Makeup For The Silence

The digital home of music writer Jesse Richman

Makeup For The Silence

Tag: propertyofzack (Page 1 of 4)

Simple Math 2015: Simple Math Is Dead; Long Live The Gospel According To Saint Me

Simple Math 2015: Simple Math Is Dead; Long Live The Gospel According To Saint Me

Veruca Salt – The Gospel According To Saint Me

In October, a catastrophic hard drive failure cost me my entire iTunes library – more than 85,000 songs collected over just shy of two decades. (Really! I started building my digital library way back in 1996, with live Husker Du bootlegs acquired from online trading communities and handfuls of punk and ska rarities downloaded off of sketchy FTP servers.) It doesn’t seem recoverable, not without a small fortune, and very possibly not with one either. I haven’t quite decided if I intend to try and rebuild or not. The real value of the collection was the stuff that can’t be found online anymore (or ever); the parts I could replace are the parts that it might not be worth replacing rather than just resigning myself to streaming from now on instead of ownership. Fortunately, my life has been far too busy to spend time worrying about, or even contemplating, what to do.

Not that iTunes would have been much use for my tallying this year’s Simple Math anyway – over the last few years, it’s largely become an archive of non-digitally-accessible tracks and a repository of star ratings, something to track what I’ve listened to and whether I’ve liked it, but not how much I’ve listened to it. And the one thing it was most useful for – keeping track of which albums I listened to over the course of the year – fell by the wayside when I ceased to add albums to my library post-crash. Meanwhile, my Spotify “Year In Music” feature didn’t, so far as I can tell, include anything I played offline, and certainly doesn’t include anything I loaded onto my account locally. And my, by dint of not scrobbling Spotify plays on mobile, is essentially useless in providing any kind of accurate stats about my listening this year.

Even if I were able to get accurate stats, I’m not entirely sure what I’d find – this year has been one of change and upheaval, and my listening habits have been as chaotic as the rest of my life. The latter half of 2015 saw the bittersweet end of PropertyOfZack; a relocation from the urban hum of New York City to suburban south Florida; a farewell to six years of steady employment and a hello to a whole lot of question marks; and, six weeks ago, the birth of the most beautiful baby boy in the whole world*. Heck, truth be told, I’ve probably listened to more lullabies – played via Lionel’s sleep machine, by way of a decade-old iPod – in the last month than music the rest of the year combined.

The bottom line is that, after a four year run, the yearly tabulation post I’ve been dubbing Simple Math is, for all practical purposes, dead.

That said, Makeup For The Silence has, from the start, been about music and storytelling and the places where those intersect. And if 2015 is the year I stop quantifying the music side of the equation, it is also the perfect year to shine a light on the storytelling I’ve done. While 2015 marked the end of PropertyOfZack, it also saw me making my presence felt more than ever at Alternative Press, as well as opening up new doors at Myspace and the Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. And though things are currently a little to busy to focus on pitching elsewhere, I’m hoping that 2016 sees my writing finding its way into even more new spaces.

But it wasn’t just my reach that grew this year – I think I’m more proud of the writing I did in 2015 than any year prior. So, instead of recapping my musical stats, I thought I’d instead share some of the highlights of my year behind the keyboard. Welcome to The Gospel According To Saint Me. It’s gonna get loud; it’s gonna get heavy.

It Just Isn’t Like The Old Days Anymore – Mayday Parade [Alternative Press Magazine 328 / November 2015]

My first cover story for a national publication would have been the highlight of my year in any year. Mayday Parade, pop-punk’s ultimate play-it-safe band, bucked all expectations by growing darker and more daring at the exact time when most career-minded bands would have dialed back on the Risk-O-Meter. I suppose the jury is still out commercially – though it’s hard to imagine the band’s camp wasn’t disappointed by the precipitous fall-off in album-over-album sales, the band’s first in three outings – but Black Lines is an artistic triumph, and I think I did justice to the story of the album’s genesis.

Sting, Bon Jovi And More Help Celebrate 80 Years Of Overtown Legend Sam Moore [Miami New Times]

Writing for the New Times might not come with the paycheck or the prestige of other publications, but the access it’s granted me to big-name artists from across the pop spectrum is priceless. This year I had the good fortune to chat with everyone from piano-pop legend Ben Folds, to Emily Haines of Canadian indie heavyweights Metric, to up-and-coming tropical house DJ Bakermat. But none topped interviewing Sam Moore, one half of Sam & Dave, the voices behind “Soul Man,” “Hold On, I’m Comin’” and a dozen more hits that defined the sound of Memphis Soul at the turn of the ‘70s. I don’t really have a bucket list, but if I did, chatting with a member of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame would have been near the top.

Crawling Towards the Sun: The Hush Sound’s Bob Morris Starts Again, Again [PropertyofZack]

It’s easy to forget that 90% of the hot new buzz bands you’ll have served to you on a platter this year will be the ones flipping the metaphorical, and often literal, burgers a decade from now – talent (and, often, fanbase) be damned. Morris is back with a new project, Le Swish, but he’s also got a new outlook on life and some new ideas on where and how music should fit into it. His story isn’t unique, but you might think it was for how rarely it gets told.

SXSW Wrap-Up: These Things Happened. These Things Mattered. [PropertyOfZack]

South By South West is a strange chimaera, a beast of many looks that serves many masters, but it often only gets photographed from its “good” side. Truth is, there’s a lot more than happens at the industry’s yearly bacchanal than the anointment of next big things and the grousing of never-will-bes. There are other stories to be told and, while they’re not sexy, they’re frighteningly easy to find. But when the hype-makers are the ones charged with creating the official record, they develop a nasty habit of only recording what’s hyped. SXSW is so much more than anyone seems to talk about, and it deserves better treatment. With what will be a 3-month-old son, I’ll be missing out on SXSW 2016, but you can be sure my heart will be there, in all the corners the cool kids aren’t.

Andrew W.K. Isn’t Partying Hard Anymore, He’s Got Too Much Else Going On [Myspace]

Conversing with Andrew W.K. was everything I could have imagined it would be; the man is a whip-smart deep thinker and a master of introspection, and better yet, he uses his powers for good. It felt almost criminal to have to edit down Wilkes-Krier’s soliloquies on art, feeling and life into interview-sized snippets.

Start Today: Bad Religion [PropertyofZack]

Bad Religion aren’t only foundational figures in SoCal punk and stalwarts of the current scene, they’re a remarkably consistent machine that’s churned out excellent album after excellent album for more than 30 years. That voluminous output makes their catalog as intimidating as it is deep, and made them the perfect candidates with which to launch our Start Today feature.

Matisyahu Spent The Past Five Years Discovering His True Self [Broward-Palm Beach & Miami New Times]

When your bizarre musical schtick is just a reflection of your unusual real life, what becomes of your career when that life drastically changes? It’s a question to which Matisyahu’s fanbase is still working out the answer, even if the man himself seems more certain than ever of who he’s supposed to be.

10 Things You Should Know About Phoebe Ryan [Myspace]

Pop singer/songwriter Ryan’s star is on the rise, but with only an EP to her name to date, it doesn’t seem that anyone has really plumbed her backstory yet. There’s nothing groundbreaking in our conversation, just some fun and revealing anecdotes that I haven’t seen told elsewhere – and really, isn’t that what this is supposed to be about? Sometimes the workaday pieces are the ones you’re happiest with.

Matter Of Time: A Chroma Q&A With Cartel’s Will Pugh [PropertyOfZack]

I first saw Cartel live in 2004, opening for Brandtson and the Rocket Summer in support of their debut EP. The full length they were writing at the time, Chroma, would top my very first Yearly Top Ten list in 2005. I’ve interviewed Will before, but sitting down with him before the band played that album in full, on occasion of its 10 year anniversary, felt especially significant. What followed was a marvelously candid discussion of not just the album’s stratospheric rise, but the band’s slow and steady descent over the decade that followed – one that’s landed them at a true career crossroads today.

Links to everything else I wrote this year after the cut.




Live Performance Previews:

Other Music Writing:

If you enjoy these, as always, you can find a complete archive of everything I’ve written on the Clips page.

*every new parent says this about their child. All of them are correct.

Three Cheers for Five Years


by Jesse Richman

I never planned to be here. I hadn’t written anything in any “official” capacity since my days at my college paper, and that was nearly a decade in the rearview when I was convinced to sign on here. Sure, I still dabbled – a couple of LiveJournals here and there; a tumblr for personal-oriented music writing (that’s still around and will have some new life injected into it soon). But when a blink 182-loving internet friend named Zack (RIP!), who had just started turning his little music blog into a slightly less little music blog, asked me back in 2010 if I would chip in with some reviews, I thought it would make for a fun exercise and a nice distraction from the salt mines that are New York legal document review projects – and nothing more.

(My first review? A Circa Survive Daytrotter session. Why in hell was I reviewing a Circa Survive Daytrotter session? Reading it now, it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, which maybe means I haven’t come as far as I think I have.)

Somehow, five years and something like 350 reviews, interviews, profiles, features and op-eds later (not to mention lord-only-knows-how-many editing jobs), I’m still here. I’ve stretched my writing muscles, put myself through a training regimen and discovered that this is something I want to make part of my professional life, long after I’d left any such pretensions behind. I’ve become a regular contributor at Alternative Press. I’ve gotten to chat professionally and personally with the people whose music has meant so much to me. I’ve flown to Austin for SXSW (4 times!), to Chicago for Riot Fest. I’ve sat in a 3-hour traffic jam only to get drenched in the most miserable rain you can imagine – with some of the best people you can imagine – at Skate & Surf. I’ve spent Christmas Day each year banging out cheeky holiday “reviews,” to this day still my favorite regular feature we’ve had, and one I was happy to sheppard. I’ve built bridges to places and people I never knew existed, and burned a few that needed burning. I’ve made lifelong friends in Zack and Connor and Ashley and Erik, and in so many of our former staffers, not to mention all the friends I’ve made in the wider punk community via this little website. I’ve sparked new friendships from old acquaintances (suppy, Adrienne!). I’ve found a community – multiple communities, really – that don’t have me questioning whether I belong. And hopefully, somewhere along the way, I’ve written something that touched someone, that made them open their eyes to something they didn’t see before, be it out in the world or within themselves.

I’ve also shuffled jobs; met an incredible woman who, to my continual daily amazement, agreed to marry me; and, in the coming months, will be moving across the country and becoming a father. A lot changes in five years. I know this place has changed me for the better. I hope that maybe, in some small way, it changed you for the better too.

I want to give special recognition to all of the badass women who have been part of #TeamPOZ over the years. From our first editor-in-chief Emily Coch on down, women have held it down on our front end, our back end, our Reviews section, our Showcase section, our Photo galleries, our op-eds – everywhere. So to Emily, Adrienne, Ashley and Deanna and Caitlin (who have just started a great new podcast), Maysa, Sydney, Brittany, Becky, Ali, Marie, Hilary, anyone else I’m unfortunately forgetting right now (I’m sure there’s a few) and all of our awesome female contributors over the years – thank you for making this place better than it ever had any right to be.

I’m not writing this to pat ourselves on the back. We didn’t put out a special call for women, or institute a quota, or set out trying to make a statement. We simply went looking for the most talented, most passionate, most awesome people we could find – and this is who we wound up with. Which means that if you’re running a music site and it doesn’t look like this, you are actively doing something wrong. Do better. Our strength as a scene will always follow directly from the diversity of our voices.

My staff bio begins, “Jesse was the first staffer at PropertyOfZack, and will be here until someone turns out the lights.” When I wrote that, I didn’t expect that we’d be choosing to flip the dimmer switch quite so soon, but here we are and here I am, keeping my word. In the five years I’ve been here, we’ve accomplished so much. We took a husk of computer code on a free platform and pumped that shell so full of spare minutes and hours, excitement, curiosity, hard work, anger and love that it became something wonderfully special, vibrantly alive and singularly ours. We took this place we built, filled it with family and made it a home. Maybe we’ve outgrown that home; the fact that it’s now time to leave in no way diminishes what we’ve accomplished here.

PropertyOfZack was great. PropertyOfZack is great. Ever will it be.

Turn the lights off, carry me home.

Today, we said goodbye to PropertyOfZack. Tomorrow, life goes on.



by Zack Zarrillo

PropertyOfZack has not been the most financially successful or popular entity that I’ve worked on this year, but in many ways it has been the most rewarding. With that in mind, the site will be coming to an end within a week from now.


My life is in a period of deep change and instead of risking integrity, happiness, or feeling guilt – I would rather PropertyOfZack say goodbye the right way. Timing is everything, after all. I haven’t looked at our traffic in many months, but I appreciate the dedicated daily, weekly, or monthly readers of the site now more than ever. I’d rather bid you a proper farewell than a lackluster finale. Burnout, not fade away.

And a good farewell we have planned. Friends of the site will be filling our page in the week ahead with farewell posts of all kinds. From sappy to serious to somewhere in between. We won’t be publishing news or commentary in our final week. Just words. I hope you’ll read them and say goodbye with me.

The last seven months have felt like one slow rolling accomplishment. To regain control of the website and to be able to publish smart and pointed words from my friends and colleagues while dabbling deeper with my own writing, commentary, and podcasts has been great.

Like I alluded to above, I’m facing many changes, in both my life and my career path. Closing POZ is undoubtedly the largest one. It’s going to be something. I feel profoundly sad, but this decision feels right. Identity is an incredible thing, one that I’ll soon be lacking. For now.

I’m excited for the future, even if my greatest fallback and comfort is now being put to rest.

It’s going to be a big week. Thank you all for your eyeballs and support.

So, this is happening. I’ll post more about this in the coming days, but M4TS has been here before PropertyOfZack and it will be here after PropertyOfZack. Indeed, I’ve sorely neglected this blog for a long time, and I think I’m ready to inject a little life back in.

SXSW Wrap-Up: These Things Happened. These Things Mattered.



by Jesse Richman

Now that it’s wrapped, I’m not sure what to say about SXSW
2015 that hasn’t already been written about ad
by every major music publication. Smaller and less corporate?
Check. Fewer celeb/superstar cameos? Check. Rain-drenched? Soggy-ass check.
Something about Courtney Barnett and/or Halsey? Well, I’m still not entirely
sure whether Courtney is a man or a woman or something else entirely, never
mind what they sound like or if they’re the next big thing, because I didn’t
see them and I’m going on name alone. And the only Halsey I know is Paul
McCartney’s “Admiral.” But uhh, yeah, sure, check. Done. Next.

Read More

I’m back from SXSW and getting back into the groove of things. I’ll have links to all of my content from there posted today, in case you missed any of it. In the meantime, a six hour flight delay led to my writing quite an epic wrap-up of the week. I hope it’s worth your time and, if so, that you might consider passing it around.

#5 Album of 2014 – Beach Slang – Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?


(feat. track – “Filthy Luck" [spotifyfrom Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?)

Over on PropertyOfZack, we’re running our annual Artists To Watch feature tomorrow. To quote from my future self:

[Beach Slang] has released two EPs to date. Each one of them, each of the eight tracks, is perfect. The sound – Replacements and Hold Me Up-era Goo Goo Dolls melodies, sandblasted with reverb borrowed from the nu-gaze revolution – is custom-designed to tickle that sweet spot at the center of the Venn diagram where hipsterized indie-punk and crewnecked teenage scene-punk meet. Even the backstory – risen from the ashes of faded underground heroes Weston, a terrifically unlikely second chance – screams "LOVE ME!”

I’m not sure what else needs to be said. I fell hard and fast for Beach Slang from the first peals of the electrifying triplet that opens “Filthy Luck,” the lead track of debut EP Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken? It echoes, in sound and in spirit, the punchy lead-in of the Replacements’ “Hold My Life,” and it sets both the tone and an impressively high bar, one which they then proceed to leap with bewildering ease for three more tracks and then another four times on the just-as-good follow-up Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street. Their lyrics, though downmixed until just another brick in the wall of feedback-y reverb, are endlessly quotable. The songs combine classicist composition with just enough edge to catch you off guard if you let your attention wander. I got to see the band live this fall and they were just as dynamic, just as fist- and heart-pumping as on record, a triumphant, sweat-soaked tornado of a band. They’re everything I want out of their kind of music.

There’s a reason every indie and punk website has Beach Slang marked as their “next big thing” this year. For once, I’m on the same page as all of them.

An Urge To Learn How To Do Backflips: American Beauty/American Psycho



by Jesse Richman, edited by Erik van Rheenen

I’m trying to put together cogent thoughts, but “American Beauty / American Psycho” keeps careening by on repeat and I keep finding myself gasping for breath like I’ve been white-knuckle dodging trees and asteroids in some Star Wars contraption. I’ve never heard Pete Wentz’s bass snap and pop with such precision. Patrick Stump is going so rapid-fire that his ability to form words can’t keep pace with his heart; he repeatedly devolves from sentences to repeated catchphrases mid-lyric before abandoning words entirely for whoa-a-oh-a-ohs, and every time heart over head seems like the right choice, the obvious one, the only one, really. Meanwhile, Joe Trohman has never used absence so well, the empty space between his sporadic chunky riffs create a vacuum that sucks you forward like a vortex, and then there’s one moment where he randomly buzzes in for 10 seconds to drop some opening-bars-of-“When Doves Cry” Prince freakout shit.

Read More

I felt some feels over the (insane, awesome) new Fall Out Boy single

POZ Turns Five: Song Of Ourselves



Last week, we celebrated five years of great content on PropertyOfZack. Those five years would not have been possible, or nearly as rewarding, without an incredible team that grew and shifted over the years. January 2015 will ring in a new era for POZ, but before we move forward, we wanted to give team members the opportunity to spotlight and celebrate their thoughts and passions for and around the site. 

Songs Of Ourselves features a writeup from 14 different team members, some of whom have been with us since the day the site was born or as recent as this past spring. 

The past five years have meant much more to me than I could ever put into words, but my team was able to help me to do that. I teared up while reading these. Thank you, TeamPOZ.

– Zack

Related Stories:
Five Years Of PropertyOfZack  
POZ Turns Five: Our Favorite Features
POZ Turns Five: Our Favorite Interviews 
POZ Turns Five: Our Most Important Albums 
POZ Turns Five: The Biggest News We’ve Broken 

Read More

When I created MakeupForTheSilence years ago, the idea was it would be a place for me to write about music and myself and the ways and places where the two intertwine. 

As I’ve done more and more writing elsewhere over the past few years, it’s a subject I’ve revisited less, not because I have any less interest in it than before, but just because I’m busy writing about other music-related things. But it’s still something I think about regularly.

We’ve spent the past week at PropertyOfZack celebrating our 5th birthday. The site is due to undergo some serious changes in the new year, and this seemed like an appropriate time to look back, take stock and celebrate what we’ve accomplished. This is the capstone — an entirely solipsistic love letter to ourselves and the music, and that spot where we meet.

POZ Interview: No Somos Marineros



PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman sat down with No Somos Marineros at SXSW a month ago. We chatted with the band about SXSW, new recordings, their relationship with Topshelf, growing as a band, and more. Check out the interview below!

POZ: Just to start, can I get your names and what you do in the band?
CGS: I’m Carlos [González Soto], I play guitar and [I sing].
AP: I’m Andrés [Pérez], and I play drums.
OR: I’m Oscar [Rubio], and I play guitar.
GF: Gustavo [Farfán], bass.
POZ: So let me start this off by saying, I actually saw you guys last year at SXSW, at the Pearl St. Co-op, when you played over there. And I was really blown away — I thought you were fantastic. I went online to find more info and the one thing I discovered is that — probably because you’re Mexican — everything out there is in Spanish, and there is very little in English about you guys. So to start out I just want to ask the basics. How did you get together? Where are you from? How did you start playing your music?

Read More

I haven’t been posting my interviews from SXSW here – you can find links to all of them on the clips page, almost all of the interviews I did are online now – but I’m particularly excited that this one is running. No Somos Marineros are an awesome emo/post-hardcore group from Mexico City, and we had a really wonderful conversation about the state of the scene down there: small, but growing, and exceedingly vibrant.

NSM, along with their photo/video/creative collective Light & Noise, are a big part of making that happen, and of getting the word out about the goings-on in the Mexican/Spanish language underground. Language barriers can be tough to surmount, especially when it’s cost-prohibitive for a lot of these acts to tour the US, but there’s a lot going on down there that I think kids here would be into. I’m hardly an expert, but NSM have been great tour guides. I’ve included links to pretty much everyone they name-check, so click through and you can hear for yourself why I find this all so exciting. 

POZ Interview: TEAM



TEAM is Caleb Turman of Forever The Sickest Kids’ new band with a rotating cast of other musicians you know and love. We’ve been hearing about the supergroup for a while now, so PropertyOfZack Senior Writer Jesse Richman decided to sit down with Turman from the band and Will Pugh from Cartel, who has been involved in writing and producing the new EP, for a new interview at South By South West this past month. 

We spoke with Caleb about the birth of the band, finally a date for a new release, a hiatus time for Forever The Sickest Kids, and more. Will also spoke up about taking the year off for Cartel, a ten year Chroma tour, and future plans. Read up on everything below!

Can I get your name and what you do in the band?
CT: I’m Caleb Turman, I play guitar and sing.
WP: I’m Will Pugh, I guess I produce and play guitar.

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The first of my SXSW interviews is up. There will be something like 14 more of these coming in short order – keep your eye on the Clips page and I’ll keep it updated.

What The Hell Is A “Revival?”



March Sadness 2014 has started with a bang. To accompany this year’s tournament of sadness, PropertyOfZack will be running several Perspective pieces to highlight Emo in all its glory. Enjoy What The Hell Is A “Revival?” below!

Related Stories:
March Sadness 2014

by Jesse Richman, edited by Erik van Rheenen

It’s funny how much can change in a year. When we launched March Sadness last winter, we called our bracket of newly-prominent bands “Modern Day Emo.” Dads, Balance & Composure, Into It. Over It., and The World Is A Beautiful Place did battle, and Dads accomplished the near-unthinkable, marching through a gauntlet to edge out not just their cohorts, but even the mighty Brand New for the championship to be crowned Kings Of Emo.

This year though, it was readily apparent from the get-go that “Modern Day Emo,” as a name, was out. For March Sadness 2014, no title but “Revival” would do.

Yep, I said it. Revival. Emo Revival. #emorevival. Each time I type that, it pisses you off just a little bit more, doesn’t it?

Read More

I wrote a thing about the #emorevival. Perchance you might read it?

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