RSVP HERE: Ilithios Streams Debut Live Performance + MORE

Welcome to our weekly show recommendation column RSVP HERE. Due to live show cancellations we will be covering virtual live music events and festivals.

More solo endeavors are sprouting up now that many musicians have been left separated from their bands due to social distancing. Most recently, Manny Nomikos of Catty released a music video of him dancing alone in quarantine and a cover of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” featuring Rosie Slater. His latest project, Illithios (meaning idiot in Greek), stemmed from a collection songs that never fit well enough to bring to a band. All musicians write songs sometimes that come out of left field, but for Nomikos, a true New Yorker born and raised by a Greek father and Korean mother, the project has its roots in an identity of not feeling a true sense of belonging to either side of himself. The project’s namesake serves as a cover so that “no matter how idiotic it all turns out, at least it’ll be in character,” while the songs themselves range from Thom Yorke-inspired pop to personal drum machine fused folk. Never having performed live before the quarantine, Nomikos will have the unique experience of debuting this project via Instagram livestream. There are only a few tracks available online, so tune in for Illithios surprises tonight (4/27) at 8pm. We chatted with Illithios about how to get better livestream sound quality, Dodge Caravans, and his spirit animal quiz.

AF: You’re livestreaming your live show debut on Instagram. Is that as nerve wracking as having your first show in person?

MN: I hadn’t considered that really, but I suppose it’s way more nerve-wracking. Besides performing on your own, there’s also no physical audience to engage with, which makes the whole performance feel very unfamiliar.

AF: What is your live stream set up like? What’s your favorite piece of gear?

MN: This was the hardest part for me cause I was debating how much I should actually play vs. using samples/pre-recorded parts. I felt that rather than just play the guitar the whole time, I’d use a sampler and tape deck to trigger parts and focus more on a performance. Wasn’t sure I’d be very entertaining just playing a guitar for 30 minutes on the internet. So with that said, my fave piece of equipment is my Critter and Guitari Organelle which I’m using as the central part of the sound.

AF: It says your live stream will be presented in Hi-Fi, what does that mean exactly?

MN: Since being stuck at home I’m sure we’ve all been catching streaming shows and they all sorta have their ups and downs. Instagram live has the best foot traffic for live-streaming but their audio is garbage. So I’m running a bunch of software stuff I found to get IG live running off a laptop and using a proper audio interface so the audio doesn’t have that streaming washiness. Hopefully people put on their headphones and I don’t blow it in the mix and we all have a good time.

AF: One of your cover photos is what I think is a ’90s Dodge Caravan. I owned a 1995 Dodge Caravan named Patrick that was very dear to my heart. Do you have any good Dodge Caravan stories?

MN: There’s a special camaraderie of ’90s Dodge Caravan people. I have yet to meet someone who drove a Caravan who’s not a pretty alright person. I married a Caravan driving gal. One story that sticks out was driving with friends to the mall to get Doom 2. We were so excited to get home that I started to drive before my bud Lamar had closed the sliding side door. And I suppose the momentum or gravity or science did its thing and the door slid back so fast it flew off which was not good. We got it back on but it was never the same.

AF: What is your quarantine anthem?

MN: “Play at Your Own Risk” – Planet Patrol. Or Forest by Stella (with a Greek sigma).

AF: I saw on your Facebook invite you made a spirit animal quiz. What is your spirit animal?

MN: Ooooh… well first off, wanna make sure it’s clear that it’s not like a spammy quiz where I collect data or anything like that. I keep getting butterfly mixed with baby deer. Which is sad cause I made the quiz so I wouldn’t get butterfly but I suppose it can’t be avoided.

AF: What spirit animal do you think I am?

MN: We’ve had limited interactions so I’m gonna guess, based on your Kurt Cobain persona from your Sharkmuffin Halloween show… I’d guess you’re a bat mixed with a little bit of dog spirit. Bats have good intuition, they’re night creatures, are highly motivated but on their own schedule. Like you will make a plan to do your taxes, and you will do it and it will be well done, but like you’ll miss the tax deadline by like a few months. Dog mix gives loyalty and playfulness. I dunno, take the test and see how off I am!

AF: I took the quiz and turns I am 48% an Owl (so you were on track with the night creature), and 43% a Panda. 

RSVP HERE for Ilithios first ever live performance 4/24 8pm est on @mannynomikos Instagram.

More great live streams this week…

4/24 Sleater-Kinney (conversation), Harkin via Instagram. 2:30pm est, RSVP HERE

4/24 Play On: 3-day virtual music festival: The Flaming Lips, Weezer, Cardi B and more via Youtube. 12:00pm est, RSVP HERE

4/24 Post Malone (Nirvana tribute) via Youtube. 6pm est, RSVP HERE

4/25 Bethlehem Steel 24 hour live stream for NYSYLC. 10am est, RSVP HERE

4/25 Block by Blockwest: a Minecraft music festival: Pussy Riot, IDLES, Cherry Glazerr via Block by Blockwest website. 3pm est, RSVP HERE

4/27 WINTER via Baby’s TV. $5 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/28 Bully via Noonchorus. $8 8pm est, RSVP HERE

4/28 The Footlight Drink and Draw via Instagram. 7pm est, RSVP HERE

4/28 Exploding in Sound Live From Home feat. Pile, Shady Bug, Jordyn Blakely (Stove) + more via Instagram. 6pm est RSVP HERE

AF 2018 IN REVIEW: Our Favorite Albums and Singles of the Year

Here we are again! As the new year approaches, it’s time to look back and take stock of the albums and singles that defined this moment in music history. 2018 was an eclectic year, to say the least, and there are a lot of new names on the list: Tirzah, Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, Noname, King Princess, and Kali Uchis all had phenomenal debuts this year, not to mention the inimitable Cardi B, who made good on the promise of last year’s smash hit “Bodak Yellow” with Invasion of Privacy in April. There were established artists who still managed to surprise us, whether in the form of unearthed Prince demos, The Arctic Monkeys’ loungey sci-fi concept album, Tim Hecker introducing us to ancient Japanese court music, Dev Hynes making his most personal Blood Orange record yet, or Lil Wayne finally dropping Tha Carter V. And then there are those artists who fall somewhere in between, their ascendant careers a thrill to watch as 2018 saw them finally hit their stride. US Girls. Yves Tumor. serpentwithfeet. And perhaps most spectacularly, Mitski and Janelle Monáe.

As each of our writers (and editors, too) created their own mini-lists, those were two names that kept cropping up, and there’s no doubt you’ve seen them on just about every year-end list on the interwebs. If there’s any chance you haven’t heard Be The Cowboy or Dirty Computer, by all means, fire up that Spotify Premium post haste. But the recommendations here are as diverse as our writers themselves, so we hope you’ll take time to explore some of the lesser-known, hardly hyped artists we’ve highlighted, too – and keep your eyes peeled for more year-end coverage as we cruise in to 2019.


  • Marianne White (Executive Director)

    Top 10 Albums:
    1) boygenuis – boygenius
    2) Soccer Mommy – Clean
    3) Nenah Cherry – Broken Politics
    4) Mitski – Be the Cowboy
    5) serpentwithfeet – soil
    6) CupcakKE – Ephorize
    7) Blood Orange – Negro Swan
    8) Autechre – NTS Sessions 1-4
    9) Snail Mail – Lush
    10) Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
    Top 5 Singles:
    1) Let’s Eat Grandma – “Hot Pink”
    2) Jon Hopkins – “Emerald Rush”
    3) The Internet – “Look What You Started”
    4) Cardi B, Bad Bunny, J Balvin – “I Like It”
    5) boygenius – “Bite The Hand”

  • Lindsey Rhoades (Editor-in-Chief)

    Top 10 Albums:
    1) Low – Double Negative
    2) US Girls – In A Poem Unlimited
    3) Madeline Kenney – Perfect Shapes 
    4) Yves Tumor – Safe In The Hands of Love
    5) DJ Koze – Knock Knock
    6) Caroline Rose – Loner
    7) Tim Hecker – Konoyo
    8) Virginia Wing – Ecstatic Arrow
    9) Frigs – Basic Behaviour
    10) bedbug – i’ll count to heaven in years without seasons
    Top 10 Singles:
    1) Janelle Monáe – “Make Me Feel”
    2) Loma – “Black Willow”
    3) The Breeders – “All Nerve”
    4) SOPHIE – “Is It Cold In The Water?”
    5) Jonathan Wilson – “Loving You”
    6) Empath – “The Eye”
    7) Sibile Attar – “Paloma”
    8) Jono Ma & Dreems – “Can’t Stop My Dreaming (Of You)”
    9) Shopping – “Discover”
    10) Ed Schrader’s Music Beat – “Dunce”

  • Mandy Brownholtz (Social Media)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Miserable – Lover Boy/Dog Days
    2) Snail Mail – Lush
    3) Mitski – Be The Cowboy
    4) Teyana Taylor – K.T.S.E.
    5) Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Nothing – “Blue Line Baby”
    2) Hinds – “The Club”
    3) Mitski – “Nobody”

  • Lauren Zambri (Events)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Amen Dunes – Freedom
    2) US Girls – In A Poem Unlimited
    3) Beach House – 7
    4) Iceage – Beyondless
    5) Tirzah – Devotion
    Top 5 Singles:
    1) Jenny Hval – “Spells”
    2) US Girls – “Velvet 4 Sale”
    3) Yves Tumor – “Licking An Orchid”
    4) Amen Dunes – “Believe”
    5) Low – “Always Trying to Work it Out”


  • Ashley Prillaman (Premieres, AudioMama)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Alice Ivy – I’m Dreaming
    2) Sudan Archives – Sink
    3) Marlon Williams – Make Way For Love
    4) Earth Girl Helen Brown – Venus
    5) Rüfüs Du Sol – Solace
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Rhye – “Taste”
    2) Alice Ivy – “Chasing Stars”
    3) Sudan Archives – “Nont For Sale”

  • Tarra Thiessen (Check the Spreadsheet)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) DRINKS – Hippo Lite
    2) Shannon & the Clams – Onion
    3) Lost Boy ? – Paranoid Fiction
    4) Prince – Piano & a Microphone 1983 
    5) Sloppy Jane – Willow
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Public Practice – “Fate/Glory”
    2) The Nude Party – “Chevrolet Van”
    3) Big Bliss – “Surface”

  • Natalie Kirch (Pet Politics)

    Top 10 Releases Out of the Brooklyn DIY Scene (in Chronological Order):
    1) THICK — Would You Rather? (Self-Released)
    2) BODEGA — Endless Scroll (What’s Your Rupture?)
    3) Baked — II (Exploding In Sound)
    4) Pecas — After Dark (Broken Circles)
    5) Big Bliss – At Middle Distance (Exit Stencil Recordings)
    6) Kevin Hairs — Freak In The Streets (GP Stripes)
    7) PILL – Soft Hell (Mexican Summer)
    8) Stove – ‘s Favorite Friend (Exploding In Sound)
    9) Lost Boy ? – Paranoid Fiction (Little Dickman Records/ Rich Moms)
    10) Janet LaBelle – I Only See You (Loantaka Records)

  • Sara Barron (Playing Detroit)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Kali Uchis – Isolation
    2) Blood Orange – Negro Swan
    3) Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
    4) Mitski – Be the Cowboy
    5) Noname – Room 25
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Ama Lou – “Tried Up”
    2) Britney Stoney – “OD”
    3) Janelle Monáe – “PYNK”

  • Luci Turner (Playing Atlanta)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) The Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino
    2) The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
    3) Charles Bradley – Black Velvet
    4) Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You
    5) Jack White – Boarding House Reach
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) The Raconteurs – “Now That You’re Gone”
    2) Mac Miller – “2009”
    3) Dead Naked Hippies – “Rare”

  • Victoria Moorwood (Playing Cincy)

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
    2) Lil Wayne – Tha Carter V
    3) J. Cole – KOD
    4) Preme – Light of Day
    5) Jazz Cartier – Fleurever
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Lil Wayne feat. Reginae Carter – “Famous”
    2) Cardi B – “Thru Your Phone”
    3) J. Cole – “Brackets”

  • Desdemona Dallas

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Noname – Room 25
    2) Flatbush Zombies – Vacation In Hell
    3) Mountain Man – Magic Ship
    4) Lucy Dacus – Historian
    5) Nao – Saturn
    Top 3 Singles:
    1)  Janelle Monáe – “Make Me Feel”
    2) Twin Shadow – “Saturdays”
    3) Sudan Archives – “Nont For Sale”

  • Erin Rose O’Brien

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Mitski — Be The Cowboy
    2) Antarctigo Vespucci — Love in the Time of E-mail
    3) Car Seat Headrest — Twin Fantasy
    4) Soccer Mommy — Clean
    5) Janelle Monáe — Dirty Computer
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) Bad Moves — “Cool Generator”
    2) The Beths — “Future Me Hates Me”
    3) Miya Folick — “Stop Talking”

  • Ysabella Monton

    Top 5 Albums:
    1) Mitski – Be The Cowboy
    2) Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
    3) Brockhampton – Iridescence
    4) Soccer Mommy – Clean
    5) Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
    Top 3 Singles:
    1) King Princess – “1950”
    2) Childish Gambino – “This is America”
    3) Pusha T – “If You Know You Know”

MORNING AFTER: Donuts and Bagels With Jackal Onasis

I’m surprised when Jordyn Blakely greets me on Manhattan Ave, all seaweed hair, smudgy make-up, black faux-fur coat and a cheerful open-faced expression that should counteract her hipness. Barely an hour ago I watched her get shampooed in Stove’s “Blank” video with a stoic gaze and a steady, melancholy intonation. Before that I Spotified (that’s a word, right?) Jackal Onasis’ 2016 LP Big Deal Party, with her apathetic clear-as-a-bell vocals underlaying the foreboding guitars on the title track. I feel unworthy around the drummer behind the beats of these bands— and the most recent iteration of Kino Kimino—yet I felt instantaneously at ease with that face.

Make no mistake, Jordyn Blakely is so cool (as I say about 500 times), but such an affable quality should be mutually exclusive with coolness. Historically coolness within the scene is best matched up with aloofness, and friendliness—at least in the most cynical lens—frequently feels like a half-hearted method to get someone to attend your gig at Sunnyvale next Thursday.

I’m eager to figure out how she manages to be both these things, and doubly eager to grab bagels at Frankel’s with her.

The Scene: Jordyn’s only stipulation with breakfast was that she needed a Starbucks coffee beforehand, unable to function before being properly caffeinated. Otherwise she was open to meet me anywhere off the Nassau G, because she is v v chill.

I am v v not chill. Flashback to me dragging our mutual friend down the street the night before, asking frantically, “WHICH PLACE SEEMS THE MOST JORDYN?”

Luckily she thinks Frankel’s is cute, but like anyone who’s tiptoed into Greenpoint, has a special fondness of Peter Pan’s Donuts. I promise we’ll swing by after our pumpernickel (her) and everything (me) bagels and cream cheese.

11:13 A.M. As she artistically tears apart her breakfast, Jordyn talks about how she’s doing more writing recently.  “I don’t think [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”][Stove frontman Steve Hartlett] wants it to be just a solo thing, I think he wants it to be collaborative.” She’s been musician-ing for a decade, but the singing, the contributing, it’s fairly new and so refreshing to be more than a drummer.

Mouth full of bagel (so sexy), I stammer, “You wanna be…it’s almost…you’re behind the kit but want to be in front of it,” before realizing that’s logistically impossible and rephrasing. “You want to have your voice heard.”

She does, and her Stove and Jackal Onasis band mates have been nothing but supportive of this, something so important for bandmates, and especially male bandmates. But they’ve never made her feel like she’s “the girl in the band,” she says. They’re an inclusive bunch, and she’s excited for this sort of Broken Social Scene chapter of her life.

11:23 Jordyn’s trying to explain the new changes in the band beer-drinking/song-writing sessions, and as a professional music journalist I’m really interested in what kind of beer. “Usually whatever we can get, we usually drink a lot of Labatt Blue,” she explains, although she’ll also do Coors Light, Brooklyn Lager if we’re getting fancy.  I figure we should take some pictures, and she starts fidgeting her hair, even though she looks like The Little Grunge Mermaid.

“Have you ever heard of Sea Punk?” She says, then explain it’s sort of a nostalgia thing. “About the days of sea-faring…?” I interrupt. No, no no, more of a Vaporwave-y nostalgia thing using electronic beats and aquatic iconography, Windows 95 meets Sea World. “Amazing,” I think, trying to untangle her hair with my hand so it falls properly.

After our mini-photoshoot, we get back to. “It’s weird because I feel like any artistic thing you pursue is selfish,” She says. “Like you have to think about yourself and what you’re feeling and what you want and figure out a way to present that in a way that’s like, satisfying to you emotionally but also sounds good to someone else.”

That and the whole being-able-to-make-money thing, but it’s a far lesser concern than creating meaningful work.

11:34 Out of nowhere Jordyn asks who my favorite journalists are, and I’m stunned that anyone would care, but okay, I’ll bite. I divulge my fascination with Cat Marnell and mention my career trajectory is essentially inspired by Pamela Des Barres’ I’m With The Band, has she ever read it?

She wants to, and I say I’d lend her my copy but last time it became a Whole Thing. Then I instantly change my mind and say she can borrow it if she doesn’t break-up with me later. She promises she won’t, which is sweet.

11:43 Jordyn talks about how she could only date musicians (she’s currently dating Stove/Jackal bandmate Alex Molini), I talk about I could only date musicians (I’ve been previously been involved…a lot of questionable decisions) and we’ve both given up on ever dating, or even meeting, any lawyers. “Not unless we were arrested,” I say.

“I haven’t been arrested, and I’m disappointed,” Jordyn says. “I feel like it’s not rock and roll that I haven’t been arrested.” She is a national treasure.

11:53 As I’m crumpling my bagel wrapper, our discussion turns back to songwriting, specifically the in musicians-on-musicians vein. “I’ll just tell you the secret,” Jordyn starts, and I am all ears because I love secrets.

“I feel like I’ll usually write a song about someone and their perspective or perception of me regarding the situation,” She confesses. “Maybe this is just self-deprecating, but I’ll write a song about someone else, but it’ll be about me, and how I handled that situation badly, about how I feel bad about something, or how they see me because I’m a dick.”

This raises my eyebrows and I’m quick to supply that a lot of writers do the opposite, that they try to construct a Swiftian diatribe about being a victim and scorn those who ripped out their heart (see: my entire career). Instead, she’s using empathy to tackle songwriting from a more objective perspective, which makes her a fairer musician, probably better journalist than me, and at the very least, not a dick.

…it’s approximately here when I decide we need donuts immediately, because things are getting real heavy before noon.

12:10 I finally found someone else who was ruined in a permanent in-your-mid-20s-cannot-sleep-without-a-light-on way by The Ring. “I was sleeping in my mom’s bed for a week, and she was like, ‘You need to stop, you’re 13, go away,'” Jordyn says, a classic Homer Simpson donut in her hand. Our conversation has segwayed from our obsessions with heart-shaped glasses, to the plot of Lolita, to things that horrify. The Ring is up there for us both. followed hard by The Grudge, and though she very rarely gets scared, she has a shortlist.

On it: creepy sounds, anything moving slowly, deformed faces, and Jaws which she only watched recently (“it is so good, so effectively scary.”) And then there are things realer than Japanese ghosts and animatronic sharks, like night terrors, car accidents, and being mugged. She was roughed up by a mugging during her Berklee days, an eye-opening experience that confirmed she wasn’t in the safe haven of the suburbs.

“And that was the first time I realized ‘oh, other people will hurt you.'”

12:39  Jordyn’s heading to Alex’s place for their next songwriting session, and in a perfect New York twist he lives right on my street. So she knows about 4 am McGolrick Park confrontations and that one Polish bakery that’s really, really mean. Before we actually cross said bakery she notices a whole cigarette in the street, and there’s a very real moment where we debate saving it before I deduce it’s probably fine if we’re “one less cigarette closer to death.”

We stop at my my apartment and after I give her the grand tour I hand over I’m With The Band, reiterating that it should give her a window on what it’s like for non-musicians in the scene. She’s excited because she’s always wondered about that, whether we get sick of hanging out with musicians.

I never get sick of it, although after she leaves, I still feel perplexed; from best friends to bedfellows, nobody in the scene has ever bothered to ask me who my favorite journalists are before today.

It’s then that I think I’ve figured out Jordyn, and what will undoubtedly make her a good songwriter. Her musicianship and aesthetics (again, v mermaid grunge) are a killer mix for a drummer babe, there’s no question. But once she gets up from the drum kit there is no bullshit rock star pretense, just absolute candidness peppered the occasional adorable observation (i.e. “Not to be a dick, but Wayne’s World 2 is not that cool,” which had me dying).

She instantly embraces you, connects with you, tries to understand you and include you. She’ll tell you her fears, admit to her self-consciousness, and share secrets with you as effortlessly as sharing a beer, a bagel, a cigarette.

And it’s very cool. It’s so cool.

You can follow Stove and Jackal Onasis on Facebook, and stream Big Deal Party on Bandcamp and Spotify.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

ALBUM REVIEW: Stove “Is Stupider”


Self deprecation abounds on Stove’s Is Stupider. It opens with “Stupider,” followed by “Stupid,” and later on, “Stupidest” and “Dumboy.” The record art labels Side A as “Side Stupid,” and Side B as “Side Beer.”

But for Steve Hartlett, who wrote all the songs and played all of the instruments on Is Stupider, stupid doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of knowledge, but maybe isolation, and a lack of identity; Hartlett created Stove after the dissolution of his former group, Ovlov. Stove is a combination of the words Steve and Ovlov. The struggle to find himself is a theme that runs throughout the album. It starts with the 20 second opener “Stupid,” which explains “Don’t  know who I am/ So I act like who I’m with.” He then addresses himself (or possibly a cat with the same name) on “Wet Food,” asking “Steve, where’d you go?” And “Dusty Tree” made the perfect Thanksgiving soundtrack, as it explores alienation from one’s own family: “Don’t you feel a bit insane planting your family tree? All the way the water never finds the seeds to grow.”   

Stove is lyrically introspective. Musically, the project is rough around the edges in the best way possible, with elements of grunge and post-punk. The music mopes a bit on songs like “Wet Food” and “Lowt-Ide Fins,” but bursts with energy on “Aged Hype” and “Dusty Tree.” Hartlett’s voice is earnest, if a little sad at times, and has a Guided By Voices-like ability to completely own moods and feelings for a few minutes at a time. Check out “Wet Food” below and you’ll see, he’s the smartest kind of stupid there is.