French Singer Yelle Doesn't Want to Always Sing Pop Music

Categories: Interview

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Who knows why Americans have such abhorrence to foreign languages. Someone says '¿Cómo estás?' you'll hear 'English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?' Movie spoken in some other mother tongue? Let's just have David Fincher remake it. But France's Yelle defies that, saying her native vocabulary is all she feels comfortable expressing herself. It's that kind of dedication and honesty in poppy, dance music that you don't often find.

"I really like to speak English, I do love it, but I'm so bad at it," Yelle, known by her mother as Julie Budet, tells us over Skype. "It's so hard for me to express myself clearly and find the good words to be precise and everything."

And yet, Yelle's sensibilities are truly universal. Her sound isn't cookie-cutter and her production (courtesy of producers GrandMarnier and Tepr) is wrapped in sticky, colorful plastic, stimulating in a way that doesn't feel prepackaged. On "Moteur Action" Yelle is delicate and effervescent, but she shows her dark side on the Deadmau5 vs Mellefresh-inspired "A Cause Des Garçons," while songs like "Safari Disco Club" prove Yelle has enough of a weird streak to stay ahead of the curve. And no one needs Rosetta Stone to hear that.

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Why Judge Judy Is Paul Leary's (Butthole Surfers) Happy Place

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The Melvins

Maybe the most misunderstood band still out slogging it out on tour today. Maybe (definitely) brilliant, maybe mad, always noisily rocking out some of the best heavy sludge you'll ever hear, Buzz Osborne (guitar and vocals) and Dale Crover (drums) have been the core of the band which has had many member over the years, both pre- and post-grunge. In fact, the Melvins are one of the only bands who is still intact after both helping to create a genre (and maybe a couple of lesser known genres as well), watching said genre die, and then completely transcending any expectation of what a survivor might be like.

Hopefully that wasn't a spoiler. Grunge is dead, kids, but the Melvins continue to create fantastic new and mega-heavy (and often noisy) riffage despite being non-genre specific and unafraid to take whatever chances may come their way. On their newest record, Osborne and Crover teamed up with some Butthole Surfers, bass player Jeff (JD) Pinkus and guitar player Paul Leary. The result, as you may imagine if you are familiar with either of these bands catalogues, is noisy and weird and heavy. The most beautiful thing of all, though, is this record, while drenched with the Surfers requisite uber-weirdness, this is still a Melvins record, through and through.

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Melvins' Frontman Sounds Off About Music, the Media, Drugs

Categories: Interview

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Mackie Osborne
The Melvins

It took Melvins frontman Buzz "King Buzzo" Osborne five minutes and 12 seconds to begin his usual tirade against the media that cover music. The last time we spoke, almost 10 years ago, he waited nearly seven minutes. Clearly, Osborne has even less time for the media -- his mile-a-minute banter notwithstanding.

"Most people who write reviews for records or talk to our band don't know what they're talking about, by and large," he says from his Los Angeles home. "They think our records are a pointless endeavor, which doesn't surprise me. If you look at what they're reviewing, it quickly becomes clear that they don't like what we're doing. Generally speaking, they don't like anything that's good.

"You've got to remember: People who write reviews are lazy," he says. "They don't know anything about music, by and large, but I can't lead them down the dark path. There's a vast array of wild, weird music. I don't really like stoner rock. I don't like bands that sound like other bands. We take our influences from bands people might not have thought of and turn them into something else.

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Ray LaMontagne's Supernova a Product of Friends and Passion

Categories: Interview

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Samantha Casolari
Ray LaMontagne

The ever-whispering and quiet Ray LaMontagne stepped away from his private life to share some insight with Up On the Sun about his new album. How quiet is he? He currently is not listening to any music other than his own to focus on the tour and his own sound.

"I went into sonic overload, so I'm allowing my brain to just shut everything off," LaMontagne says.

One artist it sounds like he has had on heavy rotation is The Black Keys. If you recently gave a listen to Ray LaMontagne's latest album Supernova and thought to yourself, "This sounds like a Black Keys ripoff," it might be because Dan Auerbach assisted in the production of the record.

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The Black Angels' Christian Bland on Reverb -- "The Voice of God"

Categories: Interview

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Jamie Wdziekonski
The Black Angels frontman has his hands in many honey jars.

The whole 'Don't Mess With Texas' adage was actually an anti-littering campaign, but damn if that state don't have attitude. And while not exactly weirder than many other American cities (including this one), Austin does breed a distinct kind of freak, Christian Bland being one of the most notable. The Black Angels frontman, distinctive for his trademark screeches that pop off at peak of his psychedelic dirges, brings a more subdued, but still spun-out sound to his side project, Christian Bland & The Revelators.

Their Lost Album, recorded in an old ice cream factory in 2007, went missing for a few years, but was thankfully found again. This is excellent news for fans of Bland's more experimental, drawn-out trips, as lately The Angels have taken a more concise, pop-driven route, for better or worse. Even The Black Keys have taken note -- just compare Turn Blue to Phosphene Dream. Everyone can get on board this trippy train.

Bland definitely has his hands full. Also in The UFO Club with Lee Blackwell of Night Beats, Bland is a co-founder of the record label The Reverberation Appreciation Society and one of the four organizers of Austin Psych Fest, not to mention the fact that Bland designs a lot of the artwork for his various projects.

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King Tuff Describes the Evil Colors of His New Songs

Categories: Interview

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Dan Monick, courtesy Sub Pop

Vermont's King Tuff might have synesthesia, (the neurological phenomenon which activates multiple senses at once i.e. 'smelling' words or 'hearing' colors), and not even know it. Speaking to SPIN, the King (real name: Kyle Thomas) described the grungy sounds on his latest album, Black Moon Spell, in vivid colors - "silvery ... volcanic sparkles ... oily orange" a typical account of so-called "synesthetes."

But when we called up Sub Pop's garage rock superstar, Tuff said he didn't think he had synesthesia, despite describing the symptoms perfectly. Hearing color is why Tuff chose a purple album cover, which he also designed.

"We kept thinking it was purple. It was totally because of the music that I made it [that way,]" he tells us over the phone.


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The Descendents' New Record Might Be Out This Time Next Year

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Descendents with Bill Stevenson (second from right)

Influential pop punk legends The Descendents paved the way for bands that hit it big, like Blink-182 and Green Day. Descendents may not be a sold-out-arena sort of band, but that's the band's appeal -- Descendents are for underdogs who are unlucky in love and like going to Wienerschnitzel. They are the proud and the few, and they're making their way to Tempe this weekend for Summer Ends Music Festival.

We recently caught up with prolific drummer Bill Stevenson to discuss his active duty between three bands and how a brain tumor evoked positive changes in his life. Plus, we have some news about the new Descendents record, which may be released as early as next year.


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Mickey Avalon's Co-Dependent Relationship with Frat Culture

Categories: Interview, hip-hop

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Mickey Avalon

This was supposed to just be an article about douche bags.

It was supposed to highlight a sleazy rapper with a drug-addled party complex that mirrored the underbelly of the equally sleazy frat scene found just a few miles from Phoenix. See, Mickey Avalon has his dual lives: he's a recovering addict, a former prostitute and drug dealer who picked up a crusty melody off the sticky floor of a Los Angeles bar, blew on it, and then wrapped it up in a slinky strip club package and sold it to listeners who wanted to feel just a little bit dirty while listening.


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Godsmack's Shannon Larkin on the Band's "Almost" Breakup

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Godsmack
Godsmack

By the end of 2012, Godsmack's concert album the band released that year,Live and Inspired, was the furthest thing from the band's mind.

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Slow Magic Fights the Trend of Oversharing by Focusing on Anonymity

Categories: Interview

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Luca Venter
Slow Magic

These days, it's hard to disappear. Like Sting, the National Security Agency is watching every move you make, while your phone chirps out every check-in and banal thought you have, not to mention nothing you 'delete' online ever really gets deleted -- there's always a backup somewhere. Let's not even get into the vulnerability of "The Cloud."

With a new album called How To Run Away, few understand the power of intentional anonymity like Slow Magic. Self-described as your "imaginary best friend," the paper fox/cat mask is as much a tribute to Chris Sievey and Deadmau5 as it is a reflection of a society so connected, yet so out of touch. Plus, Slow Magic (few people know his real name, and if they do, they aren't telling) uses live drums, to better help you focus on what's in front of you. The idea of losing yourself carries into the (mostly) lyric-less yatter - you can find almost any narrative in this bouncing soul, but whatever identity you discover is certain to be ecstatic.


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