Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Drummers from Apples In Stereo, Polyphonic Spree, Old 97’s, friends comprise Dallas-based band, Cantina. Debut album arrives July 22nd.
“Like the rest of the album from which it originates, the track has no cymbals, just carefree guitars and banjo.” Hear “Bulletproof” streaming now.
Cantina (L-R): Marcus Hollar, Jason Garner, Philip Peeples, John Dufilho, Andy Lester. Photo credit: Karlo X. Ramos.
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“We are basically a band of drummers,” says John Dufilho of Dallas-based group, Cantina.
Accurate, but when considering that Dufilho (guitar, vocals) also plays with Elephant 6 co-founders The Apples In Stereo (as well as his beloved solo project, The Deathray Davies), bassist Jason Garner (Dufilho’s friend of a quarter-century) can be found among the throng that is The Polyphonic Spree, and Philip Peeples (the only drummer in Cantina who actually drums in Cantina) is member of The Old 97’s, maybe not basic? Rounding out Cantina’s lineup is Dufilho’s Deathray Davies cohort Andy Lester, along with banjo player, Marcus Hollar (late of Dropkick Murphys singer Mike McColgan’s punk band, Street Dogs.)
Cantina, having previously released two albums under the name I Love Math before the addition of Hollar, will now bring out its debut album A Sea of Keys on July 22nd via Dallas-based We Know Better Records. Dufilho notes that while 60% of the members of Cantina are drummers (“three of us make a living playing music, the other two are the smart ones”), as a hard and fast rule, no cymbals are ever used on A Sea of Keys. So, don’t listen for that, and don’t listen for these guys to perform “that song” from “Star Wars” either.
Seriously, A Sea of Keys arrives with a pedigree: AllMusic previously referred to the band as a “supergroup,” and the masterful sensitivity of the songs on A Sea of Keys do little to detract from that notion. Dufilho’s thoughtful tunes – the Austin Chronicle previously described him as “a ravenous songwriter working without a net” – take cues from country-rock, power pop, and the charming harmonies of the Everly Brothers. The songs never overstay their welcome; each is a conversation that never suffers an awkward beat. No pun intended.
A perfect example is the album’s first single, “Bulletproof,” which captures both the ability and the obvious humor of this band. Hear it now via Consequence of Sound.
Dufilho explains, saying, “I woke up drunk, with the worst cold I can remember. So I did what I always do when my voice is much lower than usual – I started singing Johnny Cash and Magnetic Fields songs.” Before sobriety could kick in, Dufilho hit play on a banjo riff that Hollar had sent the day before, then hit record on his vocals, and presto, “it was ‘Bulletproof.’ Start to finish, a first and final take. I got in my car and drove home and I’ve never been able to sing it in that key since.”
No need, as the song is perfectly captured in its raw state here forever, along with fourteen other similarly free-jamming gems.
“A lot of these songs are based on a short story I wrote, also titled “A Sea of Keys,” Dufilho explains, making sense of why these tunes sound so intimate. It’s an effortless listen from a band that, despite its modest claim, isn’t basic.
A Sea of Keys by Cantina arrives on July 22nd, 2016. Members of Cantina are available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.
A Sea of Keys
(We Know Better Records)
July 22nd, 2016
04. A Sea of Keys
05. A Letter of Rejection
06. Sympathy For The Strikers
07. I Keep Floating
08. God Is The Sun
09. The Wedding Under The Bridge
10. These Machines
11. A Suitcase Full of Plans
13. Black Cat
14. Wedding Theme
Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion
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Monday, May 2, 2016
Matt Bennett discusses the influence of Robin Williams, Lou Reed's ‘Berlin,” and being one of the most slimed people in Nickelodeon history.
Upcoming debut album “Terminal Cases” takes song titles and themes – “aging, divorce, and growing up – or not” from late actor’s film catalog.
Matt Bennett as photographed by Robyn Von Swank
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“Suggests that the lessons of Lou Reed’s Berlin did not go unnoticed: the lyrics are simple and affecting, lovely but tinged with regret, and the electric guitars are graceful and melodic… except for when they explode into Velvet Underground/My Bloody Valentine violence, and Bennett’s voice takes on a desperate edge. Dark beauty indeed.”
Matt Bennett is best-known as a comedic actor who co-starred on the Nickelodeon series “Victorious,” which aired on the network for four years and continues in re-runs. Bennett is also a musician and songwriter whose debut album Terminal Cases is scheduled for release on June 10th. Produced by Jim Greer (Foster The People), Terminal Cases is a concept album about Bennett’s parent’s divorce, taking stylistic cues from Lou Reed’s Berlin, and lyrical inspiration (including its song titles) from the films of Robin Williams that Bennett obsessed over as a youth.
“I first got the idea for Terminal Cases one afternoon while watching the movie ‘Jumanji,’ Bennett recalls. I wrote a song based around it that told the story of a man revisiting his childhood home and not recognizing any of his surroundings. I decided to structure the project around the album Berlin by Lou Reed,” Bennett explains. “I had been fascinated by Berlin since I was in high school, especially the song ‘The Kids.’”
Bennett then spent the next year watching and re-watching Robin Williams films, writing and re-writing. And in his viewings he noticed that in Williams’ movies, there is often a character named Jack (see: “Jack,” “Hook,” “Fisher King”), and that the films often deal with aging – either too slowly, too quickly, or with the reticence of a man child to “grow up.” They also often dealt with divorce.
“That last realization came at a crucial time for me,” Bennett explains. “My parents had just announced their plans to divorce.” Around the same time, Bennett’s dream job on “Victorious” ended. “With no job and very little structure to my days, my life seemed directionless,” he recalls. Bennett worked on Terminal Cases every night for nearly two years with the intention of somehow getting it into Robin Williams’ hands, and he had most of it written when the legendary actor unexpectedly and tragically passed in 2014.
“There’s no way I can release this album now,” Bennett thought. “It’s dark and strange and completely wrong.” Bennett sat on the material for much of the following year. “But there was something in these songs that lingered with me,” he recalls. “I needed to get them out of my head, and completing this album has been very therapeutic for me. It was a great experiment to write these songs, to record them, and now to release them.”
Terminal Cases by Matt Bennett arrives on June 10th, 2016. Matt Bennett is available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.
Matt Bennett is a comedic actor and musician best known as a co-star of the Nickelodeon series “Victorious” and recently seen in the festival circuit hit film “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.” He recently appeared as a guest star on the hit show “The Big Bang Theory” and can also be found hosting his monthly variety show “This Show Is Your Show” at The Nerdist Showroom at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles.
Matt Bennett – Terminal Cases
(Fanatic Records – June 10th)
04. Hook Pt.1
07. Hook Pt. 2
09. What Dreams May Come
10. Garp (Terminal Cases)
Matt Bennett Links
Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion
Friday, April 15, 2016
Emo bands delight fans with reunion tours as Jared Putnam of The March Divide preps third album of songs he never stopped writing.
San Antonio-based musician is keeping thoughtful rock music alive, with fans helping “I Told You So” single pass a half-million streams.
Jared Putnam of The March Divide as photographed by Greg Gabrisch
The March Divide – In The Press
“Impressively hooky.” – American Songwriter
“Completely clever.” – Performer
“This is quality pop at its best.” – Popdose
“An emo revival really is taking place.” – MAGNET
“All about lyrics and melodies.” – Babysue
“Gifted with a serious set of pipes.” – The Aquarian
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“Putnam’s lyrics prove that honesty doesn’t have to be complicated.” – Elmore Magazine with the “Who Are You” video from The March Divide
While the word may be considered taboo in some circles of the musical elite, the fact is that Emo is back, and for some it never went away. With revered acts such as Mineral selling out a three-night stand at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom at the end of 2014, to the just-breaking news of The Anniversary’s announced reunion, it’s clear that thoughtful, passionately performed rock songs still have a loyal audience.
Jared Putnam of San Antonio-based The March Divide knows it’s true because he’s been making this music for most of his adult life, first with his hard-touring band The Conversation, and over the course of three albums and three EPs in just three years as The March Divide. While Putnam’s audience is smaller than some of his contemporaries, it shows its allegiance, recently helping The March Divide single “I Told You So” from 2014’s Billions album to pass 500,000 streams on Apple Music alone.
Saturdays, the third full-length by The March Divide will be released on May 13th and today Elmore Magazine has the premiere of the music video for “Who Are You,” the latest single from the album.
“I think I finally made the record I wanted to make,” Putnam says of the follow-up to Billions and its accompanying EP “+1,” which arrived in 2015. “I didn’t set out to write an album so soon after the last, but I never really stopped writing.”
Regarding “Who Are You,” Putnam says “This song is an achievement for me since it represents a direction that I’ve been trying to steer myself in. A lot of great songs get lost in translation – sometimes there’s too much effort put into trying to be different,” Putnam explains. “But I think the emotional attachments we feel for songs are primal, so maybe the more primitive the approach, the more likely people are to connect. That’s the goal after all, right?”
It’s this attitude that Putnam’s fans, and fans of the genre, feel. It’s what brings them back, it’s what makes for 500,000 track streams, and it’s what sells out venues for acts that left the scene, only to find that their fans never left them.
Saturdays by The March Divide arrives on May 13th, distributed by Burnside. The March Divide will be touring before, during, and after the release of Saturdays, as per usual. See below for current tour dates. Jared Putnam is available for interviews. Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic for more information.
The March Divide – On Tour
04/17 San Antonio, TX @ Limelight
04/19 Austin, TX @ Hole In The Wall
04/21 Brownsville, TX @ El Hueso de Fraile
04/22 Harlingen, TX @ The Prelude
04/30 San Antonio, TX @ Point Park & Eats
05/14 Austin, TX @ Sam’s Boat
05/20 San Antonio, TX @ 502 Bar Record Release Show
05/26 Amarillo, TX @ The 806
05/27 Clovis, NM @ House Show (firstname.lastname@example.org for info)
05/28 Denver, CO @ Bushwackers Saloon
05/29 Boulder, CO @ The Laughing Goat
05/31 Norman, OK @ Red Brick Bar
06/01 Dallas, TX @ Adair’s Saloon
06/04 Austin, TX @ Sam’s Boat
09/10 Fort Stockton, TX @ The Garage
The March Divide – Saturdays
(S/R – May 13th, 2016)
2. What Will I Do
3. Take Me Out
4. Take Your Chances
6. I Give Up
7. Kathrine Loves The Fall
8. Go To Sleep
9. I Don’t Recall
10. Because I Wanted To
11. This Infatuation
12. Over and Over
14. This Argument
The March Divide Links
Contact Josh Bloom at Fanatic Promotion