Bushwick

BEN TALMI IS READY TO PLAY
October 31, 2016 12:00 am

Ben Talmi has worked behind the scenes for ages, manning the boards at Virtue and Vice Studios, as well as scoring films and being a DJ for an EDM-driven circus (more on that later). Now Ben has stepped into the spotlight, releasing a music video for his song, “Play”, and gearing up for the release of his album.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS was lucky to catch a few minutes with this musical renaissance man, and get his take on creating music for a diverse world.

You recently released a video for your song “Play”. What’s next?
I’ve got some more music videos up my sleeve, and an album done that I can’t wait to get out there. I’m hoping to tour as hard as possible on it.

 Virtue and Vice Studios has seen some pretty impressive bands pass through its doors. Do you have a favorite band or artist you worked with there?
Any time that I’ve had the extreme luck of working with or having any of the musicians from yMusic in my studio has been amazing. They operate on a very inspiring level of musicianship while maintaining impeccable taste with their playing. Often times when musicians achieve such a high level of technical ability, they want to use all their knowledge and skill all the time but the musicians in yMusic really balance that world beautifully. I’ve also been writing a bunch of songs with Dave Monks from Tokyo Police Club recently, he’s amazing, just totally free and fun to write songs with.

You wrote the score for the film Duke and the Buffalo, which was included in the Tribeca Film Festival. How does one go about writing a soundtrack for a film about bison? Where do you start?
These days, directors and filmmakers will send you what’s called a “temp score”, that’s sort of a guideline or reference music for cues that they want you to imitate or mimic. Composers generally detest this because it doesn’t leave room for much creativity or the ability to put your identity into the music you are making. With Duke and the Buffalo I was pretty inspired by the peaceful nature of the animals in these epic landscapes virtually untouched by man. If you listen to the score you will hear hints of Brian Eno, Nils Frahm and Jon Brion throughout.

You also wrote an EDM score for Circus Electronica. Acrobats seem pretty different from bison. Is it a challenge for you to switch gears between projects?
Conor Oberst once said something great about how a song is just a naked body and the way you produce it is like sending it into a walk in closet and putting on this shirt or that pair of pants. At the end of the day its all harmony, melody, rhythm and lyrics, just open up the faucet, the water will pour out.

How different is the “real world” of music from what you learned while attending Berklee?
No one cares about how many scales you know, how fast you can play augmented arpeggios or what your proficiency ratings are. The only thing that matters is if you make art that says something and connects with people. It’s not about you, squash your ego, be a vessel for something greater that can inspire and change people for the better.

You’ve also done music for clients like Microsoft. Do you have much experience specifically in the advertising industry? Do you find your advertising clients asking you to do things like making a soundalike of a popular song for an ad?
Whenever I’ve done commercial writing, music supervisors will always ask to mimic other songs or do a soundalike but Microsoft actually licensed one of my own songs for a commercial. Its a really personal song that was inspired by something I went though. I had no intention what so ever of molding the music to fit a commercial sound or putting any kind of obviously “licensable” characteristics in it. Funny how that works.

You have experience in orchestral composition, yet much of your work is electronic. Do you see there being major differences between the way the two genres are composed, or are they more similar than people may think?
It’s all the same if you look at music as the four fundamental elements of harmony, melody, rhythm and lyrics.

What’s your favorite place in New York to get pizza?
This might be obvious to people who live in Brooklyn but Roberta’s will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

SAM EVIAN: STAY HYDRATED
June 27, 2016 12:23 pm

You guys. I’m pretty sure this is the best response to an email interview anyone has ever gotten. After failing to secure time to interview Sam Evian in person, I sent him a list of questions through email, and got an MP3 with a SOUNDTRACK in response. I don’t think anyone has ever spent so much time giggling alone in a cubicle as I did when that showed up in my inbox. What follows is a transcript of that file, which you can listen to as you read.

Oh, and for the formal stuff: Sam Evian is the “luxury brand” of Brooklyn musician, engineer, and producer Sam Owens. You may be familiar with his work in Celestial Shore. Last Monday saw his new outfit perform in the penthouse suite of The Standard, East Village. It’s a great place to hang out if you want to feel like an urchin. Regardless, the band sounded great and the view off the private deck is pretty unbelievable. For a list of upcoming shows at the penthouse, click here. Ok, on with the interview!

It says in your artist bio that you wrote the 10 songs on your upcoming album Premium ten days prior to your first show, though the ideas had been in your head for a long time. What was it like to finally bring your ideas into the world?

It was really fun.

As an engineer and producer, do you ever feel like you stress too much over the production of your own music?

While there’s certainly vortexes and traps that people fall into when they’re recording themselves, and I’m certainly no stranger to those, the process on this record was relaxed. It was kind of stress-free, and the mixes were the most difficult part. I kind of just locked myself in the basement, well, in the studio that I work at, and mixed until it was done (for six days). At the end of it, I felt like I kind of emerged as a new person. I learned a lot about myself and my process. So yeah, it’s kind of a “full circle” thing.

I love your song “Sleep Easy,” partially because it reminds me a bit of Porcelain Raft (one of my favorite musicians). Are you also a fan?

I wish I could say, honestly, I knew who Porcelain Raft was but I don’t. And I guess that’s kind of one of the reasons way I wanted to respond to you in this way. I think if you’re going to sit down and answer questions over email, I may have Googled Porcelain Raft and decided whether I liked it or not and then responded, having done that. And I think that’s a little dishonest. So I’ll be sure to check it out.

You mentioned in your interview with Impose that “Bottled water is weird and totally irresponsible (kinda like playing music)…” Do you really feel like playing music is irresponsible?

[Laughs] Yes. Actually, I should say playing music is not irresponsible, totally. Directing your life towards only trying to play music can be extremely irresponsible.

You already have 71 Instagram followers [now 190] and your only entry is a video of you pouring water on your face. What’s your secret?

Hydration.

There are so many great music venues in New York. Do you have a favorite?

Yeah, my favorite venue of all-time in New York is The Bowery Ballroom because it’s a beautiful room and there’s a sound guy named Kenny who mixes all analog and the sound is just really phenomenal. And the staff are really great too, so that’s my favorite all-around venue.

But I’ve lived in New York for close to five years, maybe six, and there used to be a venue called Big Snow Buffalo Lodge in Bushwick and I spent a lot of time there learning how to play guitar, And learning how to play shows, and hanging out with really wonderful musicians. And it doesn’t exist anymore, but I still think about it a lot.

I guess that ties in with your next question of “Are there any venues with sentimental value for me”, and that certainly is one of them. But I also like the venues out in Bushwick like The Silent Barn and Shea Stadium. I have a fondness for them as well.

Did you grow up in New York?

No, I grew up in North Carolina.

What’s your favorite place in the city for pizza?

Well, I really like Best Pizza…because it’s the best.

Is it true that your mother is Italian? Have you spent much time in Italy?

I’ve never been to Italy, but someday I’d like to go to Italy with my mother. Her side of the family, they’re called the Trupianos, and they’re very Italian.

What do you think of the Italian pop music they have there?

I know of this wonderful artist named Luxardo, and I really recommend them.

What’s with all the Ringo Starr on your Twitter page?

Ringo’s Twitter is really amazing, and I think if you read through it, you really start to get a sense for how he is as a person. Like, it’s definitely him posting on Twitter. And I suppose ultimately, my greater plan is to be able to hang out with him someday and record with him playing the drums. Because he’s still out there, and he’s literally the best drummer of all time. Yeah, definitely Ringo.

Did you ever see The Point, that animated film Ringo did in ’71?

Yeah, the Nilsson film with the record. My favorite song is “Me And My Arrow” on that record. Yeah, Ringo narrated it. I think that may have been the beginning of his career in narration. I grew up with Thomas the Tank Engine, which he also narrated. Ringo’s been in my life.

What can your fans look forward to in the near future?

More visual and auditory stimulation.

LIVE FROM BROOKLYN: HINDS RELEASE PARTY REVIEW + PHOTOS
January 8, 2016 6:08 pm

Hinds took over Palisades this past Wednesday for a raucous release party for their highly anticipated debut album, Leave Me Alone, out today via Mom + Pop Music.

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The event was wildly creative and inclusive, featuring $3 tickets, cheap beer, karaoke, and an all-ages option for the youngsters. Fans (myself included) lined up around the block for the chance to catch the album live before the Madrid-based group hops across the pond for a three month European tour. In typical Hinds form, the band showcased their gratitude by joining their waiting audience in the freezing outdoors. The group ran up and down the line, stopping at various points to take photos, sign autographs, and even perform dance numbers to cheer up the grumps.

Once the frost settled and the band started, the wait was nothing but a thing of the past. High-energy tracks like “Trippy Gum” got the crowd dancing and set the free-spirited tone that flowed through the rest of the show. Strict set-lists and smooth transitions were thrown out the window in favor of a more playful style of performance filled with spontaneous action.

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The girls weaved the old with the new, sounding refreshingly down-to-earth yet professional in every moment. Captivating songs like “Bamboo” and “San Diego” rendered a rowdy young crowd silent (if only for a moment) as the power of music prevailed. Crowd-pleasers like “Between Cans” and “Garden” were made all the more special by guest appearances from friends like Public Access TV’s John Eatherly and 2015 breakout star Shamir.

Repeatedly, guitarists/vocalists Carlotta Cosials and Anna García Perrote, told the audience this was not a concert but a party – like the ones your friends threw back home in their parents’ basements. Garage-punk nostalgia and wallflower empowerment manifested in an epic multi-round game of audience karaoke. Cosials, who used to MC a karaoke bar back in Madrid, encouraged fans to jump on stage and scream their hearts out to the Hinds catalog even if they didn’t know the words.

It was in the final moments of the event that you could really see just how special this band is. The performance was over. One band member was bed-ridden from jet lag and only a small group of fans remained. Yet the band kept working: meeting fans, taking pictures, signing merch, giving hugs, and wearing huge smiles on their faces the whole time. This was no ordinary concert. It was an epic party. Those who attended will be grateful they did when this band hits it big in 2016.

Pick up your copy of Leave Me Alone over at iTunes or stream it over at Spotify.

All photos by Julia Drummond (Tumblr/Instagram)

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DILLY DALLY SETS BABY’S ON FIRE
November 16, 2015 8:23 am

For the past few weeks, Dilly Dally has been touring the U.S., leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake. Well, maybe not death and destruction, but the band did put on a hell of a show at Baby’s All Right on Saturday.

Dilly Dally is the work of childhood friends Katie Monks and Liz Ball, who met while attending high school in Toronto. They bonded over their mutual love of the Pixies, Christopher Owens, Pete Doherty, and Kurt Cobain. However, my gut reaction upon listening to their debut LP Sore, is that Monks and Ball are spiritual successors to feminist hardcore punk bands like Hole and Babes in Toyland, with their songs covering topics that include menstruation and self-reinvention after heartbreak.

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dillydalllSigns posted outside the venue warned attendees that video recording would be taking place at the show. They weren’t kidding. A video production team had set up camp directly in front of the stage, flanked by journalists and photographers, in all likelihood to the dismay of the audience (sorry). However, it’s no surprise there was so much press in attendance; Dilly Dally has already been featured in publications including Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, Stereogum, and Rolling Stone. And judging by the reaction of the audience, the band will not be slowing down anytime soon.

Saturday’s concert was sold out, and the venue was packed. This didn’t stop the crowd from dancing and, in one case, crowdsurfing. The guy with the video camera got shoved a couple of times. The passion with which Monks and Ball deliver their work is palpable, each one breaking a sweat early on in the show, and (along with the audience), eventually becoming drenched by the end of it.

The climax of the night came during the band’s performance of “Desire”, a song whose chorus is delivered in a gloriously lingering battle cry of repressed emotion. It’s a sound contemporary music hasn’t heard in way too long, and already I’m having fantasies about Dilly Dally beating the crap out of the excessively made-up artists whose overly produced nonsense is currently passed for popular music. It’s going to be awesome.

DEAD MEAT AND ZECHARIAH FUNKHOUSER @ BROOKLYN’S NEW VENUE
September 14, 2015 1:01 pm

Dead Meat is a self-described “music haberdashery” who recently had revealed their debut showcase at Bushwick’s new venue “Bushwick Public House” (a block away from The Palisades). The carefully curated lineup consisted of Tingles, Cigarettes After Sex, Pet Gracie and headliner Zechariah Funkhouser. Bushwick Public House is a cafe lounge upstairs and a spacious, indie, DIY heaven downstairs. The space is reminiscent of your best friend’s basement in high school, except with a leveled off stage area and a bar.

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The most particular feature of the show was the striking merchandise received on entry; limited edition Dead Meat baseball cards designed by Drew Albinson. The eye-catching cards revealed the shows line-up, a three song download of headliner Zechariah Funkhouser, and a delightfully exotic stick of gum. The cards reflected the aesthetic of “Dead Meat”  – sadcore with a nostalgic twist.

Opening act Tingles were a crowd favorite. Their high-energy indie pop mashed with punk captivated the audience guided by the raw talent of Ryan Clark’s powerful drum rhythms. Cigarettes After Sex followed with a dreamy shoegaze set, the highlight being the perfect soundscape in “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby.” Local Brooklyn group Pet Gracie bordered on experimental noise while their songs remained grounded by a talented rhythm section. Next up was Zechariah Funkhouser, playing his NYC debut. Funkhouser was dynamic and charismatic throughout his swoon worthy set. Definitely an act to watch out for.

Written by Alessandra Licul 

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Sun Club Explodes at Palisades
August 27, 2015 5:48 pm

The fact that it was a Monday night wasn’t going to stop a crowd from raging for Sun Club after a long day at work. This show was much anticipated since their last show at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar where they shred down the house with Reptar. Sun Club announced their debut album The Dongo Durango and released new music along with the music video for “Tropicoller Lease” the morning of the show, keeping me excited throughout the day.

Even though their van caught on fire earlier in the day, they managed to make it to Palisades and bring their infectious vibes to Brooklyn. Seeing them set up all kinds of gadgets and gizmos including a green iron board as a keyboard stand, I could tell that they were one of a kind. Once they started playing, their energy shot from 0 to 100 instantly- and it was contagious as hell. Girls were mesmerized by their charisma and long, luscious locks that were dramatically flying like the flames that covered their van. You could tell that they put all their energy in their grand opening because Mikey had snapped one of his guitar strings only a few minutes into their set.

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As soon as “Summer Feet” started playing, I was immediately reminded of the Chevvy commercial. Standing right next to the speakers, I didn’t mind the deafening volume of the music. There’s something about this song that makes everyone want to groove and have a good time. Even though the stage was a pretty tight space for all five guys, that didn’t stop them from bouncing off the walls, jumping around everytime they hit a note. “Tropicoller Lease” brought some beachy vibes to the room, perfectly appropriate for this summer weather. I love how bipolar this song is, constantly changing from slow to fast paced giving me highs and lows in such a short time. Their energetic set was like a line of grenades continuously exploding, getting more and more wild. Their tunes are undeniably contagious and leave you feeling good after dancing on your feet for so long.

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Out in the Streets Festival
August 12, 2015 4:31 pm

Not so far off from Bushwick, Out in the Streets Festival took place at the Onderdonk House on a spacious lawn where tents were set up for local music, food, and artists. Although this ‘festival’ was on a much smaller scale, it showcased the best of Brooklyn’s indie artists. The sun was blazing and people were chillin on the grass with their friends. People were buying booze and scarfing down on some cheesy Archie’s Pizza slices, while listening to bands play.

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As I step foot into the festival on the bright Saturday afternoon, I was unexpectedly welcomed by a pretty hardcore rock n’ roll band, A Bunch of Dead People. They were badass, to say the least. The rest of the show was just a plethora of awesome, unsung talent waiting to burst through the Brooklyn flames.

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A Bunch of Dead People

Next on stage were the trio Haybaby who rocked their beats out with some catchy bass tunes and smooth female voice from Leslie. As the day started to pass by, the tunes slowly transformed into more chill vibes.

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HayBaby

Balancer played some beachy tunes that made me want to close my eyes and just let my body flow with the rhythm. They have a really badass female drummer who made some sick beats which kept me on my feet throughout the set.

I was put in a state of euphoria when Salt Cathedral started playing some electro dream-pop. Her breathy voice really captured my soul left me in a peaceful state.

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Salt Cathedral

Stranger Cat kept the electro indie-pop streak going and did a brilliant job covering Sia’s “Chandelier” which left everyone in awe. As the night approached, more people started to crowd towards the stage and Mr. Twin Sister entered with some trippy psychedelic music and made the audience dance.

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Stranger Cat

Sunday afternoon also started with some pretty guitar heavy rock ‘n rollers KDH. Their long hairs swaying side to side really added an extra touch to their energetic stage presence and music.

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KDH

Spritzer showed some catchy indie rock tunes that were surprisingly titled with the word “die” in it, which seemed bizarre to me since the melody didn’t sound as dark as it’s titles. Nevertheless, they’re still a solid local band that I hope to see more of in the near future!

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Spritzer

Heliotropes had some 70’s rock elements which made it sound nostalgic and immediately caused me to fall in love with them. Seeing a female lead singer with badass guitar skills taking over the stage sure did keep the crowd going.

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Heliotropes

The festival ended with a big bang when The Love Supreme tore up the stage. Having over 10 people on such small space, it was already a party starting to happen. As the music started playing the singer hopped off the stage and mingled with the audience which kept everybody excited. They were definitely the right fit to end such a lovely festival where I discovered many amazing upcoming local bands.

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The Love Supreme

 

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Streets of Laredo: The Kiwis of Bushwick
July 8, 2015 11:32 am

There’s something about indie folk music that makes it the perfect summer tune while you’re laying on the grass enjoying the nice weather. Streets of Laredo is a Brooklyn based band that makes you want to do exactly that while forgetting all about your problems for a few sweet moments. Their Governor’s Ball Music Festival debut officially marked their 3rd year anniversary in Brooklyn after moving from New Zealand as a three piece. “Me, my brother, his wife were a three piece for a little while and we kind of gathered members as we went on. They picked up a few more players over a couple of years to make the band “more legitimate.”

You might be thinking, why would anybody think of leaving such a beautiful country and move to Brooklyn? “I think we’ve all been in bands and we’ve all been doing music back in New Zealand. We wanted change and wanted to challenge ourselves. Throw ourselves into a big pond.” Dan continues talking about how much of a tight community it is, and that it’s a great place for musicians. “I think it kind of helps musicians to be in that culture and create relationships/friendships. LA is really different. Its cool and all but it’s not so closely knit. The music scene here in Brooklyn – there’s so many bands, so many venues, so many bands kind of doing stuff here and there. And we kind of wanted to put ourselves in the middle of it.”

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Moving somewhere halfway around the world, I expected they must have experienced some sort of culture shock or been through some struggle adjusting to the American environment. “It was really hard to order a bagel because nobody understood my accent! I would go to the deli in Bushwick and the guy just didn’t understand me. I literally just had to say bagel so many times and change the way I pronounced it. Sometimes I’ll get something a little different, but I just go along with it. You probably still can’t understand me. [laughs]”

Their performance at Governors Ball was sensational and perfect to start off my festival groove. Though they haven’t had many previous experiences of playing on such a big stage, they seemed calm, collected, and very experienced. “Man, I’ve just always wanted to play it so it was a highlight. It was a highlight for the whole band and we were so honored and humbled to be a part of the bill!”

With such talent and great musicianship, I feel as though they don’t get as much attention as they should. I go on and ask Dan about how they started getting into music. “My mom was the musician of the family who was in a women’s choir group, so she’d play guitar and sing. She would teach me how to harmonize, which was really annoying. She would pick me up after school and play choir tapes in the car and she’d make me sing along. Sometimes I’d have a friend in the car and my mom would be singing. That was embarrassing. I joined choir for a little bit but it wasn’t for me. It was a big melting pot of music. There was a lot of music around me growing up.”

Their latest EP was released in two parts last fall which outlines a narrative story of their musical journey, and their struggles of moving to a new environment. “The songs are about all of us in the process of moving here and living here for a couple of months. Then we recorded the records over in New Zealand. There’s this sort of really strong narrative adventure, missing home, and the tough emotion we used to be in especially forming a band.” Their EP cover with two dear heads fighting each other also illustrates their blood, sweat and tears. “We met a really great artist in New Zealand, Alexandra. I think she called it struggle or something, and we really liked the visual of two dears struggling. It’s that kind of narrative of struggle, triumph and heartache, and things like that really kind of buried the songs individually.”

They recently released a new song “Diamonds” so be sure to check it out!

A Taste of Bushwick – A Culinary Dream
June 24, 2015 3:13 pm

For the second time ever Bushwick kicked off what is becoming one of Brooklyn premier culinary events. The festival took place at Frank Brunckhorst Boar’s Head distribution plant off the Morgan Avenue L train. All proceeds for the event were donated to the Bushwick Starr Theatre, a non-profit cultural and performance space at 207 Starr St.

A number of Brooklyn’s best eateries were preparing as the public flocked to the event, ready to devour the wide array of gourmet dishes, drinks, and desserts. Over 30 different food and drink vendors were displayed under one mouthwatering tent. The Shop Brooklyn, Tchoup Shop, Fritzl’s Lunch Box, Mominette Bistro, Faro, and Northeast Kingdom were just some of the many restaurants, bars, and bakeries that were in attendance.

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I had never attended a culinary event of this capacity and was extremely eager when I purchased a ticket for myself and my brother. That purchase would turn out to be a fine investment as the food and drink consumed would far out weigh the price of admission. I was so anxious to attend the event that I showed up before it even began. Once it started I wasted no time in quickly moving from table to table, tasting some of Bushwick’s finest food display. Among the many delicious things I consumed were Oysters, Duck Confit, Carrot Soup, Barbecued Lamb Belly, Chicken Tortillas, Smoked Pork Shoulder and many more delicious delicacies.

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If the food wasn’t enough to knock me and my brother off our feet, the unique and tasty cocktails inevitably made up for it. Between the two of us it might be fair to say that a gallon of alcohol might have been consumed. Of the drinks I remember enjoying was a creative concoction of a whiskey shot that was to be immediately chased down with a shot of “Switchel,” which is a blend of apple cider, ginger juice and maple syrup. Before I knew it, one shot combo turned into four shot combos. To my knowledge this strange combination was mind blowing, but then again who am I to judge as my delicate pallet was disrupted by the myriad of flavors that had entered my mouth.

Having engulfed a large amount of food and drink, my brother and I left stumbling back to my apartment were we would both be put to pasture. We had originally planned to attend the after party at The Pine Box Rock Shop, which featured comedian Daniel Korean and the band Imaginary Tricks. While I missed out on the after party, the goal for next year will be to attend, although I can’t say I have any regrets. The Annual Taste of Bushwick is a food spectacle that should be witnessed by all who have a passion for the culinary arts. Don’t be the one to miss out on The 3rd Annual Taste of Bushwick!

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CUSSES ARE GOING TO GET YOU
May 27, 2015 1:38 am

Georgia indie rock band CUSSES are at it again.  With the release of their latest single, “I’m Going To Get You” from their LP, “Here Comes The Rat the band once again reels you in with their pulsating sound and fearless lyrics.

This song is all about taking back the night and letting all the bullshit go.  Vocalist Angel Bond has this ability to lure you in with her wild presence and stunning sexiness but what you get at this band’s live show is so much more than a hot chick up front.  This is one leading lady that will make sure you know she’s running the show.  Seeing CUSSES live is a cathartic experience.  The band leaves you wanting more even though you feel like you just went through a hardcore workout with them.

Don’t miss this band when they come through Brooklyn on July 18th to The Flat in Bushwick.  For CUSSES summer tour dates click here.