Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hole Class

I've had a few requests in the past months to share the Hole Class cassette I wrote about last year, so I went ahead and created a sendspace link. Hole Class was the short-lived collaboration between Rob of Eat Skull and Beth of Times New Viking. Eat Skull have a brilliant new LP out on Siltbreeze. Beth cut her hair in the UK and is finishing up a European tour with TNV.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Love Radiation: Talking With Electric Bunnies

For the first time in I don't know how many years something exciting is happening in Florida, and I'm not talking about Hanley Ramirez. From Miami to Orlando, bands like Shit Eagle, Jacuzzi Boys, Slippery Slopes and most notably Electric Bunnies are uniting against the bad metal and booty music that has plagued the Sunshine State for years. The tight-nit scene down South is anchored by Rich and Jean of Florida's Dying, who not only release the records for these bands and put on the majority of shows in Orlando (now attracting groups from across the globe) but run one the best little mail-order stores in the nation. But this isn't about Florida's Dying. This is about the best little band on the FD roster, Electric Bunnies.
Based out of Miami, Electric Bunnies are only two singles into their hopefully illustrious discography, but that is about to change. The trio, who experiment will all forms of pop, hardcore, psychedelic and noise, are about to unleash the first non-Columbus record on Columbus Discount Records, the Fantastic Metal Eye 7". It's an exciting release for all parties involved and just the tip of the iceberg for what is to come from the Bunnies in the coming months. Recently, I bothered the band enough for them to punch some keys on a board and respond to my stupid questions. Needless to say, their answers fared better. Thanks for doing all my dirty work, Electric Bunnies.

Okay, please state who I'm speaking with here and what you do in the band?

I’m Eldys. I mostly play guitar, although I occasionally fiddle with the various knob-laden items that we use as well (synths, samples, etc.). I also sing some of the songs and cut Victor’s hair when I have time.

And the other members are? They play?

Thomas almost always plays the drums; he did play guitar with us once, though, so I would describe him as a multi-instrumentalist of Prince’s caliber.

Victor plays bass and writes the songs. We have some songs that have no bass guitar; I don’t really know what he does on those. I did see him play a recycling bin full of broken glass once, which he was really good at. Victor should play that thing more often.

How long ago did the Electric Bunnies form, and how exactly did the members meet?

We’ve been together for about four years now. I can’t remember how we met, since that was a long time ago and my memory for things that aren’t related to fruit trees or panda bears is very poor. I do remember, however, that the original lineup featured a female keyboard player, which we were very hopeful about at the time since everyone knows that having a girl in the band is your ticket to making untold riches. Unfortunately, she couldn’t play very well and Victor made her cry all of the time at practice so she quit. We decided to settle on having our friend Jose play keyboards, but he got really nervous about having to impersonate a beautiful lady at shows and stopped answering our phone calls. I like to believe that if he had stayed on as a she we would all be famous right now.

Victor clarifies: Eldys got it wrong. We've been together longer than four years. We probably formed in 2002 or 2003.

Did you begin recording right away, or was it more of a live thing?

We started recording just about immediately, since Victor had already written several songs. We played very few live shows early on, largely due to the fact that there weren’t many venues in Miami that would book us. We played our first show at a strip club called Gumwrappers that had been converted into a go-go bar; I don’t think they wanted us back there, since by the time we were finished the place was covered in birthday cake and soil. We’ve been lucky in that people are more willing to book us now – too lucky, in fact, since we can’t really take most of those offers.

I hear that all of you have serious day jobs. Care to elaborate on what you all do for a living?

Thomas gets paid to tell computers what to do, which from what I understand can be frustrating if they’re uncooperative. Victor sells people conversations that he’s had with other people he considers interesting; it’s hard to believe there’s a market for that sort of thing, but then I guess that’s the sort of opportunity that made our parents want to come to this country in the first place. I put people in cages for a living; sometimes they’re covered in their own filth, and they almost always cry. It’s very satisfying work.

And do your jobs play into what the band can and cannot do? Do your jobs influence the songs and style of music you play?

I suppose I would say yes to both questions. The fact that we all have steady jobs allows us to play whatever we want, since we don’t have to worry about selling records to eat or buy decent pants; in that sense we have much more freedom than most full-time bands who are forced to make concessions in order to make their music profitable. The drawback to our position, of course, is that we can’t play quite as often as we would like and we tend to have to plan our shows out very far in advance.

Coming from Ohio, Miami is a fairly exotic locale to be playing the sort of music you play, and by exotic I mean completely different than most of the places that harbor experimental rock music...What is it like playing shows down there? Do you consider yourself apart of any scene down in Miami?

Miami is a nice place to play rock music because you’re never in any danger of becoming popular. You can feel comfortable playing music that makes you happy, since nobody here is going to care anyway. The people have a shallow quality reminiscent of folks in New York and Los Angeles, but with poorer taste. The weather is wonderful, of course, which is much more important. We’re not part of any music scene down here, but I would say that I am part of Miami’s thriving tropical fruit enthusiast scene.


Are you interested in the history of Florida punk at all?


How did you come into contact with the labels who are putting out your music, Florida's Dying and Columbus Discount? Was there are particular reason (or release) Columbus Discount entered your radar?

The first time I saw Rich (of Florida's Dying) was when his band the Studdogs played here in Miami. He was screaming into the mic, naked from the waist down, rolling around in broken glass, out-of-his-mind wasted. Later when I went to see Cheveu in Orlando, he put me up at his house and we officially met. I discovered that he was actually very down to earth, in fact the only guy in the state trying to make cool things happen, setting up shows and doing his label. He had heard of us, so he asked me to send him some recordings. I thought he just wanted to book some shows for us or something, but instead he asked us to do a 7", which was quite a surprise.

With CDR we sent them a demo and they liked it and wanted to do something with us. They had put out that first Psychedelic Horseshit 7", so I guess that's why we sent them the demo.

Are there any bands going right now that you feel a kinship with? Or any groups down in So. Florida we should learn about.

Pink Reason for sure. Before either of us had records out I used to talk to Kevin all the time about music, and we both have a similar mindset when it comes to writing songs. Neither of us are afraid to experiment, even if it means turning people off. The personalities of both bands are really different but I think we understand music the same way.

We love playing with Psychedelic Horseshit, who are friends of ours and very fun guys. Same goes for the Jacuzzi Boys here at home. We consider them like our brother band.

A band you should definitely know about in Miami is HahaHelp! who haven't yet put anything out anything except a CD-R. They're especially great live and are also Dino Felipe's favorite local band.

I know that you have multiple releases due in the coming months. How much of that is recent stuff and how much of it is from the legendary Electric Bunnies archives?

I don't know because I'm not sure what the "legendary Electric Bunnies archives" is.

I guess what I mean by that was think it was Kevin D who told me that you have hours of music to pull songs from and didn't necessarily have to record new material for new releases.

He's right. We do have tons of stuff recorded, a lot of which we never even bothered to mix down. If all goes according to plan NONE of it will ever see the light of day except for maybe one or two songs. We're all bored with that old material. There will only be brand new recordings of brand new songs on the upcoming LP.

Care to map out exactly what you have coming out?

7" on Columbus Discount Records. Split 7" with Pink Reason on Die Stasi. LP on Florida's Dying.

Any chance of a tour in the future?

There is always a chance.


And now, an awesome video clip of the Bunnies doing "The Stranger" from the Chewing Gum single:

Fantastic Metal Eye is available now on Columbus Discount Records.
Chewing Gum is available now on Floridas Dying.

Monday, May 5, 2008

More Spring 08 Singles...

It's been impossible to keep up. Too many great singles this year and it's only May. Keep up the good work, bands. May I recommend...

Vivian Girls - "Wild Eyes"
After a few hearty endorsements I checked in on all-femme Brooklyn trio Vivian Girls, whose new single Wild Eyes on Plays With Dolls is mind-numbingly good. The title track shuffles beneath a heavy dose of echo and fuzz, the three of them harmonizing a sweet melody that reminds my girlfriend of Kiwi pop band Heavenly. I've not listened to enough Heavenly to agree or disagree, but I'll take her word for it. Note to self: get some more Heavenly. There are some references to the original UK femme-punks like Raincoats and Kleenex too. The B-side is just as good, a bit of guitar worship with an old girl-group theme: murderous boyfriends. Don't know if I've ever heard it done quite like this. I want to crawl inside their amps and make it my womb. Whoa. And they've got an album out soon!

Francis Harold and the Holograms - S/T 7"
This disgusting slab on Going Underground hasn't left my table for five days now. Two songs, both longer than should usually be tolerated for a single of this sort, but these fucks keep it scuzzy enough for continuous spins. The key to these songs are the brilliant vocal hooks buried beneath the sparp stabs of feedback and plodding rhythm. The A-side, permanently lodged in my skull already, features some heavy words about the fall of America that'll have armies fighting their war in no time. In that regard they really recall Flipper's more topical moments, but this debut's no imitation. A perfect slice of American Scum, and one of the three best singles I've heard all year.

Jay Reatard - See/Saw 7"
I've said it before and I will repeat it here: to hell with the haters; this single is great. I'll spare you the Reatard rise-to-fame story and get to what's here on his first of six singles to be compiled into his Matador debut. Jay continues to evolve into the pop stud he's aimed to be since Blood Visions, and if you liked the direction he took with last year's Goner single and the Night of Broken Glass EP you'll enjoy this one. Both songs took a little work to fully appreciate, especially "See/Saw", as it's almost too simplistic for it's own good. But the writing is air-tight and his vocals the most sincere of his career thus far. B-side "Screaming Hand" has a little more depth, both the song and subject, as Jay opens up and exposes a piece of his troubled (but not unusual) childhood. He plays with story and character without sacrificing the pop element, even hinting at more of a Glam influence than ever before. The song is all over the place and absolutely perfect because of it. Finally, a modern punk gets the Road to Ruin sound down. Those jangly guitars sound tremendous above the angular riffs. Cannot wait for number 2.