If each staff member were represented by a drink, Richard Allen would be the coffee ~ specifically, a Starbucks grande iced doubleshot, two shots instead of three, two pumps classic, two percent milk, not shaken, not stirred. His drink is called the “2×2”. Rich uses the caffeinated energy to write a lot of reviews; in our site’s first year, he posted nearly 400. He wrote his first music reviews as a teenager and delivered them door-to-door in zine format. People responded by asking him to mow their lawns. Perhaps this is why he responds so well to drones and field recordings. He also loves limited edition releases and creative packaging. During the summer, he can be found at the beach, looking for beach glass, bodysurfing and playing volleyball. But it’s not all fun and games ~ Richard does have a full-time job!
Jeremy Bye is the tea and also the resident electronic specialist. Fortunately he can combine the two by drinking Mr Scruff’s Make Us A Brew tea (he recommends the Mint & Chilli variety). He has a worryingly broad range of tastes, however, and can blether on about most genres if required, probably the result of growing up listening to his dad’s Charlie Parker, Soft Machine and Edward Elgar LPs. He can often be found scratching around second-hand and charity shops looking for the records that everyday folks leave behind. He watches The Wire, listens to Wire and subscribes to The Wire. If you need him, he’ll be in the pub.
Joseph Sannicandro appreciates all sorts of beverages, but if pressed, he’d be the wine. A writer, sound organizer, and traveler currently living in Montreal, his lifestyle is highly conducive to imbibing all varieties of beverages. Although he came up in NY’s hardcore/punk scene as a straightedge kid, he’s since written widely on post-rock, Ambient, Noise, jazz, modern compositions, and outsider music in general, and consumed a variety of substances to match.
John Kontos wrote for our site in 2012. He usually drinks tea when writing reviews, but he never says no to a cup of hot (but not too hot) mocha. He enjoys exploring all types of intelligent art, including music of course! His elusive quest for a home, whether it be a physical location or a sense of fulfillment, hasn’t been successful yet, but has led to some long and eventful journeys he doesn’t regret. When he’s not listening to the obscure but lovely music ACL covers, he likes to ride his bike and lead a meat, drug & alcohol-free life.
Mohammed Ashraf is from Egypt, but has worked all over the world, including a stint on an offshore oil rig. He also writes reviews for a great number of online publications and is the artist known as Pie Are Squared. While we are waiting for Mo to submit a bio, we have decided to assign him a beverage: Jawafa bil-Laban, which is Egypt’s #1 drink. This concoction of guava and milk is said to be “delicious any time of year” and should make a nice chaser for Mo’s iPod Nano.
Originally from the hills of Western Massachusetts, Zachary Corsa has lived most of his life in North Carolina. An alumni of Appalachian State University and the product of an arts-centered family, he has written music criticism for such publications as The Appalachian, The Silent Ballet and PopMatters, and is also a published poet and essayist. He lives in the mysterious small city of Burlington, NC, where he and his wife Denny hold occasional house shows at their century-old historic home, Staycation, run the cassette label Wood Thrush Tapes, and compose ambient/drone music as Lost Trail. Also an avid photographer, filmmaker, and liberal political activist, in his spare time Zach enjoys urban exploration, camping, classic horror literature and films, field recording, Appalachian folklore, obsolete electronics, antiques, old time music, shooting pool, collecting snowglobes, and playing with his furry cat companions, Calliope and Oedipus.
David Murrieta is from Mexico, and while he does like good ol’ tepache, he’s more of a milkshake himself: hyperactivity-inducing cheap and terribly abundant calories that will eventually make a hole through your stomach. Currently living in the U.K., David makes good use of the English weather by staying in and listening to all kinds of fun music, cooking, playing videogames, and sometimes, just sometimes, studying to get the degree he’s after in the first place. Having a classical musician as a brother has certainly helped smack some sense into him every time he finds himself humming Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, but it is ‘his prerogative’ to take all things pop seriously. When not wasting time (let’s call it “investing time” in twitter, you’ll find him reading and eating cookies somewhere in an imaginary place. But don’t worry, he’ll grow up someday.
From the shores of the U.K., James Catchpole is a musician born and currently living in London. James spent two years studying music at The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in London, where he gained a professional diploma in music. Originally a writer and associate editor for The Silent Ballet, James now writes for multiple online publications and can be found here at A Closer Listen, Fluid Radio and NowLikePhotographs. If he had to choose, James’ favourite drink would probably be a cherry cola, a favourite from his youth with the fizzing, sweet taste of sugary bliss that crackles when you drink it. James hopes to capture some of this fizzing flavour in his writing without the high intake of calories, overflowing in a blend of musical insight married to philosophy, alongside his truest passion, music. A lover of horror films, ghost stories and cats, he also likes The Muppets, Ghostbusters and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – the random nature could be a sign of paranormal activity in itself. He plays a white Californian Fender Stratocaster named Angel, and has a love for beach culture and surf rock. He has also guest-curated an episode of the podcast Post-Rock Paper Scissors, and when not in the city can be found somewhere near a beach, California dreamin’.
Nayt Keane is a romantic, sometimes to his emotional peril, but more often his mistakes lead to a coalescence worth living. Along with two children, a golden flame for a wife, and backyard animals to feed or eat, he sometimes writes music reviews. For years it was at The Silent Ballet, and now A Closer Listen invites this Vancouver-based hermit to occasionally drop some glyphs. A classically trained visual artist and animator, a self-taught guitarist, and raised his dad’s Frank Zappa and Tangerine Dream records, Nayt is clumsily forging a path between dreams and fatherhood. Spotting one of his reviews may be akin to chancing upon a lunar eclipse, but hey, it also takes the finest of wines years to develop. That said, Nayt is a homemade rootbeer float with wintergreen and sarsaparilla locally sourced, vanilla beans crushed and folded into a proper custard-based ice cream, and a toast to his budding homestead.
Like a fruit smoothie (with all that devious sugar), Chris Redfearn is in reality not as healthy as his appearance may suggest. He is a resident of Reading, UK, and is proud to have loyally avoided the famous Reading Rock Festival for years since discovering music beyond Foo Fighters and SlipKnot. A keen writer and enthusiastic procrastinator, Chris started his first novel at the age of 20 and is supremely confident it may see a release within the first 5 years of his retirement. As English as they come, he is therefore delighted to be part of a more cosmopolitan modern classical ensemble, subzar, widely described as ‘the most politically correct band in the world’ – by themselves.