Monday, June 25, 2012

The English Beat's Dave Wakeling on the band's new box set

Dave Wakeling and the English Beat are back.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 10:53 AM

  • Jackie Butler
Dave Wakeling, frontman for the long-running 2-Tone ska act the English Beat, is not a man who's afraid of the past. He reunited the Beat in 2003, and the group's been making summer tours of the United States a regular deal for the past few years. That revived interest in the band has led to the forthcoming release of The Complete Beat by Shout Factory. The five-disc box set features all three of the band's original albums, B-sides, live performances, and dub versions. It's astoundingly good, and the English Beat is at Knuckleheads tonight, touring in support of it. Wakeling spoke with The Pitch by phone about The Complete Beat, touring, and going back to those old songs.

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  • Dave Wakeling and the English Beat are back.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Artist Jim Mahfood on Los Angeles Ink Stains and his start in Kansas City

Posted By on Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Artist Jim Mahfood began his career in Kansas City. While the St. Louis native attended the Kansas City Art Institute, his work for zines like Flavorpak, as well as his own self-released comics Cosmic Toast and Girl Scouts (to say nothing of his illustrations for The Pitch) made him a respected name around the area. After graduation, Mahfood found work doing Clerks comics for Kevin Smith, as well as the well-regarded Generation X Underground Special for Marvel. Then Mahfood went underground, developing his style with a series of self-released comics and drawing the attention of Colt .45, which commissioned him for a national campaign. All the while working for "the Man," Mahfood created fan-friendly freebies like the Beat Bee Sessions podcast, devoted to sharing music and stories alongside his cohort Jane Dope, as well as Los Angeles Ink Stains, an autobiographical comic about Mahfood's work as an artist and adventures at parties. Those strips are now collected in a new book, due out later this month from Image Comics. We recently checked in with Mahfood via e-mail about his career and the new book.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Q&A: Eric Earley of Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper takes the stage at the Riot Room tonight.

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Eric Earley is now into his 12th year leading Blitzen Trapper. The band spent the first half of its life mired in Portland's local indie-music ghetto. Struggling with his father's death and his own indifference, Earley wound up homeless for a while before pouring his energy into late-night recordings in the band's practice space. Those sessions produced Blitzen Trapper's critically acclaimed third album, 2007's Wild Mountain Nation and its Sub Pop debut, Furr, which were recorded concurrently. They were followed with 2010's Destroyer of the Void and last year's American Goldwing, which blends a '70s classic-rock mien with Earley's rootsy swagger, and lyrics that express longing for another time or place, or just somewhere to call home. The Pitch recently caught up with Earley in Portland, where he was preparing to leave on tour. (The Kansas City stop is Thursday, May 31, at the Riot Room.)

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  • Blitzen Trapper takes the stage at the Riot Room tonight.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast on California, influences, and Drew Barrymore

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 8:16 AM

It wasn't too long ago that Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast was a normal 22-year-old woman living in California, sorting through the emotional ups and downs of everyday life. The singer-songwriter/guitarist has since joined forces with multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno and started banging out 1960s surf-rock-influenced numbers as Best Coast. With its simple lyrics revolving around Cosentino's personal relationship experiences and the dreamy pop aesthetic provided by the duo, the Best Coast debut album was an ideal soundtrack to an endless summer. The Pitch caught up with Cosentino amidst Best Coast's nationwide tour in support of its sophomore effort, The Only Place, to talk musical influences, California, and Drew Barrymore.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Erika Wennerstrom on Austin, influences, and Heartless Bastards' latest, Arrow

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Erika Wennerstrom is the backbone, heart and creator of blues-garage act Heartless Bastards, and her vocals have a fierce, feminine grit uncommon in modern-day frontwomen. She started writing songs on the piano at the age of 13 and learned how to play the guitar by writing original material. Wennerstrom and the band have been through some flux and turmoil over the years, but the Austin, Texas, group's most recent album, Arrow, is filled with dusty, Americana rock that plays cool and confident. We recently spoke with Wennerstrom and asked her what sparked her love for songwriting and what inspired Arrow's lyrics. The band is at the Granada in Lawrence this coming Tuesday, May 29.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Luke Top of Fool's Gold on global music and recording Leave No Trace; show tonight at Riot Room

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 6:05 AM

Fool's Gold is back on the road, touring in support of the band's August 2011 release, Leave No Trace. Since the L.A. band's first album, the two core members (Lewis Pesakov and Luke Top) have trimmed the band down to a five-piece. We recently chatted with Top via e-mail and found out how the band's recent supporting tour went, what global influences inspire its music, and what they've got planned for the future.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Joey Balls of Old Man Markley on the intersection of punk and folk

Old Man Markley takes the stage at the Bottleneck tonight.

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2012 at 7:19 AM

  • Fred Morledge
Fat Wreck Chords' Old Man Markley falls in line with a long tradition of folk-punk artists, going all the way back to the Pogues. The band's sound - lots of fiddle, banjo and washtub bass - is a fun time, communing as it does the energy of a punk show with the chops of a well-oiled bluegrass band (unsurprisingly, really, given that the band counts members of Youth Brigade and other SoCal punk acts among its ranks). The band plays the Bottleneck this Tuesday, May 22, with Street Dogs, the Aggrolites, and local pop punks the Rackatees. We chatted with OMM's upright washtub bass player Joey Balls about the band's influences and live show.

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  • Old Man Markley takes the stage at the Bottleneck tonight.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Jane Siberry on k.d. lang, life on the road, and HuffPo

Singer-songwriter Jane Siberry opens for k.d. lang at the Lied Center.

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2012 at 8:25 AM

Singer-songwriter Jane Siberry is probably best-known for "It Can't Rain All of the Time," her contribution to The Crow soundtrack. But the Canadian musician's string of hits goes all the way back to 1984's "Mimi on the Beach." Siberry's music is at times folky, arty or spiritual, but always intriguing. She's opening for k.d. lang this Sunday, May 20, at the Lied Center, and was kind enough to spend part of her Tuesday afternoon speaking with us by phone about the current tour with lang and being inspired on the road.

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  • Singer-songwriter Jane Siberry opens for k.d. lang at the Lied Center.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Deer Tick's John McCauley on Occupy, true crime, and recording with Steve Berlin

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2012 at 9:32 AM

Stumbling in the footsteps of legendary booze-hound acts like the Replacements and Guided By Voices, Providence quintet Deer Tick professes its love for alcohol pretty much every chance it gets. But judging from Deer Tick's work - most recently, the 2011 full-length Divine Providence and the new EP Tim, which contains leftover songs from the same sessions - the social aspect of drinking matters to the band as much as the buzz. Deer Tick's rollicking live show arguably does for the bar, pub and tavern what gospel music has done for the church. Bandleader John McCauley spoke to The Pitch by phone while on a van ride with his compatriots in late April, just as their 2012 presidential campaign-themed road trip was getting under way. Local residents can expect the band to arrive at the Granada in Lawrence tonight, May 15, with a supply of Deer Tick 2012 yard signs in tow. As if to underscore the profundity of his band's message to the people, McCauley opened our discussion by urinating into a water bottle.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Joe Pug on touring, giving music away, and becoming an adult

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2012 at 8:19 AM

  • Todd Roeth
In April, we highlighted Joe Pug's Daytrotter session, and mentioned how the singer-songwriter broke into the music scene by giving away his tunes to people at his shows. We recently spoke to Pug and asked him about that free music model, how he approaches songwriting, and what inspired him to write the content on his new album, the Great Despiser.

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