Author Archive for Reese Higgins

The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle on Internet Addiction, Metal, and the Lifetime Movie Network


Transcendental Youth is the latest album from The Mountain Goats, singer-songwriter John Darnielle’s primary outlet for stories of heartbreak, ecstatic pride, drug addicts, memories, and monsters. The new record is also the band’s first LP with a full horn section. That [...]

Tales From the Swift

As I learned Sunday night, a Taylor Swift concert is its own ecosystem with its own natural order. Bathed in blue light at a sold-out Verizon Center, the sweet-voiced, ginger-haired Ed Sheeran is elevated to the rank of Dear Leader; children are both marketed to and disregarded; moms sport Taylor Swift back patches; and everyone, at some [...]

Johnny Marr: “I Wasn’t Harboring Some Desire to Have My Name Up In Lights”

Johnny Marr is someone you could spend all day talking with. He was The Smiths’ visionary guitarist and co-songwriter. He made three albums as Electronic with New Order singer-guitarist Bernard Sumner. He’s been a member of The The, The Pretenders, Modest Mouse, and The Cribs. Following an excellent album with The Cribs, he contributed to [...]

Bleached on East Coast vs. West Coast, The Smell, and Doing Karaoke With Ty Segall

The album of your daydreams has just cruised in on the back of a motorcycle, straight from the City of Angels. Ride Your Heart, the 12-song debut album from L.A. band Bleached, is a hair-in-the-wind ride through blooming love and tearful loss. These sweet Shangri-Las-influenced tunes were made by sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin, known previously [...]

Cassette Label Tricot Records Builds a Microscene in College Park

Jack Stansbury and his friends were looking for a likeminded creative community that didn’t seem to exist at their school, the University of Maryland at College Park. "We’d just sit around and be like, ‘There’s no scene. This is awful. I wish we went somewhere else,'" says Stansbury, a Maryland senior. “But then I was [...]

One Track Mind: Princess Reason, Always Pretty

Standout Track: No. 4, “Books and Dignity,” a break-up song in the “I’ve moved on” vein. “So I am not concerned/When you tell me to go to hell/ I fell for a different girl,” sings Jack Stansbury, the 22-year-old behind Princess Reason and the College Park tape label Tricot Records. “I’ll get back my books/And [...]

Why We Should Stop Talking About K Records, According to Naomi Punk’s Travis Coster

Distorted, bruised rock isn't new to the Pacific Northwest—see "grunge scene, Washington"—but Naomi Punk's particular flavor mucks up the '90s alt-rock radio formula a bit, slathering it in noisy guitars and crashing cymbals. The messy twist is brought to life by singer-guitarist Travis Coster, drummer Nicolas Luempert, and guitarist Neil Gregerson.
The group's members met when they [...]

Beach Fossils’ Dustin Payseur on Inexplicably Rowdy Fans and Working With Blonde Redhead

With its 2010 self-titled debut LP, Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils helped to usher in a dream-pop revival, the bread-and-butter of Brooklyn label Captured Tracks. But while bands like Wild Nothing and Craft Spells have mostly stayed true to the pretty, jangly sounds on their first records, Beach Fossils’ new album, Clash the Truth, delivers a kick to [...]

One Track Mind: The Strangest Places, Not It

Standout Track: No. 1, “Could Someone,” a moody bedroom-pop song with a hypnotic, repetitive melody and a steady beat. Incomprehensible whispers flutter in the background as sole member Chris Howard sings in an uninterested monotone: “She just wants a confident man/ who’s not afraid to hold her hand.” The song sounds cold and distant, but [...]

The Bang on a Can All-Stars Can Be Whatever You Want Them To Be

The Bang on a Can All-Stars ensemble formed in 1992 almost out of necessity. In 1987, composers Julia Wolfe, David Lang, and Michael Gordon inaugurated what would become an annual tradition: the Bang on a Can Marathon, a 12-hour concert meant to explore a vast range of musical styles and build an appreciation for new music. But in the [...]