Drew Citron Gets Free on Debut LP

a black and white photo of musician Drew Citron
a black and white photo of musician Drew Citron
Photo Credit: Ebru Yildiz

Adapting to life after heartbreak. Calling on the old phantoms of your recent sorrow. Nostalgia we sometimes want to revisit, and sometimes we only write about. Brooklyn babe and Public Practice member Drew Citron released some of that anguish on October 9th, with her solo debut Free Now. Following the breakup of her first band, Beverly – and the end of her relationship with drummer Scott Rosenthal, whom Citron also opened Bushwick venue Alphaville with – she set out to write the album as a means of channeling her emotions on her own creative wave. “When you go through loss, there’s a really great growth period afterward, and you really ‘get free.’ That’s the theme of the album,” Citron explains. “It’s not a coincidence that this [change] coincides with my solo debut.”

For Citron, writing the album was a comfort covering an overflow of emotions. “I honestly was just trying to sing and play guitar in a way where I would soothe myself because I was so sad. And it worked. I started focusing on finishing the songs,” Citron says. “I’m lucky that I can play music and write as a form of catharsis.” This writing process became a kind of therapy, clearing the fog from her mind, as Citron explored sounds she could take solace in, rather than the nervy post-punk of Public Practice or the grungified surf rock of Beverly.

Her first single, “Summertime,” showcases an undisturbed mellowness; Citron explains that she focused on painting a picture with the instrumentals, rather than telling a specific story. “I was working on scaling things back and being very sparse with the arrangement and the production,” she says, adding that she wanted to “create a feeling with the sounds.” Subtle acoustic guitar on the title track lets Citron’s voice shine in a way it hasn’t been able to on her previous projects. Elsewhere, like on “Kiss Me,” Citron buries her sentiments in layers of dream pop fuzz. Citron leans into more pop-oriented sounds throughout, even incorporating country twang on album closer “Love’s the Illusion.” Free Now isn’t just about anecdotal liberation, but creative freedom, as well.

Citron stretched her creative muscles even further with her involvement in the video for latest single “Kiss Me,” choreographed by Citron’s friend Jen Freeman, who had been quarantining upstate with several dancers who ended up being perfect for the clip. “I wanted to do a sort of traditional duet dance number for a video, kind of an old-fashioned Ginger Rogers piece,” Citron explains. Videographer Joseph DiGiovanna spent hours editing “Kiss Me” until the two dancers, although never physically in the same frame, were in flawless harmony. The finished product balances tension and joy, a socially-distanced work of art. “It turned out very beautifully, and safe for the time that we’re in,” reflects Citron.

In addition to her many music industry projects, Citron spends time writing for other creative outlets. “I generally have a screenplay and a novel on the backburner at all times. They’re in my head as dream projects that I might one day tackle,” Citron admits. “I love crafting stories out of the written word.”

Until we can read that novel-in-the-making, Citron’s solo music ventures won’t stop with Free Now. “I definitely finished a second solo album in quarantine,” she says. “I’m putting finishing touches on that and can hopefully release that next year.” She’s also hopeful about touring with Pubic Practice, since the gigs around the release of the band’s debut LP Gentle Grip back in May were canceled due to COVID. Since the ongoing pandemic will also affect her promotion of Free Now, Citron has set her sights on hosting a ticketed streamed release party, to be announced soon.

Having not only written and performed the tracks, Citron also produced and engineered the album, taking true ownership of the material. Through all of the sentimentality revisited in Free Now, at its core the album is really about Citron stepping into her own identity as a solo performer and songwriter. As she explores new frontiers both creatively and personally, we see her breaking from the past and following her own freedom into a bright future.

Follow Drew Citron on Facebook and Instagram for ongoing updates.

RSVP HERE: Catty Play Alphaville + MORE

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.

Catty is a Brooklyn band lottery success story. After their names were drawn out of a hat, they quickly churned out a couple songs to play at a show that night with Ana Becker on vocals and guitar, Manny Nomikos on bass and vocals, Bryan Thornton on guitar, and Don Lavis on drums. Rosie Slater (also of New Myths and Delicate Steve) took over drummer duties after Don moved to Minneapolis. They’ve released a collection of demos in July called Scratch, recorded at Cavebird Gallery and their small practice space. Catty plays Alphaville on January 31st alongside Gorgeous, Drummers Can Achieve, and Feral Scouts (it’s Benji’s birthday bash; he’ll be playing with Feral Scouts and Drummers Can Achieve). We talked with all the members of Catty about how they’re actually bird people, what Prince song they would cover, and they even wrote us a couple poems.

AF: You met at a band lottery. How was that first time playing together and what made you want to continue to play together?

Ana Becker: The first time we played, we were grouped together completely randomly; our names were quite literally pulled out of a hat. We didn’t even really know each other very well, though we knew of each other and the bands we each played in. There was immediate chemistry, both personally and musically. We wrote a couple of songs and learned a cover and played it all six hours later, along with the rest of the groups of the hat-pulled. It was really remarkable how much fun we had, how well we got along and how happy we were with songs we wrote absurdly quickly. After the show I felt like I’d just had a super-promising first date – I was really nervous and excited. Was it all in my head? Did they feel the chemistry too? Or was it just me? Could it be the beginning of something very special?

Since then, our original drummer Don Lavis moved to Minneapolis (we miss you, Don!) and we’ve been super lucky to have tricked the inimitable Rosie Slater into joining us! We lured her with promises of Beatles jams.

Manny Nomikos: Everyone was so generous with their creativity. At first I was really intimidated by each of their individual talent, but the support everyone was showing made it less scary to play music with them. Almost immediately, I felt like I wanted to be with these people all the time.

AF: At your first official show as a band you had everyone vote on band names – what were the other band  names that were almost chosen?

AB: I still have the poster board in my room! I’ll have to check it. We wrote down a bunch of options, and gave people post-it notes to write their favorites on. At the end post-its were everywhere so it was pretty hard to count votes, but we did our best. Wrong Legs was one option (I hate snakes, my sister Laura hates spiders, both of them have the wrong number of legs). Our moniker from the band lotto was another choice (“Hayyy Saylor” – not the worst, but probably too whimsical for the vibe of the music). People kept writing THEIR first names on the post-its instead of their favorite band name option… I still find green post-its with random names on them from time to time.

MN: I was just really hoping we didn’t end up being Wrong Legs. I liked Hayyy Saylor, but that would require us write only nautical themed tunes and we only had enough material for two nautical albums.

Bryan Thornton: I really championed the Charlie Manson Band, but quickly found out I bet on the wrong horse. Like bad jeans, the name did not fit.

AF: What is everyone’s favorite kind of cat and/or funny experience with a cat? Since you’re actually bird people, what are your favorite types of birds?

AB: My favorite cat on planet earth is Bruce Squiggleman Kittowitz, whom I recently had to move away from and miss very much. My favorite type of bird is Manny.

MN: I like cats when they get too old to murder. Then they just hang out and it’s alright. I can talk all day about birds, but I’d have to go with Quaker parrots. My first bird (Sproose) was a Quaker and loved music and singing along to songs I played… now I have a nanday conure and she is affectionate but also very complicated.

BT: I’ve grown up with cats always around via both parents – so I’ve always thought that cats are superior to dogs. Dogs are too subservient cause they look at you like some big alien deity that manifests food and shelter, but cats think you’re just another cat (a giant, weird, mostly hairless cat, but a cat nonetheless) so they really don’t mind you much. I like any kind of cat that doesn’t care about my existence so I can try to win their favor and make them think I’m cool.

Rosie Slater: I was raised by cats.

AF: What Prince song would Catty cover?

AB: “When Doves Cry.”

MN: “I Would Die 4 U.” Or “Batdance.”

RS: “When You Were Mine.”

BT: “Kiss” might be cool.

AF: What is the best crowd surfing technique?

MN: Make sure it’s at a rock show, and not a children’s party, unless you want to be uninvited from all future kid parties.

AF: Write me a poem.

AB: You’re the kind of gal I’d cross the street to say hello to
Even if it meant I had to run
We got back from the west coast, and I rented out your bedroom
I didn’t sleep there once

BT: I don’t like massages
And I’ve never been to a sauna
But I once saw your band
Cover Nirvana

AF: What are your plans for 2020? Anything else you’d like to say?

AB: Catty’s organizing our SXSW run at the moment, and we’re cooking up a couple of singles to release soon! We worked on two songs so far with Jeff Berner, which has been a pleasure and a privilege. An LP looms in Catty’s future. Personally, in 2020 I plan to spend as much quality time as I can with my guitar, and my loved ones. I’m feeling very grateful lately and it’s corny as fuck, please forgive me.

MN: MacGregor’s Bowerbirds are an amazing bird species that can mimic about any sound and you should look them up now.

BT: I’m afraid of being canceled by the dog community – dogs are great, but just not as great as cats.

RSVP HERE for Catty, Feral Scouts, Gorgeous @ Alphaville. 21+ / $10-12

More great shows this week:

1/31 Torres (album releases show), Meg Stalker @ The Sultan Room. 21+ / $16 RSVP HERE

1/31 Miranda and The Beat, Shadow Show @ TV EYE. 21+ / FREE RSVP HERE

2/1 The Paranoyds, Spendtime Palace @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

2/1 Human People, Washer, Thanks For Coming @ Trans-Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

2/3 Tredici Bacci, Material Girls, Sugarlife @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

2/4 Lorelei Ramirez, Morgan Bassichis + More (benefit for Bernie) @ The Bell House. 18+ / $20-$250 RSVP HERE

2/5 QWAM, Motherhood, Bad Bloom @ Mercury Lounge. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

2/5 Space Sluts, Extra Special, Shapes in Calgary @ Trans-Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

RSVP HERE: Godcaster Play Baby’s All Right + MORE

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.

After seeing Godcaster for the first time, I imagined they all grew up together on a purple mountain surrounded by space dragons on one of Saturns moons. Turns out I was half right: they have been playing music together since they were kids and called themselves a band before they even played instruments. Their members are split between Philadelphia and Brooklyn, and played 25 shows of their well-composed glam chaos in NYC  last year, landing themselves on Oh My Rockness’ list of Hardest Working Bands of 2019. Their first show of the new decade is on 1/10 at Baby’s All Right with many of the other bands on this list including Cindy Cane, Darkwing, Gesserit, Top Nachos, and New Myths. We chatted with Godcaster about flute solos, Europa and the hand seekers…

AF: What was your favorite moment of your 2019 shows? Who was the best dancer you saw at one of your shows? Where and with what band do you want to play in the next year that you haven’t yet?

GC: When the piston misfired in the old van / big wheelie across Utah. Best dancer: David! Who we want to play with: Deerhoof!

AF: How large is your collection of fringe jackets? What’s the most creative use of the fringe on your jacket?

GC: Keeping in terms with the hand seekers, we are big we are valid

AF: If you could play on any planet, moon, black hole or another celestial variety in the universe, where would it be & why?

GC: Europa the frozen moon with the elves!

AF: What is the most inspirational flute solo you have ever heard?

GC: Keeping in terms with the hand seekers! Delving quick and valid

AF: What are your plans for 2020 + beyond?

GC: Continue commencing big velocity undergoing valid dirth and keep rockin around!

RSVP HERE for Oh My Rockness Hardest Working Bands Showcase with Godcaster, Cindy Cane, Darkwing, Gesserit, Top Nachos, and New Myths @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $10

More great shows this week:

1/10 The Wants, Beeef, Gift @ Berlin. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

1/10 Emily Ritz, Anna Fox, Scout Gillett, Katy Rea @ The Broadway. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

1/11 Cup (feat. Nels Cline + Yuka C Honda), Anna Webber, Susan Alcorn, UNHOLY ROW, Helen Sung @ The Dance (Winter Jazzfest). $60 RSVP HERE

1/15 Futurebirds (Record Release) @ Bowery Ballroom. 21+ / $18 RSVP HERE

1/15 Hypemom, Premiums, Bad Weird, Minaxi @ Alphaville. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

1/15 Rhys Tivey (residency), Tiny Guns, beds @ C’mon Everybody. 21+ / $10-13 RSVP HERE

1/15 Shadow Monster, North By North, Desert Sharks, Lily Mao @ Our Wicked Lady. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

1/15 Thick, Gymshorts, Dropper @ Rough Trade. 18+ / $10 RSVP HERE


RSVP HERE: Combo Chimbita and Sun Ra Arkestra Play Knitting Factory + MORE (Holiday Edition)

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands. This week we’ve doubled up and listed the best shows from 12/20-New Years!

My favorite show of 2019 was Combo Chimbita at Ace of Cups in Columbus, Ohio, so I’m so happy to be ending this year’s RSVP HERE column with an interview with them! The NYC-via-Colombia tropico-psychedlia meets cumbia rock band has a live set that takes you to another dimension of afro-futurism punk. Combo Chimbita consists of vocalist Carolina Oliveros, Prince of Queens on analog synths, Niño Lento on guitar and Dilemastronauta on a drum set that includes unique percussion instruments and crazy looking cymbals. Frontwoman Carolina Oliveros’ voice is so powerful it will make you cry and the way she plays the guacharaca is so intense it’s almost scary – I seriously thought she might slice someone’s head off. On their latest release Ahomale, which is a Yoruba word that means “adorer of ancestors,” Oliveros set out with the intent to connect with ancestral cosmology, a spirit that becomes animated in their live show.We spoke with the band about their Sun Ra Arkestra, music in Colombia, and inspirations behind their live show…

AF: What were some of your favorite cities you visited and shows you played while on the road in 2019?

Dilmeastronauta: LA, San Juan, NY

Niño Lento: San Juan, PR/Chicago/LA

Prince of Queens: This year we went to so many places! Playing in San Juan in January was amazing, LA, Chicago and Austin is always great for me – so many friends and the crowds are always amazing. One of my favorite shows was in Berlin for Día de los Muertos with Turbo Sonidero; that was an incredible party.

Carolina Oliveros: Berlín, Barcelona e Italia, LA, Chicago

AF: What are your favorite records to listen to while on the road?

D: SunRa “Nuclear War is a Mother Fucker,” Concha Buika “Don’t Explain”

NL: Bocanada (Gustavo Cerati), Lejos de Mi Amor (Polibio Mayorga)

PoQ: When you spend so much time on the road you listen to too much music sometimes… I like silence honestly! But I think always at some point during tour we hit that moment where we listen to classic rock and español and we all sing soda stereo really loud with the windows down.

CO: Me gusta mucho escuchar mucho afrobeats. Me pone alegre y contenta.

AF: What are the differences in the way the direction of music is going in Colombia vs the US?

D: Both cities offer something unique. I feel like NY provides me with access to witness more of the Caribbean diaspora music while Colombia offers its own roots plus, rock, metal etc.

PoQ: I think music in the US might be driven more by the diaspora and the immigrant experience. A lot of amazing music coming out from Colombia feels more focused on re-imagining and inspired by tradition and roots music. I think they are both super relevant and in many ways crossover.

CO: Se que colombia musicalmente en este momento es un gran referente, siento que se está haciendo mucha música que está conectada a las raíces.

AF: What are your favorite percussion instruments to use during your set?

D: Timbal!!!

PoQ: I don’t play it but the Carolina’s guacharaca is special.

AF: What is the inspiration behind the synth sounds you use?

PoQ: I love techno and sound design in general. I always try to approach synth playing more as a sound design tool than a traditional keyboard per se. I love analog sound and just unexpected freak out moments of synth.

AF: What are some of the biggest inspirations and influences on your live show? What are you looking forward to most about your show with Sun Ra Arkestra?

D: I look forward to witnessing the legacy of Sun Ra among the members of his band, their ability to improvise and to be colorful.

PoQ: Too many inspirations! I’m inspired by artists than transcend time and generations. Sun Ra Arkestra, los Wemblers, tabou combo, BIG sound on stage and full on rhythm. I’m not really a religious person but music is spiritual and powerful sound and stage presence can take you places far and deep. That’s what I am into. Honestly just meeting them and hearing them play. So much to learn and experience.

CO: Me gusta muchos lxs artistas que son únicxs y espontánexs y que proponen algo diferente en vivo, que no tienen miedo a explorar y dar creatividad para sus shows. James brown, Janis Joplin, mayra Andrade, La Lupe , celia cruz , concha buika. Tocar con Sun Ra será una de las experiencias más impactantes de mi carrera. Agradecida con tu interés de tocar con el combo .. sera una noche memorable, para ser feliz y hacer vibrar al público. Si quieren candela, candela le vamo a dar !!

AF: What are your plans for 2020 and the next decade?

D: I wanna tour in Latin America, it has become a dream I would like to fulfill.

PoQ: Travel to South America, write some new music and keep exploring, searching and interpreting those energies that keeps us together making music.

CO: Seguir poniendo sabor en el fogón. Haciendo beats poderosos , mucha letra que conecte y retumbe , muchos lugares para conquistar y mucha Alegría y nuevos amigxs

RSVP HERE for Combo Chimbita & Sun Ra Arkestra @ Knitting Factory on 12/28. All Ages / $25-$30

More great shows this week:

 2/20 Tall Juan (single release), Future Punks @ Knitting Factory. All Ages / $15 RSVP HERE

12/20 Surfbort, Bodega, Weeping Icon @ Market Hotel. All Ages / $15 RSVP HERE

12/20 Dinowalrus, Clone, It’s Over @ Trans-Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

12/21 Varsity (NYC debut), Emily Reo, Winter, Lunarette @ Market Hotel. All Ages /$15 RSVP HERE

12/22-12/30 The 8 Nights of Hanukkah with Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom. 18+ / $40 RSVP HERE

12/27 Veda Rays, No Ice, The Due Diligence @ Alphaville. 21+/ $10 RSVP HERE

12/28 GWAR @ Warsaw. All Ages / $25 RSVP HERE

12/28 Death By Sheep Holiday Party: Deli Girls, Dreamcrusher, Grooming, & more @ Trans Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

12/29 Deer Tick: Tick Tock @ Brooklyn Bowl. 21+ / $35 RSVP HERE

12/29 New Bomb Turks, The Atom Age, Spite Fuxxx @ Saint Vitus. 21+ / $25 RSVP HERE

12/20 Godcaster, Fantasy, Bug Fight, Water From Your Eyes @ The Broadway. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

12/31 The Strokes, Mac DeMarco @ Barclays Center. All Ages RSVP HERE

12/31 Priests (last show before hiatus), Russian Baths, Anti Ivry-Block @ Rough Trade. 18+ $25 RSVP HERE

12/31 Wavves @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $40 RSVP HERE

12/31 Gnarcissists, Native Sun, Max Pain and The Groovies, Sunflower Bean (DJ set) @ The Broadway. 21+ /$20 RSVP HERE

12/31 The Jesus Lizard @ Brooklyn Steel. 16+ / $65 RSVP HERE

12/31 Cloud Nothings, Field Mouse, Patio @ Knitting Factory. All Ages / $35-$40 RSVP HERE

12/31 Rubblebucket, Guerrilla Toss @ White Eagle Hall. 21+ $25 RSVP HERE

RSVP HERE: Safer Plays Our Wicked Lady+ MORE

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.

photo by Kevin Condon

My first impression of Mattie Safer, bassist/frontman of the new disco-punk project Safer, is that he has a much calmer presence than you would expect from someone who has been living and working as a musician in NYC for 20 years. Along with pursuing his solo project, he’s the bassist and singer in Poolside (who recently toured with Kasey Musgraves), and was a pivotal member of the The Rapture from 1999-2009, in which he played bass and shared vocal duties with founding member Luke Jenner. Safer released debut EP Sleepless Nights earlier this year and their latest single “Countercultural Savior” came out last month. He will be celebrating his birthday on the rooftop of Our Wicked Lady on Wednesday, December 11th with The Wants, Godcaster and Extra Special, and we got to chat with him about what he would want to hear on his ideal birthday party playlist, craziest moment on tour and what’s next for him in 2020…

AF: Who are your favorite bassists? What are your favorite dance moves? Favorite style of hat?

MS: Favorite bass players are James Jamerson, Verdine White, Tina Weymouth, Robbie Shakespeare, and Deborah Scroggins. Favorite dance move, I keep it to a simple two step for the most part, but if could do the Harlem Shake or had a sturdy milly rock I would definitely break them out. With hats it’s really the bigger the better. Why stop at ten gallons?

AF: What’s been your craziest moment on stage? Craziest moment on tour this year?

MS: I mean, there have been amps that blew up and stage invasions, but the craziest thing that happened to me on stage happened this year, playing at a festival with Poolside in Mexico City. We finished “Harvest Moon” and the crowd just kept cheering and getting louder, and we let it run for couple of minutes, not really sure of what to do, but it wasn’t letting up and we had one more song to play so Vito just started it up. It was an incredibly touching moment, to feel that kind of connection and joy with a crowd of ten thousand plus people. Transformative.

AF: Someone throws you a surprise party — what’s on the playlist?

MS: I want to hear some Earth, Wind & Fire, some Marvin Gaye, Cymande, Janet Jackson, SWV, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan… Basically a lot of things that make me want to put my hands up in the air and sing along like a diva. Oh, and who doesn’t love the B-52s?

AF: What’s the saddest disco song you know?

MS: The Donna Summer version of “MacArthur Park”.

AF: What are your plans for Safer and any other projects in the next decade? Lastly, if you could choose any brand of coffee can as an instrument, what would it be?

MS: There is a finished Safer album that is looking for a home. I just want to keep making music, performing and connecting with audiences. More touring – there’s still a lot of places I haven’t been, and a lot of cool cities that have changed a lot since I was last in them. As far as coffee cans go, some people like Café Bustelo, but I really feel like the resonance on a Chock full o’Nuts can is something magical that deserves more shine and attention.

RSVP HERE for The Wants, Godcaster, Safer, & Extra Special @ Our Wicked Lady. 21+ / $10

More great shows this week:

12/6 Twin Peaks, Lala Lala, OHMME @ Webster Hall. 16+ $25 RSVP HERE.

12/6 Pet Rescue 6th Anniversary with Shelter Dogs, Desert Sharks, Venus Twins, Colin Leeds @ Pet Rescue. RSVP HERE

12/7 Lez Zeppelin @ Gramercy Theatre. 16+ / $20-$59 RSVP HERE

12/7 Lightning Bolt, USAISAMONSTER, Animental, Baby; Baby @ Pioneer Works. $20 RSVP HERE

12/7 Jelly Kelly, Whiner, Cindy Cane, Pink Mexico @ Trans Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

12/8 Oceanator, Calyx, Frog @ Alphaville. 21+ / $11 RSVP HERE

12/9 Bass Drum of Death, Brion Starr @ The Broadway. 21+ $15 RSVP HERE

12/10 Battles, Guerrilla Toss @ Music Hall of Williamsburg. 18+ / $25 RSVP HERE

12/12 GRLwood @ Alphaville. 18+ / $10 RSVP HERE

12/12 The Nude Party, Native Sun, Dropper @ Sultan Room. 21+ $20 RSVP HERE

RSVP HERE: Bethlehem Steel Play Trans Pecos + More

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.

Bethlehem Steel released their sophomore self-titled record on Exploding in Sound Records September 13th and have been on tour since. They are set to return to Brooklyn this Sunday 11/24 with a show at Trans Pecos with Ben Seretan, Sinai Vessel, and Lightning Bug. Bethlehem Steel formed in 2012 as a trio consisting of Becca Ryskalczyk on guitar/vocals, Jon Gernhart on drums, and Zephyr Prusinski on bass. Their second record features singer/guitarist Christina Puerto, who toured with Bethlehem Steel around their debut record Party Naked Forever. She was asked to join the band full time and contributed to the songwriting process of their latest release, resulting in a more empowering record that lyrically grapples with “being taken advantage of, or abandoned or fucked over.” We chatted with Bethlehem Steel about their favorite tour stories, the challenges of long haul touring and why you need to watch out for pizza prices in California…


AF: You’re finishing a super long tour supporting your self titled record out now on Exploding in Sound. What was your best show, favorite city, and favorite animal you’ve met on the road?

BS: Our best show was in Seattle. It was good to cross paths with Pile mid-tour and we had a great time playing with them at Chop Suey. Favorite city would have to be Austin because we got to swim in a lake under the stars at our friend’s house after the show. Our favorite animal(s) we met on tour were Brody and Griz. Griz is a big friendly cat and Brody is a little blind chihuahua and they both live with our good friends Brian and Brenda in Minneapolis.

AF: What are the challenges and advantages of a seven week tour?

BS: Not getting sick is definitely a challenge, as is dealing with the very long drives, and being so far away from home for so long. But playing this many shows in a row is a really good opportunity to work on the live performance aspect of things, and visiting friends and making new ones all across the country is always a wonderful thing.

AF: What is your favorite thing to do on your days of? What do you listen to in the car?

BS: We usually end up going to a thrift store to look for nutcrackers. We also like to do movie scene re-enactments, and will almost always try to find any type body of water to swim in. As far as car listening, Pat puts on this playlist he made called “Pat the 80’s” a lot.

AF: When you get a flat tire, who’s the first person to try to fix it? When your van breaks down, who cries the most?

BS: We have a Tacoma and it does us good.

AF: Any other crazy stories?

BS: We each payed $9 for a slice of pizza in Sacramento. We didn’t see the prices until it was too late.

RSVP HERE for Bethlehem Steel with Ben Seretan, Sinai Vessel, and Lightning Bug @ Trans Pecos Sunday 11/24! ALL AGES / $10

More great shows this week:

11/22 Eaters (Armonica Set) with Greg Fox, David Watson, Michael Shea, Kate Mohanty @ Trans Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

11/22 88Palms, HRY FLWR, Safer (single release show) @ The Broadway. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

11/22 + 11/23 Crumb, Divino Niño, Shormey @ Music Hall of Williamsburg. 18+ / $26 RSVP HERE

11/23 Fraidycat (Reunion Show), True Dreams (Album Release), Wooing, PowerSnap, @ Alphaville. 21+ / $8-$10

11/23 NY Night Train Soul Clap & Dance Off, Nobunny, Gnarcissists @ Brooklyn Bazaar. All Ages / $15 RSVP HERE

11/25 Nicole Yun (of Eternal Summers), Coltura, Desert Sharks, Queue @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

11/26 Military Genius, P.E., A. Savage (of Parquet Courts), Strange Magic (DJ Set) @ Alphaville. 21+ / $10 RSVP HERE

11/27 M.A.K.U. (Record Release), Salt Cathedral @ Sultan Room. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE



Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands.

Providence, Rhode Island rockers GYMSHORTS join Dune Rats on a couple dates of their tour, including this Tuesday 11/12 at Rough Trade. Frontwoman Sarah Greenwell formed GYMSHORTS with guitarist Devin Demers in 2012. They’ve been heavily touring ever since, bringing their stoner punk goodness to the world. We chatted with Sarah about how they spend their time on tour and the best ways to spend your extra daylight savings hour…

AF: How do you pass the time in the van on tour?

SG: We play the coolest game ever!! It’s called “cows on my side!” Basically you just yell out when you see cows! And when you see a cemetery you say “ghost cows.” It gets super competitive and we’ve made some new rules along the way but it’s pretty much the best tour game I’m pretty sure.

AF: What’s your favorite city/venue to play in?

SG: I love playing anywhere in California – it’s so fun! And Fort Wayne! The Brass Rail rules!! Honestly, I love playing in New York too. We played in Bangkok back in May too which was very sick!

AF: Daylight savings just happened last weekend, what did ya’ll do with your extra hour?

SG: This question is the best!! We actually have a song about daylight savings and how it’s so cool cause you get an extra hour of hours!! I think I was probably sleeping this daylight savings but there was one daylight savings where we were driving overnight from Detroit to Chicago and there is a time change of one hour and then also it was daylight savings so it was like 2 am for 3 hrs or something crazy like that! It was wacky as hell! That was a good daylight savings!

RSVP HERE for GYMSHORTS with Dune Rats, and Sonny Hall @ Rough Trade Tuesday 11/12! 18+ / $15
More great shows this week:

11/8: Smock, Priestess, Wicked Willow, Animal Show @ Our Wicked Lady (Rooftop). 21+ / $10  RSVP HERE

11/8: Junglepussy @ Pioneer Works. $15 RSVP HERE

11/9: Hard Nips, Lockette, Eliza and the Organix, Onesie @ The Gutter. 21+ RSVP HERE

11/10: New Myths, Wet Leather, Caravela @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $10-12 RSVP HERE 

11/11: Black Midi, Onyx Collective @ Warsaw. All Ages / $18 RSVP HERE

11/12: Maneka, Lost Boy ?, Sonny Falls, Groupie @ Alphaville. 21+ / $8-10

11/13:  Charly Bliss, Chloe MK @ Webster Hall. $22 RSVP HERE.

11/14: Tom Tom Magazine Ten Year Anniversary Party @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $10-12 RSVP HERE

11/14: Karen O / Danger Mouse @ Kings Theatre. $49.50 RSVP HERE

PREMIERE: True Dreams Follow EP with Title Track from Upcoming LP No. 1

When I meet up with feminist punk duo True Dreams at drummer Hannah Nichols’ Brooklyn apartment, they’re wearing what they call their “uniforms”: black school girl skirts, leather harnesses, and crisp white Dickies button downs, each emblazoned with half of the band’s logo: Nichols’ shoulder says “TRUE” and guitarist Angela Carlucci’s says “DREAMS” in a slimey green font with pink stars Carlucci embroidered herself. It’s a twisted take on the “Best Friends” necklaces girls trade with their gal pals in grade school, each half of the necklace a broken heart that connect to the other whenever said besties reunite. Nichols and Carlucci are very much two halves of a whole, their friendship the gooey glue that holds their band together; on their forthcoming LP No. 1, you can hear it pulse in their call-and-response vocals, shouting out supportive messages to one another (and to anyone else that might need to hear them).

“A big part of our band is our friendship,” Nichols says. “We’re best friends – [Angela] is like a sister to me. You can’t separate the two.” They co-write everything, and Carlucci says the act of writing together is a huge adrenaline rush. “We really try to make it 50-50,” she says. “There’s no one leading.” The egalitarian approach is rooted in their political ideals, which make their way into the songs as well.

Carlucci and Nichols met at a video shoot for an ex-boyfriend’s band, back when Nichols was just beginning to learn drums on an electronic kit in her living room. Carlucci had already been involved with a number of anti-folk bands, most notably with duo The Baby Skins and as a backup singer with Herman Düne, as well as releasing solo work under the moniker Little Cobweb. As the two became close, they realized making music together was the next step, and punk music felt the most accessible. “Growing up listening to punk bands was what made me want to play drums,” Nichols says. “[Punk] is fairly easy to pick up; it’s simple when you’re first starting out. It was what I wanted to do and what I was capable of.”

Carlucci says “as soon as I learned Hannah was learning to play I was already scheming” to get a band going, but it took a while for Nichols to feel confident enough to do so. They formed True Dreams about four years ago, and the project is now beginning to bear fruit – they released a three-song EP in 2016, and slightly re-mastered versions of those songs will appear on their forthcoming full-length No. 1, out Novembver 22 on King Pizza Records in Brooklyn and Lousy Moon Records in Frankfurt, Germany. Audiofemme is pleased to premiere its first single and title track, “No. 1.”

“No. 1” is an excellent introduction to the album, a delightfully lo-fi affair recorded mostly live in a few days at their friend Frankie Sunswept‘s New Hampshire studio. The single quickly gets to the heart of what the band is all about; its jangly guitar riffs show off the duo’s DIY garage rock influences like Shannon & the Clams and Bratmobile. “It’s made to feel empowering,” Carlucci says. “It’s about getting dumped and owning the bad feelings around being dumped, feeling that thing that happens in New York where you feel really alone and lonely but there’s people right next to you on the subway.”

Carlucci’s verses dial up the snotty factor when she sneers “I am my own horror show” and laments “Why is it so hard to find somebody who will call me No. 1?” Nichols chimes in her support with a deadpan echo of Carlucci’s inner monologue (“Never should’ve left you!” she agrees as Carlucci bemoans the end of a relationship). “[My vocal] is kind of calling the person out on treating me bad, and [Hannah] is basically like, ‘Yeah what she said!’ like a team or something,” Carlucci says. “That’s how it goes down with your best friend when you get dumped,” Nichols adds with a laugh.

There are a couple of songs on the LP of a similar theme: the contemplative “Across Your Arm” and seething surf-rocker “The Scum” both express frustration with being taken for granted. Though these frustrations feel acutely personal, there are just as many moments on the LP that express frustration with society at large. Whether it’s the rollicking, tongue-in-cheek “Female Artists” or the incensed “Please Sir,” (Nichols warns: “If you were born a woman you better act sweet/We’ll save you a piece, We’ll save you a seat” and Carlucci spits back, “Everything I’ve suffered for and all that I’ve achieved/doesn’t mean shit when you’re a piece of meat!”), these songs demand respect when it’s lacking without feeling heavy-handed – more like complaining about the state of the world to a girlfriend than excoriating the patriarchy. “I feel like the act of creating this band is sort of a feminist statement in a way,” Nichols says. “It feels good to scream.”

Even if the band’s feminist anthems are cathartic to perform, their casual delivery is all in the spirit of fun. “We play music to have a good time,” Nichols explains. “We’re not here to like, try and be self righteous or condemn other people. We want to open up a conversation; we want people to have fun when they see us. It’s like… we could be your friends, but also, shut the fuck up and listen to us.”

In other words, True Dreams is not looking to alienate anyone, just state their piece. “If you’re trying to connect to people and have them hear what you’re saying, singling them out or telling them they suck is not gonna get anyone to hear it,” Carlucci points out. “It’s a little bit scary, but I’d be happy to talk with anyone who felt negative about it.” Their biggest goal is to inspire young women, particularly those keen to start their own bands (because “There aren’t enough, aren’t enough FEMALE ARTISTS!” as the two sing on “Female Artists”). “Music was so important to me [as a teenager],” Carlucci says. “I would love to somehow influence women or girls, especially ones in high school, feeling left out or different and not really knowing where they fit in [to start their own bands].”

For now, the pair live double lives – Carlucci as a baker and Nichols as a barber – and rock out on short weekend tours. But they’ve got big plans; in February, they’re off to Europe to play shows in Belgium, France, Germany, and possibly more. They’re having a blast – like their mutual heroes The Ramones – with making music, but what drives them day to day is knowing that they’re at the forefront of a progressive sea change. “The world is really changing right now in a tangible way and I feels good to part of it,” Carlucci says “We’re with the change, adding our part to it, and that’s awesome.”

True Dreams’ No. 1 is out via King Pizza/Lousy Moon Records on November 22. Pre-order the cassette here and RSVP for their record release show at Alphaville on 11/23.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Shybaby “When You Were Here”

Brooklyn punk quartet Shybaby add a personal touch to everything they do – and their raw, DIY aesthetic makes their live shows a must-see. That’s why we’ve invited them to play our AudioFemme Holiday Party alongside Grim Streaker and PC Worship. It happens tonight at Alphaville in Bushwick, but to get the festivities started early, we’re pleased to premiere the video for Shybaby’s newest track, “When You Were Here.”

The song and its accompanying video are both scrappy affairs, with a hint of glam thrown in for good measure. Dueling vocalsists Grace Eire and Tess Moreland howl back and forth over the raucous drumming of Charlie McGrath and the roiling bass of Ben Hansen. The clip itself takes on YouTube makeup tutorials, envisioned by writer/producer/videographer and friend of the band Molly Mary O’Brien. “[She] reached out with this idea and I was like, yeah! She wanted to mess with the whole beauty blogger thing, just with no mirrors and no plan,” explains Eire. Of course, it’s no simple feat to apply glitter and lipstick without the aid of a reflective surface, so the results are a mixed bag. “It was super fun!” Eire says. “The best part is how pretty Ben and Charlie are.”

No idea what look they’ll cop for the show tonight, but our party is a don’t miss! Check out Shybaby’s video below, and we’ll see you at Alphaville!

LIVE REVIEW: The Beths, Godcaster @ Alphaville

If you wear a fringe-sleeved shirt onstage, you’re bound to get it tangled in your tuning knobs—but this is of little concern to Judson Kolk. The guitarist and lead singer of Philadelphia rock outfit Godcaster flits around so swiftly, his tassels don’t have time to snarl. Calling Godcaster a “rock” band feels a little inaccurate, due to their theatrical set last Friday at ALPHAVILLE, as well as their clear distinction as a “sassy sassy rock band” on their Bandcamp page. And sassy they were; but also jazzy, and funky, and spastic, and dripping with riffs straight from the Nile Rodgers school of disco guitar.

It already seemed like a happy accident that Godcaster were opening the sold-out Beths show, considering the distant planet they’d traveled from. But even within their own group, its five members looked as though they’d materialized from five different bands—a refreshing visual given the proliferation of curated “lewks” we’ve come to expect from artists. These guys surely gave it some thought individually, but there was no overarching motif tying their styles together. You had Kolk, the rakish rock ‘n’ roll angel; Von Lee, a cherry-haired singer and flutist who was prone to convulsive fits of dancing (at one point she charged into the crowd carrying a single white clog); keyboardist David Mcfaul, rocking out like Weird Al on an arena tour; Bruce Ebersole, the laidback bassist; and Sam Pickard, a rail-thin drummer with sticker tattoos and a perpetual sneer. When they played, all that visual dissonance merged seamlessly in the music they made; a rattled cocktail of jam band, James Chance and the Contortions, and Sweet. Within thirty seconds of their set it was clear we were all in for a goofy time, complete with prog rock synthesizer and fractured flute solos. Within three minutes, I wished I could hire them for a house party.

Had it been a house party, Godcaster would have been the band in the sweaty basement, while the Beths would have ruled up on the rooftop. The New Zealand quartet couldn’t have differed more from their opening act, but in ways that only strengthened both bands’ performances. The Beths are a barebones, no-frills band, and to their benefit. They don’t talk much, and when they do, their self-effacing Kiwi humor makes up for their apparent clumsiness with stage banter, which twice consisted of a glib “Hi. We’re the Beths” via bandleader Elizabeth Stokes.

Their conversational abilities may not shine onstage, but their music can be blinding. Played live, the group’s modest catalog has space to stretch out, turn up, and bounce back from the crowd, who sang along to every chorus. The Beths opened with “Future Me Hates Me,” a biting slice of power pop and the title track off of their debut album, which they played the majority of. “Future Me Hates Me” is easily one of the best songs on that record, and hearing it live solidifies why that’s so. It’s got that one-two punch of great pop-rock: candied, blissful guitar hooks and candid self-loathing, both so well integrated that it’s difficult to separate the sugar from the spite. The same can be said for the anthemic “Little Death,” with its towering pop-punk riffs and succinct but colorful lines like, “you make me feel three glasses in.”

There was something wonderfully unpretentious about this gig, which is perhaps why it felt suited for a party. The Beths are a band unafraid to play power chords, sing about love, and do it all without a scrap of ego. Toward the end of their set, after repeatedly thanking the crowd, Stokes deadpanned: “Now we can go back to New Zealand and tell everyone we played a sold-out show in New York.” She paused and thought about it. “Maybe they’ll give us milk discounts or something.”



Pete Feigenbaum spoke to me for about an hour about this thing, that goes on in New York City. People play instruments on stage, sometimes for near to no money—but the action of it is rewarding enough. This thing called the music scene, is one that Dinowalrus is very much a part of. Brooklyn is special, because of its wealth of music. You can catch a show—literally anytime, any day of the week. And a whole lot can happen. In Pete’s case, he met on of their newest members, Meaghan Omega, at show they played with Spires. Alongside other members, Dan Peskin and Max Tucker, Dinowalrus released Fairweather, just last month. You can watch them play songs from their fourth installment tomorrow at Alphaville, with Bosco Delrey, Spritzer, and It’s Over. Before you go, check out Audiofemme’s interview with Pete. And if you weren’t going, his answers might help you change your mind.

AudioFemme: I was listening to the new album. I fucking love it! I’m really into the track “Guilty.” That’s one of my favorite tracks on it.

Pete Feigenbaum: Cool! “Guilty” was mostly inspired by this Happy Mondays song called “Wrote For Luck” also known as “WFL” which is at a similar tempo, and also Jagwar Ma. You know them? They’re from Australia. There’s even a little Nine Inch Nails influence in there on the keyboard parts. And the guitar has a Rolling Stones meets Primal Scream thing. A certain chord voicing that Andrew Innes plays on “Movin’ On Up” or Keith Richards plays on “Start Me Up” and “Brown Sugar”–that’s where that song is coming from.

I guess that explains why I love it so much.

Yeah, there are quite a few different influences funneled into it. We don’t play it live yet but we will soon. We tend to write, record, and release songs first and then decide if we want to play them later, like a production team approach to making albums rather than like a band playing in a garage with microphones rigged up. The production team approach is easier and more cost effective for the kind of music we want to make.

You do have a lot of material over the past years. Are you constantly writing? Are you constantly going and going and then deciding on albums or..?

I wouldn’t say we’re super prolific, compared to some bands who say: “We just wrote 30 songs last month and we’re narrowing them down.” Rather than write 30 fully-formed songs, we experiment with a lot of fragments, perhaps a chorus or verse or riff. Then we just sit on it for six months or a year and let it marinate and get a sense for whether it’s going to be good and whether it’s going to fit an aesthetic that we might have for the band at a particular point in time. But over the years, we’ve worked in many different ways. Sometimes we’ll jam in the practice space. Lately, it’s been more focused on production sessions in the practice space or in my apartment studio. So yeah, I’ll have many small ideas, but once I decide to actually double down on the idea, that’s where the real work begins.

Execute it into a song?

Yeah execute, then it’s at the point of no return. I’m not going work to develop a song I’m not going to use. So even though a chorus to a song might only be 20 seconds long, when I’m still in the demo stage, I’ll build up 20 layers, and it will sound exactly like the finished product, but the vocals might be kind of mumble-ey, I’ll be mouthing some syllables instead of singing the final lyrical hook. I don’t generally write whole songs that are fully flushed out and then abandon them or pick and choose between the best. Nonetheless, there are always a lot of pots on the stove, some of which might be half-baked at first.

Now that the pressure is winding down on getting this album out, I’m already thinking about the next album and I’m looking through my archive. I already have 10 or 12 of these granular ideas where I’m thinking “This is probably what the future song would sound like.” And that will be the jumping-off point when it’s time to make the next album. I think I’m also getting a little better about having a concept for the album. Not a concept album in the traditional sense like The Who’s Tommy or Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor (which I play guitar on a little bit), but a stylistic direction.

That’s funny… I interviewed Patrick Stickles, probably like last year.

Oh cool! Nice. I played in Titus in 2009 for a couple of tours between Airing of Grievances and The Monitor. Anyway, I don’t think I’ll ever make a concept album like that, but on future albums, I’ll definitely be trying to hone in on a…

A theme?

Yeah, even this album still has a bit of a grab bag approach, but more and more I’m trying to create a nice flow from song to song where sounds aren’t contradicting themselves stylistically. What do you think? I feel like Fairweather is still somewhat eclectic, but not too much, hopefully.

Actually, the reason I loved it was that it was not all over the place. It was ever-changing but on the same wavelength, I guess you could say. Like you had all these references- like weather, water, geographical nature, and things of that sense – and I felt it in the music itself

It has a pastoral mood for sure, probably subliminally inspired by The Stone Roses. I feel like they have a lot of references to nature in “Waterfall” or “Mersey Paradise” but my use of these themes is mostly a reflection of how I see the world visually. This visual approach translates back to the music in terms of landscapes, so I guess that’s one of the main psychedelic aspects of the album. The album is psychedelic in a lot of ways but there are also moments when it’s not, where it’s very direct or clubby as well. But still I think the vocals and the lyrics keep things on the same wavelength–that’s a good point you made.

Yeah yeah, for sure. There are different things you said, like it being clubby and the different variables here and there but I feel like it really is all you know in one thought, wave, that you’ve made. And that’s what I really love about it, you know.

Yeah, I think some historically great bands have put out some pretty eclectic albums from Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones, to In Utero by Nirvana, andScreamadelica by Primal Scream – one of my all-time favorite albums, which has Chicago house moments, garage rock moments, and down-tempo piano ballads. I feel like the best bands always try to be ambitious in mixing things up.

I know you guys have had some lineup changes; right now it’s you, Meaghan on bass, and then you have Max, you have Dan, how did you guys come together?

Let’s see, well, Max and I have been playing together for almost five years now, I guess. We met him through our friends Ava Luna so…

The current lineup consists of four mates, correct?

Yeah yeah, that’s the lineup. To complicate my explanation, on Fairweather, my former bandmate Liam Andrew had a pretty large input, but he moved to Austin for a job just as we finished mixing, so he’s in the liner notes, but no longer part of the live crew. Then at his last show, we met Meaghan. It was at Alphaville–we played with Spires, who no longer exist but they were one of my favorite bands. I like to think Matt Stevenson, who’s one of my good friends, also incorporated Madchester stylings into Spires because he was inspired by some of Dinowalrus’ stuff. Anyway, we were playing with Spires and Meaghan was there to see them. I was talking to her at the bar, and she said something like “I liked your set” and then I said, “Well Liam’s leaving the band in a month if you wanna try out,” and she did and was a great fit. We also had a lot of mutual friends.

That’s awesome.

I always like meeting people organically like that. And then we met Dan online. I leave no stone unturned when finding people to play in the band. On the topic of Titus, Patrick always amazes me, how he’s always able to find new people to play in the band, I don’t know how he does it. I mean obviously, they’re highly successful so that helps, but they also work super hard; they’re always on the road, so it’s not for everyone. But it seems like he’s always able to find good people on very short notice to play in Titus.

You have as well, you got Meaghan in two months.

Oh yeah, well, it wasn’t quite that simple–we couldn’t play shows for two or three months while getting up to speed. And Liam was talented and so versatile. He could play synthesizers and bass guitar at the same time–which was kind of mind-blowing to watch–by playing open strings on the bass and using his left hand to play a chord on the synth.


I essentially replaced him with two people because I didn’t want someone to be stressed out by multitasking. I wanted the band to be more about having an extroverted on-stage vibe and persona rather than incredible displays of acrobatic musicianship. Before Liam left the band, even, we were mostly playing as a four-piece with my friend Tyler McCauley, from Soft Lit, on bass. So with that experience, I thought it’d be best to officially become a four-piece. It makes going on the road a little tougher–like, we have a couple shows in New Haven and Providence, and I’m still unsure how we’re going get there—but…


We’ll rent a van or take two cars. But money’s always tight, so we have to be strategic about it. But back in the old days, with only three people it was great because we could cram into pretty low-end rental car… With all our gear. We would have to borrow a drum kit but we could basically cram all the gear, the band and kind of clown-car drive up to wherever the show might be. But anyway, yeah, a four-piece is nice. Everybody has a little less responsibility so they can focus more on having fun and rocking out.

Yeah, having a good show!

Exactly, Meaghan also does a lot of backing vocals and has been really great. The album was basically done right around the time she joined the band, and then in the process of learning the songs she added some great vocal ideas here and there We decided to “unfinalize” the album and record her vocals on it. So, we went into the practice space and cranked it out over a couple hours; it was easier than I thought.

That sounds sick. Well okay, so it’s going be tough for you to go to like Rhode Island ‘cause I was going to ask… you know, you’re released in Japan. I was wondering if you wanted to you know go over there and check it out– play a few shows.

That would be awesome! I hope that happens. We’ll see how the release does there. I know Ringo Deathstarr has done well out there so it’s not out of the question. I’m sure we could go there at any point, it’s just that it would be much better if we could go there, not have to spend our own money, and have a scenario where the shows and festivals cover all the costs. Otherwise, all these things can end up being a huge money pit. Luckily, I’ve been to Japan already and it was awesome. Not to play but just as a tourist/student. That’s my general feeling about touring. I love to do it when it makes sense financially. Still, I’m sure it would be a lot of fun even if we lost money on the tour. I know Japanese psychedelic rock fans are very enthusiastic.

I do have half-Japanese siblings that spend half the year there and you would have a blast playing there. I feel like you know you’ll have really great reception and the crowd would really love you.

I’m sure it would be great but all these things are expensive so… if the label could hook us up with a festival that would pay for everything, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Luckily, as I’ve been getting further along I’m less anxious about borrowing gear. For some reason when I started the band, even though our sound was rough, there were a lot of synthesizer arpeggiators, voice manipulation effects, and samples. We still have all that stuff but now the success of the live set doesn’t depend on the technical stuff as much. In the future I want the synthesizers to mimic guitars a little more, where they’re gritty and thick rather than airy or bleep-ey.

That sounds like you had…

I was a big fan of that Justice album, Cross, from eight years ago.

Oh, yes. Me too.

It uses plenty of hard sounding synths. Mixing that with guitars might be a cool thing to do moving forward. Staying somewhat electronic, but more hard-nosed.

Oh man, that album is great! It sounds like you know your next album, what you want your “concept” to be. Hah. Something a little harder…

I”m picturing something like biker-rock/shoegaze. The shoegaze-y aspect would probably come out in the vocal melodies. Like the heavier side of Spacemen 3, or Loop. Like the first Spacemen 3 album where there are plenty of power chords with a big muff pedal–that kind of approach, but a little more electronic. It’d probably be more song-oriented than Spacemen 3, as well. I feel like that might be a good progression. This album might be the end of a body of work that started on the second album where we were really going for the Madchester sound – where it’s groove-heavy, with a lot of synths, organs, and a bunch of Chicago house beats and the guitar is a little more atmospheric. This future shift also has something to do with the sounds of the scene we’re in currently. On our second or third album we pushed ourselves towards pop, thinking it might yield good career results and help us get to the next level, but it didn’t really pan out. It was a delusion of grandeur. The songs were good, but in terms of career momentum, it didn’t really accomplish anything. So, now I think we might as well just double down on what’s going on directly around us and try to tap into some of the niche fanbases that are centered around psych, garage rock, and shoegaze. If you identify yourself as a band in one of those genres, there’s probably a lot more solidarity and niche interest in your band, even if it means you sacrifice the possibility of massive mainstream success. But solidarity and a sustainable fan base seems better, at this point. If you try to do something more pop-oriented you can get caught in the middle, where the pop side of the world doesn’t catch on because what you’re doing might not be 110% in line with the flavor of the month, and the more underground-oriented fans don’t really care because they think your album is too fluffy and saccharine for their taste. So we definitely wanna tap into something a little edgier moving forward. My biker-rock/shoegaze idea might not be the most right kind of edgy, but I don’t really care.

 No, you shouldn’t care. You’re an artist. If that’s what you feel like doing, that’s what you feel like doing.

Yeah, no doubt! However, I think there are a lot of garage rock bands around now, and I don’t necessarily want to go down that road either. I still want Dinowalrus to be muscular, groove-oriented, and mid-tempo. So, almost “hard rock”. Whatever hard rock will mean in 2017, you know? Outside the band, I really like 80s metal, like Judas Priest and Saxon. And even some “indie-approved” bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain went off in that direction, like on their third album, Automatic. I think it would be fun to tap into that sound.

Hell yeah.

I’m just kind of rambling here but…

No, I love it! I love your honesty, and the creativity is just flowing. It’s really inspiring.

Well, thanks! I think that’s what the band is all about. That’s what keeps it moving forward. It’s a vehicle to be creative and engage with songs and music around us that I’ve liked or been inspired by. Because other than that, the industry aspect is very difficult and usually bands like us don’t exist beyond an album or two, once the going gets tough.

Well you’re on [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][album] four!

Well, it’s only because of our creative drive and energy. Because there’s certainly no money. There’s not much fame. There are very few perks in general  and many pitfalls. In contrast to the strung-out rock stars of yore, you have to be really organized, self-reliant, and on-the-ball to keep things together as a band these days. I view it as an exercise of persistence, really. Luckily, we always have small but exciting victories here and there, like connecting with our Japanese label, Moorworks. I’m hopeful that might open up some possibilities.

Yeah, more work. They had some other awesome bands too. 

Yeah, they have a great roster! Maybe we could team up with one of their bigger bands, like Of Montreal, to hit the road at some point.

And then you’ll be on tour. Just have fun, meet people, and all that jazz. 

Yeah, exactly! That’s the way to go. We want to open for bigger bands, but it’s tough. I don’t understand booking agents and what motivates them. I assume they’re barely making any money so they have a tough, tough gig. But they still have a large role in helping bands get their careers off the ground. Occasionally we get a bone thrown our way. Unfortunately, there are a million bands and there are a million reasons why your band is not a good fit for a show or a tour. Again, that’s why we are mainly content to play shows with our friends and have a good time. It’s almost like a stamp collecting club or something where we all just hang out and show each other what we are working on and if a few extra folks stop in to check it out, all the better! That’s pretty much where it’s at. Having fun and hanging out with our friends, and having a creative outlet. It’s kind of amazing how much that still motivates me!