Friday, August 3, 2012

August 9th & 10th in New York City! WILD VINES

Please join C. Ryder Cooley and Jasmine Dreame Wagner for WILD VINES, two nights of music, readings, and video installation at Le Petit Versailles, an arts-centered community garden in New York City’s East Village.

Le Petit Versailles has a long history of radical performance art and community-making.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 9th
8-9 PM Bad Feminist Readings
with Sarah Gentile, Sarah Giovanniello, Amy Beecher, and Amy Pierce
9-11 PM Book Release Party for Listening for Earthquakes
Readings by Jasmine Dreame Wagner, Kathleen Ossip, E. Tracy Grinnell
Music & Videos by C. Ryder Cooley, Samuael Topiary, EE Miller

Friday, August 10th
8-10 PM Music by Ryder & Hazel, Negar Bouban and friends
10-11 PM Videos by C. Ryder Cooley, Samuael Topiary, EE Miller

FREE! donations, food & drink welcome // RSVP on Facebook

Memory Boys Send it Across to You From the Pacific Northwest

I first had the pleasure of hearing Memory Boys at a show we shared at a coffeehouse on Whidbey Island. What struck me immediately about the group, who were performing that night as a trio of Grant, Marit, and Eli, was the strength of their songwriting, their instrumentation (an electric saz!) and the call and response between Grant's playful, off-the-cuff vocals and Marit's haunting alto. If you can imagine Grace Slick and Jeff Mangum fronting Pavement, alternating leads in a playful (and sometimes dark) game of badminton, you'll have a glimmer of what it's like to listen to Memory Boys in the lush overgrowth of pines on Whidbey Island.

The band took some time to answer a few questions about their LP, "Send it Across to Me," which they self-recorded and self-released. (And which is so catchy, it's a sure sonic addition. Check it out, it should be your feel-good record of the summer.)

Interview Formula / Key:
Memory Boys = Grant + Marit + Kevin + Jesse + Ashley + Eli
FA/FS = For Arbors / For Satellites

FA/FS: Tell me a bit about Memory Boys. If you had colors and superpowers, what would they be?

Grant: Memory Boys is Marit, Grant, Kevin, Jesse, Ashley and Eli. We're split between Portland, Oregon and Whidbey Island, Washington. Marit and I recorded an album, "Send it across to me," with Eli and Ashley (along with invaluable contributions from Andrew Dorsett) up on Whidbey Island. Now we're playing those songs live with Jesse and Kevin in and around Portland. A few months back, Marit and I did a tour, which was a lot of fun, with Eli and Ashley and one of their other bands, Baby Island.

Memory Boys started just about the time Marit and I started dating. I had just moved to Seattle from a year's stay in New York City and Marit was living in Olympia. We were mostly communicating with cryptic emails steeped with read between the lines style romantic tension and this was great fodder for songwriting. I finally asked Eli, a good friend of mine from our Olympia days, if he would record a song with me and eventually along with Ashley we recorded all the songs that make up our first album, "On Whidbey Island."

Marit: I am Marit and I’m from Seattle. My colors are red and blue and my superpowers would be either flying or to be fluent in all forms of language and communication or the power to change people's minds.

Eli: I'm from Whidbey Island, but have spent many of the last 10 years also living in Olympia. My color would be florescent green. I would love to fly, of course.

Jesse: I'm Jesse. I'm originally from Westchester County, NY. If I had colors, they would change depending on my mood. My superpower would be the ability to clear people's minds at will, so that their problems didn't seem to so overwhelming.

Kevin: Milwaukee, WI. I would either want invisibility or mind-reading ability. I think it would help to understand people better. And I'll take some sweet neon colors for my outfit, thank you!

FA/FS: You've released this awesome record called "Send it across to me." Could you tell me a bit about your experience recording and releasing it yourself?

Grant: Recording it ourselves was a fun and slow process. We did most of the basic tracks really quickly but spent a ton of time mixing and a fair amount overdubbing. Eli most was the most fastidious and hard working member in that process. Releasing it ourselves really seemed like the only option. Early in the process, I made a mental commitment to take it a bit more seriously and make it more than just some songs burned on a CD-R. But we didn't shop it around to labels at all. We just got a few different quotes from vinyl manufacturers and went with the best one. Now we're just trying to promote the record and it's going well. Little by little. It's fun doing it all yourself and it's a lot of responsibility too.

Eli: Recording was fun because we were arranging the songs as we were recording. The lyrics, guitar parts, and many of the keyboard parts were already written, but the drums and bass were open, so it was fun to turn a "demo" into a song. Being in a neutral place together for the first time with ambiance was awesome, too. The Bayview Hall lends itself to a certain sounding recording. I don't know much about self-releasing music since Grant and Marit handled that, but it sounds hard!

Marit: Some memories of recording: walking between cabins on a path in the dark woods to do vocal overdubs, watching the sun on the wooden floor of Bayview Hall move slowly, watching a hummingbird die on the windowsill, hot tubs. I wasn’t around for all the mixing and overdubs but once we pressed it to vinyl Grant, Kevin, and I spent many long nights silk screening the LP covers. Self-releasing "Send it across to me" made it a very personal mode of direct expression. We took part in every step of the process, from writing to recording to finding a vinyl manufacturer, to creating the LP art and hand screening it.

FA/FS: Why music? What is the gift that music gives you?

Grant: Music is everything. It makes me so happy, to play music and write songs. It's a feeling like none other. And to do it with other people is an amazing gift. All of you tied into this same composite sound, organizing it all, it's so intimate. Songwriting has the potential for such pleasure and fulfillment. Carving a song out of life, out of the sounds and ideas in the world is what I've always wanted to do.

Eli: Music is cool because it creates a space, without taking up space. If you close your eyes and listen to music, you are transported into a space. It's very evocative. It's mysterious, and sometimes strange synchronicities occur when you are making music which makes it seem to have a spiritual connection to our lives and the world. It feels very good to listen to music you've made that you are proud of. This feeling is a beautiful gift, and to think that other people experience a similar gift from listening to the music you make is also wonderful.

Kevin: I have no idea why, ultimately. Not that I'm religious, but in a way I feel called to do music. I mean, rationally, it seems like there are a number of other things I should be doing with my time to make the world a less shitty place (activism, volunteering, learning), but for what ever reason music is just important to me. The gift of music for me is that it can be the ultimate in connecting to other humans.

Marit: Music, to me, is the gift of comfort and powerful metaphor. It’s the non-thing that always knows how I am feeling and how to challenge, change, move, or understand me. It's the best!

Jesse: Music has really, truly, altered my life in a huge, obvious, beautiful way. And the people and ideas I've connected with through it are the real inspiration for and embodiment of liberation. I just feel like it's for me to do, too.

FA/FS: How do you write the music you write? How do you know if a song is a keeper?

Grant: I used to be much more critical. These days it seems the songs that are keepers are the ones that float to the surface and are remembered sooner. Sometimes, after a long time of forgetting, it'll resurface, like, "Oh, wow that's it, that's the keeper."

The initial burst of a song, in the period of time when I'm not actively thinking about anything, just drifts into melody. This is usually when I'm going somewhere, like on a bike or starting to do the dishes, or walking. But if I'm too aware of it, I jinx it. Lately as a band we've been playing a lot of shows and have done a little bit of jammy kind stuff and recorded some of it. In the future, I could see us writing as a group. Everyone usually writes their own parts for the songs.

Eli: Takes time to decide if a song is a keeper. Sometimes it takes playing it with other people. The songs that the writer might think are clunkers could be the biggest hits if they're played with other musicians that hear something special in the song.

Ashley: Songs are all keepers in their own way. I can't help but look back and think that there was some important discovery in every creation, even when the discovery is "what not to do."

Jesse: When you write a song and you realize that you knew the whole thing, completely, before you even wrote it, it's like 'Eureka!' Gives you a full body sense, a knowing shake.

Kevin: You know a song's a keeper when you keep revisiting it in your head. Not in an annoying earworm kind of way, but in an intrigue sort of way. Like there's something buried under layers that you're trying to get to the bottom of.

FA/FS: So this is the situation, Memory Boys are playing a sweet show in a city far, far away. Someone calls out a big hello from across the street. They've mistaken you for someone else. Who have they mistaken you for?

Grant: What's uncanny is there's this National Geographic from the 60's that we have at our house and I look a lot like this Hasidic Jew in one of the pictures. He is leaning over getting his shoes shinned. It's really weird. Also there is a picture of Ezra Pound, where I look a lot like him.

Eli: Charles Bukowski.

Kevin: Guy Pierce.

Jesse: Beethoven. Or my sister.

Marit: A friend with long brown hair and bangs. It's really, really common. I wanna have a doppelgänger party where I meet all my lookalikes someday.

FA/FS: Tell me about some new bands in Portland, Olympia, and Whidbey that the world should be listening to, like right now, in the car, on the radio, on their cassette decks and stereos, or, you know, their iPhones.

Grant: On Whidbey, Ashley Eriksson has a new 7-inch on Funkytonk Records which is really good. And you should check out her full length "Colors." Baby Island of course. They are the premier bad boys of South Whidbey and their self-titled album is awesome. Some Olympia stalwarts that everyone should be listening to are: Vradiazei, Lake, Skrill Meadow, Gun Outfit, Broken Water, Wisdom Teeth, Letters and Malaikat Dan Singa. In Portland, I've heard great music from: Nucular Aminals, Mikah Sykes, Jesse Carsten Band, Woolen Men, Formica Men, Swimming, Jared Holsinger, Old Wars, Psychic Feline and Son Cats.

Also watch Experimental Half Hour, it's something I need to do more of too, it's a super cool show online.

Eli: I have a new side project called Baby Island. Shameless self promotion!

Kevin: Unknown Mortal Orchestra from Portland. Never seen them live, but the self-titled album they put out last year had a great lo-fi sound!

Jesse: Like A Villain, Unkle Funkle, Sad Horse, Tom Blood & Jordan Dykstra's band. Margy Pepper! But, I'm a recent transplant, so I gotta shout out to my inspirational NY & Chicago buddies No One and the Somebodies, Old Table, Cave Cricket, Porches., Pool Holograph, IAN, & Videotape.

FA/FS: Plans for the future?

Grant: We want to play some good shows. Keep getting out there. I feel like we're still searching for how to present our music live. Honesty is the best policy and that's what I feel most prone to at least think I'm doing - even if I'm possibly deceiving myself. And by that I mean sometimes there's tricks to presenting your music live and I don't think we're using those tricks yet. Of course, we want to do another record. Bottom line, writing songs and playing them, I feel lucky to be doing both.

Eli: Make more music with more people, make money from music! Help the poor, sick, injured, homeless and starving people of the world.

Kevin: Keep on keepin' on with the music while becoming more financially independent. I like keeping the living and the music separate for now.

Jesse: To keep up with the ways I change, and to encourage those changes – so that I can be more aware of life happening. To become a committed artist and dreamer.

Bright Beam from MemoryBoys on Vimeo.
Memory Boys on Bandcamp, Facebook, and Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

No, The World is Not a Vampire: New Solvents Interview and Video

Solvents hail from Port Townsend, one of the most gorgeous seaside towns in Washington state's Olympic Peninsula. Principal members Jarrod Bramson and his wife, Emily Madden, make haunting pop music that sounds like the Western sky itself. Jarrod took some time to share with us his thoughts on songwriting, landscape, touring with Ben Franklin, and the sonic legacy of the 1990's. Be sure to check out Solvents' video for "We Were Guests" and their full-length record, "The World is Not a Vampire," available for free from MASA Records.

Interview Formula / Key: Solvents = JB + EM
JB = Jarrod Bramson, EM = Emily Madden
FA/FS = For Arbors / For Satellites

FA/FS: Tell me a bit about Solvents. Who are you and where are you from? If you had to choose a figure from US History to drive your tour bus, who would you choose and why?

JB: Solvents is a musical group/duo/recording project from Port Townsend, WA, consisting of myself, Jarrod Bramson, on guitar, vocals, piano, drums, general production, and my wife Emily Madden on violin and vocals.

I'd probably want Ben Franklin driving the bus. I admired him a lot as a kid. He seems like he would be a good mechanic and merch guy, as well.

FA/FS: Port Townsend is a beautiful town right on the water. I hear about so many wonderful things going on there - from shows at The Boiler Room to Copper Canyon Press. How does the landscape of the Olympic Peninsula influence the sounds you make and the songs you write?

JB: I could never totally explain the influence the O.P. has on our music. Or understate it. One of the best things about living up here is the isolation. I get a little bit desperate at times (all winter) and that weird hunger is always good for writing lyrics. Not living in a place that is overloaded with bands trying to be the next so-and-so is good for writing original material. I've never felt the need to change our sound to compete with what's hip this month. I've never thought "maybe if we try and sound like this, we can get signed to Sub Pop" or something.

Living in Port Townsend is a dream. As I get older, I'm starting to understand what a gift it is. We don't really have any expectations from anyone. I can create anything I want and not have to worry what people are going to think about it. Being able to develop my songwriting/our music in this positive, free environment has been an enormous thing for us. I could never truly thank all the fine folks up here that have supported what we do. There are a lot of people in this town that have seen us too many times! And when they die and their life is flashing before their eyes, they're going to be like, "god damn it! Not another Solvents show at Sirens! Fuck!"

At the same time, I get to be a bitter outsider as well! It's a perfect mix for good words and melodies, and Port Townsend is the most beautiful place on the planet!

FA/FS: Could you describe your writing process? How do you decide if a project is worth realizing?

JB: Writing is weird. I usually make up a bunch of rules when I start. Like "this song must have a bridge" or "I can only do one take on the vocal" or "hand claps" and tambourines the whole way through!" Only so I can go against them, for the most part. I like to try and buck my own ideas as they are happening. It's a bit like having multiple personalities. I try to record while I'm writing, so one second I'm finishing up the words to a verse and the next minute I'm cursing at god trying to get a mic cable untangled. I usually play the drums while I'm coming up with parts, which is a great way for me to write music for some reason. I'm way too serious about it. It's dumb. I've been trying to let go of those kinda-weird self-imposed head trips while writing. It's hard. I like getting intense and blowing my mind apart, but sometimes I just pick up a guitar and write a song really easily and nice and good. You never can tell.

At this point, I can tell pretty quickly if something sucks and I should just leave it alone. I don't push. If progress isn't being made in a timely matter, I'll put the song away for a year or five and try again.

FA/FS: Do you think the last decade, the 00's, the aughts, ever existed? What proof can you offer?

JB: I was just thinking about the first time I heard "Heart Shaped Box" on the radio, back in 93' or whatever. It made me burst into tears, and it still does. I feel like the exact same dude as I did then! Really! It's a little bit disturbing. Sometimes I think that I'm going to wake up in the 90's and have to relive it all. It scares me!

But to answer your question, yes they did exist. The reason I know this is because my children were born in 1999 and now they are teenagers.

FA/FS: Tell me about some new bands in Port Townsend and the Olympic Peninsula that the world should be listening to, like, right now.

JB: This amazing legendary guy called The Heavy Metal Warrior has a hardcore rap thing called AK-47. Also, check out Crowquill Night Owls, Life Styles of the Poor and Unknown, The Pitfalls, Damn the Dooms, and Low Ones.

FA/FS: Imagine Solvents fall into a deep sleep and wake 100 years later with only one image in memory to hold on to. What is this image? What does it look like?

JB: A rhododendron blossom.

FA/FS: An image lovely as the band itself. Your plans for the future?

JB: Emily and I have been playing as Solvents for nine years. Its crazy to think about. Earlier today we were like, "we are lifers! We have no choice but to keep going!" It's pretty awesome. There's something very secure about that that I really love.

Follow Solvents on Facebook and Twitter.
Read about Solvents in VICE Magazine.
Check out their band website:
Listen to Jarrod DJ on KPTZ every Tuesday, 10 AM-12 PM.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Trophy Wife Interview, New Record, DC - New England Tour

This week, Philadelphia's Trophy Wife celebrates the release of their new LP, "Sing What Scares You," with a string of shows from DC to New England. Here are some thoughts on their music, their new record, and their creative process, spoken directly from the lovely ladies themselves.

Interview Formula:
Trophy Wife = KO + DF
KO = Katy Otto
DF = Diane Foglizzo
FA/FS = For Arbors / For Satellites

FA/FS: Tell me a bit about Trophy Wife. Who are you and where are you from?

KO: We are a duo - drums and guitar, two vocals. We are also housemates and dear friends. We met several years ago in DC while working on a magazine together, and have been playing music since that time. I play drums. We live in Fishtown, Philadelphia. Our band is influenced by a range of music, from metal to Americana, to political work we both do to art that inspires us outside of punk music.

DF: Yeah, that’s true. I love that we share inspiration from all sorts of things, not just music. Maybe that’s why our band, I think, has many different sonic manifestations. And at times probably sounds pretty crazy.

FA/FS: You're releasing this awesome new record called "Sing What Scares You." What have you done on this record that you've never done before? How have you upped the bar for yourself musically?

KO: We focused a lot on our vocal collaboration on this record, and on singing and using harmony more thoughtfully. We also tried to experiment with controlling our dynamics. There are definitely two distinct sets of songs - some that are an extension of the heavy sound we carved out with Patience Fury, our first record, and some that have more of a poppy kind of feel.

DF: For me, I worked hard not to give up on the process. It was long and hard and there were times when I felt like it would never come together. But it did, and I’m happy with it. Sure there are things that I'd like to change, but actually, our songs, once they're recorded, don’t feel stagnant because sometimes we go back and change parts as we're playing them.

FA/FS: How do you decide if a project is worth realizing? If a song is a keeper? If one take of a track is superior to others?

DF: There are only a few songs, like 3, that we’ve never recorded and only played live several times. Songs 1, 2 and 7. When we first starting playing, our songs were simply named by the order in which they were conceived... So really our records contain them all. All of our songs are incredibly valuable to me, I can’t real
ly imagine writing something and then being like, never mind. Maybe folks don’t need to hear all of those songs, I dont know! There’s always something in a song that we want to share with folks.

KO: I kind of like that we have a few songs that only Diane and I have ever really heard. As far as takes, sometimes recording you can just feel a certain passion that you know won’t be recreated in another take. That is the “je ne sais quoi.” It’s usually best if both band members agree on it, though.

DF: It's funny, I dont think I really know what our band sounds like, so capturing our sound for a recording is difficult because I'm not sure how it should be. I hear one thing in my head and then when we record, I'm like, really? That's what my guitar sounds like?

FA/FS: Why music? Could you describe the reasons why you make music and how those reasons have changed, if they have, over time?

KO: Music transmits across borders. It is primal. It is festive. It mourns. You can carry it with you. It can tell stories, and pass them down, too - like a historian. It transcends language or place. Also for us, since we play together, it is communication and dialogue between the two of us and with audiences. It takes up space and opens up more space.

DF: There is promise in song. A potential that feels sacred. I think I was able to realize this once I started playing music myself and especially creating my own music. But pretty much at the root, I just like sound coming from other people and myself. Also, the experience of experimenting, listening to the folks I'm playing with and taking cues - I love a jam.

FA/FS: So, this is the situation. Trophy Wife takes a time machine on tour and is playing a sweet show in another time (future or past,) in a city far, far away. Someone calls out a big hello from across the street. They've mistaken you for someone else - who have they mistaken you for?

KO: Simon and Garfunkel.

DF: Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn

FA/FS: A classic duo and two awesome, powerful musician ladies. Sounds right! So, tell me about some new bands in Philly and DC that the world should be listening to, like, right now.

KO: There is a new band in Philly called XanaX that im excited about. They are friends of ours from bands like Hirs, des ark, Resister, Off Minor and more. We are playing our Philly CD release with them. I also adore Stinking Lizaveta, who have been a Philly staple for some time - metal jazz fusion-ish stuff.

DF: Bob Seger's "Night Moves." Also, the track "Tibetan Pop Stars" from Hop Along’s new album is awesome. It reminds me of Kristin Hersch and makes me hella happy. Also, Mary Christ and Break It Up.

FA/FS: Your plans for the future?

KO: Being an old granny playing loud music on a porch with Diane. Touring. Learning. Living.

DF: Yes! Sitting on a porch with grandkids - a multigenerational family band. And in the back of the house using an old family recipe to make vin de noix (french walnut wine).

Trophy Wife performing at The Flywheel in Easthampton, MA.


Tour dates:

July 4 - DC potluck @ 1223 Decatur St., w/ Southern Problems, Lozen, Hugh McElroy, 2pm
July 5 - Philadelphia @ Philamoca, w/ Lozen, Erode and Disappear
July 6 - New York City @ Cake Shop, w/ BELLS, Lozen, and Cycles
July 7 - Providence @ Cave 16, w/ Lozen, Whore Paint, Cave of Colors, 9pm
July 8 - Baltimore @ Charm City Art Space, w/ Lozen and more

For more info, check out Trophy Wife on Bandcamp and Facebook.

Friday, June 1, 2012

FA/FS Releases Now Available in Athens, Greece!

European and trans-Europe-traveling friends, Sound Effect Records - Store and Label - will be distributing our releases in Athens, Greece!

Sound Effect carries every new record you'll want to spin, plus micro-pressings, limited editions, and a wide selection of collectible 60's-00's punk, garage, psychedelic, folk, noise, and weird unclassifiable space jams. This is a store where you'll want to spend some time - and the distro is great, too!

Sound Effect Records: Zaimi Str 30, Athens, Greece

Website coming soon:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

So the Wind Won't Blow it All Away & Rosemud Vintage

Lovely pic of the Cabinet of Natural Curiosities "Blue Highways" LP courtesy of Rosie at Rosemud Vintage, a New England retro fashion and photography blog - the perfect image to accompany Cabinet's interview with the folks at So the Wind Won't Blow it All Away.

Big thanks to both!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Record Store Day 4/21

Happy record store day!

Be sure to visit and support of one our favorites:

Origami Vinyl (Los Angeles, CA)
Mississippi Records (Portland, OR)
Record Room PDX (Portland, OR)
Phantom City Records (Olympia, WA)
The Business (Anacortes, WA)

(All of these awesome independently-owned stores carry our releases!)