Saturday, December 2, 2017

Dead Leaf Echo's LG Galleon talks Beyond.Desire and the evolution of the band

Dead Leaf Echo, photo by Drew Reynolds (courtesy of LG Galleon)
Brooklyn shoegazers Dead Leaf Echo have much to show for the work they’ve put in this year, with their latest full length Beyond.Desire and its supporting tour attracting scores of new followers for the quartet. Though they tend to maintain a forward-looking disposition, the sheer hype that has built up toward the band’s events this year has given them reason enough to reflect fondly on the album’s pre-release period. As such, Dead Leaf Echo’s LG Galleon and Square Cotton Candy have devised an experiment to travel back to the early autumn and once again look forward to the launch of one of 2017’s top LP’s, Beyond.Desire.

SCC: Beyond.Desire is the first full-length with Dead Leaf Echo’s current, longest standing lineup. Did your tenure playing together make for a smoother or more memorable studio experience than with Thought and Language?

LG: Both Studio experiences were very long and taxing periods of my life that took well over 2+ years. Producing it myself is always challenging. Working with Charlie Nieland on the demos and Al Carlson for the final tracking was very easy, and they make our world of recording much smoother and easier to be in. Also, Beyond.Desire's was quicker for takes (we could usually nail it in 2 or 3) because of our past experiences and [the] current lineup is at its best yet. ​The problem really was finding the right people for the right songs in terms of mixing. Some people seem to deliver different results for different songs and that also made the mastering a very difficult challenge when you have different mixes coming from different platforms and people. 

SCC: The intermittent releases have shown you as a multi-dimensional act, with faster-paced, ethereal A-sides like “Strawberry Skin”, “I Will DoAnything”, and “True Deep Sleeper” backed by a range of dub and industrial tracks. Can listeners expect to hear this dynamic continue on the new album?

LG: The industrial and dub material serves best as one-off b-sides. There's no exploration of that on this full length LP in order to maintain a consistence throughout the album. That doesn't mean that we won't do a full dub or industrial album in the future ;) ​

SCC: What new songs have you felt the best audience response from so far?​ 

LG: All the singles have hit the audience's response. "Temple", Strawberry.Skin" and "Lemonheart" But also that because they have been released to the public so they can sing along and expect them in the setlist. Once the album comes out I'm looking forward to seeing people call out for other songs. ​
Dead Leaf Echo live at Ortlieb's, Philadelphia PA 12/3/16 (Photo by Tom Faix)

SCC: You’ve maintained a rather athletic touring schedule, and yet it seems like there are quite a few additions to the setlist each time you come around. Do you write new material while on the road or just prolifically during the downtime?

LG: Ideally we work on new songs and then we are able to work that into the setlist on the road where we can hone it over time and find out what works best for both us and the audience. ​ I've never understood a band that can write on the road unless they are at some 1% level where every single aspect of you day is taken care of and you could actually function like you are at home. Most of the time we're are running around to get to the next city, eat, soundcheck and catching up with old friends. 

SCC: PaperCup Music is releasing Beyond.Desire after a stint with Moon Sounds Records, who handled the advance singles. What brought you to change labels? Is this a multi-album commitment?

LG: Actually the album is a split between both labels. With Moon Sounds handling the physical side and PaperCup the digital. We are super happy to be with them ​and [to have] their support. 

SCC: With the new album around the corner and your second European tour behind you, your following is now approaching critical mass. At this point, your back catalog consists largely of out of print EPs and singles that are sonically consistent enough to make a listenable compilation. Do you have any interest in taking this approach after listeners soak in Beyond.Desire and start wishing for more?

LG: I really prefer the LP format, but they are so laborious and very taxing budget wise. Releasing EP's and Singles [is] very satisfying because you can turn them around much more quickly and you can relate to this frame of mine or emotional state that you were in because of the shorter time period between creation and release. ​

SCC: The tracklisting of Beyond.Desire is a bit more concise than Thought and Language's. What went into the decisions to narrow down the new material into the final program?

LG: It's a conscious attempt to achieve something under 60 minutes of material for the listener. Doing a double album was a little overzealous especially for a debut. So now that we got that out of our system just trying to do our first standard LP. Lyrical content (themes of desire, want, needs) and musical arcs (tempos and song length) were the decisions made in bringing this material together. 

SCC: How did Dead Leaf Echo come together in its current form?​ 

LG: We have all played in previous bands that were on past bills together over the years in the scene here in NY and Brooklyn. Ana and I have been together for over 10 years thru her previous band Mahogany. Kevin had contacted me about a rehearsal space and also finding a new band. We had recently parted ways with our first drummer so the timing was very on point. ​Steve used to throw these parties in the hood called Fantastic Planet that were so great and that's how we met. 

SCC: At your DJ gigs, do you notice much of an overlap in the crowds with those at your full live sets? How does the pre-show feeling compare?

LG: When we DJ for the most part it's at smaller clubs and bars in comparison to what we play at with the live band. The DJ sets are a way for Ana and I to play the music that we like for our friends and a way to go and promote the band without a lot of work. . It's how we bonded in the first place really, over great music that we both have in common. ​

Dead Leaf Echo will join their peers The Silence Kit, The Morelings, and Hidden Lights on December 9 at PhilaMOCA for this year's touring epilogue.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Drop Nineteens: An oral history as told by four alumni

Three former Drop Nineteens meet up for the first time in many years 9/20/17
L-R: Pete Koeplin, Steve Zimmerman, Justin Crosby
When it comes to classic shoegaze acts, few are more overlooked than Boston’s Drop Nineteens.  Though they were one of the first American bands to gain momentum within the scene, both their style and lineup went through a series of distinctive revisions in their rather short career before unceremoniously disintegrating.  Granted, they’ve ranked on certain best-of-the-genre lists and even still enjoy occasional college radio airplay, but in this era of deluxe reissues and critical reappraisal, their story has remained largely untold. As such, Drop Nineteens detectivism was among my first priorities upon arrival in Boston this year. With the Autumnal Equinox nearing, the trail of clues led me to Jamaica Plain’s Midway Cafe, where I was joined by bassist Steve Zimmerman, a founding member, as well as drummer Pete Koeplin and lead guitarist Justin Crosby from the group’s later period. At a corner table, we discussed the Drop Nineteens experience at length before Koeplin took the stage with The Chris Brokaw Rock Band. Afterwards, I reached original drummer Chris Roof, who was kind enough to shed some additional light on their earlier days. From these discussions, Square Cotton Candy is honored to present, for the first time, the Drop Nineteens story in depth and in [most of] their own words.

Formed in 1990 as In April Rain, the band coalesced under the leadership of Boston University student Greg Ackell. Roof recalls, “ I played in a couple of bands with Greg when we were in high school at Northfield Mount Hermon School. I don’t think either of us realized we were both going to BU, but once we bumped into each other we talked about putting another band together, and we ultimately did, first rehearsing in my dormitory’s basement music room, then the basement of a frat house in Allston.” Even though just starting out at college, Ackell had conditioned himself an A student of new wave. “He was the person who came from boarding school, had played in bands, had done covers, really knew New Order, the Smiths, the Cure, had some vision about songs that he wanted to write that were his own originals, and could lead the thing at that young age,” observed Zimmerman, who along with lead guitarist Motohiro Yasue, completed the first incarnation of the band’s lineup.

At this early stage in their career, developing their sound and repertoire was undertaken organically, without the pressure of live appearances. “Somebody would come in with a riff, than we’d work it for hours/days/weeks until it began to turn into an actual song,” explained Roof.  From this experimentation came a sound that mixed the atmospheric guitar layers and co-ed harmonies exemplified by predecessors My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, as well as distinctive lead guitar hooks reminiscent of classic 80’s dance-pop. Though still a four-piece, additional vocal duties on early recordings were handled by then-part-timer Paula Kelley, who was classically trained and shared an affinity for top 40 radio with Ackell.

Their second demo (and first as Drop Nineteens), Mayfield, served to elevate the band’s out of town profile while still being completely unknown at home.  British publications like New Musical Express were impressed, and over the state border in New Hampshire, the buzz also finally landed Drop Nineteens live bookings. Roof recollected, “I believe [the first gig] was at UNH. Their radio station had picked up a copy of one of our demos and there seemed to be a bunch of interest there. The dark, live pictures that ended up [inside of the CD insert for] Delaware were taken at that show by my friend Turlock.”

After attracting some positive attention from the press and getting a taste of the stage, the band was ready to record again. Zimmerman explained, “with the momentum we decided it was great to get in for the Summer Session, we called it, to do four quick songs. We went into the room with the intention of writing the EP as quickly as possible, and we felt like we had solid enough ideas to rent the equipment, and then like sort of isolate ourselves, and lay down the basics of what we had come out with, and then finish them up and get it out. So the Summer Session, which had what’s really called ‘Damom’, not Damon, ‘Song For JJ’, 'Soapland', and ‘Back in Our Old Bed’... it’s not part of Mayfield [as is often mis-cannonized by fans and bootleggers alike]. There was actually a continuation, to try to maintain interest in the press. Show that we’re still writing, creative, and evolving, ‘cause that sound was even more washed out, even less immediate than the Mayfield demos.”

The Summer Session took Drop Nineteens’ signature blend in a new direction, but for reasons now forgotten, a temporary vocal vacancy needed to be filled. This responsibility ultimately landed with a mononymous Hannah. “I think Hannah knew Greg from someplace but am not sure…Paula was never formally in the band when we recorded [The In April Rain and Mayfield demos]. I’m not sure why she didn’t do the [Summer Session], but once we started talking with record companies she formally joined us,” reflected Roof.

Industry attention gradually built up over the approximately three months following the Summer Session, with the live show becoming increasingly important. Roof continued, “the talk with record companies really picked up after we played our own show as a part of the CMG festival in what was literally the meat packing district back then in NYC. I had to do sound and play the drums. I’m sure it sounded interesting, but it was a pure and raw show, which many of them were.”

During this time, a few labels came and went from the negotiating table. Zimmerman reveals, “Cherry Red was the very, very first label to even offer, to put something on the table and say we’d like to do an album. Theirs was a tiny little deal, but Cherry Red was the first one to really sort of believe in us. We didn’t go with them, but there was quite a number of months where we were in talks with them, but then the other conversations started with other labels, and Caroline was a great fit for us.”  

A sub-brand of Virgin, Caroline was, as put by eventual member Crosby, “a packaging deal essentially. It was an image deal to test bands out for viability.” In the early ‘90s, Caroline had built its reputation as a seal of quality for the exploding alternative rock scene, boasting releases by leading acts like Smashing Pumpkins, Primus, and John Spencer Blues Explosion. Later addition Koeplin reminisced, “when you were going to like TapeWorld and looking for cassettes and records Caroline was like, you’d go and you look at like Caroline records, [and say] ok I’ll give that a shot.” 

On catching Caroline’s attention, Zimmerman remembered, “when we played with Chapterhouse they were there for the last few minutes, and it was our cover [of Madonna’s] ‘Angel’ that they saw. That’s all they saw, but, sometimes things go really well and that song that night sounded good. We were very manic. Greg was bleeding from the strumming from the show. So it was a real scene, bumping into everyone, but all of the starts and stops, and the wah that Moto was doing and whatnot. Everything was flawless, for that few minutes that Virgin happened to show up. So [it] made an impression, and so they contacted us more after. It didn’t become a frenzy, but it was enough for them to say, ok, we’ve heard about this, we showed up in time, we caught a little bit, and it started the conversation.”

With a deal in hand from Caroline, the band had a few potential routes to choose from for their debut. After all, there was already an album’s worth of quality songs on the promo-only demos that could have easily been redone in hi-fi, but creative complacency was never part of the equation for the now-quintet. As such, a complete refresh of material became the preferred option. On this juncture, Zimmerman elaborated, “there was so much backlash in the press about shoegaze and the scene that celebrates itself at that time, and because our interests were growing, we deliberately had a meeting, sat down and said how do we all feel about scrapping everything that we’ve made, which we know was a lot of to get to this point, but now that we do have a developmental deal, we are going to make an album. Write another all new album, and the way that [the Summer Session] was so fast to just crank out, those four songs and put them down, we had a lot of confidence that, sure, we’ll make an album. And so we set out to write songs of Delaware, wanting them to be more immediate, a little bit more of our own sound, ‘cause the [Summer Session] was even more Slowdive than maybe Drop Nineteens.”

To record their debut full-length, Delaware, the band entered Boston’s Downtown Recorders while still juggling school commitments. “A little bit hinged on our college schedule, so we were fortunate enough that we had some support from families to be in college, and we knew that if we weren’t in college, we wouldn’t have that same support. So we did classes and wrote, and then if we, when were touring and recording, that that was part of the record company’s momentum, or contract let’s say”, explained Zimmerman. “So we sort of planned it so that it could be one or the other, cause we were too young to really…we didn’t wanna’ get jobs yet and we were too young to support.”

Released in 1992, Delaware was as diverse as it was mysterious, featuring eccentricities like “Ease It Halen”, whose lyrics were constructed from Van Halen song titles, the epic soundscape-sandwiched-soliloquy “Kick The Tragedy”, subdued acoustic numbers like “Baby Wonder’s Gone” and “My Aquarium”, their winning Madonna cover “Angel”, and lead single “Winona”, which gained some traction on MTV’s 120 Minutes program. Like so many discs of artistic merit, Delaware was well received overseas, but it didn’t do much to warm Drop Nineteens’ peers up to them.

Regarding their standing in the US scene, Kelley commented toExcellent Online in 2002, “because we circumvented the system of playing around at local clubs before "making it" we were rather resented by bands who were doing that.” Still, they were invited to play SubPop’s now legendary Vermonstress festival in Burlingtion, VT that year alongside esteemed contemporaries such as Velocity Girl and Beat Happening. As Roof remembers it, “[though I] do recall being intimidated to play at Vermonstress…it did really pump us up, and we played one of the most raw and in your face shows I remember that night.”  For Drop Nineteens, the Vermonstress experience stood somewhere between playing packed crowds in New York City and nearly vacant halls in Ohio during the Delaware era, but the highs and lows would become much more pronounced after  another visit to the studio.

“The record company said it would be good to have more music out before touring. We also wanted to show how much our sound had evolved at that time,” commented Roof on the Your Aquarium EP, which contained a souped up version of the Delaware track and the group’s take on Barry Manilow’s smash “Mandy”.  With the short new disc ready, Drop Nineteens headed to Europe.

As a group, life on the road was rocky and being so far from their home continent seemed to aggravate mounting tensions. Roof explained, “we did band things together, and a couple of social things, but not many. Greg and Steve were tight for a bit. On the road Greg and Steve shared rooms and Moto and I did.” However, for as much as Kelley enjoyed the traveling and performing aspects of touring, she found this band’s European tour to be exasperating, and before long she had to confront the creative and personal disagreements she experienced. With the prospect of a US trek to follow, Kelley announced she would leave the band at the conclusion of the tour.

Her departure would serve to initiate a radical transformation in the group as a whole. To fill the void left by her absence, Megan Gilbert was brought in as her successor. Almost immediately though, Roof would also make his exit and a new drummer would be sought.  Enter Koeplin, who recalled, “I actually met Greg through a friend of mine, Phil Mastrellis, who was a skateboard buddy of mine in high school. He’s also mentioned in Kick the Tragedy when it’s like, ‘fucking Phil is off…’. That’s my friend, Phil Mastrellis…my late friend. He died in ’95, but Greg came and saw me play with my band Flipside back in high school, in my basement. He was visiting Phil, and [they] came into my basement, and Greg had, you know, Rayban glasses on or something, and watched me play for literally like, I don’t know, a minute; like 30 seconds, and then left. And then I got a call a year later from Phil saying ‘dude, uh Greg’s looking for a drummer. I don’t know, opportunity might be knocking.’”

For Koeplin the prospect of hitting the road with a professional band seemed more enticing than hitting the books at UMass Amherst and worth taking a serious chance on. He continued, “Greg called me. I talked to him; he said ‘we’re gonna’ be recording a new record. We’re gonna’ be doin’ like a tour, a national or international tour. It was something, and so why don’t you go to the record store and find Delaware and the Your Aquarium EP, and listen to ‘em and come to Boston in a week and audition?’ And I was like, ‘well ok then’. So I went and I found the records and I listened to ‘em and I went in and that’s where I met Steve, Greg, and Megan? Was it? Cause I never actually met Paula Kelley. I still haven’t met her to this day. I don’t know if it was Megan or just [Steve], and Greg, and myself, and we just ran through a bunch of stuff...and maybe Moto might have been there. I ended up doing two shows with Moto, but I got that call like a week later saying we want you to join the band. We’re gonna’ be opening for Smashing Pumpkins in two weeks, and for me it was like the dream call, like are you kidding me? ‘Mom and dad, I think I’m gonna’ leave school to play in this band. I think its gonna’ be something serious.’ And that’s exactly what happened. Two weeks later, we were driving down [to Atlanta] in the blizzard of 1993 to play with Smashing Pumpkins.”

For the time being, Yasue still held down lead guitar duties next to the two new members, though it’s possible that he may have been just sticking around a little longer to tie his show count with Roof and Kelley. Such conjecture is based on Roof’s clarification (regarding if he ever played live between the Kelley and Gilbert eras) that “the only time we played [as] a four-piece was when Moto wasn’t allowed to cross the US-Canada border so we put him on a bus to Detroit, and we played Montreal and Toronto without him.” In any case, his time with Drop Nineteens ended without any shortage of adventure.

Zimmerman described the trip as “that storm that that movie [The Perfect Storm] is based on, where the whole eastern seaboard just got pummeled. So even down in Atlanta, I remember being in Atlanta and nobody knew what to do.” Koeplin added, “it was a ghost town. Yeah, we heard on the radio, ‘The Smashing Pumpkins show has been cancelled tonight and we don’t know where Drop Nineteens are’, and we were like an hour outside of Atlanta and going like ‘we’re there, we’re coming! We’re right here!’ It happened though. It was the next night, right? They just put it off for a night and we stayed like two nights in Atlanta.”

Upon returning from their blizzard journey, Yasue parted ways with Drop Nineteens and the new incarnation of the band was about to leap into a new writing cycle with a new lead guitarist. As Koeplin remembers it, “when I first joined, it was learning Delaware and Your Aquarium, but it was immediately like, we got a practice space, which was underneath Jillian’s on Lansdowne street, and it was the four of us. I mean after Moto; after they told me Moto was gone I was like, ‘well my cousin Justin can play guitar.’”

Crosby turned up about a month after the Smashing Pumpkins gig, having done his due diligence with the Delaware album. On his initial experience, Crosby explains, “I was under the impression that that’s what we were going for, so I was surprised when we started writing so different, but my entrance in was kind of right into the writing phase for National Coma. So cognitively it seemed like it didn’t make sense to me, but I mean it was just, you know, it was just sort of adaptive to [Ackell]. Ironically, I listen to Delaware a lot and I was quite a fan of that album before starting the writing process.”

Whereas Delaware was inspired from Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, the writing of National Coma appeared to take more cues from the modular, work-tape approach of avant-garde bluesman Captain Beefheart. Koeplin elaborates: “The four of us had a practice space and Greg [would come] in with a part, and he would say, he was like ‘I got this’, and he would play something, and we would record onto like a boombox.  Greg would come in with a part, then Steve would know something too, and I would try a beat to it, and then Justin would try something.  And we’d record that part, and then it would be like ok, here’s the next part, and we would do things in pieces, to the point where, by the time we got to Syntex Studios to record, Greg was on the box going, ‘let’s try this part’, and fast forward, and he would go ‘and this part’, and we’d put them together and make a song. Which is, to me, was kind of like, maybe why National Coma sounded [exactly like that].”

“Cuban” was the first tune worked out for National Coma, which garnered a mixed reaction from both Caroline’s office and Koeplin’s parents alike. He joked that “after that BAM BAM, you know I think that no one knew quite what to do with that.” Zimmerman, however, maintained that the label saw promise in the group’s new direction. “Caroline liked that one. They were like woah. So they were very excited to hear what was next, cause it had some of the classic elements of Greg and Megan’s vocals, the male/female vocals. It didn’t sound like shoegaze anymore but it had a softness to it and it sounded like it could be an evolution and that other songs that were coming behind this, which the other songs were nothing like it.”

The label's puzzlement grew as more songs were submitted. “They were really excited about it, and then they got the rest of the album. After a while our A&R guy said, ‘I think it actually might be genius’, but they had a real hard time figuring how to market this. What do we do with this?” reflected Zimmerman. “It was always like, well what’s the single? And the closest we could even get to an answer was ‘The Dead’. [Note: “Limp” was ultimately issued as the single from National Coma.] We just took a left turn. We said no to some producers.  We looked at some producers. They actually asked Jimmy Destri from Blondie, the keyboardist. We met with him, sat with him, and were like, nah we’re not sure, we’re not sure if we’re really gonna’ comingle so well. And we really wanted J. Mascis, but he was busy. He had heard about it, he did have interest, but he couldn’t, the time, the schedule wouldn’t work, so we just did it ourselves”.

The final product that was National Coma reflected the breadth of the revamped band’s collective personality, but didn’t exactly captivate Delaware’s audience anew. As Zimmerman posited, “the demos did great, Delaware did great, and so when you always do great you don’t think that people who want to listen to what you do aren’t gonna’ accept the next thing, even if it’s a turn. And when you’re that age, also, you don’t necessarily understand sound. What it was that might be your trademark, your own brand, your trademark and your sound, and think that if you completely crumble it and make a different thing what that might mean to the audience or to the company who has decided that they’re gonna’ make an album with you based on a certain sound. It’s a pretty interesting thing.”

Now having a pair of mismatched sounding records in stores, Drop Nineteens hit the road with in support of National Coma with a setlist Koeplin likened to shuffling the deck. “ I don’t know if I could go back and listen to that set now, what that must’ve sounded like… to go from ‘Winona’ to ‘7/8’,” opined Zimmerman. However, much like the Delaware-era tours, show attendance sharply contrasted from show to show. Koeplin recalls, “when we were playing in the UK… until we played the Reading Festival, we were on that stage and playing the songs. By that time, I remember people jumping around and dancing, but there were a lot of club shows where there was like 20 feet of nobody, and a crowd of people watching doing absolutely nothing but just watching. And I didn’t know if it was because it was…such a divergent thing. Like, they couldn’t put A and B together and figure out like how is this gonna’ work together. It was still like trying to figure it out, you know.”

Also like the prior version of the band’s time on the road, moments joking around punctuated the season’s rising tensions. Koeplin, for example, relayed a time when, “we wrote Radiohead sucks on the wall at one point, at one of the clubs,” with Crosby adding, “[that] the irony is, I remember we were at the Reading Festival and we were all knocking Radiohead, like we were knocking Creep….and here they are, one of my favorite bands, like over time, oh my God they evolved into this behemoth of something authentic. And there, that just shows you the maturity level I was at for sure.”  However, even incidents like this though proved unable to preserve the National Coma-era Drop Nineteens as they were.

Looking back on that incarnation’s unraveling, Crosby stated, “it just kind of very quickly ramped up to that, and I remember there was always some tension there, but it was very abrupt.” Koeplin elaborated that “no one got fired, but at the immediate aftermath of the National Coma tour, which ended like Christmas, December of [1993], Greg’s like , ‘hey, I’m flying everybody home’, and we were like thank God.  So we all went home. I got a call from Greg in like January, and it said that, ‘I don’t think that Steve or Meg, or Megan are gonna’ come back. I’m not sure about Justin,’ and I think he asked me do you wanna’ like, who do you know that, like, would wanna’ play? Like, what do you wanna’ do? And, I was like, well, you know, without any hint of like, like I’m so sorry that’s happening, which is what it would be now, I was like, well, I know my friend Craig Rich plays bass, and I, so we, there was a couple formations of the band that came, and we demoed a few things.”

The post-National Coma demos, pitched to London/Polygram, nearly earned the band a new major label deal but, in Koeplin’s view, “the wheels were falling off by then.” Some creative fire remained in their stove, but as Crosby put it, “it felt like it was musical chairs, where it was just so like rapid where it was like pace kept picking, and then boom, suddenly [Steve’s] gone, Megan’s gone and it was just…and you know, I’m in because they were replacing, it was like, it was kind of like The Cure [with] the ever-rotating cast of characters, which is unfortunate. It just seems like there was nothing to latch onto that I could understand from an authentic perspective.”

Crosby also attributes a lack of outside involvement to the ultimate halt Drop Nineteens met, stating, “it wasn’t one of those bands where you had your, say 40% of your gigs were DIY, where you were calling when you had like off time and setting up weird little tours around the state, like, and … I don’t know if that was unique to our situation, where bands, you know, where they’re insulated by a label. ‘Cause it’s interesting to see that I feel like that was another thing that would have helped glue everything together, if there was this ethic of just  like keeping us playing and, you know, and gigging when we were in between albums. You know, like that’s sort of really is the heart and soul of what keeps a band alive when they’re not recording. I think the problem was we never had someone actively on the periphery keeping us glued together.” Contemplating how the band might have been able to survive, Zimmerman added, “if there was a producer involved or a manager who’s very strong and just said there’s some differences, there’s some things going on here. I don’t know if you should still be Drop Nineteens, but I see something here, let’s take this and now go make another album. We’re gonna’ rebrand it maybe. We’re gonna’ do something else.”

Such a rebrand did eventually occur, with Ackel, Koeplin, and Rich briefly continuing as Fidel. A four-piece also including keyboardist Chris Coates, Fidel recorded a full length album and played a few live dates, but the record only made to bootleg status. Koeplin relayed, “we played Mama Kin's before Mama Kin's closed, and I, and I mean, I think Greg is a, God bless him man, he’s a creature of like, wants to like, he, when he’s into something, when he’s into the project and he’s interested in it he does it for all it’s worth, but the minute that it kind of like, maybe isn’t going to be worth it to a certain, or he doesn’t see it in the long haul, like that band just kind of fizzled out. We practiced, you know, we worked hard, but then like most bands, it’s like, it just came to a point where we just didn’t  practice anymore, and if no one’s gonna’ book a show like, who’s gonna’ do what? You know, it’s bands just kinda’ come and go if you’re not like actively, if no one’s actively booking the band, and saying we’re practicing tomorrow, you know, how does a band survive?”

Before long, even Fidel ceased activity and, as the mid-‘90s progressed into the late 90s, the Drop Nineteens alumni all moved on with their lives. Starting with Hot Rod, Kelley built a substantial music career on her own terms, eventually founding the Paula Kelley Orchestra before pursuing a career in television and film composition in LA. Crosby too carved out a niche composing, with his work appearing in household name media ranging from Dexter to WWE. Roof recounts having, “played with a few friends’ bands for a while after [leaving Drop Nineteens] and [doing] sound for others as well, including briefly at Club Passim in Harvard Square.” Koeplin continued active involvement in the local music scene, being the longtime drummer for rockers Kahoots (among other acts), while Gilbert resurfaced circa 2010 as part of New York duo La Marcha.

In recent times, the nostalgia cycle has made the shoegaze reunion scene a thriving one, but Drop Nineteens have remained one of the few conspicuous absentees. Surprisingly, this isn’t for lack of effort. Zimmerman explained, “I remember [in Summer 2001] where we sat and I remember talking about [making a new Drop Nineteens album]. Paula had momentum with things that she was doing, and we just couldn’t come to an agreement on it. And then that was it. I think we had one practice session, Greg and I, and then he called me the next day and said we’re not gonna’ do this. So we could have called Megan, we could have looked for other people, um, we hadn’t actually reformed the band or done anything yet, but it was just a thought, and that started with, well we know the sound of Greg and Paula’s voice together is what, is desirable, at least under that name of Drop Nineteens. And when that was already, when she was already saying I’m gonna’ pass on that and it wasn’t right for her, it just didn’t seem like there was a point.” Fast-forward to 2017 and the proposition still isn’t unanimous, as Crosby stated, “I don’t know if I’m, I think I’m too old for it.” Koeplin, on the other hand, is more enthusiastic. While noting that Ackell is “generally not too interested in rehashing the past”, he persists, “I’ll always ask for a reunion, and I will never get one, but it’s ok. I’ll keep asking. I think I asked Steve last week…[but]it’s gotta’ be all or nothing. I mean Greg’s gotta’ be involved if that’s gonna’ happen.” And so, as it stands, Boston’s Drop Nineteens remain strictly a phenomenon of the past, but at least their name is still an available vanity plate!

From the archive: 311's P-Nut talks Transistor

311 in 2011, courtesy of Raspler Management
After breaking into the mainstream with their 1995 self-titled album, 311 “braved on with experimentation” with their dub-heavy follow-up, Transistor, which turned 20 this year. In celebration of this anniversary (or to catch up with a previously promoted goal from their 25th anniversary campaign), Transistor was finally reissued on vinyl after being out of print for decades. In fact, this 2017 release marks the first vinyl pressing of the album in it’s entirely, including the not universally compatible with CD players intro, but their priority this year has been  touring behind their impressive summer smash Mosaic LP, largely produced by Transistor’s Scotch Ralston.

Though, no Transistor live shows took place this year, their 22 song masterpiece was performed in its entirety at their one-off Pow Wow Festival in 2011. The festival was held at Spirit of Suwannee Lake Park in Live Oak, FL at the culmination of their summer tour that otherwise promoted their then-new almost-full length Universal Pulse, which was also performed at the festival. In the build-up to the festival, Square Cotton Candy’s Tom spoke with bassist P- Nut about the making and then-upcoming performance of Transistor. After a few years of being skipped over by the Wayback Machine, SCC is pleased to present this interview originally published in July 2011 on the now-defunct

SCC: Transistor contains your first solo composition on a 311 record, “Creature Feature.”

P-Nut: My only.

SCC: How did you feel during the initial process of bringing your own song to the band, as opposed to collaborating?

P-Nut: Obviously it was a little bit of an exercise in futility. I don’t really like relying on my kind of…If it’s just me writing music it’s either gonna’ be too weird or too simple. I so much prefer, and my career shows it, to collaborate. It’s so much more interesting. It’s so much more satisfying. I know what I’ll come up with. That doesn’t do anything for me, but to bounce ideas off of the rest of the guys in the band…and I stretch them out. I think Nick especially. When he and I work together he wrangles me in, makes me a sane person, and I make him a little more crazy than he normally acts, and I think it really works out well. I think we have a pretty good track record of writing really damn good songs together and what is cool is they end up being on the radio most of the time. I love it.

SCC: Some of the songs from Transistor were not performed until many years after it was released. How does it come together at rehearsal when you go over seldom played songs?

P-Nut: Well, there’s a song on Transistor, called “Tune In”, that we’ve never played live, so…it’s a trip. “Tune In” is a dictionary of riffs and it’s so much fun to play, and it’s very difficult, so I think those things just fell out of the loop. Never got into the mix…we have so many other songs to play. It’s hard to find ones. Some songs get buried and that one has never seen the light of day, unfortunately, which is really a trip.

SCC: How much of a process do you have to go through to get it to sound like you’re ready to bring it on stage?

P-Nut: Two or three rehearsals, just running through it, and then time on your own running through it four or five times. Any song that we took to the studio and pre-produced and perfected in our non-perfect’s still in there. It only takes you a quarter of a second to remember songs for the rest of your life, and as touring musicians, memory is a real kind of an unsung asset that you’ve gotta' have on stage, so it’s in there. It’s really not all that difficult. It’s a little bit of a struggle and people make too big of a deal out know what, I play basketball and jam my finger and people are like, “Oh my God! You use your hands for your living,” and I’m like, “What do you use? Do you use your nose?” We all use our hands…I’m just a guy. My machine I use is an electric bass and I’m lucky enough to play in front of lots of people but, you know, it’s funny. We’re spoiled. We’re totally spoiled and I like calling us out on it.

SCC: Staying humble.

P-Nut: Gotta' try. It’s a struggle. People don’t want you to be, but it’s who I am. It’s who I’ll always be.

SCC: What lyric, on [Transistor], do you feel best represents your personal outlook?

P-Nut: I love the line, it’s in “Jupiter”, Nick says, “I gotta’ say before sales dive, be positive and love your life.” Cause we knew we were making an album that wasn’t gonna’ be a commercial success compared to the blue album. It’s a completely different beast and I think that what’s allowed us to stick around for so long. If we had just made three and a half minute pop songs and filled up albums with that from our career past Transistor in ’97 it wouldn’t be very exciting. It certainly doesn’t seem like it would be as exciting as it is for us now. We can do whatever we want. We can do ballads and super-long, drawn-out songs, and we can do rockers, and we can do funk, and it’s just great. Transistor was our big middle-finger to the people who thought we were gonna’ make blue album number two…we don’t regret it for a second. Longevity is so much more sexy than burning out real quick.

SCC: What were some considerations made deciding to cut Transistor down to a single disc?
P-Nut: Well we wanted to make as much music as people could cram onto one disc and not have to pay for two; like have it be a double album but you only pay for the regular amount of music. It’s a love letter to the people that we knew were gonna’ support us years afterwards, even though it was a musical curve-ball.

SCC: Has a compilation of the unheard Transistor and Soundsystem outtakes been considered?

P-Nut: We’ve got a library of tons of unfinished songs. Yeah, that’s always being considered. I think It’d be cool for the fans to hear the evolution, even if…something got stopped in the making of a song from a classic period of the band, if that is considered a classic period of the band. Yeah, I mean it’ll happen eventually. It’s just a matter of time. [Editor’s note: This materialized with 2015’s Archive boxed set.]

SCC: Now with Universal Pulse, you’re on your own imprint, 311 Records. Would that allow anymore liberty in making that happen, or are those masters controlled by Volcano now?
P-Nut: Those masters are controlled by Volcano as far as I know. The great thing about us being on our own imprint is that live shows from this point on and other little stupid things that we wanna' do, we’ve got a lot more freedom to release music, so look forward to that in the future.

SCC: What caused you to choose Transistor to perform at [Pow Wow Festival]? I know you’ve performed Music, Grassroots, and blue all the way through before. Is it just a natural choice?

P-Nut: Yeah. For me, when the specific came to “we’re gonna’ play another album”, it was we’re gonna’ do Transistor next, because it’s the fans’ favorite. If we’re gonna’ ask them to come out to the middle of nowhere in Florida and hang out for a couple of days in a tent, we better be playing them their favorite music, so it was pretty easy decision to make.

SCC: Any surprises up your sleeves?             

P-Nut: Yes. (laughs)

SCC: Bustin’ out “Damn” finally?

P-Nut: Right, no, no. I think a lot of those really old Omaha songs probably will never get played. I mean, chances are…those have been retired. We played ‘em so much back in Omaha, and we’re such a different band now that it would be hard to reprise some of those. There’s things that are really close to our heart that we’ll get in and out every once in a while, but something like “Damn” or “Push It Away”; those are probably gone.

SCC: You’ve been playing 311 Day for about 10 years now, and now you have the cruise and the Pow Wow. It seems like you guys keep raising the bar of what you’re gonna’ surprise [the fans] with.

P-Nut: Our fans just push us into it. They support us so much…playing something special for them is just great. It’s just so much fun. I think our fans really get into it and our fans are at an age that some of them can afford to, if they’ve got money saved up for a vacation, they can come out on a cruise with us and have the time of their lives, and be with their favorite band…it’s great. I’m so happy that Third Man approached us and said that we had the right fame for it. Man, they were right. We broke records…for alcohol sales on our cruise. It was so much fun…we’re definitely gonna’ do it again.

SCC: Since Transistor there seems to be a pattern of putting out an album with an “er” suffix every six years: Transistor, Evolver, Uplifter. Is that intentional or just a product of what you happened to feel at the time?

P-Nut: It’s just the way the language works. We really like singular word titles most of the time, so for one word to be the descriptive of all this information and all this music it’s gonna' have to take on the suffix of one who does, like farmer: one who farms. It has its own kind of identity like that. You’re making me read way too far into this and I’ve never heard that before. That’s a real good observation. The old one was every other album had a song that was the title of the album and we broke that cycle this time through, which I think is cool. Traditions are meant to be broken.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Noel Gallagher's scissors player has a name and she's brilliant

Le Volume Courbe at New York's Roseland Ballroom, 9/22/08
In the aftermath of a recent Later with Jools Holland taping, avant-pop visionary Charlotte Marionneau has been thrust into the center of a dilated public eye. Her contribution as the scissors player for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds has become a viral sensation, inspiring cheeky Facebook events and providing new fodder to the legendary feud between the Gallagher brothers. However, all the fanfare has inexplicably neglected to mention the brilliant body of work on which she stands, let alone her name. As such, Square Cotton Candy is more than happy to fill in some of the gaps left by other rags.

A recent addition to the former Oasis songwriter and Celebrity Deathmatch contender’s ensemble, French expat Marionneau has spent many years cementing her own legacy as frontwoman and main creative force behind London based group Le Volume Courbe.  Their sound colors outside of the lines drawn by a deep pool of influences ranging from Nico to Cornelius, blending strings, electronics, and acoustic guitar accompaniment in such a way that evokes images of bustling downtown streets and snowy rural expanses within a span of minutes.

In the nearly two decades of their existence, Le Volume Courbe has gone through various iterations featuring such notable talents as Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, The Clientele’s Mel Draisey, as well as My Bloody Valentine’s Colm O’Ciossig and Kevin Shields. The endorsement from the latter arguably served to expand Le Volume Courbe’s audience more effectively than EMI’s lukewarm distribution of their 2005 debut LP I Killed My Best Friend ever did. Indeed, the disc more or less became a cutout bin rarity by the time they were tapped to support My Bloody Valentine on their first American voyage of the 21st century back in 2008.

For all of her brilliance, however, Marionneau isn’t exactly the most prolific auteur. Though a cover of folk standard Freight Train made it to vinyl via UK label Trouble Records in 2007, behind the scenes shuffling resulted in considerable delays for the follow-up Theodaurus Rex EP. Initially cancelled by Trouble and finally released in 2011 via Pickpocket Records (a joint venture between Shields and Marrioneau), the EP essentially served as a teaser for the group’s sophomore LP, 2015’s I Wish Dee Dee Ramone Was HereWith Me.

For their second album cycle, US distribution was picked up by LA based Ring the Alarm Records, though Marionneau and company have yet to cross the pond again. Still, with all of the praise he’s given, perhaps Gallagher will see fit to invite the rest of Team Courbe to open for his High Flying Birds during their upcoming stateside trek. This is most probably just wishful thinking, but for all of the attention Marionneau is getting as the “scissor sister”, this opportunity for her following to grow would be a terrible shame to waste on failing to mention her name.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Weezer: A Tale of Two Black Albums

Which one should see the light of day first?
With Weezer’s 11th proper studio release, Pacific Daydream, set to drop on October 27, loyal fans who stuck with them long enough to enjoy their redemption over the course of the last two albums might find a handful of reasons to scratch their heads at things that shouldn’t be all that surprising.  On the most basic level, listeners who became complacent with the marked increase in quality of Weezer’s recent records may wonder how the bottom could once again drop out with lead singles “Feels Like Summer” and “Mexican Fender”. However, this becomes less of a shock when one takes into account how few artists successfully recover from a mid-career slump and actually give justification to the music press’ obligatory comparisons to their classic period.  Indeed, when adding the latest single “Beach Boys” to the mix, the most surprising thing about the band’s return to vanilla becomes the fact that it’s taken them this long to explicitly glorify the Hawthorne, CA legends in one of their songs.   That being said, the rise and fall of Weezer had already become a tired narrative by the time 2014’s Everything Will Be Alright in the End showed that they could still win over some of the “Matt Sharp or bust” crowd.  As such, an aspect of this album cycle worth paying more attention to is the non-release of a previously hyped Black Album.
Building up to Pacific Daydream’s announcement, leader Rivers Cuomo had mentioned the forthcoming Black Album a handful of times in the press. Speaking to DIY Magazine in April 2016, he predicted the follow up would be “less summer day and more winter night” than the then-newly released White Album. While darker, more mature themes and coarser language were projected, the band ultimately scrapped this pursuit in favor of what became Pacific Daydream. Clear details regarding the quantity of abandoned material, or whether any of it carried over to the official product have yet to surface, but this change of direction should also not surprise longtime fans of the band. After all, a wealth of unused material has been the band’s calling card since at least as far back as when the demoed concept album Songs From the Black Hole was pushed aside in favor of 1996’s now-acclaimed Pinkerton.  A few years later, over 60 songs would be rejected before 2001’s Green Album’s 28 minute program was finalized, with the self-bootleg Summer Songs 2000 representing some discarded highlights that had seen the stage. In a similar fashion, 2005’s platinum Make Believe arose from a stockpile of more songs than Weezer had released to date. Though the sheer quantity of tracks left behind even halfway through their career is staggering,  the group’s productivity still grew to excess even past the 20 year mark, with approximately 250 contenders that didn’t make it past pre-production for their White Album. Clearly, Weezer is a prolific rock band who keep completionists hungry by the change of their moods, but even if they’ve built a brand on color-coding identically titled albums, it is still somewhat baffling why they would begin work on a second Black Album before even releasing the first.
Yes, between the Green Album and 2002’s Maladroit, another Black Album neared completion. At this point in their career, though they had just lost bassist Mikey Welsh (to what were long mysterious circumstances), Weezer was riding high on their first of many comebacks, and were creative as ever. With a heavy touring schedule sandwiching their studio dates,  new material was tested out on the road, like Black Album tracks “So Low” and “We Go Together", as heard on their occasionally bootlegged October 2001 HBO Reverb special. Having momentum on their side, work continued until November 2001, when a tentative 12 song sequence was assembled.  Perhaps the group was unsatisfied with the performances or expected that better songs would appear in short order, but for whatever still yet-to-be-explained reasons, this album made it no further than this step in production. Soon after, in December 2001, work on what would become Maladroit commenced. A majority of the original Black Album songs were also attempted during these sessions, but only two (“Fall Together” and “Do You Want Me To Stay”) would make it onto the released disc.  Fortunately for hungry fans, Maladroit-era Cuomo took great interest how the then-recent popular adoption of the internet could help bridge the gap between the band and their followers, and several work-in-progress demos were leaked from the man himself, including new versions of songs featured on the Black Album. However, by the time Maladroit was released in May 2002, the abandoned Black Album faded into obscurity for good.
Enough time has passed since then for many fans to reappraise Maladroit as a worthy successor to the Green Album and a hidden gem in the storied band’s cannon, though Weezer’s increasingly greatest-hits oriented concerts currently leave all but minor hits “Dope Nose” and “Keep Fishin’” off the stage. The intervening years have also treated listeners to variety of long-lost tunes, including some of Make Believe’s “Fallen Soldiers” on 2010’s Death To False Metal, and a complete (albeit discontinuous) release of Songs From the Black Hole via Cuomo’s Alone series of demo compilations. It’s a testament to how low of a priority for the band the original Black Album is that it wasn’t revisited on the above archival releases, and that no questions were raised when a second Black Album was hinted at in 2016 speaks volumes of the press’ commitment to research on the matter. With enough motivation, listeners today can approximate what the lost record may have sounded like via circulating demos, but between Weezer’s continued productivity and how overdue the deluxe edition of the Green Album is, a proper release of 2001’s Black Album doesn’t seem to stand a chance in the foreseeable future.

Black Album (2001) : 11/3/01 work in progress track list (courtesy of

1. My Weakness
2. Change The World
3. The Dawn
4. Ain't Got Much Time
5. We Go Together
6. Fall Together*
7. Diamond Rings
8. Your Room
9. Living Without You#
10. So Low
11. Faith in the Light
12. Do You Want Me to Stay (a.k.a. Love Explosion)*

*remade and released on Maladroit
#remade and released on the Japanese release of Maladroit

Monday, February 13, 2017

Artist watch: Philly shoegazer's The Virgouts

At Sunday night’s benefit show for the American Civil Liberties Union at Northern Liberties’ Ortlieb’s, Francisville-turned-Fishtown shoegazers The Virgouts finally found their match, opening for fellow Philly-gazers Starterjacket. Formed in Spring of 2016, The Virgouts, up until this point, were more or less an outlier on their bills, having shared the stage with a disparate variety of acts including switchboard electronica at The Fire, and their placement on Saturday night’s skatepunk showcase at south Philly spot The Pharmacy.

Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Rashad Rastam, bassist Nick Schon, and drummer Ryan Lohbauer, The Virgouts combine a rather unworn list of ingredients to set their brand of shoegaze apart. For one, Rastams’ethereal guitar washes are starkly contrasted by Schon’s surging, fingerpicked basslines that employ no effects. On Schon’s contributions, which display a slick, jazzy influence uncommon in shoegaze at large, Rastam assessed that, “I’m pretty sure that like if it wasn’t for like the basslines we’d be fucked.” Lohbauer also showed awareness for the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, recalling that “[The Virgouts have sometimes] been practicing [when] Nick’s not around, and it’s like ‘what is this?'” Adding to the sense that no cookie-cutters were used in the making of this music are the vocals, as Rastam opts for a raw, punk-seasoned delivery that helps one imagine what it would be like if Sick of It All were not so sick of it all. On stage, the sound-synergy becomes immediately evident, with set opener “Oversized” likely to induce closed eye visuals of a cyberpunk thriller’s obligatory, deleted snowboarding scene.

Still, although their stage act is power-packed, for the time being The Virgouts are among the countless artists whose available recordings leave the energy of their live show substantially uncaptured, making it imperative to see them live for the full effect. Fortunately, this should soon be remedied, as two new releases are on the way for 2017, including their Deaded EP and a yet to be titled full length album. Regarding Deaded, Rastam shares, “it’s gonna’ be a six song EP for sure. The songs that [we played] tonight are going to be on the EP. We recorded it last year, then I moved to Queens so it got a little tied up, but we’re gonna’ put it out this year for sure.” Though it will be directly preceding the album, the EP is slated to contain entirely separate material from the full-length, adding value for listeners. “Our new record’s like gonna’ be 10 to 12 songs. It’s 50% done. We wanna’ put out the EP first though”, elaborated Rastam on the forthcoming releases.

Having just found their way into the Philly’s thriving shoegaze scene, the trio has yet to gain much of a following, but 2017 looks promising with all that is in store, and showgoers owe it to themselves to see The Virgouts while they can still get to the front with ease.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

New York's Flower Shows-Off Bouquet of Fresh Tracks at Union Pool

Flower 2/10/17 at Union Pool, Brooklyn, NY (L-R: Ian James, Ed Baluyut, Richard Baluyut)
When bands take the stage after decades of absence, they tend to face a spectrum of polarized opinions. On the open-minded end, loyal fans who simply want to press rewind often crave authenticity in the form of an original lineup and familiar material. Opposite that are the hardliners who will eschew nostalgic retreads to the point that they would rather stand on the roof of the carwash playing washtub bass than attend any comeback show. Fortunately for those who arrived fashionably early to Brooklyn’s Union Pool on Friday night, New York college-rock gems Flower proved that both sides can be met in the middle while still staying far away from the middle of the road.

Flower’s appearance preceded that of The Jason LowensteinBand, whose leader has also performed with Sebadoh and The Fiery Furnaces, and +/- (Plus/Minus) ,who, like Flower, have a noticeable lineup overlap with the more widely recognized Versus. Such billing made it all the more easy for showgoers to mistake themselves for contestants on Guess Who’s Coming to Chickfactor, as within the audience also stood a veritable Who’s Who from the golden age of indie-rock, including Simple MachinesRecords/Tsunami co-founders Jenny Toomey and Kristin Thompson, as well as illustrator Tae Won Yu, formerly of the New York duo Kicking Giant.

For this show, Flower’s original lineup of Ian James (bass, vocals), brothers Richard (guitar, vocals) and Ed Baluyut (guitar), and Andrew Borwdin (drums) played a rather unconventional reunion set, consisting almost entirely of new tracks from their forthcoming album. In fact, the sole representative of their back catalog, Memorial Day (from 1990’s Hologram Sky LP),  came only as something of a favor to a superfan. R. Baluyut explained, “[Lowenstein] was a huge Flower fan as a kid, but he never got to see us ‘cause he was too young. We played with him before, like Versus, but [Flower] wanted to play with him, because I knew he was a fan. Sadly, I forgot that , oh, we should probably play some old songs that he knows, so we did one at the end, Memorial Day, just for him.”

"I think a show is when you’re always moving forward."
-Richard Baluyut

Still, even with 45 minutes of principally unfamiliar material, the Union Pool crowd was in for a pleasant surprise, as the new tracks avoided the pitfalls of most artists entering their second act . “We just recorded them and most of them don’t have words yet, so I wrote words this week, but everyone knows them by the number. We played 6, 2, 8, 9, 14, 17, 5, 20, its all like that”, elaborated R. Baluyut on the fresh songs that evince a natural continuity from where they left off 27 years ago, without the staleness or seemingly forced updating so prevalent in long standing artists’ new work. “It’s  just a project that was kinda’ like a what if: what would happen if we sat in the same room and tried to write new songs, cause it’s like we had this thing years ago but let’s see if we still have it, and we discovered that we do, and then all of these new songs appeared, kinda’ out of thin air”, reflected Borwdin.

Concerning the new record, patience is still very much a virtue, as vocals and other overdubs have yet to be completed, but a true sense of renewal has taken the members of Flower since reforming and, as far as they’re concerned, this is just the beginning. As Bordwin put it, “ we played a few kind of like reunion shows. We played at the Knitting Factory, we played at the Bell House, and we played at the Cake Shop, and that was just kinda’ like looking backwards, and this is all about looking forwards. We wanna’ play more shows, and we wanna’ find a home for this record at some point. We gotta’ finish it first, but it’s kinda’ about rediscovering something, and you know, it’s kind of an experiment, and everybody’s along for the ride.”