A Conversation With porches. an interview by ian stanley
Brooklyn-based PORCHES. has had a big year, especially following the release of the wildly well-revieved full-length Slow Dance in the Cosmos. Here, band frontman Aaron Maine talks about finding meaning in “the cosmos,” the therapy of songwriting, and what lies ahead for him and his band. Listen to PORCHES. at porchesmusic.bandcamp.com. Ian: When talking about Porches. music, the tag “bummer pop” gets thrown around a lot. Is that something you’ve ever claimed? Aaron: I don’t know if I’ve ever claimed that Porches. is bummer pop…but it sort of makes sense. it’s def pop, and it’s kind of bummery, I guess; but I also like to think it has some redeeming qualities…like even though stuff is a bummer, it’s gonna be alright.
Ian: I get that when listening. One thing that helps the bummery qualities go down easy is the sense of humor that you infuse the songs with. Is keeping things relatively lighthearted important to you? Aaron: Yeah, definitely. I don’t think it always comes across, and a lot of the time I’ll listen to old songs and be like, “Jesus Christ you’re such a sap.” But I try to keep it light hearted enough because at the end of the day I’m just trying to be happy. I like the idea of writing a sad song, but having my having my self-coscience present as well being like come on dude, stop whining. does that make sense? I think the idea of struggling for happiness is so beautiful. As opposed to just writing songs that are just like, feel bad for me. Ian: Yeah it might seem contradictory to say that you’re just trying to be happy through writing sad songs, but like I said the humor is sort of the tie between the two. Aaron: Writing songs about being sad and trying to be happy is a tool I use to feel actually happy. It’s like therapy Ian: So, I sort of drew my own conclusions about what you were referring to when you refer to “The Cosmos,” but then a friend of mine mentioned that it might have some to do with Frankie Cosmos. Care to elaborate?
Aaron: Well, “the cosmos” for me means a lot of things. It was a word that me and Greta were throwing around when we first started hanging out. It seemed appropriate because everything felt so intense and heavy and beautiful and scary. It kind of stands for any overwhelming feeling…the idea of being at the mercy of the cosmos, or one with the cosmos. You know, some spacey shit. Greta started calling me Ronnie, and I started call her Frankie, after Frank O’Hara…then it became Frankie Cosmos…it just rolled off the tongue nicely. and then I wrote some songs with the word cosmos. So, “Slow Dance In the Cosmos” seemed like an appropriate title for the record. Ian: So which came first Frankie Cosmos or Slow Dance In the Cosmos? Aaron: I came up with the title Slow Dance in the cosmos after Frankie Cosmos. But I was writing some songs about the cosmos. before the name Frankie Cosmos came about…but it feels like it was all happening at once. Ian: Slow Dance came out on Exploding In Sound during a year when the label is really at the top of their game. How did you get lined up with them? Aaron: I just asked Dan if he was interested in putting out our new record. He seemed really psyched on the idea. I didn’t really know what to expect. Honestly, all I really knew about the label was that Pile and Speedy Ortiz were on it. Since then, we’ve spent a lot more time playing with the other bands on the label, and I’ve started to really feel like we’re part of something special. Ian: There definitely seems to be a sense of camaraderie among the bands on the roster. The same can be said of Double Double Whammy. You have a split coming out soon with LVL UP, yeah? How did that come about? Aaron: I’ve known the DDW boys and LVL UP boys for awhile. I guess they’re really the same boys. I met them while I was at SUNY Purchase. They have become good friends. There is a split coming out with LVL UP, our side has 2 b-sides from Slow Dance in the Cosmos on it. DDW also put out slow dance on tape…it sounds really good. Ian: I was chatting with Dave Benton a few weeks ago and he was geeking out over your
album. I supposed it was only a matter of time before you two worked together. Aaron: Yeah, I really wanted to make release a tape of the album too. It was nice to be able to ask another friend and label to do it…spread the love. Ian: So what’s your 2013 been looking like since the album came out? Been playing a lot of shows? Aaron: 2013’s been okay. We’ve been playing as often as we can. Mainly places close to home…Boston, Philly, New Paltz, Bard, Purchase…stuff like that. It’s been hard to do a legit tour because everyone has jobs. Except for me. So that is shitty. But I’m gonna put something together in February or March…a real tour. It’s the only option, and I feel like a schlub for not doing it yet. I mean, after all the work we put into it, why half-ass it now? Ian: Speaking of the band, do you still consider Porches. to be your project or does it belong to them as well? Aaron: Although I write the songs alone most of the time, I consider everyone in the band crucial. If it weren’t for them, there would be no live show. We arrange the songs together, travel together, sleep together, and make no money together. Everyone makes a lot of sacrifices in order for the band to exist. Kevin, Greta, Seiya, and Cameron are also song-writers themselves. I really appreciate their loyalty. I certainly ask a lot of them. Ian: Are you guys working on anything new? The album just came out a few months ago but I think I’m ready for another one. Aaron: I’ve got a pile of new songs that I’ve been working on in my bedroom for the past few months. I’m very excited about the next release. Ian: Do you have any idea when it will be? You’re probably in no rush what with this new 7” on its way. Aaron: Gonna take my time with it. Thinking about heading up to the business district in the spring to chill with Hunter Davidsohn and start working on some new tracks. Ian: Ok, one final question. On the album art for Slow Dance it looks like something in written in the paint and then scratched out. What’s it say? Aaron: I slopped a bunch of paint onto a piece of wood and scratched “Slow Dance In the Cosmos” and “PORCHES.” a bunch of times into it. And then scribbled or smudged it out until I got the one that looked right. It’d be funny if it said like “Ronnie is bimbo,” or something.
This issue is brought to you by adventures.
Single of the
Week Rubblebucket’s new song “Patriotic” is our single of the week! The tune comes fresh to you off the band’s newly released Save Charlie EP. The drum beat is delicious and when Kal goes up on the falsetto, your heart can’t help but skip a few beats.
Sleep Stir: The Best Album of 2013 You Haven’t Heard About by connor benincasa
You’re floating down a river, and you’re very warm. There’s more of a ceiling than a sky, but you’re unsure because your mother’s antique lamp in the corner is only lighting half the room. Perplexed by how you can simultaneously be on a river and in your bedroom, you realize you’re dreaming. Or you’re listening to Jacob Sachs-Mishalanie’s Sleep Stir. Sleep Stir manages to be one of the more thought-provoking records of 2013, while still remaining a laid-back experience. There’s nothing flashy or trendy about this record. There are no house beats, no synthpop hooks, no gritty garage-rock anthems, and no quaint tape hisses. Sleep Stir nearly defies classification. Differing greatly from Sachs-Mishalanie’s last project, a split cassette tape released with fellow Utica, NY native and long-time friend and collaborator, Bad Cello, Sleep Stir steps quietly, calmly, confidently into a realm of it’s own. The record’s unique quality lay partly in its composition. Sachs-Mishalanie wrote all of the songs on guitar, but later used the process he learned at school for writing concert music to arrange each song for three cellos, bass guitar, drums, synthesizer, voice, and celeste. Drawing influence from such diverse artists as Madlib to György Ligeti to Burt Bacharach, one almost hesitates to call Sleep Stir a pop record, though Sachs-Mishalanie himself says, “These are pop songs that I wrote. ‘Indie pop’ songs, or whatever.” Laden with simple, stripped down drum beats played with brushes, this record’s rhythmic focus lay in the three cellos whose harmonies slide and sing over each song. The vocal melodies sweep and curl around the cellos, while celeste sprinkles fairy dustings over the listener’s eyes in that space between sleeping and being awake, evoking memories of a quiet night spent in a pillow fort lit by Christmas lights, eating fortune cookies with your best friend. Lyrically, Sleep Stir remains ambiguous. The songs deal with vague subjects while managing to focus on bigger ideas. Inspired by details of everyday life with his long-time girlfriend Ashley, many of the lyrics are spliced clippings from Sachs-Mishalanie’s old journal entries. When asked about the lyrical content of the album, Sachs-Mishalanie said, “I guess to me, it just sort of represents a chunk of time of the past few years that I spent with Ash… I guess just the way our lives have been together— being semi-isolated with her, and working really hard, and relaxing really hard. It’s hard to pick out specifically what the songs are about, but it’s a general collage of life with Ash.” Unfortunately, it will be difficult to catch a live performance of Sleep Stir in the near future. The members of the ensemble Sachs-Mishalanie assembled to record Sleep Stir and play the one performance of the songs at his senior recital at SUNY Purchase are now scattered, working on respective projects. Sachs-Mishalanie is currently attending grad school in New York City and is working on wiring concert music, but says he would like to form a band in the future. For now, we are left with Sleep Stir, a deliciously ornate and modest look into Jacob Sachs-Mishalanie’s dream world, a treasure buried in a minute chest at the bottom of your little brother’s fish tank, inches and yet light-years away from the bed where you sleep. Listen to the record here: http://jsmishalanie.bandcamp.com
an interview by the miscreant Rubblebucket have had a hell of a year. After years of constantly being on the road, the band took 2013 to focus on songwriting and producing, preparing for a new record that is due out early next year. They’ve been brought on to the exciting roster of Communion Records, and granted tons of studio time and space to work. Now, the band is back on tour, previewing the fruits of their labor. Some of these new songs can also be heard on their latest effot, Save Charlie. Here the lead singer Kalmia Traver and trombonist Adam Dotson talk about their latest release, the band’s current tour map, and the exciting times that lie ahead for Rubblebucket. The Miscreant: This year has been very different for you guys. You’ve been off the road for much of it, given plenty of time to write. How has this changed your goals as a band? Adam Dotson: The quality of the songwriting in the band feels to us like its getting more focused, and truer to who we are. Being in one place where we can have our bedrooms, plants, and pet our imaginary dogs, then go write music all day, and then work all the parts out together with no time restraints feels amazing. In the past we’ve been just trying to squeeze in short spurts of creativity in the breaks of our hectic tour schedule and as a result some of the aspects of production and
recording have been a slight rush job. I think this time has made us realize that we want to keep fine tuning our creative process and write and record the best songs of our lives. The Miscreant: With more time to work on songs, how has your writing process changed? Adam: For one, its much more open. Letting ideas out and quickly. If we want to stop in the middle of working on one tune and start another thats cool. We’ll come back to the other later. Also, collaborating with other composer/songwriter friends around Brooklyn. We’ve basically been utilizing all the tools we have to bust out songs that we’re happy about. The Miscreant: Talk about your recent writing retreats, and what they’ve inspired. Where have you gone this year to write? Kalmia Traver: I’m on a writing retreat now! In my parents’ big old creaky inspiring house in Happy Valley, Vermont (yes for real!!!!). I’ve found for me personally that it’s one of the best ways to write. I get so distracted at home in Brooklyn (there’s constant 24-7 F.O.M.A. there!!) and I also have trouble jumping into group-writing sessions if I feel there’s a build-up of ideas in my brain. To get all the ideas out I have to get into my rhythm: yoga, free dance, running around nature, drawing, poetry, practicing sax+voice, and composing. I set up all the different stations and then dive in. All things co-inspire each other, and I never get bored. The Miscreant: You’ve also been working with producers in the studio. Who have you been working with? Has your recording process changed with the luxury of time? Kalmia: We have worked really hard this year to hone our recording-abilities. We have gotten a lot better at working together and sharing creatively (as a band). It’s been a concerted effort, but also in thanks to the luxurious amounts of time we’ve given ourselves. We’ve produced all of our new work ourselves, building up demos slowly, producing beats and layering in richer
and richer textures over time. We’ve also experimented with some awesome mixing engineers/ producers like Tom Biller (Fiona Apple, Warpaint, Karen O), Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend), and Nate Pyfer. It’s all a big learning process! The Miscreant: You’ve made the conscious effort as your band has grown to evolve your sound. What were some of your influences when starting to experiment with a more electronic sound, with Oversaturated and your newer songs? Kalmia: We really wanted to be crafting good solid songs. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, the Beatles (duh), inspired us, and also the strangeness/freeness of Brian Wilson, plus always the pop/r&b greats, Mariah, Ike & Tina, Aretha, MJ + Quincy Jones (who we affectionately call Quincy Joan) and all the unseen Swedish hit factory workers. The Miscreant:You have a new EP out, Save Charlie. Talk a bit about the songs on this release. Are these songs we can expect on the forthcoming full-length? Kalmia: We haven’t decided on the track listing for the new album yet, but I think we’ll probably include a couple from the EP. As we’ve been writing this year, we’ve kind of treated our songs like seeds that we water and feed, and will ultimately pick the ones that make the best bouquet. The Save Charlie tracks were a few early bloomers, and maybe a chance to test our work on people’s ears, and see if they pass the rigorous and famous dance test (they officially did, so don’t worry!) The Miscreant: You included an inspired cover of the Doobie Brothers on this release. What’s the story behind choosing “What A Fool Believes?” Adam: It’s always been a band favorite. We’ve blasted it in the van many a time. Michael McDonald’s got a voice that not everyone exactly loves. But we think he’s just a sweet little cup of
peach tea. Also, he’s a hell of a keyboardist, and he writes some damn good songs. The Miscreant: Talk about the label you’re working with, Communion. How did you get connected with them? Adam: Communion is awesome! We are psyched to be a part of their vision. We played one of their NYC showcases with them back in June or July at Rockwood Music Hall and Ben Lovett (founder of label, member of Mumford & Sons) was DJing. He said he never dances like he did to our set and seemed very excited which in turn made us very excited. The Miscreant: Your song “Came Out Of A Lady” was recently featured in the new film Drinking Buddies. What was it like to hear your music in a movie theater? Have you guys experienced anything like that before? Adam: We played on Jimmy Kimmel live once, which was definitely a crazy experience for me personally. This was our first time having anything synced to movie/game/show etc. and we were of course pretty psyched about it. I saw the trailer and that was really trippy. They used the song well in the trailer. I am sad to say that I missed it in the theaters. I think some other dude/dudettes in the band saw it though… The Miscreant: You’re currently on a Fall tour. Where are you most excited to visit? Who are you all touring with? Adam: Well, now we are mid tour, but, I think we’re all always really excited to be out west. San Francisco is a band fav. Portland’s pretty high up there as well. As far as who we’re playing with, the first bit was mostly part of a Communion Records showcase tour. We did NYC, D.C, Philly, Louisville, Bloomington, and Nashville with them and that was great. Roadkill Ghost Choir and Willy Mason we’re on that run with us and they were great. Also, we’ll be doing some shows with Body Language in the northeast in late November. Those should be cool. Other than that, a lot of different bands from night to night. The Miscreant: What else lies ahead for Rubblebucket? Adam: Full length album, tour, write more, have a beer, play festivals, write more, record, tour, buy a horse, write, record, dance, Europe, Japan, write, record, Australia, maybe just stay in Australia for a long time. North Carolina, write, write, teach, write. Drink a beer. Pet my dog. Die.
See all of the band’s upcoming tour dates here: http://www.rubblebucket.com Hear the band’s newly released Save Carlie EP here: http://spoti.fi/15FaQS0
Still Sounds like Hallelujah by mary luncsford
Winter has come early. This past week, there’s been a bite in the air and pop-up snow flurries. This is the kind of weather that prompts people to smile knowingly and say things like, “Welcome to Indiana.” The freezing temperatures made me all the more excited to see The Head and the Heart; maybe their folk sounds would warm me up. The evening started out with Portland-based band, Quiet Life. They brought the crowd to attention with their somewhat wild mix of folksy lyrics and rock sounds. Though each of their songs had a guitar solo, you can’t really blame them with three really stellar guitarists in the band. The band’s songs sound a lot like Electric Music with a bit more attitude. Their newest album comes out on October 29, and based on their live performance, should be worth a listen. Next up was Thao and the Get Down Stay Down. They brought their signature style with songs like “City” and “Holy Roller,” and at one point Thao broke into Ludacris’s “What’s Your Fantasy,” which was undeniably amazing and suggestive. They went out with “We the Common (For Valerie Bolden),” the sparkling title track off their latest album. Every member of the band seemed so entranced by the music they were making that it made it mesmerizing to watch. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down have such a distinct sound that it’s hard to categorize it, but upon hearing a song, you know it’s them. Finally it was time for The Head and the Heart. We were ready. They played a good mix of old and new songs. Having seen them after the release of their first album, it was really spectacular to notice how their sound has evolved on their latest Let’s Be Still. The newer songs have more depth of sound, but still feature the same simple and honest lyrics that really bind an audience to the artist. I happy to see that even with two really strong albums, the group has remained humble. The first time I saw them in Indy, it was at Party in the Park, and it was their biggest venue they had headlined thus far. Now they return to the city and still seemed just as happy and excited to be here. Though every part of the band has a really inviting and genuine presence, no one can beat Charity’s vibe. Out of any of the shows that I’ve been to, no one gets more love from an audience. Every solo, every violin part, the crowd radiated love. And Charity seems forever surprised by this, as if she doesn’t realize her own talent. She seems almost uncomfortable at the way the crowd fawns. During “Rivers and Roads” we got a little quieter when she sang, only to better hear her. During the encore, she told us, “I’m going to play a slow, sad song now, I hope that’s okay.” And that was fine by us. The Head and the Heart are not only great artists, but great performers. They have a casual quality about their performances, no theatrics, just music and polite conversation, and it works. It might be winter here, but we got lost in the music for hours, and ended up a little warmer than before.
LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION by cassandra baim
Awhile back I wrote a short playlist inspired by the first time I felt anything even remotely related to love. About a month ago, the teacher that inspired that list, died at the age of thirty-four, after losing a year long battle with throat cancer. I live close to eight hundred miles away from home now, but the information traveled fast. An old friend called me that same day, weeping into the phone, barely coherent, to deliver the news. I’d had so much going on in the last year that I’d barely given him much thought but upon hearing that someone I’d looked up to so much—the person who created the reader and writer I am today—is no longer here, I crumbled. I spent the next eight days in a haze. I cried daily, and sought comfort in old friends from my home that I hadn’t spoken to in over four years. As my mind began to unfog, I eased back into a daily routine and things felt different. I felt the kind of inspiration I hadn’t experienced in months, and wondered how something so awful could feel beneficial. Those tingles of inspiration felt so unusual because I thought I’d lost it for good. I moved here to do great things as a creative writer, but between starting a fifty hour a week job, finding a new place to live, and the odd copy editing gig, I felt like I lost my creative streak. I thought back to a short story I wrote a few years ago about a teenager who falls in love with her teacher, and about how I wouldn’t share it with anyone but my college professor on the off chance my old teacher
would find it and my adolescent crush would be found out. I realized with a jolt he would never read it. The fact that I could publish one of my pieces was a little innocuous thought that opened the door to me remembering why I came here: to create. Now I find my inspiration in the smallest of places. I take the train to work now, and in those thirty five minute of solitude I become so invested in my made up stories of my fellow commuters that I nearly miss my stop most days. I took a big step in becoming a true New York twentysomething and signed up for an online dating service. My dates, ranging from promising to horrifying, have provided enough comic (and sometimes insightful) material for me to start a blog with two of my old roommates. I’ve been hitting a few DIY shows and venues around here, where week after week I watch talented young people make great music without much more than a couple guitars, maybe a synth, but a whole lot of desire and drive. And of course I still hit up karaoke every Thursday. I feel a lot of anxiety every time I’m not writing. When I spend my day off sitting on a rooftop in Bushwick with a boy chain smoking cigarettes and talking about our greatest fears instead of sitting in a stuffy coffee house banging out the next Great American Novel, I feel like I’m not living up to the artistic standard I set for myself when I moved here. But my greatest inspiration is from the people around me, so I surround myself with their art (whatever it may be) because I can’t write about my life if I’m not living it. *** Here is some music that feeds and fuels my inspiration. I’m all about collaboration, so find me on Spotify and add your own selections. “First Breath After Coma” – Explosions in the Sky “Deadly Sin” – Shy Nature “When We Are Wild” – The Red River “The John Wayne” – Little Green Cars “At The Bottom of Everything” – Bright Eyes “I Was Young When I Left Home” – Bob Dylan “King of the World” – First Aid Kit “Inni Mer Syngur Vitleysingur” – Sigur Ros “So Much Beauty in Dirt” – Modest Mouse “I’ll Believe In Anything” – Wolf Parade “All I Want” – LCD Soundsystem “Cathedrals” – Jump Little Children “Bushwick Blues” – Delta Spirit “True Love Will Find You In The End” – Daniel Johnston “With Arms Outstretched” – Rilo Kiley “The Wind” – Cat Stevens “Marching Bands of Manhattan” – Death Cab for Cutie “Man on Fire” – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros “Sons and Daughters” – The Decemberists
four halloween films by kyle kuchta
Everyone has their particular horror movies that they watch during the month of October and, ultimately, Halloween. From John Carpenter’s immortal Halloween, to Michael Dougherty’s cult classic Trick ‘r Treat, and everything in between (whether they take place on Halloween or not). Here are three films that take place on Halloween that you should absolutely consider adding to your “To Watch on Halloween” queue. 4) Trick Or Treat “But Kyle, why did you suggest a film you mentioned before starting your list?” Oh no, no, no. This is Trick or Treat, a film from 1986 that has Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne as top billing (though they only play bit parts), and is about a dead Satan-worshipping rockstar coming back to Earth via possession and murder, or some shit like that. It’s insane. Lightning bolts shoot out of guitars, records are possessed, and people die. It’s a blast. This is 80s cheese. 3) Halloween III: Season of the Witch Also known as “that Halloween movie that doesn’t have Michael Myers.” Halloween III got some serious flack when it came out in 1982, and totally bombed at the box office. Then, in the mid to late-90s, there was sort of an ironic appreciation for the film and its seemingly unnecessary contribution to the franchise in which it shared its name. But the love for the film has grown more and more over the past few years, and with good reason; it’s a LOT of fun to watch. Seriously, don’t let the lack of Myers deter you away from this gem. It’s got a bit of a cheesy 80s flair (not nearly as bad as Trick or Treat), but it also has a lot of sincerity and is pretty well made flick. Without giving too much away, here’s a game to accompany the film: every time a mysterious suited man appears and there is a weird synth cue, DRINK. 2) May While not entirely a Halloween film, May is a very creepy film that has charm within its morbid subject matter. The tagline says, “If you can’t find a friend…make one,” and that alone should make you be curious as to how anyone makes friends in a horror film. Lucky McKee’s 2002 film has also started to gain a cult following, and it’s one I love to watch during the Halloween season. It stars Angela Bettis, Jeremy Sisto and Anna Farris. The “Halloween” portion of the film is an important point in the story, and sets the tone for the rest of this crazy movie. 1) Murder Party Bet you don’t know what this movie’s about! The name might be a little off-putting because of its frankness, but this a little independent feature that is fucking bonkers. A man finds an invitation to a Halloween party in a warehouse. Having no friends and no life (even his cat won’t have anything to do with him), he attends this party only to find out that it’s a bunch of artists trying to earn a grant by creating work based off of his impending murder. It has an amazing ensemble cast and a really unique story, full of humor and gore. It has easily become THE Halloween movie I recommend to people first and foremost because not nearly enough people know about this one.
ALL MY FRIENDS by tori cote
If there is something that you need to know about my college experience, itâ€™s that I have spent a lot of time in dirty basements. When all of your friends are musicians, you find yourself at a lot of shows. Sometimes these shows take place in living rooms or attics, but typically I have found myself in dirty basements. Thereâ€™s honestly nothing that compelling about these basements. All of my friends end up there; clutching either forties, wine bottles, or some sort of cheap liquor. Sometimes people make out, sometimes they mosh, but no matter what everyone is fucked up. I guess you could say that we go for the music, but we also go for the experience. Even though these shows and the bands that play practice a lot, more than anything these shows stand as a social gathering for friends. In addition to dirty basements, having best friends as musicianâ€™s means that you are kind of in the middle of it. I have lived with musicians for at least two years now, and have sat through listening parties and discussions about artwork for cassettes numerous times. I have never minded it because it allowed for me to be a part of something, and made me feel like my
input matter. Even though we all knew that the music wasn’t really for anyone besides the community, it didn’t matter. I watched my friends literally bleed for their music and they didn’t even care if they made it big or not. It was for them, their friends, and nobody else. So what happens when things work out? I have a lot of friends who do amazing things. But just recently, some of my friends started getting blogged about, a lot. They’ve been playing big shows and have been regarded as ‘that band from Syracuse’. They travel often for shows, which means we all travel for them. It’s exciting, obviously, but it’s more than that. All of a sudden this little community that I have been a part of for a very short amount of time is getting more attention than normal. It raises questions weren’t necessarily on some people’s radars before. Should we move to a bigger city? Should we quit our jobs? Etc. I think in the back of my mind, I knew that this sort of thing could happen. I go to school for music business and have a lot of talented friends, at some point or another someone was going to gain recognition for something that they were doing. But it’s still insane to be a part of the excitement. Literally, I go get drinks with my friends and people congratulate them on their accomplishments because the entire community knows. It makes me think not only what will happen to my friends and their music in the future, but also what will happen to the community of music here. My time in Syracuse has always had an expiration date, but many people my age have lives and jobs here. The music here is raw and fun, and I haven’t been to many shows here that have bored me. When a community starts to receive attention, do the people in the community feel pressure to move to a bigger city in order to see where their music can go? Then what happens to the community? There are a lot of ‘if’s’ in the equation that no one really knows the answers to. Obviously one band doesn’t necessarily change an entire community, but I’m starting to think that maybe it has some sort of power to get things going. Even though I’m proud of my friends, not just the ones receiving attention, I’m starting to realize that these little projects people have all have potential. Every time someone has an idea and a voice backed with talent, there’s a possibility. There are obvious factors that put some ahead more than others, but it made me realize not to take for granted the talent that surrounds me everyday. I don’t want to be cheesy, but I also don’t think I know how not to be anymore. I am proud and excited for everyone and everything. I am filled with hope, but I also am content with everything my friends have achieved in all of their respective works. From zines to music, we’re all just trying to be heard.
a riot grrrl manifesto by reina shinohara
If there are two things I like to read about on the Internet, it’s feminism and music. That being said, I’ve read every take on Miley Cyrus and I’ve noticed some people mentioning Riot Grrrls every now and then. If you haven’t read the Riot Grrrl Manifesto yet, I think it’s an interesting read, and I know punk music isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but trust me, it’s worth a listen. I remember when I was applying to colleges, I was looking at a lot of schools with specific music industry programs, and one professor took one look at me and commented that he thought it was interesting that I wanted to go into an industry that is mostly a male-dominated field. What even? I mean true, if you look at Billboard’s Power 100, men vastly outnumber women, but that doesn’t mean that women aren’t important in the industry. As I sit here listening to Le Tigre, I’m wondering why powerful women in the industry are such a problem for a lot of people. I mean, take Miley Cyrus. I know this is a touchy subject, but let’s talk about all of the responses to her VMA performance and that “Wrecking Ball” business. She’s just broken up with her boo, flaunting her hot bod on stage, and she’s more popular than ever. And somehow I think that scares a lot of people. She doesn’t need a man to keep her relevant or popular and she’s taking control of her body and it’s freaking everyone out. And a lot of the responses that you can find to this are by FEMALE authors shaming her and calling her out for being a bad role model. She’s disrupting the status quo and it’s opening up the opportunity for a meaningful conversation about women in the music industry. And yet all people seem able to do is slut-shame her for prancing around in her underwear? It’s such a problem that in our society, we so often pit girls against each other. If you dance around on stage in your underwear, or you write entire albums about boys (I’m looking at you, Taylor), people have a problem with it. And so often the people who have the biggest problems with it are other women. It’s more than just being angry with a society that tries to tell us girls are inferior, but it’s also about not being okay with a society that turns women against each other over silly things, steering us away from fostering a supportive and encouraging scene for girls. “Tell us about your experience as a woman in the industry,” shouldn’t be a common question that we hear when a woman lecturer comes in to speak, and we shouldn’t have to have to get advice for girls looking to go into a “male-dominated” industry. The Riot Grrrl Manifesto says, “we are interested in creating non-heirarchical ways of being AND making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.” But it’s so hard when we live in a society that is BASED on competition and good/bad categorizations. And if you’re reading this, please don’t dismiss it as some crazy angry feminist rant. I think these are actual important things to think and talk about.“I believe with my wholeheartmindbody that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will change the world for real” (from the Manifesto). And I really hope you do too.
Lessons From Shirley Manson by olivia cellamare
I’ve always wanted to be brave; I can type my thoughts about music and write about my disdain for all the inequality in the world without a problem. To vocalise them, I really struggle. I don’t know what it is, but given the chance to speak I just freeze and turn away. I’m not as bad as I once was; the older I get, the less I care for what others may think or say about me. I’m not someone who does anything worth having an opinion on though. I wish I was taller than my 5’2” frame, of course I wish I was 2 sizes smaller than I am. I cannot change my height but the latter I am working on. I found a voice in a band at a very young age. More to the point, aside from Morrissey (who appealed to my sensitive side) I found someone (other than Patti Smith) to be my source of courage when I was being the cowardly lion in the background. For me, Shirley Manson remains one person I’ll forever look up to. Since 95/96 I have idolised her fiery locks and honest ways. She’s beautiful to the core because she speaks up. She is the voice of those who are battling with themselves on a daily basis. Many are, of course, afraid to be honest. But Shirley Manson is honest in a way that isn’t threatening nor does she belittle anyone. She’s the underdog but has a wealth of respect from her peers and those who are starting their own scene.
I’m all for lyrics and being able to recite them word for word.; what I love the most about Shirley Manson’s lyrics is that you know she has lived them out. She’s been through hell and back, and is still here. Much like Courtney Love; they’ve been dragged through shit kicking and screaming but they are still here. If it wasn’t for women as brave as them, there would be such a loss within music. We’d be lacking something truly beautiful and much needed. It is obvious who Shirley Manson has influenced. You can sense her fragile words in Dum Dum Girls songs and you can hear her boldness in the likes of Emily Haines (Metric.) She’s influenced females around the world in the RIGHT way; to use their voice to be heard, to not sell themselves out in order to please others. Beauty comes from how you carry yourself, and of course Shirley can feel as vulnerable as the next person- but when you see how she carries herself in interviews and on stage, you will see a woman who is in control and will not stand for your bullshit. Where many wish to shy away from speaking up and being honest, Shirley’s words have guided many through the perils of being a teenager to the drags of being an adult. I learnt from a very young age to not fall for things that were conventional or typical; it’s probably why Punk owns my heart. Shirley has that Punk mentality that I eventually became aware of in my teens. The angst she carried around with her is similar to the angst we may have carried upon our shoulders throughout our teenage years. To be able to come through to the other side and to be able to tell your own story makes you tougher than you can imagine, it just takes some time to realise it. Folks like Shirley Manson remind you to let the ugly feelings in, speak from the heart and to always remember; The Trick Is To Keep Breathing.
somewhere on a roof by rafael grafals
I’d consider this year’s CMJ mostly a success. Nearly every band I caught did an excellent job and I didn’t go to one showcase that could be described as particularly bad. What really made it for me this year, however, was closing off the week with this fantastic showcase by Orchid Tapes. Warren and Brian invited us all up to their rooftop to share some music and general good vibes. In between all the hugs and smiles a few artists came on to play some really great sets. Foxes in Fiction: Warren kicked off the showcase himself playing a short but tight set of songs. I caught Warren at CMJ last year and the growth in his live show is unbelievable. Transitions felt more on point and songs in general felt full and detailed. We also got a sneak peek at some new Foxes in Fiction material as he progressed through his set and even those tracks felt just as well rehearsed as everything else he played. It was a particularly dreamy set, one of the dreamier sets that night and I loved every second of it. Home Alone: Making his US debut, Home Alone played a set filled with songs that teetered between more ambient and beat driven tracks and ones that would be better described as singer songwriteresque. Despite the shift in song type everything sort of felt at home in the context of Tom’s performance. While this definitely has to do with the way he constructs these songs, perhaps another part of it was just the lovable, goofy nature Tom had on stage. Between songs he was saying things like “Four Visions is dope, and so is this chronic” and “I love the 90s.” It’s pretty safe to say his set was undeniably fun but he gave each song the attention and care it deserved. There was a perfect balance going on there. Four Visions: Four Visions was the only artist playing that day that I wasn’t familiar with. Well, sort of. Daniel Abary, the man behind Four Visions, was also the force behind an older project called Sight Seeing. I had been a huge fan of the material Sight Seeing put out but somehow managed to miss Daniel’s transition into Four Visions. Regardless, Four Visions’ material, as well as his set, was great. While Sight Seeing focused more on hazy, surfy rock tracks it seems that lyrics are a much bigger focus in Four Visions. Daniel played a small set of tracks closing with two from his recently released tape, Hazy Past. Both songs on the tape are lovely and the live performances for both of those songs retained that charm. Daniel came off as soft, sweet, and even a bit timid but it all played well with the material he was presenting us with. All in all it was a great set and made me want to look up his material immediately (which I didn’t regret at all). Julia Brown: Coming through with an acoustic set, Maryland’s Julia Brown got all of us sitting on the roof in a
big semicircle as they played a collection of, not only Julia Brown songs, but Starry Cat, Teen Suicide, and Infinity Crush songs as well. There was something really nice about hearing these songs in an acoustic setting. All the previous Julia Brown (and Teen Suicide) shows I attended were full band and plugged in but in this stripped down setting all of these songs seemed to be a whole lot more lovable, if that makes sense. Maybe it also had to with the way we all sat together around them for their set but there was something extra in that performance that felt nice. Also worth noting is that Sam handed out a few keyboards for people in the audience to play with at the end of I was my own favorite TV show the summer my TV broke. Very cool. Mister Lies: Mister Lies, aka Nick Zanca, closed the showcase with a fantastic set, even if it was cut short due to rain. Nick performed a few cuts from his recently released record, Mowgli, but what really made the set for me was the previews of newer songs he shared. While Nick claims they were still in very early stages, referring to them more as ‘sketches’ than completed songs, what he did share was great. Not to spoil any surprises but on these newer tracks we have Nick on vocals singing over more stripped down and minimal beats than we’re used to hearing from him, though I guess that makes sense. It was unfortunate that some light rain cut his set a bit short but what I did hear was amazing and definitely left me excited for whatever Mister Lies has planned next.
photos by filip zemcik 26
POST-CMJ MIXTAPE by joe makowski
CMJ 2013 was, for me, a sixty hour tear through lower Manhattan and Williamsburg that included the daytime conference events, one or two free meals, and a handful of the greatest showcases I’ve ever seen. This playlist is composed of my highlights from the festival. 1. Hunters – “She’s So” I’ve been dying to see Hunters play live since I picked up their first EP in the fall of 2011. CMJ marked the second set I’ve caught this year and I’ve been blown away on both occasions. Their effortless cool and Izzy’s stage presence are the tops. She was a whirl of pink hair and high kicks, while slight technical difficulties and a few broken strings did nothing to slow down Derek and the rest of the band. 2. Ex-Cult – “Shade of Red” Honestly, I forgot these guys were going to be at the Panache showcase until I showed up. I loved the LP and was expecting a solid bout of rock and roll, but was pleasantly surprised by the oldschool hardcore aesthetic of frontman Chris Shaw as well as the can of Budweiser that I was doused with during this set. 3. Joanna Gruesome – “Candy” Few other bands achieved this Wales outfit’s level of hype during CMJ this year. Every person I know was flocking to their shows and raving about the performance. I managed to catch up with the kids at the Portals showcase at Shea Stadium and completely lost my shit during their cover of “Tugboat”. Whoa, dude. 4. Pity Sex – “Wind-Up” This was a moment of atonement for me as I had previously seen PS at one particularly shitty venue back in Rochester. Hearing them properly mixed was beautiful. I bought four buttons because I only had a dollar and slobbered all over Brennan because he was wearing an Ovlov shirt. Sorry about that. 5. Crocodiles – “She Splits Me Up” I was technically too young to get into this day party but please don’t tell my mom. This was my first time seeing the boys play live and I thought they totally killed it. I’ve been told that they used to be preoccupied by their image, but the only thing I experienced was bliss. 6. The Denzels – Black Girls These fellows were some of the unsung heroes of the festival. The Denzels have always been phenomenal and somehow still looked like they were having fun at the close of the week. The only downside was that, for whatever reason, nobody else at Arlene’s seemed inclined to dance. Chumps. 7.Ski Lodge – Big Heart Normally, I have reservations about hanging around for bands like this (Ski Lodge, The Drums, Real Estate et. al) because I’m always worried that their live performances will be a snoozefest. In reality, I’m a weenie and they totally rule. Do yourself some good and buy this record. This playlist on Spotify: http://goo.gl/XjM1Bm
win butler’s prom by caitlin lytle
Win Butler throws one hell of a party, something I learned last Saturday at a warehouse in Brooklyn. Arcade Fire has been a band close to me for some time now, as I was there for their Grammy win and their Coachella headlining time, and the release of The Suburbs. I was lucky enough this summer to listen to the unreleased album in the office I interned for and ever since have waited for my second taste of it. Reflektor, due out on the 29th, is something the band has been working on for far too long (in this eager fans’ eyes), but last weekend I got that second little taste. With an extended break from the live scene these past few years, Arcade Fire has come back as The Reflektors throwing “warm ups” or rather epic parties to show off new material. Those who preordered the album received codes to purchase tickets, something I was lucky to have done. My warm up was Saturday and not only was it a warm up for the band, but also their fans to welcome this new era of Arcade Fire. The warehouse show itself was huge, roughly 3,000 people all in mandatory formal attire or costumes with plenty of ‘David Bowies.’ The party started with a barren stage and the band in the audience dancing around in the big heads mingling with the audience, in not your typical fan interaction. From there as the band removed itself from the crowd, there was a change in the air of uncertainty and excitement. And then there was James Murphy the legend himself to introduce his friends and fellow artists Arcade Fire, but they would not perform that evening, The Reflektors would entertain us we were told. And then in a moment of mass confusion the warehouse was dark and the far curtain fell revealing a full stage for the band in the opposite corner. In a mad dash everyone was running and dancing together, as one as it was every man for him self to the actual stage. The new songs were played, sounding better than I remember, and there were the “Arcade Fire Covers” that cause everyone to sing and dance to one another in a way I have never seen strangers interact, especially strangers who all look like they have been at their senior prom. If I could comment on the songs I would, but truthfully now it was all a blur probably from the constant adrenaline that was rushing through me at the time, or the disbelief I was even there. Arcade Fire is one of those bands that will never disappoint me, and this was no exception. The evening finished with a DJ set and dance party with the band and audience of indie darlings, including Michael Cera and some Vampire Weekend dudes, everyone dancing with each other, complete strangers all friends for a night. When I recall the evening it still doesn’t even seem real, but rather one of my better thought up dreams. I think it is safe to say everyone is more than warmed up for this new Arcade album, possibly their most mature yet.
creating an atmosphere by colleen bidwill
Have you ever caught yourself closing your eyes and getting chills while listening to one of your favorite songs? Guilty. That feeling is what Dauntel Givens aims to give others in every track he makes. No lyrics to focus on. Just a beat and the atmosphere it creates. “There is nothing more satisfying than having a song express exactly how you feel note-for-note without having any words in it,” Givens said. “Sharing that feeling with others is what I live for.” For Givens, music has always been a way to express himself. It calmed down the four-year-old who would move around and wiggle to house and trance music. It soothed and guided the teenager through his angsty teenage years when all his anger and frustration would build up and be unable to be let go. And for the now 21-year-old, it still connects with him on a different level than anything else. It still calms. It still sooths. It still guides. It still continues to give him the opportunity to release creativity, inspiration and emotion. And it shows. Sometimes, talent is natural, an effortless voice when they part their lips or fingers on an instrument that just know exactly where to go. Sometimes, talent is self-taught, hard work and grueling over a sheet of music or turntable until every note is pitch perfect. But, passion can’t be taught. It can’t be faked. It can’t be bought. You can just tell. You just know. And with Givens, it’s undeniable. It’s the places his music grabs us and yanks us into. Our own little world where it’s easy to tune out everything like the day-to-day stresses and just loose oneself completely. How even without
words or anything to easily emotionally latch onto, you’re hooked. It’s obvious when he starts to talk about music. How he never delves into technical jargon or even specific tracks, but rather the impact it’s had on him and the impact he wants and hopes to make on others. As a musician, Givens has been performing since the 4th grade. But Promatx, his DJ stage name, first spun live when he was 18-years-old. He performed in 2010 at a Palo Alto club for tweens not much younger than himself. It was nerve wracking. A lot can change in three years. As Givens describes it, life has “changed completely.” Performing used to be spinning at friends’ house parties. Now, it’s playing in front of more than 600 people at a time in clubs and festivals like Beyond Wonderland. But his favorite performance thus far was this year at Electric Forest in Michigan. After winning a contest, he was flown out by Insomniac to play for them. The crowd had unbelievable energy and the set went so well, they let him perform for an extra hour. “I could’ve died that night and been the happiest guy on earth,” Givens said. When describing his music to others, the words he would use are “euphoric,” “progressive” and “bass.” He released some of his original work in 2012 on The Black Sun. The EP was his first public label release, and a chance for people to buy his music from around the world. Givens recalls being nervous that no one would like the tracks. The entire album ended up being #8 in the “Beatport Top 100 Releases.” “You could imagine the look of shock that was on my face when I found out,” Givens said. “All I kept thinking was, ‘Where did all these awesome people come from?’” That comment made me smile. Because while I feel that music for him can sometimes be a cathartic release, like it was especially in his teenage years, he makes this for us. He connects us all with an invisible thread, each relating what it means to us. One day he hopes to be traveling across the world playing alongside trance producers that he grew up listening to, while sharing positive energy and great music with fans around the world. One of which would be a dream collaboration with Armin Van Buuren, who has influenced him for the past 7 years. He’s making steps towards that dream with two new EP’s coming out, one which will be selfreleased on his own label and another with a label that he can’t name just yet. Finally, he will no longer perform with the name Promatx and will move forward under Daun Giventi for trance and heavier house genres and bass music under AIKAB. And the beat goes on.
WANT MORE MISCREANT? Dear Miscreants, First of all, thank you for all of the amazing submissions to this issue. It was great to feature PORCHES. and get the lowdown on the excellent CMJ happenings. The Orchid Tapes showcase was especially fun, surrounded by friends on a beautiful autumn day. It was really great to be there. Also, I love Tori’s piece dedicated to her friends making art and music. It’s imperative to all champion one another on this crazy ride, as we all go out and grow up and make something. Speaking of, it was amazing to have our friends Rubblebucket on the cover of this issue. These are some of the hardest working and strongest people I have met, and it’s been amazing to get to know them during this exciting and challenging time. I cannot wait for the new fulllength to come out next year, as Save Charlie is one of my favorite bits of 2013. They put on an unmatched live show as well, so be sure to catch them at Music Hall or The Wescott or whatever venue you’re near that they’re coming to. And now, folks, it’s time to get to work on issue 46, which will feature our first ever Miscreant comedian, Eugene Mirman! We’re honored to have him on, as he’s legendary in music as well as stand up. Submissions for the zine are due November 19! No previous writing experience is required. Send in your 90s radio DJ playlists, your interview with your boss about their favorite hair metal band, your love letters to Lou Reed, anything to do with music. Send your submissions in by the deadline to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. My love, The Miscreant