listening to songs gone sour by kenzie weeks
I was scheduled to moderate comments on Autostraddle.com today from 1 to 5 PM and I hadn’t done laundry in a month. At eleven fifteen AM, feeling queasy and self-indulgent, I finally let my legs slide heavily onto the floor, motivated by little else besides boredom. I only had faulty dryers and flamethrowing web trolls to look forward to for the rest of the day. To help grease the wheels of the reluctant afternoon, I opened my iTunes library, already hinting at some nostalgia for the years before I knew about Spotify. I thought about my wasted day and how many I had left here, in this apartment. Less than three weeks, I realized. In the four years I’ve been at college, I thought, how many had I spent just in bed on my computer, listening to music? Countless. Scrolling down the sidebar, I found an old playlist from the summer after I graduated from high school, when I’d spent hours driving around the Loop of the city, visiting public parks, and chainsmoking for the first time. I clicked play and then, against my usual principle, I hit shuffle. I wanted to be surprised by the upwelling of warm memories--long nights; slowly, painfully closing back doors so I didn’t get caught sneaking out; laughing on dusty porches filled with people I loved. Instead I was slapped across the mouth with a brick of forgotten shame. There’s nothing so gutting as hearing a song that reminds you of something you’ve tried desperately to forget. I’ve heard that smell is the most memorable sense, but I wouldn’t bet against the power of a song you once loved. This time, it was Grizzly Bear’s, “Two Weeks,” their uncharacteristically catchy and soaring chorus of alwayses and stays stretching out and around some other me from way back when. I’d fallen in love with the song that humid summer before leaving home and, for a while, it had held true and treated me right. After I’d moved away and somehow stumbled into my first close-knit group of friends at university, I realized we shared more than a taste for Parliament Lights -- a taste in music. I’d never felt so wholly in love with a group of people and none of us had ever felt so wholly in love with the freedom that life now offered us.
We were big and beautiful like a triumphant chorus ourselves, arching high and lofty. We were perfect and feel-good, just like “Two Weeks”. I can close my eyes and vividly feel how it felt that one long drive to Broadripple, 5 of us wedged in my tiny Saturn, windows down, smoke curling out and catching on a wind that rippled across burnt autumn leaves. We all knew the lyrics and we all sang along without self-consciousness or judgment, with every breath bellowing in happy unison. Is there any human experience more exalting and fulfilling as that? But I fucked it up that night, and even more so in time. Secret exchanges, public fights, drunken screaming, bedtime crying. We didn’t make it through the year, my scruffy group of friends and I. The people with whom I’d entrusted every little tendril of hope and vulnerability in the hardest year of my life: we fractured, just as suddenly and painfully as bone. My friends left me and I them. It nearly killed me. That song to me now is the sharpest, most pungent reminder of that loss. When I hear the song I used to love playing now, it’s like a wicked perversion. Something that by nature felt good and easy gone terrifyingly sour. And knowing I’m the cause of that... that alone adds insult to injury. We’ve all heard the Tennyson greeting-card quote that it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. I’m nearly as positive that we’ve all thought, “Fuck that.” Today, as it played, I held my hands still, resisting the insistent urge to change “Two Weeks” and to skip over to the next song in the list. As it reached its chorus, I sat back from the work I’d been doing and made myself listen, wholly, immersively for the first time in a couple of years. It hurt to listen, oh, god, it gutted me. It made me feel that loss, the one that I was so desperate to forget. But, just as vividly, just as forcefully, it made me remember the worth and the wonder of what I lost in the first place, and why, in the first place, I had loved it (and this song) so very much. I figure, in this case, Tennyson is right. I’d rather relive all of the failures and embarrassments of this bizarre, magical time of my life, my collegiate life- I’d rather relive them over and over and feel those inexplicable feelings-the ones only music can create-- then never to have had them at all. “Two Weeks” plays now, and all the unwieldy nostalgia of transition and graduation bubbles up passionately in me. I listen and they sing, “Save up all the days/ Just routine malaise/Just like yesterday/I told you I would stay.” I feel like an idiot for ever hoping otherwise.
this issue is brought to you by new releases.
Single of the
“Flying Saucers” is a groovy little tune off Breakfast In Fur’s self-titled EP. Upon Dan Eagle’s suggestion, the Miscreant picked one up a while back over at Rhino Records whilst visiting New Paltz. It’s one of my favorite Sunday morning records, and this song is ever so sweet!
First love, A PLAYLIST by cassandra baim
I don’t know a lot of things, but one thing I’m certain I do know is that I don’t know what love is. I’m familiar with everything else, though—angst, lust, obsession. Every one of my teenaged peers had their high school sweetheart, and then there was me, perpetually single. Dancing on my own before I even knew what that meant. I usually reserved my pining and angsty diary entries for one or two boys who were so far out of my league they might as well have lived in a different country because admiring from afar was easier than setting myself up for possible failure with something more attainable. And then I turned sixteen. “We Both Go Down Together,” The Decemberists I start my junior year of high school resolving to either fixate on boys who actually are aware I exist, or not fixate at all. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to fixate at all. And then I started my advanced English class, taught by a tall blond hipster in glasses who liked cats and bicycles and played The Decemberists before class would start. All of the girls and even some of the boys would flutter their eyelashes in his direction. We were just a giant jumble of hormones looking for something to put all this extra affection and amorousness toward. I was the quietest one of them all, yet I knew I felt the most. My focus? Gone. All I did was stare into space and daydream about this married man who taught me everything I could possibly want to know about American literature. I was fucked. “The Apocalypse Song,” St. Vincent/ “Subterranean Homesick Alien,” Radiohead The year winds on and everyone around me miraculously recovers from their schoolgirl crush while I’m trying to find excuses to see him in his office after school. My brain and mouth won’t even communicate to form words when I’m around him but I won’t give up. I wear my coolest band t-shirts to school, and name-drop the trendiest authors, hoping that one day he’ll tell me that I’m smart, that I have great taste. I meet his wife, and I keep on dreaming. “Twenty-Four Hours in a Lake of Ice,” Alaska in Winter/ “Twilight at Carbon Lake,” Deerhunter He makes two mix CDs for my friends and I, and that’s all I listen to until the day I graduate. Isn’t that what the twee boys do for their crushes? As my friends start pairing off I’m still walking through the hallways not hand-in-hand with anyone and everyone asks me if I’m a lesbian. I argue that I’m choosy, and I haven’t met the right boy yet, but really my standards are far too high—set by the 30-year-old man who plays Animal Collective in his cubicle and makes an entire playlist based around what Ralph Waldo Emerson would listen to were he alive today. I might be a teenager, but I’m positive this is what love feels like. “What Would I Want? Sky,” Animal Collective/ “So Much Beauty in Dirt,” Modest Mouse When I decided to study writing instead of theatre I knew it was because of him. I still have his playlists on my computer. I show them to my friends and they all say the same thing, “I see why high school was such a problem for you.” I felt like a foolish little girl when I roamed those halls— constantly made fun of, always reminded of his wife, one or two peers accused me of stalking even. I blushed and stammered then, but I wouldn’t like what I do today if it wasn’t for that crush. Recently I found out that he has late-stage throat cancer. When I got that call from an old friend from home, I couldn’t do anything else but play some Radiohead, go for a bike ride, and try to convince myself that he’s too great to let himself suffer.
Tea Time With Tori
Friendless Bummer an interview by miss tori cote
Friendless Bummer is a pretty rockin’ band from Syracuse, NY. Not only are Sam Sodomsky, Spike Anderson, and Ben Bondy some of my best friends, but they are one of my favorite garage rock bands. These boys are perfect for Tea Time listeners because they make you wanna boogie. Check them out here: www.facebook.com/FriendlessBummer! Tori: How did you guys meet and when did you decide you were going to be a band?
Ben: We were all actually born in the same barn, on the same day. We didn’t form the band, the band formed us. Tori: Do you guys consider yourselves a part of the Syracuse music scene? Tell everyone a little bit about the community! Ben: I like to think that we have sort of have been adopted by the syracuse music scene. The university scene and the local scene have always seemed to be two very separate entities that have co-inhabited the same space. Within the past couple years that we have been playing we have made some incredible friends from the area that have really embraced us into their scene. It’s really cool to have people from the local scene and university scene at our shows. We are honestly so grateful to have such a tight knit music community. We just want people to hear the great stuff that is coming out of here! Tori: What inspires your lyrics and stories? Spike: Wow, I’m honored you would ask. I would say my lyrics are equally inspired by Wikipedia and rhymezone.com. Hopefully Ben will let me have a microphone someday so the rest of band can hear my songs. Ben: Most of them are actually sequels to the Bird Calls songs.
Tori: What kind of snack is each of you? Sam: I’m the kind of snack that you love to eat. No mess. Spike: I’m the kind of snack you hate to love. Baguls with cream cheese and musturd. Ben: Robitussin. Tori: If you could do anything in the world and make it your profession (ie. Professional eater, candy man, puppy babysitter) what would you be? Ben: Definitely a dominatrix Spike: Either Batman or a cowboy Sam: I’m already living my dream. Life is a fantasy and I love every second of it. Tori: What kind of image would you say Friendless Bummer has? Cute boys singing tunes? Mean boys screaming?? Ben: Rasta bois. Tori: What’s one of the weirdest things that has happened to you while practicing or playing a show? Sam: Thank you so much for this opportunity, Tori. Ben: One time we played, and everyone was on Xanax. Everything fell apart. Tori: What can we see up next for ~Friendless Bummer~ ? Ben: We are very excited about our tape release May 4th, these new songs are going to blow your mind. Rock n Roll 4ever.
fur an interview by the miscreant
Breakfast In Fur is a band from New Paltz, New York. Throughout their fouryear career, Breakfast In Fur have released a self-titled EP and contributed to several collaborative records, playing music influenced by artists ranging from Boards of Canada to Hank Williams. This eclectic field of inspiration has led to the six-piece creating a musical style of their own, which will be displayed in their upcoming LP, due out this fall. Until then, the band will continue to work on their various artistic ventures and allow their music to evolve. Here, the Miscreant talks to Breakfast In Fur about their writing and recording processes, touring plans, and the bright future ahead for a hardworking band. The Miscreant: How long have you guys been together? Howâ€™d you all meet? BIF: So Breakfast in Fur is Dan Wolfe, Kaitlin Van Pelt, Mike Hollis, Matt Ross, Chris Walker, and Sandy Davis. At some point all of us were college students at SUNY New Paltz. Dan came to town in 2007-he had been making solo home recordings out of a a bedroom/laundry closet in Ithaca for some time before he moved to New Paltz. He and Mike met and lived together and later Chris lived across the street (Chris and Mike were both Jazz students). A year later Dan met Kaitlin and they recorded together on what would end up becoming our first EP. In 2009 Mike pushed for us to form a band with our friends to help release the recordings that Dan had been working on for years. Matt was in several local bands we loved, and Sandy too, so this is how we met and eventually they would collaborate and become part of the project too. Weâ€™ve been playing out since April 2009, so this month is kind of our 4th birthday.
The Miscreant: Who would you say are your main artistic influences? Who do you all listen to? BIF: My Bloody Valentine, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, John Coltrane, Neutral Milk Hotel, Joy Division, Hank Williams, Nirvana, Elvis at Sun, Phillip Glass, Delia Derbyshire--producers like RZA, Dr Dre, and DJ Shadow have been very influential on our mixing process, and in general the pop music we grew up listening to in the 90’s. We definitely tried to emulate that wall of sound that Phil Specter and some of the Motown producers applied to their recordings too. New Paltz has been gifted with several amazing bands that influenced us early on and to this day: our friends Neon Gloworms and Klessa, who have since disbanded or moved, but who we loved and whose influence we can’t escape. The Miscreant: You guys have a strong connection to the New Paltz scene. How have you seen it evolve over the years? BIF: It seems like its getting better all the time, more risk-taking bands, or people being experimental. In a college town things are always alive, changing and moving--the bands, house-venues, and scenes-and then theres also people who’ve been doing music for decades. We feel really lucky to be a part of this community. New Paltz has provided a nurturing scene where we can develop and experiment. Also projects like Shana Falana and Los Doggies are so inspiring and rare and we’re so lucky to be able to play alongside them and listen to them whenever we want. The Miscreant: The latest Breakfast In Fur can be heard on a collaborative record from Team Love records, Die Pfalz. How did you get involved with this release? BIF: Team Love Records is a label that moved into our town several years back, down the street from where Kaitlin and Dan live. We’re not exactly sure how they got ahold of our 10” EP--maybe at one of the local records stores. But they liked it and asked us to be a part of a 12”, 4-band compilation they were making to document our unique local music-scene. We gave the compilation 3 songs we had been developing for a few years in our brains, bedrooms, and crashy computers and were happy to see them beside local friends on vinyl. Team Love has been a great addition to our community, it’s been really great to work with them. The Miscreant: Your next release is scheduled to come out this fall. How long have you been working on these songs? Dan: 3 years of recording and mixing. It had to develop over time--the sound and the feeling. We didn’t go into it with a very clear idea, it developed on it’s own and a lot of it developed because of the combination of our personalities. When I say it happens on it own, this is because over years so many different influences affect the things we’re working on. If we worked on it in the studio over a day it would be different. The songs are like sponges for all the things that are happening in our lives. They grow, they have a life of their own. The Miscreant: How does your writing process work? Do you have a specific method for putting each element together? Dan: I usually start with the melody and then I kind of let the lyrics form around it, try to fit them in like a puzzle. Usually whenever I’m writing a song I have some vague ideas that are floating in my head about the feeling I want to get across. The new record has a lot of songs about time and identity--- like when you look at a photograph of yourself as a child, how are you that person? There’s a lot of stuff about that kind of feeling.
The Miscreant: With this latest record, you’re doing a lot, if not all, of the production on your record yourselves. How do you all work together through the different processes? Dan: Usually we record the basic tracks live and then we do a lot of additional overdubbing and layering during the mixing process. Because we don’t work primarily in a studio on someone else’s time we can let the songs evolve on their own and we don’t try to rush it. We add a lot during the mixing process, like too much--and everything is sort of organized from there. Your hearing is selective in your regular life and thats kind of part of the idea behind the songs. You’re hearing the melody and the singing, but if you stop and listen there is a whole world of sound beneath it. --- We use the technology that we have to its limit. We push up against a lot of our own limits. It would be too easy otherwise, there are too many shortcuts. I always feel like I’m trying to get to some kind of other level--I’m not sure how to say it. Music is one of the things that gives my life meaning, so it has to be good. At a certain point I’ll be working on something and it will feel meaningful, but until I get there I’ve gotta keep working. The Miscreant: When is a song done? Dan: The song is done when, hopefully, it sounds like nothing else. We work hard to make something different. These new recordings draw a lot from electronic music. We wanted to be expressive through electronics because we’re so surrounded by it--electronics are ingrained in our consciousness. It takes a long time to pull out the humanity in this medium, trying to make it organic. Texture has become one of our primary concerns, and also that the songs can be their own self-contained little universes. Sometimes when I listen to music I don’t always feel like I connect with it in this moment in time that I’m living in. I wanna feel like I understand where I am in time, in the world. The Miscreant: You all are creating a zine to compliment the release. What can we expect to see in this? BIF: It will be primarily a track by track lyrics zine, but with anecdotes about individual songs and insight into the bedrooms and garages where we’ve spent our years making this music. All of this accompanied by Kaitlin’s drawings of the band on tour, or while recording--with collage and photos too. We expect it will be pretty dang cool. The Miscreant: What are your tour plans with this new album? Where are you all headed? BIF: We plan on doing our first real national tour this fall to support the album. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be big in France and Japan, and hang out there all the time. The Miscreant: As you’ve added members to the band, how have you changed your live show? BIF: Collaborating is so integral to our project now. Mike and Kaitlin have each written a song on the new record for example. With more collaborators, more unexpected things happen which is challenging but it also feels much more fulfilling and exciting, and the music grows. Dan had a whole ‘nother record written when he finished the EP--but as the band formed we put songs together that were more a reflection of our combined personalities. It’s like there’s this one overarching idea and our different personalities feed it. Ideally the sound of the band should be the best of all of our ideas--it’s almost like a tunnel, or something, and we can’t all fit through on our own because its too narrow, but everything gets purified in a way because each of us needs to make sacrifices for this ideal sound. Only the best or necessary things can get through, and only things that make sense can get through.
The Miscreant: Where are your favorite places to play? Are there any venues that hold special meaning to you? BIF: Market Market in Rosendale comes to mind--this was a place where we could experiment freely and have an audience of supportive and genuinely intrigued listeners no matter how far out we were getting. It enabled us to grow in a live environment that wasn’t a bar That being said, Snugs is our local dive bar of choice, BSP Lounge in Kingston, and Big Snow in Brooklyn always feels like a home away from home too. The Miscreant: I know Kaitlin does a lot of artwork, both for the band and otherwise. What other artistic ventures are you all working on? BIF: Matt has a project called SubPixel with amazing chip-tune music. Mike plays in his alt-folk band Carousel. Sandy is recording a solo record at the moment and Chris is working to open up his own recording studio in New Paltz called Walker Studios. Other than that, Dan and Kaitlin are basically focussed on putting all creative energy into the band. Dan recently put together a music-video collage of Prelinger archive footage for our song Setting Stone to be released this summer. Kaitlin is also making a music video for an unreleased song called “Episode”. The Miscreant: If you had to title this chapter of the band’s story, what would you call it? BIF: Christmas Eve
A Song For Every boy by meagan gregg
For nearly every boy that I have had strong feelings for since middle school, there is a memory and a song. Either it is a song that I listened to frequently when I liked them, a song that they shared with me, or a song from an artist that we both really liked. “Demolition Lovers” – My Chemical Romance My first boyfriend- my punk boyfriend- didn’t like My Chemical Romance for quite a while, but this later became “our song” when I convinced him that they were good. “Thunder” – Boys Like Girls I met him at Disneyland. We kissed during the fireworks show. He liked Boys Like Girls and I liked him. This was his favorite song. “The Rain Song” – Led Zeppelin I met him through a friend. He went to a different high school. The first time I hung out at his house, he put on his Houses of the Holy record and told me he thought of me when he listened to this song. “Let’s Go Driving” – Barzin He introduced me to “indie” music. We were just friends, but I liked him for a very long time. When he showed me this band, I listened to this song on repeat and cried a lot. “Recycled Air” – The Postal Service I met him at a regional art show in high school. He lived an hour away. He told me this was his favorite Postal Service song. We listened to it together in his dining room while he made sandwiches for a picnic. “Long Time Ahead of Us” – The Walkmen We went to all of the same schools growing up, but he was two years older than me. We became friends the summer after I graduated. I was his first girlfriend. He put this song on a mixtape that he made me for Christmas. “Real Love” – Beach House He was a college senior. I was a college freshman. He introduced me to all of his “cool” friends. We drank tea and listened to classical music. We both liked Beach House. “Leaving on a Jet Plane” – John Denver We started something shortly before the end of spring semester my freshman year. Then I had to go back to Oregon, and I listened to this song on repeat shortly before he stopped talking to me.
“Pretty Girl From Locust” – The Avett Brothers I met him at a house party in Portland the summer after my freshman year. He was in a folk band, and had a curled moustache. I showed him the Microphones and he showed me the Avett Brothers. “Oregon Girl” – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin I had seen him around several house shows, and then we finally met. He sent me a link to this song the first time we chatted on Facebook. I thought it was his way of saying he liked me, but I think he was just making an association between his favorite band and me. “Solsbury Hill” – Peter Gabriel I had a secret crush on him for a while. He finally noticed me. The first time we hung out, he confessed that he loved this song. We listened to it and talked about “embarrassing” music interests and kissed. “July” – Youth Lagoon We were good friends in high school, and got closer for a short amount of time the winter of our sophomore year of college. We drank together, smoked cigarettes together, and went on late night drives through the west hills, listening to Youth Lagoon. “This Time” – The Happy Birthdays He was twee. I was obsessed with his band. I never told him I liked him, but he probably knew. “My Roots Are Strong And Deep” – The Microphones I met him one summer through mutual friends. We shared an interest in punk music. The night we first kissed we had been drunk on Four Loko. We drove back to his house listening to the Microphones and he kissed me at every stoplight. “Thru’ Your Heart” – The Pastels Another boy met through mutual friends. We bonded over a love for the Pastels. He made me breakfast, and I kept him company when he broke his leg. We spent a morning listening to the Pastels discography. “Little Pad” – The Beach Boys We sent mix tapes to each other. He put this song on one of the tapes he sent me. It was the only thing I listened to for a couple weeks. “I Know It’s Over” – The Smiths We drunkenly talked about the Smiths the night we met. We discussed what this song meant to us, and then it became very relevant.
My Second Semester Senior Banter by liz kenny
“Second semester senior,” a term that my friends and I are now coined as and keeps us questioning where the time has gone. I can still vividly remember my Freshman year move in at Syracuse University, emptying out the large rolling bin of Target bags and suitcases into my new dorm room, introducing myself to my new neighbors as they filed into the skinny dormitory hallway, the overly hyper RA’s that came to welcome me and teach me how to connect to Air Orange X, my parents sterilizing the room and putting bedbug preventing covers on my mattress and pillows, and me making sure as many pictures of prom and high school moments were hung up as possible. I never thought anything could top my senior year of high school and within a week at Syracuse I don’t think I’ve ever looked back. Freshman year was a year of exploration and adventure, to which anyone can agree with. I would hike from my freshman dorm all the way up the law school steps to venture with my girl friends to fraternity parties where I would name drop and even trek down Euclid asking upperclassman where Ackerman was just to be the cool freshman at a house party I overheard of from a friend of a friend. From convincing a whole party that my best friend was Kid Cudi, to playing Buffalo with the football team, I’d say I was pretty ballsy. Mind you, most of this was done while wearing a short skirt, Northface jacket, and in almost below zero temperatures. If you are a female student at ‘Cuse, you’ve been there too, admit it. We were fearless for the sake of parties, amusement, finding our true friends, and discovering our own selves in a completely new environment. There was much less authority and no past amongst us to hold us back, college could be anything you wanted to make of it; for those reasons, I still feel that Freshman year of college largely contributes to the person one becomes. Sophomore and junior year almost seem like blurs now. Life’s courses took place where my friends and I faced challenges we never expected. With amazing support systems of friends that have become my family, consisting of “the 812” crew, red team, and my sorority, we all survived. “Its about dealing with the bullshit” is what my mom tells me lately, and its very true. Everyone seemed to face “the bullshit” numerous times throughout the middle years of their college career. However, there is nothing that makes me happier than realizing all of our strengths and achievements that awarded us with making it to our beloved senior year. Today, to say that I am a second semester senior is the most bittersweet term I’ve ever described myself as. First off, it has officially become completely acceptable to drink on any night of the week as long as its for the sake of good times with friends, since “we only have a month left,” and its unreal to think that its true. The grown up world is just a month away as we twenty-somethings are reveling in an era of youth we can never get back. With all of this being said, I’m damn proud we made it to this point but bummed out that my lifestyle, of living in an old house with seven girls and a bunny, struggling to get school work done early for the sake of going out on week nights, not having class until 3:30pm on a Tuesday, seeing live shows for $5 or free, drinking concoctions out of buckets, having a four day long weekend with at least one morning consisting of breakfast at Stella’s, and having all my close friends within walking distance, will soon come to an end. This campus that has become our playground and I hope every one of us second semester seniors milks that idea in our last few weeks as college students, and to all underclassman cherish every moment of the time you have left. These four years go by faster than you can ever imagine.
Grocery Shopping with Chris Baio by caitlin lytle
In 1995, Joan Osborn’s quirky 90’s song about meeting God left us wondering, “What would you ask if you had just one question?” As a not- too-religious college student, music has become my religion, and I often find myself daydreaming of hypothetical situations where I would have the chance to ask the artists—the supreme beings that create my favorite songs—just one question. Would I ask them about touring? About their favorite food? Boxers or briefs? I have all of these situations planned out, until the moment actually presents it self. The first time I met one of my favorite musicians, I was a freshman in high school and the band was, unfortunately, Cobra Starship. I had had an obsession with them for a solid four years before discovering what I now consider ‘real music,’ and I had often dreamt of the day when I would finally meet their lead singer, Gabe Saporta. After having seen them a total of not one but three times, the opportunity presented itself. I walked in the small bar of the venue where they were playing and found him standing alone. Of course, when he walked by, not a single word came out of my mouth and my chance was lost. Since that encounter, I have met countless artists, including Taylor Rice of Local Natives and Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend. My encounter with Chris was particularly unusual, as I ran into him in the parking lot of a grocery store just 20 minutes after the band had played on the prestigious Main Stage at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival. After a quick exchange of words, he had made it clear that the performance— which would be my favorite of the weekend—had meant nothing to him because he was on his way to a post-set barbeque. The fact that I would be working for his management company over the summer left him disinterested, and I was left disappointed. It was then that I realized that perhaps I had given too much credit to the artists, when it was really due to those who had introduced me to their music. Now that I have put in a year as a college student and as a Miscreant, I have realized that I have not given enough credit to those that have introduced me to the music that has made such an impact on my life. With that in mind, I credit Paul Simon to my mother, Local Natives and J Dilla to summer camp, and the Talking Heads and Pavement to college friends. The Miscreants aren’t always the artists; they are often the listeners. My music taste is not mine at all but rather a collection gathered from all the music fanatics I have surrounded myself with. As the year comes to a close, I look back on all the new discoveries I have made and all the people I have met in the past few months. I look forward to staying connected to all these people through the music that brought us together and to continue expanding my horizons with my fellow Miscreants both old and new.
A Q&A WITH JAWBREAKER REUNION by quinn donnell
After getting together in 2012 and releasing their first EP earlier this year, Jawbreaker Reunion has become one of Bard College’s up-and-coming musical acts. Drawing influence from other femalefronted punk-rock bands, Jawbreaker Reunion has spent the past several months refining their sound and developing as a band. With upcoming concerts in the Bard College area, Jawbreaker Reunion is a band you should “like, totally go see.” Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to ask Jawbreaker Reunion about their recording process, their first show, and their plans for the future; here’s what they had to say: So, who is Jawbreaker Reunion? We are: Lily “Baby Lips” Mastrodimos– lead guitar/vocals, Bella “Learned Guitar For This Band” Mazzetti– rhythm guitar/vocals, Dre “Gave Herself Tendonitis After Our First Show” SzegedyMaszak– drums/vocals, Nick “Not A Girl” Binnette– bass You guys just released your first EP, Hex On The Beach, this past January; how long had you been playing together before the release?
Our first practice was at the end of November, we weren’t very serious until we “released” Hex on the Beach, which is a bunch of badly recorded basement demos. How did you go about recording the EP? On a laptop in a basement without a bassist because Nick hadn’t joined us yet. You can hear all of that. Your Bandcamp and Facebook pages say, “We’re kind of like the Spice Girls, but a lot like Bob Hoskins.” Could you elaborate on that a bit? Have you ever seen Spice World? It’s a lot like that. But more like the actor Bob Hoskins, who has a cameo in Spice World. There’s no actual reason, we just wrote down banter and it stuck. Assuming the name Jawbreaker Reunion is a reference to the 90’s rock band, Jawbreaker, would you consider them to be one of your biggest influences? Who are some of your other influences? Jawbreaker has almost no influence on our music. We got our band name from a “JADEDPUNKHULK” tweet that said “If you want people to come to your shitty indie show, name your band Jawbreaker Reunion” and, much like the banter, it stuck. We started out wanting to be female QUARTERBACKS, but we also like Bratmobile and Maow. After our first show a girl told us that we sounded like the first time she heard Bikini Kill and that was also very cool. What is it like to be involved in the Bard College music scene and how has it shaped your music? We’ve all hosted shows at various venues at Bard, so we started off with a big network of people willing to host or play with us. Being involved in the Bard music scene definitely presents more opportunities to play with a wider variety of bands. What has your experience with playing live been like so far? Do you have plans to play any upcoming shows? WE PLAYED ONE SHOW IT WAS COOL OUR FRIENDS SAID WE WERE GOOD!!!!!!!! We’re playing Bard’s Punk Rock Prom, which is a “punk” cover show, on May 10th as the Magnetic Fields. (So, like, totally come see us.) We’re also playing at the tentatively-named “Queerfest”, which is a brand new festival in which LGBT and female-fronted bands are showcased on May 11th. (So, like, totally come see us.) What’s in the future for Jawbreaker Reunion? ~Not forgetting our music over the summer ~Buying equipment that doesn’t suck (because our current set up does) ~Actual recording in the late summer/fall so that we have something that reflects what we actually sound like now ~Finding practice space with semi-decent acoustics that isn’t a basement Check the band out at jawbreakerreunion.bandcamp.com!
NASTY FACTS OF LIFE by john phillip tappen
I discovered Nasty Facts 31 years after their only vinyl release, Drive My Car — a three song, 45-rpm ep. I did the math in my head, so that might be off by a couple years. Regardless, it’s difficult to believe that punk rock is that old. Automatic, stationary and sluggish: the sedated characteristics of what may be 30 years old in a genre and culture meant for kids. But not Nasty Facts. Just pure, sped up energy. The band was a four-piece from New York City that included Brad Craig on guitar, Benji Seaizak on drums and vocals, Jeff Range on guitar and vocals, and Cherl Boyze on bass and lead vocals. The Drive My Car EP comes in under eight minutes long. It’s the perfect power pop record — fast and frantic. Listening is like being under constant attack. The melodies grab hold at every second. Once you’ve started a song, it’s tough to get out. For nearly eight minutes I’m getting bashed in by these throbbingly rhythmic, poppy Ramones like bass lines. It sounds dated and there’s nothing bad about that. They recall a certain era of New York punk and new wave — the start I guess. Right at Max’s Kansas City in the middle of a relentless summer. But there’s something about it that still feels crisp. It’s got an edge. These songs can’t be worn out. I was never alive to see Husker Du. Everything I know about that band are just assumptions — conclusions I make after having listened to their records for years. There’s something about not knowing quite enough that helps make a song or a band all yours. It’s the mystery. Just being able to fill in the gaps on your own. I originally found Nasty Facts online, at Killed By Death Records. They posted a picture of the ep and a write up that couldn’t have been more than two sentences that said “a lot of you know this band, but hopefully someone who doesn’t discovers this,” or something to that effect. Aside from a link to a song on youtube, I couldn’t find anything else about this band. Now is the era of instant information, the ability to find any fact, figure or stat in seconds. So, it’s refreshing to not have that access — to leave it a mystery. Because if and when I discover their other songs, I’ll just be disappointed. Because Drive My Car is perfect the way it is. I don’t need anything else. I want three amazing songs by four teenagers who come from a Brooklyn that’s a little less gentrified than it is now. Husker Du played their hardcore tongue and cheek. At least I thought. How melodic they sounded was a part of their music that was smeared in so many layers of distortion and sarcasm. It was kind of a mask. Nasty Facts soften what’s supposed to be the most bitter genre of music with melodies too. But it’s immediate and completely straightforward. No riddles — completely urgent and uncensored. Juvenile lyrics too simple to be considered “heart on your sleeve.” I’m not going to give a run down of each track because there’s only three and that would be kind of stupid. Besides, it came out in 1981 and this isn’t a real review. It’s just one of those releases that is perfect start to finish. Sounds even better in the summer months. The harmonies, but also right afterward when Boyze sings “I’ve been trying like a son of a bitch, I don’t know what else I can do.” Just listen.
The Motion City Soundtrack to My Life by reina shinohara
After hearing that my first bearded crush Tony Thaxton (a.k.a. Motion City Soundtrack’s drummer) left the band after 11 long years, I’ve been listening to a lot of MCS. By a lot, I mean all five albums many times through. Motion City Soundtrack has and will always hold a special place in my heart. I first started listening to them in 2005 when I saw the music video for “Everything Is Alright” on Fuse and I’ve never been able to outgrow them. 8 years have passed since the first time I saw Justin Pierre on TV and my life has had its ups and downs and a lot has changed for me, but Motion City Soundtrack has been there every step of the way with a witty lyric and a catchy synth riff for every feeling. Lately, almost every Motion City Soundtrack song feels relevant to my life, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what their music has done for me. Here’s a brief list of a few important things that Motion City Soundtrack has helped me understand over the years:
1. It’s ok to not be ok. For the first time in a long time, I can say that I want to try. I feel helpless for the most part, but I’m learning to open my eyes. And the sad truth of the matter is, I‘ll never get over it, but I’m going to try to get better and overcome each moment in my own way. (from “Even If It Kills Me”) It’s always ok to not feel ok and the best thing that I can do is to take things moment by moment and try to get better my own way. I’m a mess, I’m a wreck. I am perfect and I have learned to accept all my problems and shortcomings because I’m so visceral, yet deeply inept. (from “L.G. FUAD”) Sometimes I am a mess and a wreck, but it’s ok. I just have to learn to accept myself along with everything that’s “wrong” with me, because I’m actually just perfect, flaws and all.
2. Sometimes you’re going to need some help, and that’s fine. I think I can figure it out, but I’m gonna need a little help to get me through it. (from “A Lifeless Ordinary”) For the longest time, I refused to ask people to help me. Whether it was with small things, like carrying groceries, or big decisions, or helping me fix things when I messed up, I just could not bring myself to ask people for help. Maybe it was a pride thing, or maybe I was just scared of being judged. But songs like these have taught me that it’s always ok to ask for and even need help. 3. A broken heart isn’t the end of the world. So much to say, but no words to convey the loneliness building with each passing day, but I’m getting used to it. You have to get used to it. (from “Broken Heart”) Boys (and girls!) are going to hurt me, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Sometimes you get your heart broken and you feel like you’ll never recover. But Justin Pierre and I both know now that it’s lonely, but it’s not anything you can’t get used to or get over. Broken hearts never stay broken forever. The best thing to do is to fix it up so it will work again, better than before. And maybe one day I’ll find someone I can love as much as “Antonia” (if you haven’t heard that song before, I suggest you listen to it now ♥) . 4. It’s totally fine to not have anything figured out. I still don’t know exactly who I am, I never will. Amen. (from “Last Night”) Justin Pierre doesn’t have it figured out, and who says I have to have it figured out? It’s completely ok for me to not know what’s going on or where I belong and it’s more than ok to not know exactly who I am. Who does anyway? Besides, it probably isn’t all that fun to have everything completely figured out anyway. Even Tony Thaxton didn’t seem to have it all figured out. In a statement regarding his departure from MCS, he said himself that he isn’t 100% sure what exactly the future holds for him. And we (I) still respect him (and I STILL have a crush on him), so it can’t be a completely horrible thing to not know what’s up. 5. Everything is all right. Like Justin Pierre sings in that one popular song that everyone probably knows, I’m getting better at fighting the future, “Someday you’ll be fine…” Yes, I’ll be just fine (from “Everything Is Alright”). This has been so true for me time and time again. Every once in a while, I have these days (a little more frequently than I’d like…) where everything goes wrong and I’m about five seconds away from the emotion breakdown of the century. But on those kinds of days, I take a deep breath and imagine Tony Thaxton serenading me with this song, and I feel like everything will be alright. I AM getting better at fighting the future and even on those days where nothing is alright, I’m staring to realize that everything IS absolutely alright and I will be just fine.
album review: nineteen live Recordings by wes wren
After fifteen years as Emperor X, Chad Matheny has seen and done anything that any independent musician could do. He’s been reviewed by the likes of Salon Magazine, Pitchfork Media, the A.V. Club, and now, The Miscreant. His most recent effort, Nineteen Live Recordings, showcases the raw and emotional nature of Emperor x. The disregard of an elegant production allows for the listener to hear the beauty of the song-apart from any slick production techniques. This raw sound is showcased beautifully on the first song of the album “Compressor Repair.” Originally off the album Western Teleport, this stripped down version allows for Matheny’s voice to shine and adds more emotional depth to the song. This stripped down sound didn’t limit Emperor X to only play slower pieces, as they show on the third track “Shut Shut Up.” This acousto-punk masterpiece sounds the Mountain Goats or early-Modest Mouse if they were thrown into the D.C. Hardcore scene of the 1980s. This is a staple of the Emperor X sound. Fast and aggressive, but doing so with precision and an intensity of emotion that puts this live album on such an interesting playing field. I’m not much for live albums generally, but this record works because of the breadth of songs that Emperor X chose to showcase, as well as the sheer talent of the group. The song “The Magnetic Media Storage Practices of Rural Pakistan” shows the astral and experimental nature of the group, while blending in the up-tempo acoustic punk rock that we hear on “Shut Shut up.” There is an almost oscillating echo on the vocals that create a swirling soundscape— ultimately repeating the word “Gone” before breaking into an up-tempo rocker. From track one to the final claps of their on-radio performance of “Hybrid Defiance for Jawad Nabulsi,” this album has dull moments. The juxtaposition of stripped down sounds such as found on the first track, and more traditional Emperor X experimental sounds keep the listener on their toes. The negative thing with live albums such as this, the recording quality can suffer from song to song, and while the recording quality hides the beauty of some of these songs on this album, it also fosters the feeling that I think Emperor X was looking for with this album. This album appears to be a celebration of the entire Emperor X catalog, which the nineteen song long album does well. Do yourself a favor miscreants and go out and buy this album or stream it on the Emperor X website. This album is one of the most interesting live albums that I’ve heard in a long time, especially considering the way that the songs were restructured to suit different performance needs. Simply put, this is a good fucking record. http://emperorx.tumblr.com/
2 Album Reviews by jordan falcon
Earl Boykins - Earl Boykins EP Earl Boykins are a self proclaimed Drunk Punk / Fuzz Wall band out of Purchase NY. Their debut S/T EP is quite the interesting record. Filled with reverb laden guitars and vocals, heavily fuzzed out guitars and vocal rattling it creates an intriguing blend of noise, jazz, and emotional distress. Although they don’t sound like very many bands you can hear similarties to bands such as The Ramones, Wavves, and other fuzzy garage bands. In a live setting, this band knows no boundaries and goes fucking crazy every time caring less about being in tune and more about destroying each other, and although the record does not have the same energy of a show where beer, Whiskey and energy are the only ingredients, this record shows a band that are up and coming, and have potential with future recordings to truly create something that makes people really want to “rock out with their cocks out”. http://earlboykins.bandcamp.com/album/earl-boykins-ep Cutters - Cutters EP
Cutters a band from Queens/ Brooklyn/ New Paltz new record Trying not to die is a melodic, catchy album filled with lyrics that even you mothers pastor could relate to. The twang on the guitars at some moments can be unbearable but at others be the sound that you want to hear when you are conceiving your first child. Pierce Lightning howls away with no real care for anyone, and it creates a sort of melodic disaster of happiness particularly on standout track “Beginners” which sounds like it could be the soundtrack in a really great indie movie. Being from New Paltz, you can hear why they may be a little depressed; New Paltz is a pretty terrible place. But with records as good as these, they shine a light on a place where not even dogs dont want to shit. http://cuttersmusic.bandcamp.com 23
WANT MORE MISCREANT? My Fellow Miscreants, And so summer begins! For many of us, Lizzy and myself included, this means college graduation. For some, it means finding internships and summer jobs. For others, it may mean a time of well-deserved rest. It’s an exciting time of change, no matter who you are, though! It’s time to go barefoot, it’s time for summer festivals, it’s time for new music! There will be a lot in the works with the Miscreant, Miscreant Records, and many of our friends. For instance, our pals at Double Double Whammy have just released the latest tunes from LVL UP on a kickin’ new 7”. Also, expect to hear some great up-and-comers on the forthcoming PORTALS mixtape, presented by Miscreant Records and Chill Mega Chill. Also, expect to hear new music and hear about upcomign tours from many of our featured artist. This includes, of course, this issue’s cover babes, Breakfast In Fur. Keep your ear to the ground about tour dates and news for their new record. Thank you so much to the band for being involved in the Miscreant! Also, thank you to all of the contributors who submitted work to this issue! So many new faces! I can’t wait to see what you all send in this summer -- so many things to write about. Now, though, it’s time to celebrate! We will be taking a breif summer recess during the month of May, and we will return with regular issues come June.Submissions for Issue #40 are tentatively due on June 10, but we will be accepting pieces all through our vacation! Check the Miscreant’s Facebook for updates. Send in your summer mixtapes, your interviews with your favorite Marshall Street busker, your features on new and up-and-coming bands in your hometown, anything to do with music. Email your work to email@example.com. Also, look to miscreantrecords.com and the Miscreant Facebook for more info on the music you read about here and more! And remember to check out all of the back issues of the Miscreant at issuu.com/themiscreant. With love, The Miscreant