welcome to the art house by adam hirsch
Anyone who has lived in Los Angeles in the past ten years and has tried to seek out good music knows that the closer you get to the beach, the less options you have. The west side of the city used to be the centerpiece of the city’s smaller, independent live music boutiques, which offered a more reasonably-priced and relaxed alternative to the concert halls, nightclubs, and pavilions of downtown and Hollywood. But in the past decade, with the closing of such staples as the Jazz Bakery in Culver City, the Temple Bar in Santa Monica, and the Stronghold in Venice, Angelinos are finding it harder and harder to check out new music in West Los Angeles. The group of Los Angeles residents that has perhaps been most impacted by the depletion of West side live music spots is the generation that grew up on the West side in the past decade: high school kids and young adults who have experienced the repeated frustration of not having the money, the car, or the patience to sit in traffic to get to shows on the other side of the city (which is one of the largest urban sprawls in the world). So it makes sense that the people spearheading Art House Live at Top Tomato Market, a new DIY-vibe music and art space just 3 miles from Venice beach, is a group of college students that grew up as childhood friends in Santa Monica. “For a while I’ve wanted to develop what I always thought West LA was missing, a concert space with an emphasis on community and experimentation. When I got the opportunity to work out of the Top Tomato Market, I pretty much just called all my friends and said ‘we’re doing it.’ We created the concept of the Art House Live Sessions, a weekly event that showcases local artists and musicians in an intimate environment with an underground feel,” says Art House Live’s manager Jordan Alper. Alper is currently studying Music Business and Media Studies at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, where he has begun to cultivate imaginative ideas about reviving independent music in Los Angeles and about bringing out artistry in a world where music is increasingly computerized and corporatized. Although he does not consider himself a musician, Alper has grown up surrounded by musical talent, and with his unique skill set that combines creative vision with a penchant for management and networking, he has now committed himself fully to creating environments in which great musicians and artists can develop and flourish. “It’s rare to find truly safe, creative spaces for artists to experiment, collaborate and grow. I have found myself becoming increasingly passionate about facilitating and cultivating those musical environments. It’s also a way to give back to my friends who have inspired me so much over the years with their talent.” Last summer, Alper began working on various projects with Andrew Cohen, a local entrepreneur and musician that runs a new management company he named Art House Live. At the beginning of this year, Cohen began renting what was previously an old tomato market (with an unchanged exterior) in Los Angeles’ Mar Vista neighborhood as a space for his new company, and brought in Alper and his group of like-minded friends to renovate the space and run it as a fully-functioning gallery, studio, and performance venue. In only four weeks, the Art House staff has completed a full renovation of the space and has booked a series of shows that will happen every Friday all summer long. The lineup of musicians currently scheduled to play at Art House’s “Top Tomato” space is a mixture of local and touring acts, comprised mainly of young, up-and-coming musicians whose personal connections to the Top Tomato staff contribute to the venue’s status as a sort of grassroots artist movement. Below are some of Art House Live’s cornerstone acts that, in addition to being scheduled for shows this summer, have been working with the Top Tomato staff in rehearsing, recording, developing material at the space.
Kuh-Lida: Kuh-Lida is an experimental beat project of Chicago native and composer Myles Emmons, whose interest in mass production of beats and avant-beat making sparked the beginning of the Kuh-Lida project about one year ago. Combing future sounds with blips, drips, and strips, the music is only progressing and growing. Kuh-Lida is currently a resident dj and projection artist for Art House Live. His new mixtape, Money Hustard, is available for free download on his Bandcamp page. kuh-lida.bandcamp.com StAG: StaG is a duo comprised of Matthew McGuire and Will Walden, who met when they were five years old in a Tee Ball league, and have gone to school together from first grade to college. The duo makes music experimental electro-acoustic music, characterized by vocal harmonies, lots of reverb and noise, and electronic drums and surfy guitar. Although they are originally from Los Angeles, they currently reside in Boulder, CO, where they are currently working on their new album, When It Falls Apart. Their debut album, Rifle Meeker, was released in May of 2012 and is available for name-your-price purchase on their Bandcamp page. Look out for their upcoming sophomore release, When It Falls Apart. http://stag.bandcamp.com/ Stephen Becker Ensemble: The Stephen Becker Ensemble is an instrumental jazz group led by guitarist, performer, and composer Stephen Becker. As a native of Santa Monica and childhood friend of Alper’s, Becker eventually got accepted to the Oberlin Conservatory and College to study for degrees in both Jazz Performance and English. Becker leads an ensemble at school that performs and workshops his own original compositions that explore and defy conventional music boundaries. The jazz “ideal” of energetic and explorative improvisation permeates throughout Becker’s music, though his song structures and melodies draw from the historical spectrum of rich musical style, including swing, funk, hip hop, and rock. Becker is currently performing in Los Angeles throughout the summer at various local venues, including Art House Live on Friday, June 29th. http://soundcloud.com/stephen-becker-music Family Photo: Family Photo is a five piece ensemble that uses influences from European and African traditions wrapped in a package that is distinctly American. The members bring their backgrounds in jazz and classical music together with rock and folk sensibilities to create their diverse, eclectic sound. Formed in Sacramento, the band released its first self-titled EP in February, 2012. They are currently in their June residency at the Top Tomato space, where they headlined the first Art House Live Sessions show and are currently developing and recording new material. http://familyphotomusic.com/ Katie Boeck: California based singer/songwriter and performance artist Katie Boeck draws from both traditional folk and neo-soul influences. Lyrically inspired by confessional songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, yet melodically by artists like D’Angelo and Erykah Badu, it is Katie’s versatile voice that unites her eclectic background into a sound all her own. Katie got her start at the University of California Los Angeles, winning the well-known talent competition “Spring Sing” three consecutive years in a row. She recently toured India as the vocalist for an all-female pop cover band, and contributes to a range of other theatrical projects including the original musical “Witness Uganda” scheduled to workshop its first production in New York this fall. Katie met Alper through Andrew Cohen and is part of the Art House Live staff as well as a contributing musician and performer.
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Single of the
This week’s Single of the Week is “These White Walls,” from Swear and Shake’s debut album! Check out Maple Ridge, and the great music video for this awesome track! 4
old & Gray thoughts on a song by maps & atlases from the misceant I’ve got a drawer full of your notes And word games that we played on planes And five pages at least of you practicing signing Your first with my last name The tangibility of these lyrics has been on my mind all day; it’s something I find especially powerful. Goodness knows, my eyes were welling the second I heard that verse. It’s not unlike that article that Patrick Carney’s ex-wife wrote, where she outlines their relationship in records and a futon. The sentiment we allow to latch on to the objects in our lives is so exceedingly more formidable than we give credit. When thinking about past relationships, this association can be even more potent. It’s why I won’t get rid of that sweatshirt, why I won’t lend out that book, why I won’t ride that bike. Behind its door, there’s nothing to keep my fingers warm And all I find are souvenirs from better times Before the gleam of your taillights fading east To find yourself a better life Aligning lost love with objects is something characteristic of Ben Gibbard, and a large part of why he’s one of my favorite songwriters (also the fact that I’m actually a fourteen year old girl). “Title and Registration” is a pertinent example, referring to “souvenirs form better times,” “pictures I tried to forget,” and so on. And Gibbard addresses the idea in the song – these little definite parts of relationships we hold on to, because, without them, there’s no evidence that there was a relationship at all. Laying eggs, or even birth at all A shoes box full of photographs from before the fall Both Dave Davison and Gibbard retrace their steps, like a scene from Annie Hall, revisiting the moments where their respective relationships were made and broken. Davison’s reference to “the fall” and Gibbard’s memory of “the gleam of your taillights fading east” refer to the end of the relationship, and therefore, the changing function of these tangible objects. Initially, we keep these material items to remember someone when you aren’t physically with them. Upon uncovering them later, you find that they are then fane proximity when you are not only physically removed from a person, but also emotionally. In both instances, photographs preserve this inaccessible love, or state of mind for which the protagonist longs. We allow these little pieces of paper to be the bulletproof, glass case around immaterial experiences and feelings that we can never relive. Somewhere there’s an orange on the table Somewhere there’s a robe on the floor And our writing on the wall is under three coats of paint In an apartment we don’t live in anymore
And then there’s the bonfire, the disposal of these objects that is supposed to cleanse us of this longing. Painting over the memories can make the heartache disappear. It seems pointless, and potentially damaging, to think about a relationship, as it can lead to questioning “where things went wrong,” or “what I should have done differently.” You ask yourself the question that plagues the minds of the jaded, the heartbroken, “Do they still think of me?” No, needn’t focus on it. You get to the point where the past is just distracting you from what’s going on around you. The further from the edges, the further from the trim The fewer the coats, the less you put in Is it the more you loved, the less you let yourself remember? Or is it just the less you let yourself see? Ultimately, even if we throw away our tangible memory preservations, the association still exists. Try as we might to undo parts of our lives, even when we enjoyed them at the time, that’s the nature of memory and love and loss. The healthy balance of burning physical traces of your exes with your sympathetic roommates and hoarding mementos of lost love in a “secret” box under your bed is difficult to achieve. I want to say you belong here I want to pretend that we both belong But tell me how you that they would react To your parrot colored song There’s a blue dress I still have that I wore to Jordan’s brother’s wedding. I remember sitting on my bed after he told me he thought we should break up (the first of two times, mind you), and staring across the room, into my closet. The dress was hanging there, between a pair of jeans and my beloved Phil Collins t-shirt. My first thought was to take it out to the dumpster, along with his hoodie that was slung on my chair, the Stephen Colbert book he had bought me for my birthday, and a collection of photographs he had sent me the year before for Valentine’s Day. But I chose to call my mom instead. She reminded me how much time and money I had spent on finding the perfect dress to impress his family – not to mention how well it fit. I decided to keep it. I’ve worn it a handful of times over the past couple of years, since we officially called it quits. Now, I look at it, hanging in my closet, and instead of reminding me of what I lost, it reminds me what I learned from being with him. At the end, it’s best to hold on to those parts of broken relationships to remind you not of the person necessarily, but what they taught you, both before and after the proverbial gleam of taillights. When you are old and gray When you are old and gray I hope that someone holds you I hope that someone holds you The way I would
cloud cult & a lesson in new experiences by miss cassandra baim
“Have you ever heard of a band called ‘Cloud Cult?’” I mass-texted to a handful of friends while on my way to Lincoln Hall, a small concert venue in Chicago. I got a smattering of responses, mostly “No?” with one friend telling me not much about the band, but that I would “probably like them. Or maybe not, I don’t really know.” One of my old friends from home recently started interning in the production department of the venue, perks of which include free passes to shows. I’m game for pretty much any concert, especially if it’s free, so though I had no idea who Cloud Cult actually were, I happily agreed to be her plus-1 for the night, and decided to use the outing to figure out how to experience a show with absolutely no bias toward or against the group. As I met my friend outside the venue, I was optimistic. I decided that, instead of feeling out of the loop and like a bad music fan for never having heard of a certain band, I would just enjoy the experience for what it is. My friend had the same sage words of wisdom as my other buddy’s text: “you might like them. Or not, I don’t really know.” My intern friend was the best possible companion for an excursion like this because, like me, she’s always game for new experiences. The openers were a small group called Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps. I often have low expectations for opening acts, but I was impressed. Though Caroline, a lovely blond 6
young woman who alternated between guitar and banjo to play lively folk-rock tunes, and her all-male backing band were nothing I hadn’t seen before, I found myself actively grooving to her music and enjoying her charming stories and anecdotes between songs. Caroline and her merry band of Minnesota-ites graciously left the stage, I firmly planted my feet front-andcenter, ready to be blown away (or massively disappointed) by Cloud Cult. As Cloud Cult began their sound check, I took stock of what I saw: Many musicians setting up many instruments. I saw a guitarist also doing a sound check for his trombone, a French horn player, and (much to my heart’s delight) a violinist and cellist. Some crewmembers were setting up an easel and blank canvas as well. The musicians took the stage and immediately started playing: a slow combination of noise-rock and prog-rock with pre-recorded dialogue that brought to mind a mix of Explosions in the Sky and Titus Andronicus. After a slow build into their raucous first song, the show really got started, and I learned that I was in the minority for never having listened to these folks before: about 85% of the audience were jamming along, enthusiastically singing along and cheering. As the performance picked up, I experienced a lot of sensory overload. There was a lot to keep track of. The enigmatic front man, Craig Minowa, sang and played with maximum vigor, alternating between being at the microphone with his guitar and banging wildly on a drum set with the bassist/trombonist. As I am obsessed with stringed instruments, I paid a lot of attention to the cellist and the violinist (who also contributed vocals). At stage left, where the crew had set up the easel and canvas, was a young woman, not playing anything but ardently painting to the music. This wasn’t just a concert—I was watching a full-blown production. Each song was different from the last, but they all shared one common factor—expression. Whether it was a quiet acoustic song accompanied by an animated pseudo-music video playing on a projection screen overhead, or a percussive noise-rock instrumental piece that had each band member bang loudly on individual drum sets, the entire set showed a commitment to experimental rock, and performance art. While I was impressed with what I saw, I’m not going to immediately download all of Cloud Cult’s records. As far as this experience being the first time I see a band knowing nothing about them, they definitely left a positive first impression. As I shared my experience with another friend the next day, she asked, “Aren’t they like, not relevant anymore though?” I first called her out on sounding like a massive d-bag (because that’s what friends are for), and then asked why it mattered. Though Cloud Cult was first established in 1995, from the looks of the crowd that night—the way they cheered, clapped, sang, and danced along, Cloud Cult looked anything but irrelevant. I explained to my well-meaning friend that just because they aren’t currently the most blogged-about buzz band does not give them any less legitimacy. I might be years late to the Cloud Cult fan party, but that doesn’t make my enjoyment of them any less legitimate as well. I appreciate musicians who show passion and commitment to their work, whether or not I’m a fan of the work itself. I left Lincoln Hall feeling pleasantly surprised, appreciative, impressed and all-in-all positive about the world around me, and that’s all I really wanted from the experience. 7
Swear and Shake an interview by kyle kuchta
Swear and Shake exists in a sea of New York City artists. But this quartet, who just released their first full-length album, is one that you have to keep an eye on. Kyle chats with Adam McHeffey about the band. Kyle Kuchta: First off, how was Mountain Jam? Any cool stories or artists you enjoyed/fans you met? Adam McHeefey: Playing was great. Often at these festivals the small local stages go unattended, but we actually had a great lot full of people for our late-afternoon set. The highlight for me as a fan was seeing and meeting Givers. We ended up really hitting it off with them and trading stories and it was great hearing such good frontline news from an enthusiastic young band like them- those guys really deserve the attention they’re getting. KK: Your first full length Maple Ridge has been out for a couple of months now, and you have an official release show coming up in July. How do you guys feel about the response to your album? AH: We’re just hoping it brings people out to the release show. Now that the record’s done it’s behind us, and we’re so excited to just bring our all to the stage. KK: Do you have summer/future plans to tour more in support of the album? AH: Yes! We’ll be doing a two week tour throughout the Northeast this September. KK: Is Maple Ridge a real place?
AH: It is-- it’s a former bed and breakfast outside of Cambridge, NY. My friend’s family owns it, and we tracked in a hay barn there. You can get the full story here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGViNUwouos KK: Using Kickstarter to completely fund the making of Maple Ridge is a pretty awesome feat. How else has social media helped the band? What do you like using social media for most? AH: We’ve booked tours using our contacts from Twitter. It’s amazing how the internet can open your fan base on a national/international scale. Now with Instagram in the mix, we can really bring fans in close to our lives, both musically and just as people who like to bowl and eat and hike and whatever. Using it to spread our videos is great... we probably use it for that the most. KK: You’ve released videos for “These White Walls” and “The Light” off of Maple Ridge already, which are both great! Any other videos coming out? AH: There’s always something cooking. We’re planning on doing a live DVD of our Mercury Lounge performance this July 6th. We’re bringing lots of friends on stage with us, horn, key and string players, so we want to document the whole thing so it’s not lost in the night. KK: Almost all your songs tell a story. And while most songs do, Swear and Shake’s songs have a more narrative quality. Where do these stories come from? AH: Some of them come from real life-- Kari and I are both very emotional writers. Some of them sound more like stories, with made up names and characters, but those too are often inspired by our real life events. Sometimes we just exaggerate, change the location, flip the guy and the girl. Something to make the song stand out from the rest floating around so that our stories get heard. It’s fun, sometimes sad, always emotional. It’s like acting. KK: Any favorite songs to play live? AH: Absolutely. It depends on whom you ask. I still get chills when Kari sings “Suddenly,” but she would give you a radically different answer. Shaun likes the rockers like “Find Her Way” and “Wrecking Ball.” Our newest tune, “Brother,” seems to be where we all meet. Things really come together in a very musical way with that one.
KK: What city or venue is the most fun to play? AH: We’ve unanimously answered this one before-- the most fun we’ve ever had on stage was in Conway Arkansas for their college Art Fest. Amazing kids there hungry for good music. It was an outer body experience for all of us to play that night. In New York City, we always have to give props to Arlene’s Grocery and The Living Room. That’s where we seem to really leave our mark. KK: Swear and Shake formed at SUNY Purchase and, besides the obvious formation of the band, what did that college/surrounding area do for you as a group? AH: The thing about SUNY Purchase, and I feel most alumni and students would agree, is that when you’re a student there, you hardly ever leave. Most kids didn’t have a car, and since Purchase was in the middle of the woods, you couldn’t really go anywhere. White Plains was eight miles away. Everyone was just sort of stuck. Left to their own devices, a lot of kids followed the creative route, and that’s why there’s still so much great music that keeps coming out. KK: I hear New York is a pretty musical place too....any artists you frequently collaborate with? Either recording or writing or in any other process? AH: We run into and play with a lot of the same bands over and over again. I really love that aspect of the scene. As far as writing and recording, we really keep it to ourselves, with the exception of our producers. KK: Any solo or side projects amongst the band, or is Swear and Shake the one and only? AH: Not at all. Kari and I both came from solo project backgrounds. There’s something so much for purposeful and concrete doing it this way. Swear and Shake is our one and only. KK: How about artists you’d really like to collaborate with? AH: T Bone Burnett. KK: What was your favorite album(s) in high school?
AH: Maybe Dream Theater’s “Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory.” We all listened to a lot of MoTown too. Go figure. KK: What are you listening to now? AH: Still a lot of MoTown. Most recently, Edward Sharpe’s new record “Here,” M. Ward, Jessie Baylin, Dr. Dog, Delta Spirit, and I’m stoked to see Mynabirds at Mercury Lounge in a couple of weeks. KK: MoTown seems to bee one of those singalong genres. Any song you and/or the band love to just belt out?
AH: No one ever complains with Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears,” no matter how many times we play it. KK: What is an instrument you’d like to learn how to play? AH: The bagpipes. KK: Any handshakes, chants, or other cool stuff you do before a show? AH: I usually give Tom a swirly. KK: Do you call them hoagies, subs, or grinders? AH: Heroes! KK: What’s the one question you always get asked in interviews/hate answering and, if you could give a completely false answer to that question, what would it be? AH: I would say “what genre do you consider yourself?” is the worst one. People often label us as folk, which is awesome, and I do love to play banjo, and our songs often tell a story, but have you ever actually heard folk? It’s a lot different. Then people say we’re indie whatever, and we certainly have an independent outlook towards a lot of aspects of music making, but we’re not exactly Beach House or Grizzly Bear. People have thrown out the words rock, country, pop, and those are all sort of okay as well, but whenever that question gets asked, I get unexcited about the classification. I know it’s a necessary evil, but I think I’d like to start saying death metal. Kari does play a Marshall at rehearsal.
noise stuff makes by brandon walsh
Songs get away with a lot because they’re usually adaptations of stuff that doesn’t really make sounds in the first place (longing, time, love, so on). But every so often, musicians will have the balls to record songs about stuff we already know what it sounds like. Andrew Bird – “Spare-Ohs” This song begins with a recording of actual birds, but then this so-called Mr. Bird enters the scene with whistling, as if we weren’t even going to notice that he isn’t a bird. Real sly move, but you’ve got to admire his method acting. Closeness to Sound – 4/10 The White Stripes – “My Doorbell” What we have here is a clever change-up. We all know that doorbells go ding-dong and knocking on the door itself is what goes thump thump. Perhaps a sound clip at the end of the song with “ding-dong!” and Jack White exclaiming, “She finally rang my doorbell!” would clear up this confusion. Closeness to Sound – 1/10 M83 – “Steve McQueen” The song is neither evocative of the star of The Great Escape and The Thomas Crown Affair nor the director of that movie I saw Magneto’s dong in a lot (Shame). Closeness to Sound – 2/10 Various Artists – “The Alphabet Song” One of the biggest lies packaged in the form of song. I would venture to say that while a lot of words we say are comprised of letters, we don’t sing a majority of the words we say. The song doesn’t prepare kids for the disappointing life of not singing words all the time. Closeness to sound – 3/10 Lotus Plaza – “Black Buzz” From one amateur musician to a professional, if you really want to get that buzz sound from your guitar, don’t press so hard on the strings. The notes won’t come out as much, but the buzz sound will be there. Keep practicing. Closeness to Sound – 6/10
The Black Eyed Peas – “Boom Boom Pow” This song likely isn’t about anything, but finally for once a song beats your skull instead of around the bush, the bush of linguistic empiricism. Closeness to Sound – 10/10 Burial / Sufjan Stevens – “NYC” / “Chicago” I feel as though those listening to these songs who have never visited the aforementioned cities may be misled to thinking they sound like scratching vinyl and a vague woman’s voice heard down a long cobblestone corridor or a vestibule for all your love and dreams. In reality, there are a lot more car horns and angry people. It’s just like after you listen to Gil Scott-Heron or Toto- there probably aren’t as many as black people in America or white people in Africa as you may think after first listen. Hopefully this review will alleviate some false advertising. Closeness to Sound – 2/10 Spoon – “My Mathmatical Mind” It’s well known that math doesn’t make a sound, and even if it did, it would find a way to make that sound pragmatic to the point of confusion (like listening to Battles for too long). We have to give credit to these guys for making math sound interesting, but mark off for not being problematic enough. Quit giving me the answers and show your work. Use a protractor. Closeness to Sound – 5/10 Katy Perry / Animal Collective – “Firework” / “Fireworks” Here’s an example of musicians taking a simple task way too seriously. They effectively emulate the repetition, build-up, burst and release that fireworks got famous for in the first place, but they forget to add the parts of fireworks we love- the variety. You would be pissed if you saw the same firework over and over on the fourth of July. It would ruin your date, if not your entire relationship. Closeness to Sound – 8/10 Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass” This song is about a man who potentially deals in narcotics owns powerful subwoofers and how that places him pretty high on the sex scale. As Ms. Minaj says, it goes like “boom bahdoom, boom boom badoom, bass.” Bitches don’t roll with treble, which leads us to the next song. Closeness to Sound – 9/10 Simon & Garfunkel – “The Sounds of Silence” Now this just doesn’t make any damn sense and is borderline insulting. Quiet is not the same thing as silence. I shouldn’t even have to be explaining this and don’t understand how you could fuck this up. Closeness to Sound – 0/10 LCD Soundsystem / Cut Copy – “Pow Pow” / “Zap Zap” These songs do a good job at incorporating the sounds, but what’s with the rhythmic base to these songs? For instance, “Pow Pow” could’ve been better if it was simply eight and half minutes of someone yelling “pow pow pow pow pow pow” over and over again. Then I would have gotten it. Enough with the sad dance tunes, guys. Take a lesson or two from The Black Eyed Peas. Closeness to Sound – 7/10
the south by andrew mcclain Like most people, I love a good underdog story. I love a noble hero who gets to, simply by succeeding, prove everyone wrong at the same time. Outsiders make the best art – it’s true. However, the tragic hand life dealt me seems to indicate that I’ll never get to be the underdog: I’m a straight, white, able-bodied male; guys just like me have been standing on top of the world, laughing maniacally for several hundred years now, fucking everything up, creating the oppression needed for everyone else to make great art. I get no identity, no unique perspective, and no (undeserved) pity. Actually, though, this isn’t true. See, I belong to the largest group of people that remains socially acceptable to make fun of. I don’t mind, though, because by virtue of being a Southerner, you get to surprise people when you don’t have a Southern accent. You can impress non-Southerners just by wearing shoes and dating outside the family. That shit that went down 140 years ago in the South left us in real bad shape. It’s a checkered past that we all have to come to terms with it. So yes, there are plenty of Confederate flags around where I live – some people chose to “come to terms with it” that way. Some people can’t deal with it and have to leave, ashamed of their Southern roots. I grew up aware and insecure about living in a state that does not matter to the rest of the world, in a city known for showing up in the Civil Rights chapter of your history book in 1957, wherein our governor had an infamous State vs. Federal showdown with Eisenhower over integrating a high school. “This place sucks. I’m moving as soon as I can,” I used to think, as a young teenager. But the more I travel around the country, the more the South’s sordid past fascinates me, as do the people resilient enough to deal with it in an intellectual way and stay here. The entire region is a scrappy underdog, fighting prejudices and economic downturn. Have you seen Memphis? Not many people realize that Memphis, while technically in Tennessee, sits at the corner of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, so Memphis serves as a regional capitol for the Delta. That city, though, man – that city saw its heyday a while ago. It smells faintly of its former rock n’ roll greatness, but the whole thing is a museum, sprawled out on brown pavement. But it’s steadfast, I swear. We all are. So I’m fortunate, this summer, to be interning at a magazine (whose founding and current editor is a native Californian) whose sole purpose is to celebrate the South and its rich, complex cultures by way of writing. I’m learning the discipline of looking hard at your surroundings and digging hard for the good, acknowledging the bad, and making peace with it all. I’m finally proud to say where I’m from. I no longer feel the need to couch it or qualify it around Yankees. Also, I’m using the word “Yankee” apparently, now. Maybe I’ll stay for a while...
How to do bonnaroo by miss maya kosoff
When I asked for a couple days off to go to Bonnaroo this year, my editor at the parenting & lifestyle magazine where I’m interning tried to pigeonhole me into some weird caste, declaring a parallel between the place I was going and Woodstock. “Your parents let you go to that?” she asked incredulously, the gears in her head spinning wildly as she tried to mentally peg me on a social stratum somewhere between a junkie burnout and a hippie (Spoiler alert: I am neither, I promise). (I’m waiting for her to interrogate me about it all for a story on bad parenting for an upcoming issue of her magazine that I won’t read.) And not only do they let me go, but my parents love that I appreciate music enough to want to attend a four-day festival in bumblefuck Tennessee. I won’t bother touching the performances themselves because that’s some shit you can find on YouTube, but here’s some festival advice from a two-year Bonnaroo vet who’s learned a lot through painful trial and error, some bad sunburns, a couple sketchy drug bartering experiences, and a few gross blisters. 1. Camp. If you’re staying in a hotel for a festival like Bonnaroo, you’re missing out on half of the experience. Yeah, camping sucks and sometimes it rains and everything gets wet and you’ll miss your huge comfy princess bed in your parents’ house, but when you stumble back to your campsite at 4 a.m. after a late night of shenanigans, you’ll be happy you don’t have to drive back to your shitty, overpriced room outside of Manchester just to sleep for five or six hours. 2. Be weird. Nothing I could have worn (or not worn) or done (or not done) this year or last would have
made me stand out, in retrospect. There are naked people, there are people in costumes, and a lot of people wearing things that are not actually clothes (i.e.: American flag toga, glowstick skirt, Borat-esque neon bathing suit). Nobody is judging you. Dance, make friends, scream your favorite songs, get naked and paint your whole body in glittery gold paint, whatever. The worst kinds of people are the tryhards, so don’t bother dressing nice or trying to act like a cool guy, cause you’ll just sweat in and dirty up your APC jeans and your Fred Perry polo, you pretentious douche. 3. Trust people, but don’t be an idiot. I think this goes without saying, but music festivals are weird places where weird shit happens. People come to these things to sell their wares, and they make a pretty decent turnout. Use your head. Nowhere else will a supremely nice dude with a backpack full of vegan chocolate chip pot cookies deliver to your tent. At the same time though, don’t buy a knockoff Bonnaroo 2012 t-shirt just because you don’t want to spend the extra $15 for the real one from the merch tent, especially when the one the lady in the muumuu is trying to sell you suspiciously has the 2011 Coachella lineup printed on the back and will likely unravel the first time you have to wash it. You can (and will) have a great experience if you’re smart about what you buy, whatever it is that you’re buying. 4. Avoid the real weirdos. You know what I mean. The actual hippies (I misunderstood what a hippie was before attending one of these things. Holy shit.), the guy with the “9/11 was an inside job” shirt passing out leaflets (like, how did you get in?), the guy having an acid-related freakout, the Gambino girls, the face eating zombies. Make new friends, of course (particularly with your tent neighbors!), but you don’t have to go out of your way to be friendly to someone who seems weird (like the girl who came up to my friend during Radiohead’s set and said to her, “Nate Ruess from Fun. is over there in that open space away from your friends!!! Let’s go say hi to him!” and proceeded to attempt to abduct her from us. Um, bye?). For as many awesome people as there are at festivals (and there are a lot!), there are always some crazies too. 5. Treat yo self. Have a fantastic time, wear comfy shoes, try new food, drink a shit ton of water, take a nap under the shade of a tree next to a tent where Justin Vernon’s girlfriend is playing an acoustic set, listen to music you wouldn’t ordinarily put on your iPod, attend one of the many morning workshops Bonnaroo makes available to guests, turn off your phone for a couple hours, enjoy the experience of taking a bath with diner wet naps. Bonnaroo only happens once a year, you know.
Metal Goes With Anything, Even Swag by mike thal Let’s go over a few music trends from the past couple of decades. In the 70s, we saw the birth of heavy metal. Bands like Black Sabbath brought the world a harder, darker form of rock music. Ten years later, we saw the rise of rap and hip hop. Run D.M.C was one of the pioneers of this fresh, beatoriented genre of music. Now in the 2000s, we are experiencing the rise and fall of electronic music. While it is often associated with partying, electronic music has spawned gigantic festivals around the world. All of these genres, and their subgenres, have presented amazing music in their own respects. Could it be possible to present all of these genres together in a concise, powerful, and well-produced package? Miscreants, I believe it is. In fact, I think it has already happened. The New Escape is a self-proclaimed “swagcore” band from Gaithersburg, MD that combines metal, rap, and electronic in an extremely powerful and fluid way. Despite their relatively small following outside of the D.C./Metro area, the band’s new EP, Aftermath, hits hard. Tracks like “Escape Pt. II” and “Vicious Cycle” really stick out with creative combinations of sounds and an impressive self-production job. I got the chance to speak with guitarist, Josh Grant, via Facebook and ask him a few questions about the band and the EP. You’ll find the transcript below. Mike: How would you define swagcore? That seems like the genre you’ve been putting yourselves in. Josh: Swagcore is the fusion of inspirations and personalities that comes from all of the different brains we have in the band. The music isn’t overcomplicated and incorporates bouncy rhythms with metal and hip hop and gives off a fun vibe that we hope can appeal to everyone. Mike: The New Escape clearly draws influence form a lot of artists because your music covers so many genres. Tell me about some of those. Josh: Well the foundation of our rock/hip-hop sound comes primarily from Linkin Park. Most of us grew up with Hybrid Theory and Meteora and from there our musical interests spread in all sorts of directions. Depending on who you ask in the band, the answer to who influences our music will change. Some of our members listen to a lot of bands like Of Mice & Men and I See Stars, while others are more into hip-hop and electronic artists from Kanye West to Skrillex and everything in between. Mike: I feel like there was a lot of post-production on the Aftermath EP. It sounds fantastic! Who was responsible for that? Did it take a lot of time? Josh: The Aftermath took quite a while to complete and we re-recorded a few of the songs multiple times. We began in the summer of 2011 and didn’t finish until a couple weeks before the release. The EP is completely self-produced by the band and our drummer Imad engineered, mixed and mastered the entire thing. Mike: You took a poll on your Facebook page recently to ask what song people want to hear next. Which do you like better: “Updato Potato” or “Harlingen”? Why? Josh: A few weeks ago I (Josh) made those songs as demos on my home computer and sent them out to the rest of the band. Everyone has personal favorites but we all like the both of them. With that being said, we have decided to record and release Harlingen first, because overall the band seemed to have a better idea as to what we wanted to do with it. It’s heavy and the arrangement of it is a bit different. It has a lot of momentum and some really cool guitar parts, we can’t wait to see how people react to it! Mike: I know the band has been together for a few years now, under different names and everything. But looking towards the future, where do you see The New Escape going? Or where would you like to go? Josh: We all have different ideas and hopes for the future of the band. But in the end we would all just really like to see our music spread and grow, and we want it to reach as many ears as possible. Hopefully we can do start doing some touring and continue to release music regularly to keep people interested. For more information on The New Escape check out their Facebook and Twitter pages. The Aftermath - EP is also available for download via Facebook.
highly suspect are ready to roll by ben houck Too many guys at bars are saying, “sports and Bud Light dude... tell that fuckin’ rock band to get out of here and turn up the Drake,” but rock trio Highly Suspect knows that it’s all good because when they play, those guy’s girlfriends aren’t staring at SportsCenter. Brooklyn based rock trio Highly Suspect has been anything but background noise since the drop of their first album in early 2011. Hailing from Cape Cod, Johnny, Rich and Ryan create a classic muscular guitar-bass-drum rock trio sound with an engrossing original set list. Their self titled album has been gaining attention as it flaunts infectious rock grooves, thoughtful lyrics and leaves over trodden cliches behind. After moving to Brooklyn this past winter, the band is working on their newest E.P with Joel Hamilton at Studio G in Brooklyn. Guitarist Johnny Stevens gave us the low down just two days out of studio. “We’re hyped. Joel is an incredible producer and he has worked on some of our favorite projects including Blakroc. The day before we went into Studio G, Joel was working with the Plastic Ono Band and Nels Cline from Wilco on their latest release. Joel grew up on Cape Cod too. It was like working with an old pal.” The E.P. sports three new tracks: one about a classic relationship struggle, a feel good song about not looking back and a “dark” song. “These songs are close to home lyrically. We wrote them based on the most intense shit in our lives. Especially the dark one, it is very personal music. We wrote our songs to be solid and distinct. We didn’t write them to be relate-able, they just are.” Sound wise the E.P. is easily the most mature music Highly Suspect has ever recorded. The record captures a spectrum of rock sounds from blues to the gritty and increasingly electronic tones of 90’s rock to what will be accepted in 2012 and beyond. Anyone that knows the band will say “These guys have been practicing.” “We have been together for a little over three years now, so there is a definitive sound coming together,” added Johnny. The E.P. is being mastered by Grammy award winning studio genius Adam Ayan. Ayan has remastered projects by the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Rolling Stones, Incubus and Bob Marley’s “Legend” just to name a few. Highly Suspect has talked about revamping hit songs off their self titled, but for now they are all about creating new sounds. “Moving to Brooklyn has had a huge affect on us. I mean it’s wild out here. One night Rich and Ryan went to see Band of Skulls while I went to see the Black Keys a few blocks away. We even got to sit front row at the album release party for Dr. John’s ‘Locked Down.’ These musicians are literally and figuratively instrumental in rock and roll.” The diverse and seemingly infinite pools of talent in New York City push every good artist. The band admits networking is one of the key reasons they moved to Brooklyn. “The first time we went to see the London Soul’s I snuck past security at the Mercury Lounge and broke into the dressing room. When Tash and the boys came back they said “what are you doing here?” I said “stalking you.” Tash grabbed the whiskey out of my hand and since then we’ve all been friends and stay in close touch. The Soul’s are truly good dudes that give us a lot of advice when we need it. (Since a nearly life ending car crash).. Tash is doing much better now too. It’s a miracle really. Rock need’s that kid.” The band has a long list of influences through many decades including Grizzly Bear, My Morning Jacket, Pink Floyd, Phantogram and The Skins just to name a few. Bands that take you into outer space. “We pull away from music the same as any listener would, a vibe.” Highly Suspect is looking forward to a national tour after tying up a few other projects already in motion. In the meantime they will be playing all over the Northeast. Johnny tagged, “we’re on a long journey to find out life’s secrets. In short, we’ve only just begun.”
DAY 2, JUNE 22 $5 // MUSIC @ 2:30 PM 13 thames 13 Thames St, Brooklyn, New York 11206 MICHAEL PARALLAX // MEGAFORTRESS // THE SPOOKFISH // MUTUAL BENEFIT // ALLIGATOR INDIAN // WEEKENDS // MAXIMINO // LANDS & PEOPLES // JACK LITTMAN // FABLES // VISION QUEST
NIGHT 2, JUNE 22 $5 // MUSIC @ 9 PM shea stadium 20 meadow street, Brooklyn, New York 11206 PRESSED AND // FARMS // YOHUNA // TRUMAN PEYOTE // MANY MANSIONS // PERSONA LA AVE
DAY 3, JUNE 23 $5 // MUSIC @ 2 PM Bohemian Grove 64-66 Grove Street, Bushwick, New York 11221 CATAMARAN // VACATION DAD // MERLIN MONROE // EMILY REO // BANANAS SYMPHONY // WINKS // COUGH COOL // BABY BIRDS DON’T DRINK MILK // BODY CHEETAH // SURFIN’ SERF // WARCRIES // FREECARE
NIGHT 3, JUNE 23 $5 // MUSIC @ 9 PM shea stadium BAYATAS // BIRTHDAYS // LITTLE SPOON // HEAR HUMS // CHIFFON // BROWN BREAD & VON HOLT
10 songs to roll around in bed to by david faes What is rolling around you might ask? First thing you guys’ve gotta understand is that it is a truly existential experience. The challenge: wake up in, come home to, get bored and head to bed, give up on life for at least 20 minutes and bum the fuck out. The act of rolling is essential, and if you don’t roll enough, you WILL NOT feel the ethereal psycho-physiological effects to their entirety, and I beg you that you do actually ROLL because there is no other euphoria as exorbitant to be felt in the whole wide world. Here’s a suggested check list from the master: 1.No pants 2.Netflix/putlocker 3.Some kind of snack: (pizza, pistachios, polenta...other appetizing p words) 4.Some kind of music machine - ya know? 5.Some kind of reality altering drink (brass monkey, crystal light, ayahuasca ya know whatever you can get really) 6.Yesterday’s (or last month’s) trash
1. Beulah - “A Good Man is Easy to Kill” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9h3ikhebwGk Beedeeboop ba badeedop. Elephant Six throwback. 2. Fungi Girls - “Marv Alein” http://fungigirls.bandcamp.com/track/marv-alien Young texan loverboys. 3. Solid Attitude - “Constant Garbage” / “Totally Droll” http://solidattitude.bandcamp.com/track/constant-garbage-totally-droll Fast, dirty, rock’n’roll. 4. Sex - “Cunt” http://sextheband.bandcamp.com/ Connecticutian sexually frustrated punk kids making noise. 5. Japandroids - “Young Hearts Spark Fire” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOoHAbnhxNI Polyvinyl noise heroes. 6. Ba Babes - “Girls Galore” http://bababesnice.bandcamp.com/album/girl-galoredemo Jersey rock’n’rollers that I like to imagine eat too much pizza.
As with any vice of course, it can take its toll. If carried out for too long rolling around may increase sensitivities to identity sickness, ego-sapience-terror and information poisoning - believe me I’ve been there! But to your surprise you may have already built up your tolerance to such negative side effects, so don’t be afraid ! 7. The Men - “Gates of Steel” http://wearethemen.blogspot.com/ In order to further avoid such feelings of imminent Music to smash in bus stops to. doom and dread - here’s some tunes I’d suggest jammin out to next time you’re rolling around - and jesus christ 8. Wipers - “Up Front” I hope you’re rolling around RIGHT NOW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OPTTzckLC8 Kick it old school.
9. Sister Ray // or if you don’t have time/patience “I Heard Her Call my Name” Honorable Mention: “Oh Sweet Nothing” 10. Suggested TV Show for this “month”: Girls, duh. Also 30 Rock - don’t over think it.
british miscreant comes home by queen karen edith millar
So, Across The Pond may not so much entail anecdotes of the British music scene for the next few months as not one but, TWO companies have seen fit to employ my administrative and heavy lifting skills for the summer; being an intern is AWESOME. (In case my bosses are reading, it actually is - honestly.) So yeah I’m back in BK and, aside from further developing my love for the winning combination of carbohydrates and various types of cheese, I’ve been lucky enough to catch a couple of awesome shows; The Maccabees and Kurt Vile made for a pretty good week aside from the $9 price tag for what was essentially a thimble full of wine at the latter - thanks Central Park Summerstage, financial rape is quite possibly one of my favourite things! I’ve been pretty busy at work and my MacBook Pro has decided to turn more into a CackBook Pro (British word for shit - I’m grasping at straws to keep the Across The Pond theme somehow prevalent) so there unfortunately won’t be so much from me this issue, but enjoy this play list of tracks I’ve been jamming to since I’ve been back living it up in The Big Apple! And yes, Oliver Tank is still SUCH a big part of my life. 22
June 2012 “Continuous Thunder” - JAPANDROIDS “Beautiful” - OLIVER TANK “Tessellate” - ALT J “Call Me Maybe” - CARLY RAE JEPSEN (but mostly Barack Obama’s version; obviously) “Father, Father” - GABRIEL BRUCE “Tiffany Lou” - DAUGHN GIBSON “I Wanna Go” - SUMMER HEART “BTSTU” - JAI PAUL “Beth / Rest” - BON IVER “It Soon Will Be Fire” - RICHARD YOUNGS “UpUpUp” - THE MAST “Speed Of Sound” - COMMUNIST DAUGHTER “Sad And Beautiful World” - SPARKLEHORSE “Man On Fire” - EDWARD SHARPE & THE MAGNETIC ZEROES “Burial” - ESCAPISTS All of this, but mostly the song that the baby sings in that Dinosuars show from the early 90s. He’s got purple eyes, is very cuddly and bludgeons his father with blunt kitchen utensils. What’s not to love? Peace out. xoxo 23
WANT MORE MISCREANT? Well, we’re well into the summer months, my miscreants. Here in New York City, it’s hotter than blue blazes and sunnier than a box of kittens. I can only hope you all are enjoying your vacations as much as I have so far. I’m living with my best friend (stay tuned for issue 24, where Kenzie’ll be talking about Kate Bush) in the greatest city in the world, Queen Karen the British Miscreant is back in the States, and my apartment is well within walking distance of Two Boots Video Rental. Could a young miscreant really ask for much more? I think not. This is of course, not to mention the fact that I am surrounded by wonderfully talented people via this here zine and Miscreant Records. Keep up-to-date on all Miscreant activities via the blog at MiscreantRecords.com, as well as the respective Facebook pages. The next big project is the forthcoming Dumb Talk record, which will be available on vinyl before the end of the summer. I also still have SSWAMPZZ tapes, Mouth’s Cradle vinyl, and Quarterbacks tapes available for you! Check out the website for how you can get your hands on those, as well. At any rate, I am totally smitten with this week’s cover band. Lizzy told me about Swear and Shake several months ago, and I am honored to have them involved with the zine! I thank them and Kyle so much for participating in this feature story. Also, I’d like to thank all of you who helped out with the issue by submitting your work. It means the world; it really does. Now, my misfits, you know the drill. Send your music-related writing (reviews, interviews, stories, playlists, and so on) to: firstname.lastname@example.org! And, those across the pond send your work to Karen at email@example.com. all my love, the miscreant
Featuring Swear & Shake!