Makeup For The Silence

The digital home of music writer Jesse Richman

Makeup For The Silence

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Three Cheers for Five Years

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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 ASchismOfZack.tumblr.com!), 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.

RIPOZ

propertyofzack:

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.

Why?

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.

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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
nauseum
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.

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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.

If you are in the future, you are about to read my Top Twelve Albums of 2014

if you are in the present, we now return you to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress

(which is to say things are getting back to normal around here!)

((and don’t forget, you can find all my past Top Ten’s right here!)

MY (WHOLLY IDIOSYNCRATIC) TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2014

Starting today, I’ll be counting down my Top Albums of the last year, one each day until we hit #1. 

As I’ve done for the last few years, I’m jettisoning the traditional “album” approach and will be considering each artist’s entire output for the year. In an era ruled by digital releases, SoundCloud demos and artists who often see no reason to hold songs back just for the sake of selling them as a collection, it’s the only approach that makes sense to me. Sure, many artists still work on a traditional release schedule – it’s just that I don’t see any reason to penalize those who don’t. If I could listen to it this year, it should count, regardless of how it’s been packaged. And indeed, nearly half of this year’s list contains EP’s, 7"s, singles, demos, or other output outside of the traditional LP format.

That’s not to say that those packaging decisions aren’t important – in fact, there are a few entries on this list that rank where they do specifically because they evidence craftsmanship in their sequencing and their curation. Making a great album is a larger task than releasing a handful of great singles, and there’s a particular joy in listening to an album that holds your interest from front to back and compels you to pay attention. That joy is certainly a consideration; it’s one, among many.

Finally, as usual, I couldn’t hold myself to only 10 entries on this year’s Top Ten list. So without further ado, here comes #12!

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

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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.

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

POZ Turns Five: Song Of Ourselves

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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 

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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.

Cody Carson of Set It Off quote - I'm not a perfect person. I have flaws, I fuck up, I don't feel like I should have to hide who I am from anybody.

Alternative Press 317 – Set It Off Interview

Cody Carson of Set It Off quote - I'm not a perfect person. I have flaws, I fuck up, I don't feel like I should have to hide who I am from anybody.

alternativepressmag:

Perfect is boring.

Full interview in AP 317 // Dec 2014

I really enjoyed my conversation with Cody; he’s a kid in the midst of the same sort of personal transformation I think everyone his age goes through, only he’s doing it under the spotlight — one he craves, but I think also resents a little bit, or is at least beginning to make peace with.

I wish I could have squeezed much more of our talk into the piece; there’s a lot more behind what he puts forward that 2,000 words could possibly capture. That said, I think I did a good job at least distilling the themes and motifs of his life down to a single complex shot.

Pick up AP 317; it’ll be worth your little bit of cash and time.

Alternative Press 311 cover

Alternative Press 311 – Being As An Ocean Interview

so as I alluded to earlier, I wrote a feature on Being As An Ocean for Alternative Press Magazine. You can pick up issue 311 / June 2014 starting tomorrow; if you’re a subscriber, you might already have your copy. I hope you read it – I had a lot of fun, and put a lot of work into, writing it.

(also, it’s a real kick seeing my name alongside Evan Lucy and Bob Ham, two writers whose work I greatly admire)

POZ Interview: No Somos Marineros

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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?

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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. 

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