MORNING AFTER: Peanut Butter and Fish Tacos With Medium Mystic

Little Edie is off kitty Prozac and living her best life in Queens. The former teen-mom bodega cat turned Medium Mystic muse is joining us for coffee (she’s having a “coffee phase”) and tacos. It’s sporting of her; Edith really prefers bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel (never crossaintwich) and is very particular about her Fancy Feast, inspiring the song “Trashy Feast.”

“We were just coming back from the grocery store with like so much of it,” Brenna Ehrlich explains. “And we were like, ‘We gotta give her fancy feast, not like trashy feast.'”

“We” includes herself and Morgan Enos, the other half of Medium Mystic, the die-hard jangle pop half. Brenna has punkier leanings (she lists Bratmobile and X as favs, and I can def hear a bit the latter’s influence in their demo), but the pair meld their tastes together for a sound that’s bright and quick, but never shallow, and melodious enough to make you genuinely shimmy instead of doing that weird head-bob (you know the one).

They’re also very much boyfriend-girlfriend (I mean, they live together) and passionate music journalists who enjoy looking at the scene in the same satiric lens I do. So going into this piece I deeply fear the scrutiny that’ll fall on me, the Overly Earnest Trash Blogger, all my colloquial observations sandwiched between the usual self-centered rants.

But lol, whatever. We’re all gonna have a fancy feast today, guys. You, me, and Edie.

THE SCENE: We’re at Morgan and Brenna’s new place on the border of Ridgewood and Flushing (Me: “Like in The Nanny?” Brenna: “Like The Nanny“). It’s immaculate in its new-ness, filled with Beatles paraphernalia, and I cannot take my eyes off their massive bookcase. Allegedly the two voracious readers can’t fill it properly because Brenna has too many stray books from past jobs – weird things like the NoFX autobiography (Brenna: “It’s called Hepatitus Bathtub and I have two copies of it”) and hokier paperback grocery store finds (Morgan: “where there’s a big unicorn and a beautiful woman on it and it’s called like, Sapphire’s Promise.”)

I die.

The take-out tacos are from a nearby place and Morgan bills them as strict “peanut butter and fish” since I said those are the only two things I won’t entertain for breakfast. But it’s fine; I have chicken-and-vegetable-filled tortillas. Edie tries to get a bite as we start talking.

1:24 I’m trying to explain, in much more neurotic detail than this, the story of how this column came about. You can all recite it by now, but to recap, it was birthed from my Brooklyn Year One experiences of dealing with deception, misinformation, and ice cream truck guys.

“Moving to Brooklyn is so funny. Your first year is like…what do you call it?” Brenna asks Morgan. “Disney Land?”

“Yeah, your first year is like an alcoholic Disney Land,” he confirms. Morgan is wrapping up Brooklyn Year One (Queens Year One?) after moving from rural California to be with Brenna, and he recognizes certain benefits.

“Speaking of ice cream trucks, I love hearing the ice cream truck. It’s a slice of Americana that’s just gone somehow,” he says.

“In Wiliamsburg or just in general?” I ask.

“Just in general. Until I moved to New York I’d never really seen ice cream trucks around. But you think about what your parents tell you that there were ice cream trucks all the time –”

“– and running for the ice cream truck –” Brenna adds.

“Running for the ice cream truck. Now kids run down the street to play Pokemon Go or something. It’s a very tactile part of our culture, the ice cream truck.”

“I love when there’s two competing melodies. There’s one that’s playing [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”][she intones the melody of “Do Your Ears Hang Low”]” and the other more carnival-y one.” (I think “Pop Goes the Weasel”?) Brenna’s on Brooklyn Year Nine so the ice cream trucks are “omnipresent.”

Together they’re both liking Flush-wick, and they seem settled on living here until they die (maybe). I comment on how there’s so many cemeteries in the area, which Brenna explains accordingly:

“I think it has the most cemeteries in the United States. I would check that fact.” (I Googled later, nothing solid). “I know it’s called the Cemetery Belt, which is very creepy and weird. But at least we’re not like, next to it.”

“It’s great as long as you’re not built on top of it and experiencing some weird poltergeist things, because that would explain why the apartment’s a steal,” is my very sane musing.

“Don’t think I didn’t wonder it,” she says. “But there’s been no hauntings.”

“So far,” I counter.

1:40 The secret to why the Medium Mystic hub is the cleanest apartment I’ve seen in the city yet: Morgan swears by Pledge All Purpose.

“The Pledge is almost gone though,” Brenna observes.

“Yeah, because I use it as perfume, I wear it as cologne, I spray it and I walk through it,” he says.

“You shower in it.”

“We’re seeing Jon Batiste [tonight] and he’s sponsored by Chase, and I’m hoping that we can be that for Pledge. You ever wonder if you say something with a phone around, whether it gives you the sponsored ad of what you want?”

“I think it does,” Brenna says.

“I think it does,” I echo. “Because I’ve seen things that I’ve talked about on the phone – and now I’m going to sound like I’m crazy –”


None of us ever get Pledge coupons, but the attempt is admirable.

1:56 Somehow, some intense talk of Randy Newman has led to the airing of the grievances re: the scene, and while this very quickly turns into an accidental roasting of everyone I’ve dated so far, we also tap-dance upon how creating a blur of sound is really big in music right now.

“I think it’s hard to make music that people remember,” Brenna muses, mentioning that it’s so easy to go to a show and hear a band where everything sounds good musically, “But it’s not like, ‘Oh, I want to hear that song again.'”

“Everything blends together,” I interject (again, accidentally roasting all my exes).

“Ok, on the record,” Morgan says. “You know how bands used to have the same hair and the same suits—the Monkees, the Beatles. But we don’t do that anymore, it’s like, ‘There’s Josh, he’s got the Slayer shirt on; there’s Kevin with the shorts on.’ I feel like bands should be a four-headed monster.”

“A Hydra?” I ask. “I’m remembering from Hercules.” Morgan and Brenna agree this is the right terminology (thanks, Disney).

“You know, when Mick Jagger met the Beatles, he said they were like a four-headed monster, and I think that’s what bands should be. They should have personality.” He brings up how Sonic Youth would have tension in it now that Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore are divorced. “And that’ll be us in six months,” he jokes.

“That better not be,” Brenna says. “I had a bad dream about that. And then my brain went to, ‘Who’s going to have to move out of the apartment? Who gets the couch?'”

“Who gets that cat?” I chime in (Brenna would). “But I mean, you guys seem to be in love and stuff, are you guys in love?”

I can feel the whiplash from their simultaneous, “Yeah!”

“I would hope so,” says Brenna.

“We’re just talking,” Morgan jokes. “We’re seeing each other.”

“We’re not putting any labels on it,” Brenna says, joining him in the parody.

“I was thinking we could not put a label on it, bro.”

“It’s okay, I won’t text you too much.”

“I’m just gonna wait like two weeks or two years to text you. We’re just in the same room. It’s a thing.”

“We’re not chill,” Brenna finally straightens up. “I think at a certain point it’s like… like, you moved here.”

“You did. So I guess it’s not like, super casual?” I confirm.

“No,” Brenna says.

Morgan feigns bewilderment. “What? I thought it was.”

2:01 As Guided by Voices plays in the background, Morgan and Brenna try to teach me how to place Chess. Here is what I’m learning:

  1. The knights are the horsies.
  2.  It’s more complicated than checkers.
  3. Piece trading is important because sometimes pieces need to die, but you wouldn’t want to trade a     knight for a rook.
  4. Check is when you can’t move something
  5. Actually, wait, I think Morgan just put me in checkmate.
  6. Goddammit, fuck.
  7. Well at least I got four of the little guys.

2:42 Around the 20 minute mark of idly talking about bodega arguments and the artistic merits of Hanson, Morgan asks if we could record a video performance.

It’s a really great question; I’ve never really tried. “There’s a thing that… this thing, do you think that’s record?”

So Naturally Edie, the star of the whole damn show, joins us for this special acoustic performance of “This is a Head.” In contrast to their demo, Brenna takes the lead on vocals, and the elasticity of her cadence adds a playful, sassier element to the track and— well, I literally recorded it, guys, so just join us in the living room and see for yourself.

After their living room set, I say my farewells to Medium Mystic (and Edie) and grab an Uber back home. It’s a reluctant parting, though.

As a band and a couple, I’m pleasantly mystified by their chemistry, by this simple idea that two wordsmiths can converge to create art and, who knows, maybe even a life together. They have this ability to be musically perceptive and musically critical while maintaining a sort of levity (and yes, quickness).

I’m also very charmed by the idea that anyone can have monogamous relationship, period. Might be a Queens thing. For now, I’ll just bask in the afterglow of our discussions, passing graveyards on the return to Greenpoint.

You can follow Medium Mystic on Facebook, listen to them on Bandcamp and catch them at the Footlight September 13.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

PLAYING DETROIT: Prude Boys “The Outlaw”


When the sandy shores of a zombie beach party meet the salty lawlessness of a vintage wild west shoot-out, you would likely find yourself galloping within the Tarantino-lite dreamworld crafted by the latest tracks from garage pop threesome Prude Boys.

The Outlaw, though only two tracks long, make for a grungy Lee Hazelwood x Nancy Sinatra reboot while garnering imagery of seduction and escape with their uniquely refined and playful nostalgia. The opening riff from the titled track is reminiscent of The Dandy Warhols lick from “You Were the Last High” but in Prude Boys uptempo context feels urgent and authentic surrounded by vocalist Caroline Myrick’s haunted warble. Wildly expressive without much deviation, “The Outlaw” is genre-less and toggles between what feels like fantasy cinema and curious reality like a chase through the Hollywood backlots and sound stages, dipping in and out of backdrops of ghost towns and real life coffee shops.

“You Plague My Dreams” follows “The Outlaw” with a jutting rock tale of a lingering lover. Tormented by wanting to stay but the unfair crimes of still hanging around even while deep into the R.E.M cycle, our antagonists find ways to make resentment soft and make guitars sound as though they are slamming doors. Though a little less obvious in its cinematic tonality than the EP’s opener, “You Plague My Dreams” finds itself in the closing credits territory which is apropos for a band with a knack for seeing the bigger picture.

Saddle up and get rowdy with the latest from Prude Boys below:

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When  DMA’s signed to Australian indie  label I OH YOU this February, the Newtown trio was so freshly minted that they hadn’t even played a show yet. That isn’t to say they were totally green–all three members (Tommy O’, Matt Mason, and Johnny Took) had gigged extensively with previous bands–and under their new moniker, DMA’s nonchalantly released a debut single called “Delete” and a self-tited EP a month after signing to the label. At first glance, they seem like tough guys, wearing flipped-up ball caps, slouchy sweatpants, and matching thousand-yard disenchanted gazes. But DMA’s doesn’t make spacey alt-hip hop. On the contrary! Channeling the lighter side of 90s garage rock, the group grounds its sound in nostalgic, bleeding vocals that can’t help but cull feeling out of a song.

The latest single, “So We Know,” hits new highs of gravelly, emotional vocal prowess. A mostly unadorned guitar swirls absentmindedly in the background, highlighted lightly by strings. It’s a successful experiment in the emotive power of a simple ballad, carried out by a band that–though they’ve been around for less than a year–trusts their melody enough to lay it bare. No frills needed.

Listen to the poignant new track “So We Know,” which will be included on a forthcoming 7″ from DMA’s, below:

LIVE REVIEW: Lazyeyes @ Mercury Lounge

Lazyeyes@MercuryLounge - 01

On the closing eve of a very shitty week, I am standing on the corner of East Houston and 1st Ave, drunk dialing my best friend in Seattle. I lament my mundane failures, slurring and shouting a bit over the traffic zipping by, the ambulance sirens, and whatever other unidentified noise pollution that is turning my phone call into an extreme sport. It’s one hell of a way to start the night.

I’ve had five drinks since work got out, which for me is equivalent to licking a poisonous frog. Some combination of the motivational phone chat and my inebriation has me back in a hopeful spirit nonetheless, and I decide that instead of leaning creepily against the exterior of the Mercury Lounge, I should stagger over to that group of guys and trouble them for a cigarette.

“I beg your pardon gentlemen, but would it be terribly possible that I could perhaps buy a cigarette from you?” There is no explanation for the need I feel to become an English nobleman from the 19th century when I’m drunk. It just happens. One of the guys hands me a cigarette, refusing my rumpled dollar bill, and I’m relieved. Let’s be honest, no one who offers to pay for a cigarette does it without a burning reluctance, and if the money is accepted, it is seen as the most despicable offense to the occasionally-smoking public.

The four of us start chatting. They’re a chill group of guys who eventually score mucho points in my book when they invite me to a BBQ the following day. “There’s going to be a keg and about 100 lbs of steak, burgers, and hotdogs.” Be still, my heart. I ask if they are here for the show tonight.

“Oh yeah, we’re actually playing it.”

“ Oh, what band are you in?”


“No shit! I’m supposed to be covering you guys tonight. I’m from AudioFemme.”

“ Oh, well, be nice!”

“ You already gave me a cigarette and invited me to a BBQ so I’d say we’re on pretty good ground at the moment.”

I’m already feeling better, maybe even a bit more sober. I order water at the bar like a champ and head into the venue. Lazyeyes take the stage and begin their energetic set-a fittingly gritty mixture of shoegaze and garage pop. The rhythm guitair and vocals are far-off and softly distorted in a manner reminiscent of Sonic Youth. The tang of lead guitar prickles in and out of the more ambient soundscape.

They have a solid stage presence and all seem equally enthusiastic as they do focused while playing. Jeremy, who invited me to the BBQ, is a more than adequate drummer, and he and the bassist have an affectionate stage rapport. The lead singer seems to be in his own world, putting on more of a self-conscious performance than any other member. He’s a pretty man, and he dances around like he just might know it. Then again, this could be my par-drunken interpretation of someone who is truly enjoying himself, not giving half a shit what onlookers think. Behind the boys is a swirling projection of wandering ink in fuchsia, emerald, and royal blue. I look to my left and there are two guys bent over a projector, one pouring shallow pools of pigment on the surface, the other meticulously blowing through a straw to make it sort of slow dance across the stage.

Next on the bill is Stardeath and White Dwarfs, a band that seems to be pretty successful according to the pre-show research I did. I listened to a few of their tracks earlier in the morning, and I wasn’t so thrilled to see them, unlike Lazyeyes, whose discography had me eager for their set. Like Lazyeyes, Stardeath feels the need to dress their stage with special effects. Though while the former did so in a low-fi manner, Stardeath played amid imposing columns of neon light that would be more fitting at laser Pink Floyd.

Their front man Dennis Coyne-nephew of Flaming Lips lead singer Wayne Coyne-is all Jim Morrison with long tangled hair and a sheepskin vest. The whole band is giving off that Rockstar vibe and it’s a little too much for me to handle. I suddenly feel relieved that I’m here to cover Lazyeyes and not Stardeath, a band that is described as “ experimental rock,” and yet sounds as clichéd as, well, a musician in a sheepskin vest. To their credit, they did do an impressive cover of David Bowie’s “ Life on Mars” which is not the easiest song to tackle given the vocal range it requires. Oddly enough, it was bassist Casey Joseph who stepped up to the microphone and belted it out.

After Stardeath’s set, Jeremy bought my friends and I all shots of what was called tequila, but what I think may have been an ulcer-inspiring blend of rice wine and acetone. The rest of the evening melted away with every cigarette I lit, beer I drank, and the vital late-night tuna sandwich I ate on the walk home. I never did make it to that BBQ the next day, but at least I made it through the week.