ISSUE 002: SOPHOMORE SLUMP

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group·ie /’ɡroopē/ noun informal noun: groupie; plural noun: groupies a person, especially a young woman, who regularly follows a pop music group or other celebrity in the hope of meeting or getting to know them. “he pulled a different groupie every night” derogatory an enthusiastic or uncritical follower. “the contemporary art groupie” magazine* a journal for fans who are moved by music - moved to talk about it; moved to connect it to something more, something personal; moved to make something new because of it. it’s a place for creatives of all kinds who are inspired by music, lyrics, musicians, each other as fans, and how the world is sculpted, changed, and made sweeter by all of those things. “groupie is a music journal run by 3 fangirls with writing degrees.” note: the only definition of ‘groupie’ that is acceptable now.

Official definitions from oxford languages unless stated otherwise. *otherwise





Groupie Mag

Staff Kayla Carcone Managing Editor, Co-Editor-in-Chief Rachel Fucci Co-Editor-in-Chief Gloria Pérez Creative Director, Co-Editor-in-Chief Janii Yazon Deputy Editorial Director Gabrielle Chiongbian Deputy Creative Director Emma Newsome Content Editor Sarah Alexander Editorial Assistant Gabriella Pérez Social Media Assistant Issue 002 Contributors Mary Gagliardotto, Gloria Pérez, Erin Sherry, Hannah Lamarre, Tallie Gabriel, Jonah Puskar, Rachel Fucci, Adrienne Novy Cover Image Gloria Pérez Design Mary Gagliardotto Photo

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When we selected this theme, it was meant to be a cheeky nod at the industry-ism, the very real moment in college - a faded memory. We should’ve known better; in a way it was a c urse. The three of us fell into slumps of our own. For one reason or another there was suddenly quicksand, and Groupie glittered in the distance, like a pink life raft at the shoreline. This mag, and the space and community it creates, is something we grab hold of to buoy ourselves in a relentlessly slumpy time. Thank you for building it with us. That said, we hope our incredible contributors lift your spirits the way they did ours. From a dark short story a la Carmen Maria Machado (inspired by Justin Bieber’s “Peaches”) to an apoc alyptic poem titled in tribute to slump aficionado Phoebe Bridgers - our Issue 002 groupies served us up sophomore slump in its finest form. We’re also excited to add a new editorial installment to the journal, where we feature some cool artists we think you should know about. This issue, our team snapped a few fun shots of Jack Rabbit, tomteahouse, Noelle Rene, and Bonsai Trees; and asked them questions on the subject of slumping. With all the summertime sadness in our hearts and all the SPF on our shelves xoxo, Team Groupie

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Mary Gagliardotto & Gloria Pérez, Visual Art

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There’s something about bedrooms – no matter what, it’s always you. Even when you move or change spaces, your bedroom is yours. It’s there for you. We shot these photos at Gloria’s teenage bedroom to highlight the sophomoric moments we experienced through those years. I brought my film camera, which offers a powerful, nostalgic pull — one that reflects the way it felt to revisit the phases and trends that encompassed our youth. Butterfly clips, beaded chokers, and walls covered in our music obsessions inspired us to capture a time where these belongings ruled our rich inner worlds. The unpredictability of the analog process reflects the same feeling of a “sophomore slump” — less focused on a final result, but more about the uncertainty we wade through during the journey. - Mary Gagliardotto The words “sophomore slump” immediately take me back to high school days and the addictive nature of self isolation. When the outer world teetered on the line of dreary and despair, I could escape to my inner world I built to bring some odd comfort. Mary and I shot these photos on a rainy summer night at 2am in the same bedroom I spent the majority of my teenage years. It’s drenched in nostalgia – from the first little Crosley Cruiser record player I owned, to the posters, the set list, and magazine cutouts I have saved – true to groupie fashion. - Gloria Pérez 6


Groupie Mag

When I’m Up North with

JUSTIN BIEBER, I get EVERYTHING I want. Erin Sherry, Prose

Justin Bieber drives us out into the orchards in a black Cadillac, seats dancefloor slick, our skin like the leather lit up liminal and orange. Justin Bieber wilts his pretty wrists over the wheel and, at

stoplights,

reaches towards me over the cupholders. He fingers my face, peels back my cheek like

peach skin with the sharp tip of his nail. The light turns.

He leaves a bloody line, sweet when we

swerve and it touches my tongue.

I clot the slice with my sleeve and Justin Bieber asks if I believe in ghosts. I tell him I do, but I’m not afraid and he shouldn’t be either. The things that haunt him mean

no harm.

Justin Bieber drives fast to some syrupy beat only he can hear. He bops his lovely head to it. I stick

my neck out the window

and lap at the wind like a Labrador. When I’m with Justin Bieber, the world

outside his car

buzzes blue and leaks at the edges.

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Streetlights blink out above us but before we get

lonely Justin Bieber

reaches out the window and all the way up into the heaven he believes in— eyes

on the road, foot on the pedals still tapping—and closes his hand

around hot little stars. He screws

them tight into the sockets. I don’t

miss anything we’re leaving, smearing to sap under Justin Bieber’s

tires.

But we’ll be out of the city soon and maybe then I’ll want it all back. Justin Bieber knows what I want before I do. He snaps his fingers and they appear: only ecstatic

memories, good weed to soften all my hardness, my

favorite nights bottled up like model ships. Holy

water, fresh fruits.

Hot sweet hymns that bubble and burn. When we arrive in the belly of the trees,

we lie down under the branches. I’m an overripe peach, all his.

He could reach inside me, pull out my pit, and plant another me in the soft soil of his stomach. I’d grow until my leaves poked out of his ears, my twiggy fingers wiggling through his nostrils. I’d drip down his chin and dry there. Someday soon, after I’ve died for him, I’ll be Justin Bieber’s ghost. I’ll hide under his bed and tickle

his toes while he sleeps. I’ll haunt all

his corners. He’ll never see me, but he’ll feel me: holding him

while he

dreams. I won’t let go until he dreams me back.

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Los Angeles band, Jack Rabbit is Morgan Anne Donegan & Andy Leon. Photos: Gabrielle Chiongbian. Interview: Emma Newsome.


Issue 002: Sophomore Slump

If you were making a sophomore slump playlist, what songs would you add to it? Morgan Anne Donegan: Recently obsessed with “Hot and Heavy” by Lucy Dacus. We’ve been obsessed with Claud. Andy Leon: What was the one you played in the car? Morgan: “Overnight” Andy: And then I’m thinking back to what we listened to sophomore year in college and it was Lake Street Dive. So a specific song from them - probably “Seventeen.” Morgan: Throwing it back to sophomore year of high school. Can we get a “Cough Syrup” [Young the Giant]? (a collective “OOOHHH”) Andy: The Marias have incredible music. “I Don’t Know You” by them is a pretty good sophomore slump song. 10


Groupie Mag Speaking of sophomore slumps, when you’re in a slump, what do we do? Andy: We’re both recently out of relationships. So we’ve just left the slump. You let yourself feel it, which is, I think an important one. Morgan Anne: But you need your girls. It’s about the girls. Andy: What I’ve noticed is you need to touch base with what you need. And if you need to stay in, stay in! Morgan Anne: If you need to sleep, sleep in! Andy: I think when you’re in a slump it’s easy to neglect yourself, and kind of sit in the feeling and let that be the biggest thing. But you gotta remember to take care of yourself...

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... During this last hea rtbreak, I w as like, w e’r e n ot g oin g to forget w hat the body needs. So, we’re going to be drinking a lot of w ater. We’re going to be eating a lot of good food that m akes us feel happy. And we’re going to go on w alks. We’re going to go dancing. We’re going to read a book that m akes us laugh. And put on music that m akes us groove a little bit. Morgan Anne: Listening to your body and being intuitive. Andy: Light a candle if your room is funky smelling, cause you’re in your slump. Morgan Anne: Choc olate with hazelnuts or raspberry - just lean into whatever feels good. Andy: And then eventually dancing. Big on dancing. Dance yourself clean out of the slump. 12


Groupie Mag

Tallie Gabriel, Poetry they say we’re the most think ahead anxious future-oriented generation yet and yet I can never quite, fully grasp the concept of summer in the midst of the February snows I remember the feeling of sun heat on sleeveless shoulders like a first-thing-in-the-morning sweet lingering dream I know that my life will hold many Julys and that this next one will turn up diving swallow-swiftly like they always do they say we can’t stop thinking ahead, and yet I am everyday more and more cocooned in the present if I am sick, I’ve never known wellness if I’m full, I can’t remember the hunger pangs of an hour ago if I’m in love (and I am), the meat-malletcrab-shell-cracking of a split heart is only the once-suffered nightmare of a sadder season

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Tallie Gabriel, Poetry I ripped a page out of your book to make into a gift and I thought, you’d probably hate that I did that Art torn, behavior emulated, I wondered which would bruise worse When I rip from the Patti Smith book I think: she’d want it this way the forever lifecycle of art, paper, art I think: you would not like being compared to Patti Smith for you are your own continent Maybe, over time I soured too much for your tastebuds I thought: it’s just a paper doll with paper skin no need to stage a protest no animals were killed to make her coat I thought: If you didn’t want me to use it as I saw fit why offer me the paper in the first place When people used to tease us about being too skinny, I’d shrug and smile and drink up the slight like Soylent for lunch but you’d come back with “I’ve tried eating it all and haven’t found a worthy taste, yet come back to me in five years and see if I’ve found the stuff with which to spackle my ribs.”

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Groupie Mag

“No One Like You” Jonah Puskar, Visual ArtArt

ARTIST STATEMENT: The Only Place was Best Coast’s second album after their hit debut record Crazy For You (2011). While The Only Place was met generally well by critics, it didn’t receive the same level of praise that their first album had garnered. Pitchfork gave the album a 6.2 out of a possible 10, while The A.V. Club gave it a B-, with the reviewer stating, “Cosentino has strengthened her voice and revealed real emotional range. Maybe on album No. 3 she’ll start practicing some new rhyme schemes, too.” However, for the faults this album might have, it is a truly beautiful piece of art, and this song really gets that across. I take the lyrics to be about a bad relationship, her words suggesting that she’s desperate and will do anything for her significant other to love her the way she loves him. “Know that you don’t mean to say things, That hurt me and drop me to my knees.” Even though he treats her poorly, she still keeps coming back because there is “No one like you.” While this sounds incredibly toxic, and shouldn’t be idealized, listeners are sure to] relate to these feelings at some point in their lives. The upright Tower represents the need for change, a change that can be frightening but necessary, but is needed and is for the best in the end. The Tower is the need to leave this unhealthy relationship. That’s further exemplified by the Lovers in reverse. This relationship is out of sync, one person is more invested than the other, and the singer needs to give that love to herself. And the upright Judgment card signals this call to let go of the old self, to gain clarity, and rise past this.

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Groupie Mag

If you were making a “sophomore slump” playlist, what songs would you include? tomteahouse: The words “sophomore slump” make me think of like the period of time where everything’s just a haze. It’s new and yet it’s getting old, and just trying to maneuver your way through it. It has its happy moments, but it has a lot of confusing, sad, angry growing pains. I’m thinking “Origami Dreams” by Christelle Bofale. Another thing about sophomore year, it’s almost melancholy – well melancholy if you don’t have your shit together. You have your little minutes of darkness but then you just get back out of that and into the light. 43


Issue 002: Sophomore Slump Noelle Rene: I think I would put anything that feels like it would suit a coming age film on that sort of playlist. Like I’m thinking Lady Bird. I don’t know why, just because like Tom said a very transitional period. I don’t know. Angry but also sad but also very happy like all of those different moods combined. So maybe like “Shampoo Bottles” by Peach Pit or any Alanis Morresett song. “Small Talk” by Briston Maroney. The 1975 – I think they encompass a lot of people’s angst phase. I think they capture sophomore slump in a nutshell.

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So what do you usually do when you find yourself in a musical slump? Noelle Rene: I think when I’m in a music al slump I tend to just belt ballads that are sad and cathartic. I just try to get it out of my system. I did that this morning in the shower, actually - (sings Olivia Rodrigo’s “Traitor”) “You’re still a traitor!” tomteahouse: I just accept that I’m in it and roll it out. I can’t force myself to do anything to retrieve that “want” to do it. What I really end up doing is just listening to all my unfinished stuff and I just.. don’t finish it (laughs). Like, I could do this at any moment, but I just dont. A slump – ugh it’s the worst.

Boston-based artists, tomteahouse is Tom Chadwick & Noelle Rene is Noelle Gordillo. Photos & Interview: Gloria Pérez. Photoshoot Co-Directed by: Maria Suevo. 46


Groupie Mag

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I became obsessed with the band Sparks this year after watching the Edgar Wright (yes, the Shaun of the Dead guy) documentary about them. I was equal parts fascinated and outraged - how could a band be so far ahead of the curve decade after decade for 50 years, and how was it that I knew absolutely nothing about them? The evil of Big Music Industry strikes again. All this to say, there are no musicians who understand the sting of the slump like Sparks. It’s taken half a century of hard work and ambition to get their small but loyal fanbase crammed onto the bandwagon. The critics, meanwhile, have had some choice words for them and their genre-bending releases over the years. In “Sparks joy,” I’ve created a collection of found poetry from reviews of five decades worth of Sparks albums in chronological order. In it, I’m seeking to tell the story of Sparks - what their work means and how that meaning has been construed by others. I’ve also made a playlist on the Groupie Spotify of some of their best. Please listen to Sparks. I love you!

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Rachel Fucci, Poetry

Probably the most godawful world-historical pretension this year. falsetto vocals, driving percussion it’s a bit fascist. But rest assured, Admirers of these selfmade twerps are doing their job. is it because they sing uncomfortable accoutrements of life?; I must be the contradiction. this skillful brother act deliberately tense and uninviting Beat, they began to loosen up, and here This is tuneful, funny, even open. stubborn, spoiled-teenager cynicism Sparks: favorite androids destined the most playful of the breed

a minor hit but that’s not the point. c hanneling all their evil genius--well, into magic tricks. Like the ultimate dour in my old age, nothing much is funny anymore. The situation comedy now broadens itself to a general phobia -fear of the brothers are perpetually tied in knots, being hauled off to unknown places Sort of musical saviors, and it only took three decades. The good news is that nobody laughs any more their only constant has been bizarre that novelty act. But, again, That’s perfectly okay The UK critics agree, Their grand vision remains Important to Us. Please Hold.” there aren’t many bands around these days writing good songs about

really stupid shit. It is brilliant, and at the same time strangely exhausting, I wouldn’t want to c all it actually pretty good, the 20th album from Sparks 21 albums in You wonder how they do it. In their 45-year career still forging into new areas. witty and knowingly off-kilter pop the simplest, sweetest unique charms, There is, and has never been, any other darkness and absurdity luscious, nostalgia And an upbeat, intense affair with Our World’ an electrifying, magical journey to remind you of unbridled freedom.

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Groupie Mag You actually have a song called “Sophomore Slump”. Can you tell us about the story behind that song? So we had just put out our second release ever and it seemed to me at the time that people really preferred our first one more than our second. I always thought that people tend to expect something from your first whatever you do and then use that as the basis for the next whatever amount of things you do. And then, the double entendre of "sophomore slump," like losing interest in school, and life. But it was really about, like, trying to write something that they would like better than something they’ve been hearing for years. It’s also like the double entendre with kind of losing interest in school and life. At that specific time, I felt like there were a lot more eyes on me than ever; and I was really nervous and not sure how to handle that. So I decided to just go, “Yeah well you’re going to think I suck anyway,” and then it was everyone’s favorite song on that album. 49


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Hartford, Connecticut act, Bonsai Tress is James MacPherson. Photos & Interview: Gloria Pérez. 50


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If you were making a “Sophomore Slump” playlist. what songs would you add?

Okay, so one of my favorite songs of all time is called “Whatever Happened?” by The Strokes. It’s the first song on their second album. And I just feel like that track being the first song on their second album is very much like “Sophomore Slump” being the first track on our second album. It’s kind of like a “Look at us, we’re back! We’re striking while the iron’s hot. We’re gonna kick your ass again.”

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Adrienne Novy, Poetry

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When I say I’m back on my 2012 bullshit, I mean I’m 21 & engaging myself to the moon. I don’t hate Texas, but I hate who I was when I was sick & unforgivable there. . . . We are miles from home & tornadoes of joy. Mary & Khary dance with me in the street to a fast food joint stuffed with poets. G-d tastes like a honey butter chicken sandwich, & Aaron can confirm that for you. The streetlamps are magic enough to be starlight. . . . I am eating jelly beans out of a martini glass while everyone in the hotel room is sprawled out & laughing. I know I’m not okay but I can’t ground myself enough to figure out why. I hurt people I love. I said things I didn’t mean. I touch a memory. My hands are made of sieves. . . . We take a drive to the Bed & Breakfast where our friends from Canada are staying. The garden out front seems perfect & the host brings us tea. A dog leaps to kiss my fac e before we leave in searc h of a hole-in-the wall & loc al barbec ue. I don’t want to die yet bec ause I want to hold hands with Bernard again. I haven’t tasted joy in a minute. I want to get better. I don’t get the help I need until three years later. The hydrangeas here are beautiful.

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More about Groupie’s contributors in their words: Tallie Gabriel (she/they) was born in the heart of an artichoke, right under the spiky fuzzy part, nestled safely beneath the leaves. They are a writer and cellist/singer-songwriter, currently creating in Brooklyn. You can catch Tallie playing shows around town as part of the folk-pop trio Camp Bedford Rescue Squad, or creating on-the-spot poems on her typewriter as an event poet with Ars Poetica. Tallie’s debut collection of poems, heart garden, is out now. Mary Gagliardotto (she/her) is a graduate student from New Jersey studying communication sciences and disorders. She loves exploring music though lyricism and songwriting. Hannah Lamarre (she/her) is a queer Boston-based writer of young adult fiction. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons University and a BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College, and was a 2020 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award in Literature nominee. Her writing has appeared in several local publications, among them issues 3 and 5 of Wizards in Space, Hollow VI, and issue 1 of Groupie Mag. When she isn’t overthinking her latest playlist, she can be found drinking inadvisable quantities of iced coffee or doing rituals at Jamaica Pond. Adrienne Novy (she/her) is a Jewish and neurodivergent artist with a rare genetic disorder. She is a nominee for Bettering American Poetry, the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and is a 2020 graduate of Hamline University’s Creative Writing Program. She is the author of Crowd Surfing With God (Half Mystic Press, 2018) along with the mini-chapbooks, We Have Each Other’s Flowers (Zines + Things, 2020) and Pull (Ginger Bug Press, 2020). She lives in the Midwest & has a cat named Laurie. Jonah Puskar (he/him) is a student based in Boston, MA. He holds a B.A. from Emerson College in Writing, Literature, & Publishing and Political Communication, and is currently working towards a Masters degree from the University of Massachusetts - Boston in American Studies. His current area of study focuses on popular culture, particularly fandom and anti-fandom studies. Follow him on Twitter @jon_ahhhh to hear him talk about how much he loves Steely Dan, the 90s sitcom Frasier, and the Muppets. Erin Sherry (she/her) is a current MFA candidate and Iowa Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She holds a BFA from Emerson College, reads for the Iowa Review, and is at work on a collection about loving Harry Styles and hating outer space. She tweets (too much) @SadjanStyles.

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Our second issue wouldn’t be possible without all the love and support of everyone we thanked the first time - so thank you once again and a million times over to all those beautiful people, things, and ideas, plus all these: Thank you to everyone who read issue 1, you are so gorgeous to us. To Jack Rabbit, tomteahouse, Noelle Rene, and Bonsai Trees for slumping with us. To @manicpixiememequeen, Cori Amato Hartwig, you are a star. Pom Pom Squad for a perfect Cancer season release. The Sparks brothers and Edgar Wright for making a documentary about the Sparks brothers. Megababe’s anti-chafe stick. To all of the bands and musicians we’ve met and had the chance to talk about the good stuff with so far this year: Ok Cool, Olivia Klugman, Paging Doctor Moon, Faerie, highnoon, and XONDRA. Thank you to each heart break, ache, and pain. To every mistake, every night in, and all the pretty forks in the road. To Phoebe Bridgers for putting out the slumpiest record in 2020, and all that it continues to inspire. To being unafraid of disappearing and billboards warning of the end being near.

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