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The two artists share their favorite love songs of all time, from Harry Nillson to Molly Drake.
Who better to ask about love songs than two of Nashville’s most notable rising musicians? In anticipation of their joint show at Baby’s All Right on February 14, we asked Erin Rae and Andrew Combs to put together a playlist of their favorite love songs. With picks ranging from classic ’60s anthems to ’00s bops, Rae and Combs showcase the wide berth of their songwriting inspirations and tastes.
“These songs cover a variety of kinds of love and all the feelings and experiences they bring,” Rae told AdHoc via email. “These are just a few of my faves lately. Can’t wait for Valentine’s Day at Baby’s–it makes sense to me to spend it playing music with people I love a lot!”
Listen to Rae and Combs’ playlist below.
Jonathan Richman – “True Love is Not Nice”
Erin Rae: I think JR is the best when it comes to speaking about what it feels like to experience emotions around love. It’s all so connected to the past and present.
Joni Mitchell – “A Case Of You”
Andrew Combs: My favorite song of all time just happens to be a love song, so I can throw it on here. Joni is a master and a wonder with words and melody. To encapsulate the feeling of loving someone with the line, “I could drink a case of you / and still be on my feet,” is beautiful and inspiring.
The Carpenters – “For All We Know”
Erin: The Carpenters make me think of two things: Christmas and Valentine’s Day, like it might be celebrated on the Lawrence Welk Show. Karen’s is my favorite voice.
Tim Hardin – “If I Were A Carpenter”
Andrew: Tim is another one of my favorites—a real underrated singer and songwriter who died too early and too tragically. This tune was one of his success stories, with the likes of Bobby Darin and Johnny Cash putting it on the charts. It’s a sentiment that many can identify with: Will you love me no matter what?
Floating Action – “To Connect”
Erin: I just love the feel and idea of how simple the chorus [of this song] is, connection being such a basic human need.
Laura Nyro – “Wedding Bell Blues”
Andrew: Great uptempo love song that actually isn’t that happy! Laura sings, “Kisses and love won’t carry me till you marry me, Bill.” Maybe it was Beyoncé’s inspiration for “Single Ladies?” I kid.
Molly Drake – “I Remember”
Erin: Nothing I could say about this song would do it justice. She was a genius!
Keyshia Cole – “Love”
Andrew: Lost love is a fairly age-old theme, and the lyrics to this tune aren’t really anything new, but for some reason it gets me every time. The melody is infectious and sad as hell.
Michael Nau – “Your Jewel”
Erin: To me, this song is about SELF LOVE, which is THE BEST KIND.
Paul McCartney – “Maybe I’m Amazed”
Andrew: A great love song from the world’s best pop writer.
Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman – “Right In The Middle of Falling For You”
Erin: You get the gist of what the song is about right away, but I love, love, love this rendition of this John Hartford song by Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman. It’s really moving.
Harry Nilsson – “Without You”
Andrew: The penultimate lost love song. Nilsson was the king of melody, and this one puts that on display. Try your best not to sing along. I dare you.
Guy Clark – “Anyhow, I Love You”
Andrew: Guy is one of my favorite wordsmiths in the game. He had a knack for coming at an ordinary feeling from a different, more interesting angle. In this tune, he is pleading with his love to forget about the bad times. My favorite line: “I wouldn’t trade a tree for the way I feel about you / in the mornin’, anyhow, I love you.”
Bill Callahan – “Small Plane”
Andrew: Callahan’s words read like poetry to me. In fact, he is one of the few songwriters I can read without music accompanying the words. This record, and this song in particular, holds a special place in my heart. I think it’s all a matter of perspective, but to me, this is about being lucky with someone you love, someone who makes you a better person.
Featuring Laraaji, Amen Dunes, Chai, Cherry Glazerr, Julian Lynch, Dilly Dally, and fiction by Zachary Lipez.
Like many of the best things in life, AdHoc’s editorial operation is labor of love—but if you can help support our website and quarterly zine by becoming a member. Powered by WithFriends, our membership program offer fans a slew of perks and goodies in exchange for a monthly contribution, including advance access to tickets, copies of our zine delivered to straight your door, a members-only monthly playlist, and an AdHoc tote. Help us support underground music by supporting our digital editorial operation and print zine.
For some people, the start of a new calendar year is an opportunity to party and find someone to kiss. For others, it’s a bit more bittersweet—a reminder of time passing, and of all the things we want to accomplish while we’re still here on earth. Mostly, though, it’s a good time to hit the reset button—pinpointing the things that really matter to us, and letting those priorities tell us how we should live our lives.
Today, we’re excited to announce the 27th issue of AdHoc—and our first quarterly zine in 2019. We didn’t really set out with any particular editorial agenda; we just interviewed some of the artists we can’t stop listening to this year. But when we looked back at the mosaic of perspectives contained within these pages, we were struck by how many of the people you’re about to meet have a crystal-clear sense of what is important to them, whether that be connecting with the eternal present moment (Laraaji), redefining impossible beauty standards (Chai), deconstructing the male ego (Amen Dunes), or—in the case of Sam, the bartender-protagonist of Zachary Lipez’ new novella with Stacy Wakefield and Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner—reconnecting with the one who got away.
Of course, some of these stories will resonate with your own experience more than others—and you may think that journeying through the graffiti-laden underworld of Lower East Side nightlife to confront an inebriated ex is a terrible idea. But we hope that this zine will get you thinking about the things that feel non-negotiable in your own life. And in case you’re looking for a little diversion along the way, we’ve got you covered—specifically, with a guide to Los Angeles from Cherry Glazerr, life advice from Yeminite Israeli sisters A-Wa, a special crossword themed around women in music, and Dilly Dally’s favorite recipe for migas. Because whatever your goals for 2019 may be, eating a hearty breakfast is always a good place to start.
Cover by Mary Regalado from Gauche/Downtown Boys. Design by Sharon Gong. Illustrations by Jake Terrell.
Check out Graham Wright’s playlist of top Toronto picks.
Who knew that our northern neighbors in Ontario, Canada had such a banging indie rock scene? Tokyo Police Club keyboardist Graham Wright does. Ahead of their upcoming show at Warsaw on March 12, we asked Tokyo Police Club to share some music from their favorite Canadian artists. Wright responded with 8 tracks from Toronto-based artists, which makes sense given that Tokyo Police Club are originally from the greater Toronto area.
“When we started being a band, it felt like anybody running around Toronto with a guitar and the ability to do gang vocals got at least a chance to make a go of it as a touring band,” Wright told AdHoc. “These days I see a lot of extremely good bands kicking around with a fraction of the attention they deserve and not even one 7.3 Pitchfork review to their name. I consider this a great injustice that this playlist is my attempt to correct.”
Check out Wright’s playlist below. Tokyo Police Club return to Brooklyn to play Warsaw on March 12.
1. Partner – “Play The Field”
Graham Wright: It’s really hard to write funny songs that aren’t, like, joke songs. Partner makes it look easy on this banger (and all the songs on their extremely kickass album, In Search Of Lost Time). Not only do they land the jokes, they use them to build towards an actual emotional point, which really is threading the needle. They sing about mundane shit and make it feel transcendent, which is what life is basically. Also, loads of harmonized guitar solos.
2. Pkew Pkew Pkew – “Glory Days”
I like Pkew Pkew Pkew for lots of reasons, but maybe the main one is that they seem to really be having fun being a band and they’re not, like, mad about it. Maybe for some people driving around and playing guitar with their friends really is an unbearable burden, but my experience has been that it’s just kind of a really nice time. Getting drunk and ordering pizza is just as worthy of being sung about as being really sad all the time or whatever, and I commend Pkew Pkew Pkew for their service in this area. Song bangs.
3. Teenanger – “Dawn”
An overlooked aspect of a city’s whole thing is what it’s like to drive through it at night. Obviously, L.A. is the undisputed champion of night driving vibes, but I consider Toronto to have a decent claim to a spot in the top 10. Something about the way the streets empty out, maybe, or the 24-hour streetcars that glide along the main streets ceaselessly. It’s hard to put into words, but this song captures the feeling perfectly so just listen to it!
4. Casper Skulls – “O My Enemy”
I got into Casper Skulls when they were kind of a zippier post punk band, but for some reason, I felt like the music was always resisting being what I wanted it to be—I think I just wished they’d pick up the pace already. Instead, proving once again that I am constantly wrong, they slowed it down for this number and it turned out to be just the ticket. A band who are very much coming into their own, which is always exciting to be around for.
5. Wlmrt – “Emergency Money Available”
Speaking of picking up the pace! I just found about this band in an article about “the sound of Toronto right now” in the venerable Toronto institution NOW, and I wish it hadn’t taken me so long. This song just sounds so vital; it sounds like an idea being frantically captured just as it’s being had. Certified banger.
6. Joseph Shabason – “Forest Run”
The elevator pitch for this record—“extremely good saxophone player plays the saxophone around recordings of intimate conversations with his mother”—raises all kinds of red flags for me. But at its best (and I think this song is that), this record deftly navigates those flags like a downhill skier in the Olympics. This has been my audition to write reviews for an alt weekly. Thank you for listening.
7. The Weather Station – “Thirty”
You say so much stuff about all kinds of songs, and then a song comes along and defies description because it’s just so plain good. This is one of those songs. You’ll know what I mean when you hear it.
8. The Meligrove Band – “Really Want It”
Okay this isn’t a new song, but the lack of widespread acclaim for my beloved Meligrove Band (RIP) continues to infuriate me, and if you thought I’d miss a chance to spread the gospel, you thought wrong!
The Philly-based band has artfully translated their synth-pop into a DIY video.
With the new video for “Elegance & You,” Philly-based Korine channel ’80s dream-pop—with a camcorder aesthetic to match. A track from their debut LP, New Arrangements, it’s a synth-heavy, post-punk number that evokes the thumping groove of New Order—or, more recently, the melancholic drawl of The Drums.
Shot on a camcorder by band members Morgy Ramone and Trey Frye, the clip depicts Korine on tour in the midwest. The video is a montage of concert footage and travel vignettes, giving it the feel of a diary. Ramone and Frye perform in small venues, cast against colorful projections; drive through dimly lit tunnels and on suburban freeways; flip off a slice of pizza; and crawl on leafy precipices. Many shots have time-stamps in the bottom left corner, like a home movie produced using a convenience store surveillance camera. The effect is an intimate self-portrait of a band in motion, both musically and geographically.
“What we were trying to capture in the video was the overall experience of touring,” Ramone told AdHoc in an email. “Exhilarating and beautiful, but also a little frightening. In some ways, we are all in transit—waiting to meet new friends and hoping to arrive unscathed. We wanted to give the viewer a bit of insight into our personalities and how we are as real people.”
Korine - Elegance & You (Official Music Video) - YouTube
Damon McMahon wrestles with the male ego on his swirling rock album, Freedom.
This interview will appear in AdHoc 27.
Damon McMahon’s fifth album, Freedom, made nearly every year-end list in 2018, though it’s a fact of which he seems only dimly aware. The enigmatic singer-songwriter behind Amen Dunes, who cut his teeth in the New York underground scene before moving across the country to Los Angeles, is too busy creating dynamic, effervescent rock music.
On Freedom, meandering guitars and funky synths set the stage for folksy tales about men grappling with their demons. According to the artist, each of them contains traces of himself: The heartthrob surfer Miki Dora, who symbolizes the mythological masculine psyche; Paul the Suffering, named for the singer’s dad, a spirit who hovers above Earth, pained with regret; a delusional, haggard dreamer in Los Angeles, grasping for unattainable power.
The typically guarded McMahon bares his soul through these characters, stepping as far into the spotlight as he can stomach with his signature, bleating vibrato, which at times transforms words beyond recognition. Still, Freedom was a team effort, with assists from Brooklyn guitarist “Delicate” Steve Marion and the Rome-based underground electronic producer Rafaelle “Panoram” Martirani, among others. McMahon’s brother, fellow musician Xander Duell, even lent a hand with the harmonica on “Skipping School.”
Ahead of Amen Dunes’ February 1 show at Warsaw, McMahon spoke to AdHoc about how he pieced together his acclaimed album and seeing his profile rise.
AdHoc: Freedom is your fifth record, but it’s the first album of yours that many of your listeners have heard. How does it feel to have this one be the breakout?
Damon McMahon: It feels a little weird, because [the album] was initiated a long time ago. For people to think of this as my first album is strange. I literally don’t read any press or see any of it unless someone sends it to me without me asking for it. I’ve been told that it made year-end lists, and a friend accidentally told me, like, what number it made it on one of the lists, but besides that, I have no idea what’s going on. I just don’t think about it too much. It also makes sense, because the other stuff is less accessible.
Why do you elect to not read any press about yourself?
I think it really pollutes the process to be involved in that shit, man. When I was younger, earlier on in my music-making life, I would read reviews and stuff, and man, that’s a bad idea. Regardless of if they’re good or bad, it’s just a bad idea either way.
This record took about three years to make. Rewind to nearly four years ago—what were you thinking this album would be?
Four years ago, I was in Lisbon after a tour, and that’s when I began writing these songs. I was going fishing for what this album was supposed to be. At first, I thought it was going to be a proto-punk record. It didn’t become that; it changed.
So how did you land on the sound we hear on Freedom?
It just came to me as the right direction, reflected back from what I was listening to: Tom Petty, Bob Marley, and the radio.
The album opens with the voice of a little kid doing a rendition of Kurt Russell’s pre-game speech in the hockey movie Miracle, and we hear it again on the final track, “L.A.” Why did you decide to use that recording?
It’s a universal voice. It’s a God voice. A revenge voice. He’s hopeful. I’ve never seen the movie. My bandmate had that audio clip, and it just fit perfectly.
The last part of the intro track is a quote by the artist Agnes Martin, read by your mother: “I don’t have any ideas myself. I have a vacant mind.” How did you come across it, and what does it mean within the broader context of the record?
A friend sent it to me. It’s both a criticism of our times and the answer to it, depending how you look at it.
The first single off the album, “Miki Dora,” is about a surfer from the ’50s and ’60s. How did you land on him as a subject?
I was sitting in my room, wanting to write a song about a surfer, and I googled [Miki Dora]. I watched an interview of his. I think he’s a very lovable creature. He’s just like me, or you, or like anybody. That’s all. He’s right-sized.
What’s the story behind “Calling the Paul the Suffering,” in which you reference your dad?
The phrase “Calling Paul the Suffering” [came to me], and it told me that that was the lyric; I didn’t choose it. And though it’s his name, it’s not about him—“Satudarah” and “Blue Rose” are about him. “Calling Paul the Suffering” I wrote when I was living in Harlem; I wrote it around 11 a.m. in my apartment, and I was [just] thinking about the band when I first wrote it.
What does “Satudarah” mean?
It’s the name of a motorcycle gang that has both positive and negative qualities; the song I wrote is about my dad, my family. That’s all I can explain.
You enlisted a bunch of people to work on Freedom. How did you meet guitarist Delicate Steve?
He came to my show at Bowery Ballroom and introduced himself, and then I ended up playing a show with him in Iowa. I was very impressed with his sound, so I just asked him to collaborate.
How did you end up working with the Italian producer Panoram?
I was in London on tour. I went to my favorite record shop in London and asked them what’s good. They just handed me his record, and I fell in love with it. I put him on my best-of-the-year list in 2014; he thanked me over email, and we became pen pals. I was creating tracks, and we started collaborating over the Internet. A very modern friendship—his avatar fell in love with my avatar. I went to Rome on tour toward the very end of the record, and we did some work in person, but most of it was over the Internet.
The album was recorded in New York and L.A. Which songs were done where?
All the basics were done at Electric Lady Studios [in New York]; the overdubs were mostly done in L.A., and then again in Brooklyn. It was done in many different stages.
Since you recorded Freedom mostly in New York, how do you feel the music matches the vibe of the city?
Some songs like “Skipping School” are about kids I grew up around [in Connecticut], but the vibe in general sounds the way New York City feels.
You named the last song on the record after L.A., and you just moved there. What’s your relationship like with the city?
My personal life and the music are very separate, you know. I was definitely done with New York, and I always liked California, so I was drawn here. The song “L.A.” has nothing to do with me, or L.A., or anything. It’s about this guy. He’s dreaming that he’s Emperor Nero in Rome—this powerful, kind of horrible figure. All of the characters on this album are Emperor Nero, really.
He’s dreaming he’s [the emperor], and he wakes up, and he’s in L.A. It’s a Frank Sinatra kind of character. Like a bum— a real dirtbag. There’s a sort of depravity in L.A., I think. [But the song] didn’t have anything to do with my liking L.A. or wanting to live here. It could’ve been called “Cincinnati,” you know, if the character fit in Cincinnati.
What do you mean that every character we’re introduced to on the album is like Emperor Nero?
They’re all people or characters that struggle with ego, really—or anything that pulls them away from their inner self. So they’re all flawed heroes, in a way.
Something I find strikingabout your music is the unique way you make words sound when you’re singing. Do you put much thought into the delivery of your lyrics?
It’s not a conscious thought, but I put a lot of subconscious effort into delivery. Delivery is super important to me. My favorite singers, like Bob Dylan and Bob Marley, have extraterrestrial delivery, where words would change. I don’t think about it; I just put effort into giving energy to the words, and they take their own shape.
What do you mean by “extraterrestrial delivery”?
It means that the ideas, melody, and inspiration just come to you when your antenna is in tune.
In the album credits, you describe the instrumentals in an interesting way—“Dancing Past Gas Lamps on a Dark Night” guitar, for example. How did you come up with these descriptions?
I kind of have synesthesia. That’s how I hear sounds, especially when amazing people are playing them. So when Steve was playing, that was my guidance for him: I would say, “I want you to play like a robot falling asleep on the beach,” or something. Or “I want you to play like you’re underwater,” or “strawberry guitar.” That’s how I hear sounds, so it was a literal description.
Did he immediately know what you were talking about when you described these sounds?
He did. All the good ones know.
You named the album “Freedom.” Was putting this record out into the world a freeing experience for you?
No, it was an entrapping experience. The album is just a public self-inquiry; it’s not a guaranteed success. It was a display of my process; it wasn’t necessarily a means to an end. If anything, putting out an album and being a performer actually challenges the process even more, but maybe that’s the point.
So why did you name the album “Freedom”?
[Freedom] is the objective. There’s two sides. [It’s something that] reflects my spiritual life or whatever, but then also, the album title is sarcastic. It’s just as sarcastic as the previous album, which was called “Love.” It’s a joke, but it’s also incredibly sincere.
The NY-based New Age artist reflects on his psychic relationship to the color orange, his spiritual and musical practices, and his experiences with laughter meditation.
Laraaji has been constructing sonic temples since the 1970s, pointing to the ever-unfolding universe within every living being. A longtime New York resident with an interest in Eastern mysticism, Laraaji, né Edward Larry Gordon, began performing with electric zither and hammered dulcimer in the city’s public parks. Full of blissful drones, percussive tones, and chanted mantras, his discography has since expanded to over 50 releases, including collaborations with Brian Eno, Sun Araw, Blues Control, and Bill Laswell. Listening to the iconic new age musician’s output is akin to discovering an opening in a door to the cosmos.
Laraaji uses sound and laughter meditation to conjure deep meditative trance states in his recordings, live performances, and workshops, which have taken him all over the world. And though he’s in his seventies now, he’s showing no sign of slowing down. In 2018 alone, he put out Arrive Without Leaving, a collaboration with Arji OceAnanda and Dallas Acid; Vision Songs, Vol. 1, a reissue of a self-released collection of lyrical songs from 1984; and Sun Transformations, a collection of remixes of his music.
Ahead of his sold out January 24 performance at the Park Church Co-Op, AdHoc spoke with Laraaji about his spiritual and musical journey, as well as his work with color and laughter meditation, the latter of which he said was inspired by the teachings of Osho, a spiritual leader whose story is chronicled in the popular 2018 Netflix series Wild, Wild Country.
AdHoc: I’m curious about your work with color meditation.
Laraaji: Yes, the color—especially in my case, the color orange. I use it a lot and incorporate it into my wardrobe as a vibrant color significant of transformation, fire energy, positive psychology. I use [it] as a therapy color too.
Here on the East Coast, I understood years ago that even the incandescent lights were void of the color orange until they had full-spectrum lighting. It’s the sunrise and sunset colors that people in the East here have access to. Staring into the fireplace is another place of getting it—making eye contact with the soil, even. For me, it’s a happy cheerful color, and I was advised to wear more of it by a spiritual mentor in mid-’80s, when he psychically observed that I had an inner initiation sometime in the ’70s, and it was trying to surface in my experimenting with the color orange. He suggested I go all the way with orange to help speed up this inner initiation.
The inner initiation that he was speaking of was my being exposed to something called cosmic music, or Nadam: the inner sound current that one hears and can hear in deep meditation that allows the awareness to become immersed in [the] sensation of the eternal present moment.
This occurred in maybe a five or ten-minute post-meditation experience in the seventies. I didn’t know what to do with the experience, but it did inform the music I was reaching for in my performance, and the music was multiple layers of brass instruments weaving this glorious, textural, cacophonous ocean of sound—without the sound giving the impression that it had emanated from the linear plane. The awareness was immersed in the sensation of the entire universe, happening now, [the] cosmic union of all things.
This was a cosmic heart-opening experience. It was also kind of baffling, because I wanted to share this experience, but didn’t think I could do it on the linear earth plane with linear instruments. Shortly after that, I was guided kind of mystically to work with the electric autoharp zither, and through that instrument, I was able to access this inner, nonlinear hearing experience that drove the kind of music I was reaching for. This was not only through the zither, but every other instrument I worked with.
Your spiritual experiences have influenced the music you create—does the music you create, in turn, influence the spiritual experiences?
Yup, like a cycle. My musical experience is actually a sound temple for immersion in conscious awareness. When I contemplate without music within this awareness, I receive emotional [and] psychological inspiration for music. The music that tends to get suggested are drones for the continuum of consciousness—toned drones or harmonic drones. Indian classical music has tamburas and shruti boxes which hold drone tones. Indian classical music seems to be either conscious or unconscious—holding space for this eternal consciousness. My music holds space for spiritual experience, and my spiritual experiences hold space for my musical experiences.
Do you usually use your music as a way to meditate or get into these different levels of consciousness?
Music, tone, sound, and chanting are my dominant informal daily practice. Laughter is another way of going into mediation. It can release muscles and the breath and the mind from external involvement. There’s also movement meditation. And dancing, for me—New York offers a broad opportunity for this. There is something called the 5Rhythms movement meditation—it is across the world and in New York. It happens four or five times a week. I can go to a two-hour class there and be supported in going inward and breathing during movement.
[I also use] gongs to go inward—large, circular mounted gongs. I use breath work, yoga postures, and informal and sometimes formal yoga stretch sessions to help to prepare me to relax deeper into the meditation zone.
When I began practicing meditative sitting in the ’70s, there was the initial practice of learning how to sit still for 21 minutes without moving. Of course, you swallow saliva or blink if you have to, but during that 21 minutes, [you] stay focused on a point using a selected point on the wall [and resist] the urge to move. Learning to sit still for 21 minutes was a practice that took maybe a month or two.
There was the practice of taking all titles off before going into meditative sitting—just mentally [removing] all titles that have been used for me or are being used for me. For instance, if I say, “I’m not a musician, I’m not a composer, I’m not a male, not a New Yorker.” In other words, I’m not a license plate number, not a social security number—and as I peel off every single title or classification, I find that I’m left in this place of effortless stillness. Anxiety, stress, problems, and worries don’t belong to the self that remains when taking off the titles, and I am left with pure “I am” awareness. That place is without turbulence, without angst, without personal business or personal agenda. When I take off all the titles and I am left in this pure “I am” awareness, it is effortless to sit for hours, and that’s what I did in my initial practice in the ’70s. I sat for hours, from, like, 12 to 5 in the morning.
Up until then, I was unclear about what mediation was and what it was supposed to do. I was intimidated by Eastern teachers, and I felt like they were trying to teach something that was theirs and could never be mine—until I read a book by a Western yoga teacher named Richard Hittleman. He wrote a book called The Book of Yoga Meditation, and it demystified the meditation experience enough for me to begin exploring.
I had grown up in the Baptist church, being exposed to the Bible teachings and quotes from Jesus Christ, all of which was still mystical to me when I was young. During the meditation sitting, in pure “I am” awareness, much if not most of what was mystical to me became clear—the mystery or the mystical side of creation and the creator. That was in the early ’70s to the mid-’70s, until I had attracted that sound-hearing experience. I guess that was a milestone in my mediation: I had attracted the ability to hear Nadam, that musical sound current of the eternal universe.
And you’ve been creating music to reach those states and bring those states of mind to other people?
Exactly. I understand that I cannot reproduce that experience here, in the linear three-dimensional world, because that sound has no ending or beginning; it is called a “soundless sound.” However, the music that I reach for on this side is sort of like a finger pointing at that state of consciousness. [It] helps the listener relax, and if they’re practicing yoga or meditation already, then it’s the music that helps to confirm and affirm this still, inner quiet place where they can meet that nonlinear hearing experience. [It] also celebrates the bliss and joy of being made aware that consciousness is eternal and [exists] beyond a three-dimensional world where things seem to be born and then die—that there is a continuum. My belief is that this field in which I am aware is omniversal—it is everywhere—so that I am, in effect, pointing a finger at something that is where the listener already is.
I wanted to ask about the laughter meditation and the workshops that you’ve been doing.
That grew out of my earlier passion of doing stand-up comedy and writing comedy and laughing—enjoying the works of different comedians. In the early ’80s, during a time when I was doing mostly music performance and music workshops for healing, I was introduced to something called laughter meditation through the Osho Rajneesh people. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was a guru to a large following. He has since left the body, but he gave lectures and talks, and his disciples would write them down. The writings from one of the lectures comprised a book of meditations suggesting laughter meditation.
Because I had given myself to comedy and writing comedy when I was told about this meditation work, I was impressed with the idea of waking up in the morning, doing some stretches, and, without opening the eyes, just [entering] into laughter and letting your laughter unfold for 15 minutes. I tried this for seven days, and I was impressed. I discovered how much more my body was available. After that experiment on myself, I decided to [put together] a small, five to 10-minute laughter exercise to insert in my music healing lectures and workshops. It went over so well, and I kept input from participants of how to expand that, until it eventually became a two-hour workshop that involved exercises of directing the laughter into different energy centers in the body.
[At first, we use] staged, phony laughter, but eventually, real authentic laughter erupts, because the exercises are so hilarious. After a period of exercises, the participants are encouraged to lie down and do the laughter release as though they are waking up in the morning, so they are prepared with some techniques for how to get into their laughter. After the 15 minutes of laughter release, the participants are allowed to lie there in what could be a near-savasana yoga pose—just totally emptied, totally released, totality relaxed—and enjoy some meditative sounds from either the gong or other music I share.
The response is that it’s exhilarating and relaxing. So many of the participants reconnect with their authentic laughter and have dropped a lot of psychological weight, heaviness. They feel light, luminous, and ready to move forward in their lives with more joy. In other words, they’ve been de-funked. They get pulled out of a funky place.
Meg Remy teaches how to make her mother-in-law’s famous chickpea sandwiches.
Here at AdHoc, we believe in building the world you want to see using the materials at your disposal—and it’s a philosophy that applies as much to the world of music as it does to food. In AdHoc Recipes, we ask artists we love to share a jumble of ingredients that tastes delicious and brings them back to a special time and place. This month, U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy teaches readers how to make her mother-in-law’s famous chickpea sandwiches.
Jennifer’s Chickpea Sandwiches
Meg Remy: This is my mother-in-law’s recipe. She made these for the crew of the “Velvet 4 Sale” video.
These sandwiches kept us going all night, so we could capture the sunrise shot that finishes the video, where my character finally catches up with her abusive fellow police officer.
These sandwiches travel very well. Use whatever choice of “bread” you want: pita, injera, gluten-free slices, whatever. The chickpeas are just as good sans bread—be it on a bed of rice, or just by themselves. For sandwiches, I’d say this recipe can feed six to eight people. With rice, four or five.
2 x 19 oz. cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I just buy the oversized can)
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 3/4 cups onions, diced
1/2 cup tomato paste or tomato purée (just add the right amount so that it is moist, but not too much, or it will make the sandwiches soggy)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons dried chilis, crushed
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons mint, chopped (I use a lot more )
For the sandwiches:
Bread of your choice
1 carrot, grated
1 avocado, sliced
Hot sauce (optional)
Warm oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and dried chilis and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add garlic. Cook for two minutes.
Stir in chickpeas, tomato paste or purée, and a big pinch of salt. Cook for five minutes. .
Remove from heat. Once the mixture has cooled, toss with parsley and mint.
To prevent sogginess, line bread with lettuce before adding chickpea mixture. Then add grated carrots and a few slices of avocado. For extra yum, add a dollop of good-quality hummus—and some hot sauce, for people who like the heat.
In the video for “Memory Lane,” director Laura-Lynn Petrick captures Chloé Soldevila’s vision of golden summers past.
In the video for “Memory Lane,” a song from Montreal psych-pop outfit Anemone, we see frontwoman Chloé Soldevila and friends meandering through a park, where they paddle across a pond and kiss butterflies and ride a motorcycle and hand-feed llamas (alpacas?) and caress statues and walk in the middle of rural, forested roads.
“The music video is a magical friendship story which has outlived the song,” Soldevila told AdHoc via email. My goal was to honour the joyous summer days I spend in the eastern townships of Quebec. We didn’t have to pretend [to] depict the joyous days, we actually lived them, all the while [director] Laura-Lynn [Petrick] had her camera armed for action. We had so many fun adventures, and she managed to catch all the unscripted beauty on film.”
A song from the group’s upcoming album, Beat My Distance—out February 15 via Royal Mountain Records—“Memory Lane” is Anemone at their loosest and tightest: free-flowing and atmospheric, yet steady and controlled. The group wears its musical influences on its sleeve (or, in this video, on Soldevila’s delightfully long gloves), floating somewhere between the kaleidoscopic bounce of Mild High Club, the fuzzy power-pop of CULTS, the lackadaisical reflection of Mac Demarco. Petrick’s artistic choices—rooted in analogue photography—highlight these summery influences. Recurring shots include glistening water, rustling foliage, hazy sun glares, and pensive stares. Like the song itself, the video shimmers with a nostalgic glow.
By the song’s end, Soldevila’s honey vocals turn over to a trippy instrumental outro that makes the first half feel like a distant memory. “The outro of the song acts as a lullaby; a soothing, melodic repetition that breaths a fantasy of slowly building the inner-strength to accept that those memories can no longer be the future,” said Soldevila. “Passionate events that once seemed stronger than anything slowly fade away as your inner strength grows. It is a powerful feeling.”
Frontwoman Clementine Creevy on the band’s riotous new album and how solidarity with other women is a daily practice.
When Cherry Glazerr released their debut album, Haxel Princess, in 2014, their lo-fi garage-rock sound sparked comparisons to The Breeders and Siouxsie And The Banshees. Frontwoman Clementine Creevy was just 16, but the band she’d formed with her friends was already brimming with a fire that was beyond its years.
Five years later, the group is showing no sign of cooling down. Comprised of Creevy, drummer Tabor Allen, and bassist Debin O’Brien, Cherry Glazerr has a more polished sound, and a whole lot more to say. Their fierce sophomore release, Apocalipstick (2017), railed against the male-dominated and consumer society while calling for female empowerment and individuality. Back in July 2018, Creevy also wrote a viral Facebook post where she slammed sexism in the music industry.” “It feels so awful when the stage manager looks at us and scoffs, looks the other way when we come in through the door,” she wrote of the treatment she and women in the band’s team sometimes receive at venues. “They ask us what we’re doing here, why are we here? Who are we?” She also added that she doesn’t “blame men, of course. [She blames] the patriarchy, of which we are all victims.”
Cherry Glazerr have big plans for the new year. Their third studio album, Stuffed and Ready, is due for release on February 1, with an American and European tour in the works to celebrate it. The new album sees Creevy looking inward. On “Daddi,” a single from November 2018, Creevy criticizes the patriarchy’s dominion over all the aspects of her life: “Where should I go Daddi / What should I say / Where should I go / Is it okay with you?” “Juicy Socks,” another catchy taste of the record, urges listeners to transform their voice into a powerful weapon against oppression. “Don’t be nervous,” Creevy sings on the refrain.
AdHoc caught up with Creevy about the funny story behind the band’s name, its upcoming release, and navigating a chauvinist world. Catch Cherry Glazerr at El Club on February 21 in Detroit, and pre-order your own copy of Stuffed and Ready here.
AdHoc: What’s the story behind the name Cherry Glazerr?
Clementine Creevy: So, I took the name from a radio host on KCRW; her name is Chery Glaser. She does a lot of general news and stuff like the traffic sometimes and I thought, “This is kinda funny,” and we named her band after her. That’s it.
How has living in LA influenced your music?
That’s an interesting question. I’ve been thinking about this a lot: How I feel very grounded in LA because I grew up here. I just feel like it’s a very creatively open place, and I feel like it influences my music a lot by emboldening me to create as much as I can. Whenever I want, I can create what I want here. I definitely feel like there is a supportive scene here that we are part of. But I also feel like we are doing our own thing and trying to do whatever feels right to us and not be tied to any one genre.
What about in terms of the issues you sing about?
I don’t know if it’s LA specifically that influences my lyrics. I think that my lyrics just come from a place of a lot of introspection–they come from me and my thoughts and feelings. But because I am a product of LA, I think that LA definitely shows up in my attitude.
What will fans hear in Stuffed & Ready that perhaps they haven’t come across before in Cherry Glazerr’s music?
I think I’m probably being more honest about my thoughts and feelings on this album. What I tried to do with this record is be as honest with myself as I could—a lot of self-consciousness and immaturity was getting in the way of that before. The sound and instrumentation is gonna be quite similar, but I think the guitar playing is a lot more sophisticated this time around. The drumming is tighter and the melodies are better… I think the whole thing is a little bit better, and simpler, but more confident.
A lot of your music revolves around female empowerment. Do you consider women to be your target audience? Is there anyone you’re trying to reach out to specifically?
Well, I’ve been a feminist ever since I was 17 or 18, and I took Women’s Studies at school. It changed my life; it taught me to see the world in a different way, and I started to read a lot of feminist literature and a lot of feminist writers. I believe solidarity to be the same as practicing music—you try to do it every day. Seeing other women as capable beings and treating them as such should be done daily. So, yeah, I think I sing to and for a lot of women, even though I don’t try to; it’s just natural.
What are some simple ways men and women can work to counteract the patriarchy in their everyday lives?
I don’t know where to start! There is so much. I think changing your mindframe and seeing femmes and all women as capable beings and treating them that way is huge step forward in carving a path of power for women. Although what does happen sometimes is that I end sort of ignoring men and treating women purposely better.
I do know that both men and women suffer the effects of patriarchy. Men deal with the extremely serious issue of toxic masculinity, which can sometimes lead to their own death or the death of others because of suicide. It’s an issue that really needs to be tackled, and there are men who are currently tackling it by working on themselves, which I think is a very beautiful thing.
Back in July, you posted a statement on Facebook about sexism in the music industry, where you wrote about how patriarchy was responsible for the unfair and disparaging treatment you and your team experience on tour. How would you describe the response?
I know, it was crazy! It was really funny, because I didn’t know I was making a statement; I was just ranting on social media! I didn’t think anybody would pay attention to it and end up posting it on publications. But I guess it did get noticed, and I had lots of people come up to me and be like, “Hey, I saw what you wrote!” And I was like, “Did you?! Wow!” I wasn’t expecting anybody to care, and I just thought it was really, really cool that people did. It was awesome.
Have you noticed any differences in the way people in the music industry treat you and your team since you posted it?
I guess so. I hope so. I mean, a lot of the places where we go and gig are clubs that have been open for a long time and run by the same people—and they don’t really care, you know? They don’t really know who we are and they don’t really know or care about the issue of sexism. So I don’t know—I think they probably do still treat us the same, but there definitely are some others that are more sensible and that do treat us like capable beings. I run into some really awesome people running shows, so that’s a good thing.
From your experiences playing abroad, do you think women are seen and treated differently in other Western countries?
Hmm… no, not really [Laughs]. I think people are really similar, pretty much everywhere. There’s minor cultural differences between places, but, at the end of the day, they’re all a bit more similar than they like to admit. It’s not like I think it’s worse in the other places I’ve been to; I just think that there’s really cool people here, but there are also really shitty people here, and I think that’s true of the places abroad.
Feb. 13th – Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall
Feb. 14th – Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church
Feb. 15th – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
Feb. 16th – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
Feb. 19th – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
Feb. 20th – Toronto, ON – Velvet Underground
Feb. 21st – Detroit, MI – El Club
Feb 22nd – Cleveland Heights, OH – Grog Shop
Feb. 23rd – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
Feb. 24th – Columbus, OH – Melted Music Festival
Feb. 26th – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Café
Feb. 27th – Kansas City, MO – The Record Bar
Mar. 1st – Englewood, CO – Gothic Theatre
Mar. 2nd – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
Mar. 4th – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst
Mar. 6th – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Mar. 7th – Seattle, WA – Neumo’s
Mar. 8th – Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre
Mar. 10th – San Francisco, CA – The Independent
Mar. 11th – Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
The Brooklyn artist crafts atmospheric introspection on Citrus. Stream it here.
Everything about Rnie’s new album, Citrus, is reverie-like. Rather than making concept music, Triathalon’s Lamont Brown homes in on a mood. His mixture of lo-fi pop and ambient drone is nostalgic yet hopeful, expressing a yearning for a life that seems long gone. Brown’s vocals are remote and blurred, and the distorted guitars create a warm musical cloud that you can lose yourself in, especially as each track flows seamlessly into the next. The music’s hazy drums keep the movement going, taking you on a journey filled with colors, deep emotions, and longing.
Released on December 7 via Broken Circles, Citrus represents an evolution from Rnie’s debut EP, Fiji Afterglow, moving away from a pop sound reminiscent of Two Door Cinema Club to embrace one that is more introspective. The album is about life’s bittersweet moments, just like a citrus fruit. With careful listening, you grasp Brown’s talent as a songwriter and notice that his lyrics are meticulously evocative, whether he’s dealing with depression, reckoning with anxieties, or striving to avoid overthinking in order to grow as a person.
Brown gave AdHoc a fascinating track-by-track breakdown of the record via email. Check it out below, grab your own copy of Citrus here, and stream it below.
Lamont Brown: The record revolves around depression, overthinking, and the moments in life that put you in those head spaces but you have no choice but to push through, grow, and try to become a better person. The bitter sweet moments: “citrus.” It’s not a conceptual album, but it does go through parts of my life. To make it make sense, you’d have to start on the verse of the second song, “Tobacco.”
The verse talks about being very aware that all the anxiety is in your mind—and that you’ll be ok—but still letting it get to you anyway. “No room to dig me out when my hands are holding slack / Nothing needed finds time to lay upon my back / What’s green and yellow sells fast and tells me how to act / Nothing here is real and I don’t want to react to the…”.
When I talk about the “greens” and the “yellows,” it refers to a metaphorical situation where you’d wake up and take a pill that shapes your mood that day even though there are other options; the green would be envy, and the yellow would be fear. Then it leads in to the repeating chorus: “(and I don’t want to react to the…) things you have, your thumb in hand.” It basically means you’re allowing yourself to be threatened by something that can’t really hurt you. The “things you have” are my thoughts and feelings; “Your thumb in hand” refers to threatening me with a fist to listen to the personification of depression, fear, and anxiety, but if one were make a fist with their thumb in hand they’re likely going to break their thumb, so there’s nothing to really fear. So going back, being very aware you can make it through and it can win, but listening to it for a period of time anyway.
This song’s about my relationship with my mom. She’s constantly at work trying to make money and improve her life, and I’m constantly moving and traveling, and we never really see each other, but we also never really talk about it. “It’s alright / It’s always there, it’s always safe / Those times at night I only rarely get that way” talks about how even though we don’t connect, we know we still love each other, but there are times I lay in bed and think about how it’s not exactly normal, especially since I spent most of my childhood away from her. With [the line] “You’re tired of your body loan, I’m tired I don’t want a home, no”—by “body loan,” I’m referring to a job. In my mind, a job is you just loaning your body and time to labor to get money to get by, and the second half talks about me constantly moving and traveling. The song doesn’t go to a chorus there; instead, it just gets loud and semi-chaotic—just like life, and any situation [where] we might be able to see each other but we’re both busy.
The second verse just adds on to the first idea of me telling her I’m always her son, I’m just out working on my own life right now. “At times I try to hold my name to heaven’s gate”: My first name is Justin. My mom named all of us starting with J, because she’s religious and wanted to take the J from Jesus and name us from that. Then it goes back to the pre-chorus, but this time it actually hits the chorus, which is the solution to the problem: “Slow down now, down now, down now…” Basically, it’s saying we need to slow down and take the time to see each other and talk.
This song, to me, is what would play in my head as kid on Saturday, playing with my toys and being hyper-imaginative, without a care in the world. It’s very cut and dry, loud and bright. Like childhood, but [then things start to get] dark, where the songs talk about issues I’ve encountered in my adult life.
This song talks about meeting someone and rushing into the idea of a relationship with them— where they’re super happy about it, but you realize it’s a terrible idea, and you have to get out of it for both of you. But instead of ending it at that moment, you don’t; you can’t tell if you’re just getting scared of the idea of commitment or not trying hard enough to make it work. Over time, you start to get burned out trying to act like nothing’s wrong, and you notice you’re not yourself around them anymore. The chorus—”Send somebody, I’m unlikely”—talks about how you’re not upset with that person, nor have they done anything wrong, but it’s just not in the cards. It’s not a “Screw you”—it’s, “I want you to be happy, but […] there’s someone else out there for you.”
The verses talk about the feeling when you hit this realization; you slowly start to sink and stress about everything you say, because you know you can’t lead them on. Yet, you keep talking and contradicting all the things you’ve talked about before, when the future looked bright. “I’m a drag here lately / And I guess it shows” leads into the ideals of the song. “Tell you what I want and then I’ll tell you that I’m sick of it / I’d love you so much more within a week but I’ll get rid of it / Seven days of keeping in my thoughts and all my arrogance.” These are the songs on the record that discuss trying to not mess things up, but the unwillingness to talk and fear of social failure, among other things, creep in.
This song acts as a lullaby on the record. At this point, we’ve talked about a few different anxiety-driven subject matters. Normally, if things get too much, I resort to sleeping it off. But this song ends with an abrupt crescendo that takes you out of sleep and throws you back into the real-world issues and goes into song seven, “Wax.”
“Wax” is about seasonal depression—being out of the house and feeling dragged down, but knowing when you get home and you’re alone in your room with your thoughts it’s going to get worse and begging it to stop. “Some days, not often, my eyes soften before they’re cared for my body locks / And I ask, ‘Is it too late?’ / I get home and now I’m hoping tides have spoken / Before they come and take me and make me crazy.” The song then goes into an otherwise relaxing loop of guitar, bass, and drums, where everything seems fine, [then] goes back into the depression. “No way to stop it / My mind’s adoption waits for a clear point for my time to stop.” After the second chorus, the song slides into a lowered volume—a dream state of sorts—and slowly starts to build. But like “Cherries,” [the song] abruptly stops and skips around in a thrashing loop like a broken record—much like days in and out of seasonal depression.
8. Earth Angel
Like “Citrus,” “Earth Angel” is about trying to date. This song, though, talks about meeting someone, connecting with them in a great way, but jumping the gun [and] almost automatically hooking up with them, and both of you feeling like you took it too fast and as if it’s lost all meaning. If only you kept getting to know each other before, it wouldn’t be so awkward now. The verses talk about my mind telling me things are now weird, and not feeling the same chemistry with that person and slowly detaching yourself [from] them. They make other plans when you’d normally hang out, and you do the same, until the idea of a partnership is now just a bar story.
“I’ll make the call / say it’s all my fault how I can’t get close to you / How I can’t get close to you.” “A single mind and it’s out of line.” The first lyric talks of my mind not being able to get past it, and the second talks about how you’re back in that single living mindset, and any line of synchronization has faded. The “chorus” talks about thinking of the last time you two felt the chemistry, when you were together in bed: “Take me to the place where shadows swallow faces, all our minds erase when equal parts engage in.” The song ends with the drums going into half time and the song slowly falling apart, like the two of us did.
9. 2nd Life
The idea of wanting to fix something regardless if it’s big or small, but not knowing how to deal with it, so you just push it under the rug is the plot of “2nd Life.” “I’m sure it’s fine / I’d rather be the same / No words or time with you or anything / With me lately, I’d hollow heavy hands / With me lately, I’d rather be the same” summarizes that feeling. The song then just loops and jumps around with the guitar coming in and almost mocking the melody, as if [to say], “All you have to do is talk to that person to fix it; you’re being stupid.” Then, when the song seems to have exhausted itself, it cuts to a clip of an old roommate (who put me in a bad situation and left me in the dark) saying “Sorry.” Then [it] fading into a slowed, dreamy version of the first half that goes back to the idea of laying down and sleeping it off instead of resolving the issue.
It reflects on how you’re sick of being not the best person you could be, and [asks] why is it so hard to talk to people. Later, you talk it out and realize how painless it was and wonder how and why you let it drag on. “And I’ll go back to bed / Rethink what has been said / I’m so tired of me / Are you tired of you? / Do you wade through your words hoping they will come through?” Then it talks about how you know, in the other party’s mind, this will always be in the back of their head when they think of you, regardless if they forgive you or not. “And now my average is set / The one that I keep compared.” The song fades into the last track of the record, after asking one final time if the [other] party has ever felt like this.
10. C O N T I N U E
The final song on the record reflects on situations—whether they’re platonic or romantic relationships, or just what you deal with in life—where you put in so much and feel as if you got so little out of it. “You said to me, ‘I would never ask for nothing,’ then you took a piece of me / Reminder that I have some substance / You showed me who you are.” Although it comes with a melancholy delivery, there’s a glimpse of looking on the bright side—that [there’s] a piece of me that feels missing, but realizing you lived through it. You’ll be fine—not only will you grow, but at a point you won’t think about it anymore, and it fades back into the dreamscape.
This finally takes us back to the first song: “Boys.” “Boys” and “C O N T I N U E” are the same song, where “C O N T I N U E” was written first then scrapped after we wrote this one. The bass and keys on “Boys” reflect the melodies on “C O N T I N U E,” and the lowered monster vocal takes the shape of the missing bass. The song was only brought back and re-recorded after my bandmate Josh Thomas mentioned having a looping record which fit, since so many of the songs are based off of repetition. From that point, we go back to “Tobacco,” and it all goes again.