Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jaded Scenester NYC: Best EPs of 2011

As I understand, it's in the way that you use it, or so the Michelobs are telling me. Here's the JS-NYC take on all things short format in 2011.

1.  Iron Chic – Split & Shit EP
Their crowd is getting a little wearisome to this old bastard, but when it comes to hooky LIHC with a decided post-Lifetime bent, you can't go wrong with Iron Chic or Split & Shit.

2.  Drive-By Truckers – Sometimes Late At Night EP. It's chaos as usual for Team DBT, with bassist/singer Shonna Tucker the latest to depart in the time-honored ambiguous circumstances. This EP came out before the split, featuring a handful of live tracks and a studio version of the Vic Chestnutt tune, When I Ran Off And Left Her. Be interesting to see what's next for these Sons Of The South.

3.  The Hold Steady – Live from Soho EP
I still miss Franz, but this is a pretty solid eight song showing from Team THS. I'm intrigued to see how Craig's solo record impacts things as/re: the new (non-Vagrant?) record. I'm calling ATO as the winner, unless they score themselves a too-good-to-be-true major deal with Anti.

4.  Restorations – The Key Studios EP
Restorations have been a big deal for me over the last year ago and I was glad they sweetened the top with this live recording. Five great takes, with a little studio banter to remind you its not all glowering and dynamic shifts with these nice young men.

5.  Chixdiggit – Safeways Here We Come EP
Chixdiggit pretty much redeemed their last half-hearted junket through town with a fun EP and a great set with Kepi Ghoulie on an East River Rocks Off death barge. On Fat Wreck again, as well. While Hot n' Horny is embarassing for guys as old as these dudes, Since You Got A Dog continues to be an anthem for our times.

6.  Armalite – Humongous 7”
The eight year locusts of hardcore re-emerge from dormancy to drop three jolts of post-D4 Philly punkcore. Boo-ya. And Go! for that matter.

7.  Jon Snodgrass – Tri-State Record
I wish Jon would pull a Wedding Present and release a song a month and then offer a catch-up comp release at the end of the year, as he's almost prolific to a fault. Tri-State Record is the best cumilitive record this year, although the Scorpios record is quite a little delight as well.

8.  Superchunk/Coliseum - Record Store Day 7”
C'mon: The Chunk and Coliseum togther doing Misfits covers. That's worth a spin.

9.  Bobby Bare Jr. – a storm, a tree, an acoustic ep EP
The companion EP to A Storm, A Tree, My Mother's Head gave nerds and completists a shot at the demos that fostered the full-length.

10.  Trash Talk – Awake EP
Blaaaah! Blaah-Blaah-Blaah-Blaah! Circle Pit. Mosh-mosh-mosh. Chug.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jaded Scenester NYC: Top 11 Records of 2011


Ok All:

The TBs are back in full effect, courtesy of Time Machine, so without further ado, let's start the recappery for 2011.

Day One: 


Top 11 Records Of 2011



1.  Banner Pilot – Heart Beats Pacific
Longtime readers know that Banner Pilot gets much love at JS-NYC HQ, but even I was a little surprised that they took the top honors for 2011.  I think the CMJ live shows sealed the deal for me, The Fat Wreck deal getting the gents to the East Coast more than in years previously. The gents tore up the Reload store and followed up with a pretty aces set in Brooklyn later that night. Heart Beats Pacific has the same relentless amount of hooks, changing things up on the vocals but still with the bass mixed up front. Eleven songs, and not a bad track on the record. I'm pretty sure the gents are already in pre-production for the next one, plus they are letting the punters pick the set list for the spring tour, so get on over to the Banner Pilot web presence and ruin the spring for me. Get Heart Beats Pacific here.

2.  Centro-Matic – Candidate Waltz
Said it the first time and am now saying it again: Why Centro-matic aren't gargantuanally huge boggles what little faculties I still maintain. Centro-matic are everything that I don't see why people like about My Morning Jacket and The National (who, truth be told, seem like fine people, exclusive of their profoundly unremarkable records). I dare not contemplate what a four hour MMJ set would be like, but every time I see Centro-matic live I wish it would never end. The last show at Mercury was no exception, unsurprising as Candidate Waltz is the finest record to date from a band that continually releases amazing records. Bookmark their web presence here.

3.  Tenement – Napalm Dream
The fact that 2011 brought a new Tenement record was a personal high point. They were top fucking notch a couple years ago in Greenpoint and I've been salivating at the prospect at seeing them again ever since. There are only two solid members in the line-up, which hampers the whole touring thing. It's a shame, as Napalm Dream has some of the best indie rock tracks you'll hear this year. Shades of 90s Boston and America's Finest Rock BandTM The Figgs abound, with the breakdown of Stupid World ranking as perhaps my favorite recorded moment of this year. Keep track of Wisconsin's finest and all things Napalm Dream here.

4.   Restorations – s/t
Restorations are definitely my favorite new discovery of 2011, although sadly my favorite track is from their first EP. Lack of Linear Notes aside, and despite a curious tendency toward black metal in their artwork choices, this fearsome Philly fivesome get high marks from JS-NYC. Now lets see a lot more NYC shows please.

5.  Glossary – Long Live All Of Us
My review is coming up at PopMatters soon, but much like Centro-matic, you cannot go wrong with any release with the Glossary name on it. I generally loathe bands with singers who both live and rock together (see the utterly execrable Mates Of State), but Joey and Kelly make it more than worth your while with Long Live All Of Us.

6.   Bridge & Tunnel – Rebuilding Year
The time Bridge & Tunnel lay fallow has fostered a bumper crop of great music. Rebuilding Year features great J. Robbins-y vocals from Jeff and top-fucking-notch guitar work from Rachel. Along with Iron Chic, there is rarely a safer bet in a local show.


7.  Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones
A close second behind Restorations in the new discovery queue, Frank Turner grabbed my attention on Kimmel and England Keep My Bones quickly racked up neighbor maddening levels of rotation at JS-NYC HQ. I Am Disappeared ranks just as high in singles of the year. FT is going to be a very big deal, very soon.

8.  Samiam - Trips
I think Samiam may have actually deposed the mighty Jawbreaker as my all-time favorite East Bay band. They have made pretty regular appearances out East Coast way this year and been pretty damn great every time. Trips has a gang of great songs and hopefully will usher in a new era of Samiam dominance.

9.  Gateway District – Perfect’s Gonna Fail
Without disparaging Maren and Carrie's significant contributions to Gateway, the idea that Nate could write two amazing records worth of music (see #1) deserves notice. I really need to get to Minneapolis.


10.  Direct Hit! – Domesplitter
Got this one cold in the mail, maybe through the good folk of Southern Lovin' and the terrible cover art kept me off listening for a bit, but once I did I was more that stoked at what I heard. Obvious D4 and Screeching Weasel earmarks, but with enough personality to not get lost in the shuffle. 

11.  Money Making Jam Boys – The Prestige
2011 has been a terrible year for hip-hop, but this Philly all-star team fucking kills it on their debut mix tape. P.O.R.N, Truck North, Dice Raw and STS rhyme hard but MC juggernaut Black Thought is the hero here, asserting himself as one of the pre-eminent mic stylists of our generation and saving this year from being over-saturarted with Odd Future fomented Asbergers Rap.



Monday, December 26, 2011

Technical Difficulities

JS-NYCers:

Sorry for the longer than usual bit of stagnation.

The MEH2000 at JS-NYC HQ is on the fritz currently, so sit tight while we harness the power of Time Machine.

JS-NYC Year end coverage starts on the morrow (Jobs willing).

Happy Holidays!

R

Monday, December 12, 2011

Live: Cory Branan @ Mercury Lounge 12.11.11

Cory Branan is JS-NYC favorite, a proud son of Mississippi current residing in Austin. He has a couple full-lengths under his belt, with his most recent release being a 2009 split with the great Jon Snodgrass. Record number three has been rumored for some time, and was even alluded to again at this show, but at this point appears to be the Chinese Democracy of the singer-songwriter set.

This tour was with Dave Hause and Laura Stevenson and had Cory in the midcard slot. I showed up early to find that things were about an hour and a half behind schedule, prompting a return to the couch that resulted in my missing Laura Stevenson and presumably The Cans as well. I swanned into a not-especially full room and Cory was up in short order. He played solo, opening with the great Survivor Blues and romping through 40 minutes or so of his back catalog, including Prettiest Waitress In Memphis and Tall Green Grass. All in all, a pretty good showing for a long-hair. I recorded the Branan set, so if you'd like a copy, hit me up via the e-mail and I'll mail you a link. I didn't stay for Hause, as I much prefer my own and its companion couchery.

R

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Slow Death - Born Ugly, Got Worse

Is there anything more reliably solid than Twin Cities punk rock rock? JS-NYC would argue no, and The Slow Death make for a pretty convincing argument. Spawned from the ashes of Pretty Boy Thorson, The Slow Death shares some members (and a fair amount of the set list, as I understand), most importantly lead lungs/liver scarrer Jesse Thorson. To sweeten the pot and keep things scene compliant, Mr. Paddy Costello holds down the bass half of the rhythm section, with the ubiquitous Mikey Erg on the drum stool and Ms. Annie Soviette holding down the lady vocal slot. Not too shabby, huh.

And it's not less than the sum of its parts. Born Ugly, Got Worse takes the best part of Dillinger Four and The Replacements and pairs it with the high points of the Ben Deilly era Lemonheads (esp. on Stay High) to make one of the best bastard unions you have gracing your earhole(s) this year, even (or mayhaps because) one of the tracks is a straight Chixdiggit ripoff. You'll get 12 songs in just over a half-hour for your holiday dollar, insuring multiple replays with little in the way of diminishing returns. Get Born Ugly, Got Worse here from your friends at Kiss Of Death and keep track of all things Slow and Deathlike here. Buy it now, thank me later.

R

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gucci Mane & V-Nasty - Baytl

I can't say that I ever foresaw an era where I would ever have a full-length from Gucci Mane in my possession and I guess as this mixtape is a split with V-Nasty, I'm still technically correct, but either way it comes with more than a soupcon of ambivalence. You can blame Kreayshawn, I guess. I was pretty into that Gucci Gucci track for a hot minute and thought the mixtape was pretty ok, but it's never going to knock Lord Finesse out of heavy rotation.

And let's not get it twisted, I think we can all agree that it was a check that brought this unholy union together. I can't think of too many people clamoring for Gucci and V-Nasty, as it's hardly G. Rap and Rah Digga linking up. There are a couple kinda ok tracks on Baytl but can we stop the fucking deconstructionist spelling already? I bet this is probably much better with a bunch of thugged-out Oakland hip-hop ladies around, but lacks a little bit in the compulsion to replay department. Baytl is not the greatest release you'll hear this year, but each party drops a good line or two (not a verse, mind you) and if you look around you probably won't have to pay for this. Google away, I say.

R

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bottle Rockets at PopMatters


Hey Kids:

Those interested in my take on the new live acoustic record from Bottle Rockets can use this link to get over to the good folk of PopMatters.

Thanks be to both parties.

R

Sunday, December 4, 2011

R.I.P: The Sainte Catherines (1999-2012)

All these posts about death and band break-ups reminded me I had forgotten to mention the shitty eventuality that is The Sainte Catherines breakup. Oh universe, you spoil me!

Not sure how this will impact their rootsier alter-ego Yesterday's Ring, but it sure does suck. The hygenically challenged Montreal punks released Fire Works in 2010, a record that was my favorite TSC record since their debut Those Stars Are For You. I was well chuffed at the prospect of finally seeing the band that had become my personal Bad Brains in recent years, having canceled a half-dozen shows for reasons unknown, an eventuality that netted a personal zero in the JS-NYC Sainte Catherines live shows seen column, a stat that makes me pretty irritated at having missed their 500th show when I was in Montreal last. Now it seems that the time-honored personal differences and family obligations have caused the gents  to hang it up. You can read their statement (in English and French) here.

Meh, and Bah!

R

Friday, December 2, 2011

R.I.P: The Riot Before (2005-2011)

Fuck. The Riot Before have been one of my favorite new(ish) bands from Richmond. Tony from Southern Lovin sent me the amazing Fists Buried In Pockets and I drank the kool-ade in bulk, yet always seemed to miss them when they made it through town behind that record and the equally stellar follow-up Rebellion. I always figured our paths would cross eventually, but it appears that I'm going to have to wait for Brett to tour solo for that to happen.

You can't go wrong with any of The Riot Before catalog. I'd pick it up immediamente. Stay tuned here for word on future goings-on from members of a band that will be sorely missed by JS-NYC.

R

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

R.I.P: Patrice O'Neal (1969-2011)

Man. When it rains it pours. First Greg Giraldo, and now Patrice O'Neal passes on. I saw on Twitter that he had a stroke a month or so ago and judging by the somber tone of the O&A announcement soon after, it sounded like things were not optimistic. Last word was that he had been moved to a rehabilitation facility, where he evidently passed on 11/29 at the age of 41.

Patrice had been around forever, but was riding on some recent mainstream buzz after his spot on the Charlie Sheen Roast and his recent Elephant In The Room special. I'm told that he also had an arc on The Office. In the wake of his passing, a ton of material has appeared on the interwebs, all worth checking out. I expect that there will also be a slew of not-especially well done retrospective stuff put out and hope a collection of the late, great Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn series is part of it. Whether you are a long-time fan or Patrice came on your radar after the news blitz about his passing, check out his specials and buy the posthumous record called Mr. P due to be released in February.  You can pre-order Mr. P here.

R

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tommy Stinson - One Man Mutiny

Tommy Stinson has meant a lot to me over the years. Not so much in recent years, as it still seems to be straight-up fucking odd that he's the bass guy in the Axl Rose fronted Guns And Roses tribute band that tours South America to keep the lights on, but Bash And Pop and Perfect were pretty great rock bands. Even the solo record he's released post-Perfect was kind of ok, albeit with a higher Meh factor.

One Man Mutiny is self-released, and wisely so, as while TS has some cachet with the older set, he's not exactly going to set the charts on fire. The songs here are decent, with tracks like It's A Drag and Seize The Moment rising above. Steel guitar makes an appearance on Zero To Stupid, but most of the tracks have a late period Mats feel. I think I'd prefer mid-period if I had my druthers, but lovers of all things Tommy Stinson will not be disappointed.

Get One Man Mutiny here from the official Tommy Stinson web presence.

R

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Trash Talk - Awake EP

Happy Thrashgiving:

I like Trash Talk as much as the next old guy. You're not going to catch me thrash-capped out and standing on the fringes of the pit with my deck ready to bean some sucker, but I will take exception to Trash Talk being featured as ESPY-rock. That's kind of fucked, I think, even if I could have stolen the cover art from another source.

Either way, Trash Talk are always a blast (ha!) to see live. The show with Youth Of Today that I evidently neglected write up was pretty aces, even if the skate douche factor was a little spiked. These five songs are the usual post-Flag thrash that you have come to expect from team Trash Talk. Awake should have you circle-pitting up a storm in short order. Get it here from said Trash Talk Collective.

R

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bridge and Tunnel - Rebuilding Year

Bridge and Tunnel might be my favorite non-Drew related band here in town. It's nice to have a strong No Idea franchise in town, especially one that plies its trade in some co-ed 21st century post-Jawbox meets Jejune rock. And well at that.

Singer/Guitarist Jeff Cunningham pens much of the vocal material, but I would venture that Bridge and Tunnel are very much a democracy and co-guitar/vocalist Rachel Rubino is a powerful presence. Much is made of the female from Screaming Females, but Rachel tears it up here. She is no stranger to a fingertap, but is equally good with textures. Or singing lead on tracks like Hands. Ex-Jawbox-er J. Robbins recorded Rebuilding Year, lending a little bit of fat and smoothness to the sound while still masterfully matching the layers of vocals and guitar to make the strongest Bridge and Tunnel release we have heard to date.  If you like(d) the Midwestern rock of the late 90s and the last three decades of music DC has had to offer, I would snatch up Rebuilding Year and the entire Bridge and Tunnel catalog with the quickness. Get Rebuilding Year here from your friends at No Idea and use this link to keep track of all things B&T.

R

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Andrew Jackson Jihad - Knife Man

Andrew Jackson Jihad hail from the arid land of Arizona. AZ has been representing pretty hard in recent years, starting with Jimmy Eat World and Pollen and continuing with the late Shang-a-Lang and more currently with Andrew Jackson Jihad.

I really like a bunch of Andrew Jackson Jihad songs and feel the same way about a good bid of Knife Man, but the inner asshole in me does tell me that if AJJ were from Brooklyn and/or played Sidewalk with any regularity, I would be ever so quick to swig me some hater-ade and then shit all over them and Knife Man for a myriad of reactionary short-sighted reasons.

To start, AJJ are billed as folk-punk, which is a bit of a hackle raiser, if not a redundancy really. A second is the anti-establishment slash populist thing they've got going on that I'm pretty much on board with, although safe money is on the team drawing a crowd that will flare my inner cranky old guy intolerant tendencies. I don't normally stand on pretense and expect that my favorite bands have a singer who can really sing. Those looking for irish tenors would do well to look otherwise, as AJJ is not blessed with a young Sam Cooke as a frontman, but the songs on Knife Man are pretty uniformly strong, and definitely deeper than the titles like Hate, Rain On Me and The Michael Jordan Of Drunk Driving might belie. The duo seem to be investigating more of a full band thing rather than the duo thing I had believed them to have been purveying previously but it seems pretty unforced here, proving especially effective on tracks like the soaring closer Big Bird. I'd pick it up.

I believe AJJ are overseas currently, but keep track of all their current goings-on here. Get Knife Man here from The House That Park built.

R

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire

I haven't enjoyed a Ryan Adams record since the first one, although judging by the last ten years of press, I seem to number in the minority. Oh, well. I can't be the first guy to rightfully point out that the young man needs himself an editor and the full plate of ex-band members seems to support the young man's mercurial ways. The internet tells me Adams had actually retired from music a couple of years ago, owing to a battle with Meniere's. There you go.

Ashes & Fire is the first Adams record for Capitol. It was recorded at Adams' California studio, with Glyn Johns behind the boards. Norah Jones and his wife Mandy Moore lend backing vocals, as do Neal Casal and Chris Stills, for those of you scoring at home. Marks for Adams will probably eat this up, but I'd say he does little to dispel the notion of being a second-rate Steve Forbert.

Recent press for Ashes & Fire has claimed this is a high-water mark for the now clean and sober Mr. Adams, so I moved it higher up in the review queue than it would have normally been afforded. Those initial reviews may be correct, don't run with that too far. Ashes & Fire may be better than his recent spate of records, but it's still firmly in the Meh category to these ears.

R

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jim Florentine - Cringe N' Purge

That Metal Show, aka The Best Show Currently On TV, has been a win-win all around. Bands that haven't seen wide-scale US TV time in decades can revel in new-school exposure and the hosts have been able to use the platform to expand their profiles accordingly. That has been a more slippery slope: Eddie Trunk's book was great and is highly recommended, but Don Jamieson's debut comedy cd is a disaster on the level of the Jimmy Fallon record of years past. Don't get me started on his stupid acoustic death metal project he's trying to hawk. Stick to TV producing, sideburns.

But I digress. Jim Florentine has deferred on the Trunk side of things with his recent work. His movie presence has expanded a ton recently and he's done ok for himself previously with the Crank Yankers and Terrorizing Telemarketers series. The have also been a couple of live stand-up releases previous that are pretty decent. Cringe N' Purge is his third, to my knowledge, and his first for Metal Blade. The usual Florentine topics of gay gays, religion and Slayer are addressed in typical Jersey style, so maybe don't play this at Thanksgiving for Grandma, but definitely pick up Cringe N' Purge if you like your comedy on the dark side of the politically correct.

R

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hot Water Music - The Fire. The Steel, The Tread 7"

So Hot Water Music is back. I guess that's not a bad thing, or all that surprising really. They broke up easily five times before the turn of the century and its frankly pretty surprising that they only broke up most recently five years ago.

In that time, Wollard and Regan have done the solo bearded acoustic guy thing with various degrees of success, while George has played with Against Me and Jason has played with Sense Field. Now they are back, at least for shows. And now a new 7". The new record comes (unsurprisingly) courtesy of the good nerds of No Idea. It's called The Fire, The Steel, The Tread and it sounds like you would expect a late-period Hot Water Music record to sound like, but I'd like some Split Lip and they are coming a little Chamberlain for my tastes, if you take my meaning. And calling the b-side Adds Up To Nothing is asking for trouble, although I'd argue it's the better of the two tunes here.

Get The Fire, The Steel, The Tread in all the popular formats here from No Idea and keep track of current HWM going's on here.

R

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Live: Airfix Kits and Young Offenders at Union Pool 11.4.11

I liked me some Airfix Kits, or perhaps more specifically their predecessors Giant Haystacks. Seeing them with Young Offenders was the frosting on the beater, especially when Erika and Oliver were friends with that lot and word was that most of the Bay Area short-haired set was coming out for the shows. They weren't lying. This show was another one of the pantheon of great Hardcore Gig Volume shows and had moved to Union Pool after Bruar Falls closed down and the vibe was definitely one spaghetti plate away from being a  show at the Bottom Of The Hill.

I rolled in just as Young Offenders were setting up. Word was that the team had lost a bass on the way in, an eventuality that didn't seem to make the short-haired gents any sunnier of disposition. Good set though. The new record Leader Of The Followers is pretty aces in a Jam meets Wire at the Cock Sparrer show sort of way. Tim is a hell of a frontman (and a drinker, it would appear) and the rest of YO are pretty damn tight. These shows were rare East Coast shows for the gents and the turn-out was accordingly decent.

Things seemed to fill up more for the Airfix Kits. I'm pretty sure this was their first show out here. It was refreshing to have a band this good fronted by a man with more of a Fred Perry problem than me. Lots of clean downstroking and anglo-oi leaning for the duration, with a decent well-lubricated crowd eating (or rather drinking, really) it up. I'll give Airfix the lean for better of the two, but both parties were pretty damn aces. Kudos to Ian Dickson and Hardcore Gig Volume for bringing the gents our way. Here's hoping we see the boys out East again very, very soon.


R

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones

 Damn!

Since my antipathy for all things Time Warner forced me to finally get rid of cable, I don't see as much late night TV as I used to, but I caught Turner on Kimmel the other night and he and that Limey lot  promptly handed my ass to me.

I say again: Damn!

Kudos to Epitaph for snapping up Mr. Turner. He had been on my radar with his collabo with the mighty Jon Snodgrass and while Old Fast Songs is a great fucking tune, I didn't think I'd fall as quick and hard for England Keep My Bones as I did. My Irish affections aside, as you might surmise this is quite an English record. Turner has heard himself a Billy Bragg or two, but he's far from a carbon copy. Whether keeping it traditional with English Curse, upping the punks and skins in I Still Believe or taking it to the open road with I Am Disappeared, Turner gives it the business. You should give him yours and snap up England Keep My Bones in whatever format works for you here from Mr. Brett & Co. 

Up the punks!

R

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Armalite - Humungous 7"

Hey now, new Armalite record!

I would have though Eric would have hipped me to this (or maybe even recorded it) but it appears to be a solid no on both points. Armalite is a Philly scene-as-fuck amalgamation of your boy Atom Goren (sans His Package) with Dr. Dan Yemin from PIB/Lifetime/Kid Dynamite, Jeff from AAJ and Mike from Kill The Man/Amateur Party throwing down the D4-tinged jams for your listening pleasure.

There are three of said jams this time around, two sang by Mike and one from Atom. All solid, although those unenchanted by Atom's voice previously will probably remain unmoved hearing him in a more hardcore aesthetic. That caveat extended, Humongous is still pretty fucking aces.

If you are a fan of any of the aforementioned acronyms and/or the players therein, you can't really go wrong with Humongous. Get it here from the lovable nerds at No Idea and keep track of all things band-y and Armalite here.

R

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Live: Vagina Panther @ The Delancey 11.3.11 late

The evening had turned into quite an evening for bearded drummers. Having taken in my first amazing Boy King Island set down the block earlier in the evening, it was a pleasure to inch ever closer to JS-NYC HQ with my rock gourmandizing.
I'd seen Vagina Panther a couple times previous and thought they were ok, but Rut on the drum kit seems to have kicked things up a couple notches. They sound a lot better, and the bass player sure seems to have a ball playing with the stick splitting caveman that comprises the other half of the VP rhythm section. Mario was on the scene to keep the drummer quotient high while June and Co. rocked the hell out of the lower level of The Delancey. They've got a good thing going and a new self-titled record you can get here at the Vagina Panther web presence.

R

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Live: Boy King Island @ Pianos 11.3.11 early

Drew was playing a(nother) new band and was pretty big on it, but I had been lazy as hell in checking them out. This show rolled around and was in the neighborhood, plus Jim had sent me a link and I was pretty enthused at the prospect of seeing a little bearded guy pound the hell out of vintage drum kit before I ran down the block to catch a big bearded guy pound the skins with Vagina Panther.

More on that later. I rolled into Pianos and immediately ran into one of the staggering number of Moms I meet at 1 year old birthday parties in this day and age, exchanged pleasantries and then hit the main room as the rest of Boy King Island (heretofore to be referred to as BKI, as the name reminds me much of Davey Von Boehlen and his Boys Who Climb Trees emo extravaganza) were setting up. I'm not too familiar with Jesse Rifkin the guy who leads BKI and half-think he had a solo thing on under a band name previously, but he's evidently got a little bit of a name for himself. He's got a Jay Reatard look going on and is evidently no stranger to a Nudie Suit.

Nudie wear is rarely a bad idea, and let's say from the jump that Boy King Island are a really fucking strong band, but there's a weird costume thing going on with the band. Perhaps wearing a Road Warrior vest is what enables the ridiculous guitar-osity that Ben Seretan served hot for the duration, and if that is the case so be it, cause its fucking working, but the songs are all way too solid to be distracted by overt costumery. They are part of a larger psychedelic vibe BKI are putting out, with tape loops and visual stuff going on. Now that I think about it, its kind of a Flaming Lips aesthetic, without the frat-douche vibe or silly Pink Floyd wankery. Rifkin is no Pavoratti, but the voice matches the sound and the sound is well worth hearing. A bit jammy at times, but with song structure (and chops) to back it up, Boy King Island are a band to see. Keep track of BKI here and look for a record soon.

R

Thursday, November 3, 2011

900th Post


JS-NYC Massive:

Thanks for everything. See you at 1000.

R

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Live: Todd Barry @ People's Improv Theater 11.1.11

So I got a *ahem* tweet that Todd was celebrating his 24th year in comedy by running through his set for his upcoming Comedy Central special at The Pit for standards and practices. Figuring this was the best way to avoid having to buy two overpriced drinks on top of the door, I scrambled down and grabbed one of the few remaining seats. Todd is always a good time, but I always forget that seeing a Comedy Central taping means that if you follow the comedian in any capacity, you've heard the material before.

And I had. Between his recent set at Maxwells and some general radio and internet nerdery, all of the set was familiar ground, but it went over well and should make for a good special. It's taping 12/1 somewhere here in town. Snoop around and you can probably scare up a ticket, else look for it airing sometime after the New Year. Keep track of Todd here at his web presence.

R

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ZZ Top at PopMatters

JS-NYC Massive:

My review of the new ZZ Top live record is up currently at the PopMatters. Here's a link.

R

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Banner Pilot - Heart Beats Pacific


To say that I'm a mark for the Banner Pilot would be a mild understatement. There have been periods of time where Drew has skewered me decisively over my ability to dress like Banner Pilot's merch guy and there is nothing I can do to defend myself. I would suspect that he takes great satisfaction in not being my neighbor, as he would no doubt be driven as mad as the rest by my constant playing of Heart Beats Pacific.

The recent CMJ shows from the BP crew haven't helped matters as much. The boys killed it at both shows, drilling tunes like Spanish Reds and Western Terminal into my head and necessitating acquisition of Heart Beats Pacific with the quickness. You should do the same. Heart Beats Pacific picks up where Collapser left off, pumping out just shy of a dozen aces pop-punk tracks heavily indebted to the Jawbreaker. This is far from a bad thing.

I can't say I'm crazy about their recent acquisitions, but the Fat/Banner Pilot union is something I can condone unequivocally. I'd like to think of Banner Pilot as a prime example of a new school Fat band and one that may very well have released my favorite pop-punk release of 2011. Get Heart Beats Pacific here from the good folk of Fat and keep track of the Twin Cities finest here.

R

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Live: Restorations at Fifth Estate 10.21.11

This was night three of an unprecedented-in-recent-history JS-NYC CMJ run, with Friday night's proceedings featuring current JS-NYC obsession Restorations playing the Aquatic People CMJ showcase on the second night of an East Coast tour. I had built this show up to the point where it seemed like it could be nothing less than a disappointment, especially when I passed up dinner with a hot chick to barrel ass out Brooklyn way. Twitter had tipped me off to a later start. I locked up and rolled in to a room where the band outnumbered me (the crowd) markedly.

The first song had the room fill up a bit, but I would have liked a crowd that befit my repeated playing. Despite being crammed into a ridiculously small space for a five-piece, the gents soldiered on with the shockingly posi- demeanor that newer Philly bands display. Too short of a set, but one that featured a couple of the high points from their most recent eponymous release. No Linear Notes, but pretty tight. Good show, chaps. Here's hoping we get them back in NYC very, very soon. East Coasters should check for the tour dates Team Restorations are undertaking currently.

R

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Live: Banner Pilot at Union Hall 10.20.11 (late)

So this show was the official Fat showcase for CMJ, and owing to the fact that the lineup they were purveying was fairly meh save for Banner Pilot, I couldn't have been more pleased at the 8:45 slot the gents were afforded, especially as I had just come from seeing them at the Chrome instore.

Union Hall was sold out, as well it should be given its small-ass size and the CMJ masses seemed to be much more into the proceedings (read:drunk) than the crowd for the Chrome set. The boys were tight again, romping through pretty much the same set. The new Spanish Reds and Western Terminal were high points, but there wasn't too much bad stuff in the 40 minutes or so they got. The crowd had a pronounced 'my first beer/CMJ' tinge to it, but I was on the bike a minute after the BP boys bade us adieu, so I hope those tall boys treated everybody real proper for the duration. Banner Pilot are touring down to The Fest and definitely should be seen if you are able. The new Heart Beats Pacific is out on Fat 10/25 and is unequivocally recommended to anyone with working eardrums. Check here for it.

R

Friday, October 21, 2011

Live: Banner Pilot and Dead To Me at Chrome Store 10.20.11 (early)


I heard about this at the last minute and rushed down to grab some real estate a couple minutes before things jumped off. I guess you can add messenger bag culture to the list of things that make me feel old. I can remember banging on the door to the basement of DeMartini Sail Co. to get mine a million years ago and now bag companies have huge storefronts in trendy NY neighborhoods. Oh, how things change.

So bag/schmag. I was in it for the mighty Banner Pilot. They've got a banger of a new record called Heart Beats Pacific out on Fat and were out for the CMJ showcase with Dead To Me and a bunch of other meh-able Fat bands. More on that later. The boys brought it pretty serious, but they are pretty deadly with a short set. They maximized their potential with a pretty seamless stream of highpoints of the last couple records over maybe 40 minutes. Dead To Me were up shortly after. I like them a lot in theory, but they have never really caught on for me. I stayed for the first five or six songs and bailed to eat something before I headed out to Brooklyn to catch more Banner Pilot. Good time, and had I not been still recovering from the weekend, I would have availed myself of the free open bar. I guess they do this most Thursdays, so keep an eye here to see what the entertainment is like. Banner Pilot and Dead To Me can be found here and here, respectively. Look for a review of Heart Beats Pacific soon.

R

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Live: Sarah Jaffe @ Bowery Poetry Club 10.19.11

CMJ and pouring-ass rain are not normally the two great tastes that go great together. Frankly, CMJ has kind of blown the last couple of years, or more diplomatically I am aging out of the college demographic, but I got off my ass and ran out between deluges to catch Ms. Jaffe. I really enjoyed her opening for the Centro-matic a couple months ago and her debut Suburban Nature has received fair amount of play at JS-NYC.

Upon rolling in, I saw the end of a textbook reason why I'm way over the young people's music, read: two dudes, lots of Line 6 looping and/or delay, yelling, blah blah blah. Don't get me started on the haircuts. The Jaffe band was up in short order and wonderfully enough featured Scott Danborn on keys. Some tuning issues ate up the early part of the set, but once things got underway Jaffe sang the hell out of seven or eight Suburban Nature tunes, including the crowd-pleasing Clementine that set the young lesbian set in attendance into a tizzy. No real reason why Jaffe shouldn't be someone we'll be hearing big things from soon, save for the fact that there's no accounting for taste in this day and age.

In investigating links for you all, I'm intrigued to hear there is a new record out from Sarah. Get all the skinny here at the Sarah Jaffe web presence and look for a review soon.

R

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tyler The Creator - Goblin

Of all the curious signs of my old age that have reared their ugly head in recent years, my uneasiness with the post-Eminem set of rappers might be the most disturbing. Seeing Em in recent years, he seems utterly sociopathic in his spewing of what definitely appears to be bona-fide hate. That is not to be confused with dress-up metal, overly sleeved young hardcore bands, or wanna-be thug rappers of all complexions. I mean real fucking vitriol, not horror-core. On the other side of that coin is the Odd Future crew, a West Coast collective that seems to be ushering in a new genre of Special Ed rap.

Continuing in the tradition of EPMD and Redman (as well as his first record), Goblin from OFWGKTA headguy Tyler The Creator has a theme of Tyler interfacing with his therapist Dr. TC over the frankly shocking and disturbing tracks that comprise Goblin. We've seen that concept in various post-Funkadelic records and it seems to dovetail nicely with our dear Mr. Asperger's Goblin personae. The beats are new school, as is the flow. Lots of blow job talk, too, if that floats your boat. I'm on the fence, but from a beats and rhymes perspective, it's better than a lot of hip hop out today.

R

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch The Throne

Much like the recent NOFX 10" of hardcore covers, Watch The Throne was an inevitable eventuality, but personally the bigger question is whether it is necessary, as neither party is exactly a shrinking violet. The answer is probably not, but rain of haterade aside, Watch The Throne is one hell of a solid record. You would expect that would be the case, as the two players each have a solid resume under their belts. And as you might glean from the album art and title, there is no shortage of ego for these two, either. Nor business acumen. Jay and Yay are the only guys this side of Weezy in this day and age that can actually shift those units, so this seemed a financial inevitability.

I'm an avowed Jay-Z meh-er and as such am more than a little sick of hearing about Yeezy, even if I do think My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is some next shit, but even the inherent hater in me can't dispute that the high points (That's My Bitch, Otis) on Watch The Throne are among the best hip-hop I've heard in recent years. The WTD production crew has some deep crates, resulting in some bizarre Phil Manzanera eventualities and a lot of Euro club flair, but blatantly positioning Jay-Z and Kanye West as purveyors of a much more global hip-hop than the average artist. Watch The Throne is heavy on the ego tip, but that is the foundation of hip-hop after all. Heavy on the hubris, light on the subtlety, Watch The Throne is a serious hip-hop record that should sell just short of a bazillion.

R

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Patton Oswalt - Finest Hour

Showtime has really been stepping their game up recently with their specials. The Nick DiPaolo special recently was pretty aces and this new Patton special is good, too. It's called Finest Hour, and while is somewhat of a misnomer, it's still good. The man has said himself that personal happiness is the death of comedy. It's not 100% the case here, and judging by the anecdote about his brother, someone in the Oswalt clan is carrying the torch, but the new-father stuff leaves me a little cold. Patton is becoming the George Carlin of the Daily Show set, a role that makes me a little uneasy personally, but that's time for you, I guess. Regardless of my issues, fans of Patton will revel in this even if it may be a bit lighter in tone than the pre-papa Patton.

Get Finest Hour and the **ahem** skinny on all things Patton and/or Oswalt here.

R

Sunday, October 9, 2011

NOFX - Hardcore Covers 7"

Ok, nine minutes of hardcore covers from NOFX. It exists, but should it? I guess it's no harm/no foul for Fat Wreck, but despite the fact that the recording quality is good and the original tunes are long out of print (for the most part), I can't say I could see anyone outside the collector nerd set plumping for this.

Here's the tracklisting:

01 - Agnostic Front - Friend Or Foe

02 - Necros - IQ32

03 - Urban Waste - Police Brutality

04 - Social Unrest - Mental Breakdown

05 - Battalion Of Saints - No More Lies

06 - Unknown

07 - Sin 34 - Say We Suck

08 - Rebel Truth - Child Hosts The Parasite

09 - Stretch Marks - Professional Punk



Get it here from Fat.

R

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Live: Shellac at Bell House 10.4.11

Shellac has been ramping up their live presence in recent years. After a long spate of no shows outside of the odd Chicago show, this set of shows marked at least the third or fourth set of NYC live shows post the release of Excellent Italian Greyhound. Irritatingly enough, the shows were in Brooklyn again, which save for the fact that I got to ride out to the show with Col, continues to be an irritation, even if The Bell House is a great place to see a show.

We missed Helen Money this time around, owing to social issues, but managed to post up front and center for the proceedings. Steve was a bit sick, and crankier than usual, despite the (in my mind, at least) glaring lack of Odd Future heckling was in fine obstreperous form. Luckily some douche managed to step up and piss him off, garnering him a headlock chastising and begging the question what one has to do to get thrown out of a show in this day and age. Douchebaggery aside, the set was aces as usual, with Trainer putting in a clinic on skin-beating. No surprises in the set (or The Rambler Song for that matter) with the gents going maybe an hour before pulling the rip cord and bailing. Good times, good company. No word on any new releases, or any other dates round these parts, but East Coasters (and UKers) can see them at this year's ATP shows.

R

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Aficionado - s/t

Albany, New York's Aficionado have been making a big push of it over the last couple years, dropping a score of demos and other releases and maximizing their road presence with tours with Tim Kasher and Travis from Piebald's new band. Shettel appears on the new record, perhaps skewing the band a wee bit too far into the world of Piebald jocking.

There are two singers in the Aficionado, one of each gender, along with what seems like five other dudes. While this is a good record, I can't for the life of me hear what seven people could be doing on this record. There is a heavy early Cursive (read: Crank era) vibe here, especially in the male singer's voice, with some quirky prog-gy tendencies in the ending of tracks like Confidence Is Intimidating. The female sounds decent, too, although she definitely gets relegated to second singer status in the songs here. The Shettel guest spot on Honesty is well-played and should do well in ingratiating Aficionado and Aficionado to the masses. They are playing a couple CMJ shows mid-month. I'm looking forward to seeing them with the new Travis band at the Saturday Matchless show. Get Aficionado from the good folk of No Sleep here or on tour and keep tabs on them here.

R

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ceremony - 6 Cover Songs EP

Ok: Ceremony covers EP. Makes sense, right? Bands do them all the time and they are almost always well-received, at least from the average choir that is being preached to. Ceremony has choirs all around the world, owning to their relentless tour schedule and flood of releases. They could thank Bridge Nine for that before, but now in investigating this, it appears that the next next Ceremony record will be on Matador?

Seems odd to me, too, but Matador seem to have done well with Fucked Up recently, better than they did with Large Professor certainly, so maybe the gents are getting a better sense of how to expand the Matador focus while still having the engine to market them properly. Here's hoping, as this cover EP with Pixies and Wire tracks Ceremon-ized is pretty aces, if maybe a wee bit unrepresentative of the band's recorded output. Get 6 Cover Songs here from Bridge Nine and keep track of Ceremony here.

R


Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Game - The R.E.Demption

It's been a while since he's dropped a formal release, and he sure does seem batshit crazy, but Game sure can rhyme his ass off. He's been overshadowed by the even more crazy and formidable Weezy in recent years, but there are few better in the *ahem* game today than Game.

The R.E.D emption is the pre-cursor to The Red Album. If the guest spots are any indication, The Red Album is going to move some serious units. The 50 Cent dissing is getting as old as it is irrelevant, but Nas, Akon and the good Dr. Dre make appearances, along with Weezy F. Baby and a gang of other heavy hitters on both sides of the boards. Beats are serious, as are the rhymes, so step lively and snap this up with the quickness.

R

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Black Rob - Game Tested, Streets Approved

So, relatively fresh out the bing for tossing a hotel room for no reason, we have Black Rob back on the scene, and on fucking Duck Down, no less. Sounds good on paper, and not so bad on wax either. I though BR had some situation with Kay Slay, but regardless it seems a good look.

Duck Down is probably the best hip-hop label in NYC, if not the States at this point and Game Tested, Streets Approved is another reason why. More mid-tempo than I'd like, the record is still way solid. For a dude in his 40s, your man BR still can rhyme his ass off and does so all over this. I like him better when he has someone to spar with, like the No Fear joint with Sean Price, but Game Tested, Streets Approved is a solid return for this hip-hop veteran.

R

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Other F Word at The Friar's Club Comedy Film Festival 2011

All:

It's that time of the year when the good folk of The Friar's Club Comedy Film Festival set it off. This year one of the featured docs is The Other F Word. It features Jim Lindberg of Pennywise and said F Word is fatherhood, for those of you scoring at home. If you are of a mind to see how that gig dovetails with the punk world, click this link for all the skinny.

R

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Direct Hit! - Domesplitter

Direct Hit! are from Milwaukee and make the pop punk. This is a good thing, I would say. The gents like themselves some Twin Cities in their shit: D4, Off With Their Heads and Banner Pilot are all obvious influences, as is Piebald. Sadly, Andrew WK (the 1st, I assume) is as well, resulting in some Tourette-y shouting that seems a lit bit overwrought when the songs are as good as they are on Domesplitter.

Seems like someone called Nick Brooks is the guy behind Direct Hit, along with two or maybe three other dudes depending on where you look on the interwebs. Unless there is some Luke Copyright shit going on and they swap vocals around, I'm going to assume he's the singer, too. I like him more when he sounds like Travis from Piebald rather than when he tries to channel Ryan from OWTH, but neither eventuality is terrible. If you like yourself any of the aforementioned rock franchises and know yourself around a whoa-oh chorus, you would do well to check out Direct Hit! and Domesplitter immediate-like. Get Domesplitter here from the DH! bandcamp. Vinyl nerds can get their jones fixed there, too.

R

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Son Of The Granite State video

All:

Fans of the mighty aldenbarton should be well chuffed at the proposition of seeing AB frontguy Andrew St. Aubin in his new incarnation as Son Of The Granite State. Shellfish Beach is another great tune in an irritatingly great string of great tunes from St. Aubin, with aces video treatment by BreakThru Radio as part of their Hear and There series.

Here's a link to the video. Son Of The Granite State web presence is here.

R

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Superchunk - Foolish reissue

The Superchunk reissue initiative soldiers on. This time around Foolish is the record, packaged with a bumper crop of other delights, including the sixth installment of the Clambakes series (a live show from the period), the Driveway To Driveway 7" and some rehearsal recordings from Wurster's house. The extras are digital only, but you could do a whole lot worse for your indie rock dollar.

Wurster pens new liner notes for the release that are as aces as you might expect them to be, with some nerd gems therein (for instance: the team consulted Jay Farrar about Brian Paulson before selecting him to produce the record and never met him until they picked him up at the airport on the way to the studio. Some are a little more dubious, namely our dear Jon claiming that he saw no signs of tension on the tour, despite the record openly chronicling Mac ('s side thereof) and Laura's split along with the common knowledge that Laura eventually had vocals taken out of her monitors on the tour and that she and Paulson had started dating during the recordings. Such a sweet boy, that Mr. Wurster.

Old TMZ fodder aside, Foolish has aged ridiculously well, and the remaster opens the sound up just enough without gilding the lily. The band tracked seventeen songs in three days, including vocals and overdubs, mixing the record in two days right after. An even dozen grazed Foolish, while the remaining five trickled out over various comps. Eighteen years (?!!) on, Foolish is a little darker than the average Chunk record, but the presence of tracks like Kicked In and Without Blinking is well worth the look inside the fracturing interpersonal core of the band. The bonus tracks make it an almost essential acquisition for any fan, although I still wonder why the five other tracks from the sessions aren't here. Of course, they are all available, but it would have leant just that much more to the proceedings, especially as the title track numbers among them. That miniscule niggle aside, I can think of no reason not to use this link and buy Foolish with the quickness from the good folk of Merge.

R

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Snailhouse at PopMatters


All:

North Of The Border aficionados eager to take a welcome break from JS-NYC relentlessly championing anything and everything associated with The Sainte Catherines can enjoy my take on the new Snailhouse record here, courtesy of the good people at PopMatters.

R

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Small Brown Bike - Fell & Found


I've been embarassingly remiss in writing about this, which is odd, as I really like Small Brown Bike in 2011. I was (and am) a little surprised at how much I like the 7"s and how ridiculously solid Fell & Found is. I wish I could say the same thing for the Braid EP that I'm praying was mislabeled.

But I digress.

Small Brown Bike called it quits in 2004 after a pretty decent eight year run. The projects that the members got into post-SBB (Lasalle, Able Baker Fox) were ok, but they more often than not reminded me that I should bust out the old stuff. SBB were pretty aces at Cake Shop this Spring and while they played a couple of these tunes, most notably In Need Of Everything, I personally didn't see the signs that Fell & Found was going to be so damn aces. But it is. J. Robbins does his usual stellar work with the top-notch material, lending an expansive sound to material that is mature, but not in a played-out Split Lip to Chamberlain sort of way. I would recommend anyone who is a fan of the genre to go out of their way to buy Fell & Found with the quickness.

Find here the linkness.

R