Back in 2016, I started piecing together demos for a project that didn’t have much direction beyond an artist name and a loose goal of releasing a solo album before I turned thirty. Three years of writing, and recording, and producing, and re-writing, and re-recording, and getting flexible with the definition of “before thirty” later, and I’m incredibly excited to announce that my first solo album, “...And The Sky” will be coming out this fall. The lead single, “MCO,” is dropping Friday, August 30th, and I’d really love for you to take a listen when it does. There’s a lot more to say, and a whole bunch of people to thank, so that will all be coming in the coming weeks. But in the meantime, vaguely mark your calendars, and check out “MCO” next Friday, wherever you usually check out your music. Thanks for listening when you do!
12. Hive Mind - The Internet
11. El Mal Querer - Rosalía
10. A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships - The 1975
9. Voicenotes - Charlie Puth
8. Whack World - Tierra Whack
7. Lucy Dacus - Historian
6. Black Panther - Kendrick Lamar, etc.
5. CARE FOR ME - Saba
4. Good Thing - Leon Bridges
3. Clean - Soccer Mommy
2. Room 25 - NoName
1. Big Red Machine - Big Red Machine
Some Other Very Good Things:
-boygenius - boygenius
-Golden Hour - Kacey Musgraves
-Chris - Christine and The Queens
-soil - serpentwithfeet
-Piano & a Microphone - Prince
-My New Moon - Amos Lee
-Noir - Smino
-Ventriloquism - MeShell Ndegeocello
-LUMP - Lump
-Invasion of Privacy - Cardi B
-Sex & Food - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
-Everything Is Love - The Carters
- Round Up IV: And Here You Thought It Was Just Going To Be A Trilogy... -
About six months into living back in Mass, I stumbled my way into a newly formed Indie/Blues Rock outfit, Old Flame (the brainchild of Valley songwriting partners/Crazyface Pipes-For-Days Duo/Resistance Anthem Aficionados Emma Ayers and Sam Perry, now featuring myself on the bass and the Pocket-King and One Of The Only People To Whom I Will Lend My Cymbals, Ken Birchall holding down the drums). We've been gigging steadily since late winter of last year, with things picking up steam in the recent months: March closed out with the release of the group's second EP (first that Ken and I were a part of recording), "Hush Money," which was a blast to put together and even more fun to tour behind. A few weeks back, we dropped a live-in-studio session of a new tune, "Dead Wrong," which we tracked at Ghost Hit with the help of Andrew Oedel and Melissa McClung on the "Making Us Sound and Look Good" fronts, respectively. We'll be swinging back through Ghost Hit to do some tracking for our upcoming record over the summer, but more to come on that front soon!
- Round Up III: Return Of The Roundup -
This past February, Songwriting Savant, Sax Man Extraordinaire, and Perpetually Wonderful Human Spencer Hattendorf dropped his debut album "Focus" (engineered by SoundMasterGeneral Andrew Oedel at his Ghost Hit Recording home base) which I was lucky enough to do drum and production/arrangement/miscellaneous noise-making work on alongside similarly wonderful buds (including but not limited to) Reed Sutherland, Garth Taylor, Jess Best, Killian Karlsson, Colin Jalbert, and the best percussionist I've ever worked with, Ms. Ivy Olcott. The tracking session for this was a one-weekend marathon with Spence, Andrew, Reed and I, and ended up being easily one of the most enjoyable experiences I've ever had in the studio (theme alert: If you need to record, you should check out Ghost Hit Recording). Check the record out at the link above, and stay tuned for some show dates from Spence, who's been doing some solo gigs behind the record for any of you NYC folks.
Alright, next up in the long-overdue roundup:
We're just past a year since Emcee Phenom and Extraordinary Bud Josh Smith AKA Josh the Word AKA The Artist Formerly Known As Wordsmith and the Cease and Desists AKA The Best MC Who's Couch I've Crashed On Multiple Nights In A Row put out his record "Psyched Out," which I love listening to almost as much as I loved working with him on it (I really loved working with him on it...). A lot of wonderful folks involved with this one, especially Myles Potters AKA Myles Avery and Jared Paul AKA The BudFather on the production and engineering fronts, respectively. Josh did some really incredible work across this album contending with mental illness and loss and privilege and race and family, all within the context of a record that really kicks front to back. Definitely worth a listen if you haven't already. In addition to the record, Josh made the questionable desicion of letting me act in one of his music videos, where I briefly lead a cult in the woods, so that was fun. He also put out a few other live and music videos around the album's release, all of which can be found on the Youtubes. Josh gigs pretty regularly around NYC, and every once and a while I make the trek down to bang on some drums while he raps, so stay tuned for more on that!
So, if I've learned anything about myself in the past half decade, it's how abundantly awful I am at staying up to date on the website front. This last year and a half, for a number of reasons, really pushed that tendency to the extreme; Claire's death, a subsequent (and brief) hiatus from all things music, and a somewhat scattered and unsteady return left little room for or interest in the promotional side of things. But across those sixteen or so months, there have been some incredible projects released or picking up steam or popping up on the horizon that I've been lucky enough to be a part of, so it seemed like time for some recaps and some announcements. I'll be splitting this up into a few installments to focus on some of the most significant of the bunch, part ICYMI and part my way of processing the whole whirlwind. First and foremost:
TROT FOX (Do You Realize; Say It Ain't So)
In many ways bookending the first year after Claire's death are two covers from a 2015 Trot Fox session at the Converse Rubber Trax studio. The first, our take on The Flaming Lips "Do You Realize" (recorded in Feb of 2017 and released that April) came together with the help of a choir of Claire's friends and family, especially made possible by Mel Hsu and Jess Best, who put together the vocal arrangement, and Jared Paul, our engineer at the helm of the tracking and mixing sessions. The latter, Weezer's "Say It Ain't So" was a smaller project with Gabe, Declan, Jared and I putting in some post-production work in time for a release on Claire's December 2017 birthday. Both sessions were cathartic in a way I hadn't experienced prior. Both gave us the chance to sit and sing with Claire's incomparable voice again, which is something I am grateful for in a way I will never be able to fully articulate. Both represent some of the things I love most about Claire as a musician and friend and human, the most beautiful and most absolutely bat-shit weirdest sides of her simultaneously on full display. All proceeds from each were (and are still) donated to RAINN and The National Center for Trans Equality in Claire's honor. If you haven't would love for you to check them out, and if you're able and so inclined, to donate.
More stuff to come.
New Year's is a crap holiday. And not because of some grandiose “Linear Time Is A Myth And Therefore The Notion Of A Standardized New Year Is Inherently Inaccurate” argument; In a very practical “my friends and I took a seven minute cab ride home from a party where we didn’t know a single person and the driver tried to charge us fifty dollars” kind of way. Also, socialized pressure to get hammered and hook up and slap-dash together some kind of last-minute resolution for how to improve your life that is just flawed enough to be easily relatable when you’re inevitably hassled about it through the next weekend. That’s not great either.
What I do like about New Year's is the byproduct of all that pressure, a now-institutionalized-but-otherwise-arbitrary reminder to reflect on and either (hopefully) reaffirm or (unfortunately) re-evaluate all those changes and realizations you’ve made across the last twelve months; the ones that are tougher to explain at the dinner party, the ones with the stray threads stretching back ever before the last time somebody made the awful suggestions to “just pay the $100 cover and then we can have a place to stay till the ball drops!” So with that in mind:
I spent the last two years of my college life and a little bit more than the first two post with my band The Rooks as my center, both in terms of creative and social outlet, as well as the motivation for most “Big Life Picture” decision making. Every choice, from housing to occupation to day-to-day routine was informed by and drove towards the potential long-term success of the group. During those four-and-change years, working with The Rooks provided me my first real opportunity (as someone who spent the earliest part of their musical life purely as a drummer) to explore songwriting, to delve deeper into music production, and at the time most notably, to perform on stages and in front of audiences that none of us had previously been exposed to. These were invaluable, life altering experiences across the board, for which I am incredibly grateful. Over the course of those four years, however, while my interests pulled closer to the songwriting, recording and production side of our music, another contingent of the group placed heavier and heavier emphasis on the performance side as a priority.
In large part because of that growing dissonance, in October of the past year I made the decision to leave The Rooks. As with any nearly half-a-decade-long relationship, the choice to step away was on many levels a conflicted one, but with a few months perspective on it I can say two things definitively: I'm incredibly proud of my time with The Rooks and the music we made together. I am also incredibly happy with my decision to leave. The first three years of being in The Rooks was a long process of discovering how to be a professional performer, how to build and sustain a life in service to and in constant pursuit of the next stage. This past year was a long process of discovering that was not the kind of life (musical or otherwise) I wanted to lead.
I bring this up here both because it feels necessary and important to acknowledge in some kind of public setting in order for both groups to move forwards, but also as a means of clarification: I may pop up every now and again in some of the band's releases, as there is still some leftover content including former members; but again, as of this past October, I am no longer affiliated with The Rooks as anything other than a fan. Definitely still stay tuned to them, though. They're a hell of a band, and I'm sure there's plenty of good shit to come.
Some other "End of One Year/Start of Another" updates:
-My band Trot Fox is currently deep into the recording of some new music that will be rearing its head sometime in the not too distant future. No one is in any hurry to rush things, but I promise, there's some really great stuff in the works, and I can't wait to share it with you whenever we do. We'll also be stringing a few show runs together up and down the northeast, so if we're in your area, we'd love to have you come through for a show!
-I'm also helping out with some additional production work on the tail end of the upcoming Josh The Word album. He and Myles Avery and Jared Paul and everyone else involved have been absolutely is killing it so far, and I'm really excited for you to hear how the whole thing wraps up.
-The last piece of the puzzle through the past bunch of months has been a renewed push on my solo work, which is started to take on a life of its own under the alias "Best Mann." I haven't quite gotten comfortable/uncomfortable enough with things to put them out into the world, but we can consider this some kind of warning shot/self-inflicted kick in the pants to have at least something together by next year's belated round up...
And that’s about all I’ve got, at least for here/for now. If you made it all the way through to this, I’m both surprised and appreciative. I’ll be doing my best through 2016 to stay a little more active with writing and updates and whatnot on the website, so stay tuned if that’s anything of interest. Hope you all are having a wonderful start to the New Year.
To that, and whatever comes next,
Hope you're all enjoying the finally fall weather! It's been a busy stetch the last month and change, so just wanted to pass along a quick update on what's new in the Nate Mondschein Music world:
-The Rooks put out a new video of our "Latch" cover, which we shot on tour back in august. Definitely one of my favorite cover's we've done, so I hope you take a second to take a look.
-Speaking of Rooks, we've got two shows this week at CMJ in NYC, first on 10/14 (Rockwood II, 10pm) and second on 10/15 (Arlene's Grocery, 8pm), and they should be a blast, so hopefully you can make one or both!
-Trot Fox is gearing up for a tour with our good bud /one of our favorite acts/amazing musician who I've been fortunate enough to play with a number of times, Henry Hall. That'll be coming right around the corner in November, so keep your ears peeled...if that's a thing...
-I started writing for a new blog! Every so often I'll be tossing some posts up on KurrentMusic.com, so swing by there to take a peep at what's going on. First two up were on Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Roman GianArthur, in case your particualrly into either of those artists!
That's it for now, but definitely some more things on the horizon, so stay tuned, and until then, keep enjoyin the fall, a whole bunch of love to everybody!
Well, it's certainly been a minute! Seven months worth of minutes, more precisely. And a crazy seven months its been! I'll be getting back into the swing of regular updates over the coming month, but in the meantime, in lieu of a true rundown of all the musical insanity that's been going on, I've tossed a few new tracks up for your listening pleasure, featuring The Rooks and Henry Hall! Take a spin by and (hopefully) enjoy!
Till the next one,
Back in august I did a session with fellow Wes alum and longtime subject of my musical admiration/jealousy (jadmirelousy, if you will), Mr. Henry Hall, for his upcoming EP. This past week he dropped the first of those tunes, "Fake Words," along with an absolutely beautiful music video, both of which are definitely worth a listen of five. Swing by here to check it out, and stay tuned for info on releases and upcoming shows with Henry, because they're certainly more to come!
Absolutely thrilled to announce the new single from The Rooks, "Intermission (Wires)," which dropped on Okayplayer yesterday (swing by that link to listen, or our Bandcamp page to download!). This tune's an especially important one on my end, and has been bouncing around in my head in one form or another for at least a couple years at this point, so to see it finally finished and premiered by such an incredible publication is an absolutely humbling experience.
Especially grateful to Zo for the phenominal writeup, Mark Christensen, Mike Bader, and Engine Room Audio for their incredible work engineering, mixing, and mastering, and Charlotte Christopher for what is quite possibly my favorite photograph I've ever been a part of.
Hope you enjoy it!
Hope January's rolling to a wonderful start for y'all. It's looking to be a busy month on the music front, plenty of updates to come, but for the time being, here's the run of shows coming up in the near future. Hope to see ya at a few of them!
And speaking of new music, tonight the homie Josh The Word (along with co-pilots Myles Avery and Jared Paul) will be dropping the #SIXTAPE EP, and spoiler alert, its gonna be amaaaaaaaaazing. So make sure to swing by JoshTheWord.com to snag that.
Whole lotta love to everybody heading into the holidays!
Theres a whole lot coming as we lead into the holiday season, so I wanted to throw another update out there to keep everybody in the loop.
First and foremost, swing by the shows page for details on the next few upcoming gigs! But for a quick run through:
-Friday 11/28, 7pm @ Katonah Library w/ Jess Best
Which leads nicely into a couple of other things on the horizon:
-Gone Baby (Jess Best) Album Release: Just a couple months shy of a year ago, I started rehearsing for what would turn into one of the most incredible session experiences that I've ever had. On this saturday, the 22nd, Jess Best's unbelievable debut album will be set free to do some serious damage to the rest of the world. Jess is on some next level ish. I could not be more honored to have been a part of the recording and production of this album, nor could I be more excited for people to finally hear it. Come through the show on Sat if you're in the city and if not, make sure to grab the album when it drops!
-"Intermission (Wires)" single release: The Rooks are still grinding hard in the studio to finish up our sophmore EP, but that doesn't mean we can't let you hear any of the music! The second single (and title-ish track) off our upcoming Wires EP will be out early next month, and we're unbelievably excited for you to hear it, so stay tuned for details on where to grab that
-SIXTAPE EP Release: Emcee extraordinaire, longtime collaborator and good friend Josh Smith (Aka Josh The Word) has been quietly putting together some of the craziest hip-hop I've heard in a good while, prepping for a number of releases in the coming year. I've had the pleasure to both help out with/perform/get a sneak peak at a bunch of it, and can't wait for the rest of y'all to hear it. The first batch of this new new is dropping this coming month in EP form. Get excited, and stay tuned for details on that to come.
Thats it for the time being. Keep enjoying this schizophrenic season we're having, and I'll hopefully see ya at a show sometime soon!
Coming up on one of the crazier 7 day stretches in a good while, so I figured I'd give y'all a preview (more details on the shows page):
-Fri-Sun, 10/17-19: Unbelievably Super Under Wraps Surprise Music Video Shoot w/ The Rooks (shhhh...dont tell anyone! But also stay tuned for pics and clips and all that good stuff)
-Mon, 10/20: David Raleigh Album Release Party @ The Cutting Room (7:00 pm)
-Tues, 10/21: Top Secret Show w/ The Rooks! Invite only! RSVP Here if you can guess the password [the is "The Rooks"] (10:30pm)
-Wed, 10/22: SugarBad @ Toshi's Living Room (8pm)
-Thurs, 10/23: Arlene's Favorites Showcase w/ The Rooks @ Arlene's Grocery (8:30pm)
-Thurs, 10/23: (double duty!): Sugarbad @ Rockwood II (12.30am...I know, technically friday...)
-Friday, 10/24: Siren Sounds Showcase w/ The Rooks @ Spike Hill (8pm)
-Friday, 10/24 (double duty again!): SugarBad @ The Bitter End (10 pm)
Hopefully see ya at one of these!
For as long as I've been tuned into the music blog/journalism world, the one site that has consistently topped my list, and put me on to the most consistently amazing new music has been Okayplayer.com.
This afternoon, The Rooks were featured as a part of Okayplayer's First Look Friday series, where we also released our new single, Secrets. Check the link to both here
I could not be more humbled by this, nor could I be more proud of my five brothers for all the work we've put in over these past three years. There's a lot more to come, but this is something we've been looking towards for a long time, and it's a very surreal feeling to finally see it come together.
An unbelievable amount of thanks goes out to Mike Rosen, Lindsey Gardner, and the staff at OKP for making this possible.
Doors will be @ 7pm
Paper Doll @ 7:30
Rooks @ 8:30
Well hey there. Its been an absolutely crazy month and change, and I've definitely let things slip here, so I wanted to start back up with a quick update about things on the horizon. So without further ado, some things I hope you'll stay tuned for in the coming month(s):
-Shows on shows on shows! Details on the shows page itself, but the highlights through September are:
-Jess Best @ The Shrine (9/19): first full band NYC show! Gonna be a party.
-Sugarbad Residency @ Pulqueria (every tuesday, 9pm - 12 pm): 3 hours straight of funk and soul. Not a whole lot more you could ask for.
That's it for now, but definitely more to come!
Late again. Been a crazy couple of weeks on the road with The Rooks and Unbuttoned. I promise, updates/poems/photos/etc coming soon!