Corita Press Photos by Stefano Giovannini

Corita: Eleanor (Guitar and Vocals), Nick (Drums), Marisha (Guitar and Vocals), Aileen (Bass and Vocals). Photo by Stefano Giovannini stefpix.com 2012

One of my favorite part of being in a band is the opportunity to collaborate with other creative people. I’m here at South by South West (full report to be published soon) and one thing I’m learning is that while bands need to increasingly take care of the business aspect of being a band, they also cannot possibly do everything single thing themselves. Those of us who have been in and around the punk scene have known this for years, but it’s nice to see a dialogue about collaboration and supporting each other creatively happening at the highest levels of the music industry.

Corita. Photo by Stefano Giovannini stefpix.com 2012

Getting really good photos was one area where we as a band knew we need to reach out and collaborate with another artist. To get ready for SXSW, and to have the first of what we hope are many great press photos taken by photographers we love, my band Corita worked with Stefano Giovannini, who has shot for bands like Sonic Youth and Cat Power, as well as documented daily life around New York City. He shoots on location and authentically captures expression, mood and the relationships between people.

Corita. Photo by Stefano Giovannini stefpix.com 2012

We chose bold colors and simple props from Party City for our shoot (most of which we didn’t end up using). We were a little bit nervous before we met Stefano – what would he be like? Would he understand our vision? Would he help us shape it? Would he be good to work with? When we met him we immediately felt at ease. He is a genuine, hard working artist who gently directs you so that he can get the best photos possible. So I am proud to share with you Corita’s four “official” press photos and one very special “out take.” Enjoy!

Corita. Photo by Stefano Giovannini stefpix.com 2012

And I can help but think that this one was subtly influenced by the ending of my very favorite CHERYL video.

CHERYL: 7-ELEVEN from CHERYL on Vimeo.

And one more special out take just for you:

Corita. Photo by Stefano Giovannini stefpix.com 2012

I think that taken together these pictures speak volumes about what, exactly, I love about my band and the music that we create together.

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Corita is Going to SXSW!

Contrary to popular belief, this is not Corita's press photo

So there’s this little film/media/technology/music festival in Austin, Texas every spring called South by Southwest, or SXSW, or just “South by.”  You’ve probably heard of it. I generally hate things that cause a lot of media hype and draw a lot of crowds, but I decided that for once in my life I’d like to join half of Brooklyn in heading down to Austin for South by and it looks like this is the year!

#SXSW @CoritaNYC set preview

SXSW Setlist sneak preview

I’m really excited because I’m speaking on a panel about crowdfunding for musicians on the morning of Wednesday the 14th with awesome folks from RocketHub, CD Baby, Zero Management and Ariel Publicity. I hope you can join me if you’ll be doing the conference thing! I’d also like to invite you to very casual, “unofficial” artists networking breakfast I’m organizing at Cherrywood Coffeehouse on Thursday the 15th from 10 to 12 noon. Let me know if you want to drop by and have a breakfast taco with me!

Big bowl of @CoritaNYC buttons!

Bowl of Corita buttons!

My band Corita will also be joining the fray and will play an unofficial showcase at Waterloo Cycles on Saturday the 17th. We’ll be playing around 2pm, the show is free and there will be free beer too! Playing SXSW will be our first time playing outside of New York City! As we thought about how we would present ourselves to our audience in Austin we quickly realized we had nothing to represent us as a band: no press photos, no physical copies of our EP Memento Mori, no badges, no flyers, no business cards, not even a bio describing the band that we had all agreed on!

Corita CDs and buttons! Cover art by @wunderfemme

Corita CDs with artwork by Eve Badia, aka Wunderfemme

About a month ago we got down to work. We took press photos as a secret location with Stefano Giovannini (I can’t wait to post them when he’s done working on them), and scheduled two Sunday afternoon “Merch Atelier” sessions. We enlisted the help of our very supportive friends and spent two Sunday afternoons drinking mimosas, eating Peter Pan doughnuts, and cranking out badges, CDs, writing our bio, and getting ourselves set up on all the social networking sites we could handle.

Photoshoot aftermath (glitter/confetti explosion)

Photo shoot glitterbomb aftermath - real photos coming soon

Thanks to our efforts we not only have beautiful CDs and badges to give away, but you can hear Corita on Soundcloud, Reverbnation, and follow us on Twitter! You can also “like” us on Facebook, but we already had that, in addition to our bandcamp, myspace and last.fm pages, at least.

Crafting artwork for Corita badges

Crafting Corita badge artwork. 10 points if you can find the reference to the art of the "real" Corita Kent.

What was so fantastic about the merch atelier sessions, besides the camaraderie and the awesome Corita swag they produced, is that it really helped us think differently about ourselves as a band. We all have “day jobs,” and that fact isn’t going to change. We are in the band because we love playing music and being creative as a group. However, previously, we were really blasé about it. We didn’t make an effort for people to remember our names or build a fan base beyond our friends. However, in talking together and getting excited about sharing our music with new friends in Austin we realized we have collective goals for our band and we can work towards them and have the ability to make them happen.

Corita badge #2 in process

Making another Corita badge

This year Corita will stop playing schlocky New York clubs and focus on playing more art spaces and DIY venues that attract more of the type of people we connect with and feel at home with; we will play out-of-town shows in Philadelphia, Boston and Portland, ME and other northeastern cities where we have like-minded friends in bands; and we will put more of an effort into representing ourselves as a band and taking pride in who we are and what we make. I also decided that I need to stop treating the band as something that will inevitably loose money and ask that we get paid for shows. It doesn’t have to be much, enough to cover the car service to get our equipment there, but if bands don’t start standing up for themselves no one else will.

So, will we see you in Austin? If you’ve been to SXSW before, any tips you want to share with a first timer? And if you come to our show (or my panel discussion) I’d love to give you a Corita badge and CD! Also, if you have a band and want to play a show with us – let me know. We’d love to do a “show swap” between our two cities!

@CoritaNYC badges by @byglam

Corita's merch atelier was international - Stephanie Byglam contributed some typography to us!

And for good measure, here is Corita’s official bio:

Brooklyn-based Corita delivers the shimmery guitars of UK shoegaze, the jangly melodies of C86, creeping angular post-punk rhythms, and overdriven choruses that hark back to 1990s indie rock overlaid with three-girl vocal harmonies. On the 2011 EP Memento Mori, Corita explores the hazards of late capitalism, cinematic European daydreams, animal friends, and human enemies. Named for the visual artist, and former nun, Sister Corita Kent, the band has been an active participant in Brooklyn’s vibrant independent rock scene for the past three years. The songs are a vision shared by four experienced musicians. Guitarist and vocalist Marisha Chinsky found her sound as the leader of the cult-favorite indie-pop group The Consultants, while drummer Nick Cearlock honed his skills in the Pacific Northwest punk scene of the 1990s. Bassist and vocalist Aileen Brophy delivers an encyclopedic knowledge of post-punk sounds, and guitarist and vocalist Eleanor Whitney brings a love of angular melodies and syncopated rhythms from her training as a jazz musician. As a band Corita is the shared vision of four close friends who imagine music as a conduit to a more fulfilling everyday reality.

Flying (and Photographing) Above the Clouds

A shot from the sky over New England

If you follow me on Twitter or Flickr you are probably aware that my latest technological obsession is the app Instagram. It allows you to take, share and comment on photos with your iPhone, as well as add filters to them that make them look a little better than the average smart phone snap. What I love about Instagram is that it connects me to a network of friends and strangers around the world who share postcard moments of their daily lives. It’s pure visual pleasure (on a small screen) that allows members to share the stories of their lives through photo vignettes.

Flying Above the Clouds IV

Above the clouds

On my Instagram feed my visual obsessions become quickly apparent: there is a high quantity of images of clouds, sunsets, sky, cats, coffee, food, Paris and New York. Looking at so many shots of sky from around the world inspired me to snap a few pictures using my iPhone (I used Camera Plus and Hipstamatic) while I was on my puddle jumper of a flight up to Maine yesterday. I loved the distortion of the sun and sky provided naturally by the airplane window and the textures of the clouds. It also reminded me of the song “Clouds” that my band Corita wrote – shimmery, sing songy, dreamy and noisy. You can listen to it and download it here. Enjoy!

Sunburst

Atmosphere

Flying Above the Clouds

Sky, sun, clouds, faraway lakes

Corin Tucker Band @ the Bowery Ballroom

I went to see Corin Tucker’s band at the Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday night. I really had to prod myself to go there after Economics class, but like most things you make yourself do, I was glad I went. The atmosphere was surprisingly mellow- nothing like the super charged feeling of a Sleater-Kinney show. Aussie singer-song writer Darren Hanlon was a great opener and told stories of traveling through middle America and begin offered “vegetarian” scrambled eggs with only a “little bit of bacon” in them. While the opening bands were cool, everyone was clearly waiting for Corin. She arrived on stage looking ravishing in a shimmering silver vintage dress and, of course, cheers broke out.

Corin Tucker

Corin in her beautiful dress

The set itself featured songs from her new record “1,000 years,” which I wrote about for Venuszine. Her opener, “Thrift Store Coats,” a rumination on the recession, felt especially chilling live, and the air felt charged, expectant and unexpectedly low-key. The band slowly picked up the tempo and and delivered pure rock perfection. However, the band and the audience both seem wiser from age. A common commentary I heard (and felt) was “I am going to be late for work tomorrow,” accompanied by a yawn. This is not to say the show was not perfectly engaging. It was simply more intimate, mature, and understanding of life’s limitations and triumphs, both large and small.

Corin Tucker

It was a real treat to hear Corin's distinctive voice again

A nice surprise was the band’s cover of the Au Pair’s “It’s Obvious,” with the hard hitting chorus, “You’re equal, but different!” taking on new significance with the greater wisdom that (just a little bit of) age brings. Another treat of the set was drummer Sara Lund’s (of Unwound fame) work. She did double duty, playing with openers Hungry Ghost, and then changing into a cocktail dress for her appearance with Corin’s band. As anyone who listens to Unwound knows, she is the kind of precise, melodic, but absolutely rhythmic drummer that is very rare in rock music.

Sara Lund

Sara Lund, a little buried behind the drums and other percussion

Want more photos? Check out my flickr stream.

Profile of Corin Tucker’s New Band on Venus Zine

If you were like me and grew up in the 1990’s and loved punk rock and feminism, you loved Sleater-Kinney. It’s no longer the 90’s (though with all the plaid coming back this season and all the reissues of classic grunge records you might wonder) and I’m no longer a teenager, but I still love Sleater-Kinney, punk rock, and feminism. I still have not yet found a band as compelling as  Sleater-Kinney  (though Electrelane filled the gap after Sleater-Kinney disbanded in 2006, but then they broke up too!). I liked S-K long enough to get over my initial teenaged rock star worship and went from buying a ticket to a show in Boston I was too young to go to and hoping for the best to being impressed with their guitar chops on their last record The Woods. They were just a really solid band. Every album brought an innovative approach to their sound. Their live shows were breathtaking and the members were well spoken and stylish to boot. All this to say that despite my ambivalence about music lately I was very excited to hear that Corin Tucker has a new project (and with Sara Lund from Unwound on drums no less!) and jumped at the chance to interview her and write a profile for Venuszine. Her new record, 1,000 Years, is solid as ever and as always, she is always thinking deeply about what’s going on in society and her personal life and working that into her songwriting.  Please check out the full profile on Venuszine here.

Corita’s Myspace!

As most of you may know, I’m in a wonderful post-punk, indie rock band called Corita with my friends Nick, Marisha and Aileen. We finally have a Myspace page to show for our efforts with three songs, a video and some photos. So please visit us here: www.myspace.com/coritanyc and while I know Myspace is a bit passe, please do add us as a friend so that you can keep up with us, hear more songs as we record them and come to a show when we finally do play out!