Best of 2009


Best of 2009: The Interviews: .357 Lover

Last modified on 2010-03-29 05:06:32 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Photo courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR

Photo courtesy of Tell All Your Friends PR

“Diorama of the Golden Lion” was among our favorite albums of 2009. Ben Folds stated that he doubted “many people will like [Diorama of the Golden Lion] because music audiences in general aren’t smart enough for this kind of quality a statement that confused singer and songwriter Jon Cunningham also known as Corn Mo of Corn Mo’s .357 Lover, “I’m not sure. I read some reviews that hated this album saying the lyrics weren’t honest. Most of them have elements of things that I have experienced or things that have happened to me. Nighttime School is about the bad advice I received from my high school counselor.  Maybe Tonite is a make out fantasy about a girl I almost married. German Lady is about a woman who hitched a ride with my family from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt when I lived in Germany. Sweet Kentucky Girl is about my grandmother. Everything in Junior High is true. Everything in High on the Horse is true.  Old Man was written after my mom died.  I was upset about my dad being alone. And I really loved the movie Time Cop.” He continued, “My lyric style is simple. I like reading Kurt Vonnegut. I don’t spoon feed my feelings in my writing and I don’t think people should have to use my songs as a self-help book.  I consider my music to be full of joy, presented in a 70’s arena rock fashion.  I guess it doesn’t connect to some people.”

The songs on the album came about slowly some spanning over 10 years, “Some of the songs like “German Lady Special” was recorded back in 1998. Since then, more recordings were made over the years.  Some songs were deleted from the list as others were added. The final arrangement of songs seemed to fit together. And it seemed time to finish something.”

Their unique blend of sounds on the album did not go unnoticed, when asked how the band’s overall sound originated Cunningham stated, “I listened to a lot of Queen, Van Halen, Tiny Tim, Cheap Trick, Guns and Roses, Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Motley Crue, Rush, Scorpions and Ennio Morricone.”

His inspiration for making music is as simple as finishing a song, “There’s a great feeling when I’ve finished a song.  It’s really hard to make one that I can be proud of.  I joined a group called the Bushwick Book Club. We write songs based on the book assigned for that month. Most of the time, I’m writing the day of the show.”

As far as live performances go they are as much visual as musical Cunningham explains, “I don’t consume alcohol or dairy on the day of the show and give everything I can.  We’ve been adding videos lately and my girlfriend does trapeze sometimes for a song I wrote for her.”

As far as live performances go they are as much visual as musical Cunningham explains, “I don’t consume alcohol or dairy on the day of the show and give everything I can. We’ve been adding videos lately and my girlfriend does trapeze sometimes for a song I wrote for her.”

Cunningham promises that the next album is right around the corner, “We’re going back into the studio in January to record the next album.  It will only take a couple of months rather than 10 years.  We’re also doing a residency at the Knitting Factory every Tuesday in January [and] we’ll probably tour in the spring.”

For more on the band visit www.357lover.com


Best of 2009: The Interviews: Electric Valentine

Last modified on 2010-03-29 05:07:30 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

photo courtesy of Another Reybee Production

photo courtesy of Another Reybee Production

Thanks a bunch for picking “Automatic” for your list. We worked really hard on the album and it means a lot to us. The creative process was probably a little different than what most bands are used to. We recorded, produced and mixed the whole thing ourselves, so it was a lot of work. We pretty much wrote the songs as we recorded them in our studio. In all of our other bands, we had everything written before going in to the studio. The new way really let us focus on what was best for the song. We spent a lot of time changing and re-writing what we thought were average parts.

The only challenge was dealing with the lack of objectivity that comes from recording and producing your own songs. We dealt with this by going out on little 2 week tour every couple months. We would come back to the studio with fresh ears. Plus it helped us maintain our buzz instead of just disappearing for 6 months while working on the album.

Our plan is to get our music out to as many new fans as possible in 2010.  We already have some pretty cool tours lined up for Jan and Feb and we’ve spent the last couple weeks working on a new live show with no backing tracks or computers onstage. We really want to set ourselves apart from all of the other electro “bands”. We’ve always played with a great live drummer named Liam but we just added our extremely talented friend John Bennett to the live lineup to play synth and guitar parts. We’re planning on spending the majority of 2010 touring. We have a mobile pro tools rig in our van, so we’ll be able to write new material while on the road. We also recently decided to start giving out our album for free online. Your readers an get download mp3shere: http:..//bit.ly/5tKS9h Thanks again for everything.


Best of 2009: The Interviews: Elizabeth and The Catapult

Last modified on 2010-03-29 05:09:00 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Photo courtesy of Daffodil Publicity

Photo courtesy of Daffodil Publicity

Sinister Girlz: First of all congratulations on an amazing album, “Taller Children” has been selected as one of SinisterGirlz.com’s Best of 2009. What was the creative process like for this album?

Elizabeth: Thank you! We recorded a lot of it ourselves- Danny Molad(drummer) set up some minimal equipment and a protools rig in his bedroom and we got to work. The rest of it we did with Mike Mogis in Omaha!

SG: What do you hope listeners take away from listening to this album?

Elizabeth: If it somehow resonates with people- through the lyrics or the sound- or if it inspires them or even helps them take their day less seriously- all of this is wonderful.

SG: Overall what has been the crowd’s reaction on the road?

Elizabeth: We’ve been very lucky and had some really great reception from the crowds on the road. We just toured with a Canadian Pop star, Justin Nozuka. Most of his fans were sixteen year old girls, screaming at the top of their lungs. We didn’t mind this at all.

SG: Everyone always talks or asks about musical influences who are some of yours and how have you incorporated if in anyway into your own music?

Elizabeth: I’ve been listening to a lot of Tom Waits lately and trying to write very fictional storylines for my songs. Pushing myself to write about places I want to go, instead of just the places I’ve been and know. I also love the grit and dirtiness of his voice and his general sense of freedom on stage. He seems to really embrace the happy accidents that occur during a performance- all of this is incredibly inspiring to me.

SG: What are your plans and goals for 2010?

Elizabeth: Write, record, learn guitar/bass, [and] spend more time in the woods.

For more on Elizabeth and The Catapult and their stellar “Taller Children” visit www.elizabethandthecatapult.com


Best of 2009: The Interviews: Kathy Griffin

Last modified on 2010-03-29 05:09:38 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

There was no doubt in our minds that Kathy Griffin’s “Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin’ (Audiobook) would make our list for Best of 2009 so when we reached out to Kathy’s reps for a statement here’s what the comedian had to say: “Well, I’m going to be honest. Hell, I was maybe a little TOO honest in this book to begin with, but here goes.  I kind of improvised the second half of the audio book. Not all of it, of course, but I got a little bored in the recording booth, so I just started kind of free styling, as the kids would say.  I hope you like it!” – Kathy Griffin


Best of 2009: The Interviews: My Cousin, The Emperor

Last modified on 2010-03-29 05:11:55 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

photo by Dave Ransone

photo by Dave Ransone

Sinister Girlz: First of all congratulations on an amazing album, “A Long Way From Home” has been selected as one of SinisterGirlz.com’s Best of 2009. What was the creative process like for this album?

My Cousin, The Emperor: Thank you very much. I wanted to write a record that a band could play live on stage. 2 guitars, bass, and drums. I had done some records in the past that were hard to recreate on a stage without a lot of people, so I wanted this record to sound like what we sounded like any given night, at a bar, or venue.  We spent about 2 months arranging the songs, letting them come together naturally, playing with different ideas. Like I said, we wanted to record the album live, so we arranged the songs as we would play them live. We wanted to limit ourselves, and record without the aid of unlimited tracks in a modern recording studio. I wanted everyone in the studio at the same time, looking each other in the eye, playing music and just capturing the energy of the performances.

I wasn’t really concerned if the tempo dragged, or if a wrong note was hit, I just wanted it to sound like a band playing in a room together.  That’s what I love about so many old records. So many records released today don’t sound like that at all. If we did a take and everyone was happy, then we moved on to the next song. We didn’t really spend a lot of time over analyzing anything. I don’t think we did any song more than 3 or 4 takes, with some of them being done on the first take. We recorded the bulk of the record in 2 days. It’s a record that captures how we sounded as a band that week in the studio. I think it’s great, and I think you can hear that we were having fun. It was a very pleasurable experience making this record.

SG: The album has been praised in numerous publications, like Time Out New York, what does that do to the band’s psyche?

My Cousin, The Emperor: It hasn’t affected us one bit (laughs). No, we’re taking it all in stride. It’s always a great honor when someone wants to praise you in a public forum. I feel very flattered when I see those things, but I don’t let it get in the way. I don’t think any of other guys do too. I think it’s a great album. I’m happy that other people feel the same way. So much about music today is the single, and the image. It’s nice to know that people do get past the second track on an album, and listen to it as an entire piece of work.

SG: How would you categorize your music? What sound were you guys initially going for?

My Cousin, The Emperor: We were going for a natural, live, working band sound. I was obsessed with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles while I was writing this record. I wanted us to sound like Smokey’s band. They were smoking hot… excuse the pun (laughs) I would be more than happy if we sounded like Smokey’s band on a bad night (laughs) I love those old Motown records. I love how it’s melodic and it makes you want to dance. But for some reason, when I try to play that old r&b stuff it comes out with a country tinge. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, it’s just what it is. I think you could categorize our music has melodic and it makes you want to dance… with a country tinge.

SG: You were featured in this year’s CMJ showcase what was that experience like?

My Cousin, The Emperor: We had just released our record and played at Joe’s Pub the week before. A record release can be pretty nerve-wracking, and I was feeling the stress. I thought our Joe’s show was great. We had a bit of the nerves, but it helped make the night special. For the CMJ gig, we were able to just be a band and play music. We were on fire. I have very positive memories of that showcase. I would have liked to have been in the audience because we were a different band that night. We were in fifth gear. I think Terry may have been possessed.

SG: Overall what has been the crowd’s reaction on the road?

My Cousin, The Emperor: Well, we are a high energy band, and the crowds seem to really feed off of us. There are many times when I veer from the set list so I can keep people dancing in front of me. I love it.

SG: What do you hope listeners take away from listening to this album?

My Cousin, The Emperor: I hope they like the songs.  I hope they get the melodies stuck in their head, and that they get mad at me for it. I hope they like the sound of the record, the guitars, the vocals.  I hope a lyric or two jumps out at them and makes them think of the song (or their life) in a different way. You know, we do these things because we have passion. I hope that you can hear the passion, or that it makes you feel passion. I think we made a really good record, with all the songs being considered just as important as the next.  I was like a parent to eleven children.  I had no favorites, and I wanted them all to succeed.  I think they all do. I hope that they will listen to the entire record, because I’ve been known to put the best song on the record second to last as a reward for those who listen to the whole thing.

SG: What are your plans and goals for 2010?

My Cousin, The Emperor: I think we are going to release 4 EPs this year.  I already have the majority of the songs written. We’ve been preparing new material to be recorded in Feb. More shows, more cities, more music.

For more on the band and their album, “A Long Way From Home” visit their website http://www.myspace.com/mycousintheemperor