Friday, August 30, 2013

Noise & Pop: A Conversation With Cameron Keiber Of Eldridge Rodriguez

Cameron Keiber is perhaps best known as the co-frontman of Boston's indie stalwarts The Beatings or perhaps as a co-founder of Midriff Records  the Boston/NYC based indie label he operates with his brother Clayton. However, over the past few years Cameron has been largely focused on writing and recording staggering noise pop under the moniker Eldridge Rodriguez.We recently got the chance to catch up with Cameron to discuss the recording of his next album, his label, a short lived project called No Love and playing this weekends AGP Presetned Summer Fades event.

Bryan Hamill : The last we spoke in this forum you had recently released You Are Released, how have the past couple of years since that release effected the music you are making these days?

Cameron Keiber: I think that with each album I work on I learn how to be a better writer and producer. I've learned how to not treat the work as too precious. It allows me to take more risks and be a better listener and in turn the writing has become stronger and more assured. I'm just trying new things with each album and I'm realizing that that new thing is often opening myself up more and more with each record. I think the first 2 full lengths and couple EP's where written as if I was an observer to the process or a passive participant, and I think that's a cop out. I'm trying to say what I mean as plainly as possible and stand behind it more now than I did before. It's really all you have. People don't expect you to be sincere in pop music. They expect you to be sentimental or saccharine or maudlin but not sincere and that excites me.

Bryan: What can you tell us about the recording of the in progress Eldridge Rodriguez album in terms of the line up and direction of the new tracks that you are currently working on?

Cameron: There has been a different line up for the band every few years and albums and I'm not sure why. But it's a trend and because of that we get new people involved which is great because you get to play to their strengths and skill set. The crew I have with me right now is wonderful. We are doing things closest to the way that I hear them in my head without compromising what the rest of the guys want to hear. Dennis (Grabowski ) and I have been playing together since college and through The Beatings so he knows how I write and I trust his instincts and that partnership is solid. Clayton (Keiber) has a very similar aesthetic as I do so we talk the same language with regard to noise and pop and tones and such and Dave(Grabowski) does stuff that blows my mind. He is a big electronic buff and he knows how to get those blips and buzzes that I wasn't able to get before he came on. It's a really great band.

Bryan: How does the Eldridge Rodriguez material differ from the material you've recorded with The Beatings or with No Love?

Cameron: No Love, a band I brought together over a year ago, fired me last week. I don't know why, you'd have to ask them.
The Beatings aren't as interested in trying new instrumentation, tech, etc. They are very comfortable and set in the way we record and write currently. For better or worse, I couldn't do what I'm doing now in Eldridge Rodriguez with The Beatings. It wouldn't get past the introductory stage. So I'm happy that I have an outlet to do this type of material with people who dig it, as it's become my primary venue.

Bryan: How has Midriff Records evolved since that label was started to help promote The Beatings recorded output?

Cameron: Clayton and I run the day to day instead of Mike and Tony. Aside from that, not a whole lot. The core principals of releasing sincere music regardless of genre and current trends remains. We've gotten a lot more bands on the roster and have a bigger footprint now, but the stuff that matters, the integrity and continuing to build everything from the ground up guided by a DIY ethos is intact. Everything is still totally hands on.

Bryan: You recently singed Guillermo Sexo and will release there new album, Dark Spring. Can you tell me how that partnership came about?

Cameron: We've known Reuben (Bettsak) from the scene for a couple of years now and they sent us the EP that they self released this past Spring and we flipped over Bring Down Your Arms and started talking with them about doing a full length.

Bryan: What can we expect from your set at this weekends AGP Presented Summer Fades show?

Cameron: Noise and pop... combined. We'll be doing a lot from the upcoming album. Hopefully people will dig it. If they don't, hopefully it doesn't ruin their night.

Bryan: You recently confirmed a show on September 8th at T.T. The Bears as part of their week long 40th Anniversary Celebration. What does it mean to you to be able to join the festivities?

It's really nice to be asked. The Beatings have a long history with the club and they've always been very good to Eldridge Rodriguez, as has Boston Emissions who are curating the night. I'd like to be all bravado and say that I expected to be asked, but the truth is I didn't. I totally expected that celebratory week to go off without a hitch without me. Now they have a hitch.

Eldridge Rodriguez plays The AGP's Summer Fades with Slowdim and The New Highway Hymnal at The New World Tavern in Plymouth on Sunday September 1st.

*Photo Credit: Johnny Anguish of Daykamp Music

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

This Weeks Short Bursts: Kal Marks, Joanna Gruesome + Winter

Boston's DIY scene mainstays, Kal Marks are prepping to issue their sophomore LP, Life Is Murder on September 17th on Sophomore Lounge, Midnight Werewolf, and the stalwartly Exploding In Sound Records. The new set marks the recorded debut of the solidified line up of Carl Shane with drummer Nick Egersheim and bassist Mike Geacone. The band recorded the tracks found on Life Is Murder with Richard Maar at Watertown's Galaxy Park studio. Over the the past few weeks Kal Marks have served up a couple tracks off their forthcoming album, first they treated us with the inspired and fuzzed covered title track which features guest vocals from Jonah Furman of Boston's bugcore trio Krill, then came the teetering and dense sludge pop of Parking Lot. Which brings us to this weeks offering, the third single from Life Is Murder and quite possibly our favorite track of the new collection, Where A River Starts And Ends, which finds Kal Marks immersed in driving rhythms, charging and dense guitars with Shane delivering a sneering yet compelling vocal. The band will head out on a U.S. tour shortly after the release of their new LP, but will return in time for a TBA homecoming show on Saturday October 12th.

Cardiff's rising noise pop concern, Joanna Gruesome have announced they will issue there debut album, Weird Sister via Slumberland Records in the U.S. on September 10th and one day prior via Fortuna Pop! in Europe. The Welsh five piece has just issued their second single, Sugarcrush in advance of the release. The track features a pristine boy/girl vocal harmonies which float above a cacophony of dissonant guitar crunch that successfully lends some balance to the dark themes that run throughout that track and reportedly the entire LP. The bulk of Weird Sister was reportedly written during the bands month long stay in a seedy Brighton, England hotel called The Hell House with the quintet recording the tracks with MJ of the revered Hookworms. Now with U.S. label representation, we're thinking and hoping that increases the chance for a stateside visit this fall from this thrilling and lauded pop collective.

It's a bit bittersweet that we report on the new single from Winter, just days after vocalist and front woman, Simara Winter announced that she is planning on relocating to the West Coast in short order. The band recently gave what were billed as there final Boston performances, at least for the immediate future. However the band plans on continuing to write and record with the current line up of Nolan Eley ,Kyle Oppenheimer both of Infinity Girl, and Ana Karina DaCosta who also spends time in 28 Degrees Taurus and Slowdim. On the new single, Alligator the band addresses the impending move over lush instrumentation, boyant bass lines and a enchanting vocal performance from Ms. Winter. We can't seem to hear this too many times, although we've tried. Alligator is a track ripe with understated and charming pop hooks, not to mention I may just be Winter's finest recording to date. Let's hope there is more to come from this quartet regardless of it's geographical preferences.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Plan Accordingly Boston:: Bent Shapes Record Release Show

Plan ahead right now and contact your boss and tell him you will be casually late for the morning meeting, because tonight's triple bill a Great Scott is not to be missed. The night will serve as an album release for the debut full length from Boston's resplendent indie pop trio Bent Shapes. We were instantly won over when we caught them a few years ago, then as Girlfriends and like many of you have followed along to this point which is tonight when they celebrate the release of their debut full length, Feels Weird. We are eager to lay our ears on the bracing and intelligent pop songs that occupy the new LP in the confines of Great Scott. Also in tow is Western MA's punk fuzz outfit Potty Mouth who will issue their new album Hell Bent on September 17th. As if that wasn't nearly enough to get you out on Sunday evening, local sludge pop dynamos, Krill will kick off the evening. We've set our out of office replies accordingly.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wavves + The New Highway Hymnal|The Paradise Rock Club| 08.01.13

As I made my way to The Paradise on the evening of August 1st to catch the formidable double bill of Wavves along with local  psych punk outfit, The New Highway Hymnal I was struck with the notion that it must be a kind of a big deal for a band that grew up in this area to play this venue for the first time and based on the amount of people that got in the venue prior to their set perhaps I was on to something. Over the past couple of years The New Highway Hymnal have been steadily gaining some well deserved attention for their energetic and high volume Live performances as well as their Vanya Records issued 2012 debut LP, Whispers. The band had just returned home from a short U.S. tour when they took to the stage and treated the near capacity Paradise crowd to an impressive and raucous set witch consisted of several tracks from there aforementioned Whispers as well as new song, all while the Lysergic Factory provided a backdrop of psychedelic imagery. On tracks like Through Stained Glass and Factory Song the band demonstrated a skill for delivering a hypnotic and captivating live performance. The trio of Hadden Stemp, Ameila Gormley, and Travis Hagan played with healthy amounts of precision and chemistry, which might explain the dudes in the mens room asking me "who The fuck was that opening band" to my simple response, that was The New Highway Hymnal.

Wavves walked on stage with little fan fare, strapped their instruments on went at it full bore as they tore through a meticulously executed set with Nathan Williams only pausing briefly to re-tune his guitar and drink a beer. William's focused largely on songs from last spring's, Afraid of Heights LP as well as selections from 2011's King Of The Beach and even pulled out cover of Sonic Youth's 100%, but it was on tracks like Sail To The Sun and Green Eyes where William's displayed his strength as a performer a midst massive hooks and a dense wall of guitar fuzz.

The New Highway Hymnal will play The Ash Gray Proclamation Presented and totally free Summer Fades show with Eldridge Rodriguez and Slowdim at The New World Tavern in Plymouth on September 1st.