Quarantine: How Music Helps Me Keep My Sanity
It has been a trying time for everyone. With a pandemic sweeping the globe, people are forced to stay home and self-isolate. Thousands of people have been out of work, especially those who are in the entertainment industry.
Music is one of the few things in my life that I have a real, genuine connection with. Music helps me find peace, and simply put, it makes me happy. Without shows to look forward to, my life suddenly felt so empty. I felt uneasy with this uncertainty, especially when dealing with the one thing that I could always count on in life – shows.
Luckily, tons of musicians, festivals and organizations have been stepping up to the plate. They have been posting videos of live performances - usually from their living room, kitchens, bedrooms, etc.
I have nothing but gratitude for these artists, festivals and organizations.
I have created this list of anything music-related that has helped me cope (thus far):
RECORDS & SINGLES:
Death in Venice Beach by The Bombpops -
This record, which dropped on March 13th, is filled with fun hooks, amazing songwriting, and dark subject matter. This record is the perfect thing to help get anyone through these tough times. My favorite track? “13 Stories Down” - a song recounting the struggles of alcohol addiction, famously narrated by now-sober Poli van Dam. The band (vocalists/guitarists van Dam and Jen Razavi, bassist Neil Wayne and drummer Josh Lewis) unfortunately had to cancel their record release shows and their upcoming tour due to Covid-19, but their fans have been supporting them each step of the way. Interestingly enough, the title of this record is based off of the book Death in Venice, by Thomas Mann. This novel focuses on a writer who is suffering from writer's block in Venice, while the cholera plague is among them.
E.P. by Alkaline Trio -
This three-song E.P. – “Minds like Minefields”, “Radio Violence” and “Smokestack” – brings back so many reminiscent memories of why I love this band so damn much. My favorite track is the acoustic “Smokestack”, which stripped-down nature really brings a smile to my face. Dan Andriano (bass/vocals) confirmed in his recent Instagram livestream that “Smokestack” was written twenty years ago, which confirms how well their music really holds up.
Purchase Alkaline Trio’s E.P. here, where bundles are available as well.
Florida’s Protagonist dropped an album on April 10th, entitled Fallout from the Chronicle. To quote the band “[this album] features resurrected b-sides, acoustic versions, and covers of Violent Society and the The Boils." I really enjoyed this record, as it captures that nostalgic punk feel of going to shows with your friends.
Purchase Protagonist's music and merch on their Bandcamp page.
Neverlyn (Livermore, CA) released a music video for the single “Far from Perfect” (featuring Zac Eisenstein), off of their brand new record Beauty Sleep (released March 27th). The record is pop-punk goodness, and will have you dancing all the way through.
Purchase Neverlyn music and merch here.
Roger Lima’s (bassist/vocalist of Less Than Jake) side project, Rehasher debuted a new song entitled “I Don’t Feel Anything.” This song (as well as other merch options) are available for purchase on a double-A side 7” record (other track entitled “Turn Inside Out”), here.
Pity Party –
Oakland’s Pity Party released a single “Masculinity is a Prison”, as well as announced their next record, titled Concrete, out on May 29th.
Western Addiction -
San Francisco’s Western Addiction premiered a new single “They Burned Our Paintings”, and preorder for new record Frail Bray (Dropping May 15th on Fat Wreck Chords).
Preorders for the record are over on Fat Wreck Chords.
Control Top -
Philadelphia’s Control Top released the single “One Good Day.”
Purchase Control Top’s music and merch at their Bandcamp page.
Chris Cresswell -
Chris Cresswell (The Flatliners) takes his acoustic solo work to the next level in The Inside Man. The Inside Man is an ongoing album of covers, updated as time passes, including Al Green’s “Tired of Being Alone.” The Inside Man is available for free/donations at Cresswell’s Bandcamp page. Cresswell was also featured in One Week Records’ “One Week Interfest.”, where he performed stripped-down acoustic songs such as “Carry the Banner” (off of The Flatliners's Cavalcade).
Hayley Williams (Petals for Armor) -
Paramore’s Hayley Williams released two new singles (and lyric videos) for “Over Yet”, and “My Friend.” These singles will be featured on Hayley’s debut solo record, Petals for Armor (Atlantic)
The former comes with a workout video, choreographed by Hayley (Ms. Williams if you’re nasty), which will definitely whip you into shape. Williams was also featured on BETHLINE, a YouTube talk show with Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast. They discussed self-care during life in quarantine, and during life in general.
Lights Over Bridgeport -
Chicago’s Lights Over Bridgeport debuted their new single “Morning in Chicago”, complete with an accompanying music video. LOB also announced that their new record Better This Way, which will be released on May 22nd. The cover art for this record was done by graphic artist Mikaela Jane Palermo, whose art I am constantly impressed with.
Purchase Lights Over Bridgeport's new record here.
Cold Wrecks –
Brooklyn’s Cold Wrecks released a new single on April 10th, entitled “Country Song.” (all proceeds from the bands digital music downloads in April will be donated to the NYC-DSA Mutual Aid COVID-19 Relief Fund).
Purchase music and merch by Cold Wrecks on their Bandcamp page.
Bad Cop/Bad Cop Acoustic Quarantine Brunch -
Jennie Cotterill (vocals/guitar), Stacey Dee (vocals/guitar), Linh Le (vocals/bass) and Myra Gallarza (drums) really brought a smile to everyone’s faces when they announced that they were going to be holding a “Quarantine Brunch” on their Instagram account. Jennie Cotterill performed a few songs, including “Brain is for Lovers” (Warriors), and even performed a new song written in quarantine entitled “What Can You Do?” The new song really struck a chord with me, and well as with my friends. Stacey Dee performed a few songs as well, including “Womanarchist” (Warriors) (with the rad lyric switch from “change my name to Joan of Arc” to “change my name to Rosa Parks!”). Linh ripped through her songs, including “I’m Done” (Warriors), as well as amazing renditions of “Animal” by Against Me! (New Wave), and “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo (Cuz I Love You – Super Deluxe). Myra stole the show with her Beastie Boys lip sing rendition.
You can purchase Bad Cop/Bad Cop’s merch at Stupid Rad Merch.
Staying Home Together with Taking Back Sunday -
Adam Lazzara (lead vocals) and John Nolan (vocals/guitar/keyboard) of Taking Back Sunday performed an acoustic set, including songs like fan-favorite “Makedamnsure” (Louder Now). I have been a fan of Taking Back Sunday since high school, when Tell All Your Friends was really making an impact on the scene.
To raise money for their crew, the band has opened virtual tips or donations. You can also purchase merch here.
Digital Happy Hour with Chris Conley of Saves the Day -
Chris Conley (vocals/guitar) chats with fans on the Saves the Day YouTube channel. Conley discusses how to keep your immune system up, as well as performing a few Saves the Day classics, such as “This is Not an Exit”(Stay What you Are), “Three Miles Down”(Can’t Slow Down), “Freakish”(Stay What You Are), “The Last Lie I Told”(Through Being Cool), and “Sell my Old Clothes, I’m off to Heaven” (Ups & Downs: Early Recordings and B-Sides).
You can purchase Saves the Day merch from The Tour that Never Happened here.
Sunday Nights (CoronAcoustic) with Tatiana DeMaria -
Tatiana DeMaria, formerly of the band TAT (vocals/guitar), has been performing every Sunday on her Instagram account. She digs deep into the TAT catalog, including songs from their record Soho Lights, as well as focusing on reworked singles. She also dives into her solo work, with songs such as “London Don’t Lie”, “Too Much”, and new work that has yet to be released. DeMaria does this all with badass poise and humor, enjoying a drink, reading and responding to comments, as well as cracking jokes.
The Last Gang (Brenna) Acoustic Quarantine Performance -
Brenna (vocals/guitar) from The Last Gang performed for over an hour, from her home on April 1st. Brenna performed a batch of songs off of The Last Gang’s Fat Wreck debut Keep Them Counting - “Sing for Your Supper”, “Identity”, and even “Secret Sounds” - which I have never heard live before. Brenna even performed a cover of “I was a Teenage Anarchist” by Against Me! (White Crosses).The Last Gang also dropped their video for the song Identity (Keep Them Counting) on April 10th. The video was compiled with a ton of fan footage, as well as videos from the band whilst on tour.
It is encouraged for fans to head over to Roaddogmerch.com to help keep venue South Bay Customs afloat.
Mobina Galore –
Jenna (vocals, guitar) and Marcia (vocals, drums) performed an acoustic set for the first online Boatless Booze Cruise in March. They also announced their livestream on YouTube, entitled “Happy Any Hour.” In “Happy Any Hour”, Jenna and Marcia perform songs of their choice, usually adhering to some sort of theme. This livestream will happen every Friday in April. April third’s show focused on songwriting; Jenna and Marcia played a few songs from Completely Disconnected and Cities Away (“Vancouver” “Fade Away” and “Fourth of July”, to name a few). April tenth’s show focused on influences, with Jenna playing a few cover songs (including “Nineteen” by Tegan and Sara (The Con), “The Way his Collar Falls” by Saves the Day (Ups & Downs: Early Recordings and B-Sides), and “Sink, Florida, Sink” by Against Me! (As the Eternal Cowboy)). The band also announced their documentary, entitled “Sorry I’m a Mess: The Making of Mobina Galore’s Don’t Worry”, also available on their YouTube page. I was really looking forward to this, as Don’t Worry was my favorite record release of 2019. Mobina Galore also premiered their music video for "Four Hours of Sleep" (Don't Worry), on April 3rd. This music video and song was done in one take, is the closing track, as well as the only acoustic track on the record.
SBÄM Online Acoustic Fest (1 and 2) -
I caught a few acts from the first SBÄM Acoustic Fest (April 3rd):
Jose Prieto – MakeWar (Brooklyn, NY).
Sima Brami – Not on Tour (Tel Aviv, Israel).
Nick Woods – Direct Hit! (Milwaukee, WI).
Jen Razavi and Poli van Dam – The Bombpops (San Diego, CA).
The acts I caught on the second round of SBÄM Acoustic Fest (April 11th) were:
Brenna Red – The Last Gang (Orange County, CA).
Yotam Ben Horin – Useless I.D., Tommy and June, and more recently Chabad Religion (Haifa, Israel).
Eric Hausser, Kyle Tilev and Jared Rohde – Counterpunch (Chicago, IL).
Dennis Jagard – Ten Foot Pole (Simi Valley, CA).
Reverb: Laura Jane Grace’s Rickenbacker collection -
Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!, Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers), shows and talks about her extensive collection of Rickenbacker guitars.
Pictured: Rickenbacker 360
Purchased at: Chicago Music Exchange 2006
This Rickenbacker was used to record 80 % of New Wave. Laura usually records with a Telecaster, because the G-string on a Rickenbacker is almost impossible to keep in tune with a G-String on a Les Paul (what AM! guitarist James Bowman uses). Laura destroyed this guitar after an audience member kicked her mic stand, which forced her SM58 microphone to be shoved down her throat. She later had the guitar glued back together.
New Episodes of the Mable Syndrome Podcast -
Of course I could not make a list without mentioning my sisters of the Mable Syndrome Podcast! While being in quarantine, two episodes have been posted. The first, where Sarah and Kristen interview The Drowns, from Seattle, WA, and the other, aka the “crossover episode”, where Kristen and Siobhan (She’s a Punk Podcast) interview one another. Both episodes are a special treat, so you better tune in!
The Fest 18 (Official Highlight) Video -
Christian Costello (Costello Films) compiled, edited and posted a recap video on YouTube of The Fest 18. The video featured footage with the help of ten video crew volunteers. The Fest 18 ran from November 1st - 3rd, 2019 in Gainesville, Florida. This recap video really captured the atmosphere of Fest, and really brought me back to such a happy time in my life. Pizza, PBR, and screaming and jumping fans were present. Clips of The Fest Wrestling were included, as well as marriage proposals and drinking competitions. Hundreds of bands were seen in this video, including Teenage Bottlerocket, Against Me!, Lauren of Worriers, Masked Intruder, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, and War on Women. Loosey's Pub, Bo Diddley Plaza and Civic Media Center are among some of the venues shown in the recap. The soundtrack to this video really made me feel like I was present all over again, with songs "Welcome to Paradise City" by Rational Anthem, "Victoria" by Bad Cop/Bad Cop and "Boxcar" by Jawbreaker really solidifying the video. You can purchase to Fest 19 here.