Stern’s debut full-length, Bone Turquoise,recently dropped (August 7) via New Atlantis Records. Named for founder and frontman Chuck Stern (ex-Time of Orchids), Stern also features Kayo Dot members Toby Driver and Keith Abrams, along with longtime Kayo Dot and Candiria collaborator Tim Byrnes. Stern’s icy, unsettling “alien pop” nods to the unhinged crooning of Mike Patton and Shudder to Think’s Craig Wedren, as well as the film scores of Ennio Morricone. Bone Turquoise was recorded and mixed at Strange Weather Studio (Liturgy, DIIV, The Men).
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Chuck Stern, a lifelong resident of New York to discuss all that he loves about the city, including Ma’s mac and cheese and yams and buying records from Earwax. This is what he told us.
What’s your town’s nickname?
The Big Apple.
What’s your nickname for your town?
The Old Slag Heap.
Why do you live there?
I was born in NYC and I don’t drive, so I’m stuck!
Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there?
Yes, I’ve lived in Brooklyn on and off, as well as Queens and Manhattan. I definitely don’t think I would have moved here if I grew up somewhere else.
What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there?
I was in the Thanksgiving Day Parade once, on a float with Miss America. 9/11, puberty, lots of things!
What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
Different sewer overflow points in the Gowanus.
What is your favorite local event or festival?
Late-night horror screenings at Spectacle Theater in Williamsburg.
What is the best time of year to be there?
Spring and summer, when there’s life.
Who is your favorite local celebrity?
Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?
I don’t know! I’m more of a weed guy.
Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?
Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play?
Yes, my band Stern plays in Brooklyn fairly often. I like Trans-Pecos, The Acheron, and Silent Barn.
Does where you live influence your music?
It does, but not so much socially, more environmentally. I’ve always been impacted by the robotic nature of New York and its endless tunnels and levels. It’s enormous and yet totally constricting. Someone told me recently that Stern sounded that way–spacious and free, and somehow claustrophobic. That’s where it comes from.
What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?
I really enjoyed this strange, multi-floored party called Rubulad. It was held in a building, but seemed to change locations each time. Anyway, it was action-packed, but in a fun way. Lots of people and costumes and music. I remember seeing The Drayton Sawyer Gang there and it blew me away. My kind of party.
What is your favorite local band?
Kayo Dot and Psalm Zero.
What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?
Ma’s in Bed Stuy. Mac and cheese and yams.
What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
Earwax in Williamsburg is cool. I’ve found rare Ennio Morricone CDs there.
What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?
Tele-Visions, up to the minute news: https://www.youtube.com/user/TeleVisionsNetwork/videos
What is your favorite local shop?
If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?
(Stream the album, here. Buy it, here.
Catch Stern, live:
Aug 29 – New York, NY @ The Stone w/ Kayo Dot)