SONG OF THE DAY: “Eye to Eye” by Astronauts, etc.

Fresh out of California, Anthony Ferraro is the frontman in Astronauts, etc. He was originally studying classical music at Berkley, but dropped out of the orchestral route due to arthritis and began to explore his creative possibilities. He now produces laid back, melodic pop tunes and has established a live band to tour with. Eye to Eye is the 5th track from the 2015 album “Mind Out Wandering,” recorded in San Francisco using fully analog technology.

Check it:



With Notes of Change

             Interview of TouchIt’s Lead Singer Jack Douglas by Eliza Mott

photo credit Emilia Whitmer

Could you start by introducing yourself?

Hello my name is Jack Douglas, I’m a senior and I like Rock’n’Roll.


Where are you from?

I was born in Denver and grew up in Atlanta Georgia


So can you tell me a little bit about your band? How you guys came together?

So I think we started like most (CC) bands start, it’s kind of like the primordial soup of sophomore jamming in Mathias and you kind of figure out who is someone who is actually going to be someone you want to keep playing music with. So we kind of slowly just started jamming with each other and that worked out to be a core group or me and Oliver, Kyle, Ken and then we originally sought out Adam Ting because we wanted a sax player because if you’re in a CC band and you don’t have a sax player, it’s just not as special.



Well when we were starting out, almost every band had a sax player.


What does that add?

Sex appeal – sax appeal


So are you all seniors?

Yeah we are all seniors. So that was fun, last Battle of the Bands. Or not the last Battle of the Bands since we were put in the second round, could’ve been the last.  I think that sort of gave us either a feeling of I don’t really care about this. But it also gave us a feeling of we should probably do this right.


Those are two very different attitudes so what is the general attitude you are following?

Well my personal attitude was that I really wanted to put on a really good show and I think at first there was a feeling of, we don’t really need to do this and then I was like, “Yeah let’s do this that would be fun. So we practiced a lot (after we) figured out a set and ran it a couple of times before we actually played it.


Are you any of you guys music majors?

Oliver and I are music minors. Besides that we have a film studies major. Kyle, Oliver, and Adam are all O.B.E. majors biology majors and I’m environmental policy.


So, personally for you, what is the connection between Environmental science and music?

Well I mean you can write protest songs about climate change and polar bears. I don’t know I mean you can find connection between anything.


Well of course, but how do you explain it?

I don’t know if you can cultivate a sense of personal interest into music, I think for any cause there have definitely always been musicians behind it. You can talk about Bob Dylan and Civil Rights and Neil and the environment so like there is definitely a connection. But you have to make that connection yourself it’s not like inherent.


And for you do you draw a lot of inspiration from those artists and musicians?

Well Bob Dylan, Neil Young yeah. I mean come on, somewhere on a desert highway. Both pretty iffy singers but they both write pretty beautiful music


So do you think you, as a musician focus and are more drawn to the lyrics or the melody and music of a song?

You know I was having this conversation with Oliver the other day, cause I think it depends on the instrument you play. I think for him rhythm drives a song and for me I’m more of a mix because I do play guitar, harmonica, and I also sing and write lyrics.

I think lyrics are important and  I think a singer’s voice can often make or break a song for me. I’ve never liked Blink 182 because I feel like they sound like they are whining the entire time. That definitely is a big part for me but I think melody can often be more important than the lyrics.

You have people whose lyrics are incredible, like Bob Dylan and that’s why they are such incredible artist. I feel like the music for Bob was a platform for what he was trying to say versus the other way around.


When did you get involved in music?

I started playing guitar when I was in sixth grade, so like ten years ago, when I was 12 or 11, I don’t quite remember.


Of the songs you have written is there a song that is particularly important to you at this point in your life?

I think probably the best song I’ve written for Touch-It, me and Ken collaborated on this but I did the lyrics for the majority of the song. We played at Battle of the Bands called Lake House. It’s sort of politically driven in a way.


Can you explain a little bit about what it is about?

It’s called Lake House because the chorus goes something like, a     shower can’t wash your soul/it takes something deeper I know/ the old men talk they can’t wait/because dirty money put them in the house by the lake. I wrote it in the summer after my sophomore year and there was just a lot of stuff going on. There was bombings in Israel, bombings in Palestine, there was the Ferguson shootings and Robin Williams died.

I just felt very alienated from the people that were representing me all over this country in all forms of government. So the verses are all about those events like the last verse is about how a whole bunch of people got shot, or a whole bunch of black men got shot at Ferguson or in New York but Robin Williams got all the press. It’s a sort of a looking out of your window on political injustice or tragedy in the world.

So I guess a lake house, I see as a luxury and as something that shows how, these guys, don’t want to relate to you because if they can just go hide in their vacation homes they don’t have to think about these things.


How do you see music being a part of your life after college?

Well there’s a band I played  a lot with in high school and they are still playing together which is cool. Go them. They are down in Athens, Georgia. There was a while there where I thought about, not joining their band or anything, but going down and making music with them down on the periphery and just doing day jobs. Then I kinda decided I didn’t want to move back to Georgia  so I put the nix on that (plan).

I definitely want to keep playing music. It will probably end up being more of a hobby, I’ll do open mics and stuff like that. Maybe if I find some people I like playing with or have a longer term connection with I’ll start another band but then again as a senior, the next couple years I’ll probably be moving around a fair bit, so I don’t really know.


As a senior, what advice would you give to underclassmen artists/bands?

Sure, so if you’re practicing in Mathias be as respectful as f***k to Lisa because she is the bomb but that being said Mathias bass kind of sucks so if you can find another space on campus I would recommend that.

If you don’t like the music that is being played on campus, make your own band. In general, it’s just about reaching out to people there are so many people trying to get into the scene. It’s about finding people you like playing music with and putting work into it. It’s not easy.

I tell a lot of people this has kind of been my main extracurricular throughout college and obviously it’s not a sanctioned one by the school or anything but it’s definitely something I put a lot of work into.


What has been one of the greatest or most important things you have taken away from being a musician at CC and during your time playing with TouchIt?

Certain bands have a magical skill regardless of what music they are playing to make people mosh. Mac Demarco is one of these musicians, it doesn’t make sense, when I saw him live, he was like, “This is a tender number I wrote this for my lover but keep moshing anyways.”

I don’t know something happens, I think it starts out because of a certain precedent, like your friends get really excited and they start moshing at every show.

I know no other band on campus that has people mosh as much as we do. We do sometimes play punk and hardcore music but I don’t think our sound is cataclysmically different than that of other people at school in terms of like hardness and for some reason people just love moshing to it.

I think we have at least three concussions we are partially responsible for. I’ve been knocked over several times by my own mosh. I don’t know music is fun. Play music if you have a chance.



Q&A with a bae: Alex Luciano of Diet Cig

Over the past few weeks, my roommate and I have actually greeted each other in the mornings—not with “good morning,” but with the phrase “fucking slow dance” and a dramatic eye roll.

The ritual is not in reaction to telepathic nightmares, but a lyric from Diet Cig’s 2015 single “Dinner Date” which has over 85,000 plays on Spotify. We too spend the rest of our days playing Diet Cig’s seven songs on Spotify, wondering when there will be more. Or even if it’s even possible to write truer lyrics than “If I told you I loved you I don’t know who/it would scare away faster.”

The pop punk duo consists of New Paltz New York’s own Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman, whose power chord ballads strike a balance between fun-loving and fuck you, and cut as deep as your memories of shitty hometowns and suburban-school expectations. They’ve been declared “A Band to Watch” by nearly every online music news monopoly, and simultaneously propose to destroy the monopoly label “bedroom songs.” Onstage Luciano jumps off drum sets, occasionally into the crowd, and generally requires that everyone quit shuffling their feet and fucking dance.

I stumbled upon the band in March at SXSW: first at Sidewinder, then the next day at the Stereogum showcase where a friend of mine may have had too much free Sapporo beer—he asked Luciano to marry him, and then chucked an inflatable deer at her head (on accident, of course). She didn’t miss a beat.

When I asked Luciano if I could call her for an interview, I reminded her of the deer incident and she seemed receptive. Bowman couldn’t make it. I sat in my bed in Colorado Springs, and she in hers in Brooklyn. We discussed Frankie Cosmos’ simplicity and Diarrhea Planet’s masterful mayhem, and of course, the reason why being a female shredder is essentially cooler than, well, anything.

Catch Dieg Cig with Sorrel and Brick + Mortar opening for the Front Bottoms at Black Sheep next Tuesday, April 12th


Hannah: Have you ever had things thrown at you before?


Alex: No, nothing’s ever really been thrown at me before the deer. I’ve had boys hand me love notes after a set onstage but that’s the extent of people giving me stuff.


Hannah: That sounds worse than the deer. How’d you like SXSW besides that? Was it your first one?


Alex: Yeah it was our first South by, it was super crazy. We played thirteen sets. It was supposed to be eleven but then we played two extra sets called Sessions. I thought we were gonna play two songs and they would record them and then they were like “Oh play a whole set in front of this audience and we’ll record two songs out of the set.”


It’s kind of a blur now looking back at it, but we had a lot of fun and we got to see all the bands. It was really fun running in the streets, running into your homies and being like “see you at the show later!” There was some crazy shit…I stole a gnome and then gave it back but that was before I like air guitar shredded it. Wacky.


Hannah: Dinner Date was actually the first song I heard by you guys and has since been my favorite—probably because of the opening lines. Is it based off daddy issues/a true story?


Alex: It’s a lot of Daddy issue-type feelings. That song starts out with my dad but also touches on a lot of relationships I’ve had with other people, and is me trying to convince myself that even though there are shitty people in my life that have just disappointed me or not treated me well that I’m better than these experiences. I’m taking power back from the people that have done me wrong.


Hannah: Do you feel like you’re running out of shitty situations to write about? You know, like shitty hometowns or shitty boyfriends?


Alex: I think that life is full of shitty situations, even when you grow up and start doing what you want to. You can take the smallest ones and write a dumb punk song about them, so I’m definitely not worried about not having enough shitty situations to write about.


Hannah: If you could describe your music now in one word what would you pick?


Alex: There’s a lot of words combined that I think would describe it. Our music is fun and also really cathartic. It’s really honest—I’d say it’s very honest—it’s like taking songs that like could be sad songs and making them fun. What I’m writing about is shitty stuff, most of the stuff that I write about are like bad situations that have happened to me. But it’s me turning things into a positive, fun situation.


Hannah: What’s your biggest musical influence?


Alex: I really don’t feel like one artist or any thing specifically influences me. I feel like I’m making simple live music that I like. But I’ve been influenced by the attitudes of a lot of musicians. I’m really influenced by Frankie Cosmos in the way that she just writes and writes and writes so many amazing songs and only recently has held off on releasing them because she’s been writing and releasing official records and stuff—but I’m really inspired by the way she released her early songs She would just release them on bandcamp and not worry about who would listen to it. It was just pure, real, honest music that she wrote.


I’m really inspired by a lot of other like strong female musicians. l like Hop Along. I think my music sounds very different than theirs, but at the same time I’m really inspired by what they’re doing and they’re songwriting and the fact that they’re out there and doing it.


Hannah: I really love how short Frankie Cosmo’s songs are—it’s the wave of the future you know? Everything’s getting shorter.


Alex: It’s true and it’s no frills, there’s no jam out guitar parts that last for like four minutes or anything. It’s just like honest lyrics and music that complements it.


Hannah: The biggest thing for me watching female musicians perform in bands is that it’s a breakdown of the male tendency to show off with all these crazy guitar solos.


Alex: It is such a masculine stereotype to do guitar solos and rip out and shred out. But I really don’t like the idea that that’s a male thing because I know so many female fucking shredders. Alicia from Bully fucking shreds—she’s amazing. I think there’s definitely a place for that though. I love Diarrhea Planet and they’re like the ultimate dude-shredder band. It’s all four guitars and guys guitar soloing, which is awesome, but I think that it’s equally as important for artists who aren’t technically proficient guitar players to be represented.


She Shreds the magazine has this really awesome philosophy that shredding isn’t your technical ability on an instrument, it’s the amount of emotion you can evoke through your instrument. I really respect women, or any musician, that can evoke a lot of emotion through their music without having to completely guitar-solo shred. I also have so much love and respect for everyone who’s just like slammin’ out guitar solos because it’s just the coolest thing ever.


H: Diarrhea planet: rock n’ roll done right.


A: Seeing them live is a joyous experience and they represent the kind of guitar-shredding that should be the ultimate. A lot of “serious” musicians take themselves too seriously. They’re serious musicians—but they don’t take themselves too seriously, which is why I think people like them.


H: So what’s a show that you’ve seen—besides Diarrhea planet, of course—that’s really inspired you to write or play music? A show that made you say “I gotta go home and practice the guitar right now.”


A: There’s been a couple that really stick out. When I was a freshman in college at New Paltz I was just getting introduced to the idea of DIY shows and artists producing their own music and I saw Frankie Cosmos’ show. It was actually hosted at my friend Chris Daley’s house (he recorded our music, our EP and our 7 inch) and I saw Frankie Cosmos perform at his studio. It was a really intimate performance and I didn’t really know who she was. I was just so floored by the simplicity of her songs and how beautiful they were, but also how accessible they were, and I was like “hey, I could write songs that are simple and honest like that, I have a lot to say too.” That was definitely one of the first moments that I was like “I can write songs that people will relate to and like.”


Then we did that tour with Bully this year, and Alicia really inspired me to start learning more on guitar, and to want to be more rock n’ roll as opposed to tweeny pop/rock or whatever people like to call us. I’m trying to find that balance all the time.


H: According to Pitchfork, you just need to “mature.”


A: (laughs) Yeah they were like “Well we can’t wait for them to mature.” And I was like okay no one asked you to write about my record. That’s the one thing about Pitchfork, it’s a love/hate thing because most blogs will write about the stuff that they like but Pitchfork will write about stuff that they like and they don’t like. And at first when we had that new record I was like in the back of my head like “Oh my god we have to write a record that is similar to the old stuff, but mature because we gotta get Pitchfork to like it!”


I’ve realized that after touring and playing those songs over and over again that we have to write songs that we like to play. You never know what people are going to like. So the only thing that we can do is write music that we like to play and that we’re proud of. This next record is going to be really awesome and I’m not sure if Pitchfork will like it—but I know we’re gonna LOVE it.


H: This is hard to ask without Noah here to speak for himself—but do you feel like you would have gone in a similar direction without each other? Would you be playing music with other people today if you guys hadn’t met in the first place?


A: I don’t know. I know he would be playing music with other people because Noah’s always been a musician and that’s always been his path. But I had some songs that I wanted to like perform and work on. It could have gone in a very acoustic low-fi bedroom pop kind of direction or it could have been “the band sound” with drums, a little more rockin’ direction—Noah was a really big influence in the music going in the direction that it did. It’s just as much Noah’s artistic vision as it is my own. Maybe I would have done something with music but I it wouldn’t have taken off and been what it is now if we didn’t meet.


H: Do you have any words of advice for people with “bedroom songs”? I feel like that’s a trope when people write about music like “Oh yeah they wrote all these songs in their bedroom.” But you guys got the songs out there, and there are a lot of talented people who haven’t.


A: Like you said “bedroom songs” is such a stupid trope and I feel like a lot of music writers or critics attach that label to women’s music. It’s so funny because Steph Knipe who’s in Adult Mom wrote online that “The difference between bedroom music and dorm music: one of them you’re paying 20,000 dollars a year to write your music” and it’s pretty funny because like what even IS bedroom music, does it mean you wrote it in your bedroom, does it mean that it’s soft and you’d wanna listen to it in your bedroom? I definitely can’t fit a drum set in my bedroom so I don’t know why people are calling my music bedroom pop.


I think some advice for people who are starting off writing songs in their bedrooms is to not feel hindered by the fact that you wrote it there—that shouldn’t define your music. You can write music in your bedroom and you can literally be any genre that you want. You can be anything you want.


H: If you could write a song for any one person who would it be?


A: I’d write one for my sister. She’s 12 and she’s in middle school and middle school is tough. I’m actually kind of in the process for writing this one song for my sister that will probably be on this record but it’s also tough because there’s so much I want to say to her. I want to tell her to be herself but in a way that’s not cheesy like “YOU CAN DO IT” because she is such a special person. She rocks.

Song of the Day: Flo and Eddie – Keep it Warm (Gucci Mane – Lemonade)

This popped up on my discovery weekly the other day. I was tearing it up on my bike on the way home when I heard these lyrics:

Write another song for the money

Something they can sing, not so funny

Money in the bank to keep us warm

Mmm… I like that

So after a little research, I discovered that this band, Flo and Eddie, used to be The Turtles (made famous by their late-60’s hit “Happy Together”). On their Wikipedia they’re described as a comedic duo, so take that as you will. To me, they sound like the beach boys (“I’m picking up good vibrations” featured in the song) and a bit like the Partridge Family.

Anyway, when I got home I put the song on again, so I could show my roommate. He recognized it, but a different version…

After a quick trip to whosampled I figured it out…

and it’s amazing.

Please skip to 1:15 for glory.

Song of the Day: The War On Drugs – Touch of Grey

Tribute albums have always been tricky for me. While there are few things more satisfying than seeing a group of incredible artists collaborating to cover the music of some legendary group from the days of yore, these sort of projects can easily fall flat.  The Flaming Lips’ With a Little Help From My Fwends, for example, was a track-for-track tribute to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that made me feel like I’d rather just listen to the Beatles or the Flips separately rather than some unsatisfying marriage of the two.

When I first heard about the forthcoming Day of the Dead, a Grateful Dead tribute album curated by two members of The National, I had mixed feelings. Sure, the thought of an all-star cast including Courtney Barnett and Wilco covering some of my favorite Dead tunes is more exciting to me than an 8th Harry Potter book. Initially, however, I couldn’t help but wonder if the execution could possibly live up to the hype.

If the singles released off Day of the Dead thus far are any indicator, the album will be a huge success. The War On Drugs’ cover of “Touch of Grey” is a prime example of how insanely good a cover can be. It’s not exactly a major innovation on a melodic theme — the new version sounds pretty damn similar to the In the Dark original. The beauty of this song is really in how well Kurt Vile’s voice adapts to Garcia’s lyrics, almost as if the tune were written for The War On Drugs. With a single like this, the rest of the tribute album could be absolute trash and I would be more than okay with it.

Song of the Day – “I Wanna Boi” – PWR BTTM

Today’s Song of the Day is “I Wanna Boi” from the queer punk duo PWR BTTM. Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins met at Bard College and spend their playing shows on the Bard campus. Their raw punk sound is reminiscent of something heard at a house party somewhere around CC. However it is their unconventional lyricism that works do break down norms of sexuality and music makes PWR BTTM worth a listen. If you love the song email


Song of the Day: Brian Eno – King’s Lead Hat

Brian Eno is one of the most prolific, innovative, and influential musicians around. His first four solo records are all fantastic, he was a pioneer in the field of ambient music, and his collaborations with Robert Fripp, David Byrne and Cluster are excellent. From ’73 – ’83, Eno was killing it with each and every release. He even developed a way to help musicians break creative blocks, called Oblique Strategies. Now, you might think you’ve never listened to a song by Brian Eno. And you’re probably wrong about that. Eno collaborated with David Bowie for his entire “Berlin Trilogy” (Low, “Heroes”, and Lodger). He also produced three Talking Heads records: More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music, and Remain In Light, which are all fantastic. If you’ve ever aggressively sung along to “”Heroes”” or “Once in a Lifetime”, you were belting out songs Brian Eno helped write.

But I digress. I could go on about Eno for days, but if I had to pick one favorite Eno record it would be 1977’s Before and After Science. “King’s Lead Hat” is the lead single from BaAS, and it’s a seriously great track. “King’s Lead Hat” is an anagram for “Talking Heads”, even though Eno recorded this song before he had recorded with the Talking Heads. Still, as the name would seem to imply, “King’s Lead Hat” is very reminiscent of Eno-produced Talking Heads. This song is infectiously catchy, unique, and has a killer groove. Eno’s lyrics are sharp and clever, and the synth part at the end kills. Just listen to it, it’s really good.

SONG OF THE DAY – Ben Aqua – “Don’t Play Dumb”


lol don’t we know this by now? SMART is cool! KIND is cool! DUMB on purpose is NOT cool.

If u smart, listen to this song. It is from Ben Aqua, who has worked with PC Music (audio gold), DFA Records (unknown to me) and has his own “experimental electronic music and art label #FEELINGS”. Despite the questionable but likely satirical naming of that label, I am often fond of this kind of music. Which surprises me. Isn’t electronic music #MINDLESS? I’m starting to think not!! Imagine the landscape of this track in physical space with every beat and type of sound possessing a different line — how complex and calculated!

This being said, Ben Aqua and those that he might associate with  (AG Cook of PC Music) are getting a lot of attention for what is being called “The online underground: A new kind of punk?”. An article/podcast of this name from Resident Advisor explores this concept using Ben Aqua as a main talking point (find at Even though the nuances and specifics of this comparison are beyond me (I will read the full RA article and get back to you), the idea is not far fetched. With a record label that contains a “hashtag”, successful sales of a T-shirt  with “NEVER LOG OFF” printed on it, and a proliferation of ideas manifested aesthetically across some sort of media is undoubtedly similar to the progression of the punk movement.

“signs and connotations of the digital medium are appearing all around online music in the same way that punk wore its gritty origins on its sleeve” (RA).

don’t play dumb, b as smart as u can b

Song of the Day: Ituana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Why the frick can’t I stop listening to this song? There’s so much to hate! The song is part of a compilation, which is part of an even bigger “Bossa Nova Cover” compilation. This one focuses on 90’s songs. Most of it sucks.

Just look at the freaking album cover! It reeks of shittyness.

And then check out that description:

“the coolest and sexiest songbook of the nighties”

The coolest? ya… no.

The sexiest? Hmm… yes?

I love this song. I gotta admit it – good female jazz vocalists are my shit. She sounds so… sexy… like she’s whispering in my ear “load up on guns, bring your friends” Mmm…

And the song choice! They turned the song on it’s head.

Instead of a “YAHHHH!!!

It’s a (whisper) “yahhhhh

And i’m like ¯\_(°–°)_/¯ 


Song of the Day: A Tribe Called Quest – Check the Rhime

In honor of the 5’3″ phenom lost to the hip hop community, A Tribe Called Quest classic is an easy pick for this Song of the Day. Malik Taylor a.k.a. Phife Dawg passed away yesterday at the age of 45 due to complications from diabetes.

Known for their funky production and clever verses, A Tribe Called Quest has been making waves in the world of hip hop for over three decades. 2016 will be remembered as a bittersweet year for the group, as Phife Dawg’s key partner in rhyme, Q-Tip, was recently named the JFK Center for Performing Arts’ first-ever Artistic Director for hip hop.

Not only does the 1991 hit “Check the Rhime” showcase both Phife and Q-Tip’s lyrical prowess, but the track features one of Phife Dawg’s most iconic opening lines: “Now here’s a funky introduction of how nice I am / Tell your mother, tell your father, send a telegram.” Phife’s passing is certainly a tragedy for the music world, hip hop and otherwise. Yet this legendary rapper is immortalized in Tribe’s music, and his legacy will surely live on for generations to come.