Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Maestro

When the content genuinely warrants it, repetition can really be a beautiful thing.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

This and That

It's quite unfortunate that I haven't kept a better record of all the shows I've seen throughout the years. I would, however, like to try and do a better job of it in the future. So here's what all I've seen over the past few weeks...

June 11 - Frog Eyes@ The Frequency (Madison, WI)
June 14 - Tony Allen (of Fela Kuti)@ Pritzker Pavilion (Chicago, IL)
June 17 - Megafaun@ High Noon Saloon (Madison, WI)
June 19 - CocoRosie@ Barrymore Theatre (Madison, WI)
June 21 - The Books@ Pritzker Pavilion (Chicago, IL)
June 23 - Sam Amidon @ Mercury Lounge (New York, NY)
June 24 - Holy Ghost, Neon Indian (DJ)@ Le Poisson Rouge (New York, NY)
June 25 - Jonathan Meiburg@ The Whitney Museum (New York, NY)
July 2 - Toro Y Moi, High Places@ The Whitney Museum (New York, NY)
July 2 - Glass Candy, Mike Simonetti (DJ)@ Highline Ballroom (New York, NY)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Spirituals" Interview

I recently conducted an interview with the man behind the Portland-based electronic project, Spirituals. Here's what he had to say:

Full name, age, and hometown?

Tyler Tadlock, 25, born and raised in Pearl, Mississippi, just outside of Jackson.

When did Spirituals start?

About three or four years ago I was playing a lot of improvisational drums with some friends in the south and decided to put a few of those recordings online. At the time I called it Tyler Tadlock & the Spirituals, spirituals just standing for anyone who would have happened to be performing along with me–never with the same configuration of musicians, and sometimes just by myself. That's kind of where the idea of making music on the computer came about. I'd record some free improvisational drum solo and try to ad some weird synth stuff to it in the first take/listen. At the time I was just getting into Four Tet and Manitoba and that sort of stuff.

What instruments do you play and what kinds of equipment do you use?

Drums are my primary instrument when I'm not doing Spirituals stuff. Spirituals was a sort of experiment with producing and composing on the computer so that I could try making music out from behind the drum set. Being a drummer sometimes is limiting when it comes to composing, it not being much of a melodic instrument. I like writing on the computer because I get to visually work out the arrangement. I use Ableton Live mostly, mainly because it is so intuitive. I've never been a tech-head so it's user-friendly nature was perfect for me. I hate getting creatively derailed by having to stop and learn a program. I don't like having another step between my ideas and putting them down. Although, having worked with it for a few years now I'm discovering how much it's capable of. It's a great piece of software.

What role does sampling have in your work?

Sampling makes up a majority of the sounds you hear on the record. I tend to start a song from one sample that catches my ear and either find other samples that compliment it or record some of my own. Then it just sort of evolves into many different things until I'm happy with it. Sometimes a melody idea I have might come first and I'll record that, but a lot of the time it's a sample that gives me ideas.

Does Spirituals plan on performing live anytime soon?

Yes, soon.

Hints of early Manitoba, Four Tet, and even an occasional Battles-type of feel are definitely prevalent in your writing. All of which are extremely dynamic but can be difficult to categorize because of their broad range and constantly evolving sound. You never know what to expect from those kinds of musicians and that makes it hard to have these definitive labels attributed to their brand of electronic music. That said, do you feel that your music can be placed within a specific genre or two? Otherwise, how might you classify Spirituals in five words or less?

I would classify Spirituals as indie-twee-shit-gaze.

No, I try not to think too much about genres in regards to my own stuff. Genres are necessary for communicating a very vague idea of what the music might sound like, but I don't rely on a set description of music. I never really set out to write a minimal techno song or anything like that. I might write a track that sounds more like one genre than other tracks next to it, but I wouldn't pin the whole project down to one sound. I usually just tell people electronic, because I make it on the computer.

What do you hope to achieve with Spirituals? Are there any underlying themes within your music?

I think from the start I wanted Spirituals to focus on different sound textures and how they relate to one another within a composition. I love juxtaposing something like a close-mic studio sounding guitar with sounds from the street. Two things you wouldn't hear together, but somehow they relate in texture. That sort of stuff interests me, and it's a quality that I think is represented in the music.

Tell us a bit more about your record coming out this month. Is this going to be a proper full-length? Will there be a vinyl pressing of it?

The self titled full-length will be coming out on Waaga Records on June 22. Waaga is primarily a digital release label, so there may not be a proper pressed release of this one just yet.

How did you get in touch with Waaga Records?

A friend of a friend of a friend.

So you're a Portland transplant via Jackson, Mississippi. Why'd you leave home and what do you miss most?

I had opportunities here on the west coast and my fiance was here in Portland. Everyone should leave home at some point.

I really miss fried catfish. And boiled peanuts.

What was the music/art scene like there? Anybody you'd like to mention?

The music/art scene in Jackson is small, yet vocal. People get so excited about anything and everything, which is something unique to small cities I think. When not much is happening, what does happen tends to get the attention of everyone. The quality of what goes on in Jackson is up there next to anything here in Portland, although there's a lot more of it here of course. My good friend Johnny Bertram just came out with a record I played drums on. He writes some incredible folk-sounding stuff. Super genuine guy and it shows in his music. He's a big supporter of the local scene.

What's one thing that most people might not know about Jackson, Mississippi?

I don't know if too many people know anything at all about Jackson, Mississippi.

Prior to Spirituals, did you have any serious collaborations and/or solo efforts?

I've always been involved as a drummer with other bands. I played a lot with some friends in Jackson. I used to write music with a good friend Jonathan Scarborough, who currently is pursuing his solo stuff. Also played a lot of free improvisational music with William Thompson and Chris Alford who are currently in New Orleans.

What inspires you outside of music?

Visual art is a big interest of mine. I was doing a lot of mixed media painting in college and still do when I have the time. Another side of that is graphic design, which is my day job. Aesthetics of all sorts have always inspired me. Seeing something that could be turned into or considered art, when it's not necessarily designated as such, is where I tend to draw a lot of inspiration. Those ideas also bleed over into the music I think. It's that kind of interest in turning old things into new things that got me into sampling.

Are there any current trends in music that you just don't understand or can't get into?

I'm not really into a lot of stuff that boasts about shitty production quality. There have been several reverb-ish, effect-heavy bands lately that tend to overdo the effects so much it's distracting to the music. I can see what people like about it though. Sometimes it's an interesting sound, but it's easy to pick out those doing it simply because it's what's getting hot right now.

Oh yea, and autotune should have never been invented.

Which trends do you feel are a bit more justified?

I think it's incredibly easy nowadays to get a hold of new music and/or to make it yourself. Because of that, all of these bedroom recording artists are popping up everywhere and it's fantastic. I don't know if I'd call it a trend, necessarily, but there are more folks performing in each others houses it seems than at clubs and bars. It's like people go for the music and not for the drinks. The whole self-recording thing also can encourage a lot of cool sounds created by folks who may or may not have made them intentionally.

What are five records you've been listening to lately?

Soft cat - Wildspace (label mate Neil Sanzgiri writes some beautiful stuff)
Happy Apple - Happy Apple Back On Top
Talib Kweli and Hi Tek - Revolutions Per Minute
Clutchy Hopkins - The Story Teller
Floating Points - Love Me Like This/Shangrila

What does the rest of 2010 have in store for you, regarding Spirituals and otherwise?

At the moment I'm working on getting a live set together for Spirituals, and will start playing some shows soon. Also I'm working on a project with my fiance, Shelby Sifers, called Peacock Dreams. We hope to crank out a record by the end of the year.

Thanks, Tyler and best of luck with the upcoming record and all of your other future projects. For samples from it, help yourself to the mp3s below:

Spirituals - Wanderings
Spirituals - City With Soul

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Here They Come

LA's Local Natives released their debut record "Gorilla Manor" stateside today (it's been out for a few months in the UK) for those of you into Neil Young and that new wave of Americana-infused indie rock that has become so visible over the past few years. Highlights from their full-length include the perfectly written opening track, "Wide Eyes," with it's melodic guitars and captivating hooks that resemble those of a more reverb-heavy The National, rhythmic "Sun Hands", the beautiful "Cards and Quarters", a cover of the Talking Heads' "Warning Sign", and the string-filled ballad, "Who Knows Who Cares." Actually, wait, the whole record is really good. I hear many of the big-hype, "it" bands of the last few years echoed in Gorilla Manor and yet Local Natives still somehow manage to fill a void in that all too familiar world of airwave-friendly rock. For every bit of Grizzly Bear in Gorilla Manor, there's equal parts TV On The Radio and Fleet Foxes. Critics might eat them up for having such similarities to their predecessors but the Local Natives' brand is just too well executed throughout their debut for it to be held against them. Currently the band is in the middle of a European tour which will then be followed by a week in Austin where they're sure to win over plenty of SXSW-goers just before they play Coachella in April to thousands of sunburnt parents, their rebellious teenage children, and every other Southern Californian that's ever bought a Jay-Z cd.

Tucsonans ought to check them out a couple days after they play Coachella, at Solar Culture on April 20th, which also just happens to be the same day that the new Caribou record comes out. If interested in purchasing the Local Natives record, buy it from their website or your local record store. Or download a lot of it illegally.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Charles Spearin

Charles Spearin - The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project | MySpace Music Videos

I've been meaning to post this for months now but maybe it's better that I've waited seeing as one of my many new years resolutions is to be happier. Hope some of you enjoy this as much as I do.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

golden reverb

Waking up to Beach House's "Norway," a track off of their upcoming record, is not such a bad feeling. Listen to it on their myspace page here.

Oh, and the Portland Cello Project is playing at Plush tonight with Thao and The Get Down Stay Down and David Schultz. The Generationals play at Club Congress tomorrow night with Monster Pussy and Neon Indian will also be playing a show at Congress on Saturday night. So there's that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

R.I.P. Jerry Fuchs

Sadly, one of my favorite musicians whom I can recall having seen play and had the pleasure of meeting, passed away this last weekend. The same Jerry Fuchs that I wrote about a few months back and then saw play at Club Congress in October with his band, Maserati, was involved in an elevator accident in Brooklyn late Saturday night. He died shortly after being taken to the hospital that morning. Jerry was 34 years old and a veteran of the music industry, perhaps best known as the drummer of !!!, Maserati, the Juan MacLean, and Turing Machine, while also collaborating with Holy Ghost!, LCD Soundsystem, and others.

Death always seems premature, especially when someone has so much going for them. In the three times that I saw Maserati play and a rather vague recollection of seeing a Juan MacLean show prior to those, I can honestly say that Jerry was truly the greatest, if not the most inspiring, drummer I've ever seen perform. Never have I been so infatuated with a band's percussion to the extent as I have when watching a Maserati show. Growing up, we all have heroes, idols, mentors, and favorite players. Jerry was like a favorite player of mine and I have a feeling that I'm not alone in that.

It's not everyday that you meet somebody like Jerry Fuchs. Though our conversation was limited only to a little over half an hour or so when we spoke after Maserati's set in Tucson last month, he immediately struck me as someone who was extremely kind, knowledgeable, passionate, and above all, down-to-earth. Under most circumstances it would be strange to refer to such an acquaintance as a friend of yours but after having the kind of exchange I had with Jerry, I'm not sure if I could appropriately refer to him as anything other than that. He was just that kind of guy. Thanks for the memories, buddy.

Maserati - Live at the Middle East 2 from Scott Wessen on Vimeo.

New York Times article on Fuchs' death
Rolling Stone article on Fuchs' death
Village Voice article on Fuchs published in '07

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Warpaint - Stars from Adam Harding on Vimeo.

Finally some Los Angelites doing something different AND doing it right! -- (yeah, all coming from a Los Angeles native, haha) -- Hate to be so critical but after the past year of the genre, that whole Southern Californian, noise-pop, surf-rock thing is really starting to wear on me. I'd been hoping that the region had more to offer than No Age, Wavvves, Abe Vigoda, Mika Miko and that neverending slew of bands and well, surprise, surprise, apparently they do. And it's not electro either. Don't get me wrong: each of the aforementioned bands seem like great people and all, especially the No Age guys, but it can get tiring seeing one sound and one small music scene dominate such a large and what-should-be much more diverse landscape.

Upon hearing the three young girls from L.A. that comprise Warpaint, it's apparent that their sound doesn't quite fit into that scene, at least not categorically speaking. At times they produce an airy, and ultra-reverby, Beach House-esque feel, most notably on "Billie Holliday" off of their recently released "Exquisite Corpse." On the album-opener, "Stars", however, they establish a more immediate and darker, Bat for Lashes or even Des Ark meets a sort-of early Sigur Ros shoegaze theme but without leaning too much towards either end of that whole spectrum. The majority of their debut EP is overwhelmingly moody and though we rarely ever see them produce too much buoyancy, the energetic "Krimson" is a discernable exception and proves that the girls are also cabaple of breaking out of their somber, dream-like state when the occasion presents itself. Another reviewer noted the possibility of them "usurping Chan Marshall's throne" at some point down the road and to be completely honest, I don't think it's really such a long shot unless of course they find themselves inclined to a remarkably altered sound from what is heard on "Exquisite Corpse," and damn, is it exquisite. Anyhow, they play in Tucson at the always great Solar Culture this Sunday, November 1st. Those of you in town should go.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

motion screen pictures

inspiring videos as of late:

...shot by Heath Ledger just before he died. REALLY handing it to the bastards that make up the whaling industry

Beni "Maximus"


thanks for this one, tyler.

Teengirl Fantasy "Portofino"

Bibio "the making of 'Sugarette'"

The making of Sugarette

Sunday, August 16, 2009

play it loud, play it so, so loud.

I've been meaning to write about my adventures at the Pitchfork Festival last month for a while now but think I might prolong writing about it until my next post since it's two in the morning already and I could probably write a short novel on the weekend. Great. Glad I did that earlier when it was that much fresher in my mind and actually somewhat relevant.

SO, what's good? For starters, this whole thing that Mr. Bon Iver has going on with fellow Wisconsinites, Collections of Colonies of Bees, in their latest joint effort known as Volcano Choir. Serious business for some soft-spoken Midwestern folks. On their own, both groups are some of the best around at what they do; it's just unfair how good they are when combined. Volcano Choir's " Island, IS " will no doubt be getting more than it's fair share of rotation in my living room for many, many weeks to come. It's music like this that helps me breathe better. Their full-length record comes out next month on Jagjaguwar records. One of the better records of '09? I hope.

On another note, I'd like to thank Tucson for cheating us out of a proper monsoon season this year. I think we got a total of one week of rain. Maybe two. So, um, is summer almost over? Will fall come early this year? Will there be a fall? Whatever the case, less heat and the end of summer typically translates to more shows. Shows such as...

-August 24: Woods, Dungen @ The Rhythm Room (Phoenix)
-August 27: Death Vessel, Fruit Bats, Golden Boots @ Plush
-September 6: Calexico @ Club Congress
-September 22: Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks @ Plush
-September 24: Telefon Tel Aviv @ The Rhythm Room (Phoenix)
-September 28: Bon Iver, Megafaun @ The Rialto Theatre
-September 29: Asobi Seksu @ Plush
-September 30: !!! @ Club Congress
-October 6: A Hawk and A Hacksaw @ Solar Culture
-October 9: These Arms Are Snakes @ Plush
-October 14: Mono, Maserati @ Club Congress
-October 24: Why? @ Club Congress
-October 31: Le Loup @ Plush

and many others I'm surely forgetting. Not bad for little Tucson, Arizona. Wow, the week of September 22nd - 30th should be a great one. Sleep time.