RSVP HERE: Combo Chimbita and Sun Ra Arkestra Play Knitting Factory + MORE (Holiday Edition)

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE – your source for the best NYC shows and interviews with some of our favorite local live bands. This week we’ve doubled up and listed the best shows from 12/20-New Years!

My favorite show of 2019 was Combo Chimbita at Ace of Cups in Columbus, Ohio, so I’m so happy to be ending this year’s RSVP HERE column with an interview with them! The NYC-via-Colombia tropico-psychedlia meets cumbia rock band has a live set that takes you to another dimension of afro-futurism punk. Combo Chimbita consists of vocalist Carolina Oliveros, Prince of Queens on analog synths, Niño Lento on guitar and Dilemastronauta on a drum set that includes unique percussion instruments and crazy looking cymbals. Frontwoman Carolina Oliveros’ voice is so powerful it will make you cry and the way she plays the guacharaca is so intense it’s almost scary – I seriously thought she might slice someone’s head off. On their latest release Ahomale, which is a Yoruba word that means “adorer of ancestors,” Oliveros set out with the intent to connect with ancestral cosmology, a spirit that becomes animated in their live show.We spoke with the band about their Sun Ra Arkestra, music in Colombia, and inspirations behind their live show…

AF: What were some of your favorite cities you visited and shows you played while on the road in 2019?

Dilmeastronauta: LA, San Juan, NY

Niño Lento: San Juan, PR/Chicago/LA

Prince of Queens: This year we went to so many places! Playing in San Juan in January was amazing, LA, Chicago and Austin is always great for me – so many friends and the crowds are always amazing. One of my favorite shows was in Berlin for Día de los Muertos with Turbo Sonidero; that was an incredible party.

Carolina Oliveros: Berlín, Barcelona e Italia, LA, Chicago

AF: What are your favorite records to listen to while on the road?

D: SunRa “Nuclear War is a Mother Fucker,” Concha Buika “Don’t Explain”

NL: Bocanada (Gustavo Cerati), Lejos de Mi Amor (Polibio Mayorga)

PoQ: When you spend so much time on the road you listen to too much music sometimes… I like silence honestly! But I think always at some point during tour we hit that moment where we listen to classic rock and español and we all sing soda stereo really loud with the windows down.

CO: Me gusta mucho escuchar mucho afrobeats. Me pone alegre y contenta.

AF: What are the differences in the way the direction of music is going in Colombia vs the US?

D: Both cities offer something unique. I feel like NY provides me with access to witness more of the Caribbean diaspora music while Colombia offers its own roots plus, rock, metal etc.

PoQ: I think music in the US might be driven more by the diaspora and the immigrant experience. A lot of amazing music coming out from Colombia feels more focused on re-imagining and inspired by tradition and roots music. I think they are both super relevant and in many ways crossover.

CO: Se que colombia musicalmente en este momento es un gran referente, siento que se está haciendo mucha música que está conectada a las raíces.

AF: What are your favorite percussion instruments to use during your set?

D: Timbal!!!

PoQ: I don’t play it but the Carolina’s guacharaca is special.

AF: What is the inspiration behind the synth sounds you use?

PoQ: I love techno and sound design in general. I always try to approach synth playing more as a sound design tool than a traditional keyboard per se. I love analog sound and just unexpected freak out moments of synth.

AF: What are some of the biggest inspirations and influences on your live show? What are you looking forward to most about your show with Sun Ra Arkestra?

D: I look forward to witnessing the legacy of Sun Ra among the members of his band, their ability to improvise and to be colorful.

PoQ: Too many inspirations! I’m inspired by artists than transcend time and generations. Sun Ra Arkestra, los Wemblers, tabou combo, BIG sound on stage and full on rhythm. I’m not really a religious person but music is spiritual and powerful sound and stage presence can take you places far and deep. That’s what I am into. Honestly just meeting them and hearing them play. So much to learn and experience.

CO: Me gusta muchos lxs artistas que son únicxs y espontánexs y que proponen algo diferente en vivo, que no tienen miedo a explorar y dar creatividad para sus shows. James brown, Janis Joplin, mayra Andrade, La Lupe , celia cruz , concha buika. Tocar con Sun Ra será una de las experiencias más impactantes de mi carrera. Agradecida con tu interés de tocar con el combo .. sera una noche memorable, para ser feliz y hacer vibrar al público. Si quieren candela, candela le vamo a dar !!

AF: What are your plans for 2020 and the next decade?

D: I wanna tour in Latin America, it has become a dream I would like to fulfill.

PoQ: Travel to South America, write some new music and keep exploring, searching and interpreting those energies that keeps us together making music.

CO: Seguir poniendo sabor en el fogón. Haciendo beats poderosos , mucha letra que conecte y retumbe , muchos lugares para conquistar y mucha Alegría y nuevos amigxs

RSVP HERE for Combo Chimbita & Sun Ra Arkestra @ Knitting Factory on 12/28. All Ages / $25-$30

More great shows this week:

 2/20 Tall Juan (single release), Future Punks @ Knitting Factory. All Ages / $15 RSVP HERE

12/20 Surfbort, Bodega, Weeping Icon @ Market Hotel. All Ages / $15 RSVP HERE

12/20 Dinowalrus, Clone, It’s Over @ Trans-Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

12/21 Varsity (NYC debut), Emily Reo, Winter, Lunarette @ Market Hotel. All Ages /$15 RSVP HERE

12/22-12/30 The 8 Nights of Hanukkah with Yo La Tengo @ Bowery Ballroom. 18+ / $40 RSVP HERE

12/27 Veda Rays, No Ice, The Due Diligence @ Alphaville. 21+/ $10 RSVP HERE

12/28 GWAR @ Warsaw. All Ages / $25 RSVP HERE

12/28 Death By Sheep Holiday Party: Deli Girls, Dreamcrusher, Grooming, & more @ Trans Pecos. All Ages / $10 RSVP HERE

12/29 Deer Tick: Tick Tock @ Brooklyn Bowl. 21+ / $35 RSVP HERE

12/29 New Bomb Turks, The Atom Age, Spite Fuxxx @ Saint Vitus. 21+ / $25 RSVP HERE

12/20 Godcaster, Fantasy, Bug Fight, Water From Your Eyes @ The Broadway. 21+ / $12 RSVP HERE

12/31 The Strokes, Mac DeMarco @ Barclays Center. All Ages RSVP HERE

12/31 Priests (last show before hiatus), Russian Baths, Anti Ivry-Block @ Rough Trade. 18+ $25 RSVP HERE

12/31 Wavves @ Baby’s All Right. 21+ / $40 RSVP HERE

12/31 Gnarcissists, Native Sun, Max Pain and The Groovies, Sunflower Bean (DJ set) @ The Broadway. 21+ /$20 RSVP HERE

12/31 The Jesus Lizard @ Brooklyn Steel. 16+ / $65 RSVP HERE

12/31 Cloud Nothings, Field Mouse, Patio @ Knitting Factory. All Ages / $35-$40 RSVP HERE

12/31 Rubblebucket, Guerrilla Toss @ White Eagle Hall. 21+ $25 RSVP HERE

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Highlights from Bonnaroo 2019

Photo by Alive Coverage via Bonnaroo Facebook

Bringing a one-year-old baby to Bonnaroo never seemed like an easy idea – an interesting one, but not an easy one. The average weather at Bonnaroo varies from an intense dust-bowl heat to a chilly, rain-infused swamp mess. Your days are spent trekking from one end of The Farm to the other, pushing past an average of 40 to 80,000 people in order to catch a new act that may perform well (or may bite the dust). So this year, we wandered into the unknown, armed with a #killer stroller, snacks for miles, and grandparents…

We also cheated. Instead of camping with our cohorts over in Reddaroo, we climbed into an RV in Austin, Texas and drove the 13 hours to Manchester, Tennessee. Once on property, we plugged into our power hookup, turned up the AC, and took a look at the lineup. Overall, the experience was a very different one from the last four years we’ve gone. VIP camping definitely had its perks, with special viewing areas for both the main stages. It allowed us to do our usual hustle to the tent stages, while not feeling as rushed for the bigger name acts.

Even with a baby in tow, we didn’t slow down this year: The Grande Ole Opry, Childish Gambino, Maren Morris, The Lonely Island, Phish. It was a packed year, with a wide variety of music from across all genres. We narrowed it down to those stand-outs who really embody the Bonnaroo spirit, radiating positivity with music that speaks to a listener’s soul. Here are our highlights.

The Nude Party

Thursday nights are for new bands, tunes that feel fresh and in step with the times. North Carolina’s The Nude Party is definitely on the pulse of music’s semi-recent psychedelic rock resurgence. From beginning to end, the show felt like a college party, complete with a pickle party totem dance (thank you, The Pickle Crew), fishnet-clad bottoms wagging, and the kind of easy, fun lyrics a whole crowd can sing along to: “Spend half your life in that Chevrolet / Driving up and down the freeway / Someday when you’re too old to play / Yeah, you’ll wish you got a job.”

Magic City Hippies

Miami was in the house this year. Indie funk trio Magic City Hippies was as smooth as Rob Thomas in 1999 (that may read as an insult, but we were seriously into Mr. Thomas in 1999). Lead singer Robby Hunter crooned to the crowd with a sideways smile that said “I know you’re into it.” “Limestone” continues to be one of my favorite MCH tunes, its relaxed sexiness lulling the crowd into a dope-infused stupor.

Nahko And Medicine For The People

In the blistering sunshine, there’s not a lot of wiggle room when it comes to whether you like a band or not. Decisions are made quickly, with little to no regret involved. We came in halfway through Nahko’s Friday set and were immediately transfixed by the Oregon native’s stirring vocals and heartfelt lyrics. If you’re looking for music that will challenge and transform, here’s the ticket; Nahko describes his own spiritual journey with a jubilation that’s infectious: “So, tap me out and tap me into you / Heal my brain / and my body too / Balance my chemistry, hydrate these cells / Cause the body talks and meditation helps / The body talks and meditation helps.”


It’s always a little terrifying to look forward to one band at a festival above all others. For me, the band to see at Bonnaroo was Rubblebucket. For two years, I’ve been wanting to see them live, but with pregnancy and a busy first year, this mama hasn’t been able to see a lot of live music. Rubblebucket had the dreaded first set of The Which Stage on Saturday, but despite the hour and the heat, the band rose to the occasion. Kalmia Traver (vocals, saxophone) and Alex Toth (trumpet, band leader) have an enviable onstage relationship built on balance and play; how they came to work through alcoholism, cancer, and a breakup is a miracle in itself. The band’s music reflects the turmoil they’ve been through and the joy they’ve found through song.


I’ve skipped out on Hozier many times throughout the years. At least three times, maybe more. There’s always been something more juicy, a set rumored to be the talk of the festival. After all, we’re talking about Hozier. This year, there were no conflicts, no reason to skip; I found myself sitting on the mound at sunset, crying, because it turns out Andrew Hozier-Byrne is more than just a beautiful voice. His songs are tightly constructed political messages woven into pop songs. The real intent of Hozier’s message is never more clear than in his live performance, where you can hear him sing about homophobia on “Take Me To Church,” social justice on “Nina Cried Power,” and the end of the world on music from his latest album Wasteland, Baby!

After a few years of rebuilding its image, Bonnaroo 2019 felt more like itself, a solid mixtape of music spanning many genres. Sold out tickets and the sad smiles of festival goers leaving the grounds echoed the positive sentiment of this year. We already can’t wait til next ‘Roo.


LIVE REVIEW: Guerilla Toss at Union Pool

[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”]

All Photos by Sarah Knoll

The New York based genre bending band Guerilla Toss established a month-long residency at Brooklyn’s Union Pool. Playing every Tuesday in June, residencies like this make me question how a band with such a high energy and stamina like Guerilla Toss could keep up with the same performance every week. However, attending the last performance of their residency on June 26th with opener Kalbells, Guerilla Toss did not disappoint.

Opener Kallbells is actually the synth-pop project from lead singer of Rubblebucket, Kamila Traver. Her jumpy and energetic presence was quite shocking compared to her chillaxed presence observed at the bar of Union Pool earlier in the night. With an army of synthesizers played by Kamila and two other band members, Kalbells seems like Kamila’s bedroom diary.

A collective of sounds similar to Rubblebucket but with their own flavor, Kalbells’ performance was one of extreme interest and sensibility, creating a dialogue with the audience and speaking to them in an open context about song’s meaning. Such as in the song “1,2,3,4,5,6”, Kamila ended the song saying “this song is about orgasms, multiple of them” The all femme band is one to not sleep on, the dynamic of Kalbells is one of mutual respect for each other’s individual talent that they bring to the table. This band is a great blend between the 90’s girl riot bedroom pop and the synth pop wave of our contemporary time.







The Brooklyn based band Guerilla Toss was a band that has been hyped about for a long time. Their release of “GT Ultra” in 2017 was a sweet treat after their debut LP “Eraser Stargazer” in 2016. The band’s blend of poppy guitar riffs, intense synth parts and a complex bass line, the instrumentation of Guerilla Toss alone holds up to the band’s name. Lead singer Kassie Carlson sported an innocent look of overalls, but once she grabbed the mic, her vocals roared. Kassie does use some pedal effects to enhance her vocal quality to almost have an instrument of her own.

Her voice cuts through the heavy synth and bass and creates its own character to play a role in the narratives of Guerilla Toss’s sound. Playing songs off both of their releases such as “Betty Dreams of Green Man” and “Eraser Stargazer Forever”, the instrumental performance held far above the performance of the vocals. The vocals held their own means of necessity to carry the songs, but weren’t too memorable in comparison to the recordings. The small stage of Union Pool seemed to limit Kassie’s ability to be more energetic and dance around. Had there been more room, the band’s performance energy may have been higher. However, considering that this was week 4 of their 4-week residency at the Williamsburg centered bar and venue, it doesn’t come to shock that the energy was a bit lower than expected.

Maybe the band’s energy was a little low, but the crowd was anything but lackluster. A giant mosh pit formed almost as the band began their first song. It was not a friendly one though and made a lot of the show-goer’s uncomfortable. Shoving a lot of people whose faces from smiles turned to frowns. Even witnessing a couple who decided to leave the show from discomfort. Under no circumstances should a mosh pit be like that at all. It showed no respect and etiquette for the people around them, trying to enjoy the show. Swaying their bodies all across the middle of the room. It’s okay to dance, it’s okay to jump around, but for the sake of the other’s around, please do not throw yourself to start to engulf the whole middle of the venue. It was very unpleasant and put a damper on the show’s overall energy and safety.

Despite that, Guerilla Toss invited a bunch of brass players to play a couple of songs on stage. Making for a performance that sounded more similar to the recordings. Although it crowded up the stage even further, it did make for a more energetic performance just by the amount of sounds alone. Guerilla Toss definitely holds to its name but needs a push to translate the recordings to the performance.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

EP REVIEW: Rubblebucket “If U C My Enemies”

One thing that never tires me about Rubblebucket is that they can create unique, stand-alone tracks that each sound like they’re each from a completely different band. That, and their gratuitous use of brass (I’ll always be a ska kid at heart, I guess). Having not heard new music from the Brooklyn group since their 2014 release, Survival Sounds, it feels like a blessing to be graced by their new EP, If U C My Enemies, which comes via the band’s So Sensation Records.

The EP begins with a tinkling of keys on the track “Donna,” which sees Kalmia Traver’s washed out vocals and a groovy sax. If you close your eyes, you can practically see Traver on stage, dancing to this psychedelic number as she hits her perfectly timed falsetto. Next is the titular track, which hops around from being subdued and grounded to upbeat and energized. It kicks off with a heavy saxophone that’s balanced out by a perky trumpet from bandleader Alex Toth, then transitions into a quintessentially quirky Rubblebucket song with the help of Traver’s ascending vocals. The single is empowered and punchy, grabbing you by your shirt collar and dancing your around the room on its uplifting synths.

Following is “Not Cut out for This,” which is airy and sobering. The trumpet and lulling synths give it a more classic ska feel, and it’s the perfect dose of reality in such a small collection of songs. If U C My Enemies closes out with “Forlornification,” a funky, exuberant track that’ll leave your head buzzing with synths and brass. Its layered, gospel-like vocals and brass/guitar combo come full circle to enchant and haunt your mind, in the best way possible.

Rubblebucket plays their EP release show tonight at Greenpoint venue Warsaw. Stream the EP below.

LIVE REVIEW: Rubblebucket @ Brooklyn Bowl


You probably won’t be surprised to hear that Rubblebucket completely rocked my and many other worlds on Friday, January 11 at Brooklyn Bowl. And you also probably won’t be surprised to know that attending one of their shows is an unrivaled live experience that stuck with me for days afterwards.

Opening with their slow yet jammy “My Life,” the group was greeted by jumping, dancing fans almost as soon as their fingers struck the first guitar chord. From there, people only proceeded to lose their minds in the best way possible. It was difficult to figure out who was having more fun at the show—Rubblebucket or their fans.


Lead singer and saxophonist, Annakalmia Traver, knows how to get down. No, seriously. Not only can she belt out spine-tingling vocals, but she could probably also exhaust an entire class of kindergarteners with her seemingly endless supply of energy. There was also an incredible amount of synchronized dance moves, whether it was Alex Toth on trumpet and Adam Dotson on trombone getting down together or the entire band sweeping the stage in rhythm. It’s rare to find a band that grooves together so seamlessly, and Rubblebucket has got a serious connection to each other.


Not only did they perform some fan favorites like “Origami,” “Shake Me Around,” and “On the Ground,” but they also regaled us with plenty of new music. Traver, Troth, and Dotson hopped off the stage during “Came Out of a Lady,” weaving their way through the crowd while keeping the song going. And during “Carousel Ride,” Traver donned a fluffy pink tutu and jumped around the stage, completely lost in the song. And that’s a perfect way to summarize pretty much the entire show: lots of singing, dancing, and an overall passion for music from both performers and fans.


Now, I know what you’re wondering—was there confetti? Of COURSE there was confetti! And balloons! And balloons filled with confetti! And costume changes! And an inflatable raft carrying Traver across the crowd! It was ridiculous and amazing, and now I kind of want it to happen at every show I go to from now on.


They closed out the set with their cover of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” and “Hey Charlie,” making for a very ska-inspired, dance-worthy night. But it didn’t quite end there. Toth and Dotson walked off into the crowd where they jammed out a bit more with a robot that danced overhead. It’s almost hard to find the proper words to articulate the aura around Brooklyn Bowl that night, but I haven’t really stopped smiling since Friday.

IMG_2423 IMG_2559 IMG_2463 IMG_2473 IMG_2508 IMG_2453 IMG_2584

[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”]

All photos by Nicole Ortiz for AudioFemme.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]



Celestial Shore is a Brooklyn trio that cites bands like the Zombies and the Pixies as influences, but whose sound has never been anything but their own- spacey, floaty, always-shifting rock. When we talked to the band’s guitarist/vocalist, Sam Owens, they were preparing to book it to Austin for SXSW. We chatted about the early and last days of Glasslands, the drawbacks of email, and the time Deerhoof insisted on opening for Celestial Shore in a Syracuse basement.

AF: I really liked Enter Ghost as an album name. What inspired that?

SO: It happened one night when I was in Brooklyn, and I was driving in a cab through all these parts of town, going back to my apartment in Ridgewood. I was thinking about how all the corners I was passing- I was with my girlfriend, Cassandra, and it was very late one night- and we were thinking about how we were driving through all these areas that we had inhabited, or had moments in, and how they were kinda like ghosts. And also, it’s from when Hamlet’s father, when he enters- he’s dead- anytime he enters the stage, it says “Enter Ghost.” He always like, proclaims this evil, revenge plot that Hamlet gets obsessed with, so I kinda thought that was interesting too.

AF: Is Celestial Shore planning any new albums?

SO: Definitely. We’re going to SXSW in March, and then immediately after that I think we’ll record a third album. We’ve been writing and getting songs together, and we’ll test them out on our tour, then just hopefully jump right into the studio in April or May.

AF: Who are you touring with?

SO: For the first four shows we’re playing with Rubblebucket. They’re funny, and I’ve known them for a  long time. It’s a new crowd for us, so that’ll be fun.

AF: You played one of Glasslands’s final shows. How do you think the closing of that venue, and others like Death By Audio and Goodbye Blue Monday, have affected our local music scene?

SO: Oh man, that’s a big question. I had a “so be it” attitude about Vice buying up that corner, and Glasslands going away, and 285 Kent going away, and everything going away. I was driving down Kent avenue two weeks ago and basically, every area of this place, in NYC, in Brooklyn, is going to be void of any young, spirited, artistic culture. Forever. Which is terrible. Despite its irregularity, Glasslands- and Death By Audio- all these places were huge for so many people. I slept in a couch in the back of Glasslands the first couple of weeks I moved to New York, and my band had a practice space there, and [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”][the owners] Jake and Rami are really sweet. It’s sad to see them go, but it’s also the way things go. The sad thing is that what’s there now is going to be void of anything valuable except for financial, corporate interests. Which is a very small example of what’s happening in the whole country. This subject totally barrels out of control and anyone who talks about it for more than five minutes sounds like a huge asshole. (Laughs) Ultimately, I feel really sad about it.

I guess the reason I moved to New York is that I put out the first Bandcamp EP in 2011, and I got an email six hours later from these guys in London that said, “Hey, we want to put out your record” and my mind was totally blown. Then Jake and Rami emailed me, “Hey, we want to book a show in New York,” and I was like, but I don’t even live in New York yet- I guess I should move. So… I moved to New York, because we had a show on August 3rd, 2011 at Glasslands. Now I feel old.

AF: Can I ask how old you are?

SO: I’m 25.

AF: Yeah, that’s not old.

SO: No wait- did I tell you I’m 25? I’m totally 26. Holy shit. Yeah, I am old.

AF: You must be, since you’re starting to forget things!

SO: That’s from smoking too much pot in college.

AF: Yeah, that’ll do it…

SO: I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a phone call versus another-

AF: Email?

SO: Email thing. Cuz you know, your PR person sets up these interviews, so you get an email from someone you’ve never met with these really basic questions: “How did Celestial Shore meet? Why do you guys play music? Tell us about your sound.” Why I appreciate of course, the idea of being interviewed in the first place, which is a crazy, strange idea, I think a phone call is way cooler.

AF: You probably sound way different now than you would in an email.

SO: I could be the worst person in the world on an email. Because maybe, I was writing it on my cellphone in the subway with my thumbs. I’m so tired of emailing. Ready for my rant? My life goal, as a human being on earth- and this is going to make me sound like a huge asshole, but I don’t care- is to get a landline, and never have a cellphone, and to not be accountable on my email account. It’s incredible how accountable we’re expected to be throughout the day. If you don’t respond, then you’re the worst person ever.

You read all these great accounts… Lou Reed wrote a song about it- I mean I guess he was waiting for his drug dealer- his frustration about waiting for someone. I think it’s way more mystical, and magical, and sweet and romantic if you can just make a plan and try to do it. That’s my rant. Everyone’s email tone has become so camouflaged… Everybody is like a chameleon. Including myself.

AF: I’m glad I got you on the phone then, so I’m interviewing the real Sam.

SO: Yeah, maybe. Totally. I don’t know, I’m feeling pretty nostalgic tonight.

AF: What’s your source for finding new music?

SO: My source would be my friends, and the people I admire. I’ve been doing this thing with a couple of close friends where you just write down 30 artists, or songs, or videos, any kind of content you want to share. Not a link, just the name or whatever, on a sticky note. Then you have 30 of these sticky notes, and you give them to your friends. It’s really neat, because you have this physical thing that you can put next to your bed, and wake up in the morning and be like “Oh, yeah, I haven’t checked him out.”

I’ve been listening a lot to country music from the 1950’s, particularly Ernest Tubb. I keep coming back to it. I’m in one of those full circle periods, where I’m going back to 50’s country. The Carter Family, Johnny Cash, all these people. Ernest Tubb, yeah. Listen to his song “Thanks A Lot.”

Also, I’ve been mixing a lot of records, so I end up listening to the records I’m mixing a lot, out of necessity. I’m mixing an old time band right now. The week before that I was mixing this band called Friend Roulette. They’re from Brooklyn and they’re like, chamber pop. My ears are kind of all over the place.

AF: This is a typical interview question you’ve probably heard before, but—

SO: “How did your band meet?”

AF: Do you have a favorite venue to play at?

SO: You’ll have to let me think about this one for a minute… Can I tell you my favorite show I’ve ever played?

AF: Yeah, that’s a way better question.

SO: OK. So in April, we were fortunate enough to go on tour with Deerhoof, and they’re really dear to me. (Laughs) Oops. I’m not into puns, that much… I can’t say enough about Deerhoof, they totally changed the way I think about music. We had a day off, and this kid- his name is Phil Steiger, and he was going to school at Syracuse University at the time- had contacted us about playing a show in his basement. And we were like “Yeah, of course.” We were having Thai food with Deerhoof in Pittsburgh, and they were like, “Hey, what are you doing with your day off?” And I was just like, “We’re playing a show tomorrow.” And they were like, “Oh, Where’s the show?” And I said, “It’s in a basement in Syracuse. Do you guys want to play?” and they were like, “Yeah. We’ll talk about it and let you know tomorrow.”  So we were driving and I get a call from John, and he was like, “Yeah, so we’re down to play the show with you. We’ll play as long as we can open for you.” Because we’d been opening for them every night. Which was, surreal and hilarious. That’s Deerhoof. So I called this kid Phil and I was like, “Phil. Deerhoof’s coming with us. They’re going to play. They’re going to open for Celestial Shore.”

Phil’s a film student, by the way, and has since moved to L.A. and will shortly be premiering the video he made for us.

And then I fell asleep on the floor of the basement, Satomi ran off to find a tire swing, John was playing soccer in the street, it was such as wholesome experience. And since then, Deerhoof has told me that they mixed their last album with that concert experience in mind…I think it drummed up some old feelings of DIY shows they used to do. So anyway, that’s my favorite experience. So far.

AF: So far.

SO: Yeah.


SHOW REVIEW: Reptar w/ Stepdad & Rubblebucket

I first saw Reptar when they opened for Foster the People on their fall tour last year. It takes a lot for me to notice a band that is opening for an artist or group whose album I have memorized from the first to last notes, but Reptar possesses exactly that kind of high energy, enthralling dynamic that makes you wonder who you even came to see in the first place.

A year later, I’ve gained a more intimate relationship with their tunes and finally got the chance to see the Athens, Georgia quartet again. This time around, they were accompanied by Stepdad and Rubblebucket at the The Bowery Ballroom on a freezing cold November evening. In between my  first to the second experience, the band has grown – both in the musical quality and the number of musicians on stage. What was once a show featuring a few boys with their instruments on stage has turned into a fuller experience complete with blaring horns and some vocal distortion.

It’s reminiscent of the way they grew after their first EP, Oblangle Fizz Y’all!, which feels minimalist in comparison to the lush layers of sophomore release Body Faucet. The new music tastes like ’80’s kitsch on a funky plate and, like their older songs, is yummier when experienced live. The band radiates a neon-bright vibrance when on stage and with additional members joining them on tours, everything feels even more like a clusterfuck of childish excitement which their name already throws back to.

Sweeping through songs off of both releases, Reptar bounced and screamed and danced and invited the entire audience to the strange frat party they seemed to be throwing at that very moment. Several times throughout, lead singer and guitarist Graham Ulicny’s twangy screams of lyrics would become a complete mess of syllables and sounds that helped build their charm. They’re messy, dirty, and ridiculously fun, and that’s what makes Reptar.

By the end of the night, Stepdad and Rubblebucket had joined Reptar on stage for an enchantingly chaotic few moments of communal good vibes. And maybe that’s always Reptar’s goal by the end of the show – to share their good vibes with a room full of people where it doesn’t matter what song is playing as long as you’re dancing. The audience has felt it both times I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. In a smaller space, a show with this band feels like a group hug that ends in entangled bodies screaming and jumping up and down. It’s psychotically fresh and exactly what a live show should be.

While their music is better heard raw, unfiltered, and live, their initial EP and full-length album are as sweetly funky as they perform on stage. Check out these boys all over the web (and huge props to the genius who designed their throwback website) and make every effort to dive right into the middle of a Reptar dance pit when they come to town.

Content by Brittany Spanos for