los Lobos’ “Native Sons”

I once published a theory about bands with five guys. It went like this: bands with five guys suck. I published the theory in a zine and we received dozens of letters, most contesting the theory and saying what a fool I was. When my band played shows, strangers accosted me to tell me I was wrong. I can be timid and don’t always think well on my feet outside the classroom. Yet I fended off all challengers. The theory was silly but surprisingly solid. 

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Jeff Tobias on “Recurring Dream,” Saxophones, and Technological Control

Jeff Tobias

Jeff Tobias has been a part of two of the most consistently great outfits making music these days, Sunwatchers and Modern Nature. But Tobias’s own skills as a songwriter are also considerable, and his new solo album Recurring Dream makes that very clear. It abounds with eminently catchy pop that grapples with sophisticated and complex themes, and it further reinforces Tobias as one of the most interesting musicians working today. I talked with Tobias about the album’s genesis, technology, and what’s next for him.

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“A Real Energizer Bunny of Dialogue”: An Interview with Vapor Vespers

Vapor Vespers

At the same time everyone was pronouncing NYC dead, two local guys, separated by thousands of miles, were collaborating on a pair of singles that look for the square root of Captain Beefheart and the Ramones. With this follow-up to their buzzed-about 2020 debut, One Act Sonix, which got heavy airplay on WFMU, Vapor Vespers delivers the goods, right from your favorite late-night slice joint. Long-time Brooklyn Beat and now Hudson Valley scenester Sal Cataldi works the Robert Fripp guitars and Krautrock electronics; Bronx-born Mark Muro pines and opines on spoken word. I caught up with the pair last week via email, just as they were preparing to launch the new singles, complete with oddball videos comprised of found footage and various Ryan Trecartin-approved pixilations.   

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Witness Trupa Trupa’s Postpunk Triptych In the Video For “Fitzcarraldo”

video still

The music made by Gdańsk’s Trupa Trupa covers a wide range, both musically and emotionally. “Fitzcarraldo,” from their 2020 EP I’ll Find, is more on the blissed-out side of things, juxtaposing nimble guitar melodies with an airy musical backdrop. The brand-new video (also available below) finds the band crossing the United States, and includes some footage shot at their show at Union Pool.

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“Cowboy Notes” and Space Rock: An Interview With numün

Numün

For the last year or so, I’ve been seeking out music that pushes towards the blissful, the contemplative, and the immersive. Cue the band numün and their 2020 album voyage au soleil, which brings together a sense of the cosmic with some virtuosic playing. I’m a fan of the other bands in which these guys play, including SUSS and Gamelan Dharma Swara, and I was eager to hear what this configuration would come up with. When I finally did, I was ecstatic; last fall, I spoke with the trio over Zoom to learn more about their approach to ambient music.

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“Krasznahorkai Was the Biggest Influence For Me In This Project”: An Interview With Anna Heflin

Anna Heflin

What does it mean to create a new artistic form? Anna Heflin did just that with her new album, The Redundancy of the Angelic: An Interluding Play. She describes the work, which blends music and text, as having been inspired by  “spiders, apocalyptic angels and my encounters in Los Angeles.” The result is a challenging, immersive work that draws on a host of disparate influences. We spoke about its genesis and her own multidisciplinary pursuits via email.

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Jeff Jackson on Julian Calendar’s Visceral, Conceptual Rock Sound

"Four" cover

Jeff Jackson is the author of Destroy All Monsters, a heady yet visceral take on rock music, violence, and the nature of communities. Jeff Jackson also plays music in Julian Calendar, a postpunk band whose music could also be described as heady yet visceral. Since 2017, the group has released 5 records, including 4 EPs in the Crimson Static series.As an admirer of Jackson’s work in both spheres, I reached out to him about discussing the evolution of his foray into music, and how it’s affected his writing.

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Premiere: Nashville Ambient Ensemble’s New Single “Conversion”

Nashville Ambient Ensemble

We’re pleased to be premiering “Conversion,” the new single from Nashville Ambient Ensemble, a group whose name tells you much of what you need to know about them. “Conversion” is from Cerulean, their new album set for release on March 19. They’re led by composer Michael Hix and feature members of Belly Full of Stars and Diatom Deli — as well as Luke Schneider, whose pedal steel album on Third Man is a favorite around these parts.

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