Tonight in Seattle:  

Interview

Imaginary Interview: David Gedge of the Wedding Present {at Cupcake Royale}

The Wedding Present (2012) Photo from their Facebook Page

{The Wedding Present, that's David Gedge second from the left. Photo from their Facebook page}

David Gedge is the hardest working man in bittersweet indie-pop.  Besides a full work schedule of touring and recording new albums, he delivers anniversary tours for each of the Wedding Present's most beloved albums (he's now working on the Seamonsters anniversary tour), publish a comic and app, and even curates an annual festival (At the Edge of the Sea).... all while still remaining true to his original calling, crafting heart-wrenching vignettes of relationship woe against a backdrop of dramatic guitars and ache-filled vocals.

For a man that has been besties with John Peel and the British-Pop elite and has served as hero and inspiration to any heartbroken mix tape maker, he's awfully down to earth.  So much so that he cheerfully agreed to meet at Cupcake Royal (Cap Hill) to chat with me for a few hours over Thanksgiving weekend (please forgive for the transcription procrastination) about the new album (Valentina, on record store shelves now!), his side-gig as a landlord and the upcoming year of touring.

The Wedding Present will be at The Crocodile on Friday, April 6, 2012 playing their classic album Seamonsters and songs from their new album Valentina!

TIG: What brings you to Seattle for Thanksgiving?

David Gedge:  I’m in town with my parents for an old fashioned family holiday, ha, ha!  I’ve owned an apartment in Santa Monica for a couple years, now and they have just been over to visit. We drove up the west coast and did the ‘Redwoods’ and all that. They’ve been in the U.S.A. for two weeks; I actually just dropped them off at the airport.

TIG: Is it their first American Thanksgiving in the states?

Yes.  It’s been a little new experience for them. As you know, we don’t have Thanksgiving in England. And I suppose it was a bit like an English Christmas Dinner but I still think it’s been a little peculiar for them. I think they enjoyed it. I'm not sure though... it's quite difficult to tell with them sometimes, you know?  Parents.  Ha! It's weird; I think you're always still trying to impress them in some way, looking for some kind of, you know... approval.

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Latest comment by: imaginary liz: "

Definitely yes! I work so much better with a wingman/lady!!!

"

Imaginary Interview: Of Montreal's Kevin Barnes

It’s no exaggeration to say Of Montreal main man Kevin Barnes has been around the block a few times. His act’s latest, Paralytic Stalks, which is out now from Polyvinyl Records, is their eleventh full-length release. The album builds on Barnes’ trademark indie pop formula, which traces its roots back to the Elephant Six collective’s heyday in the late ’90s. Although many of the familiar elements resurface, from Barnes’ witty, sometimes nutty vocals, to the vaguely Beatlesque sense of melody, Paralytic also features orchestrated instrumental stretches and an intricate songwriting hitherto unknown in Of Montreal albums.

It also pulls Barnes away from his recent habit of crafting a persona to serve as his album’s central figures. Paralytic is chock full of first-person narratives, a lyrical tactic Barnes hasn’t employed since 2007’s Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? It should come as no surprise, either, that it also dabbles in the darker, more psychologically tortured themes that last appeared on Hissing Fauna. Oddly enough, Barnes still seems to be the happy-go-lucky character at the center of his last albums.

TIG: You’re one of the few bands left around from the indie-rock underground of the ’90s. Does that give you a different perspective on making music or navigating the industry?

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Latest comment by: imaginary liz: "

This. Is. SOOO. Rad!

The most inspiring part:  "It’s definitely more exciting to take chances and to flounder and fail a bit."

"

Imaginary Interview: Jyoti Mishra – feeling blue in White Town

There’s always a bit of melodrama involved when a indie singer/songwriter or emo type in his early 20s writes about his life-destroying breakup: Dudes, you’re in your twenties, you’re supposed to have a horrible romantic life. Things get a lot more devastating to listeners when the songwriter is White Town’s Jyoti Mishra, an indie-pop veteran in his mid-40s and he spends an entire album sorting through the wreckage of his personal and romantic life after a decade-plus marriage goes down the tubes on Monopole. It isn’t quarter-life odes to The One That Got Away, but lamenting the irreplaceable loss of The One. For a guy best known for his 1997 mega-hit “Your Woman,” it’s a startlingly direct look inside his personal life.

It’s not like Mishra hasn’t attempted to distract himself from his loneliness. He started (and dropped out of) sociology and creative writing programs at the University of Derby. He buckled down and Monopole as the second release from his own label, Bzangy Groink, handling virtually everything from song inception to fanzine-level press. Still, there are events that define a life, and it’s hard not to come away from Monopole, with its start-to-finish chronicle of his wrecked relationship, with the feeling that Mishra will never be able to truly put the past few years behind him.

TIG: After all the misery that’s helped inspire this album, does it feel like it’s behind you with the release of this album?

Jyoti Mishra: It’s been a weird process, as you know. It would have been a lot sooner, because the last album was 2006, 2007. With divorce stuff and my parents being ill, it’s been difficult to get a continued bit of time to keep working. It’s taken much longer than I would have liked. I’m not like through the thing of being through it yet. It’s still in the process. It’s not like it’s a past album yet. When it’s a past album, I’ll be able to draw on it. It still feels too current. Everything I’m singing about on it feels too now, you know?

Is that because you’re so involved in every aspect of it, handling all songwriting, performing, recording, album art and running the label, are you more immersed in the emotion tied into the songs?

JM: I think if I handed it off to anybody else, even down to the videos and stuff. I know it’s my own fault, because I’m too much of a control freak. I want everything to be right. It’s partially based on bad experiences before, which were a long time ago. I’m talking about EMI stuff. When you work really hard on something and get a graphic design back that’s just awful, it kind of puts you off to working with other people again. [Laughs] I know there’s probably great people out there that I could use, but I’ll just do it myself, even though I’m not really a graphic designer. I just knock up something that will do.

After having problems with other people in the past, do you get to the point where it’s just easier to do everything yourself than try to explain your ideas and struggle with other people?

JM: I’m not a trained graphic designer, so it’s always going to be worse if I do it myself, because I haven’t got that knowledge or craft, but it will be better than someone doing a botched job, like a slick botched job. The same with videos; I’ve already made a few short films. I’m not a filmmaker. I’m sure if I had the money and the ability to hand it over to a proper director, I’d get back the videos that were vector-edited and all that kind of stuff. But, A)  who can I find to do it, and B) I can’t afford it. It’s like you just do it yourself. It’s partially political, and partially no money.

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Latest comment by: Matt Schild: "

Yes, that video certainly does make Indietracks look like the happiest place on Earth.

"

Imaginary Interview: Zac Pennington - Parenthetical Girls continue their dazzling & dark EP series

First, the Not Safe For Work/School/In front of blushers new video for Parenthetical Girls' "The Pornographer":

And now my lengthy conversation with P. Girls' vocalist/songwriter/instrumentalist Zac Pennington, conducted a couple of weeks ago after the third EP of their spleen-kicking, air-ceasing, head-dizzying Privilege releases came out. A gorgeous combination of synth rock and sin city, noise pop and quasi-classical, when stacked together the EPs form arguably my favorite release of the past few months. And there are still two more releases in the series to go. Hence, the heights and depths Zac and I soar and plunge to below:

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Latest comment by: Laura: "I've known Zac since middle school. He's grown up a lot, but I saw flashes of his depth when he was just a little kid. I am the mom of one of his friends. I've got (((GRRRLS))), Safe As Houses and Entanglements in my collection. Good stuff."

Portrait of an Artist: Scott McCaughey of the Young Fresh Fellows, the Minus 5, R.E.M., the Baseball Project, and more

{Art by D. Crane, The Young Fresh Fellows play July 23rd at the Tractor}

I was too young/too uncool to listen to the Young Fresh Fellows, but I got way into the Minus Five after seeing them play with the Posies at the Mural Amphitheater, when I was in high school. “The Lonesome Death of Buck McCoy” was my first Minus Five CD purchase, from Tower Records by the Space Needle. Since then I have been a constant fan. Their style of mixing playful lyrics with real emotion behind them, has influenced me to write songs. To that I say….thank you Mr. McCaughey. I moved to Chicago in 2002, to teach middle school on the south side of the city as part of Teach for America. It was a rough go, but “Down With Wilco” was one of the few things (pizza, Wrigley Field, and Thai food….oh did I mention burritos?) got me through. I am on my third copy of that album, now on reissue LP.

D. Crane: Down With Wilco is a special record for me. I remember where I was when I heard “The Days of Wine and Booze” for the first time. I still buy it/recommend it to my friends. It is up there with the White album on my favorite albums of all time list. Do you have any special albums like that? Albums that you give to friends? Albums that you think are severely underrated/are as good as Beatles albums?

Scott McCaughey: Yes, I have albums like that. Whenever I'm asked, I go blank though. I try to turn people on to the Bill Fay CD of his first two albums, which coincidentally, Jeff Tweedy turned me onto the night before we went into the studio to start Down With Wilco. I also pass on copies of the first two McGuinness Flint albums -- I stockpile them (at next to nothing, as no one wants them) and then pass them on to those I think might be susceptible to their charms. (John Wesley Harding took the bait and fell hard.) Nazz Nazz by the Nazz; Armchair Boogie by Michael Hurley; Wish You Were Here by Badfinger. Everyone knows Straight Up but WYWH is also a masterpiece! In The Air by the Handsome Family.  It's tricky because you have to find stuff that people haven't heard.  And in the end, no matter how great, nothing's as good as the Beatles.  But all three Big Star albums come close.

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Latest comment by: Bookie LeBeat: "What?! No drummer in the "new band"? Methinks Tad deserves the nod not least for his contributions to the Fellows. Give the drummer some!"

Imaginary Interview: Johnette Napolitano from Concrete Blonde

I’ve already declared my adoration for Concrete Blonde, and recommended you come see the show with me tonight (Thursday, June 24) at The Showbox – and now I get to present something super-awesome: I asked Johnette Napolitano a few questions via email about Bloodletting and this 20-years-later tour, and she responded with some great answers:

What was the inspiration to move from your previous punk rock vibe to a more gothic feel for Bloodletting?
Being other places in the world, and I'd never been anywhere but California, and Tennessee was the first place I lived other than LA, really. That was our third record and we'd toured a lot by then and I'd spent a lot of time - and I still do - in New Orleans and the South, and I love it down there and it's moody, for sure. Fucks with my hair something awful, but well worth it.

Do you think it’s awesome or hilarious that "Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)" became a Goth club standard in the 90s?
Awesome, hilarious, horrible, scary, weird, surreal, beautiful, a pain in the ass and very, very lucrative.

What was the catalyst for re-releasing this album and how does it feel to be touring with it again?
20 years seems to have gone by. A perfect storm, really. I lost my Dad and am still very much dealing with that, and he would have said, do it! He was very proud of the band. Never quite came out and told me so, but he didn't have to. I played for him the last time I saw him, he'd bought a guitar for himself. Only he and I would know what that gesture meant…I see a future for myself that I like, and I'm very lucky, we're very lucky, to still have an audience that would actually show up. That never ceases to amaze me. We'll have a great time and I'll come off and write and paint and work on opening a Flamenco place in New Orleans and we'll just play where we want to play, when we want. It's a good place to be.

Any chance we’ll see a new Concrete Blonde album emerge from this reunion (a girl can hope!)?
I'm hoping that we're not killing each other by week two. We won't though, everybody seems to be working in the same direction and after the last year basically a month of playing and sleeping on a bus while somebody else gets me there sounds good. I'm looking forward to it; I know we all are. I'll let the music take over and see where it goes.

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Imaginary Interview: Bass Ackwards

Linas Phillips & Davie-Blue in Bass Ackwards

Photo Credit: Victoria Holt

Another favorite of mine at SIFF this year was the charming road trip movie Bass Ackwards. I grabbed some time with Director Linas Phillips and his co-star, co-writer and friend Davie-Blue to talk about the experience of making this film.

While Linas is a self-described brat and I was never sure what was true and what was said in fun, the interview was fantastic and I can’t wait to see what these two do next.

I thought Bass Ackwards was great, and the thing that really made it great (in my opinion) is that Linas’s character was so loveable that you want him to be okay. You’re really rooting for him to make it.

Linas: He doesn’t seem annoying? Because he’s not getting his shit together?

No. I feel like everybody’s been lost like that at some point…

L: Everyone’s been annoying? Annoying doesn’t exclude empathy, maybe.

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Deep SIFF: Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar

{Beautiful Darling screens at the Seattle International Film Festival at 6:15 at SIFF Cinema.}

"People who I interviewed said she was the most genuine person they had ever met" director James Rasin told me in an interview about Candy Darling, the transgendered actress who died in 1974 and is the subject of his engrossing documentary Beautiful Darling: The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar. He added he "I thought was weird because she's a person who is a complete construct, everything is intentionally, layer upon layer, an artifice but becomes someone so completely genuine."

That is one of the central themes and ironies that runs through Rasin's fascinating film, which played at the Seattle International Film Festival this year. Candy Darling was one of the Warhol superstars featured in the Lou Reed song "Walk on the Wild Side" (Reed's band, The Velvet Underground, also had a song about her called "Candy Says") where Reed sings in the second verse "Candy came from out on the Island, in the backroom she was everybody's darling; she never lost a head, even when she was giving head". While not exactly the most positive description one could hope for, Rasin's documentary is far more kind and thorough.

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Deep SIFF: Meet Monica Velour

"Basically, I told her I want to blow Samantha Jones into tiny little pieces" Keith Bearden, the writer and director of the often very funny new film Meet Monica Velour told me in an interview. By "her", he was, of course, referring to Kim Catrall, who plays Samantha Jones in the now much-maligned "Sex and the City" franchise and who plays the title character in his debut film that recently played at the Seattle International Film Festival.
 
Monica Velour is a has-been porn star, who may have been remembered for Saturday Night Beaver or Hooked on Hookers, although chances are, she's not remembered at all. She's living in a trailer park in Indiana somewhere and her life is a mess. Sadly, there are few skills that porn stars can take that will help them re-enter the job field and Monica wants to escape the live she has while regaining her former fame. It's like Sunset Boulevard, if, instead of Norma Desmond saying "I'm still big, it's the pictures that got small," she starred in a gangbang.

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Latest comment by: Anonymous: "Writer/Director's new project is up on Kickstarter. Low budget sci-fi! Check it out! http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1313089408/god-hates-kansas-a-feature-film-by-keith-bearden?ref=live"

Imaginary SIFF Interview: Ruba Nadda, Director of Cairo Time

One of my favorite films at SIFF this year was the beautiful, intuitive drama Cairo Time, written and directed by the equally beautiful and intuitive Ruba Nadda.

In person, Nadda exudes an open friendliness that instantly made me comfortable. We sat down for a few minutes and discussed everything from Patricia Clarkson’s eyebrows to the fiasco of Sex and the City 2. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I was captivated by everything she said, and that I’d love to be able to sit down with her and do it again.

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Latest comment by: filmfan: "What a great interview, thank you for posting this. I watched Cairo Time recently and loved it. Nadda is so inspiring, I really admire her work. "