Ganser Teams Up with Indie Rock Veterans for a Daring Remix EP

Photo Credit: Kirsten Miccoli

Chicago post-punk quartet Ganser transcend genre with their five-song remix EP Look at the Sun, which dropped on Felte Records May 6. Using tracks from their 2020 LP Just Look at That Sky, artists Bartees Strange, Sad13 (Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz), GLOK (Andy Bell of Ride), Algiers, and Adam Faulkner (Girl Band) showcases indie rock’s range while building on the chaos and disillusionment of the source material.

Ganser is Alicia Gaines (vocals, bass), Nadia Garofalo (vocals, keyboards), Brian Cundiff (drums), and Charlie Landsman (guitar): moody rock n’ rollers indebted to bands ranging from Sonic Youth to Durutti Column. Their name comes from a mental health condition where a person apes the signs of a physical or mental illness without “really” being sick. Unsurprisingly, the group is at their strongest exploring that gray area between seeming and being unwell. Gaines describes them as an “inward facing” band.

In the ultimate unplanned irony, Just Look at That Sky—a meditation on times of uncertainty—went live on July 31 of last year. The cover is a matte goldenrod with a circle cutout revealing a black and white photo of a woman’s face. She’s wearing circular glasses that feel both high-fashion and nautical—almost goggle-like. In the reflection are two towering buildings. All the promotional material show the record against what reads like an ’80s vacation photo of ocean expanse.

It feels both serene and uncanny, both for the endlessness of the waves and how the image sits rendered in time. Against the water, the yellow reads like a geometric diving helmet pumping oxygen to the woman as she… swims toward somewhere unfamiliar? says goodbye as she plunges into water? observes at a gentle, bobbing remove? It’s worth noting Gaines—who handles the band’s artwork—is an award-winning graphic designer.

Yes, an emerging act delivered something that promised to be an existential puzzler when racial and economic tensions exacerbated by the pandemic were especially palpable. This strongly lured some while repelling others, making the album a sleeper hit that wasn’t much championed until end-of-year lists arrived. The music itself is familiar without feeling derivative—a heady cloud of the most swaggering punk bands and indie acts from the past 40 years. What did cigarette ads used to say about filters? “All of the flavor gets through.”

With two women sharing vocals in the band—one of whom is Black—it’s easy to be tempted to use identity as the primary lens for examining Ganser’s music. We’re in a cultural moment where so much art from marginalized creators is evaluated based on how affirming it is to people who reflect the creators’ identities—or how instructive it is for everyone else. But Just Look at That Sky isn’t about the unique experience of identity; it’s ’90s-heavy art rock about collectively feeling uneasy—not how any one individual arrives at that emotion so much as what it’s like being there. As Mia Hughes noted in Clash magazine: “It’s perhaps a political record, but only as far as our lives are political.”

Ganser is a mix of art school alumni, service workers, and freelancers. Some are Jewish, some are queer. They’re all millennials who’ve survived two recessions, and since the pandemic they’ve suffered personal and professional losses because of COVID-19. When it comes to capturing unease, each member has a lot of reference material, to say the least.

“Half of art is being able to tell a good joke,” explains Gaines. “The joke’s not always funny, but it’s about framing or contextualizing it so it lands. That’s the only way I can think to describe it. Post-punk is getting narrowed down to a very small little box of dudes shouting and trying to, like, out Nick Cave each other. I consider us art rock because, to me, art rock’s aim is to be amusing to the people that compose it. It forces listeners to think about how we got to the punchline.”

On Look at the Sun, the punchline doesn’t change so much as get rearranged. Looking at the sun is honing in on one piece of the sky. It can mean basking in the day’s glow as much as burning your retinas, and that tension is what this EP captures. The most compelling tracks are “Bad Form (Sad13 Remix)” and “Self Service (Adam Faulkner/Girl Band Remix),” which lend a haunting dreamlike quality to songs about feeling surrounded by people who ask for too much while giving little in return.

But the standout is “Told You So (Algiers Remix).” The song opens with an eager drum rhythm appropriate for a seventies car chase. In comes a distorted clip of art historian John Berger reading from his approach-defining classic Ways of Seeing: “To be naked is to be without disguise. To be on display is to have the surface of one’s own skin, the hairs of one’s own body, turned into a disguise which cannot be discarded.” Then abolitionist Angela Davis says: “Revolutionary hope resides precisely among those women who have been abandoned by history and who are now standing up and making their demands heard.” 

The beat jolts forward, and in rushes Gaines’s voice—once languid and resigned, now reverberating with a dismissive, dance-y confidence. The song has an energy like DJ Keoki’s “Speed Racer” (minus all the sex jokes, plus mega cool-girl mystique). While Ganser is not a “political” band—that is, they don’t typically address politics head on through their music—the new introduction reframes lyrics like “Onwards and upwards/Almost gone/It’s nothing like dying/Nothing like me.” The words sound less self-pitying and more self-righteous, necessarily confrontational in a way that’s exciting and free.

If you follow Ganser on Twitter, you know that’s who they are at their core, but it doesn’t always translate to their music. That Algiers emphasizes this isn’t as much a revelation as a “HELL YES, THANK YOU!” Until the pandemic, Ganser was slated to tour with them. Hearing this track, it’s easy to imagine the raucous magic they would’ve brought to a shared stage.

“Before the world stopped, we were running around a million miles a minute,” explains Gaines. “We didn’t have time to wonder, like, ‘Why aren’t we getting booked for more support tours? I guess we have to keep trying. Or we suck.’ Once the album campaign started, we were getting in print magazines in the UK, but nobody would answer our emails back home.

“After a while, it was really jarring, but then it became pretty clear what was going on. We can’t help if people are intimidated by women expressing ugly emotions or intimidated by a Black person playing an instrument. I don’t know, I can’t read their minds. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. We hide puns and jokes on our record. There’s a lot of layers. I guess people can just catch up.”

Chicago’s certainly there. Ganser might be the city’s best kept secret. The post-punk quartet recently won a donor-nominated Sustain Chicago Music grant. They’re headlining a nearly-sold out three day stint at the Empty Bottle, one of Chicago’s most taste-defining indie venues. In the Reader’s “Best of Chicago 2020,” they were voted audiences’ second favorite punk band (Rise Against took first, which I have MANY questions about). And in September, Ganser will make their Riot Fest debut. Not bad for a group whose sophomore release arrived in the middle of a public health crisis.

While the band is still coming into their own, their future should prove interesting. Is the rest of the world ready for such a promising powerhouse?

Follow Ganser on Facebook and Instagram for ongoing updates.

AF 2020 IN REVIEW: Our Favorite Albums & Singles of The Year

In a year that’s been like no other for the music industry, it feels a bit weird to make a best of 2020 list – there have been no tours, venues and clubs across the globe are in danger of closing their doors for good, release schedules were shuffled beyond recognition, and musicians have had to find other ways to make ends meet while those in the U.S. await the next round of paltry stimulus checks. With a situation so dire, the metrics have changed – should we ascribe arbitrary value to the skill of producers, songwriters, performers, and the execution of their finished projects, or simply celebrate records that made us feel like the whole world wasn’t crumbling?

Definitively ranking releases has never been the Audiofemme model for looking back on the year in music. Instead, our writers each share a short list of what moved them most, in the hopes that our readers will find something that moves them, too. Whether you spent the lockdown voraciously listening to more new music this year than ever before, or fell back on comforting favorites, or didn’t have the headspace to absorb the wealth of music inspired by the pandemic, the variety here emphasizes how truly essential music can be to our well-being. If you’re in the position to do so, support your favorite artists and venues by buying merch, and check out the National Independent Venue Association to stay updated on what’s happening with the Save Our Stages act. Here’s to a brighter 2021.


  • Marianne White (Executive Director)
    • Top 10 Albums:
      1) Mary Lattimore – Silver Ladders
      2) the Microphones – Microphones in 2020
      3) Soccer Mommy – Color Theory
      4) Megan Thee Stallion – Good News
      5) Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher
      6) Amaarae – The Angel You Don’t Know
      7) Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
      8) Adrianne Lenker – songs/instrumentals
      9) Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately
      10) Lomelda – Hannah
    • Top 5 Singles:
      1) Kinlaw – “Permissions”
      2) Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”
      3) Little Dragon & Moses Sumney – “The Other Lover”
      4) Yves Tumor – “Kerosene!”
      5) Megan Thee Stallion – “Shots Fired”

  • Lindsey Rhoades (Editor-in-Chief)
    • Top 10 Albums:
      1) Land of Talk – Indistinct Conversations
      2) Dehd – Flower of Devotion
      3) SAULT – Untitled (Black Is)/Untitled (Rise)
      4) Public Practice – Gentle Grip
      5) Cindy Lee – What’s Tonight to Eternity
      6) Fiona Apple – Fetch the Bolt Cutters
      7) Benny Yurco – You Are My Dreams
      8) Eve Owen – Don’t Let the Ink Dry
      9) Porridge Radio – Every Bad
      10) Jess Cornelius – Distance
    • Top 10 Singles:
      1) Little Hag – “Tetris”
      2) Elizabeth Moen – “Creature of Habit”
      3) Yo La Tengo – “Bleeding”
      4) Caribou – “Home”
      5) Jess Williamson – “Pictures of Flowers”
      6) Adrianne Lenker – “anything”
      7) Nicolás Jaar – “Mud”
      8) Soccer Mommy – “Circle the Drain”
      9) New Fries – “Ploce”
      10) El Perro Del Mar – “The Bells”


  • Alexa Peters (Playing Seattle)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Deep Sea Diver – Impossible Weight
      2) Blimes and Gab – Talk About It
      3) Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately
      4) Tomo Nakayama – Melonday
      5) Matt Gold – Imagined Sky
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Stevie Wonder – “Can’t Put it in the Hands of Fate”
      2) Tomo Nakayama – “Get To Know You”
      3) Ariana Grande – “Positions”

  • Amanda Silberling (Playing Philly)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Frances Quinlan – Likewise
      2) Bartees Strange – Live Forever
      3) Told Slant – Point the Flashlight and Walk
      4) Diet Cig – Do You Wonder About Me?
      5) Shamir – Shamir
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Kississippi – “Around Your Room”
      2) Sad13 – “Hysterical”
      3) The Garages – “Mike Townsend (Is a Disappointment)”

  • Ashley Prillaman (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Perfume Genius – Set My Heart On Fire Immediately
      2) Lasse Passage – Sunwards
      3) Megan Thee Stallion – Good News
      4) Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
      5) Yves Tumor – Heaven To A Tortured Mind
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Megan Thee Stallion – “B.I.T.C.H.”
      2) Perfume Genius – “On the Floor”
      3) SG Lewis & Robyn – “Impact” (feat. Robyn & Channel Tres)

  • Cat Woods (Playing Melbourne)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Jarvis Cocker – Beyond the Pale
      2) Róisín Murphy – Róisín Machine
      3) Run the Jewels – RTJ4
      4) Emma Donovan & The Putbacks – Crossover
      5) Various Artists – Deadly Hearts: Walking Together
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Emma Donovan & The Putbacks – “Mob March”
      2) Laura Veirs – “Freedom Feeling”
      3) Miley Cyrus – “Never Be Me”

  • Chaka V. Grier (Playing Toronto)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Lianne La Havas – Lianne La Havas
      2) Joya Mooi – Blossom Carefully
      3) Lady Gaga – Chromatica
      4) Witch Prophet – DNA Activation
      5) Tremendum – Winter
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Lianne La Havas – “Green Papaya”
      2) Lady Gaga – “Free Woman”
      3) Allie X – “Susie Save Your Love”

  • Cillea Houghton (Playing Nashville)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Chris Stapleton  – Starting Over
      2) Brett Eldredge – Sunday Drive
      3) Little Big Town – Nightfall
      4) Ingrid Andress – Lady Like
      5) Ruston Kelly – Shape & Destroy
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) The Weeknd – “Blinding Lights”
      2) Billie Eilish – “Therefore I Am”
      3) Remi Wolf  – “Hello Hello Hello”

  • Eleanor Forrest (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Grimes – Miss Anthropocene
      2) Rina Sawayama – SAWAYAMA
      3) Allie X – Cape Cod
      4) LEXXE – Meet Me in the Shadows
      5) Gustavo Santaolalla, Mac Quayle – The Last of Us Part II (Original Soundtrack)
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) CL – “+5 STAR+”
      2) Yves Tumor & Kelsey Lu – “let all the poisons that lurk in the mud seep out”
      3)  Stephan Moccio – “Freddie’s Theme”

  • Gillian G. Gaar (Musique Boutique)
    • Top 10 Albums:
      1) Dust Bowl Faeries – Plague Garden
      2) Ganser – Just Look At That Sky
      3) Oceanator – Things I Never Said
      4) Loma – Don’t Shy Away
      5) Maggie Herron – Your Refrain
      6) Pretenders – Hate for Sale
      7) The Bird and the Bee – Put up the Lights
      8) Partner – Never Give Up
      9) Bully – Sugaregg
      10) Olivia Awbrey – Dishonorable Harvest

  • Jason Scott (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Mickey Guyton – Bridges EP
      2) Katie Pruitt – Expectations
      3) Mandy Moore – Silver Landings
      4) Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
      5) Cf Watkins – Babygirl
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Mickey Guyton – “Black Like Me”
      2) Ashley McBryde – “Stone”
      3) Lori McKenna feat. Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose – “When You’re My Age”

  • Jamila Aboushaca (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Tame Impala – The Slow Rush
      2) Khruangbin – Mordechai
      3) Kid Cudi – Man on the Moon III: The Chosen
      4) Tycho – Simulcast
      5) Run the Jewels – RTJ4
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Tame Impala – “Lost In Yesterday”
      2) Phoebe Bridgers – “Kyoto”
      3) Halsey – “You should be sad”

  • Liz Ohanesian (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Róisín Murphy – Róisín Machine
      2) Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
      3) Phenomenal Handclap Band – PHB
      4) Khruangbin – Mordechai
      5) TootArd – Migrant Birds
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Anoraak – “Gang” 
      2) Kylie Minogue – “Magic”
      3) Horsemeat Disco feat. Phenomenal Handclap Band – “Sanctuary”  

  • Michelle Rose (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
      2) Taylor Swift – folklore
      3) Shamir – Shamir
      4) Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?
      5) HAIM – Women in Music Pt. III
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Porches – “I Miss That” 
      2) Annabel Jones – “Spiritual Violence”
      3) Wolf – “High Waist Jeans”  

  • Sara Barron (Playing Detroit)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Summer Walker – Over It
      2) Yaeji – WHAT WE DREW
      3) Liv.e – Couldn’t Wait to Tell You
      4) Ojerime – B4 I Breakdown
      5) KeiyaA – Forever, Ya Girl
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Yves Tumor – “Kerosene!”
      2) Kali Uchis, Jhay Cortez – “la luz (fin)”
      3) fleet.dreams – “Selph Love”

  • Sophia Vaccaro (Playing the Bay)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now
      2) The Front Bottoms – In Sickness & In Flames
      3) Zheani – Zheani Sparkes EP
      4) Various Artists – Save Stereogum: A ’00s Covers Comp
      5) Halsey – Manic
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Charli XCX – “forever”
      2) Doja Cat – “Boss Bitch”
      3) Wolf – “Hoops”

  • Suzannah Weiss (Contributor)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Galantis – Church
      2) Best Coast – Always Tomorrow
      3) Overcoats – The Fight
      4) Holy Motors – Horse
      5) Suzanne Vallie – Love Lives Where Rules Die
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) CAMÍNA – “Cinnamon”
      2) Naïka – “African Sun”
      3) Edoheart – “Original Sufferhead”

  • Tarra Thiessen (RSVP Here, Check the Spreadsheet)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Brigid Dawson & The Mothers Network – Ballet of Apes
      2) Ganser – Just Look At That Sky
      3) Death Valley Girls – Under The Spell of Joy
      4) The Koreatown Oddity – Little Dominiques Nosebleed
      5) Ghost Funk Orchestra – An Ode To Escapism
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Miss Eaves – “Belly Bounce”
      2) Purple Witch of Culver – “Trig”
      3) Shilpa Ray – “Heteronormative Horseshit Blues”

  • Victoria Moorwood (Playing Cincy)
    • Top 5 Albums:
      1) Lil Baby – My Turn
      2) A$AP Ferg – Floor Seats II
      3) Polo G – The Goat
      4) The Weeknd – After Hours
      5) Teyana Taylor – The Album
    • Top 3 Singles:
      1) Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion – “WAP”
      2) Roddy Ricch  – “The Box”
      3) Big Sean & Nipsey Hussle – “Deep Reverence”

RSVP HERE: Nihiloceros Livestreams via Radio Free Brooklyn + MORE

Photo Credit: Carlo Minchillo

Mike Borchardt, frontman of Brooklyn DIY punk outfit Nihiloceros, is a stellar show-goer. He is always stage-side, taking photos and promoting every show happening that week on his band’s social media accounts. From the looks of Instagram, he has taken the transition from IRL gigs to virtual shows in stride, continuing to post live stream schedules and Insta-live screen shots.

Mike started what has become Brooklyn’s most supportive band in his hometown of Chicago. They were originally called Samantha, but changed their name to the much more Google-able Nihiloceros. The trash pop trio’s rhythm section is filled out by Alex Hoffman on bass and vocals, and German Sent on drums. They released a self-titled EP in 2017, and are putting the finishing touches on their follow-up EP in a socially distant manner. You can catch Mike of Nihiloceros doing a solo set this Tuesday,  June 2nd on Radio Free Brooklyn’s Instagram at 8pm. We chatted with Mike about commuting during lock down, creative livestreaming, and being quarantined with band mates.

AF: Has Nihiloceros been able to get together or collaborate remotely during lockdown?

MB:Luckily Alex lives right downstairs so he and I have been able to work on music a bit. We’ve built a little recording booth in the basement for a few finishing touches on the new Nihiloceros record. I’m still taking the subway into Manhattan every day for work, and Alex’s wife is pregnant, so we’ve been trying to socially distance the “upstairs people” from the “downstairs people” as much as possible. I’m definitely the black sheep pariah of Nihiloceros Castle.

German has been quarantined with his family in New Jersey. I haven’t seen him since our last show the first week of March, but we’ve been talking through musical concepts we are excited to start exploring. German drove back into Brooklyn a couple times to go play drums in isolation at our rehearsal space. Alex and German are both in the middle of home construction projects, so they’ve also been swapping notes on demolition and rehab. German and I have been workshopping prototypes for new merch, including Nihiloceros soap and Nihiloceros Chia Pets.

AF: What are some of the things you’ve done to support bands and venues in lieu of not being able to go to shows?

MB: It’s been really important to us to stay involved with the scene as we all navigate this crisis together. I’ve written a handful of songs for some quarantine compilations (Dim Things, Shred City, NYC Musicians for NYC) all to raise money for Artist Relief Tree, Food Bank for NYC, etc. We’ve done a series of video sessions and livestreams for a lot of the venues like Our Wicked Lady and The Footlight to help them pay their staff and hopefully keep their doors open on the other side of this. Everyone should check out the work NIVA [National Independent Venue Association] is doing through #SaveOurStages to drum up congressional support and secure funding on a national scale for all these stages that make up our DIY tour circuits.

Alex and I are both lucky to still be working, so we’ve been buying merch and music from bands as much as possible. And also obviously we’ve been catching and sharing as many artists’ livestreams as possible. From a photography standpoint, those screenshots on the phone aren’t as fun, but they’re much easier to edit.

AF: Do you have any creative tips on screen shooting live streams? What’s your approach to live streaming like?

MB: I think we are all still trying to figure that out. I remember the first week of the lockdown, we played a couple shows on the Left Bank Magazine Virtual Music Fest, and we all spent a lot of time looking to see if we had hit the right button, if we were live, if people were watching, and asking viewers if everything sounded okay. In the weeks and months since, I think we started to figure things out. I believe Ilithios was the first I saw who just shut up and put on a great show. Since then, I’ve tried to make our livestreams be more like a real performance and less like my dad trying to use the internet.

We also always try and partner a livestream with an organization or label/blog/venue (BandsDoBK, Ms. Understood Records, Songwriters Salon, etc.) as a vehicle to raise money or awareness for something we care about. Gillian Visco (Shadow Monster) and I came up with a super fun weekly music hangout stream idea called #TagnSplit that’s been touring around the community for a few weeks now. We got some stuff we are working on with Bloodless Management, Street Wannabes, as well as some live podcasts in Staten Island and Philadelphia and St.Louis. And this Tuesday night 6/2, Nihiloceros is going live on Radio Free Brooklyn to play some songs and talk about ways we can all help out.

AF: You’re an essential worker and still commute to your job everyday. How has navigating the city been during this time and has the experience changed your perspective of New York City?

MB: Taking the subway into the city everyday amidst the pandemic has definitely been an experience I won’t soon forget. It’s been a constantly evolving situation that I’ve witnessed ranging from terrifying to extremely heartwarming. On one side there’s the Mad Max post-apocalyptic Manhattan streets and the homeless camp territory wars on the subways. But at the same time I see a heightened sense of care and humanity as we reach out and help one another, and as we take responsibility to safely share our limited social spaces. The other day, a stranger pulled over and got out of her car to give me her canvas bag and helped me gather my groceries that had fallen, broken eggs all over the sidewalk, and humus that rolled into the street. This pandemic has had a real polarizing effect, but it has reaffirmed my perspective of NYC and everything that defines it. Everything great and everything awful about this city will still be here after this crisis is over. And that’s kind of comforting to me. Though hopefully we carry forward a little more of the good than we do the awful.

AF: What do you think life in NYC as a musician will be like post-lockdown?

MB: I think humans have a short memory and an amazing ability to adapt and pivot. That can be both a good and bad thing. We are extremely resilient, but we often don’t learn from missteps and end up repeating the same mistakes. I think our communities will make some adjustments as we ease back into our new normal. I don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like. It might be a little while before moshing, crowd-surfing, and hugs make a huge comeback. People are itching to get back out into our creative outlets and social circles, but we are also justifiably apprehensive. It will just take time.

I hope we learn to appreciate what matters a little more, both in and out of music. Maybe we won’t feel the need to scramble all over each other all the time. Maybe we can slow down and enjoy the process a little more. This has been a unique opportunity to reset who we are as artists and who we are as people. It’s an opportunity to rebuild the community the way we want it built. I really hope we continue to build each other up and come to appreciate the journey rather than the destination.

AF: Is Nihiloceros planning to release any new music in 2020?

MB: That’s the million dollar question right now, and I really don’t know the answer. Our new record was almost finished before the pandemic hit. Alex and I had been in the studio writing and recording and it with Chris Gilroy, who drummed with us on the record before German joined the band. We are super proud of it, and were already extremely eager to release it. But as a band that defines themselves so heavily on their live show, it just doesn’t feel right to put it out there without the ability to play and tour on it properly. We’ve had to push both our Summer and Fall 2020 tour plans, so we may hold off on releasing it until we have a better idea of what the future of live music looks like.

I’ve been losing a lot of sleep over this the past few months. We still have to get Stephanie Gunther (Desert Sharks) and Gillian Visco (Shadow Monster) into the studio to do some vocals on a couple songs once it’s safe. Maybe we’ll release a song later this year, and release two records in 2021 since we’ve already started writing new songs.

RSVP HERE for Mike of Nihiloceros livestream on Radio Free Brooklyn’s Instagram 8pm Tuesday 6/2.

More great livestreams this week…

5/29 Ana Becker (of Catty, Fruit&Flowers, Habibi) and Vanessa Silberman via The Foolight Instagram. 8pm est, RSVP HERE

5/29 Dropkick Murphys and Bruce Springsteen via Fenway Park Facebook. 6pm est, RSVP HERE

5/30 Johanna Warren and SAD13 via Baby.TV. 7pm est, $5-50, RSVP HERE

5/30 Psychic Twin (dance party) via Instagram. 1am est, RSVP HERE

5/31 Courtney Marie Andrews via Pickathon Presents YouTube. 4pm est, RSVP HERE

6/1 Brandi Carlile performing By The Way, I Forgive You via Veeps. 9pm est, RSVP HERE

6/1 Elvis Costello, Anne Hathaway and more via YouTube (Public Theatre Benefit). 7:15pm est, RSVP HERE

6/1 Waxahatchee via Noonchorus. 9pm est, RSVP HERE

6/4 Whitney via Noonchorus. 8pm est, $15, RSVP HERE

PET POLITICS: Chatting with Pittie Parent and Longtime Vegan Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz

Sadie Dupuis is a shredder with a cause. An artist through-and-through, Sadie is a prolific songwriter, poet, and visual artist. She’s the imagination and voice behind the innovative and ever-evolving rock group Speedy Ortiz, who are fresh off a tour with Interpol. Sadie also releases solo work as her alter-ego to SAD13. But Sadie’s voice extends beyond the artistic realm. She has consistently been one of our generation’s most outspoken artists on a wide range of issues – standing up for human rights, political justice, climate change awareness, sustainability, and this column’s favorite pals, the animals. Sadie is a long-time dog mom to a pitbull cutie named Buster. Audiofemme talked to Sadie to hear about the many causes Sadie supports (and how we can help too), some stories from Speedy’s tour with Interpol, upcoming dates for Speedy Ortiz in 2019, and mostly Sadie’s love for animals and the history that led her to dog-parenting and animal advocacy.

AF: Please introduce us to your fur son.

SD: This is Buster, who I think of as my regular son who happens to be only slightly furrier than me.

All photos courtesy of Sadie Dupuis.

AF: How did you and Buster find each other?

SD: I started fostering Buster on Valentine’s day of 2011. I found him on Craigslist while I was living in New York. My friend and roommate had passed away in late January, and I was having trouble adapting to living without him in what was our shared space, which was also where he died. You can only sage an apartment so much.

I started fostering pit bull mixes in my first apartment as an 18 year old, and loved the experience. I thought that giving care to another animal in that way might help me get out of my head and my grief. Which of course it did. Buster was four months old, a stray rescued from North Carolina by a now defunct New York pit bull rescue. He was recovering from a bad case of mange with tons of bald spots, and his eyes were so scabbed over from it that he was still recovering his eyesight. But I knew right away I would wind up adopting him.

I wanted to change his name from “Buster,” which the shelter had given him, to “Fry.” He wasn’t having it. And besides, he’s a major mama’s boy, very like Buster Bluth. But of course he responds to all manner of nicknames. Chief among them “Lil B.”

He had a very calm and timid energy at first – he didn’t bark until after his first birthday – but he came into his own. He’s got a weird sense of humor and an impossible to predict bratty streak. He cracks me up constantly, but is also great at intuiting when the people around him need quiet, cuddly support. I always thought he’d make an incredible therapy dog. He’s certainly provided that for me.

Buster at 4 months.

Buster at 6 months on his first road trip.

AF: Are there any animal shelters you can recommend to people looking for a furever friend?

SD: Now that I live in Philadelphia, I pay attention to Morris Animal Refuge, the first animal shelter in the country. They are open admission and do tons to provide homes for the animals that pass through. Supporting your local no-kill shelter or rescue is the best, whether that’s with money, fostering, volunteering, or social media sharing. Donating to shelters in someone’s name is a thoughtful and useful gift for birthdays or holidays!

Sadie and Buster having themselves a Merry Little Christmas.

AF: Did you have many pets growing up?

SD: I grew up with a miniature schnauzer. I have a tattoo of him.

My mom’s boyfriend for most of my childhood was not only a former punk drummer, but also an amazing dog trainer, and a really formative influence for me in both those departments. At any given time, he’d have at least ten dogs in the house, at different stages in their education. He’d get tasked with dogs who had histories of violence due to poor training and seeing them make progress was amazing early learning experience that no dogs are inherently bad, and that with love and support animals can make tremendous recoveries. Matty’s still an incredible dog trainer for the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons and I keep up with his posts on Instagram. We also had six rescue cats at one point. Well, one rescue cat and her five kittens. Which is wild to me, because I’m so so so allergic to them. I was drugged up on antihistamines my whole childhood for this reason.

1999ish, high on Claritin, holding Rudy (mother Kitty in the background).

AF: What is your spirit animal?

SD: I’m non-Indigenous and white, so spirit animals aren’t a belief system or phrase I have access to in a way that isn’t appropriative. If I had to pick an animal I identify most with, it’d be (big surprise) dogs. Especially dogs that are territorial over their food. There is a corgi named after me called Sadie Dogpuis (she has a very cute Instagram) so I feel like we are forever psychically linked in name at least.

Sadie Dogpuis and Sadie Dupuis at Junior High in LA.

AF: Have you ever written a song about (non-human) animals?

SD: There was an early Speedy Ortiz song called “frankenweenie” about putting down my childhood dog, partially as a metaphor for getting out of my first long-term relationship. That’s the most specific one I can think of. Animals show up all over my work, though, now that I think of it. Our first album has songs about tigers, horses, fish, rats, not to mention some dog-specific terminology like “coats for curs” and “kennel cough.” The second album has a golden Foil Deer as its album artwork, title, and central metaphor. So I’m very drawn to non-human entities in my work. Also, we’ve tried to put Buster in music videos or press photos like five times. Varying levels of success.

Our first press photo. 2012. I remember getting told it wa too lo-res to print in Nylon. Even though there is a very willing dog model.

Real Hair era. By Emma Rothenberg-Ware. EW ran this, I think. Buster is eager, ready.

‘Twerp Verse’ photo shoot by Shervin Lainez, 2017. Buster is over it.

AF: Favorite all-time (non-human) animal-themed song?

SD: All-time is tough, but I have Palehound on my mind right now and I love her song “Dry Food.” Nicki Minaj saying “you a lil dusty possum” is one of my favorite moments of recorded music.

AF: You just returned from a few big tours this year. Can you share an interesting story with us?

SD: We were just on tour with Interpol, and on a few of the dates, they invited local animal shelters to bring puppies and kittens backstage. The band hung out with the animals and took some cute photos for promotion and were able to help them find forever homes for rescued animals. I think that’s a genius way to support animals and also feel some love on tour, which can be lonely and isolating. Definitely one of my favorite things I’ve seen a headliner request.

A sweet puppy backstage on tour with Interpol.

AF: If your pup Buster had a band, what instrument would he play and what would the band be called?

SD: Buster’s a yodeler and sometimes yowls along to music I play. He thumps his tail aggressively while wagging, so drums are an obvious choice. He’s a good dancer too and loves scampering around when we play, so he doesn’t necessarily have to go into performing music – I’m not gonna force him to follow in my footsteps. Although his jingling collar does show up on some of our recordings when I incorporate excerpts I tracked at home.

Buster’s first favorite bed, a snare drum bag.

He loves music with high pitched guitars and always liked when my ex-bandmate Devin McKnight (now of Maneka) played with a Digitech Whammy. Weirdly, high-pitched, rhythmic vocals are a no – he hates when I play Melt Banana and early Guerilla Toss.

He shreds (not anymore).

Buster at Sonelab in Easthampton, MA while we were mixing Major Arcana.

AF: If he could have another (non-human) animal friend to hang with, fictional or real, what would s/he be?

SD: As he’s gotten older – turning nine this year, already! – Buster’s gotten less good with other dogs, which is a bummer since he used to love playing at the dog park. My mom lives near a dairy farm and when we drive past the cows, Buster loses it. I think he wants to befriend them, which of course I would encourage if I wasn’t worried he’d scare them. Personally, I would love it if Buster made pals with a pig, because that would mean I got to be pals with a pig, too. But honestly, he thinks he’s a person and mostly he just wants to hang out with us.

Sporting a Tooth and Honey sweater.

AF: You have done a commendable job using your voice as an artist to incite positive change among fellow humans, our friends sharing the animal kingdom, and the world at large. Many of us have been hit even harder than usual with the current political climate. Are there any organizations currently that you would like to highlight and urge readers to support?

SD: On the human side, in 2019 we’ve focused on fundraising for and promoting Harm Reduction Coalition, who do work for individuals and communities impacted by drug use. They focus on agency, dignity, safety, and policy reform for people who use drugs, and are involved in initiatives like needle exchange, injection sites, naloxone training, fentanyl testing, and more. I’m really glad for every opportunity to tell people about the life saving work they do and am honored that some of their representatives will be tabling with information at upcoming Speedy Ortiz shows.

On the animal side, I’m daily inspired by people and sanctuaries on Instagram who share their processes in rehabilitating and caring for animals. Kitten Lady, Ducks and Clucks, Prissy Pig, Sesame the Opossum (RIP) are some favorites. Goats of Anarchy recently took in a friend’s special needs goat, and I’ve never felt closer to celebrity. As a vegan I’m psyched when animals others think of as food get to show off that they are as loving and intelligent and funny as dogs and cats. A friend works for Woodstock Farm Sanctuary and I love seeing all the adorable and happy sheep, goats, pigs and chickens. Definitely an organization worthy of support.

AF: When did you become vegan and what prompted you to make the switch?

SD: I became uncertain about eating animals at age 7 after The Simpsons episode “Lisa the Vegetarian” first aired, and as I started to connect “foods” with the animals they came from – like lamb, or rabbit – I couldn’t do it. I stopped eating all mammals in 1998 after my mom moved close to the aforementioned dairy farm and I got to see cows and calves up close every day. So I’m vegetarian purely for animal welfare reasons. Veganism happened right before my final semester of high school in 2006 once I learned more about the environmental impacts of farming industries and the health risks associated with animal milk and eggs. I’d had sports-induced asthma, which went away immediately, and chronic stomach issues I’d had my whole life were seriously diminished.

There were a couple times when I was still a teen that I tried local and sustainably sourced dairy or fish, like when I was studying abroad in Spain, because it then seemed culturally significant to me, or something. But that doesn’t fit in with my philosophy any more and it’s been more than a decade since I viewed anything from an animal as “food.” I get to tour globally and try all kinds of amazing foods and I never wish I followed any other kind of diet. Also, over the past 13 years of veganism, food creatives have gotten so much better at replicating pretty much anything in a plant-based way.

Buster enjoying the sunset at a cemetery screening of The Craft.

AF: I noticed you have made some plugs to sustainable brands on your Instagram. Can you recommend any vegan companies to our readers looking to reduce their carbon footprint?

SD: I recently learned about mushroom leather, and bought my first mushroom suede bag, which is a sustainable (and PVC-free) way to have some beautiful accessories! Native Shoes are my new favorite sneakers – they’re recycled, affordable, and come in very cool styles and colors. MooShoes is a great resource for finding out about new brands in vegan and eco-conscious footwear and I go to their locations in New York and Los Angeles regularly.

AF: Any favorite vegan restaurants or recipes to share?

SD: I have a favorite in every city, but Philly has a crown jewel of American veganism in Vedge. They do a rutabaga fondue that every non-vegan I’ve brought there raves about for years. It’s a bit pricey so it’s best for a really special occasion or if someone else is footing the bill. I did just come home from Mexico City yesterday, which is perhaps the greatest vegan city in the world. Gatorta, Por Siempre, Los Loosers, La Pitahaya and Pan Comido are five of my favorite restaurants – it’s crazy that one city gets to have all of them!

AF: What do you have in store for us with Speedy Ortiz, SAD13, and all your musical endeavors for the remainder of 2019 and 2020?

SD: Mostly eating on tour or eating while recording! You can find all Speedy Ortiz dates at, including upcoming dates with CHVRCHES.

CHECK THE SPREADSHEET: Talking Tour Eats with Cassie Ramone, Sadie Dupuis, and Chloe Chaidez


One surprisingly common tour complaint is not being able to poop for the first few days. Probably due to a mix of public restroom anxiety and not eating like your normal self would, tour constipation doesn’t sound that bad compared to “fire ass,” something my former tourmates have suffered from after consuming too many gas station hot dogs. Even worse though, Darkwing’s fill-in drummer vomited for a day and a half after he solely ate ramen noodles for a week straight. It should go without saying that staying sane and healthy on the road begins with figuring out how to eat well while on a budget, but it’s not always as simple as it might sound. Around the time I started experiencing a weird cold and cough on Sharkmuffin’s last tour, our manager joked that my daily diet of coffee for breakfast, a quinoa salad for lunch, and wine for dinner might have something to do with it. With the help of our road foodie experts Cassie Ramone, Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz and Sad13, and Chloe Chaidez of Kitten we can hopefully learn to avoid all of these tour ailments.

Cassie Ramone

Vivian Girls/The Babies

First of all let me preface this by saying that I love both cheap eating and fancy food, I’m an omnivore with no dietary restrictions (although I try to eat healthy or vegetarian more often than not… key word here is “try” though), and I love both local cuisine and the comfort of chain restaurants. Sometimes when you’re on tour for an extended period of time, McDonald’s and Subway help so much to regain a sense of familiarity. I’m also a huge fan of Denny’s. If I’m in the South or Midwest, Waffle House is essential. I love getting a double order of hashbrowns with onions, cheese and jalapenos, and some over medium eggs. It’s the only American sit down restaurant I can think of where you can eat a lot and end up paying less than $10 after tip.

A good tour habit is going to Whole Foods in the morning and stocking up on healthy snacks and beverages for the day. If you shop smart it can end up costing less than stopping for lunch. That said, stopping for lunch can be an essential break during a long drive. In most of the groups of people I’ve toured with, we’ve enjoyed stopping for lunch at local diners in tiny roadside towns. The menus are similar enough to each other, and the food can be hit or miss, but sometimes you’ll end up with the best BLT you’ve ever had in your life or something. And often, the menu prices seem unchanged from the ’90s!

In the Pacific Northwest, I always make sure to get pho from an authentic Vietnamese place. As far as I can tell, the Pacific Northwest does it best in America.

I know this probably goes without saying, but street cart tacos in LA and mission burritos in San Francisco are both amazing!

There’s a lot of amazing food in Texas, but I always try to stop by this diner Magnolia Cafe in Austin. Their “mag mud” (queso, salsa, black bean dip and guac layered) is sooo good.

Ok this is a weird pro tip, because I’m sure not many people are going to tour Alaska anytime soon, but if you go to Fairbanks they (weirdly) have incredible Thai food! I had maybe the best Tom Yum soup I’ve ever had when I was there!

Hit up a steak house in the Midwest, just for fun.

My last tip is for people traveling through New York! If you play or stay near a halal deli/bodega/truck, order chicken over rice! It’s $5 or $6 for a massive portion, delicious, and tastes great the next day too.

Sadie Dupuis

Sad13, Speedy Ortiz

AF: How difficult is it to eat vegan and stay healthy while on the road?

SD: It’s easy — I’ve been vegan for almost 13 years and it’s only gotten simpler as more vegan restaurants open, and others learn about the prevalence of the diet (and environmental importance of it), and how to accommodate it.

AF: What are your favorite fast food spots / gas stations / random favorite diners and/or food trucks, restaurants, etc. in different cities?

SD: I have a hit list of favorite vegan restaurants in just about every city we tour through, and I try to stop at those every time on tour. When I’m at home I cook most of the time, but I use touring as an excuse to check out and splurge at new spots, like a food vacation. Speedy Ortiz collaborated with a bunch of them on our last headlining tour, creating themed specials that benefited local charities, which was pretty cool and demonstrative of some of my favorites.

In terms of fast food, I don’t eat too much of it, but Chipotle and Taco Bell usually make an appearance at least once a tour since they can accommodate vegans and gluten allergies.

AF: Any additional tips / advice on eating while touring?

SD: I try to stop at a grocery store every few days for some fresh produce or juice – it’s easy to eat junk food on the road, and I am known to plow through big bags of barbecue chips, but fresh or dried fruit is just as easy to snack on and makes you feel way better. Also, an easy way to eat well when you’re in the midst of a 13-hour drive day: soup cups (like Dr. Macdougall’s) which I prepare at gas stations with dried seaweed and raw green veggies like spinach or kale. Adding hot water will blanch and cook the veggies, and rehydrate the seaweed, and you will feel sort of like there’s some normalcy in your life.


Chloe Chaidez


Favorite tour foods:

  • Subway salad. Okay yes, we all know we would never eat Subway in New York City. Maybe if there was an apocalypse and Subway was the last sandwich place on earth you’d walk in there. BUT on tour, when there are literally no vegetables in sight, get a subway spinach salad and put every single vegetable they have inside of it. You won’t quite feel like a million dollars, but maybe 500,000, and you’ll be ready to rock that night.
  • Wasabi almonds. They don’t really taste like wasabi, but they’re definitely tastier than most almonds and they sell them at most gas stations!
  • Apples. Just because apples are usually the only fruit they sell at gas stations in the middle of nowhere.

More tips to eat somewhat healthy and cheaply on the road:

  1. Buy a Cooler. Just don’t forget to bring in perishables and re-freeze your ice packs whereever you’re crashing each night!
  2. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle & Thermos. This will save you loads on bottled water, since tap water is free at most places. Bonus tip: bring your own instant coffee and/or tea.
  3. The Chipotle Myth: It hasn’t worked for me personally yet, but I’ve heard if you call Chipotle and tell them you’re sponsored by them and set it up in advance they will give your band free food.
  4. Taco Bell Dollar Menu: You can make almost anything vegetarian at Taco Bell by subbing beans for beef, and the potato taco is the best!
  5. Dollar Tree: Stock up on snacks here and possibly buy a mermaid doll while you’re there. Everything is actually a dollar!
  6. Gummy Vitamins: Get a giant pack and pass it around the van once a day. Other helpful healthy supplements: Spirulina, Wellness Formula, Oregano Oil, Non-refrigerated probiotics.

A Female-Fronted Future: Thoughts on SXSW 2017

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Snail Mail at SXSW 2017. Photo by Lindsey Rhoades

I didn’t even have to break out my “The Future is Female” t-shirt to sound the alarm; at South by Southwest last week, the message was loud and clear. In a whirlwind five days, I saw dozens of acts – mostly emerging or signed to small labels – and only three of those bands did not have women on stage. I didn’t even have to try to make this happen. I made, as I always do, a must-see list, hoping to catch some new-to-me projects at showcases along the way, and in both cases, the most compelling artists at this year’s SXSW were women.

Now, it’s 2017 and women playing music shouldn’t inspire an epiphany. It’s a wonder then, that at this year’s Coachella, only 25 percent of the performers are women or prominently feature a female player. After facing criticism for gender-biased exclusion in years past, GoldenVoice (the company that books Coachella and its NYC sister fest, Panorama) killed two diversity birds with one stone by booking Beyoncé, the fest’s first black female headliner (and its first female headliner in ten years – Björk was last to hold that honor, in 2007). When Bey dropped off the bill shortly after announcing her pregnancy with twins, Lady Gaga was named as a replacement. This year’s Governors Ball doesn’t fare much better, with all-male groups, male DJs, and male rappers outnumbering women performers and groups that have, say, one woman in a band of five (like the Strumbellas or The Head and the Heart) by a shocking margin of ten to one. Lorde is closest to a headlining spot (followed by Beach House and Phantogram, both male-female duos) but she only gets second billing Friday night. Most of the women are relegated to earlier daytime slots, which begs the question – why can’t more of these slots be filled with ladies?

SXSW is pretty different than either of the above-mentioned fests. It’s really just a series of shows held in venues all over Austin, and SXSW-goers can certainly pick and choose what they want to see from a much wider array of artists. But music industry honchos – reps from labels, booking and PR agencies, and, of course, journalists – make up the bulk of the crowds. This year’s buzzy performances could populate the stages of tomorrow’s blockbuster festivals, even if they don’t yet have a big enough draw. That’s what’s exciting about the chaos. It provides a peek at who’s flying under the radar but poised to reach greater heights.

And this year, women ruled. Likely the biggest name of the bunch, the line to see Solange’s headlining slot at the dazzling YouTube house showcase wrapped around the block. Lizzo and Noname, two lady rappers with critically acclaimed albums out last year, routinely packed shows all week, and bring an energy to the stage that could easily translate to large festivals. Sylvan Esso, a male-female duo who toured festival circuits a few years ago on the strength of their 2014 debut, were on hand at SXSW to play new material to dense crowds as well. Any of these acts could’ve easily populated lineups this year.

Meanwhile, there are more than a few names that are likely to crop up when it comes time to book Coachella and Gov Ball for 2018. Hurray for the Riff Raff’s alt-country, pro-immigrant vibes won tons of hearts. Melina Duterte’s solo project, Jay Som, has evolved into an arresting full-band indie rock onslaught with the release of her excellent LP Everybody Works, which came out the week before SXSW. Her former tourmate Michelle Zauner, who founded Japanese Breakfast, played some gorgeously shoegazey sets (during the one I saw, she did an excellent cover of The Cranberries classic “Dreams”), and will get a big signal boost opening for a run of Slowdive’s upcoming North American performances. She’s not to be confused with The Japanese House, an electronic trio from England led by Amber Bain who may just be heirs to the xx throne. Similarly, Sneaks, Tei Shi, and Anna Meredith all brought unique blends of unclassifiable, off-kilter pop to SXSW’s many showcases.

There were a whole bevvy of astounding punk, grunge and garage acts, too. Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis brought her Sad13 solo project up to full-band speed with killer all-woman backup. Baltimore babies Snail Mail delivered vintage teen angst, former Swearin’ singer Allison Crutchfield and her new ensemble the Fizz, New Paltz newbies Diet Cig made a ruckus with little more than a drum kit and guitar, Cherry Glazerr veered into delirious heavy metal, and at the She Shreds showcase, Jillian Medford of Ian Sweet triumphantly announced she’d gotten her period before a raucous set – no one batted an eye. Meanwhile, Pill, Downtown Boys, and Priests, three of the most important acts currently touring, didn’t shy away from political messages and protests, either in their songs or in between them. It’s easy to imagine any one of these rockers tearing up an afternoon stage at Governors Ball, once bookers get the hint.

By contrast, of those three man-bands (which sounds as ridiculous as it should when someone refers to bands featuring women as “girl bands”) I saw, two of them bored me to tears: Floridian punks Merchandise haven’t managed to really grab my attention the way they did with thir 2012 EP Children of Desire, even though I still keep giving them a shot. And Spiral Stairs, the revived indie rock project of Pavement’s Scott Kannberg, felt like a slog rather than a celebration of their upcoming record Doris and the Daggers, their first in nine years. I would’ve rather seen a band that was actually called Doris and the Daggers, because they probably would’ve played with much more conviction. I won’t keep my fingers crossed that they’ll get a headlining slot on a big fest any time soon, but there are plenty of real, live, female-fronted bands that certainly deserve a shot, and if this year’s South by Southwest is any indication, their day could be coming soon.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Staff Picks – Emily Daly: The Best & Worst Of 2016 (News Roundup)


I started writing the News Roundup series roughly a year ago, on January 8th. What I thought would be a light hearted “this is what happened this week!” very quickly turned into what seemed like an endless stream of negativity; the first article premiered the week of David Bowie’s 69th birthday, the second a few days after he died. Tallying all of the deaths, the venues that are closed or closing and all of the sexism in the music industry that was brought to light in 2016 has been a little disheartening. But, some good stuff happened too. Read on as we remember the highlights of this year that is thankfully ending soon.

  • A lot of iconic musicians died this year, starting with David Bowie, and continuing on: Prince, Sharon Jones, Leonard Cohen, Pauline Oliveros, Alan Vega, Phife Dawg, George Martin, Glenn Frey, Merle Haggard, Frank Sinatra Jr., Maurice White, Paul Kantner, Vanity (aka Denise Katrina Matthews), Keith Emerson, Billy Paul, Jane Little (a double bassist who held the Guiness World Record for the longest serving symphony player), Guy Clark, Christina Grimmie, Ralph Stanley, Bernie Worrell, Scotty Moore, Toots Thielemans, Juan Gabriel, Leon Russell, Holly Dunn and Greg Lake.

  • But, a lot of iconic musicians also resurfaced with new music. This year Kim Gordon released some tracks, along with The Pixies, Le Tigre, Iggy Pop, Beyonce, The Strokes, Green Day, Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Robert Pollard, and two members of the Dirty Projectors (Also, it’s worth mentioning Bob Dylan won a Nobel Prize and Madonna was crowned Billboard’s Woman of the Year).

  • Everything is closed. It’s not surprising considering all it takes to run a music venue, but it seems like an unusual number shuttered this year. In the last 365 days we’ve lost Palisades, Aviv, Manhattan Inn, Grand Victory and beloved record store Other Music. Also, Rock Shop has ceased to have live music, opting for a foosball table (or something) instead, and Market Hotel was temporarily closed over a liquor license misunderstanding. Other venues, like Lower Manhattan’s Cake Shop and Elvis Guesthouse, have announced that December will be their final month of operation.

  • But venues continue to open: The Glove, The Footlight and Sunnyvale all opened in Brooklyn this year, and Brooklyn Bazaar returned with a new, better location. Plus, we have a new large scale venue, Brooklyn Steel, to look forward to in 2017.

  • The music industry is still sexist. There’s an argument to be made that you have to expose misogyny to overcome it. If you think of it that way, 2016 was a year of progress as Amber Coffman and others spoke up about publicist Heathcliff Berru’s sexual misconduct, writer Art Tavana received an avalanche of criticism for a crude article that reduced Sky Ferreira to her sex appeal, and music executive Julie Farman call out the Red Hot Chili Peppers out for being douchebags back in their heyday. I’m sure I’m missing a few things, but do we really want to revisit it all?

  • But we did make progress. In March, Guitar World officially announced they would cease their bikini gear guide, the cover of which typically featured a sweet guitar held by a scantily clad woman. The call to change this practice was started when a photo of Guitar World next to a She Shreds cover, which featured a fully clothed  Satomi Matsuzaki of Deerhoof, made its rounds on the internet. Guitar World publisher Bill Amstutz stated “we can do a better job, as all guitar media can do. It’s a bit of a boys’ club and we are taking steps this year to change that.” This may all also be the first year that a song that focuses on consent was celebrated by the media, with sad13’s “Get A Yes.”

  • Obviously, a lot of other, un-categorizable stuff happened too. I’m not sure where to start, or where to end, really. A conversation was started about the importance of DIY spaces, and the struggle to keep them, after the Oakland Ghost Ship tragedy. Bono was awarded Glamour’s Woman of the Year, proving that women can even be excluded from an award specifically for them (you know what would be groundbreaking? Giving Man of the Year to a woman. C’mon, 2017!) Led Zeppelin was finally declared innocent of ripping off “Stairway To Heaven.” An amazing Twitter account that reimagines Carrie Bradshaw as a touring indie musician was born. CMJ was going to happen, then it wasn’t, then it was maybe, but it didn’t. I think at one point a new spider species was named after Johnny Cash. I’m probably forgetting a lot of things, and I’m sorry. It’s been a long year.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Video Edition


  • Do Your Makeup With Sadie Dupuis

    The video for the second single from Dupuis’s solo project, “Less Than 2,” is a spoof of over the top YouTube makeup tutorials. Bored with the beauty vloggers who want to teach you how to contour like Kim Kardashian? This video features blood facials and shows off looks like “Bagel Head,” “Poisonous Lips” and my personal favorite, “Your True Reptilian Self.” Slugger will be released on 11/11 via Carpark Records- watch “Less Than 2” below.

  • Listen To The First Dirty Projectors Song Since 2012

    David Longstreth is sad. In the black and white video for “Keep Your Name,” he does sad things like smash a guitar, take a lonely walk along what appears to be a power plant, and paints a poop emoji alone in an empty room. The song, which samples the earlier Dirty Projectors track “Impregnable Question,” is a satisfyingly melancholy breakup song, but gets a little awkward when Longstreth kinda starts rapping and throws out lines like “What I want from art is truth/ What you want is fame” and “Our band is a brand and it looks that our vision is dissonance.” It’s unclear whether the song is part of a larger project or new album, but if it is, it will be the band’s first since 2012’s Swing Lo Magellan.

  • Watch Beck’s Video For “Wow”

    Ok, this one came out last week. But it’s pretty cool, and maybe you missed it.The video matches the lyrics by being an eclectic mashup of different moods, ideas, and sounds- there’s a gun twirling cowboy, dancing kids, random animations and a rose with an eyeball. Those were contributed by guest artists to create something of a “music video art gallery,” which were placed between clips of Beck dancing on the street and a cowboy riding through the desert. Check it out below:

  • New White Stripes Video Released

    From The White Stripes YouTube Account: “ “City Lights” was written for The White Stripes’ Get Behind Me Satan but then forgotten until White revisited the 2005 album for Third Man’s Record Store Day 2015 vinyl reissue and finished the recording in 2016. The track is the first new, worldwide commercially released song by The White Stripes since 2008.” Filmmaker Michel Gondry made the video on his own and sent it to Third Man Records as a surprise. The simple video is a single shot of a foggy shower door as an unseen bather inside draws shapes and figures in the condensation.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Sad13, Angel Olsen, & Sweet Synths


  • Sadie Dupuis’s Announces Solo Project, Sad13

    Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz has announced a solo album and single under the name Sad13. “Get A Yes” is a shimmery, pop departure from her band’s 90’s rock sound, full of synths and electronics. It explores the idea of consent. As Dupuis told NPR, “How many kids learn about sex from pop music? And how many fun-sounding pop musicians do a heinous job as sex-ed teachers?… [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”][like] ‘Blurred Lines,’ in which the narrator presumes to know what his partner wants?”

    Slugger comes out 11/11 via Carpark Records. Check out “Get A Yes” below.

  • Watch Angel Olsen’s “Sister” Video

    Continuing her steady stream of amazing new songs and videos from the upcoming My Woman, Angel Olsen released the single “Sister.” Not as wildly defiant as “Shut Up Kiss Me” and “Intern,” “Sister” paces along steadily and gracefully with images of Olsen walking through a Los Angeles desert landscape.  The video breaks the fourth wall at the end, with Olsen running over to a friend on the beach who asks, “Are you shooting a music video?”

  • Turn Your Laptop Into A Synth-Making Machine

    We just told you about cool music by other people, but maybe now you want to make your own? Here’s a unique, new way to do it. BlokDust is a website where you can program your own song, using a kind of visual synths system. You drag and drop and different effects and sounds onto your screen, and turn your laptop keyboard into, well, a real keyboard. The program, which “makes use of Tone.js as an audio frame,” was developed in the UK and is a collaborationn between Luke Twyman, Luke Phillips and Edward Silverton. Check it out here!