Tag Archives: Q&A

The Dig Blend A Travolta Strut with Lou Reed Sense of Danger

The Dig

The Dig, a multi-hyphenate quartet out of NYC, is a band of brothers committed to making music on their own terms. With three songwriters, the project is a true collaboration Comprised of childhood friends Emile Mosseri, David Baldwin, and Erick Eiser, along with Mark Demiglio, who all bring their own distinct influences to the mix, the band hops genres like a DJ with a twitchy finger: dream pop, garage, post-punk, and a hint of psych-folk. With a list of influences ranging from Harry Nilsson to Betty Harris, they’ve absorbed enough of pop music history to make the leaps feel convincing.

The Dig’s latest, Bloodshot Tokyo, has a Travolta strut with a Lou Reed sense of danger. Trading the bedroom mellow of their previous work for shimmering synths and propulsive percussion, Tokyo is decidedly built for the dance floor. Now in his 30s and still saddled, as so many musicians are, with a day job, guitarist/vocalist Baldwin still has only the music on his mind. With Tokyo, the band has created their most accessible and engaging record to date.

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Ought’s Tim Darcy on His Intimate Solo Record, and Making the Political Personal

Tim Darcy

Photos by Shawn Brackbill

Tim Darcy, the front man of the Montreal-based ensemble Ought, has always been fond of writing lyrics that sting as much as the guitars that surround them. Yet on Saturday Night, Darcy trades in his tightly-wound and sharp, biting commentary for lyrics that are far more intimate. Like Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House or Devandra Banhart’s Rejoicing in the Hands, the album is permeated by a warmth that draws the listener into Darcy’s world. We caught up with Darcy in New York, where he is currently recording Ought’s follow-up to 2015’s Sun Coming Down, to discuss the personal nature of his new album, and how the politically-minded singer is evaluating the state of the union.

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Nikki Lane, High-Class Hillbilly

Nikki Lane

Nikki Lane by Jessica Lehrman

Nikki Lane’s East Nashville-based vintage store High Class Hillbilly lives up to its name. The fringed, suede skirt with a faded logo of big-screen cowgirl Dale Evans; the pink, satin pedal pushers, the cropped leather jacket—it’s hard to imagine any of them having been casual Goodwill finds. In fact, there’s very little on the carefully color-coordinated racks that appears less than 40-years-old. Lane has a good eye, and her constant touring gives her an opportunity to scour antique malls and estate sales across the United States.

With Highway Queen, which she produced with Jonathan Tyler, the South Carolina-born mini-mogul is now three albums into crafting her identity as a purveyor of tough-sounding, ‘60s-informed twang-pop that straddles Americana, alt-country, and garage rock. She’s sharpened her songwriting, with its vinegary sweet hooks and often pugnacious posture, and made the most of a husky, drawled delivery whose greatest appeal is its delicious contradiction. It simultaneously feels hard-bitten and girlish.

Reclining on a blue couch in the basement of her store, Lane reassures an assistant, “People can come down here. I’m definitely not boxing out shopping!” The browsing customers don’t distract her in the least from discussing the clear-eyed vision that guides her multi-pronged career.

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Weltesser Use Metal to Release Pain

Weltesser

Weltesser are something of a band of brothers; Nate Peterson (age 22), Ian Hronek (age 26) and Mike Amador (age 31) grew up, matured, and seasoned their chops together in the Florida punk scene. As their peers fizzled, the trio began bulking up their sound. And while punk is still at the core of their debut album, it’s more metal-leaning on the whole than its members’ previous efforts, a sludgy, dissonant hardcore record that allows them to work out their inner demons through sharp screams and driving rhythms. To put it another way: Crestfallen is the release of years of personal anguish and anxiety.

We sat down to chat with the trio about their personal backgrounds, regret as anxiety’s core, making music in oppressive climates both environmental and situational, and about why their musical journey is also something of a spiritual journey.

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Bill Laswell Shares the Stories Behind Some of His Most Memorable Releases

Bill Laswell

With approximately 4,000 projects to his name since 1978, it’s fair to say that bassist-producer Bill Laswell has been around a block or two in his day. As house producer for Celluloid Records, he recombined New York’s rock, jazz, funk, reggae, and hip-hop scenes in the ‘80s with inspired abandon. In 1983, he struck gold with Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” which led to lucrative production gigs for Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, Public Image Ltd., Motörhead, and Iggy Pop. In 1990, he bought Greenpoint Studio in Brooklyn and launched his own label, Axiom, which provided him with a home base for increasingly esoteric experiments in improvised fusion as he began reaching out to the sounds of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. At the same time, Laswell was laying down the sonic groundwork for aggressively avant-garde outfits like Last Exit, Praxis, and Painkiller while forging career-long relationships with looming figures like John Zorn and the late P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell.

Laswell’s currently moving forward with the combination musical collective and label Method of Defiance (M.O.D.), whose recent emergence on Bandcamp gives us the opportunity to check in on this free-ranging American original.

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