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TAS In-Studio

Emiliana Torrini: FUV Live

Emiliana Torrini's fourth album, Tookah, has earned the ethereal singer four nominations at the upcoming Icelandic Music Awards, including nods in the categories of Composer, Album and Song of the Year.

This March, she'll be competing against fellow artists like John Grant at the awards show. But her real reward is the evolution of Tookah itself. Torrini took her time recording the follow-up to 2008's acclaimed Me and Armini, focused on motherhood (she just posted her toddler son's first portrait on her Facebook page) and also her own artistic conundrums.

She recently visited FUV for a session and discussed that winding journey. Watch the videos and listen to Emiliana Torrini's songs and conversation now in the FUV Vault or catch the session on TAS on 91.5 WNYE this Friday, February 14, at 11am EST, also streaming online.

Emiliana Torrini also visited the FUV studios in 2008 on the heels of Me and Armini and you can watch that session here.



Yuck: TAS In Session

Yuck has more than persevered following the departure of frontman Daniel Blumberg in early 2013. Guitarist Max Bloom, who wrote the bulk of the music on the band's 2011 self-titled debut, is now at the helm, and the London-based band visited FUV's Studio A for a session.

Arctic Monkeys: FUV Live

Arctic Monkeys have lost none of their cheek and swagger, but the band's fifth album, AM, reaches for a more mature layer of self-examination and romantic contemplation.

Upon AM's release last year, Arctic Monkeys collected critical kudos, commercial success (it's their best-selling album to date) and a Mercury Prize nomination.

When the band traveled to New York last fall, The Alternate Side's Eric Holland caught up with them for a chat. Listen to Arctic Monkeys in conversation now in the FUV archives or on TAS on 91.5 WNYE on Friday, January 31, at 11a.m., also streaming online.


King Krule: TAS In Session

Archy Marshall, who goes by King Krule, is a 19-year-old London songwriter with a caustic voice and a candid perspective. Pale and reed-thin with wary, haunted eyes, King Krule is a paradox onstage, a slight boy with a pugilist's bearing. That tone runs through his wiry, agitated debut, 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, revealing youthful bravado underscored by woe.

King Krule begins an Australian tour this week, but when he visited New York late last year, he stopped by The Alternate Side for a session.

Below, watch videos of King Krule live in Studio A playing "The Octopus" and "Cementality" from 6 Feet Beneath the Moon, out now on XL Recordings.



Midlake: FUV Live

When a frontman departs a band, there are two basic routes that a band can follow: breaking up or soldiering on. Fortunately for its fans, Midlake chose the latter option when Tim Smith left in 2012. Rather than crumbling, Midlake regrouped with guitarist Eric Pulido assuming lead vocals.

Last November, the refreshed and reconfigured Midlake released Antiphon, the group's fouth effort and first album for new label ATO. Basking in the glow of positive reviews, Midlake has been on the road in support of the record, launching an extensive UK and European tour on February 20 in Manchester.

Not long ago, Midlake visited Studio A for a session and conversation. Watch videos of Midlake in performance below and listen to the session now in the FUV Vault or on TAS on 91.5 WNYE this Friday, January 24, at 11a.m. EST, also streaming online. 



Man Man: FUV Live

The Philly-based band Man Man is probably best described as “experimental." Over the course of the quintet's career they have dabbled in so many different styles, everything from carnival music to gypsy punk.

However, on their latest release, On Oni Pond, the band has recorded a melodic pop record. Of course, as always, there's a hint of weirdness in there, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

During this session, taped in October, The Alternate Side's Russ Borris talked with Ryan Kattner, aka Honus Honus, about the making of this very radio-friendly new album.

Man Man will embark on a long tour of the States beginning on January 16 in Huntinton, WV and reaching the New York area on January 30 for a gig at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, NJ and Poughkeepsie's The Loft at the Chance Center on January 31.

Always a dynamic band onstage, Man Man offered up a kinetic live set of songs like "Born Tight" and "Head On" in Studio A. Watch videos below of Man Man and listen to the entire session now in the FUV Live vault or this Friday, January 10, on TAS on 91.5 WNYE at 11am EST, also streaming online.




Best Of TAS In Session 2013: Staff Picks

Over the past 12 months, the TAS staff — Russ Borris, Alisa Ali, Eric Holland and Kara Manning — has chatted with an array of bands and artists for our in-studio sessions that straddle The Alternate Side and FUV Live.

Narrowing those conversations down to three sessions that we especially enjoyed was difficult, but our TAS in Session standouts of 2013 included Nick Cave, John Grant, Chvrches, Laura Veirs, Yo La Tengo and many others.

Check out our selections (and listen to them, linked by name, in our archives) below and find out what these artists and bands accomplished since their TAS/FUV Live session took place ... and what lies ahead for them in 2014.

Russ Borris:

John Grant:
The singer-songwriter stopped by FUV in April to candidly discuss the evolution of his second solo album, Pale Green Ghosts, and his own personal struggles. John Grant's poignant, smart album topped many year-end critics polls and he'll begin 2014 on tour in Australia, traveling to Europe and the UK later in the winter.

Man Man:
Philadelphia's Man Man has always prided itself on its eccentricity and eclecticism, but the band's new album, On Oni Pond, might be their most melodic and, perhaps, straightforward release. The group visited in October and they're in New York this very week, opening for Gogol Bordello at Terminal 5 tonight, December 30, and on New Year's Eve.

Okkervil River:
For Okkervil River's seventh album Silver Gymnasium, songwriter Will Sheff reflected on his childhood in New Hampshire. In a session recorded in September, Sheff discussed his boyhood, laced with memories of bad television and cassette tapes. Sheff launched a sucessful Kickstarter campaign to fund a film, "Down Down The Deep River," and Okkervil River tours Australia in February and launches another North American tour in March. Unfortunately, no New York dates seem to be on the itinerary yet.

Alisa Ali:

Yo La Tengo
Back in July, Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew spent quality time in the Bronx for a session centered around Fade, the trio's thirteenth album. Yo La Tengo toured much of the summer, including a gig at Brooklyn's Prospect Park opening for Belle and Sebastian. They also released a deluxe edition of Fade and in December, scored a comedy Christmas video called "Toymageddon." Yo La Tengo heads — like many bands — to summery Australia and New Zealand in late winter.

The Dismemberment Plan:
Not many bands can claim a drummer who also works for NASA, but The Dismemberment Plan's resident robotic engineer Joe Easley took time off from his day job to tour this summer with his Washington D.C.  bandmates who released their first album in 12 years, Uncanney Valley. They also engaged The Alternate Side's Alisa Ali in one of our funniest TAS interviews of the year. The Dismemberment Plan played their last show of 2013 earlier this month in Los Angeles and released a commentary version of Uncanney Valley on Spotify. No tour dates have been announced yet for the coming year.

Few British bands were the focus of as much advance hype as the Glasgow trio Chvrches, but the synth-pop trio lived up to expectations with the release of their very good album The Bones of What You Believe. Back in September, Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty visited FUV and The Alternate Side for a laid-back, amiable session, playing a couple of tracks from the new record. Chvrches are spending their New Year's Eve at Edinburgh's splashy Hogmanay celebration and then embark on a tour to Singapore, Australia and New Zealand in late January. A tour of the UK and Europe follows and Chvrches return Stateside by spring, playing New York's Terminal 5 on May 2 and May 4. As for their much-praised debut,  Google Play is currently giving away The Bones of What You Believe for free for a limited time as one of their top albums of 2013.

Eric Holland:

Nick Cave
The release of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' fifteenth album, Push Away The Sky, was fortuitous for FUV and The Alternate Side since our own Eric Holland had a chance to sit down with the man for an in-depth conversation back in March. Cave and his compadres toured for much of 2013 and are planning the same for 2014, returning to New York on July 26 for a gig in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. In addition, a documentary about Nick Cave, called "20,000 Days On Earth" is an official selection of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival 

Franz Ferdinand
Although the Glasgow band came very close to breaking up a couple of years ago, Franz Ferdinand soldiered on, shaking off rumors of their imminent demise, and released a confident fourth album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, in August 2013. More tour dates are set for 2014, including a sweep through the U.S. again, focused on the West coast.

The Montréal group released their album The North in 2012, but finally made their way to FUV's Studio A in March. This past September, Stars released a doubled-sided single of two songs that didn't make it onto The North, "Wishful" and "The Light." According to their Facebook page, Stars are in the midst of recording another album and they'll play a charity gig in Toronto on January 18.

Kara Manning

Laura Veirs:
Whlie pregnant with her second child, Laura Veirs recorded her beautiful ninth album, Warp and Weft, an album fecund with songs inspired by an array of fictional characters and fellow artists, like the jazz musician Alice Coltrane and outsider painter Howard Finster. As a mother of two young children, Laura Veirs can't tour as much as she'd like, but there's always a chance she'll embark on another short road trip in 2014. Listen to the FUV Live session Laura Veirs either now or on TAS on 91.5 WNYE on Friday, January 17, at 11am.

Pure Bathing Culture:
One of the loveliest debut albums of the past year came courtesy of a couple who met while touring with Vetiver. Pure Bathing Culture's Daniel Hindman and Sarah Versprille released Moon Tides in August, a resonant collection of doe-eyed dream pop. Pure Bathing Culture head back out on the road on January 20 with La Luz for west-of-the-Mississippi jaunt.

Everything Everything:
The Manchester-based group, nominated for a Mercury Prize for their debut Man Alive, released its ambitious and accomplished sophomore album Arc in January in the UK. Everything Everything spent most of 2013 touring the world with a brief late March swing through North America — which was when they dropped by The Alternate Side's Studio A for a session. Arc officially came out Stateside in June and by year's end, Everything Everything figured out, rather impressively, that they'd played 128 shows in 88 cities in 25 countries over the last twelve months. 

Cults: TAS In Session

Although Cults might possess one of the most Google-averse band monikers — file their intractable name next to Friends, Real Estate and Men for sheer search engine frustration —  but New York's Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion have worked hard to make their internet mystery project become an international breakout band.

Cults, which adds touring members on the road, released a second album, Static, earlier this year and will see out 2013 with a New Year's Eve gig at Brooklyn Bowl, supporting Delta Spirit with a DJ gig.

Follin, Oblivion and their bandmates stopped by the FUV studios this fall for an upbeat session. Below, watch videos of Cults in Studio A and listen to the entire session now or via TAS on 91.5 WNYE this Friday, December 20, at 11am EST, also streaming online.




Two Door Cinema Club: TAS In Session

Since Two Door Cinema Club first visited The Alternate Side, following the release of their 2010 debut, Tourist History, the three Northern Irish bandmates have rapidly ascended as unorthodox indie rockstars in the UK, the States and internationally.

They've also experienced a series of surprising high points punctuating their brief career. Two Door Cinema Club has played to thousands on the mainstage of Glastonbury, they won the prestigious Choice Music Prize for Irish album of the year for Tourist History and just last year, lead singer Alex Trimble was prominently featured in the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, memorably singing "Caliban's Dream" during the lighting of the cauldron.

On the heels of the band's second album, 2012's Beacon (nominated for a 2013 Northern Irish Music Prize), Two Door Cinema Club released an EP this past August, Changing of the Seasons. The four-track EP, which includes one remix, signals an intriguing shift in the band's sound, leaning more assertively towards dance for its title track. Whether that shift informs the recording of band's third album remains to be seen; Trimble, bassist Kevin Baird and guitarist Sam Halliday hope to release their third record in 2015. 

Two Door Cinema Club is wrapping a busy year with two more UK dates this week, playing a particularly big gig at London's O2 Arena on Friday, December 13.

Earlier this fall, Two Door Cinema Club returned to the Bronx for a session and conversation with The Alternate Side's Alisa Ali. Below, watch videos of Trimble, Baird and Halliday in performance in Studio A, read highlights of their interview and listen to Two Door Cinema Club's full session on TAS on 91.5 WNYE on the morning of that London gig, December 13, at 11am EST, also streaming online:

Alisa Ali: Was [the] Changing of the Seasons EP meant to whet the appetite of your fans between the next full-length album?

Alex Trimble: Yes, I guess so. I guess the main reason for this EP is that we want to spend a little more time making the next record. We had this song left over from just after we recorded Beacon. We thought it was a great song — and a great one to to release — so we used [the EP] to put it out there. There’s still music happening while we’re off making our next record.


Alisa: Did this title track, “Changing of the Seasons,” come during the making of Beacon?

Alex: Just right afterwards. This came out of the B-side sessions. We took about two weeks after we got back from LA making the record to get some extra songs for the singles. Right from when this was written we thought it deserved better than a B-side. That’s always a time to experiment and try something new. This “something new” happened to work.

Alisa: You have a pretty cool video for this as well. It’s like a 60s rock documentary.

Kevin: That was the plan.

Alisa: You’re attacked by screaming females, madness ensues, there’s a hotel room that gets trashed …

Kevin: Yeah, we wanted an excuse to be rock and roll which we don’t normally do in real life. We were inspired by the kind of documentary footage by, say, Bob Dylan in that period. We wanted to make a classic documentary from that time period and everything that goes along with it, whether that be screaming fans or trashing rooms!

Alisa: So that doesn’t reflect you’re life, or are you totally trashing hotel rooms?

Alex: It was more this idea that was dreamt up by Brewer, who are the two brother directors that we worked with on this video. They came up with this idea, this romantic, forgotten idea of what it’s like to be a rock star — or what it was. What it was for Dylan and the Beatles. It’s something that has definitely fascinated me and the two Brewer brothers. So we wanted to pay homage, in a way, to that. There’s a little bit of pastiche in there as well — we’re not taking it exceptionally seriously. It’s got it’s own humor in there, but at the same time, paying our dues to those great rock starts who had the life that no one will probably ever lead again.

Alisa: Do you feel that you would have thrived during that time? Or floundered?

Alex: I don’t know. I just think it would have been hellish! I think if anyone is coming close to that life today it’s probably One Direction. That’s no joke. Those guys probably don’t have their own lives anymore. Although it is glamorous, exciting and crazy. It’s got to be horrible to never have your own space.

Kevin: You can’t even go surfing without getting your ass tapped. That happened the other day. It made the news. A member of One Direction went surfing and on his way out of the beach, some fan grabbed his bottom. I don’t know their names or anything, but I think it was Louis and he wasn’t happy. He threw a bit of a hissy fit in a wetsuit.

Alisa: No one’s ever tried to grab you guys …

Alex: We’ve been taken advantage of before … it’s not a laughing matter.

Alisa: No, I mean ladies trying to grab you as you walk by.

Alex: Yeah, it’s a tough life.

Sam: It has happened. It’s gets to that point in some places. In some places there are definitely more enthusastic fans.

Alex: They kiss you and things.

Kevin: It tends to be places where we haven’t toured so much. We’ve started touring more in South America and Asia. Bands are starting to come there because they realize how awesome it is. It’s a really big deal when a band comes there and it makes us feel amazing to go there. But of course, it comes with all of that craziness. When we were in Buenos Aires a few months ago, we had fans waiting outside the hotel and following our cars. To have it for a day or two at a time is really exciting, but I can imagine the hell that people go through living that every day.

Alisa: There’s a couple of remixes [on this EP] too.

Alex: We got one on there by Monsieur Adi which is very exciting. We worked with Madeon on this track, I should also say, who is a French house DJ and he added his own spin to the track. I think Monsieur Adi has taken that essence and brought it out even more, even more into this dance club style piece. We’ve always been fascinated with remixes and DJs and producers’ abilities to bring our songs into clubs and make them seamlessly fit in with all this other dance music. Just to turn a pop song around like that is a great feat if you do it well.

Alisa: But you’re no stranger to remixes. You’ve remxed other people’s songs as well. On this EP, the song “Crystal” is very different from anything you’ve ever done. It’s very downtempo, more instrumental. What inspired you to do something so different?

Alex: We had this song, “Changing of the Seasons” which we knew would be released around this time, but we did want to put together an EP. But writing on the road is very difficult, to get all of us together in a space we’re happy with — never mind music that we’re happy with. Finding the time to do it is just as hard. So we decided to split things up. The other track on there, called “Golden Veins,” was written by Kev and Sam and performed by Kev and Sam.

I took on the responsibility of doing the other track. I guess I just used the newfound freedom in songwriting just to do something entirely different. If I were making a song on my own, as I’ve done before. There is a lot of stuff that’s very different from Two Door that I’ve written in the past and has never seen the light of day. I used this as an opportunity to take away the entire band format, considering that we weren’t writing in a band format. I’ve always been very interested in orchestral music. Growing up, I played in orchestras. So there’s always a part of that in my blood. I love writing for strings. I did it for the first time on Beacon; I wrote string parts for a few songs. I caught the bug, I guess! I wanted to make an orchestral string epic with a lot more emotion — romantic emotion — that ever goes into a Two Door Cinema Club song.


Alisa: So you think this way of working will be adapted for your next full-length album? To split up?

Alex: If anything, it makes us a lot more productive. You don’t have to wait for someone else to get something finished. But, at the same time, writing together is where we started and how we made all of those songs that got us to where we are. I should say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But it was a great experiment and definitely could happen again.

Alisa: Did you feel that you were rushed recording for Beacon?

Kevin: Most definitely. I think before we went into the studio to actually record, everything we’d written was crammed over two months. We were still going away, doing tours, coming back to the house where we lived together in Glasgow for two weeks, write and then we’d do festivals. It was pretty crazy.

It was at that point, at the end of the campaign of the first record, that all of the hard work began to pay off and there were things we felt we couldn’t say no to. We’re still really proud of what we wrote and achieved with Beacon. We felt that, at that time, we’d keep momentum going between albums by doing shows and I think our idea this time is to try to let that momentum rest a bit more with music, like “Changing of the Seasons.” It would be a nice change to take some time, write and be creative musicians that way rather than touring musicians.

Luscious Jackson: FUV Live

Luscious Jackson played New York's  Webster Hall this past Saturday night in support of the the band's first studio album in 14 years, Magic Hour. 

Three of the four founding members —  Jill Cunniff, Gabby Glaser and Kate Schellenbach — and their touring comrades stopped by Studio A recently to perform a mix of new and classic tracks.

Below, watch videos of Luscious Jackson live at FUV and listen to Alisa Ali' s conversation with Jill Cunniff and Gabby Glaser about Magic Hour and the changes they've experienced in the music industry and their own lives.