“Walkin’ home, all alone. Lost her mind. Lost her phone.”Read More
PLAYLIST BY BEN DRAGHI ('18)
A new mix from a method all star.
WORDS BY HELLY MANSON ('19)
Two Sundays ago, I went to the WESU record fair and checked out some of the vinyl they had on sale. I chose 5 random records for $5 or under. My choices were purely impulsive in that I chose the records based on the aesthetics that attracted my attention and interested me. I then went on to listen to them as a kind of experiment. Here they are:
Donzelli Group- Donzelli’s group (1974) $4:
This is a lounge pop album from an Italian group. There is little to no information about them on the internet, let alone on the album sleeve. The top search for “Donzelli Group” on google is an Auto Service company. From what I can tell they only made the one album, an amalgamation of covers and original songs. Shame, kind of. It’s ok. My grandparents would like it, I guess.
The Furious Five- Step Off 12-inch (1983) $5:
I like how the cover depicts a multi-colored road to a kind of “Emerald City”. The fact that it says “Sugarhill” on it (a highly regarded hip-hop label of the 70s and 80s), should have been a big enough clue that I was buying something special. Here’s a brief old-school rap lesson for everyone who is as ignorant as I was: Keith “Cowboy” Wiggins, a member of Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five actually coined the term “Hip-Hop”. This 12-inch is seminal and as someone who is not super familiar with hip-hop, I feel unworthy of owning it. The song “Step Off” is awesome. It features the 80s synthesizers we all pretend to hate and lyrics like “Chaka Khan let me rock you, let me rock you, Chaka Khan.” Listen to it.
Bill Nelson- Banal 12-inch (1979)$4:
I had heard a little Bill Nelson before, but I chose this particular EP because I was very interested in the origins of 60s/70s décor featured on the front cover. I regretfully cannot find anything about it, anywhere, but I really like the music and especially the song “Banal”. The guitar solo at the end of it has reignited my love for new wave.
Johan Dalgas Frisch- Symphony of the Birds (1966) $1:
The title of this record is very apt. To put it briefly, the album is pretty much recordings of singing birds from Brazil, played over “man-made music” (acoustic guitars and so on). The clerk at the record fair told me it was “funky”. I realize now that he might have been warning me. Wins the award for the weirdest thing in my vinyl collection.
Ramsay Lewis- Ramsay Lewis Golden Hits’ (1973) $4:
The sound of this album did not capture the sort of chaos I expected from looking at the muddled, detailed artwork depicting a complex musical machine. It was boring as hell if I’m honest. Ramsey Lewis, a jazz pianist, has received 3 Grammys in his career so I felt like I should have liked it. I didn’t.
WORDS & PLAYLIST: BENJAMIN ROMERO '16
Like clockwork, the first weeks of October always plague me with a sense of homesickness: for my bed; for a house that doesn't have a keg in the kitchen; and for my parents. Of late, especially my Mom. See, sitting the other day talking the car insurance company (another story for another time), I realize I owe my Mom an apology or two or forty.
Sorry about that time I locked the babysitter in the garage, on purpose. Sorry about breaking the crystal candle sticks. And the other set of crystal candle sticks. And that other thing. Sorry about locking myself in the bathroom and crying so hard I couldn't get myself out. Sorry for never getting out of bed. Sorry for getting stuck in the baby swing, and sorry you had to saw it in half. Sorry for that one time I made you miss the exit in Virginia, and sorry for not telling you how grateful I am that you're my Mom.
Here's the playlist you asked me to make you for our trip in May. Sorry it's late.
TEXT BY ISADORA SPILLMAN-SCHAPPELL ('17)
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MOLLY BALSAM ('14)
It’s hard to talk to Molly Balsam ('14) and feel anything short of lazy. During the course of our hour-long conversation, the former Philosophy and Music double major let it casually slip that she not only sings and plays keyboard for her band, Molly Rocket, but also books all the shows, writes all the songs, and designs all PR. And if holding all these titles weren't enough, the songstress also admitted she wakes up at 6:30 a.m. to do kickboxing in a heated room for fun.
Along with her band's drummer, Atticus Smartwood (’14), Molly moved to Nashville after last summer following her graduation. The move was in part a deliberate choice to avoid the Wesleyan to NYC pipeline after growing up in the city. “The scene in New York post Wesleyan was what I wanted to avoid," she explains. "I felt that the music scene at Wesleyan didn’t highlight the right people and it wasn’t going to do so afterwards."
Calling from her new house in Nashville, Molly admits that there are parts of Wes that she misses. “Being at Wesleyan definitely made me think the general population was much more on the same page politically,” she reflects. “The real world is like jumping into a ice cold lake when it comes to that.” Nonetheless, the alum is quick to discuss what Wesleyan could do better. “It's such a small environment it’s so easy to feel competitive. Plus, it was easy to feel that there was so much going on you didn’t end up doing anything," she notes. "Sometimes, none of my friends would end up going to a show because pregames lasted till midnight. Here, if my show is at eight people come at eight.”
One thing we both agreed upon was how male dominated Wes' music scene is. On most weekend nights, concerts are 90% male. Molly's advice is for us non-male identifying musicians to be louder. “Its great that we all play, but unless you throw it in their faces they wont notice because that's the way things have been,” she explains. “It’s hard to turn peoples heads without physically turning them." Today, Molly is part of the Nashville Feminist Art Collective and the Nashville Riot Grrls. She also makes a concerted effort to play shows that have other female fronted bands on the bill.
Listening to her debut EP, I found the rising star's songs to be both catchy and earnest, like Dolly Parton meets Liz Phair. This bluesier effect she credits to Nashville, which also encourages her to focus more on the performance aspect of the work. “The whole honkey-tonk, larger than life, aspect of Nashville has affected my performance and my music,” she says. “It’s a spectacle as well as great music.”
Over the course of our conversation, she name checks Jenny Lewis, Ben Folds, and Bruce Springsteen as influences on her writing and performance. What brings together these artists is longevity. Molly looks up to artists who have developed artistically yet maintained their following. Of Lewis’ music she says, “It’s very empowering to see an artist change her sound and maintain their following. Her sense of self is so powerful that the music may sound different but you know it’s still her.”
In the past, Molly’s lyrics have been based on personal experiences. Today, she's trying to expand. “Writing confessional songs might create great music, but career long artists don't just write like that, they have skill and talent at their craft," she explains. "You have to be able to get to a point where what you want to say can coincide with what you feel but it doesn’t have to be your story.”
Today, METHOD is thrilled to present Molly Rocket's first video for their song “Bad Habit," directed by Caroline Conrad (’14). To see more of Molly Rocket, like them on Facebook, follow her on Instagram/Twitter, and listen to her Bandcamp.
WORDS: JULIET GELFMAN-RANDAZZO '18
IMAGES: WILL BARR '18
When I heard The Rooks were playing at the Mash, I knew something sounded familiar. I texted my best friend from home a casual “Is ur camp friend in the rooks?!!!” He responded affirmatively, agreed to set me up with an interview, and left me with two pieces of advice:
“Ask him about the number 6”
“And the time he yelled at Noah Marcus”
He followed up these extremely comprehensible instructions with,
“He knows Jake and David too
Like really well
Totally talk about them.”
For those of you not in the know, Noah, Jake, and David are my friend Jesse Litvin’s camp friends who I have known for many years, since the gang started visiting each other in my hometown. Feeling like an honorary member of Camp North Star at this point, I was extremely excited to finally meet Graham Richman, who I had heard described as “really cool and nice,” “a humorous man,” and “chill.”
I was not disappointed; though I never learned about the number 6, I did learn a lot about the Rooks and their relative chill-ness. Also, I had the chance to hang with four pretty amazing Wes-alum musicians, and one who doesn’t even go here!
So what’s its like to be back at Wes, do you feel old?
Garth: Oh no! Do we look old? What is the answer? No, I’m kidding. Me and Spencer were in the Spirits together with people that are still here who we can come and see and hang out with, and we’ve met lots of new people.
Spencer: It’s been a great feeling to know that every time we’ve come back after graduating everyone’s really welcoming and it’s felt really special every time, even though we know fewer and fewer people on campus.
Garth: A lot of freshmen here today… and they were like ‘we’re ready to rage’.
Gabe: What year is that, 2019?? I can’t count that high.
Garth: Think about that…you can’t count that high, then maybe you should come back here!
Gabe: I didn’t take a math class.
Garth: I was in a calc class for one class and I was like… ‘and scene.’
So where did you guys live on campus?
Gabe: Clark floor 2 was the place to be freshman year…
Method: No it wasn’t.
Gabe: You can make faces but you weren’t there so you don’t know.
Garth: But it wasn’t though…
Gabe: And then I lived in the Nics and then I lived in Lowrise and then Pine.
Method: Did you live in pine palace?!
Gabe: Nooo, not in pine palace, the new one like those future ones – 231 B...
Garth: Spencer didn’t live anywhere.
Method: I live in Westco.
Garth: Spencer lived in WestCo!
Method: Up 3 is all sophomores and has no RA’s so…
Garth: Up 3 is the place to be.
Method: There is a party there after if you guys want to come…
Gabe: We have other plans…in New York City…
Method: No no no it’s fine! It’s cool!
Garth: This is Connor, Connor didn’t go to Wesleyan.
Connor: Yeah I got an honorary degree through…
Method: Yeah so you didn’t live on campus, so you can’t answer that question.
What are your top memories from Wesleyan?
Method: Connor wants to answer this question.
Connor: I loved Utah?
Graham: My best moment? We played tent party 2011 with a band called Mad Wow, which is like a Motown throwback thing and that was awesome.
Garth: And little things...
Spencer: Like, being on Foss hill in the spring.
Garth: Never, not with my allergies, I was like you can find me inside, watching Bad Girls Club but… don’t put that in.
Connor: It’s on the record.
Ok now I have a couple questions for Graham, can you tell me about the time you yelled at Noah Marcus?
Garth: Oh! This is gotcha journalism! Did you see Connor whip out that phone?
Graham: I feel like I should be on a podium with a bunch of microphones… so I was teaching a guitar class at camp and Noah was being a little snot and he knows he was being a snot. I told him, I forget what I said, but I remember like a period later thinking I shouldn’t have said anything cause he was really upset and he was like 14. Every time Jesse sees me that’s the first thing he says, like why’d you yell at Noah? Noah hasn’t talked to me since so.
Method: ok second question for you, what does 6 mean?
Graham: I’m gonna kill Jesse…
So on a scale of 9-10 how much does Jesse Litvin suck?
Gabe: We started a lot of beef today.
Garth: Yes we did, and I wasn’t even really involved in any of it.
How chill do you think your band is?
Graham: Is this a 9-10 scale again?
Method: Whatever scale you want.
Garth: it varies by person.
Method: Who’s the chillest?
All: probably Gabe.
Method: Yeah, you’re wearing a polo, I can tell.
Gabe: It’s ironic!
Method: oh my god, that’s what I said! Some people were talking about your polo and I was like I’m pretty sure it’s ironic.
Garth: See how she slid shade in there?? Some people were talking about your polo?
Gabe: And I feel accomplished because that’s all I can ask for .
Garth: He doesn’t care as long as people are talking about him… this is just… ratchet as hell!
When during his day do you think Michael Roth listens to your music?
Garth: Actually at night. When he’s cooking dinner.
Graham: Ooh yeah, or when he just gets up, in the morning.
Gabe: Let me tell you something about Michael Roth. Alright, Mad Wow Disease was playing a show out at the bottom of Foss Hill
Graham: That was an old band that we were part of.
Gabe: And two things happened at the same time that really just kind of blew my mind. One is that a bunch of zombies start attacking the stage because it was humans vs. zombies, so they were crawling up on stage as we were playing some funk music, and then I turn and Michael Roth is like “can I jump on your keyboard and play a solo right now?” I’m like what am I supposed to do, I have zombies to the left of me, Michael Roth to the right, here I am stuck in the middle, like what the, what is this?? It was crazy.
What Wes-made spotify playlist would you want your music to be on?
Garth: Are there different titles to choose from? Turn up.
Graham: I like turn up. Or Get Down?
Spencer: Shade Lap.
Method: Should I put it on my hype jams playlist?
Spencer: You could put part of the album on your hype jams playlist and part of it on your bedtime playlist.
Gabe: You could put it on the Das Racist Contemporaries Playlist?
Graham: You could put it on the “We’re not MGMT” playlist?
What 3 words would you use to describe your band’s squad image right now?
Spencer: Non-profit hoes.
Gabe: Oh my god, guys, now we need one for the kids!
So do you guys play a lot of chess?
So what’s the reason behind your band name?
Garth: Necessity… umm Connor’s going to take this one!
Connor: The Res hall near, across from the garden, yeah, long john 2, and I don’t know! It was just one of those things where we didn’t know if we were like, rookies, or we didn’t know if we were like, (Garth: that’s not far from the truth) we didn’t know if we were just trying to move forward like the chess piece does (Garth: he’s just repeating what he’s heard us say!) you we thought that like it was a symbol for a new beginning that could only move forward.
Garth: Rooks can move side to side!
Connor: Yeah but we’re only moving forward. Yeah so after a long-
Garth: STOP HIM!
What’s your advice for aspiring Wes musicians for how to succeed if you’re not MGMT or Heems?
Garth: Who’s Heems?
Gabe: From Das Racist.
Graham: Play a lot. And play…
Gabe: From the heart.
Graham: No but seriously! Play a lot and try to build hubs and don’t try to do everything on your own.
Garth: Be focused on your goals and make sure you’re nice to people. Practice here, this school’s music scene is a good environment for learning how to play live music to a receptive audience so use it. Use the fact that there’s a strong scene here to try new things and then you’ll be a lot better equipped.
Spencer: You’re never going to have an audience like you’re gonna have here, and you’re never going to have the amount of time that you have here to actually work.
Garth: Don’t wait until you graduate to say, oh when I graduate I’m going to start working on my music, do it here. That was my serious answer.
How’d you guys meet?
Garth: Ok Cupid.
Gabe: Half of us…
Garth: Is that a serious thing?
Method: yeah, it’s like Jewish Tinder.
Garth: (at Gabe) You’re not on that?
Gabe: Funny story, we played at Highline ballroom a couple of years ago in New York City, and the way that we were introduced to this gig was, hey do you want to open for Talib Kweli, and we were like YES, and then they were like, oh by the way, it’s a networking function gig for people on JDate.
Gabe: It’s myspace for Jewish participants. So it was like a mingler. This was like 3 years ago. But we did open for Talib.
Garth: We did! I tripped down the stairs in front of him. That was not one of my finer moments.
Gabe: Anything to get noticed, right Garth?
Method: Graham, what type of gum were you chewing in the show?
Graham: It’s the original flavor, I wanted spearmint but they were out.
Graham: Yeah. :/
What’s your best story?
Gabe: I tell a really good “Of Mice and Men”.
Garth: You’re so wack.
Garth: You are a dad right now.
Gabe: But I am the chillest.
Garth: Undisputed chillest.
Connor: So Joan Baez rolls up...
All: THAT’S the story!
Garth: We can tell that story because it doesn’t involve us doing anything, just Joan Baez being drunk as fuck.
Garth: She was belligerent.
Gabe: do you even know who Joan Baez is?
Method: Of course I know who Joan Baez is!
Garth: Well I didn’t and I didn’t care.
Graham: We played a show at Arlene’s Grocery in New York City this was like, last January, and Joan Baez showed up and was like completely plastered, had like a 2 or 3 twenty-something year old posse following her around and she kind of like, she got really aggressive with every single member of the band at different times, like we were all spread out around the venue, and she would, she found a way to bother every single member of the band, even though we were separate.
Gabe: She made us look up a picture of her to prove she was Joan Baez.
Graham: She asked us, do you know who I am…
Spencer: and she was very vulgar, and aggressive...
Garth: One time, one of us got sick on a tour and we had to vom.
Method: was it you?
Garth: Yeah, it was me. Don’t I look like I probably vomit a lot?
Method: I don’t know if I can say that you look like that
Gabe: She’s like I wasn’t going to say anything…
Graham: I was worried that you were going to jump off the bridge… cause we pulled over so he could throw up, and it’s right on the side of the bridge.
Gabe: Beautiful view!
Graham: The Peace Bridge and Spencer jumped out and for a minute I thought he was going over the railing .
Gabe: Why are we doing this to you, let’s find another victim.
Garth: Yeah shit… um Connor tried to post up on me several times, I had to tell him not to.
Connor: Yeah I learned my lesson the hard way.
Garth: We’re also a gang, like we double as a gang so we’re initiating him.
Gabe: It’s actually the Rooks Gang, it’s @therooksgang on twitter and Instagram and Facebook.
Garth: That’s false.
Gabe: Connor hasn’t gone through his initiation yet.
Garth: Like he hasn’t killed a person… we all killed a person.
Graham: But it can’t be one of us, you can’t kill one of us.
Gabe: so do you have, like, enough stuff?
Check out The Rooks on their website (therooksband.com) on Facebook, Twitter (@therooksband), Instagram (@therooksband), soundcloud.com/therooksband, and Spotify!
"5 GUYS aka Angus Macdonald, Leo Grossman, Ethan Hill, Nick Selden, and David Whitney spent the summer in Brooklyn on Mommy’s Debit Card and can’t wait to go to 6 Flags New England for Nick’s birthday, September 19th. Their best lyric is Suzie Lee, get out of bed / The NSA is in my head / They Wanna put me in an air-conditioning machine.They might be the next Alanis Morissette but they sound a lot like Imagine Dragons x Miles Davis. They started in 2008 when they all attended the same rock n roll summer camp and rehearse almost never. If they were a class at Wesleyan they’d be History of the Middle East but most people call them Wesleyan’s Sinead O’Connor. Their last MASH was potatoes."Read More
PLAYLIST: MICHAEL ROTH '78
TEXT: BENJAMIN ROMERO '16
It's the twilight of summer. Though it may not seem like it, these muggy days are numbered. Summer will fade into fall, and all this sweat will be but a stain you can't get out because you forgot Tide-to-Go even though your Mom reminded you. Four times.
Until then, turn on your fan from Rite Aid, and tune in to Michael Roth's sweet, sweet tunes.
WORDS & PLAYLIST: BEN VELAISE '18
In late July, I met up with a pair of German siblings from Munich. The youngest of the two, Darian, told me he was an Abercrombie model/employee for Munich's flagship store. When I asked him what his position entailed he handed me a card with a link to his Spotify, "check out my mixtapes," (he probably meant playlists). Turns out he creates the playlists for Abercrombie Munich's stores.
Here's what he called the "END OF SUMMR" playlist. It (surprisingly) doubles as an awesome, up-beat, "WELCOME BCK 2 SCHOOL TURNUP" playlist. Check it out.
It's been quite a week for NYC collective Camp and Street. On Friday, Le1f (Khalif Diouf '11) released his SOPHIE-produced "Koi" music video, announcing the rapper's return and preparing fans for his upcoming studio album debut. This morning, newest collective member Zain Alam ('13) premiered his first music video as Humeysha.Read More
WORDS & PLAYLIST: BENJAMIN ROMERO '16
It's that time of the year. Sweat. A lot of it. The sun does not shine; it beats, down, unrelenting till you begin to reverse your initial derision of Sartre's Nausea, realizing, "He may be onto something," as your hand slips down the F train's pole covered in the grease and grime of the other nameless and unwashed masses who have tried, unsuccessfully, to steady themselves against the smogged humidity.
So, in short, it's hot. Here's some music I've been listening to distract me from the sweltering and melting and the unnecessary encounters with moist bodies. Also, I had ice cream for lunch yesterday. So, yes, Mom, I'm a real adult.
The 7:13 is the first alarm (of several) on my phone that (sort of) wakes me up. After various attempts with those 'natural rhythm' apps that wake you up according to your lunar cycle or zodiac sign or menstrual period or whatever, I had to resign myself that I am one of those individuals who needs to be woken up the old fashioned way: a single time every morning. Thus, the 7:13.Read More
“We don’t really know how we got here,” claims the Facebook page of Sneaky Sugars, a new freshman band consisting mostly of residents of the 4th floor of Clark hall (with a member from one floor down, as well as a Nics guest). As a fellow resident, I interviewed Sneaky Sugars in my own room, where they were practicing since their lead guitar player is my roommate. They told me about pre-show rituals, how they formed, and their plans for the future.Read More
Until recently, Hana Elion (’15) didn’t own a winter coat. JJ Mitchell (also ’15), a New York native, has a plethora of standout options, most notably a navy fur collared satin-y bomber jacket that’s equal parts World War Two pilot and oil-money-heiress-slumming it in a hookah lounge on 1st Avenue. The duo’s Yin-Yang friend dynamic is the basis for their new cloud-soul project Overcoats, where they channel their feelings into an earthy blend of tightly woven electro-folk harmonies. It’s music for when you’re sad, or happy-sad, or just lying in bed with your best friend trying not to put how you feel into words. On a sunny, falsely warm April afternoon, we sat down on Foss to discuss love, loss, and, of course, coats.Read More
Wet Leather do not have a publicist. Meeting me in Williamsburg for their first interview, the band of five sounds like the grown up version of WestCo hall mates. They mumble. They fidget. It’s not all their fault though, our corner table is pretty cramped. But, eventually after ambling through twenty minutes of “ums” and “uhs,” I got the boys talking EPs, thesis downloads, twitter beefs, and studio time.Read More
Harmony and Cleo are those best friends, and they share that energy openly when you meet them - though it helps when you’re putting a warm bowl of food in their hands right after they get off the road.Read More
What makes a good makeout playlist? Something that is able to conjure instant nostalgia, while treading the line of not too sexy, but sexy enough. The playlist shows you're sensitive and misunderstood but also gets you into that special someone's skinny jeans. D’angelo? Too sexy, just put it away. Mac Demarco? Not allowed after the sun sets. And seriously no Wilco, like no one wants to hear about your issues with your mother when you’re trying to MO.Read More