Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Back when Jesse Malin was only 12, he formed one of the first-ever New York hardcore bands, Heart Attack, and in 1981 they put out their debut 7″, “God Is Dead“, on the Damaged Goods fanzine label. The band was short-lived but they left an impact, and the long-out-of-print “God Is Dead” had been bootlegged for years. Now, it’s getting its first-ever official reissue, via Malin and Don DiLego’s Velvet Elk label. We’ve teamed up with Malin on an exclusive white vinyl variant, limited to just 250 copies and available exclusively in our stores. 

“The “God Is Dead” EP is the first record I ever put out,” Jesse tells us. “We were a trio and failed the auditions at CBGB We were too late. They told us ‘all that punk rock was over,’ and that we should try something new, like rockabilly or new romantic. I wasn’t going to dress up like a pirate. I started to walk further east and saw fliers on the street posts, for bands like The Stimulators and Bad Brains and the False Prophets. I started to get this idea that there was something else out there.”

“We got inspired by seeing the Bad Brains. Everything got faster. Our guitarist Jack Flannigan started listening to Ramones records on the faster speed. He then went on to form The Mob, the fastest band on the scene. We wanted something that spoke to us during our time. It was our generation. It was the early days of hardcore.”

“We started to check out clubs on Avenue A, which was a scary, blown-out neighborhood. Somehow, without cell phones and the internet, we all found each other on an East Village corner. We came from all boroughs in the New York area and the tri-state. Tours were booked on stolen credit cards that you bought in Times Square. You bought a used van, built a loft in the back, and went across the country.”

“I’ll never forget the summer of ’81 when we first heard this record on the radio,” Jesse continues. “I’m really happy to see this EP get a re-release 40 years later. I’m very grateful to still be making music. As much as the world changes, some things remain the same—waiting for the van to come, writing a set list, getting the jitters before you go on, putting your boots on tight, and playing every show like you have a gun at your back.”

If you’ve never heard “God Is Dead“, it’s a great and perhaps slightly-underrated example of early hardcore, and it still rips today. 

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When Mia Berrin started her band Pom Pom Club in high school at age fifteen, the band name and social media handles preceded the music. “It’s like the people who buy web domains with the hopes that they’ll be worth a million dollars in a couple of years,” she jokes of grabbing the Instagram and Twitter handles before recording a single song. “That was me.”

Make no mistake: Despite the order of operations, Berrin valued music above all else. The Orlando-raised singer-songwriter had been learning guitar while messing around in GarageBand, and inspired by riot grrl — specifically, the idea of “being in a non-men band” — she asked around at her Orlando school to see if any other classmates were interested. Unfortunately, the “one girl who played bass in the entire school” turned her down. “I didn’t know off the top of my head that I would turn it into something,” Berrin, now 23, remembers. But with her claim to the name in her back pocket, she graduated from high school and moved to New York to study production engineering. She also progressed from playing and singing alone in her room to performing live, first solo, then with a full line-up female bassist and all.

Within a few years, Pom Pom Squad was officially “something” indeed.

Berrin who is soft-spoken but quick with sarcasm, oscillating easily between humour and sincerity — cut her performing teeth first by singing with other bands around Manhattan and Brooklyn prior to forming her own group. (Bassist Maria Alé Figeman, drummer Shelby Keller, and guitarist Alex Mercuri round out the current Pom Pom Squad line up.) “I felt like I hopped into this stage persona. I had no idea who I was, but I was very extra and that was great,” Berrin says. “It was a lot of self-discovery and picking up a skill that I had no idea I could do.”

Berrin released singles and EPs through Bandcamp, gathering momentum with 2017’s “Hate It Here” and 2019’s “Ow“. Drawing upon indie rock, alternative, pop and grunge influences (at any given moment, Berrin’s sonic mood board might contain musicals, Ariana Grande, Weezer, or Kathleen Hanna), Pom Pom Squad quietly established itself as one of the most riveting rock acts to emerge over the year.

The way Mia Berrin can nod to her influences—be they of the iconic 60’s girl group, characters from a John Waters film, or cutting edge fashion from today, while simultaneously spinning a beautiful and original story in her songs—is absolutely thrilling. This is the kind of record that makes you not only excited to see what you can do with an artist in a post-pandemic future, but also how you can build their career in the present circumstances.

It’s a razor-sharp bite of cathartic punk that the Brooklyn four-piece’s powerhouse frontperson Mia Berrin wrote in the traumatic throes of her adolescent feminine awakening while realizing the ever-present gaze of the male patriarchy.

“Crying” sounds like a sentimental breakup ballad but Mia Berrin doesn’t seem hung up on anyone but herself in the lyrics. It’s all self-flagellation for failing in attempts at relationships, castigating herself for making “a game of breaking promises,” feeling nothing, losing arguments, and obsessing on people who she thinks hate her. Berrin sings it all with convincing feeling, but it’s also clear she’s playing up the melodrama and winking at the audience a bit. The song effectively has it both ways – it indulges your self-pity, but also gently nudges you to notice that maybe the reason connecting with other people has been so hard is that even aside from all the ways you self-sabotage, you’re just too caught up in yourself to really notice or care about how anyone else feels.

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Music and lyrics by Mia Berrin

Except for:
“Cake,” music by Henson Popa (ASCAP) and lyrics by Mia Berrin and Henson Popa

“Crimson + Clover,” music and lyrics by Tommy James and Peter Lucia Jr. (Originally performed by Tommy James and the Shondells)

“Forever,” music by Mia Berrin and Garret Chabot (ASCAP) and lyrics by Mia Berrin
Violin arrangement for “Forever” by Camellia Hartman

“Shame Reactions,” music by Shelby Keller (ASCAP) and lyrics by Mia Berrin

“This Couldn’t Happen,” music by Lionel Newman and lyrics by Dorcas Cochran (Originally performed by Ida Lupino) based on the version by Doris Day

Bass: Mari Alé Figeman
Drums and Percussion: Shelby Keller
Lead Guitar: Alex Mercuri

The band’s first release via Germany-based indie label City Slang, “Death of a Cheerleader” (out June 25th) is the impressive culmination of Berrin’s musicianship to date.

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New York indie rock band Wild Pink recently unveiled what seemed to be one of the most beloved albums of this year so far, “A Billion Little Lights”. It came out in February, and the John Ross-led project is already back with a new song EP titled “3 Songs” out next month. (In the interim they also combined a bunch of covers they’d recorded for various comps into the “6 Cover Songs” EP, none of which was new but all of which was certainly of interest if you love Wild Pink.)

The lead single from 3 Songs is a weightless, immersive track, “Ohio,” with singer-songwriter Samia. Samia, who’s been very busy doing a lot of collaborations lately (including with Christian Lee Hudson, Bartees Strange, and Homeschool ), only adds to the ethereal, romantic atmosphere of Wild Pink’s floating ballads. The nearly four-minute track feels aimless, but with a purpose; it encompasses the sensation of a reverie.

John Ross played guitar, bass, keys and sang
Dan Keegan played drums
Samia sang on “Ohio”
Stephen Chen played saxophone on “Ohio”
Ellis Ludwig-Leone wrote string arrangements for “Leferever”
Andie Tanning & Gokce Erem played violins on “Leferever”
Mike Slo-Mo Brenner played pedal steel on “Leferever”

On April 1st, Jeff Rosenstock tweeted a version of the album art for his 2020 album “No Dream” that was retitled “Ska Dream” and he captioned it “4/20.” It looked a lot like an April Fool’s joke, but to quote this amazing tweet from Craig of the Creek head writer/voice actor Jeff Trammell, “Jeff made April Fools of us all, for not believing in the power of Ska.” 4/20 came, and Jeff proved that Ska Dream was no joke; it’s a complete ska reworking of his album “No Dream” and it’s very real. “As with most things ska in my life, what started out as a fun goof with friends eventually morphed into ‘Hey, what if we tried to make it good though?,'” Jeff said, and they really did make it good. We named the excellent NO DREAM the best punk album of 2020, and Jeff’s roots in ska (Arrogant Sons of Bitches, Bomb the Music Industry!) have been coming up a lot lately, as a whole new generation of ska bands that follow in the DIY footsteps of ASOB and BTMI have been gaining steam, so the timing was perfect for Jeff to turn his already-acclaimed album into a ska album,

“Ska Dream” is a complete re-recording of Jeff Rosenstock’s critically-acclaimed 2020 record. however this time around all the songs are ska songs you’re welcome. The very good idea to make this record came together when, like many other bands throughout this pandemic that refused to participate in super spreading events, we were trying to find a fun way to make some music together to share with people. Otherwise we were just spending our evenings texting the group chat in dread about the collapsing world around us. Not the most fun band activity.

As with most things ska in my life, what started out as a fun goof with friends eventually morphed into “Hey, what if we tried to make it good though?” All of us have a pretty deep history playing and touring the country in punk/ska bands. We all understand the stigma that comes along with ska, we’ve all dealt with the pitfalls of it, and we’ve all kept on truckin’ regardless. If you are one of those people who loves music as long as it isn’t ska, that’s cool, we see you. This record isn’t for you and you don’t have to listen to it. 

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Jeff made the album with tons of cool collaborators (including members of We Are The Union, Mustard Plug, Deafheaven, The Slackers, Fishbone, Oceanator, PUP, AJJ, Laura Stevenson, Mike Park, and more , and it also includes a tribute to The Suicide Machines’ “Our Time” (on “No Time To Skank”) and a snippet of The Specials’ “Nite Klub” (on “Leave It In The Ska”). The whole thing may seem tongue-in-cheek, but Jeff really took it seriously and he came out with an album that’s just as good on its own as No Dream is.

JOHN DEDOMENICI – BASS
KEVIN HIGUCHI – DRUMS, PERCUSSION
MIKE HUGUENOR – GUITAR
JER HUNTER – TROMBONE, TRUMPET
RICK JOHNSON – HAMMOND, FARFISA, CASIO CZ101
CHRISTINE MACKIE – BELLS
DAN POTTHAST – ACOUSTIC GUITAR, PIANO, VOCALS
JEFF ROSENSTOCK – VOCALS, GUITAR, TENOR & BARI SAX, FARFISA, JUNO 106, MOOG PRODIGY, LYRA, WURLITZER, BELLS, SPACE ECHO
LAURA STEVENSON – VOCALS

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This is the first single off Caged Animals’ upcoming “Underneath The Spell” album. Caged Animals is the recording project of Jersey-born, Brooklyn-based songwriter Vincent Cacchione. Cacchione emerged from his role fronting Soft Black (whose members included DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith) to form Caged Animals alongside his sister Talya, partner Magali Charron, and childhood friend Patrick Curry. Since 2011 they have released three LPs of their soulful and noir-tinged indie-pop.

Trading Soft Black’s live-to-tape psychedelia for a meticulous, bedroom-born style, Caged Animals make soulful, character-driven pop for an increasingly digital time. The live show is a family affair with a band comprised of Vin’s sister Talya, partner Magali Charron, and childhood friend Patrick Curry. On their upcoming fourth record, Underneath The Spell, Caged Animals have crafted their first “band album” during the least band-friendly moment.

Although the recordings began in 2019, the project took a long pause when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and Vin and his family unintentionally relocated to his wife’s Canadian hometown in Sackville, New Brunswick. What began as a pre-COVID family visit turned into a major lifestyle change when the virus and a closed international border conspired to keep Vin’s family within the safer confines of “The Atlantic Bubble.” Having left their Brooklyn apartment with just travel bags, the young family and musical couple had to get creative about life and art.

Through the kindness of Sackville’s creative community the Caged Animals crew landed on solid ground. Underneath The Spell got its finishing touches in late 2020 after Canadian musician Jon Mckiel helped Vin and his family find a place to live and work.

While the project’s sonic palette has expanded, the homemade spirit remains intact. It features the core Caged Animals lineup plus the spacey guitar of Dane Zarra, hypnotic alto-sax of Jeff Tobias (Sunwatchers, Modern Nature), and psychedelic pedal steel of Jon “Catfish” DeLorme (Psychic Ills).

Underneath The Spell’s ten songs feel oddly tuned to the frequency of our shared, strange moment, building a cinematic world out of contemplative moods and isolated characters. From the foxhole spirituality of “The Ghost Of Jesus” to the mournful solitude of “The Coldest Place On Earth,” the album weaves its narrative on a thread of alienation and yearning; each character and melody pushing for renewal. It was born in a moment of slowing down, as Vin became a father and began to look back on the moments that shaped him.

On the title track, Vin’s character laments a life lived “in a circle, underneath the spell,” evoking our current Groundhog Day reality but hinting at the possibility of release each time Dane Zarra kicks at the fuzz pedal. For “My Friend Dave,” Cacchione delivers a drone-kissed elegy mourning the loss of a departed friend: singer-songwriter Dave Deporis. “The Coldest Place On Earth” is a plainspoken remembrance of his father, while “Mirage” delivers a pop duet lit by headlights, as Vin and Magali trade verses about a romance on the brink.

On the serpentine “Dream World,” a lush, somnambulant landscape unravels over looping arpeggios, a sample of Vin’s daughter Alaska, and the album’s most hypnotic groove, pushing towards one of Spell’s most poignant conceits: “we’re living in a dream world but we’re running out of night.”

In addition to Caged Animals, Vin Cacchione is an esteemed collaborator in the contemporary fiction podcasting scene, working with John Cameron Mitchell on his ground breaking Anthem: Homunculus podcast, as well as shows by Julian Koster of Neutral Milk Hotel, and John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Caged Animals music has been used in popular podcasts like Conversations With People Who Hate Me and Welcome To Night Vale.

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Cacchione also produced the critically acclaimed debut album of author, Bob Dylan cohort, and John Cale collaborator, Larry “Ratso” Sloman, a record which gave him the chance to work with Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, and Yasmine Hamdan.

Vincent Cacchione – Voice, Guitar, Keys
Talya Cacchione – Bass
Magali Charron – Keys, Voice
Patrick Curry – Drums and Loops
Dane Zarra – Guitar

with
Jeff Tobias – Alto Saxophone
Jon “Catfish” DeLorme – Pedal Steel
Alaska Cacchione – Dream Recitation
Bertholet Charron – Lullaby

All songs by Vincent Cacchione, excluding “Au Clair De La Lune

“Like a hip-hop influenced Velvet Underground” – The New Yorker

“If Alan Vega was 40 years younger, he’d be doing this. Or if they remade Blue Velvet, this could work as the soundtrack.” – The Guardian

“Beneath the japing lies a searing emotional truth.” The Sunday Times

“The heart of Vincent Cacchione’s newest project continues to pump blood through the veins of poetic narratives and escapism.” The Line Of Best Fit 

releases June 25th, 2021

Sharon Van Etten’s career since the release of her second album, 2010’s epic is well-known; critically lauded albums, films, and television shows have continually displayed her expanding artistry. Upon its release, epic laid a romantic melancholy over the gravel and dirt of heartbreak without one honest thought or feeling spared. Her songs covered betrayal, obsession, egotism, and all the other emotions we dislike in others and recognize in ourselves. Van Etten’s grounded and clenched vocals conveyed a sense of hope–the notion that beauty can arise from the worst of circumstances.

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The resulting epic Ten is a double LP featuring the original album plus the new album of epic covers and reimagined artwork.

Epic” laid a romantic melancholy over the gravel and dirt of heartbreak without one honest thought or feeling spared. Her songs covered betrayal, obsession, egotism, and all the other emotions we dislike in others and recognize in ourselves. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this special album’s release, and to acknowledge the convergence of Van Etten’s present and past work, she asked fellow artists she admired to participate in an expanded reissue, where each artist would cover one different song from epic in their own style.

Released April 16th, 2021

From the start, Son Lux has operated as something akin to a sonic test kitchen. The band strives to question deeply held assumptions about how music is made and re-construct it from a molecular level. What began as a solo project for founder Ryan Lott expanded in 2014, thanks to a kinship with Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia too strong to ignore.

Arriving at a time of considerable uncertainty in the world, Son Lux’s multi-album ‘Tomorrows’ is ambitious in scope and intent. Born of an active, intentional approach to shaping sound, the music reminds us of the necessity of questioning assumptions, and of sitting with the tension.

The music encompassed on Tomorrows provides an appropriate parallel for the sustained cacophony of the present moment, advancing a friction that reveals the strange in the familiar and the familiar in the strange. While this carefully crafted inversion acclimatizes the ear to tension, the steadily hardening exterior fractures at unlikely moments, revealing a strikingly visceral, emotional core. The process of creating Tomorrows is iterative in nature, with the lyrical content and music continually adapting and responding to one another and the shifting landscape of the moment.

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Released April 16th, 2021

Beginning at Vassar College in the fall of 2016, the story of Spud Cannon charts the emotional journey of finding oneself with vignettes of rock and roll highs and lows interspersed throughout. All, mostly, before the quintet of Meg Matthews (lead vox), Jackson Walker Lewis (guitar), Ari Bowe (keys), Lucy Horgan (bass) and Benjamin Scharf (drums) could buy a drink (legally).

Spud Cannon’s forthcoming third full-length, “Good Kids Make Bad Apples,” bristles with an immediacy inspired in-part by all-night, definitely-allowed recording sessions at the Vassar squash courts. Each song recorded in the Wall of Sound-style court are pure takes capturing the energy of the Spud Cannon live experience in its purest form to date.

Returning from a stressful tour that nearly broke them apart for good, the album’s nine songs find the band locked in on the other side of turmoil stronger than ever. Reflections on relationships, knowing one’s worth, or simply just wanting to have a good time are all spun through Spud Cannon’s infectious rock sound. Like a good friend who knows exactly how to cheer you up or clock an ex from across the room and steer you away, “Good Kids Make Bad Apples” is a hand on the shoulder in the times that led you to yourself.

“Good Kids Make Bad Apples” out June 25th via Good Eye Records.

All Songs Written by Spud Cannon.

Meg Matthews: Vox
Ariana Bowe: Keys
Lucy Horgan: Bass
Ben Scharf: Drums
Jackson Walker Lewis: Guitar

Additional – Spencer McConnell: Trumpet

Releases June 25th, 2021

Next up on Levitation Sessions: Acid Dad! On the heels of announcing their upcoming LP “Take It From The Dead”, New York’s Acid Dad transports us to another realm via their green screen studio and the visuals of Webb Hunt. The setlist features some fresh takes on Acid Dad classics + the live debut of new tracks from their album. “Take It From The Dead” features an array of different influences ranging from 90’s neo-psych, modern post-punk and 70’s rock-n-roll. Acid Dad has crafted a record that sounds new, yet feels nostalgic. In contrast to their earlier work, they make use of slower tempos and expand their sound to include songs that are both more intricate and more hypnotic. To accompany the new record, the band spent the last year collaborating with video artist Webb Hunt, producing psych and glitch art videos that form a visual counterpart to the dreamy distortions of their sound.

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This was our first attempt at shooting and performing in front of our blue screen rig we made in our studio in Queens. We’ve always talked about doing a blue screen shoot where we could be totally encompassed by CGI FX, but wasn’t until quarantine and not having the option to play shows to finally execute the idea. It’s hard to tell, but it was about 110 degrees in there with all the lights going so there is that authentic show time sweat.

Our visual artist, Webb Hunt, did an amazing job doing all the FX and different CGI looks for the session. It took weeks to edit and create, but it was totally worth creating this swimming pool of feedback and colours. We wanted to make a session that no one else was doing look wise. Something familiar but different and extremely psychedelic.

– Acid Dad 

The live album is being pressed up on a limited edition vinyl edition. These pressings will only be available as part of the stream. The album will be released digitally worldwide on May 14th.

Set List: 1. Contact 2. BBQ 3. Die Hard 4. Dissin’ 5. Living With A Creature 6. Bada Bing 7. Marine 8. RC Driver 9. 2Ci 10. Don’t Get Taken 11. Mistress 12. Mr. Major 13. Djembe

On the heels of announcing their upcoming LP “Take It From The Dead”, New York’s Acid Dad transports us to another realm via their green screen studio and the visuals of Webb Hunt. The setlist features some fresh takes on Acid Dad classics + the live debut of new tracks from their upcoming album. “This was our first attempt at shooting and performing in front of our blue screen rig we made in our studio in Queens. We’ve always talked about doing a blue screen shoot where we could be totally encompassed by CGI FX, but wasn’t until quarantine and not having the option to play shows to finally execute the idea. It’s hard to tell, but it was about 110 degrees in there with all the lights going so there is that authentic show time sweat.” “Our visual artist, Webb Hunt, did an amazing job doing all the FX and different CGI looks for the session. It took weeks to edit and create, but it was totally worth creating this swimming pool of feedback and colors. We wanted to make a session that no one else was doing look wise. Something familiar but different and extremely psychedelic.” “We reworked a bunch of our older songs with newer tempos and parts to create unique compositions for LEVITATION as well as debuting some newer songs from our upcoming album. It feels strange being off a stage for so long but it’s really exciting being able to attempt to recreate that experience in a multimedia virtual space.” -ACID DAD

I’d never heard of Brooklyn’s Cassandra Jenkins before her latest album, but she’s well-credentialed. She was set to tour with Purple Mountains before David Berman’s suicide and has also worked with The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and The Fiery Furnace’s Eleanor Friedberger. Berman is referenced on ‘New Bikini’ – “After David passed away/My friends put me up for a few days/”

An Overview on Phenomenal Nature” sounds dubious on paper, an indie-folk record that celebrates nature, adds monologues about how men have lost touch, and incorporates the kind of new-age textures you’d expect on a 1980s Van Morrison record. But it’s lovely in practice, pretty and warm. Jenkins’ vocal is intimate and she’s a good enough lyricist to keep things interesting, casually dropping the word “panoply” into ‘Crosshairs’ and titling a song ‘Ambiguous Norway’.

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Jenkins’ main collaborator is producer and multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman. Kaufman’s a member of the amazing Bonny Light Horsemen and who has worked with The National, Taylor Swift, and Josh Ritter. The arrangements are often key with lovely woodwind parts, while the dual lead guitar parts on ‘Ambiguous Norway’ are gorgeous.

A gorgeous, shimmering set of songs that combines ultra-smooth pop sounds (recalling the softer moments of Destroyer’s “Kaputt”) with sweet ambient textures. Fantastic song writing work, as well. A joy to listen to, and a clear early contender for 2021’s album of the year. 

For UK Dinked special edition, go here: dinkededition.co.uk/cassandra-jenkins-an-overview-on-phenomenal-nature

The Band of Musicians:

Cassandra Jenkins– vocals, guitar
Josh Kaufman– guitar, voyager, harmonium, banjo, synth, bass, piano, organ
~and~
JT Bates– drums, auxiliary percussion
Eric Biondo– drums
Michael Coleman– synth
Stuart Bogie–  flutes, saxophone
Doug Wieselman– sax
Oliver Hill– violin, viola, string arrangement  
Annie Nero– bass
Aaron Roche– synth
Will Stratton– guitar
Ben Seretan– drone

All songs written and performed by Cassandra Jenkins
Produced and mostly engineered by Josh Kaufman
at The Boom Boom Room, Brooklyn, NY

Released February 19th, 2021