YEAR END LISTS: ARTIST’S EDITION

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SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN (Phil Dickey)

1. New Monsters Collective- Spaceland
2. The ACB’s – Stona Rosa
3. Nerves Junior-As Bright As Your Neon Light
4. Double Wedding
5. The North Decade- What You’d Give Up Tomorrow You’ll Pay For Today
6. Telekinesis- 12 Desperate Straight Lines
7. Lonely Forest- Arrows
8. Ha HA Tonka- Death of a Decade
9. Yellow Ostrich- The Mistress 
10. Dolfish- Your Love is Bumming Me Out

(#4 is a song I recorded with some 3rd graders at an elementary school songwriting camp)

Best thing that happened to you in 2011:
I went to the dentist for the first time since 9/11/2001 and the Pujols trade.

What you’re looking forward to in 2012:
Free Energy
Dragon Inn 3 (my nu thang)
Ghoul School (a new movie by Brook Linder)
Truth and Justice for the 3 missing women
When Vitamin Water buys out Pitchfork and Yeltsin headlines VitaminWaterFest

Best Holiday memory from when you were a kid:
I got a dope David and Goliath action figure set one year.

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THE SPINTO BAND

Music We Liked From This Year:

Mike Quinn – Magico
Key Losers – California Lite
Generationals – Actor Castor
Langor – Ladyblade
They Might Be Giants – Spoiler Alert

Music we liked this year that came out in another year:

Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Al Green – Tired of Being Alone
Sybylle Baier – Tonight
Raymond Scott – Soothing Sounds for Baby
John Prine – In Spite of Ourselves
The Would-Be-Goods –  The Camera Loves Me
Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue
Pic-Nic – Callate Niña
Konono Nº1 – Congotronics
Billy Meshel – I Blew It

Best thing that happened to you in 2011:

I lived through 11/11/11 the last fully binary day of our lifetime (when you write out the date). also, I found out that every year 11/11 is national corduroy appreciation day. – nick

What you’re looking forward to in 2012:

Releasing our new album, Shy Pursuit and all the fun stuff that comes with that.

Best Holiday memory from when you were a kid:

Eating cookies my mom makes, some are little meringue things, others are balls that have powder sugar on em, and some are just sugar cookies. now she has started making springerle cookies…which are the best holiday cookie ever created. i’m learning how to make em this year…so that will be nice. – nick

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Aaron Pfenning (Rewards, ex-Chairlift)

Top 10 songs

1. Phantogram – “Don’t Move”
2. YACHT – “I Walked Alone”
3. Blood Orange – “Champagne Coast”
4. Class Actress – “Weekend”
5. Discodeine – “Synchronized”
6. Grimes – “Oblivion”
7. Holy Ghost! – “Hold My Breath”
8. Drake – “HYFR”
9. Slowdance – “Les Reines”
10. Beyoncé – “Party”

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CASEY SHEA

#1 has to be “Rolling In The Deep.” Though thanks to modern American
radio playlists, I’ve heard it so many times in the last year, I’ve
developed a strong hatred for it. But there is no denying it’s one of the
best songs in the past few years. Great production, great songwriting,
great execution….and of course, a tremendous vocal.

Bon Iver – “Holocene”
The Strokes – “Gratisfaction”
Foo Fighters – “Rope”
Tally Hall – “A Hymn For A Scarecrow”
Young The Giant – “My Body”
Noel Gallagher – “The Death Of You And Me”
Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
Beyonce – “Love On Top”
Britney Spears – “Till The World Ends”

Best thing that happened to you in 2011: Only having a few chipped teeth
as a result of diving into shallow water.

What you’re looking forward to in 2012: More touring…stateside and abroad!

Best Holiday memory from when you were a kid: In 1989, it snowed in
Florida a couple of days before Christmas. It was the first and only
white Christmas I’ve had in Florida to this day.
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ARMS (Todd Goldstein)

1. Wild Beasts – Smother

I was initially suspicious of Wild Beasts’ new album – too much space, too few “songs”, the weirdness of their past albums somehow lost… but somewhere in there I fell in love. Smother is sexy and strange and immaculately produced and arranged – it’s also ineffably sad, and it’s that just-out-of-reach tone that kept me searching the sound, coming back to this album over and over again this year.

2. Nicolas Jaar – Space is Only Noise

3. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

4. Richard Buckner – Our Blood

5. Kate Bush – 50 Words for Snow

6. Sandro Perri – Impossible Spaces

7. Robag Wruhme – Thora Vukk

8. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

9. Liturgy – Aesthethica

10. James Blake – James Blake

Best thing that happened to you in 2011: After months of work and struggle, we self-released our new album, Summer Skills. I just got a new tattoo to celebrate!

What you’re looking forward to in 2012: Touring, and writing more songs.

Best Holiday memory from when you were a kid: The absolute, all-encompassing joy I felt upon receiving Mario Bros 3 for Chanukah. I had just seen “The Wizard” with Fred Savage, and this was pretty much the best present a 10-year-old could ask for. I think I cried with joy, which is retrospect is kind of weird.

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WOODEN BIRDS (Leslie Sisson)

Josh T Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Wye Oak – Civillian
Real Estate – Days
Telekinesis – Desperate Straight Lines
Little Light – The Winter EP
Dan Mangan – Oh Fortune
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
St Vincent – Strange Mercy

I’ve known Josh T Pearson since I was a teenager.  He’s always been an inspiration to me in music and life.  The man lives and breathes every note he plays, every word he sings, every soul he swoons.  I’m in awe of his talents and spirit.  Instead of breaking rules, he makes new ones.  Texas is the reason and Last of the Country Gentlemen is the way home.

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JUKEBOX THE GHOST (Tommy Siegel)

Note: These aren’t really in any particular order (because music isn’t a competition, duh).

Deerhoof – “Deerhoof vs. Evil”….Like 2007’s ‘Friend Opportunity’, this album is tied for being Deerhoof’s most ‘produced’ sounding record, but still has its moments of chaos.  If Deerhoof isn’t your favorite band on the planet yet, check out their free live record, “99% Upset Feeling” that was released as a companion piece this year (and then buy everything they’ve put out from ‘Reveille’ onward).  My personal favorite band of the new millennium, and while not my favorite of theirs, “Deerhoof vs. Evil” is a stellar addition to their discography with some totally banging singles.

Delicate Steve – “Wondervisions”….An album of spastic, world-influenced guitar-led instrumentals that breathe and climax in ways that have been largely forgotten by indie rock.  Some of my favorite background music ever.  Wonderful ‘vibes’ (pardon the phrase) all around.

Yellowbirds – “The Color”….Sam Cohen’s debut ‘solo’ record (guitarist of Apollo Sunshine), and the results are brilliant.  Great songs, wonderful guitar playing, and a sound and mood that nobody else is occupying at the moment.  This album is total musical poetry to me.

TV on the Radio – “Nine Types of Light”….Great songs, great album, great band.  Future music worthy of the hype.

They Might Be Giants – “Join Us”….As silly and scatterbrained as any of their early records, ‘Join Us’ managed to worm its way into my brain in ways I wasn’t expecting.  “When Will You Die?” belongs on a list of top 10 songs John Linnell has ever written.

Jay Z/Kanye West – “Watch the Throne”….No explanation really necessary here.

Grateful Dead – “Europe 72, Vol. 2″….I love the Grateful Dead.  Accept this as something you can’t change and move on (I know you’re angry).  This album was released as a companion to “Europe ’72”, an album I’ve worn out from spinning over and over again.  The hour-long Dark Star/Drums/The Other One that makes up the bulk of the second disc is hypnotic and otherworldly.  And the ‘Playing’ that closes the first disc totally shreds.

Ahleuchatistas – “Location, Location”…Reduced to a duo for this record, they’ve trimmed away a lot of their old math-rock tendencies (which I also loved) and emerged with something resembling an instrumental political/noise/punk/free-jazz record.  A great (and totally overlooked) record that belongs in anyone’s collection who likes adventurous and ugly guitar playing.

Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”….I didn’t love self-titled, but this album is gorgeous and imaginative.  In spite of being the type of band that you could claim was heavily and directly influenced by other bands (CSNY, Simon and Garfunkel, etc etc), they’ve really created their own world on this album and I love hanging out in it.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – “Mirror Traffic”….To put it bluntly, this album sounds like Pavement.  So therefore, it’s really, really great.  “Senator” is one of the funniest and best songs I’ve heard all year….And though I’d like to say only Stephen Malkmus can get away with singing a chorus with the lyric “I know what the senator wants: what the senator wants is a blowjob”, I think I’m just mad that he thought of it first.

White Denim – “D”….Between Yellowbirds, Deerhoof, Delicate Steve, and White Denim, it’s really good to hear aggressive and tasteful guitar playing.  With all of the shoegazey/dreamy stuff going on, it’s incredibly refreshing to hear a band that kinda sounds like…well…Yes.  Proggy and loopy, with some great guitar playing and solid songwriting.  I’m a new convert to White Denim.

St. Vincent – “Strange Mercy”….I didn’t fall for it quite like ‘Actor’, but this record is still great.  St. Vincent is going to be making great records for decades to come (I have a hunch), so you might as well jump on the bandwagon now.

Deleted Scenes – “Young People’s Church of the Air”….One of my friends said it best when he described the sound of this album as ‘one of the best albums you’ve ever heard playing in another room’.  While their live performances are totally in-your-face indie rock a la other DC icons the Dismemberment Plan, this album is really subdued and beautiful.  ‘Bedbedbedbedbed’ is such an amazing song.  This album should be vastly more popular and you should buy it immediately.

Tereu Tereu – “NW EP”….’Savage Love’ is one of the sickest rock songs I’ve heard all year (in every sense of the word SICK), and the EP is great from top-to-bottom.  Heavily DC-influnced, with delicious little bits of Medications, Fugazi, and D-Plan.  Totally stoked for their next full-length….And NOT just because they’re my friends.  I swear.

Norwegian Arms – “Trimming of Hides EP”/”Sibir EP”….Once again, another friend….But I happen to know a lot of people making great music, OK??  Analog-made freak folk with unusual percussion and tastes of what I would describe as a more spastic Neutral Milk Hotel.  I WANT A FULL LENGTH ALBUM FROM YOU, BRENDAN…OK?  But in the meantime, get these EPs because they’re sick.

Trawler – “Northern Star EP”….Dear friend of mine, recorded in Nashville.  Old school folk music with some 60s rock influence thrown in.  ‘Kill Olympia’ is unreal.  I’ll wait and bestow more praise when the full-length comes out.

 Honorable mentions….

The Psychic Paramount – “II”

Hella – “Tripper”

Tuneyards – “Whokill”

Cave – “Neverendless”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “It’s a Corporate World”

Traffique – “Endless Weekend Mixtape”

Kate Bush – “50 Words for Snow”

Trouble Books and Mark McGuire – “s/t”

Radiohead – “The King of Limbs”

Marissa Nadler – “s/t”

Joe Lally – “Why Should I Get Used to It”

Joan of Arc – “Life Like”

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THE DEMON BEAT (Tucker Riggleman)

10) Time New Viking – Dancer Equired
9) Pujol – Nasty, Brutish, and Short
8) Yuck – Yuck
7) Stephen Malkmus & The Jick – Mirror Traffic
6) Fucked Up – David Comes To Life
5) OFF! – First Four EPs
4) Tyler, The Creator – Goblin
3) The Black Keys – El Camino
2) Bon Iver – Bon Iver
1) JEFF the Brotherhood – We Are The Champions

JEFF the Brotherhood are so fucking loud, it’s awesome. We got to play with them back in August and it ruled. One of the best live shows around.

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WYLDLIFE (Spencer Alexander)

10. The Rotten Jazz Quartet “Sing Damnit”
These guys have such a unique sound and draw from so many different influences. Its like a real rockabilly Tom Waits on acid.

9. Fleet Foxes “Helplessness Blues”
Good stuff to relax to.

8.V THE VIPER “IIIIV (ONE)”
Some good mash-ups for when you’re in the mood to party.

7. The Downtown Struts “Sail the Seas Dry”
These dudes take the punk rock road that bands like Social D, Rancid, and NoFX, paved and take it step further.

6. The Rolling Stones “Some Girls Reissue”  I guess this doesn’t really count but I’m so into the tune “No spare parts” which TECHNICALLY  is new.
5.Porches “Scrap and Love Songs Revisted”
My buddy Aaron is one of the most talented people I know.

4.Biters “All Chewed Up”
This band is one of the tightest I have ever seen. See them live.

3.Social Distortion “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes”
This is my all time favorite band, so they are automatically guaranteed a spot in the top three. I’ve been waiting for this album for so long.

2.Liquor Store “Yeah Buddy”
These guys fuckin’ rule. Really epic punk songs.

1.The Booze “At Maximum Volume”
I’m sorry to say that these guys have recently disbanded. This was my album of the summer, I wore this thing out.

Best thing that happened to me in 2011:
 The best thing that happened to me in 2011 was releasing our first full length album. We are all so proud of that sucker, and its been getting a good response which is all we can ask for. Also, opening for CJ Ramone at Webster Hall was so cool. I can remember listening to the album “Mondo Bizarro” on cassette,which he played and sang on when I was 12, so to be able to share the stage with him was surreal.

In 2012 I’m looking forward to finally getting on the road again. We haven’t toured in a dog’s age.

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ANTHONY D’AMATO

1. The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh
2. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
3. The Felice Brothers – Celebration, Florida
4. Bright Eyes – The People’s Key
5. Blind Pilot – We Are the Tide
6. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
7. Sam Roberts – Collider
8. Chris Bathgate – Salt Year
9. Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
10. Jessica Lea Mayfield – Tell Me

Best thing that happened to me in 2011: My first UK tour was undoubtedly a major highlight of the year. The crowds were amazing, and I couldn’t have asked for better traveling companions than Jesse Malin & the St. Marks Social.

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: Releasing my new album! Recording’s almost done and I’m so excited about sharing it. Definitely a different feel than ‘Down Wires.’

Best Holiday Memory from When I was a Kid: Eating myself into a homemade ravioli coma at my grandparents’ house annually. I plan to keep the streak alive this year.

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ERIC DAVIDSON (freelance writer; singer for New Bomb Turks and LIVIDS; author of We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Backbeat Books))

The ubiquitous caveat – Of course I have not heard every record, seen every movie, read every book, etc. released in 2011. I haven’t had a TV for months, and haven’t even heard the new Atomic Suplex album on Crypt or The Men’s LP, for pete’s sake! But for now, here are my year-end ra-ras ‘bout the junk I dug… in no particular order.

Black Lips – Arabia Mountain (Vice) – While longtime fans keep expecting a drop-off, and new converts still yell for on-stage peeing (annoying said longtime fans), the Black Lips continue to traverse the globe for inspiration while always holding a stash of huge yankee garage-pop hooks in their ass-pocket. So much so this time, that this is probably the most fully enjoyable Lips album to date, after 10+ years in the game!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKdIv5N6rZY

Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo (Matador)
After dishing up some of the cooler scruffy garage-art of the last couple years with his Violators around him, Vile dishes up this beautiful, subtly brazen solo salvo, fogged-up with 12:45am ruminating folk, best left to your weakest mood points on the rainiest nights. Though it all retains enough scruff, snarl, and thrift store demeanor to be enjoyed on a 6pm ride home. So sink into this stuff before the inevitable focus-destroying Kanye photo opp and DJ of the Week remix.

Acid Baby Jesus – S/T (Slovenly)
A more scarred, psych-pep take on all that fuzzy, echoey, melancholy early-60s melody garage-plop churning through the indie underbelly (I call it “Hardly Artcore”), and unwittingly suffused with the oddly inspiring empty pockets of the Grecian economy nosedive. Layers of frightened bellowing and otherwordly distortion, with sticky, oily hooks outta nowhere, make it the most intriguing debut of the year.
http://www.agitreader.com/primitivefutures/acid_baby_jesus.html

OBN IIIs – The One and Only (Tic Tact Totally)
Tykes from down Texas-way, with probably too many side projects (all of them good!), slingin’ killer slash’n’burn, with structure smarts, way more-than-required sweat, and that elusive, effortless ability to make you think R’nR has a pulse.

Last Laugh Records
Label head honcho and sole employee, Harry Howes, really went cuckoo with the reissues of ultra-obscure, first-era punk rock that are truly cracked and a genuine hoot, as opposed to just, y’know, ultra-obscure. He spread his Red Bull wings out into early-70s glam, power pop, and even some new shit – like the house party punk of Liquor Store’s debut, Yeah Buddy! – with his Almost Ready and Mighty Mouth imprints too. But Last Laugh has resurrected the whole “Killed by Death” pinhead impetus for yet another generation of louts.
http://www.lastlaughrecords.us/

Othermen – Just Pallin’ Around With (Killer Diller)
Calling it crazed shockabilly brings to mind lame flame-skull tattoos and leopard print creepers, etc. But it ain’t that exactly. Aside from singer Max Frechette’s pompadour recalling the torn innards of a post-hunt leopard, and his hot licks hollow-body guitar having been taped and stapled back together like Michael Yonkers taught him the Eddie Cochran catalog, the band drunkenly dissects-then-discards any mid-century nods, making a fast racket that wears you out quick. And the 15-minute chat with a very sauced Rico (bassist) at the end is the perfect respite. Who needs more songs anyway?!

Human Eye – They Came from the Sky (Sacred Bones)
(and some Timmy’s Organism singles…)
Timmy Vulgar, Detroit’s alien heart of now-times punk, continues to produce on the level of Ford in the ‘50s, while his sounds – via his Human Eye and Timmy’s Organism projects – evolve into the noise of those dead ol’ axel factories being torn to bits by the drunken arrested adolescents of that new planet they discovered this year. The Human Eye live shows were as consistently id-invigorating of any band this year.

Flesh Lights
The hopped-up hopes of the year, this Austin trio frisbeed out a few singles, but it’s the surprisingly searing sounds of their debut LP on Twistworthy, Muscle Pop, that can really electrify the ears of someone who thinks OBN IIIs could save R’n’R.

Death of Samantha reunion show, Dec. 23, Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH
The first, and probably last, reunion of the original lineup of my favorite local Cleveland band (one of my fave bands period) from my formative years. So yeah, kind of a personal pick here, but DoS remain one of the more underrated indie acts of the late-80s, a monster mash of glam gloop, punk pissed, and leader John Petkovic’s lounge lizard leering that put them in the pantheon of great Ohio bands that just didn’t fit into prescribed rock world peg/hole prescripts. On this Xmas Eve eve, the band had a ball and masterfully blasted out tunes from all their releases, and generally lifted the packed faithful up and into 1986 and back again, like maybe they should consider erasing that “and probably last” line from the first sentence here.
http://www.cleveland.com/music/index.ssf/2011/12/1980s_punk-rock_band_death_of.html

Guilty Pleasures – Summer Strange (Dusty Medical)
L.A. Times – s/t 7” EP (Smash It Up)

Long never-unleashed recordings from two of the most savage and sorely under-known bands of the whole late-90s lo-fi garage-punk undie-explosion. Having crawled from somewhere around Bloomington, IL, around 2000, the Guilty Pleasures put out one insanely screechy 7” single, a few brain-gutting gigs, and sometime inbetween recorded this album that sat around for some damn reason, until now. Same goes for L.A. Times, a Devil Dogs-worshipping bunch from, ahem, L.A., who were too young to be told that 60 beers in one night is in fact a lot to drink for one band. Finally quit waiting for someone to dig up their AOL email address and ask ‘em, so they finally just released this sick 4-song slab this year, 300 copies only, so get hunting!

Ed Wood’s Sleaze Paperbacks show at the Boo-Hooray gallery, NYC
An amazing amassing of not just the paperbacks of Ed Wood’s end-of-existence career of porn-pulp writing – featuring astonishingly eye-burning cover art – but loads of personal family/friend photos, magazine articles with more wild cover graphics, and a short film, readings, and recollections from fans at the closing party that revealed that “sleaze” is in the mind’s eye of the beholder
http://boo-hooray.com/ed-wood/ed-woods-sleaze-paperbacks/

The general proliferation of fun, fuzzed-out R’n’R combos splattering the less pretentious edges of the, well I wanna say “indie underground,” but I probably have to start getting used to saying shit like “blogosphere” and “Twitteratti” and other childish words that sound dated the second they leave your lips. Anyway, there are loads of new/ish bands who kept huffing Black Lips and King Khan & BBQ fumes that were let go circa mid-2000s; and exhaled grimey swirls of early-60s girl group and doo-wop dredged melodies, Goner/In the Red/Crypt-rooted garage-punk spasms, some spooky, echoey undertones, and a deep, ceaseless love of the Ramones – all with a cheap-ass trash production style that has as much to do with accidentally mirroring our broke, on-your-own freelance times as Scion or Sailor Jerry blowing cash for cred. Most of it still kicks nasty, though shit is edging a little too cutesy (Jacuzzi Boys, maybe switch to 60-minute IPAs or something). And the shark has been flossing his chops waiting to be jumped (is a Hunx & His Punk song on Two Broke Girls inevitable…?) But for now, it’s a pretty fun party.
So keep it up, The Hussy, Davila 666, Mean Jeans, White Mystery, Strange Hands, Mouthbreathers, No Bunny, The Eeries, Bare Wires, Mark Sultan, Dum Dum Girls, Tandoori Knights, K-Holes, Shannon & the Clams, FIDLAR, Peach Kelli Pop, Jail Weddings, Los Vigilantes, Radar Eyes, Wax Museums, Ty Segall, Useless Eaters, Thee Oh Sees, Royal Headache, and more, etc…

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Self-Reflection With Jesse Malin

Jesse Malin took some time off from packing for his European tour with his band, The St Marks Social, to talk to us about his new adventures and his long career, and how it went from punk and hardcore to softer styles.

Modern Mystery: Can you tell us about the St Marks Social? Who’s involved? What it’s about?

Jesse Malin: I’ve had a lot of backing bands… I love bands, and being in band, being part of a gang, a social club. And as a New Yorker, St Marks was the place where you were free to express yourself, where you came to find like-minded people, artists, drug addicts… Anyone who was a a little outside of society. Most places in the world have an area like that, which is not for the mainstream person. Now of course that’s changed, it resembles more Little Tokyo now but it still has that history with the beats, the record shops, Lenny Bruce lived there… So the band was getting a group of guys together, like Todd Youth that I’ve known since we were kids. It’s a great line-up; it feels like a band, like a five-headed monster. And now we’re going to Europe and we’re doing a Holiday Tour in the North East where we’ll be back playing in New York on December 11th at the Bowery Ballroom.

MM: How long did it take you to record Love It To Life?

JM: The producer, Ted Hutt, knows how to make a records fast and cheap. We laid the basic tracks down in three days, then spent about a month on overdubs and mixing. We worked in LA, as well as Greenpoint in Brooklyn. His method is to do a lot in pre-production and get everything into place before you even enter the studio.

MM: How do you write songs? What inspires you?

Watching the movie of life and feeling it. Listening to people talk, reading, films, listening to other music… I always carry a pen with me. I like to record on tape as well. You can enter this unconscious trance where you’re singing melodies and you may get a sense of where a song is going, then you connect the dots. Finishing the song is the work.

MM: How do you keep the songwriting process fresh? You’ve been doing this for quite a while now…

JM: Hearing new things. When you hear something for the first time, it gets the juices flowing. When you’re walking around New York as well, songs just happen. I read in a book about the Clash that Joe Strummer said, “No input, No output.” It’s about challenging yourself with new things. Maybe it’s tuning your guitar differently. Sometimes I write with rhythms; I ask my drummer to give my a beat and start working on that. It’s about motion and stimulating that side of the brain.

MM: Tell us about your experiences in the studio. Do you like working there? What are your favorite parts of the recording process?

JM: The stage and the studio are two different animals and I like them both. When you play live, you have the instant gratification from the audience and then the free beer [laughs]. When you come in the studio, you think you can create things one way but the elements and the ingredients you have available can change a song you may have bashed out in rehearsals. It can morph. I had thought my first solo record out as a mellow, piano record. In the studio, it can go the other way!

I like analog a lot and old mics. I like tape. I don’t mind Pro Tools and all that but I try to use analog technology as much as I can. I mean, I write in notebooks, those black and white composition notebooks from high school. I like the art form to be physical.

MM: With all that you are doing as a musician, how do you find the time to co-own two bars, The Bowery Electric and Niagara?

JM: It’s this club house, Sinatra fantasy that turned bigger [laughs]. We get good people, and we can hire friends and give them support. It’s a lot about having a great staff at both places because, you know, I don’t know how to make a screwdriver. But I like to have a good time.

MM: Why did you decide to go solo after D Generation split?

JM: I was scared of going solo. I thought it was very adult and I needed to grow a mustache and I didn’t think it was very rock’n’roll, but my friend Ryan Adams convinced me. D Generation was a real band; every member was key. We’d been together 7 years, we’d recorded 3 albums, it was time for a change. I wanted to strip it down, write something more personal and quiet. I think D Generation was misunderstood. People paid more attention to the hair, the mascara and the slam dancing. I wanted to give more attention to the writing.

MM: What made you decide to go back to a band now?

JM: I missed being in a band. It was like a benevolent dictatorship as solo artist. But now I like that I can do both. I can do an acoustic tour by myself, and now we’re going to Europe with The St Marks Social and we have a rocking album. I like having the freedom of doing both. They’re different physical challenges. With the band, I can work off their energy.

MM: You’ve touched on this a little earlier, but could you tell us more about your favorite aspect of touring?

JM: It’s the idea that you can do it every night. And the ore you do it, the better you are at it. It’s like a muscle to train all the time. The feeling of taking something private to people, the give and take with the audience, you can’t get that any other way. It’s a sort of religious, guttural, tribal experience. You get very hooked. I don’t love all the bad food, the border controls, the time zones, the bed bugs in some hotels, but I’m always grateful for the audience.

MM: Where are some of your favorite places to perform?

JM: I like Chicago, Stockholm, London, Italy… I love playing in Glasgow, Scotland. And of course New York. At the end of this tour, we’ll be back performing here around Christmas time. The beer always tastes better after hard work.

MM: You collaborated with Ryan Adams with The Finger. Is there any chance of a second collaboration? Possibly outside of the punk genre?

JM: Ryan’s been a big part of my career. He’s played guitar in every studio record I’ve released. I’m sure we’ll work together again at some point. He produced my first solo record, he has a raw, tough, 1950’s approach. He lives in LA, and I’m here in New York so we’re both doing our own thing but who knows? It’s always a good time with the kid.

MM: How have you evolved as an artist since your beginnings?

JM: I’m still angry, although probably less angry. I’ve worked hard to have a stronger voice, to play my guitar better. It comes from practicing. I think I’ve come full circle with genres… The more you do, you get confident and comfortable. You find your own spin on everything. It’s about mixing what you hear and seeing what comes out with your own twist. I like the “happy-sad” thing like Sam Cooke, with the happy music and the sad lyrics. I’m still working to get on his level though.

MM: What would you be if you weren’t a musician?

JM: That’s always a tough question. I always think that I wouldn’t know what to do and that’s why I’m a musician [laughs]. But I like film, movies, writing stories, DJing, spoken word – I’ve dabbled in that a little bit. Maybe I’d be a bank robber or an archeologist or a rabbi, although I’m not so much into organized religion. I’ve always been into PMA, “Positive Mental Attitude.” Maybe I’d teach, or I’d be a student to learn again. I’m also into healthy food and finding alternatives to dead animals. Maybe I could write a book of all the places to get good vegan and vegetarian delicacies.

Catch Jesse Malin & The St. Marks Social with Marah at the Bowery Ballroom on Saturday, December 11th. For more info about the show go HERE.

Jody Porter of Fountains of Wayne Talks Solo


Recently I caught up with solo artist, and guitarist for Fountains of Wayne, Jody Porter. Working with everyone from Albert Hammond Jr. to Jesse Malin, Porter is one of the most well known names in the rock and roll world.

MM: How does working with Fountains of Wayne and being solo differ for you personally, when it comes to writing songs, and crafting a piece of music?

Porter: I think my songs have a bit more flexibility while being cut in the studio. I like to allow things to happen spontaneously after bringing the song in see where it goes. A lot of times happy accidents can lead to some cool moments. Maybe my approach is less conventional than our approach in fountains,but there is still the same goal of making the song live up to what you hear in your head.

MM: You’ve worked with the likes of Albert Hammond Jr., Jesse Malin, Ivy and Juliana Hatfield. How did you decide to work with each of them? Are there any more collaborations you would like to do in the future?

Well they’re all pals and I’m not that hard to find around the village. Albert and Jules have my digits so it was really just guesting on some friends’ records. I’d like to work with Jesus if he ever shows up.


MM: Already being known for your work, before you released your solo material, does that put any pressure on you as an artist?

I don’t feel any pressure. I’m not trying to do repeat what I’ve done before musically or professionally. I just do it because I’ve been doing it all my my life and can’t help it.

MM: What inspires you to write a song? Not only musically, but lyrically.

Anything really. Some of my songs come out of personal experiences but I don’t think of myself as a “story teller”. There are enough boring songs out there about boring people. The best ones pretty much write themselves.

MM: How has your music personally evolved over the years?

I think the stuff I wrote in England with my first band was more complex. I was into the idea of making progressive music that wasn’t prog rock.Might’ve actually succeeded if I wasn’t so lazy but I think over the years I’ve realized simplicity in a song always wins. It’s what you can do in that 4 minutes that gives the artistic license to go outside of the box.

MM: What is your favorite part of being in the studio?

Like a second home to me. Being able to experiment with different places to take the song keeps things interesting.

MM: What is your favorite part about playing live?

I love the interaction with the audience and I like the girls at the after parties.

MM: How did you get involved with playing the Northside Festival this year?

Engine Room folks are cool and said how bout it.

MM:What is up next for you?

Making more hits. Another solo record is in the works as is staying around for a while.

Secondhand Sunday: Ryan Adams’ ‘New York, New York’


This week the most incredible and unexpected thing happened. I met Ryan Adams. Yes I was certainly afraid of what was going to happen. Would I be a totally idiot in front of him? Would he be a nice guy? Well win on both sides. He was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, and the fact I didn’t explode with excitement meeting my musical hero was great. I was telling Ryan how I was in a ‘creative rut’ and he suggested to me a few books to pick up and read to inspire me. Even wrote them down for me. This week’s secondhand sunday is a tribute to Ryan. ‘New York, New York,’ a song that when I first heard it 8 years ago, I ‘just didn’t like.’ Then 2 months later I woke up and felt the need to buy everything he’s ever done. Thank God for that. And Ryan.

Watch Ryan Adam’s ‘New York, New York’