Tea Time With Tori
& Joshua Michael Robinson
an interview by miss tori cote
Joshua Michael Robinson is a 21-year-old singer songwriter from Lakeland Florida. His first and latest album, Intentions, was released on August 21st, and the album is full of tales and messages about heartache, hope, wants, needs, and above all learning. There is no doubt that the album is personal and delicate, almost like you’re reading Robinson’s diary but for adults. His voice is smooth, as always, and sort of floats above the melody. Even though every song on this album is genuine and great, some tracks to really look out for on this album are “Dress,” “The Weight of Your Hand,” and “Dear Friend.” All of these songs tell different stories, but are relatable. In fact, the great thing about Robinson’s music is that you can relate to it. There’s been a point in everyone’s life where they just sort of know what he means, or have felt what he is saying, which makes this album so powerful. Maybe it’s so relatable because he’s in his twenties and we’re on our twenties sort of deal, but at the end of the day who cares. He’s the ‘Thought Catalog’ of current music, and this album definitely highlights what he does well. This interview helps us understand a little bit more about the man behind the music and what his thoughts and life are like. Tori: What are your main musical influences? Joshua Michael Robinson: I grew up listening to a lot of soulful vocalists like Ray Lamontagne but always had a fondness for alternative/indie rock bands like Radiohead, Sigur Ros, or even Eisley and Copeland. What I tried to accomplish with my last record was a mixture of those influences. 2
Tori: What would birthday party?
Joshua: My best friends and I would have a cabin for the week and hike the mountains in the day and party by night- not like rage or anything, I think party can mean a lot of things. Tori: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you want to go? Joshua: Iceland. Tori: You are blindfolded and dropped in a coffee shop, what do you order? Joshua: I usually get a few shots of espresso and some steamed milk, iced or not depending on the whether. Tori: You’re from Florida, correct? Have you ever seen a alligator? Are you scared of Alligators? Joshua: I see them all the time. I’ve swam side by side them many times before. I am not scared of them, its really only in mating season that you have to watch out. They are an amazing animal. Tori: What’s your favorite romantic comedy (I don’t watch them isn’t going to fly)? Joshua: Yikes. Is it bad I am not ashamed to say Elizabethtown? Tori: After listening to your album, Intentions, it’s clear to the audience that you have gone through a lot of love and loss. What is your best advice for people going through hard times out there? Joshua: Everyone deals with shit differently, I just like singing about it. The “pretty sadness,” or the “hauntingly beautiful” aesthetic is something I am fascinated with.
this issue is brought to you by a warehouse in hackney.
Single of the
Week This Single of the Week comes from Bad Cello’s album TAKES. Zeno and his friends made a killer video for “Stop Living” around Halloween, and we’ve had it stuck in our heads ever since. Check out this track and the rest of the new record at badcello.bandcamp.com!
ESCAPE TO DRESDEN by gracie castañeda
Living in another country has had its ups and its downs. It’s not as “cool” or as “fun” as it looks. I’ve encountered more rudeness from Hannover locals than I have ever seen in my twenty-one years in life. It almost makes me WANT to speak with an American accent so that I never blend in, but given my fluency in Spanish, I have an easier time pronouncing words. In fact, I was once asked what region I was from given my dialect, not my accent. Despite a lot of the negativity I have had to deal with for the last 7 weeks, I have also been reminded why I am in Europe in the first place. Last weekend, I went to Dresden for a weekend to attend a music workshop in booking. If there is a city in Europe everyone needs to visit, it is Dresden. Once part of the DDR, the people in Dresden show a sense of hospitality I have never seen in any other city. Sometimes dark history can turn society around, and I believe that is why I have yet to have a negative experience in this region of Deutschland. Not only are the locals the most welcoming and funny (their dialect is THE most hilarious), but the arts are valued and looked more from the cultural perspective rather than an economical one. Musicians and living statues stand outside and perform from dawn to dusk, and people appreciate music for its nature and not economical value. Getting classical music is also so cheap! I bought a collection of approximately 10 CDs for 14€, or about $18. Had I bought the same music in the United States, I would have spent 5 times more! After the workshop, I had the opportunity to see Hamlet at the Schauspielhaus and I was almost moved to tears. We all know Hamlet of course, so no spoilers there. But the way the stage was built up, the lighting, the way the actors performed, and the musicians were beyond unbelievable. I was so moved that I didn’t even want to get up from my seat after the 3-hour play. I could see this same play 10 times if I could and I still probably wouldn’t exhaust my wallet (tickets range from 8-20€, or $10-20). I’m still fresh in this country, but my musical experience has been so far a great one, and one I would never have experienced in commercial America. I’m excited to start interning soon and interacting with more musicians aside from the ones I have seen performing in public. I do not regret moving here because of my passion and love for music.
the Honor roll TOP 20 ALBUMS OF THE YEAR PT. 1 by matt boswell
#20: Not Of This Earth by Fire & Ice If you’re a fan of riffs, then this album is definitely for you. I was not too into Fire & Ice prior to this release, but boy did this album turn me into a fan. Starting it off with the pounding intro of the title track, this album pulls back on the reigns at the absolute perfect times (The Devil’s Side, Sky’s The Limit, Fortuna) to give a chance to breathe. The rest of this album is all about the riffs, and absolutely a solid release. Recommended If You Like: Expire, Soul Search, Turnstile #19: Our Home Is A Deathbed by Xerxes This album is overflowing with emotions. Sitting down and really listening to this album can honestly be straining, because of how much it sends you through. In terms of the actual musicality, Xerxes does a masterful job of treading the line between hardcore and screamo, however they usually find themselves leaning towards the latter. RIYL: Midnight Souls, We Were Skeletons, Rise And Fall #18: Please Remain Calm by Hostage Calm Hostage Calm continues to morph and mold their sound more than any other band in the punk rock genre. While listening to Please Remain Calm, it’s hard to believe this is the same band that released the blistering punk-hardcore album Lens just a few years ago. However, whatever this band does, they do well. Please Remain Calm is a nod towards some of the pop greats of years past. Take Elvis Costello and throw in some Beach Boys (especially on the track “Patriot”) and you’re starting to figure this album out. RIYL: Elvis Costello, Aficionado, The Jam #17: Channel Orange by Frank Ocean I am going to be up front and honest in saying of the albums on this list, I’ve probably listened to Channel Orange the least. This is not to say that this album isn’t deserving of more listens, because it is one the best hip-hop, and even pop albums of the year. Frank Ocean continues to push his poppy, R&B sound to new heights and everyone is really starting to notice. His content throughout this album is so serious and personal, and even depressing at times, it’s hard to believe he’s a part of Odd Future. RIYL: The Weekend, Miguel, Kendrick Lamar #16: Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem The Gaslight Anthem has never made a bad album, and Handwritten continues that streak. While I personally prefer The ’59 Sound and Sink or Swim, I found myself enjoying Handwritten more than I did their most recent release prior, American Slang. The Gaslight Anthem didn’t really take any changes with their record, but the didn’t really need to as they simply continued their mastery of the rock n’ roll feel of Bruce Springsteen and creating a product loved by punks, hipsters, casual listeners, and dads everywhere. RIYL: Bruce Springsteen, Against Me!, The National
#15: Pendulum Swings by Expire If you take the riffs of Not Of This Earth and mix them with the disparity and emotion of Our Home Is A Deathbed, you begin to get a feel for Pendulum Swings. Expire had huge expectations after the underground success of Grim Rhythm and Suffer The Cycle, but they definitely met and surpassed them with this release. Musically, Expire has shown tons of continued improvement and the lyrics of Josh Kelting keep getting more personal and powerful. RIYL: Backtrack, Suburban Scum, Bent Life #14: Desolate Peaks by State Faults If you’re drawn to “emotional” music, you’d be hard pressed to find a more suitable album this year than the Tiny Engines debut of State Faults. Musically it continually pushes itself dynamically and with a handful of intense key and/or tempo changes. The constant throughout are the distressed and desperate screams of vocalist Jonny Andrews. While some Brother Bear (same band, different name) material is stronger than individual tracks off Desolate Peaks, this album as a whole blows away any past material of this band. While this band is still fairly new to the national scene, don’t be surprised to see them tour alongside some of the biggest bands from “the wave”. RIYL: Pianos Become The Teeth, Funeral Diner, Caravels #13: Port of Morrow by The Shins There may not have been another record this year that I anticipated more than Port of Morrow. The Shins are a band that I have quite literally grown up with. I was 11 years old when I first heard Oh, Inverted World, and it was instant love. Needless to say, I had big expectations for this album due to the steady stream of high quality music from James Mercer. Personally, I would have liked to see more of a growth with this album, but there honestly isn’t much more growth that The Shins can take. This album is full of catchy songs that can slide into any mixtape, and I think that “Simple Song” is easily the most anthemic tune this band has ever crafted, and it certainly became a favorite of this already stacked catalogue of songs. RIYL: Broken Bells, Death Cab For Cutie, Band of Horses #12: Blunderbuss by Jack White With Blunderbuss Jack White delivered exactly what I was hoping for from the former member of The White Stripes. This is almost a reinvention of the really polished blues-rock feel that began to lose steam over the past 25-30 years. Jack White is constantly proving that he’s one of the best musicians of today throughout this album, and he builds excitement and tension through some tracks unlike anything done with The Raconteurs or Dead Weather. When it comes down to it, this is a great album. However, it’s not as great as a couple of the albums he created while in The White Stripes, and that bums me out a little bit while listening to this. RIYL: The White Stripes, Alabama Shakes, Mona #11: Shields by Grizzly Bear To be honest, I’m fairly new to Grizzly Bear. I knew that 2009’s Veckatimest received tons of hype and acclaim, but I never really gave it a shot. I initially listened to Shields on a suggestion from a friend. I had no idea what I was missing. This album is fresh without necessarily being risky. As a whole, the soundscape created is simply gorgeous, as every song seems to play off one another and create this intense feeling of loneliness while remaining content with it. This album pulls in so many different feels and styles, and it does so without ever feeling disjointed or overwhelming. If I spent more time with this record (which I honestly see myself doing in the future) it could easily become one of my favorite records of the genre. RIYL: Animal Collective, Beirut, Beach House
stay tuned to next issue for albums 1-10! 7
bad cello an interview by the miscreant
Bad Cello is the solo project of Zeno Pittarelli. He’s just released his debut album, Takes, on cassette tape with Double Double Whammy in October, and has been hitting the pavement ever since. Recently, Bad Cello has set up a mini tour, so you can catch him throughout the month of December around New York State. He has also come out with a music video for his the first single off the album, “Stop Living.” With all of this, there is still much on the horizon for Zeno. Here he talks about dropping out of college, recording an album, and listening to Annie Clark. Listen to Takes here: http://badcello.bandcamp.com/ 8
The Miscreant: How long have you been writing music? When did you start playing? Zeno Pittarelli: I started piano lessons when I was six years old, and cello lessons when I was ten. I kept with piano for a couple of years and studied cello through college. I picked up the guitar when I was in eighth grade, and soon after started a band with the guys in Bad Sound. We’ve been writing and playing together ever since. The Miscreant: When did you start using Bad Cello as your moniker? Is there a story behind the name? “Bad Cello” has always reminded me of that line from “Say It Ain’t So.” Zeno: There’s a bit of a story to it – in high school I played cello in the Hamilton College Orchestra – my hometown is about 10 minutes away, and my private instructor was a professor at Hamilton. She had most of her high school-aged students placed in the orchestra. My friends and I would often go up there on weekends to see shows – we saw Grizzly Bear, Beach House, of Montreal, The National... One weekend we went to see Yeasayer, and I noticed there was a discount at the door if you had a student ID. I didn’t have an ID, so I tried explaining to the guy that I played in the orchestra. By chance I recognized a girl in the crowd that played viola and called her over, explaining that I was “one of those really bad cellos.” She said something like, “Right. Yeah, you guys suck.” The door dude seemed pleased and I got the discount. Instead of X-ing your hand with a sharpie they were giving out name tags – mine said “Bad Cello.” The Miscreant: Is there any music you listen to that you especially draw inspiration from for your own writing? Zeno: I think the influence of Annie Clark and Nick Drake on my guitar playing is pretty transparent. Annie Clark is probably my favorite artist. I get really excited whenever she does anything. Sufjan and Owen Pallett also have a special place in my heart. The arrangements on their records cut me deep. I recently started listening to Talking Heads. Wish I jumped on that sooner, Stop Making Sense blew my mind. Aside from that I listen to a lot of radio pop. Beyoncé’s album 4 is one of my favorites. I’m also really loving a lot of the new Taylor Swift tunes. Have you heard the Travis Garland song with JoJo? “Paint” – I love that song. The Miscreant: You just came out with a new record, Takes. Is there an overriding theme of
the album to you? What are a lot of these songs talking about? Zeno: I dropped out of college last fall – cracked under the pressure! I was unhappy with what I was studying and never really settled in. I’m lucky that I have loving and supportive parents – they said it was okay to put a hold on school and gave me a year to work on music. Takes is what I ended up with. During that year I confronted a lot of mistakes and issues, emotional and physical. There were a lot of things I had been ignoring. These are easily the most personal songs I’ve ever written – I was surprisingly candid. Writing Takes was a therapeutic process, and I learned a lot about myself. Now that the album is out I feel much better. The Miscreant: Where did you record this record? Zeno: I recorded it all at my parents house. Mostly in the basement, a few things in my bedroom. I worked on it for almost 10 months. It shouldn’t have taken that long. I drove myself a little crazy. The Miscreant: How did you get connected with Double Double Whammy? Zeno: Jake (Bad Sound drummer) goes to SUNY Purchase, and through him we’ve met a lot of amazing people. Dave is in Spook Houses – we did our first Bad Sound tour with them and since then we’ve been really great buddies. I sent Takes to Dave and he ended up liking it! He’s the best guy and they’ve got the best music on their roster. Couldn’t be happier. The Miscreant: You came out with a music video for “Stop Living.” What was the idea behind that video and the red mask that has a featured role? Zeno: Ricky and I liked the idea of making a video with people doing “really regular things.” The mask was a way to tie all of the scenes together. It was Halloween time, so we went out and bought the stupidest looking mask we could. We spray-painted it and beat it up a bit. Then we went around and asked a few of our friends to do what they normally would do, with the mask on. The guy that burned the chair is no stranger to destruction.
The Miscreant: Who was in the video with you? Who put the video together? Zeno: The video has a bunch of my hometown friends in it, filmed at some spots that we frequent. My good friend Ricky Turner put the video together – he gets all the credit. He has a very sharp sense of humor. He anonymously produces a ridiculous web-series – I wish I could say what it is! But he likes that no one knows. And he’s a wonderful songwriter – soulful, incredibly prolific. He toured with me in April and filled in on bass for Bad Sound in June. I could sing his praises all day. The Miscreant: How does the recorded music translate to a live show? Do you have a backing band with you? Zeno: Until recently I’d been doing shows solo acoustic. This past month I figured out a setup using my laptop, two keyboards and a midi controller. I rearranged a bunch of tunes from the album and worked out some new songs. It sounds a lot different than the original recordings. I’m really excited to gig with it. I’ve been thinking about this setup for a long time. The Miscreant: What is one of your favorite experiences playing a live show? Zeno: Performing is the best part! My favorite moments are when I’m halfway through a song. If it’s going well enough the music will play itself – it’s an exciting feeling. The Miscreant: Who are some of the bands you play a lot of shows with? Zeno: Spook Houses (spookhouses.bandcamp.com), Coyote Campus (coyotecampus. bandcamp.com), The John Barry Conception (thejbc.bandcamp.com), The Real Burnouts (therealburnouts.bandcamp.com), and Ricky Turner (rturner.bandcamp.com) The Miscreant: What other projects are you working on? Talk a bit about Bad Sound. Zeno: When I’m not working on solo stuff, I’m with Bad Sound. Those guys are my best friends in the world. We’ve been playing together since high school, making crazy recordings and playing weirdo shows. It was pretty shoegazey. About a two years ago we started Bad Sound – it’s our attempt at writing pop music. If I could do anything, I’d be playing music with them full time. Hopefully we’ll have some new recordings next year. If all goes well we’ll start to really hustle. Fingers crossed. The Miscreant: What’s on the horizon for Bad Cello? Any shows coming up? Zeno: Two new tracks are being mixed (and not by me – I’m excited about that!), which I hope to have out on 7” sometime next year. And I have a short tour coming up in early December, plus a handful of dates around the holidays! After that I’ll probably start recording again. I’m doing what I can to stay busy.
THE ARKANSas update by andrew mcclain
I’ve been keeping the Miscreant updated on my friends in Don’t Stop Please for about as long as the Miscreant has existed. Here I’ve chronicled their journey from post-show shenanigans involving backstage fisticuffs and pushing their conversion van the last six feet to the gas pump. I’ve told you about their EP, “Crowded Car” and their status as one of Paste’s 12 Arkansas “Bands to Watch.” They’ve been hitting the road periodically, going to Memphis, up to Missouri and Oklahoma. A few weeks ago, Don’t Stop Please taped a full-length Austin City Limits-style concert special with the local PBS affiliate, AETN (Arkansas Educational Television Network, y’all) and it’s available on YouTube as “AETN Present Don’t Stop Please.” This special is really the ideal way to experience the band – these six hippie youths blend sounds and influences that don’t make much sense on paper, but make all the sense in the world in a live setting. It’s an unpretentious blend of easy-listening, jam-band fare (jazz/folk/rock) made cogent and interesting. I recommend, for starters, the much-loved track “Luca,” in which vocalist Anna Horton really gets to shine. Watch it, and you’ll agree that it’s not so much hip or zeitgeisty, but you can tell that they used the time they didn’t spend arguing about a band dress code playing music. In other Arkansas news, the world-at-large has to know about Thick Syrup Records, the crucial Arkansas record label. Go to the label’s Bandcamp page RIGHT NOW and download the Summer 2012 Compilation for free. The massive 64-song compilation (let’s call it a free, digital box-set, actually) includes original contributions by Daniel Johnston, Half Japanese, Julie Cafritz (of Pussy Galore), The Chrome Cranks, and a ton of great Arkansas bands like The See, Ezra Lbs., Ginsu Wives, Booyah! Dad, Adam Faucett, The Satanic Broes, Magic Hassle and Life Size Pizza, to name just a few.
The 2013 DDW/Mt Home Cassette Club! A $30 subscription-based deal, this one is for the true believers. Our club this year features the following artists: Matt Van Asselt (Act of), Bad Cello, Boy Crush, Colin Alexander (Spook Houses), Rinong (Speedy Ortiz/Roomrunner), QUARTERBACKS, Little Big League, Whatever Dad, Cameron Wisch, Adir L.C., Ben Smith (LVL UP) and Trace Mountains.
Sign up at dbldblwhmmy.bandcamp.com!!!!!
going stag by cassandra baim
I’m standing in Schuba’s Tavern, a local concert venue in Chicago that I’m pretty sure is smaller than my basement. I’m temporarily alone—my concert buddies having gone to the bar and the ladies’ room, respectively. When I’m left alone, I tend to get annoyingly introspective, especially if I’ve been drinking. I noticed that my female friends and I were in the minority—we were the only samesex group there, everyone else either in a couple, and a couple of single males here and there. I twiddled my thumbs and felt out of place. My companions returned and, egged on by me, we launched into a discussion about the social stigmas attached to attending concerts alone. I might be over-thinking this. Okay, I’m most definitely overthinking this, but as a frequent concertgoer with a lot of free time but not a lot of friends, it’s a real problem (or, at the very least, I’m making it a real problem). I pay a lot of attention to social stigmas, and I know I’m not the only one because at every single concert I’ve ever attended, I’ve noticed copious amounts of lone men, but not a single lone woman. The more I think about this, the angrier I get at society, but mostly at myself. I can’t tell you how many shows I’ve had to forgo because I couldn’t find anyone who would go with me. I always think about going alone, but I’m met with a smattering of these responses: “That’s not safe!” “Wouldn’t you get bored?” and “That’s just plain weird.” 14
I can turn this into a feminist rant about what’s appropriate for male versus female social behavior, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. Eventually I got tired of missing out, cried, “fuck the haters!” and saw some shows on my own. I attended Lollapalooza for the second time this August. I only had one festival buddy this year, who had to juggle her work schedule with the set schedule, which left me with a couple hours to kill that Friday before she could make it to the park. I stood outside the gates, and thought about my two choices: kill some time in the city, waste some money, and possibly miss out on some great performances; or march into Grant Park alone, head held high and just enjoy the damn festival. I only made it to one full set, an hour-long performance by my spirit animal, Sharon Van Etten. I think if there’s any artist for a lonely and over-emotional female to see on her own, it’s Ms. Van Etten. I stood alone, completely forgetting that I was in the middle of a park in 100-degree weather, and let her words and chords wash over me in a way I knew I wouldn’t have been able to do had I been with a group of friends. Two weeks ago, I enjoyed an amazing Ra Ra Riot show in the auditorium of SU’s music school. I’ve been an obsessive fan of theirs since 2009, when I saw them open for Death Cab For Cutie (for the folks at home keeping score, this is the fifth Miscreant piece I’ve written referencing my love for that band. Haters to the left, please) and realized they formed while attending SU. None of my close friends care for them as much as I do, but I couldn’t fathom not going so once again I found myself alone, but this time completely and wholeheartedly giving zero fucks about going to this show stag. I don’t love going to shows alone. I really think music is so much better when it’s shared among friends, but I’m never again going to compromise the possibility of having a cathartic musical experience just because I’m afraid of a few strange looks from others. I’m wary of these social stigmas, but more and more I’m learning that the general public is too self-absorbed to be concerned with someone who toes the line between normal and eccentric. I love music, I love live shows, and I love trying new things and my “going stag” experiences fulfill each one of those things. So to all of the naysayers, I say “fuck you!” but I also encourage each and every wary female to try seeing a show on her own because it’s never worth it to give up a good time. Ever.
Ponderings on Being a Fan and a Musician and a Girl by rachael gordon “Does that term bother you?” my pal Angelica asked, in reference to the label “female musician”. I wasn’t really trying to talk shop, being that I was sitting on my floor eating cookies, trying to bask in my fleeting Thanksgiving break, but then I stopped being an idiot and realized it’s important to talk about this stuff. Although my answer to the question is no, I understand a potential opposing argument, which in my mind is: “doesn’t acknowledging female musicians separately from male musicians further encourage inequality and acceptance of different standards for women who play music?” That is a reasonable question, but my answer is still no! The way I see it is that when someone talks about a musician and indicates that she is a woman, they’re not laying down any sexist implications or creating a separate criteria for whether the music is good or not. It’s simply because they’re not oblivious to the male domination of most music scenes, excluding top of the pop charts mainstream mediocrity. The female musicians that we hear most about are the products of this exact industry, so it’s always refreshing to hear of genuine talent coming from a fellow lady. This is the perfect opportunity to make it clear that I am by NO FUCKING MEANS EVER IN ANY WAY IN ANY DIMENSION saying that this is because the musical talent of women is limited to the aforementioned mainstream garbage. This unfortunate dynamic is the fault of various social constructs, the most obvious one being that women have generally been conditioned to be silent, subservient, and have their priorities be limited to their physical appearance and motherly ambitions. Although we are living in the 21st century, the amount of time that it takes for thousands of years of oppression to wear off varies from person to person. It also connects to the comfort that women have found in, not necessarily being objects to show off, but rather genuine loyal supporters of their talented male contemporaries. I relate to this comfort, specifically in terms of being an audience member at shows. After a few years of creating my niche in standing, singing and bobbing along to local and touring bands in restless crowds of other fans, I experienced a major culture shock once I put out a split tape of my own with my pal and fellow female musician Elaiza Santos. Writing songs was more of a secret that I kept than it was a passion, so once people started listening to my music, whether it was on tape or online, I realized that my role in the music portion of my life now expanded from being just a fan, to also being someone that has fans, while still being a girl! The Student Center (Stood) at my school, SUNY Purchase is a concentrated example of the overwhelming male to female musician dynamic. If anyone follows the music scene here, the best bands that come to mind are probably those that consist of all guys. Elaiza and I performed in the biannual cover show at school this semester (she was Karen O and I was Courtney Love & Heather Lewis) and we were two out of only a handful of girls who performed at a show that had 13 sets. So, do I get irritated when I am distinguished as a female musician? Not only do I not get offended, but it excites me to contribute to a community that can only continue to grow. If you have creative ambitions, don’t let society’s discriminatory norms or the talent of those around you make you feel like you should keep it a secret. The indication of gender when discussing music does not automatically bear sexist connotations, rather it is a mere way to acknowledge a gendered reality, and even once it evens out, it will always remain super important to talk about this stuff.
MEET FAR FROM PROPER by ashley aron
From the thriving scene of the 845, NY emerges FAR FROM PROPER in a fireball of high-energy pop punk. The pure honesty of this band practically oozes from their gang-chant-ready vocals [including a killer guest vocal appearance from Jesse Vadala of With the Punches on “Fight or Flight”] and insanely catchy riffs. If you don’t find yourself jumping into a massive pile-on when seeing these guys live, you’re either soulless or crippled. Both Nick Harrison and Matt O’Rourke offer some insight towards their local scene, writing process, and recent tour with Thieves & Suckerpunch: Can you state your name & role in the band, please? Matt: This is Matt and I play guitar in the band. Nick: I’m Nick and I sing. The band is based out of Poughkeepsie, NY. I live about two hours outside of the area [in CT] yet I still constantly hear amazing things about the shows in Poughkeepsie. How do you think the local scene there has influenced your music or even the band’s views as a whole? Matt: The local kids in and around our home have really been a big part of our influence. Not so much musically but more ambition and commitment, ya know? They’ve all seen us so many times over the years but yet every time we play at home they come to the show and always tell us how well we played and it’s a real morality booster. Nick: Poughkeepsie has always been lucky enough to have a strong local scene. Kids always come out just to support local bands and their friends, and I think that rules. Tyler [Muller, bass] and I used to spend a lot of time at Club Crannell back in the day watching tons of local bands. I’m not sure it’s influenced our music, but it has definitely helped us remember where we’re from, and has made us proud of our city. FFP released Rock Bottom in June. What did the record mean to you guys and what was the writing process like, especially compared to your previous material? What’s the response been like from your fans? Matt: Rock Bottom was huge for all of us on a personal level. The songs are more about us as a group and not an individual member. It was a big deal for us especially working with Will Yip and Shane Henderson. Both those guys have dealt with huge artists especially Shane being that he was in Valencia. The writing was so much better, I’m not even going to lie. The old EP (I don’t even wanna drop the name) was kinda rushed and mushed together and we were still pretty young then. Rock Bottom is just a true testament of our maturity over the years and the songs really mean something to each of us. So far it seems the fans love it, I honestly haven’t heard any negative feedback in reviews or anything, so that’s pretty awesome. Nick: Rock Bottom holds a lot of meaning to us personally. Our sound has evolved a lot since the last record we put out, and it was awesome to put out a record that we all really love. The writing process was far more relaxing. We didn’t have any time constraints, and we just wrote what came to us. Nothing was forced, and it was just a really stress-free experience. The response has been incredible. It means the world to us that people appreciate what we do. A month or two after the album’s release, you went on tour with Thieves and Suckerpunch. How was it touring with them? Matt: Thieves played with us in Poughkeepsie I think 2 years ago and they blew me away. Then Nick hit me up one day over the summer and said that they asked us to hop on the tour and I didn’t even hesitate. All the guys in both bands are extremely talented and I was really honored to be playing with them. Nick: It was interesting at first, we’ve never really met any of them, but they became very close friends very quickly. I’m stoked we were able to do that tour. If you haven’t heard Thieves’ “Achiever” or Suckerpunch’s “Are We Having Fun Yet” you really need to!
I saw that you’ve teamed up with Property of Zack[.com] with the “Be Part of Something” compilation for the Pagano family. Can you tell us about how the compilation came about and the Paganos’ role in the scene? Matt: The Paganos are just awesome. I’ve seen parents support music before but Christ, the Paganos are THE family. They hold shows, they promote, they let bands crash at the house, they are just so welcoming. The compilation came about when the Paganos teamed up with Property of Zack and Still Alive Clothing. They just wanted to make a free compilation of all the bands that have passed through their house at some point. It’s really awesome being a part of that cause there are some really solid bands on that thing. Nick: The Paganos are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. They are always doing something to help bands and the scene in general. When they approached us about it, we were stoked. We really appreciate all they do for us and every other band that is lucky enough to be backed by the Paganos. A lot of people think that illegal downloading and file-sharing sites are forcing the music industry further and further downhill. While it’s painfully obvious that this hurts artists by causing them to lose valuable dollars for every album illegally obtained, do you think that there’s still hope with streaming services like Spotify and a strong live performance? Matt: This is kind of a tough one for me. We haven’t really gotten into “survival mode” if you will, meaning: If someone wants to steal our music off the internet, they at least like it enough to listen to it and the lack of money isn’t ruining us. I don’t see a difference between that kid and the kid that forgot to bring money to the show and wants the record. I just like the support of the fans and the fact that they dig our shit. Nick: Spotify is awesome. I think that even though kids may be “stealing” music, they’re still paying to see your band at shows and buying your merch at shows, which rules. Honestly, if kids wanna steal our music, that’s fine with me. That just means they like us enough to check us out. What songs/albums have you guys been listening to lately? Any local bands you’d want to recommend? Matt: I can’t speak for the rest of the guys, although I’m pretty sure Nick has been really into that Selena Gomez shit. I just listen a very broad range of music but lately I’ve been on the bands: Spraynard, Mimicking Birds, Expire, and American Verse. In terms of locals: Killscreen. That band has been with us since day one, I think our second show ever was their first show ever and we’ve always stood by them since. They are just the epitome of dedication and heart. Also check out Meridian if you’re into fast angry melodic hardcore. Nick: I don’t know about Selena Gomez, but I’m an avid Belieber. Besides that, I’ve been listening to Hundredth, American Verse, On My Honor, Thieves, The Tired And True, and With The Punches lately. As far as local artists, definitely check out our friends in KillScreen, Meridian, Take One Car, Against The Current, Kid Jerusalem, Abel, and Tony E. What can we expect next from the band? Any chances of a collaboration with Andrew WK after your holiday show with him in December, or just working on new material? Matt: Well I don’t know about THAT, although it would be rad as hell. But yeah, I mean we’re just gonna be writing and touring and writing. We’re shooting to record a single sometime this winter that we’ve been working on. Our goal is to record a full length record sometime next year, hopefully tour a little more west and just keep up the pace. We love doing this stuff. Nick: We’re definitely writing and hoping to record a new single in the winter! I’m doubtful of a collaboration with Andrew WK, but that would be nuts. That show is going to be silly. Thanks so much for your time - anything else you’d like to add? Matt: I’d just like to let all our fans out there that the material we’re working on now is some of the best stuff we’ve written so far, it’s fast, it’s punk, it’s old school and it’s gonna be rad. But we’ll never lose that little touch we’ve always had on our songs. I’d also just like to add that if you’re a musician or if you’re in a band, don’t worry about what people think. Music is your art, and if you’re happy with it, then don’t stop for a second. Keep pushing and pushing just like we did, and progress will be made. Nick: Thank you so much for checking out this interview and make sure you listen to With The Punches! They put out my favorite record of this year and have done a lot for our band and our scene. Check out FAR FROM PROPER all over da interwebs: www.facebook.com/farfromproperband www.farfromproper.bandcamp.com ← Rock Bottom is only $5! www.twitter.com/farfromproperny
ASHER ROTH IS GROOVY by liz kenny
Tuesday night as I sat in class listening to a man lecture us about the pros and cons of technology, I received a text from my friend, Chloe, saying I was on the guest list for Asher Roth at the Westcott Theater, a venue just off of my Syracuse Campus. I had a sorority event and meeting after, followed by a night designated to revising my not so A+ papers ahead. However, a free show with my friends to see a completely underrated lyricist outweighed any school obligations I had, so Asher Roth it was. After grabbing “the team,” a phrase we’ve come to realize makes our group of friends sound just as legit as we are, it was off to the Westcott to be greeted with the back hand stamp and wristband. I walked into the venue to see it decently filled. The attendees were definitely fans of Asher Roth, not just his original classic “I Love College,” with young drunk biddies mixed in, whose moms probably dropped them off in their SUV after trying to escape the carpool obligation. I guarantee you a Poland Springs bottle filled with vodka was in a few of their purses. I took off my jacket and stationed myself in the back with my friends to enjoy the show. When you’re a senior in college and amongst a crowd of high schoolers this is the necessary procedure. As soon as I walked into the room it was obvious that Roth is a man with true stage presence. The setting in the Westcott was intimate; I’m guessing that was because of Roth’s talented ability to truly connect with a crowd on a more personable basis. He continuously invited audience members up on stage and entertained us all with his hilarious commentary on the girls he had invited up to dance. Roth was also a big fan of the word groovy, which, hell, why not bring back the usage of groovy? He was such a real guy to see perform, that seems like the only way to explain it. Asher Roth dropped track after track on that stage. I honestly do not know as much of his music as I have now realized I need to. His lyricism stunned me in ways that I would have never expected when I was first introduced to him as a senior in high school. He definitely is an underrated talent to the masses. In between songs, Roth spoke of the value of music, specifically live music. He even touched upon everyone’s phones being out and reminded us that this show was a “human experience,” something we forget when the option of recording a moment is available so easily on our iPhones. He was all about the audience vibing with him as his energy on the stage provoked the Westcott crowd to jump with him and put their hands in the air. One song even involved everyone putting his or her favorite shadow puppet up in the air, how great is that? The finale included Roth inviting up the members of Kids These Days, the opener, who have somewhat recently released their debut studio album, Traphouse Rock. Roth and Kids These Days owned the stage and put every last drop of energy they had into it. It was an amazing and rare combination of live music to see come together. Kids These Days includes trombonist, J.P. Floyd, and trumpeter, Nico Segal, who easily stole the show in the end. Roth came back out for an encore performance after the predicted chants from the crowd followed the finale. Being the chill, sociable, guy he is, he jumped right off stage and into the crowd of admiring fans to end the show. He walked out like a boss as the song ended. If you’re wondering, he did play “I Love College,” a track I actually wasn’t expecting to hear. It’s not a favorite song of mine by any means; however, I smiled as I heard the opening “That party last night was awfully crazy I wished we’d taped it…”. I can still remember going to parties in my friend’s basement as a senior in high school, singing it around a pool table on nights where we’d tell each other which colleges we were applying to over Busch beers. Almost four years later, I’m now a senior in college and Roth’s career is still going strong. I still love college and Asher Roth still performs it.
ALBUMS OF THE YEAR by queen karen edith millar
What with the year drawing to a close and every other music publication bringing out their flawed lists of album of the year (I’m looking at you, NME) I obviously thought I’d jump on the , if you’d excuse the pun, band wagon and profess my far superior musical knowledge upon y’all. Before sitting down to write this piece, I had already decided that Youth Lagoon’s Year Of Hibernation was definitely my album of 2012. It’s pretty much as perfect as Bon Iver’s Bon Iver but for totally different reasons; then someone very helpfully reminded me that that particular records actually came out in 2011 and I swiftly felt all of my trendy credentials flow indefinitely down the toilet along with any notion as to what my favorite album of 2012, that actually came out in the past 11 months, is. Let’s discuss. Take a look at exhibit a) Pitchfork’s Best Albums of 2012 (not the actual end of year list yet but as compiled, presumably by an unlucky intern, judging by the ratings staff gave whilst writing their reviews). In first place they have Kendrick Lamar. And in second place Frank Ocean. I’m reserving the right to not comment. But obviously, 22
Pitchfork knows best, right? Whatevz. The list becomes more bearable as the marks out of ten drop. But y’all can make your minds up for yourself; I’m going to take the controversial stance that perhaps 2012 wasn’t such a good year for new albums by bands old and new after all? Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s latest libation was good yet nothing on 1997’s F# A# ∞ (that’s F sharp A sharp infinity for anyone out there who’s not as intelligent as the rest of us.) The Antlers came up with a corker in the form of Undersea yet annoyingly only saw fit for it to be an EP rather than LP. Did I ever tell you about the time I told Darby, their keys player, that he was just like “every other boy in Brooklyn” when I thought he was hitting on me at Glasslands one night? Daughn Gibson’s debut All Hell is another which gets the k/e/m seal of approval; but mostly just because he’s pretty sassy and I like to pretend to myself that he’s seductively unbuttoning his shirt for my benefit and my benefit alone when I look at the album cover. This is definitely one to get on vinyl, and hang on your bedroom wall etc. etc. Next issue, I’m gonna compile my list of ‘worst albums of 2012’ which I somehow think I’ll find a lot easier to do; sorry music world. Please don’t cast me asunder for a career in an industry which is less likely to get me laid. Below, in no particular order, enjoy my top 10 albums since January. (I didn’t have to scrape the barrel as much as this piece might suggest.) Undersea - The Antlers Clear Moon - Mount Eerie 2 - Mac De Marco An Awesome Wave - Alt J Held - Holy Other Tramp Sharon Van Etten Dear - Keaton Henson Trouble - Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Tripper + Springer - Efterklang Holiday - Port St. Willow’s
WANT MORE MISCREANT? Dear Miscreants, Well, first comes first: Thank you so much to all of the wonderful folks who submitted. This issue is full of folks who have been sending in pieces to the Miscreant from the very start. While we’re finishing up the final issues of 2012, it’s nice to see familiar faces. I’m especially happy to introduce Tori’s new column -- you’ll be hearing from a lot of cool artists through her interviews, so stay tuned! I’m also overjoyed to have my friend Zeno on the cover. He’s released one of my favorite albums of the year. I’ll be so excited to go home after Christmas and find the tape waiting for me. It’ll be exciting to see what Bad Cello has lined up for the future. Speaking of which, be sure to check out Double Double Whammy and Mt. Home’s new tape club. They’re cooking up a bunch of neat releases, and they’ve set up a great way for you to get them. It’s a great gift to give to a friend (or yourself!) for the holidays this year. Check it out! Also, wanted to give you a heads up about some goods we’re cooking up at Miscreant Records. Right now, you can snag the Mouth’s Cradle record, The Next Big Thing, on purple and red vinyl for $10! There are also still a few SSWAMPZZ tapes left, and some Dumb Talk vinyl for you. We have a lot to look forward to in the coming year, so stay tuned for releases announcements as well. 2013 has a lot in store. So, now, it’s time to start on issue 32, the final issue of 2012! Submissions are due on December 17. Send in your scholarly analysis of Amy Winehouse’s Frank, your top 10 songs to dance to at weddings, pictures of your tape collection, anything to do with music. 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! Lots of London love, The Miscreant