RSVP HERE: Long Neck streams via Black Friday Blowout + MORE!

Photo Credit: Ali Nugent

Long Neck is the solo endeavor of New Jerseyan Lily Mastrodimos; the name comes from Mastrodimo’s love of dinosaurs, and the band’s records serve as methodical archives of her evolution as a person and musician.

Their sophomore LP World’s Strongest Dog, which was self-released in April 2020, catalogs Mastrodimos’ triumphs, hardships and growth during her late 20s. On it, Mastrodimos is joined by John Ambrosio of drums and percussion, Kevin Kim on guitar and Alex Mercuri on bass and was recorded and mixed by Tom Beaujour.

The record’s opening track “Campfire” is an anthem to building something new, and since August Mastrodimos has been doing just that by booking weekly virtual showcases called “Around the Campfire.” Today, there’s a special Black Friday edition with about 20 artists including Oceanator, Shady Bug, The Cosmonaut Cassettes, Garden and more. We chatted with Lily Mastrodimos about her love of bats, the New Jersey music scene and how science informs her songwriting.

AF: What realizations did you come to while meditating on your late 20s during the process of writing and recording World’s Strongest Dog?

LM: I had a professor who once who told me that I get caught up in the struggle and not the process. I think, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to understand what he meant. I used to be so debilitated by stress and anxiety and depression, but in the past few years I’ve been able to seek help and learn how to manage that struggle. You’ve got to manage the struggle however you can, hold yourself accountable, and be open to the things you learn on the way. 

AF: How has the New Jersey music scene changed over the years? 

LM: Jersey is such a small state, and I think the music scene actually benefits from that. Everyone knows each other and is so down to help each other out. Some really wonderful booking collectives have popped up (hi Beehive!), DIY venues and community centers have been established in towns that may not get a lot of musical foot traffic otherwise. Jersey has such a rich musical history, and it’s beautiful to see it continue and grow in the way that it has. 

AF: Are you still working in a scientific field and has the pandemic changed anything about the work you’re doing? 

LM: I still want to work in the scientific field. The pandemic has put my grad school plans on hold, and I miss being out in the field. I’ve been trying to spend as much time outside as I can. I go birdwatching on my off days, and I installed a bat house on my roof this summer.

AF: What is your favorite thing about bats? 

LM: Oh God, everything! Here’s a relevant fact for the day: Did you know vampire bats will socially distance when a member of a colony is sick? Let’s learn from bats! 

AF: Does your work in science ever cross over into your music? 

LM: Oh absolutely. It’s easier for me to dissect my own feelings when I can relate them to ecological processes or animal behavior.

AF: We’ve listed many of your Around The Campfire Twitch streams on here over the past few months. What inspired you to start curating your own Twitch showcases?

LM: Thank you! I started Around The Campfire because I missed booking shows, and I missed going to shows, and I missed that community. I thought I would only do it for August, but the list of bands I wanted to book was just too long and I enjoyed the shows too much. I decided to keep doing it for the foreseeable future. In October we moved all of our streams to our very own website because we learned Twitch is owned by Amazon. The switch has been so perfect, though. I can archive all of our shows and the streams run so much more smoothly. It’s been amazing.

AF: What have been some of your favorite moments from your Twitch streams?

LM: Oh my goodness, it’s so hard to choose! The Diners set is up there, Tyler’s performance was just so fun and wonderful. Anjimile and Billy Dean Thomas put on such incredible shows, and getting to see them play together was wild. I’ve loved all of these sets so much and I’m thrilled that these artists get to share their art with us every week.

AF: What plans do you have for the end of 2020 and beyond? 

LM: Long Neck will be releasing a music video soon, but that’s all I’ll say about that! Around The Campfire will continue for the foreseeable future – the December lineup will be announced soon and it’s a wild one. Once it’s safe for “irl” shows again, I’d like to turn Around The Campfire into a live, monthly show. All in all, we’re scheming!

RSVP HERE for Long Neck with Oceanator, Remember Sports, Sailor Boyfriend, Ben Eisenberger, Cinema Hearts, Maya ‘Moon’ Osborne, Shady Bug, The Cosmonaut Cassettes, Evan Diem, Garden Centre, Yvonne Chazal, Erica Freas, Suzie True, sodada, Soot Sprite, Adam Carpenter, Fresh, Me Rex, and Finish Flag on 11/27 at 7pm ET.

More great livestreams this week…

11/27 Girl Skin via The New Colossus Festival YouTube. 9pm ET, RSVP HERE

11/28 Making music Writing Lyrics with Paige of Irrevery via The Coop Workshop Square. 2pm ET RSVP HERE

11/28 Hinds via Moment House. 9pm ET, $12. RSVP HERE 

11/28 Dinosaur Jr. via Live & Alone from Look Park. 8pm ET, $15. RSVP HERE 

12/1 Weeping Icon via 8pm ET, $5 RSVP HERE 

12/1 Sylvan Esso via NoonChorus. 9pm ET, $15 RSVP HERE

12/1 Alice in Chains Tribute Concert with Metallica, Billy Corgan, Ann Wilson, Krist Novoselic & more via Twitch. 6pm ET RSVP HERE

PREVIEW: Audiofemme x Glamglare Official Northside Showcase

It’s that time of year again!  Northside Festival is just around the corner, and we’ve put together another showcase of awesome artists with the help of Glamglare! Join us Saturday, June 10th at Knitting Factory Brooklyn for music by Blonde Maze, Gold Child, Letters to Nepal, Kinder Than Wolves, GIRL SKIN, and Josh Jacobson.  Sets start at 12:15 pm, so come say hi and hear some of our favorite new tunes!

12:15 pm – Blonde Maze

The nome de plume of singer/songwriter Amanda Steckler, Blonde Maze recently dropped the infectious electro-pop gem “Antartica.”  The follow-up single to her 2015 debut EP Oceans, “Antarctica” is lovely and forlorn.  We can’t wait to hear it live on Saturday!

1) What record have you been listening to on repeat lately?

Sylvan Esso’s new album! Heard it for the first time a few weeks ago, I love the sounds.

2) You came out with your last single, “Antarctica” late last year; what are you working on now?

Right now I’m polishing up a single for release soon… keep an eye out!

3) Your music is so atmospheric – if you could perform live in any setting (an arena, aquarium, space shuttle, etc.) where would it be?

Thank you! That’s a brilliant question.. Hmmm. An igloo in Antarctica under the Northern Lights!

4) You originally studied film before dedicating your life to music 100%.  Have you ever thought about writing film scores?

Yeah totally. When I was studying film, I took a few film scoring classes. I don’t think scoring is so much for me, but I love the idea of writing a song that could be put to a film scene or story. I also love when I see people put my music to their own videos!

5) What sets are you most excited to catch this weekend at Northside Festival?!

I would love to catch Salt Cathedral, Letters to Nepal (which won’t be too hard considering they’re part of the showcase!), Hoops, Psychic Twin, just to name some!

1:oo pm – Gold Child

Brooklyn’s Gold Child (aka, our favorite country sweethearts) have released some killer new music in the past couple of months, including “Me and You” and “Tides.”  Singer/songwriter Emily Fehler is sure to stun you with her graceful stage presence and angelic pipes. Get ready for a dreamy set with enough slide guitar to melt your heart.

1) You’ve been described as (or perhaps you coined the term) “Mermaid Country.” We like the sound of that! What does it mean to you?

Our music is hard to put into one genre category so when I started the project, I was describing it as “mermaid country” to kind of get across an image to describe it. It’s become slightly less country these days but that element is definitely still there along with the ethereal vibe that inspired the “mermaid” factor.

2) Who are some of your favorite Brooklyn bands right now?

9/10 of my friends are in Brooklyn bands that I love. My besties Gracie and Rachel are killing it though and are about to release an album next month!

3) What is a recurring theme that tends to pop up in your songs?

I’m from Colorado and grew up being outside in nature a lot. I really miss it there while I’m in the city so I write a lot about that and feeling like I’m not rooted to any one place.

4) What is Gold Child currently working on? A full length record, perhaps?

We are constantly writing and recording at the moment for what will definitely be a body of work that we hope to release soon, whether it will be an EP or LP.

5) What gigs are you catching at Northside Festival this weekend?!

I’m going to try and catch Julia Holter, Lower Dens playing ABBA, and Beverly.

1:45 pm – Letters To Nepal

“Chillstep” Siberians Letters to Nepal recently released the single “Come Find Me” as a follow-up to 2016 LP LUX.  We can’t wait to hear their beautifully somber set this weekend; come prepared to sway.

1) You came to New York in 2013 by way of North Carolina (and by way of Siberia before that!); what has changed the most in the music scene since you arrived in NY?

Our life is a musica­l journey. We have bee­n living in different­ cities and countries­ and they give ­us different kinds of energy and inspiration, which changed our sound from post-r­ock to an electronic sou­nd. We hope to con­tinue this way of l­ife.

2) What was the inspiration behind your latest single, “Come Find Me”?

Honestly, the sound number 19 in Roland JUNO D. Kidding, of course. The song was inspired by the atmosphere around us and the sense of defenselessness in the huge universe. In this song we respect people who are trying to fight for their rights. So maybe, sound organ number 19 of Roland was very connected to it.

3) If you could collaborate with any living artist in the world, who would it be?

Anton: Rammstein, with YMusic Orchestra.

Evgeniya: Maybe with James Blake, he is a really cool musician.

4) Tell us about any big projects Letters to Nepal has coming up!

We are in the process of creating new music. This time we are doing everything in a different and new-to-us way: new sounds, styles, atmosphere. And we don’t want to follow any rules of style. We’ll see…Very soon, we will release our new single “Our Hands Are One.” And we are currently planning our second tour for this fall.

5) What live shows are you seeing at Northside this weekend?!

Big Thief.

2:30 pm – Kinder Than Wolves

Orlando’s Kinder Than Wolves is comprised of three audio engineers/musicians, so it’s no surprise that they’re able to lay down such lush soundscapes.  Their 2016 record Mean Something was met with acclaim from the likes of The Big Takeover and we can’t wait to hear what they’ve been working on since their debut!

3:15 pm – GIRL SKIN

Locals GIRL SKIN craft songs that are hard to define by genre, but are gorgeous nonetheless. The handful of singles preceding their upcoming EP blend folk, pop, and soul, and certainly leave us wanting more.

1) You guys have a very rich sound – what were some of your points of inspiration while writing the songs on your most recent recordings?

Well the last five or six songs we’ve written have all been on the piano, not sure why…. well I do know why; it’s because I just bought a piano. Also possibly because I’ve been listening to a lot of Nick Cave.

2) You composed a great track for Valley Eyewear…are there any other upcoming collaborations you’re looking forward to?

I just composed something for Victoria Secret. Pretty strange, not sure if I’ll do that again.

3) What bands are you digging right now that we should check out?

Benjamin Booker’s new album.

4) Any big summer plans for GIRL SKIN?

We’ll be releasing a few music videos and an EP also playing live a ton.

5) What gigs are you catching at Northside Festival this weekend?!

Elvis Depressdly, Big Thief.

4 pm – Josh Jacobson

Josh Jacobson writes neo-soul music that is both vulnerable and strong. A multi-instrumentalist, producer, songwriter, and singer, Jacobson wooed us with his latest singles “Polaroids” and “Not Alone.”  Come slow dance to Jacobson’s headlining set at our showcase on Saturday!

1) Your self-proclaimed genre is “Future Soul;” what does that mean to you?

I’m inspired by a lot of different sounds, from jazz to dance music, and ‘future soul’ is my way of bringing it all together. At the core I’m a piano singer-songwriter, but I sing over this soundscape built from my own mix of both live instruments and electronics.

To me, soulful music is about saying something from deep within, and trying to share your own voice in a direct way. Jazz and soul music have always spoken to me, and I think that sound is the most obvious influence in the records I make. I also like to voice my ideas through sound design itself, so my production style is continually evolving and doesn’t really fit into any neat label. That’s the ‘future’ aspect.

2) Given your numerous talents, what is your favorite part of the process, from songwriting, to recording, to performing live?

Performing is really what I live for the most. I’ve been an instrumentalist way longer than anything else, so I just have this lifelong love for the feeling of being on stage with other musicians and creating something together that is completely of the moment.

I really dig being in the studio and exploring every idea to the fullest through those long days and nights too, but the music comes alive in a new way for me when I get to play it out with a full band and share that live energy with an audience.

3) There seems to be a lot of mindfulness behind your music. What do you hope to inspire in your listeners?

Right on! Creating music is very meditative for me, and I’d like for people to also feel that kind of rejuvenation when they listen to my music, in their own way.

I get a lot of my inspiration from nature, and I think that comes across in my music too. When I’m out in the woods or on the water, I just feel like a kid again. Something about that environment makes me feel connected to my purpose and the things that are actually important to me, and distant from the fucked-up-ness of the world and my own troubles and fears.

Music also makes me feel that way, so I think those experiences are deeply linked in my mind. Everyone has different things that move them, so I hope my music inspires people to find that feeling in whatever way is right for them, and to create the life they want to live.

4) Your first instrument was the piano, and now you play everything from the harp to the trumpet.  Are there any instruments you’re still dying to learn?  Which ones?!

Sometimes I feel like I was born to be a bass player! Many of my songs are very bassline-driven, and that’s often what I hear first when I listen to music. I could listen to “Voodoo” all day on repeat and just vibe to the way Pino locks in with Questlove’s drums. It’s amazing.

I love laying down parts on my Moog, but can only play basic lines on bass guitar so it’d be cool to take some time and get actually good at it. I’ve been learning mallet percussion lately for my live show, which is a lot of fun too! Pretty much just like playing a keyboard but much more physical, and it inspires different kinds of melodies and riffs.

I’m really more of a keyboard player than a multi-instrumentalist to be honest, but I do love hopping on new instruments and seeing what sounds I can find! My mom is a professional violinist and she’s been taking harp lessons for the last couple years for fun, so whenever I’m back home upstate I get to sit down and improvise on her harp. The way the wood resonates with the vibrations of the strings and fills the room with sound is very powerful and healing – kind of like a grand piano, but better.

5) What shows are you definitely checking out at Northside Festival this weekend?!

Def want to catch my favorites Dirty Projectors, Kamasi Washington and BJ the Chicago Kid. Also looking forward to Synead, OSHUN and a bunch of others. I’ll be exploring the festival all weekend, see y’all in the ‘burg!