The Acacia Strain Deliver A Properly Heavy Summer

If you ever catch us on Instagram, you’ll know we’ve been headbanging at the heaviest NYC metal shows all summer. Much of it having to do with saying goodbye to our fav venue, Webster Hall, set to close for the next 18 months and less likely to book heavy music when it reopens. Another safe haven for new metalbands lost to corporate takeovers, grr.

I’d been patiently waiting for east coast band, The Acacia Strain to finish up the Vans Warped Tour this year and bring on the jams to NYC, when I heard about a new album they were dropping in late June. Yassss. Idunno what it is about doomy metalcore music, but what I like most about their style are the playful moments in their songs when the time signatures get screwy and unpredictable. This doesn’t happen as often as say, a composition from The Dillinger Escape Plan, but I enjoy the surprise when Acacia Strain explores this.

 

I found their newest album, Gravebloom to be their most polished project so far. A quality to the recording and mastering that leaves previous works like Coma Witch sounding more scratchy unfinished somehow. Not that there’s anything wrong witha rougher sound but, its nice to hear an artist tightening up their craft and focusing on the best elements of their songwriting.

Nothing trumps hearing their songs live, but Gravebloom has some great moments – enough to be added to our #blkgrlswurld Spotify playlist.

Songs we enjoyed from this album include, “Bitter Pill”, “Abyssal Depths”, and “Cold Gloom.” They each have a churning heaviness in their rhythm, the sort that makes you wanna stomp around the mosh pit like some 100ft Godzilla…or you know, in your living room wearing pajamas while growling at your cat. For me, this sort of metal is cathartic, calming and allows me to rest. I realize others have more stimulating reactions, lol- the point is, The Acacia Strain’s latest work is quite satisfying and a great soundtrack for our summer in this big ‘ol city.

I look forward to catching them touring this live.

##blkgrlswurld

Music, Zines & Riso Machines

Phew! We spent the 1st four months of this year printing and editing new work and now we’re ready to share it with you \m/ this is the 1st year my sibs and I have Really dug deeply into the purpose of the zine and what inspires us to keep it going. Up until this season, we’d usually only focus on the project 2-3 times a year for a few weeks, collecting drawings and writings from our sketchbooks and building something collaborative.  In January we heard about a Zine making/small press course at the School of Visual Arts and jumped in with both feet!

So What is a Risograph?

Well, you could term it one of those things that’s so mundane, its cool again. Risograph is a brand of digital duplicators manufactured from Japan since the 1980s. Intended for high volume office printing like Xerox machine were, they have mainly been marketed to law firms and city offices where 1000s of text heavy pages are printed daily.

Printmakers and designers have warmed up to these machines due to their archival ink quality and soft textures that can occur from the rice paper master (A fine stencil the ink passes through) the machine creates to duplicate files. With soy based inks and rice paper stencils, its quite the toxic free endeavor in comparison to the intense chemicals, varnishes and alcohols many of us have been managing in traditional printmaking processes.

The average riso machine usually only holds 2 ink colors at a time, so 4 color printing requires registering your prints and switching out ink tanks. At times its hard to imagine business folk in suits actually get this manual in an office but thats still its main function. LOL!

During my season at the SVA Riso Lab, I printed on various weights of paper and sticker sheets. Overall I found the process of editioning with these machines really fast and efficient, but at the same time lacking the monotype flexibility I’m able to accomplish during a screenprinting session. I gotta admit I missed getting a little dirty in the shop, but that’s my printmaker side I guess. Working with these machines in a clean environment created a medicinal setting. Where’s the screen emulsion, litho stone sander and liquid screen filler?

In dedicating a good few months to developing the zine at the School of Visual Arts Riso Lab, projects were difficult at times, and we uncovered the best parts of zine making. The Music! Our zine will always be a way to share our excitement for heavy music, we live it and breathe it from the way we dress, to the things we read, write and of course stream on our stereos. We are proud punks of color who cant help but talk your ear off about the latest bands and albums and we hope our readers get as geeked about this stuff as we do. For as long we rock to this music and mosh out at shows, there will be  zine. *See you in the pit!*

Upcoming Events Featuring Our Books:

#SummoningtheArchive Print Fest @ NYU |  Saturday, May 13th from 2-5pm at 20 Cooper Square. Details

BABZ Fair ( Bushwick Art Book & Zine Fair) | Friday, June 2, 7–9PM: by invitation only
Saturday, June 3, 1–7PM: free & open to the public
Sunday, June 4, 1–7PM: free & open to the public

Where:
Knockdown Center
52-19 Flushing Ave
Queens, New York 11378

 

Bringing In The Asexual New Year

Dec. 31, 2016

I’m outside the Harlem Target store loading up my new kitchen appliances when suddenly a little old lady approaches me. With a smile across her face she exclaims,  “Ah! Bringing in the new year with a fresh start eh?”

I shrug bashfully, “Sure, sure.”

She nods knowingly, “I gave up new year resolutions ages ago, but a friend of mine, she’s a bit older than me, she told me a good one to try is having less sex. Hehehe.”

I nod and smile, “Indeed.”

Sometimes it’s bewildering even to me that I’m in my late twenties and still identifying as the same asexual I’ve always been since age 5. Back when I first learned of frogs that could reproduce without mating with an opposite sex. “That’s me,” I’d tell my parents, “I stand on my own. I’m asexual.” I’ve always struggled to understand why people strive to pair up or find each other sexually attractive. Why would anyone need to be so…close?

Of course they passed it off as silliness but by the time I was in the 5th grade the pressure was real to claim at least one boy attractive; to recognize the innate game of cat and mouse between the genders. My parents didn’t care if it was someone I knew, a celebrity or a damn cartoon character, I could feel them searching for “normal development” behavior and that there would be social consequences for not fitting in. Was I mentally falling behind my peers? Gay? Emotionally immature?  I caught on quickly that I needed to start acting ‘normal’ and began lying about boys on TV I thought were “Cute” or “Crush-worthy.” The look of approval from them when I did this made my stomach churn.

Stereotypes of Black women in the United States are hyper-sexualized to a caricature level. As a brainy femme teenager the expectation that I would fail in life was everywhere, from the Black community in my home to my white peers at our rural suburban high school. There are countless moments where my brown skin felt like a magnet for sexual advances. “Black girls are fast, Black girls are trouble, Black girls are easy and their bodies develop too early. They’re boy crazy and obsessed with babies.” –Total bullshit I still hear from my elders today.

I understood some of the discrimination I was getting at school surrounded by whites who’d only ever seen black people on the BET cable network booty popping (a channel they were proud to sneak a peek at when their parents weren’t home). But what hurt my feelings more was how often my relatives spoke of good clean girls vs. nasty fast girls – lecturing my parents on how to keep my sister and I in check of our hormones.

But quite the opposite was happening in our home. Our hormones were quite fine. I was a tomboy that didn’t talk about crushes, never asked about dating, and knew my helicopter parents were worried I was gay. (To this day they don’t believe asexuality exists. Everyone loves sex!)

Up until grad school it would bother me sometimes that my lack of interest in connecting with others in a romantic way hadn’t changed. I’d never so much as kissed another person but also didn’t want to do those things and had a hard time relating why anyone would want to. My fun was music, writing, art-making, conversation.  I saw the sexual currency people exchanged and consistently felt isolated from that market.(i.e. flirting through a job interview, the benefit of combined household income, professional approval…)

But the simple truth for many asexuals is, we’re solid in who we are. There isn’t a feeling of something missing, if sex never came up in our lives we’d never notice. It’s why I’m so surprised when people discuss their fear of being alone. Is it that scary taking care of yourself? Fighting your own battles?

I have friends, family and community just like you. I stand on my own and I’m cool with that, I’m building a life around that and enjoy what I do. I try to keep my mind open to having a platonic partner one day but honestly…I’m indifferent.

So you may be wondering why asexuals are coming out more and more, with some flowing into LGBTQA activism.

  1. We are “other” and therefore subject to many of the same discriminations and violence. Especially young people of color. When a homophobic family member suspects your sexuality is anything other than hetero, they rarely wait around to hear you explain asexuality. And because our society is that sex obsessed it’s not likely they would believe you. To them it’s just another gay person trying to hide in plain sight.
  2. People grow. Some of us reach asexuality later in life or fall somewhere else on the Spectrum. Maybe we already have children or have identified as gay most of our lives and now feel differently about our attraction to others. That doesn’t necessarily mean we stop having romantic relationships or stop identifying as queer.
  3. It’s only one part of ourselves. Queer, trans and non-binary folk can also be asexual. Some peoples feelings around attraction shift over time and it’s all about learning and understanding yourself better.
  4. We are not against sexuality in any way and support everyone’s journey. Granted I don’t like media propagating sex as a life or death need, but I love seeing my friends freely expressing themselves and loving who they love. You do you! It’s all about  everyone living their truth  without the threat of violence or discrimination from opportunity.

I believe anyone who supports shifting this cis-gender patriarchal system should join forces and build a stronger inter-sectional community of love and respect. Especially in 2017. This is a moment where the powers-that-be will strive to divide us and create doubt within our movements. It is critical that we support each other.

~ C.L

.

P.S > *USA Womens March Jan, 21 2017

#blacklivesmatter #feministkilljjoy #qwoc #equality #asexual #pride #lgbtqa

 

 

 

Blkgrlswurld Autumn Edition 4.3 Now Online

She’s finally arrived, the latest edition can be found at the link below. This season’s book features artwork by Trifecta Studios and a short story we crafted during November’s National Novel Writing Month.

Later this week on Dec. 15th, we’ll be reading from the book & performing a bit of music in Brooklyn at Pioneer Works Book Shop. Details in the poster below.

See you in the pit! \m/

Edition 4.3 | December 2016 | View PDF Here


 

Pushing Through The Pain for Trivium

When you’re as passionate about live music as I am, having an invisible illness can really put a damper on getting out to shows. That’s why it’s such a special moment when I find a band that’s worth the pain and hustle it can take to stand for hours in a hot and sweaty club theater surrounded by the moshing energy I enjoy.

I’ve been collecting Trivium albums since early 2005 and this Irving Plaza show was my first chance at seeing them live. I arrived early enough to catch some of Sabaton’s set and patiently waited for Trivium to begin. Slowly approaching my 30’s its become more difficult to stand still for hours in converse sneakers without getting a leg cramp. I’m all oooooold and shit w/ autoimmune drama 😦 ugh…Anyways,  after 30 minutes of standing around for band set up, the lights suddenly went low and the crowd started freaking out; prepping for circle pits etc. when I immediately I got one of the most painful Charlie Horses I’ve ever had. Shiiiiiiit..

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As one of my fav bands began to play, I stood there in excruciating pain trying to decide if walking towards the exit would make the injury worse. I attempted standing on one leg as still as possible in a sea of moshers (all that shoving helped prop me up) to wait and see if the pain would subside. Luckily after about 15 minutes, I was able to stand again and remember that I was at a fucking Trivium show for a reason. I looked at the crowd, looked at the band, peered back at the crowd again and decided to stay – they sounded Really good live and eventually i was able to leave the show without limping through east village.

I’m glad I stayed for the show because they were worth it, and if it had been any other band my ass would’ve immediately been in an Uber to home. These guys make me want to practice my mandolin more than ever and strive to be a better artist. \m/

Your Voice Matters: Register To Vote

This is quick reminder from all of us at #Blkgrlswurld Zine to please register to vote so that you can participate in the November U.S. Presidential election. If you notice ads or billboards telling you its too late or that you may not qualify, IGNORE them – double check with the offices that know for sure like your local DMV or Secretary of State Office.

For NYC folks the deadline to register by mail is October 14, 2016. HeadCount.Org offers voter info for every state if you live elsewhere. New Yorkers can also register to vote online through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

Forget about the news, and what your friends are saying or what social media is saying about the presidential race. We don’t have a crystal ball to look ahead and see where all of this lands, but the one valuable thing each of us can do is participate in voting.

The presidential election takes place on November 8th, 2016.

And if you Really want to see some change in your community, spend an afternoon on Google checking out your local representatives who are also on the ballot towards making a more informed decision that will have direct impact on your block. Its more valuable than donating to that cool project you just saw on Kickstarter, we promise…

xoxo

Album of the Week: Mariner

 

How do you deal with an album that presents itself as not likely to ever be performed live?

A musing I heard from Cult of Luna in a Spotify: Metal Talks interview, the long distance collaboration between Cult Of Luna  based in Sweden and Julie Christmas based in Brooklyn is a stellar pairing or ethereal vocals with heavy forward moving riffs.

From afar the album had less than 10 songs but in progressive rock tradition you’re still taking care of in moving songs that drift into the abyss for 7 minutes and longer. (I long for the days when a 2 hour album consisted of 3 songs or movements.)

I highly recommend the song, “The Wreck of S.S. Needle” and if you’re not familiar with the talents of Julie Christmas, check out her performance below. The way she controls her voice is a true skill.

 

As it happens the artists are actually going to do a brief European tour of the album this fall. Check this statement from Cult of Luna below:

“Mariner was never supposed to be played live. It was under this premise that we started working together with Julie over two years ago. 

The goal was to release the album, which was hard enough considering that we live on two sides of the gigantic Atlantic ocean. But if there’s one thing that life has taught me, it’s that you should never say never – however unlikely an event seems to be. 

Usually unlikely events are bad things that happen despite all precautions but in this case… well, let’s just say that the outcome is yet to be decided.

The stars have aligned perfectly and I am going to have take back what I’ve repeated in numerous interviews this past year: that Mariner will not be played live, because it will. 

We have managed to sync our schedules and in November we will do a select few shows in Europe. Note that we will only play Mariner from start to finish. 

There will be five Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas shows in Europe, nothing more and nothing less. There are no plans to perform the album live again.”

Worth a flight to Stockholm? I’m thinking yesssssssss 😀