Posts Tagged ‘welcome to your wedding day’

Anna Bulbrook photo by Curtis Buchanan, Distinct Daily

Anna Bulbrook photo by Curtis Buchanan, Distinct Daily

By Glen

One year ago today, The Airborne Toxic Event hit the stage in Santa Ana, CA for the one and only complete album performance of Songs of God and Whiskey. No such excitement this year, unfortunately, but it’s been two months since our last Toxicity, so I figured it was time to catch up on a few things.

Coming Soon: Toxic History – The Book

Yup, it’s been painfully quiet around here lately, and it’s not just because The Airborne Toxic Event is way off the grid at the moment. All of my spare time has been directed towards another TATE project: Toxic History – the book!

That’s right… our massive trip down Airborne Toxic memory lane is coming soon to a bookshelf near you. I am just in the process of polishing up the manuscript and preparing to publish with Lulu. Much more news coming soon. In the meantime, if you want to catch up on the blog series, you’d best do it soon. Most of it will be going offline soon, in preparation for the book launch. The last few chapters will be saved for the book – we’ve gone as far as we’re going to go with publishing it here on the blog.

All of this means that things will probably be even slower here at TIN over the summer, unless of course the band kicks back into action. But stay connected to us on social media (Facebook|Twitter|Instagram), where, over the next year, we’ll be celebrating memorable dates in Toxic History.

Stay tuned for more!

Getting to Know Anna Bulbrook

We all know Mikel Jollett’s back story, but one thing that struck me in the process of writing Toxic History is how little is out there about the other band members, at least in comparison to the lead man. But Anna Bulbrook has been doing her best to remedy that, with a couple of illuminating features.

First came Distinct Daily, with an artsy but very informative video feature on the violinist/keyboardist/tambourinist/guitarist/singer/songwriter/feminist ambassador/festival organizer. Shortly thereafter, Anna wrote her own story for 21cm. Together, these two excellent pieces chart Anna’s journey from classical music student to music dropout to Kanye West support to The Airborne Toxic Event, and finally to the front woman of The Bulls.

Anna sums up her journey so far thusly:

So, at 33, I’m technically the worst violinist that I’ve ever been in the traditional sense but the best musician that I’ve ever been. I’ve been humbled in the process more times than I can count, and I’m sure I’ll be humbled a few thousand more – but I can’t wait to find out where music will take me next.

We can’t wait, either.

Drinking the Lemonade

One other quick Bulbrook note… One of the biggest musical happenings this spring was the release of Beyonce’s Lemonade. Shortly after the album dropped, Anna revealed on Instagram that she contributed viola to one of the tracks on the record. A scan of the album’s extensive credits reveals that she played on the first song, “Pray You Catch Me.”

Toxic Gold

As always, we’ll round out Toxicity with some video goodies. First up, while Anna is talking about herself, here’s an interview she did for Girl Rock Nation around the time of All At Once:

And now a couple of thrilling performances by The Airborne Toxic Event: the potent punk rock of “The Kids Are Ready to Die”/”Welcome to Your Wedding Day” from Roxwell, and an acoustic “This Losing”/”Sometime Around Midnight” combo from Live Daily Sessions, circa 2008.

GlenGlen is the founder and editor of This Is Nowhere. He’s grateful for an understanding wife and kids who indulge his silly compulsion to chase a band all over the Pacific Northwest (and occasionally beyond) every time the opportunity arises.

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Anna Bulbrook, Mikel Jollett and The Airborne Toxic Event explore new sonic territory on Dope Machines. Photo by Creative Copper Images, Oct. 23, 2014, Vancouver, BC.

Anna Bulbrook, Mikel Jollett and The Airborne Toxic Event explore new sonic territory on Dope Machines. Photo by Creative Copper Images, Oct. 23, 2014, Vancouver, BC.

By Glen

Last fall when The Airborne Toxic Event released “Wrong,” the first single from the upcoming album Dope Machines, it proved that Mikel Jollett wasn’t kidding around when he promised that the band would be exploring a very different sound on the next LP. His advance warnings did little to prevent some major eyebrow-raising on the part of many listeners, however, including but not limited to a number of Facebook fans who’ve taken to obnoxiously loudly registering their objection to the new direction every time the band posts anything pertaining to the release.

Not that the group is likely losing any sleep over it. If anything, it’s a case of mission accomplished. As Mikel said back in the spring, “If people aren’t mad about this next record, I’ll feel like I failed.”

The hubbub surrounding the new sound has obscured something else Mikel pointed out: namely, that this doesn’t represent a 180-degree shift. Rather, the musical terrain explored in Dope Machines has roots that can be traced in Airborne’s previous work.

I think our core fans that are really familiar with the breadth of things that we’ve done won’t be terribly surprised. They’ll be like, “Oh yeah, it’s just a little bit more on this front, and a little bit more on this front.” But, I think, to have a whole record that really goes there.

Which leads us to ponder: which TATE songs of the past can we look to for clues to the future? Some are more obvious than others, but here are five songs from The Airborne Toxic Event that may foreshadow where they are headed with Dope Machines.

5. Welcome to Your Wedding Day

Before morphing into the hardest rocking song on any of The Airborne Toxic Event’s first three studio albums, “Welcome to Your Wedding Day” opens with 30-seconds of bleeps, bloops, fuzzy guitars and synths, the likes of which were heretofore unheard on any TATE recording to date. Is it a coincidence that the band chose to open many of the shows on their fall 2014 tour with an extended version of this intro? Perhaps it was a subtle reminder that the new sounds being experimented with these days aren’t entirely new after all.

4. Innocence

Given its status as the pinnacle of Airborne’s trademark orchestral rock, “Innocence” would seem on its face to be diametrically opposed to the electronica of Dope Machines. But listen carefully to the version found on TATE’s debut album. It opens with a synthesized hum that recurs throughout the near-seven-minute masterpiece. Beginning at about the 5:14 mark, the steady buzz reappears and maintains a consistent presence through the final 90-seconds of the song, laying an electronic foundation for the exquisite instrumentation played over top of it.

3. Hell and Back

In the fall of 2013, The Airborne Toxic Event threw a self-described curve ball in the form of “Hell and Back,” a song featured on the Dallas Buyers Club soundtrack that became an unexpected hit single for the band – bringing them arguably their greatest radio success outside of “Sometime Around Midnight.”

Though it wasn’t necessarily a radical departure from that which preceded it (the stomping, sing-along chorus is reminiscent of “Changing,” to cite one connection), there were certainly elements that made us sit up and take notice – a trip-hop beat on an electric kit from Daren Taylor, an arresting synth solo from Anna Bulbrook – bringing a new flare to a familiar sound. It hinted at more to come, and its success may have emboldened the band to really go for it this time around.

2. You’re So American

In the spring of 2012, Mikel became infatuated (as did many other television viewers) with the new HBO program Girls. He took to Huffington Post to explain why he was drawn to the show, and to introduce a song that was inspired by it.

So I wrote this song after watching a 6-episode marathon of the show. It’s not an homage and it’s not a theme song or something. It’s just how I felt after spending time with those characters. Which is all that means. Maybe that makes it more subjective but I guess that’s the point.

The song, “You’re So American,” is a solo effort by Mikel featuring a screechy riff, distorted vocals and electric drums. Very un-TATE-like – up until now, that is.

1. Numb (Demo)

A couple years ago, Mikel released a demo version of the All At Once hit “Numb” through Soundcloud, stating that he actually preferred this recording to the one that ended up on the album. He reiterated his opinion last fall, saying, “I still prefer the demo of this song to the recording. Dave (Sardy) and I had a series of spirited debates about this song which ended with a compromise and a switchblade being pulled (as a joke, I think).”

The demo version is more fit for a dance club than a rock stage, with its electronic drum beat, spacey, layered vocals, muted guitars and synth flourishes. From what we know about Dope Machines, we suspect that this take on “Numb” would be right at home on it.

Glen, Fan of The Airborne Toxic Event Glen is the founder and editor of This Is Nowhere. He’s grateful for an understanding wife and kids who indulge his silly compulsion to chase a band all over the Pacific Northwest (and occasionally beyond) every time the opportunity arises.

Anna Bulbrook and The Airborne Toxic Event: On the road again. Photo by TATE fan Jennifer McInnis, Vancouver, 2014.

Anna Bulbrook and The Airborne Toxic Event: On the road again. Photo by TATE fan Jennifer McInnis, Vancouver, 2014.

By Glen

A year ago this week, The Airborne Toxic Event fanbase was abuzz over the release of Such Hot Blood, and caught up in the excitement of almost nightly shows in support thereof. By contrast, spring 2014 has been unnaturally quiet for a band that rarely disappears from public eye for too long. But fear not: we’re now a mere week from the official start of summer festival season, with TATE set to take the stage three times in the next 15 days. Newsier days ahead…

Canada, Eh?

TATE’s summer schedule has had a few additional dates circled in the past few weeks, most recently with the announcement of a pair of festival appearances in Alberta, Canada: Aug. 30 at Calgary’s X Fest, and the following day at Edmonton’s Sonic Boom. These announcements were particularly heartening for this native Calgarian, as I’ve long lamented the fact that my hometown (and much of Canada) has never hosted my favorite band. Though TATE is no stranger to Canada, they’ve generally limited their stops to Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, ignoring the three provinces between BC and Ontario (not to mention the East Coast). So it’s been fun to finally get a chance to exhort my Calgary friends and family to check out the band when they pass through.

Speaking of Canada, we have confirmation that the group’s gig at Boonstock (Penticton, BC) will take place on Aug. 1. We’ve also found reason to be optimistic that we’ll be able to procure a single day ticket to see it. Though festival organizers continue to warn that day passes will only be sold if they fail to sell out weekend passes, they did recently release single day pricing ($125 on a presale), indicating that such an announcement may not be far off. In Calgary, meanwhile, the news is more bleak, with the X Fest website making it clear that the only way to see TATE will be to shell out $180 for a full weekend pass. Here’s hoping this doesn’t become a trend.

Meanwhile, in non-Canadian news, another announcement from recent days will please Minnesotans, who will welcome The Airborne Toxic Event to the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis on July 11. We also have confirmation that TATE will play Milwaukee’s Summerfest on July 2.

For the full summer schedule, visit our setlists page. And stay tuned for setlists and reviews as the shows happen.

Late Breaking from Georgia

From the Department of Better Late Than Never, if you can remember all the way back to Feb. 7, that was the day that TATE made their first appearance in Athens, GA, where they played the 40 Watt Club. In early April, Online Athens published a review by Tori Riggle, a self-confessed Airborne fan who had never previously seen the quintet in the flesh – in fact, she calls this her “first true rock show.” She didn’t leave disappointed.

Shameless Plug

In the absence of any other TATE news, allow me to take a moment for a shameless plug. If you’re catching the band on the road this summer, we want to hear from you! Whether it’s sharing a setlist, sending in your photos or – best of all – writing a gig review, This Is Nowhere is a place where every member of the TATE community is welcome and encouraged to contribute. If you’ve got something to add, hit us up at crowdsourcing@thisisnowhere.com.

Which reminds me, we’re also preparing a feature later this month on Airborne tattoos. If you’ve got TATE-inspired ink, please send us a photo along with anything you want to share about it (why you chose that particular design, etc.), and we’ll be happy to include it in the piece.

Toxic Gold

In closing, let’s set the stage for the festival fun ahead with a look back at T in the Park 2011, and a rip-roaring rendition of “Welcome to Your Wedding Day.”

Glen, Fan of The Airborne Toxic EventGlen is the founder and editor of This Is Nowhere. He’s grateful for an understanding wife and kids who indulge his silly compulsion to chase a band all over the Pacific Northwest (and occasionally beyond) every time the opportunity arises.