California

Interview: Montana grown-California-based singer/songwriter, Chase McBride

One of the reasons I love MFL is the extreme breadth of music that reaches me from all corners of the world. I do not know any of these folks and chances are, one of the only connections we may have, is our passion for music. However, that changed recently. I recieved an email from a fellow representing an artist named Chase McBride. I checked out the tunes and was sold so I requested an interview. After a quick Google search, I discovered Chase McBride grew up in Billings, Montana and I grew up a few hours away in Missoula, Montana. To date, I have never had the music of someone from my very own home state fall into my lap! Of course the Facebook search had to occur as well: nine mutual friends all of whom are friends of mine from ballet, high school and college. Music brings people together in the most wonderful way.

Anyway, I asked Chase about his new EP, how his Montana upbringing shaped his music and much more. Check out Chase’s answers to my questions below and enjoy his new EP, Cold Water, while you read.

 

MFL: What were you anticipating the most with the release of your new record, Cold Water?

Chase McBride (CM): That’s a great question, and one that has a somewhat messy answer. This project has taken over my life for the past year, and involved a dozen or so collaborators. It was hard sitting on an album that I felt so good about, and not be able to share it publicly. That being said, there was a lot of building excitement within the team that helped keep me focused on putting the pieces together for a successful release. So, the short answer is, I was most anticipating finally being able to share this collection of songs that the team and I worked so hard to create.

MFL: I read that you recorded the record in a small beach cabin. How did this backdrop influence the sound and mood of Cold Water?

CM: The album was recorded live, with the full band, at a small beach house in Bodega Bay, CA. There is a video for the single “On The Other Side” that showcases the recording process and the coastal setting. I think that backdrop was important for a few reasons. First, I’ve always sought out remote places to record because that change in perspective helps to clear out the mental channels needed to focus emotional energy into something as complex as a musical performance. Second, in the age of the internet, getting a group of people to avoid the distractions that come with cell phones, television, and internet is really hard. The cabin we recorded at didn’t have good internet, so it forced us all to put our phones away and maintain presence with each other and with ourselves. I think that communal focus comes across in the recordings.

MFL: Tell me about your connection with the French Cassettes and how Mackenzie Bunch and Scott Huerta came to produce the record?

CM: I met Scott back in 2009. We had a mutual friend, who had played me Scott’s music, and encouraged me to attend a show for his band, French Cassettes. I ended up watching a show of theirs, and I fell in love with the energy of the band. I kept a creative and personal friendship with Scott after that, and was introduced to Mackenzie, who is the band’s guitarist and does all the recording. They’ve developed a serious business in San Francisco producing albums for the local bands, and their reputation is stellar. When I was tossing around early ideas for this album, I knew that I wanted those two to be involved with the recording. Thankfully, schedules aligned and I was lucky enough to bring them on board. The quality of the recordings is a testament to their abilities.

 

MFL: This is often a tough question or a question without an answer…BUT, if you were to name your genre, using as many or as few words as you need to do so appropriately, what would you call it?

CM: I think the most appropriate genre would be ‘IndieFolk’ or ‘Folk’. I’ve been called many things, but I think the music I make and the way I make it lands somewhere within the traditions of folk music.

 

MFL: What were some of your biggest musical influences growing up and if so, how have they changed over time?

CM: I grew up in a very musical family. My grandpa was a well-known Dixieland Jazz trombonist and a charismatic band leader. Everyone in my extended family played an instrument and took piano lessons from a young age. As far as my influences go, my parents were always playing James Taylor, George Winston, and Joni Mitchell records around the house, so those moods and melodies certainly made an impression on me. As I’ve gotten older, I still have a lot of respect for those 60’s titans, specifically Dylan, but my tastes have expanded over the years. I listen to music from just about every genre. I have respect for any artist that I hear finding their own sound and working hard to offer up something original in the oversaturated musical world we live in. I’m currently playing a lot of Joep Beving, Kevin Morby, and Jessica Pratt.

 

MFL: I did some Googling and according to your Wikipedia page, you are from Billings, MT. Is this accurate? I’m from Missoula! If this is true, tell me what happened between Billings, MT and San Francisco!

CM: This is accurate! It’s a small world eh? I grew up in Billings, and left for California after finishing high school in 2007.

A whole lot happened. Initially, I moved to San Luis Obispo, California, where I studied graphic design at Cal Poly, and started my musical career. After that I toured the west coast and did studio guitar work for a few years before a short stint in Missoula, and a move to the east coast to study painting in graduate school outside Washington DC. In 2015, I packed up my car and moved my life across the country to San Francisco, where I’ve been ever since. I spend a lot of time traveling, but San Francisco is my home base. I love that city and the people that live there. Missoula is an oasis as well, I have very fond memories from that short period.

 

MFL: Additionally, how did a MT upbringing influence the music you make?

CM: I think the solitude that Montana offers has affected my music a lot. I enjoy being alone as much as I enjoy spending time with others. When I’m in a songwriting phase I’ll spend most of my waking hours alone and I use my experiences growing up as the muse for a lot of my work. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke talks a lot about the wellspring of inspiration that draws from your youth. I’m a firm believer in that idea.

 

MFL: How did the album release party shake out at Amnesia last week?

CM: It was incredible. The crowd was happy and attentive. We ended up selling the venue out, which felt good after all the promotional efforts my team contributed. I’m a completely independent artist, so big wins like that mean a lot.

 

MFL: Along that note, how was your SoFar Sounds show? I’ve heard fantastic things about that organization and have considered trying to start one up here in MT.

 CM: That gig was terrific. The SoFar people are so nice and accommodating. I’m excited to see the video from that night. There were some notable Los Angeles musicians that came out to see us perform, which caused the band to dig in a little harder and really perform the songs well. I’m hoping to do another one in London when I’m there at the end of February.

 

MFL: Finally, how long before you start writing material for a new record?

CM: Great question! I’m always collecting little ideas here and there, so technically, I’ve already started working on the new material. I fly to London at the end of February for a few weeks with my girlfriend, who is a painter. We rented out a beautiful loft/studio space, and we’re planning on working on our respective projects alongside each other during that time. I’m shipping out my studio gear and I plan on giving myself some focused time in a new environment to start fleshing out what the new album will be. If you want to stay updated on my day-to-day life, follow my Instagram @chase.mcbride. That’s where I post the most! Thanks.

 

Thanks to Chase McBride for answering my questions and to Jake Goble from Merch Camp for connecting our Montana souls. You can find Cold Water and Chase’s other music on iTunes.

Debut single from soulful singer/songwriter, Ethan Burns: “Homeward”

25 year old LA-based singer/songwriter, Ethan Burns has made a profound entrance to the music scene with his debut single, “Homeward.” Burns’ voice is captivating, mesmerizing and oh so rich; melts me into a puddle on the floor. I hear hints of inspiration from the likes of Leon Bridges, Dan Auerbach and Van Morrsion. With retro soul-inspired sound, Burns’ passion is undeniable in “Homeward” and I can hardly wait to see what he delivers next. Check it out:

Spring tour dates for From Indian Lakes!

From Indian Lakes was initiated by California-based musician, Joey Vanucchi who recruited more musical friends as the project gained momentum. The band just released their newest EP, Wanderer in January and is touring this spring, opening for Tokyo Police Club, to celebrate the release! You can purchase the EP on iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp now.

Check out subtle beauty, “Wanderer.” It’s delicately decorated with gentle guitar plucking and peaceful percussion.

 

Tour Dates with Tokyo Police Club

4/18 – Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club
4/19 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
4/20 – New York, NY – Irving Plaza
4/21 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
4/22 – Durham, NC – Motorco Amphitheatre
4/24 – Tallahassee, FL – Florida State University
4/26 – Orlando, FL – The Social
4/27 – Orlando, FL – The Social
4/28 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room
4/29 – St. Petersburg, FL – State Theatre
5/1 – Pensacola, FL – Vinyl Music Hall
5/2 – Birmingham, AL – Saturn
5/3 – Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
5/4 – St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House
5/5 – Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall
5/6 – Gleveland Heights, OH – Grog Shop

For more info and to purchase tickets head to FromIndianLakes.com

Some blissed out psychedelic bliss rock from Givers & Takers

Givers & Takers is a four piece originally from Santa Barbara, CA. They effortlessly combine soul, rock and psychedelia into one helluva smooth sound. Their music is both familiar and foreign. There are hints of authentic soul, blues, rock and R&B mixed with current versions of the aforementioned musical genres. The ability to take something familiar and reinvent, is what makes Givers & Takers’ music unique and fresh but also recognizable and friendly on the ears and soul.

Check out their latest single, “Stranger”, a track inspired by the band’s belief that if you want to be free, then you are most certainly allowed to be:

Their previous single, “Start the Morning” is equally as smooth, creamy and delightful. You can’t help but let yourself melt into the track immediately.

 

 

Givers & Takers will be playing at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara, CA on April 1st and stay tuned for news about their upcoming EP!

 

Album Review: “Another Round” by Jimmy and the Mustangs

If we’re talking location, Jimmy and the Mustangs is a group who call California their home state but they are now based out of one of the music capitals of the US, Austin, TX. If we’re talking decade, Jimmy and the Mustangs are straight out of the 50’s despite their interesting journey from the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s in order to get there. This now 100% rockabilly band began (hilariously) as a punk band. In fact, in the 80’s Jimmy and the Mustangs opened for The Go-Go’s. That wasn’t their only encounter with famed musicians, however. The band was hired by THE Robert Plant and later shared the stage with The Boss. After some time, the band meandered and explored until they landed on their very own style of swing and rockabilly which is where they remain today.

Jimmy and the Mustangs is fronted by Jimmy Haddox (lead vocals, lead guitar and rhythm guitar) and backed by Tom Coplan (lead guitar, slide guitar), Dylan Cavalier (upright bass) and John Powell (drums, percussion and vocals). Back in September the band released their latest full length appropriately titled, Another Round. The last record they released was in 1984.

Another Round is an upfront rockabilly, swing, hip twisting, foot tapping record that doesn’t waste time with innuendos. It’s not a bad thing either. Their music is fun, tasteful and to the point. The song I’m thinking of as a perfect example is “Rock My World.” Enough is implied in the title and the first line

I only got one thing on my mind,

Making love to you all the time.

The beat, melody and feel of the song could easily be in the musical, Grease, but these lyrics wouldn’t have gotten by back then. That’s the beauty of reinventing a style like rockabilly/swing in the 21st century.

 

The record opens with brass, Haddox’s smooth and heart-melting voice and a Vegas-inspired scene, perfectly painted with the lyrics. “Roll the Dice” is a smooth launch into the time capsule you’re about to jump into. This whole album makes me want to head back to the 1950’s for a night.

Not a whole lot slows down once this album kicks off. Let’s just say it’s not a bed time album but it’s perfect for an adult sock-hop. One of my personal favorites is “Ready Set Go.” It’s a high speed track fully equipped with everything a dance-worthy track needs: quick tempo, catchy chorus, and a no-wallflowers-allowed attitude.

 

 

The first half of the album is jam-packed with high speed dance-inducing tracks that only someone without a soul could resist moving their body to. Things slow down a bit on the latter half of the record, allowing you to catch your breath. “Hotel San Jose” is a saucy slow dance, “Bourbon Street” is a blue grass/country two-stepper and “Love is Just Pretend” is a love-soaked slow dancer, sure to turn your heart into a puddle and maybe even allow you to believe that love isn’t just pretend. All of this is in preparation for the last track, “Long Black Train” that requires some serious stitch-inducing peppermint-twisting.

Altogether, Another Round is a celebration of music from the past crafted by incredible musicians of the present. If you see Jimmy and the Mustangs are heading your way any time soon, don’t miss it. You can find their newest record on iTunes and cdBaby.

J&Mustangs_Sara

 

 

Two tunes from California-based indie rockers, Island Apollo

Before I go on, indulge in the infectious track, “Miracle”:

Island Apollo had quite the musical history before they decided to go for it on their own. This group began their musical career together as teens in Irvine, California. After several years of experiences including opening for Capital Cities and Third Eye Blind and many features on television and radio, Island Apollo is poised to take over the world with their fine-tuned power pop. Lead vocalist and guitarist, Ryan Kilpatrick says about finding success as a band:

“I think if you want to find success as a band, you can blend in with a genre that is on the rise and have a nice record deal, followers, and radio play for a few years. But if you want to have a career, and real fans, you need to create something that is new. The bands I respect the most, and seem to have survived, are those that have created a sound that was different than the bulk of the music being produced at that time.”

Inspired by bands like Queen, The Killers, The Beach Boys and many others, everyone is guaranteed to find something in their music that’s right for them. Check out their other single, “Lion Eyes” featuring Spencer Ludwig of Capital Cities on trumpet:

For more about Island Apollo, check out their official website and Facebook page! You can buy their self-titled EP on iTunes as well!