The Cut-Up Summer 2016 • New London • FREE
Here we go again! We proudly present issue two of The Cut-Up. The first go around went exceedingly well and we’re excited to get back on the horse and share our new edition with you. We think we’ve got another winning mix of music, arts, and culture to settle in with over the coming months. As we move forward, we need your help and input too in order to keep this moving forward. Drop us a line and send us your thoughts on our work so far and what more you’d like us to be covering. We are also looking for letters to the editor on any subject. And always looking for new writers for editorial pieces, prose, poetry and more. Importantly, we need to know what’s out there that we might be missing so that we can share it with all of the readers who are coming on board with The CutUp across southern New England. We want to know about small businesses. galleries, bars, venues, record and book shops, special places, amazing people, independent labels and presses, artists and organizers. Share what you know with us so we can pass it forward. More than ever, we truly believe that a robust dialogue in our communities is what will make us all stronger in the end. Especially in this silly season of presidential politics it becomes important for us all to remind ourselves of what binds us together and it is our belief that nothing does that more than the arts, culture and community. We hope you enjoy our new edition and we look forward to hearing from you soon!
3 A Little Q&A with... Lee Ranaldo by Rich Martin 4 A Healing Sound: Olive Tiger’s Debut by Danielle Capalbo 5 case/lang/viers by Paul Boudreau Flipping Through 45s with Sir RoundSound 6 Long Live the Loud: A Roundup of Connecticut Metal by Chip McCabe 7 Jubilee a short story by James Waine Carpenter 9
On The Road with... Dan Blakeslee
10 The Eyes Have It: Joe Standart’s WE ARE by Rich Martin Belle of the Fall by Chip McCabe 11 Record Stour Tour... Redscroll Records by Jason Bischoff-Wurster Mystic Blues Fest by Ali Kaufman Podunck Bluegrass Fest by Rich Martin 12 The True Economci Reality of Southeastern Connecticut by Daryl Justin Finizio The Avalanches by Daniel Boroughs Whydoirock? by Bradley Sheridan 13 Riley Pinkerton, Radiohead, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Miracle Legion, Car Seat Headrest by Chip McCabe, Eric Hollingsworth, Daniel Boroughs, and Rich Martin
a zerowork reactor
14 The Cut-Up Gallery .::. Curated by Jason Silva featuring Paul Simmons, Tony Cox, Chyrum Lambert, and Morgan Blair
Bob Dylan at Forest Hills by Kid Millions The Julie Ruin by Michelle Montavon
Rock Snaps from Peter Detmold
Sharon Butler Interview by Jason Silva
Issue Two :: Summer 2016 Richard L. Martin Kim Abraham Jason Bischoff-Wurstle Dan Blakeslee Daniel Boroughs Paul Boudreau Dave Brushback Danielle Capalbo James Waine Carpenter Ken Cormier Sebastian Coppotelli Frank Critelli Chris Daltry Peter Detmold Daryl Justin Finizio Marko Fontaine David Freeburg Chris “Hump” Holdridge Eric Hollingsworth Ali Kaufman Tom Kauffmann Meghan Killimade Donny Levit Daphne Lee Martin Kid Millions Chip McCabe Michelle Montavon Michael Panico Lee Ranaldo Colin Roberts Bradley Sheridan Jason Silva Jeffrey Thunders Michael Walters Ron Whitehead Cover Art
‘Run For Your Flag’ by Danielle Capalbo A Publication of
New London Music Festivals, Inc.
No. 19 Golden Street | New London, Connecticut 06320 firstname.lastname@example.org
20 The Silks by Michael Panico Sidedoor Jazz Club by Tom Kauffmann Father John Misty by Daphne Lee Martin 21 Spray Paint/GermHouse/Trim and Rakta/Dame by Dave Brushback
At The Drive In by Michael Walters
A Poetry Page: Ron Whitehead, Ken Cormier, and Daniel Boroughs
Sturgill Simpson by Paul Boudreau Low Anthem by Chris Daltry Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band by Dave Freeburg
24 Modern Primates, Semaphore, Dhampyr, Sea of Bones, Downtown Boys, Elison Jackson, The Lost Riots, Calligrams by Sebastian Coppotelli, Chip McCabe, Colin Roberts, Rich Martin and Marko Fontaine 25 Killihump Goes to New Haven by Meghan Killimade & Chris Holdridge Dear Auntie 26 Allysen Callery, The Mystery Lights, Arc Iris, Hot New Mexicans by Chris Daltry, Dave Freeburg, and Michael Walters Stream of Consciousness Reviews by Frank Critelli 27
Safety Meeting’s Carlos Wells by Jeffrey Thunders
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
that we thought it might. For many I suspect the road-trip had never ended, but for those of us for whom the end of the line came long before Jerry’s death in 1995, it felt like reliving the glory days of the band – and an integral part of the Grateful Dead’s scene was always the amazing audience that followed them – and the scene in Chicago recreated all of that. It was incredible how well organized the whole thing was and how close it came to recreating the experience as I remember it from the many Dead shows I attended back in the 70s. After that first night we realized we had to see more, and found tickets for the second show and later for the third as well – I’m so glad I stayed the weekend – “the music never stopped” as they say, and being surrounded by all these like-minded die-hard Deadheads was a pretty amazing experience. By the third show we were right down in front of the stage and had backstage passes to boot! In retrospect I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
A little Q&A with...
Q: You were recently part of The National’s epic Red Hot & Blue collection dedicated to the work of the Grateful Dead called Day of the Dead. How did you get involved and what was the vibe of those sessions like? A: I’ve known and worked with Bryce Dessner from The National for some time now, we were both involved with the NYC new music group Bang On A Can. I guess those guys knew that I was once a great fan of the Dead. I’ve made no secret about my love of the Dead, especially in my younger days, most fervently in the 1970s when they were in ‘high’ form. And I’ve often drawn parallels between the Dead and SY over the years—in terms of both being bands w 3 singers/3 points of view who were equally comfortable playing songs or deep improvisation/ exploration. On the other hand I had no idea that THEY were fans of the Dead – that really surprised me! Anyway in the early stages of the planning for this project they asked me if I’d be interested in participating and, having recently renewed my affinity for the Dead’s music, I jumped at the chance. We recorded the tracks I played on at Dreamland Studios in upstate New York. An amazing converted old church with a fantastic sounding live room. We played all together under that beautiful vaulted wood ceiling there in the church with late afternoon light streaming in through the stained glass. It was winter so there was snow outside. It was a very magical setting, fitting for the magical music we were interpreting. There were a bunch of reasons why I chose “Mountains of the Moon” – I’d been obsessing over that song around that time – it was a very unusual period of the Dead’s lifespan when Tom Constanten was in the band – it’s him on the harpsichord of the original recording. The band that day besides myself were the Dessner and Devendorf brothers as well as Conrad Doucette and Josh Kaufman. I had a fantastic time up there playing with those guys!
Aaron Dessner played what’s known as a “Nashville (or High-Strung)” guitar on that song - kinda like a 6 string acoustic set up with the high strings of a 12-string guitar- which added a really beautiful, chiming sound when layered with the regular guitars. I ended up loving that sound so much that I used it on a couple of the songs from my new album that I’m just finishing up. So things go ‘round and round. While I was there we also tracked “Playing In The Band” as well, and we all set up in that big church room and just went for it - after spending some time getting “Mountains of the Moon” down right, we just opened up and kicked out “Playing In The Band” - getting pretty deep inside it. I played bowed guitar thru the middle section, which was really fun. Afterwards someone joked “we just closed the New York State Thruway with that jam” and it was, indeed, that kinda thing that went down. I’m glad I got to play on one of the few Bob Weir songs as well. I always felt that his material – the Weir/Barlow collaborations – added a lot to the band’s repertoire. I wish that there were a few more of Bob’s songs represented in the collection – “Jack Straw”, “Sugar Magnolia” – but the sheer amount of amazing Garcia/Hunter songs just overwhelmed them! I was so happy to be involved in the project, and it’s continued the rehabilitation of this once-andfuture-Dead-Head that’s occurred over the last few years! Q: What are some of the stand out tracks for you on the comp? A: There are so many good ones. One of my favorites is Fucked Up’s version of “Cream Puff War” – it’s pretty amazing – they really found the punk rock vibe in that early Dead tune! I love all 3 of Bonny ‘Prince’ Billy’s contributions, especially “Bird Song”. His voice is so great for these tunes! Cass McCombs and Joe Russo’s “Dark Star”, Anohni’s “Black Peter”, and Bryce Dessner’s “Garcia Counterpoint”. The complete “Terrapin Station (Suite)” is also quite a feat! But I could go on – there are so many good interpretations.
Q: Any thoughts in regards to Trey Anastasio vs John Mayer taking on Jerry’s role? A: I thought Trey did a great job. He successfully recreated Jerry’s vibe without being slavish to his sound, and brought some of his own sensibility to it as well. I think he was definitely the right person for the job. I’d heard reports about how in Santa Clara he was maybe too respectful of the legacy, not stepping out enough, but I saw none of that in Chicago. He may not have realized it immediately, but everyone in the crowd was rooting for him. I mean, who else was gonna do it, really? Trey took the third song on Friday, a rocking “Bertha” and I think our collective heads kinda exploded as he sang the line “Test me test me / Why don’t you arrest me?” with a gleeful grin, and everyone in the crowd laughed and relaxed but also roared as if to say: ‘Yes, motherf---er, we ARE testing YOU!’ The entire stadium made it clear that he’d passed his own acid test of sorts with flying colors. His vocal turns were among my favorites across the three shows, probably because they were Jerry’s songs and his voice is intact. His guitar playing took the band out into the nether regions just like the old days. His melodic language is different from Garcia’s, perhaps a bit less lyrical, but he soared high and the band right along with him. I had to wonder what it must have been like for the original band members to be in the middle of several jams that felt SO much like the best of the old days, and then look to their right and go“...now wait a minute, who’s THAT guy over there?!?” A re-creation of the original sound and spirit of the music was happening in front of our eyes, and it was superbly done. I know very little about how John Mayer has been getting on with the band – haven’t seen more than a few minutes on the Internet. I imagine he’s getting on well in the role, but for me those GD50 shows in Chicago were a finite thing and I haven’t really followed the further progression of the fragmented band. But I will say I’m glad to see them out there and performing those songs for as long as it makes them happy – they deserve to play them, and if Mayer is helping facilitate that more power to him…
Hearing all these different artists covering the Dead’s music really drives home how amazing the songbook they created was - SO MANY fantastic songs from all across their history. I think this Day of the Dead set is really gonna make that clear and surprise a lot of folks…. Q: You are a longtime Dead fan yourself and attended last year’s Fare Thee Well concerts. What were those shows like to be a part of? A: I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much – I went out when offered a ticket to the first of the three shows, in exchange for playing an after-party event. I thought I’d go and see one of the shows and play some Dead tunes with some friends who were also invited – Ira Kaplan and Jenny Lewis among them – and that would be that. I told me three closest friends – and fellow Deadheads – from my youth that I was going and they all wanted in as well – so we all found tickets to that first night and decided to make a little excursion out of it. When we got to Chicago the vibe across the whole city was so amazing – there were Deadheads everywhere – and it became clear this was going to be a far greater experience
Q: I saw that you recently attended the George Pompidou Centre’s Beat Generation show. What an amazing opportunity to see Kerouac’s original typewriter roll for On The Road. What was the impact of seeing that artifact? Any other revelations from the exhibition? A: The scroll for On The Road was previously on exhibit at the Whitney’s Beat show some years back,
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and I saw it there. I can’t remember if it was fully unrolled at that show, but it was in Paris, and the display – and the entire show, which was chock full of all sorts of stuff, with tons of film screens going and audio recordings etc – was just amazingly well done. It was great to see all this stuff brought together in one place, and the net it cast was wide and inclusive, so many associates of Kerouac, William, and Allen were included. Robert Frank films, Alfred Leslie paintings, Diane DiPrima poems – just tons of stuff. A very inspiring show. It’s funny, because while in Paris I also took in the big Velvet Underground show that is up there – and it too was chock full of all sorts of cool stuff and very interestingly displayed with lots of film and audio. The two shows were interesting
counterparts to take in back to back… Q: You’ve been working on a new record this year. What can we expect? Is this more of an acoustic based release than a band record or mix of both? A: On my last record – Last Night On Earth – the band was a big part in creating the sound. We worked for quite awhile in the studio on the songs and the arrangements. It was really a ‘band’ album in the true sense. For my new record – Electric Trim will be the title - I worked most closely with my friend and producer Raul ‘Refree’ Fernandez, from Barcelona. The two of us crafted the record over about a year of intermittent sessions in the studio. My band and other musicians – Nels Cline, Sharon Van Etten, Kid Millions - play on the record but it’s not a ‘band record’ in the same sense that Last Night On Earth was. There is more ‘production’ involved in this record – very different from getting a good sound and recording a band basically ‘live’ in a room – which is what we did on Last Night On Earth... It has a lot of acoustic elements as well as lots of electric guitar – it’s a pretty good mix of the two. I’m really proud of it, I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. It was a lot of hard work but overall it was a blast to make and I think my collaboration with Raul will be ongoing. Q: We’re entering crunch time for American
presidential politics. Any thoughts on the current state of affairs here in the US and the election in general? Since you’ve been traveling a lot this past year, I’m curious what the perspective is out there about what goes on here stateside. A: Oh man – I’m a news junkie and have been following the whole thing very closely. As I’m in Europe at the moment I’ve been trying to keep up with the RNC convention – wow what a shitshow haha. The whole thing has been very entertaining and illuminating. I love the fact that both the far left – via Bernie Sanders – and the far right – via Trump – have been radicalized in ways outside the ‘standard’ political process. I think that’s a very healthy thing. I guess my hope is that the Democrats will really capitalize on the fragmentation of the right wing and take back or anyway make good gains in the Senate and House. Trump has been very entertaining but would be a loose cannon as president – could be a disaster. Some people are sick of Hillary but I have hope that she could be a great president and I am very excited about the prospect of a woman assuming that role. Lee Vasto, Abruzzo, Italy July 22, 2016
- Rich Martin
Folk roots shine through on “The Killer’s Ballad”, for instance. and violinist Jesse Newman seems to conjure Nels Cline in his solo phrasing. On standout track “Stardust”, Olive sings, “Next time you ask me if I’m alright / Take a good look in my eyes / Wonder if then you could see / All the truest parts of me / Bursting underneath the phrase ‘I’m fine’.” The indie-rock number harkens to Florence and the Machine with a strong build, and is guided by meandering vocal melodies that highlight Olive’s range and blend her folk sensibilities with jazz. Lead singles “Find Myself” and “Dark” really show what Olive Tiger can do, as far as building spacey electro-folk landscapes that defy genre and wriggle their ways into your mind. On both songs, Dane brings a hip-hop flair, as well – inspiration that came to him when he first heard Olive perform an early solo version of “Find Myself” at the Outer Space, using the loop pedal live for the first time. Those kinds of suggestions are welcome in Olive Tiger’s creative tank, where challenges are appreciated and imagination is uncapped.
A Healing Sound:
Olive Tiger’s Debut Album Until My Body Breaks Telegraph Recording Company On their imaginative debut album Until My Body Breaks, New Haven band Olive Tiger delivers a soulful and dynamic take on electro-folk that showcases their musicianship, from stunning, stripped-down ballads like “Lament” – capturing their early, acoustic-folk leanings – to lush, intricately looped tracks like their lead single, “Find Myself,” that harken to hip-hop, glitching and flowing in the band’s new direction. “My goal is to make music that will transport people to a healing space,” says Olive, the band’s lead singer, principal songwriter, guitarist and cellist. “I strive to create that experience for myself and hopefully, for my listeners.” Across the record, opportunities abound for that experience – hiding in thoughtfully arranged textures, rhythms, swirling melody and words that spellbind not only in their meticulous execution, but also in their emotional feel – and the earnest poetry of Olive’s lyricism. For all of its production and impressive details, Until My Body Breaks is an intimate album with expressions of confession, longing and a yearning to connect. The title track, for instance, is a sparing and startlingly beautiful ballad, stripping away the layers to reveal cello and Olive’s pristine, haunting vocal. Its heartrending refrain: “I will love you / Until my body breaks.” Originally a seven-piece gypsy jazz folk outfit that played in a more traditional vein, Olive refocused the group’s vision in October 2013 when she incorporated a loop pedal that gave her voice and her cello more freedom to soar. From there, the band tightened up to three: Olive, who studied music at Central Connecticut State University and music therapy in graduate studies at Florida State University; Jesse Newman, who plays violin and electronics; and Dane Scozzari, who plays drums and studied jazz percussion at the Hartt School. With Until My Body Breaks, the band has taken their “first step on the journey of having a library of music that we’ve made,” Olive says. It’s an ambitious first step – and a record that tells the story of the band’s creative arc. “It’s a surreal experience to have lived with the music for a long time, and now it’s on wax,” Dane says. “Now it’s up to someone else to decide what it’s about.”
“Avoiding boredom is such a huge motivator in how I play things,” says Olive, who keeps upping the ante in the way of her arrangements – especially with her loop pedal. She is driven by the goal of bringing her vision to life. “It’s very anxiety-producing for me, because it’s a level of technology I’m not naturally drawn to or comfortable with. But it allows me to create sounds I want to create, so I deal with it.” Naturally, Olive’s favorite song on the record is also one of the most challenging – closing track “Beyond the Gate”. “When we’re doing it live, there so many loops, they’re all stacked and every one of them has to be perfectly in tune and in time,” Olive says. “When something is really challenging you wind up having a special place in your heart for it.” On the whole, Olive Tiger’s sound lands somewhere (in the band’s own words) between St. Vincent, My Brightest Diamond, tUnE-yArDs, and Andrew Bird. Artists like Fiona Apple and Regina Spektor also come to mind, especially on tracks like “Sunshine”, “Dark”, and “Find Myself”, when Olive plays with her pitch-perfect voice, creating rhythms, chanting vowels and stopping short in staccato bursts that tie the record together and make her hooks all the more hooky. Their sound is dynamic, and anything but disparate. Whether Olive’s crooning a folk ballad or an electro-pop number, she seems grounded in the tradition of storytelling, with an almost meditative tone to her lyrics. “A lot of it is just reflecting on mortality and fucking up along the way, and searching for love,” she says. “All of that standard human experience stuff.” Olive Tiger made Until My Body Breaks with Eric Dawson Tate, a talented young engineer (who also mixed and co-produced the record) with a mobile recording studio who impressed Olive with thoughtful questions about the album’s meaning, and asked them to choose a location with emotional resonance that felt right for recording. They wound up at horse barn for two consecutive three-day weekends – setting up their gear on the upper layer of a horse barn, underneath an open fiberglass ceiling. “Sound wise, it was ideal,” Olive said. “We took the horses out of the barn each morning to record – it was great. It was the perfect location.” The record is out August 19th on New London’s Telegraph Recording Company, putting Olive Tiger in the company of Violent Mae, Daphne Lee Martin, Pocket Vinyl, The Hempsteadys and more. Their record release show will also take place August 19th at Lyric Hall in New Haven, with openers Becky Kessler (Violent Mae) and The Brazen Youth.
- Danielle Capalbo
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Flipping through 45s with Sir RoundSound
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Neko Case and Laura Veirs were in the middle of enjoying very successful music careers when they received an email from the incomparable crooner k.d. lang. Lang’s idea was short and to the point; let’s make an album together. In considering such a project, a hammer to the head was not required and Case and Veirs agreed to the idea immediately, their artistic admiration outweighing personal unfamiliarity and differences in style. Over the next two-and-a-half years of writing music around busy lives and touring schedules, the super group collected in Portland, Oregon to record case/lang/veirs, perhaps the finest collaborative efforts of the decade. The record is a collection of beautifully constructed lyrics and musical composition containing lush harmonies, sweeping string arrangements, elegant guitar work, and a versatile rhythm section. While the trio wasn’t quite sure how their stylistic differences would work themselves out, these concerns are quickly laid to rest with the strong opener, “Atomic Number.” The track showcases all three ladies trading lines in the verses and provides a flavorful taste of what is to come on the rest of the album. Case takes the lead here and her unmistakable, confident style fits the song like a glove; “Latin words across my heart, symbols of infinity/Elements so pure, atomic number.” The subtle bleed of the acoustic guitar and strings into Case’s last chorus is goosebump worthy. “Delirium” is another excellent Case-led track; a mid-tempo rocker that rolls and strolls its way from start to finish. She takes the reins on “Down I-5” as well; a quiet traveling tune driven by the motor of the underlying drumbeat. Coincidentally, this highway connects cities in which the three women have lived(Vancouver, Seattle, Tacoma and Portland). Where Case’s voice exudes confidence and conviction, Laura Veirs’ indie-folk style is breezy and beatific. Another of the stronger tracks, “Best Kept Secret” is her best work on the album. A song that celebrates that one friend you can count on for an emotional/spiritual lift when its needed
most, Veirs colors it cheery, buoyant and danceable. Interestingly, the subject of the song is her good friend Tim Young, an L.A. based guitarist who plays on the track. “Song for Judee” takes on the sad, troubled life of American singer/songwriter Judith Sill, who died from drug abuse in 1979. Veirs effortlessly breathes a light and airy innocence into an otherwise tragic tale. Even the song’s forlorn cello feeds off her vocals and shows glimpses of hope. She is also out front on “Georgia Stars,” the album’s closing track. The varying layers of guitar and the tribal-like chant in Veirs’ chorus gives the song a captivating, unvarnished flair that separates it nicely from the rest. k.d. lang, arguably the group’s most experienced and celebrated artist, delivers what she is known for best. Her sultry, crooning style lends itself well to every track she sings, especially “Honey and Smoke.” Like the title suggests, her vocal drips with a deliberate, seductive tone as she watches a love interest be misled by those around her; “I watch as they dance with you, I watch as they sing to you/I watch as they pour honey in your ear.” Not many can sing about unrequited love as convincingly as lang can, and she exhibits this talent on “Blue Fires,” an intricate ballad about the hottest part of a flame(and love) supported by haunting background vocals from Case and Veirs. “Why Do We Fight” is another gem from her; a short, contemplative number that blooms ever so slightly and sweetly after the second chorus. As far as collaborative efforts go, it’s hard enough to put two artists together, let alone three. But these talented, driven women show what is possible when you leave egos at the studio door. case/lang/veirs takes three distinctive styles and weaves them into tapestry of melodies and harmonies. And it’s why this record will remain as one of the best of 2016.
- Paul Boudreau
I Don’t Know How (To Say I Love You) b/w Lonely In A Crowd Westbound Records Detroit, Michigan - 1968 All DJs go through a constant process of selecting records: selecting which records to invest their money in, selecting which records to bring to a particular engagement, and selecting which records to play every three minutes or so until the night is over. To keep things interesting over the course of multiple gigs (for themselves as well as their audiences), new records come in and old records go out. Yet every DJ has their “go to” records, the records they can’t imagine removing from their box. For me, this is one of those records. The Superlatives, a Detroit singing group, recorded several fantastic records for the relatively small Dynamic label (as well as a couple for another tiny label called Three G’s). This record, originally released on Dynamic, was picked up by Westbound for regional distribution. For a DJ like myself, a major selling point of this records is that it’s a “twofer”, a 45 with a fantastic, danceable A and B side (a rare occurrence). “I Don’t Know How (to Say I Love You)”, begins with an exaggerated open hi-hat and then drops into a bouncy, hip-hop friendly, vibraphone punctuated rhythm, peppered with beautiful harmonized vocals, that force any listener with even a drop of soul to beg, “what is the name of this …” before they’ve even hit the best part! And THAT would be when everything drops out but the horns which build to an acapella “baaabyyyy” … ugh, just listen to the song on YouTube right now! Then you flip the record. “Lonely in a Crowd” picks up the pace and feeds you an infectiously danceable Northern Soul cut that maintains the bounciness of the A side. Again, a snapping drum rhythm leads the charge and driving vibraphone, sublime vocals and unforgettable horn line combine to make a winner. For the fellow DJ/collector, this record is easy to obtain and relatively inexpensive for a lesser known tune of its caliber (there are always copies on eBay in the $20 range). Add it to your collection and enjoy it for a lifetime!
- David Freeburg
New & Used Vinyl, Books, CDs & DVDs
19 Golden Street | Downtown New London, Connecticut
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Long Live the Loud: A Roundup of Connecticut Metal Connecticut is bursting at the seams with musical talent. While some genres continually get their just desserts in print, on radio, or streaming, the Connecticut metal scene often lurks in the shadows, waiting like a hundred cobras ready to strike at an unsuspecting victim who happens to wander into its virtual garden. Most would think the darkest recesses of these shadows is exactly where metal bands would feel most at home, what with all the screaming, distortion, and generally grim aesthetics. But even metal bands need loving.
need to suck it up and gladly accept the gift of an EP. New Haven’s Entierro handed us their second short player, XVI, in June. Made up of some seriously talented vets of the CT metal scene, Entierro play a style of metal that hearkens back to the days when doom was still in its infancy and everything was just considered “metal” and no more. It might only be three tracks but these are some seriously catchy jams that fans of metal done by the likes of Witchfinder General and Trouble should be all over post haste.
One perusal through Bandcamp or SoundCloud will unlock more hidden gems of the Connecticut metal scene than a bunch of hipsters can unlock Pokemon characters on their phones. It would take more space than currently available to document every metal release flowing from CT shores over these last six months. But there’s no reason we can’t take a look back at some of the definite highlights.
While New Haven’s Intercourse spends most of their time on punk bills, their brand of angular hardcore should fit right at home in the collection of any fan of extreme music. Their newest release, Enablers, dropped back in April, a time when the Earth seems so alive with hope and promise. Yeah, you won’t find any of that here. Filled with self-loathing and a general dislike for most, if not all of, mankind Intercourse spit constant venom through six explosions of noise and punk rocks colliding.
If death metal is your forte, you’re in luck. In a year full of stellar death metal records being delivered from all corners of the globe, Archaic Decapitator is representing our tiny corner of the world with aplomb. Their newest release, Light of a Different Sun, is a scathing blast of Scandinavian-styled, melodic death metal. This one comes highly recommended for anyone who digs the early output of bands like Dark Tranquility and In Flames. Back when the air was still cold and the ground still frozen, Crossing Rubicon dropped their first full-length album. The long time act melded their love of all things hard rock and classic heavy metal into 12 tracks of aggression entitled No Less Than Everything. Pulling from various NWOBHM classics, as well as the heavier side of bands like Motley Crue and Queensryche, Crossing Rubicon will definitely appeal to those who like their metal on the more classic, rock-based tip. Another album that helped melt down the frosty sheen of winter was the newest offering from doom lords, Curse the Son. Merging the sludge perfected in scenes all across the American South with a distinct doom meets stoner rock vibe, Curse the Son’s new album, Isolator, might just wind up putting their name at the top of the ledger for best of the bunch. This one is as lumbering and as dangerous as Godzilla doing a tap dance on a million unsuspecting victims. The most recent of these releases also happens to be the rawest and grimmest. Relative newcomer, Eave dropped their debut album, Purge, at the tail end of June, but one listen will drop you back into the days of frostbite and corpse paint. Welcome to raw, lo-fi, unadulterated black metal done in the ways of old. If you dropped this one into the old cassette deck without any prior knowledge to who it was you’d swear you had unearthed some lost demo from Norway circa the early 90s. Not sure you could give a higher compliment to a black metal band. Not every release in here is a full-length. Sometimes we just
In 2013, New Haven’s Sea of Bones didn’t just deliver the best metal album in CT, they delivered one of the best metal albums of the year, period. Three, seemingly very long, years later and Sea of Bones is back, this time with Silent Transmissions, a single, 27-minute long track recorded in only one take. This power trio of atmospheric doom is truly capable of taking listeners on some pretty stark journeys, and this one is no exception. Running the gamut from ethereal, post-metal passages to a full-on sludge assault to the senses Sea of Bones remain at the top of their game. Who needs more than one take? Speaking of taking listeners on magic journeys, one of the first/best releases to come out of Connecticut this year came in a puff of smoke from the collective musical joint that call themselves Sun Dagger. Although not strictly a metal act, Sun Dagger play a brand of heavy psych rock not altogether unlike the trippy vibes from acts like Acid Mother’s Temple that have endeared them to metalheads worldwide. These five, improvised jams culled together to make up the Invisible World album are some third-eye opening pieces of sonic meditation of the highest order. Last but certainly not least is the newest offering, The Human Exemplar, from riff-heavy, post-metal act Warm. If you put this album on without having any prior knowledge of this band and were asked where they hailed from you wouldn’t be off the mark stating something like Atlanta or Chicago. Calling to mind early Mastodon and acts like Minsk, Warm are a thinking man’s metal for sure. Layers of atmospherics are cut by a crushing heaviness that can be downright suffocating at times. All of the above listed acts have music to experience and/ or purchase on Bandcamp or their own websites. Grab some headphones, dig in, and when you’re done here keeping digging for the rest of a bevy of heavy, Connecticut grown music. - Chip McCabe
Jubilee a short story by James Waine Carpenter Joe-Neil strapped on his harmonica belt and pulled out a Bb Marine Band. He licked up and down the reeds then lit into Glory Train — huffing and hooching like an approaching train himself, rising for breath at the bridge, bowlegged and bouncing in place. Chuckers snatched his Martin from the corner, found a pick in the pocket of his tens and tore into a rhythm that enthused Joe-Neil to dance. The old man worked his stocking feet all over the hardwood. At the break, he cupped his hands to form a bluesy vibrato as my daddy slapped time on the double bass. When my uncle paused to sip his shine and slap the spit from his harp, cousin Chuckers launched into a flat-picking fury. A blind man would think it was Doc Watson himself running those frets. Joe-Neil smiled so big and proud he couldn’t blow. Aunt Or read her book and swayed her head from side to side with the music. She was my favorite of daddy’s siblings. Always a smile and a kind word, never without a book within arm’s reach. There were stacks of them throughout the house and garage. They were thick books without pictures. Old Joe Neil said she knew everything about everything but kept it all to herself. It’s a wonder my Co-Cola didn’t shatter in my hands. My knees were jogging and my toes tapping the floor of Aunt Or’s parlor like Morse code. I wanted to dance with Tassie something fierce. She was worked up too, moving her hips over the cane chair. But I waited, wrung that bottle and jutted my newly whiskered chin to Chucker’s chunk, my eyes like steelies to the magnet of Tassie’s brown legs. Finally, the pretty neighbor girl was overwhelmed by the music and leapt to the floor. Tassie danced. She didn’t posture, put on or prance like the girls at the Dream Inn on nickel beer night. Tassie danced as if possessed, as if she became the music and the music her. Watching her let go was to witness something wild and true . . . something that had been caged suddenly set back free.
On my daddy’s behalf, I just smiled politely and went back to counting. He was awful sensitive about losing that ear to the impetigo. “His own dern fault,” Momma always said. It was true. Daddy had some unrealistic fears about doctors . . . certain he could fix anything with that can of salve. At six o’clock, Momma burst out of the bedroom looking like a movie actress in red shorts and a white cotton blouse and sharply announced that she was ready, though obviously not dressed for Bingo. Daddy knew better than to speak. He went for his bass while I fetched his beer. My mother didn’t take to many people. But for some reason, she liked the company of Mylan Poobot and her handsome Cuban, Nestor, the Accordion King of Delmarva. She listened in awe as Mylan talked about her homeland in broken English and she studied Nestor’s long manicured fingers on the keys of the Cordavox as if hypnotized. Perhaps she considered the accordion a sophisticated instrument. It was a general “lack of sophistication” in and around Pocowaddox that could incite one of Momma’s tirades, eventually sulking off to the back porch with one of her fancy New York magazines. Daddy often noted that Nestor’s eyes rolled back in his head when he sang Juntos en el Cielo, Momma’s favorite. Like my mother, Mylan, Nestor’s Vietnamese wife, was not musical. She simply slapped her tiny legs and howled along in her native language. Momma found her caterwauling charming. The two women talked about being foreigners, having a lot in common . . . Momma being from New Jersey and all.
My daddy was smiling from ear to missing ear. He stole an eyeful of Tassie as he tipped his Pabst, keeping time by hammering his left hand along the fretless ebony. Momma didn’t seem to notice, or if she did, never let on. She fanned herself with a GRIT magazine and grinned her teeth in her pretending-to-have-fun smile. It was Bingo night at the firehouse and Momma had her eye on a porcelain rooster. Daddy complained about the “glass chickens” cluttering up the house and persuaded her to do some hootin’. “Mylan and Nestor gonna be down from Girdlemaker,” he baited at lunch, wrapping his arms around her from the back and pushing his face into her neck as she stacked my birthday cake. “I’m not in the mood for a hoot tonight, Case,” she said sternly, “I’m going downtown. It’s my night—” My father abruptly backed off and sat back down to the table with me. He slumped in his chair with his legs were spread on the linoleum and his arms crossed. I searched my bowl for a potato, an onion . . . for something to say as she frosted and he sulked. “I hope you spent as much time on that new washing machine motor as you did that guitar this morning,” Momma said. “I could have read the directions through this chowder,” he countered. “Ain’t that right, Wyle?” He smiled wickedly. Hell, I wouldn’t have said a word if he had bribed me with a twenty-dollar bill. Momma called his bass a “guitar” whenever she became angry or jealous of it. I suddenly remembered a joke Joe-Neil told me the previous morning while we were counting clams. He asked if I knew why my momma’s nagging bothered my daddy so much? “Because it goes in one ear and stays there!” he said. I thought Chuckers would fall off the dock laughing.
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and embarrassed, fearing Momma’s disapproval, until Tassie smiled at me like the devil herself and spun me around. It’s funny how a pretty girl becomes the most beautiful woman on earth just by looking directly into your eyes. I felt the room and all my fears fall away. I leapt on faith, the music, white liquor and a full heart pushing me forward into the flames, throwing my arms toward the heavens, giving it all up to dance with Tassie Wysong. We twisted, shook, stomped and swung each other all over that parlor. At one point, I spun her so hard, her cotton dress lifted like the petals of a prayer to the sun and her white panties made an appearance that caused my daddy to slip so far off the beat, the elder’s clapping sounded like a flock of geese taking flight. It was the actualization of a teenage boy’s rebellious dreams. And though I have made a fool of myself many times since, it has never been as satisfying. •
I have that particular Saturday night on tape. My father had brought home a second-hand Philco tape recorder for my birthday. After Momma changed her mind about the hoot and he had washed the dust off the Fairlane, I laid the bulky device on the back seat between the Tupperware case that held my birthday cake and the plaid cooler of Pabst beer. I can still see us all roaring down Creek Road: Momma’s hair in a bandana, Daddy’s upright poking its fat neck out the trunk of the car, shirt sleeves waving from a box of handme-downs meant for cousin Jame. There is a place towards the end of the reel, right after Preacher Earl tucked his chin and did his best Ed Sullivan to introduce me, that I sang That Bridge Won’t Burn. I remember closing my eyes and feeling Tassie watching me, staring hot like the sun, burning my face red. My voice broke at the promise of a kiss in the chorus . . . you can hear Chuckers urging me on, “Go’on, Son, you got it!” A few moments later, if you put your ear up to the speaker of the Philco — as Joe-Neil hums softly and Aunt Or sings Simple Strand Of Pearl — you can overhear Tassie ask me to walk her home. “I gotta work in the morning,” she explained. I used to rewind the tape and listen to that part over and over as if I still couldn’t believe it. We walked in darkness beneath the pines that separated her Airstream trailer from the Purkey’s big house. Tassie stopped me with a hand upon my shoulder. At first I thought she had seen a coon on the path, then I felt her other hand rest flat against my chest.
“Love at first sight,” Daddy always bragged when explaining how he and my mother met on the boardwalk in Wildwood. “He grew on me,” Momma would clarify. When everyone had caught their breaths — the room falling quiet enough to hear the frogs and crickets in the darkness outside — Joe-Neil began singing The Farmer’s Daughter. I added a shaky unison fifth beneath Aunt Or’s high, harmonizing with Preacher Earl’s third to form a fairly impressive four part.
For the heart to mend it’s gonna take earth, seed and water and the farmer’s daughter
Our voices filled the parlor and flowed out of the screens into the warm night. My cousin Jame slipped a little more of his neighbor’s backyard hootch into my Co-Cola, my eyes weary from the last potent swig. Without missing a beat, Chuckers walked my daddy into a bluegrass root-fifth progression and the room came alive again. The eldertarians, as Joe-Neil called them, shifted in their chairs and the preacher reached for his tambourine. I took a pull from my bottle of pop and when I opened my eyes, I found my prayers had been answered. Tassie stood before me. She took my hand and pulled me to my feet. That glorious poison reached my brain the instant her green eyes locked on me. I staggered, a bit awkward
Even in that moonless night, I could see her eyes glowing like green embers. She moved closer and whispered, “I almost forgot your birthday, Wyle.” My heart beat like daddy’s slappy bass in the farmhouse behind us. She pressed against me. I could smell perfume, strawberry wine and something even more intoxicating. Before I could find the breath and courage to speak, she kissed me. I realized that I had never been kissed before. Not even by Lacy Van Leer, who moaned as she sucked my tongue and pulled out handfuls of my hair. Tassie’s lips fell as soft as snow upon mine. They parted like the unfolding of a rose and her warm breath filled me with all I had ever longed for. “Sweet dreams, Honey-Boy.” I thought I heard her say. As quick as that, she disappeared into the night. I stood there lost in my heart for the longest time. I heard the slap of her screen door, watched her milling around inside the trailer until the dash of light. Then her silhouette in the violet hue of the television as the dress fell from her shoulders and she stood illuminated before the screen. The vision of her body in that prolonged moment before she sank from view and into her bed is one that I will carry forever. It was the image I saw as I closed my eyes each night, held sacred in the knowledge that it was for my eyes alone. It remains my most cherished birthday gift.
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8 T H E C U T \ U P _ N e w L o n d o n
With the sweet memory of Tassie’s kiss still upon my lips I was dancing with the raccoons, barefoot on the pine needle carpet, my daddy’s heavy bass walkin’ the cake down a dusty road in Louisiana Moon. When I heard Nestor’s squeeze-box take the break, I lit out on the dew of the promising new morning and burst into Aunt Or’s kitchen so deep in love I could have swooned on her linoleum. The Poobots had arrived late. The Accordion King performed earlier on the Pavilion in Sea City. My tape ran out with Nestor singing adios mi amor juntos en el Cielo. Momma tilted her head, closed her eyes and swayed to the Latin rhythm. It was the only time I saw her smile. She even reached and pressed her hand to the small of daddy’s back, a forgiving, loving gesture as he leaned into the “other woman,” sliding into a double octave and bending her voluptuous mahogany in weeping vibrato. •
Morning came with a violent intrusion of sunlight through the bay window and the condemning clang of God’s Church’s bell adding insult to hangover. Sighing sedans parallel parked along Boxiron Road in front of Aunt Or’s farmhouse. Sunday suits and pressed dresses posed beside the shining automobiles before walking solemnly across the churchyard and disappearing inside. I stood framed in the screen door and watched the ambitious Christians across the field. I felt clear, righteous and smug . . . as if I possessed something they were all searching for beneath the copper steeple. The eldertarians had left before midnight on the heels of the good Reverend. Preacher Earl Foucault maintained a modest congregation in what was once the black Baptist in Girdlemaker. It was one of the oldest, smallest churches on the peninsula. When it rained, umbrellas were required. Earl was a Unitarian from Massachusetts. Misunderstood, most folks wrote off the Unitarians as libertarians, beatniks, even communists. Before being elected, Mayor Bobby Ray Bowden, called them “dithering do-gooders . . . who wanted to have their cake and eat it too.” The Purkeys, though lucky to attend a handful of services a year (“when the weather’s good”), were fond of the Preacher and his flock and invited them to all the hoots . . . due to their “appreciation of fine music” and perhaps lack of judgment. Daddy was staggering when Momma finally pushed him to the Fairlane and drove him home. Then, when the bird was in the oven and everyone accounted for, Aunt Or slipped off to bed to read herself to sleep. Mylan slept on the braided rug before the floor fan. Jame and Joe-Neil snored from opposite ends of the couch. The room was close and heavy with the smells of tobacco, bacon, coffee and perspiration. Chuckers poured Nestor another Bloody Mary and retreated to his recliner, rubbing the dark holes where his eyes had sparkled hours before. Only the tireless Cuban was left standing. He caressed his ruby accordion, displacing an illumined cloud of cigar smoke. His eyes were rolled back in his head and he played a harmonic drone against the church organ across the way until the morning resounded comically . . . as if the circus was coming to town. •
Life is funny most times. Lessons always hard. My journey had begun. I sat on the Purkey’s porch with my imaginary plans spread out over the pine boards like a road map: a big wedding reception at the Dream Inn; my watercolors and ball trophies on the walls of Tassie’s trailer; arriving home from the dock to find her pretty, barefoot and pregnant. In my dreams only a day before, I had played centerfield and batted cleanup for the Orioles, but alas, a child no more. “With age,” Joe-Neil always said, “the fool remains.” Tassie’s blue Malibu roared out of the lane like a storm, sliding to a stop, rousing a red dust devil that raised hell and rained over those shiny cars. She waved to me. I could see the sleeve of her blue waitress uniform. She simply waved. Sin was rising like cinders from the chimney of God’s Church; fleeing through the open windows as the choir sang Love in Thee, be not forsaken . . . forever be with hearts awakened. Tassie edged her Malibu out onto Boxiron Road, then paused . . . her engine revving powerfully at the weeds where a mailbox miniature of Purkey’s farmhouse leaned
in similar disrepair. Hope rose with me from the rocking chair on that porch. I stood expectant and shielded my eyes from the dawn. Had she suddenly remembered the glorious night before, our future together? Was she waiting for me to join her? No, and in lieu of the flash of reverse lights, I heard the echo of screaming horsepower off the clapboard of the church and saw a cloud of blue smoke rising from her tires. Tassie, again for my benefit only, with the finesse of a rose thrown from the deck of a departing ocean liner, bid me farewell with a popped clutch and the violent screech of melting rubber, gnashed gears and ejaculating fuel. Melvin Daisy, the young new church deacon, thrust his head from beneath the stained glass and raised his middle digit toward the heavens. I had to smile despite the hollow, dense pain that had engulfed my chest. As Tassie’s Chevy faded — catching a hint of rubber shifting to third as she sped through the stop sign where Boxiron meets Beach Road — the deacon spread his hand to wave at my notice and retreated sheepishly into the church . . . perhaps, with defined purpose. The monotone choir concluded with a repeated chorus: Take not to heart, this fallow peace . . . when harvest gold doth heaven reap.
as he had intended. Upon hearing their combined laughter and joy, I give thanks that he never did. There is a moment on the tape when the silence grows and Tassie speaks. She is talking about something that happened down at the Dream Inn. I can hardly make out her words, then everyone laughs and the music starts again. But at the sound of her voice and the image of her face, I realize that I had been seeking her and longing to recreate those feelings since that night. Every woman I had ever been interested in, had initially reminded me of Tassie: her straight blond hair, fiery green eyes — tall, smart, sexy and mischievous. If I heard a sweet southern voice in a restaurant, I would turn, fully expecting those same full lips and slight overbite to match. Aunt Or called a particularly satisfying hoot a “Jubilee,” a “proper rejoicing.” I think that best describes what we were all doing in that farmhouse on those warm summer nights. It was kinship that shaped the way we got through our difficult lives. It was Momma’s hand to the small of daddy’s back, Mylan dreaming of her homeland as the cool breeze caressed her forehead and her perfumed Cuban serenaded her, Joe-Neil’s stocking feet polishing the hardwood, Chuckers lost in his groove. These things have stayed with me as well as my memories of Tassie, shaping my perception, blessing me with little moments of joy. My children, my wife, cannot miss what they have not known, but they’ve been cheated in my eyes. Our little family is like a satellite, as independent as most of the little families I know now. There are no hoots. We gather solemnly at Christmas and Easter to exchange store-bought gifts, but never overstay our welcome. We are postured, proper and sober . . . “sophisticated,” Momma might approve.
When we kissed again, I was grown and Tassie a new bride. I stood in the receiving line behind Joe-Neil, Chuckers pushing me along, anxious for the cold beer and the party waiting at the Dream Inn. She was beautiful, as pretty in white lace as I had always imagined. I shook the groom’s hand and noted how insignificant he appeared at her side. There is supposed to be a finality with marriage where I come from. As Tassie stepped forward and embraced me, she whispered, “I’ll always remember you, Wyle.” She kissed me gently upon the lips and looked into my eyes as if she knew I had held on to something that never really was, that never would be, for far too long. She meant to set me free. I turned and walked away forever. But I never really let her go. I tried to drown myself in Old Milwaukee beer that July afternoon. Chuckers, Jame and I danced with Tassie’s plain cousins from Raleigh and built a pyramid out of beer cans on the table. I even caught the garter and had to put it on the leg of her obese step-sister, Regina. When the elastic would not stretch any farther than that girl’s bulbous knee, I continued to slide my empty fingers along her leg beneath the crinoline to imply that her thigh was not that large . . . till she playfully batted me away as if I were being salacious. Afterwards, she blushed and smiled gratefully. When the party was over and Tassie had driven off with her new husband and few dozen of our beer cans trailing behind her weary Chevrolet, I walked home alone. Regina had given me the garter back. Perhaps to remind us both of the simple kindness of strangers. That ring of lace with the tiny embroidered heart of pearls along the spent elastic, lies in a chest in my attic. It rests there with perfumed letters, souvenirs and photographs of everything I ever held special. I had opened the box to search for the address of an old friend when I came across the tape recorder and the brittle reel that I am listening to now. It is nearly inaudible . . . Joe-Neil’s harmonica rising and falling in pitch as the tape drags over the rusty heads. But it transports me back in a cloud of emotion. To hear Aunt Or’s commanding voice usher my thin warble through the chorus of Home Is Where The Heart Is, breaks my heart. There is no one I miss more. Listening to Chucker’s picking reminds me that he could have really been something if he had ever left that little town and gone to Nashville
Old Joe-Neil used to say that you couldn’t trust or really know a man until you had given him a sip of shine, a back-beat and the flash of a pretty brown leg — watching his true nature blossom or cower before you. Sometimes we would burst from our dark cocoons in song and shake ourselves to the music until we shed our fears and found our joy. Sometimes we would make fools of ourselves and fall flat on our faces. But I swear we were better for it either way. I remember watching the Christians leaving God’s Church with peace in their eyes, so full of hope. But I knew they had a hard road too. Aunt Or once read me something from one of her books that I’ve never forgotten. She said, Every judgment is a step away from God. I suppose we were a little hard on people we didn’t understand. They were hard on us as well. Looking back now, that was just a waste of time; time that could have been spent on one hell of a party . . . a Jubilee.
ON THE ROAD WITH...
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Dan Blakeslee After two decades of playing music this year I finally embarked on a cross country USA tour. The first leg of this journey began in Burlington, VT playing some of my favorite New England venues heading southward along the east coast to Awendaw, SC where I played in a swamp. I had been making artwork in most of the towns I was visiting because I had to meet some deadlines. I didn’t quite feel like I was on tour until I saw those Palmetto trees and it hit me hard (revelation #1). I started west after a couple days in Charlestown through Tennessee. When I arrived in Bon Aqua, TN I noticed a small building with a sign reading “Storytellers Museum” . Man that intrigued the hell out of me! The next day before leaving I decided to knock on the door catching wind that Johnny Cash had once had his hands in it somehow. Two construction workers answered the door filling me in that it was once a recording studio by Mr. Cash and they were renovating it for a museum. I proceeded to tell them that the first song on my new album I had just mixed before tour is about Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. One of them got on the phone and called someone up at “the farm”. I was then directed to drive about a mile up the way and play my song for a guy named Brian who was renovating the property... well wouldn’t ya know... it was the Cash residence. Brian told me to break out my guitar and play him the song. I could barely make it through the song as I was sitting on the porch swing where Johnny had written many of his own songs. Mid way through my shaky delivery up the steps came Johnny’s daughter and one of his grandsons. As I finished they invited me in for lunch. I could barely speak (very unlike me). Such a kind and generous bunch. After leaving I sat in a truck stop parking lot and bawled my eyes out ... (chicken skin all over my arms as I write this). Let’s call it revelation #2. I then made my way along the south playing New Orleans, Austin and making my way to my uncles in Tucson. That’s where I saw my first leaning cactus... and hugged one ... (didn’t quite think that one through). From there I made my way to Jerome, AZ where not only do dogs and cats walk the streets... tarantulas do too (eek!). I made sure while I am out on tour playing many shows to take in some time and see this incredible country in which I live. I was in complete disbelief seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. I think it will be like that with every viewing (where I had revelation #3).
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I had no idea how much I would love Hollywood, CA! One of the most surreal places on Earth is The Grand Canyon!
Making new friends in Tucson, Arizona... very tall ones!
Did I play on Johnny Cash’s porch and then bawl my eyes out after? Why yes... yes I did!
Don’t go changing San Francisco!
In Seattle,WA I saw one of the best street performers ever... his instruments... a Pepsi cup and a rolled up piece of plastic... damn! When in South Carolina you just gotta play in a swamp!
When riding along the Pacific coast try to get yourself stuck behind a lemon truck!
Finally got me a real genuine tumble weed!
Doing very American things at Shack Up Inn - Clarksdale, MS
Revelations galore among the Redwood trees in California
The Eyes Have It:
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Joe Standart’s New London WE ARE Installation Transforms the Downtown
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10 years ago, artist Joe Standart brought a large scale photographic installation to downtown New London, Connecticut. Sides of buildings, storefronts, open spaces, and the waterfront park all became part of an interconnected gallery space showcasing portraits of residents of the city. The show dubbed Portrait of America subtly highlighted the diversity of our little city while bringing a renewed focus to the sometimes sleepy downtown district and truly helped to foster a “we’re all in this together” feeling that helped to bring a new vitality to renewal and redevelopment efforts. This summer, Standart is back with a new installation in the city and we were exited to have a chance to talk to him about its ambitions and effects.
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The Cut-Up: You recently unveiled the wonderful WE ARE installation in downtown New London. What brought you back to this little city on the Sound and does this work relate to your previous large scale installation here some ten years ago? Joe Standart: Thanks for your question Rich. I had such an overwhelmingly positive and welcoming experience in New London 10 years ago, that I was eager to return and explore the possibilities of doing another project. I initially returned to work on a 10 year anniversary installation of the original New London project, which was my first large-scale public artwork. The We ARE project stems directly out of that experience, and is an evolution from the original New London Project. I Think I have learned a lot. It builds on my understanding of and appreciation for the power of public art works to build bridges between groups, to act as aneconomic catalyst, and to brighten the cityscape. The WE ARE project stems directly out of the encouragement of New London Main Street, and a collaboration with Charlotte Hennigan and New London’s City Center District, a relationship I never would have had without my efforts of 10 years ago. The initial purpose of my return to New London, the creation of a tenth year Anniversary exhibit, is taking shape as an exhibit at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum opening on September 9. The Cut-Up: At the unveiling, you told the story of each participant and how they arrived here and what they have added to our community through their work. Can you relate a few of those stories and how they affected you and your perceptions of our city and country as you engaged the process? What did you discover about who WE ARE though doing this work? JS: As I photographed each person I asked them about their initial experience in coming to America and what they were most proud of. The common thread that seems to link each person together is the desire to realize their highest potential. Some came with literally nothing to show for themselves and through their own drive have sought and created something wonderful – they would say, “A better life.”. Others came as highly qualified people in various professions and sought to push the boundaries of their abilities and success. None of them takes for granted the freedom and opportunities that our country offers and most of them work to exploit folk would accompany Ford on stage as her bassist, which included an appearance at the 2015 CT Music Awards where Ford was a nominee for Song of the Year. By the time that ceremony rolled around though they had already decided that this was not the normal touring set-up for two solo artists.
Belle of the Fall: A Musical Partnership
Ask Tracy Walton and Julia Autumn Ford how they first started working together and you are liable to get some cheeky, homespun yarn about Mississippi river boats, rescuing damsels in distress, and realizing ‘about a mile into the swim to shore’ that they were shifting from individual artists to Belle of the Fall. But the reality lies somewhere in the fairy tale. Walton, a long-time scene vet & accomplished multiinstrumentalist was in the process of steering his ship to more production work through his On Deck Sound Studio in Litchfield. Ford, the freshfaced, vocal powerhouse was in need of a captain to help navigate her debut recording and tabbed Walton for the job. From there the two would form a musical partnership that would see them tour together all over the Eastern half of the US. Walton, playing his own roots-based
“It really started as an excuse for me to start playing upright bass again and so she didn’t have to talk on stage as much, which she is not a fan of,” said Walton. We did a few gigs under her name as a duo where I was her bassist. It became apparent pretty quick that it worked really well and we debated if it should remain her thing or an equal partnership. I think she felt more strongly about having an actual name so we went with it.”
those opportunities for their benefit and quite often for the benefit of their communities. The Cut-Up: For this series, you chose to focus in on the eyes of your models. You also desaturated the photos while occasionally leaving the color of their eyes intact. What led you to this means of representing your subjects? JS: As much as possible, I wanted to create dialogue between subject and viewer. I hope to viewer would pause moment and wonder about the life experience of the subject and compare it to their own. Concentrating the composition on my subjects’ eyes seemed to be the most powerful way of encouraging that dialog. I left the color in the eyes as a way to further that dialog – what were their struggles and joys may have been. There are many reasons for creating the work in black-andwhite. One is my desire for the work to be less about a particular person, and more about people in general. I think black and white is a more abstract medium that allows viewers to use their imaginations about the subject. Now that the pieces have been unveiled how do you feel about their impact on the city? Were there any unanticipated benefits or surprises in the outcome? I am thrilled at the outcome, and didn’t quite anticipate how powerful and works would be. The collaboration with CCD was an effort to transform vacantand unattractive storefront windows into gallery walls. The exhibit does that. I think it transforms the city, It replaces the empty and unattended feel in the city with a sense of life and vitality, and hopefully will encourage future economic development in the city. Hopefully the project will encourage the continued growth of an already strong Arts community, which is seen most clearly at the Hygienic and the Garde. The Cut-Up: Obviously, a large scale installation like this can’t be done alone. Did you work with other city artists to make WE ARE a reality? What partners helped finance the work? JS: I was thrilled to have the assistance of Susan Hickman, a Hygienic Resident Artist. This work would not have been possible without the active support have several people and entities including Alejandro Menendez Cooper at the Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern Connecticut, Migdalia Salas at MS 17 Arts Project, Barbara Neff of Neff Productions, Annah Perch of New London Main Street, the City of New London and Michael Passaro, and others. The funding for the project came initially from CCD and with supplemented by a Kickstarter initiative. I am eternally grateful for the support of the building and business owners who allowed the murals to be placed on their storefronts. I’m also very grateful to the subjects who volunteered to be part of the project. The project would be nothing without their support.
- Rich Martin
For more info, visit: PortraitofAmerica.org, facebook. com/portraitofamerica, and JoeStandart.com
writing the rest of this album we brought each other half or mostly finished songs and then shared ideas. A lot was written before we officially became Belle of the Fall. “Many Worlds” and “Don’t Give Up on Me” were both on our solo albums. ‘Fit in the Pocket’ was a song I threw out that Tracy thankfully brought back to life. ‘Earthbound’ I had written right on the brink of the Fall. Everything else was written for the duo.”
And went with it they did. As Belle of the Fall, Walton and Ford have trekked it all over the place, including down to Austin, TX last year, culminating in an appearance at the storied SXSW fest. The transition from two independent, solo acts doing their own thing to a cohesive unit was seamless on stage but how would it translate when it came time to write and record?
The resulting debut, Earthbound, comes off as quite a bit more than two artists just ‘getting the hang of it’ in terms of writing. It winds up being the perfect amalgamation of their individual, musical strengths. Ford continues to wow with a voice that sounds as pure and alluring as ever, while Walton’s instrumentation gives their combined sound a new and improved backbone. Belle of the Fall are also at their best when they are seemingly at peace. Tracks like the title track, “Sweet Harmony” and “Many Worlds Collide” are soothing, day-dreamy folk songs that stick with you long after you’re roused back to reality. That’s at least partially due to a long and varied list of recognizable influences – ones that Walton was very happy to impart on his younger cohort.
“We’re still trying to feel out how we co-write, but we’re getting the hang of sitting and writing a song together,” said Ford. “When we were
“I told her she can’t be a songwriter without hearing at least a few Dylan records,” said Walton. “So we listened to Blood on the Tracks
and Freewheelin’. You can’t make records without hearing Pet Sounds. We listened to Tapestry and Blue because it seems mandatory for female writers. We listened to the Cars first record. Tom Waits’ Closing Time, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Ziggy Stardust, Yankee Foxtrot Hotel. She’s like a sponge so it’s cool to see her incorporate these ideas into her thing.” Whimsical and profound influences aside, Belle of the Fall are fervently carving out their own niche in, at times what seems to be, an overcrowded field of folksy singersongwriters in Connecticut. Memorable songwriting and honest, heart-felt performances will do that for you. The goal is to keep carving though. “If our geography recall is solid and there are in fact seven continents, we would like to play them all,” said Walton. “Short term we are trying hit all 50 states. We are also planning on recording the follow up to Earthbound in August shooting for an autumn release.” That’s a pretty aggressive writingrecording-touring cycle. However, it would certainly appear that Walton and Ford are having a blast with this new project and you might as well get while the getting is good.
- Chip McCabe
Mystic Blues Fest Four Years On
RECORD STORE TOUR...
Redscroll Records I buy records. Wherever I go I hunt for records. In my experience I’ve found that I really don’t need to go further than the borders of Connecticut for the best record stores currently operating in the Northeast. A shining gem in the crown of Connecticut vinyl is Redscroll Records. Located in downtown Wallingford, Redscroll is in close proximity to New Haven and easy to get to from Interstate 91 and Route 15. What makes Redscroll a great store overall is that THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING waiting for you. They are literally stocked to the ceiling with very fair priced used and new records from across the spectrum of genres. Though Redscroll’s selection leans towards “underground,” have no fear in your overall record hunt. You can take a chance on that classic record your friend has talked about for years that you still haven’t listened to (we all have those, friends and records), because it’s bound to be at Redscroll with a ton of other music for you to discover as well. Redscroll’s strengths lie in the fact that they are a well-stocked, well-priced, and well-organized store. At times it can get packed and tight, however, the clientele is always polite and respectful. I like to think a good store is a reflection of the owners and staff, and at Redscroll you’ll find a very knowledgeable, friendly laid back staff that foster an environment for customers to discover their next new favorite album. On top of being filled with a zillion records, Redscroll also carries used and new turntables and equipment, along with CDs, books, and other assorted accessories. They also sell tickets for local Manic Productions shows, and have a solid Discogs online shop, along with a consistent social media presence that keeps you up to date on their latest inventory.
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The 4th year of the Mystic Blues Festival will kick off on August 12th in their new location at the North Stonington Fairgrounds. The event that spent it’s first 3 years at the Mystic Shipyard has grown and will now be able to offer parking on premises, eliminating the need for shuttle buses. The wide open grassy spaces will now allow guests purchasing general lawn admission to bring a chairs or go for the premium seating option and have a chair in front of the main stage waiting for you. While much is changing as this fest evolves, the commitment to supporting live music and the artists that bring it to us remains a constant.
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The lineup for the three day festival is a mix of internationally known artists like the Grammy winning, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, Dr. John, King of New Orleans Funk, local blues musicians and some brand new performers that may just become your next favorite band. Of note, the Blackburn Brothers, appearing Saturday August 13th, are making the trip from Canada where they are wildly popular. Nominated for a Juno this year (Canada’s version of the Grammys) for Best Blues Album of the Year, Brothers In This World, are sure to have people talking about the smooth and groovy blues they deliver. This performance will be one of their very first in the United States. On Sunday, the day will kick-off with Gospel from last year’s standout, New London’s own Krystal Livingston. While true to the blues, the festival mixes it up with funk that will have you shaking the junk in your trunk with Dumpstaphunk. This band, which includes Ivan and Ian Nevill, was born out of a jam session on the stage at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, and now they are brining it to the Mystic Blues Festival. Other performers returning for another engagement include The WIllie J. Laws Band, Bad News Barnes & The Brethren of the Blues Band and Connecticut’s own royalty, the incredibly supportive Christine Ohlman, THE Beehive Queen with her band Rebel Montez. The weekend will conclude with an after party at the Knickerboker Cafe in Westerly once the last band wraps Sunday night. The list of performers keeps on growing and it promises to be a very special gathering. If you haven’t been to the Knick lately you may be surprised to see all the positive changes they have made! The people behind the Mystic Blues Festival are hopeful that the terrific line up, new, larger, more fest friendly venue will combine with other improvements and attractions like the educational stage, expanded food options and kids activities to make this the most successful year yet. Looking forward the buzz is that with success the festival can move forward and consider camping in the years to come to the delight of many that have inquired about it. This just scratches the surface of what’s in store at the North Stonington Fairgrounds over the second weekend in August, for all the details, information and contacts visit mysticbluesfestival.com.
- Ali Kaufman
So if you’re into records or want to get into records, you owe it to yourself to stop by Redscroll Records, and while you’re at it map out your next stops throughout the Nutmeg State. Happy Digging!
24 N. Colony St., Wallingford, CT 203.265-7013 Hours: Sunday-Monday: 12–6pm Tuesday-Saturday:12–8pm redscrollrecords.com
- Jason Bischoff-Wurstle
- Jason Bischoff-Wurstle is the host of “The Relay,” an all vinyl free-form radio show airing every 2nd Tuesday of the month from 11pm to 2am on WPKN 89.5 FM (Streaming on www.wpkn.org).
Podunck Bluegrass Fest Celebrates Twenty Years with Del McCoury Band & Many More One of the best kept secrets for festival goers here in New England has been the unassuming Podunck Bluegrass Fest which for two decades has brought the most important players in bluegrass and folk to our backyard here in Hebron, Connecticut. This year’s twentieth anniversary festivities will be held at the Hebron Lion’s Fairgrounds Thursday, August 11 through Sunday, August 14. This year’s headliners are the inimitable Del McCoury Band - truly masters of their craft. Other main stage acts performing on the weekend include Alison Brown, Sierra Hull, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Ronnie Reno & Reno Tradition, Claire Lynch, and The South Carolina Broadcasters. On Sunday, there will be a Bluegrass Gospel Sing & Jam as well. Another highlight of this year’s festival is The Acoustic Music Stage which this year offers an incredible cross-section of the best up-and-coming musicians Connecticut has to offer. Performers include Ponybird, Daphne Lee Martin, Frank Critelli, Them Damn Hamiltons, Seth Adam, Belle of the Fall, and The CarLeans as well as many others. The chance to see all these incredible acts perform in a beautiful outdoor setting is worth the price of admission alone! There is camping on site for those who want the full fest experience including late night jams! It’s a family friendly affair with plenty of crafts and activities for children as well as workshops for instruments and harmony singing for the adults. There will also be plenty of food vendors with tantalizing specialty food items available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Get thee to the fairgrounds and help celebrate twenty years of Podunck!! More info at podunckbluegrass.com.
- Rich Martin
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XL / EMI / Astralwerks / Modular
The True Economic Reality of Southeastern Connecticut A recent Sunday editorial in our regional newspaper declared that the economy of southeastern CT is improving. The article cites hiring at Electric Boat, the strong performance of most area stocks and the overall performance of the stock market as evidence of economic improvement. This perspective shows how out of touch the mainstream media and the political establishment are when it comes to the economic reality that most people in our region are facing. Booming stocks and increased hiring by large employers marginally benefits members of the upper middle class, an increasingly shrinking part of the population. For everyone else, however, a different economic picture is becoming clear. Recent studies show that 62% of Americans could not put together $1,000 to cover unexpected car repairs, layoffs, or medical emergencies. This includes Americans of all ages, races, and genders. When you look at Americans under the age of 40, or when you examine data collected on minority groups, these figures are even higher. More than 40% of all Americans couldn’t scrape together even $400 in the case of an emergency. This isn’t because Americans lack fiscal discipline or don’t care about saving. It’s because American incomes are stagnant. The annual median income of a full time worker is $28,851, or $13.85 an hour, nearly the same as it was in 1999. This figure excludes the 18.5% of workers who work part-time, the 4.7% who are officially unemployed, the .91% who are incarcerated, and the unknown amount of adults who have given up looking for work. Expenses, of course, haven’t stagnated. Here in Southeastern Connecticut, electricity costs under Eversource have increased 14% since the second half of 2015. Rents are up. Food costs more. Health care costs have skyrocketed. Regressive local property taxes and regressive state consumption taxes have increased while State and local services affecting most working families have been cut. Yet the super-wealthy continue to accrue more. We now live in an America where 0.1% of the population owns as much
wealth as the bottom 90%. That’s approximately 300K people owning as much wealth as 288 million people. Banks “too big to fail” have grown 80% bigger since the 2008 crash and subsequent taxpayer-funded bailout. The six richest Waltons, heirs to the WalMart fortune, have a combined worth greater than that of the bottom 40% of the American public. Income inequality and the wealth gap have not been this wide since the start of the Great Depression nearly 90 years ago. Here in Connecticut, the top 1% have seen their income increase by 10% since 1979, while the 99%’s income has declined. So why are the mainstream media and the political establishment declaring that the recession is over and times are getting better? For one thing, corporate hiring is up and corporate stocks are up. These same corporations dominate the political landscape, particularly since the Supreme Court declared that corporations are “people” capable of spending limitless sums of money on political campaigns. Corporations are also major advertisers for the mass media—something The Day takes into account when it cheers an increase in regional military spending. Additionally, members of the media class and the political class remain largely unaffected by this income inequality. Most journalists, professional politicians and lobbyists make far more than the minimum wage. They are in the top third of the population that CAN put together $1,000 if they had to. They don’t understand that the vast majority of people have grown desperate and that voter anger is starting to boil over. This is why there is so much surprise and confusion in establishment ranks about the political rise of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. These establishment voices can overlook the economic pain to which they have not yet been personally exposed. They can speak of times getting better, and maybe even believe it. Most Americans, however, know that in their own lives, times have gotten worse, and they continue to worsen. The media and the political elite can paint a rosy picture of our economy if they choose to do so, but more and more Americans are waking up to the reality that the Emperor has no clothes. Eventually the percentages will rise high enough, and/ or the artificial market bubble will pop, and the establishment will wake up to this reality as well. - Daryl Justin Finizio - Daryl Justin Finizio is a practicing Attorneyat-Law and the former Mayor of New London, Connecticut
The Telegraph Recording Company releases fine quality sound documents chronicling the current era and its relation to the broad diorama of american music.
The Hempsteadys El Amor de los Muertos
The Lost Riots
The Stories Are True
Until My Body Breaks
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Sixteen years. At one point, a healthy six-man crew knocked the Turntablism World out of the ballpark in 2000 with a little gem of an album entitled Since I Left You. Sixteen years later this crew, chiseled its ranks down to a core of three (Robbie Chater, Tony Di Blasi, and James De La Cruz), and finally, FINALLY, released this follow-up record into the world. Both albums were designed by collaging and sampling the recordings of the past to create a funhouse DJ mix that unravels over the course of each listen into a transcendent feel-good dance experience unparalleled with anything close to attempting the same thing. Where Since I Left You can be interpreted as a conceptual toast to new beginnings after the twilight of a previous breakup, Wildflower resembles more of the exuberance and sheer elation of youth, the lightness of the Summer season, and exalting in the psychedelic smile. Instead of cohesion and succinct blends, the listener gets a hodgepodge of tracks that jump, leap, and spring off the needle, making for a choppier affair. Though this might detract from the album’s whole, there still retains thematic elements (a love for disco, soaring classical arrangements, children’s choirs/singing, and as aforementioned, the psychedelic music) that string it together, calling for a completely dynamic pleasure-filled joyride of pleasure through one’s day-to-day auditory experience. There are special guests too! Rappers: Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede of Camp Lo, Danny Brown, DOOM, Rye Rye, Biz Markie, A.Dd+, and Dominique Young Unique. Singers: Father John Misty, Toro y Moi, and The Avalanches themselves! In addition to the many samples used during the record are a unique blend of synthesizers, percussion, violins, Moog, keyboards, bass, drums, and Mellotron that are peppered throughout the mix and give the tracks uplift and a good sense of celebration. From “Because I’m Me” to “Frankie Sinatra” to “Noisy Eater” “Harmony” this record cooks you a smoking hot plate of joy so tasty that you will be eager for seconds and even thirds. There is a Sound of Music sample, Wizard of Oz samples, a children’s choir singing a Beatles tune (look out for it) while you munch to Cap’n Crunch with Biz Markie, and just danceable goodies pouring all over of what could be the soundtrack to the Summer? I leave it a question because personal soundtracks are a relative matter these days, but one thing I can say for sure, The Avalanches will ALWAYS know how to rock a party that will take you on a revelatory journey. Whether it be the last raucous party on a cruise ship right before it sinks into the deep dark depths of the ocean or the psychedelic disco of the radio dial being tweaked and tuned on a beach under the hot sun, there is no doubt in my mind, Wildflower will get you in a good groove for the season. - Daniel Boroughs
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Do You Have a Car
It all started with a Facebook message last July. Waiting in my inbox was a link to a YouTube video with a simple summation attached that read, “Dude, she’s special. This cover of ‘N.I.B.’, it’s wow.” And it was. It was very, very wow. The video was of a stunning redhead and her acoustic guitar playing a stripped-down and equally stunning cover of Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B.” It was like sonic shell-shock, that feeling that you are not only hearing a song you love in a way you never thought you’d hear it, but also that you may be witnessing something truly special, something very much unlike anything you’ve witnessed before. So I waited. I waited and patiently checked in to her social media channels with semi-regularity. It was only a matter of time before the series of intriguing covers would turn into a piece of original work, something that was born directly from the soul of someone who clearly has so much of one and an old one to boot. Her name is Riley Pinkerton and her debut EP, Do You Have A Car, might be one of the most beautiful things you hear this year. There are singer-songwriters and then there are artists that somehow dig deeper, those that are not satisfied with just penning stories of lost loves and missives about various topics that come to mind and rhymes that can be set to a catchy tune. Some artists are simply not content until they’ve been able to truly pour little bits and pieces of their soul into each note, each word, each moment. Pinkerton is of the latter. She’s an artist that writes songs that are tenacious, yet tender. They scratch and claw one moment, only to lay submissively at your feet the very next. Under the sweet and accessible exterior is a fierceness and a keen sense of observation the belies her seemingly young age. There’s a humanism about these songs that just have the potential to rock you right down to your very foundation. She slipped into the sea, closed her eyes and breathed in anyway… From beginning to end all of the best moments are just Pinkerton and her guitar on this album, just the two of them, alone like lost lovers on a park bench, sharing stories after years and years apart. In this perpetual moment there is no need for any others to add to the conversation. They know each other well enough to carry on alone and be content as such. What Pinkerton is able to convey with just her golden voice, her poignant lyrics, and deft guitar work is all that’s needed really. At no point is there ever a desire to hear some full backing band, some sort of brash accompaniment. This album, these songs are too intimate for that, too personal on so many levels. From the heart-wrenching opener “Marina” to the biting whimsy of “In His Image” to the stark, indie rock aesthetics of “The Queen’s Brigade” every turn on this album is a mesmerizing array of emotions all neatly tucked away into a five-song suitcase that Pinkerton is planning her escape with. Her escape from life’s malaise and the ennui of it all will be a fiery one as she rockets towards whatever songwriting heights she reaches for. The stars are hers for the taking if she chooses to write about them, just as the attention of anyone coming across these songs will be captured as well. The sender of that message on that warm summer day was absolutely right in his assessment – Riley Pinkerton in special. She is very special in so many ways. The expression ‘the sky is the limit’ seems trite and unable to truly convey the road that potentially lay ahead of her. But no matter where her musical travels take her nothing and no one can take away these songs, these moments forever frozen in time from her lips to your ears, forever and ever, amen. - Chip McCabe
Nonagon Infinity ATO Records
Melbourne, Australia’s seven-piece blast of garage rock freshness comes hailing down on listeners with reckless abandon. Equipped with two drummers, the pounding rhythms and propelling guitars, chug and rip at speeds that resemble an exhilarating chase scene or a plummeting rollercoaster. Its concept: a record to be played on infinite loop. Where the record begins and where it ends can be joined at the hip after a 42-minute journey, to be looped again, creating what band members have called a landscape/world full of robots, wasps, crocs, wolves, vultures, and evil machinery. Functioning much like a DJ set, each song is seamlessly blended into the next song, so that rhythmic and melodic themes disappear and re-appear throughout the record. The result is a raucous, sublime record that leaves the ears buzzing from its outright burst of energy and its unwillingness to let up from the gas pedal. “Gamma Knife” and “People-Vultures” reach a frenetic high point where a saxophone blasts out of nowhere and guitar lines squall and churn into a repetitive assault on the senses. Repetitive. That’s the only gripe that I have The record gives no hint of slowing down until three-quarters of the way through, “Invisible Face” swings the listener down a notch for a few minutes, while we enter Outer Space and the high-energy journey resumes its infinite exploration… to the end or the beginning…again? - Daniel Boroughs
Portrait of a Damaged Family Mezzotint When word came that Miracle Legion’s Portrait of a Damaged Family would get the Record Store Day reissue treatment I genuinely celebrated. The record is as smart a statement as was made in the college rock era even though it was never given the proper full press push that the band and the record deserved. Miracle Legion had been down a rocky road of major label neglect that left them to self-release their final release on their Mezzotint label. The record is a crafty and sublime collection of tunes that reveals the wit and wisdom of the band and the power of their guitar driven songwriting. In their day, Miracle Legion wrote beautiful pop songs that were perhaps too aware of themselves and thoughtful in their lyric and melodic content to probably ever be true breakthrough pop songs (betrayed perhaps by their breakout anthem ‘The Backyard” and latter-day MTV juggernaut “Snacks and Candy”). Portrait features the sublime Homer, quirky and catchy Madison Park, and the even quirkier and catchier “I Wish I Was Danny Kaye”. Released in the height of the CD era it’s a longish affair and sadly not all of it made its way to the lovely Mezzotint reissue on vinyl (actually the first time released on that format) and sadly the slinky groove of “La Muerte di Gardenier” is not in the mix any longer. What does remain is a testament to a band at the edge of an end who were truly at the height of their powers. That shows would be announced soon after word came of the record dropping was a gift from left field indeed. Perhaps additional reissues (Me and Mr. Ray, pretty please) and a new record may not be far behind. Sometimes with endings come new beginnings. - Rich Martin
A Moon Shaped Pool XL Recordings There’s a thin line between absorbing art over time and forcing something that’s not there just because the thought of your favorite artist possibly putting out a mediocre piece bums you out. A Moon Shaped Pool is just like every other album post OK Computer. Kid A’s first listen left me somewhat disappointed, after I later “got it”, I attributed the lack of interest to the serotonin that had been drained from me the days prior to it’s release. However not one year later with the release of Amnesiac, I realized that the moods created by Greenwood and crew took a moment to absorb. This new album is no different. It’s not as if there are a multitude of layers to pick through. The lyrics? They can require a slight amount of deciphering but compared to its predecessor’s are relatively straightforward, nowhere near as cryptic. Lyrically not so much regarding heartbreak but breaking free from something you know and you love. “I’m not living / I’m just killing time” from “True Love waits”, a popular 15 year old live rarity, strikes a nerve with anyone who has had to adjust to the restlessness brought on by the absence of what once was your reason to get out of bed. A blast from the past, the song was pulled back into circulation from I Might Be Wrong, a live album released in 2001. Any obsessive fan knows that “True Love Waits” is not the only song pulled out of the bands unreleased archives. “Present Tense” has been played live since the In Rainbows tour and the album’s opener, “Burn the Witch”, that dates back to the Kid A recordings. You can hear subtle hints of Johnny Greenwood’s film scores in the opener’s muted orchestral strings as well as the soundscapes lining “Daydreamers” hypnotic chords. Over the past twenty years, Radiohead has grown from “a band” to “a sound.” Their own genre. Having drifted further and further apart from verse-chorus-verse & distorted guitar marks a certain noteworthy growth. These guys are growing old with the rest of us. They aren’t the Radiohead I listened to with my high school girlfriend, chain smoking cigarettes in her bed for hours on end. We’ve all changed right? For better or worse, without some type of change we wouldn’t grow. - Eric Hollingsworth
Car Seat Headrest Teens of Denial Matador Perhaps you’ve heard the hype on Will Toledo’s Car Seat Headrest? After a dozen releases via bandcamp since 2010, the auteur and his band were signed to the venerable Matador Records who promptly released an odds and sods collection called Teens of Style featuring reworkings of some tunes from his extensive back catalog. Now at last, we have the proper major label debut (Matador counts as that right?) with Teens of Denial. Here’s the deal, the hype is real and you should get on board right quick. Not unlike Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted (another important Matador crew’s debut), Teens of Denial grabs you quick with anthemic postures and gut wrench lyrics full of insight and disdain. With veteran producer Steve Fisk (Treepeople, Low, Nirvana, The Posies) at the helm, Car Seat Headrest pay their respects to the rock goodness of the Pacific Northwest while touching on garage, prog, and pop with an inspiring ease. The record is full of inspiration and wit and brimming with experimentation and self-confidence even as the lyrics explore heavy themes of existential despair and loneliness. There are big ideas here too played out lyrically and musically. Toledo is a pure talent and in this opening salvo of his major label career he claims a space at the top of the heap. The fact that Ric Ocasek had the kid scrap an entire pressing of records and CDs for what amounted to an homage of respect seems like a big mistake - The Cars could have truly benefited from being aligned with a young vital artist like Car Seat Headrest - might have been just what they needed - cough cough cough. Go out and get this record, you’ll be glad you did - in fact it might be just what you needed. - Rich Martin
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The Cut-Up Gallery .::. Curated by Jason Silva
Paul Simmons South Slope, Brooklyn Instagram: pawl_wall paulsimmonsstudio.com
acrylic on linen | 14 x 11 inches | 2015
acrylic on canvas | 20 x 15 inches | 2015
acrylic on linen | 14 x 11 inches | 2015
acrylic on linen | 14 x 11 inches | 2015
acrylic on linen | 13 x 11 inches | 2015
Woodstock, New York Instagram: ronlittles marlboroughchelsea.com/chelsea/artists/tony-cox
Blue Black, Blue Black, Blew Black Again needle and thread, fabric, pillow stuffing and acrylic paint 51 x 60 inches | 2015
needle and thread, fabric and acrylic paint 20 x 24 inches | 2015
Courtesy of the Artist and Marlborough Chelsea
Chyrum Lambert Los Angeles, California Instagram: chyrumlambert www.chyrumlambert.com
Our Wines Filling With Colored Cups ink wash, acrylic paint, pencil, wax, dye, hand painted, cut, and adhered onto 80 lb cover paper | 40x52 inches | 2015
Night, Night Again, And Again, Night After Night, And Again Night ink wash, acrylic paint, pencil, dye, wax, hand painted, cut, and adhered onto 80 lb cover paper | 26x52 inches | 2016
Towards Our Bathroom Mirror, A Fang Is Growing
ink wash, acrylic paint, pencil, dye, muslin, wax, hand painted, cut, and adhered onto 80 lb cover paper | 40x52 inches | 2015
Fox For The Jeweler
ink wash, acrylic paint, pencil, dye, muslin, roofing paper, hand painted, cut, and adhered onto 80 lb cover paper | 26x26 inches | 2016
Morgan Blair Ridgewood, Queens Instagram: mmorgannbblairr morganblair.com
George and Jerry Meet With NBC Executives, Forever acrylic on panel | 30 x 30 inches | 2015
Four Wizards Marching
acrylic on wood panel | 6 x 8 inches | 2015
Post Plastic Surgery Nuclear Meltdown Evening Ski Constitutional On Jupiter With Marshalls Applewhite, Halloween 2069 acrylic on canvas over panel | 30 x 24 inches | 2015
Nites of The Round Table Meet at Local Red Robin To Discuss Stock Market, BET Awards, Strawberry Flavored Milk, Some Other Stuff acrylic and sand on canvas over panel | 23 inches | 2016
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Forest Hills Stadium Friday, July 8, 2016 I’m not sure how I noticed that Dylan was coming to the Forest Hills Stadium this summer. I absolutely love Forest Hills, Queens. Perhaps it’s the Tudor style houses in this closed community that creates it’s own aesthetic oasis within an otherwise bland and unremarkable expanse of suburban Queens. Maybe it’s the presence of Eddie’s Sweet Shop: an old fashioned ice cream parlor that exists in a liminal state between nostalgia and a rare unpretentiousness. When you enter Eddie’s you are not residing in a reconstituted 21st century idea about an ice cream parlor, you are actually in one. It’s staffed by local teens, who embody their sacred roll as a purveyor of wholesome (i.e. not alcoholic) vice unselfconsciously. It’s just a job, but their humanity remains intact. They are not generating profits by providing an ersatz experience imagined by a corporate branding expert but are staffing a beloved business with deep roots in the local community. So while I’m sentimentalizing this experience, it’s rarity speaks for itself. It’s messy in there. There’s chaos behind the counter. It could probably be more efficient but never fails to deliver a harmonious experience; a transaction that has been co-opted and destroyed by the Cold Stone Creameries and Baskin Robbins storefronts that have proliferated across the country. These places are constructed to deliver the product (ice cream) shorn of whatever difficulties and inefficiencies accompany a stand alone business while Eddie’s gives us the entire mess. Of course the ice cream is amazing too.
The Julie Ruin Hit Reset
Let’s just get the obvious out of the way and say that if you were already a big fan of Kathleen Hanna, you will also be a big fan of Hit Reset, the new album by the Julie Ruin. There are a core group of people who need no convincing, so this review is not for them. I am a Gen X-er. Bikini Kill was a definitive part of my younger years, and I love(d) them dearly, but I was much less inspired than most people were with Le Tigre. I found them to be a bit contrived and just a little “too cool for school” for me, but let’s be honest: that’s only because Kathleen Hanna IS legitimately too cool for school. Not her fault, but it just wasn’t my thing. When I heard she was taking Julie Ruin from her bedroom to the stage, I was interested. The first Julie Ruin demo from the 90s was a massive departure from Bikini Kill, filled with loops and samples and super repetitive guitar. So in 2013, when they released Run Fast, there was tons of buzz around it for many of us who came up with her in the 90s. While it was well received by her longtime fans and critics alike, and while it was a departure from Bikini Kill, there were only a handful of songs that i really found to be special (but a least they were REALLY special). For me, once again, I was a bit uninspired. When I was asked to review the new album, I warned that I would be honest, and I expected to feel largely the same... but I didn’t. Upon my first listen, my take was that it was a return to the sound that so many loved from Bikini Kill... It’s filled with all the things that Hanna is known for: feminist inspired lyrics, attitude, sticky-sweet yet
Perhaps this introduction is leaning too forcefully on a metaphor but all of us Dylan fans probably know by now that as a live performer he’s often hit or miss. While I’m a huge fan of his albums, I had only seen him once before at a concert perhaps some of the readers attended: Sun Sept 30, 2007 at the Bridgeport Arena at Harbor Yard. Elvis Costello opened solo acoustic and was a revelation. Bob Dylan was a disappointment. He was touring behind Modern Times, an album I love by the way, but his voice was so strangled that I felt no connection. The band was professional and bland and Dylan seemed to be going through the motions. Costello held the entire audience in rapturous attention and Dylan’s band could not compete. The set list was full of strong tunes, but I left feeling robbed. Yes I realize that this is an excessive reaction and perhaps my expectations were outsized, but I just wanted to feel some kind of communion with the artist who has given me so much over the years. Over the last 9 (!) years since that show my respect and love for Dylan has grown. I’ve discovered the magical Letterman performance from 1984 with the LA punk band The Plugz, reassessed the Christian era (check out the strange sermons he gave during his 1980 tour) and actually cried listening to his latest albums of classic American songs. Anytime you write off Dylan he somehow transcends the naysayers. Do not question Bob: we don’t know what’s happening, we don’t know why and we don’t know where his choices will lead. There’s been a lot of confusion surrounding the release of Shadows in the Night and with the latest Fallen Angels. Why would Dylan lend his ravaged voice to songs that Sinatra made famous? He certainly doesn’t have Sinatra’s voice. But a singer becomes a conduit for the spirit of these songs. Even Bob Dylan, perhaps America’s greatest living songwriter, feels awe in the presence of these songs. A tune like “That Lucky Old Sun” speaks to the essence of our daily struggle, a deep profound longing that we all share. Dylan lends his voice to these words and teases out shreds of meaning that might not have been evident to other interpreters, or even to the original songwriter. When you listen to the amazing mastery and breadth of Dylan’s catalog you still do not find the diamonds that he presents to us in Shadows and Fallen Angels. These are albums of profound humility.
howling and aggressive vocals, and simplistic pop punk song structures. I also was amazingly happy to hear a female vocalist that sounded like Kathleen Hanna ACTUALLY BE Kathleen Hanna, and not one of the hundreds of “heavily inspired” female vocalists that I have become increasingly tired of. I thought, “this is ok, but it’s not gonna change the world”... but I kept listening, because who would review anything after only one listen? “I Decide” was the song that stood out to me right away, and YES, it is because I am a fan of noise and drone. But it was cool to hear something so different coming from one of her bands. The guitar work and how it cuts through the monotony of the droning bass and drums is brilliant, and her voice provides a haunting melody which is both innocent yet angry, accusatory yet accepting at the same time. It’s a truly stellar track. As I continued to play this record over and over, I was kind of hooked. Admittedly, there is a time or two where I can see how people unfamiliar with her brand of screaming vocals could find her a bit grating, but most of this album is catchy AF. In my opinion, Hit Reset is far more cohesive of an album than Run Fast. It flows better, and it seems much more focused. The subject matter is varied and deep, the lyrics are smart and intriguing, and they seem pretty personal. I can also hear influences that range from Hanna’s past bands and musical inspirations, to the sounds of the 60s, 70s and 80s all in one. The title track, “Hit Reset”, starts it off, and it is a super playful-sounding song that touches on pretty heavy subject matter. While I don’t know entirely what it’s about, it sounds like it’s a confession of traumatic and personal experiences that are being
They share a common ancestry with his two acoustic albums of the 90s, World Gone Wrong and Good As I Been to You. At the time Dylan seemed to be creatively bankrupt. He was nearing the end of his contract with Columbia Records and so submitted these two albums, one of them was even rumored to have been recorded directly to a stereo cassette. But even in these meagre contexts, his spirit and intimacy with the material shines through. Is there a connection between those stripped down records and his incredible series of albums that started with Time Out of Mind? I’m guessing yes. Before the concert on July 8th, I decided that I was going to pay my respects and that I would have low expectations for the concert. I didn’t want to feel that acute disappointment again! But as I walked down the long street to the newly refurbished Forest Hills Stadium I couldn’t contain myself. It had just finished raining, the heat wave had just broken and there was release in the air. Mavis Staples delivered an ebullient set that was interspersed with some hilarious banter about how much she loved Dylan’s strut. The audience was primed. As Dylan took the stage and his band demonstrated their fluency it was clear that this was going to be a unique performance. Dylan had not played Queens since soon after the notorious Newport Folk Festival where he introduced his electric band to an unsuspecting audience. He seemed to be in a good mood. He was dancing during the instrumental sections of the songs and when the band settled into one of the covers from his new records a strong sense of commitment descended on the stage. Dylan’s voice was great. It’s rough but it was fluid! He nailed each and every song, especially during the unforgiving cover songs. The band was magical. The night was magical. I entered the stadium thinking that I would give some of myself to this musician who has given so much to me over the years. I left feeling like I witnessed some rare generosity. Never question Dylan. Let’s be thankful that he’s still with us. And yes I went to Eddie’s Sweet Shop after the concert. It was just as good!
- Kid Millions
worked out in the lyrics... to do that in such a animated way is pretty inspiring. “Rather Not” has an 80s vibe that reminds me a bit of Prince... No, not the “Purple Rain” Prince, but the early, new wave, stripped down, “When You Were Mine” Prince, circa 1980. Likewise, I hear and feel a new wave vibe reminiscent of The Cars in “Time Is Up”, yet the Julie Ruin still totally manage to keep it modern. “Planet You” is a perfect summertime song that could have been a massive hit in 1986, but there is a sheer genius that connects it to 2016 with the simple lyric of “start a Kickstarter for your heart” as the chorus. It is so catchy and infectious, and with SO MANY younger bands trying to capture the sound of a time they were not a part of, this song is a great example of just how the virtual bridge between decades should sound. But I think my favorite song is “Let Me Go”, and here’s why. When I first heard it, I wanted desperately for it to be “Strawberry Julius”. (Any Bikini Kill fan will understand). I thought it was just a re-hash, but by my second listen, I knew it was actually much more. I think it’s fair to say it is the graduated version of the iconic Bikini Kill song. It is filled with emotion and has a depth of expression you can feel in every note... to the harp-like keyboards that are layered underneath her saccharine vocal performance, to the David Bowie-esque guitars, it is the “Strawberry Julius” for grown ups, and I can’t get it out of my head. And I don’t want to. The band seem to be in harmony with each other on this record, and it is really impressive that Kathleen Hanna has the ability at almost 50 years old to not only sound like a teenager, but write songs that a teenager today could totally relate to as well. Yes, it is filled with all the things that she is known for, but there is more to this record that meets the eye. It is complex and layered for us older fans, but still totally accessible to younger kids in unique and important ways that are unlike their current batch of rock and pop options. When I think about that, and when I consider that teens and young adults could listen to this album and really get something great out of it--something that makes them see things a little differently than our tabloid filled culture allows-- I think maybe my first impression could have been totally wrong. That maybe this album COULD, indeed, change the world in a small way, one kid at a time. And that is an awesome thing.
- Michelle Montavon
Rock Snaps from Peter Detmold
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DEAD AIR RADIO Hugh Birdsall, Peter Detmold, & Paul Sweeney
Wednesdays 6-9pm WCNI 90.9 New London, CT
Tuesday’s from 9am-12noon on WCNI 90.9 FM streaming live on iHeart Radio and Tunein. wcniradio.org & Facebook.
Blues, Soul, Funk and a whole lotta enthusiasm!
Homegrown WESU 88.1 Middletown, CT with your host Robbie DeRosa Thursday 5:05-6:30pm wesufm.org for the live webcast
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Every other Tuesday from 6-9pm WCNI 90.9 FM New London, CT wcniradio.org facebook.com/derangedradioanne
The Allman Brothers Band At The Fillmore East New York City, NY Friday, June 25, 1971 The Fillmore East was an old, ornate vaudeville theater located at 105 Second Avenue, near East 6th Street in what is now referred to as the East Village of New York City. For a few short years it was the best rock venue in the country and featured every major and up and coming band – three-band bills, with two shows nightly. Because of its excellent sound system, receptive crowds and great acoustics, it was a place that bands frequently would choose to record live albums: Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, the Jefferson Airplane, Humble Pie, etc., all released live LPs recorded at the 2,500 seat theater. It was a magical place and I’d been fortunate enough to attend several shows there already when word spread that it was about to close its doors with one final weekend in late June of 1971. Promoter Bill Graham chose three of his favorite acts for the final run – Albert King, the J. Geils Band and the Allman Brothers Band. I knew that I somehow had to be at one of those final shows and managed to obtain tickets for the first show of the two nights. Tickets for shows at the Fillmore were incredibly affordable, especially when compared to today’s ticket prices (plus handling charges!). I was able to buy 4 tickets for $5.50 each, and the seats were in the fifth row! (Tickets further back in the orchestra and in the balcony were $4.50 and $3.50 respectively.) Since I was still a few years away from having a driver’s license, I enlisted my older brother, just back from Viet Nam, to do the driving. I borrowed a friend’s Minolta camera, knowing that I’d be close to the stage. The Fillmore would play the latest rock LPs through the stunning sound system before and between bands while running silent movie clips and cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s Also, there would always be a psychedelic light show running as a backdrop for bands while they played. Bill Graham himself did the introductions during this final series of shows – first for the remarkable Albert King, playing a Gibson Flying
V guitar through a huge Acoustic amp. Authentic blues delivered to the gathered kids on the Lower East Side! Then for Boston’s J. Geils Band, who at that time was my idea of the most fullon rock and roll band on the planet. They did not disappoint, and won over any non-believers in the crowd. At this point in the evening, I was feeling that the night couldn’t get any better, even though the night’s headliners were still to come. In the summer of 1971 the Allman Brothers actually had brothers in the band – Duane on guitar & the younger Gregg on keyboards and vocals. The group also included Dickie Betts, who teamed with Duane on dual lead guitars, Berry Oakley on bass, and two drummers, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson. They were clearly Bill Graham’s favorite band, but at the time they were struggling for commercial success. I was aware of their two album releases but those albums were no indication of the how good the band was live. Two years of constant touring had made them a well-oiled, road-tested blues-rock powerhouse. It was stunning how good a band they were back then, and incredible to think now how young they all were. Their set started with some shorter blues standards, featuring Duane on slide guitar, but it continued on to songs that extended to ten minutes or more, featuring long, jazz infused improvisations. At 11:00 they said good night and the crowd spilled out in a happy daze (oh yeah... there was a lot of pot at the Fillmore) and walked into the crowd outside waiting to get into the theater for the late show! It all happened again, and then twice again the next night! Shortly after these shows happened, the band released Live at the Fillmore, recorded several months earlier at the same venue. It demonstrated for all to hear what I had witnessed, and it was the Allman Brothers Band breakthrough. Unfortunately, just as the success they had worked so hard for arrived, one of the brothers was no longer there to enjoy it. Duane Allman, the band’s spiritual leader, died in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia, on October 29th, about four months after I took these photos. He was just 24 years old.
Casualism. I think artists were a little insulted by the term Casualism because they thought it implied a lack of rigor, but it wasn’t about the process, it was about the way it looked. I needed a name so I could write about it more cogently. You can’t keep saying “you know, that type of abstraction that’s sort of wonky and abject…”
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JS: Do you feel like labeling an artistic tendency locks it into a specific period of time?
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SB: No, I don’t. After naming it, more artists started to work that way. It’s an easy style to mimic. I know faculty at different institutions were disheartened by students who began working in this idiom. It’s nearly impossible to critique work if the artist’s intention is to fail! Now there’s a turn away from abstraction toward figurative work. A return to narrative…but the use of materials is still decidedly casual.
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JS: Maybe social media, the internet, broke that cycle of things being deemed outmoded or stoppable?
Altered Studio States:
On July 4th, 2016, artist Jason Silva sat down with Sharon Butler alongside the Mystic River to discuss her current art related projects. Sharon grew up in Stonington and graduated from Williams in 1977. She went on to study at Tufts and the Massachusetts College of Art before earning an MFA from UCONN. As an artist and a writer she has continued to help define and track the shifting changes in contemporary art through her influential blog, Two Coats of Paint. Sharon maintains a studio under the Manhattan Bridge in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn, where she also has developed a shortterm residency program. Her recent solo show of new paintings at Theodore:Art was selected as a Critic’s Pick in Time Out New York. The Cut-Up is proud to continue Jason Silva’s selected artist interviews with such a successful member of New England’s cultural community. Jason Silva: It’s always interesting to talk with artists who split their time between New York City and Southeastern Connecticut. What were some of the challenges you faced with your artwork in relation to living outside the city? Sharon Butler: I left New York in 2000. There was no social media back then, so not too far in, I felt really out of touch. I lost my ability to network. Of course now it’s completely different. In 2009 everybody started joining Facebook, and now, with Twitter and Instagram, there are so many ways to stay connected and be involved. In terms of art, there is so much going on in New York. Too much! On any given day there might be ten events that I really want to go to. That’s why I encourage young artists to set up their studios and go start projects in other towns, in other cities-- to bring that energy to new places. I think that would be amazing. JS: I’m very much interested in what led you to approach painting in the way you do. I recommend readers look up Raphael Rubinstein’s article
Provisional Painting in Art in America from 2009. It can be found online. Your response came in the form of defining the “off-kilter, the overtly offhand, the not-quite-right” as Casualism. [See Sharon’s article Abstract Painting: The New Casualists in the Brooklyn Rail from 2011] It seems like between then and now there has been a shift in how certain movements in painting are discussed. SB: In an essay I was just reading from the early 1980s, Barbara Rose said that sometimes art gets mired in “petty personal politics.” I think that’s true, but I wouldn’t call it mired. My take is much more positive! I think art is often informed by “petty personal politics.” Sometimes the things that you’re focusing on in your own life resonate on a more universal level. So, I think that’s what happens in my work. I went through a period in which I was focused on failure and our frustrating inability to predict outcomes. The impossibility of knowing the future--what the decisions we make today are going to mean down the road. I was just obsessed, and the obsession informed my work. I was intensely interested in giving up the struggle, and in painting that meant focusing on the beginning of the process, stopping long before a painting might be considered done. Accepting a situation rather than fighting it. My paintings were reduced to pencil lines on canvas with very little paint. Unstretched. I switched from oils to acrylic because I liked the idea of being portable and adaptable. So what Barbara Rose once dismissed as “petty personal politics” unquestionably informed my work. To get back to Provisional painting, what Raphael was saying resonated, but he didn’t quite capture the conversation that was taking place on the blog. Other artists were thinking about the same things, and I think the absurdity and ennui in our work reflected the malaise that gripped the country after the recession in 2008. JS: Can you give some examples… SB: Well, Alex Ebstein and Seth Adelsberger started a gallery called NUDASHANK in Baltimore. They showed a lot of abstraction, sort of an abject variety that seemed barely put together, and posts about their shows always generated comments and discussion—both pro and con. The work was rough and very challenging. It wasn’t Provisional painting -- it wasn’t what Raphael was talking about. He was talking about painting that was rooted in the notion, originated in the 1960s and 70s, that painting was dead. To me the work that was being made, and my own work, wasn’t in any way part of this conversation. Artists were just enjoying the process of painting. I think there was an interest in using the language of painting, often combined with sculptural elements or installations, to say something about how fucking hard life had become…but in a deceptively playful way. JS: It’s less about negation. SB: Yes, it wasn’t about trying to bring painting back to life. I started noticing other work that had a joyful use of materials—an interest in canvas as fabric and object. When I wrote about it for The Brooklyn Rail, for lack of a better term, I called it
SB: When we’re in school we all make paintings like the artists whose work we admire. When I was in school I loved Moira Dryer and started attaching objects on near-monochromatic canvases. The image emerged from the use of materials. But we’re all destined to work in a certain way, and after we leave school we begin to find our own voice. Sometimes it takes time-- it’s too bad that such a big emphasis is put on gaining professional success right out of school. I think people feel pressure and they get impatient. It doesn’t feel like there’s time to develop a voice. I was talking to a painter recently, Elizabeth Hazen, about her mother Jane Freilicher who died in 2014 – and I asked what was it like having an artist for a mother. I wondered how Jane felt about Elizabeth becoming a painter. She said that for her mother painting came first, her husband second, and Elizabeth third. Jane always told her to take her time—that it can take a really long time to develop a unique voice. I thought that was interesting --nobody is telling young artists that today. JS: I think that message will carry well with the audience. SB: I hope so. I wish someone said it to me! Social media and Instagram make it even more difficult for young artists to be patient. When I first started painting I was a smoker. I would paint, step back from the canvas, have a cigarette, look at it, think about my next move and then move forward. Now, what I’m more likely to do is step away from the canvas, check Twitter, check Instagram, possibly post something, see if anybody liked something I posted earlier. I’m not saying this is bad, I’m just saying this is how it is today. There’s much more focus on community and the external world and it’s informing people’s work. I mean… it can’t not inform people’s work. JS: That’s very interesting to think about… SB: It also creates anxiety. Social media is emotionally complex. And it’s addictive. Like smoking…but not as expensive. JS: Unless you need to medicate. [Laughter] JS: Recently, you’ve started a project that is strictly digital. SB: Well, it’s not strictly digital. Are you talking about the Good Morning drawings? I started those because I had been following someone on Instagram who started every day with a post that said Good Morning! At first I thought, ugh – it’s so dopey. But then I got hooked. I started checking her feed every morning, wondering what she
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would post. I liked the idea of having a ritual, and so I began posting drawings every morning, with the caption “Good Morning !” It seemed kind of hilarious—both ironic and blatantly dishonest. Falsely cheerful. The project is also the result of going to openings where people would take their phones out of their pockets and show me images of their work. If I’m familiar with their previous work, I like that, I like to see what they’ve been doing. But if I’ve never seen their work before then I really can’t tell by looking at the image on the phone—I’d rather have them describe it to me in words. In words you get information about how they feel about the work. How they approach the work. How they think about the work. The importance of the process—all these things you can’t get by looking at a picture. So I also wanted to make work that is actually meant to be seen on the phone. Where there is no other way to see it! If I show you the Good Morning drawings on Instagram, that’s exactly how they are meant to be seen. And, also, the drawings are about my love for drawing in Illustrator with the pen tool. I love the geometric shapes, the quality of the lines, and the elegance of the curves. JS: So this has led you back to painting?
in the digital drawings. JS: Your website Two Coats of Paint is such a valuable source of information about what is happening in painting today. How did that project come about? SB: I started the blog in 2007 as a way to reconnect with the art community while I was teaching at Eastern Connecticut State University and living in Mystic. It was a labor of love. My salary and several small university grants basically funded it, and ultimately it led to opportunities that counted toward tenure…although my colleagues seemed to think it was a waste of time at first! When I left Eastern in 2012, I taught part time at Brown and wrote artist profiles for Artsy. In 2014, I got a grant from Creative Capitol/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writing program, which was a big break and enabled me to continue producing the blog for another year. Last year I got to a point where I just didn’t think I could continue, but I applied for fiscal sponsorship and raised enough money to keep going. This year I started selling advertising to arts organizations and galleries. It’s made a big difference in my operating funds, and I’ve been able to start paying contributors. Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation also gave me a follow up grant that I used to have the whole thing (nearly 3000 posts) archived, the code updated, and the site redesigned. I worked with two talented guys who have an outfit in Brooklyn called Hippo Brain Design, and it just went live this past week. Two Coats is no longer a Blogger blog--it’s on a dedicated server and has much better SEO, so I’m very pleased with that. And this week it was included in Time Out New York’s list of top ten art websites. VERY gratifying considering that the others on the list are publications like ArtForum and ArtNews that have full staffs!
SB: The drawings are the basis for a new series of paintings. I like the idea of taking something that was strictly meant to be seen in a small digital format and translating it into paint. I think there’s meaning in that. If it’s successful digital drawing, what does it take to make is into a successful painting? I’m curious about that. Surface becomes so important. Also, the quality of the line changes. In translating line from digital to paint, I like the fact that it’s no longer accurate. It’s not perfectly drawn anymore. I use French curves and straight edges when I make the lines and shapes in the paintings, but something takes place when they’re drawn by JS: Congratulations! So now it’s a part of history… hand. They are less perfect, but they are better-it goes back to my earlier work that was sort of Casualist in tone. In a way this project is also about SB: Now it is a part of history. failure. How can something that’s not perfect be better than the perfect version? That fascinates me. Contact email and social media: JS: Do you feel like it has a more human quality? SB: Oh yeah, it’s more human. There’s something about a painting that you don’t get in a digital drawing. There’s this palpable sense of touch. There’s the surface and there’s this ineffable thing that happens… and yet I’m going to try and articulate it… it’s almost like it goes right from your heart onto the canvas and somebody can sense that. You know there’s this focus, this emotional transference that takes place when you make a painting. JS: And that’s when it works? SB: And that’s when it works. It doesn’t take place
firstname.lastname@example.org // instagram: _silvajason
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The Scene Is Dead, Long Live The Scene
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Father John Misty at XPN & Newport
The Silks Turn Me On
In today’s music there is a lot of “nice” music. Folk music is described as “uplifting”. That is all well and good but the problem with a lot of that is, as in the past with great bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and the Rolling Stones, I want my rock music “dangerous”. I don’t go to a rock show to see nice and uplifting. I want to be punched in the face by rock ‘n’ roll and and see a band go for the kill. I want the feeling that anything can happen. The Silks, from Providence, RI, new album Turn Me On shows that a band can still be just that. Their music is not going to kill you but it is going to make you feel something for damn sure. Turn Me On, the follow up to the Paul Westerberg produced Last American Band, is only eight songs in length but it packs a punch. The Silks, lead by Tyler-James Kelly’s blistering guitar work and soulful voice along with the thumping bass lines of Jonas Parmalee and the steady back beat provided by newcomer Sam Jodrey, prove there is no sophomore slump in sight and looks to a great future for this band. The lead track “Let It Ride” sets the pace for a hard hitting rock ‘n’ roll journey. You can feel the sweat coming off Kelly’s slide licks. “Home Again” shows the diversity this band has and really puts the groups collective vocal skills on display. “Live and Learn” (new video which premiered recently at popmatters.com) is the center piece of the album with lyrics like “I’ve
got to live and learn before I’m dead and gone, let my freak flag fly, let my hair grow long”. The song has a driving groove and it is one you want to turn up to 11 and drive down the strip listening to in the summertime. It makes you think of change and freedom, two concepts that never grow old. “Take Me To Town” is a country rock burner. This one will get you up and dancing and once Kelly starts ripping his solo you don’t want it to end. “Blue” is one of the best tracks on the album and one of the best I’ve heard all year. It starts out with a nice harmonica build from Kelly and then develops into a beautiful ballad with the main character feeling down and lost. This kind of ballad and The Silks music in general bring you back to the days of great rock ‘n’ roll but the theme’s in Kelly’s lyrics are very much modern day. If you have ever seen The Silks live you know how powerful this band is and Turn Me On puts a big exclamation point on that. They rock and they have fun rocking!! Turn Me On shows this is a band on the verge. If there were any justice in today’s music business these guys would be opening up for The Black Keys and Kelley would be trading licks with Derek Trucks. In my opinion, it is only a matter of time.
- Michael Panico
The Sidedoor Jazz Club
Old Lyme, Connecticut The Village Vanguard; Smoke; Smalls; The Jazz Standard; the Blue Note. These are a few of the clubs in and around New York City that lovers of jazz have been flocking to for decades. They consistently feature a line-up of great contemporary jazz artists, performing for mostly a niche audience, eager to sit in rapt silence and absorb the sounds of one of America’s richest art forms. Fortunately, jazz enthusiasts living in and around Southeastern Connecticut, need no longer make the trek to New York to sit in the presence of the finest jazz artists. Situated off of I95, exit 70, in the town of Old Lyme, is the Sidedoor Jazz Club, equal in every way to, if not surpassing, any of the well known jazz venues of New York. Founded in May of 2013 as an extension to the Old Lyme Inn, the Side Door is the inspiration of its owner, Ken Kitchings, a musician, arts promoter, and ardent jazz lover. The space, a onetime furnace room for the adjacent inn, and remodeled to perfection, is a lovely, intimate, comfortable, and acoustically vibrant room. Seating no more than 75, the room is arranged with virtually no “bad seats.” Those tables clustered around the small, platform of a stage, (and I recommend one sit there) are within 10 or 15 feet of the musicians. Despite that, the sound is never overpowering, the musicians needing only minimal amplification to be heard throughout. As a result, the playing is ardent, personal and never forced. In recent visits I have had the pleasure to hear some of the greatest jazz musicians in the world, all of whom one would find featured
in any notable club or concert hall from New York to LA. Greats such as Fred Hersch, Bill Charlap, Wallace Roney, Benny Green, Cirille Amee, and Cyrus Chestnut have graced the room. To jazz lovers these are household names, but often, many of the not-so-known are also presented. Two weeks ago the Side Door welcomed to its stage a young, up and coming, jazz pianist, Tadataka Unno and his trio. Tada, as he is called, is an elegant pianist, with a mastery of tone, harmony, and timing that reminds one of the musical incites of Bill Evans, Tommy Flannagan, and Hank Jones. He performed for two hours, in two sets, a fine mix of jazz standards and numerous compositions of his own. One of his compositions he titled “In a Blue Mood,” was delicately read and hauntingly beautiful. It was a magical evening and I hope he returns. It was exemplary example of the high level of musicianship Ken Kitchings attracts to the Sidedoor. Anyone who fears jazz is a dying art form in the provinces, need only take the short drive to the Sidedoor Jazz Club, sit down with a nice stiff dram from the bar, and let those fears dissolve in the warmth, bounce, drive, and cool mist of America’s classical music: jazz
- Tom Kauffmann
I write this in the wake of Newport Folk Festival. J. Tillman the Songwriter, the Fleet Foxes, and Father John Misty, the persona and presentation may keep changing, but I can’t quit him. As a touring songwriter myself I know how hard it is to break even the best songs to audiences bigger than your local scene, and the lengths some people will go to to make it happen, even re-inventing yourself completely as many times as it takes to catch their eye. Father John Misty “played” XPN fest in Philly a few days ago, or rather ranted through half his set about the evils of entertainment. You can catch the whole thing on youtube, it’s kind of amazing. He describes “soft-shoeing” his song “Bored In the USA” into existence, and saying he couldn’t play it anymore in the climate that has produced mass entertainment complex as a means of numbing the collective consciousness while allowing a tyrant to rise, telling his listeners that they should be profoundly sad, the Republican National Convention ending just hours before with Donald Trump as the nominee. I generally love artists who use their stage time to present thoughtful arguments for social change, and I wonder how my thoughts will grow on his meltdown after listening to it a bunch more times. He then played Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On A Wire” and left. A good chunk of my social media feed, including XPN’s own Bruce Warren were severely disappointed and angry at his “performance”. I would be too if I’d payed that much to hear him sing. I saw him the next day in a crowd waiting with baited breath for whatever would happen. I was standing just behind Jay Sweet, Newport Folk Festival’s curator and Master of Ceremonies. FJM made a quick funny reference to the SWAT team standing by in case he should repeat his antics of the XPN performance the day before and commenced to play, alone on stage with just his guitars. The Newport setlist: “I Love You, Honeybear” “I’m Writing a Novel” (he dedicated this song to Graham Nash, who played before him, and who apparently panned him in an interview after Fear Fun came out) “Hollywood Forever Cemetery” (also on youtube, the chord voicings in this version are just lovely, an incredible transformation from the album’s full band production to solo guitar) “Now I’m Learning To Love the War” “Everyman Needs A Companion” “Holy Shit” “Bored In the USA” (and yes, everyone fake laughed in all the right places) Then he played two new ones, I didn’t catch the titles, but from what I could gather of the lyrics, I’d almost hazard a guess that he’s about to put the Father John Misty persona to rest and move on to another voice. And I’ll be in the front row for it, whatever it is.
- Daphne Lee Martin
23 Green Street New London, Connecticut Serving New London since 1933
Spray Paint / Germ House / Trim
a basement in Boston, MA 5/31/16 Spray Paint (from Austin, TX) have been putting forth their minimalist spastic throb for about six albums now, although it’s the most recent two – 2015’s “Dopers” and this year’s “Feel The Clamps”, on Goner – that show them at their best, methinks. They’ve got an unconventional line-up which doesn’t include a bass player, yet the two guitarists each play through bass cabinets, giving their riffs a distinctive force that sure sounded great in an Allston basement on this particular night (the one other time I saw Spray Paint was in a larger room, and though it was eminently digable, I didn’t dig it quite as much). They pile onto their hypnotic riffs with a bunch of wry, deadpan-type lyrics (“everybody’s getting cancer”, repeat, repeat), and I can easily say that anyone who’s
into propulsive, low-end rock such as Urinals/100 Flowers or even Feedtime should find Spray Paint to be right up their alley... Germ House sound like they could be from Ohio – like, maybe Columbus or something – plus with some New England mixed in (surprise, they’re from Rhode Island). Off the top of my head, a somewhat accurate comparison could be Times New Viking mixed with Modern Lovers, I think? Good band, for sure. I’ve seen them twice now, and they’ve always sounded better after the lead guy switches over mid-set to the white guitar, for whatever that’s worth.... Trim, now, were one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in a “rock gig” setting. I’m not really a ‘noise’ person (no kidding) and what little noise I’ve been exposed to has generally been of the ‘abrasive white noise with samples clanging up against each other’ variety, but this set from Trim was a very different type of noise. Starting off with solid rhythmic pulses, and yes there was some heavy sounds and effects pedals and so forth, but with a live drummer playing along, which added greatly to the proceedings. Victoria from Trim is a very visual performer, too – she was using her bare toes, arms, hair, moving around and sticking contact mics to various things around the room, at one point doing something with her shoes, etc.... everyone in the room was kind of amazed and applauding when Trim had finished. Seeing a band that you’d never heard before and loving them
is one of the cool things that can pop up and surprise you, which is a good reason to leave the house on occasion.
Rakta / Dame
The Democracy Center Cambridge, MA 7/9/16 Rakta (from Brazil) are a band that I’ve listened to in passing before – generally liking what I heard but never quite ‘getting’ it -- until I saw them in person recently, which completed the rest of the picture for me. Seeing them live was an experience like I’ve had only from very few bands before (Protomartyr being one of them, in this exact same venue before); I mean, Rakta were loud, and very very good, but that was only part of it. The sound that they made as a trio was relatively simple yet astoundingly deep, and they used pretty much everything they had at their disposal to create all kinds of different textures and noises: samplers and pedals, sleigh bells and little hand-held percussion things, I even saw a plastic toy trumpet at one point.
ATDI commenced recording in Malibu, CA and eight months later, Relationship of Command was born onto the world. The record propelled At The Drive-In to new heights. Receiving critical praise from worldwide press gained the band a taste of commercial success. While they were catapulted to a larger realm, so were their internal tensions. After canceling the remaining dates of a European tour and less than a month before their U.S. tour commenced, At The Drive-In announced an “indefinite hiatus.” The bunch had finally split.
At The Drive In
An Abridged Narrative -orA subjective look through time at a noise-punk band from El Paso, Texas with a brief historical accompaniment Remember the feeling of experiencing something truly new? Another exciting freedom finally found. For some, At The Drive-In’s swan song, Relationship of Command was the next logical step after In/Casino/Out. For me, it was a changing of the guard. A disparate wind was blowing. Overall aesthetics were evolving. What I imagine being a part of the music scene when Nirvana’s Nevermind came out. And then they broke up. Incendiary from the start, Cedric Bixler (vocals), Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (guitar/vocals), Jim Ward (guitar/keyboard/vocals), Paul Hinojos (bass), and Tony Hajjar (drums) came together in late 1993. The group released a handful of EPs while touring the Lone Star state. Eventually, the band branched out and started touring the United States. Relentless touring didn’t garner At The Drive-In large crowds, but it did help catch the eye of Flipside Records, who were eager to put out their first proper studio album, Acrobatic Tenement. Comparatively more straight-forward and only slightly less dissonant, it’s still easy to imagine how they didn’t quite fit in with the punk-house crowd. Through touring, they forged ahead. At The Drive-In decided to release their next full length, In/Casino/Out through Fearless Records, which was a big step for both band and label. They entered a California studio in the beginning of June 1998. Striving to capture their intense live performance, the band banged out the session in under a week- recording live with very few overdubs. Another cycle of touring kept ATDI out for most of the year- only pausing to record the EP, Vaya. After touring nonstop for over five years, At The Drive-In was worn ragged. Growing tensions made their live performances more intense and dynamic. Following a tour with Rage Against the Machine,
Following At The Drive-In’s untimely demise, Cedric and Omar founded the more experimental group, The Mars Volta. The group released one great album, De-Loused in the Comatorium, and five albums that progressively took more understanding with each release. Jim, Paul, and Tony took towards a more alternative sound with their new construction, Sparta. Their inaugural release, Wiretap Scars is a collection of cleaner, more melodic songs, especially when compared to the postpunk/hardcore scene they hail from. With each subsequent album, Sparta piled more and more reverb on until they sounded like a basic version of Coldplay. At The Drive-In was nowhere in sight. Finally- after 3,974 days, At The Drive-In announced their reunion. The only dates announced were thousands of miles away. Without leaping to a destitute death, Youtube videos and praying for a southeastern tour is where my friends and I were left. The bummer that it was, at least there was hope. The hope faded faster with each video and review that showcased their reunion. Jim, Cedric, Paul, and Tony were having the time of their lives. Omar was the exception. Omar played his parts and sounded great, but HE. JUST. F**KING. STOOD. THERE. Eventually they went quietly away, sans-southeastern tour. At least the decision of caving and spending money on tickets and travel was easier to make. Good. In early 2016, rumblings of another At The Drive-In Reunion started. Their website and social media accounts fluttered with activity hinting mysteriously of announcements to follow. My roommate heard my eyes roll through closed doors. At The DriveIn’s website shook back to life including a snippet of NEW music and tour dates. The five members were back! It seemed too good to be true. Having relocated to Connecticut, I am essentially at the epicenter of their east coast United States tour. With shows scheduled in Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston, my only problem seemed to be which/how many shows to attend. They announced tickets were to go on sale on a Wednesday at 11am EST. I was able to get my computer on the Ticketmaster screen counting down the sixty minutes until I could buy tickets to finally witness At The Drive-In live. Slowly counting down, I decided to take a shower and slick my hair back, both out
When I first heard Rakta (via their self-titled “Rakta” EP from a couple of years ago) their lineup included a guitar player, and there’s even some guitar on their current album, “III” (out in the U.S. on Iron Lung), but on this tour they’re just bass, keyboards, and drums, and the result is something that’s maybe a little less than the punk/ hardcore that they’ve been lumpedin with previously, and more like a mixture of dark psychedelia, heavy dance music, and krautrock. When put together the whole thing sounds completely amazing, especially with the entire floor shaking from everyone in the room bouncing up-and-down, and with the sound coming from seemingly every beam, board, and piece of timber in the room. Also, keep an ear open for Dame, a relatively new Boston band (their first show was about a year-and-a-half ago) that has released a couple of demo cassettes already; they play really cool post-punk type stuff with keyboards – I’d almost hate to say ‘goth punk’ or mention Joy Division or Peter Hook -type bass lines, but as a form of shorthand right now, it’ll have to do (plus I’m not sure exactly how much space Rich wants to give me to keep talking here). The past two times I’ve seen Dame they floored almost everyone in the audience; easily one of the best and most compelling bands in Boston right now.
- Dave Brushback
of necessity and excitement. With the countdown at five minutes, my hair slicked back, and my credit card in my hand, nothing could stop me from buying these tickets. Finally, the time wound down and I was taken to a loading page. And the page kept loading. And loading. And finally, I was directed to the ‘sold out screen..’ How could this possibly happen? I refreshed. And refreshed. And refreshed- only to find the same ‘sold out screen!’ I started searching the band’s social media feeds to see if other people had experienced the same problem- turns out they had. I then starting scoping out second-hand sites and tickets were already on sale for triple face value. There’s nothing I could do. The show was still three months away. I’d bide my time. A week before the first show of tour was to kick off, At The Drive-In announced Jim Ward’s departure. Is it still a reunion if one of the main contributors is not involved? Had they known all along but didn’t want to discourage ticket sales? Positive reviews of the tour started rolling in and I started gaining a fourth wind. Friends of mine caught the tour in Nashville and relayed tales of an intense, positive experience. I got pumped. The east coast leg rolled around and I started weighing my options. Two days before the New York City show, Cedric announced they had to cancel the second of two D.C. shows on account of him losing his voice. He assured everyone that he was doing everything imaginable to recover for the rest of this the tour’s leg. With all signs pointing to a go, I bolted early from work and pulled the trigger on secondhand tickets. After four hours and one incredibly dense traffic jam, I’d made it to the Upper West Side. I found parking a block from the venue. I decided to miss out on the opening band, Le Butcherettes, in order to have pre-show drinks with an old friend. After a couple of beers, we decided to head to the venue. We made a right from 10th Avenue onto W. 56th Street only to find thousands of black shirts walking dejected out of the venue. The show was cancelled an hour after doors opened.
- Michael Walters
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A Poetry Page Ron Whitehead prayer deliver me from fear remind me constantly that fear is forever trumped by love deliver me from power for power without love and wisdom inevitably destroys anyone and everyone in its path including the one who has power but lacks love and wisdom deliver me from the disdain of arrogance elitism privilege and the illusion of superiority for no one is in any way better than anyone else deliver me from the violence of greed grant me the desire to live simply and to share earth’s bounty with others deliver me from the silence that enables any and all manifestations of abuse war and evil grant me the necessary balance of love power and wisdom enabling me to be a non-violent warrior for peace grant me the ability to act responsibly in all areas of my own life to be a good neighbor and to dwell in harmony with nature thank you for the bounty of life for the beauty of nature and for the love of family and friends amen
Shithouse Manifesto poets come out of your toilets you’ve been holed up too long playing with yourselves with your wastes you’re wasting away all olfactory sensations dead what with your head now situated on your posterior one eyed cyclopian peering down into midnight bottom of the outhouse and it’s time to throw away the corncobs and Sears catalogs and walk back out into the barnyards the open pastures of the world where animals and people and flowers still bloom where the sun still shines through the moon at midnight in that other world you’ve lost until now it’s high time to wake up pull your sad face and every other hanging down part of you out of that stinking forlorn lost world you’ll be fertilizer soon enough for now it’s time to reconstruct who you are your life time to check out of the amnesia motel and get back on the highway 61 or 66 or 69 and finally say goodbye to those lonesome lost blue pieces of who you used to be and say hello to this yellow sunrise post-world where the crows are grinning and the morning glories sing
Ken Cormier Forgive In college I was told to be a critical thinker, and so I looked around me and began interpreting everything I saw. The pavement seemed like a black tongue beneath my shoes. Suddenly, there were translucent dots all over everything. My girlfriend lied to me, and I felt sad for her pain. I threw away all of my magazines and started annotating the daily newspaper in red ink. After college, I went to war. The skies were thick with smoke. My best buddy Ron went up in a puff of feathers one day while we attempted to ransack a home in the middle of a contentious province. I drank expensive liquor with some officers and traded stories about rifle malfunctions. By the time I made it back home I was a changed man. My girlfriend had settled down with a guy named Pat, who sang in a bar band and made money on the side juggling at kids’ parties. I remember lying down naked in the shallow creek near my home and calling out to my mother to bring me some cheese and crackers. I wanted to find work, but there was no work. I wanted a piece of pie, but there was no pie. Eventually, I signed up for a seminar on how to wash and iron my clothing. At Larry’s Bar and Grill I attempted to interpret everything I saw. There was a loud murmur that sounded like blood pumping through someone’s tired old body. I hit the ground and couldn’t catch my breath. My old girlfriend was there. She told me she was sorry. My mother was there, and so was everyone else. They all told me they were sorry. I lay back in the wet grass and I forgave them all. I looked each of them in the eye, even as they began to twitch and fade into the test-pattern that the ceiling was becoming. “I forgive you,” I said. “I forgive you.”
Daniel Boroughs Stoned In A Perfect Storm For Slyne and The Family Stoned
Rolling by, I am a fixture of the lost Tumbling in the sea Ship with chipped paint aglow, sails billowing in the wind Collapse is imminent but this flight glorious Hands spasm on the wheel I can feel my hidden veins finally, Giving birth, protruding for the first time The ship shaped in a prayer hand position Slender with its fingertips barely touching The light between them nails, the hope and faith That it will not split like a coconut Under the hard swing of a butcher’s knife The perfect storm is what the doctor ordered And I am doused in sea salt Aviary guitars chirp above What a space between heaven and earth to traverse With drums and bass in flight! Exasperated by their weightlessness I hold off convulsing and shutting down In search of the perfect rift Of water and music To shoot me skyward Oh, perfection! I am in trouble now My heaving breath whistling for it In the key of me against the tides This ship, my soul, my conduit To disperse me from this body Into the ease of orchestrated sound The winds chant, “Get down Mama, sweet and low, Get down Mama, ease my soul.” As the silver lining is painted Under the belly of clouds, I sift in the current, grin ear to ear I take a heavy draw of the fog on the water The music blooms and I am safe As I turn to back to light My body reaches the depths of the sea So once again, “Get down Mama, sweet and low, Get down Mama, ease my soul.”
23 opens with seagull calls and a ship’s bell ringing. Hear Simpson’s opening lyric “Hello my son, welcome to Earth” and you can easily envision him standing in the middle of the delivery room, holding his newborn child. The track builds into an almost 70’s-like Elvis serenade until it takes a sharp right turn into a funky R&B number where Simpson laments his time away from his son while on the road. The following track is the lullaby-like “Breaker’s Roar” and again you can imagine Simpson, this time serenading his son in the nursery.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth Atlantic Records
While Sturgill Simpson’s highly successful album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music launched him into the Americana/alt-country stratosphere in 2014, he and his wife welcomed the birth of their first child. This blessed event and life on the road as a touring musician would chart the course for his newest release, A Sailor’s Guide to Earth; a concept album and his most personal effort to date. Simpson’s experience as a seaman in the US Navy serves as the vessel in delivering what is clearly a 10-track musical ‘how-to’ life instruction book for his newborn son. Not surprisingly, he navigates to new sonic waters on this record – deftly bending and fusing the sounds of Motown, Music Row and Stax throughout. The album brims with nautical terminology and references, immediately evident when the first track “Welcome to Earth(Pollywog)”
The Low Anthem Eyeland Razor & Tie
Eyeland by The Low Anthem is a difficult album. Not just because it took years to make, but because it’s also not what you’d expect from the band if you’re a fan that hasn’t seen or heard them in a while. It’s not like they haven’t been busy - since 2012 the band has also brought an old Vaudevillian theater in Providence, RI called the Columbus back to life as a performance, recording and rehearsal space where artists like Daniel Lanois, Wanda Jackson, Charles Bradley and Miracle Legion have played some really special shows. Local bands like Roz and The Rice Cakes have also recorded incredible records there as well, and now The Low Anthem have finally released their 4th album, also recorded and mixed at their studio at the Columbus. And while it’s a challenging record, it’s also very good - just not what you might’ve expected, but I’m pretty sure that that’s the point. In the past, singer Ben Knox Miller has proved to be an incredible songwriter, being rewarded by artists like Emmylou Harris and Tom Jones covering his songs. But it’s clear that he’s not in any way interested in repeating that sort of material, which is kind of a shame, as they’re some of the best
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band 55
Big Crown Records As a collector of dance records, I’ve come across countless steel band LPs. While I’ve been met with tons of traditional calypso and other related Caribbean sounds, there was always the hope that I’d discover a “funky one” … a steel band record that’s more James Brown, less Harry Belafonte. Those records do exist (see a compilation series called Steel Funk), but they were not typical. German musician Björn Wagner (also of the explosive funk band The Mighty Mocambos) visited Trinidad and Tobago, the traditional home of the steel drum, where he learned to play and eventually had his own drum hammered from an old oil drum. With his skills honed, he returned to Germany and recorded arguably the funkiest steel band record of all time. In true steel band fashion, 55 includes plenty of covers … selections that will appeal to those immersed in soul, funk and hip hop: The Chakachas’ Jungle Fever, Dennis Coffey’s break monster Scorpio, and even a cover of 50 Cent’s steel drum heavy P.I.M.P. (which is so spot on, it’s been erroneously identified as the origin of 50 Cent’s sample on several sites). All told, 55 is a perfect summer record. The tropical vibe will blend perfectly with that rum drink in your hand while the funky drummer will keep your smiling head nodding.
- Dave Freeburg
The album seems to jump ahead in time with the next set of songs as if Simpson is imparting wisdom to a much older boy. The soulful “Keep It Between The Lines” offers some of the best lyrics on the album; “Do as I say, don’t do as I’ve done/It don’t have to be like father like son.” A great touch to this one is the harmony of the backing vocals repetitively singing “don’t sweat the small stuff” in the outro. The countrified “Sea Stories” bleeds into a cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom” – a song that impacted Simpson greatly as a teenager growing up in a broken home. He quietly sings this track over a bed of piano, pedal steel, and strings, rendering it almost unrecognizable from its original form. “Brace for Impact(Live a Little)” was the album’s first single and the heaviest rocker of the bunch. A thick drum backbeat navigates the song from start to finish as Simpson takes a moment to instruct, “Make sure you give a little before you go to the great unknown in the sky.” The album closes with the frenetic political R&B romper “Call to Arms,” which clearly shows the singer’s displeasure with the government and its people; “Nobody’s looking up to care about a drone, all too busy looking down at our phone/Our ego’s begging for food like a dog from our feed, refreshing obsessively until our eyes start to bleed.” A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is Sturgill Simpson’s most ambitious and widereaching release so far, and yet he pulls it off so adeptly. While he flirted with some of these influences on his second record, he took a much deeper dive this time around. The heavier use of horns, courtesy of the brilliant Dap Kings, added greatly to the authenticity of the underlying Memphis and R&B tones. It certainly leaves the lane wide open as to what Simpson’s fans – and his son – can expect from him next.
- Paul Boudreau
songs I’ve heard, but Eyeland isn’t about repeating - it’s about experimenting and reinventing, and I have a lot of respect for that. Many of my favorite bands are ones that have found a way of reinventing themselves while still remaining relevant. But here’s my criticism - while I like these songs very much, they’re not as powerful and down to earth as earlier Low Anthem songs, and on first listen, this record didn’t do a whole lot for me. But after listening to it repeatedly on headphones, I quickly formed a different opinion. “Wzgddrmtnwrdz” is a very interesting exploration in sound. The instrumental “Am I The Dream Or Am I The Dreamer?” is far out, and “Dream Killer” really draws me in. But something really surprises me in this song. It pretty much whistle samples the Beatles “Yellow Submarine” and that reminds me of a conversation I had a while back with Ben where he told me that he just didn’t get the importance of the Beatles, so either he’s come around to their brilliance, or he was full of crap at the time. I like the nod though. What’s most different about Eyeland and The Low Anthem right now is that Ben Miller’s musical partner Jeff Prystowsky has traded his upright bass for the drums and just about every odd electronic piece of gear he could get his hands on, often nailing it, with these two seeming to have settled into something that works for them. I’m thankful that this inspiring Providence, RI band has finally put this record out. Thank you for that, and for the Columbus, where you and many other amazing bands can play shows that might’ve never happened in Providence, Rhode Island.
- Chris Daltry
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Modern Primates Leaving Eden
On their new EP Leaving Eden, the Modern Primates offer ten songs worth of rock and roll that weave through a few decades worth of influences. There are tunes that that evoke memories of Motorhead riffage and some that embrace the NOFX breed of 90’s poppunk. There are moments of Minutemen-esque funk/ punk and guitar solos that range from fast and loose Stooges style outbursts to full on metal shredding. Fronted by sass-mouthed lead singer Sarah Kraut (sample lyric: Got ditched for a bitch/ F*ck this sh*t/ Romeo and Juliet can suck my di*k”) the Modern Primates play songs about booze, drugs, and love, and the problems that inevitably come with all of those things. Recorded and mixed in New London by the bands guitar players Bob Bourne and Pete Nowakowski, Leaving Eden is an album unconcerned with sticking to a particular sound or musical formula, much like the city in which it was produced. Instead, the Modern Primates do the most rock and roll thing you can do musically, which is whatever the fu*k you want to. - Sebastian Coppotelli
Various Artists Semaphore
Telegraph Recording Company
In the heart of New London sits one of the best indie record shops in all of New England, The Telegraph, and deep in the heart of this bastion of independent music beats one of the best indie record labels Connecticut has ever had the pleasure of producing. The Telegraph Recording Company has gifted us all with some truly stellar releases over the last few years. Some of their brightest stars dazzle on new label comp, Semaphore. Twelve tracks, each one of them worth a listen, run the gamut from atmospheric indie rock to ethereal post rock to raucous ska and punk, and just about everything in between. Highlights include tracks from Violent Mae, Quiet Giant, Elison Jackson, The Lost Riots, and Olive Tiger. But, again, every track/artist on here is worthy of your time and showcases the very deep talent pool that The Telegraph Recording Co. constantly fishes from. - Chip McCabe
anxiété/gravity The discography of black metal/dark ambient/neofolk outfit Dhampyr is a somewhat unwieldy one. This now one-man project has over 30 releases up on the Dhampyr Bandcamp page – various full-lengths, EPs, and splits going back to the outfit’s inception in 2006. A decade after first lifting off, Dhampyr appears to be making no effort to come back down to earth, albeit the project is continuing to fly in varying musical atmospheres. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, Harley Lethalm, Dhampyr is a sonic exposition on the merging of light and darkness that create the world as we see it. Beauty and strength, malevolence and frailty, they all exist on new album anxiété/gravity. Gone completely are the icy blasts of second wave black metal that graced previous efforts, and instead Lethalm gifts us with a soiree of brilliant atmospherics that seem to continually retreat deep into the very void of the human soul. - Chip McCabe
Sea of Bones
Silent Transmission New Haven, doom metal masters Sea Of Bones follow up their sludgey second full length The Earth Wants Us Dead with a twenty-seven minute improvised track. For a band that relies as heavily on creating atmospheres as pummeling riffs, it actually makes sense. Silent Transmissions captures the trio in what is essentially their song writing process, only here the details aren’t fine tuned. We are led through a cacophony of droning riffs and slow churning rhythms with everything cranked to eleven. The crunch of the gear being pushed beyond its limits defines the band’s bleak tone, which is as desolate and depressive as any Grief or EyeHateGod record. In this off the cuff setting, Sea Of Bones are able to expand upon their ultra heavy doom sound, exploring even murkier waters. Just before the track’s completion, an air raid siren guitar riff jumps to the forefront, signaling the apocalyptic conclusion. Silent Transmissions is certainly not the easiest listen, but for the daring, its rewards are plentiful. - Colin Roberts
Various Artists Calligrams
Obscure Me Records
This ain’t your typical scene comp. Four bands, two songs each (one per side), on a sexy slab of vinyl in a cover that harkens back to the Soviet Union era propaganda posters of The Stenberg Brothers. It’s a perfect delivery vehicle to highlight the (sadly) underground of an ever-fertile Connecticut music scene that is perpetually on the verge of bigger things. Spectral Fangs kicks proceedings off with the wonderful “Stoned and Atoned” and closes it all with “Catnip” wearing their sonic 60’s garage stoner haze on their sleeves. Power trio Dr. Martino checks in with their quirky and raucous pop and surf - catchy, fun and funny as always. New Haven’s Ghost of a Chance is a revelation providing two tracks on different ends of the spectrum with the bedroom musings of “Can Opener” and full-on shoegaze sonic assault of “It’s a Drain”. Ross Page’s Terrible Roars is a revelation with their slinky cool indie pop vibe. Calligrams a great slice of music and the format is a winner throw it on your turntable and you’ll find yourself flipping it over and over and over again. Think of it as a Nuggets for the Connecticut underground - and they are tasty nuggs indeed! - Rich Martin
Downtown Boys Full Communism Don Giovanni
I think I first heard of Providence’s Downtown Boys from Joe Malinowski at Willimantic Records in mid 2013. They were going to be appearing in his shop and he seemed to think they were right up my alley. They were loud/hard/fast, they were political, they were multi-racial, and they were well, Punk fucking Rock. Well, since that eyepopping appearance, I’ve seen them live numerous times and bought every piece of music they’ve released. A 12 song CD (which has just been reissued on vinyl via One Percent Press,) the amazing 4-song eponymous 7” EP, and, most recently, the “Full Communism” LP on Don Giovanni Records. They’ve been written up in Rolling Stone, Spin, and countless other mags, e or otherwise, making a whole bunch of Best Of 2015 lists. And with good reason. This record is an absolute killer, assaulting the listener with a rather unique blend of singer Victoria Ruiz’s fantastic voice, guitarist (and co-writer with Ruiz of the lion’s share of the songs here,) Joey DeFrancesco’s harmony/retorts, two (!) manic saxophones, and Norlan Olivo’s tireless drumming. From the second Joey yells “Riding in on a wave/a wave of history!” on the LP’s opener, you’re hooked. The album races through 10 tracks, half sung in English, half in Spanish, that all but fly by leaving you thinking the LP side CAN’T be over already! Favorites include “Santa,” “100% Inheritance Tax,” “Monstro,” and “Break A Few Eggs.” The free download card includes the Boys’ version of Bruce’s “Dancing In The Dark,” which honestly I could take or leave. This album won’t leave your turntable for a while, I promise you. And see them live. At all costs, see them live. - Marko Fontaine
Silver Sounds: Hallucinations It used to be that Brooklyn were the criminals who would occasionally steal great bands from Connecticut. Now it appears that Philadelphia and their newly-minted “it” music scene are the culprits pinching talent of the Nutmeg variety. One of the most recent bands to relocate to the City of Brotherly Love is (formerly) New Haven’s Elison Jackson. One man’s loss is most certainly another man’s gain in this case as one of the best bands to come crawling up through the rich New Haven scene in quite some time has flown the coop. But we’re all better for having Elison Jackosn in our lives no matter what city gets the honor of gracing their Bandcamp and Facebook pages. Their most recent five-song EP, Silver Sounds: Hallucinations, is another in a long line of stellar releases, seemingly furthering their penchant for ethereal rock with a most ghostly aesthetic. Taking queue from various hidden gems of the 60s garage rock sound, Elison Jackson creates music that seems to consistently flow like a river, smoothing over every rock in its path. There’s a haunting quality to these tracks, something, you could say, that’s almost hallucinatory. Highlights here include a reworking of the track “Thru The Trees” (originally “Through The Trees), which appeared on their seminal debut album, 2011’s Spectral Evidence. - Chip McCabe
The Lost Riots
The Stories Are True Telegraph Recording Company
New Haven’s Lost Riots have been around for a few years now, playing great, old school Punk Rock and releasing homemade CDs and a proper 7” EP here and there. Oh yeah, and playing and playing and playing. And finally, we now have a 12 track album, “The Stories Are True,’ recently released on New London’s Telegraph Recording Company label. Recorded by Tom Bonehead in his Cheshire, CT studios, it’s the closest you’re gonna get to seeing them rip through 18 or 20 songs on a dingy stage in seemingly as many minutes. The Riots feature lead screamer Jeffrey Thunders’ insane vocals, the excellent Matt Mullarkey on bass (remember Elvis McMan?) Ben Erickson on guitar and Noel Thomas on the kit. A particular favorite is “Dead Boys,” (which you may have already heard on the Telegraph’s “Semaphore” CD sampler,) a song about wanting friends to come over and listen to some Dead Boys records. Other standouts include “Die Alone,” a reworking of “Astoria Blvd.” and “Aimee.” There’s also a nifty hidden bonus track. Let’s just say the lyrics are credited to Paul Westerburg. Nuff said. Also keep an eye/ear out for an EP by The Ratz called “From The Sewers To The Streets.” A Riots side project featuring Thunders (playing guitar here) and Mullarkey, plus Ed The Drummer. A 5-songs-in-under-6 minutes (!) punk rock ride that’s damn near over before it starts. - Marko Fontaine
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Killihump Goes To New Haven!
We have been meaning to get back down to New Haven, CT for awhile – it has always been and continues to be one of our favorite places to visit and truly is a Mecca for live music & good eats. So when we heard that our friends, punk band, The Lost Riots, were having their CD release show there at Three Sheets – we thought to ourselves: adventure time!
Jeff Thunders, singer of The Lost Riots, is originally from New Haven, (he is now a New London transplant, and we’re pretty happy about that!) – and he suggested that we make a night of it and try out one of New Haven’s newest Pizza restaurants called Da Legna. We also kept hearing about the newly opened Barcade – which is exactly what it sounds like, bar meets arcade – so that became our plan and we hit the road! De Legna Wood Fired Pizza is located on State Street – nearby you will also find Modern Pizza which we’ve heard is a staple in New Haven, as is the famous Frank Pepe’s. We were excited to try Da Legna’s and see what the buzz was about. We found a seat at the bar and immediately scoped out the taps– we’re craft beer geeks after all! They have 6 drafts and half were local CT beers – score! Our bartender quickly and pleasantly greeted us and was extremely knowledgeable of the beers on tap and all the menu items. It’s worth noting that they have neat-o little tablets as menus which was really impressive and fun! We went for the Kent Falls Brewing (Kent, CT) Doubly Awkward Hug Double IPA 8.2% made with Citra and Azacca hops. This beer was incredibly citrusy and juicy – and dare I say could easily stand up against any Tree House Brewing (MA) - who are famously known for this style of beer!? This brew was absolutely fantastic and really set the mood for the whole night – and it’s from CT! Da Legna’s pizza was equally fantastic – we opted for something a little off from your standard pie and ordered the “Patate” – made with mashed potatoes, spinach, bacon, mozzarella, roasted corn and smoked Gouda! This pie was hittin’ on all cylinders – fresh ingredients and a nice crisp wood fired crust. We had some friends with us and sharing commenced! Also worth trying: The “Funghi”: wild mushrooms & ricotta cream – and we also heard that the “Honeypot” was one of the more popular pies, made with san marzano tomatoes, soppresata (dry Italian salami), truffle honey, sliced hot peppers and onions. They have a wide variety of specialty pies as well as vegan and gluten free options! This place was absolutely fantastic – great staff, awesome atmosphere and probably some of the best pizza I’ve had. Do check this place out – we will definitely be back soon!!
After our stomachs were full, it was off to check out Barcade on Orange Street! This is one spacious room and instantly brought us right back to our child hood! Barcade offers a huge variety of classic video games such as Ms. Pac Man, Frogger, Punch Out & more - as well as a great selection of American craft beer – 25 to be exact! The folks there know their beer and we enjoyed talking with them and tasting a few before committing to a pint. They also have a pretty impressive pub style menu! We decided on Knee Deep Brewing’s (CA) Breaking Bud IPA 6.2% - a classic IPA with Simcoe, CTZ & Mosaic hops – a little pine, yet tropical – a solid brew. We then lost Chris to Punch Out and Tapper – much fun was had! We had a blast, this place rules - just go! Then it was time for the show so we made our way to Three Sheets on Elm Street. Old school live music fans may know this place as the old Rudy’s – which moved a few blocks down the street some years back into a bigger space. Three Sheets has carried on the torch and continue the legacy for live music in this venue. What would our adventure be without more beer and thankfully Three Sheets has a very diverse 16 tap selection! We found that one of our favorite go-to beers was on tap, and we all ordered it – New England Brewing (Woodbridge, CT) Sea Hag IPA 6.2% - it was hot in the venue and this was a perfectly refreshing brew! We call this beer Chris’s “other girlfriend” – we’re not kidding – he has a love affair going with this beer! Opening the show was New Haven’s own ska/ punk band, Slip and Fall, who really got the crowd going with their catchy upbeat tunes. The Anti-Queens, who were on tour from Toronto Canada, were up next. This was the second time we’ve seen this band –and they wail! This punk/ garage rock band is fronted by three bad ass chicks that tell some pretty funny stories and play some high energy tunes –it’s contagious. Hopefully they will make their way back to the US again soon! Closing out the night were the stars of the show, punk rockers, The Lost Riots, who played to a packed house and sent everyone into frenzy! The band played in celebration of their new record The Stories Are True released on New London’s own Telegraph Recording Company label. We had a blast in New Haven and hope to do it again soon!
- Meghan Killimade & Chris “Hump” Holdridge Follow us on more brew-tastic adventures on our site: killihumpdrinksbeer.com
I have been dating someone going through a divorce after ten years of marriage. They’ve been miserable for years but stayed together because of kids and the hope that time would bring some peace. A few weeks ago they slept together. The partner called me immediately and told me, my lover made no motions to hide the incident from me. I was apologized to profusely and insanity and anger and confusion were claimed to be responsible. I was told it meant nothing. I really want to believe, because I really love being together and even enjoy the kids. I feel like we could grow old together in a very happy way. The problem is, I can’t stop thinking about them together. I know the relationship is over, I know I am loved, only I can’t stop bringing it up. It’s ruining our time together. What do I do? It’s been made clear to me that I am worth waiting for and I will be given as long as it takes for me to forgive and learn to trust again. Signed, Wishing to get over it. Dear Wishing, The partner called you right away to tell you? First of all that is a bit crazy and slightly evil. Welcome to divorce – a most horrifying separation that invites terrible emotions and bad behavior on the part of the participants. It brings up unresolved emotional weaknesses and surpasses death in grief factors for most people. As a society, we do not have structures in place to help people through this well. They are subject to a buffet of despicable behaviors. As you’ve been crazy enough to fall in love with someone going through a divorce, I encourage you to realize that this will be no easy task. You need to choose what you want out of a relationship and look to see if this partner can provide these things. It is all well and good to feel romance and appreciation, even a sense of competition with a former partner, but if you are not getting your needs met by this person then walk away and give the lover some chance of working themselves out. If you look at this person and see yourself with them long term, ready to weather the trials of life together and enjoy the sweetness of time together, you need to work on your own mind and insecurities. It may not make you feel better to hear this, but breakup sex is common and almost a ritual for long term married folks, even if they have not slept together for years. It is a way of figuring out what is lost and what is left. The good the bad and the ugly. Regardless of incompatibility there is loss and anger and mourning and sometimes an angry reminder of what will be missed or what there used to be. So what can you do when the thoughts come creeping in? Ask questions. Where is this coming from? Do I not trust this person? Am I insecure about my position in this relationship? What need is not being met right now? Our ability to show up and commit to a healthy relationship falls heavily upon our own ability to sort out our thoughts. Be in or get out,
10 Steamboat Wharf, Mystic, Connecicut 06320 | 860-536-1312 | mysticdisc.com
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26 T H E C U T \ U P _ N e w L o n d o n
The Song The Songbird Sings Jellyfant Records If music were a dream, it would sound like The Song The Songbird Sings by Allysen Callery. This album is a perfect escape from an awful world that kills dreams and pretty things with horrible news of a very upset world - once inside of these songs, everything fades into a calmness that helps the listener drift off over the ocean on the wings of a magical bird. These are gentle meditations that stylistically recall the finger-picky folk of another land, but also tell us all what life looks like to a woman living on the edge of the sea in New England. Whether seen or imagined, the subjects of these songs are animals and other things that make it easy to take a break from life and live within the sonic landscapes created by Bob Kendall, who’s production and sounds add incredible depth to the album, but never distract from Allysen’s words and hypnotic acoustic guitar playing. - Chris Daltry
The Mystery Lights self-titled
Wick Records For over 15 years, Brooklyn’s Daptone Records has maintained its position as the source for quality soul music. Their stable of bands is unstoppable and their all analog studio churns out classic records with undeniable warmth and power. But what if they used their enviable talents to produce rock and roll? Enter Wick Records, Daptone’s new rock imprint. The Mystery Lights have been lead, in one form or another, by Salinas, California natives Mike Brandon and L.A. Solano since their high school days. A few years ago, the two psychedelic rockers made the move to NYC and formed the current 5-piece lineup. Since then their fuzz heavy sound has been ripping up clubs throughout the city. They caught the ears of the folks at Daptone and quickly became the debut artists for Wick Records. Their first record does not disappoint. In keeping with Daptone’s quality control, there isn’t a dud in the mix. The songs range from plodding, fuzz-drenched crooners, “Flowers in my Hair, Demons in my Head”, to raging Sonics-style chargers, “Melt”, all with that thick, rich sound a 2” tape studio provides. The record will satisfy fans of the Yardbirds, Small Faces and the Kinks, but this is anything but derivative. Like Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings have done with soul music, Mystery Lights have put their own stamp on rock & roll.
- Dave Freeburg
Moon Saloon Bella Union The subtle proggy bubbly Star Wars blipping synthesizers and keyboards of Zach Tenorio Miller run alongside of Jane Siberry and Kate Bush pretending to be Americans throughout Moon Saloon - the ambitious, textural and playful new album by the Providence, RI band Arc Iris. Every corner of this record is filled with bold rhythms and sounds, but for being so sonically dense, the focus remains on the vocals of singer and former Low Anthem member Jocie Adams, who’s voice is strong, clear and engaging throughout - it’s young and old, arty and poppy, and always good. But the rhythm section is really the hero here. Max Johnson’s bass anchors these songs with Navy expertise, and Ray Belli’s perfect subtle and controlled touches on the drums allow for the album’s density but keeps the focus intact and adds power and groove when needed. Arc Iris is essentially a trio, but on Moon Saloon they really have used the studio and other amazing players to their advantage - especially Robin Ryczek’s powerful cello playing, which draws the listener in immediately on the album’s first track “Kaleidoscope” and also helps bookend the record with its closing title track “Moon Saloon”. Sometimes the album seems overly ambitious, especially because it would be difficult and expensive to assemble a band that covers so much of the parts played on the record, but believe me, it can be done - I’ve seen Arc Iris play as a duo and an 8 piece, and both work (maybe even better with intensity and immediacy of playing with fewer people, where sometimes less is more - Zach Miller can cover pretty much any ground needed with his arsenal of keys and pretty much unparalelled talent) but i love the indulgency of horns, layered vocals, keyboards, strings and all! ‘Moon Saloon’ comes out August 19th on former Cocteau Twins bassist Simon Raymond’s excellent Bella Union label. As a fellow Rhode Islander, I’m really proud of this band and wish them success! - Chris Daltry
Hot New Mexicans WAH!
Fast Crowd Records WAH! by Hot New Mexicans offers a fleeting glimpse into the slow, humid days of the southeast. Released ten years ago by Fast Crowd Records, this 7” finds the Athens, GA (by way of the MS delta) trio settled into a more straightforward rock and roll direction. Singer/guitarist Patrick Jennings’ is the tie that binds. His twangy yet overdriven guitar mirrors his vocals while Ian McCord’s tousled basslines and Joe Dakin’s rapid drumming provides the cohesion found in the highs--a howling treble. This four song collection will make you reminisce of standing uncomfortably in sweaty basements, crowded living rooms, and brightly lit community centers (like the whole damn lighting system is controlled by one on/off switch). It is easy to sink into a somewhat disconsolate nostalgia while the record is spinning. It’s a lot harder not to keep flipping the sides over and over, two songs after two songs. Such is the downfall of a quality record with only nine minutes of music. - Michael Walters
Stranger to Stranger Concord Records I’m being grabbed by the throat. I’m choking. Paul Simon is bringing all my foibles and follies into full light, Everyone notices and I am shamed and embarrassed, but his charmingly sarcastic vocabulary is making me love him for it. Paul Simon tells me that my life will end tomorrow afternoon but I might as well catch a re-run of Seinfeld on Netflix because it’s already too late to think I could even remotely make restitution for all the silly, stupid, fucked up shit I’ve done since birth. And all I can imagine is utter panic and sweaty, heart-pounding dismay for the next 36 hours before whatever new hell awaits me in the afterlife. Paul Simon tells me (in no uncertain terms, mind you) that living or dying, I’m fucked. That love does not exist. And he calls me out for the sham I am. He points his metaphorical finger at me, and calls me a phony, just like that other only living boy in New York. Paul Simon serves me a shot of Buddha with a John the Baptist chaser, then beats me down like a hard, hard rain, and says it’s for my growth. And Paul Simon says the same to you. But all the while he tells us this, as the words leave his lips and the jarring realizations begin to hit us full force in the larynx, all we can do is DANCE because he’s just so Rhythmic! We’re all Fools in the Rain!
The Record Company
Live at The Outer Space 07.19.16 I expected this to be a great show, and I got what I expected. If Frankie Viele and Balkun Brothers were band (Steve B on bass), they might be The Record Company. Solid songwriting, energetic performances, personable on and off stage, with a killer bass player. And the crowd was just as great. The give-and-take, the symbiosis - it was palpable. The room, the sound, the beer, the vibe - it was all really cool. I got what I expected! Now, next time? Hmmm... This band is great, but they could be better next time. Maybe they’ll they’ll be surprisingly great instead of asgreat-as-expected. Keep an eye on The Record Company.
time, money, blood, sweat and tears recording your stuff. Wouldn’t you like to hear it on the radio?
wplr 10pm sundays cygnusradio.com mondays noonish
27 maybe Black Sabbath on their first tour. Probably gonna go with the Ramones during their CBGB days if I’m totally honest though. JT: Firehouse 12 is a known hot spot for New Haven musicians. What makes Firehouse 12 different from other watering holes in the city? CW: hard to say, but after asking some of the guys about this, they said it’s the lack of tvs, the music played in the overhead and the ability to really nerd out about obscure music with other fans and musicians. Also, having a pretty top notch studio upstairs that also houses incredible jazz shows helps a lot. JT: What is your favorite restaurant in New Haven? CW: Jeera Thai
A Chat with Safety Meeting’s
I first ran into Carlos Wells many moons ago when he was bar tending at the local hotspot known as Rudys. It was a wild atmosphere, It was the center of the local music scene in New Haven, CT, and everyone was pining to get their foot in the door. It was a dumpy, grimy, little bar on the corner of Elm and Howe streets. Rudys has since moved to Chapel st and Three Sheets occupies the space at 372 Elm St. In the years since Los has moved to the 9th square section of town and manages Firehouse 12 on Crown St. With a jazz club and world class recording studio upstairs and a cozy cocktail bar downstairs Firehouse 12 caters to many peoples moods. Its a great place for an “East Rock”, a Modelo on tap, or the best “Dark and Stormy” in the Tri- State area. Carlos Wells also runs one of the best indie labels in the area knows as Safety Meeting records. He releases good music. Blends of garage, punk, indie and weird art stuff. He is very knowledgeable and will recommend anything to you that will suit your fancy. Hes one of the best people the Elm City has to offer. I had the privilege to chat with Los many nights and was very fortunate to conduct this interview. Ladies and gentlemen, Carlos Wells. Jeffrey Thunders: What is Safety Meeting Records? Carlos Wells: Safety Meeting is a small press run record label that I started back in 2004. I put out a lot of rock, psych, and punk stuff. Basically whatever I’m into at the moment. JT: What does Safety Meeting have in the works? CW: I got a full length from Procedure Club coming soon. Having the record release party on July 22nd at Lyric Hall with Landing and the Mountain Movers. Should be a really great show, and the first time for me at Lyric Hall. Later this summer, I got a live 2 lp live Oneida record that I’m really looking forward to. Oneida is an incredible psych band from New York that’s been active for over a decade now. The live recording came out amazing, thanks in part to the genius production work of Wicked Squid (who also recorded the live Acid Mothers Temple record I put out last year). The band was really into doing the recording because I fortunately asked them to do the project at the same time as they were gearing up to do a couple shows with Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) and James McNew (Yo La Tengo) and they wanted
to capture that. Later this year, I got a project with Political Animals (CT Hip hop), Velcro Lewis (Chicago Psych), and a couple more next year. JT: As a person who runs a thriving record label and gets submissions from bands, what advice do you have for bands that are trying to sign to a label and move to the next level? CW: Tour. Even if you gotta weekend warrior it. Get out of town and away from your comfort area. It’s really easy to fall into playing the same couple venues and having your friends show up, but crossing state lines is important on many levels. It’ll probably suck at first, but if you do it enough times, you’ll start to build that fanbase which’ll turn into more merch sales, better shows, more drink tickets, and even a couple out of state friends with places to crash. JT: What is your favorite New Haven band of all time? CW: It’s a tie between the Vultures and Crooked Hook. I love them both very much and was lucky enough to press some vinyl with both bands. JT: What are you currently listening to? CW: I’m currently spending a lot of time listening to old Can records, as well as the new Parquet Courts, and some Modern Lovers records I scored a while back JT: What are your “desert island” top 5 favorite records? CW: Marquee Moon - Television Brighten the Corners - Pavement Monster Movie - Can Salvadora Robot - Meridian Brothers Dopethrone - Electric Wizard JT: In your honest, unbiased opinion who do you feel are the 5 most important New Haven bands of the last 10 years? CW: The Vultures, Crooked Hook, Broken, Mountain Movers, and Pencilgrass. All very different bands, but added so much to our landscape. JT: If you can go back and see one band at any point in history what band who would that be? CW: The possibilities for this are totally paralyzing. Can’t decide if I’d prefer to check out Can in the early 70s, The Who during their prime, the Yardbirds, or
Aug 13 Denim Panther Aug 21 The Ardana
Sept 9 Juicy Grapes Sept 24 Sad Plant
Oct 1 Buzzard Canyon Record Release Oct 8
Oct 22 Matt Charette & The Truer Sound
NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT
JT: Everyone has a favorite in town, but what is your favorite pizza place? CW: Modern Pizza JT: New Haven has definitely gone through the “gentrification phase.” Gone are the days of places like the Daily Cafe, News Haven, Cutler’s, and the York Sq. Cinema. How do you feel about the current state of the city? CW: This is a whole interview in itself. Not really loving the franchise invasion. When I first moved here, the local businesses were amazing to me, but slowly over the years we’ve traded amazing coffee shops, news outlets, and restaurants for Paneras, Starbucks, and other crap you can find anywhere. It’s a shame. I get that big franchises have the capital to pay the crazy downtown rent and that visiting parents and students will feel at home knowing that they can still get their frappuccino here just like back home, but we’re slowly trading in all the character this city has for convenience and big money payouts. Seems short sighted to me. JT: A lot of people have said that since the Tune Inn closed down there is a need for a mid sized venue for more local and regional acts. Aside from College St Music Hall or Toad’s Place, do you feel New Haven needs another place? Or do places such as Cafe 9,Three Sheets, and BAR fill that void? CW: Those places are great, but I feel like a 500 max capacity venue that was also all ages would be ideal here and might help bring back some of that old New Haven charm. Although the Space and Spaceland Ballroom aren’t too far out of town really. JT: If you’re not at Firehouse 12 or celebrating another Safety Meeting release where can you be found? CW: I can not be found. JT: What does the future hold for Carlos Wells? CW: Can’t really answer this one. Not psychic, but I hope whatever it is, it’s good stuff. JT: Any last words? Shout outs? CW: Nope. - Jeffrey Thunders
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