Archive for the 'Music' Category



Dear readers,
Sorry for the hiatus on the blogosphere…. Jon and I have been very busy with band stuff and we are proud to announce the release of our latest album!




“Between the Sea and Sky is a surprisingly rich-sounding album, with the band’s elastic Electrelane-like grooves shifting seamlessly into knottier riffing and prog-rock complexity.” – Portland Mercury

“Portland’s Swallows—purveyors of jangly, spiraling guitar progressions that remind of Television and Rainer Maria, albeit laced with a distinct riot grrrl edge. The duo’s latest effort, Between the Sea and Sky, throws back to the cassette tape era with a playful lo-fi aesthetic that never feels cutesy or forced.” – Willamette Week

“On the album’s anthem, “When They Come to Us,” vocalist Em Brownlowe holds an even tone and sings carefully over a bed of toms, “When they come for us they’ll come to our door / And they’ll peek inside / And all they’ll find is love.” Brownlowe, 25, and drummer Jon Miller, 27, who both identify as “queer,” explain the song is a reaction to legislation against same-sex marriages. But had they said it was about Tibet or the Spanish Inquisition, that would have been believable, too. The song’s simple lyrics and melody make it universal and subtle — qualities of most good protest songs — and the fact that it draws its strength from the humble confidence afforded only to those who are right in any struggle makes it beautiful.” – Jason Simms, The Oregonian

“Their new work demonstrate a mastery of controlled intensity, with compositions meditating on a modality and building in force and intricacy into bold poetic landscapes.” – Crappy Indie Music Blog


KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE: Sergeant Sparrow Records

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Sergeant Sparrow Records is a DIY inspired zine envisioned by Angel Russell. It is currently based out of Martha’s Vineyard but covers music from all over the United States. Each zine is printed and notes the creativity of musicians making music from their own bedrooms and beyond. In addition to music reviews and interviews, each zine is accompanied by a CD featuring work by the selected artists….providing a soundtrack as you flip through the pages. We were lucky enough to catch up with Angel and discuss her project, the future and musical ponies.

Miss Russell and sidekick, Charlie

1. What inspired you to start Sergeant Sparrow?

I finished my first album ” Sunken Ships and Parlor Tricks” and wanted to release it myself, so I thought, why not make a little label to release it. That led me to want to do more with the label but because I don’t have a ton of money I thought what is the next best way to expose people to new music? And I came up with the magazine/cd compilation idea. In most mainstream music magazines you only get to read about an artist through glossy editing and images. You have to go elsewhere to hear the music. So, I thought it would be a cool idea if you could hear the music while you were reading the articles. I also wanted to set up the interviews to be question/answer so you would get to hear the voice of the artist unedited, direct from the musical ponies mouth. I don’t think musicians are ponies, but I did refer to Bryan Cecil (Y-Tron) as a magical electric pony rider. Then because I know what it is like to be a starving musician I decided I would help the featured artists out by making the magazine a non-profit. 100% of profits go to support the featured artists.

2. Describe the meaning behind the name.

David Attenborough informed me in the life of birds that Sparrows live in flocks and have a hierarchy. They refer to this through the usage of General for the big “I’ma gonna eat your bread first because I’m bigger an Meaner than you”, and the Sergeants, “Ok dude your right go ahead and eat it, I’m quite fond of my eyes thank you” birdies. I thought Sergeant Sparrow had a ring to it.

3. What types of music interest you? Any specific genre?
I love all types of music. As a musician I find that you can hear new and interesting sounds through whatever genre you are listening too. You just have to have an open mind. I love hearing the way people put parts together, and their instrumentation choices, I am more interested in arranging I suppose and less interested in lyrics. I go through phases where I get super excited about different genres. When I finished my first album I was obsessed with klezmer and Gypsy Jazz. I went from that to Soul after I got my hands on a compilation by Eccentric Soul: The Tragar & Note Labels. Amazing. Then that somehow led me to Electro pop and lately I have been listening to what those around me have to offer because of the magazine. It is a really rewarding experience because I get to feature them in the magazine and really sit down and find out how their creative energy works.

4. How do you find the artists you feature in the magazine and on the compilation.

For the first issue a lot of the artists I already new from playing music all over the country in various bands and moving a lot. The same is true about the second issue as well, but what is different is that I have approached artists I don’t know personally and they have been very supportive of the endeavor. Their involvement has led to more interest through word of mouth, so the amount of artists I can feature is growing exponentially which is very exciting. My intention from the get go was to expose people to new and exciting music, especially from their own backyard. I want to show them artists they might not have heard before but deserve to be noticed. My other main objective is to give these artists a voice, a platform to show and talk about their work. This is not limited to music either, I include in each issue illustrators, painters and photographers. And in the second issue there is a short story.

5. Why did you decide to do an old fashioned paper zine/burned CD as opposed to creating an online blog or digital composition?
I produce a paper copy of the magazine that has a compilation Cd of the featured artists music attached inside and a pdf version with mp3’s online. So, I am trying to reach both those who get their information online and those who appreciate hard copies. The magazine is starting out as the Martha’s Vineyard Music Magazine because that is where I live currently and a lot of my local readers read the paper and local magazines here so I do have a market for that. I also believe there is still something to holding a tangible item in your hands that you can see, touch, smell and eat should you feel so inclined… Because it is also in CD format I can put better quality files of the songs on the disc. as opposed to MP3’s

6. What’s next for Sergeant Sparrow?

I, Sergeant Sparrow, will continue to spread the music, art and voices from artists all of the country, and now the world. There is an artist from England in our next issue. I am currently working with my editor Cooper Davis to find a team that will be able to execute our ideas. I’m a little hesitant to discuss them as I don’t want to jinx anything, but we are working on better, bolder layout, printing, stories, articles and more collaborates and volunteers. I will continue to find new artists to introduce to people. And I also have two radio shows on the local radio here, yet another platform to give unknown artists a voice. I have featured artists on the air as guests that play and talk about their music with listeners. You can listen to my shows online at and if your on MV you can tune in to 93.7 LP FM tuesdays 10-12am and thursdays 1-3pm eastern time.

Check out more from Sergeant Sparrow records and purchase the magazine at


KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE: Agent Ribbons Past Us To The Past

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Our dearest lady friends of Agent Ribbons are giving us a sneak peak to their new album, Chateau Crone with an incredible music video for “Dada Girlfriend” directed by Chelsea Wolfe. The music is stark and somber and is matched with an eerie music video that blasts us back to a simpler time of avant-guarde silent films.

A work of art on everyone’s behalf


Jon: Bikini Kill Archive…


Earlier this month former Bikini Kill members created a fan content driven archive website. It is made up entirely of remembered stories, videos, and pictures from fans about their experience of the band. My favorite so far is republished below, but there are at least a hundred more stories at the site to read, including one that will make you swear off Sub-Pop Records for life! Check out the site!

I first started listening to Bikini Kill in 1992. or maybe it was 93. I grew up in an super-strict, conservative Vietnamese household. My mother told me I was not allowed to play the Bikini Kill LP in the house because they said the word “fuck” a lot, and she didn’t want my younger sister and brother to be exposed to that kind of language. So naturally, i took my 12 year old sister to see Bikini Kill play at La Luna in Portland, Oregon. I didn’t have anyone else to go with at the time, much less know any punk rockers, and didn’t want to go by myself. We told our parents we were going to see a movie. My sister wore a t-shirt with cat pictures all over it, but in a non-ironic kind of way. It took us an hour to drive to Portland. Neither of us had been to a punk rock show before and didn’t know what to expect.

when we got there, i was really surprised to see other people of color in the audience. That was super-important, as skinheads were a problem back then. My hometown was rural-ish, we had a racist skinhead contingent in town, and not a lot people of color lived there; I’d get harassed a lot, and that kinda kept me away from shows and stuff. Before then, I wasn’t aware of other people of color in the punk scene. This was before internet access became ubiquitous and before I started networking or reading zines. It definitely felt like being the last and only unicorn left on earth, but then stumbling upon a secret field full of frolicking unicorns. Maybe i was just small town at the time, but I think riot grrrl kinda sent the message or beacon to other marginalized groups that it was safe to go to punk shows or be part of the punk scene and refuse to be made to feel like you aren’t “supposed” to be there.

The opening band was awesome; but i can’t remember their name. Some guy in the audience started to scream sexist shit at them, and the singer-lady responded, “is there a problem?” and then she demanded that he come forward on stage, or they would end the set. When the guy refused, they immediately ended their set, and walked off the stage. People got super pissed and they cussed him out, and then the guy left. it was so cool, I made a mental note to use that tactic at some point in the future. Bikini Kill was awesome. my sister loved it. Kathleen wore a shirt that said, “marry me, fly free.” At that moment, I remember feeling like I was part of something big, urgent, and powerful, and that if you wanted, you could claim that power for yourself and share it with others, and maybe try to change the world with it. On the way back from Portland, i was so amped up I almost crashed the car on the offramp to I-5. When we got home, our parents were watching Chinese soap operas and didn’t notice that we were gone for 6 hours


gaby: some socks, mostly paula abdul


hey everybody! I have finally returned from my annual early winter nervous breakdown–I usually like to wind down the stressful Christmas season in a posh Austrian insane asylum, and this year was no different! Oh my god, the croissants in that place!* But anyway, I wanted to talk to you, gentle readers, about two things;

1. Every time I fold my laundry after washing it, I find these wee little socks–like, teensy, barely-ankle-high socks. I know I would never buy such socks, so does that mean someone is giving them to me? They always look kind of worn, so are people giving me their old, slightly worn teensy socks, and I am taking them because my life is that much of a shambles, that I would take such sock? Or, worse, am I doing something like stealing these socks when I am, say, drunk and have spilled a tumbler full of vodka and Sprite Zero on my feet at a house party? A chilling thought. And yet, I end up wearing them, because I could always use some socks. The phrase “I could always use some socks” is both a true statement and a sad statement about my life.

2. Paula Abdul! I know there is/ was/ has been some kind of recent cultural conversation about her because she has been a judge on American Idol for the past 40 years, and I guess she acts koo-koo bananas on that show or whatever, which is basically who cares, but is also totally who cares because she was always insane! I had the urge to listen to her late 80s-ish ballad “Rush, Rush” today, which I used to listen to in the second grade and imagine that it would be playing someday while I very romantically lost my virginity to one of the guys from the New Mickey Mouse Club in a room full of candles. Anyway, I watched the video, and its batshit insane:

I know she doesn’t direct her videos, but I assume she okay’d them, right? I mean, she agreed to be in them. She was like “Something in this song calls for me to act out scenes from ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ with Keanu Reeves for no reason at a cost of I’m sure millions of dollars for all those flying helicopter shots and stuff!” I mean, I do realize this was the era of “November Rain” and all, but still. Also, she looks very pretty in this video but also at least 28, you know?

Also, not to beat a dead horse, but:

Isn’t the day you realize what it really, truly means for an adult, human female to be singing a song about not just fucking, BUT BEING LIFE PARTNERS WITH A CARTOON CAT, the day your youth truly ends? It is probably one thing to do such a thing in private, but quite another to celebrate it in song.


I never realized this video was about how this dancing is the most erotic thing ever, and is blowing the minds of squares. I used to listen to this song incessantly as a kid, and I remember my parents hearing it, listening to the part where she says “all the world’s a candy store, he’s been trick-or-treating” and then laughing and telling me those were “the dumbest lyrics ever.” I like the Ubby-Dubby-style double-talk breakdown in the middle, forgot about that. Also, directed by David Fincher.

Anyway, even though her videos were wacky, she had something, and I would be lying to you if I didn’t say that part of me is depressed that when you put “paula abdul” into youtube, the like third or fourth thing that comes up is “drunk” or “farts on simon cowell.” Sigh. Oh, well.

* I was not really in an Austrian insane asylum, I was just being lazy. I am sorry that I lied to you like that.


KEEP IT ON THE BROWNLOWE: The Displaced Find a Home In Rock Music

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In high school, I was obsessed with San Diego rock band, The Displaced. Comprised of founding members Jen Jansen and M. Simon Mandel, The Displaced are a true 90’s revivalist band – whether they mean to or not. Think the spitfire sarcasm of The Pixies matched with The Breeders and the man/woman vocal harmonies of Hazel…

They are one of the hardest working bands I have ever known, self releasing their own work, creating their own elaborate photoshoots and music videos archive. Eventually, we became friends and paled around the San Diego music scene and even went on a tour together once Jon and I formed Swallows (with an adorable weenie dog as the co-captain)

After a haitus from the standard rock arena – (for a few years they took a detour into a Kills-esque duet using drum machines and samples) – The Displaced are back to doing what they do best: rocking hard as a three piece.

Here is some footage from a show they played at San Diego’s famous venue, The Casbah.


Jon: Patti Smith Live on WBAI (1975)


When I was 18, like most productive young people from not particularly interesting rural towns, I left my hometown. Four hours north of New Jersey, I set roots in a small artistic city in Western Massachusetts. This was in the midst of a more fervent period in my obsession with Patti Smith, who I felt a certain kinship with because she was from a not so fantastic small town in N ew Jersey as well.

I didn’t really have many friends right away, but I got along okay. Early on I met an older woman who just happened to be named Patti (or so she said), and though she was a little spacey, we got along well because she was also obsessed with Patti Smith. She had had a head start  on me though, since she was so much older, and had amassed a pretty impressive collection of Patti Smith audio and visual treasures. Patti was always bringing me exciting little gifts like photos she had taken herself in the 70’s, old ticket stubs from shows, and bootleg cassettes she copied from vinyl.

My favorite recording she ever gave me was of a very early live radio performance by Patti Smith on New York radio station WBAI. It was so old in fact, that the band hadn’t even recruited a drummer yet! All the tracks were either never recorded in a studio, or they were really wierd/different early versions of songs that were later recorded. The best part was the stories that Smith told between songs. Amazing. Though Smith and I were both from New Jersey, we didn’t have the same accent (she was from deep south Jersey), I remember being so jealous of her voice and wishing I too had the same inflections when I talked. Sometimes I would even try and fake her accent, but it just sounded like I was drunk.

I listened to my cassette of that show so many times that it eventually fell apart. I have been looking for another copy (vinyl hopefully) with no luck. For some reason it didn’t occur to me till today that these songs might be on youtube.

They are.

Make sure to listen all the way through for the stories after each song! Unfortunately only about a third of the show is posted on youtube, but hopefully there will be more to come…

Got any good leads?

gaycondo [at] yahoo [dot] com

We Are In A Band!