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Introducing… Eyelids OR

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Introducing… Eyelids OR

Posted on 25 January 2017 by Dorian

We’re not really introducing Eyelids OR (or just Eyelids in their homeland) as we have been going on about the band for some time.

We reviewed their debut album 854 back in 2014, and we’ve been raving about their subsequent single releases ever since.

However the band have just announced their first ever UK dates, supporting Drive-By Truckers, so it seemed to be the perfect time to catch up with the band’s songwriters, Chris Slusarenko and John Moen, to find out a bit more about the band.

You have been playing together for years. How did you meet?

JOHN: Chris and I met as young guys playing music in Portland. I moved to town in 1986 just after graduating from high school. Our bands played together here and there, but I especially remember being introduced by the cartoonist, Joe Sacco at a cafe. We were both skinnier then. I was bleaching my hair to stand out, and Chris wore a beret. I think we were both carrying satchels full of poetry.

Why Eyelids? (and how do you come up with band names? How do you top Death Midget?)

CHRIS: Well Death Midget was born out of innocence and teenage years. Plus it was the era of Butthole Surfers, Killdozer… So it fit our mess. To tell you the truth I’ve rarely got to name a band I’ve been in and I always thought Guided By Voices was one of the greatest band names of all time so it was special to be part of that. But names are tough… Eyelids (with an Or attached for our home state of Oregon—blessed on us via Tim Burgess of The Charlatans UK) just seemed to sound like our music a bit. A bit hazy, a bit eye-opening… It so weird when I stop to think about the word “eyelids” it just starts to fold in on itself… Once you’re the name you rarely stop to think of what it means anymore… it just becomes you.

Eyelids

You’ve both been in the background in some great bands, How do you feel about being the front-men?

JOHN: I think it’s terrifying, but it’s also kind of hard to resist. It seems there’s a fine line between “rocking-out” and looking like you’re about to die. Chris does most of the talking, thank goodness.

CHRIS: I can’t help the banter!!! Singing with Jonathan and John is easy–they come up with great ideas and I’m always surprised to hear harmonies. All my earlier bands never had them!!! Argh…so nice to have finally! And since John and myself both sing and write the songs it’s a nice back and forth between us live as well. I do like to rock out and look like I’m going to die so I’ll take that position for the band…everyone else can look cool. I’ll sweat it out…!

I first came across you from your work with Robert Pollard in Boston Spaceships. He’s a ten album a year kind of guy. How do you keep up? (Both in the recording and the drinking)

CHRIS: Well you just gladly jump in. Part of Bob’s work ethic definitely had an effect on John and myself and was the reason that we both realized we worked really well together. Since Bob would send us a cassette of him singing and playing guitar John and myself had to quickly help create the album he wanted (knowing full well there was another EP or LP or double LP breathing down your neck right behind it). I really wanted to go back to way early GBV worked. Not letting the “band” know the song very well and just get inspired takes before over thinking it. That has kind of flowed over into Eyelids where often the first ideas we play over someone else’s song tend to be the ones we use. Just letting your mind and fingers drift… none of us are what you’d call smoking guitar players but we do love our riffs and hooks. As many as we can pile on we will. And in terms of releases with the upcoming RSD 7” we’re doing with Gary of the Cribs singing lead and the full length in May that will be 5 7”s, a 12” Ep, and 2 full lengths in under 3 years… not too shabby. And we have 4 songs already finished for our next EP as well.

854 was one of our favourite albums of 2015 (and 2016 when it came out in the UK). How do you follow that on your second album?

CHRIS: This is actually the only second album I’ve ever made that I’ve been a principal songwriter in besides The Takeovers albums I did with Bob (Chris performed and wrote all the music, Robert Pollard sang and wrote lyrics). So it’s kind of abstract to think about what a 2nd album means for us. The first album was made with John, Jonathan and myself as a recording project/dare. But after we put a full band together to play the songs live a different character came into it as well. The EP we did after 854 reflects that pretty well. It rocks a little more but still has that weepy quality that I like. The new album was the first one where all 5 of us were there from the beginning and it was pretty exciting to hear that. For example I was playing a new song to everyone called “Moony”. It’s kind of a pretty looping type feel. But then John and Jonathan started adding this cool Television type interplay and Paulie and Jim were playing this XTC Black Sea area drumbeat and I was so happy. My simple little phrase all the sudden had an unexpected life pumped into it.

Peter Buck is producing for you, how did you come to work with him?

JOHN: Peter moved to Portland several years ago, and he is very generous with his time and talents. We are connected through Scott McCaughey who played in REM, and was instrumental in helping my first recording/touring band, Dharma Bums. Scott produced that bands first record and encouraged us in many ways. Peter has played guitar on a Decemberists record, as well, and he would come into Chris’s video store fairly often, where they got to know one another. Also, Chris was pretty heavy into the REM fan club in the old days. I believe he and Peter corresponded. All that to say, we are huge fans and we had to ask him to produce!

CHRIS: Yeah I wrote to R.E.M. right before Murmur was released and Peter was kind enough to write back. We wrote back and forth about 3 years after that. They’d send me reject photos, weird old posters, chronic town t-shirts that were bootlegs. Very generous. He told me they always wrote to anyone where the hadn’t played yet figuring someone in NY or Chicago would find their way. But at the time they were thinking “what the hell is Portland?” Then we re-connected as adults and it’s been a great friendship. And in terms of producing you really want to do well when he’s in the room! No waste ya know!!! He’s got great ideas and he’s been great to work with.

You also have a Record Store Day release with Gary Jarman of The Cribs on vocals, how did you come to pick him for the track?

CHRIS: I’d written some music for Robert Pollard to sing over called The Carbon Whales. It was a fake UK Post-Punk band—like a lost EP that he released. Gary heard it and said it was so convincing and true to the spirit of the original era—he loved it. So when we wanted to do another Record Store Day 7” I wanted to do something that would stand alone. So many RSD releases these days are live tracks or reissues. I wanted something that was made specifically for this event. So we thought it would be cool to have a Gary and his intense Wakefield accent sing lead on both tracks. He’s got such an amazing voice and delivery. It was perfect. I wrote the songs as I would have when I was 17. Kind of innocent but full of confidence. The lyrics I banged out really quick too. Then we all just played on it and had Gary come in and it became a real thing. The 7” is called Eyelids Meet Gary Jarman.

Eyelids Live

Your dates with Drive-By Truckers are your first gigs in the UK. What should we expect from an Eyelids live show?

JOHN: Jet lagged American imperialists, of course! Ha. We are a rock band trying to play pretty… Sounds terrible, right? I really don’t know… I’m sure we will be a bit giddy to be playing with the Truckers(amazing!) in such killer venues. As a band, I think we are good at enjoying the moment together, and that energy( along with the songs that we are quite proud of) translates as a good time to those watching and listening.

CHRIS: I never get tired of playing out and to finally get to play these songs overseas will be incredible. Live I think we’re pretty kick ass so hopefully people will be ready for the songs to be amped up a bit. Pretty and loud. Also I’m a total anglophile in terms of music, film, books… For instance we’re doing an in-store at Rough Trade Records and to me as someone all the way over here on the West Coast of the U.S. it still makes me flutter my eyelids… can’t help it…

If you had to sell Eyelids to someone who had never heard you play before, how would you describe the band?

JOHN: I often dream of not being a salesperson… but, if cornered, I would say that we are a melodic rock band that wouldn’t mind being thought of as an (inclusive) art project. We are strong enough that your weird uncle won’t think we suck, but are soft enough to remind you of that rare house cat that will allow you to stroke its belly. There you go.

CHRIS: What he said.

Chris and John were interviewed by Dorian Rogers

Tickets for the band’s shows with Drive-By Truckers are available here.

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Introducing… The Android Angel

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Introducing… The Android Angel

Posted on 04 February 2013 by Dorian

Who are they?
The Android Angel is one of the two musical projects of multi-instrumentalist Paul Coltofeanu from Surrey, UK. The other is the acclaimed, surreal pop-fantasy of Free Swim (As heard on Radio 1, 6music and at our gig last February).

The Android Angel

What do they sound like?
He cites Sparklehorse, Beck, Eels, Brolin, Spiritualized and Air, but let’s see what BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson has to say about them:

“Reigate’s most musical son – the startlingly talented and prolific Paul Coltofeanu. Not content with the ever growing success of Free Swim he returns here to his alternative persona as The Android Angel to charm the pants off readers this weekend with this cheeky slice of twee electropop.

It seems to me that Paul’s increasingly assured approach to musicmaking depends partly on a whimsical approach and exceedingly light touch so that he never appears to be taking the importance of his work too earnestly.

Yet also on a real seriousness of execution so that his songs and recordings are all quietly crafted to perfection. Here is an artist to watch in 2013 because – to coin a cliche – whatever he comes up with next, you can always expect the unexpected.”

Or you could take a listen to the brand new track ‘Her Shoulders’ that was released on Soundcloud this morning. Hot off the press.

What have they got to say for themselves?
“‘Chicago John’ & ‘Her Shoulders’ are taken from the Lie Back and Think of England LP, out later this year on Sex Farm Records (R1 Huw Stephens’ “Label of Love” 07/12).

Written during summer 2011 while volunteering on a farm in the Romanian mountains, on a Water Buffalo reserve in the Ukraine, sat on the banks of Varosliget Lake in Budapest and in the squares and parks of Berlin, I spent the following year recording the album in the downtime between writing and touring the first four Free Swim EPs.

The unique story of the album’s creation, and the eclectic, melodic, experimental music thereon ensure that it promises to be quite unlike anything else released in 2013.”

What releases should you look out for?
“Lie Back and Think of England” LP out 2013. Selected tracks previewing at soundcloud.com/theandroidangel

Where can I find out more?
Take your pick from any of these online sources below:

soundcloud.com/theandroidangel
facebook.com/theandroidangel
twitter.com/theandroidangel
theandroidangel.bandcamp.com
androidangel.blogspot.co.uk

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Introducing… Fighting Kites

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Introducing… Fighting Kites

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Dorian

Who are they?
Fighting Kites are a well-meaning shadow rock band from the British Isles with a secret desire to let loose and cut some rug. After five years creating musical levitations in a three-legged dog refuge, they now reached an unspeakable climax and release their debut album on Variant Records.

Fighting Kites

What do they sound like?
Imagine if early Soft Machine played the music of the Shadows with nothing but good intentions and the shy hope the listener might shake a limb or two.

What have they got to say for themselves?
Little bits and bats really, nothing of great importance. On stage they keep the talking to a minimum and only utter brief syllables to one another backstage when it’s absolutely essential. They don’t let themselves get carried away. No, there’s not really too much to report here, just good intentions and a terrible desire that someone will like them.

What releases should you look out for?
As it happens, their debut album is out now on Variant Records and it’s a curious little one. It took them two years to make and at times the process felt like (their words) “trying to step dance in two feet of mud”. You can look out for that if you like. Other than that, you can also look out for the inspirational ‘Split’ ep, on Audio Antihero, which apparently took two minutes to make and felt like (their words again) “step dancing in a field of dreams”!

Where can I find out more?
Best to visit their Bandcamp page to give them a listen.

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Introducing… Jack Hayter

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Introducing… Jack Hayter

Posted on 04 April 2012 by Dorian

Our Introducing section is usually reserved for new acts, but on this occasion we are devoting the space to someone who, from their time in Hefner, we have known for many years. However, after a nine year musical hiatus (between 2002 and 2011) he is back actively releasing new records. So consider this a reintroduction to Jack Hayter, in his own words.

Where is he from? “I assume the question relates to me not the songs. Originally from Devon via Liverpool. I have lived in that tiny part of London called Hither Green…more specifically that part called ‘Further Green’ for a long time now. Hither Green is famous for not much but train disasters and a very large crematorium. Also the place where, like me,  Spike Milligan learned to play the steel guitar. If the question was about the songs then I could tell you but its complicated.”

Who is he? “I am Jack Hayter. I write songs and play things with strings and old music software. I found myself by accident in a band called Hefner a long time ago and I have have been in two other good bands Spongefinger and Dollboy; mostly playing pedal steel guitar and other things with strings on. I put an album out called “Practical Wireless” on Absolutely Kosher records about 10 years ago, then got on with other things. I have been a motorcycle courier, a gardener a science teacher, a freelance computer network engineer and latterly a lucky person who trains the children of Thamesmead to edit video and create sounds. A couple of years ago I had a nasty heart attack and, shortly after that, Jamie Halliday of the Audio Antihero label contacted me and frogmarched me with prejudice into releasing an EP called Sucky Tart. I have not made him richer.”

Jack Hayter

What does he sound like? “Ramshackle folk songs with bits. I’m not very good at assigning labels to music. I guess what makes a folk-song is not the instrumentation or the sound..more that it evokes a time and a place and tells a story. Thats what I try to do anyway. It doesn’t always work but I hope that the songs don’t sound mumford (with a small ‘m’ of course). In truth I really can’t sing. I have always had a bit of a complex about that since I was chucked out of the Okehampton School choir at the inaugural rehearsal when I was twelve. My pitching is so bad that even autotune can’t cope (well of course I tried it wouldn’t you!). So until someone comes along who wants to sing these you’ll have to put up with me doing it.”

What has he got to say for himself? “I have always found that way of posing that particular question semantically intriguing. If I say something “for myself” that implies that it is for my ears and not for others’ ears. I can think of quite a few home truths I might say to myself..some of them thoroughly disagreeable. Some sort of neural feedback loop might result in a rock’nroll exploding head so its best that I keep my own counsel from myself.”

What releases should you look out for? “Every month for a year from this April there will be a digital release on the Audio Antihero label. The series is called “The Sisters Of St Anthony”. He is the patron saint of lost things (or the Lost). The first in the series is “The Shackleton” which is about a phantom teenage pregnancy during the latter stages of the Cold War. The Avro-Shackleton was plane that was used to search for Russian submarines. It made a most distinctive sound. The other songs in the series will be mostly about lost people or lost possessions.”

To find out more go to www.jackhayter.com and to listen to (or subscribe to) The Sisters Of St. Anthony visit http://audioantihero.bandcamp.com/album/the-sisters-of-st-anthony-subscription-series.

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Introducing… Hysterical Injury

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Introducing… Hysterical Injury

Posted on 28 February 2012 by Joe

Where are they from? Bristol and Bath, via Glasgow and Llandeilo.

Who are they? Vocalist and bass player Annie Gardiner and her brother Tom, the drummer.

What do they sound like? As a self confessed “noise-pop” band they have been compared to among others The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana and Sonic Youth. They have even been compared to Donna Summer, Kate Bush and Laura Marling by some reviewers, who the band admit maybe “getting a bit carried away, but we’ll take it.”

What have they got to say for themselves?  Annie tells us that rock and roll “is good for your health, and it keeps you in tune with your time on the earth,” while Tom can talk for England about his drumming influences including the likes of “Chad Smith of the Chilli Peppers, Brad Wilk of Rage Against the Machine and Jimmy Chamberlain from Smashing Pumpkins.” Among his more recent influences are Battles’ John Stanier, one of Neonfiller.com’s current favourites as well.

What releases should you look out for? Their debut album Dead Wolf Situation was released early in 2012. They have also released two EPs, Our Lives are a Futuristic Nightmare and a self-titled EP. They have plans to release some split singles with other bands in the near future including The Big Naturals.

Where can I find out more? Visit their website here.

By Joe Lepper, pic credit: Jamie Worsfold

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Introducing…Unicorn Power

Introducing…Unicorn Power

Posted on 27 January 2012 by Joe

Where are they from? Brighton, UK

Who are they? This three piece started with Scott Pitkethly (vocals, guitar, synths)  and Annalise Vineer (vocals, bass, synths) and have since been joined by Dion Lay (guitar)

What do they sound like?  The band are heavily influenced by synth pop pioneers such as David Bowie and Roxy Music  as well as Kate Bush. For our money they sound a little like Disco Inferno as well and fans of their experimental pop from the early 1990s will find a lot to like in Unicorn Power. The blog Louder than War, which named them one of their top 50 bands of 2012 describes them as “quirky, high IQ cut and paste freak disco”. The band thankfully tell us they have no idea what that means.

What have they got to say for themselves? Pitkethly says: “Essentially we like anyone who can combine guitars with some squelchy synth – from early British synthpop like The Normal and John Foxx to contemporary stuff like LCD Soundsystem and Crystal Castles.

“We formed as an outlet for my growing interest in music production. Most of our songs are driven by an urge to dance around on stage and encourage the audience to join in. We’re into the whole DIY thing, we record and produce everything ourselves, make our own videos and CD packaging, and even our own electronic instruments.”

What releases should I look out for? The bands End of Fairytales EP is now available for free downloand from their bandcamp page. A new EP will be out in the Spring  2012 and they are set to appear on a compilation by Swedish label Substream later this year.

Where can I find out more? Visit their bandcamp page here or their homepage here.

  by Joe Lepper

 

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Introducing…Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love

Introducing…Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love

Posted on 21 September 2010 by Joe

Continuing our regular look at unsigned/emerging talent.

Where are they from? UK

Who are they? Kelly Dyson, Ellis Dyson, Chris Robinson, Hugo Edwardes.

What do they sound like? Two words spring to mind when listening to the improbably titled Low, Low, Low, La, La, La, Love, Love, Love, ‘folk’ and ‘experimental’. While at its heart their music appears soft and folk guitar based there’s an edge as well. The industrial feedback at the beginning and interspersed in the track, ‘Flower in the Mind’, from their current album Feels, Feathers, Bog and Bees, shows that they are more than just a bunch of finger-picking folksters. There’s a clear melancholy to the music, which is unsurprising given their influences include Elliot Smith and Neutral Milk Hotel.

What have they got to say for themselves? According to a recent PR release: “Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love is an every evolving UK based outfit, Over six years and through a shifting construct they’ve employed varied approaches to writing and recording. But amidst the changes, some constants have remained; a stark lyricism, thoughtful arrangements and complementary, harmonic vocals, which glimmer and tremble throughout.”

What releases/tracks should I look out for? Former Fridge member Adem, whose recent album Takes offers some of the most sublime covers around, was the producer of the Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love’s latest album Feels, Feathers, Bog and Bees. This was released earlier this autumn on Other Electricities and features the band’s trademark experimental folk pop.

Where can I find out more? http://www.myspace.com/lowlalove

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Introducing…A Genuine Freakshow

Posted on 21 September 2010 by Joe

Continuing our look at unsigned, emerging bands

Where are they from? UK

Who are they? Timothy Sutcliffe – Vocals & Guitar,Jack Bryant – Drums, Marianne Casey Canning – Violin, Melanie Dickson – Cello, John Dunstan – Trumpet, Simon Evans – Guitar and John Szmidt – Bass.

What do they sound like? There is a quirky Englishness to this seven piece’s take on epic indie-pop. Among their influences are Sigur Ros and Radiohead, and it shows. There’s lots of sweeping orchestral flourishes, but at its core the sound is indie-pop. For our money A Genuine Freakshow, who formed in 2007, sound most like US act Ra Ra Riot, in the way they delight in bringing instruments such as cello and violin to the fore.

What have they got to say for themselves? On their Myspace page they describe their music as “born of their broad range of influences from Elbow and Radiohead to Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky are accompanied by lush orchestral arrangements and the sincere falsetto vocals of Timothy Sutcliffe. This gives the music they create a blend of classic pop with unpredictable structures and epic climaxes reminiscent of Arcade Fire, Mew, and Sigur Ros.”

What releases/tracks should I look out for? Later this year (2009) they plan to release their first album Oftentimes and have previously issued a number of self-released singles including ‘We Are The Undercurrents’ and ‘Holding Hearts’. They are offering a free/pay what you like digital EP of some of their tracks, including ‘We Are The Undercurrents’ on their website.

Where can I find out more? http://www.agenuinefreakshow.com

by Joe Lepper, Aug 2009

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Introducing…Stagecoach

Posted on 21 September 2010 by Joe

Continuing our regular look at unsigned bands.

Where are they from? The Surrey Mountains, UK

Who are they? Luke – sings, six strings; Nick – six strings; John – four strings; Matt – drums, sings; Tom – eight strings, sings.

What do they sound like? “Grot Pop for BMX Kids” they say. Think a 90s alt-pop revival and you won’t be far away. The hooks are strong and the energy is infectious. The band have already been heard by millions after featuring on the soundtrack of Skins and Party Animals (on BBC 2) and enjoyed support slots with several bands including Phoenix and The Wombats.

What have they got to say for themselves? “We’re a band from various villages in the Surrey hills. We started off as a 2 piece and added a new member every year until we felt we could comfortably rock a stadium. I guess we formed the band because we’re no good at sports and don’t have any other hobbies apart from maybe skimming stones. We wanted to make country music but things evolved around the time we rediscovered our tape collections from 1993. The songs are about the usual stuff, hot dogs, cars and girls.”

What releases/tracks should I look out for? Currently promoting their first proper release, the We Got Tazers! EP, through Alcopop records. There are plans for a limited-edition Christmas release of some acoustic songs and a follow-up EP, along with a tour, early in 2010.

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Introducing…The Mojo Fins

Posted on 21 September 2010 by Joe

Introducing….

Introducing…. continuing our new regular feature looking at some of the exciting acts around that you may not have heard of (yet).

Where are they from? Brighton, UK

Who are they? Stephen Brett – Vocals and guitar, Steve Hoile – Bass, keys, glockenspiel and vocals, Adam Luke Atkins – Guitar and vocals, Dave Russell – Drums and percussion

What do they sound like? “Elliott Smith, Tortoise and The Shins in a brown bread sandwich.” is how they describe their sound, and it is a pretty good summary. They are as strong on melodies and harmonies as that description would suggest.

What have they got to say for themselves? The last couple of years have been busy. The Mojos recorded and self-produced their first album – ‘The Sound That I Still Hear’, and then worked on acoustic versions of many songs off the album, consequently filming a live performance (available on iTunes and viewable on YouTube). At the start of 2009, they achieved a top ten place in the Q Music Emerging Talent competition and, in the summer, played Glastonbury (what a joy!). This year will be finished in style with a headline slot at the Pavilion Theatre in Brighton on Saturday November 28th. Meanwhile, the band has been patiently working on material for album no.2, which they hope to start recording in early 2010.

What releases/tracks should I look out for? The bands debut album The Sound That I Still Here is available now along with the singles ‘Always Now’, ‘In the Script’ and ‘Pinata Face’. ‘Meet Me At The Pictures’ will be released in January 2010. All Releases are available on Amazon and iTunes.

Where can I find out more? www.themojofins.com www.myspace.com/themojofins

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