The Real Burnouts: Coming to a Town Nowhere Near You The story of a man, a band, and no plan by ben hicks and connor benincasa It was a good Friday night in Utica, New York, meaning that there was actually something to do. And it wasn’t just something to do: local legends, The Real Burnouts, were playing at the cinema-turned-music venue, The Uptown Theatre. Inside, the crowd danced while the Burnouts blasted their signature two-chord psychedelic masterpieces into the enormous theater. When Burnouts frontman and drummer, Paul Crowther, remarked how much he had drank and asked for a bucket to be brought on stage so he could throw up between songs, the audience laughed. He was known for his sense of humor, after all. But when Crowther collapsed to his hands and knees halfway through the explosive, droning, “Like Me More,” nobody was laughing. You could have heard a pin dropping, or rather guitars dropping when guitarist Bobby Rogan and bassist Zeno Pittarelli threw off their instruments and rushed to Crowther’s side. The audience asked each other like broken records: “What’s happening?” “Is Paul okay?” “What the fuck is happening?” The crowd was half scared for Paul, and half excited to be witnessing perhaps the most rock-and-roll moment of their lives. Crowther was helped offstage, and Rogan stepped up to the microphone. “Are there any drummers in the house?” he asked, half chuckling. Tim Schram, who had drummed for the Burnouts (albeit not in at least six months), was ushered forward and cheered onstage. He seated himself behind the drumset, and slammed the band flawlessly into the Burnouts tune, “I Put it Down,” with Rogan singing lead vocals. The crowd was awestruck at how incredible the band sounded in the absence of their frontman. This was clearly one of the more notable moments in Burnouts history. All of a sudden, Crowther leaped to the front of the stage donning a fluorescent green shirt and rubber gorilla gloves, and began breakdancing. Paul had fooled every person in the theater that night into worrying for his life. All fifteen of them. In true Burnouts fashion, an elaborate ruse had been taken to the extreme to entertain an audience that could hardly have filled a city bus. That is, if busses in Utica were ever filled. Utica is your average Rust Belt city, filled with empty factories and bitter attitudes. The reason Paul Crowther liked growing up in Utica was the main reason the city was experiencing a population decline: There’s was nothing to do. “I enjoyed the fact that there was nothing going on and that you could stay home, but that you could walk around the streets and get stoned and drunk at night and nobody gave a fuck,” said Crowther. Utica has gone through changes since his youth—some for the better, some for the worse—though one thing is certain, it has a small but burgeoning underground musical community. “Now, there’s this large group of people that know each other that are all good, cool people,” said Crowther. And “an unreal amount of good amazing younger bands… where was this five years ago?” While small currently, Utica’s musical community continues to expand much to the thanks of hard working folks like Paul. “You need to build some type of scene here. You need to have a reason for kids to want to stay
here. And it’s not about profiting from that right off the bat. Build the scene, let the kids stay, build your reputation of having a cool place and cool, good music, then after a while you can start making some money.” Crowther is not one who is opposed to work, and has been rolling up his sleeves and trying to make Utica a better, and pleasantly stranger, place since the mid 90’s. Understandably, making unique music and building a scene is difficult in a town like Utica. Over the years, Paul has been involved in a number of bands playing music ranging from noise to psychedelic rock to pop, and has encountered a plethora of obstacles and difficulties along the way. During a “red-hot Friday night slot at 6:00 PM,” Bernard Freakstar, a noise band and the first project Paul was involved with as a teenager, ran into some trouble. “We showed up and played and they wound up turning the power off on us. And then they said to pack up our shit or they were gonna call the cops,” Crowther recollects. On a separate occasion years later, the owners of a certain venue in Utica refused to pay Crowther following his half hour set, claiming that he would only get paid for an hour of music. Paul agreed to finish the hour, and compensated by playing a half-hour cover of The Velvet Undergound’s “Heroin.” He was then banned from playing the venue ever again. From working and creating relationships with a variety of groups and individuals around area, a small musical collective began to form under the name Cozy Home Records. The name first appeared on very limited tapes made mostly for friends, notably a live release from the noise group, Trash-Can Acid. The album was recorded live to tape in a friend’s living room to a crowd of three drunk girls, two of which were vomiting. All the while the occupant’s mother slept upstairs in between shifts at work. Cozy Home had one major issue standing in its way though: It didn’t actually exist. “Cozy Home records was actually originally started by Luke in high school at his mom’s house. And the real joke of it at the time was that Cozy Home Records didn’t really exist, per se. I mean we made ten tapes of each, and that’s pretty much all that existed, but Luke got himself listed in all of these books, like ‘send demos here’ so they would send demos to his mom’s house. So we’d just sit and listen to them… It was like a musical collective more than it was a record label or something that would ever get you anywhere. It was just a bunch of us that had a lot in common in taste and in terms of plain sensibilities and stuff like that.” Eventually Cozy Home did legitimately release artists’ music digitally, and always for free. As Crowther said, “We don’t charge anything, so it’s free…The only thing we ask is that if you like it, tell the artist that you like it. Make somebody feel good for a day.” Cozy Home still exists today, and still for free, releasing music through it’s website from a slew of artists. The Real Burnouts, Paul’s longest-standing project, has been active since 1997. Beginning as a recording project in the bedroom of his parents’ house, the earliest Burnouts recordings were “I guess what I thought were indie pop songs, but were basically just drug fueled, rambling, offensive, et cetera.” Eventually, a live band was put together to play shows at some of the bars around town. Since, the band has had a revolving cast of characters, who have played with the band “until they got sick of doing it, basically.” The Burnouts’ sound, though eclectic and varying from album to album (as well as track to track), is mostly referred to as “lo-fi psychedelic garage rock.” Most of the Burnouts albums
photo by aaron rooney
were recorded primarily by Crowther on four-track tape players, with only a few of the more recent projects recorded digitally. Because of this, the live Burnouts sound has yet to be captured accurately on an album. Seeing the Burnouts live is like stepping into an LSD-soaked circus tent, where nothing is out of the realm of possibility. Film collages of strange, sometimes unsettling, clips shine over the band, who could be wearing anything from suits to unicorn costumes. On any given night you be watching them perform their latest rock opera, complete with actors, props, and interpretive dance. Or maybe they’re providing their own soundtrack to a silent film. Perhaps they’re in a particularly punk-rock mood and thrash their instruments and bodies around with complete abandonment. With the Burnouts, one never knows what they’ll witness. “I think it’s a combination of wanting to do something over the top… and to cover up the shittiness,” Crowther states. “Burnouts songs are like two chords, so you can only do so much with it. So, I like to try to keep things fresh. At times I’m trying to do things that bands around here wouldn’t ever even attempt. Not to say that it’s never been done before, because it’s probably being done right now someplace… I didn’t want to turn the whole thing into a gimmick necessarily, but I wanted to do some things differently. Of course, I guess the irony now is that the band really sonically sounds good, whereas before we did not sound so good (laughs).” The current Burnouts live lineup features Bobby Rogan (The Fig Mints of Your Imagination) playing rhythm guitar, Jay Schnitt (The Archipelagos) playing lead guitar, Zeno Pittarelli (Bad
Cello) on bass guitar, and Jeff Aderman playing organ. The band traditionally features the use of many guitar pedals; Rogan’s Fender Jaguar a punching, fuzzy block of sound, and Schnitt’s soloing and melodic lines swirling and floating around the room like a flock of ghosts. Aderman’s organ gurgles and squeals with quick, rapid-fire riffs that make heads turn in a “Did I just hear that?” fashion. With Crowther beating his drums as if they’re a misbehaved child in 1955, and Pittarelli dancing around the low end of the spectrum filling out the rhythm section, The Real Burnouts are a musical force to be reckoned with. The places that the music goes vary wildly. A light-hearted pop song will transform into a sludgy, dark, freakout at the drop of a hat, then back again into happy-go-lucky pop land. The music can reach a heavenly level of fuzzed out psychedelia and leave the audience rapt in attention, not knowing what will come next, but unwilling to miss it. Regardless of show size, The Real Burnouts put on a musically engrossing spectacle that is unparalleled in the local music climate. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, the Burnout live experience is erratically scheduled and exclusive to Utica, which makes each show all the more special. Because of the general nature of the beast, the future of the band is always in jeopardy. Members come and go, but Paul Crowther and Burnout spirit will live forever through the music and the memories he has created. When asked about the future of the band (which has no current plans) and what he’d like from the future, Paul said: “I think the band will end when I finally figure myself out. Hopefully the fine chaps I’ve played with can take the Burnout spirit with them, whether together or alone. I think I’d like to do lots of things, like get a good night’s sleep, be a better person, be a little taller, and drown in cash.” It remains to be seen what will become of this rag-tag group, but Paul Crowther will be making music as long he is still breathing. Paul continues to create music because “It’s uncontrolled. I can’t stop doing this. I’ve felt numerous times that I’m literally at a complete breaking point—creatively, emotionally, everything—but I still have to do something. I still have to create something... I’d like to have a legacy of lots of stuff. Not just like ‘this is my one studio album but it’s perfect, and there’s one of it.’ I’d rather have there be a million not perfect things out there. I strive for imperfection.”
LINKS: http://therealburnouts.bandcamp.com/album/conditional-greatness http://cozyhomerecords.com/ http://www.youtube.com/user/therealburnouts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhovQt_kwgI&feature=youtu.be Guitarist Bobby Rogan’s solo project: http://thefigmints.bandcamp.com/ Bassist Zeno Pittarelli’s solo project: http://badcello.bandcamp.com/
This issue is brought to you by Cat.
Single of the
“Charm” comes from our featured artist’s, Brazos, new full-length. The song leads the listener through a blissful summer love with a gripping bass line. As the seasons change, this tune has become a Miscreant summer anthem. Enjoy more on Saltwater here: www.brazosbrazos.com. 6
Jimmy Eat World revisited by cassandra baim
I can’t deal with my own shit anymore. I’m twenty-two, but I’ve never felt more like a sixteen year old. This all started a few months back. I felt miserable and trapped, like I could do nothing right. I couldn’t focus in class anymore; I spent those hour and twenty minute sessions daydreaming about what my life could be if I wasn’t such a fuck up. On one of my rougher days, I’d gone for a run and Jimmy Eat World’s “A Praise Chorus” had come up on my playlist. I hadn’t heard that song in about ten years, not since I was barely a preteen trying to woo a boy in my friend’s basement, but I still remembered every word. I absentmindedly sang to myself the line Are you going to live your life wondering/ Standing in the back, looking around? I realized something I should have long ago: the only thing standing between me and what I want is me. I spent the year pining after boys who didn’t reciprocate, ignoring everyone’s advice to tell him how I feel. Got to make a move or you’ll miss out. It’s easier to suffer in silence than put yourself out there to get hurt, but at the end of the day I was alone with no one to blame but myself. And I wanted to feel anything besides regret. I remember spinning around my bedroom to “Sweetness” as a kid, but not understanding until now what it means to feel that numb. Or, to think you feel so much it feels like nothing. Sinking into sweet uncertainty. Nobody likes a drama queen, but there is something to be said for seeking solace in early-00s alternative. It might’ve taken me far too long to understand who I was turning into, but better late than never. I’m not done with this journey just yet. Suddenly, I’m in the passenger seat of my friend’s car, hung over and confused. I’d woken up that morning next to a boy I actually cared about, and I had no idea what to do about that. I think we’re driving to a diner, I’m not really sure. “The Middle” comes up next on the stereo. The scene plays as if from a movie, just a bunch of kids driving around and getting nostalgic, but I’m trapped in my head. I don’t know how I feel, I don’t know what to do next, but I think I know what I want. And though every thirteen year old in 2001 claims that song to be their anthem, I feel no shame in admitting nothing made me feel better than having Jim Adkins tell me that everything would work itself out. Revisiting Jimmy Eat World has taught me a few things. I’m not twelve anymore, but I feel like I’m in the exact same place I was ten years ago. I realize I’m never going to leave adolescence completely. I’m constantly learning about who I am, what I like, and what I’m capable of. I’m so desperate to call myself a grown-up without knowing what that really means, but I guess that’s what this kind of music is—grown men singing about adolescent feelings. Only it’s more universal than that. I want to live my life like what I hear in “A Praise Chorus”—my romanticized ideals of what I want don’t have to be different from what my life actually is, but I’m entirely responsible for making that happen for myself. I’m jealous of my friends who have their shit figured out, but maybe they don’t. Maybe they’re just really good at pretending. Everything everything will be just fine / Everything everything will be allright.
brazos an interview by the miscreant
I first heard Brazos as I rounded off my freshman year of college. They had self-released their first record, and I had discovered it while searching for additions to WERW’s music library. Since, their music has defined summer for me, filled with the spirit of changing seasons. The band’s new record, Saltwater, proves to hold the same anticipation and introspection. These songs tell stories of wonderful, devestating, and captivating characters, making the record as literary as it is inviting. Here, frontman Martin McNulty Crane V talks about the pieces of his life that inspired Saltwater, and the changes that the record represents for himself, the band, and the listener. THE MISCREANT: When did you first start writing music? MARTIN: When I was 12 or 13. I’d taken piano lessons a bunch as a kid and then I stopped and taught myself guitar. I had a computer and I used to make albums with my computer mic and an early free version of Protools and Fruity Loops. It was just what I did. My friend gave me some drums. My uncle gave me a bass. I grew up in a small town in South Carolina where there wasn’t a music scene for kids. There was nothing there except football and binge drinking and wild debauchery between the future debutants and these gallant Nathan Bedford Forrest aristocrat types, neither of which thought much of me. Music was a way for me to think of myself as someone who had value even though I played varsity basketball. I quit the team my senior year because I never got any playing time and my coach was a jerk, but I would invite the basketball team over before each home game and I’d make a really bad beat and the whole team would record verses on it, and then we’d play it on the loudspeakers when they warmed up. THE MISCREANT: When did Brazos move from a solo project to more of a band? MARTIN: I write the songs and have a lot of arrangement ideas, but whenever you play with a band everyone puts a little of themselves in it. I don’t want be a fascist. Music is a relationship with other people. I mean, there has to be structure, but it seems cruel to think of it as anything else.
THE MISCREANT: How has the band transformed over the years? When did the Brazos we know today come about? MARTIN: When I moved to New York in 2011. I met Spencer and Ian and we recorded the record that’s out now. We met through friends, but we mainly played music together. We’ve become more like friends as we’ve played more. It’s cool. THE MISCREANT: How do you perceive the way Brazos’ sound has changed from the first record, Phosphorescent Blues, to now? MARTIN: The songs are longer and have more muscle I’d say. The rhythms are denser and the harmony more static. They are also coming from a more questioning place than the songs on Phosphorescent Blues. THE MISCREANT: Who are your current major influences musically? MARTIN: I like listening to Nicolas Jaar. He has an amazing sense of space and he weaves organic textures in with electronic music in a way that feels effortless. I like Angel Olsen. She writes philosophically, and her voice weaves in and out of the feelings she’s thinking about. It’s like she’s about to cry, and then within the same line she’s stoic and present. Most singers I think are either inside or on top of a feeling (i.e. Bob Dylan inside, Leonard Cohen on top of), but she’s both, and that to me is what makes her singing so mesmerizing. Jai Paul feels like an electronic D’angelo the way the groove seethes so, and there’s a tint of melancholy to it which I like. Then, always, Kanye West. He’s so neurotic, it’s amazing. He’s everything at once - the things he hates and the things he loves, and knows it and jokes about it and has anticipated everything you could ever think of him. His new songs blew me away. I’ve never felt rage like that except at Occupy Wall Street. And Kendrick Lamar who similarly has a fractured voice but does it theatrically. There’s a kindness that he gives to all his characters where he never writes anyone off, no matter how misguided he thinks they are. It feels exciting to me. Music has been so divorced from the realities of what is happening in our country politically for so long. Indie music, at least. Not that the promise of politically aware music has the power to change anything, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. People owe it to themselves to speak precisely, even if only about your own emotions because at the heart of every feeling is a truth about the world around you. THE MISCREANT: Your music is heavy in literary themes – what works inspire you the most? MARTIN: Anything with sensual language. On Phosphorescent Blues I was trying to write like the structure of a thought. Though I didn’t really hit it, that was my goal, and it was something that I felt when I read Adrienne Rich and poetry in general, which I’d never got into until I read Adrienne Rich. The way a thought unfolds is intricate and doesn’t really repeat, but it does feel cohesive. My thoughts then were like day dreams, and day dreams are like a conversation with yourself. The way you are with someone you love and can talk to, it’s like bouncing a balloon back and forth - it’s liquid. And the time I was writing that, it was a kind of end of a carefree time period in life. I had just gotten out of college, I was hanging out, drinking 40s, going to dance parties, sleeping around. Little did I know at the time, but I was
learning about the dark things that happen between people, but I can only see those resonances in it when I look back on it with reflection. I experienced it as a time when I could just go for a walk with nowhere to go and not care. I remember thinking that Phosphorescent Blues was a blues that comes from having too many opportunities, like an endless horizon. It was kind of a wry joke at how pathetically small my life’s hurdles were compared to the real blues, which was born from having no agency in the world, not even the agency to fully speak about your experience. So who am I supposed to be? It didn’t matter then because I could live without consequence. But this record [Saltwater] comes from a different time and a different state of mind. I grew out of one phase of life and into another, darker phase. There is truth to the idea that for a certain set of middle class or upper middle class people like myself, the phases of development in life are stretching. My mid-twenties, it’s like this confrontation with a reality I didn’t know existed. My life’s project, my music, wasn’t and still isn’t known. I was working office jobs. I was struggling and restless. I had no clear path. A lot of my friends either dropped out of the music game or became famous. I was too earnest to really move around the bar scene in Austin, which the song “Valencia” is about, so I moved to NY because a few of my close friends were here and I wanted to start over. I read Moby Dick. My thoughts had changed their concerns. I could no longer day dream. There was a nagging pressure to be something and an awareness of who I was in the world, and that weight made everything feel more intense. All of a sudden, I was confronted with SOCIETY. And I mean, that people become people. Lives segregate themselves. People get money. There’s not enough time to connect to everything. And where do I fit in the midst of these layers and layers of people? Moby Dick hit me hard. I could see myself in all the characters. It seemed a microcosm of the world I was now entering into and the ocean a metaphor for the indifference that surrounds, and a ship a metaphor for a community that you are forced to make some kind of agreement with. And it ends terribly! And that resonated with me too, feeling that I was throwing away these alternate paths my life could go in the chase of some kind of expression that will ultimately elude me. THE MISCREANT: What are you most excited to showcase on Saltwater? MARTIN: I like the way we play as a live band a lot. I think we breathe more. When we are on, the songs feel teeming - they push and pull. It’s more of a power trio, and there’s much more space. When the crowds aren’t jaded and talking, I think we are able to play silence as well as play density. Lyssa, who works at Secretly [Canadian], said after one of our good shows that we sounded like a raw nerve, and that feels like a good summary of the show at it’s best. And I think that’s something we can do that doesn’t come across as much on record, which
is padded with texture. I don’t think I’ve ever really nailed recording. I haven’t figured out a way to capture the energy yet. THE MISCREANT: You recently came out with an interesting, new video for “Charm”? What was the concept behind it? MARTIN: It was director Josh Chertoff’s idea based on some of the lyrics I think. The song is supposed to be about how the changing of seasons or a new love brings out these shadow figures from your memory; like sense memory - perfumes and songs and touches - the ones your thoughts don’t have access to. He wanted to make it a journey through someone’s memories. THE MISCREANT: What are your favorite songs to play live? Do you still play songs off the first record? MARTIN: We sometimes do. We’ve played “The Observer” and “Day Glo” a few times. We made the new record together so that is more our style. I think all the songs can reveal themselves in different ways, and different nights some feel the best. It’s not like we have one or two songs that are above the others. They all can sound good, and when we play well, we play together. THE MISCREANT: You recently had about a month long residency at the Cameo Gallery; how did this opportunity come about? MARTIN: We set it up as part of the release, got friends’ bands to play. We wanted to let people come see what we were doing. THE MISCREANT: What was your favorite part about playing at Cameo? Favorite moments from the residency? MARTIN: The last night we had great sound and played really well. Snowblink was added to the first bill and they were really great. Aside from that, it was nice getting to hear friends play. Jacob from Cameo is awesome. He helped set it all up. THE MISCREANT: What are your tour plans for the summer? Where will you be visiting? MARTIN: We’re touring the South, getting out to Texas. We’ll also tour the Northeast, and we’re playing in Toronto this month with NXNE. Europe should follow in the fall. We will play wherever though if you want to have us at a house party. THE MISCREANT: What else is next for Brazos? MARTIN: We’re already recording our next record. I’ve written a bunch of new songs using a computer. I’m pretty excited about them. I think there are a few of my best songs I’ve ever written on there. I’m also excited to see who I am again, too! (Hehe)
The Struggle to Embrace Fan Culture (Because You Weren’t Around When It All Happened) by kyle kuchta
If you’ve read previous things I’ve written for The Miscreant, you’ll know that horror films are near and dear to my heart. They’re more than near and dear, but I don’t have a phrase for that, I don’t think. I’d say they are the love of my life, but my own wedding is coming up soon and I don’t need any drama, ya know? But the thing about horror culture that has plagued a lot of fans, critics and filmmakers is about the “State of Horror.” Yeah, it sounds like this big convoluted thing that fans use just to talk in circles. Yes and no. Horror fans love to talk and argue and state their opinions because we have a fiery passion. But you have to understand that horror is also an incredibly important film genre. Insanely important. More so than I think people realize or care to admit. When a remake of a horror film comes out, most people are up in arms about it. It’s all with good reason, though. When the studios remake something, there’s almost a guarantee that it will make money, and they certainly don’t want to put their money into original horror because it’s too much
of a risk. That’s the jist of why the market is flooded with remakes and why there isn’t that much original horror out right now, film or television. Horror fans retreat back to their movie collections and pull out Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter to watch for the umpteenth time. Here’s my issue: I don’t even really like the Friday the 13th series. I never saw Evil Dead 2 and I probably won’t. I never got to have my crush on Danielle Harris or go over my friend’s house for a sleepover and lose my shit at the end of Sleepaway Camp. I’m a 21 year-old man in love with a genre that, at times, is more mature than I am. It’s had a lot more experience than I have. There’s some stuff we just don’t get about each other. I was born in November of 1991. The first horror movie I saw in theaters was The Grudge. The film that got me to really love horror was the remake of Dawn of the Dead. I went to my first horror convention in 2006 to meet the cast of The Devil’s Rejects and didn’t know why so many people were having Bill Moseley sign weird metal plates. But by being at a horror convention as a young and impressionable teen, I felt that I needed to educate myself about everything before me. And, you know, I did need to educate myself. If I was going to submerge myself in this culture, I needed to know about a lot of things, especially the “Golden Ages” of horror (the Universal Monster period as well as from 1968-1982, and then all the sequels to everything ever.) So I learned all of that and enjoyed it, for the most part. But as I became more acquainted with horror culture, I felt almost brainwashed into thinking that any horror coming out in the present isn’t even comparable to the good ol’ days. But those “good ol’ days” are more rapidly becoming days that some of us have never experienced. How are we supposed to continue celebrating love for a genre when a community snubs its present state? How are we supposed to bring on another golden age when we’re too afraid to let go of the past? At times, I felt as if I step out from the horror crowd to try to experience something new, something recent, only to be drawn back into the huddle the community has formed around Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. I know that the horror community will always welcome people with open arms. That’s just how we are. We want to share our love with people, not alienate them. And we aren’t alienating others right now…but it could easily happen in the next five, ten years if we continue putting the past on this pedestal. Look, nothing has to change. I am in no way, shape or form an authority figure, nor do I want this to come off like that. I’m still gonna love the shit out of The Howling even if I wasn’t around for it. I just want to express my concerns for the future. I love you so much; I’m just worried about you, horror culture. Don’t lose sight of what a community is, what it means to others as well as yourself, and why you sought one out in the first place. This piece is in response to/inspired by “Are Us Horror Fans In Love With Nostalgia, Or The Movies Themselves,” featured on FreddyInSpace.com. http://www.freddyinspace.com/2013/05/are-us-horror-fans-in-love-with.html
A MARVELOUS BEAT by quinn donnell
After Zach Braff introduced his Wish I Was Here project via kickstarter in April, I remember reading an article that bashed Braff for using the public to help finance a film that he had the money and connections to produce on his own. The article explained that a more deserving, under-the-radar artist needed the help much more than a well-known actor making a follow-up to one of his wellknown films. Artists who have the kind of talent to one day become as celebrated as someone like Zach Braff, the article argued, deserved to receive the funds and support to pursue their projects. An example of such a project, surely supported by any kickstarter purist, is the recently announced Moon Bounce “Marvelous Beast” music video. Featured on the analogous indiegogo platform rather than kickstarter, this project demonstrates the creativity and community involvement intended by any crowd-funding source. The video, which has been written and conceptualized by videographer Tim Passarella, needs funding for equipment rental, as well as vehicle/location rental, insurance fees, etc. In return, perks including everything from a Moon Bounce discography download, to an advance download of “Marvelous Beast,” to a cameo in the video are offered. According to its indiegogo page, the “Marvelous Beast” video will be “the most stunning visual representation of Moon Bounce’s evolving sound to date,” which is exciting news after watching Moon Bounce’s two previously released, compellingly authentic videos for “Telephone” and “Jealousy March.” The music video for “Telephone” features Moon Bounce himself, Corey Regensburg. The video puts Resenburg’s entertaining quirks on display as he grooves to the track’s aberrant percussion section layered beneath eerily ambient vocals and a melody composed of foreign sounds that build correspondingly with the video’s psychedelic distortions. Resenburg also stars in a video on the “Marvelous Beast” indiegogo page, encouraging fans to contribute to the project and explaining the logistics of its conception. Just as he does in the “Telephone” music video, Resenburg exhibits his intriguing personality. As the video concludes, he plays a 45 second preview of “Marvelous Beast.” The snippet’s fragmented vocals and textured blips of percussion have the deftness to create reactions of both calm and excitement. With the ability to bring about such juxtaposed emotions, it’ll be interesting to see what direction the music video takes. Be a part of it and support Moon Bounce by visiting: igg.me/at/moonbounce
and scene by tori cote
When I was about 14 or 15, I remembered reading a book where a guy talks about how the best place to listen to music is in the car wash. For whatever unknown reason, this drove me insane. What was so great about the car wash? The car wash is kind of scary, really. Nevertheless, when I was 16 or 17, I remembered the book again, and bought a stupid car wash because I now had a car and a license. In the end, I listened to some song by Stars and thought that it was no different than any other time I listened to them. Maybe it was because I didn’t have a boyfriend in my car and I was sort of just sitting there waiting for something to happen, but I literally felt nothing. As I was driving home in the rain listening to Perfume Genius, at 21 I remembered the book AGAIN and I feel like I figured it out. It wasn’t really the car wash that was rockin the music, it was the music that was rockin the car wash. What I mean is, there are certain songs that fit certain scenes in your life because as we all know our lives are just a bunch of little music videos. I have been writing interviews for The Miscreant since November/ December, but haven’t done a playlist (my personal emotions and stories included) in a long long time. I’m gonna keep writing some interviews because I love to, but I also love to use The Miscreant as my diary for the public. To keep it short and simple: Here are the scenes and their songs that have monumentalized the past 6 months.
SCENE: You are living with seven other people in the heart of London in a teeny tiny apartment. You drink a lot and never sleeping and know to stay on the right side of the escalator. One night, you will be sleep deprived and sitting with a few of them while looking at pictures of IKEA monkey when you’re supposed to be writing papers or studying. This song will come on. Everyone will listen to it and think it’s beautiful. It will come to the point where you only listen to this song and everyone will want to scream it. There will be laughter. “Laura” – Bat for Lashes SCENE: You are back from London and find yourself in someone’s bed that’s not your own. You will like them. It will be snowing outside. You will think to yourself ‘um, how did this happen.’ You will be happy with sleepies in your eyes. As this song comes on, you will be too tired to focus on anything but this song, and that’s all you need. You may not remember everything that happens between you and this person in the long run, but you’ll always remember lying in bed listening to this song. “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” – Fleet Foxes SCENE: You are living with two boys. They will be the bratty younger brothers you never had, the older protective brothers you sometimes wanted, and your best friends all rolled up into one. You will sit in the kitchen and drink beer and towards the summer you will even sit on the porch. There will ALWAYS be music playing, but there’s one band that’s a constant. Everyone who hangs at the apartment will like this band. One song in particular will be your favorite. “Milkshake” - Yuck SCENE: You will be at the bar. It will be one of your besties birthdays. She will want to go to the karaoke bar, and because she is a baby angel, you will roll 15 people deep at least. Your life partner/ best friend/ baby boii will have been playing this song on repeat for the past 2 months. You will sing this song at karaoke because you both will know all the words. No one else at the bar will know the words because it’s not a Maroon 5 song. The best of the best will sing anyways. You will probably be invincible and sing some of the lyrics louder than necessary. “Suedehead” – Morrissey SCENE: You will not be able to stop listening to this song. You will have to dance to this song with your best girlfriends while either drinking margaritas or sierra neveda or even cranberry vodka. You will start with your girlfriend(s) on the porch, but in the end everyone will be dancing. It may even move to outside. This hasn’t actually happened yet, but you can see it and you know it’s going to happen. Like, it will. “Get Lucky” – Daft Punk
There are a lot of other bands and songs that have been poignant throughout the year, but there are always a few songs that really grab the moment. Hold onto those songs and hold onto those moments. Live your life like you’re in a music video.
words to run on by olivia cellamare
If you don’t like something about yourself, then I firmly believe you should change it in the safest way possible. However it turns out I’m inpatient when it comes to improving the self and wish for quicker results. I have no problem with going to the gym for 2 hours a day. Sometimes I go twice; it gives me something to do. The alternative is to sit and mope. I’m not 15 anymore. Whilst going to the gym and sweating furiously amongst strangers doesn’t bother me, I decided a week ago to actually do the one thing that is more embarrassing than most. I’ve decided to start running. Anyone who knows me knows the story of the time I went running with Ellie Goulding and threw up. Never consume a bit of alcohol and to then go for a run. But, you do get a hug from one of the most beautiful women in the world. I guess it worked in my favour. Anyway. I’ve decided to run. I thought the best way to approach this was to run as if I was being chased. No. That wasn’t smart. Start small, then improve on what you’re doing. What makes this easier? Music. Music makes everything easier, so these are the songs that made me feel as if I could faster than Jesse Owens. I obviously wasn’t, but these are the songs that made me feel like I could run a marathon. 10. The Jesus And Mary Chain – “The Living End” // When the drums start thumping and the guitar resembles a motorbike firing up; you cannot help but want to run as fast as your legs will carry you. I know I said running as if you’re being chased isn’t the best way to go about it, but this songs pretty much encourages you run as if something terrible will happen if you don’t increase your speed. A lot of songs on Psychocandy have this feel about them, but the fury is more inspiring on this song. 9. Yuck – “Get Away” // I’ll try writing this part without getting too upset about Daniel leaving the band. “Get Away” is the perfect summer song to escape from everyday life. Or in this case, run from everything (or into something if you’re clumsy!) The chorus is enough to encourage you to do the most dramatic sprint ever and to just keep it up. Ever since this song came out a few years ago, I’ve always seemed to play it every day. There is something about it that just eases everything, apart from your knees after you’ve ran for a while…. 8. Ellie Goulding – “Only You” // There’s a handful of songs off her second record, Halcyon that make me want to run or think I can run faster than I actually do. This is the song that made me think, “to hell with it, just run fatty!” And so I did. I’d tell you about this song live, but that’s a different story altogether. In some ways, I guess it is because of Ellie that I thought I should take up running. Seeing how passionate she is about it and how it keeps the mind, not just the body in shape is something that I find really powerful. When the drums kick in it’s like anything is possible. Truth be told, anything really is. 7. Virals - “Gloria” // Urgh. Shaun Hencher is making music that just makes my heart beat double time. He’s released some stuff on Zoo Music, so you know he’s incredible. Much like how I described The Jesus And Mary Chain at the start, this song has a motorbike feel to it. It makes you feel like you are going super-fast, and nothing nor can no one touch you. Sometimes that can be a hazardous way to think, but with this it is okay. His delicate vocals over bold sounds is bloody brilliant; I could have him sing to me all day every day and it’d be the purest state of bliss I’ve ever known. 6. Say Lou Lou – “Julian” // I’m a bit cautious of twins. I blame the Olsen’s, but I did love then in Full House when I was younger. My gran and I used to watch it together at weekends. Fear of twins aside, I am a bit in love with Say Lou Lou. I adore their fragile voices and atmospheric sounds. They
take you on a magical and ethereal journey. They take you somewhere safe and sacred. I run at night, and this is the perfect song to run to. It just makes you feel alright with everything around you. The love and devotion in this song is so beautiful; I’m so excited for this band. I want the whole world to feel how I do about them because they are truly something special. 5. Wax Idols – “Schadenfreude” // I love this band to the point of wishing I was musically talented so I could start a Wax Idols tribute band. I had no idea which song to use, because every song by them to me is just a piece of brilliant. I think Hether Fortune is one of the best, and most underrated front-women ever. She has such a brave approach to music and to dickish music journalists. She has the power of Patti Smith and Siouxsie Sioux. It’s only a short song, but it’s enough to make you pick up the pace and keep on running. The hypnotising vocals are heavenly; everything about this song just defines everything I love about music. Dark and ethereal- stunning. 4. Garbage – “Man On A Wire” // I went for a new Garbage track because I think Not Your Kind Of People is such a strong record. It just expresses how tough the band is, and Shirley’s lyrics are as inspiring and as brave as ever. There are a handful of musicians that manage to rid any self-doubt I carry on my shoulders and turn it into something positive -- Shirley Manson is one of the few that do that. “Man On A Wire” makes you feel as if you are running towards the thing that fills you with fear, and when you finally approach it you destroy it. You destroy it, and rebuild something great in its place. When she sings, “I shot my fear in the face,” there is something so wonderfully powerful about this. Her words are easy to believe in, that’s why they own a special place in your heart and also playing constantly at the back of your mind. 3. The Men – “Cube” // Borderline obsession with them. This song is taken from the breathtaking Open Your Heart. It’s just over 2 minutes of ferocious vocals, decadent drumming, gutsy guitar and brutal bass-lines just make you think that you are taking on the world, or even taking over the world. Everything about this song is a slice of empowerment; I know all their songs have that feel to it but there is something about the angst in this song that just makes you go that little bit faster, even if you are in reality going at a snail’s pace. I think The Men are easily one of the best bands on Sacred Bones, but with that said Sacred Bones are incapable of putting music out that I don’t love. 2. Crocodiles – “Hearts Of Love” // Really, I’d be happy to just write 10 songs by Crocodiles down and tell you why I love them; instead I’ve decided to be sort of sensible. I’ve gone with “Hearts Of Love” because I usually go for a run as the sun is setting. This is the perfect song to run to as you look out to the fields and on the other side, the sea as the sun is sinking down. As soon as Brandon sings the chorus you cannot help but go faster. I don’t know if I could pick a favourite record by them, but trust me their new one Crimes Of Passion (out in August) is going to blow whatever is left of your mind. I like to play this disgustingly loud in my ears and run as if I have a purpose. 1. Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La” // Mainly for the line, “This woman’s clearly out of her mind. She’s covered in shit and high as a kite.” My love for Dum Dum Girls is something you cannot measure; it goes beyond words. All of the I Will Be record is perfect to run to, actually it’s perfect in general. “Jail La La” has that accelerating feel to it. The music is played so fast; sort of like how the Ramones played (running to them is cool too). When you listen to Dum Dum Girls it is like you have a purpose to run, and kind of eases the pain you know you will feel afterwards. Usually in the morning when standing up seems virtually impossible.
all in the jamily by ben houck
Those of you who have been in the rowdy social experiment known as a music festival know some things you just can not put words to. Certain experiences can not be explained but rather are conscious moments and then gone. Mountain Jam seems to be one of those festivals, given it’s relatively small size but great lineup, that can deliver lots of peak moments. Even still, I missed a few acts I would have loved to see due to scheduling. Despite great endurance from proper nutrition and hydration, my number one tip for any festival, I still gave in to exhaustion and rested during some late night and early bird shows. Heres the run down. Night One: Rubblebucket ripped open Mountain Jam and sent the Thursday early birds into a dancing frenzy in the rain. I don’t know any band that can make that many people dance any stranger, myself included. The band teased new tracks like “Patriotic” and made major improvements on the Oversaturated EP tracks that will all be on the groups senior full length this fall. Best New Band Discovery Part I: Four on the Floor. Four kick drums on the floor with drunken rock/blues over top. Seriously taking the bar presence from GT & the D’s. Powerful straight down the hatch drinking songs. Primus was insane. Les Claypool lives up to every part of his insane reputation. Let’s just say they inspired festival goers to roast marshmallows beside fire twirlers, because that’s how you really enjoy a festival. Day 1 Night 2: Yes, John Fogerty, we have seen the rain. The highlight of the moistest day was the late night set by White Denim... still picking jaws up off the floor. The texan four piece hasn’t been on tour in eight months and easily played the tightest most intricate music at the festival. Incredibly groovy rock and roll. It easily goes down as one of the best sets of the festival. The Avett Brothers are just a pleasure to see every time. “I and Love and You” doesn’t get old. If you haven’t checked out the Carpenter yet, you have homework. Futurebirds were cool bringing all that reverb. It’s psychedelic rock/country western. Some kids don’t get it at first, but once you do, they are a gem. Veterans Widespread Panic, Nicki Bluhm and Deer Tick put on great sets too. Bluhm’s acoustic “mountain” ballad and especially John McCauley’s In “The Wee Small Hours of the Morning” stick out as gems to find on the Mt. Jam video archive. Props to locals Christine Spero Group with a great fusion jazz sound. Mountain Jam has excellent contrast that keeps the ears fresh for every act.
Best new band discovery Part II: David Wax Museum. A groovy band with a horn section that features ukulele and accordion. They started the thing known as playing air accordion. Also features Adam Dotson from Rubblebucket. Day 2, Night 3: Who’s ready for some mud stomping and the smell of wet hay? Gary Clark is downright incredible. A man of few words that melted my face and my heart. Also, girl with leopard print pants shakin’ it to “Don’t Owe You a Thing”, get some girl. When Eric Krasno is making faces at Gary Clark, that is when you know he will be a guitarist talked about forever. That brings me to late night Soulive...Embodiment of Rage, Rest, Repeat. They are always downright dirty. The Lumineers deserve every main stage they play this festival season. It was during their set the sun was going down on Mountain Jam that the sun lit up the mountains and everything was beautiful. Similar feelings were generated during the Mountain Jam staple Gov’t Mule set. You just can’t argue with Warren Haynes. Amy Helm has soul. More than just rock and roll royalty for sure. RIP Levon. I will get down to the barn soon. The Revivalists out of New Orleans were rowdy and fun as was Alecia Chakour’s super group. Friends of The Miscreant, Swear and Shake always bring their A-game. Main Stage next year for sure. Mountain Jam Day 3: The End The Lone Bellow are some of the nicest folks both on stage and in person. Definitely a band to watch get big fast. Really incredible way to start the peaceful sunny day. Kicking myself I didn’t save cash to buy their vinyl and get it signed. Meeting them was enough. The London Souls, My heart always goes out to this band. Given what had happened to Tash and then at Mt. Jam having a bassist sent to the hospital. I sincerely hope all is well. Eric Krasno stepped up on bass, but they sounded incredible as a two piece. A great compliment to their incredible set two years ago. They might just be from space. Dispatch was cool, dig the hits. Jackie Greene is legit but this is when I started to lose endurance. Phil Lesh will probably tour until he is extra dead. So, I’m not sorry I peaced out on the impending dead head gathering. Mountain Jam is a festival where you can pick right back up where you left off. You see “Jamily,” you see old favorite bands and keep the cycle going by literally meeting the legends of years to come. God bless Mountain Jam. See you at Mountain Jam X.
ISTANBUL MIX TAPE by leanne abraham
I never wanted to be one of those people who talked far too long after returning about how amazing and life-altering their study abroad experience was, and for the most part I like to think I have sufficiently avoided becoming that person. My time abroad stopped becoming my go-to party conversation about six months after I returned and the person I was while I was away has increasingly come to seem like a caricature of my current self. But, I still miss Istanbul. When I think back to what my life was when I was there I remember a swirl of drinking and dancing and exploring where everything felt new and important. I feel that it was in Istanbul where I first started to become an adult. Being in a foreign country where I did not speak the language required of me self-reliance and soul-searching in ways which had never been asked of me in America and, subsequently, I grew up. When I look at the news that has been coming out of Turkey over the past two weeks as a people protest against their government, I find that not only I am watching people that I know and love protest, I am watching the city and the country where I started to discover what it meant for me to truly transition to adulthood undergo a similar transition, and it is doing so in the very same streets.
My memories of Istanbul are intimately tied to the music I was listening to while I was there because more often than not that was the only thing I had. I could not understand people on the street and more often than not the only words I could make sense of in a day were coming out of my headphones. While I watch the events that have been unfolding in Istanbul over the past two weeks, I find myself returning to the songs I listened to while I was there. I listen to the soundtrack of the streets where I used to know every loose cobble and remember how happy I was, but now I can only see the live streams and Twitter feeds and Facebook photos of friends with lemon juice in their eyes. Estelle – “American Boy” Some of the most jarring images for me which are coming out of the Istanbul are those of protesters and conflict on Istiklal Caddesi. This street is a major source of nightlife in Istanbul and I spent my five months abroad exploring the side streets of Istiklal and getting to know the bars and restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood. Most of this exploration was done using the very non-scientific method of wandering into places and hoping the bartender spoke English. One of our first successes was at a place where when we entered just as a Turkish band was beginning to perform Estelle’s “American Boy.” I remember the experience so vividly because it struck me how strange it was to hear a woman who had very little idea what she was singing (she was clearly singing phonetically) speak of traveling to the places that as a group we had just left. That was the night, where while I was spinning and dancing and singing along to a song from home, the song twisted with my actions to become a physical representation of the blending of what I had just left and what I had entered. To this day, when I hear the sultry refrain of “American Boy” I think not of the boys from home, but all the boys who were nothing like them and who I was just about to meet. Tarkan – “Sımarık” The pervasiveness of this song in Turkey surprised me. Released in 1999, I still think I heard it played during 60 percent of the cab rides I took in Fall 2011. Based on how often I was hearing Tarkan, my ability to make kissing sounds in time with the music came to be intimately tied and perhaps representative my own acculturation. I have been listening to this song a lot lately as I watch live streams of what is happening in Taksim Square and all I can think about are the cabs I have caught from stands which are now graffitied beyond recognition, and I wonder of the cabs which are still running, which ones are still playing this song? Ceza – “Holocaust” This is the song which I took home. I played it over and over in my car after I came back to America thinking that maybe if I played it enough I would feel like I had never left. I found comfort in the speedy rapping and the fact that there was no way I am ever going to understand what Ceza is saying, even in the unlikely event one day I do learn Turkish. A Turkish professor introduced me to this song on the day I handed in my final paper for his course. He provided me with a crash course in Turkish music and about 8 gigs worth of .mp3s to back himself up, I think of him every time this song comes on my iPod. It is listening to the fight behind what Ceza is saying that reminds me of the fight within the Turkish people and keeps me glued to coverage of the protests. Because, despite the five months I spent learning about the politics of Turkey, I do not have the slightest idea what will happen next. But, I do have hope that the people will prevail.
10 songs to play by david faes
There’s a difference between a power play and playing with power. A power play is about control, patronizing dominance. It is inherently accepted in the familial operation of our current mandated states and popular stories with which provide the make up of reproductive futurism. It is about internalizing love or passion through controls - whether socially normal or not - into the familial and ostracizing those and their objects from the other. An oh so common tragedy of but definitely not limited to the drunken man-boy that ultimate results in the participants fearing and blinding themselves from the world, power, passion and love. Playing with power is something more fun and open. Playing with power is a form of acceptance. Power is inherent in every interaction because through interactions we experience and through experience we gain knowledge and knowledge is so often ubiquitously equated with power. In playing with power there are no mythic alibis for displays of power. There is only a language of discrete* gestures and actions with humor and respect for the various tools of conversation at the disposal of each participant and a reversal and play of many diverse roles. To illustrate a sub has just as much power as a dom if not more because they can command the dom’s actions, they can demand and receive a slower, harder faster to anything and can always demand and receive a stop, without question or pressure. To illustrate further a sub is not limited to only enjoying that role. Personally, love to me is about this kind of play, in fact everything is. I think this is true for a lot of people participating in punk and queer communities, or I wish it were. Wearing a monster mask - playing with the powers in fear - while performing or dressing up like a woman or man - playing with the powers in gender - is a distortion and play with the power dynamics of icons, symbols and gestures. It distorts the alibis and myths provided to us by the auto-oil-military-industrial complex of familial controls. In any case, however you like it, here’s 10 songs to play to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Swans - “Freak” Ed Schrader’s Music Beat - “Do the Maneuver” Stripper Pussy - “Friends Furever” Total Trash - “Lesbian Blowjob” Dope Body - “Chain Link” Throbbing Gristle - “Discipline” Big Nils - “Bitch Guts” Absolutely Not - “Stalker Two” Lil Tits - “Wereworm” The Soupcans - “Blood Sacrifice”
*discrete, not discreet
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF PYTHON by saptarshi lahiri
The new album by Floridians Surfer Blood is imminent. Syracusans will remember the memorable line about watching Twin Peaks while fending off false romantic gestures on their respective Syracusan couches from their debut Astro Coast. They are back with an excellently catchy sophomore album called Python now streaming over at NPR. Aside: the animal theme is becoming somewhat of a thing - Heems had Wildwater Kingdom last year, Soundgarden had King Animal, Handsome Family recently released the critically acclaimed Wilderness, and now there’s Python. Musically it recalls little of the swamp which the album title and the band’s geographic origins perhaps bring to mind. Instead it’s gorgeous guitar pop all the way, an invocation of the usual suspects Pixies chord changes, Weezer guitar riffs and a few surprises besides. The first track “Demon Dance” made me think of the guitar squalls on the Pastels’ “Nothing to Be Done”, terrible pop confections like Syracuse alum Adam Cohen’s (scion of Leonard, that’s right) “Eleanor”, the Counting Crows’ Shrek 2 OST filler “Accidentally in Love” AND the Fountains of Wayne last album single (look it up, listen to it) among other things, but like lesser samples in a good mashup they add up to an amazing album opener. As my good friend pointed out on playing the first song, it’s “[pretty] in a way that brings to mind a bit of Teenage Fanclub, rather than some generic power pop band.” “Some generic power pop band”, in this case, being synecdoche for the eleventy billion Weezer clones like Rooney or Free Energy (and bad self parodist Weezer themselves). Good power pop suits me just fine, even as some will complain about the missing shoegaze ingredient. The remainder of the album continues in the same vein with at least two discrete nods to Weezer’s “Pork And Beans” riff specifically invoked on one of the album singles “Weird Shape,” coupled to great effect with “Queers” like four chord choruses. The previous album’s Syracuse name checking song, “Twin Peaks,” features the indelible falsetto croon of “my love is a carnivore” which has unfortunate associations for those who have followed the girlfriend assaulting foibles of frontman John Paul Pitts at all, and duly comes back to haunt this record. But feel the thrill of recognition from the caustic Frank Black vocal shredding style on some of the excoriating post choruses admitting he “was wrong” to the oxymoronic doublets urging a dismissal of a (some?) “terrible bliss.” Involuntarily shiver to the jagged guitar leading into the creepy sounding song of submission, or innocuous plea that is intent upon bending someone’s will to one’s wishes called “Say Yes to Me.” Sympathize with the self loathing as the frontman confesses his lack of affection for his reflection on the Jens Lekmanesque “Blair Witch.” Pity the singer, on another deceptively sunny Lekmanesque bop called “Gravity” for his Kübler-Ross denial of hoping to reunite with a past love and marvel at the self deluding happy couplet of “fall in love with you again/in love with you it’s all brand new,” but realize that he’s aware of the deception in the confession that he “never thought that this would happen to me.” When encouraged to taste the happy, you cannot fail to notice that it tastes kinda like sad #AD4. If the first album was frothy and bouncy, oceanic metaphors notwithstanding, this one is choppy, and tempestuous, the plus side of which is constant motion. The placidity and languor of their first album is all but absent here. Even the slower “Needles And Pins” evokes the chug and spirit of the 60s Jackie DeShannon hit while being even more desperate and wistful with a Hollies melody thrown in for good measure, an artistic coup. Despite the summer release, for best results, play it as summer wanes.
that one band by mary luncsford
Everyone has that one band. That one band that made you see just how small the radio is and how large and diverse the music world is in comparison. The ah-ha moment when you realize that it is okay to not like Chris Brown or Kelly Clarkson. For me, that band is Vampire Weekend. I remember the first time I heard them. I was watching VH1 in my parents’ bedroom, and “Oxford Comma” came on. I had no idea what an oxford comma was at the time because in the eighth grade I was grammatically incompetent (not much has changed), but I knew that I was digging this band’s sound. All of the sudden, it was like I had this secret. Sure, that one kid in my English class could call me “A+” and tell me I was a nerd, but I had something he didn’t (turns out I had a lot of things he didn’t, i.e. empathy and manners). I had Vampire Weekend. I promptly checked out their CD from the library and poured over the lyrics that were so foreign to me. Why is a mansard roof good song material? What exactly are the colors of Benetton? While I never quite understood the words to their songs, I liked the way each song made me feel. I felt smart. Their first album, Vampire Weekend, opened a lot of doors for me. Contra came my freshman year, guiding me through that strange and wonderful time. So, it is excellently fitting that Modern Vampires of the City should be released just as I am wrapping up all of this high school business, ready to hold my hand on the way out. The last month of school is basically exams and then a lot of nothing. Finishing up projects and getting nostalgic and excited. But I found myself not being able to be either of those things. Yes, I felt the bittersweet taste of something ending and something else beginning, but mostly I felt the weight of growing up. Not the whole now-I-have-real-world-responsibilities thing, but more the idea that this is the last summer I can be a kid, and that this portion of my life just flew by. The future facing all of us is such a challenge to control. I got really bogged down with feeling caged in, or that I should be feeling all of these emotions my peers were expressing, but for all of the time and effort I put into this ordeal, I wasn’t really getting any of that. “Unbelievers” was an excellent parallel to this. “I’m not excited, but should I be? Is this the fate that half of the world has planned for me?” I’m going to a school (a really, really great school) that wasn’t my dream, so while everyone was busy making plans and saying they just wanted to go to college already, I wasn’t feeling it. I was thinking that this plan I got myself into isn’t what I wanted. Should I be excited? This is the next logical step, so why couldn’t I feel secure? I think I got scared because I want so many different things for my life, and all of the sudden I fell into this path that I never wanted and things just moved so quickly. Of course, I realize that my future school has millions of opportunities for me, and I sail my own ship, but still, it was a hard thing to understand and accept at the end of the year. So much of Modern Vampires has to do with growing up, which is probably a really relevant idea for a band whose members are nearing their thirties. I’ve always been intimidated by the passage of
time. Growing up and losing wonder or adventure or the wild ideas that float into a young mind. I took solace in the fact that VW was having the same thoughts I was on the track “Don’t Lie.” “I want to know—does it bother you? The low click of a ticking clock.” That line alone can keep a girl up at night. I really fell in love with “Step.” Aside from being masterfully arranged, the song contains so many little reminders. The soft and meek admittance that “I can’t do this alone”; and then the not so mild way of reminding me that I’m not an 80-year-old lady: “Everyone’s dying, but girl you’re not old yet.” Thank you, Ezra. While that clock keeps ticking and everything that was somehow the distant future creeps into being the here and now, I’ve decided that it’s okay to be an unbeliever—at least for a little while. Maybe I’m not as tough as I appear to be, but I’m certainly stronger now than I was a couple of years ago. So, I want to say thank you to Vampire Weekend for growing with me. Modern Vampires of the City came at just the right time. “Young Lion” offers a last piece of advice. “You take your time, young lion.” Will do.
any band you want to see by liz kenny
When Governor’s Ball was announced this year, to be 3 days of Kanye, Guns N’ Roses, The xx, Crystal Castles, Animal Collective, and more, I was in. Being 22 and realizing there isn’t much time left to coordinate summer festivals with friends might have also contributed to my eagerness in purchasing tickets the day they went on sale, over a hangover-curing breakfast at Mom’s Diner with friends. Day 1: Torrential downpours and 4 girls trying to make the best of it Our Governors Ball squad woke up in a lower East side apartment. The three of us, my friend’s Sarah, Micaela, and I, downed bagels, then took turns over mirror time and shower usage as we got dressed and looked out the windows to a rainy New York City. Finally, after a walk through the rain, an alcohol run to buy as many nips could fit in our purses’ pockets, a ride on the subway, and a bus trip over the bridge to Randall’s Island, we were there and ready to play, in the rain. My Converse were soaked by the walk in and I bought a poncho before making it to my first act, Polica. Polica was amazing. Channy Leaneagh, their female lead vocalist, has a transcendent voice that carried and took over the audience despite the large festival setting and rain. Next up was Holy Ghost! just across the field. The rain continued to pour but the crowd danced it off as Holy Ghost! gave us all the energy they had. After feeling like I was at an 80’s themed dance party, Sarah and I met up with Micaela and another friend to see Best Coast as the rain started to downpour. With beers in our hands filling with rainfall and an umbrella between the four of us, we bopped along to the sweet, summery, sounds of Best Coast. Nothing is better than singing along to their smooth lyrics about crushing with your best girlfriends. We caught their set and then made the far trek to the main stage for Of Monsters and Men. By this time of the late afternoon the fields were nothing but thick mud and at least 3-inches
of muddy water as the rain kept falling, and my poncho became a useless barrier between the downpour and me. As we reached the main stage we spotted the luxury of a cement ground and jumped up and down in the shallow puddles overjoyed that we wouldn’t need to stand in mud for an hour of good music. The crowd was happy as Of Monsters and Men stuck it out and played their whole set. In the meantime, the speakers were swinging and getting drilled by rain. The band ended with their hit, “Little Talks,” while the whole crowd danced and sang along with all the enthusiasm they could. We headed to the Skyy Vodka tent next for the set I had been waiting all day for, Crystal Castles. Their set was fantastic and the rain stopped for a good half hour or so as we huddled into the tent to get our fill. Out intentions were to see Feist next on the main stage, but the weather had gotten the best of the equipment and repairs had to follow. We ended our day with Beach House as the rain poured harder than ever. The crowd and band stuck it out until the weather forced their set to end early. Ironically, the stage was named “You’re Doing Great.” We weren’t doing so great by that time, but I had seen lots of amazing acts and more sunny days were to follow for the rest of the festival. Day 2: Sunny skies, lots of mud, and Kings of Leon rescheduled We made our way to the festival a little later than the day before, although it was sunny out, we spent our morning cleaning up Micaela’s mud filled doorway and blow-drying our bags and shoes that had gotten drenched the day before. I also made the purchase of child sized rain boots after I found any adult sized boot was sold out. After getting passed security the second time with pockets of nips, we ran to catch the Dirty Projectors. The mud was thick, and the puddles were deep, but the skies were clear and we were happy girls. The echo-ey and bouncy sounds of the Dirty Projectors were great and then it was off to catch alt-J. Alt-J was easily one of my favorite sets of the festival. We stood in the back for the sake of dance space and used it to our advantage. I couldn’t help but feel consumed by their sound and dance along as if I’d known them for years while random audience members sang the lyrics of “Breezeblocks” and more to whoever walked by. They are definitely a band to see and dive into. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros were next and put on an absolutely great performance. Yet, due to my girls’ decision to leave their set early I’m still very, highly, insanely, bitter I missed them play “Truth.” As we turned to head to the next stage the intro played for what felt like eternity. By the time the song really started I was foot deep in mud heading to the opposite field and attempting to gracefully dance and hum to what I could still hear. Anyways, Kings of Leon followed and by the time their set began I had forgotten about what I had missed. The nips may have conveniently hit me then too. We got right up to the front, against the railing, and bounced and sang along to every song they played. They played almost everything I, as a fan, wanted to hear. Their best, in my opinion, was “Knocked Up,” an endearing song that
everyone got into. The whole crowd, especially me, was appreciative of this performance due to them having to be rescheduled after the weather kept them from playing the night before. After that we trekked it back through the thick mud of two fields to see Animal Collective who had set up a wild stage of swirling shapes and colors. I’m guessing Animal Collective’s set was when I took bathroom break and grabbed some food and drink due to my lack of memory of their performance, but I’m sure it was fun. Guns N’ Roses was the closing set of the night. With sporadic fireworks shooting off the stage, lighting you could see for miles, Axl Rose, and whoever would play with him; it was everything you could expect, with all the bells and whistles, minus our beloved Slash. The festival’s crowd enjoyed all the hits and paid no attention to Axl’s introduction of band mates we had never heard of. Then my crew and I headed home to rest up for the last day of the festival.
Day 3: Nips in, fest friends, and Kim Kardashian’s baby daddy We arrived at the festival in time for the last half of Portugal. The Man; however, security had decided to actually check our bags this day. Due to me being the chosen carrier of the nips and a small bottle of whiskey for a friend, one of the nips was hidden in a pair of socks in my bag. After seeing we had miss employee of the month checking every crevice of the bags in line #1, we hopped into the one over. As soon as I thought I was in the clear my sock nip was found and security looked at my sad face with “I’ll let it slide”. Thank the fest gods! We headed over to Portugal. The Man’s set, and bounced around to their sounds as we got situated. Then, we grabbed some beers and headed to Deerhunter to meet up with friends and catch their set. They had a decent performance, but due to my far back spot in the crowd and low volume of the speakers on that specific stage, it wasn’t anything to write home about. With Foals and Gary Clark Jr. with the same set times it was a tough call; however, I figured this was my only chance to catch Foals, and Gary was a guy I’d force my dad to see with me. Foals was fun and the crowd was chill, then it was off to Yeasayer. Due to them playing in the tent it was hard to really get into their performance
since we were standing just outside it. As they continued to play the crowd shrunk and we danced our way into a tent of enthusiastic fans, for O.N.E. and other hits they closed with. Yeasayer is definitely a fun-filled act to see live. Grizzly Bear followed on the main stage and put on a performance the whole crowd and I thoroughly enjoyed. The long awaited performance of The xx was next, my excitement to see them was probably the reason I wasn’t enthralled by the other acts of the day. We headed over to the stage and stood with friends in the middle of the large crowd… and then I got vertigo. I felt like the temperature increased by at least 20 degrees in 2-minutes and then my vision was shot to blobs of pastels, so I stumbled out of the crowd, bought lemonade, and came back to life. I finally made my way back into the crowd as if I hadn’t missed the opening songs. Luckily, our tall friend was with us and I found my crew fast enough to sway and sing along to all the soothing songs I love. Their performance was incendiary as they played to the sun set and their lights engulfed the crowd with holographic-like images of clouds streaming above us. I was the happiest girl. After they ended it was time to head to Kanye, everyone was secretly pumped, but tried to keep their cool. The diva started later than planned but came out to a solid light set up and wild visuals upon the stage’s screens as he played his new work. Needless to say, I’m excited for Ye’s upcoming album, and even more anxious to see what his future music videos have in store for us. He came out with an energy that brought the crowd to a new level. Kanye played the hits the masses wanted to hear and kept everyone dancing like I hadn’t seen in all three days. The man knows how to put on a show, that’s for sure. We danced our hearts out to the finale of Governors Ball until it was over. It was a great weekend of seeing fantastic music with two of my best friends and catching up with others I hadn’t seen in a long time. Despite the weather, I couldn’t have asked for a better time.
WANT MORE MISCREANT? Dear Miscreants, Here we are, knee-deep in summer. It’s still a little chilly up in Syracuse. But in a matter of weeks, The Miscreant will be relocating to New York City for keeps! So excited to finally be there with all of you. I’m fully preparing myself to get my Two Boots video rental membership, and start mapping out the distance to Peter Pan Donuts. Elizabeth will be coming down soon, as well. It’ll be great to have so many members of the Miscreant team together again. Expect to see us on all the swankiest Bushwick rooftops; get ready to rumble. Anyways, I’d like to thank everyone who submitted to this fine issue! Really excited to finally have Paul and The Real Burnouts included in an issue. Also, many thanks to Brazos for gracing the cover. I’ve been listening to Saltwater on repeat for the past several weeks. It’s certainly proving itself to be a major part of my own summer soundtrack. Seeing the band’s growth from the first record to now makes me all the more excited for what lies ahead for them. Also, be sure to check out their tour dates. I got the chance to see the boys at SXSW and they totally blew me away. Their performance is a real treat. And now it’s time to send in your own writing! Submissions for Issue 41 are due July 1, but we will be accepting pieces all through our vacation! This issue will feature the legendary Jeffrey Lewis! So, send in your top 10 NYC venues, your interview with your cousin’s thrash metal band, your love letters to Coma Cinema, anything to do with music. No previous writing experience is required. Email your work to email@example.com. Also send us any questions you might have 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