Author Archive


Car Seat Headrest - Week 1


Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite artists.

This week, the Leesburg, Virginia-based artist Car Seat Headrest shares his first piece. 

Visuals, Part 1:

William Blake, The Grave (Series of Etchings)

I found the first of these looking through a book on the art of sketching; intrigued by its haunting mood and dynamic poses, I pulled up the rest of the series on Google. I have no idea what any of these mean, or how they relate to the poem they were supposed to illustrate (I’ve read the poem, and they don’t seem to at all), but they look great! Elements of several pieces worked their way into the cover design for Teens of Style, with the help of illustrator Max Wedner. To fully imbue the cover with the power of Blake’s work, I even visited the art gallery where it was hosted, knocked the guard unconscious, and consumed the original drawing!


blake 2

Aubrey Beardsley

Car Seat Headrest fans will already be aware of the impact of Beardsley’s work on my tender psyche. A compilation of his work, carelessly left on the household shelf as a relic of my mom’s bohemian phase, disturbed and confused me with its grotesqueries and nudity, while enticing me with its simple linework and distinctive style.


Diego Velázquez, The Triumph of Bacchus (or Los Borrachos)

I took an art history course in 2011 that helped shape much of the imagery on Monomania. The skin tones and composition on this piece are stunning. It depicts a rather unenthused Bacchus descending on a party of mortals to bless their reveries. I sympathized, and the image ended up on my own “Los Borrachos (I Don’t Have Any Hope Left, But The Weather Is Nice).”


Tarot swords

Towards the end of the process of recording Nervous Young Man, my friend (and then-guitarist) Katie hosted an impromptu tarot reading session at my house. My reading featured an inordinate amount of swords, which made sense to me. These swords popped up again on “Knife in the Coffee,” the last track of that album.


Cate Wurtz, Lamezone

Any list of Car Seat Headrest visuals would be remiss without some mention of Cate Wurtz, whose artwork was a major influence on my own output in the early years of CSH. Songs like “smokezone” and “Crows” stem directly from Lamezone pieces, and her art is a common thread throughout the first two-thirds of my discography. Puke City is probably the best entry point into their catalogue, if you’re interested in seeing more (and you should be).


lam 2

Pre-order Car Seat Headrest’s new album, Teens of Style, here.

Monthly Mix

September 2015



[00:00] • LovelySummer – “ベッドルームの夢”
[04:12] • Skylar Spence – “Affairs”
[08:18] • Sui Zhen – “Take It All Back”
[11:11] • Mark Redito – “3am Apologies”
[14:40] • Ryan Hemsworth & Lucas – “From Grace”
[18:08] • Abhi//Dijon – “ESPN”
[21:58] • Triad God – “Babe Don’t Go”
[24:21] • Lontalius – “All I Wanna Say”
[27:50] • Ricky Eat Acid x Blithe Field – “Carnival of Sounds”
[30:42] • The Japanese House – “Clean”

Illustration by Laurent Hrybyk


ANAMAI - Week 2


Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite artists.

This week, the Toronto-based artist ANAMAI shares a stream of observations, anxieties, and fascinations.

Going too far with not enough to do there

-Anna Mayberry

I’ve been working this week to fill in holes in an upcoming tour.
I worry that one omission will open up the whole neglected earth, the tremors in my lip will begin the quake and the bumps on my skin will erupt. This is not the way.

I live in the future. I lie to myself. I say, the day is almost over. Soon I will be finished working. I will ride my bike home, I will take off my shoes. I will eat and rest, then it will be tomorrow, I will pass through this day and then sleep and then the next, it is winter, I am wearing my big down winter coat and I have a wool sweater and still it’s not enough.

These are the shortest days now. Why leave the house at all because it’s always night, each night I forget a bit more, each night I pretend these lights are real light and they flicker and I don’t remember anything except this hovering feeling, smothering buried feeling, and then somehow the air is warm again and I am paler and more tanned and wiser and more forgetful and I have nothing to show for anything because my mind has been inside someone else on a boat speeding into the future.

Fugue states

Mountain Goat Joy

This isn’t a poem and I didn’t write it for you. I don’t care about solving your problems or how much you were hurt or if you feel disappointed or if it’s too late or if you are mean. I just put some ideas together, barefoot.

Skipping over quarries
In my dreams I’m never taller than I am though
I wish I were as quick-footed as a goat
Sticky sappy soles
Scaling, weightless,
Masters of physics and feats and hooves
Sticking to the vertical rock,
A little spritely cloud
Dancing like an animated cave drawing

Jenny Hval – “I Got No Strings,” Live @ Træna

Read ANAMAI’s first entry here.


ANAMAI - Week 1


Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite artists.

This week, the Toronto-based artist ANAMAI shares the research and stray thoughts she’s collected while writing her new album.

Lamentation, Game or Herd / Climbing High Risen

-Anna Mayberry

I have been writing a new record. In my meandering research, I’ve come across a few neat things that I hadn’t thought about before. My process is increasingly web-like, following threads that might connect or might not stick to each other. I have to be reading to write. It’s strange to share these hanging thoughts.

I am the captain on a small boat that ferries people from downtown to the Island.

This morning, as my boat approached the inlet, I saw the water strewn in white feathers, floating in the aftermath of a swan fight. The aggression had dissipated, and all that remained was passive and beautiful and stupidly poetic.

Arcs on the surface.

Tangled Swans

I’ve discovered a fictional mountain, unlike the flatland I pretended to escape to as a child. Were there mountains in the distance back then? I remember feeling frustrated with my own nearsightedness. That sky hung far above an endless lawn, and in between there was only my stunted imagination.

I have a feeling that each song I’m recording will exist in and around this newfound mountain.

Climbing words

The more I perform, the more I question my choices in doing so. Performing for me is a practice of harnessing power in front of people. I don’t always think I can control where that power comes from, but it is something to work on.

Sunn O))) and Malefic in Berlin

Here is the best thing I have read in a long time, by Anne Boyer.

What resembles the grave but isn’t

Read our reflection of ANAMAI’s debut album, Sallows, here.


Mitski & Mark Redito (f.k.a. Spazzkid)


Brooklyn artist Mitski and Los Angeles artist Mark Redito (f.k.a. Spazzkid) chat with each other about good touring food, ESL (English as a Second Language), who they make their music for, and more.

Mitski: What are four foods you’d totally love to eat right now? Is there a food you didn’t like/were grossed out by when you were younger but are cool with now? Do you have any foods/flavors that you just can’t handle?

Mark Redito: Aaaah, you know me. I love talking about food! Let’s see… It’s morning right now and I’d love to get dimsum: shu mai, sesame balls, har gow, and lo mai gai. There’s a place that’s kinda nearby that I go to and I always end up with mad food coma. I used to hate avocados a lot because my mom would always force me to eat them. Growing up, I thought that the only way to consume avocado was preparing it sweet. My mom would make homemade avocado ice-cream or would eat it with milk and sugar. That kind of grossed me out but now I think avocados are great (both consumed savory or sweet).

Mark: When I was on tour I looked forward to eating. I’m a big diner guy and love waking up to get some cheap breakfast food (hi Waffle House). What are your spots? What food brings you comfort when you’re out on the road? Do you find yourself eating less or more?

Mitski: Eating good food is honestly what saves you on the road—me and Eskimeaux, who I went on tour with, have talked in-depth about this. My band members know that if they ever ask me where I want to eat I will always say “Asian food.” I keep it broad because I never know what’s available in any given city. Then my band is like, “I mean I like Vietnamese, but I can’t eat it every day,” but that’s how I feel about Western food. Rice, vegetables and fish are my everyday food that my body responds best to, I’d eat it for every meal if I could. I can’t eat dairy.

Photo by Daniel Dorsa

Photo by Daniel Dorsa

On tour I make sure we go on a grocery store run at least every week. It’s important to have healthy snacks on hand at all times so I don’t get hungry at a gas station and fill my body with overpriced sludge. I realized very early on that I’m not a hardy rocker—I can’t drink every day the way bands do on tour, and eat bullshit pizza, and not sleep, and still put on meaningful performances every night. I just can’t. I’m on tour to play music the best I possibly can, not to keep up punk appearances, and I’m going to make sure my instrument is taken care of.

Mitski: When I write music, my main goal is to convey a specific emotion, and I build my songs around an essence. Without that emotional essence grounding the song, no matter how pretty of a melody or harmony I come up with, I don’t feel like I’ve made something meaningful. I’m telling you this because I want to know what you try to achieve when you make your music, since our music is very different, and I’d love to know how you arrive at the music you put out into the world. What determines whether you think you’ve made a good track?

Mark: That emotional essence exists in my process, too. But not necessarily a starting point. Sometimes I start with a musical idea, a melody or a beat. And then build elements around it, and at some point I’m gonna meet that emotional essence in between track-building, and that usually informs me what kind of vibe I should go for. Most of my songs are instrumental or have few lyrics, but I like how people can feel certain feelings from a track without a lyric necessary guiding them what to feel. I do want to exude a feeling of positivity and fun on my songs; even my “sad” songs have a happy vibe to them. To add, I’m a fan of a good melody or hook and I always try to find that when I’m making a song. I try to share most of my work online as much as possible wether its meaningful to me or not. Personally, letting my fans in on my process via sharing good or okay songs is sharing my music journey with them. Hopefully it adds to a bigger body of work that I want to share.

Mark: How does your background and experience shape your art? I know we talked about ESL (English as a Second Language) when we were at Arcosanti and that we both have english as our 2nd language; would you ever write a song entirely in your first language?

Photo by Daniel Dorsa

Photo by Daniel Dorsa

Mitski: The thing is, I switched to an English-speaking school in 7th grade, right when I hit peak puberty, and was in English-systems ever since. The year before that, in 6th grade, I was living with my grandparents in the countryside of Japan, just being a cute idiot running around in nature and having kid-feelings. So I’ve never been in love in Japanese, I’ve never had sex in Japanese, I’ve never really had to be an adult in Japanese and try to navigate that while interacting with the world. I can still speak it, and I still read and write in it, but when I have strong emotions that I want to write songs about, I’m not thinking them in Japanese. Does that make sense? Sometimes I do write phrases of lyrics in Japanese, like the one in “First Love / Late Spring.” But honestly that was because I couldn’t think of the perfect English phrase to fit that melody, haha.

Mark: How do you think your first language/the cultures you grew up with inform your music today?

Mitski: I often find that when I’m making my art I have to translate the pure form of what’s inside me into something comprehensible for the general English-speaking population that grew up in one place, instead of twenty like me. Obviously every artist does this, whatever their native language and whoever they’re writing for, because that’s essentially what Art is, right? Creating metaphors and form for formless, abstract things? But I do think there are a few extra layers of translation when you’re taking what you experienced in one cultural context and trying to express it to a whole other culture. Am I even making sense anymore? Sorry, it’s 5 a.m. for me right now.

On that note, do you have people you make music for, in the global sense? Like, are you thinking, “I want people like me to ‘get’ and relate to what I’m doing,” or are you thinking, “I want people who don’t understand or know where I’m coming from to say, ‘Hey, this is cool’”? I find that I make my music hoping that maybe another version of me out there hears me calling out to them. But sometimes I wish I could pull off what M.I.A. does, where she calls out to people who don’t know what’s happening in the world and goes, “Hey, pay attention and do something.”

Mark: I guess for myself its a combination of both: I want it to be relatable as well as interesting for people who can’t relate. My past work tends to lean towards a more general approach: speaking to a wider crowd. I don’t know if it will change with my newer stuff. But I guess the more people who get it, the better.

Read our previous Conversations piece—featuring Eskimeaux and Frankie Cosmoshere.

Artist Mix

Ssurfacing (f.k.a. Sea Oleena)


Montreal artist Ssurfacing (f.k.a. Sea Oleena) shares a batch of her favorite tracks—titled One Year.


[00:00] • Caught In The Wake Forever – “On Lochranza Shore”
[08:00] • Vashti Bunyan – “Trawlerman’s Song”
[10:10] • Desiderii Marginis – “Lazarus Palace”
[19:15] • Kate Carr – “Bleeding Love (Bus / Sicily)”
[21:10] • Rose – “Tomorrow, Part 2″
[25:15] • The Haxan Cloak – “Consumed”
[25:49] • Farfa & David K. – “Come Up From The Darkness” (Snowball Remix)
[30:30] • Assembler/Responder – “Mn4.78MHzPtrnLp”
[31:20] • Assembler/Responder – “Alvin, Sea Cliff, & Turtle”

Watch our previously released Session—featuring Sea Oleena—here.


Pure Bathing Culture - Week 2


Residency is a two-part journal entry brought to you by one of our favorite artists.

This week, Sarah Versprille of the Portland-based duo Pure Bathing Culture shows us her paintings.

Over the course of the last year I started making visual art for the first time in my life. It coincided with periods of time where we were working on writing songs for what is now our second record Pray For Rain. The urge to do it felt strange to me because it felt almost like a betrayal to the songwriting process, almost like if I spent time painting, that I would be ‘wasting time’ or doing something that was counter to the work involved in making a song. Dan helped me realize that it was actually a really helpful partner to that process and that if I took it seriously, that I could see it as a real accomplishment. He encouraged me to sign and date each piece and even name some of them. After a couple of weeks, I had a serious pile of pieces going (I’ve made over 50). So far I have only painted with watercolors and for the most part used only 6 x 6 or 8 x 8 squares.

Making art or music or any creative endeavor is sometimes harder than we think it will be. It’s easy to lose patience and feel overwhelmed by all the ancillary and difficult things that are inevitably a part of doing something that’s really hard. Sometimes it’s hard to listen to the voice inside of us that tells us to keep going when there are so many things surrounding us that make it easy to quit. Making these paintings was a way for me to connect with a part of myself that I needed to see more clearly. It was a therapeutic action. It helped to propel me forward during times when it was hard to see the future without fear.

blue threadrotated





Read Pure Bathing Culture’s first entry here.