Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Interview: We Get Adorable With Richard Gintowt and Hidden Pictures

Scenesters tend to like their rock and roll gloomy and self-important but, if you're like us, you occasionally crave a little bouncy pop, something that's (dare we say) fun. Then look no further than Hidden Pictures, with their lovely boy/girl harmonies, glockenspiels, and songs about crushes on sexy librarians ("Anne, Apparently"). Today we're chatting with Richard Gintowt and the HP gang about their upcoming album (Rainbow Records), about whether or not they're "adorable," and about our shared passion for the twee sounds of Transmittens. Make sure to catch Hidden Pictures at the I Heart Local Music birthday party on Saturday at the Bottleneck alongside The Sluts, Magentlemen, and Doubleplus.

Visit the FB event page for the show here

And check out the new song "Calling Christine" from Hidden Pictures' upcoming album over here .

Listen to their previous album Sychronized Sleeping (and all their other material) on Bandcamp

And laugh at a drunk guy reviewing that album over here (very funny; completely true)

Enjoy the interview!

Richard: As you may know, we’re fans of adorable things, and we find the stage dynamic and harmonies between you and Michelle quite adorable. Some reviewers have invoked She and Him, but what performers would you list as influences?

Hidden Pictures: You know, if you got closer to us, you wouldn't find us so adorable. Michelle is currently hacking up phlegm in hopes of being healthy enough to sing this weekend. Richard recently completed an eight-week course in anger management, which we suppose makes him slightly more adorable. At any rate, our complete list of influences would be adorably longwinded, so we'll just go with a few recent inspirations. Richard has been using Spotify to rediscover all the great music that predated his birth; recent discoveries include Marshall Crenshaw, the dBs, Emmitt Rhodes, and Any Trouble. On a more modern note, he's been spinning Field Music, Plants and Animals, Damien Jurado, and Dr. Dog. Michelle's all-time faves include the Shins, Nada Surf, Fruit Bats, Pernice Brothers, Wilco, and Belle and Sebastian. Cameron writes extensively about the music he loves on his Record Geek Heaven blog, and Corey and Nate mostly listen to Christopher Cross.

Richard: Way back in the good old days an intrepid young Richard Gintowt was a music writer on in the era when that site actually covered music. Can you describe the Hidden Pictures sound using some pompous, Pitchfork-y or Daytrotter-y style music writing?

HP: Ha, those were some good ol' days indeed. We always imagined Pitchfork would grade us out at a 4.8, since that's about where they rate most of the albums we love. How about this...

"Dish water swirls down the drain of eternity. A distant chime echoes in the ether. Chim chim chiree? Hardly. There was a place and time for bands like Hidden Pictures, but it's evaporated like so much salt water. An honest effort nonetheless. 4.8"

Richard: Not enough bands are rocking the glock' these days (as we like to call the glockenspiel). How did that instrument become essential to the band?

HP: Well, at our first gig Michelle played a tuba and farted loudly and no one thought we were adorable. [Chip laughs for eleven minutes at this point in the interview] So we did some research on and decided to invest in a glockenspiel. Now she farts discreetly and they smell like lavender.

(True story: Richard inherited the glock from his high school marching band and it seemed like something Michelle could play that was loud enough to compete with the boys. We actually didn't use it that much on the new album though, for fear of being labeled "adorable.")

Chip: If there’s one thing we like it’s sexy librarians. And if there are two things we like, it’s songs about sexy librarians. Your song “Anne, Apparently” is a good example. Is that song based on a real sexy librarian who “works at the library in Strawberry Hill?” Give us the background on that tune.

HP: Yes, that song is exactly as pathetic as it sounds. Richard hit on a girl at the KCK library and she straight dissed him. So Richard convinced Michelle to re-enact the scenario in a music video with happier and more '80s-tinged results. Now when Richard hits on librarians, he shows them the video on his phone and says, "This could have been you."

Watch the video here.

Richard: Hidden Pictures is playing the I Heart Local Music birthday show at the Bottleneck on Saturday. Tell our readers why they NEED to attend and what they can expect from the set?

HP: We wouldn't say you need to attend per se - Hulu recently added season 1 of "Celebrity Fit Club" so you might want to catch up on that first or risk being embarrassed in social interactions. But if you do decide to attend, we have a bunch of new songs to play for you and Michelle will spit phlegm all over your date. Also, there will be Sluts, which is typically a pretty good draw in Lawrence.

Richard: We hear there’s a new album on the way in the near future. Tell us about it.

HP: Yep, it's called "Rainbow Records" and we hope to have it out in a month or two. It's got twelve songs, many of which will be fairly new to people. A lot of it is thematically about records and bands that shaped Richard into the delightfully misanthropic 30-year-old that he is today. Ed Rose mixed it and it sounds like a billion bucks. We're pysched to get it out.

Richard: We once talked to you at the Replay about the genius of Larryville’s now sadly defunct twee heroes Transmittens. What was it that made them so terrific, and why do you think that no one has stepped forward to fill their twee little shoes here in town?

HP: Nice! Last we heard, Transmittens relocated to Seattle and morphed into Seapony and put out a record called "Go With Me" on Hardly Art. It's actually doing fairly well, and that's great b/c they deserve it. We were just thinking of Transmittens yesterday while watching that episode of Portlandia where that chick from the Decemberists is in a band called Sparklepony and she can't get into her own gigs. That's sort of how we imagine Danny and Jen: wandering venue to venue in Seattle, adorably unable to convince the door guys that they're in the band.

Chip: What do you make of the current music scene in Larryville right now? Which bands are giving you a music-critic boner right now?

HP: To be honest, we're a little out of the loop having recently relocated to Kansas City. But we can say that we, at this very moment, have a raging hard-on for the ACBs, Cowboy Indian Bear, the Empty Spaces, the Dead Girls, Grisly Hand, the Republic Tigers, Soft Reeds, Ghosty, Minden, the Glass Ouijans, La Guerre, Making Movies, Sam Billen, Hospital Ships, the Caves, O Giant Man, Quiet Corral, Ha Ha Tonka, Antennas Up, Sons of Great Dane, Fullbloods, Oriole Post and a bunch of other bands that are probably weirded out by our raging hard-ons anyways.

Adorable photo via Michael Forester:

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