montrealers by ricky balmaseda
In the week preceding Hurricane Sandy and her aftermath, I was fortunately able to check out some great up-andcoming artists from Montreal who were playing in my area. On Monday October 22nd, I was able to catch Mac DeMarco (with Dumb Talk) at the BSP Lounge in Kingston NY, a small, quaint town right across the Hudson River from Bard College. Later that week on Friday October 27th, I caught a set from Each Other at The Cake Shop in the lower East Village.
MAC DEMARCO: As many kids in the scenes of the tri-state area know, its fairly uncommon for great bands to play the smaller-town venues in the sprawl surrounding New York City while they’re passing through for tour. This makes it a really big deal when a great band is playing somewhere even vaguely close to your local scene, even if it requires a bit of a trek. Trekking was the name of the game for this show, as Kingston is a good hour plus drive from where I’m living in CT, but the chance to catch Mac DeMarco and Dumb Talk was not to be passed up. I arrived at the BSP Lounge (a newly renovated rock club decked out with huge plush black couches and a full bar) just in time for openers Fairweather Friends, a New Paltz (NY) duo who offered a pleasant set of folk-rock with calculated and often jazzy drumming. Unfortunately, as is the case with many tri-state shows, the house was quiet, as only 20 or so people showed up to the 250-capacity club. Nevertheless, Fairweather Friends was a solid opener, rounding out an already great bill with a set that varied between earnest indie-folk and more straight up folk-rock material. Despite being the headliner, Mac DeMarco took the stage next, and proceeded to absolutely demolish, in his own way. Fresh off of a string of CMJ shows in NYC a few days prior, DeMarco effortlessly ran through highlights from his (highly appropriate) “Rock and Roll Night Club EP”, and his new Captured Tracks full-length “2”. For a dude who has branded himself as somewhat of a jokester, DeMarco came out seriously swinging with a super-tight band and an unexpectedly loud and rocking set that didn’t disappoint. Although Demarco can be pretty relaxed on record, he was able to smoothly navigate the balance between chillin and killin live, as he nailed the more subdued moments (like the alt-slacker anthem “Ode to Viceroy”), and also breathed life to his more lo-fi rock tunes from the ‘Night Club’ EP (like the creep-lounge jam “Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans”) with a seriously beefed up sound that was carried by Mac’s unexpectedly heavy and severely distorted rhythm guitar work. Demarco lived up to his reputation and brought the jokes too, incorporating ridiculously repetitive single-note solos and violently inappropriate shredding into his songs’ more improvised sections, sparking absurd reactions from the crowd. Overall, Demarco broke through the expectations set forth by other sloppy and less personable lo-fi-buzz-garage type indie rock bands, and confidently delivered a super enjoyable set in which he nailed his vocals, nailed some beers, and sounded fantastic thanks to his equally fantastic band and a stellar mixing job by the BSP Lounge. He played all the hits too, running through all of his “singles” besides “My Kind of Woman”, which was immediately requested by one of the ladies in the crowd as an encore upon completion of his set (he played it). The show wasn’t over yet though, as Dumb Talk was not to be forgotten. The Beekman (NY) garage-pop quartet ran through hits from their new self-titled LP (minus personal favorite “Stay”, sadly), and played some newer, more aggressive sounding material as well. The band sounded particularly heavy (again, great sound, BSP), drawing out some of their songs with instrumental sections that rocked with stomping, shattering unison. By working as a unit to blaze through the fastest tunes of the night and by showcasing the diverse vocal abilities of ¾ of their members, Dumb Talk
used a balanced attack to construct a strong set that drew a crowd reaction that was nearly as positive as Demarco’s. The unexpected highlight of the night, though, came after the show, when I inquired about buying Demarco’s new LP. Even though I was prepared to drop the $15 (or whatever) for his vinyl, when I approached him about it, Demarco simply insisted “Don’t worry man, its on the house”. A truly gracious offer from a broke Montrealer dude who just demolished a close-to-empty house in the middle of nowhere. I’ll take it. Bottomline: like him or not, Mac Demarco’s live act is a well oiled machine with plenty to offer; so even when it looks like he’s just fucking around, he definitely isn’t fucking around. His off-stage humility only adds to how much I like the guy. How much did I enjoy this show? 9/10 links: http://fairweatherfriendsband.bandcamp.com/ http://dumbtalk.bandcamp.com/ http://macdemarco.bandcamp.com/ http://bsplounge.com/
EACH OTHER: If you haven’t heard the Montreal psych-pop trio Each Other, consider this your official recommendation to check them out. Originally compared to bands like Women and Tame Impala on the blogosphere thanks to their intricate and angular guitar work, non-traditional drumming, and their sweet, often soaring vocal harmonies, Each Other has made quite a name for themselves in the past year after releasing ‘Taking Trips’, their debut EP on the “sparse, weird, and heavy” Bushwick tape label, Prison Art. After the release of the fantastic single “Traces to Nowhere” (Crikey! Records) and relentless touring (100+ shows this year), Each Other have earned quite the following leading up to their most recent self-released EP. The aptly titled ‘Heavily Spaced’ is their most concise and rewarding release to date, combining the more ornate psych leanings of their earlier work (“Bad Neighbours”) with their more melodic side (“Ash Mound”, “Good Neighbourhood”), resulting in a unique sound that strikes the balance between the difficult and the accessible with a grace matched by very few recent bands. Thankfully, the band truly delivers in the live setting, flawlessly translating their songs with an even keel, quiet confidence that makes sense when you consider that balance and consistency may be their greatest strengths as a band. Its no wonder that Mac Demarco repped them as one of his favorite bands in a recent interview with Pitchfork. I arrived at The Cake Shop with ten minutes to spare and made my way down to the 75-person-capacity, alley-style basement-venue that was complete with tree wallpaper, another solid bar, and instantly recognizable red streamers that lined the back of the stage. Each Other kicked things off with a new song, then powered through ‘Heavily Spaced’ standout “An Instant”, which utilized their signature faux-bass octave effect with devastating effectiveness. For a guitar/guitar/drums trio that attempts toggling between jangly highs and smooth lows, the band sounded surprisingly heavy. Alongside a few new jams (that went over quite well), setlist mainstay “Ash Mound” and a particularly aggressive rendition of “Sit Still” kept the crowd pumped, but the highlight of the night was “A Strong Spinning”, another song from ‘Heavily Spaced’. The sprawling cut starts off slow and sweet, then kicks into a swiftly shifting mid-section (that somehow manages to sound like an Ezra Koenig re-work of Aerosmith’s “Going Down/Love in an Elevator” in a completely non-corny and awesome way) that breaks down into a climactic outro of out-of-control heavy-machineryon-fire guitar soloing. It was an absolute treat to witness their command of such an intricate tune live, as it definitely drew the strongest reaction from the crowd. All in all, Each Other’s set was a fine collection of the some of the best songs in their discography, although I was a bit bummed that personal favorite “Traces to Nowhere” was neglected, as was the entirety of their “Taking Trips” EP. Either way, I had a great time catching them do their thing, and highly recommend that you do too if they come through your area. Bottomline: for a band that maneuvers the balance between obstinate psych-rock and blissful art-pop, Each Other performed flawlessly and delivered a great set, even if they neglected to play some of their poppiest songs. There wasn’t any free vinyl involved, but I got a pretty awesome shirt to make up for it. How much did I enjoy this show? 7.5/10 http://eachotherssongs.bandcamp.com/ http://cake-shop.com/ http://prisonart.tumblr.com/
this issue is brought to you by punkers everywhere.
Single of the
Week This week’s selection comes from the latest Stereocure release! Family Photo has just put out Nude Celebz, and you can download it for free. We’ve had “Bobbi,” the fourth track on repeat. It’s a jazzy poppy groove that gets very groovy about half way through. Enjoy!
The Top 5 Cover Songs by matt boswell There’s really nothing I love more than a great cover, especially if it’s a song I already love. However, there’s nothing more frustrating than a terrible cover, especially if it’s a song I already love. To me a great cover is not only a song that I would love to listen to regardless, but also I love when the band or artist doing the cover finds some way to make the song completely their own. It no longer feels like a cover, but almost like an original from their catalog. “Mad World” (Tears For Fears) by Gary Jules This cover is cool because it’s one of those covers that got so popular that everyone kind of forgot about the original. Granted, a lot of this had to do with the popularity of the film, Donnie Darko, that this cover is featured in. However, take it out of the movie and it’s just as powerful. This is still one of the saddest songs around, and it’s a song that can always deliver chills. “Dancing In The Dark” (Bruce Springsteen) by Burglary Years This song is the most recent on the list, and was just released last month on a cover compilation full of punk and hardcore bands. I saw a band covered The Boss on it and I was very nervous. However, it turns out Burglary Years is a dream pop/indie band that’s heavily influenced by The Smiths. This cover absolutely blew me away, and I recommend everyone go find it (it’s on YouTube) and check it out ASAP.
“Rumor Has It” (Adele) by The Promise Ring The A/V Club featured this song on the “Undercover” special on their website. I’m sure everyone could argue for his or her own favorite song from this feature, as it took me a little bit myself to choose a favorite. However, with one of my favorite bands of all time covering an instantly recognizable song, I had to choose this one. Two drummers, a handful of backing singers, and of course Davey von Bohlen fighting back his lisp while singing all add up to create this excellent cover song. “This Charming Man” (The Smiths) by Braid Every band and their mother have covered The Smiths nowadays it seems, and when it comes to these covers I usually love them or hate them. This cover by Braid was one I absolutely loved right away. It’s fast and sloppy and goofy and it feels exactly right. Braid didn’t worry about doing their best Morrissey impression, but rather took this song and made it work completely fine for them. Not to mention they also have a fantastic cover of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” on the same release. “Bitches Ain’t Shit” (Dr. Dre) by Ben Folds There really is no way to describe this cover song. Ben Folds takes an iconic gangster rap song all about having sex with girls, smoking lots of weed, and “ballin on the mutha fuckin Compton streets”, and make it the whitest, smoothest, most ridiculous cover you may ever hear. The crazy thing is how well Ben Folds actually pulls it off. The rhythms are perfect, as are the harmonies, and he puts so much emotion behind his voice in it, it really borders on beautiful.
Honorable Mention: “Close To Me” (The Cure) by The Get Up Kids, “Smooth Criminal” (Michael Jackson) by Alien Ant Farm, and “Crush” (Jennifer Paige) 7
stereocure the artists of
interviews by the miscreant
Stereocure is less like a traditional label, and more like a family. Jordan Alper and his childhood friends started the music collective not only in reaction to the current, ever-changing state of the music industry, but also in order to stay connected as they moved around the country. With a plethora of styles and genres, each of the artists in the collective brings something unique and interesting to the table. Where many labels define themselves through aesthetics, Stereocure chooses to define themselves by the overall community that these friends have created. Since the start of the summer, Stereocure has put out ten releases from their current artist roster. Wanting their music to be accessible, they’ve made these digital releases free to download. This month, you can find a newly released record from Family Photo called Nude Celebz. A number of these releases were recorded at Art House Live, a local LA venue where the members of Stereocure regularly play shows. The live element of the collective is also a crucial part of the label’s mission. This fall, the Stereocure leaders rallied their troops to put on a travelling showcase. All of the artists came together to play shows in several places, including Oberlin and Brooklyn. Despite storms and midterms, the group put on an excellent series of shows. Here, you’ll find interviews with three of the artists who are working with Stereocure. PEAKS is Rachel Ishikawa, Tom Kearney, Nate Mendelsohn, Duncan Standish, and Peter Hartmann. They released their debut, Young Frisk, this summer with Stereocure. Native Eloquence is Adam Hirsch, a student at Oberlin. His self-titled EP won much praise from fans and critics alike. kuh-lida is Myles Emmons, also a student at Oberlin. He’s gearing up for two new releases, and has recently released Savage Casual.
The Miscreant: How did you guys all meet?
Nate Mendelsohn: One fateful day our freshman year, I went into the kitchen in one of the dorms to get a glass of water, and Rachel was in there playing a song on guitar and singing. We had met, but didn’t really know each other...I couldn’t remember what her name was. But in a desperate attempt to get someone to play not-jazz music with me, I sat down and told her I wouldn’t leave until she played one of her songs for me. She was super shy and not down, but I literally wouldn’t leave so she played me a song. I told her we should make music sometime and left thinking she’d probably never hit me up, but a month or so later she facebooked me saying we should make something. We started working on a recording of one of her songs, Namesake, in my room, with Garageband. After we finished that, we were sick of sitting in front of a computer so we decided to make a real band with real humans. We were friends with Peter and Tom, and knew that they played music. I knew Duncan from playing jazz. The Miscreant: What are your musical backgrounds? Rachel Ishikawa: I bought my first shitty, used guitar when I was sixteen with the first paycheck I got as the counterperson of this sandwich shop in New Jersey. I had absolutely no musical training (sans appearance as Fairy God Mother when I was 5,) but was determined to learn. I’m completely self-taught so my technique is not too good. I think that my lack of schooling lends me some musical creativity I would not be able to access otherwise. I used to play a lot of folk-driven music, but I lean towards harsher sounds now. All about the Annie Clarke. Peter Hartmann: I took guitar lessons for a couple years in middle school and then taught myself to play bass. In high school I played guitar and wrote songs for a band called the Boom Orangutangs, which was just me and my friends playing like energetic rock music. I definitely grew up influenced by the DC music scene and all the bands on Dischord Records. Coming to Oberlin and sharing music with everyone in Peaks has definitely changed my taste and gotten me more interested in jazz and sampled/ electronic music, which I had almost no exposure to before. In addition to Peaks, I’ve played with a folk-punk band in DC called Dinosawh for the past two summers. Tom Kearney: I was interested in music early on, but when Panda Bear’s person pitch came out, all my high school friends and I fell in love. We all wanted to make music like that, which was how i got into sampling and electronics more generally. I used to love sitting in my room with my looping pedal, guitar and effects sampler, and seeing the different sounds i could get out of the 3. I studied experimental electronic music at Oberlin for a while but it wasn’t quite doing it. I feel like most of the songwriting and arranging stuff that Peaks tries to do i learned about from the other band members and checking out artists they really like. The Miscreant: How did you guys become a part of Stereocure? Tom: We all knew Adam [Hirsch] from being friends at Oberlin, and ran in some similar circles musically, so he knew our music and asked us to join once Stereocure started getting off the ground. Stereocure has been really supportive as far as getting press, and the guys have shown so much dedication to creating a positive creative community, i think its been a real blessing, and i think its made all of us feel like we’re part of something special, and made us want to bring more of our creative energy to the table. Peter: Being a part of the collective has helped us circulate our music on a few blogs, it’s created opportunities for more shows at Oberlin and the chance to play with other Stereocure artists, and in a way it’s put our work in context of the other young musicians on Stereocure who, like us, are working to write innovative and emotive music. The Miscreant: What’s on the horizon for PEAKS? Any other projects you guys are working on? Tom: I’ve been working on some more electronic stuff in my other project (thats also on the Stereocure label) THiNK. I want to move more towards bringing some of the arranging and song-writing techniques that go in to Peaks songs to the wild world of sampling. Peter: We’re tightening up our live set a lot and slowly working in new songs. There’s a good chance we’ll be recording another album next summer in Oberlin. Sooner than that, we might be recording some demos and possibly be working on a live session or music video. Rachel: We all come from really different musical backgrounds so it can be difficult to find common ground in terms of our live sound, but I think that we’re doing a pretty good job. Alcohol helps the stage fright. We’re figuring it out.
Native Eloquence http://stereocure.com/nativeeloquence
The Miscreant: How long have you been making music for? And when during that time did Native Eloquence come to be? Adam Hirsch: I’ve been making music since I was about nine years old, when I picked up the clarinet, and after a while I spent most of my musical time playing jazz saxophone. The Native Eloquence project began to take shape a few years ago when I started giving more time to making music in other ways than playing woodwinds: playing guitar, making sounds on my computer, writing lyrics, etc. The Miscreant: You’ve recently put out a self-titled EP. Was there a specific concept or goal for this release? Adam: The only concept I had in mind was that I wanted to do everything myself. I think the record came into being at a time when I had a lot of doubts about my musical abilities, and I wanted to really challenge myself as a composer, producer, and performer to kind of see what I could do if I pushed myself in all those areas at once. In terms of the music itself, I didn’t go in with a specific concept, but I was pretty deep into reading Moby Dick at the time, and I think that definitely seeped into the music in a big way. The Miscreant: How would you say classical music has influenced you overall, and specifically when writing songs for this project? Adam: I grew up listening to jazz records, pop bands, some electronic music, but never really turned my ears to Western classical music until recent years. When I created that first EP I was coming from a place where “classical” influences weren’t very present in my past, but I was definitely checking out and reading about a lot of concert music at the time. While I was writing the record, there was actually a classical music festival happening in Oberlin, the town I was in. I saw a lot of great music during that time—there was one especially meaningful encounter I had with Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata that deeply affected the way I was thinking about music and my own approach. Since then my appreciation for the classical tradition has become pretty huge, but it’s not something that affects me any more than any other type of music I’m into, anything I’m reading, or any other experience or thought that might make its way into my own music. The Miscreant: How do you think your sound translates to a live setting? Which instruments do you bring up to loop? Adam: My setup, depending on the gig, usually consists of tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, a few drum pieces, guitar, two microphones (one for drums+woodwinds and one for voice) going through a bunch of effects, and a MIDI controller for samples on my computer. The setup is such a big, clunky mess that I’m often forced to make things up on spot when I screw up a loop or a sample, which can actually be really fun. Recently I’ve started to improvise a lot more during my shows, which makes me less concerned with translating my sound from the record and more concerned with just feeling good about the performance. The Miscreant: How does playing as a one-man band compare to live performances you’ve put on before? Adam: In many ways, performing solo is a more intense situation because 100% of the attention given by the audience to the music is focused on me. This can get really nervewracking sometimes, especially when I’m dealing with so many different instruments and electronics on stage, and the likelihood of something going wrong is so high. But having complete control over the sound is really a lot of fun, especially in an improvised setting, where things can go in any direction at any time. Doing everything solo is definitely a limitation, but in a really positive, challenging way. The Miscreant: As one of Stereocure’s Co-Founders, what do you think drew you to the idea of being involved with this collective? Adam: As of now, my work with Stereocure earns me no money, no grade, and nothing official to put on my transcript or resume. And yet, I find myself dedicating more time to this project than almost everything else, because the people, music, and other communities (like the Miscreant!) I get to work with on a daily basis inspire me over and over again. Being a part of a community with such a strong, shared vision and sense of collaboration is a really incredible feeling; at the end of the day, it’s not recognition or the promise of profit that keeps us going, it’s the community and the art that rises from it that pushes me and all the other people who make the Stereocure machine turn day-to-day feel like we’re going in the right direction.
http://stereocure.com/kuh-lida The Miscreant: Along with Jordan and a few others, you’re one of the founding members of Stereocure. How did you get connected with this project? Myles Emmons: One of the other founding members, Adam Hirsch, and I were roommates our sophomore year at Oberlin, and I was trying to organize something that would really showcase the wealth of artistic and creative talent at school, and possibly run it out of our dormroom. Things never really took off, but the spirit of it carried over into the summer when Adam and I were given the opportunity to work at Art House Live from Jordan. Los Angeles this past summer was when we were really able to start fusing together these goals and ambitions to facilitate outlets for creative work from all types of mediums. The Miscreant: How do you feel you’ve grown from being a part of this collective? Myles: Being part of something bigger than yourself is always a humbling experience. Exposure to the work that these other artists are doing with Stereocure really inspires me to push myself further and further just to keep up with the high level of quality that the collective is putting out. The MIscreant: Who do you personally cite as inspirations for your work as kuh-lida? Myles: I’m really trying to allow the kuh-lida project to draw influence from a large scope of sonic, performative, and visual aesthetics that I enjoy, without worrying too much about the weight of any one over another. I suppose more specifically my influences include many Oberlin students and grads, Brainfeeder’s artists, the New York School, and more recently many of Planet Mu’s artists. The Miscreant: Your visuals are just as much a part of your live show as your music. Talk a bit about the process of working simultaneously with the two. Myles: As an artist working in multi media I think it’s important to keep in mind the overall experience being presented to the audience. Often times developing a counterpoint between sight and sound is a route that can be taken, more recently however I’ve been delving into different video techniques that are a little more experimental for me and I try t o create something thats both new and exciting for myself as well as the audience, where it’s hard for anyone to guess where things are headed next. The Miscreant: The title of your latest release is pretty interesting. What does it mean to be Savage Casual? Myles: To me, Savage Casual is about putting in the grind on the regular. Taking the time everyday to generate raw momentum on your work, at whatever stage, to continue to push yourself and others. The title seemed particularly appropriate after I had lost all the project files due to a broken hard drive, and was encouraged to release the raw cuts I’d built up over the summer. The Miscreamt: What do you have planned for the future for KuhLida? Myles: I have two releases getting pretty close to done, with some ideas for video projects I’d like to see happen in conjunction. I’m shooting for some or all of that to be available by early 2013.
more from Stereocure Pepepiano David Bird is Pepepiano, an experimental electronic project based out of New York. He’s recently released a new track, “Reverie.” This track, in particular, explores multiple layers of sounds and creates hills and valleys for the listener to ride along. // http://stereocure.com/pepepiano
StaG StaG hails from Boulder via Los Angeles, bringing a dreamlike yet rocking surf sound. They create a huge recorded sound in order to recreate it live. Check out their first release on Stereocure, a single called “JPTW” available of the Stereocure Bandcamp. // http://stereocure.com/stag
Family Photo Family Photo have released the most recent Stereocure project, their EP entitled Nude Celebz. This band heavily layers their pop sound, mixing in their influences of jazz and experiemental music. With a totally unique and exciting sound, Family photo offer up their new release with which to immerse yourself in. // http://stereocure.com/familyphoto
Faith Harding’s heart beats through her electric guitar and warm, jazzy vocals. Her dynamic sound comes from but her guitar amp and vocals, matched with beautiful lyrics. Check out the Stereocure website to enjoy Novelty Daughter’s live sessions at Top Tomato. // http://stereocure.com/noveltydaughter
THiNK A purest, Tom Kearney of THiNK performs his breakbeats and sample collages with two SP-404 samplers and nothing else. His Solstice EP, released in August of this year, can be downloaded and enjoyed on the Stereocure website along with a handfull of live sessions. // http://stereocure.com/think
RYV Charlie Abbott creates his experimental electronic sound under the moniker RYV. You can listen to his music at Stereocure, as well as on Stereocure’s sister label’s website, Belgian Man Records. // http://stereocure.com/redyellowviolet http://www.belgianman.com/abbott/
Christopher Knollmeyer Spheres, Christopher Knollmeyer’s latest release on Stereocure, is true its name. Through snyth, samples and manipulated vocals, it offers up sounds that take shape in your ear. Also, enjoy this EP’s parallel release at Belgian Man Records. // http://stereocure.com/christopherknollmeyer http://www.belgianman.com/chris/
Learn more about these artists and the other folks involved with Stereocure, as well as event announcements and release updates at stereocure.com!
STEREOCURE travelling showcase october 11-27 photos by: Vanessa Castro, Nate Mendelsohn, Jesse Sussman, Casey Baden and Alex PItta 14
Forbidden songs by cassandra baim
I’m the kind of girl who creates a soundtrack for every waking moment of my life. I even have a radio show that asks my listeners to send me songs each week they associate with different memories/periods in their life. Here’s the problem with that school of thought, though—I can’t listen to half the songs I’ve “soundtracked” for myself. Sometimes I feel like I can’t go anywhere anymore. I’ll be out running errands, minding my own business when all of a sudden I’m taken back to the time I lost my virginity on the floor of some dark and unfamiliar house, all because I hear the song that was playing at the time. The song ends, and I hit reality with a sharp thud, and make a mental note to delete it off my iPod, lest it come up on Shuffle when I least expect it. I wish that were the only example. I’m about to list the five songs I cannot hear for any length of time, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. I call this the “Damn you, life, for ruining music for me!” list 1. ANY OF THE 10 SONGS from Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans I promised myself that I would stop alluding to my deep, passionate and undying love for Ben Gibbard and his merry band of Portland-ites, but alas, I cannot. Plans was the soundtrack to the most awkward hook-up I would very much like to forget. And now, even hearing the opening chords to “Marching Bands of Manhattan” sends a shiver up my spine. 2. “A More Perfect Union” by Titus Andronicus One of my most powerful and unforgettable friendships ended over text message (I know, right?) at a Titus Andronicus show. The final text, which read something along the lines of “I don’t ever want to see you again,” popped up on my phone during this song. 3. “The Swimming Song” by Loudon Wainwright III About a month and a half ago, I lay awake in a tent somewhere in the Adirondacks, coming down off of some powerful hallucinogenics, unable to sleep with this song running through my head until the sun rose and I finally gave up trying. This was my favorite Loudon song, but now I can’t even hear the words “swimming,” “summer,” or “drowned” without yelling obscenities and running away. 4. “Little Lion Man” by Mumford & Sons I wish there was a fun story behind this, but the fact of the matter is I hate this song, I hate hearing it everywhere I go, and I hate pretending otherwise. 5. “Oxford Comma” by Vampire Weekend I was trying to chat up this boy a few months back by bragging about all the awesome shows I saw at Pitchfork this summer. He asked what my favorite set was, to which I responded “Vampire Weekend.” He proceeded laugh in my face, and tell me how much he hated them, especially that song. I can’t hear this anymore without feeling like an absolute shithead.
quality of cassettes by luke van der veen
I have an ‘89 Oldsmobile Cutless Ciera SL Coupe. I would normally like to bike around, but the weather is getting a bit chilly, and I broke my wrist, so I take it. It’s not that great of a car but it gets me around, so I am satisfied. Pros and cons of my car: Pros – The heat works, it has a cool lookin speedometer, decent gas milage, and some fancy knobs on the radio. Cons – no A/C, the fabric on my roof started falling down, it has no CD player, the handles (inside) started falling off the driver and the passenger doors, not enough leg room, some of the interior lights will not work (I tried getting more fuses ok! None of them fit! Gimme a break! Jeez), the radio has no good stations (besides 9.49: Rn’B), the front speakers are totally blown, and the cassette player does not work well. At all. Upbringing: I got into good music mid 2009 with bands that I still am big fans of like Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, tokyo police Club, Fun., and others. I did not do much exploring myself, I left that to my brother who had a well done blog consistently posting new mp3s, videos, art, etc. But not until mid-late 2010 I actually started finding music myself, and acquiring a music for myself, not following in the steps of my brother. In late 2010 I started my blog Vacant Summer, started as an amateur writer, not even writing much, but I kept on, admiring blogs that I have heard from my brother like Smokedontsmoke, Cactusmouth, Flashlight Tag, Decoder, and others. From those blogs, I found good music, found a community with really cool people, new writing styles, and new ways to enjoy music. Enhancements: And after time reading those blogs I see improvements, I see them growing, I see them starting collabs, and just until early last year I see cassettes. At first I think “Cassettes? Why cassettes? So outdated.” Later, I then realize “Oh, It’s just a cheap form of psychical media, nothing huge.” I started purchasing some from Thrift Stores and labels like Crash Symbols and Chill Mega Chill. So I could actually listen to good music in my car. So I of course previewed these on their bandcamp pages and with the ones I enjoyed I purchased, and repped to all my friends how amazing they were. With most the albums I bought, I listened to them consistently, always flipping them around and changing them (I am a pretty good driver, I can do this while I am cruisin). Unknowingly, I realized with these albums, I only listened to them on cassette, only in my crappy car. Never again on my computer. So recently I’ve been trying to hear how these albums compared to each other from different speakers. For some reason they always sound better in my car, definitely not better quality, but listening to these albums always brings me this nostalgic feeling. This thought of me going to the beach, after a bad day at work, when I am overly happy, when I am miserable, when I don’t know what to feel and I am driving to figure out what to do. Cassettes have done so much more for me than just to supply tunes, they are soundtracking my life, giving it feeling.
He’s Yours by quinn donnell
As Barack Obama marched to the podium on November 6, prepared to accept his re-election as President of the United States, viewers still awake at two in the morning recognized all of the prespeech activity associated with such an occasion. Obama’s presidential hand waves and the crowd’s collection of raised cell phones, lit with red recording signals, indicated the importance of the moment; a moment that needed to be recognized as something historic. What made that moment what it was, however, wasn’t Barack Obama standing next to the smiling first lady and their daughters, or thousands of supporters cheering in Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center. It was Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours).” Throughout his first term, Obama’s decisions have resulted in varying opinions about his presidency. The image of Obama walking out to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” however, can most accurately be described, regardless of political affiliation, as badass. Introduced by a Stevie Wonder scream and a blaring horns section, Obama took the stage in a manor that seemed as though it could have involved bustin’ a couple moves with Michelle prior to addressing his viewers. Although dancing didn’t make its way into the president’s agenda that night, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” told everyone involved that it was time to party. The lines “Here I am, signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours!” accompanied by a triumphant first family, perfectly exemplified the message the president was trying to convey: whether you like it or not, Barack Obama is going to spend the next four years trying to make your life better. Lyrics like “Seen a lot of things in this old world,” although originally intended to act as an apology to a former lover, fittingly described Obama’s experience throughout the first half of his presidency. Music often has a recognizable impact on film and advertising. Artists like Feist and Chairlift experienced career-changing moments when placed in Apple’s iPod commercials, and bands like Arcade fire and the Decemberists even wrote songs for the Hunger Games soundtrack. The fact that music can also have an impact on a presidential speech shows how important music is to our culture. At a place and time where music was the last thing on everyone’s conscious mind, Wonder’s 1970 “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” influenced the experience of every supporter present at McCormick Place and every viewer prepared to watch Obama’s speech at home. Amidst everything going on during that moment, Stevie Wonder’s song said it all.
It’s time to Get Moody by miss tori cote
It’s that time of the year again! Time to sit in your room and be moody because it’s cold outside and finals are hard. Granted you are allowed to have some fun times, but it wouldn’t be winter if you didn’t listen to records in your room and pout like a 15 year old girl at least once. Personally, I’m in London so I don’t really have time or the energy to be outwardly moody, but I’m working on trying to fit it all in. I don’t know why you’re down, but remember it’s okay to be a tiny bit sad sometimes. Maybe your imaginary boyfriend/ girlfriend didn’t text you back, possibly you got fat or whatever, or perhaps you just want to cry. Whatever your case is, here is my lil moody playlist for you to lay on the ground and wallow to. Oh and in case you didn’t know, “to wallow” means to metaphorically roll in or soak in one’s emotions. Enjoy. “Needle In The Hay” by Elliott Smith Haven’t you watched The Royal Tenenbaums??? Come on this is a sad song I’m not explaining myself. “Lua” by Bright Eyes Honestly, anything off of I’m Wide Awake, It’s morning could make me cry, but this song is so honest and pathetic you have to love it. “The Same Tattoos” by Fences A sad song about death and tattoos, okay this is relevant. “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” by The Smiths Morrissey might be the saddest man in the world. While this song doesn’t really come off as sad, it’s realistic and good for wallowing. “Samson” by Regina Spektor Regina Spektor has the voice of an angel. I’m not even sure if this song is meant to be sad, but I’m going to say that Samson was a lucky dude. “Lost Cause” by Beck My dad gave me this album when I was little and I’m still trying to figure out why. Sea Changes is the saddest break up album of all time. “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” by Stars I can’t even imagine being in this situation. At the same time though, I think everyone has been in this situation. Cry appropriately. “The Fight Song” by The Appleseed Cast I couldn’t tell you why, but The Appleseed Cast was probably one of the biggest factors on helping me get over my last break up. Take it for what it is, but this band is beautiful. “Casimir Pulaski Day” by Sufjan Stevens I refuse to comment on this song because it is simply too sad. “Katydid” by Will Stratton Honestly, I think it’s his voice, but this song sounds so child like it’s moving. Disclaimer: I’ve been told that I’m one of the most optimistic people in the world so sorry if this isn’t sad enough for you.
bye bye BonY by queen karen edith millar
Hey y’all, My initial idea for my column this week was simply one page, blank apart from “RIP BON IVER” scrawled in my own blood in the centre of it. This didn’t go down too well with The Miscreant (understandably, yes) so instead of taking a vow of silence, I shall once again proceed to discuss Justin Vernon and, on this most sad of days, lament the ‘loss’ of one of the best bands of the 21st century. Last night (at the time of writing), Bon Iver played in Dublin, what will “maybe” be their last show EVER. I have this on good authority - Justin himself told me personally; no I’m not a crazed weirdo with an overactive imagination (when it comes to this at least) - I just know how to utilize Twitter to my advantage - it seems that being a bitch gets people’s attention, even the rich and famous. See, ladies? Men are ALL the same. More dating tips from me next week. Alas, I cannot say I was lucky enough to be at their “last” show however I did travel all the way to west London (this is a big deal if you live in Hackney) to attend their sell out night at Wembley Arena. 22
Ok, so it was NEVER going to Radio City and it wasn’t and the main thing I could think of for the duration was how many “Fifity Shades Of Plaid” jokes I could make whilst scoping out the audience; but it was a great show summed up in my post-set tweet of; ‘ “I cried then got really angry at people talking in the audience then danced a bit then cried again.” #boniver #emotionalrollercoaster’ Basically, it’s the only time in my life that I’ve actually thought waterproof eye makeup would have been a good idea. ANOTHER wonderful thing that happened this week (aside from the necessity of having to travel to west London twice) was being enough of a ‘big dog’ to be put on the guest list for Jools Holland. Naturally The Miscreant herself was my +1 and BBC Studios didn’t know what hit it; this being eloquently demonstrated in the instance of me managing to drop an entire pack of loose cigarette filters in an electronic revolving door. Anyone who witnessed this particular event obviously has no need to watch an action / thriller film ever again. Box office figures for Skyfall are expected to have depleted rapidly in the past week in the Shepherd’s Bush area. Highlight of the evening was watching Trey Songz singing along to Soundgarden off camera. It was a beautiful moment. PLAYLIST 11/14/12 -- Listen on Spotify here! “Smother” - DAUGHTER “Before The Kingsland Road” - LAND OBSERVATIONS “Laura” - BAT FOR LASHES “Faded High” - GAYNGS “Facing West” - THE STAVES “Best / Rest (Rare Book Room)” - BON IVER “Lakes of Canada” - KAREN PERIS “Ghosts” - THESE BRITTLE BONES “Holy Mountain” - WOODEN INDIAN BURIAL GROUND “I Don’t Want Love” - THE ANTLERS 23
WANT MORE MISCREANT? My Fellow Miscreants, First of all, thank you to everyone who submitted and worked with me on this issue! Again and again I found myself reading submissions and just being in awe of how on point they were, and how creative the ideas are. So happy, for example, that Quinn thought to write about Obama’s walk out song! It’s so interesting to think about how much music communicates in different contexts, how meaningful it is in our lives. Also, a huge thanks to Jordan from Stereocure for his help in assembling the feature piece. Jordan and I have been friends since we were but wee journalism students at a high school camp at Columbia. It’s amazing how we loss touch, and then found our paths crossed again. The stars have a funny way of aligning like that, I think. Anyways, definitely check out all the wonderful folks who are working with Stereocure. You’ll find links to content throughout the issue! So, now, it’s time to start on issue 31! Submissions are due on November 28 (mark it on your calendars). Send in your top 5 Rob Gordon lines, your concert photos, your thoughts on Angel Haze’s involvement in the Illuminati, or any other writing you’ve done about music to be included in the forthcoming issue. Email your work or any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Look to miscreantrecords.com and the Miscreant Facebook for more info on the music you read about here and more! All my love, The Miscreant P.S. - Please be sure to check out my friend The Bird Calls’ new record, Autumn. He recorded it since we’ve been in London, and I think it’s a true testament to his ever strengthening ability as a songwriter. The lyrics on this record are sweet, but unapologetically poetic. He’s made it available for free for you to download at http://thebirdcalls.bandcamp.com/album/autumn. Listen, enjoy, and pass it along.
Featuring Stereocure! http://stereocure.com/ Download on Mediafire: http://www.mediafire.com/?7d1on1nd9im1m1j