a zine by the miscreant art by lizzy scafuto
BE A MUSICAL MISCREANT by my dear friend matt gasda The single lesson I have learned in my three give or take years as a participant in this particular music, that of Syracuse, or Syracuse University what have you is to not care about what you’re supposed to care about. You see (mon frère) that being a part of a music scene is being told what you’re supposed to care about – so and so is playing a show at so and so place and so and so is just releasing such and such and EP or record or has recently reappropriated the dead technology of gramophone to release their new full length concept album about the novel 1984 as told by NBA icon Magic Johnson. I say all this as an entreaty to you – the reader – in joining me – the writer – and erstwhile musician, to strip away all the gunk and gum that sticks to the shoe bottom of this and most every music scene (I’m hypothesizing) and not care about every crummy somebody you’re supposed to – if that crummy somebody (singular or multiple entities both included) is really worth something if they have a drop of real musical spirit in them and if in two weeks this will really be something worth caring about. This article – I realize – was supposed to be about my experience playing my last show on campus – and so I owe you, dear, dear reader an explanation: This is (italics) what my last show was about – letting go of pretentions (which I accrue by the pound) and seeing that a music scene, a last show, a bandmate, an audience is either people or a person and that I, remarkably, am a person, too, and that music (bless it) is just a means of (like all good art) bit by bit making us all a little bit less lonely and a little bit more aware ( as my friend K. would say “conscious”) of each other and each other’s loneliness. That’s all music is. And dammit we don’t let it do that. We let it become a THING. A capital T icon to separate me from you or you from me cool from uncool hip from hiphop et cetera. No, no, no, it is not that. That’s not it at all. It’s just a lower case thing. It’s art. If it’s good. It’s art. It’s always art but the question is always whether it’s good or real or true – questions that scenes (in quotes) just don’t give a shit about. We don’t listen to music anymore – we watch. We watch other people listening and then decide how to listen. We should all go to shows with blinders on, or in the complete dark. Everyone should dance no matter what. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t dance – but this is what I’ve learned – I should have. That’s life – that’s what life is like in our own heads and that should be what music communities and bands and singers and rappers should be about – experiencing music as we experience it in our own complete dark. Let us – dear friends – dispense with all the trappings of idol worship that surrounds music. People aren’t magic. We all die. Music is magic, but if you try to make it into a capital T thing it dies, all the magic dies and then you’re left with this inert piece of social capital that you can Twitter about or post pictures of to
your Facebook. I‘m a part of this, but this is my attempt to sever myself from it- to just BE. (K. doesn’t say this but he will) I believe this publication is call the miscreant and that’s a perfect title because we need to BE BE BE musical miscreants going around severing all the little cords that tie something together and make it a scene or a capital T thing and suck out all the precious magic out of music which is simply a mean of making us realize that yes, we aren’t magic, and yes, we all die, and so goddammit let’s stop pretending otherwise and just BE BE BE and realize that I’m running out of space. I will kindly end this piece very soon as all of you – my dear, dear friends, will kindly and most definitely appreciate.
BEARS IN AMERICA HOUSE SHOW ON MAY 6 IN SYRACUSE, NY
NEW EP FROM THE VANDERBUILTS by arkansas native andrew mcclain
The Vanderbuilts’ new EP, “Far From Here” is a fine-tuned and well-tempered piece of pop rock music. The Vanderbuilts display a fondness for older modes of rock music. They have a muted, hushed sound, they use a Rhodes organ and have a violinist. But their sound is far too progressive to pigeonhole them as being “retro” or anything hackneyed like that. Their use of violin is also likely to garner them a few comparisons to The Decemberists, but this comparison is less than apt, and a little lazy. They don’t have the same whimsy associated with The Decemberists, but might have one more closely related to The Kinks. When I hear a group who plays together the way The Vanderbuilts do, I tend to assume that several of them have been playing together for a long time, possibly since high school jazz band - but that’s just speculation. You get the feeling that they reign in the bit of jamming that they allow themselves to do - they jam with purpose. They display their virtuosity through the first half of the EP, and then break out into the one-and-a-half-minute “Hold Your Hand,” which could be a Big Star or Teenage Fanclub track. The point of a good EP is to not have any filler, and “Far From Here” has none, and feels too short at less than fourteen minutes. It deserves several backto-back listens, and could definitely be seen as a single piece of music.
SARAH AUMENT MAPS OUT NY TOUR We’re happy to see Sarah Aument on the road again with her strapping band this summer. She has posted some dates in the New York area, and hopefully there are more to come! Check the list anf mark your calendars. MAY 23 - Trash Bar, Brooklyn, 9 PM MAY 24 - The Loft @ Harvard Square, Cambridge, 8 PM MAY 25 - The Delancey, NYC, 8 PM MAY 29 - The Bug Jar, Rochester, 9 PM JUN 3 - The Brighton, West Long Beach, 8 PM JUN 4 - Rockwood Music Hall, NYC, 5 PM
LISTEN TO REAL COLLEGE RADIO WERW brings you cool music old and new that we’ve been enjoying lately. We’re on air from 8PM-1AM on Saturday nights on WAER, 88.3 Syracuse. Listen online, too, at waer.org.
WANT MORE MISCREANT? You’ve just finished the first issue of ‘The Miscreant.’ I (the Miscreant, herself), hope you enjoyed it. I hope you not only come back for more, but that you contribute. Be it by writing a note to include in the next issue, by submitting a picture or a poem, by telling me about a show or a band or a good place to eat. Email the Miscreant at: email@example.com (don’t forget the double t!)
The very first issue!