Defend Your Ballot: Rob Harvilla, Pazz and Jop 2012 Contributor

Pazz and Jop
You can't really know where you're headed unless you know where you've been. For that reason, we're taking a look back at Pazz & Jop 2012 to drill down into the ballots of contributors and voters who participated. Maybe amongst the rubble we'll find clues about what lies ahead for music lovers in 2013. Here, former Village Voice music editor Rob Harvilla defends his ballot.

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In Depth With Japandroids' Brian King: "Nothing Is Off the Record"

Categories: Japandroids

Few guitar bands cleaned up this year like Japandroids, whose triumphant second album Celebration Rock brought them massive universal acclaim and a bounty of new fans in the spirit of Titus Andronicus' The Monitor and the Hold Steady's Separation Sunday. Just yesterday their Celebration Rock was named SPIN's number three best album of 2012, and more year-end accolades are sure to swiftly follow. We caught up with the endlessly-touring Vancouver duo's frontman Brian King from a Florida tour stop about looking professional, fighting over Morrissey in the van, and erasing any trace of negativity from his new songs.

Japandroids play tonight and tomorrow at Webster Hall

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Live: Why Do Japandroids Keep Romanticizing Youth In Venues That Don't Allow Young People?

Music Hall of Williamsburg
Thursday, June 28

Better than: Getting rejected at the door.

Entering a borough known for its hostility—"Brooklyn has a bad rep in the rest of the continent," frontman Brian King explained, then crossed his arms over his guitar as he continued, "You're known for the kind of crowd that stands like this"—Japandroids started not slow, exactly, but restrained. After opening with Post-Nothing side one/track one "The Boys are Leaving Town," King addressed the crowd again, admitting that it takes a room one song to warm up. Still, Brooklyn demanded another, and after he and drummer David Prowse finished "Adrenaline Nightshift," he offered something to the effect of "OK, this is the song that really kicks things up a notch." You'll have to excuse my paraphase, because as the chords that begin "Younger Us" rang out, and I ditched the transcription, stuffed my notebook into my pants, and pushed my way to the front of the venue. Sorry.

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Q&A: Japandroids' Brian King on Their Single Series, Disappointing PJ Harvey, and That Siren Festival Rumor


A pair of late bloomers, guitarist/vocalist Brian King and drummer/vocalist David Prowse had never been in a band before they graduated from the University of Victoria and started chaffing against responsible adulthood and career jobs. Which meant that when the Canadian duo formed Japandroids--pride of Vancouver, heroes to those in need of fuzz and euphoria--that they laced their anthems of a life where nothing could ever be more important than friends and feedback with sense that the authors were old enough to know both how childish such ideals really are. And how much they needed to sing about them anyway. Their wry take on heartfelt punk, guitar/drums/back-and-forth vocals approach and waves of blissful last-nights-of-summer guitar gauze turned last year's Post-Nothing and its single "Young Hearts Spark Fire" into Best Of The Year staples.

They've hardly slowed down since. In addition to a year-and-a-half spent mostly touring, the pair started a seven-inch/mp3 singles series with their label Polyvinyl. So far we've seen "Art Czars" (their most bitter song yet) and "Younger Us" (their most earnest song yet) and "Heavenward Grand Prix" (their dreamiest song yet), backed with righteous covers of punk heroes (X's "Sex And Dying In High Society" and Big Black's "Racer X"). A cover of PJ Harvey's acoustic Uh Huh Her deep cut "Shame" is on the way, as well as two more single entrees and, before long, an ambitious second album. The group is wrapping up their endless tour with stops tonight at Death By Audio with friends/co-headliners A Place To Bury Strangers and tomorrow, October 27 at Maxwell's. We recently caught up with guitarist/singer Brian King to talk about cohesive albums and, more importantly, whether or not they did actually vomit before playing Siren Festival in July 2009.

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The Badgeless Scenes of SXSW:Levi's/Fader Fort, Blue Sky Studio, French Legation Museum and More

Major Lazer with Skerrit Bwoy at Jelly's Carniville

Our resident ninja photog Rebecca Smeyne spent her time at South By Southwest exploring the festival's badgeless margins--the shows anybody with a little creativity and a lot of patience could attend. From the party for Death + Taxes Magazine where No Age and Japandroids played, to the Cinders Gallery installation at OK Mountain to a random show on a random porch, she managed to catch things even the rest of us who were there didn't experience. Her photos from Austin, which aren't quite like anything else we've seen from the festival, are below.

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About This Fantastic New Japandroids Single, "Art Czars"

This one here: Japandroids, "Art Czars." It'd be tempting to chalk this up to the inevitable post Post-Nothing leap from sounding like Drive Like Jehu to sounding like Hot Snakes, but "Art Czars" was apparently recorded during the actual Post-Nothing sessions, as were the four other singles the band plans to release on Polyvinyl this year. Each 7" will be limited to 2000 copies, with a cover on the B-side. "Art Czars," due out in April, sports Big Black's hatefuck of a song, "Racer X," on the flip. Preorder it here. The duo are on a long tour right now that next lands them in New York (at the Bowery, with Best Coast) on April Fool's Day, which seems suitable somehow, though they tend to opt for puns over pranks. Although is making a song called "Art Czars" about selling out a pun or just kind of witty? Unclear.

Japandroids Played Fallon

People who have been fans of this band for years may never have heard either of these two guys sing into the microphone as much (or, uh, as tunefully) as they do here--it's pretty much the exact opposite of whatever bad PA yelling they do out at Brooklyn or the Mercury Lounge, etc. Fallon looks impressed, although then again, he always sort of does. Questlove would've preferred "I Quit Girls" but otherwise seems pretty thrilled. This was their television debut, according to Jimmy. Still can't believe they skipped "Young Hearts Spark Fire" but otherwise, they certainly looked like they belonged out there. Next up? A haircut, hopefully.

Japandroids Are at Late Night With Jimmy Fallon Right Now; Viewing Party at HiFi Tonight

Illegal and indecipherable soundcheck video above via Questlove. Word is the song will be "Wet Hair"--fine, although if you had a shot at late night TV, wouldn't you take that shot and play "Young Hearts Spark Fire" with it? The duo will be over at HiFi tonight watching themselves on TV, should you want to ask them that question in real life. 10:30pm, viewing party, all are invited. We're either asking them that or something about Brian King's bonkers hair. For the record, these guys were playing to audiences of two in the far reaches of Brooklyn as recently as late 2008. 2010, very different!

CMJ: Japandroids and Real Estate Pay Homage to Death and Taxes at Glasslands

Let's start with last night's most curious revelation. "Our album's here, you can buy it," says Real Estate main guy Martin Courtney, from the stage at Glasslands, a few hours into Death and Taxes' release party there. He adds: "It'd be nice if people stopped stealing it." Polite, but pointed: they'd like all those mp3s back, please. It's an adult move for a band whose debut is technically not even out yet--the record, which is self-titled, comes out on Woodsist next month--and it matches nicely with what they do onstage: ostentatiously simple songs, with a kind of dazed, AM radio vibe to them, basement pop that's as unassuming as it is effective.

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Photos: Japandroids at the Mercury Lounge


Post Nothing Canadian duo Japandroids did end up playing another relatively small club show here after that Piano's event--two in fact, at the Mercury Lounge--but consider these the last ones for a very long time. Photographer Rebecca Smeyne went to document the guitar-face.

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