Hello there. It’s time, yet again, for The SubModern Report, where this week its Pixies‘ world and we’re just living in it. Yes, Frank Black and co. top both of our charts with a new single, “Catfish Kate,” and the album that it’ll soon be part of, Beneath The Eyrie. However, they must share the #1 album spot with last week’s #1, Sleater-Kinney‘s The Center Won’t Hold, which will be out in just a couple days! Their latest single, “Can I Go On,” has slipped a bit however, down to #5.

The next album on the chart, is unfortunately there for the saddest of reasons. Just after publishing last week’s report, news broke that David Berman of Silver Jews had passed away at the far too young age of 52. Admittedly I’m not an expert on his music over the years, so I’ll leave the eulogizing to those whom his words have touched. Berman had just weeks ago re-emerged with his first album in eleven years, under the name Purple Mountains. That album and especially its aptly titled song, “All My Happiness Is Gone,” obviously got a lot of love on specialty shows this week. R.I.P. David Berman.

Continuing down the singles chart, The New Pornographers may be “Falling Down The Stairs of Your Smile,” but they rose to #2 this week. Starcrawler‘s latest, “Bet Your Brains,” basically flip-flopped with it to #3, followed by a brand new tune from Noel Gallgher’s High Flying Birds called “This Is The Place,” which I got to see played live for the first time ever last week on the opening date of their tour with Smashing Pumpkins. Juliana Hatfield is back rather quickly after her album Weird earlier this year, this time with a record’s worth of Police covers coming in the fall. The first of those covers, “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da,” debuted this week at #6. Two “R” bands that both just released records, Ra Ra Riot and The Regrettes, have singles tied in the #7 spot and both appear in the top five albums as well. Finally, the top ten singles (which are really the top thirteen) close out with a four-way tie between Chance The Rapper (ft. Death Cab For Cutie), DJ Shadow (ft. De La Soul), Juiceboxxx, and Jay Som, whose forthcoming Anak Ko also appears at #7 on the album chart.

Just to mention some non-overlapping artists who appear only on the album chart, we have Ty Segall‘s First Taste at #5t, WHY?‘s AOKHIO at #8, and a tie for #9 including Bon Iver, Clairo, and Velvet Starlings. For more detailed stats than that, of course scroll on down to the charts below.

As always, I’ll be back next week. Until then…

~ Josh Landow
Twitter: @JoshTLandow

SEE AVAILABLE FOR AIRPLAY HERE

 

Updated 8/14/19

#ArtistTrackLabel
1PIXIESCATFISH KATEINFECTIOUS / BMG
2THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERSFALLING DOWN THE STAIRS OF YOUR SMILECONCORD
3STARCRAWLERBET MY BRAINSROUGH TRADE
4NOEL GALLAGHER’S HIGH FLYING BIRDSTHIS IS THE PLACESOUR MASH / CAROLINE
5SLEATER-KINNEYCAN I GO ON MOM + POP
6JULIANA HATFIELDDE DO DO DO, DE DA DA DAAMERICAN LAUNDROMAT
7tRA RA RIOTBELLADONNAROB THE RICH / CAROLINE
 THE REGRETTESI DARE YOUWARNER
9PURPLE MOUNTAINSALL MY HAPPINESS IS GONEDRAG CITY
10tCHANCE THE RAPPER [FT. DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE]DO YOU REMEMBERSELF-RELEASED
 DJ SHADOW [FT. DE LA SOUL]ROCKET FUELMASS APPEAL
 JAY SOMNIGHTTIME DRIVEPOLYVINYL
 JUICEBOXXXCOINSTAR SONGDANGERBIRD
14tDIIVSKIN GAMECAPTURED TRACKS
 THE HIVESGOOD SAMARITANTHIRD MAN
 TOOLFEAR INOCULUMRCA
17tIGGY POPJAMES BONDLOMA VISTA / CONCORD
 JOYWAVEOBSESSIONCULTCO
 TEGAN AND SARAI’LL BE BACK SOMEDAYSIRE
20tHOBO JOHNSONTYPICAL STORYREPRISE
 HOVVDYCATHEDRALDOUBLE DOUBLE WHAMMY
 TWIN PEAKSDANCE THROUGH ITGRAND JURY
 WHITE REAPERMIGHT BE RIGHTELEKTRA
24tANGEL OLSENALL MIRRORSJAGJAGUWAR
 EZRA FURMANEVENING PRAYER AKA JUSTICEBELLA UNION / PIAS
 THE GROWLERSNATURAL AFFAIRBEACH GOTH
 MIKAL CRONINSHOW MEMERGE
 VIOLENT FEMMESI’M NOTHINGPIAS
 VIVIAN GIRLSSICKPOLYVINYL
 WIVESHIT ME UPCITY SLANG

 

Updated 8/14/19

#ArtistAlbumLabel
1tPIXIESBENEATH THE EYRIEINFECTIOUS / BMG
 SLEATER-KINNEYTHE CENTER WON’T HOLDMOM + POP
3PURPLE MOUNTAINSPURPLE MOUNTAINSDRAG CITY
4THE REGRETTESHOW DO YOU LOVE?WARNER
5tRA RA RIOTSUPERBLOOMROB THE RICH / CAROLINE
 TY SEGALLFIRST TASTEDRAG CITY
7JAY SOMANAK KOPOLYVINYL
8WHY?AOKOHIOJOYFUL NOISE
9tBON IVERI,IJAGJAGUWAR
 CLAIROIMMUNITYFADER LABEL
 VELVET STARLINGSLOVE EVERYTHING, LOVE EVERYONEROCK & ROLLA / SOUND x 3
12VIOLENT FEMMESHOTEL LAST RESORTPIAS
13tLOCAL NATIVESVIOLET STREETLOMA VISTA / CONCORD
 MARIKA HACKMANANY HUMAN FRIENDSUB POP
 SPOONEVERYTHING HITS AT ONCE: THE BEST OF SPOONMATADOR
16tTHE HARMALEIGHSSHE WON’T MAKE SENSENETTWERK
 HOT CHIPA BATH FULL OF ECSTASYDOMINO
 THE RACONTEURSHELP US STRANGERTHIRD MAN
 THOM YORKEANIMAXL
20tTHE BELAFONTESROLL ONSELF-RELEASED
 METRONOMYMETRONOMY FOREVERBECAUSE
 SERATONESPOWERNEW WEST
 TITUS ANDRONICUSAN OBELISKMERGE
24tBLINK 182NINECOLUMBIA
 FIRE WALK WITH METHE ETERNAL BLACK RAINBOWVELVET COFFIN
 GAUCHEA PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF GAUCHEMERGE
 LOWER DENSTHE COMPETITIONRIBBON
 MINI MANSIONSGUY WALKS INTO A BAR…FICTION / CAROLINE / UMG
 OH SEESFACE STABBERCASTLE FACE
 SLAUGHTER BEACH, DOGSAFE AND ALSO NO FEARLAME-O

 

SubModern Session: Cayucas

Cayucas
Real Life
(Park The Van)

Cayucas are a California indie pop band, based around the collaboration between twin brothers Zach and Ben Yudin.  After four years, they’ve re-emerged with Real Life, a third album full of fun, sunny tunes, perfect for the summertime.  The Yudin brothers, along with their drummer Brian and bassist/keyboardist Mischa, joined me for an interview and acoustic performance, which you can listen to in the player below.

FMQB:  Can you give us a little background on the band? 
 
Zach Yudin:  It started around 2011 and ’12.  We were living in Santa Monica and we’d had quite a few bands, little projects up until Cayucas. This was just a new idea. It was about three or four songs, demos that I’d written and sorta produced in our apartment.  Originally we were called Oregon Bike Trails.  I made a Bandcamp and posted the songs online.  Blogs were really popular at that time and they just seemed to spread around really quickly to where I started getting a lot of e-mails from booking agents and managers and stuff, just based off the three songs.

FMQB:  And changing the name?  Did you just need something catchier?

Zach:  No, we wound up signing to a record label and had a song called "Cayucos."  The main guy at the label suggested maybe changing the band name to that, and we actually thought it was a pretty good idea.

Ben Yudin:  That was after the album was recorded.  The change made sense anyway.

Zach:  Yeah, we had made this sort of California album, and then we had this name Oregon Bike Trails, and it didn’t totally fit.  I still like the name, but…

FMQB: Yeah, that does seem like it’d be a totally different sounding band. 
 
Zach:  Right.  And this was during the time of Portlandia and stuff, and it just felt not quite right.  It was one of those things where the label wanted to do something and we agreed with them!

FMQB:  So fast forward to now, after a healthy break, you’re back with your third album.  Tell me about the first single, "Jessica WJ," which you’re going to play for us.

Zach:  This was one of the last songs we recorded for the album.  It’s based on a girl from high school name Jessica W.J. 

FMQB:  And it has a callback to one of the songs from your first album, "High School Lover," mentioning the character, "Elizabeth" from that song.  Was that an intentional callback to the previous song?

Zach:  It kinda was, yeah.
 
FMQB:  I like when bands do that!
 
Zach: I’m surprised that people have been coming up after shows and pointing that out.  So, people are actually figuring this stuff out.  

FMQB:  Were those two competing for your affections?
 
Zach: Actually Elizabeth was just an alias and Jessica W.J. was the real "Elizabeth."  On this song this syllables fit so I just used her real name.  But it’s not her real name anymore, because she has a new last name.      

FMQB:  And at this point, it’s twenty years later, so it doesn’t really matter?
 
Zach: I messaged her and asked if it was ok to use her name and she said it was cool. 

FMQB:  Speaking of twenty years later, you’re also going to play "Winter of ’98," but the year 1998 is also mentioned in "Jessica WJ," so its obviously an important year that you keep referencing?
 
Zach: Oh right.  I guess lyrically it was a theme, 1998.  Y’know, nothing too specific.  It’s more the vague idea of 1998, the nostalgia.

FMQB: Was that year particularly nostalgic to you for a reason?

Zach: I don’t know.  ’98 just sounds good, it feels right.  It’s better than like ’97 or ’99. 

FMQB:  For rhyming purposes?

Zach: Just the overall vibe of the sound.

Find out more about Cayucas and see the animated video for "Jessica WJ" at Cayucas.com.  Listen to their acoustic SubModern Session performances of songs from Real Life (and a cover) here.
By Josh T. Landow

Tacocat (photo: Helen Moga)

Tacocat (photo: Helen Moga)

MAKING A MESS OF THIS PLACE WITH TACOCAT

By Josh T. Landow

A few years ago at SXSW, Seattle’s Tacocat won my heart with their colorful personality, acerbic sense of humor, and thoroughly catchy tunes.  They’ve done it again with their recently released fourth album (and first on Sub Pop Records), This Mess Is A Place, which I recently had the opportunity to chat about with band Emily Noakes, Lelah Maupin, Bree McKenna, and Eric Randall.

The last time we spoke was for a SubModern Session in October 2016 (listen here).  Shortly after that, the world kind of changed, and I think that has a lot to do with what’s on the new record.

Emily Noakes:
Yeah, I think that’s pretty accurate. [laughs]

So going back and writing a record after that, being the liberal-minded people that you are, how did it affect what you were writing about?


Emily:
I don’t think we really set out to do anything.  It was just sort of part of the landscape.  When something like that happens, it’s sort of impossible to not have that get into your music, or any project, or just your whole life.  So, yeah, that was a pretty shocking time for a lot of us in Seattle and in our community.  It was pretty wild.

For everyone…


Emily:
Everyone that’s on the side that we’re on.

What I take away from the album, is whereas I’ve heard plenty of music that’s been very dark and dour in this post-Trump world, you did it in different way where you’re using that to empower and to try to bring some positivity.


Emily:
Yeah.  I mean, we’re all pretty positive people and we knew we didn’t want to have an album that was just grim.  I don’t want to reflect back, the snapshot of the time shouldn’t be what’s happening outside.  It should be more positive so that it’s sort of an antidote to that, not just like “everything sucks… 2, 3, 4…”

I think listening to an album like this can really make you feel better.

Emily:
Thank you, that’s very nice to say.

So, when I heard the first single, “Grains of Salt,” for the first time, I thought, “this is different, this is very different.”  But it’s weird, because it doesn’t seem as different now, in the context of the record, as it did when I just heard it on its own.  Does that make sense?

Emily: Yeah, that totally makes sense.

Eric Randall:
Oh yeah, it’s the most different sounding song on the album.  The other songs are the bridge to that sound, I guess. 

Was it a later song in the process?


Eric:
That was a later song.  Just the actual riff took a long time in different forms.  That song definitely came together later in the process.  I think that originally whatever I was playing with that song sounded maybe more traditionally like us and then it just kind of clicked and… [laughs] I forgot where I was going with that.

And those keys or synths really change it up.  Was that all you guys or did you have guest musicians?


Emily:
I played the synth.  That was kind of an afterthought.  I was sort of drunk. [laughs]  I had to do it in front of everyone.  It was really scary cause I didn’t have anything planned and they were like, “You could put a synth part here,” and I was like, “Ooooh!  I’ll try that.”  So yeah.  We didn’t have any guests.  Just us.

Eric:
But Erik Blood, who produced this album and the last album has a lot to do with the final sound.  We came in with songs that were a lot more raw, and he really polished them up and had a lot of good ideas about back-ups and synthesizer, and things like that.

Emily:
Totally!  He’s a good wizard like that.

Well the last album was one of my favorites that year, and this will definitely be one of my favorites this year.


Emily:
Aww, thank you!

Let’s talk about the video that just came out for “New World” because it’s really cool.


Emily:
Yeah, it’s bonkers!  Love it!

Bonkers isn’t a foreign concept to Tacocat for your videos.


Emily:
Not at all! [laughs]

Well, if you want to tell me about the video and how it relates to what the song is about.


Emily:
I mean, we just gave pretty much full control to Sean Downey, who is a bonkers man.  And we knew that he was and just sort of let him write the thing for us.  This is very much a product of his brain and his vision, so we really love it.  

Lelah Maupin:
I talked to Sean one on one about what his idea was, and we both agreed that it’s like a literal interpretation of the song.  Like, here is a new world.  It looks like this.  Which I think works really well.   

Eric:
  We had a nice time at the park [making the video], wearing giant head pieces while everyone gawked at us.  It was pretty weird.  One man at the very end, just kind of really got up in our… like “WHAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING?”  It was pretty weird.

Lelah:
  It’s called art sir.  Look it up.

It’s kind of a classic sci-fi concept of the alternate universe?


Emily: 
Yeah, but I guess you can’t have a utopia for real, cause your utopia is gonna be someone else’s not-utopia.  Or that’s always when you read sci-fi, they’re like “we’re going to make everything different,” but it always ends up being oppressive.  So this is just like, things are better.  They’re not the best.  It’s a new world, a new planet, we’re starting over.  I was having writer’s block and I read a weird little cue that was like, “Try to think about the opposite of how you feel right now.”  I was like, “I woke up today and everything was better!”  Because that was not how it felt that morning when I had woken up.  [laughs]  It was the opposite!

You obviously have a sense of humor and always have on your albums.  On this album, I hesitate to use the word ‘maturing’ because that makes it seem like its all serious, but there is a sense of growth and maturity, but without losing that.  Just maybe, there aren’t as many overt jokes?


Emily: 
Yeah.  I think that’s fair.

Bree McKenna:
  It’s like a natural progression.  We always talk about all our albums as like, y’know… they change, but it’s all very natural.  We don’t purposefully make a decision to do something a certain way.  It’s just what comes out.

Emily:
  It was really hard to feel like there was any way to make really obvious jokes on this one because there wasn’t anything I wanted to make fun of.  People are just living.  Everything is hard.  And the things I did want to make fun of were already so awful that there wasn’t a way to do good satire anymore, when it’s already self-satirizing.  Which is what the song “The Joke of Life” is all about actually, that it’s like, “Geeeez, I can’t even make fun of this, it’s already so bad.”

Eric:
  We live in a post-ironic world now.

Emily:
  There used to be power in satire.  Now it’s getting taken away from us, because they’re like, “Yeah, we’re awful.  What are you gonna do about it?”  [laughs]  So that’s why I think it’s not as polemic seeming.