A rant about musical identity and a playlist with more earworms than you can count.Read More
It’s all shiny, new, sun-peeking-behind-the-clouds kind of music.Read More
Fear not Jefferson Airplane nostalgics, 'Plaza,' Quilt’s latest album has excavated the piece of psych rock I first fell in love with.Read More
This month it seems music has returned to its golden age of the mid '00s. New Beach House, Neon Indian, Vanessa Carlton (!?), Small Black, and Foals.Read More
August's playlist is just as moody and stale as the humid air.Read More
etween your allergies and trying to make it to graduation parties and finals, this playlist will lift you to energetic highs, soulful grooves and danceable melodies.Read More
Sleepy pop songs, melodic rock and gentle beats will ease the chilling winds and give a mild reminder that spring is on the way. New music from Colorado bands, Marti & the Dads and Panther Martin and some sultry minimalist electronic from SALFUMÁN.Read More
Vibrant is a fitting description for Canadian singer/songwriter, Joanie Wolkoff and her musical creations. She's studied in Paris, modeled in Tokyo and tattooed pigs in rural China. After a traumatic event overseas, she decided to take a chance on Brooklyn and form electro-pop group Her Habits.
Their debut EP, released January 26, Northerner is self-aware pop music. It takes electronic risks while maintaining a reflective beauty. It's also accompanied with an illustrated manual created by Wolkoff depicting habits of women. She collected stories of feminine habits like, "She assembles weird costumes at night."Read More
It starts with the cool electronic soul of FYFE and creeps into Cineplexx's Argentinian disco. A splash of garage rock and a lot of international artists this playlist breaks borders and bursts a part genre molds. Get into it.
"Everything Is Everything" / Gabriel Garzón-Montano
This is what happens when you mix funky vocals, incredible bass and soul. It's perfect.
"Te Quiero" / Cineplexx
Just skip to this song if you want to pull some shapes.
"River" / Ibeyi
It's more than afrobeat, it's cleansing for the soul. That's all you need to know.
This month's playlist is all about female singers, synth with a sprinkling of jazz and hip-hop. It's something you could listen to with the family over the holiday's, or escaping your family and driving around your hometown with old friends turned acquaintances. Plus, there's a good number of downloadable songs for the plane, subway or wifi hole in your road trip home.
New music from King Tuff, Made In Heights and a whole lot of music that you didn't know you needed until it got cold.
"Eat With Them Pigs Boy" - Gurls
You know what was missing in your life? Nordic, minimalistic jazz pop. Just listen to it, you'll get it.
"Candour" - Oceaán
If synths got any smoother, they just wouldn't exist. The silky vocals and entrancing melody keep this track fresh and irresistible.
"All We Do" - Oh Wonder
It happens to everyone, the winter melancholy feeling. Now you have a song that can embody that. Oh Wonder gives you permission to dwell for a little bit.
Bodega Bay is not surf rock. It might be punk, art rock or garage rock but definitely not surf rock.
"A lot of music blogs write about us and say we're surf rock, and we're guessing that's because they only read our name," Aiko Masubuchi said.
Bodega Bay is based in Brooklyn, and align themselves to an art collective/movement/zine called "slackgaze" organized by Winston (aka Wimpy Slacer). In the words of Ben Hozie, lead vocal and guitarist, "It's working really heard to exist outside of a preordained notion of success." The band put that philosophy into their sound -- their songs are only about two to three minutes but are filled with bursts of energy and theatrical flair. Bodega Bay consists of six members: Aiko Masubuchi, drums; Ben Hozie, vox and guitar; Josef Von Welkkmann, percussion and vox; Nikki Belfiglio, percussion and vox; Joshua Fu, bass and Jacob Kaplan, guitar.
They invited me to their decorated practice space in Manhattan given to them by Winston at Slackgaze called Nola, Darling to talk about five hour rock operas, embracing chaos and perform "Brancusi Brainwash Birds."
They're working on a new album that might consist of 33 songs according to Josef...So look out for a whole lot of Bodega Bay in the near future but in the meantime listen to a few tracks below.
If there are two things immediately obvious about Ben Cassorla, it's his love for jangle guitars in his newest EP amigos and an impressive collection of musician/actor friends. He's toured with Ben Riley, Thelonious Monk's drummer and as a hot commodity guitarist with Dawes, Washed Out and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
Ben spoke with me over the phone during a tour opening for Blitzen Trapper with his own band, Cassorla, named after his last name.
"It's been a slow journey from playing my music none of the time to now almost all of the time," Ben said. "Finally I started to decide I wanted to make my own music. I got a little sick of all of the touring. I loved playing music every night but I found it a lot more satisfying when it was my own music."
On Cassorla's latest EP amigos, he put those touring relationships to use. Each song features a different collaborator including Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes, Crash from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Eric Earley from Blitzen Trapper and Parks and Recreation star, Aubrey Plaza.
"I just felt like I have this great group of people that I know who are great musicians and offer great things to the world and I wanted to take advantage of that," Ben said. "We’ve all worked before in the past, so it was easier to make it all happen. I would just say okay, this song, I want you to sing it. Will you sing it?"
In the music video for "Bona Fide" Plaza paddle boats around a pond in LA playing, yes actually playing, saxophone.
"Her on a boat playing saxophone, I couldn't think of anything funnier," Ben said. "When I was making that album I wanted her to be a guest on a song. She said let's do this. I said if you’re going to play saxophone, we’re going to have to make a music video."
The video also features a performance artist dancing around New York subway stations, ferry rides and streets.
"I like the idea of him and Aubrey doing totally separate things but coming together," Ben said. "And having some sort of weird relationship across the video even though they haven’t met each other yet."
This dual life can also be said for Ben's personal life. He lived in Harlem and Bed-Stuy during college and for four years after but recently moved to California.
"In Bed-Stuy, I loved the Apple Bees where Michael Bloomberg was said to order strong long islands iced teas on Monday mornings," Ben said. (For any New Yorkers wondering, that Apple Bees is located on Fulton and New York Ave.)
Ben is now based in Glendale, Los Angeles. He says LA allows him to be more creative and pickier about shows and projects he takes on.
"If you’re looking for things that New York is good at in LA you’ll be disappointed," Ben said. "It doesn’t have good pizza or bagels and driving sucks. I don’t really like the weather in LA...But the tacos are amazing. The pace of life is a whole lot slower, not everybody has to hustle as hard. There's less of a need to make money to pay rent."
Before hustling for rent, Ben was introduced to music by his mother. She taught him classical piano starting at the age of four.
"Finally for my seventh or eighth birthday I got a beat up acoustic guitar, a tiny one," Ben said. "A few years later my dad ran over it with his car."
Luckily when he was nine he bought his first electric guitar with a $50 bond from his grandma, citing it as one of the happiest days of his life. It was a red Stratocaster, inspired by Jimi Hendrix.
More recently, he's inspired by the simplicity of John Lennon's John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.
"It changed how I make a lot of my music, it's so simple and direct and that was the music I connect to and make," Ben sad. "When I made this album, amigos...the mixer and master I work with were always incredibly happy to work with me because most stuff has 48 different guitars on it. My stuff is one bass, guitar, vocals, drums. It makes their life a lot easier."
I asked Ben about the recent trend of using backtracks on stage and electronic instruments, and if he holds one over the other. He said they're two different animals. He used real drums on amigos which made the recording process harder but added a looseness that he loves.
"To be honest, i don’t judge it either way," Ben said "In the studio using electric drums, it’s a different instrument."
He released track "The Right Way" with Mighty Mike (producer who worked with Kelly Clarkson and Carly Rae Jepson) that uses nothing but electric drums. He said that the track comes from a totally different place and has a very different sound.
"Live, I think I prefer doing it all with other people because part of the fun of the music is in interacting with people," Ben said "But at the same time i can’t judge."
This next year you can look forward to an EP coming out from Cassorla, some opening tours and the beginnings of a full length album.
"I can’t make any promises," Ben said. "Just performing, making a lot of music, new touring, try as play as many as possible collaborations with as many great people as we can."
Listen to the full amigos EP:
One fateful night on the way to a roller rink, three friends came together to form puke-rock band, Ghost Punch. Located in Brooklyn, NY, Kate Bennis (vox, guitar, bass), Adam Taylor (drums) or as he likes to call himself, “Teaze” and Sarah Rogers (vox, guitar, bass) find the happy-medium between vomit and art museums.
How did Ghost Punch start?
Adam: You guys asked if I wanted to be in a band and I said yeah.
Kate: Yeah, but you had a ghost tattoo, that was the best part.
Sarah: We were on our way to the roller rink at the Salvation Army and we propositioned Adam to join our escapades.
A: It’s true.
K: And then Sarah and I were practicing in my room at my old house called Shredstuy. And we would play there and no one cared because it was a house full of boys and we could be as loud as we wanted to be. There were eight boys.
A: Just boys being boys.
S: It was like Real World but way grosser.
K: It was smelly, we had a cat and then we had an Adam, who’s basically a cat.
Where did the name come from?
K: Well, so I was at a show that a friend was having at this place, this small venue. And there was an ambient noise person playing and I wasn’t into it and I was like man, I kind of want to punch myself in the head over and over. And then I started thinking about ghost punches and how funny they were. Because ghost punches are when you take a photo when you’re shaking your face and it looks like a ghost is punching you. And then my friend came back down after playing and I was like, ‘I thought of a good band name, Ghost Punch.’ And he was like, ‘That’s already taken.’ But then it wasn’t.
S: Let it be written.
How would you describe your sound and inspirations?
S: We’re described as puke-rock. That copyright is Kate Bennis. And it keeps getting published so we’re running with it.
K: We had our first review, and they called us puke-rock after we put it on our Bandcamp page and it keeps coming up every time we play a show so I guess that’s how we would describe ourselves.
A: I’m pretty down with throwing up, so.
K: Yeah, a side note, Adam threw up on me one time. Well, Adam drank a bunch of Mad Dog at a show in Cleveland that we played and then...
A: It was my first mad dog.
S: Baby’s first mad dog.
K: What flavor was it?
A: The red kind? Red-flavored...Red drank.
S: So, Adam puked all over Kate’s lap.
K: And then he told me that Metallica ruled and then he threw up all over my dress and then my friend drew a ghost on his face. And then we went to the art museum with my parents.
A: it was just magical.
What are you working on now?
S: We’re working on a full length album that will probably be called “Mass Sext” and we hope to have it done by the end of summer and we’re also doing a split with a band called Splat. And it’s going to be sick as fuck.
K: And they’re from Cleveland and they’re similar in puke-rock. Adam is also in another band called Mega Pig.
What’s the biggest challenge?
S: Let’s go with that.
K: Yeah, we also have a lot of feelings.
S: Mostly feelings.
K: Sometimes when you eat a whole pizza, you can’t eat it at once cuz you’re too full.
S: Puke rock is like that.
K: Or when you wake up next to a half eaten taco, and you’re like ‘I thought I ate you last night’ and then you have to eat it again.
A: That’s called breakfast in bed.
Your 80’s Movie Idol?
A: I wasn’t born in the 80’s.
S: Oh my god.
K: Awe, baby.
A; I’m 12 years old.
K: I guess mine would be Molly Ringwald in “Pretty in Pink”
S: That’s a good one. Mine might be Ferris Bueller. I don’t know. He’s an inspiration for all.
Favorite pizza topping combos?
A: Shit, that is a loaded question.
K: That’s a really personal question.
S: I don’t really discriminate man, I like all the toppings.
A: Sausage onions and peppers.
K: I like olives, olives the most. And if you can make a face with the olives, then extra points to you my friend.
S: I’m a fan of jalapeños on pizza.
Least favorite music genre?
K: We don’t discriminate. I love new metal. If there’s one thing about me..
A: Least favorite, Kate.
K: Oh, hmm. My least favorite song right now is “Brooklyn Girls.”
S: Yeah whatever genre that is.
A: That’s bad.
S: That’s the worst genre.
Guilty pleasure song?
S: Probably “Slowride” by Foghat, but I also don’t feel bad about it.
A: Who sings that song, “Fast Car?”
S: That would be Tracy Chatman’s “Fast Car.”
A: I thought Tracy Chatman was a dude.
S: She might be.
K: Mine would be the song by a woman in the 90’s named Inoj, and it’s like “At night I think of you, I want to be your dirty baby.” That’s how it goes, “If your game is on, give me a call boo” I don’t know the rest.
Savage Sister's newest release, Huge Moves 7", comes at a transitional moment for the band. After a guitar-less EP, Wild Sleep, and in the wake of a vinyl release, Huge Moves offers a brief yet complete take on the unique place Savage Sister occupies in the Chicago DIY, dream music scene.
Michael Tenzer, frontman of Savage Sister, had an existential crisis at 26 when he moved home to St. Louis after attending college in Chicago. In May of 2012, the desperation in his relocation inspired him to create music as Savage Sister.
The original band consisted of drummer, Nicholas Piontek, bassist, Jamie Kerry (who was found through a Craigslist ad) and vocalist, Kate Gettinger. The group put out their first EP, Legs June of 2012.
"This is back when I wasn’t quite as sure how to produce music as I am now and it definitely shows," Tenzer said. "But eventually life got in the way. Jamie moved to North Carolina and Kate went back to school for optometry."
Tenzer decided to move back to Chicago, and found current Savage Sister members: vocalist, Chloe Lundgren and bassist, Caitlin Klask.
"Last June we released our first debut album, it was self-released digitally," Tenzer said. "Since then we’ve been a pretty prolific band. I don’t sit idly with music because I like throwing ideas out there and seeing what works."
Their most recent release, Huge Moves 7", released June 6 of this year was created after Tenzer took a brief hiatus from the guitar.
"I was thinking 'we’re a shoegaze band but we don’t even use guitar, what do you think about that?'" Tenzer said. "But that didn’t last too long because I started to miss the fluidity of playing, the guitar is by far my strongest instrument."
"Huge Moves" begins with a drumbeat that calls to mind a climactic romance scene out of a John Hughes movie. It's then paired with an ethereal layer of reverb and the sylph-like voice of Lundgren.
The next track, "Composure", acts as an interlude between the title song and "Little Claws." It's drenched in reverb and plays as an introspective reflection – a fresh rinse before the next expression is made.
"I made that song ["Composure"} pretty quickly actually...cumulatively speaking in about two days" Tenzer said. "Any ambient prelude that you hear on the albums, it’s more about the feeling and capturing some kind of emotion. Even if it’s similar, it’s going to be different to the person who’s listening. They’re total mood pieces. I like to include those because I think it’s a nice ebb and flow."
The final track "Little Claws" begins with another ear-catching beat, but this time is met with a solid melody that brings a different side of Savage Sister. A more tangible, grounded song.
"It’s just a funky, very dreampop track," Tenzer said. "We have that funkier dreampop side where we like to indulge ourselves a bit. You can bounce to it."
In October, the band plans on releasing a full-length vinyl with BLVD Records, a local Chicago record label.
"The vinyl is going to be trying to balance those two aspects of creating something – in a romantic way, creating that atmosphere that I strive to have, but also making it fun and enjoyable to listen to in all different scenarios, not just in your headphones," Tenzer said.
Tenzer doesn't believe Savage Sister occupies space exclusively in the genres of shoegaze or dreampop. He thinks of his music as "dreamgaze" with influence from ambient sources like Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel as well as shoegaze bands like Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins.
"It's such an obnoxious term [dreamgaze]...but we want to craft melodies that are essential to the song and not just layers," Tenzer said. "We try to draw elements from all of the dream spectrum of music."
Tenzer's goal creating music as Savage Sister is to combine the sense of conceptual romanticism with a digestible structure.
"I think ambient is almost a description of–this is going to sound lame–but it's a description of romance to me," Tenzer said. "Like orally speaking, I wanted it to be very romantic, transcendent. Ambient music has always really spoken to me because that's the kind of the person I am and what I find important in life."
The name of the band also reflects the transcendent yet comforting sound they have. It came from one of Tenzer's favorite movies, The Silence (1963), about two competitive sisters who travel across the country. The movie described by Tenzer, highlights the best and worst aspects of women, something that he associates with the romanticism in his music.
"Our music is informed by a feminine energy even though it’s primarily coming from me," Tenzer said. "It’s almost my conceptual–this is going to sound really pretentious– like my conceptual idea of coming to terms with both the reality of women and also the idealism that I have of women, and just the duality of it. A women can be amazing but also disgusting, like everybody. But being a hetero-man, that’s what I’m interested in."
For more from Savage Sister, check out their extensive catalogue of music at their Bandcamp.
Artwork by: Sean BernhardtRead More
June brings music festivals, thunderstorms and new releases. Sound in the Static has put together a playlist to accompany you on your long road trips, nights around a fire or to simply catch you up to speed on all the latest hits from Avi Buffalo, Sharon Van Etten, Sylvan Esso and Andrew Bird or to find new favorites like Phox, Bedroom and Ratking.