Archive for August, 2011

August 22, 2011

Interview: Lisa Walker of Wussy!

Lisa Walker of Wussy

photo via flickr by Jason Baldwin

Cinncinati-based Wussy is one of my favorite bands, so Lisa Walker is one of the first people I thought of when I started this blog.  You may have not heard of Wussy yet.  Despite being around for awhile, and being one hell of a band, reviews of their music are strangely absent from one particular tastemaker, a certain mega-Indie music blog that will remain nameless.  If you do not yet know the band Wussy, I suggest you go buy all of their studio albums immediately.  They are a drone-pop four piece consisting of Lisa Walker on vocals and guitar, Chuck Cleaver (formerly of the Ass-Ponys) also on vocals and guitar, Mark Messerly on bass and keys, and Joe Klug on drums.  They’ve been a band since 2001, and have released three studio albums (a fourth is on it’s way) on indie label Shake It Records.   They have, however, gotten critical acclaim from Spin, Rolling Stone, and the Village Voice. Their songs are catchy and tuneful, and in my opinion, they write some of the best lyrics out there right now.  All that said, I was very excited when Lisa agreed to be on my blog.

When did you begin playing and why?

My family had me singing in church by the time I was five. But as for playing, that didn’t start until I was 15 or 16. I would play Pink Floyd songs on my dad’s classical guitar to offset the typical midwestern teenage angst. I also played his mountain dulcimer quite a bit, which first got me into alternate drone tunings. I was terrible at both of these, by the way.

What was your first guitar, and how did you get it?

My first guitar of my own was a $25 beat up acoustic that my dad bought for me from a work colleague at the hospital. He said it was “a Willie Nelson guitar” – which just meant it looked like it had been run over by a John Deere mower.

What is your songwriting process like?

Usually it starts with aimless guitar playing around the house or at band practice. I make up nonsense words to fill in the syllabic structure and then go back and fine tune until there are words in place that I actually like. Sometimes this last step doesn’t happen until a moment or two before I lay down the vocal track. (I need deadlines.)

In the meantime, I’m usually writing down little obsessive notes with lyric fragments or ideas that I intend to use later. Ideally these two processes mesh quite nicely. As long as I can actually FIND all the post-its and notebooks with said lyrical fragments.

What are you working on right now?

Wussy is finishing our fourth full-length album – which will be out in the fall. I’m doing a few solo shows here and there, and then the band plans to hit the road towards the end of this year. I’m also working on some new material and toying with releasing a solo record.

Which artist or artists do you find inspiring?  (It doesn’t have to be a musician.)  Why?

So so many. First of all, I am a devoted fangirl of rock, garage and soul music from the 60’s and 70’s. But right now here are some of the things that have been inspiring me lately.

The National – amazing arrangers, amazing musicians

Al Green – has more soul in his little finger than any of us will accumulate in a lifetime

Black Sabbath and a ton of bands that sound just like ’em. – just because

George Harrison – the best, the brightest, the sweetest of all the Beatles

Roky Erickson – because i aspire to his mad genius

The Weakerthans – some of the best lyrics in recent memory

Sonic Youth – for their infectious orchestral drone

Joe Tex – because of the way he yells “TRAMP!”

Harry Nilsson – songwriter par excellance

Brian Eno (ca. 1974) – because he makes records sound so futuristicand weird – yet purely pop

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August 22, 2011

Wussy On Youtube

Live video of Wussy performing Yellow Cotton Dress

Live in-studio performance  of Jonah

August 22, 2011

New Interview Going Up Tonight

Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA, people.  A new interview will be going up tonight with Lisa Walker of the band Wussy!   But until then, watch this most excellent video.  It’s St. Vincent covering Big Black!

August 13, 2011

New Yorkers! Get Guitar Lessons From Marnie Stern!

 

 

Seems Marnie Stern’s available for lessons.  Do it for me, people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 10, 2011

Old Navy Ad With Girl Guitarist

I couldn’t resist taking a picture if this when I saw it. It’s for Old Navy’s back to school advertising. Unfortunately she’s not actually holding the guitar, but at least it’s implied that she’s a guitarist.

20110810-073931.jpg

August 5, 2011

Pfumvu Pa Ruzevha: Learning Some African Guitar

This is a song I am learning right now.  It is insane, but also very fun.  Enjoy!

 

 

August 1, 2011

Old But Awesome Podcast: Thao On KEXP

Photo via Flickr by weeklydig

I recently downloaded a ton of old podcasts that I had missed from the KEXP Live Performances Podcast.  If you’ve never heard this podcast, go subscribe now!  It’s an invaluable source for new music.  And even if you listen to it regularly, go back and review the one I’m about to mention.  It’s a podcast from way back in 2008.  It’s with Thao Nguyen.  She’s performing with her band, The Get Down Stay Down.  (Here’s the link for more info about the podcast, but you can also just download it in iTunes.)  And in the podcast, she talks about her songwriting process, about how the band formed, and about how they got on Kill Rock Stars.  Quite a bit of cool stuff.

And on an additional note of Thao goodness, 17dots.com had fans submit questions via Twitter for Thao & Mirah.  Here are the answers.

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