announced by the left side of the photo in May, there is a new project band in town. It's called Scorpios, and features (clockwise from top left) Joey Cape (Lagwagon), Tony Sly (No Use For A Name), Brian Wahlstrom (NYC Opera) and the estimable Mr. Jon Snodgrass (Drag The River). In case you were wondering, the foursome all have same said astrological affiliation, hence the moniker.
That minutae out of the way, the eponymous debut from Scorpios is ten songs, sporting various combinations of the team sharing vocals. Luckily there are no CSNY type harmonies that make me want to shove a poker in my ear, moreso Band-esque verse swapping ala The Weight. It's solid, if a bit ad hoc. To no one's surprise, I'm going to come out in favor of Snodgrass here: his Scorpios theme is great, as is We Won't Speak Of This Again. Cape and Sly are more than solid, but tracks like Happy Anniversary are just a little too smooth for my tastes. Again, far from bad, and the other participants are more than solid contributers, but I'm a mark for the Snodgrass. You can get it at pay-what you will prices here for the short term, with firm pricing in the coming weeks. Step lively.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Sunday, August 28, 2011
You get five songs for your hard-earned dollar, pretty much all of which I believe made it into the set last time he was in town with Joey Cape. Things break down thusly: Bad Kreuznach is drawn from the Snodgrass well that is seemingly tapped most regularly five samboucas in on the road. Those songs are kind of hit or miss for me, but far from bad. The remaining four are all in the win column. Weighing In On St. Michael is the pure purpose driven songcraft ala Song For Gibson while the remaining three are pretty much the solid straight rockers we've come to know and love from Jon Snodgrass. I'd give Campaign Song a mild edge, but all three are pretty aces. Own it.
Get it here from the good folk of Paper and Plastick, virtually or actually.
Find Snodgrass here.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Almost shit the bed on this one. Were it not for a heads up from Rut, I would have totally stayed on the phone talking to someone who has since proven somewhat shitty and not made it over the bridge to bucolic Park Slope for this show. As it was, I ended up missing Marcellus Hall open owing to social matters, which again in retrospect was a bummer. I enjoyed Railroad Jerk and White Hassle a good bit back in that day and was wondering what he'd been doing. I assume that he's moved out of the LES, as I've not seen him around in a dog's age, but really have to check out what he's bringing to the table with The Hostages.
A couple drinks and an ominous harbinger later, I posted up frontside for good sightlines and some digitization. I like the new record ok, but if anything it was a little lacking in focus. The songs were there, but while a lot of his stronger material is acoustic, apparently Austin wants to meld his rock and song-driven sides a little more, so this time he's got a trio of Bloomington heavies backing him, including one Braddlesnake from his last tour through town. Listening back to the recording, I like the band more in retrospect. The Bold Party seems more a bunch of solid players about Bloomington touring behind Austin than a tight band, but the set was solid. A pretty good selection from the new record in the rock end of things, closing with a solo Go West in the crowd. Thanks to the guy who pointed out that I was in record ready three songs in. If you want a copy of the recording, hit me up via the e-mail.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
New dos record is out on Watt's new label Clenched Wrench.
He and Kira do a nice job, although perhaps not one that warranted a fifteen year gap between records. Skyscraper's got my take on it here.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
It's been Maximum Watt around JS-NYC as of late. Check the unsurprisingly positive take on the new Mike Watt record here, courtesy of the fine folk at Skyscraper Magazine.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
It's always a cause for much rejoicing when the Dopamines come through town. Initially the tour was going to be with New Creases, but health issues have evidently precluded that from taking place, so Vacation were on the bill in their place. Locally Nude Beach and Scarlet Letter were on the front end of things. While I like me some Nude Beach, the x-factor of not knowing Scarlet Letter and enjoying beer drinking with Drew saw me arriving not far enough into Scarlet Letter set for my cranky old self. They seem like a band from NJ that used to be a lot more hardcore, but has smoothed things out in their old age. That said, I'd put them firmly in the Meh column.
Vacation were up next. They played the P.S. Eliot record release show at Cedar Mansion a couple of months ago with Dead Mechanical and were definitely the band that should have opened. I though they were ok then, but save for the unexpected Thin Lizzy cover, I would have liked to have arrived half way through their set and have been left wanting. Seem like solid dudes and they are far from terrible, but don't have anything that I've been able to latch on to personally.
You can always count on The Dopamines to be a good time. even if they can be somewhat less than tight. The constant rain of (crowd-launched) beer that normally punctuates the average set from said Dopadudes might have something to do with it, but the average just South of D4 level of intoxication they often sport definitely does. Jon W handles the Paddy/Shitwheel smart-ass mic duties and the band generally throws down in a pronounced fashion, even with the curious eventuality of having Mikey Erg in the touring unit as second guitarist rather than his ubiquitous presence on every domestic drum throne in the US. It was the usual Dopamines set, save for Jon's charming suggestion that the crowd be punk enough to shit on the floor. Larry Livermore was called out, a not-particularly well-done pit broke out a couple times, and much (ok, maybe a half-hour) post-Screeching Weasel punk rock was purveyed. See them if you can, perhaps sometime not after midnight on a school night. Here's the web presence.
Friday, August 19, 2011
I had hoped to see this show with Rut after he did me (and his partner) did me the solidest solid in the history of solidity recently (which I repaid by not reporting favorably on his debut with the aces Vagina Panther a couple weeks ago), but my bozosity precluded such endeavors and I posted up solo at the Half Moon.
As I reflexively spout to any one who utters the words Chix or Diggit, they really blew the last time they came through town. It was a profound bummer, as they had rocked the hell out CBGBs the time previous and I was way anxious for a recap. Like I said, they blew, and I was not exactly over the moon that the Chixdiggit return to Gotham in 2011 was on a boat for a double sawbuck. Sans Rut, the pot was sweetened by some seasonal thunderstorm activity and sparse attendance, which made the boat a considerably more lively experience from the onset.
The first opener dropped off, although they evidently still thoughtfully provided backline, and Kepi Ghoulie was up and off to the races, backed by most (all?) of Chixdiggit. Kepi is a great time once a year, from where I sit, and as it had been a couple, I grinned my way through the duration of the set. He's pretty quick with a one liner and a hell of a dancer, ingratiating the post-Insubordination Fest crowd nicely before exiting with a vow to have the gents drink their entire garbage can of beer before the returned.
While they seemed as lubricated as the average Canadian, no one seemed particulary worse for wear on team Chxdiggit, although KJ mentioned Mark had thrown up on stage the night before at Insub, so maybe they were in recovery mode. And did I mention that the tiny ship was fucking tossed? The attendance seemed well below the 200 person max, and that lack of ballast was obvious as the boat pitched pretty heavily, but thankfully it didn't stop the boys from Calgary from romping handily through over an hour of Chixdiggit favorites. Those familiar with the Chixdiggit canon can do the math and will realize this meant that most of the catalog was covered, no doubt to appease those that had traveled from the UK, Spain and/or Norway from the show (really). In fact, I'd say more than half the crowd wasn't from North America. All parties seemed stoked to be there, although for the record, no one was so enthusiastic as to sport matching red white and blue tie-dyed USA shirts save for the Chixdiggit dudes. And this from a band that snuck into the States for the shows. It was a pretty damn good time that I wholly endorse seeing if you can. I understand they will be back in a couple months, so keep an eye/ear out. In the interim check out the new Safeways Here We Come EP that is out currently on Fat Wreck.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Lot of Rory Gallagher activity around JS-NYC HQ as of late, at the behest of the good folk of PopMatters.
Here's the first salvo, concerning the 'lost' Gallagher record Notes From San Francisco.
Thanks to Sarah at PopMatters.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Cerebral Ballzy came on my radar when they played a bunch of the NYC Trash Talk shows. Evidently the gents have been around since 2008, but sadly have flown under my radar. I'm sure if I checked they have played a million times at ABC and I've missed them. Having listened to their self-titled full-length, I'm not going to let that happen again. Cerebral Ballzy keeps to a strict diet of thrash, beer and skateboarding, thrashing past the two minute mark only once over the course of the recording. The rest of the time is some aces post-Flag punk rock to rip your face off with. Insufficient Fare and Drug Myself Dumb are tracks for the ages that should get young and old flailing about with wild abandon. Lots of crashing high hats and careening double time changes for your earhole. You know you want this, get Cerebral Ballzy here, curiously enough from your friends at Adult Swim.
Friday, August 12, 2011
How great are fucking Tenement?
Answer: really fucking great.
I can't believe it's been almost two years since they played Lost and Found, but a quick check of the JS-NYC archives confirms that date is correct. Listening to Napalm Dream, it's obvious that they made the best of the time, as this fucker rocks from note one to note last.
It hadn't sunk into my addled brain that Tenement are a duo currently and while I continue to be bummed that they have not made it out East in a bit, I will give them huge props for not trying to do some sort of White Stripes horseshit. Napalm Dream displays a gift for a hook that is pretty obviously influenced by Americas Finest Rock Band: The Figgs. As Tenement hail from Wisconsin, this should not be a surprise. I also hear a fair amount of Ben Deilly-era Lemonheads and other late 80s Boston ilk in their sound, which basically means my neighbors get to hear a whole lot of Tenement. But come on: hearing Tenement in a tenement is pretty fucking meta. It would appear that Napalm Dream is the initial salvo in what will be a bumper crop of new material. Here's hoping it comes with some touring, as the 13 songs here beg to be heard live. Keep track of all things Tenement via their social networking interface here. Get Tenement Dream here and see if you don't have Stupid World, Skyscraper or Running Into Mirrors in your head forever.
Consider yourself warned.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Anticipation was higher than a Duck Down tour bus when word came down through the interwebs that Pete Rock was pairing with the newly re-dubbed Smif and Wessun for an entire record. Mysterious machinations had allowed the Brownsville duo to return under their original moniker and most hoped this meant a return to heights of their classic early 90s material. Most will be pleased, I'd say.
A gang of guests spice up the proceedings on Monumental. The Duck Down OGC crew reps hard, with Buckshot, Sean P and Rock as well as new signing Black Rob making appearances, with Raekwon and Bun B and a mob of other hard rhymers. I wouldn't go so far as to call the record monumental, but Monumental definitely evokes a great time in hip hop that this crew can hopefully bring back into vogue.
Get Monumental here from Duck Down.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
I've been a mark for The Copyrights for a while now, mostly since they wiped up the floor with me at Cake Shop a couple of years ago. Recent times have seen half the gents occupied with Dear Landlord, so Team Copyright has been sort of on blocks. The other half has been far from idle, tending to various domestic and professional matters. In drummer Luke McNeill's case, there was a law practice to tend to and the new Copyrights album to write. That task is accomplished, and now North Sentinel Island is here, courtesy of Red Scare Industries.
The Crutches 7" showed a slighter smoother version of the whoa-oh punk we've come to know and love from Carbondale's Finest, courtesy of a band three records in and abetted by Matt Allison. Ultimately, the songs are decent on North Sentinel Island, and I bet I'll enjoy tracks like Restless Head a lot more three beers in at a live show, but all in all it's still a little polished for my taste. I'm sure they are losing large amounts of collective sleep over that statement. North Sentinel Island is far from a bad record, but I would have liked a real banger ala Cashiers to really seal the deal for me. My niggles aside, you could do a whole lot worse for your punk rock dollar than North Sentinel Island. Get it here from Red Scare. Vinyl nerds should check It's Alive.
Monday, August 8, 2011
I first saw Restorations Thanksgiving weekend of 2008 when they opened for one of the 'secret' Thorns Of Life shows at Disgraceland at Philly. I liked what I heard and a bit of investigating turned up the fact that these gents were ex-members of Jena Berlin, who I also remember seeing accidentally and liking. It was a fair bit, at least a couple years, until the split with Rosetta rolled through, then an EP I totally missed, and most recently the self-titled black metal looking EP that came through this spring to much spinnage at JS-NYC HQ.
Internet trawling turned up this live session that Restorations recorded a couple weeks ago for Philly XPN2 radio presence. It's pretty amazing and seems to show that while the records are pretty aces, them boys can bring it to a pronounced degree live, as well.
Check it out here via this link.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Ladies and Gents:
Those intrigued about my take on the new Richard X. Heyman double record called Tiers and Other Stories can slake that thirst at the PopMatters web presence.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Chris Mills has a new record out called Heavy Years 2000-2010 on Ernest Jennings. Read me wax rhapsodic about it at the Skyscraper web presence.