There has been a ton of interest surrounding Twin Falls lately, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the band features members of Dashboard Confessional, Bad Books, and The Narrative. PropertyOfZack was interested in the band too, which is why we were happy to have Senior Writer Jesse Richman do an incredible interview with the band down at SXSW last week. The interview features information on how Twin Falls came together, what the band means for other projects, an album, tour, and so much more. Check it all out below!
Could you state your names and roles in Twin Falls?
Ben: I am Benjamin Homola and I play the drums.
Jonathan: I’m Jonathan Clark and I play the bass.
Suzie: Suzie Zeldin. I sing.
Chris: Chris Carrabba. Vocals and guitar. Suzie plays mandolin, too.
I saw your first real performance at SXSW [at Central Presbyterian Church] yesterday. Chris, you played some songs at shows in the past few months, but was this the first performance?
Ben: Yes. It was the first performance billed as Twin Falls.
POZ: How did it feel being up there?
Chris: I think that the church we were in made us feel a little reserved, but it felt great to be up there. It felt really great.
All of you come from different bands. Is it strange being on stage with a different group of people than who you’re comfortable with? Is there an adjustment period?
Chris: This is the most comfortable I’ve ever been on stage with anybody.
Jonathan: It’s extremely comfortable.
Chris: We’ve essentially been living together for two years making this record, just deciding what the record is going to be. We didn’t know we were even going to be a band when we decided to start messing around for fun. it started out as a labor of love. We were just pals. We even said at one point that we wouldn’t be a band.
POZ: What changed?
Chris: It was just evident that this was a band.
POZ: Was there a certain moment?
Chris: I think I know what it was. I had a handful of songs, and I was looking for a post-Dashboard thing. I thought what I wanted to do was make delicate finger-picking kind of songs, which is something I like very much. Ben and Jonathan are both producers and were helping me with recording these songs.The more I examined what was important to me about music I began to have a revelation that something that’s great about Dashboard is that the audience is in a state of celebration. Which may be antithetical to what people who don’t know much about what Dashboard think it is. It’s a little bit euphoric. But I’ve always felt like I’m just a focal point, and maybe that I’m not quite part of the party. That was something I realized as I was doing this finger-picking. I was getting further away. I want to stomp my foot, I want to be a part of this party, I want the party to be on stage, go outward, and come right back at us. That was a big shift in the tide.
One of the tracks you played at the first show was a cover of Cory Branan’s “Tall Green Grass,” which you also released on your cover LP.
Chris: We did some covers for Covered In The Flood. I’ve had Cory with me over the course of the last three years as my main opener. I’m very inspired by him. I love that song so I did that song. While we were doing that finger-picking thing, at some point, I said we should make another cover record that was closer to where I want to go because I don’t know how to get there. That’s when things started to take shape. That’s when I started to understand what we were chasing.
Was Covered In The Flood the genesis of you seeing this new direction?
Chris: That allowed me to realize that I should be able to make music like that too. I listened to that as much as I did punk rock.
POZ: Was that big in your house growing up?
Chris: No, it was just kind of something I stumbled on in my pre-teen years. I think it started with Willie Nelson stuff. My grandmother was super into Frank Sinatra, and then I heard Willie Nelson, songs that he wrong for Frank Sinatra. I dove into that. My stepbrother knew a lot about country music, so I dug into it that way. I never saw too much distinction between the outlaw country and punk rock. It’s cut from the same cloth, the same dirty, ragged cloth.
Ben: A stained whiskey cloth.
Chris: Even some Dashboard songs have it tempered into what I did. The covers LP was me saying, “How can I do this in such a way that isn’t disingenuous.” They’re my influences and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with embracing them, but I didn’t want it to be pure imitation.
The release of the solo LP was the first time you put aside Dashboard to put something out under your own name. Was that a conscious break where Dashboard is emo music and Chris Carrabba is something else?
Chris: Dashboard has a lot of trappings. There is an expectation from the listener that makes it difficult to write without an expectation of an outcome. I feel like it’s demanded now, at this point. It wasn’t always like that, there’s a lot of variation between records, but I felt that after six records it had to be a certain kind of thing. That felt void of magic to me.
POZ: Do you see yourself coming back to it in the future?
Chris: Absolutely. I think if it feels magical to me that I’ll do it. If it doesn’t, then I can’t do it. I think what makes people connect with my music is the same thing that would make people know instantly if I was bullshitting.
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. The greatest trick Shone ever pulled was instilling a faint, ever-growing hope that Shone was a long-awaited Brand New album, a Brand New side project, a Brand New single, a Brand New anything. And, like the suckers we all are, we (as a community) fell for it, and we fell for it hard.
We were asked to “Be Patient,” and we were. Look who was warning us to be patient: Vinnie Caruana. Kevin Devine. Manchester Orchestra. Balance & Composure. Thrice. We didn’t know what we were being patient for. Heck, all Shone gave us to ponder was a minute-long clip of a creaking windmill, Rorschach blotch monsters, and unintelligible whispers. But just look over the list of bands that stamped their approval on the project. We were hooked, even before rumors of involvement from the oft-dormant Brand New front.
The rumor mill started clanking away when we saw Brian Lane, longtime Brand New collaborator Mike Sapone, and guitar-slinger Vin Accardi’s kid brother, Andrew, remind us to “Be Patient.” The c-c-controversy hit a fever pitch; Shone sold out a February concert — a venue capped at 250 concertgoers — before a single band member was announced, and on the strength of a song and a half (clocking in at a hair over two minutes, “Defender 237” is an interlude and nothing else). So how did such a well-structured viral campaign flame out as quickly and spectacularly as Shone did? Why the heck did Heat Thing cool off so rapidly?
Flame out might be the wrong way to phrase it. The AbsolutePunk thread dedicated to unraveling Shone’s mystery is the site’s biggest news thread of all time, sprawling out over 18,000 comments (and counting). The campaign itself was planned down to a science — generate social media buzz, release a steady stream of videos, and divulge information slowly and deliberately from an off-kilter source: ghostly puppet-master Levi Gudmundson. And yes: word puzzle sleuths figured out pretty darn quickly that descrambling the name gives you both “Devil” and “God.” Raging Inside Me sold separately. Heck, an unknown vandal scrawled the name “Levi” in black spray paint under the band’s iconic graffiti on the brick wall of a Long Island bowling alley.
Rallying around Gudmundson, the part-time detectives, full-time Shone fanatics fostered a community dedicated to solving clues and piecing together the mystery. The campaign did brilliantly to involve its followers — fans on Shone’s mailing list received letters to follow coordinates and trek out on a scavenger hunt for flash drives loaded with the band’s first song. Shone did a heck of a lot of things right: Matthew Reid’s art design captivated, Gudmundson’s enigmatic tweets teased, and the band’s fans stayed patient. At least, most were patient before the campaign took a nosedive in a hurry.
So, where did the wheels start falling off? Well, for the longest time, no one knew who Shone was. The mystery died quickly when “Piano Wire Number 12” leaked its way onto virtually every file-sharing site. Before hearing the pseudo-single, fans were still saying rosaries that Shone was Brand New related. And why wouldn’t they? Innocent until proven guilty, Brand New until proven otherwise. Before the song dropped, expectations for the project’s music were tantamount: save for possibly The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, Part 2, not much would live up to them. Especially not a melodramatic romp laden with fuzzy, industrial guitar work, which, like it or not, was what fans got from “Piano Wire.” It sounded nothing like any of the bands that tweeted about Heat Thing, and even less like Brand New. Astute fans pinpointed the vocalist as Andrew Accardi, and all signs pointed to an already rumored Brian Lane/Andrew Accardi collaboration.
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Winter - Spring
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The Weeds - “Sunset Eyes (Beautiful Life)”
Over the past few weeks, we here at PropertyOfZack have brought you a lot of new album announcements. And while we’re certainly excited by many of the artists releasing new music, we’re just as intrigued by the variety of ways in which they’re approaching their releases. In this week’s Friday Discussion, we’re taking a look at some of the creative ways bands unveil new recordings to the world. What other possibilities are out there? Reblog and let us know your favorites!
The “Fall Out Boy”
As one Tumblr user quipped in the site’s vernacular (John Green paraphrases), “Fall Out Boy came back the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” Rumors of a return from the infamous “indefinite hiatus” ran hot on the web for months, and we brought you the first official confirmation ten days before the band’s announcement, but even we weren’t prepared for just how momentous that announcement would be — not only were the band back, but with a full album already in the can, a full tour scheduled, and a new single and video live at the time of the announcement. Coming from a band whose prior M.O. involved playful teases and complex, slow-building viral campaigns, the tidal wave of goodies was both shocking and overwhelming, in the best of ways.
See also: David Bowie, who recently emerged from eleven years of musical seclusion with the surprise announcement of an album, the making of which had been so tightly guarded that all involved were required to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Like the above, teen-idol-turned-plain-old-idol Justin Timberlake recorded his upcoming album in secret. But he seems to be in no rush to let us hear it. JT began his lengthy tease with a countdown clock; when it hit zero, we were treated to…a video. Not a music video, mind you, but a video of Timberlake announcing an upcoming music video. It was nearly a week until we finally were treated to “Suit And Tie”, and even then, it wasn’t via the song’s true video, but merely a lyric video. (The David Fincher-directed real deal is still in the works). He debuted two more new tracks live at a pre-Super Bowl party thrown by Dallas Mavericks owner / internet gazillionaire Mark Cuban, to a room packed full of Hollywood heavyweights who could be relied on to Tweet, Instagram and YouTube the event, relying on the free cele-buzz for an extra push. The trickle of info continued yesterday, as Timberlake dropped the album’s cover image and track listing on his Twitter feed. And remember, we’re still a month away from actually getting our hands on The 20 / 20 Experience.
Of course, for a lot of acts, the goal isn’t to hide the recording process but to make it as visible as possible. In a world where contact is only a tweet away, where audio and video production is cheap and easy, where blogs are hungry for new music to call “first” on, and distribution is as simple as an upload to Bandcamp (or YouTube, or SoundCloud, or…you get the picture), it’s possible for an act to be in their fans’ faces — and on their minds — 24/7/365. “Scene” bands, in particular, seem to be especially adept at this. Daily updates from the recording studio. Instagram photos from the sessions. Video clips of songs in process. Acoustic performances of newly-recorded material. Twitter and Tumblr Q&As with band members during their downtime. There’s no need for an elaborate marketing push with this strategy, because the band is in constant contact with their audience. Instead of selling with surprise, these acts slowly build anticipation over a matter of months; when the final product has finally been mixed and mastered and readied for distribution, they know they’ll have cobbled together army of folks clamoring just to hear the damned thing already.
“Be Patient. Heatthing.com.” That simple, cryptic tweet, issued from a succession of artist Twitter accounts (including Thrice, Manchester Orchestra, Balance & Composure and Vinnie Caruana) on December 21st, launched the scene into the most frenzied viral marketing campaign in recent memory. Through a series of eerie videos, backmasked sound clips, and even mailed letters, the secret missive was gradually decoded over the next few weeks — Heat Thing was the title for the debut album by a band called Shone, which appeared to include Brand New’s Brian Lane as well as Andrew Accardi, vocalist for Robbers and brother of Brand New guitar-slinger Vin. There’s no question that Shone’s campaign brought a flood of attention that the band would never have garnered otherwise. But as the music finally emerged, it quickly became apparent that Shone sounded nothing like Brand New or their friends-in-virality, and when Heat Thing (the album) didn’t match the high expectations that stemmed from Heat Thing (the marketing campaign), that tide began to turn against the band. At this point, it’s not clear whether the elaborate effort was even a net positive for Shone.
A fan spoke to Jesse Lacey at Shone’s release show tonight, and Lacey confirmed that Brand New have plans for a summer release. Check out a tweet from the fan below by clicking “Read More.”
Friday Discussion: Albums That Deserve A Second Chance
The crazy viral marketing campaign behind Shone’s Heat Thing album led to all sorts of wild speculation about the band’s membership (was it Brand New in disguise?), and drove interest to a degree rarely seen for unknown acts. Witness tonight’s debut show at Mercury Lounge, a show that sold out before the album was even released, to which most tickets were purchased before the band had even been heard. Some may have regretted that purchase — Heat Thing is a challenging disc of oddball rock that touches on everyone from the Talking Heads and Bryan Ferry to Oingo Boingo and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, and bears no resemblance to anything released by Brand New. So it was with a mix of excitement, curiosity and trepidation that the crowd filed into the small, packed venue for tonight’s show.
Frontman Andrew Accardi (Robbers) emerged onto the small stage (which was surrounded by gently pulsing neon light sticks and angled mirrors) covered in striped face paint, wearing two boldly patterned shirts with a scarf tied around his waist as a belt. Prancing and shimmying across the stage with a half-goofy wildness, he cut a striking figure, something akin to Austin Powers-meets-Pan-in-a-fever-dream. He toyed with instruments at times — a tambourine, a small megaphone-like device — but mostly remained unencumbered, waving his hands wildly as he danced. When he approached the mic, he primarily did so with a smooth croon, reminiscent of Dredg’s Gavin Hayes.
To his right, brother Vin Accardi (Brand New), hair pulled back in wild pigtails and sporting a day-glow orange windbreaker, bounced between synths, guitar, and assorted noisemakers. Stage left, Mike Strandberg (Kevin Devine, Brian Bonz) manned his guitar behind a pair of Cyclops sunglasses. They were joined by a dual-drummer attack of Brian Lane (Brand New) and Ben Homala (Bad Books, Brand New crew), bassist Joe Cannetti (Brand New crew), and a second keyboardist who doubled as a horn player, as well as (briefly) a cellist bedecked in a bright red feather boa and a long wig the same shade.
Still, for all their wild looks, the band sounded exceptionally tight as they charged through Heat Thing’s nine tracks in apparent order, taking only a handful of brief breathers in between. The mood was playful; the band was clearly having fun, but never let the set drift into sloppiness. If Shone is, as some have contended, a joke (I suspect otherwise), on this night it was an awfully well rehearsed one — the band’s set tightly mimicked the album, recreating its unpredictable twists and turns seamlessly. There were a few deviations, to be sure — at one point, Andrew Accardi led his bandmates through the introductory passage of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”; at the end of Slithering, he danced through the crowd, then returned to the stage and attempted to start a “6-6-6” chant among the assembled. But by and large, Shone stuck to the script.