Brooklyn's Bugs in the Dark are playing Southpaw on Friday. This should be a wild night because, in addition to Bugs in the Dark, Rahim (Frenchkiss Records) is also playing on the bill. Tickets are only $8.00 and Bugs in Dark are supposed to go on at 8:30PM sharp.
For anyone not familiar with Bugs in the Dark, they have an "art-punk" sound that falls somewhere between the Pylon, The B-52s and X. The band has a male and female guitarist and both sing on some of the tracks which emphasize the X and B-52s comparisons. On the other tracks where guitarist/vocalist Karen Rockower takes lead vocals, the vocal stylings are closer Vanessa Briscoe Hay (Pylon) but the lyrical content is more comparable to Courtney Love ("Hot Shit, She's too rich, She has a big mouth, I want to punch it out").
The band just released a 4-song EP which is available through CD Baby and all four tracks are streaming on the band's MySpace page. If you take a look at the band's MySpace page, you will see that they have done a lot of cross-country touring this year and, based on the live pictures and reviews that are also on the band's MySpace page, Bugs in the Dark look like a lot of fun live.
Bugs In the Dark MySpace page
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Brooklyn's Bugs in the Dark are playing Southpaw on Friday. This should be a wild night because, in addition to Bugs in the Dark, Rahim (Frenchkiss Records) is also playing on the bill. Tickets are only $8.00 and Bugs in Dark are supposed to go on at 8:30PM sharp.
Happy Halloween everyone! Hopefully everyone had some fun tonight. For anyone who is still at home, there are a couple things that you can still do today. The Saints are playing Club Midway in the East Village tonight and will probably go on around Midnight (call the club for set times). I saw the band play last night at Maxwell's and they were fabulous. Look for picture and some video clips from the show later this week.
If you are going to stay in tonight, The Simpsons Hit & Run has a Halloween menu screen. (I keep forgetting that there is essentially a computer processor in the new video game consoles). On the game's start screen, Homer is sleeping in the dark and there are pumpkins and skeletons scattered across the Simpsons' living room. It is kind of fun to see the someone took the time to code up a bunch of easter eggs.
Anti recording artist Tim Fite released a six song download of new material that is available only today (here is the link). Here is the "background" on these tracks that was posted to Anti's website:
Fite says “Last year when I was trick or treating, I decided go to the house that nobody ever goes to. There was no light on the porch, no jack-o-lantern on the stair, no bowl of candy with a note warning to "only take one." There was only a faint pulsing glow under the door, and a large wrought iron knocker. I knocked, and a very old man answered the door. He said he didn't have any candy (because it was bad for his diabetes), but that he'd be happy to give me a recording of his six favorite songs. I held out my sack, and with a shaking veiny hand, he dropped in a worn looking cassette tape. I said thank you, and walked quickly back to the road.”Tim Fite is in town on November 17 for a show at Blender Theatre at Gramercy.
“As soon as I got home, I popped the tape into my boom-box. The music that came out was like none I'd ever heard before – sort of a cross between a horror movie soundtrack and an instrumental funk/disco record played on vintage synthesizers. There were no vocals and no indication on the tape as to where the music came from, only six of the scariest songs I had ever listened to. I wanted to know more about them, but that was going to have to wait until morning.”
“The next day I went back to the house to ask the strange old man about his favorite songs. When I arrived there was a realtor tapping a for sale sign into the grass with a yellow mallet. I asked her if the old man was home; her face dropped and she replied, "Goodness no! He passed on about six months ago. I think it was the diabetes."
“For the year since that fateful Halloween, I have been haunted by the old man's favorite songs. I couldn't help but wonder if there was some kind of supernatural force at work that wanted me to add lyrics to them.”
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Last Tuesday, The Saints flew into NYC in advance of their tour kickoff in Cleveland. I had the chance to chat with the band and they were kind enough to let me videotape the interview.
The Saints have three shows scheduled in the area:
Tuesday, 10/30- Maxwell's- HOBOKEN, NJ
Wednesday, 10/31- Little Steven's Underground Garage Present Halloween A Go-Go- NYC
Wednesday, 10/31- Club Midway- NYC
The new CD is "Imperious Delirium" and it was just released in the US on Wildflower Records.
The Saints on MySpace
Australian punk-pioneers, The Saints return to New York for the "Imperious Delirium" tour and play three shows in the area starting on October 30th.
The Saints are touring behind their latest release "Imperious Delirium" which was just released on Wildflower Records in the US. The new CD is great (here is a link to my review of the disc) and I would expect the band's live show to be equally strong.
Here are the shows in the area:
10/30- Maxwell's- HOBOKEN, NJ
10/31- Little Steven's Underground Garage Present Halloween A Go-Go- NYC
10/31- Club Midway- NYC
The Saints just announce their appearance at Little Steven's Halloween show. Here are the details -- The Saints will be playing with The Chesterfield Kings and Garage Girls A Go-Go. The show is in Times Square at the Hawaiian Trop Zone, 729 7th Ave at 49th Street. Tickets are $15 and include a free drink and a special collectible laminate. The Saints play at 10pm (which means that the Club Midway show will likely start after Midnight).
Chris Bailey (Now in his 33rd Year of The Saints...but see the video in the post that follows as I could be wrong)
Peter Wilkinson - Drums
Casper Wijnberg - Bass
The Saints Website
Friday, October 26, 2007
Danzig falling off the stage is probably old news for most people but it seemed to provide a good reason to finally post my review of Danzig's newest CD, "The Lost Tracks of Danzig".
For anyone who hasn't been keeping up with recent Danzig news, he fell off the stage on Tuesday night in Baltimore on the opening night of the tour. It appears that he injured his shoulder and, after falling, he cut out The Misfits set from the show that night.
Danzig played Wednesday night's show in Philadelphia with his arm in a sling and the show included a 4 song (or 5 - depending on whose review you read) Misfits set with Doyle. Last night's show in Worcester was cancelled so it is anyone's guess if the show at Nokia Theatre tomorrow night will really take place.
I'm thinking that neither Danzig nor Jerry are going to get my money this year. Jerry just needs to give it up -- his voice has gone to hell and "The Misfits" featuring just him and Robo don't amount to much. As for Danzig, I have seen his 15 minute Misfits set (with Doyle) last tour. It was fun the first time to see the closest thing to a Misfits reunion but now I'd rather pay money to see Danzig play with Bobby (not that this is ever going to happen) than a rehash of the set he & Doyle played two years ago.
"The Lost Tracks on Danzig" is a pretty interested 2-disc set of songs spanning Danzig's solo career. This CD differs from many of the "outtakes" CDs that other artists have released as the majority of the songs on this set are fully produced tunes that didn't make it onto one of Danzig's solo CDs. For Danzig fans, this set is a "must have" but there doesn't seem to be enough here to convert a casual fan.
I thought Danzig hit his creative peak with "4p" and a good chunk of the first disc covers the time between the end of Samhain and the release of "4p". I didn't really care for the generic metalism of the post-4p CDs but many the tracks on Disc 2 show a different side of Danzig's songwriting process. This isn't to say that there aren't some throw-away tracks on this set. As an example, "Unspeakable (Shango Mix)" is the last track on this set and it is a complete throw-away. (This was a backing tracking from the XXX horror flick "Grub Girl"). There aren't many of tracks though from Danzig's NiN-wannabe period so the few duds shouldn't turn off the fans.
So, let's hit the highlights. There are pretty interesting cover tunes on this set: T Rex's Buick McKane (essential), The Germs' Caught in My Eye (interesting) and Bowie's Cat People (strange). Outside of the cover tunes, the highlights are the slower tunes that showcase Danzig's voice. Essential listening is "Cold Cold Rain" and "Come to Silver" (which was written for Johnny Cash). A few of the other tunes on this set were released on movie soundtracks or were b-sides of singles so it is great to have them all on this one set.
It would be nice to see some more unreleased Misfits (can anyone say "12 Hits From Hell") or Samhain but, all-in-all, this is a nice set that should please the fans.
The Star Spangles are like the Energizer Bunny - they just keep going and going. I don't think the band is bringing in the crowds that they used to but the Star Spangles are still a great live act. The band is playing a show at Club Midway on October 30th with The XFrames and Another Saturday Night. Tickets are only $8.00
For anyone who hasn't heard the current lineup of the band or the new CD "Dirty Bomb", here is a link to a 7-song recording of the band performing live in the studio for FM 107.1 The Peak's Next Concert. The set is an interesting mix of tunes from the first two CDs along with two yet-to-be-recorded tracks.
Star Spangles MySpace page
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The "problem" with growlers is that you have to drink them within a day or two of purchase or the beer goes flat. Needless to say, I enjoyed Junk Science's Beer Release Party last Monday.
GNT is quite a tasty beer -- a bit heavier/hopier than some of the ales that I normally drink but nowhere near as heavy as the standard dark beers. Bierkraft (191 Fifth Avenue in Park Slope) is the only place you can buy GNT (and carry-out Six Points Ale).
I got a chance to talk with the guys in Junk Science for a few minutes that night. After Friday's CMJ show in Williamsburg, the band just kicked off a tour of the Mid-West with Iller Than Theirs, Del the Funky Homosapien and Devin the Dude.
Junk Science's new CD, GRAN’DAD’S NERVE TONIC, was released yesterday on Embedded Records. Check it out! On the band's MySpace page, there is an amusing song entitled "So Sue Me" which wasn't included on the CD (for obvious reasons) but you can download it from the MySpace page.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The good folks over at Imeem were kind enough to supply me with a CMJ Badge so I have been posting my pictures and reviews to their CMJ site.
I hope everyone has been having fun so far -- It has been crazy for me and the festival is only to Day 3.
Highlights (so far):
- Imperial Teen/Billy Bragg @ Pirate! Party, Arlene's Grocery
- The Brunettes @ The Delancey
- Meat Puppers @ BrooklynVegan's Party, Piano's
- Hot IQ's @ Midway
- Ladybug Transistor @ Union Hall
Below are a couple of my pictures and here is a link to my BrooklynRocks Imeem profile where I have uploaded a number of additional pictures.
Ladybug Transistor @ Union Hall, Brooklyn, October 17, 2007
Hot IQs @ Club Midway, NYC, October 17, 2007
Gabby Glasser @ Union Hall, Brooklyn, October 17, 2007
Meat Puppets @ Piano's, NYC, October 17, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
The Saints are back with their 13th album and it is a great return to form. It is somewhat hard to believe that Chris Bailey has been singing for The Saints for over 30 years. The material on this disc sounds fresh and this CD should rank up there with the first few releases by the original line-up of The Saints. Bob Geldof (Boomtown Rats/Live Aid) was quoted as saying that three bands altered the face of rock music in the 1970s: Sex Pistols, The Ramones and The Saints. You can still hear the vitality and sense of urgency in The Saints music.
The band is now down to a three-piece with the departure of guitarist Marty Wilson-Piper but (as much as I was a fan of his work with The Church) Wilson-Piper's contribution isn't missed. Chris Bailey plays all guitars - I think he has been holding back over the years as the guitar work sounds great. Casper Wijnberg (bass) and Peter Wilkinson (drums) complete the band's sound and this disc is a solid piece of garage-punk. The band comes out of the gate hard and the first cut on the disc, "Drunk In Babylon", sets the tone for the rest of the disc. "Drunk as a lord in Babylon, Been pushing my luck all night long". This is raw guitar-rock that is pushed along by Bailey's distinctive snarl.
The band slows down a bit toward the middle of the disc with "Other Side of the World". While I would describe this song as a ballad, it isn't the typical radio-pap that has given a bad name to ballads. Among other things, Bailey's voice prevents any song from falling into the "whiny ballad" category. There are a couple strong power-pop songs on the disc ("So Close" and "Getting Away with Murder") and the final song, "War of Independence", is a moody and forlorn tune that is the perfect ending to the disc.
Here is a quote from the band's MySpace page about the recording process for Imperious Delirium. "We spent three weeks in a basement locked inside a Saintsworld bubble and emerged with forty odd minutes of music made entirely by the three of us (no outside influences involved), less is more, no fillers only killers."
There have been a number of times (and CDs) where I expected The Saints to break-out in the US. This is a great CD so perhaps this could be the one...
The band is playing two shows in the area at the end of this month:
October 30th - Maxwell's
October 31st - Club Midway
The Saints Website
The Saints MySpace page
Genesis P-Orridge's wife Lady Jaye passed away last Tuesday from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. My heart and thoughts have been with Genesis these past few days.
The band has asked that well-wishers leave their messages on a MySpace tribute page that has been set up for Lady Jaye.
Here is the message that was posted to Psychic TV's MySpace page:
Lady Jaye died suddenly on Tuesday 9th October 2007 at home in Brooklyn, New York from a previously undiagnosed heart condition which is thought to have been connected with her long-term battle with stomach cancer. Lady Jaye collapsed and died in the arms of her heartbroken "other half" Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. This is the official condolence page for Lady Jaye. Add the page as a friend and post leave messages, pictures & videos here. Please do not besiege Genesis, Edward ODowd (Electric Eddie), or any member of Psychic TV/PTV3 with messages to their personal email address unless you are a personal friend - It's too much to bear - But if there is a way such as this they can, in time, get to read how much people loved her, it will surely help lead Genesis, the band, and Lady Jaye's family onto to new creative endeavours and a new and positive outlook on life. Please continue to check this page for announcements of memorials and special tributes. Those wishing to make financial donations should do so by Paypal to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Mink is a fairly new band on the NYC scene but they have quickly earned a strong following. The band just finished a high-profile tour with Perry Farrell and Satellite Party and played Lollapalooza this summer along with a few dates opening for Kiss. Mink's self-titled debut CD was released about a month ago and the band makes a strong showing.
The cuts on this disc range from snot-punk (D-Generation or the Dead Boys would be good points of comparison) to power-pop. The two cuts that close this disc are reminiscent of early Smashing Pumpkins.
The strongest tracks on the disc are the rockers ("Get It Right", "Madame Chung", "Talk to Me") and the first half of the disc sizzles. The only cut that didn't catch my ear was "Dematerialize" as this seemed to be a Wallflowers style radio-rocker that really didn't fit positioned between two strong rock tunes. After "Dematerialize", the tracks that follow, "Pressure Pressure" and "Jodi", are a return to the rock n' roll swagger. The band changes pace toward the end of the disc but these songs seem to fit well with the flow of the disc. "Sweeter" is driven by vocal harmonies and has an almost 60's doo-wop feel. The last track "Will Not Let You Down" (and the hidden bonus track) are both orchestral pop and are a mellow way to end the disc.
The new CD is produced by Sylvia Massy (who has worked with all kinds of cool artists which include Tool, Slayer, Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers) and her stellar production complements the band's strong songwriting and playing.
Mink is an extremely strong live act (see my pictures and review from their show at Irving Plaza opening for Satellite Party) and they are playing two CMJ shows this week.
Oct 17th - Club Midway -- 11:45pm -- Organic / Tijuana Gift Shop Showcase
Oct 19th - Pianos -- 4:30pm -- Planetary Group Party
Mink's MySpace page
Former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di'Annon has made the first two CDs from his early 90's band Killers available as a free download. Both CDs are long out of print and make for an interesting listen.
The first CD, Murder One (1992), is a logical extension of Di'Anno's Maiden and Battlezone days. The second CD, Menance to Society (1995), sees the band embracing a sound that falls somewhere between Pantera and Body Count. Menance to Society came out at a time when Di'Anno was living in Los Angeles and regularly brawling with gang members. I've read that Di'Anno wrote a good portion of this CD while in the LA County Jail. He is equal part crazed and pissed and it shows in both the music and lyrics.
Both CD are available on Paul Di'Anno's website.
Last Thursday night, the 14-piece Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble played a 2+ hour set to a full club. Akoya Afrobeat has an amazing amount of energy and quickly had the crowd dancing. Musically, the band has a great sound that is powered by multiple horns and polyrhythmic drumming.
I don't know how all 14 members of the band fit on the small Southpaw stage.
The band was joined by reggae legend Cedric "Im" Brooks. If you haven't heard Brooks play, check out his solo CD "Cedric Brooks and the Light of Saba" which is a brilliant slice of afrobeat/reggae.
Akoya Afrobeat is led by Kaleta who was a member of Fela Kuti's Egypt 80, collaborated with artists ranging from King Sunny Ade to Lauryn Hill.
The band is finishing their second CD, "PDP [President Dey Pass]", but a release date has not yet been announced. The first single from this CD, "BFBF (Panama)", sounds great so this should be a CD to watch for.
On a somewhat related note, I just started using Imeem so I posted additional pictures from the show to my Imeem page(BrooklynRocksBlog).
Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble's Website
Akoya Afrobeat Ensemble's MySpace page
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Junk Science (featuring BAJE ONE and SNAFU from Nuclear Family) are hosting a beer release party at Bierkraft in Brooklyn on Monday, October 15th.
While most bands have a CD release party, Junk Science and Six Points Brewery are celebrating their jointly brewed beer, "Gran’Dad’s Nerve Tonic" Beer (Sixpoint GNT), which was brewed on August 29 at Sixpoint’s Red Hook-based brewery. The fruits of their labor will be for sale exclusively at Bierkraft in 64-ounce growlers (just a little less than a six-pack worth of beer) until the limited supplies are gone. Each $16.99 growler will come with a free copy of the brand new Junk Science CD “Gran’Dad’s Nerve Tonic”.
In the spirit of Sixpoint’s brewing ethos and Junk Science’s sophomore album effort, the “Sixpoint GNT” represents a mash-up of beer styles – an extremely malty and hoppy beer with an 8.0% ABV and a reddish hue. It is also Sixpoint’s first beer brewed exclusively for a retail beer outlet.
Both the band and members of the Sixpoint brewery team will be on hand at the party. The party starts at 6PM and Bierkraft is located at 191 Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.
Check out this video of the band with the Sixpoint brewery team brewing the beer.
The official CD release party for Junk Science's new CD is October 19th at Music Hall of Williamsburg and the band will be playing with EL-P.
Junk Science's MySpace Page
Sixpoints Brewery (Note: site under construction)
This is really cool...I am now an official Imeem blogger for the CMJ Festival next week. Anybody have recommendations for "must see" bands?
Check out the coverage of CMJ on Imeem. I also created a profile on Imeem which I am just starting to build out.
I'll be posting pictures, reviews, etc. from the parties and showcases to both sites. Let me know what you think...
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
The Blackhiv's debut CD EP is due out October 15th. The band is working on a full length LP and this EP is a stop-gap recording of the band performing live on Radio Reykjavik in 2005. The EP contain 5 songs and clocks in just over 10 minutes.
Imagine The Jesus Lizard crossed with AC/DC and that is what you have with The Blackhiv. This is dirty garbage rock (which is played faster than garage rock) with off-kilter vocals that remind me of David Yow. It sounds like the majority of the lyrical themes are in the gutter. The first song on the disc, "I Just Wanna Get Drunk With You", has the chorus 'I just want to get drunk with you and take off all your clothes'. The last song on the disc, "This Fix is Temporary", ends with the line "Just shoot me again and give me a fix".
Here is a snippet from the band's bio on MySpace which sums up the essence of this EP -- "We am The Blakhiv from Iceland we love booze, American girls and all Rock and Rolling. We am just wants to be rocking United States soonest can we and drink the Jack Daniels whiskey. Rock!!!"
Based on this EP, I am looking forward to the full-length LP and hopefully the band will make it to the US sometime soon to tour.
The Blackhiv's MySpace Page
I'd like to start by thanking Jessica for taking the time for an intereview and I also want to thank Leo from Big Machine Media for setting everything up. Jessica's new CD will be released October 16th and it is entitled "Brand New Disease".
Without any further preamble, here is the interview:
BrooklynRocks: Jumping right in, are there any recorded sex sounds on the new CD?
Jessica Vale: Nope. Not one. We decided to be totally boring and use "real" instruments this time around.
BrooklynRocks: Getting serious, how does the new CD differ from “The Sex Album”?
Jessica Vale: The biggest difference is that is was recorded and written more traditionally. We were pretty limited with writing The Sex Album for obvious reasons.
Having the energy of a live band is really unmatched with computers, I think. That's what drove me to make a more traditional album this time. I like having humans to play off of.
BrooklynRocks: You have an interesting range of lyrical themes on this CD. What was the song writing process like for this CD? Were the songs all written in one period?
Jessica Vale: They were all written last winter while hanging out in our basement recording studio. It influenced the lyrics a lot. The place is very hidden and has a very 70's feel to it. The building houses a bunch of artists, cockroaches, and hundreds of dead computers all rotting away. It was left semi-abandoned after 9-11.
The title track "Brand New Disease" was the first song written. "Brand New Disease" can mean a lot of different things, depends when I'm asked. I have a very love/hate relationship with the business side of putting out music. On a bad day my new disease is my new record.
Official Video for "Brand New Disease"
BrooklynRocks: What was the recording process like for the new CD? (Really looking to hear how the recording of this CD compared to the recording of The Sex Album as it looks like you worked with a full band this time)
Jessica Vale: On all the tracks I had the wonderful talents of Ivan Evangelista on guitar, Matthew St Joseph on bass and Randy Schrager on drums. These guys are very seasoned musicians. Playing with them is very easy because they are so tight. We recorded the whole album at our recording studio. For a track here or there we brought in some keyboards, strings, or even clarinet and sax.
As a band we all come from a rock background which is why this album feels much more natural for us. The Sex Album was an experiment in recording, not a norm. I have always been very happy with how it came out but i don't think I'd do another one.
BrooklynRocks: Congratulation on hitting the #3 breakout track on the Billboard charts with Brand New Disease. What are your expectations for the record once the full CD is released?
Jessica Vale: I try not to have any expectations which works out well for me. I didn't think a single person would care about the Sex Album and the next thing I knew it was a feature in the Times London. Life is strange that way.
BrooklynRocks: What’s next for Jessica Vale? Were there songs that didn’t make this CD? Is the screenplay (that you mentioned in a 2005 interview) ever coming out? Will it be two more years before you go back into the studio?
Jessica Vale: I am going to Africa (Liberia to be exact) as part of an aide mission this winter. I have no doubt it will inspire plenty of songs and maybe even a music video or two.
The screenplay that originally inspired The Sex Album never got finished because I did the album instead. The Sex Album covered everything I wanted to say with it so I don't think I'd bother.
As for going back in the studio...well, I am there a ton as it is. As the inspiration hits, we record. Once there's an album's worth of material you'll see the next Jessica Vale record. How long that will take is anyone's guess.
BrooklynRocks: What can people expect at the CD release show at Crash Mansion? Will you be playing any songs from “The Sex Album”?
Jessica Vale: My next New York City show is November 9 at our warehouse/studio space in Tribeca - part of another POSTcom party.
We got such an overwhelming response from the last one that we felt we had to do it again. Crash Mansion was the original plan but then I started getting emails from fans who were actually disappointed that we weren't playing a POSTcom party instead. And ya know, ya gotta give the people what they ask for.
BrooklynRocks: It looks like your tour schedule is pretty limited. Will you be playing more dates? What do you do when you aren’t touring?
Jessica Vale: The dates this fall are just preliminary. We will be doing a longer tour this spring, including Europe.
When not touring I'm doing many things. Recording, traveling...though right now it's Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas. I'm addicted.
BrooklynRocks: I saw the video from Dracula’s Ball in Philly. How much of a goth crowd do you expect to draw at your upcoming shows? Do you consider yourself part of the goth/vampire scene?
Jessica Vale: In NYC we have our own scene going on. We get a mix of people. We play goth shows but we also play rock and gay clubs.
The goth scene, as it was once known, is dying a long slow death. Just like a lot of scenes. You've got to keep making new ones, keep things moving.
BrooklynRocks: What is the background on the live session on Jamnow.com?
Jessica Vale: Most of the bands that do these live sessions just come in, set up, and run through their set. Ivan and I wanted to try something different. We got Jean-Luc (who was the third member of the Sex Album trio) and did an electro-noir style set. We played a little jazz style, talked, and spun tracks off the albums for over an hour. The beer didn't hurt.
BrooklynRocks: How was the POSTcom show back in July? I am a huge Earl Slick fan – did you catch his set?
Jessica Vale: The party was great. Huge turnout. It was the middle of summer so it got really hot and dirty but that added to the charm. This time the air will be cooler so we probably have it by candlelight.
If you're interested in info for the next one on November 9 please keep checking the website - www.jessicavale.com
BrooklynRocks: I saw David Lynch was one of your top friends on MySpace and that he has a quote on your website. How did you meet David and are you doing any work with him?
Jessica Vale: David did a Q & A about his last book and Inland Empire last winter at Lincoln Center. The audience was asked to submit questions, so I did. I asked something about sexuality in his films. It was chosen and David proceeded to tell all of Lincoln Center about his first orgasm, in detail. People were bright red and laughing hysterically. If you are a Lynch fan you understand why this was such an awesome experience.
BrooklynRocks: How did Explicit Records come about? Who is the most interesting artist that you worked with (whether at Warren Street Studio, Explicit or other)? Who is the most mainstream? Have you put out any other artists’ CDs on the Explicitlabel?
Jessica Vale: Ivan and I started it in 2005 when The Sex Album started doing well. We were getting a lot of press and initially sold cds only via paypal, right out of my apartment. I remember the day Howard Stern plugged the website. We got so much traffic the site almost went down. We spent days packaging cds and shipping them, each one by hand.
Eventually we got a distribution deal so we started our own label to handle promotion. It's grown much bigger since then and I really do not miss hand packaging each cd!
The coolest artist I've worked with is James DiSalvio of Bran Van 3000. They aren't on Explicit Records but they did some recording at the studio recently. They are multi-platinum and Juno winning - I guess that makes them mainstream?
This is the point in the interview where I got completely off-topic
BrooklynRocks: This year, it seemed every possible band imaginable reunited. Are there any that you are into or any that you wish would permanently go away?
Jessica Vale: There are plenty that I wish would go away but I am trying to nurture my nicer side. Not a reunion but I'm really excited about the Ozzy - Rob Zombie show!
BrooklynRocks: Will Van Halen make it through their reunion tour or implode? Any thoughts on Eddie trying to airbrush out the original bassist on the cover VH1 and replace him with a picture of Eddie’s son?
Jessica Vale: I know they are doing a reunion tour but otherwise I kind of live under a rock. Eddie's replacing who with what?
BrooklynRocks: What is the worst concert that you paid money to see?
Jessica Vale: I saw Siouxsie Sioux (as The Creatures) in Rome once...the show was fine but the audience was terrible. Totally unresponsive. In fact they were so indifferent that Siouxsie stopped the show and started cursing them out. That part was awesome.
BrooklynRocks: Who has been the worst band to tour with and why?
Jessica Vale: The only thing that comes to mind is that a few years ago we were booked in a slot following a Meat Loaf Tribute Band...need I say more?
BrooklynRocks: What are your thoughts on the recent closings of a number of NYC clubs (Sin-e, Continental, CBGB)? Do the new clubs do the job or is this the ‘end of an era’?
Jessica Vale: Good riddance. CB's sells as much merch these days as the Disney Store and is almost as famous. It deserves a huge place in history, no doubt, but it's a brand.
BrooklynRocks: Any thoughts on Hilly Kristal’s death, that he was a millionaire, that the Bowery Residents Committee (landlord) has yet to rent the club?
Jessica Vale: I know very little about Hilly Kristal, but I do know branding makes cash and so does selling alcohol.
That's it...thanks again to both Jessica and Leo
Jessica Vale's MySpace page
Monday, October 08, 2007
Automatic Children just released their debut CD and are playing a show at Crash Mansion tomorrow night. The EP is a lo-fi gem -- listeners will immediately pick up on the influence of The Pixies and the band is supposed to include a cover of Gigantic in their set. The last song on the disc, "Wake Up", continues the influence of the Boston-based bands and has a strong Sebadoh influence. Across this disc, the band's sound is diverse but the disc doesn't sound unfocused.
My favorite tracks on the new EP are the two rockers, "Dirty Weekend" and "Pity Party". The later track is rather interesting as the male/female vocal interplay is really similar to mid-80's X.
The new 5-song EP is entitled "It's Not Me, It's You" is available from CD Baby and directly from the band (nach!). The band's lyrical themes are interesting as well, dealing with a diverse range of subjects from hipsters ("Automatic People") to failing relationships ("Pity Party").
The band had their first official show at Southpaw last month for their CD release party and have already been named by Deli Magazine as an "Artist on the Rise".
The show tomorrow looks fun. Tickets are only $10 and the band is scheduled to play at 8:30PM.
Automatic Children's MySpace page
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Band of Thieves' new 3-song EP is great but the band is simply amazing live. Some bands were born to be on stage and this is one of them. I hadn't realized how much I missed good straight-forward rock n' roll until I saw these guys play at Arlene's Grocery last Thursday. The room was full and the band was a mass of pure energy. No ballads, no bs, just good hard-driving music. Band of Thieves played about an hour/13 song set and the crowd loved every minute of it.
To describe the band's set, imagine the energy of the early 70's Rolling Stones topped off with a dash of Lynyrd Skynyrd/Black Crowes style Southern rock and you'll get the picture.
The band is playing a few upcoming shows in the NYC/NJ/PA area including a show on Oct. 19th at Lion's Den as part of CMJ.
Here are the upcoming tour dates:
10/19: New York, NY - The Lion's Den (18+)
10/20: Harrisburg, PA - Appalachian Brewing Company (21+)
11/09: Philadelphia, PA - Grape St. Pub (21+)
11/11: State College, PA - Cafe 210 (21+)
11/16: Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's (All ages?)
01/10 - 01/13: Simple Man Cruise w/Lynyrd Skynyrd, Miami, FL
Here are some pictures from the show last week:
Band of Thieves is one of those bands that I will be waiting to say "I remember them when they played the local clubs". I am expecting these guys to really hit it big.
All three tracks from the EP are streaming on the band's MySpace page along with a demo for new song "Oh Oh Oh". Check out the band's shows at Lion's Den and Maxwell's and you won't be disappointed.
Band of Thieves' MySpace page
Bandof Thieves' Website
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
I haven't heard a lot of alt-country that I liked but I enjoyed The Morning Pages debut EP. The EP has a comfortable feel and, according to the band's bio, this disc was recorded on analogue tape. With this, the CD has a raw and warm sound (not over-produced) that can make you forget that you aren't listening to an LP.
This disc is a direct throw-back to the sounds of the 70's classic country-rock bands. The Morning Pages leverages the combination of Grant Maxwell's mornful vocals with Kevin Drost's pedal steel guitar and Alec Higgins' organ playing to bring the sound of the Gram Parsons/Chris Hillman-era Byrds or The Band into the present.
Four of the five songs on this disc are toe-tapping, mid-tempo "The Band"-ish tunes with great guitar work and piano and the one ballad on the disc breaks up the songs nicely. While all the music is solid, the songs are carried by the voice of prinicpal songwriter Grant Maxwell. His voice has the best qualities of the alt-country scene and has none of the rasp or whine of some of his contemporaries (which is a complete turn-off for me). The band carries this energy over to their live set. Here is the link to a six song live set (downloadable, no less) that the band did for HereYa Sessions in July.
All-in-all, I like the direction that the band is heading in with their EP and the tracks that the band laid down in their HearYa session. The Morning Pages looks like a band to watch (and catch live).
It doesn't look like the band has any shows scheduled but here is a link to some live video clips of the band that were filmed late last year. The clips aren't great quality but the band sound great (which gives kudos to the musical chops of the band members).
The Morning Pages MySpace Page
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Alexa Wilkinson played a free show at the Living Room last Thursday night. I am still somewhat amazed at what a accomplished live performer Alexa is. As a point of comparison, I have seen a number of artists this early in their career and they still have the somewhat goofy "gee mom, I'm on stage" persona.
Alexa is touring behind her recently released debut CD "Lullaby Appetite". (Check out Interest of Saving Time from the new CD). Most of Alexa's set was from this CD but she worked a few new songs in as well.
Alexa is back on the East Coast later this month for a tour of the Southeast with The Samples. The closest dates in this area are:
Nov. 6, 2007 7:00A CN8 (Live TV, Philadelphia) Philadelphia, PA
Nov. 6, 2007 6:00P World Cafe Live (w/ The Samples) Philadelphia, PA
Nov. 7, 2007 8:00P Blend Bar (w/ The Samples) (21+) Ridgewood, NJ
Alexa Wilkinson's Website
Alexa Wilkinson's MySpace Page
Monday, October 01, 2007
Here is another cool show from Lee & the Unsound crew. Click on the poster for more details. There are so few promoters booking metal/darkambient these days, check out the show and support the local scene.
Let me start by noting that I am a bit embarrassed how long it has taken me to get this transcribed. I’d also like to give a big thanks to Tyler for taking the time to talk with me. It has been a long time since I have met another Dag Nasty fan (or someone who had a clue who Peter Cortner is). I’d also like to thank Jon from Wilspro Management for setting up this interview.
Tyler is a great guy who is passionate about what he is doing with Band of Thieves and this passion really shows in the music.
The band is playing @ Lion’s Dan on October 19th as part of the CMJ Festival. Tickets are only $10 and Band of Thieves is scheduled to go on at 11:00PM.
Band of Thieves has a really cool upcoming gig. They are doing a 4 night cruise in Miami with Lynyrd Skynyrd in January. Tyler said that playing with Skynyrd will be the first time that when someone yells “Freebird”, they will actually get to play the song.
This is really getting to be too long a preamble before the interview but…I didn’t realize Tyler was the guitarist from Midtown. The interview starts with me gushing a bit about how great I thought Midtown was and that I didn’t realize that they had broken up.
BrooklynRocks: Can you tell me a bit about Band of Thieves, how long you have been together, what was the first show like and what you were doing prior to BoT?
Tyler: I was in Midtown for close to 10 years. The band broke up as it was beginning to ruin some friendships. I played in the band from ages 17-27 and, over that period of time, people grow and change – interests change.
Band of Thieves has been together for about 9-10 months. The band started with me writing tracks by myself and posting the tracks to GarageBand.com. It was a careful search to put the band together as I look at a band as a family so it is important that you can work well with the other band members.
The first show was a CMJ show at Bowery Ballroom, with Diamond Nights, and this was my first time as a lead singer.
As for the band, they have a great classic rock style. I went to high school with Leigh (bass) but lost touch with him until running into him at a party. Gitano (guitar) is from Argentina and he moved to the US to date a girl. Anthony (drums) has been doing session work and is a great drummer. Pete is a great musician as well.
Band of Thieves has 12 or 13 songs that we recorded ourselves. Everything was recorded live and I believe that if you can’t sing or play a song live on stage, you don’t want to record it.
BrooklynRocks: How are the shows going so far? What can people expect?
Tyler: It is really important to us that the songs sound good in a live setting. We play live a couple times a week and have been playing around the Boston, Philly, NY/NJ area.
I am getting too old for the kiddie stuff (sleeping in a van every night). I want a hotel room and I want to, a minimum, maintain the audience base that is coming to the shows.
BrooklynRocks: I asked Tyler his thoughts on a recent experience I had. I went to see a band (name intentionally omitted) at a record release show in the Village. The band is on a semi-major label (worldwide distribution) and yet drew only 30ish people (@ $6.00/head). The club took $150 for the door and sound and there were three bands that played that night.
Tyler: It is crazy to be entering the music world at this time. This is what I do – this is my purpose but, even with guarantees and merchandise sales, it is still hard. CD sales are down but music will always exist is some form.
The music industry has changed and this change seems driven by a mix of illegal downloading and bad product. The internet changed everything. There is now an almost unlimited amount of music available and the quality has lessened.
At this point, music is almost taken for granted. The New York Times recently ran an article on how Sweden gives grants to musicians (The Hives) so that they can focus on crafting their art.
BrooklynRocks: I asked Tyler about how he went from playing melodic punk (Midtown) to playing classic rock (Band of Thieves)
Tyler: With all the stuff I was listening to over the last few years, I kept coming back to classic rock and I really love the sound.
These days, rock and roll has become a marketing vehicle – there is nothing dangerous. Punk rock used to be about community and culture – danger, attitude and excitement. These days you can’t tell the difference between Fall Out Boy and Gym Class Heroes. They all look the same on the surface and all sound the same.
BrooklynRocks: As a wrap-up, I asked Tyler about what were some of the craziest shows that he played.
Tyler: Band of Thieves opened for Eric Church (country music) at Bottle & Cork in Dewey Beach at a time when Church had a couple hits on the country charts. The crowd was all wearing cowboy hats and here are some of the post-show comments – “Men shouldn’t were pants that tight” and “He [Tyler] has better legs than a lot of women”.
Midtown did a show with Mos Def and Common at Columbia but the crowd was into all the bands and the mix really seemed to work.
The band has released a three track EP and all the tracks are streaming on the band’s MySpace page. The EP has a great vibe – it sort of has that early Rod Stewart/Faces feel to the music. A demo version of a new track “Oh Oh Oh” was just added to the band’s MySpace page as well.
Earlier this month, the band posted that they have a number of new songs (see song list below) and will be posting new demos to their MySpace page as soon as the songs are mixed.
Truth Been Told
State of Grace
What You Want
In July, the band performed I Know, Woman and Watch Out on Good Morning NY and the clips is achieved on the MyFoxNY.Com site.
Band of Thieves' Website
Band of Thieves MySpace Page