#InMyEar: Teams, Bo Grumpus, Le Butcherettes, Lucinda Williams, Light Asylum
The one thing that always brings me emotional relief is music, so I’m starting this #InMyEar semi-weekly category on The Lair to ease my angst-riddled/vlog jitters mind. Here we go, guys. Hold on to your eardrums and sanity. It might get a little weird. These days I’m all about anything that is reminiscent of three sensations:
I miss Bay Area rode trips with my “seester” Wayane Rose. I love riding shotgun with my lil’ sis, on our way to Current HQ in San Francisco, while I skip through the same old CD she’s had in her car for like 5 years. I am going to make her a mixed CD for my next trip out there and will definitely include some tracks by Teams, who is really a creative dude named Sean Bowie who is from Knoxville, Tennessee, but is now in LA where he probably belongs.
Here is one of my favorite older singles by him: “Anml Life” from last years “CATCH POOL” EP. It sounds like a happy hangover drive to In-N-Out. I love the usage of Instagram pics in this video too. I just love everything about his chillwave-on-speed sound.
Teams’ new album Dxys Xff is out now. If you like audio Christmas to explode in your ear with musical gifts made of synthesizers and moon dust, cop that. They make me happy to have iTunes purchasing power on my iPhone. Brooklyn Vegan has barely mentioned Teams’ existence, proving to me yet again how irrelevant they are to my “Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy” music escapades.
“Yeah, man. Tune out. Turn on. Winter solstice. Let’s hold hands, walking in the sand and smoking a j. Far out.” This is what the 1968 gem “The Sparrow” makes me think about.
Thank you, The Rising Storm blog, for bringing me this exquisite New York-based folk-rock outfit in the style of the Byrds. I want to drop acid with you and paint splatter paintings with our toes.
Uhhh. They are a Mexican garage punk band formed in 2007 in Guadalajara. They make me want to drop kick stupid dudes who demand I smile at them when they pass me on the street. What’s not to love about Le Butcherettes, GRRRL??? <3
In an interview with Tunecore, Teri Gender Bender (band founder/vocals/guitar/keyboard) explains the importance of feminism and art:
“I don’t want to yell my whole life. I want to express myself in a darker way now. I don’t want to use feminism anymore because I was let down by the non- existent movement. I want feminism to use ME as an example instead. I won’t let the movement down because I am not a movement, I am an individual. I just have to be myself and work on art with the purest of intentions. Sin Sin Sin was made to free me of my “so-called sins” laid on my mind in a machismo country which has so many strong and unfearing women and men. I am not afraid. This album is for the men and women that are fed guilt mixed with hatred for not marrying young, for thinking of themselves before others, for trying to see life differently.”
This is going to make me sound like a moron who doesn’t know how to Google, but I honestly thought Lucinda Williams was black before I listened to her music. I think I saw an album cover somewhere with a striking black woman playing a guitar and thought it was her. I really can’t stand most country songs by white folks (sorry, guys), so a reference in BITCH magazine and my mistake is what led me to purchase Lucinda Williams’ latest album “Blessed” on iTunes. I’m so glad I did. It’s beautiful, and made me rethink hatin’ on country whitey. I am now an official fan of Lucinda Williams.
I respect her strength and honest lyrics.
I’m not just a doormat. I’m not just being stepped on all over the place. If you look at the bulk of my material, it’s about trying to find some strength through that. – Lucinda Williams
Rock on, sista.
My friend Catgirl turned me on to this rabbit hole of amazing sounds. I say rabbit hole because once I start listening to Light Asylum, I start trying to imagine her different influences and begin a Google quest to unearth related tunes. Light Asylum’s Shannon reminds me of Skin from Skunk Anansie — a black woman, with a unique style, who was initially embraced more by goth/rock/electro white music fans than by brown folks.
I love her surreal videos and plan on going to one of her shows in the near future.
Light Asylum is Shannon Funchess-Vox as vocals/percussion and Bruno Coviello on keys/drum machine. Shannon shared this back story with TOKION MAGAZINE:
“I came here from Seattle,” Funchess explains, “where there were a lot of punk bands and D.I.Y., indie two-pieces and stuff. We would play shows with our friends, like Seven Year Bitch and Sky Cries Mary. I was here for CMJ in 1996 with another band, and I decided that I had to move here. Five years later, I made the move.”
It took her five years, but she eventually made the move in 2001 and started working with then up-and-coming groups like TV on the Radio, !!! and Telepathe. Coviello, on the other hand, grew up in Newark, New Jersey, making club tracks and house music. “I used to go see Danny Tenaglia, sneaking into all the downtown NYC clubs when I was a teenager.” It wasn’t until a few years ago, when they were both in bands on tour with the rap group Bunny Rabbit, that they met and bonded over their arcane musical tastes.
According to Coviello, “I remember Shannon mentioned this obscure dark-wave band, Clan of Xymox, that only, like, a handful of people talked about—and I just knew.” Funchess adds, “I had done Light Asylum previous to Bruno, but I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to perform it.” When the tour was over, they reconvened in Shannon’s practice space with Coviello’s Casiotone and a fifty-dollar drum machine from 1988.
“With Bruno I wanted to start from scratch,” says Funchess. “We did that and there was just no question.” In coming together, they have produced some of the most powerful, dark and emotional music that has come out of Brooklyn in a long, long time. To figure out how that’s possible, you just need to hear Funchess explain it: “To me Light Asylum is a metaphor for the lack of genuine self-expression in the world, where people suppress their sexuality, their creativity, their entire lives. This music is for them and for people to realize that they’re not alone. The music is dark, but it’s at a place where you can see there is light at the end of the tunnel. The darkness isn’t all around us; it’s inside us.”
I think Shannon is amazing for remaining true to herself and putting out this incredible music. She’s definitely inspiring and Light Asylum tracks are both brooding and inspiring enough to make me lurk around my apartment making art.