The Pistola Press

A Philadelphia music blog

Archive for February 2010

Local Natives cancel Philly show

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According to R5 Productions’ Twitter, the LA band Local Natives have canceled their show at Kung Fu Necktie so they can play another NYC show. Maybe Pitchfork’s best new music honor got to their head or maybe the fact that Beach House will play the same night discouraged them? It could be both or neither; no one really knows at the moment. When we do find out, we’ll let you know. Everyone should take to Twitter and send your complaints to @localnatives…


Written by Colin Kerrigan

February 27, 2010 at 9:37 am

Posted in Music, Philadelphia

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St. Vincent in the Sanctuary of the First Unitarian Church 02/25/2010

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St. Vincent played in the Sanctuary of the First Unitarian Church last night and it was absolutely fantastic. The woman behind it all, Annie Clark, has such a beautiful voice and a very unique, intricate guitar style. She’s wonderful. Her backing band provided the perfect assortment of strings, winds and drums, that accompanied her voice and guitar extremely well.

You can tell Annie is a natural performer by the way she carries herself on stage. Telling stories and being very friendly with the audience. The video of her Columbus, Ohio story below proves that point. If you haven’t heard her record Actor, do yourself a favor and check it out. Photos and a video below.

Written by Colin Kerrigan

February 26, 2010 at 11:44 am

The Morning Benders will kick off tour at Johnny Brendas on 03/10

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Download: The Morning Benders – Promises

The San Franciscan band, The Morning Benders, recently announced a spring tour in support of their new record Big Echo, which will be released March 9th. The record was produced by lead singer Chris Chu and it’s truly a refreshing piece of work. The song available above and the video below indicate just that. Mr. Chu will stop by for an interview the week before the show so keep an eye out for that.

The Morning Benders tour starts on Wednesday, March 10th, at Johnny Brendas. It’s the perfect show to break up a stressful week at work. Brooklyn band Miniature Tigers will open the show. Chris Chu will also produce their upcoming record. Tickets for the show can be found HERE.

Written by Colin Kerrigan

February 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Man charged in Philadelphia International Records’ arson case

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We reported yesterday that Philadelphia International Records’ fire was deemed an act of an arsonist. A man, who was pretty wasted at the time, has been charged with the crime. More details below or read the entire article HERE.

“For 40 years, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and other producers worked in the studios at Broad and Spruce streets to pump out gold records for legendary artists such as Patti Labelle and Stevie Wonder.

But police said it only took a South Philadelphia man a few minutes to burn up much of that memorabilia. Police charged Chris Cimini, 27, yesterday with setting Sunday’s fire at Philadelphia International Records in what they called a random act fueled by alcohol.

Authorities said Cimini was “completely intoxicated” after drinking in Center City with friends. Based on surveillance footage, police said, it appears Cimini thought he was somewhere “familiar” such as a friend’s house when he knocked on the door before allegedly kicking in the glass front door and crawling inside.

Cimini used a lighter to set fire to some flammable items in a third-floor closet, police said. Rescue crews found Cimini alone inside. He was treated for minor injuries and released.” via The Metro

Written by Colin Kerrigan

February 25, 2010 at 11:34 am

Neon Indian Interview

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22 year old electronic musician Alan Palomo, formally known as Neon Indian, dropped by last week for an interview. His debut record Psychic Chasm was very well received by the critics, even being named the 14th best album of 2009 by Pitchfork. Pretty impressive. Palomo shows no sign of slowing down as he has quite a jampacked schedule ahead of him in 2010. In the interview, we talk about his writing process, playing on Jimmy Fallon, taking acid and more.

The Pistola: So what are you up to?

Alan Palomo: Not much. I actually woke up just a few hours ago because I pulled some kind of late night studio thing. Finally get back to the studio not too long from now. Kind of the thing I’ve been doing the past couple of days. Trying to finish up a single and on top of that, I’m producing this track for Miniature  Tigers, which is what I did last night. Just kind of been keeping consistently busy since I moved up here (Brooklyn, NYC).

The Pistola: You said you’re in the studio working on a new song?

AP: Yeah, absolutely. Just kind of isolated single that  could sort of hint at where the next album might go.

The Pistola : Would it be for Neon Indian or would it be for your other projects?

AP: Oh, it’s for Neon Indian. I mean pretty soon I’m going to start writing the first VEGA record. So right now I’ve kind of been focused on Neon Indian before I dive into anything.

The Pistola: Very cool. So where are you from?

AP: Originally, I’m from Monterrey, Mexico but I moved to Texas when I was about five or six. I pretty much lived there most my life right up until about two weeks ago.

The Pistola: Where’d you move to?

AP: Brooklyn.

The Pistola: What influenced you to make the move there?

AP: Well, I mean I think it was kind of just at a point where, I mean I only lived in Austin for about eight months.  And I sublet my apartment in May. I’ve literally toured since then. I’ve been consistently on and off tour from May to mid-January. By the time I got back, my lease expired. What happened was the motivation was to work on the VEGA record up there but I don’t know. I figured pretty much everyone I’ve collaborated with is already up here. So it just seems like a really interesting community to have much more immediate access to.  Looking at it from that angle, it’s really quite wonderful for that.

The Pistola: It’s definitely place to be for musicians. So when you were growing up, did you play any instruments?  I see that you are more into the electronics side of things with a keyboard and a bunch of effects.

AP: Yeah. I mean not exactly. I’ve always kind of grown up around music and absorbed it passively. Just because my parents… my dad was a musician so I kind of picked up guitar and bass and drums  at a pretty early age. For me, I was always kind of more interested in film and that was always something that spoke to me a little more immediately. It wasn’t until late high school that fatuation with music coming full circle and I tried to attempt making it.

The Pistola: Are you still interested in film?

AP: Yeah, absolutely. It’s what I studied in college. Obviously,  I took some time off to kind of just do music for a while. It can be far more interesting segways into working on film and just trying it directly. If anything, maybe having some future Neon Indian release being this score to some kind of short film that I produce, you know?  Or that I write the screenplay for. I definitely see a interesting template there to start mixing up the medium a little bit.

The Pistola: That’s a cool idea. I’d definitely be interested in seeing how that turns out. So from what I understand, you wrote the record by yourself. What was the process like writing by yourself? I’m you’re used to it but do you start off with a beat then add? Or do you find hooks to run with?

AP: There’s usually a variation of the same process. I think when I’m starting a new song, it always starts off with some sort of primitive drum machine rhythm and cheap bassline that I’m starting to build things off of. If not, just an interesting sample I feel that I could re-contextualize and start manipulating in such a way that it personalizes it. It tends to vary a little bit.

It’s just this thing that I do that really just sort of seems to unfold much later in the night. I can remember a lot of occasions in Austin, where I would go out to this place called ‘I Heart Video’; basically this video rental store that’s open till like three in the morning and just pick out some random Werner Herzog movie or something. And sit down and at some point towards the end of the film, last in the night, you’re at that sweet spot between delirium and creativity that’s the perfect situation to start writing after conglomeration of all these different things.

It’s usually not until then that things really happen. I try working on music during the day and it never really seems to pan out all that well(laughs).

The Pistola: Very interesting.  Was it difficult translating your music to a live band?

AP: It definitely required a bit of recontextualization. Obviously, when I  set up the music, I hadn’t really garnered any expectation about it. I think the last thing on my mind, initially as I was writing the songs, how am I going to translate this into a live environment.

Eventually, my perceptions of Neon Indian were evolving as people’s perceptions were kind of forming. It was at that state that I realized I had an album coming out. It was all sort of whirlwind because I wrote the album in a little under a month and I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with it.

Once I got to that point, I had to start of thinking about what different components on the album I could translate to a live environment in front of an audience and make it fun for people. That was really a challenge.
It was very much a home studio record. It was sort of like becoming the best Neon Indian cover band in town. Your taking songs you’ve written and trying to match them with these incomparable sounds that you can replicate with some kind of band. Part of that was doing all the guitar stuff live and taking all the little samples and increments of sound and looping them in strange ways.

I think the biggest challenge was how little time we had to prep everything. I can remember the first 8-10 shows were pretty precarious and troublesome. It wasn’t until after that where we hit a stride where were getting incredibly comfortable with it. Comfortable enough to start deviating from the original songs in fun, interesting ways.

The Pistola: I kind of got that sense when I watched you on Jimmy Fallon the other night and you mashed those two songs… it worked so well.

AP: That was a very unique challenge because we realized we had 3 and a half minutes, which “Terminally Chill” barely clocks in at three. Jimmy really wanted to hear “Terminally Chill” but we were really stoked on the idea of possibly performing “Ephemeral Artery” because that was always one of the songs that hit the hardest live.

So we found this happy medium where we were like, “If we could throw an extra minute in there, how about we do a melody of both songs?” and it was just ridiculous. Getting four and a half minutes on TV is absurd.  So we really had to find an interesting conglomeration of who we are. We had the interesting single then this visceral live track. I was really happy with how it turned out.

The Pistola: How did it feel playing on a late night show?

AP: I barely remember it(laughs). I feel like I went into this weird animal adrenaline.  I remember setting up between commercial break then I remember coming back from commercial. And as soon as Jimmy was holding the record, it just went completely fuzzy.

I felt like I was running on some intense fighter flight, sort of mental state. Where you think you’re going to die so you’re body is coercing with all this adrenaline. So yeah, it was a little bit like that(laughs).

The Pistola: Since you have a song titled, “Should Have Taken Acid With You”,  I can only assume you’ve taken acid before. Did the drug play any part in the writing process?

AP: It was actually about a missed opportunity to take acid. To this day, I still haven’t taken it. Granted, I’ve  had plenty of other run-ins with potent hallucinogens and psychedelic drugs but acid has not been one of them.

The story behind, “Should Have Taken Acid With You” was that I was…. It was kind of the birth of Neon Indian, really.  It all started with that song.

I had this dream that I had taken some potent psychedelic drug with my friend (Neon Indian visual artist) Alicia(Sardetta). I had this really absurd experience. Right as it was kicking in was when I woke  up so I wasn’t really sure if I was awake or not.  So I felt kind of funny and texted Alicia about it. She responded, “Oh, is that something you want to do?”. So we set aside this time to take acid over the holiday break. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it San Antonio, which is where we grew up.

Roughly, about a month later I wrote this humorous, cheek apology in form of a song and that was the beginning of “Should Have Taken Acid With You”.

The Pistola: (laughs) Good story. So you have different names like VEGA and Neon Indian. Do they represent different styles of music or…

AP: Yeah, I mean like I can never get too tied to something I would individually do myself. I don’t really know what a “Alan Palomo” song would sound like. I always look at these things the same way I look at films. Individual concepts with their own set of ideas and artistic objectives.  I don’t really see it as one linear thing that’s constantly evolving because I get too excited about different genres of music. I kind of jump from one to next. And I think that jumping from different styles keeps me sane(laughs).

The Pistola: (laughs) I see. What lies ahead for you in 2010? I see that you’re hitting pretty much every festival.

AP: Well, I think this year is going to be like a ceaseless output. The idea is to not only finish up the VEGA album before it’s time to start hitting up festivals but shortly upon returning, the immediate objective is to write the next Neon Indian album.

Written by Colin Kerrigan

February 24, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Interview, Music

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Philadelphia International Records’ fire ruled arson

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An early morning fire on Sunday at Philadelphia International Records located in South Philadelphia has been ruled an arson. More details below or read the entire article HERE.

The main casualties of the fire were memorabilia and merchandise to be sold in the PIR retail store on the ground floor of the building where Chubby Checker recorded “The Twist,” when it housed the Cameo Parkway record label. That was before Gamble, Huff, and Bell bought the building in 1970. The building suffered structural and water damage, and about 40 gold records were harmed, as were irreplaceable photos, said Gamble’s nephew Chuck Gamble, PIR’s executive vice president, who estimated the damage “in the millions.” via Philadelphia Inquirer

Written by Colin Kerrigan

February 24, 2010 at 11:02 am

Roadtrip: All Points West 2010 — not going to happen?

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The summer festival held at Liberty State Park in New Jersey the past two years does not appear to be coming back for a third….

Executives at AEG Live, the promoter of All Points West, say they have not yet decided whether it will return for a third year.

“There is no question that our biggest challenge is finding suitable headliners, and it has been more challenging this year than in the past,” said Mark Shulman, a veteran talent buyer for AEG. “No final determination of any kind has been made for 2010.”

But many in the music industry doubt whether All Points West, which has been held in August, will return this summer. A number of prominent booking agents and other executives, most of whom requested anonymity because they did not want to jeopardize business with AEG, said that nothing had been booked and that it would be very difficult for AEG to put a lineup together this late in the year, since most artists’ plans for the summer were already set.
(NY Times)

-via BrooklynVegan

Written by Colin Kerrigan

February 23, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Posted in Music

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