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…

Profile: Nonagon (2009)

Originally published in Delusions of Adequacy June 1, 2009 Nonagon’s songs have a way of popping, no, better yet, of exploding out of stereo speakers, as if they were bottles of pressurized soda water just itching to be uncapped. On No Sun, their self-released and hand-assembled debut CD, angular guitars tear through the landscape, bass…

Profile: Pinataland (2004)

Profile: Pinataland (2004) Originally published in Delusions of Adequacy Sept. 27, 2004 You wouldn’t know it from listening to their unique and breathtaking debut – a collection of endearing history portraits and sometimes-elegiac narratives titled Songs for the Forgotten Future Vol. 1 – but Pinataland is actually a group of living, breathing musicians, not some…

Profile: Bonni Evensen from Snowy (2003)

Originally published in Delusions of Adequacy Sept. 22, 2003 For those looking for the surface of life to imitate art, I’m sorry to report that Bonni Evensen, the singer-songwriter behind the atmospheric pop ensemble Snowy, is anything but cold or wintry. Anyone who has a copy of Snowy’s debut CD, Lilywhite, knows that Evensen has…

Profile: Vital Cog’s Steve Stone (2003)

Staring at the Workings of The Gears: An Interview with Vital Cog Records Founder Steve Stone Originally published in Delusions of Adequacy July 13, 2003 Let’s cut through the static. Who are the voices worth listening to in indie rock? Well, push aside the soundbyte-spewing iconoclasts and the photogenic figureheads, the outspoken fanzine addicts and…