An Interview with Mom Jeans

Eric Butler, lead singer of alternative band Mom Jeans, strives to create the most genuine music possible for his fans, his best friends, and himself. “Music is so subjective, and I think the same song or the same show can mean different things to different people. We want people to just be comfortable feeling whatever they feel and letting that guide them,” says Eric. The guys describe themselves as a “loud, sad band from California,” and have been releasing a number of EPs in addition to two full-length albums since May of 2014. Mom Jeans is currently gearing up for a week of shows in Australia. I chatted with Eric about the band’s formation, the recent popularity of one of their songs on TikTok, the artists that inspired them and more.

A Perfect Playlist: Tell me a little bit about how the band formed. You guys went to college together, right?

Eric Butler: Austin and I lived on the same floor during our freshman year of college. We had mutual friends and hung out a bit. He was mad chill and liked music and skateboarding. Eventually, I realized he liked a lot of the same bands as I did. Austin listened to Mobo, Joyce Manor, Fireworks, and a few others that I thought I was super cool for knowing. He also turned me on to a lot of bands I now love and we became really good friends after that. I think it was only a matter of time before we ended up playing in a band together just ‘cause that’s who we both are as people, so the fact that we found each other and managed to start THIS band is something I consider extremely lucky.

Bart joined the band in 2016 after Austin and I had played with his old band, Meet Me in Montauk, a few times. Bart helped us book our first few tours and even filled in on bass, so when I finally broke down and admitted that I needed another guitar player in the band, it HAD to be Bart.

Sam and I have been friends since high school. Sam has taught me everything I know about music and touring and being in a band. I play in his band Just Friends. Having him in this band is a literal dream, and it feels like a long time coming to be playing and writing alongside him.

Even though Austin and I are the OG members of MJ, I think its pretty fair to say that Bart and Sam have both contributed an insurmountable amount to this band. There’s no chance that we’d be where we are today without them. Even the shit they were doing for us BEFORE they were in the band. These guys are my team, my rid or die squad, my fashodie nation.

APP: What bands/artists especially inspired you in the beginning?

E: Mobo, Joyce Manor, The Front Bottoms, Transit, AF, Free Throw, Algernon, Walter Mitty, and Braid were the big ones. There’s also a ton of smaller California bands that don’t exists anymore or never made it big, but going to their shows is the reason I wanted to start a band. There’s a ton more, too. If you went to shows in SF, Oakland, SJ, or anywhere else in the East Bay from 2011-2017, you know.

APP: Since the band’s formation in 2014, you’ve shared your music on a lot of different platforms. (Bandcamp etc.) Do you feel this process has changed over the years? How are most fans discovering your music these days?

E: Today it’s mostly Spotify and iTunes, but we try really hard to have our music accessible on as many platforms as possible. This process has changed quite dramatically over the years, which can be good and bad. While I do think it’s cool that more and more bands/artists are getting attention via Spotify and YouTube, etc., it’s pretty sad that those are really the only avenues people listen with. Obviously there’s tons of streaming sites, but people typically only use one or two big services. This is a huge contrast to physically making and recording music, which is the easiest/most accessible it’s ever been. I hope that the spirit of DIY recording starts to permeate the industry again. I would like to see people go back to Bandcamp and other free sites which allow bands to get their music out to the world for free.

APP: How would you define your genre? A lot of people place label you as emo/punk.

E: We are a “guitar band.” 😊

APP: Your first full-length album, Best Buds, was released in 2016 on cassette tape. Why was it important for you to release your music in this way/format?

E: I mean, we originally released it on cassette tape because that was the only format we could afford to release it on. We didn’t have a label, we didn’t have any friends, and all the money we had was spent on making the album, so we definitely couldn’t handle the financial undertaking of pressing vinyl ourselves. Literally nobody cared about this band AT ALL until BB came out so we really started from scratch, haha.

APP: I was reading some fan comments on your Bandcamp page, and a lot of people are drawn to your relatable lyrics (as am I). How do you pick and choose which personal experiences you feel would translate well into a song?

E: To be honest, I don’t really. I just write what sounds correct/good to me. The more I let myself think about how another person will feel about or relate to what I’m saying, the less I like it. I feel that music and lyrics have to be entirely personal or there’s really no point.

APP: Going off of that last question, what do you hope fans will take away from your music?

E: Ultimately, we just want people to feel like we’re being genuine. Whether they like our music or not is honestly unimportant to me. We like playing shows because we like being around our friends and sharing the feeling we get when we make music together, not because we want to sell tickets, or feel cool or be “popular.” As long as nobody feels like we’re putting on an act or trying to make them feel or think any specific way, they can take away whatever they want from our shows. Music is so subjective, and I think the same song or the same show can mean different things to different people. We want people to just be comfortable feeling whatever they feel and letting that guide them.

APP: Dream collab? (Anyone, dead or alive!)

E: I’m obsessed with this band called The Beths from New Zealand, plus one from KY called White Reaper. Getting to meet/collab with members from either of those bands would be so sick.

APP: TikTok is a super popular new app among teens/college students right now. There’s a trend on there right now that uses the intro of your song “Heck You Bart, pt. II: Electric Boogaloo.” 10.7k people have posted videos using the audio clip! Check them out here. Thoughts on that? 😉

E: I have no love or hate in my heart for TikTok. I watch TikTok comps on YouTube because it reminds me of Vine, but I think the fact that it reminds me of Vine makes me sad and is the reason why I will never truly accept it.

Thanks, Eric!

Find Mom Jeans here:

Bandcamp

Instagram

Spotify

All photos are from the band’s social media.

2019 Concert Recap

As 2019 comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the amazing artists I’ve had the privilege of seeing live this year. Bring on 2020!

Bad Suns, 3/1/19:

My first concert of 2019 was a blast. Christo Bowman, lead singer, put on an incredible show, and my friend and I witnessed it all from the front row. The band played all of the crowd faves (“Cardiac Arrest,” “Salt,” and “Off She Goes” to name a few), plus exclusive material from their latest album, Mystic Truth, which had not yet been released. My favorite song to hear live was their 2017 single, “This Was a Home Once.” The iconic guitar intro and relatable lyrics made for a perfect sing-along moment. Another memorable moment was when Christo stood on the crowd mid-show. Mind-bending to witness, and incredible to experience from the barrier.

The 1975, 4/27/19:

I mean…what can I say? Of course, this was my fave concert of 2019 by a long shot. The whole show was about 2 hours, but it felt like 2 minutes. Time flies when you’re ROCKIN’ out HARD to your fave band. The 1975 are incredible performers and surprise me every time I see them. This time, Matty belted his popular single, “Sincerity Is Scary,” while strolling on a treadmill set up on stage. This prop was meant to mimic the song’s music video. This tour focused more on graphics and stage lighting than the physical boxes that the band has included/emphasized in past tours. During their politically- charged single, “Love It If We Made It,” intense phrases and video clips of real-world issues flashed like strobe lights across the screen.

Heart, 9/3/19:

Nancy and Ann Wilson of Heart were two prominent voices of my childhood. “Love Alive” was on repeat every Saturday while my family did weekend house cleaning. Hearing that song live during this concert, which included Ann’s killer flute-playing skills, was pretty surreal. Plus, the band did their famous rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Check out my videos here.

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Joseph, 9/15/19:

I’ve been following these talented Portland girls since the early days of I’m Alone, No You’re Not. I met them in 2016 when they were about to embark on a world tour with singer-songwriter James Bay, and they’ve blown up since then! This September concert, which was as small, acoustic show, was intimate and raw. Each of the girl’s voices shined through as they performed tracks from their latest record, Good Luck, Kid. Plus, they were just as sweet and friendly, 3 years later.

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The Paper Kites, 9/17/19:

The most chill concert I’ve attended all year. The stage was set as if we were being  serenaded from the band’s living room, complete with blinds placed on each side of the stage that cast long, moody shadows. This was the first ever show where I was given a “press pass” as a music blogger! That aspect definitely made the experience even more magical. My favorite song to see live was “Bloom.”

5SOS, 12/5/19:

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This concert was an unplanned, super fun, blast from the past. I was invited last minute to attend this show with my friend, which was actually a Chainsmokers concert with 5 Seconds of Summer as the opener. (We were there for 5SOS, obvi.) 5SOS, for those of you who are unfamiliar, were an insanely popular Australian boyband in 2014. In high school, my two best friends and I went to Seattle to see them, wore their merch, and followed them religiously on Twitter. Although they’ve died down in popularity since then, they’re still making great music. It was SO much fun to see them again, older, cuter (in my opinion) and still performing with so much energy on stage! Check out my videos of the show here.

Charlie Puth, 12/7/19:

Charlie Puth KILLED it. If you didn’t know, he’s gifted with perfect pitch, so his voice is as smooth as butter live and he can make any minor mistake seem intentional. Charlie introduced us to his adorable lab puppy, Charlie Jr., sung two of his hits, “Attention,” and “Mother,” and one Christmas carol during this small, acoustic show. It was a Charlie Puth Christmas!

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Concerts I’m attending in 2020 (so far):

Dermot Kennedy: 1/10/20: I can’t wait to see a full-length Dermot concert! I’ve only seen him live once, which was a small show where he did about three songs. I’m looking forward to hearing the new tracks off his 2019 record, Without Fear.

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Happy New Year, followers! I hope 2020 is filled with good music, loving friends/family, and new experiences. Even when things get hard, remember that you can always turn to music and the people it connects you to.

 

Xox

Sophie

Emo Meets Folk: A Chat with Alex Wieringa From Rare Candy

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“The best gigs happen when people are screaming lyrics back in my face,” says Alex Wieringa, front man of Rare Candy. The Chicago-based band, which Alex started when he was just a teenager, has developed a distinctive sound over time that blurs the line between punk-rock and folk. I discovered Rare Candy’s various EPs on Spotify last month, and I’ve been hooked ever since. (I’d even go so far as to say that RC is my fave band right now.) For this week’s post, I chatted with Alex about his skillful songwriting, inspiration, and newly found place in the emo genre.

A Perfect Playlist: Tell me a little bit about how you got started. How long have you been singing?

Alex Wieringa (Rare Candy): Rare Candy began as a solo passion project of songs that didn’t “fit the mold” of a previous band I’d been in. I was in my school choir from preschool until 8th grade, then I started playing real shows by myself when I was 19.

APP: You have a super unique sound. How would you define your genre?

AW: I’ve been tagging Rare Candy as a “folk-pop” band, and it seems to fit pretty well. I began playing in more pop-punk influenced band when in high school, but always had fun playing more blues and folk-style guitar. My uncle played in blues and country bands for as long as I could remember, so it was something that was familiar to me. Those two influences seemed to just mesh and come together naturally.

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APP: I’ve read in a few different places that Rare Candy fits into a new wave of emo music. Are there specific artists, emo or not, that have inspired you over the years?

AW: I think that Rare Candy unintentionally fits into the emo genre. The vibe of my music takes a direction that has been seen in bands like Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms, to name a few recent groups. I also took influence from bands such as Go Radio and Nevershoutnever when I was younger. I very much enjoy pushing what I can do guitar-wise in order to spice up the instrumentals on a more straight-forward melody. I’ve been a big fan of The White Stripes/Jack White, The Milk Carton Kids, and The Tallest Man on Earth for some time now, all of which have influenced my guitar playing.

APP: Your most popular single, “If You See Her, Tell Her I’m Over It” is one of my favorites. The song is pretty self-explanatory, so I won’t ask you what it’s about. But if you had to sum it up in one sentence, what would you say?

AW: In one sentence: “I’m definitely not over it, but I very much want to be, so I’m going to fake it till I make it.” (P.S. It’s all love now, though.)

“You’re the kind of girl that makes me wish that I had never even met you. I miss you every day, and even though you’re not around I don’t resent you.”

APP: Each of your songs is its own story. Is there one song/story that means the most to you?

alex guitarAW: There are a few songs that I hold very close to me. “Sweet Potato Taco” got its name when my two best friends and I were taking a break from recording and we had, you guessed it, sweet potato tacos. But it was also written at a time where I was missing someone dear to me and it is undoubtedly one of the most positive and happy songs I’ve written. “Swatch Dogs and Diet Coke Heads” is probably one of my favorite stories. It’s just a very powerful realization of not blaming myself for things that go wrong, and a story of moving forward and sharing blame. These are two songs that stray from my usual “sad as fuck” vibe.

APP: Fave movie soundtrack?

AW: “Tarzan.” Phil Colins is an absolute madman. He could write a song about anything and still twist your heart into pieces while making you want to sing along to every word.

APP: There are a few of your songs that have flat-out made me cry. Your lyrics, which convey specific stories and experiences, are also incredibly relatable. When you’re writing a new song, how do you hone in on that emotional aspect of the story and craft a song?

AW: Thank you so much, I’m flattered. I always do my best to never force lyrics or a song idea. In order to keep my stuff genuine, I immediately jot down any interesting ideas I come up with. Sometimes, I’ll bang out an idea in an hour. Other times, a song will take weeks. Being patient gets stressful and annoying, especially when I’m sitting on one song for so long, but it’s the key to my writing. I always write what I would want to listen to had I been going through the same situation from an outside perspective. I enjoy my own songs very much, which makes it that much more fun and easy to say what I want to.

APP: Tell me a little bit about your latest record, Turnip Head. Where did the name come from?

AW: The songs on Turnip Head were all written around the same time. The song “Dry Clean only” very much would have fit on the earlier EP, Cream Soda, but the rest of the songs are much more mature in guitar style and in lyrical content.

“Turnip Head” is the name of a character from the movie “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki introduces the character as an enchanted Scarecrow who follows Sophie, the protagonist, along on her journey. He’s always silent and bouncing around, lending a hand while he can. We find out later that he was cursed and far from his homeland, and also that he’s in love with Sophie. Long story short, I thought he was a cute concept and related to him in an odd way. A long journey and a happy ending.

APP: Fave song lyric of yours?

AW: My favorite lyric I’ve written is: “you always hated being woken up, I should have spoken up and said just what was on my mind that day you packed your things,” from “Queen of Autumn.” It’s just very intimate, genuine and vulnerable. The entirety of that song is such a tender topic and heavy situation. The lyric “are you living, or just trying to stay alive?” also hits home. My favorite line to perform is: “I know I said I’d call but to be honest I just got a little faded.” Because lol true. Plus, I always scream it at the top of my lungs every time, and normally the crowd does too.

APP: What’s next for Rare Candy? Are you working on a new record/planning to tour soon?

AW: I’m writing all the time. I have a new single in the works simply for the sake of steadily releasing material. A small tour is coming up in the winter, and then more recording next year. Always keeping busy for sure.

~

Thanks so much, Alex!

Find Rare Candy:

Instagram

Spotify

 

Now Playing: Summer 2019

Hello, readers! Welcome back. 🙂

Huge life update for those who don’t already know: a little over a week ago, I graduated from the University of Oregon! Changes, changes.

Among others, one change is a shift in my music taste. Don’t get me wrong, The 1975 and alternative tunes will forever be my #1, but I’ve recently opened myself up to a few genres I’d never considered exploring before. Curious about what I’ve been jamming out to? Read on.

“Forever” – The Lonely Biscuits

This song hooked me with just the first line: “The car’s break lights sorta look like a heartbeat. Between the windshield wipes, wish you were in the front seat.” Paired with an alluring electronic guitar riff that eventually builds and becomes loud and biting, this lyric really struck me. It captures a familiar experience–driving through the city late at night with that one special person. The glow of  traffic/break lights illuminate their face in bursts, and you’re happy to just be there.

I consider this track to be a love song that was written after the death of a relationship. It features an echoey sound bite of a woman, seemingly on the other end of a phone line, saying “hello?” following the first verse. The sense of confusion yet eagerness in her voice makes me wonder if these two people haven’t spoken for quite some time.

Simple yet stunning, this track has easily become one of my summer favorites. The punk-esque vocals are definitely different from what I’ve listened to in the past, but the fantastic imagery and sick guitar keeps me coming back for more.

“Slip Away” – Perfume Genius

This song was featured in Booksmart during the pool scene. I love Perfume Genius, and I was thrilled to hear his voice make an appearance on the soundtrack! (Plus it’s perfect for that scene.) Like many Perfume Genius songs, this track builds up slowly and beautifully, then explodes with sound and color.

“Chest Piece” – Rome Hero Foxes

My sister and I went to see these guys perform at Lola’s Room in Portland a few weeks ago, and it was so fun. Followed by Heart Attack Man, Glacier Veins and Sincere Engineer, this was the first pop-funk/emo live show I’ve attended…and to my surprise, I loved it! The crowd was lively, the bands were engaging, and the music was LOUD. This song, “Chest Piece,” is off Rome Hero Foxes’ latest album, 18 Summers.

“A Part of Me” (ft. Laura Whiteside) – Neck Deep

This is another seemingly “off-brand” track for me. I came across it in sort of an unusual way–it was included in a playlist made for me during my last term in college when things weren’t going so well. Despite that, the song still makes me smile. I swoon every time I hear lead singer Ben Barlow describe the girl he loves, even after they are no longer together: “I like her ’cause she’s smart, headstrong and independent, she puts me in my place, but I don’t know where I stand.” You don’t hear  girls described this way very often in music.

The lyric that really tugs at my heart strings, though, is: “And if only I could find the words, or muster up the nerve to tell her…I’ll never forget her, and she’ll always have a part of me.” I’ve always believed that each person you meet who meant something to you leaves a part of themselves behind, even after things change or you no longer speak.

“Take Me As You Please” – The Story So Far

This is another new pop-punk favorite of mine. I found it on Spotify last month, and for some reason, it sounded super familiar. I couldn’t figure out why, until I texted a link to my friend, who I figured would also enjoy it. A few minutes later, he texted me back: “Sophie. I showed this song to you like 6 months ago and you loved it then.” Oops! I guess I forgot. It was fun re-discovering it, though. The harmonies are stunning.

“Atlas: Two” – Sleeping At Last

Have you ever taken the Meyers Briggs personality test? Similarly, the Ennegram test is “a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types.” Sleeping At Last, a musical project led by multi-instrumentalist Ryan O’Neal, created a song for each of the nine personality types which he sings from the various perspectives. My song, “Atlas: Two” (I’m a type 2, the Helper) made me tear up a little. Want to know which song Ryan wrote for you? Take the test here, then find your song here.

 

Golden Days (album) – Haley Johnsen

Killer vocals, breathtaking lyrics, and a kind heart…that’s Haley Johnsen, a local Portland artist who is on the RISE and seriously KILLIN’ IT. (She recently toured the U.S. with band Joseph and later Big Wild, plus her latest album features a duet with Allen Stone!) If it’s not already obvious, I simply adore Haley.

I was stoked for the release of her brand new album last month, Golden Days. I attended her record release show at the Doug Fir, and was thrilled to see the entire venue FILLED with fans, family, and friends. Hearing her perform the dreamy new tracks from the front row was so much fun–a few of my favorites on Golden Days are: “Cinderella,” “City Of Me,” “Everything Comes Back Again,” and “I’ll See You Around.”

“Mausoleum” -Seryn

Absolutely in love with this track at the moment. It was used in a UO Graduation 2019 video, and I think of my school every time I hear it. Watch below!

Seryn is a four-person band from Texas, often described as having a “big sky” sound. What also drew me to this track was the song’s intro, which sounds a lot like another fave of mine, “Razor” by Foo Fighters.

 

Enjoy these tunes and your summer!

xoxo

Sophie

An Interview with Little Comets

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I’m thrilled to give you all this post! Little Comets, an English indie-rock band that formed in 2008, have been one of my favorite bands since high school. I’m ecstatic to have interviewed lead singer, Rob Coles, for my blog.

Little Comets, made up of brothers Rob and Michael Coles, plus friends Matthew Hall, Matt Saxon, and Nathan Greene, released their debut album, In Search of Elusive Little Comets in 2011. The next year, the band released their second album, Life is Elsewhere, (my favorite!) under Dirty Hit records. If you’re unfamiliar with Dirty Hit, they’re an award-winning, British, independent label (and happen to be my favorite record label), whose artists include The 1975, Pale Waves, Wolf Alice, The Japanese House, and more. Little Comets were signed with Dirty Hit until 2017. They independently released their third album, Worhead, that same year.

Matty Healy of The 1975 mentioned his friendship with the guys in an 2013 interview.  Little Comets even helped produce some of The 1975’s early tracks.

“Little Comets took us out on the road when we were in our very embryonic stages of our old band and just let us open up for them. We started getting fans off the back of that…Then they helped us produce ‘Sex’ the song, and ‘You,'” -Matty Healy

I discovered Little Comets in 2013 when they performed a show at a small, intimate venue in Portland. I got tickets to the show out of curiosity, and after just a few minutes, I fell in love with the band’s unique sound. Echoey, driving drums, beachy guitar riffs and vivid lyrics that can be interpreted in a variety of ways…that’s Little Comets.

Little Comets started out by playing small college gigs, cafes, and other unusual venues in the UK. Since then, the guys have come a long way. Just this last year, the band teamed up with Catfish and the Bottlemen (another fave band of mine) for a sold-out arena tour. After that, the band spent the winter writing and working on new music in none other than singer Frank Sinatra’s former summer home in California! These days, album number five is in the works, and the guys are planning out their next tour–it will be the first time they’ve hit the road in two years.

A Perfect Playlist: Tell me a little bit about how Little Comets got started. Have you all been involved in music-related projects since you were young?

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Little Comets (Rob Coles): Mickey are I brothers, so we’ve been writing songs in the house since we were very little. Once we’d finished Uni, we decided to see if we could make a living out of being creative, musically, so we set about finding other musicians to form a band. That was the start of Little Comets with Mark (our original drummer), and Matt, our bassist.

APP: One of my favorite songs of yours is “Bridge Burn.” It’s a super special song for me and a few friends. Can you tell me a little bit about the story behind it?

RC: Ah thanks, that’s nice to hear! That’s a song I wrote in my bedroom while Mickey was mixing songs for our second album. I kind of wrote/recorded it roughly and had lots of lyrics almost immediately for it. The coast is pretty great for providing lyrical metaphors. Theme-wise, it’s just about two people who realize that their time is up. When Mickey heard the song, he really molded the landscape. Initially, it was just a B-side, but in hindsight, we probably should have put a little more faith in it, as it seems to be a pretty popular song.

APP: Your sound/genre has been described as “kitchen sink indie.” Do you agree with that?

RC: Haha, I don’t really mind–as long as people are polite and constructive, they can describe our sound how they like. I suppose that it could mean, in terms of subject matter, that we write about kitchen sink-related things, which was certainly true of album one. In a sonic sense, though, we do use a lot of percussive instruments which are also kitchenalia, so if the cap fits…

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APP: If you could invite one artist/band to be in the crowd at one of your shows, who would it be and why?

RC: We got really excited once at a gig in Oxford because somebody asked that Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) be put on the guest list. It spoilt the gig, though, because we spent the whole evening looking for Jonny Greenwood despite him not actually being there, and probably never having any intention of being there. So I would choose Jonny Greenwood because I haven’t said “Jonny Greenwood” enough in this answer.

APP: Your latest music video, “American Tuna,” is super creative and visually complex in how it was filmed. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience filming? How did you come up with the idea as it relates to the song?

RC: It was fun, but stressful. We had received an email telling us, despite our very polite request, that we explicitly couldn’t use the building. So the whole process was based around being very secretive. This definitely hampered the final product, as we couldn’t redo shots or control timing or lighting. Mickey was in a Paternoster lift in an 18-floor building with the camera. As the lift travels up, each floor is a different scene which tells the story of a relationship. Mickey was in that lift for about 6 solid hours while we chased him ’round the building, doing scenes in non-chronological order to avoid security cameras. We were happy with the final video, but I just wish that people could see the levels of effort and time that just three people were involved in executing. It looks pretty pro, and the DIYness doesn’t come through. I think that given the constraints, it’s amazing. But I’m biased.

APP: That’s mind-blowing. Writing music is super different from filming a visual interpretation of a song through a music video. Has that ever been a challenge for you as a band?

RC:  I think we’ve learned to separate the processes quite naturally. We also like learning new skills, so the challenge of making a video or a piece of artwork is an opportunity to do that. The only problem is time. We are three people, yet we have to record, write, and release the music on our own label, then promote it whilst making the videos and artwork. Because we are novices in many of these areas, it takes us longer to produce these assets. That often puts us behind, as artists at a commensurate level have teams of people and pools of financial resources that we don’t. It does make the task psychologically difficult at times as well, compounded by the fact that we are in a industry that gives credence to having a machine in tow. We often get overlooked and dismissed because we don’t have a manager, record label, publisher, art director, plugging team etc. I think this is where the real challenge lies for us.

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APP: You haven’t toured for two years, but you’re making plans to head back onto the road soon! Do you have a favorite/funny memory from being on tour in the past?

RC: Probably when Matt broke his foot in Texas. We spent the next five days telling him he was fine, but then talking privately about how he was really hamming it up. By the time we got to Missouri, he got an X-ray and found out he had a hairline fracture. We felt TERRIBLE! He completed the rest of the tour perched on a bar stool during the gigs, and he became my hero.

APP: Are there any songs you feel you’ve outgrown that now seem to stray from your current sound?

RC: Ah no, they are all our babies. They popped out for a reason and we can’t really turn them away even when they become slightly haggard/annoying. That would be bad song parenting!

 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Rob!

Listen to Little Comets here:

 

8 Songs That Will Trigger the Deepest Depths of Your Memory

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Lately, there’s been a genre of posts going viral on Instagram/Twitter that feature pictures of old games, toys, movies, and TV shows from the childhoods of late millennials like me. People typically comment on them, saying: “woah, this just triggered the deepest depths of my memory.” These kind of posts inspired today’s blog post! I compiled a list of 8 songs that were a big hit on the radio a decade or so ago. You’ve probably forgotten about most of them, but you’ll remember as soon as you press play.

1. “Barely Breathing” by Duncan Sheik

This song was released in 1996, but I remember hearing it on the radio in the early 2000’s on the way to school. It was the first single off the debut, self-titled record by American singer-songwriter and composer, Duncan Sheik. Originally, it was a last-minute track added to the album to finish the record, but the song ended up becoming Sheik’s breakout hit, entering the top 20 of the U.S. Billboard charts, peaking at #16, and remaining on the chart for 55 weeks. It even landed him a Broadcast Music Incorporated Award for Most Played Song of the Year. Since then, Duncan has focused more on composing. In 2016, he wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway musical version of American Psycho. I heard this song in Trader Joe’s last week, and was instantly transported to 2006.

2. “Boston” by Augustana

This song was released in 2005 on Augustana’s debut record, All the Stars and Boulevards. It’s been used in quite a few TV shows, like Scrubs, One Tree Hill and The Big Bang Theory. Since then, the band split and reformed again in 2012. In August of 2016, Augustana’s social media sites changed their names to “Dan Layus,” which is the name of the founding member and lead singer/songwriter of the band. Their most recent record was released in 2016.

3. “Porcelain” by Moby

Moby, an American electronica musician, released this song as the sixth single from his fifth studio album Play in 2000. According to his website, “Its melancholic lyrics describe the break-up of a relationship based on Moby’s own reflections on past romantic affections. The song incorporates reversed string samples and piano rhythms into its instrumentation.” Moby’s real name is Richard Melville Hall. His middle name and his nickname/stage name, “Moby,” were given to him by his parents because of a distant ancestral relationship to famous author Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick. He was Hall’s great-great-great-grand uncle!

Fun fact: the song samples the song “Fight For Survival” from the 1960 film Exodus.

4. “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones

This song, by British alternative dance band Jesus Jones, was released in 1990 on their album Doubt. It was semi-successful in the UK, but ended up being more successful in the U.S.–it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of 1990. It was even named the most played song on college radio in 1991! Jesus Jones is set to release a new record this coming April.

5. “Take a Picture” by Filter

This song, by American rock band Filter, was released in November of 1999 on their sophomore album Title of Record. In the beginning of 2000, it peaked at number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Lead singer of Filter, Richard Patrick, has said that the song is about him getting drunk on an airplane and taking off all of his clothes. The band split in 2003, then reformed in 2007. They are currently working on a new record, but haven’t set a release date yet. I remember playing this song with my friends in middle school on the old video game “Band Hero.” 🙂

6. “Satellite” by Guster

This song landed Guster their first gold record just last year. It’s the second single from their 2006 album, Ganging Up on the Sun, which received a lot of radio play, but didn’t quite make it up on the charts. (I love the album artwork for this record.) I remember my local radio stations playing it a lot as a kid. Guster just released their a new record, Look Alive, in January of this year.

7. “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega, DNA

“Da da da duh, doo da-doo doo…” …That one lyric that gets stuck in your head every time you hear it.

This song was released in 1981, originally written by American singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega. The track was then remixed by British group DNA, which shot it up onto the charts. The song’s title and story is based off of Tom’s Diner in New York City, located on the corner of Broadway and 112th Street. (You may recognize it from Seinfeld.) “Tom’s Diner” been sampled in a ton of tracks since, like Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries,” and The Black Eyed Peas’ “Wings.”

8. “Hey Sandy” by Polaris

Were you a fan of Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete? (It first aired in 1989.) If so, you might recognize this one–it was used as the opening theme song for the show. Polaris, which was a band specifically commissioned and formed to create music for the show, released just one album during their time together in 2002, simply titled Music From the Adventures of Pete & Pete. (I highly recommend this album, by the way…there are some killer tracks on it that make me wish they were still a band!)

Fun fact: The intro to the song features a sound bite by actor Sorrell Booke. In the clip, he  discusses U.S. missiles designed during the Cold War. This sound bite is from “To The Moon: A Time-Life Records Presentation,” an 1969 audio recording about the first moon landing.

 

What songs did you remember? Tweet me!

2018 Concert Recap

2018 was a great year for new records and live shows. Here’s a little recap of the concerts I attended in 2018!

George Ezra: 5/8/18, Roseland Theater

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetI saw UK artist George Ezra perform in a small, local venue in Portland long before the success of his breakout single, “Budapest” in 2014. His booming, distinctive voice stuck with me after the performance, and I instantly became a fan. I won tickets to this concert in May through a contest his label created. I participated in various “fan activities” like watching George’s music videos multiple times, tweeting about him, and sharing his social media pages. I earned “points” that translated into number of entries, and I was my city’s winner! The concert was amazing–George played a full set of songs from both his debut record, Wanted On a Voyage and sophomore album, Staying at Tamara’s. I was thrilled when George performed my most favorite song of his, “Song 6.” This is a bonus track that appears on the deluxe edition of Wanted On a Voyage. It was magic to watch George perform it. Purple and blue lights on stage swirled around him as he sang, his eyes closed the whole time. I MAY have gotten a little emotional… 😉

Lucy Dacus: 5/26/18, Bloodworks Live Studio

Lucy, an indie rock/alternative singer-songwriter from Virginia, captured her audience from the very first song, “Night Shift.” (From her latest album, Historian.) Instantly, it became my favorite track. It tells a story of raw heartbreak and the conflicting feelings partners feel amidst the aftermath of a breakup. Immediately, Lucy reminded me of a few other of my favorite artists, like Phoebe Bridgers (whom she has performed with) and Courtney Barnett. Like these artists, she also seems to follow the “talk-singing” style, which reminds me a lot of when people read poetry out loud. I had the opportunity to meet her after the show, and she was so kind! (I’m not going to include the meet and greet picture here though, I look awful lol.) If you ever get the chance to see Lucy live, definitely check her out!

Dermot Kennedy: 5/27/18, Bloodworks Live Studio

dermot

Dermot Kennedy, an R&B/alternative singer-songwriter from Dublin, Ireland, was the most unique artist I saw live in 2018. According to his online bio, “the young Dubliner draws inspiration from all the moments of brightness and darkness this world has to offer, crafting music that’s at once soaring and intimate, stripped-back and explosive. Stuttery hip-hop and R&B-influenced percussion underpins his weathered vocals as he combines organic and electronic elements into an arresting, emotional blend that calls to mind the adventurous arrangements of Bon Iver, and James Blake.” Dermot is a huge fan of Glen Hansard, another favorite of mine, who he ran into by chance on the streets of Dublin. A few months later, Glen invited Dermot to open for him on stage at a huge Christmas show! Dermot had a crazy strong stage presence when I saw him, and his voice really bounced off of the walls in the small studio. He mostly performed tracks from his 2017 EP, Doves and Ravens, plus  his most memorable song, “Young & Free.”

Death Cab For Cutie: 9/24/18, Hult Center

I’ve been listening to Death Cab since I was little, so when my friend offered me his extra concert ticket, of course I said yes! DCFC put on a great show, and engaged the crowd in between every song. It was so fun to hear some old classics in addition to new, like “Soul Meets Body,” which I’ve listened to forever, but also “Gold Rush,” from their latest record Thank You for Today.

Hozier: 10/20/18, Roseland Theater

Hozier played this Portland venue two nights in a row, and I caught the second show. My friend and I are both huge fans of Hozier, so naturally we lined up early and ended up being in the front row. (While waiting in line, we pressed our ears against the doors and could hear him soundchecking inside.) It was insane–standing that close to Andrew (Hozier’s real name) and his band was a dream come true. He started off the show with his hit single, “Nina Cried Power,” which I wrote about in an earlier post. Hozier also graced us with what was an unreleased track at the time, “Movement.” Andrew was accompanied by his incredible band which is composed of some insanely talented musicians from all over the globe, including Kristen Rodgers (backing vocals, percussion, keyboard) and Suzanne Santo (fiddle, guitar, vocals) from Ohio. Suzanne first sang with Hozier as part of the alt-country-blues duo, Honey Honey, when they joined him to perform Work Song at a benefit concert in May 2017.

 

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Concerts I’m attending in 2019 (so far):

The 1975, 4/27/19: This will be my third time seeing my favorite band, and I’m ecstatic! I’m crossing my fingers that they play a mixture of new and old material, especially a few of my favorite songs, like “Robbers,” “Paris,” “If I Believe You,” and “Inside Your Mind.” Each time I’ve seen The 1975, they sweep me off my feet. I completely forget where I am, and I get lost in the music. Matty and the boys put on an incredible show, and they always come through with a stellar stage setup.

Bad Suns, 3/1/19: This will be my first time seeing Bad Suns live, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been listening to them for a few years now– they were the first record I was gifted when I received my first record player for Christmas a few years back.

 

See you in 2019, fellow music lovers!

(All photos, videos and gifs are mine.)