10 best local recordings of 2020!

Ok so we’re a little late this year. We’ve had a lot on our mind since, in case you hadn’t noticed, a lot’s been going on in the world besides local music. And while local music is always important and will always be OUR lifeblood, when the world shuts down and refuses to allow live music performances to take place… we get a bit depressed and unmotivated :(.

Luckily, the lack of live performances allowed many local groups to focus on recording and releasing new material! In this spirit, instead of doing our usual ‘worst local band of’, we decided to do a ‘worst local recording of 2020’! And there were so many to choose from… a list of all the great local recordings that made the list but not the top ten is available at the bottom! We recommend listening to not only the top 10 but every single one listed!!! There is so much great local music that’s released every year that we all miss just because we don’t hear about it, and we’re just trying to do our part to remedy that! Thanks for reading! Here’s the top 10:

10. Madeline Darby – Innovation

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Madeline Darby has been an integral part of the local scene and especially the Superdark collective for years now. As a member of Dominated Swine and Thinner Friends in addition to her solo releases, her contribution to the electronic noise music in the capital district local scene is enormous to say the least. And on her most recent release, Innovation, her mastery of the independent experimental electronic and darkwave genres are on full display. A very personal album full of vocals, despite the frequent use of monotone/rap, it’s evocative of the very individual intellectual and psychological struggles that Madeline Darby and the rest of us face on a daily basis. With Shane Michael/100 Psychic Dreams contributing mixing and Paul Coleman mastering, Madeline’s collaborative spirit and choice of the best of the best in the local scene’s recording industry is beyond reproach. But the wealth of knowledge of electronic recordings and forays into the tiniest corners of the extensive wealth of electronic genres is fully displayed by all the intriguing tracks contained in this twenty minute ep — you have to hear it to appreciate just how much space it covers!

9. Scum Couch – Righteous Climb

We at Times Boredom have been huge fans of Scum Couch for awhile now (even editorially suggesting they be the best of last year). But we may be biased, since the kind of avant-garde experimental rocking noise music Mark O’Brien deals in is pretty much our favorite post subgenre. And this short collection of loud wailing noise rock is just magnifique! Calling to mind the noisey experimentation of a thousand barely heard touring artists (we think of our old but sadly defunct friends Ape Not Kill Ape), but also relating to post and noise rock heroes like Silver Daggers, Oxbow, and Health, this ep is a gateway drug to all things further left field than most likely anything you’ll ever hear on the radio (other than perhaps the Superdark Radio Show!). And it melds so many genres and advances in the genre’s influences so seamlessly it sounds as though O’Brien isn’t just pioneering but invented them all! Well done, as always!

8. Keith Sonin & John Olander – Invalid Labor

This is what happens when you don’t respond to the surveys people!

So if that last entry was a little too noisey or far left of the dial for you, there’s no way you’re going to be able to stomach to this release from two members of Albany’s long running noise rock collective Che Guevara T-Shirt. Apparently both have been digging into far more noise over signal and random chance experimental recordings, though the sides of the coin that are on display here from the two sound artists are certainly very distinct from each other.

Olander’s side of the record is 5 songs of nothing but straight kazoo solos.

Sonin, on the other hand, appears to be utilizing feedback from various contact mics on acoustic instruments in the foreground and layers of amplifiers mic’d and feeding back into each other as background. Both lack obvious rhythm (though both are clearly rhythmic in their own unusually defined ways), traditional instrumentation, or vocals of any kind. Mixing and mastering by omnipresent behind the scenes star Paul Coleman and (on the Olander tracks) Carl Blackwood of local band Bendt lend these recordings balance and presence, but take away nothing of the intentional grit. Dark, foreboding seemingly random soundscapes lie in wait on this record to entertain, creep you out, and intriguingly describe a period in the lives of their creators.

7. Thinner Friends

The Superdark collective supergroup Thinner Friends is made up of Madeline Darby (Madeline Darby), Gary Ziroli (Mr. Cancelled), and Shane Sanchez (100 Psychic Dreams, Blood Blood Blood, Eternal Crimes, etc.). Dealing in energetic electronic postpunk, the group gained immediate attention and local love upon forming and playing their first show. Since then they’ve created a cadre of songs for this debut ep of fun, danceable tunes melding too many hip genres to list. If you’re familiar with other groups these three allstars have been involved in, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to hear their separate talents merged into one group that so naturally complements and completes both songs and instrumentation it sounds like they’ve always been together. Three to the third power of great tastes that taste great together!

6. Various Artists – 518 Covid19 Quarantine Comp

A lot of different independent original music elements were brought together for this compilation, from groups associated with the Superdark collective in Saratoga and Troy, to Glens Falls No More Death Stars, eastern Massachusetts stars Leap the Dips, Albany allstars Gay Tastee Ex Machina, all the way down to groups that started in Albany and made their way to NYC and Ohio Never out of the Woods! There have been plenty of similar compilations over the years (like say from NYC to Albany, the screed comps, countless punk rock split 7 inches), but this one was formed out of the need for community resulting from the atomization and forced solitude of the pandemic. Compiler Keith Sonin (of local goatherders Che Guevara T-Shirt) worked with superpower duo the Colemans to solicit, bring together, and sequence songs made from the horror and loneliness brought on by the pandemic starting in Albany and spreading as far and wide as needed to convey the pluralistic reactions to the stay at home orders. ‘Intimidating’ near straight noise experimenters like Derpetuity, Arbitrary Labor, and dblgoer stand side by side with the somber yacht rock of the K.O.N.N. and Sava_D and the the lo-fi downbeat Stooges like tracks of Rey Cormac. Most of the artists are either locally famous or the pen names of locally famous group members and one off collaborators. But it’s all motivated by the same spirit of trying to make original independent songs to get ourselves and our friends through this time, and have something to remember it by.

5. Lone Phone Booth – RE/SOUND

We’ve been raving about Lone Phone Booth since we first saw them in a dank basement, and haven’t stopped screaming about how great their sophomore effort RE/Sound is since we first heard it (read more at here)! Such a tour de force of not only experimental found sound collages but classic indie rock melodies and guitar lines; we genuinely fear that Lone Phone Booth will relocate some day and leave our love behind. Because clearly they have the talent and the ability; even the recording of every last noise put into this record is crisp and clear when appropriate, fuzzy and lethargic when that’s called for. Clearly we’re not alone, as more and more fans are picking up on how terrific the efforts of Grace Annunziato keep getting better and better. We like to think that we here at Times Boredom enlightened at least a few cool kids to the great sounds of LPB; if we achieved even that, it has not all been in vain!

4. Haunted Cat – Third Degree Moonburns

Albany underground legend Drew Benton (Complicated Shirt, TOUGH, Sesame Plexer) just seems to be getting better with every new group he puts together, every new album he makes. The undeniably epic ‘3rd Degree Moonburns’ proves that not only does Benton still have the chops to blow us away with his talent, but that his songwriting skills are not only still great but further developing with every new year. Influences like Magazine, Television, and Richard Hell still figure prominently in the sound, along with the glam of Bowie and Mick Ronson and T. Rex. The sharp, caustic wit that’s been evident throughout his career is here tempered with the wisdom of being able to view it from outside; the noisey punk screeches matured into a melange of sounds that come from everywhere; guitars, drums and bass, but now also horns, piano, and all kinds of Pet Sounds type instruments one would be hard pressed to identify individually. There are even ballads so beautiful and sombre they rival those of Tom Waits (we can’t wait until Rod Stewart covers a Haunted Cat song!). The history of popular music is being examined here, from Walls of Sound to glam-sludge and everywhere in between. Steeped in music theory and a talent for pop songwriting that is unrivaled in the local scene, Haunted Cat reaches (forgive us for the cliched terminology but it really does apply here) EPIC heights with this record. A FUCKING CLASSIC.

3. Steve Hammond – Small Songs

Those that know Steve Hammond know that he’s no stranger to unusually high productivity, but on his 2020 release he breaks pretty much every record we can think of. An album with over ninety minutes of music that keeps it interesting with the ‘small song’ format, no song is longer than 3 minutes, most are under two, and the ‘smallest’ comes in at 19 seconds! In addition to having 53 songs (fifty-fucking-three!!), the number of genres included in this small masterpiece exceeds even the number of songs. From the shoegaze of ‘Escaping Hell’, the post-hardcore of ‘cat skin suit’ and ‘dog rape whistle’, to genres times boredom doesn’t usually hear like southwestern instrumentals (guitararra), bossa nova (georgie bean), and even good old fashioned soul with ‘Wasting Away’. And we thought k. Sonin who was eclipsed by Asa Morris were productive! With about 40 albums featuring Steve’s love of all music willing to go anywhere style available on bandcamp alone, Hammond is a genre-bending songaholic never stopping always entertaining steel driving music man!

2. Sky Furrows

If you’ve read anything about Sky Furrows on Times Boredom before, you know we never run out of good things to say about them. We’ve been gushing about how terrific they are since they first time we saw them and were entranced by their early SST spoken word post-hardcore sound (we’re all big SST fans from back in the day, and although they combine influences from plenty of other hip underground genres that’s the one we love and celebrate most). And finally, we got to hear their recorded output in 2020 with their self titled new record. Best of all, we got a copy of the vinyl (read Ipolit’s review here)! The timing couldn’t have been better since we’ve been missing their fantastic live shows with all the famous and talented long and short term scenesters on and off stage, so the fact that their record came out mollified us no end being able to listen to it over and over again when we were missing them. Truly the Capital District has been blessed with the unique spoken word poetry of Karen Schoemer (herself an actual music journalist unlike any of us amateurs whatwhithin our nonsensin grammar and rocknroll vocab), the combination of Burnt Hills legends Eric Hardiman, Mike Griffin, and Phil Donnelly (all of whom are in plenty of other fascinatingly creative psychedelic tinged groups like Century Plants, Rambutan, Parashi, etc.), all coming together to give some of their best to truly one of the best albums to come out of the Capital District ever!

1. Architrave – This Perfect Day

It’s no secret that there’s mutual love between local scene arms the Super Dark Collective, Times Boredom, and super talented power couple Jennifer and Paul Maher-Coleman (read TB’s interview here) and the many musical projects they spearhead and contribute to, but Architrave’s pandemic release proved once more why this specific group of theirs is as popular and worshipped as they are. Almost timeless in its influences and sounds, the record could be from the late seventies, the synth drenched mid eighties, or the Brooklyn hipster synth-pop renaissance of the early turn of the century. But unlike any nostalgic rehash, Architrave’s songs are purely original compositions based on a love of all their influences and an undeniably innovative resulting output. And of course this ain’t no synth-pop record; there’s a dark mystique and spirituality to this and all Maher-Coleman penned tunes that reveal a depth that, while undeniably catchy, comes from a well of human spirit that’s lived, loved, suffered, and come to terms with the meaningless complexity of life’s many unexpected twists and turns in a way that comes out as nothing short of great wisdom. And that’s not something you usually (if ever) hear in recorded rock, pop, and electronic music. Dark or cold wave would be an insulting term to apply to the brilliant tunes of ‘This Perfect Day’, given how superficial and naive so much of those genres turn out to be. This album represents a definitive maturity of sound crafted by a lifetime of electronic know-how and mastery of evocative melody to convey the personalities of its wise creators. This Perfect Day is not only a perfect record for the pandemic, but we keep spinning it well into the post-pandemic period, appreciating more of its complexity, integrity, and unerring honesty with every new listen. Everything that Jen and Paul Coleman are involved in is made better by their presence, but when their greatness is distilled to its essence in Architrave, something amazing and timeless has been released into a world made much better as a result of the beautiful and new colors it adds.

Honorable mentions (maybe in a particular order, maybe just randomly…): Dominated Swine – Songs of the Dominated Swine, Fine Grain – Cold Dead Eyes, Mount Mole – Flee Marker, Maggot Brain – Illumine, Ferriday – Everywhere you go, 100 Psychic dreams – variously releases, Apostrophe Beats – various releases, Brent Gorton – Quiet Time, Coupons – Up and Up, Aldebaran – Blue Lands, Bridge of Flowers – BIll + Ed, Laveda – What happens after?, Burnt Hills – Slip through time, Eraserheadz – Tales Not to Sleep, Various – Timmy Wiggins Come Home Soon Volume 1, Various – 2 dead hummingbirds presents, Machine REvival – Pulse Decay Time, Matthe D. Gantt – Diagnostics, Joe Taurone – Just Joe Vol. 1, The King of Nothing Nowhere – Her words my mouth, Rhakim Ali – Less is More, John Powhida International Airport – Single Feeling Randy, Pete Donnelly – Woke Bastard, Swamp Baby – Water Gods, Mike Hotter – Room to Land, Gay Tastee Ex Machina – Shook, Normanskillers – s/t

Don’t like our pics? Get involved in the survey for next year! E-mail timesboredom@gmail.com to let us know about your interest! Or better yet, send us an editorial all about your favorite band and why they should’ve won. If it’s grammatically correct, poignant, or funny enough we’ll publish it!

Fine Grain: the last long haired band that DOESNT play death metal

“Who says just because we have long hair means we have to play a certain style of music?” asks Jake Dietrich, bass and vocals.

“Well, no one. It’s just supposed to be a funny headline. It’s not even really you talking right now.”

“What the fuck dude? You can’t just pretend you’re me for some joke that’s not even really funny in the first place!”

Here they are, posed like Queen for some reason… also kinda like Live. Remember that band? Wtf did we ever see in them?

“Yeah man, that’s pretty fucked up.” chimes in Zach Karpinski. “Wait, what did you say about ‘chiming’ there? I didn’t say anything! This is all you.”

Despite the fact that the three guitarists/vocalists have beautiful long locks, the drummer has short hair. “Well yeah” says Kevin Bohen, lead guitar/background vocals; “drummers can have any hair they want. Haven’t you seen Spinal Tap?”

“That shit would get in my eyes, get caught on the drum sticks, fuck up my playing. I mean, it doesn’t interfere with guitars, but drummers with long hair have a hard time. So fuck that” –Matt Hardin, drums.

The band often makes use of their hair for comic effect. “Yeah, we do the whole headbanging in time thing, kinda like when we all raise our guitars together. You know, it’s that whole Molly Hatchet classic rock bullshit. We think it’s funny. And if you don’t… wait what am I saying, I thought I told you this isn’t even me” Zach interrupts; “No not Zach! It’s just you you asshole! I’m not saying any of this!”

Despite their lack of agreeing to be interviewed by us because we didn’t ask (it’s funnier to us to put words into people’s mouths), Fine Grain is one of the if not THE best band currently terrorizing the Capital District. And definitely one of the best to come out in the past few years. The fact that they don’t take themselves too seriously means, hopefully, they’ll appreciate this article and not just kick my ass for posting this bullshit. Here’s a link to their latest video!

Interview with Grace Annunziato of Lone Phone Booth

Ipolito, our resident biggest fan of local experimental indie noise project/”gay uncle core” performers Lone Phone Booth (though the rest of us are fans too!) sat down (on the internet) with Grace Annunziato of the group recently to talk about how the pandemic is affecting music, what their writing and recording process is like, and random stuff about, um, corn. Here’s what they came up with.

Ipolito Terentjia (IT): So how are you enjoying the pandemic so far?

Grace Annunziato (GA): ha; i talked a lot before the pandemic about how i wished everything would stop, or at least slow down; i have learned to be more careful what i wish for,there have been some great aspects that have come with it like introspection, focus on my meditation practices, and connecting more deeply with the earth and with my priorities. obviously none of that is worth the toll it has taken! my plans have been shaken up and i forget how to be around people. but i am lucky to have gotten through it relatively unscathed. & it has definitely changed my creative process lots.

IT: Have you been making more music as a result or has it prevented that?

GA: DEFINITELY less music. for months at the beginning it just seemed so silly to write a little song with a pandemic and civil rights movement in full swing. now it’s just harder to get the motivation, but i’ve been finding ways around that. i also love writing about places and experiences which are hard to come by in a pandemic.

IT: I know what you mean. I think a lot of local musicians are feeling that way. Do you live in the capital district?

GA: i do! i live in albany.

IT: How long have you lived here? I think I read something about one of your recordings being at St Rose. Did you go to school there?

GA: i moved here for college in 2016. yeah, i went to saint rose! I graduated May 2020. meaning i finished school virtually. i had planned some long form travel after graduation but wound up sticking around, which has been a blessing in disguise.

IT: Did you study music there?

GA: I studied music industry, so a combination of music tech, business, and performance. i mostly focused on the tech side. i love engineering and production work.

IT: I guess that means you learned a lot about recording. Can you tell us about your recording process and methods?

GA: i usually start with guitar parts, at least i have in the past. once i have the guitar and vocals down i’ll add other instruments. after that is the really fun part, adding samples and field recordings, synths, effects, etc. that part probably takes the most time.

lately though, i’ve been switching it up a little. usually now I’ll start with a sample or field recording and build on that sound; i try to make it the focal point rather than the background. Then I’ll layer guitar, vocals, keys, whatever, on top of that.

i have a little portable stereo recorder i’ve been bringing on hikes. that has been the basis for a lot of music recently. then i just add sounds that feel like they fit the time and place i recorded.

IT: Do you record at home or in a studio?

GA: both! the studio when i was at st rose, now just at home. i’d love to get back in the studio when i have something ready that could use a hi-fi recording.

RE/SOUND needed that clean studio sound! but for more ambient stuff like i’ve been into lately i honestly love the lofi sound of recording at home on my busy street.

IT: Switching to the business side since you said you also studied that, I assume you’ve been self releasing recordings thus far. Have you spoken with or been approached by any local or big record labels? Or do you always see yourself doing things the DIY way and releasing and promoting independently?

GA: i’ve worked with the angels at bee side cassettes and talked with five kill a bit too. i’ve never been approached by a bigger label, but i have been ignored by a few! hahah.

despite having studied it, the business side of things has always made me feel icky. promotion is not my thing. i would rather self release and have only a few people hear it than have a huge release that feels inauthentic.

IT: The ‘who are your major influences’ question is a tired old cliche that signals a lack of imagination on the part of the interviewer. Who are you major influences?

GA: Mirah has affected me since I was a kid. Frankie Cosmos and Girlpool and a lot of straight white emo bands helped me get started. William Basinski and other minimalist composers like Philip Glass, Emily Sprague. The trees that live on my street. And how the light moves around my apartment throughout the day!

Anyone who can combine noise and music, too- Ylayali, spirit of the beehive, the books, etc

IT: That’s a lot of stuff I’ve never heard of. I’ll have to do some background research and put the record buying on Times Boredom’s dime!

GA: sounds like a great plan!!!

IT: What genre, if any, would you say your music could be classified as?

GA: gay

for real, i don’t know how to answer that! somewhere in the alternative umbrella. for now i’ll go with gay uncle core.

IT: A lot of people are saying that indie rock, like rock music in general, has become stale and unexciting. So if you could save Courtney Barnett, Waxahatchee, or the band Real Estate, who would you let drown first and why?

GA: bye bye, real estate!
i’ve covered waxahatchee and courtney barnett is the primordial ooze that my hairstyle was birthed from.

IT: So I’d like to ask you about live performances before I forget. Where have you played in the Capital District? Anywhere you’d like to play? Have you ever toured and/or are you planning to?

GA: i’ve played basements and living rooms all across the capital district! and i have done a small tour in the northeast US. next year i am moving into a van so i will sort of be touring all the time. i’d love to play in the southwest US just because it’s where i’d love to explore.

i would be ecstatic to play in any sweaty basement with my friends in it

IT: So several of the other writers here at Times Boredom wanted me to tell you how much they love your music and especially your latest album ‘RE/SOUND’. It plays around TB HQ pretty much non-stop. What we all most want to know most is, do you plan to stick around the Capital District? Can we hope to hear more from you and see live performances in the near and/or not to distant future?

GA: wow, i really appreciate that! seriously, it means a lot!! and it honestly depends on how COVID goes. i’ve been wanting to travel for a while. I hope to leave albany in the fall as long as everyone who wants a vaccine has one by then. hopefully i’ll be able to play a few shows in albany before that happens! but it seems so uncertain how the transition back into live music will go.

IT: We absolutely look forward to that and hope you’ll keep us in the loop! Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us tonight Is there anything you’d like to add before we conclude? Maybe another local music artist you’d like to give a shout out to?

GA: number one is an email newsletter i recently started! https://lonephonebooth.substack.com/ .

number two! my partner alex AKA soo do koo. one of the most inspiring artists i know, & in the midst of releasing a series of video collabs with local legend Derick Noetzel.

thanks for reaching out, and for chatting! much appreciated. can i ask you an interview question before we go?

IT: Sure thing. ask away

GA: what is your favorite vegetable and why???

IT: Hm. A fair question. Although technically corn breaks all the rules, one of things it is is a vegetable. So I’m gonna have to pick corn, since it was such a major achievement of the pre-Colombian American peoples. It’s basically the most scientifically advanced form of nutrition that can grow anywhere under almost any conditions

I fully believe that the import of corn from the Americas allowed all civilizations, in Europe, Asia, and Africa, to flourish in a way that allowed them to reflect much more on intellectual pursuits because it feeds so many so efficiently

While it may not be the healthiest kind of food, the technology, knowledge of farming, cultivation, hybridization, and the sheer audacity of taking something that grew only in very specific conditions in the wild yet was modified to make it spread across the entire planet mirrors humankind’s own journey into being the superdominant species on earth, for better or worse.

GA: that was beautiful. never have i thought so deeply into corn’s cultural impact; thank you.

IT: Oh, before I forget, Scott wanted me to specifically ask: “GOATS!!! GOATS GOATS GOATS GOATS GOATS!! THEY WILL TAKE OVER SOON, JUST LOOK IN THEIR EYES! FEAR THE GOOOAAATTTSSS!!!!”

GA: well said, Scott.

IT: Thanks again and I hope we have an excuse to speak again soon! Please keep making great music! We really love it!

GA: hahah they’re both good points & thank you so much! i really do appreciate all the kindness you all have shown me.

What’s an extra $12 million for a terrible idea in an impoverished small City in upstate New York among idiots?

As you all know, we vowed sometime in the past to only report on music and not local news or politics. Did we? I actually don’t remember.

However, the heinous increase in funding for the idiotic Skyway that real news organizations seem to be glossing over pissed us off to the degree that we just had to say something.

Back in October of 2019 and previously we vilified this dumbshit stupid project when it was slated to cost only 3 million for the so-called ‘greenway’ (converting a highway ramp to another pedestrian project to link downtown Albany to the Hudson waterfront, yet another in a series of ‘Smart’ ‘Green’ ‘Insert cliched urban planning term here’ projects to do, well, that exact same thing that haven’t really worked so far because as everyone knows downtown Albany is a ghost town after 5 PM workdays — or at least it was before the pandemic… now it’s just, I don’t know, when was the last time you were there?) and another insane amount for some total pie in the sky type shit that, per our recall, was proposed back in the 70s as ‘multi-modal’ transportation solutions including sending people in some sort of sci-fi bubble from the train station across the river in downtown Rensselaer to somewhere (most likely the gorgeous and convenient to walk to everywhere downtown Greyhound bus center) downtown.

But now the project costs have exploded to 5 times the insanely high amount for a really stupid fucking idea in the first place. And, well, everyone’s just reporting it. We haven’t seen an op-ed or even the usual snarky one liner snuck in to articles by non-Unionized employees afraid of losing their jobs but unable to completely forego their journalistic training and integrity by not saying anything at all.

What strikes us as most unusual as the extra cost, from 3 million to 15 million, is EXACTLY the amount of the hole in the Budget Mayor Sheehan complained about for years. 12 million. W. T. F?

Now’s also a great time, since the recession resulting from the pandemic seems to be not exactly abating but not as atrociously frightening — and we all know that as soon as the smoke clears and cities like Albany fail to get the funds they were counting on to fill the holes from all the issues they’ve had from Biden’s $1.9 trillion corporate pork-a-way fail to materialize. Well done planning board! Well done City Council! Well done Mayor Sheehan!

Is anyone at all in the world other than us disagreeing that this is a great use of a lot of desperately needed funds, handing it over to stupid yuppie friendly developers while the terrible poverty in so many areas of the city of Albany continues unabated…

Not reporting from our fake location somewhere in the hills, this is Times Boredom saying What. The. Fuck. Albany?

Shit I gotta get back to work my boss is coming! If I said anything non-factual let me know cause I gotta go NOW!

Male Patterns spew authentic local hardcore punk on their latest split 7″ (with Executors)

I have this ongoing argument with a lot of my friends. Indie rockers, prog nerds, hipsters, contrarians, noise music enthusiasts… for some reason they don’t appreciate current hardcore punk. Sure, the early stuff like Black Flag and Minor Threat was groundbreaking and great they say, but now it’s just people doing the same thing over and over. As if there’s some kind of ‘progression’ in music that’s gonna bring it all to perfection some day. As if they wouldn’t flip their shit for a local band that sounds exactly like Can, or a shitty touring band just because it has some wanker thief of singer songwriter folk cliches like Will Oldham or Bill Callahan.

I get so angry at their hypocrisy and ignorance the only thing that calms me down is blasting music like the 7 inch I just got from Male Patterns loud as my stereo goes for days. Because regardless of whether my friends appreciate it, shit like this to me is some of the most truly honest and authentic music you’ll ever hear, local or otherwise.

Photo of Male Patterns by legendary local scenestress Sara Winner

That being said, much as I love local hardcore punk, I’m in no sense as versed in it as I should be. I can’t tell you which micro-genre Male Patterns may or may not belong to, whether they’re post crust, pre-grind, powerviolence, etc. I don’t know the difference between a break beat and a whatever else the terminology may be, and don’t give a shit (though as an unpaid but self styled critic perhaps I should).

The most obvious influence a poser like myself immediately hears is early eighties Black Flag (Damaged/Everything Went Black/My War period). Both the sludgey off the cuff riffs of Mike Moak and the angry, raspy vocals of Brendan Halayko unmistakeably invoke that classic period of American hardcore. It’s also clear that Male Patterns has taken cues from dozens (if not hundreds) of local hardcore punk bands both old and new like Police Line and Devoid of Faith. And of course there’s at least some influence from After the Fall, the renowned decades strong local band that guitarist Mike Moak is the frontman, vocalist and guitarist for. There are deep histories mixed in here that whole books could be written about but never will because just a few notes of this split ep convey all the beauty and brutality of an ever evolving yet always true to its roots hardcore punk aesthetic and immediacy.

Vocalist Brendan Halayko

The first track on side B of this 7 inch (or the first track in general for those of you on bandcamp) is proof positive of what I’m talking about. “Handcuffed to the grid and I’m about to crack, Our lives are micro chipped and there’s no going back… AUTOMATIC!” The world is fucked and so are we. There’s no way out all, you can do is scream into the void. And that’s exactly what they’re doing.

All tracks share a common aesthetic (a common theme with punk bands — songs sound the same and fuck you if you don’t like em); full on starts segueing into rhythmic build ups and take downs, chugging riffs and shouted single word or phrase choruses.

Vocalist Brendan Halayko (who I recognize from his days back with local punk legends the Neutron Rats that we were too drunk to remember seeing) has an idiosyncratic, full throated raspy half shout that conveys grit, anger, and despair in full measure. Regardless of whether or not he sets out to sound original or idiosyncratic, his voice has a rugged angry survivor quality that I haven’t heard the likes of anywhere else (but is clearly influenced by hardcore legends like Henry Rollins).

Self Abuse is lyrically quite similar to a Keith Morris Black Flag song. Straightforward, hopeless, depressing, and kranky as the sky is big.

Bassist KC Carvill

Fear Mongering is a screed against anyone and everyone that makes life into one paranoid fantasy about terrorism. Fact is danger is everywhere, terrorism’s just one more guise; “A thousand ways to the grave/we’ve evolved so quickly/but are so easily afraid”. It’s all too easy to play on people’s fears to get them to stay inside, live like mice and just consume. But if you fall prey to that, it’s like you’re already dead. Instead, Male Patterns tells us to “Live your life!”

When’s all said and done, to me the greatest thing about the kind of classic, ceaseless hardcore music that’s been going on since the late 70s is its self aware disposability and lack of (endless fight against) pretention. The ultimate nihilistic denial of any sort of progression in a musical form that stays true to its roots instead of trying to have individualized gimmicks that shows how special the group you’re listening to is, the ceaseless recycling and repetition that says ‘this is our music and we’re playing it cause we love it. We don’t want your money or your fame, we just want to express ourselves the same way our heroes have for years for ourselves and our friends who all feel similarly.’

And Male Patterns is yet another in this hardcore grind of American punk bands; they stand out from their peers in a way I really appreciate in their complete lack of trying to be ‘he-man’ music or show off how tough they are (a characteristic of more adolescent and foolish ambitious young punk bands), and what each of their individual talents brings to the band as veterans of dozens of other great punk rock groups that wanted nothing more than to write and play great music, and stop as soon as it stops feeling right and starts feeling like work. And in all likelihood, when this inevitably happens to yet another great punk band and sadly we have no more Male Pattern music to review, we’ll probably hear about Brendan, Mike, KC, and Dan’s new bands. And the vicious cycle continues. You either get it and you love it or you don’t and you never will.

-Scott Koenig

Asa Morris’ Loud and Sad

As the mail room attendant here at Times Boredom HQ I get an unusual behind the scenes peek of our operations. Still I was dumbfounded when last monday Scott Koenig, our editor in chief, pulled me aside and said “Gram old boy old pal, you seem to be caught up on your sorting for the day. Maybe you could help me out by doing one of these reviews I’ve got pilling up!”

Not to be one to miss a golden opportunity I started eyeing the folder labeled “Maggot Brain” as I’ve been excited to hear their new stuff. “Not so fast there Grammy boy” Scott knowingly interjected, “I have an album that’s perfect for you, I’ve got to see if your reviews are worth even committing to print before you waste time trying to review a great local metal band.” He handed me a folder labeled “Asa Morris” and I thought to myself, who the hell is that? Hopefully he riffs hard.

Here I am on the following Wednesday figuring that I should probably get this over with before the holiday. Opening the folder up I’m greeted by a fresh pressed CD-R with Loud & Sad scribbled on it in sharpie, an oddly formatted packet of lyrics, and a note from Scott telling me to check my email for the photos and cursing me out for not changing the toner in the color copier again. I pop the cd into my vintage Aiwa XR-X7 CX-LX7U.

The album starts off with an instrumental track named ‘Theme for a British Television Series’ which is a pretty apt name as it starts with a riff reminiscent of something Nick Drake would have come up with (if he hadn’t taken that forever nap after feasting on his happy pills). It drips of the same sort of melancholy but is simpler and as it repeats a full band arrangement joins in for a short jaunt before the track ends at about 41 seconds fading out one note for about 60 more seconds — at least I think. I don’t know for sure as I skipped to the next track.

While the next track, ‘Away We Go’, started playing I opened up my email and poured myself a pint of Rebel Yell bourbon. The tune can only really be described as lo-fi pop. I’m almost glad the lyrics were included in the folder as the vocals were buried in the busy and noisy mix. I say almost because the last thing this world needs right now is another song about driving across the country for a girl.

As the next track starts the cover image finishes loading (on my 56 kb/s internet connection). I think it’s a purple cat. It might not be a cat but it looks more like a cat with every sip of bourbon. Unlike the track I very much like cats. The track reminds me of my recurring nightmares of being forced to listen to shitty rock tunes on the school bus early in the morning. With its creepy toy piano/ palm muted guitar chord progression, the track repeats until a false climax around the one minute mark where Asa kicks on a distortion pedal and strums the same power chord 69 times (hehehe) before the piano loop begins again and the guitar goes back to being annoying. The whole thing loops around again this time with some extra strumming when the power chord gets loud again and the song ends with the chord progression with the distortion pedal left on.

The next track is another hissy instrumental with a name I like, Paper Bag on Fire, which makes me think that the paper bag is filled with what this album is made out of. At this point as I’m pouring another pint of critic juice the photo of Asa pops up right underneath my mouse cursor and it looks like there is a little hand on his nipple. I included a photo of the photo, look at it, it’s so funny.

Finally we have come to the end of the album, and to its title track ‘Loud & Sad’. I actually kinda like this song though it may be the booze talking or maybe i’m just used to hearing songs mixed like this or even quite possibly it’s the lyrics that make me think he didn’t get the girl after all. Who doesn’t like seeing the hero fall on his face? Either way Asa, whoever the fuck you are, if you do ever read this if you got the girl it’s not because of this record. It’s despite it ,and that’s real love. If you didn’t it would give you a chance to make a better album for the right woman. One with maybe a clearer mix that even the shittiest of speakers can reproduce clearly and less of that one pitch shifting delay used all over that makes this album sound like 2013 all over again. Remember next time you can’t polish a turd, it’s too soft, you have to shellac it. To most of the others who will read this it may sound a bit harsh but at least this chap has put out an album, his fourth this year. You most likely haven’t and that makes you a bigger turn than what you could fit in the bag.

-Gram Vossen

Interview with Brian Michael of Iudica and Terrallite

Bryan Alvarado (in foreground) with current band Terrallite: Thom Grover (far right), Nate Fidd (background on drums), and Christian Colón on bass

Times Boredom (TB:): Tell us a little bit about your former band Iudica and your new band Terrallite.  What are the biggest differences you see between them?

Brian Michael: Well, iüdica was a grunge project that started with our old bassist Chris Walker and some members of Terrallite including myself and our drummer Nate Fidd

TB: So that was intentionally meant to be like grunge genre stuff?

Brian Michael: That was six years ago. And yes at the onset I would say we set out to be a grunge band. It was what we all knew.

TB: That’s actually good that you brought that up b/c as stupid old men scenesters we have no idea how old anyone else is; how old were you when iudica started?

Brian Michael: I was 27 when we began, I had just moved to the Glens falls/Lake George area after spending many years in the Albany area. Almost a year ago we decided to shake it up. Our bassist wanted to try a different musical endeavor, and couldn’t commit as much. We had sort of stagnated in his defense. 

TB: I know that Iudica’s labelled a Lake George Band on Bandcamp; what city is your new Band Terrallite centered around?

Iudica, before the band reformed as Terrallite; Chris walker, Thom Grover, Brian Michael, and Nate Fidd on drums

Brian Michael: It’s hard to tell. We still do practice in lake George, but if I had to choose I would say Glens falls. We frequently perform in Saratoga, and Albany as well.

TB: So you’re an Albany native currently in exile/ I mean living in Lake George…

Brian Michael: I exiled myself man. After a failed business endeavor, I needed to refocus my life. I walked away from a lot of friends, a lot of drugs, and a lot of old habits when I moved.

TB: So how do you see Terrallite in relation to Iudica?  A progression from that sound or a whole new thing entirely?

Brian Michael: I view it as a total progression from the sound, and new thing entirely. We took on Thom Grover, who is a song writer. So now me and him write and have two totally different styles. (On the new recordings) I wrote shimmy and medicated. He wrote rusted spoon.

We also aren’t doing grunge anymore. I’m not really sure how to peg the sound but I feel it is definitely alternative rock or from that vein, but it has this kind of darker pop element as well.  And we added our new Bassist, Christian Colón. Thom is mostly noise guitar, but on what he writes he does rhythm.

TB: Yeah I’ve hear your new stuff and I think it’s very different; much more mature if that  makes sense

Brian Michael: We started working with a producer who’s really honed in our new sound.  His name is Tom Case. A legend in my opinion.

Terralite drummer Nate Fidd with legendary producer Tom Case, who they’ve been working with on new songs

TB: I hear much more danceable stuff, new wave influences, and in general it’s still alternative but yeah less grungey.  How much of that difference do you think is due to production, which does sound much cleaner and more professional?

Brian Michael: We write most of the material as a band should – in a garage or basement for example – but in the studio is really when we start to flesh out the details and cut out the nonsense to make them more coherent sound wise. I think the difference really is knowing to think about our music in a way where we perceive it from the listeners standpoint.

TB: I know we’ve all been on hold from local live music in a while, but have you noticed more people dancing and/or making more motion with your new stuff? I know I’m tapping my toes over here…

Brian Michael: When we started, we only had old people at the bar sitting staring at us kind of confused. I used to be really into house music – it became more important for us to write for the listener.  Once we started Terrallite we walked away from most iüdica material and pushed for this style of influence and vibe.

TB: Interesting.  I feel like it’s really hard to write straightforward rock/pop music these days so most people rely on pedals or volume or some other gimmick.  However, you guys manage to play a really straightforward sound and keep it interesting based on great songwriting.  How hard would you say you work on the actual melodies?  And how do you manage to keep it so interesting?

Brian Michael: So I don’t work on melodies while writing. I also don’t work on lyrics either — which is how we used to do it. Lyrics, then melody, then riffs, then drums.  Now it’s a music first approach. I have about 150+ 10 to 30 second recordings of catchy things I get in my head. Then I’ll transpose it to guitar and as a Band we pickup from there.  Once the song is made I start working on lyrics and melodies and only do it off the cuff. Whatever comes natural. 

Alternative Rock band Terrallite (from stage right): Thom Grover, Nate Fidd (drums), Brian Alvarado and Christian Colon

So I guess all I’m trying to say is it’s a totally different process from how we used to write and I think that he has produced a much more free formed way of approaching music that satisfies us.

I use 3 pedals by the way.  Overdrive, reverb, and a boost. You can get a lot of tone out of a guitar by bending it or picking in different ways. I am eyeballing a Leslie rotary speaker though, I have some really cool tunes that just neeeeed it

TB: Before the pandemic you were clearly a band that played out a lot at various places.  With all of the clubs closed during the pandemic and likely many closing down for good, where do you think you’ll be playing when/if things return to post-normal? Do you see yourselves branching out, trying to play larger clubs?

Brian Michael: Well, venues close but connections aren’t so easy to lose. We try to talk to our friends in the business and keep them all on the up and up with what we’ve got going on. We also have been playing any booking we can. I’ve never played so many outdoor shows in my life. We have a booking at paulys hotel December 18. It’s weird because we aren’t allowed to promote it or anything.

Our goal is, yes, to play larger clubs (other than our favorite dives).  During covid we will play what we can though. Our last show prior to covid was Skyloft. We had nanola and Dino bbq get cancelled. Rough start to 2020.

TB: Somewhat along those lines, clearly the influence of social media and its increased usage for bands during the pandemic is changing the way you interact with your audience.  how do you feel about the ways that social media has changed and is continuing to change what it means to be a music group interacting with its audience? 

Brian Michael: From what I can tell it’s forced us to take on more work. We used to just post and share but now people want CONTENT. And it’s not cheap to make good content as a band. So we are exploring ways to put out quality live recordings or sessions, investing heavily in merch for online sales etc etc.

People also expect more music quickly. We can’t release an ep or album and disappear for a year or two. We want to be ready to follow up each release with another release.

The digital age is way more demanding, so we hope once shows get going we’ll be able to offset the finances needed to get a well rounded presence online and in person.

TB: I’ve heard that a lot.  Digital media’s putting pressure on public groups to be present far more often; sending messages out in addition to just playing out or touring.  But it also has the benefit of letting people know about that increasingly important part of being a band which is ‘merch’.  How do you feel about the increased use of merch to promote the band, provide income, and generally represent yourselves as opposed to just music?  I see on your fb page you’ve been working with local artists on that too and think that’s really cool.

Brian Michael: Yeah, we always want to work with new and local artists. They have ideas we couldn’t ever dream of. I’m just a guitarist, we’re just a band. We need artists to add color to that story.

I have a background in music management, and to be honest my mindset has always been that an artist makes about 70% of income on merch, the rest on shows. If you’ve been paid by local venues you know it’s not enough. So for me I see merch as the devil we need

I’ve always loved production, and used to put on shows and festivals. I work festivals a lot still, but would say the management you have to learn along the way if you’re in the industry.

TB: I hear that.  Rock’s not something you study, it’s something you gotta learn on the STREET!

Who would you say are Terrallite’s major influences?

Brian Michael: I would say our influences are very broad; Asking just me I would say The Killers, The Cure, Brand New, and Nirvana in no particular order.  Nate, our drummer is really into Ginger Baker, Danny Carey (from Tool), and Keith Moon.  Thom (guitarist and vocalist) is into Pink Floyd and Nirvana – though there’s a little bit of Deftones and Used influence with the heavier songs he writes.  Our bassist Christian is a metal head haha; he’s into Periphery, Karnivool, Death and Obscura.

TB: So I know this is tricky given how much things keep changing, but do you have a timeline for when you expect to officially release some Terrallite music?

Brian Michael: Well we were going to have the material fully mastered and released as an EP heading into spring /early summer. Since that’s changed we are actually in the process of scouting studios and think a summer 2021 (think June) because we are going to possibly release a full album instead. It’s important to us to be able to perform live and release the music, so we have to wait a little longer.

TB: I am definitely looking forward to it. Any bizarre political statements you wanna make before we conclude so we can edit them out?

Brian Michael: No, I will just say that like our music our band also has politics that cover a broad spectrum. We all have utmost respect for each other, and recognize that it’s the things that we share in common – like stupid moments on stage – that are the most important.

TB: Sounds like you guys really get along which is definitely good to hear since I hope you’re around a long time.  I’d say most local bands don’t really know what they want or what they’re in for so they end up breaking up too soon.

Brian Michael: We broke up to reform, and be serious about music, about business, and mostly about fun.

TB: Deadly.  Serious.  About.  FUN.

Brian Michael: Ha ha.  Terrallite is a band I’m proud to be in, and I don’t think I would want to perform with any other mates

TB: Do you have a live or streaming date coming up that you’d like to promote?

Brian Michael: We will be streaming live on December 18th and will make sure to post about the time that is to occur.

TB: Sweet. Thanks for talking with us!

Maggot Brain’s Illumine

On their latest album Illumine, Maggot Brain has delivered their long awaited follow up to their phenomenal full length debut Stop and Breathe. This album clearly sees the band moving away from pure sludge metal and post-hardcore, experimenting with the stoner of Sleep, the prog of Isis, and the great early work of popular sludge band (now who knows what to call em) Mastodon. However, all the old fervor and brutality of their former albums and singles are still heavy in the mix. Maggot Brain is clearly growing and developing, experimenting with the dozens of metal genres that have evolved over its fifty year history (even NWOBHM believe it or not).

Layout and design by Alyssa Quinn & Ryan Slowey

One thing that hasn’t changed is the uncompromising vocals, especially of lead singer Mike Hait. Despite the increased use of melody, riffs, effects, and lulling passages from the rest of the band, all vocals from all contributing members are still painfully screamed without mercy, vanity, or anything approaching the more commercial side of sludge and stoner metal you might hear on the radio. This may be after all what sets Maggot Brain completely apart from their peers, the unyielding in your face post-hardcore throat straining vocals that remind one of Steve Von Till of Neurosis, but only when he fuckin screams. Also it probably should be mentioned these guys are clearly influenced by forty years of local hardcore and metal scenes, spanning hundreds of bands that most of us have never heard of (though we’d be happy to trade 7 inches of the ones we have). And as usual, the beautifully sorrowful doom/noise passages that show how little they care for ‘staying in their lanes’ and differentiate them from so many other metal bands that refuse to grow or change.

An old photo of the band (the only one we can get that’s not from another review site… we’re poor…)

This album was clearly layered by the band, moving from relatively laid back (though portentous of doom of course) to full driving madness and back again several times through the course of the record. As soon as you’re lifted up and driven on, they unexpectedly bring you back down to the ‘pit of despair’ in split seconds. And then back up just as quickly.

The record begins with a harsh though low noisey passage (somewhat similar to their previous album which began with a short buddhist throat chant), which segues into a wailing stoner riff with a beautiful echo delay that keeps the noise in the mix. Death metal/metalcore vocals, bass and drums join the mix for what’s clearly a far more laid back song then Maggot Brain’s produced before. Spiraling is a triumph of noise and stoner metal that could be a radio hit if not for all its spikey edges. It ends with a sludgey, almost grunge riff.

Sharp Teeth builds the momentum with drummer Jared Krak double kicking, Sean Fortune’s grinding bass lines and Ryan Slowey’s palm muted riffs; the typical fare I’ve come to expect from Maggot Brain. It builds to a galloping wail, all the while post-hardcore/grind vocals from both lead and backing vocals of Hait, Slowey and Fortune. Then ends on a doom note, shouting vocals fading out into noise. Lyrics are brutally unsentimental and, like much death metal, make frequent reference to body parts and the scar tissue that forms over emotional suffering.

As the Crow flies is straight sludge/post-grind at full driving clicks. Aptly so given the lyrical content references the envisioned Christian resurrection, rejecting any notions of heavenly fare offered, instead riding into the sun “to burn in the flames forever”. Halfway through the song slows to the progressive sludge and nihilistic sound of turn of the century Neurosis.

The Beast again gallops. The lyrics are the stereotypically ominous, almost prophesizing. Recognizable as being influenced by Neurosis, but also possibly Black Flag (Neurosis began after all as a fairly straight hardcore band). By now the tone and speeds of the record are clear. If you love it by now, you’re gonna love the rest. If you don’t, well fuck you then.

Illumine is the track that stands out on the record. Seguing noise/doom passages reminiscent of Isis lead up to proggy metal style jamming. The vocals join, way low in the mix. Lyrics are impenetrable and clearly very personal. This is clear doom to show the band’s not finished experimenting with any genre they like.

By Paradise Hill, the influence of both Neurosis and early Mastodon comes barreling in, rushing without mercy nor sentimentality. This song is almost catchy in its soaring chord progression, preceded and ante by the driving sludge Maggot Brain’s known for.

And then another left turn into The Sea which is practically Slayer/NWOBHM style hyper blues/metal, followed by those soaring noise metal passages I personally love.

The album ends with Eidolon, the track where Isis’ influence is most clearly heard. The whole song is like an ode to that sickly sweet prog/doom, battered of course by the vicious vocals.

Overall, this record is certainly not as stark or immediately ear catching as their 2012 effort. It’s a record that grows on you and digs its bloody claws into your mind slowly, churning with the ages of a thousand thousand metal and hardcore bands that add their influences into the mix. Maggot Brain is clearly transitioning and experimenting. I can’t wait to hear where they go next.

Lone Phone Booth’s RE/SOUND

The strongest influence I heard when I first listened to Lone Phone Booth was an unmistakable similarity to the vocals of Chan Marshall/Cat Power. However, since Grace Annunziato (the mastermind/main songwriter behind Lone Phone Booth) is at least 20 years younger than I am, it’s difficult to determine a concrete set of influences given my own time limited knowledge base. Even if the influences I hear and am familiar with are present, it’s possible that these have come to Annunziato removed through other, newer artists.

In any case the beautifully sorrow and highly expressive vocals are at least Marshallesque, though they also at times sound Van Ettenesque (Sharon), Timonate (Mary, of Helium fame), or Jane O’Neilly (TJO from so many great bands… I’ll stop now). Especially since the music, while poetically sorrowful and at times as hopeless as Cat Power, herald a wide range of influences and personal innovations. Especially on tracks like 222; a hi-fi version of a beautiful yet endlessly unhappy version of an early lo-fi Cat Power track yet replete with strings and all kinds of warm sounds from signature found sounds (which are almost always present on all the songs on the album) and noise collages.

Another influence I hear loud and distorted (which to be fair I hear everywhere in good independent rock like music that may well have come from their influence on grunge, Radiohead, and every other good thing that’s come out since them) is Sonic Youth. This record is rife with intentional delays, missteps, and a wall of noise at least made partially by naturally distorted guitars. But also, a striving for good yet unusual pop vocal and guitar line melodies to accompany the less traditional, more experimental (and thus to me at least far more interesting) music. A Month in Autumn, for example, could be a lost track from Sister. It even has a noise buildup and breakdown at the end. But I also hear echos of of Sonic Youth acolytes such as Polvo and Blonde Redhead. And who knows what the kids are actually listening to these days that sounds like the shit I know? Yeah, I’m old. So old I should stop rambling metastically about influences which I’m most likely getting all wrong already, right?…

Mysterious and dark, this Lone Phone Booth facebook photo possibly illustrates how intertwined art and machines have become by featuring recording equipment instead of members of the group

Yeah. So, not only is Lone Phone Booth impressive for a local group, but as I already knew from their debut album ‘Music For the Faint of Heart’, has the potential to be a national (albeit underground as all good music is in this century) phenomenon in the independent rock community. But this usually requires ceaseless touring, label support, and an enormous word of mouth, or better yet word of mass media like Pitchfork or Stereogum. For now Lone Phone Booth only has word of mouth. But the words are getting louder and more encouraging with every new piece of music released. Music for the Faint of Heart was one hell of a debut album, but alot of that greatness was in the potential that was clearly available to this undeniably talented and unique singer songwriter. RE/SOUND has completely, magnificently delivered on that potential promise.

Whereas the previous record relied on fairly typical ambient sounds like low pitched conversations for background noise and muttered singing that reminded me (probably not many others by this point given how OLD all my references are) of the second Velvet Underground record (valuing ambience above all else), this record uses far more unusual noises for its found sounds. And also like the self-titled ‘Velvet Underground’ RE/SOUND is full of wonderfully catchy and pretty pop melodies. The use of ambient sounds not usually found in typical music is on full display on “Greyhound”, made up in large part by old touch tone and early modem sounds. But, of course, these noises are blended in with synths and processed to give them a background fuzz that blends them seamlessly into the song in a way that probably makes every other songwriter ask themself; why don’t we do that?!

A rare shot of Annunziato (playing guitar) and accompanying trombonist

In terms of pop melodies, every other track that doesn’t include experimental noise passages or starts and stops delivers not only catchy tunes but well played guitar lines, such as Dimmer and Creation Myth. Iridescent similarly has beautifully worked out melodies alongside found sounds like clinking silverware(?) which reminds me of the tender sullenness of a Tara Jane O’Neill song. A mesmerizing passageway into a sombre picture of an everyday humdrum living space where “each floor board creaks and snores”. And when you try to influence or change things, big or small, “some plants die, and some plants grow. how much of it can u control?” Not a lot. But the way Grace describes it is highly controlled, and conveys exactly the message the lyrics paint with the unusual but highly skilled guitar playing and drop outs for unusual sound collages.

A professional logo we found among Lone Phone Booth’s personal effects…

There are also a couple of unexpected tracks that border on circus music, and when listening to the lyrics you see how well it fits. For example, Creation Myth (ostensibly based on a bizzarre Larry Bird obsessed Svalina poem) asks;

“when you sink to the bottom of the stew, who are you?
reality can be a downer too, one strange view.”

The even more evil carnival feel of the depressingly (ironically) peppy Hot Wax begins with a lyric that reminds me of the Bedhead song ‘Unfinished’, both of which start with dipping your fingers in hot wax. But it ends with the devastating realization that; “Even when you dissolve, you still have to work your job” — a cryptic statement like that somehow makes perfect sense, in this silly unplanned circus of a protestant work ethic society of ours where your life is defined by whether you work or not and the only thing you have to do to ostensibly prove your worth is going in to work every day. And Annunziato’s wise enough to know “there will be pain, it will go away…”, like it’s all just some stupid joke that still unreasonably guides our silly, pointless little lives and deaths.

Overall, this second (we think; if not, tell us where we can get the others!!!) record delivers on the promise of “Music for the Fain of Heart” to fulfillment and then some. Lone Phone Booth and its ‘lead visionary’ (we’re not actually sure how many of the instruments are played by Annunziato given the litany of at least a dozen other people that are ‘featured’) have here clearly taken their songs to the next level. Proving to be adept at both ambient noise, aptly scored backgrounds played by ‘classical’ instruments, AND innovative sounds from everyday objects that seamlessly careen into a sleepy, pensive, and sombre in the best way record.

Per our understanding, Annunziato and the other members of Lone Phone Booth recently attended the College of St Rose (which has a surprisingly excellent musical program and studio). It’s unclear if they will remain here in the Capital District or move on to greener or more urban pastures in the near and/or far future. Wherever they venture, we’ll certainly be following them. Though we hope upon hope that they’ll stay in the area and perform live for a long time to come. It adds so much beautiful noise that we here at Times Boredom and in the Capital District independent DIY scene can NEVER get enough of. Thanks so much for sharing your voice and your vision with us. It hasn’t and won’t go unnoticed, and we’ll sing its praises to anyone willing to listen.

Camera shy Grace Annunziato is the mastermind behind Lone Phone Booth

Do yourself a favor and give Lone Phone Booth’s new record a listen here, or on Spotify or other streaming services. We do however, highly recommend the Bandcamp link, where if you make a purchase all proceeds go to the presciently relevant and vitally important GWORLS rent and gender affirming surgery fund, which provides badly needed help and community services for transgender black people.