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Cara Walton Photography



Edited by Mike Arellano and Iain Oldman

WORST WE Well, well, well- look who made it a whole year! We here at Worst Week Ever have been proud to hold your hand through what we presume was just an awful, terrible, no good year for you. You’re welcome. Truth be told, it was a pretty great year for us, and that’s a solid fact that we don’t only want to share with you, but really rub in your face.

In the past year we previewed MACRoCk for you and went around all the venues to check out the best and brightest sets, from the pleasantly lucid Dumb Waiter at Court Square Theater to the sweaty, hilarious set that Big Ups brewed up, to the oddly relaxing show Friend Roulette put on in My Mansion. The Three Notch’d and Three Brothers breweries gave us sneak peeks on their deliciously intoxicating libations and we got to sit down and talk to some of Harrisonburg’s most talented artists. Shenandoah Alley took us into the mountains to enjoy a festival with them, we chatted with Go Go Leche about hip hop,

Cara Walton Photography


and somehow we got some forty-odd bands from all over the globe to answer our dumb questionnaire, including such gems as Who is your favorite transformer? and Tupac or Biggie?. That was a real milestone for us. To celebrate our one year anniversary, we’ve gone back and dug up the best content from past issues. Throughout Volume 13 we’ve spattered about our favorite works of literature, photography, art, and interviews from the past year, because this stuff is so good we just knew you needed to see it again. In all honesty, though, we’ve taken this space at the beginning of each issue to slander the month that’s about to come up, reminding you of nature and mankind’s cruel indifference, using tongue-in-cheek sarcasm to endear ourselves to you. But this month, this issue, we’d like to sincerely thank you. This past year has been an exciting, enlightening travel through all of Harrisonburg’s most interesting newsmakers. When we began publishing a year ago we had no idea how many musicians, writers, photographers, artists,

brewmasters, travellers, publishers, bookers, and otherwise interesting weirdos we would find ourselves communicating with, and sharing their stories. We feel truly fortunate that so many of our peers opened up to us and we are brimming with pride to be able to show the world just what Rocktown is made of. Mostly though, we would like to thank all of the contributors, and most importantly, our readers who have been a part of this past year with us. Our publication is absolutely nothing without you. One year later, and we’re having more fun than ever doing this. Next year, though? God, it’ll probably be just terrible. This is the Worst Week Ever.

All poetry, short stories and artwork are submitted by people that live here in the Harrisonburg area.

Cara Walton Photography

Elwood “Trip” Madison

Western Star, Too Indecent, Grayling Skyy Saturday February 7 at the Brokedown Palace Donations 9 PM

Fight the awful winter breezes with this show that expels any idea of blistery misery. Western Star comes down from Baltimore to play their own brand of dirty, southern rock that is equal parts Rolling Stones and CCR. Backing them up are local acts Too Indecent, a mix of jam band funk goodness and Sublime-inspired rap, and Grayling Skyy, Harrisonburg’s most talented and diverse rapper. Show out in droves to support the alternative sounds of Harrisonburg’s musical breadth at the Brokedown Palace.

Shenandoah Alley Sunday February 8 at Capitol Ale House Free 6 PM

Rocktown’s most talented string quartet fills Capitol Ale House for a few hours with their wonderful waves of Appalachian bluegrass and horrible one-line knee slappers. Come for one aspect, get the other one free! Now that’s a deal! Buy their self-titled album while you’re at it, it’s one of the best to come out this year.

Love & Laughter Comedy Show Friday February 13 at the Blue Ridge Event Center $20 8 PM

Have a Valentine’s Day date? Great, me neither! However, one way you can snag one up real quick is with the fail-safe line, “Hey baby, wanna go to a comedy show?”. This show features yours truly, as well as three touring comedians who have been featured on the Bad Boys of Comedy, BET Comic View, and have performed at Caroline’s on Broadway. If you don’t have a date, don’t worry about it because there will be a buffet there, and depression can be your date.

Cold Blue Mountain and Yellow King Sunday February 15 at Crayola House Donations 10 PM

Heavy, crazy music returns to the ‘Burg on Sunday, February 15th at Crayola when California’s wholly unique Cold Blue Mountain roll through to showcase their progressive, experimental sludge metal. We’ve never heard anything like it before, ranging from delicate and composed to heavy, heavy loud walls of doom. Harrisonburg’s lords of scream Yellow King back them up with their oppressive noise and tenacity, fleshing out what promises to be an unforgettable show you do not want to skip.

Word. A show uniting writing and visual art.

A few months ago, frequent Worst Week Ever contributor (OG) and local published poet Angela Marie Carter proposed a partnership for us with her upcoming show Word. A show uniting writing and visual art. We jumped at the opportunity. Between Carter’s excellent works of poetry we’ve been proud to publish and her enthusiasm to further the arts scene in Harrisonburg, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with her on the show opening this Friday (5 PM) at the Spitzer Art Center.

The premise was simple, yet open to bounds of artistic interpretation: take a work of writing you’ve produced, whether it be poetry, short story, or non-fiction, and transform it into a visual interpretation of your words. The possibilities were endless. Carter and Danielle Campbell got over twenty entrances into the juried show to be judged by an assembled panel featuring the very respected Clifford Garstang, Ragan McManus, David Nahm, and Jay Varner. This show featured two circles of Harrisonburg’s finest creative minds: writers and artists, coming together to be featured in the same show. With that in mind, Worst Week Ever is proud to announce the prized winners of the juried show Word. A Show Uniting Writing and Visual Art.

3rd Third Place Colleen Pendry

Colleen Pendry is an adjunct professor of Studio Art and Art History at Blue Ridge Community College where she teaches drawing, 3D design, and art history and appreciation. Pendry was also the recipient of the honorable Graduate Fellowship Award from the Virginia Museum of Fine Art.

Second Place Cara Walton and Brenna Layne


Cara Walton recently received the Creative Inspiration Grant from the Arts Council of the Valley for her exhibit “Caught in the Camera Eye� and many of her photographs can be seen in several issues of Worst Week Ever. Brenna Layne writes young adult fantasy fiction and runs her own weekly blog.

First Place Emily Mangan


Emily Mangan currently attends James Madison University, and upon graduation will start her Masters in Secondary Education at JMU. Mangan is off to a great start, as Word is her first time showcasing either her writing or visual artwork. Congratulations, Emily!

FRIDAY feb 6th Spitzer Art Center


Tired of all those old school pickles out there?

Do you find your self sarcasticly thinking? “way to fucking go you put some cucumbers in some dill and

What you will need. 1 bunch of bananas 3 lbs prunes 1\2 gallon apple cider vinegar 1 lb sugar A hand full of dried juniper berries 5 dried chilli peppers 4 bay leafs 1\2 cup of salt 1\4 gallon of water A clean gallon jar

T-BOR’s pickled bananas and prunes

d vinegar�

Dictated but not read. --T-BOR

Well here’s a great way to put some kick into your fucking boring ass pickle life. Combine all ingredients besides bananas and prunes in a large sauce pot. Bring to a simmer on medium heat until all sugar is dissolved. Place prunes and bananas in the jar. Cool liquid till Luke warm and pour over prunes and bananas seal jar and place in refrigerator. In only a few short hours you will be able to enjoy your new found lust for all things pickeld.

Note: author is never to be asked to taste any of his own recipes.

Brandy Somers Photography


Cara Walton Photography

today i am wearing a wrinkled shirt because it is wednesday. a lover is gone and so she no longer dances with me to miles davis. all the lights in the city turn on at 5 o’clock. the strand of lights above us glistens.


there are individuals who are going to die bottom of the tomb stones hold a great deal of memory with us besides thoughts there is little the ground and I connect in a personal way it isn’t the same it is probably just decades of lust though


Kenneth W. Phipps Jr.

Cara Walton Photography

they envy our relationship these relationship types of things are blinding me of most sensational decades which lusted me first aroused with zero limbs pleaded for help received none and accomplished other and the decades of lust of love of the many thoughts by the others that pity us

Somewhere I am a Bird:

Book Launch and Photography Exhibit Angela Marie Carter and Brandy Somers The great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, upon receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971, gave his now famous lecture “Towards the Splendid City” in which he recounts the perilous journey he took to flee his homeland. As a whole, the lecture is harrowing, albeit convoluted, and flooded with the aspect of pure human interaction. One moment of his lecture, in particular, will always rattle around in my rib cage: “Here arises an insight which the poet must learn through other people. There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song”. This human experience, this reminder that we must “pass through solitude and difficulty”, connecting with our brothers and sisters to reach ourselves as whole, came back to me like a goddamn lightning bolt when I spoke to Angela Carter and Brandy Somers about their upcoming event. On Friday, June 6th at the Spitzer Art center, beginning at five o’clock, these

two women present poetry readings and a photography exhibit that will move you, with power and authenticity. Angela Carter will release her book of poetry, Memory Chose A Womans Body, and Brandy Somers will present her photography, and you will want to be there to take it all in. Collaborating for months now, their works have moved past the ceiling of just “art” and have moved into the therapeutic realm. Focusing on the human element of struggle, and the subsequent importance of coping and positive, forward change, using stories and themes that are central, human tales that anyone can relate to. At least, that is the hope of the book, according to Angela Carter. “We are all survivors of something, and the book speaks of the shaky journey to that point of saying: I am a survivor.” Carter’s poetry is intensely personal and sometimes uncomfortable, weaving you through deeply introspective confessions paired with the twangs of memory clearer than the deepest glacial lake. Her poems tell her own stories, and through them, the stories of you and I. “It’s not the sort of stuff you talk about at a sleepover, and when it’s you, you feel like you are the only one in the world it has happened to,” she tells me. “They are human focused. I bet everyone has experienced some of it, but may not be ready to talk about it, and that’s okay too...I’m hoping that the book will conjure empathy and understanding towards these subjects, and create a change in the lives of others. I’m hoping the world around those people is viewed a little differently.”

Brandy Somers aims to affect the lives of visitors viewing her photography, as well, telling the stories of others coping with their live, struggling to find peace. I will warn you, her pieces are heavily, heavily emotional. Many will find them as a tough pill to swallow, but as Angela Carter put it, “any truth is difficult”. Somers coordinated her pieces to accompany the overall theme of Carter’s book, and the event as a whole, documenting women who were struggling to cope with their lives, and sharing their stories. By no means was it easy. One story Somers shared with us was particularly moving. She told us, “Their stories definitely left an impression. Many of these women put their trust

in me and opened up to share really painful stuff. It was heavy and I felt this overwhelming obligation to do their story justice through a single photo. It felt impossible, but I kept going with it. After hours of planning, coordinating my schedule with nearly 30 other women’s schedules and shooting for two full days, I decided to completely change the way I went about shooting: to streamline it, which meant all the photos I took the first two days were scrapped- except one. On the second day of shooting at the last house I visited, the lady explained to me that when she goes through down times, her hair falls out. She went into the bathroom and grabbed the comb full of hair that was clean moments before. I left her house feeling pretty defeated because I didn’t feel like the series was coming together the way I had envisioned. I didn’t feel I was doing their pain justice. On my drive home, the image of the lady’s hands holding the clump of hair kept tapping me on the shoulder. Somewhere along highway 42 I pulled over to draft an email to all the ladies asking them to give it another go with me.”


This collaboration started over breakfast, apparently the most important meal of the day. “Angela and her girls came over for brunch one morning. We chatted over pancakes and coffee about her book and my photography and how we could merge the two for a joint opening,” Somers tells us. Somewhere I am a Bird is the central poem, and one that struck a special chord with Somers, as the two were discussing the event. “The bird is coping. The book, for Angela, has been a source of healing, a way of coping.” Through her own work, Somers relates. “In many ways, photography helps me process the world around me. It helps me cope. I wanted to explore how others deal with life.” This event is obviously extremely personal to both Carter and Somers. That’s to be expected, I suppose, for an artist sharing their work with the world. But this is something more. Writing confessional poetry, exploring the world and it’s inhabitants through the eye of a lens, it’s how these women make sense of things, it’s how they get through everything. It’s how they cope. “Most of us are writers because we need to be, not because we chose to be,” Carter tells me. At the release of Memory Chose A Woman’s Body, while soaking in the visual stories of Brandy Somer’s captured grief, experiencing the moving and unconventionally honest poetry of Angela Carter climb into your head and plant strong roots in your soul, take a moment to consider your own struggles, your own travels, your own stories. These moments are meant to be shared and understood with your fellow human being.

Memory Chose A Woman’s Body is available for purchase on Amazon.

At Spitzer Art Center, on Friday night, you will participate in that great human experience, the story telling, and that reminder from Pablo Neruda that there is no insurmountable solitude.


To Heathrow, or Bust

You might as well be dead to me. Gone.

by, Angela M. Carter

Didn’t it all follow you through the air,

What more is out there than what is here?

and travel the ocean’s floor--


wait at the terminal, smirking proudly, wet and dripping, with a sign in hand-WELCOME HOME!!!

Does it still hate me when you are a world away-or has its pulse weakened by the miles? Does it breathe vengeance more steadily, or did it die since you aren’t around to mother it? “I demand you to come home.” I returned years later to “home”, a lost land; forgiveness, or bust.


Book: Memory Chose a Woman’s Body Author: Angela M. Carter Book publication: 2014 Genre: Poetry/Memoir Publisher: Unbound Content


Repair Today as I was outside reading, I noticed a set of broken wind chimes, neglected by my grandmother, and set myself to repair them. I like wind chimes. Always have. Something about getting the wind to sing to you. Quickly, however, I found myself holding the silver pipes, one by one, flushed with the obvious disappointment that it will be impossible to fix them. A few were dented, and when strung up, striking each other, they merely croak out a flat, tinny thud. A grunt. It is yet another item that I’ve found myself unable to fix, unable to draw beautiful music from.

By Iain Oldman

Brandy Somers Photography

Photo by Ben Fraits

Cyrillic for a new lover

Old Southern money, Poetry by Nicole Yurcaba that’s his legacy. Mine? A mysterious line of spiritually and physically hardy --yet monetarily poor-immigrants who poisoned their lungs inhaling the Earth’s black bowels for six dollars a week. His family’s farm passed from generation to generation since pre-Civil War. My family’s farm confiscated by the Bolsheviks, returned to the state, for the betterment of the collective. He calls me “Marichka” not by my given first name of “Nikol,” and says “Write my name in y’all’s alphabet,” so I pull the ever-present felt-tipped pen, from my purse, and carefully draw the ancient alphabet letters: a C-figure for the S, the bold B-shape for the V, and the hard H representing N that seals his name.

WORST WEEK EVER AT MACROCK 2014 Two days, over sixty bands, and what retrospectively seems like a million cans of beer later, we here at Worst Week Ever are still reeling, mentally and physically, from what we’ll remember as one of the more enjoyable festival weekends of our lives. If you were there, you know exactly how we feel. If you skipped it, well, you missed out, homie. You missed out badly.

The seventeenth installment of Harrisonburg’s own independent music festival officially kicked off on Friday, but the Blue Nile really sparked the festivities on Thursday night with a great show. Local acts Lil Huffy and Matt and the Leeches joined Richmond’s New Turks on the bill, but the mystifying Gull stole the show.

Photograph by Ross Figlerski

Friday’s morning light woke us up with unrelenting attitude, reminding the world that two straight days of great music was finally here. Downtown Harrisonburg was alive and vibrant, and the strings of golden sunshine carried acoustic sets all across town. The Dodger kicked the festival off, and filled up quickly. We hung out all day at the heavy music showcase at the Blue Nile, and were blown away by the immense depth of Yautja’s sound, weaving in and out of clear consciousness while the glass rattled upstairs. Richmond’s Occultist and Iron Reagan got the crowd ultra-rowdy before Harrisonburg’s local metal gods Earthling took the stage, premiering a new song for the festival-goers. Mecrabbica kept the metal flowing through our veins before we skipped off to Crayola to drink (heavily) and take in New Turks, who just kill it in basements, as well as Tungs, before Malatese capped off Friday’s marathon of music. Photograph by Ross Figlerski

Photograph by Ross Figlerski

One day down.

Hungover, dazed, and smelly, we cracked open Saturday’s festivities, beginning at the label expo and short acoustic showcase at the Nile. We were super excited to meet so many of the bands that helped us put together our MACRoCK issue, as well as meet new faces. Mike stayed at the Nile to mingle with all the pretty people while I dragged my feet to the Scribe or Die panel that the MACRoCK committee was awesome enough to put together. The room was PACKED to hear from and chat with staffers from RVA Mag, Bust Magazine, and my new favorite blog, sweetteapumpkinpie.com (seriously, check ‘em out).

I rushed over to go see Dumb Waiter kick open Court Square Theater’s Saturday showcase, and I haven’t stopped listening to them since. After wrapping up at the Nile, Mike and I slipped into the Dodger to catch Fluffer’s catchy, dirty disco-pop. We took a quick break to shower, hydrate, and eat before rushing back downtown to watch PC Worship just kill it at Court Square Theater. The theater was completely full to rake in the dizzying wall of sound and insanity. We went to catch Sweden’s Allvaret and Richmond’s Springtime kick up pangs of high school punk nostalgia before ending our night at Clementine Cafe’s absolutely brilliant showcase. Every single band exceeded our expectations and brought unprecedented energy. Big Ups and Ex-Cult wrapped up MACRoCK XVII with sets that got everybody in the crowd moving.

Photograph by Ross Figlerski

We bolted over to MyMansion after shotgunning too many beers, running into lost out-of-towners on the way, and immediately got swallowed by the sweaty and raucous crowd. Needless to say, we had a blast.

If Ex-Cult’s set at Clementine had your adrenaline going, their energy at the house show had you close to a heart attack. The whole crowd was gasping for precious air while crowd surfers got stuck up in an ocean of arms, unable to find any room to land in. It was awesome. Friend Roulette thankfully calmed everything down with their dreary, milky sound and before you knew it, the show was done, and just like that, MACRoCK weekend was over.

Photograph by Ross Figlerski

-Beth Nelson

Brandy Somers Photography

Worst Week Ever Throwbacks

Worst Week Ever will dig up some of Harrisonburg’s old gems. We’ll throw in a CD or tape, lean back in our rocking chairs, crack open a pack of Pepperidge Farms, and reminisce on the days of yore. Written by Iain Oldman

For Vol. 8, we’ve dug up Savage Land’s Honor Among Thieves. I actually remember the night of Savage Land’s first show with an honest lucidity. The damp cloud of filth that lays permanent claim to the JM’s laundry room drenched my shirt in it’s foulness, encouraging vice and generally good hearted fuckery. My friends’ band (RIP Riot Generation) opened up the night for the truly insane Goddamn Wolves- the lead singer was drunk beyond repair and ended up knocking himself unconscious WITH HIS OWN MICROPHONE. Then Savage Land premiered. And it was brutal. If there’s one thing I’ll remember about Savage Land, it was their sheer aggressiveness. Their shows were massively loud and abrasive,

Savage Land Honor Among Thieves

and was a rare exception in that the spirit of the shows were kept alive in the recordings. Savage Land took a step away from the youthcrew inspired hardcore of the Frontline, instead beefing up their sound with d-beat and Marty Stitches’ gravelly, furious vocals.

Honor Among Thieves is ten minutes of terror (heh, get it?) and solid ass hardcore that GETS. YOU. STOKED. The album blasts the church doors open with the title track, as good of an intro that you could ask for, followed up by two minutes of blazing power in “One Nation Under”. The last two tracks on Savage Land’s premier album are blitzing reminders of the darker side of punk, ripe with speed and power, and independent from the trappings of the breakdown. Honor Among Thieves is all circle pit, not karate kicks. Dust off your desktop, log into your Myspace account, and listen to it here.

Written by Iain Oldman

HBURG TO Albums 2014-2015

G’s OP TEN Last month we gave you our top ten national albums and for our anniversary issue, we bring you the top ten albums we’ve heard in our first year. See, the really great thing about this list is that all of the bands are still playing and around for your enjoyment, check ‘em out.

Shenandoah Alley - Shenandoah Alley Even if you’ve never explicitly listened to Shenandoah Alley, you’ve heard them before, we promise you. In the summer as the Shenandoah river dries up and fouls, these four dapper gentlemen, masters of their craft, the string players in Shenandoah Alley can be heard atop the porch of Capitol Alehouse plying their wares, documenting our sleepy mountain town in the most appropriate fashion- with the exercise of honest, mountain bred Virginia bluegrass music. In a sense, you can’t listen to Shenandoah Alley without picturing the valley through a gap in the trees on a trail, feeling a swelling in your chest. This string quartet is legit, too. These aren’t some vest wearin’, fedora sportin’ townfolk who decided to make a living off the twangs of redneck regret. No, these four are honed into their music, you can feel it in your blood as each track rattles off with thunderous pace.

That’s the first noticeable aspect about their debut self-titled album, the speed. It’s fucking relentless. You’re not given a chance to settle on your haunches after each track, roped into the new ballad the second after the previous one chopped off, and what’s incredible is that the album never seems busy, or trafficked. The Shenandoah Alley boys have not only become masters of the stringed instruments in their studious practice, but they’ve also gained the uncanny ability to predict your mood before each new song, and you’re never left to your own devices to soak in the music- they direct you. What separates Shenandoah Alley from the other cookie cutter bluegrass bands is their don’t-give-a-fuckery. There’s an edge, a personality that is completely invisible in every other band that covers “May the Circle Be Unbroken” because when Shenandoah Alley plays it, you get a sense that their version is just a giant middle finger to God himself. Simply, if you live in Harrisonburg or Rockingham County, or if you’ve ever drank your friend’s dad’s moonshine, or if you’ve ever hit a deer on Skyline Drive, or if you’ve ever woken up hungover at Hone Quarry, you HAVE to dedicate a portion of your time to taking in Shenandoah Alley’s debut release. It is the genuine, organic musical representation of what it means to wake up to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Top track - Flat Top Mountain

Click here to listen

Malatese - Animal Relief

People like to throw around the term “psych-punk” far too liberally for my taste. It seems like if a band is hard to throw under an umbrella statement, neither justifying a label of contemporary psychedelic music or the accepted definition of punk, a reviewer will just throw their arms up and scream, fuck it- psych-punk. Unfortunately, I believe that local what-the-hell quartet Malatese has fallen victim to that nomenclature as a result of laziness, which is unfortunate because these dudes are truly PUNK AS FUCK. Throw out “psychedelic”, Malatese is here to psych you out with their 2014 album Animal Relief.

Malatese recorded Animal Relief with a blatant rejection of whatever expectations Harrisonburg held over their heads after their absolutely brilliant 2012 release, Malatese Oksom Tejah blew Rocktown away. And it’s not like Malatese grew up either, but rather just kept throwing fireworks into their songwriting. There’s more chaos and undiluted noise over Travis Legg’s echoing, creepy and inexplicably powerful vocals. The unpolished product? A morning jog through the sewers. Just imagine if the Red Krayola grew up in Birmingham, England during the late 70’s. The great news is that these guys show no signs of slowing down, having just dropped a new cassette last month to start the year off on the right foot, and they’re a constant at Harrisonburg house shows now. That’s totally alright with us, as with each passing year this quartet expands to greater and greater awareness, encompassing all noises and rhythms along their way. Who knows, maybe in five years Malatese will be playing in the National Gallery. It really doesn’t seem too out of reach.

Top track - Twitter Song Click here to listen

Z-Plan - L’Egg Man

Disclaimer: we’re suckers for perfectly executed pop albums. When we listened to Z Plan’s 2014 release L’egg Mann we nearly melted into our chairs from sheer excitement that we were simply unable to contain. From the first track moving forward, Z Plan finds a way to worm their way into your heart with simple, warm songwriting that is perfectly executed from volume fluctuations, to instrumentation choice, to vocal styles to simple rhythm. Fellas, if you’re looking for an album to impress a lady with, choose this one. Ladies, if you’re looking for an album to show a fella that you’re fun, keep this on tap.

L’egg Mann, aside from being the best titled album in recent memory, is through and through a force of poppy goodness, stemming influence from the Beta Band and Elton John’s less orchestral tunes, or the one about a princess dying. Usually when you hear that, however, you expect one specific genre over and over again, and what is truly impressive about Z Plan’s newest album is that they manage to hop all over the charts in just four songs. And for an album that jumps here and there and back to here again, it’s surprisingly well composed. No song seems truly out of place, and there are moments of cohesion and shockingly mature songwriting. The last track, The Beat that Brings my Baby, for example, has layers and layers of instrumentation that drip over each other like fondue with perfect symmetry. Mike Hudson may very well be the best songwriter in Harrisonburg, though because of Z Plans apparent reluctance to perform more than a handful of times a year, no one may really recognize that, and copies of L’egg Mann have been sitting on the shelf of Midtowne Market for far too long. This is an album that deserves to sell out.

Top track - Katie Click here to listen

mcrcsms - Boukolikos

Harrisonburg’s premier electronic act, mcrcsms, has us HOOKED. If you haven’t yet sought him out to watch live, then do yourself a favor and listen to Boukolikos over and over and over and over and over again. That’s not an exaggeration, this album deserves that much play time. And that’s simply because there’s so much you’ll miss in the first go around of the album’s play. Kendall Furrow (mcrcsms) builds an insane amount of musical depth in each track, dipping your ears in and out of heavenly scenes, subtly whispering chirps in the background while he has your attention grasped by keys and cloudy gales of soft buzzes.

Listen to this album with all sorts of sound modifications: turn that bass up and this album is BOUNCIN’, set the midrange higher and you’ll appreciate his harmonies that much more, turn the speakers down and this album is the perfect soundtrack to clean your kitchen to, or crank it up and lose yourself in a summer sun. It’s everything you need it to be. That’s an insanely hard accomplishment to hide in your music, especially for a producer stuck in a music scene that doesn’t exactly celebrate such uniqueness. mcrcsms shows are depressingly spare, and it doesn’t sound like we should be waiting by the door for a new release to come out in the near future, so with that in mind we appreciate Boukolikos that much more. Honestly, though, it’s a bit selfish to beg for something so beautiful and wideranged once, maybe twice (maybe???) a year.

Top track - Godschpeve! Click here to listen

The Modern Folk - American Mountain

Not since Bathtub Shitter has a group of musicians chosen a more appropriate name for their project than the Modern Folk. Stemming from the brilliant brain of Harrisonburg transplant Josh Moss, this collective of like minded musicians produced a painfully beautiful revitalisation of folk in all the right aspects. Producing an album that could easily be confused with a Jim Jarmusch movie soundtrack, Moss discarded the usual tropes of folk artists these days who rely heavily on fiddles and group sing to falsely reproduce the music of ancestors they never had. Bucking that trend, the Modern Folk uses only electric instruments pumped

through distortion on their instrumental tracks, creating soundscapes that you’re sure seeped out of an Appalachian coal mine. In between their instrumental sonatas, this Portland based folk project rejects the cheery disposition of contemporary faux folk artists and rattles your heart with Depression-era ballads of hardship and trickery. This is true, modern folk. Seriously, don’t be surprised if you see this style of Americana pop up in America’s hipster sanctuaries. American Mountain is real thoughgenuine and heartbreaking, personal and transcendent.

Top track - The Mountain Click here to listen

Written by Iain Oldman

Sleeptalker - Sleeptalker

Andrew Puffenbarger has quietly, but assuredly put this town under his thumb in the past year. From the outdoor acoustic set at MACRoCk to the Crayola basement to Court Square Theater, Puffenbarger (under the Sleeptalker moniker) has bathed all of Harrisonburg in his own brand of melancholy solo singer songwriter sweetness. Don’t let the white guy with a guitar on stage fool you, Sleeptalker doesn’t play the genre of solo acoustic indie you’ve come to expect or even desire, and replaces

the straight forward Americana soulfulness with a brash brand of emo-folk, drawing chords for long walks and letting his spidery, whispering voice snake it’s way down your throat before it makes your heart ache. The Sleeptalker debut is his perfect product, the fruit of his labor after two EPs and a year of seemingly weekly sets. Sleeptalker isn’t just the full length debut from Puffenbarger, its a sign of things to come. For someone as industrious as he is, you know that this debut won’t be his only full length before long.

Top track - The Sun Also Rises Click here to listen

Written by Iain Oldman

Que Va - Appear/Reappear

With this debut cassette, Que Va successfully released the most dynamic and confusing ten minutes of music in Harrisonburg this year. Appear/Reappear is a walk through a haunted, dark garden of diverse punk influencesscreamo, post-core, shades of mathcore, and so, so, so much noise. This cassette sounds like it was recorded by Steve Albini in an airplane hangar full of steel wool. It is awesome. The only unfortunate thing about Que Va’s first release is it’s length, just clocking in over ten minutes when you want SO MUCH MORE. Que Va shows are becoming increasingly few and far between, so the fix becomes increasingly stacked upon itself in that consideration.

These dudes are just fun to watch, wholly original and challenging to predict. I don’t know about you, but there are few things more amusing to me than watching a dozen headbangers have a curveball thrown at them, leaving them mid swing when a new time signature comes in. That’s what Que Va is all about- disappointing headbangers.

Top Track - Pack Click here to listen

Written by Iain Oldman

Azores - Azores

The newest release on our top albums list, Azores popped out their debut work just in time. Thank God, too, because these diddies are a real treat. Our first memory of these guys came from a magical night out at the Shenandoah Alley house, where about fifty people gathered on the lawn to drink (courtesy of Three Notch’d) and enjoy a night of Harrisonburg’s finest acts. Maybe it was the booze, maybe it was the full gallery of crystal bright constellations, but Azores really shone out to the small crowd that night. Led by frontman Vince Paixao’s crisp, beautiful voice, this quartet relies on songwriting and crisp musicianship to snag your attention. None of the songs are stand alones

themselves, but are rather meant to be enjoyed as a cohesive cloud, like mead or an acid strip. Every track is inherently simple but undeniably poppy, real head boppers. None of the guitar solos on the album are ones that make you groan. Paixao is the real star of this album, and the guy is a real singer- not one of those schmucks who have been auto-tuned above mediocrity. Nah, this dude has pipes and his vocals will hurt you. Azore’s themes are universal and heartbreakingly personal in the same sense, like they made every song to get to you and just you. It’s part of the magic of their debut album. These dudes just got done with a small January tour to show Virginia that they are here and here to stay, which we are very glad to know.

Top track - Tusk Click here to listen

Go Go Leche - Blue Ivy Vol. 1

Go Go Leche was, by faaaaaaaaaar, our favorite revelation of the past calendar year. See, the one serious perk to this gig is the benefit of pushing ourselves to stay on top of local music, and uncovering the polished gems that otherwise would most likely slip right under our noses. The freshest, wonkiest gem we found was Go Go Leche. In the summer we discovered Go Go Leche’s Things Went Warm, a whimsical, stoned traipse through chilled back hip hop, apparently fueled by mint juleps or a 1950’s army experiment on drug use. It was different, something new and exciting.

Then they dropped Blue Ivy Vol. 1 on us and did it all over again. What Liv Sohr and Kevin Sabo accomplish on this album is just refreshing. The duo steps up everything on this album from their previous releases- the production is wholly original, their candor is on another level, and the overall flow of the album is rich and wonderful. None of the tracks are too long, keeping your attention and wonder. Blue Ivy Vol. 2 is set to drop sometime in the next few months, so keep your eyes open for that sure-hit of an album from Harrisonburg’s coolest and definitely most stoned hip hop duo.

Top track - Freshly Squeezed Click here to listen

Written by Iain Oldman

Whorecough - Demos

For a brief, sick moment in Harrisonburg there were no punk bands making the rounds, kicking out teeth and sweating up the cramped space in MyMansion. It was a long winter, and the spring melt brought with it torrential streams of dirty snow mixed with gravel and used needles, pooling in parking decks, back alleys, and right where the barbecue chicken guy sets up shop at the farmer’s market. Somehow, the rude kids in Whorecough took this as inspiration and blasted their new presence aware with their raucous, loud debut release demo. Once again, Harrisonburg had a new king queen of punk mountain, or grime mountain, more appropriately.

Whorecough delivers on almost everything you’d want from a small-town punk band’s demo release. The quartet’s songwriting shows maturity beyond a debut record, layering sludge with classic riot grrrl mainstays, keeping everything rough around the edges, staying away from the overproduced, glossy recordings that so many young punk bands unfortunately fall into. It’s hard to mirror the vile energy that frontwoman Natalie Strickland blasts out, but the group tries it’s damndest to get there. Whorecough’s demos are energetic and angry, or in short, perfect for this punk band’s first release. There’s still promise for growth and a satisfying edge to all six songs, leaving this as the sludgiest, roughest twelve minutes of anger-fueled Rocktown punk we listened to this year.

Top track - Mary’s Rat Click here to listen

Brandy Somers Photography

Now booking shows for local and out of town bands, contact Michael Steele at


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Worst Week Ever - Issue Thirteen  

February 6, 2015 - All poetry, short stories and artwork are submitted by people that live in the Harrisonburg area.

Worst Week Ever - Issue Thirteen  

February 6, 2015 - All poetry, short stories and artwork are submitted by people that live in the Harrisonburg area.