Scandals, backbiting, lawsuits, cold snaps, and we haven't even started the headline rundown here in Impose's Week in Pop. First up is Mac Demarco who gave us a taste of his forthcoming Captured Tracks album, Eddie's Dream, then there is ICP suing the F.B.I. for reasons of “significant harm” after their eccentric Juggalo fanbase was labeled as “a loosely organized hybrid gang” back in 2011, this year's Coachella line up revelation fell deeper into the recesses of irrelevance, we lost poet laureate Amiri Baraka, industry pressures sent Ke$ha into rehab over eating disorders, and Grimes is allegedly at work on a follow-up to Visions. So here in the cold, dead of winter, we warm ourselves with the latest exclusives and words from Le Man Avec Les Lunettes, Peace Creep, Waterstrider, La Quilombera, and more-in no particular order.
We Were Never Being Boring has risen to become an important indie hub to help connect Italy's array of independent artists of various sound studded orientations and stylistic persuasions. A collective and imprint that has enjoyed spring-boarding favorites like Be Forest, His Clancyness, Echopark and more; we found ourselves spending some time this past week with the DIY orchestral oeuvre of Le Man Avc Les Lunettes. A name of French-English origins for a bespectacled gentlemen, LMALL spin spools of audio blankets that seek to cover and connect all points and corners of the world. Centered out of Brescia, daydream believers Fabio Benni, Simone Gelmini, Alessandro Paderno, Daniela Savoldi with other artists and friends are also responsible for founding the WWNBB label based out of Pesaro. As they prepare to release their new album, Make It Happen this March; we are honored to premiere the single, “Former Leader” off the upcoming full-length.
Brought in with the wind gusts of a full fevered wall of strings, percussion and voices, you are treated to special rendering of the song found on the upcoming album. Different from the Make It Happen LP version, our debut of “Former Leader” was mixed by Ladybug Transistor's Gary Olson with a sweeping mastery courtesy of Lorenzo Caperchis for Red Carpet Studio. An aural choral treasure of wonder, the passage of life's phases and stages is observed in compromises of control, exhausted with half-lidded eyes ruminating on the responsibilities and mandates of attention with a big production that beckons the arms of soundful sleep. The giant range of their big, bold and bright production exudes a feeling of home that could easily make a nest in the comforts of anywhere, and resonate with anyone in the optimistic delivery like a sleepy headed hug and embrace of care, and a kind of devotion that feels universal. We're already calling it the inspirational song of 2014.
In an exchange of cables with Alessandro Paderno of Le Man Avec Les Lunettes/We Were Never Being Boring; we described their global interests, friendships, family, their tour film, upcoming album, and more.
Let's begin first with your rad cosmic leaning name, how did you all first decide upon, Le Man Avec Les Lunettes back at the days of University?
The name comes from the way a friend in Paris used to tease me calling me loudly, 'Le garçon avec les lunettes!' French for “The man with the glasses”. We liked the joking-sound and changed it a bit using the English 'man' instead of 'garçon'.
Pesaro, Italy is really hot right now to the rest of the world, what are you relationships with the upcoming bands, with the likes of Be Forest, Soviet Soviet, etc. Is there a scene happening or do us outsiders just want there to be one? You all got some talents…
We are actually based in Brescia, a four hour drive from Pesaro, but I can see how you spot a connection, as we are part of the founders of We Were Never Being Boring, the record label that includes many bands like Be Forest and Brothers in Law who happen to be from Pesaro. As a record label we try to have our own perspective without really focusing on a 'city scene'; we try instead to present to the outsiders the Italian indie-scene.
From playing festivals in Sweden, UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Spain and Switzerland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, you all have a very international brand of inspirational indie pop. I'm curious about making the cult status film 'Possible Distances', and how much your international travels contributed to those distances detailed.
Le Man Avec Les Lunettes from the beginning worked on writing the music we like. For this reason we are proud to share and play our music anywhere possible. We are lucky enough to tour and visit many places. One of these tour originated the documentary Possible Distances: in April 2012, Niccolò Corradini the filmmaker, Lorenzo Caperchi (sound engineer) and Le Man Avec Les Lunettes’ four piece band toured Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. Possible Distances is an unconventional documentary about an Italian indiepop band touring Bosnia and Serbia, 20 years after the beginning of the war. It’s full of performances and interviews, daily life and local culture. Five shows and thousands of brilliant and beautiful people.
On this epic orchestral heart string-swayer, “Former Leader”; how did you all develop this anthem about selecting yourself to be your own council and governor, with the “me to be the leader of myself”, attitude of autonomy?
Actually, [it] is,'me former leader of myself'.
The lyrics of the song are about being a sleepless dad. I’m a proud father of two beautiful kids and I’ve been sleepless for a few months because of them. I used to write down notes everywhere in order to not forget them. Many songs of this album Make It Happen were written this way.
I also love that “get some sleep” part after the chorus, any good night songs at the end of albums from Moe Tucker's “After Hours” to Ringo's nightcap on the White Album.
There‘s a song at the end of the album called “Buying Postcards”. It’s a dreamy song with a terrific string arrangement … so it’s more about a night dream.
Let's talk 2014, plans, new releases, recordings in the works, details of the process and progress?
There's a new album on the way for Le Man Avec Les Lunettes — the first in nearly six years! The album, titled Make It Happen, is going to be released on March 10. Obviously via We Were Never Being Boring. An Italian tour will follow the release and some European gigs during the Summer/Fall.
Le Man Ave Les Lunettes' album Make It Happen will be available March 10 and can be pre-ordered now from We Were Never Being Boring.
During our regular huddles about alt-culture with Bay Area icon/artist/comedian/curator of the Cynic Cave and Alternative Tentacles employee, George Chen; we got hipped to San Francisco's Peace Creep. Comprised with members Christian Eric Beaulieu and percussionist Phil Becker (also of Pins Of Light) formerly of Triclops!, and rounded up by Film School and Hot Fog's Donny Newenhouse; they convey their combined experiences from the Anywhere collective and formal acquaintances and contemporaries into a distilled, succinct, loud and melodic noise. With their debut release set for a February 19 from Alternative Tentacles, along with a Party at SF's Elbow Room with Future Twin and Buffalo Tooth; we got some inside exclusives from the band following this exclusive listen.
On the debut of “Dream Vacation”, Christian cooks up a bright angle hooked guitar lead that invite the savy presence of Phil and Donny's contributions. “Trying like a hurricane that never had a name”, Peace Creep plays off the cliches of successes that find fools rushing in with dreams of ships arriving on any of the San Francisco pier harbors. Perfect strangers, creeps, and freaks of natures hash it out on this holiday spent in the fog and sun, as the jumpy guitar riffs take you out to tropical paradise beaches, while weathering perfect storms off the Pacific coastline. The band describes their sound as hybrids from the pantheon of noise rock heroes, but reminds us the power that lies in the triple-headed threat from the Bay that bands together under a banner of, 'DIY or die'; tapping into inland and offshore powers for the trio.
We talked with Peace Creep's Christian Eric Beaulieu for a bit about the founding grounds of the band, a closer look at the development and inspiration behind their fresh batch of songs, fog life in the city, designer textile fantasies, and more, beginning with getting all settled after the holidays.
Starting us off, how was everyone's holiday season? Not too taxing? Anecdotes of interest?
Pretty rad, we all stayed in city and partied together, worked on jams and stayed away from expired egg nog.
Peace Creep comes from an amalgam and work experience field that lists Triclops!, Bottles And Skulls, Pins Of Light, with Donny's work from Film School, and Hot Fog, and I know I'm leaving out like five others. What is it that finds you shifting the collective learned sensibilities into the melodic noise canon of Peace Creep?
Since we've all been at this “band thing” for a spell, we're really tuned into a more smooth democratic process. We're all on the same page as far as experimentation and expectations. That's crucial because alot of folks get really frustrated by their musical conspirators through lack of communication (RATT plug) and ego manipulation. Phil and I were already set in our process from Triclops! which was super productive and inspiring. Donny jumped in with a very similar work ethic and then poured gasoline on the fire.
Is “Radio Free Alcatraz” like an homage to the haunted barbary coast history or anything like that? That track really gets heavy and loud, man, then “Corpse Reviver” gets mad shredder-necromancer.
Sonically “Radio Free Alcatraz” was finished after seeing Neil Young and Crazy Horse in Golden Gate Park. Lyrically it was inspired by the documentary film Trudell and the Native American occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969. In my mind it was also a nod to Phillip K. Dick and REM. I just found out that John Trudell had a radio show in Berekely called RFA in the 60's, but I had no idea. I hope there's tapes of it!
“Corpse Reviver” is an Anti Ellis Act song at the start, then turns into the evictee toasting the landlord after observing that he's completely trapped in this horrible unhappy capitalist existence and even though the evictee would love to off this person he/she decides to raise a glass in a sympathetic gesture. Of course it's the heaviest song. It's also the stupidest stoner rock riff we couldn't even believe we'd play, so we had to.
I was thinking while listening to “Summer Leather” that if Peace Creep could go into the designer fashion industry of licensing and or whatever, what kind of fashion line brand would you all put on the market?
A designer line of clothes for the months of June-August in SF in which both men and women can put on and feel the sexiness of a flesh exposing summer, yet feel as warm as a hot August night in the coldest months of the year. Mimic whatever the current fashion trend is at the Folsom Street Fair and Pride and force straight tech employees into it, just add hair.
“Interstellar Alimony” is a thrashed out galactic nightmare that I fear could be the new series of legal challenges for lawyers sorting out moonstation spats. How did this gem “Interstellar Alimony” come to such menacing life?
First off your interpretations/visions of my lyrics are better than my own. Your obviously a more advanced writer so I'm gonna steal all these descriptives for all future interviews. It's all that with a dose of non reality and paranoia. This jam was a leftover from my writing sessions for what was supposed to be the next Triclops! record after Helpers on The Other Side. Phil was into it, so we made it a more 90's rock jam.
Tell us, “Control Yr Crime“; a cautionary tale endorsing the benefits of self-control, or really just propagating, the “perfect crime”?
Both. Observations of behavior patterns throughout the jamboree of existence. But also a gentle reminder to not be an everyday douchebag.
Your distortion ration of dissonance to song arranging bliss rages on “Dream Vacation”, and I just want to know what the ultimate “Dream Vacation” is for Peace Creep.
We're still working that out. But that's def the title of our re-union tour when we're 60 years-old playing wineries opening for a carbon frozen Doobie Bros and MC Hammer.
We're already pretty juiced about your February 19 release show at Elbow Room in SF with our friends Future Twin, Buffalo Tooth, and more. What else should we look out for from P. Creep in 2014, and who else should we be looking out for from the Bay and everywhere else?
Buy our record at Alternative Tentacles. It comes with instructions on how to not start a new band and also a comprehensive list of our top 100 artists “we do not sound like at all” of all time. See you on the 19th and thanks for the virtual ink!
Peace Creep's release show will be February 19 at San Francisco's Elbo Room with Future Twin, and Buffalo Tooth.
Around the Monday before last Christmas, a Berkeley quintet under the name Waterstrider made a splash by taking on the ubiquitous Little Dragon track, “Twice”, in an epic, six and half minute rendering. Lead by Nate Salman, they stride the waters with nature sounds, androgynous vocals with rhythm, and electronic additional accompaniment from Brijean Murphy, Scott Brown, Drew Brown, and Walker Johnson forging strong bonds made from meeting at Berkeley co-ops. An album is in the works, and they play San Francisco's Slim's tomorrow with Free Astronauts, etc., and There's Talk, as we listen closely to their tribute to Gothenburg, Sweden's electro darlings.
From the beginning, Waterstrider sends out flocks of geese and seagulls over the shoreside of “Twice”. Percussion mimics the sound of reeds, rattlesnakes, and footsteps while the bass notes indicate the turning of tides and the many faces and stages of weather precipitation patterns. Everything feels intentional, and yet is guided by a free hand that moves the directions and delta of their sonic brook into the bath house edges of the Bay where the water collects into basins, and caverns carved by the effects of water sculpted touches of erosion. Listen to more of Waterstrider's natural harmonics and melodies on their Soundcloud, and stick around after the jump for our discussion with frontman, Nate.
Waterstrider's guitarist/vocalist Nate Salman talked with us for a bit about the band's beginnings, Bay influences, kicking it all off with a behind the scenes look at their future full-length. Read further, dear friends.
Give us the gory details on the recording process, where you recorded it, and what kept you all inspired throughout.
The album was recorded in a few places: the old hotel turned housing co-op that I used to live in, my parents' house in Santa Barbara, our rehearsal space, and the house I am currently living in in Oakland. It's been a long time coming-about a year and a half now, though I didn't actually think I was making a record until about a year ago. The old band had kind of split up, but as I started writing and recording new tunes, I would call up folks and they would drive up or down to Santa Barbara and lay down some drums or guitar. At first, I played most of the instruments on all the songs, but as we've reformed the band in the last eight months, I've re-recorded everyones' variations on the parts I had originally written. It feels much more like 'us' than 'me' now; every person in the band has put their musical fingerprint on the record.
What kept me going was a sort of itch that I couldn't scratch. I had some really clear ideas in my head, but I spent a lot of time struggling with the execution. Lots of re-recording. Every song has it's own world, and I spent a lot of time trying to find the biggest window to see into that world. There's probably three or four unfinished versions of each song at this point. There is a lot of self-discovery within the lyrics on the album, and I feel like the recording process was also reflective of that. All the things that were going on in my life at the time kept me quite inspired.
How did you all band together?
The original band was made of students who were all living together in Cloyne Court co-op. It was still very undefined at the time. Brijean (percussion) and I are the only original members at this point. Walker (drums) joined right after we released our first EP, and we had a 6 piece band that parted ways. Then Scott (bass) joined at the end of last spring. It was quite a radical four-piece but we still felt like something was missing, so Scott's brother, Drew, just joined and is playing guitar and synth. I feel like we've got the dream team now, and we all have a ton of fun playing together. It really has the warm, caring energy of a family. We all give so much to the band, and everyone really holds each other up. It's fantastic!
What inspired the name, Waterstrider? Bay Area influence? Fans of the classic Capcom game, Strider?
The name is actually from a friend of mine in Santa Barbara who started referring to me as 'Waterstrider' as a kind of joke. She thought it was the creature that best represented my spirit, and over time I started to embrace it. I used to get cryptic voicemails from one of my friends that began with 'Waterstrider…,' and then continued in some nonsensical, comedic gibberish. Anyway, the name seemed to represent us in a very natural way, so none of us ever thought to change it.
How has the Bay influenced your sound by virtue of geography, scenes, culture, etc?
Everything about the bay has been a huge influence on our sound. Most importantly for me is the proximity of nature and city. It's so easy to go from one to the other, particularly in the East Bay, and I think that kind of blending of natural and synthetic elements is something I strive for. I like the mystery that comes with that approach. I never want things to be too obvious. For instance, I embrace the androgynous quality of my voice. I love when people hear the music, then look at photos and think that Brijean, the one girl in our band, is the voice they're hearing. She has an incredible voice but it's actually lower than mine! As for culture, we definitely acknowledge our hippie ways.
As for the scene, a bunch of us Bay Area musicians have started something called Non-Market. It's a kind of collective that is going to start putting out some music and creating a cohesive musical community in the Bay Area. The “Twice” cover was recorded as part of a compilation of covers that should be released in the next month or two.
Everyone's gabbing about your cover of Little Dragon's “Twice”. I like the while nature sound approach, have your Gothenburg counterparts remarked on it yet?
I'm glad you liked it! Those nature sounds are two field recordings from a trip to a farm in Ithaca, New York. It was one of the most profound experiences for me, kinda marking the beginning of a new phase in my life. The first recording was during the night and the second during the day. I wanted it to feel like a transition from an ending to a beginning, but still keep that kind of darkly curious atmosphere of the original.
We haven't heard anything from them, but I'm just so thankful that they wrote such a fantastic song. I'm so excited for their new album! I heard it's gonna have some orchestral bits, so that should be quite cool to hear.
Waterstrider's wishes for 2014?
Let's get really high-minded and say some of my ultimate goals: I want to revolutionize the music industry in order to more positively impact society. I want to break down the cultural wall that restrains individuality. I would love to see a current American music and art scene that sparks, or at least buoys, a revolution.
Realistically for the year? Release the album, tour extensively to spread ideas and learn from new places, and craft a new album that is much more extroverted and invitational. In the process of doing that, hopefully we will be able to bring people together in a tangible way at shows and gatherings, and not just via technology. In conclusion, I hope to have more transcendent experiences through music and I hope that we can provide that for others as well.
Keep an eye and ear out for further details on Waterstrider's upcoming album, and you can catch them in SF at Slim's tomorrow, January 11 with Astronauts, etc., and There's Talk.
Keeping up with the Puerto Rico scene, global soul rebels La Quilombera occupied our San Francisco office branch one afternoon during the Bay Area run of their tour before their Billboard Latin Music Conference & Awards Showcase in Miami. In an event curated by Far Eye International’s Pedro Rosa, we talked about the sounds from the lesser sung South American territories, the fusion of traditional and global instrumentations, the state of independent music in Puerto Rico, their single “Robando al que me roba”, and more.
Enjoying a sunny day on the roof terrace, La Quilombera shared everything from touring tales to the latest surf conditions from Puerto Rico’s northwestern coast in the Isabela municipality. Assembling into the office, we talked culture and music with the group’s multi-national assemblage of Beto Bajura (founding member of Bayanga, a group that would later join Calle 13), Alexis Rivera Fal