Young the Giant | Interview

Seeds.: You guys have mentioned landing on the Roadrunner record label, which is a traditionally harder rock-oriented label, so how do you guys find touring partners like Walk the Moon or GROUPLOVE?

EC: Most times the bands that you tour with aren’t going to be bands that you and your team choose that you think are good or bands that you’re friends with or that match your sound or energy well. The label hasn’t really helped in many, many ways but we’re the ones that pick and choose who we want to tour with. Walk the Moon we met over a year ago now in Cincinnati, their hometown, while we were on tour with this great band called Pomegranates, and we played a show with all three bands and Walk the Moon were great so when the time came to pick and choose who we wanted to open for us for this bigger national tour [who could] draw some people out and had a good energy to open up the set… When it came down to it, it not about the fact that Roadrunner has Nickelback or Slipknot, everyone down to the guys at Roadrunner and our management with [those guys.] It’s just not our thing It’s obvious… Hopefully it gets to a level where we can say that we have friend bands that are struggling and don’t get the recognition that they deserve. It’s hard to tour, so hopefully one day well have the ability to say ‘Look, we’re taking these guys on the road with us and that’s how it’s gonna be.

Seeds.: Your record has caught on pretty well, but do you remember being in the situation where, say, Walk the Moon or GROUPLOVE is now. Did you guys have a band that came down and extended that hand and helped you a little initially?

Eric Cannata: Yeah, we started out touring California early on and in between recording our record in Los Angeles we went out on a US run with Minus The Bear, we didn’t know anything about touring, and [MtB] and the band was right after us called Everest. They took us under their wing and taught us about touring, they were super sweet dudes. Taught us how to do the trailer how to tour better, with every tour. Every single tour you learn so much… luckily the guys from Minus the Bear, Everest and all the crew were super sweet people and kinda helped guide us along the way. I think we only missed one show on that tour, which is pretty good for a band that never really toured the U.S. before.

Besides that we’ve opened up for a ton of bands in the last two and a half years that we’ve been touring the States, Europe, UK, Indonesia, Australia, Canada. We’ve played with Neon Trees, Marina and the Diamonds, The Futureheads, Steel Train. A bunch of bands at this point. We did a tour with Incubus which was great.

Seeds.: Do you remember the first time thinking the album was going to be bigger than you’d ever thought it’d be, or maybe even a hit?

EC: It’s funny because everyone working on the record were convinced ‘this is gonna be a huge record.’ We were all really young, we’re still young, and just excited to be able to do this. We were all going to school at different colleges in California. This was something that we’ve always dreamed of doing - music full time. Now that we have the opportunity, it’s just a blessing, the record came out and we really didn’t realize the full effect of having a label and a team, the radio push and heavy touring opening for bands. Just trying to get our live show to a place where we’re really comfortable with the show and know that you just come to the show and you’ll hear something better than the records. That was really our thing. The record is doing very well and we’re very blessed people to be able to do this as a living, it’s really our dream.

Seeds.: Having a live performance sound anything like what’s on a record is definitely a virtue, like you said you’ll see these bands who have a hit and the first time they do a live performance they just can’t match it. Is there something that set your live shows that gives it that little special twinge to it?

EC: Recording our record live with our producer Joe Chicarelli, is just a really experienced dude. We didn’t realize until our first day of preproduction that we were going to record the record live. Which means we were in a room and we did all the instrumental tracking, drums, bass, both guitars together in the same room. The amps were all in isolated rooms, but we were all playing together to try and get that live vibe. Sameer would sing the scratch vocal and we would play one song over and  over until we felt that we got a good take. And that [in itself] made our rhythm section play together way, way tighter. Then something else that sets us apart live is our energy. We’re all happy to be onstage, we don’t look like we’re bored, we smile and look at each other and bob our heads. We’re happy to be doing what we’re doing.

Seeds.: The record has been out for a while now and as you’ve said [Young the Giant] has been doing lots of heavy touring with some big opprotunites for you guys to play. You have probably played these songs thousands of times. How do you keep the tunes fresh every night?

EC: We change it up a bit. Actually after the record was done and we started touring  we changed the songs a little bit… atmospherically? It’s not like we went in like ‘oh, I don’t like any of these songs, let’s not play any of them.’ Because when you come to a show you’ll hear pretty much exactly the record, but the changes that we’ve made are things to keep ourselves interested. Average listeners might not notice, but if someone really knows music, listens to the record - they’ll pick up on things hear or there. Different drum or guitar parts, just a slight variation to keep it interesting for us. I mean atmospherically because when I’m on guitar and I add a delay effect where there [wasn’t.] Or when Francois [Comtois] our drummer would add some interesting rack tom rhythm. Also what keeps us most interested is new music, it’s hard to get full songs done while we’re touring so heavily we just weren’t in any groove, and finally we got in some time off in the last three months before this tour started. We wrote a good amount of ideas and we’re actually touring and playing two new songs live. That’s really what keep the energy going. You gotta keep moving forward and keep having new ideas.

Seeds.: You guys have had a few singles make their way out on their own, like ‘My Body” and now “Cough Syrup” is gaining a lot of momentum of its own. What do you think people get  when they come to your full album off those singles?

EC: I think the few singles that are out are good songs, they’re not my favorite as one of the writers. We all write together. Cough Syrup’s an older song. My Body not too much like every other song on the record. I think the cool thing about our record is it’s not just “My Body” and “Cough Syrup” that people seem to dig, everybody I talk to has a different favorite song, which I think is a sign that all the way through people are liking the record. It’s not like “Oh my god ‘My Body’ or ‘Cough Syrup’ is it” lots of people love those songs but they’re the songs that people hear on the radio… The good thing being that I see people singing along to every song, and when we start playing, one of slower songs ‘Islands’ which is really the only place that opens up on the record. Kind of gives it a little bit more room, it’s not so in your face with every single instrument being played the entire song through. That’s one of my personal favorites, it’s kind of a breath of fresh air on the record. I feel like there’s a couple points on the record that drop.

Most of our stuff is a lot more mellow than “My Body” and if you ask anybody in the band if we listen to I guess what “My Body” would be considered… none of us really listen to hard rock, we’re not hating on it, it’s just not our favorite type of music. I’m not too into bands with super heavy distorted guitars or super intense drums and stuff. I can say I think “My Body” is a good song, but it’s one of those things where I think there’s way better on the record, way more interesting songs [than “My Body.”] I think if I were to talk to people who had only listened to [those two songs] I would definitely tell them to come out to a show from before the Young the Giant record, songs from Shake My Hand we play. All the Young the Giant stuff and then you also hear some new stuff, the next record that we’re gonna put out. You kinda get a full little circle there.

Seeds.: Young the Giant writes within pretty common themes (i.e., relationships) but the flavor of the album as a whole is different from some of their contemporaries or if there’s something about your writing process that you think is unique to you guys.

EC: I think every band has their thing. All I know is that I’m really happy the way we do it just because we write together a lot of bands will have the one guy who writes everything and there’s other bands like us where it doesn’t matter if it’s a drum part, bass line, vocal melody or lyric, but something will inspire us to write a song and we’ll go from there. It used to be a lot more “A.D.D.” when we were younger then we matured a little bit, we did our first record. Kind of settled down and found each of our own places in the band. It’s really nice to be able to write with four other creative minds. It really connects us, a lot of bands don’t have that camaraderie of knowing we all did this together.

Seeds.: I think it was Sameer who said you all had this shared vision of the album while you were making it. What was the vision beforehand and how has it changed since then?

EC: The vision for the record was based on youthfulness and even the idea of summer. We’re from California and people have been saying the album has that summer-y feel.
We were all very young, I was only 18 or 19 when we recorded the record and we got to live right on the beach in West Hollywood. This life was given to us where we were told “You’re in a band and don’t have a normal schedule and can do whatever you want.” We kind of took that idea and hung the album on that.

Seeds.: Glee did a cover of “Cough Syrup” that was pretty true to the original and Sameer even did an anti-bullying video. I was just wondering your guys’ thoughts on how Glee used it and how that opportunity came about.

EC: That came pretty recently and we a really good opportunity. none of us watch Glee, but I know a lot of people that really like that show. It is great publicity for [the band.] I didn’t realize it would be that intense, some people online [had negative reactions] but so many more people thought it was great. There’s always going to be people that un-band’s gaining success or what would be considered selling out. I’m really young but to me that term ‘selling out’ doesn’t hold true to anything anymore. If ‘selling out’ means that the artist who’s writing these songs can make a living and continue writing these songs, because they have the ability and the money to, then more power to bands that are on commercial.

Nowadays, it’s not like records are selling like hotcakes. Bands need to find ways to stay with their heads over the water and one of the biggest ways is getting these things or commercials to make a living. Whatever you want to call it, it was a great opportunity, it got our name out there even more than it is right now. And it’s gonna help us get to where we want to be.

Seeds.: It was a great moment in the show, and they stuck pretty true to what you guys wrote. They chose a great way to include it in the show and for you guys to be the benefactor of that is a great opportunity.

EC: They did a great job recreating that song. It was weird listening to it. There were a lot of things that were spot on, there were little things we could tell, but they did a good job. That initial response chart-wise, the Glee version charted higher than our version, but it’s not a bad thing to get that publicity out there.

Seeds.: As a younger band, I think it’s important to get the perspective of somebody who has grown up with internet piracy and the downfall of the full-length CD… Does the band have any opinion on that? Do you think you would have been the same band if you had done it at a different time?

EC: If we were in a different time who knows if people would be into the music we’re making now. I think bands come at the time and get successful that [the music] happens.

About online piracy, we grew up with that was the norm. Which is really messed up. It’s not right, but when you grow up with it it seems normal. You know, “if everyone’s smoking pot, maybe I should smoke? If everyone is downloading the new Flaming Lips album for free, why am I going to go out and pay $12 to buy it? I’m broke anyway.” You know what I mean? If download our recorded illegally, but then we come around your city and you come out to a show and buy a vinyl or a shirt or even buy a ticket to the show - that’s the payoff. I can’t be like “Oh, you’re an a**hole, you downloaded our album.” I’m not gonna lie I’ve downloaded illegally before. It’s a messed up thing, but it was so normal growing up. Everyone would be downloading records, everyone still does. People my age, people old, even little kids. It’s weird, it’s kind of like we were thrown into this industry when the industry doesn’t even know what the hell to do.

It used to be like, you’re at a major record label and you’re good to go, now it’s like, you’re at a major record label and [the label] is so scared that they’re not going to make money from you anymore because records don’t sell [that they take] money from not only records, but this and that, this and that. It has been a good experience for us… but heads of the labels are like “These records 10 years ago, could be going platinum but instead they’re selling 100,000 records. If that’s the case we need to take money from touring, merchandise, from every single facet of where the band makes money.”

So for us, look, if you download our record, come out to a show and buy a $20 or a sweatshirt for your kid. We worked with [Grammy award winning producer] Joe Chicarelli and he put it in perspective for me when I was talking about online piracy. His report on it, and he’s an older guy… you’re blind to the fact that it messes with these artists and how it messes with their lives and their livelihoods, but then when you go back to when you were 13 years old and your friends or cousin or whatever says “Look at this there’s this website you can press a button and you get a CD for free!” Of course you’re going to do that, your first instinct is to fill up your 10 Gb iPod. Someone told me the other day if you fill up one of the big iPods 120 Gb, 60 Gb whatever. If you fill one of the up the cost of those in CDs is like $50,000… All that music you got for free.

Now we have Spotify, Pandora. All those different ways of finding new music. You can have them on your phone, press a button and you’ve got all this new music. Those are definitely good things.

Seeds.: What can people expect from this tour?

EC: Yeah, people coming out to this tour can expect a little weirdness, we play the remix to Ignition by R. Kelly last night in Chicago. In fur coats. It was pretty epic.

Seeds.: You guys have a lot of sold out dates on the upcoming tour…

EC: We went on our first headlining run in 2011 and all those shows were sold out as well, but that was playing to 150 to at most 500 person rooms. And now I think every show on the tour is sold out and we’re playing to 1,000 to 2,5000 people. It’s a dream tour. I guess as we’re more tour-wise, you realize it could all still be better. You could always be better. Whether its your guitar tone to how the tours get ran, little things… We’re very very lucky to be able to do this. I get up on stage and I just smile, “Where the hell am I? How the hell did we get here?”

Q&A by Mitch McCann

Alabama Shakes | Feature Interview

The Alabama Shakes don’t have a full length album, but with a humble EP coupled with singles and demos plastered online, the Alabama Shakes have come from nowhere making MTV’s list of “Artists to Watch” for 2012.

Formerly just The Shakes, and hailing from Athens, Alabama, their heavy blues rock influences intact and under the leadership Brittany Howard. Who shreds on guitar and boasts Aretha-esque vocals. Songs like “Heavy Chevy” will make your head bob, while songs like “Boys and Girls” will enter your very soul. “It gives me a certain feeling when we play it out live. The song is as simple as it can be.  It wasn’t some hard song to write, but I’m proud to play it. It’s a whole different mood when we play that,” explains Zac Cockrell, the Alabama Shakes bassist. He took a minute to speak with Seeds about The Alabama Shakes and their recent fortune.

Seeds:  In May, the Alabama Shakes will be together for three years.  Did you or any of the rest of the Alabama Shakes anticipate this level of success?
Zac Cockrell: No, not at all.  We pretty much just played for fun on the side.  We all had jobs.  We never anticipated a career of it.  The opportunity came, one thing lead to another, and we ended up going for it.  We had no idea we would be this successful.  A shock to all of us.

Seeds:  The opportunity, when was this?
ZC: I think it started around last July. We continued our day jobs, but that was the time when we got management.  They started getting some more shows and things like that lined up.  I think it was the end of October, when we were doing it full on.

Seeds:  If your EP wasn’t as well received, to what degree would you continue to pursue making music?
ZC: We would be doing it as long as we could.  Not that we weren’t hoping the EP would go well, but we had no idea what would come.  We planned on playing regardless.  The original plan was to put out a full length album, but we started playing more and more shows.  And we did bigger venues with the Drive By Truckers but we didn’t have any merch to sell.  So that’s how the EP came along.  We needed something to sell.

Seeds:  Over the last several months your life has changed drastically.  Touring the U.S. the U.K., and putting together the new album.  How has this acceleration affected the band?  Was it difficult to leave parents and significant others behind?
ZC: Yeah, but were happy to be in the position that were in, and love doing what were doing.  It does take some getting used to, leaving home as much as we do.  Steve has two kids of his own.  We all have relationships and things like that, so that takes some getting used to.  But, we are fortunate to be able to do what we are doing.

Seeds:  What do you do on your downtime in touring cities?  Any interesting travelling experiences?
ZC: Nothing too extravagant.  But it’s all new territory for me at least.  I’ve never traveled at all.  Going out west was new to me, going up north, I flew for the first time.  I haven’t traveled much into the south until recently, so it’s all interesting to me to see new different places.

Seeds:  Most bands pile up in a big van for touring.  Is this what the Alabama Shakes do?  If so, do you find that your privacy is ever being violated?
ZC: We’ve all been friends long enough, so we knew what to expect from each other.  Brittany sometimes wishes that another girl might be there for company, but it goes good.  We spend a whole lot of time in a van just riden.  So we try not to get onto each other’s nerves-as little as we can at least.

Seeds:  Your southern influences are brazenly apparent. Who’s influenced you the most?
ZC: A lot of the old session guys:  Steve Crawford, Bob Dylan, David Hood, all them session musicians.  I look to them a lot.  Especially after being in the studio a lot lately.  Because that stuff is tough, and that’s what they did for a living and didn’t get a whole lot of credit for it.  I look up to them a lot.

Seeds:  What’s your favorite part about the creative process with the band? Who does the lion’s share of the arrangements?
ZC: As far as the arranging, it’s pretty well a group effort.  The lyrics, are mostly Brittany, there’s a few songs that Steve and Heath kinda help with.  As far as musically, it’s a group effort.  There’s some things me and Brittany had arranged before the band kind of started.  A lot of the songs are a group effort.

Seeds:  You and singer Brittany Howard used to meet after school to write music.  Are any of those originals on the new album “Boys and Girls?”  How have these songs changed for you in these (almost) 3 years?
ZC: These songs have definitely changed a lot.  We had a lot of ideas that we would record on a computer, and sometimes we would go back and dig stuff out.  “You Aint Alone” was one that the structure was kind of there, a little bit.  We had ideas, and we just finished it out after the whole band got together and started playing.  “Going to the Party” was another song that we had before.  But they all kind of took a different shape after we all got together.

Seeds:  How has your process changed from early music you wrote?
ZC: It’s still the same, I would say.  Some of those songs are from ’06 when in high school.  There’s no real formula to what we do.  Whatever sounds nice, and whatever sounds like music we’d wanna listen too.

Interview by Gabriel Potter

Say Anything | Feature Interview

For a decade Max Bemis has displayed his inner thoughts, public breakdowns, and road to recovery though his band, Say Anything.  Starting out as a scrappy, and mostly solo, effort, 2004’s debut …Is a Real Boy cemented the groups reputation in a burgeoning indie/emo scene.  Lyrically focusing on his own mental breakdown, it broke the mold by combining snark with cynical pop music.  

The band became a mainstay on events such as Warped Tour, where their sound fit just as well alongside punk bands as well as slower, acoustic acts.  Much was made of Bemis’ deeply personal, and occasionally embarrassing, lyrics on their third and fourth albums.  However, they showcased a man who was embracing his own maturing in the most public way possible: on a stage, surrounded by those who brought his feelings to life.  

After the touring cycle for 2009’s self-titled album completed, many wondered what was left for the group to accomplish.  Bemis found God, got married, and released a few low-key solo acoustic albums.  The band changed labels and did a few supporting tours.  All this was done whilst the fourth proper Say Anything album waited.  

But now, here it is. Anarchy, My Dear, treads familiar ground while refining the Say Anything formula to it’s most vital: pop music with shout-along choruses that still, somehow, carry a message.  The album is a testament from a man who is no longer focused just on his own internal struggles.  Rather, he seeks to observe on the new ways he interacts with the world around him.  To this end, he talked to the Dailyer about his new album, his definition of anarchy, and pretension.

Seeds: How did the creation of Anarchy, My Dear differ from your previous albums?

Max Bemis: It was mostly an internal thing where it felt a lot more natural writing the record.  There was less pressure outside of my own inner competitive drive.  There was no unnatural pressure when it came to writing it.  Once we signed to a label we knew would support us no matter what we did, the whole process of recording and writing was very freeing.  There was nothing being imposed on the process.

Seeds: Anarchy is a strong word and ideal.  Why use it on your album?

MB: There are a few different reasons why I relate so much to that term.  I see it as a positive thing in my life.  I have a very particular, specified, definition for it.  The root of the word is talking about no king, no government.  In an ideal world there are no divisions between nations.  I’m not a communist, I don’t believe the way our capitalist system works is necessarily the best, but I’m also not smart enough to know the exact system to replace it.  I do know the way it’s built, the competitiveness, pride, warmongering, and the way our society functions on a global level is wrong.  I think that it’s been going like this for thousands of years.  Ultimately, we can do a lot to help the world with our actions.

The more important reasoning on anarchy, the reason I wrote a record about it, is because I think it’s an internal quest to free yourself from the boundaries that are placed on you by the systems we have in place.  I think you don’t need to tear it all down, literally, to tear it down in your own mind and become confident in your own individuality.

To me, that’s where I believe that anarchy is a positive thing.  I don’t see it as pure chaos, unless you want to be really metaphysical about it.  I see it as a way for people question, and make decision based on heart rather than what they’re told.

Seeds: Your prior records are known for showcasing your decaying mindset when they were written.  This one is different.  Are you happier now?

MB: No one is always happy, or is always in a positive place.  Your life doesn’t become gold because you’re in a positive mind space.  No one is on cloud nine all the time, I have issues and troubles just like anybody.  I’m not the type of person to be complacent.  I do try to question everything.  There are certain things in my life I have utter faith in.  I believe that life is a journey where you can go and question yourself.  Nothing is perfect.

Seeds: “Admit It” is one of your most infamous songs, and it trashed ‘poser’ culture during the time it was written.  Now this album has “Admit It, Again.”  Why?

MB: It came from knowing how much the first one meant to our fans.  We have a habit of really challenging our fan base, and I think we’ve put them through the wringer to some extent.  We don’t lie in one place or recreate the same record over and over again.  We’re daring them to come with us to the next place as we mature as a band.  Throughout that process, I try to give back and not live in spite of them. Just because I may grow out of one thing doesn’t mean I’ve grown out of everything.

But, just because I want our audience to grow up with us doesn’t mean I don’t think I need to give them some of what they want.  That’s built in to me, as a songwriter.  I enjoy entertaining our fans a lot.  I thought it one of the most entertaining things I could do, and I got really exciting about writing it.  Hopefully fans will get excited knowing there’s another ‘Admit It.’

Once I realized how much it make people stoked, I realized there was a lot I had to say about the issue and about the people I wrote the first song about.  That culture has come so far, eight years later, and my goal was to write about it and how it has evolved.

Seeds: The lyrics in the song make allusions to Pitchfork.  Why call them out specifically?

MB: I’m not a huge fan of the site, but the quote in the song is meant to reference the reverence that certain people hold for it.  It’s just a website, whether it’s great or not.  There are some really awesome writers that work there, and they do have good taste in music.  But it’s the fact that they, and many people, consider them to be the end all, be all in terms of what is right, wrong, good, and bad.

There’s an entire culture for whom Pitchfork is the bible.  If Pitchfork thinks it’s good, then it’s good.  And that annoys me.  There’s been other publications that have the same effect, but Pitchfork just happens to be the one that has been given that amount of power unduly, considering that it’s just a pretentious website.

Seeds: Why do you record Say Anything records, with the exception of drums, by yourself?

MB: I really enjoy the process of writing and playing guitar parts.  I hear a lot of the arrangements in my head when I’m writing songs.  I even tend to write as I go.  If something pops in my head, I just lay it down.  Even though the guys in my band are super talented, the process of teaching them to play it on a moment-by-moment basis, to play exactly how I hear it in my head, would be laborious and difficult. It would even be demeaning for these super talented guys to have to do everything exactly how I want it.

Seeds: Your upcoming headlining tour comes though Lincoln.  How are you feeling about it?

MB: I couldn’t be more excited.  It’s been years since we’ve done a proper headlining tour because we’ve been in the process of finding a label and promoting our record.  It really was a break for us.  Based on the reactions we’ve been getting, we’re super stoked to graduate these new songs into the steady lineup.  To have people sing them back at me is such a visceral, crazy experience.  I’m really looking forward to it. 

Interview by Jacob Fricke

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Bowerbirds | Interview

The final song on Bowerbirds’ newest LP, The Clearing, gracefully encapsulates the current state of the American folk trio. “We thought we had forever, and now we hurry on… No you’re not alone. The valley’s flushed and warm. Take your time with it. All of it.” After having to take a break from some crowded work schedules that caused accordion playing vocalist, Beth Tacular, to become suddenly and inexplicably ill, boyfriend and lead vocalist Philip Moore decided to slow things down. After two well-received albums and extensive touring, they moved out to a remote forested area of North Carolina to build a cabin and truly focus on their craft. The result is one of the most placidly invigorating folk records of the past few years, making Bowerbirds’ quest for maximum exposure neatly balanced with their self-induced solidarity and isolation.

You’ve been playing together now for over 6 years. When did you all decided to completely commit to the lifestyle, and what’s the outlook for Bowerbirds?

It kind of took a year of playing, Beth and I traveling around the country in 2006, and then we just kinda played little shows here and there, and we were kind of a band just living on tax returns that year. So, after that we came back and we were asked to tour with “The Mountain Goats”, and we got sort of faced with that world. We kept touring, living in and out of earstream, keeping our bills low. Right away in 2007 the first album was actually released to the public. For a band, I feel like our friends have grown at the same time as our band has grown, I guess, in popularity. We really just do the same thing. We write albums and write music and the outlook kind of stays the same and we just play shows for people and try to get as many people interested in our music as possible.

All your records have been centered around nature, humanity, and simplicity. What new themes are introduced on “The Clearing”?

I think it’s similar to those themes, they’re still present. Also, the voice in which it’s told is a little more honest and open. It deals a lot more with the personal bittersweet feelings involved in growing up and growing old and watching time trickle by, how that fucks with your head a little bit. A lot of it is so autobiographical to our art, to our whole lives in the past two years where we’ve had the opportunity to sit around and be creative, watch the seasons change, and having time alone to figure out exactly what we’re trying to say on this new album. That is the biggest difference on this record.

What’s your favorite part of the creative process? How much of a collaboration are the arrangements with you and Beth?

My favorite part of the creative process is the part where things become actual realities. I think Beth is really great at the editing and making something perfect and really fleshing it out. I’m getting better at that. Beth and I worked very closely on this album. I mostly come up with everything initially, the songs, and then Beth guides the songs into eventually where they ended up. I did a lot of that, too. Our process was a lot more integrated on this album than it was on the last two albums, which I think makes the album a better representation of the two of us.

You interact often with your fans via Twitter. How does communicating with them change your experience?

I guess it gives us a point to do it in this capacity at all. If we can have people telling us that the things that we’re doing are really great, we wouldn’t do them in this capacity. I would probably always still be writing music, but the touring and the releasing records is definitely something that requires fan interaction on a more personal level. It’s fun to get to meet amazing people in that whole Twitter thing, and you meet people from the other side of the world that you wouldn’t have ever had any contact with, and I think that’s really awesome.

Discuss how moving out to an isolated cabin has changed the way you make music?

All of our records were written out in some form of isolation, whether it be here or South Carolina. For me, I think it’s being around beautiful nature, and it’s generally quiet and peaceful. Mostly, the quiet, the solitude is great for writing music because you can have a thought and carry it on through a whole day and you’re never interrupted by random distractions that you, yourself, implement. You don’t go down to the bars and drink or call a friend to hang out in the afternoon. You can just sit there and work and not be distracted. That’s the reason Beth and I decided to move out to the country. We can be creative without interruption.

How much more comfortable have you become with the musician lifestyle than when you started? What have you done to situate yourself?

In this culture it’s difficult to justify being a musician or any sort of artist. It’s hard to tell people that’s what you’re trying to pursue. I would tell people that I was working wherever, or looking for a job for my biology major. I couldn’t tell people, “I’m a creative artist.” I guess that’s just what I’m best at. What really has situated me as this “indie musician” is just doing it for several years, but then finally being awarded with people enjoying it and selling records and having fans show up to shows and just getting more confidence. There are people saying, “You should keep doing this, we’re really enjoying this.”

I’ve read Beth had become suddenly ill between this album and the last. Explain how this affected the group.

The pace in which we were working was basically everyday all day, way too fast, and we took a couple days off around Thanksgiving of 2010, and right after Beth became very ill and we had to go to the emergency room. We didn’t really know what was wrong, and it just made us stop doing everything. After we stopped working all day everyday, we kind of got this refreshing new look on life that we really enjoyed. It was necessary. Later, she totally healed and we kind of took it easy and made sure that we were taking care of our health, not concentrating too much on anything. We haven’t been getting too involved with the mundane details of life. We’re better at managing our time now, working on the album. We decided that we wanted to make this album amazing and communicate everything in the most honest way possible for us.

Interview by Dylan Bliss

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The Magnetic Fields | Feature Interview

Over two decades ago, Steven Merritt began a studio project entitled Buffalo Roam, and since has crafted an absolute multitude of indie bubblegum pop tunes under the widely loved moniker The Magnetic Fields. Hailing as the primary singer, songwriter, and producer, Merritt hasn’t even entertained the thought of stopping his tirade of brilliantly playful records adorned with wacky arrangements and uncompromising flair.
Upon the release of his 1999 triple album 69 Love Songs, which he had paired down from 100, the world was finally introduced to the sheer magnitude of quality production Merritt was capable of, attune to classic musical composers like Sondheim and Hammerstein. Merritt said about the album, “69 Love Songs is not remotely an album about love. It’s an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love.”
This year’s newest from The Magnetic Fields, Love at the Bottom of the Sea, returns to the synthesizer after a fully intentional trilogy of LPs without it. Merritt’s multi-instrumental prowess has led him to pick up the ukulele, banjo, accordion, cello, mandolin, flute, xylophone, and marxophone, in addition to the band’s usual setting of synths, guitars, and effects. Another important element to Merritt’s appeal has always been his brazenly absurd lyrics and thematics. New single, “Andrew in Drag”, outlines a helpless confession of impossible love for a friend, but only when he’s dressed as a woman. “There is no hope of love for me, from here on I’ll go stag. The only girl I’ll ever love is Andrew in drag.”
Seemingly reluctant and egregiously monotone, Steven Merritt spoke with Seeds about his sideways dispositions and endless musical ambitions as he promotes his 10th full length album.

Seeds: You’ve returned to the synthesizer after a trilogy of albums without it. How much fun was it to get up to speed with the new gadgets?

Steven Merritt: Better than sex. It was better than sex.

Seeds: You excluded the title track of your upcoming album “Love at the Bottom of the Sea”. Explain.

SM: I never meant for the song to be on the album. I abandoned the song. I wasn’t all that good, but I loved the title.

Seeds: Which is more satisfying? Unintentionally offending or confusing listeners, or setting out to strike a nerve on purpose?

SM: Definitely unintentionally offending people. There was a woman who came to one of our shows who couldn’t believe that we were so raged and engaged in Chinese culture. As everyone knows, all Chinese people are misogynists who bind women’s feet. I felt this woman needed to be offended in a big way and as fast as possible.

Seeds: English author Neil Gaiman raved about your new single from “LATBOTS”, “Andrew in Drag”. Does that song mirror reality in any way, or are you simply painting us a hypothetical tragedy?

SM: It’s purely hypothetical, and yet, analogous to an impossible love situation.

Seeds: Does Shirley write the songs she sings, or do you collaborate with her in writing? Do you write them for her because she’s better suited to sing them?

SM: I write all of the songs in every way, all the time, except for a song in “Future Bible Heroes” where she wrote the instruments and I wrote the lyrics.

Seeds: At least one song is under 2 minutes, and the rest are under 3. Discuss your boredom with long-form pop tunes.

SM: The average length of the songs on “Love at the Bottom of the Sea” is 2:15. I like short songs. I don’t see any problem with short songs. They don’t seem unfinished to me. They get in and get out quickly. I like small things. I like my chihuahua, Irving. I myself, drive a Mini Cooper. I’m very happy living in my small studio apartment in Manhattan. Short books. I like little stuff. I like short songs. I like short movies. I’m always happy to pay attention to shorts. I actually have a long attention span. I’m quite good at watching Russian movies, but I like the old stuff. I like orchestral miniatures, too. I don’t usually like orchestral music, symphonic music, but when the movements are very short and it’s all about interesting textures, I like it a lot.

Seeds: Your compositions are delightfully carefree. What aspect of your bubblegum stylings do you take most seriously?

SM:(laughs)Attention to variety. It’s really important to me that they’re not the same record over and over again. I would sooner die.

Seeds: What’s the silliest instrument utilized in the new album?

SM: The electric kazoo wins hands down. It’s on “The Horrible Party”. It also features my aforementioned dog, Irving. He does a barking solo.

Seeds: Do you ever think comedy in lyrics will gain more ground, are too many people just idiots?

SM: I think one of the things that people love about hip-hop is that people aren’t afraid to be funny. Also, country music. It’s really only in dance music that hardly anything funny has happened in the past decade. The thing is, a lot of music is consumed by early teenagers, and they really are not ‘sophisticated humor’ lovers. The way they used to go around that in the bubblegum period was that they would have double entendres that 12 year olds didn’t perceive in the first place. Adults could find things quite funny that their kids could take it on a different level.

Seeds: What’s your stance on music piracy? Has it helped or hurt your records/fanbase?

SM: Hard to tell. I have no way of knowing.

Seeds: What music are you into lately?

SM: I just bought the new Doris Day album that I’m very excited to listen to, but I haven’t heard it yet. I have been in a writing phase, which means I don’t sit at home and listen to music. I go out to bars and listen to music that I am not choosing. So, I haven’t listened to any music of my own choosing in a few weeks.

Interview by Dylan Bliss

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The Avett Brothers | Feature Interview

Music lovers from all over the globe can recognize the uniqueness of certain genres and styles that sound like home. Residents of North Carolina can safely claim The Avett Brothers as clear representatives of their signature
bluegrass country pop mixed in with some folksy honky-tonk rock n roll. Prepared to release their seventh studio album since 2000, Seth and Scott Avett have been traveling and cultivating a rapidly growing fan base non-stop, keeping  the realities of adult life at a surreal distance. However, nurturing their unbridled musical endeavors has been a rewarding experience for the brothers and their fans. 2009’s “I And Love And You” peaked at #1 on the Billboard best selling folk albums, preceding a special Grammy performance with folk icon Bob Dylan.

The obvious oneness and sonic compatibility of The Avett Brothers seeps through each recording, offering listeners a warm welcome into themes of family, love, hardship, and undeniable grace. The careful mixing of genres and attitudes throughout their records showcases both an unprecedented technical tightness and melodic ease. Each of their prior six studio albums and four impressively strewn EPs have the capacity to inspire wild sessions of foot-stomping and delicate swells of country pride.

Striving to keep fans closely in step with their  vision, Scott and Seth produced 13 video shorts chronicling experiences with interviews, live performances, composing, and recording. The brothers have fostered a fresh brand of unity for fans across every genre they decide to dip their boots into. Scott Avett shared with us the past and future of this growing fixture of popular music.

It’s been 12 years, six full length albums, and four EPs since you began recording together. With another album on the way, are you showing any signs of stopping?

That is a good question. Absolutely not. As far as writing and recording, we may have more of a hunger for that than we’ve ever had. The question more often is, “How do we work that in with our growing responsibilities of adulthood?” A marriage, children… there are different narratives and events in our lives that call for more time in your life, and that’s good, and that’s magical. There’s no desire or evidence of slowing down or stopping. I think if we go too long without making and creating things we’re gonna feel less and less like ourselves, which isn’t good for anyone around you, really.

Describe how the opportunity to perform with Bob Dylan at the Grammys came about. Do you ever hesitate when asked to collaborate, or have you said ‘no’ to any offers?

We have said no to peoples’ offers. We’re very adamant about the nature of collaboration. We’re very adamant about the natural progression of it. We don’t have this thing where we say, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we sang on whoever’s record?” That feels real unnatural. We only like to let it happen if it comes about naturally. Maybe we’re already friends with somebody, or we’re touring with somebody. You don’t really know the personalities or whether it could work if you’ve never met this person. That’s why you don’t see more collaborations with Scott and I with other people. We generally shy away from planned collaborations, just like people generally shy away from planned marriages. (laughs) The Bob Dylan situation was separate. Dylan stands outside of a lot of roles in a lot of ways, unavoidable, because he’s Bob Dylan, which I think is unfortunate for him. Kind of lonely at the top, I would assume. The idea of playing with Bob Dylan comes up, and you just sort of have to get used to it. He’s not the only one like that for us, but the fella that produces me helped me meet a few people in the Grammy foundation who ended up being big fans. They came to our show in Los Angeles and we got a chance to shake hands, say hello. We just stayed in touch with them, and they’d let us know if they wanted us to be a part of the show. They wouldn’t let us know who they were thinkin’ about for a long time. It came about naturally, and we said, “Yes, we’d love to,” and we were in L.A. for six days and played for six minutes… so. That’s how much planning and effort goes into that awards show. It was a great experience. Very surreal, as you would expect it to be. It’ll definitely be a story for the grandkids.

You’ve got an upcoming show here in Lincoln come April. Have you ever played live in Nebraska? Any interesting experiences you remember about playing here?

In my memory, we’ve only played in Nebraska once, and that was in Omaha. It was in a smaller place. I remember it being great, one of many on a run, and the area was sort of separate from the rest of the city, sort of an up-and-coming kind of area. It was a bit of an island outside the city. I remember the crowd being awesome, and we need to spend some more time there.

What differences do you think you experience, as brothers, in the creative process of composing your tunes?

It’s a funny thing, as with all siblings.Scott, being 4 years older than me; he was just my hero. I wanted to be like him. It wasn’t until I was 14 and he was 18 that we could become friends, and not just The Avett Brothers, you know? The relationship between us is one of extreme care. I know that when I’m writing with Scott there’s really no possibility for selfishness, for the spotlight, whatever. We both know that we both have each others’ best interest in mind, and that is priceless in any collaboration, I feel. As far as getting attention, all that’s out the window, which is really good for any kind of artistry. Another advantage of brothers: a lot of times we don’t have to talk about anything. We’ll just go with it, and we know we’ll agree about 90 percent of the time with the decisions we make in that process, and if someone comes up with something that the other one doesn’t like, we talk. The main component is that we’re family and we look out for each other in every capacity.

Your songs showcase a wide range of emotions, instrumentation, and tempo. How do you arrange live sets to keep the energy level high throughout?

We never play the same set twice. We always write the set right before we go out. We try to be connected with what the night feels like, what the personality of the night is, because every night’s different. We don’t think it would be wise to try and apply a safe set list that may have worked in Nebraska to a show in Texas. Every night is a separate entity, and we think very much about the flow and about when it makes sense to really take a breath and to really try to bring something pretty to the table, or when it’s time to throw down and really bring some energy and excitement into the room. Sometimes we’re right, sometimes we’re wrong. Sometimes we have to change it there on the spot. Basically, we try to be sensitive and receptive to tonight, to right now. That generally serves pretty well.

Each of your releases has seemed to have its own unique theme and feel. In what direction does the new album take the band?

I feel like its taken us in a few directions. It’s a weird thing, because there’s quite a bit of variety. We recorded like 23 songs, and it was the first time in our history where we’ve taken every song possible to the studio, instead of doing 20 demos and recording about 15 songs. We took every demo all the way to the end, you know?

There weren’t any “pretty girls” featured in “I and Love and You,” can we expect any in the future?

Possibly. One of the 23 songs that we recorded was “Pretty Girl From Michigan.” That’s sort of the quintessential back-catalog song we’ve been playin’ for like 6 years, and we have finally recorded it successfully. We tried to record that song for “Four Thieves Gone,” we tried to record it for “Emotionalism.” That song has been a bit of a ringer, but it’s a definite possibility. The series has not ended, it’s just sort of taken a bit of lull at the moment.

How often do people mispronounce your last name?

(laughs) It seems to be gettin’ a little better. At one point, there was a newspaper headline that read, “Sometimes You Just Gotta Avett (aye-vett)”, and they were trying to say “You Just Gotta Avett (av-ett)”, you know, like “Have it?” We were trying to figure out for a long time what that meant. (laughs) It’s getting less and less.

Do you have any remaining goals or aspirations for the Avett Brothers, or are you content with simply continuing to do what you love?

There are things in life that we would be glad to do, but we’re very aware of the fact that we’re not guaranteed any of it. We just try to make the most out of this show, this song, thisrecord, and we try to live in the moment as much as possible, cliche as that sounds. Whatever good or bad comes from it, we can only put all our efforts into what we’re doing currently, and I hope that comes over well.

Interview by Dylan Bliss

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Fionn Regan | Interview

Irish singer-songwriter Fionn Regan has been helping steer a new insurgence of brit-folk since his debut, “The End of History,” in 2006. Citing classical folk influences and injecting modern lyrical sensibilities, Regan exerts his prowess over many instruments. Understanding the complete composition of his songs makes his vision shine brighter and his message inherently honest and even handed. With a comforting clarity that borders on voyeurism, 2011’s “100 Acres of Sycamore“ explores Regan’s surroundings and musings down a comfortable orchestral path of violins, toe-taps, and some endlessly comforting vocals.
Many current acts in Regan’s field strive simply to become strange enough to warrant a listen and a mention, but these tunes are more difficult to dismiss. The production quality in “100 Acres of Syamore” surpasses most any album recorded in under a week, leaving a considerable timeline gap between Regan and his folk colleagues. Seeds has convinced Fionn Regan to share some of the secrets and insights that fuel an artist to create such a large body of work in so little time.

Seeds: You’ve cited many influences in the past. Do you have any Irish singer-songwriters that have made an impact?
Fionn: I’d say Van Morrision has had an impact on me, especially with the record “Astral Weeks.”

Seeds: Many of your lyrics are very pastoral and classical, but there are modern references scattered throughout, including television sound bites and pleas to “text me.” How do you fit these themes together?

Fionn:  I just sing about the things that are in the environment around me.

Seeds: Explain the gentler, swelling return of intimate tones in “100 Acres of Sycamore.” What caused the sonic contrast between this album and the last?

Fionn:  I think it’s natural that every record is a reaction to the one before, so after playing electric guitar for a year it felt right to go back to the acoustic.

Seeds: What changes (location, equipment, etc) did you make in the recording process between “The End of History” and your newest album?

Fionn:  “100 Acres” was recorded in seven days under the same roof; with “The End of History” I moved around a bit. But I’ve always recorded live and used tape.

Seeds: What comes first, the melody or the lyrics? Is it different every time?

Fionn:  Both come in different ways—melody sometimes first, lyrics sometimes first—but with “The Shadow of an Empire” I wrote a lot of the lyrics first while I was on the road.

Seeds: In your song entitled “Sow Mare Bitch Vixen” you admit to always having had “a thing for dangerous women.” Who were some of these women in your life, and why did they inspire this tune?

Fionn:  The song is a celebration of the ‘femme fatale.’

Seeds: You play many instruments. Does your knowledge of these instruments make the communication of your vision easier or more tedious when directing your band?

Fionn:  I think it makes it easier in a lot of ways. With “100 Acres” I made demos with parts, so we had a map and didn’t have such a distance to travel with the band when we all got into a room together to play and record the songs. I also wrote a lot of notes on each song, sometimes with pretty abstract descriptions, sometimes technical.

Seeds: How has traveling/touring changed the way you create music?

Fionn:  I suppose when you travel you take in a lot of things that are then reflected back in the songwriting at a later stage.

Interview by Dylan Bliss

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Tennis | Feature Interview

Directly following the success of their debut, “Cape Dory”, husband and wife duo Tennis set out to escape the moniker of the sunny sailing-pop band that every other critic hastily attempted to corner them with. Their initial inspiration sparked a potable collection of irresistible hooks and delightful guitar attacks, led by keyboard/vocalist Alaina Moore. After extensive touring at home and overseas, Tennis settled down to churn out an album that touched on slightly deeper ideals and more relatable sonic foundations. “Young & Old” explores a rollercoaster of life-altering events, weathering a tidal wave of analytical and adulatory dribble, and just having a good time.

Last time Tennis came through Omaha, they joined the cozy corner audience for the opener at Slowdown, channeling the same high-energy demeanor they would project throughout their show. Tennis expertly communicates their adorable, fun-loving style without causing their audience to eventually turn away, eyes rolled (as some did with other summery acts like Best Coast and Wavves). Time seems to be the only obstacle in the effort to branch out and slip into a sound catalogue all their own.

Guitarist and co-composer Patrick Riley spoke to Seeds about his learning experiences in touring, bringing Patrick Carney of The Black Keys on to help produce the new album, and the inherent complexities of being bandmates with his wife.

Seeds: Your first album, “Cape Dory,” was inspired by a 7-month sailing expedition. What was the inspiration for “Young & Old”?

Patrick Riley: It’s hard to summarize it, really. It was the first album we really wrote as a band. This is the first time we knew we were making an album that people were going to be hearing. With “Cape Dory,” we just wrote it in our apartment and had no intention of letting people hear it. Overall, our motivation was fueled by taking things more seriously, and trying to make something that will be more applicable to peoples’ lives. “Cape Dory” is impossible to apply to peoples’ lives because it was about our trip and our experiences. We wanted to make something a bit more communicable.

Seeds: Describe what differences or improvements you experienced while putting your new record together with Patrick Carney of The Black Keys.

PR: At first, it was a really hard process for us. Up until then, we hadn’t worked with anyone other than ourselves; we were very much a self-produced band from day one. We haven’t let anyone help us with the construction of our songs, or what tones we need to use. It was hard for us to give up control. Once we did, it was one of the biggest learning experiences we could have had. He (Patrick Carney) pushed us in directions, at first, that maybe we didn’t want to go, but once he added those components we agreed they should have been there all along.

Seeds: How did you first get together with him?

PR: We were sort of brainstorming, and wanted things to be different than “Cape Dory.” We were thinking of a few people we wanted to work with in the studio, whether it be an engineer or producer, we weren’t really sure. I think we’ve always been enamored by The Black Keys. They themselves are very similar to us in the sense that they have produced themselves from day one and then they slowly let producers in. Even then, like when they worked with Danger Mouse in the studio, it was very much a mutual effort. It’s not like Danger Mouse was 100% producing their album. That, for us, was a real selling point for Patrick Carney. If he hadn’t been on board, we would’ve self-produced the new album. So it was pretty nice that when we ended up contacting him; he was interested and willing to do it.

Seeds: What kind of dynamics, as a husband-wife duo, do you think set you apart from other bands? Does it sometimes have a negative effect?

PR: Maybe. We definitely understand each other really well, especially because of all the time we spend together. We basically spend every minute of every day with each other because we work at the same job and travel to the same places together. Because of that, we really understand what we’re both good at and what we’re both bad at. I think sometimes that can come across in a bad way, because when I know I’m doing something the wrong way, Alaina knows it, too. (laughs) She’s able to step in and fill that void. It’s really just a relationship of understanding that makes it more different than most bands.

Seeds: I caught your show in Omaha last year. It was fairly low-key and compact, but you seemed to maintain a high-energy performance. Is it difficult to keep bringing that level of energy to your fans night after night?

PR: It really depends on the room. For some reason or another, the vibe when we were there for the Omaha show was just right for us to have fun, but there’s definitely some nights where it just doesn’t feel right. I mean, we’ll pretend to be having a good time. We don’t really have stage personas, so to speak. That may be a lacking quality in our band, but we just can’t get ourselves into that headspace where we think we’re rockstars. So we’ll let the music take us where it wants to go, and we won’t try to fake it that much. (laughs)

Seeds: Is there any sort of connection between your new track “Take Me to Heaven” and Cape Dory’s “Take Me Somewhere”? Or does the new album take a new stance on travel and the metaphors surrounding it?

PR: I think so. In this album, we tried to tackle a bunch of different issues. They’re mostly social issues, like with what happened when we released our songs on Cape Dory. Some people understood them, but some people didn’t understand them, and some people took them and kind of assigned their own meaning to them. There’s this feeling where someone can take something you made with your precious time and very quickly deconstruct it and assign their own meaning to it, maybe something not even close to what you wanted to do. The new album comes from this perspective that there’s an audience wherever we go, there’s this omnipresent ocean of people who don’t judge you and are just there for you to interact with in a completely natural way. The idea of travel in our new album is more faced with dealing with an audience and the forces they bring that we’re dealing with. I hope I’m not being too philosophical. (laughs)

Seeds: You had the chance to tour all over Europe last year. What was your favorite part of touring overseas for the first time?

PR: I think the first time, honestly, we really didn’t like it. We were already having a hard time getting used to living in a van. There was absolutely no familiarity when we were over in Europe for the first time. The hotels and motel rooms were just horrible, and if we needed to find a place to eat, at say, 1 o’clock in the morning, those places in Europe are harder to find. We were kind of thrown on our heads when we went to Europe for the first time, and it was very much a learning experience. The second time, when we went over for our next tour, we had a lot of fun and started to understand the cultures, and I guess we kind of swam downstream with them, rather than fighting against the current. We definitely are transforming our experiences over there every time we go. We have a very short two-week trip to do over there soon, and we’re really excited about it. I think the best part is coming to terms with the different culture and starting to appreciate it.

Seeds: Do you have any new-found aspirations for the new record? What would you like to do differently this time around?

PR: We’re definitely not going to read reviews; at least I’m not. I think that was the one thing that we were interested in. You can say to yourself, “Oh, I don’t care what someone else thinks about my music,” but I think the more you read into them, it kind of becomes this small, self-deprecating obsession where you’re kind of scratching at a wound of bad reviews. It just gets worse and worse until you start doubting yourself. I think this time, we’re confident enough to not worry about what other people think in this album. So, I think we’re just going to transcend back, and do our thing. We’re not focused on what others are writing about our band.

Interview by Dylan Bliss

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Lana Del Rey | Album Review

In the wake of one of the most viral growth spurts in the history of alternative music, Lana Del Rey released her debut “Born to Die” despite having spent the past 6 months polarizing her audience with scandalous origin stories and painfully awkward live performances. Her deeply laden “hollywood sadcore” persona has both enchanted and infuriated the majority of her critics; it seems the only topic left undisclosed is the music. After a careful series of listens, “Born to Die” plays out like a dreamy train derailment. There’s an inexplicably mature handful of tunes scattered throughout the LP, starkly contrasting with some of the most asinine lyrical spectacles in songs like “This is What Makes Us Girls” and “National Anthem.” We want so badly to buy what Lana is selling, but the her efforts seem pushy and she eventually falls short of the myth set in place by last summer’s smash single “Video Games.”

The message constructed with “Born to Die” is clear; Lana plays the beautiful, young, and sadly misunderstood starlet-wannabe whose only desire is to drive top-down with the girls and close the evening with hard make-out sessions in the rain. There are kissing references in nearly every song, and frustratingly vapid party phrases are used and reused: “take your body downtown, baby.” Those who subscribe to her character will revel in her unabashed commitment to communicating this subculture of melancholy L.A. girls, longing to be abused and thrown away like their draggy cabaret-singing mothers before them. The arrangements are effectively atmospheric, and do little to discourage a complete listen. Lana has given herself a near-perfect backdrop to the orchestral pop landscape laid amidst her unique vocal style and pouty delivery.

Sung by almost anyone else, “Born to Die” would seem a laughable teen-throb disaster, but Lana’s intimidating loyalty to her character boldly separates her from other imitators. There’s obvious room for improvement in the structure of the album. Contrived and awkwardly positioned, some tracks are just plain throwaways, but others are delicately assembled and show promising potential. Early critics of Lana Del Rey weren’t completely wrong to label her as “one to watch,” because “Born to Die” showcases a satisfyingly confident new stream of ideas, despite the negativity and cat calls. Lana Del Rey has arrived on her own accord, and will continue to cater to the mysterious whether you come along or not.

Review by Dylan Bliss

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Seeds Asks: What Impact Does Piracy Have On Your Records/Fanbase?

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ERIC EARLEY | Blitzen Trapper

It’s had a positive influence on our fan base. It’s had a negative influence on record sales, of course(laughs). That’s for everybody, I guess. It’s great for live shows though, you know? You go out on tour and everybody already knows all the words.

RYAN KATTNER | Mister Heavenly

I guess it’s positive because people find out about our music, but at the same time it keeps a lot of artists struggling, barely getting by. It gets to the point where you’re like, “I’ve worked really hard for it.” Concert revenues are always a justification, I think being on the road and making money gives them a way to justify it.


My office has a water cooler. It’s never gonna put Evian out of business.


Sorta seems like taking a stance on the ocean. Or a stance on the wind. If my music brings joy or inspiration to someone I could care less how it gets there. I don’t own it anymore than they do.


I don’t personally search for illegal downloads. If there’s a free MP3 somewhere, you know, I’ll just download it. I really just don’t care either way. I feel like it’s kind of exciting in a way. There’s a part of me that’s always hated any sort of authority. I grew up in a very strict upbringing, rules were everything. Anything that has that sort of ‘spirit of rebellion’, I have a soft spot for. It’s too early for anyone to tell if it’s a bad thing for the music industry. It’s nice that kids can listen to music, and that kids without money can listen to music.

NATE WILLETT | Cold War Kids

I could try to sum it up with this. I was looking on twitter the other day and a guy said “Hey, I’m dying to hear some more Cold war kids music. when are you guys gonna put something out?” and looking at it through that lens, bands very typically release a record every year and a half or so and everybody’s looking for more ways to put music out. For us it’s challenging and exciting to think in terms that “C’mon man, we just put an album out nine months ago, what do you expect?” but really for our band we could have a much greater output than we have. It kind of comes back to the internet as a solution to that. We’re really going to be challenging ourselves to make more music, find more places to put it and to be a creative band first and not a touring band first.


Our band is of the generation where we’re not really angry about it because we were a part of it all. None of us in Fun really had any significant success before the internet was this prominent. So there isn’t an ability, or feeling that we’re getting robbed. If anything it’s been instrumental in everything we’ve done. It’s this elegant thing. At the same time, we grew up in the 90’s and that’s when we started getting into music. That was an amazing time, there was so much mystery in music. It’s nice to make music and put it out there and have that be that. There wasn’t YouTube and things like that, so when Billie Joe [Armstrong, of Green Day] got naked at a show in 1994, it became a legend that you just heard about. You couldn’t just look at the video the next day. There is that element of mystery in music and art that is lost, so in any way that we can hold on to that, we’re still trying to. I think the only way to do that nowadays is not too grotesquely post every last feeling or irrelevant piece of content on your website or Facebook or whatnot. So it’s great to connect and use all those outlets to get our music out there, but I don’t think we’re really interested in having everyone feel like we’re all best friends.