ariel pink

Background Noise, Episode 38: Michael Alan by Matt Bomarr

The "Background Noise" podcast series focuses on the music that artists listen to when they work, what music inspires them, or just music they like. This week, in Episode 38, the focus is on artist Michael Alan.

The "Background Noise" podcast series focuses on the music that artists listen to when they work, what music inspires them, or just music they like. This week, in Episode 38, the focus is on artist Michael Alan.

photo by Joseph Meloy

photo by Joseph Meloy

Michael Alan never stops. Seriously. Never stops. He is constantly creating. The few times I've seen him out at art shows, he's had his small box of various pens and a pad of paper, and is calmly socializing with fellow artists and friends, while drawing at the same time. Calmly is the key word here, as calm is not exactly what you would expect the demeanor of the artist that creates this type of work to be.

His work is obviously cathartic. Now more than ever. The guy has a lot on his plate these days. Not too long ago, he was diagnosed with Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot that forms deep inside a part of the body, and can be very dangerous. This comes in addition to a few years of major health issues, including a broken spine. The man is constantly on the mend, channeling what sure must be an entire world of emotions into various forms of expression. Whether it's drawing, painting, sculpture, or music, he's got it all covered.

photo by Matt Bomarr

photo by Matt Bomarr

For the past 11 years, he's become known for his "Drawathons", which have now morphed into something he's dubbed The Living Installation, which are a series of performance pieces where Michael transforms event spaces and various brave participants into living, breathing pieces of his art. I've never caught one in person, but they look amazing. He has one coming up on October 18th in Brooklyn. More info can be found here.

photo via

photo via

In addition to all of this, he's released a few albums of his music, often featuring an impressive roster of respected artists and musicians as collaborators. In addition to my former roommate/former label-mate Odd Nosdam, he's released collaborations with Jello Biafra, Ariel Pink, Jeff and Jane Hudson, The Boredoms and Kenny Scharf, to name a few. You can check out some of this music over at his Bandcamp and Soundcloud pages.

What was your first concert?

photo via Michael Alan

photo via Michael Alan

Last concert?
More into more small punky shows, DIY stuff, saw Fake Hooker play in brooklyn, it was very good.

First album,tape or cd?
Crass!!! Record!!!

Last album you bought?
MB Neuro Habitat yesterday

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
I'm a music collector, that's what motivates a lot of my paintings........I can't say one.....or the other......I can say, the Residents, Crass, ODB.....for sure

Who is your musical hero?

How important is music to your creative process?
Water for the bod

1. "Sunset" Skullflower
2. "Read Only Memory" Chrome

3. "Sad to Be" D.R.I.
4. "Good Day Today" David Lynch
5. "i Got the Gun" Drunks With Guns
6. "What Hit You" Dwarves
7. "Oreo" Eric Copeland
8. "The Money Will Roll Right In" Fang

9. "Life Is Cheap" Flipper
10. "Reunited" ODB

Check out Michael Alan's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here. Check out Michael's website here.

John Maus - "Quantum Leap" by Matt Bomarr

john maus - "quantum leap" (download) [audio]

I'm not sure exactly what it is I love about this song, I just love it. It could be the Peter Murphy-esque vocals, it could be the lo-fi poppiness of the whole thing. I'm not sure. All I know is that I'm anxiously anticipating the new John Maus record, We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves (dropping in the US on June 28th). In addition to his solo work, John has also worked with lo-fi psych-freak Ariel Pink. website

Wimple Winch - "Save My Soul" / "Lollipop Minds" by Matt Bomarr

wimple winch - "save my soul" (download) [audio]

wimple winch - "lollipop minds" (download) [audio]

Wimple Winch was a mostly-unknown British group back in the 60's.  They were considered just another "Merseybeat" band who wanted to ride on the Beatles' coattails.  Originally calling themselves Just Four Men, they didn't start gaining their cult following until they changed up their sound a bit, and started calling themselves Wimple Winch.  "Save My Soul" was probably their biggest "hit," featuring straight forward '60's bubblegum guitar pop, while "Lollipop Minds" was on the much weirder side.  A summery pop song that strongly evoked Brian Wilson's harmonies, and could fit in easily with today's Ariel Pink/bedroom lo-fi pop scene. buy