Earlier this week we had the chance to hang out with Rachael Yamagata and Mike Viola for a few minutes before their show at The Basement. Seeing as how it’s the week of Christmas, we figured it would make sense to make this a holiday-themed interview.
WARNING: Mike Viola debunks a very, very, very famous Christmas myth – the BIGGEST Christmas myth – during the interview. Parents should NOT allow young kids to watch this unless you want to do some explaining!
Believe it or not, we didn’t notice the cartoon drawing on the couch that Rachael and Mike were sitting on until after the interview was over.
It seemed like a strange billing – one of the most criminally underrated power-pop songwriters of our lifetime opening for a young, up-and-coming female singer-songwriter – a tour that makes a stop in Columbus, at The Basement, on Sunday night.
But, as Mike Viola explained when I talked to him on the phone from Alabama last week, it all makes sense. Viola is currently on tour promoting his latest release, Electro De Perfecto, which came out in October. If I’m doing my math correctly, this is Viola’s 11th release under either his own name, under the name The Candy Butchers, or a combination of the two, Mike Viola and The Candy Butchers. It’s hard to keep straight though one thing is for certain, if you’re a fan of power-pop music, you’ll want to get your hands on EVERYTHING Viola has done.
Unfortunately, though we talked for nearly 45 minutes, I completely forgot to ask him about his contributions to two recently released compilation albums. But, the cover songs deserve to be heard so check out his version the Smiths “How Soon is Now?” from the album Please Please Please: A Tribute to The Smiths and his version of Ratt’s “Round and Round” from Engine Room Recording’s Guilt By Association Vol. 3.
“How Soon is Now?”
“Round and Round”
How did your tour with Rachael Yamagata come about?
A couple of years ago we met and I started writing songs with her for her soon-to-be record. She was going through the ringer with Warner Bros. and eventually got dropped. She called on me to help her make her record – which I did. We put a bunch of the songs we wrote together on there. When her tour came up, she decided to hit the road and plunked down the money herself. She called me and said, “Look, I know you have a record out. Would you want to open and join me on my stage for my set?” I said, “Of course.”
I’ve toured a bunch with friends like Fountains of Wayne, They Might Be Giants, Robyn Hitchcock; it sucks having to play a set for 30-to-45 minutes and then sit around while your friends play music. It’s much more fun to join them on stage. Everyone’s like, “I don’t know how you have the energy to play all night” and I’m like, “This is what I do. I love it.” Continue reading →
Trevor from Montreal’s The High Dials contacted me a few weeks ago, asked if maybe I’d throw something up on Donewaiting about his band’s upcoming Columbus show. Though The High Dials have released four full-lengths since 2003, the name didn’t ring a bell to me, but I took Trevor up on his offer to send me a copy of Anthems for Doomed Youth.
Too bad I didn’t hear this thing earlier in this year as it would definitely have ended up on my year-end favorites list. I’m not sure about their past work, but on Anthems for Doomed Youth, The High Dials are an unadulterated, timeless power-pop band that write songs about broken relationships (“Teenage Love Made Me Insane”, “I’m Over You (I Hope It’s True)”, “What You Call Love is a Lie”).
There’s bits of Teenage Fanclub, Mike Viola and the Candybutchers, the Pernice Brothers and Fountains of Wayne in the dozen tracks and, not sure if this is a ringing endorsement or not, but my wife – who very rarely shows interest in what I’m listening to – asked me who I was listening to last week when I had this playing on the iPod boombox.
The High Dials join Dayton’s Lab Partners and Columbus’s The Main Street Gospel at Carabar on Monday night. As always, it’s a free show. Expect things to kick off at 10pm.