in this issue page 4
the punk that saved christmas olivia cellamare lists her favorite songs of the season
for my mother cassandra dedicates a few songs to her mom
an interview with radiator hospital the miscreant asks sam cook-parrott about the philly-based band
the hardest way mary luncsford explains her love for â€œooh la laâ€? by the faces
we look to you, king bey katie young takes a look at the best of beyonce in 2013
a conversation with kevin allison colleen bidwill interviews the comedian and podcast host
the cardboard butcher production shots and stills from jimbo matisonâ€™s latest music video for the bloodthirsty butchers
a q&a with dean cercone andi wilson talks dean about his music and painting
podcast recommendations marc sollinger offers him his favorite podcasts
songs for your butt tori cote loves butts and she thinks you should too
dreamboats in dreamboats wesley wren loves on his favorite hoosier duo
more cassette essentials rafael grafals talks about his favorite tape releases of late
my top 5 of 2013 ben houck recounts his favorite albums from the past year
the punk that saved christmas by olivia cellamare
I used to really hate Christmas, but when you have a girlfriend who loves Christmas more than a child probably does, it’s kind of hard to not enjoy it. A few weeks ago I was stood in John Lewis (massive UK shop that sells pretty much everything) and I went to the Christmas section and declared my love for Christmas without caring who heard. Other shopping centres have yet to match up to what John Lewis made me feel. But that’s alright. There’s one thing about Christmas that really annoys me, and that is of course, Christmas songs. So I decided as this is the season to be jolly and all that- I’d pick some songs that aren’t typically festive. Besides, anything typical or conventional is boring. Iggy Pop – “White Christmas” // Okay, so he sounds like a drunk relative trying to prove that they can sing. But it’s Iggy Pop and he can do no wrong. Sure he adds a tiny bit of misery to White Christmas. Thing is, if he made a video to this, you just know it’d be the most messed up thing ever. Maybe he’d be wearing a nice Christmas jumper. Or maybe he’s just have a strand of mistletoe somewhere you don’t want to go (I’m really sorry). It’d just be brilliant. Iggy: The Punk That Saved Christmas. Best Coast & Wavves – “Got Something For You” // If you feel like going surfing on Christmas day, then have this song playing as loud as you can. The song doesn’t even last 2 minutes, but what I love about it is that, Bethany brings calmness to the song and Nathan just flips it around. When two bands you love come together to make something like this, it kind of sways your opinion of Christmas I suppose. And I’m trying really hard to not talk about Mariah Carey. Patti Smith – “We Three Kings” // If anyone is going to offer you some spiritual guidance at Christmas, it might as well be the Queen of MusicPatti Smith. Her version of We Three Kings is like some kind of awakening for the soul. Regardless of what she is singing about, you can always feel every single emotion possible when you listen. Her music can make you cry out of pain or sheer joy. Her music is just everything to me. Summer Camp – “Christmas Wrapping” // My love for Summer Camp is out of my hands. Ever since I heard I Want You a few years ago, it just went crazy. They’ve covered a song that starts with “bah humbug!” which is always a delight to hear, but the thing is most Christmas songs are really miserable. From Bon Jovi to East 17- most Christmas songs are about loss. I thought this was the part of the year where we’re meant to be happy?!Well, some of the greatest songs written are quite miserable. Elizabeth and Jeremy’s vocals are just perfect together, making a shit Christmas song listenable is quit hard to do but of course, they did it.
The Crystals – “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” // Let’s ignore all the bad Phil Spector did briefly and just enjoy just how much of a genius he was. The Crystals will always be one of the greatest girl groups ever. Their songs made you want to join in with them, even if your vocals did sound...questionable. I suppose Santa Claus Is Coming To Town is my favourite Christmas song, in a sort of traditional sense. The whole Phil Spector Christmas record is amazing and it is perfectly alright to play it any time of the year. The Crystals capture the sheer joy that is found in Christmas with their version of this song. PINS – “Kiss Me Quickly (It’s Christmas)” // PINS have put out a Christmas tape this year on their Haus Of Pins label. All the bands involved are just incredible. From Brown Brogues to September Girls. It’s the kind of tape you can imagine trudging through the snow and harsh cold to. PINS’ song is eerie and dark. It has a feel of solitude to it, but isn’t overbearing. They’ve proven that Christmas songs don’t have to be dull and lifeless with this release. And of course, you don’t have to play it just at Christmas! The Kills – “Silent Night” // Two of the best things in life are Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince. Their stripped back and haunting version of Silent Night is just gorgeous. When it is just Jamie with his acoustic guitar, Alison’s voice seems more vulnerable. You pick up on every trembling word that falls graciously from her mouth. I guess if all Christmas songs had this sense of fragility to them, I’d probably enjoy them more. In a way, as morbid as this may sound, their take on Silent Night can make you think about the loneliness that can surround this time of year for a lot of people. The Ramones – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight)” // Taken from their hugely underrated record, Brain Drain, the Ramones turned Christmas punk with this awesome song. Joey is the greatest frontman of all time. You can imagine him thrashing his mic stand back and forth as he unleashes this festive delight. What I like about this song is that, although it’s a Christmas one- it still has that Ramones sound to it. A sound that defined a generation and inspired others. Play it as loudly as you can and pretend you’re Joey Ramone. Mariah Carey – “All I Want For Christmas Is You” // I JUST REALLY LOVE MARIAH CAREY. I couldn’t leave this song out. There are others I could easily have mentioned in place of this overplayed song. But, I just love Mariah Carey. I love the video to it, I love the song. I just want to always hear some 90s Mariah playing. I don’t need to go into detail as to why this song is just fabulous. Crocodiles & Dum Dum Girls – “Merry Christmas, Baby (Please Don’t Die)” // THIS. THIS IS THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS SONG. EVER. I’ve played it in the summer, whenever. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a bloody good song. Everyone knows how much I love these two bands. My girlfriend got me the cassette of this song last year. She’s against buying me the 7” this year. It’s $30 I think. Maybe more. It’s alright. I can still play it obnoxiously loud regardless of it being Christmas or not. It’s a chaotic Christmas song that I’ll never grow tired of playing. Their vocals and the fuzzy sounds are just as beautiful as ever. It makes you want to grab someone and sing as passionately as you can along with Brandon and Dee Dee.
This issue is brought to you by parents.
Single of the
Week The closing track off of Radiator Hospital’s Mall Of America, “Venus of the Avenue,” is this issue’s pick for single of the week! It’s an epic finale, a song you listen to at the end of a party or on a long walk. Enjoy the whole record on the Radiator Hospital bandcamp page!
for my mother by cassandra baim
My mom and I didn’t have much to talk about when I was a teenager. Like most adolescents, I thought the world was out to get me, and I thought that my parents were the ones primarily holding me back. Every time I screamed at my mom from across the kitchen something about how she didn’t understand me, or she was too old-fashioned and conservative, or she didn’t care that I was so unhappy, she would raise her eyebrows, shake her head and tell me I didn’t know the first thing about teenage rebellion. Fights with my mom wouldn’t last, because they would all end that way. I would roll my eyes and retreat to my bedroom and she would shake her head and go back to her artwork. One summer, my mom heard “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” on the radio, and she fell in love instantly. She came home with a copy of Plans the next day. By the time I was supposed to start school in August, we’d completely worn out the CD. In the following four months, she would become obsessed with not just Death Cab for Cutie, but also The Shins, The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, and My Morning Jacket. (to name a few). My mom and I would fall in love with these bands together. She would pick me up from school and we would squeal with delight when we would hear Vampire Weekend on the radio. I would come home from a late night out to see her in front of our kitchen television, waiting to tell me about Iron & Wine’s performance on Conan. Every week until I graduated high school, my mom would tell me about a new band she just fell in love with, and would beg me to make her CDs with my own favorite songs. Finally, after years of arguing and never seeing eye to eye (despite our equal stature), we’ve formed a bond, just in time for me to head off to college over seven hundred miles away. I realize more and more each day how similar my mom and I are. We’re timid but possessive, terribly afraid of confrontation and likely to cry at the drop of a hat. But my mom raised me as a Beatles listener, an avid reader, and a Star Wars fanatic. She taught me to be proud of my taste. When I left for college, she sought solace in the Twilight series. I could be ashamed that my middle aged mother is reading some young adult vampire romance series, or I can look to her as an example as someone who loves what they love, no matter what anyone else says. I would never dream of talking to my mother about sex or boys, but we’ve had long and tireless conversations about our favorite musicians and authors and their drug habits. I’ve been thinking about my mom a lot lately. About a month and a half ago, my grandmother died pretty suddenly. My mom, who (much like myself) has never been able to handle a crisis very well, kept the tears in her voice to a minimum as she told me not to worry about making it back to Chicago for the funeral—everyone would understand. I so desperately wanted to be there for her, but my “I’m so sorry”s and “Let me know what else I can do”s seemed so empty and worthless. I didn’t know what to do. So I made her a mixtape. “Losing My Religion” – R.E.M. “Casimir Pulaski Day” – Sufjan Stevens “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” – Death Cab for Cutie “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac “I Was Young When I Left Home” – Bob Dylan
“The Wind” – Cat Stevens “The Only Living Boy In New York” – Simon and Garfunkel “Dearest” – Buddy Holly
radiator hospital an interview by the miscreant
Nothing beats a band that sounds like home. Radiator Hospital is most certainly writing warm and inviting rock music, some loud and summer, some slow and wrapped in scarved. Their songs are filled with wonderfully familiar imagery of dogs in backyards and suburban streets. The Philly-based band boasts lots of heart and gumption. The band has released two wonderful full-lengths this year while consistently hitting the road and playing shows all over the country. Theyâ€™ve just got that something that makes you feel like driving around your hometown. Here, frontman Sam Cook-Parrott talks about local scenes and record labels, the making of the latest Radiator Hospital records, Something Wild and Mall Of America, and what lies on the horizon for the band. Be on the look out for the bandâ€™s tape release of Mall Of America, out next year by our friends at Double Double Whammy. 8
The Miscreant: When did you first start writing music? How did you all come together as a band? Sam Cook-Parrott: I’ve been writing songs since I could string 2 chords together, probably since I was 14 or 15? We came together when I first moved to Philly in the fall of 2012. Jeff had played drums in Radiator Hospital when we both lived in MI, and I knew Jon from MI before I moved and I knew Cynthia too so we already were planning on doing it when I moved here. I think we had our first practice like the day after I moved to town.
The Miscreant: Before living in Philadelphia, you were in Grand Rapids. What do you miss most about the Midwest? Where are your favorite places to visit when you’re back in your hometown? Sam: Definitely miss all my friends and being close to my family. Favorite places to go are Vertigo Music which is one of the best record stores in the country, Jonny B’z which has killer vegan hot dogs and free pinball, and friends’ houses and stuff.
The Miscreant: As an active member in the DIY scene in Philly, what are your favorite parts about the city? Where are your favorite places to play in the city, and who are bands you play with? Sam: I love West Philly, it’s small enough and neighborhood-y and doesn’t feel like living in a crazy big city. Golden Tea House is probably our favorite spot to play, we played there like 4 times in a month this past summer haha. Some of our favorite Philly bands are Ghost Light, the Ambulars, the Holidays, Batty, and Swearin’.
The Miscreant: In releasing your music, you’ve worked with several labels, including Salinas Records and Forward Records. How did you get connected with all of these different folks? Sam: Usually just naturally through playing shows and doing stuff. Forward got in touch with me about doing something so I whipped up some songs for a 7” with them. We’ve known Marco at Salinas for a long time and I can’t remember if we asked him about it or if he asked us but yeah basically we were just stoked to work with him because he puts out a lot of awesome records and is one of the best dudes around. I like working with a lot of different people and putting out records with different people because it’s fun to branch out and mix it up.
The Miscreant: Talk a bit about the recording process of your latest record, Mall Of America. How does it compare to the recording of your summer release, Something Wild?
Sam: Well, Something Wild had a few songs that were recorded just by me in my room, but was mostly a full band rock and roll affair and was recorded much more hi-fi by our friend Kyle. Mall of America was very much like, all just me sitting around spending too much time alone and writing and recording a bunch of stuff and not really caring if things aren’t perfect. I was just excited to mess around with different types of songs and experiment with different sounds and stuff. With SW there were songs that we had been playing as a band for 6 months, and with this record most of the songs I wrote and recorded on the spot and can barely remember the words when I try to sing them live haha.
The Miscreant: The final song on Mall Of America, “Venus of the Avenue,” represents some pretty significant themes in your music. How does this song sum up the record as a whole? Sam: It’s sort of a song about never being satisfied and always working and chasing after this unattainable muse. Mall Of America is much less focused on a theme in my mind than Something Wild, which is largely a record about trying to find a grand romantic love and building up this dream vision of a soul mate that doesn’t exist. “Venus Of The Avenue” is sort of about that fictional character too, but it’s also about how it drives us to create art and music, in this desperate pursuit to find meaning in our dreams. Mall Of America as a whole isn’t about that, but it’s me working though that process, and “Venus Of The Avenue” is sort of a reflection on that and on all of the music we made in 2013. I felt that it was kind of a nice song to close out a very productive year for me.
The Miscreant: On your blog, you’ve recently spoken about writing music for yourself. Talk a bit about the challenges you faced when writing Mall Of America. Sam: Well, really before I had even started Mall Of America, I had this sort of great fear of what it meant to follow up a record (Something Wild) that I felt was very artistically satisfying and also was getting us more attention than we had gotten before. I was nervous about doing something that lived up to the hype. And once I started doing Mall Of America all of that just completely went away and I remembered how much I loved making music and recording and stuff. I am really glad I chose to do it this way, not to try and follow up Something Wild with a “bigger and better” record but instead to just do something different, to explore a different aspect of Radiator Hospital in a new way. I’ve made plenty of records that are sonically similar to Mall Of America, but I don’t feel as though making a record like that is “going backwards” or something, I just feel that, this is what I do and
this is how I write and make music. And I will do more records like this and more records like Something Wild and hopefully completely different records than both. But I’m not going to be concerned with which sound people like best or with what people think is a “real” record, I’m just going to keep making the music that I am moved to make.
The Miscreant: How did these challenges differ from writing Something Wild, and the records that came before? Sam: Making Something Wild wasn’t as much of a challenge; in fact it was really easy. Honestly every record I’ve made has been easy and natural even Mall Of America, there was just a pressure that I was feeling, that was largely self-imposed, to make a solid follow-up to Something Wild, to keep getting bigger and better. I’ve just started to take a step back and realize that I am in a very good place and am very happy with what I’ve accomplished with my music and I don’t need to be concerned with being better, instead I’m just working on doing what makes me happy.
The Miscreant: What other projects have you found yourself involved in since starting Radiator Hospital? Sam: When I first started Radiator Hospital in 2010, I was very active in a bunch of different bands in the Grand Rapids area. Since moving to Philly I moonlighted on bass in a couple different bands for a while but have mostly been focusing on Radiator Hospital. I’m still on the fence as to how I feel about that, I would love to be playing more music with people in different bands but also wouldn’t be doing nearly as much Rad Hos stuff so it’s a double-edged sword.
The Miscreant: What else lies ahead for Radiator Hospital? Sam: Trying to tour a bunch in 2014 and also going to do another LP which will be very “ROCK AND ROLL.” Other than that just hanging out living our lives and having fun and eating sesame tofu from Lucky’s.
Listen to Radiator Hospital on their Bandcamp: http://radiatorhospital.bandcamp.com 11
the hardest way by mary luncsford
The thing you should know is that I don’t even like Rod Stewart. It’s always funny to notice how some songs just pop into my life and mean something they never did before. As if the universe is reminding me of some insight I missed the first time around. During my first semester of college I wrapped myself in Paul Simon, Bastille, and Ben Howard, but none of those artists seemed to hit home like Faces. And not just any Faces song. “Ooh La La.” This is one of those songs everyone has heard at some point, but for me it just keeps coming up. The first time I heard it this semester was while I was waiting for the bus on Kirkwood and Indiana. Through the sweltering heat, I heard a car stereo blasting “Ooh La La,” and the passengers were shouting to the chorus. The sky was blue, and things were still new and frenzied. Classes hadn’t begun and I was wandering around town, trying to make sense of everything, and here came this song I hadn’t heard in ages that was so familiar and brand new at the same time. The second time I happened upon this tune was very late at night. I had met this kid in my third week of school and we discussed how much we loved Wes Anderson movies. He told me I had to watch Rushmore. I was so excited to actually be making a friend who liked the same stuff I did. We walked home from the radio station together and I felt full of possibilities. Maybe people would surprise me here after all. Maybe things wouldn’t be so bad. As it turns out, that kid was a total ass, but for that fifteen minute walk, I was happy to have someone to converse with. I did end up watching Rushmore one night a couple of weeks later. The movie was nearly perfect, but what really made it stick with me was the very last scene. The chords begin and time slows down. Everyone dances. It’s magical. I sat there in my bed marveling at the coincidence. I think I love this song so much because it’s such an accurate portrayal of being young. On the surface, it’s about how women will screw you over, but to me, it’s about learning as you go. It’s about wishing for insight that only comes when you live through it. I wish I knew what I was doing here. I wish I knew that all of this was going to be worth it in some way. I wish I just knew now everything that takes a lifetime to learn. But no one can. Older people tell me to give it time. Their insight allows them the perspective that escapes me in this moment. Just like Max in Rushmore, I’ve got to figure it out for myself, and as Rod so eloquently points out, there’s only one way. “You’ll have to learn just like me, and that’s the hardest way.” Ooh la la.
we look to you, king bey by katie young
2013 was a banner year for Beyonce, ruler of our universe and patron saint of thick thighs. She was the epitome of cool for 12 whole months, sharing with us rubes whatever she wanted, when she wanted. As a self-certified Beyonce scholar, I’ve broken down a few key moments that represent the best of King Bey 2013. The Blonde Pixie Cut: In a year where we’ve seen any boner with a wi-fi connection barf out their thoughts on ladies with shorn locks, Beyonce helped us out. Our savior debuted a peroxide Mia Farrow inspired ‘do via Instagram, and followed it up days later with longer extensions showing us a few things: 1. She is flawless no matter WHAT, and 2. She does not give ANY shits, fucks or damns about you or your penis’ preferences. “Life Is But A Dream”: I’ll be the first to admit, Bey’s “documentary” was less revealing and more Barbara Walters soft focus and told us little about her life other than that it is RIDICULOUS. But when Beyonce throws you a bone, you not only take it, you treasure it. And come on, think of the GIFs we got! All Of the Outfits She Wore In Cuba: Sure it was a questionable PR move, but oh my Yonce: the braids, the crop tops, the red lipstick. Do yourself a favor and Google the hell out of this period in her life and take copious notes. We’ll all fail to replicate but the world will be better if we try. Super Bowl Performance: On this day, Beyonce got all of the hardcore football fans in our lives to shut up and focus on what’s most important: her sick bod and what she wants to do with it. Bonus points of an amazing, all-female band that injected our nations most testosterone filled bro bash with much needed aggressive estrogen. Beyonce: What is there to say about our lady’s surprise self-titled album released in the early hours of December 13th, aside from infinite sexy moaning noises. With one calculated move, she single handedly murdered every other musician (including her husband) who spent all year begging for our $$$ and our attention. I’ll be damned if a record that includes an entire song about her posterior and references to an infamous Presidential sex act isn’t an instant classic. This album will be on constant replay until my ashes are placed in a cannon and fired into the sky while the “Single Ladies” dance is projected onto my tombstone for eternity.
a conversation with kevin allison by colleen bidwill
Take a second and imagine your most embarrassing, sexy or heartwretching stories. The ones that you wish will never come out – let alone to a multitude of strangers. Those are the ones Kevin Allison seeks to grab from you. Allison, who got his start on MTV’s The State, created the podcast Risk! in 2009, as an opportunity for listeners and comedians to well, take a risk, and tell those stories. Five years later, the podcast has seen increasing success and now has monthly, live storytelling shows in cities like New York City and Los Angeles. Allison talked to me on the phone about his spiritual connection to Bob Dylan, being a black sheep, and how storytelling ultimately unites people. Colleen: Some people have those stories where they knew they wanted to be a comedian. For some people, they just kind of fell into it. What is your story? Kevin Allison: I knew I wanted to be an artist of some sort all through childhood, and comedy was really the first way when I was a kid, for dealing deal with the fact that I was gay. I realized that I was gay when I was literally like, first able to understand what that word meant. You know, around the time when you’re 4 or 5 years old. It’s actually quite traumatic to be that young and self-aware about sexuality in the 1970s in the most conservative city north of the Mason Dixon line in a very, very Catholic household. So, you know, I felt like I was a freak, that there was something inside of me that was lonesome and that couldn’t be talked about, and that was just too, too weird. The way that I first started to deal with that was to hint at people that there was weirdness inside of me, but that I was ok, by joking around. I think a lot of comedians in their childhood start out that way, they feel a little bit like I’m a freak, there is some way I don’t live up to most peoples’ expectations, what is normal, what everyone views as the ideal way to be. And so I’ll just start joking around and be the class clown, and people will be like, “He’s different, but he’s harmless because he makes us laugh.” And really, all these years later, I’m very, very well aware that Risk! itself, the show, is just a continuation of this theme that started when I was a toddler of coming out about things, coming out about stuff that you’re afraid, “Oh my god, people might think I’m a little bit weird,” or “Ugh, this is kind of shameful to me,” or “I feel like I might be opening up a bit too much here but I feel like it’s got to be said.” And I just feel like there are so many things like that in our lives, that I finally found a way to start doing it all the time (laughs).
Colleen: When you were younger, was there any sort of artist or comedian that you looked up to or started emulating their style? Kevin: You know, it’s interesting, like the artist who influenced me the most throughout my whole life was Bob Dylan, which people might be surprised to hear that. I remember when I was like in the 6th grade, I got into a huge screaming match with my older brother, David, and he was playing a Bob Dylan song on his stereo at the time, and Dylan was singing the lyric, “I was so much older then. I’m younger than that now” and I started screaming at my brother, “Listen to what you’re listening to! This is so stupid, it doesn’t even make sense.” And even while I was saying that, I was like, “Oh no, it does make sense, it’s some sort of irony.” And so I secretly started to listen to my brother’s records when he wasn’t home, and discovered that this guy was so fascinating, the way that he used his voice and told stories. He could go anywhere, from one song he would be very abstract, poetic and emotional and the next very realistic and flat, and just to the point. But, he was always using his voice to emote even more than the words themselves were saying and I think all these years later, now that I’m working in this audio form, it took me a long time to realize, “Oh, I’m not just a writer and I’m not just a performer, but I’m a writer who has to literally use his vocal chords to get the point across.” Of course, I can write stuff for the page and get paid/published and I have, but I’m happiest and feel most in my element when I’m using my voice to convey the words that I’ve written. Colleen: So, if I were going to steal your iPod, what kind of music would I find? I’m assuming some Bob Dylan. Kevin: Well, yes, he’s always there, because I now look at him as this spiritual thing. Every now and then, I just need that Dylan fix. But, when you actually find are hundreds and hundreds of indie songs, because when I started Risk!, it was this stage in my life, where I had been starving for almost 10 years. After The State broke up, I did not know how to go solo. I had been in this sketch comedy group where everyone’s ideas kind of add to the recipe of someone else’s. There’s always someone there to catch you when you fall, when you say something that’s half funny, someone else could finish the joke. So, that was no longer there for me when the group broke up. There had been little cliques in the group, these little creative cliques, and I was always kind of the floater, the loner, the black sheep, which is the exact same thing that I had always been in my family and it also goes back to realizing I was gay as a kid. You know, always feeling like a little bit of the outsider. So, for about 12 years after the group broke up, I’m like, “What do I do with myself? How do I express myself?” And I thought, “I’ll be a sketch comedian who works alone,” so I would go up on stage as these crazy, kooky characters trying to do scenes or stories, but there was something missing. Having to be funny every 8 to 10 seconds, which is kind of the rule in stand up and sketch, was feeling a little false after awhile. I wanted to say anything and to go anywhere emotionally and it took me a long time to realize that true stories are a place to do that. So, wait was the original question? (After I repeat the original question, he laughs) That’s hilarious! I don’t know how I got from there to here. Oh, okay I know. When I started Risk! I thought I am so sick of this TV and film industry. I’m so sick of all the compromises and all the conformity and all the trying to fit all these other peoples’ ideas of what I should be. You know for years, I was going out on these auditions and it was like, “You’re not gay enough. You’re not Midwestern enough. You’re not enough like a typical red head.” Hollywood has these ideas of what they want you to be and it’s all very uncomfortable. I just never really impressed casting directors, agents or managers, by trying to fit their ideas of what they want. So when I started Risk!, it was a very similar thing, to what Mark Maron did,
cause for years and years, they were like he’s too idiosyncratic, he’s too many odds things mixed together. I was the same way. I said, “Listen, I want to feature not just a lot of real people, who are not necessarily famous telling their real, raw stories but I want to feature a lot of musicians who are not necessarily signed to big labels. I want to take this idea of do it your self, that the Internet allows and make the most of it.” So, we’ve kept that to this day. We are in our fifth year now, and we have found it’s a real joy to continue featuring indie bands on the show. So, my iPod is mainly hundreds of the latest singles from indie bands, around the world. And when I hear something I like I reach out to a band, and say, “Hey, can we use this?” It’s so funny because I had always been warned, “Oh, that’s not going to work, you’re gonna run into problems here and there.” But, when you reach out to artists directly and just say what your art is about and how their art can fit into it, 9 times out of 10, they’re like, “I’m honored, I want to be apart of that.” That’s been a real thrill. Colleen: I actually have a radio show here in Syracuse and kind of my goal is to find at least a couple artists that no one knows about. I’m always scouring the Internet or YouTube, to find the artists. So, I love that. Kevin: It’s such an exciting era because of that, really. Of course, whenever you gain something, you lose something. So, the Internet made it harder for people to make money. You know, you’ve got be a lot more clever and work harder, cause there is so much art out there. But, on the other hand, it gave a lot of the people more freedom to do it their own way. A lot of people are making music and getting it out there who might not have had such an opportunity when they thought, “Oh we can only do this within the context of a big label.” Colleen: Something that I’ve observed, from this new kind of storytelling method is audience participation, such as audience members sending in their own stories, or being able to relate to a story like, “Oh, something like that did happen to me.” Would you say that’s a plus or positive to this storytelling method? Kevin: Oh my god, that is, I think what ultimately took the show from good to great. That somewhere in our first season, people started listening to the show and reaching out to us. Initially, I’m like “Oh, I know lots of comedians, they’ll agree to do the show.” I always knew that I wanted this show to be from all walks of life. Now, I still really struggle with that, and I’m reaching out to people all the time. Oh my gosh, is there anyway we can get more homeless people on the show, people who have been in prison, or people who have spent a lot of time in prostitution, people, you know, who have been marginalized in society. I want to hear more and more of their stories. But of course, most of the people who listen to the show are doing ok, more or less, and people started reaching out...So, it started pushing them deeper, and comedians listening to the show were like, “Oh, we’ve got to step up our game and dig a little deeper as well, because others are telling more moving stories than we are.” (laughs) But it’s great; people come to the show from all sorts of places. We seek people out and people seek us out. We hope that keeps growing. One of my dreams is to do it in a prison, kind of the way that Johnny Cash did at Folsom Prison, and have prisoners share stories among an audience of fellow prisoners. So, we want to see how we might be able to make that work. Colleen: That’s interesting! So, do you like touring and doing these live shows because you’re able to meet the fans? Kevin: Oh my god, yes. It’s very interesting, because when I come to other cities, it’s a special
occasion because usually the shows are in LA or NYC, and so people really are like, “Oh, I might never get the opportunity to do this sort of thing again,” so they really bring all their heart and soul to the stories that we collect and put on. We always take various people from the local community, to tell stories that show, which is interesting cause then people coming to the show are like, “Oh, I’m going to hear a couple stories from people that I might know who are like neighbors of mine.” It creates this sense of excitement, and this extra like, “I’m going to give it all I’ve got.” Some of our very best stories that we’ve featured were in cities other than NY or LA, where the people were taking it very seriously. I spent so many years kind of lost in the belly of the whale, that now I’m doing something that people really care about, fans, really like it. They feel like this show is a contribution to their lives, it’s cathartic for them; it inspires them in certain ways. It’s a true honor to me when I meet fans, and people are like, “Oh my god, I’m sure you hear this all the time,” and I’m like “No, go on.” (laughs) Colleen: Do you have a favorite city? I’m sure that’s impossible to say, but is there any one or two that you just love going back to? Kevin: Philly is probably the city I have the easiest relationship with. There’s something about Philly, it almost feels like to me that it’s a cousin to New York. It’s a little New York and it’s so close by and I love the meditative bus trip or train trip down there. I think we’ve done more shows in Philly, but really, Charleston was a wonderful surprise because you know, it was the first time we had ever done a show in the South. When I told people in New York that we were going to do a Risk! show in Charleston, a lot of people were like “(gasp), Oh no, you’re going to do the show for people down South? They’re going to tar and feather you!” And it’s so funny because when we did that first show, I saw this little elderly couple in the front row and I thought to myself, “Oh my god, I can just picture these two listening to Rush Limbaugh all day and they are going to hate this show, because the first show is about some dude making me tie shoes to my balls and the second story is about Mike admitting he once stole 10,000 dollars and never returned it.” All these terrible things. But you know, after the whole audience had filled out, I was walking out and the elderly couple was still sitting there and the little old lady like nudged her husband and he said, “Oh, we just wanted to stay and thank you for being who you are.” I was so touched by that. What I’ve learned is, the reason storytelling is so powerful is when you open up to other people; they can sense that you’re being authentic, that you’re telling your truths, and they open up. So, even if you’re telling a story that’s wildly different than their own lifestyle or anything that they’ve ever experienced before, if they feel like you feel about your thing like they feel about their thing, it starts to resonate and they really feel like you’re telling the truth. Like in my case, most people who listen to Risk!, are aware that I’m a kinkster, that I have a lot of sexual adventures in the kink community, in the bdsm realm and some of those stories strike a lot of people as being just down right bizarre and devious. But, because I tell the stories about those things in such a frank, human, and unaffected way, or at least I hope. I try to not make it boastful or shocking for the sake of being shocking. I’m just trying to get at what my heart thought about the experience. I’ve had people write in to say, “Hey, I’m a straight man who has been in a monogamous relationship for 30 years, so I was totally shocked to see myself relating to you so much telling that story about going to that sex camp, but I could relate because you were so honest about your feelings.” So, that’s what storytelling is really all about. When we do open up, people hear similar psychological experiences happening in other ways and we start to feel a lot more connected than we ever thought we were.
the cardboard butcher // the making of a music video photos and stills by jimbo matison
This summer, Jimbo Matison took on the epic task of creating a music video for The Bloodthirst Butchers. He was a longtime friend of the band, and was devestated to hear of the passing of band leader Hideki Yoshimura earlier this year. To pay his respects, the animator created a delightful scene for “Distortion” off the band’s latest album. View the video here: http://vimeo.com/78827517
a q&a with dean cercone by andi wilson
Having met dozens of artists and creatives amongst the Brooklyn DIY scene since moving here last May, I can’t seem to think of anyone stands out more in this moment than Dean Cercone. Our relationship began through a mutual friend and quickly grew after seeing his live set for the first time at his Bushwick home/basement venue, Bohemian Grove. Filling the room with psychedelic, experimental lo-fi sounds and a heartfelt presence, it was easy to tell that Dean was not an act you stumble upon regularly. I then booked him for an intimate backyard show I hosted in Bed-Stuy this summer where my neighbors even fell in love with his set, listening from their windows. Dean just released his latest record, Juggling Hot Coals on cassette through Philadelphia label, Single Girl, Married Girl records and has also done illustration for various projects including You=Love. Dean and I sat down over hot wine and sriracha grilled cheese waffles on a very cold, rainy evening at Bushwick’s Secret Project Robot (surrounded by one of his art series) and had a little chat about the record, what it feels like to actually juggle hot coals, cat paintings, and upcoming plans. When did you start releasing/sharing your music? Dean Cercone: Maybe when I was 14. Myspace kind of started and then I was specifically targeting that and putting out CDRs at live shows. Andi: I hear you talk about how amazing the scene is in Pittsburgh (where you’re from) -- can you share what’s going on there? Dean: In Pittsburgh there are a lot of really varied, really amazing characters of very differing sounds and minds. It’s pretty interesting and kind of crazy how strange Pittsburgh can be when it comes to the tiny pockets of people who are doing similar things, but all of them coincide constantly. I wouldn’t say it’s as much of a defined scene as might be in some other places like Baltimore or something but there are definitely a lot of people doing interesting things that all talk to each other and all generally play shows together, varying from electronic to many other genres. Andi: What did you listen to growing up and would you say it inspires what you record now? Dean: Ya, my mom and dad listened to the radio when I was growing up. My grandfather is a musician and so is my uncle. My mom would always listen to modern pop radio and oldies, while my dad listened to classic rock. My uncle listened to fuckin’ rockabilly punk-rock and my grandpa was into 50’s-60’s music. When I was super young I was into Tom Waits and things like that. After awhile I got really into world music and different things from other countries.
Andi: You just released your album, Juggling Hot Coals, through Single Girl, Married Girl Records. What has that process been like? Dean: I recorded Juggling Hot Coals in 2012 out in the country at my parents house in Renford, PA and my friends from Philly run this amazing label and there’s a lot of cool stuff they’re doing. I’ve released a couple things on there. I did a split tape on there with an intense, mathy, creative rock and roll band called Skinless Boneless. They asked if I wanted to do another tape after that. So far all the feedback I’ve really gotten has been localized. I’ve been trying to put it out for so long so I’m really happy with the process of this release. Andi: These tracks are very dreamy, experimental pop at it’s best. What do these songs represent in your life? When I listen I feel like the lyrics are very emotionally grabbing and sentimental. Dean: They are sort of the epitome of a very specific type of playing that I’ve been doing since 2007. Even though the songs are dreamy and uplifting, a lot of them are pretty heartwrenching. During the time I recorded them my mom was really sick. The whole album is named after this one night that I was by the river where I was juggling hot coals underneath the 40th street bridge. When you juggle hot coals you’re not supposed to touch it too long, but since wood isn’t a good conductor a heat so you can tap it on your hands. I thought it was a really great metaphor for being a crazy person in a normal society.
Andi: What’s your opinion on the Brooklyn DIY scene at the moment and being a part of it? Dean: Hard times are a lot harder here, but they’re less porous to be creative. You’re literally in a position where it’s really difficult to be getting your own things done. By that, I mean you’re working so much outside your regular means to be able to create your own work. It’s also crazy to be in a place where people don’t know you as well and be a weirdo, because you can be interpreted in one of two ways. For example if I’m playing a show, some might think I’m amazing and others might leave the room Andi: Ya! I saw you busking on Bedford Ave. one day during CMJ and was so happy to see you. Do you busk a lot? Dean: No, I don’t. I was in a pretty dark period for a second where I didn’t have work and was fired from my job in Long Island City. I was selling cat paintings on Bedford and busking for no money and going to the bar afterwards, spending it all and being like, “Why don’t I have money? I can’t stand anything. I don’t know what to do with my life. I’m crazy!” I really thought I was going to have to go back home. It was so intense.
Andi: Are you mostly living off your music and paintings right now? Dean: I’m doing scattered things. I work for a gallery in Chelsea amongst others various jobs. Right now I’m still at the beginning phases of any type of sales or recognition in this city. At this point I’m just having fun making stuff. Andi: How did your relationship with Tricia Klinkhamer of You=Love start? Dean: I met Tricia in 2009 when I was 18 and had just moved to Pittsburgh. I was basically living in a squat called the A-House which was awesome but pretty bizarre when winter came a long. Either way, I met her then and she was like, “I have work for you dude!” We then translated You=Love into 57 different languages for three months. Her and I have done a lot and I learned so much about illustration. Andi: So you started painting at a young age too? Dean: Well, my mom’s side of the family are all artists, so I began painting around the age of 12. I was also working with my uncle and helping him do weird stuff with his art. I saw where he lived where he had a studio apartment at this place called the Brewhouse and I was like, “OH! I’m going to be an artist, nice. This is exactly right and it’s exactly what I want.” Andi: Would you say your music and artwork are intertwined or totally separate entities? Dean: If you play my music full in a room of my paintings it actually makes a lot of sense. The first time I noticed that was in my old art studio back in the country. It’s completely different output they really do go together. I’ve spent years of making paper pieces in the exact same way. These are painting sketches. I also make larger pieces with more colors. I sold the ones we are surrounded by right now at the warehouse in Pittsburgh for a long time and started this series with the same aesthetic in 2007. Andi: So what’s the deal with the cats? Dean: Actually, Eric from Secret Project Robot asked me to only do a show of cats. I fought him for a minute, but I had only been here for a couple months and it was pretty cool so I just agreed. A couple people have called me “Cat-man” which I really dislike, but it’s really funny. Andi: What are some of your upcoming plans for the new year? Dean: I’m playing with a band under my name more recently which is so fun. I also play in a band called Moon Oracle with Shane from Many Mansions. I might have some more projects coming up soon, but either way I’m going to keep moving. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my full band yet, but we will definitely be playing a lot in the future. Andi: What else would you like to share with the world about Dean Cercone? Dean: I just want to give a big I love you to the whole world.
How To Wall Yourself Off In Your Own Little World & Not Interact With Others by marc sollinger As someone who really dislikes interacting with other human beings, headphones are a godsend. “Have a conversation with you? Why no, random person on the subway, I don’t think I can, you see, I have my headphones on, and am therefore not socially obligated to talk to emotionally exhausting jerks.” Seriously, there is some sort of sound-making object lodged in or near my ear MOST of the time. And though I love music, (I know that’s an unpopular opinion, but I’m going with it) when I’m blocked off from the world, I’m very likely listening to podcasts. Wonderful, wonderful podcasts. Right now, you’re thinking: “how can I be like this sexy, sexy human being? He should recommend some podcasts for me so I too don’t have to interact with annoying people!” Don’t worry, you, because I’m going to TOTALLY recommend some great podcasts. It’s in the title of this listicle, what the hell else am I going to write about? Separate from, but related to, this podcast list: You should listen to Transmission. It’s this tenepisode radio drama about an astronaut who crash-lands on an alien world. There’s awesome music, cool fight scenes, and some great acting. Not entirely coincidentally, I happened to write, produce, and direct the whole thing. Which is why I’m not putting it in the actual list. But you should really check it out! I’m genuinely very proud of it and I think that you (yes, you) would enjoy it. Download and listen to Transmission here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/transmission/ id641090000 Welcome to Night Vale
Welcome To Nightvale takes the form of a community radio broadcast from a small desert town in Arizona. The fact that this small desert town has angels, a civilization of tiny beings that live under a bowling alley (that was actually a spoiler, sorry), and fields of invisible corn only adds to the appeal. The podcast is a mix of Twin Peaks, Gravity Falls, and general Lovecraftian weirdness, and it can be genuinely creepy. Like, “don’t listen to it on the subway” creepy. And it has a sense of humor, and beneath all the strangeness it can actually be emotionally affecting, and...just listen to it. Welcome To Nightvale is a special thing, and it perfectly replicates that mixture of wonder and horror and possibility that comes from driving to someplace you’ve never been at 3 in the morning. You know the feeling. It’s also really big on Tumblr, but don’t hold that against it. Listen to Welcome to Night Vale here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/welcome-to-nightvale/id536258179
The History of Rome
This is the podcast that all the cool high school history teachers listen to. The ones that put one foot up on the desk, Dead Poets Societystyle. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a complete history of the Roman empire told in 190 twenty minute increments. The host, Mike Duncan, is funny and enthusiastic and makes the thousands of year long saga of the Roman Empire engaging and not nerdy at all. Well, it’s still a little nerdy. OK, it’s very nerdy, but it’s actually super interesting! Seriously. Wait, come back, give it a shot! If you thought you hated history, you were wrong. History is just the story we tell ourselves about our past, and The History of Rome tells an amazing story. It’s accessible enough for people who think Marc Antony is Jennifer Lopez’s former husband, and it’s crunchy enough for people who totally have a favorite emperor. (Mine’s Hadrian. Dude’s underrated.) The podcast finished up last year, so you can listen to the whole thing straight through. Do it. You’ll have complicated feelings about the career of the Gracchi Brothers in no time. Listen to History of Rome here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-history-of-rome/ id261654474 99% Invisible
It’s a podcast about design that is itself wonderfully well designed. 99% Invisible is filled with great little stories about all the things we don’t notice. Concrete and the I <3 NY logo, rebar and revolving doors. It never fails to find something extraordinary and deeply human about the things we make. The stories are perfectly edited and constructed, as a sound editor, my jaw is basically on the floor whenever I listen to an episode. It’s basically heroin for design nerds. And nerds of all types, really. Which I’m guessing is The Miscreant’s audience. Get addicted.
Listen to 99% Invisible here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/99-invisible/id394775318 There are so many great podcasts I didn’t cover. SO MANY. And I didn’t get to the really obscure ones! But these three should help you wall yourself in your own little world and not interact with other human beings. And that’s the most important thing. Editor’s note: Personally, I love comedy podcasts. You’ve got your Marc Maron’s and your Kurt Braunholer’s. Also any episode of any podcast with Jenny Slate as a guest. Be sure to listen to Marc’s podcast! It’s very fun and also great to listen to Dan Powell in action packed fight scenes. Frequent contributor Kyle Kuchta has a podcast with the famous Evan Fonseca called How To Be A Success In Spite of Yourself. Check out issue 26 of the Miscreant to learn about our friends at the Ear Candy podcast. And of course, read Colleen’s excellent interview with Kevin Allison’s RISK podcast on page 14 of this issue.
Songs for your butt by tori cote
There are a lot of things that people find attractive in other people. For example, I like forerams and backs. I don’t really know why forearms and backs get me going, but hey we are all human and some things just can’t be explained no matter how hard you try. One of my friends really likes men’s calves. Calves are very insignificant to me. Everyone has their own opinion. Butts have always been important. I understand that some people are more interested in other parts of the body, but rumps are functional as well as captivating. You need them for sitting, filling out pants, and touching. There is probably nothing better than touching a butt. Sure maybe butts have no extreme purpose but they can look really good in the right lighting and are boney yet squishy when you touch them. If you touch a really good butt, a lot of things can change for you. Everyone’s butt is made differently; there are small butts and skinny butts. Lumpy butts and flat butts. From research, I have found that there are a lot of men confessing their love for a more rounded-women-behind. But as I have stated before, attraction to the ass is literally a matter of opinion and can vary in a lot of different ways. If you find something attractive about someone that isn’t a behind, it is more than acceptable. But keep in mind that rumps are highly respected in music and society. You must understand that they are a forced to be reckoned with and appreciated. Love your butt as well as love others. “Bubble butt” // Major Lazer “Do The Rump” // The Black Keys “Miss New Booty” // Bubba Sparxxx “Fat Bottomed Girls” // Queen “Ass Like That” // Eminem “Shake Your Booty” // KC and the Sunshine Band “Thong Song” // Sisqo “Apple Bottom Jeans” // T-Pain “Ima Eat Her Ass” // Lil B “Baby Got Back” // Sir Mix-A-Lot “Bootylicious” // Destiny’s Child “Honky Tonk Badonadonk” // Trace Adkins “Ass Cheeks on my White Tee” // Venny Outrageous “Da Butt” // EU “Shake Ya Ass” // Mystikal
dreamboats in a dreamboat by wesley wren
In 2013 the 90s revival has reached a boil point. There are so many bands that are taking in the dough on ripping off the newly vintage sound. Some of those bands though have roots in the loud quite loud 90s sound, but they turned it into their own. This leads us to Dreamboats. Dreamboats are the collective work of two heavy hitting pop genius drummer driven bands Sleeping Bag and Rozwell Kid. The two bands met at a show in Pittsburgh and eventually began to collaborate. The problem is in this situation— Geography. Bloomington based Dave Segedy and West Virginian Jordan Hudkins simply can’t jam because that would bend the properties of space and time. That is where the true brilliance of this not-sosplit lp. It was crafted through internet collaboration. Though enough gushing about the creation and the creators; time to talk tunes. On first listen, I was floored with the opener. The song “Chinchilla” had me sold on the record with the first slam of a cowbell, and the fuzzy breakdown before the third chorus. The chorus of the song “Dogfood” does a great job at showing the attitude of the band, “I’m all out of chips/ so I’m eating the dog food./ I should be depressed/ but I’m still in a good mood.” The album also brings memories of Pinkerton-era Weezer on the songs “Total Doofus” and “Miguel.” “Total Doofus” is by far the heaviest song on the record. Though this record may be heavy at times but don’t be mistaken; it is a pop record. Segedy and Hudkins both craft beautiful pop structures, which is why this record is so sonically attractive and hook ladened. I don’t think that I have been as enthusiastic about any other release this year. The album is a beautiful example of modern technological ingenuity. I think that this record is an odd stepping stone for two rising bands. I doubt that we will see a whole touring band from this record, but I know that Sleeping Bag and/or Rozwell Kid will be in a town near you sometime. Both bands tour relentlessly and who knows? You might catch a Sleeping Bag, Rozwell Kid and Dreamboats bill because sometimes life gives you peanut butter, chocolate, and the magical combination to make a peanut butter cup. Dreamboat is the peanut butter cup of modern rock and roll. Buy their record: http://jurassicpop.bandcamp.com/album/dreamboats. Also, if you haven’t heard of either Rozwell Kid or Sleeping Bag: Google. These are two bands you will only hear more and more about, and for great reason. Sleeping Bag’s 2012 Women of Your Life is an absolute masterpiece.
more cassette essentials by rafael grafals
Here are a few more cassette picks that I thought I’d share considering I haven’t done this in a while. Some of these are pretty recent releases and some are a bit older but most importantly these are all available to order so definitely consider supporting these labels as they’re all run by really great people. Creech – “Judas Tree” Pasture (Haze Tapes) Pasture, as well as Haze Tapes, is more of a recent discovery for me but it’s an album that has been on constant rotation since I first downloaded it. “Judas Tree” is one of the definite standouts featuring these filtered and emotive vocals that sort of float over intricate guitars and a steady, driving drum beat. The great thing about Pasture as a whole is the detail Creech puts into their songs. They never seem content with basic chord progressions but instead craft captivating leads and instrumentals that feel as if they’re constantly moving and flowing. “Judas Tree” works as the perfect track to highlight that and is one of my favorites from the album. Haze Tapes did a run of 50 cassettes for this record so be sure to act fast.
Frozenboy – “Dim Lights” Euphoria Again / Mormon Toasterhead / Frozenboy Split (Sad Tapes) I’ve actually already covered this specific track but it’s just too good not to share again. I hadn’t even heard of Frozenboy (Sam Wintermantel) until this cassette came out (which I found through Euphoria Again and Mormon Toasterhead) but he turns out to be my favorite section on the tape. “Dim Lights” is a beautifully layered acoustic track which showcases a fantastic set of lyrics. There’s honesty and purity in the approach to songwriting here and it’s something I feel every time I listen to this song. It’s amazing how much Sam can accomplish with the little he uses to record. This split is also limited to 50 copies and the other two artists provide some fantastic songs too. Definitely worth a purchase. Howie Wonder – “Warning” Within (Purr Tapes) Howie Wonder offers up a set of fantastic instrumental hip hop tracks on his Purr Tapes release. The entire cassette features some fantastic grooves but “Warning” has to be one of my favorites. There’s just a really smooth beat on this track and the use of sampling is really slick and subtle. Nothing really sticks out too much but the track as a whole still has dynamics and a distinct feeling to it. Much like the rest of the tracks on this tape, it’s largely loop based but that never really takes anything away from the song. The driving percussion keeps the song going and makes the whole thing really enjoyable. Be sure to grab a copy from Purr Tapes. They’re wonderful people doing wonderful things. It is rain in my face. – “To Hide” The Framer (Chill Mega Chill) Matt Jones continues to provide excellent material with this EP released on Chill Mega Chill. Continuing in his style of combining folk and electronica, Matt pairs guitars with electronic percussion to create this really moving track. The way the song builds to an electric guitar fueled climax is fantastic and a true testament to how great Matt’s work is. Much like previous It is rain in my face. releases, the vocals here are distinct, switching between sweet and subtle harmonies to a stronger, more upfront vocal presence for the verses. In my experience Matt’s material is very love-or-hate so I’m hoping a good amount of you dig what he’s doing. Chill Mega Chill did a pretty limited run for this EP (25 copies) so I’m not sure how long it’ll be available but it’s definitely worth checking out. Shy Mirrors – “Patients” Wrong Bomb (Mirror Universe) I grabbed this cassette a while back and it’s just now hitting me that I never really shared it. These Swedish punk rockers deliver a tape full of straightforward, lofi tracks that need to played at full blast to be fully appreciated. “Patients” perhaps has less of an edge than some of the other tracks on this cassette but there’s something about the lyrics on this track that I really like (“All I wanna do is be with you // All I wanna talk about is how we’re gonna stick around”). All the while this song is just delivered in these layers of distorted guitars and gritty production. There’s actually something really lovable about how rough it’s recorded and that sort of charm is found all over this tape. This got a run of 100 tapes though it has been out for a while so Mirror Universe might be running low. Grab a copy soon.
my top 5 of 2013 by ben houck
Mayer Hawthorne - Where Does This Door Go // Mayer Hawthorne’s third full length is a solid piece of R&B gold. Detroit born Mayer Hawthorne wears his influences on his sleeve and reintroduces them in fresh songs. Brazilian influence on “Wine Glass Woman,” straight up Stevie Wonder on “The Stars Are Ours”, Prince on “Robot Love.” Hawthorne isn’t trying to fool anybody, he’s just wants to party. And party this album does. Excellent production by Warren “Oak” Felder, Steve “Ace” Mostyn, and Pharrell Williams defines a relationship between great albums and great producers. But seriously, how isn’t this all over top 40? He might not have made many year end charts, but he tops mine. Maybe its because I danced to every note at his Empire State Plaza performance. White Denim - Coriscana Lemonade // My love affair with the Austin, Texas quartet only grew during a particular late summer night at Mountain Jam IX. White Denim’s fourth record “D” hit me in the height of the ol’ “Classic Rock is dead” argument between my peers in college radio. The influences aren’t the same were sure. That culture is hard to define much less say it still exists. But their is no denying that this band rocks and will become a classic. Their “jamming” on all of their records defies the jam stereotype in through composed phrases and grooves. It is wonderfully complex and soulful in James Petralli’s voice and stunning lyrics. Go ahead and fall in love with their fifth record why don’tcha. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II // Gorgeous lo-fi album from a young band that understands the use of space. The night time falls and the concept just stays mellow and groovin’ start to finish. Lyrical praise for Ruban Nielson as front man of the multinational three piece. “So Good at Being in Trouble” is begging to be in about 20 movies for 20 somethings. Despite dark lyrics, the light hearted grooves on “Swim and Sleep” and “The Opposite of Afternoon” just keep this wonderful album rolling during the day. It’s nice at night. Really nice for driving. It’s an album that kept coming and no one touched the dial. The Lone Bellow - The Lone Bellow // Zach Williams, Kanene Donehey and Brian Elmquist are this years best new trio. All three can belt out tunes like it is nobodies business. They take gospel, soul, country, bluegrass and just damn good songwriting and a feel good show to another level. During one live show they explained the band is named after a plastic grocery bag caught in a tree in the midwest that whistled and caught William’s attention. Their ballads leave that kind of wind-torn-stuck feeling you get walking away for a long time from someone you love. Any folk/country band who covers Mariah Carey clearly understands life and feelings and how to keep it lighthearted too. Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady // Post apocalyptic dance party. Chew on that for a second. Electric lady Janelle Monae brings the future party with guests Prince and Esperanza Spalding along with a slew of other talented folks. No futuristic robot can suppress all the love and soul in this album. This is by far the act I want to see live the most in 2014. Honorable Mentions: Haim, Har Mar SuperStar, Portugal. the Man
WANT MORE MISCREANT? To My Miscreants, We’ve come to the close of 2013. What at year! It has been great to bring on so many new writers this year, and to feature so many awesome artists. Thank you all so much for being a part of this project. I cannot wait to see where we go in the new year! We’ll keep having issues every month, which means that March will mark our 50th issue. Stay tuned for details on some sort of birthday party/celebration for the occasion. Also, it’s a real treat to sign things off with such an sincerely wonderful rock band. Many thanks to Sam and Radiator Hospital for being on the cover of the final issue of the year. I saw them perform in a basement a few weeks ago. The venue (or apartment, same difference) is called Suburbia and there are a lot of pictures of sharks everywhere. Chumped was having their album release party, and everyone was quite rowdy. At some point during “Our Song,” I looked around and saw every person in the room moving and most everyone was singing along. I was slinging the speakers! It was so loud and lovely. Andi and Tori and Joel and a bunch of us were all grooving along -- I knew I had to talk to these guys. Now it’s time to gear up for the new year and issue 48! Submissions for the zine are due January 21. No previous writing experience is required. Send in your musical resolutions for 2014, your q&a with your high school drum instructor, your top 10 record stores in the state of California, anything to do with music. Send your submissions by the deadline to Jeanette at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also send questions you 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 and cheer, The Miscreant