in this issue page 4
my father’s record collection emmery brakke tells a story of learning about music from her dad
some of my favorite john linnell (they might be giants) songs connor bennincasa lists his heart songs by his hero, john linnel
an interview with total slacker the miscreant asks tucker and emily some questions about what’s coming up for the slimegaze sweeties
review: adult jazz @ the hope quinn donnell sees the leeds band in brighton
how i does it: blood moon jesse brickel talks about inspiration for his project blood moon
an interview with mikhael paskalev mary ellis speaks with the norwegian-bulgarian artist
playing adulthood with the national cassandra baim relates the plight of youth to ‘boxer’
the wisdom of rock and roll dads, collected katherine coplen reflects on moments in interviews with musicians
10 disney soundtracks to get you through the holidays katie capri gives some much needed advice on finding peace in her childhood favorites
a conversation with wesley bunch of suburban living laura lyons talks to wesley about his music and pizza
tina belcher will save us all olivia cellamare curates a playlist by everyone’s animated hero
the death of a monolith jacob weingast pays homage to lou reed a year after his passing
thank u to plumtree (and others) amanda dissinger counts her musical blessings
diy: a celebration dan arnes pens a story about how house shows change lives
MY FATHER’S RECORD COLLECTION by emmery brakke
Once when I was in high school I had to do a data collection project for my Pre-Calc class. It sucked. I hated math, and statistics are a bitch even if calculus is what you dream about at night. Most people went pretty simple-how many siblings do you have, how often do you watch TV, the standard stuff. Being the cool and sophisticated 16-year-old that I was at the time I decided that I would ask everyone how many concerts they had been to. At the time I had been to about 15 and I thought that was pretty badass (for the record, those 15 included Santana with my parents and a whole lot of stoned 50-year-olds, Good Charlotte, and the two shows that marked the beginnings of my Tori Amos love affair but that literally no one else cared about) so I was pumped to feel mildly superior to my classmates, a feeling that teenage Emmery did not have a lot of chances to experience. Turns out people didn’t give a shit. They had been to maybe 2 or 3 shows, mostly Dave Matthews Band while blackout drunk or the Backstreet Boys concert their parents sent them to when they were 9. Granted, we lived in a small town in the smallest state so it shouldn’t have been very surprising. But my data was pretty damn boring, and my graph was slated to look pretty flat/straight/ whatever the mathematical term for “no one went to any shows and I had to make that look like something” is. Thinking it would be a nice conversation, and hoping that I would get a little diversity to add to my presentation, I asked my Dad for his number. How many concerts had HE been to so far in his life? When I asked him the first thing he did was give a little laugh, like the caught off guard kind, the kind that suggested he had never been asked that question before. That was surprising to me because my dad loves music more than anyone I know. For as long as I can remember his record collection has loomed over the rest of our house like this weird part of his past that I’ll never quite get around to learning about even though it should be obvious. I know bits and pieces, like how he once hitchhiked in a helicopter to get to a Beach Boys concert and how he used to take birthday shots with Bonnie Raitt when he was the bartender at one of the small Boston venues she used to frequent. But that’s two records. Two out of the several hundred he has left (half of his collection was stolen when he was younger, the cruelest kind of break-in I can imagine) and those are only a fraction of what he knows, loves, has listened to and cherished over his life. But I guess no one had asked him before, or at least not in a long time. After his laugh, he thought about it for a while, and decided he would estimate. 500 was his answer. Somewhere around 500 concerts. (My graph looked REALLY bizarre with that number thrown in the mix). When you think about it, it’s a perfectly logical number. Actually it’s probably a lot lower than I would have expected if I asked him the question now, understanding how many shows a person
who is passionate about music goes to. He worked at venues, he was friends with musicians, music has always been a defining part of his life. What stuck with me and what astounded me and what I still think about now wasn’t how big the number seemed at the time but how big it feels now that I’m older and realizing how much of my father remains a mystery-500 concerts, 500 records...that is years of my father’s life. Years of events, and experiences, and memories that are so vast I can’t imagine ever sifting through them or understanding them. And I haven’t, I don’t, at the end of the day I know so little about him. My dad was in the Navy. He makes his morning cup of coffee before he goes to bed and then reheats it when he wakes up. Both of his parents were deaf and I still don’t actually know how he learned how to speak. And he went to see over 500 concerts, established relationships with 500 artists strong enough that he felt a desire to have their music at his disposal forever. I want so badly to understand those relationships, mostly because I want so badly to understand his history and his life and those thousands of hours of music that for some reason feel like the key to that understanding. But I’ve never really asked except for in the context of a stupid calculus assignment. My dad just turned 65 this week. I have uncles his age and younger who have already had heart attacks, serious health scares and the like. I have so many friends who have lost a parent that I’m starting to lose track of them all, and most of them have lost their father. I find myself living in fear every day of inheriting that record collection and not knowing the stories behind any of them. I’ve already inherited so much from him, and my love of music is the biggest thing. It’s such a defining part of my life, and clearly it was also a defining part of his. I don’t know why have I been so capable of having so many conversations with my dad over the years and yet, almost 10 years after asking him that one simple question I still don’t know any of the real answers. I’ve decided it’s pointless and stupid and there is literally no excuse for it and I’m making up my mind as I write this to change it. As a way of making myself follow through, here’s a list of artists that my dad introduced me to who seriously impacted my life. Maybe I’ll finally get around to asking him about where they fit into that number on the graph, what their spot on the shelf is to him. Maybe I’ll learn something. At the very least I’ll know something, and the older we both get the more important that is starting to feel. Each one of these artists is connected to something important in my life, and each one of these artists I discovered because I came home from school one day and he was playing one of their records. • • • • • •
Tori Amos Fiona Apple Chris Thile Lucinda Williams Mark Knopfler Prokofiev
• • • • •
Aimee Mann Alison Krauss The Beatles Annie Lennox No Doubt
This issue is brought to you by Village Music World.
Single of the
Upon revisiting Total Slacker’s latest record, reflecting on their recent tour, before looking to the future, there’s nothing like starting with track 1. For this, we choose the opener to their album Slip Away as the single of the week. Listen to “Satisfied” loud and headbang in front of your computer speakers.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE JOHN LINNELL (THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS) SONGS by connor bennincasa
John Linnell is one half of They Might Be Giants—one of my favorite bands. He and John Flansburgh share songwriting and singing duties, with neither being the official “frontman” (though it seems to me that Flansburgh probably does more talking onstage). It’s difficult to say which of this band’s songs is my absolute favorite, particularly because each of their sixteen studio albums differs so greatly. For the sake of brevity, I’ve selected a favorite track of mine from each of TMBG’s 12 “adult” albums (they’ve also released 4 children’s albums) and compiled them here. I also decided to stick to John Linnell’s songs in order to narrow the pool a little more, and tried to avoid official singles from each of the albums in the hopes of spreading the good word about some killer tracks that may go unnoticed by those who haven’t really delved into their catalogue. (It was tough picking my favorites, etc, that’s implied whenever talking about a favorite band’s music). I made this playlist because this band is important to me, and it can be tough to find other people who really dig them in the same way that I do. When I was in junior high, I felt self-conscious about liking them because I felt like they were “weird,” which I guess they are, depending on how you think about it. But as I grew older and more comfortable with who I am and what I like, I realized that what some people call TMBG’s weird quality is part of why I love them so much. I found more in these songs than what someone might see on the surface level— Beyond some of the obvious humor or absurdity in the songwriting and lyrics, I’ve found comfort, inspiration, and anything else someone finds in the “songs that saved [their] life.” I’m not saying TMBG is for everybody, but it’s at least worth a listen. They Might Be Giants – “Rhythm Section Want Ad,” Self-titled (1986) They Might Be Giants – “Where Your Eyes Don't Go,” Lincoln (1988) They Might Be Giants – “Dead,” Flood (1990) They Might Be Giants – “Mammal,” Apollo 18 (1992) They Might Be Giants – “No One Knows My Plan,” John Henry (1994) They Might Be Giants – “Till My Head Falls Off,” Factory Showroom (1996) They Might Be Giants –“On Earth My Nina,”* Long Tall Weekend (1999) John Linnell – “South Carolina,” John Linnell’s Solo album State Songs (1999) They Might Be Giants – “Hopeless Bleak Despair,” Mink Car (2001) They Might Be Giants – “Thunderbird,” The Spine (2004) They Might Be Giants – “Climbing the Walls,” The Else (2007) They Might Be Giants – “When Will You Die?,” Join Us (2011) They Might Be Giants – “9 Secret Steps,” Nanobots (2013) * This song was inspired by the melody of Thunderbird (also on this playlist) played backwards
The Miscreant: When did Total Slacker become a band? How did you two first meet? Tucker Rountree: About summer of 2009 here in Brooklyn. The Miscreant: Upon revisiting songs like “Thighmaster,” I’m reminded of how funny and playful a lot of your songs are. How do you all see humor playing in your lyrics? Tucker: It’s an element of entertainment that isn’t really mixed conceptually with live music anymore that I feel is a real shame. People need social commentary as another form of comedic relief, or at least to try and enlighten the audience about the system and the corporate infrastructures we live in. Songs like “Thighmaster” ... or “Who Killed Kennedy” make an attempt to address those kinds of issues. The Miscreant: Talk a little bit about the record you released at the beginning of the year, Slip Away. How do you all feel you’ve grown as a band since releasing the record? Tucker: That’s a really interesting question. I feel like the songs people are going to hear in the next 6 months from Total Slacker are deeper, and cover more ground stylistically. The Miscreant: Where did you record the last record/who did you record it with? Tucker: We were lucky enough to record our 2nd album with Daniel Schlett of Strange Weather Studios, he’s shaped the soundscape for artists like Bob Dylan, Life Size Maps and more! The Miscreant: Tell miscreants about the “Super Big Gulp” video! Who created the video game version of Total Slacker? Tucker: Yeah that was really fun. Danny Krug of 1.21 Gigawatts Magazine produced that video and came up with a lot of the ideas therein. He did a wonderful job! Animation was by Erica Perez. The Miscreant: Is there another record in the works already? Can we anticipate any more ear treats from you all soon? Tucker: Yeah, we’re in pre-production now for a 5 song EP that’s coming out in early 2015... The cover of that release is a photo my dad (Philip Rountree) took in the 1980s on a 35mm he was experimenting with while he was studying differential equations at the
University of Utah with Al Crawford. The Miscreant: You all are recently returned from a crazy tour across the country that you embarked on earlier this year. Where did you go where you had never traveled before? Emily Oppenheimer: I’d never been through the south before touring... I’ve since fallen in love with Georgia and Louisiana. On the last run we finally made it to Seattle, where I’d personally never been and it was one of my favorite stops on the tour. The Miscreant: How do you think touring shapes your creativity? Do you find inspiration to write on the road at all? Emily: Touring is one of my favorite things about playing music, but it is definitely a drain of my emotional energy. It’s inspirational for me but only in hindsight. It seems to fuel Tucker’s writing ability, though, and he manages to get a lot of work done on the road. The Miscreant: Where were some of your favorite shows around the country? What made those shows special? Emily: We like playing old venues like the Milestone in Charlotte, NC and The Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, MI because it’s like you can feel the energy of so many now-legendary bands that have played the same stage, but the best shows are always the ones that happen last-minute and just rely on word of mouth. On this last tour we had a day off in Seattle and ended up playing some kid’s eviction party, it was one of the best nights! The Miscreant: What uncharted territory would you like to explore next? Emily: Europe, Japan, Australia, South America... The Miscreant: What would the motto for Total Slacker be if you had to write a manifesto? Emily: Something about relentlessly pursuing your desires, being happy with who you are, but being mindful that you’re not obstructing anyone else’s path. The Miscreant: Who are a few artists you would have have most influenced Total Slacker? Emily: Weezer, The Breeders, The Beets.
REVIEW: ADULT JAZZ @ THE HOPE by quinn donnell
Adult Jazz probably gets this question a lot: “Oh, so you make, like, mature jazz music?” They don’t. At least not really. They kinda do. Adult Jazz is a band from Leeds, UK, the northern counterpart to where I caught their live set on England’s southern coast the other night. In a Brighton venue called The Hope, frontman Harry Burgess and his three bandmates fit their sprawling set-up of stringed instruments and electronic gizmos on to a cramped stage found above a neighborhood pub. I’d listened to the band’s August-released debut, Gist Is, in the days leading up to the show, preparing myself for Adult Jazz’s atypical song structures, their creatively abstract rhythms, and the confounding depth of their songwriting. I expected a show that those coming in blind wouldn’t get, a show that concertgoers looking for a Saturday night of mindlessly belted live tunes may find disappointing. I don’t think anyone at The Hope was disappointed. The quartet’s live set showcased their material in a way that clarified and augmented their recorded work, giving it life by visibly developing it before the audience. Their setlist followed the general construction of Gist Is, leading off with the seven-plus-minute “Hum,” whose introduction features an a cappella performance from Burgess, manipulated with multiple microphones and a metallic, soaring effect that rises higher with the addition of trombone and bass guitar several minutes in. For a band whose initial lineup used a drum machine as its percussion section, the songs that Adult Jazz play today take entirely free forms. Often crashing with opposite cadences and irregular melodies, each song finds a place to eventually come together, connecting in a beautiful auditory relief. Aside from the few Gist Is acoustic cuts that never found their way into the live set’s track list, the only difference between the Hope performance and the debut album was a new track called “Earrings Off.” After testing out a new vocal effect for the song, Burgess asked the audience if it sounded “annoying” enough - Burgess was a man of few words between songs. “I’m not so good at this talking malarkey,” he said at one point. While the effect on its own came out a bit shrill, describing it as annoying never fit the tune of “Earrings Off” as a whole. The new track had a more driving, consistent beat than Adult Jazz’s usual material, giving the crowd a groove to latch on to and move with for the entirety of the song. Adult Jazz has yet to make their way overseas and play their first set of U.S. shows. According to interviews with the band, and based on their recent signing with the American-based Windish Agency, 2015 will likely bring their first appearance in the States. When the opportunity to see their live set – jazz-influenced or whatever it is – comes around, it shouldn’t be missed.
HOW I DOES IT: BLOOD MOON by jesse brickel
I was on tour with Chrome Sparks for a large portion of 2013, and started writing the ‘Blood Moon’ material a few months after coming home. I went through kind of a dark patch when I was bitter about having to go back to work on a food truck, but eventually accepted it for what it was and emerged in a really energized and creative place. All the songs on Cosmic Sands were written, recorded, and produced in an extremely short amount of time. “Ghost” had the shortest process, where I finished the song and made a music video for it the same day I started it. Other tracks took up to two or three days depending on where my head was at. I generally bang out a demo quickly, walk around listening to it on my iPhone for a few days, take mental notes, and finish the track in another sitting. As far as my influences are concerned, I’m probably influenced by everything I enjoy. I’m always listening to and discovering new music, although I don’t necessarily listen to music that sounds like my own. Even though I generally have an 80s ‘inspired’ sound, I don’t actually listen to a lot of 80s music. I tend to gravitate towards big drum sounds (I default to linn drum samples), big synth parts, vibey guitars, dreamy vocals, big melodies, etc. I suppose I take a little something from everything that positively affects me and throw it in my influence bank. I’m certainly not thinking about any other artists when I’m working though-- everything comes together very organically. Here’s a little playlist of stuff that was probably floating around my head during the time I was working on Cosmic Sands. Who knows though, I’m really bad with time / space relations. connan mockasin — “do i make you feel shy?” wild nothing — “live in dreams” part time — “cassie (won’t you be my doll)” deerhunter — “helicopter” panda bear — “you can count on me” no joy — “lunar phobia” caribou — “odessa” boat club — “warmer climes” mood rings — “pathos y lagrimas” majical cloudz — “bugs don’t buzz” gardens & villa — “domino” devendra banhart — “daniel” judee sill — “the kiss” hundred waters — “down from the rafters” the beach boys — “all i wanna do” braids — “in kind” ducktails — “letter of intent” beach fossils — “burn you down” doldrums — “egypt” ariel pink / jorge elbrecht — “no real friend” LISTEN TO BLOOD MOON’S COSMIC SANDS HERE: http://ifrecs.bandcamp.com/releases
AN INTERVIEW WITH MIKHAEL PASKALEV by mary ellis
I was introduced to Mikhael Paskalev’s music not too long ago when I woke up to the video for “I Spy” waiting for me in my inbox - not a bad thing to wake up to. This particular video made the rounds on youtube and is fun, energetic, and poppy without being irritating. After about three more hours of going down the rabbit hole that was “all things Mikhael’s recorded that are available online” I was hooked. The Norwegian singer/songwriter purportedly loves the classics such as The Everly Brothers, which is obvious in the nostalgic and sometimes whimsical feelings his songs evoke. At this point Mikhael has released a couple of singles/EPs, as well as his LP entitled What’s Life Without Losers which is currently, tragically, not yet available in the US. I’ve only seen his solo act, but I can say that his energy is infectious - I can only imagine what he’d be like with his whole band. And yes, to answer your question, he is as adorable in person. Mary: So this is your first US tour - how is it going so far? Mikhael: It is actually not my first US tour. Or I guess, someone once told me - a very wise person once told me - that if you do more than 3 gigs it’s a tour. So if that’s the definition this is my third. I think, yeah. But it’s my first just on my own though. The two before I brought my whole band, but now I’m doing like a warm up thing for Courtney Barnett and so for it to be more appropriate as a warm up act it’s just me. So it’s my first solo tour, you could say that. Mary: What’s your favorite place that you’ve been so far? Mikhael: Probably New York, even though I haven’t played yet. Obviously New York is a very cool place. And DC was really good. I really enjoyed that. Was a lot of people. People seemed to like it. I hadn’t been to DC before so that was cool. Mary: Your full length album came out a little while ago, right? Mikhael: The album came out in Norway in 2013, so last year. Mary: Is there a plan to have it come out here? Mikhael: Yeah, I think so. I reckon they’re making some plans. All the business peeps. I don’t really know. I don’t follow all of that, too much. I try though. It’s not like I don’t care, you know, it’s not enough space in my head for everything basically. Mary: Speaking of space in your head, are you planning another album? Mikhael: Yes, I am, yeah. Mary: Tell me about that. Mikhael: I’m just close to finished writing it. Started recording parts of it. But it’s probably a fair way off from being finished though. Maybe like half a year or something? Who knows. I don’t know
exactly the plans of like release and stuff though but that’s what I mean. I just continue writing and play and see what happens. Mary: So when you write do you tend to work with themes, or go with whatever strikes you? What inspires you? Mikhael: Everything. I dunno. There’s no rule to how I write. And I don’t think there should be a rule to how other people write as well because then you limit yourself pretty hard. So sometimes it’s a movie and sometimes it’s another person’s song, or an album, or picture, or soppy shit like the weather. Just...anything really. Girls. Boys. Anything. Mary: On that note, what song of yours has the best origin story? Mikhael: Origin story? Mary: Like..caused you to write it. Mikhael: Oh right, probably one that’s called What’s Life Without Losers. Which I almost don’t want to talk about because it sounds so typical. But I was - when I met my girlfriend I really didn’t want to have a girlfriend, and then I just kinda couldn’t fight off the fact that she was really cool and then...she is really cool though. Probably because of that sentimentality for me personally that’s a story behind it. Mary: The way I heard about your music was that my friend sent me your music video. For “I Spy.” How was that? First off, filming a music video, in general, but also the fact that it passed over a million views? Congratulations.
Mikhael: Thank you. Well, filming it was pretty easy. I just danced for a day in my underwear, and it was fun. Mary: Very Risky Business. Mikhael: Very Risky Business for sure. And that was fun. It was fun and then I don’t know besides that I was kinda expecting a couple of thousand views and then it just kept going. So I’m obviously very happy for that. It’s been a while since it came out in a way. So it did feel very weird for a while. Having danced in your undies in front of so many people, basically, which is what I’ve done. But now I’m pretty comfortable and it’s normality for me. Mary: Do you have any before concert routines or superstitions? Mikhael: I basically have..I’m pretty sure I have OCD. Not that much before a gig, though, but I do have a lot of crazy weird superstitions and hangups on numbers and stuff like that. Mary: Give me a good one. Mikhael: Like I’ll always search for the number 9 cause 9 is very powerful for me. Cause 3 times 3 is 9 and 3 is a good number as well, and if you take 9 times 2 it’s 18, and 1 plus 8 is 9 and it keeps going and keeps going and keeps going. 9 is a beautiful number. And I’ll watch films and I’ll count the subtitles in films. Like the words and the boxes around the words and the boxes in the frame and on the tv while writing symmetrically around my lips. But besides that before a gig I might do some stretches. Mary: If you could open for anybody, who would you open for? Mikhael: Like...anybody? Mary: Anybody at all. Mikhael: Elvis. Mary: If you could have anybody open for you Mikhael: Elvis. Mary: It’s like “I just want to be around Elvis” Mikhael: Yeah, all the time. Mary: Totally fair. So talk to me about signing with Mom + Pop and tell me how that happened and what’s going on with it. Mikhael: That was a massive deal for me. It was great. I was just hanging out in Norway, I think a couple of days before I’d released my second single called Jive Babe, or the music video for
it. The night before I was playing the festival, a guy from Mom + Pop called me up and said he really liked it, and he actually flew over to Norway, which is very, uh, a romantic gesture, so I appreciated that, and I fell for it obviously. So now I am forever theirs and they are forever mine. Mary: So they sought you out, that’s amazing. Mikhael: Yeah, it’s great. Mary: How is that, maneuvering through the music industry? Is it intimidating? Mikhael: I think you always start off thinking it’s intimidating, but then as a matter of fact it’s pretty harmless. You can’t do much more than you can do anyways. You just play your songs, play your guitar, play with your band. All you can do is try at least and whatever happens happens. It’s not war so it’s not intimidating in that sense. I know what you’re saying though. Obviously standing in front of, at times, large crowds and kind of doing something...and how quickly you can fail in front of so many people. Which is pretty funny. Mary: Do you get stressed out before you go on stage? Mikhael: No, not really. But I probably should though. Mary: No no. Don’t think that! What is your most embarrassing moment on tour? Regarding your music, or...any at all really. Mikhael: Not sure. The most memorable, which is kind of embarrassing, because I’m not very good at handling booze. Beer is fine but anything stronger I become a bit too playful. And then I sought out the rest of my bandmates to have a play fight. And then we wound up, me like... stretching my knee to the point that I needed crutches for about three weeks, and my bass player broke his ribs. I got an elbow to my nose so I had hints of a black eye. But it was actually really fun. But then it’s always the same where afterwards you feel a bit embarrassed for being that stereotypical douchebag. You know what I mean? Mary: Post-drinking remorse. Mikhael: Exactly. Mary: So what are you looking forward to the rest of the tour? Mikhael: I’m looking forward to all the places we’re going. I really like, this is gonna sound weird, but I really like..most people when they go to cities they obviously seek the most important things to see in that city, but I really don’t care too much about it and walk around in normal neighborhoods and streets and get more of a vibe of how it actually is there, instead of being a tourist. So basically just doing that. And playing. Maybe even writing a bit.
PLAYING ADULTHOOD WITH THE NATIONAL by cassandra baim
I found The National shortly after Boxer came out, at the volatile age of seventeen. My best friend played “Mistaken For Strangers” on one of our long drives, and I was immediately drawn to Matt Berninger—his voice and his dark sense of humor mixed with a certain kind of longing and pleading appealed to my quiet teenaged existence. I devoured that record over and over again, and even when I rented the rest of their albums from the library, I always came back to that one. All the while, I was at a crossroads. I was in my last year of high school, spending my time applying to colleges, getting rejected from colleges, getting into colleges, and generally figuring out the next steps. I had no idea what I wanted those next steps to be. The adults around me only had seven words in their vocabulary: “But what do you want to do?” Did I want to be an actor? A teacher? A writer? Some combination of the three? Who the hell knew. But I knew
one thing; how badly I wanted to be a grown up. I wanted to leave my adolescence behind, skip the intermediary college years, and assert myself as a tried and true adult—with a roof over my head, someone who loves me, and total independence. The joke was on me, though, because I had no idea what any of that meant. I had a lot of romantic ideals as a teen. I dreamt of what love should feel like, what independence should feel like, what a fulfilling career should feel like, without knowing what I actually wanted from any of that. My growing love of The National aligned itself with my burgeoning romantic sensibilities. I begrudgingly finished high school, and Boxer guided me the whole way. I’ve tried to pick the most resonant song, but the entire record deals with the same things I thought I wanted—yearning so badly to feel grown up. I listened to it over and over again, and I longed for the uncertainty of adulthood because it felt romantic. I wanted the quiet and comfortable companionship of “Slow Show” and “Apartment Story,” and I felt the constant nervousness that comes with being uncomfortable in my own skin in “Mistaken For Strangers.” But I only understood half of the equation—I hadn’t quite grasped the underlying anxiety of playacting adulthood. In theory, I’ve reached my destination. I’m 23 with a cool apartment, a cat, a steady job, and a nice boy I’ve somehow tricked into dating me. (I kid, I kid. There was no trickery involved, but what’s a personal essay without a little selfdeprecating humor?) But I get the second half of the equation now. I’m living those favorite songs in the way they’re meant to be lived, as opposed to my misguided ideals. I’ve experienced the superficial friendships of “Mistaken For Strangers,” the relationship insecurities of “Slow Show,” and the unhealthy emotional repression of “Start A War.” But I also get to experience the sleepy affection of “Apartment Story,” with someone who is equally as uncertain about adulthood as I am. So much of what I think about and write about these days has to do with revisiting. I’m interested in my own changing interpretations of the elements that got me through my adolescence. I wonder what would happen if I traveled back in time and ripped the earbuds out of my 17-yearold self’s ears and screamed, “Get your head outta the clouds, kid! That’s not the life you think you want.” Would I listen? Or would I ignore the warning, and head out into the Chicago night, romanticizing the anguish of adulthood, and dreaming of the day I could be as miserable as Matt Berninger.
THE WISDOM OF ROCK AND ROLL DADS, COLLECTED by katherine coplen
First, some background: I’m the music editor for the alt-weekly in Indianapolis. At night, I review shows and listen to new records by local bands. During the day, I talk to dads. Well, okay. Let me step back. I don’t only talk to dads. I do about 8-10 interviews every week, a healthy combination of local and touring musicians coming through, or from, Indianapolis. Sure, I talk to the hip, young things. (I don’t think I’ve ever written anything more ancientsounding than that sentence.) But the classic rock love is strong in me, and listen, when a very nice PR person emails you to ask if you want to interview the singer for STYX – remember, “Come Sail Away” is your go-to karaoke song – you say yes. Yes, yes, a million times yes. Same with the drummer from Journey. And Supertramp. These bands – these guys – have been around a while. They’ve got wives (and second, and third wives). And kids, lots of kids. So, naturally, when I talk to these rock and roll dads, really dad-like stuff comes up. I’ve had long conversations with REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin about the contents of his daughter’s iPod. I talked to Johnny Marr about why I quit piano lessons, and Black Crowes’ Steve Gorman about why he quit 4th grade band. Get Up Kids’
Rob Pope told me about bringing his little baby into the bar he just opened in Greenpoint. Somewhere along the line, I started collecting the best quotes from my conversations with the dads. Here are a few of my favorites. “The truth is, I’ll hang out some, play the show, have a drink every once in a while, go back, put on my cozy shorts and a clean shirt and watch Law and Order on the bus.” -Lucero’s Brian Venable explains his after-show routine. “Don’t be silly. Come down to Earth. It’s gonna be all right.” - The Clean’s David Kilgour thought there was no good reason for me to be nervous to interview him. “I guess I’ve got two great jobs. I get to play in a great band and I get to drive a big ol’ truck around.” - Guided by Voices’ Mitch Mitchell might just have one job now. GBV broke up a week after this interview. “Nobody dies from eating too many vegetables.” - Drummer Kenny Aronoff (Seger, Mellencamp, Fogerty) lectures regularly on issues of health. He has a lot of thoughts.
“I still took my drum and bells to school every Wednesday, because if I had told my parents I had quit after they bought those things for me, they would have killed me.” - Black Crowes’ drummer Steve Gorman quit his fourth grade band. He just wasn’t into it. “I talked to my kids – my oldest is 33, the youngest is 16 – and said, ‘What’s your sense of Grand Theft Auto?’ … And they said, ‘Dad, this is pop culture. This is the essence of video game pop culture. It’s iconic. We would love it if you did it.’ So I said, ‘Okay. I’ll do it.’ I’ve never actually played the game.” - Kenny Loggins, who was lost in Nashville the entire time we spoke, says he did Grand Theft Auto for the kids. “Well [Midyett’s Meat Rub is] great on steak. It’s really great on any kind of beef. I would say if you get an 1 ½ inch thick strip steak and coat it - I tried to formulate it so that anything over an inch thick cut, you can’t really overdo it - if you just coat an 1 ½ inch thick, bone-in strip steak, that should be great. I prefer strip steak to ribeye, but you could put it on a ribeye and it’d be just the same. You just cook it like normal, and it’ll be great.” -Bottomless Pit/Silkworm’s Tim Midyett makes a great meat rub “We got married nine months after we met, and have been married ever since. The first marriage for either one of us, and I hope it’s our last. It doesn’t happen, especially in rock and roll, or any profession, really. No one has any interest in commitment. You tell me why; I can’t figure it out.” -Melvins’ Buzz Osborne doesn’t understand why the kids can’t stay together these days. “I’ve met people who think that I’m in all that world. They’re like, ‘Hey, do you want to go smoke crack after the show?’ And it’s like, ‘NO, I definitely don’t. I always think of [The Hold Steady] as kind of the world’s most complex straight-edge band. It’s not, ‘Drugs are bad,’ it’s ‘Drugs are bad and I’ll explain in detail and very complexly why.’ ” -Hold Steady singer Craig Finn’s songs are much more affective than any D.A.R.E. Campaign. “I’ll put on a musicologist hat.” -STYX’s Lawrence Gowan has a bunch of thoughts about classic rock. BONUS Rock and roll mom: “I have a 22-year-old daughter who has two babies. We have had the most incredibly wildfire debates about the topic of choice. All through her teenage years, I demonstrated what it was to be a single mom, working, coming home, being with the kids, having a family … And she now blames me for not being there enough, for working. She believes that the ultimate right way is the 1950s nuclear family. You know, a dad, a mom, 2.5 kids. It’s just amazing to me that she and many of her friends are so, so - not just pro-life - they’re anti- choice. Anti-anti-antichoice.” -Heart’s Ann Wilson, coming at us with the real talk. All excerpts are pulled from interviews conducted for NUVO Newsweekly in Indianapolis. Find much more at rockandrolldads.tumblr.com.
10 DISNEY SOUNDTRACKS TO GET YOU THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS by katie capri
It’s the first cold snap and you’re hunched over a cup of coffee that’s run lukewarm way quicker than your body temperature would’ve liked. On your browser, a blinking glow of lists—to wish for and to-be-done—overshadow your online banking statement hiding in a flurry of open tabs. There’s an email from work inquiring about holiday travel plans. A page where those plans begin to take shape and with them, holiday anxiety. Worries about budgets, workload, expected gifts and weathering your Aunt Donna’s comments on your hair color d’jour start to swell up in your head like sugarplum-size brain tumors . Never fear, sweet Miscreants, the childhood nostalgia of Disney soundtracks is some kind of magic at soothing pre-holiday anxiety and family-induced panic, not to mention bridging any unexpectedly awkward gaps between world views. Whether you’re preparing for family time or already there, you can stop trying to stomach that repugnant egg nog. Seriously, you know what happens every year. Just get together a YouTube playlist of these Disney tunes and announce it as your present to everyone…yourself included. Lady and the Tramp The wind instruments and chimes in Oliver Wallace’s romantic score feel like magical snowflakes cooling the flush in your face from a few too many Great Aunt cheek pinches. Plus, the enchanting sound of Peggy Lee’s breathy voice as the Siamese Cat will help lull you into once-dreaded small talk. Crucial Tracks: “Bella Notte,” “Peace on Earth” / “Baby’s First Morning,” “The Siamese Cat Song/ What’s Going On Down There” Oliver & Company This movie features the first film sequence to ever move me to tears. That simple, loving song about friendship between unlike people (animals…but, ya know) still tugs at everybody’s heartstrings. Plus, you can use Huey Lewis and Billy Joel’s lyrics about New York City to paint an inspiring, smooth jazzy picture of city life to your more rural relatives. Crucial Tracks: “You and Me (Good Company),” “Once Upon a Time In New York City,” “Why Should I Worry” Tarzan This soundtrack is everything we love and love to hate about Phil Collins wrapped up in one childfriendly disc. Tarzan gave Collins his golden opportunity to let his affinity for jungle-esque sound effects run wild. Added perk: getting to hear Rosie O’Donell carry a tune! Certainly a holiday miracle in my book.
Crucial Tracks: “You’ll Be In My Heart,” “Son of Man,” “Two Worlds” The Aristocats Ah, *wistful stance* Cartoon cats. Culture divides. French jazz in Paris before the war. The poetic drama of this soundtrack makes it the best for moments alone, whether you sneak away for some stairwell solitude or stand longingly through your window at the first signs of snow. Crucial Tracks: “Scales and Arpeggios,” “Blues,” “The Goose Steps High,” “Pretty Melody/My Paree“ The Jungle Book There is a lot of great blues and jazz writing on this soundtrack that might have escaped your memory of the “Bare Necessities.” ‘Tis the season to stop overlooking Louis Prima’s scat work and George Bruns tremolo guitar. Crucial Tracks: “I Wan’na Be Like You (The Monkey Song),” “Baloo’s Blues,” “What’cha Wanna Do” Fantasia The best classical music starter kit ever animated. You’re hearing the actual 1940 Philadelphia Orchestra perform hallmark works by Tchaikovsky, Bach, Stravinsky, Dukas and Beethoven. So, duh, it’s perfect to set the tone at a “fancy” family get-together. Maybe even more perfect for alone time when you can relish in feeling fancy, which–sorry capitalist mythology—you can’t get in a mall. Crucial Tracks: “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies,” “Dance of the Hours” Hercules: Zero to Hero Incredibly powerful voices merge Motown, modern Gospel and Mount Olympus and give soul power to this soundtrack. The pull up your boot (or sandal?) straps kind, which should align with the American Dreamy consumer holiday season. If your businessman uncles start to sneer, let them. They’ll bust out laughing once Danny DeVito’s solo number comes on. Crucial Tracks: “Zero to Hero,” “A Star is Born,” “I Won’t Say I’m In Love,” “One Last Hope” Mary Poppins Feel old for the first time when your little cousins don’t know what “Supercalifradulisticexpialodosious” is then mentally segue into the image of you escaping through one of Dick Van Dyke’s magical chalk landscapes. Crucial Tracks: “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Pavement Artist” Pocahontas If the unchecked racism at the dinner table turns into a full blown roundtable on oppression and the hegemonic spin put on our nation’s origin story, at least you will have a poignant soundtrack to alternately point to egregious examples/ back you up. Crucial Tracks: “Listen With Your Heart,” “I’ll Never See Him Again,” “Colors of the Wind” Frozen Full Disclosure: I’ve never seen this movie. But the prospect of discussing the strengths/weaknesses of Idina Menzel with someone under 10 years old is too much to pass up. Crucial Tracks: “Let It Go” (of your underground music cred)
A CONVERSATION WITH WESLEY BUNCH OF SUBURBAN LIVING by laura lyons
Wesley Bunch is a friend of mine who effortlessly rocks the “Dad On Vacation” look on a near daily basis. A recent Virginia Beach-to-Philly transplant, he also makes music as Suburban Living, a dreamy, shoegazey 80s-y pop project that’s dropping a new album via Papercup Music on January 27th.
Laura: You were up in New York this past weekend shooting a video for a song off the new record. Can you tell us more about it? Wesley: Yeah! [The director] Arielle Green, she goes to New York Film Academy and was looking for a band to shoot a music video for a school project. I figured, what better opportunity to help out a student and also get a video on a very inexpensive budget? So I worked with her to make this video. It was pretty fun, we collaborated on the concept of the video and got to work with a lot of film students which was cool.
Laura: Can you tell us about the plot? Wesley: It was on this abandoned beach in Brooklyn called Dead Horse Bay. I highly recommend you check it out! It’s pretty fucking crazy. It’s around the southern tip of Brooklyn and is this beach that’s close to the landfill. A lot of trash gets washed up on the beach so nobody hangs out there, it’s completely abandoned and there’s all these washed up boats that are just left there. I saw people walking through and collecting jars and all this old trash that probably has been there since the eighties or nineties. So in the video, I’m walking along this beach and encountering some very strange people... but I’ll leave it at that, so it’s a surprise when you see it. Laura: I’m stoked for it! You told me once that you think that this album is your best work yet. How would you say that the process or end result has been different from your past releases? Wesley: On this one I was finally able to do a full length - I feel like every band is truly represented and finds the route that they want to go as an artist by the time they start working on a full length. I’ve been writing and putting out stuff for two years, and I think I finally found the true sound of Suburban Living. I realized that and ran with it, and it took me a really long time to write a cohesive piece You want it to flow and have a certain vibe - it took me a while to find it, but when I finally found it I started writing songs that all just kind of flowed together. I feel like I had to dig down deep to find what was artistically true and I think I found that! So that’s why I feel like it’s the best one yet, because it feels true. Laura: If this record were to soundtrack a movie, what would it be like? You can pick an existing movie, or modify an existing movie so that every character is played by Leo DiCaprio or something, or make one up right now on the spot. Wesley: That’s really hard, that’s one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked! Probably like High Fidelity or something like that - like a early 90’s comedy-drama. I’ve always wanted to soundtrack a horror film, but this record is definitely more a comedy-drama. Laura: If you could release a split with anyone in the world right now who would it be? Wesley: Oh man, that’s really hard too. Fuck. Maybe... I don’t know. My hero of modern day music is James Blake, but that would be a really weird split. But that would be cool - I feel like I would learn a lot, and he’s my hero. Laura: In the past you’ve played SXSW and CMJ and even toured Japan. What are you most looking forward to with this new album and all that comes with it? Wesley: I’m looking forward to playing a lot more shows, doing longer tours, and just getting the record out there and working it as hard as I can. With that comes playing a ton of shows and that’s my favorite part of being in a band, going on tour and playing to audiences that I don’t
know. So hopefully some of the same awesome opportunities that Surburban Living has gotten in the past show-wise will lead into this new record. Laura: How do you like working with Papercup? Have you found that being on a label you’ve had to change the way you work in any way, for better or for worse? Wesley: No, they’re great! They give me a lot of artistic freedom, they completely let me be me which is really great. I feel like that’s what labels need to do - support your artists and guide them the right way, but also let them be themselves. They’ve been 100% awesome with that. Laura: How would you say your music has been influenced by place in the past, and do you think that the move to Philly has affected your sound at all? Wesley: Um, not yet. I wrote a lot of the new record in Virginia, but I definitely think that your surroundings affect how you write music and I anticipate that whatever I do next will be influenced by Philadelphia. There will definitely be a change in sound because that’s how I am - if I’m around different scenery, the music that I write will be different. I feel like the sound of Suburban Living now is very influenced by a melancholy, suburban area of Virginia and the beach and that whole culture. So yeah, I anticipate Philadelphia changing how I write. Laura: What about the whole vibe in Philly – it seems like there’s a ton going on musically. Does that create a more welcoming environment for musicians like yourself, or do you feel like there are issues with finding your place? Wesley: It was definitely a whirlwind moving here, with how many bands and venues there are and with Philly’s booming music scene. Luckily I had a group of friends here - guys in bands like Cruiser, Dream Safari - they and some other friends that were very welcoming and got me on some good shows. So luckily, I had a little boost when I moved here. But broad picture, it’s just WHOA, there are SO many bands here compared to Virginia Beach, my hometown. So it can be a little overwhelming at times, but luckily I have the suport of friends that I can always go to and that know what’s up because they’ve been here all their lives. Laura: What’s the best pizza at Pizza Brain? Wesley: Oh man. Definitely the best pizza, my personal favorite, is the Henrietta - it’s like a sausage and pepper pie with roasted red and banana peppers. But my favorite vegetarian pizza is the Wendy, which is sun-dried tomatoes and like honey goat cheese and french arugula salad - it’s very dope. Well there ya go. The homie Wesley Bunch and crew will be in New York on December 5th to play a show with fellow Papercuppers BOYTOY and a few other very rad bands, so check them out if you’re in the area and down to groove.
photos by kelly kurteson
TINA BELCHER WILL SAVE US ALL by olivia cellamare
There is a bit of Tina Belcher in all of us. For those who are obsessed with someone whose dad owns a pizza restaurant to those obsessed with butts- we can all identify with Tina Belcher. She’s the one you want as your best friend (the same goes for Louise and Gene, those two are on a different level.) The kind of person you can hate social events with, standing in the corner making weird noises when someone tries to talk to you and you keep a tally on all the great butts that walk past you- never to acknowledge your presence. Writing this meant watching episodes I had watched many times over just to pick up on moments that make Tina Belcher so bloody great. There are many reasons, and it all comes down to butts. As always. So this is a playlist of sorts dedicated to Tina. Remember, when you’re struggling with daily life to always have in mind, “What would Tina Belcher do?” It’s obvious what she would do. She would just lie on the floor make an uncomfortable sound and take a nap. I want to do this on a daily basis, it seems like the only proper way to deal with general life. This is for you Tina B! Nicki Minaj - “Super Bass” // I could probably pick any Nicki Minaj song, but Super Bass I imagine, is a song Tina would have playing in her head constantly as she watches a cute butt walk past her...or away from her. Maybe she would use (some of) the words to finally seduce her one true love, Jimmy Jr. Maybe they would have a dance-off to this FINE Nicki Minaj song. Also, she would probably change bass for butt. Super Butt sounds better. Not really sure if it would work, but Tina B could make it happen. One Direction - “What Makes You Beautiful” // I’m fairly sure Tina would be a fan of Harry and his gorgeous locks. I know I am. She would probably play this in her room and pretend they are singing this song to her. Tina Belcher, this is YOUR anthem. This song would give her the confidence to approach Jimmy Jr. in a way she would only write in her erotic friend fiction. If anyone else did it, it would be borderline creepy but Tina is someone we can all relate to in a way, so it doesn’t seem so bad. I’d imagine Gene singing this too, he could definitely work this song. Missy Elliott - “She’s A Bitch” // I was going to go with Work It, but felt Tina needed something a bit tough here. If anyone tries to take her Jimmy Jr. from her, this is the song she would blast out. Maybe she would recite the words to Louise and Gene as they walked home or in the lunchroom at school. Perhaps Tina would don a bin bag like Missy did in the video and make her own video in her dad’s restaurant. Gene obviously would be the director and Louise would design the props. I’m getting far into this and I really want it to happen. TLC - “No Scrubs” // Don’t forget, Tina is a strong, sensual woman. Never forget that. When you have no idea what to do, always think WWTBD. What Would Tina Belcher Do. Sure she’d go get lost in her thoughts by staring at butts. We’ve all followed someone down a street because they had a good butt, don’t pretend you’ve never done it. Tina is an empowering character and I’m fairly sure she would nail the dance routine to No Scrubs. She would probably get Louise
and Gene involved. Or maybe her Linda and Bob too. Any song by Mariah Carey // I can’t pick one. She would think of her crushes to Dreamlover and Fantasy. She would watch Jimmy Jr. walk away to the sound of Always Be My Baby. Her heart would poop its pants constantly to Emotions. Every Mazza C song was probably written for people like Tina Belcher. I think Tina would relate more to 90s Mariah than current, I think most of us can. 90s Mariah is a real passion of mine. I don’t say it to be “cool” because I’m not cool, nobody is. Except Lou Reed. He was the only one. Anyone else? Forget it. 90s Mariah is just the best thing to listen to loudly and dance however you want. You know Tina B would also have the dance routine to Dreamlover nailed for sure. She would loiter around fairgrounds to try recreate the video to Fantasy. I’d be happy to do Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s part. Mariah Carey’s hits from the 90s would definitely empower Tina Belcher. Maybe just empower her to dance if nothing else. Tina Belcher is an easy character to relate to. From her anxiety-ridden groans when faced with something tormenting such as social situations to crashing her dad’s car, she’s a real endearing character that at times you don’t know if you are her or if you just want to be her pal. I’d imagine being friends with Louise and Gene too to also be like that. Imagine having guts like Louise or being so secure in yourself like Gene. Bob’s Burgers isn’t just a TV show, it’s a way of life.
comic by mary luncsford
THE DEATH OF A MONOLITH by jacob weingast
A year ago I woke up at around noon and sat down at my computer to learn that Lou Reed had died in his Long Island home at age 71. A poet in death as in life, he managed to die on a Sunday morning. This past year in my life was one where mortality played an ever-present role. I experienced the deaths of relatives and friends and idols. Each of these deaths had a lasting affect on me, but none in the fashion that Lou did. I was able to identify with Lou through so many different contexts. As a Jewish teenager growing up outside New York City, constantly grappling with my cultural and sexual identities, obsessed with art and music and general escapism, Lou’s music and persona drew me in and helped anchor me at a time when little kept me interested for very long. The news of Lou’s death crushed me as it did so many others, but I never felt empty. The incredible thing about art is how it can fill a gap that the artist leaves when they are gone. The next day at school I spent my lunch period outside sitting on the bleachers listening to the Velvet Underground’s first album. I didn’t cry. I felt stoic and clean. I have had a year now to be able to think about Lou in the past tense. I still get very emotional about it all when I listen to certain albums of his at the wrong time. I have decided that if there was ever an artist who enabled others to move forward, it was Lou. This is the perfect legacy for such a person to leave behind. His body is gone but his spirit and energy are very much alive, they follow me day in and day out. Lou Reed will always be with us. We have his art, and the art we create will influence others, and their art will influence others, and Lou Reed will get to survive forever and ever in his purest form. Amen.
THANK U TO PLUMTREE (AND OTHERS) by amanda dissinger
As I look back on this year, I remember many good things, many bad things, many things I’m proud of, many things I’m not exactly proud of, many new friendships, many times I ate popcorn for dinner, etc. But, above all I’m thankful for all of the new music I discovered that got me through the tough or blissfully happy moments of my life. Below, I share 10 artists/tracks that I’m thankful for this year. I’m going to show my mom this article when she asks me what I’m thankful for this season! YOU SHOULD TOO! 1. MITSKI - Basically all of her new album Bury Me At Makeout Creek but especially “I Will” and “Francis Forever”Mitski is an amazing artist from Brooklyn that tolerates me messaging her at various hours of the night telling her how amazing I think her music is. But seriously, this album got me through approximately 15 heartbreaks this year and a bunch of other not so fun stuff. She is incredibly unique and just all around brilliant and her songs say everything I wish I could say in such an articulate way. Listen to this album and buy a copy for everyone in your family to hand out at Thanksgiving, (even your Dad). 2. Weaves- “Shithole” or basically anything on their self-titled EP. Weaves was one of the best bands I saw at CMJ. I was familiar/obsessed with every other artist on their label, Canadian’s foremost rad label Buzz Records (including Dilly Dally who I’ll talk about in a bit), but they totally blew me away when I caught them at Shea Stadium. So incredibly unlike anything else, so powerful, so moving, so weird. Check Weaves out ASAP. 3. Dilly Dally - “Green” Dilly Dally is another band of Canades (that’s what I call Canadians for some reason in my mind) that are also on Toronto’s Buzz Records and who I also caught at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right during CMJ. Incredibly catchy, incredibly tight set which I wanted to go pretty much forever and ever and ever. This song is my favorite because I like the line “I want you naked in my kitchen” because it makes me think of the Seinfeld episode with “good naked” and “bad naked.” Anyway, just listen to the song!! 4. Flowers - Anything on their debut Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do
If you ran into me or have talked to me in the past 6 months, I have probably talked to you about how great London band Flowers is, so you can skip this one if you want. I love this band and work with them, but they are just so great that I have to keep repeating it over and over. Their album is so quiet and beautiful and heartbreaking and I took long walks listening to both “Be With You” and “If I Tell You” so many nights this summer and fall. If you get a chance to see them live, you’ll be blown away as well. 5. Girlpool- Anything on their Girlpool album specifically “Plants and Worms” or “Jane” I’ve seen this band about five times in the past three weeks and every time they play, my heart is ripped out by their incredibly strange yet lyrics that are at the same time so perceptive. My coworker/friend Nick (HI NICK) and I are obsessed with this one lyric that I am convinced is the best lyric of all time, “If I told you I love you would you take it the wrong way.” Seriously. Seriously. 6. Betty Who- Take Me When You Go, specifically “Missing You” If you know me, you probably know that I’m obsessed with 80s music. This album is a collection of 80s-esque jammers that all talk about unrequited love, which is basically my favorite topic ever. “Missing You” is the slow jam (I always like slow jams) and is another perfect song for those lonely walks. Just a really solid pop album through and through. (And she’s great live, saw her at le Irving Plaza). 7. Porches- Slow Dance in the Cosmos- specifically “Xanny Bar”, “Headsgiving” This album will always have a place in my heart because I saw Porches play it about 10 times in my first few months working at my beloved Baby’s All Right. It represents a certain time/feeling in my life and certain events that happened remind me of certain songs on this incredibly amazing album. I recently saw them play at Baby’s again and loved their new tracks, specifically “Forgive” and mostly had a very fun night with my friend Jeanette (HI JEANETTE) who I couldn’t find and it was her birthday and there was a big cake. 8. “Scott Pilgrim”- Plumtree Jeanette who runs this zine is one of my best friends (I tell everyone that so sorry) and she DJed my ~birthday extravaganza~ and deemed this song “the most Amanda song of all time” which it actually kind of is. It sounds like Reality Bites and My So Called Life rolled into one and the chorus is “I liked you for a thousand years!” and I really love hyperboles. 9. Alvvays- “The Agency Group” but all of their self titled album. This song is really good and I just found it last week and it hilariously matched my life’s situations, but all in all this album is just really lovely and pleasant and the album cover is so colorful and cute and la la al alalala. 10. A few rediscoveries/great albums I’ve thankful for from artists I’ve loved for a long time: -Taylor Swift’s 1989- YES YES YES -Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There?- One day I was the saddest girl in the world and played “Your Love is Killing Me” in the office like 10 times. Sigh, good times. -Angel Olsen in general- Specific favorites include “Miranda,” “The Waiting,” “Hi-Five” -Jenny Lewis in general- Just saw her last week and it was so incredibly amazing and there were BALLOONS! It made my week. -Feist’s “Let It Die” -The Fray- “Over My Head (Cable Car)” - EVERYONE KNOWS I’M IN OVER MY HEAD OVER MY HEAD
DIY: A CELEBRATION! a story by dan arnes of leapling
“Lombardi, in my office, NOW” My new assignment first came to me, like most great things, in the form of an official police document. In 32 years on the force I had never once been called into Chief’s office. It was a rare occasion that usually signified that he was either presenting someone a top-secret assignment or presenting someone with verifiable proof that it was me that clogged the precinct toilet again. That faithful day it just so happened to be both. “Officer Lombardi, take a seat” Chief said in a graveled voice that commanded instant respect. His authoritative tone made me so suddenly nervous that I forgot what he had just said, so I did what I always do in high pressure situations: I stood perfectly still. “...For christ’s sake Lombardi, on a chair...Sit on this chair” Once I helped myself to a seat on this “chair” he wouldn’t stop talking about, he handed me the document that informed me of my new assignment: I was to go undercover and infiltrate a rock show at what was colloquially known as a local “DIY venue.” I didn’t know what the acronym stood for but I knew there was a TV network of the same name. I had watched it once to find out how to fix the shed my ex-wife had been complaining about, so I figured this assignment would be a breeze, as at this point I’ve become somewhat of an expert on fixing sheds. Turns out I had no idea what I was in for. In retrospect I’m not sure why chief asked me. Full disclosure: I am 52 years old, partially balding and hadn’t dealt with anything music related since hanging up my axe (to make room in my shed) so I could then put away my guitar, forget about my rock n’ roll dreams and focus on becoming what my father was before me, an officer of the law. It felt like a lifetime ago since I gave up music sweet music, but I figured I still had enough rock cred to pull off this assignment. I figured maybe Chief picking me also had something to do with my proven street smarts (scored an 81 on the street smarts portion of my police exam) and the fact that, despite my age, I am very much “in touch” with the rock youth of today. Not to brag, but I had quite a large collection of both NME and Q Magazines (before my wife took half of it in the divorce proceedings.)
As chief wished me luck with a friendly, long, weathered sigh and a palm to the forehead, I walked out of his office and into the hall, where a few of my fellow officers seemed to be trying to contain their laughter. What was so funny I didn’t know (I knew for a fact Tinkles, The Precinct Clown, had retired the week earlier) but I had no time to dilly-dally. I had to gear up for what would turn out to be the assignment of a lifetime. I arrived at the haggard, hole in the wall venue well into the show due to my excessive dillydallying. Just outside I could hear muffled sounds of rock and saw a small line forming around the graffito-tagged door. From the looks of the building I suspected the place was formerly a business of some sort, but I couldn’t discern what kind from the broken sign above the door, as I have no idea what a “Carpet Wareho” is slang for. I got in line and stood unassumingly behind some ragged twenty-somethings who looked like they stank to high heaven (unfortunately I was born without the ability to smell so this was an assumption on my part). I stood nervously preparing my alibi. Just as I was deciding between “Where’s the party?” or “Is this the rock show?” without warning, I was up next. The young man at the front motioned to me with an open hand. All of my police training led me to believe this was what is referred to on the streets as a “high five,” or a “street-shake.” I complied with a quick firm five and a “What’s up dude?” to really drive it home. The young man looked confused and mildly irritated. He began to speak. “Five dol...”. Just then, he suddenly stopped short, hurriedly looked over his right shoulder, back at me, then stuttering, “Um it’s… donation only… come right in.” This is promising I thought: my first show and I’m already a VIP (also an acronym of some sort I’m told? I really must find my Police Issue Acronym Handbook (PIAH)). Inside the club there was a bustling excitement for what I assumed was the next band. I figured this was a perfect time to gather some “intel.” I casually approached a young girl with a slender frame, pronounced slouch and a t-shirt that said “NO AGE.” Nice try, I thought. Despite your attempts to confuse me, my extensive police training leads me to believe you are about 24 years of age. “Hey” I said to the girl, as indifferently as I could possibly muster. “Uh… Hi.”
I had her attention. Time to use the finely tuned tools of police interrogation. “So, the next band…You dig them?” “Uh...dig?” She asked, puzzled, twirling her hair in intense concentration. I’m losing her, I thought. I went for the next best thing. “I’m not a cop… If that’s what your th-” “I have to go.” “Oh okay, cool.” The exchange ended as quickly as it began, with no information gained. At least she didn’t leave suspicious. As I continued to make my way through the crowd and the billows of thick smoke I was becoming more and more suspicious of (again, I cannot smell) I watched a young man head towards the “bathrooms” and casually toss a banana peel just to the right of the overflowing garbage can. BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE. LOITERING I officially had my first charge. Just as I was taking out my citation notebook, reminding myself once again of the difference between littering and loitering (I won’t make the same mistake a third time), the sight of the banana peel made me think only of Tinkles, The Precinct Clown. He used to do the funniest trick where he would pretend to slip on a banana peel, then get up and pretend his pants fell down, then pretend to cry for about 10 minutes. My thoughts were with Tinkles and I hope he had received his pension. Suddenly, and without warning, the next band finally began. That was the moment everything changed. The young band began their set in a synchronized spectacle of near-virtuoso playing. The flurry of drums, precise cutting guitars and those time signatures! I didn’t know anyone, let alone kids, played like this anymore. The responsibility of my assignment completely left my mind as I lost myself in the increasingly complex, transcendent music. Suddenly it all came back flooding back to me in an awesome wave. The long nights me and my college band spent trying to perfect Rush’s “YYZ.” Seeing Yes in 1976 with my dad (We got to met Rick Wakeman backstage after the show and he gave me his cape; I kept it for years and even wore it on my first day on the force). I had a sudden realization that as far as I had run away from my past, it had finally chased me down and read me my Miranda rights. I had seen the light once again: Music, sweet music. I felt reborn and full of life. The band had said their name only once during the performance. I had extra-strength toilet tissue jammed into my ears but I think it was something in the plural tense (Man, whatever happened to band names like The Cars?) As I began my way towards
the band to congratulate them with a “Great gig!,” as is customary in the rock world, I heard a loud commotion towards the front of the venue. “POLICE. EVERYONE OUT, NOW!” I looked over and saw Gonzalez, a sergeant at my precinct, clearing the room out. I suppose I had taken too long and they sent Gonzalez in to clear the place out. I felt conflicted. This was, after all, what I had come here to do. But as I watched the band pack up their instruments and the happy show-goers filter out in disappointment, I felt nothing but regret. Then the young girl I had spoken to earlier threw up on my shoes. Then I felt queasy and also regret from earlier. As I changed out of my vomit-covered shoes I gave a friendly wave to Gonzalez but I’m assuming by his look of disgust and disappointment that he didn’t see me. The next day chief called me in to his office. I was readying myself to get chewed out (and quite possibly spitten out) when he proudly informed me the operation was a resounding success and, due to my bravery in the field, I had been promoted. I assumed Gonzalez had covered for me but I wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was from the time we were responding to a bank heist together and the bag of jelly bellys I was eating spilled all over and made the robber trip right before he could take down Gonzalez. He never did thank me for that. Chief extended a handshake to congratulate me on a job well done, but something in me couldn’t go through with it. I felt what they refer to on the streets as “emotionally conflicted.” I thought about the band, the kids in the club, the vomit I had forgotten to clean off my shoes. “I’m out, Chief,” I informed him suddenly. He was far more understanding then I thought he would be (he even popped open some aged whiskey to mark the occasion). After some final pleasantries he asked I return my gun (which I explained numerous times I had lost in a knife fight), my badge (which I explained I think is around here somewhere) and my knife (you know that expression “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight?” Well it’s true because you will probably end up losing your knife like I did). All in all, I’ve been doing great since leaving the force. I’ve decided to focus on my first true love; rock n’ roll. Me and some other retirees from the force even decided to start our own band. We sound pretty good if I do say so myself (which I do often). We’ve been practicing in my garage: I gotta admit, we get pretty loud in there. My wife would have been through the roof! (Had she not already taken half my roof in the divorce proceedings.) The final order of business left is naming the band. We originally wanted either Ex Cops or Nevous Cop but it turns out they’re both taken. After some similar false starts (We had t-shirts made up before someone told us Kings of Leon had also been taken for quite some time) we ended up coming up with a great band name of our own. We decided to go with an old nickname we had for our squad car during one of the toughest winters in recent memory. I have high hopes for the future and for the first time in a long time, things are looking up. Catch my band Snow Patrol at a local DIY venue near you.