News: cassette

Ear Buds Interview: Fecking Bahamas

By Kristyn Potter

Ear Buds Interview: Fecking Bahamas

We are thrilled to have partnered with the math rock blog Fecking Bahamas for the May Ear Buds Cassette Mixtape. We had a nice little chat with Nikk, one of the founders of the site, and discussed how the blog got its start, why they picked the bands they did for the cassette, and all-things math rock. This interview also covers a lot of ground, amazing links for your next rabbit hole, and some math rock blogs and YouTube pages as well. 

Let's start at the beginning, how did Fecking Bahamas get its start?

Fecking Bahamas started when my wife Kat and I were living in the UK. We had always been into math rock, but this was our chance to really interact with the scene. I started writing for Musical Mathematics, which was an amazing blog focused on math rock and the general UK scene. I guess my enthusiasm got the best of me and I started researching math rock heavily, even making a 'database' of math rock bands across the world. After a while we were sitting on so much writing and general data that we just decided to throw together our own blog. We decided to transform our math rock database into an interactive map, which people could use to find bands in the more obscure countries. At the time, the Japanese scene was super exciting but poorly documented, so we also released a Japanese math rock compilation on Bandcamp. I guess all of this stuff combined gave us our start, they got our name out. We also did this 'History of Math Rock' article series, which people tend to like.

Why math rock? Versus an indie blog or rock blog etc?

My attraction to math rock is similar to my broader love for jazz and experimental genres. I just love music that is unpredictable, stuff that requires multiple listens to pull it apart and parse the sound. However, while jazz is overburdened with improvisation and long-winded freeform instrumentation, math rock is punchy and to the point. It retains that raw energy and brevity of its punk heritage. In terms of making a math rock specific blog, I guess in addition to our love for math rock, we wanted to contribute to that particular community. It's small, friendly, and the people are open-minded. We were also enthusiastic about focusing on one genre and doing it well - researching it to the n-th, covering the entire globe, unravelling its history etc. A more general music blog for us wouldn't be as special and a bit cumbersome in terms of staying on top of things (we all have day jobs!). 

How did you guys come up with the name?

The name references a song by Don Caballero called 'Palm Trees In The Fecking Bahamas'. We were throwing a couple of ideas around like 'Tectonics' and 'Bear Tooth', but the Don Cab reference sealed it. It was Kat's idea. Admittedly, I was a little hesitant about having 'fecking' in the name, as I thought this might be deemed inappropriate. But in the end we went with it and people generally dig the name. Still, I seldom put the name on my resume. 

 

Let's get into the music ... Favorite band you’ve covered this year?

Giraffes? Giraffes! new album is easily the standout for me. It is exquisitely crafted right down to their choice of when to raise the guitar volume or hit the snares. I urge people not to sleep on this album. Some of my other personal faves we've worked with this year include sewingneedle, Cheer-Accident, Lingua Nada and Straya.

 

Now for a harder question, one of your favorite bands you’ve covered/discovered of all time

No, that's an easy question: Cardiacs. They were a wonky punk band that formed around 1977. They are my favourite band, and I've tried to infuse their legacy into Fecking Bahamas wherever I can. The frontman and mastermind Tim Smith suffered a combined stroke and heart attack in 2007, so the band have been on hiatus since. One of his side projects The Sea Nymphs put out an album unreleased of material in 2016, which we had the honor of covering. They are equally as wonderful.

Any funny or awesome fan/audience stories or comments?

I'm just generally stoked on the mail we get from people around the world regarding our site. We got a really touching e-mail recently from a kid in Thailand who was extremely grateful to us for helping him find music that he didn't have access to in his country, music that helped define him as a person. I got another e-mail from a guy who used to be friends with Matt Sweeney in Chavez, and he ended up giving me unreleased tracks from Sweeney's earlier band Wider (the band of which, according to folklore, is where the word 'math rock' stemmed from). I'm still figuring out how we can release the tracks to the math rock community. 

Oh man that sounds so cool! Please release it! And now for the cassette... how did you come up with these particular bands and tracks? Any theme for this selection or is it random?

Providing a global perspective of math rock is something we take very seriously. This is the basis of the 'World Of Math' interactive map on our site, and the region-specific compilations we release on Bandcamp. We do it to give math rock bands from less established math rock scenes or, I guess you could say, 'geographically isolated' countries a bit of a leg up. This also provides an opportunity to hear how cultural differences shine out in their music. That's the idea with this cassette. We put 8 spectacular math bands from 8 different countries all on the same playing field.   

Any song that you particularly love on the cassette?

'Jester In A Jar' by Stuck In November. These guys are really talented musicians, and they doing something left-of-center in an already left-of-center genre. There is some really interesting stuff coming out of Bangalore, India.  

 

 

Where are you guys located?

Everywhere. Australia, Japan, UK, South Korea, France, Germany, Russia, US. Location isn't a barrier to what we do.

Favorite band ever, no questions:

Cardiacs, as above. But I also love Kate Bush, I have to sneak that in.

 Anything you want us to hype/share/promote?

We try to be a well-rounded encyclopedic resource for math rock, but naturally we can't cover everything. No one blog can. So if people are into math rock, there are a bunch of really good blogs, podcasts and channels out there and they should check them all out. Some of my personal favourites are The Other Rock Show (radio/podcast), The Math-Rock News (Facebook page), Plenty of Swords (blog), and Let's Talk About Math Rock (Youtube channel). Definitely check these guys out.    

 

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Ear buds March Mixtape: Ruby Bones Interview

By Kristyn Potter

Ear buds March Mixtape: Ruby Bones Interview

While we are still gathering some interviews and cool shit for our April cassette with Left Bank Magazine, we still have some bands from other mixtapes that we wanna give a shoutout too (and a nice little feature as well).

Indie rockers Ruby Bones combine energetic rhythms with visceral, existential lyrics best digested in sweat-soaked clubs like the ones that define New Jersey and Brooklyn

Made up of vocalist/guitarist Chris Fox, drummer James Janocha, and South African import FC Spies on bass, the trio describes itself as "Bruce Springsteen on cocaine after a few drags off a helium balloon." 

We'll take it.

Check out their interview with us below:

Your Facebook bio mentions lots of pizza, so lets start there … Whats your favorite pizza topping?

Haha. I think it's in our interests, not our bio. We could write a new bio about how we met trying to devour the world's largest pizza only to be bested by Johnny Chestnut, which led us to rethinking our life's direction where we ultimately decided that we would form a band instead of being professional eaters. But I digress. Personally, my ultimate favorite topping is Bacon, but if I'm at a classic join in the city - a la Bleeker Street Pizza - I'm going classic cheese or pepperoni. You don't mess with that.

 

We have to ask, how do you feel about pineapple on pizza?

Not my thing. When I'm taking down a slice I don't want to pretend I'm being healthy. We all know what this is. Give me that grease all day. Chris on the other hand loves it... I'll just leave that there.

 

Who are your musical influences?

As a band I think that we all come through as a child of the early 2000s indie rock scene. Chris has a deep affinity for bands like Spoon and The Strokes. While FC and I come from a heavier background, I think you can trace the core of the band back to the early LES and Merge Records days.

 

Whats your favorite lyric (either in your song or others)?

I don't know that I could ever answer that question. I hate to take the cop-out, but lyrics - and what I may say are my favorite - all relate to a time in my life. The answer will be completely different today than it will be next week.. or it was last week.

 

The guys wanted to submit this one from Tom Waits: "You know there ain't no devil, that's just god when he's drunk."

 

Are you guys from New Jersey or just kind of ended up there?

Chris is originally from New Jersey and is our resident advisor. He's a pretty big deal in Rutherford (sorry, that's an inside joke you're not going to get). FC lives in Brooklyn and made his way here for school from South Africa. I was a little bid of a nomad for a while. I'm originally from Delaware and live in Nashville and Boston before making my way back down here after college.

 

Does making music in NYC/NJ bring more out in your sound? How does the city affect your music?

I think there's more of a Jersey feel to us than NYC. I don't think we fit the current New York/Brooklyn trend all that well and we're not making any conscious decision to try to adhere to that. There is something going on in Jersey that feels really special. Places like Asbury Park are embracing independent musicians and indie rock. It's a really fun time to be playing music around here.

 

HELL YEAH. Your favorite thing about making music?

There's a special energy that comes about when you're making music. I can't really explain it, but in those moments, nothing else matters. It happens to me the same when you listen to certain artists. Where you can almost zone out and feel what the artist(s) were feeling. And when you're in that moment with a band, and you're all on that same wavelength, there's nothing like it.

 

What does success look like to you?

I don't have these delusions of grandeur. If I were able to live off of making music, I would find that life successful. Being able to do what you love for the rest of your life. Not many people are privileged enough to be able to say that.

 

Have your parents been to a show and if so, what were their thoughts?

They hated it. JK. None of our parents have actually seen us perform as Ruby Bones yet. I'm sure they will some day, and I think they'll have a good time. I come from a family of musicians and they have seen me play in all sorts of bands over the years. Very little would catch them off guard these days.

Upcoming Dates

April 27 - Brooklyn (at Gold Sounds)

May - Teaneck NJ

June- Asbury Park

(Follow them on Facebook to get more deets)

 

 

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Sun Opus Curated Playlist

By Kristyn Potter

Sun Opus Curated Playlist

It's still March you guys which means we are still featuring the awesome bands featured on our Ear buds mixtape (what mixtape you ask, this one). But if you're tired of reading interviews, the guys in Sun Opus curated this sick playlist. But first, a really quick/short interview. Read on ... you can do it.

Shout out to Charlie for dealing with my ridiculous schedule to put this together.

How did you guys meet/get started?

 The three of us have have been in different bands in the Philadelphia area forever so we kinda knew of each other just from going to shows and stuff.  We all ended up in the rhythm section of the band Person L in 2006.  Brian and Ryan played drums/ percussion and I (charlie) played bass. We recorded a couple albums and toured non stop for about 4 years straight.  During that time, we really synched up and connected on another level musically.  Since then, we have been in bands and projects separately and with each other.  Some time in 2014 the three of us decided to jam as a 3 piece with Brian on guitar, me on bass, and Ryan on drums.  We didn't really have actual “songs” at first.  Just hours and hours of improv jamming.  We didn't want the project to have any rules or expectations.  We all had other things we were working on so we just got together whenever we could and let it grow and progress on its own.  After a while, we decided to take a bunch of the reoccurring jams and make a legit recording.  We locked ourselves in our friends warehouse studio for two days and came out with 7 songs. 

How long have you been making music?

Forever.  

Sun Opus- what’s the meaning behind the name?

A band name was pretty low on the list of priorities for this project.  Once we were done mixing the record we figured we needed a name if we were going to release it. After throwing around different ideas for a while, I (charlie) was listening to a podcast Brian does called Volcano Vinyl.  He referred to an album as a bands “sum opus” and i really liked the sound of it.  We messed around with a few different variations and landed on Sun Opus.  

 Listen to the Spotify playlist that Sun Opus created—they each chose 5-6 songs that influence their playing, tracks that remind each other of the other’s styles, and some that are just cool tunes that they have been rocking lately.  

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FEBRUARY F*CK YEAH! Ditz Interview

By Kristyn Potter

FEBRUARY F*CK YEAH! Ditz Interview

We are closing out this awesome month with another interview from one of our February cassette all-stars — the post-emo band Ditz. The Wrightstown, NJ four piece chatted with us on how they met, how being bug boys led to their name, playing on cruise ships, and Aerosmiths CDs. Of course. Go on, check it out ... 

How did you guys meet/get started?

Todd and Luke played together in high school as  when Todd moved back to Jersey from California, they started playing together again. Soon after they recruited long time friend and door-to-door salesman, johnny, to join forces. We then asked Keith to design our logo, we thought it was cool so we just asked that cute art boy to hop on board.

 

What did you grow up listening to and how much would you say that influences your sound now?

Todd: growing up i was classic rocking boy, my dad gave me Pink Floyd and the Aerosmiths CDs. Steven Tyler is a huge influence on my voice as I’m sure you can tell. so from there it was game over as soon as i learned to “walk this way”

 

Johnny: I listened to me daddy’s music. then I really listened to Backstreet boys and that song “I’m blue abedebab di.” then i became able to pick my own music and i liked the get up kids and the fall of troy and all that stuff. yes i play exactly like that so yeah it influenced me style big time.

Luke: My dad told me to listen to Steve Vai and thats what I listened to.

Keith: My dad told me to listen to bluegrass and country so I listened to everything but that. 

 

Nice work Keith. So, the name Ditz … how did you land on that?

Well Todd was really pushing “bobby and the Menthols” for a while … that wasn’t cutting it. We then settled on the name Ditz because we’re bug boys and all of us are scared of bugs.

 

 

Any hilarious (or awkward) fan or show stories you want to share?

We have an on again off again Facebook relationship with a Nigerian woman named Goodluck who friended and messaged us. She’s been with us since the very beginning.

 

Your go-to snack/drink during band practice?

Bud light Limes, Ripits Energy and bugs.

 

Gotta have the bugs. If you could play anywhere in the world where would it be?

We wanna go on a cruise ship tour.

 

So, tell us, why do you make music (this might be a little heady, but what keeps you going?)

We make music because its good and fun. we all love each other and were all in love with each other.

 

What does success look like to you?

When the crowd goes “sing!”

 

Speaking of, what's your favorite track to play live/why?

The majority of the band prefers Spanish subtitles over the others because its a fun crowdpleaser.

Johnny is more of a Big Bug guy and Todd is more into Crudwieser. 

 

Your day jobs? 

Luke is a big daddy truck boy, he gets em greased up and back on the road. Johnny is a student who also cooks food at a place. Keith is a student and does video production. Todd is a mold remediation specialist.

 

Told you these guys were rad. Check out their music on our February cassette and stay tuned for some new music from them and a video. enjoy the last 2 hours of February guys.

 

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NEW: Ear Buds Mixtape

By Kristyn Potter

NEW: Ear Buds Mixtape

As a kid I remember sitting by the radio with my sister, finger on the record button of our cassette deck trying to snag our favorite songs from the radio. For us, the hunt was real... trying to time it just right, punching in between commercials and DJ banter. afterward i'd take paint markers and design my own art for them... those mixtapes went with me everywhere.

Today, everyone has a playlist right?... i mean, I'm not knocking it, even we have one. it's easy. you hear a song like, tap a few times on your phone and it's there to pull up anytime. They're great, but to me there's just something about it lacks substance. 

So as a throwback those days with my sister, we've started the Ear Buds Mixtape, showcasing a few bands each month that are doing big things and we feel deserve a little more than just getting lost in the shuffle of a playlist. Each cassette will also feature artwork from a new artist to promote and encourage continuous creativity in all forms.

Our February Mixtape has already been curated so check out the artists that we have on the cassette below:

El Americano  From the Television
Latewaves : Jezebel
America Part Two : Hoedown (What Do You Know?)
Ditz : Spanish Subtitles

Stoked? Confused? Waxing nostalgic? Cool. Order yours here.

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