ARTIST INTERVIEW :: Letting Up Despite Great Faults


Photos by: Olivia Hermaratanatorn
I just got into Letting Up Despite Great Faults just last week after I posted their new video for “Our Younger Noise.” I’ve been exclusively listening to their self-titled since then. The album is fantastic as I’ve said before… You gotta give it a listen if you haven’t already. Here’s a little Q & A I had last week with LUDGF’s singer/songwriter Michael Lee along with a couple of my favorite songs off the album:

“In Steps”

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“The Colors Aren’t You Or Me”

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Newdust: One of the first things I noticed the first time I heard your self-titled was its distorted & fuzzy-reverbed goodness. I was instantly reminded of My Bloody Valentine…but you take that shoegaze-y sound and lighten it up; it’s much more poppy. Did MBV have any influence on your sound? Who are some other influences?






LUDGF: MBV was a definite influence but, as you noticed, we have a lot of different influences too. I grew up listening to a lot of indiepop bands like Velocity Girl and Papas Fritas, but also listened to noisy guitar driven stuff like Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Then there was Brian Eno, The Orb, and Daft Punk using tons of inorganic sounds to create awesomeness. It’s really too many to name. New Order, The Smiths, Lush, Black Tambourine, Slowdive, Boards of Canada, DJ Shadow, Pinback, Labrador Records, Morr Music… We might be a little scatter brain trying to fit all sounds we love into 4 minute pop songs, but we enjoy doing it.
ND: Your songs remind me of those rainy days when you’ve got absolutely no plans but to stay inside and enjoy the rainfall. How do you feel your sound has developed and aged since Letting Up’s 2006 Movement EP?
LUDGF: It’s become more hopeful. Definitely brighter, but not still without your moments of doubt, haze, and melancholy. Technically we use more electric guitars which cuts through a lot differently than an acoustic would. We also added some female vocals to song which I think really adds an important texture we didn’t have before.
ND: How was the recording process for this album? Was this a DIY release?
LUDGF: A lot of it was recorded on the fly. If I came up with an idea, I’d record it and most of the time I used the first take for the final cut of the song. Most of the painstaking part was how much time it took to process things like running guitars and synths through different effects. And yes, this is a self-release. There are a lot of pitfalls and walls you inevitably run into when self-releasing, but it’s definitely a very personal and ultimately rewarding experience.
ND: You guys just finished up @ SXSW. How was it? Was this Letting Up’s first?
LUDGF: Yes, our first time and it was great. We definitely want to go back next year. First off, Austin is a fabulous city and everyone there was very open and friendly. It seemed like no one really had an agenda other than to just have a good time and hopefully hear some good music. It’s also hilarious to me seeing so many band vans on one street. Us bands are a dime a dozen people!
ND: What’s next for you guys? Will you be hitting the road again or is there another album in the works?
LUDGF: We are working on some new songs and will concentrate playing the west coast during our writing stages. We want the next release to be incredibly meticulous, but hopefully that won’t slow us down too much. We’ve been through a lot of crazy adventures since our last release and we have a lot of new sounds we want to explore as well. We’re always trying to move forward with our music and we’re very excited about what’s to come.
ND: Give me two bands that Newdust readers have to check out.
LUDGF: Only 2!? Surfer Blood is an obvious choice, but still alot of people haven’t heard. DO IT ALREADY. An older artist who you’ll probably never hear about is Color Filter from Japan. Their EP was on heavy rotation for me back in 1999.
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Electric Saturdays : Body Language, Cinnamon Chasers

Apr 10th, 2010 : by :: Tags: , ,

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Artist: Body Language
Song: Work This City.mp3
Album: Speaks

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Artist: Cinnamon Chasers
Song: Your Heart Isn’t Open Anymore.mp3
Album: A Million Miles From Home
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Reno Bo – Happenings And Other Things

Apr 9th, 2010 : by :: Tags:

There is no other way to describe Nashville’s Reno Bo but as unadulterated rock n’ roll – with classic guitar riffs and vocals sometimes soothing, sometimes gruff (think classic rock meets Dave Grohl). His debut album Happenings and Other Things features 11 catchy tracks suitable for any rock n’ roll junkie. On April 20th he’ll be releasing a music video for the first single off the album, “There’s a Light”, which he drew and animated himself. We had the chance to get a sneak peak at this, and trust me, it is definitely worth checking out.

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Artist: Reno Bo
Album: Happenings And Other Things
Song: You Dont Know.mp3
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Laughing Man – Mood and Dress

Apr 8th, 2010 : by :: Tags:

Laughing Man is a band that exists somewhere between the eery yet comforting crooning of Devendra Banhart and the rock n’ roll sensibilities of someone like The Brian Jonestown Massacre.  This song “Mood and Dress” has been on repeat at my office for the past few days and the more you listen to it the more you love it.  Enjoy!

ATTN DC: Laughing Man is playing with several other DC and NYC bands this Saturday April 10th at the Done and Done festival (Facebook Event).  Be there!

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Artist: Laughing Man Song: Mood and Dress
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MillionYoung :: Feel The Same

Apr 7th, 2010 : by :: Tags: , , , ,

MillionYoung makes electronic music that at times can be quite the 80s dance number; other times it’s a hypnotic tribal boogie. “Feel The Same,” released in between his latest EPs, Be So True & Sunndreamm, seems to be a good mix of the two sounds. Me likey.

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Artist: MillionYoung Song: Feel The Same.mp3
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ARTIST INTERVIEW :: Blithe Field

Apr 6th, 2010 : by :: Tags: , ,
I decided after last week’s post that the Blithe Field / Newdust relationship was missing something. And so spawned this interview. I got some really sweet answers from Mr. Spencer Radcliffe regarding his live show, his latest album Beautiful Wave ’74, and much more. Here are two more tracks off BW’74, of which you can stream and purchase on his Bandcamp page, or you can buy the handmade CD for $3 directly through the Messy Life Records website.

“My Fins”

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“Thank You French Fry”

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Newdust: So how did Blithe Field get started, and is there a story behind the name?




Spencer Radcliffe: In 2006 I was making instrumental music that had more of a full band sound. I would just write a song then record guitar, then drums, then violin, keyboard, and have a song. I really wanted to be in a band but I always had these ideas that I couldn’t articulate to other people, and I always wanted it to sound just how it did in my head, you know? Then in the summer of 2007 one of my really good friends/seasonal band mate Jack got a sampler and soon after that I followed in his footsteps. I started making more loop based stuff. Eventually I played my first show and two of my friends starting a cassette label wanted me to release something so I decided on the name then for good.

Blithe Field is the name of a fictional place where a great American poet once found his inspiration. All I can tell you is that it is 300 miles away from the Painted Gorge.
ND: What kind of equipment do you use?
SR: I use a Roland SP-404 and SP-303, guitars, melodica occasionally, random keyboards, and anything else I can find.
ND: What’s the story behind Beautiful Wave ’74? Are there any underlying themes?
SR: The album’s title came from a story one of my best friends was telling over breakfast with my girlfriend and me. He told us about a T-shirt his friend had brought him back from Japan that had all of these very poorly translated phrases and sayings on them, one of which was “beautiful wave ’74.” I instantly knew that was the perfect title for the album I was working on and we all really liked it, so it stuck.

To me, the album is mostly about time, not in a minutes and seconds way, but time in a broader sense. Time passing, time stopping (or seeming to anyways), and the blur of it all. It is about my fondness for the people I love and how time makes me appreciate them.
ND: How does your live show differ from your recorded performances?
SR: When I play live, I don’t sequence stuff so it is all played sample by sample on pads and that leaves a lot of room for improvisation at ends and beginnings of songs. Another difference is that stuff tends to be longer or shorter than it is on albums, just because sometimes I am really into something, or a song can just rub me the wrong way and I will end it early. Also I like to thrown in different stuff live, like extra chord progressions or a reference from an old song, just to keep people interested. Messing up leads to that too sometimes, but that is a nice thing about sample based music, you can accidently hit the wrong pad but it still usually sounds pretty cool or sometimes even better.
ND: Your music has almost a comforting nostalgia behind it’s sound, do you try to create that feeling in your music or does it just come naturally?
SR: I think what gives it that feeling is the fact that memories are what inspire most my songs. Whether it is fond childhood memories or something that just happened to me a month ago, when I make a song it is usually out of the desire to take myself back to that moment. So really, when I am making stuff, I am looking for sounds that make me feel like I am there. In a sense I am purposely doing it, but at the same time, making music and feeling that way go hand in hand for me.
ND: Who are some of your musical influences?
SR: Both of my parents really love Pink Floyd so that was one of the first bands I was exposed to that could really lasting feelings with music and I still sometimes think “well what would Pink Floyd do here?” when I am stuck. The Wall taught me early on how big of a role speech can play in music. The same goes for Neil Young, especially when writing guitar parts, I have a lot of “what would Neil Young do?” moments. As for more recent stuff, Modest Mouse, Tarentel, and Fridge are a few of my all time favorite bands. I am a big fan of The Books, which is a question I get asked a lot. “Beat Romantic” by Talkdemonic, “Start Breaking My Heart,” by Manitoba and the Boats’ “Songs by the Sea” all had a really important part in how I came to make music and are still three of my all-time favorite albums.
ND: Give Newdust readers two artists/bands they need to check out.
SR: Injury Sheets and M Coffier, two very good friends of mine who I can never stop listening to.
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Loose Lips – Do You Still Run

Apr 5th, 2010 : by :: Tags: ,

So I wanted to take a quick minute and highlight a band I got to meet a couple of weeks ago.  (I think its fair to say that if you like Interpol, you will dig this band)  Loose Lips is from DC and they are actually playing this Saturday April 10th at the Done and Done festival (Facebook Event).  I will talk more Done and Done later in the week…  As far as I know Loose Lips is working on some stuff and promised me we would here more from them soon.  Enjoy!

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Artist: Loose Lips Song: Do You Still Run.mp3
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