Bradford Barker has a way about him. In the past few months we’ve become connected. Conjoined nearly. It all started with a little CATCHING UP – those that are paying attention KNOW. Whatsup. The Calendars, Death Snail, Kitty Fuckers, The Alaskas, At Stan’s Bris. All of these entities foreign to me mere months ago. And yeah I’m not going to leave off the infamous Dirty Babies Club – where it all began…. (for me)
Well, the spirit of Denizen and, by extension the Furry fraternity, is to throw a lot at you all at once. This method is refreshing and wild. So Brad drops this one on us: Saves The Nation – a studio quality release that was recorded, mixed, and mastered by co-conspirator and indie popper turned punk Gavin Caine. I knew what to expect and what not to expect. Both.
There’s plenty of remarks to be made about this record. Questions, too. But we will leave that to the talent evaluators and mass media. I’ll tell you this.
The beauty of this album is the adventurous genre hopping. Bradford goes from acoustic singer-songwriter to indie rockstar to making the alt country record that Jay Reatard never made. Splitting the difference between a Pavement era Weird Al and a vintage Dew Myron. But not ever really being satisfied with just that. Powerful.
Gavin Caine is the next ‘Indie Darling’ of the 2020s. But the Allston punk rocker isn’t satisfied with stopping there. Catch their band “Kitty F*****s” at O’Briens Pub on Monday Night – March 28th. I had to see what the fuss was about.
Q1. Alright Gavin – thanks for the time here. You’ve clearly already made it – some of your records are reviewed on YouTube by an obsessive fan – but for those who might not be in the know…what bands/projects/endeavors are you in RIGHT NOW and what do you have to say about them? Brad said that in Kitty Fuckers you are making marionettes of your mates.
Aye thanks a million for reaching out! A good question.. I often can’t keep track myself. Right now the live circuit is Dew’s “The Calendars”, Brad’s “death Snail”, myself and Brad’s “Kitty Fuckers”, and our buddy Sam’s “Jim Rat”. Recording is my favorite piece of it all, so on that front Dew, myself, and co. have been cooking up the latest Calendars, and Brad has entrusted me in handling his next “solo record”, both of which are surly destined to alter time and space itself. I also just made a record with my lifelong pal Pictoria Vark which is gonna pop out in a few weeks.I’m always making music on my own on top of it all, and I just put out my fourth record a few weeks back!
Q2. Give me 3 OG (old time) influences and 3 modern influences on you? Music or otherwise.What I do has always been sort of a cosmic mix of The Beach Boyz n Beatles, and my first record was pretty much if a computer listened to every Guided by Voices song and was programmed to make 14 more. These days the list grows longer than ever but of Montreal and Cardiacs have been my latest obsessions. I’ve also recently been put on to country by the sneaky hands of our Dewey Myron.
Q3. When did you first become acquainted with Denizen Records? What makes it so seemingly easy to work (play ?) with Brad and Dew and others? I entered the Deni-Sphere via Brad, when we met in college long ago. We made a noisycore band called At Stan’s Bris in 2019 that taught me everything I know about rock n roll and excessively making albums, and from then on the floodgates opened. Denizen Records is one of my favorite aspects of what we do up here in Boston.. in a way it’s a chronicle of our lives since we’ve all known each other. Brad and Dew are two of the greatest and sexiest guys I know. Making music with them is like drinking sweet tea on a hot summer’s day. I feel very grateful to be a part of their respective madnesses.
Q4. How much do you love writing music? Is it all you do? I’ve heard rumors that you’re basically trying to turn the Furry Frat into the Brill Building of the 2020s. Feel free to sing the praises of Furry Frat. Also just thought of it – y’ever get self conscious about showing stuff to your mates or is it as loosey goosey as the imagination wanders.
Writing music is something we often partake in at the furry frat. We’re trying to hit our yearly quota of 10,000 songs a year, collectively, or else Big Music will kick us off the airwaves. When we aren’t writing, we’re recording our next #1 or rehearsing for the upcoming Super Bowl LVII Halftime Performance. One of the greatest parts of working with the gang is there are no subjects we haven’t written about. It’s all love here.
Q5. What are your thoughts on the current underground musical landscape in Allston/Boston and in the greater world? Where do you see your place in the continuum. Are you a lifer of the DIY or do you have aspirations to play Roadrunner and TD Garden? Is Bandcamp the best platform out there?
The current Allston world has changed a lot over the years.. these days I’m most involved with what we do. We’re just doing it for kicks and I wouldn’t wanna change that at all. I’ve no idea what the future holds, but every new record we make becomes our new best record, at least I think, so I always look forward to the next thing.
Q6. Have you hit the road before? Any plans? What’s next? Thanks Gavin! Never done a proper tour, but we’d love to get out there. I’m beginning to put together a band of my own called The Alaskas that I’m excited to play around. Lots of new records in the works and Phase 1 of taking over the world and beyond is nearly complete. Thanks so much Glen – your interviews are the greatest!
Dew Myron is an underground musician in Boston, Massachusetts.
Q1. Alright Dew – it’s your turn. Where and when does Dew begin? I’m seeing 2018 as the earliest output – under your Proper Name. But given the caliber of “The Chain Will Remain Unbroken” – which surely has a place in modern sunshine-pop lore – I’d like to think you’ve been making stuff for years?
Thank you so much G, my first band was in middle school and the first feedback I received was that I should quit guitar, i started writing songs, early performances were disastrous and it was common for promoters to cut my set short or for audience members to spit on me.
I kept writing songs because god kept sending me messages, I bought my first tape machine with 75 dollars I found on the ground when I couldn’t afford it otherwise; and the tape machine I recorded ‘stranded in canton’ on was found on a curb walking down the street. I’ll stop making songs when god stops sending equipment.
Q2. There seems to be a very distinct songwriter glamour to your rhyme and reason. I mean, I think Bradford over there called you the greatest. What’s your philosophy? There’s Pop and Catchiness all over the place throughout the solo discography and a bevy of styles. I’m a country musician at heart. I like melody and lyrics. Sometimes a kindly angel will sing through me but I am the son of a carpenter so I strive to be a craftsman of song!
I’m a country musician at heart. I like melody and lyrics. Sometimes a kindly angel will sing through me but I am the son of a carpenter so I strive to be a craftsman of song!
Q3. Relatedly (it all is) – any shout outs in your journey of people/bands that blew your mind? I think I’d say – “hey this guy likes the ’60s” but all of the other decades, too. Even up to the here and now. What’s in Dew’s bag?
My growing band blows my mind, Bradford Barker III, Gavin Caine, Young Sam of Corporeal, M. Frontz, Will Heel, Misdy T, Ten Thousand Year Old Dog, Johnny Steines, babypresident420. I used to see ur friend Noah Britton, Miniature Philosopher and Frankie Cosmos a lot among others when I first went to shows in the greater Massachusetts area. I Listen to ‘like flies on sherbert’ axel chitlin, ‘heart food’ judee sill, ‘gilded palace of sin’ flying burrito brothers, ‘coquelicot asleep in the poppies’, smog and silver Jews, and the movie Dig! it’s all pretty much there
Q4. Let’s bring it to the now. Or maybe this goes back, too. I’d say your Dew Myron music is very playful, but dealing mostly with ‘Serious’ subject matter. But your recent collaborative work on the other hand with bands like The Calendars, Death Snail, Kitty Fuckers – seems a little more loosey-goosey. First – could you give a little run down/description of these groups? Are these like-minded comrades that you’ve known for a long while or more of a recent fling? Brad was under the gun in the bathroom and didn’t muster up an adequate response.
I met brad and Gavin pre-pandemic and started making music with them during pandemic, they are prolific geniuses and hot guy agents of Christ. We make music together for love and to kill all the hipsters. The Calendars is my main thing now, the trilogy of Dew Myron albums may be the last.. that’s okay, Owner Sounds is my most spiritual album. If in 2022 you still make soulless humorless music then please find god.
Q5. What are your thoughts on Allston? Its walk-ability? Any favorite places to play or anything you want to shit on? What are your thoughts on the Boston underground? You also played Brighton Music Hall a couple years back which is something a lot of us frankly will never be able to say we did in this life of ours. Were there any good appetizers or stuff back stage.
It’s the type of place where a guy like, say for example, Chris D might enjoy living. Very walkable, a kind soul for every vampire 50/50 is good odds in this housing market
All I can say about Brighton music hall was it was nice and king khan was a friendly person, we’re a hardworking professional band, no appetizers.. :(
Q6. It’s hard to keep up with your output, but anything on the immediate horizon? Any tours or out of town shows? If you’ve hit the road, are there any places that are friendly?
Let me know if I forgot anything. Thanks Dew!
I’m working on my best album ever with The Calendars, a Disney musical set in the depths of my unconscious: a chemical wedding and a mid-twenties symphony for God.
I’m also making my debut film, a romantic period drama. Score by death snail working title is ‘Canterbury Snails’
The Chives is working on their second LP. I sing with them and wrote ‘all greased up’ with Johnny, coming soon
We’re playing in Portland Maine on April 3rd at the Apohadion and Charlie’s on April 11th. More shows soon too.. follow me on Instagram and tiktok.com
I wanted to get to the bottom of the cult of Denizen Records – reading their website , perusing a lengthy Bandcamp discography, and shows at the Furry Frat (and elsewhere). Brad was nice enough to answer some questions from the bathroom of his workplace. Thanks buddy.
Q1. Thanks for the interview DENIZEN RECORDS. I’m going to link to your website, which is amazing in its early internet glory. A BRUTALIST website in 2022. So from flipping around on there I’ve gathered that DENIZEN RECORDS started in the North Shore (Massachusetts?) in 2016, maybe as a high school collective of music nerds? Is that on point? Relatedly, there are tons of bands / projects / whatever on DENIZEN RECORDS. There’s a lot of information and a lot of music. Currently or even historically, was/is there a core group of you that are in all of these bands and would you like to identify yourself?
Glenn. Thanks again for the interview , it is an honor to be the ee of an esteemed publication such as this and sorry again for the delay. First off you’ve got us all figured out throughout all these questions. My friend Sean Burke started denizen back then and it had a major internet success (punk against trump) along with releases from some high school related bands. After that I kind of usurped it (evil tyrant style) and the breadth of dzn015 and onwards are derived from torments near and dear to me and my friends Q2. Just to dwell on the past for a little bit – what was the dynamic or impetus for starting all of these bands and releasing music? Any ‘influences’ in the game of high volume releases? Or with having a sense of humour about it all. Some might call it ‘A Joke’. Now that I think of it I may have stumbled across y’all years back when I used to browse Bandcamp for new music. I always thought – “shit, this is a lot to digest.” I wondered who was behind it.
It’s great you found it all those years back.
One thing I’ll say for denizen is random people have a knack for coming across it . It’s definitely one of those things where 5 people in the world would die for the cause but all
The 14 year olds on tik tok are gonna be in the darkness . There’s been many instances of people reaching out to us from various circles of hell . Beggars can’t be choosers !Your other question – a joke me and Gavin have after writing a song is asking each other , “what part of my brain wrote this? ” I.e. Is this kitty fuckers or death snail or what . Lol
Q3. Let’s fast forward to 2022. In addition to being a label, you’ve got some shows planned for this winter/spring. At some hot legit venues like O’Briens, Charlies Kitchen, sure. But also FURRY FRAT. Is it safe to say that the non-traditional venue known as FURRY FRAT is home base or HQ for Denizen Records? Can you give a little history of this lovely spot? I hadn’t heard of it until I was blessed to come and fill in for Matt in DBC (Dirty Babies Club) on a whim at the Fuzzstival afterparty. It seemed to be a mix of partychasing young adults and aged/seasoned show-goers. Classic.
What a classic night. The furry frat is the bane of my existence but it’s the only thing saving rock and roll from the tik tok teens and the yuppy scum buying up venues everywhere with their Berklee parents money . I’ve lived in Boston my whole life and it’ll be sad to see all the real music fade away to be replaced by aforementioned yuppy scum , but they gotta put a new tatte somewhere I guess . And who’s gonna write the soundtrack .
Q4. Also a more modern question. Indulge me a bit in your own words of the DENIZEN/associated bands that are or will be actively playing out in this post-pandemic environment. KITTY FUCKERS and DEATH SNAIL – I’m seeing these pop up from Denizen. But also seems like you have a kinship with THE CALENDARS/DEW MYRON, and maybe some of the ole TRIXIES PALACE gang. I’m just an outsider, so please enlighten me on these connections.
If you like Death snail , you’ll love death snail live . I’m excited for kitty cause that’s also Gavin’s songs and he’s the one making marionettes of us all . Dewey is the best song writer I’ve ever met and together we make tres amigos I guess . I miss the dbc and trixy days . But rumor has it we’ll play a couple reunion shows. You know Neil said better to burn out than to fade away
Q5. Oh yes – are you just releasing stuff digitally or have there been tapes / records / mini discs / other arcane formats? Wouldn’t put that kind of stuff past you.
Death snail was originally all tape only , there’s over a hundred songs on those tapes which are my favorite things I’ve ever made . I think they’re all gone but I have the masters if on the off chance anyone ever wanted to print more
Q6. This is a guest question submitted by all the shitty music blogs. What do you make of the Boston underground music scene? It seems like there’s a bevy of basements actively putting on shows. Is it like a family or little isolated nooks? Is it better than the North Shore Music Scene (TM-trademark)? I’m from the North Shore and there seems to be a solid tradition of Pop Punk and Emo Screamo, dating back to at least the 90s or 2000s. Surely that’s growing up in Boston. Imagine growing up in Memphis with Goner Records and The Barbaras? Would I be off in saying that you may have been a part of that pop punker tradition, but evolved to a broader landscape of experimentalism/weirder shit? I appreciate everyone’s journey.
When I was In high school my first band was a north shore pop punk thing. It was the best band I’ve ever been in cause it was high school and all we cared about was punk and girls , both of which very far out of our reach . Now we’re all so jaded but I try to be as pure as I was back then . The scene now as I’ve mentioned sucks , every house you gotta submit an application to Berklee and fill out 3 Google docs to get a presale. thats the only thing keeping the furry frat going though I’m getting too old for this shit . sorry if this sounds more deranged than usual I’m typing really fast in the bathroom of work!
Thanks again Glenn
Yours , Bradford ^^THE END^^
UPCOMING DENIZEN-RELATED SHOWS:
MONDAY, MARCH 21 – CHARLIE’S KITCHEN – NICE GUYS, DEATH SNAIL, BETTY MOODY
SATURDAY, MARCH 26 – FURRY FRAT – CORPOREAL, RANDY AND THE SHOWER STEAM, X-RAY SIERRA, SATCHEL + CAMILO
MONDAY, MARCH 28 – O’BRIENS PUB – KITTY FUCKERS, G. GORDON GRITTY, BLUES DREAM BOX