That Brunette Celebrates New Single “Capricorn Moon” with a Song for Every Star Sign

Photo Credit: Fred Attenborough

Like your personal life coach, Audiofemme favorite Madeline Mondrala has returned with a new That Brunette jam called “Capricorn Moon,” and it’s all about rebirth, reframing negative thought patterns, and tapping into creative energy. “The sign of Capricorn is known for its practicality, self discipline, ability to build strong foundations, and impeccable work ethic,” she explains. “New moons mark the beginning of new cycles so I think the combination of those energies in tandem with the state of my personal growth at the time allowed me to see my negative thoughts for what they were; thoughts. It felt like a veil was lifted and I was able to interpret my life and myself from a perspective of love rather than judgement.”

Written during a new moon in Capricorn, and recorded with her friend and producer Ariel Loh (Yoke Lore, Drinker, Cape Francis, Gold Child) at his home studio in Queens, “Capricorn Moon” bursts with positive, motivational vibes. “All I needed was a little time,” repeats That Brunette’s breathy vocals before detailing the steps of her emotional growth: “Excavation/It’s the death of old perception/Took the long way/Wasn’t easy/Trusted in my intuition.”

That Brunette says the song is about shifting your perspective from negative to positive in the wake of a personal failure. “It tells the story of my path to forgiving my past self in order to love my present self. I learned when life pulls you apart, it’s an opportunity to put the pieces back together in a new, beautiful way,” she says.

“It describes a mental shift that took place for me when I decided to move away from self loathing and into self love and acceptance. Something about the Capricorn energy at the time gave me so much clarity and motivation to turn the page and enter the next phase of my life with confidence and joy,” she adds. “When I hear the song it reminds me of how far I’ve come. I hope it can do the same for others.”

Xylophone chimes, throbbing synth, and handclaps give “Capricorn Moon” a non-traditional, organic beat; its meditative moods are driving, rather than calming. “The percussive upbeat energy of the drums propelled the song forward and informed the playful nature of the melody,” says Mondrala. “The song excited us so much that we finished it in only a day or two.” “Capricorn Moon” is the first single from That Brunette’s upcoming EP Dark / Cute, also produced by Loh.

That Brunette is something of an astrology buff – this isn’t the first time she’s looked to the stars for songwriting fodder. As a triple Gemini, she says she engages with the world and with creativity from a heady, intellectual place. “I’m always looking for mental stimulation in the form of wit, humor, originality, or outrageousness. Those preferences make my taste very eclectic and camp, with an undertone of contemplative introspection,” she explains. “I feel that my music totally embodies that vibe. I love to speak truth with a wink. That’s what makes my songs both lyrically interesting and danceable.”

In honor of the release of “Capricorn Moon,” That Brunette put together a playlist for Audiofemme composed of twelve tracks – each one chosen to correlate to a certain sign. For her part, she says, “I think the ultimate Gemini anthem has to be the 1997 hit ‘Bitch‘ by Meredith Brooks. The lyrics ‘I’m a bitch, I’m a lover, I’m a child, I’m a mother, I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I do not feel ashamed’ embody the duality of being a Gemini.”

Luckily, Mondrala adds, “The people who are closest to me and who I cherish the most are able to handle all the facets of my personality that somehow manage to starkly contrast one another and exist all at once. It can be a bit exhausting sometimes but it’s never dull!”

Charlotte Sands – “Dress”

Inspired by Harry Styles’ Vogue cover, Charlotte Sands went viral on TikTok with “Dress” in December 2020. “The overall vibe of this song along with the person the lyrics describe give me major Aries vibes,” says That Brunette. “It’s super punchy, flirty, upbeat and badass!”

That Brunette – “Platonic”

“I wrote this song about a Taurus in my life who moved to another city,” explains Mondrala. “Their energy had grounded me so much that when they left I felt like a balloon floating out into the ether.” When Audiofemme premiered this song at the end of last year, she pointed out that “platonic love… can be just as profound and transformative as romantic love” – a message Taureans can certainly appreciate, since they’re ruled by Venus and known as one of the most loyal signs.

girl in red – “Serotonin”

Norwegian singer-songwriter Marie Ulven is brutally honest as she rattles off her darkest urges on her alternative-tinged tune “Serotonin,” co-produced by Billie Eilish collaborator/sibling FINNEAS. That Brunette can relate to girl in red’s almost frightening rawness. “I struggle with intrusive and negative thoughts and when I heard this song I felt seen,” she says. “Since Geminis are so word-oriented, a lot of time our anxiety can manifest itself in words too. It feels like your brain is using its own nature against you. This song embodies that dissonance perfectly.” girl in red’s anticipated debut album if i could make it go quiet drops April 30th via AWAL.

SOPHIE – “It’s Okay To Cry”

SOPHIE was nothing short of a musical visionary, and her fatal fall from a tower in Greece in January 2021 was especially shocking. But the lead single from her first (and sadly, only) proper studio album, 2018’s Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, provided a powerful, almost prescient message to embrace our most uncomfortable moods. “RIP Sophie and thank you for this beautiful song. It always makes me think of the sensitive Cancers in my life,” says Mondrala. “I’m drawn to their watery emotional energy because I have none in my chart!”

Young Baby Tate (feat. Flo Milli) – “I Am”

“This is the ultimate self-empowerment song,” says That Brunette. “Leos are amazing at asserting themselves confidently. This song helps me get into that manifestation mindset that comes so easily to them.” In fact, the Atlanta-based Tate Sequoya Farris told Rolling Stone that her latest EP, After the Rain (on which “I Am” appears), was written as a way of talking herself through a difficult breakup – so feel free to put it on when you need some affirmation, no matter your sign.

Qveen Herby – “Sade In The 90s”

“I’m allergic to the bullshit,” claims Qveen Herby in her 2018 ode to iconic smooth jazz singer Sade, going on to prescribe orange soda and Deepak Chopra as essentials for her self-care routine. “Virgos are so good at living in the flow,” Mondrala says. “This song is all about filling your own cup and taking good care of yourself inside and out so your light can shine as bright as possible.” Qveen Herby’s “I keep it moving/Put that shit behind me” mantra definitely reflects that practical Virgo nature.

Taylor Swift – “gold rush”

Libras are my kryptonite – effortlessly cool, beautiful, charismatic, just out of reach,” admits Mondrala. “The person Taylor describes in this song has such Libra energy to me.” Swift characterizes that person as someone that everybody wants on the evermore fan favorite, so much so that she has to remind herself not to be charmed by their magnetism – a trait Libras are definitely known for.

That Brunette – “Coolest Girl”

Scorpios can be very beguiling – independent, emotional, ambitious, and intense, they’re one of the most misunderstood signs, and they actually prefer to remain mysterious. “I wrote this song for a Scorpio in my life,” says Mondrala. “They really are the coolest aren’t they?” That Brunette’s slinky synths meet a surprising twang on the track, almost like the seemingly contradictory characteristics of those Scorpios who always keep us guessing.

King Princess – “Cheap Queen”

The surreal video for “Cheap Queen” tells you everything you need to know about a Sagittarius – their curiosity and quirky sense of humor make them irresistible and fun to be around. Mondrala says, “Listen, Sags can hang! They know how to take care of themselves and those around them. This song song gives off that chill, self assured, yet slightly lonely Sagittarius vibe.” As it turns out, King Princess is actually a Sagittarius – but told Vulture that the song was more an homage to the queer community than an autobiography: “We are all cheap queens. It’s a drag term for someone who is resourceful, who makes something out of nothing, who is a creator on a budget. That’s how I feel.”

That Brunette – “Capricorn Moon”

“This song is all about learning from your past and taking failure as an opportunity to rebuild a better more fully realized version of yourself,” Mondrala reiterates. “Capricorns are masters of practicality. They look at everything logically which can be very helpful when you’re in the process of evolution.” On this song, That Brunette acts as a conduit for that redirection, whispering “Do you feel it too?” like your reliable Capricorn friend might.

Vagabon – “Water Me Down”

Brooklyn singer-songwriter Laetitia Tamko, aka Vagabon, is a bit of a kindred spirit when it comes to pulling inspiration from the zodiac; she opened her 2019 self-titled debut with a track called “Full Moon in Gemini.” Also from that record, “Water Me Down” hinges on the indignation of being misunderstood – a definite Aquarius trait. “Aquarians do not compromise who they are for anyone,” says That Brunette. “This song has a subtle strength to it that definitely reminds me of Aquarius people in my life.” 

Olivia Rodrigo – deja vu

The latest track from “the Pisces queen herself” packs all of the emotional punch Rodrigo’s sign is typically known for. Pisces often fall fast and hard when it comes to relationships, and can have a hard time letting go. Telling the story of an old flame who has moved on to a new relationship only to go through the same motions with someone oddly similar, “deja vu” seethes with heartbreak and bitterness. But belting “So when you gonna tell her that we did that too?” – maybe while driving through your exes’ suburb – is perfect for indulging in a little Pisces-style catharsis.

RSVP HERE: Honduras livestream via Launch & MORE!

Photo Credit: Jennifer Medina

Honduras are long-standing Brooklyn hometown heroes. Since 2012, they’ve recorded tons of catchy ’70s influenced power pop tunes that ooze with New York City lore, and have filmed many of their own music videos. They’ve played hundreds of shows in Brooklyn DIY spaces, opened for Blur and Interpol, and toured the country with other indie darlings such as Sunflower Bean and L.A. Witch. Despite a pandemic and a change to their original lineup, Honduras are moving forward with a record that they finished last January and will be playing their first livestream this Saturday 12/19! We chatted with the band’s vocalist, Pat Philips, about books he’s read in quarantine, his struggle with social media, division in our society, and the need for better access to mental health care.

AF: How has Honduras changed and grown in 2020?

PP: For a large part of 2020 I thought Honduras wasn’t going to be a band anymore. Tyson Moore, who I started the band with, got in touch with the rest of us in April and said he was ready to move on from Honduras. We couldn’t blame him. Him and his wife moved outside of the city, and the three of us had accepted he would quit eventually. But it was still a bit of a shock. And kind of heartbreaking. I have a long history with Tyson – we actually went to the same elementary school in Columbia, Missouri where we grew up. We’d been working on music together for the last 15 years, so I have so many life memories intertwined with him. After he quit the rest of us gave each other space. Fortunately, we all really believed in an album we’d just finished in January and wanted to keep going. We’ve been rehearsing the last couple months and we’re grateful for an opportunity to play a show, or a virtual show, or whatever.

AF: How was writing and recording “Remains,” the single you released this past fall?

PP: I really struggle with social media, and I think during the time of writing “Remains” I was acknowledging that it was affecting my behavior. It was written shortly after the 2016 election when everything seemed to be at a fever pitch. Anger, jealousy, insecurity, hatred, vanity, materialism, division are some things I believe social media exacerbates. I’ve also worked in nightlife in NYC for the last 9 years, and during that time a friend had just passed. That was surreal because he would close the bar with me every night, so it was weird adjusting to his physical presence being gone. We didn’t actually record the song until March of 2018 at Ultrasound Studios in Los Angeles. We were playing a few shows out there and fit in a session with Samual Shea and Julien O’Neill of the band Warbly Jets on production/engineering. The session was really loose and great. The studio was in downtown LA which I’d never been to before, and man it’s really scummy around there. The street the studio was on was a weird alley street, and the sidewalk was lined with all these Turkish men drinking espresso and chain smoking. We really enjoyed that session.

AF: Have you been working on any non-music things in 2020? Discover a passion for any unexpected hobbies?

PP: I’ve always had a passion for books and the free time was a blessing to read a bit more.  I read some James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Hemingway, the Joy Division oral history. But the book that actually had the greatest impact on me was called The Broken Heart of America by Walter Johnson. It’s this 500 page history of the city of St. Louis “and the violent history of the United States.” St. Louis is the most segregated city in the US and also has the highest murder rate. But it also has an incredibly vibrant history. Maya Angelou, Miles Davis, Chuck Berry come from St. Louis.  I was born there, but moved to Columbia, MO at 5 years old after my parents got divorced. St. Louis has always been the city where most of my family lives but a place I never really understood. The book helped fill in some missing pieces. I also helped my fiancé’s parents for a few weeks with moving into their new house in New Jersey. Did a bit of painting, and putting together furniture and shelves. I’m not very knowledgeable in some of that work but it was great to get out of Brooklyn for a few weeks and work with our hands.  We’ve been in our apartment this whole year, but this year has instilled our love for NYC. With that said, the few trips out of the city helped restore sanity.

AF: Can you tell us about your new line-up or is that surprise for the livestream?

PP: Maxi Motcham has been filling in on guitar/synth for us. We’ve only been rehearsing for a few months, but he’s really professional for someone his age. Plays both instruments well. I think we’re all just happy to be playing music again. We understand it’s a huge privilege, and we’ve had some cool opportunities over the years. But it’s not something we take lightly, or pursue for financial gains. We do it because we have to – it’s a release that I couldn’t compare to anything else. And I’d be terrified of a life without it.

AF: Do you have any plans for new music in 2021?

PP: We will be releasing a 12-song full-length LP called Redeeming Features. We’re putting out two songs in January, and hopefully the rest of the album shortly after.

AF: What would you like to see change in the world in 2021?

PP: Oh wow. It’s really the division that gets to me. I hope this next year, after all we’ve gone through we can all lean into that voice that beats deep inside. It’s the human spirit, and it’s love. Love and understanding for others. A lot of the fears we share are false masks that people at the top perpetuate for their own profit. We’ve all been through hell, but 2020 illuminated a lot of what is wrong with society. A lot of the systems of the United States appear to be broken. A lot of marginalized people do not have access to opportunity. I think the government should spend more money helping its people, I think corporations should be taxed fairly like the rest of us.

On a personal note, I got to a place a few years ago I didn’t know I was going to be able to get out of. I’d repressed sexual abuse from my past, and was struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. I got arrested at work one night and spent 40 hours in jail. Something shifted mentally in those hours, and when I got out I was broken. It was a low point, but soon after, for the first time, I was able to tell my partner about the trauma I’d experienced. I had held that secret in for 12 years. Fortunately with my insurance in New York, CBT therapy was covered. I’ve been in therapy for the last two and a half years and it’s changed my life so much. I want to advocate for therapy, and hope it can become more available for people. After 2020 we’ve all been through traumas, and I believe therapy for millions more people would help put our society back together.

RSVP HERE for Honduras via Launched. $15, 9pm ET

More great livestreams this week…

12/18 Yo La Tengo Hanukkah 2020 Livestream in partnership with WNYC & The Greene Space. 8pm ET (Rebroadcast 12/19 at 7am, 1pm, & 8pm ET), RSVP HERE

12/18 &12/19 Vundabar via 9pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/18 Rachel Angel, Double Graves and more via Around TheCampfire. 7pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/19 Oh Sees live at The Henry Miller Library via Seated. 7pm ET, $3.98, RSVP HERE

12/19 Lucero via NoonChorus. 10pm ET, $15, RSVP HERE

12/19 Waxahatchee, Vagabon, Black Belt Eagle Scout, La Luz via KEXPY Awards. 8pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/20 Wonderville Benefit: Weeping Icon, Babay Jicks and the Ghoul Fiends. 8pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/21 Thick via FLV (recorded live at The Footlight). 8pm ET, RSVP HERE

12/22 Grace Potter via Veeps. 8pm ET, $25, RSVP HERE

12/24 War on Women, Chris Gethard, Slingshot Dakota and More via The Fest Holiday Show. 7pm ET, RSVP HERE

PREMIERE: Stimmerman “Dentist vs Pharmacist”


Parental expectations can be fraught with peril. Some parents expect their kids to take over the family business, some envision their children as doctors or lawyers, and in some circles dwell Alex P. Keaton types whose hippie parents shudder at the thought of white collar work. “Dentist Vs Pharmacist,” the latest release from Stimmerman (aka Eva Lawitts), addresses familial pressures with a rolling guitar lick, piercing vocals, and one hell of a horn section.

A native New Yorker, Lawitts grew up attending a prestigious magnet school; it was within these corridors of rigorous practice and imaginary success that Lawitts first honed her music prowess. It gave Lawitts the distance she needed to look at her family history and question the values and assignments that were passed from generation to generation.

“You know who you’ll be / There’s a consensus: A pharmacist or a dentist / Scientific Thesis / Pick up shattered pieces / Take my sword and let it break,” Lawitts screams into the void. A veteran bass player with a history in bands that kick butt (Princess Nokia, Vagabon, Rotem Sivan, Citris), Lawitts’ forthcoming album Goofballs takes her rock persona and makes it personal. “Dentist Vs Pharmacist” offers the kind of perspective one can only garner after the youth and drugs and fear fade, leaving an angry hull that is adulthood.

Listen to AudioFemme’s exclusive stream of “Dentist Vs Pharmacist” and read our interview with Eva Lawitts below.

AF: Your Spotify page says Stimmerman is “for fans of At The Drive In, Gillian Welch, and Dirty Projectors.” How do you define the music you make?

EL: I have so much trouble defining any music at all. For a while I was calling Stimmerman progressive emo, which is not correct at all, even though it felt like it described my approach. I have this desire to be a “songwriter” (which I feel like I’m still striving towards), and to create these self-contained worlds with each song, and I also crave performing music live and in that way I want the music itself to be challenging and fun, and to provide a cathartic experience for myself and my bandmates and the audience, and I’m always trying to be more concise and honest lyrically, and all of those things have sort of coalesced into Stimmerman music, which is angular, high-energy, sadness. See? I kind of got there.

AF: You went to Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and Performing Arts. Can you give us a little inside look into what it’s really like in a performing arts school? Obviously there was much dancing in the lunch room, we assume.

EL: There was a lot of dancing in the lunchroom, haha. Not by me, but certainly by someone. My feelings about these specialized magnet schools are inseparable from the subject matter of Goofballs, although I don’t think they’re ever really directly addressed. Basically I feel like as a teenager I was extremely motivated and competitive about music (and also my teen ego was totally out of control), and so I thrived at LaGuardia, which in turn provided me with an exceptional music education. But at the same time, I feel like the culture of that kind of school can be insidious in a way – I think it discourages kids who aren’t at the top of their field by age 15 from pursuing what they love after high school (this is still my observation keeping in touch with my high school chums ten years down the line) and I also feel like that same air of discouragement is what caused a lot of my friends to sink deeper into a special kind of adolescent despair that included a lot of drug and alcohol use, and a lot of ambient self-destruction. Of course some of that is just par for the course of adolescence… there was an added benefit to LaGuardia insofar as you often had extracurricular rehearsals and such that would keep you at school till 9pm or so… so it became really easy to stay out all night and just tell your parents that you had rehearsal. That excuse combined with a student Metrocard can afford you a lot of mischief. That’s not the school’s fault, but it was, in my experience, part of the culture. I could talk about this for hours but I’ll stop here.

AF: What were you initially studying in school? An instrument or a specific kind of music?

EL: I was studying upright bass, and mostly studying, if we can speak extremely broadly, “classical” music. When I entered LaGuardia my ambition was basically to be in the MET Orchestra or something… I still play upright bass quite a bit, but the scale has tipped significantly. Throughout middle and high school and even most of college, the only time I played electric bass was in my old band Sister Helen. Now I feel like the electric bass is more a part of my voice, and certainly more aligned with the types of music I want to create.

AF: Tell us about “Dentist vs Pharmacist.” Where did this song originate?

EL: I wrote this song directly after having lunch with a friend of mine who went to middle school (Mark Twain) and high school (LaGuardia) with me, and it was directly influenced (stolen? I don’t know) by a conversation we had about this kind of half-joke about modern Russian fatalism, which was that so many of the kids we went to middle school with were raised with only two possible tracts they could follow into adulthood – they could become a dentist or they could become a pharmacist. This is the highest achievement you could possibly attain. This was the gleaming dream of our Russian and Jewish cohorts of yesteryear. We were being silly about it, but within that silliness are many real wounds about the expectations of our own parents, their parents, and an examination of how we can possibly honor the sacrifices made by our families while still attempting to function in a world that is basically incalculably different than anything they could have possibly conceived of when they made those sacrifices. Fuck! And also I just wanted to scream.

AF: You recently spoke with Street Wannabes about the struggle of co-founding Wonderpark Studios – the balance of working on other artists’ work and finding time for your own music. What does your typical day look like?

EL: Right. I run Wonderpark with Chris (Krasnow), who is also in Stimmerman doing guitar and some vocals in the live band, and he also contributed engineering, mixing and mastering to this album as well as guitar, and vocals and even some drums! Wow, just had to say it. Anyway, I think Chris is really the genius audio guy within Wonderpark. I do a fair amount of engineering and producing as well, but I handle all of the “business” of Wonderpark, meaning I spend an absurd amount of time doing our books, writing Facebook and Instagram ads, keeping up with clients, doing pre-production, meeting and haranguing new clients, and other things of that nature. So a typical day in the studio might look like coming in around 10 and helping Chris get mics on stands, making various choices regarding the session, and then spending between 8-10 hours working our butts off trying to get the best possible recording made, and trying to help people have fun doing it! Then usually an hour and a half of so of cleaning the damn studio. A typical day working from home is just a love affair with my hideous laptop and cell phone – lots of calls, lots of numbers, lots of writing. I love it but we often work 15 hour days and by the end of the “week” (which is sometimes 3 days and sometimes like 15 days) I’m usually spent.

AF: As an artist, do you keep a schedule in order to carve out creative time?

EL: I recently started keeping up with a pretty strict morning routine. Part of that routine is that I try to write a song a day, and I only give myself 15 minutes to do it. A lot of them are simply dreck, but some of them are really good! And just being in the habit of getting the juices flowing when I get up has helped the creative process overall.

AF: What’s the one piece of advice you have for a young band coming into the recording studio for the first time?

EL: Most young bands drastically underestimate how much time they’re going to need to make an album. Some bands can come in and blast out an album in one 8 hour session, but I would say 99% of them can’t. Something I would suggest is, if you’re heading into the studio for the first time – make a single! Set one full day aside and try to track one song, see how you like the process. Another mistake I see with a lot of first-time bands making is trying to set a release date before they even start recording! This is always a disaster. Wait until you have the masters of your album to set the release date! The fervor that’s created when you ignore that precious rule is maddening and it often ruins the music because you rush through the entire process and become more focused on an imaginary deadline that YOU made up instead of the music which in theory is the important part.

AF: Tell us about Invisible Planet Records. How’s it coming along?

EL: Yeah! So Invisible Planet Records is still semi-top secret, but Goofballs is coming out “on” it. Basically we’re trying to create a label component to Wonderpark and Stimmerman was the soft open. We have a couple Wonderpark bands and artists lined up to release music through us in 2020. Basically I just wanted a way to help the bands I like best do the most with their music after leaving the studio….or maybe I just wanted a way to justify all the free labor I do consulting people on how to best release the music they record with me and Chris. More about this in 2020 but for right now we’re considering it to be in beta!

AF: What art/books/music are currently moving the needle for you right now?

EL: Lately the music I’m most inspired by is the stuff made by my friends and peers and clients of the studio, and some people I’m playing with. I always thought that concept was kind of cliche but as I get older it’s just the truth. A short list of those names? Joanna Sternberg, Kat Lee/Tiny Gun, Grey McMurray, Carlos Truly, Eli Greenhoe, Rust Ring, Danielle Grubb are all people who have released music THIS YEAR that has really blown me away. As I’ve said about a thousand times, I think we’re in a weird renaissance period in NYC for weirdo rock-jazz right now and, in addition to some of the names above some of the people here that I feel like I’ve wanted to heavily steal from are Wasabi Fox, Kadawa, and Adam O’Farrill. Go check out their discographies so that when I steal from them you can call me out.

AF: We’re at a Stimmerman show. You’re about to come on. What can we expect?

EL: The house lights go down. A single spot light pierces the darkness with that familiar KA-CHUNK sound effect that we associate with a spot light turning on, even though we have no idea what the physical mechanism is. A man stands alone on stage – who is he? He stares silently into the crowd for seconds, then minutes, murmurs begin to ripple through the room. His lips tremble, a single tear rolls down his cheek. He announces that Stimmerman has been in a terrible car wreck – will they survive? The audience weeps. Bitter, bitter, merciless tears. Then! Suddenly! The door in the back on the venue whips open. I crawl, belly slithering across the floor like the snake I am, through the crowd. Using my immense upper body strength, I hoist myself onto the stage, throwing myself at the feet AND mercy of this mysterious man. He holds a microphone to my cracked and bleeding lips. “Stimmerman….forever” are the sounds that croak from my hideous throat. And the crowd agrees.

Stimmerman’s latest album Goofballs arrives this December – follow them on Facebook for ongoing updates.

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.


ALBUM REVIEW: Vagabon “Infinite Worlds”


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Vagabon press photo by Ebru Yildiz

Laetitia Tamko opens her debut record with “The Embers,” painting herself as “a small fish” in a world of fiercer creatures. “You’re a shark that hates everything,” she repeats. “You’re a shark that eats every fish.” In the music video, Tamko sits on a bus, surrounded by nondescript white guys with blindfolds on, unaware of her presence as she sings. But then she finds the freedom in being left to herself, dancing, comfortable in her own space in the world. Later, the men carry her above them.

Watching it reminds me of the recent conversation between Dirty Projector’s Dave Longstreth and Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold, bemoaning the lack of new, good and original indie rock. The conversation, which took place on Instagram, earned some well-deserved eye rolls and the criticism that the two don’t realize the major players in the genre are increasingly non-male and non-white; they only had to look beyond those that mirrored themselves to find musicians like Tamko, who has created an amazing album that contains an emotion and fire that makes it seem beyond just her first major release. Her talent for introspection, as well as a worldly awareness, make it easy to get lost in her universe. 

On Infinite Worlds, quiet, indie-folk moments give way to heavy rock and in the middle of it all, the dreamy, electronic jam “Mal à L’aise.” Her best lyrics rise out of sadness instead of being brought down by it, and use the feeling of being small or out of place as motivation to push back. The song where it all comes together in a perfect, heartbreaking way is “Cold Apartment,” which builds and pulls back until words seem to escape Tamko; her soaring vocals dissolve over crashing drums and power chords until we’re left with just the gentle guitar melody the song started with. The album feels new and fresh, even after a few listens. If you haven’t heard it yet, check it out below.