Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Cassettes

There's something slightly schizophrenic about Countach, The Cassettes' new album. The songs aren't so much composed as hammered together from utterly random cultural detritus: The Patrick Swayze film Black Dog, Navajo warriors, reptile people, Italian horror movie scores. Guitarist/vocalist Shelby Cinca--former member of spazz-core pioneers Frodus--describes Countach as "Choose Your Own Adventure" rock 'n' roll: a type of music where one page turn (or in this case, song break) can bring a disorienting shift in subject matter. Cinca helped lead The A.V. Club through The Cassettes' many digressions.

You are the leader of a Washington, D.C. band called The Cassettes and you are about to release your third album. If you want to release this record on an outdated, yet name-appropriate format, turn to page 46. If you're worried that cassettes are a dead technology, turn to page 19.

[Page 46]

Shelby Cinca: We always wanted to do a cassette, because of the name… I feel like CDs just get burned and then people throw them away or put them in their closet. Also, it fits our aesthetic: You're forced with the program. You can't skip around.

[Page 19]

SC: They also have an MP3 download card inside, in case people might not have cassette players. It's kind of a fun pack. There's cardboard, then a bag, the cassette, toys, the download card… If you were 12, you'd be really psyched. I like to think that if you were 30, you'd be really psyched.

You have begun to grow weary of dirigibles and robo-monocles. If you want to stretch the limits of traditional steampunk, turn to page 59. If you want to incorporate seemingly random elements into the record to avoid being pigeonholed, turn to page 14.

[Page 59]

SC: This record has more of what I actually think steampunk music should sound like. There's a lot more clanging, more metal. Maybe it's not steampunk-y in a role-playing-game, sci-fi sense--those people might be freaked out by it.

[Page 14]

SC: This one has a Lamborghini Countach, a helicopter, and an alien wizard man [on the cover]. It's a record that has some new-age-y channeling of our inner child… The last record there was a bunch of songs I wrote on my own. But this was all improvising, building something from the moment. It's really fun to not be confined by anything.

The tour for your previous record, 'Neath The Pale Moon, didn't go so well. If you think you should change your approach to songwriting, turn to page 31. If you'd rather believe that life's misfortunes are the result of conspiracies against you, turn to page 70.

[Page 31]

SC: It was a weird tour. We had some really bad shows where nobody was paying attention… When I was in Frodus in the '90s, [local] bands played last and they made sure everybody was there to see you. Now it's every man for himself. So now we just want to throw something out there that's crazy.

[Page 70]

SC: There was this guy David Icke, he was a reporter for BBC. He was like, "Fuck this, I quit," and started writing these books saying that we've been visited by reptilian aliens, that it's all part of grand conspiracy that's dumbing down and limiting humanity. I'd rather believe in something like that. It helps you deal with it when something weird happens. Like, if McCain becomes president you can just hate the snake and not the man.

The Cassettes have been offered a series of shows at various conventions. If you want to accept every offer you receive, turn to page 28. If you decide to draw the line somewhere, turn to page 74.

[Page 28]

SC: We're kind of getting into the events world: sci-fi conventions, comic book conventions, maybe the conspiracy theory convention… We played at Goddard Space Center for Yuri's Night. Then we were contacted by the city of Lancaster for an event. We've actually been contacted by steampunk conventions--they wanted us to play the White Mischief party, but it didn't work out.

[Page 74]

SC: We were even asked to play an atheist convention. We're always open to it, but the thing is [synth player] Stephen [Perron Guidry]'s Catholic and they had a comedy Jesus. That's not cool. They shouldn't be making fun. If it was just, "I believe in nothing," that would have been cool. But it's cooler to believe in aliens and parallel dimensions.

The title track to your new record is about a Navajo warrior but is named after a sports car. If you would like to offer an explanation for this unlikely juxtaposition, turn to page 90. If you'd prefer to leave it at that, turn to page 2.

[Page 90]

SC: It's about a [time-traveling] Navajo warrior coming back to now and everything is crazy. So he's like, "You gotta hit reset." It's a call to arms.

[Page 2]

SC: A Lamborghini Countach's a pretty sweet car. --Aaron Leitko

Screen Vinyl Image

[One Track Mind, Washington City Paper]

Fort Knox Five

image: Forward Arch: Fort Knox Five has a progressive notion of D.C.

[Record Review, Washington City Paper]

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Points

The Points play vigorous three-chord Cro-Magnon rock in a city that, as of late, has been all about clean guitars and delicate introspection. In fact, everything about the band--formed in 2005 by former Poser Bill guitarist Geo White and drummer Travis Jackson, with Rebecca Dye, their favorite bartender, on keyboards--seems a little down-and-dirty, from the short, aggressive songs found on its recent self-titled debut to its current bare-bones tour setup. Drummer Travis Jackson spoke with The A.V. Club about Dye's recent departure, writing songs in a skate park while drunk, and why The Points aren't really a fighting band.

The A.V. Club: The Points practice in a skate park. How did that happen?

Travis Jackson: It's owned by this guy Dan Zeman. Geo and I have known him since we were teenagers. He's always lived in Blagden alley. Our truck broke down there and he helped us out. We started practicing at his old warehouse with Poster Bill. It's a trade-off--we book all of the bands for the parties, he makes a good cut from that. He's like a dad, he takes good care of us.

AVC: What were you doing in the alley?

TJ: We went to go see a show. Foo Fighters or something stupid like that.

AVC: How did you guys hook up with Rebecca?

TJ: She was a bartender who used to give us free pitchers. We used to bring her cool comp CDs, she was into them, so she started playing with us.

AVC: What were you putting on those CDs?

TJ: The Saints, old punk rock, stuff like that. There was one band--I can't remember, they just played here--that would just drive out all of the customers. I can't remember who they were. I've had 500 beers in four days.

AVC: Why did Rebecca leave right before the tour started?

TJ: I don't know. She was like, “Book the shows, book the shows, I can do it.” Then all of a sudden things started to get a little bit weird. She was getting distant. She dissed the art, dissed the master, then quit.

AVC: So you guys have some new people touring with you?

TJ: We have two dudes with us now, but we haven't thought about a full-time replacement. We've known these guys forever. Chad [Middleton]'s in the band VCR from Richmond. Danny [Darko] was in Murder Skit Corpses--we taught him all the songs in a day.

AVC: How are you getting around on tour?

TJ: We had a van, but it was Rebecca's. Right now we're touring in a Honda… something. We're borrowing bass rigs at every club. Geo has a small vox amp. I play a three-piece drum set. It all fits.

AVC: Does the car get really smelly?

TJ: Oh yes, it smells like shit right now. We're sweaty dudes.

AVC: Do you guys collaborate on your songs or does one person write the bulk of the material?

TJ: Me and Geo are the main songwriters. We would all meet up, get drunk, and write songs.

AVC: What does the drinking do for it?

TJ: Um… there's really just nothing else to do. Plus, being in a warehouse is pretty boring. It helps get the brain rolling.

AVC: Do The Points have a preferred beer?

TJ: Whatever's free.

AVC: Do you guys drink a lot on tour?

TJ: That's one of our favorite things about touring. We go places and they've got a shit-load of beer.

AVC: Have you guys ever gotten into trouble, fights, that kind of stuff?

TJ: There's never really been fights in the band. Once, we went on tour with our friends The Spins. They always fight each other. In New York we got really drunk on whiskey and I threw myself in just to see what it was like. I think I got a broken finger out of that. On our last tour at Virginia Beach, Geo got choked out by some guy.

AVC: What do you mean, “choked out”?

TJ: This dude with, like, a 300-pound arm grabbed him from behind and choked him until he passed out on the floor. Later on he got me, but friends pulled him off before I went unconscious. It looked like we had hickies all over our necks, you know, from the bruises. But we're not big fighters--we're tiny dudes.

AVC: What did you do to warrant the choke out?

TJ: I think Geo was just drunk and threw a beer bottle against the ground. And then, I guess I jumped on top of the table and started doing push-ups. This was before we even played, our friends Mas Y Mas were playing. He wasn't even the door guy, he was just some marine asshole. We want to get Tazers for next time.

AVC: But they let you back in to play the show?

TJ: We still played the show. The first half hour was just us talking shit. Then we played three or four songs and left. --Aaron Leitko

Kasai Allstars

[Record Review, Earplug]

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008

Under the Radar

Wednesday, October 1, 2008