Vol. 1 8/13
Table of Contents
Pg. 3 – About
About The Grey Estates
Hi guys, I’m Lauren, founder of The Grey Estates. It’s been a longtime goal of mine to create a zine and music blog, but I never really felt like I had anything new to add. I’m still not sure anything I have to share is earthshattering, but so many fellow lady bloggers really inspired me to start this thing anyways. Starting this blog has been such a fun, albeit timeconsuming journey and the support and contributions have meant so much to me. I’m so thankful to the bands and bloggers who contributed guest mixes and content and of course to all my friends who took a stab at writing for me. It’s seriously been such an awesome and overwhelming surprise to receive such amazing love. Enjoy the zine exclusive content found in these next few pages. I’ll see you guys over at The Grey Estates!
Pg. 4 – Contributors Pg. 5 – Album & EP Reviews Pg. 8 – Getting To Know: Trophy Wife Pg. 12 – Personal Essay: I Don’t Care. I Love It. Pg. 16 – Shop Her Look: Binki Shapiro Pg. 18 - Out of Town: Emittt James Pg. 20 - Photographs Pg. 22 - Venue Spotlight: Mr. Smalls Pg. 23 – Summer Loving Pg. 24 – Festival Essay: Finding My Home at Project Earth
P.S. Feel free to send over stuff for Vol. 2 anytime! Love, Lauren // @thegreyestates
The Courtneys – The Courtneys
• Miranda Barnes - Photographs
At times The Courtneys remind me of early Sonic Youth, fearless, fun, flat out rock and roll. For a trio of ladies from Vancouver Canada, a West Coast inspiration is strong anyway, their beachy rock paying homage to a location that’s not exactly across the border (“90210”). It’s easy to tell when you’ve fallen in love with an album because the repeated listens never get boring, you know all the words, your body moves with each song and you’re smiling from ear to ear, and this happens with every listen to The Courtneys. This debut is undeniably catchy and irrefutably fun and after just one listen, I’m sure you’ll be hoping for more. Truthfully though, it’s pretty impossible not to enjoy an album with an entire track devoted to Keanu Reeves (“K.C. Reeves”). – Lauren Rearick
• Sarah Christiaansen – Festival Essay • Kaitlyn Luckow – Out of Town • Myrna Martinez – Shop Her Look • Marissa Nunez – Getting To Know • Peter Olson – Review: oOoOO • Corey Rearick – Personal Essay • Lauren Rearick Reviews & Venue Spotlight
Forget Me EP – Summer Twins
Picture this: you’re seated in a plush red velvet booth, your beau’s arm is around you and the dreampop of Summer Twins drifts softly from a jukebox. While the Burger Record’s sister-duo would be suited for an evening out on the town in the 60’s, their playful innocence also comes with a modern day garage rock influence. Whether crooning a kiss-off sure to break the hearts of suitors (“I’m No Good”) or sweeping listeners into a toe tapping melody with pick-up (“Carefree”) the usual romanticism expected of girl groups comes with a punch of fuzz. Their closing cover of the Everly Brother’s “All I Have to do is Dream” is a suiting sendoff, lulling listeners into sweet vintage inspired dreams of their own. – Lauren Rearick
Without Your Love – oOoOO
Listeners would most likely associate San Francisco based artist and producer Chris Dexter with the witch house tag. While this genre carries an intentional irony, the Dexter’s projects under his oOoOO moniker undeniably draw from the same well. However, Without Your Love adds many new and unique flavors to the batch. After releasing two formal EPs and plenty of other obscure singles and remixes, oOoOO finally gives listeners this first full-length release. Much of Without Your Love seems laid back, blending elements of gothwave with deep lounge cuts and moments in ambient music. The sounds are easily accessible but not easily digestible; which isn’t a bad thing. It has never been Dexter’s aim to give his listeners anything predictable, with much of music naturally introverted. Opener, “Sirens” begins with a vinyl hiss and some faint ghostly humming. Suddenly, pounding vocals interject and a single piano scale echoes distantly. A disconnected phone tone can be heard, giving listeners a sense of haunted abandonment. However, while this introduction is a relatively simple concept, it draws the listener in, demanding all emotional attention to the soundscapes of an eerie memory. “Stay Here” has a feeling like midnight R&B got caught in the middle of a thunderstorm. An infectious, bass-heavy pounding gives the vocals a nervous racing heartbeat. As the tracks progress, the gloomy picture that Dexter paints draws the listener in, perhaps farther than some may 6 feel comfortable.
Sure, Without Your Love has some tracks that are immediately likeable. The title track seems like an intermission from the wailing desperation, but not without a little loneliness. “Mouchette” features a wobbling bass line that sounds like its been decaying for weeks with just the perfect touch of distorted vocals. It’s not like the links to witch house aren’t there. Warbling and pulsing drones come in and out with an almost mindaltering potency. Forlorn vocals give the impression of a poltergeist, performing in a smoky late night bar. The blown-out-speaker effect and wailing on “The South” sounds similar to material from Salem or White Ring. However, its Dexter’s attention to subtle details that gives the album an identity unlike his witch house counterparts. It feels more cohesive and more listenable as a whole LP than any other in the witch house genre I’ve come across.
Without Your Love thrives on Dexter’s mastery of detail to shadows and subtleties. As an album, it’s way more than witch house or EDM because it doesn’t feel like part of a gimmick. It’s a more expressive glimpse into Dexter’s vast talents, and while it is pretty dark and spooky, it pushes boundaries. All the while, and very importantly, it’s not overbearing. It’s an album worth investing in if you can handle a little doom and gloom. Words: Peter Olson
Getting To Know: Trophy Wife We got to recently know the ladies of Philadelphia based duo, Trophy Wife and how they came about being and what shaped their sound, leading to their newest LP Sing What Scares You. The group is made up of, guitarist/vocalist Diane Foglizzo and drummer/vocalist Katy Otto, who together produce authentic heavy rock, reminiscent of early 90’s girl grunge such as PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me and Sleater Kenney. However, Foglizzo and Otto’s gritty but lyricaly penetrating vocals acompanyied by the pair’s guitar melodies paired and heavy rythms on the drums bring a more forceful and raw feel to the album. First off, How did Trophy Wife come to be and how long have you guys been performing? Katy: As of this May, we’ve been a band for 5 years. We met in Washington, DC, where we both used to live working on a magazine together called GIVE ME BACK that picked up where the magazine HeartAttack left off. We were, I think, shyly aware of one another before we started playing together. I asked Diane to come “jam” sometime although I really hope I didn’t use the word “jam.”
Diane: I think you did say jam, actually. but i kind of liked that. i had never been in a band before and was excited to play music with someone who was super supportive of me being a new musician. katy wasn’t intimidating: she didn’t have intense expectations of me or our band, but, she did ever so slightly encourage forward momentum enough so that we didn’t succumb to self-doubt and never play a show! also she’s really funny so it was super nice to hang out with this hilarious new person with whom i share both music interests and political analysis. Who came up with the name Trophy Wife and was there any specific reasoning behind it? Katy: I am not positive how the discussion came about, but I know I liked the tongue in cheek feel to it, it felt like a funny name for the two of us, and it struck me as a cool name for a band. Little did we know lots of bands with dudes had it! Diane: maybe we should have named our band katy&diane. that’d be sick. Has it always been a two-person band? (if so have you guys ever thought about adding any other members?) Diane: it has always been a two person band. and it hasn’t ever felt like we were missing something. if we did it it would be cool, but it also would be completely different. i think we need this band to be a conversation between the two of us to work. Katy: I am glad that we’ve prioritized the notion of conversation in general. There are times when we ask each other more questions than we give answers. In many ways Diane has helped me carve out my authentic voice and a confidence that I may not have found without this space. Adding others to the mix can always make that tricky - if nothing else, it shifts the dynamic. I think we could work in other contexts well, but for this I think we have our formula. It’s what makes us happy.
When I listen to Patience Fury and Sing the Song That Scares You [Sing What Scares You], I automatically think of bands like SleaterKinney and specifically PJ Harvey's Rid of Me album, were any of those artists as well as other riot grrrl bands an influence for you guys music and sound? Diane: i did listen to sleater kinney a lot in my early 20s. i had good friends who listened to pj harvey but for a long time i didn’t get it or was intimidated by her... not sure what was going on. i now love pj harvey, listen to her music a lot, but it took me a while. i didn’t listen to much riot grrrl but what i did listen to never clicked this idea of woah cool they’re doing this, that means i can too. I’m not sure who our influences are - is it the opera i grew up listening to? my first love morrissey? my stint as a phish fan? all of them?! sure sonically i know that we fit into a certain category but i think im not totally sure why particular sounds come out when i play guitar. sometimes i try and play things that make me feel strong and confident, other times things that match where i am emotionally and mentally, which may be totally vulnerable. or things that take me where i want to be. for the last year or so ive been listening to the dead man soundtrack, keny arkana and robyn. Katy: I love PJ Harvey. I love all her releases - maybe even equally. It surprises me how she grows and turns and curves as an artist. I think of her almost like a poet, or at least a multi-disciplinarian. Someone like her strikes me as this mythic force, almost a protector of the feminine and its power in the world. A beautiful, searing 10 kind of feminine. Very embodied.
Actually though when I think of music that’s influenced our sound in Trophy Wife, I do also think of a lot of music made by men - Big Business, Shellac, Led Zep. Gotta pull the inspiration where you find it. Diane: yeah that’s true katy. and lungfish! and KARP. but also really rad friends from DC where we first met like INGRID. What other bands did you guys listen to growing up? Katy: In the 90s I listened to a lot of rap and hip-hop. That era is a very choice one for those genres - then when Nirvana came into my world, a whole lot opened up. And then Hole. Bikini Kill. Fugazi. SleaterKinney. But I also still really loved grunge. Ha. And I had a weird thing for the Doors for a long, long time. I even had a wall dedicated to Jim Morrison in my room!! It was confusing to me to be drawn towards sounds that were angry and aggressive, some even violent. But I always tried to extract what made sense for me. Music felt like a safe space to sort out my sheerest frustrations. To make certain things meet where they couldn’t in day to day life. I should probably also mention I listened to a ton of Tori Amos, which pretty much got me through high school. Diane: oh my god me too. tori was really important to me. my older brother introduced me to her. woah so lucky! though my mom was very offended by the cover of that record of hers with the mushrooms on the cover. i think i was in 7th grade. its true they were pretty erect looking. i spent a lot of time in middle school recording rap and hip hop songs off of this local radio station power99 onto cassettes so that i could write down all the words and memorize them. http://trophywifetheband.bandcamp.com/ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Trophy-Wife/109362215768569 Words: Marissa Nunez
Personal EssaY: I don’t care. I love it. I’m walking into a dimly lit living room that smells of smoke and cheap beer. My friends from college are sitting in an incomplete circle of folded chairs and my girlfriend shows me to my seat. I sit down and complete the circle of people, all that have influenced me to become the person I am today. I respect and love them each, however their loose smiles make me suspicious of this newly formed circle. The tension is almost visible in the smoke and mist when my girlfriend puts a hand on my knee and calmly says — ”Corey this is an intervention, we heard you listening to Selena Gomez. I deny it. Shaking now, I start to talk about the B-side tracks from my favorite album of all time - In Rainbows. I look at my sisters and say “Come on Lauren, you know! You heard me listening to Kid A yesterday. Kenna! Do you remember when we talked about Neutral Milk Hotel’s older stuff for 20 minutes last week?” It falls on deaf ears and sympathetic smiles. I breakdown and confess that it is all a ruse. My friends offer me an American Spirit and a PABs, and tell me that it will be okay. I take a drag for the first time in months and when I exhale the smoke mingles with the words “My name is Corey I don’t think the radio is that bad.” This story is inspired by a recent visit I had with my college friend Pete Mally. We were riding around
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio in his new car and he was showing me the sound system capabilities. He turned up the radio and Taylor Swift came on. I started tapping my foot and he started tapping the steering wheel. I started humming and he softly sang. Like two closet alcoholics in a bar the temptation was too great and we both confessed that we loved that song. Not only that we both liked T.Swifts last album Red. Later that night Icona Pop came on. If we were tipsy listening to Taylor Swift we were now black out drunk crying in a Denny’s bathroom to “I Love it.” I am not ashamed to admit that I like pop music. “Next To Me” by Emeli Sande is about a man being faithful to his woman, it is in no way, shape, or form relevant to my life, and I can’t get enough of it. “22" by Taylor Swift is a great song and my secret summer anthem. I used to think Blurred Lines sounded like the background music to a Target commercial, now I still think that actually, but its Pharrell! How is anyone going to say Pharrell and “mehh” in the same sentence? It goes deeper than today’s top 40 for me. I think “Call Me Maybe” is one of the catchiest and telling songs of 2012. Last year my radio was playing Ellie Goulding, F.U.N., Rihanna, and Adele right along side Grizzly Bear’s Shields and Cloud Nothings’ Attack on Memory. My iPod used to be a badge proving I was part of an elitist group of people swimming upstream in a fast current of mass produced beats and
dime a dozen voices. The songs and artist were chosen not because I like them but because they were part of my social resume. Instead of listening to music I liked I was listening to music that I was supposed to like but no one really does — like Vampire Weekend.
what I did with the water bottle? I drank the rest of the water in it. I have James Murphy’s DNA in me so kindly take your credibility and shove it in your Indie Lyric Titled Tumblr so your 16 followers can read all about it when their done creating My Little Pony fan art.
Don’t get me wrong I haven’t given away my Bon Iver and Arcade Fire vinyls. I will always love a staticy Wavves song about surfing and a blue grassy Fleet Foxes song about God knows what, above anything playing on HOT 101. The only thing that’s changed, besides my iPod, is the fact that I don’t let its 300 songs define me. My current playlist wouldn't get me a job at Pitchfork, or in the door for that matter, but it would get me though a 3-hour car ride, which is infinitely more important.
Here’s the way I see it. Indie music is like fancy French meal that has expensive herbs, fine aged cheese, and a mouth-watering smell. It is the best food made by the best most forward thinking chefs, and Katy Perry is a fried chicken strip from Kings. Nine out of ten times when you are hungry you are going to want the elegance and sophistication of French cuisine. But every once in a while maybe you’re just going to want some crappy greasy laden food that taste great but probably isn't good for you. Your snobby friends are going to look down on you from the Eiffel Tower with their roasted duck in a reduced white wine vinaigrette and scoff at your chicken strip dipped in plastic packaged BBQ sauce. But dip away and if you get a chance between dipping and stomach cramps yell back up to your fancy friends “I don’t care! I love it!” Words – Corey Rearick
Some people will say that by listening to the radio and supporting big name artist I am doing a disservice to the incredible talent that goes unrecognized by major labels. To that I would say you have a valid point, but have you listened to the new Selena Gomez? It’s way more catchy than 3 dudes in a garage, who think they are reinventing the distortion pedal with their sub par Myspace music that you consider the future of a genre that hasn't even come into existence yet. Others more bold, would say that I have no credibility or ear for good music. To them I would tell this story. When I was 15 (and you were all about U2) I was at a sold out show in Columbus Ohio. A band called Arcade Fire was playing and another band called LCD Soundsystem was the opening act. At the end of “North American Scum” James Murphy threw his water bottle out into the center of the crowd and who but a pimply, chubby, 14 15 year old me caught it and do you want to know
Shop Her Look: Binki Shapiro When I was asked which rock star chick I would love to dress like, Binki Shapiro (pictured left) without a doubt came to mind. What I love most about her style is how she can rock a basic tee like no other. She's described her style as "simple and easy" on and off stage she likes to keep her style as true to her as possible. Sure enough if you see her on stage she's in a t-shirt, booties, jeans or denim shorts. She tends to keep her make-up pretty basic as well as her accessories it's normally a couple of simple dainty rings and with a voice like hers who needs anything else. – Myrna Martinez
Shop Myrna’s full Binki look at:
Out of Town: EMMitt James Seeing hip-hop artist Emmitt James perform, is like being at a spiritually moving and intense concert, one whose artist is passionate about his work and just as equally as passionate about those that surround him. The audience soaks up James’ energy and leaves the concert feeling electrified and renewed as if they had just experienced something for the first time. And that’s exactly how James wants you to feel. Born in raised in Milwaukee, Wis. James (20) is not only a hip-hop artist, but also a nationally acclaimed spoken word poet, something that has clearly influenced his music. In high school, he was introduced to spoken word poetry, which made him realize that his words had power. “I love poetry,” James said. “But I’ve always loved music.” James, currently a student at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, wanted to balance these passions. “When I got to college I said I wanted people to identify me just as much as a poet as a hip-hop artist,” James said. James had been successful in doing so, releasing his second EP, Until I’m a Dead Poet in 2012, following the previously released Are You Listening Yet? This past year, James has been performing around the country, from his hometown of Milwaukee to New York. Through his music, James hopes to send an inspiring message to his listeners and audience. “You can only go as far as you want to be…A struggle can be a 18 beautiful thing,” James said.
His past also heavily influences his writing and music, which is so personal sometimes that it makes you uncomfortable—is he really sharing all this with you? The answer is yes, and that’s what makes James so electrifying. The electricity translates when he’s performing on stage. He wants his audience to experience new things. Going to a school in the middle of Wisconsin, James struggled with finding diversity, but he’s embraced that. He wants to introduce people to hip-hop who have never been really exposed to it before. He wants his audience to leave saying, “I thought it was a hip hop concert and that’s what I was expecting, but it was so much better than I thought.’” Usually when performing, hip hop artists, play a recording of their track and sing over it. James takes a step back from this in his performances, oftentimes having concerts with live bands, which allows him to collaborate and support other artists. He doesn’t plan on having a band at all concerts, however in future performances; he plans on having a DJ and a live drummer. James is changing the hip-hop world one honest and hard-hitting lyric at a time. He’s changing it with contagious performances that highlight musicality and knowledge of what gets a crowd to move. For James, his career as a musician and performer is just beginning. Currently he is excited about a new track entitled “Mama’s Favorite” which he says will be the “birth of a new project.” James’ video for “What Writers Do” was released at the beginning of July and future live performances are scheduled in Milwaukee and Seven Points, Wis. For a full listings of shows and upcoming events, check out his Facebook page: Emmitt James Music and Twitter: @Emmitt_James. Words: Kaitlyn Luckow
Above: Warped Tour Below: Afro- Punk Ph. via Miranda Barnes
Above: Hot Sugar Below: Kitty Ph. via Miranda Barnes
Venue Spotlight: Mr. Smalls It wasn’t possible to kick start our venue spotlight with any other venue but Mr. Smalls. The Millvale based venue has transformed from th an 18 century Catholic Church to a state of the art venue, with a 650 person capacity performance space, recording studio and additional projects in the works included. After some recent layout changes Mr. Smalls has become one of our favorite places to catch a show and home to some of our most Ph. via venue’s Fac ebook memorable concert experiences. Whether pa ge local or out of town here’s why you need to check out Smalls: • Who wouldn’t want a chance to say you saw your favorite band in a religious environment? • There isn’t a bad spot to see from, whether you shell out the extra bucks for balcony access or take in the show from the bar area. • Stained glass still included. • They finally got a merch area! This has been a particular grievance of ours as merch used to be located in a central location for viewing. Now you can grab your gear and get going! • It’s minutes from downtown. Before or after stops in Pittsburgh are easy and we’re available for food recommendations. • Meeting your favorite band is super possible. Tour buses are usually parked right outside, so there’s no the security issue of a big name venue and you can easily gawk at your favorite drummer.
Ph . via venu e’s Fa cebook c/ o Jessi ca D eLu ca
Summer Loving FYF Fest
L.A . Wi tch
The Courtney s
Beat My Bouti que
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I did a lot of things the weekend of June 21 that were completely out of my comfort zone. I danced on stage and was in a music video. I handed out Face Forward, the nonprofit organization I am interning for, schedules to complete strangers. I hugged complete strangers. I did this all without the constant reassurance of my phone. That weekend, I lived. And getting out of my comfort zone felt like coming home. This is fitting because upon arrival at Project Earth, located at Harmony Park in Geneva, Wis., many people greeted me by saying, “welcome home.” The focus of this three-‐day music and camping festival was to connect with the earth and connect with people. It was a perfect fit for our community and the Project Earth community because we were able to build and give back. Eventually, both communities became one.
Before the festival, I was told many people would say, “welcome home.” But I wasn’t aware of the immensity those two words would hit me with throughout the weekend. During my 20’s, the concept of “home” has become blurred and hard to define. Desperately seeking independence, I went to college out-‐of-‐state. But this never felt like my home. I’ve been constantly searching for some semblance of home. Project Earth, although not permanent, felt like my transient home. I was able to break down the walls of my comfort zone and trade them for walls of trees, tents and infinite love. Never once at Project Earth was I worried someone would chide me for my horrible dance moves. I didn’t think twice about the way I looked. Almost every person I passed said hello or smiled. Project Earth is basically the opposite of middle school. Looking back, Project Earth really did feel safe and like home. The community of people was steadfast, which allowed me to break free of my comfort zone. And what a rewarding experience for Face Forward, being able to give back and build our community and the Project Earth community. It’s not many times in life you experience a festival like this one, and I’m so happy I had the chance. 24-25 Words by Sarah Christiaansen, Photos by R ita Kovtun
Published on Aug 1, 2013
Pittsburgh based music blog The Grey Estates presents this zine of music content. Buy your own copy here: http://thegreyestates.bigcartel.c...