On Tuesday June 6, Elysia Crampton, Moor Mother, and Total Freedom joined forces to play an incredible series of noisy sets—as haunting as they were moving. Erez Avissar was there to capture the aura of the wonderful night.
Earlier this year, Thrill Jockey released Many Waters, a 33-song compilation to benefit the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank in the wake of the flood that swept the area in August of last year. The label enlisted the Baton Rouge, Louisiana doom metal five-piece Thou to help curate the release, which featured local groups from Louisiana alongside experimental metal heavyweights like Old Man Gloom and The Body. After more than a decade of touring, releasing music, and musical community-building in their home state, the band was more than up to the task.
Thou vocalist Bryan Funck in particular has tirelessly supported the Louisiana scene. After starting booking local shows in the mid-’90s, Funck founded the website noladiy.org in 1999, which features an impressively long, constantly updated list of shows, bands, venues, and promoters in southeast Louisiana. We spoke to Funck about the origins and ethos of NOLA DIY, and how some of those impulses filter into Thou’s heavy, metaphysical music—a new offering of which, Magus, is slated for release via Howling Mine, Gilead Media, and Robotic Empire later this year.
Bryan Funck: When [Thrill Jockey founder] Bettina [Richards] heard about the flood down here, she asked if we were interested in doing a benefit. She coordinated with a bunch of metal bands who were friends with Thrill Jockey, and then asked me if there was anybody from New Orleans or Baton Rouge I wanted to add—so I started rounding up all the good New Orleans and Baton Rouge bands that could contribute.
AdHoc Issue 20 is here! Download a PDF of the zine at this link, and look out for physical copies both at our shows and at record stores, bookstores, coffee shops, and community centers throughout the city. If you happen to live outside of New York, you may order a copy as well.
In AdHoc Issue 20, we get to know three musicians who go out of their way to build community whenever they’re not making great music. Bryan Funck, who tours constantly as the vocalist of Louisiana metal band Thou, runs the website NOLA DIY, which collects information on local shows, bands, venues, and promoters, along with resources for bands just starting out. Moor Mother and Eartheater, in conversation, explain the importance of creating music in the face of systemic obstacles like class inequality and gender-based discrimination—and helping others do the same through collaboration and education. Which is to say, for each of these three, being a musician is certainly about releasing plenty of forward-thinking music—but it’s also about using that platform to help others have their voices heard.
AdHoc Issue 20's contributors:
Alexandra Drewchin is a Queens-based musician who records under the Eartheater name. She conversed with Camae Ayewa of Moor Mother for this issue.
Chris Stewart makes and performs synthy anthems under the moniker Black Marble. He composed and shot the cover for this issue.
Samuel Nigrosh is a Chicago-based illustrator who publishes books and comix under the name Trash City. He made the illustrations for this issue.
There's a live video of Aldous Harding performing single "Horizon" at Auckland, NZ's Whammy Bar rock club in 2016. She fidgets and sways on the foreground, pulling at her lip and nursing a menacing stare, delivering lines like "I broke my neck dancing to the edge of the world" with blood-curdling articulation. The performance is downright terrifying in a sort of Lynchian way, the emotion palpable without any context. "That was the gnarliest version," she recounts of the performance. "I'd drunk five cans of Red Bull."
Party, Aldous Harding's 4AD debut, is a meditation of sorts: on love, loss, pain and recreation. The narrative follows a progression that feels kind of akin to molting, with her and the listener emerging after the closing track, "Swell Does The Skull," with new skin—raw and pink with change. Following many festival appearances and a national tour with Deerhunter, American audiences are just getting hip to the New Zealand songwriter—just in time for her to be working on new music, which she says she's been playing at shows lately.
Moor Mother and Eartheater like to keep busy. Moor Mother, whose debut album Fetish Bones came out in 2016, has been touring the globe with her noisey protest music, publishing and lecturing about Afrofuturist and diasporic thought, and organizing events at Community Futures Lab, a Philadelphia multimedia arts and education space she founded with her partner Rasheedah Phillips, the other half of her Black Quantum Futurism collective. Eartheater, real name Alexandra Drewchin, released two acclaimed albums in 2015—Metalepsis and RIP Chrysalis—and has another full-length on the way, all while working as a visual and performance artist, and frequenting local creative hubs like Otion Front Studio in Brooklyn and Outpost Artists Resources in Queens. Both artists contributed to Show Me the Body’s recent CORPUS I mixtape, a collaborative release that aligns with their shared penchants for community-building and genre-bending.
In the following conversation, Moor Mother and Eartheater discuss their tireless work ethic, the artistic scenes around them, and the challenges of being a woman in music.
Prickly and polyrhythmic, Palm's "Shadow Expert" bristles and clangs. On the second track off their eponymous EP and upcoming Carpark debut, the Philadelphia-based four piece tumble even deeper into their bizarro corner of mathy art rock. Its ersatz drum patterns and guitar spikes interlocked in an unstable, impossibly complex lattice, the song seems buoyed only by Eve Albert's airy vocals. It's sharply effervescent and charmingly evanescent.
Before the band's June 23 release show with Palberta, Palm shared an expansive playlist with personal commentary for each track. Parse Palm's vast range of inspiration, from DJ Rashad to Broadcast, below a stream of "Shadow Expert."
Montreal trip-pop duo She-Devils make psychedelic soft rock steeped in the past, as romantic as it is delightfully weird. Vocalist Audrey Ann Boucher and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Jukka released their self-titled debut album via Secretly Canadian last month. With simple yet powerful pop hooks, Audrey Ann sinks her teeth into the record's surreal, sometimes spooky atmospherics. The result is lo-fi guitar pop that feels positively delirious. She-Devils have shared a playlist with us featuring some of their favorite songs. David Bowie, Spacemen 3, Danzig, and PJ Harvey make appearances among some more unfamiliar names. Check out those tracks below, and be sure to catch the band with Dougie Poole and Ginla at Union Pool next Thursday June 8! Stay tuned for our Instagram a She-Devils takeover next Tuesday!
Ahead of AdHoc 20, which will be out next week, we're sharing the issue's cover by Black Marble's Chris Stewart. Black Marble will play at Good Room on June 6 with Body of Light and Public Memory. Stewart had the following to say about the image he made.
I came up with the idea while trying to imagine a votive or funeral arrangement for a certain romanticized (by some, not by me) American experience. The current POTUS 'brand' was honed/perfected in the '70s and '80s when the existential threat of Communism combined with a relatively prosperous time for the West sort of clarified and simplified American experience for many as a just and invaluable right to pursue individual prosperity.
The piece on this issue's cover is meant to, from an anthropological point of view, suggest the slow death of that 'America' and frame the current political climate as its death rattle. It's also a last minute attempt to recapture some of its perceived simplicity and security for those that benefited from it the first time around, or with the passage of time misremember it as better than it was.
Julien Bracht and Markus Nikolaus of Lea Porcelain wield massive sounds, from grandstanding synth melodies to explosive drum beats. Exploding across Europe, the duo has—through highly sought-after live performances and a few tracks on Spotify—already amassed a dedicated following ensorceled by their huge tracks. Snippets into their enormous and expanding world, glowing synth-heavy tracks from "A Year From Here" to "Bones" possess an ecstatic grandiosity that flex Markus' sweeping vocals and Julien's tingly compositions. In anticipation of their upcoming release Hymns to the Night, AdHoc caught Julien and Markus to discuss their process, their backgrounds, and their plans—plans nearly as colossal as their music. Read the interview and get swallowed up in the heady expansiveness of Lea Porcelain, a sumptuous universe unto itself.
Could you speak to the story behind the new record? What kind of narrative does it create?
Markus Nikolaus: The album creates the narrative of a journey. It makes you wander through certain moods and it will start to paint a picture in your mind. Rrom beginning to end, you will be left with various narratives: one of the uprising, the rebellious, the roadtripping, the adventurous, the naughty, the melancholic, the sad and the lonely in addition to one of the hopeful, the cheerful, the uplifting, the positive and the optimistic view that this life, no matter how hard, is worth living under any circumstance—because everything is an experience worth living and there is no negative or positive. Everything is in balance, and there are just experiences to be made—and that is what our album is: an experience one has to make.
What were you thinking about when going into record the full-length?
Markus: We didn't think at all. We just started writing to escape the projects we were in by the time. The idea was very simple. Free approach, no pressure, a lot of vine and no borders. That's it! And as we started, we felt how much fun it was and we just kept writing and writing for weeks and months until we realized that we had really created something here. Then we quit everything else and just concentrated on Lea Porcelain.
Under the banner of the Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air), Julian Koster has assembled an unprecedented mixed-medium project consisting of a beloved podcast and zany live show featuring Koster's orchestral indie pop groupThe Music Tapes and narrated from the perspective of an imaginative janitor of the Eiffel Tower. A member of the ersatz Elephant Six collective, creator Koster has performed with Neutral Milk Hotel and Black Swan Network in addition to releasing music under his own name. Before his orbiting troupe touches down in Brooklyn Bazaar June 4, AdHoc caught the multi-talented Koster for a glimpse into his giddy world.
AdHoc: We’re really excited for the show—it’s pretty unlike anything we’ve hosted before. Could you tell us a little about the story behind the podcast?
Julian Koster: Sure, in the podcast, a janitor of the Eiffel Tower is our hero—if you can use that word in relation to him. But you don’t need to know a thing about the podcast or ever have heard it to see the live show—it’s kind of a show in its own right, designed for someone who’s just walking in the door.
And in that show, the janitor is actually hired to clean that night’s venue, so the janitor’s been hired to clean the Brooklyn Bazaar, and he’s there alone, in the middle of the night, cleaning—or trying to clean—or cleaning badly. And he’s imagining the stage that’s there and [that] the lights are there, and he’s imagining putting on a show he’s done all his life since he was a kid. He’s imagining an audience, and that’s you. And so, when you walk in the door, you’re walking into the Brooklyn Bazaar all empty, being cleaned and worked on, and you’re in his imagination. So it’s almost sort of like walking into a circus in a janitor’s imagination in the middle of the night and none of it’s actually happening—but it is happening, all over the Brooklyn Bazaar.