Showing posts with label local bands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label local bands. Show all posts

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Saturday's parting shot

Photo by Derek Berg 

A moment this evening with Twisted Wrist in front of the Bowery Mural Wall...

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Photos: Tetchy headlines the Knitting Factory at Baker Falls on Avenue A

Photos by The Hella Sketchy 

Last Thursday night, Knitting Factory at Baker Falls on Avenue A played host to a Tetchy EP release show.

The Brooklyn-based band — guitarist-vocalist Maggie Denning, guitarist Jesse French, bassist Kaitlin Pelkey, and drummer Max Goldstein — has unleased its latest collection of empowering punk, All In My Head, via Trash Casual.

Here are a few scenes from the band's headlining performance...
You can keep tabs on Tetchy via Instagram. Look for their video for "Psychosomatic" tomorrow... and expect to hear more from the band in 2024, including dates at SXSW... 

Friday, January 5, 2024

Ringing in the New Year

 

Lower East Side-based band Rebounder started 2024 by releasing this cover version of "In the New Year" by The Walkmen ... it's gonna be a good year.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Local band Q&A: A Penny for your punk thoughts

Photos and text by Stacie Joy
From left above: 
Kevin Yankou, Steve Yankou, Liz Jones & Jordan DeVylder

It’s raining when the members of the local punk band Penny and I meet up at the Avenue C location of San Loco for a late lunch to talk about their history, bubble gum and local performance venues. 

I’m worried that we won’t be able to get our photo shoot in due to weather constraints. Still, guitarist Jordan DeVylder, drummer Steve Yankou, bassist Kevin Yankou and vocalist Liz Jones are game for rainy shenanigans. We had a great time getting soaked at Green Oasis Garden around the corner on Eighth Street before shopping for snacks at the nearby Associated supermarket.
How did the band form, and when? Where did the name come from? 

Liz: Penny started as a different band, Fleaspoon, in 2018. Back then, it was me, Jordan, and two other members, Robin Spoon and Fiona Flea. Fleaspoon slowly became Penny through some dramatic and some not-so-dramatic line-up changes. 

First, with Robin still on bass and Steve on drums, then with me on bass and doing vocals simultaneously. It took a long time to find someone new to play bass — because my bass parts can be overwhelmingly annoying to play — so I could just sing again, but it turns out Kevin was in front of our eyes the whole time! [Kevin is Steve’s brother.] 

I was sitting on the name Penny for years, but whenever I pitched it to people previously, they would say something like, “That’s my girlfriend’s dog’s name.” I am partial to band names that could just be a woman’s name that ends in the letter Y. I also like that pennies, the coin, are essentially worthless, can be lucky or unlucky depending on how they fall, and are everywhere on the ground all the time. “Take a penny, leave a penny,” etc., etc. 

Steve: Liz and Jordan asked me to play drums with them at one practice for fun. I agreed only because I missed them and find it impossible to maintain friendships with anyone I’m not in a band with. But I warned them, “I am a TERRIBLE drummer.” They said they didn’t care. Then they asked me to come again the following week. The rest is history. I’m slowly getting over my imposter syndrome. 

Kevin: The band used to practice in the basement of my old spot, so it was just a matter of going down a flight of stairs to get roped into it, and I’m glad I did because it’s been a lot of fun! 

Steve and I have been playing in our other band for 22 years, so we already had a decent shorthand when it comes to music stuff, and I was already a fan of Liz and Jordan — as musicians and people — so it was pretty easy to say “yes.” 

How do you describe your sound? 

Liz: After much internal and external debate, we have arrived at “924 Gilman comp B-side” as the definitive band descriptor. 924 Gilman is a long-running East Bay DIY space, and we definitely feel like our sound is most closely related to Bay Area ’80s and ’90s punk and the subsequent DIY punk scenes in other parts of the country that we all came up in. 

Some of our other favorite band descriptions have been: “The Muppet band if they didn’t have to play for the Muppets,” “2006-core,” and “That one song sounds like Rudimentary Peni.” Sometimes people call us a riot grrrl band, but that is just a lazy way to say we sound like angry-girl-screaming, which is not untrue.

Steve: Punk as fuck. Mostly kidding. Mostly not kidding.

Kevin: Fun/fast/noisy-punk. 

Your recent cassette tape release — The Bubblegum Tape — comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and a piece of chewed gum by one of the band members. Can you speak briefly about the release and how it came into production? 

Liz: I think we started throwing around the name “The Bubblegum Tape” because we recorded a cover of a very twee Heavenly song, and I was thinking of bubblegum pop music. There is, however, nothing twee about the tape itself. We made the tape specifically for a Midwest tour we went on in August, and I corralled the band into chewing 100 pieces of gum and sticking them into each tape as part of the artwork. Some tapes are completely disgusting, and for that, I am sorry. It is also release 001 for my new label, Rizzo. 

Steve: The gum-chewing party was harder work than it sounds. 

Kevin: We learned that, apparently, I have the dampest mouth; maybe I should smoke weed. 

How long have (three-fourths of) you lived in the neighborhood? 

Jordan: Off and on since 2001, sometimes moving around the city for more affordable neighborhoods. The three of us in the neighborhood have lived here consecutively since about 2016/2017. 

Liz: I moved to the neighborhood in 2017 after living in various other parts of the city. Once I was here, I knew I was home. 

Steve: I met my life partner in January 2012 and started staying with her on East Third Street pretty much immediately. I officially moved in a few years later; I always forget exactly when. 

Kevin: I crashed with an ex-GF on 12th and A for a few months back in ’06 or ’07. Does that count?

You mentioned booking gigs in Brooklyn, and a successful mini-tour this summer in the Midwest was easier. What are your feelings about the local music scene, and do you feel supported here? 

Jordan: Booking shows is always hit or miss, whether in the LES/EV, Brooklyn, or elsewhere. We have all played around here for years in Penny and other bands, but some of our favorite spots to play are community spaces that have not been doing shows recently, like C-Squat and ABC No Rio. 

We tend to have less luck with bar shows around here and end up in Brooklyn or Ridgewood a lot because of that, although we have recently had good experiences booking at Berlin and Rockwood Music Hall.

Liz: The punk scene, more generally in NYC, can be challenging to navigate. It has changed a lot in the last few years, and there is a sense of exclusivity that I had successfully avoided in my life of playing music up until this point. 

But we feel supported and have a sense of community outside the cool-guy echo chamber. I think the whole social media/everything can be commodified era is bad for community in general, and punk is not immune to it. We all got into punk because anyone could do it, and we hold on strong to those values. 

Steve: So me and Kevin —along with many other friends and roommates — booked and ran hundreds of house shows in the Bronx (and later in Brooklyn) from 2010 until lockdown. So I’m here to ask, where are the house shows? I don’t want to have to clean up the next day. Let us play at your house! 

Kevin: What Steve said. The only people I wanna clean up after are me and my cat.
Penny plays at Rockwood Music Hall, stage 1, on Oct. 18 at 10 p.m. along with Posterboy 2000 and Pig Milk.

The band's new cassettes are available at Limited to One Record Shop on 10th Street and Academy Records on 12th Street.

You can follow Penny on Instagram here.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Love and basketball

 

Local band Rebounder released a new song/video this past week... ahead of their forthcoming record, Sundress Songs.

This is "Library," said to be about "a dissolving relationship" ... and featuring additional vocals by Eliza Callahan of Purr.

Meanwhile, Rebounder is headlining Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday night.  

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Wednesday's parting shot

Photo by William Klayer 

A set late this afternoon by Twisted Wrist outside St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery on Second Avenue and 10th Street... (check them out some time...) 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Ant music

 

Local quartet Earth Dad — featuring two lifelong East Village residents — is back with a new track (and video!). This is "Drillbit."

And you can catch the band live tomorrow (Saturday) night at Heaven Can Wait, 169 Avenue A between 10th Street and 11th Street. Ticket info here

Friday, May 19, 2023

The 'Gilded' age

 

There's new music out via Cults... watch the video here for "Gilded Lily." 

And check out our Q&A with one half of the duo, longtime EV resident Madeline Follin, from 2020 right here.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Hellbound

 

We had a chance to see local trio TDA (Tits Dick Ass) last night at the Mercury Lounge opening for Crocodiles (and on a bill with Licks).

The video is for "GF From Hell." Read more about the band here

And this Friday-at-5 video post includes two photos from last night via Stacie Joy...

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Heady psychedelia: A conversation with East Village musician Franzi Szymkowiak of Lukka

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

I’ve always liked catching new-to-me music at the local New Colossus Festival, and the 2023 edition was no different. 

I was especially keen to hear East Village-based singer-songwriter-composer Franzi Szymkowiak and her band Lukka with Ashley Gonzalez on bass and Simon Fishburn on drums. Lukka’s dreamy and immersive sonic landscape was the perfect fit for an indie-pop/shoegaze showcase at Arlene’s Grocery on March 11...
A few weeks later, I caught up with Franzi in the East Village to talk about growing up in Germany, the rigors of busking, and feeding off the energy of NYC.
You studied classical piano while growing up in Germany. Where did your interest in music originate? 

It was mostly my mum who pushed me to take classical piano lessons. I didn’t enjoy it that much as a teenager but I guess years later it paid off when I started writing songs. I started playing and singing my favorite songs, and that’s when something sparked. I guess it was the combination of both that gave me the endorphin rush. 

Just as a side fact, I recently found out that my great-grandmother, who was a waitress, would also from time to time grab her guitar and start singing popular German folk songs for her dining guests to make an extra buck. That was in the 1930s, so maybe it’s in the genetics after all.

You taught yourself how to play guitar at age 15. Did you have aspirations to be a musician then or was this more for fun? 

I started learning the guitar to be able to sing my favorite songs at the time. I think I knew then that I wanted to make a living as a musician, I just didn’t know how. I got into music from the ’60s back then, I loved the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and other bands from that time period. 

If I remember right, I already imagined having my own band to perform my own songs. When I was younger, I hoped to make a living on that but you know it’s really hard nowadays. 

You spent years busking around the world. How did that experience shape you? Did you ever tire of the constant hustle? 

After I finished high school in Germany, I traveled to Australia and ended up staying there for almost four years. I played a lot in the streets there. I actually got quite professional having an amplified music performance. 

Of course, it takes a lot of strength to carry all that shit around the city. I am talking about two big heavy batteries, an electric power converter, an amplifier, a microphone and stand, cables, a keyboard, and a seat. I had one trolley that carried everything.

Once that thing got stuck in between the subway train and the platform, the doors closed and the train started moving but luckily stopped after a couple of seconds. I think that’s when I had enough! 

However, playing in the streets connected me to a lot of people, which was great. The experience also taught me not to give a damn what strangers think of me. 
 
January marked your 10th year in NYC. Was it always a goal or dream to live here? 

I came to New York when I was 22. Back then I was naively thinking that this is the place to be to ‘make it’ in the music industry, which of course right now I know is not true. But I loved the scene and I connected quickly with really talented artists and musicians who would inspire and support me. I have never been as creative in any other city as here.

I think that the city’s energy feeds you. (I actually have a song “Feed Me” that is derived from that.) The East Village always had a special vibe to me. What I love is that there are so many music venues and lots of live music. Lots of interesting and strange people do walk the streets, it’s entertaining in a way. For me, there is The Accordion Lady, for example, the rock’n’roll guy with the chihuahua dog, the Lady with Pink UV protection visor and too-long toenails. So many characters...I do like that. 


You’ve described the tracks on your Something Human record as “heady psychedelia and nostalgic 1980s new wave.” Who have been some bands that influenced you? 

Definitely influenced by the ’60s and ’70s bands as I mentioned before The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin. After Bowie died, I got heavily influenced by the Trilogy he did in Berlin, and also the people he worked with: Brian Eno, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop. That period made me experiment with synths much more. Also, bands like Tame Impala and Unknown Mortal Orchestra opened my mind to different guitar effect pedals and sounds. 

How has Lukka’s sound evolved? What’s next for the band? 

I do have all the songs for my third album ready to record. It is going to be much quieter and synth-affected, and the compositions will be more complex. I am not sure how it will all come out in the end. It’s very experimental in a way. 
You can catch Lukka on June 1 at Rubulad in Bushwick, and keep up with the band on Instagram.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Catching up with Sabrina Fuentes of Pretty Sick

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

I’m following a byzantine series of steps and underground hallways to find Sabrina Fuentes, lead singer of indie rockers Pretty Sick at a sold-out Mercury Lounge.

It’s Halloween night so there are random spooky decorations up, and the band is hosting a costume party so concertgoers are feeling festive. I bump into local faves Hello Mary, who opened for Pretty Sick (sharing the bill with Harry Teardrop) before finding Sabrina a few minutes before she’s due on stage with her two bandmates, dressed for the night as Santa Clause and Travis Bickle.

I trail her up the stairs and onto the stage, where her fans react with predictable fervor. People scream out suggestions for songs they’d like to hear from the band’s EPs, including the June release Come Down (released via the label Dirty Hit, whose roster includes Wolf Alice and the 1975).

This is the band’s first NYC in two-plus years, so there’s a full house who sing along to every song.


In the weeks after the show, I follow up with Sabrina to talk about music, feminism, friends and collaborators. The band, which Sabrina founded in 2013 at age 13, has been rehearsing at Rivington Music Rehearsal Studios ahead of recording a new full-length album upstate.

I’ve read that you started writing music at a very young age. What initially inspired you to do so?

I’m not sure what inspired me originally. Sound has always been the sense/medium that appealed to me. I can’t imagine working with or on anything but sound/music. I’m a sonically inclined person, I guess. Rock is the genre I work with the most because it comes naturally to me and the message of rock and roll is the most freeing.

What’s your earliest memory of music?

Hard to say. Probably lullabies my parents and grandparents sang to me.

How do you feel like NYC has shaped you as a person, as an artist?

Growing up in NYC is so different than anywhere else in the world. You have access to so much more and it really is such a privilege creatively to have been able to see and hear the things around me from a young age. I feel like I was forced to grow up really fast for a number of reasons, and NYC definitely added to that.

As an artist, I feel like I got to be like a kid and experiment, explore and play around with music more than I would have if I were anywhere else.

You’re a native New Yorker and now going to school in London. What do you miss about the city? Does being away make you appreciate NYC even more?

I actually graduated from school in London already; I’m just living there now. I come back to the city for about half the year (on and off) and spend the time in between in London. I miss the energy of NYC and the way people interact in public. I think I see the flaws of the way this city is a bit more now that I’ve had a step back from it, but I think that happens whenever anyone leaves home.

I appreciate the sense of community and the great people who are here way more now. I’m much more comfortable here, but I like moving and traveling — it’s good to get out of your comfort zone.

Through the years, several articles about you refer to you as a “riot grrrl.” How do you feel in general about the term? Do you find it limiting at all?

I don’t mind it, but I don’t know how accurate it is — haha! Riot Grrrl refers pretty specifically to feminist rock music movement from the late ’80s and early ’90s, and while I’m a feminist, I don’t really consider my work to be particularly political or feminist-y. I’m just a woman writing rock music and people like to use buzzwords like “riot grrrl” or “feminist” to write an article ’cus it’s easier than having to think critically. It’s not a limiting label as much as it is kind of inaccurate and reductive, but I don’t really care what people call me; I’m just grateful they’re giving my music a chance.

You’re friends with Hello Mary, who opened for you on Halloween night at the Mercury Lounge. Do you see a more robust community now for young bands in NYC than when you started out?

Oh my god, yeah. There was like a four-year period where a lot of the DIY venues who booked local bands closed, and all of the slightly bigger NYC bands moved to LA ’cus there were just more opportunities.

After the pandemic, the band scene has been doing so much better, and people are more excited to go see music and wanna get involved in some way. A lot of people who move to NYC these days are yuppies and PR-girl types who don’t give a shit about going to see live music or listening to alternative music, so it’s great the youth are actually excited about it.

Speaking of that Halloween night show, how was it playing again in front of an audience?

It felt so good to be on stage again at home. That was our first show in NYC since August of 2019!
Another friend, Manon Macasaet, directed the “Allen Street” and “Bet My Blood” videos. What’s it like working and collaborating with friends?

It’s great. All of our videos were made by my friends who are NYC artists like Manon, Maggie Lee, Leander Capuozzo,Oliver Rivard, Jake Moore and Richard Kern.

All of the crew are artists and homies too. For example, sculptor Sofia Lelani and painter Karmel Spanier made the set and props for the “Bet My Blood” music video, and designer Sasha Melnychuk made the costumes.

Another example is all the cars in the “Allen Street” video were lent to us by a Red Hook-based drag-racing team called New Day, which is run by Louis Shannon, who operates Entrance Gallery in Chinatown. All of the actors and video vixens are artists, organizers, skaters, and oddballs from the Lower East Side. Community in NYC is really important to me and Pretty Sick as a whole, which wouldn’t exist without it. I love NYC and its people. Fanatically.
You can keep tabs on the band on Instagram.