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Where Is My Mind?: Nothing's Domenic Palermo

- by Q.D. Tran

If you didn’t know or haven’t listened already, Nothing put out a fabulous new full-length album entitled Guilty of Everything, which is also The Deli Philly’s March Record of the Month (you can read our review HERE), via hometown independent powerhouse Relapse Records. I ran into the band’s frontman Domenic “Nicky” Palermo the other week after DIIV’s show at The Boot & Saddle, and suggested that we should do another interview together. It had been almost three years since our last one for his Suns and Lovers release. He was down with it, and said that I “had to be able to come up with more interesting questions” than what he’s been getting lately. The pressure was on, but I was up for the challenge. I was pleased to get a message from Nicky the other day saying that he thought the questions were “great.” Mission accomplished! You can view our recent Q&A below.
 
The Deli: You’re a bit of a perfectionist. I’ve heard it before, and I remember sitting with you after a release show of yours. It was a successful evening, but you were upset about a cord not being plugged in correctly at the beginning of your set. Is it hard for you to be in the studio dealing with all the takes to choose from, and how do you deal with that process?
 
Domenic Palermo: The last time we hung out, I was sucking the life out of your small Jameson bottle in an alley in West Philly. That's probably the furthest thing from perfection. We took performance enhancing drugs to record this record - cigarettes and adderal and red wine. It made everything that was wrong super annoying no matter how small. It was hard to sleep. It was hard to wake up. It still is.
 
TD: You worked with producer Jeff Zeigler on this album. What did you learn from him that you’ll take with you into future recordings?
 
DP: Jeff is brilliant. His knowledge of equipment and sound and hot sauce is something that of a super alternative specie.  
 
TD: Do you like performing live or recording more, and why?
 
DP: Anything that makes me feel like I'm not dealing with actual life or what life presents itself as is an easier breath to swallow. 
 
TD: You said that you went back to some of your writings from prison, used some lines for the LP and thought a bunch of it was “bullshit.” What was the most ridiculous thing that you came across in them?
 
DP: I think some of it came across too dramatic. Everyone is a young writer at some point. I still feel as though I am. I was for sure at that time, and had too much heavy material on my hands. So I tried to get everything out at once, and just jumbled it all. I think I was trying to copy Camus too much in the early prison writings, and it just came out so wrong. 
 
TD: From your interviews, you certainly paint a negative picture of how you see the world. What helps you get out of bed, or keeps you from blowing out your brains?
 
DP: I paint a cynical portrait, but try to avoid the unnecessary negativity. That just may be me trying to be a good person. I believe I can be, even though I truly believe that truly no one can be a good person.
 
TD: I noticed that people misspell your name a lot in interviews. Does that annoy you?
 
DP: It's got me into Canada so...
 
TD: What’s harder for you to do for a whole set - scream at the top of your lungs in a hardcore band or sing falsetto?
 
DP: The hardest thing has always been keeping this mouth closed. 
 
TD: You said that you are fan of Slowdive, but you think Neil Halstead is “kind of a fucking cunt.” If you were booked on a bill with them, would you try and talk to him? If you could say one thing to him, what would it be?
 
DP: It was taken extremely out of context. In the interview, I talked about an email that had been sent to Neil asking to open for his solo act a couple years ago with a stripped-down acoustic set of Nothing songs from Brandon and myself, which we had done successfully before. The email was very flattering mentioning about how Neil's music, through several projects, had touched myself and gotten me through some of my toughest times. Further on, how much of an inspiration he and his projects have been, and how we'd be honored to open his show. We received a short response saying that they were straying away from anything that would be related to shoegaze, and they were on a different route. This struck me odd considering I had seen Mojave 3 and Neil several times, and he was always covering Slowdive songs. Not to mention - he is now finally successfully touring again with his shoegaze band only because a sudden scene of youths is bringing it to be relevant again. It was a cunt response. I'd probably say something like that to him. I'm still a fan.
 
TD: What inspired you to name the album Guilty of Everything?
 
DP: I was reading a bit of Herbert Huncke at the time. While the premiss of the record strays from anything in particular that he wrote, his life is another bucket of cement to throw in the foundation of what I was trying to convey with GOE. The earth is overcrowded with cancerous humans. We may be able to build and create and fuck and reproduce, but all we’re really doing is using, ruining, and reproducing. We’re all guilty, and we're all the same.
 
TD: In a previous interview with me, you said that you have always felt like you were “covered by a wet blanket of isolation.” That doesn’t sound like someone who would enjoy a job dealing with people. You help manage a few bars, which probably calls for a decent amount of social interaction. What helps you cope with your job?
 
DP: I'm pretty miserable at work, but people have grown to accept it. Sometimes being over the top cynical and pessimistic can be a colorful character to people - I suppose. 
 
TD: I really love the new album, and expect big, positive things to happen to you this year, and moving forward. What could possibly happen that would finally make you happy?
 
DP: Thanks. I'll never be totally happy, but being content can be relieving.
 
TD: How do you picture yourself dying? :o)
 
DP: I picture myself dying a slow, miserable, cancer-related death. There's no way I'm getting out of this life easy.

 

 

 

 

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Where Is My Mind?: Creepoid's Sean Miller & Anna Troxell 

- by Q.D. Tran

There are definitely two stories that will always stand out in my mind when thinking about the band Creepoid. I once saw the band implode during a performance and nearly brawl on stage at Tritone, after just having such a good time drinking together before the show (definitely like five too many drinks that evening), but then all was good the next morning, and they were able to laugh about it over breakfast. Another classic was when the band’s van broke down in Alabama on their way back from their first trip to SXSW, and they ended up stuffing the nonfunctioning vehicle in the back of a U-haul to bring it home to Philly so it could be fixed (in order not to negate the van’s warranty) - all while taking turns sitting in the back of the U-haul in the van. It’s those unusual tales that help in defining Creepoid for me. They’re a talented group of unique characters, who are chill but can be quite volatile, at times, which reflects in their sound. But at the core, there is familial, misfit bond that propels the band forward and draws you into their music. And today, I’m happy to welcome the long-awaited release of the group’s sophomore self-titled LP, out once again via No Idea Records. It’s another must-have for your collection! I also had a chance to toss a few questions at Creepoid’s Sean Miller (guitar/vox) and Anna Troxell (bass/vox) before they headed off for tour and another hectic SXSW. Check out what they had to say below!
 
The Deli: There seemed to be a little bit of doubt about the release of this album and the future of Creepoid, at one point, during the making of the LP, but you look energized now. What helped bring that change?
 
Anna Troxell: We were never unsure that Creepoid would continue, despite lineup additions and Pete being in Texas for a while. As soon as Pete came back though, there was a definite shift towards feeling rejuvenated once again as the original four-piece. That being said, Jeff White was a great addition for the time he was with us, and we are very grateful that we shared the stage, and for his work on the record.
 
TD: With the band in different places, how did you write and record your latest LP?
 
AT: Most of the songs on the new LP have been written for a long time, such as “Old Tree.” Some of them, we wrote back in the winter of 2012 when we practiced at the Emoda Gallery in South Philly, and the rest was later that year. Jeff joined the band in the summer of 2012, while Pete was still here. At that point, the album was mostly written, but Jeff added the organ and lap steel. We recorded the drums and vocals with Kyle “Slick” Johnson (Fancy Time Studio) and the rest of the instrumentation with Jeff at his home studio (Chateau Blanco).
 
TD: How has Creepoid’s sound evolved from your first full-length album Horse Heaven to what we have on your latest?
 
Sean Miller: With Horse Heaven, we were all doing a lot of things for the first time. I think it has a more introverted feel to it as a whole. There were things going on that were very foreign to us. I think this new record is a bit more “open” in that sense... we've been able to loosen up and explore more as a complete band.
 
TD: What’s your favorite song on the record, and why?
 
SM: That's a tough question. For me, it's really a moment-to-moment thing. Besides, if all four of us ever came to a positive consensus on something, Creepoid would suddenly cease to exist.
 
TD: Most of the band lives in one home in West Philly now, and you’ve put together what looks like a makeshift, multilevel recording space. How is it setup? Have you started recording anything new there yet?
 
SM: Yes - we actually just finished something. We have a snake running 8 microphones downstairs. We set it up like children or cave men. We use strings to measure things and point at things, and hang things up with duct tape. It's really legit, and we are very professional about it. Like a real snake, like the animal.
 
TD: What’s your favorite thing about living in West Philly?
 
AT: The dude who sells incense in the middle of 52nd.
 
TD: You’re house is pretty awesome, and it’s next to a park, and you have a backyard as well. Any chance we can get a Creepoid neighborhood outdoor concert or festival this spring, summer or fall?
 
AT: Not a chance.
 
TD: Every member in the band is in a relationship now with relatively steady jobs, and all of you seem pretty happy. Is it a strange feeling for Creepoid?
 
AT: On the contrary, regular sex is a wonderful feeling and a true benefit to the band in general.
 
TD: What makes Creepoid - Creepoid?
 
AT: Weed, Wine ,Whiskey , green tee-shirts, long hair, short hair, side burns, glasses, sunglasses, boots and teeth.  
 
SM: Tremendous pain.
 
TD: You’ve been playing in bands for a while now. What do you wish someone told you when you were first starting off?
 
AT: Don’t be embarrassed if your Dad comes to your shows in the band’s tee-shirt. That’s really rad.
 
SM: Stay away from Town and Country Ford in Bessemer, Alabama.
 
TD: What are your upcoming plans to support the new album? Any things that you’d like to accomplish in 2014?
 
AT: We’ll be heading down to SXSW, Grave Face Fest in Savannah, and lots of other dates up and down the East Coast. On Record Store Day, we’re heading over to Chicago for the release of our premiere EP with Grave Face Records, Wet - so be on the look out for that. 2 more EPs will follow this year, and lots more touring. We hope that we don’t die. Also, it’d be  nice to sell lots of records.

 

 

 

 

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NYC Record of the Month and Weekly Feature: Cloud Becomes Your Hand

Psychedelia is often associated with big guitar parts, lots of reverb, and a sound that's at once surreal and epic - I guess that's the heritage left by bands like The Doors and Pink Floyd. But there's a less grandiose, more playful and varied current of psychedelia, more interested in the bizarrely kaleidoscopic side of dreaming. Forged and explored in depth by The Beatles, it was rehashed most famously by Olivia Tremor Control at the turn of the millennium, and less famously (but brilliantly) by XTC with their side project The Dukes of Stratosphear in the mid 80s. This is the sonic ground were Brooklyn's Cloud Becomes Your Hand draws inspiration, adding to the mix their penchant for crooked, almost jazzy melodies, which place them on similar songwriting terrain as other heavily experimental but gentle sounding NYC bands like Dirty Projectors and Celestial Shore (both past Deli Records of the Month). These elements make of "Rock of Cakes" a psych-pop album without pop melodies (therefore not really pop music) but nonetheless extremely imaginative and enjoyable. Stream the full album here and see the band live at Roulette on Sunday 03.02.

LINKS: John McGovern Interview with Cloud Becomes your Hand

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Dinowalrus premiers track from upcoming album "Best Behavior"

Dinowalrus - a Brooklyn band with a great name indeed - just announced the release of their sophomore release, scheduled for March 2003 on Kanine, and shared with the public a preview track ("What Now", streaming below) which discloses more fluid sonics and an increased focus on songwriting. The band's new sound seems to leave behind the harsh and sometimes quirky psychedelic experimentation of their beginnings and find inspiration instead in the British psych-pop wave of the late 80s.

MP3: Dinowalrus - "What Now"

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