Monthly Archives: November 2009

Bring Weezer to Your Campus & Free Album

Weezer fan? If so, you have a great opportunity to bring them to your campus for an exclusive concert with the T-Mobile CLIQ Challenge. It’s pretty easy – visit this Facebook page and enter your college to cast your vote. The college or university with the most votes will welcome Weezer to their campus. The winning school will also get a $1 donation for every vote cast, up to $25,000.

As far as we can tell, the opportunity is there for just about any four-year college or university. So, the more people you tell and get to vote, the better chance your school has.

Also, as a special thanks to Sound Citizen readers, YouCast (who is promoting the contest) is offering a free copy of Weezer’s new album, Ratitude, to one lucky reader. All you need to do is become a fan of Sound Citizen on Facebook. We’ll pick one random fan and send you Raditude. If you’re already a fan on Facebook, you’re already entered!

MOTOROLA CLIQ CHALLENGE

An Interview with Vandaveer

Vandaveer came to our attention just a few weeks ago. We wish it were sooner.

Vandaveer is Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin and, technically, you can call it Folk. But listen to just a song or two and you’ll quickly realize you’re dealing with much more. The duo’s perfectly complimentary melodies disguise Heidinger’s purposeful message in his songs. It’s direct. And the music can very easily stir something inside. It’s powerful and deliberate – there’s no holding back.

You’re going to hear a lot about this band in the coming years. If I sound impressed, that’s because I am. And I haven’t even seen them live yet.

But I will, and so should you. They play Monday, November 23 at Schuba’s in Chicago. Meet me there. Get your tickets here.

Mark was kind enough to take a few minutes to talk with us this weekend. Vandaveer is a touring machine, we caught them in transit, quite literally – Mark was parking their car somewhere in Spokane, Washington when I called. A big thanks to Mark and Vandaveer for talking with us and answering what was probably too many questions.

vandaveerSC: Why folk music? Does it have something to do with hailing from Kentucky?

MCH: Kind of indirectly. My Dad gave his guitar when I was a teenager, and it happened to be an acoustic guitar. I was in a rock band forever. [Mark has been in bands such as The Apparitions and These United States] I think you just write whatever kind of songs come to you, and if they end up being folk songs, they end up being folk songs; if they end up being rock songs they’re rock songs. I think everything you write is a result of your upbringing in an indirect way and in some ways a very direct way. Rose grew up in a very musical family with a lot of traditional folk music in her upbringing.

SC: You seem a little atypical folk. It’s a little dark – is there a reason behind that?

MCH: Maybe … I’m not sure if I know what the reason is. I think a lot has to do with what you personally like to listen to. I like to listen to stuff that I suppose falls on the darker side of things; Nick Cave, that sort of thing. I suppose some of that is a byproduct of your natural inclination to things. I don’t feel like we have dark personalities, but from a songwriting perspective that’s just some of the content I find most appealing.

SC: You guys spend a lot of time in Paris. Does that influence your style?

MCH: Possibly indirectly, but the time in France has been relatively recent. I would say in some ways, I’m sure. But the experience of traveling in Europe definitely has an influence on us – a positive one for the most part.

SC: How does it differ than what you’re familiar with?

MCH: It’s quite different. For one, we do the whole thing by train.
I think various cultures have tendencies to want to explore other cultures. With American music, there has to be a receptive audience in a lot of parts of Europe for something. It’s something that they don’t necessarily get every day.

SC: Where does “Vandaveer” come from?

MCH: It’s a family name, my great grandfather’s middle name, his mother’s maiden name. It’s one of those names passed down from generation to generation on my Dad’s side of the family. It seemed like it made good sense to attach to a musical project.

SC: The song, “A Mighty Leviathan of Old” – it has an upbeat feel to it, but in the video it looks like … you hit a clown with your car? What’s behind that video? [Video below]

MCH: The filmmakers in France put together the script with kind of surreal feel to it. It’s not a literal translation of the song or anything like that. My type of music videos are those not trying to tell you a story directly tied to the song, but as a complimentary story. We didn’t write the script, but we loved the idea when we saw it.

SC: Do you have a planned direction for Vandaveer?

MCH: I think there probably is a place we’re trying to get to … I just don’t know where it is yet. We’re going to start working on a new record on this tour. I’ve got a batch of songs that are going to make up the bulk of that album. But at the end of the day I just want it to be something that I find interesting, that engages me long enough to complete the record. Then you hope it actually can resonate with people who want to listen to it. I don’t know where that place is, but I think you know it when you get there – you don’t exactly have a map or a GPS coordinate.

SC: Are there people out there you’d like to share stages with?

MCH: Sure, lots and lots of people. What we always hope for is to share stages with people who are genuinely good people and fun to hang out with, and whose music we appreciate. But there are a thousand people who fall into that category. There is always your short list of people. But those are usually titans – the Tom Waits of the world, Neal Young, and those kind of people.

SC: You never know, right?

MCH: [laughs] Yeah right! Well, you never know. But it’s best not to hold your breath waiting for something like that to happen.

SC: Did you grow up thinking you’d be a musician on tour?

MCH: I don’t know exactly when I realized I wanted to do this. I guess the more you pluck away at a guitar and write songs, the more time you spend singing them and booking shows. Then shows become weekends full of shows, then weekends become tours. It’s sort of a natural, haphazard progression, I guess.

SC: What can we expect to see in Chicago next week?

MCH: You’ll see a lot of foot-stomping and banging away on the guitar and hopefully two healthy people singing into the microphone as best we can. And hopefully a decent audience to hear it. I love Chicago, and Schuba’s is a great room. Very excited to be back.

Again, thanks to Vandaveer, and please come see their set at Schuba’s on Monday, November 23. In the meantime, check out that clown video, “A Mighty Leviathan of Old,” below. And below that are Vandaveer’s current tour dates.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtvW2u-7x-A&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Nov 15 2009 8:00P Empyrean Coffeehouse Spokane, Washington
Nov 16 2009 8:00P The Great Pacific Pendleton, Oregon
Nov 17 2009 8:00P The Reef Boise, Idaho
Nov 19 2009 8:00P Why Sound Logan, Utah
Nov 20 2009 8:00P Walnut Room Denver, Colorado
Nov 21 2009 9:00P George’s (@ Boulder Theater) Boulder, Colorado
Nov 22 2009 8:00P The Slowdown Omaha, Nebraska
Nov 23 2009 8:00P Schubas Chicago, Illinois
Nov 24 2009 8:00P Bishop Bar Bloomington, Indiana
Nov 25 2009 8:00P Southgate House Newport, Kentucky
Nov 27 2009 8:00P Natasha’s Lexington, Kentucky
Nov 28 2009 8:00P The Basement Nashville, Tennessee
Nov 29 2009 7:30P The Water Heater Roanoke, Virginia

Bands: We’re Podcasting, Featuring YOU!

rockkidWant your band heard by the Sound Citizen community?

So do we.

We’re getting ready to launch Sound Citizen Radio – a weekly podcast featuring kick-ass bands. It’s pretty simple. Each week we will introduce a couple bands. We’ll play your music, tell listeners where to buy it and where they can go see you perform live. Each episode will be featured on SoundCitizen.com and iTunes, available to download.

Here’s what to do: Email soundcitizenmike@gmail.com with mp3′s of your music or a link where I can download an album or songs. And tell us a little about yourselves and the band. That’s it! I’ll take care of the rest. And I won’t give away your music, just broadcast it to our listeners.

We encourage all our readers to go see live music. And we will do the same with our listeners. Help us support the local music scene in your town, get some new fans and spread the rock!

-Mike

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Weezer’s Ratitude: Review and Listen for Free

Weezer just released their latest album, Ratitude. An awesome name for sure, but like so many of Weezer’s latest efforts – it’s just another Weezer album.

It’s going to make for some big radio hits, no doubt. Especially I Can’t Stop Partying, featuring Lil’ Wayne. The Lil’ twist is a good one, but the song also features one of the albums’ downsides – 80′s synth. Weezer seems to have followed the disturbing re-invention of the 80′s trend that seems so popular these days. Listen, the 80′s were fun, but can we please enjoy them from a distance? It took me a long time to get that synthesizer out of my head. I don’t want it back. And honestly, with The Girl Got Hot, I swear I hear the Eagles’ Heartache Tonight. Listen to both, and tell me what you think.

The reality is that Weezer was never better than their first full-length release. In the beginning they brought raw power. The music was simple but had an angry edge that was fun and quirky at the same time. Maybe part of it is that the Weezer blue album is, from beginning to end, one of the greatest rock albums of all time and hard to top. The closest they get on this album is Let it All Hang Out, with lyrics written by Jermaine Dupri.

That’s not to say the album isn’t enjoyable – it is. Weezer is a special band that will one day be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And Rivers Cuomo is a master at delivering a message clearly and with conviction. But the power is gone, and it has been for some time.

But hey – don’t just take my word for it. Have a listen to Raditude for free over at Lala.com. And I suppose I should mention that Weezer tends to be one of those bands that the new stuff doesn’t always strike right away … it grows on you. I’m just saying.

UPDATE: Win a copy of Raditude for free!

By the way, Raditude is selling on Amazon.com as an MP3 right now for just $3.99. The CD is going for $9.99 and a Raditude deluxe album is selling for $13.99. Vinyl is also available.

Below are Weezer’s current tour dates.

Nov 5 2009 7:00P Hot Topic (in-store signing) Los Angeles, California
Nov 6 2009 6:00P Tilly’s – Irvine Spectrum (in store signing) Irvine, California
Nov 7 2009 7:00P Best Buy – Chino Hills (in store signing) Chino Hills, California
Dec 1 2009 7:00P Aragon Ballroom Chicago, Illinois
Dec 3 2009 7:00P Eagles Ballroom Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Dec 5 2009 7:00P Air Canada Center Toronto, Ontario
Dec 7 2009 7:00P Agganis Arena Boston, Massachusetts
Dec 9 2009 7:00P Patriot Center Washington DC, Washington DC
Dec 10 2009 7:00P Susquehanna Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

FREE Music from Lost Highway Records

Yep, Lost Highway Records is giving away a sampler of T for Texas, T From Tennessee available as a download from Amazon.com.

What you’ll get is six tunes, from Ryan Bingham, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Hayes Carll and a Sound Citizen favorite, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears.

Read our review, watch our interview with Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears.

You can download the free music right here.

Thanks to Lost Highway Records – a fantastic label who also represents Lucinda Williams, the late Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison and many other greats.