Zammuto’s play with sound and sonic possibility makes you go “Aww!” Sound-smithing and experimentation create perfect musical spirals with creative sampling and synthesizing. Zammuto is the Nick Zammuto half of The Books, with a new live backing band. If you don’t know about the now-defunct Books, they scavenged for sound bits (like family videos from Goodwill, or the contents of the blog Everything is Terrible) to knit together into sampledelic folk-inspired musical pieces.
Zammuto records all of its music in an idyllic house in the woods of Vermont. They are basically awesome. Projected visuals, like finger skateboarding or rushing wooded landscapes, were all a part of the sensory concert experience. The crowd gobbled up the surreal juxtapositions of images, cheering at an image of a hardboiled egg getting sliced in half and returning the gesture when one video featured a bunch of middle fingers. When they were called back onstage for an encore, Sean Dixon started out with an epic drum solo, which turned into the drum rolls of the Paul Simon classic “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” with a funky, syncopated rendition of the chorus. On top of Christopher Owens covering “The Boxer,” it’s really too bad former student Adrian Simon, formerly ’15 hasn’t been around to hear his dad’s tunes and get all embarrassed.
When I found out that Ian Mackaye—of Minor Threat, Fugazi, and The Evens—was coming to talk at Wesleyan, my 16-year-old self was ecstatic. I totally went through a phase in high school when I would sit in my room with my headphones on and listen to early punk music at a ridiculous volume—not exactly the classic punk experience, but everybody’s gotta do it their own way. And my 20-year-old self was just as psyched by the prospects of listening to this seminal figure of punk and post-hardcore talk for two hours.
MacKaye, who isn’t exactly known for using his indoor voice, was extremely articulate and thoughtful. He turned a lecture hall into a conversation, and fifteen or so questions into hours of discourse. He even got us to create an impromptu experimental music piece with everyone’s cellphones ringing simultaneously—Alvin Lucier would surely have been proud.
MacKaye took seemingly simple questions and formed sprawling answers, full of stories about the punk scene of the 1980s and ‘90s, with characters ranging from Henry Rollins and Ted Nugent to his bandmates in Fugazi, and life lessons. “Love what you do,” he said when asked to give advice for aspiring musicians. “If you fail, at least you will have loved it.” He talked about trying to get a punk band going in Washington, D.C., about his vocalist inspirations—Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker—about being straight-edge, about being Vegan (“Who does eating meat benefit?”), about the difficulty of dealing with skinheads and violence at his shows (“I don’t provide a soundtrack for violence”), and a short poem on his vision of punk rock: “Because we said so.”
I totally meant for that title to rhyme.
Frank Fineis ’13 and our Dearest Leader Zach Schonfeld ’13 has the latest in hardcore music-related Wesleyan events, as always. But this one is actually pretty awesome:
Ian MacKaye is the famously uncompromising former frontman of Fugazi and Minor Threat, current co-member (with his partner Amy Farina) of The Evens, and the founder of DC-based DIY label Dischord Records. He comes to shed wisdom on Wesleyan a few months after the release of The Evens’ latest album, The Odds—and shortly after the tenth anniversary of Fugazi’s hiatus. If you have even the slightest interest in hardcore, 1990s American indie underground, or DIY music industry ethics, this one’s worth your while.
This event is free and open to the public, so arrive early. It will also be entirely question-and-answer format, so please bring questions for Mr. MacKaye.
Before you go, you should probably enjoy some essential, required listening.
Date: Wednesday, February 27th
Time: 8 p.m.
Place: CFA Hall
Easily distracted Internet musings on Friday night’s psychedelia.
Opening up WESU’s much-hyped Spring Concert Series with a fuzzy bang full of wha-wha guitars and freaky visuals, Connecticut’s The Stepkids performed on Friday night in what may be the most psychedelic happening at the Memorial Chapel since the Už Jsme Doma performance in 2010. In the spirit of an old-school Wesleying tradition that has lain dormant for too long, we’re reviewing the show in the form of a Wesleying staff Gchat session. Eventually it devolves into a reflection on Linus, sausage grinders, and Scott Brown’s porn career, because obviously that happens. Read on anyway.
Photos below by me and Goatmilk.
Like rock? Psych pop? Stepchildren? Jesse “Jesse & Brent” Brent ’13 has great news:
We’re kicking off our concert series with a bomb-ass show! The Stepkids, hailing from Bridgeport and signed to Stones Throw Records (J Dilla), are bringing their audiovisual spectacular to the Memorial Chapel this Friday night, supported by New Haven/Brooklyn rocker Sidewalk Dave and Wesleyan’s own Featherwood Bee. FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! Learn more on our website and join the Facebook event. What up, CT!
What: The Stepkids/Sidewalk Dave/Featherwood Bee
Date: Friday, February 22
When: Doors 7:30; Featherwood Bee 8:00; Sidewalk Dave 8:45; The Stepkids 10:00
Where: Memorial Chapel
Who can attend: Everyone
Bring: Dancing shoes; white shirts. (You’ll see why.)
You can catch him at sound check. You can catch him on the radio every Friday. You can catch him in his Outside Lands hoodie. You cannot catch him shaving his beard. He is the omnipresent yet untraceable Mickey Capper ’13, and he has materialized long enough for me to record an important message that he brings to Wesleyan and the Middletown community:
We’re holding the first meeting of the radio storytelling group tomorrow (2/16) at 3pm in Studio B at WESU
(above Red & Black). If you’re interested and can or can’t make it, send me an email at mcapper[at]wesleyan[dot]edu
with a subject line that includes the word “troll.”
The intention of the group is to support each other in creating audio stories, providing constructive criticism to each other, producing a quality “audio publication” at the end of the semester (on par with This American Life
, or at least better than whatever other college kids are doing), and reclaiming the term “troll” from the evils of the Internet on behalf of the dope creatures that live under bridges
Tomorrow we’ll be:
- Listening to some short radio docs and discussing different techniques for interviews, narration, music, and sound design;
- Discussing the materials available to record and edit stories, as well as sources for advice and information on what makes a good story.
What: Radio Documentary Explorers aka Doc Ex aka .docx
Where: WESU, 45 Broad Street (above Red & Black)
When: Saturday, February 16
Time: 3 – 4pm
Contact: mcapper[at]wesleyan[dot]edu with subject line “Troll”
For those of you with a deep golden voice and a desire to be intellectual stimulating, this just in from Aria Danaparamita ’13:
Think you have ‘All Things Considered’? Like ‘Talk of the Nation’? Eat your breakfast to ‘Morning Edition’?
ARGUS NEWS RADIO on WESU 88.1FM invites you to the world of radio journalism. We broadcast every 2 weeks, exposing news and features stories that affect the Wesleyan and Middletown communities.
Breaking news, fun features, in-depth investigation, interviews. Learn to report, produce, write, or edit for radio news.
Robert Siegel – that could be you. Kind of. Come to our info sesh and see what you can bring to ANR!
Date: Sunday, January 27th.
Time: 2:30-3:30 pm
Place: Usdan 114
Cost: Nope. Gotta love public radio.
Hai guyz, yet another Wesleyan musician has made it! This time, a group of scrappy WESU volunteers proves that they’ll be tastemakers of the future by introducing mtvU’s countdown of music videos, both on their Tumblr and on “a 24-hour television channel that is available on more than 750 college and university campuses across the United States” (check it out in a TV if you can find one!?). Perhaps recognizing how accomplished the Wesleyan community has been in the way of music lately, mtvU allowed the creators to (mostly) go crazy over the course of a single afternoon, turning such prosaic things like nail-clipping and sticking your head under your friend’s shirt into cinematic gold. Unfortunately, corporate censorship prevailed.
Here’s a full “artist statement” via former WESU technical director Dan Nass ’13:
mtvU invited WESU to do a college radio countdown, where we put together a playlist of ten music videos along with a clip introducing the station to viewers. WESU’s board of directors brought in the almost terrifyingly ubiquitous Will Feinstein ’13 to work on the script, and he and I co-directed the video. We shot it in a single afternoon, thanks to the talent and cooperation of WESU’s awesome student volunteers and our program manager Rick, along with some DIY ingenuity (a couple of the shots are lit with iPhones!) We wanted to represent WESU’s independent spirit with a suitably offbeat clip, and we must have done a good job because the folks at mtvU cut a couple of our favorite shots—the original video featured a kidnapping and a book-burning. The video and playlist are airing four times a day for the next week on mtvU. Check it out if you have a television! mtvU’s tumblr is also featuring five online music videos selected by the board, including campus favorites Adrien feat. William.
Holy shit! Avery “Honey Tru Tru Child” Trufelman ’13 drops the details on what promises to be the best lecture of November so far:
Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! and Car Talk creator and producer Doug Berman ’84 is coming to Wesleyan this Thursday for the third installment of the WESU Lecture Series!
Berman is a Peabody Award winner, whose career has spanned not just the world of public radio but also into newspapers, with Car Talk’s syndicated column, and beyond.
What’s he going to talk about? How to produce a show. How to make it big. Whatever you want him to talk about.
This event is FREE and open to the public. Join us at the CFA Hall for a casual Q+A with one of radio’s heaviest hitters!
Date: Thursday, November 1
Time: 7:00 pm
Place: CFA Hall (directions here if you’re not from around these parts)
FB Event Page?: Aw, yeah
Do you feel it in the air? Autumn is that special time of year, when folks have one thing on the brain: starting a family. Luckily, Avery “Yente” Trufelman ’13 writes in to remind you of the perfect opportunity to find your soulmate – and it’s happening tomorrow!
Records and CDs of all genres! Raffles! Food trucks! WESU DJs spinning live all day! Come to Beckham tomorrow, Sunday, October 28th, for the WESU semi-annual record fair! More music than your body has room for! Vendors of all sorts. Merchandise. Ice cream. Tapes. Posters. Wheels of fortune. Live. Free to enter and browse. What else is there to say? Studies have shown that music makes the world go ’round. So be a part of history. Come hungry, leave happy.
Peep the FB event, and make sure you show up in the clothes you want to get married in.
What: Record Fair
When: Sunday, October 28, officially 11am-4pm
Date: 11am – 4pm
Where: Wesleyan’s Beckham Hall on Campus