On International Women’s Day this year, Audiofemme curated a showcase of talented musicians to play the opening of For The Record, a portrait series showcasing women in the music industry shot by Ebru Yildiz, at Ridgewood venue TV Eye. Our videographer Molly Mary O’Brien shot a candid interview with Lola Pistola (aka Arvelisse Ruby Bonilla-Ramos) before her solo acoustic performance, as well as these rare renditions of “Doomed” and “Wild, Rich & Loose” from 2017 debut Curfew.
Lola Pistola started out in San Juan’s punk scene, singing back-up for longtime friend AJ Dávila. After moving to New York she began writing solo material in earnest; though informed by her punk roots, Curfew is moodier and more atmospheric, like Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval singing grunge-folk after smoking a pack of cigarettes. She quickly adapted to the touring life, with Robert Preston backing her on drums, but this TV Eye performance sees her flying solo, offering these songs in their rawest form. Punctuating her set with the rousing onstage banter she’s become known for – sometimes political, sometimes tender, often hilarious – Lola Pistola’s rock ‘n’ roll aura permeated the room regardless of her stripped-down delivery.
Now that live performance is momentarily side-lined (the impact of which Lola Pistola recently wrote about for Alt Citizen), we hope you’ll enjoy this captivating moment from our IWD showcase. You can follow Lola Pistola on Facebook for ongoing updates.
On International Women’s Day this year, Audiofemme curated a showcase of talented musicians to play the opening of For The Record, a portrait series showcasing women in the music industry shot by Ebru Yildiz, at Ridgewood venue TV Eye. Our videographer Molly Mary O’Brien shot a candid interview with Alyse Lamb and Chris Mulligan of Parlor Walls before their performance, as well as the live version of “Lunchbox” from their latest LP Heavy Tongue, released earlier this year.
Parlor Walls are veteran performers, having been active in Brooklyn’s music scene for nearly a decade. Lamb’s solo project EULA naturally evolved to fit the improvisational approach Parlor Walls takes to writing music, something you can hear on their 2017 debut Opposites, as well as the band’s two EPs, Cut (2015), and EXO (2018). Though Heavy Tongue feels like the band’s most deliberate collection yet, it’s still informed by the raw, collaborative exchange between Mulligan and Lamb, who are constantly finding new ways to transition between the songs in their live sets. Careening between explosive catharsis and slow, melodic builds, Parlor Walls keep audiences on their toes, and Lamb’s confident delivery is enthralling to watch.
Now that live performance is momentarily side-lined, we hope you’ll enjoy this clip from our IWD showcase. You can follow Parlor Walls on Facebook for ongoing updates.
On International Women’s Day this year, Audiofemme curated a showcase of talented musicians to play the opening of For The Record, a portrait series showcasing women in the music industry shot by Ebru Yildiz, at Ridgewood venue TV Eye. Our videographer Molly Mary O’Brien shot a candid interview with Ziemba’s René Kladzyk before her performance, as well as the intimate sing-along version of “All Doors Have Keys,” from Part 3 of last year’s concept LP Ardis.
In a previous interview with Audiofemme, Kladzyk told me that she often incorporates co-operative harmonizing into her shows. “Creating spontaneous choirs reminds people of how joyous it is to sing with other people,” she explained. “I think there’s a lot of people who really long to sing but don’t, because maybe they fear judgement that their voice isn’t good enough or they can’t sing perfectly. But if you’re singing in a group of people, something happens. I don’t even know exactly how to name it. It forces you to be openhearted. You have to be vulnerable and you have to listen and respond and communicate in this way that’s not necessarily linguistic. Non-linguistic forms of communication are very helpful for enhancing empathy and being better humans.” This is reflected not only in Ziemba’s live appearances, but in the work Kladzyk does with Colin Self’s XOIR.
Now that live performance is momentarily side-lined, we hope you’ll enjoy this powerful moment from our IWD showcase. Tomorrow, Ziemba launches her Ampled page – Ampled is a new artist-owned cooperative music platform, where people can support artists directly (similar to Patreon, but specifically for musicians; the revenue goes to the musicians, not venture capitalists). Be sure to check that out as a means of keeping in touch with and supporting artists like Ziemba – you can also follow Ziemba on Facebook for ongoing updates.
Just a short ride on Amtrak from Penn Station, Hudson – with its quaint brick buildings, historic architecture, and riverside views – has become an enclave for New York City’s artistic expats. One of its architectural centerpieces rises from the city’s industrial past: Basilica Hudson, a sprawling 1800s foundry reborn in 2010 as a concert hall and community space, thanks in part to its somehow stunning acoustics. The waterfront land it sits on, just South of the tracks, is bucolic enough that camping visitors are offered tips on tick safety, and they’ll need it this weekend, when a few hundred noiseniks, metalheads, vinyl nerds, and lovers of the avant-garde descend on Hudson for the seventh annual Basilica SoundScape, taking place September 14th and 15th.
It’s a festival that bucks festival tradition, booking acts whose oeuvre often falls far outside of mainstream tastes for intimate performances in the Basilica’s dramatic main hall. Organized by Brandon Stosuy and Basilica Hudson co-founders Melissa Auf der Maur and Tony Stone, SoundScape kicked off its inaugural year in 2012 with noise artists and their “machines” and a dance party hosted by queer Satanists, Rainbow in the Dark (the collective returns this year to soundtrack SoundScape’s Saturday afterparty; the other, on Friday, is hosted by AudioFemme). Musical performances are augmented by readings, psychedelic art installations, a flea market, record fair, and local eats. It is, as Auf der Maur describes it, an “immersive pilgrimage” for those with dark tastes and open minds.
But beyond engaging its attendees with an uncommon experience, Basilica SoundScape offers experimental musicians something invaluable – a forum in which to try out new sounds and connect with fans and peers alike. For artists like Spellling (who plays Friday) and L’Rain (who plays Saturday), two very personal projects that defy genre classification, events like SoundScape are a rare and perfect fit. Both acts have found themselves on the bill at a wide range of events, from metal shows to R&B-focused events to jazz-centric salons; both say the fluidity of their styles allows them an opportunity to connect with vastly different audiences – as long as the crowd is open and receptive. And at Basillica SoundScape, that’s the crux of the whole program – to bring together disparate styles under the umbrella of experimentalism and offer them to listeners frothing at the mouth for outré encounters.
“In my live show I try to make people feel maybe a little bit uncomfortable. Not like I’m doing anything that weird, but I like to reorient them in the space and [make them] more aware of themselves than me,” says Taja Cheek, whose project L’Rain debuted last year with a widely praised self-titled LP built on fragmentary arrangements that drift between shoegaze, sound collage, and soul. Though it started as solo work aided by producer Andrew Lappin, Cheek’s live performances now feature improvisatory musicians Buz Donald on drums, Devin Starks on bass, and Ben Katz on synths and brass. “We’re on the cusp of a lot of different styles and genres so we’ve done lots of different sorts of bills, which has highlighted different parts of our performance,” she says.
For Tia Cabral, the Bay Area-based musician behind Spellling, SoundScape “feels like an ideal sort of coming together – so much intersectionality and multiplicity.” Like L’Rain, Spellling began as a solo endeavor with roots in multiple genres, culminating in 2017 debut Pantheon of Me and encompassing a sound that Cabral herself struggles to define. “One of the most exciting things is the various types of people that come together for music; [it] feels like the closest thing to spirituality and relationship building in this generation. It’s very satisfying to walk into a room and feel unsure if your sound will reach folks and if they’ll have an open heart to it, and watching that happen, or not happen. It’s always humbling and exciting and strange at times.”
Cabral was inspired to create music in part by walking into those same spaces, observing and absorbing the ways various Bay Area musicians would create sonic tapestries built from loops and noise. “I feel like a lot of artists will be prepared to bring something special and new to [SoundScape] because of how unique it is,” she says, noting that she’ll likely debut some new tracks she’s been working on, too. “I’m still absorbing a lot about music – and my music – in a live context. A lot of festivals are more about the crowd than about the artist sometimes – this seems like such a good balance between the artist being able to give more of their energy and time in an exchange.”
Like Cabral, Jae Matthews of Boy Harsher – an electronic post-punk duo from Northampton by way of Savannah – says that stumbling into the noise scene and witnessing first hand the innovations there allowed her to see a place for herself in its ranks. Originally a film graduate student, Matthews met partner Gus Muller in a repurposed storefront church where he was throwing experimental shows; soon enough the two had opened up their own space in former gallery but needed a local band with a minimalist bent to fill out bills, and so Boy Harsher was born. After completing a grueling tour with The Soft Moon last spring, Boy Harsher have been flying out to experimental electronic festivals in Berlin, Hungary, Lithuania, and Detroit, but Matthews says she’s particular excited about SoundScape because “it’s a community based festival – no one overlaps, you get the opportunity to see everyone, and it’s a mixture of performance, music, and readings.” Matthews approaches lyric-writing from a literary standpoint (she’s also at work on a book project) but says performing live is all about the give-and-take between herself and the audience.
“When I’m performing I’ll use the audience response as a mechanism how to respond,” she says. “If I can tell it’s a crowd that wants to be more aggressive, and really wants to feel it and have that type of smacking visceral connection then yeah, I’ll go deep.” She remembers playing a show at local Hudson bar The Half Moon years ago attended by a sparse, but “devoted” crowd. After their SoundScape set, Boy Harsher DJs AudioFemme’s afterparty at The Half Moon, along with Eartheater and Becka Diamond. DJing, she says, “takes a different level of understand and concentration – just like knowledge of music and what you have and what it means to other people.” She admits she’s something of a novice in that realm but says her DJ sets gravitate toward “some weirder picks that maybe are more ostracizing and strange… or maybe super invigorating for whoever’s there.”
If there’s any place where oddities can be truly embraced, it’s certainly Basilica SoundScape. Cheek, Matthews, and Cabral are also looking forward to becoming spectators – during sets from Grouper, FlucT, Miho Hatori, Lightning Bolt, Photay, and others – yet another way in which the festival blurs the line between artist and audience. Whether that encompasses L’Rain’s ability to “disrupt people’s expectations” as she puts it, or Spellling’s stated intention to encompass the “fluidity and boundlessness that can exist in the dreaming mind,” or Boy Harsher’s filmic energy, which Matthews hopes will “transport [the audience] somewhere else,” it all comes together under the soaring, vaulted beams of that former foundry for one fevered weekend in September.
Single day and weekend passes are still available for Basilica SoundScape 2018 – more info here.
AudioFemme is having a party. Naturally, there will be a bounty of great music. Tuesday, August 18th at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right we’ll be dancing with some fabulous bands. To get you as excited as we are, here’s a preview of our favorite things about our delightfully odd musical guests. We feel no shame in bragging that we love all our events, but this lineup is particularly special. Tickets are $8 advance / $10 at door – snag them ahead of time here.
The well-dressed Baltimore rapper has the music blogosphere spinning after already securing icon status in his hometown. We love his “post-apocalyptic” sound that blends classic hip-hop beats as well as punk and industrial sounds you didn’t know existed. Keep close to this one, kids.
Brooklyn’s own ZGRT is already freaking people out. Their first single, “HARD POWER” is produced by Zachery Allan Starkey and DFA Records’ synth legend Gavin Russom, keeping LCD Soundsystem alive through his electric touch on the Brooklyn current. ZGRT creates techno, house, and post-punk beats that will make your booty shake and lyrics that will make your head spin.
The avant-garde rapper from Masssachusets leaves you dazed with her heavy beats like thunder clouds ready to pour down poetic lyrics. “These fuck boys tryna get me but I can’t be fucking up,” she drawls on “Super Fragile,” which you can just play over and over until you’re hypnotized.Fuck fuck boys.
As complex as the stars above our heads and equally as beautiful, the New Yorkers (Jordanville) create intricate dance music about some very serious topics, ranging from rebelling against political authority to self-harm. Truly, something for everyone.
Enjoy a teaser video below from Leverage Models, filmed and co-directed by D. James Goodwin.
Each week Audiofemme gives away a set of tickets to our featured shows in NYC! Scroll down to enter for the following shindigs.