Sunday, September 13, 2015

are you thinking what i'm thinking? / release me

The Like went from insiders to outsiders and came back from limbo to rediscover themselves.   Elizabeth "Z" Berg, Charlotte Froom, and Tennessee Thomas started the group while still in high school, with a little help from their music industry parents.  Z's dad is producer and A&R executive for Geffen Records Tony Berg;  Charlotte's dad is producer Mitchell Froom;  and Tennessee's dad is Pete Thomas, drummer for Elvis Costello.  Thomas reveals:   "Our dads do know each other, it's true, but we didn't really form the group through them. Charlotte and I were in a school-band together, and friends had told us about this strange songwriter-girl they called 'The Letter'. We thought, 'Ooh! How mysterious! She's just called Z!'   After we'd tracked her down we all hooked up on Instant Messenger, and a few days later me and Charlotte turned up on Z's doorstep all giggly and everything. When Z sat down on her bed with her guitar and played us "Twenty-Seven Days", we were like, 'Wow! That's a real song! Let's set up our instruments!' We were there until midnight, I think. It was incredibly exciting to know that we'd finally found the right person  ...  My mom actually came up with [the band name]. When you’re trying to name a band, there are all these horrible suggestions thrown around like everything becomes a name for a band...blah, blah, blah… and you just start listing all these stupid things and you never get anything serious. My mom is just the worst 'I know, how about the blah, blah, blah…' and we went for such a long time without the name and then finally she’s like 'Why don’t you just call yourselves “The Like” because you say “LIKE” so much.' Everyone’s like, it’s like… The Like! I like it, that sounds good to us. It just stuck, we just had to get it over with, we’re like, 'ugh, that’ll do'."

Froom fumes:    "As a teenager you want to rebel against your parents, and from the moment we got together we had a policy that our dads wouldn't be involved."

The trio independently put out three EP's  (I Like The Like, ... and The Like, and Like It or Not) before signing with Geffen to record their debut album  'Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?'  with producer Wendy Melvoin, from Prince's Revolution

Thomas says:   "Wendy was only 18 when she joined Prince's band, so she can relate to how we feel. Her dad, Mike, was a session guy [for The Beach Boys, among others], so she's got that musical family thing going on, too. In the studio she's really energetic and inspiring, and she'd be like, 'Come on chicks! Let's take it up a bit!' 

Berg looks back:  "I wrote most of those songs when I was…15! I had experienced very little. In the years since then I’ve really… well… been through enough to write a lifetime’s worth of records about. And it took us until now I think to really form our sound/identity as a band and know how we wanted to express the things we wanted to say...When we first started the band, I really didn’t want to be in a girl band! I hated them. But that’s terrible. I’m so excited to be in a band with young ladies who write their music and are serious musicians and hopefully this will inspire other young girls to do the same!"

"June Gloom" 

"What I Say and What I Mean"

"Under the Paving Stones"

 'Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?' 
full album:

All tracks written by Z Berg unless otherwise noted.

"June Gloom" – 4:08
"What I Say and What I Mean" – 2:56
"You Bring Me Down" – 3:34
"(So I'll Sit Here) Waiting" – 4:06
"Bridge to Nowhere" – 3:14
"Once Things Look Up" – 3:52
"Under the Paving Stones" – 4:25
"Too Late" – 3:36
"We Are Lost" – 4:05
"The One" – 2:57
"Mrs. Actually" – 3:44
"Falling Away" – 3:32
"Waves That Never Break" – 3:38
(bonus track)
"One Step Ahead" (Neil Finn) – 2:56 

"We Are Lost" EP version

 'Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?'  didn't meet the sales expectations of the execs at Geffen and their followup album recorded with Martin "Youth" Glover of the Fireman, was shelved by the consolidated Interscope Geffen A&M mega-label.    

Thomas met producer Mark Ronson in England and they began a short-lived romance.  Ronson recollects:    "I had a crush on Tennessee, and while I didn't feign an interest in the band, it was definitely an incentive to go and hear the stuff. It ended before the record was finished ... But I was genuinely interested in hearing the band. It was also a good excuse to ask her on a date...[The record] sounded like Aimee Mann.  It sounded very L.A. So I asked if I could re-cut it...When you see them together, there's a bad-ass look to them.  They look like a gang. The music should have that energy."

Just days before the new sessions were scheduled to begin, Froom left the band to go to school at  Santa Monica College.  She has since recorded with Taylor Locke & the Roughs.  Berg recruited Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet to fill in on bass:    "We were not going to waste that opportunity.  By hook or by crook, we were going to make this happen...I wanted to record live.  I wanted one guitar track. Yet every producer that we had ever worked with said that that's not how records are made anymore.

They recorded nine songs in five days with members of the Dap-Kings also taking part.   'Release Me'  credits  Elizabeth "Z" Berg on guitar and vocals;   Tennessee Thomas on drums and background vocals;   Alex Greenwald on bass and additional production;   Victor Axelrod on organ;  Mark Ronson on production;  Homer Steinweiss on additional production;  Thomas Brenneck on mastering;   and  Shawn Everett on engineering and mixing.    Laena Geronimo and Annie Monroe joined the group after the album was finished. 

Thomas touts:   "After Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking? came out, we went on tour for a few years, opening for bands like Arctic Monkeys, Phoenix, The Strokes, Muse and Kings of Leon. We spent a lot of time in the U.K. We took our time re-thinking The Like and what we wanted it to be. We grew up! And now we are back, with two new band mates Laena Geronimo (bass) and Annie Monroe (organ) who are incredible musicians. We spent a lot of time practicing our instruments...It was Mark's idea to introduce the organ, which really added so much to the band sound (we were quite limited before as a three piece). And he introduced us to the Dap-Kings Tommy Brenneck, Homer Steinweiss and Victor Axelrod who all helped us make the record. Their combined knowledge of the `60s studio sound really helped us to realize our fantasy of sounding like our favorite music! Mark also captured our powerful live sound, which we'd struggled to do in recording sessions beforehand. We recorded everything live in a room, at the same time, and as a result the music sounds alive, and real, like all those records from the 60s do. We didn't fix any of the mistakes, and those mistakes end up being your favorite bits! Mark definitely has a golden touch... I don't know how he makes everything sound so good! He may sprinkle fairy dust on it."

Berg beams:   "Mark is really wonderful at listening to a song and hearing how it should sound to be the best song it could be. He makes everything and everyone the best possible versions of themselves in the studio. And he, along with the help of Alex Greenwald, and Tommy Brenneck, Homer, Steinweiss and Victor Axelrod (all currently or formerly part of the Dap-Kings), figured out how best to record and serve our songs to make the record we had always dreamed of making...It is extremely exciting to have our record done and coming out! At long last! After we put out the first record we spent a few years touring, and then we basically broke up and reformed with two new members, a whole new vibe, and the same name!...We realized before we made the record that we really just wanted to make a record that sounded like the music we grew up listening to, i.e. The Beatles, The Supremes, The Stones, The Shangri Las, The Kinks, The Animals, Jackie DeShannon, Leslie Gore, The Zombies, The Beach Boys, etc. I think we've always wanted to make a record that sounded like this, but we didn't know how!"

 "Fair Game" directed by Gia Coppola

"Walk of Shame"

"Wishing He Was Dead"  

"He's Not a Boy"  

The Like "He's Not A Boy" from Maximilla Lukacs on Vimeo.

'Release Me' 
full album:

1. "Wishing He Was Dead"   Z Berg, Alex Greenwald, Thomas Brenneck, Nick Movshon, Homer Steinweiss Mark Ronson, Alex Greenwald 2:53
2. "He's Not a Boy"   Z Berg Mark Ronson, Alex Greenwald 2:35
3. "Release Me"   Z Berg Mark Ronson, Alex Greenwald 3:03
4. "Walk of Shame"   Z Berg Mark Ronson, Alex Greenwald 2:15
5. "Narcissus in a Red Dress"   Z Berg, Alex Greenwald Mark Ronson, Alex Greenwald 3:43
6. "I Can See it in Your Eyes"   Z Berg Mark Ronson, Alex Greenwald 2:44
7. "Fair Game"   Z Berg Mark Ronson, Alex Greenwald 2:28
8. "Square One"   Z Berg, Alex Greenwald, James Valentine, Jason Boesel, Michael Runion Thomas Brenneck, Homer Steinweiss 2:08
9. "In the End"   Z Berg Thomas Brenneck, Homer Steinweiss 2:58
10. "Trouble in Paradise"   Z Berg, Alex Greenwald, Mark Ronson, Thomas Brenneck Mark Ronson, Alex Greenwald 3:04
11. "Catch Me If You Can"   Z Berg Mark Ronson, Alex Greenwald 3:11
12. "Don't Make a Sound"   Z Berg, Alex Greenwald Thomas Brenneck, Homer Steinweiss 3:18

hidden track, 
"Why When Love is Gone", a song originally written by Ivory Joe Hunter.

live at Origami Vinyl 8/14/10

"Wishing He Was Dead," "Square One" & "In the End"

"Catch Me if You Can" & "He's Not a Boy"

live at Bardot in Hollywood 8/11/10

"Why When Love is Gone"

"Release Me"


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