Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Winterpills, a melodic, sometimes ethereal chamber pop/indie rock band based in Northampton, Mass., is led by a married couple, singer/guitarist Philip Price and singer/keyboardist Flora Reed. Their fifth full-length album, All My Lovely Goners, was released on Valentine’s Day. Price and Reed stop over in Louisville for a duo show after shaking their sticks at the South by Southwest conference in Texas.
LEO: How many times have you gone to South by Southwest?
Philip Price: This is the third or fourth time, I think. We took a couple years off because … I don’t know, too many tacos, I guess (laughs).
LEO: So, you have a new record out now. Do you have any fun stories about making it?
PP: Well, we did it all at home. We spent a couple years putting together a studio in our house — which, by studio standards, is still pretty minimal and home-cooked, but for us seems awesome. The main investments being an amazing microphone and a great tube pre-amp, and we just kind of ran everything through that. That made all the difference.
The songs were almost all written three years ago — after our last album, and even before that EP we put out in 2010. The band had a brief lull where, I think, we were trying to reassess what was going on. Not that anything horrible had happened — it was a period of uncertainty that lasted a year. Just all of us heading in slightly different directions for a while … There were weddings, people having babies, a couple band members moving further away …
There was a period where I was trying to figure out if the next thing was a solo record or … I wrote all these songs, toured that, and then after it was all written and demoed, I realize they were pretty much exactly songs for Winterpills to play (laughs). To call it a solo record, it really needs to be saying something different, and it wasn’t. It really felt like, “Wow, this is actually the next step for the band.”
It’s a long evolution for me, as a songwriter, to make music that isn’t, you know, bullshit. I’m also not, like, a plain-spoken songwriter. “Bullshit,” to me, doesn’t mean purely minimal, it means something much more ornate. Or baroque, even.
LEO: Baroque lyrically, or musically, or both?
PP: I would call this one more elaborate arrangements … Certain decisions were made that were a little more complicated. Our first record was a very minimal affair, and I don’t think we’ve completely let go of that, and we can go back to that, but there is some kind of shift going on … (laughs) I don’t know what I’m talking about …
LEO: How much of that music came from your own writing and arranging, and how much of it became collaborative?
PP: I would say pretty much 50/50, but I was writing differently — partly, having listened to too much prog rock when I was a kid, I ended up writing songs like (adopts silly voice) “It’s a concept album! Oh, I see how the songs are linked!” I couldn’t not make links between the songs and some sort of overarching meaning. That was inherent in the songwriting, this theme of maybe war, or people dealing years beyond after tremendous losses occurred, almost some kind of emotional reconstruction era-thing going on … but then, a lot of these came to the band, and they definitely changed.
We had a lot of rehearsals where we tried to make decisions for the band that would stick for live shows. I think a lot of songs would sound good in the studio, and then we found that we couldn’t really play them live, and still haven’t played. We were like, “We want to be able to play all these songs!” (laughs) I just broke a drumstick, I was gesticulating wildly.
So, that was our goal with those rehearsals, and a lot of shit happened during those rehearsals; I got mad because they were changing the songs too much, and then I went back and realized, “Oh my god, this is so much better.” We ended up keeping a lot of that, a lot of the oddness.
Winterpills with Artis Gilmore
Sunday, March 18
1017 E. Broadway • 657-9555
$8 adv., $10 DOS; 8 p.m.
Photo by Henning Ohlenbusch
c. 2012 LEO Weekly
at 8:31:00 AM
A new exhibit in the Oldham County Historical Society in La Grange explores the ethnic, regional and rural history of American music, from 18th century shape-note hymn singers to the current-day roots revival sounds of Alison Krauss, The Klezmatics, and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys.
“New Harmonies” is a Smithsonian traveling exhibit meant primarily for rural audiences in small towns without greater access to cultural programming. Dr. Nancy Stearns Theiss, Historical Society executive director, acknowledges that La Grange serves as a bedroom community for Louisville, but maintains that it also coexists as a rural small town, closer in spirit to neighboring Henry and Trimble counties.
The exhibit offers expected instruments like banjos and harmonicas with some of their less famous cousins, such as a Native American flute and a Diddley bow, an African proto-guitar made with a single string on a wooden board connected by two screws. An ancient radio broadcasts music from the “Grand Ole Opry,” while listening stations play examples of everything from singing cowboy songs to polka dances.
The Historical Society is home to one of the world’s largest collections of whiskey jugs, and they have wisely connected their jugs to the jug bands that began in Louisville almost a century ago. Guests are given complimentary kazoos and encouraged to play them while examining the jug band history lesson. Theiss hopes to work with the National Jug Band Jubilee festival later this summer.
Another local collection features displays of music like Dick Kallman’s 1968 “Oldham County Line” single, and a pair of guitars recently made by Oldham County Jail inmates out of materials like twisted trash bags, pizza boxes and pencils. Serious researchers can study the works of Louisville native Will “Shakespeare” Hayes, who wrote hundreds of songs in the 1800s, including “Evangeline” and, he claimed, “Dixie,” though that was never resolved.
There are album covers, famous and obscure, and tribute is paid to Alan Lomax and Moses Asch, 20th century documentarians of rural music. About the latter, the New Orleans writer Tom Piazza is quoted, “By taste and political conviction, Asch was attracted to the raw and the otherwise unheard,” and this exhibit does an admirable job of educating non-music geeks about important but perhaps under-praised pioneers like blues father Charlie Patton, gospel legend Thomas A. Dorsey and Tejano great Lydia Mendoza. (Those unfamiliar with the term “Tejano” can learn more at the exhibit.)
“I didn’t know the difference between Cajun and Zydeco” before the exhibit, says Theiss, and now she can answer those burning questions one might have on the topic.
A concert series at the nearby Irish Rover, Too restaurant, curated by Tom McShane of Crestwood’s Hewn from the Mountain instrument store, will accompany the museum’s work, featuring various forms of roots music from African-American spirituals to Irish harp, Saturday afternoons through April 21.
Theiss is also excited about their “April Fool’s Weird Music Competition.” The March 31 contest at the Oldham County Schools Arts Center will offer a $1,000 cash prize to the “winner,” proving that even Oldham County is joining the fight to keep Louisville weird.
‘New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music’
Through April 21
Oldham County Historical Society
106 N. Second Ave., La Grange 222-0826
c. 2012 LEO Weekly
at 8:27:00 AM
Local indie pop/rock quartet Go Mordecai! would like you to know something: “We are very excited about the upcoming show at Zanzabar with Cloud Nothings and The Deloreans (on March 21). It is guaranteed to be a wild time. (We are legally obligated to disclose that Go Mordecai! cannot guarantee that the time will be ‘wild.’)”
LEO spoke with the members about their recent EP, Baseball Weather, the movie that inspired their name (it was “The Royal Tenenbaums”), and other things that are things.
LEO: How do you feel about baseball and/or weather?
Zach Driscoll: Well, the seasons are pretty important ... and the weather changes as we enter different seasons ... and the weather dictates whether we’re going to play baseball or not ... Does that answer the question?
LEO: How do you feel about pog?
Kyle Mann: Some fads capture the imagination of America’s youth, swell to unseen heights of popularity, and weave themselves into popular culture for the future. That’s how we feel about Trapper Keepers. Pogs were cool, too, we guess.
LEO: Why isn’t Louisville more of an indie pop/rock town?
Dash Moss: That’s a good question. There really are plenty of great indie rock groups in Louisville. If we had to guess why it isn’t as prominent around here, it’s probably because not enough people have seen Loren Pilcher (of The Deloreans) play guitar with an awesome mustache. (Loren has the mustache ... not the guitar.)
LEO: Your name comes from an influential movie. How does it suit you?
Lance Swan: A band name is more of a “brand name.” Our integrity and ability is sketchy at best, that’s why we have borrowed some of Wes Anderson’s.
Learn more about the band at facebook.com/gomordecaiband, and more about Trapper Keepers at meadonline.com/trapper/home.aspx.
c. 2012 LEO Weekly