This week I’m joined by Elise Okusami, singer, songwriter, and arranger for the band Oceanator. Today, Oceanator is releasing their debut full-length album Things I Never Said. In many ways, it seems like this album was written about this particular moment in time. Songs like “A Crack in the World” or “I Would Find You” have an end-of-the-world energy that could easily be talking about the coronavirus pandemic, the pandemic of police brutality and racism, or the economic crisis that the US is facing. But Elise wrote these songs years ago — she says she’s always been a little bit of a doomsday person. Despite the album’s apocalyptic themes, it also finds solace in relationships and catharsis in ‘90’s inspired alternative rock.
Songs included in this episode: "I Would Find You" and "Heartbeat" by Oceanator
This week I’m joined by Sophia Greenberg, the singer and guitarist in the Philadelphia band Riverby. Riverby released their debut album, Smart Mouth with Take This to Heart Records on July 10th. Smart Mouth is an unapologetic and energetic album that pays homage to Riverby’s influences, which range from Mayday Parade to Alanis Morissette and Liz Phair. Sophia and I talked about how their mom cultivated their love of music, building Riverby’s rock-solid lineup, and releasing an album that’s been years in the making.
Songs included in this episode: "Smart Mouth" and "Giving Tree" by Riverby
The Pass The Mic podcast has been quiet for a few weeks as Minneapolis has been grappling with the police brutality and call for social change that has exploded across the country and around the world. But we're back to share a new episode with Sarah Levy, a vocalist, songwriter and guitarist in the Oakland-based pop-punk/emo band Pity Party.
Sarah talks about the vulnerable and empowering songs on Pity Party's new album "Concrete," her work as an activist, and how becoming a high school teacher gave her an outlet to bridge music and community involvement.
Songs included in this episode: "Empathy" and "Concrete" by Pity Party
Outer space, magnolia trees, and the “inevitable heat death of the universe” are just a few of the things that influenced Sister Species’ latest album. Sister Species describe themselves as a “chamber pop septet” and the Minneapolis-based band is led by singer, songwriter, and accordionist Emily Kastrul.
In this episode, I’m joined by Emily and Sister Species’ guitarist, Willow Waters. The three of us met up over video chat, from our prospective quarantined locations, to talk about the many musical projects that Emily and Willow play in, how they blended their influences into Sister Species’ upcoming album Light Exchanges, and how they’re connecting with nature — and each other — despite social distancing.
Songs included in this episode: "Heat Death (Hold Me Here)" and "Cottonwood Trees" by Sister Species
Playing music has connected me with some of my best friends and most influential role models, like Anna Dolde and Joan Griffith. Anna and I met in our college's jazz band. Joan was our director, and also my guitar teacher. For this extra personal episode, I wanted to pay homage to the women who inspire me. Anna, Joan, and I talk about our musical upbringings, inspirations, and how we found the confidence to say, "I'm going to sound like myself."
Songs included in this episode: "Sautéed Mushrooms/Deviled Eggs," "Butter," "A Lot of Things Are Edible If You Only Eat One," and "Detective Sprout" by Rabeca; "Blues in Hoss Flat" by Foster & Basie performed by Mac Jazz; noodling from Joan Griffith
The Sheshen are a 6-piece band that combines sequenced synthesizers, syncopated beats, and Lalin St. Juste’s soft, skillful vocals. Their third full-length album, CYAN, was inspired by the strength and softness of the color cyan, the tumult of the 2016 election, and personal struggles with depression. In this episode, Lalin breaks down some of CYAN's songs and talks about how she fused personal lyrics with bassist/producer Akiyoshi Ehara's textured grooves.
Songs included: "4AM," "Don't Answer" and "Dive"
Stefanie Vigoren and Jaybird Parkhurst are no strangers to change. After forming the band Termination Dust in Anchorage, Alaska, the two have traveled around the country, released two full-length albums, and welcomed drummer Matt Harris into the band. Termination Dust don’t just tolerate change, they embrace it — and are now using it as the inspiration for their third album, Growing Down.
Songs in this episode: “It's Not A Place, It's A Feeling” and “Street Lights”
This episode is part 2 of 4 "Gems of 2019," a series where I look back on some of my favorite albums and EPs of 2019. This time, I chat about releases from Jamila Woods, Charly Bliss, ahem, Carly Rae Jepsen and more, as well as a friend who's changed my own relationship to music.
Kathy Callahan (she/her), Nadi McGill (they/them), and Natalie Klemond (she/her) aren’t just bandmates — the trio affectionately refer to themselves as “brothers” — and sitting down with the three of them, it’s clear that their music is inseparable from their close-knit relationship. We talked about battling impostor syndrome, their upcoming EP Phony, how they used cheap wigs to recreate the looks of iconic boy bands, and so much more.
Songs included: "New Song No. 2" and "Neopet Graveyard"
As 2019 winds to a close, I'm looking back on some of my favorite albums and EPs from the year. This episode is part 1 of 4 "Gems of 2019," where I chat about some of my favorite music released in the past year from Queen of Jeans, Chastity Belt, pushflowers, Sass, and more.