Allison Weiss- Making It Up
Allison Weiss- Say What You Mean
Lights- The Last Thing On Your Mind
Ginny Blackmore- Bones
Rachael Yamagata- Devastate Me
Paloma Faith- When You’re Gone
Rachel Platten- 1000 Ships
The Innocence Mission- Happy Birthday Beautiful
Katy Perry- Part of Me
Florence + The Machine- Shake It Out
Ellie Goulding- Starry Eyed
Alabama Shakes- Hold On
Brandi Carlile- Fall Apart Again
Summer Camp- Better Off Without You
Girl in a Coma- Smart
ZZ Ward- Better Off Dead
Sleigh Bells- Rill Rill
I randomly stumbled across Meg Myers via Hype Machine. The first song I heard was “Monster” which because I was in the midst of a break up really stood out to me. It’s an incredible song. Raw, full of emotion. Amazing. Then I downloaded the rest of the EP and the entire thing is fantastic. Check out her website to download it yourself and while you’re at it, check out her tumblr because there is all kinds of pictures on there.
You’ve been working with Doctor Rosen Rosen a lot lately. How has this influenced your writing?
Whelp, we’ve been working together for about a year and a half now. All the songs from the EP were a collaboration between the two of us and I love working with him. He’s been a huge influence on my writing for the better. First off, I’ve been writing songs since I was a little girl but I’m terrible about finishing stuff. He’s really helped push me to actually finish songs. second, sometimes I have a really hard time putting in words what I am feeling and he’s been amazing at simplifying and helping with my lyrical expression. 3rd, I’ve just never clicked with anyone so much musically. i love how we come from such different backgrounds musically but how well our ideas mix together and how open we both are to trying new things.
What artists have influenced you?
A plethora of artists. my god. My early days consisted of a lot of Police and Sting, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Dire Straights, CCR, U2, Dishwalla, Neil Young, James Taylor, Joan Osborne, Enya, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, the beatles, Tracy Chapman, Tom Petty, Mariah Carey, TLC, Jewel, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton etc, and as I went into my teens I listened to The goo goo dolls, Hendrix, Nirvana, Vast, Alice in Chains, NIN, Outkast, Tool, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, Morphine, Pearl Jam, Mew, Slipknot, Radiohead, REM, Soundgarden, Chili Peppers and then into my 20’s, Michael Jackson, Al Green, The Cure, Oingo Boingo, Depeche Mode, Prince, Tupac, Elliot Smith, Alicia Keys, Roy Orbison, Pinback, Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, Nina Simone, Joy Division, The dead Kennedys, Beck, Arcade Fire, beach house, bon iver, Diana ross, Kurt Vile, jon brion, Jeff Buckley, coldplay, the knife.. Currently: Ludovico Einaudi, Zoe Keating, Philip Wesley, Perfume Genius, Other Lives, Townes Van Zandt.
I think that Monster is an amazing song and that the video is perfect. However, a lot of the comments about Monster seem to talk about your nipples. Does that bother you? (bc it bothers me).
Thank you. Meh, I guess it does a little yea, but what are you gonna do? Nothin. I’ll just have to suck it up:) It wasn’t really something any of us thought that deeply about when we were shooting. I just didn’t wear a bra because the song is intimate and raw and it happened to be that where we shot that night was 40 degrees and my hair got damp.
Why did you decide to give “Daughter in the Choir” away for free?
Because it’s a free country.
If you could collaborate with one artist, living or dead, who would it be?
Lovísa Sigrúnardóttir aka Lay Low has been called the Icelandic Patsy Cline. Her voice sounds like it could be right out of the American South and the music is country/americana with songs off her latest release, the Icelandic language album Brostinn Strengur, having an indie, trip hop twist. Lay Low graciously took a few minutes to answer some questions for the Friday 5.
When most people think of music in Iceland, I think they think of music like Bjork and Sigur Ros. How did you get interested in playing country music?
I collect old country vinyls, and one day I thought to myself it would be fun to do an album with that sound, the old Nashville 50’s, 60’s and 70’s sound. Next thing I know, I’m in a studio in London doing just that. I just like the vibe going on in country music but I’m picky in what country music I listen to, not so much the new commercial country, more into the older stuff or alternative sides. Country music has a piece of me, but I try and go as wide as I can in music genres. New material has more of a pshycadelic folk, alt-country, rock, indie flavor.
How do you feel about the comparisons to Patsy Cline?
I don’t think that I am anywhere near Patsy Cline singing wise, but I get the comparison with the sound, since I did an album that had a strong Nashville taste to it.
Lucinda Williams said you were the best young artists she has heard in years. How did that make you feel coming from a legend like her?
It was a very pleasant surprise to meet her at one of my concerts on my first US tour, she’s a great inspiration and very cool lady.
What is your favorite song to perform?
When I’m on my own I enjoy performing Horfið when I get people to help me out, by clapping and learning some Icelandic. When I’m with my band I love playing my very own classic, Please Don’t Hate Me. It’s a song that I have many different versions of, and it’s fun how easy it is to mix it up.
What’s in store for you in 2012?
I’m now writing and producing for a new album that I want to finish this year. It looks like I’ll have a summer of recording and listening to myself all day long. In the autumn I’ll get back on the road, playing and being thankful for how lucky I am to be living this music filled life.
Rubblebucket is an amazing psychadelic, afrobeat, dance band from Brooklyn by way of Vermont. If you haven’t heard them, you should go right now and check out their latest album Omega La La. Front woman Kalmia Traver took a few minutes to answer a few questions for the Friday 5.
Where did the name Rubblebucket come from?
A Rubblebucket is what certain english dialects call that tool used in construction and stone masonry- a bucket or giant dumpster which holds…. rubble! We met our bandmate Craig at a art opening one summer night in Burlington Vermont- we were all supposed to be the band together, but we just made it up as we went along. We were billed as Rubblebucket that night, and afterwards when we decided to take the recordings from the night and start a serious project, the name totally just stuck.
You’re the only girl in a band full guys. How do you deal with that on the road?
The question should probably be how do they deal with ME on the road!? Haha. That’s a joke…. I’m probably one of the more free-spirited members of the band, and I get into my own pockets of existence. I go off on my own and eat my own meals a lot, and have Kalmia’s arts and crafts hours. I really love all the guys in the band and they are my brothers, but it’s hard for me to keep up with their constant playfulness and brand of humor at times. Luckily we all connect deeply on stage every night, and spend parts of everyday analyzing and evaluating the last night’s performance- so we have a lot of work to all dig into together.
Who does most of the writing?
Usually Alex and I draft songs either together or separately, but then we’ll take them to the band and work through them to create a performance together. Band members will contribute to creating the instrumental parts, and feels and vibes of the music.
Who is your biggest musical influence?
If I had to pick one, personally I’d say Moondog. The Viking of 6th Avenue. American composer active largely in the 60s and 70s, who built his own magical instruments and wrote for them and orchestras and singers. Very rhythmically-focused, cyclical music that incorporates rich acoustic sounds, polyrhythms and chanting, and results in meditative but playful feels. These are so many of the fundamentals I start with when I write music. For the band I’d say the 3 most important influences are Fela Kuti, the Talking Heads and Phil Collins.
What’s your favorite song to play live?
It shifts from week to week! I’m currently very excited about one of our newest songs called “Pain From Love” – Alex wrote it. It has a lilting dark melody over straight soul, and then a really fun outro where we 3 singers get to flex our harmony skills.
Katie Davis is an amazing singer-songwriter from Seattle who I’ve been a fan of since the early days of Rubyfruit Radio. Her songs are a mix of melancholy and emotion (in a good way!). Add her brilliant voice and you’ve got something truly special.
Recently, Katie started creating greeting cards as a way to finance her music. They’ve gotten rave reviews and are selling like crazy. Go to ilikeyouandnaps.com and check out them out. Zooey Deschanel loves them, shouldn’t you?
Also, check out her website where you can download one of her EPs for free.
What was the first concert you ever attended?
I think the first show I went to was Sweetwater at the Paramount Theater in Seattle. I was maybe a freshman in high school. The theater had seats, and my ticket had my seat number on it, so even though there were empty seats up front, I stayed in my seat in the back because I thought I would get in trouble if I moved up.
If you could form a band with 3 other people in it, who would those 3 people be?
Okay, the choices are overwhelming me, so I’m forming a random band:
THIS BAND IS AWESOME. Also, in this imaginary band, I would like to suddenly know how to play drums.
You have an Etsy shop and your “I Like You and Naps” cards have become quite popular and have been blogged about in countless places. You’ve expanded the selection quite a bit recently, do you plan on continuing making cards and coming up with new ones? What’s the inspiration behind them?
“I like you and naps” was a simple expression of how much I like naps.
I put up a handful of cards on Etsy, and suddenly I had so many sales I broke my printer and had to shut down my shop for a few days. It turns out naps are very popular.
All my cards are simple expressions of my self or inspired by my friends. “I do not like jobs.” “Love is weird.” “You drink too much.” I just wanted to make something I liked. It makes me happy that other people like them too.
I will definitely continue to make cards! The money I make selling cards helps me to support my music.
Sad songs seem to be your signature. Why sad songs?
I love sad songs. They are my favorite.
I like sad songs that say something beautiful or honest. I like sad songs with hope.
How do you approach your songwriting and where does your inspiration come from?
I think maybe writing songs about things is how I let them go.
I write without really thinking about it. I’m not sitting down with a guitar like, “I will write a song about this thing.” I’m just playing and something comes up. I feel like I’m trying to remember the words. I’m always trying to say it more simply, more honestly.
A few months ago, I woke up singing a song from my dream. I rolled over in bed and sang the chorus right into my phone.
Songwriting comes and goes for me. One season, I write a bunch of songs. The next season, nothing comes. When it comes, I get caught up in it. I will play a new song over and over all night.
I first heard Hank and Cupcakes 2 years ago while looking for some cover songs for a show. I stumbled upon their version of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control” and I was mesmerized. I still think it’s one of the most brilliant covers I’ve ever heard. To me what sets Hank and Cupcakes apart is their live show. H&C features Sagit aka Cupcakes on drums and vocals with her husband Ariel (aka Hank) playing bass and looping everything else. What you get is two people creating an enormous sound. Words fail me on how fantastic their live shows are (check out a video below).
Their new album “Naked” will be dropping in June and I can’t wait. The new songs I have heard have all had a fantastic energy to them and in a word are amazing. Be sure to check out the new album and do not miss them when they go on tour.
I had the chance to ask Sagit Shir aka Cupcakes, a few questions.
Where did the name Hank and Cupcakes come from?
The name H&C is a consequence of the fact that we are both big Charles Bukowski fans. If you’ve read a Bukowski book, you know who Hank is. Cupcakes is actually one of Bukowski’s real life lovers. The idea for the name came up while we were watching a documentary about him called ‘Born Into This’ which we highly recommended
How do you approach your songwriting and where does your inspiration come from?
Songwriting for me is a daily routine, something that needs a lot of discipline and consistency. I try to start every morning with song writing – While my mind is still relatively uncluttered- The best songs come to me when I’m not being judgmental at the moment of writing and I just let the ideas flow out without putting any pressure on myself to deliver. When I manage to be in that open place, inspiration can come from absolutely anything.
You are a classically trained pianist. What prompted you to pick up the drumsticks?
My mother used to play rhythm games with me when I was very young so I might have had an early taste! But I truly fell in love with drums at a beach in Tel Aviv which I discovered when I was 18. It was a kind of hippie beach and every Friday they would have a huge african drums jam, playing into the sunset. I stumbled upon one of these jams and was immediately hooked. I came back to the beach every night that summer and learned to play with people who were always hanging out there jamming.
Recently in the comments for Liquid Mercury on YouTube, there were a bunch of people on there saying that you were copying Lady Gaga. How do you deal with critiques and criticism like that?
Truthfully, it makes us smile and even a little happy because it means that our music is expanding and reaching new people beyond our circle of fans and that is always a good thing. We encouraged our fans to respond to the comments but it was all in good humor. We’re very confident in our music and don’t feel threatened by this kind of criticism. On the contrary, if ‘Liquid Mercury’ reminds people of Madonna or Lady Gaga we take it as a compliment.
What can we look forward to in 2012 from H&C?
We’re hustling & bustling at the moment getting our new album -’Naked’ – ready for print and will be releasing it in June followed by a U.S and later European tour. We’re already hard at work on our next music video for the song ‘See Through’ and have started writing new material for our next album!
Bess Rogers is an in demand multi-instrumentalist who can be found playing with artists such as Jenny Owen Youngs and Ingrid Michaelson, but if you have not heard her music, you are missing out. I’ve been a fan of hers since randomly seeing her play at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City several years ago and I was blown away by her performance. Don’t miss her live if you get the chance.
Bess will be opening for Ingrid Michaelson at Terminal 5 in NYC on May 17th and will be at Hotel Cafe in LA in June. She will also have a video coming out soon for her song “Math and Science”. For more info and tourdates, visit www.bessrogers.com.
What’s the first song you remember hearing?
I don’t think my memory is good enough to answer that question! But if I could take a guess, I’d say it was In My Life by the Beatles. My mom used to sing that song to be as a lullaby and I always loved it. It’s remained one of my favorite songs and now I cover it on the ukulele.
You have played with a lot of great musicians but if you could form a band with any 3 musicians (living or dead), who would they be?
Oh man. I think that a band consisting of Robyn, Kate Bush and Weezer (Blue album or Pinkerton era) would produce some crazy awesome, super weird but insanely catchy music. Or on the other hand, they might all hate each other and make something horrible. But I think it would be worth a shot!
Where do you draw your inspiration from when you write songs?
Everything! There are so many things to be inspired by in this world. Sometimes it’s love, sometimes anger, sometimes evolution, the universe, quantum physics, mortality, The Real Housewives of Orange County, the list goes on and on. We all see the world in our own unique way, and I think the job of a songwriter is to express their individual perspective on life in a way that, hopefully, touches other people’s lives. That’s my goal, at least.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened on stage?
I’ve definitely forgotten how to play songs, broken strings and had to make small talk with the crowd for 20 minutes, been caught in uncontrollable fits of laughter… But none of that was really that embarrassing. I just always laugh at myself and then that way the audience is laughing with me instead of at me!
You’ve said in the past that you’re fortunate that you figured out early in life what you wanted to do. If you weren’t a musician, what would do?
My dream job, if it wasn’t music, would be to write for a comedy show. Maybe SNL or 30 Rock… something like that. I can’t imagine anything more fun that sitting around a table with a bunch of hilarious people and writing jokes. I’m sure it’s hard work too, but in my dream job fantasy it’s all fun.
From the first moment that I heard Connie Lim’s voice, I was hooked. Her lyrics are amazing and her voice is pure. Words fail to describe how much I love her voice. She’s currently touring up and down the California coast and will soon be on her way to Nashville and then will be working her way up the East Coast. Be sure to check her out if you get a chance.
What was the first concert you ever attended?
My first concert was a puppet musical of Peter and the Wolf and I fell in love with the flutes and strings. It was such a magical experience that i still remember being 7 years old with my eyes wide open, loving each moment.
How do you approach your songwriting?
Organically. I try to write simply and humbly. I don’t like songs that have too much ego in them. I like songs that are like gifts for people to think about their own lives, rather than mine.
You have a degree from UC Berkeley and studied pre med. What made you decide to pursue music and how has your family adjusted to the decision?
My parents took a while to accept my decision. In high school I trotted in my sister’s footsteps, taking AP courses, and landing on Honor Rolls year after year. I was ASB President and Homecoming queen, founder of a club that started a local breast cancer walk. I grew up ambitious and aware of my parents’ expectations for my future as a bright professional. They were devastated that I would throw my education away for the arts, but now see that I am channeling the same drive into what is my calling, and they could not be more happy for me. It was the hardest journey in my life, but the most rewarding. To get emails from my dad saying that he loves my songs is probably the best accomplishment in my life.
What’s in store for you this coming year?
A lot of traveling and breaking personal boundaries. Touring the east coast with a friend Jenn Bostic in June. Before that I will be living in Nashville to continue demoing and writing my new material. I’ll be pitching more songs to more established artists, and writing much like Hemingway did: iceberg words in oceans of ethereal harmonies and sounds. I’m planning more online streaming performances, and to also utilize the internet to get fans to help me fund my next couple of big projects: tours and ep’s. Currently I’m recording my next singles and am ready to continue pushing my musical boundaries.
Marissa Paternoster is the vocalist and lead guitarist for Screaming Females, a punk trio out of New Brunswick, NJ. They just released a new album called “Ugly” and the record shows a new depth to Marissa’s vocals and amazing layers of crunchy guitars, bass and drums. I’ve listened to the whole thing and I think it will definitely be one of my top 5 albums of the year.
Marissa took some time to answer a few questions right before kicking off their tour.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
I think the first show I ever went to on my own accord was a Weezer show in New Jersey. I honestly can’t remember a damn thing about the show except that it was a little bit boring ’cause there were seats and I felt trapped and I was standing next to some 20something that kept spilling his High Life onto my army jacket.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve heard about yourself?
Uh, geez, you’ve got me stumped.
You’ve done tons of artwork including album covers and fliers, who are your artistic influences?
My favorite artists include Frida Kahlo, Diane Arbus, Henry Darger, Louise Bourgeois, David Shrigley, Philip Guston, Cindy Sherman, Basquiat, Howard Finster, Cy Twombly, and B. Kliban. Just to name a few.
What makes you want to keep your songs with Screaming Females and Noun separate, especially considering Mike and Jarrett contributed to “Holy Hell” ?
When Screaming Females writes, we write and arrange the songs collectively. When Noun writes songs, it’s all on me. I started writing as Noun long before Screaming Females began, so a lot of those songs have been kicking around for a while.
How do you go about the songwriting process?
When Screaming Females writes, we get together in our practice space (wherever that may be) play riffs and improvise until something clicks. Then we will proceed to arrange the song however we see fit.
What is Rubyfruit Radio?
Rubyfruit Radio is a podcast devoted to playing the best in female artists and female fronted bands.