Biscuits, Triscuits…


The Sundelles and Sticklips
September 7, 2010, 6:41 pm
Filed under: Deli Magazine Articles

Here are some clippings from the most recent Deli Magazine!

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Deli’s Best of NYC 2010 issue!
April 30, 2010, 5:35 pm
Filed under: Deli Magazine Articles

These articles were published in the most recent Deli Magazine, which was the Best of NYC 2010 issue:

www.myspace.com/glass1ghost

www.myspace.com/airwavesmusic

www.myspace.com/xenoandoaklander



City Center Soundbite on Deli Website
January 30, 2010, 1:47 pm
Filed under: Deli Magazine Articles, Uncategorized

This was posted on the Deli site! Find link here!

City Center

plugged in, ready to break out
by Lauren Piper

City Center formed in 2007 as the side project of Fred Thomas and Ryan Howard of Saturday Looks Good to Me. After just dabbling and recording over the past couple years, the duo recently released their self-titled full-length City Center. The album is beautifully diverse and swims with sound and experimental electronic loveliness. With brief guest appearances by Mary Pearson from High Places, other friends, as well as tons of sampling, City Center takes sounds that would typically be dubbed as noise or strange and makes something so much more fluid and meaningful. Their raw textures and busy electronic orchestration creates a watery, floating feeling and the vocals are clear, yet soft and blisteringly sweet with harmonies. The duo also has a really entertaining blog, which is apparently how the whole band began in the first place.

City Center
Self Titled

listen to “Various Tracks”
www.myspace.com/citycenternyc

What is the history of the blog?
The band basically started as the blog. The project was mostly Fred being broke, bored and lonely in New York with nothing to do except record jams in his bedroom and then post mp3s for the hell of it, trying to reach out in some way. It was a sort of therapeutic thing that grew into an actual band.

What was the motivation behind forming City Center?
City Center rose out of the time-honored scenario of living in New York and not being able to pay rent on a practice space, so switching from traditional rock instrumentation to headphone-based/created music. At this point it’s almost a cliche, but a combination of being frustrated with the typical means of producing guitar-bass-drums music and a more isolated/cloistered creative existence were the jumping off points. We also had an eye-opening experience when our old rock band toured with The Blow and High Places. We opened up every night with two drummers and tons of guitars feeling boring and played out, like a bad Allman Brothers or something. That was right around the time things started to change in our heads.

What is your live show like?
The live show is always a little more sprawling and exploratory than the recordings. Our records lean a little more towards soft washy pop songs, where as live we prefer to jump around and rage a little. It’s basically just the two of us standing in front of identical samplers and mixers, so we get bored and start going crazy, freaking out in a gentle, fun way.

What instruments/sounds/experimentations were used for your self-titled album?
The entire album was made with a Roland SP404 sampler and an acoustic guitar. There are a lot of samples of field recordings and some older songs, but it’s mostly just guitar, voice and samples manipulated by the 404. A few friends helped us out on it. We made around 50 songs and kinda distilled them down to their best elements and threw all the rest away.

Collaboratively what are your top five favorite songs right now?
We always go nuts on the production and disposable nature of pop radio. For instance, recent amazements include: 1.Keri Hilson featuring Kanye West & Ne-Yo &quotKnock You Down” 2.Black Eyed Peas &quotI Gotta Feeling” 3.Li’l Wayne featuring Young Money &quotEvery Girl” 4.Hurricane Chris featuring Superstarr &quotHalle Berry (She’s Fine)” 5.Beyonce &quotEgo”



Posted in the Deli Blog
August 9, 2009, 12:09 pm
Filed under: Deli Magazine Articles

Picture 1

can be found here as well: http://thedelimagazine.com/nyc/index-new.php?name=thedeli&itemId=220319&mode=comments#comments



Crystal Stilts Deli Cover
June 15, 2009, 9:51 pm
Filed under: Deli Magazine Articles

I wrote this article for the Deli and it was a combination cover along with another article I co-wrote with the editor about the DIY scene in East Williamsburg. Parts of this were extremely edited, like the first paragraph, but I still think it portrays what I was trying to say for the most part. Can be found here: http://www.thedelimagazine.com/FeatureView.php?artist=crystalstilts

Crystal Stilts
nyc’s newest gem
by Lauren Piper

Lo-fi recordings and monotone vocals. Joy Division. At this point, it’s more formula than familiarity. With their debut full-length “Alight of Night” in tow, Crystal Stilts have emerged to win over your cynical little heart.

Guitarist JB Townsend and vocalist Brad Hargett met in Florida in 2003 and sat on their vampire lullabies for years until their move to New York allowed the erstwhile Sunshine-staters to put together the right line-up to execute their vision. What began as jam sessions once a week became three singles, as Townsend recalls: “A friend of ours would peak his head in, he started playing guitar and making noises with us and offered to record us.” These recordings would later be re-vamped for their recently released full-length. Last year, the band acquired a host of new members, including a bubbly drummer Miss Frankie Rose, Andy Adler on bass and part-time organ player Kyle Forrester (Ladybug Transistor). Having played a lot of shows both in town and out, including gigs with Chairlift and Cause co-Motion, the current lineup is starting to make waves with their jangly, dark, surf-rock influenced tunes.

The band is also reclusive, stealing away to write and re-work songs they have watched grow over time, and saving little time to converse with journalists. Regarding their live show, Frankie Rose admits over the phone: “We are notorious for just standing there and being incredibly aloof.” It’s almost endearing how the band’s sole focus seems to be simply crafting beautiful music. “I don’t think it’s for lack of not wanting to be there, I think it’s being nervous. We aren’t going to bounce around on stage, if people like the songs then they’ll keep coming, and that’s just our philosophy on the live show,” adds Miss Rose.

Despite the seeming disinterest that comes with being engulfed in their music, Crystal Stilts does get excited and is pumped for what is next. Townsend rambled off a list of what comes next: “We are excited about going on a west coast tour with Cause Co-motion, we are excited for the LP to come out on a label we really like and to go to Europe hopefully in the next year. We’re excited to start to record our next LP, get that going.” There is lots of excitement in their future, and a plan for change, which is always good for a growing band.

Townsend mentions for the upcoming LP, “The songs are a little more poppy, in terms of Sixties pop, a little bit less Eighties, maybe a little bit of both.” Though the direction of the next album is still up in the air, it’s a promising sign that Crystal Stilts do not plan on riding the wave of trying to record exactly what they did before.  As Townsend states, “I like the idea of not repeating a certain idea this album has clear references.”

While Crystal Stilts did not provide me with the most titillating interview, it felt as though they didn’t have to.  The album gives way to their true thoughts and feelings on music and their influences.  Though the echo of Ian Curtis’ vocals is present in their sound, so are chugging, 60’s pop drums, and distorted guitar, as well surf elements that dance their way in and out of the record. There is a warm and calming quality that gives one the idea that this music is who they are, and really, they don’t need to say a thing.

In the end, you tumble willingly into their trap, soon falling in love with the staggered instrumentals and booming vocals that you were so skeptical about in the first place. And when one sees the time Crystal Stilts spends perfecting their sound, it is completely worth the effort of getting to know them.



Apes and Androids Deli Cover
June 15, 2009, 9:46 pm
Filed under: Deli Magazine Articles

I have a lot of published writing with The Deli Magazine and some of it was also put online.  

Here is my Apes and Androids Cover story for the magazine. Can also be found here: http://www.thedelimagazine.com/FeatureView.php?artist=apesandandroids2

 

 
Apes and Androids
dance-rock for space creatures
bLauren Piper

 

When first meeting David Tobias and Brian Jacobs, it’s a little hard to visualize them decked out in makeup and costumes pouring their hearts out in the form of rowdy, exciting synth-rock. It’s not impossible, but their friendly demeanors and an almost shyness about them prove that there is more to Apes and Androids than the exhibitionist desire to dress up, crowd the stage with backup dancers, and rock out under blaring lights. As they become more comfortable talking though, it’s a little easier to see how they could transition into their stage characters as they give lessons on men’s bathroom etiquette and why it’s not ok to stand next to another man peeing. 

Jacobs and Tobias, friends and bandmates since grade school, are so mentally intertwined with each other, that an interview with the both of them would seem almost unnecessary were it not for the amusing banter and tight knit brotherhood that the two emit. Both guitarists and singers, they admit that the band truly took shape when their other members joined the lineup but that the songwriting dynamic the two of them share is pretty much the same as it was when they were making music as kids. 

When asked if they have changed much since they first became friends, David asks,” You mean like hating girls?” and adds, “We’re surprisingly similar, we’re into more mature things, … we still make music together and we still have a similar process.” He then jokes, “I’m still better at guitar than Brian…” Brian laughs and says, “We had different heroes then.” They discuss the transition from what they had then to what they are now going for, from interests in Bono, Pearl Jam and a lot of early nineties radio rock to more progressive music like Pavement and other indie-rock artists. Currently the two spend their time listening to a lot of their friends’ bands as well as oldies like the Beatles and the Byrds. Brian also jokes that he only listens to all the NOW: That’s What I Call Music records for inspiration and for fun.

Though they have always been a twosome, the modesty and thankfulness with which they speak of the other musicians that make up Apes and Androids is a sign that their family opens up to allow other talented musicians into the circle. And so the band exists as of now, as a six-piece with keys, bass, drums, percussion and two guitars, exuding a confidence and sassiness as a band that only primates and robots could. Most of the songs are recorded in the studio, and they joke (maybe) about their recording process involving shutting off all the lights, boarding up the windows and nursing a bottle of Jim Beam. If that is their method, perhaps everyone should try it.

The group has gotten tons of hype for their over the top live shows which involve shiny outfits, sparkly makeup, cheerleaders, and giant skeleton heads on stage. The most amusing part is that this concept was not something that was originally conceived with the band but more so just something they all randomly decided to do one day, in unison. Since then it has stuck and become more elaborate each time. 

Though their on-stage antics get a lot of attention, Apes and Androids wants to be and definitely is more than just another gimmicky band. Their musical style came together as a culmination of Tobias’ and Jacobs’ tastes and evolved into something that is both high energy and outwardly experimental whereas their visual show came together as an example of their wackiness and enthusiasm towards their own music.

“I think that the approach we take to our sound obviously starts with music, but with the opportunity to do something with the space we have to build, we want to do it,” notes Jacobs, “The live show is the visual element you can see and touch and I think that with wearing makeup and stuff like that, the goal is to create an experience of course based on music, and we spend way more time on music than on the other stuff anyway.”

When you move past the performance aspects, and onto their recent debut self-recorded, self-release, Blood Moon, you see that this is where the band’s true characters are represented, not completely in the high-octane feeling of seeing them live. The album wavers between the upbeat, dance styles that they are getting recognition for, to a slower, more trippy, atmospheric sound that is surprisingly dynamic and inspiring. “Nights of the Week” seems to be the perfect example of their catchy, psych-electro beats combined with lucid bass lines and wandering keyboard parts. The song is able to capture their primal, instinctual quality mixed with the “android” within them. 

Experiencing the album gives light to the softer, more sensitive side of Apes and Androids, the ability to play with sound and shape in more than just a dance-rock way. Track 12 on the album, “Will I Live,” also expels a driving beat and a choral rock, Queen/Freddie Mercury sense of style to it, but breaks out into heavy drums and droning guitar. Towards the middle of the song it melts into strings and strumming guitar that meld Asian sounding styles with a more folk aspect. 
It is admirable to have the creativity to strive for more than just the norm but to fit into such a popular style of music. Both David and Brian know they are lucky for wanting to make this type of music, because it is what a lot of people want to hear and it has more than just the outwardly catchy qualities to it. The only thing they truly want is to be able to continue making music and they have stumbled into a niche that will help them do that for a while. 

David says, “We want the record to be widely available, which it’s not really right now, so we want people to hear it. And we want to play shows… we really want to play Europe and go out to LA. Right now our main goal is just to play a lot more shows.” 
The only struggle in the future that Apes and Androids may face would be losing a fan-base when they get tired of applying makeup and coming up with more concepts for their shows. Though the band doesn’t have any current intentions of changing their live show, they hope that their music can be appreciated for what it is, with or without the extra stage antics. Tobias comments, “I think our show ends up being impressive and different even if we don’t have make up on and confetti canons blasting into your face, so it still is a cool experience.” 

Until they reach that problem, the two will continue with Apes and Androids, coming up with absurd plots to both own matching Apes and Androids pimped out automobiles and discussing what their super powers and costumes would be (completely unrelated to the automobiles). They will also keep on eating sushi, which they refer to as power food before gigs to prevent from any unwanted bodily dysfunctions. After discussing the amazing powers of sushi and how they don’t go out after their shows, buy cheeseburgers and go home to play PS2, David laughs and adds, “No, we’re wild, we eat sushi.”



Deli CMJ Runner Blog
June 14, 2009, 7:55 pm
Filed under: Deli Magazine Articles

Here are the links to my Blog posts when I covered CMJ for the Deli Last year. I had to see 26 bands in 5 days. It was rough!

http://www.podnova.com/channel/407758/episode/527/

http://www.thedelimagazine.com/index.php?itemId=206424

http://www.thedelimagazine.com/index.php?itemId=206450

http://www.thedelimagazine.com/index.php?itemId=206486

http://www.thedelimagazine.com/index.php?itemId=206556