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LBLcoverBrooklyn, New York’s Let’s Be Loveless dropped their debut self-titled EP several weeks ago, and we’ve been unable to stop listening since. The band name is deceptive: while it hints at a love for MBV-era shoegaze, the sound itself is another matter entirely. Hints of Lush, J-Pop playfulness, Panda Riot, even a dash of Mazzy Star infuse this dreamy, textured sound. Rather than simply rely on jangly guitars and sonic wash, Let’s Be Loveless back it up with songs. Actual songs you find yourself tapping your toes to. Sure, the Britpop and indie influences are there, and fit like a well-worn but indispensable pair of sneakers, but it’s the songs themselves that keep you coming back.

While the EP’s opener, Video Song has gotten the most attention so far, there isn’t a clunker on the disk, start to finish. Four carefully-crafted gems await you, each establishing a different feel. Probably the track Star Matter is the one we most often crank up in studio, just because it’s such an original breath of fresh air, driven by Eric Arikian’s enticing guitar signature. We decided to dig up the dirt on these apparent newcomers, and find out what their further plans for world domination might be.

Let’s Be Loveless is:
Chris Whalen: Bass
Eric Arikian: Guitars/Sequencing
Abby Camaya: Vocals/Keyboards
Gary Elliott: Drums

DKFM: What got this team of musicians together in the first place?

Eric: It goes back a bit… Chris, Gary and I have been playing 3 chord rock (a la Replacements) for about five years together under a different name. It wasn’t really going anywhere, and we were getting sick of begging our friends to come see me scream like a hyena for 30 minutes in shit-hole bars. It ran its course, but we weren’t ready to give up so quickly since we played so tightly together. We started really tapping into our creative side after seeing so much amazing music being made around us, especially in Brooklyn. I think we just wanted to be a part of it. When we met Abby, it felt like she was the missing piece to the LBL puzzle. Her natural pop-sensibility was something that we never had. Hearing those early demos with her singing for the first time was really exciting. It was like, “Wow. There’s nothing like this out here. We have to get into a studio ASAP.” Now we are fully operational 4-piece Dreampop Band. Honestly, I never thought I’d be playing music like this.

DKFM: If I read the press right, 3/4ths of the band are Brooklynites, while your vocalist Abby hails from the SF Bay Area. What brought THAT about, and how are you dealing with the bi-coastal issue?

Abby: I moved to Brooklyn in the summer of 2012. It has been an adventure I’ve wanted to experience for a long time, since I was a child. I was anxious about finding the right band once I moved, but luckily it’s worked out well.

DKFM: What music did you listen to that has helped to color your sound? I can pick up any number of subtle influences, but Let’s Be Loveless is no pale imitation of ANY of them.

Eric: I’m not sure if there is any specific bands that we try to sound like specifically. If you were to look at my record collection, there’s way more Beatles and Stones than dreampop/shoegaze. Our songs do have traditional song structures and those classic songs definitely set the template for our songwriting. When we jam on ideas, we keep asking ourselves: “Is this a song?” I think our influences come out subconsciously when we play. I can name a dozen records that I maniacally obsessed over in the past 5 years, but I don’t think they would set a road map back to what we are doing. We have our own formula that works well for us. We try to reference our favorite bands when writing, but it still sounds like us in the end.
Abby: We all love a lot of the same bands. Vocally, my idols include Bjork, Morrissey, Astrud Gilberto. I definitely love my share of bands with female singers, like Trish Keenan (Broadcast), Harriet Wheeler (Sundays), Nina Persson (Cardigans), and on and on. I can’t get enough of a soft, effortless vocal that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, like you’re being lulled to sleep.

DKFM: Formed in summer 2012, dropped a demo, a single, now an EP. At this rate, you’ve got an album dropping before year’s end, right?

CW: Eventually I’m sure. I’m a big fan of the single and I think you’ll probably hear a few more from us before the year’s end and maybe even another EP. We have no shortage of music, we often record our rehearsals and have a lot of new songs we’re working on. I really hope to get the opportunity to release something on vinyl. In the meantime, we will be releasing a limited edition cassette with a free download of our latest EP this summer. We’ll be selling it on Bandcamp and at our shows.

DKFM: So far it looks like the touring schedule has centered in and around Brooklyn. Are you planning to take this sound further out into the boroughs, and even out of New York state?  

CW: We’re really just starting out. It’s important to us to be part of a local music community and I think we still have to cultivate our hometown support before branching too far out. We do have some roots elsewhere in the Northeast and playing outside the City is something we often talk about. Hoboken, New Brunswick, Philly, Boston, DC are all really just a short trip away. If we hook up with some local bands we would definitely head out of town. I’d love to make the occasional trip out to the west coast or to one of the many festivals.
Abby: It would be really great to go back to CA and play with musician friends in San Francisco.
Eric: Playing in the Brooklyn music community is important to me. I still feel like we are the new kids on the block here even though some of us have been playing for over 6 years together.

DKFM: The music industry has certainly changed, even over the last five years or so. The self-release and distribution model has served you well enough to this point. Have you considered a supportive independent label to help spread the word, or do you simply prefer the DIY aesthetic?

CW: I’ve always wanted to believe that people will recognize and support great music if they get the opportunity to hear it. Unfortunately, there is so much great music out there that will never see the light of day. For me, the initial response to our EP has been truly endearing. I can’t believe the places we’ve been able to reach with very little promotion in such a short period of time. There is a devoted community of dream pop enthusiasts around the world and platforms like Bandcamp have enabled us to connect with supporters from as far as Japan, Germany and Brazil. But bands like us are only half of any music scene. Without an active community setting up shows, releasing records, blogging or hosting internet radio stations like DKFM, many bands would just wither and die on the vine. So yeah, we’d love to collaborate with like-minded labels and promoters that share our vision but we’re not just going to jump at any opportunity just for the sake of putting out a record.

DKFM: What’s your biggest accomplishment as a band so far?

Abby: Rehearsing sober.
Eric: Ha! We are very sober players. Lame, right?
GE: After a few years of playing some pretty demoralizing shows I love the fact that we’ve already been able to share the stage with some inspiring local bands and play to enthusiastic crowds. It’s just so much more motivating.

DKFM: Let’s Be Loveless won’t be a secret outside of Brooklyn for much longer. Ideally, what does the next chapter hold?

Eric: Tough question. I don’t think we are ready for world domination yet like you said (way to set expectations Greg!) As for our future: Who knows. Honestly, we just like to write good music and get it out to the right people. The DIY mentality has done well for us, but sometimes a little help couldn’t hurt. We’d love to record a masterful debut, but it doesn’t seem practical at this moment since we don’t know what the demand is yet. Putting it out ourselves can be daunting so a little label support would be nice. Anyway, we are demoing about four songs now that hint at psych rock, fuzz pop, and some really heavy shoegaze. The songs are awesome and we can’t wait to get back into a real studio again. We are excited about all our summer shows too. It’s going to be a fun summer.

DKFM: Finally, what would you like to share with your new fans, about yourselves, about independent music, about life in general?

Abby:
I will happily dog sit for you! I have an unhealthy obsession with dogs, especially since I have a yellow labrador who is still in California. I may look into getting therapy soon.  On a more serious note, here’s something motivational that was probably written in my high school yearbook, “Be fearless and go for what you want!” It’s healthy to reinvent yourself, whether it’s in a new band or moving 3000 miles across the country.
Eric: Thank you for playing our music Greg. Especially next to artists we admire. We worked really hard making something awesome, and it means so much that you recognized it.
GE: I’m continually amazed by the all the technology that is being leveraged by bands and other people in the music scene these days, even though it’s way too easy to obsess over how many youtube views and bandcamp listens you’re getting. As a musician it’s exciting to know that it’s getting easier and easier to reach the small subset of the world that might be really into what you’re creating. It’s a great time to be involved with independent music.

A great time, indeed. Follow Let’s Be Loveless on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and of course Bandcamp.

JScoverAt this hour, details are sketchy and incomplete about New York’s Jeanseburg. OFFICIALLY, here’s what we know: they’re a noise-pop, alternative rock band from New York. They’ve released one EP on Bandcamp on March 24th of this year, and two teaser tracks that preceded it. The EP itself is aptly titled EP. No further details are available. Not even a drivers’ license photo! While we’ve been spinning Jeanseburg since the first teaser tracks hit the aether, we realized there were scant few details about the band, its origins and influences, and plans for the future. What would explain the swirls of distortion and melody that make up Jeanseburg?

We could have approached this like CNN, by making stuff up and calling it an “exclusive!”, but thought it might be wiser instead to go to the source. We tracked down members of Jeanseburg and made them give up the goods, though we may have forgotten to read them their Miranda rights before proceeding.
_____________________________

DKFM: Who ARE you people? This beautiful music didn’t just make itself!

Franco Garcia (guitar): Hi there. First of all we would like to say a big thanks to DKFM and Greg for finding us and playing our songs in their radio station. It has been a very rewarding and unexpected reception since we are still figuring out our approach to the music and developing the Jeanseburg sound. We made these tracks in a very low budget setup with some basic recording software. We decided to post the songs online because they are the closest realization of the sounds we have been developing thus far.

Odanis Colón (guitar/vocals): As of now, we are a three-piece band from The Bronx, New York. Initially, we made the Bandcamp, SoundCloud, and Twitter page just for the heck of it. I was not anticipating a reaction from anyone, really. It was surprising enough for me to see some of our mutual friends say all sorts of nice things about it. Thank you for playing our music.

FG: You finding us and seeing other people enjoy the music has been extremely gratifying. It makes us more motivated to take the Jeanseburg project further.

DKFM: How did Jeanseburg come about?

FG: Jeanseburg simply started as an exchange of ideas between Odanis and I. Conversations of musicians, bands, and songs eventually turned into chats about tone, texture, and sonic landscapes. Then finally songs and recordings were created. I met Odanis a few years ago, probably sometime in 2010 through mutual friends. However long before that, we both used to be involved in the underground post-hardcore NYC music scene of the noughties when we were younger. The scene was essentially a melting pot of hardcore, punk, emo, and metal.

OC: We always went to the same show. We used to pass each other between sets.

FG: As the decade ended, so did the heyday of that genre. As our generation grew up so did everyone’s taste in music.

OC: After a bit of playful bickering and Frolicking about local gigs inside small New York City venues, I finally withdrew from the scene completely and decided to take part in something further abstract; no doubt very noisy and profoundly distorted. Franco and I started jamming soon afterward and that was that.

FG: I tend to be on the lookout for the newest music and honestly for a while my interest in guitar–based music peaked. The last guitar albums that I enjoyed were St Vincent – Strange Mercy and Converge – Axe to Fall. I thought the most interesting music being made in the past 3 or so years has been electronica and hip hop. Artists like the Clams Casino and Jai Paul have been ushering in this new wave of music that’s so interesting to me. So as a guitarist I found inspiration through exploring the past.

OC: Yea, I get most of my inspiration through admiring the previous eras. I’ve always been into the 90s alternative; I think most of your listeners would agree: “They just don’t music like this anymore.” Even during my post-punk phasing, I held Dinosaur Jr and Yo La Tengo as reference. It was not until I had discovered Explosions in the Sky that I began to use an excess amount of guitar effects; I thought they did some pretty neat stuff with their pedals.

FG: Personally, the most compelling thing that reignited my interest in guitar was the shoegaze genre. It explores another factor of music that I haven’t really considered before, “timbre”. Coming from a scene in which complicated riffs and shifting time signatures ruled, the idea of using the guitar as a layering tool, instead of a harmonic or melodic instrument, opened up new possibilities to me. In essence, I think the Jeanseburg sound is a response to the type of music we associated in our early years. It’s a reaction. We are doing a lot of things in the opposite manner that we used to do before, by aiming for simpler tunes with a more meticulous sound. I also personally feel like there’s a lack of that exciting rock n’ roll energy that I used to feel. However, I do find the band Savages extremely compelling in bringing some of that back. The lack of excitement and energy within ourselves droves us to experiment with music and Jeanseburg was what came about. I do hope that in the future when Jeanseburg performs live that we could produce the same visceral energetic experience I felt going to post-hardcore shows. I hope to express a similar intensity and emotion but with different music that is new and compelling to me.

DKFM: I could pile on a lot of hyperbole about what this music sounds like, but ultimately it’s about the sound itself. How would YOU describe your sound?

OC: I was going for a kind of musical turbulence that’ll pull you in. It’s a catchy pop rhythm with colorfully distorted layers. For the alert listener, I would add that it sounds very saturated; blurry, frizzy and clouded with reverb. The manipulation of guitar–noise–feedback is something we’ve procured over time we spent playing post–hardcore. For some, it’s hard to notice that connection, but it is indeed part of the equation. For now, that’s how I see it. We have plans to evolve our music into something more sinister, though we’ll probably maintain its “pop”.

FG: I could write for hours on what I would like Jeanseburg to sound like but to keep it short I would describe it as a vibe. Once you get past the lo-fi, it can put listeners into a heady space in which they can groove to.

DKFM: Jeanseburg, and actress Jean Seberg. What’s the connection (or inspiration)?

OC: Yes, we got the name from the actress and we pronounce it the same way. As we were coming up with an idea for a song, the title of one of her earlier films had come up. I always liked the concept of naming a band after someone. So I chose her name. We just altered the spelling. At first, we weren’t sure about keeping it. But it stuck around for so long we became accustomed to it.

DKFM: Day jobs? What do you do when you’re not making music?

FG: I just recently secured an office job in the affordable housing industry. It’s been great so far. Hopefully I can find a way to balance my job with the creative endeavors that I want to pursue.

OC: Living in NYC is very expensive and competitive. I continue to do a lot of entry-level stuff as I am still in the process of finishing school. I have a huge interest in Psychology and I plan on pursuing it further.

DKFM: What musical touchstones do you reference in your work? What artists inspired you to start a band?

FG: The one band that we always look up to is MBV. We are constantly trying to figure out how they get their sound and put our own spin on it. As of now the music is relatively simple. It is all about experimenting with tones and textures at this stage. So once we get a handle on that out we will start to incorporate other influences.

OC: I am actively inspired by many. But fundamentally, Jeanseburg stems from Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine (in that order).

DKFM: Plans to start playing live, or do you prefer the comforts of the studio?

FG: I think we both started to write music together just for the sake of getting back to playing live. It’s just that we are still trying to figure out the band; hence the early recordings.

OC: Our friend, Isaac, has been jamming with us on drums lately. He is great. He is adding this whole new dynamic to the music. After we become settled, live shows will soon be underway.

DKFM: The relative anonymity you’ve labored under thus far, has that been a conscious choice, or…?

OC: (Laughs)

FG: We were just so focused on the music; we forgot about all the other stuff.

In a just world, we have reached the end of anonymity for Jeanseburg starting… NOW.

Find Jeanseburg on Twitter.

Jeanseburg Facebook page.

Actual Jeanseburg music for streaming and purchase: Bandcamp.

And video, for those unable to listen to music without pictures: Jeanseburg YouTube.

 

MBV (album)

Hot on the heels of My Bloody Valentine’s long-awaited “m b v” release, they’ve announced details of their world tour (to date). No US dates have been made available as yet.

Finally: My Bloody Valentine release new album, mbv, their first in

My Bloody Valentine 2013 Tour Dates:

02/03 – Seoul, KR @ Uniqlo Ax

02/05 – Osaka, JP @ The Hatch

02/06 – Osaka, JP @ The Hatch

02/07 – Tokyo, JP @ Studio Coast

02/07 – Tokyo, JP @ Studio Coast

02/10 – Tokyo, JP @ Studio Coast

02/13 – Taipei, TW @ Ntu Sports Center

02/16 – Melbourne, AU @ ATP’s I’ll Be Your Mirror Melbourne

02/18 – Sydney, AU @ Enmore Theatre

02/20 – Queensland, AU @ The Tivoli

02/22 – Melbourne, AU @ Palace Theatre

03/08 – Birmingham, UK @ O2 Academy

03/09 – Glasgow, UK @ Barrowlands

03/10 – Manchester, UK @ Apollo

03/12 – London, UK @ Hammersmith Apollo

03/13 – London, UK @ Hammersmith Apollo

05/11-12 – Tokyo, JP @ Tokyo Rocks Music Festival

05/23 – Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound

 

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