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| Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Pop


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"CMJ Music Marathon Announces Second Round of Artists"

CMJ already announced a mouthwatering array of artists set to appear at this year’s Music Marathon. Now comes a second round of artists, with the following among the huge list of names set to appear at the event in New York City on October 16-20:

AraabMUZIK, Savages, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, Sky Ferreira, Maria Minerva, Little Green Cars, Cities Aviv, Ken Mode, Everything Everything, Local H, Slug Guts, Dune Rats, Royal Canoe, and Sleepies.

Expect plenty more additions to a lineup that already includes The Presets, The Walkmen, The Mountain Goats, Kimbra, GZA, OFF!, King Tuff, Killer Mike, Com Truise, DIIV, Pig Destroyer, The Jezabels, Electric Guest, Poolside, Daughn Gibson, Robert DeLong, Icona Pop, Emma Louise, Mac DeMarco, Prince Rama, Young Magic, MS MR, Sundress, The Soul Rebels, and Twerps.

The second round of artists also includes:

12th Planet * Aact Rraiser * Admiral Fallow * Air Traffic Controller * Alyson Greenfield * Asker * ATM * Baauer * Bam! Bam! * Baron von Luxxury (DJ Set) * Beach Day * Bear Trap * Big Scary * Blondfire * Bouts * Cemeteries * Chains of Love * Codes * Dallas K * Danny Chait * Daughter * Devin * Dikta * Dirty Names * Early Graves * Edmund II * Egyptrixx * EMEFE * Encrust * Eureka California * Exes of Evil * Fat History Month * Field Mouse * Fishdoctor * French Camp * Funk Ark * Gary War * Gemini Club * Geronimo * Get People * Grandfather Child * Great Caesar * Green Paper * Grygiel * Heliotropes * Hey Champ * Hey Marseilles * Hey Rosetta! * Hook N Sling * Idgy Dean * Indyns * Jim E Stack * Jim White * Joy Kills Sorrow * JWLS * Kaliedo * Ki Theory * Kilo Kush * Kink Ador * Les Racquet * Life and Times * Lisa O’Neill * Lost Brothers * Lovelife * Lowlakes * Matthew E. White * Mean Lady * Merchandise * Midnight Beast * Miracles of Modern Science * Mister Lies * Monsters Calling Home * Morning Parade * Mr. Dream * Nick Catchdubs * Nick Stefanacci * Oaklynn * Onili * Orca Team * Ovlov * Pacific Air * Papercranes * Pile * Ponderosa * Post War Years * Project Ear * Purple * Rekapse * Sami the Great * Samo Sound Boy * Schematic * She Keeps Bees * Slothrust * So Cow * Soho Kings * Solar Bears * Space Camp * Speedy Ortiz * Spirit Animal * Squarehead * Talk Normal * Teen Daze * Teff * The Analog Girl * The Assembly Line * The Blackboard Nails * The Breathing Tree * The Dead Ships * The Elephant in The Room * The Skins * The Toothaches * The Vansaders * The Young Things * Tokimonsta * Trabajo * Treehouse * Tunabunny * Vagina Panther * Vital * Weeknight * White Violet * Wooden Indian Burial Ground * xombie * Yellow Red Sparks * Young Adults * Young Girls * Youngblood Hawke * Yvette * Zach Williams and The Bellow * ZZZs - CMJ

"Teens Speak Out With ‘Make It Out’ Gay Bullying Video"

LYNN, Mass. — The It Gets Better project has grown into a formidable movement. Advice columnist Dan Savage founded it in 2010 to help young LGBT people see that they can find happiness and acceptance in a world that isn’t always tolerant of teens with differences.

Thousands of personal videos are posted on the It Gets Better website, with the goal of fostering understanding. Now a group of high school students in Lynn has teamed up with a local musician to submit their effort. It highlights issues related to anti-gay bullying that can lead to teen suicide.

“High school is really hard,” said Christopher Gaines, a professional filmmaker who runs a program at Raw Art Works, an afterschool arts therapy program based in Lynn. The teens he works with conceived, directed and acted in an intense video for the song “Make it Out” by Jen Grygiel. “And so I think that these kids felt like there was an opportunity to send a message to other kids,” Gaines explained.

It took the full school year to complete, he said, and half of the kids who contributed to the video identify themselves as gay. But ultimately they hope the video will speak to everybody.

“They didn’t set out to tell ‘gay stories,’ but stories about feeling isolated when you’re surrounded by people, feeling that you have loving parents that you can’t turn to and talk to, even if they are good parents,” Gaines said. “All of those things are kind of what informed their process.”
The group of students from Raw Art Works that worked to create the "Make it Out" video. (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

The group of students from Raw Art Works that worked to create Jen Grygiel’s “Make it Out” video. (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

They started with the song. It’s by Cambridge musician and gay rights activist Grygiel. In the video, she takes the stage in a high school auditorium, but the action quickly cuts to a white-tiled bathroom. A red-haired student is crouching down, covering his head for protection, while three bullies kick and punch him. It’s brutal.

Grygiel’s electric guitar provides the backdrop, along with her chorus that says, “It’ll be OK…”

Twenty-year-old Andrys Omar-Galan, a student at Lynn English High School, plays one of the bullies, but he admitted his wardrobe was an issue.

“My whole closet doesn’t say straight at all,” Omar-Galan said.

Omar-Galan is openly gay and speaks with a gentle smile. At first, he was reluctant to play a bully who beats up another kid because he’s gay. That’s one of the three reality-based stories that are woven together in the video.

In another thread, 18-year-old Ashaad Suarez essentially reenacted coming out to his father when he was a freshman.

“There were a few tears. It was really hard. Because before I came out to my father I was the sweetest person you could ever meet, but behind closed doors I was the most miserable,” Suarez recalled. “I had no friends, I had nobody to talk to, I didn’t tell a soul that I was gay because I was terrified out of my mind. I didn’t know who or how they would respond to it.”

His father responded angrily and rejected him. For Suarez, working on the “Make it Out” video was kind of like therapy.

“I really don’t like talking about stuff that happened back then,” Suarez said. “So when I see it there I’m like, ‘Wow! How did this struggle that I went through get turned into art?’ ” Then, he added, “I loved it. I love the film.”

Seventeen-year-old Liam Madigan-Freid helped conceive, direct and also acted in the video. He’s straight, and believes the experience definitely changed the way he sees things.

“I’m from Swampscott. I don’t think there’s more than one or two out kids in our entire school,” Madigan-Freid said. “But it definitely did make my perspective on the gay and lesbian community broader. That a teenager might think his life is total hell, you know, but how do you think a gay and lesbian teen who has to stay in the closet just to not get beaten up every day feels? It must be terrible.”

In the video, Madigan-Freid plays a bully who torments his real-life friend Jake Kennedy.

“I played the red-headed kid that got beat up and almost jumped off the bridge but didn’t because Ashaad saved me,” Kennedy described.

His character is gay, but Kennedy is not.
Cambridge musician Jen Grygiel (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

Cambridge musician Jen Grygiel (Andrea Shea/WBUR)

“I’m straight. I mean, I had to act as a gay kid and I was totally fine with that,” Kennedy said while sitting among his filmmaking peers at Raw Art Works.

Suarez chimed in: “I was surprised at that cause a lot of people would’ve turned that role down. Cause I was asking people and they were like, ‘Uh uh, I ain’t playing someone who’s gay.’ ”

Responding to his friend, Kennedy said, “I found no difference with it. You’re just another person playing a sad kid.”

These are exactly the kinds of conversations musician Grygiel hoped this video would spark. The video idea grew out of her own participat - WBUR (NPR Boston)

"CMJ Delivers Stellar Performances"

The Big Picture Media CMJ showcase got underway at Sullivan Hall with an electrifying performance by Grygiel, a singer-songwriter from Upstate New York. Backed by a female band the performance further proved that women can rock. They really got the crowd going with their song, “Space Party.” - Sinister Girls


Indie-rocker and LGBT activist, Jen Grygiel, will be kicking off this event. Additional performances by States, Lily & The Parlour Tricks, Mercies, Destry and The Hush Now. All proceeds from Grygiel's self-titled EP are donated to the It Gets Better Project, which seeks to help LGBT youth envision a life worth living. The EP is being sold at music retailer, Newbury Comics' 29 retail stores throughout New England. - GO MAGAZINE

"Artist’s music supports ‘It Gets Better’, LGBT activism"

In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry to inspire hope for young people facing harassment because they’re gay. The message was simple, yes, it does get better after high school.

The campaign inspired, and continues to inspire a number of artists including indie rocker Jen Grygiel. In fact, the artist is donating all proceeds from her latest EP, Grygiel, to the It Gets Better Project. Already a selfless act in itself, Grygiel took it a step further by co-founding her own organization, No Gay Left Behind, after her former high school denied her offer to come back and give a speech as an openly gay Alumni.

Grygiel says that her “platform” as an artist enables her to support meaningful projects and the LGBT activism will provide gay students in middle school and high school with the thing they need most — support.

Like a lot of people last fall, Grygiel was devastated by the number of LGBT teen suicides and wanted to get involved. After the school denied her request to talk to students, Grygiel utilized the power of social media creating a local GSA Network (Gay-Straight Alliance).

She explained, “As a gay kid growing up, if I had known just one LGBT person I probably would have had a role model. Or somebody I could have turned to or someone I could have trusted. At least know someone that had gone through what I had gone through.”

Read more... -

"Big Picture Media Showcase @ Sullivan Hall: October 21, 2011"

GRYGIEL appears in the photo section - CMJ

"Good Music for a Good Cause"

Back in April, Jen Grygiel penned a beautiful letter to her former high school, encouraging closeted students not to give up hope when they feel like they’re trapped and cannot speak up. Jen’s efforts continue with her EP Grygiel, this time with the help of New England’s music and comic vendor Newbury Comics.

The partnership between Grygiel and Newbury Comics supports the It Gets Better Project, with the chain’s 29 stores selling the charity EP. All proceeds from the album go to the cause, rallying behind LBGT youth and aiming to help kids feel comfortable with their sexuality amidst the pressures of peer bullying.

The indie-rock EP features four tracks that span the ups and downs of relationships—opening with “5:30 AM;” Jen captures the sickening early-morning gnaws and restlessness with a tick-tocking guitar, zoning in on break-up anxieties.

“Drive Me” speeds things up, as Jen sings the praises of a beautiful girl in a guitar driven, rock-soaked track that suggests the feel of the flurried spell of new love. “Reckless Woman” goes the other direction lyrically with more riotous rock sounds—a wild and flighty girl gets trashed as Grygiel insists “I never loved you”—the melody is tense and dark.

The EP closes with “Just Say Maybe,” a plea to the pretty girl to resuscitate the relationship that went south. Folk acoustics and pretty harmonies end this EP’s story on a bittersweet note, but the track is warm enough to insinuate better times to come.

Jen Grygiel opens the CMJ Showcase on October 21st. Help support the It Gets Better Project by picking up this beautiful EP. Grygiel can be purchased at Newbury Comics retail or online. - The Backstage Beat

"Hoping to make a name at CMJ"

Boston-based rock ’n’ roll solo act Grygiel (a.k.a. Jennifer Grygiel, known for her earlier work with MEandJOANCOLLINS) says her primary goal for CMJ goes beyond promoting her music; instead, she’s focusing on spreading the message of the It Gets Better Project, a widespread Internet support campaign for LGBT youth. Grygiel is playing the Big Picture Media showcase at Sullivan Hall next Friday.

“As an out musician . . . playing things like CMJ is really just an opportunity to help the youth see that life does get better,’’ Grygiel says. “It’s kind of reinvigorating my music career.’’ - Boston Globe

"Girls rule at Big Picture Media's CMJ showcase"

On October 21st, Big Picture Media held their CMJ showcase at Sullivan Hall. All of the bands that played (Grygiel, Mercies, Destry, The Hush Now, States, and Lily and the Parlour Tricks) were great, but most impressive were the female-led bands.

Grygiel started the night off right with her energetic indie rock. Headed by musician and LGBT advocate Jennifer Grygiel and backed by an all-female band, the set was both personal and loud. There was a great balance between the confessional nature of her songs, especially her latest single "5:30am," which give her a singer/songwriter vibe, and the rock roots of songs like "Space Party," which give her music the edge to make it entertaining and fun. -

"Newsflash: Jen Grygiel and Newbury Comics teaming up to benefit the It Gets Better Project"

Jen Grygiel has been an ardent supporter of the It Gets Better Project, speaking out about it whenever possible and even penning an open letter to the students of her former high school on the subject. She’s at it again, this time partnering with Newbury Comics to donate proceeds from her GRYGIEL EP to the cause. It’s good music that you’d enjoy anyway, but now you can revel in the added knowledge that by purchasing it, you’re helping a good cause and making a difference. It’s available on her Bandcamp page and at all 29 Newbury Comics locations. - Boston Band Crush

"Jen Grygiel – s/t EP"

Poets, philosophers, psychologists, and theologians have been writing about love since the dawn of time, but there’s something about its multi-faceted complexities that continues to intrigue us. It would be fair to assume that without amour as a subject, the film and music industries would’ve collapsed ages ago. Indeed, love – be it passion, adoration, infatuation, affection, or otherwise – continues to be a draw for artists in all forms of media. Unsurprisingly, the topic has always been a pervasive one in music, whether manifested in the hormonal swooning of the Beatles’ earliest hits or in the sexual heat of the Black Eyed Peas’ perverse pop.

Love as an overarching theme is something with which Boston’s Jen Grygiel is intimately acquainted. Having sung such songs as “All the Cowards in Her Path” and “Typical Asshole” in her time with glam/punk group MEandJOANCOLLINS, the topic of spurned paramours came up time and again. It should also be mentioned that the band – fronted by Grygiel’s husband Bo Barringer, no less – chose Love. Trust. Faith. Lust. as the title for its debut LP. Until the sophomore album arrives sometime this fall, Grygiel has chosen to focus her attention on a solo EP, a 14-minute set of scrappy rock that trades in the sordid debauchery and playful snark of her other outfit for an aesthetic which highlights the veritable emotions that arise when a serious relationship goes awry. The immediate melancholy, frantic disbelief, and lingering anger of a broken romance is prime territory for songwriters, and Grygiel seizes on the well-chronicled scenario with a succinct candidness that manages to feel bracing rather than banal.

Grygiel brings all the bleary-eyed intensity of an early morning split to life on opening cut “5:30 AM,” which, against a midtempo waltz groove, finds our protagonist pointing out the elephant in the room: “I’m tired / I can’t sleep / you’re awake right next to me.” The standard-issue rock instrumentation and Grygiel’s plaintive vocals lend the track a timeless bluesy quality that any fan of Jack White’s many bands would find appealing. From here, the next stop is “Drive Me,” a throbbing rock tune whose urgency is felt in both the incessant drive of the rhythm section and in the pleading lyrics (“When did we both lose our minds / I want to stay here / trapped in time”).

“Reckless Woman,” which recasts the wronged lover as a vengeance-seeking fireball, is both the EP’s most entertaining and impressive song, its punchy drum and bass combination providing a fitting backdrop for Grygiel’s vitriol. Things come to an expeditious close with “Just Say Maybe,” in which despondent requests are made (“Love me / give it a second chance / take another look”) while an acoustic guitar strums in isolation. Coming on the heels of “Reckless Woman,” the song is notable for its modest presentation and folksy bent.

Though the topic is certainly well-worn, it’s no less refreshing to hear Jen Grygiel explore love with a sense of intimacy and vulnerability. MEandJOANCOLLINS was all about lusty swagger; this first solo record strips away the glam rock spectacle and goes instead for substance. -


It’s taken for granted that, in all forms of art, one thing has been done to death: love. The fact that so many artists have tackled the L-word (not that L-word—though Grygiel has that too) makes it that much harder to stand-out when writing about romance. It also makes it that much sweeter when someone manages to express those well-trodden feelings without coming off like a chump.

The new EP from Jen Grygiel (formerly of MEandJOANCOLLINS) strikes all the expected romantic chords. There’s the slow and strained cry of “5:30 AM,” the break-up track. “Drive Me,” with building guitars and relentless drum-beat, is a gushy declaration of love for “the sweetest girl,” while the halting “Reckless Woman” is the pained rant of an unrequited lover. “Just Say Maybe” rounds out the package as the bittersweet, yet optimistic, “one more chance” song.

There’s hurting in these songs, but it’s a dangerous hurting—the pain of a wounded tiger, and not some lovesick puppy. - Weekly Dig (Boston, MA)


GRYGIEL, EP (2011)
Make it Out, Single (to be released)



Press Contact
Big Picture Media:
Dayna Ghiraldi:

Musician and LGBT/social activist, Jen Grygiel, has teamed up with New England-based music retailer, Newbury Comics, to donate proceeds from her Grygiel EP to the It Gets Better Project, which seeks to help LGBT youth envision a life worth living. The EP is being sold at Newbury Comics 29 retail stores throughout New England.

Grygiel is set to perform at CMJ Music Marathon & Film Festival showcase on October 21st alongside other indie buzz acts Lily & The Parlour Tricks, The Hush Now, Destry and Mercies, and at Allston, MA landmark OBriens with Lovers, Des Ark and The Shondes on November 17th.

Music makes it better. Grygiel, originally from upstate NY, learned this early on after her parents brought her back a guitar from a trip to Branson, Mo. Little did they know that this instrument probably saved her life.

After playing under various band names (MEandJOANCOLLINS, Steel Poniez, and Yes, Sir), Grygiel is embracing who she isan out musician who is proud of her name. Dan Savage and the It Gets Better Project are helping her story gain widespread attention after her offer to speak at her former high school as an out alumni was ignored. This experience inspired Grygiel to co-found an organization, No Gay Left Behind, to encourage high school alumni to form virtual gay-straight alliances.

Grygiel writes about love, painful experiences, and things that piss her off. The lead track on her latest EP, 5:30 am, is a result of nights spent lying awake prior to a break-up, while Drive Me is a hopeful track that captures those excited moments after finally meeting a sweet girl. With the help of Woolly Mammoth Sound, she will be releasing a single this fall titled, Make it Out, which is a song-ified version of her It Gets Better story.