eventseekr Shuffle: Punch It or Hug It? A Playlist of Lovely Assault

“For one human being to love another, that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks … Love is like the measles. The older you get it, the worse the attack.” –Rainer Maria Rilke

Love and War are two words that change lives. Sweethearts swoon and entire countries are swept up by the ravishment of warfare. My choice of the word Love over Peace is quite intentional, as I’m a firm believer in the notion that the latter is in no way the antonym to the despair that is War. Peace is merely the middle ground: safety. Creation and community are needed in order to properly balance out the scale, therefore Love fits the bill quite nicely. But I advise all to be careful with quickly labeling Love and War as two entities working in opposition. The famous Hellenic War delineates otherwise, showing how love may beget war. In contrast, one can only hope that the converse is just as likely.

I aimed to create a playlist which highlights both of these aspects of human nature while also making room for the grey areas that lie between anger and adoration. There is a certain tension involved in love – a push and pull that can turn into frustration or worse. Some of these songs come purely from the heart while others were written with an antagonistic slant; some are literal in their relevance while others are more abstract, and nearly all of them convey a sense of anxiety. That being said, let’s leave the boggy waters of semantics behind and let the playlist speak its case.

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Catching Up with Reptar [Interview]

Back in October, I wrote a review for indie, dance-rock band Reptar‘s second consecutive show at the Fillmore with Foster the People. After that show, I had the chance to chat with a few of the members outside the venue, and they were kind enough to offer me contact information so that we could set up an interview at a later date. It just so happened that Reptar was coming back to the Fillmore only a few weeks later to play a show with the electronic-indie duo Phantogram, on November 2nd, so I jumped at the chance to get an interview with the up-and-coming band.

Originally, I was scheduled to do a phone interview with Reptar the day of the show, but after a game of phone tag–a succession of failed call attempts on both sides–Reptar keyboardist William Kennedy invited me to come down to the venue for the show. I couldn’t believe my luck!

After meeting up with Kennedy outside of the venue, he rounded up drummer Andrew McFarland, lead singer Graham Ulicny and their behind-the-scenes man/ videographer Ross Brubeck, and we entered the dressing room of the Fillmore for a quick interview. I have to admit: when I first entered the room I had an internal nerd moment and tried to wrap my head around how many rock and roll legends stood in the same spot I was in. That mental relapse aside, my conversation with the guys was like talking to old friends. Like myself, they are all very obvious products of the 1990s.

How is San Francisco treating you so far?

Soo Good. It’s amazing.

Have you had time to see the city?

Yeah the beach! There was a surf competition. We saw Slater kill it! Slater went AWOL. (laughs)

Reptar. Photo courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR.

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Little Red Toddies and Big Dickels to Keep You Warm [Live Review]

Little Red / Yalls / Bleeding Knees Club / Oona | Saturday, November 5th | Rickshaw Stop | San Francisco

It was Saturday night after a bout of rain when a couple of friends and I strolled up to Rickshaw Stop. I was ready for my dose of feel-good rock in the form of Australian quintet, Little Red.

Little Red. Photo courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR.

The group is currently touring their latest album, Midnight Remember. Unfortunately, the ‘Stop’s doors weren’t open yet. I guess we got a little overzealous. We did what any respectable concert attendee would in said case and had a drink down the street. The city streets had a chill that made the inside of the venue feel like a paradise once we got there. As far as concert spots go, the Eden parallel is not too far from the truth. One can rock out by the stage with the bartender only a hop away. There are also two upstairs balcony areas furnished with benches and couches. Yes, couches. Needless to say, we spent a big part of the evening lounging in the warmth, enjoying the atmosphere and sipping our specialty drinks of the evening: Little Red Toddies (add a bit of grenadine) and Big Dickels. The namesake of the toddy was obvious, while I was left wondering if the latter was dubbed so in honor of the first performer, Bleeding Knees Club.

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Little Red’s Dominic speaks of Wall Street and Hare Krishnas [Interview]

I recently got the chance to set up a chat with the lead singer of the fun Australian rock quintet Little Red. The group boasts success in their home country with their first EP, Listen to Little Red, meeting good national reviews upon release in June 2008. It was named album of the week on Triple J. It was subsequently snatched up by UK label Lucky Number Records for its Northern Hemisphere debut. The latest album, Midnight Remember (Liberation Records, September 2010), has enjoyed a warm welcome over the past year as it went gold in the Outback. The ‘Red men are now touring their most recent musical fruition. Needless to say, I was rather excited to talk with Dominic Byrne, the lead singer and one of two guitarists. So I “gave him a bell” last Tuesday. The band was in New York for a couple CMJ performances where Paste Magazine named them one of the “10 Great Bands” at the festival. Well done, Aussies.

Little Red. Photo by Angelo Kehagias. From left to right: Adrian Beltram (guitar, vocals) Dominic Byrne (vocals, guitar) Quang Dinh (bass, vocals) Taka Honda (drums) Tom Hartney (percussion, vocals).

Dominic picks up his cell phone on the streets of the Big Apple and away we go.

You all started in 2005 or 2007? I found a couple dates.

I’m not sure. It was either ’05 or ’06. It’s starting to get a little bit fuzzy. Yeah, it was one of those. I don’t know. I actually seriously don’t know.

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eventseekr Shuffle: Take It with a Bleach Chaser

Do not expect anything funny around here, since I am the author and my sense of humor is nonexistent. My impetus for making this playlist was my friend Dale calling the Finnish love metal band HIM “the worst band in the world.” Hmmm, I would disagree. HIM has at least one good song, which is the cover of “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak, and you simply cannot make “Wicked Game” bad. And, at least HIM is honest in its being plastic kitsch, without any pretense to gosh-darned “rock’n’roll authenticity” (although, bazillions of Eastern European girls who slashed their wrists in tribute to HIM singer Ville Valo would disagree with me on that). So, ever since my friend berated HIM, I’ve been thinking of a way to incorporate the band in a mix (to make my friend angry, of course).

Here is a little Thanatos-centered playlist for you:

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eventseekr Shuffle: The Golden Age of the Prog Rock “Epic”

BY NATHAN CRANFORD

The years 1971-1973 encapsulate what many feel to be the “golden age” of prog rock. Aside from the sprawling “epics” we’ll be discussing in this article, several other progressive rock albums were released during these years and are considered by many to be hallmarks of the genre. However, despite the huge advancements in recording technology and musical complexity that resulted from the ingenuity of progressive rock musicians throughout the 1970s, one of the more controversial experiments of the era was the introduction of the epic “record filling” prog song.

“Tarkus” – Emerson, Lake and Palmer (1971)

(A very short snippet from a 1972 live performance in Tokyo)

ELP begins this list simply because I feel their work marks the rise in popularity of the progressive rock “epic” during the early 1970s. The band’s sophomore album, Tarkus, is widely considered to be the first truly great album to highlight a rock song that ran for over 20 minutes–quite outlandishly taking up the whole first side of the record.

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Bands With Unusual Names #2 – Fokofpolisiekar

BY NATHAN CRANFORD

The Western world has seen the rise (and fall) of numerous upstarts in various artistic fields. One could say that the rise of Dadaism in Europe, as exemplified by that most fabulous Fountain of Marcel Duchamp, did much to open up the possibilities of expression in visual art. So too did those illuminations of the deepest, darkest recesses of the human psyche found in many of the films directed by Italian auteur Pier Paolo Pasolini. Nearly half a century after their creation, these achievements in artistic expression continue to haunt and bewilder both art students and connoisseurs alike, despite never having achieved mass appeal for the public-at-large. Yet, with music, effecting change to the expressive limitations of the artform hasn’t always been so dramatic–and many of the controversies it introduced were quickly absorbed and formalized within the medium with little to no public fanfare over time.

Left to Right: Hunter Kennedy, Wynand Myburgh, Johnny de Ridder, Francois Van Coke, Jaco Venter. Photo by 187.

As time marched forward into the 21st Century, many felt that there was nothing that music could do to effect change, or at the very least, cause a stir–that is, until the South African punk band Fokofpolisiekar (Fuckoffpolicecar) burst out onto the country’s burgeoning youth scene in 2003.

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