The Sinclair was receiving a transmission directly from planet Yeasayer. Continue reading
Papa Chuck is fostering musicians and bringing two stacked shows to Cambridge. Continue reading
Here’s the #BOS2AUS crew–Aloud, Aunt Martha, Bad Rabbits, Camden, Grey Sky Appeal, Lake Street Dive, Moe Pope & Quills, Oldjack, Pretty & Nice, The Wandas, You Can Be A Wesley and DJs Fens, Knife, Prism and Wheez-ie–by the numbers from the absolutely bonkers show they played at South By Southwest on St. Patrick’s Day. Continue reading
Never mind the bollocks, here’s The Morning After. Continue reading
Photos: Mary Flatley: Top, L-R: Jason Bergman, Jim Williamson, Abbie Barrett. Bottom, L-R: Jason Sibilia, Jack Hamilton, Alec Derian, Timmy Miles.
Topics covered over the course of an hour in a Lower Allston living room: concussions, “Jumping Jack Flash”, U2 as assholes, the Miss America Pageant, breaking into somebody’s house in Western Massachusetts (it’s cool though), prison tattoos, favorite venues, playing at a bar during a Bruins game, snowboarding expos, DIY record labels, murder, Walt Whitman, “No Diggity,” how the Internet revolutionized the consumption of music and why Jason Sibilia can no longer ride a bike. (It’s currently for sale, by the way.)
I’m not making this up. Don’t believe me? Here’s what happened (that I can repeat) when Abbie Barrett & the Last Dance hung out with Camden one night.
ON MISSING MISS CONNECTICUT:
Abbie Barrett: Alright, so, what’s the worst gig you’ve ever done?
Jason Bergman: Oh no. Connecticut.
Jason Sibilia: This was all my fault. Well, it’s not my fault. It kind of sucked. We played at this Bristol Town Fair. Was it a town fair?
Jim Williamson: It was to raise money for the community.
Jason S: They were renovating down town. There were over like 2,000 people there and we went on stage, and like, we played or whatever, and right when we get off, we go to put everything in my Camry. And we didn’t get any band parking privileges, so we’re going, we’re driving back and we couldn’t find where we parked the car. It was a massive parking lot filled with cars. So, I find the car. I get on top of the car and I see them in the parking lot looking over. I’m like, “Yo guys, come over here!” And as I’m stepping off the car, I’m completely dead sober, I slip, fall and knock myself like right off my car. And then we continue to spend the rest of the night in the hospital.
Jim: Well Jason sat up his eyes were rolling in the back of his head and he starting puking everywhere, so we really had no choice.
Jason S: The ambulance came and at first I was like, “No I’m fine! I got this!” And then I realized I didn’t know where I was. And threw up everywhere.
Abbie: Did you have a concussion?!
Jason S: Oh, I got a near stage-three concussion. It’s like my fourth one, so I can’t ride my bike anymore. So I’m selling my bike. But yeah. We actually played great, but it sucked because we spent the entire night in the hospital.
Tim Miles: Everyone was like, “You’ve gotta come party afterwards!”
Jim: I was supposed to meet Miss Connecticut.
Jason S: OH YEAH! Jim had hooked it up with Miss Connecticut!
Jim: If she’s reading this …
Abbie: Not that it matters, but is Miss Connecticut, like, the Queen of Connecticut? Or did she go on to Miss America?
Jim: She goes on. I don’t think there’s any royalty involved [sigh].
Jason B: What’s the worst show you’ve ever played?
Abbie: Um, we’ve had a few. One of them was at a snowboarding expo.
Jack Hamilton: Oh, that was probably the worst.
Abbie: It was like, the lights were SO bright, and we were right by the lines—either to the beer or the bathroom—and mostly it was kind of like people staring at us with their mouths open while waiting for beer.
Jack: It was the stupidest idea to have a band playing at that thing.
Abbie: Yeah it was a really stupid idea. That one really sucked.
Alec Derian: I didn’t think that one was that bad!
Jack: No one ever agrees on these things, by the way.
ON GENRE; FIRST RECORDS
Abbie: Do you guys like messing around with genre? I feel like we want to fuck around with genre from song to song.
Jason S: We make the conscious effort to make every record different. We tracked this record that’s coming out totally live, whereas the record we did before that we did in pieces. In the studio, we like to get put into a box, basically, and see how creative we can get with that. We got two guitarists, a bass player and a drummer, so let’s bang out these tracks.
Jack: If you had to pick one album that made you serious about music, what would it be? I remember the first time I heard “When the Levee Breaks” on Led Zeppelin IV, just sitting there going, “Fuck, I want to be involved in something like this.”
Abbie: My first cassette was like, Paula Abdul. And then my second was Harvest by Neil Young, and than I listened to “Decade” and I was like, this is amazing. Really not so much Paula Abdul, but more Neil Young.
Tim Miles: The first cassette I bought was Blackstreet. I wanted “No Diggity.” I was in fourth grade, and I was like, “Mom. I HAVE TO GO TO THE STORE.”
Alec: Mine’s easy—I was like, 14, and it was Duke Ellington: Live at Newport. What he does with dynamics and the trumpet solos in between? That’s what did it for me.
Jason B: It was eighth grade, it was my birthday and I got money from my parents and bought … I can’t remember the name of the album, but it was something by the Chemical Brothers and Weezer (Blue Album).
Jim: During middle school and high school I’d go to my friend’s basement and we’d cover Misfit songs and his mom would order us pizza. So, Legacy of Brutality.
Jason S.: Shitty gigs are way cooler to talk about than cool gigs.
Jack: It’s like being on a bad date. It’s always a better story.
ON PRISON TATTOOS?:
Jack: Wait—you have a Misfits tattoo?
Jim: You have no idea.
Jason S: Me and Jim each got prison tats one day. We weren’t in prison. But our friend …
Jim: With India ink. In Mission Hill.
Jason S: And our buddy was like, “Yo, I’m doing sick work, come over!” And I like Charles Mingus, and wanted to rep the east coast, so I got “East Coasting” which is one of his albums on my back. Mine turned out … let me show you the difference in quality, if you guys don’t mind. I gotta take off my shirt. So this is mine.
Tim: It looks great! For a prison tat!
Jim: I was the last one to get one. It took eight hours, by the way. Mine took eight hours and it was 13 letters, and I cried for about half of it. It hurt so bad. And it’s in four different fonts. And it’s my favorite song.
Abbie: It kind of looks cool though.
Jason S: Oh my God! No it doesn’t! Don’t say it looks cool!
Abbie: But it’s so prison that it almost looks cool.
Tim: I always told Jim that I think it’s way cool.
Abbie: [looking at Jim’s arm] You clearly sat there and were in pain.
Jim: I was even dating this girl at the time and she even did it, and she was even like, “You’re being a bitch right now.”
Tim: Do you have any cool prison tattoos, you guys?
Jack: Not prison tattoos.
Abbie: Not ones that I would show people.
Tim: Oh, scandalous.
Abbie: It’s not scandalous, it’s ugly.
ON BOSTON MUSIC:
Jason S: You guys have been around more than us, and all that. So what do you guys think of the Boston music scene?
Abbie: I mean, I really think it’s cool. It took a little bit, and I don’t have anything to compare it to. It took awhile to break in, but it’s nice that we can kind of be like, “I want to do a show here!” and talk to somebody and it happens. And what’s cool too is even though I feel like Boston’s kind of small and there’s a ton of different venues around, you can get an eclectic mix of music. I think when I first got here, I was like, “Oh, there’s only Americana,” but since we’ve been playing out more, it’s cool. There’s all these fucking amazing bands that have nothing to do with that.
Tim: There are a lot of places, and you can find the places that are good for you.
Abbie: Yeah, and also kind of be like surprised, too.
Jim: Surprised in a good way!
Jim: But it also helps when you know where you’re going and who you’re playing to, so you’re not playing to the people watching the hockey game.
Jason S: I agree with that, yeah. I think we’ve seen it, I think definitely in the past year and a half, we’ve seen it getting better here. We were talking for awhile about making a move to Brooklyn or something like that. But then we started our record label here and sold some records, so we’re sticking around here and all that. We’ve been on more cohesive bills lately. And we’ve never even asked to play a show—we always just get thrown on bills, which is cool because it’s one thing we don’t have to worry about. And it’s cool because the bills are interesting.
Jim: Some of the bookings we used to do, there would be, like, metal bands. We were like, “Who thought this was a good idea?”
Abbie: I think that’s part of the issue. I think the clubs that I like to go to, it’s a good bill, but I think there are some clubs who just want to fill a night so they’re going to have this random mix of people. And it’s like, you’re doing a shift—your shift comes in, you run it, and then, you’re kind of like, I’d love my crowd to stay around for the next band provided it’s a band people are psyched about. I think it’s better when the bill is more thought out rather than just filling seats.
Tim: Do you guys like playing shows where people are sitting down or standing up?
Abbie: Standing up. I don’t know, how do you guys feel?
Jack: I like shows when people are standing up and dancing. Not super fucked up, but fucked up enough.
Jason S: I like “Boston basement show drunk.”
Abbie: I like when I can say something to the crowd and they’ll actually respond and be excited about it.
Jack: I find it disconcerting to play music for people who are sitting down.
Jim: We actually just did that at OBERON—and it wasn’t as crazy as we thought it was, because it was pretty crowded so that was cool. But the first night everybody was just sitting at tables watching us.
Jason B: I specifically remember one of our songs on the bridge where it’s just me doing this four-four kick, and the guys are just hitting chords—someone went, “Woo!” And I just relaxed down a level.
Abbie: Yeah it’s hard to know if they’re digging it. I think part of the audience, too, is like, they assume the musicians want us to be quiet, because we’re supposed to be listening. But it’s just a different way of appreciating music. I just happen to respond better to the drunken scene.
Jack: And sometimes it’s great, to play good gigs to people who are all sitting down. Both Alec and I have played in genres where it’s like the expectations for people to be sitting down. You know, kind of for older people. But I’ve always preferred to play for younger people.
Abbie: On the record: Jack hates old people.
ON THE MURDER CAPITAL OF THE UNITED STATES:
Jack: Are you guys called Camden because of Camden, New Jersey, which I believe is the murder capital of the United States?
Tim: Nah, it’s Detroit. Or Flint. Either one.
Jason S: Camden got their name because when I started this co-op at Northeastern I had to have a name. And I was like, “I don’t know what the fuck the name is.” So I grew up literally 10 minutes from Camden, New Jersey and I, like, lived there for a month, and I lived in this church monastery and did all these service work. And Walt Whitman, one of my favorite poets, is from Camden. But basically, when I was trying to find what I should name the band I was on Wikipedia and I saw the date that Camden was incorporated as a city was my birthday in like 189-something—
Abbie: You’re old.
Jason S: So, that’s how I came up with the name. And then we just kept doing it. Imagine if there was some band in Australia named Camden. And we’re just like, “What the fuck are you doing? You’re from Sydney.” And then there’s some dude from Minnesota who calls himself Camden who makes this weird drone music? That sucks.
Jim: There’s a Norwegian metal band from the ‘90s called Camden, and there’s a couple places that will have our songs up and have their bio there.
Tim: Yes. We have links from our tracks to this Norwegian metal band.
Jim: People find out from us, they’re looking for other bands, they’ll be like, “Oh, you’re from Jersey, I thought you were from Norway. I thought you were 43.”
Tim: How’d you guys get your band name?
Abbie: Well, I was born Abbie Barrett. So that was easy.
Abbie: Do you guys ever get frustrated and feel that records don’t seem to matter?
Jack: The worst thing that ever happened to pop music, I think was getting away from the single as the sort of primary medium of how pop happens. It’s like, “Fuck albums, I want to listen to songs. I want to listen to really good songs.” It’s like, “I like albums as byproducts of songs.” But if you think about the ‘60s—
Abbie: I think people put out singles all the time but they’re not going to really go, “Oh I really like that song.”
Jason B: Yeah but if it’s an album, a good one, then I‘ll listen to the whole album
Jack: Yeah but in the ‘60s, you had the Beatles releasing “Hey Jude” as a single and the Stones releasing “Jumping Jack Flash” as a single and they released “Street Fighting Man” as a single like two months later. It was such a charged atmosphere, and now you have assholes like U2 releasing an album every ten years and Rolling Stone gives it four and a half stars or something. That seems to me, in terms of pop music, the primary unit that music should be made out of and that doesn’t negate the fact that it’s a studio production. It’s like, they have this idea that everyone has to sit back and fuck around until they have album to work with the material. And I’m not saying that iTunes has done this, but I think the Internet does make it possible to get past that medium. And in the age of the CD and stuff, it’s like everything was happening with the album. And I don’t know, I think would like people to conserve songs more.
Jim: Would you say—because I think both of our bands are on the same page with this—would you think that maybe an EP or two between an album is a way better look for the future of music?
Jason S: Well I was going to say I think we’ve made a more concerted effort of, like, we’re just going to do a couple songs or we recorded five songs for a totally fine session, but we only released three and then we have two that we’re going to put out and be like, “Hey, here’s a new song!” Especially for a new band like us where there’s a million other people in this city. It’s like, rather than just get people on one or two songs, put out something new every once in a while and then it’s like, “Okay, in a little bit from now we have a new album.” If you look at the past year and a half we’ve been dropping singles every three or four months.
Jack: Everyone still likes music because of songs—that’s like the unit that people like music
Abbie: I do like that there are some albums—and I know you don’t like Pink Floyd—but Animals, to me, is a great fucking album it’s like if you listen to and the whole thing—yeah see we’re going to argue about this.
Tim: The idea of an album is so romantic, it makes sense when it makes sense. When it doesn’t, it sucks.
Abbie: Yeah but when somebody’s song sucks, they suck and when it’s awesome, they’re awesome. There are either good albums or bad albums.
Jack: There are a ton of great albums, I’m not arguing that. I feel extremely strongly that like, Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions would be like my answer to the question earlier where that album changed my fucking life and it’s like I can’t think of it outside of that format. I just want to know that album as a cohesive thing but it’s like I don’t think that it’s the best way to get people into music.
Jim: You’re saying that people consume people on the level of the song?
Abbie: I think the song is always going to draw the person in—
Tim: It’s always something that walks by itself.
Abbie: I just don’t people to ignore the rest of the album just because they want the one hit.
Alec: Yeah but if they like the song enough, they’ll check out the album, that’s what I always do.
Tim: What if it didn’t matter that much if they checked out the album? Which I feel is like the thing with the possible transformation with downloading—
Abbie: No! fuck you guys
Jack: Yeah but we’re doing it right now with the EPs. We’re releasing three EPs and then doing an album. It’s based off those. We’re saying, “Fuck the album.”
Alec: Wait, what? We’re doing what?
Jim: Are we all in the same band right now?
Jason S: If you guys want to have a band meeting right now that’s cool.
It’s baaaaaaaaaaack. Our daily rundown of what the hell happened in Boston last night — or in the case of Monday afternoons, this past weekend — as brought to you by Dig contributors, Boston music fans and the oftentimes misguided adventures of our own Music + Arts Editor. Continue reading
The last time I caught Camden was for their Together set at Great Scott back in April, where the Boston indie quartet fused typically rock-tinged riffs with beats on an electronic wavelength . Just in time for the shake-off of spring and the steady rise of the city’s body temp, Camden have released a new track that’s got “summer anthem” slathered all over it. Continue reading
International electronic music superstars (Trentemoller, Mary Anne Hobbs, Switch) may be headlining, but hometown representation is the name of the game for some of the most talked about DJs, producers playing Together in 2011. Below, an introduction to six live acts that represent an electronic element that’s more than just beats. Continue reading