Filmstrip
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Filmstrip

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Rock Indie

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Cindy Barber
Owner, Beachland Ballroom and Tavern
The most exciting local act right now is...?

Hands down Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites! They are just a rapidly moving explosion and Beachland partner Mark Leddy is trying to help them navigate as they all hang on to their day jobs. Others I'm watching and encouraging are Modern Electric who seems poised to take the next step and follow in the footsteps of The Lighthouse and the Whaler, Mr. Gnome and Cloud Nothings, to do more national touring. They have determination, organization and a tight stage show. I'm really liking the new Filmstrip record. Leah Lou and the Two Left Shoes is ready to take off. And Herzog is a songwriting force. And Bim Thomas' punked out project Obnox is getting lots of attention right now.

Vince Slusarz - Owner, Gotta Groove Records

The most exciting local act right now is...?

Again, too many to mention, but among the few we have had the privilege of pressing: Megachurch, All Dinosaurs, Filmstrip, and Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lights. - Cleveland Scene


Pride and Despair in Cleveland

Filmstrip pens a moving ode to the band's hometown


by Chris Parker

Charleston City Paper


The most arresting moment on Filmstrip's new album Moments of Matter is also its quietest. Amid the Cleveland trio's collection of punchy, chunky rock, it's the tender resignation of "P.O.C." that stops the listener in their tracks. Accompanied by nothing more than an acoustic guitar, frontman Dave Taha waxes philosophical on a Saturday night: "We left the party when they ran out of beer, which got me to thinking, what are we doing here?" he sings. "You don't want to understand my plight, so crack another can and let's get on with the night".

It's the figurative moment when Saturday night becomes inextricably linked with Sunday morning. The song is an acronym for "Pride of Cleveland" and it has the same kind of benumbed, Midwestern alcoholism that lies at the center of the Replacements great tune "Here Comes a Regular". On that track, Paul Westerberg wonders, "Am I the only one who feels the shame?"

However in a Rust Belt city like Cleveland, decay and dissolution are just one of those things that showcase the town's odd mix of resilience and despair. Or as Taha sings, "This would all be fine if I'd just do what I'm told, for the people of Cleveland it never gets old".

It's a song he wrote years ago and the band has never been able to properly put it on tape until now. When Taha and his Filmstrip bandmates went to Asheville, N.C.'s Echo Mountain Studios to record the new 11-track disc, his brother and bassist Matt Taha had an idea.

"Dave's most comfortable moment is him on his acoustic guitar" Matt says. "That's how he personally first moved me by his music. So I said, 'Can you play a couple of these acoustic?' I really wanted to see how it sounds through this awesome equipment that we were working with. It was like, 'Alright that sounds amazing. Let's just go with that.'"

The result is a heart-tugging ode to the specter of learned helplessness and opportunities forsaken. "We usually play that song live super-jammed out, with a big swooping Dinosaur Jr.-style riff" Dave says. "That song to me is just my way of saying thank you Cleveland for making me who I am — resilient, austere, and ready to live on the road because I practically live on the road anyway in a shitty apartment in Cleveland."

The rest of the album's a mix of tuneful, upbeat rock of the type and breadth you'd find on college radio. There's jangle-pop nostalgia ("Partners in Crime"), slashing Sebadoh-esque alt-rock ("Up on the Promenade"), ambling folk-blues ("Wild Abandon"), and creamy, sardonic post-rock ("Opportunism"). Another highlight beyond "P.O.C" is the droning slow-burn ballad dedicated to our loud, unforgiving culture, "Stuck on Explode".

"On this record we wanted to almost cultivate an album that was kind of a mix of everything we have done and can do" says drummer Nick Riley. "Some of these songs Dave wrote over 10 years ago. Some of them are brand new that we haven't even played since we recorded them."

They went into the studio with 35 songs and let the chips fly. "Bands these days get sucked into this one-dimensional vacuum and just start putting out the same exact record" Matt Taha says. "I feel this is an opportunity for us to show what's on our minds."

Riley has been playing with Taha since their eighth grade summer, and they played together in various combos for more than a dozen years before starting Filmstrip four years ago. Their 2010 debut Everything Can Change is much more distortion-laden than their forthcoming album, and there's no mistaking the fact that the band owes a deep allegiance to late-'80s/early-'90s underground acts like Husker Du, Superchunk, and Jawbox.

Though they've finished recording and have posted rough mixes on their Bandcamp page, they're still shopping the final mix. If nothing exciting presents itself, they'll self-release the album later this fall.

The album's completion has been accompanied by a renewed sense of purpose, coupled with a decision to book longer tours than anything they've ever attempted before. Now in their 30s, they've decided to go all in. "They say everything happens for a reason" Matt Taha says. "Now we're comfortable enough to go out on the road for a long period of time and go for our dreams."

His brother Dave adds, "We have a chemistry that really can't be broken. We have a really strong bond just from having been in and out of bands since we were teens. The timing felt perfect, especially the opportunity to go dow - Charleston City Paper


Cleveland's Filmstrip make a similar kind of post-slowcore indie rock to Pedro the Lion, as you can hear in two of their recently released tracks, "Stuck On Explode" and "Up On The Promenade" which are streaming below. They're on tour now, and swinging through NYC for two shows this week: Death by Audio tonight and Cake Shop tomorrow. - Brooklynvegan.com


I still think of the Cleveland band, Filmstrip, as drummer Nick Riley’s scrappy, little punk band who’d play shows when his other band, Mystery of Two, weren’t active. It’s been a few years since Mystery of Two have been active. And, Filmstrip are no longer a scrappy, little punk band. Once we get to the video, you’ll see what I mean.
“Stuck On Explode,” comes from Moments of Matter, Filmstrip’s, forthcoming, second album, and shows a trio who have undergone tremendous growth. If this track had been released 20 years ago, during the time when anything vaguely grungy got the notice of major labels, Filmstrip would have a regional, if not national hit on their hands with A&R reps elbowing each other at their gigs.
Even in 2013, its merits are obvious, from the sly, winding guitar work to the clean production, and the keen sense of control the trio displays. “Stuck on Explode” sounds if it could explode into a fury of guitar crunch and uneasy feedback at any moment. Others would have certainly taken the more obvious route. And, others would have a lesser song on their hands.

- Bill Lipold
irockcleveland.com
June 23, 2013
- I Rock Cleveland


The first time the members of Filmstrip shared a stage was 17 years ago, when Dave Taha opened for Comfort of Misery, a band featuring his brother, Matt, and Nick Riley, in the back yard of their Lakewood home.

"I was hooked from that moment on. We had a party; everybody had a great time; let's do it again next week", recalled Dave Taha, who played a guitar Matt had gotten from a man who was picking through the garbage in front of their house.

Now, almost two decades later, the brothers Taha and Riley are shopping around their second LP, recorded over six days late last year at Echo Mountain Recording Studio (Band of Horses, Avett Brothers) in Asheville, N.C.

The band put down 33 tracks that members culled to 17 rough mixes. They just got the masters for 15 of those and will put 11 or so on the finished record, aimed for a fall release.

Which 11 will make the final cut all depends on whom you ask. "Got a Guitar" and "Stuck on Explode" seem to draw consensus; the others are up for discussion.

"I think if we all had to pick separately, you'd get three different records", Dave Taha said.

"They're all like our babies -- how do you pick which 11 go on the record?" added Matt Taha.

Riley wants "Waiting on a Train" ("My favorite song to play live"). Matt Taha would pick "Is You Is" ("Dave brings it home"). And Dave? "Pride of Cleveland"

"Part of that process is putting the mixes up [at filmstrip.bandcamp.com] and hearing the feedback. And it's been all over the place. The same three songs one person will say you have to include . . . another will say you have to leave those off" said Riley. "As soon as someone says something bad about one, someone else steps up and says that's there favorite."

Recording at Echo Mountain Studios, which features the same EMI preamps as the famed Abbey Road studio and the board Jimi Hendrix recorded on in Seattle, wasn't the cheapest way to do things in the era of bedroom studios, but it was important to the band.

"In the end, a couple of years ago, I think we all realized that it was something we wanted to do full time" Riley said. So that's why we said [expletive] it, let's put down a really nice recording and try to get somebody to put it out, instead of just saying, 'Oh, it'd be nice to do that.'" - The Plain Dealer


This coming weekend, you have two chances to check out the local trio known as Filmstrip. The future sound of punk is led by brothers Matt and Dave Taha. The music recalls Zen Arcade–era Hüsker Dü, with some of the beautiful dirge of Nirvana and some 90s slacker rock thrown in for cool points. Filmstrip are quickly becoming a favorite among Cleveland's ever-growing music scene. Earlier this year, the group flirted with national exposure while performing at Sundance, as drummer Nick Riley was a production manger for the feature film, The Taqwacores. Your first chance to see Filmstrip this weekend is on Saturday at 2 pm, where they will be participating in this year's Lakewood Arts Festival. If that does not jibe with your schedule, then you definitely don't want to miss later that day when they will be playing a headlining gig for the release of their self-titled debut at the Happy Dog. Hot Cha Cha and Founding Fathers will be making this quite a triple bill of local goods. - OhioAuthority.com


Filmstrip describes themselves on their Myspace as, “a band from Cleveland, Ohio made up of two brothers with white blood and an Arabic name (Matt and Dave Taha) who were raised by a catholic, a muslim, and a kuwaiti drop-out, and a guy (Nick Riley) who thinks Allah/God/Krisna/Buddah must be or have been, a drummer." I'm still wrapping my brain around this desription, and have been for a couple of hours. Nonetheless, they're really three irish dudes who are putting a little sheen on their in-your-face garage rock anthems. This track, "In My Mind," begins with fuzzy central riff and maintains a consistent Cleveland thumbprint throughout. We wear the furrowed brow of the blue collar. Our fashion is based on durability and we drink real beer in real bars. Our attorneys shake hands with steelworkers in rustbelt brotherhood. Filmstrip fights right in here. What initially pops off as something infectiously melodic is actually quite a bit more complex. These guys have chops and we're excited to hear the rest of the album. So much regional music rarely bounces out of the local scene that births it. I don't see that happening with these guys. They had the opportunity to play at Sundance recently and have enjoyed the flirtation with national exposure. We'll stamp our approval on it right now. If you're in Cleveland, there's no reason to be out of the loop. If you're from elsewhere, check out their myspace HERE. The band is having their record (self) release party at one of our favorite venues, Happy Dog, and will be supported by local favorites Hot Cha Cha and Founding Fathers. - CitizenDick.org


Keeping the Cleveland post-punk style alive with HotChaCha, Mystery of Two, and Founding Fathers, here is Filmstrip, a quartet of three brothers and one drummer who makes rounds in this town. ”In My Mind” is a driving pop anthem exploding with Cleveland punkiness, alongside the big album closer “Should Have Seen It Coming.” You can find these songs on their debut album Everything Can Change released this summer. You can pick up the 12? LP at a number of Cleveland record stores, including Music Saves, Bent Crayon, and Blue Arrow, or you can buy the CD here, or you can email them at filmstripohio[at]gmail.com to order a 12?. And for you Clevelanders home for the holiday, Filmstrip is on the bill for the “Beachland Home For The Holidays” on December 23rd with headliners Bears! - thenoiseis.net


FILMSTRIP, “DON’T YOU KNOW”
{ Uncommon knowledge about moments that matter. }
SJIMON GOMPERS | SEPTEMBER 10, 2014

Filmstrip's Dave Taha, Matt Taha, and Nick Riley.

The Midwest sound of friendship and kinship prevails in groups like Cleveland’s Filmstrip, who premiere the everything is everything and nothing at all knowledge of, “Don’t You Know”. Brothers Dave and Matt Taha with longtime friend Nick Riley pack the guitar-gilded wisdom that they have gained through growing up together on their Moments of Matter album, available in November from Exit Stencil Recordings (who recently gave us the Herzog LP). The three take into consideration the accumulation of life lessons learned, missed, maturation gained, lost, the moments that pass, and then slip into the present.

On the debut of of “Don’t You Know”, Dave riffs poetic chords and lyrics about the things one ought to know. Harmonizing with his brother Matt on the bass; Nick’s sharp timed drums tie the trio’s intuitive instincts created by the collaborative nature of having grown up together. Like the name of the album, Moments of Matter, and moments that have mattered over the years become engraved in the human psyche by the guitar gilded toast to everything that should already be commonly (or uncommonly) known, and unknown. Filmstrip eschews the pedantic institutions and school of life’s conventional instruction, for a highlight reel of alternative avenues, roads and highways taken. We discuss these paths in our interview with Dave Taha, after the following premiere:



Tell us about growing up together in Cleveland… what was that like, and what can you all report and the evolution of it’s DIY scene there?

Growing up in Cleveland was probably just as you’d imagine it. A Midwestern town beset by economic failure and a steady loss of jobs and population over the course of the last half century. That being said, the punk scene has always been strong, from the Electric Eels, Dead Boys, Pere Ubu, etc in the 70s right through today. I’m far from an expert on the subject, but I think great music will always come from places like Cleveland, due to the lack of an established scene, and as an outlet for people who have very few alternative options. The DIY scene has always been present. Speak In Tongues was the best when I was in high school (late 90s) and Nick was instrumental, as a resident booker, in bringing about its successor, the Tower, in the early to mid 00s. There’s no such thing as a vacuum; DIY will always pop up somewhere. Now there are probably a good handful of interesting venues, each with their own flavor. Cleveland is experiencing a renaissance of sorts right now, owing in no small part to the mainstream acknowledgment of its previously largely ignored creative class.

How has Cleveland itself lent an influence on you all?

As mentioned, it was, until rather recently, not exactly chock-full of opportunities. You either went into the trades, or moved, or got extremely lucky and landed one of the five creative jobs in town. I’d be lying if I said that we don’t wear the hard-scrabble life on our sleeves, and it definitely shows in our music. The music scene has always been supportive and we are super fortunate for that.

What has the road been like up and to recording, Moments of Matter for Exit Stencil Records?

We self-released our first two offerings, 2010′s Everything Can Change and 2012′s Feeling Like Infinity and just toured, toured, toured. We wanted to go all out for this record, so we were thrilled when Echo Mountain agreed upon hearing our demos. Ryan and Brandon of Exit Stencil are great friends of ours from when they were still based out of Cleveland, and Ryan came down to NC to see how it was going. He offered us the release while we were putting the finishing touches on the record. We tracked 33 songs in six days, and just went to overdubs/mix with the ones that worked, sort of letting the record evolve on its own.

How would you all organize the great Filmstrip bio film documentary and/or biopic? And shoot, what would it be titled?

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, three friends take to the road to make music for the wasteoids, tramps, ne’er-do-wells and vagabonds. It is a mutually sustainable existence of minimal sustenance and maximum fun. Obviously there’s a little poetic license there. It would have to be called … Moments of Matter.

What real life quests and deficits of knowledge gave inception to “Don’t You Know”?

That song arose from a sense of futility that I was experiencing with a previous project. We never released anything, never played out of town, I felt stuck. Not exactly hopeless, but pretty close. Putting the final nail in it allowed me to move on with Filmstrip, and it is truly better than it’s ever been. It’s about letting go, allowing yourself to be subsumed by the void of not knowing what’s going to happen next, and it has been incredibly liberating.

Who do you all feel are some of the most under-represented Cleveland artists and bands that deserve more attention?

Too many to list, but I’ll give it a shot. Obnox and Herzog have been getting good press, but they deserve more. Nowhere, Shitbox Jimmy, Murderedman, Goldmines, Tinko, Shale Satans, Insurance Salesmen, Blaka Watra, I could go on and on and on…

The Midwest has been nailing it and owning it in making some of the realest and rawest garage sounds likes yourselves. What do you all reckon is the cause for this kind of momentum amongst for folks like yourselves and peers?

I think it harkens back to the Midwestern ethos of do-or-die. There’s a lot of respect for actual live musicianship in this digital/bedroom recording era, and actual bands will always take precedence. The live circuit in Cleveland is definitely focused on it, and there are plenty of places to play and plenty of bands to see. It’s probably refreshing for bands to come from a place like Brooklyn or LA, with scenes that are already so pored over and hyper specialized, and see that there’s still an emphasis on the working class and its inherent struggles.

Autumn and Winter release plans for Filmstrip?

Well the new record comes out on November 4, and we’re touring before and after that, thru the fall. We also have pretty much all the material for our next record ready to go, so winter will be focused on recording that and hitting the road again, making our way down to SXSW. - Impose Magazine


Formed in 2009, Cleveland slacker rock enthusiasts Filmstrip are about to release their latest LP via Exit Stencil Recordings. In the time since, the trio has shared the stage with a number of notable indie acts (The Men, Grass Widow, Cloud Nothings and Best Coast to name a few), and are currently on tour supporting their new LP Moments of Matter. “Stuck on Explode” is a slowcore jam off the band’s sophomore effort. Understated chords seep into bluesy, distorted guitars and chilled-out drum patterns keep the track’s pace in check. Dave Taha’s deadpan vocals recall those of Dave Bazan, but Filmstrip are more fittingly aligned with classic psych-rock than Pedro the Lion’s early 2000s emo.

Moments of Matter is out November 4th on Exit Stencil Recordings. - Wondering Sound


The last time we talked about Cleveland's Filmstrip, they had recently put out a slowcore-ish single, and now they've got a brand new single, "Waiting On A Train," which is more along the lines of The Men's punkish country rock. That single appears on their upcoming album, Moments of Matter, which is due November 4 via Exit Stencil. It's premiering here and can be streamed below.

Filmstrip also have a tour coming up that hits NYC on October 19 at Palisades with Eleanor, Enney and Ghost Punch. No advance tickets for that show at the moment. All dates are listed, with the new song, below. - Brooklyn Vegan


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio


Comprised of brothers Dave Taha (guitar / vocals) and Matt Taha (bass / backing vocals), and childhood friend Nick Riley (drums), Cleveland’s Filmstrip is a band has grown together both literally and figuratively.  Interpersonal intimacy coupled with years of incessant self-booked touring, and you have a recipe for an album that sounds at the same time both completely new, but yet comfortable and easy:  like a favorite record that’s been on your shelf for years.

 

Though heavily rooted in DIY culture, Filmstrip is a band whose sound has evolved well past their simple punk rock origins.  Imagine if the Meat Puppets (another brother band) circa 1985 teamed up with the indie-psych-folk stylings of Pink Mountaintops, and was informed by an upbringing heavily steeped in the Maximumrocknrollethos.  Do this and you can begin to approximate the beautifully fractured take on the American Songbook presented here on Moments of Matter.

 

Singer Dave Taha’s voice bathes Filmstrip’s sound in a world-weary / seen-many-a-recent-sunrise, aura that compliments the narratives of each song so perfectly.  From the heart-broken delivery on “Wild Abandon,” to the sun-drenched, wonderfully off-kilter delivery of “MMS1970s,” the songs always let you know that the experiences were lived first person.  At times, the mastery and interplay between slow and loud songs / dynamics can be reminiscent of Control-era Pedro the Lion.

 

Recorded at Asheville’s storied Echo Mountain Studio (Band of Horses, Co.) Filmstrip’s Moments of Matter is 11 songs worth of heartbreak, hope, good times, and comfort....your new favorite record.

 

Featured Tracks:

 

Waiting On A Train -

 

Stuck on Explode - Perhaps the most delicate and haunting track contained on the album.  This song would have been very comfortable on Built to Spill’s classicThere’s Nothing Wrong With Love.