Every now and again, someone sends me music from a band or artist that I hadn't previously heard of which makes me say “wow” but when I go online to look for details on the band, there is essentially nothing. The first of these bands was Castevet and the latest is Austyn Sullivan. The only information that I can find online on Austyn Sullivan is that he is apparently from New Orleans: “Residing in the decaying city of New Orleans. Music is the only way to survive.” (from Last.FM) and his MySpace page describes his music as “Jesus & Mary Chain mainlining cough syrup and jamming in the world’s most cavernous bomb shelter.”
Williams’ latest EP, Nature’s Vein, isn’t as claustrophobically reverb-heavy or feedback-drenched as J&MC so I would suggest that closer points of comparison are Nadja, the Growing or Pelican. Austyn Sullivan’s music is textured ambient drone with murmured vocals beneath the surface which makes for perfect late night/pre-dawn listening. Nature’s Vein is a mature, accessible and well produced effort. While this is a solo project, Nature's Vein is far from a one-man, lo-fi bedroom recording. The disc's seven tracks clock in at 28 minutes so the disc makes an impact quickly which leads to repeated listenings.
Nature’s Veins is posted as a free download and the music should find fans in both the Hydrahead and Southern Lord camps.
Sullivan is in the process of relocating to Brooklyn so hopefully that will be some live performances that follow.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
STREAM: Murphy's Law - "Don't Bother Me" Live
Rocks Off has a number of NYHC bands playing this month as part of their Concert Cruise series. "The Rocks Off Concert Cruise is a 3-hour tour through New York Harbor with Bands, Booze, Bridges and great times."
August 11th, 8PM
Rocks Off Concert Cruise Aboard The Temptress
Pier 81 – W 41st St and West Side Highway
August 12th, 8PM
Rocks Off Concert Cruise Aboard The Jewel
E. 23rd St. & FDR Dr.
August 22nd, 7PM
Rocks Off Concert Cruise Aboard The Temptress
Pier 81 – W 41st St and West Side Highway
Upcoming Rocks Off Concerts
Over the last year, band founder Nick Oliveri and fellow member Hoss, alongside producer Bradley Cook have been working on Mondo Generator's fourth full length album Time To Destroy. During the recording process they enlisted a number of guests to make an appearance and "Dog Food" is the first taste of who is featured on the album. With Marc Diamond (The Dwarves) on guitar duties, Happy Tom (Turbonegro) has laid down some bass tracks, while Dave Grohl provides the drum tracks and Nick Oliveri delivers his trademark vocals. "Dog Food" will be released as a limited edition 7" as well as in an extended cd/digital format on August 10th and the band's US tour kicks off August 4th.
Here is the track list for the CD Single and vinyl 7":
CD Single (21 Minutes)
Smashed Apart (acoustic)
This Isn't Love (acoustic)
Green Machine (live/acoustic)
Endless Vacation (live/acoustic)
Bloody Hammer (live/acoustic)
Dungaree High (live/acoustic)
Pushed Aside (live/acoustic)
Vinyl 7" (5 Minutes)
Smashed Apart (acoustic)
Mondo Generator is playing at Santos Party House on August 19th along with Tweak Bird, Violent Soho and The Netherlands. Tickets are $10 and doors are at 7PM.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Boston's Never Got Caught self-released their second full-length, Creepshow, last year but the disc is now getting some well deserved attention after the band opened for Clutch earlier this summer.
Never Got Caught is led by brothers Bryan "Uzi" Hinkley (guitar/vocals) and Bill Hinkley (drummer) who were part of the post-hardcore Boston outfit Tree. Never Got Caught's sound combines the bluesy groove of bands like Clutch and Alice in Chains with a solid funk influence which touches on bands like Rage Against the Machine and Lucy Brown. Clutch is an obvious touch point for the band as Bryan Hinkley has been working with Clutch for the past couple years as guitar tech / touring guitarist and he also co-wrote a couple songs on From Beale Street To Oblivion. Further adding to the interconnectivity between the two bands, Neil Fallon add vocals to the track "Slipping Out".
There is a quote in the band's bio where Hinkley says "We really [tried] to develop different song progressions and melodies from track to track. Recording Creepshow with Andrew Schneider (Pelican, Unsane), he was really helpful in changing tones and even different drum sounds from song to song." and this describes the album to a tee. The disc switches up between funk-metal ("Slipping Out") to brooding alt-metal ("Anyway") to Alice In Chains style acoustic rock ("Parasite"). The only cut that doesn't work for me is the somewhat overly long and bombastic "Charlotte I" with its spoken word vocals.
All-in-all, Creepshow is a solid outing which should strike a positive chord with both Clutch fans and fans of 90's style metal. A strong follow-up disc should easily catapult the band into a headlining role on a national tour.
Never Got Caught
On Friday, September 3rd 2010, Iggy and the Stooges are putting themselves IN THE HANDS OF THE FANS...
MVD Entertainment Group has launched the site www.InTheHandsOfTheFans.com to offer fans a once in a lifetime opportunity to film and interview Iggy and the Stooges performing the seminal punk rock masterpiece Raw Power at the All Tomorrow's Parties Festival on September 3, 2010. Six lucky fans will be chosen by way of a video submission contest to join director Joey Carey on location at the Stardust Theater at Kutchers' Country Club in Monticello, NY. This marks the reunion between Iggy Pop and powerhouse guitarist James Williamson as well as original Stooges drummer Scott "Rock Action" Asheton. Also featuring Mike Watt on bass and Steve Mackay on saxophone.
The contest is based on fans submitting short high definition video segments asking Iggy and the Stooges interview questions, or demonstrating why they should win the contest. Winners of the contest will film and interview Iggy and the Stooges at All Tomorrow's Parties. This fan shot footage, along with the contestant video submissions, will be crafted into a high definition longform program, which will be part concert film and part reality TV show about the journey of the fans.
"Raw Power is one of the greatest, most dangerous albums in the history of rock and roll" says Ed Seaman, C.O.O. of MVD Entertainment Group. "We are honored to enable the fans this connection with the band; this will be a dream come true for the winners."
IN THE HANDS OF THE FANS will be sustainable as a series; MVD is already deep in discussions with a number of other artists and expects to have five more programs shot within the next six months with new announcements expected any day.
The final program for Iggy and the Stooges IN THE HANDS OF THE FANS is expected to release on DVD, BluRay, digital download and broadcast by early 2011. All contestants will receive a special offer to purchase the film early along with some exclusive value added content.
All Tomorrow's Parties
My company has a drug testing policy so I don’t think that I have been able to fully appreciated Gold. - Mike
Gold: Before Woodstock is one of those ‘lost’ movies - it was in theatrical release in London in 1972 but the film ‘disappeared’ for years and it wasn’t shown in the US until the 90’s. This DVD marks the movie’s home video debut.
I’ve wanted to see Gold for some time simply because the film soundtrack contains the last studio recordings of the MC5. The band recorded three songs ("Gold", "Train Music" and "Inside Out") for the soundtrack during their second trip to London in early 1972. "Train Music" and "Inside Out" were only available on the impossible to find Gold soundtrack LP (Mother Records) and "Gold" finally surfaced on the MC5’s early 80’s compilation Babes in Arms. The soundtrack also includes tunes by Rambin’ Jack Elliot and David McWilliams.
GOLD is an eccentric movie; the film layers hippie flower-power political consciousness on top of a Western and mixes it up with semi-regular soft-core porn scenes. Adding to mix, the film appears to have been loosely scripted and dialogue is most likely improvisational. The improv component shouldn’t come as a surprise as the film stars The Committee theater group members Del Close and Garry Goodrow.
GOLD is sort of like the Rocky Horror Picture Show of its time – it is amusing to watch but you can’t focus on it too deeply. The story line is set in a gold-rush town where no one digs for gold but rather they run around cavorting naked. Garry Goodrow plays the gangster-dressing crooked cop Captain Jinks who wants to control the town’s morality and Del Close plays Hawk, the Che Guevara leaning radical who saves the townspeople from Goodrow.
While none of the characters are fully developed (don’t look for motive here), there are an amusing series of supporting character roles. Verbal Talkingham is Jinks’ hippie patsy and town mayor who is ultimately murdered by Jinks when he decides to rebel and go naked. Miss Gold Nugget (Caroline Parr) is in this film as eye-candy as she has a romp with Talkingham in the beginning of the film and her topless dancing provides a distraction when Talkingham and Jinks beat down mayoral rival candidate LeRoy Acorn.
The plot involves Jinks and Talkingham rigging the mayoral election. Once elected (and the rival candidate sidelined), Talkingham is murdered by Jinks for trying to rebel against him. Jinks attempts to use Talkingham’s death to impose his morality on townspeople and imprisons them in a makeshift concentration camp (which doesn’t seem to bother them or get them to put their clothes back on). Hawk and Acorn join forces, amusingly dressed as Che and Castro, to launch guerilla warfare, free the townspeople and show Jinks that he is a hippie at heart.
What made this disc for me was the bonus features. These include:
- Commentary with director Bob Levis and star Garry Goodrow
- Special commentary track from Upright Citizens Brigade founding members Matt Walsh (The Hangover, Reno 911!) and Ian Roberts (Reno 911!)
- Bob Levis 60-minute interview from NYC cable television,
- Clip from Garry Goodrow 'Tribute'
- Trailers and GOLD Lobby Cards
Both of the first two commentary track are highly amusing. With the first, Lewis and Goodrow tell behind-the-scenes stories while the movie plays (very much like Mystery Science Theater). The later commentary has Walsh and Roberts discussing their friend and colleague Del Close.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Lissie Releases First Single "Bully" From Forthcoming Full-Length as Free Download // Covers Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance"
DOWNLOAD: Lissie - "Bully" (from Catching a Tiger)
Lissie Maurus is a singer/songwriter in the old-school tradition of Rosanne Cash and Nanci Griffth and she got national attention last year with the release of her 5-track EP Why You Runnin'. Lissie now has a full-length, Catching A Tiger, due out in the US on August 17 on Fat Possum Records.
Lissie recorded sessions in Nashville with Jacquire King (who was fresh from working with the Kings of Leon) and also recorded some more with Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses). What came out of these sessions is the bulk of her debut album, Catching A Tiger: 12 songs that range from bluesy-folk to unfettered pop, and showcase both her remarkable voice and her songwriting chops.
Since early this year, Lissie has largely been based in London, where Catching A Tiger has already been released. Embraced lovingly by the British press, she’s been featured in Q, The Sun, The Sunday Times, The Mirror, Time Out, The Big Issue, and on the BBC and Later…with Jools Holland, among others; she’s played with Joshua Radin, Local Natives, and Alan Pownall, in addition to performing at Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN, and The Great Escape in Brighton, England. She’s also picked up praise and support from a wide range of fellow artists, including Katy Perry, Courtney Love, Mumford & Sons, and Ellie Goulding, who joined her onstage to perform “Everywhere I Go” at The Great Escape in May.
Lissie has been posting a few cover tunes to YouTube which include covers of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" and Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" (both below).
A few months back, TMJ lead singer Tim Quirk, now the VP of Programing at Rhapsody, posted a two song live performance from the Artist Activism Retreat. At the closing benefit, Tim and the band performed "King of Beers" and a cover of The Clash's "Hateful".
That’s the horn chart for “King of Beers” above. Who knew it had so many notes?! My favorite part of the chart, though, is this notation in the bridge:
It just says, “crazy.” That’s pretty much how the whole night was. After “King of Beers,” we covered The Clash’s “Hateful,” and Tim McIlrath from Rise Against joined on guitar and vocals. - Tim Quirk
Too Much Joy
Sunday, July 25, 2010
STREAM: R.E.M. - "Throw Those Trolls Away" aka "When I Was Young"
"Legacy" and "anniversary" edition releases seem to be the latest cash-in effort from the major labels and I've found these discs, in general, to be either spot-on or rubbish (with very little middle ground). Unfortunately, the reissue of R.E.M.'s third disc, Fables of the Reconstruction, falls into this later category. This two disc set includes a remastered version of Fables of the Reconstruction along with a second disc which contains fourteen tracks recorded at an Athens rehearsal in February 1985 prior to the band's heading off to England to record Fables.
R.E.M. always seemed to attract both the record collectors and the tapers as they released numerous non-LP b-sides and were still playing a number of eclectic cover tunes in concert so there is a lot of material that could have been included on this release. At a minimum, I would have expected the non-LP singles ("Crazy" (Pylon Cover), "Burning Hell", "Bandwagon" and "Driver 8" (live)) that were on the 90's IRS reissue of Fables to be used to flesh out the 40 minute studio disc. Unfortunately, Disc One has no bonus tracks.
The Athens rehearsals on Disc Two are interesting but non-essential and incomplete. The fourteen tracks cover all eleven tracks from Fables plus "Bandwagon", "Hyena" and "Throw Those Trolls Away" (which was originally known as "When I Was Young" and later morphed into "I Believe"). While played at a bit slower tempo, these rehearsal versions aren't radically different from the final LP versions. Where I get a bit grumpy is that the original rehearsal was seventeen tracks and "Just A Touch", "Theme from Two Steps Onward" and "Burning Hell" aren't included on Disc 2.
For the long-time fan looking to upgrade from their vinyl version of Fables of the Reconstruction, this might be an interesting (yet somewhat expensive) option. I don't see this appealing to the casual fan...if you have been in a cave for the last 25 years and haven't heard this disc, go chase down the IRS reissue which you can probably find cheap in a used CD shop.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Bonded By Blood: "Exiled to Earth" Press Interview with Vocalist Jose Barrales, Earache Records, NYC July '10
Earlier this month, I had a opportunity to catch up with Jose Barrales, vocalist for the Pomona, CA thrash band Bonded by Blood. The band's second album for Earache Records, Exiled to Earth, is due out August 10th. This time around, the band recorded with producer Ralph Patlan (Megadeth, UFO and White Wizzard) and the end results are a heavier and tighter sound.
I talked with Jose about the new release (and the limited edition signed comic strip that comes with the disc if you order through Townsend Records), the evolution of the band since the "Four Pints of Blood" demo and their upcoming tours with Exodus, Overkill, Evile and Early Man.
Bonded by Blood are on the road from August through the end of the year and local shows are August 28th at Gramercy Theater with Exodus and October 10th at Europa with Early Man and Evile. The show at the Gramercy Theater also has Malevolent Creation and Holy Grail on the bill and tickets are $20. Details about the show at Europa aren't posted yet.
Here are the tour dates for the run of shows with Exodus, Malevolent Creation and Holy Grail:
08/16/10 Hawthorne Theater - Portland, OR
08/17/10 Rickshaw Theater - Vancouver, BC - CANADA
08/18/10 Studio Seven - Seattle, WA
08/20/10 The Complex - Salt Lake City, UT
08/21/10 Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO
08/23/10 Reggie's Rock Club - Chicago, IL
08/24/10 The Mod Club - Toronto, ON - CANADA
08/25/10 Foufounes Electriques - Montreal, QC - CANADA
08/27/10 The Palladium - Worcester, MA
08/28/10 The Gramercy Theater - New York, NY
08/29/10 Polaris - Philadelphia, PA
08/31/10 Jaxx - W. Springfield, VA
09/01/10 Peabody's - Cleveland, OH
09/02/10 Phoenix Hill Tavern - Louisville, KY
09/03/10 The Masquerade - Atlanta, GA
09/04/10 The Social - Orlando, FL
09/05/10 Culture Room - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
09/07/10 The Door - Dallas, TX
09/08/10 Emo's - Austin, TX
09/12/10 The Avalon - Santa Clara, CA
Bonded By Blood
Friday, July 23, 2010
The Philistines Jr. Announce First New Disc in Nine Years: 'If A Band Plays In The Woods...?" (Tarquin Records/Embarque)
John Peel, B.B.C. 1 (regarding The Philistines - Greenwich, CT LP)
"...so interesting, such a good LP...a band I think you’ll want to hear more from, frankly."
DOWNLOAD: The Philistines Jr. - "Cable Guy" (previously unreleased track from 2001)
The Philistines Jr. are brothers Peter & Tarquin Katis, drummer Adam Pierce and an extended musical family including piano/theremin virtuoso, Rob Schwimmer, and inventor / musician, Leon Dewan among others. With a reputation as No-Fi home studio recording wizards, they have been recording and releasing their unique brand of experimental pop music since 1990 on their own Tarquin Records label.
Due to Peter's successful producing career (Interpol, The National, etc), Adam's successful label/artist endeavors (Fat Cat, Mice Parade, etc), and Tarquin's homemaking (Henry & Helen!), the band is ramping up from a few years of hiatus.
With most of a new LP complete, the band is trying to decide if it's time to be a real band again. Over the years, the band had great success at college radio, achieved legitimate status as "critics' darlings", recorded three sessions for super-fan John Peel, toured and played with bands from Mercury Rev to Yo La Tengo to Jonathan Richman but still somehow remained perennial underdogs in the music biz.
On October 19, The Philistines Jr. return after a nine year hiatus with "If A Band Plays in the Woods...?" (Tarquin Records/EmBarque), a sharply clever, bittersweet record that teases wisdom out of everyday encounters with litterbug neighbors, unruly pets, and broken cable service.
Comprised of songwriter/producer Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Swell Season), his brother Tarquin, and Adam Pierce (Mice Parade), The Philistines Jr. are a band unafraid to tackle life's big questions. The refrain "Hey, hey, it's the end of the world, again" appears throughout the album's 12 original tracks, but the context shifts each time. The result is a work with shades of melancholy that transform into hope, moments of despondence that blossom into optimism.
As with most Philistines Jr. albums, the music mixes rock instrumentation, vibraphone and glockenspiel, theremin, and electronic sounds including a half-broken sequencer, a cheap Casio keyboard, and a homebrewed instrument, the Dewanatron, here played by its co-inventor Leon Dewan. In keeping with the lyrical themes, the sound is quietly radical -- listen to the subtle but epic shift from keyboards to guitars on the majestic "B." "When I appreciate things for being weird," says Peter, "they're not obviously weird."
So, why the long hiatus? "If you work on a record three days a year," says Peter, "it takes about ten years." During that time, Peter has produced and mixed some of the most important indie releases of the past decade by The National, Interpol, Jonsi (of Sigur Ros), The Swell Season, Tokyo Police Club, Frightened Rabbit, Mates of State, Fanfarlo, and others.
The Philistines Jr. will play select shows this fall. Stay tuned for details.
The Philistines Jr.
Zach Maxwell Plays Show at Sullivan Hall on Thurs., July 29th, to Raise Funds to Clean Up BP Oil Spill
DOWNLOAD: Zach Maxwell - "Silent Bear" EP (requires minimum Paypal donation of $1)
Blues/soul singer/songwriter Zach Maxwell is playing a full band show this Thursday at Sullivan Hall with opening act Sabrina Scott .
Zach and his band have aligned with the National Wildlife Federation to try and raise funds and awareness to help clean up the BP Oil Spill. The money donated will go directly toward identifying wildlife most impacted by the spill, coordinating rescue efforts with NWF’s surveillance teams, and helping to restore the wildlife habitat that has been lost. For nearly 75 years, the National Wildlife Federation and it’s 4 million members have worked to protect America’s wildlife and wild places. Check out NWF’s site for everything oil spill: www.nwf.org/oilspill
Sullivan Hall is located at 214 Sullivan Street (bet Bleeker and W. 3rd) and Zach's set time is 8:30 PM. Tickets are $10.
DOWNLOAD: Alexa Wilding - "Black Diamond Day" (from new self-titled EP)
Alexa Wilding just finished a very successful tour with Au Revoir Simone and she is playing a homecoming show at Rockwood Music Hall on Tuesday (set time at 8PM). Alexa will be playing in support of her self-titled debut EP, which was mixed by Fred Smith of Television and features Tim Foljahn (Cat Power, Townes Van Zandt) on additional guitars and lap steel.
The recent tour with Au Revior Simone got great reviews and I particularly liked Nylon Magazine's preview: "Today, Au Revoir Simone announced they'd be joined by the Brooklyn singer-songwriter Alexa Wilding on their summer tour, which means you can see some cool girls with guitars, without having Sarah McLaughlin breathing down your back."
Alexa began her career performing with International Shades, the art-rock project of ex-Pussy Galore/Sonic Youth drummer, Bob Bert, and guitarist Mark C (Live Skull). "My time playing with the Shades is very dear to me. I was like the kid sister the older boys let into the club house! There would be times in practice where I’d wonder, why did they let ME in. I was thrown into a musical landscape very different from my own, and I had to learn, fast, how to swim – all the while playing it REALLY cool. I was too embarrassed to let on how exciting it was to play in a real rock band, opening for my idols like Mudhoney and Genesis P’Orridge, and maybe they thought it was pretty funny that a little girl in a dress had idols like that!" (from a in-depth interview with MeetYouAtTheShow)
Friday, July 16, 2010
"The Velvet Underground escorting the Bottle Rockets around lower Manhattan"-Austin Chronicle Review of Phonograph
Singer/guitarist Matthew Welsh (Phonograph) is playing a free acoustic show this Saturday @3PM at MOSCOT Gallery (118 Orchard Street, NYC, NY 10002 (NE corner of Orchard & Delancey Streets).
MOSCOT Music Saturday Sessions is a summer series of free, up close, live acoustic performances by emerging artists. MOSCOT heralds and celebrates originality in fashion and music by bringing both together. Guests are invited to enjoy emerging artists and bands in a relaxed, intimate setting and visit the MOSCOT shop upstairs. A portion of music purchased from performers will benefit The MOSCOT Mobileyes Foundation, which enables free quality medical eyecare and prescription eyewear to those who would not otherwise have access to such care.
Singer/guitarist, Matthew Welsh, formed Phonograph in 2005. A chance meeting with Wilco bassist John Stirratt landed Phonograph a slot as an opener on Wilco's national tour, where it earned consistent praise for its inventive songwriting and captivating stage presence. Since then, the band had done multiple US tours and performed at festivals like Bonnaroo and Newport Folk Festival while continuing to garnish national praise.
Following the success of his band Phonograph as well as playing with such bands as Tim Williams (Dovecote Records) and These United States (United Interests), Welsh is embarking on a new project labeled, "Black Deer" that showcases his solo effort as a songwriter. He is currently recording his debut solo album with a tour scheduled for Fall of 2010.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
DOWNLOAD: Chris Shiflet & The Dead Peasants - "Bandaged"
Long-time Foo Fighter/Me First and the Gimme Gimmes guitarist Chris Shiflett just released his first solo CD (Le Coq Napoleon/RCA) on July 13th. Dialing back the arena rock sound of the Foo Fighters, this album is chock-full of soulful pedal steel and slide guitar-accented songs steeped in Shiflett's longtime appreciation of classic country artists (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams) and rockabilly (Gene Vincent, Elvis, Eddie Cochran). Shiflett uses these artists as a jumping-off point to go down a roots-rock path that has been traveled before by The Knitters, Lee Ving's Range War and later-period Replacements.
The nine-song / 35 minute disc never strays far from its core roots-rock sound but there are a number of variations on this theme throughout the disc. The disc starts out strong with the up-tempo and hooky "Helsinki" and moves from there into the Tom Pettyish "Get Along". Two of the other notable cuts are “An Athiest’s Prayer”, which features a duet with Heather Waters and "God Damn", which includes some stellar guitar work complemented by keyboards and the mandolin.
Shiflett's new disc is a solid effort but he doesn't quite have the vocals prowess of comparable singers like Tom Petty and Joe Doe and there isn't enough of the memorable melodies and hooks of bands like The Replacements, X / The Knitters or even the Foo Fighters. Fans of the alt-country/roots-rock genre will certainly find something to like here but this may not enough to pull in a casual listener (or Foo Fighter fan).
Chris Shiflett plays the Mercury Lounge of August 14th. Tickets are $12 and Shiflett is playing with Ari Shine.
Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam (Tamil: மாதங்கி 'மாயா' அருள்ப்ரகாசம்; born 18 July 1975), better known by her stage name M.I.A., is a British songwriter, record producer, singer, rapper, fashion designer, visual artist, and political activist. - Wikipedia
M.I.A. made an appearance on David Letterman earlier this week to play her new single "Born Free". The song features the extensive sampling of Suicide's "Ghost Rider" and Marty Rev appeared with M.I.A. playing keyboards.
For anyone who isn't familiar with the Suicide tune:
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
DOWNLOAD: 50 Foot Wave - "All 4 EPs, instrumentals, live recordings and a few other goodies"
"Kristin Hersh (born August 7, 1966) is an American singer/songwriter who performs solo acoustic concerts; she also has performed as lead singer and guitarist for alternative rock group Throwing Muses and currently leads the hardcore punk-influenced power trio 50 Foot Wave." - Wikipedia
Kristin Hersh is one of the most critically-acclaimed, pioneering female rock musicians of the past two decades. The New York Times called her “a truly fear-inspiring rock innovator,” Rolling Stone dubbed her band, Throwing Muses, “trailblazing” and “one of alternative rock’s most influential but underappreciated groups.” Over the course of her career, she has released over 20 albums, including 9 solo records. Penguin is thrilled to be publishing Kristin’s first literary effort, RAT GIRL: A Memoir (A Penguin Books Original; On-Sale Date: August 31, 2010; ISBN: 978-0-14-311739-1; $15.00; 224 pages), a look at the tumultuous year that transformed her from a precocious and rebellious teenager into a rock star – and mother.
In 1985, Kristin Hersh was eighteen years old and just beginning to find her place in the world. After enrolling in college at an early age, where she befriended the larger-than-life former box office sensation Betty Hutton, she made her home squatting in various apartments around Providence, Rhode Island, hanging out with artists, musicians, addicts and other local characters. Sometimes she would sleep in her car and spend the early morning hours swimming in strangers’ backyard pools, being careful not to wake the owners. Throwing Muses was just getting off the ground; Kristin and her bandmates spent their nights gleefully driving from venue to venue in their dilapidated car, the Silver Bullet, trying to convince the bouncers at clubs that they weren’t just underage kinds trying to get in the bar—they were actually the band.
Then everything changed. Kristin found herself in a very dark place, setting off a series of episodes that culminated in a suicide attempt, after which she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As she slowly began to resurface, Throwing Muses relocated to Boston, where they were celebrated in the local music press and subsequently courted by record labels, both indie and major. Then an even bigger surprise came: Kristin discovered that she was pregnant. Now, instead of wondering what cities in Europe she’d be touring, Kristin found herself wondering if she could afford diapers, whether anti-depressants can be mixed with pre-natal vitamins, and how to balance a guitar on her stomach in her third trimester.
Written in lyrical, evocative, and often hilarious prose, RAT GIRL is the story of one year in a young woman’s life, a year that marked a turning point for her in countless ways. Essentially a love story, the book is brimming with passion for the conflagration that is Hersh’s songwriting process. Filled with indelible characters, from the artists who share her flophouses to the aging movie star who gave her advice on fame, this memoir offers a unique and arresting account of Kristin Hersh’s experience of growing up—much more quickly than she had planned.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
DOWNLOAD: Instant Cities - "Tender Moments in the Funny Part of Town"
Baje One (Mikey Shark) from Junk Science/Nuclear Family releases a new two-song single from Instant Cities as a free download.
Instant Cities is Eamon Hamill, once of Hoboken, now of Prague, who makes music with an assemblage of machines which will eventually become sentient and destroy everything good he’s sought to create.
The evolving musical style takes elements from folk, hip-hop, motel-lounge crooning and various electronic genres, and is possibly best described as “those experiments which haven’t gone wrong”. The lyrics often feature hazy narratives in surreal, half-remembered cityscapes and joyful rants about the fraying of societal fabrics. The overarching idea behind Instant Cities is to make music that reflects the universal beauty and paranoia of urban places.
Basically, Mikey Shark (Baje One) went to Prague and got his old high-school friend Eamon drunk and now “Tender Moments In The Funny Part of Town” and “Coping With Shed Fires” are out on Modern Shark, with other long-titled songs to follow.
DOWNLOAD: Keegan DeWitt - "Say La La"
DOWNLOAD: Keegan DeWitt - Daytrotter Session, July 13, 2010
Nashville-based film composer & indie singer/songwriter Keegan DeWitt just released a new seven-track EP, Nothing Shows, via Daytrotter's Record Barn imprint. Five of the tracks on this new disc fall into the genre of orchestral pop and the remaining two are essentially 80's-style BritPop.
Each track on Nothing Shows provides the listener with a short glimpse into a particular time, place, and feeling. For 30 days in the early fall and winter of last year, Keegan crossed the Atlantic and holed up in a Parisian flat to finish work on Nothing Shows (the title originating from the collected works of poet Philip Larkin). It was there that he’d meld the tender craftsmanship of his New York Times-heralded film scores together with the resonant lyricism found on the diverse Islands. And what emerged are seven songs steeped in specific moments, locations, and emotions.
The majority of the seven tracks are built around Keegan's winsome vocals and the layered production brings in backing harmonies, strings, piano and other instruments to complement the vocals. The lyrical themes center around love, desire, yearning and frustrating. "Tired of Love" highlights the conflicting emotions within this introspection with the couplet "I'm tired of love, I'm tied to love". One of the standout tracks is "Michel Bizot" where Keegan sings a duet with Madi Diaz.
The two cuts that fall outside of the orchestral pop genre are "Say La La" and "Hearts Beat Loud" and both are swirling dance-pop tunes with an infectious beat. "Say La La" has a memorable keyboard riff that repeats throughout the song and is reminiscent of some of the thinking-man's pop that came out of Britain in the 80's. "Hearts Beat Loud" is equally danceable - here is the video:
Monday, July 12, 2010
Tim Chad and Sherry (featuring members of Silver Jews and Lambchop) Release Debut Disc "Baby We Can Work It Out"
DOWNLOAD: Tim Chad and Sherry - "The Love I Make" (Live @ Lake Fever)
DOWNLOAD: Tim Chad and Sherry - "The Greatest Band In the World"
"PSYCHE DANCE. If Steely Dan, The Flaming Lips and R Kelly had a love child, you'd have Tim Chad and Sherry." - The band's self-description
With all the music that I receive on a daily basis, Tim Chad and Sherry caught my ear right away.
Recently, Tim Chad and Sherry (comprised of members of Silver Jews and Lambchop) took a sky rocket in flight to a Cosmic Funkitory and they would now like to present you with their discoveries in the form of the LP, Baby We Can Work It Out (Self Released, July 2010). Fresh off the stage of ATP in England, Tim Chad and Sherry are ready to strike the world with "lightning bolts of dadaist funk-rock like Zeus in a leisure suit on a lazy summer afternoon" (Nashville Scene).
Tim Chad and Sherry formed back in 2002 in Nashville, TN, (surprisingly, with no one named Tim Chad or Sherry). They performed alongside The Fall, Mission of Burma, and Faust. On many occasions, they shared the stage with Pavement, including their reunion. Bob Nastanovich, drummer for Pavement, even recorded their first album, which sold out at Silver Jews shows. Tim Chad and Sherry don't just share the stage, they share the studio. Members have been heard on albums for Andrew Bird, Bonnie Prince Billy and Charlie Louvin (just to name a few).
But, they aren't just a tight band with members from another awesome band that other cool musicians love. Lead singer and drummer, Brian Kotzur, also played a main character in Harmony Korine's (Kids, Gummo, etc) latest movie, Trash Humpers. Brian also stared in Korine's commercial he made for Budweiser in the UK. (He's the one drumming and worming it up).
Tim Chad and Sherry will do a run through the southeast with Ham1 this month, but you can expect a run through the rest of the States this fall.
7/17 Grimey's - Nashville, TN (5:00pm)
7/28 Evening Muse - Charlotte, NC (9:00pm)
7/29 Emerald Lounge - Asheville, NC (9:00pm)
7/30 Discoteca Chattanooga, TN (9:30pm)
7/31 Caledonia Athens, GA (9:00pm)
Tim Chad and Sherry
School of Seven Bells Release "Disconnect From Desire" Tomorrow (Vagrant) // First Track Available As Free Download
DOWNLOAD: School of Seven Bells - "Windstorm"
DOWNLOAD: School of Seven Bells - Live on WNYC Soundcheck
(photo by Abbey Drucker)
"The lyrics revolve around perception and expectation, fate and few will, with the occasional blush of poetic overstatement. Now and then, though, the band unfurls a plain-spoken sentiment. There isn't likely to be a more graceful breakup song this year than 'I L U,' or a more tersely affecting." - New York Times
Indie-pop trio School of Seven Bells are releasing their sophomore album Disconnect from Desire tomorrow on Vagrant Records/Ghostly International. Produced by band member Benjamin Curtis and mixed by Jack Joseph Puig, the album was recorded in the band's home studio and mixed in Los Angeles at Ocean Way Recording. The follow-up to 2008's Alpinisms, Disconnect from Desire is a tremendous leap forward, evident in all elements of the band's intricate sound. The unique experience of playing live allowed the band to step out of their sometimes-insular creative process and explore a newfound connectivity with listeners.
School of Seven Bells kickoff a headlining tour in September and here are the upcoming tour dates:
September 09 - Brooklyn Bowl - Brooklyn, NY
September 11 - Middle East Downstairs - Cambridge, MA
September 12 - Club Metronome - Burlington, VT
September 13 - La Sala Rossa - Montreal, QB
September 15 - Mod Club - Toronto, ON
September 16 - Blind Pig - Ann Arbor, MI
September 17 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
September 18 - Majestic Theatre - Madison, WI
September 19 - 7th St. Entry - Minneapolis, MN
September 20 - Blue Moose Tap House - Iowa City, IA
September 21 - Waiting Room - Omaha, NE
September 23 - Record Bar - Kansas City, MO
September 24 - Larimer Lounge - Denver, CO
September 25 - Urban Lounge - Salt Lake City, UT
September 27 - Neumos - Seattle, WA
September 28 - Biltmore Cabaret - Vancouver, BC
September 29 - Doug Fir Lounge - Portland, OR
September 30 - Independent - San Francisco, CA
October 1 - Echoplex - Los Angeles, CA
October 2 - Detroit Bar - Costa Mesa, CA
October 3 - The Loft- San Diego, CA
October 5 - Plush - Tucson, AZ
October 6 - Launchpad -- Albuquerque, NM
October 8 - Hailey's -- Denton, TX
October 9 - Mohawk - Austin, TX
October 10 - Warehouse Live - Houston, TX
October 11 - Spanish Moon - Baton Rouge, LA
October 12 - Club Downunder - Tallahassee, FL
October 14 - Crowbar - Tampa, FL
October 15 - The Social - Orlando, FL
October 16 - Grand Central - Miami, FL
October 18 - The Earl - Atlanta, GA
October 19 - Local 506 - Chapel Hill, NC
October 20 - Ottobar - Baltimore, MD
October 21 - Rock and Roll Hotel - Washington, DC
October 22 - Johnny Brendas - Philadelphia, PA
School of Seven Bells
Sunday, July 11, 2010
DOWNLOAD: Hurricane Bells - "This Year" (from Tonight is the Ghost)
Hurricane Bells will release a new EP, "Down Comes The Rain", on September 7th, 2010.
"Down Comes The Rain" was recorded by band architect Steve Schiltz in his Brooklyn, NY, apartment and Queens, NY, studio over the past six months, during breaks from touring in support of the band's debut album, Tonight Is The Ghost. As with that album, Schiltz entirely wrote, recorded, played, and produced the EP himself, this time with backing vocals from Hurricane Bells touring mainstay Ashen Keilyn (of Scout). "Down Comes The Rain" includes two new songs from the band, the gently ringing guitars and brushed drums of "The Waiting Song" and the cascading "The Deep End." The EP also features three cover songs: the jangly power-pop of "Make A Deal With The City" by East River Pipe; the reverb-heavy, undulating "Into The Ocean" by Blue October (with whom Hurricane Bells toured in April); and the sweet acoustic yearnings of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow." The latter, made popular by The Shirelles, is here sung with Keilyn in a duet that has become a staple at Hurricane Bells' live shows. September headlining dates surrounding the EP's release will be announced soon.
"Down Comes The Rain" track listing:
- Make A Deal With The City
- The Waiting Song
- Into The Ocean
- The Deep End
- Will You Love Me Tomorrow
Hurricane Bells' MySpace Profile
Local filmmakers deal with stolen dogs, dying industries, gentrification and immigration, in fiction and documentaries with that particular Brooklyn flair: sensitive tough guys and boldly smart girls.
-Mark Elijah Rosenberg
This is a free showing that will be held at Fort Greene Park (Myrtle and N. Portland, Brooklyn, NY 11205 -- Enter the park at Myrtle and N. Portland and walk up the path) on Saturday, July 17th. Doors open at 8PM and the films start at 8:30PM.
Here is the list of films that will be shown:
PRINCE/WILLIAM (Keith Miller | Brooklyn, NY | 8 min.)
Prince/William is the true story of a single confrontation over a dog found in a rapidly changing neighborhood. keith-miller.com
SELTZER WORKS (Jessica Edwards | Brooklyn, NY | 7 min.)
In this short and bubbly documentary, the last bottler in Brooklyn fends off the supermarket seltzer take-over and honors this simple drink's place in history. seltzerworks.com
OPEN HOUSE (Diane Nerwen | Brooklyn, NY | 31 min.)
Readily visible under the thin veneer of real estate ads pushing Brooklyn's future as a destination for the moneyed, yet "hip," classes is an urban renewal project on a scale not seen since Robert Moses' "slum" clearance of the 1960's. With images of a neighborhood being literally torn apart by outside developers capitalizing on a frenzied housing market, and locals under pressure to "sell out" while the price is right, this work documents aspects of an incredible drama that has been woefully underreported in the mainstream media. -Peter Scott on dianenerwen.com
NO WARD (Terence Nance | Brooklyn, NY | 11 min.)
A moving documentary about the forced migration of New Orleans residents, who have faced difficulty with remarkable dignity. terrencenance.com
MONROE ST. (Durier Ryan | Brooklyn, NY | 10:10 min.)
A young man from Bed-Stuy keeps his creative aspirations a secret. His camera's lens helps him see the beauty in his neighborhood, but will he be brave enough to share it with the people he loves? A film about finding the courage to open up.
MARIACHI (Elena Greenlee | Brooklyn, NY | 13 min.)
Carlos is a local teen struggling to carve out his identity somewhere between his Mexican-born parents and his Brooklyn-bred peers. An unexpected accident and an ensuing immigration investigation force him into uncharted territory, further from home and closer to finding himself.
LAREDO, TEXAS (Topaz Adizes | Brooklyn, NY | 11 min.)
Rooftop alum and Brooklyn local Adizes returns to Rooftop with this story of tensions among generations of hard-working immigrants. topazadizes.com
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Karen Rockower (Bugs in the Dark) Plays National Underground on July 13th // Solo Disc Out August 25th
DOWNLOAD: Karen Rockower - "Drawing Roses" (from Whales Standing)
I've been a big fan of Brooklyn art-punk band Bugs in the Dark for the last few years. Co-vocalist/guitarist Karen Rockower is releasing her debut solo CD on August 25th (at a show at Union Hall) and her new band is making their Manhattan debut at The National Underground next Tuesday night. Cover is $8 and the show is scheduled to start around 8PM.
Karen has a new YouTube channel where she has been posting rehearsal and behind-the-scenes videos with her new band and she just posted "Episode 4" (below).
I love these guys' press quotes...
"A quartet that plays whatever the hell it likes. Wails, shouts, meandering guitars and more are laid over an impressively throbbing rhythm section. I suppose you could call this "gloom," but the drums and bass are simply too jaunty. A fine collection of disconcerting sounds." -Aidabet.com
We Are Hex will be traversing the Eastern U.S. this summer in support of their upcoming Roaring Colonel Records release Hail The Goer which is out August 3rd. This is the band's sophomore album and their music is angular post-punk (think Joy Division, the Cure, Gang of Four and PJ Harvey) crossed with the ferocity of the classic punk bands.
We Are Hex came together in 2008 and moved into a foul Indianapolis neighborhood where they locked themselves away in their studio space, dubbed the Hex Haus. In the spring of 2009, the band released their self-recorded debut full-length, Gloom Bloom, to positive reviews. After a summer of touring, they returned to the Hex Haus to create a new, very different record. Stripped of the auxiliary instruments and melodies that crowded arrangements on previous releases, the eight tracks on Hail the Goer are provided room to breathe. With delicate flute floating over powerful drums, or dry vocals thrown against a wall of noise, We Are Hex carefully select sonic elements that display their range, without sacrificing the dark, cohesiveness of the record.
Tickets for Wednesday's show are $5.00 and We Are Hex are playing with Brooklyn synth-pop band The 48 Hours. Doors are at 9PM but get to The Bell House early for free vodka lemonades from 7PM - 8PM.
We Are Hex
Thursday, July 08, 2010
DOWNLOAD: Impedance Sampler (w/ Hy-Test's "Girl in Black", Nick Oliveri's "This Isn't Love", etc.)
Following up on their 2006 EP “The Little Band That Could”, Wollongong, Australia garage-punk outfit Hy-Test have just released their debut full-length, Dishing Out the Good Times (Impedance Records). This disc finds the band on the same label as Nick Oliveri and Hy-Test bassist/vocalist Luke Armstrong and guitarist/vocalist Mick Curley were most recently members of Mondo Generator’s 2010-touring lineup.
The tie to Mondo Generator gives a good indication of what to expect from Dishing Out the Good Times. The brunt of the disc is fuzzed-out garage punk but there are significant elements of hardcore toward the later half of the disc. The disc’s eleven tracks barrel by in just under 30 minutes leaving the listener with barely enough time to catch their breath.
Here is a live video from a few years back that gives a good indication of the ferocity of the band’s live show.
While the band sticks to their high-energy format across this disc, there are enough stylistic surprises to keep the listener's attention. The disc starts strong with the driving, grungy opening-track “9 Volt” and goes from there into the hard-edged power pop of “Girl in Black”. “Crazy for You” starts with a spoken word/funk groove which leads into an explosive breakdown. From here, the band goes through alt-rock (“Magnet”), MC5-style R&B (“Goodbye”), and straightforward hardcore (“Our Career”, “Smokeskull”). Finishing up the disc is the instrumental “Rambling of a Mute”.
There is more than enough to like here so…fingers crossed for a US tour sometime in the near future.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Ashton Nyte is considered to have pioneered alternative music in South Africa and he made his NYC debut at Fontana's with a CD release show for his latest disc The Valley (Intervention Arts Records). I had a chance to talk with Ashton before the show and this video also includes the first song from the set.
Here are Ashton's upcoming tour dates (which include a return trip to NYC on July 23rd):
Thursday, July 8 8:30PM (acoustic)
Mars Cafe: 2318 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311-4316
Saturday, July 10 8:00PM (acoustic)
Kick Butt Coffee: 5775 Airport Boulevard, Austin, TX 78752
Sunday, July 11 10:00PM (full band)
Headhunters: 720 Red River Street, Austin, TX 78701
Monday, July 12 8:00PM (full band)
Avant Garden: 411 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77006
Tuesday, July 13 5:30PM (acoustic in-store appearance)
Cactus Music: 2110 Portsmouth Street, Houston, TX 77098
Refreshments provided by St. Arnold Brewing Company
Thursday, July 15 9:00PM (acoustic)
Checkpoint Charlie's: 501 Esplanade Ave, New Orleans, LA 70116
Saturday, July 17 10:00PM (full band)
The Highlands Taproom: 1279 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204
Friday, July 23 8:00PM – 9:00PM (full band)
The Gallery Bar: 120 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002-3177
Saturday, July 24 10:00PM (full band)
Spellbound @ Recessions: 1823 L Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
Dax Riggs (x-deadboy & The Elephantmen) Releases Sophomore CD on August 3rd // Shows at Mercury Lounge on Aug. 14 & 15
DOWNLOAD: Dax Riggs - "No One Will Be A Stranger" (from Say Goodnight to the World)
Note: Song hosted on Spin.Com; It is sad that I have to includes comments like this to keep the RIAA weenies away
Former Acid Bath and deadboy & The Elephantmen frontman Dax Riggs is releasing releasing his second solo CD Say Goodnight to the World on August 3rd (Fat Possum) and he is kicking off a national headlining tour on July 30th in Frisco, TX. The tour wraps up at Hal and Mal's in Jackson, MS on Sept. 24th and the tour itinerary includes a two-night stand at the Mercury Lounge on August 14th and 15th.
Say Goodnight To The World was recorded at Riggs' Austin, TX, home over two weeks in January. This new disc has been described as being "at times heavy, haunting and otherworldly - unexpectedly beautiful or rocking in its deadboy-like deathpop at others". Riggs co-produced the album with Robbie Lee (guitar and multi-instrumentalist; also of The Howling Hex, Baby Dee), with mixing by Eric Wofford (The Black Angels, Bill Callahan). Bandmates Charley Siess and Kevin Fitzsimmons handle drums and bass, respectively.
The August 14th show at Mercury Lounge is a late show which is scheduled for 11:30PM. The August 15th show is scheduled for 9:30PM and tickets for each night are $12.00.
Here are the current tour dates:
JUL. 30 -- FRISCO, TX, LOCHRANN'S
JUL. 31 -- LITTLE ROCK, AR, JUANITA'S
AUG. 05 -- AUSTIN, TX, THE MOHAWK
AUG. 06 -- HOUSTON, TX, WALTER'S ON WASHINGTON
AUG. 07 -- NEW ORLEANS, LA, ONE EYED JACKS
AUG. 09 -- BIRMINGHAM, AL, BOTTLETREE
AUG. 10 -- ATLANTA, GA, THE EARL
AUG. 11 -- CARRBORO, NC, CAT'S CRADLE
AUG. 12 -- WASHINGTON, DC, DC9
AUG. 14 -- NEW YORK, NY, MERCURY LOUNGE
AUG. 15 -- NEW YORK, NY, MERCURY LOUNGE
AUG. 18 -- CLEVELAND, OH, GROG SHOP
AUG. 19 -- GRAND RAPIDS, MI, THE INTERSECTION
AUG. 20 -- CHICAGO, IL, EMPTY BOTTLE
AUG. 21 -- ST. LOUIS, MO, THE OLD ROCK HOUSE
SEPT. 08 -- SAN DIEGO, CA, CASBAH
SEPT. 09 -- LOS ANGELES, CA, SPACELAND
SEPT. 10 -- LOS ANGELES, CA, SPACELAND
SEPT. 11 -- SAN FRANCISCO, CA, CAFÉ DU NORD
SEPT. 14 -- PORTLAND, OR, DANTE'S
SEPT. 15 -- SEATTLE, WA, THE SUNSET
SEPT. 18 -- MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 7TH STREET ENTRY
SEPT. 21 -- DES MOINES, IA, VAUDEVILLE MEWS
SEPT. 22 -- COLUMBIA, MO, MOJO'S
SEPT. 23 -- OXFORD, MS, PROUD LARRY'S
SEPT. 24 -- JACKSON, MS, HAL & MAL'S
Monday, July 05, 2010
DOWNLOAD: Sunset - "When Perfect Flames Expire"
This Thursday, July 8th, Rooftop Films is showing the NYC premier of films Nyarma and Polar Explorer, two films filled with the howling wilderness of the Russian frontier.
The show is on the roof of Brooklyn Technical High School (29 Fort Greene Place - G to Fulton, C to Lafayette, 2,3,4,5 to Nevins or B,M,Q, R to Dekalb). Doors open at 8PM, Austin roots/folk band Sunset plays at 8:30 and the films begin at 9PM. Tickets are $10.
NYARMA (Edgar Bartenev | Russia | 40 min.) (video trailer)
Having screened Edgar Bartenev's short film Yaptic Hasse at Rooftop in 2008, we are thrilled to welcome him back with this fabulous follow-up film. Once again documenting a family of nomadic Nenets who live in the Siberian tundra, Bartenev's grand cinematography immerses us in the gorgeous and harsh scenery, while the intimacy of his familial inspection introduces us to the minute details of their remote life.
The Nenets make their home on high plains that are covered with a rugged dark soil, surrounded by steep hills and rocky peaks that disappear into the clouds, capped by a low-hanging sky. It's an otherworldly landscape that implicitly imparts a deep and intractable isolation. They travel hundreds of miles around the region, amazingly capturing enormous wild reindeer, feeding them by hand, taming them into work, utilizing their milk, meat and fur for themselves and as sellable commodities. They move across the tundra on handmade "nyarma," reindeer-pulled wooden sleds, living off the land as their people have done for centuries, seemingly untouched by modernity.
But even their isolated lives are changing in the modern world. Railroads and highways are shrinking their grazing grounds. Federal regulations limit how many deer they can herd. 24-year-old family head Gosha Nogo struggles to keep fellow men around the community, a necessity given the need for mutual aid in this harsh realm. An outstandingly-crafted documentary, Nyarma quietly and passionately tells a story that mixes the ethereal feelings of a unique way of life with the gritty facts of survival.
POLAR EXPLORER (Nikolay Volkov | Russia | 39 min.)
Tomash Petrovsky is an arctic explorer, fascinated by the hypnotic power of the shifting ice, drawn to the dynamic wasteland that surrounds the eerie power of the magnetic pole. The basis of his life includes taking a helicopter through a blizzard to a hulking, dazzlingly frozen boat; avoiding giant bears swimming through the black water; coping with sunless days and subfreezing temperatures. His elderly mother, for one, can't fathom why he goes: when she was young, Soviet citizens were sent to places like that as punishment. Certainly life on his summery green farm seems much more pleasurable.
Still, in this exquisite, delicately-constructed film, there are obvious delights to the polar life: watching adorable bear cubs frolic in the floes, creating a bond with the other workers (and work dogs), the important scientific research they are conducting, and, of course, the all-consuming beauty of the white landscape, breaking apart spectacularly under the red-painted jaws of their ship or the immense pressure of unthinkable amounts of ice.
When the huskies begin to fight, like canaries in a coalmine, they indicate to the crew that trouble is afoot. But there's little they can do when those breathtaking ice movements scatter their camp, sinking Petrovsky's own home and nearly killing him. But as Russian polar explorers, Petrovsky and his crew demonstrate the unbelievably stoic determination that is the key emotion explored in this daring documentary.
DOWNLOAD: Rooney - "I Don't Wanna Lose You"
Los Angeles pop-rock band Rooney is out on the road this summer in support of their third full-length CD Eureka.
Outside of the track posted above, I haven't heard the new disc yet but have read some pretty solid reviews. Consequence of Sound called the disc "the perfect encapsulation of a killer day at the beach” and Baeble Music said that the "Ureka is simply nostalgic, it's a beacon back to the days when popular rock music was defined more by the band's aesthetics than the expectations of the assumed audience."
Rooney is currently out on the road with Black Gold and Young Veins and they will join the Hanson tour in late July. The band has recently been making some promo/press appearances and they played an acoustic set last month at Brooklyn Bridge Park
Watch the full concert at baeblemusic.com
With Black Gold and Young Veins:
July 07 The Social Orlando, FL
July 08 Common Grounds Gainesville, FL
July 09 Crowbar Tampa, FL
July 10 The Loft Atlanta, GA
July 11 Amos' Southend Charlotte, NC
July 12 Handlebar Greenville, SC
July 14 Irving Plaza New York, NY
July 15 Bottle & Cork Dewey Beach, DE
July 16 Chameleon Club Lancaster, PA
July 17 Crazy Donkey Farmingdale, NY
July 18 Toad's Place New Haven, CT
July 19 School of Rock Hackensack, NJ
July 22 The Chance Poughkeepsie, NY
July 21 Club Infinity Williamsville, NY
July 23 South Shore Music Circus Hyannis, MA
July 24 South Shore Music Circus Cohasset, MA
July 25 Theatre of Living Arts Philadelphia, PA
July 27 Sonar Baltimore, MD*
July 28 The Hat Factory Richmond, VA
July 29 State Theatre Falls Church, VA*
July 30 Orange Peel Asheville, NC
July 31 Lincoln Theatre Raleigh, NC
August 01 WorkPlay Birmingham, AL*
August 02 Headliners Louisville, KY
August 03 Wildhorse Saloon Nashville, TN
August 04 Minglewood Hall Memphis, TN
August 05 Pageant St. Louis, MO
August 06 Redstone Room Des Moines, IA*
August 07 Beaumont Club Kansas City, MO
August 09 Vaudeville Mews Des Moines, IA*
August 10 Minnesota Zoo Ampitheatre Apple Valley, MN
August 11 High Noon Saloon Madison, WI*
August 12 Pabst Theatre Milwaukee, WI
August 13 House of Blues Chicago, IL
August 14 House of Blues Chicago, IL
August 16 The Intersection Grand Rapids, MI
August 17 Royal Oak Music Theatre Royal Oak, MI
August 18 The Strutt Kalamazoo, MI*
August 19 House of Blues Cleveland, OH
August 20 Carnegie Music Hall Munhall, PA
August 21 Newport Music Hall Columbus, OH
August 23 Moonlite Gardens Cincinnati, OH
August 24 Egyptian Room @ Murat Ctr Indianapolis, IN
August 25 Cain's Ballroom Tulsa, OK
August 26 Granada Theatre Dallas TX*
August 27 House of Blues Houston, TX*
August 28 Emo's Austin, TX*
* = Rooney headline date
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Sunday School Massacre (MVD Audio) is the debut solo effort from the (frequently naked) Dwarves guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed. This 12 track // 33 minute disc is a bit harder-edged and than recent releases from The Dwarves but it isn’t that far removed from The Dwarves’ core sound.
The songs are predominately guitar-heavy pieces where a number of songs build to a wall-of -noise (similar to early Nirvana). The Nirvana comparison holds in part with the vocals as well as HeWhoCannotBeNamed has a rough but clear vocal style that is closer to Bleach-era Cobain than Blag’s smoother delivery. The overall disc has a clean sound, courtesy of HeWhoCannotBeNamed and co-producer Bradley Cook (Counting Crows, Foo Fighters) and features Dwarves bassist Saltpeter on bass and acoustic guitars, The Fresh Prince of Darkness on guitar and Andy Selway (KMFDM, The Dwarves) on drums. Both Nick Oliveri and Blag Dahlia add guest vocals to a couple of the tracks.
Given HeWhoCannotBeNamed’s long tenure with The Dwarves, it is no surprise that the lyrical themes are in the gutter. Lyrics for these twelve sing-a-long punk anthems range from the disc opener “Happy Suicide” (no explanation needed here), Dwarves style sexual themes (“Duct Tape Love” – “greatest invention of mankind, the only way to make you mine”) to sci-fi (“Machine Boy”). The disc bounces around stylistically between grunge, punk and power pop but none of these style shifts are disconcerting. “Superhero” features vocals from Blag and could have been a Dwarves cut, “Duct Tape Love” sounds like a Ramones outtake and “Toxine” sounds like a sixties-style ‘girl group’ ballad. “Sinister Sal” is clausterphobic and psychedelic, like an early Dwarves cut and “Wake Up” includes a rap break. (“Get Stupid // Go Dumb // Ride This Yellow Bus with Your Zipper Undone”)
HeWhoCannotBeNamed claims that the lyrics and title, Sunday School Massacre, were inspired by his experiences as a counselor/teacher with teenagers suffering from mental illness or abuse and that many of the songs were actually written while he was on duty at a residential treatment facility. Coming from a guy who faked his own death back in the 90’s, you have to take stories like this with a grain of salt but it does make for fun reading.
Here's HeWho has revealed about the song "Machine Boy":
"There was this kid that I worked with when I was a counselor. I'll call him S____. S____ was about 13 when I knew him, and he had some serious physical disabilities because his mom's boyfriend had beat the shit out of him when he was an infant. I heard that the guy had thrown him into a wall when he was less than a year old. Anyway, it had seriously fucked him up. Both his hands were gnarled so that he couldn't really pick stuff up. His spine was out of alignment or something, so he had to wear some kind of brace. Of course, he wore big thick glasses, and before he went to bed he had to use a breathing apparatus with big tubes. And to top it all off, he regularly shit his pants so he had to wear diapers. Life had not been good to S____, but he was really a pretty nice kid in spite of all this. I noticed that S____ was really into reading comics. He especially liked superheroes, and I think he imagined himself to be one. One night I saw him getting ready for bed with his fresh diaper on, breathing through his big plastic tubes while reading some comic, and I wondered if S____ himself were to be a superhero, like he most likely imagined himself, what he would be like. That night I sat down and wrote most of "Machine Boy". I couldn't quite get the last verse though, so the next day I asked S____ for help. I asked him what he thought the strongest super power of all is. He looked at me thoughtfully for a moment, then said "I think it's the "Soul Burn". He explained that this is an evil power that goes far beyond just destroying your body, but gets completely inside you and burns everything else out. S_____ actually inspired some of the lines in Motorboating as well."
Sunday School Massacre is raw, lewd and fun – the way punk rock was meant to be.