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Interview: NO on Echo Park, Inspiration and a New Album

April 7th, 2014
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The six piece band from Los Angeles formed at a local diner, where vocalist Bradley Hanon Carter and bassist Sean Danielle Stentz first met through mutual friends. The band’s debut full length El Prado was one of the most anticipated albums of 2014. The recognition comes as little surprise as the band has been buzzing since their 2011 EP release of Don’t Worry, You’ll Be Here Forever. The band quickly became local favorites and on everyone’s list of bands to look out for. The success continued into 2012, where the band toured along side Best Coast, Father John Misty, Smashing Pumpkins and The Naked and Famous. Their debut mixes heartbreak and optimism and continues to receive the highest of praises.

mxdwn had the chance to speak with bassist Sean Daniel Stentz about El Prado, Echo Park, and their upcoming tour with Yann Tierson. Read more…

By Vanessa Hernandez Posted in Features

Interview: Juliette Commagere on Musical Family Ties, Raucous Crowds and Tour Joys and Tribulations

March 31st, 2014
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Los Angeles concertgoers are frequently spoiled by amazing line-ups. Recently at The Echo, I caught a vision of neon light, LA native Juliette Commagere, who rocked out royally on keyboard and whose performance, supported by her legendary father-in-law Ry Cooder, lingered with me. Running home, I eagerly explored this former Hello Stranger lead singer’s discography, highlighted by her latest offering, Human.

Mxdwn spoke with Juliette recently, in the middle of rehearsal for a show she’ll perform on top of a Mexican pyramid with Maynard James Keegan’s (of Tool and A Perfect Circle) Puscifer. We had lots to chat about and touched upon topics which yielded some warm and revealing stories. Visit Juliette’s site and watch for a new EP coming out soon.
Juliette Commagere shot for mxdwn by Sharon Alagna
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By Carlita Howard Posted in Features , ,

Interview: The Belle Brigade on Childhood Memories, Music Surprises and Embarrassing Moments

March 25th, 2014
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LA based brother/sister pair The Belle Brigade (Barbara and Ethan Gruska) return this week with their anticipated sophomore release, Just Because. Growing up with a musical composer father and grandfather, the duo followed a clear path into music. But they blaze a new trail, with songs that blend delightful modern harmonies with ’70s and ’80s sensibilities. Receiving acclaim for their self-titled debut, their second album, led by its strong single “Ashes,” naturally reflects personal progression and further establishes their dual identities. Offering fans a preview of the album on YouTube prior to its release, it seems that their fans would agree.

mxdwn visited Barbara and Ethan during their LA residency (they are great live) recently to chat about their musical childhoods, the new album, RuPaul, shakuhachi music and food poisoning embarrassing stage moments. Visit The Belle Brigade’s site for more album info!
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By Carlita Howard Posted in Features

Interview with Bert McCracken of The Used on A New Record, Michael Jackson and That Guy in the Sky

March 20th, 2014
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After watching them crank out albums every few years, it has been no secret that The Used had a propensity to consistently create groundbreaking music. They gave us a taste of their new record with their latest single “Cry,” in January. It received over 700,000 plays within less than a week of its release. This was only a hint of the reckoning that new Used material would bring. So far, their impending tour sold out 18 dates, and they have not stopped there. Indeed, they had already made it a success. “You can inspire people because you took a chance and succeeded. You never know until you try.” These immortal words came from The Used’s lead singer Bert McCracken. The day before they set out on a co-headlining tour with Taking Back Sunday, we sat down with McCracken at SXSW to talk philosophy, life’s mysteries, and to get a feel for the new album Imaginary Enemy, out April 1st.

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By Rachel Zimmerman Posted in Features , , , ,

Can’t Kill Us: The Glitch Mob

March 4th, 2014
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The February release of The Glitch Mob’s new album, Can’t Kill Us, is described by edIT (one if the group’s members, born Edward Ma) as having a more “grandiose and epic overall story and picture” than their previous albums. It was written seamlessly on Albeton in a way that would capture the same storytelling aspect of Drink the Sea, but make it more adaptable to large stage settings reminiscent of the groups’ first experiences of the electronic music scenes of their hometowns.
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By Cristina Pimentel Posted in Features

Interview: Brian Betancourt from Hospitality on New Sounds, Group Dynamics and Stage Heroics

February 22nd, 2014
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When Brooklyn based trio Hospitality released their second album Trouble at the end of January, critics and fans alike appreciated and embraced the growth and maturity reflected. The album explored pop, folk and electro, blending contrasting musical styles. Causing “trouble” for those who wanted to draw the previous “sweet” and “cute” box comparisons, Hospitality noticeably redefined these lines and removed any imposed boundaries. Eager to connect with Brian Betancourt from the group to ask about a myriad of topics including the new sonic direction heard on their sophomore effort and random embarrassing moments, mxdwn chatted with Betancourt as he prepared to embark on their latest tour, which will hit U.S. and European cities over the next few months.

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By Carlita Howard Posted in Features

Interview: Jake Burns of Stiff Little Fingers on Songwriting, Bernie Madoff and Audience Faith

February 20th, 2014
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It’s been ten years since Irish punk legends Stiff Little Fingers have released a record, but in March the wait will finally be over. With the return of their original bass player and a Pledge Music drive to fund the record, this release can be seen as a return to form for the band, but their sound has undoubtedly matured. On the brink of a substantial tour, lead singer (and the only member who has stayed with the band since the beginning) Jake Burns took some time to speak with mxdwn about his feelings on the new record and state of the Stiff Little Fingers today. Read more…

By Laura Ansill Posted in Features

Interview: Cathy Lucas of Fanfarlo Talks About a New Album, Sigur Rós and Virtual Time Machines

February 12th, 2014
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Only Fanfarlo can make the proposition of going extinct sound so appealing! In their new album Let’s Go Extinct (out February 10th in the US), Simon Balthazar, Cathy Lucas, Leon Beckenham, Justin Finch and Valentina Magaletti provide a refreshingly intellectual exploration of the perplexities of human thought within a vast universe. Fanfarlo’s extremely talented violin/keys/mandolin player and singer, Cathy Lucas, took the time to talk to mxdwn about the inspirations behind their music, their friend Inga Birgisdóttir and the role that not driving had on their new album.
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By Cristina Pimentel Posted in Features

Interview: Neil Davidge on Slo Light, The West Wing and the Magic of Music

January 30th, 2014
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Award winning record producer, songwriter, musician and scorer, Neil Davidge, goes “solo” on his new album, Slo Light, to be released on February 25th. With collaborations with some of the most talented up-and-coming artists, including Stephonik Youth, Karima Francis and Cate le Bon, the album offers a fantastic track list that’s sure to blow you away. mxdwn had the pleasure to take a first listen to the new album and chat with the wonderful Neil about his inspirations, the magic of music and the honor of having a song featured on the West Wing.
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By Cristina Pimentel Posted in Features , , , , , , ,

Interview: JG Thirlwell on Pangea Projects, Chamber Compositions and Metal Remixes

January 27th, 2014
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It’s not every day one comes across as fascinating a genre-bending alias-filled composer, producer and artist as JG Thirlwell. You’d be hard-pressed to find another who’s expertly delved into post-punk, chamber, opera, jazz and experimental sounds, exploring mythological and anarchistic themes in the same collective body of work. Foetus, Steroid Maximus, Manorexia, metal remixer, voiceover artist, film and quartet composer, Cartoon Network series scorer- yeah, it’s all unbelievably the same dude. When considering someone this multifaceted, the word “mastermind” inevitably enters the unboxed picture.

Read below as we chatted with JG recently about his latest projects, how he approaches creative blocks, weird things said as a voiceover artist and more! Visit J.G’s site for more project info! Read more…

By Carlita Howard Posted in Features , , , , , ,