Tuesday, November 30, 2010



have you met my friend?

This San Diego trio has a lot to answer for. By no means negatively, but as music makers and fans of music. They wear numerous influences on their sleeves with have you met my friend? Judging by the excellent sounds, and songs, they seem like people you'd want to talk music with at a noisy party. New Mexico sound different track to track, on the seven song EP. Where it fails many bands the variety works here over and over. There's no through line to be found other than a great album with a lot of energy.

"Case Closed" opens with this cool, magnetic, echoing guitar line. The song jumps around, most fun at the chorus and then burns into oblivion by the time it ends. This one song encapsulates the power and aesthetic of the band. So does "Chosen Ones", a Mooney Suzuki-like song that pumps with the vigor of a band from Detroit trashing a warehouse filled with battered car parts. "Abused and Amused" is another crash-and-burn track that recalls The Dead 60's but is completely theirs. There's an early eighties New Wave/rock and roll sound to New Mexico. Its all rather large sounding like European bands with random hit singles and moody like The Psychedelic Furs, namely on "Quiet in the City" where the band harmonizes over slumming and slurred vocals. The guitar and drums bash and fight, making for a fantastic song that feels they could care less. New Mexico could easily become "that band" of the moment. Nothing wrong there. But it'd be a shame to have them lost in the shuffle of hipster fame when they make music that's way beyond trendy.

-Brian Tucker

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Rock ‘n Roll Ghoul

7-inch/digital download

Asheville, North Carolina’s Mad Tea Party has found special ways of celebrating the holidays over the last few years. They’ve released either a split single of Christmas music or in celebration of their favorite holiday, Halloween, the uke-abilly duo went all out in 2009 with four spooky and fun garage pop rock songs pressed on vinyl with letter-pressed artwork. Following up on last year’s bonanza Zombie Boogie, Ami Worthen and Jason Krekel have recorded another batch of Halloween rock songs. Called Rock ‘n Roll Ghoul, this special recording is being released as another limited run of 7-inch vinyl with EC Comics inspired art by San Francisco artist Gus Cutty.

The title track is a fireball, rich in hot rod driving jangly guitar and fast-paced vocals. It shakes like a punk tune as if made in the fifties and laced with tambourine and screaming back-up vocals. “Possessed” is a 60’s flavored psychedelic number, think the B-52’s drinking specially laced party punch. Worthen’s vocals are sweet and wiry, the whole sounding like a girl group singing love songs in a cemetery. “Dr. Phibes” laments Vincent Price, part Hawaiian guitar, part Buddy Holly. Covering the Hollywood Flames’ “Frankenstein’s Den” is the real treat, a creepy-crawly throwback to the 1950’s whose doo-wop vocals (with Snake Oil Medicine Show’s Caroline Pond) make the song shine.

The Mad Tea Party has done it again with this release. Here’s hoping they take a shine to other holidays. The 7-inch Rock ‘n Roll Ghoul comes with a download code and can also be purchased solely as a digital download.

-Brian Tucker


Record release shows planned to date:

October 2 - The Pour House - Raleigh , NC (with the Straight 8's)

October 15 - Stella Blue - Asheville , NC (with Mark Sultan)

October 16 - Double Door - Charlotte , NC

October 16 - The Cave - Chapel Hill , NC (part of Blackbeard's Lost Weekend)

October 29 - Uketoberfest - Aberdeen , NC


Lights That Last Forever

Chicago's Darling have continued to evolve, re-shaping their sound with each album. On their new album, Lights That Last Forever, they've added a variety of styles - funk, garage rock and early nineties college rock. Throughout two EP's (2005's Ground is Sound, 2009's Burned by the Sun) Darling has shifted, as if wholly trying new things out, from blending moody and soft-assault ambiance to songs that are more catchy, more radio friendly, than before. There's sweet melancholy to Jeff Schneider's vocals, sounding like a teenage David Byrne. Lights That Last Forever shakes up the band's old ideas, giving them more heft, more color.

Lights really sounds like a '90's album, its strangely catchy, obtuse and more playful. The proof is the introspection of the songs, the album lending itself to the autumn season versus the rejuvenation of spring. "Move In Move On" makes no bones about getting down, the bass noticeably at the forefront. Bass notes noodle and swirl, the guitar jangly and rusty. "In the Ground" blisters like a Superchunk number, aggressive and fun. Lights doesn't stay settled, from the trippy bass on "Bad Dream" whose quick chorus and closing moments is rich with fractured guitar playing, first mimicking erratic rainfall then the world falling apart, to the travelling bounce of "Bicycle Ride" which gleefully sounds as if it should be sang with cast of The Muppet Show.

Darling sounds less romantic, slightly less idyllic about it in the music than before. The band now ebbs closer to an indie version of Matthew Sweet trying to be ELO. That's not meant as derision, Darling play songs simply that just happen to sound large.

-Brian Tucker





It's interesting to see a band years into to their career still making something new out of old material - be it live or on the typical "best of" album. Many artists find gold in reworking their songs, be it creative exercise or contract fulfillment. John Mellencamp did well with Rough Harvest, turning old songs into new ones. The Black Crowes have done something similar. Having already released a "greatest hits" album a few years back the band has released Croweology, a collection of largely acoustic and gently reworked versions of the band's staples.

Twenty years on in their career, The Black Crowes laid down enough tracks to support a double album - some expected and some surprises. Taking a cue from last year's ...Until the Freeze the band recorded these quick and live. The result puts forth a band, once derided as a throwback to the seventies, as a multifaceted and genre shifting one. Croweology is proof that the band's songs are like clothing that can be re-stitched and worn again and again. The songs here are generally remade with different dressings, a little harmonica here, the crunch of guitar removed there.

The real gems are "Morning Song" a Sunday church reworking of a song that was written that way in the first place, just heavier on guitar. It's the rave-up at the end, its blast of energy that gives the original version a run for its money, replacing bombast with spare playing that reaches the same ceiling. "Sister Luck" feels like a totally different song than on 1990's Shake Your Money Maker and 1992's "Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye" is wonderful, sounding like a ghost form the past. Some tracks that were born in acoustic beginnings ("Good Friday", "Downtown Money Waster") seem familiar yet still shine. "Girl from a Pawnshop" sounds more melancholic, more deliberate now, but loses the huge wall of sound. "Wiser Time," always a magical number, rolls on for nine minutes, still resonating as it did in 1995, paired with the equally lengthy "Ballad in Urgency."

The only real disappointment is that, as the band currently tours for the last time before taking a lengthy hiatus, is that they haven't released a collection of songs that's never seen the light of day. "She" and "Cold Blue Smile" are the only evidence here of it. The band apparently has a lot of original material stored, hopefully it will see release during the band's hiatus. Croweology doesn't sound like closure, more like a hint of what's could come down the road.

-Brian Tucker

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

John Mellencamp

No Better Than This

Rounder Records

Since 1989 or so John Mellencamp has been shedding the label-induced "Cougar" moniker and all the crap that came with it. At the same time he's been making indelible, serious and fun music ever since. People were confused or turned off by Mellencamp's "Pop Singer" (from 1989's Big Daddy), a thrown gauntlet to cats off his manufactured namesake. Perhaps fans felt he turned his back on their good times, their lives. They should have seen it coming with 1987's Scarecrow.

It was easy to misinterpret. Mellencamp was asserting his power as a songwriter, not wanting to be part of the pop music assembly line, one far worse now in 2010. He continued to craft earnest songs ("Martha Say, "Jackie Brown") while delivering catchy ones ("Key West Intermezzo", "Get a Leg Up", "Your Life is Now"). In truth, Mellencamp has never really made a bad record since hitting big in 1982. He's been talked about with Guthrie and Dylan but derided for writing hit songs. He's had albums that wandered, Freedom Road, Trouble No More, and struggled the last decade with record labels, jumping from Mercury to Sony to smaller labels (Hear Music, Universal Republic).

The singer once said that men weren't worth a damn till they're forty. Maybe Mellencamp was talking about richness with age, attaining wisdom. His last album, 2008's Life Death Love and Freedom, produced by T. Bone Burnett, seemed to be the distillation of age, wisdom and creative countenance. It was, perhaps, an album he's been working towards since the mid-nineties, if not earlier. It's spare and raw nature was perfect for the album's subject matter and Mellencamp's coarse, much older voice. No Better Than This, also produced by Burnett, follows up on it, the singer still sounding like a young man adverse with the world around him.

No Better Than This was recorded at historic locations - the hotel room where Robert Johnson recorded, Sun Studios, the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga. Those locations are interesting, poignant, but what's relevant are the songs and how they were recorded - a single microphone and a 55-year old Ampex tape recorder. Mellencamp once thanked The Rolling Stones for keeping the "living room on the record." He was recalling the feeling of wonderment of sitting in a room and hearing a record - before an overabundance of TV and the Internet. With No Better Than This, we're alone in those rooms with him.

The sound of the record is important. It's thick and unpolished. It feels real, it feels dirty and tainted. For all the grittiness and sparseness the songs are inviting and at times as catchy as anything else the man has ever written. Each is an individual story, all worth taking in. I'm as much of a fan of Mellencamp's early work as his most recent. we've probably only begun to see the watershed of work by a man in his later-years prime. Years from people and critics alike will probably look back at these years and albums as the beginning of something far more prolific in Mellencamp's catalog.

-Brian Tucker


Split 7-inch

Fort Lowell Records

Black and white. Yin and yang. North and south. You get it. That's how disparate this split 7-incher is. Selecting the raw power-pop of Los Angeles' Wet & Reckless and Tuscon-based Tracy Shedd works significantly, eschewing the notion of placing similar sounding bands on a single platter simply just to sell. Wet & Reckless, a dubious and exciting name for a band if there ever was one (its a term for an actual DUI charge in California), and Shedd have songs that are polar opposites in terms of emotion and surrealism. They are textured and honest songs, anything but overtly polished but are seriously songs that stick. Wet & Reckless' "New Guy" is retro and electric, its jangly surf rock sound coupled with Emily Wilder's sugar coated vocals, as if The Breeders tried on The Beach Boys. It's an energetic song of guys and relationship uncertainty. Wilder sings, "I'd rather be burned and left in the dark/Than Durafalmed with a tiny little spark." Regardless, it's a great rock song that lasts much longer than its actual three minutes. Shedd's "Tear It Up" is haunting and moody, built upon lilting western styled guitar playing. The song is about going out and dancing and whose lyrics are brief but weights the song like a novel. Shedd's vocals are magical and hypnotic. She sings the words in a soft cooing fashion and the effect is nothing short of ghostly. This split 7-inch is solid, an no-brainer teaser for looking into work by both artists.

-Brian Tucker

$6 Limited to 500 copies this 7-inch Candy Bubblegum Red vinyl comes with w/download code. Out October 5th, 2010


Lost in the Trees

All Alone in an Empty House

Anti- Records

Success, by varied definitions is measured by hard work - through sacrifice, perseverance and unintended suffering. Art tends to walk a similar path, the really good art which prevails and continues to resonate. Lost in the Trees' All Alone in an Empty House has become more affecting, and remains just as sincere an album in the time since originally released in 2008 on the Chapel Hill, NC label Trekky Records. Quite simply, its power as an album of music remains.

Lost in the Trees signed to Anti- Records in February 2010 and All Alone in an Empty House was reworked by producer Scott Solter. Two new songs were added to the original album sequence ("A Room Where Your Paintings Hang" and "We Burn the Leaves"), enhancing and extending the experience of Ari Picker's musical collective of folk and classical music.

The material is born from the heartbreaking and dysfunctional household Picker grew up in. Lyrics are taken from arguments in his home and the situations, the abuses, are anything but contrived. Picker sought to harness them into something productive, something creative. An admirer of classical music, Picker endeavored to bring classical and folk music together, injecting melancholic and sometimes catchy folk songs with a style traditionally overlooked by many under thirty. "A Room Where Your Paintings Hang" is a perfect example these two styles meeting with marvelous results.

The album is built upon gentle acoustic guitar and vibrant string playing and underneath exists a patchwork of hard memories and ascetic relationships. The album is awash in grey cloud sentiment and raw honest emotions, all thrown against a scarred canvas. The result is endearing and beautiful. Not knowing about the heartache, one listening would still walk away thinking something is broken here. While All Alone in an Empty House bridges folk and classical music, it transcends what an album is and can be. It operates less as novelty but as an innovative way to communicate stories, to better elevate a listener's emotions.

Haunting stringed instrumental songs serve as a means to pause. "Mvt. I Sketch" and "Mvt. II Sketch" clock in at under ten minutes but their placing feel like moments to reflect, to breath. The title track is tempered with the added sounds of footsteps on leaves, adding tension to a song already taut given its subject matter of sexual abuse. Picker sings "Where is the baby?" repeatedly and the way he sings, in a soft, almost female voice, is haunting and beautiful simultaneously.

All Alone in an Empty House feels like incessant climbing before finally reaching the top, finding a place in which to be comfortable. For all its melancholy there are symbols of strength - wooden walls, artists, paintings, and love. The most prominent is love. In his singing Picker exudes it in the face of heartache. He sings of a painter who's lost their hands on "Song for a Painter" and there's the memorable and radio-ready "Love On My Side" where Picker sings "We're all going to get old and buried in a hole/But my mortal love I give to you." Given the pain adrift here this one song cements humanity, and its ability to love, as the victor. Picker sings, "I never heard someone say love is not an option." No matter how those sentiments came about, in the end, its a moment of light eclipsing dark.

For all the somberness and austerity at work here there is something uplifting about it, perhaps its knowing that Picker won out over hardship or its simply the transfer of the music's power to the listener. All Alone in an Empty House, in the end, feels like a rural storybook with symphonic muscle.

-Brian Tucker

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jared Grabb & Wesley Wolfe

Jared Grabb & Wesley Wolfe Split 7"/digital

Chicago's Jared Grabb and Carrboro, North Carolina's Wesley Wolfe will release this split 7-incher September 7th, 2010 on clear vinyl and digital download from Thinker Thought Records. Both songs, "La Salle" by Grabb and "Climb Up" by Wolfe are captivating in their own right, but act as yin and yang when played back to back. On their own both would be strong singles, but their volume is equal even as they are different in terms of delivery.

Paired together they elicit a shorthand of storytelling in the listener's mind. Musically, they play aesthetically as a fictional past and present, "La Salle" as an energetic and vibrant moment in time and "Climb Up" many years later as reflection and illumination. "La Salle" is an upbeat number, built around acoustic guitar playing that ascends and descends with a subtle Latin feel. Grabb sings with twisting vocals, "We're young and poor and different," a lyric that sticks around even as the song ends. His singing is warm and inviting, layered with a crooner's sensibility.

"Climb Up" is, to a degree, dreamlike, due to smooth and crystallized vocals matched with the song's strolling nature. The song's initial gentle acoustic picking is met with heavy-handed electric guitar strikes that are fuzzed and reverberating. The effect is powerful, echoing in the background like emotional alarm. Its plodding tempo works like a trance - lulling and hypnotic, delivering comfort more than as an effort to dislodge. Its a complex song, but comes off as quite simplistic - a handful of musical ideas placed together with elegant effect.

While Grabb's song is memorable for its catchiness and hook, Wolfe's is for emotional resonance. The split single from these singer-songwriters should serve as an invitation to dig deeper into their respective catalogs.

-Brian Tucker




While Secret Colours may be carving out their own space in the Chicago music scene they have a solid asset in their superb self-titled debut album, a polite mix of psychedelic, fuzzed out guitar accompanied by a whispered vocalist, Tommy Evans. For all their confessions of fondness for The Black Angels they do well in holding back, by not being coarse and bombastic. Secret Colours finds gold in playing it restrained for the most part. The music here is mostly laid back way, think T.Rex crossed with certain aspects of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's gentler material, namely from Howl. Secret Colours as an album maintains a spacey quality, at times bridging blistering guitar licks with cooing vocals and subtle acoustic guitar. Unabashedly, it plays like really good make out music from a lost decade, rich with an older music texture and it could be mistaken for being recorded across the pond. It could also be misread as a copy of a copy of a copy. That may be true, but in this case it matters little, as Secret Colours, make affectionate and fine rock music. Secret Colours may be a by-product of times gone by and bands alike (Oasis, Brian Jonestown Massacre) but bless 'em for doing so. They've recorded a solid of album songs that burns at a slow pace and curls up alongside like a promising date.

-Brian Tucker


Sunday, August 8, 2010

WISER TIME - Beggars & Thieves

Beggars & Thieves is the album Carmen Sclafani has been working towards making the last several years. Wiser Time has, for two albums, There and Back Again (2006), All For One, 2008, been churning away at rootsy soulful rock music in the shadow of bands like Free or The Black Crowes. With Beggars & Thieves Wiser Time moves away from that history, hitting a stride and comfort zone, recording songs that are seasoned and catchy without overdoing it, without trying to sound catchy. Simply put, they sound like their own band, not like a band trying to fit in somewhere. They sound so at home here, writing songs that are from the gut and the heart. Its as if they just rolled tape and the band poured out music that didn't result from over thinking or writing music that was purposely genre specific.

Sclafani's voice has always been superb, but here he gets in good head space, singing in a way that exceeds prior work. With it Wiser Time places displaces bravado for wearing sincerity on the band's sleeve. This is a good choice, there's far less bombast here compared to the last two albums. On "Take Me Back Home" Sclafani is utterly believable, easy to feel his distance from home, the distance from the lover in the song. He paints solid imagery, like scene directions, with lyrics like "I could see you were acting a little/Sweet smile, then a tilt of a bottle."

The piano heavy "Its Hard Letting You Go" is a ballad that centers the album, slowing things down but with absolute purpose. "Keep it On" is a slightly slower number too, albeit one with guitar breaks that crunch and jerk. It's a subtle affair but begs the question what it would sound like if it were awash in a raw electric wall of sound. They keep it spare here, and it works solidly. "Seagull" closes the album, an interesting choice to cover given Bad Company's original spare acoustic construction. It's a beautiful song and Sclafani is right at home with it, affording it a subtle Middle Eastern feel. There have been few singers since the early seventies that can share space with soulful rock singers like Paul Rodgers. Here, Sclafani isn't overstepping his bounds at all. Wiser Time isn't coy about influences, from The Grateful Dead to Bad Company. The difference is that on Beggars & Thieves the band and Sclafani have moved beyond sounding like a particular style of rock music to being a band carving out its own trail. Here's hoping Sclafani digs even deeper, perhaps taking a detour like John Mellencamp has recently, recording fast and loose with older and cruder equipment. Its highly probable that Sclafani will continue to get even better with age, outshining each previous effort.

-Brian Tucker


Monday, July 26, 2010

Interview with I Was Totally Destroying It's John Booker & Rachel Hirsch

The band released in July 2010 a special 7-inch release called Get Big which is an ode to '80's music.

By Brian Tucker
photo: Jason Arthurs

What was the impetus for the 7-inch released this summer and why choose Big Country?

JOHN: We usually like to add a cover song to our repertoire before we head out on the road, so for our album release tour last October we decided to learn one of my favorite songs of all time, "In A Big Country". I had wanted to cover "In A Big Country" for most of my musical life, and it turned out really well, everyone in our band was well-suited for the individual parts. We had a bunch of people telling us there was a special energy to our rendition & we should record it, so we did. We told our label we wanted to release the song as a digital single with a b-side, and they encouraged us to go ahead and go all out with a 7", which we were dying to do, but too hesitant to suggest ourselves. It's pretty amazing to be on a label that says "simple and cheap? No, let's spend a lot of money and make something a lot more special".

The b-side “Big Rock” is like Faster Pussycat doing a Warrant cover. Was En Garde a rock outfit entirely or is this just fun being had?

JOHN: "The Big Rock" is easily the most tongue-in-cheek, over the top, silly song I've ever written. My old band, En Garde, was supposed to be a pretty balls-out, no frills hard rock band. It was mostly a big party of old friends and we tried to be as loud and hyper as possible - sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. It was basically a project for me to learn to be a songwriter, though. I'd been playing music for years but I'd never been the main writer. It was the learning time I needed before reigning in my chops & ideas for IWTDI. When we decided on the concept for the new 7", "The Big Rock" was a leftover from the En Garde days, and seemed like the perfect contender for a b-side that was hopefully likable but hopefully people would know not to take too seriously as well.

Many bands record an album and wait and wait between new material, even now in the digital age. Is it your intent to keep putting out new material?

JOHN: I guess I see it both ways. I feel like most bands release a full-length every 2 years, and so far we're on track with that method. The stuff in between adds up to a lot (2 EP's, a 7" and a couple spare tracks here and there), but even that material feels spread out by nearly a year. So yes and no, we like being prolific and trying to stay active both for the sake of our own creativity and to let people who like our music know that we're still going strong; but at the same time, the time that has elapsed between projects often feels much longer to us than it is in reality. It's hard to believe Horror Vacui hasn't even been out a year at this point.

What resonates with the band about the 80’s and its music? It’s a generation behind some band members. Is it more inspiring to discover music outside your generation than what’s current?

JOHN: I grew up in the 80's, so for me it's nostalgia mixed with a genuine, un-ironic love for the songwriting and production values that were typical of so many of the hits of the time-period. There's an adventurousness, creativity and originality to new wave that is often underrated. People forget that the 80's sound spawned from punk, into post-punk, and out of that came new wave and in many ways new wave was the most innovative of all three of those movements. Among many other factors, the rise of the synthesizer and the advent of the sampler opened a lot of new doors to musical creativity and expression, and essentially defined new wave and so much of what is insular about the sound of the 80's. I consider myself a completist and a musical librarian/historian. I like to collect an artist's entire catalog. I don't care if there are bad songs, or even bad albums, that's actually a much more interesting story than immaculate consistency. So for me, it's definitely a bit more of an adventure to immerse myself in music from past generations, to see the whole drama play out, and try to understand what it meant when it was current. I love how artists like Neil Young have all these crazy left turns in the 80's. I want the full story, not just the legendary stuff.

RACHEL: What resonates with me the most is how creatively and heavily the synthesizer was utilized. This was the first decade in which more user friendly and affordable synthesizers were available to the public, and the outcome was a colossal amount of really interesting and compelling new music. I love thinking about how the people who had never heard such inorganic sounds must have reacted to them upon first listen.For myself, I find that music recorded outside of my own generation inspires me more. As a millennial, it’s hard for me to fathom that before, say, Laurie Anderson, there was nobody that sounded like Laurie Anderson. There are a lot of new buzz bands that I really like lately, but it’s hard not to hear the influence of other artists in their music. So while I might love this new band, I also love the artists that they’re drawing from. You guys seem to record a lot, having material leftover for special releases like the 45 and the vinyl release prior to Horror Vacui.

Do you have more material that hasn’t been released?

JOHN: We just issued a bonus track, "Mona Lisa Overdrive", available to people who buy our new 7". That song was originally going to be track 1 on our most recent album, Horror Vacui, but it got bumped at the 11th hour. "Mona Lisa Overdrive" was the last remaining track that we had yet to release from the various sessions of 2008 and 2009. As of right now, there is only one song that we have officially recorded that has not been released, it's called "A Boy + A Girl". We tracked it during the sessions for our first album, in 2007. It is the worst song we have ever written and we vehemently hate it. It's quite embarrassing. I can say with a lot of certainty that song will never see the light of day!

Is the new album material you’re working on different than the last album? Are more songs being written outside the scope of personal themes?

JOHN: After completing Horror Vacui, Rachel and I both agreed we had no interest in writing more "breakup songs" or any of the general romantic-relationship stuff. We played that stuff out for ourselves, and likely for anyone else listening. So it's been very difficult finding inspiration sometimes on the new material, since those themes are so comfortable in pop music. We haven't really said this publicly yet, but over the past year, Rachel and I have become wrapped up in Stephen King's magnum opus, The Dark Tower, and many of the new songs are loosely based on some concepts from those books. It won't be a "concept album", and we're shying far away from any of the supernatural elements that would turn things cheesy very fast, but we've definitely pulled some themes and inspirations from the characters and emotional content therein, and found ways to relate the material back to ourselves and our own experiences. As for the music, it's too soon to say what we'll end up with, but we definitely set out to make something drastically different than anything we have done previously.

The original plan was that I would take this bulk of acoustic-based, stripped down, singer-songwriter type surplus of material I had accumulated and make a solo album while the band explored new songs and sounds based in dance and electronic music. We recently experienced a big shift in that plan, because while we like some of the dance-influenced stuff we've come up with together, it was proving to not be as fulfilling as we had hoped, and often we were sacrificing fun for some higher concept that didn't always work. Rachel and I had some songs that we were holding back on because they didn't fit the plan, and the band heard those tunes and decided that they were more promising than some of the stuff we'd been pursuing. So what we've done now is add all the songs I'd planned to keep for a solo album, all of Rachel's various experiments, as well as keep the best songs the band had composed together during the first half of the year. So we suddenly jumped from a pot of 8 or 9 songs, to 30-plus and growing. I think the final album will end up being a mix of our experiments with dance and electronic music, alongside some pretty down-tempo acoustic ballads. It seems like it'll be a cleaner, less loud rock album, and possibly a bit more melancholy.

RACHEL: To write any more songs about my personal relationship with John would be beating a dead horse. We’ve analyzed and written about each other about as much as we (and probably anyone listening) can stomach.We’re discovering that writing about subject matter outside of our own personal experiences is actually really uncomfortable for us. I’m a 20 year old and therefore am obsessed with myself, so the easiest thing for me to do would be to write about my self-actualization or self-discovery…but honestly… it’s been done. And done. And done.

Like John has said, we’ve been reading Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series and have been vaguely incorporating some themes from that into our lyrics. It has been really fun to assume different characters and to write from their perspective and then relate that back to myself. Lately I’ve been reading about abnormal psychology and an encyclopedia of the world’s worst murders… so I don’t know where that will take us. Sonically, I’m very hesitant to say what I think the album will sound like. We have the luxury of having no set deadlines, and we want the sound to continue to evolve until we’re actually in the studio. For the first half of 2009, John and I had this really set idea of it being a more electronic and structurally complex album…but we simply weren’t happy enough with our results to keep going that way. I had been writing a couple of songs that I didn’t want to get that treatment, so I withheld them from the band. Same goes for John, who had gone through dozens of cassettes he’s recorded demos on over the years, but didn’t want them to turn out the way that a lot of our songs had been. So now we’re kind of “starting over” and taking a new approach. We don’t really care how we get it done, but we want to write the best songs we can.

Was any material written/conceived while on the road touring in the last year?

JOHN: We rarely write new music while on the road. For me as an individual, I find musical inspiration hard to come by when in that strange, foreign situation of touring- and as a band we rarely start from scratch with a jam idea or anything like that. Most IWTDI songs usually start with me sitting on my bed alone at 4am with an acoustic guitar, or Rachel sitting at her piano in her room, plinking out a new idea.

RACHEL: We really don’t write on the road. For me to write songs, I need to be left alone. I get so self-conscious if John or someone else is in the next room…so I usually wait until everyone is out of the house. I really check to see if there are any cars in the driveway.

The band always seems to be in good spirits, either at shows I’ve seen or from videos posted online. How is it you seem to be having fun in the midst of all this work making records and playing shows to support them?

JOHN: This band has a strong family dynamic. We actually fight a lot, and some of us can be not-very-fun-to-work-with at times, but no one takes anything personally and we're able to squash disagreements very quickly, and five minutes later act like nothing happened. We're all stressed out a lot of the time, but the band is a labor of love for us, we're all super committed to writing the best music we can and constantly trying to grow the project to its full potential.

RACHEL: Like any group of close-knit people, we don’t get along all the time. We all do things that annoy the shit out of each other, but for the most part we like each other enough to forgive the flaws. We have a common goal, and that definitely unites us amidst our squabbling. There are things I love and hate about every member. We wouldn’t be a band if we didn’t like doing it.

Your last record bore a lot of relationship strife and persevered. How is your and Rachel’s relationship today, after all that you guys went through and what was put out in the public through music?

JOHN: Rachel and I get along better than ever, these days. We have to remember to separate issues within the band or songwriting disagreements from our relationship, and if we do that, we get along swimmingly. We needed the time off and as awful as 2009 was for us and the rest of the band, it's left us in a better place and taught us some good lessons. 2010 has been fantastic so far and Rachel and I are back together and have none of the old issues this time around. As for all the drama being aired out in public, I'm fine with that. I'm far from an exhibitionist, but I'm a pretty blunt and open person. I don't really have secrets. If people want to talk about or know about something, I don't really deem anything as too personal or taboo, and I hope knowing where our lyrics are coming from can open windows into a deeper understanding of what we're trying to express and convey to the listener.

RACHEL: Out of everything that has happened, I have found a lifelong friend in John. It was really weird and surreal to put our issues out there the way that we did. I mean, there was everything from journalists analyzing our breakup, to my parents reading about it on the internet, to me screaming at John at shows…to be honest it was all really hard. For a year it felt like I was somebody’s ex-girlfriend and not really a musician. I don’t think I’m going to open up like that again.

Where does the band name come from?

JOHN: The name comes from a stupid conversation I was having a long time ago. I was describing how I was breaking up a slate walkway with a pickaxe, and the words "I was totally destroying it" came out of my mouth. The name stuck because of its ridiculousness, and because I knew we'd never run into the problem of there being another IWTDI.

The band has embraced tech in all fashions to distro the music and communicate with people. Has there been any surprises since you’re communicating and making fans all over the globe?

JOHN: It's important to us to utilize all the resources of internet promotion, communication, and social media, as much as I often lament the disadvantages of the era and long for the way things used to be when I first started making music. The primary reason we try to do lots of video updates and use other online resources is because we've been exposed to a lot of new fans who we aren't able to play in front of regularly- whether it be support from folks in what feels like our second home of Minneapolis, or the millions of people in Brazil who've heard our song in a cell phone commercial. I can't tell you how often people think a band has broken up simply because they are between projects, so blogging, vlogging, etc., gives bands a way of letting fans know they still exist and are still creating.

RACHEL: I am a child of the modern age, so experimenting with different mediums of social media doesn’t bother me one bit. You have to love the instant gratification! We have met a lot of people on the road and people have stumbled upon us from all over the world thanks to the internet, so social media is a great way for us to keep in touch with everyone. There have been a few weird things I’ve found. I will admit that I have Googled myself twice. The first time, I found my name in some Japanese music database. There was a picture of me, and links to iTunes for I Was Totally Destroying It. The second time, I found a stranger that left a comment on one of our pictures somewhere that said that they had sex with me. I stopped searching after that.

The 7-inch is the second vinyl release for the band. When are you expecting the new album to come out and will you press vinyl again?

JOHN: The new album is taking us a lot longer to write than we originally planned, but we're determined to let it take as long as it needs. The money and producers and studio are all in place and ready when we are, so we could easily jump the gun and make an album that we wouldn't feel 100% about but we're going to keep writing until we feel we have 12 songs that are absolutely worth all the effort that will be put into recording and releasing the project. The album is currently slated for a fall 2011 release, and while we will continue to plan specifics during the interim with our label, we have already confirmed that the album will be released on vinyl, among other formats. Since we keep pushing back the date, and because of our recent influx of songs to choose from, we'll be releasing an EP in the spring of 2011. We plan to record six or seven new songs which most excite us at the time, but don't quite fit what we hope to comprise the full-length, this fall.

RACHEL: The safest thing to say about the new album is that it will be coming out in the second half of 2011. We want to get it right.

BEST IN SHOW by Phil Juliano


Singer-songwriter David Dondero talks about his new album, getting older and living on the lam.

by Brian Tucker
photo: Josephine Heidepriem

You’re an inspired songwriter, regardless of location or environment. What’s been a more peculiar place or situation that’s lent itself to a song?

Any place you go has certain peculiarities and unique qualities. In the latest album ( # Zero With a Bullet) I condensed a lot of them into one song called "Wherever you go". Like finding the frog on the skull on the wall in Salamanca, Spain or hearing the javelina's foraging through the brush at night in the Gila Wilderness out in New Mexico. I remember when I was out in Hawaii and a fella said "choke food broke da mouth" meaning there was a great big feast. Or hearing another guy in Australia say "wrap your laughing gear around this one mate." meaning, take a bite of this sandwich.. these moments have all crept into the songs. Fragments of detail.

You’re 40. Do you look back on your early 20’s with a particular fondness or nostalgically?

Actually, I turn 41 on June 24th. Man, I wish I had the energy to jump around and scream like I used to. I used to dive into the audience and bite people’s ankles. Pour beer all over myself. Go nuts. I do it a little more thoughtfully now but I do miss the days of being 20. My body hurts a lot more now and the recovery time is a bit longer but the heart breaks a little more softly.

I miss punk rock before Nirvana and I miss alternative music when it was truly alternative. I miss indie rock and most of all I miss music before computers, the days of sending cassette tapes in the mail. On the other hand it's a hell of a lot easier to put music out and promote. It no longer costs hundreds of dollars in long distance phone calls and sending out packages to book tours. It's a free click away.

You describe travelling, the road, as a “holy unforgiving blacktop sanctuary that’s become wife and family”. How long have you been touring and could you see life without it?

I first started touring in 1993 and have been doing it on and off since then. It hasn't been non-stop though. I spent a good part of last year installing solar systems out in San Francisco and the last three months landscaping in Austin, TX. I've done almost every shitty job imaginable through the years to make ends meet. I like to work but...I got that travelling itch again last summer when I saw some sticker on a garbage can in the Mission. It said "Don't forget your Dreams" with an arrow pointing down into the trash. I knew it was time to hit the road again. I don't really want to install solar panels forever or do landscaping forever or bartend forever. But I do want to keep learning the guitar and writing down words and songs so I prefer to tour around and sing songs to people who want to hear them. Touring a lot has taken away many other possibilities that go along with settling down which I sometimes wish I had, seeing friends in nice homes with their kids and safety nets. Then again that life can suffocate and take the spirit. Watching TV and living vicariously through others makes you fat and lazy. So can drinking in bars every night. This living out on the fly can be pretty frightening though...knowing that I'm one step away from being homeless but then again I'm trying to look at the entire world as my home. Luckily I've got a lot of friends in many places who help me out. I am thankful to them and feel I owe them a great debt. Fred Champion (owner of CD Alley, Wilmington, NC) has helped me tremendously through the years, letting me stay in the back room in the loft. Thank you Fred. People like him have provided lifelines to me. I know sometimes I overstay my welcome and I regret that but I do want to reiterate my thanks and appreciation for these places of refuge for the downtime stretches.

The title track of the new album seems like a state of the union address in terms of the world and your place in it. What’s your philosophy / thinking on where you’re going given the state of music now?

Well, music has pretty much been hijacked and given away, devalued by the internet. It has a direct impact on me and people I know who do write and perform music. People don't sell records anymore. It's getting harder and harder to make a living at it if it's given away. It's a shame to see landmarks like CD Alley close. It seems that people no longer have the patience to listen to an entire album. Attention spans have diminished. They just buy one song on iTunes and listen to part of it, shuffle through; many don't even know the title, just a track number. The flavor of the week is now the flavor of a moment. On one hand the internet has been great for promoting and booking. On the other hand it's not because it has flooded the system with excessive info and mediocrity. Maybe it's coming full circle. I think it was Woody Guthrie who said that the jukebox was the death of live music. Perhaps the internet is the rebirth of live music because people are going to want something real eventually and those that have the chops will rise up.

Do you think performers are not themselves enough now on records or are they just afraid to be?

Maybe they really are themselves. Maybe they have been Auto-tuned since they were babies. Maybe they are the TV shows they have watched their whole lives. Maybe they are a Hollywood writer’s rendition of what they should be, therefore, they are copying what they see as themselves on the TV and taking that to the stage. So that really is who they are as they see themselves in their mind.

Actor John Hawkes described to me his years moving about as a gypsy lifestyle. Would you agree and what influenced you to live more freely than your peers as a musician?

Jack Kerouac influenced me in a huge way... and Henry Miller, EddyJoe Cotten, Woody Guthrie's "Bound for Glory"...DIY Punk Rock...friends like Rymodee and Terry Johnson from This Bike is a Pipe Bomb...Chris Clavin from Plan-it-x records. People like that showed me the way into the possibilities of creating something out of thin air and taking it around the world, doing what you want, finding a way to live freely using your own gumption. The main thing is not to be scared of being an unemployed transient. Don’t be afraid of being broke because "Money comes and goes and rolls and flows through the holes in the pockets of your jeans..." like Bob Dylan says.

Where do you call home these days? What is comforting about not having permanent ties to traditional anchors – mortgage, apartments, jobs, etc?

I call Austin, TX,,, San Francisco, CA, New Orleans, LA, Pensacola, FL, Omaha, NE,,Duluth, MN, Anchorage, AK, Fort Mill, SC, Asheville, NC and Wilmington, NC my homes these days. The most recent place I paid rent for three months this spring was Austin but now I've moved into the Honda Hotel on wheels, a rolling bubble of steal, glass and plastic. It's an efficiency apartment and it only costs $250 a month plus insurance. What's comforting about it is I have this amazing ever changing view from my living room. I find comfort in not knowing what's going to happen next.

What do you hope to leave behind for anyone finds you, listens to you?

An interesting picture.

BEST IN SHOW by Phil Juliano


David Dondero
# Zero with a Bullet
Team Love Records

No one could say David Dondero doesn’t wear a heart on his sleeve, or bears a habit of pointing out what he sees all around him. The singer-songwriter has spent a career of nearly two decades writing and recording about his travels and the people he’s come across. He doesn’t bear the moniker of social commentator or is burdened by the responsibility of doing so – one of the gifts of not being terribly famous. He writes what he knows, paints pictures through words and melody with seemingly little effort, as though songs poured out of his mouth and fingers like a sudden conversation about the day.
# Zero With a Bullet finds Dondero singing songs about people and things you and I know and can relate to, of bosses, money troubles, strippers and good eating. Dondero’s voice is more beautiful, richer now with age. There’s ache in his timbre, sounding perfectly imperfect. He crafts songs with firm command of an energetic acoustic and electric guitar, playing with twinges of folk and country - from the Marshall Tucker Band flavored title track or the crash and boom of “Jesus from 12 to 6”. There’s a bit of tomfoolery on “Don’t Be Eyeballin’ My Po’Boy, Boy” where the guitar playing stumbles up and down and Dondero sings of the Crescent City. On “Job Boss” the music has a stuttered, manic construction – fitting given the story’s tale of a work crew taking the boss hostage. “All These Fishes Swimmin’ Through My Head” is a driving song with smooth vocals and a gospel church feel, a loud and triumphant finish to the album.
Dondero may well be one of many unsung heroes in our American catalog of singer-songwriters. Given his body of work, and especially this new album, it’s probable that the music’s timeless quality will lead to constant rediscovery.

*new album out August 3rd through Team Love Records or on Amazon, iTunes. Released in cd, mp3 and vinyl formats – vinyl comes with cd/mp3 code. Vinyl on Team Love’s site is $13 – a steal given you get a cd/mp3.

-Brian Tucker



Hail the Goer
Roaring Colonel Records

If you want something frothy and cute look elsewhere. We Are Hex’s Hail the Goer is a frantic and scorching follow up to Gloom Gloom. It’s abrasive and boggling in every way, buried in scratchy, end of the world guitar playing and hollow throated wailing and singing. Lead singer Jilly is a crossroads of PJ Harvey and Jim Morrison. That seems weak and lazy to write but Jilly is a vocalist that a listener experiences and witnesses, a memorable and indifferent singer difficult to clarify in a handful of words. We Are Hex are relentless in some of these songs, the result tribal and forceful. Every song seems born from a different mother. From tense opener “Birth of the Mystics” whose Psycho-esque guitar punching drives the song, to album closer “We are the Goer” the band doesn’t let up or consign itself to one through-line musically. “Gold/Silver” is driven by heavy bass lines and guitar notes that spike and echo while “Singer/Tastemaker” is musically nightmarish and gypsy-esque. Jilly seems to choke and grapple with her own vocals here, as if fighting with the music. Hail the Goer is a fantastic album, music that is combustible and hypnotic. Sounding disagreeable and in-your-face unpretentiously really works, a creative blast of dark rock and manic energy.

-Brian Tucker

*Out August 3rd on cd and Vinyl. For fans of Can Can, The Black Angels.

...music video? - 7-inch release

…music video?
I’m Afraid of Everything 7-inch

Knowing …music video? is from Tucson, Arizona has little to do with the feeling that these two tracks on clear vinyl from Fort Lowell Records (also out of Tucson) sound like what a cool breeze across a heated desert night must feel like. I’m Afraid of Everything is perhaps a primer, a proper tease, of where the group is heading after two full length albums. On this 7-inch release songwriter and keyboardist Paul Jenkins and multi-instrumentalist J. Lugo Miller have crafted two airy and serene tracks of music that blend ambiance (by way of squash beats and lilting keys) with immediacy. “feelgooddesperation” represents the latter even though it opens up with gentle piano notes surrounded by phone connection sounds and subtle synth. On it Jenkins displays his soulful abilities, delivered with cool and near-pop delivery. He can coo and strain notes without crossing the line, always maintaining identity and emotion without overdoing it. “I’m Afraid of Everything” is one step beyond chill/electronic music. The group finds their groove here, taking electronic music and giving it more to do than mix and shuffle beats and noise. Jenkins’ vocals float in and out, like a narrator floating above drama. Blending pop melodies and electronic music is nothing new. Making it interesting and enjoyable is something else. …music video? succeed. With this second vinyl release its clear Fort Lowell is sincere about releasing good music in quality packaging. If you’re a vinyl hound this is a solid purchase.

*The vinyl release is limited to 500 copies and is available on iTunes for $1.98. Vinyl comes with download code and poster and can be purchased through Fort Lowell Records or on Amazon for $5.65.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Brad Heller and The Fustics
Beyond This Life

Brad Heller and The Fustics make music that radiates from an earnest, and honest, place in the heart. If Heller isn’t singing songs that echo a good time he’s painting pictures of life many can identify with. The singer’s heart-on-the-sleeve style is wrought with people he’s met during a life of travels and influences ranging from Son Volt to Woody Guthrie or Bruce Springsteen.
Beyond This Life is a mix of friendly rockers for the bar crowd and laments on the common man’s life and struggles – from relationships to the war overseas. Energy levels rise and fall throughout - the title track shares a punk-blues feel to it and “Bloodstained Streets” has a college funk vibe, recalling Dillon Fence with a New Orleans Zydeco feel. “Brothers” is Heller alone with a guitar, spare and brooding. “I’ll Walk with You” is radio-ready, a jumping song with a catchy melody and a fiery saxophone solo. Piano player Mark Schomaker adds another layer to the mix, adding carnival atmosphere to some songs.
Heller has an everyman quality to his vocals – warm and rustic which adds depth to the more intimate songs. Barren and ghostly images are evoked in Heller’s music, like the beautifully brooding “Western Skyline” where he sings “I can almost feel the arid wind choke my lungs” against faint acoustic guitar strumming and harmonica playing. It’s a vivid song, a memorable track born from train rides and Midwest atmosphere. The train imagery recalls explorers during America’s growth spurt, when travel was done on foot and horseback. Much of the songwriting is road inspired and Beyond This Life strongly sounds like Middle America rock. Other times it’s spare and tempered; the whole moving along like revolving energy. Its earthy tenacity shares a kindred spirit with the common man. But for all its up-tempo energy Beyond This Life finds gold in slower songs, those that deliver more with restraint and introspection. If music is about the translation of experience then The Fustics’ new album delivers.

-Brian Tucker


Interview with bassist
Steve Adams
of the band ALO

interview by Brian Tucker

What were those early nineties years like making music as college students at UC-Santa Barbara? Was the music more user friendly, more party-type songs? Did the crux of the band’s sound exist back then?

Making music at UCSB was great. We were young, studying music, living in Isla Vista. We had gigs nearly every weekend, often at porch or driveway parties on Del Playa, the street along the beach cliffs. Being able to play so much surely contributed to our development as musicians, particularly in jamming and learning how to stretch songs out. Our early original music definitely took some influence from the music of the times – Pearl Jam, Black Crowes, Spin Doctors. And collectively we’ve always had a soft spot for oldies and classic rock, so the music of Motown and The Beatles and The Stones were definitely filtering through us as well. And having the party be one of our main platforms for playing kept our sets most of the time pretty upbeat and fun, which could be said to possibly be a core character to what we still produce today. Obviously, over time you grow up a little more and have thoughts about other things, but I think ALO definitely continues to celebrate the fun side of music in our songs and shows.

You worked towards a degree in Ethnomusicology at UCSB. He’s putting his degree to work. Has his choice in academia influenced the band’s direction in any way?

Dan and I both took degrees in Ethnomusicology. And Zach and Dave were also pretty involved in a lot of the classes and ensembles. UCSB had a great department for that, and probably still does, and our studies definitely had an influence on the band. We were all living together back then too, so everything we were individually getting into found its way home in conversations and band practices, etc. I think the biggest thing the Ethnomusicology department did for us was open us up to just a ton of new music and get us thinking about how music and culture relate. I don’t think any of us have really followed the academic study as much since then. In a way, maybe we have become more like possible subjects of the study. We often find ourselves in long conversations analyzing what we do and how we relate to our community and culture. So maybe we’re a little bit subject and a little bit student. I bet Ethnomusicology students of this decade are getting into some pretty fascinating studies about the shrinking world, recycled influences, technology and communication. These are interesting times.

Man of the World was almost entirely recorded live, seemingly rare these days. What was the thinking behind recording live? Was it to leave room for spontaneity in the songs or because the band works so well as a live act?

We definitely wanted to approach this record in a more live way. We wanted the songs to feel like they came from jams. Those spontaneous and inspired moments when playing often produce some of our most treasured bits of music, and that was something we really wanted to tap into and explore.

The album is laid back and jam band friendly without leaning too far towards either. It also musically bears flavors like a large Jelly Belly gift box. Were there too many ideas to fit on one album?

There were certainly a lot of ideas. Our band in general has lots of ideas. We really try our best to fairly sort through all of them, and pick the ones that people are into the most. One great thing in making Man Of The World was that we had Jack in the producer’s seat which really allowed us to let all of our ideas flow and use him to make more direction calls. It was a liberating experience for us. Of course, every once in a while, there were ideas we had that we knew we wanted to pursue, maybe something Jack would’ve done different if it was his own thing, but he did a great job supporting us in those moments as well.

“Gardener’s Grave” sounds like Pink Floyd and Jack Johnson recorded in St. Croix. “Time and Heat” is carnival-esque. With so much variety on the album, are these new songs dying to be played live?

Yes! We haven’t found a good spot in the set for “Gardener’s Grave” yet but I really do love how that track turned out on the record. “Time & Heat” is another we’re still working up and I think will be a great live moment. “I Love Music” has really been feeling good, gets the dance party going, a fun one to stretch out. “Suspended” has had a few good turns in the set, another fun one to just let breathe and go as long as it needs. One thing about the new record is I feel that there is a fun ALO side to it but also a little more of a serious side, songs like “States of Friction” and “Big Appetite”. We didn’t really set out to cover such a range, it’s just sort of what came out. But I think people who give the record a few good listens will appreciate that range and find the little connections between songs that we were discovering and riffing on as we were making it.

In what ways did producer Johnson mix things up from your previous records? In what ways did he help step out of familiar patterns?

Jack was super helpful in many ways. He’d point out spots in our lyrics that he thought could be a better. He helped us develop the story of the songs and the record. He kept things pretty positive in general and inspired us to just have fun with the process. We’d often be jamming through something, trying to figure something out, and he’d come into the room and pick up an instrument and be like, “Oh just keep playing...” and then he’d sneak some cool part into the jam that would open it up even more. He was great at keeping the ideas and flow happening.

You spent a great deal of time in Hawaii making the record. How hard was it to leave and how has it changed how you live life or view it now?

We’d been to Hawaii a few times as a band before making this record. The first time made a real strong impression for sure. It’s an irresistible place. The people are super nice and the landscape is paradise. Warm weather, beautiful beaches. The lifestyle is laid-back and there seems to be a real appreciation for community and nature. It was a little hard for us to be there inside the studio all day knowing what we were surrounded by, but it made every break outside so much better than anywhere else I can imagine. And the mornings and nights were the same. I think we all got a few little moments of exploration in, but for the most part we stayed pretty focused on the record. We knew our time there was limited and we really wanted to walk away with something we all loved.

Brushfire Records seems very much like a family as a label. What’s the atmosphere like at a place that appears so artist-centered?

Brushfire is very family oriented for sure. I feel like it probably trickles down from Jack himself. He’s a pretty family-oriented guy. So maybe he attracts artists, or artists attract him, that are similar in that way. I feel like all the musicians on the label are pretty connected. We’ll do shows together, hang out at festivals, invite each other to jam with each other, etc. It’s a good vibe, and I feel like it gives strength to a little scene of players. We all support each other and help each other however we can.

The band was once called Django. Why the name change to Animal Liberation Orchestra?

Django was the band Dan, Zach and I had back in high school, and for a bit of college. The drummer in that band left half way through college which put us on the path of looking for new drummers every couple years or so it seemed. Animal Liberation Orchestra & The Free Range Horns was the name we took at the end of our college days with our jazz band director behind the drums and helping us arrange parts for a five-piece horn section. It was what we were feeling in the moment, a funk orchestra that encouraged you to come liberate your inner animal, come dance and sing and be free.

The band has morphed over the years, such as adding/losing a horn section. Do you see the band as in constant evolution?

For sure, the band is always in a state of change, slight or great at different times, but always interested in discovering new things.