A good English recording studio can cost anywhere from $800 a day on up, according to Jason Pierce. Exhausting both financially and emotionally, it forces musicians to squeeze as much work as they can into 12-hour days while the meter’s running.
So the meticulous Spiritualized maestro chose a less costly route for his band’s new magnum opus “Sweet Heart Sweet Light.” He plugged his fully loaded laptop into a pair of giant speakers, recruited a local engineer and mixed the entire album at home in daily sessions.
It took him well over a year. Read More
The future looked bleak for Maryland-bred folk-popper Eric Hutchinson a few years ago. Right after signing with Madonna’s Maverick Records the label folded, forcing him to reconnoiter in his parents’ basement, where he eventually penned, then self-released, his debut recording, “Sounds Like This.” Quickly snapped up by Warner Bros., the Perez Hilton-touted album broke worldwide via irresistible hits such as “Rock & Roll.” Read More
Two years ago, when couch-surfing Californian Bethany Cosentino released “Crazy for You” — the reverb-drenched debut of Best Coast, her band with guitarist Bobb Bruno — she had no idea it would catch on all over the world, or that her fame would extend to her pet cat Snacks (featured on the album cover), who has more than 9,800 followers on Twitter. Today, she even has her own clothing line for Urban Outfitters, inspired by vintage thrift store items she has collected on tour. Read More
Video may not have killed the radio star, but it nearly defeated quirky California folksinger Kina Grannis, who spent 22 months with director Greg Jardin filming a stop-motion animated video for her single “In Your Arms” — using 288,000 jelly beans.
For more than 2,300 meticuous frames, she posed on a plexiglass table, with elaborate bean scenarios spread beneath her.
“We’d spend over an hour building one frame, then I’d come in, lie on the glass, and he’d take one picture,” she says. “So most days we’d get less than a second of footage completed.” Read More
Vocalist Nils Ottensmeyer admits that his Berlin ensemble the Blue Angel Lounge does sound Joy Division-dark, especially on its new EP “Ewig.” Yet, he says, “We’re not locking ourselves in a dark room, lamenting about all the evil things in the world. Read More
It wasn’t as crazy as that Von Dutch celebrity cap fad from a decade ago. But Keith Morris recently was taken aback by a sudden mail-order run on merchandise from his proto-punk supergroup OFF!, appearing in The City on Friday, backing its self-titled, Damned-retro debut disc. “We were running to the post office two or three times a week, sending out hat after hat after hat,” says the ex-Black Flag and Circle Jerks frontman. “We had a real rash of teenage girls suddenly purchasing our trucker caps.” Read More
Even Lewis Carroll couldn’t have dreamt up the surreal, real-life wonderland that Australian artist Hayley Mary of the Jezabels tumbled into at 5 years old.
In the tiny surfing community of Byron Bay, her father — a harp-plucking street performer attired in witch’s garb — rechristened her as a play on “Hail Mary,” then dressed her up as a gossamer-winged fairy to accompany him on vocals. Read More
It was an odd move for Arctic Monkeys bandleader Alex Turner — the Sheffield native’s relocation from Britain to New York’s tony Williamsburg, where he resided for a year with then-gal pal Alexa Chung. “I actually really enjoyed my time there, and it was pretty exotic for me,” he says. While there he even wrote “Suck It and See,” the group’s fourth and most melodic album. But times change. In rapid-fire succession, he: broke up with Chung and returned to London, composed the folksy soundtrack to U.K. Read More
After five albums and nearly two decades with his anthemic Celt-rock combo Snow Patrol, when Gary Lightbody paused to study his existence, he saw something he hadn’t noticed before: children.Several Irish chums had become parents. His producer, Garret “Jacknife” Lee, made him godfather to his two daughters. Lightbody says, “Now I have a little niece, Honey, so suddenly there are kids everywhere. So it’s obvious that at 35, I don’t have any, which made me think, ‘What do I really want out of life?’” Read More
Touring the country by bus may sound romantic, but for musicians, it also can be a cramped, claustrophobic nightmare, says Alex Ebert, frontman of the 12-member Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
Then again, the singer — appearing this week in Oakland with the band, promoting its upcoming gospel-fervent sophomore recording “Here” — says he was spoiled by last year’s unusual Railroad Revival Tour. Read More
If playing music is your karmic destiny, you can’t run from it. And as the Denver-based husband-and-wife team in the chiming pop combo Tennis (playing a sold-out show Monday at The Independent) testify, you can’t sail away from it on a 30-foot sloop, either.When guitarist Patrick Riley first met keyboardist-vocalist Alaina Moore in college, both were music-student dropouts who had switched to philosophy. Read More
Jesse Cohen understands ironic, even post-ironic, humor. But last week — when a chum termed a certain popular group a “guilty pleasure” — he had enough. “I said, ‘C’mon, man! You’re in your 30s! There shouldn’t be such a thing as a guilty pleasure anymore — who has the time for it?’” he says. He and bandmate Eric Emm, right, bring that same anything-goes attitude to Tanlines. The dance-rock duo’s delightful new “Mixed Emotions” debut recalls vintage percolators from Blancmange, Shriekback and New Order. Tanlines’ credo, he says, is remarkably simple: If it sounds good, it is good. Read More
Corny or not, Our Lady Peace bandleader Raine Maida believes the family that plays together, stays together.Although he and his wife of 12 years, fellow Canadian crooner Chantal Kreviazuk, maintain separate careers (her new CD “In This Life” comes out in May; he has an upcoming solo album “Pachamama” and the new OLP comeback “Curve,” which he’ll promote in a gig in The City on Monday), the couple has found even more success as a songwriting team, sculpting tunes from their L.A. home for Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne and David Cook. Read More
She’s the Grammy-winning, sitar-wielding daughter of Ravi Shankar, half-sister of Norah Jones and wife of British film director Joe Wright, of “Atonement” renown. But perhaps the reason the California-educated Anoushka Shankar isn’t a household name yet is because she plays an arcane type of music — classical Hindustani, sometimes fused with genres such as jazz or traditional flamenco, as on her intricate new CD “Traveller.” She recorded with Jones on her last effort, 2007’s “Breathing Under Water.” Her months-long world tour brings her to San Francisco today. Read More
As a moody, introspective only child, Aleksa Palladino never had a boyfriend, enjoyed playing with her cat more than with other kids, and worried about mortality so much she wound up in therapy. But her New York household teemed with creativity. With painters for grandparents and a mother who sang opera professionally, she says, “It wasn’t really a question of whether or not I’d be an artist — it was more just finding out which avenue I would follow.” Read More