25 January, 2011

Washed Out - Pissed Off

We headed out to Backbooth on Saturday, a last minute decision to see Washed Out. Maisy had shared some songs with me and I was excited. Doors were at 7 PM, we arrived a few minutes late; doors weren't open. In fact, despite the cold - doors didn't open for another hour. When we finally got in, we nursed two ciders a piece for another hour.

Finally - the first band made their way to the stage, Emily Reo. Of course, with lo-fi bands, you will experience a mix of tapes, electronics, and live band - Emily Reo relied heavly on pre-recorded music and disappointly, vocals - and her actual voice lay so buried in the noise that she not only unimpressed me, she also made me annoyed that I waited two hours for her. Mercifully, she played only 3 songs.

Next up, Holiday Shores. I totally dug song one. I totally did not dig anything that followed. It was two keyboardists facing off to one another, and a drummer. Not the worst thing I've ever experienced, and May mentioned that she thought they were fair and would like to hear studio material.

The Tenant. Clearly - one of these bands is not like the others. The Tenant is odd man out. I imagined tattoo artists that should be opening for The Black Crowes - but musically, it was an odd journey.
We started out lo-fi with a tinge of rock... but then the set was turned on it's head. Midway through a hipster's wet dream of light rolicking beach fare - we went dark into Faint territory and exploded into a frenzy of breakbeat electronics bordering on techno. Last two songs were fucking awesome!

Last up, Washed Out. Mind you, I left my watch at home, but Maisy's internal clock was ticking close to alarm. Four songs in, everything is noce, the band sounds awesome, the energy is high, and we discover the venue has sold out. "We're in for a treat!", I convince myself. Then the bottom falls out. Our singer explains that he is having "computer issues, as I'm sure you noticed, so this is going to be out last song... but we're going to jam for awhile!" The pieces come together. Anyone that frequents Backbooth knows that the venue has a midnight curfew. Maisy's alarm and this bit of info from the singer puts these two puzzle pieces painfully together into a portrait of BS. If Washed Out had sucked, it might have been a blessing, or perhaps fuel my anger on this asshole trying to maintain his cool (or geeky) image by blaming his pc (probably a Mac) - but they were good and it left me wanting a longer show. I will see them again - but I will be looking down my nose at them.

16 January, 2011

Weekend Of Music

This is one of those coping mechanisms - I choose not to think about 'problems' - so I will buy a lot of music instead. It's only slightly cheaper than heroin - but it does last a lot longer. Friday - for a mere $30 investment - I picked up 18 cds. Maisy and I decided on a listening party so we stacked the cds and went one after the other. Amazingly - the manner in which we stacked them somewhat dictated the appreciation in which we'd have for them. The were stacked as follows:
1. The White Mice: ASSPhiXXXEATATESHUN - personally, I wasn't over the top on this one. Maisy quite enjoyed it though. It is experimental hardcore, and it is the creation of three men who have taken mouse names and wear mouse heads. The tone for my album was Satanism and it's indulgences and it was brought to me by Anonymouse, Euronymouse, and Mouseteratu.
2. Eagles: Desperado - a good album but I picked this one up for my dad.
3. Cafe Tacuba: Reves/Yosoy - I can't believe I found an original of this release. It dates early in their career and this is truly the indie album among their selections. It's musically experimental and there's hints to the direction the band would go.
4. Sixpence None The Richer: Tickets For A Prayer Wheel - When I was a DJ - I would sneak Christian acts into whatever I was spinning. It's where the monicker Haloe originated. Sixpence was one of the better groups putting out music in the early 90's...and R.E.X. music were pioneers in finding the coolest bands.
5. Odd Nosdam: No More Wig For Ohio - this is an awesome find. I knew nothing about this project, who is in fact one individual; David P. Madson. He has worked on countless projects but most notably, Peeping Tom with Mike Patton. This album is in the vein of DJ Shadow - dub/hip hop/sampling. Very nice. A cross between Mody and DJ Shadow.
6. Run Lola Run (Soundtrack) - I've had a cd-r copy of this for ages - how nice to finally have the original! I love this score and when I need to be pumped for a day - on it goes.
7. Courtneys: Shake It If You Got It E.P. - Bought this on looks alone. Imagine my surprise to find out they are local. This band is fucking awesome! I WILL GO SEE THEM THIS YEAR! Total indie band that brings every influence you can imagine into their music. They are not frightened to frolic through the genres in a whimsical fashion.
8. DJ Shadow: You Can't Go Home Again - A 3-song single, with some tracks from The Private Press. Track 2, "Disavowed" features Zack de la Rocha - but before you get too wet with excitement - it's his percussion prowess, not vocal angst featured here. He did however cowrite the song and it's worth checking out!
9. Viking Moses: The Parts That Showed - this is a wonderful album. It's new folk, and if you can imagine Smog singer Bill Callahan doing a solo show after throwing back a few, you can pinpoint exactly what Viking Moses sounds like. Actually - I was so captivated by the similarity, that I had to listen to Bill Callahan the following day.
10. Viking Moses: Swollen & Small - honestly, this is where the stack of cds take a turn for the bad. This e.p. is all cover songs of Neutral Milk Hotel - and well, it's a hard listen. Actually - I don't recommend listening at all. No Bill Callahan here - more like a studio filled with confused people teaching autistic adults how to sew with musical instruments. Doesn't make sense, right? Exactly.
11. Keleton DMD: Dirtriders - oooh. Too much Jawbreaker in their diet. Skip. Don't let the track Sex Hawk fool you into thinking you are in for anything other than a fantasy about your lunch lady from high school.
12. Walter Sickert & The Army Of Broken Toys: Walter Sickert & The Army Of Broken Toys - Neither Maisy nor myself knew what to think of this upon appearances alone. She went with Dresden Dolls - I steered toward Stabbing Westward. It's unfortunate that we were both wrong, and how sad is that? It is not goth, it is not new cabaret, it is not industrial or even indie. It is pretty lame though. You've probably heard the term steampunk - it probably makes you want to drink your own pee like it does me... this however is a group of steampunks with too much free time and access to drugs... they have developed steamcrunk. Nuff said - go kill yourself now.
13. Shannon Murray / Ryan Harvey: Love & Fear - yeah. nice little b & w paper cover had me thinking, "cool", and I flip it over to see a coinage of words that had me say outloud, "COOL!". Those words were, "RIOTFOLK". Awesome - I am imagining Devendra Banheart getting ahold of some bad acid. Bring it on! Then you listen, and you realize the riot is meant for you - I wanted to go burn some buildings and torch some hippies for making me think this was going to be cool.
14. Sunburned: GLEK - You should win some sort of prize just for figuring out who in the hell this was. Once you do figure it out - you then simply need to filter out the 130 other releases since 2002 to find out more about what you're holding. I wish 131 releases in 8 years was an exaggeration, but it whole-heartedly is not. This is ambient experimental music - not bad...but definitely something one has to be in the mood for.
15. Ultralyd: Chromosome Gun - Free Jazz, Funk, and suck.
16. Myndsight: The Wicked You - turns out this is another local band. Obviously Maynard from Tool and Layne of Alice In Chains had children - who knew? I bet I could sell this has unheard Alice In Chains and Tool demos on eBay! The sad part is, they waited until 2005 to jump a burned and buried bandwagon.
17. Mommy And Daddy: Fighting Style Killer Panda E.P. - a two-piece band. They should hire more musicians. They are stuck somewhere between hard rock, post punk, and alternative rock - but none of it blends too well at all.
18. Mommy And Daddy: Mommy And Daddy E.P. - this is better than the other e.p. actually. When "daddy" sings - he emulates Johnny Rotten, whom I like. When "mommy" sings - it's not good at all. I actually can't figure out how out of all the bands in NYC, this found it's way abroad.

12 January, 2011

Screen Vinyl Image - "Ice Station"

What's cooler than picking up the new 7-inch or 12-inch and pulling out some deliciously colored vinyl? Well, if the current trend among indie bands is one to covet - then it's a deliciously colored cassette. Numerous bands on a variety of labels; Sub Pop is no exception - have chosen to offer limited releases on cassette. So far, to the best of my knowledge, these releases have consisted of live material, demo material, b-sides, or remixes - this is no exception. Ice Station inludes 2 new tracks, 4 live tracks, a demo, and 4 songs recorded during studio sessions. What I wasn't prepared for was how incredible this cassette was going to be. Every song is masterfully executed, and this release outshines anything the band has done previously. It leaves me coveting a new full length.

Screen Vinyl Image, for those unfamiliar with them are among the crop of new shoegaze bands to emerge - carrying with them the best of elements of the early-nineties darlings MBV, Lush, Slowdive, etc. and integrating the soundscape with electronics, and JAMC Psychocandy-esque noise. It's an exquisite visit - and though few can come close to the perfection that A Place To Bury Strangers has mastered, there is enough deviation and experimentation by their peers to provide fodder for those seeking more. "All Places", the final track on this release is so gentle in it's approach, you're barely coherant for the abrupt end. Sort of like having the adrenaline syringe stabbed into your heart to bring you back from places unknown and all too comfortable. "Siberian Eclipse (Demo)" would serve well as the soundtrack to "2001: A Space Odyssey", or any Kubrick film for that matter. As a whole - this release is amazing. It is still available through their site, and you will get a download code so you don't have to tear into your cellophane if you don't want to. I haven't (yet). I hope to see them live this year. I don't think they've been through my neck of the woods, but hopefully that will change.

04 January, 2011

Death Of Samantha - "Where The Women Wear The Glory And The Men Wear The Pants"

In the late 80's/early 90's - I was struggling to find new music. Major chains like Record Bar and Tracks had created a small section of "Alternative" music. At the time, finding any of it on cd was damn near impossible, not to mention extortion - so cassettes were my only course of pursuit. This has actually worked out, in that this all was taking place when the tapes from the 80's were going out of print, labels were going under, and these two chains were about so die a quiet death.

Death Of Samantha; this cassette in particular was one that I picked up at least a half dozen times over the course of a year...and put down. I was intrigued by the way they looked (the album's cover made that intrigue possible), but there was no track listing on the j-card. It was completely unheard of for any of the tapes in the "Alternative" section to be anything under $9.99. I think out of complete lack of curiosity about anything else, I finally bought this. I played it - and didn't play it again for about 8 years. I didn't dig it then. Thousands of years passed, the internet was invented, and my friend Shawn began throwing me musical curveballs from all directions. In an effort to show him I wasn't utterly lame and had some music of interest, I started digging thru the dusty side of the tape rack. I rediscovered this cassette. The band is a mix of post punk/glam rock, and it's actually quite good. There's touches of Bowie, T-Rex and The Stooges, and progressive rock. I don't think 1988 was looking for a band the flew the flag of 70's glam and thus were forced to swim the rivers of obscurity. It seems like Death Of Samantha would be one of those bands that has a small, hardcore fanbase. "Lucky Dog (Lost My Pride)" is an epic flow across genres and stands out amongst the others.

However, this tape (mine is on Homestead/Dutch East) - suffers from sound level inconsistency. Quite annoying. It even starts getting wavy - grrrr.

Fields Of The Nephilim - "Laura"

I bought this cassette, new, in probably '90. I have to be honest, I had never heard of FOTN before this point, and upon listening to the tape, I wasn't a believer. "Laura" was a good song, but nothing else won me over. The tape got relegated to the dusty side of the tape racks and now and again would be pulled out to dub "Laura" onto one comp or another. I think when I saw Hardware, I once again gave the tape a listen. Still, "no!" I read this week that FOTN did some shows around Christmas throughout Germany. Made the tiny gears in my brain creak to life and spit out the thought that I should try this again. I'm sorry, it's still not there. I dig the image, hell, I even dig that this is one of those bands that to the outside observer is Sisters Of Mercy, but I'm sorry - maybe this is a horrible choice to be representative of Fields Of The Nephilim - but it isn't good. It's not dark, moody, brooding, or atmospheric, I'm pained to even call this gothic rock. Buy a 12-inch of "Laura", put on Hardware, and think about how awesome this band should be. If I am missing the magic - enlighten me, point me to a more accurate representation of The Nephilim and if I'm wrong, I'll say it.

02 January, 2011

A Test...

Not sure if this will work. If so - this is a song that best describes how I feel today. If it doesn't work, then I will likely be deleting this post and no one will be the wiser...

01 January, 2011

Happy New Year!?! ...

I spent the first seven hours of it at work; the usual celebratory routine for an operator in my field of work. It is the efforts of people like myself that get employees their W2s and 1099s timely as well as employers their tax information for their records and filing with various levels of government. We decimate a small forest to do so - well over a million pieces of paper will be printed in a 24-hour period. For the past 8 years, this has been my routine. I am good at it and I do like it - it's a test of physical and mental endurance. How sharp can you be on no sleep for 24-hours? Can you still throw around a 40 lb. box after doing so for the past 10 hours on the worst food choices possible? When I can't do it anymore - that's when I'll stop enjoying it. I was surprised last night/this morning - the co-worker I fully expected to have to dog was fully up to the task he was assigned and amazed me. The employee with tenure and only a year or two shy of me - was lazy, apparently dyslexic, and completely unprepared for the physicality I expected of my team. He spent 2/3 of his night in a chair listening to Aerosmith (late 80's Aerosmith mind you) and barely functioning as a Q/E operator. It doesn't help that he has a tainted touch, in that his mere presence amongst machinery wreaks only the most bizarre of events to unfold to cripple the machine. But we did a memorable showing last night and once again I buried the other shifts in what we accomplished. Probably 10 x the first shift and we didn't leave enough work for the following shift to even make a dent in what we did. I'm not boasting, it's just reassuring when I get an opportunity to show what I can do and my knowledge. Sort of like - "Here's what the person who wasn't qualified to be a supervisor can do compared to the shift with the supervisor. I hope it hurts a little going down." I will have to go back either tonight or tomorrow because one of the products we produce completely crashed and had to be restarted. The work it produces, only I am qualified to print. I'm debating returning tonight or doing it in the morning. We have a party to go to tomorrow night, so I don't know how full I want to make this weekend. If I go tomorrow-  that's 2 weeks without a day off. If I go tonight, I will have even less time to spend with May this weekend and I am already dragging ass.

Today is the first of what will soon be pretty commonplace in my life. I'm by myself. I don't know if I am not enjoying it because I am so run down right now or if because I know this is how it's going to be more often than not and there's been truly few instances in my life when I have been alone. I don't have a good repoire with myself and I talk myself into doing pretty idiotic things in bouts of self-loathing. I believe someone cannot fully love someone else, or more appropriately have a healthy relationship with someone else if they are lost themselves, or don't have an identity anymore. I need to find mine again. I was a writer; a musician; and I was responsible for someone incredible. I callously murdered that personality and only have the moody, dark, serious shell that most people see. It takes some doing to see me goof off. I have reasons for being that way that really aren't anyone's business, but my complete lack of responsiblilty and care for anyone but myself paid me a number of frightening wake-up calls up until about 10 years ago. I needed to prove that I could be responsible and loving and take care of someone, I've spent the past 9 years doing that. I failed unfortunately. I did not learn the lessons from my reckless youth... putting my life on hold and absolving myself from all wants and needs created a bigger issue...losing my identity. You don't realize how pale a portrait you paint until all the color you've known seeks a new canvas.

Life is just one lesson after another, and I've the bruises, scars, and memories just like anyone else. The difference probably between myself and most people I suppose is I never figured out how to care about myself and instead decided to let my care be the cares of whomever I was sharing my days. Big hearts = bigger chance you'll be reminded of just how big.