Wednesday, July 29, 2009

BOAT: "SETTING THE PACES" OUT 10/27 ON MAGIC MARKER--PLUS, THEY'RE ON TOUR!


Let me tell you a story. In 2004, I hadn't been working at Sub Pop or living in Seattle for more than half a year, and at that time juggled a mix of etcetera-esque jobs (some PR, administrating, handling ticketbuys, listening to demos, assisting the legal department and the GM, writing the column on the label's site) from my post at the front desk. The old S>P World HQ (not to be confused with the OLD old HQ, which was in the famous Terminal Sales building) was at street level on 2nd avenue in Belltown, a neighborhood on the edge of downtown Seattle by the water where you can find, among other things, expensive condos, piles of human poop near dumpsters, people shooting up their friends with heroin in the neck in phonebooths at noon, super good restaurants and nighttime stretch limo bachelorette parties.


The office looked, from the outside, like a storefront, and it was on some "Seattle Tours!" maps, so there were always uninvited visitors, most of whom were foreign Nirvana fans looking for an office tour or aggressive men demanding to speak to the head of A&R one minute, then politely/grossly asking me questions about what they should do to "make it" the next. (One time, a confused homeless man entered while I was in the bathroom, and the staff found him in the office kitchen with the microwave going. He had filled a bowl with water and Emergen-C from the cabinet and told staffers, "I am making soup.") Now, Sub Pop is on the third floor of a locked office building with a key code.

I am very glad, however, that for a time it was not. Why? In part because one day, three friendly dudes came in to hand me their demo, and one of them said, "Hello. My name is D. Crane, and we have a band called BOAT." I enjoyed the name BOAT, and liked the drawings on the CD case, and D. Crane and his friends seemed like folks you would want to go have a beer with at a miniature golf course or something. They had named one of their songs "Salutations, Joan Hiller" without knowing me, which was very neato and also clever, because I listened to the record immediately. IT WAS PERFECT WURLITZERY, HOOKY FUN, AND I LOVED IT, and they turned out to be the very first of the very few bands I tried to sign (sadly, unsuccessfully, although I did sign one comedian) during my time there.

Lo and behold, five years later, BOAT is on the amazing Magic Marker label right here in PDX....AND WE NOW GET TO WORK WITH THEM, AS OF THIS WEEK! I could not really be much happier about it. Their forthcoming effort, "Setting The Paces", comes out October 27th, and I would love...LOVE...to send it to you.

About BOAT, from the mouths of BOAT: "BOAT's current lineup is the epitome of sloppy/poppy three piece rock. It features J. Goodman playing maniacal drum fills/tasteful tambourines/shakers and bells/and keyboards/all this while shouting backup vocals and la las/M. McKenzie playing McCarteney-esque bass and guitar as well as having the most silky smooth backup vocals in all of music/ and D. Crane playing guitars and keyboards and shouting and singing lyrics about lanterns, rainbow shoelaces, his hatred of Chicago, and ninjas. The touring lineup of BOAT features Ian Bone of Sacramento, CA as the utility man."

Speaking of touring, BOAT is about to be on tour; we just got the dates, and would be psyched if you are into covering (contact Nathan At Riot Act Media Dot Com for show-specific coverage).

BOAT

08.06.09 - Bellingham, WA @ The Rogue Hero w/Lovelights, Ron Hexagon, and So Adult

08.07.09 - Seattle, WA @ The Sunset Tavern w/The Nightgowns, Ron Hexagon, and The Special Places

08.08.09 - Portland, OR @ The Backspace w/Ron Hexagon, (ALL AGES!)

08.09.09 - Redding, CA @ Sue's Java Cafe w/Ron Hexagon, Greener Pastures (ALL AGES!)

08.10.09 - Davis, CA @ Live on KDVS---acapella performance

08.11.09 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Biko Garage (ALL AGES!)

08.12.09 - Los Angeles @ Silver Factory Studios w/The Tartans, Land of Ill Earthquakes, and Peacock and Lebeau

08.13.09 - Palm Springs, CA @ J. Dee's Landing w/Peacock and Lebeau

08.14.09 - San Diego, CA @ Tin Can Alehouse w/Red Pony Clock, and Da Bears

08.15.09 - Sacramento, CA @ Luigi's Fun Garden w/Darling Chemicalia, and Ron Hexagon (ALL AGES!)

08.16.09 - San Francisco, CA @ The Hemlock Tavern w/Red Pony Clock, Half Handed Cloud, and ron Hexagon

TRACK LISTING:

1. 100 Calorie Man

2. We've Been Friends Since 1989

3. We Want It, We Want It

4. Tough Talkin' The Tulips

5. Prince of Tacoma

6. Name Tossers

7. Lately

8. Jeff Fell Dream #48

9. Interstate 5

10. God Save The Man Who Isn't All That Super

11. You're Muscular

12. Reverie

13. (do the) Magic Centipede

14. Calcium Commuter


Get in touch to start playing this on repeat. xo Joan


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

QUIETING SYRUP'S "SONGS ABOUT A SICK BOY" IS OUT TODAY! (LOVITT RECORDS)


Stephen Howard has, in recent years, cut his teeth as a team player, offering up his considerable talents playing bass with indie darlings Denali and Capitol Records' Ambulette, and baritone guitar as a member of the self-proclaimed slowest band in Chicago, Pinebender. With this, his first solo release, Howard steps out of the shadows with an effort that is as harrowing as it is beautiful. BLURT says:

"Beginning with the opening processional, "Passwords to a Fort Full of Pills," Howard chronicles in a dozen songs - usually at a narcotic-friendly pace - the cycle of injury/recovery/addiction that characterized his last dozen years (Howard says he wrote one song per year). On the aptly titled "Winter of Our Discontent," whose ringing guitars and rolling percussion sounds like a blend of East River Pipe and Pedro the Lion, Howard sings what must've amounted to a mission statement for much this era: "Drove my car right into the lake/to show that there are faster ways/to sink to the bottom/but I'd rather take my time." His hospital visits are evocatively adapted in tracks like "Night Nurse Calls" and "So This Is Dying," and elsewhere we hear Howard negotiating with his habits, as on "Goin' for the Gold" when he sings "Not giving in, just getting high, that's the way some of us get by.""

That's right---THE RECORD IS SUPER DEPRESSING. A total of twelve songs written over a period of 12 years, it focuses almost exclusively on his health battles and subsequent emotional fallout following the ebb-and-flow cycles of affection, addiction, and ailment. Howard's hopeful voice is one of defiance and faith. GET IN TOUCH, and I will get you a copy, and you will go, "Oh, damn...". CONGRATS, STEPHEN.

Monday, July 27, 2009

CAROLYN MARK: "LET'S JUST STAY HERE" OUT 10/13 ON MINT RECORDS, ALONG WITH HER NEW COOKBOOK, "THE TERRIBLE HOSTESS: RECIPES FOR DISASTER VOL. II"


As was mentioned last week, Mint Records(home to the New Pornographers, Andrew WK, Lou Barlow, The Handsome Family and more) chanteuse Carolyn Mark (who we now have the honor of working with, and who is burning down the great Canadian highway right now, probably on her way to a festival somewhere!) just put the finishing touches on her new full-length, "Let's Just Stay Here". It's out on October 13th, along with her second cookbook, "The Terrible Hostess: Recipes For Disaster, Vol. II".


Carolyn doesn't like to hog the spotlight, so on "Let's Just Stay Here", she teams up with Toronto's Juno-nominated N.Q. Arbuckle for six Carolyn-penned numbers, three N.Q. songs and and handful of covers. Neko Case (Carolyn's counterpart in her other band, a superduo called Corn Sisters), asserts to Exclaim! that "she's the finest hostess ever", which we wholeheartedly believe. We are asserting to you that this is "her most rock-centric record ever", which you may wholeheartedly believe once you ask us for a digital copy (or a physical one if you need it) and we send it to you.

A collection of slow burning torchlight country heartbreakers, roadhouse-style Johnny & June anthems & odes to the touring lifestyle, "Let's Just Stay Here" covers a lot of miles on the musical road map of touring excess. Carolyn and N.Q. Arbuckle set their minds on creating this rock record together after a summer of touring Southern Alberta--not like AC/DC rock, more like Lucinda Williams/Wilco/Tom Petty rock. Carolyn lovingly calls it her "Rumours". We think you'll love it too, and want to note that Carolyn is perhaps one of the most hilarious, vivacious women you'll ever interview--she'd love to chat about both her incredible new album AND her killer cookbook if you or any of your cohorts are down.


Get in touch! Hope you're having a good Monday.


Yrs in twang and tamales*,

Joan (joan ***at*** riot act media dot com)


*PS--I do not think there is actually a recipe for tamales in the cookbook; it just sounded nice.



www.carolynmark.com

www.myspace.com/carolynmark

www.mintrecs.com

www.twitter.com/mintrecords


Thursday, July 23, 2009

FINN RIGGINS FALL 2009 TOUR DATES!


Finn Riggins are total, total road warriors--they are not messing around in any way, shape or form. Their first batch of tour dates for Fall 2009 are in, and we're psyched to share 'em with you. More will be added soon, including some big, rad touring news that we can't quite divulge yet. In the meantime, get in touch with Nathan about tour press, and get in touch with me (Joan) about other coverage! Finn Riggins "vs. Wilderness" is out 10/13 on Tender Loving Empire. Feel it.

FINN RIGGINS FALL TOUR 2009

9/19 PORTLAND: MFNW @ East End --> Tender Loving Empire Showcase
9/25 LA GRANDE, OR: The Crawlspace w/ Church
9/26 BELLEVUE, ID: house show
9/30 MISSOULA, MT: The Badlander
10/1 SPOKANE, WA: The Empyrean
10/2 CLARKSTON, WA: Hogan’s w/ The Murrs
10/3 MOSCOW, ID: 1912 Center
10/6 BOISE, ID: Record Exchange
10/9 BOISE, ID: Visual Arts Collective CD RELEASE PARTY
10/10 PORTLAND, OR: Berbati’s Pan CD RELEASE PARTY w/ Jared Mees & the Grown Children + World's Greatest Ghosts
10/12 SALEM, OR: The Space
10/13 OLYMPIA, WA: House Show
10/16 BELLINGHAM, WA: Whaam
10/29 FLAGSTAFF, AZ: Monte Vista
10/30 TUCSON, AZ: The Hut w/ Evy
11/11 BOISE, ID: Neurolux
11/28 HAILEY, ID: The Mint

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

YAY, WE GET TO WORK WITH CAROLYN MARK AND THE RACE!



We here at Riot Act are beyond honored to announce that we'll be getting to keep you up to date on all the goings-ons of Mint Records chanteuse Carolyn Mark and the newest addition to the newest arm of the Jagjaguwar/Secretly Canadian/Dead Oceans/St. Ives family of labels, The Race!

Carolyn's new full-length, a collaboration with Toronto folk-rockers N.Q. Arbuckle, is called "Let's Just Stay Here", and it's out 10/13. That's not all, though--Carolyn's new cookbook, her follow-up to "Recipes For Disaster", just got back from the printers (yeah, there's kind of nothing she can't do).

The Race's new masterwork, "Exiles", is out 9/8 on St. Ives. If Chicagoan Craig Klein's experimentally conceptual songsmithing brilliance hasn't bleeped on yr radar yet, now is the time for it to.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

POCKET (WHOSE NEW SINGLE, "HEAR IN NOISEVILLE" FEAT. STEVE KILBEY OF THE CHURCH, COMES OUT TOMORROW, 7/21) TELLS IT LIKE IT IS TO EVIL MONITO!

Q&A: Richard Jankovich (Pocket)

Pocket

Frontman of electro-pop band Burnside Project, Richard Jankovich (aka Pocket) moved to Los Angeles after having lived in New York for a little over a decade. His current project is music-by-pocket, a compilation of remixes being digitally released, one song at a time. Remixes include songs by The Chameleons, Joanna Newsom, Cat Power and Radiohead, and they are just a few of many musicians on his checklist of collaborations and remixes. Richard recently dropped by at our studio in Echo Park and spoke with us about Los Angeles and the art of remixing.

EM: Tell us about your reasons for moving from New York to Los Angeles as a working musician.

I was in New York from ‘96 ’til 2007. I’ve always wanted to live in different places, and I love New York City, but it definitely was time for something new. I’m married as well so my wife and I actually moved to Portland, Oregon first, and we were there for a year and a half, and it just wasn’t the right fit. And then we came [to LA] and we’ve been here almost a year.

I’ve always wanted to move to L.A. since about 2006. I just think it’s a really interesting city. I think that particularly in the last five years—not that I’m a scholar by any means on L.A.—but I think really in the last five years the city has changed a lot. There’s a really healthy music scene here, there’s a really vibrant arts scene. It reminds me a lot of New York, when I moved there in ‘96. There’s a lot happening, and you can see that it’s going in one similar progression. L.A. is really becoming a real hub for culture in America. I think the music scene’s already surpassed New York’s in the last couple years, just in terms of the sheer volume of quality bands that are coming out of L.A. And I wanted to be able to afford rent. [laughs]

EM: How did you come up with the name “Pocket”?

That actually was sort of an accident. I had done that Joanna Newsom remix, and it was the first thing that I ever did that wasn’t Burnside Project. I was friends with Dave from Brooklyn Vegan, and he really wanted to post it and asked me what he should call it. Because [Newsom's] voice is so tiny, I just called it “My Pocket Mix,” meaning that it was small enough to fit in your pocket. When Dave ran the feature, he referred to me as “Pocket.” It started spreading through the Internet a little bit and I thought well, it’s good a name as any. To be honest, it doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning. It just sort of stuck.

EM: Your remixes and singles include a wide range of musicians from varying genres. How did you develop such an eclectic appreciation of music?

I didn’t get the music bug until high school. I grew up in a largely unmusical family, meaning music wasn’t that important to my family life, but I grew up playing the piano. But I didn’t feel a real kinship with music until high school. I was listening to the radio like everyone else, but I started hanging out with these kids who were listening to New Wave and punk. Literally, a lightbulb went off. I thought, oh, this is why people are so excited about music. Culturally, it was different and really spoke to me. I first discovered hardcore, punk music from the late eighties—I’m old if you haven’t figured that out yet. [laughs] The music at that time was Jesus and Mary Chain, New Order, The Cure, The Smiths, all those typical name-check bands. I also started getting into the techno/rave scene in the early nineties, like acid house. From then on, I started consuming music in massive quantities, from nineties indie rock to D&B to trip-hop, as well as glitch, IDM and all the various post-rock genres.

EM: Part of your project involves a long check-list of musicians, recent and past, that you aspire to work with. Tell us about your progress in this effort.

I contacted about half the people on the list, and while I didn’t work with all of them, I felt that since I made the effort to work with them—whether they could or couldn’t—it’s like they’re off the list, you know? [laughs] Some people were in for awhile, and they dropped out. But I’ve been able to have a lot of conversations with those people as well, which is very rewarding. I’ve worked with about 25 artists who I’ve been really interested in working with, but there’s still a lot more.

EM: How do you convince people to work with you?

That’s a really good question. My band Burnside Project achieved a few things. We weren’t a household name by any means, but our name was recognized in the music business, especially in the indie music business. But I was really surprised when those first couple of singers signed on to work with me. Once I had those first three people onboard, it was much easier to get the others on the list, because they look at who you’re working with and by affiliation you increase your respect.

The very first person was Mark Burgess of The Chameleons, who are fantastic. You know that band The Horrors, who are really big right now? They sound almost exactly like The Chameleons. Anyway, when he agreed to work with me, I was really surprised. The second person was Steve Kilbey of The Church, another eighties New Wave/psychedelic band from Australia. Once I had those couple of names, it was easier to go out to other people and the process would be pretty simple. I would generally create a few pieces that I thought would be appropriate and then would send them over, and they would pick one that they felt a good vibe with.

EM: What makes a good remix? How do you generally approach a song?

Even though remixing is definitely for the dancefloor, I look at it as creating a pop song. When I’m doing a remix, I’m very aware of how easy it is to do a really bad remix. For example, you just throw a boom boom boom underneath, and suddently it’s a dancefloor remix. I look at it more as a producer. I ask, what elements of the song do I like and want to keep? Then I try to recreate the song from scratch. Sometimes it’s not a dance song at all, like my Radiohead remix. I try to make the remix a better song than the original, not just a dance version of the original. A lot of times, I’ll put guitars, mandolin, tambourine, anything that I have lying around, in addition to your standard dance elements like synthesizers and drum machines.

EM: In the past, you spoke of plans to perform your music on-stage. Describe what you’re planning for future live sets.

It’s really challenging, because my catalog has a different singer on just about every song. If you look at the single and remixes I’ve been putting out this year, there’s not one consistent voice other than my music. So I’ve been brainstorming ways to make it a live experience, something between a D.J. and a band. Some of the ideas involve having dancers on stage, moving stage parts—almost something like a play. The music’s going to be all pre-recorded, of course. There’s just no way I could get around having Robyn Hitchcock sing one song and having Radiohead and Björk doing a duet on another. It’s just impossible. I’m looking at a lot of video art to bring the singers into the venue and have them represented but not necessarily physically there. I’m probably going to have a live drummer who’s going to pound through the whole thing. I’ve hooked up with an amazing video artist, or “digital stenographer” as she calls it. She’s done stage shows for Duran Duran and she’s a real pro. I’m really lucky to be able to work with her.

EM: Tell us about your more commercial work involving music and branding.

I consult with brands. This is basically how I pay the bills. I work with brands that are interested in using music in either their commercials or their retail spaces. I’ve done that for about ten years. I started work in advertising and representing catalogs, and now I consult. Some of the work I do right now is for ABC. My partner and I help them select music for their promos, like for Gray’s Anatomy and Lost. It’s really rewarding, and it keeps me in tune with music and feeds quite a bit of my creative side, because I have to listen to all the new music that comes out everyday.

EM: How have advertising and independent music intersected in the past decade?

I look back at ‘98 and ‘99, when Volvo used the Minutemen and Volkswagen licensed “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake. Those were big turning points. There have always been clever uses of music, but that really started a trend. Ten years later, brands at least think they want to use “indie” music. Some brands say they want that but they end up going the safe route. But a lot of bands are very interested in independent music. There’s been so much that’s happened in the last couple of years that’s interesting. For example, Bacardi signed Groove Armada. They actually signed a band, and they’re not even a label. When you look at the music industry and the declining revenues from consumer sales, there’s very little avenues for revenue except licensing. I’m sure you know about The Frey and how much ABC and Gray’s Anatomy were responsible for launching that band. I think a week after that song appeared on Gray’s in 2005, digital sales shot up by almost 300 percent.

EM: What do you think of music fans who take issue with their favorite bands being featured on commercials?

There’s always going to be the purists. In a way, there’s a part of me that’s a purist too, but at the same time, it’s just the evolution of the industry. In many ways, it reminds me of fine art, where it’s not necessarily driven by consumer purchases anymore. It’s driven by the patron model. I look at licensing similarly. I think that artists, somewhat begrudgingly, have gotten into these business relationships, because it’s hard to make money anywhere else for musicians, especially recording artists.

***
http://music-by-pocket.com/

http://www.myspace.com/pocketmix

Friday, July 17, 2009



SEATTLE, WA: As the undeniable cultural momentum of this age finds reminiscence rock bands from Blur and My Bloody Valentine to Creed and Third Eye Blind reuniting for triumphant and remunerative victory lap tours, Seattle's Harvey Danger is doing what it does best: the exact opposite of what logic and ambition demand.

From an announcement on the band's website:

After 15 years, three albums, hundreds of shows, and far more twists and turns than we ever imagined possible, we've decided to put Harvey Danger to rest. The decision is totally mutual and utterly amicable. Everyone is very proud of the work we've done together, but we've also come to feel that our collaboration has--in a very positive way--run its course. We're all eager to try our hands at other projects, musical and otherwise. Of course, putting an end to something we've been working on since our early 20s can't help being accompanied by a soupçon of melancholy. Nonetheless, as the Chambers Brothers remind us, time has come today. Rock bands have life spans, and Harvey Danger's has been longer and more eventful than even we would have predicted.

Best known as a one-hit wonder of late '90s provenance, though obsessively loved by a devout cult of listeners from below and above the indie rock radar, Harvey Danger has released three albums of literate, emotional pop-rock that range wildly in style and impact. The first two (including the one that was a hit in 1998) came out on major labels, and a third was released in 2005, according to what would later become known as the Radiohead model. Little By Little... eventually generated over 300,000 downloads (it's still available here for free), and was released physically by Kill Rock Stars in 2006. It was followed with the release of an EP on Barsuk Records.

Other highlights? Sharing stages with the likes of Death Cab for Cutie and Spoon (both of whom were chosen by HD to open tours before anyone knew who they were), Nada Surf, Ra Ra Riot, Robyn Hitchcock, Jon Brion, Grant Lee Buffalo, They Might Be Giants, and many thousands more. Participating in the Seattle edition of Brendan Canty's "Burn to Shine" DVD series. Having their song "Flagpole Sitta" being used as the theme song for the British TV sitcom "Peep Show," now in its sixth brilliant season. Oh, and playing on Letterman, being on MTV a lot back when it still pretended to play music, making a bunch of videos, having their song played at the seventh-inning stretch at the World Series, and stuff like that.

While it has been a good time--at least sometimes--it is now time to call it good. Everyone in Harvey Danger is very excited to have a last chance to play together in public, and to bring the band's energetic and assured live show to the cities that have felt the most like homes away from home for the band over the years. They hope you can make it.

HARVEY DANGER

08.07.09 - Boston, MA @ Harper's Ferry
08.08.09 - Brooklyn, NY @ The Bell House
08.15.09 - Chicago, IL @ Schuba's
08.22.09 - Los Angeles, CA @ Largo
08.28.09 - Seattle, WA @ Vera Project
08.29.09 - Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile

Get in touch with Nathan Quincy Walker (nathan@riotactmedia.com) to arrange previews, preview features, reviews or all other manner of show coverage.

Get in touch with Joan Hiller Depper (joan@riotactmedia.com) to cover Harvey Danger in non-tour press ways.

xo Riot Act

Friday, July 10, 2009


ALL SMILES' JIM FAIRCHILD HAS A GUEST BLOG ON UNDER THE RADAR! HE IS THE BEST EVER. CHECK OUT HIS NEW WEBSITE,AND DO PLEASE KINDLY GET IN TOUCH FOR INTERVIEWS, ETC.

Guest Blog – Jim Fairchild of All Smiles

Ex-Grandaddy Guitarist on the Challenges of Self-Releasing His New Album as All Smiles

Jul 08, 2009 By Jim Fairchild
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All Smiles is the current project of Jim Fairchild, who was once the guitarist with Grandaddy, has worked with Earlimart, and has recently played in Modest Mouse's touring band. In this guest blog, Fairchild talks about a recent dream he had and the joys and challenges of self-releasing All Smiles' new album, Oh For the Getting and Not Letting Go.

The other night in my dream, there were lazy people in leather vests and black denim armed with revolvers. They were trying to attack me as I silk-screened the jackets for the new All Smiles album in Danny Seim's basement.

They were threatening me, and their shit-talking (tossing???) started with them lobbing softballs at the criminal-proofing steel grating covering the windows of Danny's basement.

At first I was panicking, feeling escapeless and sensing that whatever I was doing, I had finally taken it too far; I had finally put myself in a spot where there were no options, and that the only possible outcome was death at either their hands or my own.

After a minute though, I calmed. I started imagining that there were options, and though they probably did not actually exist, somehow this energy seemed to be transmitting to my attackers, who incidentally were now reclining about in tall, graffiti-painted wheelbarrows (it's a dream!!!), occasionally brandishing their guns, but seeming to have no actual ability, much less intent to actually harm me. They looked like Modesto tweakers, but were too tired to climb palm trees in bare feet. Which I have actually seen a Modesto tweaker do. On New Year's Day.

Anyway.

So, they definitely weren't gonna go through with shooting me. Or breaking into the basement. If you're gonna come close to getting killed, I guess these are the people you want doing it. They scare you, make you sense your mortality and vulnerability, and then they run off. Just a big lesson left behind.

I have been hand screening each individual vinyl and CD sleeve for the new album Oh For the Getting and Not Letting Go by my band, All Smiles.

After flirting with mainstream success in my former band Grandaddy, and releasing one album as All Smiles a couple years back that most people didn't hear, I decided to go it alone. And goddamnit if this project is not simultaneously the most rewarding and daunting task imaginable.

We made the album in Omaha and Los Angeles in 2008. At the start of recording, we were on a label. Oh, we is me and Joe Plummer, Solon Bixler, Nik Freitas and Mike Cresswell. But yeah, we were on a label and then at some point during recording, the idea of being on that label didn't make sense any more. For us and for them. So we amicably parted ways.

We got done with the album and sent it out to buddies. And we met a couple more buddies. A couple of these folks made us offers to put the album out. But it seemed like what they were offering were services that with a little dough and a lot of effort, we could pull off on our own.

So we mastered it. We hired our friend to talk to press, ordered up some vinyl and CDs and started to formulate a plan. I say plan, but like the early days of Grandaddy, it's starting to look a lot more like a big action (the writing and recording), shadowed by a consequent action (making the physical and digital products and trying to let people know about them), trailed by a bunch of accidents which hopefully get linked to some more follow through motions and ultimately to people hearing what we've done.

Which is the most important thing. I'm very proud of it. I hear the record now, and not only do I still like it, but I like it more than I used to. It actually makes more sense to me now than it did when I was writing it.

My only hope is that if people listen to it, they give it a couple passes to let it sink in. It seems to work better that way. Whether people still take the time to do that remains to be seen. But I believe in it. That matters more than anything at this point.

The bands that I've been in (Grandaddy, Earlimart, occasionally Modest Mouse) were all on labels. Goddamn, when they function properly, labels do a lot. When they don't, it's much better to not be on one at all. From 1998 forward, Grandaddy was blessed with success and had lots of rad people doing lots of great shit for us. To the point that maybe I wasn't even sure what all was going on any more.

But I was on tour with Modest Mouse recently and had the insane opportunity to shake Ian McKaye's hand. And no shit, in that moment I decided that I had to go forward with putting out All Smiles music on my own for the time being. I was petrified to meet him. Like, he is it. There is so much perseverance and crap-free severity in him. Our music and worlds and aesthetic couldn't be further apart, but I feel a crazy kinship with what he has done. So with that and all the insanity surrounding nobody knowing just what the hell is up or down in the music biz, it makes more sense than ever to take control.

And the last few months have been exactly that. But man, there is so much to handle. So many parts to control. If you're gonna make all the sleeves by hand, you gotta buy a few screens. You have to know somebody cool and knowledgeable like Danny Seim who will burn those screens and loan you his jerry-rigged, but wonderful basement silkscreening setup. And there are actually no windows in his basement. So I haven't seen the sun very much as Portland turns from rain to summerthe two seasons here. There's work to be done!

From asking buddies for more favors, to multiple trips to the post office, to talking to so and so, to make sure such and such is getting checked off the list, to annoying loved ones because they're better at visual art and you need lots of help, to writing stores, saying "You wanna stock summa these shits???"I am never lost for something to do.

Every action leads to a sense of accomplishment now. And that is new. At least renewed. And it's vital and it's ultimately the reason why I even started doing this at all. It's always felt incredible to see something I worked on in a record store or to have someone write about it. I have never taken that for granted.

But all the machinations behind it I did take for granted to some degree, because I had not done so many of them for so longsome of them never.

The dream I suppose is real then. This is what I do. I make songs, I play music, I try to pay attention a lot and then pick up some instrument and float away and not pay attention at all. I love it. This has never been easy. There will be a million hurdles, large and small. And a million more mirages, most of which won't materialize.

I'm a little lucky and a lot fortunate, and the rest of the time, I'm just fighting off the intruders. The ones I make up and the ones that are real. Trying to make sense of all the mangled and twisted light and junk that makes its way in to my world. What a bright world it is.

www.allsmilesmusic.com



Wednesday, July 8, 2009


BE INTERNET BROS WITH "SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS" (DIRECTED BY MATT MCCORMICK, STARRING JAMES MERCER, CARRIE BROWNSTEIN, RENEE ROMAN NOSE AND DAVID WODEHOUSE, PRODUCED BY DAVID CRESS AND NEIL KOPP) TODAY!

EVERYTHING THAT OUR FRIENDS AT WILLAMETTE WEEK SAY IS TRUE! YOU, PROSPECTIVE FILMGOER, CAN (AND, WE THINK, SHOULD) BEFRIEND THE MOVIE ON FACEBOOK AND MYSPACE AND FOLLOW THEM ON TWITTER--YOU'LL HEAR ABOUT SOME VERY EXCITING NEWS SOON IF YOU DO. PLUS, CHECK OUT AND TELL YOUR PALS ABOUT THE NEW "SOME DAYS ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS" WEBSITE, LAUNCHED TODAY. CONTACT JOAN *AT* RIOT ACT MEDIA DOT COM FOR INFO, AND READ ON....

Matt McCormick’s Feature Film Some Days Has Website, Will Travel


12:52 PM July 8th, 2009 by Aaron Mesh
Culture / Screen / Visual Arts | Email This Post Email This Post |

behindthescenes12

Matt McCormick—experimental-film maven, Peripheral Produce founder,Shins video wizard and the man I still consider “Portland’s next great director”—reports that he’s just about finished post-production work on his first feature film, the Carrie Brownstein and James Mercer romantic meditation Some Days are Better Than Others.

“We just got our website launched, and hope to be premiering the film this fall at some fancy international film festivals,” writes McCormick (pictured above talking with Brownstein on location).

Which fancy festivals he’s hoping for are still under wraps, but the movie hasa handsome, moody website that goes into some detail about its themes and plot. It neglects to mention that a certain WW Screen editor spent most of a rainy winter night on the NoPo industrial waterfront with his back to the camera as an extra in a house-party scene. This is obviously an oversight. There are some pretty great photos, though.