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Create-A-Store Featured Artist : Body Thief

By Nunzio Moudatsos

Create-A-Store Featured Artist : Body Thief

Our latest Create-A-Store signup is the Baltimore-area band, Body Thief. Their upcoming album, "Travel Glow," is set to be released on March 1, 2019. Earlier this week, the band launched a pre-order for the album including vinyl, CDs, and some cool merch designs which you can find here.

Following the disbanding of Baltimore post-hardcore group Tooth & Claw in 2012, members Sebastian Ramos and Greg Chipkin found themselves with an overwhelming desire create something new; to manifest the same passion for music that had initially brought them together in a musical project that would demonstrate how they had developed personally musically in the time since Tooth & Claw’s breakup. Beginning with an initiative from each member to experiment with new sounds and push each of their individual musical abilities, Ramos and Chipkin recorded three instrumental demos under the name Body Thief, and by late 2013 had completed their lineup in with the addition of Walt Umana on Bass and Daniel Hawkins on vocals. The band began to play shows rigorously around Maryland and D.C., and quickly branched into other Mid Atlantic states as well. By the winter of 2014, the band was scheduled to enter the studio with producer and engineer, Paul Leavitt (All Time Low, Circa Survive, Senses Fail, Have Mercy) to record their debut album, Speak in Hibernation. Musically, Body Thief pairs the post-rock and post-hardcore tendencies of many of their greatest hometown influences with a well-developed musicianship and an ear for sprawling melodies and intense crescendos. On record, Hawkins’ vocals weave throughout the textured instrumentals of Chipkin, Umana and Ramos effortlessly; the highly complicated nature of the music itself doesn’t detract from its accessibility, and instead functions to bring the listener deeper into the captivating melodies and rhythms at play. Their live set replicates this energy, and delivers a totally unique experience for first-time listeners and longtime fans alike. The audience regularly finds themselves on the precipice of a musical tipping point, at which they can just as easily be brought into a frenzied chorus as they can an unpredictable groove. Since the release of their debut album, "Speak In Hibernation", the band has added Andres Soto on guitar, as well as shared the stage alongside various national touring acts, such as Emarosa, Hail The Sun, Tilian Pearson, and more. In late summer of 2018, the band went into the studio to record their follow-up record with Will Beasley (Toothgrinder, Asking Alexandria, Erra).

The new album showcases another side of Body Thief, with new elements inspired and gained through some of their modern influences. The band's intention was to expand their discography to demonstrate stylistic versatility. With plans to tour the US following its release, Body Thief's sophomore album, "Travel Glow", will be out on March 1st, 2019. Pre-order yours today.

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Where The FUCK Is My Order?

By Bold Commerce Collaborator

Where The FUCK Is My Order?
If you're wondering where the FUCK your order is - we've got some news for you. 

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New Valentines Mixtape

By Bold Commerce Collaborator

New Valentines Mixtape
Just a reminder, Valentine's is creepin' up... Don't look like a dickhead giving your special someone the standard Chocolate and flowers...

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Day to Day

By Dan Marter

Day to Day
Ever wondered what goes on during day to day here at intheclouds? Well, you're in luck! We've started a new video series to give you a little peak into our life over here on this side of the screen, showing you the ups and downs of running a small business... and an excuse for me to try and learn some slick new video editing techniques.

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Exclusive Ear Buds Interview : Wheatus

By Nunzio Moudatsos

Exclusive Ear Buds Interview : Wheatus

(photo courtesy of Danny Allen)


By: Nunzio Moudatsos, Head of Artist Services


Ahead of their annual fall tour to the UK/Europe (which is currently taking place), I sat down with Wheatus frontman Brendan B. Brown and bassist Matthew Milligan for a little chat.

Let me preface this with some backstory. I first met the Wheatus folks back around 2011 while living in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. There was a great little network of musicians in our neighborhood, and over the next few years we collaborated on a few musical projects. In 2014 the band was gracious enough to take my previous band on a 5+ week tour throughout the UK and Europe which was just a phenomenal experience.

Fast forward to today - I wanted to feature the band because they are fucking rockers. There's just so much more to the group than just 'Teenage Dirtbag' and I want y'all to know it. We can all learn a lot from these folks, and they're some of the hardest working musicians I've ever been around.  

Happy reading, kids.

-Nunzio

So, it’s almost time - you're embarking on yet another UK tour in a few days. Congrats on that! You guys have always had a great following in the UK, and your albums have done particularly well there. What do you find unique about music industry over there as opposed to here in the US? 

Matthew: In our experience, UK fans have SO much loyalty. In the States it seems like people tend to move on to the next thing enthusiastically, but in the UK when you make a fan, they become one for life.  We have some folks over there who have been seeing the band regularly since the very first tour back in 2001.

You’ve definitely spent a lot of time touring there. Tell us about some of your favorite past touring experiences.

Matthew: Oh man, so many things come to mind. We got to play Wembley Arena a couple years ago with Busted... that was especially surreal. We're not the most exciting folks on the road... most nights after the gig you can find us on the bus binge-watching various TV series in the lounge. LOST, The Sopranos, and Dexter have all had some serious marathons over the years. We can also tell you the best cup of coffee available in virtually every town in Britain. 

It’s so cool that you guys have found a “home” there in the UK. I feel like people here in the US have this weird perception of Wheatus. One thing I personally wish more people knew about you guys is how much you fucking RIP live. You’ve got a bunch of super talented musicians and vocalists in the band. Why do you think the band is perceived differently over in the UK as opposed to here in the US?

Matthew: Dirtbag was a MUCH bigger song in the UK than in the USA. Virtually everyone you encounter in the UK knows the name Wheatus. In the States, that's just not the case. It puts us in an interesting position actually... it's harder for us to tour in the States, but when we do, audiences have much less of an expectation of what we do. In the UK we've got a platinum album that people know well and expect to hear. In the States, we can play a wide variety of material plus Dirtbag and have people go "Wow that was a cool set... and I think I recognized that one song!"  

That’s very true. I mean, I saw it firsthand. The fans over in the UK are really so supportive of you guys and you give it back to them by regularly touring over there almost every year, it seems. How have you been able to maintain that great fanbase there in the UK, and elsewhere abroad, for such a long time? 

Matthew: To a certain extent, we're not sure! We've made a 4-6 week tour of the UK/EU sort of our annual tradition, and each time we go back we worry that THIS will be the time no one comes because people have grown tired of us... but it still hasn't happened. Maybe it's because it's been covered a few times over the years, but Teenage Dirtbag has remained a major part of the culture in a few countries, the UK especially. We're grateful, that's for sure. 

I’m glad you brought the covers thing up. There have been some awesome covers of Teenage Dirtbag throughout the years. Maybe most famously, One Direction covered the song and included it in their "This Is Us" concert documentary. More recently All Time Low covered Dirtbag as part of their Green Room Sessions series. What’s it like to hear these covers for the first time?

Brendan: I've really never failed to enjoy one. The 1D thing was cool, when they morphed into superheroes. ATL seem to be closer to me personally in their ideas about it... love those guys. Chris Carrabba has done a great version and asked me on stage to play it with him one time. That was super cool ‘cuz I'm very much a fan of his. 

Do you have any favorites of the bunch?

Matthew: I was floored the first time I heard Weezer and Dashboard Confessional do it. Those are two acts who meant the world to me as a young aspiring musician... hearing them cover our song still just seems like a dream.   

Brendan: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain probably take the cake for favorite along with SCALA, who did the choir version for the film Bully. Phoebe Bridgers and Mary Lambert are tied for a close second. And then there's Amy Shark who very recently smashed it. I can't decide... it's that thing where they inject their own lives into it and it becomes a better song for it.   

And you guys have done a bunch of covers yourselves, from Erasure's "A Little Respect" to Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”. I was also lucky enough to hear your ridiculously good renditions of “The Trees” by Rush and “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction each night on the 2014 UK/Europe tour. There’s a lot of pressure in putting a cover out since your version will always be compared to the originals, so how do you go about picking a cover to perform? 

Brendan: It has to be something that's meant a lot to me for some time, otherwise I can't do it justice. I liked “What Makes You Beautiful” the first time I heard it, so that was a no brainer. Rush songs are different though...very high stakes. There is no easy Rush song. Pat is also one of the best singers who's ever lived so the pressure is on. I enjoy the challenge of something I love and have to work very hard to accomplish. “A Little Respect” was a pretty big mountain to climb because of the bravery those guys exude and the challenge of migrating a synth track to a rock format. We did have to track it a few times before we got it right. Yeah, we take covers very seriously. 

Have you ever gotten any feedback of your covers from the original performers?

Brendan: Um, no. I'd be afraid to hear it honestly... especially from Rush. Oh my god, I'd die.  

Back to Teenage Dirtbag for a second - I mean it’s just such a timeless song. I really think that kids of any generation - back then, now, and in the future - can relate to the message and kind of claim it as their anthem. I love that the song enjoys these spikes in popularity every few years by each new generation of kids. So tell me, what's the true message behind the song?

Brendan: Wow...the real answer is: whatever it means to you. Obviously, when I made it, it came from my life as a kid. 1984, Long Island, Satanic cult murder and drugs, AC/DC and Iron Maiden being somewhat forbidden or very frowned upon, and finding my musical identity in that world. BUT, what it means to me isn't as important as what people make of it when they make it their own. The author is dead... that dirtbag poem survives only because people can make it their own story, that's the real message.   

Do you think the message of the song has a different impact now as opposed to back during the time you wrote it?

Brendan: Very much so. As I said, my contemporary identity as a fan of heavy music in 1984 put me into an exceptionally dark category. A “dirtbag” was decidedly NOT a good thing to be back then. Again, it doesn't really matter too much what I lived through and what made me write it. Everyone has their own struggle... everybody has to fight to be free, from bad ideas, or bad cultural pressure, or what have you. Mary Lambert's interpretation of it as a lesbian love story is particularly gratifying in that sense. I love that it can be taken that way.  

That is a really amazing interpretation, especially coming from someone like Mary. So why do you think the song is so relatable to people?

Brendan: Someone once said to me that everyone has to go through that first round of feeling like they don't belong to the rest of humanity, where their instincts about what kind of person to be, are at odds with norms or ideas of the herd. It can be terrifying. I looked to music back then to reassure me that my weird ideas about what kind of person to become were OK. I have Malcolm Young (RIP) and Neil Peart and Prince and Steve Harris to thank for the reassurance I needed through that time in my life, among others. 

You just named a few artists there who you admire, and I know that at least a few of them are former Columbia Records artists. Kind of goes to show just how much success you’ve had as a band, getting signed onto the same label as some of your heroes. Let’s chat about that because you’ve got an interesting story about being on a major label. Your self-titled debut album was released by Columbia Records [Sony] but despite its worldwide success, your relationship with the label ended on not-so-great terms when they unexpectedly shelved your second album. What was the major label experience like for you and what are some of the pitfalls?

Brendan: The Columbia Records thing was essentially a mismatch. Donnie Ienner [then chairman of Sony], Blair McDonald [then Director of A&R at Sony], and our A&R, Kevin Patrick, understood us and were cool with us producing our own records… but Donnie and Blair left before we finished album #2 and nobody else saw us the way Kevin did, so the relationship was over at that point. You'd think they'd find a way to keep a new band whose first record did well and cost next to nothing but, alas, that's not how it worked back then. It was all for the better though. There were tons of bad ideas thrown at us during that time. It was difficult in that regard, but we avoided most of them. Some of the people who work at labels do so for the wrong reasons. It can be an intensely political viper pit and the art sometimes doesn't survive the self-interest. I've seen some people manage it very well. I'm not one of those people. You have to be ready for that. It's not a situation where you can make of it what you can. A major label is a multi-national corporation; they're not interested in your art project. They're out to make money. 

Then once the Columbia deal ended, you began releasing everything else independently on your own label, Montauk Mantis. What do you like, or dislike, about being an independent artist?

Brendan: You get to craft your interactions and delivery of music to people who like it in your own way. That also means you have to do everything yourself. I've never really minded that, so it's a good fit. Sometimes things fall off the table. While I love making good records, I'm not a very ambitious person so I think the little ecosystem we have is designed from that energy. It's gonna be different for everyone, but that's what's cool about it... what works for us may not work for you, but you'll find your own ideas are better for you anyway. 

It’s a bit easier these days to release music independently, and here at INTHECLOUDS we work with a ton of those types of bands. We’re always trying to come up with ways to help bands do their own thing, get heard by some new ears, and continue to grow. What advice can you give to indie bands that don’t have label support?

Brendan: Always make your own records! Unique mistakes are better than copy-cat perfections. I love records that survive on their individualism. I think they last longer. Listen to EVERYTHING. There are good ideas everywhere. Also, make sure you have something to say; empathy and adversity can be renewable resources for humanity in your music.  That's why it connects, so do that! Listen and feel. 

Agreed, good advice! Once the music is created It’s super important that bands can get their tunes out there and get heard. That’s made a bit easier these days with streaming services. How do you feel about being an indie artist in this digital streaming era?

Matthew: As an artist it's definitely got its ups and downs. You can get your music out there so quickly and effortlessly that it's still a surreal process... but the competition to get the attention of listeners has never been more fierce.  You feel it as a listener too.  Unlimited access to everything is overwhelming, and I've usually got a huge backlog of new artists/albums I'm eager to check out but haven't had the time to sit down with yet. 

Yeah, that’s for sure. I think that’s why physical media is important these days. We’re in the midst of a vinyl resurgence that started a few years back and cassettes are starting to make their comeback too. It’s pretty essential to have a physical item for fans grab in this digital age. Thoughts?

Matthew: When I wasn't working with Wheatus I ran a record store for about 8 years... it's definitely been a wild time for physical media. I think it's a combination of things, including excellent marketing and creating a new collector's market. But more than that, I do believe that there's a whole younger generation of music fans who have grown up in the world of listening to music entirely on the computer, in the background, in a passive way. Actually playing a record demands your attention in a way that a Spotify link or YouTube clip just can't, in my opinion. It's an experience.  If you're a music fan, having that experience for the first time is really powerful.   

What platforms do you prefer to listen on, personally?

Matthew: I've got a pretty substantial vinyl collection at this point... in fact I've really got way more than my small apartment should have to handle. So, I always love getting to drop the needle on something. But when I'm out of the house I've got an Apple Music subscription that I've come to appreciate more than I originally expected.  

Completely random, but I have to bring this next topic up. We’re living in strange times and the political atmosphere is super volatile. Brendan, you’re a very active Twitter user and you certainly don't shy away from getting political on there. There’s a lot of discussion lately about artists/entertainers and their role in politics. How has the current, or past, political climate impacted your writing? 

Brendan: Well, I find myself illustrating the perils of monarchy more than I used to. It's too bad... that's not a joke. I'm also aware that there are a lot of people who are not benefiting at all from this nationalist populism asshattery we're in the middle of. I'm interested in those people, their view of things, and find myself writing on those narratives lately. Representative government is about maintaining a healthy argument, in the public sphere. Fugazi and Ani DiFranco, early, early examples for me and I feel obligated to speak. I also have a degree in history and find it impossible to ignore the re-emergence of deadly patterns from the 20th century. If you don't know your history, stick around and you'll get to learn by doing.

Right, and I personally admire that you use your platform to discuss these things. Just in general, I know there are people out there who hate when artists speak up about politics. So what do you say to those out there who believe that artists shouldn't voice their political opinions and just “stick to their art?”

Brendan: Fuck those people. Seriously, do I have to point out the idiocy of expressing the political view that someone else should keep their political views to themselves? Why don't those people keep THAT idea to THEMselves? Dingbats. But... in the interest of ending on a positive :) note...thank you very much for thinking of us and for reaching out. We do not take your attention for granted. Much love!

//end

I want to thank BBB and Matthew of Wheatus for taking the time to chat with me in the midst of their fall craziness. If you didn't already check it out, the band was awesome enough to curate our November Ear Buds cassette mixtape. Each song on the mixtape includes a solo or side project of each member of the band.

Wheatus is:
Brendan B Brown / Guitar & Vocal
Matthew Milligan / Bass
Brandon Ticer / Keyboards
Leo Freire / Drums
Joey Slater / Backing Vocal
Gabrielle Sterbenz / Backing Vocal
Karlie Bruce / Backing Vocal

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Exclusive Ear buds Interview: Reality Suite

By Kristyn Potter

Exclusive Ear buds Interview: Reality Suite

A few months back, we released a cassette tape in partnership with New Jersey rock radio station, WRAT featuring the New Jersey indie, pop, rock group Reality Suite. ITC sat down with them for an exclusive interview—read it here folks! 

How did you meet?

Antonio was introduced to me by his cousin in the 4th grade. I played drums – Antonio owned a guitar – could barely play. But we both had this uninhibited desire to create music. We sang and poorly played into a boom box….created our own cassette tape “albums” every few months and lent them to our classmates in elementary school. Antonio and I began playing with other people in High School – this is when I met Joe. Years and several bands later, we formed Reality Suite and met Kimmii through a Craigslist ad.

How did you get started?

(Brian King, Drums) My cousin played me KISS Alive 2 when I was just entering kindergarten. After seeing the bombastic live photo that spread across the album’s gatefold, I wanted to be a rock star. I am not sure why I chose the drums…..but I was banging on everything from the garbage cans outside, pots and pans and the guard rail on the road in front of my parent’s house. I also began writing lyrics and arranging songs in grammar school. Eventually, I became fascinated with the recording and production side of things.

(Kimmii Heart, Vocals) I started singing when I was 4 years old. I would walk around the house singing “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. I wouldn’t shut up. I was driving everyone in the house crazy. My parents saw that I had something special and signed me up for vocal lessons. I started writing lyrics and melodies and wrote my first song in 5th grade. When I was 14, I got my first taste of the studio when recording 2 songs that I had written and a cover song. It was then that I realized I wanted to look for a band. I began auditioning and joined my first band. After two bands I joined/started not working out, I discovered Reality Suite andddd the rest is history….

(Antonio Valenti, Bass) At age 10, my brother-in-law Bill gave me his old guitar with a bunch of beat-up Beatles vinyl. I was so intrigued.  Soon after, he gave me his KISS “Alive” album and then I was obsessed with music. With a keyboard given to me by my other brother-n-law, I began making cassette tapes of songs, beats and melodies. I grew up listening to RUSH, Pink Floyd and Metallica - mostly rock, but eventually I began looking for something different. Because I was also a DJ, I began listening to more dance music. Being engulfed in dance music – I became more interested in playing bass. I began writing and singing with various bands before reuniting with Brian and forming Reality Suite with him and Joe.


(Joe Padula, Guitar) At age 5 my parents bought me my first Kiss album “Dynasty.” I listened to it over and over using coffee cans as drums (guess I started out as a drummer). I had a next-door neighbor who was a few years older than me who exposed me to Zeppelin, Ozzy and the Eurythmics and since was hooked to Rock n Roll!!  When I was 9 I bought Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The song “Beat It” was the be-all end-all for me. I was so enticed by the solo in that song that I nagged my parents for a guitar and lessons which I started that same year. I later found out Eddie Van Halen performed on that song and became a huge fan by my early teens.


Who are your biggest influences musically for Reality Suite and do you think that you try to add these influences to your music or if it just happens naturally?

Great question. We each have mostly our own individual influences, then some influences we do share. For example – I am not sure if there is any one band that we ALL like. It may be two band members out of four, or three out of four. But our individual influences and shared influences overlap and create something unique. Kimmii and I love heavy rock and metal - but we also love pop music….so, from bands like In This Moment, Halestorm and Metallica to The Weeknd, The Struts, Meg Myers, etc….Joe mostly digs riff-rock, like Van Halen, Five Finger Death Punch and Guns ‘N’ Roses. Antonio - he brings out the more experimental avant garde side of us…. he’s into Radiohead, etc….he probably has the most eclectic taste of all of us - but he doesn’t really prefer pop music. So, it’s a fine line we all walk to compromise and satisfy everyone - and potentially create something unique.

Let's talk about that record deal, congrats first off! With the record deal, would you say that you've 'made it' or do you feel like now you're just getting started?

The record deal with Lion’s Pride Music is very exciting. We have had several European record labels approach us over the last two years since our debut “SKINN” was independently released. With this offer, we feel the record label is giving us the resources to grow while delivering our music to a much larger audience. We definitely do not feel that we’ve “made it.” We look at it as additional support. We have been working hard releasing Reality Suite music on our own label for almost a decade - we see this as “business as usual,” we will just have more industry support and resources. We are definitely just getting started!

Any new music coming?

Yes! I am excited because we have been demoing new songs and should be recording them formally from October - December. Our current 5 song EP, Awaken will reissued next year as a full length 10 song CD and digital download. I am hoping that everyone will hear a new single in early 2019. With each new batch of songs that we write, I'm proud to say that we are constantly challenging ourselves and attempting not to repeat ourselves. There will obviously be our key characteristics - you'll always know it's a Reality Suite song because of Kimmii's distinct voice - and Joe's guitar work, etc....but our songwriting chemistry is always evolving, so that keeps us fresh.

Any upcoming shows you want us to share?

Dingbatz, Clifton NJ 11/3/18

Debonair Music Hall 11/17/18

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Earbuds: Show Review "Termination Dust"

By Kristyn Potter

Earbuds: Show Review

Review and illustration by Von Ecker.

Brooklyn received a taste and vibe of the last frontier with the sounds of Alaska’s Termination Dust, and as I sit typing out this review my ears are still ringing with joy.

Currently on tour opening up for the indie rockers Modest Mouse, and fresh off a show in Akron, Ohio. Termination Dust has assembled a sprinkling of intimate DIY shows across the country during the tour, which is what led us to Bushwick’s Public House to see the Dream Pop band in action.

Dream Pop as a genre is new to me, and if it’s new to you I’ll do my best to describe it for you. Imagine, if you will, listening to indie rock while huffing rubber cement, without the side effects of losing brain cells and your self respect. Or if that situation is a little too seedy for you, how bout taking a bath listening to indie jams while you're underwater. The sound just has this nice subtle, fuzzy nostalgic distance to it that I really enjoy.

During the Termination Dust set, they jammed out to their songs “Clutter”, “White Walls” and “Spring Break Up”  which transported me back to high school and the heartache of relationships that got away. The band really translates their sound amazingly live. Lets face it, nothing is worse than getting pumped up to see a band live after falling in love with their music, and discovering they sound nothing like their album. It’s the music equivalent of a Tinder date gone bad.

Another thing that I appreciated about the band is that they convey such a positive message, which is something that is definitely needed in music and culture today. Even while dealing with heavy subjects as depression, love lost, and the trials of life, their music still echoes hope. The band are also huge advocates of body positivity, and making sure that everyone sees the beauty in themselves. So in this world that sometimes feels like it’s slipping back into the dark ages, it feels good knowing there are bands like Termination Dust bringing us back towards the light.

Termination Dust is back playing with Modest Mouse and touring the lower 48 states until October 21st. Be sure to check them out next time they roll through and play at a venue near you.

Remaining tour dates below:

October 3

Pittsburgh, PA at Mr. Roboto

October 4

Columbus, OH at Bourbon Street

October 5

DeKalb, IL at 7th Street Space

October 6

Iowa City, IA at Public Space One

October 7

Minneapolis, MN at Hi-Watt House

October 16

Norfolk, VA at Chrysler Hall

(W/Modest Mouse)

October 17

Columbia, SC at Township Auditorium

(W/Modest Mouse)

October 19

Bloomington, IN at IU Auditorium

(W/Modest Mouse)

October 20

Springfield, MO at Shrine Mosque

(W/Modest Mouse)

October 21

Wichita, KS at The Cotillion

(W/Modest Mouse)

 

Website- www.vonecker.carbonmade.com

Instagram- @voneckerwho

This article was originally published on Left Bank Magazine.

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October Garage Sale

By Dan Marter

October Garage Sale
this october we will be DEEP discounting select titles from our catalog

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