This week’s album adventures are brought to you by listener Mark H. who has suggested we dive into the acronymic namesake of a curious collaboration: Glasgow-based Franz Ferdinand & Los Angeles-based Sparks. Together, they form the “supergroup” called FFS, sporting a sole self-titled debut (FFS). Join us in this intensive analysis and share your thoughts! (We even throw in the bonus tracks to honor the FFS deluxe version.) True to form, we also take a few moments at the end to expand on Ep. #179‘s “Bonus Tracks” discussion by adding some thoughts and theories on the thematic applications of bonus tracks.
For the last Autographs of the year, Matt sits down with Bassist Peat Rains and Cellist Bryan Wilson of You Bred Raptors?, the inquisitively-titled, enigmatic instrumental band based in Astoria, Queens. Infused with funk, folk, jazz, classical, and alternative rock, the band’s discography is available on Bandcamp along with their latest LP, Grant, which was released in November of last year. Avid buskers, Peat & Bryan speak with Matt about what it’s like trying to make a living as full-time musicians in New York, and how the city’s ever-changing music scene continues to impact performers. They also discuss their differing tastes, their writing process, and their residency at the show Sleep No More.
Remember Afterbirth Monkey’s visit back in Episode #95? No? Well, luckily your memory only has to be half that good to welcome back our guest, Rachel Schenk: a.k.a. actress extraordinaire, burlesque artist, & 1/2 of Afterbirth Monkey. So, with all of THAT to deal with, we immediately launch into all the inns, the outs, and the split-ends of her exciting career(s), including her current role in The Restaurant, directed by Eric T. Ford. Finally, for the featured discussion, tune in at 21:10 as we dive straight into Rachel’s album pick of the week: California Nights by Best Coast. Join us for the long haul! We won’t bite.
Today we welcome special guest Anja Keister, a producer & performer at D20 Burlesque gifted with a rich musical background. More than prepared to discuss her album choice, Anja starts by sitting down for a warm-up interview. Join us as we discuss Anja’s uniquely-conceived acts, her trials, and her inspirations. Then, join us once more as we dive into Anja’s album pick of the week (20:37). Anja’s choice: Beat the Champ by The Mountain Goats. As The Mountain Goats’ 15th studio release, Beat the Champ is actually a journey through songwriter John Darnielle’s childhood love of dirt cheap, small circuit wrestling. For more details, you’ll just have to experience it. Then visit us for the analysis, and thank Anja for the selection!
Many thanks to José (Nokjaw) for today’s fan-pick, The Great Pretenders by Mini Mansions! The fans of two other bands will also be pleased as the Mini Mansions ensemble was forged out of the hiatus of Queens of the Stone Age (bringing over bassist Michael Shuman), while today’s album, The Great Pretenders, has seen the addition of Alex Turner (from Arctic Monkeys). Influences aside, let’s see how this latest project compares! Finally, stick around for a discussion on the importance of ‘challenging music’—that is, music that confronts us head-on and forces us to do a little more work than we’d like to. What are the benefits of a challenging work, and how to quantify it?
For the third and most ear-piercing occasion on the Crash Chords Podcast, it’s NELSON LUGO! That’s right, our resident magician and comrade-in-mic (from the EPIC PIEcast) joins us once again, this time with an album called Benjamin Booker, a debut LP by the artist of the same name. For the bulk of the show, we tear into the lauded work and see what makes it tick — but not before discussing Nelson himself! Soak in the updates on his “Gathering the Magic” act (previewed in Ep. #72), and hear us commiserate with Nelson over his latest “YouTube blues” — the artist’s struggle with the deadening woes of the medium. Finally, we close out the episode with some thoughts on the application of music in performances and routines. Enjoy!
Today, Matt has the honor of speaking with Jewel Thief, an indie rock band from Rahway, New Jersey. You’ll be hearing Kevin Smith on guitar/vocals/keyboards, Kevin Urban on guitar/vocals, Conor Carolan on bass/vocals, and Craig Jardonoff on drums. Not always called Jewel Thief, the band had originally established a following under the name Congress. Hear them discuss with Matt what it was like to make this transition, along with how they got their start, their major influences, and what it’s like balancing a day job with being a musician. So listen in, get to know the band, and support them in their endeavors! Their latest record, Speak Electricity, was released on March 24th 2015.
Tackling the subjects of frayed connections, dysphoria, and do-overs, Jeff Rosenstock’s second solo project We Cool? is a spirited look into a wild and sullied past. To what end, you’ll have to listen in. (Thanks to Star F for this upbeat, if harrowing fan pick.) Also stick around for the discussion of the millenium! Seriously, what changed in 2000? Undeniably, all decades carry their own cultural identity—and so, finally with some distance between us and the 90s / 20-aughts, let’s start objectively measuring those obvious and not-so-obvious developments.
The one and only proprietor of our affiliate bar & venue, The Way Station (haven for some Brooklyn musicians, launchpad for others), Andy Heidel is today’s special guest and co-panelist! Also a published science fiction/fantasy writer, Andy’s unique perspective as a successful artist–businessman could well inspire the likes of any myopic upstart who feels snared by the metaphysical and perturbed by entrepreneurship. Speaking of the metaphysical, his acclaimed story collection Desperate Moon is ripe to snare your curiosity (and your currency). For the full interview, skip to 1:40:58. For today’s album, brave the innards! Andy brings us Belle and Sebastian’s Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. Well-experienced at mellowing out their fans, this time Belle & Sebastian take us dancing! Sort of… Listen to the album, listen to us, and listen to Andy Heidel to find out!
Prepare your ears for Insane Ian, parody artist and comedy musician extraordinaire from Baltimore, Maryland. Also a member of the The Funny Music Project (a.k.a. The FuMP), Ian is here to chat with Matt about how he got started down the path of hilarity, and about what goes into creating a solidly funny sketch on a comedy album. His latest album, Internet Famous, has a title track featuring Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America. Hear about how that connection developed, the origins of the FuMP, about music, movies, gaming, and more, in this Insane-ly entertaining interview!