GONZOFEST 2015 RECAP

Our take on this year's installment! Read more

PODCAST

Blind Tigers Talk About Their New Cassette, bands in Louisville, and Where They'd Take Me for a Night on the Town! Read more

INTERVIEW

State Champion has a New Record Called "Fantasy Error" on the way and a New Single to Go With It! Read more

Friday, April 17, 2015

LISTEN: I Have A Knife - "Deconstruction"


If you were looking for a reason to get rowdy this Friday, I Have A Knife have you covered. Fronted by Sean Garrison, the band are a no frills, punk rock throw back. This is the kind of thing that gets you riled up to flip tables and yell rotten shit at frat boys. It also marks Garrison's return to rock, which by my estimation has been something like twenty years now. This is listed as an unmixed version of the song, so I can assume that this is just a taste of what's to come. We'll keep you posted as we have more details on the band and whatever miscreant activity they get up to, be that in playing shows, or in inciting some kind of punk rock riot, which is exactly what this sounds like. Do a fucking jump kick when you listen to this, and glare at your enemies with that same kind of 20-something angst you had when that dude cut you in line once. This is music to piss off the normals and it's fucking fun.

REVIEW: Twenty First Century Fox - "Pet Rounds"


Twenty First Century Fox
Pet Rounds

Twenty First Century Fox are ambitious and unusual. Their new record Pet Rounds is a fuzzy and piercing attack on your average indie rock. It's worth mentioning that TFCF started as a B-52’s cover band because that influence is tastefully evident throughout this album.

What stands out most about this album is how active the guitar and bass are. It’s not often in this album that a note will ring out as both the guitar and bass stay very, very busy. That’s part of TFCF's unique charm. Everything is more active than what your brain expects and it’s fun to be surprised.

“Igor” is a stand out track on this album. It feels like they hit the perfect amount of noise/funk busyness in this song. It’s starts slow and builds perfectly. The difference here is that the band is working as one noise/funk unit. The bass might not be playing a ton of notes, but all the space is filled with guitar, keys, and vocals. It really feels like this is what they are capable of at their best.

That’s not to say the rest of the album doesn’t hit the mark, because it does. Pet Rounds is an excellent listen from start to finish. I haven't had the chance to see them yet, but after spending some time with their new record, Twenty First Century Fox is officially now on my list of “Bands to see this Summer.” Listen to Pet Rounds below:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

LISTEN: Jasun K drops OJ & My Captain Kush and No Relation!

Pictured above: Jasun K in 3D for your punk ass.
Bird Zoo member Jasun K is either dropping a lot of singles or releasing a new album one song at a time. Last week he released Box Body, which we wrote about here and gave it praise for it's bold take on yacht rock in hip-hop. Over the weekend he unveiled two more tracks, again independent of each other, with OJ & My Captain Kush and No Relation (prod. by D.O.H.). Maybe they're dropping that way to get everyone riled for a proper full length. Maybe these are meant to stand conceptually on their own in some way, like a rebirth of the (cas)single or something. Maybe these were released piecemeal to draw critical attention to each track in specific. While I clearly don't have an answer to this, I can say in all certainty that I'm definitely paying attention to every song in specific, than taking them in as a whole, so it has had a tangible bonus in terms of focusing on the details, listening to the trees to the forest, if you will.

First up is OJ & My Captain Kush. This track is about as melancholy as hip-hop comes, almost morose in tone. The beat is so ghostly that it feels about to fade into oblivion, like it's barely there. The track picks up at the chorus, offering a break from the bleakness, which really works. It gives the song an overall movement that breaks things up. So it goes without saying that this is a contemplative number, a real thinker, that seems to reflect a very personal story in Jasun K's life. It's pretty rad and has a good pace and energy to it, even if it's kind a super mellow and sort of somber vibe. Check out the track here.


Next up is No Relation (prod. by D.O.H.), which I write out as it's the full title; clearly the producer of this track needs to get repped, although hopefully that's not a requirement for anyone's confidence. This is solidly put together with a nice high string sound to rock the beat, like the best of GZA's production or something like that. As always, Jasun K's flow is solid, with plenty of good hooks to keep you listening. Of the two, this is definitely the banger, although given the three tracks released, there really isn't anything super heavy going on. If these tracks are a precursor to a full length release, this is going to be way mild, which is a perfect compliment to this weather, which hasn't quite heated up or gotten humid enough to be problematic.

REVIEW: Dathon - "Abiogenetic"


Dathon
Abiogenetic

Former Louisvillian Corey Lyons dropped an album on Tuesday under his ambient nerd moniker Dathon. Seriously, this makes the second Star Trek: TNG reference that Lyons has used as a band name, which I think officially gives him more geek cred than I have, and I feel like I'm doing pretty well. I mean, shit, I have more than a thousand trade paperbacks, but I still haven't named two consecutive bands after Star Trek, so I guess I'm not doing it right.

You may recognize his name as having played with Louisville titans Bodyhammer, or maybe even from his earlier work with Sister Helen Prejudice. Since skipping town, Lyons has kept busy with his noise band Millions, indie rockers La Forge, and most recently with Bob Genghis Khan, his improv project, which also had a recent release. If you visit Dreamland on April 24th, you may even happen to hear Lyons play in another improv duo that may or may not (or will) include someone currently writing this sentence. In the meantime, you can check this out to get a taste of what he's up to recently, a synthesis of years playing noise, indie, and prog influenced music as filtered through a load of effects.

Still does this have anything to do with his previous work? Only loosely. There is a found sound quality to the music that transcends just ambient music or meanderings, but not in a college-music-major-performance-thesis kind of way. There are snatches of Ennio Morricone guitar under a shimmering blanket of metallic and almost incidental sounds. This is incredibly meditative music, perfect for zoning out on a hot day. And it does need to be a hot day, as there is something inherently simmering about this music, like a scorching desert day, desolate and stripped bare to the minimum requirements of existence. You can listen to it below.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The NEVER NERVOUS GUIDE to Record Store Day '15 Festivities in Louisville!


Last week, we talked a bit about Record Store Day 2015, which will come to pass this Saturday, April 18. We reminded you what RSD is exactly, we shared the list of releases, and we told you which Louisville record shops would be participating. Shortly after that post, shops around town revealed how exactly they'd be celebrating the day-long event, so we figured we should give you all of the information that has been given to us. Read on as we spill the beans in A-Z fashion:



Astro Black will join forces with their most excellent neighbor Kaiju to put on a free show featuring performances by Vaderbomb, Buck Gooter, Joan Shelley, Hurricanes of Love, Shedding, PRMTV STR, Sketching, & Insect Policy. The event will span from 2PM to 8PM, and in case your ass gets hungry, Osaka Snack Bar will be on hand. I'm not sure if Astro Black will have any of the official RSD releases, but they are likely to have some raffles and/or games, as well as their usual badass selection of music. Again, this event costs you NOTHING.

For more information on this event, go here.



Better Days will be opening their doors at 8PM, and yes, they will have a pretty big selection of RSD related records. As far as I know, that's where it ends with Better Days, as I haven't heard of any parties or special events being planned.  Regardless, I'm sure there will be an excellent selection of records available.



Guestroom Records have a very distinct set of details on how they plan to orchestrate RSD. Yes, they plan to have a slew of RSD related releases. No, I don't know which ones exactly. What I do know is that they will be opening at 9AM, and line to get in will form toward Pope Street. Starting at 9, they will start letting five people at a time into the shop, for three to five minute intervals. So basically, if you plan to buy from GR, get there early, and know what the hell you're looking for. Also, all regular priced non-RSD releases will be 10% off the regular listed price! Hell yes!

After the initial RSD rush dies down, they have a kick-ass party planned featuring an array of Louisville musicians spinning their favorite records. This list of DJs includes Jonathan Glen Wood, White Reaper, and Jalin Roze. Also, there will be food/refreshments on hand.

For more information on this event, go here.



Matt Anthony's Record Shop will celebrate RSD with a performance by The Misty Mountain String Band starting at noon. This event will serve as their record release party for their new album Brownsboro. Expect plenty of sales and RSD exclusives. 

For more information on this event, go here.



Modern Cult Records will open their doors at 9AM and will have a huge selection of RSD releases. If you show up hungry/thirsty, they will have donuts, coffee and juice available. An after party/cook out will commence at 7PM featuring performances from New Bravado, The Wrists, Korea 3 & Animal Mother. If you're into booze, bring your own beer.

For more information on this event, go here.

*  *  *  *  *
As far as the other record stores in town, I haven't heard anything. I don't know if Underground Sounds, Please & Thank You or The Great Escape are participating at all; if anyone has more information on whether or not they have specific plans, let us know!

Folks, this Saturday's RSD celebration is shaping up to be the most exciting Louisville has ever seen. Fortunately, considering the way each establishment has planned their festivities, it's entirely possible to attend every record shop's event. What I'm suggestting is that you should make RSD '15 a day-long event! Buy records! Watch bands play! Eat foods! Support your goddamned local record stores!

INTERVIEW: Mike Harpring on Drumming, the Punk Community, and Time Travel!

Pictured above: Mike Harpring starts a band with Mr. Satan the cartoon devil snake.
In the late part of the 20th Century and earliest part of the 21st Century, Mike Harpring was a central figure in the local scene. He was a member of bands like Sister Helen Prejudice and Bodyhammer, was involved with the Brycc House, Brat Magazine, and the local chapter of the ARA. He put together the infamous 540 Fest in 1999, which is certainly a story worth reading. In his early 20's (or at least as I recall), Harpring moved Bloomington, IN where he joined the band Good Luck, while working on a degree in art at IU. Nowadays he lives in Philadelphia, PA, where I'm assured it's always sunny, and has been playing with the band Harry and the Potters. They're playing here this upcoming Thursday at Modern Cult, so you can check them out there for yourself.

Never Nervous: Tell us your musical resume. Where did you start, where have you been, and where are you going.

Mike Harpring: I started playing music in middle school with Corey Lyons. We formed Bodyhammer along with Andy Schanie when I was 16, and ended up putting out a demo tape and a CD through Noise Pollution Records in the three years I was with the band. We also did two short east coast tours, which got me hooked on touring in the DIY punk world. Sister Helen Prejudice and Internecine were two other bands I played with in Louisville. A few years later I joined a band called K10 Prospect in Bloomington, Indiana. Though we only put out a CD EP, we managed to tour extensively through the midwest, east and west coasts during the summers of 2002 and 2003. Aside from some secret conceptual side projects which I can't reveal, I didn’t really play seriously until Good Luck started in 2007. We were most active for the following four years and put out two albums and toured through the US as well as the UK and Ireland during this time.

Another band I played in while living in Bloomington was called Universe - we played a weird blend of indie and hardcore/fantasy metal with violins and harp. We put out a full-length and toured a few times in the two short years we were active. I started playing with Harry and the Potters three years ago. I’m not the “official” drummer, but they’ve continually called on me since I started, and have taken me all across the US as well as Sweden and the UK.

Since I moved to Philly I’ve played drums on a few different friends’ recordings - namely Spoonboy and The Goodbye Party, though I also drummed on the Bepstein Show’s soon-to-be-released album. In the past six months I’ve been working on two newer projects that I’ve had a creative role in - Year of Glad and Boy Kiss. Both bands just recorded, and both bands have plans to tour and play out. These projects are exciting and there’s a lot of positive energy and optimism surrounding them. I hope I keep doing more of the same in the future - playing with friends and writing songs and traveling to crazy places to play them.

"I hope I keep doing more of the same in the future - playing with friends and writing songs and traveling to crazy places to play them."

NN: How have you evolved as a musician since you started? How would you define your sound as a drummer? What about as an instrumentalist?

MH: I came from a musical family where good music was always on the stereo and where playing and learning instruments was encouraged. I also spent a lot of time going to my dad’s band practices and gigs when I was a kid, which helped me romanticize the idea of playing in a band. I learned saxophone when I was 10 and played in school band for five years, and I learned drums, guitar and bass on my own when I was 13. When I started taking drums seriously I only wanted to play in loud, abrasive bands, so at the time playing fast and hitting hard were my main goals - Bodyhammer was a perfect outlet for that. When Good Luck formed, I approached our songs with that same mindset, but was challenged to play more dynamically and experiment with a different level of technical playing. On later Good Luck songs, I started simplifying what I played, and focused on steady, solid rhythm and well-placed fills. I think this defines my drumming now, or at least what I strive for. But I don’t know… I played with Jason Anderson once and he said I was a real maniac. Maybe that was a good thing? Either way, the longer I play the more I see there’s room for improvement.

As an instrumentalist and song-writing contributor, I’ve always been comfortable suggesting ideas for parts and song arrangements to my bandmates. How I contribute depends on the project I’m working on and how much those contributions are welcomed. I think I’ve evolved most as a musician and instrumentalist just by recognizing how song structures and parts can be refined. I love the problem-solving element of song writing and it feels great to make a suggestion that helps resolve a song.

NN: Of all your projects, Good Luck seems like the biggest stylistic departure from your previous bands. Was that an intentional aesthetic decision, or did it just happen naturally?

MH: It definitely happened naturally, and kind of grew out of the community I was a part of. Tastes change and evolve over time, but moving to Bloomington was the catalyst that lead me to broaden my musical interests. I started listening to more indie, pop punk and folk. I enjoyed melodic music for the first time. And I was surrounded by so many talented, prolific, creative friends. In the months leading up to Good Luck forming, myself and Ginger (bassist in Good Luck) spent a lot of time together and had entertained the idea of playing music. When Matt (guitarist in Good Luck) moved back to town and wanted to play loud music, we just went for it and immediately started making songs that were unlike anything I’d ever done. I loved both Matt and Ginger’s other projects (One Reason, Mount Gigantic, Matty Pop Chart), so I was thrilled to play with them. It came together so organically, and blew my mind that three people with different backgrounds could mesh so well musically. Neither of my bandmates really shared my interests in hardcore or heavier music though, but it still seemed to work.

NN: Speaking of, what happened with Good Luck? Did you all break up or just take a break?

MH: For all practical purposes, Good Luck is not a functional band right now, but none of us have had any formal discussion on the direction or future of the band. It’s kind of just turned into an extended hiatus, but that may change. Thing is, I live in Philadelphia and both Matt and Ginger live in Bloomington, which makes it difficult for us to get together. We’re also extremely busy with our own lives and projects — Matt opened a vegan bakery in Bloomington with his partner Lisa, and Ginger helps run a collective book store, a vegan restaurant, and also plays in High Dive — so it makes finding time to practice and write nearly impossible. We’re all still friends though and I would be thrilled to find myself in the same room with them playing music again. Who knows what would be the impetus for that… maybe fulfilling our dream of touring with Gandalf? Or a Livenation tour with Fugazi?

NN: With Bodyhammer, you were in and out throughout the run of band through its duration. In fact, that band had tremendous line-up changes throughout its time. Given all that, how would you define the identity of band? Is it one sound, or any particular membership? Is it different from project to project?

MH: I typically define a band’s identity by their overall catalog and musical trajectory; whether I like everything within is a different story. With a band like Weezer, there’s the Matt Sharp albums which I love, and the post-Matt Sharp albums which I don’t love (though they’re slowly growing on me). It’s all still Weezer though and Rivers Cuomo defines the overall identity in my mind. With a band like Endpoint, there were lineup and stylistic changes throughout the life of the band, but their identity wasn’t defined by one sound, but by the greater arc and natural evolution of their sound.

"I typically define a band’s identity by their overall catalog and musical trajectory; whether I like everything within is a different story. With a band like Weezer, there’s the Matt Sharp albums which I love, and the post-Matt Sharp albums which I don’t love (though they’re slowly growing on me). It’s all still Weezer though and Rivers Cuomo defines the overall identity in my mind. With a band like Endpoint, there were lineup and stylistic changes throughout the life of the band, but their identity wasn’t defined by one sound, but by the greater arc and natural evolution of their sound."

Bodyhammer is a different case since it’s a lot more personal, and in my mind Bodyhammer was the sum of my own experiences in the band. I had kind of a chip on my shoulder after I left, but I think my leaving freed them up to continue on their own trajectory. Their sound really matured into something unique. I wasn’t around to experience it first hand but that last album is stellar, and certainly helps define them; it is a part of Bodyhammer’s identity.

NN: How did you come to work with Harry and the Potters? What have you learned playing with them?

MH: I met Joe and Paul (from HATP) early in Good Luck’s life and got to know them through playing shows together. After I moved to Philadelphia three years ago i approached them and offered to play drums. Within a few months I was on tour with them and have been called back regularly since then for long tours and one-off gigs. Harry Potter festivals, Comicons, the Quidditch World Cup. It has been an amazing and surreal experience to say the least.

Touring with Harry and the Potters took some adjustment. With the exception of a few goofy concept bands, I had never really played in anything, but serious punk bands. Playing with them forced me to take music and myself less seriously. To focus on having fun and being goofy and just embracing the weird experiences. Also, Joe and Paul are some of the most positive, encouraging, and enthusiastic people — there’s really no room for negative vibes while touring with them. And through being friends with them I’ve started to shed off some of my creative inhibitions and challenged myself in new ways, making new weird music and zines. It’s a great environment to be in. True goof.

NN: How do you reach out to younger audiences and engage them in the culture?

MH: A few years ago I was an instructor in an after-school kinetic sculpture class, teaching kids from different backgrounds how to work with metal and piece together a giant moving spider sculpture. It was amazing to see their confidence build and to see them get stoked about bikes building things. It’s not specifically engaging them in punk culture, but it’s still valid. Also, my house in West Philly has a community garden next to it, where we grow produce and some fruit. Every Monday is kids night, where kids from the neighborhood are invited to help out and learn about growing food. I’m finishing up work on a free book library which will be mounted on the fence outside of our garden, and will allow kids to take free books for as long as they like.

"A few years ago I was an instructor in an after-school kinetic sculpture class, teaching kids from different backgrounds how to work with metal and piece together a giant moving spider sculpture. It was amazing to see their confidence build and to see them get stoked about bikes building things. It’s not specifically engaging them in punk culture, but it’s still valid." 

I hadn’t really engaged in younger audiences through music until playing with Harry and the Potters. They've maintained a younger audience since their inception 13 years ago, and are, in essence, a DIY punk band that uses the world of Harry Potter and the surrounding fandom to inspire and engage kids.

NN: Is it important to include any sort of message in your music? If so, how do you incorporate that without ostracizing an audience? How do you make shows inclusive and fun?

MH: The beautiful thing about music and art is that there are no limits to what you can express. I’m not necessarily a song-writer or lyricist, so I’m not one to say if someone should or shouldn’t include messages in their music. Most of the bands I’ve played with in recent years have had a more personal slant to the lyrical content. But there’s certainly a place for stronger messages, and can be a great tool for organizing and shaping social and cultural movements.

The problem is that it’s hard to bring messages to audiences without sounding like you’re preaching to the choir or alienating someone with heavy-handed politics. Harry and the Potters are a good example of a band that incorporates inspiring political messages into their music without stepping on anyone’s toes. They benefit from the Harry Potter book series being accessible and accepted by the mainstream, as well as having strong themes of social justice.

The way Joe and Paul bring the message of the books to the audience is light-hearted but effective. They encourage everyone to go out into the world and use their voice to make change. When the Occupy Wall Street movement was in full swing they made “Occupy Gringotts” shirts in solidarity with the 99% movement. They also helped to form the Harry Potter Alliance - an organization that uses the themes of the books to effect social change through a variety of campaigns.  Whereas many activist organizations can come off as fringe groups or “too extreme,” the HPA really garners a lot of support and attention through their association with the Harry Potter series.

I do what I can to make shows I play or set up inclusive and fun by approaching them as if the audience are old friends or potential new friends. By being welcoming and respectful and making sure everyone is comfortable, and that no one is violating anyone else’s space. This sometimes means asking members of an audience not to stage dive or push people around, or - worst case scenario - ejecting someone that’s being a jerk or unapologetically disrespectful.

"I do what I can to make shows I play or set up inclusive and fun by approaching them as if the audience are old friends or potential new friends. By being welcoming and respectful and making sure everyone is comfortable, and that no one is violating anyone else’s space. This sometimes means asking members of an audience not to stage dive or push people around, or - worst case scenario - ejecting someone that’s being a jerk or unapologetically disrespectful."

NN: How has your work as a musician informed your art?

MH: I’ve met a lot of amazing artists through the punk community — zinesters, printmakers, illustrators and photographers that I crossed paths with while on tour or at home or at fests. It’s easy to feel inspired and encouraged by the creative output of these people. I’ve also shown art in music venues and restaurants owned by friends that I met through the community. We actually visited a farm up on a mountain outside of Asheville where some former Beehive Collective members have their studios and are building their own little eco-village. Everything about the experience was inspiring - amazing people and setting - and they extended an invitation to come and do an artist residency at some point in the future. I wouldn’t have met these people are been presented with this opportunity if it hadn’t been for being on tour.

NN: What got you into printmaking? What can you tell us about your work?

MH: When I was 19 I taught myself how to screen print. Mostly one-off teeshirts and patches, show posters. I took an intro to printmaking class when I was 21 at the University of Minnesota and it just clicked. I loved the methodical process of making woodcuts, lithographs, and etchings. I took a more serious approach to printmaking when I got into Indiana University three years later, where I finished their BFA Printmaking program.

My work is largely illustration-based, sometimes using computer-altered images and photos too. My main focus for the past 8 years has been three-dimensional light boxes which incorporate silkscreened panels, laser-engraved and laser-cut panels, LED-illumination, and salvaged materials. The content of my work usually involves some sort of personal narrative, or may be about a certain feeling I got from a person or place.

NN: Relative to my earlier question, how have you evolved as an artist over time?

MH: I drew a lot when I was a kid, but shifted toward photography and graphic design in high school. I designed a lot of show posters and thought I’d go to school to be a graphic designer, but that idea changed when I discovered printmaking and started drawing again in college. I realized I could incorporate photography, graphic design and illustration into the printmaking processes. When I was 23 I worked at a production studio in Louisville building exhibits for the state fair. I loved learning how to work with wood and metal, and saw how I could apply those skills to my work.

I considered pursuing sculpture, but ended up in the printmaking department at Indiana University. There was a lot of flexibility in the BFA program and they encouraged working with other disciplines. I benefitted from the academic structure and facilities of the printmaking program and started exploring multi-layered light and shadow box prints. My professors loved the work I was making so that helped solidify the direction I was going in. I took a break from visual art for a few years until I started an artist residency program in west philadelphia. For a year I got my own studio as well as a membership to a fabrication sculpture gym where I had access to a laser engraver. Between these two spaces I picked up where I left off with my light boxes and continued refining my style and execution.

I’ve I still get to build and make things out of wood and metal through my work at a high-end construction company in Philadelphia, and I approach every project with the same eye for design and detail that I would my own art.

NN: What constitutes a good show and why?

MH: It’s become harder and harder for bands to hold my attention, so my favorite bands to watch live usually have some conceptual, artistic, or theatric spin to them. Evil Sword in Philly plays real weird bass-driven angular punk but they dress up as ogres and fairies and are a real treat to watch live. Soophie Nun Squad were a great band that incorporated a lot of theatrical elements and crowd participation. They always made everyone so happy! But any band that sheds pretention in favor of goofiness and fun will always get my vote.

But overall, a good show can be as simple as bands playing in a comfortable and accessible space, where everyone involved is on the same page and doing what they can to make sure the bands and crowd leave feeling good about their experience. I’ve played in just about every space imaginable so I’m kind of over crazy parties and gross dive bars. All ages, clean(ish), decent pa, and non-smoking are basic credentials... Extra points for shows that are not alcohol-centric, have no more than four bands, and start on time or end early. Honorable mention to bands that play no longer than 20 minutes, because seriously let’s be honest - if people want to hear more they will usually let you know.

In the rare instance I set up a show, I usually host it at my house and try to make it a unique experience, by making it some sort of weird themed potluck party or cook out, or something else to make it more than just another punk show.

NN: How do you think the “Fuck Mike Harpring” campaign is going in 2015? How did that start and why?

MH: Haha, oh lord. The fact that friends still reference this tells me its still alive and well, if only as a rallying cry amongst a group of old friends. It’s such a bizarre phenomenon, and the origin story seems insignificant at this point, probably not worth telling. BUT what the hell…. it goes back to petty band/scene rivalries from high school days. I set up shows and played in bands. Other people set up shows and played in bands. We were young and immature and overzealous and didn’t always see eye to eye or get along. National Acrobat made light of some disputes in a funny way and sang “Fuck Mike Harpring” into the middle of one of their songs. So Bodyhammer decided to do the same in one of our songs to add another layer of irony and ridiculousness to it all, and the rest is history. Some residual bitter feelings lasted for a while, but I’ve actually seen a few people from the other side of the divide in recent years that have come up to me and apologized for how they acted. It was refreshing, and says something about how everyone has grown up and chilled out a lot.

NN: I understand that you lived in Indiana for several years. How did you cope with being a Hoosier? Were you ever able to wash away the smell, or is it a permanent feature to your being, after so long an exposure?

MH: To be fair, the smell predated my time in Indiana - as I was born part Hoosier (I know, this may shock you), and I still haven’t figured out how to get rid of it. No amount of patchouli makes any difference. But anyway, I think I coped okay. I actually love Bloomington a lot, with all its weirdo wingnut townies, punks living out their extended adolescence, lifers, and lovable country folk that flock to the town. I started spending a lot of time there in early 2002 and I moved away in 2011. Every time I return I’m more and more surprised by the changes taking place there. I hardly recognize the gritty, sleepy central Indiana town I first knew now that all these ridiculous luxury condo buildings and developments keep sprouting up around town. But to be honest, I often think about moving back to the midwest. Somewhere in the woodsy hills between Louisville and Bloomington would be perfect. I only hope that my Louisville friends don’t turn their backs on me if I chose this path.

"The smell predated my time in Indiana - as I was born part Hoosier (I know, this may shock you), and I still haven’t figured out how to get rid of it. No amount of patchouli makes any difference. But anyway, I think I coped okay."

NN: Suppose you could time travel. Do you think your actions would affect the time stream, or do you think that anything you did would just create a branching reality? If your actions would affect time, does that mean that predestination exists, which in turn supposes a supernatural deity of some sort?

MH: What kind of time travel we talkin'? Future or past in the same physical space like Back to the Future? Or any time any place like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure? Or only in your own past in situations and geographic areas you were already in like the movie About Time (a time travel-themed romantic comedy)? I’ll go with the third option. Because I like the premise that I could go back and get a do-over with specific instances in my life. Or that I could go back and hang with my grand parents. And this option is my easy out, because it wouldn’t allow me to significantly alter time, more so my own trajectory. Which would mean predestination doesn’t exist. Therefor, no god.

NN: What non-musical things have you stoked lately? Read, watched, eaten, drank, or crafted anything interesting lately?

MH: Well, I hardly give myself much time to read but I’ve been pickin’ away at The Magicians by Lev Grossman lately. Kind of a darker more adult version of Harry Potter (shhh, I do like other books too). I just watched About Time  (yes I’m referencing that movie again) and omg that just about punched me in the heart. Yesterday I ate the best grilled portabello burger in my life, from 12 Bones BBQ in Asheville. There were fried green tomatoes on it. It was incredible. Otherwise what I’ve been most stoked about is the work I’ve been doing in Philly — building a bar using reclaimed pine beams, learning how to make concrete countertops, and doing a lot of metal fabrication — furniture, railings, etc. I work with some great people at this job. These are skills I eventual want to put to use building my own dream house. Some day…

NN: What are your top five desert island picks and why?

MH: Five desert island picks…

  • Refused - The Shape of Punk to Come … This is a perfect album. It blew my mind when it came out and confused me that a “hardcore” band could put out something as musically diverse as this. It came out nearly twenty years ago but it still holds up well and stands the test of time.
  • The Weakerthans - Left and Leaving… I associate this album with transition and moving. The song-writing and lyrics are amazing. It’s just one of those sentimental albums that evokes a lot of nostalgia.
  • Fugazi - The Argument… Another album that’s stood the test of time. It’s my favorite album of theirs and usually the one I play. They were a perfect band and created a new model for how a band could be successful on their own terms.
  • Strawberry Runners - album demos… My friend Emi gave me some recently-recorded songs that she demoed with her band. I feel like I was let in on something magical. Her voice is incredible and the music is exceptional. 
  • Dogs on Acid - s/t… Some good friends from Philly play in this band, and this album is about to come out on Jade Tree. It’s my new favorite thing. Aside from loving them as people, they’re just amazing musicians and know how to write a great song. 

Help Support Dreamland and be a Hero!

Pictured above: Two horn bros carelessly whispering into the night.
Dreamland is a boss venue. It's perfect for smaller, more intimate shows, or if you need the ego boost, for shows that will draw a moderate crowd in a larger venue. Then again, if you find it necessary to stoke your pride, you probably aren't playing Dreamland, which caters primarily to the weirdo-side of Louisville music; that freak flag is already flying pretty high, you know. This is the place to visit if you want to check out music that's on the cutting edge, a phrase I have no problem using here, as the sort of avant-garde experimentation is part and parcel to the scene found herein. There is a love of all things strange, a kind of audiophile that transcends the love for music in an exploration of the sound that comprises the notes. If you want microtonal oddities, haunting dance companies, or next level jazz, Dreamland is your place.

The venue has hosted countless bands, some more traditional like Dead Rider or Skull Defekts (one of my favorite shows from 2014), or non-traditional acts like Sir Richard Bishop or Bitchin Bajas. Dreamland supports locals like Jaye Jayle or any of Jonathan Glen Wood's thousand other wonderful projects; various bleep-bloppers that you might hear on City State Tapes (Shedding, Exacta Cube, Introvert); noise mutants like Tropical Trash; or even my own band Visiting Nurse, who have played here quite a few times. In fact, you can catch a show I'm playing there on April 24th performing as part of an improv duo with my friend Corey Lyons, Sutherland/Wood, and Cat Casual. We're playing on a Friday the week after an incredible Improv Jazz Festival that starts tomorrow, April 16th and runs until Sunday, April 19th, featuring Trevor Watts & Veryan Weston, Wrest (feat. Jack Wright), the Ken Vandermark/Tim Barnes Duo, and Rob Mazurek's Black Cube SP, listed sequentially and playing one per day. Just click this link for better details than my words allow this morning.

They need your help. I cannot express to you how unique a place this is, and how wonderfully I've been treated every time I've had the privilege to perform there or visit. Run by Tim Barnes, Dreamland is a labor of love meant as a platform for a listening public that wants more than just the run of the mill. It's not only music, but live dance and film. I was fortunate enough to catch the Slint documentary there and it was the perfect spot to relax and catch a movie. If you want to see them do more of that, this is your opportunity to help support them. There have been so many venues in town to come and go, and Dreamland is unique in its vision to support the arts, and to serve as a curators to a community for such. In the 20 years that I've gone to shows, this is far to often rare, and here is the chance to help keep it up and running for years to come.

Check out this video below, and click this link to help out.

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