Music

New Songs for Old People: “Strange Heart” by Banditos

Southern blues rockers take fans for a musical ride at Minneapolis tour stop.

 

Nashville-based, Alabama-bred Banditos perform live at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis on Thursday, September 28. For those who don’t know, the Entry is the little sister venue adjacent to the First Avenue night club made famous by Prince in the 1984 film, Purple Rain.

Additionally, saying the words “night club” makes me feel like it’s the 1980s again.

Banditos

Banditos Steal Hearts with Southern Psychedelics

“This is alright,” drawls banjo player, Stephen Pierce, opening up the set.

Lead singer Mary Beth Richardson channels Janis Joplin in voice and manner. Taking to the floor at one point, she mills about the crowd, singing, stomping, and grooving, despite having a cold, no doubt attributable to many months on the road in support of new record, Visionland out on Bloodshot Records.

According to the group, the title is a nod to a “defunct $60 million theme park that was built in the late ‘90s near some of the band members’ childhood homes in Bessemer, Alabama.”

Get Banditos Tour Dates

For a country-folky-hippie-bluesy thing, check out Banditos as they head back out on the road next month with a first stop at the Revelry Room in Chattanooga December 8.

Banditos perform “Strange Heart” from new album, Visionland at JBTV.

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3 Bands to Watch from SXSW

Midland, Temples, and Ocean Park Standoff draw crowds at Texas fest.

Most Likely to Succeed: Midland

If the crowd at the South by Southwest (SXSW) TuneIn Studios Big Machine Label Group Showcase on March 17 was any indication, Midland is going to do great things.

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Midland appears as part of the SXSW Big Machine Label Group Showcase at Easy Tiger Bake Shop and Beer Garden.

Singer Mark Wystrach hit all the right notes as the audience actively appreciated the band’s first single “Drinkin’ Problem.” Fans of outlaw country, take note (and a shot of whiskey). Midland joins the Soul2Soul tour with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill this summer.

Top Import: Temples

Temples

Temples performs “Shelter Song” from their first record, Sun Structures at the Radio Day Stage at the Austin Convention Center.

UK band Temples is making its debut across the pond and should be a shoe-in for summer playlists with their latest effort, Volcano. Busy industry folks floated into the Radio Day Stage at the Austin Convention Center on March 15, wooed by the voice of lead singer, James Bagshaw. Though they’re playing all over Europe, only a handful of (mostly southern) dates stateside will have to suffice – for now.

Best Earworm: “Good News” by Ocean Park Standoff

“Good News” wins the fest on catchiness alone. Amidst a turbulent political climate and a long winter, this sunny track is just what the doctor ordered.

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Ethan Thompson, Pete Nappi, and Samantha Ronson of Ocean Park Standoff soundcheck at the Steampunk Saloon, Austin, TX as a part of the Mix 94.7 West of the Fest event.

“I need some good news baby, feels like the world’s gone crazy,” singer Ethan Thompson implores, while Samantha Ronson and Pete Nappi provide a healthy helping of keys and beats. Their EP is out now and you can catch them on tour with Third Eye Blind and Silversun Pickups.

All photos and content copyright © 2017 Melany Joy Beck, all rights reserved.

On the Road with Hunter Valentine

MELANY JOY BECK & JANELLE BECK

Hunter Valentine are touring and will play 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis on March 16, 2016.

“It’s about a girl who comes back to kill her rapist,” explains Hunter Valentine frontwoman Kiyomi McCloskey about the controversial track, “Revenge” from their album Lessons from the Late Night.

“Unfortunately I have a friend who was taken advantage of, and it kind of messed with my head for a very long time. Writing this song was the best way I could get it all out and process it,” McCloskey shrugs and leans forward on the stone ledge in front of the 400 Bar in Minneapolis. “I guess a girl took things into her own hands.”

Hunter Valentine has also done a fair job of taking matters into their own hands. In their seven years as a band, they have weathered the ups and downs of the music industry.

Releasing The Impatient Romantic in 2007, an eponymous EP in 2009, and their most recent effort Lessons from the Late Night, with the support of Tommy Boy Entertainment (released in May, 2010), the ladies of Hunter Valentine have logged the miles and paid their dues.

Currently traveling the country with Sick of Sarah and Vanity Theft on the Lady Killer Tour, Hunter Valentine shows no sign of slowing down.

“It’s going to be crazy,” drummer Laura Petracca says. “All three bands are extremely professional, but we all like to undo our top buttons as well, so to speak, so we have no idea what’s going to happen.”

Petracca glances up at her tourmates sharing cigarettes and loading gear into the club. “We’re all very different,” she says. “Vanity Theft is poppy. They are one of the better choices to get the party started. You want to rip your clothes off and get naked and start dancing. Sick of Sarah falls in between us. Pop-punky. Emotional.”

Touring almost non-stop for the majority of their careers, it’s clear they love what they do. Even the most rigorous aspects of the job become routine.

“Getting to a new city every single day is an amazing thing to do when you’re doing it with your best friends [who are also] in your band. And then with these other two groups,” McCloskey says. “I’ve started to not really feel normal when I go home now. So I prefer to be on the road.”

For these girls, the road is their home; and close quarters definitely lead to really getting to know your band mates.

“Vanity Theft is poppy. They are one of the better choices to get the party started if you want to rip your clothes off and get naked and start dancing.” – Laura Petracca of Hunter Valentine

“I’m actually an accidental cupper. I’ll cup in my sleep,” laughs Petracca of her nocturnal tendency to crotch-grab. “I’ve shared a bed with a woman, with women, and it’s just automatic. Sometimes I’ll go for the boob, but most of the time I’ll go for the gold,” she admits. “I’m a cupper.”

Playing as a three piece is another thing that separates Hunter Valentine from the pack.

“For a while we had the idea that we had to be the perfect four,” McKloskey says, “As we continued as a three piece, it sort of evolved and became really strong and tight. It became clear that adding someone else to the mix was going to be really difficult.”

Having perfect musical chemistry is important when spending every waking (and sleeping) moment together, and is critical to the live performance.

“I think it’s a really honest rock show. I don’t think we plan things out. We write things and our emotions are on our sleeves. It’s a great show because it’s at a time when we’re at our most creative and vulnerable points,” McKloskey says.

Finishing up touring for Lessons from the Late Night in September, the girls are set to head home and start writing for their next effort.

That is, if they can manage to stay home long enough.

EDITOR’S NOTE: PORTIONS OF THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED AS PART OF THE CURVE MAGAZINE BLOG, SHE’S ELECTRIC IN OCTOBER OF 2011.

About the Authors:

Melany Joy Beck and Janelle Beck are writers and filmmakers. Their short documentary Bring It 2 Peter was awarded Special Jury Prize at the Nevada Film Festival, Best Documentary at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival, and Official Selection honors at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival. They can also be heard in vocal harmony on the Delavan song, Pistols Blazing.

ALL CONTENT AND IMAGES COPYRIGHT MELANY JOY BECK, JANELLE BECK 2016©

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Zach Rogue Returns to St. Paul’s Turf Club with New Record 5/25

PHOTO – Zach Rogue discusses musical project Release the Sunbird behind the Turf Club in St. Paul, MN with Caitlin Gutenberger and Jameson Swanagon in 2011.

By Melany Joy Beck

Coincidently, I last caught up with Rogue Wave’s Zach Rogue in an alley behind the Turf Club in St. Paul back in 2011. He was on tour promoting another musical project, Release the Sunbird’s Come Back To Us.

“I want it to have a living room vibe,” Rogue says of Release the Sunbird’s live show. “With Rogue Wave, it’s like dynamics and jumping around and teetering and falling over and being on the edge of falling apart. This is a little more intimate.”

The Release the Sunbird set can be described as ‘cozy.’ With sparse, thoughtful instrumentation and warm vocal harmonies, Come Back To Us is a kind of musical comfort food, a panacea to soothe away the world of worries and conjure images of crackling fires and over-stuffed couches, a vibe Rogue nurtured by recording the record in the sleepy town of Bloomington, Indiana.

“With Rogue Wave, it’s like dynamics and jumping around and teetering and falling over and being on the edge of falling apart.” – Zach Rogue

“I felt really inspired. I wanted to make a pastoral record,” says Rogue on Release the Sunbird. “Bloomington doesn’t really change – the natural beauty, peace and quiet. Every morning I would walk about a mile to the studio and all I heard were birds tweeting.”

“I feel like our music is inclusive,” says Rogue. “It’s not hip or edgy, it’s just melodic and it has a sensibility where I feel it opens its arms up to everybody.”

Following up the last Rogue Wave album, 2013’s Nightingale Floors, Delusions of Grand Fur is scheduled for a 4/29 release.

Rogue Wave cover170x170

Tracklist:
01 “Take It Slow”
02 “In The Morning”
03 “California Bride”
04 “Look At Me”
05 “Falling”
06 “Curious Me”
07 “What Is Left To Solve”
08 “Frozen Lake”
09 “Endless Supply”
10 “Ocean”
11 “Last Picture Show”
12 “Mimento Mori”

 

Rogue Wave — 2016 Tour Dates
05/05 Oakland, CA @ Starline Ballroom
05/06 Mill Valley, CA @ Sweetwater Music Hall
05/07 San Francisco, CA @ The independent
05/10 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
05/11 Buffalo, NY @ Tralf Music Hall
05/12 Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
05/13 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
05/14 Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
05/15 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
05/17 Washington, DC @ Black Cat
05/18 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
05/19 Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
05/20 Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
05/21 St. Louis, MO @ Old Rock House
05/22 Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
05/24 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
05/25 Minneapolis, MN @ Turf Club
05/26 Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
06/09 Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
06/11 Austin, TX @ Mohawk Outdoors
06/12 San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
06/17 Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
06/18 Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up

Editor’s Note: Portions of this article first appeared as part of the Curve Magazine blog, She’s Electric in December of 2011.

 

About the Author

Melany Joy Beck is a writer, musician, and award-winning independent filmmaker. Her Kickstarter project, short documentary Bring It 2 Peter (co-produced with Janelle Sorenson) was selected Special Jury Prize at the Nevada Film Festival 2011, Best Documentary at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival 2011, and Official Selection at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival 2012.

ShesElectric_ZachRogueReleasetheSunbird

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Front Woman Shines at First Avenue

 

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the Curve Magazine blog, She’s Electric in September, 2010 as “Un-Jaded with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.”

By Melany Joy Beck & Janelle Beck

It’s easy to write off Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as one of L.A.’s newest musical shticks. With their psychedelic prairie garb, dreadlocks and obvious appreciation of a certain herbal substance, the band is easy to stereotype. It is also true that their lineup includes a former ABC Family star, an American Apparel model and a cadre of west coast scenesters, including former Ima Robot front man, Alex Ebert who now dresses like the next messiah. However, Edward Sharpe and their free-loving ethos is a Kool-Aid worth drinking.

One of two women in the ten-person ensemble and the ingénue behind their breakthrough single, ‘Home’ is Jade Castrinos. Channeling Grace Slick at her most affable and Janis Joplin at her most lucid, Castrinos’ voice conjures images of wide open spaces and the fantasy of some nameless, long-forgotten west. But the singer becomes humble at the evocation of such icons and seems hard-pressed to claim any rock-idol throne.

“That’s a fucking honor, man. My dad and I were in a jam band and we would jam Janis Joplin,” she says, taking a seat backstage at Minneapolis’ First Avenue nightclub. “Strangely, I just picked up a biography on her and the first page I opened up to was a story about her sleepwalking as a kid and her mom woke her and asked what she was doing and she said, ‘I’m going home, I’m going home.’ That instantly hooked me.”

The sentiment of ‘Home’ has hooked a lot of people on Jade Castrinos too.

“The other night we had a show in Montana and it was just incredible,” she muses. “We had one of those moments when everyone is jamming and we become a unit and everything syncs up in the room.” She shakes her head and focuses her eyes on a seemingly empty patch of dressing room wall. “Those are the ones. The soul shakers. The moments when I understand why I’m on earth.”

ShesElectric_EdwardSharpeJade2

In an industry where competition is par for the course, Castrinos maintains an holistic view of her musicianship and why she twirls and wails and bangs the tambourine in the Edward Sharpe rock collective.

“It’s not just about me,” she says. “It’s about us making a sound together and being of service to song and love and supporting each other. The opposite of jealousy and competition is admiration and sharing. That’s the side of it that I’m on.”

The overall essence of Castrinos reaches beyond the notion of taking the stage. Marveling at the state of the world, our country, and even the music being written she is visibly struck by the sudden magnitude of import.

“What really matters when you go to your death bed?” she asks, raising her hands up and letting them flutter back down to smooth her tunic. “It’s not about the fuck-you songs to the government. I don’t think that’s what it should be about. It’s about shining a light and being a light and not cursing the darkness. We are all born into a world that is at war. Brothers and sisters don’t recognize each other and we all are living in this illusion of duality.”

At the sold-out show with opening act, Dawes, there is no hint of disharmony as Castrinos and Ebert echo the anthemic chorus of ‘Home’ to close out the night. In this band of brothers, sister Jade shines.

 

About the Authors:

Melany Joy Beck and Janelle Beck are writers and filmmakers. Their short documentary Bring It 2 Peter was awarded Special Jury Prize at the Nevada Film Festival, Best Documentary at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival, and Official Selection honors at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival. They can also be heard in vocal harmony on the Delavan song, Pistols Blazing.

All content and images copyright Melany Joy Beck, Janelle Beck 2016©

Sweetheart Mixtape

If you’ve got a sweetheart, one of the most thoughtful things you can do is to make her (or him) a mixtape. I know, nobody does “tapes” anymore, but mixCD, or digital song mix, just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

In order to spread the Valentines Day love, I’d like to share with you the mixtape that I made for my sweetheart this year. So if you love slide guitar and a Western skyline, wild horses and whiskey, or a kiss by a campfire, then this is sure to put you both in the mood to ride off into the sunset.

I’ll even throw in a free song to get you started. Enjoy!

  1. The Black Lillies – Dancin’
  2. Chris Stapleton – When the Stars Come Out
  3. Lord Huron – Ends of the Earth
  4. Hozier – Like People Do
  5. Kacey Musgraves – I Miss You
  6. Delavan – Love Shine (Free Download)
  7. Jason Isbell – Stockholm
  8. Sturgill Simpson – The Promise
  9. Alabama Shakes – I Found You
  10. Ashley Monroe – Has Anybody Ever Told You
  11. Erik Koskinen – First Time in Years
  12. Patty Griffin – Heavenly Day

 

SweetheartMix

 

Slow and Steady | The Songwriting Secrets of BOY

The following interview with BOY took place during SXSW in 2013. I was on assignment for the magazine (with Janelle Sorenson) but due to editorial constraints, the lion’s share of the material we captured (many great bands) was not used in the final article.  

At that time, Steiner and Glass had already begun writing the songs that would appear on We Are Here and discussed the process in detail. We also had the opportunity to hear “Into the Wild” live at Peckerheads on 6th Street as part of the Baeble Music Showcase and fell in love with the song.

Slow and Steady | The Songwriting Secrets of BOY

Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass of the Hamburg-based duo BOY first met in 2007 at a musical workshop where the two hit it off professionally. They soon began writing together and their debut album Mutual Friends with its international hit “Little Numbers” arrived four years later.

“Since nobody was waiting for the [first] album, we took as much time as we needed to find out how we want to write, or how it works to write,” says Glass. “We had enough time to form a vision in our heads about what we would do musically so it was two and a half years of writing, playing live, and going to the studio to record.”

Doing What Works

With the second album, We Were Here, set to drop in September of 2015, it is clear that the two sought to repeat the winning formula.

“When we write, it is like a back and forth,” Steiner says. “Sonja does instrumentals at her home studio and sends them to me. I record a melody with lyrics that fit and then I send it back. So it goes back and forth via email for quite a long time until we really put a song together and then we go to the studio and record it properly.”

Writing music takes time, and in some cases the right space to really bring out the creativity.

“I need to have a very quiet place, actually,” Glass says. “No music, nothing at all, to start a new idea.”

BOY_Sonja_Glass

When asked about what inspires them, the two cast a wide net.

“For me, for the lyrics, I think it’s very much taken from my life or the things I observe with my friends, or just people around me,” says Steiner. “It can also be books or movies or artists that I like. I think inspiration can be everywhere, so you just have to catch it.”

“I’m inspired by my whole life and by the music I listen to, and the sounds I like,” agrees Glass.

What’s Next

The new album, We Were Here will be available to American audiences September 18, over two years in the making – a point not lost on the band.

“We started writing new songs in January or February [2013],” says Glass. “We are very slow writers, really slow. It’s too early to tell what it’s about or where it’s going to be.”

About the Author

Melany Joy Beck is a writer, musician, and award-winning independent filmmaker. Her Kickstarter project, Bring It 2 Peter (co-produced with Janelle Sorenson) was selected Special Jury Prize at the Nevada Film Festival 2011, Best Documentary at the Central Wisconsin Film Festival 2011, and Official Selection at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival 2012.