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RiYL

Updated 24 days ago

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Longform conversation with musicians, cartoonists, writers and other creative types.

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Longform conversation with musicians, cartoonists, writers and other creative types.

iTunes Ratings

46 Ratings
Average Ratings
39
3
1
0
3

This is a fantastic show! Just discovered it.

By mindcentric - Mar 18 2020
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This is a fantastic show! Just discovered it.

5 stars!

By Joanna-Jewberg - Aug 28 2019
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This is my favorite podcast.

iTunes Ratings

46 Ratings
Average Ratings
39
3
1
0
3

This is a fantastic show! Just discovered it.

By mindcentric - Mar 18 2020
Read more
This is a fantastic show! Just discovered it.

5 stars!

By Joanna-Jewberg - Aug 28 2019
Read more
This is my favorite podcast.
Cover image of RiYL

RiYL

Latest release on Nov 28, 2020

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Longform conversation with musicians, cartoonists, writers and other creative types.

Rank #1: Episode 039: Jason Louv

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When the next generation finds itself knee-deep in an occult revival, who better to call that Jason Louv. My two-time former roommate swung by New York City a while back to teach the kids in Bushwick a thing or two about magic. Louv has written a number books on the subject, including 2005's Generation Hex for Disinfo. His most recent volume explores his newfound fascination with the genetically modified organisms of Monsanto.

Feb 05 2014

46mins

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Rank #2: Episode 271: Adrian Tomine

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“The rewards of being a successful cartoonist would not be enough to make for a happy life,” says Adrian Tomine. It’s something that’s changed as he’s grown older, gotten married, had kids. He adds that he’s grateful for the readers and the recognition — that plenty of people still read everything he does. But priorities change. as we get older. Where critical acclaim for a new work would have been more than enough to keep him going, the Brooklyn-based artists is more focused these days on his wife and two daughters — factors that have impacted both the way he works and what he produces. The short stories in his latest, Killing and Dying (now out in paperback), while not connected in term of subject matter, all contain elements of a creator steeped in parenting. And while being home during the day to care for two young kids hasn’t made him the most productive he’s been in his career, it’s compelled him to take risks, like optioning a comic to filmmakers for the first time in his long career. In this wide ranging and honest conversation, we discuss the pitfalls of perfection, the influence of growing up in Northern California and inhabiting the shoes of a broad ranging cast of characters.

May 07 2018

43mins

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Rank #3: Episode 372: Sammy Harkham

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I had to double check, but its seems that, in all of my time writing about comics for various outlets, I’ve never actually interviewed Sammy Harkham. It’s shocking, really, given what a important player he’s been in the indie comics scene for some time. Thankfully, the release of Kramer’s Egot 10 presented the perfect opportunity. For fans of round numbers, next spring also marks the 20th (!?) anniversary of the influential publication, which the Crickets author produced at age 18. In spite of a somewhat irregular publishing schedule and a range of different publishers (most recently settling at Fantagraphics), the anthology has become a bedrock of alternative comics. The series is known for both experimental formats and the stellar quality of the work it publishes, featuring the industry’s biggest names and highlighting lesser known talents. Harkham joined us to reflect on the series and discuss his love for the medium.

Nov 10 2019

44mins

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Rank #4: Episode 383: Daniel Clowes

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There have been plenty of opportunities for Daniel Clowes to get reflective in recent years. 2015 saw the release of The Complete Eightball, a massive two-volume hardcover set that collected the full eight year, 18 issue run of his iconic underground series. Next month sees the release of Original Art, a deluxe single volume book that examines his raw pencil and ink work, from Eightball to 2016’s Patience. It’s a loving examination of one of the medium’s most beloved artists. A lesser artist might balk at the mere suggestion, but decades later, Clowes’s work loses none of his punch under such a microscope, even as he restlessly adopts new narrative and artistic styles. Clowes, too, is able to examine his own work at a comfortable distance all of these years later. And as with the pages of Original Art, the cartoonist never shies away from a warts and all examination of the work and the processes that got him there.

Jan 20 2020

51mins

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Rank #5: Episode 061: Richard Hell

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When we sat down in the East Village tenement apartment Hell has
occupied since 1975, the conversation turned turned to writing. His
aforementioned memoir pretty well covers the years beginning with his
birth up through the end of his music career, and as Hell made pretty
clear early on in our conversation, he’s not particularly found of being
asked the same question twice. Between last year’s I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp and all that
goes on between the iconic red and white covers of Please Kill Me,
there’s seemingly little about Richard Hell’s relatively short music
making career that hasn’t been written. Save for an outing with members of Sonic Youth under the banner Dim
Stars, the man who played such an instrumental role in defining the
aesthetics and voice of New York City punk had largely retired from the
music game by the mid-80s. It’s a tough proposition when speaking to an artist who’s been in
and out of the public eye since the mid-70s, and it’s no doubt at least
part of the reason Hell seemed to balk at my initial interview request.
With his latest book having just been released in paperback, however,
Hell agreed to sit down and discuss his career as a writer, from his
early days in poetry to the novels Go Now and Godlike and his 2013
autobiography.

Jul 09 2014

43mins

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Rank #6: Episode 311: Nick Drnaso

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Sabrina seemingly came out of nowhere, only to land on the top of nearly every best of 2018 list. Nick Drnaso’s second book-length work (following 2016’s collection, Beverly) perfectly captures feelings of isolation in an always-connected world. It’s a tale of fake news and online conspiracy custom made for the age of Trump — a world that took an emotional toll on its author during the creation process. For all the accolades the book has racked up in the intervening six months, Drnaso is happy to be focused on his next project.The Chicago-based artist sat down with us on a recent visit to New York, to discuss the difficulties of releasing a book into the world, the search for inspiration and learning the art of cartooning from the great Ivan Brunetti.

Dec 29 2018

33mins

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Rank #7: Episode 237: Greg Saunier (of Deerhoof)

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“When’s this podcast going to air?” Greg Saunier asks with a laugh. “Because the world might be over soon.” The conversation takes a bit of a serious turn toward the end, as we transition from touring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers (twice) to what, precisely, has kept the experimental indie rock band together for 23 or so years. Motivation hasn’t been hard to find — these days it’s everywhere as the band has grappled on record with the fall out from last year’s election, as in songs like Mountain Moves’ “I Will Spite Survive.” The record also found the group injecting new blood into its creations with a slew of collaborates — a rare thing over the course of the band’s 14 releases. And while Saunier is the only member who’s been in the group since its origins in mid-90s San Francisco, the group's line up has remained remarkable constant for an act that’s existed for nearly a quarter of a century. It could be the band’s continued evolution — no two Deerhoof records are ever the same. As the drummer says during the conversation, “Being expected to change is like the holy grail for a creative person.” Or maybe it’s just that special kind of chemistry that develops among a group of people who truly love what they do.

Oct 23 2017

44mins

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Rank #8: Episode 159: Eleanor Friedberger

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I first saw Eleanor Friedberger solo back in 2013, shortly after
falling head over heels for her second solo album, Personal Record. Her
band was an opener (for The Long Winters, featuring past guests John
Roderick and Sean Nelson), but her voice is an unavoidable force of
nature. It overpowers the instrumentation both on record and
live, where, if you close your eyes for a few moments, you can trick
your brain into believe that you’re witnessing Patti Smith in 1975. I’ve
been trying to get Friedberger for the show since then, and we finally
managed to sync up our schedules following the release of her terrific
new album, New View. The musician was back in the city for a few
days, having made an appearance on Seth Myers the evening before (as
evidenced by the mug sitting on the counter of the apartment she was
holed up in). Friedberger had gotten out of Dodge ahead of the new
record, leaving New York City for the far more pastoral views upstate.
We sat down on a cold February morning to discuss nature walks, home
maintenance and the importance of getting out of town.

Mar 21 2016

54mins

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Rank #9: Episode 013: Scott Aukerman

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When a famous comedian tells you that he worked on "Shark Tale," that fact pretty much become your sole focus. This is that story.

Jul 30 2013

46mins

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Rank #10: Episode 353: Eli Valley

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In March, a comic by Eli Valley landed him on the radar of Meghan McCain. There was nothing extraordinaire about the piece from a cartoonist who has long wading into the divisive world of U.S.-Israeli relations, but the commentary about the American right’s relationship with the country caused The View cohost to lash out on Twitter. That, in term, put a relatively unknown cartoonist in the national spotlight. But in spite of the conversations it provoked, Valley explains that publicity doesn’t always equate to income. He’s quick to plug his recently opened Patreon account in hopes of making a living at his art. Valley’s work is part commentary, part personal catharsis, exorcising the demons of the most politically charged era of most of our lifetimes. In deals in politics and identity through a lens of grotesqueries inspired by humor cartoonists like Basil Wolverton. It doesn’t avert its gauze from the subject matter — a fact that makes for better work, but not always financial gain.

Jul 29 2019

36mins

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Rank #11: Episode 087: Mary Timony

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“I feel like this band is what I’ve been search for during my entire
musical career.” Some pretty strong words from someone who’s been in
bands like Helium and Wild Flag — and, of course, there's the matter of
all of those solo records. But when Ex Hex takes the stage a few hours
after our interview, there’s no question that Mary Timony is in her
element. Indie rock, post-punk — all of those subgeneres are
rendered moot when the band hits the stage. The trio that tears through a
dozen songs in front of a packed Mercury Lounge is a just a good, old
fashioned rock band.  Any lingering doubt is put to rest by the two song encore. Having expended all of the songs from their excellent debut, Rips, the band launches into a pair of covers — first Johnny Thunders, then the Real Kids. And everyone goes home satisfied. So,
how did Timony arrive at such a state of rock and roll bliss? We reach
way back to her days learning classical violin, up through the
off-season that she spends teaching guitar to youngsters to get a full
picture of her musical journey.

Jan 06 2015

50mins

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Rank #12: Episode 251: Chris Ware

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“I never thought i’d making a living doing this,” Chris Ware explains, candidly. “I just thought i’d be a weird guy on the street shuffling around with tattered notebooks.” Maybe he’s half-kidding, or at least winkingly slightly. It’s hard to say. He’s hard person to read. But the cartoonist is nothing if not candid to a fault when it come to discussing his art and the work that goes into it. As we sit in a bare hotel room on one particularly cold early morning in Brooklyn, he’s more than happy to deconstruct the process of creating some of comics’ most complex and layered work. Perhaps he’s feeling especially introspective, following the recent publication of the massive Monograph, a 280 page art work that doubles as something of a career retrospective, with Ware deconstructing his own work in the marginalia. It’s a beautiful and lovingly crafted mid-career examination of one of the art form’s most important figures. If you tell him that, of course, he’ll likely thank you effusively, as though it isn’t something fans suggest to him on a fairly regular basis.

Jan 05 2018

45mins

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Rank #13: Episode 019: Kim Deitch

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The Boulevard of Broken Dreams cartoonist joins us to talk collections, aging and getting a late start.

Sep 18 2013

1hr

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Rank #14: Episode 343: Jim Rugg

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Like many of his fellow Pittsburgher cartoonists, Jim Rugg’s work lives at a fascinating cross section of mainstream and indie comics culture. It’s a phenomenon Rugg and cohost Ed Piskor happily explore in their YouTube series, Cartoonist Kayfabe, which breaks down the earlier days of Wizard Magazine, issue by issue. His work, too, is the product of a confluence of distinct influences, from the skateboarding and martial arts of Street Angel, to the blacksplotation films and pulp comics of Afrodisiac. On a recent visit to his hometown, Rugg joined us to discuss teaching comics, choosing projects and why Rob Liefeld is important.

Jun 09 2019

50mins

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Rank #15: Episode 187: Matt Furie (Bonus)

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I was excited when I first saw Pepe popping up on strange corners of
the internet. After years of spotting Matt Furie’s work at indie comics
shows like SPX and MoCCA, the online community was starting to take
notice of his work, albeit in that idiosyncratic internetty way. But
after years of bizarre and benign appearances on body building forums
and Kim Kardashian’s Twitter feed, the stoned frog character seemingly,
suddenly took a strange turn, embraced by some of the internet’s darkest
recesses. Over the past several weeks, Pepe was reference by
presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, highlighted on the Rachel Maddow
Show and, as of yesterday, designated as a symbol of hate by the
Anti-Defamation League. Suddenly, the artist’s phone start
ringing off the hook with dozens of calls from journalists asking Furie
to defend his benign cartoon creation. Sure most artists would kill for a
moment in the national spotlight, but practically overnight the
cartoonist was in the incredibly unenviable position of having his name
and creation linked with online hate groups. Furie kindly jumped
on the phone for a quick chat while driving from his home in Los Angeles
to an art showing in San Francisco. We talked about his unexpected and
unfortunate fame, the power of simple symbols and his on-going efforts
to steal Pepe back for the forces of good.

Sep 30 2016

28mins

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Rank #16: Episode 109: Mark Stewart (The Pop Group)

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Mark Stewart doesn’t want to talk about music. Least of all his own. A
few hours ahead of The Pop Group’s appearance at The Bowery Ballroom in
support of their first record in 35 years, he makes that much clear.
He’s been talking about for decades. He’s bored. It’s not so much
that the musician is a difficult interview as others have suggested,
it’s more a matter of figuring out precisely what he wants to discuss.
Sometimes finding that out is a simple matter of stopping the interview
and asking outright. Tonight it’s politics. “Post-punk secret
agents,” as he lovingly puts it. Contemporaries who have managed to find
their ways into positions of power to help spread the word of
progressive politics. For Stewart, spreading the word of political
disarray means harnessing the power of pop culture press. It’s a
wide-ranging, hour-long conversation that touches on aspects of global
politics, cryptocurrency, popular music and creative inspiration.

May 27 2015

55mins

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Rank #17: Episode 299: Jon Auer (of The Posies)

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A few hours before the kickoff of the Posies’ 30th anniversary show at the Bowery Ballroom, Jon Auer is feeling reflective. It’s the perfect moment for the musician to examine a long and fruitful career that’s found him performing as the member of a half-dozen bands, producing countless records and spending 17 years playing guitar for the final iteration of the legendary group, Big Star.  But The Posies have always been the nearest and dearest to Auer’s heart. Formed in high school with childhood friend Ken Stringfellow, the band helped define power pop for the 90s. A trio of iconic records released on DGC set the group apart from the grunge sound of their hometown. But they never achieved the popular success of other Seattle groups of the era, The Posies have long remained one of the decade’s most beloved bands. In our conversation, Auer happily reflects on the ups and downs of his long career and explains why The Posies are sticking around for good this time out.

Oct 14 2018

33mins

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Rank #18: Episode 307: V. Vale

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RE/Search’s North Beach office more closely resembles a library or museum. It’s a wonderfully crammed space that also serves as publisher V. Vale’s home, standing as a small monument to self-publishing and serving as a slightly melancholy reminder of all of the books we’ll never have time to read. Not that Vale isn’t trying, of course. The San Francisco mainstay is several decades into a lifelong search to acquire the world’s knowledge. It’s a quest that’s manifest itself in several wonderful volumes, exploring the works of countercultural icons William Burroughs, Lydia Lunch and JG Ballard and offering examinations of countless countercultural phenomenons. RE/Search hit its publishing peak in the 90s, just before the internet became fully ubiquitous here in the States, but Vale and a team of friends and family continue a commitment to printed matter and the goal of amassing useful and fascinating information.

Dec 13 2018

41mins

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Rank #19: Episode 334: (Bonus) Julian Glander Live at Books Are Magic

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Live from Book Are are Magic in Brooklyn, we sat down with Julian Glander to celebrate the launch of his new Fantagraphics title, 3D Sweeties. The book collects a series of short strips the cartoonist has been compiling over the years through freelancing for various outlets. It features Glander’s signature computer generated characters in vignettes that are sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful and often both. Comics are just one of several mediums in which Glander has found a home. The list also includes several short animations, video games and music. The artist also discusses his on-going plans for a feature length animated film. Thanks to Books are Magic for hosting and recording this live conversation.

Apr 29 2019

20mins

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Rank #20: Episode: 091: Legs McNeil

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I feel a bit bad entering the hotel room. There was a bit of a miscommunication on timing, and Legs McNeil is clearly quite comfortable lying in bed watching Law and Order. It’s an episode he’s already seen multiple times, a fact he lets be known by rattling off the entire plot in a couple of quick sentences, so he’ll be able to give me his undivided attention as Detective Briscoe successfully apprehends some pure. McNeil and frequent collaborator Gillian McCain finished up an talk at the Rough Trade record store earlier in the evening, discussing their latest, Dear Nobody, a posthumously published diary of troubled young teenager, Mary Rose, though the pair had devoted most of the New York City trip to a forthcoming book focused on Charles Manson, which McNeil promises will shed new light on the well trod story — even if he’s admittedly a bit cagey on the specifics. McNeil and McCain’s first — and best-known — collaboration was 1996’s Please Kill Me, an oral history of punk rock’s early years that is widely regarded as the definitive document of the movement’s New York City roots. It’s a story McNeil knows as well as anyone, as the co-founder of Punk Magazine, the iconic fanzine that give the CBGBs movement a name. These days the author no longer calls New York his home, having traded in the skyrocketing rents and disappearing culture for a far more bucolic life in a small Pennsylvanian town, where he lives, writes and catches the occasional rerun of Law and Order.

Feb 04 2015

47mins

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Episode 426: Kyle Kinane

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It’s hard to say precisely what semi-retirement means for a standup comic. Kyle Kinane has been tossing the term around for a while — well before this year’s release of his fourth album, Trampoline In A Ditch. Mostly it seems to be involve taking time for himself and generally enjoying life — all good things. Though Kinane is quick to acknowledge that there’s a certain element of semi-retirement in the simple of of being a full-time standup. Following the release, Kinane joined us to discuss comedy during quarantine, relocating to the Pacific Northwest and the effects of alcohol on comedy. 

Nov 28 2020

38mins

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Episode 425: Adrian Tomine

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There has been no shortage of deeply personal stories during Adrian Tomine’s long, celebrated career in comics. But up to now, they’ve been almost exclusively filtered through a fictional lens, from his on-going series Optic Nerve to 2015’s Killing and Dying. With The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, Tomine finds himself diving head-long into autobiographical work. The book features some of his funniest and most honest work today, told through a loose style perfectly captured by its sketchbook packaging. Two years after his first appearance on the show, Tomine joins us again to discuss the task of telling these deeply personal — and often embarrassing — tales. 

Nov 22 2020

48mins

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Episode 424: Van Dyke Parks

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Unbeknownst to me, Van Dyke Parks is seated at his piano. This fact becomes clear numerous times during our conversation, as he tickles the ivory to punctate points. It’s not as if he requires the tool during the interview. Parks is a raconteur, above all. He seemingly has a story for everything, winding his way through fascinating avenues to make profound points about life, music, politics and art. Parks have lived several lives by popular culture standards, with a professional career that began as a child actor in the 50s. Ten years later, a musical break found him working as an arranger for Disney’s The Jungle Book. After a brief stint in Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, he was paired with The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, writing lyrics for Smile. The following year, he released his wildly ambitious solo debut, Song Cycle. In 2015, Parks gave his final piano performance, following unsuccessful hand surgery. But he continues to remain active. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of his underrated reunion with Wilson, Orange Crate Art, we spoke to Parks about his work and the role music can play in one of the most dire moments in our country’s history. 

Nov 15 2020

49mins

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Episode 423: Chris Stamey (of The dB's)

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A Brand-New Shade of Blue finds Chris Stamey exploring jazz music in the mold of the cool movement of the 50s/60s. Composed on sheet music, the album was finished with remote recordings amid a pandemic shutdown — a less than ideal scenario for a genre defined by in-person collaboration. The music has spent recent years exploring new horizons, mostly notably with 2019’s New Songs for the 20th Century, Vols. 1 & 2, which saw him compositing songs in the style of the Great American Songbook. A year prior, he released the memoir A Spy in the House of Loud, which traced his early days in music, leading up to the formation of the Sneakers and the dB's, perhaps his two best known musical collaborations. 

Nov 08 2020

41mins

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Episode 422: Errol Morris

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Released in 2018, American Dharma blindsided its director. Errol Morris had spend decades making some of the universally acclaimed documentaries of all time. This time, however, the press wasn’t having it, accusing the filmmaker of “platforming” his subject, Steve Bannon, or at very least, never pushing back hard enough against Trump’s political strategist. In many ways, however, the documentary is quintessential Morris, built around 16 hours of interviews with a single subject. It’s territory he perfect with films like The Fog of War and and The Unknown Known, exploring controversial figures Robert McNamara and Donald Rumsfeld. Two years into the Trump presidency, however, it’s clear the wounds were still to fresh, a fact that the filmmaker has, to some degree, come to grips with. Tied together with footage from classic war films — a passion shared by Morris and Bannon — the film offers rare insight into one of the most influential and damaging political figures of his era. 

Nov 01 2020

28mins

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Episode 421: Laraaji

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With Sun Piano, Laaraji returned to his first instrument. After years of eschewing the keys in favor of something more portable, the New York-based new age music finds himself reconnecting with his first love, in the first of a trilogy of piano records. It’s the electric zither for which the artist is best known. In one of 20th century music’s more charmed tales, Laraaji opened his eyes after an extended transcendental busking jam on the instrument, to find a note from Brian Eno. The chance encounter in Washington Square Park gave rise to the third record in the iconic Ambient series, Laraaji’s Day of Radiance.

 In the interviewing the years, he’s become one of the most iconic artists, espousing the concept of sound vision through ambience and drone. 

Oct 24 2020

42mins

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Episode 420: Denise Kaufman (of The Ace of Cups)

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You have 20 years to write your first record and 18 months for your second. For The Ace of Cups, the first part of the equation took roughly two and half times the conventional wisdom, but in 2016, the band finally released its self-titled debut. Four years later, the band has returned with Sing Your Dreams. Like its predecessor, the sophomore record features an all-star lineup of collaborators, ranging from Jackson Browne to Sheila E. To Wavy Gravy. A charter member of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters prior to forming the band in the late-60s, singer and bassist Denise Kaufman continued playing music during The Ace of Cups’ decades-long hiatus. She’s also an activist and yoga instructor. In her second appearance on the show, Kaufman discuss her life life in Hawaii, keeping hopeful in the time of COVID and why QAnon conspiracy theories have caught on so quickly with members of the wellness community. 

Oct 18 2020

1hr 1min

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Episode 419: Ralph Nader

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When publishers refused to release an updated edition of his 1975 classic of beltway bureaucracy Who Runs Congress over concerns of commercial viability, Ralph Nader did what he often does. He wrote another book. This time, the lifelong political activist took another tack entirely, trading dry political prose for a fable. The book first saw life as How the Rats Re-formed Congress, published on Nader’s own Center for Study of Responsive Law in 2018. This year, it sees an abridged reprint on Fantagraphics as The Day the Rats Vetoed Congress, featuring art from political cartoonist, Mr. Fish. The work is an attempt to get readers to “laugh themselves serious,” according to Nader, featuring a guide for citizen action. At 86, the lifelong consumer advocate and government reformer shows no signs of slowing down. 

Oct 10 2020

46mins

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Episode 418: Open Mike Eagle

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It should be painfully obvious from the title alone that Anime, Trauma and Divorce is a deeply personal record — and part of Open Mike Eagle’s continued evolution as a songwriter. A good punchline is never more than a track or so away, by the Chicago-turned-L.A. emcee bares his soul on his latest LP in new and sometimes uncomfortable ways. But hip-hop is just one of several outlets for the musician. He’s also the host of several podcasts, including those hosted on his own network, Stoney Island Audio. The list includes, perhaps most notably, What had happened Was, which finds him interviewing legendary producer Prince Paul, album by album. Ahead of the release of his latest record, we sat down to discuss his musical evolution, music as therapy and enduring appeal of professional wrestling. 

Oct 09 2020

49mins

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Episode 417: Eric D. Johnson (of Fruit Bats and Bonny Light Horseman)

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In 2013, Fruits Bats broke up — or at least as close to a breakup as an essentially solo project can come. Frontman Eric D. Johnson was going about it on his own as EDJ. It was a short-lived venture. By 2015, the band was back together. Fruit Bats, it seemed, was too good a thing to let die. After all, the band has recently released two of its best albums to date — The Ruminant Band and Tripper. Re-formed in 2015, the Fruit Bats also had their popular peak ahead of them — something very few indie rock bands can say nearly 20 years into their career. Johnson has continued to play on other projects, as well. There was a stint in The Shins in the late-00s, and more recently serving as one-third of indie-folk supergroup, Bonny Light Horseman. Amid the quarantine, Johnson finds himself as prolific as ever, readying a new album and releasing a track-by-track cover of the Smashing Pumpkins’ classic, Siamese Dream.

Oct 05 2020

59mins

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Episode 416: Ariel Rechtshaid.

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“Hey There Delilah” was a turning point for Ariel Rechtshaid. The simple, stripped down pop song was a massive hit, putting the musician on the map as a producer. Since that 2006 breakthrough, Rechtshaid has become one of music’s most in-demand names, worked with some of the industry’s biggest names, including U2, Madonna, Beyonce and Adele. His work has also found him working closely with indie superstars like Vampire Weekend and Haim.In this conversation, we revisit a career that found Rechtshaid producing hip-hop records in high school and getting signed to Interscope as the front man for the Los Angeles ska-punk outfit, The Hippos.

Sep 26 2020

53mins

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Episode 415: Rick Perlstein

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Clocking in north of 1,100 pages (when you included the end papers, he’s quick to point out), Reaganland is the final chapter in Rick Perlstein’s massive tetralogy documenting the rise of contemporary conservatism in America through 1980.

The series offer unique insight into a history that feels both intensely relevant to the current moment and impossibly far away. It’s a sometimes-dry and frequently infuriating topic that the author captures with a panache that has made him one of the most consistently engaging historians of the modern era. When I first emailed Perlstein to set up an interview about writing, he sent a series of videos featuring him playing solo jazz piano, somewhat jokingly stating that it his process. There’s truth to the sentiment, as he explains in this conversation, “I don’t understand how anyone can be a writer if they’re not a musician.”

Sep 20 2020

50mins

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Episode 414: Carlos Alazraqui

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The same scene inevitably plays out at every convention Carlos Alazraqui attends. At some point someone the epiphany. Rocko the Wallaby, the Taco Bell Chihuahua, Mr. Weed from Family and Garcia from Reno 911 are all the same guy. After beating out Marc Maron and Patton Oswalt in 1993’s San Francisco International Comedy Competition, Alazraqui used his winnings to move to Los Angeles. An addition for Nickelodeon landed him the lead role on Rocko’s Modern Life and began a long and fruitful career in voice work. On the heels of Quibi’s Reno 911 revival, Alazraqui joined us to discuss diversity in voice acting, comedy during quarantine and the ups and downs of voice over anonymity.

Sep 12 2020

48mins

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Episode 413: Cidny Bullens

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In 2012, Cidny Bullens was ready to tell the world who he really was. An article published in The Daily Beast gave him the opportunity to explain the previous year’s transition in his own words — the realization of something he’d long known but hadn’t allowed himself to be honest about. This year, Bullens released his first album under his name, a major step for an artist whose professional career has spanned more than 40 years. In those early days, he’d found work backing Elton John, sang the lead vocals on three tracks on the Grease movie soundtrack, and found a Grammy-nominated hit with the 1979 album, Desire Wire. The 80s found him leaving music to raise raise two daughters, returning the music in the late-90s following a personal tragedy. The event transformed Bullens’ work into something far more personal, serving as an important tool in his arsenal some 12 years later, when he announced to the world that he was a transgender man. Walkin’ Through this World finds Bullens ready to tell his story in an entirely new way.

Sep 06 2020

1hr 5mins

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Episode 412: Noah Van Sciver

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From a distance, it seems that Noah Van Sciver is able to make comics roughly as fast as most of us are able to read them. Each social media update from the cartoonist seemingly presents another project he has in the works — an admirable trait in a field that tends to attract so many procrastinators.I’ve talked to Van Sciver a number of times over the years, but this chat was designed to be a kind of make for a previous appearance on RiYL, held at his table at Comic Arts Brooklyn a few years back. Shows aren’t an ideal setting for interviews. They’re busy, chaotic and time is fairly limited. I think it’s safe to say, however, that this particular talk delivered on those things the previous one lacked. Ostensibly about Fantagraphics’ massive collection of the the very good and funny Fante Bukowski, we quickly veered into the subject of Van Sciver’s upbringing in the Mormon church — the basis of his upcoming book on the prophet Joseph Smith.

Aug 29 2020

48mins

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Episode 411: Matt Pond

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Retirement was short-lived for Matt Pond PA. The eponymous front man very publicly toyed with the moniker that’s continued to tie him to his home state, but a 20 year run like that isn’t something one walks away from so easy. Pond continues a prolific career, often teaming with producer and guitarist Chris Hansen, a core collaborator and creative life mate. This month, the duo released Songs of Disquiet, a seven-song EP written and produced amid the current pandemic. It’s an album that, among other things, maintains his long standing passion for juxtaposition loving cover songs with originals. Ahead of the pandemic clamping down on travel, Pond came down from his nearby Hudson Valley, NY home to discuss the ups and downs of a life in indie rock.

Aug 21 2020

49mins

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Episode 410: Cynthia Sley (of Bush Tetras)

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Forty years after forming in New York’s late-70s punk scene, the Bush Tetras are still going strong. 2018 saw the release of the Take the Fall EP, the product of a band content to release music for the pure love of it. There were rocky times, of course. By 1983, the band saw some key membership turnover, ultimately dissolving that same year. There was a short-lived stint in the 90s, but it’s this latest reunion — spurred in 2005 by increased interest in the post-punk genre — that marks the band’s longest stretch. Vocalist Cynthia Sley joins us to discuss the band’s early years, its legacy and the drive to keep making music.

Aug 14 2020

45mins

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Episode 409: Ezra Furman

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There’s a great video from early last year. Taken onstage at the End of the Road Festival, Ezra Furman is tasked with interviewing John Cale. You get pretty much what you’d expect from the Velvet Underground founder — soft spoken, deliberately thoughtful answers. Furman, clearly a massive fan, is far more excitable. Above all, they’re searching for a connection with the legendary musician on topics of creativity and songwriting. It’s a both endearing and insightful view of a musician like Furman, who appears to prefer to retain some mystery around their own process. And certainly there’s a strong argument to be made for letting the music speak for itself. Recent releases like Twelve Nudes and Transangelic Exodus have become of some of the most celebrated indie rock releases of the past decade. On a recent trip to Boston, Furman joined us for a thoughtful discussion about the personal, the professional, gender, religion and the ups and downs of the creative process.

Aug 07 2020

54mins

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Episode 408: Ryan Walsh (of Hallelujah the Hills)

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The last time Ryan Walsh appeared on the show was during another trip I took to Boston. At the time, he spoke of his upcoming book about Van Morrison.

What, admittedly, sounded like a fairly niche examination of the musician’s time recording a legendary album became one of the year’s most acclaimed music books. Astral Weeks finds Walsh playing detective, seeking to answer some longstanding questions, while exploring the largely unremarked upon Boston psychedelic scene of the time. Last year Walsh’s band Hallelujah the Hills released I’m You. The album finds the musician writing and singing his most straightforward — and arguably best — set of songs in its decade-plus existence.

Aug 01 2020

45mins

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Episode 407: Tanya Donelly (of Belly, The Breeders and Throwing Muses)

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Few can rival the indie rock pedigree of Tanya Donelly. At the age of 15, she cofounded 4AD stalwarts Throwing Muses with best-friend-turned-step-sister Kristin Hersh. Seven years later, she joined forces with Kim Deal on her then-side project, The Breeders. But it was the formation of Belly the following year that really allowed Donelly to shine as both a front woman and songwriter, scoring one of the era’s most memorable singles, “Feed the Tree” in 1993. After a less than amicable breakup in the mid-90s, the musician began a decades-spanning solo career, culminating in the five column “Swan Song Series” in 2013-2014. In recent years, Donelly has found a second career, working as a postpartum doula for new parents, even as the siren call of music has beckoned to her yet again through recent projects, including Belly’s 2016 reunion. 

Jul 24 2020

33mins

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iTunes Ratings

46 Ratings
Average Ratings
39
3
1
0
3

This is a fantastic show! Just discovered it.

By mindcentric - Mar 18 2020
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This is a fantastic show! Just discovered it.

5 stars!

By Joanna-Jewberg - Aug 28 2019
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This is my favorite podcast.