ANIMAL HOURS – DO OVER is taking over Top 200 Radio Now!!

I actually met San Francisco’s ANIMAL HOURS through Static People, but besides sharing a hometown, these two bands could not be more different. I’d describe this one as Americana-inflected dream pop, with songs so catchy you’ll be SURE you’ve heard them before and then you’ll never be able to forget them. Check out this video for one of my favorite tracks, “Yellow Roses”, to see what I mean. This album tied for #20 Most Added on 10/14, and it’s poised to take off from there!!




Animal Hours makes dreamy indie-pop songs draped in lush harmonies, wrapped in a blanket of Americana. A collective of San Francisco Bay Area writers and artists, Animal Hours is the conception of singer-songwriter Orion Letizi with collaborators Heather Anderson (Blue Rabbit), Adrianne Serna and Paul Goldowitz.

Produced by Grammy-winning, multi-platinum producer Jason Carmer (Kimya Dawson, Third Eye Blind, Run DMC), Animal Hours’ debut album Do Over is a collection of nine songs about losing everything we were to find exactly what we need. It explores the American melancholy found in back seat ballads, hotel bars and Sunday mornings. The album also features guest performances by legendary pedal steel player Greg Leisz, Arion Salazar (bassist for Third Eye Blind), founding Camper Van Beethoven member Victor Krummenacher, Brooklyn piano virtuoso Dane Terry, singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet and noted San Francisco string and horn ensemble, the Magik*Magik Orchestra (best known for their work with John Vanderslice).

Songs by Animal Hours writers have been showcased in numerous film, television and commercial spots, including MTV’s Jackass, the ABC Family show Jane By Design, national campaigns for IKEA, Kellog’s and more.

Nicholas Schneider of influential San Francisco Bay Area blog The Bay Bridged calls Do Over “darkly enticing pop music with hints of folk and Americana skirting around the edges… [Music] you listen to with the lights off, just you and the contemplative melody, wholly embracing that sadly-sweet darkness and letting the music lead you through it.”

RIYL: Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, Wilco, The Band

Start With: 2, 8, 1, 3     FCC CLEAN

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!


BRENDA XU – FOR THE WINTER is Adding at Top 200 Radio Now!!!

My newest add for this week is BRENDA XU!! This gorgeous ambient-folk artist from Seattle came to me through my good friend (and Band Mom artist) Shenandoah Davis. Her music is delicate, sparse, and lovely, and reminds me (and a lot of you already as well, based on the feedback I’m hearing) of Daughter. Her last name is pronounced “shoo.” She’s taking a tour down the West Coast next month (dates listed below, to be expanded soon). Make sure you listen to this album ASAP, and then fit it onto your adds chart this week!!




The five years since Brenda Xu (pronounced “shoo”) released her debut full-length album, A Little Illusion, have been filled with considerable change, all of which is apparent in her new record For The Winter.  After receiving numerous accolades for the debut, including a nomination for “Best Acoustic Artist” in the San Diego Music Awards, Xu relocated to Seattle and took an indefinite hiatus from performing, focusing on navigating her way through a new city and finding her place in the Seattle music scene.

Slowly, the pieces fell into place: she became friends with Seattle-based producer Don Farwell and began forming a band to support her new songs. The years between Xu’s debut and For The Winter are immediately apparent. Not only has her ability as a lyricist grown far beyond her years, but sonically, the album is a noted departure from her past singer-songwriter career, and instead treads the delicate line between washed-out ambient tones and carefully crafted acoustic arrangements.

For The Winter will transport any listener through a range of seasons and emotions, while reminding us that for every season’s waxings and wanings, they all share one commonality: that they will eventually come again.  Summer will continue to be followed by autumn, and winter by spring.  As for Brenda Xu, she’s leaving an unusually long winter behind and turning the leaf into her second spring.

RIYL: Daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Cat Power, Aimee Mann, PJ Harvey, Vienna Teng, Bon Iver

Start With: 6, 7, 2, 3     FCC CLEAN


9/18 – Seattle, WA – Fremont Abbey (album release show)

10/4 – Portland, OR – The Waypost

10/5 – Cottage Grove, OR – Axe & Fiddle

10/7 – Sacramento, CA – The Torch Club

10/8 – Roseville, CA – Beatniks Books

10/9 – San Francisco, CA – 50 Mason Social House

10/10 – Atascadero, CA – Last Stage West

10/11 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Abbey

10/12 – Altadena, CA – Coffee Gallery Backstage

10/16 – San Diego, CA – Lestat’s

10/17 – Los Angeles, CA – Room 5

10/18 – Fullerton, CA – The Night Owl

10/19 – Paso Robles, CA – Sculpterra Winery, Paso Robles

10/20 – San Luis Obispo – Bon Temps Creole Cafe

10/22 – Santa Rosa, CA – Cellars of Sonoma

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!

STATIC PEOPLE is at Top 200 Radio Now!!!

Static People is a San Francisco band with a badass ladysinger named Dmitra and a riot grrl aesthetic. They go from tough and rock-heavy on one track to poppy, almost dancey on the next. This album really covers a pretty wide range of sounds for its short track list, so I’d HIGHLY recommend, if you start out not finding a track you like right away, just skipping to the next! My personal favorites for radio by a pretty wide margin are tracks 2 and 4, but they made videos for tracks 1 and 6, so you make the call on that one. Whatever your favorite track turns out to be though, one thing’s for sure: this band rules. Odds are very high your station got a hard copy of this one (except for you trendsetters who actually prefer downloads!), and many of you are already spinning it: we hit the Top 20 adds chart on CMJ this past week (8/12) at #16 Most Added! Yeaaah!!



Mass Ants Music

Static People posits a parallel universe where punk and pop are conjoined twins, then splits them with a buzzsaw guitar. The result is an atomic burst of refined madness that is as precise as it is lysergic, feral on the edges and underscored by the warm hum of a radioactive heart.

Singer and keyboardist Dmitra Smith began singing at age 8 in her native Seattle, enduring torture from a high-strung girl’s choir director who punched his stomach while screaming the word “SUPPORT” at small children. She credits him for her 3 octave range. She relocated to San Francisco in 1992 to join marimba-driven rock project Fuzz Factor with guitarist Joe Gore (PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, Tracy Chapman). She is also the singer for Seattle based alt/punk band Ex’s With Benefits with Green River drummer Alex Vincent, and for Black futurist Siouxsie and the Banshees tribute Voodoo Dolly.

Joining Smith are her Ex’s With Benefits guitarist Pascal Faivre from Pontarlier, France (the capital of absinthe), her Voodoo Dolly bass player Shawn Miller (who honed his chops while working on his psychology degree and playing in the seminal pop-punk band Cara de Nada in Santa Cruz), and drummer Kevin Carnes (an in-demand studio ace, whose credits include both analog and digital drum work for Soulstice, Consolidated and George Clinton/P-Funk). The daunting task of tying their varied influences and styles together into a cohesive unit falls to producer Jason Carmer (Dirty Ghosts, Kimya Dawson, Camper Van Beethoven, Run DMC, The Donnas).


RIYL: Metric, Bikini Kill, Epoxies, Siouxsie Sioux, Vaselines

Start With: 2, 4, 1, 6    FCC CLEAN

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!



SCARVES – EMPTY HOUSES is at Top 200 Radio Now!!

Believe it or not, The Band Mom now has THREE ALBUMS I’m working all at once for a few weeks here. I know, I’m shocked too! It’s a boom town up in here!! This week, the big new addition to last us till September is SCARVES. They’re so good! About half of you radio kids should have gotten a hard copy; if you didn’t, please don’t take it personally but do check in with me for a download right away! It’s talky, literate, mathy indie pop from beautiful Seattle. Combine the speak-singing narratives of mewithoutYou and the complex guitars of Joan of Arc and you’re starting to get an idea. Now add in the goofy fun of Art Brut and throw that into a music video about nachos. And then start spinning the crap out of it!!! We just missed the Top 20 Adds chart this week, like literally if ONE more station had added it we would have made the chart, but it’s super encouraging to know we were so close anyway – psyched so many of you are already playing these guys, and the time is NOW for everybody else to get on board!!




Current and former members of Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, and Silicon Girls have come together to form Seattle’s newest mini-supergroup, Scarves. Bandleader Niko Stathakopoulous juggles his other life as a creative writing major at Western Washington University with fronting a band that wants to put all your teenage dreams into words.

“Like a mathier and mildly emo-tinged Built to Spill, Scarves interweave interestingly constructed, clean and sparkly guitars and emotionally up-front lyricism.” – The Stranger

The band recorded Empty Houses at Soundhouse, the Seattle studio run by Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Soundgarden). Dylan Wall (Captured Tracks’ Craft Spells) produced the record, which was then mixed by Ed Brooks (Death Cab for Cutie, REM, Decemberists). Together, these 8 tracks make up “an apt summation of the epic, hyperemotional messiness that comes with youth…it’s indicative of those sleepless high-school nights and moments of serenity among the hijinks; of a teenage world in which everything is like the Smashing Pumpkins’ “1979” video”. – Seattle Weekly


RIYL: Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Art Brut, Joan of Arc, mewithoutYou

Start With: 4, 5, 7    FCC CLEAN

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!

YOU ME & APOLLO – SWEET HONEY is tearing up Top 200 Radio NOW!

You’re not gonna want to sleep on You Me & Apollo. This Colorado band is the next St. Paul & the Broken Bones. RIYL Alabama Shakes with a little Dr. Dog sprinkled in. Or how about Sam Cooke meets the Lumineers?! I tried to go see them play during SXSW but I couldn’t even get in, the line was around the block. No kidding. Do yourself a favor and get on this quick—odds are REAL high you got a hard copy of this, since I basically sent one to everyone I’ve spoken to even once in the last year (except those select few of you trendsetters who prefer downloads)…so I guess that also says if you’re at a radio station who didn’t get a copy of this record (and you don’t like downloads), it’d probably be worth reaching out to say hi and let me know you’re alive! But in that case you could also contact me for a download link, if you’re a radio rep. This music is awesome. See for yourself. And spin this record!!

The band is going on tour in July and August, and I’d love to set you up with them when they’re in your town – you can keep up with their (frequently updated) tour dates on their website here!

This album went for Top 200 Adds on 5/20, and just made its chart debut this past week (CMJ NMR issue #1348), at #184! That’s only the beginning of course, let’s see how much further we can push it from there!



AA Duel Monopoly

You Me & Apollo’s third release, Sweet Honey, opens on a note of worldliness that might seem precocious coming from a 24-year-old. But band founder and songwriter Brent Cowles’s experience belies his tender age. He started playing in bands when he was 14, got married at 18, divorced at 20, and has filled the intervening years with a non-stop regimen of national touring and recording. So when he sings “I learned my lesson young,” on the characteristically raucous “Open Doors,” it’s safe to say he comes by it honestly.

“Cowles is a scrawny, wiry 23-year-old with frizzy hair and a shy countenance, but behind the mic he sounds like a haggard, middle-aged man with struggle and strife in his rear-view mirror.” -Ricardo Baca, The Denver Post

Since the band’s well-received 2011 debut, Cards With Cheats, the unmistakable stamp of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding-style soul has made You Me & Apollo something of a friendly anomaly among the foot-stomping roots-folk renaissance that launched the careers of their Denver colleagues The Lumineers, Nathaniel Rateliff, and Gregory Alan Isakov. Sweet Honey is an ambitious attempt to reconcile these two strains of influence in the service of a restlessly contemporary sound that would fit alongside Brett Dennen, Neil Young, and Ennio Morricone on any playlist. A rich goulash of instrumental flourishes accompanies the well-traveled vocals: sinister trumpet melodies, jaunty Wurlitzers, and harmonies that suggest choirboys with jugs of moonshine smuggled under their robes.

Sweet Honey, the long-awaited follow-up to a self-titled EP released early in 2013, was produced and engineered by Jeff Powell (Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Big Star, and Sharon Jones) at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN, where Cowles enlisted the help of long-time You Me & Apollo touring bandmates Tyler Kellogg (drums), Jonathan Alonzo (guitar), Morgan Travis (guitar), and Dave Cole (bass). To help cover the recording costs, the band created a homemade community funding campaign that raised over $20,000. To capture the energy and excitement of a well-constructed live show, honed over the course of 200 shows in a calendar year with bands like Dr. Dog, Devotchka, ZZ Ward and Young the Giant, the record was tracked almost entirely live.

Cowles may have learned his lesson young, but it hasn’t impeded his dogged pursuit of new tricks.

Following Sweet Honey‘s May 9th release, Cowles and his bandmates will embark on an extensive series of tours, appearing at clubs and festivals across the United States. 

RIYL: St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Alabama Shakes, Dr. Dog

Start With: 7, 1, 3, 10    FCC 6

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!



MELAENA CADIZ – DEEP BELOW HEAVEN is going for Top 200 Adds NOW!!

Melaena Cadiz (pronunciation key: muh-LAY-nuh ca-DEEZ) is the REAL DEAL. Many of you might remember this gorgeous siren from the record of hers I worked in 2010, Rattle The Windows. It did great on CMJ and ALSO, that album hit NUMBER ONE on Earshot’s Folk/Roots/Blues chart!! Can we do even better with this one?!

The world is already on board: NPR premiered her lovely video for “Needles River” (track 8) a couple of weeks ago. She’s got a Daytrotter Session coming up, Folkadelphia is squarely on board, and I bet you’re next!! This album is coming to radio exclusively as a download, so don’t wait for a hard copy – grab it right now!! (If you’re a radio rep it should be waiting there in your station’s email, but if you can’t find it, feel free to contact me!)

This whole album is genuinely gold from start to finish, so I had a really hard time picking out recommended tracks. Luckily Melaena had her singles pretty firmly in mind, so that’s what I listed as my “start with” tracks, but honestly you could pretty much just press play at any point on this album and come away with stunning success. Try it!!

Also: Melaena’s about to embark on a very cool tour with her very cool photographer husband, Mikael Kennedy. He’s also got a photo book that shares a title with Melaena’s album (also he directed that “Needles River” video): tour dates below, let me know if you’d like to come out – I’d love to set you up!



Wild Kindness Records

The Michigan-bred, Brooklyn-based artist has been bringing small portraits plucked from the American landscape, using the language of folk, pop, and country to bring them to beautiful, breathing life.

On her latest album, Deep Below Heaven, the songs have a literary quality to them, a notion embraced in the LP’s title, which comes from a short story written by writer/playwright/actor Sam Shepard.

“Part of the story involves a man in a motorcycle accident,” Cadiz says. “As he falls from his Kawasaki, he has the sense of ‘being deep below heaven. The distance. The wetness of flesh. Metal ripping. People helplessly apart.’ To me, it evoked the idea of us humans swarming the earth with all our love and sadness, our desires and defeats.”

The young singer-songwriter used this jumping off point to create 10 songs that are filled with finely wrought characters that are striving for a better place in the world or, at the very least, a way to quiet the deep ache within their bones. There’s the young person heading for the West Coast to “find what I’ve been looking for” in “Home Town,” the jilted lover looking for answers in “Swinging Low,” and the friends, driving home late one night, and singing Leonard Cohen songs to each other in “Neon Drag.”

As detailed as the lyrics are, that same level of attention is paid to the music within. Produced by Alex Foote, Cadiz and her backing band prove agile in the ways of shuffling bootstompers (“Keep It”), contemplative porch swinging (“Home Town”), and melting into the smoke hanging above a neon-lit bar (“Dreams”). Let’s not forget Cadiz’s voice, which can, within the space of one song, coo you into quietude and rattle your bones with its volume and power. It’s an incredible instrument that she has remarkable control over.

Like a great book, this is an album to get completely lost in, to put on your stereo and not come up for air until the last notes fade away. And it offers up ample detail to explore with each successive listen. Settle into your favorite chair with a cup of tea or stiff drink in hand and let Melaena Cadiz transport you to her world of rich characters and richer musicianship.


RIYL: Neko Case, Alela Diane, Julie Doiron, Emmylou Harris, Bill Callahan, Marissa Nadler, Dana Falconberry, Matt Bauer

Start With: 2, 8, 3    FCC CLEAN


5/28—New York, NY—Westerlind Showroom

6/4—Nashville, TN—Stone Fox

6/5—Florence, AL—Billy Reid

6/13—Los Angeles, CA—Alchemy Works

6/14—Venice Beach, CA—1638 Abbot Kinney

6/16—Oakland, CA—E.M. General Interest Small Bookstore

6/19—Portland, OR—SnowPeak

6/20—Seattle, WA—TBD

6/27—Rock Island, IL—Daytrotter session

7/1—Pittsburgh, PA—House show

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!


GUYS! This is my 8th SXSW. In a row! 8 years of bands and tired feet and bands and friends and bands and booze and no sleep and bands and tacos and bands!! If you’re in Texas, I definitely want to see you here. Here are the easiest places to catch me – at the sets of Band Mom bands, past and present! Come see them and let’s hug!!





Weds 3.12 – South By Soup Fest Benefit (free show) – Guero’s (1412 S Congress Ave) – 450-510

Sat 3.15 – Folk Alliance Party – Threadgill’s (301 West Riverside) – 12:30-12:55pm


TENNIS PRO: Premiering their FILM (of which they are the stars!), BIG IN JAPAN (directed by John Jeffcoat):

Tues 3.11 – Stateside Theatre (719 Congress Ave) – 6:30
Thurs 3.13 – Alamo Ritz 1 (320 E 6th St) – 9:30



Thurs 3.13 – Pop Press International showcase – UP Collective (2326 E Cesar Chavez St) – 3:15
Fri 3.14 – Super Great Fun House Show After Party For Jack Wilson’s 30th Birthday Party Show
    earlier show is @ Flipnotics Coffee (1601 Barton Springs Rd) – then Cumulus w/SHENANDOAH DAVIS – 12am
Sat 3.15 – The Local Pub & Patio (2610 Guadalupe) – 11pm



Thurs 3.13 – DC Against The World – The New Movement (616 Lavaca Street) – 4:30-5:05



Tues 3.11 – Headhunters Patio (official show) (719 Congress Ave) – 11:30pm
Weds 3.12 – Pop Press International showcase – UP Collective (2326 E Cesar Chavez St) – 3:30



Weds 3.12 – Ice Cream Dreamz – Frock On Vintage (3016 Guadalupe Street, Ste. A101) – 6:20



Weds 3.12 – Ice Cream Dreamz – Frock On Vintage (3016 Guadalupe Street, Ste. A101) – 8:00



Fri 3.14 – Girls Rock Austin Unofficial SXSW Day Party – Cherrywood Coffee House (1401 E. 38 1/2 St) – 8:25



ROBBY HECHT is at Top 200 Radio NOW!!

My first official full-length project of 2014 went for adds just 2 weeks ago, on February 18th. And it’s doing great! Have you checked out Robby Hecht yet?? He’s a real nice Nashville singer-songwriter; for those of you with AAA rotations or Folk/Roots/Blues charts, or singer-songwriter shows, this’ll especially be a good fit, but he’s got a couple tracks I think anybody should love. I highly recommend actually starting with my late-album suggested tracks (8 and 11); one of them is a really lovely cover of a Gillian Welch/David Rawlings song. Track 2, “New York City”, is another he’s pushing as a single, even has a nice video here, but it’s got a “shit” or two in it so I wouldn’t recommend playing that one on the airwaves without the clean edit, which is included in the download link for radio stations. Time to jump on board the Robby Hecht train!!




The Nashville-based folk scene fixture Robby Hecht will release a new self-titled album on March 25th. Anchored by Hecht’s mixture of shimmering acoustic guitars, understated rhythm section and flourishes of fiddle, horns, piano, & sax, the album “represents a return to the early 70s golden era of acoustic pop where thoughtful, well-crafted lyrics were blended with timeless melodies” (Music City Roots).

Produced by Nashville musician Lex Price (Mindy Smith, k.d. Lang), the 12 songs on Hecht’s new album paint an intimate portrait of the phases of a long-term relationship and a life introspectively lived. “Feeling it Now” delves into Hecht’s experiences with bipolar disorder. “The Sea and the Shore”, co-written with Amy Speace, shows Hecht’s knack for quiet, vulnerable ballads, while “Barrio Moon”—a “spooky murder ballad” as Hecht describes it—tells the tale of a stabbing between friends through dark and haunting chords. Hecht combines the grace and indelible melodies of songwriters like James Taylor and Joni Mitchell with the mainstream appeal of David Gray.

One of American Songwriter’s “favorite Nashville artists,” Hecht—an East Tennessee native—began performing while a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After living in Paris and San Francisco and fronting the pop band AllDay Radio, he returned to Nashville where he has won several prestigious awards for songwriting and shared the stage with acts like John Prine, Colin Meloy, Lucius, Amos Lee, Iron and Wine, Neko Case, and Josh Ritter.

Hecht will play songs from his new album at shows in Nashville and across the country this spring. He is also slated to appear at the Folk Alliance party at SXSW.


RIYL: Josh Ritter, David Gray, Amos Lee, James Taylor, Ryan Adams, Tom Brosseau



3/5—Flagstaff, AZ—Coconino Center for the Arts

3/6—Cottonwood, AZ—Old Town Center for the Arts

3/7—Pinos Altos, NM—Pinos Altos Opera House

3/8—Corrales, NM—Music in Corrales

3/12—Austin, TX [SXSW]—Gueros – South By Soup Fest Benefit

3/15—Austin, TX [SXSW]—Threadgill’s World Headquarters (Outdoor Stage) – Folk Alliance Party at SXSW

3/20—Washington, DC—Ebenezers Coffeehouse

3/21—Annapolis, MD—House Concert

3/22—Providence, RI—Bell Street Coffee House

3/24—New York, NY—Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3

3/26—Cambridge, MA—Club Passim

3/28—Newtown Square, PA—Burlap and Bean

4/3—Duluth, GA—Red Clay Theater

4/4—Birmingham, AL—Moonlight on the Mountain

4/6—Dahlonega, GA—The Crimson Moon

4/7—Knoxville, TN—Tennessee Shines – Knoxville Visitor Center

4/9—Nashville, TN—The Basement

4/26—Columbus, OH—Six String Concert Series – Peggy R McConnell Arts Center of Worthington

5/16—Austin, TX—The Rock Room

5/17—Houston, TX—Anderson Fair

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep!



TIE THESE HANDS has a new single: “TRAMPOLINE”!

Now that I’ve finally closed the book on 2013, let’s talk about some of my new stuff! Remember Tie These Hands, from the album I sent you last summer? (if you’re at a radio station but weren’t around for the summer, you probably actually still got a copy of the CD, I was able to send so many—maybe take a look around!) – anyway that album did so well (6 weeks on CMJ charts!) we decided to just go for it right away again with their new stuff!

They’re doing this thing now where instead of releasing a full album, they’re just putting out one single at a time, really spending a serious amount of time and care on each song and also putting out a video along with each one. That way there isn’t a year+ wait between albums so there’s no excuse to forget about them! So, there’s no full-length coming to follow this up, so don’t wait on that. And also it doesn’t exist in hard copy form, so don’t look for one (although if you’re DESPERATE for a hard copy and absolutely won’t accept a download, but do play singles, let me know and we can probably arrange something for the band to help you out). Grab it while it’s fresh, watch the video, send it out to yr djs or add it to your digital rotations—I don’t expect you to chart it, because I know with a digital single that’s pretty unrealistic, but I DO want you to play it and let me know what you think!! These’ll be coming every couple months this year; this is just the beginning!




After spending five weeks on the CMJ Top 200 (and one at #14 Most Added) with their August 2013 album Come On, Lincoln, Nebraska’s Tie These Hands are right back at it with the 2/11/14 release of “Trampoline”. “Trampoline” is being released as a single with a simultaneous video premiere. After recording and releasing albums traditionally since 2002, the band is heading in a new direction with their future releases: the next Tie These Hands album, which begins with current single “Trampoline”, will be recorded and released as a new single every two to three months with a video. After years of recording at the iconic Nebraska studios, Presto and ARC, often with the help of engineer AJ Mogis, the band has embraced the DIY ethic. Full control of the creative process, from recording to release, allows Tie These Hands to get fresh, new music to fans much quicker than the traditional release model. “Trampoline” can be streamed or purchased on iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, and anywhere digital music is available. And this is only the beginning.

**This is NOT a CMJ charting campaign, but digital singles like this will be coming in regular intervals throughout 2014: please feel free to download and spin as they’re released, in lieu of a new full-length Tie These Hands album!**


RIYL: Death Cab For Cutie, Weakerthans, Say Hi, Built To Spill, The Good Life     FCC CLEAN

Contact me for a download link if you’re a radio rep! (stream track) (video of track)



My Top Stuff of 2013

Ha ha ha. Remember 2013?? I know it basically feels like a distant ancient memory at this point, but I just finished my reckoning with it! I spent the end-of-the-year time, which is normally a lull where I do this sort of accounting, in a move across the country and then the last couple months setting up shop in my new home in Seattle, so I was too distracted til now to really get this done, but still, it’s become a tradition for me to get this out there and I’ll be durned if I’m not gonna finish it this time! I realize doing it this late means almost nobody could possibly care, but I do like to be able to fit in viewings of as many movies as possible before making my big judgments, and maybe putting it up right after the Oscars will get some people interested in some worthwhile alternatives the Academy didn’t consider…and anyway I’m mostly just doing this for myself anyway, to make me feel like I’ve been doing something worthwhile and memorable with my time and sort it into a digestible time capsule, and to have something to show for myself around here.

2013 was a hard year, maybe the worst of my life in a lot of ways, but neither I nor even anyone I’m really close to died, and a lot of people I love were really there for me all year long, so honestly it wouldn’t be fair to complain. And things are already looking way up in 2014!

I still managed to have quite a bit of fun in the year, as you’re about to see below. I took trips to Ohio, Pittsburgh, the Hudson Valley, and Austin/SXSW/San Antonio, and then the one really major road trip with a Penske truck and my friend Jenny, where we made some really memorable stops in Ohio, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Colorado, Idaho and Oregon before finally settling in Seattle.

For most of 2013, the two fun part-time jobs I’d been working continued, as well as adding in a new nearby venue gig near the end of the year (in addition to my Band Mom radio promo), which you’ll again see reflected pretty heavily when we get down to my Top Shows lists, much as they were in my Top Stuff of 2012 and 2011 and actually also 2010 and 2009, before I even worked at those venues. I’m maintaining the rule that Band Mom Bands are ineligible for the Top Albums list because I couldn’t possibly rank them against each other, but that I can’t rule out shows where I worked the door or stage managed for my Top Shows lists, because then there would be almost no shows to consider.

As always, I never claim stuff on this list is the ‘best’ of the year. Art is impossible to grade on an objective scale, and it’s insulting and ugly to posture as though one could do so. These are just my favorites:


top 15 albums (or EPs) of 2013:

  1. phosphorescent – muchacho

  2. the national – trouble will find me

  3. tegan and sara – heartthrob

  4. grand hallway – horses

  5. mansions – doom loop

  6. thao & the get down stay down – we the common
  7. casiotone for the painfully alone – in cambridge
  8. mutual benefit – love’s crushing diamond
  9. the blow – the blow
  10. colleen green – sock it to me
  11. youth lagoon – wondrous bughouse
  12. yo la tengo – fade
  13. mikal cronin – MCII
  14. kurt vile – walkin on a pretty daze
  15. the ruby suns – christopher

I kept my Top Albums list to a reasonable number this year because I listened to my 9 Band Mom albums plus the ones that made the cut above a TON, then there were like 100 more that I listened to just a little bit, so the list was gonna be either 100 or 15. This time I went with 15, but I can’t promise next year won’t be another 2010. As mentioned and as always, Band Mom artists are ineligible for this list because I wouldn’t even begin to know how to rank them: this means you, dc pierson (songs for crap kingdom comp), the hairs, eternal fair, mal blum, tie these hands, tereu tereu, spirits of the red city, cumulus and the fold. That’s artists (and their curators) from Brooklyn, Seattle, Lincoln NE, DC, Chicago, LA, Denver and a few other decentralized exotic locations. You all released FANTASTIC albums that are tied for number one in my heart, and I love you the most.

top 15 shows (concerts):

  1. the postal service w/mates of state @ barclays center (brooklyn ny, june)

  2. phosphorescent w/strand of oaks @ bowery ballroom (manhattan ny, bowery)
  3. the mountain goats w/baptist generals @ maxwells (hoboken nj, june)
  4. cumulus w/the lonely forest @ mercury lounge (manhattan ny, october)
  5. dean wareham @ bell house (brooklyn ny, november)
  6. shout out louds, telekinesis, mount moriah, mikal cronin [merge records sxsw showcase] @ the parish (austin tx, march)
  7. califone w/richard buckner @ littlefield (brooklyn ny, may)
  8. advance base @ silent barn (brooklyn ny, august)
  9. dana falconberry w/paperbird @ mercury lounge (manhattan ny, may)
  10. chuck ragan, jenny owen youngs, rocky votolato @ bell house (brooklyn ny, march)
  11. hi ho silver oh [sxsw] @ dogwood (austin tx, march)
  12. grand hallway @ pete’s candy store (brooklyn ny, october)
  13. jonathan richman w/tommy larkins @ bell house (brooklyn ny, february)
  14. youth lagoon w/magical cloudz @ bell house (brooklyn ny, may)
  15. the breeders @ bell house (brooklyn ny, march)

aw, I miss working at venues (looking for one in Seattle to call home if you know anybody!). I’d also like to mention my one Band Mom Presents show at Union Hall of the year, which I’m not allowing to count but which was a real highlight of my year nonetheless: that was 3/1 with Good Field, Ramesh (formerly of Voxtrot) and Matt Bauer, and also the tour I helped promote that included a totally excellent Pete’s Candy Store stop with Anthonie Tonnon.

top 50 movies:

  1. upstream color

  2. fruitvale station
  3. her
  4. the east
  5. 12 years a slave
  6. kill your darlings
  7. the place beyond the pines
  8. the great gatsby
  9. inside llewyn davis
  10. in a world…
  11. stoker
  12. short term 12
  13. frances ha
  14. stories we tell
  15. the world’s end
  16. nebraska
  17. crystal fairy
  18. much ado about nothing
  19. before midnight
  20. this is the end
  21. monsters university
  22. spring breakers
  23. the act of killing
  24. wadjda
  25. the square
  26. touchy feely
  27. drinking buddies
  28. the kings of summer
  29. the grandmaster
  30. all is lost
  31. dirty wars
  32. as I lay dying
  33. the wind rises
  34. the hunt
  35. dallas buyers club
  36. the reluctant fundamentalist
  37. cutie and the boxer
  38. the spectacular now
  39. it’s a disaster
  40. magic magic
  41. blue is the warmest color
  42. blackfish
  43. oldboy
  44. side effects
  45. the way, way back
  46. girl most likely
  47. ain’t them bodies saints
  48. gravity
  49. the heat
  50. philomena

honorable mentions (roughly in order; this whole list was initially a numbered top 100+ until I considered how ridiculous that is. but FYI I feel EXTRA strongly this time about the top 35 of the above list, but strongly enough about all of these to mention ‘em. I did see 52 other 2013 movies that didn’t make any list at all!):

v/h/s/2, the hobbit: the desolation of smaug, good ol’ freda, prince avalanche, warm bodies, prisoners, 20 feet from stardom, the broken circle breakdown, elysium, black rock, the hunger games: catching fire, august: osage county, we steal secrets: the story of wikileaks, the secret life of walter mitty, trance, blue jasmine, lone survivor, enough said, closed circuit, a band called death, the wolf of wall street, the great beauty, mandela: long walk to freedom, don jon, the family, mother of george, thanks for sharing, anchorman 2: the legend continues, about time, all is bright, the punk singer, frozen, the armstrong lie, rush, europa report, hell baby, mud, no, to the wonder, how i live now, best man down, austenland, only god forgives, identity thief, berberian sound studio, bling ring, the to do list, evil dead, you’re next, room 237, una noche, escape from tomorrow, computer chess, mr. nobody, passion, rapture-palooza, the wall (die wand), A.C.O.D., this is martin bonner, behind the candelabra, the inevitable defeat of mister and pete, thor: the dark world, a single shot, coffee town, family weekend, john dies at the end, man of steel, now you see me, carrie, wrong cops, pussy riot: a punk prayer, i’m so excited!, i give it a year, byzantium, the iceman, world war z, big sur, admission, the sapphires, the fifth estate, winnie mandela, despicable me 2, the conjuring, diana, the internship, ass backwards, museum hours, captain phillips, syrup, the lifeguard, upside down, somebody up there likes me, something in the air.

top NEW actors of the year (as in i’d never heard their names before/hadn’t noticed them in anything and now they seem like a big deal to me, were each in several things i loved): riz ahmed (the reluctant fundamentalist, closed circuit), brie larson (short term 12, the spectacular now, don jon, and a couple episodes of community) & moises arias (kings of summer, plus a particularly memorable performance in the otherwise-bad ender’s game)

standout actors of the year (who were not new to me, but were in a bunch of stuff i loved and seemed to have a really big year): lake bell, clark gregg, daniel brühl, olivia wilde, & rob corddry.

also as an aside, a few years ago I made up a ‘best sound design‘ category because I felt so strongly about black swan’s and then we need to talk about kevin’s, and was mad that they were slighted in oscar nominations, and this year I feel the same way about the sound in UPSTREAM COLOR.

oh and here’s a new category i got excited about creating this year: best use of a pop song in a movie. i was really knocked over by the use of moby’s “the day” in danny boyle’s trance, and also grand hallway’s “horses” in lynn shelton’s touchy feely, and i wanted to tell you about it.

some stats notes on movies: in 2013 i saw 263 different movies. exactly 100 of them were in theaters, and to date i’ve seen 197 movies that came out in 2013 (that’s 80 more than last year! although I’m also publishing this almost 2 weeks later than last year. this includes several that i watched after the year ended, so they’ll be among the total i report having watched in 2013, but they’re also part of the group of 2013 movies i’m counting as eligible for this best-of list).

as for movies with questionable release dates, the rule i made up is basically that if i saw it in like a festival or limited-engagement special event in 2013, even if it didn’t get even limited national release otherwise, it counts for my list, but if i did not see it in a festival before 2013 and its first limited release (a usa release that’s not a specific festival, even if it showed in fests pre-2013) was this year, then it counts. in other words it’s pretty subjective to my perspective, but it had to have its (limited or wide) release begin in 2013 OR be seen by me in a festival or special event (i saw movies at NYFF and a few assorted micro fests, and in theaters and homes in New York, Seattle, and San Antonio…somehow missed out on movies at my mainstays SXSW, tribeca, and BAM cinema fest this year, boo) in 2013. (I did, however, participate in the New York Comedy Festival, Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, Del Close Marathon, and comedy shows at SXSW, so I guess comedy beat movies fests-wise for me this year, much like 2012).

also of note, i saw 12 2013 movies in 3d (and only one in IMAX: pacific rim; i saw gravity in 3d but not IMAX, and the hobbit in 3d but not the HFR this time, regrettably). i continue to think 3d is a stupid cash grab that almost never adds to the film, but I suffer from pretty severe fear of missing out so i keep getting suckered in. the only one that was really worth it this year was gravity, although monster’s university and thor had their merits as well.

this is my longest movie list ever…there are just so many that I truly feel strongly about! also I saw more last year than any other year in my life, because of this service called Moviepass where I pay a monthly fee for nearly-unlimited movies so that it actually made financial sense to see MORE movies than less, and I was happy to oblige (mostly post-midnight screenings after work). Since I’m no longer in the movie theater mecca of NYC, I expect 2013 to be a lifetime peak, my high-water mark. (particularly sad to be leaving behind the greatest movie theater of all time, which I only just discovered this last year: the AMC Loews at 84th St.) But I also got paid for writing about movies last year for the first time ever, and intend to keep that up, so I do hope to continue to stay as engaged as possible here in the also-very-hip Seattle.

here’s what 1.92 trips to the movie theater a week (plus a few extraneous otherwise tix) looks like, btw:

although i obviously saw a ton of movies this year, you’ll always miss a few; there are a few that i still intend to see. Although i feel pretty good about the above list, really got pretty much all of the serious contenders in for once, these might have had a chance at making the above lists had i been able to catch them: ernest & celestine, the missing picture, omar (those are the only 3 of the 43 oscar-nominated features that haven’t been available to watch yet, so i haven’t!), the past, dear mr watterson, casting by, great expectations, grace of monaco, harry dean stanton: partly fiction, 47 ronin, out of the furnace, homefront, he’s way more famous than you, the last days on mars, the selfish giant, first cousin once removed, life according to sam, losing you, metro manila, sun don’t shine, the missing picture, let the fire burn, a river changes course, go for sisters, after tiller, gideon’s army, a touch of sin, gloria, afternoon delight, pit stop, my sister’s quinceañera, and the foxy merkins. pretty much everything else, if it had a theatrical release in 2013 and it’s not listed here, it’s on purpose. SO THERE.

saw filmmakers/actors in person promoting:

-crystal fairy (michael cera & director sebastián silva, IFC center, july 12)

-dazed and confused (20th anniversary screening at the NYFF, oct 10, with richard linklater, jason london, parker posey, and anthony rapp!!!!!)

-also went to my first-ever screening with a live cast of rocky horror picture show (chelsea bowtie cinema, formerly chelsea clearview, nov 27), and also a “shouting at the screen” showing of blaxploitation film Abby with wyatt cenac, donwill and matt braunger (indiescreen, on halloween) – those weren’t filmmaker screenings, obviously, but they were “event” film screenings.


my 25 favorite comedy or spoken-word shows I saw (top 2, by far):

-john hodgman’s secret society, at union hall throughout the year, and also the “secret secret society” in a catacombs 6/17

-mike birbiglia’s final performance of my girlfriend’s boyfriend, in addition to his union hall shows all year, @ carnegie hall 6/2

(the rest in chronological order, with some photographic evidence):

-the jukebox, one featuring victor varnado, james adomian, garth johnston, christian finnegan, and lizz winstead; the other featuring john hodgman singing ‘no children’ by the mountain goats @ union hall 2/19 and 3/19

-night job, hosted by katharine heller and dean haspiel, featuring angry bob, rev jen, and brooke van poppelen @ union hall 3/21

-marc maron @ union hall 4/14

-jen kirkman @ bell house 4/27

-the thrilling adventure hour, my favorite bell house show: Paul f Tompkins, John Hodgman, Paget Brewster, Mara Wilson, Marc Evan Jackson, Mark Gagliardi, Maria Thayer, Craig Cackowski, Jonathan Coulton, Scott Aukerman, Ira Glass, Scott Adsit, Rich Sommer & more @ bell house 5/11 and 10/11

-the interview show, podcast taping hosted by mark bazer, featuring chris mills, emily nussbaum, sam lipsyte, kathleen hanna @ union hall 5/16

-greg proops, podcast taping of ‘the smartest man in the world’ @ bell house 5/25

-going off track, podcast taping hosted by jonah bayer, steven smith and 2 others, featuring lyle preslar (minor threat), jenny owen youngs, chris gethard, frank iero (my chemical romance) @ union hall 6/8

-ask me another, npr show taping hosted by ophira eisenberg with jonathan coulton as the house band, featuring paul feig @ bell house 6/24

-nick thune, special ‘folk hero’ taping @ bell house 6/26

-heart of darkness ‘jaguar paw’, hosted by greg barris with house band the forgiveness, featuring dave hill and mind warrior heather berlin @ bell house 6/28

-mike birbiglia, eugene mirman, reggie watts and daniel kitson @ bell house 7/10

-low times, podcast taping hosted by tom scharpling, maggie serota and daniel ralston, featuring alan vega of suicide, the wrens, and craig finn @ union hall 10/5

-cheap date, hosted by sharron paul and calvin cole, featuring hari kondabolu, barry rothbart, skinny bitch jesus meeting, andrew short, kat burdick, eli sairs, and matt wayne @ union hall 10/8

-literary death match, featuring raj sivaraman, maris kreizman (of slaughterhouse 90210), iris smyles, and jason koo @ union hall 10/9

-simon amstell @ union hall 10/11-12

-running late, podcast tapings hosted by scott rogowsky, one featuring eugene mirman, demitri martin and grizz chapman, and the other featuring amber tamblyn and josh pais @ littlefield 10/23 and 12/18

-the grawlix, new york comedy fest show, featuring jonah ray, kate berlant, and sean patton @ union hall 11/8

-oh, hi, mark, a nycf show, featuring greg sestero (mark from the room!!!) @ union hall 11/9

-jenny slate’s new york comedy festival show featuring max silvestri, greg johnson and nick kroll @ littlefield 11/10

-night train’s 1-year anniversary show, hosted by wyatt cenac, featuring david cross, nikki glaser, ted leo, eugene mirman, seth herzog, kurt braunohler, michael che, andy wood, michelle buteau, and free daly pies @ littlefield 11/25

-geeking out, hosted by kerri doherty and leslie goshko, featuring steve heisler, the vigilante, and jason zimbler (ferguson from clarissa explains it all!!) @ union hall 12/3

-tom shillue’s funny story, my last comedy show as a new yorker, with joy behar and gavin mcinnes @ brooklyn brewery 12/19

Last year I included a separate category to list the podcasts/tapings I participated in or worked the door for, but it was just too much this year, so I rolled the highlights in above. My involvement with the New York comedy community is one of the biggest things I miss now that I’m gone, try not to forget me!


favorite new tv shows:


house of cards

orange is the new black

brooklyn nine-nine

favorite non-new tv shows:

arrested development

parks and recreation

breaking bad

new girl

an idiot abroad

happy endings

bob’s burgers



adventure time with finn and jake

american horror story

downton abbey

mad men



30 rock




childrens hospital


the killing

the mindy project

it’s always sunny in philadelphia

(netflix really owned it in 2013! looking forward to justified, parenthood, boardwalk empire, house of lies, veep, shameless, bunk, comedy bang bang, enlightened, episodes, a young doctor’s notebook, hello ladies, masters of sex, peaky blinders, and true detective eventually joining this list…need more hours in the day)


and lastly, some stray cool stuff i did in 2013 that didn’t fit into any of the above categories:

-daniel kitson’s one-man theatrical production ‘analog.ue’ @ st ann’s warehouse

-‘once’ on broadway

-‘the unavoidable disappearance of tom durnin’, a play at the roundabout theatre company, followed by a q&a with stars rich sommer, david morse, and david denham

-michael shannon ‘in conversation’ during the new yorker festival, followed by a short performance also by his band, corporal

-an uncategorizable event put on by philip seymour hoffman’s theatre company, featuring performances by kevin corrigan and my composer roommate kenny jaworski plus a group-bonding exercise

-spent the 4th of july in gardiner ny, the hudson valley, on my first MetroNorth trip visiting my former roommate emily

-spent a fun summer day with some long-lost australian friends, including visiting the superhero supply store

-danced on the ucb’s stage with friends to springsteen during the del close marathon

-worked as a “location assistant” on several film & tv sets

-had a music video shot in my apartment

-i did also read at least 8 books, for the record, which is an improvement because i spent the last 3 previous years combined crawling my way through gravity’s rainbow

-i also had surgery 3 times, which super sucked, but my mom came to mommy me in brooklyn each time for several days, which was really wonderful. nothing in life is all just one thing.


And the bonus: i’ve used these posts in my last few years to brag about my favorite “celebrity encounters”, and this one was a tough call so i included a the photos with couple runners-up above. But this time, I’m going to bypass bragging about rubbing elbows with people like dan harmon, missi pyle, rich sommer, kathleen hanna, jd samson, travis morrison, al madrigal, gilbert gottfried, buzz aldrin, suzanne vega, jay pharaoh, thao nguyen, jonathan ames, judah friedlander, rhys darby, michael ian black, david wain, janeane garofalo, jason mantzoukas, zach woods, pat kiernan, amber tamblyn, grizz chapman, chris mcculloch/jackson publick, and everyone else listed above (see how I skipped it?), because a Life Highlight happened just before I moved away this year. At the end of the last Secret Society show I worked, john hodgman called me up onstage, to join him along with jonathan coulton, jean grae and john roderick. They kind of interviewed me about my move, and then sat me down in a hi-backed chair while they gathered around & got the whole audience (many of whom have genuinely become friends through this show) to join in singing Auld Lang Syne. It’s difficult (and in violation of a solemn oath I swore) to even express how special the Secret Society was to me throughout the year, and to get that kind of send-off to tell me I’ve been special to them as well is really something to be treasured. Also I cried onstage at my workplace.

THE END! I love you.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.