“Ben Vendetta is a former freelance music journalist who published Vendetta Magazine from 1995 to 2002, and was director of PR for the Dionysus Records empire before co-founding Elephant Stone Records. He has written three novels — Wivenhoe Park (2013), Heartworm (2015) and Sunset Trip.” – Elephant Stone Records
How was music for you in 2022?
Good. I didn’t delve as deeply into new bands/releases as in previous years but some highlights for me were the absolutely wonderful solo debut “Dream State Treasure” by Scott Von Ryper who was previously in The Morning After Girls and The Black Ryder and is in the current lineup of The Jesus and Mary Chain. His solo album is very heartfelt and confessional. Dark but spiritually uplifting.
Other highlights for me were Black Sand (trippy psych rock from New Zealand), Triangle Rain Club (amazing noise rock outfit from Chicago – Think Psychocandy meets Freak Scene), the always wonderful Tess Parks, Kids on a Crime Spree (San Francisco noise pop) and Brian Jonestown Massacre.
What was your main musical highlight of 2022?
Seeing Brian Jonestown Massacre live for the first time since the pandemic. Their shows are always THE experience, especially with chemical aid.
Have you gone to any gigs this year? How do you feel about going to live music?
Several. Brian Jonestown Massacre in Cleveland and The Warlocks in Detroit were the most memorable. We definitely don’t go out as much these days. A combination of my wife’s cancer and avoiding COVID as much as possible. Small crowds are always preferable.
Can you recommend an album, from any year, that doesn’t get the credit it deserves?
The Scott Von Ryper album from this year and the first two Ultra Vivid Scene records. UVS are the only semi-popular shoegaze-era band I can think of who haven’t been given the deluxe reissue treatment. A travesty!
Do you still listen to lots of music? How do you listen to music these days?
I do. Almost always on CD or vinyl unless I’m checking out Bandcamp for new bands.
What sort of year have you had yourself?
Rough. My wife’s cancer is getting worse but we’re living very much by the day. We had an amazing month’s holiday in October where we visited Athens, Hydra, Rome, Marrakech, Casablanca and New York City before returning home. Beautiful memories were made. It’s a tough existence, which has made me all too aware of the fragility of life. Take what you can.
Any interesting projects in the works? Are you working on another book?
Nothing in the pipeline at the moment. Caring for my wife is my sole priority right now.