Feature: The Echo and The Sound

The Echo and The Sound

The Echo and The Sound

Here’s something you wont hear many music journalists say…everything that’s to be said about The Echo and The Sound has been said before.

Boom! There it is…out the barrel folks. But you know what? It’s not even about that. It’s about getting this LA duos music out there for the world to see…or at least those of you who read this.

Citing influences such as Flat Duo Jets and The White Stripes, it’s easy to see why these ballsy, no-holds barred rockers are giving it stacks. Through the 6 tracks on their debut self-titled EP they’re giving more than enough proof that they have what it takes to shift a room full of hard-drinkin’, no bullshit dudes and dudettes.

The last track on the EP – Grave Act – a truly grim affair of gritty guitars and slow, weathered vocals – keeps the listener peeled until the very end. If nothing else, a warning…don’t get too close, or this pair’s razor sharp sound will cut you in ways you never knew existed.

Best described in their bio as having the sound to match a fist fight between Bob Dylan and Sam Shepard, The Echo and The Sound provide the soundtrack to a 21st century post-apocalypse – nuclear warfare in sound form for sure.

Check out their EP here…you won’t be disappointed!

and on their Facebook page here...

Also, for more updates and posts, check us out on Facebook here

– Luke Bartlett


Gig Review & Interview – Ulrich Schnauss

Ulrich Schnauss LIVE in Birmingham

It’s Sunday, 24th of March, 2013. The West Midlands finds itself under heavy snowfall, and so for many traveling is out of the question; the hopes of a cheeky day off work creep into more than a few conversations. I start my night by putting on perhaps more layers than necessary and heading outside to the car. I make the 40 something minute journey over to Birmingham, the whole way refusing to let the tickets from my solid yet sweaty grasp. The window provides nothing pretty to look at. I wonder about what he’ll play tonight, whether I’ll get to hear anything from Goodbye, or if the majority of material will be from his latest release A Long Way To Fall. I remember back to the first time I heard Ulrich-  a friends father played me the track Stars, which had me none short of stone cold stunned. I hadn’t heard anything like it, and yet it injected me with a wave of nostalgia so heavy I almost drowned within the ocean of my own mind.

We reach our destination, the Hare and Hounds, a small, warm looking boozer with a few quirkies stood outside smoking. I head on inside for a poke around and see that the gig is signposted for upstairs. I join the rest of the small gathering in the downstairs bar for a swift Jack Daniels to wake me up. At the bar a bald headed man, no taller than 5’7, slurs about how great his nights going, and proceeds to get a member of staff to call him a taxi. His deluded happiness makes me smile, yet never lets me forget how fucked up we as humans really are. We drink to forget, and so I wander long and hard about what he’s running from.

When the queue at the bar is practically non-existent, I take it as my cue to move upstairs. It’s dark, smoky, kind of like a school disco. The crowd sit around the edge of the room, some not even facing the stage, as if the show would be nothing more than a background inconvenience. I don’t understand. All I want to do is be at the front of the room, giving the music every ounce of attention I have.

The support acts made sense. Birmingham based Paul Wood, under moniker Arc Vel, showered the 30-something crowd with an electronic rain storm, displaying the best of his debut album Orrery, which is available for FREE on his facebook page. Warming the crowd and stage up a little more with their at times exhausting, yet consistent wave of energy were Birmingham based duo Free School, who played out the majority of their releases thus far.

The sound checks almost over, and Ulrich’s due on any minute. Of course I have a child’s bladder. Of course the whiskey is getting the better of me. So there I go, rushing my way down the stairs, and wham! – Possibly the weirdest half second of my life. In my way, staring directly into my eyes, half confused, half startled, is the man himself. For fuck sake man, get a grip and say something! Nothing. Nothing is coming from my mouth. My brains screaming, but my mouths dead still. Me and Ulrich awkwardly shift around each other, silent.

Still to this day I kick myself for it. It’s not something that I imagine will ever happen again. Meeting your hero, only to be the hopeless flop you’ve always feared you’d be in those situations. Still I didn’t let it ruin the night. Back in the room, beneath the purple fog and dense crowd, I managed my way to the very front. Ulrich messed frantically with wires and knobs, whilst his assistant, Nat Urazmetova, concentrated on setting up what was to be the best display of visuals I had ever encountered. The pair’s partnership made sense; as though Ulrich’s sounds had melted to forge the most pretty of pictures. The visuals moved with the mood, with the waves of melancholic release that Ulrich managed to conjure.

The set was contender for the most emotionally exhausting, visually inspiring, tense and pressuring thing I had ever seen; instantly landing itself spot in my top 5 gigs of all time. Locating exactly what tracks were being played, from what album seemed an imppossible task; the sounds, each magnificent in their own right, merged into one another, lucidly ambitious. Everything from the venue, to the awkward crowds clutching desperately to the sides of the room, to the small, unmistakable merch stand perched in the centre where the socially challenged, unkempt men gathered eager to cop some remix vinyl…it all made it.

Being a huge fan of Ulrich, and having been inspired by him for so long now, it’s more than a dream come true to have been able to witness him perform live, but also to get the chance to ask him some questions…

Why do you think people from all around the world connect with your music? 

 I don’t think this is something that’s specific to my music – but one of the most fascinating aspects of music in general: like no other form of creative expression it effortlessly transcends cultural and social boundaries and therefore enables people from a wide range of different backgrounds to enjoy it.

Can you enjoy your own music the same way in which the fans do? 

 No, I think it’s a very different experience. I love making music of course and enjoy that process very much – however, once a song is done and finished it somehow loses it’s fascination for me and I’d rather work on something new than going back to old stuff.

Personally, your music acts as a method of relaxation for me. It is my ‘go-to’ music for both inspiration and calm – What album or albums would you say were your ‘go-to’s? 

 Discovering tangerine dream has not only taught me that I’d be able to realize my musical ideas using electronic instrumentation but their catalogue (especially as it’s very diverse) also remains a constant source of inspiration and I find it an intensely uplifting experience to listen to one of their classic albums – even though I’ve done so many, many times. Andréa’s Vollenweider’s work does a similar thing for me.

I recently saw you play the Hare and Hounds in Birmingham, where you displayed the true importance of the partnership between visuals and music. Do you believe visuals are equally as important to the music? And if so why? 

 I think it’s very difficult to compare the two – ‘equivalent’ or not is a tricky question to answer therefore. It is an art form I have great respect for – and one that provides a very valuable element for a music event – especially when it comes to electronica as visually those type of performances can be a bit underwhelming.

Photo&Article – Luke Bartlett

Interview – Gothic Tropic

Gothic Tropic

Gothic Tropic

LA’s very own three-piece Gothic Tropic released debut EP ‘Awesome Problems’ in early September 2011. Taking inspiration from the likes of Sonic Youth, Magazine and The Talking Heads, there’s no task in seeing why this EP is such a sweet, hard-hitting trip. The four tracks are chocka-block full with bliss drenched, mellifluous riffs and sprinkled in an obscurity of cloudy vocals. It’s loud, it’s gutsy, its full with the kind of jams you’d have on at a beach party. Gothic Tropic’s ‘Awesome Problems’ is an exploration of rhythmic passion and bubble-gum pop.

TTWR: Could you start by telling us what Gothic Tropic are all about?

Gothic Tropic: We evolved from some of my solo loop station jams into a collaborative freeform project, and we just build off each others’ instincts. It’s a very pure project, everything we’ve done so far has all come naturally. We’re not trying to do anything except share our brains, whatever it ends up being.

TTWR: As pointed out by many others, the name Gothic Tropic is somewhat matched to the sounds delivered on ‘Awesome Problems’ – was this something you put thought into, or a chance happening?

Gothic Tropic: I think there’s a magic that occurs when everything is instinctually progressing, putting as little thought possible into conceptualizing a record or a sound always happens to yield a surprisingly well fitted product, so I think that’s what happened. The name Gothic Tropic kind of came as a joke because I love dark and twisty vibes and I love jolty bright party-happy vibes, so that’s just a sandwich of the two. I think the way I write (the EP came before we got to collaborate as a band) is just a natural combination of dark and light & that just kind of feels most right.

TTWR: You recently got to play alongside Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Foxygen and Wampire at The Echoplex, LA– how was that for you?

Gothic Tropic: Super fun! Those guys were great, and the bill really made a lot of sense to me. I think we all have a love for Krautrock & weirdness that doesn’t get acknowledged very often by bookers, so it was a really special show for us.

TTWR: How has the crowd reaction been at live shows for you so far?
Gothic Tropic: Our crowds have been insanely supportive, and enthusiastic. We have a really raw & inclusive vibe on stage and I think people are responding to how transparent we are, there’s a lot of bands right now with backing tracks and tons of ear candy, and I think what gets people going at our shows is the punk energy that exists for us on stage. There’s a lot that happens live that may not happen again too, so people go crazy when we improvise, I love seeing it. I’m totally with them too, I love laughing and shaking my head in disbelief any time Daniel or Lia shred some random part I’ve never heard them play before, and everyone’s in on it too.
TTWR: Was there any particular experience/s that influenced the end product of
this EP (Awesome Problems)?
Gothic Tropic: The name “Awesome Problems” was kind of a comment on the year I had, and how everyone has their own biorhythm that aligns with this idea. Which is; you reach a new low in order to reach a new high. Shitty things happen right before your situation improves ten fold, so just always remember that. It works like a fucking clock, it’s the most reliable life occurrence I’ve ever experienced, it happens like this approximately every 2 years, and I think a lot of people can identify with that as well.
TTWR: ‘Awesome Problems’ is a positively upbeat record; was this something you strived to achieve?
Gothic Tropic: I was feeling stoked on discovering the loop station which was when I wrote the tracks on Awesome Problems so maybe that’s why haha. But it was just a mood. The songs we’re about to record are tunes we all wrote together so there’s going to be a different vibe indeed, but still a mixture of that light and dark.
TTWR: What did the EP making process involve?

Gothic Tropic: 1 day on a loop station, I wrote Monkey Bars, Kitty Baby, and Flesh Dance. Then the next day I wrote Stigmata & Kill Lloyd Opus. The only song I put a little more thought into was Kill Lloyd Opus, I listened to some Bassekou Kouyate (West Africa) for inspiration.

TTWR: Could you reveal a little something about the new album and what we are to expect?

Gothic Tropic: We’ve been writing together for the past year, and this album represents 3 minds who happen to think very similarly, and we all have a special style and language we’re contributing. It’s more mature, and we’re putting a little more thought into the compositions and tones. It’s going to have the ‘shreddy’ party tracks, some fun punk tracks, and some dark intense thoughtful tracks, but they all have the same balance so we’re stoked to start revealing.

 TTWR: Are there any plans, once the new album is out, to tour it over in the UK?

Gothic Tropic: We’d love to, we’ve already been asked to tour out there & play a couple festivals in the summer, so if the resources allow we’d love to. If any UK folks out there feel inspired to help us out, we’d love to play!

We here at The Two Way Radio would like to take this opportunity to thank Gothic Tropic for their time!

You can download ‘Awesome Problems’ on their Bandcamp or buy a physical copy here!

-Luke Bartlett

Swap Shop: Hum – You’d Prefer an Atsronaut

Hum - You'd Prefer an Astronaut

Hum – You’d Prefer an Astronaut

A wastey, wild record which conjures up relations to the likes of The Posies Frosting on the Beater and Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. A nutty ride for sure.

As always, I was introduced to this via my co-writing partner in crime Robbie Jadowski, and assured this would be a ‘new found love’ of mine. I approached this 9 track album with caution – so often many of us fall into the ever deceiving first listen love trap – and that’s because its new, it’s a taste of something varied, and the idea of the unknown is one that captures our definite curiosity without fail. Second run-throughs have always taught us different. Ever gone back to an album and wondered what the hell ever made you buy it? I think that’s what kept me on my toes. However, Hum seemingly crammed 9 anthems onto one beautiful blend of dusty guitars and cold vocal work.

Matt Talbott and Stephen Malkmus (Pavement) share a similarity somewhere within the attitude of it all – both possessing the singing voice of men who daren’t come across as either enjoying themselves or giving a shit about what they have to say – although both somehow managing to convey the strongest of passions through their music. Pavement’s Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain – a record released in 1994, approximately a year prior to You’d prefer an Astronaut – delivers similar vibes in many ways, yet certain tracks set the two mountains apart. ‘Why I Like The Robins’ is one of those that create a division – opening with an animated riff proving to have equal qualities to that of a tornado; jerking the listener from their every day mundane existence and throwing them about relentlessly until they begin to see life for what it truly is; a rollercoaster.

You’d prefer an Astronaut is a record with its very own spirit. It’s a dynamic, exuberant, and at times frenzied collection of passionate, thought-provoking musical journeys. Track number 2 ‘The Pod’ is a rare slice of 90’s attitude which represents something so genuine that efforts to re-create it would only end in failure. It’s a perfect homage to the time of its production, and acts as a time machine for those who are familiar with the era. At times the record sports a contradicting mixture of noises – the deadpan, cold-blooded vocal style of lead singer Matt Talbott combined with the furious, polluted guitar riffs.

Without a shadow of any doubt, You’d prefer an Astronaut is an album to get listeners amped; The tracks able to spark up the kind of legendary crowd every band dreams to perform for. The album, lasting an entirety of 45 minutes, managed to grip hold of me for the whole duration and leave me dry mouthed towards the end, anticipating the next time I would be able to hear the same electric winds roll by.

It’s a purposeful, angst-sodden and quite frankly potent piece of artwork. Check it out if you’re a 90’s nut, or if you just love music that gets you movin’.

– Luke Bartlett

Spotlight: River Bones – Fuck

River Bones - Fuck

River Bones – Fuck

There’s not much to be found out about artist River Bones. No hometown, no up-coming tour dates – just a Bandcamp and Facebook.

It was through Bandcamp that I managed to stumble upon River Bones’s full length ‘Fuck’ – An album so appropriately entitled it’s almost amusing.

An enigmatic white-hot record which takes all the risks one should. Throughout the 50 minute album the listening audience is exposed to all kinds of varying noise – so much so that the urge to fight against it may seem overwhelming to some. But I’m here to tell you to stop. There’s no need to fight it, no need to try and stay afloat in River Bones’  sea of sound. Relax, ride the wave, let it take you where you want it to. Experience the album as you want it to be experienced – it’s your call.

That’s what I love about ‘Fuck’ – despite its heavy use of synthesizers, the album manages to avoid sounding bogged down and somewhat overproduced. A rarity considering how todays music-making landscape appears to have become. It’s a lot to take in, but it seems like a personal offering of sorts. River Bones delivers us the goods, yet it is up to us how we recieve them.

Maybe that’s the reason for a dead-end to my witch hunt. Perhaps there isn’t much information on River Bones because there doesn’t need to be. The music seems the most important factor, not the artist image or ‘package’.

The sterling amount of effort that’s been so obviously poured into the collection of tracks transcends through to the listener well – the end product a perfect example of how diligence pays off.

It’s a record drenched in obscurities and sprinkled with little gems of silence that one could only truly appreciate on such a piece of art. Its tailor-made for those with an open mind, and delivers you the belief that your mind can be unlocked. Tracks such as ‘Behemoth’ combining atmospheric soundscapes with gritty urban bass lines to ultimately provide the listener with their own personal brand of serenity.

‘Fuck’ does many things, but in the end it shows River Bones has what it takes to venture into the dark voids of synthetic atmospheres and shake it up a bit. Gutsy, time-destroying, soul-pleasing. Check the album out, as well as other releases by the artist, on Bandcamp.

– Luke Bartlett

Interview: The Ugly Club

The Ugly Club - You Belong To The Minutes

The Ugly Club – You Belong To The Minutes

NJ, Brooklyn based Indie-Psych Rockers The Ugly Club released debut full length ‘You Belong To The Minutes’ in July of 2012. The 11 track package promises its listening audience a journey of sorts, similar to that of ‘In Rainbows’, Radiohead’s Seventh Studio album. Great sweeping instrumentals provoking a feel-good rush no one could turn down – this record re-defines the word ‘joy’.  The ‘Ugly’ Club though? Deceiving or ironic, either way there’s nothing ugly about this lot.

We here at The Two Way Radio were lucky enough to get a chance to speak with the band, who had this to say…

TTWR: Right off the bat, could you sum The Ugly Club up in the best way possible?

The Ugly Club: I wish I could use a picture instead of words because all I can think of right now is a favorite picture of mine with E.T the extraterrestrial with his arms around Michael Jackson.  Kinda sums up what I’m personally going for.  Google it.



 TTWR: Your sound, on this record especially, captures a very British feeling. Low-Fi guitars much like that of Maximo Park, and musical landscapes similar to Friendly Fires, Stateless, Radiohead, and at times The XX – Was a British sound something you had in mind whilst working on the record?

The Ugly Club: Well, the only bands I’ve listened to out of those is Radiohead haha but I’ve heard that before and I guess it would relate back to The Beatles being a big part of my musical background and certainly other European groups.

TTWR: How about your influences? Who are they and how have they affected the overall end product?

The Ugly Club:  I think all of our influences have affected the overall sound in a non-distinct way.  When you have five guys into a huge spectrum of music and art, it can either be messy or the individuals have a grip on their own sound and ability.  I think luckily we all put influence aside and try to hone in on what we think The Ugly Club sounds like, which got a lot easier to do once we put out an album.

TTWR: The Instrumentals on the record are very thick, very full and very much so alive. Do you think Instrumentals can be more important than lyrics or vocals at times?

The Ugly Club:  I wouldn’t say more important but as important for sure.  I write the lyrics and vocals and for me that’s my thing and what I believe in but as a writer and music lover I always want music that is instrumentally unique and intelligent.

TTWR: Your sounds are very spacious, adventurous and evolving – does this lend itself to the overall meaning/theme of the record, if there is one of course?

The Ugly Club:  There’s definitely a theme throughout the album conceptually and sonically.  I think the words you used to describe it are accurate but also more subconscious on our part.  We were adventurous with the album and it was an evolutionary process so yeah.  But the overall meaning/theme of the album on my end is somewhat different.

TTWR: You’ve received quite flattering feedback from a lot of outlets, MTV being one of the many, how – if at all – does this affect you as a band?

The Ugly Club:  As a band not much at all but as a ‘business’ we appreciate the importance of having press like that surrounding the band and know it’s a necessary factor in getting our name out.  At most, it’s like picking up a new fan and makes you go, “Okay, it’s not just us that thinks this sounds good”.

TTWR: Released just over a year before, how do you feel you’ve grown since Visions of a Tall Girl?

The Ugly Club:  The material on that EP was written and recorded right as we were transitioning into the lineup we have today.  It was a really great time with a lot of late nights in the studio trying to develop the right sound but we didn’t know what we had on our hands just yet.  Naturally, with the full album we were able to really allow the songs to evolve and tour on them and work em out for months in the studio and by the point of mixing and finishing it, we had a good grasp on our sound.

TTWR: Were there any aspects of that EP you wanted to incorporate into You Belong to the Minutes?

The Ugly Club: Not necessarily though I’m sure certain things stuck with us.  That EP was really just a stepping stone toward a bigger picture so You Belong To The Minutes is really what we were always striving for and just couldn’t get at the time.

TTWR: How important would you say social networking websites are for independent artists?

The Ugly Club:  At this point, indie or not, the majority of artists would agree that social networking is one of the most important factors in getting your music to fans and getting fans out to shows and to buy merch, etc.  We’re all in a confusing time as far as where the industry is heading but for the time being, social media is the move.

TTWR: Finally, what can we expect from you guys in the future?

The Ugly Club: We have a ton of material right now for the second album and are just figuring out what to do with it and how to manage our time.  We’ll be touring around the US starting in March through the Fall and hopefully within that time period also starting the album.

Big Thanks to The Ugly Club for giving us their time!

You can check out the bands sounds here: http://theuglyclub.bandcamp.com/

and hit them up on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/theuglyclub

Dont forget to check us out on Facebook too: https://www.facebook.com/TheTwoWayRadio

and on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/TheTwoWayRadio

– Luke Bartlett



LA DISPUTE – Wildlife

When I asked my good friend and co-writer Robbie for a dose of something heavy, little did I expect it would extend to this magnitude.

He presented me with ‘WILDLIFE’ – a 57 minute album from the band LA DISPUTE. The record captures its listening audience in an instant, offering obscure instrumentals packed full with heavy riffs and crunching drum lines. The album leaves the listener with no real space for thought, at times proving too much to grasp.

It’s emotionally exhausting, and whilst it’s beautifully fresh and energetic, it takes a whole lot to reach the end of the record without having at least questioned your existence once. Sitting down to listen to this album is a task of sorts – merely having it on as background noise not ever an option. It demands the attention of everyone within a listening distance, and throws you into a pit of misery to see how you’ll cope. It’s a fully engaging piece of hybrid metal, and one which I’d suggest you approach with caution.

Lead Vocalist Jordan Dreyer conveys a true sadness through his voice, which also at times proves emotionally draining. The nearest I could get to was a pissed off Brian Molko (Placebo) but even that doesn’t come close. Think Atreyu, think AFI, think of throwing down in fisticuffs with your boss. It’s a savage, suffocating hour – one which I attempted to conquer and many times failed.

Lyrically it’s poetry in it’s purest of forms. Heartfelt, pain-drenched, everything one should come to appreciate after a few listens. I believe that this record takes time, and conditioning. You put it on and get thrown into a whirlwind of hatred, you see that you survive, and then you start to look around and discover. Beautiful in its own right, scary to those who look on from the outside. Dreyer and his merry men managed to create a record that questions life and still make it sound groundbreakingly original. Check it out on their website where the band are currently streaming the whole thing for free!

– Luke Bartlett

Spotlight: Porteur – LKBK

Porteur - LKBK

Porteur – LKBK

Soulful wandering guitars, soft synthetic seas and vacant vocals to tug at the strings of ones own heart – Anton Anger who goes under the moniker ‘Porteur’ released the 9 track ‘LKBK’ in late July last year.

The record feels as though it’s intended to be listened to in its entirety, each track belonging to the next in some manner or another. Anger manages to capture a sense of youth throughout, track ‘LKBK’ providing the listener with great nostalgic waves, and strong lyrics which tell a tale of popularity and teenage desires.

Although lengthy, it’s an easy listen, lending itself well to everyday commutes and making train journeys a more spacious and evocative experience. Although, solid drum lines keep the listener grounded at times, proving somewhat complementary against the airy synth’s and washed out vocals.

For me, it’s a delicate package; one that offers inspiration and provokes the search for answers to the questions you never dared look for before.

The overall feeling of calm that builds throughout the record is destroyed in closing track ‘Justice’.  It’s what I would describe as the perfect, and the only way, to end such a collection of noise. Throughout the entire record the sense of tranquility develops, leaving the listener in the shell of their mind, deep in thought, semi-awake to the outside world. ‘Justice’ is a moody piece, angry guitars blended with a slow and steady drumbeat; the finale of a musical journey to hold onto and someday revisit.

‘LKBK’ is an emotionally gripping, thought stimulating and inspiring collection of music. An insight to the life of Anton Anger perhaps, but an eye opener into ones own for certain. Give it a listen and purchase the album for yourself at his Bandcamp page.

– Luke Bartlett

Spotlight: Confluence – I Haven’t Really Been Living

Confluence 'I havent really been living'

Confluence ‘I haven’t really been living’

Denver, Colorado plays home to Pop-Punk Indie Rockers Confluence, a four piece whose melodic riffs first caught my attention via their Bandcamp page

Their debut EP ‘I haven’t really been living’ was released on the 1st of February, and is available to purchase for a meager dollar, although the option to give as much as you desire is there.

Clever guitars, heavy breaks and lead singer Ian Gassman’s vocals make up this five track beauty; Gassman’s voice riding the riffs as though he and the melody are one, entwined in a solid embrace and spiraling at high speeds for the moon.

The EP is raw, and offers the listener their own personal current of electric energy to feed from. It’s the kind of album you’d listen to whilst wrestling with a mountain bear, although with this four-piece in your ear you’d win.

It’s a vibrant and daring record, one which sparks up tangible associations to sunshine and all things bright – though behind the music are the emotionally provoked lyrics, track ‘Complication’ a perfect example as to why this band isn’t all sparkly rainbows and smiley faces.

In short it’s the perfect package. This tight-knit little EP gives it’s listening audience everything they need to conquer the world. Animated, Edgy Pop-Punk Rock done at it’s best.

Head over to the boys’ Bandcamp page for the adrenaline kick of a lifetime.

– Luke Bartlett