Browsing articles from "October, 2010"
Oct 11, 2010

Holy Boys Danger Club CMJ Spotlight Artist

CMJ gives Holy Boys Danger Club some serious love. Don’t forget to see them play the RethinkPopMusic Official CMJ showcase 10/22 at Crash Mansion. Full article below:

Sonicbids Spotlight: Holy Boys Danger Club
Oct 8, 2010
Story by: Kathryn Nasto

It isn’t every day that a band comes together after already having an album under its name. But that’s exactly what happened to Portland, Maine-based group Holy Boys Danger Club. Featuring Michael “Miek” Rodrigue, Dan Capaldi, Nathan Cyr and Zach Jones, the band took some time to get where it is now. “When I started the project, I was in college,” Rodrigue tells CMJ. “I started writing for what I thought would be a solo album soon after I met Dan and Zach. After about a year I had enough material, so Dan and I set up shop in my basement to record the songs… Those sessions went unfinished, and Dan and I found ourselves in other bands in the coming months.”

It was only a matter of time before Rodrigue began looking to finish what he started and called Jonathan Wyman to book studio time. “I called Dan and told him I wanted to finish the songs we had started in our initial sessions and throw in some new ones. We brought in our dear friend TJ Metcalfe to round out the line-up. The album that became Lessons For Liars was recorded in a week.” Unfortunately, releasing the EP wasn’t that quick; it took a year.

“If there were any difficulties at all, it was financially getting it out,” says Rodrigue. “Also, [we didn’t know] if there was going to be an actual band to play the songs.” It was ironic, then, that it was the album’s release that brought the band’s current lineup together. “A friend from the scene had heard it and wanted us to open for his band at their CD release. Dan and I were [at a loss] for what to do. Luckily, the stars sort of aligned, as Zach was coming home from a stint in L.A., and I had known Nate since high school. He agreed to play the show, but the rehearsals leading up to it revealed that the band was worth pursuing.”

Back in March, Holy Boys Danger club released its second album, The Boo Book, the first effort to feature the band’s solidified official lineup. While Lessons For Liars offers an astonishing collection of pure blues-rock, its follow-up highlights refined song structures and new sounds that prove that the band has greatly matured. “If you look at our first record as a preface, The Boo Book is really chapter one,” he says.

Catch Holy Boys Danger Club at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon And Film Festival. The band will play October 22 at Crash Mansion as a part of the Re-Think Pop Showcase and October 23 at the Trash Bar in Brooklyn as part of the Portland, Maine, Official CMJ Showcase. Can’t make either of those dates? The band has a number of other shows scheduled this fall.

Tour Dates For Holy Boys Danger Club:
10/12 – Portland, ME – Bayside Bowl (Libby Mitchell Rally)
10/20 – New York, NY – UC Lounge
10/22 – New York, NY – Crash Mansion (Re-Think Pop CMJ Showcase)
10/23 – Brooklyn, NY – The Trash Bar (Portland, Maine, Official CMJ Showcase)
11/06 – Portland, ME – The Empire Dine And Dance

Oct 11, 2010

RadioSPIN Interviews Vanguard Villains

RadioSPIN recently interviewed Vanguard Villains who will play the RethinkPopMusic Showcase November 9th at Crash Mansion. Check out the interview below:

Sure you heard something about Vanguard Villains: this rock-band based in NYC recently released its debut album, getting positive reviews from various blogs, such as Wild Honey Pie, Brill Dream, Moxie And Mayhem, and Knocks From The Underground, as well as radioSpin, of course. They’re making a great deal of progress and they’re now being considered for signing by RethinkPopMusic. That’s why we want to know them better and we decided to make the most of their kindness when they accepted to answer a couple of questions.

ARTIST: Vanguard Villains
CITY: New York
LABEL: Rethink Pop Music
LATEST ALBUM: Vanguard Villains
MEMBERS: Neil S. Matharoo, Steve Faller

RADIOSPIN – Let’s start with a very dull question, but radioSpin really curious about it: why the name Vanguard Villains? And, above all, why did you cut the article “the”? Today the indie-trend is to put the article in front of every band name, even when it’s not necessary (or even when it sounds terribly bad): is this a choice expressly against this trend or there is another reason?
NEIL – Steve and I met through a mutual friend (a bassist), and we played a few shows under various crappy names. A short while later, that bassist departed, and that’s the point where Steve and I really became a solid duo. And so, we needed a new name. Steve had brought up the idea of using alliteration, and while watching the news one night, I heard the word “Vanguard.” The name “Vanguard Villains” popped into my head, and we were set. As for eliminating “The”, it’s a recent move. There are still some websites which include “The”, but we’re ok with it either way. We’ve definitely noticed the indie trend to include “The”, whether it’s needed or not, and it leads to some confusing results!

RADIOSPIN – What about your musical path? Why did you start playing? When/Where did you learn playing? Are you self-taught or did you studied somewhere?
NEIL – My foundation goes back to playing the violin as a kid. In hindsight, it was a good way to start, because I learned the basics of playing music. That lasted only a few years, and then I heard Nirvana’s “Nevermind”; that’s what really got me into guitar. I coerced my parents into buying me a crappy $70 electric guitar, and I quickly moved from the 90′s alt-rock bands and into 80′s hard rock (especially Guns n’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction”). When I got serious about songwriting, I studied Mountain Goats, Whiskeytown, and Ween (seriously).
STEVE – I started playing because I always wanted to communicate musically. I was one of those annoying kids that was always tapping on something, so I figured drums would be for me. I’ve studied drums with a lot of great players and continue to do so. With the amount of amazing musicians living in New York it’s almost criminal not to. My main drumming teachers/mentors have been Matt Johnson (Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright), Mark Greenburg (Dicky Betts, Dave Matthews), Dennis Leeflang (Lita Ford, Bumblefoot), Pete Lewis (Ricky Martin, Arturo O’Farill), and Guy Licata (Santogold, Bill Laswell).

RADIOSPIN – Let’s talk about musical influences: choose three albums you love and three band/artist you’d say your favourite.
NEIL – These 3 albums are among my favorites:
1) Weezer, “Blue Album”: amazing songwriting and guitar playing.
2) Ween, “The Mollusk”: great diversity here.
3) Whiskeytown, “Stranger’s Almanac”: very dark and brooding music.
Three favorite artists (I’m gonna list musicians and not bands):
1) Freddie Mercury: this is how you’re supposed to work a crowd.
2) John Darnielle: my favorite songwriter.
3) Slash: the epitome of rock guitar.
STEVE – Choosing a favorite artist or record is subjective thing. My “favorite” switches a lot upon my mood and what is going on in my life. However, three incredible records are definitely Jeff Buckley’s “Grace”, Steve Wonder’s “Innervisions” and Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall”.

RADIOSPIN – Even if it’s a blog radioSpin doesn’t like tags and labels speaking about music. Anyway they’re somehow useful to quickly describe something: I’ve read some perplexing descriptions of what you are around the web. Would you rather you weren’t labelled and tinned, or do you recognise the need for it? And in the end, make and effort and tell me what kind of music Vanguard Villains play.
NEIL – Yeah, it’s very hard to tag and label our music. I mean, compare our song “Admire” to our song “Unexecuted”. When people ask about our sound, we tell them that it’s rock music. We’re a diversely-influenced team, and those influences show. Ultimately, labels can be useful, but applying them so stringently leads only to isolation. We have fans who are into hip-hop, fans who are into guitar rock, and fans who listen to all sorts of other styles. But call us what you wish.

RADIOSPIN – You are a due, by now: what are the advantages/disadvantages about playing rock in two? Who’s playing the bass in some songs?
NEIL – We’ve done the bulk of our work as a duo up to this point, but we’re now auditioning bassists. Steve and I work so well together that we often don’t even need to discuss new dynamic inflections in our songs; we just hit them simultaneously. But playing live, bass is essential to fill out the sound and allow the guitar to branch out. I ended up playing bass on our album.

RADIOSPIN – Could you briefly describe your music-making process?
NEIL – Normally, I’ll write a song and then bring it into the studio, where Steve and I hone the dynamics to optimize the sound. We rehearse quite a bit, which makes all the difference.

RADIOSPIN – We hope we’re wrong, but i guess you aren’t able to live with what you earn with music by now: what’s your secondary occupation?
NEIL – I’m a scientist here in New York.
STEVE – My daytime occupation is twofold: commercial fisherman in the summertime and bartender throughout the rest of the year.

RADIOSPIN – You are now being considered for signing by RethinkPopMusic. Is this your first label? Why this one in particular?
NEIL – We’re very impressed with RethinkPopMusic’s business model: they book great shows for their artists and stay out of the recorded music aspect. This way, we can develop our fanbase and still maintain total control over our music. In searching for agencies, I was aghast at how poorly-run most of them were; RethinkPopMusic struck me as being run by intelligent, capable people.

RADIOSPIN – Are you interested in some other form of art besides music (painting, poetry/literature, film/video etc.)?
NEIL – I enjoy creating visual art, but I don’t do it often. Writing is something I’ve always been quite interested in, and hopefully one day I can do something with it. Music takes up most of my time right now, though.
STEVE – I’m also a martial artist (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai). I was an English Lit major in college and would like to delve deeper into writing later in my life. However, now is the time to help the Villains attain the success I know that we can achieve.

RADIOSPIN – radioSpin really liked “Admire” video: it is a nice stop-motion stuff. Who shot/directed it? Tell us something about it: where did you get the concept/inspiration? Did you shot it in one time or did you need to write all the stuff several times due to errors or bad timing?
NEIL – I shot that video while on vacation in Florida. Traditional music videos (with the band playing, and maybe some random shot of a pretty girl) don’t appeal to either of us. I really liked the notion of a drawing which sort of comes to life, and so I took a stack of printer paper and a few Sharpies and shot the video. It’s not properly stop motion: I had to play back the song at half speed while I recorded the video and then play back the video at twice speed; that’s why the end result looks like I’m writing really fast. The fun fact about it it’s that I had a sore back for two days after shooting the video, because of the weird angle I had to stand at!

RADIOSPIN – And now, let’s end playing a couple of games, now.

– I wish I was […]
STEVE – better than I am currently in all my endeavors.
– I wish I had […]
STEVE – unlimited resources, so that I could help out all the marginalized people that greatly need it.
– I’d like to learn playing […]
STEVE – piano well. I’m getting there, eventually!
– I’d like to play with […]
STEVE – a drum duo with ?uestlove from The Roots.

– Beatles or Rolling Stones?
STEVE – Beatles. Though honestly, neither does it for me (blasphemy!)
– Duran Duran or Spandau Ballet?
STEVE – Duran Duran.
– Pavement or Sonic Youth?
STEVE – Sonic Youth.
– Nirvana or Pearl Jam?
STEVE – Pearl Jam.
– Prodigy or Chemical Brothers?
STEVE – Chemical Brothers.
– Apple or Microsoft?
STEVE – Apple (though they need to make iTunes available for android phones!).
– Pizza or Cheesburger?
STEVE – Pizza.
– Beer or Wine?
STEVE – Wine.

Oct 10, 2010

Mumford And Sons: then and now

Laissez Faire Club checked out Mumford And Sons‘ second sold out date at Hammersmith Apollo last night (Saturday), which marked the end of their final UK tour in promotion of their million-selling debut album Sigh No More. It was also effectively a prelude to yet another sold out USA tour – thier final Stateside jaunt for this LP too – which kicks off in LA in just over a week’s time, and concludes with two dates at New York’s Terminal 5 in mid November.

At the risk of going all hyperbolic, it was a truly wonderful evening, which brought a real smile to the face, and a spring to the step. I’ve been to some great gigs in my almost-10-year gigging career – The Strokes at Brixton Academy ’02, Interpol at The ICA ’04, Arcade Fire at Birmingham Academy ’05, Arctic Monkeys at Reading Festival ’05 – and this ranks up there as one of the best. It was really that good.

Roll Away Your Stone @ Hammersmith Apollo, 9.10.10:

The tracks off the album received a mightily enthusiastic, impassioned airing, with all the band members seemingly having the time of their lives, and appearing to be truly humbled at the heady position they now find themselves in. The four singles – Roll Away Your Stone, Winter Winds, Little Lion Man and The Cave, alongside lesser known tracks like Awake My Soul and Dust Dowl Dance, sounded beefed up and familiar in the best way possible – like songs we’ve been listening to all our lives. Those hair-raising moments where songs are sung back to bands by adoring fans in a word perfect manner were ever present.

Of the four new ones, there are at least two veritable smashes-in-waiting (Lover Of The Light, Whispers In The Dark) – both of these see the band move into anthemic indie territory, whilst not forgetting their harmonious, folky roots, and you get the feeling recorded versions could see them make the step up to the very top come album number two.

Perhaps the most memorable moment of the evening, however, was the entirely acoustic version of early recording Sister, which saw the band move away from all ‘technology’ to the front of the stage for three or four totally organic minutes. Save for a couple of rowdy, over-excitable idiots in the crowd – inevitable, when you get to a certain level – it was spellbinding. And that’s not to mention a special guest appearance from Ray Davies (yes, Ray Davies) who was invited on-stage to perform a collaborative version of Days. The quality was relentless.

Roll Away Your Stone @ The Old Blue Last, 24.10.07:

I’ve been lucky enough to have closely charted the rise of this West London quartet, booking them for Laissez Faire Club’s first birthday party (Marcus Mumford and band) in late 2007, and also to have been in attendance at most of their gigs on the way up (Notting Hill Arts Club, The Borderline, Dingwalls, Scala included). Seeing a band who LFC has worked with, even in a tiny capacity, progress at such a rapid rate is pretty special, and I very much doubt it’ll stop here either.

I’ve trawled through the LFC archives, and have managed to dredge up my MySpace correspondence with Marcus Mumford from three years ago, where I floated the idea of him coming to play the first birthday gig, as an acoustic opening act. What you’ll see is a humble response from an aspiring singer-songwriter who’s truly grateful for a chance to play some live songs. You get the feeling not a great deal has changed. All cliches aside, it really couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

—————– Original Message —————–
From: Laissez Faire Club
Date: 15 Sep 2007, 15:43

Hi there,

My name is Jeremy Lloyd and I run a night in London called Laissez Faire – see page for all info.

Really like your stuff and was wondering if you’d be interested in playing at The Old Blue Last on Wednesday 24 October? It’s the first birthday of the night, so aiming to make it quite an event.

So far confirmed are The Scoundrels and Del Nil. A headliner will be announced soon. You’d be first on opening the night.

Let me know what you think!

Many thanks,


—————– Original Message —————–
From: Marcus Mumford
Date: Sep 17, 2007 5:20 AM

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for the email mate, i’d love to play the 24th! Can i bring the band? Because i don’t have management or anything i’m afraid i have to ask the awkward questions myself, but what is the pay for that evening?

Let me know details and i’ll put it up on the myspace and get to work promoting it and that..

Looking forward to it!


—————– Original Message —————–
From: Laissez Faire Club
Date: 17 Sep 2007, 08:27

Hey Marcus,

Thanks for getting back to me. Great news about the 24th, if you could bring the band that’d be great.

Payment wise, I can offer £40 – hope this is OK.

As for details, it’ll be 3-4 bands on the bill (dependent on whether the potential headliner gets back to me). The other confirmed acts are The Scoundrels and Del Nil, both in my top friends.

Your set will be for up to 30 mins.

Any more questions, just shout.

Looking forward to it…



—————– Original Message —————–
From: Marcus Mumford
Date: 18 Sep 2007, 15:51

That’s awesome, Jeremy

Thanks very much, i’ll get it all going and it’ll be laffs all round

Looking forward to it


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