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936: Recorded by Luke Tweedy at Flat Black Studios in Iowa City and mastered in Berlin

Peaking Lights is Aaron and Indra from Rah Dunes and Numbers. The new duo project settled in rural wisconsin to record what was to become Peaking Lights. Noise Pop on Not Not Fun Records, they have released two exquisite albums, Imaginary Falcons and their latest titled 936.



Peaking Lights – All The Sun That Shines from Not Not Fun on Vimeo.

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Interview with Journalist Kara Zuaro

Kara Zuaro, author of “I Like Food, Food Tastes Good (In The Kitchen With Your Favorite Bands” has been quite the inspiration to me; as a writer she has been innovative in mixing all the ingredients that make for a perfect recipe of music and food, enriching the reader with laughter and insight into all of ones’ pleasures. I got the chance to ask her some questions about her career and all the inspiration that led her to where she is today.

A little background, Kara, how did you begin your career as a
music/food/travel journalist? and who were you influences?

I guess I my career started when I was editor of my high school
newspaper — or rather, when I got in a fight with the principal of my
high school about some controversial articles that she wouldn’t allow
us to run.  The morning I resigned from my post as editor-in-chief and
cut the rest of the day of school marked the beginning of my career in
journalism.In college, I was lucky to be a part of an amazing staff at Notre
Dame’s Scholastic magazine, and I interned for CMJ during my summers
at home in New York.  I wrote my first music reviews and interviews
for CMJ, and when one of my CMJ editors got a job at Citysearch, she
let me write some restaurant reviews so that I could get paid AND get
some free food out of the deal.  I had a couple of secretarial day
jobs after college, but my freelance work for Citysearch eventually
helped me to get hired at Epicurious.  Epi assigned me my first food
and travel features.  

I continued to write about music on the side while I was at
Epicurious, and that’s when I collected all the recipes for my indie
rock cookbook, “I Like Food, Food Tastes Good.”  The cookbook includes
a bunch of stories about bands and food, and when I was writing them,
I re-read Michael Azerrad’s’ “Our Band Could Be Your Life” and “Nowhere
To Run: The Story of Soul Music” by Gerri Hirshey, which offers a
personal look at the lives of people like Otis Redding, James Brown,
and Aretha Franklin.  I consider myself more of a music fan than a
music critic, and those two books helped me find my voice.

What is the most memorable concert you’ve ever attended?

Gosh, probably Paul McCartney at Madison Square Garden in 5th grade.
I remember the room getting darker and this small riser magically
lifting Paul and his piano as he played “Fool on the Hill” — I still
get goosebumps thinking about it.  I also remembering asking my dad
why the people sitting next to us were smoking such funny-smelling
cigarettes.  He gave me a brief and alarming description of what it
meant to “get stoned,” and explained that we didn’t need to smoke
marijuana to have a good time.  Pretty awesome setting for a
don’t-do-drugs speech!

What are a few items essential to your “tour survival kit”?

Sleeping bag, pillow, ear plugs, sleeping mask, phone with internet
access, facial cleansing wipes, aspirin.  Some dudes have no trouble
sleeping splayed out on a stranger’s couch without a sheet — but I
need to be wrapped up in something when we sleep.  If I can create a
little nest for myself, I can sleep on any floor, anywhere. (A little
whiskey before bedtime helps, too.)  Nowadays, your phone provides
every map you’ll need.  And the cleansing wipes mean you can wash up
even if you can’t get near a sink or shower.  The aspirin is not only
to ease your own pain but also to aid your grouchy hungover band mates.
Bring a lot.  I like Excedrin Migraine.

What are you listening to now? Who is your most recent favorite Artist or album, (if one is too narrow, do you have a top three?)


I just downloaded the new Justin Townes Earle single, and I’m really
excited about his new record — Jason Isbell, formerly of the Drive-By
Truckers plays on it.  I love Dr. Dog. I was a big Archers of Loaf fan
and listen to a lot of Crooked Fingers, Eric Bachmann’s post-Archers
project.  And I love Otis Redding, Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen, the
Beatles… it’s hard to really hard to narrow it down!

What is your favorite recipe in I Like Food, Food Tastes Good: In The Kitchen With Your Favorite Bands?

Singer-songwriter/classically-trained chef Patrick Phelan’s “Swanky
Mac & Cheese,” made with Gruyere and fresh lobster, is one of the most
delicious things I’ve ever made.  But you can’t be cooking that fancy
all the time.  The My Morning Jacket sandwich, made with a fake
chicken patty, cheddar, farmer’s cheese, and pickles, has been getting
a lot of play in our kitchen this summer.

What is your latest Project you have been working on?
I’m in the very early stages of putting together a travel book that

uses indie rock tours as vacation inspiration.  

What are you reading now?

Sherman Alexie’s “War Dances” — such a big-hearted book.  I don’t
want it to end.

Any stories from your excursions on the road with your favorite bands that
especially stand out?

Title Tracks, a band from DC, took me from San Diego to Seattle with
them in May.  There were four guys in the band at the time, and I
didn’t know any of them very well in the beginning of tour.  But, you
know, we were in close quarters the whole time, so we didn’t stay
strangers for long.

Lots of fun things happened along the way — we slept on an alpaca
farm in Santa Barbara, where we met a 160-pound dog that recently
killed a mountain lion.  We were flashed by a young blond, while
sitting around pool at the Phoenix Hotel in San Francisco around 3am.
I ate my first In-N-Out burger, and my first loquats (picked off a
tree in Santa Monica).  And I got to see one of my favorite bands play
every day.

But I keep thinking back to an off-night, when the band didn’t have a
show, in Medford, Oregon.  We got a cheap hotel room there, and one of
the guys seemed to want some alone-time to wash up and relax.  Another
one wanted to check out this (terrifying-looking) strip club called
“The Office.”  We’d been together for five days straight at this
point, and we’d been stuck in the car all day, but instead of feeling
sick of them, I felt kind of weird and sad about splitting up.  I
missed my husband and my bed and my nice, clean, private bathroom, but
I was starting to realize that I was going to miss the band when I
went home.

Anyway, the remaining two guys took me to this pretty awful college
bar, where the their license scanner read me as 408 years old.  It
took some doing to convince them that it wasn’t a fake ID.  (I’m
actually 31.)  By the time I came back to the table with our second
round, the whole band was at there — the strippers and the quiet
hotel room, it seems, weren’t as entertaining as hanging out together.
It sounds so sappy, but at the time, nothing in the world seemed more
fun than hanging out at that terrible bar with those dudes.

That’s the kind of thing that can only happen on tour — you find
yourself somewhere you never intended to be and never hope to visit
again, but at that moment, there is no place in the world you’d rather be

mike bob chris: The Mutts

In the basement of Double Door, I had the chance to sit down and ask The members of The Mutts a few questions twenty minutes before they went on stage…

So, The Mutts…

Mike: I have never really explained the band name before, this is an inaugural explanation… combination of liking dogs and making a living walking dogs.

First question… Most important, is, why?

Mike: Because it’s out there

Safe Word?

Chris: Booger

Favorite/least favorite cheese? (for the cheese-enthusiast)

Chris/Mike: Gouda
Bob: Well, I am a vegan… so least favorite might be the cheese that smells kind of like feet.

Robots or Dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs (collectively)

Strangest venue or gig you’ve ever played?

All: The Mutiny… not that it was strange… more cool than strange

how did you begin your career and who were your influences?

Chris: I was in a few bands before the Mutts (i.e. The Hush Sounds) and we all just sort of met up and rocked out.

What is the most memorable concert you’ve ever attended?

Chris: The Roots at Depaul, outdoors in the pouring rain.
Mike: New Kids on the Block, my sister dragged me there when I was 8, my first concert I ever attended
Bob: My first concert was Filter. Also Cornelius.

What are you listening to now?

Archie Powell and the Exports, Sting, Tom Waits and NPR, Big Science, Pillars and Tongues, American Football.

Old records/music that influenced you?

Bob: The first record i remember digging on as a kid was weather report’s birdland.  I was kind of obsessed with jaco pastorius’ bass in the title track.  i also really liked joe venuti and john barnes live at the concord music festival for some reason.  i was 5 or 6.  who knows? haha

What is the worst advice you’ve ever been given?

Chris: When someone handed me some peanut butter and said “Eat this, you’re not allergic”

If you were to communicate using one word what would it be?

Chris: Aghhh (with some silent J’s)
Mike: Meow
Bob: Yum

how do you make those wicked guitar riffs, is it a gift or did you learn from some venerable teacher?

Mike: My piano teacher from age 7 to 13 was a 6’7″, 300+ pound Hungarian man named Janus Zemzars.  He had a booming voice and had to duck to get through the practice room doors at the Arts Center back in Ashtabula, OH.  It was terrifying to imagine going to a lesson unprepared.  But he was really a nice guy, who just happened to make a grand piano look like a toy (like a real-life Shroeder from Peanuts).  I loved learning gypsy Tarantellas, Muzio Clementi sonatas, and heavy Tchaikovsky compositions.  I accidentally lift riffs from that stuff on occasion.


have you ever considered touring with some strange band whose sound is polaropposite of your own? if you had to choose what would it be?

Mike: Yes – either Sigur Ros or Dream Theater. Or both!

Best part of the sandwich?


Mike: The Crust
Bob: the sandwich is all about the hot giardiniera, available only at the subways in the midwest.  tastes like home.


What can we expect from the band in the future?

we  going to invent something for space travel.
All: Going on tour, playing SXSW, 90 day tour in March

Mutts - The Tells of Parallels Cover

Terranaut

From their album The Tells of Parallels

Siskiyou_room01-1



Siskiyou

It is an album of desire, composure and grace, as it tears at your hearts strings, softly at times. It’s’ melodically transitions accumulate like folds of luscious thick velvet layered upon a long winding wooden floor. There is simple imagery that in its essence is integral and lighthearted, though has peaks and valleys that bemuse you.

Great Lake Swimmers former members branched off and patiently learned to record and create their debut Self-titled album, which was released on Constellation in the Fall of 2010.
colin eirk
The band is a collaboration of Colin Huebert and Erik Arensen; Peter Carruthers and Shaunn Watt joined the band to play the songs live, but have since become institutions. The Band name was inspired by the Northern California mountain range, Siskiyou.
Colin currently resides in Vancouver, which is where he was when I spoke with him over the phone

 

 

http://siskiyouband.com/listen/

You can trust that Constellation Records will get it right, about over 100% of the time, and Siskiyou is an example, and, ahem, may I be so bold to say a testament to that? Colin himself enjoys the artists on the label; Pat Jordache, Godspeed You Black Emporer, Colin Stetson and Do Make Say Think… just to name a few. Here is a video courtesy of Constellation, The Land by Siskiyou
This Land – Siskiyou from Constellation Records on Vimeo.

1. Now for the safe word….(in case you don’t want to answer any questions, useful)


skate board

2. Favorite cheese?


Brie is my favorite

3. Robots or Dinosaurs?

Dinosaurs, stegosaurus is my favorite…


4. Strangest venue or gig you’ve ever played?

It was in Jackson, Mississippi at a Hot dog restaurant. It was infested with man-size cockroaches.


5. How did you begin your career and who were your influences


Erik and I were (Erik still is) playing in Great lake swimmers until it became less enjoyable for me due to busy schedules. I learned how to record with two cheap microphones, recruited a few close friends, namely Erik Arnesen and released the album on Constellation just recently. In the Fall, we will release a new record…
Aside from music I do some tree related work, and some urban farming. At the urban farm we mainly grow sprouts… sunflower sprouts, pea sprouts, in Vancouver. At the other farm (in the interior) there was much more land to grow every vegetable imaginable. Erik plays in Great Lake Swimmers and teaches ukulele to kids.

6. What is the most memorable show you’ve ever attended?

It would have to be The Flaming Lips performing Zaireeka in Austin, Texas. There were 40 boom boxes and they brought up 40 people from the audience.

7. What are a few items essential to your “tour survival kit”?


Sleeping pills.


8. What are you listening to now?

Damien Jurado. St Bartlett, his latest release.

9. What is the worst advice you’ve ever been given?

If you avoid something it will go away.

10. If you were to communicate using one word what would it be?

Motherfucker, two guys communicated using just that word on “the wire”. It was quite successful.

11. Can you dance?

Yes. mmmhmmm (Matter of Fact tone)

12. Anything else you want the people to know?

Our cat Pixie is an aspiring accountant. She is currently doing our taxes.

Enhanced-buzz-1358-1295384168-36
Please note this is not an actual picture of Pixie, she preferred not to be photographed

Hold it in….




Everything I have…

Impulsivity, intuition and heavily influenced by The Kinks and Neo Boys, Hannah Lew and Raven Mahon, former members of Shitstorm, joined Lillian Maring and became Grass Widow. Their second album was recently released on Kill Rock Stars. The ladies were more than happy to answer a few of my questions.

Favorite/least favorite cheese? (for the cheese-enthusiast)

Hannah: Never met a cheese I didn’t like.
Lillian: Very enthusiastic.
Raven: yogurt

Robots or Dinosaurs?

L: Dinobots. Robosaurs.
H: Humans
R: I pick dinosaurs. Or robots raising dinosaurs in incubators for humans.

Strangest venue or gig you’ve ever played?

R: Strangest?… Strangest….er….sometimes when we finish songs we
lure test subjects/friends into our subterranean meatlocker practice
space, which is about 12 cubic feet of raw, smelly noise.

Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

H:We have a pretty wide range of influence as a band. For our song-writing-we’re generally influenced and inspired by each-other but, we listen to everything from Classical to Rank Xerox on tour. Some rock albums that have influenced me/made me want to just quit are …Wire:Pink Flag,  Kinks:Village Green preservation Society, Neo Boys:Crumbling Myths, Nirvana:Nevermind, Alice Cooper:Pretties For You, Wipers: Is This Real, Kaliedescope(UK):Faintly Blowing ….to name a few.

R: Yeah, and I’d have to add a few classical dudes to the list like Chopin and Rachmaninoff and Liszt.

how did you begin your career as and who were your influences?

H: Fellini, Italo Calvino, Neo Boys, Laura Mulvey, My dad.
R: Unrelated to music, but as creative influences: David Foster Wallace, Louise Erdrich, my mom, and of course, Hannah and Lillian.

What is the most memorable concert you’ve ever attended?

R: Red Hot Chili Peppers, circa 1996, Auckland, NZ, doc martins, fence
jumping, alcohol, vomit.

What are a few items essential to your “tour survival kit”?

H: Stretch Pants, Corn Thins, Will Shortz Crossword book, Cold Press coffee
situation.
L: Playing cards, soda, lavender, bobby pins.
R: A picture of Bobby, a four-leaf clover, my grandmother’s necklace, a 22. Just kidding, I don’t own any of those things.

What are you listening to now?

H: Rank Xerox, Nose Dive, Broken Water, Caethua, Milk Music.
R: Rodriguez, Wetdog, Trash Kit, Yo Yo Ma’s cello sonatas.

Any stories from your excursions on the road?

R: Once we were late-night swimming in an Iowa City reservoir and some lights started twinkling in the distance. Someone yelled “WATER COPS! WATER FUCKING COPS!” and everyone flipped out, which led to a mad scramble up a cliff face and over each other and through poison oak and into the car…etc. “WATER COPS!”

H: If you heard a rumor that we are known to fall asleep with food in our mouths on tour-that is not true!
L: Yes, it is.

What is the worst advice you’ve ever been given?

H: A lot of people like to give us advice, like when we get shitty show
offers and the booker says he’s “been in the biz for a while and that we
should be glad to get the exposure.” Recently a guy that was touring with a
band we were playing with offered me “rock and roll advice”. We recently
wrote a song called  “Advice” based on some of these experiences. There’s a
lot of condescending douches out there, but the bottom line is that if you’re in a band-you have the opportunity to use your celebrity to set standards . You have to make your own decisions about what you care about, and not settle .

If you were to communicate using one word what would it be?

L: “Charisma”
R: Tjerokngk

Can you dance? What is your day job?


H: Yeah, when? Don’t you live in Chicago? We could Skype Dance. I work at an independent Video store in San Francisco called Lost Weekend.
L: I love to dance. Right now I’m working on a move called the “Moon Age Day Dream”, it involves appearing to float. I’ll post a video once I nail it. I work at a cafe.

R: I like to dance. I am a woodworker/fabricator/furniture-maker.

What can we expect from the band in the future?


H: We are working on a new album right now and are touring a bunch this year

You have mentioned in an interview your aversion to the “angry Chick Band” so many female artist’s’ are labeled. Can you elaborate more on what Grass Widow is all about- and if you do get angry- do you get even? (pretty sure that is a standard interview question for potential grocers)

H: Sometimes I get angry/depressed and then I get down on myself for getting angry/depressed, but then I think-The world is totally fucked. Any intelligent person who cares about anything is bound to get angry and depressed from time to time. Feminism and the riot grrrl movement have set the stage and created a context for women playing music today, but these labels are redundant and have lost their potency in a modern context. There is plenty that female musicians are up against these days-with internet voyeurism and a youth culture largely based in some blog’s validation of a band. This stuff is new-and female musicians have never had to deal with this shit before, so in a sense we are responding with our merit and intuition alone-using our own tools. I don’t think there is a limit to the ways that femininity can be expressed,  and I would hope that we could be part of a system that enabled other women to be confident with their individuality-have the balls to display strength and integrity. Forging new ground and creating ways to include women in the audience is an ongoing challenge,so I guess we just have to maintain a modern outlook and be ready for the future.

Some one posted a “Missed Connections” ad on craigslist about you, what does it say?

R: “I saw you eating cheese.”

Roberto Carlos Lange earned his nickname, Negro (a name used as a term of endearment), growing up  in South Florida. He went off to college in Savannah, Georgia and discovered visual and auditory art. He and David Ellis were working on some  kinetic sound sculptures.

‘These include typewriters that self-type the lyrics to Grand Master Flash’s “The Message” (in rhythm to the song, none-the-less), musical owls drawn out of liquor bottles, owl costumes made out of straws, flying musical birds, motion paintings, and trash cans (full of trash) that are actually living drum machines.’ –Asthmatic Kitty.

He has worked on several projects, including Epstein, School of Seven Bells, Prefuse 73, and has released two albums, Awe Owe and Pasajero on Asthmatic Kitty. His third album, Canta Lechuza, comes out May 10.

He currently resides in Brooklyn New York, where I had a chance to chat with him while he was working on some kinetics with David Ellis…



Favorite/least favorite cheese?


I say the stinkier the better… As a kid I started with American Cheeses, nowadays I go to the farmers market/cheesory for some stinky blue.


Strangest venue or gig you’ve ever played?


while touring in Japan we had several strange experiences. we were traveling through smaller towns when we stopped by this strange place filled with fast food joints and strip malls… and a truck lot is where we ended up playing; weird to be at some abandoned spot with a total of five people and giant speakers surrounding the room, I was thinking “where the hell are we?”
Another strange (awesome) venue we played was on a mountain top, while in the pouring rain, ape shit crazy, so random to just end up on a hippie commune in Japan. They had some super earthy hippie products too…  for instance reusable lady pads, I put them on my eyes before I go to sleep. And we stopped at a beer joint and ate whale and octopus jerky… I had to try it, the whale jerky.


How did you begin your career and who were your influences?


I just got into it…. my  first step in the direction was buying records, playing guitar, sampling records… seeing where I could tear things apart and reorganize them, veer from a traditional learning structure.


Seen Any good shows lately?

Oh shit, I have a hard time attending live shows which reflects how I feel when performing live as well. I can only take so much. If they were only ten minutes, no more then thirty minutes, I’d enjoy it much more.

What is something you never leave home without before going on tour?

Trying to think of something good to say, something original… clothes.


What was the last record you bought?


This is funny because its like when I get into a record store those 300 albums that I wanted and thought of throughout the day just escape my memory, so recently I bought an album from the originals, still have yet to open it, judging from the cover I would say it is R n B and Soul; Abner Jay; also Juliana Barwick, we’re actually working on a record right now.


What is the worst/best advice you have ever been given?


My High School guidance  counselor said I should go to community college. The best advice I have ever been given was don’t go to community college.


If you were to communicate using one word what would it be?


Hide.

Can you dance?


I can dance, yes, though I dance for specific reasons…


There is a Craigslist missed connections ad written about you, what does it say?


I saw you with the puffy hair, remember me? You were at the micky D’s eating chicken nuggets.


Let’s say for the rest of your life You have to carry a 50 lb bag, that is full of ______?


Of… what, what the hell would I have in there? A lot of paper and pens…


Would you rather have hands for feet or feet for hands?


Either way would be fine because I would be a monkey


Anything else you want the people to know? Or not to know?


I do have to go to the bathroom… and I love interviews.



Helado Negro



The combination of ethereal instrumentals and devastating melodies. These two Artists have managed to capture my heart in simultaneous harmony… Keepaways’ Family of the Sun in combination with Lower Dens’ Completely Golden, are two tracks that will illuminate an echo in your mind and ear drums.

Keepaway– Babystyle

An EP just released by a Brooklyn, NY based three piece. Mike Burakoff, Frank Lyon, and Nick Nauman have created such an album with sampling, guitar, percussion and vocals.

 

 

Lower Dens– Twin Hand Movement

Jana Hunter leads this four piece band, hailing from Baltimore to Texas. Their latest album has spinning vocals and an eerie devastation in the lyrics.


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lucy betina

lucy betina

A song that slowly builds and expands can make the agonizing pace of the first few verses seem worth hearing in the end.

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