A Q&A with Hen’s Alex Kandel

 

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Former Sleeper Agent songstress Alex Kandel brings new project, Hen, to Bowling Green Aug. 5 at Tidballs. Nashville band Moseley and local act Dan Luke and The Raid will also perform.

Check out a Q&A with Kandel below. Kandel discusses her path since Sleeper Agent parted ways (including a stint on NBC’S “The Voice”) and finding her voice in country music’s capital.

When did Hen form?

Hen formed a few months ago when Brian Zaremba and I decided to take all the songs I had stored away since Sleeper Agent ended and make something of them.

How have your experiences post-Sleeper Agent influenced you as an artist?

I think Sleeper Agent ending forced me to grow as an artist. Tony was primarily the writer in Sleeper Agent, so from the age of 16 on I always had him around. I was suddenly alone in an apartment in Louisville with no upcoming tours, no interviews, no internet. So I started writing. ‘The Voice’ was a weird detour on my road to discovering my voice away from Sleeper Agent. It was a strange, surreal experience that more than anything made me realize a lot of things I didn’t want as an artist, and that I wasn’t emotionally ready to just jump into some sort of solo career.

Can you describe Hen’s sound and what you are aiming for lyrically?

It’s always difficult to talk about your own sound, but I think it’s hooky. I think writing my own music has really given me the chance to push my vocals. Lyrically, I’ve been writing a lot about sexuality and a particular break up that left me in Nashville broke and starting all over again. But more than anything I want my lyrics to express my version of femininity.

Would you say you are drawing from different influences for this project?

I think Brian brings a whole new set of influences and and instincts that it would be crazy for me to worry that Hen is too similar to Sleeper Agent. But at the same time of course the influences I have as a vocalist are tied to me, not just Sleeper Agent.

What kind of energy can fans expect from the live show?

It’s still me so there is a lot of hair moving around. There will always be sweating and dancing.

Can we expect a proper release from Hen in 2016?

I have no idea. We’ve been recording at a proper studio, and have some ducks beginning to get into rows, but no definite timeline. I’ll probably put out a video for a song or two soon.

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Q&A with Positrak’s Ryan Gilbert

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Positrak is a newly hatched rock and roll act from Bowling Green, the brainchild of Buffalo Rodeo drummer Ryan Gilbert. The band will play tonight at Rocky’s Bar in Bowling Green.

Check out a Q&A with Gilbert below. He dishes on how the The Ramones changed his life forever, embracing positivity and evolving as a musician.

Talk about influences you draw from for Positrak? How would you describe the band’s sound and live show? How many shows have y’all played at this point? 

The Ramones Mania tape changed my life. I would get a coffee from Spencer’s and listen to the tape and it would always cheer me up no matter what mood I was in. I would change the sad words to be happy ones and sing them really loud. A lot of my favorite bands sing depressing music like The Ramones or most of my favorite contemporary musicians, so I wanted to write music that was still sometimes mean sounding as far as the notes but was always positive. I couldn’t sing a sad song every night if I was lucky enough to sing these songs every night. Our sound is rock’n’roll. I know that’s kinda vague, but we are trying to highlight going as hard as we can with music and energy and doing whatever it takes to entertain. The main goal is to entertain. We are heavy sounding but try to also sound happy and thought-provoking. We mostly try to have the greatest times of our life while being lucky enough to have the chance to make others happy. I have thousands of influences, but in Positrak I think at times we sound like The Ramones, Sabbath or Nirvana at our best, but with simple songwriting. The show tomorrow will be our third.

Is Positrak just a side project to fill the creative gaps between Buffalo Rodeo’s endeavors? Or is that an unfair assessment? 

I’ve learned everything I know about music from two things: my family and Buffalo Rodeo. So they have everything to do with the music and aIso any aspect of my life. They taught me a lot. Buffalo Rodeo will always be a huge influence. They are my family and push me to grow as a musician and a person. They also push me to like different types of music that I have fallen in love with. If it wasn’t for my friends getting into certain types of music I wouldn’t given the music a second look. Because I knew my friends were into it I thought it was cool or it grew on me. That being said, Buffalo Rodeo has everything to do with Positrak. It’s what pushed me to do music in the first place. The music doesn’t play by the same rules though. I am a very elementary guitar player who writes simple songs, while still trying to create a hook. Buffalo Rodeo is much more skilled at their art. They support me in every way. They are my family just like my mom and dad and sister and girlfriend, Sam. Because of my friends in Buffalo Rodeo and my mom and dad I found out how much fun making music with friends can be. I’ll never not do that. Creating music on the drum set is different the writing it on guitar. On the drums I am trained to support the piece of music as best as possible. It’s like if you were a car painter. You don’t build the car you only paint it. I love it. With Positrak I build the car then have others paint it or trick it out as much as possible. In Buffalo Rodeo I’m lucky enough to play with extremely talented artists who I have learned a lot from and who push me to always be evolving as a musician and as a human–and for that I will never be tired of or ungrateful for.

What are you aiming for with this project? Positivity seems to be a key component. 

With this project I am working really, really hard to make others happy and to have the greatest time of my life also. Go as hard as I can to entertain as many people as I possibly can with the people I love. To have the greatest time of my life with my best friends. I wanna make everyone fell welcomed and have no stress, only have fun. Never force anything and have an amazing time.

How much material do you have for Positrak? Is there any material online? 

I’ve been writing songs for Positrak for about a year now which is hard to believe. I probably have 15 songs. Plus more that are not done. Me and Tyler Cook are working on a song to release about my girlfriend Sam. I can’t wait he’s an amazing dude. I have some material recorded on a Tascam recorder at home. I’m learning a lot about how to record and as soon as possible will put some funny demos out.

Who all is in the band? 

In the band I’ve got Ricky Ortiz. He’s been like family to me since middle school so we wanted to start a band together. We started writing songs together about a year ago and he learned bass as I learned guitar a little better. Zach Preston plays lead guitar and drums some. He’s the dude singer in Buffalo. Tonight Nate Davis is playing organ which I’m super hyped about. He stays super busy with Buffalo Rodeo creating art so he plays with us when he can. It’ll be his first show with us. David Hall play drums and will end the set in guitar tomorrow. He’s another friend from high school and someone I’m super excited to have in my life.

Talk about the bands that are playing with Positrak tonight at Rocky’s? 

Tonight Shy Boys are playing. They are one of those bands that I don’t think come along very often. Buffalo Rodeo got to play with them on tour and they blew us away. Super composed, confident, cool rock and roll. They make rock and roll roll look very easy which I think is so tight. Fullbloods are a super sick rock and roll band that has some psychedelic and R&B influences. I haven’t gotten to see them live yet so I’m really pumped.

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Former Sleeper Agent frontman releases ‘War Paint’ from new solo project

“I feel we’re at war again, unholy war again,” Smith sings, with back-up vocals provided by Nashville musician Lauren Strange, over a beat that sounds like it could easily be on an unreleased Grimes song.
 Over the brooding 3:48 track, Smith recalls a turbulent friendship, lamenting the pangs of letting go of a once strong bond with wisdom.

“Now  only the ash of us remains / I wash my hands and walk away,” Smith confesses.

Check out a Q&A with Smith below.
Sonically, TEEM definitely seems to stray away from the sound that defined much of Sleeper Agent’s recordings, in the fact that it seems to be heavily influenced by electronic music. Can you talk about bands/artists you were influenced by for this project? 

Q&A with songwriter Zach Vinson

2015-Promo-Smaller-1024x575Nashville-based songwriter Zach Vinson plays Tidballs tonight with Thee Japanese School Girls.

After a four-year hiatus Vinson released most recent effort “How We Spend Our Days,” in 2015. Check out my q&a with Vinson below. He dishes on overcoming self-doubt, his songwriting progress and the eclectic influences he draws on.

How long have you been making music? 

I started playing piano when I was 8 (and mostly hated it) and guitar when I was about 14, which is when I joined my first band. I played with those guys until I was 19, which is when I started doing the solo thing (roughly 2006). I moved around a bit, ended up in Nashville in 2010, and have been there since.

 How would describe your songwriting process? Do lyrics come to you first sometimes? 

Writing is kind of a mysterious process that I don’t always understand. The Nashville way is to view it very much like a machine, and I see that there are some good aspects to that mindset, but that hasn’t really worked for me. The music often comes first for me, playing around until I land on an idea I like. I’ll usually start filling in some lyrics with an idea of what I think the concept for the song is going to be, and those lyrics usually end up getting scrapped by the time I finish. It’s hard to force a song to be about something that it’s not ready to be about. A lot of the times, I’ll finish (or nearly finish) a song, grow to dislike it more and more, ignore it for a while, then come back to it months or years later and re-work it into something I’m satisfied with.

 

Talk about your biggest influences? Any music you’ve discovered lately that has resonated or been inspiring? 

Probably the most obvious influence is Ben Folds, since there aren’t a whole lot of other male-fronted quirky piano rock bands. But there are a lot of other things hiding in the background: Ben Kweller, Nada Surf, Weezer, Over the Rhine, classical music, jazz, etc. As far as recent discoveries go, I’ve been listening to a good bit of Julien Baker, Noah Gundersen, and Courtney Barnett in recent weeks.

 I read that you took a four-year hiatus between releases. As a creative minded person I deal with a lot of self-doubt, was that a layer to wanting to take time off? What’s it been like to come back and continue to craft intriguing music after the hiatus? 

Self-doubt was part of the equation for sure. For a lot of years, I had the mentality of keeping my head down, working as hard as I could on music, and hoping I ended up in a good place. Then one day I lifted my head up, looked around, and realized I wasn’t sure what path I was on and if it was one I was even enjoying anymore. In this day and age, it’s not like the world “needs” me to keep playing music, you know? I still wrestle with that at times…am I adding to the conversation or adding to the noise?

So I took a few steps back and simplified things to the point of saying, “I want to make music today.” And so I would make music. and the days I didn’t feel like that, I didn’t make music. I really didn’t know if I would ever pursue it seriously again. Eventually the joy and wonder of creating music started to come back, and I made some healthy changes in the way I think about writing, performing, and being an artist.

 What can attendees expect from your live show? 

I’m traveling with a full band, so it’s a pretty high-energy rock show for the most part. If you threw Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, and Weezer together in a blender, it would probably come out in a weird puree that sounds something like this.

 This your first time playing Bowling Green? Are you familiar with the music scene here at all? 

This is indeed our first time in BG! I’ve tried to book shows here a few other times, but it hasn’t worked out. It’s so close to Nashville, that it’s a perfect place to start or end a run of shows, so I hope we can make it a regular stop in the future. I’ve heard a lot of great things about Tidball’s, but I’m not super familiar with the rest of the scene, so I’m excited to meet a few people and learn the ropes a bit.

 

BG Psych Fest will feature 10 bands, local artists

Local music and art with psychedelic influences will be celebrated during today’s first-ever Bowling Green Psych Festival. 10 local and regional bands will perform throughout the day.

The shows will take place at the FFOYA House, 1035 Kentucky St. and neighboring Astro Turf, 1039 Kentucky St., from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. Doors for the event will open at 2 p.m.

An art show featuring the works of more than a dozen artists will be on display. The event will also feature psychedelic face painting and a tie-dye booth.

The shows are all ages. Admission is a suggested $5 donation that will benefit the supporting bands.

Schedule of shows.

3:00 at Astro Turf – Positrak

3:45 at FFOYA House – YORK

4:30 at Astro Turf – The Medium

5:15 at FFOYA House – Feltod Mavous and the Joyful Sound

6:00 at Astro Turf – Ghost Effects

6:45 at FFOYA House – I’m an Island

7:30 at Astro Turf – Astronomy Club

8:15 at FFOYA House – Former Friends of Young Americans

9:00 at Astro Turf – Buffalo Rodeo

Review: Mitski delivers profound ‘Puberty 2’

When I stumbled across Mitski Miyawaki’s bandcamp page toward the end of 2014 I remember feeling like I had struck gold. On the brilliant “Bury Me At Makeout Creek,” her voice was resilient, though at times shaky, tinged with melancholy as she recalled lost love and the voids left behind once it crumbles. Her lyrics made me feel alive and less alone in the world.

“I want a love that falls as fast as a body from the balcony / And I want a kiss like my heart is hitting the ground,” she sings on “Townie,” a portrayal of the pangs of post-adolescent existentialism.   

Mistake released her fourth record “Puberty 2,” June 17.

Much like the heady, profoundly honest nature of her previous albums, Mitski’s fourth LP finds the songwriter coming to terms with imperfect love and the messy nature of existing.

Album opener “Happy,” opens with a jilting, yet intoxicating drum sample and displays Mitski’s uncanny skill at crafting narratives that display the complex nuances of emotional vulnerability. After a lover has his way with her and leaves without a trace, she’s left alone, again, to clean up cookie wrappers and empty cups of tea.

“If you’re going take the train so I can hear it rumble, one last rumble / And when you go, take this heart, I’ll make no more use of it when there’s no more you,” she sings, beckoning a masterfully placed saxophone interlude.

Mitski’s discography is rife with sad songs, but she isn’t wallowing. Her cutting observations on love and twenty-something growing pains are profound.

On “Fireworks,” she sings of compartmentalizing sadness, pain and anger–all the emotions that keep a young person alive.

“One morning this sadness will fossilize and I will forget how to cry,” she confesses.

On the track she acknowledges being an adult often means suppressing certain emotions to maintain a sense of normalcy and balance–that is until they come bubbling to the surface without warning.

“And then one warm summer night, I’ll hear fireworks outside / And I’ll listen to the memories as they cry, cry, cry,” she coos in the chorus of “Fireworks”.

Album closer “A Burning Hill,” finds Mitski coping with the weight of sadness and the fleeting nature of happiness. She’s choking back disappointment as she buttons up her white button-down, confronting another new day.

“I’ve been a forest fire,” she admits. Mitski closes the wistful track with wisdom.

“I’ll go to work and I’ll go to sleep and all of the littler things / I’ll love some littler things.”

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Blue Kentucky Girl: Kentucky bred country singer Waldon debuts lead single from ‘I’ve Got A Way’

The grit caked beneath an overworked coal miner’s fingernails. The simultaneous sinking hurt and rage of seeing a philandering lover with another woman beneath the neon lights on lower Broadway. The allure and escape of smoky honky-tonks where wannabe country stars and undiscovered legends sing their souls away over in the corner by the bar. The splitting headache that wakes you the morning after like an old friend. The plight of the impoverished scraping by on menial wages. Flawed, misunderstood folk fighting the urge forget their troubles momentarily by spending the bills on beer, liquor, pills—anything to get their minds away from where it’s supposed to be.

These are just a few of the portraits country singer Kelsey Waldon deftly captured on her stirring 2014 debut full-length record “The Goldmine.” Waldon’s unfeigned southern drawl and razor sharp lyrical style conjures the world-weariness that defined Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette’s most iconic recordings. Waldon calls Nashville home, but the Monkey’s Eyebrow, Ky. native draws from a well of inspiration that came the result of growing up in western Kentucky life.

The Kentuckian will release her sophomore album “I’ve Got A Way,” on Aug. 12. Waldon performed a batch of new songs that will appear on the record for NPR’s Nashville Sessions, which was released June 6.  “All by Myself,” the record’s lead single, is currently available on iTunes and Spotify. 

On slow-burning album closer “The Heartbreak,” Waldon swallows the bitter pill of lost love with the wisdom of an old soul.  “So I just wanted to thank you for the heartbreak and for the good times I know that were there / And everything I gave remains one and the same, one day we’ll all meet in the middle somewhere,” Waldon sings wistfully on the track.

An interview with the rising country singer will appear in Fringe Zine’s first issue.

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Buffalo Rodeo releases video for ‘Lana (Del Rey)’

Bowling Green’s indie psychedelic band Buffalo Rodeo released a new music video today for track “Lana (Del Rey)”.

You can view the music video here. It was premiered on The Wild Honey Pie, a music blog based in Brooklyn, Ny.

Buffalo Rodeo plays tomorrow at the Caledonia Lounge in Athens, Ga. 13315481_1110387422334053_3478962480184608679_n

A q&a with Boston’s Bat House, cosmic rock band makes stop in BG June 7

Cosmic rock band Bat House, who call Boston, Mass. home, will make a stop in Bowling Green June 7 at the FFOYA House as part of summer tour that will touch parts of the southeast and east coast.

The psychedelic quartet has been together for about two years now. Through two releases on Bandcamp, Bat House has developed a knack for crafting heavy, yet dreamy soundscapes. A proper LP will be due this summer.

BatHousePromo07Most recent release “Patterns” weaves through complex, alluring rhythmic structures. The effect is trance-like as the the track reaches the apex “Colorblind but I see the colors in my head,” Emmet Hayes, bassist and vocalist, sings.

http://bathouse.bandcamp.com/album/twist

 

Below is an interview with Bat House. They dish on the “vibrant and diverse” music scene they call home, nightmarish gigs and more.

 

Who comprises Bat House?

Emmet Hayes – Bass / Vocals

Ally Juleen – Guitar

Shane Blank – Guitar

Nicole Pompei – Drums

Where is the band located? Describe the music scene you are part of?

Boston. Boston’s music scene is vibrant and diverse musically. Similar to many other bands in the community, we originated in basements and underground rehearsal spaces. There are a lot of bands in Boston making incredible music. We’ve become great friends with musicians in our community and our biggest musical influences stem from our friends.

How would you describe the band’s sound in one sentence?

Taste the rainbow.

How long has the band been together?

About two years now.

Discuss major influences?

We take most of influence from non musical facets such as:

Miyazaki films. The elements. The rainbow. Have you tasted it yet? Clouds. Kilgore Trout. Ghouls. Nebula. Terrariums. Quasars.

First time playing in Bowling Green? What can attendees expect from the live show?

This is our first time in Bowling Green. Attendees can expect hair, skin, bones, 8 eyes, 40 fingers. 224 phalanges in total! Perhaps a song or two.

Most memorable experience playing with Bat House thus far?

We recently played a barcade in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. There were 5 shows booked for the same room! Normally, this would have been a nightmare. Luckily, we were with some of our best friends from Boston in a band called Sports. We had made some new friends from Minneapolis in a band called Falling. They were added to the show after meeting them in Akron the week prior.

We had about an hour to cram 4 bands sets in so the other events that night would have their ration of time. One of the events was a prom party of sorts, so there were a lot of people unaware of the impending ‘rock’ music.

Falling’s heavy dose of feedback booming throughout the hall cleared the unsuspecting spectators. The only people moving about were waiters carrying pizzas and people in prom garb, all traveling via a path directly in the band’s performance space from the patio to the bar. Things just got more absurd from there with Sports. set played at triple speed and members of Bat House flinging themselves about the floor.

Us three bands as a musical force collectively ripped the gig.

We capped the night with a three band date at Perkins.

Talk about the releases the band has put out thus far? Just recordings on bandcamp? Or more?

Our first EP ‘ghosts’ was written underneath Boston in a rehearsal space and recorded in our basement in Allston.

Our good friend Brandon Hafetz tackled one of our songs for a school project at Berklee. Brandon runs Fitz Ross Productions, a non-profit company from Boston that creates unique live videos for local bands and up and coming artists. He produced and mixed the single ‘Twist’ we have up on our bandcamp.

When we left for tour, we put out the single for our record, which is ‘Patterns’ as a revamped version. That (along with the record) was recorded partly at the Converse Rubber Tracks studio and partly in our Boston basement. It’s streaming over on the Deli Magazine!

Currently we’re working on our LP, which will be coming out later this summer. We’re in the final stages of mixing that.

Plans for releasing new music in 2016? What are the bands goals for the remainder of the year?

We’ll be releasing our self-titled LP later in the summer. Our plans for the remainder of the year including hitting the road again, writing new music, and searching for the Death Star blueprints.

Discuss the band’s name. Origin? Do you feel sonically that your band’s music matches with the title?

Shane’s from Florida and his grandparents lived in the keys. When he was a kid his grandpa used to take his family out to an abandoned tower that was built in the early 1900s to attract bats in hopes of cutting down the overbearing mosquito population in the Keys- but the house ended up being a total failure. The house remains in the middle of a large field off the highway.

The band name does particularly hint at what we might sound like. It’s more of just a name.

What musicians/ albums have you been struck by in 2016?

“…After the Fact” by Hit Home

“Blackstar” by David Bowie

“Rumours” by Fleetwood Mac

“Haha Sound” by Broadcast

rose hotel debuts dreamy, introspective EP ‘Flowers By The Window”

rose hotel, the side project of Buffalo Rodeo songstress Jordan Reynolds, released debut EP ‘Flowers By The Window” today.

Reynolds’ voice is tranquil, her poetic lyrics introspective and wise throughout the course of the four song EP.

“Follow Me,” the lead single from the EP is reminiscent of Buffalo Rodeo’s dreamy soundscapes, but features a confessional lyrical style.

 “Will I follow you when the tide comes through / All your dreams will come true, just nothing that you knew,” she coos over lilting jangle.

Moody EP closer “Mystery,” plays like a personal diary entry being sung out loud.

“I’ll go out alone and I’ll go out alone alive,” Reynolds sings confidently.

12729324_952928278133921_7270819363751072284_n.jpgThe track sounds like an outtake from Angel Olsen’s searing 2014 album “Burn Your Fire For No Witness.”

“These eyes ain’t yours anymore,” she repeats at the track’s climax, recalling Stevie Nicks.

‘Flowers By The Window” is available for download here: http://rosehotel.bandcamp.com

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