Jon Miller is the boy behind the Guest DJ program at Church of Girl.

I first met Jon in December 2005, when he, Em, Paul, DJ Boy and I met for a drink soon after receiving Swallows demo CD. The evening was magical - and we learned that Paul and Jon were living in Radiogirl & DJ Boy's former apartment building - in the VERY SAME APARTMENT!

Please keep reading for more from Jon himself about his affinity for music made by women, his thoughts about making outsider music and a little bit about each of the songs in his mix.

With love,
18 . February . 2007

jon miller

Friday, 12. January, 2007

Hi. I’m Jon Miller, drummer of the band Swallows. I’ve been playing drums for about 13 years. It is totally awesome. I’ve been a fan of music, and more specifically music made by women, since I was in sixth grade and bought my first CD: “Wholesale Meats and Fish” by Letter to Cleo. I don’t know exactly what it is that draws me to the music of women, but one look at my record collection makes it pretty obvious that there is something there. As a queer person, I’ve always thought it had something to do with making the sounds of an outsider. Marginalized people in the world of music are always quick to point out that they are not female musicians, or queer musicians, or musicians of color, but simple musicians. Period.

I don’t feel that way. We are outsiders, and we make outsider music. I’m proud to be breaking artistic boundaries as a musician. I believe that my art is different from the sounds made by straight white men, I am totally jazzed about it. I fucking love these sounds.

So, here are some songs that I really think are just fantastic:

“Rain Storm” by The Raincoats

This is the band I always pick when asked who is my favorite, and this is my favorite song out of all songs, which is on my favorite album of all albums “Moving”. Seriously. Go on ebay and find a copy.

“The Gypsies Came Marching After” by White Magic

I think White Magic is kind of the modern day extension of what the Raincoats were doing in the early 80’s. Total appropriation of world music through the lens of the underground music scene of the time. Ok, so it’s a bit exploitative for a bunch of white kids to copy the traditional sounds of a different ethnic group and market it to a bunch of indie kids. But damn! It sounds so good!

“Cet Air-la” by France Gall

So, my boyfriend had this mix tape that someone had made for his sister (and he stole from her) that had all this great 60’s French pop on it. We would listen to it in his car like crazy. This was before illegal downloading was all that easy to do, and I spent seriously like a million hours scouring record store for a copy of one of her albums, and finally found a used CD that had most likely traveled across the atlantic in a suitcase. Listen to that keyboard! If I played keyboard, that’s what I would play. So, the thing about pop songs in other languages is that once you translate the lyrics, they stop being as good. Don’t do it!

“Make Yr Life” by The Butchies

Ok. So abbreviating the word “your” is totally lame. Thankfully though, The Butchies make up for the lameness of the title by writing what is maybe the best power pop song to be written in the last several years. Have you heard the “doo-da-doo-doos” at the end yet? Oh my god! Sing with me!

“I Keep Losing Heart” by Electrelane

I have this list of instruments in the back of my head that I always wish I knew how to play. I secretly hold a grudge against my parents for not forcing me to learn to play the farfisa, violin, and accordion. But the instrument I have the most regret for not learning is the Banjo. My dream for years has been to turn the banjo into a progressive rock instrument. I’ve had this song by Electrelane written in my head for years but they beat me to the actual recording process. PLUS they have a choir sing. A choir and a banjo! My god I love Electrelane.

“Idiot Heart” by The Mendoza Line

Unfortunately, this is one of those bands where a song is either unbelievably inspired and amazing, or totally boring. This song falls into the first. I got this album when I was about 18, shortly before meeting my boyfriend of the last 5 years. I was kind of going through an emotional/sexual rut at the time. So I song about giving head because you didn’t want to be alone hit home pretty hard. I know! Teen drama is so dumb once your not a teen! But at the time it was all very urgent and important. Now it just a really good song.

“Michelangelo” by The Displaced

In early 2006, my band Swallows went on tour with The Displaced and it was pretty awesome. I love listening to their albums and closing my eyes and pretending I’m at one of the shows and Jen Janson is bouncing to the beat with her bass. Good times. It makes me really sad that you haven’t bought one of their albums yet. Go buy one!

“The Valley” by The Young People

Young People are maybe my favorite active band right now. Believe it or not, there are about a million people in this band. When you see them live the stage is crowded with musicians, and your all like, “Does that really take a million people to make?” and I’m all like, “yeah, it does.”

“Sometimes I’m in a Mood” by Odetta

So, I while ago I saw a way too long documentary on PBS about Bob Dylan. I don’t really like Bob Dylan all that much, but it’s like E! True Hollywood Story, and I don’t really care who it’s about. I’m pretty bored, and them all of sudden there is like a 10 second clip with Odetta singing. It was love at first sight. That voice! Geez! How could you not love her!

“Bargain Store” by Dolly Parton

Speaking of voices, did you know that Dolly Parton is the fucking shit? Well she is.

A couple of years ago, my boyfriend and I became completely enamored with her ( I know, I know. We are total fags). We spent hours scouring used record stores and flea markets and now we own about 30 of her albums on vinyl and have a shrine on one of the walls of our apartment. Did you know that Dolly Parton was one of the very first female country artists to write the lyrics and music to her own songs (all the way back in 1967 too)? Did you know that she is the highest grossing female musician in the world? I bet you didn’t. Now you do.

PS: I bet you couldn’t play guitar with 3” nails…..

"Dr. Cat " by Mary Timony

So, once about 4 years ago, I saw Mary Timony play in a rec hall in Western MA. She did this song using a loop peddle where she ran around the room playing each instrument and recording herself. Then once all one million instruments were recorded, she did a choreographed routine of cheerleader dance moves. Fucking awesome!

“Smelling Cigarettes” by The Fiery Furnaces

So if the Young People aren’t my favorite active band, then The Fiery Furnaces for sure are. In fact, they definitely are regardless. Of any band, I think The Fiery Furnaces influence my idea of what pop music can be. Listen to Swallows! Listen to The Fiery Furnaces! It’s there! I think that the saddest thing in the world is that my band is always compared to Sleater-Kinney (whom are great, but sound nothing like us) and not The Fiery Furnaces. Some one compare us with them!

PS: The saddest thing in the world is actually children with aids…

“My Adidas” by Versus

Versus is the last band that has survived in my catalog of music from my some what sappier indie-pop days. But seriously, this a perfect pop song! My theory is that it is all about the Heaven’s Gate cult. Remember them! Oh my god, that is so 90’s!

“Give Me Something” by Yoko Ono

In addition to an obsession with Dolly Parton, my boyfriend and I went through a hardcore Yoko Ono faze. Her stuff is pretty hard to find, so we spent a long time illegally downloading stuff by her that we couldn’t find anywhere else. Yoko Ono is not only responsible for the invention of punk music (check out her 1967 album “Plastic Ono Band”), she also was the influence that turned The Beatles from an unoriginal pop band into insane avant-hippies. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people make fun of her and say she is untalented or that she broke up the Beatles. If you ask me it is just weird domino effect racism/sexism.

“Gypsies Tramps and Thieves” by Cher

Yes, I love Cher.

“Dutch Oven” by The Young People

Their song are so short! I had to add another. Do you love this? You must!

“Serenade for the Crow that Fell (7” version) by Two Ton Boa

TTB is amazing, and don’t release nearly enough music (only 15 songs in 8 years). Whenever I hear Sherry Frasier sing, it reminds me of the villains in Disney cartoon musicals. Can you hear it too? Seriously, some one at Disney better write up a contract soon. My band played with them Dec 9th 2006 in Portland!

“What You Still Want” by Tracy and the Plastics

One of the only things to come out of the late 90’s electro-clash movement that still sounds fresh and new and interesting. This song breaks my heart

# Title Artist
1. Rain Storm The Raincoats
2. The Gypsies Came Marching After White Magic
3. Cet Air-la France Gall
4. Make Yr Life The Butchies
5. I Keep Losing Heart Electrelane
6. Idiot Heart The Mendoza Line
7. Michelangelo The Displaced
8. The Valley The Young People
9. Sometimes I'm in a Mood Odetta
10. Bargain Store Dolly Parton
11. Dr. Cat Mary Timony
12. Smelling Cigarettes The Fiery Furnaces
13. My Adidas Versus
14. Give Me Something Yoko Ono
15. Gypsies Tramps and Thieves Cher
16. Dutch Oven The Young People
17. Serenade for the Crow that Fell (7") Two Ton Boa
18. What You Still Want Tracy and the Plastics

:: back ::