Castanets Interview

Bearded pic taken from Castanets’ MySpace

The man behind Castanets is mid US tour, yet takes time to talk with Shane Mehling about feline asthma, Freak Folk and (obviously) Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.

usounds: What lessons did you learn from your last record that you addressed on In The Vines?

Raymond Raposa: I learned to fry eggs. I learned the wretched smell of corn mash turning to whiskey, the smell that burns the inside of your nostrils, makes you think blood will tear from your eyes. I learned that it is better to leave some things on the ground no matter how intriguing they are to pick up.

usounds: Since the name implies a group of people, was the band started out with the intention of it not being a solo project? Do you ever think about forming a full-time band?

Raposa: It only implies a group of people if it’s written or said as “The Castanets” which is incorrect. It’s Castanets. The band did start out as a trio, however quickly mutated and the possibility for happy accidents by inviting friends and strangers to share the stage was sweet unpredictability. I have dream bands in mind, but I think these dreamy incarnations are happening in ways more powerful than self-willing or intentionality. It’s a flexibility thing. Keeping limber.

usounds: With Radiohead putting out their new record for as little as zero dollars, do you think this will have a trickle-down effect for indie bands in the near future?

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Rasputina Interview

New York’s gothic chamber pop band, Rasputina, is led by classically-trained cellist Melora Creager. Creager spent the last two years scouring over daily world events and adapting them into new songs that may be found on Rasputina’s sixth full-length album Oh Perilous World! recently released on June 26th. Melora was kind enough to answer a few questions for usounds about the new album and tour.

usounds: Can you describe what the two years of your life was like? Will your next album feature current events, or was that too depressing?

Melora: I lived in NYC. I read a lot about climate change, then Hurricane Katrina happened, and I did not want to live in a city anymore. So I moved to the country, got used to that extreme switch and worked on the album all the while. I didn’t find it depressing. Opening my eyes to the world today called me to action in lots of ways. I won’t limit or predict what I’ll write about.

usounds: You wrote a song based on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 in New York. Since you are originally from Kansas, a state that has some fairly notable past events, do you ever see yourself writing a “shout out to your homies” song about William Quantrill’s raid on Lawrence, Kansas or something like that? Or do you not get back to Kansas all that often?

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Cake Interview


The Sacramento band Cake recently left a major label and have started their own, named Upbeat Records. They are just about to release their first new album in three years, B-Sides and Rarities, which includes some appealing renditions of old classics and a few new tracks, presented as a multi-sensory delight with special Scratch ‘n Sniff packaging. Last week, I had the chance to catch up with their trumpet player, Vince DiFiore, who assured me that CDs and wicker chairs are still available to the dwindling public who seek them.

usounds: So, you are currently on tour?

Vince: We’re doing like three shows over a weekend, then coming home, and going out for another weekend and doing another three shows.

usounds: Your new album (B-Sides and Rarities) is coming out with a Scratch’n Sniff CD package. What brought that on?

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Kaiser Chiefs Interview


Nick “Peanut” Baines is a keyboardist, founding member of British rock outfit The Kaiser Chiefs and, like a character out of a Back To The Future sequel, can often be found wearing two ties. We left the tie question alone, but thought of a few others to prod the kind gentleman with in the wake of The Chiefs’ new record, Yours Truly Angry Mob.

Usounds: Why do Americans hate soccer?

Peanut: It’s not as glamorous as football, and you guys aren’t as good at it, so you invented your own.

Usounds: Fuck, guess we’re not pulling any punches. What lessons did you learn from your first record that helped you with Yours Truly?

Peanut: We learned that even if people don’t like your music, they want to see a good show. After you see more established bands, and they don’t give as good a show you’re really aware that you don’t want to become stale. After touring all over the world, playing huge stadiums, and putting on relentless shows every night, you become more of a rock and roll band. And that’s what we’ve tried to capture on the sound of the record and in the writing itself.

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Travis Vogt Interviews Eugene Mirman

Eugene and some meat on MySpace

Today on usounds, Travis Vogt asks Eugene Mirman a few questions about his involvement with Super Deluxe, time travel, martial arts and his plans for the future.

Travis: What is it that appeals to you about working in the Super Deluxe format?

Eugene: I like making short, weird videos that can have more of their own style, rather than trying to fit into a TV mold.

If you had the choice, would you travel back in time, or travel forward into the future? Why, and where?

Both sound so good. Probably into the future. Obviously, if I go back in time I can finally find out what happens to the time-line if I alter it. However, I think I may want to be in a flying car a little more. It would obviously suck if I found out that humanity destroyed itself in thirty years. It’d be a burden to return to our time and try to get people to stop some stupid thing to avoid the end of days.

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The Trucks Interview

Photo courtesy of The Trucks

Ladies and Gentlemen, fresh out of Bellingham, Washington.…. we have THE TRUCKS!

No, The Trucks aren’t a group of man-bears out for revenge against your mom because she caught your little sister humpty humpin’ in the back of their skanky, and sickeningly smoky, VW Bus. They’re four luscious ladies who will win you over with their boisterous fishnet electro-pop. Touted as the bastard love children of Peaches, Debbie Harry and The Bangles (with a little Kate Bush thrown in for good measure), The Trucks are sassing their way into our hearts, our pants and certainly our dancing shoes.

Shrie Bradford: So how did you decide on the name The Trucks? It wouldn’t happen to be because you all drive Cummins Turbo Diesel 4×4 Dodge Ram extended cab pickups complete with Superwinchs and KC lights, would it?

The Trucks: Marissa, our keyboard and xylophone player, just blurted out that name when we were first asked what our name was. She’s so clever.

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An Afternoon With Weird Al

Weird Al graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us about R. Kelly and the Coolio controversy.

USOUNDS: I watched UHF yesterday, and had really lucid dreams involving Spatula City last night. What’s the craziest dream you’ve ever had? Also, did you get to nail Fran Drescher?

Weird Al: I dreamed that I was riding through a field of wheat on a radioactive unicorn with Kenny G. And, none of your business.
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