The Talk
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The Talk

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The best kept secret in music


"The Gothamist Interview: The Talk"

The Talk, part of North Carolina label MoRisen Records, deliver a contagious sound set to the beat of ritalin rhythms. Pop punk and taking from each decade something to integrate into their original urgent-rock songs. Church bells echo in the background of of their track Good Songs[mp3] and it's details like this that create a layered 60's pop-cum-punk sound. To top it off the lyrics are good too, a shock and relief after hearing some bands takes on songwriting these days (we won't name names). The Talk are Justin Williams (guitar, vocals), Scott Werner (guitar), Jeremy Holcomb (drums), CR Rollyson (bass). And Gothamist recommends you check them out.

Let's get this out of the way, where did your band name originate?
When we were starting the band it was in the middle of a break-up of our other band that Scott and I were in and it was like we were having "the talk" with a girlfriend or something.It just felt right.

What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
New York is always fun. Even the bad is good.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York?
Playing in the city is great it's just that not a lot of people know who we are so that's hard.

Is there a difference in the New York music scene from your own local scene?
Have you ever tasted sweet honey and then got a big wiff of dog shit. That's about it I guess.

Now its time for some fill-in-the-blank action:

You know you've made it when:
Rent is always paid just kidding but it would be nice.

It'll be time to pack up the gear for good when:
Im dead

I'll never forget the first time:
Ever I saw your face

I'll never forget the first time [insert another band members name here]:
Scott died.

And finally, let's have some fun with word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following (if you've got no discernable feelings, make something up that won't embarrass you in the morning):

won the war

won my heart


Bridge & Tunnel

The Darkness
the bass player hates Squeeze and thats just wrong

Times Square
whats that?

Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws

Questions inspired by movies...

If you will, a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma (in less than 10 words). (Reality Bites)
Is that that movie about that stupid record store oh no now i know, Ryder right, well to answer the question - shop 'till ya drop.

What came first, the music or the misery? (High Fidelity)

A few quickies on the music tip:

Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
You mean The Pixies?

If you released a 7 what would you put on the cover?
A painting a friends done or something

What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
Frank Black / Frank Black is all I remember. Im always late on stuff like that.

And finally...If Josh Schwartz, creator of the OC, asked your band to perform on his tv show (as Modest Mouse, the Killers and the Walkmen recently have) would you?
Free trip to LA, a few more records sold...I would have to say yes.How about you?

The Talk will be playing SXSW tomorrow, March 16th, at Sake on Sixth 8:00 PM Sharp -

"I've had enough"

The Talk - Imaginary Lines - This song opens too quietly and delicately for it's own good. Kicking off the Talks sophomore effort "It's Like Magic in Reverse", Imaginary Lines is about the most frenetic song I've heard in ages. Take a healthy dose of Cars worship, and then, feed it an entire crate of pixie stix, and maybe a bit of coke, and you just might be able to keep up with Imaginary Lines. This song is over almost before it begins, storming through your brain and tearing down sense and reason like a cliche in a bestseller. It's powerful, exhilarating stuff, an atom bomb in the center of a stagnant night musically. The Talk are leading the charge for fledgling North Carolina label MoRisen Records, and for an up and coming, regional label they couldn't have chosen a better standard bearer.

"Walking The Walk"

When Justin Williams set about forging The Talk, he did so with Occam's Razor in hand, shaving his musical language down to the most basic terms. The result is a rush of pure adrenaline, a hopped-up concoction of machine gun rhythms, buzzing guitars and punk rock urgency whose hell-bent-for-leather spirit harks back to UK bands like the Buzzcocks, Vapors and Vibrators circa 1977. "I kind of stripped down the way I was writing songs, and just wanted to do something a little more simple," says Charlotte native Williams. "A lot of bands end up doing a little more guitar work, or a Sonic Youth type of thing where it's not so much chords as it is you're writing to separate guitar parts that go together and singing on top of that. I love that but for us, I'd rather just play some chords and sing to it and let (guitarist) Scott (Werner) riff over it." Growing up in the area, Williams felt the influence of the region's early 90s indie rock reign when acts such as Polvo, Superchunk, and Archers of Loaf were darlings of college and alternative rock. "I was definitely more like NC indie rock before. I was playing a lot more detailed guitar parts, and I kinda wanted to get away from that for a while. So we started The Talk where we basically play fast punk songs," Williams says from his Charlotte home. "They're fun to play in a band because it makes you feel young to play fast rock like that. It's where my heart lies, though my heart lies more with slower, little poppier type of stuff. I'm a big Big Star fan." That Williams favors the ringing melodies of Alex Chilton's old band should come as no surprise to anyone who's heard The Talk's new album, It's Like Magic in Reverse. Chock full of enough hooks to open its own bait & tackle shop, the songs bounce like a wall-rattling two-year-old on a serious sugar buzz, plunging forward like a brakeless semi on a mountain road: there's no stopping their momentum. Equal to the furious pace is Williams' downcast lyrical ken, expressing that "as far as I can see/Our lives here are diseased and all should feel ashamed and plagued/Your deaths won't be enough" on "Imaginary Lines," or "I take a look around and I see all your faces/You just remind me how much I fucking hate this place," on "I Don't Need a Lot of Things Around the World." Williams even pens a pair of songs -- "My Isolation Drills" and "The Ties Everlasting" -- in which suicide plays a prominent lyrical role. Who does he think he is, Nick Cave? "At least one of the songs suggested (suicide) wasn't such a good idea," Williams says, chafing a bit at the characterization. "They're just the way I feel. I'm a bit of a nihilist I guess. But you could call me a recovering nihilist. I'm on a twelve-step program." While definitely bearing the imprint of the aforementioned UK punk pioneers, the new album also has Mike Mogis' fingerprints all over it. A part of the Saddle Creek collective in Omaha, Nebraska, Mogis is the label's in-house producer working with everyone from Rilo Kiley and Desaparecidos to Cursive and Conor Oberst's Bright Eyes. A genius when it comes to rich sonorous arrangements, Mogis complements the punchy, high-paced songs with a humming wall of noise -- the guitars and drums sharing the same level in the mix as the churn of off-beat organ and synth sounds. This adds texture to the songs and a fullness to the straight-forward, throttling attack. "My ex-girlfriend knew Conor and Mike (Mogis) and all of them, and so I met those guys at a show in Cleveland, and partied with them," says Williams. "So I called Mike when it was time to do this record. I really wanted to get out of NC. That was kind of the main thing. Not even that I didn't want to work with (Chapel Hill Producer Brian) Paulson, because I think Paulson is going to do our next record." "We went out of town for close to a month, so it was great. It was what I needed, and I think the record wouldn't be the record it is without Mike," Williams says. "I told him I basically wanted to approach it like a punk rock Grandaddy record. That's why it's got the keyboards all over it. I was like, "I want to have those noises that they use, but incorporate them into, like, punk rock songs,' because I hadn't really heard a lot of bands doing that." It's a cool sound and helps distinguish the album, but to Williams' thinking it would be far too limiting to sit on this rather novel approach. "I think you can't tie yourself down to one thing because you'll eventually get -- not bored so much as you want to do other stuff," Williams suggests. The Talk's already written and demoed their next album, and Williams says they hope to go into the studio when school starts back up in September, as part of the band's plan to record (though not necessarily release) a new album every eight months, "so we're on top of the game." Part of the problem is that Williams writes songs like some people eat snack cakes -- daily and voraciously since he was in 4th - Crreative Loafing

"It's Like Magic in Reverse Review"

Here we are the last review of the week. I have always wanted to say this - Let's see if the Talk can walk the walk. Or if the walk can talk the talk can walk whatever, let's just get to the music.
Interesting, very interesting. After the first song, I thought I was dealing with another Emo band. However, I think we may have a different animal on our hands here. This is nÕt your typical punk-ish band. Granted, they are by no means a purely punk rock band, but they do have some tendencies in that direction. The Talk has a very 60's pop feel but with some very noticeable punk influences throughout their sound. I really enjoyed the music, but moreover, the smart, witty, and keen lyrics caught my attention more than anything. They sing about everything from something fun and light-hearted to a very serious with an intelligence that has been lost in recent times. I don't want to make them out a preachy because they are anything but that. A few of the standout tracks were "Cross Examinations", "Good Songs", and "The Ties Everlasting" . Overall, I think this one should definitely be considered as an adventure pick for the week. It's fun, catchy, and a great listen. What else do you need? Check it out! See You Later.
- Bill Schlitz
- Enigma Online

"It's Like Magic in Reverse Review"

“It’s Like Magic in Reverse”
By Jimmy Alvarado
Punky power pop in a Vapors vein.  I’m willing to bet there were a lotta high-fives and smiles around the room the first time they heard the final mix, ‘cause they’ve just about nailed a perfect combination of good hooks and edgy delivery.  A very good, very welcome surprise.
- Razorcake Magazine

"4 Stars - "It's Like Magic in Reverse""

*4 Stars
Most bands release an album and then spend the next year (at least) touring constantly to promote it. That is, unless your album is creating such a large buzz that it's best to go back in the studio. Just nine months after their MoRisen Records debut, "No, You Shut Up!," Charlotte's The Talk released their sophomore effort on April 20. "It's Like Magic in Reverse. . ." continues the same revved up rock n' roll found on their debut. Toss in a little maturity and a punk rock edge, and you've got the makings of something great. It's no surprise that the band's favorite hobby, aside from playing music, is skateboarding. This is the kind of music that you'd expect to see on a Tony Hawk video game. The biggest disappointment on the CD is the time — 12 tracks that come in at 30 minutes total. While the music gets off to a powerful start with "Imaginary Lines," the next thing you know, you've heard the final chords of "Hold Your Money Well." My other gripe is the occasional sound of one of those Green-Day-we're-not-from-England-but-we-sometimes-sound-like-it accents. It simply comes down to quality over quantity. The Talk offers a solid sophomore performance that ensures more good things to come. Most bands are lucky to put out one solid album, but in a short span of nine months, The Talk has already released two.
— Jeffrey Hahne
- Greensboro News & Record

"The Talk Produce Amazingly Magical CD"

Vincent Cusimano
Staff Writer
April 27, 2004
Un-F#$%'N-believable.  That's probably the best description of The Talk's new album.   What they have done is seamlessly blend four decades of  the most unlikely music together and form it into their own…masterpiece.   The album, "It's Like Magic in Reverse", shows elements of The Beatles, The Sex Pistols, Green Day, Kings of Leon, and the list goes on and on.   Track one, "Imaginary Lines", bursts on the scene and takes the listener by storm.   The percussionist's energy and talent on this track, not to mention the entire friggin' album, is abundantly present.   It's hard to imagine what this band would sound like with any other drummer.   Track two carries on where track one left off…blowing everyone's mind.   Then, like Frank Sinatra's "Summer Wind", track three blows in and cools everything off.   The name of the song, ironically, is "Good Songs".  And what a good song it is.  This is by far my favorite and certainly a lot of other people's too.   "Good Songs" comes the closest to capturing the essence of The Beatles through the glistening vocals and the harmonic church bells used on the chorus.  The rest of the album just takes off after that.   There's no reason in giving away too much more because I might ruin the fun of discovering this album for any man, woman, or child who values music as an evolution and not some mound of processed meat. As far as the musicians who make up The Talk…talented is no where near good enough of a word for these boys.   Spectacularly talented might be closer, but still not quite.   Justin Williams' vocals sound like the most even and complete mixture of Johnny Rotten(Sex Pistols) and John Lennon that could ever be produced.   It's most prevalent in track three.   Scott Werner and C.R. Poole provide the flames of this forest fire of rock throughout the entire album and never let it die.   They somehow make the passion in this music grow and expand for thirteen songs.   Yes, the album only has twelve songs listed, so guess what that means.   Finally, the fuel that is provided for the fire comes from one man.   Jeremy Holcomb, maybe the greatest drummer who has ever lived.  Okay, probably not the greatest…at least not yet.  Holcomb is a pipe bomb, exploding everywhere and leaving no survivors.   His talent is far too reaching and uncontrollable.  Only one image came to mind when listening to Holcomb on the album…Keith Moon.   It's been a long time since I was this excited about the new stuff coming out.  The Talk will certainly be the talk of town in a short time and I, for one, consider myself privileged to have been able to be one of the first to hear them.   They are extraordinarily talented, brilliant, and…Un-F#$%'N-believable!
- Univ. of Alabama / Birmingham Review

"It's Like Magic in Reverse Review"

The talk's 2nd full length is one of those records that's impossible not to like. playing pop songs at dangerous punk rock speeds, this north carolina band have a sheer vibrancy likely to force smiles on the most shitty of days. the melodic and upbeat sound of opener 'imaginary lines' sets the pace for the album, which never slows for a second during the 12 tracks on here. the songs are kept short and sweet, and put out the kind of super-positive vibes that andrew wk specialises in. their abundance of energy is also seemingly matched by their creativity - there is just a 9 month gap between this and their previous album "no, you shut up!". aside the obvious pop generalisation, the talk's sound could also be placed in the indie rock genre. the songs often brush on a melodic punk-indie sound ('hold your money well'), and strangely enough at these times they are reminiscent of desaparecidos. that is, it's weird up until you find out that saddle creek's mike mogis produces. so multiply desaparecidos by 3 times the speed, add 50% sugary poppyness, and you may be able to imagine the bouncy noise the talk generate (oh, make sure you add splattering of frantic synths and a certain retro feel too). cheerfulness in the guise of catchy rock/pop songs delivered at breakneck speeds - if there were such a thing as "anti-frown" music then this would be it.
matt b

"Amplifier Issue 42: It's Like Magic in Reverse Review"

Although It’s Like Magic in Reverse is The Talk’s second album, in many ways if feels like their first.  The band’s 2003 debut, No, You Shut Up!, was recorded fast and cheap as a demo to attract bookings and inadvertently became their first album.  For Magic, the Charlotte, NC quartet traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska to record with Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Cursive) and the sonic difference is palpable.  Mogis wisely chose not to mess with The Talk’s breathlessly propulsive pop/punk approach (these 12 tracks clock in at less than 26 minutes).  The Talk’s basic dynamic remains intact, with Magic once again offering the band’s love of classic ‘60s/’70s pop with their obvious allegiance to indie punk of the ‘80s/’90s, like a breakneck blend of Cheap Trick (“Hold Your Money Well”) and the Circle Jerks (“Sucks Just to Feel”).  The Talk rock with purpose while retaining the distinctive buzz of fun that should always accompany pop and punk.
-Brian Baker
- Amplifier

"On Tap: It's Like Magic in Reverse Review"

Big things are afoot for Charlotte, North Carolina's The Talk. Their second MoRisen recording, It's Like Magic in Reverse, has the kind of punkish energy that keeps them on the indie charts but retains a melodic sense that keeps you humming along. Singer Justin Williams sounds like Robin Zander on speed, but in a good way (and with better lyrics) on catchy pop songs like "Good Songs," "Hold Your Money Well" and "The Worst Chest Pains." The guys know how to play guitar rock and bash the power chords accordingly, but the rhythm section really lifts these arrangements and keeps the energy up. Pop songs are the highlights but the lads also show their skills with some less accessible but more interesting syncopated nuggets like "My Isolation Skills." Mike Mogis' production brings out the natural grit of theses songs while adding some necessary polish. The vocal treatments and jittery synth touches are a little distracting at times but overall the disc succeeds as a memorable energetic pop collection. It's just "indie" enough to stay interesting while catchy enough to make a strong impression on rock radio, a combination that should keep them on the radar for the foreseeable future. -Jeff Jones
- On Tap


"It's Like Magic in Reverse"
2004 - LP (MoRisen Records)

Video for "Good Songs" airing on MTVU, Fuel, and Refused TV.

College Radio Play (Debuted at #157 on Top 200):

Specialty Radio Play:
FMQB Chart High - #18
R&R Report Chart High - #18
A&R Worldwide Chart High - #22

om's Diner
WQFS 90.9 FM

Good Songs
The Talk

WEQX Download
Manchester, VT

Good Songs
The Talk

Indiez Only
Tuscaloosa, AL

Good Songs
The Talk

WDYL 101.1FM Richmond, VA

Good Songs
The Talk

WARQ Specialty Playlist for 5/31-6/6

Good Songs
The Talk


Good Songs
The Talk

@ #20

The Talk

Rodney on the ROQ

Good Songs
The Talk

First Contact playlist 4/25/04

Good Songs
The Talk

Amarillo, TX
Santa Monica, CA – (on-line show only)
Topeka, KS
El Paso, TX
Santa Barbara, CA
Los Angeles, CA
Stillwater, OK
Denver, CO
Phoenix, AZ
San Francisco, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
Las Vegas, NV
WANZ Tuscaloosa, AL
Columbia, SC
WAVF Charleston, SC
Boston, MA
Portland, ME
Richmond, VA
WEEO Hagerstown, PA
WEQX Manchester, VT
Boston, MA
State College, PA
Atlanta, GA
WPGU Champaign, IL
WPLA Jacksonville, FL
York, PA
WRN (KESO) Omaha, NE
WRZX Indianapolis, IN
WUBZ Philipsburg, PA
WWCD Columbus, OH
WXSR Tallahassee, FL
Ft. Wayne, IN

It Hurts When I Pee playlist 5/02/04

Good Songs
The Talk

Rock and Roll Alternative
w/ Jared Cranke Hot 93.7 FM
May 2, 2004

Good Songs
The Talk

99x Atlanta
Sunday School Playlist

Good Songs
The Talk

WAVF 96 Wave
"The Cutting Edge" Playlist,

Good Songs
The Talk

Red Radio Underground Alternative Specialty Show

Good Songs
The Talk

WXSR Specialty
for 5-9-04

Good Songs
The Talk

FNX First Contact playlist 5.9.04

Good Songs
The Talk

WUBZ Buzz Bin playlist -- 5/30/04

Good Songs
The Talk

The 5/9 Sunday News Playlist - WQXA

Good Songs
The Talk

WFRD Uplink Playlist

Good Songs
The Talk

Radio &

Good Songs
The Talk

The New Music Hour
89.9 KGRG Auburn

Imaginary Lines
The Talk

specialty show for 5/9/04 on KDVV
Good Songs
The Talk

Host: Curtis Schieber
Sunday 9PM 
WWCD, 101-FM

The Turnip Inside Me
The Talk

WRN Specialty

Good Songs
The Talk

"No, You Shut Up!"
2003 - LP (MoRisen Records)


Feeling a bit camera shy


With a wide mixture of influences ranging from the SST catalogues to 70’s punk, 60’s pop, and late 80’s/early 90’s indie rock, a band was formed in the winter of 2001. Due to band breakups, bad relationships, and just a chance to do something different, they christened themselves The Talk. “Because we actually really needed to sit down and have one (a talk that is) to figure all this out and what we wanted to do musically.” Early rehearsals with original bass player Tyler Baum went on nightly. “We would play all the time for hours, writing and arranging until we had enough songs for a demo.” Recording went on a few months later in a local studio with the help of producer Jamie Hoover. They named this demo “No, You Shut Up!” “We only had a few hundred dollars saved up so we just went in there rolled tape and played. It ended up taking two days to record and mix, and it sounds like it too.” With recording in hand, they sent out discs in hopes of setting up shows and touring regionally.

After a year of playing shows, writing new material and establishing relationships with bands from the region, The Talk were ready to record a record. Due to bass player changes, they were set back in the process. About this time, Chuck Morrison was starting a record label in Charlotte and putting out a compilation entitled Underground Radio Volume High and asked if The Talk would like to submit a track for the disc. “We said sure and gave him “Valentine’s Day”, a song off NO, YOU SHUT UP!, to use. Chuck really liked it and said he wanted to put out the entire record. We were apprehensive at first because we never intended to put it out, but at the time it seemed like a good opportunity.” This is how the relationship with MoRisen Records formed.

With backing and enough new songs to record a record, The Talk headed for Lincoln, Nebraska, home of Presto Recording Studios. With producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Cursive, The Faint) behind the board it was time to put something on tape. 3 weeks later, IT’S LIKE MAGIC IN REVERSE was finished. “We came home feeling really good about what we had done and were really excited about releasing it.” In two short years, The Talk have finally recorded something they are proud of and can’t wait to hit the road to support it. “We really just want to play good shows and make records. If any good comes from that, then fine. If not, it’s just a great experience to have a chance to do all of this.” IT’S LIKE MAGIC IN REVERSE will hit the stores April 20, 2004 in CD and LP formats.