DID YOU READ

Premiere: Jonny’s “You Was Me”

Premiere: Jonny’s “You Was Me” (photo)

Posted by on

For his work in Teenage Fanclub, Scotland’s Norman Blake is an indie rock icon. The same goes for Welsh songwriter Euros Childs, the former leader of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. But the legacies they’ve built during the last two decades apparently don’t satisfy the artistic drives that made them musicians in the first place; Jonny, their casual duo affair the two convened in order to write enough songs for a self-made single, recently released its self-titled debut through Merge Records. Full of inescapable melodies, humor and elliptical lyrics, Jonny is a 40-minute spree meant for a spring drive and, at times, the dance party you find at the end of it.

Download the new single, “You Was Me,” here, and watch the nature-day video above. We spoke with Blake in Japan just before the start of Jonny’s first tour there and after a 36-hour whirlwind of travel for two Teenage Fanclub shows in Brazil.

So this is Jonny’s first time in Japan?

With Teenage Fanclub, we’ve done a lot of touring in Japan, but we’ve always been in Osaka or Tokyo or Nagoya. On this trip with Jonny, we’re going to Hiroshima, Fukuoka-Shi and Kyoto, so we’ll see a lot more of the country.

You’ve been touring for a long time. Does visiting new places with an old or new band, even this far along, still keep it exciting?

That was my first time in Rio last week, and last time was my first time in Belgrade and Serbia. It’s a real privilege to be able to get to see these places because, for most people, because you work, you only have a set period of time during the year where you can travel. For me, as a consequence of what I do, I basically get to travel a lot.

On the same tip, do these new songs in a new project with Jonny offer an excitement and uncertainty that, by now, must seem foreign for Teenage Fanclub?

You’re right. At this point, Jonny just did a tour together. It was just myself and Euros on stage, with two little guitars, two little keyboards and a drum machine. We had to make it up as we went along because we didn’t really know what our set was. The first day of our UK tour, we said, “What are we going to do? What songs can we play?” We had to quickly put that together. With Teenage Fanclub, obviously, we’ve been doing it for a long time. I can blink and just fall into that. When we went to Brazil, I hadn’t seen the guys in six months. We met the day before the show and had a three-hour rehearsal, and everything worked. I totally know that. But with the Jonny thing, we are really making it up as we go along, still. We’re still not very conformed to the stage. The band is still a year and a half or two years old, so it’s still a young band. That is exciting.

In terms of the approach to writing songs, there are some Euros compositions on there that I had a minor influence on, but when we started, it started at my kitchen table, just writing songs. It was fun. We had an idea that we were going to record a couple of songs, make a 7-inch single and press up 400, so that we’d get 200 each to sell at our gigs. We quickly had a whole album. It’s very dynamic with Jonny at the moment.

Why did this project feel so right? Why was it so productive?

It was quite liberating in a way because, when we started Jonny, we thought we’d possibly record a 7-inch, and that would be it. There were no expectations. There was no grand plan. We didn’t have a label. We didn’t have to sell records to satisfy someone. All we had to do was satisfy ourselves. With Teenage Fanclub, there is a pressure of sorts to make a record that will sell. We will have spent a lot of money, and we’ll be anxious to recoup that. With Jonny, the recording costs were next to nothing. We got some time at Chem 19, the studio of Paul Savage, our friend. He gave us four days of studio time. There wasn’t any risk at all involved in the Jonny project.

“Cave Dance” is one of the most intriguing tracks on Jonny. It’s this strange, 11-minute build, with minimal lyrics and a subtle development. It’s so different from the rest of the album, too; how was it written?

That started with a conversation we were having around the kitchen table. We were talking about movies and just kept sketching. For some reason, we were talking about movies that should be made, or we were talking about titles of movies that should be made. “Cave Dance” came up in the conversation about movies, and we started thinking what if we actually had a song that sounded like cave music. We started off by knocking a couple of rocks together, and we take off somewhere else, to a psychedelic ending.

A big part of the Jonny thing is humor. If I tried to do a song like that with Teenage Fanclub, it just wouldn’t fit. With Euros and Gorky’s, they have funny songs, but since he’s been doing solo records, he’s not really exploring that part of his character or personality. “Cave Dance” gave us the chance to do that. It was fun. It just came from a conversation around, “Write a song that starts with…” It’s a bit like in 2001. At the start of that movie, the apes pound their chests and hit bones together. That formed into an idea, and we took off with that.

What about “You Was Me”? It’s nothing fancy, but it’s hard to let go once you’ve heard it.

That was another one that was just at the kitchen table. You know what, I tell a lie: We were sitting in the living room of my flat in Glasgow, when I was living there. The flat overlooks a bowling green in Glasgow. Bowling is very popular. I think we were siting, having a glass of wine, next to guitars and keyboards. I think I may have started playing the main guitar riff. I think of that song as being a bit like a T. Rex song, with a very simple groove. That was the template for the music that inspired that. It was a pretty much stream-of-consciousness lyric. We were looking at the bowlers. Euros came up with the first line: “Keep on seeking/ Roll the ball/ Monday comes to nothing.” It must have been a Monday. The song really was stitched together that way. We wrote the lyrics in a few minutes.

That’s how most of the songs happen; we don’t really spend a great deal of time thinking about it too much. That’s, again, quite liberating because when I’m writing Teenage Fanclub and Euros is writing for his solo records, we spend much more time on the composition of the lyrics and the music. With Jonny, we wanted to take it pretty easy. Even if it doesn’t quite make sense, that’s OK. The lyrics start when we were watching the bowlers, then it goes somewhere else. We write it down, and we don’t tend to edit it too much.

Returning to the song now, what’s it about? What do all those words work together to suggest for you?

You know, I’m really not sure. I really don’t know. It seems like an odd thing to say, but I don’t know what it’s about. It’s not really about anything. I guess we were just trying to write lyrics to fit the music. There’s no knowledge or control there; it’s words that we think fit the music. We were really just writing it as we thought of those words that fit the music. The video is difficult for that. We could’t think of ways to interpret that song. I and Euros knew at one point we’d have to, but we couldn’t even though we kept trying to do it. We thought about having Ryan [Owen], the director, film us singing the song and a bunch of other people singing it, and splicing them together, which ties in with it a little more. But we didn’t do that. We went out to Pembrokeshire to the beautiful countryside instead.

Why horses?

That was really Ryan who came up with the idea. Euros is from that part of the world, that very beautiful part of the world. Really, Ryan went there, and those horses were there.

Jonny lands in North America next month. Find them here:

June 03 Toronto, ONThe Drake Hotel
June 04 Toronto, ON The Drake Hotel
June 07 Northampton, MA Iron Horse Music Hall
June 08 Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall
June 09 New York, NY Le Poisson Rouge
June 10 Brooklyn, NY The Bell House
June 11 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe Live Upstairs
June 12 Vienna, VA Jammin’ Java
June 14 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle
June 15 Decatur, GA Eddie’s Attic
June 16 Nashville, TN The Bluebird Cafe
June 17 Louisville, KY Zanzabar
June 18 Chicago, IL Old Town School of Folk Music @ Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall
June 20 Columbia, MO Blue Note w/ Yo La Tengo
June 21 Iowa City, IA Englert Theater w/ Yo La Tengo

Watch More
FrankAndLamar_100-Trailer_MPX-1920×1080

Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

Posted by on

“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

Watch More
Brockmire-103-banner-4

Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

Posted by on

He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

Watch More
Brockmire_101_tout_2

Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

Watch More
Powered by ZergNet