Archives for posts with tag: 2013

On a weekend trip to Leipzig, I stumbled into a Julia Holter show unexpectedly at UT Connewitz. My friend Laura took some nice photos and I got a setlist after the show. I parlayed this into another feature for Decoder Magazine. It was a great show and a lot of fun to put this concert review together.

Though the set certainly focused on The Loud City Song material, Holter also threw in a healthy dose of 2012’s Ekstasis. At one point in the evening, she revealed that it was the first time she was playing her keyboard – probably the result of the not-so-glamorous life of touring. “I shouldn’t have told you that,” she laughed. “It’s not bad… I just need to tame it.”

So that’s just a little taste of the feature. Even if my contributions aren’t your cup of tea, Decoder has some great writing that is very worth checking out.


Set list:
1. “Green Wild”
2. “Maxims I”
3. “Horns Surrounding Me”
4. “Marienbad”
5. “Four Gardens”
6. “City Appearing”
7. “This is a True Heart”
8. “Maxims II”
9. “In the Same Room”
10. “Goddess Eyes” (Encore)
[Photos by Laura Figueroa]

“I was there with all these pedals and I didn’t know what I was going to do, so I said, I don’t give a $#*&, let’s start making noises!” – Torsten Kinsella

God Is An Astronaut merch table at C-Club Berlin, Sept 2013

Welcome to part 2 in a series of interview podcasts, called “A Touring Daze,” in which I speak with musicians on the road, while I, myself, am living in a foreign space. Back in September I visited the C-Club in Berlin to see God Is An Astronaut light up the stage. The Irish (formerly) instrumental rock band had dotting across Europe in support of their recent album on Rocket Girl Recordings, Origins. In addition to some great stories of being on tour, guitarists Torsten Kinsella and Jamie Dean shared the unique songwriting process on the recent record of sculpting sounds into songs. This month’s piece is called  “Post-Pop Tart Rock.”

The band prepares to wash the audience away during soundcheck.

The audio piece first aired on KZSU Stanford 90.1FM on December 2nd, 2013.

Many thanks to Torsten and Jamie in the band, and Vinita at Rocket Girl for making the interview happen. The next podcast will arrive January 1st and feature Canadian collective Esmerine.


From my last post on ghosttrees, I subtly referenced that I was contributing to Decoder Magazine. I am quite happy about the opportunity to more formally direct my music ramblings into forms like reviews and features that people may read.

With “Dirt Beam,” we are introduced to a staccato, multi-layered Casio horn chug that contrasts with an Eastern, chiming guitar (or is it keyboard?) riff. By the time we can mentally adjust to the contrast and slightly off-kilter guitar/key tones, Kumo launches into a frenetic The Name of this Band Is Talking Heads-like world-funk groove, while spaced-out squiggly synths lurch in all directions. And before we can even figure out what’s happening, the song has pivoted eight more head-spinning times, mixing all the UFO-isms, flickering trumpets, and tapestry of samples into a soaking, twisted, frenzy before ebbing back toward calm. It’s surely a representative end to a chaotically joyful listen.

This is a short blog post pointing to my recent review of Gushing Cloud‘s 2013 LP, Beat Wings In Vain on Intangible Cat. It’s really an impressive mix of styles for getting down to headphone grooves from the comfort of your living room. Check it out.

More Decoder-related and “A Touring Daze”-related news soon.


“When you’re singing a song, it needs to be the only thing happening in the world right now. You need to believe it and you need to make them believe it.” – Jon DeRosa

Welcome to part 1 in a series of interview pieces, called “A Touring Daze,” in which I speak with musicians on the road, while I, myself, am on the road. To kick off the series, I had the opportunity to speak to Jon DeRosa. DeRosa has worked professionally as a musician for the last twenty years under different guises, names, and projects, including Dead Leaves RisingVlor, Aarktica, his own name (solo), and Pale Horse and Rider. In the Berlin alternative mainstay Wild At Heart, we caught up before a gig in September. We spoke about his recent work, touring with Lydia Lunch (in support of his recent 7″ single, “Signs of Life“), and who has armed him with artistic inspiration as of late. This piece is called “Crossing over from Ambient into crooner-pop.”


Recently, Decoder Magazine also published a feature I wrote about the interview. The audio piece first aired on KZSU Stanford 90.1FM on October 21st, 2013.

Many thanks to Jon and Rocket Girl Recordings for the opportunity. The next podcast will arrive December 1st and feature Irish rockers, God Is An Astronaut.