THE PRETTY FLOWERS – Why Trains Crash (Q&A)

The Pretty Flowers are Noah Green, Sam Tiger, Jake Gideon, Sean Johnson. Based in Los Angeles. They just released a new record called ‘Why Trains Crash’  and it’s out on Dirt Cult Records.

L.A. Record wrotetwelve songs that are like Guided By Voices’ hi-fi power-pop and Mountain Goats-style poetic righteousness plus—at least on “Sitting Duck CA”—a little twin-engine Thin Lizzy guitar acrobatics, too.

And yep, all true!

Listen, watch, and read what Noah Green shared with Sweet Sweet Music.




She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?


That’s What Life Is All About – Paul Collins’ Beat

– For me, this song is one of the best opening tracks of any album and just a timelessly romantic Buddy Holly-esque rock ‘n’ roll classic.

Make Up Your Mind – Stiv Bators

– Great power-pop from Stiv’s solo record, Disconnected. This is a cover, and the original by David Quinton is fantastic, too, but I like the energy and drum fills of Stiv’s version a bit better.

Allt ska forsvinna – Hurula

– I was a fan of Masshysteri, but Hurula is a band I truly love. The album this song comes from is so amazing. Even though I can’t understand a word he’s singing, the music really connected with me and became a big influence–maybe more in spirit than anything obvious–on the songs that became Why Trains Crash. The opening track of our album, “Cream of Canvas”, was a bit of an attempt to write my version of a Hurula song. I’d put this song on a mixtape for sure.

Phoebe Bridgers – Would You Rather

– I’d seen Phoebe Bridgers live when she just had a single out a few years back and was blown away by her songs and voice. When this album came out last year I didn’t immediately love it, but it grew on me hard and I listen to it all the time now. Her live band is so good, and I love the way drummer Marshall Vore plays. I always find myself in the mood to listen to Phoebe’s beautiful maudlin folk. The Pretty Flowers are going to record a bunch of cover songs soon and we’re going to attempt to adapt a Phoebe Bridgers song as one of ours. We’ll see how that goes.

Dumb – Manhattan Murder Mystery

– MMM has been one of the best Los Angeles bands for the last 10 years. Matthew Teardrop’s songs and lyrics are unparalleled in this city and the band chugs along without compromise or apology. There are not a lot of bands that make you feel happy to be bummed out like Manhattan Murder Mystery do.





Do you feel part of a community, the power pop community?


I don’t feel like there’s that much of a power-pop community in Los Angeles. At least not one that I that I feel connected to. I was in a band called The Henry Clay People in the mid-to-late 00s, and being in that band connected me to a bunch of good bands and people around LA at the time, and that did feel like more of a supportive scene than it does now. A lot of those bands have broken up, but being in The Pretty Flowers now, it feels different and I haven’t quite figured it out yet.


There seems to be a lot of power pop/pop punk that comes out of the Burger Records label here, but I’m not really a fan. Maybe there’s some good stuff in their catalog, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of quality control going on from what I can tell. I went to the NorCal band Culture Abuse’s album release of Bay Dream (which is some kind of modern masterpiece to my ears) here in LA and they had ten bands playing 10-minute sets before they played. They were mostly hardcore bands, which is a scene I’ve never felt a connection to because it was so macho, but it was really cool to see a music community I haven’t really experienced in LA before. But it was disconcerting that I only noticed one woman in the ten bands that played that night. As far as local bands, Maniac is a band on our label, Dirt Cult, who I’d consider power pop and are awesome. I want to play shows with them.


Pinned In Place are great, too. There’s a band called NO WIN, who was nice enough to play our album release show in June, who write catchy, amazing songs. They’re a band that if The Pretty Flowers could play every show we ever play with them we would do it.


We played a show with a band called Autogramm, who were on tour from Vancouver, BC a month or two ago, and I like them a lot. There are great bands around, but it doesn’t feel like a really supportive, cohesive music scene to me. Maybe I just need to get out more? I dunno.




Can you still recall the moment music became important to you? What happened?


I do recall that moment. It was when I got Nirvana’s Nevermind album when it came out and I was 12. I listened to the cassette on a yellow Sony Sports Walkman (which was important because it had auto-reverse) and it played over and over on an 8-hour drive from Northern California to Lake Arrowhead in Southern California, where my aunt, uncle, and cousins lived.


Before that, I was mostly listening to MTV hair-metal bands and thinking that was the best that music could get, but Nirvana was serious music without fast guitar solos, and the lyrics were saying things that I’d never heard, or even really considered, before. It was music, but it was also art, which I didn’t know music could be before that. I got to see them live later that year (because my Dad was cool), and they were amazing, but being in bands still seemed like some unattainable thing that special people got to do.



It still took a while before I realized that they were regular people and that making music and playing in bands was something that regular people did too. It still amazes me that a band as punk and actually as good as Nirvana was, achieved such mainstream success. I can’t imagine that kind of thing happening again on that level.


Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?


Oh, man…there’s probably 100 I wish I’d written myself (and ten of those probably belong to Nick Lowe). There’s a band called The World Record from LA, who are seemingly from another place in time. They have a power pop album called Guitars Forever that’s the only album I’ve played, and while listening, said, “this album so good, it seems weird that I actually know the guy who wrote these songs.” That would be Andy Creighton.


For a song, though, I’m going to say I wish I’d written John Cale’s “Buffalo Ballet”. When I write songs, I have a difficult time telling a cohesive story or being direct, and I tend to focus more on how lyrics and music create a mood or a feeling. Stephen Malkmus is someone who’s really good at doing that. “Buffalo Ballet” is a song that does it in a way I can only hope to. I try not to analyze that song for meaning and just accept the emotional effect it has on me. The refrain “sleeping in the midday sun” is perfect.




What’s up for the rest of the year?


We’re going to record some cover songs at Golden Beat studio in LA with Andrew Schubert in a few weeks, and we’re excited for that. That will probably be a digital-only thing, but we’re looking forward to recording with our new drummer, Sean Johnson, who joined the band in March. We have about 8 songs written for the next album so far, but I imagine it will be a little while before we record those. We hope to do some kind of west coast tour in Nov or Dec, but life makes touring is difficult for people in bands, as it’s always been. We also plan to play as many shows as possible around LA and slightly beyond.






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