The Pistola Press

A Philadelphia music blog

Archive for April 2010

Maps & Atlases interview

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Maps & Atlases broke on to the music scene last fall when they toured with Ra Ra Riot. They signed to Barsuk Records(Death Cab For Cutie, Ra Ra Riot, more) shortly after that. The Chicago band spent most of the winter recording their debut record, Perch Patchwork, that will be released on June 29th.. They’re currently on tour with Frightened Rabbit, which makes a stop at the First Unitarian Church tonight. Unfortunately, the show has been sold out for over a month now. Erin Elders phoned in last week to give us a little insight about the band and the new record. Interview below.

The Pistola: From what I understand, you guys met in school. What school did you go to?

Erin Elders: We all went to Columbia College in Chicago.

The Pistola: What the musical environment like there?

EE: It’s kind of weird. When we were all going to school, none of us studied music. Chris(Hainey)and I studied film, Dave (Davison) was going to school for cultural studies and Shiraz (Dada) was going for recording engineering. None of us were really playing music right when we started.

You know, Chicago always had a really great music community and it was definitely exciting when we first started playing shows to be a part of that.

The Pistola: I guess you guys were just friends then started playing music together…

EE: Well, Chris and I grew up together and went to the same college. After a couple semesters, we decided to start playing music together. Then we found Dave and Shiraz through mutual friends at school. I had a class with Dave and we started talking about music and just started playing together. We made a decision to kind of start playing music together but we didn’t really know what we were doing. So it was definitely interesting cause we just stumbled upon ideas.

The Pistola: Last October, I saw you play with Ra Ra Riot at the Trocadero and I noticed you had a very intricate style of guitar and drums. What’s your musical background like?

EE: We all took lessons or studied music a little bit. Everyone, at one point or another, studied a little bit of jazz and a little bit of everything. I guess we don’t really have a definitive background in anything. When we first started playing music, we were into a lot of 70’s music and prog stuff, at least guitar wise. Since then we have tried to shape that into enjoyable pop songs. So that’s where that kind of sound came from.

The Pistola: When I did see you guys, you weren’t on Barsuk Records at the time. How did come to be? Getting signed by them?

EE: It happened from that tour. We met the Ra Ra Riot guys and did that full tour. We met the Barsuk people through them. Some of them came out to see us play a show in Chicago and we just started talking to them. They were always a label we respected and we’re really excited to be working with them.

The Pistola: When you recorded your new record that comes out in June, since you were signed to a label, was the recording process any different from when you recorded your previous EPs and self-released stuff?

EE: The process was definitely very different. With the EPs, we worked on the songs and played them live. After having played them for a little bit, we recorded them as they were.

With this record, we went in to the studio with a mix. Some of the songs were complete ideas and others were just sketches. Also, working with Jason Cupp, who produced the record, made us explore lots of different sounds. There’s strings and horns; instrumentation we never really tried before. It was really exciting to expand the songs that way.

The Pistola: When you wrote the songs, did you write them with the strings in mind? Or did they come in the studio?

EE: We had all the song ideas we wanted record for the record and then we went through each song and brainstormed what would sound really cool for different parts. It was as if we dissected the songs part by part. We were like, “This part would sound really cool with the clarinet” and “It would be cool to have a cello mirror the vocals” and stuff like that.  We’ve never done that before and it wasn’t until we got into the studio with the horn and string players that those ideas came to be.

The Pistola: On this tour, will you be playing new material or older stuff?

EE: We’re going to try and play some new stuff. When we put together the sets for this tour, it was very exciting. We only have like 45 minutes to play so lets try and make the ultimate set. All the upbeat songs from the old stuff and the new record. It’s going to be a good mix of both. Oldies and goodies.

The Pistola: Since record store day just passed, did partake in purchasing anything?

EE: We actually played a show on record store day. We’re on this really awesome compilation that was for this music store Landlocked in Bloomington, Indiana. They put out a really cool 12 inch with us, Bonnie Prince Billy, and a bunch of great bands. So we didn’t get to do too much since we were busy but it was exciting to be able to put something out and be a part of record store day.

The Pistola: If you had to name three essential records, what would you say?

EE: Oh man, I don’t know. That’s a tough one.

The Pistola: Maybe three recent records. I don’t want to make you think too hard.

EE: We listen to a lot class rock in the van, but it’s kind of all over the place. As a band, we really like that new Yeasayer record(Odd Blood). Also, we’ve been listening to our friend’s record, Phantogram. They just played Chicago last night. I can’t think of a third(laughs).

The Pistola: I understand. Whenever I get put on the spot, I can never think of anything.  So once you get done touring with Frightened Rabbit, what are your plans? If you have any..

EE: We do the Frightened Rabbit tour and our record comes out June 29th. Then we’ll be doing our headlining/record release tour pretty much all summer, July and August. It’s going to be a lot touring for us this year.

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Written by Colin Kerrigan

April 30, 2010 at 11:30 am

New Interpol song “Lights”

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Interpol just released a new song called “Lights”. You can download it for free in exchange for your email. That can be done HERE. The band will open for U2 this summer at Lincoln Financial Field. There’s no new information on an upcoming record from Interpol, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated on whenever there is new info.

Written by Colin Kerrigan

April 28, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Posted in Music, Philadelphia

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Cake announce date in September

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Remember the band Cake? The band who made catchy songs with some pretty ridiculous lyrics. Well, they just announced a string of US tour dates. One of which will be at the Mann Center of Performing Arts on Wednesday, September 15th. Tickets for the show go on sale this Friday(4/30) and you’ll be able to find them HERE.

In other Cake news, they have new record coming this fall. Not too many details about it have been released yet except that it will be recorded using 100% solar energy. Pretty cool, right? Check out their blog. They update it pretty much every day with current/environmental issues.

Written by Colin Kerrigan

April 28, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Posted in Music, Philadelphia

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M.I.A’s video for ‘Born Free’

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M.I.A released a video yesterday for her new song, ‘Born Free’. It’s off her new record, which is set to be released this June. The album does not have a name yet, but she is taking suggestions via her Twitter. She also revealed the track list yesterday when she took over Pitchfork’s Twitter. You can see it HERE.

As for the video, it’s pretty bad ass. Very graphic and violent. It was directed by Romain Gavras. Check it out below. (Youtube had originally banned the video, but it seems like that has changed.)

Written by Colin Kerrigan

April 27, 2010 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Music

Regina Spektor covers Radiohead for charity

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Regina Spektor covered by “No Surprises” by Radiohead to raise money for the recent natural disasters in Haiti and Chile. Her take on the song is very beautiful and moving. There’s really no better way for an artist to bring attention to a cause than to cover Radiohead. Check the song out yourself by streaming the song HERE for free or you can be ever so kind and buy the song for $1.29 HERE via iTunes. All the proceeds go to charity.

“Hi! On Tuesday April 27th, iTunes will release a cover i did of a Radiohead (i LOVE them, and thank them for donating their proceeds too!!! they are the best!) song “No Surprises”. The proceeds will go to Doctors Without Borders Emergency Relief Fund. The show at Irving Plaza(NYC) raised a lot of money but this gives a chance for more people to participate and donate to victims of earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.”
-via Regina’s Facebook page

Written by Colin Kerrigan

April 27, 2010 at 12:03 am

Posted in Music

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Road Trip: Xponential Music Festival 2010

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Well, it’s not really a “road trip” since the festival is right across the river, but yeah. This year’s Xponential Music Festival, sponsored by local radio station WXPN, has a pretty sweet line-up: The Walkmen, Blood Feathers, Dawes, and more. The complete line up can be found HERE. The festival will be the same weekend as the Pitchfork Festival in Chicago–July 16th-18th at Wiggins Park in Camden, New Jersey. So if you can’t make it to Chi-town, the Xponential is the perfect alternative. Tickets for the festival can be found HERE.

Written by Colin Kerrigan

April 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm

The New Pornographers listening party at Kung Fu Necktie

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Looking for something to do tonight? The New Pornographers will be having a listening party for their new record, Together, tonight at Kung Fu Necktie. The album drops on May 4th via Matador. Details on the listening party are above and below. Send an email to gettogetherphilly(at)gmail(dot)com if you’re interested in participating. It’s FREE.

“To sweeten the pot we’ve got free booze (while the getting is good), fun contests with great prizes (New Ps summer tour tickets, vinyl giveaways, etc), and a lucky few will receive an exclusive numbered spring Get Together Mix that Carl Newman told us he put together specifically for these parties (available nowhere else).” via Matador Records

In related news, the band will play at the Trocadero Theatre on Monday, June 21st. Opening the show will be San Fran band, The Dodos, and The Duke & The Dutchess. Tickets for the show can be found HERE.

Written by Colin Kerrigan

April 22, 2010 at 12:13 am