Monday • MOTR Pub
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
In an interview with Pitchfork
shortly before the release of her second album under the moniker
Waxahatchee, this fascinating bit of information was revealed about
Katie Crutchfield’s bedroom decor.
Saturday • Southgate House Revival
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Americana has tended to be a home for
Alternative Country performers with Southern or Western roots, and also
introspective Folk troubadours who favor a quiet, often-acoustic
Friday • Thompson House
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
From the name, you can guess that Tear Out the Heart (TOTH) won’t be opening for One Direction on their next Stateside tour.
Thursday • Stanley’s Pub
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Chicago is the home base of the Henhouse Prowlers, a group with
a modern outlook when it comes to Bluegrass.
Plus, flatulence isn't always funny and Prince still hates the Internet.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Open up your social media feeds from Jan. 26 and you’ll
learn that this year’s Grammys were a crime against music and all
involved should be executed.
Sobriety and a more relaxed approach help make Southeastern Jason Isbell’s finest album yet
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
“Cover Me Up,” the somber opening song on Jason Isbell’s latest album, Southeastern, includes this revealing lyric: “I sobered up and I swore off that stuff, forever this time.”
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 22, 2014
In the world of chamber music,
Beethoven’s 17 string quartets are the ultimate summit. Composed over a
span of more than two-and-a-half decades, Beethoven created masterpieces
of astonishing beauty and complexity that never fail to engage
by Zohair Hussain
It was sometime back in September that I
stumbled upon the story of Chvrches’ Lauren Mayberry, and her piece in The
Guardian about the unfortunate realities she faced as a female musician. Only days
later, I heard the stories of classical composers wearing their own diadems of
misogyny. All these forces were crumbling away at what I once believed to be
the most progressive industry we had at our hands.
With such revelations came a personal desire
for truth at a closer proximity. I honed in my lens and turned it on the state
of our own music scene, and the circumstances of female musicians in the Queen
I may have stumbled a bit the first time I saw Molly Sullivan perform. It could
have been the champagne. It could have been the wine. It could have been the
sheer, uprooting shock of such a sneakily sultry voice filling all the quiet
corners of a room.
It was 2011 and the setting was a birthday party at the neo-historic Marburg Hotel,
and local heroes Shadowraptr had just finished their set in the basement — a
lush and operatic performance of their usual brand of psychedelic Prog-Rock,
with Jazz sensibility. They didn’t disappoint with an expectedly raucous
presentation, and we didn’t back down as an ever energetic crowd. It was in a quiet
aftermath, among friends and fellows just as imbibed as our beer-soaked shirts,
that I wove my way through a hallway maze and sauntered into a living room with
an organ against its back wall. At its helm sat Molly Sullivan.
As she would come to tell me nearly three years later, “Going back to when I
first started playing out as a singer songwriter, I always felt this extreme
pressure and insecurity of being a female musician…whose music was tending to
be more on the delicate side of things, an emotionally driven side of things.
It required a little stillness from the crowd.”
But back looking back on that night in March 2011, stillness was inevitable.
Warm from wine and an approaching spring, the handful of us that sat in the
living room did so with an active passivity. But even as heads lolled against neighbors’
shoulders or against the walls at our backs, there was an intensity in every
pair of eyes that I glanced into; all were watching, focused, as Molly struck a
chord and then another, taking us through the coziest part of the evening with
two or three ballads of life, lovelorn.
It was an intimacy that couldn’t have escaped those of us even if it had tried,
and only a brief, drunken sampling of where Sullivan had started her story,
rising to the ranks of the recognized, respected and regaled. Before that, she
was front woman for the electronically infused No No Knots and a few months
after that, she would play out as a solo artist with a backing band, making a
stop at The Heights Music Festival and a New Year’s Eve show at the Southgate
House Revival in 2012, before a brief hiatus kept her choruses hushed.
Sullivan admits that a lot of the anxious cogs of her earlier years were
weighed on heavily by being a female musician in a primarily male-dominated
“I feel like it’s a lot
easier for men as artists,” Sullivan Says, “generally, because you have the
potential to be the heartthrob, and also it’s not necessarily a sissying thing
to go to for a guy. So I feel like there’s more of an audience inherently built
In the later months of 2013, however, she re-emerged, armed with a
loop-accentuated sound and a solo confidence that she speaks fondly of. Crafting
songs, sonically clad with vocal layering and solid to the string guitar work,
Sullivan took her one-woman symphony on the Cincinnati circuit, to high acclaim
— winning the solo artist bracket of FB’s local “Last Band Standing 2013”
battle of the bands, and earning herself a spot on one of the participating
MidPoint Music Festival stages.
Sullivan had dedicated time to playing earlier shows in spots she would
normally not perform, in venues and around crowds she would normally not
consider being her primary audience. She says she found new courage in taking
these risks. Though initially unsure about even participating in the event at
FB’s, Sullivan came to find her hesitation was unnecessary.
“I made some assumption about
the clientele there – it’s kind of known to be like a bro bar,” Sullivan
explains. “I was thinking, ‘They’re not gonna get my art.’ That ended up not
When asked about the
progression of her performance presentation, Sullivan says, “I think I’ve
actually come to learn — just by doing it when I’m in a bar and everybody is
silent — just like recognizing that there’s something captivating about the
simplicity and the emotion of being present with your songs. It’s a really
empowering thing when people are dedicated to listening and joining you in that
Sullivan also recognized the power of community, and the part that earnest
encouragement from within the Cincinnati scene played in her career as a
musician. One pillar in her support group is claimed by The Daughters of The
Midwest, an ensemble stage set of premier, female musicians dominating the
“I’ve definitely kind of
geared my energy towards being supportive of other female musicians,” Sullivan
says, “supporting Kelly (Fine), Mia (Carruthers), Maya (Banatwala). And now
that I’m back out there again, because of the support that I’ve been shown.”
“I think it’s a really powerful thing to have a female musician community to
support each other,” she continues. “And as soon as I got back into it, it made
it a lot easier to go with the flow and be excited for people wholeheartedly.”
And looking outside of the just the female musician community, Sullivan
vehemently recognizes the support of Cincinnati as a whole. Sullivan expresses
an appreciation for her time playing with The No No Knots, as well as the
support she received from the members of Cincinnati’s Marburg Collective. As
she explains, "There’s mostly positive reinforcement floating around. There’s
kind of this really solid to the earth community here that exists that wants to
She admits that what hides
outside of Cincinnati is what scares her most. We traded stories and
conversations about recent revelations of ignorance and misogynistic skeletons
in some of contemporary music’s most renowned scenes, tales of classical
composers saying woman have no place in conducting pieces.
Sullivan acknowledges being
weary of “the whole, big wide world,” with such possibilities floating around
in clouds of reality.
“Cincinnati scares me in its
own ways,” she says. “Almost what scares me more is beyond what’s Cincinnati,
just the competitiveness that can be fruitful if you’re successful in the game.
And I think part of me has been afraid of success, because with that success,
you know what’s gonna come: it’s gonna be that banter online, all those
anonymous people hemorrhaging bullshit…Why bother?”
Even with such uncertainty for outside markets, Sullivan exhibits an insight
and strength that propels her forward, even more so because of her
acknowledgements of the bad that can come with the good. She says she’s
learning to navigate her way around “the hemorrhaging bullshit.” Her awareness
of everything that can dampen an otherwise well lit stage is what makes her
voice so definitive on the conversation about the regressive mentality of
misogyny that can still exist in our present day music-scape.
There exists within Molly
Sullivan a partnership between community appreciation and individualistic
impetus. She acknowledges the power of community backing, saying it’s a “powerful
thing to have a female musician community to support each other.” And she recognizes
the groundwork that’s been laid out in years past.
“We’ve seen the rise of a few
female fronted bands come through,” Sullivan says, “and people are more willing
to be excited for that and support it.” (She cites the Seedy Seeds and Wussy as
pioneers for female musicianship.) Sullivan is aware of where we’ve been and
where we are. But what’s more, she’s ready to take us to where we need to be.
And she’s ready to do that with a self-made spirit.
“I’m getting to a point where I don’t give a fuck really,” Sullivan says.
It was with a new impetus
that she’s approached her musicianship. “I’ve grown stronger as a female
musician,” she says. “Now I’m just kind of like, well, if you don’t want to
listen to it then fuck you, you don’t have to be here. It took me a long time
to get to that point, and I still kind of have some insecurity about it. But
most of the time I’m just like, ‘Molly, grow a pair, get over it.’ ”
Sullivan also explains the intentionality behind her current solo-set
performances. Much in the same vein of playing in new venues, under possibly
uncomfortable lights, she exhibits a drive to explore her boundaries, and
expand past her limitations.
“I’ve chosen to do these
things by myself,” she says. “If I’m going to play with a band later, I need to
be OK playing solo first. It’s been really empowering, doing all of that.” She proves herself to be relentless and,
though hurt, unscarred by the outside forces of misinterpretation and
misogynistic pressures. It’s with a knowing, weathered paddle that she navigates these future streams. And
it seems she couldn’t be more pleased with the direction she’s headed.
“So far, it’s been really
lovely being back.” She takes a moment, at the end of our conversation, to
reflect out loud. “Would you look at that? I did that. And I don’t need anybody
else. I’m all about collaboration, but it’s really good to know that I don’t
need anybody. I’m capable.”
by Jac Kern
Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings
The 2014 Golden Globes, hosted by the dream team of Amy Poehler and Tina
Fey, take place Jan. 12 and nominations have been announced. Here we go!
In the motion picture sector, 12
Years a Slave and American Hustle
lead the pack with seven nominations each. The America’s Sweethearts Showdown
will finally play out as Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) is pitted against Julie Roberts (August: Osage
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (along with Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine, Lupita Nyong'o – 12 Years a Slave and June Squibb – Nebraska). Yes, I'm really trying to make the J. Law/JuRo(?) rivalry happen.
Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey were rewarded for the physical
they underwent to star in Dallas Buyers
Club — they’re up for Best Supporting Actor in a
Motion Picture and Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama, respectively.
On to television selections, Netflix series House of Cards raked in four nominations, the most of any series.
The HBO film Behind the Candelabra
also garnered four nods, but in three categories — stars Matt Damon and Michael
Douglas are up against one another for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie.
Rob Lowe’s amazing work as Liberace’s plastic surgeon/pill pusher in Candelabra gets lauded with a nomination
for the broad Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
category, but that statue will likely go to Aaron Paul for his performance in
the final season of Breaking Bad.
New-to-2013 shows Masters of Sex,
Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Ray Donovan each received two
nominations. I was totally in love with the inaugural season of Masters this year, so I’m happy to see
it up against some solid series for Best TV Series, Drama, even if it probably
won’t win. I can’t bring myself to watch Brooklyn
(despite my love for Andy Samberg!) because it looks decidedly unfunny, but I
keep hearing I need to check it out, so judgment reserved. Ray was a decent new drama. Jon Voight killed it as the
fresh-out-of-prison father to the titular character, a Hollywood “fixer” played
Schreiber (also nominated). Voight’s Mickey brought the
laughs in an otherwise dark story, from his penchant for big-booty video girls
to the advice he gives to his nauseated grandson: “Maybe you need to faht!”
Noticeably absent are Homeland,
Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men, and I am OUTRAGED! OK, I’m
starting to sound like everyone who’s ever listened to a local band after the
CEA nominations are announced.
But seriously, Damien Lewis’ performance as Homeland’s Brody, while limited on screen this season, was
incredible. He truly has played so many sides and shades of the character. That
detox scene? Haunting. He nailed the deterioration of Brody completely.
I also thought this was one of the best seasons of Boardwalk. Completely biased opinion: John Huston’s Richard Harrow
has been my favorite
character of the series (besides Lucy, played by the incomparable queen of mot messes Paz de
la Huerta, OBVS).
With so many other amazing characters, it’s totally understandable that he
wouldn’t leave with an award, but…Richard! "Hold me."
As for Mad Men, neither the
show nor its actors have won a Globe since 2009, when it was awarded for Best
TV Series, Drama. The show is not suffering — in fact, watching Don (Jon Hamm)
finally crack and start to act like a real human was incredible this season.
Oh, well. There’s always next year’s Emmys, I guess?
Read all the nominations here.It’s almost Christmas, so what better time for another Apple ad to make
you unexpectedly shrivel up and bawl?
Beyoncé blew the top off the Internet late last week, surprise-releasing
14 new songs plus 17 music videos in
a full, mega, meta “visual experience” of an album, leaving most of us with
nothing left on our holiday wish lists. Titled simply Beyoncé, the package features collaborations with Jay Z, Frank
Ocean, Drake and Blue MFing Ivy, sexy-ass songs with some straight up raunch, audio/video
from Star Search and home movies and several shots of Bey’s thonged butt. It’s
perfection. And because no one can ever get enough Yoncé (That’s right, it’s Yoncé,
Mrs. Carter if you’re nasty), she’s also releasing a mini-documentary about the
album in various parts, day by day. Buy the package, watch the videos and get
swept up in the Carter life here.
John Mayer and Katy Perry are totes an item and, in case you needed any
reminders of what a supreme douche J. May is, well, here’s their first couples
interview (gag) — skip to 2:50 for John’s really touching words about Katy’s
craft/to hear him drop an F bomb (edited out, thanks ABC!) while doing so.
your browser does not support IFrames.
R. Kelly(’s PR)
thought it would be a good idea to get #askrkelly trending, to spark a sort of
AMA with Twitter fans, and it was a total marketing fail. In fact, the timing of the backfired publicity stunt led perfectly to
this Village Voice interview
with the Chicago Sun-Times music critic that broke the story detailing R. Kelly’s involvement with
underage girls almost 15 years ago. This journalist, Jim DeRogatis, reminds us just how disgusting of a rap sheet R. has. I guess somewhere
between Trapped in the Closet parts V
and XXVI, we forgot the dude was a legit pedo.
Buzzfeed dubbed Newport Aquarium’s Scuba Santa one of eight “Most Badass
Santas in the World,” not to be confused with “One of Most Extreme Santas in
World,” as reported by basically every other local media outlet (buncha babies).
If there’s just one viral family Christmas video-card (ugh) making its rounds
that particularly makes me want to gouge my eyes out, it’s the Holderness
family’s. Set to the tune of the very current
“Welcome to Miami,” this family of four teaches us what the holidays are truly
about: bragging about the year’s accomplishments. Namely, running triathlons,
appearing in blockbuster films and learning Chinese — in their "Christmas jammies." Fucking white people.
Shia LaBeouf was a child actor, so I guess he never went to school to learn that copying off your neighbor's work is pretty much universally looked down upon. That's the only explanation I can come up with to justify his plagiarizing of Daniel Clowes' comic Justin M. Damiano for his new short film, HowardCantour.com. Read all about the fiasco here, and see the similarities for yourself. LaBeouf said sorry via Twitter, which should be enough, but he apparently lifted his apology off Yahoo Answers. So help us all.
by Zohair Hussain
Remembering Lou Reed
I was a few months shy of 16
when I first heard the lucidly stark voice of Lou Reed stream over the
airwaves. I was just another suburban weirdo, looking for a justified rebellion
to call his own. I had spent those “formative years” sleeping around with any
album loud enough to drown out my inner white noise, moving through a steady
stream of Hardcore, Punk, Metal — if
they were screaming it, I was buying it. As it turns out, though, what I was
really looking for was a quieter sort of revolution, and at the helm was Mr.
Lou Reed, telling me with a frank honesty that there was freedom in the
composition. It was, like any great lesson, one I’d come to learn in time. To say I enjoyed those first striking chords of “Heroin” would be an
understatement. It was on a snowy night in 2007, crammed in the back of a
friend's Yaris Liftback, when I first heard it. I can’t remember exactly where
we were previous to that moment, when that raw melody first came in. All I can
remember is how I suddenly became more aware of myself than ever before.
Everything I knew about music, about artistry, about writing — all of it would
change with that first overlap of beautiful melody. I was mesmerized, shaken
from a stupor of conditioned knowledge and thrown into a concoction of John
Cale’s haunting strings with Lou Reed’s candid crooning. By the time Maureen
Tucker’s drumming kicked in, sparse in its reverberation, my resolve would be
just as stripped, replaced by a wily knot that would take years to untie.
Though, right then, the song was just “fucking awesome.”
It would only be years later, waking up to a chilled October morning in 2013,
that this memory would even begin to matter. As the headlines would come to
read, “Lou Reed Dead at 71,” so, too, would the horizon appear most clearly.
I’ve always been a firm believer in the crossover of influences, the
collaboration of mediums in shaping any sort of artistry. As a writer, I can
proudly say that the recorded sound has had just as much influence on me as the
written word. And when I heard the Velvet Underground for the first time, it
became clear that they believed in a similar marriage, affirmed on the morning
of Oct. 27. With the news of the passing of a legend came an onslaught of
anecdotes from around the arts world, plastered against my computer screen. Amidst
the mass of legends, one story stood out in particular.
As according to
Rolling Stone, it was
1965, and the first few months of the Velvet Underground playing under their
iconic moniker. They had began a residency playing in New York’s Café Bizarre
and in the beginning stages of developing their distorted and chaotically
composed sound. Management was set on having performers play more contemporary
numbers, and warned the band not to play their original composition “Black
Angel Death Song.” They went on to perform the number anyway, fit with all the
chilling accidentals in its string arrangements, and were fired immediately.Though they would emerge from that loss victorious (it led to their
introduction to Andy Warhol, the man who would come to produce their record and
put them on the map of the underground art scene of ‘60s New York), there was
something bigger about that moment, something more pressing in my association
Incidentally, “Black Angel Death Song” was the first thing I clicked on Sunday
morning when I heard the news of its writer’s passing. The strings were
suddenly more haunting, and the story seemed all the more important. It was yet
another quintessential moment in the life of Lou Reed, a man who sang with
unbridled frankness, who played with unencumbered passion, and who inspired me
with the tirelessness of his dedication to honest expression. It transported me
back, seven years and a lifetime ago, to that night in December 2007, when I
first pricked my ears with another of his songs, that found, all at once, both
comfort and chaos within itself. Though I’d spend the lapsed time between 2007
and 2013 finding appreciation for the 40-plus years of Reed’s prolific career —
from “Black Angel Death Song” and “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” through “Satellite
of Love” and “Pale Blue Eyes” and even up until his
Hudson River Wind Meditations — it would always be that
compositions that would stay, forever imprinted in my mind.“Heroin” became, for me, a love song to the in between — it was everything I’d
been listening to up until that point and nothing I’d ever heard before; it was
the sentimentality of Indie Rock, the calm before the double bass in hardcore,
the simplistic, chord interplay of Punk and its cleaner cut cousin Pop. And, at
the same time, it was also the recklessness of avant-garde, the soundtrack to
the colors of an underground New York I’d only experience in preserved murals
and snapshots. It was everything I’d known, and everything I would come to know
about music, about art, about sound and about writing.
There are moments that comprise your past, songs that take you to a memory you
thought you’d left. And then there are moments that define your future, songs
that propel you forward into infinity.
Lou Reed, and what he accomplished before, with and after the Velvet
Underground, stood as a symbol for finding freedom in ones composition, and
pushing the statements made to work in a fashion of success.
It was a lesson I would learn time and time again in my own work, as I moved
through the progression of my writing and my own performance techniques. I
would come to face my own obstacles, fight my own battles against normative
expectations. And it would be in those times I fell the deepest, my resolve
threatening to falter, that this education would come back to me, mysterious in
its origins, all the while growing, like a backbone that stood rigid for honest
experimentation and freedom in the composition.
Even now, as this mystery’s been unearthed, its inductor put to rest, ahead of
me remains miles and miles of still shrouded possibility. But against that wall
of lessons I’ll stand, riveted, staring towards the looming unknown. And I’ll
try for a different kind of kingdom, if I can.