BTR Artists On Tour: Deer Tick, Candy Claws and Yeasayer

Both veterans and newbie bands alike are starting out on their fall (gasp!) tours. So, it is time to celebrate the glory days of summer concerts while you still can!

BreakThru Radio’s got a few suggestions to help you spend the cash from that summer job wisely. In this edition of BTR Artists on Tour we are checking in with Deer Tick, Candy Claws, and Yeasayer to see what they are getting into on the road.

“I’m not a fan of flashy websites.”  So states lead singer/songwriter (and website designer) John J. McCauley III of Rhode Island rock band Deer Tick, on the group’s bare-bones virtual home. Composed of a single page without any graphics or photos, the simple banner “Deer Tick, A Band” is at the top, giving his comment a certain wry understatement.

While the site is about as stark as possible, it is also remarkably and refreshingly informative. The page is solid and satisfying—it explains how the band started, who the members are, where the name came from, what they’re currently working on, and offers an easily-accessible resume of all tour dates, past, present and future.

The same straightforward approach seems to be carried out in every aspect of Deer Tick—their music, their concerts, their identity. The sound is rock ‘n roll, no flash, but plenty of substance. At times Dylan and at others a Mermaid Avenue Billy Bragg. McCauley’s gritty voice delivers the stuff of a true, old-school songwriter and he is backed by band members who truly know their instruments. In an age full of musicians doing innovative work with loops, beats and synth, these men remember the value of strings reverberating against wood and know how to mine that poetry. The beautiful retro simplicity of bass, guitar and voice on songs like “Ashamed,” stand as proof that those mines are far from empty.

Deer Tick also make a point of playing great, raucous, real rock shows for their audiences. Spin magazine voted them one of the must-hear acts of Lollapalooza 2010, and Brooklyn-based blog Duke Street echoes the band’s no-frills mentality by stating boldly, “When it comes to playing live, Deer Tick doesn’t fuck around.”

With their latest album, The Black Dirt Sessions, out on June 8th, and a heavy tour underway, John J. McCauley himself took time to tell BTR a bit about life on the road with these no-nonsense rock ‘n rollers.

BTR: Looks like you guys just got back recently from an extensive East Coast tour with Dr. Dog & Those Darlin’s–how was it?
McCauley: Like you said, it was extensive. It was fun though. Quite an adventure. We love playing with Darlins and the Dr. Dog guys were great. Turns out I knew the guy Eric who was playing drums for Dr. Dog. I didn’t even know until our first show with them.

BTR: Discover any good/new food?
McCauley: Punjabi in New York City is the dopest.

BTR: Meet any cool people?
McCauley: I met Danny DeVito at Coachella.

BTR: Do any fun shopping?
McCauley: I buy stupid shit on tour, like t-shirts with stupid sayings on them. My favorite says “Shut the DUCK up!” and it has a picture of a duck with duct tape around its bill.

BTR: What’s one of your favorite places to play & why?
McCauley: I like Austin, Seattle, St. Louis, and Toronto. Good combination of awesome crowds, good music scene, good food, and of course, vice.

BTR: You mention on your website that your “live shows tend to go a bit haywire”…  what does that mean?  How do you make your shows memorable?
McCauley: Well, that’s kind of a difficult one to explain. We’ve done some funny things. I crowd surfed into a ceiling fan once and broke it. Sometimes we lose our clothes, light money on fire, light guitars on fire, there’s silly string, confetti, pinatas. It kind of depends on our mood, and drunkenness.

BTR: Any memorable audience moments?
McCauley: Sometimes we’ll have people from the crowd play with us. One time this 6-year-old girl “played” a guitar solo in “These Old Shoes”. That was adorable. Then there was this rad dude in Chicago who came up and slayed some harmonica on a cover of “Maybelline”. Those moments are really fun for us.

BTR: How do you take care of yourself on the road?
McCauley: I’m pretty sure I don’t.

BTR: Entertain yourself?
McCauley: I read a lot of rock ‘n’ roll biographies and autobiographies. I like true crime books too. I just finished The Brotherhoods by William Oldham, true story of two high ranking NYPD detectives who were hitmen for the Mafia. This American Life is a great podcast to listen to in the van. We’ve got the new Phosphorescent, and Delta Spirit, and stuff like that, (and) the entire Nirvana and Replacements discography.

BTR: Anywhere you guys are headed on the upcoming tour that you’ve never been before or are especially excited to visit?
McCauley: We’re doing a bunch of gigs in Florida, a state we haven’t played too often. I’m excited for that, especially since we’ll be playing with Dead Confederate.

BTR: What are your fall plans?  Working on any new projects?
McCauley: I don’t know. I think the MG&V record might come out then. We’ll just have to wait and see.

We might have to sit tight for that next record, but don’t wait to see this depthful rock group that truly walks the walk.

Deer Tick LIVE!!!

July 29 – Crobar – Miami Beach, FL
July 30 – Engine Room – Tallahassee, FL
July 31 – Buckhead Theatre – Atlanta, GA
Aug 1 – Exit In – Nashville, TN
Aug 3 – Proud Larry’s – Oxford, MS
Aug 4 – Hi-Tone – Memphis, TN
Aug 5 – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO
Aug 6 – Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL
Aug 7 – Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL
Aug 8 – Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL
Aug 9 – Mickey Finn’s Pub – Toledo, OH
Aug 10 – Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, Ontario
Aug 11 – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – Cleveland, OH
Aug 12 – Capitol Theater – York, PA
Aug 13 – Webster Hall – New York, NY
Sept 10 – End of the Road Fest – Dorset, United Kingdom
Sept 20 – Botanique – Brussels, Belgium
Sept 28 – Cargo – London, United Kingdom
Sept 29 – Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, United Kingdom
Sept 30 – Deaf Institute – Manchester, United Kingdom
Oct 1 – Captain’s Rest – Glasgow, United Kingdom
Oct 2 – Auntie Annies – Belfast, United Kingdom
Oct 3 – Whelans – Dublin, United Kingdom

For a band whose artistic aim is to create a soundtrack for the natural world, it seems slightly counterintuitive that Colorado’s Candy Claws would choose samples, pre-captured sounds and synthesizers to achieve that goal. However, their electronic approach works surprisingly well.  With dreamy, layered orchestral pieces that subtly blend elements of electronica with sophisticated surfer pop, Candy Claws successfully build a sound that evokes nature without simulating it. Whispered vocals and ambient sound effects twist through each song, creating a path to guide the wandering listener.

The project’s core musicians, Ryan Hover and Kay Bertholf, decided to create an album based around a 1951 illustrated guide to sea life, titled The Sea Around Us. The album itself, In The Dream of the Sea Life, was released in 2009 and incorporates sound recordings of the ocean from trips to Italy and the Philippines.
The musicians’ fascination with the complex intricacies and mysterious patterns inherent within nature are well reflected in the construction of the album. They state their intention to create “…the sound of the ocean, very simple,” and offer a beautiful take on that endeavor.  Hidden Land, the follow up to In The Dream of the Sea Life, will be released on August 3rd.  Hover and Bertholf, along with a group of friends who help translate their lush creations to stage, are touring the West Coast  through September in support of the new album.  Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the ocean come to life.

Candy Claws LIVE!!!

July 29 – Crepe Place w/ Pepper Rabbit – Santa Cruz, CA
July 30 – Spaceland w/ Pepper Rabbit – Los Angeles, CA
July 31 – Beauty Bar w/ Pepper Rabbit – Las Vegas, NV
Aug 2 – Velour w/ Desert Noises, The Apache – Provo, UT
Aug 6 – “Hidden Lands” Release @ Hi Dive w/ Vitamins – Denver, CO
Aug 8 – “Hidden Lands” Release @ Art Lab w/ Gobble Gobble, M Pyres, Kites Sail High – Fort Collins, CO
Aug 21 – Bohemian Nights @ New West Fest – Fort Collins, CO
Sept 1 – The Foundation w/ Magic Kids – Lubbock, TX
Sept 3 – Trunkspace w/ Magic Kids, Titus Andronicus – Phoenix, AZ
Sept 5 – Bottom of the Hill w/ Magic Kids – San Francisco, CA
Sept 8 – The Media Club w/ Magic Kids – Vancouver, British Columbia
Sept 9 – The Vera Project w/ Magic Kids – Seattle, WA
Sept 10 – Backspace @ Music Fest Northwest w/ Abe Vigoda – Portland, OR
Sept 11 – Visual Arts Collective w/ Magic Kids – Garden City, ID
Sept 13 – Kilby Court w/ Magic Kids, The Mynabirds – Salt Lake City, UT
Sept 14 – Hi Dive w/ Magic Kids – Denver, CO
Sept 16 – Replay Lounge w/ Magic Kids – Lawrence, KS
Sept 17 – Hi Tone Café w/ Magic Kids – Memphis, TN
Sept 18 – Muse Music w/ The Very Most and Adam & Darcie – Provo, UT
Sept 24 – Pygmalion Music Festival – Champaign-Urbana, IL
Sept 25 – Midpoint Music Festival – Cincinnati, OH

Brooklyn’s Yeasayer have a sound that they describe on Myspace as “Enya with bounce.” I would argue that they’re low-balling themselves a bit, having impressively translated their experimental sound from the raw, earthy qualities of 2007’s All Hour Cymbals to smooth-tongued dance beat rhythms on this year’s Odd Blood. Released in February through Secretly Canadian, the successful reinvention on their new record proved Yeasayer’s musical mettle as they passed the dreaded sophomore album test with flying colors. Many talented artists struggle with their second release as it presents a distinct challenge: further define your established identity while offering fresh material. On Odd Blood, with its distinct ‘80’s influence, pop vocals and crisp polish, band members Anand Wilder, Chris Keating and Ira Wolf Tuton deliver a timely makeover of their already inventive sound.

The band has had several unique performance opportunities. 2008 found them supporting Beck in concert, touring with such heavy hitters as MGMT, and playing live in the Paris metro for one of La Blogotheque’s “The Take-Away Shows”.  2009 brought a lull in their live action as they worked to finish Odd Blood, but this winter they were busy promoting the finished product throughout Europe before completing an exhaustive list of U.S. venues in the spring. These hard-working musicians are back in action with a fall tour including Australia, the UK, and a select group of U.S. dates. Hopefully,  they will land a show in your neck of the woods.

Yeasayer LIVE!!!

July 28 – Metro – Sydney, Australia
July 29 – Prince of Wales – Melbourne, Australia
July 30 – Splendour In The Grass – Brisbane, Australia
Aug 1 – FujiRock Festival – Niigata, Japan
Aug 12 – Oya Festival – Oslo, Norway
Aug 14 – Haldern Festival – Haldern, Germany
Aug 15 – Sziget Festival – Budpest, Hungary
Aug 16 – Lucerna Music Festival – Prague, Czech Republic
Aug 18 – Rocking Chair – Vevey, Switzerland
Aug 20 – Frequency Festival – St. Polten Green Park, Austria
Aug 21 – Pukkelpop – Hasselt-Kiewit, Belgium
Aug 22 – Lowlands Festival – Biddinghuizen, Netherlands
Aug 23 – Doornroosje – Nijmegen, Netherlands
Aug 24 – Wedgewood Rooms – Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Aug 25 – Slade Room – Wolverhampton, United Kingdom
Aug 27 – Reading Festival – Reading, United Kingdom
Aug 29 – Leeds Festival – Leeds, United Kingdom
Sept 28 – Mr. Smalls Theatre – Millvale, PA
Sept 29 – Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH
Sept 30 – Bluebird Nightclub – Bloomington, IN
Oct 1 – Cannery Ballroom – Nashville, TN
Oct 2 – Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
Oct 3 – Trustee Theatre – Savannah, GA
Oct 4 – State Theatre – St. Petersburg, FL
Oct 5 – The Fillmore at Jackie Gleason – Miami, FL
Oct 7 – Club Firestone – Orlando, FL
Oct 8 – Union Green – Tallahassee, FL
Oct 9 – House of Blues – New Orleans, LA
Oct 10 – Austin City Limits Festival – Austin, TX

– Britt Sondreal


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