Launched only just this year, Whited Sepulchre has been the source of some of the most emotionally compelling and sincerely personal sounds of 2016. Having launched back in April with Braeyden Jae's morosely uplifting Fog Mirror, the SLC-based ambient tinkerer's debut album on vinyl, Whited Sepulchre now issues Ant'lrd's Sleep Drive, a three-track spread of cumulus-like aural drifts. The drone suite "MS-Dass" unfurls its 20-minute celestial canvas across the entire B-side, serving as the perfect compliment to the A-side's more rhythmic and ramshackle approach. Album opener "Hood" rides an effervescent bob of dewy warmth, feeling like a calm, cool summer morning. "Kasuisai" suggests more elusive elements, perfectly playing the emotional middleground of its bookends. The track plays out like some distant but definite spiritual offspring of rustically kosmische synth explorers Cluster. The video for "Kasuisai" follows a series of obscured but alluring images of nature, feeling not unlike a dosed walkabout or some pastoral waking dream.
AdHoc Issue 13 is here! AdHoc organizes a lot of concerts throughout New York City. If you're reading this, you've probably been to at least one—and hopefully, watching people play music at Market Hotel or Trans-Pecos or wherever it was, you felt safe. After the events in Orlando earlier this summer, in which 49 people were killed and dozens more wounded at the LGBTQ club Pulse, we've been thinking a lot about what it means for a music venue to be a safe space—not just in the sense of physical safety (though that's obviously important), but in terms of being a place where people can come together and safely express themselves.
Inevitably, complications arise when we try to make our spaces more inclusive; selectively diversifying line-ups isn’t necessarily enough. Is the venue’s support staff diverse, too? What about ensuring that audience members from all walks of life feel welcome? Is it okay to exclude certain people, especially those who threaten others’ safety?
In her recent essay, "The Identity Artist and the Identity Critic," Berlin-based artist and writer Hannah Black outlines how art institutions often cultivate a false facade of inclusion, tokenizing minority artists and workers while maintaining an established— usually white, patriarchal—order. Black argues that to truly foster diversity, museums and galleries face the task of creating a “meaningful collectivity”— without elision, domination, or uninflected hierarchy." Of course, establishing such a collectivity isn’t an easy—or, as Black says, “cozy”—process. Often, it can necessitate rebuilding our institutional structures from the bottom up.
But what does this meaningful collectivity look like in the sphere of live music, a commercial model dependent on ticket and drink sales? Simply adding a female performer to a festival lineup or putting an artist of color on an otherwise all-white bill may keep institutional hierarchies intact. Perhaps, as Black suggests, making our venues safer necessitates a radical overhaul the entire operation, from our curatorial and hiring practices to our pay structures and the strategies we use to ensure that everybody present feels safe. In this issue, we asked members of our community to help us imagine what such a reconfiguration might look like.
If you'd like to order a copy, though, you can do so here for a physical edition; you can download the PDF here. You can also find physical copies at the following locations in New York City:
Academy Records, Greenpoint
Artbook @ MoMA PS1, Long Island City
Cafe Grumpy, Greenpoint
Commend, Lower East Side
Coop 87, Greenpoint
LIC Corner Cafe, Long Island City
Little Skips, Bushwick
Printed Matter, Chelsea
Spoonbill & Sugartown, Williamsburg
* * *
AdHoc Issue 13 features the following contributors doing the following things:
* Shannon Shaw is a musician and artist residing in Oakland, California. She sings and plays bass in the band Shannon and the Clams—and made the cover of this issue.
* As Circuit des Yeux and alter-ego Jackie Lynn, Chicago-based artist Haley Fohr uses sounds to embody the full spectrum of emotions that we all experience. For this issue, she wrote an essay reflecting on uncomfortable experiences she has had as an artist and performer.
* Domenic Palermo spends most of his time playing in the band Nothing, when he's not at his home in NYC wasting away. He contributed poetry and photography to this issue.
* Nina Mashurova is a member of Silent Barn’s programming team. They also write about music and culture and co-book a reading series called TFW. In this issue, Nina shares strategies for venue owners, promoters, artists, and music fans looking to help make our venues safer.
* All designed by EyeBodega, this issue also features a full listing of upcoming AdHoc shows.
Last week, Bueno released Illuminate Your Room, their 2nd full-length, on Exploding In Sound and Babe City Records. The record premiered on Hype Machine, but is now available to stream via their Bandcamp. On their latest, the Staten Island-bred outfit deliver a well-produced collection of 12 tracks that run the gamut of moods from groove-centric sermons like "Hizznherz" or "Mona (1991-2015)" to the more straight-up, pop sensibilities of "I Got Your Back". Primary songwriter Luke Chiaruttini uses his conversational vocal to paint a vivid picture of a youthful narrator trying to rectify their optimism with a reality that is at times both more beautiful and more unfulfilling than they'd expected.
Jilian Medford's personal journey from Berklee graduate to Brooklyn bandleader informs her music as Ian Sweet. On the brink of the release of a debut full-length, the project (featuring Tim Cheney and Damien Scalise) has revealed more and more of itself through a series of singles that showcase the variety in Medford's songwriting and arranging. While "Slime Time Live" rested on chunky polyrhythmic riffs and a coy vocal delivery, on "All Skaters Go To Heaven", the third single off their upcoming record Shapeshifter, Ian Sweet delivers a more heartfelt rock ballad that recalls the sincerity and confessional mindset found in the Boston scene. The track builds steam and grows in size as Medford intones a highly personal narrative that starts with friends sharing ice-cream and ends in a moment of understanding.
Shapeshifter is out September 9th on Hardly Art. Ian Sweet's NYC record release is 9/9 at Shea Stadium with Florist, Horse Jumper of Love and Hovvdy.
National Sawdust, the Williamsburg concert venue that opened last year, has announced its second season. In addition to the AdHoc co-founder Ric Leichtung, the season will be curated by composer Timo Andres, Chairlift lead singer Caroline Polacheck and composer and storyteller Sxip Shirey among others. As reported by The New York Times, the season will feature an 80th birthday celebration for Philip Glass, a 12-hour performance of John Zorn's Bagatelles, and the world premiere of Juliet Palmer's opera Sweat.
For more information, visit National Sawdust's website.
According to their Facebook page, Chicago-based rockers The Funs "are not a party band" and don't "fake passion." These two statements ring true in their work, which traces back to their first release in 2013, S/T, a jumpy, frenetic vignette rife with crunching guitar distortion. Now fresh off the release of MY SURVIVAL, the duo shares their video for album closer "Weigh a Ton," directed and shot by Lucas Herzog in a desert just outside Los Angeles. Raucous, droning guitar plays as we follow the journey of singer Jessee Rose Crane, who carries a huge silver, shiny bag through a barren landscape in the sweltering heat. "I hold on," Crane repeatedly shouts. "I weigh a ton." She later explains to AdHoc, "It's about not giving into whatever holds you down. Shit builds up on everyone's back and you have to keep going and you have to keep hope. It's about pushing through the suffering to beauty into self-actualization." The heavy weight she carries in her words and in the video are nearly tangible.
Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, better known as glam rock duo PWR BTTM, have been dishing out heartfelt, upbeat rock ballads since their first hard-hitting EP release in 2014. From writing songs about carbs to queer identity, the two have made humongous strides in their signature glittering garb across the country. As they prepare for their upcoming US and European tour this fall, they have released "New Hampshire," a wistful number that captures a comfort with death, opening poignantly with the line, "When I die please bury me in New Hampshire / I really like the leaves." Exuding warmth, the track is driven by fast and flowing guitar riffs and ornamental glockenspiel.
Shampoo began as three friends brought together by their love of Atlanta’s underground pop scene. The trio started playing catchy Top 40-inspired synth pop under the Shampoo moniker three years ago, sharing stages with beloved nostalgic pop acts like Memory Tapes, TOPS, and Pure Bathing Culture. Today, Shampoo shares their mellifluous debut record, Terrible Heat, an immersive sonic time capsule. Drawing inspiration from anime theme songs and Madonna, the album makes use of a vibrant palette of sounds, from saccharine synth work to hazy guitar riffs. Wistfully fetching hooks reminiscent of Joe Hisaishi course through “Hanging Up On U” and “Texaco,” whereas gentle guitar picking flows through “Otaku” and “Inside Out (All That I Want)” over a hard-hitting drum machine.
Sapphogeist welds a love of pop music with a love for the electronic, the futuristic, and the weird. Zoe Burke, the project’s songstress, made arresting power electronics in the noise group Reverse Baptism, but on her self-titled cassette, she trades abrasion for something more radio-friendly. In the closing of “A Lie,” we are treated to a sample of Frank Ocean’s “Bad Religion,” a song grappling with sex and God. How can we fulfill our most primal needs without overstepping divine law? “A Lie” is a synth pop banger that, while not explicitly dealing with sex, also draws inspiration from self-reflection—“I’m a liar,” Zoe incants in seductive confession, laying her cards out before the listener. In most other scenarios, this phrase would be self-flagellating or disparaging, but on “A Lie,” there seems to be a measure of pride in that mantra, or is it simply that self-loathing is rarely so catchy?
Sex Stains is an L.A.-based garage-rock outfit composed of scene-veterans realizing their respective talents. Sporting a lineup containing the likes of Allison Wolfe (Bratmobile, Cold Cold Hearts), choreographer and dancer Mecca Vazie Andrews, and David Orlando (Warpaint), the band deliver well-executed, high-energy guitar music thats draws on the west coast's punk tradition. On "Land Of La LA", Sex Stains show their knack for delivering aggressive rock that elicits both head-banging and bubbly smile. The echoing, back and forth vocals and screeching guitars create a raucous atmosphere of abandonment while an undercarriage of concrete drum and bass grooves provides danceable support. Caution to the wind, Sex Stains offer fun, unfiltered guitar-rock as political party music that invites everyone to jive.