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10 Years of FILTER: Issue #14 Revisited, Getting To Know, Sage Francis, Stars + More (Winter 2005)

By Staff on June 5, 2012


10 Years of FILTER: Issue #14 Revisited, Getting To Know, Sage Francis, Stars + More (Winter 2005)

2012 marks FILTER Magazine's tenth year in print. To celebrate, we are looking back at some of our favorite magazine features, from July 2002’s Issue #1 all the way up to this coming November’s Issue #50.

Getting To Know is a section in the magazine that serves as a good gauge for our predictions of greatness. In FILTER ISSUE #14, released Winter 2005, we introduced Joy Zipper, Sage Francis, Robbers On High Street, Stars, The Sights and Graham Coxon. Here is a brief look at those artists, then and now.

Stay tuned for Issue #14's complete "Beck City" cover story to be posted later this week.

Getting To Know Recap

ISSUE 14: Winter 2005

Band: Joy Zipper

Where They Were Then: The Long Island native married couple had just released their sophomore album American Whip and learning how to deal with the music business and touring.

Where They Are Now: Still together (as music partners and life partners) Tabitha Tindale and Vinny Cafiso released their third full length album The Heartlight Set in 2005. They have also participated in two tribute albums: Dig For Fire – A Tribute to Pixies (“Wave of Mutilation”) and Just Like Heaven - A Tribute to The Cure (“Just Like Heaven”).

FILTER Said: Listening to American Whip, you wouldn’t know Joy Zipper is from New York. The record has the sort of cool, beachy detachment you might associate with the West Coast. The West Coast on a downer, that is. Which is to say it’s a record you don’t quite locate, you feel.

They Said: I’m always thinking about it—where we can evolve to. I like to stay at home, write, play guitar, read, smoke pot. It’s not in my nature to tour.”

Band: Sage Francis

Where They Were Then: The rapper/founder and CEO of the Strange Famous Record label from Providence, Rhode Island, was just about to release his sophomore solo album A Healthy Distrust. He was the champion of two national battle rap contests (Superbowl ’99, Scribble Jam 2000) and received national recognition with his track “Makeshift Pirate.”

Where They Are Now: Since his FILTER appearance, Francis has released one more full-length LP, Li(f)e, and several of his “Sick of…” mixtapes. He’s currently touring Texas and continues to run Strange Famous Records. Francis has also been traveling to South Africa to help treat and care for orphaned children with HIV.

FILTER Said: He’s a renowned spoken word poet, a master of DIY business acumen, Epitaph’s first hip-hop signing, and an example to non-shit-takers everywhere.

They Said: “What’s personal expression if it’s not working with others? I can personally express with my dick in a pillow—that doesn’t include anybody else. If I make the decision that other people are going to hear this, and other people are going to have to make sense of it, then that’s where the game starts.”

Photo by Jason Lee Parry

Band: Robbers On High Street

Where They Were Then: Robbers On High Street was a quartet of New York natives who very quickly formed, signed to Scratchie Records, put out a well received EP (Fine Lines) and about to release their debut album Tree City.

Where They Are Now: Now a quintet, Robbers On High Street went through line-up shifts and two more LPs (Grand Animals, Hey There Golden Hair), and a serious U.S. tour last year. They are currently about to release a new EP entitled Anything Could Happen.

FILTER Said: Prior to the release of their first proper album, Robbers On High Street already have enough material to differentiate between early, kind of early, and pretty new. They also sound beyond their years, hyper-weathered and young-old in that New York way.

They Said: “It’s just rockin’ our Poughkeepsie roots, trying to put it on the map.”

Band: Stars

Where They Were Then: The Toronto based sextet had just released their third full length studio album Set Yourself On Fire, and were being compared to fellow Canadian bands such as Metric, Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire.

Where They Are Now: Canceling their scheduled performances at this year’s SXSW, Stars is busy working on their sixth full length album; a follow up to last years Bedroom Demos, and 2010’s The Five Ghosts.

FILTER Said: In a time where cynicism and apathy are king, and to play music without a dance beat that expresses much else gets dismissed as emo or whatever, making unabashedly gorgeous, intelligent music celebrating the general beauty of life is radical. But for Stars, making anything else just wouldn’t make sense.

They Said: “We grew up in a neighborhood where there were a lot of teachers and draft dodgers from the ‘60s who created this ideal little community of very tolerant, open-minded, artistic people. So we all got lucky in that we were born into the right world and we were given a lot of opportunity to see beauty and believe in ourselves.”

Band: The Sights

Where They Were Then: The Sights were getting clumped into the Detroit rock sound with bands like the White Stripes and the Von Bondies…and did not like the comparisons. They were also on the verge of releasing their third album, The Sights.

Where They Are Now: After a five year full length recording hiatus, The Sights released their next full length album Most Of What Follows Is True in 2010. The trio also just announced on their website that they will be opening for Tenacious D this summer.

FILTER Said: The Sights’ self-titled third album is a kinetic mosaic of sound that pieces together British Invasion pop with classic rock and ‘60s harmonies with ‘70s guitar.

They Said: “I wanted to start a band that either sounded like the Jam, like a clean power pop thing, or like Traffic, improvise, really psychedelic—you know, the complete opposite of the Jam. And then I was like, ‘Oh fuck, why can’t I just combine these two?’ And I think that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Photo by Tom Beard
Photo by Tom Beard

Band: Graham Coxon

Where They Were Then: On the verge of releasing his fifth solo record, Happiness In Magazines, after parting ways bitterly with Damon Albarn and Blur, Coxon was trying to break into the U.S. music scene as a true solo artist.

Where They Are Now: Coxon has just finished touring the UK in support of his eighth and newest album A+E which came out earlier this year. He also briefly reunited with Blur in 2009 for a series of shows.

FILTER Said: Outside of Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Coxon’s spastic guitar work made for some of the most instantly recognizable pop guitar around. It was an influence that would blossom as the Cool Britannia balloon would burst, pushing the group into stranger territories with brief moments of massive success, but it would eventually alienate Coxon, pushing him further out into his own world.

They Said: “I guess that I could go on forever being this weirdo bloke who just puts stuff out in Europe, but I think there’s a lot of American kids who would be really into it. I’m really into the idea of coming over and playing over there. I miss the American audiences. The kids were always really enthusiastic—and they looked really good, too.”