I will harness my anger and put it into this email

Amazon, Sofar, Vice...fuck 'em.

First up, I’m playing a show tonight at Junior High in LA with Bad Moves, then another one in December with Lisa Prank and Rose Melberg (holy shit). If you’re in the area, you should come hang out! If not, you can follow Worriers on Bandsintown or Spotify and they’ll tell you when we’re playing near you.

This week has been an emotional rollercoaster, with feelings bouncing all over the place from wonderful to precarious to completely overwhelmed. We played a really fun set at Fest [woo!], I finally saw Jawbreaker [punch myself in the face], and came home to run full speed into the countdown to the BIG THING [haha…ha…I’m fine it’s totally fine].

Part of juggling all of the feelings is forever and always a matter of self-care, and knowing when you need a break. I probably need a break. Odds are you do, too. But the news cycle doesn’t really let up these days, and it’s a constant barrage of reminders that the world is a garbage fire.

I wanted to share a few pieces of news and journalism that have me both riled up and hopeful. If you can get away from the apocalyptic headlines for a minute and focus on the things that folks are doing in the face of evil forces, maybe things can feel less chaotic. I want to harness the anger, keep it close, then use it to metaphorically set a car on fire a-la-Angela Basset in Waiting to Exhale.

  1. Liz Pelly wrote an amazing piece breaking down why Sofar Sounds is exploitive and generally terrible. Tech needs to get the fuck out of house shows, thanks very much.

    A few days after the American Copper event, which was in 2018, I spoke by phone with a representative from Sofar Sounds. When I asked about the five-star survey I was emailed, the Sofar rep casually explained that the company calculates an “NPS score” after every show. As someone who has spent the better part of the last decade booking house shows, I had no idea what an “NPS score” was. Researching in real time as the call progressed, I discovered, by way of netpromoter.com, that a “Net Promoter Score®, or NPS®, measures customer experience and predicts business growth. . . . Calculate your NPS using the answer to a key question, using a 0-10 scale: How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?” Ah, yes, a normal fucking thing to wonder about your house show.

  2. 175+ musicians signed a petition demanding that Amazon cut ties with ICE after the company sponsored a music festival. Not like they asked us to play ANYWAY, but I wouldn’t play something sponsored by Amazon in a million trillion years and think folks should avoid ordering from them whenever possible.

  3. If you want to fully understand why a lot of people think Amazon is awful, the podcast Eating For Free has a three-part-series that unpacks that. You could also take the shortcut to ruining your day by googling “Amazon Warehouse Deaths”.

  4. Last week Harvey Weinstein showed up at an event for emerging comedians and somehow everyone there didn’t lose their shit. It actually turns out he was formally invited! BUT one of the comedians, who is also a survivor, had the guts to make fun of him to his face. Badass. She wrote this NY Times Op Ed about why she chose to do so.

  5. Just to show you the true power of a twitter rant, Emily Alford just published this piece on how Eric Sundermann, previously editor-in-chief of Noisey and Head of Content at the Fader, was long rumored to be a creep but he only got fired once someone tweeted about his actions. 🎉

    For nearly a year after he became head of content at The Fader, current and former employees say that Sundermann’s behavior continued unchecked. It wasn’t until November 2, 2019, when Lauren Nostro published the tweets about Sundermann’s behavior, that his years of alleged sexual misconduct became public knowledge. In addition to her own experiences, as well as stories she had heard about Sundermann during her years as a music writer, Nostro tweeted that 18 different women had sent her direct messages on Twitter about Sundermann’s behavior. The stories, that she subsequently tweeted, were evidence of the music industry’s history of turning a “blind eye for years” to the behavior of men like Sundermann.

    According to a copy of the email sent to Jezebel by a member of The Fader’s staff, Sundermann was fired just two days after Nostro’s tweets. 

I write about these things because I think we all need to stave off apathy by remembering what there is to be angry about, all while knowing that we do have ways to push back against it. Even if that just means buying a book from your local bookstore instead of the global behemoth on the internet.

I’d like to ask y’all though, what other stories are you reading right now? What outlets are reporting on these sorts of topics in a way that aren’t about fear mongering and click bait? How do you stay informed while avoiding a constant state of rage, similar to that of the history teacher on Daria?

I’m also trying to figure out the best charity to donate to that fights climate change. Any thoughts? Comment below if you can!


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It all makes sense now!

Punks, plants, from the East Village to Los Angeles

When I was 18, I lived in the East Village for a few months while working as an intern at a publishing company, helping design covers for books I would never read. Highlights included long walks through alphabet city, anarchist soccer in Tompkins Square Park, painting with OIL PAINT in the park 😎, and going to see Elvis Costello perform on one of those morning talk shows before heading to work. I loved it. I was an Illustration major in college at the time, and down the street from my apartment was a store called Giant Robot where they sold all sorts of Asian Pop Culture merch and toys and prints from illustrators I admired. Artists like Kozyndan, Susie Ghahremani, Studio Ghibli, Takashi Murakami, etc.

Back then it was also a full-color magazine that covered a lot of the same artists along with a lot of Asian and Asian American pop culture, skateboarding, etc. It was this great Venn diagram of punk and art that I held in high regard.

Fast forward a bunch of years and a flight across the country: I managed to cross paths with Giant Robot again, now existing as a retail store and gallery in Los Angeles. I’ve shown a few pieces in their group shows at the store, most recently this new one in the Plants show:

It’s still available for purchase if weird philodendrons are your thing!

The night the Plants show opened at the store, the main gallery was opening a new exibition by Rob Sato, whose work I didn’t know very well. When I went over to check it out, not only was I incredibly impressed but I instantly connected with these tiny figures.

August 10, 2018

They’re beautiful and delicate in their own right, but they also remind me of the figures I’d draw while sitting in Tompkins Square Park way back when. Black Micron pen, solid little blobby figures walking all over the park. They’re in sketchbooks packed away far under my bed at the moment, so you’ll just have to trust me. But seeing these was like someone took my sketchbook and tie-dye’d it. I love them.

I’m drawn to artists who have ways of looking at the world that make sense to me. They have ways of translating the world around them that’s strange and beautiful and for whatever reason flips a switch in my brain that says YES. THAT. You don’t always have to explain it any further.

Rob Sato’s work combines simplicity and abstraction with some truly beautiful, larger landscapes, and it absolutely flips whatever switch was there when I was just starting to figure out what making art meant for me.

Rob Sato
The Steps of Volta II
Watercolor on paper
40 × 30 in


Thanks to Giant Robot and Cassia Lupo for including me sometimes and bringing this art ride full circle.

See everyone at Fest - more soon on new music and zines!

This shit rules.

Band hacks, TV shows, new records, etc.

Hey folks! Worriers is getting ready to go to Fest next week, aka another year of missing your city’s Halloween cover show in favor of hanging out with a Pabst or people who have had too much Pabst. This will be my lucky 13th Fest, and the 12th time I’ve played. That’s really dating myself and saying a lot about my life choices but I’m fine with that. It’s the most fun we’ll have all year.

This time I get to see American Steel, Stiff Little Fingers (holy shit), Against Me! and…wait for it….it’ll be my first time seeing JAWBREAKER. I know, I know, I’m the only fan in a major metropolitan area who hasn’t seen them yet but I’m going to blame “being on tour.”

If you’re going to be in Gainesville this year, we’re playing at 8 Seconds next Saturday night at 10:20 PM, right between Spanish Love Songs and a Spraynard reunion.

Then the next day I’m playing at the CMC at 4:30pm, right before Laura Jane Grace.

That’s one ideal weekend, right there.

Now that I’ve awkwardly referenced Against Me a couple times let me tell you about some things that I think are awesome by invoking one of their song titles.

//////// THIS SHIT RULES ////////

Punks Who Bop
On my way to get a bagel sandwich at Belle’s Bagels with some friends on Friday (yes, I set up a morning hangout with the sole purpose of eating bagels) I listened to White Reaper’s new record that had just come out, You Deserve Love. I’m pretty obsessed with their power-pop gem Judy French so I had high expectations for this one. I got through one listen before bagel-time and was definitely into it. Some solid bops. While eating breakfast, one of the aforementioned friends mentioned that White Reaper were playing in town the next night. Nice! Of course I went, and their set totally sold me on the new jams, plus the fact that their rhythm section can riff just as hard as their guitars. Sick. I left feeling like they are, in fact, what happens when Exploding Hearts and Thin Lizzy have a baby. Anyone have any other recommendations for punks that bop?


Band Hack: An End To Gear GoFundMe’s
If you’re a musician and go on tour with things you feel are irreplaceable, please think about getting insurance if you haven’t already. I’m sure there are other companies that offer it but myself and a lot of people I know use MusicPro Insurance. It’s $150/year for a LOT of gear. That’s not the cheapest number, but if your band can buy a van…please buy gear insurance. If things get stolen or you just break it, they will replace it. I even insure my computer this way. I have nothing against gear GoFundMe’s but I don’t want any of y’all to have to do that if you can avoid it. Maybe someone have a scene fundraiser and buy all your fav bands gear insurance? <3

Hate Speech and Rollercoasters, aka Succession
Oh great, a show about ridiculously wealthy white people. A story literally no one needs right now. I could go off the deep end on that one, but instead I’ll harness a little bit of joy from the season finale and say that I LOVE Roman. I hate-love Roman. This sarcastic piece of shit played by Kieran Culkin has a romantic thing with Gerri, the female exec who is significantly older than him. The element that I kind of freaked out about, that I think makes this show even moderately valuable, is the fact that their romantic relationship is unexpectedly kinky and consists of Gerri humiliating Roman. The writers satisfied the will-they-won’t-they element between the two by having Roman get off while Gerri calls him terrible names - first on the phone and then through a closed door. In a world where almost every television show places the highest value on pretty traditional relationships, I applaud the inclusion of this semi-alternative hookup so casually. There are probably much better examples on television but I really enjoy the Sorkin-esque dialogue while it all happens.

In the words of Roman after he equates marriage with abduction: ok, byeeeeee!!!

-Lauren

Next Worriers shows: The Fest 18, November 2 and 3 in Gainesville, FL

Worriers on Instagram
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Welcome to the new Get It Together

Combining Worriers with my ramblings and tips on figuring it all out.

Hey everyone! Welcome to the first issue of Get It Together hosted on Substack, where I keep talking about figuring things out, but also tell you about Worriers related things and art projects.

Life-building from a queer feminist. Queering space. Worriers. All the things.

One big difference is that I now offer paid subscriptions! If you enjoy these emails and want to support my projects, the band, etc. a paid subscription lets you find out about new things before anyone else (new records, prints, merch, tours) AND YOU CAN COMMENT. I wish you could comment without paying but that’s not how this thing works, sorry! I’ll also occasionally write other things to subscribers, so if you want to get in on that, go for it!

You can also subscribe for free and just get the regular weekly posts, that’s totally cool too. If you’re reading this in your email it means you’re already subscribed for free!

Ok, so now for the regularly scheduled running my mouth on the internet.

Every once in a while, someone will come up to me at a show or while we’re hanging out and say something like “I know I’m not your ideal fan, but…” or “I know this song isn’t FOR me, but…” and follow it up with a compliment about how they connect with one of my songs. By “someone” I mean straight, cis-men.

I’ll never complain about a compliment, but I don’t ever remember putting out a memo that my songs are only to be enjoyed by people with my exact perspective. I don’t feel that way. I appreciate that those comments are showing respect for our differing lived experiences, because that’s important. But if I can find extreme connection with songs written by straight folks, POC, other genders, why shouldn’t that connection operate the other way around?

:: someone please comment with queer readings of Springsteen. please. ::

To be clear, I don’t think everyone is writing music looking for my approval or connection. Nor am I writing music hoping everyone *gets it*. But I can appreciate the fact that there are things you can read into songs that are beyond the control of the people writing them, and that’s AWESOME.

I bring this up because a little while ago I read this article about Black Belt Eagle Scout which talks about the spaces she’s trying to create at shows:

Paul has always focused on giving space to the narratives of indigenous people has said that she before that she gets uncomfortable when she sees mostly white men at her shows.

"I think the thing that makes me uncomfortable is that the reason why I'm playing music is not for them," Paul says. "It's for people of color, for indigenous people, for queer people and white men are so fragile when I say I say stuff like that. It's because of white privilege and they don't often get told that."

Paul says that if she were to make up her own show rules, she wouldn't exclude white men from attending, but would save most of the space for people of color.

You should read the full article for more context but I think that sentiment is an important one to understand and respect. While I can check the box of being a queer person, I’m also a white person, and it boggles my mind that white friends might be offended by this concept. Enjoying music or connecting with someone’s art is different than demanding a front row seat to its creation. Why is it a problem if you aren’t the intended audience? No one owes you that. Just stand in the back and enjoy some music that you think is cool. It’s really that simple.

Same goes for guys that get their feathers ruffled when they hear the phrase “Girls To The Front.” Odds are you’re welcome up front at 90% of the shows you go to, dude. Heaven forbid you go out of your way to make other folks feel welcome for a couple hours. Your life is so hard.

At our shows, personally, I just want everyone to have a good time and feel welcome. You don’t have to be a queer feminist weirdo, but you DO have to be cool about other people being that way. If I see someone who clearly isn’t reading the room, I’ve asked them to leave. (One time I even got to stop a song, point to the door and yell GET THE FUCK OUT, which was fun in hindsight, but please don’t make me do that again.)

Do I care if everyone understands or identifies with all of my lyrics? NOPE! Do I think it’s cool when straight folks say they enjoy songs that they realize are written about queer scenarios? Yes, yes I do. I feel like this means we’ve connected on some common level of humanity and I’d like to see more of that.

Not everyone feels this way, not everyone wants certain people singing along to every word. I totally understand that too. It shouldn’t be a difficult thing to accept.

Engaging with art and music has the opportunity to create new spaces and have conversations that can lead to more genuine understanding and truly inclusive events. I really like talking about this stuff.

We can all have that conversation at a show, or you could also sign up for a paid subscription and then comment on this thing!

Sorry, had to take that obvious opportunity to tie that one in. No hard feelings if you just want to get the free posts. <3

Thanks for reading this one. Please consider sharing this new iteration with friends!

Next week I’ll probably share some things about my road trip that included miniature horses (!!!), and/or my ongoing search for good bagels in Los Angeles. I’m really trying to finish a new zine before Fest too, so wish me luck. See y’all soon.

-Lauren

Next Worriers shows: The Fest 18, November 2 and 3 in Gainesville, FL

Worriers on Instagram
Worriers on Twitter
Worriers on Spotify
My artwork on Instagram

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