in this issue page 4
27 band survival tips for artists mitski miyawaki lists the most important lessons sheâ€™s learned
bethlehem steelâ€™s missed connection becca ryskalczyk tries to find the one that got away
who cares about r. turner zeno pittarelli on one of his songwriting influences
q&a with father/daughter records and miscreant record jessi frick and jeanette wall talk to each other
tai chi with rivergazer rivergazer teach the miscreant how to do tai chi
a playlist by jawbreaker reunion the kids in jawbreaker reunion share some of their favorite tunes
hey girl! horoscopes for 2014 running in the fog interpret the stars and planets for us
a nicholas nicholas paper doll chris masullo needs serious help
a q&a with joe and kerry joe galarraga of big ups interviews kerry kallbergrom of flagland
boogie til ya barf cleo tucker and harmony tividad provide the ultimate dance playlist
work in progress andy sadoway and ben potrykus of bent shapes interview each other
those things have worth henry crawford answers a pressing question
friends and family jack greenleaf reflects on what home means to him
some kind of fall playlist laetitia tamko considers the songs of the season
mistaken treats corey regensburg tells an unfortunate tale about a dog
page 34 my cmj survival guide cassandra baim reflects on her past cmj experiences page 36 that break up shit steph knipe lists the best break up songs page 37 page 38
new year, new me - or something mary luncsford musically reflects on recent changes a story by comfy connor benincasa and ben hicks perform a skit for you
27 BAD SURVIVAL TIPS FOR ARTISTS by mitski miyawaki
Show the tips below to your therapist and they will tell you it is an alarmingly unhealthy list of suggestions that shouldn’t be followed. You will reply yes, you agree; it’s by a young artist woman who applied her DIY ethos to maintaining her mental health when she should have just seen a therapist herself. So by no means is the advice below Correct with a capital C, in truth it’s quite incorrect with a capital NOT PC, and it’s not even very practical. But if you are a strong-willed artist girl as I, or if you’ve always seemed to get into trouble as I, or if you’ve often found yourself love-sick for no one in particular as I, then perhaps the following will help you cope with the loneliness of being who you are, or alternately encourage you to bask in that loneliness and then laugh in its stupid face. 1. Retire from being someone’s idol. Get hurt, get ugly, fuck up in front of everyone. Fight to be seen as a real person. 2. In fact, get into fights while you are still young and malleable. It makes you less nervous of getting beaten in the future, less nervous of pissing people off, more willing to take a chance. Again, I don’t give healthy advice.
3. Also, every teenager should party. It’s important to know sad empty feelings before you go out into the world. 4. Sometimes, obviously, getting into fights is dangerous. There are people who are used to the sound of bones breaking, and when you witness them, for example, swing a wooden bat at someone with such lack of restraint, you think they must either be dangerously stupid, or have survived real pain themselves, enough to be prepared to inflict it in return. It will be important to witness this because you will realize that this is a world in which you don’t belong, which goes deeper than you had imagined, and you will leave it behind. 5. This is also when you will decide to become gentle and stop fighting. By this time you will have learned more than you may have wanted about how your words and your body can be weapons, and what is left of you will simply want to live gently. This is when you will become a real adult. 6. But in the meantime you’re still a kid. Now, when you started having sex you started to forget that you’re a kid, or rather you started to forget how to think like a kid, maybe because kids aren’t supposed to have sex, so you thought okay I’m having sex now so I must be an adult. But don’t let sex, or boys you love, make you forget your childish cunning. Kids are smaller and weaker, so they get crafty instead - they’ve always been cheaters, they’ve always played dirty. Defending yourself as a girl in a world built for men requires the same kind of cleverness of a dirt-faced kid. Stop trying to fight by men’s rules. Most rules in our world were made by the people who were/ are already in power, so they often do not work in your favor if you are not in power. 7. Men who slowly take a sip of their drink or puff of their smoke mid-sentence are enjoying their privilege too much. Interrupt them mid-sip or puff, or walk away entirely. Don’t give them that time. 8. Men turn to pouting boys when they discover the word “love” and find they cannot use it, and a pouting boy who can’t get what he wants is straight up dangerous when he is in the body of a man. I know this whole time I’ve been encouraging you to fight, but if you encounter a man who is a boy with man-strength, forget what I said. Run. 9. For a woman, to love a man usually means to wait. I won’t tell you to love as men do instead, because men can love horribly, but don’t fucking wait. 10. And you can love women. I’ve loved women. Maybe you’ve always identified as straight, but that doesn’t mean you’re “not allowed” to love women, like if you did you’d have to declare something permanently. You can’t choose your sexual orientation, but your sexuality can be fluid. I guess this is straying from the topic of “survival for women artists,” and you might be confidently straight, or openly gay, or many of the other things you can be, so this tip might not even apply to you. But it’s fucked me up before, so I’m just putting it out there in case it’s fucking you up right now. 11. On the topic of other women - don’t be so hard on freshman girls. You too once dressed up and put makeup on for a day that fucking ends after one 10:30am class.
12. My mother is going to cry if and when she reads this, but sometimes you have to do things that will make your mother cry. 13. Children can only fundamentally get the attention of adults by laughing or crying. America functions in a similar way, where it only wants to see fun things, or exciting things, or otherwise some kind of shocking event - in social media, in art, in the news, in real life. So why not be a Real American and cry in front of everyone, in the middle of the classroom. Make them watch you fucking cry. 14. Remember how you used to play when you were younger and dumber, how all the games were simple and had no real meaning. Now remember that time you blasted fireworks with your friends, how the loud noises excited you, and how once you heard them you wanted to hear them again and again. Your friends who were scared of the loudness ran away from it, but you stayed there transfixed, standing too close to it, and you saw it through until it was over. If anyone tells you what you’re about to do is risky or scary, tell them “then be scared and run away,” and see it through. 15. (Also, have you ever listened to music so loud that you smelled blood? Don’t do that again. Protect your ears with earplugs.) 16. I am contradicting myself now, but if you were one of the friends who were afraid and ran, that’s alright too. Actually, that’s better. Being afraid means you care. 17. I was never afraid until I was about nineteen and found I could make music. Until then, I wasn’t afraid of adults, of walking streets alone in foreign countries (I lived abroad as a kid), of terrorists and kidnap, of guns, of drugs, of people. When I lost my virginity to rape by a drug dealer, I didn’t become afraid - I became his girlfriend. When I left school for a year after 10th grade and worked as a waitress, I lied about my age, stole groceries and clothes for that whole year, and overall broke many laws and got caught several times, but it never made me afraid. I am not glorifying any of this, in fact it’s all very sad, because now that I am afraid of all of the above, I realize it’s because I finally have things I care about, including myself, that I fear of hurting or losing. It is important and good to be afraid, it means you care, and people who say or act like they don’t care are sad. 18. Being afraid is also the essence of survival. When you’re always around people you tend to forget, but separate yourself for a while and remember how much being alone is scary, and feel how that fear sharpens you. Fear makes you stronger, and perhaps more dangerous, as with dogs. Use that. 19. By the way, have you been alone lately? Hanging out with people is fun and comforting, but do you remember how to be on your own? 20. If you don’t feel an urge to move, to go out and grab something, it may be because everything is within your reach. When I was fourteen or fifteen I starved myself until I was skin and
bone, and though I still haven’t quite figured out why, I think it’s because I needed to remember hunger, to awaken that drive. 21. But I’m not telling you to fucking starve yourself. Eat. You need the strength to do what you’re here to do. If you don’t have the strength to hold onto it, they will take it away from you, and then you’ll have to keep living but without that thing you’re living for. 22. And you don’t want to die, dummy. That’s why you get stronger and smarter, that’s why you endure. 23. In those moments when you think about actually dying, today, and think about your body being dead tomorrow morning, it’s really scary. It’s scary because if you think about it enough, you start thinking “no I don’t want that!” and desperately look around for something to stop you from going there, from dying, but there’s nothing of the sort. That’s the scariest part; when you realize there is nothing really stopping you. 24. They say that corpses with their eyes open died in pain. Doesn’t that feel like it means something? 25. When I said “hold onto it” earlier, I didn’t mean hold onto that brilliant piece you made a few years ago, or last month, or yesterday. Sure you can make something really nice, and you can be proud of it, but once it’s done you have to let it go. People have been making nice things way before you were born, they’re making nice things as you read this, and they’ll continue to make nice things long after you die, so don’t hold onto your one or two nice things and feel contented. That’s not the point. The point is not to make something that people think is good, or to make something that people think is so good that it makes you famous, or even to make something that makes you so famous that people remember you after you die. It’s not about making a shitload of money and living comfortably, nor is it about the “glory” of dying poor and sick for the sake of your art. It is, in my opinion, about the work. Being an artist is about putting your head down and doing the work, not because it’ll bear fruit to any rewards, and maybe not even because it fulfills you in any way, but because that is simply what you do as an artist - you keep making things. That’s what I think anyway, and if any of you find me straying from my own rules, slap me and tell me to get back to work. 26. Last thing on the topic of eating. Learn to listen your body’s signals. Sometimes you may think you’re hungry, when in fact you just need to masturbate. 27. Now, if you have a bra on, take it off for a moment and listen to me. Sing, or shout or scream or simply speak, but do it from the bottom of your stomach. Vomit out your voice before you have time to think. This is what they really mean by “sing from your belly.” You will die one day, sooner than you imagine, and it is incredibly sad. So scream about it.
This issue is brought to you by our friends at Silent Barn.
BETHLEHEM STEEL’S MISSED CONNECTIONS by becca ryskalczyk
If you recognize yourself, please contact The Miscreant at firstname.lastname@example.org and Jeanette will arrange a for you two to meet and Becca will tell you a very long joke about a gross-ass dog. Played with you in Buffalo. You said you were 19 and the bouncer wisked you away into a private room. I would also like to wisk you away to a private room. Did sound for your band at Shea. You told me not to fade the music until your pants were off. You should have kept them off you have nice legs. Told you I play in Bethlehem Steel but I don’t think you’ve heard us. I saw you play in someone’s basement. I’m pretty sure you’re half Asian. That’s cool. I was sweating and crying. I said I play in Bethlehem Steel, but I don’t think you’ve heard us. I saw you play at David Blaine’s the Steak House. I told you a shaggy dog joke and you walked away without laughing. I play in Bethlehem Steel but I don’t think you’ve heard us.
WHO CARES ABOUT R. TURNER by zeno pittarelli
R. Turner has a lot to say. As much an author as a songwriter, R. Turner’s music is, at its root, storytelling. Each song is a vivid moment, memorable and moving. Having known Turner for many years, its safe to say he’s a patient guy. He takes his time with his songs, ambivalently expressing the feelings of loss and being lost, without hesitation or haste. Turner’s best moments are his most intimate. I was fortunate enough to tour with him for a month in the spring of 2012; some of my fondest memories are of Turner playing to people in living rooms, basements and art galleries, each silenced by his sincerity. Turner’s music is by no means trendy. Despite my want for all to hear and love his songs, R. Turner is old fashioned, drawing inspiration from songwriters such as Townes Van Zandt, Leonard Cohen and Sibylle Baier. His songs are best understood when listened to alone. His music is personal. Turner sings of love on “Green My Eyes” and “When We Fell,” and questions his place and purpose on “The Moon.” He admits his lack of attachment to life on “Let Myself Go,” and pays tribute to a lost friend on “Jed.” Everyone wants to be heard, and certainly hopes to be remembered. Turner acknowledges this on “The Tide”. He sings, “I’ll write my name in the sand, and I’ll smile while the waves wipe that stain from the land.” Last I saw Turner he played short set of new songs to a small crowd in Utica, NY. As expected, those present were totally captivated. Here’s to hoping the tide doesn’t roll in anytime soon.
q&a with father/daughter records interview by jeanette wall
Jeanette: What on God’s green earth inspired you to start Father/Daughter Records? Jessi: I like to joke that my dad and I both love music and losing money so it only made sense for us to start a record label. In all honesty, Father/Daughter has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. My parents had me when they were pretty young, the age of a wise music blogger these days, and music was something they both really dug & still do. I remember getting a Fisher Price turntable as a gift one year with various 45s - Chaka Khan, Miami Sound Machine, Los Lobos’ cover of La Bamba - you know, normal music an 8 year old listens to. High school was a pretty defining time period because I met my best friend who years later, I moved to LA to work at her record label. I had a zine, went to as many shows as I could being under 18, screen printed merch for friend’s bands, tour managed one of my all time favorite bands. Really got my hands dirty. Long story short, I think running a label was my destiny. Jeanette: What do you look for when you are considering a band to release music with? Jessi: I have to like it, that’s pretty much it. I look for music that moves me, entertains me, excites me. It helps if the people making the music are down to earth, nice, driven, hardworking. I want them to want to be more successful than I do. A label F/D’s size can only do so much on our own without the help and determination of our artists. Jeanette: What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned by running a label? Jessi: That success isn’t dictated by revenue or social media numbers or best new music or whatever other bs the machine says makes you a success. F/D is going into it’s 5th year in 2015 - the fact that we made it past the first is a success. Success is a personal marker and for me, creating a space for artists to feel safe in to release their formative records with, gaining that trust, and keeping it afloat. Jeanette: Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs in music? Jessi: I’m the last person who should be giving advice... instead of finishing college I became a road dog for a band for two years. I guess do whatever feels right, go with your gut. And it’s never too early to start gaining real life experience. Help promote shows at your favorite local venue, grab an internship at a rad record shop or label, start a blog! Get your toes wet. Jeanette: But you do other things other than run an awesome label. You also manage bands and run a sick PR company. Talk about those! Jessi: I do! Management felt like a natural progression since I pretty much manage the bands on the label. I have been working in PR for 14 years now - the publicity work directly
helps fund the label. I’m lucky that I work for myself because it gives me the availability to do a lot of different things. I also helped found the Bay Area Record Fair, a gathering of all local bay area record labels. I’m working on that as I type this and believe it or not, also looking towards SXSW already. Jeanette: If you could reissue one old record on F/D, what would it be? Jessi: Hands down the Harold and Maude soundtrack mostly because I have been searching for it for years and I refuse to pay hundreds of dollars for it on Discogs. Jeanette: What bands are you stoked to work with on F/D in 2015? Jessi: Who knows! Never Young is going to have a new EP out next year and beyond that, nothing is set in stone and I like it that way. I’m most stoked to work with bands who are stoked to work with us! Jeanette: What’s your dad’s favorite release from the label? Jessi: He LOVES Bent Shapes and Levek.
q&a with miscreant records interview by jessi frick
Jessi: Oh, so you think you can get all serious with this interview, huh? Alright then... what’s the deal with the name? Describe all of your criminal activity in detail. Jeanette: I’m a very serious person [farts]. The Miscreant, or some variation of that i.e. “The Midwestern Miscreant” or “The Miscreant’s Mixtape,” has been the name assigned to any blogs, radio shows, columns I’ve worked on since high school. It was a vocab word in David Lawson’s English class and I think he insisted on using me as an example of what a “miscreant” was, presumably because I was “emo” and “weird.” I shoplifted an air horn from a Wal-Mart once with Mike Newman. Jessi: At what point in your life did you decide, “I need to start a record label”? Jeanette: The first time I saw Ricky Balmeseda play under his solo name “Only Child” was when I got serious about it I think. He was also in a band SSWAMPZZ who I loved, and ended up being the first band I released a record with. I think there is just something like falling in love, when a band grabs your heart in a million directions, and their music permeates your brain to the core. That’s how I felt about SSWAMPZZ and why they were ultimately the band that kicked my ass into starting Miscreant Records. Jessi: What is your history with fanzines? Jeanette: The Miscreant came about when I got kind of sick of a lot of the campus music publications, and wanted to start my own thing. The idea was that it would be words that are in
no way trying to prove anything. It wasn’t about anything other than people writing about music and art that meant something to them. I got even more inspired after a college professor let me hoard his riot grrrl zine stash one semester. That was in 2010. Made me a total zine fiend. Jessi: Have you always been a writer? Jeanette: I’d say so. This is reminding me I need to go find the 101 Dalmatians fan ficiton hidden somewhere in my parents’ basement. Jessi: Who are some of your favorite authors and how have they inspired your writing? Jeanette: Leonard Maltin was maybe the first critic I ever read. Reading Chuck Klosterman, though, was honestly the first time I really realized people made an actual living off of music writing. That was pretty transformative! But I really love Leslie Simon, Andy Greenwald, and Rob Sheffield. Also, all of the people I’ve written with on various blogs, like PORTALS and The Le Sigh, have all taught me that the more impactful music writing is based on a personal connection to music and lyrics. Jessi: What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Do you feel like it had a hand in transforming you into the DIY MUSIC MAVEN that you are today? Jeanette: First CD I ever owned was a Jimmy Buffett greatest hits collection. Honestly, when I was in high school in Indiana, I didn’t even know that those DIY spaces or labels or bands were there to seek out. I liked things I learned about in Paste and Spin when I was a teen. I entrenched myself in the Myspace Music catastrophe of the mid-2000s, and was heavily involved in promoting music that way for a bit. It wasn’t until I got to college that I put out records and zines myself, and later moved to New York for keeps that I got involved in DIY spaces like Silent Barn. I just got lucky and was consistently surrounded by people putting on house shows, making tapes, and performing rad music. I owe a lot to Dan Creahan, Kyra Zeller, and Nina Mashurova for teaching me so much. Jessi: What record labels do you admire and why? Jeanette: I always loved Merge Records and Barsuk Records. They were the first indie labels that I learned about, along with Saddle Creek and Sub Pop. Reading about the foundations of those labels sort of made me realize, “Hey, I could maybe do that?” Also the music those labels released laid some serious framework for my music education. That and Vanessa Carlton, of course. Jessi: What’s on tap for 2015? Jeanette: Lots of goodies! New tunes from Comfy, Bethlehem Steel, and Bad Cello, and hopefully some fresh, friendly, miscreant faces as well. Working with Cult of the Crying Moon and other babes soon too! Jessi: What’s your favorite karaoke song? Jeanette: “Wild Thing” by The Troggs
TAI CHI WITH RIVERGAZER photos by heather craig, see more of her work at http://www.thefeathervane.com.
One fine day, Rivergazer taught The Miscreant some tai chi in Prospect Park. It was a swell time, and Heather took these lovely photos. Listen to the band’s song, “Tai Chi,” on their new record Random Nostalgia out now on Father/ Daughter Records.
A PLAYLIST BY JAWBREAKER REUNION by bella mazzetti, dre szegedy-maszak, lily mastrodimos, & tom delaney
Bella “Kanske Ar Jag Kar I Dig” - Jens Lekman This is my ultimate happy fuzzy feelings love song. Apparently the title of this song in Swedish means “maybe I’m in love with you”. It is sweet, whimsical, and slightly naive (in a good way?) warming my little heart. The line, “all I think about everyday is just kissing you, an old feeling that feels refreshingly new” gets me every time. The song is pop and funk and has an awesome horns section- you really can’t help but smile and dance around when it comes on. “Last Boy” - QUARTERBACKS I am a huge sucker for anything even slightly romantic so obviously Quarterbacks is on my portion of this playlist. All of Dean’s lyrics are honest, sweet, and to the point. “I wanna be the last boy to love you.” Sometimes thats all you need to say. The lyric is yelled frantically and is accompanied by a fast tempo that both keeps up the frantic nature of the vocals and plays up the sweetness of the lyrics. Who doesn’t want some twee-punk on a love playlist? “Off the Chain” - O-FACE If there is a single phrase I would love to hear from my perfect someone, it is “you possess all of the qualities that I desire,” which happens to be a line in this perfectly pop O-Face song. Drawing on various lyrical influences, the song manages to have some clever references while still being completely true to itself and original. The song itself is about unconditional love and equality in relationships, free from the expectations of a patriarchal society. The boys belt “I don’t want no woman in chain” in the swelling chorus. While women don’t need validation or permission from anyone else in order to be independent, its always nice to know that your perfect someone is also all about that independence. You go, O-FACE. Dre “Simeon’s Dilemma” - Why? If I were enough of an asshole I’d probably work “You’re the only proper noun I need” into my wedding vows
“Wantastiquet” - Zanders If I could pick an entire album, it would be Zanders’ Been Better. If I could have my perfect person write an album about me, it would be Alex Saraceno writing Been Better. “Although we’re sleeping separately a part of you will never leave my head or this bed” “Call Me Laquifa” - Shangela “Blue Eyes” - Paul Baribeau I spent the majority of high school listening to Paul Baribeau and wishing for love so this is important in a 14-year-old me sense. I told my high school boyfriend that information and he included THE WRONG PAUL BARIBEAU SONG (the one about all the people he loves dying for one reason or another) on the Valentine’s Day mixtape he made for me. Formative years. Lily “Thirteen” - Big Star I think this is one of the most beautiful and sincere love songs ever written. It’s honest to the point of vulnerability--laying it all out there with the understanding that you could get hurt, that things may not work out. The lines “Would you be an outlaw for my love? If it’s so, well let me know. If it’s no, well I can go. I won’t make you” really illustrate that idea--it’s a love that isn’t forced; if it’s meant to be, it’ll be, and if not that’s ok too. I don’t have enough words for how much I love this song. Big Star reigns; rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay. “Hunger Pains” - Dogbreth This is such a perfect little crush song. It really conveys that feeling of wanting something so badly that it hurts, and being so nervous around the person you like (especially in enclosed places, i.e. their car) that it’s almost crippling. You’re terrified of appearing lame or stupid because you’re completely blown away by them. And yet, even with all that fear, you are just elated to be around them. Bop along to this little beauty. “Fire In My Heart” - Super Furry Animals SFA really cover it all here--pins and needles, butterflies in the stomach, and a heart set ablaze with maddening desire. This song swells until it is literally bursting with emotion. It’s like a confession, starting out quietly so you have to lean in until it just can’t be contained anymore. You can’t help but feel happy when you listen to it. Tom “Inside Out” - Duster this is a good song “Advice” - Alex G i like this song “the same things happening to me all the time, even in my dreams” - teen suicide this song pleases my ears and my feelings
HEY GIRL! HOROSCOPES FOR OCT 2014 by running in the fog w/ astrological insights by the sausalito seer ***Disclaimer- Hey Girl Horoscopes does not discriminate and are for the girl inside all of us. AQUARIUS: Hey girl! You’ve got your homemade tinfoil helmet on to keep the aliens from hearing your thoughts, right? Good. You’re one creative character. It’s well known that once you start doing something, the rest of us will soon follow. So please, this month do something useful that we can all benefit from, like getting a colonoscopy. PISCES: Hey girl! I bet I can guess what you’re thinking. Is it something about yourself? No surprise there. As the vainglorious mirror-seeker of the bunch, you’re probably gazing at your reflected image right now, maybe you’ve got your body all oiled up again and you’re admiring the various muscle groups? It’s a good time to try a new tack, like gazing at someone else. who knows, you might even like what you see. ARIES: Hey girl! I’ll be surprised if you manage to get through this whole thing without losing patience and getting up to hit the bong or take a jacuzzi. I’m just saying what we’re all thinking here, your kind of a giant baby demanding to be entertained at all times. Try switching gears this month; put on tap shoes or a clown outfit and dance for us. Do it now. TAURUS: Hey girl! Big spender, it’s time to spend a little time with other people. Your significant other feeling a little smothered? Maybe that’s because you keep them locked in your basement where the only thing to do is to stare at your style blog selfies. Give this relationship some breathing room. I hear space is the new black. GEMINI: Hey girl! Everyone loves you. Your barista loves you, your book club loves you, even your neighbor’s dog loves you. Piss someone off already! Everyone is just secretly jealous of you anyway. It’s time to start under-achieving. Take up plumbing… ever met a celebrity plumber? This month this could be you: humbly cleaning up the poop of all your lame, party-pooping, shit-talking friends. Suck it up this month, your time will come again. CANCER: Hey girl! This month you need to slow down spend some time getting to to know someone- yourself. Slip into your sweats. Plan to stay there for the duration. Although, come to think of it, you’re probably in nesting mode already, mustard on you shirt and Dorritos dust in the corners of your mouth. That’s just you. This isn’t
me giving you directions but rather, permission, to be the slovenly homebody you were born to be. LEO: Hey girl! I have an exciting proposition for you. What if you start a new tradition that involves doing your very own laundry? Don’t get mad, you fiery creature, it’s not that big a deal. I know mommy’s been telling you what a special gift to the world you are, but you have to get your information from other sources. Could it be time to grow up and cut your own crust off your own sandwiches? VIRGO: Hey girl! How could someone not love a country strong, salt of the earth guy like you? It is possible though, don’t freak out. Even though freaking out about not being loved is kind of your thing. Just remember that the amount you freak out is inversely proportional to the amount of pure true love you’ll experience if you leave yourself open to it. LIBRA: Hey girl! Why are you being so nice to me? I just heard you say to a group of people that I look like a sausage in my sweater. That’s not very nice but what do I expect from the zodiacs’ drama queen? You’re not going to find the love of your life with that nasty attitude. Or perhaps you found them and lost them and that’s the reason you’re such a bitch. Either way, the planets have aligned to receive your incessant pining, so pine away. We know it’s your favorite thing to do anyway. SCORPIO: Hey girl! Have you ever thought about a life of crime? Of course you have, you’re a wicked, diabolical Scorpio. Everyone knows you walk through Neiman Marcus wondering whether you should stash those $60 La Perla panties in your pocket. So do it. Luck is on your side at this time. Give into your natural inclinations and launder that money, extort that philanderer, you might just get away with it right now. SAGGITARIOUS: Hey girl! Does your back hurt? Maybe it’s from all the bending over backwards, trying to be the life of the party that we all wish you wouldn’t be. Maybe it’s all those Insanity workouts? Tell Shaun T. to chill for a minute. Treat yo’ self. Turn on that Golden Girls marathon, and settle down into your New York cheesecake. And thank you for being a friend. CAPRICORN: Hey girl! Take it easy. I know it feels good to be the first one up the mountain, wearing the hippest gear but sometimes you should just hang out on a ledge and make for summit later. Are you capable of that or will your over ambitious nature force you to race up into the clouds until lack of oxygen gives you brain damage? Only you can decide if it’s worth it. Hint: It’s not
by chris masullo
by chris masullo
JOE AND KERRY
by joe galarraga and kerry kallberg THIS TURNED INTO JOE GALARRAGA FROM BIG UPS INTERVIEWING KERRY KALLBERG FROM FLAGLAND: JOE: I’m going to start this out by being fully transparent. Kerry, you and I are friends. Not only that, but I have seen Flagland perform dozens of times over the past four years & listened to all of Flagland’s records repeatedly. I’ll admit it- I’m a big fan. So, that’s out of the way, and readers can extrapolate whatever they’d like from that information. But I’m curious about the steps that lead to Flagland. When did you start playing and writing music, and how did your prior experiences with music-making inform Flagland? KERRY: I was in a band in high school called 3D Video that was basically proto-Flagland; same instrumentation and everything! I went to music school and obviously worked on a ton of different projects, from free improv to lo-fi solo recordings to electronic music. I sort of lost that experimental edge when I came to New York City; I just wanted to scream in everyone’s fucking face! JOE: It’s hard to pin Flagland down in terms of a specific genre besides something as all-encompassing as ‘rock n roll’. How important is eclecticism to you in terms of songwriting? Is there a reason why you all play with so many different sounds? KERRY: The reason is mostly because I decide which songs are brought to the band, so those are usually ones where I’ve tried something new or different and surprised myself. In addition, I often write songs with very specific goals that I’ve copped from other songs. These can be statements as specific as, “I want a song where I sing the first verse low then go up an octave and scream the second verse,” (“Friendly Fire,” stolen from Nirvana’s “Sliver”) or as general as, “I want a song with this drum beat” (“Tireda Fightin”). JOE: I think Flagland’s a tremendous live band, but I believe that the group’s music particularly strikes me on record. It seems that the track sequencing and diversity of subjects and sounds really come together to make an ‘album’ - something that seems like a little bit of a lost art. How important is the album to you, and how do you and the band piece these things together? KERRY: I’m glad you noticed that! Having a cohesive album is everything to me. Songs are just germs. Literally anyone can write a song; very few people can make a full album that takes you so very far that you feel like a different person by the end of it. That’s what I want. For me it’s all about the process, the journey. I read once about someone who only liked the “in-between parts,” aka transitions. I’m like that. Flagland is all about processes. JOE: You, Dan, and Nick all are involved in the album-making process. If you look at the album credits, you’re writing most of the songs, Dan’s writing some of the songs, and Dan and Nick share engineering and mastering credits on all of your releases. Does knowing everyone’s involvement make the experience more rewarding? KERRY: It definitely does; it’s very important to me that the bands I’m in are never MY bands. When it comes to creative control, I’ve seen otherwise kind, good people turn into monsters, so I know that’s a real possibility that I personally need to avoid. The amount of control I seem to already have in Flagland makes me very uncomfortable. I’m not trying to add to that. Also, my boys know their stuff, so when it comes to recording I let them do their thing.
JOE: Party Music/Danger Music and Love Hard both feature extremely short songs that seem to eskew traditional pop songwriting if only in duration. Some of my personal favorites are “Straight White Male”, “Waste of Paper”, & “BFF”. These little bits really make these albums special for me. What inspired these short songs, and what do they mean to you? KERRY: Guided By Voices is one of my very favorite bands, so it mostly comes from that. I do remember, though, hearing Wire’s song “Field Day for the Sundays,” from their album Pink Flag, which is about thirty seconds long but is still a complete song. I remember thinking, “You can do that?” JOE: “Get Off the Phone!” starts with the acapella lines, “People say we’re a political band/Because we’re called Flagland/We try to avoid overt political statements...” This has always stuck with me because I do think of Flagland as a political band, but also recognize that this notion comes from something that is indeed not overtly there. Instead I think these ideas manifest themselves in aspects of the band’s performance, and the ways you all seem to work together. I recently had a friend talk about his creative process for photography as a “system of prejudices in order to get a desired result”. In his case, these “prejudices” were equipment, subject matter, etc. What sorts of particularities do you employ in order for the band to make a statement - to get that “desired result”? KERRY: I like to “put myself out there,” in any and all ways possible. I mean, sheesh, I’m up there in my undies sweating and screaming about real shit; it doesn’t get much more personal than that. It’s important to bring as much realness as is humanly possible. Like squeezing the last drops out of a dirty sponge! JOE: In the past, you and I have talked about the music press, music scene, etc. and how there seem to be particular avenues for bands to take in order to get a certain level of acclaim or “success”. It also seems that these paths dull the uniqueness of a band, and bands’ music becomes part of “the noise” or too easily reduced. How does Flagland try to subvert this system? What makes a band special these days? KERRY: Well that’s a very difficult question to answer without sounding pretentious! We don’t present a face that is easily labelled or quantified, which is probably more of a curse than a blessing (at least from a marketing/moneymaking standpoint). I know we’re very different from most other bands; we look different, we act different, we sound different. I’m just having difficulty expressing exactly in what way... JOE: What’s inspiring your newest music? A lot of the new material is longer, features several sections, and some technical playing. How does this kind of music compliment the lyrical content of the new songs? What are these songs about? KERRY: Two words, my dude: concept album. I was reading The Lord of the Rings as well as the Dark Tower series, both of which are absolutely mammoth narratives. These books and their respective authors inspired me to go out of my comfort zone and attempt to write a huge album that revolves around a single, highly elaborate plot. On top of that, the music itself is very tightly cohesive. I really wanted to push myself and the band as far as we could go intellectually, physically and stylistically. So far it’s going well, just don’t expect a release date anytime soon! JOE: I want to close this out by allowing you to ask yourself any question that you’d like, or a question that you wish interviewers would ask. KERRY: “Kerry, what are your feelings on slam dancing?” Do whatever you like, just as long as it doesn’t hurt people around you who (despite what you may believe) haven’t “asked for it” just by being near the stage. Thanks!
BOOGIE ‘TIL YA BARF!!! by cleo tucker and harmony tividad
Important dance music that gets you up on your feet and boogie woogie-ing until the sun comes up. HERE WE GO. “temporary secretary” - paul mccartney “dance” - esg “mustt mustt” - nusrat fateh ali khan “genius of love” - tom tom club “no caminho do bem” - tim maia “optimo” - liquid liquid “bizness” - tune-yards “shoplifting” - the slits “16 toneladas” - noriel vilela “damaged goods” - gang of four “estrelar” - marcos valle “multi-family garage sale (bargain-bin mix)” - land of the loops “hot boyz” - dear nora “social fools” - devo “minipops 67” - aphex twin “janitor” - suburban lawns “penny lane” - the better beatles
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF
photos by rachel casano and ithaca underground
BENT SHAPES: AN INTERVIEW ABOUT BENT SHAPES WITH BENT SHAPES by bent shapes
Andy Sadoway: Thanks for setting aside some time to chat with me today, Ben. Ben Potrykus: The pleasure’s all mine, Andy. AS: Let’s cut to the chase with the most important question pertaining to being in a band: what do you do for a living? BP: I coordinate a homelessness prevention program at a non-profit in Roxbury. AS: That sounds very awesome! But how do you play in a band if you are working? BP: Well, my job takes up the hours between 9-5, Monday-Friday, while we tend to play on nights and weekends. But, as you know, any time that we’re not AT our jobs (sometimes even if we are, to be honest) we’re working on the band in some capacity. AS: But why don’t you drop everything and do the band 24/7, tour all the time? We’ve been out a couple times together and it was successful. Are you not dedicated? BP: That’s a great question, Andy. I would say we are very dedicated to making music in a way that is sustainable for us. Pesky basic necessities like food and shelter cost us money, and more money is lost than made by the average DIY band, so our day jobs are vital to our survival. Until a corporate white knight of some sort rides in from The Industry to provide us with artistic patronage, we’re tethered to our current revenue streams like a hapless factory supervisor with
his tie caught in a bench grinder. We could also attempt to go back in time and try to be born to wealthier or more well-connected parents that are already in The Industry. Auspicious beginnings seem to work for a lot of buzz bands. AS: Sure, that makes sense. But I see many “up and coming bands” hitting the road all the time. How do they manage to do that consistently? Surely they don’t all come from wealthy backgrounds... or do they?! This is America! BP: Right, the American dream is being rich, or pretending like you are. I think it’s possible that a lot of bands are in debt, whether to credit card companies, record labels, or family members. I like that we try to avoid owing anyone too much money or burning ourselves out. It creates a different experience for us as band members, as well as our listeners. Constant touring would be a strangely disconnected way to live, in my view. Even when you handle everything yourself, there’s quite a bit of downtime; hanging around in bars, sleeping in the back of a vehicle, wandering around, drinking or smoking various substances to keep you sedated, alert, or weird. I’ve heard people say they want to “make music their life” by being in a band professionally. Frankly, I think keeping music a large part of my life might be more fulfilling in the long run. AS: I hear you. I have a difficult time balancing my life outside of this band and inside this band at this point. BP: Schedule-wise? AS: Yeah. By the time I get out of work and back to my apartment, I am very hungry and in need of sustenance. So I might make dinner or order food. But by the time I finish dinner, it’s starting to get into the evening and I don’t feel like there is much time to do music. BP: I’ve been reading The Revolution of Everyday Life lately, and in it, Raoul Vaneigem writes that “In an industrial society which confuses work and productivity, the necessity of producing has always been an enemy of the desire to create.” I think this illustrates my point, and your experience, of coming from a job that you must work to survive, and then trying to view the “work” of being in a band as something you must constantly do in order to be “productive,” and therefore, legitimized. AS: Maybe we’re struggling more because we’re older now. BP: Could be. Both of us turn thirty within the next few months--do you have any plans on how we should celebrate this with the band? A big show? A new single? Ritual suicide? AS: Let’s release a new album called Thirty Ways To Leave Your Cover Band, including 30 new Bent Shapes songs, all at 30 bpm. BP: Ooh, I like it. AS: Do you actually think of us as a ‘young’ band or an ‘old’ band? Do you think we are perceived as a bunch of fogies or babies?
BP: I see us as an old young band, maybe. We’ve been around long for 5 years, and 2-3 is all it really takes to be an elder statesman in Boston. I don’t think we’re seen as fogies, though. Anyway, indoctrinating music lovers with ageism is just a method used by the mainstream culture industry to justify a constantly-shifting-yet-always-the-same production model. It can only work to a point, and only if the songwriter accepts and believes it. If they maintain a connection to their past selves without being bullied by them, they can survive just fine. AS: Like a fine wine. BP: Smell the bouquet of your soul, and to thine own self be true. I wrote half of that line. AS: That some kind of Eastern thing? BP: Far from it. Anyway, I think as long as we’re not up there ranting about kids with smartphones or something, it’s all good. How do you feel about that stuff? People taking pictures and videos with their phone at shows? Or does your outlook change depending on whether you are playing or attending the show? AS: I think it’s ok to take a few pictures or to video a song. But if you’re trying to capture the whole show on video, you probably don’t really like seeing live music. You should watch YouTube videos of live concerts instead. They’re cheaper to view that way, too! BP: This is true. People can instead spend that money on records and tapes! You know, if their Spotify isn’t working properly right then. AS: Yup! Speaking of old stuff, Feels Weird is a little over a year old now, though it seems like we released it ages ago. What’s your least favorite thing about Feels Weird? What are you going to do to change that on the next record? BP: I would say my least favorite thing is probably how long I spent recording the guitar tracks. AS: Yeah, I would say the same… Just kidding, just kidding! Hopefully you were happy with the way the guitars came out in the end though, yeah? BP: I mean, to a point. I think the sound of the guitar was captured really well by Ian and Evan, and I like that sound. But it’s hard to stay cognizant of the whole of the song as you record trackby-track. I wish there was more grit on some of the parts. Maybe we’ll have to repress some of the songs on plexiglass. AS: Paging Jessi Frick. Speaking of releasing records, when are we going to record our next album and how long do you think it will take to track and mix? BP: We are going to record it when we have 10-12 songs, which I think will be in the next 3 months. I anticipate it taking approximately 1 week to record it and 2 days to mix it. AS: Sweet!
BP: You’ve been putting out some stuff since Feels Weird, though. You’re a man of many talents. Beyond drumming and occasionally singing in Bent Shapes, you also play guitar and sing in your solo project (The Andy Sadoways) and have played bass and piano on Bent Shapes recordings. What distinguishes your approach to drumming from your approach to playing guitar or bass? AS: I like spending the time it takes to write a drum part that really suits my fancy when I work on Bent Shapes songs. But when I am writing a song on guitar or piano, I tell the drums to take a breather, and I aim to keep things as simple as possible. Many of my solo songs have only a snare drum or a pair of bongos as the “drums” and I like it that way. BP: I have noticed that your drums are less “busy” in your solo endeavors. But enough about sound, let’s talk about aesthetics. Fashion is very in fashion right now, with a large emphasis placed on how a musician looks, and how many people want to have sex with them. How would you describe your sartorial philosophy when it comes to shows? I notice you are often wearing glasses in photos, for example, but not in live photos. AS: For some reason, when I don’t wear glasses, I feel like I’m “going out.” So I don’t wear them when we play shows. Also they fall off my face when I sweat, so I ditch them for live shows. BP: Have you considered Croakies™? AS: I don’t like the way they feel against my head. BP: When we start getting larger guarantees, do you think it would be prudent to hire stage hands to push your glasses up for you during songs? You would save money on contact lenses, so I think one would offset the other. AS: I would DEFINITELY consider it. BP: That’d be a good draw for audiences. Do you feel Bent Shapes has a strong “brand identity” right now? AS: I don’t think Bent Shapes has a shtick, but I think that it is a recognized organization by many music event coordinators and booking agent in the New England area and beyond. Professionals respect our professionalism and view us as a reliable pop group with little-to-no frills and strong lyrical content. BP: What are the downsides to becoming a mainstay in local bookers’ talent pools? AS: People don’t think we’re as obscure, which lessens our scene credibility, decreasing our chances at being accepted by art school kids and JP “eccentrics”. BP: What could Bent Shapes due to alter their image and ingratiate themselves to local weirdos? AS: Stop writing “songs.” I could start using my MPC more too. BP: Worth a shart, right?
THOSE THINGS HAVE WORTH by henry crawford
*When I released my album in January I got a lot of people who wrote me, asking me why I had charged 6 dollars for a digital download. It took me a long time to respond, but that response of the only pieces of nonlyrical writing i’ve ever written that i am proud of.* Q: Why did you charge $6 for your album? hey, you asked me this a while ago and i’ve been thinking about it a lot since then. sorry it took so long to respond, it just seemed like a question that deserved a real answer. my whole life i’ve dealt with a lot of depression, specifically about my own worth. for a long time i felt as if my life had no thrust or purpose, and after four years of working on the most personal, and straining thing i’ve done i felt like i needed to feel some sort of tangible give back. i needed to feel like it was worth something to me. six dollars seemed right. on the other hand i know that there are people (myself included) who don’t have the disposable income to support the artists that they love, and can’t own my album. i’ve tried to accommodate those people as much as i can by sending people who can’t afford the album download codes whenever they contact me. on a larger scale i think we can all agree that art has worth outside of bullshit financial structures. art changes lives, and builds communities. modest mouse and jeff mangum got me through high school, jean luc godard and the beatles got me through my semester of college and made me realize i could drop out and be ok. i could list every song, movie, video game, and book that has changed my life, but it sort of feels like a waste of time. we all know that those things have worth, and we don’t need a receipt to tell us that. but to even be one step closer to being able to live off of the thing that i’ve devoted my life to is something that comforts me not only fiscally, but also spiritually. to anyone that can’t afford to download Wendy and wants to, i urge you to email me (henrycrawford612@ gmail.com) you don’t have to explain your situation, i understand that can be embarrassing. if i can help you i will. hope this answered your question.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY by jack greenleaf
I was standing on the platform of Atlantic Ave/Pacific St waiting for the R train with my Dad, when he told me about their plan to get separated and sell the apartment. Actually now it was the “Atlantic Ave/Pacific St. Barclay’s Center” platform. I remember coming back from Chicago and taking a long walk through my old neighborhood in Brooklyn and stepping under the massive circular television that leads into the Barclay’s Center. While my absence from Brooklyn didn’t feel long, it was clearly long enough for a massive alien artifact to sprout up out of seemingly nowhere. My absence was long enough to make my past life slip away, like a dream in the morning when you open your eyes. There was nothing about the separation that was immediately shocking to me. My parents were and are fantastically emotionally intelligent. What I really found jarring was the loss of the home that I grew up in. When I arrived in Brooklyn the following summer, my mom gave me keys to go see the apartment one last time. When I got to the apartment - the locks had already been changed. I sat in the hallway and tried my best to absorb the smells that I had taken for granted for the past twenty-one years. It wasn’t some tragic experience, I found solace in the light meloncholy of sand shifting beneath me. Since moving back home to Brooklyn from Chicago, I’ve found myself ferrying back and forth between my mom’s house in Bay Ridge, and a house in Bed-Stuy where my best friends live. The house is two floors full of six people and one dog. It’s comically cramped and claustrophobic. Everyone is an artist and musician, and the walls bleed through each other with a cacophony of new and old songs. Every morning I wake up to the sound of ‘Bellows’ practicing in the living room. Or I’ll hear ‘Florist’ and ‘Told Slant’ working on their new albums upstairs. ‘Small Wonder’ is fearlessly belting new songs in the room next to mine. Sometimes, when no one else is home, I’ll hear the gorgeous glow of a new ‘yours are the only ears’ song emanating from Susannah’s upstairs studio. Lots of times, Gabby will send the dog, Frankie, into my room to wake me up for ‘eskimeaux’ practice. The Epoch unknowingly launched me into the world’s cutest sitcom simulation. But cute is almost too weak a word to describe how this emulation grounds me. It’s too light to describe how much they help the sand feel more solid under my feet. My gratitude to my friends and family is far too overwhelming to properly verbalize, and my love for them too complex to properly express. The people in my life have given me so much throughout my life, but they have never given me doubt. Love you! Thank you!
SOME KIND OF FALL PLAYLIST by laetitia tamko
As the summer passes, New York transitions, and things become a little quieter, as all the tourists go back to their hometowns. This is for surviving winter and replacing your old coat. Ratking – “Piece of shit” I first discovered Ratking this time last year with a boy I really loved and he was speaking so passionately about these three guys from uptown, NY. I became completely enamored with Ratking since a set at the MoMa Ps1 last year. Wiki repeats “sucker for love, made me a sucker for drugs. Fuck it, I’m fucked, it sucks to be muck” over and over again and those words resonated and lingered well after the song was over. Ratking is important. Show Me The Body- “one train” I’ve had SMTB in constant rotation for a few months now but more recently have been listening to ‘one train’. In keeping with the New York bands that I find important, SMTB is a perfect band and if this is what ‘sludge punk’ is then yes, so much yes. Told Slant – “Tsunami” As we all patiently sit at the edge of our seats awaiting the new Told Slant record, we were given ‘tsunami’ at live told slant shows as a sing along and as they sing their honest and gut wrenching lyrics, it’s inevitable to shout along with them and breathe easier knowing you aren’t alone. Camara – “El frio en mis manos” This summer, some friends of mine were playing an incredible record called “SOMBRAS” put out by a label based in Spain, Munster Records. Sombras is all Spanish post-punk and dark pop ranging from 1981-1986. As difficult as it was to pick just one song from this record, ‘el frio en mis manos’ is my favorite because it manages to be consistent in the same guitar riff while never lacking dynamic. Foozle - “Don’t let yourself down” With one too many indie rock bands around, Foozle is a band that I don’t skip over on my ipod because lets face it, the man sitting next to me on the downtown A train can also benefit from the loud “Don’t let yourself down” hook coming from my headphones as he heads to his miserable job.
MISTAKEN TREATS by corey regensburg
I wanted to use this opportunity to purge a particularly shameful corner of my mind. Before embarking on this tale of crossed wires and misread signals, a little backstory is necessary: I work at a coffee shop. It’s a nice shop. Not terribly hip, nor super lame. It’s a well-lit corner store catering mostly to new parents, well-dressed-wifi-hogs, and pretty chill senior citizens (there’s this one lady in her early to late 70s who has shockingly pink hair and 10 different Lil’ Wayne shirts). As you can probably guess, it’s not the type of place where you can talk smut, be severely opinionated, or play metal music without offending someone. Sarcasm isn’t received well here and should only be executed with the tact of Dad’s opening joke at your favorite family holiday. Of course, as in most social settings, it’s hard to know where the line is until it’s crossed. This is one of my particular specialities. Never again will I respond to “How’s everything going?” with “I’ve only thought about ending it all once today, so not that bad”. Never again will I argue for forced abortion politics via a “Pro-Death party.” It’s just not that type of place. However, these transgressions pale in comparison to the particular pickle I’d like to share today. A pickle so embarrassing, so unintentional, that I will actually hide downstairs whenever I see the customer in question approaching the store. I should mention that we are dog-friendly. Any customer is welcome to bring in their pup, as long as they’re well behaved. We even have treats for the little critters underneath the cash register. Most regulars, and their dogs, expect the biscuit and don’t even have to ask. And of course we like to let new customers with dogs know that we have treats. This can get a little tricky considering “treat” can be a trigger for some dogs. I am pretty wary of setting a dog into a frenzy, in case the owner does not want to feed their dog one of our treats for any number of reasons. Herein lies the catalyst for the whole mistaken treat fiasco. One day, close to the beginning of my time at this shop, a middle aged gentleman wandered in with his chocolate lab. Judging from his squinty eyed scan, I could tell this was his first time at the shop and immediately wanted to welcome him with a complimentary dog treat. He wasn’t close enough to catch a whisper, so instead I decided it would be a good idea to spell it out. “Hello! welcome to _______, would you like a” (at this point I began to point downwards where the treats were located) “T-R-E-A-T”. It was only a matter of seconds before I realized I had just offered my dick to this sweet, confused, man. I quickly launched into a series of stunted and stuttered attempted explanations. The first firmly formed sentence I was able to blurt out was (still pointing downwards) “for your dog, It’s for your dog.” That didn’t really help at all. He just kind of awkwardly waved and left the store. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the courage to attempt another explanation to the man with the chocolate lab. Perhaps one day he will learn the truth; I had a biscuit for his dog, not a cock for his mouth.
MY CMJ SURVIVAL GUIDE by cassandra baim
This October marks my third time attending CMJ. This is going to be the third year I block off a week in my calendar, and refuse to make plans that don’t involve going from showcase to showcase seeing bands I love and bands I’ve never heard of and bands that will become the only thing I listen to for the next month and a half. It’s my favorite week of the year, and I didn’t even know what “CMJ” stood for until recently. (A quick Google told me it stands for “College Music Journal.” I’ll remember that if I ever make it to Jeopardy.) I work in children’s publishing. Last year I had a terrible retail job. The year before that, I was still in college. Each year, I’ve been far enough removed (professionally speaking) from the music industry that sometimes I felt like I had no business participating in the CMJ festivities. I felt that way especially the very first time I went. My best friend from high school invited me to join her in the city for the weekend, where her boyfriend would be booking shows for the festival. We could get into all of them for free, and stay in a swanky TriBeCa apartment for the weekend. I’d barely started my last year of school, and I was already in desperate need of a vacation. How could I say no? But as I rode the bus down to the city, I became increasingly more anxious at feeling like I wouldn’t belong. I wasn’t attending for any professional purpose, only to enjoy seeing bands with good friends, and I felt like I’d walk into every venue with “n00b” written on my forehead. But I swallowed my insecurities and waltzed into the venue like I owned the place and had the time of my life partaking in their open bar and getting my ass kicked while trying to mosh during Death Grips. (Yeah, that’s right. I moshed, and I had the bruises to prove it.) That CMJ was my too-short vacation from my real world, and opened my eyes to a new world that I thought maybe possibly probably I could see myself in. I felt at home wandering from show to show, breaking out of my shell and talking to bands and journalists, and eating tacos by the East River at 3 in the morning. I accidentally shoulder-checked Neon Indian in some too-narrow hallway on North 3rd Street, and didn’t even feel embarrassed when I realized what happened. When I got back to school and turned that weekend into
an extensive writing project for a class, I felt pangs of homesickness, and realized I longed for a place that wasn’t my home yet. I missed the freedom, I missed the camaraderie, but most of all I missed the music. Fast forward exactly a year, and New York was my new home. I had a college degree and a retail job, and was even more removed from the industry than I was the previous year. And because of that, I could hardly wait for the week-long festival. As I spent the days leading up to the shows longing to live that life again, I thought of how silly I was to be so self-conscious the year before. In that week of hopping from showcase to showcase, hosting some great house guests, staying out way too late and making too many new friends, I got to escape my day-to-day monotony and be a part something I was actually passionate about. I started writing this thinking it would be a list—some tips and tricks I learned over the last two years on how to get through the week-long CMJ marathon as a non-industry professional. I only really have two tips though (well, two and a half). Tip #1: See the bands you’ve never heard of. I get really excited when artists I already love are playing a really intimate venue, but I get even more joy about finding my new favorite band. I wouldn’t listen to Conveyor, or Delicate Steve, or Born Gold if I only stuck to what I knew. Tip #1.5: Just because an open bar exists doesn’t mean you need to drink it dry. Tip #2: Don’t give a fuck. See those shows, network if that’s your kind of thing, be a professional if that’s why you’re there. But if you’re there purely as a music fan, be a music fan. Talk to the artists, engage with your surroundings, discover some cool new music and don’t stammer if someone asks what you’re doing here. “Because I want to be,” that’s why. 35
THAT BREAK UP SHIT a playlist by steph knipe
NEW YEAR, NEW ME—OR SOMETHING by mary luncsford
I read the phrase “jumping the scratch” in a book in middle school. I can’t remember what the actual story was about, but those words have always stuck with me. It’s basically like, you have to put a penny on top of the record needle so it can jump over the scratch and the music can keep playing. I’ve been thinking about that a lot. For the first time in a long time, maybe even years, I am more content than sad. Last year was the jump. And this year, it feels like I can finally hear the music again. This isn’t to say I haven’t had great moments in the past three years, but they were always very temporary. Now, I’m walking around and I feel lighter. I feel open. Last year, I hated school. I didn’t want to be here. I was miserable. I listened to a lot of “American Tune.” I stared at my ceiling. Then, if we’re going to keep with this whole “jumping the scratch” metaphor—which we are, the penny came along. And I think it might have been finally talking to someone about why I was so upset. In doing that, I was pushing myself to move forward—which is something I hadn’t been able to do before. That was hard. It still is hard. I think taking care of myself is always going to be something I have to remember to do. Right now though, I’m doing a really good job of it. I still have days where I feel out of place or melancholy, but I’m able to process them better. I feel different, but it’s a good different. I’m a little scared though. I love this feeling, but a part of me is worried that it won’t last. I don’t want to feel like I’m waiting for shit to hit the fan again, but a part of me does feel like that. I mean, I know that life happens in waves and sometimes things are good and sometimes things are not-so-good. There are days when I’m not sure I should be celebrating just yet. Then there are days like this. I’m sitting on a tree stump, drinking coffee. It’s a cool morning, and it feels like autumn might be around the corner. I meet up with Erika, and we walk through town to the farmer’s market. We’re digging into some pastries when we spot local band Busman’s Holiday about to play some tunes for the crowd. So, we listen to these two brothers sing covers of “Obvious Child” and “Slip Slidin’ Away.” The little kids at the market are dancing and running up to put dollars in their guitar case. A couple offers a bouquet of wildflowers. They play some of their own stuff too, which I’ve been listening to all week. Their song, “We Are We,” sounds even better when I’m standing a couple of feet away from them. Erika and I head back into the market to buy some apples, which we munch on the way home. This day was perfect. This day was worth celebrating, so I did. I think a big part of this lightness that I’ve been feeling is choosing to take it a day at a time. It’s easy to wonder whether or not this is sustainable, or what next week will bring. What good is that? I have right now. I have really fantastic local music. I have organic apples. I have excellent friends. Maybe this place that I’m at isn’t where I’m supposed to end up, but I’m going to be here now. The record’s got some scratches, but I can still hear the music.
A STORY BY COMFY
by connor benincasa and ben hicks Parts: THERAPIST - Nick Meyers CONNOR - Connor Benincasa BEN - Ben Hicks ZENO - Audience An air of discomfort has fallen over the crowd at the Silent Barn. The evening has gotten off to a good start, but halfway through Comfy’s set it becomes abundantly clear that the audience has had enough and is ready for a change. After whining his way through a few unremarkable tunes, lead singer CONNOR BENINCASA begins a long and arduous explanation of an ambitious and elaborate performance piece the band has decided to undertake tonight. He is visibly uncomfortable, and is having a difficult time. Suddenly, he is interrupted by an unexpected visitor. THERAPIST: Wait, Wait! I’m sorry, but I can’t let this go on any longer. Boys, we need to talk. You missed your last appointment, and as your band therapist, that worries me. Also, you didn’t cancel 24 hours in advance, so you owe the full session amount. CONNOR: Aw, shit. I’m sorry. We’ve been going through a lot as a band, and I guess we all forgot. ZENO: This really isn’t a good time! CONNOR: We’re in the middle of this show! I was just about to try this ambitious and elaborate performance piece. BEN: This is our first time playing CMJ and we don’t want to waste a minute of our set. THERAPIST: Fuck that emotional bullshit, it’s time for therapy! Last time we let off we were talking about your abandonment issues. I understand that you lost a drummer? BEN: Well, yeah, that’s kinda true. But it’s all fixed now. CONNOR: He came back to us! THERAPIST: And how long do you think that will last? BEN: A week? Maybe two. [Zeno nods in eager agreement] THERAPIST: Yeah, yeah, whatever you want, let’s just get to it quick. I’ve got a session with Krill in 20 minutes that I can’t miss. BEN: Ooo, I hear those guys are really nice. THERAPIST: They’re the best! At least there’s BAND-aid on the drummer situation for now. On to more pressing issues. You need to start taking yourselves seriously as a band. You’re selling your album on cassette? What’s next, a Zune exclusive? CONNOR: Hey! It worked for U2! Plus, you can hear all of our music for free online at http://www.comfy.bandcamp.com. [turns, smiles and winks at audience] THERAPIST: What’s the next release coming out on? Beta Max? You can’t make it any harder for people to get your music.
BEN: What about the internet? You can still hear it all at HTTP://WWW.COMFY.BANDCAMP.COM THERAPIST: And that’s great that you can get your music FOR FREE at HTTP://WWW.COMFY.BANDCAMP.COM. But you need more of an internet presence— that’s half the battle in this day and age. ZENO: We’re trying to get written up on Brooklyn Vegan! THERAPIST: And what steps have you taken to achieve that goal? BEN: Well, my girlfriend lives in Brooklyn, so I spend a lot of my time there. ZENO: [In cockney accent] I’m trying to be a vegan, but I loves eggs too much. CONNOR: And I’ve been making a conscious effort to write shitty comments on literally everything. THERAPIST: It’s not just about getting written up on certain blogs, or playing shows to more than 15 people. You guys have some very real and serious issues you need to face. CONNOR: What? Like my deep-seated mother issues? BEN: Or my crippling self doubt? ZENO: …It’s the bees, isn’t it? THERAPIST: Yeah... it’s the bees. You can’t be using live bees in your set, that’s just not safe. Way too many people are getting stung, and some have very serious allergies. CONNOR: But beekeeper Marty is already here, locked and loaded! ZENO: DELIVER UNTO ME THE RIGHTOUS SWARM!!! CONNOR: Yeah Zeno, we get it, you really like the bees. BEN: He’s right you guys! We need to think of our audience’s safety! I can’t believe we BEE-HIVED so irresponsibly! [Pause for 45 minute applause break] CONNOR: Okay, okay, no more bees... BEN: Fine [ :( ] THERAPIST: There’s just one more problem I see that’s stopping you from being a real, big-boy band. STOP DOING BITS DURING YOUR SET! IT ISN’T WORKING! CONNOR: I dunno, I think it’s going pretty well. BEN: Are you kidding me!? We don’t even know how to end this! THERAPIST: Maybe you shouldn’t have written this whole thing so haphazardly. ZENO: ON THE DAY IT WAS DUE! CONNOR: Thanks, Zeno. Anyway doc, I think the bits are really worki... THERAPIST: And that’s time! Sorry boys, that’s all for today. We’ll pick this up next week. The only matter to discuss is the matter of my payment… FIN