Kiam Best of 2015

Posted on 1/1/2016

Tim Foljahn

"Except in the sense of primary narcissism or healthy self-love, narcissism is usually considered a problem in a person's or group's relationships with self and others. Narcissism is not the same as egocentrism." Oh well, if you got it, flaunt it.

1. Sex - With some one you love, preferably.  Rare, but still tops the list.

2. Colette - Clearly the greatest writer ever. You may disagree. For me, I figure she wrote enough books that I may never have to read anything else.

3. Predictable Income - Something heretofore scrupulously avoided turns out to be quite freeing.

4.  CMJ Kiam Showcase - I'm not fluffing. It was a long hang with lots of friends and our set recalibrated my idea of what it's all about.

5. FUCKING LOVE SONGS  - released on a great label (still not fluffing) full of great performances by stellar musicians. I even like the reviews! That never happens. I'm very proud of it.

6. Issyra Gallery -   Including the proprietor, Issa, a sort of mysterious salon/gallery/performance space that welcomes all and is some sort of fearless social experiment that welcomes all. Each visit changes you a little.

7. Painting - Painting is hard but it is really good for you. I have a show up now with Issa at Issyra . Go see  it

8. Desire - Not to be confused with lack, desire is a wonderful thing. It potentiates the universe.

9. Vermont - Three weeks of house sitting (thanks to the Donofrio fresh air fund), swimming holes, surprising loneliness, new friends, weather, time, Dustin (the crown prince of dogdom), space, Vacation! What a concept!

10. Friends - Epicurus had it right.

Have a beautiful 2016! Don't worry about all this bullshit. The world has been ending since it began. Live now. Do what you can to help out. Human life is a tremendous opportunity. Rock out with what you got out!


Vincent Scorziello of Choo Choo la Rouge

When it's 3am and I'm still staring at the paint curls on our bedroom ceiling, I go flop on the couch and play guitar. Sometimes I surf around on youtube and binge-watch guitar videos for tips and lessons. Here are some of my favorites.

"Reg523" is high on my list of anonymous teachers--you never see his 
face, and don't know his name. His brain is moving so fast he can barely 
get a complete thought into a sentence. But man, he's pretty fluid when 
he finally starts playing. Straight ahead!:

He's no longer playing guitar on this plane, but Danny Gatton's Licks 
and Tricks videos are all still amazing, and boy is his watch shiny! 
After he wails a bit he usually says something frustrating like, "Mmm, I 
wish I knew how to explain how to do that. It's strictly a matter of 
practice I guess."  Thanks, Danny:

I like this guy Dix Lacey, too. Lessons with an Aussie accent:

I think all of the Guitar Moves or Guitar Power episodes are worth 
watching. Matt Sweeney makes a charming host and he usually has really 
interesting players, famous and obscure.  Here's an episode with Kurt 
Vile and one with Billy Gibbons.  Check them all out the next time 
insomnia strikes:

Here's a seasonally appropriate lesson from Ted Greene, one of the 
greatest unsung guitar teachers off all time. Check out all the clinics 
you can find of his, especially if you want to expand your chord 
vocabulary. In this one he's referring to sheet music everyone in the 
room seems to be reading, but it's still inspirational. His book Chord 
Chemistry is worth hunting down, too. Happy Holidays!:



Jon Langmead of Choo Choo la Rouge (and jo'c band, amy bezunartea, tim foljahn!)

Scott Amendola, "Fade to Orange": Scott is one of the best drummers around and this is his first orchestral piece. If you're into the Nels Cline Singers, you've likely seen or heard Scott's playing at some point. And Nels contributes some crazy guitar stuff to "Fade to Orange," as well. I got to see the premiere of this in Oakland with the Oakland symphony and it was incredible. The recording includes the full piece, recorded at Berkeley's Fantasy Studios with the Magik*Magik Orchestra,  and a side of remixes. Crazy, out-there, jazz mixed with a third movement that pulls in some Bernard Hermann style strings. Beautiful stuff.
The New York Review of Books: I let my subscription lapse for a while but renewed it this year and am much happier, as a result. Super smart people writing in a way the rest of us can understand. My friend Andy gave me a copy to read back in 2003 and it changed my life the way seeing the Sex Pistols might have changed other people's.
Ernie Isley: I got to interview him and he was so energetic and engaging that it made you reconsider why you'd ever want to be a grump. Not only does he tear things up on guitar, but he played a lot of the drums on the 70's era Isley Brothers stuff.

Chris Brokaw: I've always assumed house shows would be awkward for the performer and the audience, but Chris played in our house and it was fantastic. It helps, of course, that Chris is one of the best human beings around and a stunning musician to boot.

Istanbul Agop Xist cymbals: These are stamped instead of hand-hammered, which means they cost a heck of a lot less than fancier cymbals and that lame purists will look at you sideways for using them. These sound incredible, though, so tell the vintage cymbal bozos to get bent. The 19" crash will knock you off your stool. Thanks to Donn Bennett's for the recommendation.


Sara Brownell - Kiam Art Director

2015 Shenanigans by Sarracuda

Best concert: Hands down AC/DC in San Francisco at the AT&T Ballpark. I floated on a cloud of epic riffage and sailed a sea of $12 Budweisers!  

Best meal: I learned how to bottom fish in Costa Rica and caught a big red snapper that I later ate with french fries.  

Best cameo: I loved seeing Phoebe Gloeckner smoking a cig in this year’s movie debut of Diary of a Teenage Girl.

Best Netflix binge: NARCOS! Educating, frightening, learned some Spanish and something nice to look at (Pedro Pascal!) 

Best job: I was lucky and had a lot of interesting graphic projects this year: a book layout for my 80-year-old buddy Ernie, fun records for Amy Bez, Tim F and J’OC and fun flyers for the Kiam Records Shop and shhh a logo for a top secret cosmetic company. 

Best songs: Tim’s “Beloved” - hi


 And probably followed by You’re the (f’ing) Warden, hi guys.  

Best night out: I did a lot of karaoke in 2015 but my now favorite duet is Space Oddity where Major Tom (me) stands on a chair and Ground Control (you?) hands Tom a drink as I’m floating in a tin can.  Northwood Golf Club, Monte Rio, CA.  

Best book: I read was an old book again, Jane Eyre!  She was a tough little cookie! 


Darian Van Dunk of Tron & DVD

2015 Highlights:

Signing with Kiam Records and becoming friends with Jenn and Amy!

Interning in NYC

Going to Governor’s Ball

Performing at CMJ for the first time

WWE Summerslam at The Barclays Center

Webster Hall show w. Lil’ Debbie on my b-day and getting sung to onstage

GOAT Albums:


Purity Ring - Another Eternity

Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon

CHVRCHES - Every Open Eye

Twenty One Pilots - Blurryface

GOAT Songs:

Grimes - REALiTi

Twenty One Pilots - Doubt

The Weeknd - The Hills

Kendrick Lamar - Alright

Halsey - Gasoline

GOAT New Artists

Vince Staples 
Alessia Cara
Troye Sivan
Oh Wonder
GOAT TV Show: Jessica Jones
GOAT Movie: Ant-Man (Literally one of the only movies I saw this year)
GOAT Live Performance: Bring Me The Horizon at Webster Hall
GOAT Beverage: Not Your Fathers Root Beer
GOAT Food: Sushi Burrito (Uma Temakaria)
GOAT Meme:


Kendall Jane Meade  aka Mascott

Five things that filled up my senses in 2015.

1.     Listening to Ezra Furman’s music. I like the “Sunglasses” song and “My Body was Made.”

2.     Smelling the fresh air in my new hometown of Arcata, CA 

3.     Tasting good vegan food at By Chloe in NYC

4.     Feeling lots of happiness in general, thanks to this guy. (His name is John Reed and he makes really cool guitars out of salvaged old growth redwood trees. Ronin Guitars, check them out!)

5.     Seeing all of my favorite ladies play at the two Ladies’ Night shows I organized at the Hi Fi Bar.

Clint Newman of Bird of Youth

Top Reasonably Priced Used Vinyl LP's Possibly Lurking In Your Local Shop

"Old And New Dreams," Don Cherry, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, Ed Blackwell.  ECM 1979

"Times Square," Gary Burton, Steve Swallow, Roy Haynes, Tiger Okoshi.  ECM 1978

"Live!" Carla Bley. Watt/ECM 1982

"Rejoicing," Pat Metheny w/Charlie Haden & Billy Higgins.  ECM 1984

"Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die!" Jethro Tull.  Chrysalis, 1976

"Jazz At The Philharmonic," The Oscar Peterson Trio Set.  Verve (Polygram) 1985

"Commitment," Jim Hall.  Horizon (A&M) 1976

"Madman Across The Water," Elton John.  MCA 1973

"Blind Faith," Blind Faith.  ATCO 1969

Most Listened To Records Released This Year:

"Neon Repairman," Freedy Johnston

"Black Messiah," D'Angelo & the Vanguard

"On Your Own Love Again," Jessica Pratt


Amy Bezunartea

Top 10 of 2015
(In no particular order)
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
Divers, Joanna Newsom
Pusha-T, Darkest Before Dawn
The Leftovers
Nephew in the Wild, Advance Base
To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar
Inside Out
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Best Bands/Artists we have played with/are friends with
Archie Alone
Daisy Annabelle
Julius Seizure
Jay Cass
Kiirstin Marilyn
Lil Debbie
Upgrade Hiphop
Best Movies (The only new Movies I saw this year)
Crimson Peak
Best Albums
Amy Bezunartea - New Villian
Sharkmuffin - Chartreuse
Weerd Science - Red Light Juliet
Lupe Fiasco - Testuo & Youth
Bring Me The Horizon - That's The Spirit
Twenty One Pilots - Blurryface
Haybaby - Sleepy Kids
Lloyd Banks - Halloween Havoc 2
Coheed And Cambria - The Color Before The Sun
Lana Del Rey - Honey Moon
Best Meme
Best Celebrity
Fetty Wap
Best Wrestler
Seth Rollins
Best Athlete 
Seth Rollins
Best Actor
Seth Rollins
Best Overall Person that isn't Seth Rollins
Seth Rollin's Mother for giving birth to Seth Rollins. 
Best Rapper Since Seth Rollins Doesnt Rap
Best Events
 Favorite Albums of the Year
1. Sufjan Stevens "Carrie & Lowell"
2. Amy Bezunartea "New Villain"
3. Kurt Vile "b'lieve I'm Goin Down"
4. Future "D52"
5. Kendrick Lamar "To Pimp A Butterfly"
 Honorable Mentions:
1,  Shamir "Ratchet"
3. Julien Baker "Sprained Ankle"
4. Drake "If You're Reading This It's Too Late"
1. Christine and the Queens(featuring Perfume Genius) "Jonathon
2. Drake "Hotline Bling" 
Best Live Show 
Sufjan Stevens, Halloween, Loews Theater, Jersey City


Elisha Wiesner of The Martha's Vineyard Ferries 

My top 10 guitar amp volume knob settings of 2015
1) 7. Nice and loud but not totally distorted.
2) 6. A little cleaner than 7 but still loud and proud. 
3) 8. It's distorted but still cool.
4) 9. Distorted like crazy but at least it's loud.
5) 5. Yeah, this still sounds good.
6) 4. Clean but still pretty nice. Maybe a little thin. 
7) 3. Can I please turn up a bit?
8) 10. At least it's loud
9) 2. I really should have brought a smaller amp.
10) 1. I don't think this thing even works with the volume at 1. 
carrie & lowell LP by sufjan stevens
pusha-t “crutches crosses caskets”
amy bezunartea - new villain lp
touring with neko case
making new friends in nyack
yo la tengo at king's theatre
ta-nehisi coates between the world and me
kurt vile - b’lieve i’m going down lp
mindy kaling & tina fey @ 92nd St Y
the end of the tour 
the weeknd “i can’t feel my face”