Wolf Parade Blurb

Wolf Parade has an album coming out tomorrow and Mike is ecstatic — here is a slightly personal blurb about how ecstatic he is:

Anyone I’ve spoken to about music knows that my musical tastes revolve around Wolf Parade — it’s tough to talk music with me without them coming up. The announcement of Cry Cry Cry made me nervous. Nervous that it would be impossible to satisfy whatever ridiculous expectations I had established in my mind. Before hearing the album I would’ve told you that seeing them play the same old songs live into eternity is all I’d ever want. I was uneasy listening to this album for the first time, but with each listen it became clear how Wolf Parade this record is. It’s raw, it’s rock, it’s weird, it’s chaotic, it’s clever, it’s melodic, it’s beautiful, it IS Wolf Parade. This album is SO Wolf Parade and that is awesome. I am relieved, thrilled, and impressed, and I am stoked too catch them on tour this month. – Mike


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Review: Howard Ivans’ “Beautiful Tired Bodies”

SB011Out on Friday is Howard Ivans’ debut record, Beautiful Tired Bodies, on Spacebomb Records. We highly recommend buying yourself a copy, especially the vinyl cause this album is groovin’ for its grooves to spin on your turntable, and therefore the word and the feel for this review is undoubtedly groove.

Howard Ivans is Ivan Howard’s music, on this record accompanied by the Spacebomb Records’ house band “and a VIP list of Richmond musicians.” Howard is also known as half of The Rosebuds, a member of the epic Gayngs project (if you don’t know Gayngs then watch this), and most recently Young Sean Young, a project with Jon Yu that last year released Two Thousand Foot Tall Towers — which is of course well worth checking out.

Early releases by The Rosebuds sounded nothing like Beautiful Tired Bodies, but 2007’s Night of the Furies marked Howard’s first embrace of a different, groovier, sound. The ’80s inspiration and synth-layered sound remained scattered throughout The Rosebuds’ later records, got a bump from Gayngs and Young Sean Young, and is now in prime form and full force on this album.

In 2013, Howard Ivans’ debut was a clear sign that good things would come from the project. In our mind “Red Face Boy” and “Pillows” are at the top of must-be-familiar-withs from 2013, so it’s no surprise that Howard Ivans did not lose a step on Beautiful Tired Bodies. The album opens with the first single, “Denise,” before speeding up with “King of Careless” prior to the horns taking over in “Jump In.” The strong baselines pull the first half of the album and drive “Come On,” the ballad that closes out Side A. Side B opens with “Back to the Life,” the source of the album’s namesake, which keeps the album grooving along, finishing formidably with “They Don’t Know How It Feels.” We’ve included Howard’s closing lines, in full:

Stay awake I want to feel this moment
For as long as I can.

Don’t know how it feels to love you baby
Don’t know how it feels to be here now
Don’t know how it feels to love you baby
In the morning this love will survive
In the morning it always survives.

They don’t know how it feels to love you baby
Don’t know how it feels to be here now
Don’t know how it feels to love you baby
In the morning this love will survive
In the morning it always survives
In the morning this love will survive.

An album about love and groovin’ that’s sure to impress, we encourage listening to Beautiful Tired Bodies on Friday, and then on Saturday, and then on Sunday, and so on.

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Review: Marty Cain’s “Kids Of The Black Hole”

Cain-CoverTrembling Pillow Press published Marty Cain’s debut book, Kids of The Black Holein June of 2017. A digital supplement is available here and you can also purchase it from Small Press Distribution here. Below is our review by Nathan Livingston.

We are in Vermont. We are in abandoned homesteads. We are curled up with a childhood friend in a water tower, womb-like. We are in a therapist’s office, we are driving through a storm, we are dreaming. We are reading the debut book by Marty Cain, a long poem immersed in the violent nostalgia of adolescence and interlaced with a passionate investigation of poetry’s purpose. On its surface, it is a coming of age poem couched in trauma and existential horror, but at its core is a triumphant story about a form of salvation, a form of love: poetry.

Kids of the Black Hole is a public exorcism. They are the poet’s first words: his fiery testimony and manifesto. This poem is the note tucked into the abandoned baby’s crib, explaining its existence. The reader is treated to a catalog of formative events, filtered through feverish interludes of literary experiments and dreams. The poet is constantly becoming, and being born again and again into a kind of chaos: a world overrun by violence and deep anxiety. But the poet’s voice is defiant, emerging hungry as a newborn bird, and brave enough to begin to fathom the reason for his existence. In this process of finding himself in the poem, the poet justifies artistic expression itself as a necessary part of self-discovery.

There is nothing more exciting for a young artist than to publish their first real work, and for it to be read by others. Readers will trace their own meanings among the words, mapping their own dilemmas and feelings onto the work like an emotional palimpsest. Suddenly, Marty has found himself the conduit of a thousand personal revelations. He is soothsayer to fugitive minds who seek to find themselves in a passionate text, in words that seem to spring from some shared well of understanding. For the poet, nature is that original muse, running through the pages like a cornfield straddling the sides of a highway. The descriptions of field and forest are beautiful, like a dark pastoral landscape hiding in the subconscious of us all.

Marty knows so thoroughly what poetry means to him. He discovered a part of himself through poetry (hiding in his sternum, no less), and is well-positioned to lend us our next dose of poetic self-discovery. This is the experience of reading a probing, smart, and funny work by a poet eager to show us more of who he is on the page, or rather what the page has made him.

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Interview: Matthew Gibbs & Evolving Evolfo



A discussion with Matthew Gibbs — cereal, redwoods, and The Last Of The Acid Cowboys.

Matthew Gibbs lives in Brooklyn where he is a member of Evolfo, a band he started as Evolfo Doofeht in Northern California back in 2009, with the current iteration of Evolfo taking form in 2011. Last month, Evolfo released their debut LP Last Of The Acid Cowboys on Royal Potato Family. Matt is, or has been been, a member of Benjamin and the Dreamdancers, Holiday Mountain, Cherry Coals, and Kids Having Kids. We spoke to Matt in his living room on April 6th on the eve of the records’ release.

Mike with Take The L: All right, a normal day for you, Matt, what’s a day in the life of your life like when a record release is not imminent? Continue reading

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Review: Evolfo’s “The Last Of The Acid Cowboys”


Royal Potato Family released Evolfo’s debut LP The Last of the Acid Cowboys on April 7th, 2017. Today we’re posting a review by our very own Nathan Livingston. Tonight Alphaville (Brooklyn) is hosting Evolfo’s The Last of the Acid Cowboys release party. We highly recommend grabbing a ticket and/or buying the album.

The Last of the Acid Cowboys is the sound of a Saturday night that refuses to end.

Check to make sure you have everything: jacket, keys, flask, a destination, and good shoes. Tonight you go dancing. The subway is loud. The Brooklyn streets are inviting. The stages are lit all night. Just pick a door and walk in. Chances are that somewhere on this Saturday night there is a band a lot like Evolfo playing through the night. Continue reading

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Interview: Jordan Reynolds is Rose Hotel


A discussion with Jordan Reynolds — veggies, Patti Smith, new music, and Kings of Leon.

Jordan Reynolds is Rose Hotel. She was previously a member of Buffalo Rodeo and lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky — for now. She has an EP slated for a summer release and is often found playing shows in the Midwest. We spoke to her using the internet on 2016’s Winter Solstice.

Mike with Take The L: I know you traveled today so it was not exactly a normal day, but walk me through a day in the life of Jordan Reynolds.

Jordan: Well every day is a little bit different, I don’t have any specific routine. I don’t have a job with a set schedule so literally every single day is a bit different as far as what I’m doing. Continue reading

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Interview: Brett Mattox is The Northwest Man


A discussion with Brett Mattox — Granny Smith, dreams, voice memos, and NASCAR.

W Brett Mattox is The Northwest Man. He was previously a member of The Whiskers and resides in Talladega, Alabama. This is where he makes music. You may not hear it in his singing voice, but he speaks with a southern accent. He most recently released The Past Is The Present on Rochester, New York’s Awkwardcore Records. We spoke to Brett using the internet on December 16th.

Mike with Take The L: Woke up, fell out of bed. What’s next for you, in a normal day?

Brett: I guess the first thing I do is get out of bed, get some water, browse the internet, and then get dressed and go to work. I live where I work, so the commute is not very far. Then I’m just at work all day. I don’t necessarily like my job, but it’s convenient.

M: What is it?

B: I work at a Christian Baptist conference center and it’s the only job I’ve ever had. I got hired when I was 17 and I’m now 29. I was on summer staff for three years and then dropped out of college and just kind of fell into a full time job here and haven’t left. I live here, which means I have extra money. Continue reading

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