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many times Jon Berger fires me.

We got nostalgic and wrote about ourselves a little too much this issue, but hey, it’s our birthday and no one’s allowed to get mad at you on your birthday. I want to thank everyone who has taken part and makes this possible every time, especially the staff, so I’m going to take this space to introduce them properly: Jonathan Berger: Copy Editor / Poet Extraordinaire / Jew - the man behind the curtain pulling all of our strings. Paul Alexander: Feature Writer & Columnist / Sophisticated Pop-Smith - nicest guy ever. Brook Pridemore: Columnist / Punk Ass Motherfucking Folksinger - shy for a road warrior. Dan Costello: Feature Writer & Columnist / Brooklyn Folk-Hop - jovial, good beard. Deborah T: Puzzle Editor & Feature Writer / Experimental Folk Feminist - good friend, good person, good singing! Andrew Hoepfner: Feature Writer / Leader of the Band - far too responsible to be a folksinger. Welcome Herb Scher, our newest member! Staff Photographer / Ace Pianist - already proven in these pages what is worth a thousand words. I’m Dave Cuomo: Your Editor / Folksinger - a bit of a flake and shouldn’t be in charge of anything. Last and most important You! The Community: The only reason we exist...

Happy Birthday to us! Yes, it’s the birthday issue! We’re one year old and showing no signs of slowing, despite how

Urban Folk: issue seven

Contact us at & 306 Jefferson St. 1R Brooklyn, NY 11237

In This Issue:

Urban Folk wants you!

On the Cover - your editors! dave cuomo & jonathan berger Letters to the Editor – dishing the dirt Lach – dave cuomo chronicles the wit and wisdom Dan Penta – dan costello gets the scoop on the mad genius behind hearth Grace Revell – jonathan berger babysits for the first family of antifolk Antifolk Map of the Stars – andrew hoepfner explores our neighborhoods The Analogues – paul alexander unveils the beauty and brilliance of the duo Boog City Classic Album Series – jon berger reviews his other magazine’s showcase - objectively Exegesis Department – with lach Call & Response Poetry - stephen belowsky vs. jon berger Be an Urban Folk friend! Invisible Noise – dan costello’s myspace music picks On Urban Folk - berger gets nostalgic Alec Reviews – alec wonderful watches the watchmen - cuomo! & jon berger Get in the Minivan – brook pridemore on the open road Paul’s Perspective - paul alexander makes a birthday toast and talks about his jams Essay Contest - win an urban folk feature and a date with alec wonderful! Winner’s Feature - mike k! intrerviewed by deborah t CD Reviews – barry bliss, hearth, o’death, schwervon!, the woes, and more...

photographs by Herb Scher, indicated as HS throughtout the issue

How can I help out and be a part off my community magazine you ask? Back/inside cover - $110 (7.5” x 10”) Three easy ways! Full page - $100 (6.8” x 9.5”) Advertise - Ads are how we stay alive. Buying an ad gets you Half page - $60 (6.8” x 4.7”) exposure and does your part to keep this magazine going. If you don’t Third page - $45 feel ready, maybe you know someone who is. Send them our way, we’re (square: 4.8” x 4.8”; tall 2.2” x 9.5”) cheap! Quarter page - $25 (3.4” x 4.8”) Distribute - You hang out in places we’ve never even heard of, you know you’re neighborhood or campus better than anyone. Contact us circulations is 2,000 distributed around cafes, and we’ll set you up with a stack to put out around your corner of the campuses and transit facilities in the NYC area city. Spread the word! Contribute - Articles, poetry, reviews, whatever you got, send it to us, We don’t promise we can print everything, but we will read and respond to all submitions.

Letters to the editor
Dear Folks of an Urban persuasion, I couldn’t find any reference to Debe Dalton at all last issue. What happened? Is Ms. Dalton now out of favor with the Urban Folk elite? Adoringly, Dead on Dyre Street Dear Dead on Dyre, Look more carefully. We’re sure you’ll find it. Hey, UF! Who is Alec Wonderful? Really, what the fuck is up with that guy? Profane Professor in Prefect Peoria Senor PP, All you have to do is read Alec’s words to get a handle on the guy. Clearly, he’s the most famous AntiFolk artist ever to be seen. He’s a superstar like none other. His music is better than anything you’ve never heard. Yes, we said “never” (I’ve never heard him either). Is it a joke. Is it words from on high? Only your hairdresser knows for sure... Dear Urban Folk, Each issue of your magazine seems to be better than the last one (you guys are GREAT!!!!) How do you do it? Lovingly, Lorimer Stop Lenny Dear Len, We actually stagger our brilliance, so that each issue is only just .03% better than the one before. In this way, we will not blow our improvement arc until, by our collective estimation, autumn 2008 (just in time for the next President Clinton). We use science here at Urban Folk; that’s just how we roll. Dear artists behind Urban Folk, When you reviewed the Undisputed Heavyweights last issue, you mentioned they were interviewed on their disc. Who reviewed them? Can I find that interview anywhere? Dating Some Dummy in Detroit Dear Dummy-Dater, Jeff Schram of Alloy Radio, a great friend to Urban Folk, was behind that. How Alec Wonderful (the SUPERSTAR who wrote that review) missed that obvious point, is beyond all the rest of us at Urban Folk. If you haven’t gone to to listen to the latest locals, then you’re a dummy, and not just dating one. Dear ECR, We’re not racist.

send letters to
Dear Urban Folkies, If you’re called Urban Folk, how come there aren’t more people of color in this magazine. I mean, that’s what the urban title refers to, doesn’t it? From an egregiously curious reader

Dear UFfies, I started going to open mics in New York City a few months ago, and I fell in love with the scene right away. I never saw so many talented people in Portland, so many people dedicated to playing their hearts out with their original material, so many people who cared about so many people who weren’t their family or gun dealer. This community has really moved me, and I think, in the few short months I’ve been here, I’ve learned so much. I’ve become a better songwriter, and, maybe - just maybe - a better person. I think this fanzine helps engender that kind of spirit. So thank you, and thank everyone involved. You’re really good people - even those of you I don’t know. Anyway, my question is this: what number are we on? Signed, Jackson in the Heights Dear Jack, Number One. Well, we’re Number One. You’re like fifty eight. Whatever. Dear Urbanites, Maybe I’m beating a dead horse, but I checked and I checked, last issue, and then I checked again, looking for any mention of banjo-playing Debe Dalton. There was nothing. Not a lick. Not a scratch. What happened? Formerly Dead on Dyre (I Moved to Montague) Dear MtM, All right, you found us out. Debe Dalton, the most regular of the AntiFolk community, the most regular oldster in AntiFolk, deserves the most regular coverage in our periodical. Thus, our Easter Eggs we unintentionally add to each issue. We fucked up last time around (so much Hamell content!). It’ll never happen again (Debe won’t let it). Dear UF, When will Lach get a feature? Carlos on C Dear C on C, When you reach page 6.


the king and I

Lach does a few calculations on the corner of a cocktail napkin and circles the number 40,000 triumphantly. It’s late on a Monday night and we are sitting outside the Sidewalk Cafe, while inside scores of songwriters at the Antihootenanny are going about their regular business of trading songs, forming new bands, gossiping and trying to understand what it means to be the bohemian community they are. 40,000 is the number of songs we estimate Lach has heard at the Antihoot alone. Taking into account all the demos he’s been sent and listened to, plus all the shows, and we have a much larger number. To complicate the matter, we must consider Lach’s theories on the nature of time. He doesn’t believe in it, at least not in the sense that most of the world does. To him, past, present, and future are all events that exist eternally. When we look at the universe from a more objective view we see all times and events as simultaneous realities. So let’s be conservative and say Lach has listened to over 60,000 songs at the Antihoot and other places. Add to that the 1,000 he estimates to have written (a large portion of these performed and forgotten as quickly as they came to him), and one comes to the bewildering conclusion that right now, while I’m sitting across from him smoking a cigarette and trying to come up with my next question, Lach is calmly enjoying (well, mostly enjoying) 61,000 songs. “You’re at the Monday Night Antihootenanny!” Lach says in a typical opening speech. “It’s a regular happening, a coming together. Amazing things are going to happen here tonight. Do you realize this is the coolest club in the universe? It’s the coolest club in the East Village, the East Village, the coolest neighborhood in New York, New York, the coolest city on the planet, Earth, the coolest planet in the galaxy, the Milky Way, the coolest galaxy in the universe... So enjoy yourself here tonight, make good use of it. Take the opportunity, hear something you’ve never heard before, if you like something you hear, go up and talk to the person. Write a song with someone new, hang out and be a part of

this. But please whatever you do, don’t ask me what number we’re on or when you’re coming up. If you’re here and you’re worried about what number you get or when you’re playing, you’re going to miss it. Numbers aren’t real, time isn’t real, you’re here, now, this is what matters. Instead of worrying about what number we’re on, or trying to get a good grade, be a part of what’s going on. This is what you came here for. I don’t understand people who come here and work a job they hate so that they can be a musician in New York and come to places like this just to leave early so that they can get up on time and go to a job they hate, so they can be a musician in New York?” My first night at the Antihoot I drew number 72. “Fuck this, I get it, but I have to be up at nine,” I thought to myself and left. It’s hard to stop believing in time when you know for a fact the clock will wake you up for work in the morning. My second week I came back determined to stick it out. I had been to a lot of open mics and met a lot of musicians, but nothing I could characterize as a community. I had no leads toward “being discovered,” finding an audience, or even getting gigs. On NPR one day I heard someone talking HS about Antifolk as if it were punk, what it meant to be Antifolk, and how all one had to do was to hang around and play at Sidewalk Cafe to be part of it. I wanted to be part of something. I also wanted someone to impress, I wanted to be seen and escorted into whatever it was musicians coming to New York are looking for. That next week, seeing Lach play ringmaster all night, bantering comfortably with acts who all seemed to know each other intimately, mocking into the microphone the ones who obviously didn’t get it, and once in a while, graciously inviting someone who played an especially good set to play a full gig at the club, I got myself ready to impress. It was also no secret that Lach had the ability to get artists a break as he did a few years ago when he helped Nellie McKay score a major label deal after playing at the club for a short time. I bided my time until one in the morning, well after most of the crowd had left, knowing I was screwed for work

by Dave Cuomo

the next day, ready to get on stage and knock Lach and all 15 people left in the room’s socks off. I got up and played a fast, loud, highly political song. It was kind of sloppy, but I figured at a place like this, obviously punk at heart, they’d love it and decide I was exactly what they’d been waiting for. After the song I waited on stage for a moment to be asked if I’d want to play a gig there sometime. “Thanks Dave,” he said, “please keep coming back.” For some reason this wasn’t enough for me. Knowing full well that it was probably exactly the thing not to do I asked him later “is it taboo to ask you what you thought?” He screwed up his face real tight, almost squinting at me. “Umm, it’s not taboo,” he said with what sounded like a bit of disgust, “I guess I’d have to hear more.” Antifolk is at a peculiar stage in its development. As Lach puts it, “it’s of legal age.” By nature it is an insurgent art form created in opposition as an illegal after hours bar and venue in Lach’s apartment. But the old established folk scene it was created to rail against has long since passed into irrelevant nostalgia, while Antifolk remains a fresh and vibrant scene, now in a clean legal venue, still evolving and producing some of the most inspired songwriter music in the city. “We gladly feast on those who would subdue us,” Lach says quoting the Addam’s Family motto in acknowledgement of Antifolk’s current supremacy. “I bear no one any ill will, though,” he adds quickly “they have their fan base, and we have ours.” So what happens to an insurgent art form when it takes over? Can Cuban Communism still call itself a revolution decades after it has become the establishment? “Does it change the nature of the Antifolk to have won?” I ask. “An artist is always an individual,” he says dismissively. “His main tool is truth. Whether he’s a rebel or on the throne, the important thing is that we have the truth. Elvis was a rebel but then he stopped telling the truth. Imagine if he’d written songs about trying to lose weight or cheating on Priscilla. That would have been amazing! You need criticism too though. I started the scene because I didn’t feel challenged by the West Village. I wanted comradery and criticism, constructive criticism, honesty. In San Francisco they have that ‘it’s all good’ mentality, they applaud for everyone. Really they’re just enabling bad art. Here they certainly don’t like everything, but they’ll also applaud you for a good rhyme in the middle of a song. Where else does that happen?” “It does make artists try harder and reward them for it,” I agree. “But do you think there’s an edge that’s missing from how it used to be? Think of Carl Creighton, Erin Regan, or The Analogues, compared to the old fast aggressive acoustic punk sound it started as. It seem like since Antifolk has ‘won’, the sound has become more smooth and mainstream, almost poppy” “Smooth? Carl Creighton sings about his dead sister. Erin sings about her fucked up family and The Analogues have a song about a priest who falls in love with a rat in the sewer. I wouldn’t call that smooth and poppy. The sound does change

though. It comes in waves, it kind of blows up as artists come in, then move up and out. New artists come in, and the cycle starts over again. We had the Hamell on Trial, Joie/ Dead Blond Girlfriend kind of fast aggressive style. There was the Moldy Peaches lo-fi sound with childish lyrics. The group coming up now isn’t naughty for naughty’s sake. It’s more personal, respectful, it’s about strong voices.” “Do you ever use your position here to promote certain kinds of artists and influence the overall style of the genre?” “I would say I’m pro-active with what comes through the door. It’s all chaos and X-factor though.” “And you take an active hand in how that plays out?” “Really, this started as and always will be my apartment. It’s not a democracy. It’s not like I’m walking around saying it’s a cooperative when it isn’t. It’s my place, my subjective opinion. So far my opinion seems to be working out OK.” “So could the Antifolk scene exist here without you, if you left for whatever reason?” “Would you be a punk band if you came after the early eighties?” The answer has a little sting to it, especially for anyone who was part of the conflicted and often self-defeatist world of nineties punk. It is the nature of all revolutions for its leaders to try and keep the movement contained almost entirely inside themselves. What will Cuba do after Castro? One thing is for sure, for all the talk of a lack of artistic freedom in Cuba, some of the world’s most fresh, original, and inspired music is created there. Antifolk may have a heavy guiding hand, but in the end it will be remembered or forgotten for its music, not its democracy. “Do you want to know what I think of your music?” Lach said to me one night as we drank tea after the Antihoot. “Yeah, I do,” I said eagerly. “I only say this because I can tell you’re sincere about all this.” “Yeah, go ahead.” “Who are your influences?” “Billy Bragg, The Clash...” he cut me off before I could keep listing. “I thought so. It sounds to me, and this is just my opinion, take it how you will, it sounds to me like you’re trying too hard to sound like your influences. I don’t feel like I’m hearing what’s really in your heart. I feel like I’m hearing what you think the Clash would have said.” “How so?” “I guess if I want to hear someone singing about revolution I want to hear it from someone who came from the ghetto or somewhere that really needs it. That’s not your experience. I want to hear what’s really inside Dave Cuomo.” The irony that this was a slightly adopted name didn’t escape me. “I mean you can book shows here whenever you want,” he said casually giving me my first real gig opportunity in the city as if it was nothing. “I guess I thought that always writing personal songs is a little self-centered. I feel like we have a duty to say more. I thought folk music was supposed to be about the rest of the

world.” “The personal is the most universal thing there is,” Debe Dalton pointed out. The next song I wrote was probably the easiest I’ve ever written. Where normally I agonize over every word, this time each line followed effortlessly as if I hadn’t composed it so much as tripped right over it. It was political in a way, but it wasn’t about governments or wars, it was about loneliness. I called Lach excited to book my first show. “How’s a Tuesday work for you?” he asked. “Oh I can’t, I host an open mic now on Tuesdays,” I said proudly. “Oh?” His voice dropped the friendly tone. “Where?” “Satelite Bar, right up the street on 6th.” “Well, then make sure you don’t do any promotion inside the Sidewalk or around it,” he said with a slightly stern tone. “I’m sorry. I really didn’t mean it as any kind of competition.” I had thought he’d be happy for me. “Yeah, but it is competition. Know that it really is, you’re drawing people away from the club, and that’s competition.” It felt like a slap in the face. This may be a community, but it was no democracy. “Do you ever struggle with your writing?” I ask him, already guessing he probably doesn’t. “No. The discipline is in creating what I call a ‘songwriter’s body,’ a consciousness that filters experience into a song. Some of the songs even come to me in dreams.” “So when you get stuck, you don’t wrestle with it at all?” “I don’t fight with it, I send it back down and tell it to come back when it’s finished. Even if it takes months, it always does.” I could only dream of such a relaxed attitude towards writing. “What do you think of my songs?” he asks me, “do you think they’re any good?” I’m a little surprised by the question. “I really like them,” I answer honestly. “They sound fresh and spontaneous. You sound free, like you wrote them almost as a pure stream of consciousness. They’re simple and catchy but your lyrics are honest and often say a lot about what we all go through. Like your new one, ‘George at Coney,’ it painted a really good picture and said a lot about being an artist just for the sake of it.” “You like that one?” “Yeah, or ‘Ambition Burns,’ I think there are a lot of things in there that are really good for people to hear you say.” “I was really happy with the way that one came out.” “It sums up a lot of what I’ve learned here.” We fall silent for a minute. “What is it you want people to get from this place?” “Mostly just to take advantage of the knowledge that’s here. Also to keep emotionally together through it all. The lifestyle can be a bit much and some people can’t handle it. A lot get lost in addictions.” “Do you try to actively help people who come here find their place?” “Personally I just want to experience good art and be

amazed. When someone first comes I initially just care about the songs. But we do try to keep an eye out. Sometimes we’ll kind of throw stones in people’s way, and the question is, do you trip over it or do you pick it up and call it your lucky stone? In the end, the whole world is watching this 6’ x 6’ stage. New York is the world’s city, and so much amazing stuff has come out of here, people know this is the place to come if they want to hear what’s new and exciting.” “How do you see it as an artistic movement compared to some of the great ones that came before, like the beats, for instance?” “We are the inheritors of the hippies, the beats, and the punks. I think for some people it’s always more exciting to read about it in retrospect, but really how is this any different? When Rick Shapiro, the comedian, used to do his stand-up here, I would be there and I would think ‘Wow, this is what it would have been like to stand next to Kerouac.’ “You don’t think it’s cocky at all to say that we’re the equals of something like that?” “No, it’s true. We are living history.” I begin to realize that this probably has something to with the Non-Linear Time theory. “I was downstairs last week and Carl Creighton and Erin Regan were singing a song together and I bet you could look back on that in five years and say ‘I was there when Carl and Erin were singing in this basement right here.’ Why wouldn’t you choose to see it like that?” “How will you feel if it’s not written in history as being that important?” “Me? I’m making my living around great art, life is good.” The night I first heard Lach play “Ambition Burns” was the night I announced that we were launching this magazine at Sidewalk. The magazine was something I knew needed to be done, but I can’t say ambition didn’t play its part at least initially. I really believed in the scene and thought that it had the potential to explode folk music into the mainstream. I guess I wanted to be riding the crest of that wave when it happened and catch some of the glory. I think a large part of everything I did in New York at first was motivated by ambition and drive, but I didn’t know any better. That’s what the city is all about. At the end of the night I stayed around to watch Lach play his usual impromptu set after just about everyone else had left. The lyrics of the song knocked my driven blindness up side the head, “I don’t believe in time, no finish line, no graduation, while you race for gold and fight growing old, and glorify ambition, I’ll simplify and simply cry out for all my sins to be forgiven.” It was probably the first time I’d heard anyone in New York promote humility. It took a long time for the words to really sink in, but I don’t think I could have kept going if they hadn’t. Whether he means to or not, Lach seems quite comfortable playing the part of the sage through our interview. His calm certainty is both inspiring and a little unnerving. I knew from Antifolk lore that at one point in the early nineties he had been actively ready for a chance at some level of

stardom as Antifolk artists were getting signed all over the inspired. But if I was elevated out, I’d pursue it. I’m curious place, like Kirk Kelly and Roger Manning getting on SST, what it’d be like to have a different job.” He sounds so Black Flag’s label. Lach, too, was signed to a high-powered casual about it, and my gut tells me that it can’t really be label, Goldcastle, put together an album and was ready to such a flippant matter. Usually musicians either hate major go for it. Just as he was preparing the accompanying tour, labels and rail against them, or desperately want what they the whole thing fell apart when the label went bankrupt. offer and exhaust themselves struggling to get on one. No He has released albums since, tours on occasion, mostly in one is just kind of curious, but fine either way. No one is England, but reaching that next level is something that has really that well adjusted. so far eluded him. His main recognition now comes from “So if this is it for you, if Sidewalk is your legacy, you his position as progenitor and steward of Antifolk through never get elevated out or ‘make it’ any further, are you going The Sidewalk Cafe. From the stage I have heard him refer to to be satisfied? Is this enough, or are you going to feel like the label experience as his brief “bout with music industry,” you missed out and be a little bitter? Are you going to be as if it were a sickness to be cured. In “Ambition Burns” he disappointed?” dismisses the desire altogether singing “I perform because He looks at me in silence for a moment. “I’m open to I’d go crazy if I didn’t / not for the things that shine or the going with the universe,” he finally says. “No matter what ones who coo / if this is a game I sure hope I don’t win it happens, the Sidewalk will always be a cherished thing. I’ve / ‘cause I have seen the things that winners have to do.” seen babies born, deaths, marriages, record deals...” He stops Such sentiments are a part of most indie/insurgent artistic again for a minute. “But see, your question is all wrong. movements, but I always wonder if they aren’t part sour Don’t ask me about some hypothetical future. Remember grapes. I wonder if he might harbor bitterness or jealousy the future isn’t real! Time doesn’t matter! The question, the behind the well-adjusted front, and prod him to find it. only real question is ‘am I happy now?’ And the answer to “I think that the whole ‘signed and stardom’ idea is an that question is yes.” illusion. But, yeah I get envious sometimes,” he says freely, “Then I’m like ‘Jesus, I don’t want that.’” “But you often glorify the people who’ve come through here and found mainstream success, like getting Nellie McKay her deal, or how Beck used to play here.” “It’s just a good way to promote the club. Listen,” he - says, anticipating my line of SCHWERVON! CD RELEASE PARTY!!! questioning, “This isn’t the same as choosing a career as FRIDAY, JUNE 2nd a craftsman. Trying to make a at CAKESHOP living is not why you write songs. 152 Ludlow Street, NYC You’re here to be an artist, that means surrounding yourself with The whole night will be kicked off and hosted by the O’Debra Twins!! T wins!! it, doing it, and living it. Have 8pm Prewar Yardsale faith in it. The Universe is capable 9pm Double Deuce of doing amazing things. It can 10pm Dream Bitches do anything it wants! Maybe 11pm Schwervon! someone will make their living as Cover $5 a musician. If the Universe wants to make you a record, it can. In the meantime all you should be doing is being an artist for yourself.” “Would you take a major label deal at this point, or are you turned off by it after everything you’ve seen?” “I would,” he says surprisingly, “and I could negotiate a damn good contract.” He almost winks when he says this. “I’m curious to see what I would do without all this. I have a good life here, though. I’m surrounded by and creating music, I’m constantly - - -

Dan Penta

don’t hold back

The opening riff from the song “New Beginning” (available at is a tight three piece - drums, bass, guitar. The lyrics, forward in the mix, are unrestrained: “The morning after pill I got with you / a token of the life I share with you / you won’t find me buried in a trench / all my money’s been spent / this is no new beginning.” Dan Penta, Heath’s songwriter and front man, has been present on the NYC music scene since 1999, having found songwriting with a forgotten guitar in a Colorado basement, while getting over a serious drug addiction. NYC responded quickly and he was opening shows for The Moldy Peaches in 2001 with his band, Larval Organs. I had a chance to sit with Dan and unpack some of his biographical boxes. We set out to answer the hard questions over Brooklyn Lagers on an outdoor table at Sidewalk Cafe. Here are some excerpts from our interview: DC: What happened to Cockroach Bernstein? DP: Y’know, I don’t know. I was going by this name, whatever, up until I left New York at the end of 2003. Had what was basically a life-changing experience over the following four months, and I came back and it was dead to me. It was just dead. It was a mask that I needed at the time, I didn’t need it anymore. Even when I wasn’t going by that as a name, and the band was Cockroach, it got to a point where it was like, ‘This band isn’t just me. I’m not the totality of this band.’ And the name is linked to me. I’m not

interview by Dan Costello

really a solo performer. The people in the band are integral to the sound. So why is the band named after me?” That’s when we became Hearth. And that’s when it was totally buried for me. DC: You came to New York in 2001? DP: I went to school at Miami for one semester, and I met this friend who was from Upstate New York. In 1999 he was living in Chelsea and I came to visit. There was this place in the Meatpacking District called Gaslight. A


famous name but it’s not the famous club. This guy Arlan was running this open mic. While I was staying there for a weekend we went, I sang. That was actually the first time I saw Joie [Blaney, of Dead Blonde Girlfriend] and Merrilee was there, and this guy Arlan. But I was actually living in Richmond at the time. Basically, since I visited in 1999 I was trying to move here. I was living in Virginia, completely bored and fed up. There was like nothing going on. And in the beginning of 2000, a friend and I wanted to move to New York together, but we realized that we couldn’t afford it, we didn’t have the means to do it and ended up moving to Athens for a year. And then, over that time, it’s really cheap to live in Georgia, and the situation came that I could move into a place in Williamsburg really cheap. That night at Gaslight, in 1999, Arlan told me he liked my songs, and that he was getting ready to go on tour. He said he’d be passing by Richmond, and asked me about setting up a show there for him. At this point I had never played a show and definitely had no connections to play shows, but I made this CD with a few songs on it. When I got back to Richmond I started passing it out to clubs, and I went back to this place The Hole In The Wall, and when I went in a week after giving my CD, the bartender who was also the booking person, was like “Dude, we’ve been listening to your CD constantly since you gave it to us. Do you want to play a show?” So this guy Arlan came down and we played a show. And I started coming up and visiting and staying with him, and he’s the one who brought me to the Sidewalk for the first time. DC: What was that like? What was your reaction to this scene? DP: It was compeltely overwhelming. I was slightly on edge, there were all these people getting up like rapid fire and playing. It was the first time I saw the Moldy Peaches. Y’know, I was number 64 and I basically sat in the back with my two friends and we just sat there and didn’t move all night long, til it was our time to play. DC: You came to the Sidewalk at a time when there was a massive amount of energy. DP: Sure, to a degree. DC: You and your band Larval Organs did a tour with the Peaches, right? DP: Kimya especially, Adam to a degree to was really supportive of me, and had me opening shows for them. And then at some point they asked me to go on this tour with them. DC: Did that increase your visibility in New York? Did they help your career?

DP: I don’t really think so. Situations are what they are, they change, I still consider them my friends. I run into Adam at shows occasionally. Kimya’s in Seattle, and once in blue moon we might y’know, exchange an email, but not really. Situations change. I’m not even who I was then, I don’t sound like I sounded then, and if they saw me now, fresh, with no prior experience, they might not even be into it. DC: Your new three piece incarnation is pretty hard rocking. The sound of the band has changed as [vocalists] Amy [Hills] and Angela [Carluccii] aren’t in the band anymore DP: And Crystal [Madrilejo, on cello] hasn’t been in the band in a long time. DC: So it’s you and Scott Loving [on bass]... DP: And Brent Cole [on drums]. DC: The quality of the sound has changed, yet the newest name remains. How does Hearth feel in the current incarnation? DP: You know, Scott and I are cousins and we’ve been playing together since we we’re 14. He’s been playing my songs in different bands and different songs for all this time, and he said to me - ‘This incarnation of Hearth is the best band that has ever played your songs.’ And I think he’s right. DC: On the new recordings from 2/17...especially the New Beginning track - the three piece seems more fun, maybe taking itself less seriously or enjoying the simplicity. DP: I think it’s more concise, I think we’re actually way more energetic. To a degree, when there were backing vocals and cello and whatever, I was always reigning Scott and Brent in. You have to play a little slower, or quieter, because we need to lett these other elements to come through, Now it’s very simple, there’s only four elements, if you include my voice. It just allows us to play harder, with more intenstiy, with more energy. DC: Is there less conflict in the band now? DP: Absolutely. Before there were factions. Basically there was always two factions, and me revolving around in the middle of them, with all this in-fighting. DC: It must be hard when everything hinges on you. Was your personal relationship with Amy something that afftected the creative process? DP: I think probably to a degree it definitely was. Amy’s a very opinionated person, Scott and Brent are very opinionated peole. So at times Amy and Brent were going

at eachother and me sort of dividing them. It might not even be about the music. Other factors might be involved... DC: The three-piece Hearth isn’t playing the same songs as the old band. Is that because they wouldn’t sound right without the girls’ vocal parts? DP: One, certainly after having the vocals some songs would fall a little short. The main factor is that, in the past three months, I’ve written fifteen songs, which is the most fertile period of writing I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve written all these songs, and I want to play the new songs, y’know? That [2/17] recording, it’s all songs that , when we recorded them, had been written in the last two months. And the songs that we played before, well I wasn’t writing for a band before. Now, I know these songs are going to be played in a band, and I write in a different style than I was writing before. DC: Your early stuff has a lot of drug references. I’m thinking particularly of “Nappy Weed”, “Evian Bongwater” and the album title, “The Freebasin’ Dan Penta”. Do drugs help you creatively? DP: I think that pot does. I think that especially playing live, it creates something. You can create it without it, but there’s an energy you create, a headspace you create when your playing. DC: Playing stoned? DP: It’s about the ideal headspace, whether your stoned or not. When I’m stoned I instantly go into that. When I was with Larval Organs, every show...and you could still smoke in bars at that time...every show, before we played, we used to gather around the drum kit and pass around a joint and commune. I really think it locked us in. It’s damn near impossible to do that now, there’s no other smoke in the room. When I started writing songs, it was a reaction to a really long, shitty drug addiction. That’s what I was expressing. DC: Can I ask you what drugs you were specifically addicted to? DP: Sure, specifically Crack Cocaine. I had a yearlong habit where all I really did was smoke. Basically my best friend in the world was my dealer and I used to hang out with him all the time, I used to drive him around in my car to make deliveries and pickups and stuff, in Virginia, it this place called Sterling Park is where he lived, this really scummy place, he used to basically hook me up for taking the risk of getting arrested so he didn’t have to drive around in his own car. DC: You were his driver.

DP: Yeah, basically, y’know. And I used to sit in his girlfriend’s townhouse, every day for a year, smoke and smoke and smoke til it was all gone, and when it was all gone, basically just get really depressed and frustrated and pass out. I haven’t done it since...I guess it was the winter of 1998, the fall even. I knew after a year, if I continued to do it, I was going to be doing it for the rest of my life. And I was gonna be total piece of shit. That’s the shitty part about drugs. DC: You said at the end of 2003 you went away for four months. Where were you? DP: I was in a hospital for four months, a halfway house where I wasn’t allowed to leave and there were locks on the doors. I had a full-on psychotic breakdown. DC: What’s it like in one of those places? DP: I dunno, it’s sort of like they’re rebuilding your mind. Basically they got rid of me because I didn’t have the money to pay, I figured they were all part of whatever paranoid conspiracy I had in my head. DC: Do you think medication helps with these issues? Does it affect your creativity? DP: Oh yeah. I take medication, and this is like I said the most fertile time of writing in my life. DC: How did you come back to the scene after your hiatus? DP: I had given up on playing music, after a long time I started sleeping on a friend’s couch. And I wasn’t doing anything, I was this close to getting a disability check, I could just live on that and do nothing. I was hanging out in an apartment, fine with that. But I still had the same cell phone. It was Amy who called me. She was booking the Sidewalk while Lach was away on tour. She asked me to play the 2004 Summer Antifolk Fest, and called back a few times, finally she convinced me. And I came back, and I played the fest, and that’s when I got the bug again. But I didn’t have ambitions. DC: What do you want to see happen with Hearth? DP: At this point, I’d love to go on tour, I’d love to play big shows for lots of people. My head’s not suited to the business side of things. When Amy was in the band she was doing most of that shit, but now that she’s not, I’m kind of at a loss to a large degree. We need the situation where someone who is into that sort of thing latches onto us. I don’t know how that ever happens. Maybe it never will. But I feel I can only go so far with me at the wheel. DC: Who on the Antifolk scene do you enjoy listening to?

DP: Definitely Erin [Regan, songwriter and Dan’s girlfriend], and no bias either. One of the big reasons I like her is because I think she’s so amazingly talented. Carl Creighton is an amazing songwriter and has a great voice. At times I’ve been really blown away with what Dan Fishback does. Even more so on his own than on Cheese on Bread. Also The Blood Sugars. But they’re more peripheral to the scene. They play shows here but not constantly. Jason does come to play the open mic from time to time. I think they’re really fuckin good. DC: Do you have a job? DP: I’m currently unemployed. DC: Have you ever had a job that helps you creatively? DP: I’ve never had a job which helped me create. It just gives me the money to be creative. It’s ideal, but you gotta get to the point where all you do is the music. I met this guy Ty Stone, he’s opening for Kid Rock. A year ago, he was flipping burgers, five days a week. That’s what he was doing. And he was a musician, but he was flipping burgers. Now he’s at the point where he doesn’t have to flip burgers. At some point it’s gotta be all about music.

DC: I am particularly moved by your song “Millions of Tiny Graveyards.” Are you obsessed with death? DP: I’m definitely obsessed with death. I’m afraid of it. I think the human mind is incapable of understanding nonexistence. It’s impossible to fathom that the mind won’t exist. I don’t wanna die. I don’t wanna be in pain. On the other hand, how can you be afraid of that? It’s scarier to think you’re gonna be around forever. DC: Do you know anything about the 9/11 attacks that we should know? DP: I’m not into politics. Dan C: Anything else people should know about you? Dan P: I read this Aristotle quote that I’ve been thinking about: “It seems obvius that semen has a soul, and may, in fact be the soul.” If you follow out his thinking logically, it seems to imply that women don’t have a soul. I disagree, but it’s hard to judge someone from ancient times by the standards of our time.

travels through space-time with the former first family of antifolk
by Jonathan Berger
For the first time since the flood, Patsy Grace is in town, with her five-year-old son in tow. She’s got to head to a meeting, and asks if I can take care of Julian for a few hours. “I’m man enough,” I say, “You sure you need him back in one piece?” She doesn’t smile. We boys part company from mom on West 11th Street, across from St. Vincent’s Hospital. “That’s where you came out of your mommy,” I say, “I was there.” A lot of us were; not so much at St. Vincent’s, but at the birthing center a few blocks away, where Patsy and husband Grey Revell asked Lach, Lunchin’, James Telfer, Tony Hightower, and others to join them. As labor continued through the night, people dropped off, and finally, Patsy and their home would never be so central to so many again. “I miss my mommy,” Julian says, a block or three into our cross-town trip. “Me too, kid. Me too.” Julian’s legs don’t move as fast as I’d like, so sometimes, I pick him up and carry him across the street. I’ve got a crappy back, but I’m willing to grunt for the giggles while I run across the street, by in my arms. He’s complaining about how tired he is by the time we hit the Sidewalk Cafe. “I think you walked about a mile today,” I say. “Not bad.” He’s less impressed with his stamina than I am. “Where’s my mommy?” he asks. “She’ll be joining us here soon,” I explain, “Meanwhile, we’ve got work to do.”

Period of Grace

moved over to the more hygienic hospital. Afterwards, while Patsy was recuperating with the newly-found Julian, Grey and I got lunch. Julian, of course, has none of these memories. Kids never recall the really important days. Those of us who were there probably think of Julian’s birth as a major bonding point for the scene. Of course, it was also when the scene jumped the shark. Patsy, who hosted salons and dinners, and put up many a struggling musician during extended periods of couch-surfing (that’s how she and Grey got together), would have different priorities from then on,

“This is where your parents met,” I say, which is not absolutely true. Grey Revell had been hitting a bunch of these open mics all over the City, but Patsy started out at West 14th Street’s Gaslight, and that’s probably where the future couple first locked eyes. It was at the Sidewalk where their friendship and more blossomed, though. “Who’s the kid?” Erin Regan asks, Deborah T asks, Dorit asks. I come up with different responses for different requesters, but when Julian speaks directly to me, he calls

me “Uncle JonBerger.” I drag Julian on-stage with me, and we hand out papers, as is my Monday evening wont. “Is that legal? Child labor and all?” Mike Baglivi asks, but people take the papers the kid hands out. A good salesman exploits a situation to his advantage. When we’re done, Julian and I go downstairs, where we left his toys, but end up playing for half an hour with rolledup fanzines re-imagined as battle sticks/swords. Then, Jules says we should go upstairs and listen. Slave to the boy, I comply, and we walk upstairs, take a seat up front, and watch the acts. Julian’s attention span is far greater than mine; he watches and listens to six or seven acts, before yawning, stretching, and wanting a change of venue. Throughout the evening, the looks I get from the nubile ladies at the club are wonderful. Tonight, I am not a dirty old man, but a kindly uncle figure, good with children. Downstairs, Julian and I beat each other with papers a little bit more. The paper’s in his blood. After Julian was born, his parents put out their own fanzine, AU Base, about the AntiFolk scene in the earlier aughts. Named after a Prewar Yardsale song, the zine didn’t last too long; the scene was pretty fragmented by the touring success of the Moldy Peaches, and, well, minor things like babies and rent kept Patsy and Grey a little distracted from zine-making. Priorities; go figure. “I knew your parents before you were born,” Joe Bendik tells Julian, as does Joie Blaney. Lach reminds Julian of a trip to a toy store they took during his last visit to New York. Eventually, Patsy gets back. “How are you doing?” she asks Joie, who’s set up shop with Paleface right next to us on booth seats down in the basement. Julian jumps all over her, wrestling with his mom while she chats with old friends and vaguely familiar faces. Jules seemed to have forgotten how much he missed his mother, until she returned to him. “You can have whatever number you want,” Lach tells Patsy, and she looks to her son to make the final decision. Julian says he wants to hear her play, but, when he realizes it might be some time before she actually hits the stage, he admits how tired he is. Patsy doesn’t mind so much. “I can’t remember the last time I played the guitar,” she says, carrying the bags of shopping and toys and accoutrement that keeps her and her child sane in their voyages away from home, “I don’t know what songs of mine I could play.” The one I always remember best is “Reiss Five,” the only fast number Patsy had in her repertoire. It tells a disjointed story of a hospital stay, and includes howls of frustration and anger. It’s great. It’s on her album, Name Her Lucky – in fact, that’s a line from the song (the album might be out of print, but you could probably figure out how to get it at Some tracks are on her Myspace page). Since she’s left New Orleans, though, she hasn’t played a thing. Even before that, she’d been somewhat preoccupied.

Julian’s a good sport, but he’s been yawning for a while. It’s already hours past bedtime, and he’s some distance from tonight’s crash pad. “You want to stay?” Patsy asks the boy, “Maybe we should go.” We walk to the bus stop. “There’s a new Regina Spektor album,” I say, out of nowhere, “This might be a good time to put out the Wise Sophia.” “I don’t have any copies of it.” “Well, make ‘em!” In the summer of 2001, Patsy recorded an album to go along with her children’s play, directed by Sharon Fogarty and produced at Manhattan Theatre Source. It included performances by AntiFolk luminaries such as Grey Revell, Peter Dizozza and the aforementioned Regina, who was to play the part of the nominal Sophia, but bowed out at the last minute. The album lacks the theatrical elements of the show, including the now-lost puppetry so central to the show, but is still a good testament to Patsy’s vision. “Maybe I will,” she says, shrugging Julian’s knapsack back onto position on her shoulders. We get on the M14, which will take us across town. It’s taking Herb Scher to the same general vicinity. Julian remembers Herb, since he pulled out all magical stops to impress the tyke earlier. “He was telling his dad about it on the phone,” Patsy explains. Grey Revell, who came out for the Winter AntiFolk Festival a couple months back, stayed home with the dogs this time around. “You guys were living in New Orleans, right?” Herb asks, “I went to school in New Orleans. I always wondered about the Ninth Ward…” And they’re off on a conversation about the sunken city. “I think it’s gonna come back,” Herb says. “I hope so,” Patsy replies, “But a month after Katrina, we went back to get our stuff. The waters didn’t get into our house, so that was good, but… it was so stark. The spray-paint on people’s doors, telling how many bodies were inside… people wrote things like ‘Please help us,’ or ‘looters will be shot.’ There was a rabid, frothing dog that had been domesticated before we left. I would have loved to have gone back, but it was too much.” “Were you there for the storm?” “We left three hours before. We drove in a five-car caravan, and just drove and drove, until we got to Charlotte.” “Do you like North Carolina?” Herb asks. “I miss New York.”

How To Stalk Dave Cuomo
antifolk map to the stars
Why not stalk the stars of AntiFolk? It’s way better than stalking the stars of real folk. Instead of Neil Young’s bodyguard throwing your ass on the curb, these kindly souls will feel complimented by your interest, invite you inside to jam, give you a free sticker, and sign you up on their mailing list. I’ve already done most of the homework. It’s up to you to fill in the street addresses. she pouts. “It’s very fancy boring.” For the time being, Herb Scher is considering borrowing a dog so he can finally penetrate the choosy cliques of Riverside Park. Break the ice by bringing him a dachshund! Detour to Harlem Perhaps the only relief from Manhattan’s stuffiest district can be found in a detour North to Dashan (Secret Salamander, Luvalot Records)’s house, where you can collaborate with him on a noisy, lofi recording.

by Andrew Hoepfner

Slum it in the Bronx Do you like your songwriters to have some street cred? Don’t be afraid to venture up into the city’s most notoriously dangerous borough. “It’s cheap,” endorses wordsmith Jon Berger at the Longwood Avenue stop of the 6 Skip Inwood train. “Very, very cheap.” Quirky Osei from The Woes and andrew contemplates location duo The Dream Bitches cohabit Rooster live even further up, but nearby at the 138th Street stop. who goes to Inwood? HS Bitch member Yoko Kikuchi describes the South Bronx as A shoulder to cry on in the East Village “projects, bodegas, people out standing on the corner.” This When asked what he likes best about the East Village, magic combination submerges its settlers in artistic integrity, yet also imparts a pervasive sense of bitterness. Berger Daoud Tyler-Ameen (Art Sorority for Girls, Urban proclaims, “I’m just as good as any of you Manhattanphiles. Barnyard) lists, “Accidental CDs, The Variety Theatre, oh And fuckin’ Williamsburg. Fuck fuckin’ Williamsburg!” wait... they’re all gone!” Neutered and overdeveloped, the East Village exists in 2006 as a skeleton of its former self. Foster a family in Queens Following the lead of CBGB (once great) and the Continental Moving to the salt of the earth borough of Queens is a sure (was it ever?), the neighborhood’s musical outlets are slowly sign that your favorite musician is finally looking to settle drumming up the funeral march. It’s a sad day for New down and find a mate. Try Brook Pridemore, who makes York, but the chance of a lifetime for you, considering the his home at the 30th Avenue stop of the NW in Astoria. fact that all your AntiFolk idols will soon be moving out and For your first date, dine local. Pridemore favors saganaki, perhaps needing new roommates. Consider wacky lawyera flaming plate of cheese of Greek origin. A fiery dish for songwriter Peter Dizozza, who’s about to throw in the towel a fiery man. With a little luck, you’ll rip him out of that after living ten years off the 1st Avenue L. Mourns the piano minivan and have him singing folk punk lullabies to your virtuoso: “The area’s improved so much... thanks to us. It little ones. Sweetheart Carl Creighton is a Queens resident, was such a battle to live here. Now I’ve become uninvited!” as well. The neighborhood’s humbleness and tradition surely This is your shot, say something sympathetic! Preston offer him comfort as he dreams of far-off Minnesota. Spurlock from the Sewing Circle inhabits a Ukrainian neck of the neighborhood. Phoebe Kreutz maintains a Get bored in Upper Manhattan healthy appetite for Brits on 3rd Street, just a stroll South of Divided by the massive chasm of Central Park, Herb Manchester bloke Belowsky at Union Square, which puts in Scher of The Handsome Men of Sidewalk and pianist question why no chemistry has ever materialized between Paula Valstein live isolated within the inevitable boredom these two neighbors. The East Village is like a zit packed that infects the neighborhoods of the upper class. A steadfast tight with AntiFolk pus. When that sucker finally pops, you fan like you could really breathe some excitement into their might just be sharing the fridge with your migrant Myspace lives. According to the pair, new money does not have any crush. One can only wonder if AntiFolk godfather Lach and more fun than old money. “Comfortable and quiet. Not a the Sidewalk Café itself, hub of AntiFolk, will be forced to lot of nightlife,” Scher regrettably describes the Upper West retreat across the Williamsburg Bridge. Side. Valstein echoes his sentiments across the park on Lexington. “The apartments are nice. Everything is clean,”

how they can track down bizarrely sexy Dan Fishback of Cheese on Bread. “I love the Hewes stop,” adores Fishback, residing off the JMZ. “I feel it is the perfect blend of soulless gentrification and solid, local, parochial flavor.” On gentrification: “I live there.” On local flavor: “The fact that there are still stores I can go into where no one really knows how to talk to me and I can only communicate in broken Spanish.” Oh, Dan Fishback, if you’d whisper broken Spanish in our ears, it truly would be the loving Bed Sty! Do or die! tongue. Amid a juggling act of performances and practices, In Brooklyn, our final destination, Shilpa Ray and Justin AntiFolk band-whore Dibs sleeps at the Lorimer stop of the Brancato of dark, rageful Beat the Devil share a loft off JMZ. The busy minstrel offers some fun pet names for his the Bedford Nostrand stop of the G train. Fear not, their train, “the jams” (JMZ) and the “’gism” (JZM). Use this relationship is platonic. The group uses the space for band terminology as a conversation starter, and then invite Dibs rehearsals, setting the scene for a perfect nighttime activity to play guitar in your band. This strategy will reward you beneath their windowsill: curl up against the warehouse, with his commitment as surely as Cupid’s arrow. let the harmonium overtake you, and dream of taming their Folk hop pioneer and occasional soundman Dan Costello wild hearts. buys 2-for-1 Camels a stone’s throw away at the Grand station of the L. Remember, bumming a cigarette is still Babes in Bensonhurst the best first step to a love connection. If that doesn’t work It’s a long way to Bensonhurst on the D train, but the out, there’s always Claire Bowman, the queen of perfect prize is twice is tempting. Uberbabe of AntiFolk Erin harmony, living only a little further at Morgan. It was at Regan lives at the Bay Parkway stop. If you’re not first fateful Morgan that the Bowmans and Lowry were robbed barraged by some vodka soaked Russian, Regan, who must of their van, instruments, and amps. The thief? “According be growing exhausted of her limitless sex appeal, will surely to the police, someone with an Eastern European accent,” slam the door in your sorry face. Then Dan Penta (Hearth, recounts Claire. Here’s your chance! Nab the bandit, woo the Cockroach) will ride down from Alphabet City to kick you girl. As Williamsburg recedes into the noxious warehouses a few times for messing with his girl. of East Williamsburg and then Bushwick, crime becomes a factor to consider. Just ask prolific Toby Goodshank, who Join the herd in Williamsburg was mugged at the Morgan stop, wrote a song about it, and Take the high road, the L, or the low road, the JMZ. then was assaulted at his new home, the Jefferson stop. The two trains connect the reigning sectors of artistic At this sacred stop, most holy Jefferson, we will end our experimentation and vile hipsterdom. Learn them well, for search with the Holy Grail: the headquarters of Urban Folk. they lead to a paradise where starving artists frolic in an Founder and writer Dave Cuomo was uprooted from Harlem abundance beyond your wildest dreams. to set up shop at the threshold of Brooklyn creativity. “We’re Folk inclined homosexuals are sure to be wondering surrounded by nada, so we come together more,” Cuomo praises the tight-knit artistic Live at Sidewalk community of Bushwick. This skateboard toting ruffian frequents Cafe Life Café and Hacienda Taco, so Saturday - 5/27 cut eye holes out of the latest Urban Folk issue and stake out a seat.

The lone light of Staten Island Have you ever gotten adventurous and hopped on the Staten Island ferry? After an enjoyable ride, you probably made the common discovery that there was nothing really on the other side. A bit more exploration might be in your favor next time, if you can manage to track down Bernard King, AntiFolk connoisseur and shining star of the otherwise barren wasteland that is the city’s most inaccessible borough.

Max Miller

8pm free!

w/ Bendik on at 9

This publication began based upon a phrase along the lines of, “Start a zine, start a band, do something!” But there are times when doing something beautiful and inspiring is too daunting a task. It’s much easier to simply liquor up, hit the town, and track down someone to exploit by loving them badly. Happy stalking.

Latest album, “The Glass” available now at the iTunes music store

The Analogues
To say Lydia Doran and Jim Saxa are analogous would be both redundant and an understatement. Lydia Doran and Jim Saxa are The Analogues, by name and by nature. The duo is similar in enough ways to compare, yet different enough to create an analogy of infinite interest, and compositions of comparable contrast. She sings and he plays, but the division isn't as simple as that. When asked how they balance their respective roles in the band, and whether there is a clear "front man" or "band leader," Lydia and Jim's verbal and nonverbal responses say it all. "Do you want to take it? We'll both take it." According to Jim, "You have the actual dynamic, and the perceived; girl in the front and the 'musical wallpaper' in the background, though it's certainly not like that when we write. We want to look like we're interacting, responding, and different every time." The Analogues assure that they spend a lot of time trying to match Lydia's song "ideas" with how Jim "hears" a song – admitting that "both lyrics and music change as protocol gets thrown out the window." Via a changing "musical journey," Jim and Lydia struggle so their lyrics and music "fit seamlessly to enhance both parts." As Lydia puts it, "Jim is no accompanist, and due to

two of a kind

his presence, he can't be a backdrop." While in regards to writing, The Analogues are constantly "concurrently writing music, though Lydia is the sole lyricist." In addition, Jim says The Analogues "work hard not to have any meandering or lack of focus in their songs, so it's not hard to get the story across." Always a dynamic give and take, much like any conversation between the two magnetic souls who make up The Analogues, when writing "there's a lot of sitting in silence, and we have to work together to create something we really love." The Analogues first met by logging on to Craigslist. com. Unlike most peoples' boggled musical alliances or fruitless apartment searches, Jim and Lydia actually made meaningful contact through the search site, and met in March, 2003, though they didn't really start playing together until that October. The pair first met when Lydia responded to Jim's listing, which read something like, "guitar player seeks songwriter/vocalist." Jim insists that "not to sound too serendipitous," but as premature as it may sound, he had a good feeling about Lydia after receiving her first email. Lydia agrees that she felt early sparks as well, she only "worried he [Jim] may be too old."

by Paul Alexander


In more ways than one, Lydia Doran is the babe of the group. By the age of fourteen, she had already graced the Broadway stage, staring as Young Cosette in Les Miserables and Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden. Jim Saxa, meanwhile, had spent many years leading successful bands in his birthland Ohio and San Francisco, all while under the tutelage of many fine teachers like John Klopotowski, whom Jim admits "helped learn what I can and can't do." It wasn't until Craigslist, though, that The Analogues were born. As far as their moniker is concerned, Jim emphatically asserts, "It was her," both shifting blame and assigning much due credit. "Oh, I remember we had a really hard argument about with the nature of the name should be, and Lydia didn't want to be 'The Somethings' of any kind, but then came up with a 'the' name after all, and I only gave her a little bit of hell." Smiling, Lydia concedes to Jim's accusations, but defends her selecting their name saying, "I liked The Analogues because of what it means as far as music, being genuine; and we have words fitting with music – they're analogues – two sides of an analogy." According to Lydia, "We never came up with a game plan about our music." "Well, I did." Jim came to the collective with certain preferences for voice tambour and song structure, and hoped to find a singer with excellent diction and good time; finding everything he was looking for and more in Lydia. "I was attracted to the fact that she was not reading to me out of her diary. If you're going to write about yourself, it ought to be more universal. Singer/songwriters can be so egotistical and tiring." And Lydia agrees, "You can find analogies in the world that respond to the way you feel." For many, The Analogues strike a familiar chord that audiences can't help but listen to. "We differ from the arty stuff by our objectivity," Jim says, "we strive to create tension and resolution – I want to feel that pit in my stomach before it resolves." "If you know, you don't have to be a slave to it," Jim suggests, "From the beginning, I wanted to create something conceptually good, even if people didn't like it." "It's not about you, it's you as a vessel for what you're trying to say." Like many artists on the New York AntiFolk circuit, Jim and Lydia began their climb to the top by setting up a "home base" at the Sidewalk Café, only to ultimately enlist Lach’s help and began playing larger venues such as the Living Room and Joe’s Pub. At this point, The Analogues have played outside the city at an upstate coffeehouse in Beacon, NY, and will soon be playing Philadelphia’s Tin Angel as well as some gigs with Chris the Spin Doctors’ Barron. Still, for all their success, Jim and Lydia still consider the Sidewalk their favorite venue to play. As Jim says, “it’s low pressure when working out material of your own,” and according to Lydia, “The Sidewalk is the only place in New York where people care about each other, it’s almost a ‘small town’ where the people make it what it is,” and The Analogues still make an effort to visit Lach’s Monday night Antihootennany as often as they are able. Besides the more common influences Lydia and Jim

claim, (the Beatles and Bowie), The Analogues are both audiophiles, and draw on influences just as diverse as anyone who's heard their assorted anthems may assume. Lyrically, Lydia finds inspiration in the work of Steven Sondheim both for his structure and message, Tom Waits for the fact that she feels like he immediately transports his listeners to another place, Fiona Apple because despite always writing about essentially the same thing "she is always great," and Bill Withers, because she sees him as poetic and very efficient in getting great stories across within the tight confines of his musical narratives. Meanwhile musically Lydia loves Radiohead and Joni Mitchell, along with Joe Henry for both his lyrics and his arrangements, and singers who have guided her along the way such as Chaka Khan, Roberta Flack, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nancy Wilson. At the same time, like may lyricists, Lydia also turns to literary luminaries as well, sighting Hunter S. Thompson as her favorite, while many other authors also constantly inspire the stories she tells via song, such as Thomas Pynchon whose novel V helped inspire The Analogues song "No Rome," which chronicles the life of rats in the underbelly of our fair city, "My old city is history / gone from my heart. / Your tunnels are my temples now / it's no Rome but it's a start." Rats grappling with what else but their own inherent divinity, "You may only be a tiny little rat / Jesus loves you, still, and wants to set you free. / Just try it and see / You're beautiful, don't you see?" As far as Jim is concerned, "Anything that goes for her really goes for me." While, without getting too outside the box, he admits he "goes through phases" of what he appreciates musically, initially being drawn to the soul/funk he grew-up listening to in his father's collection of 45s from an old jukebox. Jim also harbors great affection for Chris Whitley, Jeff Buckley, Queen, Brad Mehldau, and guitar greats like Wes Montgomery and Pat Metheny, as well as Antonio Carlos Jobim for his "Bossa skills." Vocally Jim also appreciates primarily jazz vocalists such as Kurt Elling, and harbors a great deal of respect for Peter Bernstein, another local New York musician. Describing The Analogues unquestionably unique music can be difficult, but as Lydia puts it, "Generally, most of the songs deal with the forces of today's world; using your imagination, being yourself, succumbing to fear and paranoia, adapting to fit the world as you see it," while Jim adds, "It's actually not that blunt, it's quite vague." "As in the 70s, it's responding to the doom and finding a way to deal with it and your place." Much of The Analogues music has a very apocalyptic tone, but as Lydia reminds us all, "When you get broken down, something gets built up." And despite often being referred to as "jazzy-rock," Lydia claims, "There's a lot of conceptual shorthand where people make reference to things but don't actually do or say them – there's a difference between 'jazzy' and playing jazz – you still need to actually play that music sometimes," and The Analogues are careful not only to reference their many influences but to occasionally pay homage as well by covering songs by the artist they love. Being a duo, Jim and Lydia really do their best to share

both the musical and administrative duties it takes to achieve the success they have enjoyed over the past year or so. That said, they also give a lot of credit to Lach, who after watching them play at the Sidewalk for a while as "Jim and Lydia," befriended the duo and eventually became their manager. "We had thoughts of asking him for his help, but he asked first." In November 2005, The Analogues also completed a two song demo with Richard Barone, who has produced Lach's albums. Barone is also the front man for the group the Bongos, and helped The Analogues complete their first recordings featuring full band arrangements. The Analogues draw an eclectic mixture of fans to their sophisticated shows, and Jim admits their clientele is "nothing like they thought it would be." Despite Jim asserting "we're not really out to win converts," even more people are drawn to The Analogues every show they play. As for anyone who has ever had the privilege to see The Analogues would agree, the future could hold just about anything for the band, but according to Jim and Lydia, their only immediate goal is one many artist in New York City share, they just want to make a living doing what they love to do – make music. In the same vein, even after recording a few songs with Barone, they would really like to have some money to create the type of full album they envision, and are not afraid to sign to a label that would help them create such an album. Lydia dreams of "animated possibilities," such as internet videos for the band, while, further down the line, Jim has his sights set on education. "I'd like to do

outreach – go into schools after we have achieved a measure of success," in order to preach his personal philosophy that "talent doesn't mean shit, it's discipline and a healthy mix of objectivity and encouragement." It is this mixture that Jim feels has allowed him and Lydia the opportunity and the luxury to leave behind their day jobs as a beta tester for Yahoo and a receptionist and instead dream of meaningful careers as musicians. At this point, as much as they both love Lach's Monday AntiHoot, The Analogues often skip the session in order to make time for their three-hour practices they hold six, sometimes seven nights a week. Following Jim’s personal mantra of “Work hard, practice hard, play good, be nice,” The Analogues undoubtedly have nothing but great things in their future. So, whether you’re lucky enough to catch the analogous pair some Monday night at the Sidewalk or you visit them for one of their frequent shows in and around the five boroughs, do yourself a favor and make it a priority to spend some time soon with The Analogues before they’ve outgrown even the vast expanses of New York’s Urban Folk scene.

How the Other Half Lives
Boog City rocks Bowery Poetry Club
by Jonathan Berger
While Boog City, an East Village arts periodical, reviews musical acts, including those in our acoustic community, it has also included their writings. Artists like Dan Fishback, Matt Roth, Kathy Zimmer and Brer Brian have all contributed to Boog in recent years. The monthly newspaper, brainchild of a Mister David Kirschenbaum, is just one of the things connected to the Boog City name. Every month, the paper hosts a reading series for out-of-town publications. Every now and again, Booglit publishes chapbooks from the thriving New York poetry world. And every other month, the paper puts on Classic Albums Live, a start-to-finish cover by local artists of an album that Kirschenbaum loves. Up on April 25, Boog City’s Classic Albums Live presented The Pretenders’ Learning to Crawl, usually referred to as the best Pretenders record. Before the album, though, Kirschenbaum introduced the event by bring up some poets. Three ladies began with powerful performances of their own words, though the middle reader, Shanna Compton, explained that her work was inspired from a mid-19th Century text on how to be lady-like. Sharon Mesmer read about power of rocking, and Jenny Smith finished things off with a reading on Godzilla. It was after that that the main event began: the ten songs of Learning to Crawl. The album was Chrissie Hynde’s return after losing half her band to drug abuses and death. Considered a return to form after the lackluster Pretenders II, it starts strong with the one-two punch of “Middle of the Road” and “Back on the Chain Gang.” For the Boog event, those first two songs were covered by their recent cover feature Casey Holford. Featuring his brother Matt Holford, from the band Darediablo on keys. Adding drum parts for the first song, they replicated the fullband sound. Casey also started the trend of the evening of working to replicate Hynde’s reserved yet emotive voice. Casey is an excellent musician, and can fit into other people’s music much better than most songwriters. He got things started strong. Following was Holford’s Urban Barnyard bandmate Phoebe Kreutz, who also recruited support staff in the form of Jessie Nelson on violin and backup vocals. Phoebe’s greatest skills are her extremely funny lyrics, which, clearly, are not the focused attribute during a night of covers. Still, Phoebe availed herself well, particularly on her second track, “Watching the Clothes,” a song about laundry, which she specifically wanted to do. In the middle position, Preston Spurlock of the Sewing Circle, newly shorn and anticipating an imminent college graduation, came on particularly strong with “Show Me,” which included a spoken word bridge that went a little something like: “I want love. I really want love. I want love. I’m so fucking lonely!” His deadpan delivery really sold it. The Leader, a bass-drums combo, started out together with “My City Was Gone,” a tale of gentrification in Ohio. It’s a resonate song for the duo, who were recently priced out of their DUMBO studio-home. After the number, drummer Sam Lazzara abandoned the stage to leave Julie DeLano alone. With the lyrics by her side, a bass in her hands, and a partner before her, Julie played a haunting version of the Persuasions’ cover, “Thin Line Between Love and Hate.” Playing the last several songs was Erika Simonian, multi-instrumentalist in the Sprinkle Genies. For this event, she played only electric guitar with Mauricio Carey behind her on drums. Perhaps the strongest voice of the evening, Erika read an emotive “I Hurt You,” featuring the painful “I hurt you ‘cause you hurt me / So I hurt you ‘cause you hurt me…” Was this written about Simple Minds’ Jim Kerr or the Kinks’ Ray Davies, or maybe me? It didn’t matter who Hynde had in mind, Erika made it entirely her own. And like that, a little over an hour before it began, the event was over. Kirschenbam came back up to present thanks and reminders of future events. He described the trail of musicians that got him to that night, explaining that it was seeing the band Moxie, who introduced him to Bionic Finger, who led him, indirectly, to all the other acts he knew. It was a touching speech, made more so knowing that Bionic Finger’s Nan Turner was in the audience. “Normally, these events take about twice as long as the original album to run,” Kirschenbaum explained, chagrinned that the show was over so rapidly, “I guess we got lucky.” The next Classic Album to be presented is the Clash’s London Calling, on June 19, at Cakeshop.

Exegesis Department
justify the music


with Lach

Why the hell did you write this song?

George At Coney
George at Coney Alone but not lonely Laughing at the waves Black boots in the sand Walking the boardwalk Bored of the big talk Under the moonlight Twelve strings in his hand His friends went out dancin’ George took a chance and Rode the F Train out to the beach While his manager did panic George had a picnic Just his guitar, some ciggies And the stars within reach George at Coney Alone but not lonely Laughing at the waves Bare feet in the sand Walking the boardwalk Bored of the big talk Under the moonlight Twelve strings in his hand George at Coney Spent most his money On jellybeans, french fries and Coca-Cola Spent his last dollar To hear himself holler While riding the Cyclone rollercoaster George at Coney Alone but not lonely Laughing at the waves Black boots in the sand Walking the boardwalk Bored of the big talk Under the moonlight Twelve strings in his hand Eventually they found him And up they did round him Shuttled him back to the froth and the fray But if you’re ever lonely Just ride out to ol’ Coney Sit quiet at night and you’ll hear him play George at Coney Alone but not lonely Laughing at the waves Bare feet in the sand Walking the boardwalk Bored of the big talk Under the moonlight Twelve strings in his hand

Somehow I had heard a story of George Harrison slipping out on the rest of the Beatles entourage during their first visit to New York City and making his way to Coney Island. The image of that was filled with so much romance, youthful energy, curiosity and humanity that I always wanted to write a song about it. I filed the idea in the song-idea nook of my unconsciousness to ferment. On Monday nights, after everyone plays the Antihoot, I usually do a set around 2:30 am. As part of the set, once I get in the flow, I ask for song subjects from the remaining crew. I have no clear recollection but I’d bet someone either gave me “Coney Island”, “George Harrison” or “The Beatles” as a subject and I spontaneously excavated George at Coney. Man, I wish I still remembered that version but I always forget the songs I write off-the cuff, almost as quickly as I perform them. It’s sort of a deal I make with my brain. I exchange attachment and ego for beauty and inspiration. The upside is I get in-the-moment creative highs; the downside is I can’t remember what happened. However, sometimes, enough of a skeleton remains that I can flesh it out into a proper song later on. The song, Ungrateful, off of my album, Blang!, would be an example of that. So, too, would be George at Coney. Months later, I was in bed, getting ready to sleep and I felt like I wanted to write something first. I opened a notebook and said to myself “Might as well write that George Harrison tune” and out flowed the lyrics for the song. I got up, went into the other room, picked up my guitar and this version came out. It wasn’t the music I always imagined for the song. I wanted a Harrisonish, minor key with a weirdness to it but this version kept insisting itself to me. I soon realized that it was based on the melody of the old Irish folk song Molly Malone. A song George would have been well aware of, a song about a ghost. I played George at Coney the other night at Sidewalk and someone came up to me and said they liked it because they always loved ghost stories. It actually hadn’t occurred to me that it was a ghost story, though it’s so obvious to me now. Perhaps I should give George a co-writer’s credit? OK, onto the footnotes: Well, I wanted to have the lyrics make it obvious who this song was about once you knew who it was about. But, if you didn’t know, perhaps you’d like it anyway as some song about a guy named George. I wanted a slow revelation to sneak up on you so you’d get a pleasant shudder once it came together and you realized it was about the quiet Beatle. So the George clues slowly drift in (i.e. black boots, twelve strings, ciggies, jellybeans {George had been quoted as liking jellybeans and at early Beatles concerts they got bombarded with them!}). I wanted to capture the sense that in spite of being a new superstar he was basically a young English man in New York City for the first time…a wide-eyed tourist and so I added in: the F-train, Coca-Cola, French fries (instead of ‘chips’), the Cyclone. I wanted the meditative silence he was seeking apart from Beatle mania so I put in: “dancin’” and “manager panic” morphing into picnic (please notice the similarity of the letters in dancing, panic and picnic) before returning him to the “froth and fray”. Against that I contrast his letting go of Earthly attachments by saying “just” his guitar and repeating the image of “spent” his last dollar. Other fun stuff to look for: the play on “bored” and “board”. The alternating of “black boots” and “barefeet” in the sand showing again the conflict between being a Beatle and just being George.

Call & Response Poetry
the Best Damn Slice i have found THE BEST DAMN SLICE OF PIZZA IN NEW YORK TOWN don’t want you around the donald may have millions the beggar has dimes both have common ground cos what they don’t know is CNN breaking news Belowsky says “HEY i’ve found THE BEST DAMN SLICE OF PIZZA IN NEW YORK TOWN don’t want zagat review coming around followed by the daily news followed by sarah j. parker followed by her adoring completely played out matthew carrying his tony paperweight followed by his broadway cast and crew followed by paris and her chihuahua followed by the knicks followed by the kabbalah followed by scientology followed by jews for jesus followed by bloomberg followed by hillary followed by bubba followed by 50 cent followed by a blaze of bullets followed by 2nd rate jersey rockers followed by howard the shock jock followed by late night lap dancers followed by pseudo gangstars STAY AWAY, PAPARAZZI THIS IS MY PIZZA PLACE HEY some may say i know the BEST DAMN SLICE in this manhattan place i scorn in your ignorant pepperoni face heard them say it’s on bleeker

belowsky vs. berger

it’s on spring it’s down on houston it’s famous ray’s it’s famous ben’s it’s famous joe’s NO! NO! NO! it ain’t none of those heard them say it’s in the water it’s in the dough it’s in the gotham air HEY i’ve heard these cats talking the same old crap i challenge that heard them say “YO BELOWSKY is it the east side? is it the west side? is it uptown? is it midtown? is it downtown? is it on second? is it on third? or positively fourth?” i have it written down in cryptic code sitting in a morgan stanley safe deposit box not even chase can have a taste this pizza place seems so empty seems to close so early the phone is disconnected no deliveries are expected you may ask the yellow cab to cruise around take you to THE BEST DAMN SLICE OF PIZZA IN NEW YORK TOWN but in garlic i trust

that the crust is too thick that the crust is too thin and the cab meter is a’tickin and for me to tell you that magic location you will have to gun me down i will happily die in a slimy messy tomato base laid to rest in a giant pizza box with an olive on top maybe it’s a figment of my imagination some kind of crazy mozzerella creation and welcome to my mind cos in that mind is THE BEST DAMN SLICE OF PIZZA IN NEW YORK TOWN PERIOD -Belowsky

berger responds!
PI Pizza sucks. Pepperoni sucks. Sausage sucks - and those who love sausage they suck too. You suck and she sucks She sucks especially: that one, that one that didn’t want to go for a slice with me not to John’s, not to Rao’s, not to Patsy’s or Two Boots... she gave me the boot, she did – she sucks. They all suck. But sucking seems to be what it’s about. Like Hoover sucked in ‘28, depressing us for generations, until the greatest were laid to waste. Like Ike sucked a lemon, looking bitter, a pill who offered prosperity, piety, an end to poverty and pies... tomato pies for all - but not for me! I will eat no pizza in places like Pete’s, in stores like Sal’s, or shops like Shep’s... no! I will eat no pies until I die ‘cuz they suck like she sucks and he sucks and you suck you all suck… yeh. -Jonathan Berger

Invisible Noise
Paleface - “Cruise Control In Manhattan” - from his newly released album “I Just Want To Play Guitar”. This beats, forward lyrics and classy production. Historically, Paleface came up alongside Beck in the East Village scene. The chicken-or-the-egg battle over there style(s) continues, but listen: Paleface wins by a mile. Be in the know, and go to his shows, dammit. Paleface also fronts the great band Just About To Burn. Julz A - “Where”. OK, I never heard an accordian playing rapper before, and I must say that I still don’t know whether it’s a good idea. But no one complained when polio was suddenly curable. So, I credit Julz with trying something new. He has some classy lyrics. Good beats. His EP is a solid purchase. The Trachtenberg Family Slideshow Players “Beautiful Dandelion”. - Jason Trachtenberg defines East Village Quirk. He is a dynamic performer, and his recordings are lo-fi dreamboats. His daughter is the drummer. They’ve been on Conan. They fuckin rule. The Bicycats - “Every Time We Say Goodbye” - When I need to enjoy someone’s simple melodies and straight up honesty, I turn on Ray Lamontagne’s “Trouble”. When I want to listen to someone who makes me laugh because his simple melodies and straight up honesty are so simple and straight up they are poetic, I can always count on Zach “The Shark” Bernstein’s concoctions. This one gets a special shout out for the well-placed marimba. Toby Goodshank - “The Death of My Enemies” Off his great new Olive Juice record “Di Santa Ragione”, Toby gets right down to business with this opening song. Hypnotically repetitive, dramatically anthemic, and phonically stellar. Props to Toby and Major Matt Mason USA on the production of this album, and this track especially. Old Springs Pike - “The Great Escape” - normally a song about being “six feet underground” isn’t the best wakeup music. But in this case, it is. There is something classic about their sound. Especially the vocals, wow. They’re great. They’re from Astoria. But hey, no one’s perfect....

myspace music picks

by Dan Costello

Joie Blaney - “Rune Me” - This is one of those acoustic punk songs that borders on schmaltzy. Until that chorus, and you realize that Joie (of Dead Blonde Girlfriend) doesn’t give a fuck what you think. He’s just making beautiful, painful music the way he does best - one scratchy thoughtful lyric and folk chord at a time. Then BAM, hard guitars to bring it home. Yes, his heart bleeds! YES! Confessional Punk? It works. James Blunt wannabees take note: Joie proves acoustic music does not mean wet blanket. The Please Dept - “Sailor’s Mouth” - I cannot tell you why I really like this. Maybe it’s the old-skool Casio beat. Maybe it’s the Beck (Paleface?) influence? Maybe it’s their enthusiastic music making a la Creaky Boards. Maybe it’s the way Chris croons like a Lou Reed Libertine, and Georgia swirls the accordian like a disco ball on mushrooms. Yeah, that’s it. Christopher Bernhard - “Sara” - Chris is already back in Switzerland. But while he was here he consistently blew away the Sidewalk scene with his earnest songs and viciously real imagery. He wrote this one in New York, it’s a doozy. But the good ones always are. We’ve all been where this song goes, and it feels good the way Chris sings it. Come back soon, amigo.... Lewis Taylor - “Stoned (single version)” - Classic DIY success story. Umm, Prince-ish Brit for a New more Powerful Generation? Drug References As Metaphors for Love? NO! People with bedroom studios unite - Lewis Taylor is your new master. All the songs are great, this one has my favorite vocals on the album. Dan Costello, of course, can be heard at:

On Urban Folk
I remember it like it was yesterday. “Jon,” Dave said, “I need you to send content right away for Urban Folk. Deadlines have passed for the one year anniversary issue. You’re already weeks behind.” “Hell,” I said, “I can write that kind of crap in my sleep.” “You better. I need 600 words from you by nine AM.” So here I am, with fifty eight minutes to go, trying to recall back through the depths of history, back to the beginnings, the origin, the birth of this monolith before you known as Urban Folk. I saw Dave Cuomo once at the Teabag open mic, an incredible event you really ought to try out. He was wearing this horrible little HS knit cap and a pixie smile. His vigor and attitude made him look like he was out to redeem folk music. I was not impressed. Dave started coming out to the Sidewalk Cafe and DTUT. At some point, he approached me (sans gay knit cap, I’m glad to say), and confided part of his master plan. “I want to put together a fanzine about New York acoustic music,” he said, “You seem like a good writer. Would you have any interest in contributing?” “Contributing?” I failed to say, “Me? Me, the main brain behind AntiMatters, the longest-running and most ingenious fanzine AntiFolk has ever seen? “I?” I did not scoff, “I who contributed to AU Base, the follow-up fanzine about the acoustic East Village? “Jon Berger?” I did nor laugh scornfully, “Jon Berger, the music editor over at Boog City? Jon Berger, the singular most knowledgeable authority about AntiFolk in this day and age? Jon Berger? ME?” “Well,” I said, “I might be able to help you out.” I didn’t have high expectations. I’ve seen a lot of fanzines come and go - mostly go. I’ve found that musicians love the idea of a fanzine about them, but aren’t too enthused in being involved with it. Maybe they want to stay above the fray. Musicians are dedicated to their art, and journalism, that ain’t it. Of course, since it’s not their art, sometimes, musicians would try to write and were just awful at it. I also had doubted the value of a print publication, when the internet can reach a larger audience for less. Still, I offered to help Dave out, but I had my reservations. Who was this

…an editor reminisces on origins…

by Jonathan Berger

Dave Cuomo guy anyway? Cuomo sounds Sicilian - just like Napoleon. Shit, just what I need, to get involved with an egotist who always keeps one hand in a pocket. I didn’t trust the guy, but hey, I could submit a little something, maybe get him involved with other writers who might have something to say. It could work out... The first issue of Urban Folk came out when it was supposed to. It didn’t look that good, but it was probably better designed than any other fanzine I’d worked on. It had a huge print run, and, because of Dave’s drive in getting advertisers, it was free. We didn’t have to strong-arm artists to pay to read about themselves; we could give copies away. He’d gotten more people involved than I ever had, and he had people enthusiastic about the product. It was a dream come true. I wasn’t getting paid for my help, but it seemed obvious that worldwide fame was coming up fast. Each issue has gotten better since the first, with more people getting involved, more artists invested in the writing and production and photography and games... I’ve become really quite impressed by the quality of Urban Folk. And Dave owes it all to me. Jonathan Berger 4/30/06 Outside a library, stealing internet access

Judge, Jury and Executioner
Cuomo! Holiday I really don’t know how Cuomo found me. I have professionals that keep my name away from people’s ears, and my email address out of people’s sites (unless, of course, I’m promoting something, but you all knew that, right? “C&C Cola: It’s Wonderful!”). When I’m not on tour, or scowling for the paparazzi, I like to keep as low a profile as possible. Somehow, though, Dave Cuomo got past my defenses. I really should ask him how he did it, so I can get my security back up to snuff. I had to fire a good three eighths of my staff to plug the leak, and some of those people had been with me for months. Somehow, he uncovered an email account I had still been sporadically checking, and asked if I was willing to submit to an interview for his upcoming fanzine about urban folk music, Urban Folk. It so happened I had drafted an interview for the Village Voice, before it went free, wherein the world’s greatest authority on Alec Wonderful (Alec Wonderful) interviewed he who is Alec Wonderful. It only took a few quick edits (I had to remove the line, “Christigau’s an idiot, but he can really beat Mailer with an apple core. I saw him do it,” but that’s about it) to make the article appropriate for the fledgling paper. I don’t doubt for a second how appreciative Cuomo was to have such a heavy hitter contributing to his venture. It gave the boy some much-needed credibility, so, as an act of community service, I decided to continue writing for his little mag. Lately, I’ve been acting as Simon to Cuomo’s Paula, writing reviews from a more honestly critical perspective. Frankly, with the quality of the work coming out of the kids today, I don’t know how much longer I can take it. They just don’t have the drive, the energy, the pure pop power the youth had when I was coming up. But then, they never really did. Take Dave Cuomo’s record, Holiday, recorded with his brother Jes and featuring their original songs, if original they can be called. Everybody (but me) steals these days. I remember when original music meant more than just finding somebody’s style and stealing it, while sitting ‘round a campfire and dancing a jig. Oh, to go back to late eighties, glory days of new music. And the ridiculous logo speaks for itself. Dave Cuomo, songwriter of the combo, has a clear folk fixation, but with an interest in more energetic presentation. His affinity to Antifolk is quite clear: the statement against day jobs in “Kiss the Third Rail,” the reinterpretation of “The Star-Spangled Banner” that leads into the number two spot (formerly the hit position in the days of records), Cuomo and Cuomo! work to show social consciousness and political awareness. His ability to construct a story is good. His (well, his brother Jes’) instrumental savvy is strong, as

Reviews by Alec Wonderful

alec wonderful; self portrait
are the effective contribution of a series of guests. Where things fall off track somewhat is the voice. The vocals on album are a good representation of how Cuomo! sounds live, which is part of the problem. The nasality of it could have been lightened up somewhat in the studio, and really, if you think about it, should have been, if Dave wanted his lyrics understood. What, after all, does “You’ve got an asshole for a gun” mean? There’s an affect in his vocals that sounds sometimes British. And, speaking of Brits, what’s with this Billy Bragg cover? As one of the original, uncredited voices on the coda of “Great Leap Forward,” it’s fascinating to hear the song without any element whatsoever of, well, me. I mean, Billy’s a good guy and all, and, so long as he’s getting his royalty payments, I’m fine with it. Especially notable are Bragg’s lines sung through Cuomo’s nostrils: “Basking in the light of the fifteen fame-filled minutes of the fanzine writer.” Appropriate, no? In any case, this middleof-the-album Bragg tribute shows precisely where Cuomo’s coming from: All that “mixing pop and politics.” the ridiculous logo Jonathan Berger The Unrepentant Genius of Mr. B, Meanwhile, it looks like Cuomo’s editorial co-conspirator Jon Berger heard my critique of his last album, Kinesis, and took it to heart. Since then, he’s released The Unrepentant Genius of Mr. B, a title that sounds vaguely familiar to me, with a sound that is not terribly divergent from what he’s done before, but, I think, a step in the right direction. This time, Berger is composing more like a poet, and less like a rocker. This album, encompassing 30 tracks, has some

that continue to ape song structure (He tries, in songs, to link together shorter poems of similar theme or concepts, thus naming the song upon the common element they share: e.g. “Hero,” several pieces in different tenses, using different parts of speech, but all revolving around, well, heroes), but also a lot of cuts that are single poems, read quickly and unadorned. Well, few tracks are truly unadorned. Produced by Matt Roth (it’s out on Olive Juice Music, so it makes sense that Major Matt Mason would be behind it all), Unrepentant features lots of sounds behind Berger’s words. Most of these sounds, according to the liner notes, are the responsibility of Mr. Roth. While many of the tracks have musical backing (from the likes of Soce the Elemental Wizard, Wes Verhoeve, and the aforementioned Roth), most involved sound effects that refer specifically, if a bit obviously, to the words that Berger speaks. “The Next Time,” has an obvious rewind, suggesting the desire to go back and fix prior errors. “Nunsense,” about sex with the clergy, plays quiet church organ and choral voices, to get the point across. The music on Unrepentant also compliments the lyrics more closely than Berger has done previously. “Hunger” prominently features an ironically nausea-inducing bassline. It is like the sea, washing over you, but failing to coat and soothe, while Berger recites tale after tale of food and overconsumption that gets only more circular and sickening as Berger brings up vomit.

“Peanut Butter Dance,” featuring Undisputed Heavyweight Wes Verhoeve on guitar and effects, uses Berger’s reinterpretation of the song-form to best effect. During the slow, sensitive, echoey first part, Berger tells the story of an aborted proposal, focusing around a delicious dessert. Then, inverting and speeding up the same guitar line, Berger speaks, it seems, not as if to the object of his desire, but more at her (or him; who knows what Berger wants?). It’s a fascinating device, marrying the words to the music more effectively than previously; it’s very intellectual. I like this album. It’s got lots of tracks, and most of them come and go in less than a minute, so you don’t get bogged down in his voice or the sonic landscape (You know what they say about short attention span poetry: if you don’t like the piece, wait a minute). Berger also remains a funny guy, who is willing to allow his desperation and wit out for all to see. I’m also really impressed how well Berger takes instruction. Right after my critique of his last release, he rushed out to create a new product, more to my satisfaction. That’s what I like in a sycophant. Keep up the good work, Jon. (Editor’s Notes: Jonathan Berger’s album has been available for months, and was recorded before Urban Folk was founded. It was not recorded as a response to Alec Wonderful’s review. In addition, Dave Cuomo does not dance a jig for anyone.)

Get in the Minivan
In October 2004, I was out with Mike Devigne, on what we called the “This is Our Day Job” Tour. I took every opportunity to tell people that I was still a waiter in New York (it seems irony doesn’t reach most places), Mikey and I drank innumerable cases of cheap beer we bought at gas stations, and I got caught using the women’s bathroom at Kirby’s Beer Store in Wichita, Kansas. Somewhere in there we stopped for a show in Jonesborough, AR, a sleepy college town just north of the Tennessee border, and due west of a town called Marked Tree. We were scheduled to play a place called The Edge Coffeehouse, and were more than a little nervous about the prospects of the evening: Dan Treiber hadn’t received confirmation for the show until about twelve hours before. Our van pulled into an empty gravel parking lot, the guy behind the counter was friendly, but surly in the North-ofthe-South way that seems to be the norm across that area. We set up the PA, drank the free coffee and traded off short sets to a crowd that included the counter guy and an overenthusiastic girl who kept rubbing her nose and getting up to go to the bathroom. This was one of those cases where we’d driven a stupid amount of hours to an empty room, only to find satisfaction in the hours after the show. The overenthusiastic girl invited us over to her house for dinner. The coffee guy invited us over to his fraternity to participate in some drum-banging ritual. Having never been invited into a drug den or a frat party, I was excited when we worked it out so we could do both. The girl’s boyfriend drove Mike and me over to her house. She explained that her other boyfriend, who she lived with, had filed a restraining order against the boyfriend who’s car we were in. She cooked pasta, but made me cook the turkey burger, because she didn’t know how to cook meat. We ate pasta and listened to CDs of her boyfriend’s band, and then to CDs of her solo project, My Latest, Greatest Mistake (“Because that’s what my father called me”). There were a lot of strange, heated conversations between our host and both boyfriends over the phone. She told us that her boyfriend (the live-in one) was horribly jealous and possessive of her (“rightfully so”). The whole apartment seemed to have a thin layer of grime on it. The situation creeped me and Dan out, but Mikey seemed to love it. Dan and I dragged him to the other party.

by Brook Pridemore

I graduated college but I never rushed a fraternity. I used to say nobody should be expected to pay to fit in somewhere, but it was really more that I thought the dress clothes and sweaters were stupid. The frat guys at my school would get on your case if you called their frats “frats,” because you wouldn’t call your country a “cunt.” Water-headed trust-fund fucks who all had brand-new cars with gigantic stereos and the most horrible taste in music. I swear to God that one week, when me and some friends had taken old couches and started our own Sovereign nation, I saw this same truck going up and down my street playing “Like a Rock” by Bob Seger over and OVER. But I digress. These guys were actually kind of cool. They were carrying this big bass drum in a trailer behind a truck, driving around. They had to bang on it for thirty-six hours, non-stop. Apparently, all the frats had to do this, for reasons I can’t remember. We gamely agreed to get in the trailer with these guys and play songs for them. Although my hands started to freeze in the cold and wind, and one guy stupidly asked us if we knew any Garth Brooks, Mikey and I did our best to entertain them. We banged the drum, sang songs, drove around, met a bunch of cool people we instantly forgot. Back at his house, the coffee guy, whose name might have been Tyler, convinced a bunch of his buddies to buy our CDs, and promised us a better gig the next time we came through. I told some of the guys my “country a ‘cunt’” story, and they thought it was funny. The better gig the next time didn’t happen. Ian Thomas, Sarah Bowman and I did an afternoon gig at the same coffeehouse, and while we played, Dan went around with a tip jar, trying to collect gas money for the drive. One of the patrons asked Dan to wrap up what was left of her sandwich. After the show, the only entertainment we found was long hours sifting through strange and convoluted MapQuest directions as we made the trek to Sarah’s hometown of Davenport, Iowa.

Paul’s Perspective
At some point in elementary school, almost all of us were given a little Styrofoam cup full of soil, a few seeds, and the directions to “water, wait, and watch.” Watching plants grow is just as exciting today as it was those many years ago, but these days I’ve outgrown the foam cup. Now, I put my roots down in other endeavors instead. About a year and a half ago while guest-hosting Amy Hills’ storied “Open Up” open mic, Dave Cuomo, a songwriter I’d seen around, asked Jon Berger and me if we’d like to write for a new zine he was starting. Being up for anything, I said “OK,” and I guess that’s when Urban Folk was born. Over time I had forgotten I had ever spoken with Dave or Jon about creating a new scene zine, and it wasn’t until several months later, at the Sidewalk Café, that Dave reminded me that our first articles would be due “sooner than later.” Now, like many songsmiths I’ve always fancied myself a writer, but as any of you loyal readers can attest to, the first time I put pen to paper in pursuit of prose, I was far from Faulkner. Nevertheless, Dave, Jon, and all of you readers have patiently encouraged me, as you wait and watch Urban Folk evolve to take on a real life of its own. With the release of each new Urban Folk, I am excited to read articles I didn’t see copy of, scan the review section to learn about new DYI releases I haven’t yet heard, or see features of friends whom I have watched blossom. Interviewing friends and relative strangers alike, I have been bi-monthly inspired by the artists I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time with, and am constantly awed by the talent and energy rampant in the urban folks of our fair city. Like Urban Folk, the “Crowin’ at the Creek” open mic I host every Tuesday recently celebrated its first anniversary, and I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about its development as well. Creating a song feels great, but creating a community, well, that’s the best. When people thank you week after week for giving them a place to play, while you get to watch artists, like seedlings, grow beyond your expectations, maturing time and again, that’s proof positive that things are growing in the right direction. Performing truly is meant to be a spectator sport, and yes, I have been blessed not only with open mic regulars who are genuinely talented and enjoyable to listen to week in and week out, but also with an audience that listens oh so well. That said, as fabulous as it is to have other artists attentively and sincerely listen to your compositions, as my open mic celebrates its first anniversary, it really has been great to have regular listeners showing up, and I don’t mean lovers or stalkers of artists, but people from the neighborhood, just coming in to watch the show.

The seeds of change…

by Paul Alexander

A community like that an open mic provides is good for any solo artists or performer as it helps them to not feel so alone. From Setsuo, the only participant at my first week of “Crowin’ at the Creek” (we sat and played songs for each other for an hour or so), to the many incredible talents such as Drew Torres, Dan Shuman, Markádam, Leif Solem, Mick Flannery, who visited me at The Creek and the Cave over the first few months, every one has proven that Kevin Costner was on to something: “if you build it, they will come.” Looking back, I feel so lucky to have such talented artists frequent my little scene in Long Island City, and without the regular patronage and support of friends like Sukato, Debe Dalton, Jon Berger, Zach James, Lou Rosa, Amurá, Brian Speaker, and many more, not only would my open mic probably have withered and died, but I also would have had a whole lot less fun. After all, the success my open mic has experienced is not really thanks to me, but to Thomas Patrick Maguire, Luke Kalloch, Leo, and all those dedicated participants. Occasionally, it’s hard to drag myself in and give everyone the level of attention and enthusiasm I’d really like to. Nevertheless, each week someone – usually someone who’s never been to the open mic before – helps me somehow muster the spirit to maintain to run the Tuesday nights at The Creek and the Cave in LIC. Sometimes it surprises me that I came to a city full of millions of people, thinking only of myself. And only after several years here have I discovered that its all of the people around me that really make this whole thing worthwhile, not merely the pursuit of me. Community counts. So, from Urban Folk readers to “Crowin’ at the Creek” regulars, thank you all once again for helping make our gigantic city seem a little more accessible and even more special than I ever even imagined it could be. As Heller Keller once wrote, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much,” and though many of us arrive at open mics week after week alone, it is all of us together who are making New York City such an exciting place to put down roots while we “water, wait, watch, and inevitably grow.

Essay Contest

win a date with alec wonderful & an urban folk feature

they fought among themselves unable It was back in those heady days to properly divide the honors. A murder/ when Spin was cutting edge, but before suicide pact ensued, with no survivors. my own Wonderful News became The events perhaps occurring on the Honduras’ most popular periodical for cliffs of Ithaca (Griselda’s college town), consecutive two weeks. the sun-bleached bones of the victims They (Spin, people; try to keep up) were never found. The police have so far wanted to do a promotional tie-in for been unable to substantiate this theory my new Capitol album, Winners: with any evidence whatsoever, but it’s Duets with Alec Wonderful. It was a still my favorite. compilation with some of the biggest Every few months, I think back to hit-makers of history, all of whom those distressed times, and I cry a quiet wanted a slice of Wonderful Pie. We tear for Griselda Opinong, who missed had Old Blue Eyes, old glass eye, and out on what was no doubt her life’s Mort Sahl live at the hungry i - but I digress. Today’s piece is not about alec with flowers - self portrait ambition: me. Today is not a day for tears, though. Winners (available from, Today, is a day for reminiscing. Good times… and direct from my website), it’s about the contest. In any case, I’ve decided to give the kids today a chance to “You could have just a random selection, or pick the compete like their forefathers did. You know, give you urban prettiest participant, or maybe an essay contest,” my Capitol folk something to live for. rep suggested. So, welcome once again to the show that never ends. “Could I sleep with all the contestants, and whoever Welcome to Win a Date with Alec Wonderful (Part Two). showed the greatest endurance wins?” All you need to do is, in a thousand words or less, describe They looked into it; not Family Values enough. We went why you, hot pretty thing that you are (boys and girls, I’m with the essay option, and the contest was underway. Some of the essays were creepy. Some were sexy. Most not picky), want to date, me, Alec Wondeful. Clearly, there were unendurably adoring. All of them deserved to win (I are any number of obvious answers, so creativity counts. am contractually obligated to say that), but in the end, only You can send your responses here to Urban Folk, and they’ll forward them to my management company, who will do a one could be victorious. It was Griselda Opinong, who sent a twelve page pictorial first pass through them, after which I shall personally read display presenting positions I – yes, that’s right, even I, all those who have made the cut, unless there are too many. Alec Wonderful – had never seen before, was eventually Then there might be a random selection process. In any case, sharpen your pens, get ready, get set… selected. Lucky her – only, as it turns out, not so much. COMPETE! She mysteriously disappeared before our date could be consumated. The working theory is a series her friends conspired to replace her, thus becoming my temporary consort. After removing poor Griselda from the picture,

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Describe in a thousand words or less (preferably less) why you, (all genders and persuasions), want to date Alec Wondeful. Creativity counts! Mail responses to, or 306 Jefferson St. 1R Brooklyn, NY 11237 The most enticing essay will win a date with alec wonderful and a feature here in Urban Folk!

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Mike K

Mike K. is a self-proclaimed Jersey recluse. Luckily, via Internet …through the wonder of modern technology, your trusty interviewer was able to procure a few episodic insights into the Mike K “experience”. Welcome to his world; Enjoy your visit… DT: Mike, you classify yourself on Myspace as an thing. Basically, P.U. is a band, whilst I’m a solo act. “Alternative/Indie/Psychedelic” artist. Do you feel Like Genesis and Peter Gabriel. Or actually Genesis those are valid labels to be applied to your music? How and Phil Collins. does your sound diverge from those classifications? DT: You are currently gigging in your home state of New MK: Down-tempo/Screamo/Jam Band. (Or not.) I dig swirls Jersey... Are you planning any New York dates in the and whooshes, so the “Psychedelic” label makes sense. near future? And Indie/Alternative means COOOOOL. Well, 15 MK: I was kickin’ it on the NYC open mic circuit last year years ago anyway. Actually, the term “Indie” gives me with a few gigs sprinkled in here and there. Now that I the creeps - not sure I’m scene enough to have earned have some new songs and a record out, I will be tapping that badge. I’d prefer “Overdramatic Lonesome Pop”. that again forthwith. Springtime is the right time for DT: You seem to layer many sounds and effects in your love. recordings. Can you tell the readers a little bit about DT: What’s with having an initial for a last name? Is that your songwriting process? Specifically, from where do some kinda gimmick or something? you divine your inspiration, and then from there, how MK: Tis no gimmick. My last name is difficult to remember do you begin to craft a song? and spell (for others, mind you - I know it by heart), MK: I’m currently gleaning inspiration from the new so it’s a matter of convenience, really. However, now Morrissey and Flaming Lips discs. Songwriting process and then people think it’s Mike Hey, which is just plain = neat guitar thing, then mumbly melody, then lyrics silly. eventually. It’s like “complex pop” - catchy, yet weird somehow (alternative tunings, time signature changes, etc.). As for the layers - I add until it feels done, like Bob Ross or something. DT: What else, besides current musical influences, inspires you to begin writing a song? MK: Cinema is my biggest influence after music. I have a bunch of songs named after movies, and often misquote dialog in my lyrics. Lately I’ve been infatuated with Asian cinema past and present. Really any good art inspires me - that and the kiddie pool of loneliness I’m drowning in every day. DT: How do your live performances differ from your recording? Additionally, what can audiences expect from a Mike K show? MK: The live thing is an evolutionary process. I started out solo acoustic, and slowly I’ve been adding effects. Now I use 2 amps for a far-out psycho-delic stereophonic soul-destroying sound experience. Almost. Still it’s really stripped down naked compared to the record. Next up, full band time. I want drums and 6 guitars. I’m also working on another band called Preemie Unicorns - so cute, so little. DT: (Awww!) Is Preemie Unicorns in a similar musical vein as your solo work? MK: Preemie Unicorns is a full band experience --- a humongo in-your-face sonic explosion, but gentle and beautiful, too, and hooky. To bridge the void between sincerity and coolness, that’s the ideal idear. Though seeing that in print kinda voids the whole

interview by Deborah T

CD reviews

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Barry Bliss Representation Through Improvisation This album is a force to behold. It is probably the most overproduced lo-fi album I’ve come across, taking Barry Bliss from great punk-folk songwriter into the realm of great innovative sound artist. It’s artsy as all hell. A ton of reverb and instruments that sounds like early Billy Bragg guitar on just a hit or two of acid jamming with a very drunk robotic cello. It feels like the whole thing was recorded in a church, but true to Barry’s nature, it sounds like he broke into the church in the middle of the night to make the recording. As he sings in “You Think You Are (Original Version)” “You say that I’m a Christian, yeah that might be true, but what that means to me is not what it means to you.” Similar things happen to the music here. Barry is still a songwriter more than he’s a psychadelic art rock band, but the lines are blurred. The kicker of the album is that beyond the artsy touches, it is really enjoyable to listen to. The psychedelic buildups are used as well placed effective tools, so that when he breaks into the melodic sung parts you are ready and waiting, and his always solid and honest songwriting doesn’t disappoint with softly sung yet throatily delivered bitter lines like “You’re mother’s blowing your best friend again,” sung like Johnny Cash but making Cash sound tame in comparison. As if to acknowledge the difference, he opens the first vocal track saying “Hello, I’m not Johnny Cash.” The melodies are still often catchy folk songwriter melodies and make this surprisingly accessible. It’s kind of jarring how easy and catchy this feels despite all the layered effects and sonic play. This is the kind of album that Antifolk has always been capable of. All the art and innovativeness of Sonic Youth or Pink Floyd combined with earthy and accessible folk songwriting recorded with trademark lo-fi sloppiness. This includes hearing him discuss fixing technical problems in the middle of tracks as he talks about levels or whether or not things are plugged in. It’s impossible to tell if this is a premeditated statement or true unconcern, but either way it personalizes the process that created the album and draws you in. In others’ hands such a thing might sound like pretension, but coming from Barry it somehow feels natural. Listen to it to appreciate the creativity, or just listen to it for the beauty of songs like “Do or Die” or the haunting “Dreams” where he sings lines like “I don’t want to fuck you anymore” with such complete compassion and conviction that the bitterness becomes beautiful. This album proves that an artist can reach a whole new level of creativity without losing the “Fuck it. I’m gonna do it my way,” feeling of a young cocky artist. This should be required listening for anyone who wants to know what Antifolk can do.

Ben Face Ben Face Mr. Face’s eponymous EP expands upon his solo mid-tempo political rants. He plays, lonely and alone on-stage, telling us how we are liberal, anti-war lovers of silence and haters of god. Ben Face worships at the twin altars of the Left and Roger Waters. It’s unclear just which he’s more devoted to, as his methodical, patient playing obviously owes a great debt to Pink Floyd, but his lyrics “We’re all dissenters of the war,” “I was standing on the grave of freedom”) seem to be about the present state of national politics and current events). Sometimes, as in, “Do a Thing,” he serves both masters at once. This is one politically aware artist, who hammers his beliefs home through repetition. Face’s musical references only become more impressive when you realize the entire band sound was created and played by him. Sure, some keyboards were played by the album’s producer Robert Musso on one track, but otherwise, on these seven tracks, all guitars, piano, and bass are a state of continuous Face-time. While he’s a competent player all around, Face’s Floyd influence leaves him playing droney lines with little variant throughout a song, perhaps intending to effect change on a subliminal (or sub-sonic) level. It sounds good, but it should sound better. Probably more organic recording would have shaken things up more. When Face picks up the pace, in “Alone in the Dark,” things get more interesting, though he still repeats both musical and lyrical phrases a little too often. The closing track, “Family Values,” is a lessproduced, less affected cut, one that gets the point across more effectively, with less effort. Hearth Live in the Studio 02.17.06 This latest release from Dan Penta’s Hearth is a more sparse and grating effort then the previous two. The fuller sound that had been achieved with additional vocals and instrumentation is sorely missed. Yet, not surprisingly, Penta allows his trademark monotone morbidity to preside ruthlessly and comfortably over the work. Although the themes throughout the entire 12 song/27 minute album do not much diverge from the sarcastic desperation and loneliness that we have come to expect and appreciate, repeated listens deliver the sweet reward of oddly brilliant word placement and melody twists reminiscent of early REM. One might say that listening to the new CD from Hearth feels a little like reading Dan Penta’s theoretical journal you feel a little guilty, but shamelessly validated at the same time. “You Don’t Belong To Me” is the last track, and goes a little something like this: “I once had you, now you have him. Please notify

by the editorial collective

my next of kin. I’m a walking wreck, a bouncing check/ Hit the deck. Futon sex.” Kara Suzanne and the Gojo Hearts Aumsville Kara Suzanne and the Gojo Hearts is the newest addition to the alt-country scene. She has a smooth and sultry voice, with the occasional, but not overdone, twang. She landed in New York from the West Coast five years ago, and has been working on her music career ever since. This is a three song EP, but if you like what you hear there is a full-length album in the works. Like the produced country arrangements, the lyrics also follow the traditional lineage of love, heartbreak and hard times, sometimes bordering on cliché, but usually done well enough to save themselves in the end. The sound is smooth, full and well produced, and her voice is excellent, showing a lot of talent here. I’m curious to see where it takes them, but it also leaves you wondering if you’ve heard these songs before.

“Words to the Wise” though, “Don’t let the cute people fool you” there is more going on here than meets the eye. Behind Mimi’s cute blond in sunglasses persona and melodies is a smart and bitterly aware artist handing you burnt toast like it’s candy.

Michael Meldrum Open-Ended Question Remember your guitar teacher? Every week, you eagerly brought your favorite CD with new songs to mimic. He was an adult who asked for the $15 check from your mom, but had a spirit young and free enough to rock. Though a bit distant when navigating your generation’s music, your teacher gave off a mood of nostalgic wonder, knowing that you were carrying on the torch. They were bittersweet, those lessons. You admired your guitar teacher, and one night you dragged your dad to see his band at the local bar. Upon entering, your heart sunk a little. The music was pretty bland. You even felt a little embarrassed for the guy. Michael Meldrum’s “Open Ended Question” is a lot like that bar performance. Meldrum was Ani DiFranco’s childhood music teacher, and La Valley Katz judging by the telling photographs inside his new album, Anti-Anti the two share a special bond. While perhaps DiFranco and This album starts with a cute and catchy bang. “Shake other upstate New York musical protégés believe in their mentor, to the outside listener, Meldrum the Devil,” showcases exactly what falls on the dull side of adult contemporary La Valley Katz does right, bringing a folk music. “Tavern road tune” sounds slightly insidious melody to bear on like your dad’s weak rendition of “Mr. a poppy infectuous chorus that makes Tambourine Man.” “Homemade baby” you want to swing your head, dance is a awkward minor key rocker where and sing along. The lyrics are honest Meldrum repeatedly pipes the lyric, “here and sound just the right amount of comes the man with the homemade baby, jaded, putting the bitterness just behind the homemade baby made out of love.” and relaxed and happy facade. She has Michael Meldrum seems best suited for that wonderful quality of being able his quiet, contemplative compositions, to make a simple scene feel profound la valley katz where his musings of nostalgia, love, and such as on the chorus to “Comfort Chords,” “So you settle for our bedroom late at night/ when loneliness come across as touching, like on the opening C G Am F just seems so safe and right.” The matter-of-fact track “Forget It.” Nevertheless, the listener will likely find lyrics have a good sing-along quality. Not just in the sense it much more rewarding to check out their own damn guitar of everyone chanting them together at a show, which does teacher at their own damn local bar. work well, but also personal enough to be something you would want to sing along to alone in your bedroom. She uses sweet and simple female harmonies o’death accompanied by ukelele, kazoo, shakers, head home harmonica, and the currently popular Somewhere in the abandoned warehouses singing saw to achieve an easy catchy of Brooklyn’s industrial district, a sextet feel, as well as a high energy up beat one, of musicians discovered a large, dusty and along with guitar, bass and drums jug labeled only with an ominous trio there is more of a stripped down, lo-fi of x’s. They sniffed the bottle, finding a quality to the recording than one might reek of strong alcohol – moonshine, to be expect. The band does not overpower the exact. How did this odd artifact find its songs, but mostly adds sweet nuances way to the modern hustle of Brooklyn? in the background which I far prefer to The musicians didn’t waste too much the over-produced, slick Nashville style time pondering, and fearlessly gorged that would have made equal sense for themselves on the jug’s inebriating bounty. Minds swimming, a crazed her sound. As she says in the chorus to

barnyard hoedown took place in the middle of the factory night. Their album, “head home,” is a window into this sort of musical occasion, and would be best accompanied with a flask of moonshine, if you can find one. O’death is at their best on the frantic “allie mae reynolds.” An ecstatic banjo plucks over furious punk drums that pound out the foot-stomping rhythm. Hoots and hollers rise up from the background, as Greg Jamie sings with wild jubilee. With songs of this energy, catching this act live may be quite a treat. “adelita” features seductive fiddle lines that beckon the listener into its swirling gypsy rhythms, showing the band’s versatility. Always singing in a backwoods, redneck drawl that is at least partially fabricated, o’death often projects a sense of humor. A silly tuba blurps along in the background of “busted old church,” while the singer ridiculously snarls his plea, “take off your clothes and go home with me!” Some of the songs carry a humble, tragic sadness, like the simple, fingerpickin’ lament, “travelin man.” On other tracks, the band lets out some straightforward, New Orleans style rage, like their cry on the opening track, “down to rest.” While the harsh vocals may come off as obnoxious to the milder listener, the album is a beautiful, drunken fix. O’death has cooked up a musical gumbo of the ancient, eccentric South, garnished with a touch of urban modernity so that it all makes sense. Schwervon! I Dream of Teeth I really don’t want to talk about this album. I don’t want to talk about the credentials of the band (drummer Nan Turner was in Bionic Finger and is in Pantsuit; while guitarist Matt Roth is Major Matt Mason, leader of Kansas State Flower, as well as the mastermind behind Olive Juice Music), or the fact this is their third album (fourth, if you count a shared EP with the Jeff Lewis band where they covered each others’ materiel). I don’t want to talk how they have the same organizational paradigm as Quasi, Prewar Yardsale and the White Stripes. I don’t want to say how AntiMatters falsely claimed that the twenty first century would belong to Schwervon!, or what their name means. I don’t want to talk about the changes in the band sound (this album has a series of guests, which expands and alters their traditional minimalism ). I don’t want to keep using parentheses to make the points I don’t want to have to make. I just want to listen to the album. I want to hear the multiple fake attempts at hip-hop style: Toby Goodshank faux raps underneath the shimmering harmonies and keys of “Sore Eyes,” while Nan speaks in funkified cadence for the electrifying “Groundhogs.” I want to hear these harmonies, a new thing for the duo. Through much of I Dream of Teeth, Schwervon! are singing together.

Normally, they just sing near each other, or alternate lines. But they’re doing so much more on Teeth. I want to hear them cover a Herman Düne song, the best I’ve heard from the France-based band. I want to hear them do songs they probably put together in their many tours, foreign and domestic, since 2003’s Poseur came out. I don’t particularly want to hear their mostly nonsense lyrics (sometimes, they make sense on a line by line basis, but not particularly as you put them together). I’d rather just listen to this album, loud, on headphones, screaming various irrelevant phrases on street corners, getting looks from curious passersby, wondering what the fuck I’m going on about. I want to live this album. I want to breathe this album.I want to talk some more about “Groundhogs,” smack dab in the middle of the album, and one of the many startling cuts on this very fun disc. It’s all electronic and twitchy. It’s punk and hip-hop and crazy, maybe like PIL with a girl vocalist, and one of the few tracks produced at their Olive Juice Music Studios and not in the larger Emandee in Brooklyn. “Groundhogs” is great, on Myspace, and well worth the cost of the album alone. I want to say that Matt Roth has never sounded as sexy or in charge as he does on “Fuzzy Math.” I want to ask about “Message in a Trumpet,” the cut that follows, written and performed by JR Heffelfinger, 26 seconds of horn noise that recalls way ancient jazz. Is this a real person? Why is JR doing a solo cut on a Schervon! album? What is going on? I want answers! I want to go on, but really, what I most want to do is listen to this album. So that’s what I’m gonna do. Teddy Abesamis Soundtrak Teddy Abesamis’s album Soundtrak is the kind of recording that could easily be dismissed by the urban folksters of the world. Its ambitions are steadfastly in the pop/r&b realm, and its glossy sound is uncharacteristic of most of the earthier music coming from the acousticoriented open mic community. Yet, for those willing to accept it on its own terms, Teddy’s album has a lot to offer. There’s a funky, danceable feel to many of the songs on the disk. For example, it’s hard to imagine sitting still when the opening title cut breaks into its strongly rhythmic chorus. Teddy has interesting ideas for accompaniment and arrangement, and he has a pleasing tenor voice that shines throughout the album, particularly on the slower ballads. That said, it is worth pointing out some frustrating tendencies that appear throughout the disk. For one, it seems as if Teddy was spellbound by his drum machine, multi-track recorder and synthesizer. Nearly every track suffers from an overabundance of handclaps, drum beats, processed vocal effects, and other sounds that often distract from the core of the songs. Many of Teddy’s cuts build to great emotion on the musical side, but those heights are frequently unsupported by lyrics that often convey ordinary plaints about relationships. The album is filled with thoughts like “baby girl it may seem like we’re over,” (“Soundtrak”)

“if this is a game worth playing, baby I don’t care if I lose,” (“Show me Your Flavor”) and “when love comes around baby, I am the fool” (“The Fool”). Aside from investing in a computerized ‘baby’ checker, Teddy could definitely benefit from studying how some of the better songwriters (or poets or novelists or admen) approach similar subject matter from more oblique angles. The interesting compositional ideas that are in evidence throughout the album finally click firmly in place in the closing cut. “Where Would the City Be” is a gorgeous, roiling ballad in which the song’s melody and Teddy’s strong voice support each other perfectly. Teddy uses a gentle piano vamp underneath the verses and leads into the soaring chorus with a great little ascending chord riff. The lyrics have their awkward moments, but at last deliver a little bit of grit and mystery in a piece that grapples with mixed feelings about living and striving in New York. Although not every song is successful, there are definitely tunes, beats, vocals, and musicianship to enjoy on Soundtrak. However for his songs to really fly, even within the pop style in which he is working, it feels as if Teddy needs to dig deeper, past the slick production, to a realm of richer, edgier personal expression. Trevor Exter 637 Sounds Trevor has been playing Cello since the age of 7, and the first thing that comes across on the album is the high quality of his composition and musicianship. It is a smooth, well-produced album, with a Latin influenced adult contemporary jazz sound. Using the cello as a backbone for songwriting is a fairly innovative idea, especially for the jazzy sound. Beyond the initial technical impressiveness though, there isn’t much to go for here. Most of the tracks on this album are love songs, ranging from wistful to cliché to patronizing to co-dependent, such as the first track “Love Her Again,” “think I don’t love her anymore/but I mustn’t tell her ‘til I’m sure/ ‘cause if I tell her now it will break her heart and she will cry/and I will start to love her again seeing her like that in so much pain.” Or “Inside Song,” “on and on your speaking to me/ but I don’t hear cause I’m silently singing ‘you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful.’/and my voice drowns yours and I smile at your mouth full of words/ because I am not listening.” We’re not here to judge anyone’s relationship behavior, but such sentiments as poetry shows such a lacking of any sense of objective understanding or honest admission, that I find myself very uninterested in his opinion or anything he has to say. Lyrics aside, there is more musical talent here than background music at a Cuban themed jazz bar, but somehow it’s not heartfelt or original enough to want to put on at home.

Vincent Cacchione Ramblin’ down a Dead End Street Beneath a giant, curly fro and tight, psychedelic clothes, Vincent Cacchione is still a strange character. Slumped against a vintage wicker dresser in his grainy album art, he comes off as the 21st century reincarnation of T. Rex. Fortunately, the recording transcends impersonation. The New Jersey singer comfortably introduces himself as a sensitive and gentle folk musician. The album offers eight pretty lullabies, sung softly over minimal acoustic arrangements. The third track, “Mary in the Mirror,” demonstrates the empathetic storytelling that Vin unwinds so easily, in this case, about a melancholy lover. The song’s lyrics waver upon the thin line between cliché and simple truthfulness, as in the refrain, “there’s nothing left to hold onto/there’s no one to look back at you, Mary in the mirror.” Although sometimes forgettable, Cacchione is consistently tender and sweet. For those drawn in by the hair, you’ll find lines reminiscent of the fantastical imagery of T. Rex and early Bowie, like, “I rode a dove to the underworld.” The Woes That Coke Oven March The first song on this album creeps in with some bluegrass banjo strumming, but quickly adds a thumping bass drum, harmonica and full band backing a voice that is not easily ignored. It has a low scratchy, almost desperate sound, with a strong Tom Waits influence. It’s hard to pigeonhole The Woes into one particular genre. As you work your way through the album the haunting dark roots influenced sound creeps in on every song. Which roots influence depends on the song, jazz, blues, bluegrass, gospel and old, backwoods country. Whether the song is slow and heartfelt, or a foot-stomping sing along it definitely takes you on a trip in your mind to a rough, sad and heartfelt night on the New Orleans bayou. The recording quality is really good and the whole project has a premeditated artsy flair, showing that in the end they are still New York songwriters first. Still there is some unidentified thing lacking. Something in the premeditated quality makes it hard to lose yourself in the album. This is odd, because there is a lot of energy in the songs, but where the roots musicians The Woes are drawing from had an innocent danceable appeal, these songs feel made for sitting down and listening in a more contemplative academic way, which seems contrary to the entire idea of the music. The ideas are in place, and this album is definitely fun to listen to, but the heart feels a little less than natural.