Friday, December 23, 2005

Lofidelica interview:Sidney Alexis Lindner (Hotel Alexis)

"...I used to sit in the big empty meeting room and play the saddest little symphonies using only the black keys because I knew they would work together. And sometimes a girl would come and sit on one of the many benches and weep. And I was so sad that year and it just felt like this was somehow connecting with that sad part in people..."

The following interview will also be presented on air in Kanal 103 FM, in Macedonian, when doing the countdown of the lofidelica top 10 albums of 2005.

Sidney Lindner is the man behind Hotel Alexis, annoyed that most people find his surname difficult to pronounce, he uses Alexis instead. The "Hotel" comes from "The Golden Hotel" where his brother Cayce Lindner also plays. However, it was the title of this album which I found most intriguing...

What inspired you for the peculiar title of this record "The shining example is lying on the floor"?
I took the title from a biography of Keith Richards. I liked a lot of the images it seemed to convey. I’ve second guessed that title a lot as I’d want to do but I guess I thought it had this sense of wasted potential that I wanted to get across.

What sort of things inspire you the most, in general?
That’s really difficult to answer. I tend to think of inspiration as an unconscious activity or rather the tapping into an existing well-spring of unconscious build-up. There needs to be a “trigger event” that begins this movement upwards of compressed ideas – but the ideas have been formulating all along. And often your conscious mind wants to, and does, reject these ideas. They, like dreams, often seem ridiculous/dangerous to the conscious mind.
...That sounds kind of pretentious, but I think it’s true. Lately, I’m really trying to record even the things which seem really stupid or don’t make any sense.

Beside the fact that Sidney recorded his first albums on a friend's tape recorder, this album has been recorded in a high-priced studio (Zippah), so that he would finish it fast instead of focusing on silly details for days like he usually does, since he's an experienced sound engineer. However the album includes very old recordings, such is "Blue in the Blackout", or a hidden track among the long lasting final silence "Danny's in the rye".
Some of the people who have helped in realisation of this album are Gregg Porter, Kimberlee Torres (who sings in his other band Torrez) and Nate Groth, but also it is interesting to notice how his familly is involved too. Besides, his brother Cayce, their mother Barbara does the cover art...

What did your mother think of the music? How has she encouraged this affinity in both you and your brother towards music?
I think my mother is very proud of me and likes the fact that I’m creating something. She’s a really great visual artist. You know, my brother and I were never encouraged about music in any way. I think we probably came upon it on our own. What my brother and I have always had was a strong feeling of ‘it’s us against them’ and we have shared in the creation of a lot of secret worlds – one of which is musical.

Most people would count The Quiet Life among their favourite songs off this album. There is a part of the lyric which goes "Something so permanent lately, has died in you, and I know you weren't made for this, working the devil's work for free"

What is the devil's work?
The idea that there is good work to be done is something I’ve always given belief to. The idea that, given the right compensation, one might deviate from the righteous path and do the work of evil is a common one. A deal with the devil and all that. I think a lot of us get led off the path without any compensation at all – we just think that’s what we have to do to survive.

Concerning the lyrics, in another interview, Sidney quotes William Burroughs when saying that "Words are a disease", and indeed he uses strong words that create altering mental images, which adds to his powerfull music in general.
There seems to be some symbolic mentioning of a piano in a few songs (most notable is the one in Dapper Dan "Buy a piano, if you get sad, play just the black keys...")

Do you own a piano?
No. But I used to play the piano a lot when I was a kid, long before I played the guitar. When I was attending a Quaker boarding school in upstate New York I used to sit in the big empty meeting room and play the saddest little symphonies using only the black keys because I knew they would work together. And sometimes a girl would come and sit on one of the many benches and weep. And I was so sad that year and it just felt like this was somehow connecting with that sad part in people.

When I'd lent "The shining example is lying on the floor" to a friend, he claimed it put him straight to sleep and couldn't focus on the songs. On the other hand, there are parts in lyrics which go "And die in your sleep" that tend to freak me out, and I don't fall asleep that easily with it...

How do you usually fall asleep?
I usually read just before bed. Then, when I’m actually falling asleep, I generally picture myself in some sort of underground fortress. It’s very well protected and hidden and I can see out but no one can see in. It used be a sort of tank or rolling fortress but now it’s usually just a really secure underground office.

Sidney actually lives in Sadness (Dolores, Colorado)...

What is it like where you live? Would you prefer living somewhere else?
Well, I’ve been living in Colorado since July. Before that I lived on the East Coast in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for seven years. I always feel like I should be moving on. I struggle with that. This part of Colorado, the “four corners region” they call it because nearby you can lie in four states – Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico – all at once, is really cool. Huge sky and mountains and big desert vistas.

I live in Macedonia, miles, miles away...

What is your reaction to the fact that people in Macedonia listen to your music and fall asleep with your words?
I love it. I’m grateful for it and pleasantly surprised by it. I actually consciously made this record to be one that you could listen to while going to sleep. I used to do that all the time, every night, and it bothered me when a record would have some quiet songs and then have a really loud song. I wanted to make a record that you could really drift off too. I didn’t think that people so far away would be listening.

Beside the common comparison between his music, and the quiet moments of Sparklehorse, great musical influences for Sidney are Richard Buckner, Vic Chessnut, Leonard Cohen, Fleetwood Mac, Red House Painters…

What have you been listening to mostly in 2005?
It’s been a weird year for me in a lot of ways and certainly in the way I’ve listened to music. I haven’t had the usual thing I get where I find something and listen to it over and over as much lately. I usually get really into stuff and then I burn myself out on it. I do the same thing with food. And people.

And finally a question that every average Macedonian, sadly, is occupied with since the beginning of December...

How will you spend the New Year's Eve?
I’ll be doing my usual feeble attempt to join in celebration I’m sure.

Thank you for being so kind to do this interview!

If nothing better comes up, and if a friend agrees to make me company, you will be able to hear "The shining example is lying on the floor", on Kanal 103, in the NYE.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Lofidelica Top 10 Albums of 2005

10.Jeffrey&Jack Lewis-City&Eastern songs (Rough Trade)

I just felt I had to put Jeffrey in the list, even if it means to nudge out Sufjan Stevens, or Chad Vangaalen...His wit, charm and everything conquered my heart, unfortunately a bit too late to get any higher...
9.Stephen Malkmus-Face the truth (Matador)

This album was my number one in the very beginning of the summer. It is very playful, but also mature, kind of perfectly fits in the lofidelica Sundays...
8.Pernice Brothers-Discover a lovelier you (Ashmont)

"Snow" is probably a song I always play when Dj-ing. Other than that, the album works as a whole, there is some atmosphere-altering magic about it which I really like.
7.Hood-Outside Closer (Domino)

February/March/April somewhere around that period, I was really into Hood, electro-acoustic, whiny, and cold...The lyrics are brilliant. I was thinking between this, David Pajo's "Pajo" and Castanets' "First Light's Freeze"...
6.The Panics-Sleeps like a curse (LittleBIGman)

Makes me feel really good listening to it. Brilliant altogether.
5.Thanksgiving-The River (Hive Fidelity/Marriage)

Adrian definetly marked my 2005. At least in all of those (unsuccessful) attempts to get him to play here. His music is pure beauty. I quote: "He sounds like The Microphones (minus the drumming) vs. Will Oldham." Very young (19), talented and productive, I think he has released at least 3 albums this year, from which I chose "The river" as the best one.
4.Arizona Amp And Alternator-A.A.A.A (Thrill jockey)

This probably compensates for not being able to place M Ward's "Transistor Radio" in the top 10. Also a very important part of AAAA is Howe Gelb, whose amazing voice totally wooes me. The cowboy charm, different musical styles blend, and generally the whole fooling around among very very cool people, gets AAAA to number 4.

3.Bonnie 'Prince' Billy-Summer in the Southeast (Drag city)

The best Will Oldham songs in one place, and live! It reminds me of seeing him live in Italy, which was one increadible highlight of this year.
2.Smog-A river ain't too much to love (Drag city)

Each song here tells a story, listening to this album is like reading a book, or being alone with Bill Callahan, it's a very intimate experience, which I tend to set "on repeat".

1.Hotel Alexis-The shining example is lying on the floor (Broken sparrow)

Finally, Hotel Alexis. A background for most of the moments which made my year. To convert sounds into feelings is what I consider the biggest power of music. "The shining example is lying on the floor" makes me feel love.

*listen to
the quiet life

dapper dan

it's obvious now

note:this list will influence the final Kanal 103 list, of albums of the year, which I will eventually post.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

18 december 2005

jeffrey&jack lewis::williamsburg will oldham horror::city&eastern songs::rough trade
karl blau::ode to ocean::sea saw::kelp!
brakes::heard about your band::give blood::rough trade
wolf parade::dear sons an daughters of hungry ghosts::apologies to queen mary::sub pop
chad vangaalen::somewhere i know there's nothing::infiniheart::sub pop
two gallants::some slender rest::what the toll tells::saddle creek
the decembrists::sixteen military wives::picaresque::5rc
phosphorescent::not a heel::aw come aw wry::misra
phosphorescent::dead heart::aw come aw wry::misra
bonnie'prince'billy::death to everyone::summer in the southeast::drag city
bonnie'prince'billy::a sucker's evening::summer in the southeast::drag city
beck::together we found misery::banjo story::unreleased
beck::you can be so careless::banjo story::unreleased
jeffrey&jack lewis::posters::city&eastern songs::rough trade
jeffrey&jack lewis::don't be upset::city&eastern songs::rough trade
cat power::hate::the greatest::matador
the panics::crack in the wall::crack in the wall ep::littleBIGman
jeffrey&jack lewis::anxiety attack::city&eastern songs::rough trade
sufjan stevens::chicago::illinois::asthmatic kitty
jeffrey&jack lewis::they always knew::city&eastern songs::rough trade
jeffrey&jack lewis::new old friends::city&eastern songs::rough trade
hood::winter 72::outside closer::domino
david pajo::let me bleed::pajo::drag city
jeffrey&jack lewis::moving::city&eastern songs::rough trade
jeffrey&jack lewis::art land::city&eastern songs::rough trade
jeffrey&jack lewis::williamsburg will oldham horror::city&eastern songs::rough trade

Jeffrey&Jack Lewis-City and Eastern songs (Rough Trade)

The cool lyrics are nothing new to be said about Jeffrey, so I'll just type out the lyrics of a song on this album I've been listening to on repeat..."Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror", you know, I've met WIll Oldham too, at a show in Italy...he asked me "So Sandra, what do you do in life?"...and that is where I went mute...:)...he was quite nice really, unlike with Jeff here...

Today I went to Major Matt's to remaster my old album
And on the L train in the morning, I was pretty sure I saw Will Oldham,
He was wearin' the same sunglasses he had on stage at the Bowery Ballroom
Had he come to walk among the Williamsburgers of his kingdom
And like the burghers of Calais will a sacrifice be demanded?
To offer up our dreams and beg for mercy empty-handed?
And hapless in our hipness crowed 5 to an appartment
Relegate our dreams to hobbies and deny our disappointment
Cause The Stones in '65 want total satisfaction, kid
But The Stones in '69 see grace in just getting what you need
But if that's a victory then I'd hate to see what I'd look like defeated
Cause I know there are those among us who seem to get their dreams unimpeded
Today I went to Major Matt's to remaster my old album
And on the L train in the morning, i was really sure i saw Will Oldham,
He was wearin' the same sunglasses he had on stage at the Bowery Ballroom
Had he come to walk among the Williamsburgers of his kingdom
And you might say now there's a guy who seems to have their world laid out before him
Or you might say, he's just a rich kid or a fascist or a charlatan
But either way you say it if you look at indie-rock culture you really can't ignore him
And even if at first dismissive, after some listens you'll enjoy him
I was thinking this on the L train, intend on buesting my own bubble
How long should an artist struggle before it isn't worth the hassle
And admit we aren't fit to be the one inside the castle
This quest for greatness or, at least hipness, just a scam
And too much trouble but then what makes on human being worthy of an easy ride
Born to be a natural artist you love or hate but can't deny
While us minions in our millions tumble into history's chasm
We might have a couple of laughs but we're still wastes of protoplasm
Today I was gonna waste some time and money to remaster some dumb old album
And on the L train in the morning, i was really sure I saw Will Oldham,
He was wearin' the same big sunglasses he had on stage at the Bowery Ballroom
Had he come to see the strife here in the gutters of his kingdom?
Where us noble starving artists are striving to feed our ego
Our mothers like our music our our friends come to our shows
And if our friends become successful, we'll consider them our foes
Go home to our 4 roomates after payin' big bucks for rockstars shows
What a nightmare! what a horror! i don't want no part of this
Get me off this crazy ride,
I'm gonna puke, I'm gonna piss! I'd rather kill myself,
I'd rather just relax or not exist
But you say you wanna do an e-mail interview? Oh what the heck, I can't resist!
"Hey, 'ma, guess what today, I did another magazine interview!
Honey, that's great, you're really famous!!" Yeah and I'm 27 too!
I kinda thought I was gonna grow up to do stuff that I'd benefit humanity
But it's getting harder to tell if this artist's life is even benefitting me
Cause I was gonna waste some time and money today to remaster some dumb old album
And on the L train in the morning, I was totally sure I saw Will Oldham,
He was wearin' the same big sunglasses he had on stage at the bowery ballroom
And since I was feeling in need of answers I just went right up and asked him, I said,
Will Bonnie Prince, Palace or whatever "What do you think about it?
Is it worth being an artist or an indie-rock star, or are you better off without it?"
Cause I mean maybe the world would be better if we were all just uncreative drones,
No dead child, hood dreams to haunt us, a decent job, a decent home,
And if we have some extra time we could do real things to promote peace,
Become scientists or history teachers or un-corrupt police at least,
"Come on Will, you gotta tell me!!" I grabbed and shook him by the arm,
The L train was leaning Bedford with 10,000 white 20 somethings crowed on
He opened his mouth to speak but it was lost in the rumbling of the weels
We were thrown together in a corner and I yelled "Tell me, man, for real!"
You're living comfortably, I assume, even if you're not quite a household name
You've reached a pretty high level of success & critical acclaim
The L train got to first avenue and a bunch of people piled out
I was starring into his sunglasses and I was really freakin' out i was like,
Steamboat Willie Bonnie Prince of all this shit, you're like the king of a certain genre
But even you must want to quit like if you hear a record by Bob Dylan or Neil Young or whatever
You must start thinkin' "People like me, but i won't be that good ever"
And I'm sure the thing is probably Dylan himself too stayed up some nights
Wishing he was as good as Ginsberg or Camus
And he was like "Dude, I'm such a faker, I'm just a clown who entertains
and these fools who pay for my crap, they just have pathetic punny brains
and Camus probably wished he was Milton too or whatever, you know what i'm sayin'?!"
So Will, will you be straight with me now that it's just us 2 on this train?
Cause I was gonna spend some time and money today to remaster some dumb old album
And I saw you here on the L train
And I was like "Hey, is that Will Oldham?" he must at least , have some perspective
Cause it's like, living in this town I get so confused & wound up & up tight
And I just don't know up from down
And then we'd reached the last stop and the subway was deserted
There was a long moment of silence and I let go of his shirt
I started to think that maybe I'd made some kind of big mistake
I tried to walk out onto the platform but by then it was too late
His sunglasses seemed to grow darker and still he hadn't even spoke
He just came right up behind me and put his hand around my throat
And threw me down onto the concrete and kicked my face in with his boot
And dragged me down onto the train tracks and tied my hands back with his coat
And I was slipping out of conciousness as he was slipping down my jeans
And he was punching me and humping me and I slipped off into a dream
So it might have just been a delusion
But I thought I heard him say something like "Artists are pussies"
Then he climbed back up and ran away
So I lay there in the darkness on the train tracks cold and broken
The hours passed and I thought,
Well... maybe I won't remaster that old album
And then I started thinking maybe it really hadn't been Will Oldham
Even though he did hold my arms and fucked me just like Will sings in "A sucker's evening"
But whether it was him or not I couldn't forget the words he'd spoken
"Artists are pussies", like we're wusses or we end up getting fucked
And other kinds of folks are dicks, tall, smart and strong
And born to fuck us up I know,
It sounds really sexist and stupid,
It's a terrible analogy but at that moment on the train tracks,
It made a lot of sense to me maybe it's just some kind of natural balance,
Like 2 types of mental gender that's gone on in all societies,
In one form or another like some dicks were born to conquer,
I probably would if I could but if i'm jut a pussy, that's okay
Cause in a few months maybe, I'll put out something good.

(thx ema)

this is punk for indie kids, that has some fiddle too, and sometimes even goes folky. Jack Lewis is Jeff's brother...Most of the reviews I try to write about any Jeff Lewis album are crap, since I'm a very passionate fan, so I'd rather not say anything really...Buy it!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

11 December 2005


It's snowing here, beyond the imaginable. I couldn't make it to the station. And yes, too much revision, too little time :)

Friday, December 09, 2005

beat is murder

do you remember no not fun recordings? this is very similar, but possibly more tronic...
the lo-fi spirit is all over their place, so check it out.

04 December 2005

bonnie 'prince' billy::i see a darkness::summer in the southeast::drag city
neko case::favourite::the tigers have spoken::mint
pj harvey::taut::live
uncle tupelo::knocking on heaven's door::live
cat power::love and communication::speaking for trees::matador
iron&wine::lion's mane::live
elliott brood::only at home::live
shins::pressed in a book::live
bonnie 'prince' billy::i gave you::live
howe gelb&pj harvey::plants&rags::live
neko case::wayfaring stranger::the tigers have spoken::mint
uncle tupelo::no depression::no depression::rockville/columbia legacy
ryan adams::if i am a stranger::cold roses::lost highway
sufjan stevens::come on feel the illinoise::illinois::asthmatic kitty
liger::not in my palace::the infra ordinary::*beat is murder*
liger::thanks and no thanks::the infra ordinary::beat is murder
chad vangaalen::i miss you like i miss you::infiniheart::sub pop
my morning jacket::it beats for you::z::ato
arab strap::dream sequence::the last romance::chemikal underground
the new pornographers::the breeding heart show::twin cinema
the new pornographers::three of four::twin cinema
the czars::paint the moon::goodbye::bella union
richard hawley::coles corner::coles corner::mute

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Winter Equinox-Safe and Sound (Crony)

I don't know where you come from, but in Macedonia we have immensly hot summers and freezing winters. In the winters the temperatures may drop down to -20C degrees, and there have been cases when we'd get extra winter holidays, because it is impossible to get to work/school with all the ice, snow, blizzard etc. However, there are also cases when the tempeture is -19C and you still have to leave the house. You can move 2m/min on foot, and cars are out of the question, while it is very very damn cold. Reaching home, in such days, has always been an extatic experience. The contrasting freezing-warm, the feeling of looking at the storm you've just got out of, through your window, wrapped up in some hot scarf, with a hot drink...Safe and sound. Now, that is the feeling that I get from this album. It is absolutely mesmerising. Winter Equinox come from Ontario(Canada), so I suppose it isn't much different there weatherwise. Apart from this ambiental description, Winter Equinox undoubtedly remind of Tortoise, glitching jazzy melodies (percussions, clarinet, bass) and electronica, to create 6 minute instrumental pieces (except on the closing Skies over smokestacks, featuring depressive vocals)...Other associations that come to mind are Hood, Gy!Be, Mogwai, Four Tet, Oliver Petkov (definetly, trust me.), Explosions in the sky, The London Apartments... The band consists of Lauren and Robyn Yakiwchuk (sisters), Dan Roberts, and Brad Weber. In only a week from now they will be playing live with Caribou (ex. Manitoba), and have already played with bands such as The Organ and Matt Pond PA. Highlights of this album include Scenic Caves and Shiny New Penny.