City and Colour Interview

Dallas Green aka City and Colour came through Terminal 5 in New York on his latest tour. This was the first City and Colour tour since the Alexisonfire breakup announcement, and also probably the biggest City and Colour US tour yet. Last time I spoke to Dallas Green was on Warped Tour 2009 when Alexisonfire was still going strong and they were touring in support of what would become their last record, Old Crows/Young Cardinals. Since then, City and Colour has blown up in America and they’ve played a variety of big shows including the big FYF Fest MWTX show at SXSW and Coachella. It was evident that night at Terminal 5 that City and Colour has come a long way since the acoustic tunes that Dallas Green used to put out and play on the side from his original post-hardcore band.

When I first saw you play as City and Colour, you were supporting Tegan and Sara at the Music Box sometime around 2008. What’s changed for City and Colour in America since then?

Something that would be completely different would be that we have a band. I’ve also put out another record. Quit another band, got older, got a little grey hair, haha but that’s ok.

Do you have any plans or desire to do something more with Tegan and Sara in the future? Maybe a record?

I desire to be with them every day of my life because they are two of the best people I’ve ever met. But, I can’t.

The set you played at Coachella this year was much different than what I originally saw at the Music Box. The new album is much more full sounding than Bring Me Your Love was. What brought on the change?

There were definitely songs that I heard as a full band. When I demoed them, I demoed them without instruments and I listened to it and thought, “Yeah, I like that.” I didn’t want to make a record folk because that’s what people thought it should be. That’s not what I do. I write songs that I want to hear and make me happy first and hopefully people can listen to them and enjoy them as well.

Tell me about the decision to end Alexisonfire and do City and Colour full time.

It was not my decision to end Alexisonfire. I quit Alexisonfire and subsequently, they decided to break up because another member had an opportunity to do something else and the other guys just decided not to continue. Well I spent 10 years doing that and 5 of those years I was doing this at the same time. It just got to be too much for me. My heart was leaning more towards writing and touring on these songs, rather than it was trying to find new ways to be in a genre of music that I didn’t want to be in. I was struggling to find ideas for new songs and I wasn’t enjoying the touring because I knew I had this and wanted to try to fully put everything I had into this. So many things were happening with City and Colour without me putting all of my efforts. I thought, if I don’t do this now, then ill resent everything that I’ve done looking back on it now. Now I can appreciate the 10 years of being in that band.

Are you going to miss playing loud and energetic shows?

Occasionally, yeah. There are some pretty loud moments in the City and Colour show. Right now, this is where I need to be. Especially, with my voice; I feel like this is how I should be singing. When I was screaming at the top of my lungs of for an hour and a half it just didn’t feel that’s what I should be doing. I was always worried and it was always a struggle. Whereas now when I go out, I can just enjoy it.

The breakup announcement on the Alexisonfire website mentioned the possibility of a round of 10th anniversary farewell shows. Any possibility of an epic Gallows/City and Colour/Alexisonfire tour bill?

I would 100% be a part of it, and no I don’t see it happening.

Do you prefer the frontman role or the supporting role you had previously?

Well, if you notice, I don’t stand in the middle I stand out to the side. I have no desire in the middle and be a frontman. I know the band is my thing, but I don’t ever see it in that way. Some musicians love being in the middle and having that limelight. We actually tried it on this tour in Detroit. I stood in the middle and we were going to change everything around. Next night, we were like “That was pretty good, right?” Then I was like, “I’m going to go back to the right,” and everyone was like, “Yeah, get back to the right, it’s way cooler. I think of guys like Ryan Adams or Ray LaMontagne where they always stand out to the side too. I know it’s mainly my songs, but I have this band of my friends and I have been standing on stage right for 10 years.

From what I’ve been told, Canadian artists can get money from the government to tour and make music videos. Do you think this plays a big role in helping out smaller bands? How has it helped you throughout your career?

It helped Alexisonfire because one of the main things is called VideoFact that apply to make a video. We made a video in 2002 and it got played on so MuchMusic,(Canada’s MTV) and it got on this fan-voted show and reached number one. This was back when that genre of music was not even remotely popular. The fact that we were able to do that on this mainstream television show where we got to make this video of these screaming kids running around, was amazing. That was a huge development for us and our fan base in Canada. It allowed for so many kids across Canada to see what we were doing. We made tons and tons of videos now and it was helped payed for by the government. They also helped us tour. Alexis was huge touring band and toured everywhere. That’s why on alot of Canadian records that come out, you will see a note that says “Funded by the Canadian Government.” It’s a lot easier for us to do that because our population is 33 million which is the size of California. It’s great to able to come from a society where they help the arts. It is probably most of the reason why I can sit here in this interview with you.

Why do you think America has never created some sort of program like this?

American has so many people to take care. In Canada, there’s only 30 million of us in a giant country. That’s why Canadians are so nice, because there’s not enough of us to get on each other’s nerves hah.

What’s in the future for City and Colour? New album? More touring?

I’m going to go tour Canada in the Winter. The cold weather and snow don’t bother me because I’ve grown up there. It can get tough because shows get canceled and things like that just happen.

The Devil Wears Prada: A Night in Photos


The last time I saw The Devil Wears Prada (TDWP), I was a scrawny 16 year-old in the middle of a mosh at Warped Tour. A whole album cycle ago, the Christian metalcore band from Dayton, Ohio was at what I thought would be the apex of their career. Luckily for them, the success of the band’s latest album “Dead Throne,” has kept their fanbase growing, and the band evolving.
The Devil Wears Prada - Jeremy DePoyster
So fast forward to last Thursday night at Metropolis in Montreal, and I’m dead center snapping photographs of TDWP – and man, was I ever blown away. The title song “Dead Throne” was ferocious and loud, and had all the kids in the crowd nuts from the get-go. They moved into a few more songs from the new album such as “Untidaled,” “Born to Lose,” and “Kansas” – an instrumental track with screamer Mike Hranica on the guitar. This may have been the highlight of night, because it may not have the huge breakdowns and screams, it shows off just how musically tight these guys are. But don’t get me wrong – the performances of all songs that night were top notch.
The Devil Wears Prada
The stage was rather elaborate for a metal show too, with ramps sprawling the stage and a “Dead Throne” symbol lighting the backdrop. It was pretty refreshing to see something different on stage rather than a usual set-up. Kudos to the production managers and the band members for that.
The Devil Wears Prada - Mike Hranica
Here’s where the show hits a snag though: Mike Hranica on screams. It seems as though the constant touring has really gotten to his voice, and he can’t handle the higher-pitched screams he’s really known for from older albums. New songs were made for his new low growling screaming style – but those old songs just weren’t. “Sassafras,” “HTML Rulez D00d,” and even the set-closing “Dogs Can Grow Beards All Over” sounded flat and weak with the new style. I’ve seen the same thing happen to Bring Me the Horizon, and I doubt this is Hranica’s fault – certain screaming methods just take a toll on your voice. I don’t think they’ve stopped touring since Warped Tour, and I hope that we’ll get a different performance from Mike next time he comes to town.
The Devil Wears Prada - Mike Hranica
With the Dead Throne tour, these dudes really have stepped up their game, and the new material sounds fantastic live. I know metalcore may not be everyone’s thing – especially with the Christian undertones – but if you ever went through that metal phase as a kid, take a trip back to your local venue to see one of the best metalcore bands out there. Perhaps it’ll spark some long lost memories of your moshing days.

Setlist: TDWP in Montreal
Full set of photos: jakemullan’s flickr

SCOTTISH-BORN SENSATION EMELI SANDÉ MAKES US DEBUT ON CAPITOL RECORDS

SCOTTISH-BORN SENSATION EMELI SANDÉ MAKES US DEBUT ON CAPITOL RECORDS LABEL WILL RELEASE SINGER AND SONGWRITER’S DEBUT ALBUM — ENTITLED OUR VERSION OF EVENTS — IN JUNE 2012

SANDÉ ON THE ROAD WITH COLDPLAY IN THE UK AND EUROPE THIS MONTH

New York, NY — Scottish-born singer and songwriter Emeli Sandé, who has been thrilling fans across the Atlantic over the past year with her rich, soulful voice and sophisticated songwriting, will release her debut album in the US, entitled Our Version of Events, in late spring. The recent winner of the BRIT Critics’ Choice award (previous winners include Adele and Florence + the Machine), Sandé’s album will include UK singles, “Heaven,” which climbed to No. 2 on the British singles chart, and the recently released “Daddy,” which she performed on the UK edition of The X Factor.

Sandé has also been hand-selected by superstar rock band Coldplay to open its current arena tour, including shows in London, Paris, The Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium this month. She also opened for Alicia Keys earlier this year in London. Keys was so impressed she told UK magazine Dazed and Confused Sandè’s, “a magnificent new artist… We did some writing together for my upcoming record. I just love her style and her flow – super raw” and Adele, upon viewing Sandè’s performance on Jools Holland, simply Tweeted “How incredible is she?”

Sandé was born and raised in Aberdeen, Scotland, the daughter of a Zambian father and a Cumbrian mother. A fervent songwriter since the age of 10, she relocated to Glasgow for college where she studied medicine for six years before deciding to commit herself to a life as a musical artist. She scored her first Top 10 hit with “Diamond Rings,” a track she wrote for British rapper Chipmunk, and scored another, “Never Be Your Woman”, with grime DJ Wiley. A favorite of music impresario Simon Cowell, who called her “his favorite songwriter at the moment” and tapped her to write for Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle, Sandé has also worked with Tinie Tempah, Cheryl Cole, and Professor Green, scoring the No. 1 “Read All About It” with him.

Our Version of Events, which will be released in her native land in February, reveals Sandé to be an uncompromising creative force in the vein of Nina Simone, Joni Mitchell, and Lauryn Hill (each of whom Sandé namechecks as a key influence on her heady, unforgettable sound. Taking a cue from Mitchell and her other songwriting idols, she achieves an irresistible contemporary-yet-timeless quality on Our Version of Events. “I can still relate to a Joni song, even though it’s 25 years old, which is what is important to me,” she says. “I’m not too bothered about what category my music goes in and there’s no point in limiting who you can reach, but I want it to be respected.”

As The UK’s ID magazine has noted: “Emeli Sandé is not the next so and so. She’s the person other acts will be compared to in the coming years.”

Marissa Nadler Premieres Self-Produced Video for “In Your Lair, Bear” with SPIN

Marissa Nadler Premieres Self-Produced Video for “In Your Lair, Bear” with SPIN

“dreamy, melancholy and utterly captivating” – NPR World Cafe

“[Marissa Nadler] isn’t the work of an artist who discovered what she wants to sound like;
it’s the work of an artist who’s just discovering what she’s capable of. ”
– Pitchfork’s Albums of the Year: Honorable Mention

Watch “In Your Lair, Bear” video

Boston-based dream-folk artist Marissa Nadler has debuted a brand new video for “In Your Lair, Bear,” the first track off her critically acclaimed self-titled full-length, that Pitchfork awarded with an “Albums of the Year: Honorable Mention” and was featured in American Songwriter, WXPN, and Drowned In Sound ‘s favorite albums of the year lists. Marissa produced the video alongside Alec K. Refearn, who also directed it. Shot in her Massachusetts home, Nadler said “This is a video to encapsulate the themes that are lyrically portrayed in the song.” Nadler is now putting the finishing touches on a followup EP to her s/t release due out in 2012, and will perform a one-off show in San Francisco and a NYE show at the Boston Public Library with Cass McCombs, Ida and Drew O’Doherty. More details about the forthcoming release to follow.

Nadler recently gave away two covers of Loudon Wainwright III’s “Motel Blues” and Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” from her Covers Volume II album available now at her Etsy shop. Covers Volume II follows her s/t album released earlier this year with her own Box of Cedar Records. After releasing several albums with Kemado (and having one of her songs inspire the name for vinyl start-up Mexican Summer), Nadler ventured out independently for this s/t album, which has been featured on NPR “World Cafe: Next,” NPR First Listen, Vogue, KEXP, Pitchfork ‘Overlooked Records of 2011’ with an 8.1 album review, one of SPIN’s “5 Best New Artists for June.”

Marissa Nadler Live

12/8 – San Francisco, CA – Cafe Du Nord w/ Emily Jane White
12/31 – Boston, MA – Boston Public Library-Rabb Hall
w/ Cass McCombs, Ida and Drew O’Doherty

Pentimento Announce 2012 European Tour with Light Years

Pentimento Announce 2012 European Tour with Light Years

Buffalo, NY melodic punk rock band Pentimento has just announced dates for a 2012 European tour with Light Years. The tour, sponsored by NO DECLINE BOOKING, Hope This Helps Booking, FUZE Magazine and All Schools Network, kicks off Feb 17th in Belgium. Pentimento’s Wrecked EP is out now on Panic Records. A split with label mates Young English will be released in early 2012.

European Tour Dates:

17.02 – Merksplaas, Belgium – Jh Jig Zag
18.02 – Leuven, Belgium – Jh Sojo
19.02 – Nottingham, UK – The Chameleon
20.02 – Manchester, UK – Tiger Lounge
21.02 – Sheffield, UK – Tbc
22.02 – London, UK – The Bridgehouse 2
23.02 – Margate, UK – Westcoast Bar
24.02 – Essen, Germany – Cafe Nova
25.02 – Stuttgart, Germany – Juha West
26.02 – Dornbirn, Austria – Cafe Schlachthof
27.02 – Würzburg, Germany – Cairo
28.02 – Dessau, Germany – Beatclub
29.02 – Berlin, Germany – Cassiopeia

Pentimento’s US Tour with Light Years starts December 27 in Cleveland, OH.

B. Dolan featuring Toki Wright, Jasiri X, Buddy Peace, Sage Francis – Film The Police video

B. Dolan featuring Toki Wright, Jasiri X, Buddy Peace, Sage Francis – Film The Police video

B. DOLAN’s “FILM THE POLICE” pays tribute to N.W.A.’s infamous “F*ck the Police,” serving as a call to action for the digitized media movement while responding to the recent explosion of police brutality all across the world.

This free MP3, courtesy of STRANGE FAMOUS RECORDS, features a reconstruction of Dr. Dre’s original beat, brilliantly reanimated by UK producer BUDDY PEACE. Label CEO, SAGE FRANCIS, opens the song by picking up the gavel where Dr. Dre left it 23 years ago, introducing a blistering, true-to-style flip of Ice Cube’s original verse by SFR cornerstone, B. Dolan. TOKI WRIGHT (Rhymesayers Entertainment) follows up by stepping into the shoes of MC Ren, penning the people’s struggle against cops as a case of “Goliath Vs. a bigger giant.” Finally, Jasiri X (Pittsburgh rapper/activist) rounds out the track by filling in for Eazy-E, reminding us that police brutality disproportionately affects poor people of color.

With the Occupy Movement bringing various forms of injustice to the forefront of people’s consciousness, “Film the Police” is a reminder that cops have been a continued and increasingly militarized presence in public streets. Thanks to the widespread use of smartphones and video cameras, along with the popularity of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, the power of the media has been put back into the people’s hands as they document the injustices perpetrated by those who have sworn to serve and protect them.

Mouse on Mars Share Details of Parastrophics, Out Feb. 28 on Monkeytown Records

MOUSE ON MARS SHARE DETAILS OF PARASTROPHICS, OUT FEBRUARY 28 ON MONKEYTOWN RECORDS

Over the course of ten albums, not to mention an avalanche of side projects, remixes and collaborations, Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma of Mouse On Mars established themselves as two of the most inventive and unpredictable artists in electronic music. However, since they delivered the bracing, angular salvo that was Varcharz back in 2006, there has been an uncharacteristic period of silence.

In 2012, that silence is broken. Mouse on Mars’ triumphant return comes in the shape of Parastrophics, a life-affirming and constantly surprising album which is crammed with ideas, exuberance and sheer kinetic energy. It’s like listening to the entire history of pop music – distilled, refined and crystallized into a string of compulsive new shapes, full of glitter, intrigue and addictive detail. Atomized fragments from two lifetimes of listening flare and fade, tiny scraps of memory shrapnel hover, tantalizing and insubstantial, before being whisked away by the next impatient idea.

Despite all that restless curiosity, Parastrophics also demonstrates a peerless command of pace. Whereas some previous Mouse On Mars’ releases have bordered on the frenetic, their latest displays a subtle but persuasive sense of control. Even when tempos climb, 303s squirm and kick / snare patterns snap to brisk attention, there’s an elegance to the way that each element slips in and out of the mix which speaks of maturity. Parastrophics is as a playful as ever, but it’s never throwaway. The closing track “Seaqz“ is the perfect illustration, a frenetic romp which is perfectly held in check by gracefully undulating melodies; it brings into focus the beguiling sense of confidence that suffuses the whole record. All of which is a roundabout way of saying that, after six years away, Mouse On Mars have come back with their best record yet.

Mouse on Mars’ Parastrophics is out February 28, 2012 on Monkeytown Records.

Listen to a sneak peak of Mouse on Mars’ “chordblocker, cinnamon toasted” here:

Parastrophics Tracklisting:
01. the beach stop
02. chordblocker, cinnamon toasted
03. metrotopy
04. wienuss
05. they know your name
06. syncropticians
07. cricket
08. imatch
09. polaroyced
10. gearknot cherry
11. bruised to imwimper
12. baku hipster
13. seaqz

The Twilight Sad Tour Dates

THE TWILIGHT SAD TO TOUR IN SUPPORT OF ‘NO ONE CAN EVER KNOW’

The Twilight Sad will be embarking on a North American tour following the release of their forthcoming full-length, No One Can Ever Know. The album was produced by Andrew Weatherall and will be available February 7, 2012 via Fat Cat Records.

Freshly inspired by a listening diet of Cabaret Voltaire, Can, Liars, Magazine, Autechre, and Public Image Limited, the band turn to a dark, synth-heavy sound for No One Can Ever Know; the resulting LP shares thematic and sonic space with the most innovative offerings from Depeche Mode, The Cure, or even Nine Inch Nails.

As made clear already by widely-spread preview track “Kill It In The Morning” (dubbed “slightly evil-sounding” by Pitchfork) and first single “Sick” (which, according to Stereogum “ticks with post-Radiohead guitar and dread”) The Twilight Sad’s third full-length, No One Can Ever Know, marks a sonic shift for the band.

TWILIGHT SAD TOUR DATES
Feb 23 Washington DC – Rock and Roll Hotel
Feb 24 Philadelphia PA – Johnny Brenda’s
Feb 25 Brooklyn NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
Feb 26 Allston MA – Brighton Music Hall
Feb 28 Montreal QC – Il Motore
Feb 29 Toronto ON – Lee’s Palace
Mar 01 Grand Rapids MI – Pyramid Scheme
Mar 02 Chicago IL – Empty Bottle
Mar 03 Minneapolis MN – 7th Street Entry
Mar 05 San Diego CA – Casbah
Mar 06 Los Angeles CA – The Echo
Mar 07 San Jose CA – The Blank Club
Mar 08 San Francisco CA – The Independent
Mar 10 Seattle WA – Tractor Tavern
Mar 11 Portland OR – Doug Fir Lounge
Mar 14 – Mar 18 Austin TX – SXSW

Paper Diamond Interview

Paper Diamond Keepin’ it Fresh

Paper Diamond is the multi-talented artist who runs a label, design firm, and clothing store (Elm and Oak).  This Colorado based DJ is mostly well known for his energetic beats, high synths, and rich vocals.  I caught up with him before be played at New York City’s Webster Hall.

Tell me about Elm and Oak.

PD: The start of it means Exclusive Limited Merchandise and One of A Kinds. My friend started it in Virginia back in the day and it was his art company and design firm.  As a musician I was always repping the clothes and everything.  I’m a designer as well, and do a lot of typography and set of type design.  We decided instead of starting a new company, we would make Elm and Oak the hub for everything. Now, Elm and Oak is a design firm, a record label, a clothing store, and we have a boutique on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. We design clothing, manage bands, make videos, and do photography.

To me, all those things are interconnected.  If you play guitar, you might as well play bass and drums. If you take pictures, you do editing and video.  For us, Elm and Oak is a community of people supporting each other to be able to live as artists and support themselves. 

I love the symbol representing Elm and Oak…

PD: Yeah, it’s the two axes. We are cutting down the tree with the axes and it represents the rise of being hard working, sharp, and on point. Not only is it a company, but people treat it like a family. People even have Elm and Oak tattoos. It’s our crew. 

How do you scout out the artists on the label?

PD: A lot of the artists are close friends of mine. The band Two Fresh is on my label and the band Charub is one I’m working hard on. The people I put on are the people I’m passionate about and the people I believe in.  Its been really cool to help these artists develop their careers.

I know you are on Pretty Lights Music label as well. Do you ever find it hard keeping them (Elm and Oak/PLM) divided?

PD: It’s not hard because it’s two musical families and groups. I support PLM as much as I support those on Elm and Oak. Everyone on PLM are Derek’s friends. He cares about the music and it all makes sense, but at the same time there are people around me that I want to have.  He has his friends in his circle, and I have my friends in my circle. We all just cross pollinate. It’s great for everyone.

What’s the electronic scene like in Colorado compared to LA and New York?

PD: It’s crazy in Colorado just as much as NYC and LA.  In CO, thousands of people are coming out to see acts and it rivals the other music scenes. As far as the electronic scene goes, Denver is a mecca for electronic music. The mainstream press is just starting to catch on and many monumental things are coming along with it. There are many musicians that want to express themselves from CO and if you have real talent, you are able to establish yourself.

What are your thoughts behind free music? I downloaded your album for free!

PD: Moving forward with technology and embracing it is how people stick with the times if you are going to continue being a musician.  I embrace it and encourage people on my label to put out free music because I know how my friends and I get music.  It’s about spreading happiness, expressing myself artistically, and making myself happy through doing shows.  I don’t care if people get it for free, or if they steal it, or if they pay for it. 

Speaking of technology, I noticed you play on an iPad during your shows…

PD: I can control on my computer wirelessly from an iPad from a layout I designed and it makes it so I can get more involved. When people are getting hyped up, I can get hyped up and I don’t have to stand hunched over the tables. I’m able to control the different parts of my show from the drums, to the bass to the synths, and it’s all multi-tracks so I can mix different parts of different songs.  I never know where I’m going to go with it, so it makes it fun for me every night.

I know where it’s going to start, but I follow the crowd and see what’s going to happen. I have every song I ever made in my files so I can go wherever I want.  If I think a crowd is feeling more dubstep, I can play another one of my songs, then move into some hip-hop tempo stuff or moombahton, or electro-house.  I’m able to play a wide array of tracks with different people because I have so much music and I’m inspired by all things. 

Sometimes I’ll write a song and that hasn’t been released yet and test it out on the crowd.  If it doesn’t work with the crowd, I’ll go back and literally change it before the record is out. My new record I’m working on is Paragon, and I’m about 6 out of 8 tracks done. I’ve been able to play alot of these tracks and go back and work on them after a show, so the record is almost road tested.

What are you listening to these days?

PD: Little Dragon, I would love to work with her someday. I’ve also been listening to a lot of electronic music like Feed Me, Porter Robinson, Zed, and Cherub.  I listen to records all the time too.  I’m a record collector so I still go digging for music and keep it open. I love all kinds of music.

Did you ever sample from any of the records you have?

PD: I didn’t much on the newest record (Levitate).  The one I’m currently working on is mostly synth work. I spend so many years doing the Alex B thing, which was kind of hip-hop sample based stuff.  For me, I’m just trying to keep it open, and not get locked in certain things.

Anything we should know about your future plans?

PD: I have a new album, new singles, and new videos in the works.  There are some new releases from Cherub and Two Fresh. The clothing line constantly has new clothes that are coming out and our store is open 7 days a week.  Music, art, and traveling is what I do all the time. I’m just going to keep grinding and making new music and making new art. Keepin’ it fresh. 

Well said Paper Diamond, well said.