remora – symbiotic

If you’re on the East Coast, you know by now that it’s been cold. So cold that iguanas in Florida are freezing and falling out of trees. So cold that sharks are dying from cold shock. So cold that the penguins at the zoo have to stay inside.

It feels like no better time than during this arctic freeze for Remora (AKA New York DJ/producer Maroje T.) to release his Symbiotic EP on Kraftjerkz Records. Its beats are just as crisp and cool as the air outside, but the movement it inspires will warm you up.

Merriam Webster defines symbiosis as a cooperative relationship, the living together or close union of two dissimilar organisms — Remora’s latest is just that. It’s the dual existence of raw drum beats and deep filters, the interwoven relationship of music that makes one part of your brain want to think and the other part just want to dance. It’s a push and a pull, a give and a take.

This is all a part of what makes Remora’s music so unique. It bounces between genres, weaving influences of metal, punk, and electro-breakbeat. It’s experimental by nature. It’s something to make you dream on the dance floor. And amid all the insanity the world is going through right now, it’s a welcome form of escapism we all need.

Symbiotic is available to order on vinyl through Halycon here.
Preview it on Soundcloud here.
Maroje T.’s last release, Anaphase, previously vinyl-only, is now available for digital download through Bandcamp and can be ordered here or previewed on Soundcloud here.

pocket-tina-weymouth-talking-heads-paper-magazine

So, Pocket recommended my own article to me as part of their Best of 2017. Which, like, WHAT?! Then I found out it was one of the most-shared music features across a bunch of sites this year (again, WHAT??!). I’m still processing it all. I didn’t write as much as usual this year, but I’m proud of this piece and so humbled that it was a small part of an overdue story about a deserving and inspiring artist. I hope it helped more people appreciate or revisit her work, and maybe fit into a much larger conversation about women reclaiming their part of the narrative in 2017.

icymi: new episodes of ’77 music club season 2

Catch the newest podcast episodes here:

Episode 3: Moondance – Van Morrison  | November 6, 2017
Episode 4: Tango in the Night – Fleetwood Mac | November 24, 2017
Episode 5: Parallel Lines – Blondie | December 8, 2017
Episode 6: “River” – Joni Mitchell – special stocking stuffer episode | December 22, 2017

kid ginseng lays down the beats

kid-ginseng

This piece originally appeared on Bed Crumbs.

Two weeks ago, I went to a bar where the much-hyped DJ was actually a guy who just plugged an aux cord into his iPhone, then proceeded to fist-pump his way through a Spotify playlist of select choices like a radio remix of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Migos’ “Bad and Boujee.”

There’s no doubt about it: We are living in an interesting, complex time for music, one where, technically, anyone can call themselves a DJ. In 2017, mention “DJing” and you’re more likely to be met with a reference to DJ Khaled’s Snapchat, an “Oh, that guy from Netflix?” if you mention Grandmaster Flash, and a straight-up “Huh?” if you bring up Afrika Bambaataa.

DJing has always been more a part of the underground music scene than the mainstream one. Now more than ever, though, it feels even more difficult to find  an actual DJ — not one titled with the misnomer — who creates music that is both innovative and true to the original form. But, if you know where to look, in the clubs of Bushwick and the Bandcamps and Soundclouds of the internet, the real DJs are still there.

Kid Ginseng is one of them. A veteran DJ and head of New York-based electro-funk label Kraftjerkz, Kid Ginseng is the samurai of the New York scene: laser focused, beyond dedicated to his creative path. He’s calm, cool, and collected behind the decks, mixing and scratching with such precision and uniqueness that you can listen to his tracks over and over again, from varying angles, and still find something new: the creativity of picking samples, the science of identifying the repetitive hook, the art of putting it all together, like painting, but with sound.

What’s most interesting about Kid Ginseng is the scope his work covers. He covers the fundamentals with funky scratching and sampling of old school hip-hop and dance records. He takes influence from Kraftwerk’s Computer World and builds layers of electronic sound out of the “Numbers” beat. He plays with turntablism, scratching records at rapid speeds with a difficult-to-master blend of technical prowess and genuine feel. He’s unafraid to experiment with the playfulness of internet culture, combining spoken word samples from guests of peak-Dad sayings or iconic movie quotes with tight, rapidfire scratching and beats. With each endeavor, he remains both authentic and unexpected at the same time.

For those looking for something fresh and fun, funky and freaky, Kid Ginseng is your best bet:

SoundCloud
Bandcamp
Vinyl
 (obviously recommended if you give it a stream or two and dig)

For updates, follow Kid Ginseng and Kraftjerkz on Facebook, and if you’re in the New York area, be sure to check out his upcoming appearance at Bushwick’s Bossa Nova Civic Club and come get down to the get down (you can do that legally now!).

icymi: new ’77 Music Club oral history of the Urban Verbs

Hi! I edited this dope oral history of the late-70s/early-80s Washington D.C. new wave band Urban Verbs and co-produced it with Carly for our podcast, ’77 Music Club.

Over the past few months, we interviewed founding members Rod Frantz and Robin Rose, as well as early promoter and later bassist Bill Harvey, and producer Mike Thorne. The resulting podcast episode is an hour long edit of nearly six hours of fascinating conversations, and I’m extremely proud of it.

There are so many holes or shallow, glossy footnotes in history; right now feels like such an exciting time for journalists, historians, and storytellers. We can go back and tell these untold stories or fill out these sketches and recognize people who might have been overlooked the first time. We hope we were able to do that with this episode. Give it a listen.

Oh, and we have an exclusive, never-before-seen, lengthy letter that Brian Eno wrote the band in 1978 offering to produce them, if that’s any additional incentive to click on through.

Okay thanks bye.

Read more on the site »
Listen on Soundcloud »
Subscribe on iTunes »

Tom Petty was always there

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This piece originally appeared on Bed Crumbs

I can’t remember the first Tom Petty song I ever heard. I have no big revelation, no singular moment that sticks out as the moment I discovered Tom Petty. That’s because Tom Petty was always there.

He was at the local pool where I spent every long summer afternoon as a kid. The radio was never not tuned to the classic rock station and it seemed like they had some rule that a Petty track had to play at least once an hour.

He was there on VH1 every morning while I got ready for school. Those were the days when my parents deemed MTV too racy for my eyes, but the “adult contemporary” that circulated on VH1 was just fine. Still half asleep, 7 years old, maybe 8. Sometimes it was “Don’t Come Around Here No More” on the classics hour, “Swingin’” when it switched to the top 20 countdown.

He was there on every single mix cd blasted in my mom’s car, my dad’s car, my car as I learned how to drive. He was the soundtrack for my friends and I every time we tried to escape the boredom of our small suburban town by going on endless cruises. He was the ridiculous dance to “Don’t Do Me Like That” my youngest sister and I coordinated in bits and pieces any time we sat in traffic. Both my sisters scoffed and rolled their eyes at everything else I played; it was too old, too obscure. They wanted One Direction and Miley Cyrus and whatever else was cool on the radio that I was blissfully unaware of. But somehow Petty was always accepted without complaints.

I have so many memories tied up in Tom Petty, yes. That’s true for any artist or band that I love. But what I’ve realized over the past week, what I keep thinking about, is that I honestly thought those memories were still being made.

Tom Petty was always there because Tom Petty never left.

The old bands I’ve loved my whole life have largely been, sadly, just that: old bands. I was born in 1991. Led Zeppelin had been long done by that time; Talking Heads split shortly after then. Fleetwood Mac made one album of new material when I was 12 and then that was it. Their music has all been consumed from a slightly removed perspective, forever preserved on vinyl, but never to evolve any further.

But Tom Petty persisted. He just didn’t stop. He never split from the Heartbreakers when he achieved solo success. He resisted the changing musical landscape, refused to let streaming or the industry-wide decline in album sales persuade him to just quit making albums in favor of becoming another legacy act on an endless cycle of greatest hits tours. No, I could always count on something brand new from him to come out every few years. I could eagerly go to the mall and buy the Elizabethtown soundtrack solely for the new Tom Petty song that would be on it. I could buy a Heartbreakers album — a new one, not a reissue — on vinyl and feel the satisfaction of being able to hold it in my hands and anticipate going home, putting it on my turntable, and lying on the floor and letting the music seep into my pores. Times changed, but Tom Petty didn’t.

He was so special to me for so many reasons. His character was something I aspired to: humble, beyond the definition of loyal, kind, always looking out for the underdogs. He seemed effortlessly cool, but still like he held onto a bit of that scrappy kid from Florida.

His music covered me in so many different ways. Sometimes it was a leather jacket when I needed to feel tough and defiant. But sometimes it was a blanket when I needed comfort, when all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and hide from the world.

His songs were magic. They just were. How else can you explain a 10-year-old girl, a 16-year-old girl, and 26-year-old girl not only falling in love with, but finding identity within lyrics written by a young man, a middle aged man, an old man, ones that were often deeply personal? On paper it doesn’t make sense, but I did. I do. I can see a bit of myself in almost all of his songs: The American Girl raised on promises. The jilted narrator of “You Got Lucky.” The resilient punks of “Refugee” and “I Won’t Back Down.” That wandering person still figuring out life, still learning to fly.

Between the Heartbreakers, his solo work, and Mudcrutch, Tom Petty made 10 new albums in my lifetime. Ten. He was a constant. Every couple of years, there was something new, and it seemed like it was never going to stop. I was always a little angry at my parents for not taking me to one of his concerts as a kid, a little angry at myself for never getting around to seeing him live until after I was out of college. It was such an amazing experience: hair-on-my-arms-raising and tears-in-my-eyes-forming. My face hurt from smiling so big and my voice was hoarse from singing along so loudly. How many of these nights had I missed out on? Plenty, but I felt secure in my self-assurance that there would be plenty more to make up for lost time.

I guess what I am trying to say, as I continue to process why this has hit me so hard, why this all feels like a tremendous gut punch, is that I wasn’t ready. That I’m not ready. Just barely two months ago, I was standing in the second row at Forest Hills Stadium (another reason to love him, in that it cost what a floor seat should cost and not an entire paycheck), shouting out the “Hey!“s in “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” clutching my heart during “Crawling Back to You,” crying to “Learning to Fly,” laughing at his knowing grin as the audience sang “Let’s get to the point / Let’s roll another joint” extra loud during “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” clouds of smoke hanging low in the air. I still have a fresh scar on my right leg from not even a month before that, when I cut myself climbing over folding metal chairs at the Prudential Center to get to the pit for the encore. I didn’t even register the pain until after; I was euphorically singing along to “Refugee.”

He was just right there and I was just right there, marveling at how he somehow oozed cool guy and dork dad and chill bro all at the same time. Not once did I think it would be the last time. Nothing about it felt like the last time. Even thinking back now, combing my memory, rewatching the few videos I took, it doesn’t seem real. It seems so illogical it hurts. He wasn’t supposed to leave us like this, and not right now. He was okay. He was okay. He was okay.

Until he wasn’t.

The world feels a little darker. It feels a little more unjust. A little more cruel. But it also feels a little bit more full of love, paradoxical as that sounds. In the wake of Tom’s untimely death, countless tributes and remembrances have poured out from all corners of society. He was loved by everyone, from your Bernie bro hippie friend to your conservative uncle, your boomer parents and your college-aged sisters. We seem to have been reminded, in this ugly time, of goodness that still exists.

If I’ve reached any conclusions over the past week of thinking, it’s these few: that unifying power of music will continue to live on if we want it to. The joy and the comfort that we get from it doesn’t have to go away, it’s just different. But life is short and unpredictable. Don’t take any of it for granted. Buy that ticket. See that show. Remember why you love music in the first place.