Category Archives: Live Music Is Better

Welcome Home at Programme HQ

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One of my favorite things is making a little change about yourself, and ending up getting way more out of it than you planned. For the last several months I’ve been trying to make an effort to be more outgoing. That probably seems a little crazy to some people, as I am already pretty outgoing. But in many ways I’m still shy and nervous around new people. Thus, I’ve been working on just approaching people and saying hello, striking up conversations or whatever. My Dad is like an expert at this, and I’ve always admired (slash been totally embarrassed) by his ability to do so.

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Back in November I went to a show at The Wedge, a venue I sort of love to make fun of. I mean, it used to be much rougher around the edges (*pun*, it was called The Winning Edge).  Anyway, I went with Dan to watch his friends in Everyday Adventures play. We, of course, stayed to see the headlining band from Saint Louis play.

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For me, going to shows is often more of a social event and a way to support my local community. While I am a huge supporter of local music, it’s typically just not the kind of music that I listen to on my own time. Well, that was so not the case when it came to Welcome Home. These guys started playing there set way back in November and I was hooked. I couldn’t stop telling Dan how awesome I thought they were; the perfect pop punk. Oh, not to mention all these guys are QTz.

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After there set I said to Dan, I’m going to go talk to them..  and Dan was all, DO IT! So I took my nervous self over to their merch table and was like, hey.. you guys are really good.. I loved your set.. Whatever other word vomit came out. Well, lucky for me, the guys in Welcome Home are super approachable and friendly. I ended up chatting with Austin (guitar player, beard, babe), and we’ve ended up as long distance friends on all sort of social media channels. See! Make a little change and maybe something great will happen! Conquer your fears, people are mostly really cool and fear just isn’t a good enough excuse to not make new friends.

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When I next saw Welcome Home at a basement show, I was telling Austin my plan to move to LA. Come to find out they would be on tour shortly after I arrived. I was thrilled, as I figured I likely wouldn’t have really made any friends by then, so it would be awesome to be see some familiar faces and hear some good music.

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At the end of my first full week in LA, I headed out to Programme HQ in Fullerton to catch Welcome Home.  As always, I was totally impressed by their music. I got to hear a bunch of new songs, which will be on their new album coming soon! By then they’d been on tour for almost 2 weeks. I got a tour of the van, which had only suffered one flat fire and a slightly broken window from locking the keys inside. My tour also included a glimpse at their creepy mattress they’re all sleeping on, and their impressive Tetris abilities . I had a blast spending a couple hours hanging out with the dudes. I am so looking forward to seeing where the next couple months takes Welcome Home.  I just can’t imagine them being anything but a total success and I hope to see them all again very soon!

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Check out Welcome Home on the internet, and then make your way to their next show in a city near you:
Bandcamp
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

 

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80/35









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A few of these pictures have already made their way onto the interwebs, so I figured I might as well get the actual post up. I spent the 2nd weekend of August in Des Moines with my best friend, Anna. She generously gifted me a one day pass to 80/35, an annual music festival. Over the weekend saw sets from St. Lucia, Jenny Lewis, Talib Kweli, Wilco, The Maytags, The Olympics, Christopher the Conquered, and a few others. Saturday we saw exclusively free music and entertainment that 80/35 offers, which was amazing and totally the way to do 80/35. That day we also sought refuge from the heat at one of our favorite spots, Royale Mile, and eventually ended up dancing the night away in a club.

1. Anna and Zach — if only they lived closer so we could take selfies everyday.
2. The crowd on Friday night for Jenny Lewis.
3&4. Anna, Zach, and I were in the front row to see this megababe, and Bernie Sanders supporter, Jenny Lewis.
5. My traveling vanity.
6&7. Anna and I caught a free aerial act at 80/35 on Saturday. We were both highly impressed.
8. Ran into my sweet friend Abby. Can’t wait to catch up with her in the near future.
9. Part of Saturday night’s crew at The Maytags set, before the champagne.

80/35 was absolutely amazing. I can’t wait for next year.

Sommer Time

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Typically, I write much like I talk. If you know me personally, you know the only difference being, I talk a lot more than I write. The reason is clear to me, I’m thinking about what I’m writing. In ‘real life,’ I do a lot of word vomiting, rambling, etc. I am a classic story-teller, and I love to listen to stories just as much. When I ask someone else how their weekend was, and they say “good”.. I could punch them. I want every detail, like your weekend translated into a gossip magazine article, even if you just went shopping and got drinks with your friends. TELL ME EVERYTHING! So, in honor of Sommer, who literally said she was so happy I was at her party so I could blog about it, I will attempt to write as much as I talk.

Firstly, The Darland Farm, or Hillcrest Farm, is pretty much every girls dream farm turned practical. There are no horses or cows, but there are kittens and TONS of flowers. I will start with kittens. Almost as soon as we arrived, Sommer directed me towards the barn where I could find a fresh batch of minx kittens. I found them chewing on a dead swallow. Ew. But the swallows are everywhere, and they fly dangerously low and close to anything they want, so who’s fault is that?! The cutest kitten is a little fat gray guy, but he had zero interest in being the subject of my pictures, so you’ll just have to imagine. Think Toulouse from Aristocats, only gray. The kittens lost interest in the birds and soon moved on to my toes, basically the best thing ever for me.

After kitten time, and whatever everyone else was doing, we moved inside to eat brunch. Sommer’s Dad cooked us up eggs and bacon, while we drank screwdrivers and bloodies. We dined on the delicious feast and swapped stories of some not so smart things we had done in our youth. Lately, there’s been a lot of reminiscing going on around me. Is this a sign of growing older? In just a few years, these years will be the times I reflect on, college and my part time job. “Sommer, remember your birthday party when there were all those baby kittens and we picked flowers?”



Of course, some time was spent with the usual animal suspects at the Hillcrest Farm, Arie and Casper. Arie is my dream cat. She LOVES to be held. Between Audrey and I, we probably carried her around for a good 2 hours. Casper is just a youngin’. He’s wild and rambunctious, but you can tell he’s a lover. I’m sure in a couple years he will mellow out a bit, and then I would like to cuddle up in his fur for a good long dog snuggle session.





The flowers. The freakin’ flowers. As a person who is mildly obsessed with flower pictures, like I might actually consider taking pictures of flowers a hobby of mine, Hillcrest farm is one of the best places on earth. The Darland Family runs a small business that grows and sells the most beautiful flowers. (If you need flowers for your next event, check out their Facebook) I wandered through the rows of different varieties, snapping pictures of almost every single one. I paired down the selection a lot for the sake of not having to make yet another post that is exclusively plant pictures.


Sommer and her boyfriend, Nick, had to run into town to get Sommer’s dog, so Audrey and I hung out under a big awning and watched a storm roll through. My Dad grew up and farmed just a few rural blocks away from Hillcrest Farm. He has always told me stories of the amazing storms that would come in when he lived there. It was a neat experience to be in his shoes for an afternoon, even if the storm wasn’t too exciting.


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Sommer invited me to join her in picking flowers and putting together a bouquet. Um, YES. Potential new hobby. We found vases on shelves covered in dust, and gave them a quick bath under the faucets that her Dad installed throughout the flower garden. She told me the names of almost all of the flowers I picked, and told me the rules her Mom has for arranging flowers. Sommer doesn’t always abide by the rules, but a bouquet is of these flowers is beautiful, no matter if it’s in groupings of three.



Also happening the day of Sommer’s birthday was my dear friend’s Dara and Ethan’s Going Away Party. I had chosen to spend the afternoon at Sommer’s, the evening at Dara and Ethan’s, and then return to Sommer’s when the bar closed. Let’s be honest, I didn’t make it back to Sommer’s or to bar close. I got tired and went to bed, Classic Hannah. Dara and Ethan’s party appeared to be everything they had hoped for. A few of their favorite Iowa musicians played, and they got to have one last hurrah at Octopus. They have since moved to sunny California. I wish them all the best, and hope to visit them soon!!

The following morning, Audrey and I headed back out to the farm. We had to pick up music equipment that the bands at Sommer’s party had used the night before. Sunday was Father’s Day, and Sommer’s Dad had fired up his gift from his family, a flat top grill! He was churning out all sorts of breakfast staples. I found myself in he kitchen making toast, and chatting with some of my favorite gals. I spent the remainder of my day with my dear ole Dad. We grilled all sorts of different things, even watermelon (total fail).

Summer, and Sommer, have treated me pretty good this year.

Weekend Wrap-Up| November

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What a normal weekend! Friday night I went to the grand opening of Ulta with my friend Dara. We didn’t buy the whole store, so I’m really proud of us. On my way home I grabbed a burrito from Pablo’s and spent the rest of the night relaxing on the couch. Audrey brought me home these Sippin’ Specs from the World’s Largest Truck Stop. Best thing to drink orange soda with.

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Saturday I did a bunch of blog stuff, cleaned the house a bit, and then head up the Third Eye to check-out Jessica’s new tattoo. Later that night I went on a date with Audrey and Graham. We went to see Interstellar. The movie was a little mind boggling. It seemed very realistic, and we all walked away like “whoa.” Certainly an award winning movie. If you like sci-fi I would highly recommend it! But be prepared, it’s over 3 hours long.

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After the movie we headed downtown for some drinks. I didn’t take many pictures, but Graham ran into a friend and their embrace was too cute. Another great night out on the town with my babes!

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Sunday morning I worked on my October Favorites, if you haven’t read that post yet, check it out here! We went to breakfast (my lunch), at the Cedar Falls Family Resturant. It has such a small town vibe, and pretty tasty food. I had a delicious chocolate shake, and good ole bacon and eggs. Yes, those things are good together.

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I did a little shopping for my tree with my Mom that afternoon. Audrey made us amazing ham sandwiches for dinner, and we watched a couple documentaries. Overall the weekend was very relaxing, which was great to have as we gear up for another busy week, and weekend.

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Peas and Carrot will be playing Studio One on Iowa Public Radio on Tuesday. Be sure to tune in to 90.9 in you live in the Cedar Valley at 7:00 pm to hear their set! Or you can attend the live recording at UNI in Communcations Building! Make sure to arrive early!

Have a wonderful week,
Sweet Hannah Pea

Live Music Is Better: Emily Otis

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I am so excited to finally be sharing my very first music interview. A very wise musical person I know always says “yes, live music is better” and it so is! I have been to many shows over the years, and while most of the time I go for the music, other times I go for the friends (oops, just being honest), but live music really is better. So for my first interview I knew exactly who to talk to, Emily Otis. I met Emily sometime at the beginning of this year, and since then I have heard her play many times. Not only is Emily a sweetheart, she also has a beautiful voice, and is a great lyricist. And for the sake of this blog, she wears really cute clothes, and has some of the best bangs. I asked Emily a few question about her music, what music inspires her, and of course her favorite beauty products.

For starters and unrelated to music, what is your favorite color, animal, and beauty product? Colors; greens, burnt orange, black, midnight blue, periwinkle, ochre. Animals; elephant, moth, wolf. Beauty products; water, sunscreen, fruit, EOS lip balm, and sleep.

How would you describe your music? Dark corner stuff. Midnight rain with the windows open – calm until you drop your 4th glass of whiskey and it shatters all over the dirty linoleum floor.

What instruments do you play? How did you learn to play them; school, self-taught, etc.? Acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, electric bass, dashboard (percussion), piano, and electric organ. Not in that order and not very well. I played flute in band at elementary school but the only instrument I had enough patience for lessons was the acoustic guitar. I took about a year’s worth of lessons from my friend Tim Hanten at Rondinelli’s in Dubuque.

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When did you first start writing your own music, and if it is, how is it different than what you are writing now? Initially I was making mix tapes and doing fake interviews with my little brother where we impersonated characters. From that I just started writing these terrible parodies of pop songs and creating wonky music videos from them. Eventually I started writing actual songs once I started playing the guitar. How are they different? At the time I was really into bands like APC, SOAD, Garbage, Pearl Jam and other alternative rock so generally speaking I was attempting to mimic their sounds. These bands are still influential to my music that I write now but I’m not at all interested in making someone else’s music.

Who are your biggest musical influences? Being sponge – like is important not only in a dry environment but also when it comes to learning new things. I think that everything that I’ve ever seen, experienced, or listened to has the ability to shape how I think about music. Musician wise there’s Leonard Cohen, Otis Redding, Isaac Brock, Eddie Vedder, Beck, Tom Waits, Bjork, Mississippi John Hurt, Howlin’ Wolf, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Michael Jackson, Django Reinhardt, Debussy, Thom Yorke, Connor Oberst, Alanis Morissette, Peter Gabriel, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Jack White, Daniel Rossen, Annie Clark, and another 8 million people.

Who are your favorite local musicians? I think the Iowa music scene is where it’s at! Former Thieves, Envy Corps, Gloom Balloon, Holy White Hounds, Land of Blood and Sunshine, Curt Oren, House of Large Sizes, Brooks Strauss, Har Di Har, Peas and Carrot, Twins, Dylan Sires & Neighbors, Bob Bucko Jr, Lover’s Speed, So Happy To Be Here, John June Year, Comfort Kings..pretty much everybody except Slipknot.

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What are your musical goals for yourself? I make music to make music and that satisfies me. I’d also be pretty sweet to get to travel, get under the influence of other people’s minds, and play alongside my music icons. To a degree these things have already happened which is awesome.

The night of Sommer’s birthday party you played on stage, as well as sitting on a swing set with just a couple friends around.. Do you prefer one setting over the other and why? I think both have something to offer. Being short I often feel like I’m in the crowd even when I’m in front of everyone. I don’t really have a preference but I do think that my music sounds better in a more intimate setting. I used to play on the street a few years back; my brother and I. It was the most fun because I would just be sitting on a curb singing and people could choose to sit and listen or pass by. I think the stage can be rather constricting in that there is this kind of wall between the performer and the audience; I want to connect with people through music.

Do you get nervous before you play? Do you have any tips or tricks you use to help yourself feel less nervous, like picturing everyone naked? YES every time. I usually drink some tea or whiskey beforehand. I just try not to think about it that much.

Tell us your craziest, or most fun experience so far with music! Playing for drunk people on the streets was probably one of the most interesting times. People would sit down and tell me their life stories, one guy gave me his shirt and told me to find him in Arizona. Often times people would ask to play either Nathan’s or my guitar; my only rule being they had to sit first. Music and art are about community so anytime I make a connection that’s when I know I’m doing something right. Aside from the streets, I have a great time every time I play a show and get to mingle with other musicians and of course the people who come to shows. Playing at the Octopus’ one year anniversary show, at my dear friend Sommer’s birthday party, for the College Hill Music Festival and playing at the totally rad 220 East venue in Waterloo all together is tops.

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Anything else you want to add? There’s no such thing as talent; it’s all a matter of how much of your time you’re willing to devote to the things that matter to you – that and practicing. Also, more people need to come to more shows; period.

Thank you so much Emily! I hope that you all enjoyed my first music interview. But more so I hope that you hop on over to Emily’s bandcamp and download new EP, and be sure to like her Facebook page! You can see her play live at Sidecar Coffee on August 29th.

Sweet Hannah Pea