Monday’s Local Band of the Week: Merchants of Seven

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Merchants of Seven rockin’ out at a house show in Blacksburg, Virginia. Above from left to right: Kevin Ponceloranca (21) on drums, Ian Patrick (21) on guitar/vocals, Luke Minnich (22) on bass guitar, and Wesley Fox (20) on guitar/lead vocals/keyboard.

Chattin’ it Up With the Fantastic Mr. Fox

I recently got a chance to sit down with frontman, Wesley Fox, of Acoustic Alternative Reggae Rock band, Merchants of Seven. Read on to get an inside look at their music, their upcoming debut album, and – most importantly – their thoughts on Rebecca Black.

LBB: So, how did the band form?

FOX: Me and Ian lived on the same hallway in the dorms at VT my Freshman year. We heard each other practicing and started jamming together and it all just kind of built from there. One of Ian’s roommates, Kevin, just happened to be a fantastic drummer. [laughs] And we found Luke on Craigslist. Best craigslist find anyone could possibly make.
*Fun Fact: Kevin was hesitant to record the album with us because he hadn’t played drums in a few months and said he was rusty….rusty my ass! Wait til you hear the drum part.

LLB: Who are some of your favorite bands?

FOX: My all time favorite is Led Zeppelin. Sublime and Jack Johnson are also up there. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket, Simon & Garfunkel, and Fleet Foxes.

LLB: Tell me about your new album.

FOX: It’s going to be awesome! We’re hoping for 11 songs that are all originals. The songs range from soft acoustic reggae rock to almost ambient light metal. There’s even one song that has a slight bluegrass feel.

LLB: Does it have a theme or underlying tone?

FOX: I would have to say “change.” Some of the songs on the album I wrote in high school, and some I just finished writing in the past couple months. It’s about growing up, finding yourself, and transitioning from one stage of life to the next…ending relationships and fighting through the storm that comes along with that, as well as starting new ones and realizing how it was all for the better.

LLB: When does it come out? Where can we get it?

FOX: The release date is still TBA. We’re hoping for sometime in the next month but we’ll see. Check our Facebook page for updates. You’ll be able to download it from our bandcamp page, from the itunes store, or if you know any of us we can get you a hard copy. Oh, and did I mention we’ll be giving the whole album out for free?

LLB: What is your favorite song to play?

FOX: My favorite song to play is “No One Else”. It has quick guitar riffs that are so much fun to play and a really solid, feel good vibe. All of my songs are based on personal experiences, but this one in particular has a great background story. In my freshman year I entered a contest on Campus Live (which you should definitely check out if you’re in school) and I won a trip to Key West, FL. I brought this girl I had been talking to and a couple of friends. “No One Else” is about how great that week was and how I completely and wholeheartedly fell for the girl. And just so you know, this story does have a happy ending.

LLB: Where do you guys normally play?

FOX: Anywhere we can. So far, we’ve only played in and around Blacksburg, but we want to play shows more often and in more places. We’re hoping this album will really allow us to promote ourselves to make this possible.

LLB: What has been your favorite show that you’ve played?

FOX: I would have to say our first headliner at Shesha’s in Radford. Or the show we had at my apartment. I think we played the best we have ever played that night.

LLB: Okay now for some current events slash embarrassing question quick-fire questions…Who’s the ladies man?

FOX: I’d have to go with Ian.

LLB: What’s the last concert you attended?

FOX: Sigur Rós. Jónsi was absolutely amazing.

LLB: What song would you want played at your funeral?

FOX: That’s a tough one. Dust in the wind? [laughs] I don’t know.

LLB: What was the first CD you owned? First cassette?

FOX: I’m embarrassed to admit this, but my first cassette was Backstreet Boys, Larger than Life. My first CD was Alien Ant Farm.

LLB: Any other artists you used to like that you’d be embarrassed to admit now?

FOX: Probably Dashboard Confessional.

LLB: I’m guilty, too. Who do you think is the most undeserving artist out there right now?

FOX: Rebecca Black.

LLB: What is the catchiest song on the radio?

FOX: Call Me Maybe. I hate it but it gets stuck in my head alllllll day long.

LLB: What are your thoughts on dubstep?

FOX: It sounds like a light saber battle between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.

And with that, I’ll leave you guys to dig up your old Alient Ant Farm and Dashboard CDs. Make sure to “like” Merchants of Seven on Facebook and check them out on Bandcamp for updates on their new album!

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My Latest Faves

Here are a few songs I’ve been obsessing over recently. The first one features Mike Noyce of Bon Iver (awesome), the second one’s singer is Kenny Vasoli aka the singer of The Starting Line (AWESOME!), and the third one is just…plain…AWESOMMMMEEEE.

Enjoy, my friends.

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Music Makes Everything Better. Including This Film.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t the music that made this film measurably better, (ahem…Ryan Gosling), but to me, a good soundtrack can highlight a movie’s story line just as well as an actor’s line delivery. Or an actor’s devilish charm. Or his cute smile. Or his mysterious swagger. Or his…Oh! God, sorry…got carried away. As I was saying. In the film, Drive, the music hit me harder than Ryan’s kicks to that guy’s face in the elevator.

As I watched/listened intently, I remember thinking to myself, Wow. I literally can not think of a better, more interesting song to be playing right now. Each song seemed to fit in so well, yet kind of clash in a way.  The unexpected contrast was BRILLIANT and my ears were pleasantly surprised. The whole thing was like an 80s comic strip for the aggressive/romantic type…or something.

The director, Nicolas Winding Refn, wanted “electronic music for the film, and to have the music occasionally be abstract so viewers can see things from The Driver’s perspective. He gave composer, Martinez, a sampling of songs he liked and asked [him] to emulate the sound; resulting in ‘a kind of retro, 80ish, synthesizer europop.’”  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drive_(2011_film)#Music_and_soundtrack)

Here are some of the best examples!

Opening Scene: “Nightfall” by Kavinsky (feat. Lovefoxxx)

‘Thanks for staying’ Scene: “Under Your Spell” by Desire

THIS is the unexpected, beautiful contrast I mentioned….The Mask Scene: “Oh My Love” by Riz Ortolani (feat. Katyna Ranieri)

Ending Scene: “A Real Hero” by College (feat. Electric Youth)

Okay this last scene’s song doesn’t come until about 4 min in….but I suggest you watch a least the minute before that. So you can get in the zone. And really breathe a sigh of relief when Ryan blinks. PHEW.

BONUS! Midnight City” by M83

This song is not - I repeat, NOT – in Drive, but it is awesome and I feel like it should’ve been…Enjoy!

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Some Prez Day Weekend Music! (Without the President Part…)

Had to throw these out there so you could check ‘em out over the glorious weekend! I really love Class Actress – I think I’ll do a more elaborate post about them in the near future.

BUT FIRST. I lied about the “Without the President Part”…Here’s a little throwback. LOOK OUT!

 

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Audible Proof That History Repeats Itself

“Yay! We love retro-style, throwback jams! From the future!”

So far, I’ve been digging all these 50s and 60s style songs. AND THEN I FOUND THIS ONE. Ugh. Try again, Vivian Girls…

Let me know if you have any other throwback faves :)

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Let’s Have a “Little Talk”…About Icelandic Bands!

Just wanted to share this diddy called “Little Talks” with you guys because I’ve been hearing a lot of it lately and I love it.  It’s by the band, Of Monsters and Men.  Once I found out where they where they were from, I figured I’d do a little tribute post to some other Icelandic bands that are awesome, (and I wanted an excuse to use a picture of the northern lights in my blog…haha definitely on my bucket list to see one day.)

 

Of course I can’t talk about Icelandic bands without mentioning Sigur Rós…

 

This one might be a stretch, but since I’m not the biggest fan of Iceland’s Bjork, here’s Death Cab’s cover of her song, “All Is Full of Love”:

 

Another band from Iceland called múm was featured in the movie, Wicker Park, during this dance scene. (I’m secretly obsessed with this film…shhhh)

 

And don’t forget about jónsi!

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Let’s Try This Again, LBB!

Oh, hi guys! Sorry for the lack of activity for about six months (yikes!). Little Birdie Beats has been feeling slightly under the weather…getting over that pesky bird flu, (haaa get itttt). Anyway, I’m going to ease back into this whole thing with a cool cover song I found on one of my favorite blogs, LikeCool. Enjoy! Happy New Year!

(P.S. Can you believe in my last post of 2011 I mentioned Ben Gibbard & Zooey Deschanel being one of my favorite couples…AHHHH I feel so responsible for their divorce! I think I jinxed them…Oh well. Here’s to 2012! STAY STRONG MATT & KIM!)

What an intimate way to make music, right? I love how they take turns singing.  Their faces kinda make me laugh, though – so serious! Then again, it is a pretty seriously depressing song…and the melody and lyrics remind me of the 80s for reason…?!

Here’s the original (which also may or may not make you laugh…)

Okay, bye everyone! See you in another 6 months! Thanks for reading my bi-annual blog!

HAHA Just kidding.

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