PROFILE: Christian Frederickson (2017)

It is May 25, 2006. You are sitting in a capacity crowd at Kaufman Center’s intimate Merkin Concert Hall in New York City, listening to Rachel’s perform their last show as an ensemble – though nobody knows that just yet. WNYC 90.3 FM, an NPR affiliate, is broadcasting and Greg King’s scene-setting film is being…

PROFILE: Chris Besinger of STNNNG (2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, STNNNG has reentered the building. After four years of waiting and much, much anticipation, Minnesota’s greatest post-punk band is back with a new record, Veterans of Pleasure. We shot a few questions to the king of the speak-sing delivery, STNNNG vocalist Chris Besinger, to set the record straight on his wicked agenda….

PROFILE: Chuck Mosley (2017)

Chuck Mosley just can’t stop. Chain-smoking Marlboro Blacks as he sits near the end of an aging sofa, the 80s icon kicks on some rough demos of his latest project, a frontman outing with post-punk band Primitive Race due out this fall. The music cuts angular and jagged, more raw and steel-edged than what you ever would…

PROFILE: Rachel Grimes

Rachel Grimes knew how to play the piano before she learned to walk. “My dad and grandmother played, so I was always sitting beside them following along, watching and listening in wonder at how they could make that magic,” the composer/pianist told me recently from the home she and her husband, educator Alec Johnson, share…

PROFILE: David Grubbs of Squirrel Bait

Originally published in Popdose on July 30, 2014 Before Louisville was associated with Palace, though after, I suppose, Hunter S. Thompson chronicled its seedy decadence during the Derby, there was Squirrel Bait, a nascent punk group of area teens churning out intricately layered but surprisingly accessible post-hardcore gems, a group of seemingly-always-do-wells who drew rave reviews,…

PROFILE: Chris Besinger of STNNNG

Originally published in Popdose on July 21, 2014 Let’s try, okay, to be objective for a moment. STNNNG, a Minneapolis art-punk quintet with its heart on its sleeve and a roar in its throat, is the best thing to come out of Minnesota since Todd Trainer. There; eat it up. The band’s debut, Dignified Sissy,…

INTERVIEW: Curtis Eller

Originally published in Popdose on April 3, 2014 Curtis Eller, banjo-picker extraordinaire, presents listeners with a quintessentially American cause celeb. Few work harder to drum up and rally a crowd with their song-stories, and, though his father was a musician –- more on that later –- his is very much an up-by-your-bootstraps tale. In short,…

Profile: The Wingdale Community Singers (2010)

Originally published in Brooklyn Rail May 2010 Spirit Duplicator, the second record from Brooklyn quartet the Wingdale Community Singers, begins with an enticing simulacrum—not a chord strummed on an acoustic guitar but the naked skeleton of notes that would seem to form that chord. There’s the thrum-thrum of the low E string, followed by hammered-on…

Profile: The ‘Antique-Garde’ Songwriters of New York City (2010)

Originally published in American Songwriter March 30, 2010 “The future’s eternally bankrupt but history provides” Winter was hard on New York City. February 27, a Saturday, started before dawn for Erik Della Penna of Kill Henry Sugar, who rode the A train from his Central Park West apartment to 176th Street to walk across the…

Profile: Robin Aigner (2010)

Originally published in Brooklyn Rail April 2010 Robin Aigner, a vintage dress and boots extending her pint-sized frame, remains in control of the Living Room’s standing-room crowd as the music swirls around her. Ian McLaughlin’s upright bass lurches along, drummer Bill Gerstel doles out spare yet fluid accompaniment, and Brady Jenkins conjures up twinkling piano…