Kiss and tell

Ultragrrrl and Nightmare of You
By SHARON STEEL  |  January 28, 2010

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Nightmare of You
SPIN magazine used to run a column called “Making Out with Ultragrrrl,” and it was written by an assistant editor named Sarah Lewitinn. Most of the space was taken up by a photo of Sarah (Ultragrrrl is her pseudonym and DJ handle) and an “It” musician. Usually, both parties would appear exhausted yet elated, no doubt from dancing at exclusive after-parties, and would have their arms draped around each other’s shoulders in a “We’re BFF, she’s not just a groupie” familiarity. Ultra would write a short item about her evening with said rumpled-sexy musician, alluding to vague inside jokes and tour-bus gropings. I did not know what to make of it. Did I hate her? Did she have the coolest job in the world? Why must she always pout instead of smile and wear so much black eyeliner?

During last week’s Nightmare of You show, I was still wondering. Ultra doesn’t work for SPIN anymore — she now co-runs and does A&R for Stolen Transmission — but she does keep a blog that, these days, is probably more widely read than the middling music magazine itself. And her blog is how I found out about Long Island quartet Nightmare of You in the first place, so let’s get the gossip out of the way: Sarah dates and lives with NOY frontman Brandon Reilly. On Friday, NOY played the Middle East, and the night before, Reilly and Ultragrrrl were both booked to DJ Paper at Bill's Bar. I missed their Bill's sets, banking on some face time Friday night in Cambridge instead. Would Ultra stand in front of the backstage door, singing along in girlfriendy support? Would she be drunk and rowdy with a group of her impeccably dressed NYC friends in tow? Would she be there at all, or would I have to go without querying her about how the hell she managed to turn kissing rock stars into a writing career?

NOY have pretty much been ignored in favor of their flamboyant contemporaries. It’s not as if they were the saving grace of anything, but they are great fun, playing synthed-up pop punk with voluptuous hooks and lyrical gags like “Start a band or throw a brick/You lazy hipsters make me sick/Don’t clap your hands, don’t start to dance/Don’t let them know that you’re a fan.” Reilly also nails a fake Manchester accent in nearly all of NOY’s songs, and that adds a posh kick to their Squeeze homage. By the time the band went on, around midnight, there was no Ultra to be found.

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