Casual Conversation: Floatin’ with The Stargazer Lilies

Today, we have my interview with The Stargazer Lilies. The band played a loud-as-hell set last Friday @ Will’s with The Casket Girls. There taking a well deserved break, but they’ll be hitting the road again in April with Tobacco. Enjoy.

lilies

 

What inspired you to minimize the sound of Soundpool?

John: Logistics and a ever growing guitar sound were two factors.

Kim: We were also wanting to move in a different direction with song writing at the time we started TSL. We wanted to strip things down and create on a more intimate level.

John: Another huge factor is that we really needed to move the center of most operations away from New York City where all of the members of SP were living except us. Now we operate totally from our home in the Poconos except when gigging.

Do you think your hometowns have any influence on your music? If so, how?

John: Our environment certainly does.
Being in a glass house in the woods definitely moulds the direction and sound of TSL.

Soundpool is a more urban band with a more urban sound as we were living in in NYC in the beginning of Soundpool and then spending most of our time there during the creation of all three albums.

Kim: The Stargazer Lilies sound is more reflective of living and experiencing nature around you and the experience of being a part of it all.

How has the process of writing music changed with two people?

John: It’s made it more simple for sure.lilies2

Kim: It’s more organic. We don’t have to schedule any writing or recording sessions. We just create the music when it comes to us. The music to me is much more personal. I always felt like I was kind of playing a part in Soundpool even though I was a co-writer and co-creator of the project. With The Stargazer Lilies I feel my experience is just being really honest with myself.

Is it more challenging to have a strong live presence since going from five to three (they’re joined live by a drummer) people on stage?

Kim: I don’t think it’s been more challenging. It’s a completely different animal. In a way I think we can almost be more compelling live because there’s less going on which I think can make the individual parts shine through brighter. I think TSL can take people and pull them in and create almost an out of body experience. Soundpool was more of a party live so just a completely different experience. But what do I know? I’ve never hung out in our audience.

John: Even though it’s fewer pieces the sound might actually be bigger with TSL than it was with SP. Actually it is bigger. The guitar has taken over the mix since there aren’t so many parts and instruments to compete with. I’m able to really drive the guitar much bigger than I was with Soundpool creating a more intense wall of sound.

 

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New Year/New Music: The Vivid

This is the third installment of New Year/New Music. This is also a review of The Vivid’s inaugural EP Don’t Wake The Neighbors. This review that has been a long time coming, shit just got in the way. Without further ado, I give you The Vivid. Enjoy.

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Don’t Wake The Neighbors

Since I’ve been in college, I don’t remember a time that The Vivid wasn’t around. Ever since freshman year, their name and their music have been floating around in my consciousness, much like their experimental shoegaze-like drone floats over a hefty layer of alternative fuzz. I met Cory Young my first semester of college. He was pulling together a reincarnation of a band he had been a part of, and suggested I come see them. Since then, I’ve seen The Vivid play dozens of shows, anywhere from college frat bars to a commune of hippie revivalists on the UCF campus. Crafted in storage unit No. 457, Dont Wake The Neighbors is The Vivid’s first EP, featuring Cory Young (guitars, vocals), Brandon Kasper (bass, backing vocals), and Jonathon Adkins (drums). Let’s break it down!

AquaphobeDon’t Wake The Neighbors opens unapologetically with “Aquaphobe”. The track is built around a Hives-eque riff with Young’s reverbed vocals layered on top. His delivery throughout the song can be described as snarky. The influx of his tone at times like, “Is that right? Is that right?” and later, “Alright, alright, okay!” seem to mock whomever they’re directed at. Throughout the album, and especially on “Aquaphobe,” Young’s snarky vocals add personality and fullness to whatever message he’s trying to get across. After the second chorus, the song breaks down into a cavern of drums and bass, before chugging into the bridge. But, then everything goes batshit crazy. Young releases a belligerent attack of words, whilst Kasper and Adkins hold together what’s left of the song as it self-destructs into chaos.

Economy: “Economy” is a short punchy mid-tempoed clunker about our failing economic downfall and society’s pressure to “get back in line with everyone else.” The chorus bluntly points the finger accusing, “It’s on you, it’s on you, it’s on you, it’s on you!” Here, The Vivid channels the message of bands like Fugazi. They take a phrase and drive it home, creating a slogan for the oppressed. Musically though, the song doesn’t rise and fall, it remains stoic throughout. Without a definite peak, “Economy” feels half-baked when compared to the other songs on DWTN.

Zero: Don’t Wake The Neighbors’ third track is my favorite on release. The bass line is dirty. It feels like it was crafted in a sewer, cloaking the whole song in sludge. The vocals on the verse sound airy and distant, but then the chorus, the strongest on DWTN, hits and you’re pulled in close. The lyrics are both yelled and sung, creating a wave of noise, that’s so captivating. There’s a noise rock inspired guitar solo, with Young moaning either in agony or pleasure (the two are interchangeable). After the song’s faux ending, you’re left sweating in silence. But, The Vivid come back to bloody your nose one last time. The ending is even more furious live, and should be experienced by all.

The One From The Park: “The One From The Park” is the most experimental track on DWTN. It incorporates elements of shoegaze, and has an almost spoken word section dealing with isolation.  “The One From The Park” is one of those songs that leaves you feeling sad. But, the comforting kind of sad. That kind of sad that everyone has experienced, the kind of sad anyone can relate to. Young drones out, “How do I know what’s real?” A lyric that could typically be considered cliché, but here feels totally genuine. The guitar  at the song’s zenith fits the atmosphere perfectly, and then recedes back into the meek plucks that started the song off. This is The Vivid at their most Smashing Pumpkins (ironic that it comes after a song titled “Zero”).

Riser: “Riser” was previously mentioned in my Bag of Tracks from October. To quote myself, [“Riser” comes in sweet, but around the 1:00 mark the riffs kick in and there’s nowhere to hide. The chorus pumps the volume even louder, then collapses in on itself.] Being that “Riser” was one of the first songs The Vivid ever wrote and the first to be recorded for DWTN, it makes for a prolific ending. “Riser,” along with the rest of Don’t Wake The Neighbors, is The Vivid demanding you to take notice. Because they have no intention of going away any time soon.

Low Dough Mondays: Butter Queen, The Woolly Bushmen, Alias Punch

There are two things in this universe that can always brighten up my day: live music and a leather jacket. It’s not cold enough yet for a leather jacket, and this blog isn’t really geared towards leather goods, so today I’m talking about some live music. Last night, at the infamous Will’s Pub, Butter Queen, The Woolly Bushmen, and Alias Punch kept it smooth, and made us move. It was Low Dough Monday, so I got all this goodness for $3, so don’t miss the next one. Enjoy.

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Butter Queen

First on, crawling straight out of the gutter, was Butter Queen. Butter Queen is the supergroup of the Orlando music scene. Composed of one part Wet Nurse, one part Basements of Florida, and one part Tam Tam the Sandwich Man, this Frankenstein’s Monster came out swinging. Although a fairly new act, their experience shows. Vocal duties change between salty and sweet, but their sound is all sleaze. One song was even dedicated to longtime local dive bar, Wally’s. I look forward to hearing more from Butter Queen, and seeing some of my favorite local bands come together was magic.

The Woolly Bushmen

The Woolly Bushmen are in a league all their own. I’ve seen them a few times, and they never fail to get the whole crowd moving. Get your rockabilly gear out because you will be swing dancing, you will be amazed, you will not survive. Simon Palombi (vocals/guitar/keyboards) has a presence on stage that is somewhere between Jack White and a stumbling drunk. Throughout the set he stomped around on stage like a caveman. Julian Palombi (drums) beat the hell out of his drum set, and the banter between the brothers turned this set into a show. If you haven’t seen The Woolly Bushmen live, do yourself a favor and fix that. They have another show at Will’s again on November 9, don’t miss it!

Alias Punch

Alias Punch closed out the night, and they did so in a big way. Off what sounds like an exhausting tour, the band still seemed fresh, and played with a sound all their own. Self described as, ” a sludgy blanket to keep you warm through the winters, and cool in the summers,” this band is really hard to pinpoint. They’re experimental rock, with killer riffs, a FUCK IT attitude, and enough beer to put down a football team. Screaming vocals, talking vocals, chanting vocals, melodic guitars, crunching guitars, these songs stay fresh. But, one things remains the same. They kick your ass all over the room.