When we last checked in with Possibly Apostrophe, they had just released a few singles from their newest EP, The Frost Sessions (And Other Auditory Happenings). The videos (see below) show them recording their larger sound (Funky Intervention) that was quite a contrast to the more laid-back, spacey vibes found on the debut Bison Bison Sessions. The guitar riffs range from James Brown to 80’s hair metal with swinging enthusiasm. And, as usual, the rhythm section pounds out the funk anchored by Jon Keller, whose bass sounds like the illegitimate love-child of Vic Wooten and Les Claypool (proof: Funky Intervention video below 1:20-1:40).
The four track EP is available now as a free download (or a name your price purchase) at their bandcamp site.
If the guys in the video look familiar it’s probably because you’ve seen them performing in State College (including this past THON) as cover band Public Domain. Jon (bass), Seth (guitar) and Tim (guitar) are still active in the band, and I would definitely recommend seeing them if you get the chance.
If you enjoy what you hear, like Possibly Apostrophe’s Facebook to show them some love and keep up to date with their news and announcements. Pat (drums) tells me they are already working on new material.
Last year we featured an interview with the State College band, Possibly Apostrophe, around the same time they dropped their debut album The Bison Bison Sessions. A few short months later, the future of the band looked uncertain as the guys graduated, and Pat left for Brooklyn.
Well, they’re back with a new series of songs and companion videos that will be released over the next few weeks. Today marks the release of the second video in the series, a track entitled “Funky Intervention.” And trust me, it won’t take you long to realize this is an appropriate name for the tune. Viewer discretion is advised because this song is absolutely filthy, most notably Jon Keller just destroying the bass guitar.
In Pat’s own words describing the project:
“We’ve only been able to get together about four times this past year, twice to perform the songs and twice to record. These latest recordings were done entirely on our own, in my living room here in Brooklyn, and with our own limited resources. In theory, we could keep going with this format and record as much material as we want. The trick is getting all four of us in the same room. For now, we’ll be releasing four new recordings paired with videos entirely online, all the material will be compiled into a free download early next year. Not playing shows and not living in the same state really limits how we share this music, its really dependent on that DIY ethos. We’ll share all the material directly through our facebook page (www.facebook.com/possiblyapostrophe), but our hope is that people will feel compelled to pass our music on to their friends.
This project is continuously open ended, we really don’t know what comes next. Maybe a performance this summer if the planets align like they did for these recordings.”
My flight leaves for Austin in approximately 8 hours (6 am to be exact), and I’m sitting in a laundromat, mad that I forgot my dryer sheets at home, listening to the girl next to me replay the newest Rihanna song over, and over and over again. So I guess I’ll take this opportunity to tell you about some of the bands that I’m excited to see at Austin City Limits this year.
If you’ve ever heard of Google, you probably already know who is headlining. But in case you are the lazy type, ACL is anchored by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Black Keys, and Jack White among many other amazingly talented and incredibly well-known acts. The only way you’ve never heard on any of those acts is if you’ve spent your entire life, until now, living under a rock. So, my goal here is to shed a little light on some artists you may not have heard of before; maybe a band you’d have to go turn over a few rocks to find at this point in their careers.
From left to right: Lauren Brown, Rachel Kolar, Robert Kolar, Aaron Robinson, Oliver Newell
Derrick Stack – October 9, 2012
He’s My Brother She’s My Sister is not your ordinary band. For starters, you may notice that they do not have a conventional drum kit and drummer, but a tap dancer atop a bass drum playing a snare, tom and crash. You may also notice the wild outfits and embellished movements of the stage’s occupants. You may even catch a bit of banter between band members and some interesting crowd interaction. But beyond the bizarre, the colorful, and the novelty, you find an incredibly talented band doing what they love: entertaining.
HMBSMS is a band from L.A. who’s tough to nail down to a particular genre. They’ve been self-described as “flamboyant folk,” “psych-acoustic,” and “vaudeville-y.” I suppose it’s easiest to lump them into the folk class, but that’s neither here nor there. You can be sure that their music is as fun as it is unique, a perfect soundtrack to a bourbon-fueled night of debauchery.
I gave Rob (vocals/guitar/percussion) a call yesterday and spoke to him about the band’s beginnings, latex pants and Neil Young:
You guys come from different arenas in the performing arts, can you tell us a little about what you were doing before He’s My Brother She’s My Sister and how it’s manifested into what you are collectively today?
I was in a band, Lemon Sun, a psychedelic/rock/Americana kind of sound that played around L.A. and toured a little bit. So my background is playing in bands, touring, and song writing for other artists.
Rachel [Kolar] and Lauren [Brown] both met while they were at NYU, and later started a theater company called Post Fact Productions. So they began working on avant-garde theater in L.A. They had this idea that they wanted to bring free art to the people. So, they would find sponsors to put on plays so that people could enjoy theater of a bizarre nature, and it would be of no charge to the public. So they both had the theatrical background, Lauren also, of course had the dance background and training.
Oliver Newell, our upright bass player, he does a lot of composing, things like string arrangements, producing electronic music; he’s remixed some of our songs, and has also appeared in one of [Rachel and Lauren’s] productions, in which the opening dance sequence was Oliver in gold latex pants, which was pretty wild.
Aaron [Robinson] has been playing in bands around L.A. for a while. He’s played with Akron/Family and Sea Wolf.
How do the band mate’s varied backgrounds add to your live performances?
Well, we each offer a little taste of something different. Lauren as the drummer and actress, she’s very expressive in her performance. You’ll see these wild emotions come over her face, these embellished movements which brings theatrical presence. And Rachel, also being a theatre actress, develops a different persona with lots of colorful outfits.
But speaking to our energy on-stage, we really like to ad-lib and sometimes that turns into a humorous little exchange between myself and Rachel or the between the other band members. So we always try to provide a little more than just the music to the live shows.
Speaking of Lauren, your tap-dancing drummer, how does she pull off such a high energy performance for the duration of a set?
That’s a great question [laughs]. We’ve actually had a couple nights where she literally just had to walk off. And we’re like “Oh, where’d Lauren go?” and she would just have to go catch a breath. But I think it’s the practice. The more she does it, the more we tour, the more endurance she gains. We also always try to take a day off once a week and try not to do more than 6 shows in a row; to keep our stamina up.
Was there a point when you said to yourselves, “Okay, we have something here” and put your other projects on the back-burner?
Well it was kind of a gradual thing. We had really great touring opportunities with [Edward Sharpe and]The Magnetic Zeros, My Morning Jacket, The Devil Makes Three, and The Blow. It was all about the opportunity. I had been working with Lemon Sun, really pushing that hard, hoping to get the same things as we’re getting with He’s My Brother, and side projects were really just about having fun.
But all of a sudden, doors just kept opening. So everyone just got really interested without us really forcing it or pushing it too hard. Obviously now we’re on the road and working our asses off, but it’s still fun. And it’s become more of our full-time thing, which we’re all excited about. It wasn’t exactly part of the plan but something that just developed over time.
One day we realized “Oh god, we’re touring more out of the year than not” and fell into this sort of thing where we said “this band is starting to take off.”
You’ve shared the stage with some amazingly talented artists, so far, who were your favorites to play with and why?
Lately we’ve been doing our own headlining tours, and had some great bands we’ve brought along. We just did a bunch of dates with Shakey Graves out of Austin, Texas, this one-man band. He’s literally playing the kick-drum and tambourine with his feet while he plays this amazing amplified acoustic guitar. He plays open tuning, so he has these amazing guitar riffs and he’s also got this amazing voice, so he’s definitely one of our favorites.
We’ve done some shows with Amanda Jo Williams, who is like a freaky, Georgian, country-gal who’s got quite an array of bizarre musicians supporting her. Her music can almost be described as southern-pyschadelic-children’s music, maybe? She’s got this squeaky little voice and her music has this deep rumbling psycadelic sound, so she’s really cool.
We’ve played the last couple dates with Spindrift, who we love. They’re a band from Los Angeles that really influenced us in the beginning. So they really inspired us to approach a kind of cowboy-western, desert sound/vibe.
Speaking of the style of music you play, where do you guys see yourself fitting into the ever-evolving music industry?
People kinda lump us into the folk movement that’s happening, you know, bands like Lumineers, or The Magnetic Zeros or Mumford and Sons. I think people recognize that we have as much in common with them as we do with The Velvet Underground or X or even punkier bands. So our approach has been to look at this new movement in folk and bring something new to the table. Maybe we could be a little bit raw-er, edgier garage style and maybe not be as precious or as produced sounding as some of the other folk acts making names for themselves. We like to mix in elements of phsycadelia and bring a heightened social and political message beneath the fun we like to have.
So you’re trying to bring a DIY, grittier nature to folk…
Yea, and that’s where we’re at now. All bands evolve. I mean The Talking Heads started out as basically a post-punk band and then evolved into this huge, almost world/fusion/pop.
So I’m sure we’ll move onto new paths. I think the new album is going to venture into some new realms. We’re definitely looking into the darker side of things, maybe make things more bizarre and adopt this sort of carnival/side-show vibe and embrace the weird side more than other folk bands out there.
What can we expect to hear our your debut LP, Nobody Dances In This Town?
I think this album is the best representation, recording-wise, of what we’re really trying to do. Thom Monohan produced it. He’s a really great producer who worked a couple records with Andrew Vanwyngarden (of MGMT), who we love and been inspired by. He’s worked with a lot of great people, lot of cool indie bands that we like. So he really has a wide spectrum of what he can do.
We recorded most of it in three days, all live. We would do maybe three or four takes of each song with most being cut on the floor, all together. We over-dubbed some vocals, add some harmonies, but a lot of the music on that record was recorded in one take in that Bob Dylan style where you just find that groove. Even if the tempo sways a little bit, you just have that feel that’s reminiscent of the live show.
Austin City Limits is jam-packed with awesome shows this year, what acts would you most like to see this weekend?
I’ve never seen Neil Young, so I’m extremely excited to see him. I know the girls are really excited to see Florence and the Machine, they’ve never seen her. I’m just excited to explore and see bands who I’ve never heard of before. You know, just stumbling upon something that sounds really awesome in that moment.
I know I might not have time but part of me really wants to check out that singer from New Zealand, Kimbra. I’m not usually much of a pop fan, but she’s so weird and her voice is so unique and interesting that I’d really just like to go see what she’s all about.
Yea, I just saw Neil Young with Crazy Horse and The Black Keys the other weekend in Central Park, it was amazing…
Yea his voice, there is just something so haunting about it… I can’t wait. The Black Keys will be great, and they play the Bud Light Stage, so it will be cool to hang out with [Dan Auerbach], hopefully.
What does the future hold for He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister?
Yea! Bring it on! We’re hoping to get to other parts of the world. We’re still covering America but we’d like to get to Japan, Europe, find some good labels there, help spread the word across the globe. We’d like to get this album out there, let people hear it, share it with their friends and hopefully become a staple in someone’s record collection.
He’s My Brother She’s My Sister’s debut LP, Nobody Dances In This Town is available now on iTunes and Amazon.
Ground Up. From left to right: Malakai, Azar, Bij Lincs.
By: Derrick Stack
Self-made, original, Philly.
These may be a few of the first words I’d use to describe Ground Up. However, Ground Up is equally defined by what they’re not as much as what they are. What they are not is flashy, phony or filler. What you see is what you get and Ground Up fans would have it no other way.
Ground Up is made up of MC’s Azar and Malakai (who met at Temple freshman orientation ’08) and producer Bij Lincs (long time friend of Azar). Since their fateful 2008 introductions, they’ve produced an impressive amount of quality music. In fact, if you checked their catalog of mix-tapes (which you should) without dates attached; you would have thought they have been at it for the better part of a decade. Simply put, these guys live and breathe music and it’s reflected in their product. These guys aren’t just recording studio heroes either. I checked out one of their shows in State College in the fall of 2010, and these guys threw down, tons of energy.
Last week Ground Up released their 10th (yes, 10th) mix-tape titled “The Get Up.” As of this writing “The Get Up” has nearly 11,000 downloads in less than eight days (click the link below for your FREE download of “The Get Up” from Dat Piff). The mix-tape, as usual, is impressive. It features a strong cast of guest spots including Reef The Lost Cauze, Jade Alston, Freeway, Mazon, Mic Stew, J Nick, Vanessa Winters, and Young Chris. Some can’t miss tracks: “Heard About It”, “Live A Lot”, and the following video, “Overboard”.
Ground Up took some time out of their busy schedule to have a quick chat, but before you read the interview, be sure to grab your best headphones, crank the volume and check out this track featuring Young Chris.
SitR: So you guys came together thanks to the ‘08 incoming freshman class orientation at Temple. Less than 4 years later you’re turning heads in the hip-hop industry; what were your expectations for yourselves in the fall of 2008?
GU: We still haven’t met our expectations in the slightest bit. We’re proud of the progression we’ve made and the movement we’ve built, but there’s so much work still to do. We’re not even close to satisfied.
SitR: There’s no doubting the work ethic and dedication to the craft (10 mix-tapes in under 4 years), what drives the group to keep working as hard as you are?
GU: Our friends, fans and family are our biggest motivators to continue. We all love making music and we’ll probably never stop but the people we surround ourselves with as well as our fans are the people who continue to remind us exactly how much is at stake.
SitR: A reoccurring theme for Ground Up is your sense of family. You keep a tight group of friends around at all times; how does this help the effort to keep the music coming?
GU: Our friends are honest and i believe have extremely good taste in music. They are our biggest fans and critics. I think our song making becomes a personal experience for our friends as well as us; one that we can watch grow from an idea to being performed in front of hundreds of people. It’s an amazing process to be a part of.
SitR: It seems you guys take a lot of pride in taking the DIY approach to music; could you walk us through your writing process from composing a beat to the final product on the release?
GU: Our beats are almost ALL made by our in-house producer, Bij Lincs. Usually Bij will compose the beat and then Malcolm and I will decide on a concept or an idea to run with. Once the lyrics are written, the song is recorded and we proceed by judging whether or not it belongs on a project.
SitR: If we checked out your iTunes recently played, what might we find on that list?
GU: We’re all big music fans with eccentric tastes. Elton John to Jay-Z. Coldplay to Tribe called Quest. We’re all over the place.
BIJ: cee-lo … die antwoord … mills brothers … Joan Armatrading
SitR: In the past you were completely responsible for booking your own shows. You must have ended up in some pretty unusual situations. What are some of your craziest stories from the road?
GU: We have tons of strange things happen to us on a nightly basis when we’re on the road. One that sticks out in my mind was at Cornell University. It involved a big frat house, whiskey shots, strippers, and an ice-luge. That’s really all I can say about the situation.
SitR: What are the best and worst parts of being an up-and-coming artist at the cusp of stardom?
GU: Working as hard as we do, it’s never easy for us when we feel overlooked. I speak for everyone when i say we take our music as well as the business that comes hand in hand with it extremely seriously. When people sleep on us, we all take it personally.
SitR: Last week you released your newest mix-tape, “The Get Up.” What can you tell us about the project?
GU: We worked with a lot of new people on this project hoping to give it a depth that we had not reached yet. We accomplished that and then some with “The Get Up” by reaching out to some of our favorite artists in and around Philadelphia to lend us their talents and help us create a versatile, well-rounded project.
SitR: Looking past the release of “The Get Up”, what can we expect from Ground Up in 2012?
GU: If you haven’t noticed how we work by now, you will in 2012. We won’t stop releasing our style of music to the people that enjoy it, no matter what.
SitR: Many of our readers are musicians attempting to make music more than just a hobby, what advice would you pass along to those balancing music and life?
GU: If music is your dream, nothing should stand in its way. Sacrifice everything you can to keep that dream alive. If you believe in it that much, you’ll be fine when all is said and done.
SitR: Last but not least, we gotta know, when will you be back in Penn State?
GU: Sooner than later, hopefully this spring. It’s always a good day in Happy Valley.
Well there you have it. Check out the links below to get more Ground Up, show them some love, and encourage them to make a return trip to the happiest valley of all.
For music lovers, a good flick about tunes is hard to pass up. That’s why I’ve ranked my top 5 movies about music. No documentaries or live sets were included in this list as that would be nearly impossible to rank. What movie do you think should have been included? Should Spinal Tap be ranked higher or lower? Comment as you see fit below.
Let us start with my #5 movie about music:
#5 – Walk the Line
Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of “The Man in Black” brought the music of Johnny Cash to the big screen for a new generation. The result was a moving film that outlined Cash’s rise to fame, battle with addiction and his love interest, played by Reese Witherspoon, country singer June Carter.
Favorite movie moment: Cash’s first meeting with a record representative who calls him on his writing.
#4 – Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny
I could not have included a music movie list without mentioning Jack Black and Kyle Gass, the duo who make-up the epic “mock rock” band, Tenacious D. The 2006 stoner-friendly release tells the story of the band’s[fictional] conception. The movie follows their plan to become the greatest rock band in the world by obtaining a magical guitar pick played by guitar legends. It’s a goofy movie but the tunes are undeniable fun.
Favorite movie moment: The moment JB and Kyle meet on the beach. This clip also has a funny appearance by Ben Affleck as a pizza boy.
#3 – This is Spinal Tap
Rob Reiner’s 1984 mockumentary pokes fun at all of the over-the-top antics of the 80’s metal scene. In an attempt to make an comeback on the music scene; British rock band, Spinal Tap releases their new album “Smell the Glove.” The fake documentary follows the band as they encounter trouble with their supporting American tour during the comeback. Cited by many famous musicians as being a “little too true”, this movie cuts to the core of what it was to be a rock star in the 70’s and 80’s. When Eddie Van Halen saw the movie he said everyone in the room was laughing but him, later being quoted as saying “everything in that movie has happened to me.”
Favorite movie moment: The “these go to 11” scene contains one of the greatest lines in movie pop-culture history regardless of genre.
#2 – Almost Famous
For the two of you who haven’t seen Almost Famous, it’s about a high school boy who gets the chance to write for Rolling Stone magazine about a rising rock band he just so happens to idolize. What more needs to be said?
Favorite movie moment: Russell’s acid-fueled golden god pool jump.
#1 – 8 Mile
What can I say, if I come across this movie playing on cable, I can’t not watch it. Starring one of the biggest artists of our generation playing a young rapper on his way up and out of Detroit, how can you not be entertained? From the killer soundtrack to the sick freestyles, you can not deny this movie as one of the best about music for our age group.
Favorite movie moment: B Rabbit’s freestyle over Shook One’s instrumental vs. Papa Doc.
Honorable Mention: School of Rock, 24 Hour Party People, Wayne’s World, Dazed and Confused