It’s been seven years since New Noise Music festival founder Jeff Theimer conceived this now highly anticipated multiday event devoted to offering great live music in our seaside berg. Although there is no conference aspect to the fest this year, the musical lineup is an exciting mix of Santa Barbara bands and big-name groups, including Ariel Pink, Rainbow Girls, U.S. Elevator, and Joey Cape, to name a mere few. The popular Funk Zone Block Party is on again, with hip-hop heavy hitters Run the Jewels headlining.
Read on for insights into Run the Jewels, Beta Play, and Black Lips by a few of the Indy staff. Happy listening!
Run the Jewels
A busy 2015 continues for hip-hop duo Run the Jewels as El-P and Killer Mike have been slated to headline the New Noise Block Party on October 18. Their performance will take place at the Funk Zone next to fellow featured artists Gardens & Villa, The Blues and Greys, and others.
Run the Jewels’ stop at the seventh annual New Noise Music Festival comes in the midst of a nationwide tour with Trackstar the DJ and alongside Boots, Cuz Lightyear, and Mass Appeal Records labelmate Fashawn (who will also be appearing at the Block Party). Coinciding with the tour, the collective artists released an official mixtape titled Jewel Runner, available for free download.
The duo comes off the 2014 release of sophomore studio album Run the Jewels 2, and they made a novel twist on the record back in September with Meow the Jewels — a remix album composed entirely of cat sounds. El-P and Killer Mike are confirmed to have already started work on their third full-length studio record, Run the Jewels 3, and as if the touring and regular creation of new musical content weren’t enough, the duo also just dropped a new single, “Rubble Kings Theme (Dynamite),” at the beginning of this month. —Austin Murphy
Although most musicians would claim that they live for their art, few have nearly died because of it. Beta Play’s lead singer, Tommy Cantillon, has however. At one of their first-ever shows as Beta Play last year, Cantillon was severely electrocuted when he gripped a lethally charged microphone stand. The shock lasted five to seven seconds, only a few seconds shy from reaching Cantillon’s heart. The trauma and intensity of his near-death experience — happening where else but upon the “holy land” of the stage, usually a positive environment where a performer can feel “invincible,” he says — sent the singer into a troubled time of panic and self-assessment.
Fortunately, the incident jolted Cantillon into a new appreciation for life and sent the band into a new creative phase. Their latest single, “Electric 22,” channels the emotions of that dark moment into a life-affirming alternative-rock anthem: “How I wanna be allowed to keep my youth,” Cantillon sings, “and I won’t let the hands of time pull me like they do.” Rockers love to proclaim and preserve the eternity of youth, but not a lot of pop-rock songs come from the more meaningful knowing that youth — and life — can so suddenly leave you. This one does.
The revitalizing near-death experience helped fuel the new direction for the band, now set to release its EP at a New Noise release party at Blind Tiger on Saturday, October 17. Formerly known as Tommy & the High Pilots, Cantillon admits to feeling uncomfortable about being the namesake of a group effort and wanted the new direction to better represent the group as a collaborative whole. “I think we just wanted to shed that identity, which we were still unclear about, and come up with a new brand to give us freedom to try new things,” he said. He describes the current material as darker and more industrial, taking its inspiration from the soundscape of U2’s Achtung Baby.
Reinvention is a continuing theme for Cantillon, who has been a member of some of Santa Barbara’s most prominent rock bands since his teenage years with Holden. His first band enjoyed a healthier scene for up-and-comers, with now-shuttered spaces like the Living Room providing a welcome nest for Goleta’s alternative-rock bands. “I feel we and a lot of the venues had a finger on the pulse, but then it fell out from under our feet,” he said.
But no matter; Cantillon takes the shifting lineups and venue landscapes in stride. He is happy to continue representing Goleta in such a collaborative and supportive scene and is happy to see fellow locals like FMLYBND, Gardens & Villa, and Dante Elephante ascending to new heights. Approaching such prominence themselves, Beta Play is soon to embark on a next cross-country tour, this time in support of friends The Plain White T’s. While his ideas of success have shifted a bit — less superstardom, more self-sustenance — Cantillon and band are ready for the spotlight moment. “Nothing has slowed down in me,” he said. “I think that right now it’s a matter of small victories and just trying to pile up those small victories to the tipping point. We’re ready for the tipping point.” —Richie DeMaria
Your disobedient daughter called, and she wants to go to the punk show. Yep, Black Lips are coming to SOhO on Friday, October 16, and they are headlining with Ariel Pink. (Hurry up and buy your eyeliner, boys and girls; things are going to get rowdy and weird). The Independent spoke with Black Lips guitarist Cole Alexander about the future of punk, touring with Pink, and their coinciding lo-fi roots.
Black Lips has been playing good, gritty punk since 1999; since then, they have released seven studio albums and have worked with producers such as Mark Ronson and Patrick Carney (The Black Keys). The Lips are known for their tough style and stage antics, things that keep punk alive. Alexander explained, “I hope the young kids have that passion; I feel like [punk music is] like a match, and you burn it and it can burn bright, but it can also burn out quickly. … There is something useful to punk music; it has a full charge.”
This fiery spirit is probably one of the reasons, among others, that the band fits so well with Ariel Pink’s fantastic themes. “I think we both come from a lo-fi perspective originally. We make different music, but we come from a similar thread,” said Alexander. The Lips and Ariel Pink have played plenty of shows together before, but this is their first tour together. “It’s great hanging out with them,” said Alexander. “I consider myself a big fan of Ariel’s Haunted Graffiti. I’m honored to go on tour with a band that I really respect. They’re probably one the few new things that I like to listen to, so it’s cool to tour with a band that I actually like in the modern age.”
The modern age is definitely flowing strong in Black Lips’ blood; the show promises to be a headbangers’ ball. —Ryan Mandell
The New Noise Music Festival runs Thursday-Sunday, October 15-18. See newnoisesb.com for more information and tickets. Be sure to check out The Week (pg. 101) for the full New Noise lineup, venues, dates, and times.