Slam Donahue's Perks of Being A Wallflower

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Slam Donahue

So you wanted to be in a band? Well, you should have picked up an instrument, knucklehead. And if you are in a band, awesome, you should be familiar with all the perks of being in a band. Free beer, women, coke. But the most ignored perk by all the asshole superstars out there is meeting the bands on the bills you play. Being in a working band, you end up bumping into everyone else making a run at it. Sure, there are many that really don’t quite have that “something”. But no matter how hard you try, you’re influenced by the competition. So, while superstar knobs are out eating dumplings or loitering at Strand and show up seconds before their set time, we get to enjoy seeing everyone coming up. We lucked into performing with and ended up captivated by these few fast friends.

We met Mark Zebedee Ciarleglio aka Esoteric Tapioca early on in our first flailing attempts at performing. Then and now, his extended collection of music is thick with focused pop songs. He invited us over to his dirt cheap, three story haunted mansion. In one room, piles of dusty accordions, another, oh, that door is locked; the staircase’s banisters spiraled up into nothingness. The house had a rough charisma, a rich decay, which is a good analogue for his work. Beautiful, streaming vocal melodies, hyper aware, intelligent lyrics over Spartan, moody guitar and tape hiss, struck us as something very special. It’s inviting but there is anxiety. Listening reminds us of playing our friends’ houses and VFWs, Masonic temples, growing and how hard it is to move on.

An understated burner from the Das Racist vetted rapper, Lakutis. He stood out to us on their twin mixtapes and this is the realization of that potential. The Demolition Man and Leona Lewis references plus Ghostface samples are only frames for some rhyming acrobatics and sex acts. We’ve known the DR guys for some time but Lex’s music is what happens when you run around enough sleazy New York dives and grow up feeling listless.

We left Connecticut in the young but very capable hands of Eddie Golden III and The Guru, who have broken out as much as you can in that insular sphere, after throwing countless memorable shows with them. He turned around, broke up the band, moved away and started The Hiya Dunes. All the good ones go. Their music is Joe Meek and The Beach Boys poured through a strainer and the sound of an eager songwriter’s growing ambitions. We’ll see you out there, man.

These are some funky-ass, ecstasy-pumping, rave-shitty, third-world keyboard discotheque love letters. Oh wait, no, they’re a Brooklyn via Italy rock band raising Harry Nilsson from the dead, injecting him with amphetamines, and dumping him out on the New Jersey Turnpike. This would be the song his freaked out, rotten, bearded corpse would trip/write on his manic run back to Brooklyn. These boys are way too much fun, always down to go.

How does Mike Antonio know how we feel? This song is immediately charming. With a fragile voiced start but by the chorus he’s burning dynamic; we kept leaning in watching them play. It gave us renewed hope in pop music when we heard a chorus like this song’s hit live. Nostalgic words but musically forward thinking. It reminds us of why we became interested in music and how good it can make you feel.