Saturday, 12 June 2010

Modern Skirts

It might becase I've got a hangover on a beautiful sunny day, but I'm in the mood for a song about a Deep South ghost.

Lucky, then, that Modern Skirts new EP, 'Happy 81' has just flopped into my inbox (how modern). The best track, 'Rebecca St Claire' is way cute; the sort of thing that might cuddle me out of the funk I find myself in this morning. It's lo-fi pop that sounds like The Crystals playing in a bar in a John Wayne film. Stretch your minds around that, and then listen to it.

Right, I'm off back to bed.


mike Turner said...

the modern skirts are pop hacks...seriously they are doing the lo-fi thing cause that's what they think sells now. the band is as far removed from being athens as it gets. they used to write ben folds style bro-ternative tunes but then went all coldplay, and now they are going all shrimper records ..... i've never even seen any of these guys in the band at any real pop show in athens. sorry to call them out, but i had to.

A layer of chips said...

Yeah, I had a listen to their other stuff after that song, and nearly deleted the post. I like that song, but thanks for the heads up!

Mike Turner said...

yeah it's cool, it just cracks me up how many bands right now that are starting to get noticed in this nu-fi scuzz pop scene were once all professional with how they would record and write music. it's all so much marketing now. kinda like this new sub pop band happy birthday which people are all into used to be a freak-folk band called feathers, and the dum dum girls girl dee dee was in a yeah yeah yeahs knock off band that tried to buy their way into the scene called the grand ole party, cold cave is dudes from some girls , hunx and his punx was in a disco silly band gravy train....the list goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

it cracks mike turner up about how many bands are leaning toward a scuzz pop sound right now to get noticed because of marketability. it cracks me up how mike turner doesn't know a fucking thing about modern skirts and what they're doing right now. these songs all came off of a four track recorder because that's where they were recorded. there was no pretension or marketing involved. in fact, modern skirts have no one managing, booking, or marketing them right now. this is the real shit. plus, they've never tried to compare themselves to ben folds or coldplay or any of that crap.
as far as real pop shows in athens go, mike, i hardly think sucking the ass any of the hhbtm popfest bullshit bands is a good way to spend a monday-thru-thursday night at a small lonely venue where you and your stuck up old-ass friends are the only other ones there. there's good music happening all around athens. so what if discerning people can't stand casper and the cookies and cars can be blue. modern skirts came into the game with people putting the pop label on them. i've yet to hear them say too much about the term "pop" unless someone asks them.

A layer of chips said...

They do have someone marketing them, because I got sent the track by a promotion company. I don't know anything more about them, so I'll butt out of this one now and leave you two to it.

Modern Skirts said...

This is JoJo from Modern Skirts. I thought maybe I could shed some light on this in the spirit of informing the dialogue a little.

Speaking candidly for myself, I grew past being terribly into our first record a looong time ago, and with one or two exceptions, I was never that crazy about the second. It kinda sucks to feel that way about music you put out, but all you can do is record your little heart out and hope for the best. Making records is terrifying.

I've gotten really sick of finishing a record and feeling like the guts of the song changed somewhere along the way. That's why this stuff sounds how it does now, because the demos kicked my teeth in, and I didn't want to lose that in the process. I think it's unfortunate for us that there is a lo-fi movement, because I know we're going to get panned for that. Whatever, I'll take it. This is how these songs sound right to me. I think the heart of the stuff we're about the release are by far the most interesting thing we've done, almost a different band, definitely a completely different mentality. The production quality is the least of my concerns.

Mike, we know many of the same crowd and I think they are pretty fantastic people, so I regret we've never had the chance to have a conversation in person. I do think your comments here and in the past have grossly misrepresented our intentions, although I can maybe understand how you could have made those assumptions from what we've produced. We just grew up as artists a lot in the past few years. It happens all the time. I don't want to trick anyone. i just want to make really good music. I think we finally did this time.

So, generally, I'm trying to say that our intentions are constantly misrepresented and if you really give this stuff we're doing a listen, then we can talk about the merits or lack thereof. If you blow it off because we suddenly sound indie or whatever, you could miss something interesting.

Thanks for the post and comments. Argue on!

(PS- For the record, we do have a booking agent, Red Ryder out of Chicago, and the amazing Team Clermont is helping us push our EP and album. We suck at those things and need the help. Otherwise, yes, we are doing the rest ourselves right now.)

Arrowhead Vintage said...

Sounds and tastes change over time. Painters have paintings from younger days that they wouldn't create today. Writers have high school compositions they would not write today. I'm sure we all have a few records in our collection we loved years ago, but aren't so keen on anymore. Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but I interpret this complaint about the Modern Skirts as "their music sounded one way years ago, so if their style changes, it's not genuine." Artists grow, or in this case, decide to release years old home tapes in addition to their usual sound.

In preparation for another studio release, they are sharing songs from years of home tapes to show what else they are capable of. With full disclosure as someone who helps them with press, making any sort of money off digitally sending out these songs was never a consideration.

A nice thing about music is that there's a sound for everyone, and no one has to like everything. I enjoy when bands dabble in a different sound, or release old home tapes, but that's my personal taste.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you should check out Bunny Kitty. Not only do they have animals in their name; they've never changed our adopted their style in any way.

mike turner said...

1. anon comments if you want to diss - please sign your name. i do all the time. (also your comment reads as if you were one of the bands not asked to play or something)
2. i saw the modern skirts many times in athens both in the crowd and working at the 40 watt. they are great showmen....and to be honest i thought the ben folds type early stuff really suited them best as they write that stuff with ease, and they built a big fan base around that sound. then they did the brooding arty deep record, and it didn't fair as well, but that was their call. what i have taken offense to is more the way the new ep was marketed, and to be fair maybe their pr firm wrote it, but it just came off a bit weird and grasping. also to jojo you should hire someone to write a better press sheet for you. the one they are sending around reads really poorly to the point it sounds like the other records were fake, but this new one is real. and the second paragraph could be written as one coherent sentence. also to make claims that you are going to bring something to the listener they have never heard before is massive....4 track demos being promoted should have a somewhat toned down one sheet. "The story that this EP and the record that it foreshadows tells is the story of a band up against themselves, a band facing dissolution and chaos within itself, a band struggling for air under the weight of years of expectation and disappointment. " STRAIGHT FROM THE ONE SHEET (WHICH ALSO STATES THE BAND IS A POP BAND IN THE FIRST SENTENCE) . okay, here is a band that built a big audience pretty quickly and sold out the 40 watt many times over, and even headlined the main stage at Athfest (the local focused music festival in june), they toured europe twice, and even opened for R.E.M., hell they even had David Lowery of CVB / Cracker and Mike Mills of R.E.M. produce parts of their last record. i know they didn't break mega huge nationally or anything, but they did really well local and have built a decent regional to me the expectation and disappointment part just seems really sad as they can't see the above as being a real accomplishment or something. anyway i guess after reading the one sheet it irked me a bit, then the song was just kinda a wtf...yet another glossy going lo-fi. but if the guys want to drop by wuxtry and talk, i'm there most of the time and would be all into telling you what i think. not saying what you did before was shit, just said what it sounded like to me. and i preferred the ben folds alterna-bro stuff.
also to anon #1 - never said the HHBTM stuff is what you should listen to or even give a shit about. as long as i like it is all that matters, it's my money at the end of the day, the only person who needs to care about it is me, not asking you to like it. in fact when i do pr for records on the label i don't bug folks to write about it, if you like it cool, if you don't then that's cool too.
anon #2 - looked for bunny kitty , not sure if you meant the bunny kitty from japan or the one from minneapolis...
alyssa - nice pr post (no seriously) you handled that with grace. however i really like when people love or hate records.....the can't we all just get along bit can be boring. i love when people get into a record so much they just gush about it, and i even love reading when a record burns someone up inside with rage. i've been gushing like a school girl at the store over the new devo record for the last week.

so in the end - anon's fuck off
alyssa - pro post with much grace
jojo - come by the store and we can chat, ask me anything you want, i'm very upfront. i really like some parts of your band, and i can't stand other parts, nothing personal.

that's all.

Pete Green said...

Pretty tune.

Anonymous said...

Yeah JoJo, you should go to Wuxtry so you can hear the assuredly enlightened opinion of the dude with a record label in Athens, since there are only 10 or so. He's signed greats like Casper and the Cookies, so maybe he could give you some pointers. Then he could backtrack on his bombastic spattering on your supposed hackery in person like he did online. No, its not cowardly, it the adult thing to do.

JoJo, you just don't understand what real music is. But you could start going to shows and homogenizing your sound to be more Athenian and maybe it would get better.

But seriously, go talk to the dude who lingers around Athens like Gordon Lamb at an out of tune guitar sale. Thats someone who's seen it all...At a record store...In Athens, GA. Yep.

Get a clue Modern Skirts! You guys are pop losers who drink tiddy milk! Fep!

I'll be at the beach, settin' up the net.

Gabe Graves
171 Park Avenue.