14 episodes

A podcast companion to Dan Ozzi's REPLY ALT.

danozzi.substack.com

REPLY ALT Dan Ozzi

    • Music
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

A podcast companion to Dan Ozzi's REPLY ALT.

danozzi.substack.com

    At Home with The Armed's Adam Vallely

    At Home with The Armed's Adam Vallely

    photo by Trevor Dernai

    Hello and welcome to REPLY ALT, the newsletter about music which is also sometimes a podcast. Listen to today’s episode and others on Spotify or Apple.

    I’ve got to be out of my goddamned mind to agree to interview The Armed on April Fool’s Day. Trying to get a clear picture of the enigmatic Detroit collective has been like nailing Jell-O to the wall for those who’ve tried. A few years ago, I sent a writer to profile them (which as far as I can tell is the only substantial piece ever written about them), and while I think it’s a stellar piece of writing that reads like a murder mystery, I’m still not quite sure I can 100% vouch for its authenticity. The band was vague with their answers, they were unclear about who the actual members were, they all lived together in a big compound in an undisclosed location, they rented a $200,000 Porsche because “it would look cool.” It all felt like an elaborate prank. So even though I went into this April 1 chat with frontman Adam Vallely feeling like I stood a 50/50 chance of getting duped in some way, it was a risk I was willing to take to hear about their brilliant new album ULTRAPOP.

    As far as I could tell, Adam is a real person. He wasn’t in the band during the release of their last record, 2018’s ONLY LOVE, though. Well, he was one of the 28 members of the band, but he wasn’t the frontman at the time. He was in the band but not in the band, you know? It’s complicated.

    Anyway, I’m pleased to report that Adam and I ended up having a legitimate and, as far as I can tell, authentic conversation about The Armed. Most of it was spent talking about health and fitness, since most of the members spent the last year working with a nutritionist, putting themselves through an intense diet and exercise regimen for this album, for reasons that are explained. (I’ve always said lifting weights is art!) We also talked about breaking new ground in hardcore, the meaning behind ULTRAPOP, the unexpected critical acclaim the band has received, manifesting success, and using confusion as a medium in art. I feel like I was born to do an interview that stands at the cross section of hardcore and gym gains.

    And lest you think Adam was not serious about the strictness of his diet, please know that he went through a damn barrel of water over the course of the interview:

    This was a fun interview, even though his audio quality is a little wonky (apologies!). ULTRAPOP is out soon and is very worth your time. I know it’s a cliche to put it like this, but it genuinely sounds like an a noisy hardcore record played on top of a pop record, the two sides competing for attention throughout. And, if we are ever in the position to see live music again, I highly recommend you go see The Armed. A truly disorienting and unforgettable experience. Here are some photos I took of them at St. Vitus in 2018:

    Pre-order my forthcoming book, SELLOUT, here: Indiebound | B&N | Amazon | Books-A-Million | Goodreads

    Follow me on the internet. Twitter | Instagram | Website

    Get full access to REPLY ALT at danozzi.substack.com/subscribe

    • 50 min
    At Home with Mikey Erg

    At Home with Mikey Erg

    Hello and welcome to REPLY ALT, the only email newsletter about music that is also sometimes a podcast. Today, it’s a podcast. Listen to this episode and others on Spotify or Apple.

    You’d think a guy like Mikey Erg would get cynical or jaded about music. After all, the guy has played in a near limitless slew of bands over the last decade, toured through every venue in every city in America, and is practically the glue that holds The Fest’s lineup together every year. And yet, despite all his punk rock bona fides, he maintains a fanboy-like appreciation for music history which I find very endearing. He still has the enthusiasm in him to geek out over the most inconsequential rock ‘n’ roll landmarks wherever he travels. If there’s a spot in the world where The Beatles have ever recorded, been photographed, or taken a leak, Mikey has snapped a selfie in front of it.

    I talked to Mikey recently about his journeys as a rock ‘n’ roll tourist, as well as his transition from the end of his beloved pop punk band The Ergs! to his recent venture as a solo artist. He’s got a new, self-titled record out this month, which he calls “a return to form.” It’s a bit looser and more playful than his 2016 solo debut, Tentative Decisions, which should be obvious from the Clash parody album artwork and the Green Day and Pearl Jam covers stuffed into it.

    So, enjoy this chat about Mikey’s solo work, meeting celebrities as the former drummer of the house band for The Chris Gethard Show, and being a sponge for rock minutiae. And check out Mikey’s new record! It’s got a cover of one of my favorite Green Day songs. Oh, and speaking of Green Day, did I mention there’s a chapter about them in my forthcoming book? (Oh you thought I’d get through an entire post without plugging my book, SELLOUT by Dan Ozzi in stores 10.26.21 for more info visit sellout.biz?? Nuh uh, think again, yo!! Pre-order now please and thank you.)

    Pre-order my forthcoming book, SELLOUT, here: Indiebound | Amazon | Books-A-Million | Goodreads

    Follow me on the internet. Twitter | Instagram | Website

    Get full access to REPLY ALT at danozzi.substack.com/subscribe

    • 57 min
    At Home with Anika Pyle

    At Home with Anika Pyle

    Photo by Autumn Spadaro.

    Hello and welcome to REPLY ALT, the only email newsletter about music that is also sometimes a podcast. Today, it’s a podcast. Listen to past episodes on Spotify or Apple. This post is a sappy one. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

    Many years ago, when I was entering the thoroughly unprofitable world of writing about rock bands for a living, I was largely figuring it out as I went along. I didn’t know where I was headed with it or where it would lead me. Hell, I still don’t know. I only knew to follow one guiding principle: Write about bands I like. That’s it. As far as career moves go, that may have singlehandedly assured that I stay destitute forever, but it also led me to some special people who, in one way or another, ended up changing my life. That’s how I met today’s guest, Anika Pyle.

    When I first met Anika, she was fronting the band Chumped. I’d watch them play at little rooms around Brooklyn once or twice a week and they always had a small clique of supportive friends who reliably showed up to drink heavily and yell their lyrics back at them. It was just a party. Every time. I don’t know any other way to explain it.

    I started writing about Chumped wherever I could, partly because I believed in them and partly because no one else would write about them. Eventually, other people caught on to how good they were and the band started gaining a little buzz. Chumped took opening slots on bigger tours, got covered on the cool websites, and played some music festivals here and there. Basically all of the things an indie band hopes to cross off their checklist these days. But as they gained speed, the wheels started to wobble. The band lasted just a few short years before calling it a day. As brief as Chumped’s tenure was, though, meeting them really helped map out my life, as strange as it may seem. I’m not sure I realized that at the time, but now, six years from the end of the band, I can appreciate those years a lot more for how special and free they were. 

    Anyway, in case it is not glaringly obvious, reflecting on that little pop punk band really hits me right in the feels. Although I’m sad those days are in the past, it’s also been very exciting to watch the path Anika has taken as an artist since then. Following the demise of Chumped, she started another project, Katie Ellen, and released an album in 2017. She also has a new record out this month under her own name called Wild River. The album sees her processing the recent passing of her father and is a staggeringly beautiful meditation on grief that weaves together delicate musical arrangements with long spoken word sections. Poetry, songs, and eulogies blend together so seamlessly throughout.

    I mean this in the most complimentary way possible: I find Wild River to be a very tough listen. I can usually make it as far as “Orange Flowers” before dissolving into a puddle. It’s not something I’d sit and listen to for pleasure, but I do find myself coming back to when I am seeking catharsis.

    I had a long, overdue chat with Anika about all of these things and yet I still don’t feel like I even scratched the surface of what I wanted to talk about. Hear the two of us get overly sentimental on today’s episode! (Oh, and if you’re looking for a more coherent, text-based interview with Anika, I’d recommend her very good recent talk with David Anthony. Don’t get too comfortable over there, though. I can’t afford to be losing readers to that guy!)

    Pre-order my forthcoming book, SELLOUT, here: Indiebound | Amazon | Books-A-Million | Goodreads (Here’s a little teaser chat I had about it this week with Jim Ward of Sparta/At the Drive-In.)

    Follow me on the internet. Twitter | Instagram | Website

    Get full access to REPLY ALT at danozzi.substack.com/subscribe

    • 52 min
    At Home with Augusta Koch (Gladie, Cayetana)

    At Home with Augusta Koch (Gladie, Cayetana)

    Hello and welcome to REPLY ALT, the best email newsletter about music in the entire world which is also sometimes a podcast—the best podcast in the entire world. Today it’s a podcast.

    Sometime around 2013 I heard a band called Cayetana. They only had a handful of songs to their name at the time and that was all I needed to hear. I was instantly hooked on the Philly trio’s scrappy take on punk, especially the vocal work of singer Augusta Koch. Her voice had this ragged edge to it and it flared wildly and unpredictably. I just loved it. I reached out and asked if I could interview them and they showed up to the interview in the most comically packed Subaru I’d ever seen. The minute I saw them piling out of their rock band clown car, I was sold.

    Cayetana lasted for two albums and roughly eight years, but, fortunately, Augusta is still extremely prolific. She had a Herculean output last year with her new project, Gladie, having released one album and four EPs. (I am required by law to mention that one of them contains a Weakerthans cover.) It’s been really inspiring to watch her evolve as an artist over the last few years.

    Augusta and I had a chat recently about staying creative, letting projects fade away once they’ve run their course, and the soul-sucking nature of promoting yourself on the internet. I got way more wistful and nostalgic than I typically do in these talks. What can I say, genuinely kind people are hard to come by in the music industry!

    Listen to our chat above or on Spotify or Apple or wherever you like to listen to these sorts of things. Oh, and as I was feeling nostalgic, I was going through old photos and found this one of us in the back of their van, a candidate for the worst photo of me ever taken.

    Top by photo by Jess Flynn. My new theme song by Dan Faughnder.

    Follow me on all the internet stuff.Twitter | Instagram | Website

    Get full access to REPLY ALT at danozzi.substack.com/subscribe

    • 52 min
    At Home with The Dirty Nil's Luke Bentham

    At Home with The Dirty Nil's Luke Bentham

    Hello and welcome back to REPLY ALT. As previously mentioned, I had to take a short break from the newsletter game to finish the first draft of my book, so thanks for the patience. As a writer who takes pride in meeting deadlines, I am pleased to report that I stuffed everything into the mailslot at the eleventh hour. All 140,000 words of it. People keep asking how long that is in pages. I’d imagine close to 600? So yeah, it’s a big boy. I promised myself that if I met my deadline I would treat myself to a meal so outlandishly stupid that it would nearly kill me. So I went to Grill Em All, which is a heavy metal-themed burger joint in LA, and got a Behemoth, a bacon cheeseburger whose buns are grilled cheese sandwiches. Very excited to provide updates on the book soon (spoiler: it rocks), but in the meantime let’s get back to the world’s only email newsletter about music, REPLY ALT.

    Oh, and also, I did an interview about my “work” recently if you’re interested. Reading it back now, I am realizing that I truly sound like an abysmal person. Apologies to anyone who knows me in real life! To quote my man Drew from Single Mothers, have you ever met anybody who so badly wanted to be hated? Here’s a prime example me being a doom boy when asked even the most basic of questions:

    Tell us: What (all) do you do? Bonus points if you show us how you got to where you are today.

    I am a writer of little acclaim, a troublemaker of mild renown, and a corporeal mass of 200 lbs.

    The way I got here was that in every single choice I was presented with in life, I took the path that seemed more adventurous but was actually very stupid.

    Hey speaking of Doom Boys (f*****g flawless transition), I did a little podcast episode today with Luke Bentham from The Dirty Nil. The band has a new album out called F**k Art and we talked a bit about how I 100% gifted them that title and they failed to give me any credit no big deal whatever I’m not even mad about it.

    Luke’s a fascinating guy in that he’s a consummate showman. In my opinion, the most talented frontperson around right now. If you’ve seen the band live, you know what I’m talking about. He’s got his stage outfit (usually some sort of studded shirt adorned with lightning bolt/stars), plus the bubblegum chewing, the friendly crowd work, and the next-level guitar moves. He is the kind of frontperson you don’t see too much anymore—someone who is just an unrepentant, bombastic rockstar. Never, ever phoning it in. Just going for it every single night. But the interesting part to me is that, although he takes the lightning bolt shirt off at the end of the day, he never really takes off the persona. It took me about five years of knowing him to realize that that’s just Luke. The man is always on.

    So please enjoy this chat with the very charming Luke Bentham and listen to The Dirty Nil’s Dan Ozzi-titled album, F**k Art.

    All photos by me. Don’t use without permission or risk getting your lil ass kicked.

    Also, below is my favorite song from F**k Art:

    Burn the earth, drain the seaLight a fire, looking for meI'll be gone, down a holeFaster than you can say, "Damage control"

    What a f****n’ lyric.

    Get full access to REPLY ALT at danozzi.substack.com/subscribe

    • 57 min
    At Home with Kevin Devine

    At Home with Kevin Devine

    Hello and welcome to REPLY ALT, the best email newsletter about music in the entire world which is also sometimes a podcast—the best podcast in the entire world. Today it’s a podcast.

    Sometimes I will spend a few hours preparing for an interview so that I will pass as someone who at least wields some vague sense of what the f**k they’re talking about. Sometimes, if I’m being honest, I will be cramming my prep in at the very last minute. But talking to today’s guest is something I feel like I’ve been preparing for my entire life.

    Kevin Devine played in the first band (or at least among the first bands) I ever saw perform way back in… 1997? Like me, Kevin grew up on Staten Island, New York, and cut his teeth playing at local spots there, particularly a DIY hall called The Joint, which hosted all-ages shows every Friday night. Kevin and I talked a lot about growing up with that background and how the blue-collar punk scene on Staten Island was drastically different than the more respected one happening just a ferry ride away in Manhattan. We both agreed that it instilled in us a small-town mentality that still informs how we operate within the music industry today.

    Will this incredibly niche subject be interesting to anyone who grew up outside the tri-state area? I don’t know! Not my business! We talked about a few non-Shaolin topics as well—the path his career has taken since his Miracle of 86 days (and his Delusion days, if we want to go really far back), as well as Nirvana and tips for cutting your own hair during the paindemic.

    Kevin has a new EP out called No One’s Waiting Up For Me Tonight in which he delivers more of the familiar, comforting sounds I’ve enjoyed from him over the last 20+ years. I guess we should have talked about that but we didn’t. Again, not my problem!!

    Oh, and we mentioned a 1998 show at which Kevin’s band played an outdoor skate demo. I will embarrass him by including that video below. Listen to the episode to hear the story behind his incredibly baggy pants! (The story is that baggy pants were cool as heck back then. Really not much of a story now that I think about it.)

    (The above photo was taken by Erik Tanner.)

    Also, a housekeeping note for dedicated REPLT ALTers: If you ordered a zine, the last batch of them shipped out on Friday morning. Hopefully they will arrive to you safely.

    Check out previous REPLY ALT episodes with Laura Stevenson, Jonah Ray, Sarah Tudzin [Illuminati Hotties], David Anthony, Chris Farren, Lauren Denitzio [Worriers], Todd Taylor [Razorcake], and Jenny Owen Youngs.

    They’re all on Spotify and Apple for your listening displeasure.

    Follow me on all the internet stuff.Twitter | Instagram | Website

    Get full access to REPLY ALT at danozzi.substack.com/subscribe

    • 54 min

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