Instrumental update….and some ranting!

•June 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hello world.

Not a whole lot has been going on lately with the instrumental crew in New Orleans. Not too many shows, at least.

Smiley With A Knife is putting the finishing touches on their album, which they will soon begin releasing online, one song at a time.  They also have a tour planned, from July 23rd to August 7th, spanning from New Orleans all the way up to Brooklyn, NY.  Soon after, on August 21st, they will have their CD release show at the Howlin’ Wolf Den w/ Man at Home and Six Gallery.  They have worked their asses of on this album, as you have seen in their “60 seconds” episodes, so they are excited to finally be releasing it to everyone.

Both High In One Eye and Rabbit are taking it easy right now.  That is, they aren’t playing many shows.  But they are currently writing new songs and getting ready to record.  Rabbit plans to record in August.  High In One Eye also plans to record before the end of summer.  Look out for new music!

And now for a quick rant…

There is a daily struggle that occurs in my mind.  The first half of the fight involves separating my own wants from the wants of others.  The second half involves following through with my own wants despite the opinions of others.  Sometimes I lose the fight and sometimes I win.  But from now on, I will always win.

For me, instrumental music is about creating the exact type of music that I want to create.  It is difficult for some people to do this, especially for people that are not used to playing music in a band with no lyrics/vocals.  This can make being in an instrumental band more difficult, because you have so many different ideas for the music that it can be hard to find a common ground.  But when a common ground is found, it is a beautiful thing.  This is exactly why I love being in an instrumental band, and it is exactly why I love talking about and analyzing the music of other instrumental bands.  When it all comes together, the result is something beautiful and honest.

And honesty is the most desirable aspect of anything, in my opinion.  Honesty is happiness, not just in music, but in any part of life.  If you can be honest with yourself and accept every positive and negative aspect of yourself, you will be happy.  And that’s what everyone wants, right?  This state is hard to achieve, but it is worth the effort.

In conclusion, I’m sure you were not expecting a “life lesson” when you clicked the link to this post.  But hopefully this post inspired you to do something the YOU really want to do to make yourself a little happier.

I really want to help out the bands in this city, especially those that are creating the unique type of music that I enjoy.  I hope that this blog can help these bands out, and I hope to be talking about new bands in the future.

Thanks for reading,

Alex

Zorch is coming to town, playing with High In One Eye

•May 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hello Internet.  It has been a while.  How are ya?  How’s the family?

For those who eagerly await my posts every week (and I KNOW that there are so many…), I am sorry that I haven’t kept up with this blog so far this summer.  Now that I have gotten over the laziness that the beginning of summer always brings, I will be getting back to posting regularly.

The summer has been somewhat slow for SWAK, High In One Eye, and Rabbit.

Rabbit, for one, is not playing any shows this summer (unless a really special one comes along).  Instead, they are focusing on getting tighter as a band.  They want to get used to each other’s playing a little more, and then they will start writing new music.  Don’t worry, new music is on the way.

High In One Eye is still writing material for their first full length album, which they hope to release by the end of summer (or at least the end of the year).  They are also playing a show this Sunday, May 30th, at Banks Street Bar with ZORCH.

If you haven’t checked out Zorch yet, you really need to.  They are another duo (so many these days), composed of drums and keyboard.  Quite often, the keyboardist will play on two different keyboards simultaneously.  The drummer is always careful not to overplay, but occasionally he does some pretty ridiculous, but well-fitting fills.  They pack a lot of energy into their music, and they play so passionately that this energy is effectively transmitted to their audience.

Sunday, May 30th (10pm)

High In One Eye, ZORCH, Move Lafitte

Banks Street Bar (FREE)

Finally, Smiley With A Knife recently received their first batch of T-SHIRTS.  They are pretty cool looking.  The design follows a “clock” theme, which will be the same theme for their upcoming full length CD.  To buy these T-shirts, come out to a show or check out their merch store.  Their next show in New Orleans is June 5th at Maison Musique with High In One Eye, A Living Soundtrack, and We The Granada.  They are also planning a tour of the Eastern half of the U.S. for the end of July.

That is all for today.  In a few days, I will write about a band from Germany called schnAAk, as well as their badass record label, Discorporate Records.

Autotomii…

•April 28, 2010 • 1 Comment

Yes!  The school year is winding down, and I am almost done with classes.  The summer will hopefully allow for a lot more music to happen in my life.  I can’t wait.

This week, I want to talk about a band that I’ve mentioned many times, but never fully elaborated on… Autotomii.

Autotomii has been playing their own unique take on instrumental music for quite a few months now.  They are a five piece: two electric guitars, drums, bass, and saxophone.  Also, one of the guitar players and the bass player switch off and play keyboard on a few of the songs.

They have been playing a lot of shows in the recent months.  That and recording their songs has made them much tighter as a band.  Each part of each song seems to flow really well, and each member has really found the sound that he wants to contribute to the band.

It’s good to hear a band like this.  It really reminds you of the commitment that it takes to write instrumental music.  There is so much freedom in the writing process, and  that can sometimes lead one to aimlessly stray and never find a coherent idea.  But you can really tell that Autotomii has found the idea that they want to communicate.

I’m going to try to describe the music now.  Each song has a sort of jazzy feel to it, but they are not a jazz band in any traditional sense.  Its more like a jazz rock fusion, but don’t go thinking this is straight up funk rock.  It’s not that way at all.  The guitars do take some time for solos, but they limit and space them out well so as not to turn it into a display of public masturbation.  There is always a focus on flow in the music.  Flow, and progression from one feel/style to another.  They can be playing heavy, attacking power chords at one moment and then, after a smooth transition, switch to densely layered and delayed space rock.  I don’t know what I just said.  Check out this video and see for yourself:

So if you have not yet checked out this band live, you are missing out.  Autotomii is playing a show on Thursday, May 20th with Move Lafitte and Birdfight.  I know, this is in a long time, but I figured this would be a good chance to let you know.  This show is happening at the Maison Musique on Frenchmen.  Do it!

That’s about all I’ve got for today.  Enjoy the weather before it gets too hot, and don’t let me catch you skinny dipping in my pool.  Damn kids…

SNE Instrumental Showcase Wrap-up

•April 21, 2010 • 2 Comments

Well the past two weekends have been filled with fun for instrumental music fans in New Orleans.  An instrumental show was held each weekend at the Dragon’s Den, and four bands played at each show.  In case you missed it, the bands that played were A Living Soundtrack, Smiley With A Knife, Rabbit, Shapes Like Dinosaurs, Metronome The City, High In One Eye, Hat Talk, and Autotomii.  Pretty fun weekends!

I recently discovered that I can rent out Flip HD cameras from my school for an entire weekend, so I did that so I could take videos at each of these shows.  I took a few videos of each band and compiled the best footage into this re-cap video. Enjoy!

By the way, Rabbit and High In One Eye have a pretty cool show this weekend.  They will be playing at the Zeitgeist with the Cliff Hines Quintet and Julian Labat.  A lot of different styles goin on here, so it should be a really interesting show.  It is right after Jazz Fest, so come on out:

Saturday, April 24th

Rabbit, High In One Eye, Cliff Hines Quintet, Julian Labat

Zeitgeist

10pm, probably free

Instrumental Showcase Part 2, Part 1 Recap…

•April 15, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So, last weekend was the Instrumental Showcase part 1.  And it was so awesome!  The bands that played were Smiley With A Knife, A Living Soundtrack, Rabbit, and Shapes Like Dinosaurs.  It started with the Latin-punk-math rock of Rabbit and continued with the ultra-Math of Shapes Like Dinosaurs.  Then some more people filtered in for the beautiful dual keyboard, bass, and drums quartet that is A Living Soundtrack, and they play an awesome set.  Finally, Smiley With A Knife closed out the night with something old, something new, and something orange.  Even though they played a late set, people stuck around to check out their music, and they dug it.  As you can see, each one of these bands brought their different styles of instrumental music to the table, and we feasted upon them.  But we are still hungry…

Thankfully, Instrumental Showcase part 2 is coming tomorrow.  Friday, April 16th is tomorrow.  Unless you read this tomorrow because then it would be today.  But anyway, the show Friday is going to be another awesome  night of instrumental-ness.  The bands playing are Metronome The City, High In One Eye, Hat Talk, and AutotomiiMetronome the City has a new CD out, as does AutotomiiHat Talk is coming in all the way from Texas, and High In One Eye is fresh off of an Easter tour.  All these bands have something going on, so you should get in on that.  Here is all of that information in a concise format:

Friday April 16th

Instrumental Showcase Part 2

Metronome The City, Hat Talk, High In One Eye, Autotomii

Dragon’s Den, 10pm

If you are free, please come on out.  The Block Party pre-show is going to be happening at the same time at the Dragon’s Den, so you can kill two bands with one stone.

Soon to come: a video recap of both nights of instrumental madness.  Until then, you stay classy.

Great show this weekend for Rabbit and SWAK

•April 8, 2010 • 1 Comment

A lot of good stuff is coming up for Rabbit, Smiley With A Knife, and High In One Eye.

Smiley With A Knife is currently in the process of recording their second full length album. They are hoping to be done with the album in a month or so, but don’t hold them to that. They are being very thorough in the studio so that they can get the best sound possible out of all of their songs.

High In One Eye, as I mentioned the other day, just got back from their first tour, and it was a great success. They are now beginning to write the rest of their songs for their first album, which they hope to be done with sometime after Summer of 2010. They want each of the songs to be stylistically unique, so the album should have a very eclectic feel to it.

Rabbit is also beginning to write new songs, now that they have finished incorporating parts for bassist Alex Johnson and saxophonist Marc Linam into their already written songs. They will start recording for their first EP very soon.

The most exciting news right now for Rabbit, however, is their show this weekend with Shapes Like Dinosaurs (driving in from Birmingham, Alabama), Smiley With A Knife, and their electronic heroes, A Living Soundtrack.

I have written about ALS in a previous post, but I just want to say again how amazing these guys and gal are as a live band. Their name really says it all, you can picture a movie scene in your head when you are listening. And if they have their projectors at this show, you won’t even have to picture it in your head.

So, here is the show info:

Saturday, April 10th
Dragon’s Den
10pm
A Living Soundtrack, Smiley With A Knife, Rabbit, and Shapes Like Dinosaurs

Also, check out this video Smiley With A Knife made about the show:

High In One Eye Tour Re-cap

•April 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Hey everyone! It has been a while since I last blogged, but for good reasons. I have been on the road with High In One Eye.

High In One Eye just completed their first tour ever. It lasted for ten days, during which they played nine shows. They traveled to Texas and Alabama and even as far as Clearwater, Florida (look it up on a map! But they had a great time and made a lot of new fans/friends on the road. Check out the map for the tour:

I (Alex) joined up with them when they passed through Baton Rouge for the second half of their tour. When I joined up, they had already made their way through Texas, where they had shows in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. Luckily, they took a lot of footage on their Flip camera (thanks Jared), so they filled me on on all of their crazy antics and inside jokes during the first five days of the tour.

They basically filled the camera up with footage every day. The content of the footage is mixed: there are a lot of videos of them goofing off, but there are also a lot of videos of their performances. When I joined up with them in Baton Rouge, I became the official videographer at their shows. The title sounds pretty fancy, but all I really had to do was hold the camera and press record.

So now that we have all of these videos, what are we going to do with them? Rather than releasing a video every day of the tour, High In One Eye has decided to make a comprehensive tour documentary of sorts. This video will show you what it was like for them to experience their first tour, and it will be a mixture of live show footage and footage of them just being goofy. No date is set for this release, but we will be organizing all of this stuff very soon. Keep your eyes and ears open for this because it is going to be very entertaining.

It was really amazing traveling with these two guys for almost a week. Since they had the video camera going a lot of the time, I got to see their creativity at work as they tried to make the funniest videos they could. The best part of being on tour with them, though, was that I got to see them play five times. It really reminded me why I love their music so much.

From what I hear, most bands play worse as they get further along on their tour because of exhaustion. High In One Eye did the exact opposite. Though they were definitely exhausted from the long drives, their last show of the tour was their best. It was a house party show in Clearwater, FL, held in the house owned by the members of the band like nomads. like nomads was an awesome band, and they were the coolest guys. Not only did they keep everybody around for High In One Eye (because we arrived late), but they also let us crash at their house that night.

Let me describe the show: Picture thirty 18-20 year old kids crowded in a living room so small that they were practically on top of Evan and Andrew as they played. You can easily imagine how this atmosphere makes a band play better than they would on a stage. They were more connected with the audience, and when High In One Eye finds a connection with their audience, they play their best. A lot of kids were really rocking out during the show, as you will see when the tour video comes out. When they finished playing, a lot of kids were giving them compliments and taking their CDs. It was a great show for them.

All in all, this tour was a great success for High In One Eye. We all had a great time and made a lot of connections in new areas. Just what they needed. If you want to see the stats for the tour, check out their most recent blog post.

Also, check back in a few days for a post about the show this Saturday at the Dragon’s Den with A Living Soundtrack, Rabbit, Smiley With A Knife, and Shapes Like Dinosaurs.