60 NYC Showspaces That Closed in the 2010s

New York wouldn’t be New York without its creative community. And yet, even with this long-standing cultural identity, it’s incredibly difficult to open an event space with all the required licenses and permits. On top of this, New York’s rate of gentrification prices out venues and show-goers, creating a landscape where places open and close constantly. Thankfully, this doesn’t stop people from doing it anyway – most without a monetary goal in mind, creating spaces for the love of music, art, activism and bringing people together to party. As this decade comes to a close, it does feel like the assault on New York’s nightlife has become more severe, but like our beloved cockroaches and rats, DIY and the punk ethos are resilient. Here is a list of 60 show spaces – venues, bars, and community-run DIY spaces, that have closed their doors in the 2010s.

ABC No Rio (1980-2016, building new location)

The story of ABC No Rio offers some hope. After operating at their 156 Rivington Street location for more than 30 years as a community center for arts and activism with a show space, art gallery, zine library, darkroom, silk screening and computer lab facilities, ABC No Rio vacated their original location (which was demolished) and are building a new center. Over three decades, ABC No Rio cultivated the punk/hardcore scene in NYC with their Saturday matinee shows, and served as a home for organizations like Books Though Bars, the NYC Food Not Bombs Collective and COMA: The Citizens Ontological Music Agenda. ABC No Rio’s show space was entirely volunteer run and created a safe space at a time when punk and hardcore shows were so violent that other venues banned those genres.

This happy ending didn’t come easily. They fought legal battles from their inception on New Years Day 1980, when 30+ artists occupied the basement of an abandoned building with an art show that made a statement about NYC’s housing policies titled ‘The Real Estate Show.’ The show was raided by police, but the city negotiated and later gave the collective the storefront and basement of 156 Rivington Street. In 1994, when the city planned to sell the building, activists squatted in the vacant floors of the building, causing the eviction process to go on for years alongside protests and a petition to raise money and legitimize their collective. Ultimately, the city sold the building to ABC No Rio for $1 in 2006 in an agreement that the organization would bring the building up to code, requiring them to demolish and rebuild the structure.

Despite not having a current space, ABC No Rio volunteers “in exile” are continuing their programs at other venues. Their hardcore/punk collective books matinees at the People’s Forum, their Zine Library is now located at the Clemente, and their screen-printing shop is open every Thursday in Bushwick. Support the re-building of ABC No Rio by donating here, and visit their exhibit “No New Jails NYC – The Art & Design of a Movement” running through January 15th at MoRUS (155 Avenue C).

Big Snow Buffalo Lodge (2011-2013)

Run by Yoni David, Jeremy Aquilino, RJ Gordon, and Daniel Arnes, Big Snow Buffalo Lodge was located in Bushwick at 89 Varet Street at Graham Ave. Big Snow was entirely volunteer run (aside from hired security), and prided themselves on paying every band that played. The booking duties were shared between the founders, plus Luke Chiaruttini (before he left to focus on booking Shea Stadium full time). Ava Luna, Baked, Bueno, Lost Boy ?, Leapling, Celestial Shore, and The So So Glos were among the bands who frequented Big Snow, and the venue occasionally provided a space to record demos for bands as well. Big Snow unfortunately decided to close due to safety concerns after co-owner Yoni David was shot in the arm outside of the venue.

Cake Shop (2005-2016)

Opened by brothers Nick and Andy Bodor in 2005, Cake Shop was a long time staple stop for touring bands from all over the country and felt like the last cool place in Manhattan that your crappy lo-fi band could play at. My favorite part about Cake Shop was that they had vegan pastries and there was no cell service in the basement (sorry I missed your text asking for a list spot). Andy and Nick briefly opened a sister venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn called Bruar Falls from 2009-2011, which turned into Grand Victory (2012-2016). At their last show on NYE 2016, they talked about opening a new location, and in 2017 Andy opened a venue called Wonders of Nature at 131 Grand Street in Williamsburg.

Death By Audio (2007-2014)

Located at the Williamsburg waterfront on south 2nd and Kent in an old warehouse, Death By Audio was not only a venue, but also an effects pedal workshop, recording studio, record label, and living space. Originally founded in 2002 by Oliver Ackerman of A Place to Bury Strangers as a space to build his handmade effects pedals, with the help of Matt Conboy, they turned Death By Audio into a venue in 2007 that was booked by Edan Wilber. Bands that lived at the space included Grooms, Coin Under Tongue, Fuk Ton, Sister, The Immaculates, French Miami, Dirty on Purpose, Famous Amos and A Place to Bury Stangers. A fun fixture of their living space was a giant military surplus net that hung from the ceiling and connected to the lofts on the second floor, with a hammock hanging from the ceiling above it. In 2014, Vice bought the building to turn it into their headquarters, forcing DBA and Glasslands, who also shared the building, to move out. Death By Audio’s effects pedal factory moved to Ridgewood and still makes gear that’s used most notably by Nine Inch Nails, U2, Wilco and Lightning Bolt.

Matt Conboy directed the documentary “Goodnight Brooklyn: The Story of Death By Audio,” that you can watch here, and Famous Class Records released a 26 track compilation of live bands recorded at DBA called Start Your Own Fucking Show Space including many of the bands who lived there, plus Deerhoof, Parquet Courts, Shellshag, Screaming Females, METZ, Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees and more.

photo by Walter Wlodarczyk

Glasslands Gallery (2006-2014)

Housed in the same building as Death By Audio on the Williamsburg waterfront, Glasslands Gallery was created by Brooke Baxter and Rolyn Hu, who owned the space until they sold it to PopGun’s Rami Haykal and Jake Rosenthal in 2012. Glasslands’ origin story begins in 2004 with Glass House, an experimental show graffiti covered warehouse space at 38 south 1st street in Williamsburg, run by Baxter and street artist Leviticus. When they moved into a larger space they renamed the venue Glasslands and from 2006-2012, the venue held some of the first shows for bands like The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT and Dirty Projectors.

When ownership changed hands in 2012, Glasslands became a solid stop for touring bands such as Angel Olsen, FKA Twigs, and Grimes. Their signature clouds were installed above the stage, replaced at some point by a light installation made of plastic tubes (though I personally prefered the clouds). They booked more DJ nights and late night parties around this time, and their final show was New Years Eve 2014, closing out their run with the secret line-up of DIIV, Sky Ferrera, Smith Westerns (final show), and Beverly. Popgun Presents continued to book shows at other venues like (le) poisson rouge and Warsaw, until they opened their new, much larger space, Elsewhere, in 2017.

photo by Sophia Louise

Goodbye Blue Monday (2005-2014)

Named after a Kurt Vonnegut reference in “Breakfast of Champions,” Goodbye Blue Monday was opened by Steve Trimboli at 1087 Broadway in Bushwick in 2005, after he closing his previous bars Be Bop Cafe in Tribeca and Scrap Bar. Goodbye Blue Monday began as a cafe / junk shop of things that came “mostly from dead people” and soon turned into one of the most underrated music venues in Bushwick. Due to their free open booking policy, it was a venue where many musicians had their first show ever. They never took a cut from the door (if there was a cover), fed bands that were touring, and held ‘Teacup Tuesday’ open mics every week. Goodbye Blue Monday was the perfect space for NYC’s misfit musicians and those starting out who didn’t know enough people to be booked at a more curated DIY space. Trimboli sold the bar post-bankruptcy in 2010, but lived above the bar and set up a few crowdfunding campaigns to help save the space. Goodbye Blue Mondays closed in November 30, 2014 when their lease was about to end and the landlord tripled the rent. The Looking Glass Bar opened in its place, and Nyssa Frank at The Living Gallery took over hosting Goodbye Blue Monday: Tuesday Open Mic The Way Y’Like Open Mic.

Monster Island + Secret Project Robot: Kent Ave (2004-2011) / Secret Project Robot: Meserole Street (2011-2016) / Secret Project Robot: Broadway (2017-2019)

Founded by Rachel Nelson and Erik Zajaceskowski in 2004, Secret Project Robot is a not-for-profit artist run space that has lived in three locations and is currently looking for their next home. Before Secret Project Robot, there was Mighty Robot, a loft on Wythe Ave in Williamsburg run by Zajaceskowski, where they held art parties at the space as well as at the waterfront junkyards. Shows included large abstract visuals and hosted some of the first shows for the bands Liars, TV on the Radio, Lightning Bolt, Acid Mothers Temple, Panda Bear, and many more. In 2004, Zajaceskowski and Karl LaRocca found a larger, three-story space on Kent Avenue and named it Monster Island. The new building housed Kayrock Screenprinting, Live With Animals, Oneida’s O-Cropolis, Todd P’s rehearsal studio, and the new Mighty Robot space, then renamed Secret Project Robot. In this incarnation, Secret Project Robot teamed up with Rachel Nelson to focus on art installations and hosting events, including black light installations, drawing brunches, poster shows, and regular art shows along with their regular concerts. Monster Island was demolished in 2011 and was rumored to become a hair saloon, but the lot is still vacant.

Post-Monster Island in their “living art phase,” Secret Project Robot moved twice in Bushwick and created a bubble in their yard where artists could “recreate the world according to their liking, people could be free, comfortable and able to reimagine a further more perfect realm.” Rachel Nelson and Erik Zajaceskowski also founded Happy Fun Hideaway, a bar on Myrtle Ave in Bushwick, in 2013, and Flowers for all Occasions, a cafe/gallery/bar in 2015, both of which are still currently open!

Shea Stadium (2009-2017)

Shea Stadium was an all-ages venue founded in the spring of 2009 by producer Adam Reich and the band the So So Glos (who also helped build Market Hotel) with the mission to document the DIY scene by recording every set performed there. Nora Dabdoub and Luke Chiaruttini booked countless bands and the Shea Stadium website has over 1,000 sets archived, with the most popular including King Krule, FIDLAR, Frankie Cosmos, Wavves, Speedy Ortiz, and Diarrhea Planet. Their second floor loft at 20 Meadow Street in Bushwick felt like a second home for many artists, and when they were forced to close in March 2017 Aaron, Nora, and Luke launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised close to $100,000. Their landlord at Meadow street declined their request to re-open an up-to-code Shea in the original location, and they have been searching for a new home ever since. This has been a grueling task, with their last update explaining that they have “toured 30+ spaces, called hundreds of numbers and looked through thousands & thousands of real estate listings” so far, and as of “the second week of Sept 2019, we’re in negotiations on a space and if all continues to go well a lease could be in hand soon.” In the meantime, they are booking shows as Shea Stadium Presents. They recently hosted a benefit show at Trans Pecos for The Mark Fletcher Studio, a studio that will provide free analog studio time for musicians.


Silent Barn (2006-2018)

Silent Barn collective began in 2006 as a co-living space for artists in Ridgewood, Queens at 915 Wycoff (now the home of Trans-Pecos). They threw shows in their kitchen and basement (which was also a home for the video game collective Babycastles). When they were shut down due to coding issues in 2011, they launched a Kickstarter soon after that raised $40,000 to fund their move to a legal all-ages art space. In 2012 they moved to a three-story building at 603 Bushwick Avenue run by 70 volunteers, called “chefs.” The new location had a huge yard with a sculpture garden and a bar/cafe in their performance space, along with art spaces for Disclaimer Gallery, Casa Experimental, Vital Joint, the Title:Point theater company, Gravesend Recordings, Aftermath Supplies, and many other artist-in-residence studios who lived in the higher floors of the building. Educated Little Monsters (ELM), a program that provides “resources, artistic outlets and economic opportunity for youth of color,” particularly those who are local to the Bushwick neighborhood, met at Silent Barn since 2014.

When Silent Barn closed in 2018 due to financial strain, they felt a responsibility to help the ELM program find a new home with their community partners Bushwick Street Art, The Lab Recording Studio and Color Scenes. In their closing statement Silent Barn explained “Over the years, we’ve seen the role that D.I.Y. music venues play within the greater machine of gentrification, and how often the communities who would most benefit from these resources—the neighborhood’s native communities—are excluded from them entirely,” and encouraged their supporters to donate and become a supporting member of ELM.

The Glove (2016-2019)

The Glove was an all-ages experimental art space founded by a group of musicians and artists from a previous DIY space called Bohemian Grove. Along with their venue, the space had gallery exhibitions, a vintage shop, guitar shop, was home to the Bad Seeds by Stonie Clark hair salon, and a permanent psychedelic dungeon lounge art installation by ESTU Fabrication. Like many DIY spaces, The Glove fell into the bureaucratic hellhole of NYC coding laws, and temporarily shut down in 2018 after the city cut their power. They launched a GoFundMe and kept their doors open until their lease ended the summer of 2019, forcing them to close. Co-founder Dean Cercone, in an interview for Dazed, explained what so many other showspace owners feel: “Running a space like this in New York is as annoying as it is beautiful. As fruitful as it is scary. It takes precedence over a lot of things we do in our normal lives now.”

Every show space has a unique legacy. Support small and community run venues that are still open today & walk down memory lane with this list of 50 more spaces that have closed in the 2010s:

94 Evergreen (2012-2014)

285 Kent (2010-2014)

AVIV (2014-2016)

Body Actualized Center (2011-2014)

Brooklyn Bazaar (2011-2019)

Brooklyn Fireproof East (2006-2014)

Bruar Falls (2009-2011) / Grand Victory (2012-2016)

Cameo Gallery (2009-2015)

Cheap Storage (2010-2015)

Coco 66 (2009-2011)

Delinquency Blvd (2012-2012, re-opened as Sunnyvale in 2015)

Don Pedro’s (2001-2017)

Emet (2013-2014)

Fat Baby (2005-2017)

FreeCandy (2012-2015)

Galapagos Art Space (1995-2014: relocated to Detroit)

Hank’s Saloon (2005-2019)

IDIO Gallery (2014-2017)

Kings County Saloon (2006-2015)

Leftfield Bar (2012-2017)

Legion Bar (2005-2018)

Little Skips (2009-2019)

Living Bread Deli (2012-2013 renovated + reopened as Rosegold in 2017)

Lulus (2010-2014)

Manhattan Inn (2009-2016)

Market Hotel (2008-2010, reopened in 2015)

Matchless (2002-2017)

Nola, Darling (2014-2015)

Palisades (2014-2016)

Party Expo (2010-2013)

Passenger Bar (2013-2015)

Public Assembly (2008-2013) / Black Bear Bar (2014-2016)

Radio Bushwick (2010-2014)

Ran Tea House (2011-2014)

Santos Party House (2008-2016)

Showpaper 42nd street Gallery / Babycastles Arcade (2010-2011)

Sidewalk Cafe (1985-2019)

Spike Hill (2005-2014)

Suburbia (2011-2017)

Surreal Estate (2010-2011)

The Acheron (2010-2016)

The Continental (1991-2018)

The Flat (2012-2015)

The Gateway (2016-2018, re-opened as The Broadway in 2019)

The Hive (2011-2018)

The Living Room (1988-2015)

Tandem Bar (2008-2015)

Trash Bar (2010-2015)

Zebulon (2002-2012, re-located to LA 2017)

NEWS ROUNDUP: Brooklyn Music, Coachella & More

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Vagabon headlines one of Silent Barn’s final shows tomorrow night. Photo by Ebru Yildiz.

Brooklyn Music, Coachella & More

By Jasmine Williams

Brooklyn Music News

This week is big for Brooklyn announcements! Silent Barn announced their final lineup of shows. The bittersweet list starts with Partner, Katie Ellen, and Early Risers tonite. Vagabon, L’Rain, and Zenizen play Saturday. Northside has released their first round of artists for the 10th anniversary edition of the local festival. Liz Phair, Deerhoof, and La Luz will all play this June.

A couple of months later, The National are putting on a weekend showcase. Future Islands, Cat Power, Phoebe Bridgers, Cigarettes After Sex, and more will perform in Queens for the band’s There’s No Leaving New York festival on September 29th and 30th.

Coachella vs. Soul’D Out

In case you forgot – Coachella starts this weekend. One festival is daring to go up against the mega-fest. Portland’s Soul’D Out Music Festival is suing Coachella organizer, Golden Voice, for creating an unfair monopoly due to their artist restrictions. The flower-crowned festival’s radius clauses mean that Coachella-billed musicians cannot play other events within a certain distance. Artists like SZA and Daniel Caesar were forced to decline performance at Soul’D Out due to the rule.

That New New

Badass-babes unite! are Janelle Monáe & Grimes are back with another collaboration – “PYNK” is a color-worshipping, bubble-gum pop ode to sexuality and body empowerment. Check it out in our Video of The Week column.

How we’ve missed Florence and the Machine! Yesterday, powerhouse Florence Welch gave us the gift of new music with her band’s first release since 2016. “Sky Full of Song” showcases everything fans have come to expect from the singer, and we couldn’t ask for anything better.

The ladies of rap are in command this month! Last week, Cardi B dropped Invasion of Privacy and this week hip-hop co-queen Nicki Minaj dropped not one but three new tracks, causing the Twitter-sphere to declare April 12th “Nicki Day.” Her reign continues today with her feature in Young Thug’s clip, “Anybody.”

New York favorites Gang Gang Dance released “Lotus,” the debut single off of their upcoming album. The release date for Kazuashita has just been announced as June 22nd.

Indie band Cherry Glazerr hit us with a new one this week! Watch and listen to “Juicy Socks” now and catch the band on tour with this month and in June.

Brooklyn Vegan announced other lady-fronted bands hitting the road soon, including Superorganism, Big Thief, Jay Som, Soccer Mommy, and Men I Trust. Mommy and Som have both been added as openers for Paramore this summer. Men I Trust will open for Belle and Sebastian.

Other news:

  • Late rock-soul legend Sister Rosetta Tharpe is finally getting inducted into Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
  • This week, Mariah Carey fans learned about her struggle living with bipolar disorder. Her full interview with PEOPLE is up today.
  • Kali Uchis’ much awaited  LP Isolation debuted last week and yesterday, Pitchfork released an interview featuring the “After The Storm” singer’s song-by-song explanation of the album. Uchis stopped by NPR’s World Cafe for a guest DJ session featuring her current influences.
  • In an effort to clear up the murky relationship between tech streaming companies and artists, a new bill is on the table that will establish a public database of music compositions, their songwriters, and who owns the rights to them.


NEWS ROUNDUP: Rihanna Snaps Back, Lauryn Hill to Headline Pitchfork Festival & More

NEWS ROUNDUP: Rihanna, Lauryn Hill, Pitchfork & More

By Jasmine Williams

Rihanna Snaps Back

Rihanna has publicly accused Snapchat of victim shaming after the social media app displayed an advertisement the referenced Chris Brown’s 2009 brutal assault of the mega-star. The ad, for online game, “Would You Rather?!” makes light of domestic abuse by asking viewers if they would choose to “Slap Rihanna” or “Punch Chris Brown?” After fans pointed out the despicable ad spot Rihanna used major Snapchat competitor, Instagram, to make a statement, posting:

“I’d love to call it ignorance but I know you ain’t that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it!!! This isn’t about my personal feelings, cause I don’t have much of them…but all the women, children and men that have been victims of DV in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out yet ….you let us down! Shame on you.” -Rihanna

Snapchat responded with an apology and has since blocked the advertiser. On the same day that Rihanna made her statement, Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat decreased by 7%. Don’t mess with RiRi!

The Pitchfork Lineup is Here! And, Lauryn Hill is Back?

Any fan of Ms. Lauryn Hill will tell you, she never really left. However, years of super delayed shows, on-stage tirades, and uneven performances have given the former Fugees member a shaky reputation when it comes to live shows. Now, Pitchfork Music Festival has upped the ante by putting the spotlight on Hill for the 2018 edition of the fest which also marks twenty years since the 1998 release of her seminal (and singular) studio album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The controversial artist headlines Sunday’s lineup. Although the spot is being billed as an “anniversary performance,” there’s no telling what will actually happen on stage, especially given the fact that Hill has not always been friendly to her caucasian fans and Pitchfork isn’t exactly known for their diverse crowds.

The 2018 Pitchfork music festival runs from July 20th through 22nd in Chicago and also includes Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, Big Thief, Fleet Foxes, Blood Orange, Chaka Khan and many more.

Other Highlights:

Yo La Tengo’s fifteenth album, There’s a Riot Going On, is out today! Arcade Fire premiered a short film this week while Courtney Barnett, Vic Mensa, and David Byrne all debuted new music videos. Jack White will be playing a “no phones allowed” show at Warsaw in Brooklyn on March 23rd. To gain access to tickets for the Greenpoint concert you have to purchase tickets for this summer’s Gov Ball. MTV is doubling down on their shaky reboot of TRL. Earlier this week Say Anything debuted a new song at SXSW. Tour announcements abound from Fleet Foxes, Liz Phair, La Luz, Beck, Culture Club, and many more, coming to a venue near you. A signal switch in airwaves may be coming soon – IHeartMedia has filed for bankruptcy. In local news, DIY Brooklyn venue, Silent Barn, is closing on April 30th.


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Photo by Nothing Matters

Stalwarts of NYC’s DIY scene, experimental noise punk band Weeping Icon released their debut EP Eyeball Under on Kanine/Fire Talk Records in July. Thematically, the record touches on hard-hitting topics like street harassment, religion, anxiety, sexism and secrets in “safe places” like the doctor’s office, as well as anger and frustration with current events in politics. Weeping Icon are uncompromising and display a brutal honesty that is sure to weed out those that can’t handle the truth.

While listening to Eyeball Under I can vividly recall the live shows I’ve experienced with my jaw on the floor and hair whipping around in front of my face. Sara Fantry’s searing guitar tones, Sara Lutkenhaus’s dizzying noise progressions, Sara Reinold’s driving bass lines, Lani Combier-Kapel’s kinetic drumming, and vocal deliveries that range from sultry to electrifying battle cries are key elements to the band’s sound. Luckily, the band has found a way to capture the raw energy of their live performances in these recordings.

AudioFemme had the pleasure of dissecting the collective mind of Weeping Icon. Stream their latest record while you read the interview below, where we discuss the making of the album, the growth of NYC’s music scene, and empowerment through music.

Audiofemme (AF): How did you come together? When did Weeping Icon form?

Lani Combier-Kapel (LCK): Sara Fantry and I played in ADVAETA for 7 years together and towards the end would jam alone on harder, noisier riffs. When that project disbanded in fall 2015, we started jamming more and decided to start another project. Two more Saras later and voila!

AF: What is the significance of the band name? What does it mean to you?

LCK: If you look up weeping icon in google image search, you’ll find all of these Christian paintings with water damage coming out of their eyes and it looks like they’re crying. A lot of them are of the Virgin Mary and some of them supposedly have a funny smell. I’ll leave the rest to interpretation, but it’s a real crazy image to work with.

Sara Fantry (SF): I’ve always been fascinated by idol worship, and the hugely physical reactions people have to their own religious truths. No level of contesting information seems to sober fanatics. Weeping icons are often said to cry blood. Thousands of people show up to witness and experience them. To me, they represent the morbidity in extreme dogma.

AF: How long have you been working on Eyeball Under?

LCK: The whole thing was written and recorded in less than a year. All the songs on the EP are the first ones we had written together – actually, “Jail Billz” is the first song we wrote. It feels good to just spit it all out instead of taking an overly long time to perfect it. The album was recorded live and all instruments were recorded in one day!

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“Eyeball Under” Album Art by Justin Frye

AF: Can you tell me more about the album artwork and working with Justin Frye?

Sara Lutkenhaus: (SL): We love all of Justin’s visuals so we sent him our album and let him run wild.

Sara Reinold (SR): Justin was great to work with – he came up with a few variations and we were able to pick and choose aspects that we liked in each, He was open to ideas and suggestions, allowing us to really shape the perfect cover. It was a great experience, hope we can work together again in the future!

LCK: PC Worship is a huge influence for me musically and we all love Justin’s visual work. I love what he ended up doing and it helped frame the rest of the art and photos for this release.

AF: How did you translate the wild live energy into your recordings? What was the process like? Who did you work with?

SR: We recorded pretty much in a live setting, with all of us playing together in the same room – then we overdubbed vox and some extra synth parts afterward. The connection between the four of us and how we communicate when we play live is very important to the music and our sound. If we had recorded any other way I don’t think we would have gotten a correct representation of the band.

We tracked with Jeremy Backofen at Kirton Farms in upstate New York. The studio sits on an amazing piece of land with views for miles and bonfires aplenty. We took a long weekend there and had a great time. We mixed with an old buddy of mine, Alan Labiner, who’s worked with some artists known for experimenting: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, Celebration. Alan was amazing to work with; he really understood what we were going for. He worked quickly, translating our many thoughts and ideas into exactly what we wanted. You can badly describe a weird noise to him and with a few clicks, that weird noise is a reality.

LCK: I don’t play to click tracks, sorrynotsorry. Also, Joe Plourde helped us overdub the vocals and I’m glad we did – they sound so much better than the originals did.

SF: One thing I think has become very specific to our live show is playing without pauses in between songs. We try to turn every transition into its own ambient or harsh noise experience. We wanted our album to retain that, so three of the tracks are noise transitions. Also on the tape and vinyl (out in September), the tracks flow into one another seamlessly. To continuously make sounds for a half hour without a break for thought, applause, or pulling your bra strap up after it fell down, means listening to one another, filling in gaps differently, and facing down new challenges every time. I’m excited to see how this idea manifests on our next album!

AF: What gear do you use to create noise elements?

SL: I record a lot of different sounds onto my sampler at home. There are 2-3 synths I mostly use and then I contact mic pretty much whatever I can find.

LCK: I’m still figuring out my drum machine. It’s broken and half the pads don’t work on it but I guess I don’t use many sounds anyway. On “Jail Billz,” I overdubbed some metal drum sounds using Lutkie’s gear! She’s a noise goddess.

SF: I use some weirdo pedal sounds, plus I try to incorporate non-traditional noise making items to play my guitar with. Those may or may not be secret things.

AF: Why is noise important to your expression? What does it represent?

SL: Noise can describe things so perfectly when words can be awkward or inadequate. It’s also sensitive to every environment, which means it’s always going to sound slightly different. It demands being present to try to respond.

SR: Noise allows us to tap into that primal energy. As the bassist, I get to express all of these pent up emotions by a gut rumbling sound. The four of us exerting this primal energy in our own different ways is at the core of the band, especially on this EP, where we see themes of anger, retaliation, fear… All this built up energy has to go somewhere, and the noise elements help us to express it beyond the constraints of the English language.

LCK: Even when you’re alone in silence, you can still hear noises – houses creaking, the A/C on, water dripping from a leaky faucet, upstairs neighbors. This is the real world we live in. Unless you’re in a controlled environment like an anechoic chamber, you’re gonna hear random shit. We’re just taking these kinds of noises and ramping them up a few notches – sort of like our environment is screaming at us.

SF: My parents would never understand my appreciation for noise. Their generation is dubious over whether rap music even qualifies as music (IT DOES). To me, noise is the next frontier. It’s what hasn’t been done and never will be finished. It’s limitless.

AF: Did writing “Jail Billz” give you more power when facing street harassment? Was there a particular encounter that broke the camel’s back and drove you to write this song? How do you deal with catcalling and harassment? When I am catcalled lately this song comes to mind. It reminds me that I don’t have to take their shit for a single second. I feel it is empowering in those moments to have this song in the back of my head and know that I am not alone and that I have the power and the right to retaliate.

LCK: Honestly, this song was written so subconsciously that I think my mind just started yelling out those words without me thinking much about the context of it. Of course, I went back and rewrote them but I remember just yelling out “I’ve got a sword!” out of nowhere, and who else would I want to kill other than shitty men? Heheheh. In all seriousness though, being catcalled and being touched without permission just plain sucks and is predatory behavior. The fact that it’s still so common is a societal flaw that keeps women afraid and weak because we feel unsafe. We need to all stand together and maybe create our own Mafia.

SF: You know, I do think this song & Lani’s lyrics have empowered me more. Lately, I walk down the street feeling tougher, fiercer, the words “I’m not afraid to slit your throat” running through me like a mantra. None of us condone violence of course, but it’s interesting how we teach the subordinate half of our species to be non-violent, and the dominant half that violence is sometimes justifiable. If (certain) men were afraid of us the way they are often afraid of each other, they would think twice about bullying us with their desires, words, and touch. I want to feel ready with that violence, not to abuse, but to keep myself and other women or bullied people protected. And thanks for saying that — we aren’t alone, and it’s important to remember that.

AF: What have you learned from your previous projects that drive Weeping Icon?

SR: What I have learned from being in so many bands over the years is you really have to take the time to learn about each member’s personalities and how they will react to things if you want to be in a healthy collaborative relationship. It’s important to know how to share ideas and opinions without stepping on anyone’s toes, and how to take criticism without getting angry about it. I’ve been in many different kinds of band formations, all who had very different writing processes and different ways to be collaborative. Maybe one person writes all the parts and brings it to the band, maybe they write just the main chords and let everyone write their own parts, or maybe everyone writes songs separately… It’s important to be open to the many possibilities. What I LOVE about Weeping Icon is we all actually sit down and write the songs together, collectively, in the same room at the same time. I love this approach as everyone has a say and we can be honest with our opinions. Being in other bands has helped me appreciate this approach so much more.

LCK: Collaboration is great but you’re never gonna see eye to eye with everyone on everything. So in my experience, it’s important to just give someone what they want every once in awhile, especially if it’s not something you super care about. I like to sit on a scenario for a moment and think, “how much do I REALLY care about getting my way on this?” Most of the time, I don’t actually mind all that much! Not reacting in the moment is hard but ideal.

However I always keep in mind: someone who likes getting their way will try and come to a compromise – but they are still getting their way! Letting other people take control is and should be okay as long as it’s not taken advantage of. This the most important lesson and is something I now take into account every time I work in a group.

Also, being able to try all ideas without question and letting go of ideas is a big one. Let go of that ego. Your idea is NOT always the best one! Use that idea for something else!

AF: Do you feel empowered by the NYC/Brooklyn DIY scene? How has it changed over the years? How do you give back to the community?

LCK: I’m a big optimist when it comes to the NYC music scene – it really has the capacity to grow musicians in a way that’s toughening because there’s just so much out there. You really have to be part of a community or be proactive to play shows. So that’s what I did – I immersed myself with as much underground music and communities as I could handle by going to shows and eventually working shows.

All of us in Weeping Icon are regular flies on the walls at local shows. Sometimes we won’t say yes to playing a show simply because we want to see another one that same night. We’ll be the ones at the apartment noise show and there’s like five other people. My partner sometimes says, “you’re always out!” and I’ll answer “no way, I hardly went out this week! I just went to four shows and had two band practices.”

I’ve been on the Programming Team at Silent Barn for four years now and I listen to so much random music submissions every single day because of it. Now, when I hear something unique, my ears immediately perk up and I know it’s something I should take a closer listen to. Music that I play is affected since I kinda know exactly what I’m into when I’m practicing or writing songs. I guess the more you immerse yourself in something, the more developed your taste gets.

AF: What are some local bands you are inspired by?

SL: Oh man, Signal Break, Dawn of Humans, L.O.T.I.O.N., Palberta, and Macula Dog. But I think we all got schooled by Martin Rev when he played in June. He is so good.

SR: Bambara, Ritual Humor, Yvette, also, Russell Hymowitz is my bass idol. He’s an inspiration.

SF: So much stuff! I’m sure to leave out so many: Parlor Walls, Pill, Heaven’s Gate, PC Worship, Smhoak Mosheein, Gold Dime, Conduit, Uniform, Dead Tenants, Squad Car, Shimmer, HVAC, so much more…ALL THE WOMEN / QUEER + NON-GENDER BINARY PEOPLE IN THE SCENE PLAYING BALLS OUT TITS TO THE SKY.

LCK: PC Worship (have to second this), Moor Mother, Boy Harsher, Heaven’s Gate, The Dreebs, Deli Girls, Beech Creeps, Lutkie.

AF: Do you have plans to tour?

SF: Oh ya, it’s happenin’ soon!

LCK: You have a hookup in St. Louis?

Weeping Icon’s Eyeball Under is available for purchase on cassette and digital formats now via their Bandcamp. Keep your eyes peeled for the vinyl release September 22; follow Weeping Icon on Facebook to keep up with live shows and upcoming releases. [/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

NEWS ROUNDUP: Warped Tour Controversy, DIY In NYC & More

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photo by Daniel Pagan

  • What’s Up With The Warped Tour?

     Last year’s Warped Tour brought controversy by allowing  a pro-life tent on the festival grounds. This year, founder Kevin Lyman explained why he thinks this is a cool, punk rock thing to do: “I use them to drag out the pro-choice groups… We couldn’t get the pro-choice groups out until we had a pro-life group out here. That’s been the thing to stir it up a little bit. That’s what punk rock was always about.” The fest has received even more negative press for the misogynistic onstage rant unleashed by the Dickies’ frontman against an audience member who held up a sign protesting the band’s controversial lyrics, banter, and general attitudes. Read a full account of the incident written by War On Women’s Shawna Potter here.

  • Silent Barn Gets A Liquor License, But Needs Your Help

    Yes, it’s true: you can legally buy shots next time you visit the Bushwick DIY venue. That’s good for you, if you like to drink, but we can also assume it’s good for the venue, because they’ll be earning money from an uptick in alcohol sales. Speaking of money, in order to keep operating, they need it. It’d be incredibly sad if Silent Barn went the way of Shea Stadium or Palisades, so if you have a moment, consider reading about their financial situation, which was presented in depth (and somewhat bluntly and humorously) this week. An important takeaway from the piece:

    The lemonade stand needs to close, and in its place we need to open a Jamba Juice franchise, essentially…When that moment comes, I will gladly sip my stupid Jamba Juice in defiance of all the things that almost prevented us.”

  • Other Highlights

    RIP John Blackwell and Pierre Henry, watch Nirvana perform in a RadioShack, the muppet and hip-hop mashups continue with Sesame Street + the Beastie Boys, check out a surreal video from Japanese Breakfast, rock legends get their own comic book covers, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes forms new supergroup, a Biggie Smalls basketball court is coming to NYC, is Soundcloud floundering? and Kesha is back.





Brooklyn based trio Flagland is releasing their third full length album, Love Hard, on February 25th on Father Daughter Records. For Love Hard, Flagland drew from a number of ingredients to cook up their own specific and unique musical concoction of panicky rock. Kerry Kalberg (vocals and guitar), Dan Francia (bass and vocals) and Nick Dooley (drums)  incorporate punk, 90s fuzz, and grunge rock, each genre coming together to give Flagland an oddly cohesive personality and sound.

When I first heard “Comfortable Life” some weeks ago, I was blown away by the composition. The song breathed life and developed momentum effortlessly. My mistake, however was valuing the music above the lyrics of the song. Flagland stepped it up and dug a little deeper with their lyrics on Love Hard. Their lyrics are so honest and relatable that listening to this album almost feels like having a conversation over a drink with a few close friends (that are seriously fucked up).

Every lyric is a waste of air

When there’s nobody here because there’s nobody there

Your life is in some kind of mess

When you’ve got nothing to say and yet you’re out of breath

I write a song about them and they don’t wanna hear it

There is something about the truth that causes people to fear it

Kalberg, Francia and Dooley definitely do not have a problem talking about their feelings, which is good, because they have a lot of them, most of which involve anger or depression.  Lyrics aside, there are a number of standout musical qualities on Love Hard.

“It’s Your Time,” sung by Dan Francia (with Kalberg providing background vocals on the chorus) is definitely a nod to Rivers Cuomo circa 1996. The song is without a doubt the most earnest and optimistic song on the album.  Flagland’s rougher edges appear on “Unfinished Business,” a punk-tinged song with urgent drums and commanding guitar strumming. Weighing in at only :48 minutes, “Unfinished Business” is short but it isn’t sweet. Kalberg, Francia and Dooley manage to pack a great deal of rage into this song, making it feel like more of an emotional release than anything else.  “Yr GF” is the most straightforward punk song on the album, with a simple tune and two-part vocals built from melodic screams, making it snappy, sweet and infectious.  “Shitsucksrightnow” is brims with personality, beginning with  a catchy guitar riff and moving from section to section with seamless transitions, ending on a multifaceted instrumental break.

“Mosquito Bite” is one of the more complex compositions on Love Hard. It begins uneasy, giving the sense that it is building up to something, reaching its gripping destination about  a minute into the song.  At its pinnacle, the track is colored with guitar power chords, eerie lyrics and unpredictable melodies. It finishes with an instrumental swell and bend to showcase the instrumental aptitude of the trio.  Likewise, the drums, bass, and guitar on “Swingin” propel the song forward with frightening, almost unrefined intensity.

Flagland have definitively fine-tuned their distinct sound on Love Hard.  Kalberg, Francia and Dooley look back to their predecessors while infusing their personality, compositional artistry and lyrical dexterity, therefore solidifying their own unique space within the musical genres that they straddle. Vocals are often on point, guitar solos are compact and composition is refined, yet Flagland stays true to its garage band roots by valuing musical expression above accuracy.

Flagland at Muchmores

On Friday, January 10th, I had the pleasure of seeing Flagland perform live at Silent Barn. The lineup included Flagland, Porches, My Dad and Gunk.

Kerry Kalberg, Dan Francia and Nick Dooley casually set up their instruments on the dusty stage of this Bushwick DIY venue. They took their time setting everything up perfectly as the room slowly filled up with bearded men and tattooed girls. After a quick costume change (more like disrobing) Kalberg appeared in his stage uniform, nothing but his boxer briefs, and they were on their way.

The band played a relatively straightforward set, infusing it with some older material while mostly showcasing a number of songs from Love Hard.  At the end of “High School Love,” Kalberg ripped his glasses off before the gang embarked on their first (but not their last) great instrumental of the night.  He followed this with Love Hard standout “Swingin”. After the crowd settled down, Kalberg announced that he was going to play a song about My Little Pony, and broke into “I Need It,” from 2012’s Tireda Fighting.  Next came a string of songs from Love Hard: “Straight White Male,” “Unfinished Business,” “It’s Your Time” and “Comfortable Life.” They finished with a track from 2011 debut Danger Music/Party Music.

As always, Kalberg, Francia and Dooley put on a dynamic show that was rife with instrumental solos, intimate vocals, lighthearted banter and, of course, a whole lot of bare chest. Make sure to catch their next show, on January 26th at Shea Stadium.