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We Talk to Mysterious Viral Dreampop Band Idle Hands from Mexico City

Love it or hate it, social media is the vehicle for finding out about “new stuff.” Sometimes we find out about really great stuff– like this week when David McClymont formerly of Scottish post-punk pop band Orange Juice shared out a video of an obscure Mexico City band Idle Hands practicing a song from an upcoming debut EP with the comment, “No, this isn’t a Glasgow bedroom circa 1980, it’s a Mexico City bedroom now.”

The song, titled “Carolina St.” is a glorious bright and chiming guitar instrumental reminiscent of, well, Orange Juice. This song has gained thousands of views in a couple of days– over 6,000 at the time I’m writing this! So, who are these guys? I reached out to them to see what’s going on.

From their bio: “Idle Hands is a south of Mexico City-based musical project formed by Fernando Torres and Diego Figueroa with the objective of creating sincere, smart and dreamy pop music.”

They also have a mission statement:

“We started to write music in the fall of 2015, responding to the need of obtaining an emotional and artistic expression away from the established scenes in our country. We take inspiration from the experiences, people, music and situations we love and hate. We try to tie together the good with the bad aspects of life while being aware of who we are and where we are heading, with the aim of avoiding stagnation, apathy, resentment and desensitization. These things are making Mexico a dangerous place for the people who live here and a terrible environment for art to bloom.
With our work we’d like to bring back ideas from the music we find profound and constructive, to inspire and share with our contemporaries.

Idle Hands music is written, played, recorded, produced and mixed by us.”

It’s Time to Play B-Sides: Hi! Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today. “Carolina St.” is a great track– I can’t wait to hear more! Will you be singing on some of the tracks, or will this be an instrumental effort?

Idle Hands: Yes, almost all of our songs have lyrics 🙂

Will “Carolina St.” have lyrics or will stay an instrumental?

Yes, it’ll have singing. It’s a love song, haha.

I read in your comments that you are looking for distribution for your EP. Will you release it digitally first or wait until someone signs you?

We will make a digital release first, but we are looking for a label to release a nice physical release.

Are you close to finished recording it?

Yes, sort of… we are quite perfectionists haha. We are finishing the recording process. The art and mixing are still on planning.

It’s amazing to see all of the shares on that video. When I saw it yesterday there was only a few hundred!

Yes, we are very impressed and grateful with everyone. We didn’t think that a rehearsal video would be so warmly received 😮

David McClymont from Orange Juice wrote a fantastic quote about us…

Actually, that is how I found out about you. One of my friends on FB shared the video with McClymont’s quote.

It’s incredible to see how the Young Sound of Scotland is alive and kicking. And the best thing: crossing seas and breaking walls!

Will the EP lyrics be in Spanish or English?

No, the lyrics are in English. It’s quite a political thing… haha. We feel quite rebellious against the musical scene of Latin America.

I’m not too familiar with the Latin music scene other than some of the bigger exports.

We don’t feel identified with much of the local stuff. Almost always the people who succeed in music in Mexico are from wealthy families and they don’t have struggles to get a record deal, gear or education.

I see. Speaking of gear, I’m impressed with the sound of that Starcaster [a budget Fender guitar line below the Squier brand]– sounds better than I thought it might.

We are condemned to play with the cheapest we can get haha. But we have the habit of improving our instruments.

I was wondering about that. Must be different pickups in there?

No way! Pickups are expensive as our guitars in México.
The secret is in the strings.

We use D’Addario Flatwounds to achieve a cleaner and smoother tone

Interesting. You use flatwounds on the Jag, too?

Yes, we have all of our guitars and basses with flatwounds

Wow. I have to say I’m pretty surprised! I would never have guessed that. The clean tone coming from those single coils sounds really nice in that video.

Yes, Squier guitars are the most trusty axes we had throughout the years.

Any effects pedals?

No, we used to had a few, but we had to sell them. And now with the “peso” devaluation we are struggling harder to get gear.
But we made our minds up. We’re trying to make the most of the cheapest things.

Well, maybe this video going viral will help sell a lot of your EP!

Haha thanks, idleness made us… We would rather make a crowdfunding for a vinyl release than selling digital music.

Well, as a vinyl junkie I would love to see that!!

Thanks a lot!

When first I saw your video I thought it sounded like Manchester scene– The Smiths, Echo and the Bunnymen, etc. Though, the Orange Juice and Aztec Camera sound people are mentioning isn’t far from that.

Yes could be. Haha, we have a lot of influence of UK and Scottish bands. From the 60’s to the 80’s.
We also love soul, disco and Afrobeat.

That should make for some interesting future releases!

Yes, actually we have a lot of unreleased demos of experiments with other genres… You’ll listen to them eventually haha.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today– it’s been a lot of fun!

Thanks to you Michael, it’s been a pleasure. Love from México – Fernando & Diego ❤

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Upcoming Show: Umphrey’s McGee in Iowa City on 3/10/10 at IMU Ballroom

Umphrey's McGee Live at The Capitol Theatre 7-16-09
A little bit of New Year’s Umphrey’s McGee news is bestowed upon us as they announced new March 2010 tour dates which include stops in Madison, Iowa City and a three-night run in Minneapolis!

As Umphrey’s McGee is ostensibly a Chicago-based band you might imagine that they have played these cities frequently over the years and as such they have built a very strong fanbase in each of these towns. This is also bolstered due to the strong college populations in each of these towns. The Minneapolis multi-night run seems to be a recurring theme, and when I saw my first show last January it was at the beginning of a three night run as well. A lot of the great people I talked to at the show were going to hit all three nights as part of a package that also included a meet-and-greet with the band and a limited edition poster of the shows.

Tickets for the shows will pre-sale on January 5th with general sale on January 9th. As part of the announcement of the March tour dates, they also announced that they will be giving away tickets for shows through their Facebook fanpage. A week before any of the shows they will give away a ticket at random to a fan who has responded to the Facebook event for that show as “attending” and they will be able to bring a friend who must also have responded as “attending” or “maybe.” This is cool for them to do, but if you are a big enough fan you likely didn’t wait until the last week before the show to get tickets, so I don’t know how that works in reality unless you can get someone to buy the ticket you paid for. Maybe I’m missing something– feel free to explain.

The dates (from umphreys.com)

Wed, Mar 10th, 2010
Iowa Memorial Union Ballroom

125 North Madison Street – University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
– show: 8:00 pm
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Thu, Mar 11th, 2010
Orpheum Theatre

216 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703-2215
608.255.8755
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Fri, Mar 12th, 2010
First Avenue

701 1st Avenue North , Minneapolis, Minnesota
612.332.1775
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Sat, Mar 13th, 2010
First Avenue

701 1st Avenue North , Minneapolis, Minnesota
612.332.1775
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Sun, Mar 14th, 2010
First Avenue

701 1st Avenue North , Minneapolis, Minnesota
612.332.1775
– tickets will go on sale via pre-sale through Umphrey’s Ticketing on January 5, 2010; general on sale will be January 9

Free Download: Euforquestra – “Soup” from New Album, Live Show & Full Album

Iowa City-expats and current Fort Collins, CO residents Euforquestra have a new album titled Soup coming out on October 6th. The band is offering up the title track for free download.

As if that wasn’t enough– as a motivator to get people to “fan” them on Facebook, the band planned to give a free download of Soup on October 6th if they achieved 3,000 fans by October 1st. Looking at their fan page they seemed to have accomplished that at 3,427 fans at 11:30 AM today!

The band also posted a download of their 7-18-09 Camp Euforia set which had their BFF’s Public Property on stage with them. The show was taped by Ryan Sibert and it sounds amazing! The first seven songs are Euforquestra and the rest of the set excluding the encore has the band joined by Public Property on stage calling the amalgam “Public Porquestra.”

If you pre-order Soup online, you can get two unreleased bonus tracks: “Ochun (Dub Remix)” – mixed by Sir Mel F. Lewis, and “The Events of December 11” – Live in Lone Tree, IA – April 25, 2009.

Additionally, the band will be playing four dates in Iowa as a record release before returning to Colorado. Here are the dates lifted from the band’s website:

Wed. Oct 7 The Hub Cedar Falls, IA
Thu. Oct 8 DG’s Taphouse Ames, IA
Fri. Oct 9 Iowa City Yacht Club Iowa City, IA
Sat. Oct 10 Magic Bus Iowa City, IA

Click Here to become a fan of Euforquestra on Facebook and get the details for the Soup download.

Click Here to visit Euforquestra’s website and download “Soup” from Soup.

Click Here to download a .zip file of “Public Porquestra” live at Camp Euforia ’09.

Here is the setlist of that show courtesy of the band:

1. Intro by Ty Byerly
2. Ogun>
3. Called You>
4. Change Me
5. Trinidad Blue Basin
6. Free
7. Girlfriend Is Better
8. Melody Truck
9. Dread None*
10. Obatala*
11. Smoothie*
12. Work To Do>*
13. Reggae Got Soul*
14. Mutha Funk Y’all*
15. E: Samba

*= w/ all of Public Property (aka “Public Porquestra”)

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