Get to know Atwood Journal‘s writers in our particular column the place they turn into the interviewees, sharing their private playlists and speaking about their experiences overlaying music!
Kevin Krein was the form of one that, when introducing a brand new artist or track to somebody, would preface it by saying, “In the event you don’t like this, I don’t know if we may be mates.” He’s fortunately not that form of an individual, but when he asks you about Carly Rae Jepsen and ‘The Kingdom of Want,’ hopefully you may have a solution ready.
Stream: Atwood Author’s Playlist: Kevin Krein
Meet Our Writers: Kevin Krein!
The place are you from and the place are you primarily based?
Kevin Krein: I’m initially from Illinois—I used to be born outdoors of Chicago and grew up in Freeport, which is a small, comparatively rural city within the North Western a part of the state, near the Iowa border. For the final 17 years I’ve lived in Northfield, Minnesota, which is lower than an hour south of Minneapolis.
How did you get into music writing?
Kevin Krein: So for a couple of years, from like 2010 till the tip of 2012, I hosted a every day radio program on the small station in my city. I had an hour, give or take, and was just about allowed to play no matter—I feel the station obtained some complaints after I would do that bit each infrequently referred to as “Shoegaze Tuesday,” and I’m certain I performed solely an excessive amount of hip hop for the demographic of an AM station in a small Minnesota city, however no matter. It was enjoyable till it wasn’t and it’s an extended story as to why, on the finish of 2012, I wanted to stroll away from it. A part of it needed to do with debilitating melancholy and anxiousness. I spent plenty of time cultivating the songs I’d play each day inside my allotted time, and my spouse prompt, as a way of remaining invested in studying about new music and actively listening, that I begin writing about music, so in January of 2013 I launched the weblog I nonetheless publish below like two or thrice a month—Anhedonic Headphones. The weblog, and writing about music, landed me an “observational humor” column in a month-to-month free arts and leisure journal on the finish of that 12 months, which I wrote for till mid 2017. And all of that writing—each about music and never, helped me land a job at a newspaper, and all of it has opened up different alternatives when it comes to writing for magazines, or contributing album opinions to different websites outdoors of my very own.
I had written some brief essays and some inventive non-fiction items previous to 2013, however beginning Anhedonic Headphones has actually gotten me to the place I’m now when it comes to creating a voice and persevering with to develop in how I write and what I need to write about. Within the first few years of music writing I’d actually hearken to and write about something that got here alongside and didn’t spend practically the period of time with an album, and put within the quantity of labor it takes me now to place one thing collectively, however I finally (it took a while) found out that I used to be extra eager about writing one thing considerate, and that basically stated one thing in regards to the album and the artist but in addition about me, if it was an album I genuinely favored and I felt, like, for lack of a greater description, being referred to as or compelled to mirror on it. There are lots loads of information that I like, and might sit and revel in as a listener or no matter however that compulsion I would like to start out taking notes on it and structuring a form of “braided essay” strategy to speaking about it simply isn’t there.
Who was your very first live performance, and who have you ever seen most just lately?
Kevin Krein: The primary live performance I went to was the New Children on The Block—I’d have been round seven, within the second grade. One other Maurice Starr adjoining group, the Excellent Gents, opened for them. Our tickets have been behind the stage, and we actually couldn’t see something in any respect. Most just lately I noticed Yo La Tengo for the third time—the final two occasions they’ve come by, they’ve toured with out a gap act, and carry out “An Night With,” the place they do two completely different units which can be roughly an hour every—the primary hour is usually made up of very hushed, or restrained materials, whereas the second hour is made up of any “hits,” or no less than a number of the extra well-known tunes they’ve had, and their louder, extra unhinged materials and theatrical when it comes to guitar noise. Ira Kaplan enjoying a guitar by scraping one other guitar throughout it’s enjoyable and all, certain, however I used to be extra eager about listening to how the dense layers of the brand new album would translate to a dwell setting.
Who’re two or three of your favourite up-and-coming artists proper now?
Kevin Krein: I don’t know if she actually counts as “up and coming” as a result of she put out numerous self-released EPs previously, and her full size debut by a label got here out in 2021, however Sydney Sprague for certain is a “newer” artist that has been a favourite for the reason that second I sat down along with her album Perhaps I Will See You At The Finish of The World. Unbelievable songwriting in each her sharp and self-effacing wit, however the arranging too creates like these large, power-pop moments which can be as infectious as they’re insightful.
Do Gracie Abrams and Olivia Rodrigo rely as “up and coming”? I imply they’re each backed by main label cash and have been wildly profitable proper from the rip, however they’re each comparatively, and subjectively “new” artists compared to different names throughout the pop panorama.
Moreover, there isn’t a scarcity of teams which can be popping out of Pennsylvania—Philly, for certain, has an enormous indie scene, with plenty of performers who’re slowly constructing a reputation and viewers for themselves, like Shannon Moser, Tom Morris’ Swim Camp challenge, and Greg Mendez, but in addition the group Sadurn, who launched their debut in 2022—the best mix of indie rock and hushed folks, and it’s really one thing to behold and exhibits a fuck ton of potential for a gaggle that got here collectively comparatively just lately.
What’s one thing you’ve discovered from working as a music journalist?
Kevin Krein: I’m remiss to name myself a “music journalist,” and even in the course of the two years I spent writing for a newspaper, I used to be hesitant to ever discuss with myself as a journalist. I’ve discovered so much from the final decade of writing about music and in any other case. In jest, I’ve discovered that followers of Eminem don’t have any humorousness and can’t stand to listen to one shred of criticism about him—there was a time the place I used to be contributing to a music criticism website and I’d provide to put in writing fairly scathing opinions of the previous few albums that Marshall Mathers had launched. I imply I went into them with an open thoughts or like didn’t need to simply shit throughout them however finally discovered it very straightforward to agree with Earl Sweatshirt’s sentiment of how you need to develop up, and out, of music like that—”In the event you nonetheless comply with Eminem, you drink method an excessive amount of Mountain Dew and want to come back house from the military.” However in response to those opinions (I feel I did no less than three), I’d obtain homophobic slurs hurled at me on Twitter, and threatening feedback posted on the assessment itself.
In earnest, although, I’ve discovered to be a greater and extra considerate author by music writing. It’s given me a higher understanding of how you can analyze issues, particularly lyricism, however like how you can higher describe textural parts or sound in a method that’s accessible to a reader who, like me, may not have a background in performing or enjoying an instrument, however is simply an appreciator of music.
What’re your favourite moments overlaying music? May be from interviews, opinions, in-person occasions/exhibits, something.
Kevin Krein: I feel the flexibility to make a literal reference to the artist has been one thing that I’d say I’m very grateful for over the previous few years. Unsure whether it is my “favourite” factor about music writing, but when I’ve written one thing moderately in depth about an album and tagged the artist on Instagram or Twitter and if destiny is smiling upon me, there have been a couple of instances the place that artist has reached out particularly to say thanks and present their appreciation for the period of time I clearly had taken with their work. And these little brushes with fame and connections have opened up some doorways when it comes to of us who have been keen and to be interviewed for the music podcast I host and produce, which continues to be actually shocking to me given the standard beginnings the present had 4 years in the past after I began it. I by no means truthfully imagined that I might proceed to develop it to that time, however plenty of singers or musicians are actually comfortable to speak about songs and artists who encourage them and are actually gracious with their time.
In the event you might ask one query to any artist or band, who would it not be and what would you ask?
Kevin Krein: The 12 months I completed school, by destiny, I used to be launched to a gaggle from New Orleans referred to as World Chief Fake—they’d managed to snag a serious label deal for his or her second album, Punches, and even like 18 years later, it’s an album I nonetheless revisit fairly repeatedly. The band itself imploded someday between 2007 and 2008—their Wikipedia is imprecise, and says they break up up as a consequence of “inventive variations” whereas trying to work on the album’s comply with up. I wrote a factor in regards to the band and about Punches in 2013 after I first launched Anhedonic Headphones, and it’s one of many extra standard items on the positioning, nonetheless, a decade later, and perhaps a 12 months or two after I had printed it, one of many members of the band reached out and stated he appreciated that I used to be such a fan of one thing so brief lived and that I written one thing about it.
So I’d need to ask World Chief Fake—even like one or two members of the group, if not all 5 members, what precisely occurred. I imply artists don’t actually owe us greater than they already give, however an unceremonious finish to a band that I adored, has left me questioning for therefore lengthy how, and why, it fell aside.
What are you most wanting ahead to this 12 months, music-wise?
Kevin Krein: The 2 large releases that I used to be actually wanting ahead to this 12 months (The Nationwide’s First Two Pages of Frankenstein and Boygenius’ The File) are already out, and out of doors of the shocking return of the considerably enigmatic folks singer Julie Byrne, who has a brand new joint out in July, I really feel like there aren’t plenty of different albums I’m, like, actually wanting ahead to listening to until there’s something shocking introduced between now and the tip of the tip of the 12 months—moreover, simply when it comes to like “music” as an artform, or a tangible factor we expertise, I’m wanting ahead to attending the Eras tour. I’ve by no means seen Taylor Swift carry out dwell, nor have I been to a live performance of this magnitude earlier than.
Are you able to please clarify why you selected the highest 5 songs in your playlist?
Kevin Krein: It’s humorous. With the music podcast that I host, I ask visitors to select as much as 10 songs to speak about on the present and plenty of the time of us will inform me how arduous it was to slender it down—I’ve been my very own visitor twice within the 4 years that I’ve been producing this system, and every time, the listing of 10 was comparatively straightforward for me to cobble collectively, so with the immediate that this playlist may very well be as much as 50 songs, I used to be like, oh that’s so many! There’s no method I’ll hold considering of tunes I need to placed on right here. However the longer I sat with this playlist open after which gazing my report assortment and simply, like, serious about songs from my life, the extra they began so as to add up. So I capped it at 40 since 2023, the Jordan Yr, is my fortieth 12 months.
I used to make plenty of combine CDs for mates in school—however that may be a factor of the previous now within the period of streaming providers and actually no one proudly owning a CD participant of their house anymore, so mixes which have like actual thought behind them, to present to another person, aren’t one thing i’ve performed in 4 years.
That is bookended with instrumental items, but in addition with two songs by Greg Dulli’s unique post-Afghan Whigs group The Twilight Singers. I used to open and shut issues with each “The Twiliite Child” and “Twilight” on a regular basis, after which from there, no less than on this context, it’s nearly constructing and sustaining a sure form of vitality. The model of “Coke” by Flickerstick that’s on right here can be a college-era combine mainstay, as is “The Day Brings,” by Shawn Smith’s group Brad. Music has all the time performed an infinite position in my life, and there are issues on right here that date again to after I was a literal youngster, issues from after I was in highschool, from school years (largely first and final), after which shifting into maturity, shuffling between genres however giving a effectively rounded portrait of somebody who incorporates multitudes in each an earnest and ironic method.
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