NEWS ROUNDUP: Webster Hall Reopening, R. Kelly Arrested, and MORE

Webster Hall is Reopening!

It’s always sad when an iconic New York venue closes, but Webster Hall’s story has a happy update. The 130-year-old venue was shuttered in August 2017 for renovations when longtime owners the Ballingers sold it to AEG. That means Bowery Presents will be handling bookings, and the show schedule looks pretty sick, starting with a christening from punk poet laureate Patti Smith on May 1. Broken Social Scene, MGMT, Sharon Van Etten, Big Thief and Built to Spill are some of the acts slated to play over the next six months or so, and that’s just the initial announcement. The New York Times got a sneak peek into the renovations, and it seems like the $10 million plus project focused mostly on accessibility, with a revamped entryway and the addition of an elevator, as well as updates to the bathroom and soundsystem. Much of the characteristic fixtures in the ballroom were left unscathed, though we’re guessing the floor will no longer feel like it’s about to cave in when the mosh pit gets too rowdy. The Marlin Room will become a lounge, and there’s no word yet on what’s going on with the basement stage. The venue will still have a capacity of about 1,400 – making it an essential part of downtown nightlife once again.

R. Kelly Arrested, Bond Set at $1M

Following increased scrutiny after Lifetime doc Surviving R. Kelly aired earlier this year, the R&B star was arrested in Chicago on Friday and charged with ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four separate victims, three of whom were minors when the abuse occurred. One of the most disturbing pieces of information to emerge in Saturday’s bond hearing was that Kelly met one of these victims at his 2008 trial for child pornography, of which he was acquitted; like the trial a decade ago, some of these charges stem from the discovery of a sex tape in which Kelly appears to perform sex acts with an underage girl. His bond was set at $1 million, and that may be the tip of the iceberg – Kelly is also under investigation by multiple federal agencies for sex trafficking, and it looks likely that there are more victims who have yet to come forward. Let’s hope this is the beginning of the end of their nightmare.

That New New

Audiofemme favorites Sharkmuffin shared rollicking new single “Serpentina,” the first single from their Gamma Gardening EP, out April 5 via Exploding In Sound. We couldn’t be more excited – love you, Tarra & Nat!!!!

While this video for Kate Bush’s cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” isn’t exactly new, it hadn’t been released since its recording in 1991. The video comes with the announcement of a four-disc rarities and b-sides compilation called The Other Sides, which will be available March 22. In other Elton John news, his biopic, starring Taron Egerton, comes out May 22.

Tierra Whack is back with single “Only Child,” her first release since blowing up with Whack World.

Helado Negro is currently on tour with Beirut as he prepares for the March 8 release of This is How You Smile; he shared a video for single “Running” this week.

Ella Vos shared an intimate self-directed video for “Empty Hands,” which follows her through the last day of two years of treatment for lymphoma. The single appears on her latest EP, Watch & Wait.

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe will release Gnomes & Badgers, their first album in five years, on March 8. The TG Herrington-directed clip opens a poignant dialogue about the family separation crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Marissa Nadler released two new songs – including a duet with John Cale – via new imprint KRO Records, who will release the single on heart-shaped vinyl this spring.

CHROMATICS are back with “Time Rider” and a slew of tour dates, but no official release date for an album, which they’ve been teasing for some time now.

Priests released a lyric video for “Good Time Charlie” from their upcoming album The Seduction of Kansas, out April 5 via Sister Polygon.

Empath have announced their debut LP Active Listening: Night on Earth (out April 2 via Get Better Records), and shared its first single, “Soft Shape.”

Alex Lahey will finally release a follow-up to 2017’s excellent I Love You Like a Brother. It’s called The Best of Luck Club and is slated for release via Dead Oceans on May 17; “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” is the first single.

TEEN are streaming Good Fruit ahead of its March 1 release over at NPR, and have shared a video for “Pretend.”

With her band Wax Idols on an indefinite hiatus, Hether Fortune has shifted to solo work with the release of single “Sister.”

Shady Bug shared “Whining” from their sophomore album Lemon Lime, out March 8.

Los Angeles noiseniks HEALTH have released their fourth collaborative single since September, this time featuring JPEGMAFIA.

We’re obsessed with “TGM” from 18-year-old newcomer Ebhoni, who reps her Toronto home and West Indian roots all at once.

Palehound kicked off their tour with Cherry Glazerr by releasing a new single called “Killer.”

Indie poppers Pure Bathing Culture  shared a lyric video for “Devotion,” the first single from their forthcoming LP Night Pass, out April 26.

If you’ve ever wondered what Mountain Man’s Molly Sarlé sounds like on her own, take a listen to her debut single, produced by Sam Evian. She’ll play some shows with Mountain Man cohort Amelia Meath when she joins Sylvan Esso for a few shows in their recently-announced WITH tour.

Nilüfer Yanya’s debut album Miss Universe drops March 22. Her latest single “Tears” follows alt-pop bops “In Your Head” and “Heavyweight Champion of the Year.”

Former Shudder to Think frontman Craig Wedren has had an illustrious career scoring film and television, so it’s no wonder the clip for his vibey rework of “2Priests” (from last year’s Adult Desire Expanded) is so gorgeous.

We have a feeling Aldous Harding’s low-key pilgrim dance from “The Barrel” video might catch on well before Designer arrives via 4AD April 26.

Legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr shared a video for latest single “Armatopia” to promote his upcoming North American tour in support of 2018’s Call The Comet.

End Notes

  • Breakdancing could become an Olympic event by 2024.
  • Moogfest has announced the “first wave” of its 2019 lineup, featuring Kimbra, Martin Gore, Matthew Dear, Lucrecia Dalt, GAS, Ela Minus and more.
  • Wilco have also announced the lineup for their bi-annual Solid Sound Festival, taking place June 28-30 in Massachusetts. There will be several sets from Jeff Tweedy solo and with the band, as well as appearances by Courtney Barnett, Cate Le Bon, Tortoise, Jonathan Richman and more.
  • Detroit musicians will be the first recipients of Tidal’s new $1 million endowment program.
  • The 1975 took home British Album of The Year at the BRIT Awards for A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, and called out music industry misogyny in their acceptance speech for Best British Band.
  • Stereolab have added a ton of reunion tour dates to their Primavera Sound and Desert Daze appearances, and announced reissues for seven of their records. The band has been on hiatus for a decade.
  • Tom Krell of How To Dress Well launched his label Helpful Music with an EP from Calgary’s Overland.
  • W Hotels have also recently launched a label, releasing two songs with Perfume Genius to benefit Immigration Equality. Watch a mini-doc about the collaboration here.
  • Lydia Loveless took to Instagram to detail sexual harassment she has suffered since signing to her label Bloodshot Records; her abuser doesn’t work at the label, but attended all social events having to do with it as the partner of one of the label’s founders, who has since left the imprint.
  • Someone decapitated Puff Daddy’s wax figure at Madame Tussauds in Times Square.
  • Michael Jackson’s estate is seeking to block the production of HBO’s Leaving Neverland with a $100 million lawsuit; the two-part doc follows the story of two men who say their were abused by the King of Pop as children and is set to air March 3rd & 4th. Watch the trailer here.
  • Stereogum published this handy rundown on the drama that’s dogged Royal Trux’s reunion tour, as well as the release of White Stuff, still scheduled to come out March 1.
  • My favorite Eric Andre gag is getting his own TV special. Thanks Adult Swim!

NEWS ROUNDUP: Spotify Celebrates Pride, Meet Bot Dylan & More

[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”]

Palehound made a Pride playlist on Spotify.

  • Spotify Announces Pride Month Playlists
    From the streaming service’s press release: “In celebration of Pride Month, Spotify is proud to present The Spotify Pride Hub, a series that highlights queer icons and music of hope, self-acceptance and empowerment.” They’re using streaming data to rank the proudest cities, which seems a bit unnecessary, but they’re also offering playlists by LGBTQ activists and queer musicians. Don’t know where to start? We recommend this one, curated by Palehound.

  • The Future Of Music: A Folk Song Writing Robot?
    Move over, Bob Dylan; the A.I. program Bot Dylan can also write folk songs, though it probably won’t be winning a Nobel prize anytime soon. The bot was put to work analyzing tens of thousands of Irish folk songs, and from that data, has written a staggering amount of its own material. The London scientists who created it were surprised that the tunes weren’t that bad, either. Read more about Bot Dylan here and listen to one of its compositions below.

  • RIP Gregg Allman
    The Southern Rock  legend and member of the Allman Brothers Band died last Saturday due to complications from liver cancer. He was 69. Gregg was a vocalist and keyboardist and formed the Allman Brothers Band with his sibling, guitarist Duane. Even if they weren’t fond of the term, the group is crediting with creating Southern Rock and inspiring later jam bands. Read a full obituary here.

NEWS ROUNDUP: RIP Chris Cornell, More PWR BTTM Controversy & More

  • RIP Chris Cornell

    Chris Cornell, the frontman of Soundgarden and Audioslave as well as one of the most important figures in the Seattle grunge scene, was found dead yesterday morning. By the afternoon, his death was reported as a  suicide by hanging. Though it seems like an endless stream of musicians have passed since David Bowie’s death in early 2016, Cornell’s was particularly unexpected and left many reeling, as he had performed a concert in Detroit the night before and was active on social media throughout the night as well. He was 52.

  • PWR BTTM Respond To Allegations, But Is It Enough?

    In the week since the allegations of sexual assault and other inappropriate behavior against Ben Hopkins of PWR BTTM, there has been a ton of fallout – the duo was dropped by their label and management, their touring members and opening bands left the tour before it was cancelled for good, Father Daughter Records has stated they will remove their old releases from streaming services, and Polyvinyl is even issuing refunds if former fans send back their brand new record, Pageant. But other than a statement that asked potential victims to email an account that would at some point be monitored by a mediator, a move that was deemed inappropriate for a variety of reasons, the band was silent until yesterday. They’ve released a new statement, but it seems to raise the same questions and criticisms: about consent, about accountability, and the language used to discuss it. Namely, that their statement contains a whole lot of words, but dances around the issue in an unsettling way. You can read both the statement and a thoughtful response here.

  • Chelsea Manning Is Free & Has Her Own Compilation

    Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst who came out as transgender after being convicted of espionage for leaking classified information, has finally been released – Thanks, Obama! Now, rockstars are voicing their support for in the form of a benefit compilation. Michael Stipe, Thurston Moore, Against Me!, Tom Morello, Ted Leo, Downtown Boys, Priests, Screaming Females, Talib Kweli, Amanda Palmer, and Kevin Devine have all contributed to Hugs For Chelsea, the proceeds of which go toward her cost of living as she reenters society. Check it out on Bandcamp.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Tokyo’s Octogenarian DJ, Killer Pink Floyd Shrimp & More

  • Coming Soon: The Creative Independent’s 7-Inches For Planned Parenthood

    Brandon Stusoy of The Creative Independent has curated a boxset of 7” singles with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. Artists that contributed tracks include Chvrches, Mitski, Foo Fighters, St. Vincent, Laurie Anderson, Sleater-Kinney, author Margaret Atwood and much more. A statement on the set’s Facebook page reads, “This curated series of 7-inch vinyl records is being made by a group of people who believe that access to health care is a public good that should be fiercely protected. Do we know there’s a joke in the name? We do. We hope the title evokes the rich history of 7-inch vinyl records as a medium for protest music and resistance.” Check out pre-order information here.

  • The Seriously Inspiring “Dumpling DJ”

    Sumiko Iwamuro is 82 years old. By day, she runs a Tokyo restaurant, making dumplings. By night, she’s a hit DJ in the city’s red light district, proving that someone’s age or day job has nothing to do with their musical taste or talents. Check a mini documentary on Sumiko, via Al Jazeera, here!

  • Meet The New Killer, Classic Rock Shrimp Species

    Last year brought us a tarantula named after Johnny Cash; now, let us introduce you to 2017’s Synalpheus pinkfloydi, a shrimp that can kill (fish, at least) with a pink claw that, when it snaps, produces super loud  and deadly sounds. According to rock mythology, Pink Floyd once performed loudly enough to kill the fish in a lake near London’s Crystal Palace. And according to The Washington Post, this shrimp’s snaps are 210 decibels loud(for context, a thunderclap is around  110 decibels). Check out a video of a Pistol Shrimp below, which has a similar attack method:

BEST OF 2015: Our Favorite Frontwomen

[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”]

Courtney Barnett from Melbourne, Australia, performs during the NPR Music SXSW Showcase at Stubb's in Austin on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. Lukas Keapproth/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

2015 was a great year for women in music. Specifically, for women who front a band as both a singer and guitarist. While we’ve reached a point where it’s not totally necessary to point and shout every time we find an amazing band  led by a female musician (it’s becoming one of the best trends in music); it feels pretty good to remind everyone how much girls rocked this year. So, here’s a list of the best frontwomen who released albums in 2015, ranked alphabetically.

Alicia Bognanno (of Bully)

Feels Like (June 23, 205)

Bully released their debut album this summer, the tough-but-tender Feels Like. The Nashville band is led by vocalist/guitarist Alicia Bognanno, who previously studied audio engineering at Steve Albini’s studio. She’s just as great when it comes to recording her own music – Feels Like was recorded live in a few takes, and her brutal, raw vocals are the highlight of the record.

Courtney Barnett

Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (March 20, 2015)

Courtney Barnett seemed to come out of nowhere with her song “Avant Gardener,” and then suddenly be everywhere. Though she comes across as a bit soft-spoken, she screamed and shredded through her Terminal 5 show this summer (while still mixing up the set with her quieter, more introspective songs like “Depreston“). The concert opened with Speedy Ortiz and Torres, two other groups on this list, making it one of the best lineups for women guitarists I’ve seen.

Ellen Kempner (aka Palehound)

Dry Food (August 14, 2015)

Ellen Kempner is a vocalist/guitarist (although she played everything but the drums on her debut album Dry Food) who performs under the moniker Palehound. As a songwriter, she’s nailed a self-aware approach that’s heavy on imagery. For an example of her guitar skills, check out “Molly,” a song where she layers playful, melodic parts with harsh interjections of distortion and makes them fit together naturally.

Frances Quinlan (of Hop Along)

Painted Shut (May 4, 2015)

Frances Quinlan of Hop Along has a voice that’s as tortured as it is mesmerizing, whether she’s singing about waiting on the table of an ex’s new girlfriend or her guilt from her inaction in a crucial moment. Reading about the stories that inspires her songs give them even more meaning and depth, though nothing expresses it more than her voice.

Katie Monks (of Dilly Dally)

Sore (October 9, 2015)

You could say that Katie Monks is Dilly Dally‘s vocalist, although her voice is more likely to be coming out in a scream or rasp. Her longtime friend Liz Ball shares guitar duties in the Toronto band, who released their debut album Sore in October. Check out “The Touch” to see just how far she’ll go to nail the right emotion for a song:

Mackenzie Scott (aka Torres)

Sprinter (May 5, 2015)

Mackenzie Scott sings and plays guitar under the alias Torres. Her Spring release, Sprinter, was impressive not just because of her voice, but her ability as a songwriter to channel and transcend emotions like quiet rage in a few minutes of sound. For proof, watch “Sprinter” below or one of the best songs on the album, “Strange Hellos.”

Marissa Paternoster (of Screaming Females)

Rose Mountain (February 24, 2015)

Yeah, we know: Players gonna play, but the Screaming Females weren’t fucking around when they covered Taylor Swift for the A.V. Club; they won the site’s award for best cover song this year with their version of “Shake It Off.” Unlike the original, there was no prancing around or mugging for the camera. Marissa Paternoster was all business with her deep voice and replaced the spoken-word bridge with a badass guitar solo that was way, way too short.

Sadie Dupuis (of Speedy Ortiz)

Foil Deer (April 21, 2015)

On Foil Deer, Sadie Dupuis showed off her bravado and quick wit with lyrics like “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.” Live, she ups the definition of boss to pulling off jagged, unexpected guitar lines in some of the best outfits (and coolest socks) you’ve ever seen. And, her band has been using their success for good, by going on a tour to support the Girls Rock Camp Foundation, and creating a hotline for concert-goers to report unsafe or discriminatory behavior.


No Cities To Love (January 20, 2015)

Sleater-Kinney is finally back, and as an added bonus, contains two frontwomen in one band. Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker do equal singing and guitar playing.

Veronica Torres (of Pill)

Pill EP (March 17, 2015)

I saw Pill open for Parquet Courts last week, and they made quite an impression. Their sound is dry and sparse, with saxophone and guitar adding an occasional cool breeze. When Veronica Torres started their set by shouting “Por mi, por mi casa, y lo que quiero saber” over and over, the entire venue became silent.

Victoria Ruiz (of Downtown Boys)

Full Communism (May 4, 2015)

The Providence-based Downtown Boys are led by a pretty fierce lady, Victoria Ruiz. Their name is inspired by Springsteen lyrics, and on Full Communism they cover “Dancing In The Dark,” but that isn’t to keep things light: When she sings the line about starting a fire with a spark, their delivery sounds just as political and urgent as the rest of their work.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

PLAYLIST: The Best Shows You Haven’t Missed This Summer


It’s already August, and if you’re like me, a certain kind of panic is starting to set in: Summer is almost over! The descent into crippling cold weather will begin soon! Well, the first day of Fall is September 23rd, which means there’s still over a month left for rooftop parties, iced coffee, and frolicking outdoors. If you haven’t gotten your music fix this summer, here are some of your best bets for concerts in the next few weeks.


8/17 at Gramercy Theatre

Ellen Kempner is the creative force behind the MA band Palehound. Though her band often gets compared to Speedy Ortiz and the two groups both have strong 90’s alt-rock influences, Kempner’s guitar-heavy sounds and lyrics full of casual heartbreak are very much her own.


8/21 at Palisades

Another of Exploding In Sound’s breakthrough bands, Krill gained fans and alt-rock cred after their last release, A Distant Fist Unclenching.

Frankie Cosmos

8/22 at Shea Stadium

Frankie Cosmos, the daughter of Kevin Kline and a former member of Porches, is inspired by the poetry of Frank O’Hara and the NYC anti-folk scene. Though her real name is Greta, the project is the singer/songwriter’s indie alter-ego.


8/24 at Silent Barn

The local psych-rock band will be playing at Bushwick’s DIY space, the Silent Barn as part of Exploding In Sound’s Extended Weekend series.

Cuddle Magic

8/31 at Baby’s All Right

Cuddle Magic is one of Brooklyn’s most unique bands, who specialize in unexpected wordplay and rhythms. The clarinet, saxophone and trumpet they occasionally include sometimes gives them a baroque-like sound.

The Juan Maclean

9/10 at Bowery Ballroom

We’ve seen Juan Maclean, so we can vouch for their live performance. Nancy of LCD Soundsystem handles the vocals over the band’s mixture of electro/techno/house. Get ready to dance.

Dengue Fever

9/11 at (le) Poisson Rogue

Nothing says summer like going to see a band named after a debilitating disease caused by mosquitoes. (I promise, this concert will be a much, much more pleasant experience). The L.A. band sings in Khmer, mixing their native language and brand of pop music with dancey, psychedelic grooves.

St Paul & The Broken Bones 

9/15 at Webster Hall

Looking for something a little more soulful? Check out the Alabama natives St. Paul & The Broken Bones, who have gained notoriety after releasing Half The City last year.

ALBUM REVIEW: Palehound “Dry Food”


Palehound is Ellen Kempner, a former Sarah Lawrence student. Former meaning she dropped out, presumably because even if the school did have a 90s-inspired indie rock class, there wouldn’t have been much left for her to learn; the 21-year-old played everything but the drums on her new album, Dry Food. 

Dry Food is the Massachusetts-based artist’s second release after her 2013 EP, Bent Nail. It gets off to an aggressive start with “Molly,” a track that shows off Kempner’s instrumental skills with two guitar lines: one is wiry and playful, and the other brash, a machine-gun explosion of aggression. This duality continues throughout the album: you’ll hear gentle strumming and fingerpicking, twisting guitar licks, heavy distortion, feedback and nose dives down the fretboard – sometimes all in the same song.

The contrast in her music also applies to her singing. Her lyrics get personal, and are deeply aware, but there’s not so much vulnerability in her voice as a deadpan, matter-of-factness that masks most of the emotion. This works well with her songs – though Kempner isn’t afraid to get loud with her guitar; this isn’t dramatic or overly emotive music. Perhaps this is why she’s developed such a serious knack for imagery when it comes to describing feelings. So, the unwanted makeout session on “Easy” becomes “I’m pushing back your tongue/ With my clenched-teeth home security system,” and the tip-toeing of snobby “healthier folk” is revealed through Kempner asking, “Why don’t they hold me? They just cradle me like a homesick child.”

Possibly her best line comes from the title track: “You made beauty a monster to me/So I’m kissing all the ugly things I see.” Another key track is “Cinnamon,” a song that scatters guitar parts wildly over a smooth, shuffling beat. Kempner’s voice is cloaked in a heavy layer of reverb. By the end of the song she’s practically drowning in it, perhaps a result of a few too many rounds of “mixing water with gin and chasing it with cinnamon.”

If you take Dry Food as it is, it’s a short, but solid album. If you consider that it’s Kempner’s first actual album, and she’s still in her (very) early 20’s, the 28 minutes of casual heartbreak become even more impressive.

Dry Food will be available via Exploding In Sound on August 14th. In the meantime, check out “Healthier Folk” below.


AF LIVE: 2nd Anniversary Showcase, 1/16 @ Spike Hill




Please join us Thursday, 1/16 at Spike Hill for our second anniversary showcase. This year has been a shit show for us, and we’ve made exciting strides, creatively, professionally and personally through our evolving project here at Audiofemme. We’ve gone from two waitresses, complaining over tequila about the glass ceiling that envelopes the oh-so-insular music writing/new media industry, to two waitresses plus one web femme, blogging in cafes about the cool new band we caught the night before at a warehouse party in Bushwick, to two editors, sitting in our sunny offices with our crazy talented writing team, plotting our next steps forward and what we want to order for lunch.

For AF’s bday party, we’re bringing you an insanely good line up of live music, followed by what we hope will be a raucous dance party. Please find a few of our artist profiles below (more to come), and all the deets regarding set times/venue specs can be found on our events page here:

We hope to see your pretty faces this Thursday at Spike Hill.



Crooked Tails 


Brooklyn-based city slickers Crooked Tails channel a bygone era with their floor-thumping, string-
heavy Americana. With the ghosts of Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline hanging on their shoulders, dual vocalists Jeffrey and Shana bring a sweet singalong-ability to the project, augmented by a wide range of instruments, seamlessly blending traditional old-time instruments with drums and electric guitar. Shana’s delicate soprano lends these songs a haunting quality that’s not easily forgotten.

Audiofemme: Where did you all grow up, and what did you grow up listening to?

Crooked Tails: Jeff: Dave(drums) and I grew up in Connecticut, but I was closer to Hartford and he was closer to Bridgeport. Ricardo(bassist) is from Valladolid Spain.

Shana: I grew up in a small town in Florida called Deland and Alex(lead guitar) grew up in South Florida

Jeff: The first band I ever fell in love with, which are still my favorite, was Nirvana and Ricardo is similar.  From them I began getting into punk and hardcore and played that style for many years, and Dave did as well.  Ricardo loved all the post punk stuff, the Pixies, Sonic Youth, Joy Division..  It was later on that we would get into the folk/alt country sound.

Shana: I listend to quite a variety growing up thanks to my family. Everything from Metal to Disco to Rockabilly to Southern Rock. Though through my teenage years it was always about the blues, early country like Johnny Cash and The Everly Brothers, and punk music. Alex grew up listening to a lot of delta blues, golden oldies, and 60’s/70’s english rock.

AF: Your drummer, Dave, walked in to audition for Crooked Tails thinking he was trying out for a Black Metal band. What’s it like incorporating different influences into what’s typically a traditional genre? Do you ever throw some of Dave’s metal background into the mix?

CT: Jeff: Well Dave knew who I was through the punk/hardcore/metal scene in CT so he came in expecting it to be something different. BUT, his favorite bands are Behemoth and Bon Iver, so he is pretty diverse.  On some of the newer songs he incorporates some harder hitting drums and an edginess that I think will always be present in people’s playing that came out of those scenes.

AF: Your name makes for a striking, and kind of dark, image, and turns up in the lyrics to “Broken Tails.” How’d you settle on calling yourselves Crooked Tails?

CT: Shana: Well…because everything else was taken. hahahah. But really, we had just finished writing Broken Trails and still didn’t have a name. So Jeff and I are practicing the song one day and were like I wonder if Crooked Tales is a band, which it wasn’t! So to kind of somewhat break it away from the song we switched it to “Tails” instead of “Tales”.

AF: If you could record a song with any band or musician, living or dead, who would it be? What song would it be? 

CT: Jeff: Song…I’m not sure, but an artist, though unfortunately dead, that I think I could learn a lot from is Townes Van Zandt.

Shana: Ah shit always a hard question…I always say this though, I would love to work with Jack White. Every project he’s worked on is a favorite of mine. And his recent collaboration with Wanda Jackson made my ears so happy! On the deceased side though I would of loved to work with Waylon Jennings or Patsy Cline.

5. We’re curious about your songwriting process. The music on your demo seems to flow organically from image to image, even morphing into “Hit The Road Jack” at the end of “Broken Tails.” Who writes your songs and lyrics? Is it collaborative?

CT: Jeff: Some songs Shana writes the lyrics and melodies and then I’ll add guitar, and then other songs I will write the lyrics and music to.  Once we have the basic ideas, we bring the other guys in to add in their parts and give them life.

I should also add that the demo isn’t something we are all too proud of… we did it early on just to have something rough to get shows and show the other guys.  So, some of the band didn’t even play on it.  We go in to record a 6 song EP Jan. 18th, and we will sound much better now that we’ve been playing together for a while.

Take a listen to Crooked Tails’  “The Devil Came Thru”, off their recent demo, here:




The stripped-down rock duo XNY’s spotlights Pam Autuori’s gorgeous powerhouse voice and Jacob Schreiber on the drums. Their second and most recent release, Orange, brings an enormous sound from just two musicians. The result of the pairing is catchy, magnetic rock and roll that revels in its simplicity.

Audiofemme: The two of you met after you shared a wall in an apartment building, hence the title of your first record, Through The Wall. After you met, was the chemistry instantaneous? When did you start playing together?

XNY: Our initial meeting involved cheesecake and a lot of wine–ingredients for instant chemistry.  We decided to play together as soon as my nap time started coinciding with Jacob’s practice time.  Surprisingly, all of the disturbances worked themselves out nicely…

 AF: What are your musical backgrounds? What kinds of things did you play before you started playing together?  

XNY: My dad plays guitar, I grew up listening to him cover Springsteen and The Beatles, I asked him to teach me guitar when I was eight and began writing my teen angst pop songs shortly after that.  I covered a lot of 90s rock/grunge and A LOT of cheeky pop songs, “Kiss Me” was a regular at open mics… Jacob was in a heavy metal band in his angsty years, and then matured into jazz…and then immatured into rock.

AF: What was your vision for Orange, going into making that album? Did anything about how it turned out surprise you?

XNY: Our goal was to capture our live sound.  It was a great experience working with Brian Viglione at Stratosphere Sound (which has since closed).  We experimented a lot with electric guitars, bass, organ etc.  Recording Orange really helped us develop our sound and open our minds.  We used to avoid any electric instrumentation, I have been playing acoustic guitar for years, and I will gladly admit I am having a serious love affair with my telecaster.

AF: Your music has this fun, no-nonsense energy that translates so well into live performance. How do you feel about playing shows? 

XNY: Thank you! We love playing live, that is where we feel most comfortable.  It’s like therapy… really loud therapy.

 AF: If you were to go on your dream tour with any band or musician of your choosing, living or dead, what would the lineup be?

XNY: Ooo this is a tough one!  I would love to go on tour with The Rolling Stones circa 1971… I’d also throw in some Janis and a little Etta James… And why not some Jack White while we’re at it… And Beyonce.  Always Beyonce.  This is turning into a bizarre show…

Listen to XNY’s “Who Are You”, here:


Though they’ve been friends for years, Daytona only solidified as a band after its three members relocated to New York City from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Each of the trio boasts a solid garage rock background, but in combination, the group is something more complex: their full-length debut is brimming with high-energy, complicated indie pop, meandering guitars and gorgeous vocal harmonies. Though Daytona’s warmest, most ethereal moments, live up to their name, there’s something deeply nostalgic—sad, even—at the core of the music.

Audiofemme: What was the process of officially coming together as a group like? How long did it take before you felt like a band?
Daytona: There was this one night, when we all walked from the practice down to the deli, and we got some food and drinks and then went back to practice and played music for a while longer. And then we did that a bunch more times and that’s how you become a band.
AF: Why did you decide to move to New York City?
Daytona: I used to visit here in college. My friend Karl had a place in Greenpoint where we would stay. It was fun. I got headhunted right out of college by Saatchi & Saatchi to help revamp their social media profile. It was a perfect opportunity. When I got to the city, though, it turned out that the “headhunter” was a total conman. The Saatchi people had never even heard my name and I had paid the guy a lot of money to get me the job. FYI kids: that’s not how it works! By the time I caught up with him he had lost it at Meadowlands. So I went down to guitar center and bought an Epiphone, which is a really great guitar for beginners. Then I spent a couple of years in my room and wrote a collection of songs about the experience. Those would go on to comprise our debut self-titled record, which came on in Novermber ’13 courtesy of Ernest Jenning Recording Co.
AF: What’s the music scene like in Chapel Hill, and how have things been different in that respect since you moved to New York?
Daytona: New York City has an encouraging & welcoming music scene, a big happy family really. Meanwhile, Chapel Hill is full of cut throat hustlers who just want to make it to the top.
AF: What was your goal for Daytona, when you began playing together? Has your initial idea of what you wanted the band to be shifted?
Daytona: Initially the band included a woodwind section and a triangle-ist, but that didn’t work out. The woodwind players found other work. The triangle-ist though, things ended badly for her. She plays on subway platforms now. The echo down there totally drowns out her triangle vibes and it just sounds like a dog whistle. I give her a dollar when I see her anyway. Good luck Janine!
AF: “The Road,” the first track off your latest album, really encapsulates the sensation of being on a big cross country road trip. If all three of you were to go on an all expenses paid one-week vacation—not on tour, just for fun—where would you go and why?
Daytona: Probably Japan. Just this morning I saw some really amazing illustrations from the Edo period. This guy I know posted them to Facebook. Since then I’ve been really curious about the culture there.
Listen to Daytona’s “The Road”, here:

Foxes In Fiction


Foxes In Fiction is the musical vehicle of songwriter Warren Hildebrand, who writes and produces ambient and loop-friendly experimental pop. Foxes In Fiction uses lightly doctored guitar riffs to create an immersive soundscape that focuses on music listening as an almost visual experience. 2010’s Swing From The Branches, Foxes In Fiction’s full length debut, dwells in ambient drone loops for almost its full first half, but rather than obscuring the music, this experimental layering effectively laying groundwork for a hypnotic and sensorily magnified listening experience.

Audiofemme: Your first album was released as a cassette, and you co-run a cassette recording label. What’s the source of your interest in cassette recording?

Foxes In Fiction: I started Orchid Tapes while still living in Toronto in early 2010, but for the past year or so I’ve run it with my boyfriend our of our place in Brooklyn. From the beginning I wanted to release things on tape because of how easy it was to disseminate music on that medium (cheap to produce, easy and affordable to ship) and I liked that something like tapes stood as a direct antithesis to the mp3 / blog culture that was in full-swing in 2010; instead of endlessly digesting one song after another and never really feeling like I was forming a connection with a lot of the music I was coming across, listening to something on tape forced me to have a tactile relationship with it. There’s no option to skip through tracks and you have to flip it over once one side plays out. It’s basically all the same reasons that people have for liking vinyl, but of course they only cost a fraction of the price to produce which made it easy for smaller labels and musicians like myself to put them out.

AF: What’s the music scene like in Canada? Are there other musicians making music that’s similarly experimental to yours?

FIF: Canada’s a pretty massive country, and there are lots different scenes and pockets of people doing intensely creative, inspiring and experimental stuff in pretty much every part of it. Canada is great, I’ll always believe in it. I’m from Toronto, and there’s a lot of pretty fantastic music stuff happening there at any given point, and while I lived there I was fortunate enough to fall into a few different groups of people who approached music with a similar mindset to my own. I only lived there for about three years but I miss it and the people there a lot.

 AF: Your songs are so visually evocative. Do you have imagery in mind when you start writing? 

FIF: Maybe with the more ambient and old moody drone tracks on the first record I did; I would have particular images in mind or I would use a specific visual cue as jumping off point for a song. But with most of the recent ‘pop’ things I’ve been doing, the images I’m going for are more encoded in the actual lyrics than the music itself.

 AF: How do your songs translate into live performance? Do you take a different approach to playing a show than you do when you’re recording?

FIF: Since I perform by myself, there is a certain Sweet Spot that I have to try and hit in between a) making it not boring for myself and b) making it not boring for the people watching. This can be kind of challenge because of the fact I use samples and pre-recorded material which I think makes a lot of people roll their eyes, but I try to not make a secret of it and do as much live instrumentation in between everything using my voice, keyboards and guitar with looping pedals and various effect pedals. There’s always a little process of de/reconstruction between the recorded version and the versions that I play live, which usually ends up making everything sound super loud and bass heavy, mostly because I’m pretty nervous when I perform and I wanna be able to hide away behind a huge wall of sound, ha ha.

AF:  Earlier this year, you released a collaboration with Benoit Pioulard. What was that process like? What do you like most about collaborations?

FIF: It was awesome. He’s one of my top 5 most favourite musicians of all time and just an all-around amazing person, so getting the chance to work with him was really inspiring. All we really did was talk through some ideas the first time that we met while driving from Toronto to Montreal together, and then the rest was done by passing files back and forth to eachother over Gmail. The way the kids do it these days. Also, this is something I’m still kind of freaking out about, but I recently had chance to collaborate with Owen Pallett, another musician responsible for a massive amount of musical influence in my life. He wrote and recorded the string arrangements for my new record which elevated everything to this ridiculously amazing new level that I didn’t think was even possible for my music. I don’t even care about the songs themselves anymore, I just want the record to come out so people can hear his work.

Listen to Foxes In Fiction’s “Snow Angels”, here:


Prism House 

Prism House


Electronic duo Prism House are meant to be seen live, not only because a speaker system won’t dojustice to the intricacies of Brian Wenner’s thumping rhythms, echoing synth jumps and jumbled clips of barely understandable human vocals: half the group’s effect, orchestrated by Matt O’Hara, is live visual effect. Though it’s spacey and immersing, Prism House is too complex to be straightforward dance music. Instead, the constantly changing, multifaceted instrumentation form a soundscape that keeps revealing new layers as it progresses.

Audiofemme: What sparked your interest in electronic music? What’s your first memory of beginning to play music?
Prism House: Brian: My first initial exposure to electronic music came in the form of playing video games growing up in the Midwest. I didn’t actively think, “wow I really enjoy the music in these games,” but I was definitely training my brain to understand and be inspired by synthesizer sounds and drum beats from a young age. Popular electronic music didn’t interest me much at that time, but I remember hearing Nine Inch Nail’s “The Downward Spiral” and being intrigued and kinda frightened by it. Radiohead’s album “Kid A” was a definite turning point for me in terms of wanting to actively make electronic music.

My first memory of beginning to play music was receiving a cheap electric guitar/amp combo and playing that thing for hours. The guitar was my passion for several years and I learned everything I know about melodic composition from the guitar. I only recently really started thinking of myself as a “composer” and not just a guitar player interested in electronics. I haven’t picked up the guitar in a while but it was a very formative instrument for me and helped the transition to making electronic music easy and fluid.

AF: Prism House formed in 2011. Brian, what was your goal for the group, going into the project? How has that changed since Prism House’s beginnings?

PH: Brian: The format and line-up of the group was fairly different back in 2011. Matt, who does our visuals exclusively for the group, was at the time making vocal drone music and our friend Pia was doing visuals. The group was a bit more primal and raw sounding in its initial stage and was meant to be solely a live experience.

When I joined the group Matt moved over to doing visuals and I handled the music. It wasn’t something we ever talked about but rather it happened naturally. My only goal was to create a performance group that truly is audio/visual. When you come to the show it is apparent that we are working together as opposed to just some visuals thrown in the background of a guy with a laptop. Another goal was to personally expand my compositional skills and focus on field recordings and audio collage aesthetics as opposed to synth based music.

Prism House has remained consistent to the overall vision I just talked about but I think we are both eager to expand the show in new and exciting ways. We’ve also talked about creating a theatrical production that incorporates our styles. Matt comes from a theatre background so we draw inspiration from that area with what we do.

AF: Do you think the process of songwriting and making music is different for a duo than it would be for a larger band? Does one of you take the lead on any given song or passage, or is the process collaborative?

PH: Brian: The process is absolutely different. I actually write all of the music for the group currently, and Matt creates all of the visuals. So in a way it’s collaborative in that we perform together, but we are both our own unique entities working independently. I love that relationship because it forces us to find a common ground in what we both do. We don’t actively sit down together and work on things because the process is very personal and insular for each of us. We tend to talk more about whether what we have created has a common thread that will translate well to an audience or viewer. Thankfully, it often works out so we don’t have to scrap much material.

I came from the background of writing and collaborating in a band setting and there is something exciting and unique about  the group (band) mentality, but that way of writing doesn’t really work for this duo. Matt and I have different skill sets so it’s difficult for me to interject certain ideas into his work and vice/versa. Sometimes I miss the excitement of coming up with ideas as a group, but I find it really fulfilling and satisfying to work as a solo musician currently. There are pros and cons to each approach but at this stage in my life it makes sense to be writing as a solo artist and work in collaboration with Matt. Logistically, it is also much easier to be a solo electronic outfit than a full band when gigging in NYC so there is also that benefit.

AF: Matt, how did you begin focusing your visuals towards music? How do you translate sound into aesthetics?

PH: Matt: I worked in theatre for a long time making sound and music for plays. I think years of doing this must have trained my brain to expect a visual complement to everything I hear. Making visuals for music is the same thing as sound design, only in reverse. Brian’s music is great because it’s so dense and moves so quickly. When you come to a Prism House show, you are seeing a rough version of what I am seeing inside my own head.

AF: Prism House’s sound incorporates elements of dance music, as well as farther-out experimental stuff. What’s your philosophy about meshing the two? Who are some of your influences, as far as bringing the two styles together?

PH: Brian: My philosophy for incorporating dance and experimental elements in the music stems from having a vast appreciation of both genres and a natural combining of the two. On the “Reflections EP” I wasn’t actively trying to make an avant dance record but I found myself being extremely drawn to kinetic dance rhythms layered with field recordings and internet sampled material. The record started to take shape quickly once I had the general sound palette and tone figured out and the result was something cohesive and exciting.

I’m mostly inspired by my surroundings and NYC has been hugely influential on the sound of the music. I use a field recorder and sample sounds from all around the city and use those as the framework of the compositions. The tone and pace of the record feels very New York to me as well. I wouldn’t have made the record I did if I was still living in Ohio. I am also really interested and inspired by the idea of audio scrapbooking, or recording sounds for the sake of remembering certain moments in life. The EP is full of unique sounds that are very much a part of my NYC experience.

I don’t draw tons of inspiration from other artists, but I do really like Oneohtrix Point Never and Slava lately. I’m also just a huge fan of the RVNG Intl. label and Ghostly Intl. as well. There are so many cool and talented artists in Brooklyn today that it’s hard to keep up. The scene feels both vast but tight-knit and it’s exciting to be a part of something like that.

Listen to Prism House’s “My Love”, here:



YEAR END LIST: AF’s Guide to Riot Grrrl’s Influence in 2013

Body/Head at St. Vitus

It is a goddamn golden age for girl-fronted punk.  It’s not that there haven’t been important works by women in the ensuing years, but 2013 saw a Riot Grrrl Renaissance unlike anything since its early ’90s inception.  Back then, Kathleen Hanna had to make safe spaces at Bikini Kill shows for female attendees by calling out aggressive dudes.  The ladies at the forefront of the movement had to blacklist the mainstream media that painted them alternately as fashion plates, dykes, or whores (sometimes all three, and always with negative connotations; it shouldn’t be implied that to be any of these things is bad or wrong in the first place).  By all accounts, they “couldn’t play” anyway, so the medium and its messages were barely worth discussing as anything more than a passing trend.  Meanwhile, riot grrrls preached their radical politics one Xerox at a time.

If the wisdom of these women seemed to skip the generation that adored Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time” without criticism, it has finally come full circle in a way that feels vital and urgent now.  Not only are we as a culture stepping up to finally examine sexism and exploitation and appropriation within the industry, there are more acts than ever completely unafraid to do their own thing – be it overtly political (see: Priests) or revolutionary in its emotional candidness (looking at you, Waxahatchee).  Maybe it has to do with direct influences of stalwart ensembles like Sleater-Kinney and Bratmobile, and maybe it’s a thing that’s happened gradually as those first voices carved out room for other female performers (for instance, in establishing Rock Camps for young female musicians throughout the country, a project that initially came about through discussions and direct action in riot grrrl communities).  There’s no way to make an inclusive list of all the phenomenal bands (punk or otherwise) now blazing their own trails through their various scenes but taking a tally of at least a few of these acts felt like a necessity for me as someone whose entire life was informed by music like this, and girls like them.  And because fifteen years after I discovered it for myself, 2013 feels like one giant, celebratory dance party/victory lap.


If 2013 is the year female-fronted punk broke, it has to be said that not all 90’s era veterans burned out or faded politely away.  In fact, two of the grunge scene’s most influential women put out intensely personal releases this year.

[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”]

Kathleen Hanna Kim Gordon
Hanna and Gordon in 1994’s “Bull in the Heather” video

Body/Head, Kim Gordon’s noise project with Bill Nace, created a moving exploration of feminine and masculine tropes in the form of a noise record.  I wouldn’t want to reduce Coming Apart to a document of her split from long-time partner Thurston Moore, but the whole thing feels every bit as raw and awkward as a life change that catastrophic must have been.  It’s Gordon’s most powerful, wild moments in Sonic Youth distilled down and then blown up.  Her vocals can sound desperate and strained at times, but this is ironically the most forceful aspect of the recordings – the anger and the vulnerability existing together in all its anti-harmony.

[/fusion_builder_column][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”]

Body/Head at St. Vitus
Kim Gordon and Bill Nace perform as Body/Head in June at St. Vitus

Likewise, Hanna’s record is not a chronicle of her late-stage Lyme Disease, the chronic illness that forced her to quit touring with socially-conscious electro outfit Le Tigre (for that, check out Sini Anderson’s brilliant Hanna doc The Punk Singer) but a testament to the triumph that creating it had over her sickness.  Reviving her moniker from ’97’s bedroom-recording project Julie Ruin by adding a “The” to the front and four incredible musicians and co-conspirators at her back, the band released Run Fast in September.  It manages to meld every one of Hanna’s prior sonic sensibilities, burnishing the the dance-punk of Feminist Sweepstakes with the sass and cacophony of The Singles and adopting the confessional tone of that first solo record.

This is riot grrrl all grown up; though neither project should necessarily bear that particular label, it feels like a continuation of the story that in turn validates its importance.  And the influence of Gordon and Hanna and others of their ilk can certainly be heard in a whole host of bands with break-out records that landed this year.  Again, it’s not that anyone in these bands are running around calling themselves riot grrrls, just that they’d be right at home on a playlist with bands who did (and bands of that era, from Red Aunts to Discount to that dog., that demanded my affection as equally).


Katie and Allison Crutchfield have been making music since they were teenagers, most notably in P.S. Elliot before splitting up to pursue creative projects as separate entities.  Katie released American Weekend in 2012 and Cerulean Salt in March, Allison released a self-titled record with her band Swearin’ last year and followed it up with Surfing Strange a few months ago.  The girls are mirror twins, meaning they’re identical but that their features are reversed in some instances, and that’s a good approximation of how their musical projects merge and divide.  Cerulean Salt is stripped down sonically and hyper-focused on thematic subject matter, dealing directly with her family history and its personal stories.  Swearin’ takes a music-making approach more classic to pop punk, its subject matter just as earnest but with a broader focus.  The two have reunited for one-off projects (like an incredible cover of Grimes’ Oblivion for Rookie Mag) and live together in Philly with their boyfriends (both of whom play in Swearin’).  In interviews and in their song lyrics they espouse feminist ideas unabashedly and have talked openly about finding inspiration in the riot grrrl movement.

Speaking of Alison’s boyfriend, Kyle Gilbride produced girl-punk supergroup Upset’s debut album, She’s Gone, out this year on Don Giovanni.  Uniting Vivian Girls contemporaries Ali Koehler and Jenn Prince with Patty Schemel of Hole, She’s Gone is a quirky collection of catchy, rapid-fire jams that at first listen might come off as slightly superficial.  But at the crux of the record is the idea of examining female experience, in particular the formative teenage years, in which break-ups and female rivalry loom large.  Taking what might be written off as juvenile and giving it its due importance in song is what makes the album both accessible and relevant.  If it seems precocious to compare one’s dreams to a dinosaur, at least it validates them by re-calibrating the scale.

Don Giovanni put out another astounding release in The Worriers’ Cruel Optimist.  Fronted by Lauren Denitzio of Measure, the project seeks to combine her interests in literature, art, and queer activism in a way her past musical projects have not.  Over hooky guitars and crashing drums, Denitzio talks about privilege in feminism and the need to re-evaluate personal politics with growing older on “Never Were”, references Jeanette Winterson as a way to talk about androgyny and gender identity on “Passion”, and ruminates on the toll that conservative politics took on a personal relationship in “Killjoy”.  The album closes with “Why We Try”, a triumphant reminder of the reasons these discussions still need to happen in music and elsewhere.  “If we expect something better / things won’t just move forward / Remember why we try“.

In talking about New Brunswick’s esteemed DIY circuit, we’d be remiss to not include Marissa Paternoster, active for several years now in the punk scene there, releasing work under solo moniker Noun as well as with her band Screaming Females.  It’s the latter’s most recent release, Chalk Tape, that sees the band going in some very interesting melodic directions with their particularly searing brand of guitar rock, recording most of the songs without revisions based around concepts scrawled on a chalkboard.  Paternoster’s commanding vocals, gliding easily between out-and-out aggressive and tender, looped sophistication, paired with her exceptional guitar work, make Chalk Tape a tour de force.  Here’s hoping a few misguided Miley fans accidentally stumbled on the wrong “Wrecking Ball”.

Nestled in another well-respected DIY scene, Northampton-based Speedy Ortiz represent a collective of 90’s-era rock enthusiasts with a poet at the helm.  Sadie Dupuis feels more comfortable behind a guitar than on open-mike night, but the lyrics she penned for Major Arcana and delivers with brass are practically worthy of a Pulitzer.  Razor sharp wit, slyly self-deprecating quips, and vitriol marked by vulnerability characterize the general tone of the record, its particular lyrical references so nuanced and clever it begs about a million listens.

Potty Mouth sprang out of the same scene when Ally Einbinder, frustrated with the difficulties of booking shows and playing in bands with men who rarely asked her input when it came to songwriting, decided to form and all-female punk band.  Einbinder and her cohorts are frequent participants in Ladyfest, which has sought to showcase feminist artists across different mediums for thirteen years running.  Bursting with energy and attitude, Potty Mouth’s debut Hell Bent calls bullshit on punk scene bravado, questions obsessive tendencies, encourages punk girls in small towns “it-gets-better” style, and delivers acute, sharp-tongued kiss-offs to any doubters.

Though the pun alludes to classically trained harpist and witchy-voiced weird-folk patron saint Joanna Newsom, Alanna McArdle and her compatriots in Joanna Gruesome stray pretty far from that reference point.  Instead, the UK band cherry-picks from shoegaze, twee, and thunderous punk with Adderal-fueled ferocity.  McArdle is a study in contradictions, one moment singing in a sweet-voiced whisper and the next shouting psychotically, often about crushing skulls or some other, equally violent way of expressing her twisted affections. The group met in anger management, and every second on Weird Sister sees them working out some deeply seated issues, the end result proving what a gift anger can be.


This particular calendar year, it seems, is only the beginning.  With a record crate’s worth of amazing releases from 2013, there’s a bevvy of bands with bandcamp profiles, demos, EPs, cassettes and singles that hold a lot of promise for future releases.  Across the board, when asked how their bands formed or when they started playing, the response is “I wanted to do it so I got a guitar and I just started playing.”  The DIY ethos and “fuck it” attitude are what make these projects so vital and exciting.


The DC group are explosive live, in particular thanks to Katie Greer’s spastic growl and Daniele Withonel’s revelatory drumming.  The band’s been known to spout off about anti-consumerism between songs, out of breath from the high-energy set, but there’s plenty of radical content in their self-released tapes, too.  Those searching for manifestos need look no further than “USA (Incantations)”, a spoken-word bruiser that skewers the non-inclusive founding of America and ends with “this country was not made for you and it was built on lies and murder”; it kind of makes me want to vote for Priests for president.  Elsewhere on Tape 2, Withonel steps from behind her drum kit to flip the script on the male gaze, with perfect Kathleen Hanna pitch. Whether they’re singing about Lana del Ray or Lillian Hellman, these self-described Marxists provide an electrifying listen.

[/fusion_builder_column][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”][bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=1921307984 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]

Perfect Pussy

Perfect Pussy plays notoriously brief shows – if you blink during their set, you’ll miss ’em – but all have played the Syracuse scene for years now.  The quartet got a lot of attention this over I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling, a four song EP with walls of guitar fuzz and synths and some forceful vocals from Meredith Graves buried low in the mix.  Trained in opera but trying out punk, she’s said that because she’s insecure about her singing they’ll likely stay that way when the band records a full length.  But it’s not because she’s trying to hide her words – you can read them by clicking through each song on Perfect Pussy’s bandcamp.  They are well worth extracting from the sludge, coming across like a Jenny Holzer send-up of rape culture, mixed in with some personal meditations on growing past a female betrayal and catharsis through relationships thrown in for good measure.
[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2233202690 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]


Ellen Kempner writes off-kilter lyrics that perfectly distill the wonder and worry that comes with being a teenager, but with a wise, almost nostalgic tone that does not belie the fact that she is, actually, a freshman in college, living these experiences for the first time.  Her musician father taught her how to play guitar, and in high school she was in a band called Cheerleader before releasing some solo recordings that morphed into Palehound.  Their excellent Bent Nail EP came together this year, featuring the quintessential “Pet Carrot”, which seesaws from sing-songy folk to scuzzy 90’s grunge more reminiscent of Liz Phair than of Lorde.
[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2058577082 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]


The Philly trio are a perfect picture of female solidarity, repping other girl bands from Philly in interviews and inking their bodies with matching arrow tattoos, as well as getting involved with Philly’s Ladyfest.  They sing about friendships and loss and the city around them with a raspy roar, holding back just enough on their three-song demo to hint at the spaces they’ll grow into.
[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3445778544 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]

All Dogs

Coming out of Columbus, Ohio’s great lo-fi scene (which bands like Times New Viking and Psychedelic Horseshit helped build, and contemporaries Sex Tide and Connections will only continue), All Dogs take that same energy and clean up the grime just a bit to let Maryn Bartley’s hopelessly catchy vocal melodies shine.  There’s a youthful exuberance and earnestness that propels the material on their split cassette with Slouch and their self-titled 7″ released on Salinas Records.  The Crutchfield sisters have been big early supporters; Katie booked them as openers on an upcoming Waxahatchee tour after saying they “made her cry”.
[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2562070983 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]


About an hour south in Cincinatti, Bridget Battle takes an endearing 60’s girl group intonation and spits it snottily into a microphone while her bandmates in TWEENS play messy, immediate punk rock.  Their CMJ performances earned them rave reviews and helped them release a bit of the energy they’d pent up during the recording of their first full-length in DUMBO, set to see release sometime this spring.  Until then, they’ll be touring with fellow Ohioans the Deal sisters for The Breeders’ extended reunion shows.
[bandcamp width=100% height=120 track=2959436288 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]

Heavy Bangs

“I don’t care what you think as long as I can’t hear it / I’ll be a fly some other place.  / I don’t care what you do / As long as you stay away from me / I can’t stand the way you do the things you do.”  So begins “All the Girls” from Heavy Bangs’ bandcamp demos.  It’s a departure from the quirky indie pop Cynthia Schemmer played as guitarist for Radiator Hospital, but it takes cues from the same attention to clever melody.  The best indication of what might come from her solo project are the artful and contemplative postcards she posts to her tumblr ( before sending them to to friends, apologetically explaining why Philly drew her back after time in New York, or recounting conversations she had with a therapist over the loss of illusions.  Like the two tracks she’s shared, these can feel sad but are intently self-aware, the attention to detail speaking volumes between the lines.
[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=415964935 size=medium bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5]
Are those alive in a golden age ever able to really realize it?  Or can it only be understood by looking back?  With the passage of time we grow older and wiser and we’re better able to put things into context, but there are some moments that are simply meant to be lived.  If you’re not screaming at the top of your lungs to these records or dancing in the front row at one of these shows, you’re doing it wrong.


Photo Set: AF X CMJ @ Spike Hill

[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”][fusion_old_tabs slidertype=”images” auto=”yes” autospeed=”4000″] [imagetab width=”800″ height=”500″ img src=””] [/imagetab] [imagetab width=”800″ height=”500″ img src=””] [/imagetab] [imagetab width=”800″ height=”500″ img src=””] [/imagetab] [imagetab width=”800″ height=”500″ img src=””] [/imagetab] [imagetab width=”800″ height=”500″ img src=””] [/imagetab] [/fusion_old_tabs]

Photos by Kate Branom for AudioFemme.

[/fusion_builder_column][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”]