My Top Stuff of 2015

WELL. i’m making no pretense that anybody in the world could care about my thoughts about 2015 at this point, but i’ve been working on them anyway, just for myself, for posterity, to refer back to later, to remember and look back on the year in a digestible way. i do end up using these at unpredictable future points, like showing an artist years later that their last record was among my favorites of that year, or pointing out to some dude i met that i liked the movie he’s trying to tell me about long before he “introduced” me to it, or in giving an overview of my taste to future entertainment-biz employers, so i’m gonna keep doing that on the faith that something like that might happen again. so here this is!! i genuinely am just doing it for myself, because i like to have the record gathered together in one place, but if for some reason you see this and want to argue about 2015, well, i’m up for that too.

2015 was a really good one for me! i started to get pretty dug in to my main work/life activities in Seattle (in a really good way): aside from having pretty uniquivocally the best year yet in Band Mom history, i continued working as a show manager at the Vera Project, and also began working the door at my cool neighborhood venue, Columbia City Theater. (i can WALK to work for my first time ever!!!) i worked for my second year in the box office for the Seattle International Film Festival, which i really really loved. (i also did a day’s work as a PA on a corporate commercial shoot in Bellevue which was really fun.) in March i traveled yet again to Austin (and San Antonio) for my 9th SXSW in a row, then in October hustled back to NYC for my 10th straight CMJ: my first one ever where i got to host an official Band Mom CMJ showcase!! i also had the honor of acting as a guest speaker (as part of the “Music Industry One-On-Ones”) at an inaugural CMJ “College Day on Tour” event at Holocene in Portland. on top of all that, i got to participate (thanks to the Vera Project) in the Seattle festivals Bumbershoot (Sept) and Capitol Hill Block Party (July), and Sasquatch at the Gorge in May. AND i made trips to Anacortes for my 30th birthday, to Vashon Island and Kent/Bonney Lake to visit WA friends and family, and Ohio and Los Angeles in December for the holidays. i hosted or hung with friends visiting from all over the world, including from NYC, LA, British Columbia, Australia and New Zealand. PRETTY COOL YEAR ALL AROUND!

you’ll see my festival and venue work again reflected pretty heavily when we get down to my Top Shows lists, much as they were in my Top Stuff of 20142013, 2012 and 2011 (i didn’t have such jobs in 2010 and 2009, but the venues i’d later work at were reflected pretty heavily in those lists as well). 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 box office or show managed or was otherwise professionally involved in 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:

 

my top 60 albums of 2015:

  1. sufjan stevens – carrie and lowell                                                                                                    suf-candl
  2. father john misty – i love you, honeybear
  3. hop along – painted shut
  4. low – ones and sixes
  5. courtney barnett – sometimes i sit and think, and sometimes i just sit
  6. sleater-kinney – no cities to love
  7. eskimeaux – o.k.
  8. little wings – explains
  9. dilly dally – sore
  10. the mountain goats – beat the champ
  11. mal blum – you look a lot like me
  12. ezra furman – perpetual motion people
  13. colleen green – i want to grow up
  14. mitski – bury me at makeout creek
  15. mount eerie – sauna
  16. beach slang – the things we do to find people who feel like us
  17. craig finn – faith in the future
  18. mac mccaughan – non-believers
  19. levoneh [aka osito] – what on earth
  20. heems – eat pray thug
  21. chastity belt – time to go home
  22. waxhatchee – ivy tripp
  23. pomegranates – healing power
  24. mates of state – you’re going to make it
  25. rocky votolato – hospital handshakes
  26. your heart breaks – america
  27. say hi – bleeders digest
  28. unlikely friends – solid gold cowboys
  29. joanna gruesome – peanut butter
  30. bully – feels like
  31. bad bad hats – psychic reader
  32. ought – sun coming down
  33. anna gordon – tuck your bones in
  34. el vy – return to the moon
  35. aqueduct – wild knights
  36. ibeyi – ibeyi
  37. jose gonzalez – vestiges & claws
  38. julien baker – sprained ankle
  39. oscar – beautiful words ep
  40. hot chip – why make sense?
  41. dick diver-melbourne florida
  42. elvis depressedly – new alhambra
  43. rhett miller – the traveler
  44. natalie prass – natalie prass
  45. the wonder years – no closer to heaven
  46. girlpool – girlpool
  47. car seat headrest – teens of style
  48. death cab for cutie – kintsugi
  49. titus andronicus – the most lamentable tragedy
  50. frog eyes – pickpocket’s locket
  51. jr jr – jr jr
  52. the decemberists – what a terrible world, what a beautiful world
  53. stelth ulvang – and, as always; the infinite cosmos
  54. son lux – bones
  55. third eye blind – dopamine
  56. belle and sebastian – girls in peacetime want to dance
  57. joanna newsom – divers
  58. unknown mortal orchestra – multi-love
  59. mew – + – [plus minus]
  60. beirut – no no no

the top 20 especially this year are albums i care a LOT about, like they’re particularly important to me. you’ll notice that this is a significantly longer list (and i’m expressing stronger feelings about it) than in 2014. this is a very nice thing. the amount of music i’m open to taking in at any given time is pretty directly tied to my emotional state, like you could make a pretty clear direct-relationship graph out of it, maybe one of the most obvious external barometers i give off of how i’ve been feeling. much longer music list than the recent past = much better year for me, emotionally. now you know. another factor is that i bought a car late in the year, my first for about a decade, and i was thus listening to full albums via my car’s cd player much more often than i have for quite a long time.

while i see my films list below as pretty definitive (with the couple of named possible exceptions and MAYBE like one or two wildcards that came out in 2015 but didn’t cross my radar), i see this music list as much less so. even so far past the end of the year, i still know there’s so much more music that was released in 2015 that never crossed my ears but that may end up being my favorite stuff in the future. so like, in ten years i bet i’ll probably largely stand by my top films list here, but my top music released in 2015 may look completely different (i’m talking additions, not deletions – the fact that this list of albums had a real impact on me can’t and won’t change retroactively). in fact i’ve got a list of about 40 more albums i just haven’t spent enough time with to include but i bet would be very likely to in a hypothetical distant-future accounting of this year. some of them are embarrassing, like bjork and beach house and panda bear and deerhoof – i love those bands, how could i have slept on those releases? WHO KNOWS

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, kingsborough, san juan, ex’s with benefits, pocket panda, fred thomas, led to sea, anthonie tonnon, sara curtin, advance base, girls in trouble, eliza rickman, lonesome leash, matt bauer, jonas carping, and the effort award. that’s artists from California, Seattle, Michigan, DC, Chicago, Portland OR, New Zealand, and Sweden and beyond (and releases by Orindal, Misra, Polyvinyl and more – some of my very favorite, bucket-list-level record labels!! can’t believe I got to work with those!!!). you all put out FANTASTIC albums that are tied for number one in my heart, and I love you the most.

 

top 20 shows (concerts):

  1. sufjan stevens w/helado negro @ the paramount (seattle, june)                                       https://scontent.fsnc1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/11391132_10100353596890863_1172392312876570138_n.jpg?oh=0f4a64cb167100b1a4256fbba6ba3072&oe=58640F34
  2. sasquatch highlights: ryan adams, father john misty, sleater-kinney, courtney barnett, hot chip, st. vincent, new pornographers, jenny lewis, ex hex, gogol bordello, angel olsen, smokey brights, modest mouse, decemberists, spoon, dan mangan + blacksmith, sharon van etten, run the jewels (the gorge, may)
  3. low w/andy shauf @ the crocodile (seattle, november)
  4. polaris w/scarves @ the crocodile (seattle, april)
  5. stars w/leisure cruise @ the neptune (seattle, march)
  6. mxpx w/five iron frenzy & success @ the showbox (seattle, march)
  7. the both (feat. john roderick on “voices carry”) @ the crocodile (seattle, july)
  8. third eye blind w/dashboard confessional & ex-cops @ marymoor park (near seattle, july)
  9. the long winters/john roderick for city council campaign event @ the triple door (seattle, july)
  10. father john misty for a kexp intimate solo acousting show/interview @ columbia city theater (seattle, july)
  11. sxsw highlights: the zombies, fred thomas, mal blum, courtesy tier, alvvays, dott, dreamend, night school, the church, twilight sad, mew, fort lean, angel olsen, downtown boys, mitski, elijah wood dj set (with zach cowie, as ‘wooden wisdom’) (austin, march)
  12. cmj highlights: dilly dally, shannon and the clams, frankie cosmos, oscar, the album leaf, S, nai harvest, baeb rxxth (not to mention my aforementioned first-ever official Band Mom showcase!) (new york, october)
  13. creed bratton @ the sunset (seattle, october)
  14. luna @ bowery ballroom (new york, october)
  15. wilco for a kexp intimate solo acousting show/interview @ columbia city theater (seattle, august)
  16. dilly dally @ the sunset (seattle, october)
  17. bumbershoot highlights: neko case (w eric bachmann on guitar/keys), brand new, social distortion, lisa prank (seattle, september)
  18. capitol hill block party highlights: the julie ruin, father john misty, tv on the radio, ratatat, deep creep (seattle, july)
  19. okkervil river (will sheff solo playing black sheep boy & appendix) @ columbia city theater (seattle, december)
  20. oh! pears in twin peaks costumes @ the rendezvous (seattle, halloween)

this was a big nostalgia year, catching so many bands i loved ten years ago (some for the very first time)…i guess that’s what aging’s like, maybe no coincidence that this is the year I turned 30. many of them made this list, but it was so packed a few didn’t: like the ataris at el corazon, kevin devine at the vera project, death cab for cutie at deck the hall ball…this list was initially 35 shows long so i also cut out a lot of experiences i look back on very fondly, with friends’ bands, new fav bands, shows i worked, etc but just needed to get on with things so this doesn’t keep going for a million years (more). don’t be offended if your show that I was at didn’t make this list, it was still great!

it was also a big year for me and the New Pornographers: in addition to seeing the full band at Sasquatch, I was lucky enough to catch Kathryn Calder, Destroyer, and Neko Case each separately as well! ALL for the first time I think, like before 2015 I don’t think I’d seen any New Pornos (maybe Carl at a mostly-comedy show in Brooklyn once?) and now i’ve seen almost all of them, separately and together! (whoa)

 

my 10 favorite comedy/podcast/spoken word shows I saw (in chronological order):

-aparna nancherla and ron funches @ sasquatch 5.24

-jen kirkman @ vera project 6.25

-sharpling & wurster (with ben gibbard) @ neumos 8.27

-neil hamburger and hari kondabolu @ bumbershoot 9.5&6

-risk! (hosted by kevin allison) @ vera project 9.24&5

-alicia jo rabins poetry reading @ hugo house 9.29

-sparks nevada live @ littlefield 10.9, and then thrilling adventure hour @ bell house 10.10

-judge john hodgman with mark gagliardi and hal lublin @ le poisson rouge 10.11

-ask me another (hosted by ophira eisenberg and jonathan coulton) with bruce campbell & lucy lawless @ bell house 10.12; then also (hosted by ophira eisenberg and cecil baldwin) with peter sarsgaard @ bell house 10.19

-whiplash with james adomian and anthony atamanuik doing trump vs bernie @ ucb chelsea 10.12

 

top 50 movies:

  1. inside out                                                                                                                                                  inside-out-emotions
  2. what we do in the shadows
  3. love & mercy
  4. room
  5. clouds of sils maria
  6. people places things
  7. anomalisa
  8. me him her
  9. white god
  10. about elly
  11. tig
  12. magic mike xxl
  13. it follows
  14. he named me malala
  15. embrace of the serpent
  16. the look of silence
  17. dope
  18. the revenant
  19. spotlight
  20. the end of the tour
  21. merchants of doubt
  22. call me lucky
  23. cartel land
  24. racing extinction
  25. welcome to me
  26. me and earl and the dying girl
  27. do i sound gay?
  28. mistress america
  29. the hunting ground
  30. mustang
  31. winter on fire: ukraine’s fight for freedom
  32. coming home
  33. queen of earth
  34. ex machina
  35. nasty baby
  36. where to invade next
  37. deathgasm
  38. isabella rossellini’s green porno live!
  39. the danish girl
  40. 45 years
  41. night owls
  42. son of saul
  43. joy
  44. manson family vacation
  45. american ultra
  46. youth
  47. mad max: fury road
  48. theeb
  49. the hateful eight
  50. digging for fire

honorable mentions (roughly in order; this whole list was initially a numbered top 160 until I considered how ridiculous that is. but FYI I feel EXTRA strongly this time about the top 10 of the above list, but strongly enough about all of these to mention ‘em. I did see 85 other 2015 movies that didn’t make any list at all!):

goodnight mommy; the stanford prison experiment; entertainment; 4th man out, the overnight; the martian; the wolfpack; amy; phoenix; the big short; carol; going clear: scientology and the prison of belief; 7 chinese brothers; the invisible boy; don’t think i’ve forgotten: cambodia’s lost rock and roll; shaun the sheep; trumbo; tangerine; southpaw; jurassic world; crimson peak; experimenter; cub; turbo kid; the russian woodperker; hurricane of fun: the making of wet hot; brooklyn; bridge of spies; spring; steve jobs; cooties; ant-man; sleeping with other people; creed; manglehorn; love, theft, and other entanglements; jimmy’s hall; adult beginners; victoria; spy; project almanac; chappie; while we’re young; partisan; kurt cobain: montage of heck; boy & the world; shrew’s nest; romeo is bleeding; bloodsucking bastards; partners in crime; kingsman: the secret service; hits; tab hunter confidential; next time i’ll aim for the heart; results; when marnie was there; the man from u.n.c.l.e.; avengers: age of ultron; mommy; the good dinosaur; sisters; accused/lucia de b.; the young and prodigious ts spivet; all things must pass; slow learners; chuck norris vs communism; love [gaspar noe]; danny collins; mardan; woman in gold; i’ll see you in my dreams; iris; cop car; jenny’s wedding; 99 homes; star wars: the force awakens; straight outta compton; sicario; the diary of a teenage girl; slow west; home; the gift; guidance; dior and i; a second chance; a war [krigen]; miss you already; goosebumps; paper towns; best of enemies; strangerland; beasts of no nation; what happened, miss simone?; get hard; true story; jupiter ascending; macbeth; lost river; the nightmare; trainwreck; mission: impossible: rogue nation; unfinished business; the assassin; the intern; the lazarus effect; tomorrowland; ned rifle; truth; vacation; pan.

top NEW actors of the year (as in i’d never heard their names before/hadn’t noticed them in anything as actors and now they seem like a big deal to me, were each in several things i loved or at least were really impressive in one thing): jacob tremblay (room), john cena and lebron james (trainwreck)

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): jemaine clement (what we do in the shadows, people places things), jason schwartzman (7 chinese brothers, the overnight), donald glover (kept popping up unexpectedly in surprise small roles: magic mike xxl, lazarus effect, the martian, contributed to some songs in creed), tye sheridan (dark places, the stanford prison experiment, scouts guide to the zombie apocalypse, entertainment)

i usually only do those for actors, but this year i wanna make a special note about a particularly impressive filmmaker: max landis wrote american ultra AND wrote & directed me him her – both of which i loved, how’d ya do it all max!! (i also got to meet him at SIFF and he was so fun and nice!)

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 then upstream color’s and then the babadook’s, and was mad that they were slighted in oscar nominations, and this year I feel the same way about the sound in THE REVENANT (a lot was made of its natural-light cinematography but there were some really masterful touches in the sound as well!)

oh and I created a bunch more superlatives/notes of interest which tend to vary by the year, like this time i wanna talk about best cover song on a soundtrack: i was really impressed by lili rose mckay’s cover of the mountain goats’ “love love love” in welcome to me, as well as the polyphonic spree playing nirvana (on camera, not just extradiegetic soundtrack) in the big short.

how about, best score: i had strong feelings about disaster peace’s work in it follows, atticus ross’s work in love & mercy, and daniel lopatin’s work in partisan.

and the oddest coincidence i’d like to note: the young and prodigious ts spivet has a shot where the sister has 8 of herself sitting around a conference table in her mind – just like inside out. (they came out so close to the same time it’s really not possible one copied the other. just parallel thinking i guess!)

some stats notes on movies: in 2015 i saw 307 different movies. (148 of them were 2015-released movies.) exactly 98 of them were in theaters, and to date i’ve seen 245 movies that came out in 2015 (that’s by far the most i’ve ever taken in for one year! but i’m also publishing this like hilariously, unreasonably, late. i’ll never have this complete of an accounting of a year again, i’m sure, because i’ll never take THIS much extra time to think about that year. this includes several that i watched after the year ended, so they’ll be among the total i report having watched in 2016, but they’re also part of the group of 2015 movies i’m counting as eligible for this best-of list because i watched them before publishing this list, today).

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 2015, 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 2015 and its first limited release (a usa release that’s not a specific festival, even if it showed in fests pre-2015) 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 2015 OR be seen by me in a festival or special event (i saw movies at SXSW, SIFF and a few assorted micro fests and special screenings, and in theaters and homes in New York, Seattle, Ohio, and Austin) in 2015.

also of note, i saw 11 2015 movies in 3d, as well as 4 in IMAX (3 of those overlapped, IMAX 3d), and one in 70mm (the hateful eight). 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 allowing myself to get suckered in. this year the only ones i’d really make a case for 3d being worth it were mad max: fury road, jurassic world, jupiter ascending, and the marvel movies (if nothing else, it enhances how fun it is to see ’em fly all around).

i saw only one movie twice in theaters this year: no coincidence that that was my number one, inside out. (one of the two screenings was in 3d.)

this is my longest movie list ever…there are just so many that I truly feel strongly about! also I keep seeing more and more movies every year in theaters, 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. i also included netflix/other VOD-only releases that debuted in 2015, even if they never showed in theaters. i think this is my first year doing that but it’s relevant these days.

here’s what 1.88 trips to the movie theater a week (plus a few extraneous otherwise tix) looks like, btw:

20161106_141904-1

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. i feel very good about the above list, really got pretty much all of the serious contenders in for once (like for the first time ever since beginning to put these lists together, i caught every single feature-length film nominated for an oscar in any category before publishing!). even so, these stragglers might have had a chance at making the above lists had i been able to catch them: girlhood, gueros, uncle kent 2, stone barn castle, the secret in their eyes, labyrinth of lies, the glamour and the squalor, she’s funny that way, accidental love, grandma, gravy, samba, eden, mojave, tumbledown, life, staten island summer, amour fou, a hard day, jauja, meet the patels, everest, appropriate behavor, and freeheld. pretty much everything else, if it had a theatrical release in 2015 and it’s not listed here, it’s on purpose. SO THERE.

saw filmmakers/actors in person promoting:

-pod (director mickey keating and cast & crew q&a via live feed from the other room, SXSW @ alamo drafthouse at the ritz, march 17)
-night owls (director/co-writer charles hood, and co-writer/producer seth goldsmith, plus a producer, production designer, costumer, SXSW @ ‘rollins theater at the long center’, march 17)
-spy (paul feig q&a, SIFF opening night @ mccaw hall, may 14)
-love & mercy (composer atticus ross, SIFF @ egyptian, may 15)
-guidance (writer/director pat mills, SIFF @ harvard exit, may 15)
-shrew’s nest (co-director esteban roel, SIFF @ egyptian, may 19)
-do i sound gay? (filmmaker david thorpe w interview subject dan savage, SIFF @ harvard exit, may 27)
-it’s so easy and other lies (director christopher duddy with camera operator john jeffcoat, SIFF @ egyptian, may 28)
-the russian woodpecker (director chad gracia, SIFF @ uptown, may 31)
-saved from the flames (presentation of archival prints by Serge Bromberg, SIFF @ uptown, june 2)
-love, theft and other entanglements (co-writers and director rami and muayad alayan, SIFF @ pac place, june 3)
-experimenter (director michael almereyda, SIFF @ uptown, june 4)
-me him her (director max landis with producer peter saraf and cast members emily meade, dustin milligan, luke bracey [they also led an ‘i want it that way’ singalong pre-film, so fun], SIFF @ pac place, june 6)
-7 chinese brothers (director bob byington, star jason schwartzman, moderated by lynn shelton, SIFF @ egyptian, june 7)
-wayne’s world (intro by director penelope spheeris, SIFF uptown, september 18)

 

favorite new tv shows:

master of none
master-none-poster-629x360
unbreakable kimmy schmidt
togetherness
izombie
wet hot american summer: first day of camp
crazy ex-girlfriend
unREAL
grace and frankie
marvel’s jessica jones
fresh off the boat
the jinx
w/ bob & david
documentary now!
bloodline
wayward pines
better call saul
casual
making a murderer
the last man on earth
superstore
man seeking woman
marvel’s daredevil
other space
quantico
scream queens
scream
marvel’s agent carter

plus favorite returning (not new in 2015 but had 2015 seasons) tv shows:

detectorists
ldmyo60qugg-market_maxres
louie
parks and recreation
bob’s burgers
last week tonight with john oliver
adventure time
brooklyn nine-nine
bojack horseman
fargo
broad city
transparent
nathan for you
rick and morty
portlandia
looking
jane the virgin
new girl
community
comedy bang bang
drunk history
lucas bros moving co
the mindy project
house of cards
review
married
scandal
orange is the new black
girls
marvel’s agents of s.h.i.e.l.d.

(fell behind on current seasons of american horror story, downton abbey, childrens hospital, hannibal, luther, scandal, silicon valley, and mozart in the jungle that might’ve otherwise made the list; also planning on someday getting around to happy valley, residue, sense8, the spoils before dying, narcos, american odyssey, ash vs evil dead, broadchurch, halt and catch fire, true detective, the knick, justified, parenthood, boardwalk empire, veep, shameless, enlightened, kroll show, key & peele, the affair…need more hours in the day)

also, never did a line like this in this post before, but a celebrity (or maybe “celebrity”, famous-to-me anyway…public figure?) death of 2015 affected me more than any other stranger’s death in my life has, i don’t think i ever even met this guy but always felt like he was one of my tribe, and he’s a tv-related person so i’ll put this here: eternal heavy-hearted RIP to harris wittels.

image52-768x1024
2.19.15.

 

i’ve capped off these posts the last few years with “celebrity encounters”, where i humblebrag (RIP again harris) about meeting famous people then post my favorite photo, but all my “celebrity encounters” are really already detailed above…this year i’m just gonna go with an exciting thing i did, which was celebrate turning 30 by buying a Mount Eerie record in Anacortes (from The Business, a record store associated with Phil Elverum) and bringing it up to Mt. Erie. my kind of pilgrimage.

https://scontent.fsnc1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-0/p526x296/11196288_10100323693951593_8395690622541105246_n.jpg?oh=2f11a0acdf21ae698f371df72169b162&oe=58A829C2

THE END! I love you.

 

 

 

THE EFFORT AWARD – RELAXTRONAUT is at Top 200 Radio Now!!!

I’ve gotta tell you about the loveable goofballs in THE EFFORT AWARD! These guys blew up the charts early on in this campaign, at the very end of 2015 and the very beginning of 2016 – people caught on quick how fun and easy this is to love! I’ve got just a little bit of time left on this one, but the push is definitely still on. It’s MUCH less of a Serious Music Album than just a goofy fun time for cold chillin’. I mean the album title is RELAXTRONAUT. The hit single is SHARKANO (which by the way also has an incredible video). So you get it. They’re from Charlottesville Virginia, which is a nice place I have visited one time. I think you should listen to this record and enjoy its heavy Beck vibes and get it/keep it spinning!!

THE EFFORT AWARD

RELAXTRONAUT

Self-Released

The Effort Award is the beat-laboratory project of Charlottesville, VA’s total unknown rocker John and sometimes his pal (and much more talented rocker) Dustin. Legend (that’s Dustin, the legend) says John was born after a bald eagle face-slapped a dragon and wooed that dragon’s woman dragon. Fact says he can stop a speeding bullet with his hand. He lost that hand in a shoot-out from a bullet wound. He then replaced the hand with an electric guitar. Thus was born Effort Award. Word to the wise: get louder speakers.

John has been rocking a guitar and a tiny keyboard since middle school. Three guitar lessons and a handful of piano lessons that John detested later, he finally learned the secret when Josh Lambert of The Octopus Project taught him the power chords to “My Michelle” by Guns N’ Roses. That whole album still crushes it. Thanks Josh.

Described as “Beck-like” in its approach, the unmistakably 90s-influenced album Relaxtronaut is all new. Called a “monster of melody” by producer Danny Kalb (Beck, Ben Harper), it’s clear this weirdo was sitting on heap of riffs and catchy hooks until just now. The Effort Award is just only now starting to try hard. You’ll see.

RIYL: Beck, Supergrass, Cornershop, Blur

Start With: 2, 6, 3                       FCC CLEAN

 

 

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

www.effortaward.com

Spotify: http://tinyurl.com/EffortAward

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/relaxtronaut/id1024329679

https://soundcloud.com/effort-award/follow-me

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFozaNiOIW1Z2wJ2av_qiNQ

JONAS CARPING – COCKTAILS & GASOLINE is at Top 200 Radio Now!!!

I’m pretty excited to share that I’ve been working since the end of 2015 with this burly Swede, JONAS CARPING! He’s great—on the rock end of Americana, singing about the rough-and-tumble life in rough-and-tumble Sweden. He used to have a band called The Glade; now he’s doing close to the same kinda stuff but just under his own name. Did I mention he’s Swedish? I’m really excited about working with a Swede. And he’s a really cool one!! Push this guy for yr charts right MEOW!!

JONAS CARPING

COCKTAILS & GASOLINE

Self-Released

Jonas Carping is an independent artist based in Stockholm, Sweden. Cocktails & Gasoline is Jonas’ second studio album, following previous releases by his band, The Glade.

Carping began his career as a professional poker player. He also has a college degree in engineering and another one in business law. He started playing the drums at the tender age of 14, then later on started to focus on playing the guitar instead and fell deeply in love with that instrument and songwriting.

Cocktails & Gasoline was recorded mostly in a cabin in the outback of Sweden, in an effort to capture the spirit of the Swedish wastelands. Out in the wastelands there is both time and space to really be captured by the essence in making music. The songs carry that vast feeling and thus have no trouble capturing the attention of the listener. They’re songs full of heart, effort, and soul, and that shows. That’s all that really matters.

“When I listen to it, I feel like an apocalypse horserider.” – Absolut Noise (FR/UK)

“The atmospheric, tense verses exploded into cathartic choruses, accented by a mournful slide guitar. Jonas might be Swedish, but he is schooled in the dramatic, hard-driving Americana of Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty.” – Modern Folk

RIYL: The Glade, Strand of Oaks, Shout Out Louds, Madrugada, Neil Young

Start With: 1, 2, 5 FCC: 3 says “damn”, otherwise CLEAN

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

http://jonascarping.com/

http://jonascarping.bandcamp.com/

http://soundcloud.com/jonas-carping

https://twitter.com/jonascarping

https://www.facebook.com/JonasCarpingOfficial

MATT BAUER – DREAM’S END is at Top 200 Radio Now!!!

I’ve considered this fantastic artist a good friend for years, and—though his music has always been GORGEOUS, and he’s even featured another Band Mom Artist, Melaena Cadiz, on not one but two of his previous album covers (she’s a good friend of his and a beautiful lady!), and I once put on a show he played in Brooklyn in 2013 and also featured him on my CMJ showcase this year—this is the first time I’ve gotten to officially work with a record of his. FINALLY!! And this record sure is something special. It’s gorgeous and lush; it makes use of Matt’s primary instruments—banjo and guitar—but also really fills things out with string arrangements, layered vocals, lots of really beautiful stuff. AND, I didn’t even realize this till a whole bunch of spins through (so it’s not essential to appreciating how beautiful it is, but certainly adds to this album’s allure), this record is also a concept album: about a person who discovers and slowly comes to terms with the fact that they’re actually an android. Whoa. Whhoooa!! Dude already got an awesome CMJ premiere plus was also featured on a monthly CMJ mixtape, so I think it’s safe to say CMJ is ready for Matt Bauer – time for you to get on board!!

MATT BAUER

DREAM’S END

Crossbill Records

Dream’s End begins as the protagonist discovers he is something other than human. He breaks himself apart to find wires and circuits and a body made of glass and gold.

Set in a landscape of barrier islands, mangroves, and southern maritime forests populated by fantastical creatures and sentient, shapeshifting pillars of smoke, Matt Bauer has imagined a fantasy world that allows him to give voice to his most raw and personal songs to date.

More melodic, electric, and rhythmic than previous records, Dream’s End builds on Bauer’s previous orchestral folk arrangements of string quartets and banjos. It expands his range of sounds into near subsonic pedal bass, electric guitars strung as banjos, treated and amplified bells and Wurlitzer, and drums by turns layered and at other times stark and driving (he cites Fugazi’s Brendan Canty and the layered drums on Cat Power’s You Are Free as inspiration).

And with the wider palette of sounds comes a wider range of imagery and emotion. Thieves steal keepsakes from the dead and dying on a shipwreck as waves lap the decks. Orchids bow and whisper as a tiger struggles in a net. A plea for a loved one to be spared turns to black gems floating into the night. Over the course of the album, the speaker moves through wrenching loss, shifting identity, regret, jealousy, and ultimately wonder and hope.

As he says in “It Knows Not What It Is,” Calling all the ghosts I’ve been / Where have I gone wrong? / How can I want to live so bad / And want to die all at once?”

The album asks: What do we do when our dream is lost? When we come to see we might not be who we hoped we were? We despair. We fight. We find our way again, and hope to shine brighter for making it through the darkness.

Dream’s End was recorded in Texas, Kentucky, California, Arkansas, and New York.  Bauer has toured extensively in the US, Europe, and the UK and, after a few years without a permanent home, now lives in Brooklyn.

RIYL: Sufjan Stevens, Chris Bathgate, Brown Bird, Horse Feathers, Jolie Holland, Damien Jurado, Melaena Cadiz

Start With: 3, 2, 1, 10              FCC CLEAN

 

 

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

http://mattbauermusic.com/

https://mattbauer.bandcamp.com/

https://twitter.com/mattbauermusic

https://www.facebook.com/mattbauerofficial

https://soundcloud.com/matt-bauer

https://instagram.com/mattbauer

 

 

 

LONESOME LEASH – PRECIOUS FUTURES is at Top 200 Radio Now!!!

Man, this Lonesome Leash record is something special. It’s essentially a one-man-band, with Walt McClements (who you may know from being a band member of Hooray for the Riff Raff and Dark Dark Dark) pulling everything-duty, especially on both drums and accordion (both simultaneously, even live! It’s amazing). But he’s no sideshow act/street busker: this guy makes gorgeous, dynamic music full of depth, passion, big thoughts and big feelings. Best way I can situate it musically is right in the middle of Beirut and Future Islands. It’s really beautiful and you need to hear it ASAP!!

LONESOME LEASH

PRECIOUS FUTURES

Mind Rider Records

Lonesome Leash is the solo project of Walt McClements, an accordionist and multi-instrumentalist known for his previous work in Dark Dark Dark and Hurray for the Riff Raff. Using a sparse palette of accordion, drums and voice, McClements crafts stark yet complex songs, nervous and triumphant hymns to the restless. Despite being anchored by the often anachronistic accordion, the music ends up having less to do with contemporary purveyors of old world idioms, and more to do with an alternate history—one where angular accordion lines take prominence over the guitar in a nervy and strangely cinematic post-punk tradition.

Precious Futures is the follow up to 2013’s debut I am no captain, and is Lonesome Leash’s first release on fellow Dark Dark Dark member Nona Marie Invie’s Mind Rider Records. Where previous Lonesome Leash recordings explored layers of lush feedback and textural accordion tones, Precious Futures strips the songs to their sinew, offering an approximation of the project’s “one-man-band” live approach: terse drums syncopated with accordion and distinctive, roiling vocals. This is McClements at his most exposed, and what these songs lack in embellishment, they gain in impact.

“Sometimes bridges burn themselves/no flint, no fuel, no careless match/you just feel the flames and you don’t turn back” is the album’s opening line, and it’s a fitting introduction to a song cycle that primarily deals with motion. Most of the album was written in a two-year period of nearly continuous tour, a time of travel which served as the transition between McClements leaving his longtime home New Orleans and settling in Los Angeles. Precious Futures is comprised of fragmented stories, but they are fragments of one narrative, where momentum, love, and lust serve as stand-ins for the feeling of home. It is a record that chronicles movement and the thrill of the affair, but also explores the drives beneath those things, all with a wry wit that is so characteristic of McClements’ storytelling. The end result is at once romantic, neurotic, and ultimately gratifying.

RIYL: Beirut, Dark Dark Dark, Future Islands, Neutral Milk Hotel, Jason Webley, Jherek Bischoff

Start With: 4, 1, 2              FCC CLEAN

 

 

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

lonesomeleash.com

facebook.com/lonesomeleash

lonesomeleash.bandcamp.com/

 

 

 

ELIZA RICKMAN – FOOTNOTES FOR THE SPRING is at Top 200 Radio Now!!!

My dear friend Eliza Rickman is basically a Disney Princess with a dark side. I’m not kidding, listen to this record and tell me otherwise. Comparisons to Kate Bush or Amanda Palmer would also not be out of line. Besides just being her wonderful self, putting out several fantastic records (the last of which I also got to send to you radio pals), and touring the US and Europe regularly, you may also have heard of Eliza if you’re a podcast fan—she’s a regular musical guest on WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE; in fact, she’s just finished up a tour with them (and is now blazing a trail through Europe on her own)! PRETTY COOL RIGHT! It’s hard to describe what exactly is special about this record without just playing it for you, so DEFINITELY make sure to give it a listen right away if you haven’t yet (trust me). Now it’s time to finish up with review and get this thing spinning and out to the masses, and start pushing it up your Top 30s pronto!!

ELIZA RICKMAN

FOOTNOTES FOR THE SPRING

Self-Released

There is always a hint of menace and reservoirs of force haunting the corners of Eliza Rickman’s voice, whatever register it occupies. Her presence on stage – whether she wears flowers in her hair, or stuffed birds; whether she plays a toy piano or a grand piano – is an enveloping, soft darkness, impossible to ignore. It has been three years between Rickman’s first album, O, You Sinners, and her newest effort, Footnotes for the Spring. In those intervening three years, Rickman added the autoharp to her repertoire, fought illness and heartbreak (and won), and turned 30. But mostly, she toured. She is a frequent featured musical act for the live rendition of the popular podcast “Welcome to Night Vale“, she joined the band Rasputina for a handful of dates, and she organized her own successful solo European tour.

During those three years, Rickman’s vocal delivery has also developed a new breathlessness. She wrote all the string arrangements on her debut, but friend Jason Webley produced and orchestrated Footnotes. Here, Rickman’s voice casts its shadow against Webley’s shimmering strings and a Phil Spector style wall of sound, flecked with melancholy and nostalgia. This clutch of songs comprises, among others, “Lark of my Heart”, written to commemorate the wedding day of Margaret Rucker, an unknown poet whose scrapbook was found in a dumpster many years after her death;  “Now and Then”, whose opening lines encapsulate the juxtaposition at the heart of the album – Oh, to be young again/blood is on my hands – and “Wax Nostalgic”, whose title speaks for itself. But this is nostalgia without sentimentality.  Rickman’s voice has the power to hold the smallest grain of sadness, an intimation that the longed-for innocence depicted in her lyrics has slipped just below the glow of the orchestra and out of sight.

RIYL: Amanda Palmer, Kate Bush, Disney Princesses,  “Welcome to Night Vale”,

Jason Webley, Rufus Wainwright, Rasputina, Jherek Bischoff, Andrew Bird

Start With: 2, 8, 3, 7          FCC CLEAN

 

ELIZA RICKMAN UPCOMING TOUR DATES:

Jan 14 – Temecula, CA – Dig Collective House Concert

Jan 16 – San Francisco, CA – Fortress Callosum

Jan 21 – Seattle, WA – Palmer House Concert

Jan 22 – Seattle WA – Beery House Concert w/ Tomo Nakayama

Jan 23 – Orcas Island, WA – House Concert

 

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

elizarickman.com

facebook.com/elizarickman

elizarickman.bandcamp.com

instagram.com/elizarickman

twitter.com/elizarickman

elizarickman.tumblr.com

youtube.com/user/elizarickmanmusic

 

 

FALL 2015 TOUR DATES!!

Guess what! All my artists are on tour this fall!! Plus I’m having an AMAZING CMJ SHOWCASE. Something awesome is happening this fall wherever you are. If you’re a station rep and near any of these shows, drop me a line for the hookup (tix giveaways? interviews? instudio performances? I can help)!!

Let’s start with the showcase!

The Band Mom official CMJ showcase! (fb RSVP link!) (doNYC RSVP link!)

 

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Doors at 7:30, Music from 8pm-2am

Passenger Bar

229 Roebling St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

(direct walk in between Knitting Factory and Baby’s All Right; also super close to Union Pool & other Bedford/N6th-area venues!)

$5 suggested donation (free to CMJ badge holders)

21+ (sorry kids)

 

7:30 doors

8:00-8:25 Anna Gordon (Olympia WA, also the MD of KAOS!)

8:35-9:05 Anthonie Tonnon (Misra Records, New Zealand)

9:20-9:50 Prairie Empire (Brooklyn NY)

10:05-10:35 Courtesy Tier (Brooklyn NY)

10:50-11:20 Fred Thomas (Polyvinyl, Saturday Looks Good to Me)

11:35-12:15 Sara Curtin (Washington DC)

12:30-1:00 Matt Bauer (Brooklyn NY)

1:15-1:45 MULTIMAGIC (Cincinnati OH)

 

ABOUT THE BANDS:

 

ANNA GORDON

Anna Gordon writes ghostly stories and fingerpicks an acoustic guitar, speaking intimate truths through a soft, soulful, and lilting voice. Her home of Olympia, WA has called her “the overlord of creepy songs” and describes her folk tunes as “a less than lethal dose of nightshade.”

 

ANTHONIE TONNON

Anthonie Tonnon’s reputation as a lyricist and performer has seen him invited to open for Paul Kelly, Okkervil River and Yumi Zouma. His show is part folk, part Krautrock and part performance art, and developed over hundreds of performances in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand.

 

PRAIRIE EMPIRE

More sad hits.

 

COURTESY TIER

Courtesy Tier is a three piece rock group from brooklyn, ny channeling the heavy blues of the past and melding together an edgy sound of the future.

 

FRED THOMAS

Strange, poetic, lyric-centric songs from former member of Saturday Looks Good To Me, Chain & The Gang. New album “All Are Saved” ranked 8.0 on Pitchfork, among other high praise from international press.

 

SARA CURTIN

D.C. musician / ex-Brooklyn fishmonger / PopMatters and CMJ.com premiered artist (romantic groove, gossamer melody). Curtin began in the folk scene, but NPRs WAMU Bandwidth compares her solo project more with Sade or Sharon Van Etten than D.C.s long folk tradition. American Songwriter recently featured her as a Daily Discovery.

 

MATT BAUER

“Matt Bauer conjures a warm yet slightly eerie mood with his banjo driven alt folk. The Greenpoint-via-Kentucky folkster has a gorgeous whispery way with a song.” – Time Out New York

“Moody folk that’s as much Appalachian as it is apparition. .” – IFC

 

MULTIMAGIC

MULTIMAGIC is an indie pop band from Cincinnati, Ohio. Formed in 2014 by singer/guitarist, Coran Stetter and keyboardist, Brian Davis. The pair was joined in November by guitarist/singer Benjamin Hines, singer/bassist Mia Carruthers and drummer Sebastien Schultz. The band is currently in the studio working on their debut record.

 

Poster artwork by Natalia Zúńiga

The Band Mom is your favorite boutique college radio promotion company. Based in Seattle since 2014 (Brooklyn 2009-2013), The Band Mom works with a very selective roster to ensure maximum attention to and success with each artist. Although Jenn Misko (as The Band Mom Presents) has put on a number of successful events in NYC and Austin, this is The Band Mom’s first official CMJ showcase! Pop by for a few minutes since it’s an easy walk from all the other Williamsburg venues you know (or end your night here since the show goes late), or make a night of it, because this entire lineup is TOTALLY AMAZING.

 

***********************************

 

And now for the rest of the country!!

 

ANTHONIE TONNON (NZ) FALL 2015 US TOUR DATES:

10/1 Thurs: Tucson, AZ @ La Cocina

10/2 Fri: Las Cruces, NM @ El Patio with Decade of the Dead Arcade

10/4 Sun: Austin, TX @ Hole In The Wall

10/8 Thurs: Atlanta GA, Private show – message for details.

10/12 Mon: NYC, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall, Stage One 6pm

CMJ shows in New York City:

10/13 Tues: NZ at CMJ, Baby’s All Right, 7.20-7.50pm

10/15 Thurs: The Band Mom Showcase, Passenger Bar, 8.35-9.10pm

10/16 Fri: Atypical Beasts Day Party, The Delancey, Acoustic Rooftop stage, 2.30pm

10/17 Sat: Youngstown, OH @ Little Youngstown Cinema

10/18 Sun: Pittsburgh, PA @ Brillobox with André Costello and the Cool Minors and City Steps

10/21 Wed: Chicago, IL @ Whistler with Richard Album and KO

10/24 Sat: Denver, CO @The Ubisubisu Room w/Eye and The Arrow, presented by Mountain to Sound

10/29 Thurs: Seattle, WA @Columbia City Theatre with Jeff Grant and Friends

 
 

ADVANCE BASE FALL 2015 TOUR DATES:

October 14, 2015 – Indianapolis, IN @ Joyful Noise =
October 15, 2015 – Columbus, OH @ Tree Bar

October 16, 2015 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr Roboto Project *
October 17, 2015 – Philadelphia, PA @ Sound Hole *
October 18, 2015 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd Music House *
October 19, 2015 – Manhattan, NY @ Mercury Lounge *
October 20, 2015 – Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn #
October 21, 2015 – Nanuet, NY @ Nanuet Arcade *<
October 22, 2015 – Albany, NY @ Low Beat *
October 23, 2015 – Northampton, MA @ 13th Floor Lounge *^
October 24, 2015 – Bar Harbor, ME @ Lompoc *&
October 25, 2015 – Portland, ME @ Apohadion Theater *&
October 26, 2015 – Winooski, VT @ Monkey House

October 27, 2015 – Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar

October 28, 2015 – Toronto, ON @ Dundas Video

October 29, 2015 – Detroit, MI @ PJs Lager House

November 2, 2015 – DeKalb, IL @ House Cafe +
November 4, 2015 – Birmingham, AL @ Spring Street Firehouse %
November 6, 2015 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn %
November 7, 2015 – Greenville, NC @ Art Avenue %
November 8, 2015 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 %
November 9, 2015 – Raleigh, NC @ Neptune’s %
December 10, 2015 – Chicago, IL @ The Hideout $

= with SM Wolf

* with Amy Bezunartea

# with Julie Byrne

< with Adult Mom

^ with Beach Honey

& with Lisa/Liza

+ with Elvis Depressedly

% with Nathan K

$ with Mike Adams at His Honest Weight

 

ALICIA JO RABINS / GIRLS IN TROUBLE FALL 2015 TOUR DATES:

October 10 – Berkeley, CA – Girls in Trouble release show @ Urban Adamah  

October 21 – Centralia, WA – Q&A/Girls in Trouble show/poetry reading @ Centralia College

October 25 – Portland, OR – Portland book launch reading! @ Powell’s on Hawthorne

November 9 – Salem, OR – Book launch reading @ Willamette University 

November 14 – Brooklyn, NY – Girls in Trouble release show @ The Living Room 

November 16 – Cambridge, MA – Book launch reading + songs @ Harvard University  

November 22 – Baltimore, MD – Book launch reading @ The Ivy Bookshop

February 11 – Miami, FL – Book launch reading @ Books & Books 

 

ELIZA RICKMAN WINTER 2015 TOUR DATES (Album on the way for 10/27 adds!):

Oct 20 – Los Angeles, CA – The Hotel Cafe

Oct 22 – San Francisco, CA – The Lost Church

Oct 25 – Montreal, QC – Theatre St Denis w/ Welcome to Night Vale

Oct 26 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall w/ Welcome to Night Vale

Oct 27 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall w/ Welcome to Night Vale

Oct 29 – Winnipeg, MB – Garrick Centre w/ Welcome to Night Vale

Oct 30 – Edmonton, AB – Horowitz Theatre w/ Welcome to Night Vale

Oct 31 – Vancouver, BC – Chan Centre for the Performing Arts w/ Welcome to Night Vale

Nov 2 – Sacramento, CA – Crest Theatre w/ Welcome to Night Vale

Nov 3 – San Diego, CA – Balboa Theatre w/ Welcome to Night Vale

Nov 5 – Denver, CO – Paramount Theatre w/ Welcome to Night Vale

Nov 6 – Midwest City, OK – Rose State College w/ Welcome to Night Vale

Nov 7 – Austin, TX – Paramount Theatre w/ Welcome to Night Vale

Jan 14 – Temecula, CA – Dig Collective House Concert

Jan 16 – San Francisco, CA – Fortress Callosum

Jan 21 – Seattle, WA – Palmer House Concert

Jan 22 – Seattle WA – Beery House Concert w/ Tomo Nakayama

Jan 23 – Orcas Island, WA – House Concert

 

LONESOME LEASH FALL 2015 TOUR DATES (Album on the way for 11/3 adds!):

10/11 : Los Angeles, CA – LAST Projects

10/14 : Phoenix, AZ – Trunk Space

10/26 : Asheville, NC – Crow and Quill

10/27 : Atlanta, GA – Eddie’s Attic w/ Lonnie Holley

10/29 : New Orleans, LA – Tigermen Den

10/30 : New Orleans, LA – Tigermen Den

11/3 : Athens, GA – GO Bar

11/4 : Durham, NC – Pinhook

12/5 : Geneva, CH – Festival Face K

 

 

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Girls in Trouble – Open the Ground is at Top 200 Radio now!!!

My most recent record is a band that’s truly near and dear to my heart; they’re some of the tightest members of my Band Mom family and one of my all-time favorite bands. I’ve been working closely with Girls in Trouble since they released their first album in 2009, and they’ve been really important people/musicians to me ever since. The music of this Portland (previously Brooklyn) band is amazing: hold-your-breath-gorgeous violin-based indie-folk/indie-pop arrangements with a remarkable lady singer (/songwriter/violinist/professional poet). And there’s more to it if you pay any amount of attention to lyrics, as well: each song is a story, and each story is told from the perspective of a different woman from Jewish mythology (mostly from the Old Testament of the Bible). But don’t take that to mean this is some niche religious band: I mean, think about it, even just telling these stories from the perspective of the lady is a pretty intensely feminist, progressive move. Y’know? Their lyrics AND their music are an amazing meeting of ancient and modern, traditional and subversive. Now’s the time time to make sure Girls in Trouble is through your review processes, on yr shelves, spinning in yr rotations, and starting to make its way onto yr charts!!

GIRLS IN TROUBLE

OPEN THE GROUND

Self-Released

Ancient stories of love, sex, betrayal and inheritance come to life in surprisingly intimate songs ranging from old-timey ballads to indie-pop. This is Open the Ground: Girls in Trouble’s third release of beautiful orchestral indie-folk about the complicated lives of Biblical women.

This is music for people who like stories. It is also for music for people who like beauty, and mystery, and contradiction. Its intersection of faith with feminism, of chamber music with rock, is both traditional and subversive, both ancient and contemporary. It’s an exquisite, transcendent portrait of the fullness of what it means to be a woman, Biblical or otherwise.

Bandleader Alicia Jo Rabins combines her background in poetry, music and Jewish studies to create this episode of the band’s original song cycle. Inspired by bold, honest storyteller-songwriters such as Leonard Cohen and Nina Nastasia, Rabins investigates the hidden places where these women’s complicated lives overlap with hers. She has been known to perform her uniquely moving orchestral art-pop outfitted with a full band, or solo in more intimate settings with nothing but a loop pedal, a style which has drawn comparisons to Owen Pallett and Andrew Bird.

Rabins creates the lyrics, music, and performances of violin, viola and voice for the project, in partnership with her husband, bassist Aaron Hartman of Old Time Relijun (K Records). Open the Ground was recorded in Portland, OR, at Type Foundry Studios, co-produced and mixed by Karl Blau. A cast of Portland’s most notable musicians played supporting roles, including Sara Lund (Unwound) on drums, Mike Clark (Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks) on keys, and Colette Alexander (Angelique Kidjo) on cello. The artwork arrives via Portland artist/drummer Julianna Bright, cementing this project as the band’s first distinctly Portland and DIY entry into their saga after two prior albums (2009’s self-titled and 2011’s Half You Half Me) recorded in Brooklyn and released on NYC’s JDub Records.

Rabins’ writing has always been intimately concerned with the oft-ignored dramas of the women of her faith’s lore. Recording this album, seven months pregnant with her second child, tales of Biblical mothers began to resonate more deeply than ever. Consider “River So Wide”, where Abraham’s wife Sarah reflects on his sacrifice of their son, Isaac, not knowing that he’d actually been rescued; or title track “Open the Ground”, where Eve contemplates her culpability in her son Cain’s murder of his brother Abel; or “Arrow and Bow”, about Hagar, Abraham’s concubine and mother of Ishmael.

This album is just one of Rabins’ many outlets for expression of those themes and subjects closest to her heart. She is also known to many as a mother, a Torah scholar, a rock-opera showrunner (2012-14’s “A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff”) and a prize-winning poet: her first full-length book of poetry, Divinity School, was recently awarded the prestigious American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize and will be published in September 2015: a near-simultaneous release with this album.

“Her plucked violin and gorgeous voice could be a Jewish ‘Silent Night.'”—New York Times Magazine

RIYL: Mirah, Owen Pallett, Andrew Bird, Regina Spektor, Karl Blau, Led to Sea,

Laura Veirs, The Mountain Goats, Joanna Newsom

Start With: 4, 1, 6, 7          FCC CLEAN

 

ALICIA JO RABINS / GIRLS IN TROUBLE FALL 2015 TOUR DATES:

September 29 – Seattle, WA – Book launch reading @ Hugo House 

October 10 – Berkeley, CA – Girls in Trouble release show @ Urban Adamah  

October 21 – Centralia, WA – Q&A/Girls in Trouble show/poetry reading @ Centralia College

October 25 – Portland, OR – Portland book launch reading! @ Powell’s on Hawthorne

November 9 – Salem, OR – Book launch reading @ Willamette University 

November 14 – Brooklyn, NY – Girls in Trouble release show @ The Living Room 

November 16 – Cambridge, MA – Book launch reading + songs @ Harvard University  

November 22 – Baltimore, MD – Book launch reading @ The Ivy Bookshop

February 11 – Miami, FL – Book launch reading @ Books & Books 

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

https://girlsintrouble.bandcamp.com/album/open-the-ground

http://www.girlsintroublemusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/girlsintroublemusic

https://twitter.com/girlsintrouble/

https://www.aprweb.org/authors/alicia-jo-rabins

 

ADVANCE BASE – NEPHEW IN THE WILD is at Top 200 Radio Now!!!

I need to tell you about my totally amazing add from Sept 1: it’s ADVANCE BASE!! That’s Owen Ashworth, formerly known as CASIOTONE FOR THE PAINFULLY ALONE—one of my all-time favorite bands, for real, this is super special to me, like check out this review I wrote of one of his albums back in 2009, long before I knew the guy!!! Since then I’ve gotten to work with him a couple times, including working his first Advance Base record in 2012, and putting on a show he played in Brooklyn later that year. If this is your first time hearing of this guy (it shouldn’t be if you’ve been around for a bit, but I know it’s fall at college so a lot of you are brand-newbies, so some of you get a pass), you’ve got a lot to catch up on. There’s a whole constellation of stuff to get into here if you end up liking this guy even a little bit. His brother’s an electronic/found sounds musician named Gordon Ashworth (who used to go by Concern). He produced beats for the excellent rapper Serengeti. He frequently collaborates with Nicholas Krgovich, known under his own name as well as his projects P:Ano and No Kids. He co-wrote and contributed electric piano to some songs on Sun Kil Moon‘s latest album Benji; also Mark Kozelek of SKM released Advance Base’s first full-length album through his label, Caldo Verde. Owen also runs his own label, Orindal Records, which put out this current album as well as records by many of those aforementioned artists. You may have noticed Advance Base’s NPR First Listen a little while ago, or BrooklynVegan‘s nice recent tour post (which also includes a full album stream), or Rick Moody’s thoughtful interview with Owen in The Rumpus, or Consequence of Sound‘s nice feature on the single “Pamela”, or Impose‘s feature on that same track, or PopMatters‘ feature on the single “My Love For You is Like a Puppy Underfoot” (which features female vocalist Jody Weinmann), or the Spin review that calls him an “auteur”. Basically what I’m getting at is: this one is a BIG DEAL!! I’m sorry to report that this record went out almost 100% as a download, so please don’t be offended if you didn’t get a hard copy, it wasn’t personal (THIS TIME!), but please DO check your email (it’s there, assuming you work at a radio station and we know each other even a little bit) and download it, even if you hardly ever download, because THIS RECORD IS WORTH IT!!! And then get to spinning this record ASAP, it’s IMPORTANT!!

ADVANCE BASE

NEPHEW IN THE WILD

Orindal Records

It’s been three years since Advance Base’s debut album, A Shut-In’s Prayer, made #19 on MOJO Magazine’s “Best Albums of 2012” list. Since then, singer, songwriter & multi-instrumentalist Owen Ashworth (who formerly used the moniker Casiotone for the Painfully Alone) has published a book of drawings, made beats for Chicago rapper Serengeti, recorded the debut single by psych-folk troubadour Julie Byrne, paid tribute to gospel & outsider music legend Washington Phillips (see 2013’s The World Is In A Bad Fix Everywhere EP), contributed electric piano & co-writing credits to Sun Kil Moon‘s critically acclaimed 2014 album, Benji, & produced more than a dozen other releases for his own label, Orindal Records. Ashworth has finally turned his focus back on his own music & given us Nephew in the Wild, the second official album by Advance Base.

Nephew in the Wild is a nostalgic, melancholic & occasionally harrowing collection of lo-fi indie rock & electronic pop. Electric pianos, drum kits, drum machines, autoharps, Omnichords, Optigans, Mellotrons & the occasional guitar lay the foundation for sweetly sad stories about lonely Midwesterners trying to make sense of their troubled pasts. In the world of Nephew in the Wild, the internet hasn’t been invented yet, & a change of address is the only thing a person needs to exit their old life completely. Disappearance, displacement, hell-raising, child-raising, Christmas, Michigan, arson, aging & animals are recurring themes throughout the album.

Nephew in the Wild was recorded by Ashworth in his basement in Oak Park, Illinois, with additional instrumentation by Nicholas Krgovich (No Kids, P:ano, Gigi), Mike Adams (Mike Adams at His Honest Weight, husband&wife), Howard Draper (Tre Orsi, Okkervil River, Shearwater) & Mat Sweet (Boduf Songs), among others. Ashworth’s baritone vocals & frank, conversational lyrics sit at the front of the mix throughout nine of Nephew in the Wild’s ten songs, while guest vocalist Jody Weinmann takes the lead on the album’s only co-write, “My Love for You is Like a Puppy Underfoot.”

RIYL: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Magnetic Fields, David Bazan, Sun Kil Moon, Smog, Daniel Johnston, Nicholas Krgovich, Mount Eerie

Start With: 1, 7, 5, 6          FCC: 1 says “ass”, otherwise CLEAN

 

FALL 2015 TOUR DATES:

September 25 – Chicago, IL @ Pinky Swear !
October 15 – Columbus, OH @ Tree Bar
October 16 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr Roboto Project *
October 17 – Philadelphia, PA @ Sound Hole *
October 19 – Manhattan, NY @ Mercury Lounge *
October 20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn #
October 22 – Albany, NY @ Low Beat *
October 23 – Boston, MA @ Lilypad *
October 24 – Bar Harbor, ME @ Lompoc *&
October 25 – Portland, ME @ Apohadion Theater *&
October 26 – Winooski, VT @ Monkey House
October 27 – Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
October 29 – Detroit, MI @ Lager House
November 2 – DeKalb, IL @ House Cafe +
November 4 – Birmingham, AL @ Spring Street Firehouse %
November 6 – Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn %
November 7 – Greenville, NC @ Art Avenue %
November 8 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 %

! with More Ease, Fast Femme & Fastness
* with Amy Bezunartea
# with Julie Byrne
& with Lisa/Liza
+ with Elvis Depressedly
% with Nathan K

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

http://advancebasemusic.com/

http://advancebase.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AdvanceBase

https://twitter.com/AdvanceBase

 

SARA CURTIN – MICHIGAN LILIUM is at Top 200 Radio NOW!!

My newest artist came to me through one of my favorite dudes/Band Mom family members out of DC: SARA CURTIN is a super-interesting DC songwriter. Her short (8-track) album moves through a pretty wild variety of genre shades with ease: from R&B-inflected sultry jams, to Americana singer-songwriter-y, to indie pop and more. That’s why my start-with track list is so long, there are best songs in each style but there are so many styles! Yet they somehow still cohere together through the strength of Curtin’s voice and personality. I realize the RIYL list of artists below reads like an idiot wrote it who really just means “recommended if you like ladies singing”, but that is not what I mean! This is a varied record with a huge diversity of sounds, and different tracks remind me more of each of those different artists (some of whom also share her sonic diversity). You’ve gotta hear it!!

SARA CURTIN

MICHIGAN LILIUM

Self-Released

Sara Curtin is a Washington D.C. musician and former Brooklyn fishmonger, noted by CMJ for her “romantic groove, gossamer weight of the melody, and libidinous lyrical invitations”. Sara made a name for herself in the folk scene with her duo The Sweater Set, but NPR’s WAMU Bandwidth describes her solo project as having more in common “with Sade or Sharon Van Etten than D.C.’s long folk tradition.”

Her first full-length solo album Fly Her And Keep Her came out in 2010, but Curtin has been singing since before she can remember. A family of professional musicians and rock & roll blasters, the Curtin house was always the loud one on the block, the one you could hear from down the street. Her brother Jeff Curtin is now an accomplished sound engineer (Pitchfork) and drummer (Small Black).

Raised on The Beatles, D.C.’s Go-Go music, Michael Jackson, and Joni Mitchell, the influences present in Curtin’s songwriting are eclectic. Classical training in voice and years of choral singing add a refined and complex sense of arrangement. Curtin recorded the majority of Michigan Lilium in her home studio in Washington, D.C. including all vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, percussion and synthesizers. Bass (Spencer Zahn of Twin Shadow and Empress Of) and drums (Ian Chang of Son Lux and Body Language) were recorded at GaluminumFoil Productions in Brooklyn, NY with Jeff Berner, who also mixed the album.

RIYL: St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Neko Case, Sarah Jaffe, Natalie Prass, the bird and the bee

Start With: 8, 7, 2, 6, 4          FCC CLEAN

CHECK OUT all these premieres and features already!:

“V D A Y” premiere on CMJ

“Careless” premiere on AudioFemme

“Sweet Dreams” music video premiere on PopMatters

“Garden of Ghosts” premiere on Track Work with WAMU’s Bandwidth

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

http://saracurtin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/saracurtinmusic

https://twitter.com/saracurtin

https://instagram.com/saraecurtin/

https://soundcloud.com/sara-curtin

https://saracurtin.bandcamp.com/