Monthly Archives: June 2008

Interview: Keaton Simons

On Today’s edition of “Matt and Emily,” Matt caught up with talented singer/songwriter Keaton Simons. They’re also spinning a few tracks from Simons- plus a few from our AOTW Wolf Parade. Check out the interview here– plus check out Keaton in a town near you:
Jul 3 2008 at Jannus Landing in St. Peterburg, FL
Jul 4 2008 at Crystal Lake Gala Festival in Chicago, IL
Jul 15 2008 at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, CA
Aug 10 2008 at Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles, CA
Aug 21 2008 at Great Scott in Allston, MA

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Artist of the Week: Wolf Parade

When presented with the opportunity to support Arcade Fire on tour, most bands would jump at the chance. Spencer Krug (of Frog Eyes) did not have such a band at the time, but he was unfazed – Wolf Parade was formed in less than three weeks to embark on the 2003 tour. Comprised of Krug and Atlas Strategic’s Dan Boeckner, the pair originally used a drum machine to complete their sound. Over the next year, the lineup filled out (adding Arlen Thompson, Hadji Bakara and Hot Hot Heat’s Dante DeCaro) and released two acclaimed EPs. The sound was both unique and engaging, helping to put Montreal on the map as the next great rock city. With two lead singers and the most effective use of synths in recent memory, Wolf Parade was something special.

Apologies to the Queen Mary,
the debut effort from Wolf Parade, was one of the most-hyped albums of 2005, with indie rock anthems such as “I’ll Believe in Anything” and “Shine A Light” captivating crowds. The album, released on Sub Pop, was the kind of flawless first effort that grabs the world’s attention; in addition to being a blog favorite, Apologies to the Queen Mary was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize in 2006. The compelling vocals, catchy guitar riffs and synthesizers are what indie pop dreams are made of.

Since then, Wolf Parade has remained quiet, with various side-projects tiding over their fans. Great Wolf Parade spin-offs like Sunset Rubdown and Handsome Furs have all released solid albums and put on great live shows, though perhaps none have lived up to the majesty of WP.  The much-anticipated return of Wolf Parade, At Mount Zoomer was just released on June 17th, and BTR has been spinning it nonstop. It’s no surprise to see the Sub Pop artist as BTR’s Artist of the Week – we love all 9 tracks of the effort, from the sugary synth-infused first track “Soldier’s Grin” to the epic eleven minute finishing track that is “Kissing the Beehive.”

The term “sophomore slump” is widely thrown around the independent music community after an amazing debut, but we’re glad to report it doesn’t apply here. Bands like Arcade Fire and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were under immense pressure to deliver a stellar second record, as was WP. Luckily, the band took their time crafting a record that isn’t a carbon copy of their debut. It seems the Montrealites have taken a few cues from the hometown of their label, as we hear a lot of Northwest influences on this record (including, of course, Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock, who initially introduced the band to Sub Pop.) The time spent with other musicians makes the breadth of influences on this record a bit wider than on Apologies, and while it may not pack the same punch, the album as a whole is excellently put together. It is important to note, of course, that a debut is a debut. The first time a listener hears a truly great band, the feeling can rarely be re-created. Apologies featured staggering songs that were all about making an astounding first impression. While a great album, Apologies featured tracks off of the previous EPs, making it more akin to a mixtape than a cohesive album.

At Mount Zoomer is, unlike many contemporary records, a complete listening experience. Standout tracks include “Call It A Ritual” and “Fine Young Cannibals,” however, we suggest listening through the album as a whole. The entire record is fantastic, and BTR will be spinning the new tracks all week. Of course, Wolf Parade are touring in support of the new album, and we highly suggest you check out one of their dates in a city near you:

Jul 07 Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, MI
Jul 08 House of Blues, Chicago, IL
Jul 09 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
Jul 12 Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, Canada
Jul 13 Sub Pop 20th, Redmond, WA
Jul 15 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR
Jul 17 Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
Jul 18 Henry Fonda Theater, Los Angeles, CA
Jul 19 Henry Fonda Theater, Los Angeles, CA
Jul 20 Cane’s, San Diego, CA
Jul 21 Rialto Theater, Tucson, AZ
Jul 24 Palladium Ballroom, Dallas, TX
Jul 25 La Zona Rosa, Austin, TX
Jul 26 Spanish Moon, Baton Rouge, LA
Jul 28 Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA
Jul 29 Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC
Jul 30 Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA
Jul 31 Terminal Five, New York, NY
Aug 01 Terminal Five, New York, NY
Aug 02 Paradise, Boston, MA
Aug 03 Metropolis, Montreal, Canada
Aug 04 Capitol Music Hall, Ottawa, Canada
Aug 06 L’Espace, Quebec City, Canada
Aug 09 Koolhaus, Toronto, Canada

BTR Live Studio: Hospital Bombers

Today we’re live in the studio with Dutch rockers Hospital Bombers, who stopped by our studios while in the United States on June tour. Jan, Marc, Susanne, and Remco knocked our socks off with 9 live songs that display the catchy, inventive, and unconventional songwriting that defines the band’s music. Stay tuned throughout the session to hear my interview with the band!

Hospital Bombers are playing a bunch of shows in Amsterdam this summer, so be sure to check out their webpage for more info!

Featured Video: Annuals’ “Sore”

Check out the video here!

Lord T and Eloise

Last Friday night, as I sat in the green room of The Rev Room in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, it occurred to me that I might be witnessing a monumental moment in the history of Memphis’ Aristocrunk rappers Lord T and Eloise. Claiming to be “the first legitimate rap group to represent the perspective of the uber-wealthy,” the band has taken the southeast by storm, selling out their very first show at The Hitone in Memphis, Tennessee, before they had even released an album.

As the characters of 18th century aristocrat Lord Treadwell, gold-skinned wordsmith Maurice Eloise and producer and beat maker MysterE paced the small room (as they waited for their music cue from DJ Witnesse to hit the stage), I wondered if this might be their last performance in a mid-sized club. The satirical and comedic purveyors of hip-hop had just come from a well-received performance at Bonnaroo and were one of the highlights of the 2008 Beale Street Music Festival. They spent the last year opening for everyone, from The Yin Yang Twins, to Lil Jon, to Feist, to My Chemical Romance. With the release of their highly anticipated sophomore album Chairmen of the Bored, due for release this week, the clubs they’ve been selling out for the last year might not be able to contain their break-out success for much longer.

Just a few hours before their high energy performance to a standing room only crowd, I was treated to a preview of the new album, as we drove from Memphis in a van packed with Eloise, MysterE, DJ Witnesse, Kaz, and their tour manager. The new joint is filled with A-listers of the rap scene, including Al Kapone, 8Ball, Khia Shine, Dirt Nasty, Gangsta Boo, and the aforementioned Kaz; all well-respected rappers in the Memphis music scene and beyond. They even had Cody Dickinson of The North Mississippi All-Stars collaborate on some beats, which left the new album overflowing with songs.

The theme of the new album stays true to the party rap and irony-fueled nature of their debut full-length Aristocrunk, with songs that revel in excess like “Palm Beach”, “Coup D’Etat”, “Yacht”, “High Horse”, and “Hot”. It’s a mix that is not only entertaining for those who take their music at face value, but also for listeners who are in-tune enough to catch when the band is obviously winking at the crowd, as they drink from their golden goblets.

If their ever was a group that has made the most of internet marketing it has to be Lord T and Eloise. From their viral video for “Million Dollar Boots”, to Eloise’s crashing of the red carpet of The Grammys this past February (that landed him on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show), the group seems to be popping up in all the right places. They have caught the ear of major blogs such as Blender, Spin, Giant, and Radar Magazines. A review from the San Francisco Bay Guardian said it best when they called the group “polished, unique, and catchy as hell…funny, relevant, and original.”

-Rachel

Artist of the Week: Blue Scholars

Class is in session this summer with the hip-hop-help of Blue Scholars. BTR has been bumping tracks from the Seattle-based duo since the station  began broadcasting, and now the Scholars are coating the country on the Freshly Dipped Tour, along with lyrical elders Hieroglyphics (getcha your tour dates below).
MC Geologic (George Quibuyen) is the bald, baby-faced son of Filipino immigrants. His family skipped around, moving from Hawaii to various locations along the West Coast before finally settling down in Bremerton, Washington. Geologic sharpened his writing as a spoken word poet and did work on the side as a community organizer for the Isangmahal Arts Kollective. In 2002, he became a member of The Show (Student Hip Hop Organization of Washington), which is where he met a jazz pianist named Saba Mohajerjasbi. Saba is an Iranian American who wrote and performed for a punk and ska band before picking up the turn tables as DJ Sabzi for Blue Scholars.

With a self-titled album and The Long March EP in the books, the pair proceeded to make a series of serious moves in 2006.  They secured a slot at the Sasquatch Festival, opened for Kanye West at the Bumbershoot Festival, and started a label called MassLine Media with fellow Northwestern Hip-Hoppers Common Market. In 2007, Blue Scholars combated the dread of working on New Year’s Eve by holding a five day hip-hop festival they labeled The Program. Common Market showed up again, along with local performers Saturday Knights and Dyme Def.

Their latest cut is a 4-track digital EP titled Butter & Gun$. Included in the download is “Loyalty” (a laid back chiller from last year’s Bayani album), two new tracks, and three instrumentals. The title song is a chilling grinder that tears into the war with rounds of words instead of ammo. MC Geo declares, “Others grip the gun / My weapon is my tongue”.

Along with work in the studio, the two have somehow found time to contribute to other projects. Geologic is releasing a solo venture under the name Prometheus Brown, and doing charity work to help families of human rights violations. Meanwhile, DJ Sabzi happens to command the tables for none other than Common Market, which explains all of their buddy-buddy connections. Listen for Blue Scholars tracks all this week on BreakThru Radio and start making plans to see them live when they swing by your city.

06/28  Next Door –  Honolulu, HI
07/11  Glasshouse (w/ Hieroglyphics) – Pomona, CA
07/12  El Rey Theatre (w/ Hieroglyphics) – Los Angeles, CA
07/13  Belly Up Tavern (w/ Hieroglyphics) – Solana Beach, CA
07/15  The Clubhouse (w/ Hieroglyphics) – Tempe, AZ
07/16  Orpheum Theatre (w/ Hieroglyphics) – Flagstaff, AZ
07/17  Sunshine Theater (w/ Hieroglyphics) – Albuquerque, NM
07/18  Granada Theater (w/ Hieroglyphics) – Dallas, TX
07/19  Emo’s Alternative Lounging (w/ Hieroglyphics) – Austin, TX
07/20  House of Blues (w/ Hieroglyphics) – New Orleans, LA
07/22  The Social (w/ Hieroglyphics) – Orlando, FL
07/23  The Masquerade (w/ Hieroglyphics) – Atlanta, GA
07/24  Cat’s Cradle w/ Hieroglyphics – Carrboro, NC
07/25  The Music Farm (w/ Hieroglyphics) – Charleston, SC


BTR Live Studio: Longwave

Tune into hear an electric set from Longwave. I had a chance to talk with the guys about the upcoming record and touring plans. Also, at the end of the set you can hear an exclusive track, Sirens in the Deep, off their upcoming release! – DJ Jeff K

Setlist
00:01  DJ Intro
00:36  Eve’s Like Headlight
04:11  I Don’t Dare
07:32  Interview
10:08  Satellite
13:34  Interview
18:16  Shining Hours
21:53  DJ Outro
22:21  Sirens in the Deep