Six Concerts I’m Sorry I Dragged My Parents To by kyly kuchta I just feel bad that my parents had to bring me to so many concerts during my late middle school/early high school days. I appreciate every concert they brought me to, but I’m sure they had to sit through some shit they didn’t want to sit through. Here’s the five I wish they didn’t have to go to for my sake.
6) Girl Talk w/ Grand Buffet, Senior Discount and The Viennagram This show, unlike the others, is one where my parental unit didn’t come into the venue with my friends and I. However, we were so sweaty and so smelly after the show, that the hour or so car ride back home was totally unbearable for my dad and stepmom. Two out of the four of us had to throw our t-shirts in the bed of the truck and switch shirts we were so disgusting. My dad says when he thinks about that night, he can still smell it. Ew.
5) Marilyn Manson and Slayer w/ Bleeding Through My family and I have frequented Worcester, MA for two things: horror conventions and concerts. This one was a mixture of both. My mom was supportive of my Marilyn Manson liking, but I’m not sure if she was ready to go sit in a half-empty arena and listen to Bleeding Through and then Slayer. A bunch of sweaty metalhead dudes with a bunch of scrawny pale fucks wasn’t the best crowd we’ve ever been a part of. Luckily for my mom, we were seated in bleacher seats, and not in the pit.
4) Felice Brothers w/ Willy Mason This one has nothing wrong musically. The show was spectacular and I know most of my family enjoyed it. You may be asking, “Well how many people went if most of your family enjoyed it?” Nine. Eight people went to this show. My family really likes The Felice Brothers, and they also like to do “family trips,” for lack of a better term. It was about a two-hour drive, and we drove two cars up. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel on the way up and one of my friends ended up getting sick. So we get to the Pearl Street Nightclub, which looked like a speakeasy, and my friend just sits on a step in the middle of the venue feeling totally sick. Everyone in my family is already relatively cranky, and then the show starts almost 45 minutes late. Two or three family members leave the venue and go to a bar instead (where they saw Jimmy Fallon, which is cool I guess), and then we drive home two hours with a bunch of crankpots.
3) Mindless Self Indulgence w/ Kill Hannah and The Scare Bears My mom took my friend Mike and I to this show, and it took place at a venue you more than likely don’t want to hang out in. Especially with a bunch of fans of Mindless Self Indulgence fans. First band was the Scare Bears. I don’t know, man, some relatively awful band from Meriden, CT. I’m sure my mom loved the lyrics “Yeah I’m a frat guy/doesn’t mean a bad guy/hitting up the parties/ looking to get laid.” Granted she heard them, of course. Next was Kill Hannah. At this point in the show, I like to imagine my mom at the bar in the back of the venue with a thousand yard star over the crowd and past the stage. Then Mindless Self Indulgence came on, something I’m sure she was thrilled to hear. I can just imagine all the men in tutus and weird neon hairdos. My mom always said she likes to people watch, but I’m not sure these were the people she wanted to see.
2) Jimmy Eat World w/ The Format The thing about the friend I invited to this show was that it was a girl I was trying to “impress,” whatever that means at 14 years old. And this girl, Danielle, lived in a town too far away to frequently visit, so our communication was very much internet based. Ya know, AIM and Livejournal based. So my mom, being the wonderful mom that she is, drove to the Northwestern corner of Connecticut to pick this girl up, only to drive back through Connecticut and to Providence, RI. We get into the arena and we have seats, literally, at the highest point and the farthest corner away from the stage. The girl was more than likely unimpressed. And when we thought maybe we could go onto the floor and get closer to the stage, we find out that those were separate tickets and required a wristband. I’m 100% sure I blew my “chances” with that girl when we were sitting almost totally silent in those seats and then on the drive back home. And my mom was the chauffer of that miserable encounter. Lesson learned.
1) Taste of Chaos w/ UnderOath, Killswitch Engage, My Chemical Romance and The Used This one was a doozy. A general admission show in an arena leaves bleacher seats and a floor open for all attendees. Being the youngins my friend Mike and I were, we weren’t looking to go into the “pit” for UnderOath or Killswitch Engage. So my dad sat in his seat for close to two hours just listening to screaming, while Mike and I aggressively bobbed our heads to the sounds. But then Mike and I ditched my dad so we could go onto the floor for My Chemical Romance. I imagine my dad sitting there, watching all these scene-ish kids and teenage girls walking around Tsongas Arena and wondering what his life had become that night. Not only did he have to sit through that nonsense, but he also had to drive home in a HORRIBLE snowstorm with two kids asleep in the backseat. A two and a half hour drive home in a snowstorm after sitting through four bands he definitely had no interest in was not what he was hoping he would be doing on a Sunday night.
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When I saw Madeline Ava during her tour with friends, QUARTERBACKS, there was one of her songs that nearly brough a tear to my eye. “All This Time” can be found on her most recent tape, Still Gonna Be Fine. Enjoy, my fellow miscreants!
NEW MUSIC FROM TITLE FIGHT by matt boswell
The Kingston, PA punk band Title Fight has recently released the first track from their upcoming LP, Floral Green. The name of the track is “Head In The Ceiling Fan”, and it may come to a surprise the progression that the band has made since their debut album, Shed. For readers who aren’t already familiar with Title Fight, I highly suggest checking them out. Their last album was my album of 2011, and it featured a well-crafted sound that was heavily influenced by post-hardcore and pop-punk bands of the 90’s such as Small Brown Bike and Lifetime. They’ve been known to bring out this love for the 90’s in more ways than just their sound though, as all of their music videos are filmed on Hi8 or other VHS capable cameras where they then release VHS tapes as merchandise. They recently got off a run on the Vans Warped Tour where they were also selling disposable film cameras and old school backpacks. However, their new track “Head In The Ceiling Fan” is a nod in the direction of another underground genre of the 90’s, shoegaze. This is not to say that it sounds like it belongs on a My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive record, but the influence is still present. After listening to the song a little more, all the other 90’s influence is still there as well. I would describe this song as something along the lines of HUM or even Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins. Gone are the yelled vocals and fast drum beats, and they are replaced by grainy and distorted sustained notes from the guitars and a relaxed, cymbal driven drum part. It also seems that singer/guitarist Jamie Rhoden has never been told to open your mouth more than a couple inches when you sing. Don’t take any of this as a complaint about the track, however. I think that it isn’t a huge direction change for this band (Shed featured relaxed songs in this vein such as “Safe In Your Skin” and “GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)”), and they have still put together a fantastic sounding song. Couple this with the music video that was also released, featuring Hi8 footage of them hanging around outside in nature and you have a very artistic piece. It certainly helped put me in a better mood the first time I experienced it. If you’re a fan of Title Fight already, you definitely need to check out this song and video. If you haven’t listened to Title Fight before, I definitely recommend checking them out. Shed can be found on Spotify, as well as a collection of early EPs called The Last Thing You Forget, and there are a bunch of videos you can watch on YouTube. Along with this new track, the release date for the next LP, Floral Green, has been set for September 18th, 2012 and will be released through SideOneDummy Records. 5
the Highs + Lows of the Pitchfork Music Festival by miss cassandra baim As far as music festivals go, Pitchfork is rather benign. It doesn’t offer the four-day drugs-and-dirty-hipsters getaway of Bonnaroo, the big-name headliners of Lollapalooza, or the A-list attendees of Coachella. Pitchfork does, however, offer the opportunity to see up-and-coming buzz bands sharing the stage with years-established indie music giants for a very reasonable price. As with most music festivals, the weekend is rather blurry. Every event bleeds into each other. I’ve been hitting up Pitchfork for three years now. Three years of spending a weekend in Chicago’s Union Park to see up-andcoming buzz bands share the stage with big name headliners. Three years of counting the hundreds of pretentious and useless tattoos on the necks and shoulders of the 6’ tall hipsters blocking my view of the stage. Three years of wondering if my favorite bands are going to play all my favorite songs in their 45-minute sets. Pitchfork is nowhere near as much of a Chicago institution as Lollapalooza, but my summers wouldn’t be the same without it. Though the weekend all blurred together as three days of crazy, whirlwind, good times, there were definite highlights, and there were definite lowlights. HIGHS -Olivia Tremor Control: I was admittedly shocked at how old they were. For whatever reason, in my mind they were suspended in time: I had the delusion that these men had not aged a day since the release of their last studio album in 1999. I was wrong. Though all of the men looked old enough to be on the brink of a mid-life crisis, they rocked hard. Though they might fall under the category of “Dad rock” now, that did not diminish their star power or stage presence. -Dirty Projectors: I definitely like—not LOVE—this merry band of Brooklyites. My roommate hates them on principle, but I love how big their sound was. I can see why she finds them pretentious, but I thought their sound was perfectly clean and polished. I’m also a sucker for bizarre minor chords and harmonies. 6
-The Atlas Sound: Bradford Cox showed intelligence, charisma, and charm during his short set for his solo project. Choice quote from the set (regarding staying dry, hydrated, and overall prepared for the weekend): “That’s what the Boy Scouts taught me before they kicked me out for being a queer” -Hot Chip: I was able to perfect the delicate art of awkward-white-girldancing, but everyone was having too much fun for me to care how foolish I looked. Hot Chip was one of those bands that looked as happy to be there as I was, which is always a plus. -Vampire Weekend: I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I nearly wet myself when I heard they were headlining. I’d also be lying if I said they weren’t the sole reason I dropped a week’s worth of pay on 3-day passes. Ezra Koenig knows how to have fun, and he knows how to make sure everyone else has a good time too. Plus, they only have two albums, so they had no choice but to play every single one of their songs, which meant no guessing from me whether or not I was going to hear “Oxford Comma!” Win-win. LOWS -Japandroids: Due to heat, dehydration, and claustrophobia, I fainted right before their set. Though my friends took expert care of me and I came too before their show started, I barely conscious and unable to enjoy the amount of raw rock ‘n’ roll power these two foxy Canadians brought to the festival. -Tim Hecker: Or, as I fondly refer to him—Droney McDronesalot. The audience seemed really into it, but I’m having trouble understanding why. I know that music is subjective, but I don’t know how anyone tolerated his buzzing, industrial ear-assault. -Godspeed You Black Emperor: We couldn’t tell where their soundcheck ended and their set began. Another Pitchfork: done. I hate thinking of events in terms of their monetary value, but it was definitely worth every penny. Unlike the last few summers, next summer I have no idea where I will be in my life (the casualty of being a “millennial,” or whatever the New York Times is calling us now), but the chances are looking good that I will make a weekend trip home somewhere in the middle of July. My last major music event of the summer is Lollapalooza. I’m crossing my fingers for no fainting spells, but I can’t make any promises. 7
All Aboard the S.S. Coachella by caitlin lytle
To say that I am proud to be from Southern California is an understatement. We are home to In-N-Out, year round sunny beaches, and one of the top grossing music festivals in the world: Goldenvoice’s Coachella. Starting around age 13 I have been one of the many Southern Californians to avidly follow the development of the festival and the Coachella name, speculating headliners, and tracking festival news. I was there for the double weekend announcement and for this May’s buzz of a festival developing at Irvine, California’s Great Park, so on Monday, July 16th, when I saw the Facebook and Instagram news of a big announcement I spent about twenty four hours vigorously biting my nails. A Coachella expansion? Well, after much speculation, the news is out, and Goldenvoice is leaving everyone skeptical again; however this time it is not with million dollar holograms, scanning wristbands, or some great reunion headliner, but rather with a very large boat. At 6pm on July 17th, Goldenvoice officially announced the launch of the S.S. Coachella. Two four-day cruises, first to the Bahamas and then to Jamaica, will set sail from Florida in December. Reservations start Saturday July 21st with a very hefty $500 starting price, and I am skeptical. Coachella has seen great success—this year’s festival had $47.3 million dollar gross both weekends combined—but can a four-day boat ride ever be as popular? While the price is almost double what the three-day festival asks, there are not nearly as many acts (a mere 21 acts are performing including headliners Hot Chip and Pulp), and while Coachella has always been an all-ages friendly festival, the cruise comes with a 21 and older age restriction. This seems almost as bad as the city of Irvine asking Goldenvoice to make their future festival alcohol-free. While my opinion may be biased because of my SoCal roots and bitterness toward the high seas claiming my festival, I have to wonder if the project will sink or swim. The cruise festival is creating a new kind of experience for the music industry, with artists like Steve Aoki and Skrillex already ahead of the trend headlining the cruise rave Holy Ship! in January. But are these jamming Titanics the future of concerts, or just another music fad? Personally, I am stuck associating cruise ships with old people and excessive buffets, but maybe that’s just coming from my fear of partying too hard and falling overboard.
Love and Happiness and Boobs by vance barber
I don’t know what I like more: boobs or Al Green. Boobs are great. I love’em. Tits. Hooters. Badoooongas. You can’t throw a pair in my face without getting positive feedback. Some people are wine connoisseurs, but pour them a box of Franzia and they will hit you with a white glove faster than you can say, “Malolactic Fermentation” (yeah, I looked that up). In contrast, if I open your bustier, I don’t care what’s pouring out; I’ll snifter the shit out of it. “What up, girl? You got a nice mouthfeel.” I’m a Boob Sommelier (yeah, that’s French (call me)). Al Green does something to me though. Something boobs have never really lived up to. It’s not their fault. He’s The Reverend. He’s my therapy. Boobs aren’t therapy; boobs are the reason for therapy. It’s hard for me to explain, but the man has a way of having all my problems find answers. He grounds me. He reminds me to breathe. Sadly, I’ve been dealing with this internal Rubik’s Cube for most of my life. I hope you’re sitting down because it’s about to get real… My mother used to breastfeed me to Al Green. (I’ll give you a moment for that to sink in) Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner – Al Green was the soundtrack. For my mom (and most mothers, I imagine), breastfeeding was a time to connect with her baby – an important event. She 14
wanted to take full advantage of this brief period in our relationship. She wanted to experiment. How do you learn rhythm? What makes you like certain styles? When you are alone and no one is watching – how do you dance? Why do some people have perfect pitch? Is it nature or nurture? When we come flying out into the world, is it luck of the draw OR is it burned subconsciously into our baby heads? Music is important to my mom and she wanted to pass on that love to me - but how do you make a baby care about music? At the time, the only thing she knew I cared about was food. So to her, if food equals happy and music could equal food, than in turn, music equals happy. But what music was she going to play? Now this was 1985, so it couldn’t be anything on the radio. The B-52s would have given me shaken baby syndrome, Wham! could have hurt her chances of being a grandmother, “We Are The World” would have terrified me about what kind of place my mother had brought me into, Prince would have…come to think of it…Prince is a pretty good runner-up. But it had to be perfect: something sweet, soothing and soulful; something she could dance to with me in her arms; something that wouldn’t get old if played on repeat. “Oh let’s, let’s stay together Lovin’ you whether, whether Times are good or bad, happy or sad, alright, oh yeah Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad…” Al Green and boobs made me the man I am today. I host an indie music podcast. We bring bands in every week, chat with them and they play a couple songs for us. I have been playing the tenor saxophone (the Al Green of instruments) since 6th Grade. I have sung in several stage musicals over the years. At a wedding – if there is a dance floor – that photographer is taking pictures of me and putting them in her goddam portfolio because it’s straight up magic that is taking place in front of her lens. I don’t have paintings hanging up in my room, I have framed albums. I have about 7,000 songs in my iPod (45 of them being Al Green). Is it nature or nurture? I don’t know. I do know my mom and I have the same taste in music. I do know if I look back on all the best memories I have with my mother it involves singing or dancing. I do know my lips suck at the air whenever I hear “Love and Happiness”. Music has given me a lot of great opportunities and opened a lot of doors along the way. Maybe my mom was right. Maybe Al is behind it all. But, goddam, I love boobs. 15
JERKING OFF TO TWO PRINCES by miss kenzie weeks
I always internally wince a little when people my age talk about the 90s. To clarify, by people my age I generally mean people who were born within three years, give or take, of me—the people whose experience of the nineties largely revolved around their latency stage and strings of largely forgettable play-dates and birthday parties arranged by parents. Nostalgia has always been in vogue, but now more than ever (and especially at our age, the cusp between ward of the state and financial independence) there’s been a frenzy of memory-grubbing to achieve some sense of security: hazy-tinted reminisces of idyllic pre-pubescent years when everything was easy and free and effortlessly cool. There are brands and markets that solely survive on it: Lomography, Urban Outfitters, Instagram, (PBR?). My feelings about nostalgia as an undeniable but ultimately harmful phenomenon of modern human existence are best saved for elsewhere. Like my diary, or the trash. But I’ve spent a lot of time listening to 90s music lately and weirdly enough, talking about it like it’s my own. Music, unlike anything else, is the sucker-punch that most successfully sends us reeling backwards and draws blood of times gone by; “the good old days” or maybe even the bad ones. And I guess that’s why I’m so touchy about and possessive of music of the 2000s—The White Stripes, The Strokes, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Death Cab for Cutie, My Chemical Romance—they are sacred cows to me. They came out and came into my life when I was hitting puberty, playing truth or dare, and having all these fucked up feelings about my body and my identity and my future for the first time, well, ever. But one thing I don’t understand is why I, and why so many of my friends, are so emotionally hooked on throwback 90s. Most of us were like nine when the 90s ended, which in my school district puts you in about fourth grade. Maybe it’s because I had a horrible, dykey bowl haircut and frequently was mistaken for a boy and/or autistic, but I’ve blocked out pretty much everything that actually happened to me in the 90s. So why am I so weepy and clappy and fist-pumpy emotionally about its music? Maybe for those of us who had older brothers and sisters, it has a lot to do with hearing them and seeing them listening to these songs and, like every younger sibling subconsciously does, wanting to emulate these older, cooler versions of ourselves. Or for those of us without big bro and sis, like myself, I think it has a lot to do with wanting to be like or share something with our idols—the people we socially and musically look up to. Nostalgia by nature is a sort of collective experience, allowing us to feel socially connected with our peers in this wholesale remembrance of things past. And when I reminisce on the 90s, it’s sort of a meta-reminiscence. I’m reminiscing about other people who came of age in the heyday of the 90s reminiscing about their sacred cows. Hell, I don’t remember actually hearing Nirvana on the radio. I was fucking three when Kurt Cobain died. But I remember other people that I admired remembering Kurt Cobain and I think that’s how we all sort of get sucked in to this fake nostalgia for things that never really were ours to begin with. We covet. Then again, the point of nostalgia isn’t historical or personal accuracy. Nostalgia is about an emotional connection and reaction (whether or appropriate or not) to something in the past, and screw the little details. I guess that’s why so much of the “90s music” I hear my friends playing is post-millenium Blink-182. Because, I mean, who really cares? We’re singing together and we’re feeling this.
Who Shot Rock and Roll by sean thielen A crisp summer breeze shuffled between the towers of Century City, Los Angeles, as 4000 people gathered in the plaza below. On July 21, Portugal. The Man, together with Los Angeles public radio station KCRW, put on a free outdoor concert to kick off the opening of the Annenberg Space for Photography’s Who Shot Rock and Roll exhibit. As free events tend to attract rather a rather diverse audience, it was no surprise seeing families of tourists in socks and sandals standing next to diehard music and photography enthusiasts all waiting for entrance to the gallery in a line that never seemed to end. The exhibit itself, however, reflected this diversity. A portrait of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke stares soulfully into the eyes of KISS’s Gene Simmons placed on the opposite wall. B.I.G. and Tupac sit frame to frame. Elton John hangs on a corner, which, when rounded, reveals an entire wall dedicated to punk rock. As stated by the curators, the goal of the exhibit is to “provide a glimpse of the people behind the music-their vulnerability and passion-and the talent of the photographers who captured these moments.” Photographs are not usually the most common way to experience music, but walking through this gallery and feeling the presence of these great musicians reaching out from their frames may, for some, be just as powerful as actually hearing their work. In a round room furnished with rolling ottomans, the gallery ends with a 35 minute documentary film on music photography produced specifically for the exhibit. The film features behind the scenes footage from photography shoots, an interview with Mary McCartney, the daughter of Paul and Linda, and interviews with several of the photographers whose work is displayed in the exhibit. While that may have been the conclusion of the gallery, it was certainly not the end of the evening. Portugal. The Man went on as the sun set, playing songs from their newest album In the Mountain in the Cloud, as well as a cover of “Main Man” as a tribute to the 40th anniversary of seminal British rock band T.Rex, who Portugal, among countless other groups, cite as a major influence. The Annenberg Space for Photography, located at 2000 Avenue of the Stars in Los Angeles, is running the exhibit until October 7. Admission is free and if you’re in the area it is worth experiencing. KCRW is also hosting another free concert to promote the exhibit on August 4th with Raphael Saadiq and Band of Skulls.
“wouldn’t it be funny?” by andrew mcclain By all accounts, what Daniel Tosh said is entirely indefensible, and I don’t wish to defend it. It churns my stomach to read what he allegedly said. I will not defend shitty comedy and I will not defend rape jokes. I’m happy that the backlash is getting fired up, because we need this dialogue. Ultimately if this puts a stink on Tosh that won’t wash off, I won’t lose sleep over it. However, there’s a piece of this story, a grain of nuance that is dwarfed by the greater issue, that I’m concerned will ultimately get lost in the wash, but I want to point this out: Daniel Tosh is not a writer or a radio DJ or a talk show host. Daniel Tosh is a standup comic. Not only is he a standup comic, he is one who relies heavily on a persona (not my favorite) and not just a persona, but the comic persona of an overtly awful person. He is a person who literally never speaks sincerely in public. Watch some clips - all he does is say terrible things. That doesn’t come close to justifying what he said onstage. A rape joke is a rape joke. But I think we owe it to ourselves and our fellow human as emotionally intelligent people to be able to distinguish between tasteless comic insincerity and absolute sincerity (especially in a time and an environment (heyyyy, Tumblr) where we’re prone to self-righteously vilifying the shit out of people. We owe it to ourselves and our own humanity to empathize and search for nuance on the other side, especially if that’s what frustrates us so much about the other side.) We all love Stephen Colbert, right? We understand the process of listening to him and literally inverting every statement he makes. Daniel Tosh does a similar thing. (I personally think it’s sort of hack, and that standup should center around uncomfortable honesty, and I’ve always found Tosh’s disingenuous schtick kind of off-putting) But it is comedy, and even the most benign comedy draws from things like hubris, taboo and fear, and you see how that can spin out of control very quickly. I won’t defend shitty comedy, but I will defend the institution of standup comedy, which is sort of sacred ground for protected speech. We’ve always needed clowns to show us what not to do. Taboo subjects are magnets for comedy because they strike a nerve very close to what makes us laugh - they’re connected, even. This sort of thing happens, but that doesn’t make it alright. TL;DR - You should absolutely vilify Daniel Tosh for doing bad comedy, but not for being a sociopath, because that’s already a character he plays. I’ve become something of a religious comedy nerd lately. I’m a big believer in comedy. I’m interested in why we laugh and what’s funny. Go through any set of standup comedy material - there’s a lot of topical and observational humor, right? This is one way we fight loneliness. There’s some confessional, transgressive humor, right? This is one way we experience a weird sort of intimacy about the darkest things. It’s all (all the good stuff, anyway, and lots of the bad stuff) about making a connection. It’s about laughing at the things that scare us, like our own mortality. It makes us feel less lonely
and more controlled and accepted, to be laughing at things that terrify us with a group of people. In the universe of standup comedy, there are a lot of jokes about the disabled. Less now than there used to be. Some of them make me cringe really hard, because I have a younger brother with Down Syndrome. Some of them, if they’re not mean-spirited (or if they’re simply very well-crafted) I can laugh at - it just means there’s a higher bar - but I like those jokes. (Patton Oswalt, for instance, who is one of my all-time favorites, does a bit that I cannot tolerate. David Cross, who I could live without, manages to pull it off, and I respect him for it) I believe strongly that comedy is the alleviation of fear, pain and discomfort. Have you ever started laughing out of sheer relief? We can subjugate heartbreak, divorce, addiction and mortality for just a second if someone is skilled enough make us laugh about it. Now, I’ve never heard a funny rape joke. I can only think of three or four of them off the top of my head from standup comics I still respect, and they all make me cringe. However, when I hear someone say “you can’t joke about rape,” I agree that this should not be publicly attempted. However, the notion that rape is categorically unfunny is challenging to me. What I hear being said is that there is only one thing so dark and terrible that it cannot be alleviated by comedy. And that scares the shit out of me. Because I agree - I can’t think of how it could possibly be made funny. But it’s unfair to assign that much dark power to something - it’s a kind of idolatry. The existentialist in me (which is also the real me) has to believe that somewhere, there’s an unwritten joke about rape and it’s hysterical. And when people laugh at it, they’ll feel the catharsis of shedding comedic light on a dark thing.
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Changing my opinion on my favorite rapper by chelsea barker
It’s over now, whatever we had. Thinking of it as anything is probably going a little too far. That’s what we always did though, take it too far. I fancied myself the victim, but it was a symbiotic relationship. We first met at that hotel in Atlanta. Encounters like this are routine for you: meet up, party, hook up, leave. Always moving forward, never looking back. Each city brought a new set of girls eager for a brief glimpse of their lifestyle. None of this changed how enticing the whole meeting was. Your time in Atlanta was mostly spent at a strip club. When one of the strippers didn’t come back with you, calling me was your back up plan. I brought a friend, we hung out with the band, and I drunkenly talked with everyone. I wanted to leave an impression, even if it was as a crazy white girl. At one point I ran around the room, trying to prove I could light a match. I ran out on the porch, thinking it would help. “What are you doing?” the bassist asked. “Trying to prove to Steve I can light a match. It’s not working.” “…Maybe you should try lighting it inside, where it’s not really windy.” I talked to someone about our disdain for a mutual acquaintance; I bonded with another over Mellow Mushroom, and one guy, who clearly did not fit in with everyone else, wanted to talk to me about my “flat stomach.” I knew I was looked at as tonight’s entertainment, but I wanted to be so much more. That night, I had somehow solidified myself as groupie. This wasn’t my only night with the band. Fast forward four months. I was set to meet up with him again, this time at Bonnaroo. He calls me at two in the morning: “Where are you?” “At my campsite. We just saw Radiohead. Did you see them? It was amazing!” I respond. “Nah, we saw them at Coachella. Come to artist transportation.” It’s an abnormally chilly night for Tennessee in June. I put on makeup, a new dress, and an oversized hoodie. Even with my attempts at primping, I look worn out. I’m dirty and running low on confidence. There’s a reason he called me in the middle of the night, and it’s not because I’m an interesting person to talk to. I take the twenty minute trek alone. We meet up by the artist entrance, exchange forced greetings, and head past security. Even this late at night, the area is bustling with people. He asks me about my job. I ask him about his breakup. We get back to the bus. He turns on the television, grabs a blanket, and asks me to lie on top of him. “Thanks for all those nice texts. I really did miss you.” I know it’s not true, but I believe it. I so desperately want him to like me. I want to be accepted by this group of people I’ve grown to admire. I try to paint myself as confident, but my sarcastic quips don’t do much to hide my insecurities. It’s late and we’re both tired. We crawl in his bunk and fall asleep. It’s 11 am. I wake up in the bunk alone. I hear multiple people watching a soccer game in the lounge. Then there’s a voice I recognize. D puts on a track, warms up, and runs through the song. He’s talking with his brother about herbal teas, Heems, and what they have planned for the day. I want to hop out of the bunk and introduce myself, but I’m too scared. The door opens; I hear his girlfriend’s voice. They quickly leave together, as well as my dream of meeting him. He pulls open the bunk’s curtain. “You should leave in ten minutes.” He kisses my forehead and quickly heads back to his friends. After a few minutes, I hop out of bed. I walk up to him, and hand him his phone charger. “Where did she come from?!” his friends ask. I’m mortified. Why wouldn’t he mention that he has some eccentric white girl sleeping in his bunk? I’m introduced to everyone and hustled out of the bus. There are promises of texting me later, but I know they won’t hold up. I meet my friends back at camp and do my best not to talk about it, but spill everything within the first two minutes. Recanting the night was my attempt to make myself feel better. I fibbed here and there, trying to vindicate my actions. I needed to convince myself that I was worth more than what he saw me as. We haven’t talked much since. I sometimes text him when I’m drunk. There’s usually no response. I got caught up in it all, living in the moment with no regard for the future. Who could blame me? Everything seemed so mysterious and fun. I don’t regret what happened, but it’s changed my opinion on my favorite “rapper.” I’ll never understand why he surrounds himself with certain people, but I guess I don’t know him as well as I thought I did.
more on brooklyn life by queen karen edith millar
This Miscreant slept in. And why? The trek to seventh circle of hell (sic: Bushwick - yes I did remove all my credit and debit cards from my wallet and yes, a questionable looking foreigner did offer me a career in ‘real estate’) in a supposed storm that was poised to transfigure into a hurricane is my excuse. But it’s fine; because I at long LAST got to see the wonderful Dumb Talk who, as ever, make me so proud to be involved in Miscreant Records and so hideously disheartened with myself that an 18 year old can be that talented. Shout out to the Mighty Schnitzel too; also to their new fan in the form of a 50-something female who insisted on heckling her feelings of sexual attraction and videotaping everything and anything with her iPad. You’re a glimpse of my future girl; and you’re doing it good. On a different note can we talk about the new track by The XX? Yeah so they might be kiiiinnnd of overrated and personify everything I hate about the Dalston aesthetic (move to London and you’ll know what I mean) but Angels is, if not overly special in 22
terms of actual new and groundbreaking production techniques (where you at Jamie XX?!), admittedly going to turn into a theme tune for the love sick teenager. Or twenty-two year old; although the only thing I’d be singing this to right now is smoked turkey - we’ve just met and my life is SO much more fulfilled for it. Let’s not talk about the fact I’ve left social gatherings early three times in the past week alone for my date with the man who makes the wraps in the local bodega. Sorry friends. Right; I’m wrapping this shit up because I have the world’s BUSIEST day and am already three hours behind schedule. But I am going to see my old favorites And So I Watch You From Afar; I’m sure you all will know them by now down to the fact I went through a 2 month phase earlier in the year where I seemed to listen exclusively to their music; but if not a) why have you not been reading The Miscreant? Have you been living under a rock? and b) check them out. They are lovely. In a guitar heavy, instrumental post rock kind of way. Also check out my adjoining playlist and, if you want to follow my everyday shortcomings as they happen, rather than fortnightly, y’all are more than welcome to follow me on Twitter - @karenmillar. Peace and love, bitches! What the British Miscreant is listening to: “Angels” - The XX “Far Nearer” - Jamie XX “Candles” - Daughter “Hometown Glory” - Adele “Walk on By” - Noosa “The Rivers That Run Beneath This City” - The Calm Blue Sea “Dancing on My Own” - Robyn “The Way In” - Porcelain Raft “Take Care” - Tom Rosenthal “Fake Empire” - The National “Romeo and Juliet” - Dire Straits “Unluck” - James Blake “Eyesdown” - Bonobo 23
WANT MORE MISCREANT? To My Miscreant Babes: The past few weeks have been full of excitement! The Dumb Talk single, “Stay,” has been released, my lovely friend Ian interviewed me for PORTALS, and I had the amazing opportunity to be a guest on Ear Candy (stay tuned for updates on when the episode will be posted!). Would like to thank the lovely Madeline Ava for being on the cover of this issue, and Dean for conducting the interview. They actually did it by snail mail, as you’ll notice that it’s all hand written. I really like this personal touch. I was elated when Dean agreed to talk to Madeline for this issue, having just finished up a tour together. It provides a really interesting perspective, and I know you’ll all enjoy it. Also, again, there are so many new faces in this issue! I’d like to thank everyone for submitting, and I hope you send more work in soon. We have a couple more issues coming up before I’m off to London, and we’ll be continuing to put out issues while I’m abroad. Speaking of, I’m so excited to finally be across the pond (see what I did there?) with the Queen Karen Edith, starting in September. We’ll be doing some really fun things while I’m in London, so hold on to your knickers! And now, it’s time to submit your writing. Send your reviews of your favorite new releases, your reasoning behind your favorite Sebadoh song, your list of the most life-changing concerts you’ve ever been to, whatever you have to say about the music that moves you. Email your work, as well as any questions you might have about getting involved, to firstname.lastname@example.org. And don’t forget to check out the artists featured in this issue! Look to miscreantrecords.com and the Miscreant Facebook for more info on the music you read about here and more. All my love, The Miscreant
Featuring Madeline Ava!