Ahoy! It’s been a good while since we’ve last heard of the long lost band The Rooks since they left Wes to the real world AKA “beyond the outer-rim,” but dry your eyes, don’t you cry, I come bearing good news and sugar treats! Above is a brand new video the Rooks released on New Years to reflect on 2012. It’s a Stevie Wonder medley the band performed at their live show in the ’92 in April, and it features the Mad Wow horn section and guests vocalists Claire Randall and Bridget Read.
The Rooks’ own Garth Taylor ’12, who says the Rooks will be releasing more material from that show in the coming months, comes bearing word:
We’ve performed pretty steadily in New York since we left M-town in May. We opened up for Talib Kweli at the Highline Ballroom in September, which was a total blast, and performed at the Bitter End and other NY hot spots. Gabe Gordon ’11 (keys) and I actually took a day trip today to perform an acoustic-y set at Midnight on Main, and took a little stroll around College Row. Our last live full band show was in October—we took three months off to prepare new material for an EP we’re going to be recording in January.
Wes Alum Myles Potters ’12 just released a fresh-to-death EP using works from his senior thesis called Apertures. Potters writes:
This release is many months in the making, and is the recorded, modified version of my Senior Thesis Recital at Wesleyan University. The Thesis revolved around the question: What can we consider to be ‘live’ music in the 21st Century? The music in this album, though recorded, continues to ask similar questions by highlighting contrasts between instrumental improvisation, sampled beats, and notated music.
I could spend a solid amount of time writing about what I like about it, not to mention the dank group of musicians that he had on the album: Wes Alum Owen Callahan ’12 on sax, Nate Campagne ’15 on drums, Sam Friedman ’13 ticklin’ the ivories, and Dylan Bostick ’13 (see: DreamHost) working the electronics. Instead, I asked Mr. Potters a couple questions, and I feel like that does a lot more justice explaining the album than what I could do by myself. That’s all past the jump.
Robert Don ’15, the St. Louis-based singer, songwriter, bassist, and multi-instrumentalist who casually performed at LouFest last summer with his excellent “pirate rockabilly” band Since 1902, has embarked on a solo career of sorts from—why not?—his Butts double. His first release is Honestly Honesty, a brief EP that contains two promising tracks Don wrote and began recording on his own during his freshman year. Honestly (honesty), it’s pretty good.
“Silence,” the lengthier of the two, offers three minutes of shuffling, jazzy interplay (not far off from Since 1902’s LP) and about one minute of breezy indie pop, with multitracked vocals that sound a hell of a lot like Menomena’s Danny Seim. “In Good Time” is a louder, carefully layered folk stomp, with striking backing vocals and production by 1902 bandmate Justin Enoch. The song made its live debut at last semester’s Musical Madness, with drumming assistance byDylan Awalt-Conley ’15.
Guy Fridge ’15 writes in to let the Wes world know about his recent music adventures. Fridge is part of a mini-label called 6BIT, which had a notable showcase at SWSW this spring and were recently asked by Portals Music to do a guest post on their website, which can be found here. BIT’s most recent complication, which is available both on their website and Bandcamp, can be found here.
Mr. Fridge‘s compilation also includes a remix of a Brandy track,”I Wanna Be Down.” Physical copies will be sold at Amoeba Records and PooBah Records in Los Angeles. Fridge’s forthcoming EP will be released on the label as well, which should be out sometime in the summer.
[If you’re interested, there are some other really cool guys on this label that have been getting a lot of hype recently. A net label called Absent Fever and a physical label called JAXART recently recruited several artists on the label to be a part of a compilation called “Generation Y Not,” which was printed as 1,000 physical CDs and went up for digital download. The link to that compilation can be found here.]
When I caught up with Ishmael last month to talk about the band’s brand new EP, I asked about recording the whole thing in the dead of night at New York’s Tarbox Studios. “There was something indescribable about being so creative, and loud, while most of New York slept,” the band told me, “and it freed up our inhibitions so we could try some weird stuff.” “Feet Stomp,” the first tease from that EP, hinted at some weird stuff. It also hinted at the catchiest—and shiniest—pop music that the prog/funk/rock/whatever outfit has written yet. Who says 9/8 time signatures and Tool covers aren’t sexy?
This week the band, which includes Jordan Lewis ’13 and Andy Werle ’12 plus non-Weskids Nick Otte and Aaron Silberstein, finally delivers the goods. The EP, creatively titled Ishmael the EP (and previewed on the WEUS airwaves a few weeks back), is available online for $3.96 at iTunes (and coming soon to Spotify and, eventually, physical formats). At just over twenty minutes, it consists of four of Ishmael’s most diverse tracks yet, including
“I heard they’re working with the guy who mixed Pearl Jam’s Ten.” “They’re playing exclusively in 9/8 time.” “Did you know they recorded it in the dead of night?’
The rumors, whispered at night between MuHo and Pine, are mostly pretty true. Ishmael, the prodigious prog/funk outfit whose numbers include Jordan Lewis ’13 and Andy Werle ’12—as well as Nick Otte and Aaron Silberstein—are readying a new EP. Fresh off a triumphant November gig at Psi U (all “bureaucratic bullshit aside”), the self-proclaimed “Frippian Euphoric Post-Funk” quartet has been working with Tim Palmer, the noted producer and engineer known for work with Pearl Jam, Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie, and Porcupine Tree, among others. The band recorded the EP over the summer, in the dead of night, at New York’s Sugarbox Studios. First single “Feet Stomp” is the first preview of what’s to come.
Kill-F (Will “Waka Flocka” F. ’13, of Static Stamina, WesPacific, other things) has just released his first EP, Very Good. The EP, recorded “in closets in New Jersey” and produced by Dan Nass ’13(under the moniker D’Brickashaw), criss-crosses a variety of hip hop genres, never settling on single style or trend. In general, it seems like the product of a short attention span and lots of clever ideas. I mean that as a compliment.
“Don Cheadle” stands out to this blogger as one of the strongest tracks on the EP, due to some of the best beats and a pretty hilarious chorus in which Kill ponders “What makes dogs sad? What makes a dog cry? What makes dogs bad? Why must dogs die?”
The final track, “E E E E E E E E,” is a kind of a mindfuck. If you can figure out the riddle in the song’s title, you might have some idea of what to expect.