I haven’t been posting as regularly as I use too… Things change, again and again, but anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to:
With its complex guitar melodies, and thunderous drumming, Magnetic Island’s self-titled album has revolutionized the Riot Grrl sound of the 90s and taken it to higher heights. Because of the Riot Grrl movement we have such great women fronted bands like Magnetic Island, who thereupon help propel the genre further by fusing punk, experimental rock, etc. taking us deeper than simple chords and or fills.
Magnetic Island, under the direction of one of indie rocks best female guitarist, Lisa Liu shows her aptitude to not only play the guitar extremely well, but also demonstrates qualities of a brilliant composer. This brilliance is manifested in part by the fact that Liu, a new comer to the drums, played all of the percussion parts for the album, in addition to guitar, vocals, bass and Rhodespiano.
The time is now, blaze the drums, but not in an overbearing manner, Liu’s drumming is clear and precise and works with each song, complimenting every accent of the guitar and vocals. A sense of equilibrium reigns throughout the album as each instrument is well arranged to benefit the overall sound. The songs are driven by the guitar and drums, with bandmate SMV’s vocals and undercurrent melodies on the keyboard. Nothing is accidental or by chance, and every layering of sound has a purpose, and successfully fulfills its positioning, making Magnetic Island one of the most well composed albums that will surely be a contender for best of 2012.
I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything substantial, but I’m still here. Thinking about writing and not having enough time. Anyway, I will be on the air this coming Wednesday, June 29 at 8:00pm for my radio show Broad Strokes on Washington Heights Free Radio (WHFR). With me this month will be the alternative/folk band Holy Moly.
I saw these guys at one of NYC’s best DIY spots Fort Useless awhile back and they are truly amazing.
Last month’s Playlist:
Cannons by Little Scream
Wish I knew by Magnetic Island
Night Nurse by Gregory Isaacs
Calgary by Bon Iver
Zebra by Beach House
Amnesia by Blu
Where Will I Be by Emmylou Harris
The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine by The Flaming Lips
In a Strangeland by Talk Normal
Drinking Again by Aretha Franklin
Over You by Raphael Saadiq
Ribbon by She Keeps Bees
Holy Holy by Wye Oak
Cyrstalised by The xx
Bringing you stories, live events, and much more, WHFR tries and remains independent of any corporate sponsorship. So, if you like what WHFR is doing, you can donate by contacting us at email@example.com. DIY forever baby!
Also, if you’re in a band or know someone who is, and would like to be on the show, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bad audio… But I’m still obsessed… You should be too.
Recorded on HTC EVO phone.
Listen HERE to a song I wrote on the steelpan for a very special woman I met recently. The song is called FEVER TO TOUCH and there’s a poem that goes with it as well that I wrote awhile back called Everyone Should Know This. I’m hoping to turn the poem into lyrics for the song.
As you can tell, this woman had a huge impact on my senses, enough so that I’m still grieving over the loss of not getting to know her in the way I envisioned.
I’m still thankful to have shared those moments that were gifts of kindness, an awakening… I felt like I could love, and be loved again. Maybe that was the point of our encounter, who knows. But I’ll keep the joy I felt close at hand as I walk these streets of uncertainty.
Can’t keep anything
Can’t keep you and your mind
Can’t keep your love, our love alive
Can’t keep the ghosts of unbelieving outside
Can’t keep you, as you’d want to be kept.
Not nobody can give you a proof of love as holy?
Not nobody can come up with a proof that love exist?
With it’s meant to be absolute? With it matrices
struggling to breathe as conditional decides
for us when we do unfold, gathering care for you
revealing silent songs of secret desires, desire
that rest with our bones, a ghost, we build
but never forget the wasted never leave mes.
Not nobody, I hear your song stories
please play your impressions again
as I keep hearing you dear, keeping you dear to me…
Live Wednesday, February 23 at 8:00 p.m. on Washington Heights Free Radio (WHFR)‘s Broad Strokes, Calypso Sally will have special guest, Mindy Abovitz, Editor-in-Chief, and founder of TOM TOM Magazine, a magazine about female drummers.
Broad Strokes streams live off the web every last Wednesday of the month at 8:00pm. I, Calypso Sally, that’s me, try to play a broad range of genres, stretching from indie rock, pop, alternative, noise rock, hip hop, reggae, dance hall, metal, calypso, funk etc. It’s sort of a mixed bag. I also have live acoustic performances. But this month I have media extraordinaire Mindy Abovitz in the house.
She’s going to talk to me about TOM TOM Magazine, women taking over the drum world, the music scene in NYC versus abroad, and how open the media has been with a woman taking on a predominantly male environment. Full throttle, however, she is wiping out the old school mentality!
Mindy Abovitz is a musician and media maker from South Florida currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and a Masters in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research. She has been playing drums for 11 years and has taught at Rock Camp for Girls and Vibe Songmakers. Before starting Tom Tom Magazine, Mindy was an engineer at East Village Radio, worked at Main Drag Music, threw music shows at her loft The Woodser, and played drums for Taigaa, More Teeth, The Good Good, and other Brooklyn bands. In 2009 she started Tom Tom Magazine: A Magazine About Female Drummers because there wasn’t one and media representation of female drummers was poor. She has since put out 5 issues of Tom Tom and plans on putting women musicians in the front and center of the media because that is where they belong. She currently drums for Chica Vas.
I’ve been working with Magnetic Island, an exprimental, indie rock band based in NYC, on the single Subterfuge.
Not only did I play the drums, and the steelpan on the single, I also sang!
It was so great being back in the recording studio, and playing in general. Even though at times it was a challenge, I learned so much from the experience.
Working with Magnetic Island was really refreshing as the sound is completely different from my band Telenovela Star.
I think the difference is that I was more focused on percision rather than power. Less concerned with trying to prove how fast I can play or how much agility I have, but more concerned with how to bring out the song, make it tell the story that it’s dying to say.
Working with these guys also gave me the opportunity to break out my steelpan, which has been sitting in my closet for sometime now, and as well as to sing. Being brought back to my first instruments, my voice and the steelpan, reminded me of why I desired to be a musician. I was blown away. I didn’t realize that I was capable of expressing myself through these other mediums, especially singing. I realized that I can do more than carry a tune. I have a voice. I can sing.
All in all this was an eye opening experience for me, and I’m thankful to have had the chance to work with such talented, and genuinely remarkable musicians. They brought out a side of me that was starving to be explored.
Here are some shots of us in The Fort recording studio:
If you missed my show, Broad Strokes, on Washington Heights Free Radio (WHFR), here’s your chance to listen. I think this was probably one of my best mixes so far. I’ll be back streaming live off the web on Wednesday, October 28th at 9:00pm. And if you know a band or you’re in one, send me a shout out at email@example.com.
Get Up – Washed Out
Die Slow – Health
Elemental (Featuring Sputnik Brown) – DJ Spinna
Plaster Casts of Everything – Liars
Kathmandu Dub – Mad Professor
Che Sara Sara – King Britt
Left Handy Man Handle – Helms Alee
Murder – The Big Sleep
K.I.S. Compatible – Tony Allen
Slugs In the Shrubs – Les Savy Fav
Lock Picker – Proton Proton
The Dirty Dirty – Tapes ‘n Tapes
Gringo Dread – Mad Professor
Go Ghost – Ex Lion Tamer
Stranded Pearl – Giant Sand
If you missed my other persona, Calypso Sally, on the radio, you can listen to the broadcast here (it takes awhile to start). The next show is Wednesday, September 30 at 9:00pm. Check it out!
Everyone is Guilty Akron/Family
Big Bang Swati
What About Us? Mr. Lif
Dirty Loop Onra
Hey There Girl Yo! Majesty
Song 57 Goes Cube
Part Bloodhound Susu
Your Mouth Telefon Tel Aviv
Hold the Line Featuring Mr. Lex & Santigold Major Lazer
The Under Over Rob Sonic
Talking About Money Wye Oak
Winner Telenovela Star
High Road Deradoorian
Down In The Park Kirb & Chris
Fangela Here We Go Magic
Waiting for the Sun to Rise Lightning Dust
If you’re in a band or know someone in a band, and you’d like to be on the show, just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a video that Maggie, the guitarist from my band, created. We were jamming in Jeff Byrd‘s living room, which was totally awesome. It’s the weekend we recorded a couple of songs up in Gilboa.
Recently, I did a radio show on Washington Heights Free Radio (WHFR) and it was a blast. I’ve been a guest reader for a WHFR event (see and listen here), but now I will be dj-ing every last Wednesday of the month at 9:00pm (streaming live off the web) as Calypso Sally and the name of my program is Broad Strokes, Yay!.
Why Broad Strokes? Well, I’ve never been the type to pigeonhole myself into one particular genre, so I thought what better way to express my eclectic taste but by playing different types of music. I’m always looking for something new to listen to. So if you’re in a band (or you know someone in a band ) send me an email: email@example.com.
You can listen to the show here: Broad Strokes
The Reeling Passion Pit
Still Dope Feat. Empress Starhh Doom
Clumsy Coyote Eyes
Caterpillar Playground The Nurses
My Girls Animal Collective
Cannibal Resource Dirty Projectors
BDF – German Hardcore The Netherlands
Quiet Dog Mos Def
Three Decades The Horrors
Black Hearted Love PJ Harvery & John Parish
Sleep Over Beethoven Ungdomskulen
Youth Her Vanished Grace
Adulthood is an illusion. It is an uncomfortable suit of clothes which makes us stiff and complex and at odds with life which is fluid and simple and wondrous. Paul Squires
I’ve been somewhat neglecting the music out there. With everything that’s been going on, tracking down bands seemed pretty juvenile, but then again, you need music in your life, especially now (see previous music posts here).
So in no particular order here are some talented artists that are neither an illusion nor juvenile:
Renminbi’s Surface. It’s pronounced REN-MIN-BEE (rénmínbì; literally means “people’s currency”), and they are an experimental, post punk rock band from NYC. Their EP Surface just dropped and it’s amazing. Produced by Don Fleming who agreed to work with the band after a myspace message (I’d like to see a copy of that myspace message!), the album makes you want to curl up with your headphones on and zone out into your own world. These guys are currently on tour. Faves: Honestly, I love every single one of these songs.
PJ Harvey and John Parish’s A Woman A Man Walked By. I’m a sucker for PJ Harvey, because it seems like she can never do any musicial wrong. Every album is a new sound, a different story. Some may find this album daunting, but I find it very gutsy and courageous. In this album she teams up with John Parish and you hear a less restricted, a more free PJ Harvey, as she manipulates her voice to different vocal styles. There’s actual screaming in this album! Faves: Black Hearted Love, The Chair, The Solider, Passionless Pointless.
The Horrors’ Primary Colours. The Horrors is a British five-piece garage band that I discovered on emusic. They combine the punk with the expriemental, sometimes reminiscent of Joy Division. Faves: Mirror’s Image, Three Decades, Who Can Say, Scarlet Fields, Primary Colours.
Ungdomskulen’s Bisexual. For the life of me I can’t pronounce their name right, and it’s embarrassing because I’m always like, “OMG you have to listen to Ung…!” Ungdomskulen is a three piece Norwegian rock band. They combine a very satisfying mixture of new wave, prog rock and jazz. With solid syncopated beats, gritty guitars, phat baselines to move your hips to, and infectious vocals that sound familar, but I can’t put my finger on (if only the IPhone would come out with an app for that), I’m always drenched with sweat dancing to my interpretation of their songs. Faves: Sleep Over Beethoven, I Dunno, Osaka, Only In Novels, Teenage Tritonus.
White Rabbits It’s Frightening. The White Rabbits is a six-piece indie New York band. I must admit at first I wasn’t that into the White Rabbits because for some reason them having two drummers annoyed the shit out of me, but on their latest album, this annoyance seems to be fading. On It’s Frightening , they sound a little Spoon-ish, no surprise there since Spoon’s lead singer and guitarist Britt Daniel produced the album. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Faves: Percussion Gun, They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong, Company I keep, Right Where They Left.
Passion Pit’s Manners because I couldn’t resist the catchy lyrics, and 80s pop synthesizers mixed with a touch of R&B and house music. Definitely songs to dance to. Faves: Little Secrets, The Reeling.
Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. Animal Collective is just that, a musical collective based out of Baltimore, Maryland. I love their music because it’s not pretenious, not over the top, but takes the kind of risks that I appreicate in a band. The title of this album is homage to one of the best outdoor venues in the Maryland/DC area. Faves: Summertime Clothes, My Girls, Daily Routine, Bluish
My band (Telenovela Star) is playing a show this Friday, and I must admit that I’m a little nervous. Nervous, because it’s been a year since we’ve played out in front of anyone. The feeling kind of reminds me of when I performed for the first time.
It was for a Carnival event that my elementary school put on. I was like six or seven, and I was competing in the Calypso Competition. I remember staying up late the night before practicing with my dad. He wrote the lyrics and the melody. I remember thinking that it was a really cool song. I had dance moves. I even had back-up singers, awesome. Most of all, I had my dad singing to me. I’d look him in the eyes, while he sang the song to me. That was the best part.
When it was my turn to sing, I was completely terrified. I was so afraid. When I got on stage, I totally froze up and couldn’t remember the song that I lived and breathed for months. Honestly, maybe a shot would have calmed me down.
Anyway, DJ Mojo is responsible for my band’s end of hibernation. Our last show for ’08 was in celebration of his birthday. And we’re doing it again, this Friday. We’re playing July 3rd at 11:00pm at the Delancey. If you’re in the city, come celebrate and see me freak out!
Two Saturdays ago, I met up with the other members of my band, Telenovela Star, for the first practice in a long time. We went through our songs, which surprisingly wasn’t that bad considering it’s been like 6 months of not playing our set.
We played some new songs and some not so, but in the sense that it’s taking on new directions. I’m talking about Death By Meteorite (DBM) that’s off of our full length, Love, Lust, Sci-Fi & Monsters (LLSM).
The genesis of DBM began like any of our songs, out of a long and quite possibly frustrating day at work (you know what I’m talking about), and then coming to practice, and some douche played with and may have broken or stolen our equipment. So, we quite possibly spent a good half an hour venting, calling around to find out who messed with our shit, and then finally we channeled all of this stress and DBM was born. At which point, of course, we’re smiling because for the time being, we’ve forgotten about all of the ills inside and outside.
The first DBM recording was a total raw draft that was recorded on cassette tape. Feeling the vibe from that first draft, Maggie went home and started playing her acoustic. From there, she wrote the lyrics for DBM. I don’t know what made her decide to record what she was working on, but I’m so glad that she did.
Awesome was the first thing out of my mouth, when she shared the home-recording with Hanna and me. She did all of the recording for the DBM version on LLS&M by herself! Even the whistling, the effing whistling.
It was around the time when we were finishing up with the LLS&M album. So, we were so excited about including DBM on the album. It was the perfect ending piece.
After LLS&M came out, we hoped to come back to DBM with the whole band. And we so did last Saturday. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this song. Listening to it is like witnessing the sun about to set, you’re cruising down a road, and all you feel is this summer breeze. Maggie said it: DBM is very visual. You get the feeling of going across the country.
We can’t wait to share this experience.
The Love Lust & Sci-fi Monster’s Death By Meterorite version: Death By Meteorite
Lately, I’ve been gravitating towards more of the “heavy” music, like metal, punk, and noise rock. I blame it all on a backlash behavior: rejecting the current trend of bubble-gum lo-fi recycled 80s pop music, that music reviewers and the dying dinosaur that is the music industry, are labeling as “rock”. They obviously don’t know the difference between heavy rock and some tame quasi folk/electronic dance song.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a space in my heart for folk songs and electronic music, especially the ones that dare to take some risks. Risk? Because that’s all you got: guts and a blurring-the-line sense of humor.
Another reason I’ve been going heavy is that I feel like there’s so much to scream and be angry about. We’ve been in a sort of zombie complacency, lackadaisical mummification, “I don’t care” state. A glaring example is the 8 years of having an idiot be a representative-leader for one of the most influential countries in the world (obviously, even in America fleeing monarchy and fascism is incredibly difficult).
One can argue that heavy doesn’t go with the current times that are affecting this incredible difficulty. From the way we wear our hair to the very way we walk, this economic crisis was foreshadowed by the however the cause was ignored. Maybe life should be concerned in a shift of what and when we want to recognize the fuckery? in the American way of being : a big, loud, bully is now passe. Well maybe. We’re going green, even though going green doesn’t change the Manichean paradigm.
This world divided into compartments, this world cut in two is inhabited by two different species. The originality of the colonial context is that economic reality, inequality, and the immense difference of ways of life never come to mask human realities. When you examine at close quarters the colonial context, it is evident that what parcels out the world is to begin with the fact of belonging to or not belonging to a given race, a given species. The colonial world is a Manichean world. Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 40, 41.
If what “parcels out the world is to “belong to a given race,” then in the same way that we are divided by color, we are as well divided by gender, sexual orientation, immigration… and whatever anew division we choose to distract ourselves with and call the enemy. And consequently, we’ll never understand ourselves.
Human social development will never be the foreground and continue we go on this path to perpetuate a Manichean pulse in contemporary live thought/living, never as a History left behind, never as a backward thinking.
Thus, I feel a great affinity towards yelling and fucking shit up! It’s very therapeutic. I recommend it completely; that and going up to a tree in the forest and screaming loudly. It’s good for you, try it.
Anyway, in no particular order, here’s a couple of bands helping me along the healing process. I thank them with all my heart for their insanity.
Harvey Milk‘s Life… The Best Game In Town. I was pleasantly surprised while searching for a review on the movie Milk. I discovered the metal band from Athens, Georgia. with the same name. Intrigued, I looked them up and was immediately hooked by their sound: a fusion of experimental, psychedelic, noise rock and sludge metal. Granted, I have never been one to find growling vocals appealing, but it’s different with Harvey Milk, maybe it’s the timber of purposefulness in the growl. Faves: Death Goes to the Winner, Decades, After All I’ve Done For You,…, We Destory the Family, Motown, Barnburner.
Wizardry is a five piece NYC metal band, I saw for the first time at Trash Bar, and they were very entertaining. I highly recommend seeing them live, because they know how to put on a show. With their glam rock look and theatrics, and actual smoke machine, I was really impressed with their effort to make the stage their own. But they’re not just about theatrics and stage presence, these guys can play. With intricate drumming, insane guitars, and strong vocals, Wizardry will definitely dazzle you with their magic. I can’t wait for their upcoming album.
Spylacopa. Another NYC band, that a friend of mine turned me onto and to whom I’m now forever indebted. Spylacopa was just what I needed. When I played their debut EP on my ipod, I immediately knew that it was right, because they made meh pores raise (a saying from Trinidad, meaning, I got goose-bumps). With their skilled transitions and ample ability to switch genres in a fleeting second, a testament to their progressive sound, they’re at times noise rock delivered purpose and direction. An example would be when switching from the heavy, noise with a purpose tracks to the ambient piano/keyboard instrumental track, Together We Become Forever, and the very moody Sigur Rós sounding, I Should Have Known You Would. Faves: Bloodletting, I Should Have Known You Would.
Goes Cube. A noise rock power trio from you guessed it, NYC. My band actually had the great pleasure of playing on a bill with these guys, and they are awesome. They are a punishing combo of rock, punk and metal. Goodness! I remember the first time I saw them live, they made my ears bleed. I don’t think I ever regained the hearing I lost.
Mars Volta‘s The Bedlam in Goliath because it’s just brilliant. Mars is the epitome of progressive rock, they fuse latin/african, jazz, funkadelic beats with punk experimental rock. With orchestral musical arrangements, they take prog to a heightened level that when listening, you can’t help but think this is the electric version of classical music. It’s that multi-layered and expansive. I must admit I was a bit disappointed with their previous album, Amputechture. I felt like it was way too abstract and I couldn’t grasp anything. Even though this may have been the point of the album, as an avid fan I couldn’t bear it. A buddy of mine shared the same feeling, up until he listened to Amputechture under the influence. Apparently, the album is less abstract while on drugs: everything makes more sense. It’s almost like what people said about some rock music back in the day, that it was evil and if you played the record backwards you’d hear the devil. Spooky. Anyway, The Bedlam in Goliath is a complete 360, my only criticism is that at times the repetition was a bit too much. Faves: Ilyena, Wax Simulacra, Goliath, Cavalettas, Askepios, Ouroborous, Memories.
Marnie Stern‘s This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That. Probably one of the longest titles ever. I feel like I’m embarking on a study. I’m listening to a dissertation for a sociological/cultural studies thesis, that sounds like a mixture of AC/DC, Erase Errata, and Stern’s very own powerful voice as a songwriter. And what I’ve learn in the center is that I am it and my future is it! Faves: Prime, Transformer, Shea Stadium, The Crippled Jazzer, Simon Says, Roads? Where We’re Going We Don’t Need Roads.
Helm Alee‘s Night Terror. Helms Alee is an experimental, sludge metal, rock trio from Seattle Washington whose sound reminds me of the Twin Peaks soundtrack. With their pensive moodiness, great melodies, and hard wailing beats, mixed with at times delicate vocals, and then at others yelling, Helm Alee makes me feel like they’re preaching (in a good way). I feel like obeying them as I shake my head yes, yes, YEAH! I really hope they can visit NYC sometime soon. Faves:Honestly all of them. They capture most of the moments in my day to day.
MORE TO COME!
A couple of months ago, I met up with the other members of my band, just to hang-out and play some songs. We’ve been on a hiatus from playing out and practicing, since we’re practically broke and looking for employment and better lives (the real, on-going telenovela). This has been a really difficult year for so many, not just us. So good riddance 2008.
Anyway, we’ve been needing some sort of release for some time now, and meeting up just to play, not our set or unfinished songs, just to play loudly like we didn’t give a shit anymore, and feel the frustrations, the beast, bleed out. This release felt like the best sort of cure for the thwart that’s been illing, suffocating us for some time now.
Of course I was late on the day, which sucked, because it takes forever to set a kit that’s not your own up, especially when it’s a piece of shit kit. If anything this is a good metaphor for life: never set-up or play anybody else’s piece of shit kit.
Anyway, Maggie was fooling around on the keyboards, and Hanna on her bass. I quickly tried to set the mouse trap of a kit up. It was my worst set-up time ever: half an hour! After doing a three week residency at the Delancey earlier this year, I could set-up in like 5 minutes, 10 tops. Well, that was mostly nervous adrenaline, mixed with shots of Red Bull.
We were just messing around, spur of the moment playing, and then we started talking about this metal band that shared the studio space next door to our old studio, and how awesome we thought their musical arrangements were (lately we’ve been getting into metal). Maggie started talking about how she wanted to write a grave song, and of course that just started it all. Hanna started jokingly singing about loving a lover from the grave, while Maggie was playing on the keys, a blues progression to match Hanna’s bass and vocals. I came in with a slow blues beat, and it went straight to hell after that. We were so excited. We had to play it again, and this time record it. We were hooked on what we had made, it felt so good. It honestly felt like a drug rushing through my veins.
We couldn’t get the melody out of our heads, even after our session at the studio ended. We kept humming this sketch, it was like a nursery rhyme. We just kept singing it over and over again, all through the streets of Manhattan’s Port Authority, laughing when one of us added a scandalous line to the lyrics.
I raced home hoping Hanna had emailed us the short recording of the song. I remember I couldn’t sleep that night, and for once it was for a positive reason. I kept giggling like a kid about our night, and the song. Ha! my poor lover, she puts up with so much. Luckily, she didn’t kick me out the bed that night.
Anyway, we never had a chance to meet again before the holidays to flesh the song out, but Hanna did this incredible just keyboard version of it at home.
The name of the song is Carcass of Pleasure, our attempt at a metal song, well the lyrics are metal, but the melody is more blues, pop maybe? You decide.
After listening to Carcass, I suggest listening to Something In the Middle (see previous post) right away (on loud speakers, and dance around in front of a mirror, I do it all the time in just my underwear, and a broom as my microphone), since they sound so good together.
Enjoy, and as Yo! Majesty says, Never be afraid… Let the music set you free!
Listen to here: Carcass of Pleasure