music and cheese by peter kaiser
Since my days at SUNY Purchase, I had always been an avid follower of cheese and it’s silky, smooth, hard, gooey, and mysterious decadence. That’s just some of the many adjectives that can describe your typical bovine (did you know that includes buffalos too?), ovine, and hircine milk products. The same can sort of be said for music, another large factor that drew me to the culture at Purchase. I helped run Purchase’s cheese club for two years as their treasurer, and was an avid follower my four years there. I never would have thought this experience was enough credentials to have me working for the actual store we bought from: Murray’s Cheese. I feel like I went to grad school for my extra curricular activities. Nowadays, when I’m not sitting around in my apartment in Brooklyn during the two days I get off a week, I’m usually embarrassing myself in front of my culinary school trained co-workers, selling cheese to many a tourist, and the all too often disgruntled New Yorker just looking for something to serve at their weekend function. Throughout these transactions I have on a daily basis, we always have to be listening to some kind of music. It’s the thread that keeps everything together. Without it, things feel very off. The store has this eerie empty feeling, your hand movements of grabbing cheese from the case, unwrapping it, cutting it, weighing it, and wrapping it up become so much more noticeable when you’re wrapped in the silence of just the store’s ambiance. It becomes a prerogative to get the music back up and running when the stupid
Pandora station thinks it’s playing to an empty room. For god sake, it’s never empty in there, stop playing the music unless we stop telling you to. Why is this so strange? What is it about retail spaces that make music playing such an important and vital commodity? What happens to employees like me who get overexposed to the same damn music played everyday? Why you begin to think about pairings outside that of food. You begin to think of what music pairs well with the very cheeses you handle on a daily basis. There exists a fundamental connection between the music and the cheese I handle, and it’s not always just what I’m listening to in the store. It’s not just with music either. My life as a cheesemonger has become so second nature that I have even dreamed of cutting, weighing, and wrapping cheese. Those are by far the weirdest occurrences I have ever had, and I can’t say they’re a bad thing. Whatever cheese happens to be on my mind, I bet you I can pair a band or a song that happens to be on my mind at the same time. I will share a few pairings I have thought up of in the past few weeks:
Firstly, we’ll start with a nice mild cheese known as “Fromagger d’Affinois” (think Daffy Duck with a “nuah” at the end). Smooth, creamy, and a wonderful start to an excellent cheese plate. It’s always nice to start with something easy on the tongue. Especially something that goes well with bread. This cheese seems to remind me of the relaxing opening to the new Pastels record “Slow Summits.” The song “Secret Music” with fair lady Katrina Mitchell’s soft whisper of a voice singing about rainy European streets seems so fitting with this French cheese. The song is filled with lovely bubbly synth chords, gentle xylophones, and lazy flutes and trumpets. It’s
the perfect song to laze around to in the park, or in bed as you are sleeping in. The cheese is the same. It’s buttery and soft with a melt in your mouth consistency with no kind of intensity or pungency to it. People tend to confuse this cheese as a brie, when in fact it’s not! It’s what is known as a “bloomy rind.” It undergoes what is known as “ultra filtration” which removes all of the water from the pasteurized milk, which concentrates all the other components. Bloomy rinds get their names from the thin white coating of mold called “Penicillium candidum” that forms on the outer layer. It’s fuzzy, sometimes quite curly in appearance (look at the cheese “Coupole”! It looks like a brain!) and totally editable. Something about eating this cheese with a little bit of Societe Originate seashore honey from the coasts of Québec seems like the perfect combo with the blissful musings of the Pastels in the background. Next we turn to the stinker “C Local.” Named humorously after the train that runs right through West 4th street where Murray’s main store is. This washed rind is a tasty attack on the nose as well as the tongue. While I’ve noticed recently some C trains have been updated to the newer models, most New Yorkers relate it to the clunkier trains that look like a time machine out of the 1970s or late 1960s. The cheese has a stench to go right with it. Perhaps given the fact that smell is the strongest tie to memory, some people may have a strange realization that, yes, this cheese does smell like the subway! This creation of our cavemaster (yes Murray’s has a cavemaster) Brian takes the popular Old Chatham’s sheep’s cheese Kinderhook Creek and drowns it in Brooklyn Brewery’s “Local 2” beer for a period of 3-5 weeks until the white rind cheese takes on a peach-colored hue. So what song goes well with a beer soaked aged cheese like this? Why Serge Gainsbourg of course! Or at least his excellent songwriting and composing skills. In this case I love the cover of his song “L’Amanour” as sung by the French singer Françoise Hardy. The world “L’Anamour” is actually a French neologism, which means “l’absence d’amour” or quite succinctly “the absence of love” or as we can simply put it “anti-love”. The song is a melancholy one of heartbreak, lack of love, and the transport that takes loved ones away from each other. Serge Gainsbourg surprisingly notes the transitory nature of a lover who has now since departed. This coming from a gentleman who once composed nonsensical pop songs about bubblegum and comic strips. This song sees his foray into more darker subjects. This song feels like a departure for a man who usually got his kicks from relationships with 15 year old girls and writing songs about oral sex cleverly (and maliciously) disguised as “enjoying anise flavored lollipops” (see France Gall’s “Les Sucettes”) It’s no wonder I think of him as a beer soaked piece of smelly cheese. However, underneath all of that stinky washed rind there really does exist a soft spot. A soft spot that reminds us as well of the transitory nature of our loved ones and friendships. The last cheese I can think of is one we don’t get at Murray’s a lot. That is the 2-year aged Comté from out of 13 specifically chosen high altitude cooperatives in the Jura Mountains on the border of France and Switzerland. Comté comes in giant 80-pound wheels, and is one of the most beloved cheeses from France. We normally only carry the year and a half aged comte “Saint Antoine” which is still amazing, but nothing compares to the Summer or Winter
reserves that we only get two wheels of a year. Two years is the longest time that affineur (someone who doesn’t make cheese, but ages it) Marcel Petit will allow this cheese to sit in giant caves built into old Napoleonic era forts high up in the Swiss Alps. The flavor of this cheese is so amazing that it is hard not to groan with intense sensual pleasure when it touches your pallet. It almosts tastes better knowing we don’t get much of it. A perfect unrelated ode to this cheese comes from Swedish band Love is All with their song “Bigger Bolder”. I feel like it almost refers to its younger sister about its far superior nature by being a half-year-older. Singer Josephine Olausson sings about her love for an unnamed person (in this case let’s think cheese). I specifically love how progressively dirtier this song gets. She sings of how her love is getting “faster” and “louder” at the beginning of the track, but as the song progresses into later verses she begins to refer to this love as “hotter,” “wetter,” “larger,” and “longer.” I love this sensual progression, as this is exactly how I feel about this cheese. If you ever get the chance to try it, don’t delay. We will probably be getting back in our stores around the holiday season. It goes super fast, so don’t delay! I’m excited to see what other pairings shall come to mind in the coming months.
This issue is brought to you by music videos.
Single of the
Week This week’s single is the title track to Cayucas’ debut record, Bigfoot. “Bigfoot” beautifully captures the feeling of roaming through California forests and the wrestlessness of summer. As the seasons change, this lovely tune reminds us of the warm summer sun.
WALTER WHITE’S RADIO by quinn donnell
As Breaking Bad’s final episodes air over the next two weeks, the series will be remembered as one of the most exciting entities of television from the past five years. The show’s psychologically driven story telling, moral ambiguities, and cinematic influence have all contributed to its status as one of recent TV’s biggest standouts. It isn’t only Vince Gilligan’s writing and Bryan Cranston’s acting that have made the show what it is, however, but also Thomas Golubić’s work as music supervisor. Throughout the entirety of Breaking Bad, Golubić’s music placement sets the tone for the series’ most crucial moments. His ability to re-interpret songs in a new light based on an episode’s theme consistently makes Breaking Bad a better show. Throughout the series’ five seasons, music acts one of Breaking Bad’s most important components. Here are some of my favorite examples: “Didn’t I” by Darando—Season 1, Episode 4 // The overconfidence that eventually becomes Walter White’s tragic downfall is first exemplified in the fourth episode of season one. As he becomes fed-up with a cocky, Bluetooth-sporting businessman he encounters at a gas station, Walt takes the opportunity to shove a windshield wiper in the engine of the businessman’s convertible. Walking away from the enflamed car, the music of 70s soul singer turned pimp, Darando, busts out with the apologetic “Didn’t I.” The sincerity in Darando’s falsetto is contradicted by Walt’s newfound confidence; his obvious lack of concern, along with Darando’s jazz chords atop a soulful organ line create a sense of badass only achievable with a song as smooth as “Didn’t I.” “Truth” by Alexander—Season 4, Episode 1 // As Breaking Bad’s character relationships develop over the course of the series, the nature of these relationships results in a number of burned bridges and falling-outs. In the most unfortunate of cases, however, characters find themselves on Walt’s hit list. As season four’s first episode concludes, a murdered Dale Boetticher is found in his apartment as Alexander’s “Truth” plays over the scene. With a lead whistle track and a chorus of ethereal “Ohh”s and “Ahh”s, the song constructs a western vibe straight out of the Tarantino music supervision playbook. “Crystal Blue Persuasion” by Tommy James and the Shondells—Season 5, Episode 8 // Although Tommy James and the Shondells wrote “Crystal Blue Persuasion” in 1969, it wouldn’t be hard to believe that Gilligan and Golubić commissioned the psych-rock fourpiece to make the song specifically for a montage of Walter White cooking his signature blue meth. While the lyrics in “Crystal Blue Persuasion” perfectly depict the scene’s subject, Tommy James’ breezy guitar chords and dream-like vocals establish its ambiance. “Take My True Love By The Hand” by The Limeliters—Season 5, Episode 14 // As the Limeliters sing “Times are getting hard boys / Money’s getting scarce… Take my true love by her hand / Lead her through the town,” the 1950s folk trio describe a scene where the company of a special someone takes precedence over everything else. Set to the visual of main character Walter White rolling a barrel of money through the New Mexican desert, however, it’s clear that Walt’s top priority isn’t the family he once worked so hard to keep together, but his fortune. The amicable whistling that accompanies the Limeliters’ simple melodies create a stark contrast with Walt’s last-ditch efforts to save his remaining wealth, and highlight the flaws that come to define him as a character.
cayuc an interview by
Caycuas, the California-based band, hit the scene with their debut record Bigfoot in the spring. Its chill sounds geared everyone up for summer, and its breezy vibe made everyone nostalgic for a 1960s summer in California. Now the band is on their international tour, bringing that vibe to cities across Europe. Here, lead Zach Yudin discusses his music influences, working with family, his life as a DJ, and his junior high school crush. Cassandra: How did you meet and start writing music together? How long have you been playing together? Zach: After my brother and I wrote and recorded the album I reached out to a some people, friends of friends had a few litle auditions and it just came together that way. Casey came in, jammed on drums for a few minutes and has been in the band ever since. Cassandra: Zach, what’s it like working with your brother, Ben? Zach: It’s not that difficult. We have a very similar vibe, get along pretty easily. He likes playing bass. Though he’s a guitar player and I think he wants to start playing guitar again. I think on the next album he will write more he’s better at writing stuff on guitar then I am. Cassandra: Your musical background is closely tied with turntables as opposed to guitars.
cas cassandra baim
What made you want to shift from being a DJ to forming a band? Do you ever get the urge to go back to DJing? Zach: I do like the lifestyle of a DJ. It’s easy setup, easy to tour. Plus I love dance music. But I’m not the most skilled DJ, it was more of a hobby. But the idea of touring with a sampler or a laptop still intrigues me. But I have no plan of the in the near future. Cassandra: Why did you change your name from Oregon Bike Trails to Cayucas? Zach: The record label thought it may be a good idea and I didn’t disagree with them. Oregon Bike Trails was a name I came up with before I ever wrote a Cayucas track, so once the music was there it didn’t seem to make the most sense. Cayucas was just a track name at that point but we decided it was a cool band name as well and we switched it. Cassandra: What are your most pronounced
musical and artistic influences? What did you listen to growing up, and how does that shape the music you make now? Zach: I grew up listening to hip hop. Tribe, Souls of Mischief, Dre. Top 40. I think that once there is more music you will hear all the other influences come out but with this first album I was just trying to be a modern version of the Beach Boys. That was my underlying thought on the vibe of the whole album. Cassandra: What was the recording process like for Bigfoot? How long did you spend on the record? Zach: It was pretty quick, we spent about two weeks. I went to Richard Swift’s studio in Oregon and he helped turn all these ideas and demos into actual songs. My brother popped in about halfway and laid down some guitar and other stuff. We recorded 1 song a day and usually only took 1-2 takes for Vox, guitar, etc. Cassandra: Your record drips with nostalgia in all the right ways. How does nostalgia play in themes in the lyrics as well as the instrumentation? Zach: I love writing about nostalgic things in my life. Those moments as a kid or high school student still resonate with me in a very unique way. I think it will be a recurring theme for me, because I think they’re the best stories to be told. I think it’s fun to go back and write about many years later. Plus I think it works w the types of songs we play. Cassandra: The song I most identify with is “High School Lover”; can you talk a bit about the inspiration for that song? Was it about one specific girl? Zach: Yes, in junior high there was a girl I became friends with. She played bass and we talked about music a little bit. I told her that I liked the band Hanson. I was only half kidding and she thought it was funny. That summer she sent me a bunch of fake Hanson fan club letters in the mail. They had fun colors designs glitter, etc. At the end of every let-
ter she would write ‘call this number to receive free tickets to a Hanson show’ and she would leave her (I think). Well I really liked her and I liked the letters, but I never called her. And I don’t know why exactly. But that’s what the songs about. Cassandra: I started listening to “Bigfoot” in the spring to gear myself up for summer, and now to keep the season alive as summer starts cooling to fall. Do you have a favorite summer memory? What were some of those summer moments that influenced Bigfoot? Zach: Water balloon fights, camp, swimming, hanging with friends skateboarding, rollerblading playing Ditch! I had a ball as a kid and I loved summer! I still do. But I have too many to name just one. Cassandra: When I saw you play at Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, you mentioned you were on your way to Ireland next. What has international touring been like? How has it been different than touring in the United States? Zach: It’s been good, I’ve been so surprised by awesome shows in the UK and Netherlands and everywhere really. The crowds here seem to be little bit more shy, but very appreciative. But it’s not that different, both just cool indie rock fans. Cassandra: Do you have a favorite city thus far? How do the audiences and venues compare? Any standouts? Zach: I like Amsterdam. The Netherlands was really good to us. Nijmegen, Rotterdam were really cool city/ shows. Cassandra: Where to from here? Are there any plans for a second record? Zach: Back to America, and yes I’m ready to get into the next album. I think I have a pretty good blueprint for it, just need some time off touring to get these ideas down.
Dad and the donkey jaw bone by ben houck
Sometimes the dad’s of the world get music right. Dads get a lot of things right, but especially their music tastes. You might think many a dad’s music tastes reach as far as their outdated record collection and National Public Radio. There are separate theories as to what exists in that milk crate of records, but NPR is no joke. In New York’s capital land, there is a radio station called WEXT, The Exit 97.7, that is a sister channel of WAMC Northeast National Public Radio. WEXT is totally a dad radio station. It will go from playing the top 100 Kinks songs to the up to the minute Arcade Fire and Justin Vernon releases. So when this radio station announces the David Wax Museum is playing at this vintage venue of course the reaction is, “yeah, I’ll go hang out with a bunch of dads in an old bank.” David Wax Museum is a young group composed of front duo David Wax and Suz Slezak, who take huge amounts of inspiration from Mexican Son music. They basically put mariachi in a blender with some other instruments and come out with some rhythmic folk music that could run with the best in the business. Accompanied by excellent touring bands (CuddleMagic on this occasion), Wax and Slezak’s songs become denser and stretched out for baritone sax solos, and of course more Donkey Jaw Bone riffs. Donkey Jaw Bone, the technical name is Spanish music is Quijada, that is played much like a guiro. Yes it is morbid, but when played by the beautiful Suz you tend not to notice. In fact most people didn’t even notice she was eight months pregnant as she pranced around the stage with fiddle, accordion, and jaw bone. David Wax, who could be called a Austin Texas based Wesley Schultz, has been frequenting the festival and touring not stop, pregnant or not, since their break out performance at the Newport Folk Festival. Mountain Jam goers saw them pound through an album with members of Rubblebucket as sweaty afternoon folks danced. A work night dad’s venue is different. They had time to crack jokes about Suz’s baby, the time they played in a punk venue down the street and about when they heard on NPR how you shouldn’t sit down for more than 20 minutes. They could turn a song into a choral as they walked around a crowd of about a hundred so that their harmonies bounced off old vault doors and high ceilings. I gotta brag that Suz eventually sat down in the empty seat next to me during this part. In the end, the dads will laugh when “Harder Before It Gets Easier” is this years “Ho Hey.” Or maybe that is precisely the reason that sixteen year olds are not buzzing about David Wax Museum yet. Because, ewww, my dad went to go see that band. We’ll more intimate concerts with talented folks for the dads.
punk rock 101 by olivia cellamare
Punk to me is a lot of things; but mainly, it owns my heart. I mean the ferocious New York 70s sound. Not the style that emerged from England that consisted of arm warmers and safety pins in the ear. It got lost as it was transported over the ocean. Something else could have emerged in England in its place. However, I must add that The Clash are probably always going to be one of the most important bands ever, and Joe Strummer is the front-man so many wish they could be. I write this as I take a break from that soul-destroying task of looking for a job. The days are getting colder, and I need to buy jumpers. My wardrobe consists of jeans and band shirts. That’s all I own. I’m 26, and I’ll be dressing this way when I’m 66 and beyond. I got to thinking as I was going through the endless jobs that I am not qualified for. Story of my life; not enough experience. Having heart and honesty will not get you too far. But I learnt a lot of from Punk and I guess this is an ode to the genre that found a lost soul many years ago. Where did my love for Punk come from? My uncle. When I was very young, I used to go to my grandma’s at lunchtime and she’d look after me whilst my mum was at work. My uncle was living there also, but he’d be at work when I was there. I’d go into the room where he kept his guitar and I’d stare at it. I’d then walk upstairs to his room and stare at the faces on his wall. Nick Cave, Lou Reed and a massive poster of Nirvana’s Nevermind record. I’ve never cared for Nirvana. It was Nick Cave and Lou Reed’s faces that left me curious. However, I was too young to understand anything. Fast forward to my teenage years and I fell head first into Punk. I kept it quiet and close. I wanted to have the boldness of Patti Smith and the charm of Lou Reed. I was just a teenager who was an awkward mess. I hid in the school library and wished English and Spanish lessons lasted longer.
Throughout University I would blare out Ramones as loudly as I could in my room when nobody was in. I’d move around as if I was Joey Ramone- the hoover was my mic stand. I’d thrash it about; in the hopes no one came home and had the urge to tidy. My dissertation in my final year focused on Punk and Poetry; I pretty much listened to my favourite Punk songs and linked them to certain poets for hours and hours. I picked up on the frustrations in their words and how soon, I’d be feeling that way more than ever. Punk taught me to be comfortable with who I am. I own 6 (fake) leather jackets. All are different sizes, none fit because I keep losing weight (finally) so none of the jackets are of use to me. It just means I can waste time trying to find a new one. When I wear one, it feels like a safety net. I once was out with some friends and they said to me, “You look as if Joey Ramone was your dad.” If only I was that tall! Another time some drunk guy called me a “70s Punk reject.” I ignored the reject part; I’m too old now to be hung up on stuff like that. I realised from a very young age that I was born at the wrong time, and in the wrong place. But the thing is, Punk gave me a hidden sense of security that I keep hidden. Punk as a genre may well be dead, but the spirit of it is alive in a lot of bands. I don’t mean it is in Pop-Punk bands, I really don’t like it at all. But the teachings of Patti, Iggy etc are still alive and well in certain bands. Music still has the potential to be as brutal and as passionate as it was back then, and there are bands that truly have that in their music. I sometimes wonder if there will ever be a movement as big as Punk and also Hip Hop, it’d be nice but I really have no idea. Anything can happen, and the next song you hear could well fuel the next generation like Punk once did. I live in hope, you have to live in hope otherwise you’ll go mad won’t you.
They Were Naked In the Mosh Pit: A Trip to Riot Fest, Chicago by nick altmann
Chasing down the last glimmers of orange in the sky from the setting sun through the last stretch of Ohio while Touché Amore’s, Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me blares through my car’s speakers. My friend has never heard Touché Amore but he’s as fired up as Touché’s uptempo drummer because, according to him, “this is hardcore.” On our way to Riot Fest in Chicago to see just about every important band I’ve ever loved since middle school but there’s about 300 miles of road left between us and our hotel in the financial district and the sky is growing black. “I swear I’m trying,” Jeremy Bolm from Touché Amore howls as “Amends” comes to a close.
photo by steve geer
Touché Amore is playing at Riot Fest in Humboldt Park, Chicago this year. They’ve recently broken through and though they’re not headlining they’re apart of this new post-hardcore wave of the late 2000’s. The scene that is a wave. Bands come and go like the ebb and flow, lineups change, styles shift, moods swing but punk was real and it still matters at Riot Fest. God damn this road. 1-90 is straight. I start to play other new wave bands from the same posthardcore scene that’s emerging, La Dispute, Defeater, Title Fight. Some my friend Dave likes and
some he doesn’t and we get on a conversation about personal preference in music being that’s all there is to separate tastes between people. And there’s a point to be made in this because when it comes to art and what appeals to someone there’s really no way to explain it besides individualism, a comforting thought at 85 miles per hour while we cross the boarder to Indiana. A few more hours on the highway, driving through downtown Chicago, a fucking $60 parking ticket and we’re checked into our room. Some drinking happens. I realize I’ve been spoiled by New York City while wandering aimlessly led to wondering why everything is closed in Chicago at 2am. I always took the expression, “The City that never sleeps,” for granted but not anymore. Chicago, I do respect you but I do not love you. Our hotel is to specifically house Riot Fest goers this weekend so we head back to go to the hotel’s bar to try and socialize and meet some fellow music aficionados, but all that’s left at the bar are rich yuppies celebrating some wedding. I figure everyone at the hotel must be some kind of straight-edge Minor Threat fan futilely trying to be unique and copying a legit D.I.Y. band. We pass out in the hotel room. Wake up. Drink. We pregame too long and get to the festival around 3. I catch the end of the Stars set. The indie-pop band Stars is a little out of synch with the rest of the bands but they’re playing, “Take Me to the Riot,” and I think that’s pretty spot on for my first song at Riot Fest but I do not last here long. Riot Fest is massive. 5 stages. 3 days. Over 50 bands. It was a carnival for 00s-scensters and 80’s dirty street punks alike. The crowd was diverse. Whether it was a 60 year old Black Flag fan trying to catch the Henry Rollins-less, Flag Saturday afternoon or an All Time Low teeny bopper with their parents, Riot Fest was fairly family-fun friendly. Amass the different genre’s of people you couldn’t help but start to wonder where you fit in it all. Eh fuck it, this self-doubting, over-analyzing, bullshit isn’t going to get me anywhere and won’t let me have as much fun as I could at these shows. I make my way to see The Devil Wears Prada. I’ve never really given TDWP a chance. They were never my style and most fans of theirs that I know are pretty lame so I also wrote them off as some poppy-screamo wannabe hardcore band. But they killed it! Tasty rifts and shredding and their singer was all over the stage and climbing on amps. T’was great fun to watch and I’ll stop hating. After The Devil Wears Prada wrapped up I stood around with my friend waiting to see Glassjaw. Glassjaw, my fellow New York kin, had a decent following. Rocking a Rage Against the Machine steeze with heavy bass-lines and a vocalist that shifted from screaming to clean singing, it seemed like their most loyal fans enjoyed the set. At one point during a break someone yells, “Turn down the vocals,” and the singer acknowledges it like a boss, repeats the words into the
mic, turns around to say something to the bassist, who smiles back at the singer, and basically rips his vocal chords roaring at the start of the song. Punk. Punk, the D.I.Y. movement, really flourished in the mid-to-late 70s and can be credited to the Californian band, Black Flag. Fronted by the original singer, Keith Morris, former members of the band Black Flag took to the stage though Morris made it clear to the audience, “We’re Flag.” This was not Black Flag and apparently the founding father, Greg Ginn, of the political hardcore punk band is in a legal battle and suing Flag over the use of his songs and Black Flag name. It’s pretty apparent the Hollywood went straight to the west coast native’s head as the whole thing is pretty stupid. Screw copy write legality. But Flag was easily the most intense show at Riot Fest. Pits and dives were staged in high amounts as the evening sun burned the backs of shirtless bald-headed moshers. Rancid came on next. I wanted to see Rancid but I needed sustenance so I went to a nearby food and beer vendor that was in earshot of the stage Rancid was playing on. I listened for a while but eventually I made my way to the vendors and tents. I watched an arm wrestling match between two women, one had a hook for an arm. Then I watched a strange circus act where the clowns couldn’t juggle but one women was in a hamster wheel and kept spinning and spinning until she and the wheel started wobbling and rotating until she and the metal wheel collapsed flat on the ground. Soon enough Blondie was heard echoing through Humboldt Park. It was peculiar seeing Blondie on the list but I even heard some kids say, “You know, they’ve got an edge to them.” The first time I fell in love with Blondie was when I heard “Heart of Glass.” I love Blondie and I fell in love with Deborah Harry all over again as she teased me singing in a wizard’s costume. Next came one of the few band set time dillemmas. Taking Back Sunday or The Violent Femmes. I’d seen Taking Back Sunday before and never The Violent Femmes. I tried Taking Back Sunday for a bit, but after a few songs I regretted my decision. The singer was way off, like the first time I saw them, and I was dancing next to a mom and her two daughters, which was weird. I knew what I had to do and sprinted across the park towards The Violent Femmes. I was pleasantly pleased and the lead singer, Gordon Gano, was as quirky as one could possibly imagine. I nearly stained my sheets listening to them. Finally Blink-182 took the stage. They were easily the most anticipated band of the night. Whatever. I like Blink and all but I’m over them. I did like how they were kind of rude to the audience. Tom DeLonge would scream, “FART,” in the middle of songs and he’d also change lyrics to things like, “I admit I’m tired of hand-jobs.” I saw people leaving mumbling, “They were naked in the mosh pit.” And I even saw some guy bend to his knees and start pissing. People got hurt. “That is, what we call in the industry the big finish,” Blink’s singer and bassist, Mark Hopus, said as he toyed the crowd along into believing he was going to play another encore but walked off the stage instead.
We had a terrible walk back. Streets were filled with scensters. I was tired. We couldn’t get on the subway train because it was packed with Riot Fest kids. I was sick of the crowd and wanted to get away. Eventually we get on and we pass out in the hotel room. Next day. No pregaming. This is the big day. We grab some Chicago Deep Dish pizza at the Art of Pizza, drive to the fest so that we can make our escape easier at night. First band I saw was The Wonder Years. They’re pop-punk, about to break if not all ready, they were good and the lead singer did a crazy dive from a tree into the crowd with reckless abandon. But I soon left to get a good spot for Against Me! Against Me! is a punk band that preached anarchy but has recently taken a big stylistic shift towards more poppy, indie music. The lead singer also recently came out as transgendered and is living life as a woman. It was awesome to see the crowd react positivily for the lead singer, albeit I was a little nervous her voice was going to be different. But the band played “Pints of Guinness Make You Stronger,” and I went bezerk, everyone went bezerk. But Against Me!’s different style, different feel, really emerged during their set. “Looking for the crest of a new wave,” Laura Grace belted out, and it was actually great to see Against Me! take such a dramatic shift in their music. The heart is still there, the music may sound different, but it’s still there. The rain started to pour and Humboldt and it’s punkster inhabitants were about to get muddier, grimier and colder. Next I saw the super group Bad Books. Made up of Kevin Devine and members of Manchester Orchestra, they sounded great. After Bad Books Saves the Day took the stage and I stood underneath someone’s umbrella until they left and then I left. I don’t really like Saves the Day, but they just released a self-titled album after being a band for almost twenty years. Besides I had to leave early to get a good spot for my personal favorite band. Brand New. Fucking Brand New played a fucking killer fucking set from start to finish and the crowd was fucking fun and everyone sang every fucking word to every fucking song. Seriously, they were awesome. It was the most chipper I’ve ever seen Jesse, the lead singer and primary song writer, at a show and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was one of the biggest shows Brand New had played at. I honestly couldn’t see how big the crowd was. Steam was erupting off the crowd as I looked back. It was hot and packed and everyone was stoked because Brand New hardly plays shows or releases music. But every time I’ve seen Brand New I’m always blown away by the raw energy and passion displayed on stage and this was no different. We saw one more band, AFI, they’re not worth mentioning, and then we began the car ride back. Over caffeinated, nicotine headache, sticking my head out the window. These are a few things to describe the too familiar car rides back on I-90. I was lonely. Every hour was a story, every hundred miles was a movie, the whole trip was novel. Riot Fest was fantastic, a true carnival for any fan of the punk scene. By 6am I hit Buffalo New York and put on the ol’ sun glasses. I never once drifted near sleep.
Dear Paul Simon, A Love Letter by caitlin lytle
There are few artists that evoke such an emotional connection in me that I feel I owe every waking second of my ear’s listening time to, but Paul you are just one of those people. It began in a station wagon with Graceland as my gateway drug and my mom as the dealer. Countless car rides and road trips were spent learning the words to “Under African Skies,” and while my classmates were concerned with Aaron but I was concerned with Al. While so many grow up with older siblings, I relied on older albums to be there and Graceland did just that. When I listen to the album it is as if I am ten years old again on a road trip with my mom looking out at the open California desert and understanding what is means to be entering Graceland. A relationship between a father and daughter is one that so many artists have discussed, but few have understood as well as you Paul. When my own dad had cancer it was hard to deal with the thought of potentially losing my protection and dealing with the lack of support for a time, but “Father and Daughter” made me understand the role of fatherhood beyond just physically being there and that something like illness is not enough to break those bonds of a relationship like that of a dad and daughter. It took one father to help me realize so much about my own father. Besides my parents, Paul, you have played a role strengthening my relationship with my friends as well. I think when one goes to college the concept of friends is a funny thing because these people have to now become your family when you are so far from your familiar home. When I listen to your records with people who find the same emotional connection I have with your words I feel safe and I feel I am exactly where I am supposed to be. It’s those moments dancing in kitchens, making dinner, driving around, and sitting around shooting the breeze, I know that all these people I have met in the last year can call me Al. What it comes down to is I don’t know what I should thank you for most. Maybe it’s the closeness I feel with my parents both when I am away from them and hear Graceland or when I am right there singing along with them in the car, or the closeness I feel to my friends dancing around long after the party has ended. Could it be the stability I have when I hold your record in my hands and how durable it is as I place the needle into the grooves? Or maybe its just when I hear you in a movie soundtrack or in a store or just around living my life and it is like running into an old friend? I don’t know what it is, but wherever this weird journey called college takes me in the next few years I hope I can continue to bring you along for the ride to rock out with me. Thanks for giving my life a soundtrack.
cassette essentials Vol. 3 by rafael grafals
New issue, new tapes to share. Here are a few more cassettes I’ve been in love with these past couple weeks. In between the last issue and this one I ‘celebrated’ Cassette Store Day so a few picks here are a result of that. Once again, every tape here is available online at the time of writing so go crazy and cassette shop ‘til you drop.
Alex G – “Crab” Race [Gold Soundz Records] Admittedly I was pretty late to Alex G but after hearing his name thrown around and seeing it pop up online enough times I finally grabbed all of his music and quickly fell in love. Race, just like any other release he’s put out, is home to plenty of superbly written pop songs. “Crab” has always been one of my favorites due to its use of an energetic piano part that pops in and out to provide a transition between verses. In between those moments we get these layered vocals delivering lines like, “Do you miss what you thought you were back when you thought you knew what you are?” As an added bonus, the cassette comes with a printed lyrics sheet which is a nice touch.
The Coasts – “Old Words” The Cheever Sessions [Self-Released] On The Cheever Sessions we get to see The Coasts presented in this lofi, acoustic, and stripped down setting which is a pretty big shift from the power pop setup we find them using in their other releases. This shift, however, proves to be a wonderful thing. On “Old Words” we get the most out of this minimal set up with only vocals and piano driving the whole track forward with a few claps thrown in. Hearing the track in this context also lets us get the most out of the lyrics, and considering how well written “Old Words” is, that’s one of the best things you could ask for. This tape was made specifically for Cassette Store Day but they haven’t sold out yet so make sure to grab one (on The Coasts’ bandcamp page) soon.
HAPPY TRENDY – “#08” For Trial Listening [Carpi Records] I was introduced to HAPPY TRENDY with Die Young, his release on Orchid Tapes that came out a while back. Since then he’s released For Trial Listening, a completely different beast compared to the pop songs found on Die Young. For Trial Listening is a stunning ambient release featuring some beautifully warped sounds and deteriorated vocal samples. “#08” is a specifically dreamy tune with its soft, slow moving synths and tape hiss that are later accompanied by a variety of samples.
The Shakin’ Babies – “Mary Wants To Rock” Stoked Casual [MJMJ Records] The opener from Stoked Casual is a catchy, entertaining, and simply charming track. When I caught The Shakin’ Babies at FMLY Fest Brooklyn a while back I was in love with their energy. Thankfully that energy transfers over to this tape perfectly, making for an infectious album that’ll have you coming back again and again.
Yung Life – “Breaker” Yung Life [Chill Mega Chill Records] Yung Life’s self-titled tape came out last year through Chill Mega Chill and through some sort of miracle they haven’t sold out yet. “Breaker” is one of the standout tracks on this album, highlighting Yung Life’s ability to create fantastic pop songs with some of the catchiest melodies you’ll hear. Also found on this track is Yung Life’s knack for combining dreamy synths with guitar textures that seem to go hand in hand. The entire album is fantastic and was one of my favorites from last year. On top of that, Chill Mega Chill does fantastic work and the tapes themselves are beautiful.
i’m a fall baby forever by tori cote
If I had to pick a favorite season, it would without a doubt be fall. To start out, the weather in the fall is not hot but not really that cold either. This means you could wear shorts with a sweater, a dress, pants, and a t-shirt, literally you have so many options. Clothes are basically the only other thing besides music that are important to me, so this weather change and therefore outfit change during fall is extremely important to my mood. With that, the color scheme for fall is perfect too. All of the colors are warmer yet darker, which just makes the mood a little bit more relaxed. Also, everybody looks good in either dark green or cranberry, I’m almost convinced. Besides the clothes and color schemes of autumn, you have the endless activities. Apple picking, pumpkin picking, hayrides, nature hikes, drinking pumpkin spice lattes, going to sports games in sweaters, laying in your bed while drinking coffee/not sweating, etc. It’s nice to be outside during the fall because it’s pretty and goddamn comfortable. But even if you’re inside, it’s nice because you’re not sweating. There are also two amazing holidays during autumn, Thanksgiving and Halloween, which are essentially created to eat and dress up. Why should I even have to go on about loving autumn considering those two holidays exists?! But alss,there is probably nothing more romantic to me than going on an apple picking date and then stuffing your faces with apple cider donuts after. If you think about it, all of the other seasons create fleeting relationships, but fall is forever. Really, people get together in the winter because they are cold and sad, people hook up in the spring because they finally get to take off their sweaters, and summer flings never are meant to last. To get together in the fall probably means you’ll get married. I’m convinced. To be in New England during the fall is probably the most magical thing that you could experience. To bring it back in, autumn is the best. I mean, it’s the only season that has two names that’s how great it is. Here is a playlist that not only perpetuates and explains my love for fall, but maybe will help you get in the fall spirit to. AUTUMN BABIES PLAYLIST: “Heretics” // Andrew Bird “Keep” // Pit Sex “Is This It” // The Strokes “Clementine” // Sarah Jaffe “This Is The Way” // Devendra Banhart “Childhood’s End” // Majical Cloudz “Welcome Home Son” // Radical Face “For You” // Twin Sparrow “Thinking About You” // Typhoon “Higher Love” // James Vincent Mc Morrow
“Tuck the Darkness In” // Bowerbirds “We Hit a Wall” // Chelsea Wolfe “Eight Letters” // Paul Baribeau “You and I” // Wilco “Two Doves” // Dirty Projectors “Amazing Eyes” // Good Old War “Acetate” // Volcano Choir “Young Adult Friction” // The Pains of Being Pure at Heart “Inn mer syngur vitleysingur” // Sigur Ros
(listen to this playlist on Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/toricote/playlist/6P1SHXwvlVsD1VFt1pzQuG).
FOR WHEN YOU MISS YOUR MOM by mary luncsford
I’ve been in college for about a month, which I realize is an insignificant amount of time in the grand scheme of things. However, when people tell you that college is going to be the best time of your life (Which is depressing if that’s actually true…), I think they forget the first month. Because I’m so incredibly lonely. I knew I would be, I expected that it would take me a longer time to make new friends because I wouldn’t be bonding over being soooooo drunk LOL. So, if anyone else out there is living through the first month, or remembers what it was like, or is eating alone right now, this one’s for you. “It’s My Party” // Lesley Gore “Life Is Hard” // Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros “Home Again” // Michael Kiwanuka “No Friends” // San Cisco “Come Talk To Me” // Bon Iver “Every Weekday” // Camera Obscura “For Beginners” // M. Ward “Lost Girls” // Tilly and The Wall “Mama Said” // The Shirelles I’m told by people who ought to know that it will get better, and I know it will. This is just a strange and lonesome, but not entirely unenjoyable, transition. I don’t feel it always, but it strikes me at the oddest times. While I’m in line for coffee, or if I catch myself daydreaming out dorm windows, I’ll notice the solitude. Soon enough, I will fall into a group of friends, but I think it might be important to experience this feeling. So for now, I’m okay with my table for one.
the horror! the horror! by kyle kuchta
My aunt bought me the two movies that I consider my gateway into horror movies. It was a twoDVD pack of Shaun of the Dead and Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead. I think this was probably in 2005. I was interested in horror long before that, however, thanks to my grandmother. Supposedly, I convinced her (when I was 4 years old, mind you) that we were going to have a “haunted yard” for Halloween. You know, whatever that means to a 4-year old. Being the wonderful grandmother she was, and still is, we agreed that we would decorate the yard for Halloween and invite my kindergarten class. For about six years, we decorated the yard on a shoe-string budget in order to give my peers a fun time on Halloween. She let me watch the Universal Monster movies on our vacations to Vermont and never really questioned whether it was good or bad, but allowed me to watch them because I picked those VHS covers out at a video store. I distinctly remember Creature From the Black Lagoon. I’m 13, maybe 14 years old now. I saw The Grudge in theaters and it scared me. My eyes burned from the popcorn butter that laced my fingertips, which were permanently secured to the corners
of my eyes so that I could see when I wanted and couldn’t when I didn’t want to. Ghosts just weren’t my thing. But watching that movie with my friends was the most fun I had in a long while. Probably since my last Halloween party three years earlier. The Grudge probably rekindled my affection for horror. That’s a sentence you don’t usually hear, huh? But that interest in horror was burning inside me until my aunt bought me that two-pack of zombie movies at BJ’s Wholesale Club. Originally, I was too scared to watch Dawn of the Dead. Like, fast zombies in a shopping mall? A public place where I could easily be as a 14-year old? Fuck that. Eventually I manned up and watch it. I don’t know how many times I watched it that day. Probably only twice, but then all the special features as well. Then every slumber party I went to, I brought that movie. I had a girl hold my arm because she was scared watching that movie. Big steps for a pale, scrawny, slightly awkward kid that I was(still am?). I still own that exact DVD. It’s water stained from some sort of spill at a party. The case is getting pretty grimy. I’m never getting rid of it. It must’ve snowballed from here, but I’m not sure of the exact order, per se. I think I found out the origins of Dawn of the Dead by buying the original and Night of the Living Dead. I bought the 4-disc Ultimate Edition at my local Suncoast Video before it closed down. I obsessed over that film for a while, too. I started realizing how accessible these things were to me. I wanted to be George A. Romero, especially after I watched Night of the Living Dead. It dawned on me that I could make these films. If that realization doesn’t start with slasher films, it starts with zombie films, right? I wanted to be a part of the horror filmmaking process. More than anything. I was at another stand still, though. Where did I go from Night of the Living Dead? There were too many options, but I threw the blinders on as if I couldn’t explore anything else. I bought less than satisfactory zombie movies to try to quench whatever thirst I had for something remotely similar to Romero. I think my first brush with horror disappointment was The Dead Next Door, a movie I have since then come to enjoy and appreciate for it’s valiant effort and straight love of the genre it attempts to do justice. My musical taste was changing a bit, and Rob Zombie became of interest to me. And, like many of his fans, I inevitably checked out House of 1,000 Corpses. Another game changer. The cartoonish brutality and vulgarity, mixed with psychedelic colors and montages created a visual I hadn’t experienced before. Paired with it’s sequel The Devil’s Rejects, which I saw on a birthday of mine, I was engulfed. It was a done deal. I was a horror fan and no one was going to strip me of that. I started reading Fangoria magazine and Dread Central regularly. Dread Central’s “Dinner For Fiend” was my choice podcast. At one point in time, I was convinced the Foywonder was a family friend of mine. He wasn’t. These outlets allowed me to, not necessarily connect, but at least realize that there were others like me. Outside of my little coastal Connecticut town, there were people who liked horror as much, if not WAY MORE than I did. And there were also places besides the internet where you could meet these people. I went to my first convention in 2006. It was Rock and Shock in Worcester, MA. My mother took me. The first person we met was Doug Bradley. Then I met the cast of The Devil’s Rejects.
Then I bought three Troma movies. Then I bought a Motel Hell t-shirt. Then I saw a screening of Slither. Then I went to The Devil’s Rejects panel. Then, if I wasn’t hooked on horror before, I was now. I went to three more Rock and Shocks and one Monster-Mania convention (that one-and-done Connecticut installment) before going off to school. Over those years, my love for horror grew and grew. It steered me in a direction that I’m sure if I looked hard enough, I would’ve figured out way sooner than senior year of high school. I decided that I was going to study film. I had passions and I had interests, but none of them as strong as the feelings I had for filmmaking. So I applied to a couple film or communications programs. I applied to Syracuse University, I got in to Syracuse University and, in May of this year, I will be graduating from Syracuse University. Over the first two and a half years at Syracuse’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, my interest in the genre that originally got me in to filmmaking took a backseat to my education. This art school wasn’t trying to teach anybody about any horror movies. What was the point, right? It’s a genre for amateurs. George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was a B-film that shouldn’t get the recognition it gets. John Carpenter goofed around with $300,000 and got lucky that Halloween did as well as it did. Universal made monster movies because it seemed like a good idea at the time, especially between 1930 and 1932. Horror films aren’t good films. To give my professors and my school the benefit of the doubt, they did not say these things. Just this past semester, I watched a professor give a lecture specifically on John Carpenter’s use of physical space and the frontier. But from everything else they were teaching us students, horror didn’t seem to fit in anywhere. It’s a niche genre that, if you’re in film school, you certainly don’t want to be a part of. I lost touch with my roots. I felt like I had to break away from horror in order to survive and deal accordingly with being in film school. Nobody was telling me where horror fit in, and I was too afraid to ask. Horror was a lost cause to me, and it felt like I needed to pursue something else. My DVD collection at home was gathering a very thin layer of dust. I hadn’t purchased a Fangoria magazine in maybe three years. I was no longer bothering to look at horror blogs. I suppressed my longings for another horror convention due to the distance and amount of money it would take to get to one. The only bit of horror that seemed consistent in my life was my wardrobe half made up of horror t-shirts, and my Facebook news feed sprinkled with horror-related companies promoting their latest product. I arrived at the conclusion I was never going to make a horror film. It just wasn’t going to happen, and I was okay with it. I wasn’t confident that I would even do the genre justice. I loved it so much, that I didn’t want to negatively affect it. But I still loved the community deeply. So as I pushed out the thoughts of being a horror director, I started becoming a fan again reengaging myself with the horror community and the businesses that I was so fond of at horror conventions via social media. I started pushing more horror movies on my friends who didn’t know much about them, or may have been too scared to know where to start enjoying them. I pushed Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernonon on everyone I knew. I got the chance to go to one more convention
up in Syracuse, and then it all clicked. I don’t exactly know what led to that realization. It’s as if I knew it all along, but maybe as a teenager it just seemed like a phase? Or maybe as a film student, it’s something below me? None of those things were true. In fact, it was the complete opposite. I needed to figure out why the community was so open. I was experiencing the magazines, blogs, conventions, and everything else horror fans knew about. But I didn’t connect with anybody on any other level besides us experiencing the same things. I mean, I couldn’t at 15, 16, 17 years old. Yet I observed that conventions bring people, usually total strangers, together. This is where my idea for my documentary Fantasm stemmed from. Dread Central, the blog I started reading nearly six years ago, now has a post about a horror convention documentary I made as my final film thesis at SU, Fantasm. So does Shock Til You Drop, Arrow in the Head, and FEARnet. The horror community cares about its participants. It’s loving and accepting to those who want to be a part of it. It’s also always willing to witness to those who don’t know about the passion of its people. Starting to sound a bit religious, is it? Well that’s because it is. My realization is: The horror community, no matter what, will always accept you with open arms.
INDEFINITE HIATUS by reina shinohara
We’ve all heard it before. “After the tour is over, we’ll be taking some time off.” “We’re all planning to pursue other artistic endeavors and look forward to sharing those with you.” “These will be the last few tour dates for the foreseeable future.” “Thanks for all of your support, and for being part of the adventure.” And my personal favorite, “All I can say is, we are going on an indefinite hiatus.” Indefinite hiatus type break-ups are the worst, since they leave the door open for an unlikely reunion in the future (unless they’re KISS or Blink-182). It feels like you just got dumped over text, and the worst part is, you’re left with all these burning questions. “Like, WHY?!” “They were just getting so popular!” “There must have been a fight or something?” I had a conversation with my friend today about one of her favorite bands breaking up. “I’m sure they realize the number of people they’re letting down, but… It almost feels like they’re breaking up with you. Like, if it’s a band you follow and you go to shows and stuff, it feels like you’re almost in a relationship with them. And it just sucks,” she said. I couldn’t have said it better myself. When a band you like breaks up, it really does just suck. It’s sad to see an end of an era, to think that you won’t ever hear new music from this band again. It’s even worse when the band name survives, but with a whole array of new members (a la Paramore or Panic At The Disco) and a new sound. It’s like they aren’t even the band you fell in love with anymore. Together my friend and I made a list of ways we deal with a band breaking up. Most of the list consisted of crying, listening to the band non-stop, and coming up with theories about why they broke up and overanalyzing lyrics to try and figure out when it all started to fall apart. Which is basically how that guy dealt with a real life break up in “500 Days of Summer”. When a band breaks up though, one thing we forget to remember is that at least the band existed in the first place. It’s like The White Stripes said in their break-up statement: “The beauty of art and music is that it can last forever if people want it to.” I mean, the Beatles broke up almost 50 years ago, and people are STILL singing their songs, so at least you can rest assured that that band you liked that broke up never really disappears.
WANT MORE MISCREANT? Dearest Miscreants, I’m thrilled to feature Cayucas on the cover of this issue. The band has been hard at work, touring around the world for the first time. I was also excited to have this interview conducted by the lovely Cassandra. Also, as you can tell, Lizzy has unveiled an exciting new technique for her cover illustrations. She’s put together an amazing collage of fabrics to create a 3-D illustration. Many more new things to come as we continue to grow and learn! Also, I’d like to thank everyone for the excellent submissions for this issue. It’s thrilling to have so many talented and thoughtful friends contribute to every issue. I totally love Peter’s article about his favorite cheese and song pairings. We all have such unique perspectives on how we hear music, and draw so much of ourselves into it. I love to hear all of your stories. It gives me and all the Miscreant readers a new way to hear a song. That, to me, is really quite special. It’s why Lizzy and I make this zine every month. Now it’s time to get to work on the next Miscreant! Issue 45 will feature the wonderful Rubblebucket! Submissions for the zine are due October 22! No previous writing experience is required. Send in your favorite rock star Halloween costume ideas, your MLB walk out song, an interview with your mom about her favorite Heart song, anything to do with music. Email your work to email@example.com. Also send us any questions you might have about getting involved with the Miscreant! Also, look to miscreantrecords.com and the Miscreant Facebook for more info on the music you read about here and more! Check out the Miscreant video series Sad Kids Club at www.smarturl.it/SadKidsClub. And remember to read and enjoy all of the back issues of the Miscreant at issuu.com/themiscreant. Love, The Miscreant