Bulls and Roosters – A Chat with Danny of together PANGEA

Words By Alicia Maciel 

LA rock quartet together PANGEA is driving across the nation, touring in support of their latest full-length album Bulls and Roosters, via Nettwerk. The Bulls and Roosters Tour kicked off on September 14th in San Diego, CA and is wrapping up on October 22nd, and feature support from Tall Juan and  Daddy Issues.

Releasing a 1-minute-40-second gimmicky, nostalgic music video via Stereogum for the album’s mosh inducing lead single “Better Find Out”, directed by Steele O’Neal, heightened expectations of fans everywhere. The video can be seen HERE. “Better Find Out” is available to download/stream now HERE.

Co-produced by together PANGEA and longtime collaborator Andrew Schubert, and mixed by Chris Coady (TV On The Radio, Beach House, The Black Lips), Bulls and Roosters was recorded to two-inch tape at Golden Beat studios in Los Angeles and showcases a more matured sound than prior efforts.

We wanted to try new things and experiment with making music that wasn’t so aggressive or fast,” said singer/guitarist William Keegan. “Rather than worrying about any expectations, we were like, ‘Fuck all that. Let’s be as honest as we can possibly be.’ Sure, it’s growth, but there’s still a brattiness to it.”

Together Pangea have continually challenged themselves with each subsequent offering. Jelly Jam [2010] poured the gasoline, Living Dummy [2011] struck the match, and Badillac [2014] lit the fire with its revved-up nineties rock-inspired flames. Along the way, fan favorites like “Sick Shit,” “Badillac,” and “Offer” would rack up millions of Spotify streams. “Snakedog” became a plot point in a bonkers episode of NCIS and “Sick Shit” soundtracked a trailer for HBO’s Animals, while the group received support from Consequence of Sound, Pitchfork, MTV, Stereogum, and more. Following the 2015 release of The Phage EP, produced by The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson, the boys independently embarked on the journey to what would become Bulls and Roosters.

Bringing matured rock brattiness along with minimalistic, portrait album art – Bulls and Roosters represents together PANGEA’s growth and determinacy of “never making the same album twice”. Other than the album art alone standing out compared to their previous album artworks, Bulls and Roosters is a tame yet brash rock n’ roll earworm that’ll stay in listeners’ minds for years to come.

While on the road heading to their Nashville gig at noon central time, bassist Danny Bengston took some time to chat with me on the phone.

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Photo credit: Derek Perlman

Hey Danny, how are you?

Pretty good – it’s been a nice day, not too long of a drive. We’re driving to Nashville from Atlanta right now. We just played in Orlando yesterday. It was awesome, never played there before. The show was beyond our expectations!

That’s sick – was the show close to capacity?

The room was pretty big, a lot more people were there than we thought there would be.

To start off, I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about your gear. What you got, any pedals?

I have two basses I take on the road, one’s a Rickenbacker maple wood and the other’s a Fender P bass. I play them through a 1978 Peavy Mark III bass amp head. 410115 bass cabinet and a chewing pedal.

What tones did you find in your equipment that resonates with your sound?

I’ve always liked my very first bass amp. It has a great, shitty sound so I just looked around until I got another Peavy.

When recording your bass tracks, do you record along with the drummer live or are the drums overdubbed?

Most of the time, we record drums, guitar, and bass altogether live. I think it really adds to the sound and it’s always better to play together. On this album, there’s one or two songs without everyone recording together.

Are the bass parts planned or is it more improvisation?

The bass parts are planned ahead. We tend to write a month in advance. So, we’d learn a new song and I’ll go into working on bass parts.

What’s the songwriting process like for the band?

Usually, William or I bring ideas to the table.

It seems you guys have taken a different approach to songwriting, less garage rock influenced and more honky-tonk, 60s/70s country rock. What drew you to this change other than simply bringing different sounds to your audience?

As a band, we decided collectively to keep writing music we enjoy and we take influence from the music we’re listening to during the recording process. During this album, we were listening to a lot of Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Young.

I recognized you guys recorded Bulls and Roosters on tape. Is there a reason together PANGEA took the analog route?

We chose to go in that direction since it would fit the mood of the songs a lot better.

 

What’s your favorite track on the album?

After making the album and having some time away from it, “Gold Moon” is my favorite. I really like the vibe of the song, the guitar playing, and everything else about it.

Why did you choose to name the album after the track Bulls and Roosters?

It’s a reference to a painting by John Baldessari. It’s about selling artwork and we thought it fit well.

With Bulls and Roosters being a more minimalistic take compared to your previous, more aggressive works – do you feel it’s the best work of the band so far?

Definitely – I think it’s the best stuff we’ve done so far.

While you’re on the road, I figure you guys are already working on some stuff.

Yeah, we’re working on some things right now and are trying to get in the studio soon enough to get a demo done.

Is the Bulls and Roosters tour your first big, national headlining tour?

No, I think it’s our third or fourth American headlining tour. We did one for Badillac and The Phase.

I’m excited for your show here in Chicago on the 6th – are there any other cities you’re looking forward to hit?

We LOVE Chicago, it’s one of our favorite places to play. The crowd’s always really good, so are the people and the food. New York is always a spot to look forward to as well as Toronto. We’re looking forward to heading back to the west coast, too.

Check out together PANGEA on tour! Hope to see some fellow Chicagoans at Bottom Lounge Friday, October 6!

September 26 – Nashville, TN @ The End

September 27 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle – Back Room

September 28 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery

September 29 – Philadelphia, PA @ Voltage Lounge

September 30 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg*

October 01 – Boston, MA @ Sonia’s Nightclub

October 03 – Montreal, QC @ L’Escogriffe

October 04 – Toronto, ON @ The Hard Luck

October 05 – Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s

October 06 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge

October 07 – Madison, WI @ The Frequency

October 08 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry

October 10 – St. Louis, MO @ Firebird

October 11 – Ames, IA @ Iowa State University – The Maintenance Shop

October 12 – Omaha, NE @ Showdown

October 13 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge

October 14 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court

October 16 – Seattle, WA @ The Vera Project

October 17 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret

October 18 – Portland, OR @ Analog Theater

October 20 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s Night Club

October 21 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel

October 22 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst – Atrium

Tickets for the tour are available now HERE.

Alicia Maciel is a junior at DePaul University studying marketing, music business, public relations, and advertising. Immersing in photography, promotion, interviews, interning at Metro and Notion Presents, managing The Chicago Vibe, curating live music, and plenty more – she hopes to bring innovation to the music scene. “A Chicagoan gal making music personnel personal.”

New Vinyl Releases 9/22/17

  • Balmorhea – Clear Language (Ltd. Ed. White Vinyl)
  • Behind The Shadow Drops – Harmonics
  • Between The Buried And Me – Colors (10th Anniversary Edition)
  • Brant Bjork (of Kyuss) – Europe ’16 (Recorded at The Columbia Theatre November 19, 2016)
  • David Bowie – Heroes (7″ Picture Disc)
  • Phoebe Bridgers – Strangers In The Alps (Ltd. Ed Lavender Vinyl)
  • The Brvnx / The Bronx – V (Color Vinyl)
  • Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas II You
  • Cold Specks – Fool’s Paradise
  • Bing Crosby – Christmas Classics
  • Cut Copy – Haiku From Zero
  • Dead Rider – Crew Licks
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Luciferian Towers
  • Rupert Gregson-Williams – Wonder Woman (Original Motion Picture)
  • Hisato Higuchi – She
  • The Horrors – V
  • Ka Baird – Sapropelic Pycnic
  • The Killers – Wonderful Wonderful
  • Kyle Kinane – Loose In Chicago (Recorded Live at Metro!)
  • Jordan Klassen – Big Intruder
  • Fumio Miyashita – Live on The Boffomundo Show
  • Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun (Standard, ‘Indie exclusive’ Crystal Clear and 3-LP Box Set on Opaque White Vinyl available)
  • Van Morrison – Roll With The Punches
  • Omni – Multi-Task (Ltd. Ed Red Vinyl)
  • Ritual Howls – Their Body
  • The Rolling Stones – Their Satanic Majesties Request (50th Anniversary Edition)
  • Satyricon – Deep Calleth Upon Deep (White Vinyl)
  • Shout Out Louds – Ease My Mind
  • Ringo Starr – I Wanna Be Santa Claus
  • Ben Stevenson – Cara Cara
  • Moses Sumney – Aromanticism
  • Today Is The Day – In The Eyes Of God (1999)
  • Touch Sensitive – Visions
  • Lina Tullgren – Won
  • Various – Once Upon A Time At King Tubby’s
  • Various – Warfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmares (Ltd. to 2000)
  • Wand – Plum (LP and Cassette)
  • Chelsea Wolfe – Hiss Spun (Indie Exclusive on Oxblood and Black Vinyl, Ltd to 1000)
  • Wolves In The Throne Room – Thrice Woven (Clear With Grey Splatter)

LIVE: Bastille Put on a Nostalgic Last Wild, Wild World Tour Show

Bastille took over The Fillmore in Philadelphia last Thursday night to play the last headline show of their sophomore album’s saga.


Kicking things off on the last night of the Wild, Wild World Tour, the Los Angeles duo Frenship took over the Fillmore stage for 45 minutes. Getting by with a little help from their friends in their live band, James Sunderland and Brett Hite performed popular songs like “Carpet” and “Run Wild” from their Truce EP. One of the set’s highlights included their performance of the viral track “Capsize,” which has racked up almost 400 million Spotify streams and features vocalist and songwriter Emily Warren on the studio version. Live, Frenship’s keyboardist and vocalist Celeste steps in to sing Warren’s parts, but the band also had the audience singing along to the catchy chorus as well. The real highlight of the set happened when Bastille crashed the stage during Frenship’s last song “1000 Nights,” which only got the audience more excited for the show that would follow.

 

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James Sunderland and Brett Hite of Frenship

Thirty minutes later, the house lights dimmed, stage lights flickered, and the four members of Bastille made their way onto stage, accompanied by live band member Charlie Barnes. As the opening chords of the brassy and bassy “Send Them Off!” rang out into the Philadelphia venue, cheers erupted from the crowd and lead singer Dan Smith began to sing the lyrics that allude to Shakespeare’s Othello. The set took a brief retrospective turn when the band performed “Laura Palmer” off their debut album, which seems pointedly apt again with the reboot of David Lynch’s cult classic TV show Twin Peaks. Before the bright lights on the stage dimmed to place the spotlight on Smith and his keyboard where he would sing the ironically sombre song “Overjoyed” from the debut album, Smith took a break to call attention to some of the signs held up by fans on the barricade. Bringing one on stage that read “I Totaled My Car Driving Up From DC To Be Here,” Smith asked the fan what had happened, holding out the microphone for her to share her story. He then selected a sign that read “Don’t Blame Me, I Worked 4 Hillary,” which alluded to the band’s song “Blame” and their politically driven song “The Currents,” which cleverly digs at Donald Trump. After the quick detour of “sign related stories,” as Smith called them, the show continued with Smith slightly struggling during “Overjoyed” due to vocal stress and sound issues. Although he remained visibly conscious of his vocals and sound levels during the performance, he pushed through and still delivered the sweeping range required for the song.

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Frontman Dan Smith with one of their fan’s signs

 

The remainder of the set weaved in and out of older tunes and newer ones from Wild World, which just hit its first birthday on September 9th. The fourth song of the night, “Warmth,” acts as a title track almost, with its lyrics containing “Hold me in this wild, wild world” during the chorus. Another true Bastille show staple, Smith left the stage to go sing and dance with the Fillmore audience during their single “Flaws,” another throwback to their first album. While the set contained a mix of Wild World and Bad Blood cuts, the band also sprinkled in a few other surprises. They induced 1990’s nostalgia when they performed their popular mashup cover titled “Of The Night,” which combines “Rhythm of the Night” and “Rhythm is a Dancer” and got the crowd jumping up and down with Smith yet again. “Of The Night” was first released as part of the band’s illegal mixtape called Other People’s Heartache, which contained uncleared samples and cover songs…so the only place to hear these songs are now live or in the deep dark corners of the internet.

 

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Bastille also brought back “The Draw” from their extended album All This Bad Blood, which almost acts as album 1.5, as it contains a full album of never before released songs that came out between the two official full lengths. The biggest nostalgic surprise, however, came when Smith and co performed a beautifully rearranged version of their 2014 single “Bad_News,” which was released both independently as a music video and as a remix on their mixtape entitled VS. (Other People’s Heartache Pt. III). This mixtape containing collaborations with the likes of Haim, Rationale, Lizzo and more is actually legal and can be streamed or purchased on all major platforms. Speaking of collaboration, the set ended with the group’s massive hit “Pompeii,” and this time the tables turned when Frenship crashed the stage to lend some help with the “eh-ohs” and drumming. The band left the stage to a venue ringing with applause and echoing eh-ohs.

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The 19-track setlist did not include Bastille’s latest single “Glory” or another “Wild, Wild World Tour” setlist staple “Lethargy,” probably due to Smith’s vocal strain, but they still managed to fill up 90 minutes and deliver a well-rounded show that contained layers from each saga of Bastille’s career to date. Smith told the crowd they’ll be returning to The States soon with new music, which will include another one of their mixtapes and a new LP within a year’s time. As Bastille’s musical catalog continues to grow, their sound will only grow more diverse and multifaceted, and we can’t wait to hear what they release next.


Check out the full photo gallery of the show below

 

Can’t enough Bastille? Head to the shop to pick up their full version of Wild World or snag it from the webstore here



This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

New Vinyl Releases 9/15/17

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  • Abbath (Immortal) – S/T on Transparent Red/Black Marbled Vinyl w/ Poster (Ltd to 500 copies worldwide)
  • Antibalas – Where The Gods Are In Peace (Limited Color vinyl)
  • Asgeir – Afterglow (Deluxe Pressing on Color Vinyl)
  • Ariel Pink – Dedicated to Bobby Jameson (Deluxe Package w/ Bonus 12″ Picture Disc)
  • Ariel Pink – Dedicated to Bobby Jameson (Blue vinyl, Ltd 4000 & Black)
  • Big Brave – Actor (Clear Vinyl)
  • Courtney Marie Andrews – Honest Life (Coke Bottle Green Vinyl w/ Bonus 7″)
  • Chris Bell – I Am The Cosmos (1992) (Clear Vinyl)
  • Belle Game – Fear / Nothing
  • Belphegor – Totenritual (Bronze with Black Splatter vinyl, Limited to 300)
  • Beyonce – Lemonade (180gram Yellow Vinyl w/ Audio & Film D/L Inserts)
  • Darkthrone – Dark Thrones and Black Flags
  • Deer Tick – Vol. 1 (Red Vinyl)
  • Enisum – Seasons Of Desolation
  • Foo Fighters – Concrete And Gold (2-LP with Etched D-Side)
  • Gigan – Undulating Waves Of Rainbiotic Iridescence
  • Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton – Choir of the Mind 
  • Hank Williams III – Greatest Hits
  • Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions – Son Of A Lady (10″)
  • Hot Water Music – Light It Up (Colored Vinyl)
  • Hugh Mundell – Africa Must Be Free By 1983 (40th Anniversary Reissue)
  • Joywave – Content
  • Lee Ranaldo – Electric Trim 
  • Lindstrom – Tensions (12″ Single)
  • The Lone Bellow – Walk Into A Storm
  • Machine Gun Kelly – Bloom
  • Mike Floss – Tennessee Daydreams
  • Mike Gordon (Phish) – OGOGO (Purple Vinyl)
  • Myrkur – Mareridt (Bone-White Vinyl, Ltd to 400 Copies)
  • Mystery Skulls – One of Us
  • Prince – 4Ever (4-LP Box Set with Exclusive Photo Art Prints)
  • Prophets Of Rage – S/T Debut (Red w/ Black Marble Vinyl)
  • PVRIS – All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell
  • Quinn XCII – The Story of Us
  • Rostam – Half-Light 
  • Seaway – Vacation (Indie Exclusive on Color vinyl, limited to 300)
  • Septic Flesh – Codex Omega on Gatefold Pressing w/Bonus Disc
  • Sir Sly – Don’t You Worry, Honey
  • Son Little – New Magic on Translucent Blue Vinyl w/Download
  • The Soundbyte – Solitary IV
  • Squalus – The Great Fish… (Blood In The Water Splatter Vinyl, Ltd to 300)
  • Washer – All Aboard
  • Whitechapel – The Somatic Defilement (on Cool Gray Marbled Vinyl)
  • Wyclef Jean – Carnival III: The Fall And Rise Of A Refugee

A Chat With: Widowspeak

Indie rock group Widowspeak just released their fourth studio album Expect The Best on August 25th. The Brooklyn-based duo of Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas have been making music together since 2010, but this latest album brings their fullest and most developed sound to date. In support of the new record, the pair and their live band will kick off an extensive North American tour this week, followed by a UK tour. Before the tour hits Chicago, we chatted with Molly Hamilton all about the new album and upcoming tour. Check our chat with Widowspeak now to find out the biggest lesson they’ve learned in their years of making music, what makes this new record different, their ideal night out in NYC, how they prep for tour and more!

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Photo Credit: Shawn Brackbill

Rachel Zyzda: So your new album Expect The Best just came out last month! How did the writing and recording process for this album vary from your previous records?

Widowspeak: For this one, I still wrote the songs separate, from voice memos and notebooks and random ideas pieced together, knowing we would then expand on that and make them more intricate eventually. In the past, it has mostly been Rob figuring the latter part out, but this time we played with the regular touring band in the studio.

RZ: After releasing a few albums and being a band for several years, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as a musician?

Widowspeak: I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is just to be kind to people, which seems obvious, but… We are really laid-back as a band and always super appreciative of people we meet on tour, whether that’s the people running the shows or going to them. We’ve heard stories about other bands, whether ones we know personally or are fans of, being jerks or just generally difficult to work with, and that is a total bummer.  It’s so important to be good to people.

RZ: Where did you find yourself drawing inspiration from for the new songs, whether it be musical or non-musical influences?

Widowspeak: The new songs I wrote sort of in a big batch of them all at once, and I think they are all sort of about feeling stuck in various feelings or states of mind. It’s not uncommon at all to have those sorts of thoughts, but for me personally I wanted to write these songs more directly about that because it was getting increasingly hard to do anything, let alone music. Some of them are more concerned with the symptoms of those feelings, like being unproductive, or looking at social media, and others are about trying to figure out “why.”

RZ: I really love the cover art too, and the limited edition vinyl you put together with the purple lava lamp splatter. How involved are you with the visuals that the band puts out, and how does the cover tie in with the theme of the record?

Widowspeak: I’m usually really involved in the visuals, if not doing everything except the technical layout myself (sometimes, as with our last record, we use someone else’s art). This time, I took the cover photo and all the other photos in my apartment in Tacoma. The lava lamp is actually my stepmom’s that I borrowed (and that broke!) I had this weird feeling that the corner of my apartment, with a lava lamp, should be the record cover and had no idea why, ha.

RZ: Are there any songs from the new record that you’re particularly excited about performing live? Any spoilers you can give about the set for the upcoming tour?

Widowspeak: I’m excited to play all of them, honestly. I feel like because these songs were originally recorded with the band, they are already really full of that energy. Sometimes we have to try to figure out how to play a song live that was more sparse, or where the instruments aren’t represented by the four of us. This time everything feels more natural, also more high-energy. For tour surprises, I will say we are trying to figure out a new cover… hope we get it figured out in time!

RZ: Are there any cities you’re especially looking forward to playing?

Widowspeak: We love playing our respective hometown cities (Seattle/Tacoma, Chicago, Des Moines, Detroit) as well as our new hometowns, NYC and Kingston, NY (upstate), because so many of our friends are there. But it’s also great to play shows anywhere and to be surprised by the people you meet there, or how cool a venue or their staff are. Tour is crazy and full of things you didn’t expect, so I’m just going into it excited to play the songs and hoping the van doesn’t break down.

RZ: Speaking of touring, I saw you recently posted on Facebook about a taking a roadtrip (and tour is essentially one big roadtrip itself), so what are your go-to road trip activities, tunes, and essential snacks?

Widowspeak: Yeah, we got a new tour van which is also a great camper van, and we’re excited to bring it on the road! Generally we listen to a lot of podcasts, especially comedy or science ones, because they tend to be things people can all agree on (but also tune out if they want to). Music-wise, the van has a tape player so I’m excited to bust out the old cassette collection and go foraging in the bins at thrift stores. When we’re on tour we like to research ahead of time to see if there is a must-try local restaurant/food truck/etc. that is around, because no one wants to be figuring out how to eat breakfast from the things they have at a gas station. We try to plan ahead. So we definitely sometimes will go through a National Park or something, if it’s sort of on the way, or we’ll go swimming or thrifting or play pinball.

RZ: Since the album is called Expect The Best and you’re based in Brooklyn, describe what you would consider your best night out in NYC?

Widowspeak: I would say the best night out in NYC definitely involves knowing where to go so you don’t spend too much money, because the city is crazy expensive and it takes finesse and skill to do it right and not be broke. First, getting some snacks somewhere where there is happy hour food. I really love dollar oysters, and there are a bunch of places in Brooklyn that have them. Or honestly just grabbing something from a deli and finding a good spot in the park or something to people-watch. Then I’d say maybe go to someone’s roof if you know someone with a cool roof, unless it’s raining. There’s nothing better than watching the sun set over the skyline and bridges. But that’s kind of where my idea of the perfect evening devolves, because the best NYC night out would be unpredictable and you’d end up a lot of places you didn’t expect, like random apartments and bars you’ve never been to, or other boroughs from where you live. I will say that later, when you’re crawling home, I would get tacos or halal from one of the trucks, depending on where you are. That’s the classic NYC night-ender.

RZ: On a similar note, who are some of your favorite NYC bands at the moment that you would recommend to your listeners?

Widowspeak: Well, we just moved back into town, so I can’t totally speak to any of the newer bands that are just starting out (as we haven’t seen ‘em yet), and also a bunch of the NYC bands are now somewhere-else bands, but EZTV, and also there’s this band Poppies I like, Cut Worms, our friend Renata Zeiguer, who used to be in a band with Rob, is incredible. Other than that there are a bunch I’m not thinking of, I’m really glad to be back in the area though, lots of new bands to hear.



Listen to Expect The Best in full here, or grab the physical record in the shop or on the webstore!

You can also see Widowspeak at The Empty Bottle on 9/13 with Clearance and Luke Henry & Hunnybear. Grab tickets here.


This interview was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine.