Saturday, February 26, 2011

Swan Spells

Chelsey Bomar is Swan Spells from Gainesville, Florida. She creates mysterious yet calming blissful songs with her harp and voice. Her lyrics create a vivid image of nature that I feel is largely focused on self-contemplation and sharing an experience with someone else. I am assisting her in recording her debut album, Nightime Passages, which is due out sometime this year. She has been crafting these songs for a few years and it's exciting to see it come to fruition.


Above is a live performance of "Remebering Home" at the Laboratory in Gainesville captured on my phone back in September of 2010. Keep your eye out for more Swan Spells this coming year.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

matthewdavid - DISK

Leaving Records founder and experimental artist matthewdavid has kept a steady flow of music creations flowing these past few years. He has released on Plug Research, All City, and his upcoming album will be released by Brainfeeder. In contrast, matthewdavid has put out a lot music for free through his Leaving Records. Below are two of the twenty one numerically titled tracks on a free collection of songs originally released on customly designed floppy disks back in 2009. matthewdavid's DISK is a free-form concentration of sound and texture.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Claire Boucher is Grimes from Montreal, Canada. Her melody makers and textures are acousticy at times, with slightly danceable electronic pulsations atop. Some grooves feel distant and drenched in reverb, maybe somewhat resembling 80s pop feels. Her vocals feel small and hushed ranging in style over her dark and lighter moods.

Grimes is currently on a U.S. tour with Doldrums and will be in Gainesville on Thursday, March 10th at the Laboratory.

The above tracks are from 2010's Geidi Primes out on Arbutus.

Below are the rest of Grimes/Doldrums tour dates, via Snakes + Ladders:

March 4 Montreal, QC – Espace Reunion w/ Pat Jordache, Cousins, DJ Andrew WK
March 7 Brooklyn, NY – Silent Barn w/ Alaskas, Eola
March 8 Baltimore, MD – Copycat
March 9 Athens, GA – Farm 255 w/ Prince Rama, Quiet Hooves
March 10 Gainesville, FL – the Laboratory w/ Hear Hums
March 11 Baton Rouge, LA – Red Star w/ the Have-Nauts
March 12 New Orleans, LA
March 15 SXSW, TX Grimes @ The Spill w/ Diamond Rings, Esben & The Witch
March 16 SXSW, TX Doldrums @ Club 1808 w/ Rich Aucoin, Zoobombs
March 17 SXSW, TX Doldrums @ Havana w/ Japanther, Neon Windbreaker (We Are Busy Bodies Showcase)
March 18 SXSW, TX Grimes&Doldrums @ The Spill w/ Pat Jordache, Sean Nicholas Savage
March 18 SXSW, TX Grimes @ Gorilla Vs. Bear Showcase
March 19 SXSW, TX Grimes @ Club Deville w/ Gobble Gobble, Braids (Pop Montreal Showcase)
March 19 SXSW, TX Doldrums @ 2109 Scenic Dr w/ Gobble Gobble
March 20 Shreveport, LA – Dalzell House w/ Rich Aucoin, Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt
March 21 Pensacola, FL – Cool Town USA! w/ Rich Aucoin, Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt
March 22 Athens, GA – Farm255
March 23 Bloomington, IN
March 24 Detroit, MI – North End Studios
March 25 Sarnia, ON – Trinity Lounge
March 26 Toronto, ON – Everlasting Joy

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Interview w/ Braids

"BRAIDS is a band that lost to a Red Hot Chili's cover band in high
school. This is how we met. Raphie knew Austin since Junior High.
Austin used to sleep beside his Dad's bass drum. Austin and Taylor
were in a Jazz combo in High School. Raphie met Katie in Theatre
class. Katie dropped out of certain classes so she could stay in
Theatre and play Piano. Katie met Taylor through a trip to Greece.
They stole music from volunteering at their favorite local radio
station. Raphie broke her leg and took up Guitar. They all decided to
start a band.

However, the name did not change until the move to Montreal. This
signified a shift in how the band was being run at the time - songs
written in a collective setting and each member growing with each
other. Thus the name BRAIDS - an entirely collective unit with each
strand being an important part to the whole."

However early in the year it is to say this, Native Speaker will probably be my favorite album of 2011. Canadian four-piece Braids create both slower, emotional anthems led by Ralphaelle's ravishing voice, and upbeat, eclectic, melody-driven songs that often deviate from pop tradition with refreshing twists in rhythm, lush tremelo/delay textures, and as opposed to full fledged ambience, tamed euphoria created soley by guitar and keyboard cooperation. With songs that average seven minutes in length, you'd expect maybe more drone or meditative instrumentals; instead Braids create ever-progressing arrangements with lyrical basis that more than alludes to sexual desire. In a time where there is an increasing split and difference between the art of a bands' record and live performance, Braids' recordings sound like the performance and the performance feels like the record.

What has changed from Set Pieces to Native Speaker?

The focal point that is the basis of our band now - collective writing. Set pieces was recorded at our local radio station and was a documentation of what we were doing at the time. At that point , we were still writing as individuals.

Baths just this past November toured around Europe, and you guys are on are on a month-long tour around the U.S., how do you all know each other, if at all? Do you foresee this tour being different than the ones you've done in the past?

On Gobble Gobble's infinitetour they met Will and since have become musical lovers. We were already part of Gobble Gobble's love circle and so it was inevitible that we would meet. We have never toured the states so we expect to pick up accents on the road and hopefully bring them back to Montreal.

What's the best parts of being on tour, and what are the worst?

Food you can't find in Montreal, like Chipotle wraps. One thing we don't like about being on tour is the large amounts of damage we do to our bodies: weird sleep schedules, weird roadside foods, and weird thoughts.

Have you begun recording new material, if so, how would you describe it in reference to what you all have created up until this point?

Sort of. We're experimenting with trying to write through the computer rather than write live (which Native Speaker was). So there is a basis of a recording there but it won't be finalized until we actually sit down and do it. We're going to be recording/writing on the road and Raphaelle had mentioned writing words that celebrate rather than struggle.

What impacts your music making process?

Being able to experience things - that is very general but really if it comes down to the route of things it's the ability to feel emotions and react to impulses and environments. Especially as a collective - our move to Montreal was a huge influence on Native Speaker.

Is there a certain way you guys go about making each song, or is it different every time?

Someone usually brings an idea or a concept and we all play with it; adding parts until it becomes a big wall of sound and then we strip it down.

What's your set up, in terms of equipment and the way you use it?

Guitar, guitar, keyboard, drums, line 6 pedals, boss reverbs and delays, and mixers: for native speaker the instruments stayed true but all the effects were used on logic. Next album, will be written entirely on the computer.

Do you guys have any side-projects we should know about? How do you guys feel about collaborating with people outside of the band?

Yes, Raphaelle is in a band called Blue Hawaii and they released an album last year called Blooming Summer. It is pure pop. Katie has collaborated with Landon Speers of Headaches and they will be releasing something soon. Collaborating with other people is great, but trying to find the time to do it all is the difficult part. BRAIDS take up so much of our time it's difficult to collaborate with other busy bodies.

What are your plans for 2011?

2011: tour tour tour and tour


Braids' Native Speaker is out now through Kanine Records, your choice of Vinyl or CD through Insound.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Total Bummer 2011 Compilation Volume One

Total Bummer is a three day festival set up by the Florida DIY label/group Spirt Cat created by Oh Fortuna and their friends/family. Total Bummer 2011 will take place in Tallahassee, Florida, March 25th-27th. Over 60 bands will be performing, while comprised greatly of Florida artists, will include out-of-state bands such as Gobble Gobble, Quiet Hooves, Reptar, and many more.

The first volume of Total Bummer compilations is available for free on bandcamp.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Leaving Records Presents: Sample Based Life

Forrest Reiff (Off Balance Atlas) has just released the first volume of a project titled Sample Based Life. Forrest
uploaded a library of different samples online for musicians to incorporate into their creative process and build a song from.
The first volume features: Leo Bascjit, Sumsun, 10th Letter, Dog Bite, EMV, Keepbullfighting, Hear Hums, DJ Quap, An Imaginary History of Algebra, MezZo, Grass Mirror, DJ Slayer, Great Beer, Geert Wijns, Filthy Ingredients, KAZE, ProfLogik, Geert Wijns, Ackryte, Bitesize Beats, DTCPU, Abel.
If you pay $8 for Volume One on bandcamp, you'll get a hand-made tape crafted and shipped to you by Forrest himself.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

INTERVIEW: Tree Hopping

Interview w/ Tree Hopping

Gabriel Berrios, until now most recognized for his role in the three-piece Totally Nebular, has just released a new album from his solo project Tree Hopping. The Beat Band is 10 songs worth of eclectic, tropical, guitar pop, unseemingly comprised greatly in samples. The album's Latin American feel could be a fresh, unique alternative to El Guincho's Alegranza, similarly rooted in sampled-loops. This isn't to say that Tree Hopping is a "post-El Guincho" project in any way, Berrios' guitar work, all around instrumentation, and vocals allude to a varied musical background, even citing Global Groove as a reference point for his own research into authentic Nigerian and Ghanaian music.

Where does the name Tree Hopping come from and how did the project begin?

I think I came up with the name way back in middle school... like all the way back then. I used to just doodle in class and I remember writing "Tree Hopping" on top of the doodles. The "project" began because, in 2007, Eddie (who's also Forest Clay) started making recording some really young sounding stuff because he just got some recording gear and garage band and whatever. then pretty soon Weston (God Boat) was doing the same thing but on his pc so I was like... well what am I doing? i should record too. I recorded stuff using my brother's online rpg mic... so it all sounded really horrible. But yeah thats what i was doing 2007 through 2008.

Tree Hopping now I guess started because totally nebular was in da doldrums. Like we had recorded boat boat in the summer of 2009, but then weston moved to tallahassee almost immediately afterwords for a month or so, he moved back and we started playing a ton of shows. Meanwhile we tried making new material but it was no good. Me and weston thought it was good for a while but i'm not sure if eddie ever felt too strongly about it. in retrospect it was almost all bad except for a few shining moments. the real problem was that were weren't unified anymore. there was this huge distance between the three of us that sucked. Anyway, we never carried these bad songs to the end. It sucked because by the time summer 2010 rolled around, we were playing the best shows of our lives but we didn't have any new cool material, or any real decent recordings. eventually eddie moved to gainesville and started going to UF and left me and weston behind in south florida to really not do anything at all. so while all this was going i became frustrated that i wasnt doing anything new. so i bought some better recording equipment and started to focus on making a more "real" tree hopping CD . i finished it 2 or 3 months after moving to Gainesville, where me and weston reunited with eddie. We still live together.

Has Tree Hopping always been a one-man-band and will it forever be that way?

Yeah it has. I love to play with people though, especially live, and its crossed my mind to get friends together to play decent "the beat band shows". weston was playing drums with me for a while and that was pretty cool. I don't know if it will forever be that way at all. i think so. i would probably find something else to call it if i made music with other people again.

What's the difference between making music as Tree Hopping and making music as a part of Totally Nebular?

Not much difference. Just less work working with 2 other people and less focus. Alone i can control everything, with totally nebular we all just threw ideas out and saw would stuck. making music with totally nebular was amazing and more fun but i dont think we ever really captured how good our sound actually was sometimes... its a shame but what can i do. making music alone is kind of lonely, but the pay off is everything turns out exactly how you'd like it too.

Is there an overall theme to your lyrical content? What are the songs on The Beat Band about?

there is a huge theme. thats mainly why its divided into sides (side a tracks 1 -7; side b tracks 8-10). The first 7 songs are about living in and remembering my last year in south florida. they mostly focus on a specific person. the last three songs deal with gainesville, mostly.
i like lyrics that are very plain and sort of obtuse though. like if they're sung in a nice melody or with lush sounds and at the same time sound sort mundane or way too absolute. that contrast has such an impact to me. i sometimes tried to make the lyrics so overtly obvious sounding but in way thats like "is that really what hes saying? what else can it mean...". there's a lot of little secrets too, but most of the meanings are there without looking much.

The Beat Band is heavily sample-based. Typically, this is expected for more of an electronic-type style of music making, but such is not the case with Tree Hopping. What is your reasoning behind sampling other people's music?

i love the idea of sampling. especially when its obvious and recognizable. one of my favorite things is to come across or go looking for samples in songs in like hip hop songs or what not. i just love the idea of making new music out of music that already exists. i love the idea of different ideas from different time periods relating to each other. there's an endless supply of ideas and sounds when you let yourself come to terms with sampling. I have strayed away from because to be honest it's a tedious and hard process and i felt like i exhausted it. so yeah that being said i don't agree with sampling that rips off another artist. i mean i dont think the product should ever rely completely on the samples. an example is washed out's "feel it all around". listen to gary low's "i want you" ( what did he really do to change that?

Forest Clay, God Boat, and you are all very busy working on releasing work under your solo projects; what does that mean for Totally Nebular? It's difficult to imagine you all three living in the same house for the past few months and no new music being released. Do you guys plan to release a follow-up to 2009's Boat Boat?

your guess is as good as mine. we've grown apart musically so much that it doesnt even seem possible to me sometimes. i would love to though and it always crosses my mind. all of us would have to put our own music behind us though because we don't have anything in common anymore it seems. like it would be about creating music that worked for us, not about any of us realizing music we purposely want to make. that kind of focus can't exist in a good way with two other heads involved. people get left out and it starts to sound bad without the team work. we need common ground and determination (we all go to school and live our on lives a lot) to start.

Why do you make music and what are you trying to achieve with your music?

i'm not sure. i get a good feeling out of it. its something very visual to me, music. so i guess its like when people are into painting and photography, they want to capture something and show people what that is. same thing. its a little diary too. i say things i wouldn't ever tell anybody in those songs and probably for good reason. i also admire so many musicians and the art and the history--movements within music and the culture that surround them. i want to make a little dent in that one day. like oh this is what 2010-2020 music sounded like.

Give some insight into the music making process behind Tree Hopping.

sometimes i record drums first, if there are recorded drums in the song, just so everything will sequence well. i sit on the floor and record guitar. i sit on the floor and play keyboard. i do vocals last and usually write the vocals on the spot or use little verses i wrote in my free time. i use ableton because everything is neat and you can loop things very well which is what i almost always do. i usually base songs on guitar patterns i make up before hand. a lot of things vary but most of those things i do every time.

What are some of your musical influences?

for "the beat band" it was nigerian and ghanaian highlife guitar. a big influence was talking head's "remain in light" in that that album is almost completely looped as well. tropicalia like novos baianos, and os mutantes. also new weird america bands like first nation, and our brother the native. also post punk as a whole.... new order too, el guincho, phil elvrum, mf doom, gza, wu-tang. there are just so many. im really easily influenced. a lot of them don't shine through the music but they're there.

What are your plans for 2011?

to get into UF... haha... or to have clearer plans about college cause.. you know. stressful stuff. i plan on recording a few more albums too. hopefully 2 or 3. but who knows.


Tree Hopping's The Beat Band is available for download or purchase on bandcamp. If you want a physical copy of the album, you can e-mail the artist personally for purchasing. The cost, including shipping, is $5.

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