Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shows at my house in Allston this month

Future: Waxahatchee, Modern Hut, Sean Nicholas Savage, Olden Yolk, Zula, Julianna Barwick, Peace Arrow

The Great Valley "Dream Phone"

My first memory of this band is in a mostly empty Denton, TX bar & grill type place at 2 in the morning sitting around with Quilt. Both bands had played in the basement of pizza shop down the block earlier. We didn't know anyone in Denton but met some guy there who said we could all stay at his house. He was on a date though and wanted to go to this bar & grill for a drink with this girl before going home. We all sat on the other side of the restaurant and left them alone. Eventually he just gave us his address and said the door was open. An hour later it's 3 am and we are creeping around a stranger's living room where no one is home with little idea if we're even at the right house. It was the nicest place we stayed on that whole tour. I might be confusing some of the details of this story because it is all sort of fuzzy to me now.

That was 2011, and The Great Valley already seemed like prolific weird-pop artists of sorts, with an assortment of releases at the time: two full-length tapes, a vinyl record, a split with Prince Rama. They come from Brattleboro, VT along with the likes of Happy Jawbone Family Band, Blanche Blanche Blanche (Zach Phillips contributes keyboards to the track below), Chris Weisman, Son of Salami, and more. Members of The Great Valley also run the excellent Spooky Town label, which released the first Quilt tape as well as various Brattleboro artists. The band's most recent recordings are their best yet though. Their next LP Continental Lunch is due out on the excellent Feeding Tube Records of Northampton, MA in February. Stream the first track below. Their record release show is February 1st with Happy Jawbone Family Band, Ronnie Nordac, and Akroyd at the Video Underground in Jamaica Plain

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Listen to live sets by Swearin', Merchandise, Hysterics

Thank you to whoever runs the Minneapolis music blog gracefully titled "We Ain't Gonna Stop (Fuck You)" for recording these live sets by Swearin', Merchandise, and Hysterics. Captured throughout the past year, they sound sort of like the result of one punk kid bringing a tape player to his favorite basement shows, setting it up in the back of the room some where, and hitting "record". (Though we can't say for sure if that's actually the truth.) The Swearin' set was recorded on the fourth of July at what appears to be a kitchen or something called Sheeopocalypse. The Hysterics show was in September at "House of Lard"; Merchandise was in April at "Seward Cafe". Soundcloud embeds below as well as linx to download more footage via Mediafire.

SWEARIN' Download -

HYSTERICS Download -


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jordan Michael's 12/21 End of the World Show Flyer is a Work of Art

Friday, December 21* marks the end of the Mayan Calendar and the end of the world. To mark the occasion, Jordan Michael has organized yet another inspired lineup at Shea Stadium (I hear Dada Trash Collage are good!), and he is promoting it with the masterpiece, above, designed by himself and Rob Chabebe. This flyer is a work of art. (Click to enlarge.)

I had to get some commentary from Jordan. Here's what he said:

The best logo is Prince, and Star Wars. 
I spend a lot of time trying to think about how promoting shows is in itself a creative endeavor. And branding is a weird thing that I think a lot about. Do you remember when that guy did the free-fall from outerspace? His entire thing was sponsored by Red Bull, and the entire time they kept talking about how likely it was that he would die. This really sick part of me wanted this incredibly high-profile stunt to end horribly and have this pulpy corpse on the ground that was proudly sponsored by Red Bull. 
I mean, obviously I didn't want the guy to die, but I think a lot about how sponsorships have gotten so out of control that if anyone wants to make any money they need to make their art serve a secondary purpose as a commercial endeavor for a totally unrelated party. I see so many things-- sponsored shows specifically-- that are so heavily saturated with corporate presence that I can't enjoy the music because I feel like I'm living in a commercial. 
I'm not some totally anti-capitalist anarchist that wants all sponsorship gone, it's just a funny joke. If someone wants money they almost have no choice but to take money from corporate sponsors. But a lot of times I feel like music is now post-apocalyptic because everyone is making it in the shadow of this huge music industry that hit the ceiling and crumbled and is never coming back. If we ever get to the part when Mr. Clean is sponsoring experimental rock acts to play the end of the world, then I'll be incredibly sad/legitimately happy. 
Well there you have it. Nothing is free.

* 12/21 is also our little sister Marissa Pelly's 19th birthday so I hope the world doesn't actually end. Shouts out Rissy P. we're so proud of you

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Watch Merkhandise Play My Favorite Song of 2012 On Their Roof in Tampa

If we are friends in real life then you definitely know "Become What You Are" by Merchandise (off Children of Desire) is my very favorite song of the year and in fact you have probably already heard me talk about why that is so. It manages to pack what I believe are some complex ideas about self-reinvention and solitude and autonomy into a sweeping, poetic pop burner that culminates with a krauty barrage of noise. Intentional, ecstatic, disorienting noise, so as to say, "we are doing this for ourselves."

The lyrics really have the ability to pierce straight into anyone who at a point realized she had to change something about how she lived. When I interviewed the band they spoke about being Spiritually of the East but in a sense this song is rooted in America's primary fantasy-- that generally we're always free to ditch the burden of the past and start anew. The Alan Watts ref is also kewl; that's a good book.

If you would like some more ideas on why this is my favorite song of the year (and a lot of other things) you can have a copy of the first issue of Cryptophasia, which is a new print publication Liz and I have been working on for the past year and a half. It will be released by the end of the year. Just send your address to and we will mail you a copy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Sky Is Erupting (Gratitude)

notes and reflections and such below ...


1 "marcy rain" (itasca) - i received this album in the most perfect way; delivered fully-formed, entirely unexpected, directly from the person who made it. feels rare to find minimal psychedelic folk w/ such hard-hitting clarity/feeling and specific downcast mood ... i want to listen to this while riding the jmz in the rain

2 "mirror" (d. vassalotti) - totally blistering guitar work and much brutal emotion laced throughout the writing on this lp. i recently lost power in my apartment and listened to it on repeat w/ candles lit until my laptop died. it felt appropriate seeing as this record is like the sound of an artist draining himself into song til there's nothing left

3 "arm candy" (hysterics) - totally inspired show at stolen sleeves in september, the best set i have seen there in three and a half years. i can really relate to these lyrics, which seem to be about the disturbing notion of girls being condescendingly pushed to the margins of a subcultural scene-- but claiming yourself and combatting that and calling it out. reminds me exactly of the many fortunate/unfortunate ways being involved w/ so-called hardcore impacted me in pre-teen years + changed my life

4 "thick lip" (white lung) best of 2k12. this song is about backwards beauty standards and it will crush you; i previously called it the "most abrasive collective assault" of the white lung >ideal<

5 "with or without you" (blanche blanche blanche) i remember listening to this lp for the first time and thinking it was the most alien-sounding thing i'd heard in so long, i just started laughing at how great and strange it was. i am grateful these prolific brattleboro weirdos have entered my life w/ their music and taught me about their community of songwriters

6 "kenosha" demo (swearin') i will also -never- forget where i was the first time i heard the swearin' demo ... how many times this year have i walked down nassau singing this outloud to myself/looking nuts/etc? i've already spilt much ink on this lp, which will figure very high on my "actual" year-end list

7 "your party sucks" (pygmy shrews) r.i.p. pygmy shrews! i loved playing this band on wnyu ... i also HATE going to parties. i hope they are lying about breaking up and that final show at 285 was a joke

8 "noccalula" (waxahatchee) - this album cuts through me, it is so sad and beautiful. "allison's only calling when her life's falling apart"-- is a terrifyingly resonant line for me

9 "become what you are" demo (merchandise) - this is a glimpse into the process behind my favorite song of the year ... if we are friends in real life then you are definitely fucking sick of hearing me talk about this band. i could write many pages on this one track and i am sure that soon i will

10 "at least it would come out" (patti smith) here is the part where i brag about meeting her this year. at several points i swear she looked me in the e y e s . . . . . .


1 "civil society" (nuclear spring) one of my favorite new NY bands who i saw play many times this year, here is a choice quote the singer offered during a september show: "this set is dedicated to the future tastemakers of america. you're all a bunch of fucking morons." pretty cool

2 "but there has to be more" (lower) there is so much poetry and desperation in their music, they are my favorite band to emerge from the cpn scene and i think this song proves they're not bound by one particular genre or feeling

3 "don't forgive lightly" (siamese twins) best new demo, i have listened to this consistently since last december (and written about it) and grown more in love ... in fact, siamese twins' set is one of the primary reasons i travelled to ladyfest boston in february. too bad lizpelly's parking meter ran out five minutes before their set and we ended up spending an hour bickering in her borrowed car instead of watching them, because liz does not actually know how to drive. SIGH. luckily they played saint vitus this fall and it ruled.

4 "thaw" (laurel halo) forward motion's the only answer

5 "tyjna" (nu sensae) i never listened to much music sung in slavic languages before this year but pussy riot made me more attentive to how amazing it sounds

6 "house of the beating hell" (salvation) appropriately i finally purchased this EP at "heaven street" on halloween... i've spent much time writing at my desk with these four songs on repeat, go figure

7 "atlantico" (pegsvs) i interviewed pegasvs in barcelona after seeing them play primavera and real early in our conversation they mentioned franco battiato and psychic tv. this is the most poppy song on their lp and while i can't understand all the words, i like how they still convey the >sublime< vastness of an ocean

8 "try to make yourself a work of art" (julia holter) very real timeless mantra

9 "garden of delight" (cult of youth) pinnacle of a triumphant record on resistance to this fucked up world, and prevailing love, with some >magic< for good measure ...

and man is an animal that strives to evolve
but there are some people who don’t bear that resolve
and cruelty in nature, a fascism pure
a reflection of man that we’re forced to endure
and angels breed whilst devils kill
we’re left to rot in this human landfill
and left to die whilst lovers kiss
but you and i / an ipsissimus
and devils breed whilst angels die
but you and i (yes, you and i)
we bear their load from start to end
so what’s the use? (yes what’s the use?)
to resist their control and bury their claim
and carry the banners of freedom again
and love will prevail and tend to their flock
and those that oppose us will soon be forgot
and love will prevail since hate was a lie
and those that oppose us.

10 "farewell angelina" dylan cover (marissa nadler) astounding, spellbound cover of one of my favorite dylan bootlegs from one of my favorite contemporary voices; "call me any name you like, i will never deny it / but farewell angelina, the sky is erupting / and I must go where it is quiet."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Listen to Teenage Cool Kids "Denton After Sunset"

Teenage Cool Kids are Denton, Texas trio who formed in 2006, and have since released three LPs of smart, 90s-inspired indie rock. The first song of their most recent release, "Denton After Sunset" from Denton After Sunset, is the track that initially hooked me about a year ago. (I've been continuously coming back to that 2k11 release ever since.)

"As I grew older, I became / acquainted with my own identity / It's pretty boring but assuring, once / you know what not to be," sings Andrew Savage, quick and monotone over distorted guitars that -- in place of any sort of hook or chorus -- get noisier between the verses. (Stream it above.)

With roots in Texas punk, they're the sort of decidedly do-it-yourself band that appears on If You Make It's Pink Couch Sessions(video below) and do all booking and recording themselves. The singer of the band is now the singer of Brooklyn's Fergus & Geronimo. Hopefully that doesn't mean he's done with this band? I have no idea though.

Teenage Cool Kids - Landlocked State from If You Make It on Vimeo.

Here is a full stream of Denton After Sunset:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I have a new radio show, Xerox Girls

It's on Newtown Radio and it's called Xerox Girls and my co-DJ is Pier Harrisson. Here's the first playlist, updated live ...

01 Siamese Twin: "Don't Forgive Lightly
02 Zola Jesus: "Soeur Sewer"
03 Half Japanese: "Calling All Girls"
04 Alice Cohen: "Cascading Keys"

05 White Lung: "Bag"
06 La La Vasquez: "Hello"
07 Blanche Blanche Blanche: "With or Without You"
08 She: "Outta Reach"
09 Sad Boys: "Cortex Vortex"
10 Pygmy Shrews: "Catheter"

11 The Bitters: "I'm Feeling Good"
12 Brilliant Colors: "Short Sleeves at Night"
13 Mount Eerie: "(something)"
14 Swearin': "Kenosha"
15 Shellshag: "Resilient Bastard"
16 Belgrado: "Clockwise"
17 K-Holes: "Night Shifter"
18 Slant 6: "What Kind of Monster Are You"

19 Sister Ola Mae Terrel: "Life is a Problem"
20 The Bags: "We Don't Need the English"
21 Free Kitten: "Surfs Up"
22 Henry's Dress: "Target Practice"
23 Honeysuck: "No Hope"
24 Effi Briest: "Phoenix"
25 Weed Hounds: "Hard Drivin"
26 Grass Widow: "Whistling in the Dark"

27 Peaking Lights: "Wedding Song"
28 JAMC: "Perfume" [ft. Hope Sandoval]
29 HNY: "Dead in a Year"
30 Ela Orleans: "Night Wars"
31 Grouper: "You Never Came"

32 God is My Co-Pilot: "Anatomically Correct"
33 Kathleen Hanna: "I Wish I Was Him"

Friday, August 3, 2012

I hosted Crucial Chaos on WNYU

I can't recall how I first heard of Crucial Chaos, the long-running punk, hardcore, and noise program on WNYU, but it was early on enough that when I first read Our Band Could Be Your Life in the ninth grade, I thought it was radical that Azerrad made mention of the show. And since then I have dreamt of hosting this show in a pretty honest way.

Last night I made a return to WNYU to fill-in on Crucial Chaos. If interested you can take a listen to the archive, here. I can never help focusing on new releases (and relatively new ones) within the context of college radio, so many of these songs are culled from albums released within the past few years. Some personal favorites included White Lung and Lower, both of whom I've written about for Pitchfork; Honeysuck and Curmudgeon, both of whom Liz has written about for the Phoenix; and Sexdrome (Copenhagen), Warthog (ex-The Men), Slug Guts (Sacred Bones), Plastic Cross (Don Giovanni).

Playlist here.