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by Brian Baker 02.04.2014
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video, New Releases at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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REVIEW: Black Owls' 'Wild Children'

If you are even a marginal fan of Black Owls (whose members split time between Cincinnati and Granville, Ohio) and have not yet visited their Bandcamp page to purchase a copy of their recent recorded triumph, Wild Children (which came out late last year), off with you. I'll wait. 

The Owls' fourth album is nothing less than the maturation of a supremely talented band that has been patiently waiting for the right pieces to fall into the right places almost from the beginning. The installation of drummer extraordinaire Brian Kitzmiller and the relocation of vocalist David Butler away from the drummer's chair and to the front of the stage was the first necessary shift, while adding second guitarist Brandon Losacker as a frenetic foil to Ed Shuttleworth's tightly coiled brilliance was inspired and equally required.

The bass position has been problematic only in its temporary nature; Nancy/National bassist Mike Brewer left to pursue his own thing, the thunderously wonderful Alan Beavers was forced from his role due to back issues and Goose four stringer Sammy Wulfeck was almost psychotically overextended and had to bow out; his work is all over Wild Children, a

tantalizing hint at what he brought to the Owls and further proof of his longstanding chemistry with Kitzmiller. (For the record, both Beavers and Brewer guest on Wild Children and remain welcome alumni in the Owls' extended family.)



On the whole, Wild Children is an expansion of the Owls' sonic mission statement of cross-pollinating early '70s-era Glam (see Bowie/Mott/Marc Bolan) with late '70s-era New York Punk (via Tom Verlaine's Television, Richard Hell's Voidoids and Lou Reed's simple fury). A good many of the songs on Wild Children have been worked out in live sets over the past year or so and will be familiar to anyone who has haunted the band's numerous local appearances; the effervescently charged "Incandescent Vultures," the melodically moody "She Invented Air," the propulsive and sinewy title track, produced into a beefy studio anthem. There's even a re-recording of "Julias Morningstar," one of the Owls' most recognizable and popular tracks from their 2008 debut, Lightning Made Us Who We Are. Wild Children shows that the Owls are gelling nicely and becoming even more comfortable and confident in the brilliant niche they've created for themselves.


And while Wild Children is patently excellent and an absolute necessity, perhaps even more exciting is the two-track glimpse into the Owls' future just revealed by Kitzmiller. A result of recent sessions featuring former Doc & the Pods/Roundhead four-stringer Kip Roe, an absolute prince of a human being and the perfect piece to complete the Owls' puzzle, the two songs find the quintet sounding less like the brilliant sum of their influences and more like a blazingly original band that has effectively incorporated their heroes into their creative vision without showing a seam

or dropping a stitch. "Gasoline" is a hard-charging, manic and relentless three minute thrill ride (and a prime candidate for the first single from the album that it will eventually crown), while "Rook" muscles along with the shivering, shimmering energy that has defined the Owls' best work over the past six years. These two as-yet-unmastered tracks show Black Owls evolving into a focused unit of astonishing power and unlimited potential.


More. Soon. Please. 


Black Owls perform for free this Friday at Newport’s Southgate House Revival in the Lounge room during The Black Angels/Roky Erickson concert in the venue’s Sanctuary.

 
 
by Jessica Baltzersen 01.28.2014
Posted In: Local Music at 04:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Local Guitarist Wins Master Class with Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold

For most musicians, a trip to Hollywood to train with a legendary Rock star would be nothing more than a dream, but for local guitarist David Puthoff, it’s a reality. After winning a nationwide competition, the 19-year-old was one of 10 top prize winners chosen to be flown to Los Angeles to attend a VIP “Master Class” with Avenged Sevenfold’s lead guitarist, Synyster Gates.  

The Master Class with Synyster Gates of Avenged Sevenfold Contest, presented by Guitar Center, was a nationwide search to find the country’s most talented and creative guitarists. More than 1,500 contestants downloaded the provided signature Avenged Sevenfold backing tracks of their choice, to which they were challenged to re-write and add their own original guitar performance.

The competition was assessed in two parts: the popularity of fan growth over social media and the skill of the contestant’s performance, originality, style and technique by a panel of judges.

For his entry, Puthoff wrote and performed a refreshing duo combining both acoustic and electric guitar. The unique marriage of his classical guitar knowledge with his heavy-metal background worked in his favor, as it was not only a fan favorite, but was hand chosen by Gates himself in the final decision making process.

“It truly is a dream come true,” Puthoff says. “When I got the call that I had won, my heart dropped. I was completely speechless.

With Avenged Sevenfold’s City of Evil album artwork inked on Puthoff’s forearm, it’s evident that the group is his favorite band. The seductive dark tone of the Hard Rock/Metal band allured Puthoff in the sixth grade and the rest was Rock history.

“I always admired the band’s extreme uniqueness and use of tonality,” Puthoff says. But it was Gates’ rapid riffs and rhythms that mesmerized then-12-year-old Puthoff, making him his ultimate guitar hero. “He’s the reason why I wanted to play and get good at guitar,” he says.

In addition to the trip, which has been delayed due to weather, Puthoff won a Schecter Synyster Gates Special electric guitar, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Schecter factory and an Ernie Ball accessory prize pack. Although the bells and whistles are an added bonus, he’s really just looking forward to meeting and learning from his idol. “I really want to take in everything he teaches us,” Puthoff says.

Puthoff wants every piece of advice he can get, especially when it comes to how Gates got his start and achieved success. As lead guitarist of his own band, The Requiem, Puthoff is looking to use this trip as an opportunity to get an insiders point of view on how to make it in the music industry.

Puthoff and the other four members of The Requiem have been working hard to make a name for themselves here in Cincinnati. Performing at venues across the Tristate area and winning second place in a local battle of the bands competition, they’ve already built up a heavy amount of fan support and are currently working on recording and releasing their first album.

Although Puthoff’s skilled playing looks effortless, he’s been perfecting his craft and technique for over a decade. Fueled by countless hours of practice, dedication and hard work, he’s always strived to be the very best. At age 8, Puthoff started taking guitar lessons at Keller Music on the Westside of Cincinnati. In 2005, when the owner wanted to sell the store, Puthoff’s parents stepped in to purchase and take over as owners. As a Westside favorite for more than 40 years, they wanted to keep the business running so their son and daughter could continue to take lessons at their beloved childhood music domain.

In 2012 Puthoff joined forces with the family to become a teacher at Keller Music. The new and improved business recently renovated and expanded their store where they sell retail and offer lessons in guitar, bass guitar, drums, piano, mandolin and ukulele to adults and children of all ages. “The youngest student I taught was 5 years old, and the oldest was 75,” Puthoff says.

Although Puthoff enjoys teaching, his real love is performing. His dream is what any musical artist’s is: trying to make it big. He hopes for The Requiem to catch their big break, move to the innovative land of California and tour the world as full-fledged signed musicians. Although the starry-eyed guitarist has dreams of his “big breakthrough,” it truly is the music that ignites his passion and love for what he does.

“Music to me is a shoulder to cry on or a friend to celebrate with that will always be there for me,” he says. "It’s one of the very few ways where I can put my true emotion into something and hopefully have others feel the same way I feel.”

Check out Puthoff’s winning entry video here.

 
 
by Brian Baker 01.24.2014
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Reviews at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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REVIEW: The Tigerlilies - In the Dark

Longtime local rockers celebrate new album release tonight at MOTR Pub

It has been much too long since Patrick Hennessy and any viable version of The Tigerlilies have committed to a studio regimen and the clear goal of emerging with something/anything approaching the scorching delight of their first three discs, 1992's Deeper, 1997's Space Age Love Songs and 2003's Ceci N'Est Pas Pop. Hennessy's involvement with The Fairmount Girls began in 2004, a span of time that nearly equals the gap between the Tigerlilies' third release and its latest and perhaps greatest recorded document, In the Dark.


Vocalist/guitarist Hennessy, his drumming/singing brother Steve and bassist Brian Driscoll were joined by guitarist/vocalist Brendan Bogosian about midway through The Tigerlilies' long studio drought; Bogosian even did a little moonlighting of his own with Kry Kids. Somehow, the quartet managed to motivate themselves to pen a dozen new Tigerlilies classics and set to work with Culture Queer's Jeremy Lesniak at the console to create In the Dark. In fact, when I interviewed Culture Queer a little over a year ago, Lesniak was in the process of digitally tweaking In the Dark and promised that it would be their best album to date. That has turned out to be a promise well kept.


While The Tigerlilies are enamored with Rock's Glam period and Punk traditions, the band tends to filter it all through a greater love of Brit Pop in general, not to mention a proclivity toward a more defined Power Pop direction, resulting in a sound that suggests Cheap Trick and Husker Du teaming up for a Clash tribute. That position is made perfectly clear on In the Dark, from full throttle disc opener "Hold on Tight" to the melancholy joy of "Don't Let It Get You Down" to the Husker/Trick jittery jangle of "Sweetheart" and the anthemic Velvet Crush-like barnstorm of "Some Things Are Meant to Be." 


In the Dark isn't all bash-and-crash, with more than a few relatively quiet moments (the Beatlesque "Pull You In," "Five Will Get You Ten," the title track) offered as a bit of a breather, but even at their most sedate, The Tigerlilies bristle with an undeniable love of chiming Pop spiked with a bracing dose of melodic Punk. 



Don't miss The Tigerlilies' release party for In the Dark TONIGHT at MOTR Pub starting at 10 p.m. with openers Subsets.

 
 
by Mike Breen 01.24.2014
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music, CEAs at 08:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Return Sunday

Seventeenth annual celebration of Greater Cincinnati's music makers goes up against The Grammys this year

The Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony/party returns for its 17th annual celebration of the Greater Cincinnati music scene this Sunday at Madison Theater (730 Madison Ave., Covington, madisontheateronline.com). The show is open to music fans of all ages and kicks off at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6 p.m.)

This marks the first year the CEAs have gone up against that OTHER music awards show, The Grammys (made possible by the CEA ceremony’s move from November to January last year). Don’t worry — you can DVR The Grammys or check out the best bits later online.


Along with the presentation of awards in 19 categories and lots of fun planned by first-time host (and CityBeat Arts & Culture Editor) Jac Kern, this year’s CEAs will feature more live performances than ever. The show will open with a secret — an all-star crew going by the name Saint Ain’t Mangled Angels. There will also be a special appearance by Folk trio The Tillers, who will pay tribute to their former bassist, Jason Soudrette, who passed away last year. Rounding out the great performance lineup are 2014 CEA nominees DAAP Girls, The Almighty Get Down, Moonbow, Valley High, Honey & Houston, The Yugos and The Upset Victory. (Check out all of this year's nominees here.)


Immediately after the CEA show, ticket holders are invited to attend the famous/infamous after party at BLDG (30 W Pike St., Covington, 513-491-4228). Indie/Electronic band Dark Colour will perform and Melissa Fairmount and Dana Hamblen of The Fairmount Girls will once again be doling out the “Fashion Trashies,” special handmade awards given to the best/worst/weirdest dressed CEA attendees (so be sure to look your best/worst/weirdest on the red carpet!). 


Tickets to the CEA show are available at cincyticket.com for $20 (they’ll be $25 at the door). Proceeds benefit the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation. Also available at cincyticket.com are special VIP tickets. For $40, VIPs get some goodies from the Heritage Foundation (including a membership), food and drinks, private seating, performances by DJ squad Selectas Choice and more. 


For those who can’t make it Sunday, follow @CityBeatMusic on Twitter to find out who wins what live as the awards are handed out.


Click below to check out this year’s nominees in first time category, Best Music Video. The videos will be shown on the big screen at the Madison a half hour before the 7 p.m. start time. 

Read More

 
 
by Brian Baker 01.23.2014
Posted In: Local Music, New Releases at 01:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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The Many EPs of WolfCryer

Cincinnati Folk singer/songwriter Matt Baumann goes on a prolific release spree with much more music coming soon

Five years ago, Matt Baumann was exploring the fringes of avant garde Jazz and creating sparse Ambient soundscapes with nothing more than his alto/tenor saxophones (he occasionally duoed with friends Eric Barnett and Jim Feist, but largely worked on his own) and a vision of crafting a quietly powerful body of work. At the time of our last interview, in late 2008, Baumann namechecked all the right Jazz influences — John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Jan Garbarek — but he also ticked off a number of singer/songwriters whose work had been more inspirational than influential, from Warren Zevon and Tom Waits to Jason Molina and David Bazan, saying that he attempted to channel their passion and not necessarily their method of expressing it.


In 2011, disillusioned with the local Jazz scene, Baumann opted for the singer/songwriter route, learning to play the plectrum banjo but maintaining his lone wolf performing status. That may well have been Baumann's inspiration for adopting the nom de plume of WolfCryer, as well as his desire to begin a fresh new direction. 


His acclaimed eponymous debut EP dropped in 2012 and he's been steadily working the Folk/Americana scene ever since, but the last few months have been especially productive with the release of a trio of evocative, emotionally engaging and typically atmospheric EPs. The first,The Long Ride Home, dropped quietly last September and showcased a new WolfCryer of sorts, as Baumann added acoustic guitar and harmonica to an arsenal already loaded with melancholy melodicism ("Roll Call of Ghosts") and intelligent wordplay ("Never Carry More Than You Can Hold"). 


The next two WolfCryer EPs, sporting four tracks each, have come in fairly rapid succession; Hell's Coming Down came out at the end of November and Wild Spaces dropped on New Year's Day, both generally following the template of The Long Ride Home and both stacked with highlights, like the lovely "Andromeda" and winsome "whiskeyheart" (where Baumann's banjo makes a welcome reappearance) on the former, the expansive "Lonely Country" and the heartrending "Better to Be" on the latter.


Baumann was a cluster recordist back in his Jazz days, and that aspect of his creative life hasn't changed much; on the heels of his last three EPs, released over the course of the last three months, his plans for the new year include both his debut and sophomore full-length albums (the proposed title track for the latter, "Box of Bones," is posted below). Originally slated for next month, WolfCryer's debut album, The Ivory in the Narrows, has been pushed to a summer release, but his Feb. 15 release show at Southgate House Revival remains intact as Baumann is re-releasing The Long Ride Home, which was never given an actual official release in the first place. 


If you think a guy and a guitar is drab, give WolfCryer a shot; given the slightest opportunity, he'll build a quiet and beautiful new room in your heart. 


 
 
by Mike Breen 01.17.2014
Posted In: Live Music, CEAs, Local Music, Music Video at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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PREVIEW: Best New Bands Showcase

Music and more from the 10 new artists appearing at Saturday’s local music showcase at Bogart’s

Saturday at Bogart’s you’ll have a chance to see 10 of Greater Cincinnati’s finest up-and-comers as CityBeat presents the first “Best New Bands” showcase. The event coincides with our “Best New Bands” cover story, featuring profiles and info on all of the performers — grab a copy if you haven’t. 


Below is the lineup, which includes all six of the local acts nominated in the “New Artist of the Year” category and four other favorites, plus some audio/video previews to whet your appetite. Click the artists’ name to read CityBeat’s stories (and some great original photography) about each. The stories include links to the acts’ websites and more music. 


The doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday at Bogart’s and admission is just $5. Performers will be featured on two stages, so it will be non-stop music all night.


7:30 p.m. Pop Goes the Evil 


8 p.m. Molly Sullivan 

 

8:30 p.m. Injecting Strangers 

9 p.m. ADM  


9:30 p.m. Mardou  


10 p.m. Austin Livingood 


10:30 p.m. Archer's Paradox


11 p.m. Little Lights 

 

11:30 p.m. Tweens 

 

12:15 a.m. Electric Citizen

 
 
by Mike Breen 01.14.2014
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, CEAs at 09:49 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Last Day for Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Voting

Plus, The Tillers plan tribute to their late bassist at the Jan. 26 CEA ceremony

Voting for the 17th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, celebrating the best of the Greater Cincinnati music scene, ends TONIGHT at midnight. Click here to cast your ballot for your favorite nominated local artists.

The CEA ceremony is set for Sunday, Jan. 26, at Covington’s Madison Theater. The show/party will feature performances from CEA-nominated artists Honey & Houston, Moonbow, The Yugos, The Upset Victory, Valley High, The Almighty Get Down and DAAP Girls, as well as a secret opening performance by an entity known (as of now) only as Saint Ain't Mangled Angels (those who read CityBeat regularly will likely be able decipher the thinly-veiled pseudonym).


Also added to the run of show for the CEA event is a special performance by Cincinnati Folk trio The Tillers, who released their fantastic Hand on the Plow album and toured the U.K. with Pokey LaFarge in 2013. The group, nominated for CEAs in the Folk/Americana, Album of the Year and Artist of the Year categories, will be paying tribute to their former bassist Jason Soudrette, who lost his battle with acute myeloid leukemia late last year. 


Click here to purchase advanced tickets to the 2014 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. Proceeds benefit the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation.

 
 
by Mike Breen 01.13.2014
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music, Music News at 09:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Music Tonight: Instrument Recovery Benefit

Friends unite at MOTR tonight to help local musician replace stolen instruments

Just after Christmas, multi-instrumentalist Justin Todhunter, who performs with the Folk/Americana band Jake Speed and the Freddies and the Bluegrass group Rattlesnakin’ Daddies, was the victim of a home invasion that resulted in the loss of most of his valuables, including the tools of his trade — his instruments.

The instruments taken are likely making their way around the black market, so keep an eye out at local music and pawn shops, as well as online sites like Craigslist. Here are the instruments, which Todhunter posted on his Facebook page just after the break-in at his Westwood home: a 1985 Kentucky KM-1000 mandolin; a 2008 Eastman MD 815 mandolin (red finish); a 2005 Martin OOO-M acoustic guitar; a 2000 Blue Fender Stratocaster guitar (Mexican); a 1949 National 1088 Triplex Lap Steel guitar; and a 2009 Douglas bass guitar (Hofner copy).

If you spot any of the instruments, let Todhunter know through his Facebook page at facebook.com/jdogfreddies.

Besides keeping a lookout for the instruments, you can also help Todhunter tonight when MOTR Pub (1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com) hosts a benefit show to assist in replacing the items. Both the Freddies and Rattlesnakin’ Daddies are scheduled to perform. Showtime is 9 p.m. There is no cover charge but, obviously, donations are strongly encouraged.

If you can’t make the show, fellow member of the Freddies Chris Werner has also set up a donation site through FundRazr. Visit fundrazr.com/campaigns/6fkQ4 to donate. When we went to press with this story last Tuesday, $700 had already been donated. That has doubled in less than a week.
 
 
by Mike Breen 01.09.2014
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News, Festivals at 09:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Bunbury Announces Three Acts for 2014

Huge Cincinnati summer music fest reveals a trio of performers for this year’s event

This morning, the annual Bunbury Music Festival, coming up July 11-13 and returning to Sawyer Point/Yeatman’s Cove along the Ohio River, announced the first acts for this summer’s event. Fall Out Boy, which won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Alternative Band last night, will be joined at the fest by consistent Pop/Rock hit makers Paramore (who were up against FOB for that People’s Choice Award and are doing a co-headlining tour with the band this summer, something that leaked early, allegedly angering Paramore) and up-and-coming Danish alt-rockers New Politics (also on the FOB/Paramore jaunt). 



The full lineup for the Bunbury Music Festival is scheduled to be announced next month. Tickets are on sale now; below are details:

One-day, Any-day: $55.00 (U.S.) Buy on layaway until January 31, 2014
Three-day: $130.00 (U.S.) Buy on layaway until January 31, 2014
Three-day VIP: $325 (U.S.) Buy on layaway until January 31, 2014
Hotel and Ticket Package: Buy one three-day, get one free. Book now
Please note that ticket prices will increase after February 15 and again after July 1.

Also this morning, it was announced that The Afghan Whigs, one of the best musical exports to ever come out of Cincinnati, are returning to the road in 2014 to play (at least) the Coachella festival in California this summer. (The full Coachella lineup, which was released this morning and includes Arcade Fire, OutKast and The Replacements, can be found here.) Sounds like a good fit for this year’s Bunbury lineup, too. 

 
 
by Belinda Cai 12.26.2013
Posted In: Interview, Local Music at 12:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Josiah Wolf of WHY? and Dream Tiger

Dream Tiger plays Mayday Friday; WHY? performs at The Comet on New Year's Eve

A lot of great things emerge from Cincinnati: goetta, Graeter's Ice Cream, George Clooney… Among those locally bred gems is WHY?, the eclectic indie Hip Hop band with some of the most brilliantly complex and candid lyricism out there, courtesy of Jonathan “Yoni” Wolf. In addition to its lyrical genius, WHY? is never lacking in instrumental flair, boasting infectious beats, tinkering bells, moving strings and woodwinds — the works. Band members Yoni Wolf, Josiah Wolf, Doug McDiarmid and Liz Wolf toured all around the country and world this year. They’ve traveled to San Francisco, Montreal and London, to name a few, but now find themselves back in their hometown.

CityBeat met with drummer and instrumentalist Josiah Wolf (Yoni’s brother) at The Comet and spoke to him about Cincinnati, his new projects, upcoming shows and WHY?’s latest albums.

CityBeat: Cincinnati is your hometown. You and Yoni grew up here?

Josiah Wolf: I was born in Philadelphia but came here when I was, like, two. So yeah, I grew up here. I lived here all of my formative years…left when I was around 21. 

CB: I saw that WHY? is nominated for the “Indie/Alternative” category for the Jan. 26 17th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs). How does it feel to be nominated?

JW: I don’t ever expect to win those things, but it’s nice that we’re on the radar of the city. We were nominated last year too and went down to The Madison. I think [the CEAs] have gotten bigger. It’s cool — it’s kind of a way of getting the music community and art community together.

CB: Do you interact with some of the local bands here?

JW: Uh, never, no. [Laughs] Just kidding. Yeah, I’ve met some good friends here and some good bands here. I’ve met a lot of people through WHY?’s other drummer Ben Sloan — a lot of his friends that he went to school with. They have a collective, The Marburg Collective, and they play at The Comet every Monday.

CB: Aside from WHY?, I know you’ve been working on some other projects, such as Dream Tiger with your wife, Liz. Can you tell me about that?

JW: I’m doing stuff for myself right now that is only in infancy. Some of that might be music I release myself or I might collaborate with Liz on it. Some of it might become WHY? songs. I have a lot of tracks that are in their beginning stages.

CB: So with WHY?, do the members work on music individually and then come together?

JW: Yeah, we do that a lot of the time. Every record is different, though. Like with the last record, Mumps, Etc., Yoni worked on almost all of that by himself. With the Golden Ticket EP, I did all of the music on that. Yoni wrote the songs on the piano and then he sent me the tracks and I put music around it.

CB: How is it different to do your own stuff versus stuff for WHY? or Dream Tiger?

JW: WHY? is kind of Yoni’s band in a way even though we’ve had times of collaboration. It’s my band also but he’s the main guy. Dream Tiger is Liz’s band. [Laughs] In both bands, I kind of take a side role. The difference is working with my brother versus working with my wife. They’re different but both are good in my life. Lately, I enjoy working by myself in a way, as far as coming up with ideas.

CB: You’ll be playing at The Comet on New Years Eve with WHY? for your last show of the year. How do you feel about that?

JW: I love The Comet. It’ll be a fun, low pressure show for us. I’m excited about it. I’d say that intimate shows [are] my preference.

CB: Which of your albums is the band’s favorite to perform? I know at the Fountain Square show this summer, you guys played a lot from Alopecia, which is one of my favorite albums. How do you choose which albums to play?

JW: Right now we’re focusing on the new record, Mumps, Etc. We do most songs from that but, yeah, we do a lot from Alopecia. Some Elephant Eyelash. We don’t really do much Eskimo Snow right now. The Alopecia songs do lend themselves to the live performances better than some of the other ones — they are more exciting songs in a way. For some reason, the Eskimo Snow songs are a little more difficult to pull off live [but] we do a couple.  

CB: So Mumps, Etc. came out last year after a three-year break. How would you say the band’s sound has evolved in that latest album? And since then?

JW: That record was mostly Yoni as far as the arrangements go. He didn’t play a lot on it but the rest of us got the parts he arranged and learned them and embellished them a bit. The goal was to get a very clean, large sounding record with minimal instrumentation — not too cluttered. I think we did pretty good with that. When I listen back to the instrumentals, it’s clean, and that’s what we were going for. Nowadays, the newer stuff that we’re working towards is a little more homemade — a little more experimental. We’re trying to get back to some of that stuff and get away from being in a big studio. Next up, we’re going to record more at my house in my basement studio.

CB: And then there’s the September EP Golden Tickets from this year on the Joyful Noise label. It is a described as “a collection of personalized ‘theme songs’ for and about seven specific WHY? fans who were Internet stalked.” Can you tell me a little bit more about that project?

JW: It first came about through our web store three years ago, I believe, right around this time. We had this one t-shirt that was a misprint. All of the other shirts had a certain color but one shirt was gold. It was like a test print. Somehow we came up with this idea: How about we put up a contest online and say whoever gets the golden shirt will have a song written about them. And the first guy who bought the shirt — it was Hunter Van Brocklin, the guy — was sent the shirt and we wrote a song about him. That’s how it started. From there, we did another merch contest and then we kind of got away from the merch contests and did more of a charity after the Japan [tsunami]. We did an auction where whoever gave the most to the benefit got the song written about them that month — that was the golden ticket. So every month, it became a little different.

CB: When the fans found out about their “theme songs,” how did they react? Creeped out? Flattered? Shocked?

JW: Everybody liked it! At least nobody expressed a [creeped out] sentiment. Maybe some people were creeped out [Laughs], but people seemed to like it a lot. People wrote us about it. We were lucky; all of the people we selected were really cool people. If you’re going to put your information out there on social media, we can write a song about it. It’s all public information. We had a good time doing it. Yoni would send me the tracks and I would make the music around it. It was just a fun little project. 

Dream Tiger (Josiah and Liz) plays Mayday this Friday and WHY? performs at The Comet on New Year's Eve.

Check out WHY?’s website for more information about the band.

 
 

 

 

 
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