Tag Archives: widowspeak
Boston psych-rock trio Quilt is a definite favorite around here, and if you haven’t already you should listen to and love on their Mexican Summer released full-length, Quilt. It’s srsly dope. They recently played a gorgeous set opening for Jeremy Jay at Glasslands, which you can watch below via the prolific Bleary Eyed Brooklyn. Be sure to grab your tickets for their show on March 3rd with Mac Demarco and Widowspeak!
Get yr tickets HERE
Hoop Dreams started gaining some attention in late spring when the sextet released its debut 7″ with Captured Tracks, so by the time CMJ had rolled around they scored a number of really great showcases.
Back in September, the young project played label mates Widowspeak’s album release party, which was the first time I caught them live. With only a couple of singles out and about, sometimes I get nervous for young bands like that when jump into the heavy concert rotation circut, but Hoop Dreams sounds incredibly tight live so I can rest assured.
Based out of Blackburn, VA, Hoop Dreams was introduced to Captured Tracks through hometown buddies Wild Nothing. I mean, they also sound like the label’s quintessential band anyway–post-punk-y vocals and synth/surf backing, sounds about like the right fit.
With their return to Glasslands approaching, this time playing alongside Cloud Nothings, I exchanged a few questions with guitarist/bassist Tommy David, and it really sounds like the project is moving forward. We’re excited to see them again too, I mean any young band that can really fill out a set with six members on stage, including a violinist, is fine by me.
You guys just wrapped up a pretty heavy CMJ schedule–for your set-up what was the biggest challenge to keep your set consistent from venue to venue?
During CMJ drums were the only issue; we were hoping there would be drum backlines at the venues and later realized that most places didn’t have full sets. Otherwise, everything fell into place in terms of how we usually play live shows.
You have like the highest ratio of ‘sports’ references I’ve ever heard in an indie band, where’s that coming from?
So you’ve already got the 7″ out with Captured Tracks, are you going to ease into the next release with an EP or are you going all out with a full LP?
We are working on the LP for early next year but an EP has sort of materialized in the process, so that may precede the LP. Also, there will likely be a new single floating around in the very near future! Keep yall posted…
As a six-piece I’m sure a lot of collaboration goes into molding a song with that many players, but do you have a principle songwriter at this point or do multiple members contribute to the sort of core of your songwriting?
A lot of trading off goes around between different members. I think democracy is key to keep things fresh. Usually we begin with a set of riffs we like, then form a structure with those that works to our taste. Each person finds their own space as the process goes along…No coup d’état is in the works!
With your label based in Brooklyn, CMJ, and again an upcoming show with us here have you been spending a lot of time going back and forth between Virginia and NY? Do you have a lot of opportunity to play around where you’re based?
We’ve been playing in Blacksburg and NYC a lot, but not many other places. We have opportunities but it doesn’t make much sense to travel a lot without having a full album out. Soon, world : )
Get yr tickets HERE
As it must be already apparent, we here at PopGun are big fans of the wonderful Widoowspeak so of course we couldn’t be happier to throw their album release party! Even though we announced the show only a week before, Glasslands was totally packed with friends and fans coming out to support the young trio.
Captured Tracks label mates and Virginia natives Hoop Dreams played direct support with a packed stage (they have 6 members!) which included a few rotations like a little double teaming tambourine and even some violin action over the sentimental post-punk jams.
Widowspeak totally ruled the night. The band didn’t say more than a few ‘thank yous’ when they took the stage, but they proceeded to play such a gorgeous set. Everything sounded really tight even though some of the material was really new, they even debuted a live performance of one of the album tracks!
Lots of people stuck around after the show to congratulate the trio on their debut and everyone had a dance or two to a lil jangle pop. Oh and @internetxplorer got some photo booth action, so we’ll be posting that later.
Congrats Widowspeak on your debut record which drops August 9th via Captured Tracks!
TGI-effffffff we’ve got a great Friday contest for you!
Do you want it soooo bad?
All you have to do is send an email with subject line WIDOWSPEAK to firstname.lastname@example.org
Get yr tickets HERE
Up and coming Brooklyn trio Widowspeak has been catching some serious lo-fi waves since last fall if you haven’t noticed. Forming less than a year ago, the band hooked up with Captured Tracks and landed some pretty sweet bills (oh yeah and a bunch of people fell in love with frontwoman Molly Hamilton’s fantastic vocals).
I recently exchanged a few questions with the band about Widowspeak’s very promising past, present, and future, and they were more than happy to fill us in on all the great stuff they got going on!
So how did Widowspeak come together? You’ve been official since last summer, were you guys already playing in other projects or just friends that decided you were sonically made for each other?
Michael and I are both from Tacoma, Washington and were involved in this label called Dear Records, which was putting out monthly compilations a few years back. I moved back to New York, and Michael was going to school here, but we didn’t think about music until last spring, when the idea came up at a friend’s party. It took a lot of coaxing on Michael’s part, I have always been really shy about singing in front of people. I had also only ever played banjo and acoustic guitar, and we wanted to be electric, so I bought a Danelectro and a tiny amp. Rob was Michael’s friend from school, and we invited him to our first official practice in my living room. It was weird for me at first to play with a stranger, but he was the perfect guitarist for the band, we knew right away.
In such an incredibly short amount of time, from your October Tape EP to your recent 7″ with Captured Tracks your sound has become more layered and full, is that a direction in which you are consciously moving?
The tape was recorded with the built-in microphone on a Macbook, and Garage Band, so we didn’t really have control over sound. We were still figuring out which direction we wanted to take each song. We definitely realized in the process that not having a bassist is kind of limiting, and that we’ll eventually need to expand to a quartet. Recording with Jarvis was great, because we were able to use much more professional equipment, and take our time. We’re really proud of the 7″ (and the LP, which is almost done!).
By the way, who did the album art on the “Harsh Realm/Burn Out” single?
John Stortz, a friend of ours through Rob. He’s incredible; I showed him some 1970′s Bantam Classics book covers of Hesse books (Steppenwolf, Demian), which I wanted the art to be based on, and he came up with the “Harsh Realm/Burn Out” cover. It was even better and more fitting than we thought it would be. We’re definitely going to be using his work in the future.
Do all three of you nerd out over the same genre/time period of music or do you each have a sort of specialty you each bring to the table?
I think during the first practice, in my apartment, we talked about the 50′s… Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, early Elvis, and we initially wanted the band to have that sound. I don’t think that happened, but that first practice was cool because all of our weird obsessions came out. Michael and I share an encyclopedic knowledge of the grunge era because of our Northwest upbringings, as well as a love for the Sonics and 60′s garage. Rob’s more into the 70′s, Television and the StonesRob and I love Pavement, but Michael is crazy and prefers Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks. We all dig the Velvet Underground. I also listen to a lot of really old country and blues, and 90′s pop music. We cover “Wicked Game”, but we’ve also talked about covering the Cranberries and the Carter Family, if that says anything about how weird our influences are.
You guys have a lot of really rad things going on for Widowspeak right now, do you have anymore recordings or projects in the works? You seem to be pretty diligent workers, so many accomplishments in less than a year!
It’s been an amazing year. We are about finished with the LP, which will probably be out this summer. It’s so wild that we were able to record a full-length album; we’re really proud of everything we’ve done so far and it’s incredible to be able to document it right away. In the meantime, we’re just kind of focusing on getting our live sound where we want it.
BTW did you score any cool finds on Record Store Day?
Michael was working at Other Music that day, he says it was insane. All he wanted was the Nirvana Hormoaning EP (originally an Australia/Japan only tour EP, with all those Vaselines covers on it), but instead he bought the Arthur Russell World of Echo reissue. Which he says is the best New York City record ever.
Awesome interview, thanks guys!
Craft Spells is the newest kid on the ever cohesive Capture Tracks roster, armed with sun bleached guitar sheen and fronted by the cool nonchalant vocal stylings of founding member Justin Vallestaros.
Craft Spells was born out of Vallestaros’ bedroom project goings on, living and perfecting his craft in Stockton, CA, he eventually decided to split suburbia for some perennially hip Seattle digs. Justin explained, “When I came to Seattle a few months back, we jammed with Jack playing bass, & Peter playing live drums. We always used pre-programmed drums before, but when we played two shows with live drums, the response was really positive”.
With full band in tow and a few tracks floating around the interweb, Craft Spells experienced the sort of Cinderella story that every young, unsigned band dreams of–a record label came a-calling. Justin reveled, “Captured Tracks contacted me. They emailed me out of nowhere, it was surreal”.
Sharing a roster with such sonically like-minded bands such as Beach Fossils, MINKS, and Widowspeak, its a wonder Craft Spells didn’t cite them as influences next to the aforementioned standards like Beach Boys and Joy Division. When asked if he had been influenced by the label’s distinct sound Justin told me, “Not at all. I was into Blank Dogs but I didn’t know that they were on Captured Tracks. I don’t pay much attention to labels”.
Some things are just meant to be, I suppose. Craft Spells will be releasing its debut record Idle Labor via Captured Tracks on March 29th!
Craft Spells is playing with Cloud Nothings Saturday, April 9th @ Glasslands
Get yr tickets HERE!