Blog | Music/Arts: Long Island Sound & Beyond
Re-experience Rubberneck with The Toadies at Irving Plaza
I love to see the sun
In spite of all it’s done
I pray for shade and rain
I pray to live again
I come from the water
The Toadies are back in the studio working on a retrospective of their material and some new songs set for release in the fall. In the meantime, you can celebrate the 20th anniversary of Rubberneck with the remastered edition out this month, featuring five previously unreleased tracks. The post-grunge rockers were an alt-rock radio staple in the 90’s with primal songs like “Possum Kingdom,” I Come From the Water,” and “Mister Love.” In addition to launching their own tasty beer, Rubberneck Red, and hosting their 7th annual Dia De Los Toadies music festival in their hometown of Fort Worth, TX in September, guitarist Clark Vogeler released the documentary, Dark Secrets: The Stories of Rubberneck, which answers a lot of questions about frontman Vaden Todd Lewis’ mysterious lyrics.
Fresh off the heels of SXSW, where The Toadies—including drummer Mark Reznicek and bassist Doni Blair—ended the festival with a bang, the band will be performing Rubberneck in its entirety on a nationwide tour with a stop at NYC’s Irving Plaza on Thursday, April 24th. Vaden Todd Lewis talks about Rubberneck’s five bonus tracks, new Toadies music and performing live.
Pulse: What made you want to re-release Rubberneck with 5 new tracks for its 20th anniversary?
Vaden Todd Lewis: People still love that record, so it seemed obvious to do a re-issue with a current mastering. One of the bonus tracks, “Stop It,” is a cover of a Pylon song. Three were recorded during the original session, but never saw the light of day for one reason or another. “Rockfish” was a working title and I never managed to fill in the blanks for lyrics. Later on, we cannibalized it for a song called “Waterfall.” The other two tracks are very early live recordings. We felt these extra songs gave a pretty good snapshot of that moment in time.
P: How did the crowd react to your SXSW show? What Rubberneck song did you most enjoy revisiting live?
VTL: It was a great reception at SXSW! Always love playing Stubb’s Bar-B-Q in Austin. I’d have to say “Mexican Hairless” is one of my current favorites to play from that record, mainly because it’s one that we rarely pulled out live over the years.
P: Are you working on new material? If so, will the sound of your next record be vintage Toadies or more modern?
VTL: We’re finalizing a session featuring material spanning our career, sort of a retrospective, where we disassemble and reinvent the songs using different instrumentation. Lots of acoustic guitar, Rhodes, mandolin… It’s a weird and cool record. I’m hoping to have one or two new songs to add to it before its release in September.
P: What do you like about playing in NYC?
VTL: Love the food and the atmosphere. I’m a big fan of the city, and always enjoy playing Irving Plaza.
P: Aside from all of Rubberneck, will you be playing any other tunes at Irving Plaza?
VTL: We’ve been running through Rubberneck in sequence, followed by a set of songs from our other releases. We may pull out “Stop It” and another cover if the mood strikes.
The 20th anniversary remastered edition of Rubberneck with 5 bonus tracks is available on disc and 180 gram vinyl.
See The Toadies perform the album in its entirety at Irving Plaza on 4/24 with Supersuckers and Battleme opening.
MisterWives Bring Reflections and Chills to the Bowery Ballroom
Vagabond is you, ran the mile no shoes
If the sun goes down too soon
Embrace the starry eyed moon
Vagabond is you, swam the sea at the darkest blue
You made it, made it through
From “Vagabond” by MisterWives
Queens native Mandy Lee studied songwriting and opera at LaGuardia High School before becoming the frontwoman for the Bronx-based band MisterWives. A gender reversal on the Mormon term “sister wife,” the band’s name upset a few Mormons at their shows, but the upbeat Lee isn’t too worried about it. “I married all the lads and they became my lovers,” she jokes. The lads are drummer Etienne Bowler, bassist Will Hehir, guitarist Marc Campbell and Jesse Blum on keys/trumpet/accordion. The group played its first show in February 2013 and was signed to Photo Finish Records (a subsidiary of Island Def Jam) shortly thereafter.
Lee’s quirky, soulful voice (with hints of Bjork) perfectly accompanies the dance-folk-rock tunes on MisterWives’ 6-song EP, Reflections, which was released in January. The group is now working on their debut full-length set for release in the fall. You can check out their high-energy show at the Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday, April 16th. Fresh off the heels of playing SXSW for the first time, the 21-year-old Lee dishes about the experience.
Pulse: Who are your biggest influences and how do you describe your band’s sound?
Mandy Lee: Collectively as a band, we’re influenced by groups like No Doubt, The Police, and Fleetwood Mac. I’m inspired by anyone with some serious spunk and soul like Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, and Kate Bush…love me the ladies! Other than pop rock, I think our music falls under the umbrella of soul/folk/dance with hints of reggae and funk from time to time.
P: Do you write the lyrics and the music?
ML: I do write the skeletons of all the songs—lyrics, melody, and structure on the keys. Depending on the weather, we’ll either jam on it until it’s a full sounding song or Et and I will demo it out in our homemade studio and bring it to the rest of the gang once there’s a fully fleshed out idea.
P: What’s your favorite song to sing live?
ML: It’s a close tie between “Imagination Infatuation” and “Vagabond.” There’s a dueling horn solo during “Imagination” that gets everybody dancing on their feet and howling like wolves… And during “Vagabond” we get the crowd to participate in a woah-ing chant that forever gives me chills.
P: How was the SXSW festival and who would you most like to tour with?
ML: SXSW was a dream! A crazy, sunny, sleepless, wild dream. It was our first time being there and we played a handful of shows that blew our minds. It was pretty cool closing the week with Perez Hilton’s show playing alongside artists like Blondie and Ingrid Michaelson. We’re currently on tour with The Mowgli’s and they are setting the bar real high with what it’s like to open for incredibly fun, loving, talented people. If No Doubt decides to make another comeback, that would be ideal since they put on one of the funnest live shows I ever did see. If no reunion happens, then hitting the road with Foster the People or Walk the Moon, would be a non-stop sweat fest!
For more info: http://www.misterwives.com and www.facebook.com/MisterWives
After the Disco with Broken Bells
Tell me about the years
And let me buy an hour
Maybe help me to understand
From “Holding On for Life” by Broken Bells
Broken Bells consists of The Shins vocalist/guitarist James Mercer and producer/multi-instrumentalist Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse. If you saw the band perform on The Tonight Show Friday night, you might have expected Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon to come out and join them for an SNL Bee Gees skit. That’s because, vocally, the single “Holding On for Life” sounds very Bee-Gees-esque. But the general sound on Broken Bell’s sophomore album, After the Disco, is not related to its namesake. As Burton told Stereogum:
“We just thought After The Disco was a cool sounding thing. Kind of: ‘After the party is over with, there’s the rest of your life.’ It was simple enough to us, and we never thought anyone would ever think our music was disco because if you listen to it, it’s just not. But, of course, our first single sounds a little like the Bee Gees, so we kind of screwed ourselves into having to talk about that… it adds up to something to think about.”
The album, recorded with the 17-piece Angel City String Orchestra and a four-piece choir, has elements of indie, soul and space rock. And songs like the title track and “Holding On for Life” have an old-school psychedelic 70s feel. Even the series of short films starring Kate Mara that predated the album’s release have a retro-futurist vibe. So if you’re in the mood for an ambient, space-age disco experience give it a listen.
Somehow in between Shins records and the production of Black Keys and U2 projects, the duo has found time to go on the road. They’ll be returning to NY in June for the Governors Ball Music Festival on June 6, 7, and 8.
For more info: http://www.brokenbells.com
Eternal Summers Bring the Drop Beneath to Baby’s All Right
Hold in every whisper
Only I can know
Don’t be my dismisser
Lonely the days do grow
From “Never Enough” by Eternal Summers
Imagine you’re in warmer climes with the glistening dream pop of Eternal Summers. The Virgina-based duo turned trio—singer/guitarist Nicole Yun, drummer Daniel Cundiff and bassist Jonathan Woods—recorded their latest full-length The Drop Beneath at Resonate Studios in Austin, TX. Songs like “Gouge” and “Deep End” are reminiscent of The Cure, and others recall the ethereal sounds of Blonde Redhead. Produced and engineered by members of Guided by Voices and Nada Surf, The Drop Beneath is set for release on Tuesday, March 4th, when Eternal Summers has its record release party at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. The indie band also plays the SXSW Festival later in the month.
Pulse: How do you describe the sound on your latest LP, The Drop Beneath? How has it evolved from your last two recordings?
Daniel Cundiff: I would describe the sound on the new album as being more realized. We’re always about moving forward in our playing and our song writing. We want to surprise people not repeat ourselves… As we have changed and evolved as people, so have the sounds we create. It’s the first time we worked with a producer, Doug Gillard, and the first time we left our hometown to record. By that process we were able to focus more and fine tune the songs. We wanted to expand on what we had done on prior recordings and to create interesting, pretty, heavy, sonic songs. We also wanted to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and see what that process would yield. It yielded more diverse songs and arrangements than what we had done in the past. The Drop Beneath is a journey in the form of an album in the classic sense.
P: What can we expect to hear at your cd release party at Baby’s All Right? Mostly songs from The Drop Beneath?
DC: Yeah, we’ll be playing lots from our newest release and a few old ‘hits’. We may even play a few brand new jammers. A few guests may appear on stage as well but I can’t comment on that officially as of now. You can expect us to rock out!
P: Do you play any covers live? If so, which ones?
DC: We have covered Guided By Voices, Foo Fighters, Neil Young, The Beatles, Big Star, Galaxie 500, The Lemonheads and David Bowie. We haven’t done many covers recently, though. We need to get on that. I like a good cover.
P: Have you played on Long Island before? What do you like about playing in NYC?
DC: Yeah, we played in Montauk at the Surf Lodge. It was a weird and fun time. We played a super long set… We like to play NYC because it’s always different. The crowds are good. Sorry, I’m getting kicked out of this coffee house so I have to go. Cheers! See you at Baby’s!!!
Gianni Paci to preview music from upcoming release at Piano’s
Born and bred in Oyster Bay, Gianni Paci grew up listening to Green Day and Gorillaz, but it was The Beatles, and Paul McCartney in particular, who most influenced his sense of melody. The twenty-one-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist just graduated from NYU with a BA in Musicology and has already shared the stage with the likes of Mike Starr (Alice in Chains), Ace Frehley (KISS) and Steven Adler (Guns N’ Roses). He’s also opened for Owl City and Long Island’s own Richie Cannata.
Paci released Something My Heart Understands with his retro-rock collective, The Pine Hollows, in 2013 before deciding to go solo.
He is now at work on his solo debut with producer Eren Cannata at Cove City Sound Studios in Glen Cove. And on February 1st, Paci released the single “Goodbye” off the album set for release next year: giannipaci.bandcamp.com Keep an eye out for the video at giannipaci.com
You can see Gianni live at a free show at Piano’s in NYC on Tuesday, March 4th at 7pm, and he will also be performing a free all ages show at Dolphin Bookshop in Port Washington on Friday, March 21st at 7pm. As Paci says, “Bring the family!”
Pulse: How do you describe the sound of your single, “Goodbye?”
GP: “Goodbye” is really a culmination of all the things I had been itching to do with my old band, The Pine Hollows, but could not. It’s very danceable in a contemporary radio sort of way, but at the same time, very quirky and representative of my roots as a songwriter. It was not an easy process in that we spent more time on “Goodbye” at the studio than on any of the other nine songs on this record, but I am very happy with the result. It’s definitely different from anything else I’ve done before. And the palette with which we worked is very new to me, being that I come from an old-school, rock-and-roll mindset. Straying from my traditional guitar-bass-drum-keyboard setup and diving into something more electronic and of-the-moment was very fun and exciting.
P: How has your sound evolved from The Pine Hollows?
GP: The Pine Hollows, in a sense, was my reaction to hearing The Beatles for the first time. As strange as it sounds, I had not heard a complete Beatles album until about three years ago, right before I started college. I listened to Abbey Road and it blew my mind. I had been writing songs for a little while before that, but it was their discography that really inspired me to hone my craft. In a way, that was my college education… We had to play at least some of The Pine Hollow’s songs live, so I would have to write for what we were capable of recreating at any of the dingiest bars in Manhattan. Going solo has allowed me to move beyond those limitations and to let my imagination run wild.
P: What’s it like recording at Cove City Sound Studios owned by Richie Cannata?
GP: Recording at Cove City was really a dream come true. I have never felt so at home in a studio. I called Richie on a whim one day last year after hearing about the studio from a friend and I felt like we hit it off right away. It’s not so easy to find someone who speaks the same language as you, but Richie really knows what he’s doing and obviously has the experience to back it up. Eren Cannata is an amazing producer. He brings such energy and enthusiasm into the studio, I don’t know what I would’ve done without him. My songs tend to come from a very personal place and sometimes performing them brings up those old, heavy emotions. Being in a studio can feel like swimming in a fish bowl at times, but he helped to make it a really fun process. Steve Wall is such a good engineer that I was able to just focus on the music. He got really amazing sounds, along with James Meslin, who did some engineering as well. John Arbuckle and Zachary Rippy were a great help in the studio. The rhythm section was fantastic, of course: Neville L’Greene on bass and Kevin Bregande on drums were unbelievably tight and creative. We’ve completed a full-length album as a team and I am really looking forward to sharing it.
P: Who are your biggest musical influences aside from The Beatles?
GP: The Rolling Stones were a big influence on my guitar playing—with all of those open-tunings Keith Richards would employ as a less-is-more approach. But I have to say, most of the stuff I have been listening to lately is either really old to me or relatively new: bands like Green Day and Gorillaz were some of the first cds I bought when I was ten or eleven years old, inspiring me to pick up a guitar in the first place. Then there’s artists like Katy Perry, Beyonce or Miley Cyrus who I have been listening to quite often these days. Some of my friends don’t understand the mixture, but I just love the production and the songs on those albums like I love King Crimson, Nirvana, Bob Marley and Joni Mitchell. It’s a bit of here, there and everywhere. But I don’t see any problem with bridging the new with the old. A good song is a good song.
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