Posts Tagged ‘innocent words’

Try the Pie at Innocent Words

Try The Pie is the songwriting project of San Jose-based musician/writer/artist Bean Tupou. ‘Rest’ is a seductive mix of sugar and citrus, as achingly sincere as Kim Deal at her finest. You can’t help holding your breath to hear how the story ends.

“I wrote the songs over a duration of three years (2005-2008) and recorded it in
the last year by myself in my room in San Francisco,” Tupuo said. “Sometimes you can hear someone doing dishes or the beep of a dying smoke-detector. This album is an example of the slow, whispering tempo, slanted harmonies and embellished metaphors that I grew up listening to.”

As part of the bands Sourpatch and Crabapple, and as one of the creative forces behind the Think and Die Thinking Collective, Tupou has been a fixture on the South Bay’s DIY punk scene, crafting socially-conscious and catchy punk rock while helping creates spaces that are open, accepting, and fun—a universe of gender-neutral pronouns & queer-positive politics.

It’s a record so intimate it feels almost like you’re eavesdropping. You unconsciously hold your breath to keep from being noticed. The songs are littered with household objects, embodied and alive. References to neighbors and roommates abound. Listen to ‘Seahorse’ and hear a story of immobilization and the struggle to stay afloat, simultaneously wistful and withdrawn, youthful and yearning.

“…you are trying to figure out who you are and what you are about, so you make the decision to deal with things privately. When I made ‘Rest,’ I made CD-Rs and just slipped them underneath my roommates’ doors and gave it to people I knew.”

Rest is the sound of a fragile sensitivity—the avalanche of life communicated through tentative wishes and plaintive regrets. An album so open and honest that its very existence is an act of bravery. And when so much of our lives are consumed by fear and what others will think of us, the masks we create to make other people happy, we need records like this more than ever.

“Seahorse” is one of the earliest written songs on the album, along with “A Lot of Things” and “F.Y.I.”. I use the drawn out tempo of the guitar to evoke a watery feeling, like being tugged back and forth by tide. The lyrics are a type of demystification process for me: “I do get farther each and every day.” It was coming out of illusions that love is this perfect thing. I wrote it the first time I got my heart broken,” said Bean Tupou.

“I use the idea of the seahorse specifically because of the male pregnancy the species experiences. I also thought about the fact that these animals do not mate for life, despite these anthropomorphic ideas that these animals are strictly monogamous. Grieving can be a process of redirecting expectations and this song is definitely about grief.

The beep at the beginning of the recording (which sounds like this nautical submarine beep to me) is actually from a smoke detector. I had a fireplace in my room at the time that was not in working order and, instead, had a bunch of wall smoke detectors piled inside of it that would beep occasionally.”


Stutter Steps at Innocent Words

Everything around us is chaos, panic, and impending disaster. But Ben Harrison is keeping it cool. The debut self-titled album from his band, Stutter Steps doesn’t spit in the face of death—it gives death a warm hug and invites it inside for a game of Scrabble. Ten songs of sadness and bliss, Stutter Steps is a glorious, vital addition to the indie pop canon.

Most Americans imagine Pittsburgh as some kind of rusted out steel factory, but it’s actually one of the more beautiful cities in the country, a stunning blend of rivers and hills dropped in the middle of the Allegheny Mountains. If Stutter Steps sounds like it emerged fully formed from its natural surroundings, that’s because it did. Recorded over a few days at a lodge in the Laurel Highlands, you can hear the mist and the mystical all over the record.

By day, Harrison works at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, where he spends his days curating and dreaming. Given access to the complete collection of Warhol’s famous Screen Tests, approximately 500 silent film portraits he made of people who came to his studio, Harrison began inviting his favorite musicians to provide a soundtrack. Two of them, Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500, Luna—and who contributes slide guitar to “The Fog”) and Britta Phillips (Luna), became so enmeshed in the project that they created 13 Most Beautiful, a multi-media project which they, along with Harrison, have performed all over the world. Drowned In Sound called it “one of the most exhilarating audio visual creations conjured up in many a year.”

Harrison took inspiration from his day job, Mr. Warhol and the members of Luna to create his debut album. Now, Innocent Words is proud to premiere the debut single “Volumes” from Harrison’s Stutter Steps.

“I suppose lyrically, I often like to try to describe elements of isolated scenes or situations, loosely inspired by scenes or cinematography from films that leave an impression on me.” Harrison said of the single. “I try to be spare, using as few words as possible to conjure some imagery to reflect those moments. With the song “Volumes,” I partly took inspiration from Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” with scenes featuring fuzzy lights of Tokyo’s skyline as a backdrop and the characters sense of being in dreamlike, disconnected, and desperate states with waning celebrity status.”


HHBTM Records Label Profile at Innocent Words

Mike Turner never actually intended to start his own record label; it just sort of happened. Years later, he never intended to start his own music publicity firm. That just sort of happened as well. But 16 years after the first Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records (HHBTM) release, he has one of the Southeast’s most impressively eclectic indie labels going. Similarly, two years after founding Crashing Through Publicity, Turner is representing an equally impressive stable of bands.

Don’t ask how he found the time, but Athens, Georgia-based Turner took time recently to talk about starting his label on a whim, founding the PR firm out of necessity, and offered up a peek at the rest of the albums he’s putting out this year.

Innocent Words: What made you decide to start your own label?

Mike Turner: The label was never actually meant to be a thing. I was getting ready to put an end to this ’zine I was doing at the time, The Bee’s Knees. I had been doing the zine for four years, and there was gonna be a CD comp that came with it. I started putting together the comp and had zero plans of it being a label. It was just a comp to come with the ’zine. I had saved up money for a potter’s wheel and a kiln and I really just wanted to do that, but I decided to use that money to print a lot more copies of the ’zine and let it go out with a bang by having a CD that came with it.
In 1999 I guess doing a CD was a big deal to me in my mind or something. The money from the comp and ’zine would just replace the money I had set aside for the wheel and the kiln, but that never really happened. I had so much fun putting together the comp and hand-making all the sleeves, and the process of making at the time what felt like a large scale art project kinda just took over. The first CD comp, ‘Happy Happy Birthday to Me Vol 1,’ came in a sewn fabric sleeve and had a foldout mini poster and a numbered and stamped insert. I even carved the stamp. This was a full-on all handmade
sleeve project.

The next thing I knew, the comp and ’zine had sold out in pre-order, and I found myself wanting to do a 7-inch singles club with all handmade sleeves. I put together a cassette comp as well within the first year and handmade all those sleeves too. With the comps and the singles I had handmade over 8,000 sleeves. Not sure how really, but I even pushed it to make each of the singles sleeves using a different process. There wasn’t any plan, to be honest, to start a label; it kinda just grew out of an art project and a fixation on large scale production work.

Click through for the rest of the interview!


Moon Types at Innocent Words

Moon Types hail from Sweden and play sugary sweet, jangly pop songs on this three-song 7-inch ‘Know the Reason.’

Formed by Jesper Klein and Stephen Naron on guitar and bass, respectively, the four-piece is rounded out by Jesper Nyrén on drums and Josefin Klein on keyboards and vocals. The band draws influences from modern bands such as Real Estate and The War on Drugs, as well as indie veterans Yo La Tengo and Teenage Fanclub with their bouncing rhythms and male/female harmonies.

The title track features Mirjam Pettersson adding a nice trumpet piece to the song, while “Nothing’s Holy” is driven by clean arpeggio guitar picking. The third song, “Do It All Over Again,” is my favorite of the three, with its echoed E-bow guitar slide and duet of the Klein siblings.

Moon Types’ ‘Know The Reason’ 7-inch is the reason it is cool to have EPs on vinyl again; these three tracks will get you up moving around and shaking your head to the poppy grooves.


Presents for Sally at Innocent Words

“Colours & Changes” is the 2nd album from the UK band Presents for Sally. Formed in 2009, the three piece has taken in many influences and managed to form a sound all of their own. If the debut album showed promise of what the band could do, then “Colours & Changes” has set it in stone. The ten songs form a musical journey that takes you down several roads that all meet and make perfect sense in the end. At times melodic and beautiful, and others pure white noise with lots of delayed, detuned guitars sandwiched in between. “Colours & Changes” takes on a life of its own.

Each song seems to grow into something spectacular and produces many goosebump-filled moments but also shows a band full of confidence in what they are doing and what they set out to achieve. Having achieved RadioOne and XFM airplay in the UK with previous singles, there seems to be no reason why this album will not only match that but push the band even further.


Noon:30 at Innocent Words

TEN: For the past two years, each Friday, Innocent Words has put the spotlight on up and coming artists/bands with 10 questions we like to call IW10. The tradition continues…

Started in Washington DC, now the band is split between New York City and Los Angeles.

Members and Instruments:
Aissa: noise maker
Blue: singer

Short Bio (in your own words):
Women creating indie-rock and beyond.

What’s your favorite hometown spot (restaurant, bar, coffee house, etc) that you visit when you return home from tour?
Blue: In Detroit I have to go to any Coney Island. In DC I always go to Busboys and poets to get the best pupusas and my bed.
Aissa: My favorite place is MIST in Harlem.

What’s Your Funniest or Worst Tour Story?
Blue: Hmmm best tour story was when we went on tour with a band we had never met and decided to share a van together. They ended up being amazing. One night, while relaxing at night by the ocean, without warning, two of them stripped their clothes off and ran into the water. It was fun and funny.

Aissa: I would agree the time by ocean. The other would be playing in Detroit the energy and people are amazing. the worst was probably Chicago, playing in a room with no windows and exposed walls of dust. I remember it was so bad that Blue had to wait outside until we were ready to play and then had to go back outside shortly after.

What THREE things are a must have when you go on tour or play a show?
Blue: a voice, tea, and whiskey
Aissa: a physical book, a book on tablet, and an audio book.

What’s your most cherished album by another artist?
Blue: Dixie Chicks ‘Home; and FKA Twigs ‘LP1′
Aissa: Funkadelic ‘Maggot Brain’

If you had to record an EP of covers, which FIVE songs/artist would make the cut?
Blue: FKA Twigs “Hours”
Des’ree “Kissing You”
Janis Joplin “Piece of My Heart”
Mos Def “the Beggar”
“You Are My Sunshine”

Aissa: Buddy Guy “Baby Please Don’t Leave Me”
Wise Intelligent “The Walking Dead”
Dead Prez “It’s Bigger Than Hip Hop”
Funkadelic “Maggot Brain”
Bad Brains “I Against I”

What Are Your Future plans?
Blue: finish up my solo album and release Noon:30 ‘EP1′
Aissa: release Noon:30 ‘EP1′

Where Can We Hear Your Music?


Fireworks at Innocent Words

London and Brighton, UK

Members and Instruments:
Matthew Rimell – vocals & guitar
Emma Hall – vocals, tambourine, guitar
Isabel Albiol – bass
Shaun Charman – drums & additional guitar on the album

Short Bio (in your own words):
A muck about rehearsal, a couple of songs were enough to start The Fireworks. After a disastrous start with a sound engineer who promised the earth and then couldn’t get us – at all – we finally committed to a first ep 7″ single in 2013 and gigs around the UK. The first single was very
well received mainly by blogs and independent radio stations. Shaun joined in October 2013, and we continued to gig around the UK and Germany, leading to our second 7″ single – Runaround – which also received very favourable reviews as ‘single of the year’- by A Layer Of Chips and

This year has meant working on the album, getting the songs ready, recording and getting the sound right, which has to be put in the right hands, or forget it. Same as our art work really, which is done by the mightily talented Andy Hart. After a few (possibly) idiosyncratic, jumbled
ideas, he gets it, and always comes up with something truly spectacular and defining for the songs’ thoughts and ideas. The album ‘Switch Me On’ was created during the Summer of 2014 and has already created lots of anticipated excitement with Rough Trade. We’re very pleased with their
write up: “There will be no better indie pop album in 2015.”

What’s your favorite hometown spot (restaurant, bar, coffee house, etc) that you visit when you return home from tour?
We are all quite keen on food, so I guess a trip to a nice Indian Restaurant will always do the trick.

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Fireworks at Innocent Words

Despite a fairly generic moniker, the debut full length from the UK-based The Fireworks, ‘Switch Me On,’ manages to blow away any preconceived notions about this being just another run-of-the-mill indie pop band. Even with two solid 7 inches and a well-received EP to their name, this full length is proof that the band is deserving of every bit of critical praise they’ve received so far, as well as their growing fan base.

A baker’s dozen of sweet male/female pop vocals over abrasive guitars with plenty of feedback, everyone from the Buzzcocks to The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Ravonettes can be heard in their sound. Even The Ramones’ influence can be spotted in a song like “Which Way to Go.”

Uncompromising, yet still easily accessible, the band has managed to turn in an infectious collection of songs that is bound to bring the group even more attention in 2015.


Throwing Muses at Innocent Words

In the fall of 2013, seminal indie rock band Throwing Muses broke a 10-year hiatus – although to be honest it wasn’t much of a hiatus for front woman Kristin Hersh who continued to releases masterful solo albums and guitar-driven punk rock with her other band 50 Foot Wave. But I digress. Throwing Muses return with the 32-track masterpiece ‘Purgatory/Paradise.’

In typical Hersh and band fashion, the Muses gave back to their fans with the return album offering up a gorgeous hardback book full of lyrics, short essays and stories by Hersh about each song, and exclusive photographs and artwork. In addition you got a download code for these exclusives:

~ A commentary track featuring Kristin Hersh and David Narcizo
~ An instrumental version of the full album
~ Prepackaged mp3 and lossless versions of every track with embedded metadata, artwork and lyrics.

Taking it a step further, thanks to the fine folks of Happy Happy Birthday to Me Records, ‘Purgatory/Paradise’ is now out on vinyl. True, the 2-LP gatefold vinyl version doesn’t offer up the amenities which the original release did, but hearing ‘Purgatory/Paradise,’ one of the bands best releases in their nearly 30-year career, is priceless.

As an album, ‘Purgatory/Paradise,’ which takes its name from an intersection in Hersh’s Rhode Island hometown, is an exquisite collection of music from one of music’s finest songwriters, not to mention fellow Muses drummer David Narcizo and bassist Bernard Georges put in some of their finest work to date.

Hovering around the two to three minute mark, the songs are short bursts, which culminate into one cohesive album. The tracks, much like Hersh herself, are authentic, unrelenting and organic. At 32 songs, you could easily try to break this album down into rock songs and acoustic songs, but after listening to it, that task is virtually impossible. The songs have both elements mixed in. There’s even hints at a little blues and retro pop fused in. The tracks “Opiates;” “Sunray Venus;” “Milan;” and “Speedbath” are forceful rockers which ebb and flow between the other tracks. The Muses are at their best and ballsiest when they turn it up and rock out. Case in point, the two best songs on the album – “Slippershell” and “Sleepwalking 1.”

Hersh, Narcizo and Georges put in a lot of hard work and it pays off. The trio play flawlessly on ‘Purgatory/Paradise’ while, once again bucking the conventional in favor of real rock & roll.


Lunchbox at Innocent Words

After more than a decade off, the Berkley power pop band Lunchbox is back with what is easily their finest collection of songs. A little goofy, but immensely fun, ‘Lunchbox Loves You’ is 10 indie pop songs brimming with jangly guitars, singalong choruses and plenty of hand claps.

Infectiously optimistic, the band has slimmed down the lineup a bit, as well as their influences (assuming The Apples In Stereo and The Kinks are in constant rotation in the tour van). Donna McKean and Tim Brown trade off vocals—each a strong singer without coming off as too polished—and this latest effort finds the band adding layer upon layer of guitars and strings.

Songs like “Tom, What’s Wrong?” and the fantastic album closer, “Tonight is Out of Sight” are both standout tracks, but to be honest, there isn’t a single song on this record that doesn’t deserve to be included. It may have taken 12 years, but Lunchbox Loves You was certainly worth waiting for.