Thursday, June 26, 2014

Second Annual Report

Hello all, I hope midsummer is treating you well.

As usual, more has been going on than we've been posting about, so here is the semi-regular, annual-ish update...

The Priests record we worked on last year is out on Don Giovanni and Sister Polygon and the band is on the road. Kevin and I tracked three of the four songs at Inner Ear Studio and Kevin and the band did additional recording and mixing at Swim-Two-Birds. The balance of the record was recorded by Kyle Johnson at Fancy Time Studio. It's a good record, they're good people. Check it out. Oh wait, you probably already did 'cause it's everywhere (including here?!).

Kevin just tracked a couple songs for Cigarette, a DC band you should check out. It's probably my favorite music by them and it sounds beautiful. Release plans TBD, I believe.

Kevin and I also tracked an album for The Black Sparks, who come highly recommended by us as well. Kevin and the band are continuing work on the record at Swim-Two-Birds over the summer.

The studio is seeing a lot more action than the label right now, as you might have guessed. Here's a picture of it: 

As for the label, we don't have any concrete plans for releasing anything right now. Our jobs, the studio, and growing vegetables make it hard to devote the time and energy to Ruffian that an active label requires. We are still filling orders, though that process isn't going to be as fast as ordering from an actual business. While I'm on summer vacation from teaching, however, I'm hoping to make some changes to the website and make the catalogue and other material available online again. The website is currently down, so you aren't reading this unless you are linking directly to us through Blogger. 

Since you asked (?), the vegetable growing is going well: 

intensive multi-season cropping on a small scale


It feels kind of full-circle from my teenage Food-Not-Bombs days when I used to drive to the DC Farmer's Market by Union Station every Thursday to pick up end-of-the-day vegetables from farmers who didn't want to haul home a 40 lb. bag of okra, or whatever it was they were cool to give to some teenagers who wanted to feed people. Friday night we hit the bakeries for their day-old bread. Saturday morning we figured out what to make with whatever ingredients we had ("How do you cook okra? Anyone?") and hauled it down to Lafayette Park or Dupont Circle. I also got a sweet pair of steel-toed boots for $10 at the market. What were they doing there? I don't know, but in retrospect the couple years of Food-Not-Bombs work was more transparently formative than I probably have given it credit for. 

Since you've made it this far, here are some photos of Priests recording at Inner Ear that I forgot to post before:

Monday, August 12, 2013

Paleography (Hugh McElroy solo) set at Treehouse Wednesday, 8/14

Hello all,

I hope this finds you well. I am playing a show under the name Paleography on Wednesday with Soft Punch and Missionaries. With apologies to the details below from Ryan/Soft Punch, it is a (mostly) brand new set of (mostly) old songs (9th-20th centuries, CE). We'd all be delighted to see you there. If you've been to one of my a capella sets, it's kind of like that, but with more guitar, upright bass, space echo, and distortion. 

The Treehouse Lounge
1006 Florida Ave NE

In this tiny, new bar called The Treehouse Lounge, I'll be playing solo, and Hugh McElroy will be debuting his new solo project called Paleography. A brand new set of brand new songs, I'm told. The headliners, Missionaries, are just the kindest people you'll meet--a giant, strange folk band from Roanoke, including members of Eternal Summers. 

Inline image 1

All best,

Monday, May 20, 2013

DC punk farmhouse

Hello all,

Things have been quiet here for some time, except for about my friend JJ's awesome activist photography. I've realized that since we haven't been putting out records lately people might be laboring under the misconception that nothing's going on around here. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There's still a ton of music going on over here, even if it's not coming out on ruffian. Cephalopods have gone into hibernation with new professional responsibilities, two marriages, and the arrival of a delightful baby girl. We will get around to playing again once we sort out how to fit it into our new lives.

Kevin, my husband as of Saturday, has largely taken over the studio, as I have concentrated more and more energy on the garden. He's been down there working with Priests, a seriously rad girl/boy-revolution punk band whose music gives me that 15-years-old-and-at-my-first-good-punk-show tingly excited feeling. Gideon from Priests has also been engineering some projects down there, including a record by the also-awesome Downtown Boys.

I'm turning our back yard into a small urban farm. Between the garden, the Mt. Pleasant farmers' market, and a winter CSA from Even'Star farm in Lexington, MD, we've been able to get most of our produce locally and grown without chemicals. The difference has been enormous. We feel more nourished from less food. Our garden regularly attracts cardinals, robins, bluejays, mourning doves, finches, sparrows, hummingbirds, and woodpeckers. And bees. I get more sun and exercise. The food tastes a whole lot better. Every year the soil holds more water, there are more worms working it (enough to share with the robins), and more of our food gets harvested minutes before it's prepared and eaten. This year I'm feeling like we can skip the winter CSA - even we, lovers of greens, radishes, and turnips, can only consume or preserve so much per week. The market opens the year earlier and runs until Christmas now. I'm getting down with year-round food production and finding that I'm already growing a lot of what I used to buy.

To me, this is just a new growth from old DIY punk roots. We are trying to nourish ourselves and our communities physically  in the way we always have culturally with music, support, and solidarity. A really satisfying day here tends to involve Kevin in the studio with a band and me in the garden. At some points I'll put down my tools and go into the studio to listen, chat, or fix a patch bay. At other points the band will break and we will chat in the yard. On really good days the dinner break finds us all sitting down at the dining room table with a meal cooked out of the garden. There is a deep and palpable satisfaction in the cultivation of the ground we live on and the cultivation of art and of friendship, fellowship, and community. I suspect I'm going to want to think through a lot of how this works, what it means, and why it's valuable on this blog while we are working out new ways to be. Hopefully this means there will still be cool updates about what's happening downstairs at swim-two-birds. But in the mean time, there are going to also be updates from the field, as it were. Today: Priests tour cassette mixes 3 pounds of radishes harvested 6 eggplant seedlings and 4 tomato seedlings transplanted Visits from Hugh's mother and Kevin's brother

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Help document the struggle for Justice in Agriculture

2004 CIW Truth Tour

Hello all, 

I know it's been a while. Ruffian has been pretty dormant while we reorganize Swim-Two-Birds, plan a crop rotation for the garden, and work on planning a wedding (big year over here). In the meantime the extended family has seen weddings, births, new jobs, and a whole lot of life-in-general. I'm sure we will get back to Ruffian in some way shape or form before too terribly long. But for now I want to pass on some information about the excellent work a good friend from the old days of the label is doing. 

My friend JJ needs some fundraising help to document the critical work of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in Florida, right at the center of issues of fair wages, fair working conditions, workers' rights, and the ongoing disgrace of forced labor in the US. 

JJ is an old buddy of mine from back in high school days and does amazing work using photography to document communities of all sorts. His work is frequently social-justice oriented, even when not explicitly so. He walks the walk and regularly uses his professional skills in aid of righteous causes like the work of the CIW. 

Please consider kicking him a couple bucks and passing the word along. 



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

In the short space of 16 hours...

various members of the family were dressed as cops beating up Tereu Tereu's Ryan Little during People of the Sun's Run for Cover set:

And early the next afternoon Cephalopods played the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Luce Center (these videos won't embed for some reason) with special guest 'pod Liz Bennett:

Porque Llorax

The Holly & the Ivy

Lady K

In other news, Hume spent much of the summer writing and recording a new album with Hugh kicking off the first 2 weeks of engineering. They're on tour right now and you can get all their info here.

Cephalopods play Everlasting Life with Silo Halo and friends on Aug. 19th. More info soon.

Make it in the shade,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cephalopods play at Smithsonian Museum of American Art THIS Sunday afternoon July 31st

Hello all,

Cephalopods will be playing an acoustic set at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Luce Center this Sunday, July 31st. The event, part of the Luce Center's Art and Coffee and Luce Unplugged series, begins at 1:30 with a talk on William Alvin Blayney’s Mural No. GU-43752.

The event is free and open to all ages.

We will play at 2. We are really psyched about the art talk as well as a set made up of Cephalopods originals, Sephardic ballads, Hungarian folk songs, and assorted other goodies.

For more info see the museum's page here.

Looking forward to see you there,

Monday, May 2, 2011

CLITFEST Press Release

Ruffian has always been keenly interested in supporting sexual and gender identity equality and we love the work that H.I.P.S. does. So we are passing along press info about an exciting event happening in July in DC. There are some notices about events that have already happened in it but it's still worth being hip to the event, which I am sorry I'm missing.

Begin transmission:

Help Support Safer Sex and Promote Women in the Arts!

Combating Latent Inequality Together Festival is now in its 7th year, and will take place in Washington, D.C. on the weekend of July 8th. It will be a three-day event combining music and education to promote women's involvement in the arts. We aim to stimulate conversation between folks of all backgrounds, ages, abilities, ethnicities, and genders. We aim to raise consciousness and to build a community wherein people of all genders are supported and empowered. All proceeds from this year’s fest go towards H.I.P.S..

HIPS (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive) was founded in 1993 by a coalition of service providers, advocates, and law enforcement officials as an outreach and referral service. HIPS mission is to assist female, male, and transgender individuals engaging in sex work in Washington, DC in leading healthy lives. Utilizing a harm reduction model, HIPS’ programs strive to address the impact that HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, discrimination, poverty, violence and drug use have on the lives of sex workers. HIPS is a nationally recognized organization that meets the needs of sex workers and assists them in their efforts to eliminate the transmission of HIV, increase sexual health, and reduce violence and harm associated with sex work and drug use. HIPS programs serve an estimated 2,000 sex workers a year on the streets and in the organization’s drop-in center, providing a full spectrum of programs to address basic & immediate needs, long-term goal setting and life skills development.

Budget cuts in public health have forced H.I.P.S.

to downsize significantly. They need your help!

Go to to make a donation.

The C.L.I.T.Fest benefit series will help the fest cover its costs.

Look out for the following events around town:

3/31: Don't Need You screening at Red Emma's in Baltimore
4/3: Pharmacy Bar local business raffle

(with drink specials and items including tattoos, merchandise from Smash & local art!)
4/9: Babes & Brews

(homebrew party featuring beer by A Brewing Problem; space TBD)
4/13: Dischord: An Impression, Don't Need You, and Beyond the Screams screening

at the DC Arts Center in Adams Morgan, $7

in May/June: keep your eyes out for...
bake sale & tabling with Positive Force in June to support Planned Parenthood
self-defense training
screenings of AfroPunk and Beyond Beats and Rhymes

Other ways to help the cause: volunteer time to the CLITFest card at the Maryland Food Co-op to help feed the presenters and bands! Host a benefit of your own, promote our events, check and "like" us on Facebook. Check out our online store (coming soon!) to see all our wares!

Need more info? Have an idea? Hit us up on Facebook, or at:

Help support local activism and women in the arts!