Tapes ‘n Tapes: Still Kicking Out the Jams

By Jason Cunningham / Entertainment Editor

Tapes n’ Tapes has been pretty busy. Though we haven’t heard much about any future releases from the band, we’ve seen them push through quite a few tour dates in support of their second LP, Walk It Off, which was released in April of 2008.

Fans had mixed feelings about Walk It Off, but initially supported the band’s effort and flooded venues to catch their infamously fun live shows. I was one of those fans, making sure to catch the April 18 show back in 2008 at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Though he had a throat cold and could barely sing through most of the set, Josh Grier pumped up the audience all the same, and the crowd appreciated his humor and intensity on stage. The set was long, the place was jam-packed, and the feelings of support were through the roof.

A little more than ten months later I returned to the Paradise Rock club for their show on Feb. 24. The venue was about half full this time around, with fans’ enthusiasm cruising at mild at best.

What was the deal? Wasn’t anyone excited to hear what new stuff the guys had been working on? Didn’t they want to hear Grier with a full, healthy voice? I was nothing but confused. When they took the stage you could almost see their disappointment at the turnout.

So what did we get? That night we were treated to a fantastic performance. Though the crowd was small, Tapes n’ Tapes still gave it their all, and blew my mind away.

There wasn’t a spectacular light show; there weren’t any corny antics, only a rock band, playing rock music. There’s a certain amount of honesty presented when we see a band play a fantastic show with nothing helping them along except their talent and personality.

The set was a tad shorter than the rest of the previous dates on the tour, but what we got in exchange was some new material, tight performances and a band who clearly enjoys playing their songs to an extent beyond the crowd’s satisfaction. I appreciate that their solider of soul attitude pays off big in a live setting. This allows most of their studio material to translate into fantastic live shows.

My head is still filled with excitement even now for what Tapes n’ Tapes will give us with their third release. It’s a shame more people didn’t make it out that night.

If you get the opportunity and you love live music, please check Tapes n’ Tapes out. It’ll be a worthwhile investment of your time. Personally, I can’t wait till they come back this way, I’ll be encouraging as many people as possible to make it out and support them.

Cool Kids to Play Toad’s Place Friday

When the Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish, also known as the Cool Kids, popped up on The Recorder’s radar back in the winter of 2007, they had just released their Totally Flossed Out EP and had never played anywhere near Connecticut. A few months later they were the opening act for Wesleyan’s Spring concert and ready to release their now-acclaimed The Bake Sale EP.

What do two twenty-somethings from Chicago have to offer that makes them so popular with no full-length albums recorded? The Cool Kids have pure talent and a flare for throwback rhymes with infectious beats. After getting their name and music out to the public via their MySpace page, tons of people starting seeking out their presence. Pitchfork Media booked the duo to their 2007 Pitchfork Festival and they were also book for performances at the College Music Journal Music Festival in New York City.

With two high profile appearances, the Cool Kids blew up to their current status of the premier indie hip-hop group. Throughout 2008, the Cool Kids continued to tour lightly and start making fans across the country. During 2008, the group also became one of the most popular to mix and mash amongst DJs and mashup artists. Girl Talk, E-603 and The Hood Internet all mixed the Kids’ songs amongst other Top 40 and hip-hop tracks.

This week the Cool Kids are hooking up with Kid Cudi, a Cleveland-based electro-hop artist who has been featured on Kanye West’s Sky High Mixtape as well as his video for the track “Heartbreak.” Their show at Toad’s Place in New Haven starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are going for $30.

It doesn’t look like either act is playing any more shows in the area according to their Web sites, so it’s a no-brainer that heading to the Elm City for this show is a great way to spend a Friday night outside of New Britain. Oh right, get ready to dance too, because this will become a party before you can finish your first drink.

-Edward Gaug, Photo editor: ccsurecorder.photo@gmail.com

Interview: Making Music and Growing Older with Thursday

When I saw that the band Thursday was back out on the road and playing a show at the Webster Theater in Hartford, I knew I had to get in touch with them. Everyone has a bond with a band that will never separate throughout the years. Thursday is my band. They were the first band I ever photographed live, which led to my interest in photojournalism. Their pure emotion and energy on stage gave the perfect sense for what anyone could look for in a live performance and they did it so effortlessly. Six years later, Thursday continues to release records and is finally back on the road after a short hiatus.

For Tucker Rule, Thursday’s drummer, playing music is all about having fun and doing it with your friends.

Edward Gaug: Let’s start off with the album because that’s the biggest thing right now. You just released Common Existence and are beginning to tour with it. How has this experience been compared to your past albums?

Tucker Rule: It’s been cool man, there’s not a whole lot of pressure on us right now. We wrote a record we really love and we really believe in, so it’s just more fun. We’re back on the road for the first time in a little while, so it’s nice to be back out here and supporting this record.

EG: It comes through when you listen to the album that this is definitely something that you guys did for you. Not to make it sound selfish, but this is an album that you wanted to make rather than the record label wanting you to make.

TR: Absolutely. Thankfully with our label, they didn’t put any pressure on us. They were just like, “We love you guys and whatever you are going to do is going to be cool.”

EG: I got word from a friend of mine who got to see you in San Jose, Calif. this past weekend and he said that you guys haven’t missed a step, even though you haven’t toured in a couple years. Touring now, do you see a difference from when you put out Waiting or Full Collapse in your twenties and where you are now in your thirties?

TR: Yeah definitely. It’s a lot different because everyone is getting older with us. We’re still seeing the same faces; everybody’s just a little older now. You definitely have to take care of yourself a little more on the road when you’re older. Those wounds don’t heal as quickly and bones are getting a little tired.

EG: You must be having a lot of fun, because in an age where bands go through changes and you guys have been the same group of friends since 1999. There’s not a whole lot of movement in Thursday.

TR: No, there’s no movement, no turmoil. We’re all on the same page and when you’re in a band for over 10 years, you have to be on the same page to stay that long and I feel like I’m with a bunch of dudes that understand me and we understand each other. It’s not about fads or fashion phases with us. It’s all about writing music and having a fun time.

EG: One thought that came to mind when listening to the new album was that if you had released this album 10 years ago, do you think you could have put out an album like this and do you think people would have listened to it?

TR: That’s a hard question. I don’t think we would have been able to put out an album like this, as far as our technical prowess at actually playing. This stuff is a little more intricate – it’s faster, so I don’t think that these songs would have translated back then either. I think having that whole movement start, it had to come from a more raw place. This album is a little more technically advanced for us. I think that comes with time and age.

EG: You definitely see that progression from where you started with Waiting to where you are now. You start off the new album really strong and then you hit all the levels that you would want to hear in a Thursday album. You definitely hit everything that people look for. It has to be tough to put out albums and have people always look back to Full Collapse and have that as your judging point considering that was your second album.

TR: It is tough and I noticed a lot on this tour that people are coming up and saying, “I can’t wait to hear you guys play, it will be like going back to my childhood.” It brings back a lot of good memories and that’s really cool. I feel like Thursday, especially around the Full Collapse era, had a time and a place. It had sort of an impact on the people who listened to our band. It’s kind of rad.

EG: The same people who were getting through high school with Full Collapse are now graduating college and starting careers with Common Existence. Your fans are getting to that age now. I think the music is really evolving with your fans, as well as yourselves.

TR: That’s what the hope was. This record is everything we ever did, in one record. It has the experimental shit from A City by the Light Divided, it has the energy of Waiting and Full Collapse and it also has the melodies from War All the Time. I think we smashed it all into one record and I think people who liked our band way back when, they’re still hear the nuances in our record and remember that. The experimental shit might seem toned down. They’ll see it’s a mix of everything.

EG: As the band progresses and members are having kids, does this affect the way you guys are writing music and the way you’re going about the band?

TR: For sure man, we have a dude in our band that has two kids now and it’s hard. Touring gets a lot harder because there are some tours that he might not be able to go on in the future because obviously he wants to spend time with his kids and help his wife, so it is difficult, but it’s the best thing for him and the best thing for the band. It gives us a human perspective on how to not kill ourselves on the road. We have the capacity to do eight or nine months out of the year, but when you take a step back and think we’re all getting older and have people at home that care about us.

EG: To move the topic a little bit, you just came out with a split with Envy, this huge band out of Japan that maybe not all your fans knew about. So I guess the question is, what was it like doing a split with a band that people don’t automatically relate you guys to?

TR: We always try to reach out to bands we like and there a bunch of dudes in our band that like Envy a lot and it was just really cool that we had the time and they had the time and there was a point in our career where we could do something together. For the past couple of years we have been trying to get a tour with them, maybe in Japan, or bring them over to the States, but it never logistically worked out, so this was the next best thing. Hopefully some of our fans will hear their stuff that say, “That band’s the shit,” because they really are a fucking powerful band. We’re stoked and couldn’t be happier with that split.

EG: I think it got a lot of recognition in a time when people weren’t really on the look out for it and snuck up on them. I don’t think it surprised them, but it really worked out for you guys.

TR: Definitely. We hadn’t put out anything since the DVD [Kill the House Lights] and we knew we were going to be touring again soon and writing a new record, but we had a few songs bouncing around and the opportunity just came up and we had to do it. It was good to be on a split with them and it was good for us to get a couple new songs out for people. Like you said, it might not be on people’s radar, but then it just shows up.

Thursday will be playing at the Webster Theater on Friday, February 28 as the headliners for the Taste of Chaos tour. The doors open at 5 p.m. and tickets cost $23.25.

 

-Edward Gaug, Photo Editor

Spinning in the Fish Tank

Walking through the student center of Central Connecticut’s campus, a large glass window draws curiosity to each passerby.

Peering inside, guiding one’s eyes around the room of expansive radio equipment, there in the center sits a brown banged petite girl with headphones on. As a song ends, she fiddles with the soundboard, presses a button, and puts her mouth next to the microphone.

“You’re listening to WFCS 107.7,” said a calm, serene voice. “The name’s Kait Jensen, and welcome to my show, Strange Sounds,” she finished.

Immediately after the last syllable, Jensen punched another button, and the first notes of a song began to resonate through the station. As a junior majoring in English, Jensen has been working at CCSU’s radio station for over a year. Currently sporting the title of Alternative Director of WFCS, Jensen hosts her own radio show on Wednesday nights from 8-10 p.m.

Heavily involved in the station, Jensen is also currently training to become the Director of Development, as well as the treasurer position for next semester. Jensen enjoys the power she possesses as she switches from song to song.

There is more freedom in college radio than [in] commercial,” she said. “Students can listen to music they wouldn’t hear anywhere else.”

With a heavily influenced mélange of indie favorites like Neutral Milk Hotel, Caribou and The Pixies, Jensen fills the airwaves with unique sounds.

“I get phone calls occasionally,” she said. “But they’re generally from people asking me to play Coldplay,” she said, as she usually tries to steer away from mainstream favorites. As Jensen frequently stops to give the tag line and play public service announcements, she doesn’t seem to get nervous about her voice reverberating through the hallway of the Student Center – where hundreds of students and faculty stop to curiously peek inside as they scamper back and forth from classes.

“Sometimes I get reactions through the window,” Jensen said, referring to the fish tank. “I like to press buttons when people walk by and I get weird looks,” she laughed as she demonstrated by pressing a button that let off a screaming noise.

Outside of the station, Jensen is also currently attempting to organize shows to take place on campus, trying to bring bands in an effort to get students more involved in supporting their student organizations, and to just have fun. Presently, the station is undergoing a lot of improvements, as they hope to use another vacant room adjacent to the main station to showcase local bands, treating their listeners to live performances.

With many individuals currently working to keep the station afloat, WFCS is constantly putting their heads together to explore new ideas to revamp the studio and keep radio alive. “It sounds like such a cliché thing to say, but we’re like a family,” Jensen laughed, “ – an interesting one, at that.”

 

-Karyn Danforth, Lifestyles Editor: ccsurecorder.lifestyles@gmail.com

CCSU Insomniac

[MAP]

New Britain Diner . 1130 Corbin Avenue . New Britain, Conn. 06053

This diner has to be a staple for any CCSU student’s late-night excursions. With easy access from Central (a five-minute drive) and a relatively cheap menu, the positives certainly outweigh the chances of running into a noisy crowd of post-club goers who usually frequent the diner around 2 or 3 a.m.

Regardless of the crowd, New Britain Diner serves as the perfect end to any night, whether you’ve spent the majority of the last few hours showing your friends how to run the BP table – or losing – or just finished a 12-page paper due tomorrow morning. There is nothing quite like the satisfying combination of old-school steak fries and a greasy cheeseburger with a milkshake. At 3 in the morning, it’s probable that anything would taste good (if you can, in fact, still taste), but sobriety can’t exactly alter the way a large portion of thick steak fries satisfies the stomach, or keep you from finishing a chocolate milkshake before your actual meal arrives.

Other tasty options include your usual eggs, toast and what looks like a whole pound of bacon, some orange juice and coffee. Scrambled, sunny side-up, the not too greasy over easy or in omelets, eggs are one of the things New Britain Diner does best.

Bowl-O-Rama . 2143 Berlin Turnpike . Newington, Conn. 06111

Some have said that the way Bowl-O-Rama waxes their lanes makes it easier for novices to win. With that said, I’ll usually welcome the idea of a challenge; even though I’m no pro and am unable to consistently bowl above a 90, the idea that I may be able to out-score my friends on a fluke at this alley keeps me going.

This 24-hour bowling alley is situated on the Berlin Turnpike, a straight drive down Rte. 175 through Newington. At 1:30 a.m. on a Thursday night/ Friday morning, the crowd was sparse, the bar had already closed its doors and my size 6.5 rental pair of shoes still retained the warmth from the feet of all the people with small feet who wore them during the day. Luckily someone in the group had a coupon that night for “buy three games and your partner bowls three for free”. Otherwise, games cost $3.37 per person per game, shoes are free when you flash your BlueChip. On a side note, one pair of socks costs $3 from a vending machine; while the price high, at least they are kind enough to consider girls who wear ballet flats everywhere.

Gold Roc . Diner 61 Kane Street . West Hartford, Conn. 06119

Another quick trip, this time up Rte. 9 to I-84 East, will bring the hungry late-night traveler to Gold Roc Diner, a ‘50s- inspired mess protruding from the left side of 84 in all of its glowing red glory. Though, in all fairness, the exterior doesn’t accurately represent Gold Roc’s appeal.

In comparison to New Britain’s, this diner fares pretty well; the French fries are of a thinner cut, service takes slightly longer and their Heinz ketchup bottle caps aren’t screwed on as tight (do not turn a bottle up-side down and shake it unless you are 100 percent confident the cap is secured), but overall not the worst choice for a late-night dining experience.

You won’t notice minor unpleasant details anyway as you are probably more concerned at this point whether your meal of a large stack of chocolate chip pancakes will go well with previously consumed Jagerbombs. Like every diner most of the food is affordable but you get what you pay for.

There is a chance you’ll have to deal with a crowd during your latenight weekends because everyone else will be looking for a place to sober up, but Gold Roc will do if it’s the first place you see.

 

-Melissa Traynor, Editor-in-Chief: ccsurecorder@gmail.com