Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Top Is So Lonely

Sesame Street Bandaids (myself a.k.a. DJ VJ Singh + DJ Salinger) spun new music (Trailer Trash Tracys, Shogun Kunitoki, Thee Oh Sees, DOOM) and other Spring jams (Panda Bear, Teengirl Fantasy, Nodzzz) last night at our regular time, 8-10PM every Monday evening on WMUA, 91.1FM or streaming from wmua.org.

This Saturday, April 4, WMUA will be hosting our second annual record sale in the Cape Cod Lounge (in the UMass Student Union) from 11AM to 5PM, featuring various music vendors from around the Northeast. WMUA DJs will be spinning all afternoon, including my co-host DJ Salinger at 1PM and myself, DJ VJ Singh (+ special guest DJ Wikipedia Allmusic) at 3PM. Check out the action and don't forget about the FREE show the following Saturday, April 11, in the Blue Wall Cafe - Parts & Labor + Talk Normal at 8PM.

I will also be spinning records Monday April 13 at The Elevens in Northampton with fellow WMUA gents Gabe (of Mynd Blyndrz) + Alex (of Strange Light) at George Myers Presents: Child Bride (Baltimore), Boyzone (North Carolina) and some collaboration between George and Diagram A. For those outa the loop, George is the dude from Breaking World Records, the label which brought you that beautiful Ducktails 7" last year. Everything starts around 9:30PM and yes, it's 21+.



This Sunday, April 5, A Hawk and a Hacksaw will be playing at The Copperworks with Jets and Snakes (a.k.a. solo stuff from my boy Roger of Ten Minute Turns). Doors are at 7:30PM and tickets will cost $10. A Hawk and a Hacksaw is playing the show in between dates opening for Andrew Bird so seeing them in that tiny warehouse should be sweet. They've also got a tag sale going on May 9, Vetiver + The Papercuts on May 17, and Adrian Orange + FANCIE + Stephen Steinbrink + Hell-Kite on May 28. The Copperworks is located on 34 North Pearl Street in Pittsfield.

The following evening, April 6, George Myers is putting on another show at The Elevens: Non-Horse (G. Lucas Crane of Woods) + Matt Weston/Dan Cashman + Embarker + Casper Electronics. Starts at 9:30.

Wednesday April 8 GZA will perform at the Pearl Street ballroom. Show's at 8:30. It'll cost ya $23 at the door.

Thursday April 9 DIY UMass presents I Rise + Maintain + Pitfall + Troublemaker + Foreign Objects + SQRM at the Cape Cod Lounge (UMass Student Union) at 6:30PM. $6.


Like lightsabers? Like 2001: A Space Odyssey? This video from Warp combines those two things with music from their boy Flying Lotus and some trip-inducing effects. The product - beautiful (via MBV).

Flying Lotus - Los Angeles [Music Video - HD] - Unofficial from Brendan Sinnott on Vimeo.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Here's photos from Dent May + A.C. Newman from March 14 at the Paradise that I didn't get to post:

Dent May

Dent's band + A.C.'s trumpet guy + lei




Dent May's new video for "Howard" is not easily describable in words. Just watch. Great cuts, great cats, and as many Dents as one could ever ask for.

Also you can download the track here (via Stereogum)

The Dancing Vegan

It's well documented that a healthy diet rich in whole grains and light on red meat can serve to protect from the onset of cancer. But, after diagnosis, can a drastic change to a macrobiotic diet help save one's life?

According to Dr. Wilmore Webley, this might not be the case.

"There is no scientific evidence to support this," Webley said in an email interview. "There is evidence that a diet high in whole grains and vegetables and possibly low in saturated fat, red meat, and preserved meat products can help to prevent many types of cancers," he continued, but he claimed a strict macrobiotic diet "could actually harm such a person since there is a limited amount of calories, vitamins, proteins, iron and even calcium."

In Mariana Pina-Bergtold's case, however, diet seems to have been the key to survival.

Pina-Bergtold, co-owner of new take-out restaurant The Dancing Vegan in Pittsfield, MA, seemingly owes her life to a change in diet. In 2000, she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and told she had three months to live. After altering her diet into one both vegan and macrobiotic, without the help of chemo therapy, the cancer has ebbed and she is still alive today.

In spite of Dr. Webley's skepticism, he certainly does not rule out the possibility that the diet could be of use. "There are aspects of a macrobiotic diet that could be important in cancer prevention and possibly treatment," he said. "A macrobiotic diet is designed to reduce the amount of harmful toxins that a person takes in, and could therefore reduce the chances of mutation from these toxins."

Those practicing a macrobiotic diet and lifestyle, first developed at the beginning of the 20th century by Japanese philosopher Nyoichi Sakurazawa (known by his pen name George Ohsawa), believe that harmony with nature could be achieved through eating simply and with balance, promoting body health and warding off disease. Pina-Bergtold and her partner Yukiko Sato began their restaurant in response to the utter lack of local options for those practicing macrobiotics or veganism.

“The diet itself is what you make of it,” Pina-Bergtold said. “You’ve got to learn who you are and how the macrobiotic principles work for you. The diet is changing constantly day to day, depending on seasons, the local area, natural produce, and the body’s condition.”

Before Pina-Bergtold was diagnosed, she ate a standard American diet. While it was ripe with fresh foods, it was also heavy with the processed and non-organic foods common in a rich, gourmet diet. She emphasized that one “can have wonderful flavors in food” without one’s health suffering.

After Pina-Bergtold received news of the cancer diagnosis and that she was terminally ill, she admitted herself to the Kushi Institute in Becket, MA, where she eventually met Sato. In just 18 months, her cancer had receded. “The Kushi Institute saved my live,” she claims. “I was reborn.” She proceeded to study at the Institute over five years, claiming one must study macrobiotics and put in a lot of work in order for the diet to yield results.

"There's so many vegan and vegetarian options in the area, but you've got to travel south to Lenox or Great Barrington," Sato said. "[In Pittsfield], we could try to go out, but there's nothing out there to eat."

The co-owners opened The Dancing Vegan on January 26 and have been pleasantly surprised at the response. The restaurant is a take-out only amalgamation of daily menu items, specialties to spice things up, and healthy, vegan dessert alternatives. Since the business is still young, the restaurant does not have any paid employees, just friends helping out in the kitchen.

Sato, originally from Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido in Japan, got her start experimenting with veganism before she headed to the states for the first time, curious as to whether or not she could create healthier dessert alternatives using less butter and sugar.

"The desserts I made at home were wholesome, but gritty and not so tasty," Sato said. "Then I took a macrobiotic dessert class in Tokyo which really focused on the effects of sugar and dairy in one's diet."

The class initiatives stuck, and through the program she discovered the Kushi Institute, where she eventually met Pina-Bergtold. There, Sato learned more about macrobiotics, which she then considered a full-fledged hobby. She took a job in the institute's kitchen, which she held for a year and a half, before eventually settling down to start her current business.

The Dancing Vegan’s spread is 100% vegan (even the chocolate), 90% Kosher, and 95% organic, as well as accommodating wheat- and gluten-free diets. The only non-organic foods used at the restaurant are ones which are either extremely hard to find organic or are extremely unreasonable price-wise. “We’re not high-end,” Pina-Bergtold said regarding the restaurant’s prices and clientele. “My goal is that everybody can eat from here.”

The restaurant has also started a meal plan option, providing meals five nights a weel, Monday through Friday, for $80. The meals include a grain, a bean, a vegetable, and dessert three times a week. Pina-Bergtold said there are only two people signed up for the plan as of now due to a lack of pushing the deal, but with the addition of another full-time chef the numbers could increase. The Dancing Vegan is also looking to get into delivery.

Even though macrobiotic eating is not a very new trend, it does not seem to be a very popular one. As mentioned previously, there is no current scientific evidence regarding the diet and its relationship to cancer though, according to Webley, "there are currently some clinical trials underway to examine the efficacy of a macrobiotic diet, but that data is not yet available." He said that a macrobiotic diet could act as a complement to chemo-therapy, but should not and cannot stand on its own as therapy.

Pina-Bergtold seems to think otherwise. “I had no chemo. I walked away, adopting a different diet and healed myself through diet.”


Friday, March 27, 2009

Slow Rot

Here's a new video for A Grave With No Name's "Underpass" which showed up on my Myspace Bulletin feed. The song's a hesitant piano ballad, and the visual fits it perfectly - a piano slowly decomposing, rotting, and generally falling apart. That's it, some sort of stop-motion supplement to the plodding dirge which is the song. I mentioned A Grave With No Name a bit ago as well as their split with the recently R.I.P.'d (and then reversed) Natural Numbers, which I highly recommend. AGWNN will be playing No Pain In Pop's release part for their new compilation April 4. The comp drops April 6 and features all those NPIP-related bands (incl. HEALTH, Banjo or Freakout, Trailer Trash Tracys, Ponytail, Nite Jewel).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Born Like That

So that name change sort of paid off. DOOM subtracted the MF but kept the mask and all his integrity, releasing the awesome "Born Like This" on Lex Records Tuesday. We got guest spots from Ghostface (as Tony Starks), Raekwon, Kurious, and Slug, as well as the Madlib-produced "Absolutely," two J Dilla tracks ("Lightworks" + "Gazzillion Ear") and some weird De La Soul cameos.

My favorites thus far are clearly the Starks track "Angelz," "That's That," "Lightworks" and the Raekwon track "Yessir!," which samples ESG. I love the closing track "Thank Yah" and its funk, which would loop right back to the beginning of the record if it were on repeat. There's the usual voices bobbing in and out of the mix yammering about DOOM and his escapades, this time including Prince Paul and Posdnous from De La Soul, Posdnous taking the role of P-Pain, the humorous, auto-tuned T-Pain rip-off.

Another observation is the relative shortness of the record, clocking in just over 40 minutes - there's only three tracks over three minutes in length (not counting the iTunes bonus track, a Thom Yorke Remix of "Gazzillion Ear"). This allows for a whole listen through in a sitting, maybe more. He really has no competition as an all-out spitting, producing machine. Now we just need that whole DOOM/Ghostface record.

Stay tuned for a proper review in the Friday March 27 Daily Collegian.

EDIT: Here's that proper review.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Doesn't get any better than this

Actually it must since early 90s D.C. hip hop gods/goddesses Digable Planets were scheduled to play at Pearl Street in Northampton this Friday and the show has been canceled. This has happened to me a few times over the past months, with IHEG shows canceled such as The Dodos/Au, Dungen/Marissa Nadler, and High Places/Soft Circle/Eric Hnatow. While I would have loved to cover those shows, they continually evaporate in front of my very eyes, causing much disappointment and relative anger.

EDIT: Digable Planets' whole U.S. tour was canceled so nothing was IHEG's fault. My bad.

We can hope these upcoming shows I'm totally interested in don't get canceled:

GZA April 8 Pearl Street Ballroom

Titus Andronicus April 15 Pearl Street Clubroom

The Felice Brothers April 18 Pearl Street Clubroom

Ponytail/Pains of Being Pure at Heart/Rabbit Rabbit April 26 Iron Horse

Mogwai May 2 Pearl Street Ballroom

Bonnie "Prince" Billy
May 16 Iron Horse

IHEG or not, one can still enjoy live music in the Valley. Last night I caught Trigal, Whoarfrost, and Weirding Module at the Elevens. Trigal was a long-haired Spaniard who twisted knobs and meticulously observed his computer monitor, creating some slow-building ambient noise. Western Mass brethren Whoarfrost thrashed violently, blasting out violent rhythms and all-out cacophony. Weirding Module took a more plodding route to ecstasy. Tonight Barn Owl will play the Elevens as well as One Two Tents Band, Pak, and Sylphid. Also listen in to WMUA 91.1FM or stream here tonight from 8-10PM for Sesame Street Bandaids with myself, DJ VJ Singh and my co-host, DJ Sallinger. New music gallore + dust-packin jams.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Influences: Reverberatrion

Well, I've only got two tastes from these Londoners, but I already can't wait for more. Luckily for me, Trailer Trash Tracys will release a new 7" after appearing on the new No Pain In Pop compilation (plus: HEALTH, Nite Jewel, Ponytail, Abe Vigoda, Telepathe), out the first week of April. The two darkroom jams on their Myspace, demos of "Strangling Good Guys" and "Candy Girl," drip with melting reverb and fuzz, harmonies inching out of the shadows. Lazy bass in "Strangling Good Guys" keeps circular guitars in check, more upbeat than Slowdive, not more jangly than prescribed.

Download "Strangling Good Guys" here (via NPIP).



Also appearing on the NPIP comp is A Grave With No Name, more UK dudes ready to clatter and smash. On their Myspace they've got "Horses," which could be a quick Liars pound-out while "Zachary" steadily strums, eventually making way for excited "woo-ooh" vocal interjections. Their split with Natural Numbers is available for free download through their Myspace and label, Meal Deal Records. The Natural Numbers tracks are great too - lots of meaty fuzz-fog to fill you up right. Sort of like listening to those first Wavves tracks, all the melody buried beneath loads of filth.

A Grave With No Name/Natural Numbers Split Single

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ras G

Leaving Records upped this untitled spacey track from Ras G from his recently sold out Brotha There CD-R (previously available from Poo Bah). The piece moves from musing voices and hiss to damp underground caves to deep, warped rhythms, eventually opening up into some brand of droning 60s psychedelia. It's a great eight or nine minute jam, covers a lot of territory.

Snatch up that download here.



I mentioned Off Balance Atlas in a recent post about Leaving Records. Turns out they did a druggy Ras G remix, which you can check out at OBA's Myspace here. Also download the free collage from OBA here (via LEAVING).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Too Long

It's been a few days since I last was able to be at a computer for a time. A.C. Newman and Dent May at the Paradise Rock Club Saturday night was a strange endeavor, as my excitement for Mr. May had been increasing over the past week. As this excitement increased (and existed), the anticipation for A.C. was little to none. Luckily I predicted correctly, as Dent played an awesome set while A.C. bored.

The ukulele was on point as Dent and his trio of accompaniments bounced through nearly all his songs, including the Prince cover "When You Were Mine," set opener "Oh, Paris!" and set closer "Meet Me in the Garden," which was surprisingly untrue to its recorded version. All the shooby-do's and varied retro back-up vocals were present, awkwardly piped from the bassist and guitarist. The tropical vibe also persisted, a single lei hanging from a mic stand. While there wasn't much to look at aside from four dudes making pop songs, it was at least a good experience seeing the tunes live. Also, I talked to the drummer, Carr (Dent was chattin up some ladies from his Mississippi hometown), his enthusiasm turning into the solid form of a neon pink "I'm an Alcoholic" coozy. What more can a guy want?

However, A.C. Newman was hardly entertaining. I agree that choreographing seven people on stage to recreate songs is a feat, especially when you've got a violin and four or five part harmonies. The downfall was that each song really sounded the same. I mean, there were self-described "power ballads" and "power waltzes," but everything just seemed like a New Pornographers' b-side. He's playing music which I tend to describe as indie-arena-rock. The sound is huge, but he's playing at the Paradise Rock Club so he can't get that huge turn-out one would expect from such power pop. Perhaps it's cos he's got a lot of competition in Boston for a crowd, but if I wasn't head over heels bout the opener, I'd have skipped it too.




Not a new track, necessarily, but you can download the first track from the Nodzzz self-titled record "Is She There" right from What's Your Rupture. They have few tour dates coming up, all in San Francisco and Texas, but hopefully they'll come back around soon.

Nodzzz - "Is She There"

Friday, March 13, 2009

I've got some good news and I've got some bad news. Bad news is I'm going to have to miss this show my friend Bryan is putting on in Pittsfield - Masshysteri (Swede punk), Mudlark (stompin' posse), Prick Bastard ("70s rock suckerpunch"), and Screaming Females ("The last three "guitar heroes" I saw were women: Marnie Stern, Kaki King, and Marissa Paternoster of the Screaming Females" - Sasha Frere-Jones, via brooklynvegan). Check out the flyer here and go to the show if you can cos, in the words of Bryan, "You have nothing else to do."

The good news is I'm going to Boston tonight and tomorrow will be catching The New Pornographers' A.C. Newman and the hyper-Friendship-Bracelet-approved Dent May (surely with His Magnificent Ukulele) at the Paradise Rock Club. Newman's recently released record Get Guilty is a solid piece of guitar power pop. My favorite track I remember from it is "Like a Hitman, Like a Dancer," which you can download here (via Can You See the Sunset). Also, check Mr. May's cover of Prince's "When You Were Mine" from his A Brush With Velvet EP here (via Chocolate Bobka).

Then, Sunday is the Saint Patrick's Day parade in Boston, which should be culturally enlightening.



I love this time of year.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Big ups to Leaving Records ("This exploration and ultimate transcendence of genre captures the spirit and scope of Leaving") for some outstanding content on their blog. Leaving has begun digitizing found tapes, releasing tapes, podcasting, making stickers, visual media, you name it. I was just funneled to it from dublab and am currently absorbing the MP3s they have to offer in the relatively brief time they've been posting. I highly recommend the stunning and beautiful Kora tape as well as the Off Balance Atlas collage. Both available at Leaving Records for download, as well as others.

Spring Break Spring Cleaning

Let loose the wonders found in mine camera: