Sunday, February 11, 2018

Mike Viola - Acousto De Perfecto (Mike Viola Q&A)

In July 2012 Mike Viola released his latest full length record Acousto de Perfecto. You can order it directly at Lojinx (vinyl, CD, digital).


Along with the record release Mike Viola was so kind to give me an interview:

How Acousto De Perfecto did came about?

After recording Electro De Perfecto and playing a few shows with my rock trio around Los Angeles I headed out on tour solo, alone with my guitar where I landed on this idea to make Acousto De Perfecto. Stripped down versions of Electro De Perfecto. I have this tendency to compartmentalize my material.


"This is my rock record" - "this is my live acoustic record with all new songs" - "this is my guy trapped in his basement far reaching swinging for the fences POP record" - this whole idea of Acousto De Perfecto kind of flies in the face of compartmentalization.
Confuses things.  Muddles the story.  But it's ultimately really satisfying to hear the Acousto De Perfecto immediately after the last track of Electro De Perfecto "When The Stars Are Against Me". It opens up the lifespan of the songs for me. For the idea the creator has for his creation. Not only Frankenstein, but the Son, the Bride, meets the Wolfman - maybe the new way of doing songs isn't some eternal flame "ultimate version" like any Beatles or Stones record.  But rather, an interpretation. I sound pedantic. Foolish.  See, if you think about these things too much you begin to put them in a compartment. Stupid humans. Off to the show!

Acousto de Perfecto cover

Acousto De Perfecto spawned out of being on tour alone playing the songs from Electro De Perfecto. I didn't want to simply make a parallel record of all the songs on Electro De Perfecto done acoustic so I included some new material that I was gathering for whatever record of mine was coming next. 
Secret Radio was written onstage live at a show in Charlotte NC. This guy, a fan of pop music was putting on a "pop fest". He paid all his favorite pop artists to come to NC, put them (us) up in hotels and rented out this hall. Maybe a gym at a college? Can't remember. Anyway. About 13 people showed up on a rainy Friday night. It was an utter failure. It spoke volumes about the distorted self-perception that fans of pop music have about their pop brethren. That's another story. An ugly long story. The story of Secret Radio is me singing to those 13 people. Explaining something in song. that they are the reason I try and try again. And always will. No matter how pathetic the numbers. I sing to the  people who lean forward and sometimes way too far back to hear the right melody, lyric, emotion wrapped up in a sexual midst that lies or lays somewhere between the girls in the train car in Hard Day's Night and the tattooed love boys. They mine their record collections for just one more surprise. A fix. Anyway... that song was a direct delivery from that haggard muse hanging in the stale air of that empty auditorium in Charlotte NC one cloudy summer night.  

Why do you think vinyl LPs have this huge comeback particularly in the recent years?

Cause vinyl is better and people know that. CDs were an invention by manufacturers. SONY invented the CD player and the CD format. Then they bought Columbia records and forced vinyl out of existence. At least I think that's what happened. Anyway, the internet has come along and along with it main street America is coming back and so is vinyl.  It's always the corporations that fuck shit up for us little guys. CDs... never liked them. Walmart... don't shop there. I'd rather pay twice the amount for my chunk of cheese elsewhere. 

How did you meet Bleu? Your cooperation with him and Ducky Carlisle (L.E.O., The Major Labels) were great efforts – is there a chance of anything more in the future?

I was doing these shows in Boston called "Mike Viola's mix tape". My friend Andrea Kremer introduced me to William James and told me we'd fall in love. She was right.  L.E.O. was all his idea. TML was the first and last band I've ever been in. It's highly unlikely we'll do another record. I died at the end of that one anyway.   

TML - Aquavia cover

Who was the last singer/band that took you by surprise?

Probably Rufus Wainwright. When he did Want One. I didn’t really get him before that record. Just didn't hear it. But that one knocked me out and then I went back and fell in love with his earlier stuff too.  

Is the internet in summation good or bad for musicians/bands - in terms of file sharing, crowd funding, blogs and social networks?

It's great for me. Can't speak for everyone else. I love it cause if I hear about something that's supposed to be good I can immediately check it out, or buy it, or not. And for me as an artist I can reach my fans directly, they know where to find me. 

You did movie soundtracks in the past (The Dewey Cox Story, Get Him to The Greek, That Thing You Do etc.). It’s surely fun to write lyrics like Furry Walls or African Child, is it? I loved the performance of Furry Walls at the end of the movie (the beginning is incredibly funny)!
As much as I love all the records of Aldous Snow (except the one before his creative hiatus – that was crap… ;-): Is there a chance we will ever listen to these songs with Mike Viola on vocals?

Hem. I just did a tour with Adam Schlesinger where we played a bunch of songs from the movies we've worked on. There are demo recordings of me singing every song from the movies I've worked on and also songs that didn’t make it. For Greek I think Dan Bern and I wrote close to 30 songs. 


What do you think about your early songs nowadays (MV & the Bottom Line, MV & Snap, Kenmore Square…)? Is there a song you like in particular?

Oh that stuff is terrible. BUT, there are some earlier songs and recordings of mine that are really inspired naive and punk rock. I'm going to release some of that hopefully this year on 7". 
But SNAP was horrible and the records we made are even worse than what we sounded like live. One thing we could do was harmonize really good though. I miss that.  We drank tons of beer, harmonized and played darts. Okay there's a few songs I like. I think there's so much memory wrapped up in those songs so it's hard to tell if I really hate them or I just hated who I was when I was making them. But I'm pretty sure I hate them.

Review: Coldplay - Parachutes

Seventeen years ago many things were different. It was a time when MTV still played music videos, record companies had no problems with this internet thing, Chris Martin wasn't married with Gwyneth Paltrow yet - and Coldplay were not one of the most successful bands on earth.


The first thing I recall of Coldplay is seeing the video for "Yellow". Chris Martin is walking on a beach at night. At first I thought: good song, but a bit boring video. Until I recognized that this walk is from the middle of the night to the middle of the next day - in 4:29 min.

I bought Parachutes and listened to the first song - what a blast! Today "Don't Panic" is still one of my top songs of all time.  

I don't think it's necessary to do a full review here. Most of the songs are very well known. Astonishingly I still like to listen to the record as a whole despite the constant radio airplay of them. And in my opinion it has one of the best cover arts of a records I own (especially on vinyl!).


Coldplay was a great new band. And I loved them. Sadly they could never reach the climax of their first album again. Don't get me wrong, all of their following records have great songs and I like all of them very much. It's not their fault.

Songs for a lonely island: Don't Panic, Shiver, Trouble, High Speed, Parachutes

If you are the one person who has never heard of Coldplay before - listen to the album here:


The video for Don't Panic:

Review: Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5:55

The French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg (daughter of the famous French actor Serge Gainsbourg) announced her second record in early 2006 (her first album was from 1986). I was a bit curious about it, especially because of the people who worked with her on the songs: Air, Jarvis Cocker, Neil Hannon (from Divine Comedy) - and Nigel Godrich (producer of Radiohead, REM, Beck, Air, Travis, Jason Falkner or Zero 7). So I waited (still remember, it was a very very long time between announcement and the release date). And I wasn't disappointed!


The album is all about the time between sleep and awake. This very special time in the middle of the night you can't sleep: you look at the clock radio and discover it's too late to go to sleep again before sunrise.



Songs for a lonely island: 5:55, The Songs That We Sing, Morning Song or better: the whole record from start to end. Listen here:

Review: Mike Viola - Electro de Perfecto

Mike Viola: Electro De Perfecto. Ten tacks. And a quite new direction. It's not like its forerunner Lurch at all.


1. Columbus Day Parade: A straight, fast and energetic opener.

2. Get You Back: I demand this to be a single, played by all radio stations. My daughter (18 months old) loves it, too.

3. El Mundo De Perfecto: For me it's the central song of the whole record. Wonderful.

4. Soundtrack Of My Summer: I listen to this song for a while now (it surfaced a while ago on soundcloud). It was the soundtrack of my summer! 

5. Closet Cutter: For me it was a grower, just like ...

6. Field of Guns 'n' Roses:... this one ...

7. Me And My Drinking:... and this. I didn't like all three at first very much. Now I do. 

8. Here's The Rub: Stuck in my head. Immediately. Be careful!

9. Inside Out: At the moment my least favorite song on the album (but this changes after every listen - in a positive way. How do you do this, Mike?)

10. When The Stars Are Against You: A strong closing of the album. I love the vibe.

It's out in digital form, the physical record (CD and vinyl) will be released on 4th of October. You can preorder it at Amazon worldwide (US, UK, DE).

Bleu - Besides (B-Sides & Outtakes)

Bleu released a B-side & outtake record (songs from "A Watched Pot" and "Four") called Besides in 2011 - and it's only available on vinyl (Yay!) and CD box.



There are two editions, a blue or a black 150g vinyl (both strictly limited with 100 / 300 copies!). You get a digital download with this package, too.
For all "Four" kickstarter backers out there there's was special price!

Besides is good, very good. Many artists would kill for having songs like these on their records...

Tracklist:

Vinyl

SIDE - B
1. Take Cover
2. When The Other Shoe Falls
3. No Such Thing As Love [Original Version]
4. Can't Be That Bad (If It Feels This Good)
5. The Blame Game
6. How Blue [Acoustic Mix]
7. When The Dog Day Comes

SIDE - Be (sides)
1. If...
2. Blow Up The Radio
3. A Watched Pot
4. Mailman's Son
5. In Love With My Lover [Demo]
6. Save It For A Rainy Day    

Digital download (with the vinyl package)

1. Take Cover
2. When The Other Shoe Falls
3. No Such Thing As Love [Original Version]
4. Can't Be That Bad (If It Feels This Good)
5. The Blame Game
6. Don't Take It Personally
7. How Blue [Acoustic Mix]
8. If...
9. When The Dog Day Comes
10. Blow Up The Radio
11. A Watched Pot
12. Mailman's Son
13. In Love With My Lover [Demo]
14. Save It For A Rainy Day

The vinyl was available at his Official Website but sadly not anymore. Maybe you could write him to get a copy.
There is also a CD-box set of Four and Besides at Amazon.

Review: David Mead - Wherever You Are EP

    David Mead wrote Wherever You Are in 2002. Short after the recording David was dropped by RCA. It was cut to a six songs EP and finally released by Eleven Thirty Records in 2005.

    The Wherever You Are EP is simply a perfect record. It became one of my top ten records ever. All six songs are extremely strong pieces of work.


    Track list:
    1. Wherever You Are
    2. Hold On
    3. Only a Dream
    4. Astronaut
    5. Make It Right
    6. How Much
    There are eleven songs that left off the EP. David offered some of these unreleased tracks at his site mineandyours.com as a Christmas gift. The tracks give you a hint how the full album would have sounded like. In short: it would have been awesome.

    They are:
    • Wherever (a beautiful intro to the original album)
    • Attitude
    • Beauty (rerecorded for the Indiana album)
    • Growin’ Up
    • Subway
    • Little Sister
    • Patience
    • Oneplusone (rerecorded for the Indiana album)
    • All Is Forgiven  (unreleased)
    • How Will The Kids Get High (unreleased)
    • NYC Girl (unreleased)

    Does anyone of you, my fellow readers, know anything about the three unreleased tracks and the original track order?

    By the way, if you're interested in these eight outtakes, please leave a comment or write an Email: powerpopsquare@gmail.com .

    David Myhr - Soundshine (Review)

    David Myhr, the Stockholm-based former member of The Merrymakers released his first solo record in 2012. And it has become a PowerPop gem from start to finish.


    David says:”I love that tingling down the spine when I hear a great song – when superior craftsmanship meets the magic. I constantly strive for that that with my own songs”.

    Maybe that passion for great music reflects also in the title of the record - Soundshine. One of the best record titles for a long time! The songs are somewhere between Jellyfish, The Beatles, Mike Viola and The Feeling.


    Never Mine is a strong opener, leading to the catchy Looking For A Life and Got You Where He Wanted. I Love The Feeling has such a summer feeling, you have to play this in a convertible. Get it Right starts slowly and builds up to one of the best songs of the record (what a chorus!). Cut To The Case is a dangerous earworm. With Don't Say No and Loveblind follow two more upbeat songs. The One is a beautiful ballad (there are some parts that remind a lot of Billy Joel and Queen). Wanderlust and Icy Tracks are pure PowerPop. Ride Along has some Beatlesque parts. Finally there are two tracks are Japan exclusive (Boom Boom Beat and Record Collection)

    Soundshine has not a single filler - and a lot of memorable songs.

    So Mr. Myhr - how about Germany?


    Official website: davidmyhr.com 

    Monday, January 29, 2018

    Chris Price - Dalmatian

    The new record of Chris Price ("Dalmatian") is out March 2nd 2018. 


    So, according to his last record ("Stop Talking") which was stellar, you MIGHT have a look at its release! 

    Preorder the record (CD and digital) at Omnivore and soon at Bandcamp!




     

    Thursday, December 21, 2017

    Bleu - Mr. & Mrs. - Christmas Songs

    Bleu McAuley and his wife Chloë Lear Jackson McAuley released three songs under the name Mr&Mrs for the christmas season!


    Listen here:





    Buy them here: CD Baby or iTunes.