Thursday, November 25, 2010


The GIVERS band formed in Lafayette, Louisiana with Kirby Campbell on the drums and singing, Taylor Guarisco singing and playing guitar, Will Henderson on the keyboard, saxaphone, flute and singing, Tiffany "Teddey" Lamson singing, playing guitar, ukulele, and percussion, and Josh LeBlanc on the bass and trumpet. Quite the quintet, "specializes in sounds that gather together melodically and electronically bent forms of surf rock, beach rock, and other sunny forms of rock, but send them underwater, where the tunes are refracted with light and space, and where songs sometimes scrape against their rock-encrusted musical seabed."

The question that often is overlooked is "What do the Givers give?" They take hearts, they take time, they take care, they take naps, they STEAL attention, but what do they give? The light sound of their feel-good indie music beckons the listeners' minds out into the open, much as a dream catcher above one's bed. Then it's understood: the Givers give dreams. "Their music is not only music: it is motivation, inspiration, and celebration of the world around us. To experience it is to be changed forever, for the better; to know that you yourself have more to Give," as one listener states it.

Givers was the local openers for the Dirty Projectors one year at Chelsea's in Baton Rouge. The Projectors hadn't heard them before that night but were impressed enough to ask them to join them on their next tour through the South and the East Coast. It is unclear if Givers got their name from the Lucky Dragons song, but their music is packed with that sort of psychedelic buoyancy, homegrown exoticism, and rattling optimism and joy. Anyone who is a listener of the Dirty Projectors, Vampire Weekend, or any music that has a similar sound, should check out the Givers self released album:

GIVERS (2009)
1. Up, Up, Up
2. Meantime
3. Ceiling of Plankton
4. Saw You First
5. Up, Up, Up (Remix)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Unicorns

"A unicorn is a horse-like creature with a single straight spiraled horn projecting from its foreheard. Unicorns are animals of great ferocity and strength, and are symbolic of virginity, as they can only be tamed by virgins."

Nick and Alden were two Canadian youth who met back in high school in autumn of 1998. Alden was new in his grade 10 class, and wore a skirt on the first day, as well as a t-shirt that said "share the power". This intrigued Nick, who was in 12 grade at the time, and because they had a mutual friend, they spoke and quickly took to each other. With the two of their friends, Alden and Nick first formed a band called Poor Alexander. Nick sang and Alden played guitar. The bass player quit, and then Nick followed. Alden took over singing and conscripted a friend from a previous band to play bass. The original four rekindled Poor Alexander under the name of Mad Daddy & The Patty Stackers, and The Stanley Milgrim Project (not prog-rock, but "crotch rock"). Poor Alexander was very loose; they played quite infrequently, and rarely practiced. This lasted from January 1999, until the fall, when Nick left for film school in Montreal.

Two years later, in December of 2000, Nick came home from christmas to try to revive the Stanley Milgrim Project, but when Alden and Nick got together to write songs with two others (Ollie and Brynne), they found that it just didn't work as well. So Alden and Nick alone went to a show they had lined up in the nearby town of Courtenay and brought a small boom box with a DIO tape (80's metal), two sets of barbells, an 8mm film projector with an old reel of animated films, and the makings for 10 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They only had 2 songs at this point, so they were looking to distract the audience as much as possible.

A band name hadn't conceived yet at this point, but a couple of days prior Nick had suggested The Unicorns to Alden in jest. They got to the show and set their stuff aside. Nick wandered to the information table which had sager sex info and political tracts. He picked up a pamphlet on STDs and condoms, and noticed a small representation of a unicorn. And that sealed their fate. They WERE The Unicorns.

The Unicorns officially formed in Campbell River, British Columbia (on Vancouver Island in Canada) in December 2000 by Nicholas Thorburn (stage name Nick "Neil" Diamonds, as well as a host of other aliases) and Alden Penner (stage name, Alden Ginger; Elvis Presley's fiancĂ©e when he died was Ginger Alden). They were later joined in 2003 by drummer Jamie Thompson (stage name J'aime Tambeur). 

The Unicorns demise was announced on December 28, 2004, on their site which read "THE UNICORNS ARE DEAD (R.I.P.)" and in early 2005 it was confirmed that The Unicorns had split. Alden is mostly keeping quiet back home. Nick and Jamie moved onto Islands, though Jamie has since retired his role/ Nick continues in Islands along with side projects that include Th' Corn Gangg and Human Highway. There are many unreleased songs by The Unicorns and other bands that Nick or Alden were a part of (All makes Parts & Collision, Nicholas Common, Poor Alexander, and more lesser known ones).

Their albums and songs include:
Three Inches of Blood (2002)
1. "Introduction" -0:22
2. "Jellybones" -2:02
3. "Segue" -0:08
4  "Do the Knife Fight" -4:19
5. "The Unicorns: 2014" -3:36
6. "Ebb Tide, Azure Sky" -7:18
7. "Down on the Corner" -1:02
8. "Peach Moon" -2:42
Unicorns Are People Too (2003)
1. "I Do (It)" -3:51
2. "I was Born (A Unicorn)" -4:26
3. "Child Star" -4:43
4. "Thunder & Lightning" -4:26
5. "Innoculate the Innocuous" -5:05
6. "William, Clap Your Hands" -4:20
7. "Evacuatin' Somethin' Warm" -3:23
8. "52 Favorite Things" -3:00
9. "Ghost Mountian" -3:53
Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? (2003)
1. "I Don't Wanna Die" -2:03
2. "Tuff Ghost" -3:10
3. "Ghost Mountain" -3:10
4. "Sea Ghost" -3:42
5. "Jellybones" -2:43
6. "The Clap" -1:26
7. "Child Star" -5:21
8. "Let's Get Known" -1:57
9. "I Was Born (A Unicorn)" -2:45
10. "Tuff Luff" -4:19
11. "Inoculate the Innocuous" -5:18
12. "Les Os" -3:32
13. "Ready to Die" -1:24
2014 (2004)
1. "The Unicorns: 2014" -3:55
2. "Emasculate the Masculine" -4:15
3. "Evacuate the Vacuous" (outtake) 3:19
4. "The Unicorns: 2014" (demo version) -3:34