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

TRACK REVIEW: Grim Streaker “Guts”

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Grim Streaker photo by Isobel Shirley

Grim Streaker is a new project formed by members of Dinowalrus, The Teen Age, Belle Mare, and Hiccup. Last week they released their first single, “Guts,” produced and recorded by Mike Kutchman (Parquet Courts, WALL and Sharon Van Etten). 

Though they’ve just released one song so far, the noisy punk track contains the energy of several. “Guts” races full speed ahead, brakes screeching just enough to not fully careen out of control. Like their name, Grim Streaker’s first single gives young angst some levity by injecting a dose of dark humor, in verses that mirror each other perfectly. “Oh, I hate your mom/ I hate her good, she’s such a slut,” it begins, only later to declare, “Oh, I hate your dad/ I hate him bad.” Amelia Bushell voices her fiery scorn over frantic flashes of guitars and a heavy, determined beat. There’s something particularly pleasing, especially now, about looking around and not just declaring that everything sucks, but yelling it as loud as you can. For those without a stage, “Guts” is the perfect catharsis. 




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!