Monday, October 27, 2008

Radio, Radio, Radio. Radio, Radio, Radio..

Ya gotta check out our radio program Sesame Street Bandaids, 10-12 Friday nights 91.1FM or stream at - Barry and I spinnin hot jamz between TRGGR Radio and the Marauder in the "electronic/hiphop/eclectic" block. Last Friday I played an hour's worth of hot shit: Kool G Rap, The Animals, The Replacements, The Descendents, Davila 666, Gang of Four, Bow Wow Wow, Gang Gang Dance, El Guincho, Grizzly Bear, Dungen, Castanets, Bon Iver, and The Mamas & The Papas. Each week I try to get a real vast mix in there cos I like not knowing what's comin next. As all college radio plans to do, I try to get as much new stuff in there as I can, whether it's something I've found along the way or something the station had that I randomly picked up, or on the other end of the spectrum, something old and beat that I've grabbed at the record store or something I've found round the apartment that's been lying around. Another great concept at the show is Barry and I selecting our sets blindly from each other, so it's always fresh what I hear from him and he doesn't know what I'm gettin into. Of course I urge all listening to WMUA especially the morning Jazz blox.

Speaking of Jazz, WMUA's solos & duos series is hosting an event this Thursday at Bezanson Recital Hall at UMass's Fine Arts Center: The Nicole Mitchell & Jeff Parker Duo. Mitchell is on her way to becoming he greatest living jazz flutist, according to the press release, while Parker's the multi-dimensional jazz guitarist of Tortoise fame straight outa Chicago (post-Berklee graduation) who has also worked with Chad Taylor and Fred Anderson. Cheap Cheap ticket - $10 general and $5 for adults, should be great - at 8PM.

Conor Oberst [been listening to his new record, gonna catch him at the Northampton Music Academy Thrusday Nov 6 with Ben Kweller as well as Rig 1 (out on Team Love, recommended by Barry) so watch for a review]

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekend (R.I.P. Sox 2008 Season)

Getting this all started has proven more difficult than imagined, so here comes my third post in ten days:

Last Thursday I caught Jonathan Richman at Pearl Street's clubroom in Northampton, which was very interesting to say the least for I'd never seen him perform. Hilton Valentine from The Animals opened, and he sure knew how to rock fierce. He went on with just him, a bass, and a drummer (w/ single snare) and essentially killed it. I was unfamiliar with his set, but everything seemed like a traditional rock n roll arrangement countrified and twangy. The audience, respectfully seated on the floor, got a kick out of the old jams, accurately reflecting their collective aging visage. Richman eventually came to life onstage, nailing everything I had read about his live show without fail. He strutted to the mic in Chinese slippers, glassy-eyed and seemingly petrified, with his acoustic in hand. He accurately resembled a young boy on big stage, eyes wide and begging a strange question: Is there something wrong with this guy or is he putting on a front? It's very possible that Richman never progressed past the age of twelve, his Massachusetts sneer jumbled to an immature mumble. His eyes pouted as he emoted, nimbly plucking his guitar strings in between breaking away from the music for a few silly dance steps by his lonesome or waltzes with his instrument. His accompanier Tommy Larkins rattled away at his drum kit, occasionally prodded by Richman to break into an impromptu, half-hearted solo. The other possibility is that Richman knows how to act very well and wants the audience to respond in a nostalgic way, remembering back when they were teenagers strolling to the beach to party. He ran through a bunch of songs, most of which I'm unfamiliar with, but some standouts from the new record included "No One Was Like Vermeer" (which got a few laughs) and the title track "Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild." He encored with a song he played already, a ode to hating cellphones during which he divided the audience in two to sing the chorus "You can have a cellphone if you want..... but not me." For a man whose clearly stuck in the past, the show was very entertaining and quirky and I'd easily recommend seeing him before he goes completely loopy.

Bad News: The Dungen/Headdress/Marissa Nadler show at Pearl Street this upcoming Sunday has been cancelled for unknown reasons. Dungen's show a couple years ago at the same venue was decent, but probably overshadowed by openers Witch, with local J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr on drums. I'd have liked to check Nadler, but it'll have to wait for another day. The new Dungen record 4 is certainly worth a listen or two, but a warning: it's not much different from anything else they've done to date.

Other sort of bad news: I can't check out Deerhoof/Experimental Dental School at Pearl Street tonite but that's due to Sesame Street Bandaids (mine and Barry's radioshow) tonite 10pm-12am, so listen if yer not at the show at 91.1fm in the valley or stream from for locations otherwise.

Good News: Hercules & Love Affair Wednesday at the Middle East downstairs was fairly bumpin - at least it got my mind off how freezing it was outside. Their second Boston appearance saw them yet again playing the jams from Hercules & Love Affair (DFA) like "Athene," "Blind," "You Belong," and the "Hercules Theme" encore, but perhaps without the same vigor as when they opened for Gnarls Barkley at the Wilbur Theatre August 6th. They played some new stuff too, which was solid, though nagging fears persist: they're most likely a one-trick pony. I mean, it's funky, it's on DFA, it's got Antony's vocal all over the record, but there's something fishy lurking behind the grooves: monotony. Even so, I'll dance til it's tired.

U.K. Subs
Mt Eerie

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vivian Girls

Vivian Girls' myspace cites The Wipers and Nirvana as influences, and the two are certainly appropriate, but other sounds are abound on their debut self titled record (re-issued 9/30 on In The Red after the initial 500 instantly sold out), including hints of the Vaselines, Stone Roses, and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Fuzz fills any void as angels harmonize from above, churning out ten easily likeable pop/punk/shoegaze songs in just over twenty minutes. Check out highlight "Tell the World" streaming from the myspace link above to sample one of their punchiest moments. The inner sleeve of the record lists the members under the aliases Kickball Katy (bass), Cassie Ramone (guitar), and (the recently departed for fellow fledgling Brooklyn group Crystal Stilts) Frankie Rose (drums), all underneath their respective faux-high school yearbook snapshots. The Brooklynites' record comes off as unfathomably simple and effortless, its brevity begging multiple listens in a sitting. Brief blip on independent music radars? Probable. Next big thing in girl group pop? Possible. Either way, Vivian Girls is a standout record in a year where all it really takes to do so is a solid sonic foundation and a yearning for fun. Being a few awkwardly cute hip lasses doesn't hurt either.

Vivian Girls have been opening for Fucked Up as of late (including the Great Scott show) and until CMJ comes up in a week or two, all before a few dates with Deerhunter & Times New Viking (I'll check out the date at the Paradise 11/10), King Khan & BBQ Show, and Love Is All to round up November. December sees them hopping over to England for a couple weeks, and they've even scored an opening slot before Yo La Tengo and The Feelies on New Year's Eve in Jersey.

Speaking of Fucked Up, their new record The Chemistry of Common Life officially dropped this week on Matador records (Best New Music on Pitchfork, Album Pick.. who knew?). Their 12-hour extravaganza show Tuesday saw guests ranging from Moby to J Mascis, who were clearly only there for the free beer Pink Eyes promised. Wish I was there.

And speaking of ye olde punk rock, Jonathan Richman's playing 15 minutes away in Northampton tonite so I'll check that out - read this if ya want the real deal details.

The Very Best

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kick It Off Columbus Stylee

Holla at the first post. What's this?: Arts sonic and visual. Not much else aside from frivolities.

Columbus Day weekend proved rather crazy - trekked from Amherst to Pittsfield to NYC to Pittsfield to Brookline and back to Amherst and here's what happened:

Roseland Ballroom Friday night was straight packed. Love Is All opened for Of Montreal but, honestly, Love Is All didn't amount to much in the face of Kevin Barnes flashing mucho skin. The theatrics were nuts, the costumes were sexy, the colors were plenty. They rolled through much of Skeletal Lamping, pausing only for various others including a "Smells Like Teen Spirit" cover to start the encore. A sea of the beautiful people belting out some Cobain gospel? Perfect. Highlights of the stage show include and were not limited to Barnes appearing on a white horse (pictured), goofy temple monsters bumbling around, Barnes' lynching of himself, a whipped/shaving cream lathered Barnes re-appearing in a flowery casket and throwing himself into the front rows, fannypacks, tigers, faceless ghouls, and about two dozen costume changes.

After seeing my mother in Pittsfield, Mass, I headed east. Sunday was a whirlwind, waltzing into the Museum of Fine Arts and the Aquarium completely gratuit, seeing all there was to see. I also noticed some fly stencils around Boston incl. George + John up there, some still-in-bloom gardens, North End espresso, endless NBA2K9 ads, and some great Ethiopian after dark.

Then Fucked Up and Vivian Girls played Great Scott (cheap tall PBRs). Half gazing towards their shoes, half pouting into the microphone, Vivian Girls (Kickball Katy, Cassie Ramone, Frankie Rose) sounded great (but not as good as the new In The Red pressing of their ST record which I.. found) but were quite tame preceding Fucked Up's thrashing blitz. They're outa Toronto and they rock. When their opening note hit the violent in the crowd began pummeling, vaulting off the stage onto each other, and otherwise enjoying themselves. I could distinguish few songs, but they did play "Son the Father," the first song on their new record The Chemistry of Common Life, which was killer. The mostly shirtless barker/screamer/growler Pink Eyes shoved the mic into the crowd, confident that someone would yell the words, or at least yell words. He rushed the crowd once as well, getting in on the pit which surely produced a number of bruises and probably blood (see above photo of flying youth). Pink Eyes bantered about Moxie Cola (thumbs down), pizza (thumbs up), and Canadians (thumbs down) before wrapping the hour-ish long set with a "Blitzkrieg Bop" cover. In a surprising turn of events I found my knocked-off hat after the show, and proceeded to wonder how they're actually going to play a 12-straight-hour set somewhere in the NYC area this week.


Otis Redding