Wall Of Sound : A Conversation With Post Child’s Bryan Alvarez

by EA Poorman

 

Can you feel it? It’s the roaring warmth of summer coming just around the corner, folks. Temps in the 80s, balmy breeze blowing through the car window as you sit at the stop light waiting for the green to tell you to go, go, go. The best thing about the oncoming season change is that first great rock show of the season. Maybe you think you’ve seen it already. At that point maybe it was, but boys and girls there’s a show happening on May 26th at the Brass Rail that will knock your socks off. Local heroes Heaven’s Gateway Drugs and Girl Colors are warming the stage up for our Ohio pals Water Witches and Chi-town’s Post Child. And even better, cruise over to Neat Neat Neat Records at 6pm and watch Water Witches christen Morrison’s all new Hi Fi Lounge with some of their psychedelic magic. Yep, NNN has the Hi Fi Lounge up and running so leave the house a little early and grab some suds courtesy of CS3s pop up bar while you soak up some Water Witches magic.

Post Child are new to the Brass Rail stage and Fort Wayne in general. But if you’re like me and you were drunk a lot in the 90s, alternative rock has a special place in your heart. Post Child capture that post-grunge, in-the-red, hooky indie rock that made so many of us fall in love with rock and roll all over again in the early days of the Clinton administration. When I listened to their newest record Wax Wings I instantly thought of bands like Local H, Marcy Playground, Imperial Drag, Tiny Music-era STP, Blur, and some of the gnarlier Beck. The trick is to take those influences and make it original, which is exactly what Post Child does. They add that Chicago flavor to the sound; it’s that Midwest moxy that is equal parts working class gusto and big-hearted earnestness.

I talked to Bryan Alvarez, Post Child’s singer/guitarist about the band and their show at the Rail.

EA Poorman: So tell me about Post Child. How did you guys get together?

Bryan Alvarez: Post Child was started by me back in 2011 from the ashes of a previous band I was in. I’ve been in a bunch of bands over the years that were group efforts. Post Child was started as a way for me to really hone the sound I’ve been searching for over the years. I wanted something that I could have full creative control. But with that being said, we wouldn’t sound how we do without the guys in the band. They take my songs and transmute them into something bigger and better.

EA Poorman: So who else is in the band? Are you guys all from Chicago?

Bryan Alvarez:  The band is me, Bryan Alvarez, on vocals/lead guitar, Jared Olson on guitar/vocals, Mustafa Daka on drums, and Victor Riley on bass. We’re all from Chicago or the surrounding towns.

Photo by Alen Khan

EA Poorman: Are you all in different bands besides Post Child?

Bryan Alvarez: Everyone is in multiple bands. I used to play in the band Peekaboos (who have been around for a while now), only recently leaving to concentrate more on Post Child. Jared is in Elephant Gun and Dirty Bird, Mustafa is in The Brokedowns and High Priests, and Victor is in Salvation.

EA Poorman: Where are you guys pulling inspiration from? I hear a lot of great 90s alternative bands in your sound.

Bryan Alvarez: I grew up listening to bands like Nine Inch Nails, Weezer, Blur, Beck and the Flaming Lips. And I think we all can bond over these bands, who when we were younger were larger than life. But I think a lot of our current sound is influenced by local Chicago bands, like Meat Wave, Peekaboos, Milked, Rad Payoff, Velocicopter (RIP), and Closed Mouths. All of these bands come from the realm of rock and post-rock but are all unique in their own way. Seriously, you should all listen to them and see them live when you can.

EA Poorman: So tell me about the newest Post Child long player Wax Wings. Where did you guys record the record? What’s the songwriting process like for you guys?

Bryan Alvarez: We recorded Wax Wings at Kildare Studios in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago with Joe Gac of Meat Wave behind the board. We recorded it at the end of Sept 2015 and spent 2016 doing overdubs and mixing. I usually try out different methods of songwriting for each album. For Wax Wings, I spent a lot of time trying to write lyrics that were meaningful to me, using music as a way to add impact to them. It was a very introspective and meditative process, trying to get deep into my mind. I was reading a lot of esoteric books on meditation and psychology at the time. The music was a much longer process, sometimes rewriting a song 3 or 4 times over before I was satisfied with it. At that point I would bring all of this to the band and have them add to it and make it sound even better. I think I wrote maybe 30 songs for Wax Wings, we recorded about 20 tracks, and ended up only using 10.

EA Poorman: So you guys are playing the Brass Rail on May 26th. How did this show come together? Is this your first time in the Fort? Who else is playing?

Bryan Alvarez: Corey from Brass Rail had reached out and invited us to come and play. He liked the band. I didn’t actually ask him how he heard of us. We’ve never played Fort Wayne before, so we’re excited to come out and play for everyone. We’ve had friends come through and tell us it was a good time. So the details, It’s Friday May 26th. Girl Colors are opening, then us, and Heaven’s Gateway Drugs are headlining.

EA Poorman: What other shows do you have lined up for the summer?

Bryan Alvarez: Locally, we’re usually booked up a few months in advance. We have some really great shows coming up this summer that I can’t quite announce just yet that are really cool. But we’re trying to get around the midwest a bit more and play places like Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and so on. We’re working on a longer tour for later this fall. If you are reading this and want to help us book a show in your town please reach out to us!

EA Poorman: Any new music on the horizon?

Bryan Alvarez: I’m actually writing the follow up to Wax Wings right now. I write a lot of music. Much more than we’ll ever release probably. My goal for the next album was to write at least 15 songs before I considered doing any recording. I got to about 14 songs and ended up scrapping almost all of them. So I’m down to like 5. It wasn’t sounding the way I had wanted it. So, I’ve been spending a lot of time on these new songs working on rhythms and beats. We sometimes play a new song or two at our live shows. Otherwise, we might try to put a new tune out later this year.

EA Poorman: In one sentence, how would you describe Post Child?

Bryan Alvarez: We’re really loud. Bring ear plugs. It wasn’t even intentional to be as loud as we are, but it just kind of happened that way. We played a show the other night and someone came up to me and described it as “wall of sound”. I think we write really poppy music overall, we like to do vocal harmonies, double guitar solos, but just to do it really loudly. I like the idea of using sound to take people out of their comfort zone a bit.

So don’t forget earplugs, folks. It’s gonna be great, but loud. And make sure to hit up NNN and the Hi Fi Lounge at 6pm for some pre-main event music goodness with Water Witches and some brews courtesy of CS3. The main event starts at 9pm at the Brass Rail. Get acquainted with Post Child over at https://postchildmusic.bandcamp.com/.

 

Rock Shows In The Fort: The D-Rays and The Red Plastic Buddha

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photo by Rob Gaczol

by E.A. Poorman

 

There’s nothing better than a great night of rock n’ roll. Hard working guys and gals offering up some original sounds at high volumes as you spill that well-earned beer down the front of your shirt. After three or four of those draft beauties you don’t care because the music grabs you and slaps you around. It caresses and brutalizes. That’s what a great rock show does for the listener. The only thing that would make this show even better is when it’s right in your backyard. Well this weekend there’s not one, but two amazing shows going on right here in the Fort and you’d be a grade-A idiot not to come out to both.

First up is Friday, August 1st at The Brass Rail. The Whiskey Daredevils, The D-Rays, and Fort Wayne’s own Dag and the Bulleit Boys will be putting on a hell of a rockabilly-meets-surf punk-meets-gut bucket country kind of show. The D-Rays played in the Fort last year with Streetlamps for Spotlights and it was a great eardrum-shattering show. They’re mixing up Link Wray, X, and The Ventures into their own brand of surf punk you don’t want to miss out on. I recently talked to guitarist Erick Coleman about this Friday’s show and the band in general.

photo by Vikas Nambiar
photo by Vikas Nambiar

EA Poorman: So this isn’t your first Fort Wayne gig. How did the show go last time around?

Erick Coleman: The first D-Rays show in the Fort was awesome and in a way a homecoming of sorts for me. I lived in Ft. Wayne for about a decade a number of years ago and was fairly active in the local music scene. In addition to playing in The Beautys and a band called Fat Ass I also brought a good number of touring bands to town during my time there.

EAP: I think when folks here The D-Rays there are definitely some classic bands that come to mind as far as influences. But who or what do you site as inspiration for The D-Rays sound?

Erick Coleman: The D-Rays pull from a wide range of influences but the one that stands out the most would probably be Link Wray. His down and dirty instrumental style really spoke to me as a young player. Other influences include The Lively Ones, The Tornados, The Venture of course. A lot of reviews compare our style to Dick Dale. I can understand why they do but I am by and large unfamiliar with his catalog other than the hits.

EAP: Tell me a little about the show on August 1st at The Brass Rail. Who are you playing with?

Erick Coleman: The Whiskey Daredevils are a high energy rockabilly band from Northern Ohio. They’ve played the Brass Rail a time or two but we’ve never played there together, same with Dag and the Bulleit Boys. Their drummer Dave was in The Beautys, Fat Ass and a band called The Speed Knobs with me so I’m really looking forward to sharing the stage with him again.

EAP: So let’s talk a little about the most recent long player by The D-Rays. You did some recording here in the Fort at Off The Cuff with Jason Davis, correct? Will you have some records available for purchase at the show?

Erick Coleman: Both our 7″ and 12″ records were recorded with Jason and in a way he’s become the 4th member of the band. His production style really goes over well with us and we trust his judgment more than we do our own. Our original intention was to record in a number of analog studios but after our first session with him we all decided Off The Cuff was the studio we want to call home. Jason has put in countless hours behind the board, has some amazing gear and the studio has a super comfortable working environment. Very conducive to making a great record. Yes, we will have both records available at the show.

EAP: Where else are The D-Rays playing this summer?

Erick Coleman: We kicked off the summer with a set on the main stage of the Nelsonville Music Festival, which was super fun. We have a bunch of shows on the books but some notable upcoming gigs include The Aquabear County Fair with WV White here in Athens, OH and the 6th annual Hot Rod Hula Hop in Columbus. Its a cool car show at an old bowling alley. We’ll be playing with the Supersuckers and Coffin Daggers. Both should be a blast!!

Sounds like it’s going to be a hell of a show. Get out to The Brass Rail Friday, August 1st and support local music and show some great touring bands the Fort’s hometown hospitality.

Now on the other end of the musical spectrum there’s a happening going on Sunday, August 3rd at The Tiger Room @ CS3. Chicago’s The Red Plastic Buddha come to town to play a triple bill with Fort Wayne’s own Heaven’s Gateway Drugs and Soft N’ Heavy with liquid lights provided by Dr. Robert’s Ocular Odyssey(say that three times fast.) I was able to chat with Tim Ferguson, The Red Plastic Buddha’s singer, bassist, and spiritual center about the band and their upcoming Fort Wayne debut.

photo by Rob Gaczol
photo by Rob Gaczol

EAP: So Tim, tell me about The Red Plastic Buddha. What should Fort Wayne know coming into this show?

Tim Ferguson: We are a psychedelic pop group from Chicago. If you like Black Angels and old Pink Floyd, you’ll probably like us too. We’re probably more song oriented and less 20 minute freakout than some in our tribe. I’ve always drawn inspiration from the first wave of British psychedelia, but I’m drinking from the same pool as most of the other new groups. I’m older though, so I went through punk and all that followed. I’m not really a purist about what belongs and what doesn’t stylistically, so there’s bits from here and there. I grew up with songs with hooks and choruses and we tend to go that route.

On record, I like to have lots of small things going on, even in quiet moments. Whirring things. Cicadas. Birds. Most people won’t even hear them, because I might have them mixed off to one side, or up in a corner, but they’re there. I go a little nuts building these sonic universes. It’s all about creating moods with sound that enhance the lyric and create a habitat for the words to live in. We’re a bit more chaotic live. Less glossy, more energetic.
As of this recording, I’m the last man standing of the original lineup. We are now Eric Ahlgren on keyboards, Neil Hunt on drums, Derik Kendall on lead guitar and Mike Connor on rhythm guitar. I sing and play bass.
EAP: How did the Tiger Room gig come about? Have you played with HGD before?
Tim Ferguson: We’re really excited to play with them. We’re definitely big fans, but I’m not sure when we first made the connection.

Psychedelic musicians are a really tightly knit community these days. One connection leads to another and you tend to just have all these friends who

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photo by Rob Gaczol

are in bands all over the world who are making amazing music. HGD are definitely known in the larger community and I think it was a mutual friend who turned me on to their music. I had talked with Derek Mauger about setting up a show and we finally managed to make our schedules work. Our mutual friend Bob Wagner (who does lighting under the name Doctor Robert’s Ocular Odyssey) was available to join in on the fun and we also recently added Soft N’ Heavy to the lineup. It’s going to be a fun night.

EAP: Can you tell me a little about your newest album ‘Songs For Mara’? It’s been stated that this record is a little darker than your previous albums. Listening to a song like “Little White Pills” I can hear that. That song is certainly more early 80s Love and Rockets than a song like “Daisy Love” off of your album All Out Revolution. What was the sea change in the band’s sound?
Tim Ferguson: Love and Rockets? Hmm, I like that. Yeah, I’m not sure what came first on this one, the concept or the songs. Our last record ‘All Out Revolution’ was meant to be a hopeful thing. Psychedelic music as a positive reaction to the turmoil of the times – just like in the 60s. It was more life affirming. I think the songs here though are a result of me continually staring into the void. The name comes from Prince Siddhartha’s struggle against the lord of the underworld (Mara) – which was really just his own ego – on his way to enlightenment. These songs are based more on the things that modern humans are up against.

Modern life gives us distractions in the form of material possessions and drugs to round out the rough edges. Love is obscured by sexuality and enlightenment is promised by owning the latest greatest version of whatever material crap that the Wall Street monkeys are hocking this week. By following the prescribed path, we have become a society (and a species) that is looking without to find a solution to the problem within. I don’t think I’m offering any salvation or answers here, just casting a bit of a light into the darkness. Maybe it all comes off as pretentious. At the end of the day, I’m just another knucklehead trying to figure it out.
Looking back on your question, I’m sure that some of the things going on in my life (and within the band) got me started down the dark path. I lost some people. The band was falling apart. But life goes on and things get sorted. There’s some lessons I learned over the process of making this record that I needed to learn. I think that too often, we live in pain avoidance instead of accepting pain as a teaching tool and a dark blessing. If you don’t walk through it, you’ll never get to what is on the other side.
EAP: Where was ‘Songs For Mara’ recorded? Do you have a home studio?
Tim Ferguson: We’ve recorded Songs for Mara and our last record at Joyride Studios in Chicago. I’m certainly guilty of the ‘jack of all trades/ master of none’ syndrome in most areas of my life, but when it comes to recording, I leave it to the experts. Brian Leach and Blaise Barton have a wonderful facility, Brian is absolutely telepathic on the board, and he get the sounds we’re aiming for.

I find there is real value in having a neutral set of ears tuned in on the process, and although I feel a real kindred spirit thing going with Brian, he’s experienced enough to reel me in when I start orbiting a bit too far out.
EAP: What other shows does The Red Plastic Buddha have lined up for this summer?
Tim Ferguson: We’re in Grand Rapids on Friday, Toronto Saturday and finishing the weekend in Ft. Wayne. We’ve got some Chicago things going on throughout the year, including opening for Big Head Todd at Soldier Field in August. I’m working on more Midwest shows for later in the year, with Wisconsin, Minneapolis and Ohio on the radar. There’s also some talk of working with our friends The Orange Drop out of Philadelphia, but we’re still working out the logistics of that.

Things are going well. There’s a real energy and it’s a lot of fun to be leading a band again.
Thanks to places like The Brass Rail and CS3 -as well as excellent folk like The D-Rays, The Red Plastic Buddha, HGD, Dag and the Bulleit Boys, The Whiskey Daredevils, and Soft N’ Heavy- your weekend is already made for you. Just show up at The Brass Rail on Friday August 1st and the Tiger Room @ CS3 on Sunday August 3rd and let these fine bands do the rest. See you there.

Holy… Sister… Heaven’s… Drugs… Oh My!

heavens gateway show 2013

by E. A. Poorman

We are the music makers… and we are the dreamers of dreams.”- Willy Wonka

Yes kiddos, there’s a show coming up here in our illustrious Fort that if you decide to skip out it’s gonna be like sleeping through the Rapture.  You’ll be a lost soul in a city of enlightened freaks.  On Friday, April 19th at 10pm over at the perfectly grimy Brass Rail a freakout is gonna be taking place.  Your hosts?  Well Heaven’s Gateway Drugs, Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor, and The Holydrug Couple.  Dig this boys and girls, a show like what will be going down on April 19th doesn’t come around too often, so clear your schedule and get ready to get freaky.

The Holydrug Couple is a band from Santiago, Chile.  Imagine that state somewhere between sleep and consciousness.  That space of time where you are nearly at total peace with the universe.  That chunk of the spiritual plain where this life and the afterlife hold hands and share their essences.  Well that’s what The Holydrug Couple create for your senses on their completely awesome album Noctuary.  It’s a mellow psychedelia.  This isn’t acid blotter and walls melting.  This is a mellow buzz.  It’s Tame Impala-approved psych.  It’s shotgunning with a heart-shaped pipe.  These cats bring the great vibes.  And get this:  they’re on Sacred Bones Records.  Home of some of E.A. Poormans’ favorite artists.  Me and Moon Duo are tight, yo.  I guarantee this is a rare opportunity to see a band like The Holydrug Couple in a hole(wonderful hole that it is) like The Brass Rail.  Here this, come this time next year these Chilean psych purveyors will be playing much bigger stages.  Get a babysitter, Mr. Dad Rock and come out.

Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor are a drone psych outfit out of Detroit.  Yep, the Rock City itself.  I had a chance to peruse their album Spectra Spirit and all I have to say is “Yes!”  SoYSV are a much darker bunch.  As I listened to Spectra Spirit I couldn’t help but picture some sort of ‘Frankenstein Musical Monster’ version of Suicide and The Doors.  There’s that drone-y darkness of Suicide with the dark blues dirge of The Doors.  But more than anything, there’s the heavy hand of psychedelia that permeates their songs.  A great balance of dark with The Holydrug Couple’s technicolor light.  If The Black Angels butter your muffin Shirley, then you best come out to see these Michigan freaks.

Last but not least, Fort Wayne’s own Heaven’s Gateway Drugs will be playing.  If you haven’t been living under a rock(or in Columbia City) then you already know the mojo HGD bring to the proceedings.  A 60s psych vibe, with a heavy seasoning of modern alternative guitar play and a Shaman that dances and plays percusssion, bringing the rain of contentment and arousal to the audience.  Oh, and they rock like a mo fo, too.

But get this, there’s something you don’t know dear reader.  April 19ths show is going to be Heaven’s Gateway Drugs album release show!  That’s right, HGD is dropping their first full length on the world at this show.  So as my dad used to say to me, “Don’t be a putz, ya putz!”  Make sure you clear your schedule for Friday April 19th and be at The Brass Rail for what is going to go down as one of the best concert experiences this year.  Hell, probably one of the best concerts in recent years.  And remember, if it gets weird just close your eyes and don’t fight the urge to fly.

http://www.facebook.com/events/439692309455345/

http://theholydrugcouple.bandcamp.com/

http://www.sistersofyoursunshinevapor.com/

http://heavensgatewaydrugs.com/