An Interview with Low Roar’s Ryan Karazija



Last Saturday, we here at WUD Music hosted a special  performance in Memorial Union’s new Play Circle theater, featuring Icelandic singer-songwriter Asgeir and fellow Icelandic band Low Roar. Low Roar’s frontman, Ryan Karazija, was able to take some time during their busy tour schedule to answer some questions and provide insights on their newest music.
Andrew Mackens: So, Ryan, you used to be in a different, California-based band, Audrye Sessions, and then decided to move to Iceland and begin recording as Low Roar. What was the catalyst for this change? Can you tell us what the adjustment process was like?
Ryan Karazija: I moved for a few different reasons, one of those being a girl, and then once I moved I decided to write a record, and this is what came out . I didn’t have a hard time adjusting at all, it felt completely natural to me. Granted the weather is a bit different than California, but still, I had no real problems or issues.
AM: What’s the biggest connection musically between Audrye Sessions and Low Roar for you? Did anyone from the first band transition to the second with you?
RK: There is no connection between the two for me. They are almost like two completely different lives…
AM: How did you link up with Asgeir for the tour? I imagine it was through music in Iceland?
RK: We all live very close to each other and are friends, and when our booking agent saw this pop up, we just submitted for the tour. It has been a lot of fun.
AM: I watched the video for “Breath In”, a song off of your new album 0. Can you tell us about the overall concept of the video and what you were thinking about the roach scene? (It made me think of Tyler, The Creator’s “Yonkers” immediately.)
RK: Well, I actually had no input on this video; someone offered us a video. They wanted an upbeat song, so I sent them the slowest, and it all worked out.
AM: How does “Breath In” fit with the sound for the rest of 0?
RK: I think it fits perfectly, it is the opener on the album…just kinda leads you in….for me it is a very important piece of the album.
You can check out more of Low Roar’s music at

This Saturday: Revelry Music and Arts Festival!

With Coachella out of the way, festival season is officially now in full bloom. So, why not kick off your summer with UW Madison’s own premiere music and arts festival–Revelry!


So why should you go? With five days remaining till the event, here are five reasons why:

1. You’re already a fan of the free shows WUD Music puts on every weekend in the Sett and Rathskeller. But do you realize that Revelry doesn’t last a mere three hours but rather is a rockin’ all-day-and-all-night festival?!**

*12:00PM-10:00PM to be precise

**Who says the party stops at 10? It’s Saturday night people!

2.  Dillon Francis. Waka Flocka Flame. Sky Ferreira. And a sh*t ton of other cool people:


3… And if you have no idea who any of those people are, you should definitely come because you’ll discover new music! Not to mention you’ll gain some street cred with all the hipsters in your bio class

4.  You’re broke or your friends are too cheap? Student tickets are $5. You paid $250 for Lollapalooza. Do I need to haggle you more?!


5. If you really need a better reason, then think about how epic it is spending the entire day parting with your fellow badgers?! Food, Music, Drinks, and Art?!

*5.5 And for those of you worried about the chance of rain on Saturday, all I have to say is: 1. It’s April.. 2. Put on your wellies and rain slickers and pretend like you’re at Britain’s coolest festival, Glastonbury (where it rains like every freaking year).

935644_546344705409233_303141046_nWe’ll see you kids this Saturday at Revelry! Get ready to “revel on their level.” More info can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and their site.



Saturday in Great Hall: Ra Ra Riot with Pacific Air


I had the great fortune of coming across Ra Ra Riot through a Spotify advertisement about a year and a half ago. After listening to their 2010 album The Orchard, I was immediately drawn in. Their arrangements of a standard band’s instruments along with a violin and cello create a sound that should not be missed.

Formed in 2006 at Syracuse University, Ra Ra Riot’s high-energy campus performances quickly drew the attention of the indie music scene. The band was signed to Barsuk Records in 2008, whom they have produced all three of their albums under.

Even though Ra Ra Riot is relatively young in terms of their work, their newest album Beta Love indicates a change in the band’s sound from previous years. This change was most likely influenced by the departure of cellist Alexandra Lawn, but the music doesn’t skip a beat because of it. The album (which can be streamed here, complete with unique music visualizer) is filled with significantly more electronic and synth sounds, but still meshes well with Wes Miles’s soothing falsetto’s and the now more occasional but welcomed violin stylings of member Rebecca Zeller. It will be interesting to see if the band is able (or willing) to perform any of their songs from The Orchard, given the new dynamic they have immersed themselves in.

Accompanying Ra Ra Riot on stage will be Pacific Air, (formerly KO KO) an indie pop duo consisting of brothers Taylor and Ryan Lawhon. Signed to Republic Records in 2012, they have since released a four song EP titled Long Live KO KO. In addition, the music video for their song “Float” dropped on February 26th, and definitely shows promise for the duo’s future. 

The show starts at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 2nd in the Great Hall in Memorial Union. The doors open at 8:00 p.m., but I hope to see you there earlier to be front and center for this great indie show.

Saturday Night at Der Rathskeller: Laetita Sadier with Orca Team

Saturday night at the Rath features one of the biggest shows of the Fall.  Laetita Sadier of Stereolab brings her unique sound and lyrical style to campus.  Sadier’s career began during the 80s, but continued in earnest when she teamed up with Tim Gane and formed Stereolab.  While in Stereolab, the band released ten albums, five of which charted on the Billboard 200, and their breakthrough album Dots and Loops reached the #2 spot on the Heatseekers chart.  Since leaving Stereolab, she has released two solo albums, The Trip, which received an 8.2 on Pitchfork, and most recently, SilencioPitchfork called her most recent effort “as timelessly hip as a pair of Wayfarers or an Eames chair.”  Sadier’s highly political lyrics and washes of sound makes her performance a can’t miss.

Opening up the night is Orca Team, a self-described “Pop-Surf-Post Punk” band from Seattle, Washington, whose sound matches their home-base perfectly.  Blending walls of sound with minimalist lyrics, and driving bass lines, they have been described by Brooklyn Vegan as “early ’60’s pop and surf pop with Krautrock rhythms and basslines.”  The band currently finds themselves in the middle of a tour which has them playing for 69 straight nights.

Between the up-and-coming yet road-tested Orca Team, and the star power of Laetita Sadier, this is a can’t miss night for a fan of indie rock or fans of good music in general.  Check out a video from Laetita Sadier and Orca Team below and also a free download from Ocra Team:

Download>>Orca Team- “Michael”

Laetita Sadier:

Orca Team:

Friday: Now, Now with Tu Fawning and AU

Three indie-pop acts take over the Terrace Friday night at 9 p.m. The Midwest meets the Pacific-Northwest when Now, Now shares the stage with AU and Tu Fawning.

Now, Now have been attracting attention in the Midwest for half-a-decade (As “Now, Now Every Children” until 2010) with their meloncholy indie-pop songs featuring Cacie Dalager’s delicate vocals and room-filling instrumentation. With March’s release of the Minneapolis trio’s sophomore LP, Threads, the attention-grabbing has reached a far greater scope. The album was their first on Trans Records, owned by Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla, who made them his second signing to the label. Produced by Howard Redekopp (Tegan & Sara, An Horse), the young band’s Threads is described by Consequence of Sound as “an exploration of the push and pull of growing up and growing apart.” The success of the album landed them recent tours supporting The Naked and Famous and fun. After playing the Terrace, and before supporting Motion City Soundtrack on a 29-date national tour in October and November, Now, Now will jet off to the UK to support the August 27th release of Threads – so don’t miss them before they leave the States.

As Now, Now are now on a Pacific-Northwest-based label, run by one of its legendary residents, they’ll surely have a lot to talk about with the two opening bands from the indie utopia of Portland. You may have caught AU opening for WHY? in Der Rathskeller a few years ago.  If you did, then you probably know something that someone introduced to the band through their April-released third LP, Both Lights, probably wouldn’t be able to detect: They’re a trio. Their experimental pop sound is so full, and at many times frantic, it’s hard to believe that beings with only two arms and two legs could produce it. No shortage of praise can be found from publications like Pitchfork and Stereogum for their sophisticated sound and unique instrumentation. Head over to Stereogum to download two songs from Both Lights and watch the trippy, colorful video for “OJ.”

Tu Fawning released their sophomore album, A Monument, in May. However, with 31 Knots frontman and Menomena touring member Joe Haege on its creative team, they were able to bypass the normal growing pains of a band working of its follow-up and release complex-but-listenable tunes. Perhaps the best word one could use to describe Tu Fawning would be “eclectic,” with each member of the band rotating through various instruments, both recognizable and not, throughout their live sets. It’s definitely a unique and enjoyable experience, not to be missed. You can download “Anchor” over at their bandcamp. Oh, and did I mention Corrina Repp and Joe Haege are featured in a Portlandia skit also starring Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse?

Fun fact: Between the three bands on the Terrace tomorrow night, the lineups are made up of five males and five females. I’m not sure how to segue from that, but I thought it was too cool not to share. Just come to the Terrace for the 9 p.m. start of the show. You won’t regret it. Download an mp3 of Now Now’s “School Friends” and watch the video for “Dead Oaks” below.

Download>>Now Now – “School Friends” from Threads

Tonight in the Sett: Kina Grannis w/ Imaginary Friend, DTF w/ Gabe Herrera

Everybody has their favorite YouTube sensation, and we wouldn’t be surprised if Kina Grannis was yours. Before Grannis became a YouTube maverick, she self-released three EP’s at her alma mater, USC. In 2007, her video “Message From Your Heart” aired during the Super Bowl as part of the “Dorito’s Crash the Super Bowl Contest,” which propelled Kina into the national spotlight. In 2011, Kina re-released a newer version of her album Stairwells, which included four new tracks. Her light, bubbly voice has brought nearly 97 million views to Kina’s YouTube channel, and she even has done a few collaborations with another YouTube favorite, Boyce Avenue. Kina has covered a handful of popular songs, including U2’s “With or Without You” and Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” She is currently touring for her “In Your Arms World Tour 2012.” It’s pretty evident that Kina’s popularity will keep escalating not only on YouTube, but in the pop industry as well.

Imaginary Friend, effortlessly compatible with Kina’s voice, will be opening for her tonight. With his acoustic guitar and sleepy voice, Imaginary Friend has the perfect sound to woo plenty of fans. Imaginary friend and Kina even do ocassional YouTube collaborations, covering Coldplay’s “Fix You” and Foster the Peoples’ “Pumped Up Kicks.”

Add a few more views to Kina Grannis’ channel by checking out the adorable “In Your Arms” video (made with stop motion and 288,000 jelly beans) and the aforementioned “Pumped Up Kicks” below. The show gets started at 9 p.m. at the Sett. Stick around after Kina’s set for DTF when DJ Gabe Herrera will be throwing it down.

Friday at Der Rath: Lower Dens w/ Yellow Ostrich + Grace Weber Band + 1,2,3

Baltimore’s Lower Dens formed in 2009 and hasn’t stopped makin’ music since. Vocalist Jana Hunter was previously known for her folky experimental work as a solo artist. However, the quartet of Lower Den is something more along the lines of drone-pop/ post-punk. Hunter is known for her haunting and enthralling vocals that are backed up by echoing guitar and bass. Their second album, Nootropics, is set for release on the first of May off of Gnomonsong Records, and with the growing craze over their mesmerizing single, “Brains” (released back in January), it’ll be awesome to finally hear what other alluring beats the band has in store for us. They’ll be at Der Rath this Friday so come hear them play for free!

Formed in Brooklyn, Yellow Ostrich is currently made up of three very talented musicians: Alex Schaaf, Michael Tapper, and Jon Natchez. However, Schaaf started Yellow Ostrich independently back in 2009 as one-man-band project. They just released their second album from Barsuk Records this past Tuesday (March 6) available on iTunes or at your fave record store. On the same label are indie legends Death Cab for Cutie and favorites such as Rilo Kiley and Phantogram.  On the new album you can expect to hear upbeat rockity rhythms that are a bit different from their 2011 album, The Mistress, but excellent and catchy all the same. “Strange Land” will get your head bobbing and heart throbbing so come be one of the lucky few to hear it live at Der Rath on Friday! Also, want a sampler of 9 Yellow Ostrich tracks for free?! Click here!

Did you hit up Starbuck’s sometime this past January? Of course you did—who can resist those holiday-friendly beverages of the gods? While you were waiting in line for your caffeinated goodness you may have heard Grace Weber’s track “Baby Come Down” off her self-released album Hope & Heart. A Milwaukee native and past member of the city’s Inner City Youth Gospel Choir, Weber’s music is both soulful and poppy. With the release of Hope & Heart back in September, Weber made a top ten spot on iTunes singer/songwriter charts and was Billboard Magazine’s “Artist to Watch.” She’ll be hitting up Madison after a show in Milwaukee in which she’ll be opening for Men at Work / singer-songwriter legend Colin Hay at Turner Hall. Weber describes her musical output as a “modern version of soul, in that I try to tell stories through my lyrics that I hope can touch people, and I always try to sing from an honest place.” You can read a full WUD Music interview with her posted earlier this morning by clicking here. With a presence and passion as fierce as Weber’s, it’s obvious you won’t want to miss her show.

Touring the country with Yellow Ostrich is 1,2,3. This up-and-coming band is comprised of four members: Nic Snyder, Josh Sickels, Mike Yamamoto, and Chad Monticue. Last June, the band released its first album New Heaven (it’s on iTunes!) through Frenchkiss Records. This label has discovered some excellent bands, such as The Dodos, Local Natives, and Passion Pit… I wouldn’t mind french-kissing them. Anyway, their music is both soulful and delicious— definitely worth being heard, so come see them along with Lower Dens, Yellow Ostrich, and Grace Weber Band this Friday 3/9 at Der Rath!

Check out a music video from each band below and check out Lower Dens, Yellow Ostrich, Grace Weber Band, and 1,2,3 in Der Rath tomorrow with a 8:30 start.