Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Interview with Alexandra Lawn of Ra Ra Riot

Here's an interview with Alexandra Lawn, the cellist of one of my current favorite bands, Ra Ra Riot. This interview, along with interviews with Los Campesinos!, Girl Talk and a bunch of album reviews, artist profiles and kick-ass artwork (by my pal Carson) will be in the upcoming issue of my zine, Championship. If you are interested in a FREE copy, email me your address and I'll ship it to ya when we're done (probably within the next two weeks).

What is a “rhumb line,” and why did you choose that for the album title?
It’s a navigational term for one point that passes through all the meridians on a globe. It’s a very good metaphor for a journey and we thought it would be a very appropriate title for the album. It’s also the lyrics in “St. Peter’s Day Festival,” which is the last song we worked on with John and we thought it fit very well.

Would you say that the theme of a journey, tying in with the rhumb line, guided the album?
I guess if there is a theme that would fit, but I don’t think we went into the album necessarily with a theme in mind.

What’s your favorite song on the album?
“Oh La.”

How’s your tour going?
We’ve been on tour for four or five weeks now, and it’s been going really well. We’ve been having a really fun tour and every city has really proven to be a great crowd. It’s really cool to be supporting this album that we’re very proud of.

What was it like being a band in college? Did you play most of your gigs on campus?
Yeah, we played a lot of house parties, which was really fun and exciting. We tried to practice every day and we were fairly diligent. It was a great way to spend the last semester.

I read a review that called Ra Ra Riot a more light-hearted Arcade Fire. What do you think of that comparison?
I mean, maybe the orchestral arrangements Arcade Fire has remind people of our cello and violin but I don’t think any of us find our sounds similar whatsoever. But we are by no means ashamed to be compared to them [laughs].

What have you been listening to lately?
Fleetwood Mac, The Virgins, Billy Bragg, Paul Simon, Midlake

Taylor Swift- Teen Icon

As a teenage girl, I understand what it's like to be a teenage girl. I understand stress of high school, feeling insecure at high school, and wanting to impress, kiss, and/or punch high school.

While my music taste falls into the indie rock category, there are many deviations. These deviations range from my immense appreciation of 80's and 90's hip-hop to my inability to resist catchy Top 40 tunes. One deviation, country music, used to be a much larger portion of my palate. While I still have a soft spot for the Dixie Chicks, I no longer scout country tracks and find most of it, sorry, nauseating.

There is, however, one country singer that my teenaged estrogen and I can't resist: Taylor Swift. Yeah, her songs are pretty generic and not in the least as innovative as the music bands like Grizzly Bear or Vampire Weekend are cranking out. But here's the thing: everything she croons about shoots directly to the lovestruck ventricles of girls my age. In interviews she chats casually and candidly like that girl from biology class who was always so friendly to everyone and you felt like you could be best friends with.

As I said, her songs are simple. They follow the same verse-chorus-bridge-verse-BIG CHORUS! structure and 90% are about boys. The way I see it, there's nothing wrong with that. She's nailed what appeals to her demographic and hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Fearless, released yesterday, is only Swift's second album, but the teen beauty is already primed to be an icon. For the past few weeks, I couldn't leave a class without hearing a girl hum a chorus from "Love Story" or "You're Not Sorry," two of her new singles. Today there was a abundance of shared iPod earbuds as doe-eyed damsels in adolescent distress bonded with Swift's ballads. I can't think of a comparable teen heroine from decades past, but for this millennium, Swift fits the position of female paragon just fine.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Home sick, posting out of boredom!

Hey all! I'm home sick with a sinus infection, so this post is just going to be lists and videos and blurbs...

I'm redecorating/organizing my room! I'm adding bulletin boards above my desk so I can post up pictures and magazine cut-outs and other inspiring garbage, and I got a Wilco poster (see above) to go above my bed. I also got frames that fit LP covers, so I'm going to pick out a few records with cool covers to put up. Suggestions?

I got an extremely friendly and flattering email from Marissa over at The Anti DC, as well as a shout-out in her Dan Deacon post. It's feels great to get some feedback on my writing as I'm trying to practice for a future career! Also, I don't know if many people read this at all so it's nice to know that these posts aren't lost in cyberspace.

I Leave You With This: