Ray LaMontagne's Supernova a Product of Friends and Passion

Categories: Interview

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

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

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

Artist photo
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

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


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

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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Holiday in Cambodia: Dengue Fever Talks Ley Lines and Working with Jim Jarmusch

Categories: Interview

Chean Long

With all this talk about Ebola hemorrhagic fever, perhaps we should think about something to take our minds off it, something like Dengue Fever. No, not the tropical mosquito-borne virus (that'd probably only increase hypochondriacal feelings), let's talk about the six-piece Los Angeles psychedelic rock band who skillfully combine Cambodian pop songs with the chromatic stoner sounds of the '60s.

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Jimmy Eat World Signature Guitar Celebrates Seventh Anniversary

Courtesy of the artist's Facebook page
Jim Adkins with his signature Fender JA-90 guitar.

If you're a diehard music fan in Arizona, you know that one of our state's crown jewels is Jimmy Eat World. Active for over two decades now, and regarded as a forerunner of the mid-'00s pop-punk movement, Jimmy Eat World invokes as much, if not more, pride as references to The Format or The Bled. Led by born-and-bred Mesa resident Jim Adkins, the band is just around the corner from the 10-year anniversary of their gold-selling record Futures, yet another Jimmy Eat World-related anniversary is also upon us.

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Journey Through California Culture with Camper Van Beethoven

Categories: Interview

Courtesy photo
Camper Van Beethoven

Camper Van Beethoven were born to be wild. Begun during the early '80s, the violin-led Bay Area quintet were initially a reaction to hardcore punk, but quickly moved afield stylistically. Like the Talking Heads if they'd dropped acid and grown up on the other coast, there's a goofy, sardonic irreverence at the core of their art-damaged psych-folk. Their loose, rollicking, eclecticism evokes don't-give-a-damn freedom, but it's never like they don't care. CVB self-destructed in 1990 after five albums in seven years.

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