Q&A with Astronomy Club’s Dylan Graves

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Courtesy of Astronomy Club

Astronomy Club, a Bowling Green, Ky. four-piece, teenage indie psych rock outfit, released their self-titled debut EP May 25. Over the course of the six tracks, Astronomy Club cements their place as yet another band to keep your eyes peeled out for in the lively Bowling Green music scene.

Lead singer/guitarist Dylan Graves paints a vivid portrait of teenage love on standout track “The World Disappears”.
“Take me by the hand let’s pass some time/ The sun it sets and it’s red like wine / Running through the distance, the gold horizon the hills go on for miles/ And when I’m with you girl, the world it disappears,” Graves sings nonchalantly on the EP’s opener.
Check out Astronomy Club’s debut EP here: https://astronomyclub.bandcamp.com/releases
Courtesy of Astronomy Club

Courtesy of Astronomy Club

Below is an interview with Astronomy Club front man Dylan Graves.

What are some of the band’s major influences? “The World Disappears” feels reminiscent of The Strokes to me.. that incidental, or are they a pretty big influence?

DG: We actually pull influences from a ton of places. I actually grew up playing a lot of classical music and classic rock (Zeppelin, Sabbath, Pink Floyd, etc.) and it eventually turned into playing a lot of jazz chords and that’s when I first started to write tunes. Justin was a heavy Rush fan growing up so his bass style is definitely influenced a lot by them. Titus really likes the drummer from Mutemath, and I don’t think anyone else in the band could name a Mutemath song, but that’s one of Titus’s favorites. Anthony didn’t play keys on the tracks, but he loves Black Sabbath, The Doors, and doom metal stuff. We really pull influences from all over and it’s always a good time to put our minds together.

Is this your first professional release?

DG: Yep. It’s really the first release for anyone in the band so we’re stoked about it.

How does the songwriting process typically work for you? I’m sure it’s a pretty convoluted process, but do lyrics or melodies typically come first?

DG: Our songwriting process is weird, man. We’ve written every song on the record in 2 hours or under. We usually make a cool instrumental and then I’ll go into a corner and write lyrics and come back and spend the rest of practice working on structure.

How long have you been playing with everyone in Astronomy Club? When did the band officially form? Have house shows been the extent of your performances thus far? Are you all teenagers? Can you tell me who all Astronomy Club is comprised of?

DG: Astronomy Club has been a band for about 10 months. The original lineup of Titus, Justin, and I came together in the early fall of 2014. We played for a couple of months and decided we wanted keys, so Kane Martin joined and played a couple of shows with us. He is the one who recorded with us as well. The current lineup is Justin Hull on bass, Titus Smith hits drums, Anthony Joiner plays keys, and I play the git-fiddle and sing. The other 3 members are 18 years old and I am 17 years old. So far, yes, all we have played are house shows.

Where was the EP recorded? How long did the process of making it take?

DG: The EP was recorded in Scott Gardner’s (keys for Sleeper/Agent) home studio. This EP took 3 weekends of recording and a couple weeks of mixing and mastering. All in all it was over the course of about 3 months due to us all being busy so often. It felt like we were making the EP for a really long time and we are all glad to finally share our tracks with everyone.

How influenced/inspired are you by Bowling Green bands (Cage The Elephant, Sleeper/Agent, Morning Teleportation, Buffalo Rodeo, etc.) How important is it for you to forge our own identity outside of the Bowling Green music scene?

DG: We totally love and will always support BG bands. I enjoy both Sleeper and Cage, but Morning Teleportation really connects the most with us collectively. We love to put on shows and entertain locals a whole lot. With that being said, Astronomy Club is also interested in playing out all over.

What are your goals/aspirations for Astronomy Club in 2015? Long-term?

DG: In 2015, our goal was to put out the EP. Now that it happened, we want to play more shows and share our music around the world.

Do you feel like the BG music scene is pretty active right now, in terms of new bands/younger bands?

DG: Definitely. You got Spirit Week, Heron and Crane, The States, Maelle… all of them kick ass. They are all great people and we love to play with and just be around other young musicians.

How important is it for you to continue the musical success the Bowling Green music scene has experienced recently? Or does that even cross your mind?

DG: We definitely would like to further the success of our amazing local scene. Popularity is not something we strive for. Reaction from listeners is what we strive for. There is nothing cooler than nice compliments from listeners. Everyone in Astronomy Club gets genuinely overjoyed when people feel the need to tell us that they loved our sets and stuff. Music is cool.

Is there a song you are most proud of from the EP?

DG: My favorite song to play on the EP is “Young Again.” We are all super proud of how that turned out.

Would you say there is a cohesive theme for the EP lyrically or sonically?

DG: There isn’t really a set theme for the EP. I do notice that throughout the course of the EP it goes from a light euphoric feel to a dark euphoric feel. We didn’t set out for that to happen but it’s pretty cool how it turned out that way.

Heron and Crane release single “Drat”, prepare for August release

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Brian Wilson’s haunted vocals articulated the solace and insanity that can fester inside one’s bedroom on The Beach Boys classic “In My Room.”

Heron and Crane, a Bowling Green, Ky alternative three-piece, echo a similar sentiment on their evocative, introspective new single “Drat”.

“Blank for days stuck inside my room with nothing to do / Are you surprised the static grows? A channel buzzing with snow,” Lead singer/guitarist Collin Hancock howls on the slow-burning track.

“Drat” proves to be somewhat anthemic in regards to the growing pains of small-town life.

“Everything I do feels so lame / Like I’m on cocaine stuck inside my room with nothing to do.”

Check out “Drat” (here: http://heronandcrane.bandcamp.com/releases ) and request it on Western Kentucky 91.7. by calling 270.681.7917.

Hancock on the band’s formation and sound: “We formed in 2014. The band consists of David Stites (Bass), Riley Finwood (Drums), and of course me (Guitar/Vocals). As far as our sound, we draw on The White Stripes, The Smiths, Alabama Shakes and Weezer. When it comes to lyricists, it doesn’t get much better than Mos Def, Conor Oberst and Robin Pecknold. And though our band doesn’t sound anything like Mos Def, Bright Eyes, or The Fleet Foxes, I’m definitely aiming for that sort of craftsmanship.”
Hancock said Heron and Crane’s debut will drop August 14 with in-store performance at Mellow Matt’s Music & More in Bowling Green.
 “This album works more as a sampler of what we have to offer,” Hancock said.  “There’s blues, rock and even a little folky murder ballad coming from some skiffle influence. We had a great recording experience with Scott Gardener, who did excellent work in producing this album. Getting in the studio helped us find our footing, and the next batch of songs promises to be representative of our growth and thematically centered.”
UPCOMING Bowling Green shows:
Aug 6th Tidballs
Aug 14th Mellow Matt’s (Record Release Show)
Aug 15th The Manor
Aug 23rd The Falcon’s Nest

Buffalo Rodeo releases dreamy single ‘Blue Sky’, EP ‘123 Water’ out March 6

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Buffalo Rodeo has shown glimpses of becoming the latest indie darlings to emerge from Bowling Green, Kentucky.

“Blue Sky” the first single from forthcoming EP “123 Water” finds the quintet coming into its own.

Buffalo Rodeo has shown a penchant for covering Fleetwood Mac at live performances, but “Blue Sky” evokes 1960s era psychedelic rock.

When Zach Preston and Jordan Reynolds harmonize, the effect is intoxicating. A trip if you will.

Lyrics like “I still think I wanna run and play with fire/ I won’t wake the sun up in my dream land/All the little girlies in the mezzanine they form/A foreseen aunt dormancy and I” sound like they belong on an undiscovered Doors B-side.

Check out “Blue Sky” here:

“123 Water”, an homage to the warehouse where Buffalo Rodeo concocted their latest EP, will be available March 6 on CD. The band expects to have “123 Water” on vinyl in April/May.

UPCOMING RELEASE DATES:

FEB. 28      MELLOW MATT’S         BOWLING GREEN, KY.

MAR. 6       TIDBALL’S      BOWLING GREEN, KY.

MAR. 7       HIGH WATT    NASHVILLE, TN.

Talk about the title of the EP “123 Water”. An homage to where you spent time holed up in Horse Cave making this EP? What was that experience like? Have you guys always gone to the warehouse, or was that a new approach?

BR: 123 Water is actually just the address to our warehouse/workspace that we’ve kinda made our second home in Horse Cave. This is the first batch of songs that we’ve wrote at the warehouse. We had a friend, Trey Rosenkampff help us record it just before Christmas in 2014. It has been a new approach to our writing and recording process and we really just feel lucky to have a place that we can completely isolate ourselves from the world with enough room to not get tired of each other, you know. The warehouse is an insane place though, its like this gigantic dusty adult jungle gym, that happens to be a perfect reverb tank for our instruments and recording gear. But i think the kind people of Horse Cave have started to get used to us so we feel at home there now.

Talk about what listeners can expect sonically and thematically with your newest release? How long have you guys been working on this EP?

BR: Some of these songs have been in progress for a year or so now, but its been nice to get the chance to perfect how we want to sound and how we want them to sound on the record. With this recording we definitely approached it completely different sonically. We wanted to be more direct as far as keeping our focus on the songs instead of the sounds. Well more just picking our favorite sounds and tones and sticking with them so the song has room to shine. I think people will see how far we’ve come in just two years we’ve made some big steps in a totally different direction but it feels really natural to us.

What were the influences for this record? I hear tinges of 1960s era psychedelic rock (Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, etc).. am I off on that assumption?

BR:  I think we have been impacted by the kind of new revival of psychedelic music thats popped up but i think the bands from the 60s and 70s like Pink Floyd and The Doors have always held a special place in our hearts. I think we’re just now getting good enough to make the sounds we like, which do resemble those vintage sounding styles.

What are Buffalo Rodeo’s goals for 2015?

BR: As far as the rest of the year, were really just looking to tour as much as we can and hopefully squeeze out some more music on the way. We’re already a little used to the time lines in the music industry so were just looking forward to playing shows and writing as much music as we can so we’re ready when they’re ready for us.

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Sleeper Agent returns with ‘About Last Night’

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Read my feature that ran in today’s College Heights Herald about Sleeper Agent here

Sleeper Agent plays the Loft in Lansing, Michigan tonight. Here’s the rest of their April tour dates:

Apr 8
Tue
Lansing Charter Township, MI
Apr 9
Wed
Apr 10
Thu
Apr 11
Fri
Apr 12
Sat
Apr 14
Mon
Apr 15
Tue
Apr 17
Thu
Apr 18
Fri
Apr 19
Sat
Apr 22
Tue
Apr 23
Wed
Apr 25
Fri
Apr 26
Sat
Apr 27
Sun
Apr 29
Tue

Raise Home Hell: Interview with Sleeper Agent’s Tony Smith

Screen grab from Sleeper Agent's video for 'Waves'

Screen grab from Sleeper Agent’s official video for About Last Night’s debut single ‘Waves’.

It’s been almost three years since Sleeper Agent burst on the scene with their raucous debut Celebrasion, a collection of fuzzy, fast-paced teenage rock anthems.

There’s no denying Sleeper Agent’s arrival. The band kicks off their first headlining tour tonight with a hometown show at the Warehouse at Mt. Victor at 9pm, supporting their sophomore album About Last Night, which dropped March 25. (Get tickets here: http://thewarehouseatmtvictor.com/). Bowling Green’s own Buffalo Rodeo and Knox Hamilton, an indie dance rock band from North Little Rock, Ark., will open.

The southern Kentucky six-piece returns with a more polished sound, a departure from the frenetic brand of garage pop that defined their first album, but they haven’t lost their penchant for sugary sweet melodies and infectious vocals, or the desire to raise some hell.

“You never saw me coming/Cause we never gonna die,” Smith mouths off on the opening track “Be Brave.”

 About Last Night documents the up and downs inherent to being a twenty-something.

“I think what I was going for was my experience with not only Alex, but just the rest of the band and being in my late 20’s,” Smith said. “Learning how to deal with life and love.”

I have a full profile of Sleeper Agent running in Tuesday’s (4/8) edition of the College Heights Herald. Here are some of my favorite tidbits from the interview.

 

On the stress of playing a hometown show:

“I’d say it’s incredibly stressful, it’s not my favorite thing to do, mainly because I look out, I see kids I grew up with and parents, lots of parents, maybe there’s a girl I treated poorly on a date one time, it’s a little more of a stress run. The reward is bigger too.  If we can do well in our hometown it will be talked about for months.”

 

On the Bowling Green music scene earning respect:

“Maybe Bowling Green feels a little shunned, we’re important too, we’ve got music and ideas and we’re gonna do it, ‘so fuck you’. That’s kind of the mentality.”

On Sleeper Agent headlining their first tour:

“Don’t really know what the experience will be like yet, I’ve been a support band my entire career. I’m a  little nauesous, but excited too. We don’t really know what to expect, we don’t know what the attendance is going to be like. We’re gonna go in and play a fucking killer show every night.”

 

Sleeper Agent plays a show at The End in Nashville, Tn. Sept. 13, 2011.

Sleeper Agent plays a show at The End in Nashville, Tn. Sept. 13, 2011.

 

Check out Sleeper Agent’s video for Waves

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Beauty in the Bruises: An interview with Waxahatchee

Katie Crutchfield has a way with delivering the excruciatingly honest. She makes the mundane and minute beautiful, painting pictures of small town existentialism and post-adolescent indifference.

“I left like I got my way/But truly I left with nothing at all,” she nonchalantly howls on “Hollow Bedroom”, the evocative opening of her sophomore effort “Cerulean Salt”, as Waxahatchee.

Crutchfield hails from Birmingham, Ala. originally, apparent through her irresistible southern drawl, but you get the sense she’s from a little bit of everywhere. The 25-year-old has spent the last decade fronting numerous bands (The Ackleys, P.S. Eliot, Bad Banana), touring the country (and world) Coast to Coast, and in the midst has established herself as a prolific songwriter in the DIY circuit.

“Cerulean Salt” has proved to be Crutchfield’s official coming out. The record, released in March 2013, has since garnered overwhelming critical acclaim, finding itself on countless “Best of 2013” lists.

Blurred teenage memories, clumsy hookups and toxic relationships are all fodder for Crutchfield.

On the poignant “Lively”, Crutchfield tackles the ugliness of drug abuse. We find her in a dimly lit hospital room by the side of her overdosed lover. The song features one of the most haunting moments on the record.

“I had a dream last night/We had hit separate bottoms/You yell right in my face/And I’ll poison myself numb,” she cries out, longing for the simplicity of youth.

Crutchfield’s imagery is vivid, recalling dark winter mornings, unexplained blood stains on the backseat and hazy childhood memories spent at the river (er, Waxahatchee creek).

Crutchfield’s collection of songs is timeless and seems to resonate more with each passing listen.

She finds beauty in the bruises and wisdom in her wounds.

“You hold on to the past/You make yourself miserable/And I’m ruled by the seasons/And a sadness that’s inexplicable,” she confesses on “Swan Dive”.

 

Below is an e-mail interview I did with Katie.

-When did your interest in making music start? What was it like growing up in the Alabama music scene?
I GUESS I STARTED WANTING TO MAKE MUSIC WHEN I WAS ABOUT 14. THE ALABAMA MUSIC SCENE AT THAT TIME WAS MAGICAL. THERE WAS A DIY ALL AGES SPACE THERE CALLED CAVE9 AND A TON OF REALLY ENTHUSIASTIC KIDS MY AGE. IT WAS REALLY COOL.

-I’ve read that you basically wrote and recorded your entire first album over the course of a weekend. If you don’t mind, explain that experience. Is your song writing/recording process typically a quick, cathartic kind of process?

IT WAS A WEEK. IT HAD SNOWED A LOT WHICH ALABAMA IS NOT REALLY EQUIPPED FOR SO I JUST STAYED IN AND WROTE SONGS.

-How did the process of writing and recording for Cerulean Salt differ?

THE PROCESS FOR CERULEAN WAS SIMILAR BUT THE SUBJECT MATTER AND RECORDING PROCESS WERE DIFFERENT

-American Weekend and Cerulean Salt are similar in the fact that they evoke raw emotion and are often unflinchingly personal. However, your latest release seems to focus less on relationships and more on nostalgia. Can you talk about what inspired you for Cerulean Salt lyrically?

I WANTED TO BRANCH OUT AND STOP WRITING ABOUT THE BRAND OF HEARTBREAK I HAD BEEN WRITING ABOUT FOR YEARS. I THINK LAMENTING YOUR LOST ADOLESCENCE EVOKED SIMILAR FEELINGS FOR ME

-Cat Power, Rilo Kiley, Liz Phair (especially early girlysound tapes) are artists that I have heard you compared to. Do you feel a connection to these artists and just the aesthetic of 90’s grunge?

I FIND THE 90s COMPARISON A LITTLE GRATUITOUS. 90s NOSTALGIA IS ALMOST GENERIC AT THIS POINT. I LOVE A LOT OF MUSIC FROM THAT ERA BUT I FEEL LIKE THAT REALLY STICKS ME INTO A CORNER I DON’T WANT TO BE IN. THAT SAID, I DO REALLY LIKE ALL THE MUSIC YOU NAMED. RILO KILEY WAS CRUCIAL TO MY EARLY SONGWRITING. THAT WAS EARLY 2000s THOUGH

-Being from the south, do you feel any connection or inspiration from country music? (i.e. Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Lucinda Williams)

THATS THE MUSIC I GREW UP ON. I FEEL LIKE LORETTA LYNN HAS ALWAYS SEEMED LIKE SOME SORT OF GODDESS TO ME, EVEN AS A

CHILD. I LOVE THAT ERA OF COUNTRY. SO MANY GOOD SINGERS AND SONGWRITERS

-What song(s) are you most proud of? ‘Dixie Cups and Jars’ particularly resonated with me, especially since I recently attended the wedding of an old childhood friend.

THATS ACTUALLY THE ONE IM MOST PROUD OF ON THIS RECORD

-You were in P.S. Eliot with you sister for several years and gained a pretty loyal fanbase. What was the transition to being a basically individual project? Do you have any future plans to collaborate with her?

I WROTE EVERYTHING IN PS ELIOT SO THE TRANSITION WAS PRETTY SEAMLESS. WE’RE REALLY CLOSE AND OUR LIVES ARE INTERTWINED IN BASICALLY EVERY OTHER FACET. NO PLANS TO COLLABORATE

 

 

Buffalo Rodeo: Chasing a Dream

Buffalo Rodeo: Chasing a Dream

Profile I did on Bowling Green band Buffalo Rodeo.

Morning Teleportation “People on My Floor”

Morning Teleportation is one of my favorite bands to come out of Bowling Green. They released a new track “People on My Floor” about a month or so ago. Sonically and lyrically Morning Teleportation delivers once again on this track. The band is currently on tour. Check out the song and tour dates on the link listed below. 

http://morningteleportation.bandcamp.com/track/people-on-my-floor

 

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I’ve been horrible at updating this blog (which I had very lofty intentions for). To be fair, I’ve been tied up working for student publications at WKU and have been doing an internship with the Beech Tree News in Morgantown, Kentucky since May.

The blog originally had a scope of focusing on primarily music that comes out of Bowling Green, Ky and the surrounding area. However, I’m going to broaden my horizons and include music anywhere that tickles my fancy. Trust, there will still be plenty posts focusing on the blossoming Bowling Green music scene.

The last show I attended was Best Coast’s gig 5/29 at Exit/In in Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve been anxiously anticipating a Nashville show from Best Coast for years. Their 2010 album Crazy For You was a sunny, vintage-ode to beachy California pop and forlorn emotions any hormonal teenager (or 30 yr old for that matter) could identify with. It was a soundtrack to multiple lonesome summers of weed smoking and angsty self-exploration for myself. It’s one of those albums that will forever be in my 6-disc CD changer.

The Lovely Bad Things, a band I had come across a few months before (especially love their tune “I Want You to Go Away”, link for the video is below.) opened. An act entitled Bully played for them prior. I hadn’t heard of them previously but really enjoyed their sound and lead singer Alicia Bonganno.  Each band on the billing hailed from California and each had a hazy, angsty vibe I so often pine to hear from Best Coast.

Both opening acts put on excellent sets, though the heavy collection of instagram-snapping, vine-taking teenagers were not as involved as they ought. However, once Consentino hit the stage the crowd became much more lively. Several failed crowd-surfing attempts ensued (a Best Coast show wouldn’t be the show I would assume such behavior would occur) but Consentino’s stage presence and sense of humor (multiple finger-banging joke references) kept the show rolling and entertaining. Consentino opened with much of her material that got her buzzed on the national scene three summers ago and eased into newer material. Overall a great show and was happy to live out my hope of seeing the California duo again (saw them at Bonnaroo in ’11..those I was in a bit of a haze..) Consentino did manage to forgot a few lyrics to her most recognizable tune “Boyfriend”, but that was likely due to the round of jager bombs prior to her encore. The band is working on new music set to be released this year.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtQGp4NwKuA

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Best Coast and Company Bring Beachy Vibes Down South

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I’ve been crushing on the Alabama Shakes for a while now. I’ve been a fan since I listened to their 1970’s southern rock revival “Hold On”. Lead singer Brittany Howard has a remarkable voice, reminiscent of a soulful blend of Janis Joplin and Otis Redding. Their sound is much different than many other alternative acts, and I respect their adoration of classic rock and soul influences from decades past.

The band was apart of Nashville’s annual Live on the Green series September 27. Nashville’s Public Square Park was packed for the band from Athens, Alabama. Howard’s strong stage presence was felt immediately, as fans in the audience swayed back and forth, intoxicated by the band’s exuberant southern charm and overall good vibe.

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Alabama Shakes’ Howard Even More Impressive Live

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