New old Rival Schools album: Found


In 2011, 10 years after debuting with the excellent United By Fate, post-hardcore outfit Rival Schools returned from a hiatus to release Pedals, a solid effort that seemed to comfortably pick up where the Walter Schreifels-fronted band left off a decade prior.

But somewhere in between there was a “lost” album – that most mythical concept. Rival Schools have their own version, and what once was lost now is Found (sorry). On April 9, the band will release Found, a remastered collection of those lost tracks originally meant to serve as the second album.

Below is a stream of one of the songs, “Indisposable Heroes” and a Q&A with Schreifels (unedited by me) that the group’s marketing firm included with the email blast about the album. It offers all the details you’d want about the unearthing of Found.

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Ex-Mazarin frontman Quentin Stoltzfus recruits the Walkmen for new project Light Heat

Quentin Stoltzfus

It’s been a long time – too long – since I’ve mentioned Mazarin’s name on this blog. To be exact, it’s been more than six years. That was in November 2006, when Mazarin was forced to retire its name because of a cease and desist order by an attorney hired by another band with the same name. Long story short: Mazarin retired its name and, worse, retired as a band, playing a final show in December 2006 in its hometown of Philadelphia.

It was a shame for Mazarin to endure such an abrupt ending; the 2005 album We’re Already There is a wondrous piece of pysch-pop. The Walkmen thought enough of the album to cover one of the songs, “Another One Goes By,” and include it on their 2006 album A Hundred Miles Off.

Here we are in 2013, and that synergism has come full circle. Mazarin frontman Quentin Stoltzfus has resurfaced for a new project called Light Heat, and he’s backed by Walkmen members Paul Maroon, Matt Barrick, Peter Bauer and Walter Martin. Spin premiered a new track, “The Mirror,” and instantly you can feel the influence of Barrick’s pulsating drums. This pairing is a very welcome development.

Light Heat’s self-titled debut album will be released via Ribbon Music on June 25.

Check out two tracks below.

Light Heat: The Mirror

Light Heat: And the Birds…

Incoming: Modest Mouse, April 14, Crescent Ballroom


Modest Mouse has an impressive track record of consistently keeping Arizona on its tour itineraries. At least since playing Boston’s in 1998 – and mostly likely even before that – Isaac Brock’s band has been a regular in the desert.

Since 2000, Charlie Levy at Stateside Presents has booked Modest Mouse at least seven times: twice at the old Nita’s Hideaway ( in in 2000 and 2001); once at the new Nita’s; twice at Mesa Amphitheatre; once at Celebrity Theatre; and, most recently (in 2009), at Marquee Theatre.

And with Modest Mouse playing the first day of both weekends at Coachella this year, it makes perfect sense to return. This time, Levy brings the band to his own venue, Crescent Ballrom, on April 14. The show will be outdoors, behind Crescent, which will allow for a capacity of 2,000, according to Levy, who used an outside stage for the first time in August for the Los Dias de la Crescent event. (The band is also playing Rialto Theatre in Tucson on April 13.)

(UPDATE: Here’s a video of Los Dias de la Crescent if you want to get idea of how the outside setup functions. The stage faces the venue with its back to Third Avenue.)

Presumably, Modest Mouse will have a new album out soon (featuring Big Boi?). But if you’re unfamiliar with the band’s catalog (what’s wrong with you?), I suggest watching this documentary on the 1997 album The Lonesome Crowded West. And then immerse yourself in the 2000 classic The Moon & Antarctica, an album that helped carry me through sometimes lonely and uncertain times in my first two years out of college in Lubbock, Texas. It’s certainly in my top 3 albums of the 2000s, if not in my top 10 favorites of all-time.

Tickets ($35-$40) for the April 14 show go on sale Friday (Feb. 22) at 10 a.m.

Below you will find footage of Modest Mouse’s soundcheck and performance at the Nita’s Hideaway show in 2000 interspersed with some B-roll of Arizona, via Nicole Nelch. Very awesome stuff. And as Nelch points out, the show happened on the same night as one of DJ Z-Trip’s weeklies at Nita’s. I’m so grateful for footage like this at a time when documenting wasn’t as simple as reaching into your pocket.

110 Percent: Stefan Marolachakis of Caveman on the agony and ecstasy of life as a Knicks fan


The eighth installment of 110 Percent, a series in which I talk to musicians about sports, features Stefan Marolachakis, the drummer for Brooklyn-based band Caveman, which will release its self-titled sophomore album on April 2 on Fat Possum, a follow-up to its very good and probably very overlooked debut CoCo Beware.

Marolachakis took time in advance of the band’s 31-city tour to discuss his unyielding passion for the NBA – more specifically, the Knicks. I was born in Chicago and grew up rooting for the Bulls, so we have different perspectives on those playoff grudge matches from the 1990s. Still, we could have talked for hours about this. Here’s a somewhat abridged version of our chat. (And be sure to stream the first single off the new album, “In the City.”)

So I don’t know a whole lot other than that you guys are huge basketball fans, right?
Well, most of the guys in the band were born and raised in New York City, so we sort of live and die by the Knicks. Coming on the heels of many seasons in the Isiah Thomas era, this roster now is really exciting.

As a band, you guys are based in Brooklyn, so there’s no love for the Nets?
We are through and through Knicks fans. … There’s no fence-jumping going on. It’s a rivalry now and we land squarely on the Knicks’ side.

On my birthday in 1995, I was at the Michael Jordan 55-point game. Patrick Ewing didn’t get the continuation on the and 1 at the end of the game, which killed me. And there are so many tourists, so when the Bulls would score, the crowd is cheering. Hearing any cheers for the Bulls was so gutting.

Bud I did go to a lot of games that the Knicks won, and that was more exciting. Growing up I had the luxury that the team I cut my teeth on was Starks, Oakley, Ewing, Derek Harper and Anthony Mason, which was incredible. But it still breaks my heart that Patrick Ewing doesn’t have a championship ring. There were definitely some tears shed in 1994.

What other memories stand out?
The dunk – the dunk Starks had over Jordan. And that team, it just seemed like the perfect team for this city. There was the fancy Showtime vibe in L.A., and you come here and tap into this grimy, elbow grease – they were really down in the trenches in this physical game. It was so cool. In a city where pickup basketball is so big, it just seemed so fitting for New York. And I feel like the squad we have now is getting closer to that. It seems like a lot of guys on our team won’t take any shit.


I just remember constantly watching games and getting so emotional. I remember a game against the Heat, and they were down 17 at halftime, and I was at my friend’s place and we literally shut the lights and laid down on the floor in this dark depression. Then they came back and won and we’re tearing the ceiling apart. And it remains that way.

Your fandom has not waned?
It really hasn’t. It’s just as gut-wrenching.

On of my favorites experiences of our last tour is when we were in a very wide open part of Texas. We were asking everybody where a bar was open, at like 1 or 2 p.m. We found one that was a standalone – there a bunch of old guys smoking cigarettes and pounding beers and we managed to get them to put on the Knicks game and it was very special. It’s also easy to get wrapped up in it when your best friends are also rabid basketball fans.

It seems like, aside from the music, that’s a good bonding thing for you guys as a band.
It’s always good to have other neurons firing. When we’re not on tour, we hang out all the time anyway, which is just another good excuse to do that.

Are you a college basketball fan?
I need to work on my college basketball. I, like every body else, get swept up in March Madness, but I’m not very savvy when it comes to regular-season college basketball.

Do you play?
Yeah. I was always a little better in my mind than I was on the court. I’m really trying to bring a lot of intangibles to the court — and then I talk trash and play as dirty as humanly possible (laughs). I don’t play as often as I should be because I love it so much.

One of my oldest friends, he actually has the sweetest jump shot. He’s like a pickup dream – the guy who can make me better. Only on a rare occasion will I become the focal point of the offense. But our whole band is pretty good. We’d be a good starting five.

Shirts or skins?
Oh, gonna have to be skins. We really let it all hang out (laughs).

Pickup basketball is such a thing in New York. It’s got to be intimidating.
Here’s the thing: You’ve got a lot of courts to pick from.

Do you get to play much when you’re on tour?
We tend to bring a basketball and football. A lot of times you’ll find a random hoop, so that’s more of a H-O-R-S-E thing. But sometimes we’ll find a court . If we’re driving between shows, we’ll sometimes get a particular scenic rest stop and throw the football around.

Do you follow any other sports closely?
For me, NBA is the biggest thing. But any sport come playoff time, I’ll be engaged. I definitely like football and I love postseason baseball. I hope as I grow older I become a more patient man and get into the beautiful science of regular-season baseball. It’s just a whole world I don’t know. It’s a serious commitment.

Where did this Knicks fandom come from? Was it passed down?
It came from my dad and just my friends. My dad is rabid Knicks fan. And most of my close friends were enamored by NBA ball. To be a two-guard for the Knicks – that was dream material. … The two-guard position on Knicks was an incredibly cool one. There were some volatile characters (Starks, Sprewell, etc.). The two-guard was a dangerous and cool spot.

You have quite a memory for this stuff.
It takes up a lot of mental real estate.

DJ Nu-Mark: Don’t Play Around (feat. Aloe Blacc and Charles Bradley)


I’ll forever have love for Jurassic 5, so even six years after the L.A. hip-hop idols broke up, curiosity pulled me back in (and now they’re on the comeback trail at Coachella). That’s a good thing. I might have otherwise overlooked this new single from Nu-Mark, one of J5′s two DJs (along with the esteemed Cut Chemist).

Nu-Mark released his debut full-length Broken Sunlight, and he’s been releasing songs as a series of 10-inch records over the past year or so. It’s an innovative method, but what do you expect from a guy that can rock toy instruments in a live set?

I’ve said it before, but one of my favorite live moments was seeing Z-Trip, Radar, Cut Chemist and Nu-Mark perform on an otherwise quiet Sunday night in Tempe at a bar called Mustang Sally’s in a secret-style show one day after J5 played the Nile Theater. I still can’t even believe I saw that. Much as I bemoan the constant smartphone recording of shows these days, I’d kill for some footage of that night now.

But back to Nu-Mark … the most recent release in the Broken Sunlight series, Don’t Play Around, is pure soul, showcasing the amazing vocals of Aloe Blacc and Charles Bradley over one bad-ass beat. Can the drummer get some?

Says Nu-Mark at Rolling Stone: “I did a lot of vocal experimentation for Broken Sunlight. Charles Bradley and Aloe Blacc were a perfect fit, capturing the raw heartache of best friends dating the same women.”

Eric’s best albums of 2012

As I wrote recently, it’s been a few years since I’ve done a proper year-end list of favorite songs/albums. Thankfully, Eric – who has stepped up as a very welcome fresh voice around here – came through with a 2012 list. Even if we’re already getting knee deep in 2013 albums, it’s never too late to look back and consider the year that was.

Please forgive the laziness, generic-ness, and Januaryness Februaryness of all this (Editor’s note: The Februaryness of this is my fault). Yeah, usually there are 10. Usually they’re posted in December. Buuut, considering that’s all pretty arbitrary, aaaaand it’s an easy way to get myself back in this here bloggin’ racket, I’m going to just do it anyway. I’ve talked about some of these already, and you may be familiar with some others, 13 for 2013? That work for you guys? Awesome.

LORD HURON: Lonesome Dreams (IAMSOUND)
Definitely in my roots-y, beard-y, folky wheelhouse. Seattle’s KEXP, my streaming radio station of choice, has been all over these guys lately, with good reason. Fans of Fleet Foxes, take notice. There’s a good chance you’ll like ‘em.
[VIDEO]: Lord Huron – Man Who Lives Forever

EL-P: Cancer 4 Cure (Fat Possum)
When I think of ex-Company Flow front man El-P, it takes me back to the late ’90s, when I was first introduced to any sort of off-the-radar stuff, hip-hop wise. I remember my college buddy Dave playing Company Flow’s Funcrusher Plus in his dorm room and just being in awe of what I was hearing. Rapid-fire and angry, but intellectual. His show at Crescent Ballroom with Despot, Mr. MFN Exquire and Killer Mike, who almost made the cut for this list as well, was pure energy and head-nodding gold.
[STREAM]: El-P – Tougher Colder Killer

JAPANDROIDS: Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)
Unabashedly fist pump-y, epic rock from Vancouverians on the rise. This album threw a lot of new ears their way without compromising their music or what they’re fundamentally about.
Previous post: Japandroids, the Casbah (San Diego), 6/16/12
[VIDEO]: Japandroids – The House That Heaven Built

KEXP strikes again. Over the last couple years, watching that station throw its full support to a local artist it believed in has made me hope for the day when Phoenix bands might also enjoy the fruits of that backing. I imagine I’ll sound pretty corny pledging allegiance to Macklemore as crossover “hipster rap” Exhibit A someday (or now), and that’s certainly justifiable and understandable. He may soon (or now) be “That Thrift Shop Song Guy” (61 million views on YouTube as I write this – guess that rules out a return trip to Club Red on his next visit to the Valley), but before he’s potentially written off as such, I hope people take note of how much is actually going on with him. He’s funny, bluntly honest, and equally comfortable rapping about your grandpa’s coats, marriage equality, former Seattle Mariners announcers’ passings, overcoming addiction, and losing friends to it.
[VIDEO]: Maklemore and Ryan Lewis– Same Love

BEST COAST: The Only Place (Mexican Summer)
Not even the slightly guiltiness to my pleasure at this point. I was a big fan of the simplicity and sweetness of 2010′s Crazy for You. On this one, Bethany Cosentino’s subject matter has shifted somewhat beyond the fertile realms of a) boys she has crushes on and b) her cat. The sound is less garage-y, more singer-songwriter-y. Microsoft commercials or no, happy fun time beach rock has become musical comfort food for me.
[VIDEO]: Best Coast – The Only Place

TAME IMPALA: Lonerism (Modular Fontana)
Simultaneous double fist-pump/knee raise combo to myself for making sure I caught these guys early in the day at Lollapalooza. Not sure I can give myself more pats on the back for seeing a next-level jaw-dropping live band from Australia who neeever plays the U.S. Inevitably, what’s old is new again, and I’m convinced that their brand of psychedelic fuzziness would’ve legitimately been huge in the early ’70s, yet it still sounds fresh in 2012.
[VIDEO]: Tame Impala perform “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”

TWIN SHADOW: Confess (4AD)
Along with being one of the better albums I listened to in 2012, Twin Shadow at Crescent Ballroom was also one of the better performances I saw. Having seen them years ago as an opener for Jamie Lidell (?!) at Rhythm Room and part of a tripleheader (with Warpaint and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) at Club Congress in Tucson, my already lofty expectations were exceeded by a tight, focused, high energy show.
[VIDEO]: Twin Shadow performs “Run My Heart”

BEACH HOUSE: Bloom (Sub Pop)
The Baltimore duo, who have been a staple in Casa de Eric since 2010′s Teen Dream, came back with an even dreamier classic. I’m fairly certain Beach House and Twin Shadow need to re-score some ’80s brat-pack era classics together.
[STREAM]: Beach House – Myth

There’s not a more interesting or naturally funny person in music right now than the former Fleet Foxes drummer turned frontman Josh Tillman. Along with the drumsticks, he scrapped his J. Tillman moniker, at least for now, and created something uniquely his. As previously mentioned, I’d very much like to hang out with him. The stars aligned, and I was actually able to see his show at Rhythm Room with my brother. Quality bro-age indeed.
[VIDEO]: Father John Misty – Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings

HOSPITALITY: self-titled (Merge)
So twee. So cute. I’m pretty sure going to tell a bunch of friends (or friends’ girlfriends/sisters) about Hospitality. I saw Vincent Gallo in the crowd at their Crescent Ballroom show. No, I didn’t tell him I went to the same college as Roger Ebert when I had the chance to do so. If I had a job deciding what songs would work in movies, commercials, and TV shows, I’m pretty sure I would have used songs from this album in pretty much anything involving young people and/or coffee. Tell me I’m wrong.
[STREAM]: Hospitality – Eighth Avenue

ALT-J: An Awesome Wave (Canvasback)
What’s there not to like? Predictably, KEXP was all over them super early, so I’ve benefited from hearing these guys since pretty early on. I missed out on their Lollapalooza aftershow. At least it was for a Toro y Moi DJ set. Also, they won the Mercury Prize. Which is nice. Check out this clip from Jools Holland, this British musical variety show that always has the most disparate and awesome guests. Also, it’s on that random Palladia channel on cable like ALL THE TIME. It’s pretty great – why don’t we have something like this in the U.S.? Who would host it? My vote goes to Oates from Hall and Oates.
[VIDEO]: Alt-J – Something Good (the Amazing Sessions)

DJANGO DJANGO: self-titled (Ribbon Music)
Another British band, along with Alt-J, that blew my mind in 2012. Bouncier than Alt-J, and sure to be compared to bands that dwell in more Americana-ish circles, Django Django is a band I can’t wait to see more of.
[VIDEO]: Django Django – Firewater (acoustic session)

DIIV: Oshin (Captured Tracks)
DIIV (pronounced and formerly called “Dive” – guess there was another band called that very thing) is the side project of Beach Fossils’ Zachary Cole Smith. Unlike Beach Fossils’ jangly, for lack of a better term, “beachyness,” this is dreamy post-punk that would have fit well on the Donnie Darko soundrack. If you like the Cure, Joy Division, or the like, give this one a spin.
[VIDEO]: DIIV – Doused

Cadence Weapon: Hype Man (video)


Lately, I’m constantly reminded of albums I overlooked or neglected to pay enough attention to in 2012. Cadence Weapon’s Hope In Dirt City falls into the latter category.

The third album by the Edmonton rapper (born Rollie Pemberton) is a bit of a mixed bag stylistically – more challenging of a listen, if not a touch incohesive. What remains a constant is Cadence Weapon’s awareness of his surroundings and his ability to sharply criticize all manners of culture (he is a former Pitchfork contributor, after all).

Hype Man takes a shot at the rap game. It’s a two-verse track, with Cadence Weapon playing the part of both sides: the ego-driven rap star (“At the strip club make sure that my song plays”) and the inglorious hype man, begging for a break from his famous connection (“I’d take a bullet / I’d probably pull it”). The tension comes to a head at the end of this video, co-directed by Cadence and George Vale.

I love this track because I’ve always been sort of fascinated by the tragic character that is the hype man, who dutifully waves his towel and drops in for every fourth word at a live show. And in this instance, the video draws a conclusion that you couldn’t really expect just by listening to the song. It’s the demise of the lowly hype man. There will always be another.

Incoming: Built to Spill, May 7, Crescent Ballroom


Built to Spill has been busy adding new tour dates and new photos to its website — and even new members to the band — but there’s still no official word on a new album, which would be the first since 2009′s There Is No Enemy.

If this September interview with frontman Doug Martsch is any indication, though, it might be another year before we hear anything. Says Martsch: “It’s just been going really slowly. I was hoping to get it done by next spring, but I think it’s going to be another half a year after that. Maybe 2014 is when we’ll put it out. It takes me a long time to get things done too because I’m less obsessed with music, and I can work on it less hours of the day than I could when I was younger.”

It gets harder and harder to keep up — I know the feeling — and Martsch seems like a guy more concerned with quality than quantity anyway.

But I’m guessing Built to Spill will road-test new material during its first run of 2013 that includes a May 7 stop at Crescent Ballroom. The band will also have two new members in Steve Gere (drums) and Jason Albertini (bass), who replace departing drummer Scott Plouf and bassist Brett Nelson. (At last, the Brett Netson/Nelson confusion is over.) A press release accompanying the tour dates states: “The shift in lineup is completely amicable. Scott and Brett remain our dear friends and we wish them well on their future ventures.”

I last saw Built to Spill — long one of my favorite bands — in 2010 at the cavernous Marquee Theatre, so I’m eager for the richer confines of Crescent, both in sound and environment.

Parquet Courts: Stoned and Starving


For the majority of the past 24 hours or so, I’ve been sort of obsessed with Parquet Courts‘ “Stoned and Starving,” as sincere a stoner anthem that we’ve heard in recent memory.

In the same way JEFF the Brotherhood wanted to cool out and get wasted with a six-pack, Parquet Courts – from Brooklyn by way of Texas – spend a good five minutes on “Stoned and Starving” pondering a common concern with uncommon earnestness. Any of us would eat a burrito; these guys wrote a song, and a pretty damn good one at that.

I don’t sense any of the irony I expected when I first saw the title of the song. Co-frontman Andrew Savage told Pitchfork: “There’s a lot of songs on the record about being a loner, about my first winter in New York.” So when they sing the opening lines – “I was walking through Ridgewood, Queens / I was flipping through magazines” – you know this isn’t just the ramblings of an aimless stoner.

Stream and/or purchase the LP Light Up Gold, released by Dull Tools last year and re-released by What’s Your Rupture? in 2013.

Incoming: The Postal Service, April 18, Comerica Theatre


As soon as news broke of a reunion for the Postal Service, which includes a Coachella appearance, I had a hunch we might be getting an announcement for a Phoenix show.

That announcement happened today, and the show will happen April 18 at Comerica Theatre, via Stateside Presents. The live band will include Jenny Lewis (Jenny & Johnny, Rilo Kiley) and Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds, Bright Eyes).

Ten years after the release of their much-beloved debut album – their only album – Benjamin Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello are getting back together to celebrate the (inevitable) deluxe reissue of Give Up, which will include 15 bonus tracks (two of them new) as a two-CD or three-LP package, out April 9 via Sub Pop.

It’s a platinum-selling gem that will set new hearts aflutter and appeal to the nostalgics among us. In the 10 years since, the band’s name – inspired by how Gibbard and Tamborello mailed CD-Rs to each other (stamps and all) to make the collaboration work – feels a touch antiquated, a snapshot of a time before file sharing became so easy. That sort of begs the question: Wouldn’t a second album be much easier to create these days?

Regardless, I have been and will be revisiting Give Up in the days to come. I’m wondering, like I do with so many albums from my formative listening years: Is this a legitimate classic or an album that just captured specific emotions in a time and place that are really too foreign to relate to anymore?

In the time being, find ticket information at the Postal Service website. It appears GA tickets for the floor are $50 and are limited to four at a time.

"Prague… you'll come back a bug."