Friday, October 17, 2014

It's Psychedelic Baby Magazine issue #1 review on Something Else Reviews

Something Else Reviews wrote a very positive review of our first issue. We are super happy! Thank you! 
"Flooded with enthusiasm, knowledge, and relentless affection for the music it lauds, It’s Psychedelic Baby — which is written in English — promises moments of pleasure. Having produced an ace debut issue, let’s hope more are in the works!"
- Something Else Reviews 
Order your copy here!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hot Knives - Hot Knives (2014) review

Hot Knives "Hot Knives"  (Got Kinda Lost Records {Limited Edition Bonus Pack}, 2014)

   Got Kinda Lost Records recently released a very well crafted release full of details and with an incredible liner notes about a less known folk-rock / power pop combo from San Francisco. In their time they only released two singles, but some time ago a friend label (Grown Up Wrong! Records) of aforementioned Got Kinda Lost Records found and prepared a CD release of Hot Knives' complete recorded works, which was discovered through an interview of one of their members.

   Hot Knives were a bit too late to catch original hippie train. Formation took place in San Francisco around 1972. Two singles were pressed, leaving a whole lot of material behind, buried for years to come. Their sound was influenced by early folk groups and later by lysergic West coast bands like Moby Grape. The band consists of co-vocalists Michael and Debra Houpt - brother and sister originally coming from New Town, Pennsylvania, where they were influenced by folk groups like Peter, Paul & Mary and others.
   In 1969 duo moved to San Francisco, where Houpt first came in contact with "Flamin' Groovies" and when '70s arrived Tim Lynch (guitar/vocals) and Danny Mihm (drums) of "Flamin Groovies" joined Houpt brother & sister and with addition of incredible bass player, Ed Wilson the band was formed and material started popping out, but only two singles were originally released, which are both included here. What we have on this compilation is a whole bunch of pretty intense material, which is mostly credited to Michael Houpt. People would say this is just another band, that were too late to be part of original "West coast sound" and are probably quite mediocre, but that's far from the truth.
   Hot Knives had members, whose influences and experiences varied and the result were Moby Grape/Jefferson Airplane inspired band with quite strange guitar work and absolutely crazy drumming, over the top there are vocals, which are perhaps the most prominent like Lynch once stated. I would say, there is something more to this songs, which I really can't describe with words. It's like major '60s characterized sound spiced with '70s and at times it also resembles to another lost psychedelic classic - Inside The Shadow by Anonymous. Got Kinda Lost Records also prepared a special limited edition vinyl bonus pack, which includes three 1.5" custom-made buttons in custom-packaging, and professionally-produced reproductions of original promo photos and flyers. I sometimes wonder when there will be a point where quality lost material won't see the light. That day might come, but not with Hot Knives release, not even close. I'm positively impressed by the strong material and have to give good points to Jeremy Cargill for his devotion and professional work on this vinyl release. Things like this keep us music freaks busy.

Review made by Klemen Breznikar/2014
© Copyright

The Roaring 420s interview

The Roaring 420s are one of those bands you will listen and re-check the recording date. Album is straight from the '67 and has everything we love about early psychedelic rock. Band is mixing surf rock with psychedelia and the result is wonderful release that came out a few months ago on Stoned Karma Records titled What Is Psych? They truly nailed it. 60s, summer, California, sitar and girls, that like to party!

How was the band formed?

Martin Zerrenner (bass) and I have known each other for a long time but it was in 2010 that he came up with the idea of forming a band together. I think this was right after we met Lulu (drums). I guess, if it wasn’t for her we would have probably ended up in an experimental poetry project or something because this is what we have been doing at that time. We did a lot of poetry shows together, sometimes arty stuff, exhibitions, happenings. But when Lulu said she wanted a rock’n’roll band, it was cool as well, it’s even better. Later Timo Eilert joined on guitar and Albrecht Schumann played keys but only for a short time. Timo has left the group last year and moved back to Hannover and Berk Gündogdu joined on guitar and keyboard. Lately, Stefan Koutzev plays rhythm guitar and Berk takes care of the keys.

© Doreen Siegmund

Were you in any other bands before?

We jumped on the bandwagon long time ago. Martin had a group called XistY back in his hometown which he ended up playing in for 15 years. I have another psychedelic rock’n’roll band called The Opium Theatre which I’m playing in for ten years now. And Lulu used to drum in a folk rock duo called Willa Mae. Berk and Stefan have also been working on other projects before.

Is there a certain creed behind the band?

I’d say there is but it’s hard to nail it. Of course we share a set of beliefs and a vision of the band in the way we feel obliged to it. Everyone wants to play shows, put out albums, create stuff that feels good. We also hang out together a lot, go to the same parties, get fucked up, it’s like a little family. We dig the same bands, same style of movies, books. After a while you’ll find out that a good friendship can be way more worth than playing skills.

How do you approach song writing? Can you please share a few words about making your album, that would be great!

It’s actually a very classic approach of sitting down and working things out. Sometimes there’s a jam that inspires a song, sometimes I come up with the lyrics and then try to put it into shape. Sometimes drugs can be helpful, sometimes not. I usually record everything and listen to it over and over again to see how things work together. When we’ve recorded “What is Psych?” we used our rehearsal room instead of a studio so that we were able to work day and night. Most of the arrangements have been created in the process. When the whole place was shut down and we had to move out, I took all the equipment to my apartment and finished the guitar tracks there.

How would you describe the local music scene where you’re currently located?

Vivid. Dresden is a good place for music of all kinds, there are so many artists around. Psychedelic and stoner rock is a thing here but electronic music is still huge as is hip hop. Some friends of ours run a string of psych parties which also featured bands like X-Ray Harpoons, Magnificent Brotherhood etc. I guess Dresden has a thing going on with rock music more than many other cities.

You recently released a split with Mind Flowers

Yes! They came up with the idea of releasing a 7” split on Levitation Records as they were putting out a bunch of singles at that time. We met them in April when we’ve been to Copenhagen and they took us to Christiania and showed us the mind flowers there. They’re pretty cool guys and I’m really looking forward to their forthcoming album.

You are probably very excited about the upcoming tour? Where all are you going?

It’s gonna be a looong trip this time. After a couple of shows in Germany we’re going to head out to Belgium, then France, Switzerland and Italy, then hop on a boat to Greece and from there back to Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia and Czech Republic. All in all it’s 34 shows. I’m glad The Blank Tapes are coming with us because they’re a cool band and people need to know. And it’s going to be a nice travel party of seven people packed in this nutshell of a bus. I bet after a week we’re going to smell like that but I read in a magazine that it’s good for your skin.

In your dreams, who are you on tour with?

The Roaring 420s, we’re travelling in one of these ridiculous sleeper busses and smoking cigars that we light up with the money we make at the shows. We’re wearing insanely expensive Versace clothing with parts ripped off to make it look ragged. We’d also have monkeys and cats for entertainment and a fat lawyer with slicked-back hair who’s driving. Maybe my mother would be there, too, because, y’know, it’s a dream…

To talk about influences would be too obvious, but maybe you can tell us some less known albums you like?

The Strange Boys with “… and Girls Club” is one of my favorites though you can basically take every album. We’ve played a beautiful show with them in 2012 but unfortunately they disbanded quite shortly thereafter. Ryan Sambol is still around making music and definitely worth checking out. Like is Tim Presley aka White Fence: he lately put out a new album called “For The Recently Found Innocent” which is also great. Then there are a lot of underrated gems from the 60s like Kaleidoscope’s “Side Trips”, the Dave-Axelrod-produced “Release of An Oath” that came out under the Electric Prunes moniker, Ultimate Spinach’s self-titled debut, the collected works of Italian composer Piero Umiliani (“Piero’s Pleasure”) etc etc…

Your album is released on vinyl and in these days when the vinyl is coming back very fast. What's your opinion about this format and do you collect records?

I think it’s the opposite trend to these huge media libraries people used to overload their hard drives with when they discovered torrent. Vinyl forces you to choose what you hear and to consciously listen to it. I think, this is because it’s not really a practical format. You can only listen to it at home and you have to get up after every five or six songs to flip the thing around. But it’s the best-looking medium of all. You wouldn’t eat pulp that tastes like steak when you can have a real looking steak even if it’s made out of pulp.

Thanks for taking your time. See you on tour. Last words are yours.

Come to the shows, support your local record store and the music scene and if someone says something isn’t good for the kids, then it’s probably awesome.

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2014
© Copyright

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Nallo interview with Andrew Ranallo, Blake Pederson, Jac Cornelius and Patrick McCabe

There are bands that set out to try and sound retro, and there are bands where that just naturally happens.  Call them old souls, call them eclectic.  Call them what you will, but it comes seemingly effortlessly to some bands.  It’s easy to just crank the volume up, get a little fuzzy and play some jangly derivative mod crap.  It’s an entirely other thing to evoke a bygone era of a time when production was still in its infancy and there was a sense of exploration and discovery at every turn that seemed to bleed into the music, though.  Like an acid spike in the town well, the echo and reverberation of Nallo tickle and tease your brain, as the sounds permeate into your mind and cast a hazy cloaking fog over the contents.  Contemplative tempos flow along into frenzied walls of maddening distortion of echo and fuzz, forcing the listener into fits of alien limb syndrome like toe-tapping and spasmodic slow-motion head-banging.  There’s something warm and inviting about Nallo’s sound, something timeless that will virtually ensure that they’re never fully appreciated during their own time.  Nallo makes the kind of music people are going to dig out of a record store bin in fifteen years and wonder how the hell they’ve never heard of it before.  It’s the kind of music that’s obviously created from no other place than a basic need for self expression and creation, the kind of music that will leave a lasting impact on its listeners.  Nallo’s music comes from the gut, whether they’re getting a little rowdy adding some frolicking almost country-esque melodies to a contemporary psychedelic pallet, droning along in a world summoned from the immense soundscapes that they’re able to conjure at the flick of a wrist, or crooning in a sickly sweet twisted Syd Barret induced ballad of echo and reverberation.  They’ve self-released one full-length album, a cassingle and an amazing lathe-cut 7-inch at this point, and they’re in the studio hard at work on their second album as I write this.  While they were taking a break from shows to record a little, they graciously took time to fill all you lucky Psychedelic Baby readers in on the details of what’s happened thus far with Nallo, and give you all an idea of where they want to be headed from here.  Do yourself a favor, though, and even if you don’t read this piece, click the link, listen to some music and spread the gospel of Nallo ‘cause the world needs more music like this…

Listen while you read:

What’s the lineup in Nallo at this point?  Have you all gone through any lineup changes since you started or is this the original lineup?

Guitar/Vocals: Andrew Ranallo
Bass: Blake Pederson
Lead guitar/pedal steel: Jac Cornelius
Percussion: Patrick McCabe

Andrew:  Nallo began as a solo project of mine, but grew to a two-piece with a previous multi-instrumentalist, then a three piece, and then a four-piece.  Jac replaced our former guitarist Ronnie Lee in the winter of 2013.

Are any of you involved with any other active bands at this point or do you have any other side projects going on?  Have you released any music with anyone else in the past?  If so, can you tell us a bit about that?

Andrew:  We all have a pocket full of other projects going on at any given time.  Pat has a punk/hardcore background and plays with a local outfit called No Skin right now.  Jac has a country background and plays with a few alt-country bands in town.

How old are you and where are you originally from?

We’re all in our twenties and all from the Midwest.

What was the local music scene like where you grew up?  Did you see a lot of shows or get very involved in that scene?  Do you fee like it played a large role in shaping your musical tastes or the way that you perform at this point?

Andrew:  I felt like the music scene was very active where I grew up and it definitely exposed me to the idea of creative music.

Blake:  I did a lot of basement jamming with friends.

Jac:  Me too, yeah.

Pat:  It’s weird.  All I did was play with a couple of my best friends; pop punk, in a basement in St. Paul, with no outside influence from the local community.

What about your home when you were growing up?  Were either of your parents or any of your close relatives musicians or maybe just extremely interested or involved in music?

Jac:  My mom was a pianist who wanted me to play piano.  I wanted to play guitar instead, so I had to teach myself.

Andrew:  I have a musical family too, but not many active performers.  I have a few uncles in folk bands from years ago.

Blake:  My mom was a choir singer and was always playing The Sound of Music soundtrack at full volume, every morning.  So I know every word of that.  My dad was a huge fan of classic rock and exposed me to that at an early age.

Pat:  My father was directly involved in the Twin Cities music scene as a sound and lighting engineer.  I saw many performances around town at a very young age.  My dad also played guitar, but I never saw him when I was young.

What do you consider your first real exposure to music to be?

Andrew:  I think it was my family.  My mom loved to sing.  I know lots of weird old songs from her.

Jac:  I had an uncle buy me my first real guitar and started playing blues with him.

Blake:  Watching Revenge Of The Nerds, and getting really attached to “Burning Down the House” by the Talking Heads.

Pat:  When I was four years old, I was exposed to the song “One” by Metallica and I was floored by the bridge section of the song.  That’s what got me interested.

If you were to pick a single moment that changed everything for you and seemed to open your eyes to the infinite possibilities that music presents, what would it be?

Jac:  Watching Stop Making Sense.

Blake and Andrew:  Yeah!

Pat:  I’ve never seen that.

Jac:  I’m excited for you.

When did you decide to start writing and performing your own music and what brought that decision about for you?

Andrew:  I started writing when I was about twelve, silly folk songs.  I didn’t start taking it seriously until I was in my twenties, but I wrote dozens of songs starting very young.

Jac:  I was fifteen, my brother was a drummer, I was a guitarist.  We started playing music at our parents’ house and wrote and recorded two albums together.

Blake:  I was probably fifteen or sixteen too.  Just for fun, something to do with friends.

Pat:  Maybe thirteen or fourteen, some buddies and I decided to start a band.  It was called Aliens Exist, or Alien Sexist; a Blink-182 reference.

What was your first instrument?  When and how did you get that?

Andrew:  My first instrument was an acoustic guitar, it was my brother’s; a Yamaha.  Still sounds really good.

Blake:  A snare drum I got for school band.

Pat:  I begged my grandmother for a drum kit when I was thirteen, and she bought it for me for my birthday.

Jac:  My uncle gave me my first guitar.  It was almost a toy, but I still learned how to play my favorite songs from the radio on it.

How did the members of Nallo originally meet and when would that have been?

Andrew:  We all met playing music around the scene here.

When and what led to the formation of Nallo?

Andrew:  Nallo started as a solo project, folk music.  I played my own songs with various musicians for about six years.  In 2010 I met Ronnie Lee, our former guitarist and one of the hardest working musicians in Minneapolis, and he convinced me to psych it up, try an electric guitar and we started a two-piece where I’d sing and play rhythm and Ronnie would play a few drums, some guitar, and throw his voice through a bunch of vocal processors.  Blake eventually joined us on bass.  At the time, Pat was living in Arizona, but I told him if he ever came back to Minnesota, he’d have a place to play drums.  Once he moved back in the winter of 2011, he joined us on drums.  Ronnie eventually left to work on other projects and Jac started jamming with us this past winter.  The new lineup is working really well and we’re having a lot of fun.

I’ve done some thinking about the name and I just can’t put my finger on it. I know I’ve heard the term Nallo before, but outside of a reference to New Orleans I just can’t figure it out.  Then again, I’ve never been a clever man, ha-ha!  What does the name mean or refer to?  Who came up with it and how did you all go about choosing it?  Were there any close seconds that you almost went with you can remember at this point?

Andrew:  This is going to be disappointing, but the name Nallo is an old nickname of mine.  That said, we stuck with it because it’s hard to pin down and doesn’t really sound like anything else.  Also, someone once said it sounds like a Euro chocolate company, which is alright.

Where’s Nallo located at these days?

Andrew:  South Minneapolis.

What’s the local music scene like where you’re at?

Blake:  It’s cool, very diverse.

Jac:  Eclectic is a good word.  Everyone has their niche.  Minneapolis has something for everyone; very healthy.

Blake:  Yep. Healthy, quality bands in every genre.

Andrew:  Even butt rock.

Do you feel very involved in the local scene where you’re at?  Do you book or attend a lot of local shows or anything?

Andrew:  Yes. Yes, all the time.  It’s really all we do.

Has the local scene played an integral role in the sound, history or evolution of Nallo, or do you all think you would be doing that you’re doing and sound basically like you do regardless of your geographic location and stuff?

Andrew:  We’re all here.  So, it couldn’t really be anywhere else.

Jac:  There are a lot of good bands here, so it makes us work harder at what we do.

Are you involved in recording or releasing any music at all?  If you are, can you talk about that here for us briefly?

Andrew:  We’re currently working on a full-length release for November.  It’ll be a quick turnaround.  We’re headed into the studio tomorrow to start tracking and have done three rounds of demos.  We’re recording it with Ali Jafaar of Ecstattic Studio here in Minneapolis.

Who are some of your major musical influences?  You have a really interesting configuration of sounds going on in your music.  What about influences on the band as a whole rather than just individually?

Andrew:  I love all kinds of music, but I grew up on pop music, so that’s always there.  I was also formerly a folk musician, so I think that still bleeds into how I write songs.

Blake:  We all love Neil Young, Kraut Rock, and Deerhoof.

Pat:  Yeah, I’m on the same page, but my drumming influences are heavy rock.

Jac:  I started playing pedal steel so I could play 70’s country, but I think I’ve found a space for it in this project.

What’s the songwriting process for Nallo like?  Is there someone that usually comes to the rest of the band with a riff or more finished idea for a song to fine tune with the rest of your?  Or, do you all tackle that sort of stuff more as a unit kicking ideas back and forth when you get together until you come across something that you’re interested in working on and refining?

Andrew:  I usually have a skeleton of a song ready to show the band, but the songs change a lot from that point to the point where we’re playing them live.

What’s recording like for Nallo?  I’m a musician myself and I think that most of us can appreciate all the time and effort that goes into recording when you’re holding that finished product in your hands.  Getting to that point though, getting everything recorded and especially sounding the way that you want it to as a band can be extremely difficult to say the least.  What’s it like for Nallo?

Andrew:  Recording is hard.

Pat:  You have to plot it out, have a plan.

Jac:  It’s a slippery slope.  You have to pick the point where you’re going to stop the recording process and the search for perfection.  You can tweak little things forever and never release a record!

Andrew:  I agree with that, and I think moving on is better for the band as well, keeps us moving toward new songs by letting songs go.

Do you all like to take a more DIY approach to recording where you handle most of the aspects of that on your own so you don’t have to work with or compromise on anything with anyone else?  Or do you all like to head into the studio and let someone else man that side of stuff so that you concentrate more on the songs and your performance?

Andrew:  Up until now, we’ve been almost completely DIY.  For this new album, we’re excited to work with someone who really knows how to run a board.  DIY is great, and very fun, and we will probably do more of it.  But that being said, working with a pro you trust is great because you can focus on your playing and leave the tech-side to them.  Ali is a close and trusted friend, so I have no worries about compromising or anything like that.

Is there a lot of time and effort that goes into figuring out every single part of a song and setting it in stone before you head in to record a song, or do you hit the record button with a basic skeletal idea of what a song’s going to sound like in your head, while allowing for some levels of change and variation during the recording process?

Andrew:  We rehearse a lot.  Our songs are pretty well cooked by the time we record.

Jac:  Sometimes, recordings capture a unique moment, but most of the time you need to be well prepared to end up with the end result you want.

Do psychoactive or hallucinogenic drugs play a large role in the songwriting, recording or performance processes for Nallo?  People have been harnessing the mind altering states that those substances create for thousands of years and channeling them into art and I’m always extremely curious about its usage and application to the art that I personally enjoy.

Jac:  They’ve informed my world view, but I don’t think they have changed how I play music.

Andrew:  Agreed.

Let’s talk a little bit about your back catalog for a minute.  Now I know you released the Submarines single on cassette a year later, but as early as 2010 there were CDs that you were giving away to people.  I saw a picture of a couple of them and they were numbered out of twenty five copies.  What was on those “Giveaway CDs”?  Can you tell us a little bit about the recording of the material for that?  Was that material ever available outside of those CDs, digitally or anything?  Was that indeed limited to twenty five copies or were there more of those made?

Andrew:  The giveaway CDs were from my solo days, and there were 25 handpainted copies made in 2008.  As a band, you have our discography correct: 2011, Submarines Cassingle; 2012: Mechano and the Trees; 2013: Drugs for the Kids 7”.

As I mentioned, you all released the Submarines cassingle in 2011 on Cat People Records.  Was the recording of the two songs for Submarines very different than the earlier session(s)?  Who recorded that material and when would that have been?  Where was that recorded at?  What kind of equipment was used?  Is that limited to any certain amount of copies?

Andrew: The Cassingle was a DIY effort led by Mr. Ronnie Lee.  We recorded on his Macbook with GarageBand, in his basement in Northeast Minneapolis. Just a couple microphones, took two hours to record.  He did mixing, etcetera, after that; turned out really well.

2012 saw the birth of your first full-length album, Mechano And The Trees, which was self-released on both CD and cassette.  Was that a fun, pleasurable experience for you all recording?  When and where was Mechano And The Trees recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used this time around?

Andrew:  Mechano And The Trees was another DIY effort.  I’ve actually recorded that album three times.  Once alone, once as a three-piece with Ronnie and Blake, and finally the version you hear online with the four-piece, before Jac joined.  We recorded it in our basement in South Minneapolis.  As is always the case, DIY recording is a real challenge.  It was, of course, pleasurable to finally have the songs out there, but the process itself was challenging.

Blake:  It was taxing.  I think that’s the reason why we’re most excited to work with Ali this time around.

Last year you all dropped the sick Drug for the Kids lathe-cut 7” single which was limited to only 50 copies and featured two brand-new tracks from you all.  Were those tracks written or recorded specifically for that single?  If so, can you tell us a little bit about the recording of “All Summer” and “Kin”? 

Andrew: Yes, those songs were one-offs for that single and we wanted it to mark a shift in our sound.  We recorded those at a house in the country in far northern Wisconsin over a few days of isolation.

When I talked to you all you mentioned that you were heading out to record for an upcoming full-length.  How’s that going at this point?  Have you guys wrapped recording or are you still working on that?  Is there any projected release date or title for that stuff at this point?

Andrew: We’re starting tracking tomorrow.  Very excited, aiming for November eleventh release.  As I said, it’ll be a quick turnaround.

Did you all try anything radically new or different when it came to the songwriting or recording of the material for the upcoming full-length?  What can our readers expect from the new album when it does drop?

Andrew:  The biggest difference is Jac.  His work on guitar and the pedal steel adds a whole new feel to the tunes.  I’d say the songs are a little more mature, if I can say that?

Pat:  The way we rehearsed and assembled these songs was more of a group effort than before, section by section.

Jac:  I think we’re focused more on textures than what I’ve heard of the past material.
Blake:  We’ll be using the studio more extensively this time around.  We’re more focused on getting a particular sound.

Where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up copies of your stuff from?

With the insane international shipping rates that just seem to keep going up and up, I try and provide our readers with as many possible options for picking up stuff as I can.  Where’s the best place for our international and overseas readers to score your stuff?

Andrew:  Unfortunately, we don’t’ have international distribution, but we’re happy to work out shipping to anyone, anywhere.  Go to our Bandcamp page and get in touch.

Are there any major plans or goals that you’re looking to accomplish in the rest of 2014 or 2015?

Andrew:  First the album, that’s most important.  After that, we’re headed to CMJ in New York City for a week to play a few shows in and around Brooklyn between October 20th and 27th.  But, I’d love to see us tour in 2015.  We’re also planning another release for the winter/spring.

Do you all spend a lot of time out on the road touring or anything?  Do you like being out on the road?  What’s life like on tour for Nallo?

Andrew:  We’ve done almost no touring.  We’ve played around the Midwest, but I’d really love to see us get out to other cities this year.

Do you remember what the first song that Nallo ever played live was?  When and where was that?

Andrew:  So long ago.  No idea.  I know it was probably on an acoustic guitar and probably played sitting down.

Who are some of your personal favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to play with over the past few years?

Andrew:  Minneapolis is full of amazing bands and brilliant people to play with, lots of great people always shifting what they do in new and amazing ways.

Pat:  Lots of bands that I look up to in my scene, including Buildings, Gay Witch Abortion, In Defence, and Polica, Ben Ivascu is a drummer I really look up to, along with his solo project.

Jac:  One of my favorite memories from a previous band was opening for Trampled by Turtles sold-out CD release show.  Opening for Bloodshot Records artists Wayne “The Train” Hancock and Lydia Loveless was a dream come true.

Do you all give a lot of thought to the visual aspects that represent the band to a large extent, stuff like flyers, posters, shirt designs, album covers and that kind of thing?  Is there any kind of meaning or message that you’re trying to convey with your artwork?  Do you have anyone that you usually turn to in your times of need when it comes to that kind of thing?

Andrew:  I think having imagery that matches your music is important.  It’s like fashion.  Not too much thought, but enough to make it feel right.  We’ve worked with local artist Alex Pederson quite a bit.  He designed and painted the cover for Mechano and the Trees and has done a few other things for us.

With all of the various methods of release that are available to musicians today I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the various mediums that they do.  Do you have a preferred medium of release for your own music?  What about when you’re listening to or purchasing music?  If you do have a preference, can you tell us what it is and a little bit about why?

Andrew:  I’m still attached to releasing something physical.  Digital is the way everything is going, but vinyl, or cassettes, are still much more preferable to me for both releasing and consuming music.  I like something to look at in the real world.

Jac:  Also, for shows, we need something to sell.  Digital isn’t as enticing.

Do you have a music collection at all?  If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Andrew:  We all have gigantic music collections.  Lots of variety.

I grew up around my dad’s enormous collection of music and he always really encouraged me to listen to anything that interested me.  More importantly though, he would take me around and buy me random stuff and I remember I would rush home, kick back with a set of headphones, read the liner notes, stare at the cover art and let the whole thing just carry me off on this trip.  Having something physical to hold and experience always made for a more complete listening experience for me, do you have any such connection with physically released music?

Andrew:  Certainly.  No doubt.

Like it or not, digital music is here in a big way.  The interesting thing to me though, is that digital music’s just the tip of the iceberg.  When you combine it with the internet, that’s when you have something really interesting on your hands.  Together they’ve exposed people to the literal world of music that they’re surrounded with, allowed for an unparalleled level of communication between bands and their fans and eradicated geographic boundaries that would have crippled bands even a few years ago.  On the other hand though, while people may be exposed to more music than ever, there not necessarily interested in it and while people’s interaction and relationship with music is constant evolving and changing, I don’t think digital music has done anyone in favors in those regards.  As an artist during the reign of the digital era, what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

Pat:  We don’t really have a choice.

Blake:  It’s a good way to get out there, but it’s not as good as analog.

Jac:  Things like Spotify are great for the listener, but not musicians.

I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can, but there’s not enough time in the world to keep up with even one percent of the amazing stuff that’s going on out there!  Is there anyone from your local scene or area that I should be listening to I might not have heard of?

Andrew:  Yes.  Honestly, too many to name.  Come hang out up here for a weekend.  Some of my favorites are Hollow Boys, Phantom Tails, Mrs., The Bombay Sweets, Velveteens, and Vats.

Blake:  Loudman, Weakwick, Miami Dolphins, Seawhores, and Teenage Moods.

Jac:  Zebulon Pike, Magic Castles, Flavor Crystals, and Prozac Rat.

Pat:  No Skin, Waveless, and Buildings.   

What about nationally and internationally?

Too many.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me so much about the band!  It was awesome learning so much about you all and I hope you all had some fun looking back on everything that you’ve managed to accomplish as a band.  Before we call it a day and sign off, is there anything that I could have possibly missed or that you’d just like to take this opportunity to talk to me or the readers about at this point?

Andrew:  Thanks for talking to us.  Keep an eye out for the new album in November.  If you’re in New York City come see us on October at CMJ, info on

© Laramie Carlson

(2010)  Nallo – Giveaway CDs – CDR – Self-Released (Limited to 25 copies?)
(2011)  Nallo – Submarines – Digital, Cassette Tape – Cat People Records
(2012)  Nallo – Mechano And The Trees – Digital, Cassette Tape, CD – Self-Released
(2013)  Nallo – Drugs for the Kids – lathe-cut 7” – Self-Released/2208 Records (Limited to 50 copies)

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Foxygen - … And Star Power (2014) review

Foxygen "… And Star Power" (Jagjaguwar 2014)

There’s a lot to take in here. There’s over 20 tracks that run in excess of 80 minutes. There’s a variety of styles and feels. There’s both gentle songcraft and bombastic noise. There’s times when the band appears to be out to create memorable warped pop, and other times when they’re just up to mischief and shenanigans.
                As I listen though the sprawling double album I hear snatches of Todd Rundgren, ELO, John Lennon’s White Album songs, Skip Spence from Oar, and when they do soft pop I’m reminded of Bergen White. There’s one selection on which it seems they’re trying to recreate Suicide. Some of the sillier tracks are things that I knew, after one listen, I never needed to hear again; but the eight or 10 best songs are gems that invite repeated listens.

                One thing I like about Foxygen is that their best stuff can somehow be both throwaway toss-offs yet utterly pleasurable. Also, they manage to be inventive while clearly referencing their influences.  As for this new album, while some of their fans will likely enjoy the more playful moments, I wish they had cut out the silliness and cut the album’s length in half. The best 35 or 40 minutes here, isolated from the rest of it, would constitute a candidate for a top five album of the year. 

Review made by Brian Greene/2014
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Psychedelic Attic #12


Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Lemon Drops - Sunshower Flower Power (2009) review

The Lemon Drops "Sunshower Flower Power" (Cicadelic Records, 2009) 

This little gem winged onto my stereo like a half forgotten dream, turning the calendar pages backwards to 1967 and the Summer of Love, when for a brief moment, all things seemed possible, change was in the air, colours were brighter, laughter was genuine, tiny satellites blinked across the midnight sky, and AM radio was about to become part of history.

During that year Chicago gave birth to The Lemon Drops, a band who rode the psychedelic wave onto the AM charts, though stayed together for a mere 12 months, then were lost to the ether.  The group, who were mere teens had a lot going for them, and against them, never sure of their footing, whether they wanted to be the reincarnation of The Byrds, some sort of Donovan hybrid, or psychedelic acid drenched mystic wanders.  The Lemon Drops splashed down at just the wrong time, achieving nominal success on the AM charts, and even though they were young and full of energy, they just didn’t have the sophistication or cachet to make the cut when it came to the fledgling late night FM progressive radio shows that were springing up across the country.  Other great bands like The Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Vanilla Fudge, The Troggs, and The Litter also never made the cut, washed aside by the likes of The Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Traffic, Love, and The Blues Breakers.

No longer was music just about fun, even The Beatles had taken on a more reverent side, a more serious nature, where listeners were demanding a bit more, wanting to express cryptic messages, and bring a sense of intelligence to the game.  I’m not going to argue whether this was right or wrong, certainly when a song like “I Live In The Springtime” floated from speakers, laden with delicious reverb and feedback, people were happy to tap their feet, do a little dance, smile from ear to ear, and in the same breath, more than deny that bands like The Lemon Drops [who might have just as well have been The Monkess] had any place on the music scene.  Sonically their music is brilliant, tight, fluid, and right up there with what The Black Angels, their splinter group The UFO Club, and certainly The Vacant Lots are doing today.  Most of the material The Lemon Drops' produced never saw the light of day until gathered together here, where a time trip of sorts, will shine a little light on a year of discontent, searching, change, and great pleasure.

Review made by Jenell Kesler/2014
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Growwing Pains interview with Zak Bratto, Jeff Urcheck, Jake Kmiecik and Adam Hunter

This shit is fun.  I could say a lot more about it, and I’ll say some more here in a second, but the best thing, the thing that Growwing Pains really has going for them, is the fun factor.  I talk to a lot of bands that are full of just barely twenty-something year old kids, but not a lot of them successfully capture the delightful, energetic melancholy of your late teens and early twenties, not like Growwing Pains do.  Their debut full-length, 17 Songs About The Same Girl for Urinal Cake Records will not only transport you back to those few months before you packed up and moved out of your mom’s basement, but it’ll have you phoning up your high school buddies for a couple of beers, snagging the old record collection out of the garage and maybe even making a drunken midnight call to that certain high school someone you never got up the balls to talk too back in the day.  What I’m saying is, get ready to get nostalgic for a time gone by, which may have never even have happened to begin with, because Growwing Pains’ music is like viewing your life retrospectively through rose coloured beer goggles.  The franticly, emphatic and simplistic guitar hammers away in the roe of noise along with perfectly distorted and blown-out bass and drums, while the vocals remind me a lot of a mumbled Sex Pistols version of Joe Strummer, or something.  The keys aren’t drowned out here either, thankfully.  Instead, they’re used as a separate layer to the music along with the guitar to propel each two-minute explosion, a blaring reminder of where this music’s coming from and what it’s all about.  Blended together in Growwing Pains, you have a well-oiled machine of twisted insanity and brilliant punky madness.  I’m not gonna yammer on anymore, though.  Growwing Pains isn’t the kind of band you sell someone on.  You like ‘em, or you don’t, and I’m sure you’ll know which it is for yourself soon enough as there’s plenty about the band below, including links to music and tons of info and history if you’re so inclined.  So venture on fearless readers and Uncle Jerk’ll see ya on the other side!
Listen while you read:

What’s the lineup in Growwing Pain right now?  Is this the original lineup or have you all made any changes since the band started?

Zak:  Right now the lineup is Jake on drums, Jeff on keys, Adam on guitar, Josh on bass and sometimes guitar and vocals, and myself playing guitar and singing.  We first started off as an extension of Adam and mine’s old band, Adam and Zak Forever, and it was pretty much just an excuse for me to joke around and play guitar and scream and stuff.  We were pretty sketchy for a while.  I still barely know how to play guitar.  We added Jake on drums after like two shows of that and things just kinda grew from there.

Are any of you in any other active bands or do you have any side projects going on right now?  Have you released anything with anyone else in the past?  If you have, can you tell us a little about that?

Zak:  Hah, yeah.  We’re all in a ton of other bands.  Adam and Jake are in a killer two-piece called Fake Surfers.  Adam, Jake and I are in a noise jam band called Brothels.  Jeff, Adam and I are in a band called Village Wives.  Josh and Jake are in another band called Bonny Doon with their old roommate Billy.  Josh is in another band called The Bibs with Chris from All Gone Records.  And I’m supposed to be starting another one this week, I guess. 

How old are you and where are you originally from?

Zak:  I’m twenty years old and I’m originally from Ferndale, Michigan.

Adam:  I’m twenty one, originally from Pleasant Ridge, Michigan.  I live in Hamtramck, Michigan now.                       

Jeff:  Twenty two.  Dearborn Heights and the West side of Detroit.

Jake:  Twenty.  I grew up/live in Detroit.

What was the local music scene like where you grew up?  Did you see a lot of shows when you were younger?  Do you feel like that scene played a large or integral part in shaping your musical tastes or in shaping the way that you perform at this point?

Zak:  Growing up the music scene was great.  I have very fond memories of going to shows with Adam when were really young, and always being blown away by whatever bands we saw.  Our close group of friends would always be listening to new things for the first time and turning one another on to whatever we were listening to.  Yeah, I’d say I’ve always been inspired by the bands and people around here.

Jeff:  I didn’t really start going to a lot of shows until I was maybe a junior in high school.  I just sort of met other people who I was in another band with and went to shows with them, and then met the rest of the dudes at shows/school.

Adam:  We started going to shows once I got a license and could drive us.  At first, we mostly just went to stuff at the Magic Stick because most places were 18+.  That time in my life was really great, it was when we first started playing in bands and were seeing all this cool music and were just stoked about everything.  So to answer the question, yes.

What about your home when you were growing up?  Were either of your parents or any of your close relatives musicians or maybe just extremely interested/involved in music?

Zak:  Neither of my parents were ever super involved with music, although my dad played drums for a long time growing up.  My mom is probably the least musical person I could think of off the top of my head.  Her favorite band is probably like Mozart or some shit, and I say that in the most loving way possible.  She works for a non-profit.  My dad does freelance graphic design work and teaches art at a college.  They used to own a business together when they were married that they ran out of our house when I was a kid.

Adam:  My uncle plays guitar, but nobody I’m blood relatives with plays anything.

Jake:  Both of my grandparents on my mom’s side were singers in the 40’s.  We have some old 78s of their recordings…  Though they’re not of any great quality, they had a pretty lasting effect upon me.  My mom grew up in the 60’s, and she always had great, classic records and stuff around.  Good taste.

Jeff:  I grew up with my mom and grandparents.  My mom played accordion in a band in the 60’s and 70’s and kind of urged me to be musical in whatever way I wanted.

What do you consider your first real expose to music to be?

Adam:  Music has been my main interest since I was like nine, so it would be hard to pinpoint one thing…  The first like, “punk show” I went to was Mudhoney with Terrible Twos and Easy Action.

Jeff:  An N*SYNC concert.

If you were to pick a moment that seemed to change everything for you and opened your eyes up to the infinite possibilities that music presents, what would it be?

Zak:  I don’t think I could really narrow it down to a single moment.  Some things you just naturally gravitate towards.  Music has just always been the thing that makes everything else in life feel worthwhile, and it’s always acted as a way to connect with people through shared experiences.

Adam:  I’m not like a Bob Dylan nut or anything, but when I was like fifteen I was listening to Highway 61 Revisited, and that was the first real inspiration I ever had to write a song.  A lot of those lyrics are just kinda nonsense, I figured I could probably pull it off.

Jake:  I feel like so many bands our age had this same experience, but seeing the Black Lips really changed things for me.  I’d played music before, but seeing them for the first time really opened my eyes to the reality music could occupy in my life.

When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music?  What brought that decision about for you?

Zak:  I never really made a conscious decision to start writing my own music.  It just sort of seemed like the natural thing to do.  A lot of what I like about music is the freedom to do whatever you want with it, so although playing someone else’s music can be fun at times, it feels kind of unnatural, or at least unfulfilling, comparatively.

What was your first instrument and how did you get that?

Zak:  The first instrument I learned to play was the drums.  My dad used to play, and he gave me his old Ludwig kit when I was like twelve and taught me how to play “Green Onions” by Booker T. & The M.G.’s, ha-ha.  I still gig with that kit all the time.  It’s probably my favorite thing that I own.

Adam:  Guitar.  I had a little toy one when I was like five, then got this little cheap acoustic a couple years later.  I still play it all the time. 

Jeff:  I got a guitar when I was eleven for my birthday and took lessons for a while.

How did the members of Growwing Pains originally meet and when would that have been?

Zak:  Adam and I were next-door neighbors growing up.  I met Josh at a house party that our first band played at my parents’ house during sophomore year of high school.  I met Jake because he was drumming for several different bands we used to play with in high school.  I don’t think I could pinpoint exactly when I met Jeff, but Jeff is the best dude ever.  All those guys are the best. 

Adam:  Zak and I grew up together, we were neighbors.  I met Josh, Jake and Jeff at our high school.  Jake was a year older than me, but I found out somehow that he liked the Black Lips and just asked him to jam one day.  Josh was like the second friend I had at that school, he dressed kinda like the Beatles, which I thought was stupid, but also really cool at the same time. 

Jeff:  I played bass for like one or two shows way back in the day, but then Josh took that over.  Then Zak asked me to do keys on the album, and I was super stoked and just kind of fell in.

Jake:  High school.  These dudes saved me from being lonely forever.

When and what led to the formation of Growwing Pains?

Zak:  It’s like a whole thing, but the short version is; we were just really good friends and enjoyed playing music and hanging out together.

Adam:  Zak and I were doing this band called Adam and Zak Forever, and Jake and I started our band Fake Surfers.  Then one time, both bands were on the same bill, and we just told Jake to drum for Adam and Zak Forever even though he didn’t know any of the songs, ha-ha.  Our first couple of shows were total wrecks, feedback, sound guy cutting us off and being told to leave, not knowing our own songs, all that.  Then we decided to take the name Growwing Pains and practice.  We asked Josh to join a couple months later, even though he had just attempted to cut his own hair and looked like a crazy person.  There was a picture of it in the Metro Times.  Jeff joined a little before our first tour.

Is there any sort of creed, code, ideal or mantra that the band shares or lives by?

Zak:  Sheryl Crow, “Everyday Is a Winding Road”.

Adam:  Not really.

Jeff:  Jerkin’ in it any roadside bathroom we can find.

What does the name Growwing Pains mean or refer to in the context of your band name?  Is there any relevance to the second ‘W’ in your name, or anything?  Who came up with the name and how did you all go about choosing it?  Are there any close seconds that you almost went with that you can recall?

Adam:  Zak thought of it.  We added the second ‘w’ so that it wouldn’t be the same as that TV show.  We didn’t even think about it at first, but then everyone kept making wisecracks about it being a show, so there’s an extra ‘w’ now.  It also looks cooler I think. 

Where’s Growwing Pains located at these days?

Zak:  Hamtramck/Detroit.

How would you describe the local music scene where you’re at?

Zak:  Pretty dope. 

Jeff:  It’s full of really sweet stuff.  There’re a lot of punk, garage, and psych bands around here.  And because of how shit works, with everyone going to a lot of the same bars and venues to see out of town stuff with their friend’s band, or just a really good bunch of local dudes, everyone gets to know each other, and new bands form out of that.  It’s a really tight knit scene, and it’s really great.

Adam:  I love it.  There’s a ton of great bands here, and new ones forming all the time.  It seems like I keep finding out about new stuff every day.

Do you feel like you’re very involved in the local music scene?  Do you book or attend a lot of local shows or anything?

Adam:  Yeah, I book shows for out of town friends.  I go to a lot of shows too.

Zak:  Yeah sure, I help out with setting up shows for touring bands whenever I can, and go to shows a bunch. 

Jeff:  I don’t really book many shows, but I feel kind of involved.  I mean Growwing Pains play a pretty good amount of shows, and Adam, Zak, and I have another band called Village Wives that’s starting to play a bit more.  And Fake Surfers and Brothels both consist of some of us.  So we’re kind of out all the time.

Do you feel like the local scene has played an integral role in the sound, history or formation of Growwing Pains?  Or, do you feel like you all could be doing what you’re doing and sound like you do regardless of your location or surroundings?

Zak:  A little of both I guess.  I’ve always been really inspired by what’s going on here, but at the same time I think it’s important to do your own thing and stay in touch with that.  Otherwise, what’s the point?

Are you involved in recording or releasing any music at all?  If you are, can you talk about that briefly here for us?

Zak:  Yeah, I just started getting into recording this year, but I’ve always been into doing little home demos and solo stuff where I can play all the instruments.  It’s one of my favorite things to do, for sure.

You all have a really sweet sound that’s just bursting with different sound.  Who would you cite as your major musical influences?  What about as a band rather than just individually?

Zak:  Thanks a bunch, man.  There’re so many, but for this band I’d say the staple few have always been Jay Reatard, Wipers, Useless Eaters, Straight Arrows, Raw Prawn and Milk Music.  However, recently, I’ve been getting into a lot mellower, lyrically based stuff and I think our music will change in the future because of that.

What’s the songwriting process like with Growwing Pains?  Is there someone who usually comes in with a finished riff or idea to share with the rest of the band and kind of work out and compose that way?  Or, do you all get together to practice and just kind of kick ideas back and forth until you distill and polish out something that you’re interested in working on and refining?

Adam:  Usually Zak will come in with the skeleton of a song, and we jam on it and figure out our own parts.

Jeff:  Yeah, Zak comes in with an outline of a song, and we all just sort of jam on it to write our parts and kind of vibe it out from there. 

What about recording?  I think that most musicians can obviously appreciate the end result of all the time and effort that goes into making an album when you’re holding that finished product in your hands.  Getting to that point though, getting stuff recorded and sounding the way that you want it to as a band, especially, can be extremely difficult to say the least.  What’s it like recording for Growwing Pains?

Zak:  I’ve never thought of us as a band that comes across very well on recordings.  Luckily, we’ve had the privilege of working with some really talented people.  We generally record really fast, because we don’t have the budget to stay in a studio for a long time and develop a really solid finished project.  Hopefully, that will change with the next record we put out.  I think it’ll be a lot different sounding than the last one. 

Do you all like to take a more DIY approach when you record and handle the technical aspects of things on your own so that you don’t have to work with or compromise with anyone else about the process or recording or do you like to head into the studio and let someone else handle the technical aspects of things so you can concentrate on getting the best performances possible out of yourselves?

Zak:  In my personal life I like to record by myself, because I have more time to think about what I want to do and come up with something I’m really happy with.  But for this band, it’s been nice going into a studio and getting to work with people and getting other outside perspectives, personalities and ideas involved.  It’s more of a fun, social thing that way as well.

Adam:  Personally, I like having someone else record it, but we do a fair amount of home demos too.

Is there a lot of time and effort that goes into getting songs to sound just so-so, with every aspect and part worked out before you head in to record?  Or is it more of a situation where you head in with a good skeletal idea of what a song’s going to sound like, while leaving plenty of room for change and evolution during the recording process?

Adam:  We know what we are going to play for a song, but keep an open mind about different ideas and experiments.  Sometimes, we record a song exactly how we play it, and others songs end up sounding way more out there than what we do live.

Jake:  I find that songs sound best after playing them live for a while.  We usually record songs that we’ve been playing, and I feel that allows us the time to figure out all the intricacies needed to make a song interesting.

People have been tapping into the altered states that psychoactive and hallucinogenic drugs produce to create and aid with their art for thousands or years.  Do either of those play a large role in the songwriting, recording or performance processes for Growwing Pains?

Zak:  Yeah, I’ve noticed a direct correlation between me doing acid and getting really into chorus pedals.

Adam:  Once you do that stuff a couple times, you think about everything a little differently.  So I guess the answer would be yes, for me.  I’ve never tripped while recording or playing a show, but when writing, yes, sometimes.

Let’s talk a little bit about your back catalog for a second.  In 2011 you released the I Hate All My Exes Demo.  I did a little bit of looking around but couldn’t find to many details about that.  Was that a digital only release or was that available physically as well?  If it was released physically who put it out?  When and where was the material for All My Exes recorded?  Who recorded it?  What kind of equipment was used?

Zak:  Yeah, that was a self-released demo CD of the first recordings we ever did.  It was just straight-up, one take of each song recorded with one USB condenser mic.  I don’t even think I have a copy anymore. 

Last year you had a song included on the Gold Tapes Mixtape Vol. 2 cassette “Baby Give It To Me” and you were also featured on the Kommie Kilpatrick – Final Show Compilation cassette as well.  I know that the Kommie Kilpatrick comp was released on cassette.  Was the Gold Tapes Vol. 2 a digital only release or was that released as a cassette as well?  Either way, do you know how many copies either of those releases were limited to?

Zak:  Yeah our buddy Zak F just put up a mix of a bunch of songs from local bands to help spread the word around.  I think it was just a digital download.  Not sure how many copies of the Kommie Kilpatrick tape were actually released, but I would guess around 50 or so.

Earlier this year you dropped your debut full-length album, 17 Songs About The Same Girl for Urinal Cake Records.  Was the recording of the material for 17 Songs About The Same Girl very different than the session(s) for your earlier releases?  Who recorded 17 Songs About The Same Girl?  What kind of equipment was used?  When and where was that at?  When I was reading about 17 Songs For One Girl I read that the title wasn’t a misnomer or anything and that all the songs were actually written about one girl.  If that’s true it seems like she either had to be pretty captivating or a real bitch to be that motivating, ha-ha.  How did an album about one person come about?  Did you plan on that from the beginning of recording, or did it just kind of naturally gravitate in that direction?

Zak:  All of those songs are really old.  Like, from when we were like seventeen.  It was recorded and mixed by Chris Koltay at High Bias Studios in Detroit, great dude.  The basic tracks were recorded just like, “plug and play” style, and then we added keys and overdubs later and let him work his magic.  The title for the album isn’t actually literal.  It’s just kind of a joke about music in general.  We thought it was funny and catchy.

When I was talking to you recently you were telling me that you were already getting ready to release your sophomore album, What Day Is Your Funeral Again?  Has that already been recorded or are you still working on it?  Did you try anything radically new or different when it came to the songwriting or recording of the new album?  Do you have a projected release date for that at this point or know who’s going to be putting it out?  If you’ve already recorded it, can you tell us a little bit about that?  Where was that and when would it have been?  What kind of equipment was used?

Zak:  Yep, we’re stoked on it.  It was recorded by Derek Stanton at Molten Sound Studios in southwest Detroit, another great guy.  It’s a bit more abrasive sounding songs than the last session, more modulation effects and synth on this one.

Does Growwing Pains have any other music that we haven’t talked about yet, maybe a song on a compilation or a demo that I might not know about?

Zak:  Not at the moment, but we’re working on it.

Other than the upcoming single, What Day Is Your Funeral do you all have any other releases planned or in the works at this point?

Zak:  Yeah, we have a split that just came out with a band called Fox Fun from Nashville, Tennessee on Glad Fact Records.  They’re great!

Where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up copies of your stuff at?

Zak:, and random record stores across the US.

Adam:  Midhaven has it, Urinal Cake records website, too.  We just did a 7-inch on a label out of Nashville called Glad Fact.  If you want that you could get in touch with them somehow.

With the completely insane international postage rate increases that just don’t seem to be letting up, where’s the best place for our interested overseas and international readers to score copies of your stuff?

Zak:  I’m honestly not sure, but I’d say fuck the postage and still go with Urinal Cake because they’re the best.

And where would the best place for people be to keep up with the latest news like upcoming shows and album releases at?

Zak:  Probably our Facebook page.

Are there any major plans or goals that you’re looking to accomplish in the rest of 2014 or 2015?

Zak:  Just basically touring more, recording another album, and writing more new songs.

Adam:  Got a 7” in the pipeline, bunch of new songs.  You know, just being a band. 

What, if anything, do you all have planned as far as touring goes for the rest of the year?

Adam:  We’re playing some dates around a show in Milwaukee on October 4th.  In 2015 we plan on doing a lot more touring.  Every major city in the country is my goal.

Do you all spend a lot of time our on the road or touring?  Do you enjoy being out on tour?  What’s life like on the road for Growwing Pains?

Zak:  We try to tour as much as we can.  I love it.  It’s always fun to hang out with the guys. Last tour, our friend Claire tagged along too and that was super cool.

Do you remember what the first song that Growwing Pains ever played live was?  When and where would that have been at?

Adam:  I don’t, really.  It might have been at the P.L.A.V. Post #10 in Hamtramck, or the New Way bar in Ferndale…  I don’t remember.

Jake:  Definitely P.L.A.V. Post #10 in Hamtramck!

Zak:  Ah man, I feel like it was probably just some terribly unrehearsed rendition of “Shy Love” at P.L.A.V. Post #10 in Hamtramck, ha-ha.  That show was so fun.

Who are some of your personal favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to play with over the past few years?

Zak:  Off the top of my head; Useless Eaters, Wimps, Bad Sports, Hlep, Kommie Kilpatrick, Goners, Bohika Sheiks, Johnny Ill Band, Terrible Twos, Protomartyr, Psychedelic Horseshit, D Watusi, Feelings, Tyvek, Deadbeat Beat, Astral Gunk, and Turn to Crime.  I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch.  As far as the most fun gigs go though, I feel like we’ve had some really good times playing with our buddies, Los Pendejos and The Vonneguts.

Adam:  We play with tons of great Detroit bands, Terrible Twos, K9 Sniffies, Frustrations, SROS Lords, Tyvek, Feelings.  We played the Piranhas and Fontana reunion, that was sick.  The list goes on.  As far as out of town bands, Nobunny, Bad Sports, Useless Eaters, Wimps, Sonny and the Sunsets, Liquor Store, Natural Child, Blind Shake, Mouthbreathers, Goners, Pierced Arrows, Fox Fun, Obnox, Tacocat, Ttotals, Jacuzzi Boys, a ton, just a ton.

Jeff:  The Tera Melos/This Town Needs Guns show was my absolute favorite, but just look at the other answers and you pretty much have most of my answers too.

Jake:  Goners, Wimps, Natural Child, Tops, I don’t know, all of ‘em!

In your dreams, who are you on tour with?

Zak:  I think a lot of the fun of being on tour is not always knowing what band you’ll be playing with next and getting pleasantly surprised when you play with one you really like.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to share here with our readers?

Zak:  Too many to list.

Adam:  There’s a ton of funny shit, but I don’t think it would really translate that well on paper.

Do you all give a lot of thought to the visual aspects that represent the band to a large extent?  Stuff like flyers, posters, shirt designs, covers and that kind of thing?  Is there any kind of meaning or message that you’re trying to convey with your artwork?  I know Zak was heavily involved in that aspect of things and does art on his own, or at least he did last I checked.  Who do you usually turn to in your times of need when it comes to that kind of thing?  How did you originally get hooked up with them?

Zak:  Yep, at times more thought than the actual music.

Adam:  The artwork is very important; I don’t understand how some bands just don’t really care about that.  I sometimes buy records just because I like the cover.  Also, Zak does most of the art.  Our friend Nathan Jerde did a design for us that I really love though.

With all of the various methods of release that are available to musicians I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the mediums that they do.  Do you have a preferred medium of release for your own music?  What about when you’re listening to and or purchasing music?  If you do have a preference, can you tell us what it is and a little bit about why?

Zak:  I feel like as long as you have the songs and you can enjoy them the way that you like to, that’s all that really matters.

Adam:  I don’t have too much of a preference.  I buy records because it seems like everyone is putting their stuff out on vinyl now, so if I want it that’s what I buy.  If something’s only on CD or cassette or digital, that’s what I get.  I guess I would say 7-inches are my favorite medium.  I don’t know why exactly, I just think they're cool.

Do you have a music collection at all?  If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

Adam:  I don’t really think of it as a “collection”, but yeah, I have a lot of records, tapes, files, and CDs.

Jeff:  I guess I kind of do.  It’s not huge, but I have around 300 LPs, and like a hundred 45s.  A third of them are just standards and beat up copies of classics you find in the dollar bin, but I like getting stuff from bands when they come through town or when we play a show with them on the road.  It feels more personal and it’s awesome to think of the time you saw them play in whatever city you were in when you spin the record.

I grew up around my dad’s collection of absolutely killer vintage psych, blues and anything rock.  Not only that, he would take me around when I was a kid and pick me up random stuff that I was interested in from the local shops when I was a kid.  As a result I developed this sort of ritual of kicking back with a set of headphones, staring at the cover art, reading the liner notes, and just letting the whole experience transport me off on this whole trip.  I developed this deep love of physical music from a pretty young age as a result, and having something physical to hold in my hands to experience along with the music has always made for a more complete listening experience.  Do you have any such connection with physically released music?

Adam:  Yea, having something physical and not just a file is satisfying, especially if it’s really well done. I like the way the label Total Punk records puts out things because it’s all hand stamped (or screen printed). Having stuff hand made is always way cooler to me than just having it made at a pressing plant.

Jake:  I think listening to music in that setting lets you glean a lot more from the experience.  If you listen to music while cleaning your house or working or doing whatever, your primary attention is focused elsewhere.  I always find my deepest experiences with music are when I’m doing nothing but that: listening to it.  It lets you get totally enveloped in the artist’s world.  It’s kind of a psychedelic experience.  Love it. 

Zak:  Yeah, what Jake said.  Exactly what Jake said.

Like it or not, digital music is here in a big way.  But digital music is just the tip of the iceberg in my humble opinion.  When you team it with the internet, that’s when things get really interesting.  Together, they’ve exposed people to the literal world of music that they’re surrounded by, allowed for an unparalleled level of communication between bands and their fans and eliminated geographic boundaries that would have crippled bands only a few years ago.  On the other hand though, while people may be exposed to more and more music they’re not necessarily very interested in paying for it and people’s relationship with music is constantly evolving and it seems like digital music has made music seem much more disposable and forgettable.  As a musician during the reign of the digital era, what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

Adam:  I don’t ever buy records online, or on iTunes or whatever, I get most of my music from bands at their shows or at record stores on tour.  I like having a memory of getting it, it means more to me that way.  If I download something, it’s usually to see if I like it, and if I do, I buy the record or CD when I find it.  Digital music is just a placeholder.  I will say that if it weren’t for MediaFire and other sites like it, I wouldn’t know about nearly as many bands as I do.

Jeff:  It’s a double edged sword, really.  On the one hand, you can make your music so much more accessible on the internet and via social networks than before.  Like, if a band plays a show with you and then gives you a shout-out on Facebook or Twitter or something, you can find other listeners a lot quicker than you used to, and by getting posted on websites or in magazines like this, people can go find us on the internet and listen to our stuff and go to our show if we tour there. On the other hand, you have stuff like digital streaming services that don’t really pay bands much of anything, and people don’t have to buy the record to listen to it.  I mean, I won’t get into torrenting and stuff because I do that if I lost my download code or just can’t find a physical copy of an album.  So, it helps and hurts, but for a band that isn’t playing shows with like ten thousand dollar per-person guarantees, it’s really helpful in terms of putting a name out.

Zak:  Yeah, I agree with what Jeff said.  For me it feels like the Internet has exposed our generation to so much music and art, both good and bad that, frankly, we wouldn’t have heard of otherwise.  Has it desensitized us a bit?  Yes.  Has it exposed us to a ton of great stuff that we wouldn’t have known about otherwise?  Absolutely.  I feel like at this point, it’s sink or swim.  It’s the musician’s job to make something that stands out amongst the masses and I’m sure that frightens a lot of people that are struggling to stay relevant.  But that fact is, things change and you can either waste your energy fighting against something you’ll ultimately never be able to change, or you can take that energy and use it in a positive way.

I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can but there’s just not enough time to even listen to one percent of the amazing stuff that’s out there right now.  Is there anyone from your local scene or area that I should be listening to I might not have heard of?

Zak:  Alright, fuck it.  I’m gonna plug it big time.  Here goes; Help, gotta be one of the sickest local bands I’ve seen in a while although I’m not sure if they’re a band anymore.  Here’s a link to their recordings, Johnny Ill Band, totally great, one of my all-time favorites, never heard anything like it.  Roachclip, Deadbeat Beat, Brownstown Gals, Bonny Doon, Feelings, Rebel Kind, their song “Baby, Baby, Baby” is just so sweet and comforting.  Their singer has such a good voice.  I really like this band.  Protomartyr; great dudes, great band.  And Terrible Twos.

What about nationally and internationally?

Zak:  Here goes, lookout there’s a ton!  Bitch Prefect, if you don’t check out any of the other bands at least check out this one.  Here’s a link to my favorite recordings of theirs.  Meat Thump, Kitchens Floor, Raw Prawn, Ghastly Spats, Scott and Charlene’s Wedding, Tomorrows Tulips, Straight Arrows, Milk Music, The Lemons, Juan Wauters, The Beets, Love Chants, The Memories, Angie, Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Eat Skull, Limes, UV Race, Lower Plenty, Laurence Wasser, Home Blitz, Bad Sports, Wax Museums, Woollen Kits, The Hunches, Tronics, Bazooka, Solid Attitude, Dads, The Hospitals, Dave E. & The Cool Marriage Counselors, Cap’n Jazz, Bossy, Brimstone Howl, Box Elders, Teenage Lovers, Erics Trip, and Daniel Johnston. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me about the band.  I know this wasn’t short but it was awesome learning this much about the band and I hope you all had at least a little bit of fun looking back on everything you’ve managed to accomplish as a band over the past few years.  Before we call it a day I’d like to open the floor to you, though.  Is there anything that I could have possibly missed or that you’d maybe just like to take this opportunity to talk to me or the readers about?

Zak:  Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us man.  I’d just like to say thanks to my fav guys Eric Love, Josh Gillis, and Chris Campbell for everything they’ve done for us.  Growwing Pains love ya!

Adam:  Thanks for talking to us.  I’d just like to say thanks to Eric Love and all our other friends in Detroit who have helped us, I wont go through the whole cast of characters, but you know who you are…

(2011)  Growwing Pains – I Hate All My Exes Demo – ? – Self-Released
(2013)  Various Artists – Gold Tapes Mixtape Vol. 2 – ? – Gold Tapes
(2014)  Various Arists – Kommie Kilpatrick - Final Show Compilation – digital, Cassette Tape – Gold Tapes (Limited to ? copies)
(2014)  Growwing Pains – 17 Songs About The Same Girl – 12” – Urinal Cake Records (Pill Pink Vinyl 12” limited to 100 copies)
(2014)  Growwin Pains/Fox Fun – Split – Digital, 7” – Glad Fact Records
(TBA)  Growwing Pains – What Day Is Your Funeral Again? – 7” – TBA

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
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