Darbie Nowatka of Bishop Allen Talks New LP and Leaving Brooklyn

Categories: Interviews

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Courtesy of Secretly Group PR // Credit: Matt Petricone
Bishop Allen's latest LP Lights Out showcases their penchant for memorable hooks and earnest lyricism. After a little over a decade of crafting indie anthems featuring soundscapes reminiscent of power-pop ballads and twee glazed finesse, Bishop Allen continues to expand their aesthetic in a way that defies predictable clichés. After a little over a decade, Bishop Allen is still making listeners swoon. Listen to Lights Out and it's obvious why. 



In advance of their record release show at Glasslands tonight, we spoke with band member Darbie Nowatka about Bishop Allen's move from Brooklyn to Kingston, the final track on Lights Out, and future collaborations with her husband and fellow bandmate Justin Rice.

See also: Yes In My Backyard: Bishop Allen's Justin Rice on His Band's New Video for "True or False"

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Funk Legend Steve Arrington On Being Sampled By A Tribe Called Quest, N.W.A. and Jay Z

Categories: Interviews

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Funkateer Steve Arrington
Steve Arrington has attainted a position of righteous funk royalty. Having risen to prominence with the band Slave in the late-'70s, he then flew the roost to form the humbly-monikered Steve Arrington's Hall of Fame before storming through the '80s as a solo funkateer. Along the way, Arrington's swaggerific grooves have also been repurposed and looped up to bed tracks by rap chaps like Jay Z, N.W.A. and A Tribe Called Quest.

Ahead of a solo show at Le Poisson Rouge this Tuesday, we spoke to Arrington about the parallels between funk and rap, engaging in musical conversations with Q-Tip, and his links with New York City's nascent hip-hop movement.

See also: Q&A: Soul Singer Syl Johnson Prefers Money To Women, Loves Being Sampled By The Wu-Tang Clan, And Is Sorry He Had To Sue Cypress Hill

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Claude VonStroke Gives a Taste of the Dirtybird BBQ

Categories: Interviews

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Courtesy of Infamous PR // Credit: Dan Wilton
Listening to the dirtybird BBQ compilation is a smorgasbord of sounds and thematic rhythms for the senses. TDJ and Producer Claude VonStroke is the mastermind behind dirtybird Records, and has maintained a close friendship with his fellow DJ colleagues, many of whom will be on the BBQ tour with him, since it all began in 2005. This label and friend group is taking their annual 'dirtybird BBQ' to a national level. Originally started and held in San Francisco, the BBQ is touring the US and Canada in the upcoming months, and for the first time spreading around the dirtybird love and sound the way it was meant to be shared.

We spoke with Claude VonStroke while he was on vacation with his family in Mexico about what makes his label work and the special guest being featured at Sunday's BBQ.

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Don't Make Eye Contact With Doug Stanhope

Categories: Comedy, Interviews

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Steven Meckler
Completely sober.
Doug Stanhope has made a successful career for himself telling it like it is. And while some people may think he does so a bit too harshly, or dwell on his bad habits, even more would people would agree that he is habitually hilarious. You'll get your chance to be entertained by this comedic ringmaster when he hits the Highline Ballroom August 15th through 17th. And since he's coming into town, we couldn't wait to talk to him to see what's up in his insane life these days.

See also: Top 10 Stand-Up Comedy Specials of 2013

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Jean Grae Presents An Instructional Album For Adults

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Jean Grae in Life With Jeannie

Being an adult is very hard for very many people. Jean Grae knows this and has written a handy eleven-track musical commentary on it titled That's Not How You Do That: An Instructional Album For Adults. It opens with the scatted observation, "That's not how you do that/ How about you fuckin' grow up?" and also includes the righteous call to arms "A Handle Means PULL" and "Use Your Fucking Headphones." You should stop whatever fuckery you're indulging in at the moment and go and procure it now.

While you do that, here's Jean answering a bunch of questions based on the contents of her new album. (Warning: Includes talk of kale salad, L train subway stress, and waitstaff interactions.)

See also: Jean Grae Picks Christmas Sweaters For Talib Kweli, Sean Price and Pharoahe Monch


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Bl'ast From the Past: Santa Cruz Punks Return to NYC After 25 Year Absence

Categories: Interviews

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[UPDATE: Oops. It turns out Bl'ast won't be back out east after all, as vocalist Clifford Dinsmore has come down with a nasty ear infection. This interview with him, though, is pretty great, so you should read it anyway. Enjoy. And always know no one can cancel the mosh pit in your mind!]

Santa Cruz California's Bl'ast! were certainly one of the more peculiar bumps to pop up on the American Hardcore landscape in the '80s. Formed under the name M.A.D in 1982, the band was initially deemed too influenced by fellow Californians Black Flag to be taken seriously. For further proof, check out Flag vocalist Henry Rollin's scathing mention of them in his well-known tour diary bio, Get in the Van.

But oddly enough, it was when the band signed to Black Flag's label SST in 1985 that they finally found their own footing. Immersed in the labels' weed-fueled aesthetic and matchless roster of bands, Bl'ast! carved out their own disturbing sonic niche within the label which culminated with the release of their final LP in 1989, the falsely maligned Take The Manic Ride, and their break-up soon after.

See also: The Oral History of NYC's Metal/Hardcore Crossover

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Meet Bobby Shmurda: The Rapper That Has You (and Beyoncé) Doing the Shmoney Dance

Categories: Interviews

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YouTube
Bobby Shmurda
Bobby Shmurda is having the best summer ever. After bubbling in his native Flatbush, the 20-year-old has skyrocketed from relative obscurity to viral star upon the heels of "Shmoney Dance." The track and its swaying, dance accompaniment are the stuff that Vine dreams are made of. It's no wonder the video has generated millions of views and propagated a slew of hilarious parodies, including one set to the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way."

It was only a matter of time before hip-hop took notice. In June, Meek Mill invited Bobby to perform with him at the famed King of Diamonds strip club, while Raekwon brought out the neophyte onstage at the 2014 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. Drake did his version of the dance while hosting the ESPYS, but the pièce de résistance came when both Beyonce and Jay Z gave a nod to "Shmoney Dance" on their On The Run tour at the MetLife Stadium last week.

See also: Christina Aguilera Is a Better Performer Than Beyoncé

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The Comedy Rap Improv of North Coast

Categories: Interviews

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Courtesy North Coast
There seems to be a lot of parallels between the worlds of freestyle rapping and improv comedy, so it shouldn't be that surprising that hip-hop improv troupe North Coast is thriving. Recently celebrating five years together, North Coast have spent their summer doing their brand of musical improv across the country, as well as every Saturday night at The Pit, which has just been extended through September. We spoke to two of the group's founding members, James T. Robilotta and Douglas Widick, about bringing freestyle rhymes into the realm of improv and how they've kept their style so fresh.


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Exclusive: French Montana Signs Velous to Coke Boys, Says "I Love His Style"

Categories: Interviews

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Velous, French Montana, and manager Gaby Acevedo
Kingston, New York isn't known for much--most New Yorkers probably couldn't pinpoint the small town some 90 miles away if you asked--but French Montana wants to put it on the hip-hop map. The Bronx rapper has just signed Kingston native Velous to his Coke Boys label, joining a roster that already features Chicago drill ascendant Lil Durk, producer Harry Fraud, and Queens rapper Chinx.

See also: The Top 20 NYC Rap Albums of All Time

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RuPaul's Drag Race Superstar Jinkx Monsoon Show Us How to Shake Water Off a Duck's Back

Categories: Interviews

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Courtesy of Girlie Action // Credit: Jose Guzman Colon
Jinkx Monsoon
In Season 5 of RuPaul's Drag Race, the world was blessed with the knowledge that the quirky and sweet queen named Jinkx Monsoon existed. Monsoon had an old-fashioned heart and vintage style that accompanied a very real musical talent. Since then, Monsoon had to crown a new queen as America's Next Top Drag Superstar, but it's not as if she's not busy seeing her star continue to rise.

This year alone, she has already released The Inevitable Album, a mix of both old-school camp and modern indie rock, and reprised her starring role in The Vaudevillians in NYC just this past month. Jinkx and the talented actor and singer who brings her to life, Jerick Hoffer, were also the subject of a YouTube documentary titled Drag Becomes Him that will be turned into a feature-length doc for release later this summer.

We spoke with Hoffer about his many new projects and are pleased to offer a free download of Monsoon's single "The Bacon Shake" right after the jump.

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