Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Young Love recording artists Quitzow and Setting Sun to release new albums in June, launch co-headlining summer tour.

Both multi-disciplinary acts merging classical, folk, pop and electronic rock evoke post-punk era Rough Trade bands like Young Marble Giants along with current era Merge artists.

Following a successful co-headlining U.S. tour in February, the upstate New York multi-instrumentalist artists Quitzow and Setting Sun are poised for release both bands’ forthcoming albums on Young Love Records on June 10th, 2008. The two groups share more than a label, release date and tour schedule, however. Quitzow, the namesake of songwriter/singer/multi-instrumentalist Erica Quitzow features Setting Sun songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Gary Levitt alternately adding bass, drums and vocals to its live shows. Likewise, the Levitt-led Setting Sun band includes Erica Quitzow on violin and backing vocals.

Along with this kinship, both groups share an open interest in cross-breeding musical forms, merging classical strings (violin and cello especially), folk, chamber pop and hints of early electronic rock. The results are truly refreshing. Setting Sun has been compared to Merge artists The Radar Brothers, Elliott Smith at his darkest and early Nick Drake. Quitzow invites nods like “Solex meets Liz Phair” and “combining the fun of Peaches with the intelligence of Lori Anderson.” Fans can catch the inseparable pair live on tour throughout June and July. Please see complete dates below.

More about Quitzow:
“Juggling mind-blowing moog/rhodes/bass while singing,” playing Tchaikovsky in The Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, and creating Fender Rhodes loops layered with MPC drums, moog bass, cellos, violins and vocals, Erica Quitzow brings a wide diversity to her records and live performances. With a self-titled debut album and an upcoming second release, Erica is involved in various musical projects exploring new influences for her inner child gone wild, neo-post electro-pop sound. The new record, Art College, out in spring 2008 on Young Love Records, is a collection of sing-along pop song collages with orchestral arrangement over hip hop, electro-clash, and downtempo beats decorated with adventurous harmonies. Instrumentation is performed primarily by Erica and includes MPC, Reason and live drums layered with Moogs and Korgs, Rhodes, Casios, classical and electric guitars, bass, cellos, violins, various percussion instruments with her alternately playful and woeful vocal style. The record was self-recorded in her upstate New York home with production and mixing assistance by band and label-mate, Gary Levitt.

Erica’s debut album, Quitzow, was self-recorded in her previous Los Angeles home and was built on the same acoustic/electronic collage elements as Art College. Again, she played most of the instruments, creating a high-drama palate, and always going for the extreme. While the use of strings in songs like “Drink-Up” sometimes conjures images of Rasputina with a similar Sabbath-style heaviness, often comparisons are elusive as in the cartoon-like playfulness of “R. Crumb.” Elsewhere, “Know Me” is complex and layered, evoking a Todd Rundgren soundscape with passionate screaming vocals reminiscent of Patti Smith.

The live performances include music from both records and ranges from solo cello/guitar and vocals to full band renditions. The upcoming national tour will be with a five piece band including cello, live and electronic drums, bass, backing vocals and percussion, with Erica on Moog, Korg, guitar and vocals.

Among the other projects Erica is involved in is playing violin, cello and singing back up for the Setting Sun live show, as well as playing drums and keyboards on the recordings. Gary Levitt, leader of Setting Sun, is her partner in running Young Love Records and plays bass and sings back up for Quitzow. The bands tour together, share various band members, and assist each other in recording. Erica sometimes plays violin for The Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, working to develop the orchestrations on her recordings by studying the compositions of Tchaikovsky and Copeland, among others. She records strings on an array of projects, recently working with Tony Levin, Garth Hudson, and Malcom Burns on Sarah Perotta’s record, The Well.

Past projects include singing and playing bass in the critically acclaimed Heavy Pebble, a New York/San Francisco based experimental band that toured the west coast. More recently she played Moog, Rhodes, and bass with Jennifer Turner (of Natalie Merchant’s band) in Los Angeles indie-pop band, Inner. The first record was recorded in Nellee Hooper’s London studio. (Bjork, Massive Attack) This band toured practically nonstop for its three-year incarnation to rapidly growing audience, a positive press response and national college radio play.

Quitzow will tour the full US in June/July, and plans to tour Europe in the near future.

More about Setting Sun:
“Levitt wails with toned-down tinges of Kurt Cobain’s emptiness and Elliott Smith’s pain.” – West Coast Performer

Lovers of great songs with inventive and honest sounds can take heart. Setting Sun’s third record, Children of The Wild, really delivers. This new record has (so far) been best described as “an odd atmosphere, probed by twizzling sounds, and the feeling that this is the soundtrack for the aftermath of a crash landing.” With an intimate lyrical delivery, each word is slowly tasted before being spoken and is set against driving beats, lashing cellos, soothing instrumental interludes and a rich cortege of violins, synthesizers, and homemade sounds. Amidst the layers of edgy counterpoint melody, lifting harmonies and soundscapes, the song is still the focus.

Setting Sun began in 2001 in a San Francisco apartment as some good old fashioned soul-searching by Gary Levitt where he wrote and produced their aptly titled debut CD Holed Up. Having lived and created in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Setting Sun’s sound bears the mark of them all. The grime and grit of New York, the quirky artiness of San Francisco and the lilting sunshine of LA... all are orchestrally present in the music. This third record was self-produced by Gary Levitt with many friends lending their playing skills. Most noticeably on the record are all the strings, expertly played by band and label-mate Erica Quitzow.

Recorded entirely in their 19th century Victorian house, Quitzow and Setting Sun share a home recording studio. Initially set up to record themselves, Gary soon began taking on outside clients. “I love helping other artists work on their music,” says Levitt. “If they come in with just bare-bones sketches of songs and want to expand on them, I'll come up with ideas that add to the songs but don’t compete with them.”

Gary also plays bass and sings harmonies for Erica’s band Quitzow. A veteran of the indie music scene, Levitt started as a member of feverish NY band The Kung-Fu Grip. After four years of relentless touring, they made their way out to San Francisco where they paired down their members to a tightly focused three piece, all providing vocals for their cathartic, shock art sound. Levitt simultaneously formed Heavy Pebble with Erica Quitzow, becoming a hit in the music scene in San Francisco and touring the west coast, playing their quirky pop songs with post-modernist film collage projections to crowded houses and critical acclaim. After various line-up changes and key members leaving, both groups disbanded.

Upon having these long-term projects fall apart leaving Levitt with no material to perform, he decided his next project would be solely his own. Levitt sequestered himself in a friend’s San Francisco apartment with some borrowed gear and “two cheap microphones” to record what was to become Setting Sun’s debut, the appropriately titled holed up. Marked by a sense of palpable urgency, the album seamlessly fuses Levitt’s chief references—warm acoustic guitar, melodic counterpoint bent Beatles/Bowie pop, loud/quiet Pixies/Nirvana dynamics—into a catchy and inversely intimate lo-fi blend. As holed up was nearly finished, Levitt was invited to play guitar for Virgin recording artist Jennifer Turner. He flew to London and recorded in Producer Nellee Hooper’s (Bjork, Smashing Pumpkins) studio, putting holed up on the shelf. The band that formed was named Inner, and the record, containing two songs written by Gary, received critical acclaim and international airplay. After relocating to Los Angeles and touring to support the record, Levitt left the band to re-focus on his own music.

Back to Setting Sun. Young Love Records released Holed Up to many positive reviews coinciding with the group touring regularly, performing as a three piece. Gary also embarked on two separate month-long solo tours, playing every night, often paired with daytime radio and college shows, and sleeping where he could. He eventually settled home and began writing and recording his sophomore CD Math and Magic. Curious to hear Setting Sun’s potential with outside production assistance, Levitt embarked on the recording of his second album with producer Richard Chiu. With a different approach than the solo explorations of Holed Up, Math and Magic is more polished, produced, and collaborative than its lo-fi experimental predecessor. The intimacy of Holed Up is not lost, but perhaps served on a cleaner plate.

Released on Young Love Records in 2005, songs “The Only One” and “Found It By Midnite” can be heard in the short film Paper Jam, which won several awards in the festival circuit including “Best Music.” Setting Sun has been getting increasing attention from the film and television industries. As more people get exposed many find the music to be a natural fit with the moving image...

Quitzow - Art College Tracklisting:
Release Date: June 10th, 2008

01. Sponsor (It Didn’t Mean A Thing) (MP3)
02. On TV!
03. Peanut
04. Art College
05. Better Than Ever
06. Stay Away from John
07. Love
08. Slept In My car
09. Cats R People 2
10. Rhythm Machine
11. Unripened Fruit
12. Jackpot

Quitzow Live:
06/24 Philladelphia, PA Khyber Pass
06/25 Shepardstown, VA War Memorial
06/28 Greenville, NC Spazzatorium
07/02 Memphis, TN Murphy’s
07/07 Albuquerque, NM Atomic Cantina
07/08 Farmington, NM Tutah Theater
07/10 San Francisco, CA Amnesia
07/11 Santa Cruz, CA The Crepe Place
07/12 Arcata, CA Jambalaya
07/16 Boise, ID Neurolux
07/19 Omaha, NE Oleavers
07/20 Chicago, IL TBA
07/21 Landing, MI Mac’s Bar
07/22 Detroit, MI Von’s AKA The Vault
07/23 Pittsburg, PA Garfield Arts

Setting Sun – Children of The Wild Tracklisting:
Release Date: June 10th, 2008

01. What We Wanted
02. No Devil Me No More (MP3)
03. How Long
04. Carry Me Away
05. Overjoyed
06. Slob
07. Love My Love
08. Not Waste
09. Inside My Love
10. Morning Song
11. Happy Joy

Setting Sun Live:
06/24 Philladelphia, PA Khyber Pass
06/28 Greenville, NC Spazzatorium
07/02 Memphis, TN Murphy’s
07/06 Amarillo, TX The 806
07/07 Albuquerque, NM Atomic Cantina
07/12 Arcata, CA Jambalaya
07/16 Boise, ID Neurolux
07/21 Landing, MI Mac’s Bar
07/22 Detroit, MI Von’s AKA The Vault

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Soft Kill, the latest album by From Bubblegum To Sky ain’t no sunny pop affair – it just sounds like it.

“…a plateful of promise, a cool treat for the coming dog days of summer.” – San Francisco Weekly

“…what pop sounds like in my little fantasy world.” – There Stands The Glass

PiL, meds, disco, half Mexican, half Japanese, The SOS Band, monster guitar riffs, drinking, more drinking, The dB’s, divorce, death, arrests, cannibalism, no compromises, The Bee Gees, shimmering melodies and stalking. FROM BUBBLEGUM TO SKY ain’t no sunny pop affair – it just sounds like it.

By winter, A Soft Kill, the third full-length album by FROM BUBBLEGUM TO SKY is certain to be considered one of the greatest one-man albums of the year. Only the maturity that comes with brushing against and immersing oneself in the influences mentioned above could bring out an album that is at once ultimately catchy, realistically morose, and expertly played. In a word: fucking relatable.

The one man is Mario Hernandez and he’s been wrestling with a few demons. Hernandez’s previous records Me and Amy and the Two French Boys (Eenie Meenie, 2000) and Nothing Sadder Than Lonely Queen (Eenie Meenie, 2004) certainly hinted at genius – what with the confessional lyrics sung in a helium tinged voice that lights the drapes on fire meeting the hook laden crunch fest that cools ‘em down. With A Soft Kill, Hernandez has crafted a masterpiece. He demurs, stating, “This record is much more inspired – less obvious indie pop, more organic and drunk. It’s an outlet and easily my favorite record.” Ours, too.

A Soft Kill brings to mind the concept of the vices people use to kill themselves slowly. Not a murder, but a soft kill. Feelings we’ve all felt are wrapped in pristine pop melodies, sandpaper-y guitars and a vocal style dictated by the radio programs of second generation pop songs and high voiced singers that Hernandez listened to before departing Japan for America at the age of 12.

As a self-contained pop machine (occasionally joined by bassist Frank Jordan and Keyboardist Bill Evans) Hernandez does the control freak edict of Billy Corgan and Dave Grohl proud on A Soft Kill. No one should be playing drums on a FROM BUBBLEGUM TO SKY record but Hernandez -- this kind of urgency demands the percussive touch of the author, after all! And is he ever keeping time – 11 songs, 30 minutes. It doesn’t get any better.

“I feel like it’s a band, even though it’s just me,” he says. “The things that people are doing to me, or I’m doing to them, or whatever experiences I’m having -- that’s the band. I couldn’t write without those experiences and in a way that’s what a band member does.”

These are the words of the ONE man becoming THE man. When Mario Hernandez is letting it all hang out, you wanna hang out, too.

FROM BUBBLEGUM TO SKY’s A Soft Kill will be released by Eenie Meenie Records as a digital download and vinyl LP only. The vinyl configuration will come packaged with a FROM BUBBLEGUM TO SKY t-shirt designed exclusively by the Brown Sound Clothing Company, available online and in select lifestyle stores. Check out the company that created this exclusive offer HERE. A Soft Kill was recorded at CBS Studios in Oakland, CA on a Tascam one-inch reel-to-reel.

From Bubblegum To Sky Live:
06/13 New York, NY @ Piano's
06/15 Washington, DC @ Red and Black Bar

A Soft Kill Tracklisting:
Release Date: 06.03.08

01. The King Of Failed
02. The Flash
03. I Always Fall Apart
04. Guest Relations
05. Say Goodbye
06. My Je M’apelle
07. A Soft Kill
08. Even The Sunbeams (MP3)
09. Flies On A Jet Plane
10. Captain Tennille
11. Downtown Or Up?

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

HEALTH goes disco? Not exactly, L.A.’s “beautiful noise” group announces release of HEALTH//DISCO remix collection.

“HEALTH make extremely pleasant noise music.” -- Vice Magazine

“It’s a challenging, loud vision of rock yes, but it’s not nearly as tough as it at first seems.” -- 8/10, NME

L.A.’s beautiful-noise quartet HEALTH has set a May 13th, 2008 release date for HEALTH//DISCO, the companion to the band’s phenomenally popular self-titled debut on the Lovepump United label. And, while fans in the U.S. can enjoy the latest release, converts across the pond can see the group’s intense live show on its extensive EU/UK tour beginning April 30th (see complete dates below). Furthermore, just like Buggles ushered in the MTV nation with “Video Killed the Radio Star”, HEALTH’s eruptive 5-song NYC rooftop performance kicks off the newly launched Pitchfork.tv web-video station. Watch their assault on Times Square HERE.

In addition to evoking grand hyperboles from every blog under the sun, HEALTH’s album inspired several other musicians to match the band’s creativity. They reimagined, recut and remixed, and the result is the 11-song HEALTH//DISCO. Featuring remixes from Crystal Castles, Acid Girls, CFCF, Pink Skull, Thrust Lab, Narctrax, and more, these tracks take HEALTH’s ethereal chanting, screeching noise, and gauzy atmosphere and forcefully apply them to the dance floor. The CD also contains an enhanced DISCO+ portion with even more remixes from Toxic Avenger, Nastique, Lovely Chords, Captain Ahab and others.

“This is not your typical remix album,” the band states in an open letter to fans. “Every artist on the record was hand selected and contacted by us with the hope of combining our sounds and musical ideas with those of electronic artists we admire, several of them doing remixes for the first time. It is not about market saturation or crossover appeal. It is purely about the music, and we are proud of it. This is an album, and meant to be listened to as one. The goal of this record is not only to present all these songs at once, but also to ensure that they are not forgotten in the constantly updating, content hungry internet music world.”

HEALTH’s much-ballyhooed March 2008 tour with Toronto electro-punk duo Crystal Castles has been an incredible success, spilling over to the band’s current U.S. dates seeing packed houses and tremendous reviews. Check out Pitchfork’s photos and review from earlier in the tour HERE.

The spry noisemakers have set up a separate MySpace page from its regular band site for all of its myriad remix/collaboration projects. Check it out HERE. The impressive word-of-mouth excitement about HEALTH has quickly become an international phenomenon. In late summer 2007, the band ripped a swath across the U.K. -- garnering praise from the NME, BBC radio and many more -- and healed cynical souls all across the U.S. throughout that fall and into winter 2008. The band’s live shows are sweaty, packed fits of beautiful noise that could perhaps be best compared to Liars, Animal Collective and latter-period Black Dice.

HEALTH’s self-titled debut full length on the ultrahip Lovepump United label hit shelves on September 18th, 2007 while L.A. based Cold Sweat Records (Battles, Phantom Family Halo, This Moment in Black History) issued the vinyl version of the album in early December.

Instead of finding a room where the only thing one can hear is their heartbeat, HEALTH recorded its debut full length in one of the band’s favorite places. The Smell is an all ages music venue in downtown Los Angeles. It is open and brick and dirty and dark, but when you sing a church hymnal or hit a drum as hard as you can the sound is beautiful. They did both of these things on the record. They also went out and found equipment built the same time as The Smell, mostly ribbon microphones designed by the BBC for radio broadcasts in the 1930’s, things George Martin liked to use, and other things they didn’t know about. The record is 11 songs in less than thirty minutes - on it there is new music with old sounds.

HEALTH’s debut was nominated for the illustrious 2008 Plug Awards in the “Avant Album of the Year” category. Also, Pitchfork picked the video clip for “Heaven” off of the band’s self-titled debut for its Top 50 Videos of 2007 feature.

04/18 Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space
04/19 Claremont, CA @ Kohoutek Festival at Pitzer College
04/20 Los Angeles, CA @ The Smell
04/25 Troy, NY @ EMPAC
04/30 Oxford, UK @ Wheatsheaf
05/01 London, UK @ Luminaire
05/02 Vienna, AT @ Donau Festival
05/03 Manchester, UK @ Charlies Nightlcub
05/04 Leeds, UK @ Brudenell
05/05 Cambridge, UK @ The Portland Arms
05/06 Nottingham, UK @ Bodega
05/09 Dublin, IRL @ Whelans
05/10 Glasgow, UK @ Captain's Rest
05/11 Newcastle, UK @ End Bar
05/12 Brighton, UK @ The Freebutt
05/13 Brussels, BE @ Nuit De Botanique Festival
05/14 Ghent, BE @ Vooruit
05/15 Amsterdam, NL @ Bitterzoet
05/16 Rotterdam, NL @ Worm
05/17 NL Utrecht @ Tivoli
05/18 Hamburg, DE @ Westwerk
05/19 Helsinki, FI @ Kuudes Linja
05/20 Turku, FI @ Dynamo
05/21 Oslo, NO @ Spasibar
05/22 Aarhus, DK @ Musikcafeen
05/23 Berlin, DE @ Westgermany
05/25 Leipzig, DE @ Zoro
05/26 Vienna, AT @ Arena
05/29 Barcelona, ES @ Primavera
06/03 Barcelos, P @ Zoom
06/04 Porto, P @ Maus Hábitos
06/05 Rennes, FR @ Ubu
06/06 Cherbourg, FR @ Terra Trema Festival
06/07 Paris, FR @ Vilette Sonique
06/09 Southhampton, UK @ The Joiners
06/11 Liverpool, UK @ Korova

HEALTH//DISCO Tracklisting:
Release Date: May 13, 2008

01. Triceratops (Acid Girls Rmx A)
02. Lost Time (Pictureplane Rmx)
03. Triceratops (Acid Girls Rmx B)
04. Crimewave (Crystal Castles vs. HEALTH)
05. Heaven (Narctrax Rmx)
06. Problem Is (Thrust Lab Rmx)
07. Triceratops (CFCF Rmx)
08. Lost Time (C.L.A.W.S. Rmx)
09. Tabloid Sores (Nosajthing Rmx)
10. Heaven (Pink Skull Rmx)
11. Perfect Skin (Curses! Rmx)

HEALTH Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
Released: Sept. 18, 2007

01. Heaven (VIDEO)
02. Girl Attorney
03. Triceratops (MP3) Live Video (LINK)
04. Crimewave (MP3)
05. Courtship
06. Zoothorns
07. Tabloid Sores
08. //M\\
09. Glitter Pills
10. Perfect Skin (MP3)
11. Lost Time

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Will JK Rowling appear at Freddie Stevenson’s record release party in NYC this weekend? According to his hit tune “Easy Now,” maybe…

Prolific Scottish songwriter gets interviewed by Variety, rocks Hollywood living rooms and pulls a Hellish new tune from the most Majestic of sources.

“This happy-go-lucky Don Juan 2008 sounds like the lovechild of Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell...” – Pensatos

“…so darn catchy… you'll want to hear more.” – USA Today

In declaring UK-based singer-songwriter Freddie Stevenson a must see act at South By Southwest, Variety recently described him as “…a man who has found his place in a continuum with Paul Simon as a starting point…,” and continued by stating that he “may well be the first person to think of merging Buckley with the early works of John Martyn or Americanizing (through use of organ, certain chord progressions) Mike Scott and The Waterboys.” The trusted trade’s Phil Gallo went on to explain that “potential just oozes from this Scottish folk punk.” See Variety’s Phil Gallo interview Freddie HERE.

Austin was a good time for Freddie and afterwards, the afro-headed songsmith quickly headed to Los Angeles for a performance at Hotel Café (also covered by Variety HERE) in addition to some special performances in various Hollywood backyards and living rooms owned by people we unfortunately can’t reveal. Freddie’s back in NYC this week to celebrate the upcoming release of his second album All My Strange Companions.

From the acoustic-punk sing-a-long opener of a single “Easy Now” (MP3) -- often referred to as “the JK Rowling song” -- to the woeful, tender pining of “Alibi Song,” Freddie conjures melodic hooks from the most wondrous of places on his second album All My Strange Companions. The record’s sound spans from the intricate weaving of acoustic guitar and the languished lap steel in “The Soft Collapse” through to the vicious punk stylings of “Ordinary Girl.” Listen to the entire album HERE. Freddie will play a special show to celebrate the album’s release in New York City at Piano’s this Sunday, April 13th.

And Freddie never stops writing. In the days following a brief adventure involving a private show by the notorious rap duo Yo Majesty, Freddie revealed a new tune about the experience wittingly titled “Rolling With Virgil” (a reference to Dante’s Virgil-led journey through Hell). Freddie’s also currently working on music for a couple of films. First, “Love Is Gonna Take It’s Toll” (MP3) for director Alonso Ruizpalacios’ latest short entitled Café Paraiso, and then a handful of songs for the short film Official Selection by Brian Crano, starring Rebecca Hall (The Prestige, Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Amanda Seyfried (Big Love, Mean Girls) and Freddie himself.

For those curious to dig into Freddie’s catalog, a US issue of Freddie’s debut album Body On The Line is currently being negotiated. Promo copies of the record are available to the media now. The record was named one of the BBC’s Best Albums of 2006 and features the track “If You Don’t Kiss Me” (MP3 VIDEO), the very song The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant called “the ultimate song to seduce women to.”

Freddie Stevenson Live:
April 13th New York, NY @ Piano’s – Album Release Party
April 17th Brooklyn, NY @ Soundfix w/ This Is Ivy League

Freddie Stevenson Fun Facts:
All My Strange Companions was recorded in Nashville with most of Emmylou Harris’ band.
All My Strange Companions was produced by David Z., Prince’s legendary engineer/producer.
Freddie’s godfather is the late Muppet’s creator Jim Henson.
Freddie’s mom is the co-creator of the children’s show Fraggle Rock.
Freddie’s mom was also the first person in Wales to ever receive an e-mail.
A young Freddie met the Queen of England while dressed as “Buttons” from Cinderella.

All My Strange Companions Tracklisting:
Stream the album HERE
Release Date: 04.15.08

01. Easy Now (MP3)
02. Alibi Song
03. Czechoslovakia
04. Photographs
05. If There Is A World
06. If An Alien Astronomer Could See Us From Afar
07. Nothing’s Gonna Change
08. Brand New Heart
09. The Soft Collapse
10. The Occasional Spell
11. Ordinary Girl

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

90s Brit-Pop meets 70s Punk Rock meets Y2K Williamsburg: We Were The States release debut album merging The Walkmen, Oasis, Murder City Devils, et al.

“The building blocks of this spry full-length debut are dynamic left turns slathered in the Lower East Side guitar fuzz of Television by way of The Strokes. Opener “Up Your Sleeve” sets the scene with a badgering garage rock riff from The Sonics’ playbook that repeatedly burns itself down to the wick.” -- Austin Chronicle

Murfreesboro, Tennessee might seem an unlikely birthplace for a band that merges a variety of cosmopolitan music styles into one exciting whole, but the debut of We Were The States proves that rock music still has a few compelling permutations available to a band that knows how to combine all the right elements. Believe The Thieves is such a dramatically effective debut, cleverly interweaving sounds reminiscent of late 70’s NY rock renaissance (Television, Dead Boys) with early 90’s Brit-Pop (Oasis, Blur) and contemporary urban indie rock (The Walkmen, The National).

The band has released the first video off its Chicken Ranch Records debut, for the infectious song “Up Your Sleeve” (watch it HERE.)

The band as we know it today began in February of 2007 but its roots can be traced back to 2003. Jay Stoyanov and Justin Webb met at the restaurant they both worked at in Murfreesboro, TN. After a couple of years of writing and playing with several musicians, they finally found a solid line-up with the addition of Ben Moore on bass and Nick Devan on drums. They recorded and self released an EP. Nick later left to curate the National Knife Museum and was replaced by the outstanding Tyler Coppage. In 2007, they signed with Austin indie Chicken Ranch Records, changed their name and sound, and began work on their debut full length entitled Believe The Thieves.The album was produced by Tennessee rock staple Brian Carter (The Features, Glossary, The Nobility). The album was recorded in two weeks but Brian and the brave men of WWTS spent several months tweaking every element to the desired sonic quality. What is left is a disfunctionaly glorious piece of sound.

We Were The States succinctly describe themselves thusly:

“We live off Bukowski, red wine and Italian food. Our stereos swell with the sounds of The Kinks, The Walkmen, Oasis, Dandy Warhols, and the like. We are men of passion. Some are college educated, some would rather stay out of it. It is no doubt that all are wise.”

Whichever way one might attempt to summarize We Were The States, it ought to be immediately apparent by the sound of its powerful debut that the band brings an inspired small-town Southern interpretation of influences more commonly associated with big city lore.

“Do you ever get a hankering for rambunctious rock with just a hint of class? Like the best punk band in the world wearing custom made tailored suits? Or maybe a gang brawl with those participating adorned in top hats and canes while snapping their fingers West Side Story style? Well if you're like me, then the answer is a resounding “yes”. My latest fix for this niche is Tennessee’s We Were The States, whose bouncy garage rock style reminds me of the Hives, with a bit more southern spice, and by “bit” I mean a whole case of red pepper.” – Azltron

“Tennessee’s We Were The States have been together in their current format for slightly over 12 months, just long enough for them to carve out their own unique style. Their debut long player Believe The Thieves is a chaotic pot pourri of Nuggets style garage rock (‘Up Your Sleeve’) seen through a late 70’s CBGB’s prism (‘See If I Care’) with a dash of Zutons style pizzaz and a sprinkling of Radiohead circa Pablo Honey (‘Try’ and ‘Girl You're Not A Thief.’) – The Devil Has The Best Tuna

Believe The Thieves Tracklisting:
Release Date: Out Now
Stream The Album HERE

01. Up Your Sleeve (MP3) (VIDEO)
02. Red Lion
03. Till Morning Comes (MP3)
04. Try
05. See If I Care
06. Girl, You're Not a Thief
07. Been Done Wrong
08. Start Something
09. Hard
10. It’s Sad, It's You
11. Lights Out
12. Please Be Quiet

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Adolescent girls and writerly boys agree: This Is Ivy League ain’t just a Cobra Starship side project.

Duo to play ultra rare all ages record release show at Knitting Factory in support of debut album. Mega smash single “London Bridges” available for download now.

“If you guys don’t play ‘A Summer Chill’ on the 14th, I might cry. Just saying.” – Valerie (via MySpace)

“The Brooklyn-based duo fit neatly between recent cozy-pop faves The Whitest Boy Alive and Peter, Bjorn & John, working the same seam of homely beauty and prematurely autumnal sentimentality.” – Pitchfork

“You guys are amazing in every way possible.” – Elena (via MySpace)

“This band is like the badass guy in high school that gets away with misbehaving all the time because he’s like totally hot.” – Vice

“Knitting Factory?! Ohhhhhboy. Don’t worry. I’ll find a way to get there. Whether it be hitch hiking or jumping into a thing of radioactive waste so that I can get super powers and fly there.” - Brianna (via MySpace)

“In a gritty borough known for it’s ‘artsy’ rock and ‘experimental’ music these two just take it back to where it all began, simplified pop music with infectious harmonies that echo in your head.” – URB

Don’t be surprised when you see screaming girls at the Knitting Factory in NYC on April 14th when This Is Ivy League (Alex Suarez and Ryland Blackinton) performs an all ages show for its ever-growing throng of young enthusiasts in celebration of the release of its debut self-titled album on Twentyseven Records. For a band compared to classic acts such as Simon & Garfunkel and Belle & Sebastian, it may seem unusual to have so many tween fans. Certainly many of the band’s young supporters have arrived by way of Suarez and Blackinton’s main vocation as bassist and guitarist for pop sensation Cobra Starship (LINK) which has amassed some 10,000,000 MySpace plays on the heels of numerous MTV appearances.

Fans of This Is Ivy League can now revel in the perfect-pop that is the duo’s first long player (STREAM) which features the mega smash hit song “London Bridges” (MP3). The accompanying video (LINK) for the tune has already been singled out by Pitchfork which said,”...the clip creates and sustains a soft-focus weirdness, borrowing all the elements you’d expect from a postmillennial Chad & Jeremy -- blazers, bicycles, merry-go-rounds, a park in autumn-- while adding a few new flourishes-- women in animal costumes, gently evocative use of color and pattern. Alex Suarez and Ryan Blackinton croon their crisp harmonies, finishing each other’s sentences and riffs, nearly symmetrical as they perform atop their pedestals for the animal woman.”

Anyone missing out on This Is Ivy League’s performance at the Knitting Factory can catch the band again on April 17th at Sound Fix Records in Brooklyn where the group will perform with another Fanatic favorite, Freddie Stevenson. Spot dates will follow, after which Suarez and Blackinton will reconvene with Cobra Starship for a summer slot on this year’s Warped Tour.

This Is Ivy League Live:
04/14 New York, NY @ Knitting Factory w/The Mood, New Jerk Times
04/17 Brooklyn, NY @ Sound Fix w/Freddie Stevenson

This Is Ivy League Track Listing:
Stream The Album HERE
Release Date: April 1st, 2008

01. The Richest Kids
02. Love Is Impossible
03. London Bridges (MP3)
04. Viola
05. Celebration
06. An Introduction
07. A Summer Chill
08. Modern World
09. Til The Day
10. Visions of Tokyo
11. Don’t Waste Your Love On Me

More about This Is Ivy League:
In 1997, Ryland Blackinton moved from Wilmington, Massachusetts to Boca Raton, Florida with his parents and two brothers. An avid guitar player and trumpet player in his school band, Blackinton immediately found an acquaintance in Connecticut native, Alex Suarez. Suarez played in a local pop-punk band. Blackinton came to watch them play at an abandoned house where many of their high school’s bands would practice and perform. Alex was a year older than Blackinton, which in those days seemed to be a big deal. Neither of them was particularly good at sports or academics but each was passionate about the guitar. Around this time Suarez got Blackinton a job at the local Jewish delicatessen. The two became close friends while discovering the joys of Jewish cuisine. Not cut out for the restaurant industry, Blackinton soon left the deli citing culinary differences and became involved in the theatre. Suarez continued to the culinary academy.

For seven years Suarez and Blackinton lost touch. Alex had been playing guitar with the Florida-based Kite Flying Society while starting a series of short-lived private catering companies. Ryland was finishing his BFA in Acting and playing guitar sporadically with Parliament/Funkadelic keyboard players Jerome Rodgers and Danny Bedrosian. Seeking success in their respective fields, they both moved north to New York City. Blackinton acted in a handful of classical plays at the Pearl Theatre Company and Suarez was working as a grocery delivery boy in Chelsea. Both struggled with low wages and creative stagnation. One day, the two were reunited on a certain unnamed internet networking service. Coincidentally, they lived just twelve blocks away from one another. After catching up for a few hours they traded music and agreed that they should form a band.

Blackinton had written a few songs which were heavily rooted in bossa nova and folk music. Suarez quickly learned the songs and brought a cohesive poppy edge to them. The culmination of the two styles produced a folky-pop sound that both were pleased with. In late 2006, the band were scouted by Gabe Saporta of Midtown to be in a side-project called Cobra Starship. Saporta wrote the hit song “Snakes On A Plane (Bring It)” for the b-movie wonder Snakes On A Plane. The success of this song lead him to bringing Cobra Starship into realization and asking Suarez and Blackinton to join the band. With a big push from MTV, the band has gone on to headline multiple world tours.

In early 2007, 60’s UK pop group Ivy League contacted Brooklyn’s Ivy League about its reunification. This lead to Ivy League changing its name to This Is Ivy League. Its self-titled debut full-length was released April 1, 2008.

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