Few bands mean more to us than Plastic Inevitables. At some point in our history as a band together, we played a show at placed called the Underground. That’s when we first started to run into these three great guys. They were just these three young dudes in high school that came to their shows well dressed and had primary colors decidedly taped all over their equipment. At one point they told us that the way we handled ourselves on-stage inspired them to let go and move around more when they played, which to us was probably one of the coolest things we’d ever heard as a band. As the years have passed, we’ve watch the three of them grow up, go to college and get dramatically good at writing and playing songs. The coolest thing we’ve gotten to see though is the three of them growing incredibly close with each other as friends. It’s a strange but we’ve always felt that bands being friends before being band mates is crucial to writing good music. We like to think that this philosophy we ascribe to has rubbed off a bit on them :)
But enough of my yapping, I could write all day about how awesome these guys are.
Back in December, Plastic Inevitables released their third album “Loon” on Best Friend Records and had a CD release party at Rohs St Cafe to celebrate. So, we headed out to the show to watch them rock out and decided to film a short video of one of their performances. What we came up with was this:
This video is of their September short song Pairasouls, which is an awesome song. It should make it’s way into an album soon…
A lot has happened since the summer started. Tyler was away from home for a month, Chris had his first son, two of us went on a road trip to see Explosions in the Sky and I got a real person job teaching science to 9th graders at Milford High School. But before we let you all in on those wonderful details of our lives, we wanted to pick up with where we left off, the Crawford house show.
If you weren’t aware, we were presented with the interesting prospect of playing a stripped down house show for our good friends Ben Crawford and his family. If you’re interested in the story of how that came about, we have it well documented here.
Here’s a short performance of Gene from the show:
To us, the idea of the show was incredibly interesting; it availed us the rare opportunity of being able to answer questions about our music while forcing us into an uncomfortable situation, playing quiet enough to hear me sing without a microphone. Intentionally, we went into the show without a set list or any real rehearsal. We got together the day before to figure out how we could play quiet enough and left it at that. Our personal hope in all of this was that we’d be able to play our songs with sincerity, which is always our biggest battle.
Guy Picciotto of Fugazi once explained this struggle for sincerity well, “I want the sound to always be moving. When things start to get static, that’s when I get uncomfortable. Like what happened to hardcore, things get so ritualized they lose their power and aren’t dangerous anymore, they don’t excite or move people; they just become a tradition. For me it’s a life thing and if it’s going to be a life thing it’s got to be always moving forward.”
Neil Young has always expressed this same sentiment by asking the question “Has your band begun to rust?”
That’s what this show was for us, a de-ritualized performance to fight off the static; to shake of the rust.
The show went more than well. It was an intimate, impulsive performance that left us and our friends vulnerable and more able to empathize and be moved with each song. The best part of the night was watching the Crawford kids on the edge of their seats (rug) right up front singing every song with us. It was awesome; they asked questions and gave us incredible insight into the active mind of a kid listening to our songs.
In the end, this show has inspired us to seek out more ways to share our music with our listeners. To not just structure our performances in the context of: you come, you pay, you sit & you are entertained. It’s hard to figure out how exactly we’ll do this but it’s becoming more and more evident to us that it’s the next logical step in what we do. For the last three years we’ve learned how to be a band. Now it’s time for us to really figure out how to share that in the best way with others.
Last night we had the opportunity to support the Soil & the Sun on their current spring tour and I felt the need this afternoon to write at least a part of how I’ve been feeling about these guys.
But before I do, I need to make another mention. Another supporter for the night was an incredibly talented gentleman named Samuel Lockridge. We first crossed paths with this well-haired fellow a few years ago when a strange band called De La Cado from Lexington messaged us on myspace. The message read something like: we’re playing a show tonight at the Madfrog and all the bands ditched us … we know know one is coming to the show … wanna play? We said yes. And we agreed to play with suits on.
We decided a long time ago that we were going to play shows that we wanted to play, irregardless of whether or not it was a “smart move.” Because at the end of the day, we were friends and all we wanted to do was play our songs. It was sort of a tip of the hat to Ian Mackeye who always said that Fugazi was about being a band and engineering shows in a way that they and other people were comfortable with. Not to break into the right crowd; not to attract label attention; not to impress anyone. As a result, they had fun and loved what they were doing. There’s some great film of them playing for a handful of prison inmates in a big empty room. Those are the best shows, and this show we played at the Madfrog was one of ours.
The audience for that night was basically us, De La Cado, a strangely happy guy in dreads named Nate and his friend. The show was incredible. I remember being in the bathroom when De La Cado started playing and closing up shop to run out to the stage as fast as I could. They were angelic. Loud, epic melodies with the most amazing harmonies I had ever heard from a local band and there was Samuel, belting out those tones.
So that’s how we met Samuel Lockridge, along with a few other friends, and watching him sing by himself last night at Rohs was just as enamoring.
Ok, now, the Soil & the Sun.
Let me start with this, a few years back the Soil & the Sun were a two piece ensemble:
They have since then been blessed to grow in families and members and have become an all out American super-group:
Now that you’ve seen those two videos, I have this to say: the Soil & the Sun understand the creative spark. As a two piece their songs were intimate, well crafted and insatiably avant-garde. Not avant-garde in the he’s kicking a trash can for no reason sort of way, but rather the he’s looping hand swipes on an acoustic guitar and it sounds like a hundred carpenters sanding canoes. Fast forward to today and they’re intense, orchestrated and brilliant. But more importantly, they’re completely different. That’s what strikes me the most about these two manifestations of the band, that both are so genuinely creative, yet they’re in now way the same.
That’s the first thing I love about this group. I’ll share the second thing I love too. I love the reality of who they are; their ideals. This band travels in one conversion van together with two married couples (no more I don’t think, though actually I could be wrong) and a toddler. This screams reality to me. These aren’t a group of people revolting against responsibility, their personal convictions and their beliefs. This is a group of people that have firm ideals and have risen to the occasion to meet them. They’re a group of people that want to mature together and remain creative together. They’re real people.
It’s hard to express the depths to which I align with this sentiment, let alone what the sentiment is itself. I personally see the death of creativity in immaturity. When people refuse to mature out of a misplaced counterculture ideal, they miss out on being human. And I think our capacity to create comes out of our ability to be human. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a difference between never growing up and being misunderstood. Emerson said it best, “to be great is to be misunderstood,” and I’m all for being misunderstood (though you might not understand what I’m saying). I know that this is my own personal opinion, but I love the Soil & the Sun because I think that by choosing to be musicians and to mature and take on responsibility at what most of the world would consider young ages and impossible circumstances, they’re so human. They’re so real. And their songs emanate experience; themes of fidelity, faith and admitting their faults. Those convictions that a lot of people are afraid of or refuse to deal with and, in my opinion, miss out on a lot of what it means to be human. That’s why I love the Soil & the Sun, because they’re unafraid of growing as people and for it, they’re fairly misunderstood.
Having the opportunity to share a sanctuary with these musicians last night was an experience that we were incredibly fortunate to have had. We’re very thankful for everyone that came out and especially for Rohs Street Cafe for staying up so late with us on a Wednesday night to host the entire thing.
Long live the Soil & the Sun and New Mexican space music.
If you haven’t noticed, we’re releasing our second full length album Time & Eternity in eleven days at the 20th Century Theater. Facebook event here. And we’re pretty excited about it. So excited in fact, that I thought I would take a second to give you a little inside look on how Chris, Tyler and I are preparing for the show. First and foremost, 7 am practices:
We’ve been trying really hard to practice as much as we can before the album release show so we’ve been practicing multiple times a week in our cozy band space at a place we call Landshark. With our jobs and other interests, though, we’ve been primarily getting up early to get together and play. It’s been pretty awesome.
This morning it was so dark when we started practicing that we had to turn on all the lights in our band room. It was cool because we got to watch the sun come up while were playing and it honestly just felt great to be outside this morning.
In other news, we’ve recently gotten a giant shipment of all our CDs, which means three of us have significantly chilled out. It’s nerve racking not having your CDs in hand when your release party’s coming up, so getting them was a big relief. The arrive at our receiving facility/Corey’s parents house on Monday. Here’s a picture of the boxes if you haven’t already seen it. The cat was Corey’s mom’s idea.
Other than that, we just want all of you to know that you’re awesome. You’re the reason we can do what we do period. You guys are our supporters and with out you we wouldn’t be able to record songs and make albums. We’re incredible grateful that we know so many of you too. If you’re reading this blog right now, chances are you know us and have talked to us and have been a part of our lives in someway. If you haven’t, put it on your to do list to come say hi to us.
Ok….take out your wallet or purse. Open it up. Take out the cash and credit cards. Now burn them. Thats because our show on February 11th at Rohs Street Cafe is free yall! Free, that means you dont have to pay to get in.
Ok, dont really burn your cash or credit cards, that was more or less a joke. Bring it, support the artist playing there! We will be playing with some friends of ours The Digital Sundials and The Tiger and the Duke. This is also our last show before our CD release show. What does this mean for you?
You have this friend, and that friend has never been to a TNSS show (hard to believe). What do you do? Bring them to this show! “Oh gosh! What is it going to cost me.” – Your friend says. (This part is for you). You say “Oh, I know the band, they are putting us on the guest list.” – Sounds cool right? And then, that friend comes, his/her ear drums bust and they say, “Man, that was great, when do they play again.?” Thats when you say “THE CD RELEASE SHOW, MARCH 24th!”
This is really just one scenario of how that night could work for you, we would love to hear the stories of how you got them there at the show. We are really excited about this show, and really just because it is FREE. To us, we really wanted to play for our friends as a huge “THANK YOU!” for your continuous support and allowing us to create another full length album. So, thank you!
This month we are very fortunate to have some great shows lined up. This Friday, December 16th, we’ll be playing an awesome show at the 86 Club with old friends A Wayward Heart and old/new friends, Language of the Birds. The show is actually a long awaited reunion show for A Wayward Heart and, as a band, we’re pretty honored to have been asked to be a part of it. For years we’ve admired their efforts and have been really close with guitarist/multi-pedalist Brian Beyke and the various out pouring of his talents. We’re also very excited to hear Language of the Birds take the stage. On any other day, they’re two great guys that used to be in Good Morning Gladys (who also had a song called Spheres!!!) but on this Friday, they’ll be two great guys and the most love-able Andy Hull look-a-like … Andy Lay. Quick story about Andy Lay, we had him come up on stage with us in November to smash a plastic Santa with a sledgehammer.
With all this going on on Friday, we decided to get working in the band space and out of respect for Brian Beyke, I decided to switch up my pedal board design a bit. Here’s a google-earth view of it:
To be brief, I went minimalist. Generally I have an octave pedal with a DL4 in the effects loop of it but I decided to try a simpler approach to achieve a little ambient insanity for this show. Notice the Danelectro Daddy-O, an indie rock overdrive classic, in the far right hand corner, it’s intensely modified. It actually is the beginning of an entirely separate effects chain running through the board that my guitar never touches. I have it set up so that a cheap radio shack microphone with a 1/4 inch output plugs into the Daddy-O that is then sent to the Stereo Memory Man, the T.C. Electronics Nova Delay and finally to the mic input of my Boss RC-20XL. What does that mean? That means I’ll have a microphone running through an overdrive and two delay pedals running straight into my Fender Pro-Reverb! What does that mean? Nasty noises! What will I use it for? I don’t really know! I’m just really excited about it!
Expect unnecessary amounts of delayed feedback on Friday. Godspeed You Black Emperor style…
Sadly, the historic Southgate House, I can’t believe I’m saying this, is closing. Eachnotesecure.com posted about it earlier today and the Southgate House officially released a statement on their website tonight:
We are sad to announce that after 30 years in continuous operation as a music venue under the ownership and operation of Ross Raleigh, the Southgate House will host its last show on
We look forward to opening our business in a new location soon. New Years Eve, Dec. 31 2011.
Thank you for the wonderful memories and your support.
In few words, this sucks. We’ve considered the Southgate House to be our Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky home for a long time. No venue has ever had such an amazing staff with such an incredible local music philosophy as the Southgate House and honestly, unless they relocate to somewhere new, no place ever will. For going on four years as a band, we’ve fallen in love with the place and grown incredibly close, at least in spirit, to the managers, bar tenders and sound guys of the historic venue. No blog post could ever express the deep resounding void that the loss of this venue will cause in the hearts of so many.
So here’s to that great venue and the hope of a new live indie rock haven. What optimism I find in this tragic loss is that the building means nothing; the staff mean everything. I have no doubt that the amazing people who’ve had their hands in the Southgate house, at least that we’ve known, will find another place in the music community surrounding Cincinnati and Northern-Kentucky and bring as much fellowship and encouragement as they ever have.
Thank you for everything you given us and countless others Southgate House.
Griffin and I were re-thinking our summer a couple days ago and for us, one of the most redeeming events that took place was when The Never Setting Suns played at the Comet every Tuesday in July.
To be honest, I had no idea what to think. I had never been to the Comet before. All I knew is what people told me when I told them we were playing there in July: “Try the burritos man, they are amazing.” A bar that has live music, a bike night, and burritos? Even showing up there and playing our first set, I was thinking, “man, how are we going to do this and play fresh materiel every week? Will our fans continue coming here every week to hear us?” Sure enough, they did, and I think that encouraged us to practice some new tunes, as well as learn some snappy covers to entertain the troops. The Comet, definitely being a cool indie bar that our fans have now grown to love and trust.
For us, it was really perfect timing. We were trying to find the funds to record out latest album (To-Be-Released) and the Comet was more than generous to us. And as I mentioned, it was some of the most fun we had all summer. We found ourselves playing our set until 12:30 or 1 and then just hanging out, dumping quarters into the juke-box, usually playing some Greenhornes.
Bottom line, go there if you haven’t. Go there on a Tuesday and see who is playing. Tuesdays are also bike nights at The Comet and your bound to see a sweet hog.
I thought today I would share with you all a band that we have been listening to for some time now. That band is O’Brother.
I first saw them after Griffin had raved about them for so long. Him and I made a trip to Columbus to see Manchester Orchestra play and these fellas were opening. Needless to say, I was hooked as soon as I heard them. I remember telling Griffin on the way home “man, that is something I have been waiting for, for a long time.” I remember thinking, how did they craft such beautiful melodies with such powerful, face melting riffs? It was definitely refreshing to hear something so heavily intricate and solid in a generation of “pop” and “indie dance.”
We went to see them a couple weeks later when they came to Cincy at the Mad Hatter (RIP). Talking with them after the show, I was immediately taken back by just how down to earth these guys were. Again, not something I have seen too much in the rock and roll scene before. Not to mention, we realized that many of the influences and things they were listening to, was extremely similar to us, including bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Mogwai.
O’Brother’s first full length album (Garden Window) is being released tomorrow. Pick it up (figuratively – MP3s are great too) and listen to it, you wont be disappointed. When they are close by, or not, go to their show. It is a difficult thing to capture the raw intensity that live shows have, this is one of those bands that you want to see live. Go, therefore, and “like” them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter (@obrothermusic), get the EP, and watch their live performance on Audio Tree.
Hey Sunnies (we have never officially declared what followers of the “Suns” should be called, the floor is officially open for suggestions),
This is Chris writing to you all today. I thought I could update and possibly express a little emotion about what has been happening in my life lately. It has been a little bit of a learning experience for me as well and a complete lifestyle overhaul. I am still processing a lot of this and am really only now ready to talk about some of it. So here it goes.
About 5 years ago,(before I even heard of indie rock bands – I was raised classic) I was going through some changes and challenges and started developing panic attacks. If you have never had a panic attack, it is not a pleasant thing. The joke is “oh, im about to have a panic attack.” But that entire statement is completely inaccurate. Panic attacks almost feel as if you are having a mini heart attack. Your blood pressure and heart rate go crazy high and there is nothing you can do to calm yourself down. And in fact, they most of the time happen when you are completely relaxed. They are caused by a certain chemical build up in the brain (imagine boiling water, finally boiling over the top) until it releases. This was something I dealt with for a couple years, then completely went away.
Over the last year, I really havent felt myself lately. I cant really explain it, but I knew something just wasn’t right, do you know the feeling? On Aug 3rd, we had just got done eating dinner with some friends and I had a panic attack. I was terrified, I had forgotten the feeling. Terror. It was terrifying. Lisa, my wife, took me to the hospital for what I was sure was heart attack. I sat in the emergency room for about 4 hours, until 4am. Obviously I was not having a heart attack, just a severe panic attack. Countless test being conducted, different blood samples being taken. So much happened it was kind of a blur. I was so afraid for my wife, who sat by me all night, more scared than I was, I know. I cant write more about her being scared for me without getting upset, moving on.
I ended up staying in the hospital for about 50 hours, over the next couple days. The original reason being that they couldnt get my blood down to the lab quick enough before it hardened. Obvious red flag there. After more and more test, they discovered that I had a very high cholesterol level, high blood pressure, and was definitely battling some mental health issues including: anxiety, mild depression, and OCD. Each mental health situation is unique I found out and are dealt with accordingly. The biggest blow was they had told me that I was now a diabetic. Wow, a what? Does that mean I am afraid of spiders or something? I guess this wasnt a complete shock to me, my grandfather was diagnosed at age 45, my dad at age 35, and me, age 23. I guess I just didnt expect it coming so soon. A quick overview of diabetes, there are 2 types. Type 1, meaning that your body doesnt produce insulin (a hormone in the body that regulates your sugar levels) and you require shots or medicine to combat that. Or, type 2, your body is producing too much insulin and the effectiveness of it has become dull. I have type 2.
Yea, nothing says indie rock like diabetes right….right?
Needless to say, this has created an entire lifestyle change. For someone, who hasnt gone to the doctor in about 8 years, this is a lot to deal with. What does it mean, how do I live now? Does a lot change? How long do I need to take 9 pills each day? The biggest change was obviously my diet. I now have a strict diet that consist of 45g of carbs each meal, and 15g of carbs per snack ( 3 meals a day, 2 snacks a day). This was much harder to figure out then you would think. I originally thought, oh ok, no carbs, I just wont eat carbs. Nope, bad idea. I was later told by my nutritionist that carbs is what gives your body energy, probably explains how tired I was. To give you a reference, an average piece of bread has 15 carbs. A can of regular soda, 55. An apple, 25.
So a lot of changes. The emotional aspect of this has been kind of hard as well. There is a lot of things about my current situation that just bother me. If that makes sense. “I have to live like this for the rest of my life? I have a slight mental depression and OCD, do I put this on resumes now? Do people think of me differently because I have these physical and mental health problems?” And ultimately the question I have is “does it all matter?” I feel that I lately have had a new revelation and thought of “what was it on earth that is really that important that I am giving up? Blue ice cream from Kings Island? Soda? Beer?” It has really put a new perspective on life. That sounds silly, but its true. Giving up these simple, meaningless elements, has really opened my eyes to what I should have been really caring about all along. Both Tyler and Corey, my best friends, have been there for me the whole way. My community that I am involved in, constantly encouraging me. Lisa, my ultimate supporter, is going on this new journey as well.
As I said before, this is just the beginning. I feels good to write this and share with others. Feel free to contact me directly for questions.
Thank you all,
P.S. This song will pick you up no matter what mood you are in…just makes you want destroy something…The White Stripes…darn good…
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