Amy Regan, you is awesome!

•March 2, 2009 • 1 Comment

Hailing originally from New Jersey (yes, we will refrain from any Jersey jokes, we promise!), Amy Regan has a smooth, bluesy voice with a slight kick of soul. She grew up singing and playing piano, and like every musician worth her salt, picked up guitar along the way, developed some pretty neat songwriting chops, and started packing the house whenever she plays in various NYC venues, such as Rockwood Music Hall and the Living Room.

In fact, you’re in luck, because not only is she playing at the Red Lion in March, she’ll be throwing down at Rockwood on Saturday, April 4th at 4:00pm. And you can’t say we’re not giving you enough notice, so ink it down in your calendar, and we’ll see you in April for a 2-for-1 drink special and some Amy Regan tunes at Rockwood.

Amyhello

YouIsAwesome: What’s your least favorite curse word?
Amy Regan: That would have to be bitch…always seems sexist to me.

YIA: What would you say was the overall theme of the album you recorded at 15?
AR: I would say there are two themes intertwined…half the songs chronicle a relationship I was in at the time, starting with innocent songs of young love, then feelings of anger and betrayal when he immaturely broke up with me OVER E-MAIL (this detail was thankfully not included in the song), and ending with the peace I came to about moving on. The other theme was my love for music, and all of the aspirations and uncertainties that came along with it — there was a song about the freedom that music gave me, one about my undying dedication to it, and also a song that depicts what my life might be like as a “starving” artist.

YIA: If you had it your way, would we all still be listening to vinyls?
AR: I wouldn’t want vinyls to disappear, but I have to admit there is sometimes a certain charm to the iPod age…being able to have all of your favorite albums in the palm of your hand, and when shuffle seems to predict your mood, handing you all the right songs at all the right times…it makes you wonder if Apple is really more magical than we already know they are.

YIA: Of the three daughters of King Lear, Cordelia is the good one and Regan and Goneril the bad ones…
AR: Amy Cordelia has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? =) Hmm….I think I’ll stick with Amy Regan. I can be a bad girl… 😉

YIA: If you had black hair, would you wear black boots more often?
AR: Maybe, maybe not. I do wear brown a lot because it works well with my coloring, but I also just really like earth tones.

YIA: And Then There is This is the title of your EP. Hmm…What’s “This”?
AR: And Then There Is This is the title of the last song on my EP — the lyric goes: “In all I don’t know at least I know one thing/ There is everything I’ve been that never mattered/ And then there is this.” It’s referring to my music…how much it is part of my identity, and my passion for life.

YIA: Marry, sleep with, kill, Joizy edition: Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, Bon Jovi.
AR: Bruce Springsteen and I share the same birthday…so does that mean we’d make a horrible married couple? Either way, I’d like to get to know him. I’ve found astrology to be eerily accurate so I’m thinking we’d have a lot in common. And I might be tempted to sleep with Sinatra if he sang I Got You Under My Skin to me in the early days. And as for the killing…I have a hard time with killing. I’m the kind of person can’t kill a spider — when I find one. I let it crawl on a piece of paper and then carefully carry it out to the balcony, the whole time assuring it…”It’s ok…I’m just going to put you outside.” So Bon Jovi gets a break on this one.

YIA: Just how bitter do you think The Bitter End is?
AR: Not very…I just saw that Ryan Cabrera is going to play there this week. Remember…Ashlee Simpson’s boyfriend? Isn’t that crazy?

YIA: What would the world be like without computers?
AR: I think we would all have a little more time to breathe and think and not always be so consumed with checking out email or updating our Facebook status. But on the other hand, we would have a lot more unanswered questions because we wouldn’t be able to Google anything and everything we ever wondered about. And from a more practical standpoint, I would have a REALLY hard time promoting my shows without email, MySpace, and Facebook.

An Horse

•February 22, 2009 • 2 Comments

Hello and welcome to our new initiative here at You is Awesome, in which we turn the tables and ask you the hard-hitting, relevant question: “Why aren’t you listening/watching/enjoying ________ RIGHT NOW?”

So tonight, we ask “Why aren’t you listening to An Horse right now?”. We apologize, of course, if you are indeed listening to An Horse right now, and if you are, well, congratulations and keep right on listening! If not, please click on one of the links above or check out the video below, in which Kate Cooper and Damon Cox play an acoustic version of the very, very rad Camp Out, and indulge in this awesome Australian rock/pop duo.

For those of us Stateside, we’re in luck, as they just so happen to be hopping over to our side of the world in late February and will be touring through late April. Check out the tour dates here and in the meantime, enjoy some more of this grammatically correct band.

Now on a serious note, we can’t mention Australia without drawing attention to the devastating wildfires. If you’re able, here’s a link to donate to the Australian Red Cross.

Modal Kombat, you is awesome!

•January 30, 2009 • 1 Comment

So, for the first time ever, You is Awesome is going solo. There’ll be no update to I LOVE Your Clothes, but that’s because for the first time ever, we’re featuring two guys who play video games with a guitar.

Now, it would be easy for us to call Modal Kombat “real life guitar heroes” or some other cheesy play off of the Guitar Hero phenomenon, but that would be serving them a real injustice. Besides being two ridiculously talented guitarists, David Hindman and Evan Drummond literally play Mortal Kombat, amongst other video games, using their guitars as controllers. Yeah, seriously. Guitar Hero can go suck it. Check them out in action:

YouIsAwesome: What’s your least favorite curse word?
David: *@&#(*$ !
Evan: I really do not like a curse words that are censored. I mean I really F*cking hate when “they” decide Sh*t, F*ck, *ss, B*tch, (to name a few) need to be altered with some random symbol. Like people can’t figure out that F*ck is F*ck because of some asterisk. I mean it is a F*cking *ssault to people who lack the abilities to put things together. I mean really, we all get it, shouldn’t they?

YIA: What’s your least favorite video game?
D: That is a tough question, because I usually don’t spend much time with games I don’t like. So I can mention some of my favorites:
Castlevania, All MarioKart versions, all the Zeldas, Grand Theft Autos, Mortal Kombats.
E: Pretty much all the games I suck at!

YIA: What is it, exactly, that makes Modal Kombat so special?
D: Modal Kombat is special because we are using real musical instruments to play existing video games. It is a new kind of performance/public spectacle that combines the best elements of dueling guitars and video game competitions.
E: Well Da** and I no longer ride a short bus to gigs (I know, throw me a bone here- I am out of wine), but to answer the question, I think it is our genuine disdain for each other. I know that secretly (no longer a secret) we are slowly poisoning each other with beer, hope, and other Spirits. That being said D*ve and I both truly believe in this project. How cool is it that we have figured out to incorporate into “live” performance Video ga**s, violence (virtual and verbal), guitar, and music! There is only one thing missing (if you know what it is….dirty) but it is truly a fun time for all that come, including us.

YIA: Which guitar technique do you prefer to use the most when dueling it out live?
D: I use the tremolo technique because it allows me to trigger punches very quickly. I’m not sure what Evan uses. But he usually loses anyway so I guess it doesn’t matter so much.
E: That is an easy one, the J*sus technique. You all know what I am talking about!

YIA: Why choose Mortal Kombat? Why not, say, Frogger? Your name could’ve been Phrogger!
D: Mortal Kombat was the first game that came to mind after making the basic technology that allows us to control the games with guitars. Using Mortal Kombat is the clearest way to display both dueling guitars and dueling video game characters simultaneously. It is also a widely recognized game, so we don’t have to spend time explaining the game, usually. For a one-on-one guitar/video game battle, using Mortal Kombat was a no-brainer.

Frogger might actually be a good one to try, though come to think of it.
E: Hmm….. I just met with the board and Modal Kombat will now and forever be named Phrodal *umbat. Well until they vote me off the Island, b*st*rds!

YIA: Do you guys spend hours at a time laughing in the faces of people who use regular controllers?
D: The opposite. Most of the time it’s like “why are we using guitars?” It’s so much harder to play games with guitars.
E: Can’t remember, I am usually blacked out!

YIA: What do you guys think of that Heidi Klum director’s cut Guitar Hero commercial? (Just a warning: Depending on where you work, this video might not be safe for work. Of course, if it isn’t, you must work at an awfully draconian institution…which means we also won’t be watching this video at work.)

D: I don’t know. I don’t watch anything with a T or above ESRB content rating. Once I saw that at the beginning, I had to turn it off… sorry.
E: I think it’s cool that the general public is interested in replicating their favorite songs. I think it goes perfectly in tandem with American Idol. After all American Idol is basically a television show based on who can Karaoke the best (sh*t, just got an email from the board, American Idol is the greatest thing since sliced bread and I do in fact “truly” believe that). But honestly I think Guitar Hero is a great game for rhythm. Anyone who thinks they will learn the guitar by playing that game call me, I have some ocean-front property for sale in Montana. So to not answer your question I love Heidi Klum and hope to one day to look like her???

YIA: Do you guys feel as if you’re doing what you were put on this earth to do?
D: I search my soul and try and find more meaning in my life than playing video games with guitars, and then I realize that there isn’t any more meaning. That’s all there is. It’s either sad, ridiculous, stupid… probably all of the above.
E: Yes, to be serious for a second, I have a fantastic life! I have the greatest friends anyone could ask for, I have fantastic students who keep me on my toes and really force me to push myself as a teacher, I am involved with this incredible challenging but cool project as well as others, and most importantly… I am playing the guitar.

YIA: Can you guys make it so that people can play Guitar Hero with actual guitars?…because then when people think that they can play real guitar from playing loads of Guitar Hero, they’ll actually be able to really play the guitar.
D: It’s totally possible… but do you really want to play guitar hero?
E: See question 7. B*t to answer the question, I think Dave and I have spent some time talking about this very thing… I don’t know if it would be worth the effort to put “it” on guitar hero. I think there is an endless world of possibilities for music education but those games would have to serve a purpose and have a goal. Guitar Hero is just a series of colors that you have to hit at the right time. There is intrinsically no musical advantage or forward progress in Guitar Hero other then gaining a stronger sense of rhythm. I know I sound like a playa hata, but as they say hate the game not the playa.

P.S. or better known as Post Script: If you haven’t already, go watch the episode of South Park where they deal with Guitar Hero, Brilliant!

YIA: Are people still reading this?
E: If so, then sorry. I spend a lot of time by myself (f*cking court system), so when I get a chance to rant freely on the “Internets” then I can’t help myself. But I truly hope that all who read this inflated and questionably (you fill in the blank) rant come to our shows. They are a great time and we always love new feedback. So shameless as this is I hope to see you at our next show. As they say, WWJD?

Randi Russo, you is awesome!

•January 1, 2009 • Comments Off on Randi Russo, you is awesome!

Hello and welcome to 2009! Wow. Soon we’ll be out of the ’00s and into the ’10s.

Get the year started off right with none other than Randi Russo, the one person in the world who will want to make you drop what you’re doing, dip your feet in paint, and dance. (As weird as that sounds, it makes sense, we promise!)

She writes, sings, plays a mean guitar, and wields a powerful paintbrush. You might even call her a female Joseph Arthur. Read on, and see for yourself. And while you can hear some tracks off Randi’s MySpace, wiggle on over to I LOVE Your Clothes for more on this hypnotic artist.

randi

YouIsAwesome: What’s your least favorite curse word?
Randi Russo: I have to say that there really aren’t any curse words I find offensive …unless they’re overused within a sentence or said with the intent of hurling a personal insult. All curse words can be used playfully or even in the most pedestrian ways.

YIA: Do you prefer, for yourself, dreads or your normal hair?
RR: Hmm, I guess normal hair. I still like the look of dreads… I just think they look better on others. At least I’ve done it once, so if I die, I’ll have a better chance of meeting Jah.

YIA: Do you prefer, on others, dreads or their normal hair?
RR: Mostly prefer normal hair on others. Dreads look great on some people though. I’m not much of a “salon-dread” lover — I don’t like them when they look too polished and sleek.

YIA: Is being a “guitar goddess” a heavy burden?
RR: Ha! Yeah, only because when you’re called one in the press and you don’t live up to it, you got a lot of explaining to do — and not with words but performance …and I don’t always hit the mark. I guess you gotta own something like that when someone says that about you. It’s a heavier burden when you don’t own it.

YIA: We know what happens when you flip a righty guitar and play southpaw: awesome songs. What do you think happens when you play a lefty guitar as a righty?
RR: Well, I’ve tried it and it’s not so good! I guess clipping my fingernails on my left-hand would help matters though.

YIA: So music is dancing on your paintings. Have you ever considered dancing on your music with paint?
RR: That reminds me of what someone posted on my MySpace page in response to my quote. He wrote something to the effect of, “I hear paintings dancing inside your music.” I wish I came up with that. And now you’ve even taken it a step further… now dancing on music with paint! Are we out of permutations at this point? …because I think you just blew my mind.

YIA: What’s more cathartic: writing a song, or painting a…painting?
RR: Painting a song is best but doesn’t happen as often these days. Seriously though, it just depends on the day, the mood, etc. If I think the painting or the song is coming out good, it charges me up. Music’s cathartic effect is much more immediate. Painting’s cathartic effect is slower but much more longer-lasting. If I play a song live or hear the recording of a song hundreds of times, it loses that punch that it gave me when I first wrote it. Yet, when I look at an old painting, I can still get some kind of joy and release from it years later.

YIA: What’s the way to a boy’s heart?
RR: Oh goodness… you shouldn’t come to me for relationship advice! After all, I’d probably say something boring like, “Be yourself” (which, by the way, is what I’d say).

YIA: How is touring the UK/Europe better (or worse!) than touring the US?
RR: Better. The audiences are better… much more appreciative, nicer, attentive, enthusiastic. For the most part, I just feel a higher level of respect over there.

YIA: You’re considered anti-folk. What else are you against? *giggle*
RR: That’s funny… as you know, anti-folk isn’t against folk music but is folk music that, at its best, cuts the head off of the hydra of mediocrity. Unfortunately, those heads keep growing back! As far as what I’m against, well, there are too many to list. To sum up it all up neatly with a word, I’d say I’m anti-dishonesty, whether that involves realms that are political or personal.

Jen Stock, you is awesome!

•December 11, 2008 • 1 Comment

In the hour and a half or so that we spent with Jen Stock, we learned a lot of really interesting things about her: you can set your watch to the frequency of her hiccups (one per hour), she has a real passion and thirst for knowledge, and she’s smart as a whip. What we weren’t able to do, however, was categorize her. (Yes, we do subscribe to the fact that there are things that defy categorization and very well should, but for the sake of keeping an organized blog, categories is awesome.)

So here’s our checklist, which we made once and checked twice. Ha! Getting into the holiday spirit…Anyway, Jen is a composer. Check. She is a curator. Check. She is an artist working with found sounds, images, instrumental, and video. Check. She is a software writer-engineer thingy. Check. She’s from Indianapolis. Check.

OK, so that last one didn’t really need to be in there, but there you have it: Jen Stock defies categorization, just as her art form does. She’s playing the vBrooklyn video festival on Saturday, December 13th, so go check her show out and decide for yourself. In the meantime, mosey on over to I LOVE Your Clothes, where we learn why feathers and clothing from foreign countries don’t mix well.

YouIsAwesome: What’s your least favorite curse word?
Jen Stock: I like most curse words when used appropriately, so this is a tough one. I just Googled a list of curse words to get some ideas and saw “butt plug” listed. That doesn’t seem very useful. I think what makes a curse word good or bad for me is its context. Obviously any curse word that’s used in a derogatory sense I don’t like; ditto when people use them so much they become verbal crutches. But for example my mom, who is the most ladylike and polite person in the history of the universe, will occasionally unveil a brilliantly timed curse word, with all the proper inflections, and that I think is awesome. So to sum up, probably “Butt Plug” is my least favorite.

YIA: Have you heard that the MTA is considering cutting the Z line?
JS: I’m OK with that as long as the J and M keep running. Looking at Brooklyn and Queens from the windows of the JMZ is one of my great New York experiences, but I’ve never actually taken the Z train.

Editor’s Note: And at the very least, your piece, JMZ, will sort of stand as a momument in history to the, ahem, glorious Z train.

YIA: Let’s pretend it’s 1940. What would you do without computer software?!
JS: I would make installations for public spaces that filter light and water and put them everywhere. I’d try to be some eclectic cross between Louis Kahn, Tord Boontje, Andy Goldsworthy, and Banksy. I’d like to leave huge constructions of glass and white stone in parks and courtyards, quietly, always at night and anonymously, so that when people wake up and go to work, or on a walk, or look at the window, they’d see these elegant and enigmatic Stonehenge-like objects. Then popular opinion could decide if they stay — they’d either work, or they wouldn’t, but at any rate it would hopefully add some visual interest to everyone’s day.

Editor’s Note: Hmm…Maybe you should do it anyway! Brooklyn, prepare for some Kahn-Boontje-Goldsworthy-Bansky-Stock awesomeness!

YIA: Would you rather never work with found sounds ever again or never work with a piano ever again?
JS: Never work with found sounds again. Nothing beats the beauty of a piano. And besides, without the piano, I wouldn’t be a composer. I absolutely stink at playing piano in public, but I’ve had a piano since I was eight, and my earliest memories of music are sitting behind it. In fact, the first ten years of my musical life had relatively little to do with recorded sound and everything to do with sitting at the piano. I started composing to evade the boredom of Czerny exercises and the like, which I was supposed to practice every week.

I know I make a big deal out of using found sounds in my own compositions, but I always want to integrate the found sounds with pitched material. The band the Books is pretty much the perfect example of how I aspire to use found sounds: patterning the found sounds into grooves and ostinati that can be interwoven with beautiful melodies.

YIA: When using a public restroom, do you kick flush?
JS: No, but I kind of admire women that do. Very assertive. I picture a lady in stiletto boots doing this, impatiently, just before she goes out to kick some butt in a heist or something.

YIA: Do you think you could make music out of a donkey neighing into the body of a banjo?
JS: Yeah, sure. First, I would make sure that no donkeys were injured in the making of the sound, of course. I have to wonder where I would get a donkey and how I could get him/her into my apartment where all my equipment is without anybody noticing. Sounds like a good idea.

YIA: A laptop that You is Awesome works off of has been in our possession for nearly four years now and it takes about 87 minutes to start up and sometimes it makes noises as of yet unheard by man. What do you suggest we do?
JS: I have had a couple older, sluggish laptops in the past, and usually a couple of slaps does the trick. You can try coaxing, of course, but I find ultimately it’s best to be direct.

YIA: Do you think you could make music out of our laptop noises?
JS: Heck yes. Especially if they are as yet unheard of — I’m very interested in obscure sounds.

YIA: What were you put on this earth to accomplish?
JS: Well, to sum up, I don’t actually know. Hopefully just to live life as graciously and as compassionately as possible.

In terms of my work, what I’d like to do is create composites of sound and image that could be shared in public spaces of all kinds. I’d especially like to work with architects and create installations that are intended as integral parts of buildings and outdoor spaces. I’d like to write songs with found sound grooves, and collage text, image, and sound for online consumption — I have in mind a kind of visual journal, a way of capturing the beauty of the everyday and using the computer and the internet as a means of sharing it.

The Middle Eight, you is awesome!

•December 1, 2008 • 1 Comment

In honor of The Middle Eight‘s own comparison of themselves to a “London bridge”, You is Awesome has written them a song, sung to the tune of London Bridge is Falling Down:

The Middle Eight is really great
Really great, really great.
The Middle Eight is really great
Those fair laddies.

…OK, don’t all applaud at once now. We know, we know, we should leave the songwriting to the pros, but our song can’t be faulted for dishonesty; after all, The Middle Eight is pretty darn great. With a new EP dropping in 2009 and two songs featured in The Rebound, an upcoming movie starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha, the rest of the world will soon agree.

But wait! I LOVE Your Clothes will give you even more Middle Eight greatness, including a truly inspired haiku about jeans. The world of denim will never be the same again.

where'sthecamera?!
From left to right: Dave, Steven, Matt, Jason, Tallin

YouIsAwesome: What’s your least favorite curse word?
Steve: I hate all curse words except sucka. Is that a curse? I like to call people that. Sucka sucka!
Tallin: Cursing is bad, unless it’s funny, then anything is allowed.
Jason: I’ll leave that to Steve.

YIA: What’s the best middle eight you guys have ever heard?
Matt: One of my favorite middle eights is in Hanging By a Thread by Nickel Creek. It’s a complete harmonic departure from anything relatively close to normal, all woven together perfectly by a beautiful understated melody. Not to toot our own horn (which ironically typically precedes the tooting of one’s own horn), but I really, really, enjoy the way we perform the middle eight to our own Not I in live shows.
Steve: Any bridge by The Beatles. They define middle eights. Stevie Wonder wrote great bridges too. And Miles Davis’ B section on So What. It’s just a half step up but oh so beautiful to improvise over that Coltrane sped it up and would solo over it for maybe 40 choruses. I like to think that all of our “middle eights” in our songs are kind of unique and probably one of our defining features. We don’t write bridges the same way every time. Every time they are different.
Dave: Yeah, and I think that’s one of the things that makes our music great is that not only are our middle eights different from one another, but each song has its own distinct sound and mood. We keep things interesting for the audience. I think especially the mid and later Beatles’ albums like Revolver and Sgt. Pepper are some of our biggest influences in this area.
Tallin: I like the Brooklyn Bridge the best because you can see the Statue of Liberty from it rather well.
Jason: I prefer longer bridges than your typical 8 bar bridge. I also like songs with unconventional structures as well. I don’t know if it’s a self fulfilling prophecy with our name and all but there is definitely a lot of focus on the middle sections of all our songs. It always ends up being an area of experimentation.

Editor’s Note: It’s OK Tallin, we like the Brooklyn Bridge, too!

YIA: What’s cooler: shooting your music for a movie or shooting a music video?
Steve: Probably a movie because there are literally hundreds of people standing around cheering for you even when you don’t play a note. We must be really hot! The music videos are more fun because we get to be actors playing addicts or lovers in parallel worlds. I can’t wait for the next two coming out. They will rock your worlds.
Dave: Definitely a movie, I’d say. It’s not so often that we get a chance to be part of something so large-scale. Not to mention all the new fans we can get!
Tallin: Playing live.
Jason: The movie was a surreal experience. The videos are really fun to make as well.

YIA:If Catherine Zeta-Jones moved in next door, would you be her rebound?
Steve: Only if I was single then she would be MY rebound. Shooooot.
Dave: I really see no problem with age difference…
Tallin: I heard she likes the younger men…

YIA: Barack Obama or Joe Biden: Who would be more likely to buy a copy of your new EP, dropping in early 2009?
Tallin: We have a new EP?
Matt: FACT: Sarah Palin made an unsuccessful attempt to ban the mere thought of our new EP because of the powerful emotions that it elicits. But to answer the question, Biden will buy the hardcopy, and Barack will buy the digital download. He’s hip like that.
Jason: I think they’ll both be at the release party so If anyone is interested they should come down as well…

Editor’s Note: OK folks, you heard it here from Jason first: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be at The Middle Eight’s EP release party in oh nine. Ha! This is how rumors start.

YIA: Do you guys think Jason looks like Ben Edgar, Missy Higgins’s guitarist?
BenvsJason

Steve: No he looks like Mick Jagger with a beard, an honest smile, and awkward walk.
Tallin: Who?
Jason: I get Jim Morrison or Mick Jagger.
Matt: I think if Teddy Roosevelt would have worn a top hat, he would have looked exactly like Mr. Peanut.
Dave: Mr. Peanut doesn’t have a mustache…but Jason does.

YIA: There’s five of you. Does that make your music 5x better?
Steve:It’s the combination of us five that makes our music infinitely better. It is however, 5X sexier. Instead of XXX it’s like XXXXX. Watch out ladies!
Tallin: As a math major I must tell you that 5 times XXX is XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
Matt: We are exponential morons. Therefore, we are 3125 times more awesome than ourselves.

threefifty duo Giveaway Winner Announced!

•December 1, 2008 • Comments Off on threefifty duo Giveaway Winner Announced!

So, in the end, headband lost to naked forehead.

But let us rejoice for those who do not like the headband (we won’t reveal which side we fell on), and let us rejoice for Jane, winner of our very first sweepstakes/giveaway thingy ever!

Stay tuned for a new interview featuring The Middle Eight in a few hours!