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Something That Can’t Be Faked: Gary Jules, September 27 at Huckleberry’s
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-09-23 20:20:22

Gary Jules

Despite being an internationally known singer and songwriter, Gary Jules -- performing on Sunday at Huckleberry's in a show -- has neither a manager nor a publicist.

He did at one time, riding his and Michael Andrews' version of Tears for Fears' "Mad World" to the top of the UK pop charts in late 2003.

But the success, he said in a phone interview last week, led to "a lot of stuff I considered to be, I don't know, pork-barrel spending, fat that needed to be trimmed. ...

"I ended up in a lot of situations that I wasn't comfortable with. ... This is not what I started doing music for. A lot of those things were generated either through the people I had hired or the miscommunication between me and them."

By uncomfortable situations, Jules doesn't mean hookers and drugs. ("I'm totally fine with hookers and drugs," he joked.) But managers and publicists would try to get him in Rolling Stone and Spin and other major music magazines, while Jules felt his audience was more likely to read Dwell.

"You can spend a whole lot of money on traditional music-publicity stuff without ever really getting anything done ... ," he said. "There are a lot more interesting ways to do publicity and to have a career these days."

Jules would know. He had the happy accident of "Mad World," used at the emotional climax of Richard Kelly's 2001 cult-classic film Donnie Darko, other successes in film and television licensing, and the on-air support of influential radio hosts Nic Harcourt (of KCRW in Santa Monica, California) and Bruce Warren (of WXPN in Philadelphia).

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The Experimental Artist: Richard Buckner, September 20 at Huckleberry’s
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-09-15 14:19:55

Richard Buckner

Meadow, the 2006 album bearing Richard Buckner's name, is not the record that the singer/songwriter would have made. But that was the point.

After his hands-on production approach to Impasse (2002) and Dents & Shells (2004), Buckner enlisted producer J.D. Foster to make the creative decisions for him.

As Buckner explained in a phone interview last week in advance of his September 20 show at Huckleberry's: "As an experiment to myself, I just thought, 'I need to see how much power I can put in someone's lap and just let it go. Even if I think it's wrong, just let it go. Every idea. Just give them what I have and see what they can do with it.' ... Give it away instead of driving myself crazy with production-y things."

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The Family Business: Roman Candle, August 29 at Huckleberry’s
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-08-26 21:33:10

Roman Candle. Photo by David McClister.

Roman Candle has had bad luck following good fortune in the music business, and it's almost certainly more frustrating than just-plain-rotten luck.

What was supposed to be the group's major-label debut, on a Hollywood Records subsidiary, was shelved for nearly three years despite persistent buzz about the band and the record. The long-time-coming album prompted Pitchfork to call Roman Candle "one of the great unsubstantiated rumors of modern pop-rock."

V2 Records eventually bought the masters and put out the CD, The Wee Hours Revue, in 2006. But that label was effectively closed seven months later. It was at that point that the members of Roman Candle had an epiphany.

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The Mood of a Nation: These United States, August 17 at Huckleberry’s
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-08-12 18:27:09

These United States

There's nothing directly political about Everything Touches Everything, the third album from These United States. But the record could be called the five-piece band's Obama collection, even though you'd be hard-pressed to find more than hints of that in the content.

It's not nearly as precious or knee-jerk as it sounds. It's not a Pollyannaish perspective, and there are no unicorns or rainbows. It's more about a mood.

The questioning refrain of "Night & the Revolution" is tellingly ambiguous -- "How do you think this night is going to conclude?" is paired with "Where do you think this revolution is going to go?" -- and it seems more about a party than partisanship.

But as songwriter/singer/guitarist Jesse Elliott was assembling the record, he decided that its song selection would hinge on the outcome of the election. The album that will be released on September 1 is significantly different from the one that would be released had John McCain won.

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Hip by Accident: Those Darlins, July 20 at RIBCO
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2009-07-16 14:04:21

Those Darlins

When Those Darlins play RIBCO on Monday in a show, be prepared for things to get a little crazy. And if they don't, expect some good-natured hectoring from the Tennessee-based band.

Nikki Darlin -- they go by that fake family name, even though the three singing and songwriting leaders aren't sisters -- described the scene at a recent Nashville show celebrating the release of the group's self-titled debut:

"Jessi [Those Darlins' guitarist] and I had built a giant chicken piñata that was destroyed during 'The Whole Damn Thing' song. And my friend ... had made me a dress that night, and he ripped it off of me in the middle of the set. So I was playing the rest of the show in my underwear. And then everyone started taking their clothes off and got up on stage. Everyone's spitting beer all over everyone else. People were making out, and it was just fucking awesome."

The piñata, by the way, was filled with feathers.

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