Quattracenta (Andrea - drums)
1. What are your top five albums that were released in 2020? (In order 1-5)
- Jaime Wyatt - Neon Cross
- LA Witch - Play With Fire
- Diane Cluck - Common Wealth
- Time is Fire - In Pieces
- No Stagediving: A Stage Free Baltimore Playlist and Ottobar Fundraiser (vol 1 and 2)
2. What band did you discover in 2020 (can be a brand new band or an older band) that had an impact on your life? What made them significant?
I discovered country artist Jaime Wyatt sometime in March just as things were shutting down due to COVID. It was perfect timing as she was gearing up to release her record in May so she was performing online a lot and I got to catch a bunch of those performances with what felt like a handful of fans. By the time the new record was released she had also come out which was great to see as I am a queer musician myself. It was interesting to reinterpret the songs on her record through this lens and there was plenty to dig into. It has been really cool to see the positive response she's received and to see her audience grow as the record continues to gain steam. Behind the hooks on Neon Cross are really vulnerable clever lyrics that don't always take themselves super seriously. I think it just is so obvious when an artist has been through life experiences that sort of season their writing. You can hear when that happens and it separates the sort of artist who is a strictly a performer and the artist who is telling their story even when they are not singing about themselves. Jaime Wyatt has this quality and you can hear it on every track. So much time at home with my wife has created opportunities to make an event happen and "let's have a Jaime Wyatt dance party" is one of those things we've done together many times over the past months. This record has created a quarantine soundtrack for us when sitting by a fire, dancing in our basement, and randomly singing lyrics to each other and it'll always remind me of that.
3. How will you remember 2020? (In terms of music)
It's interesting, I think this year has made me discover music on my own since I am not going to shows or really seeing very many people to discuss music with. So, sort of outside the influence of anything else. It reminds me of a pre-internet time when you really had to work to make musical discoveries on your own. I mean, clearly the internet makes these discoveries easier, but it still feels so different without the influence of what bands are coming through town, or what record your friend mentions at a bar which you promptly stick it in the notes of your phone. It almost makes these discoveries over the past few months feel more personal or like more pure to my taste.
I like lots of different kinds of music but when I look back over 2020 I can see I focused on music which was either danceable and upbeat or soothing, which makes sense: New Orleans soul and funk, country funk (which I discovered was a thing this year), bossa nova, bebop, singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Blossom Dearie and I love a funky organ player like Jimmy McGriff, John Patton, Shirley Scott.
I have definitely entered the very cliché middle-aged "I am into jazz now" phase and I am fine with that. You do have permission to make fun of my predictability.
4. What can we look forward to from you in 2021?
I am really excited to see what Quattracenta comes up with next. We have slowly been writing some new songs and practicing when we can. It's tricky to navigate right now, but continuing to play has been really important for my self-care. The new songs we are writing are continuing to evolve our sound and I am so lucky to be in a band with people who want to grow and experiment.
Not much makes me feel as good as when I am with my band mates and the sounds suddenly come together. It's magical. I can't say enough how important it's been to spend some time out of my head and be forced to be present, which making music forces me to do. There's just nothing else like it.
5. What records are you looking forward to most in 2021?
I am super excited for the reissue of a record I adore. Longstocking released Once Upon A Time Called Now in 1997 and, in my opinion, back in the day it should have blown up. For some reason though, it stayed a little under the radar. This album literally sounds as good now as then and we all know some albums from the '90s just didn't age well. These songs are snarky and poetic. Chaotic and perfectly in order. The whole record is grounded in really interesting angular guitar work. The guitars play off of each other more than with each other, but when they come together the band creates some really memorable sections. They manage to do really difficult things while remaining accessible and super hooky. This is really difficult to do. I am so happy that Jealous Butcher Records has put this together. The album is getting the remaster treatment in addition to new artwork. The vinyl release is coupled with a digital release of singles and demos from 1994-1998 which I can't wait to hear. This album was in my headphones in college all day as I went from class to class trying to avoid teenage human contact. These songs continue to put a smile on my face 23 years later. If you haven't given this a listen, you should definitely check it out.
6. Trying to put a positive spin on things, what is your favorite development from the global pandemic this year? (Is there a new medium you enjoy, a specific song or collaboration, personal news, etc. that was a bright spot?)
I am very grateful that Quattracenta was able to release our new record II despite the challenges of this year. In March, we got in contact with Bob Nastanovich, who runs Broker's Tip Records. He offered label support for both a 7" release and co-release of the full-length record.
It couldn't have come at a better time. Things were starting to lock down and we were so scared that our completed record, one which we were really proud of, would just sort of die on the vine. Having the goal of releasing these records over the past several months really kept us going. Especially considering we couldn't practice or play shows or do any of the things a band would normally do to release a record. It gave us all something to work towards and I think that's exactly what we needed to help us through the year. It was extremely satisfying to get those records in our hands in early December.
I feel like this has been a great year for sort of wiping priorities clean and re-writing them. It's definitely highlighted the things I want to participate in and the things I no longer need and was maybe doing out of habit. It's reaffirmed that making music continues to be a really important part of my life and emphasizes the value of the friendships I have formed with my bandmates in Quattracenta. I am so grateful for them and for the oppotunity to make music with them.