Tag Archives: rock

INTERVIEW: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Leah Shapiro on getting healthy and keeping the beat going.

This year represents 15 years since San Francisco’s Black Rebel Motorcycle Club released their debut B.R.M.C album. A true milestone for a band in constant pursuit of producing pure, unadulterated rock and roll, they have, in recent years, literally went through hell and back. Firstly, with the death of Robert Levon Been’s father – and BRMC sound engineer – Michael Been, in 2010, followed by the more recent news in 2014 that drummer Leah Shapiro required treatment for Chiari malformations found in her brain.

For Denmark born Leah – former drummer with Dead Combo and The Ravonettes – the thought of not being able to pick up her sticks in the face of her surgery and subsequent recovery was as dark a road to go down as there is for any musician.

“That was a pretty fucking scary thought. The whole year and a half of touring Spectre i had so many problems. I was losing my mind or seriously losing my ability to play the way that I was used to which was pretty scary. I guess there was a sense of relief in finding out why that was happening cause I was kinda going crazy over it . Like every night I would feel like it was flying around in a roller coaster while trying to play drums at the same time. The recovery process was pretty brutal and there was also the fear of how everything was going to feel after it.”


As luck would have it, the surgeon tasked with drilling into her brain happened to be a BRMC fan himself, and he was able to fine tune a ‘drum recovery’ process that enabled Leah to come back to almost full health.

“Yeh he was a fan of the band, it was fucking awesome. He was really incredibly helpful and he wrote out about a whole new programme which I started about three months after the surgery to get back on the drums. Had I not had that I’d have been completely fucking lost. I mean I would have no way of knowing what my limits where or how to pace myself or a what a responsible way to getting back to here was at all so it was really helpful.”

Serendipity or not, her long road from sleepy Aarhus in her native Denmark to life in LA via New York as one third of one of the best rock and roll bands of the last two decades is one that had a little to do with a certain incident with a bird in New York’s Times Square.

“I was working this shitty fucking office job in Times Square and I’d just gotten out of the Subway and like this bird just fell out of the sky dead in front of me. That was kind of a moment when i was like ‘Ok I’ve gotta not be doing this any more, anything else is better than this shit,’ and that kind of led to me joining Dead Combo which was really what opened the door for both BRMC and The Ravonettes – I think the first show I did with Dead Combo was opening with The Ravonettes and then we got to do some BRMC shows during their Baby 81 tour and i stayed in touch with Rob and here we are.”

It’s not often musicians get to support a band on tour before making the transition to become part of that band and its something that’s not lost on Leah, one that gives her a heightened sense of just what makes BRMC who they are and what they represent.

“It was kind of interesting to get to tour with them with an opening band before I joined them. I remember being in the crowd watching and there was this really special energy and, like, some sort of vibe that I’d never really seen before live with other bands. I watched the shows every night and I couldn’t get tired of it. It was always really exciting that you didn’t hear the songs as it is on the records, the set changed from night to night and always had a different element to it depending on what the room was like any given night. Now, every night we play I hope that even though I’m behind the drums I hope that energy is still the same one that I could feel.”

leah

Having just completed a 16 date autumn US co-headlining tour with Death From Above 1979 – alongside Deap Vally, Shapiro is finding it great being back in the saddle with the band after such a long period of recovery from her brain surgery.

“Yeh I mean this is probably my first proper tour where I’ve been fully healed up from my injuries and shit so it’s is a nice feeling just to play without all of those issues. We’ve toured with Deap Vally before so we know them and the Death From Above guys really well, so its probably been one of my favourite tours as far as the lineup and people.”

And although the present musical landscape seems bereft of bands that share a similar approach to pure, no holds barred rock and roll like BRMC do, Leah isn’t one to start complaining, especially given her love of both of their current touring partners, Deap Vally and Death From Above.

“I’m not that frustrated, I think just being on tour with the awesome bands and watching them kick ass every night kind of takes away some of the frustration away – you get a little jaded but there’s plenty of cool stuff going on just maybe not in the mainstream. Its hard enough at the best of times for bands.”

With a new album most likely in the early part of 2017, the tour has given the band the chance to come up with and road test some new material.

“We’ve always used soundchecks to kind of at least get the process of new ideas started and we have like a million little shitty iPhones; recording our new ideas. It’s a cool setting to start the writing process when your on a big stage with a big sound. Everything sounds better than being in the little confined tiny rehearsal space so its a little bit more fun.”

And with the signs all pointing in the right direction, Leah is quietly confident of a return to a full touring schedule next year in support of what will be the band’s eighth record.

“We’ve been testing out two of the new songs which we’ve done in the studio prior to starting this tour and when we finish up next week it’ll be back in the rehearsal studio writing again and hopefully recording and then we will be back out on the road before we know it.”

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The last few years haven’t been easy on the band, with, alongside Leah’s diagnosis, surgery and subsequent recovery, the death of bandmate Robert Levon Been’s father Michael in 2010 – after he suffered a heart attack backstage at a festival in Belgium.

The loss was hard to take for Leah, who credits Been’s father with her progression as a drummer, thanks to his own unique training regime he placed on her when she joined BRMC following Nick Jago’s departure back in 2008.

“A big part of me getting to where I am now as a drummer was Michael putting me through an epic boot camp when i first started with the band. i wasn’t super happy at the time. It was pretty intense but it definitely helped shape my playing and my approach to music in general. He sort of got me to be a little bit more free and I kind of learned to be OK with the mistakes that were going to happen inevitably both in recording and live onstage and learned just kind of go with it and make the fucked up parts work to your advantage, if that makes sense.”

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For Leah, what has happened is that the band have pulled together more than ever in the face of such tragedy.

“I mean we’ve gone through some pretty insane shit before. We spend a lot of time together so we are all very close and i feel like there’s more of a family vibe than other bands I’ve played with in the past and I like that. A lot of the guys that are on the road with us have been with the band for as long as I have or even longer so there’s that whole element to it as well. I suppose we are our own kind of weird little dysfunctional family (laughing).”

The story goes that Leah learned around 40 songs in two weeks when she first joined the band midway through their tour off the back of the Baby 81 album, and ever since then, Leah has taken more and more of a creative role alongside bandmates Peter Hayes and Robert Levon Been with regards to new material.

“In the beginning i was playing all the material that already existed and when I first started I just tried to mimic the drumming as much as i possibly could to make the transition not like too awkward for Rob and Pete and I guess for the audience as well. I think that when we first started writing Beat The Devil’s Tattoo I started to kind of observe what the process was and figure out my place in it. So its now its been like 8 and a half years or something like that so I’m a little bit more comfortable than I was!”

Her footprint on the band’s material is more than present, not just through her military like – pounding drums – which formed the creative starting point to the development of lead single ‘Let The Day Begin’ from Spectre – a cover of Robert’s dad’s band The Call’s original 1989 release. Her interest in literature and poetry has borne fruit lyrically, her input stamped all over the band’s last two album releases.

“Well at the time when I first got to LA, Rob and I were living in this like, sort of one of those furnished short term apartments and I happened to have some of my books my dad had given to me and some that I’d bought myself. So they were around and I remember showing him things. “Annabel Lee” (from 2011’s ‘Live in London’ release) came out of that. It’s not like an intentional thing but when its around I guess it hopefully influences us but it’s not something I try to force on anybody.”

Interestingly given the high intensity required to provide the engine for BRMC’s motoring sound, Leah feels that playing live she often finds herself in a trance-like, meditative state, as the dreamy ‘Alive’, from BRMC’s debut release – and Leah’s favourite song to play – illustrates.

“Well I mean there’s a lot of repetition and a lot of focus on the flow and feel of it so when I really focus in on it and I’m having a good day when I’m playing well It gets really transitory really quickly and a lot of the music – the more psychedelic stuff – it really lends itself to that. Like you kind of float into some other place which is nice. It’s nice to stop worrying about how your are supposed to be feeling, it just kind of happens.”

Brought up listening to her American father’s record collection, she wasn’t the typical wannabe drummer who, from an early age, was banging tabletops and boxes with anything they could find their hands on.

“I started I guess a little bit later than most people would have, but I just kinda immediately got obsessive about it. I tried to learn other instruments and I completely fucking sucked at it and it didn’t feel natural to me at all and I remember the first day playing the drums it just felt natural to me.”

And with no doubt a few UK dates to pencil in for next year with the release of their new album, Leah is keen to get back out in front of British audiences – even if that means dodging the odd flying pint.

“Oh yeh it’s just so rowdy and fun I love that. I like a good drunk crowd throwing beers at us (laughs) although usually they don’t hit me so that’s why i don’t mind it! I remember Rob getting hit with a beer right in the face in Glasgow at the Barrowlands, I think on the 2010 tour. Maybe next time it’ll be me although it’s a little harder to hit me. I guess that will be the challenge for next year at our shows.”

Gone, but not forgotten. 4 of the best bands to come out of Glasgow

Nostalgia is an often criticized beast that pulls at the heart strings of music lovers, with bands that had long since broken up ready to forget their differences in the name of a new album, tour and deeper pockets.

And with scientific studies showing a direct link between music and brain stimulation – including how we recall memories – we never tire of taking a glimpse back over the past few years to reminisce about the music that struck a special chord, by bands that have since disappeared.

Here’s a list of 4 Glasgow bands that are gone, but definetly not forgotten:
The Apple Scruffs
Formed in 2005, the punk-rock four piece from Glasgow garnered a wide, loyal following in Glasgow thanks to their raw, energetic rock ‘n’ roll and memorably frenetic live performances that, more than any other Glasgow band to date, have fully characterised the passion of youth. Influenced by the likes of The Smiths, The Clash and The Libertines, the band played wisely to their strengths in the form of frontman Jonny Skinner’s majestic song writing.

Paper Planes/Astral Planes

Regarded in their heyday as ‘Glasgow’s best kept secret’, Paper Planes were a band that really were destined for bigger things. Opening for The Pigeon Detectives at The Carling Academy in only their fourth show, the band revolved around New Jersey native Jennifer Paley’s stunning vocals (and looks) and guitarist Christopher Haddow’s reverb-heavy licks. With a surf-pop, trashy rock ‘n’ roll sound it was a band that were cooler than every Julian Casablancas leather jacket sown together.

Sonic Hearts Foundation

Widescreen cinematic shoe-gazers Sonic Hearts Foundation only called it a day last year but the void is still present. After building up a formidable reputation in Glasgow thanks to support slots with the likes of The Duke Spirit and The Telescopes, the band achieved near mythical status in 2011 thanks to a legendary rooftop show outside the Barrowlands after a Pete Doherty gig. With an intoxicating sound that mixed alternative post-rock, electronic and even Krautrock influences, the band’s live gigs were as much visual, projection fuelled feasts as they were showcases of their own maverick, captivating originality.

Heartbeats

Another band that, live, were equal to the more established bands from which they themselves drew influences, such as The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, Heartbeat’s shoe-gaze, anthemic wall of sound had your ears ringing for days after their shows. Backed by singer Steve Allen’s primal, emotional lyrics and Matt Hardie’s pulsating drumming, they are another Glasgow band solely missed from the venues around the city they called home, as their fantastic ‘We Make Jesus Cry (Death By Misadventure)’ illustrates – a song that, on a personal level, finds itself in my top 20 favourites of any band, ever.

https://myspace.com/weareheartbeats/music/songs

 

 

 

 

Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs) returns for 2016

THE Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs), in association with Rebel Rebel Barbers, are set to return this October with a massive main awards line-up.

 

Celebrating their 7th birthday, the awards will again be hosted by Jim Gellatly. It has also been revealed that Paisley grime MC Shogun will perform live at the main awards night at the Garage Glasgow on Wednesday 12th October.

 

The awards re-launched over the summer by staging a show at Highlands creative industries festival XpoNorth in June and hosting a networking event at Glasgow hotel citizenM earlier this month.

 

SAMAs Founder/Creative Director Richy Muirhead and his team have since been hard at work assembling an events schedule, with a successful Paisley showcase in the bag and one to follow in Perth (9th September).

 

The SAMAs have also been working on a new streamlined nomination process for the main awards which will see specialist judges working on each award. The judges will be made up of members of the Scottish music industry from areas such as; live sector, music publishing, journalism. Set to take place on Wednesday 12th October at the Garage, Glasgow. As always, you can expect a few SAMAs surprises in the line-up!

 

Of the latest SAMAs developments Muirhead said:

 

“We’re absolutely delighted to be back after a summer of music research and attending all the festivals. This year, the SAMAs are going to be slicker than ever with our new nomination process and increased judges. Turning seven is a massive achievement and we’re thrilled to be hosting the main awards in October!”

 

The awards to be handed out this year at the main awards in Glasgow are:

 

Best Acoustic in association with citizenM

Best Electronic in association with Assai UK

Best Hip-Hop in association with 1000fans

Best Live Act in assocation with XPO North

Best Metal in association with Cathouse Glasgow

Best Newcomer in association with The Academy of Music & Sound

Best Rock/Alternative in association with Eventbrite

 

Tickets available are available from £20/£10/£6.50 through Eventbrite.

 

#SAMA2016

 

For more info visit http://www.officialsama.co.uk

 

Email: info@officialsama.co.uk

Facebook.com/OfficialSAMA

Twitter.com/OfficialSAMA

 

Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs)

info@officialsama.co.uk

http://www.officialsama.co.uk

Todo el mundo es ‘Bueno’

La canción “La gloria de los que fracasan” está incluida en el album “Perros, santos y refranes”. Es una canción pop con pequeños arreglos orquestales que incluye cerca de 90 pistas de audio. La letra habla de la relación que establece una persona con la música, algo doloroso y hermoso como puede ser una relación de amor con una persona. Siempre hay una parte épica en el fracaso que convierte ciertas derrotas en pequeñas historias gloriosas.

 

 

 

 

Podeis escuchar mas en

http://www.lawebdebueno.com/web/?menu=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frightened Rabbit, ‘Painting of a Panic Attack’ review

Sometimes – especially in Scotland – life has a way of reminding you that everything isn’t all smiles, sunshine and unreserved romance, and that to that effect, Frightened Rabbit serve a purpose like no other band.

As veritable champions of their own brand of ‘healer-rock’, the band, backed by Scott Hutchison’s reflective, tormented internal monologue, craft a blend of melancholic woe and optimistic splendour that washes down like a sweet, warming malt whisky.

With their fifth studio album ‘Painting of a Panic Attack’, produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner (Sharron Van Etton, Local Natives) in New York, Frightened Rabbit release their most challenging, mature and immediate album to date.

Hutchison’s adroit, cathartic lyricism remains present as homage is paid to familiar themes of religion, sobriety and breakups, although disappointingly scarce is the astute wit of previous releases.

Small matters aside, there’s a distinct, welcome shift musically, as explosive soundscapes marry up against folk-tinged acoustic laments to splendid effect.

With former touring guitarist Simon Liddell replacing Gordon Skene, his presence, whether subconsciously or not, has pointed the band towards a more layered, dream-like vista, with walls of fuzzy, distorted noise, electronic touches and sharp drum loops opening the floodgates to a more expansive sound that adds superimposes more colour to the otherwise grey.

The almost dance-like, brooding, synth-driven ‘Woke up Hurting’ and haunting, dark ‘Lump Street’ best evoke this impression, with the latter’s dystopian feel far removed from any Frightened Rabbit work to date.

The solemn, piano-based Opener ‘Death Dream’ sets an early marker of tone, as a chorus of ‘You died in your sleep last night’ finds the accompaniment of ambient instrumentals and brass flourishes, a feat repeated later on with the majestic, ukulele-tinged ‘Little Drum’.

The flawless ‘Get Out’ and its ode to the consuming addictiveness of love sparks the album fully to life, followed by the rhythmic, meaty ‘Wish I Was Sober’.

Hutchison’s anxious, anthemic vocals take centre on ‘Still Want To Be Here’ as he sings “Junk fiends dance at the bus stop next to the rodeo clowns… But I still want to be here,” sings Hutchison in “Still Want to be Here”, while album highlight ‘Break’ adds formidable layers of pounding percussion and scything, fuzzy licks of guitar.

Following this is the morbid love ballad ‘400 Bones’, before the acoustic-guitar driven, tavern-esque lament of ‘Die Like A Rich Boy’ ends the album with a soaring ode to hydrocodone dreams and switchblades.

With ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’, Frightened Rabbit’s pursuit of a more musically expansive, synth-backed sound marks a change from ‘Pedestrian Verse’, one which allows for diverse flirtations against the introspective melancholy and unbridled optimism that Hutchison’ lyrics offer. One that ultimately pays off.

Stay, ‘The Mean Solar Times’ review

Fans of Oasis and Beady Eye may be interested to hear ‘The Mean Solar Times’ by Barcelona psychedelic rockers Stay, given Andy Bell’s contribution to three songs on the album.

Released through Minneapolis label ‘Picture in my Ear’, and featuring Britpop guru Owen Morris (Oasis/The Verve) on production duties, the 5th studio album from the Catalans is a rich and potent mix of 70’s psychedelia, 90’s Britpop, oriental and funk influences, intensified by frontman Jordi Bel’s youthful vocals.

Having gained something of a cult following in their native Spain, the band have carved out a niche as one of the go to support acts around, opening for the likes of Ocean Colour Scene, Beady Eye and The Pretty Things, as well as appearing at festivals such as Primavera Sound in their home city.  

Vintage tones, resplendent melodies, intricate instrumentals and organ-guitar interplay draw obvious comparisons with the likes of Big Star, Traffic and The Charlatans, as the band meander from the slow, jovial and intricate to the heavy, emotionally enveloping, demonstrating a flair and character that places above the level of simple pastiche.

Opener ‘Pinkman’, with Bell on guitar, sounds distinctly Charlatansesque, with brooding basslines, abrasive guitar hooks and a healthy dose of organs, sitars and soaring melodies, with the brief burst of flamenco guitar for good measure.

Follow up ‘Always Here’ is a sparkling wedge of feel good summery indie pop, while ‘Smiling Faces’ continues the winning formula first evoked in ‘Pinkman’ – layered guitars, melodies and anthemic soundscapes.

The glossy, merry ‘You Know It’s Right’ and ‘Shake The Sun’ could both have been lifted from Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Bandwagonesque’, while the frenetic, trippy ‘Mind-Blowing’ juxtaposes in a 6 minute wall of clashing sitars and organs.

While falling a yard or two short or true originality, ‘The Mean Solar Times’ is still a consistent, solid effort from Stay who, through a combination of strong musicianship, layered sounds and sweet harmonies, no doubt permits the band to remain flagbearers of the Spanish, Brit pop influenced indie kitsch sound for some time to come.

Kula Shaker talk K.20

Twenty years ago, Kula Shaker were one of the biggest bands in Britain, fresh after the success of debut album ‘K’, a heady brew of Indian mysticism, Brit-pop and 60’s sounds; one which spawned classic songs such as ‘Hey Dude’, ‘Govinda’ and ‘Tattva’.

Fast forward two decades and the band are currently four dates into an extensive worldwide tour in support of their fifth studio album, K.20. And after the band arrived in Scotland for a date at Edinburgh’s Liquid Rooms, charismatic frontman Crispian Mills spoke to me about longevity, Neil Young, eastern influences and Glasgow ballroom floors.

“The whole thing is a strange sort of whirlwind of nostalgia and also with playing new songs as well it’s been quite an interesting mix,” says Crispian.

“The thing about the band is that we were never like a sort of U2 size band we were not just a little pop band either, we are sort of in a strange Kula Shaker with its own strange sort of beast and its very familiar. It’s always surprising to us you go round the world people have heard of us and come to our gigs”, he adds.

Crispian admits that the band had been caught unawares with the attention received since K.20’s release, with the band’s live dates more than anything else a chance for them to get out and just do what they love most – playing concerts.

Well you know you when you get into the pop business you can get very precious about your career and that’s completely understandable but there’s some fun in just playing for shits and giggles. It’s nice to be spontaneous about where you play and how you make records and I think that the crowds have responded to that.”

He also considers that, further to this,  it’s both the bands wide arrange of influences musically and focus on honing a sound geared towards the live setting has contributed towards their longevity and resonated most with their loyal fan base.

“By some kind of miracle blessing or some kind of higher force we’ve never lost our ‘mojo’. We were always a live band and that’s how we built our reputation and that’s how we won fans. Our songs have always been a mixture of sort of classic old school song writing with choruses and romance like the Beatles and folks songs you know, and this kind of love of Prog and psychedelic bands.”

“I don’t think you really get the whole picture till you see it live and we don’t either. We don’t understand the songs properly until we’ve played them through and then they take on a whole other life of their own.”

With regards to influences, Neil Young’s name pops into the conversation in reference to the song ‘High Noon’ off the new album, one that could have easily come from the icon’s own repertoire.

“We once played Glastonbury twice in one year and we headlined on the Saturday night and it was like the apex of our pop career and then Neil Young cut his finger making a ham sandwich the next day. There was no one else to come on and we went on in his place on the Sunday afternoon after Michael Eavis asked us to play,” he reveals.

“At first there was a bit of resentment from the crowd at first and we slaughtered one of his songs, ‘Out On The Weekend’ (from the album Harvest). It was a gallant attempt and I think the audience warmed to us after that. It was a great gig the Sunday afternoon was even better than the Saturday night.”

The band are no doubt best known for  their interest in traditional Indian music, culture and traditions, alongside their use of instruments such as the sitar to give their music a sound that sets them far apart from other bands that became popular during the Britpop era.

“I don’t think people think of us as a British band in that typical kind of way, I think Kula Shaker is a kind of a bit of a pop anomaly and we are very proud of that, we are the misfits. And the whole spiritual, psychedelic, Krishna thing has always been the defining element,” says Crispian.

Before he adds, “It’s a universal spiritual identity and that is always going to be something that’s fun to express sin music and in arts and in cooking and I think everybody gets it.  There’s a saying that ‘The sun rises in the East, does that make it an Eastern sun? When you get into the essence of any old culture you realize we all come from the same place and we all have the same ancestors.”

And, spiritual beliefs aside, while the band got ready to play in front of their Scottish fans in the capital; Crispian admitted that it was Glasgow that holds a special place in the band’s heart – for a number of reasons.

“Glasgow was always a very key date for us and one of the tipping points in our careers was selling out the Barrowlands. One of the most memorable gigs in Glasgow was in some ballroom I don’t know if it’s still going, they had a bouncy floor and it was packed and the whole crowd was jumping up and down and the crew were trying to trying to hold the whole of the sound rig up because they thought it was going to collapse and we all thought we were going to die. And, eh, that’s just a normal night in Glasgow.”