Phosphorescent Captures Magic in Williamsburg on Live at the Music Hall

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Courtesy of PhosphorescentMusic.com
Matthew Houck, a/k/a Phosphorescent
Whether you've lived in New York City all your life or you're a transplant from elsewhere, if you stick around long enough you're bound to see it undergo some sort of transformation. Having lived here, written songs here, and played countless shows here under the moniker Phosphorescent, Matthew Houck knows that better than most. Recently, Houck slipped quietly off into the Nashville sunset, relocating for a time to raise a family and write a new record. Houck says that it was time for a "change of scenery." He wrote no "goodbye to all that" essay brimming with wistful memories or bitter gripes. Instead, Houck's New York swan song came in the form of Live at the Music Hall, a triple LP cobbled from four nights of shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg last December.

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Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves on Her New Label, Honor Press: 'No Snobs, No Phonies, No Shitheads'

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Photo: Kimi Selfridge/Tan Camera
Meredith Graves on her new record label: "I want to wrangle a good squad of humans."
Meredith Graves is hurting from the jet-lag left over from her most recent tour through Australia with her band, Perfect Pussy, and she's still getting acclimated to her new home in Brooklyn. Plus, she's got quite enough on her plate, with band practice, songwriting, her own independent creative pursuits (photography, a forthcoming solo record, baking), and getting to know the shortcuts and subway stops of her new neighborhood. She's successful, driven, and very, very busy, but Graves just threw another beast into the whirling mix of her endeavors: She's just launched her own label, Honor Press, and she's not wasting any time getting its music out there.

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Behemoth's Nergal: Taking a Page From His Satanic Bible

Categories: Interviews, Metal

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Photo: Grupa 13
Behemoth
Who is Nergal?

Polish celebrity Satanist and household name in his home country, where he's been a judge on the Polish version of The Voice: yes. Inscrutable frontman of death metal band Behemoth: yes. Cancer survivor at 37 years old: yes.

But who is Adam Michał Darski, really?

"Michał is no more," he says, speaking by phone while driving to Warsaw late at night. "Middle name is Nergal."

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Aesop Rock Finds Strength in 'OCD' Writing Tendencies and Collaboration

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Photo: Chrissy Piper/Courtesy of Rhymesayers Entertainment
Music critics and rap fans alike have labeled Aesop Rock too verbose for his own good, accusing the rapper of writing nonsensical bars that require the aid of a dictionary. It's true that with an Aesop song, you often have to listen over and over and over again to make sense of the words he's strung together — and then listen again to unpack the message. His wordiness is even proven: According to a May 2014 study published by data scientist Matt Daniels — wherein he compares the vocabularies of 85 rappers — Aesop does indeed have the biggest vocabulary in hip-hop.

"I think I've always been a kid that, like, when I heard a word that I didn't know, I looked it up," Aesop says. "When I write stuff, I want it to be unique....I just like hearing words, I like hearing how they fit together. There's a million little things that you can tweak within the English language that will really put a lot of weight on different aspects of your sentences and different aspects of your rhymes and lyrics. It's part of the deal to me; it's part of what I like about it."

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Father John Misty's Agony and Epiphany

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Emma Tillman
"All of my favorite lines of my songs are things that she's said."
The title of I Love You, Honeybear came to Josh Tillman — a/k/a Father John Misty — at a time when he was nowhere near the studio and hardly in a position to jot the idea down. He was in the shower. His wife, Emma, had just joined him, and the first four words she uttered before she got her hair wet were not "I love you, Honeybear," but a rather specific litany of the various substances spackling their bedsheets at that very moment: mascara, blood, ash, and cum.

"All of my favorite lines of my songs are things that she's said," he boasts without breaking from Emma's gaze. The Tillmans are sharing a love seat in a dark bar on Broadway, just two weeks before they'll return to New York to celebrate I Love You, Honeybear's release — and Valentine's Day — with sold-out shows at Rough Trade and the Bowery Ballroom. The two are breathless after a brief laughing fit inspired by the filthy folds of their bed. "Mascara, ash, blood, and cum" was too perfect a line to pass up, so he matched it with the most ridiculous term of endearment he could think of, and that's when the bones of "I Love You, Honeybear" began to calcify.

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DIY Darlings Frankie Cosmos Step Into the Mainstream

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Photo by Julia Leiby
Greta Kline (far left) and her band, Frankie Cosmos
Greta Kline is sitting in an Upper East Side diner, Three Guys, picking at a plate of eggs. She doesn't appear to have noticed that the waitress brought her home fries instead of the hash browns she ordered. The twenty-year-old songwriter is too preoccupied discussing her guitar-pop band, Frankie Cosmos, and breaking the room's hushed ambience with wandering monologues about the things whizzing around her brain: touring, chauvinism, New Year's Eve.

Frankie Cosmos' breezy songs tend to cover very specific topics — like dirty water splashing up from the street — and Kline's ruminations come across similarly: pointed and confident, but delivered in a sunny, meandering package.

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Sufjan Stevens Reimagines the Rodeo With 'Round-Up' at BAM

Fringe, dust, rust, rope, leather, and ample helpings of red, white, and blue: All of these Americana adjectives and artifacts conjure a specific, classic image when the conversation loops around a rodeo. Men tipping cowboy hats, bucking, beautiful beasts, and a chorus of "YEE-HAW!"s are guaranteed to present themselves when a spectator moseys up to an arena or a fairground to watch one of these rough-stock extravaganzas in person. When rodeos are portrayed in movies or cartoons, the scenes are familiar — from the setting to the characters involved, right down to the spur in their step and the twang in their accent.

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This Is Why Marky Ramone Picked Andrew W.K. to Sing for His Ramones-Centric Band

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Photo by Bob Gruen
Marky Ramone, Andrew W.K.
In one corner of a voluminous Brooklyn rehearsal room, party hard–meister (and Voice advice columnist) Andrew W.K. — wearing his trademark all-white outfit from shirt to sneakers — noodles at a grand piano. Next to him, relaxing on an orange sofa, sits Marky Ramone, drummer and icon of one of the world's most recognizable and beloved bands — clad in black, head to toe.

In his fifteen years with the Ramones, Marky weathered his share of punk rock tours, but now it's his first time doing a punk book tour — along with full-band performances with W.K. on vocals — to promote the new Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone (Touchstone; $28).

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Dr. Dog Continue Their Eight-Date NYC Run by Reimagining the Bowery Ballroom

Categories: Interviews

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Photo: Nicky Devine
Dr. Dog, sans beanies.
A knit, pom-pommed beanie would seem terribly out of place in a vintage oasis that looks as though it were yoinked from the set of a John Waters movie. But that's exactly the kind of sight in store for those looking to experience Dr. Dog's latest endeavor.

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Interview: Neneh Cherry on a New Brand of Feminism in Pop Culture

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Photo by Kim Hiorthoy
Neneh Cherry plays New York on January 9.
Neneh Cherry has had four top-ten hits, collaborated with everyone from Peter Gabriel to Gorillaz, and performed on Top of the Pops while seven months pregnant. But on January 9 she's finally going to do something she's never done before: play a solo show in New York City.

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