On the Convergence of Songs, Images, and “The Orchid Thief”

When Kevin Larimer, the editor of Poets and Writers Magazine, emailed and asked if I’d be up to take part in another “inspiration experiment” I instantly knew just who I wanted to invite. The first time we had tried this, two years prior, we worked with author Joyce Carol Oates. Oates kindly agreed to read her poem Too Young to Marry, But Not Too Young to Die, and then listen as a number of artists read and performed pieces written […]

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“The Best Critique is Self Critique”: Talking “Endless Scroll” and Alienation With BODEGA

BODEGA‘s new album Endless Scroll is a spot-on distillation of a slice of city life circa now, from contradictory impressions of the larger world to frustrations over rampant consumerism and technologically-driven alienation. Add some minimalist, propulsive postpunk to the mix and you have a mightily compelling record. We talked with singer/guitarist Ben Hozie about Endless Scroll, media saturation, and more.

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Cycles, Distortion, and the Cosmic: An Interview With Dick Stusso

Oakland’s Dick Stusso comes from a long musical line of off-beat singer-songwriters, with an unexpected take on the transcendental and a fondness for songs both harmonious and dissonant. In Heaven, his new album, jolts you whenever it seems too familiar; the resulting ten songs shift effortlessly from the comfortable to the surreal. He’ll be in Brooklyn next month, playing the Park Church Co-Op on June 8th as part of the Northside Festival. In advance of this, we asked him a […]

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The Making of “Hundreds of Days,” With Literature: An Interview With Mary Lattimore

Hundreds of Days, the new album by Mary Lattimore, is a stunning, sprawling work abounding with moving compositions anchored by Lattimore’s distinctive harp playing. It’s the result of a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts, located in northern California, and the result is Lattimore’s most moving work to date. Her tour of the US begins today–she’ll be in NYC on May 29th, at Union Pool, for her record release show, and will be back on June 28th for […]

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The Beatific Conundrums of Mishka Shubaly

  Since spotting him over twenty-five years ago, sitting on a bench in an oversized G ‘n’ R shirt, long curly hair tendrlling down over his acoustic guitar, I’ve treated Mishka Shubaly, despite him being only marginally younger, like a little brother, minus all the protect a support parts. For reasons best explained to a theoretical therapist that I really should get around to seeing one of these days, I’ve mocked Mishka, fought with him, whined when he chastised me […]

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Hether Fortune on Poetry, Shoegaze, and the Return of Wax Idols

The music made by Wax Idols is equally visceral and melodic, and can shift from one to the other at a moment’s notice. Their new album, Happy Ending, is due out on May 16th, and they’ll be venturing out on tour later this year. For the group’s founder, Hether Fortune, that’s one of several things keeping her busy: she released her first collection of poetry earlier this year, and has also been making forays into visual art. I spoke with […]

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“Math Became An Obsession”: Christina Vantzou on the Making of “No. 4”

Christina Vantzou‘s solo work ventures into stunning, complex ambient passages. Her latest album, No. 4, is perhaps her most musically varied work yet, summoning up an array of haunting emotions while instilling a sense of bliss through the density and melodic qualities heard throughout. In advance of her show in Brooklyn on April 7th as part of the Ambient Church series, I talked with her about the making of the album and some of the literary influences on her music.

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Turning Language and Memory Into Music: An Interview With Wayne Robert Thomas

Yesterday, we spoke with Kyle Bobby Dunn about his forthcoming split LP with the Indianapolis-based musician Wayne Robert Thomas. Today, it’s Thomas’s turn to talk about the split and his composition “Voyevoda,” which magnificently and melancholically sprawls over the course of its 20-minute running time. Come for the epic ambient music; stay for the Cormac McCarthy reference.

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