Were you to have heeded David's instructions and checked out Sharks Come Cruisin', you would probably also be interested in the stream of their new A Past That We Forget That We Need To Know that is currently up at PunkNews.
Bad Banana is the new(est) side project from Katie and Alison from the awesome, awesome P.S. Eliot rock band and it, too, is pretty great. And no I didn't see the photos of either franchise until after I liked the demo. The demo is called Crutchfield, knocking out ten tracks in just over 22 minutes of GbV level fidelity. Frankly, this is not all that far from P.S. Eliot, which given the personnel, would speak to some redundancy, but hey twice as many good songs works, too. I missed the recent show with Slingshot Dakota and am regretting it more and more every time I play this. I can take small consolation in that fact that P.S. Eliot are coming through (with Dead Mechanical, I believe) May-ish. Stay tuned to JS-NYC for details, but in the interim snag Crutchfield for free here.
Along with Superchunk and Jon Snodgrass, Austin Lucas is one of the JS-NYC perennial elite. I'd talk about Austin every day if it wouldn't come off a little stalkerish. Luckily, the bumper crop of new Austin Lucas material for your earholes has warranted the regular coverage.
You may remember Austin has a new record called A New Home In The Old World coming out soon, courtesy of Little Rock label Last Chance Records. In investigating, I found that Last Chance also had this little chestnut available for a pittance. Three guesses as to how we feel about it around here.
Well, you guessed it: Live At White Water Tavern is pretty damn good. Austin is in typically fine voice, backed by a drummerless duo on various things strung and resonator. Nine songs in total, including Sleep Well from the new record (and tour demo). It's out in hard copy form on 3/15, but you can snag a digital version now here.
KissAlive II was one of the first albums I got when I was a kid. I got it for Christmas, along with a Cowsills record. Oddly enough I never really took, to it, even after I brought it to my third-grade class and was told never to bring it to school again. That certainly seems odd, but the point of it is that when I did get into Kiss, it was the Animalize record, specifically Heaven's On Fire, that won me over. Nerds can attest to the anomalous nature of that record, as it featured the only recorded appearance of Mark St. John on guitar, as well as the first credited Kiss appearance by Bruce Kulick, who formally replaced St. John after he was stricken with Reiters Syndrome.
Eric Carr was the drummer for Kiss at that time, having replaced the increasingly besotted Peter Criss. His drum solos were one of the highlights of the shows of that time, to the point where the more jealous proprietors of the Kiss franchise excised it outright. Carr died of heart cancer in 1991 and remains one of the best-loved replacement Kiss members. Greg Prato does a great job of telling the Carr story while offering unique insight into life as a hired hand at Kiss Inc. Probably not the most exciting proposition for those that aren't Kiss obsessed, but another great effort from one of this generation's best new rock scribes. Get it from Lulu.com.
Franz came on my radar for the first time through his tenure as keysman for The Hold Steady, although there is a pretty decent chance that I saw him play with World Inferno Friendship Society prior to that. Either way, he was a big part of my love for THS and his absence from the fold has left a pronounced void of ambivalence in its wake for me.
Nicolay is a dyed in the wool American Music Club fan, an endorsement that will do little to diminish most people in my eyes. That vibe permeated his first solo record Major General and is well-imbued in the new Luck and Courage. While Major General was a rawer proposition, Luck and Courage sports a more expansive sound, with swirling strings and a host of female accompanists that prove wonderful foils to the stories Nicolay tenor illuminates. Not the record for your average (especially new school) Hold Steady fan looking to cross over, but a fine record for the average Franz or AMC fan.
I had always been kind of on the fence about Brian Regan until Norm MacDonald kept mentioning on the regular as one of his favorite comedians. That type of endorsement will get me investigating and after having done so, I'll give our Mr. Regan props. He works pretty clean, if that's your thing, and is pretty funny despite not working as blue as I would normally prefer. My questionable morality aside, pure comedy fans would do well to check Regan and All By Myself. Here's a link.
It's a pleasure to report that there is now a pre-order available for the new Austin Lucas record ANew Home In The Old World. It's out on April 4th via your friends at Last Chance Records. Pre-order it and get it digitally on release day while you're waiting. There's a new single over there, as well as a live record I'm excited to hear, so why not step lively over to the Last Chance web presence and get yourself a big piece of ANew Home In The Old World. Here's a link.
My memory is a sieve in my old age, but I can't think there is any way that I have not extolled the virtues of the best UK music show on TV, that being Later With Jools Holland. There are those that can't stand Holland, and those people should promptly go fuck their little selves. Squeeze were and are a great band, and Holland has done more to expand the scope of the average music program than anyone else this side of Dick Clark. I first saw Cage The Elephant on Later a year or so ago and was pretty taken by the Bowling Green quintet. The singer looked to be more of a personality than I would normally tolerate, but his sing-songy delivery combined with some pretty serious stage presence kept them on my radar.
How Cage The Elephant got three songs on a UK TV show with little in the way of US mention intrigued me, as did a recent article in Brit rag Q that probably illuminated why that was the case. I'll invoke the sieve clause and figure that it was probably management that transplanted them. I'm intrigued as to whether it was their call to morph them into one hell of a Pixies cover band. There are worse bands to jock, and it worked for Nirvana. Frontman kid has definitely got a Cobain thing going on, hopefully sans shrewish significant other and arm candy problems. Kids should probably eat Thank You, Happy Birthday up with a spoon, older people will probably be a harder sell. If you think this tickles your indie bone: check out the Cage The Elephant web presence here and see what you think.
As a young man, I had aspirations toward being a comic nerd, but once Marvel started releasing a thirty-issue-a-month story arc, financial constraints left comics by the wayside. Cue a decade or so passing and Razorcake coming into my life. Through that quarterly bid of awesomeness I started becoming a Ben Snakepit devotee. I'm pretty sure that it must have been Chunklet that got me into Brian Walsby and his Manchild series. Walsby is based out of one of my favorite towns, that being Raleigh, North Carolina. He's a great artist, used to play drums in Scared Straight and currently plays in a great band called Double Negative. As a punk rock dude about NC for some years now, you should be unsurprised that Walsby is down heavy with C.O.C. As such, Manchild #5 covers the history of Corrosion Of Conformity. As per per usual, it is simply awesome and you should go out of your way to snap it up with the quickness.
Here's a link to Walsby's blog, where you can keep up with his day-to-day and fill out all the gaps in your Manchild collection. Go there now.
I like Jimmy Carr a lot. His Comedy Central specials have always been solid and his appearances on the UK version of Top Gear are some of the best TV I've seen since Norm MacDonald's reign of terror on Conan's Tonight Show run. That said, I really didn't figure on almost two hours of Carr being an engaging proposition. Boy was I wrong. Carr kills it for the duration. Taped in front of a rabid Glasgow audience, he alternately skewers the crowd and drops some new material that the average stateside comedian would shank Seinfeld in the neck for. I'm not sure when/if this will ever make it stateside, but Making People Laugh is some must-see comedy.
I saw the Comedian documentary for the first time a month or so ago. I'm not the hugest Seinfeld fan, but that's almost definitely a result of my contrarian nature. Seinfeld comes off pretty unaffected, and the Colin Quinn presence makes my time investment more than worthwhile. Our Mr. Quinn was the reason I checked in on Comedian in the first place. Orny Adams was the underdog of the doc and while he was funny in an everyman Adam Ferrara/Christian Finnegan sort of way, I wasn't all that impressed. Same goes for this new DVD. Orny Adams Takes The Third is a solid set. Adams seems like he might crossover into an edgier sort of Ray Romano sit-com situation. He's funny, and not especially threatening, but I wouldn't go out of my way to see anything else he releases.
Drive-By Truckers have been their usual prolific selves of late, dropping two full-length in the last year. The most recent is Go-Go Boots and it may very well be the best release of the post-Isbell DBT era. Never ones to let the opportunity to release another recording slide, the band has released this companion EP called Sometimes Late At Night. It's got a studio cover of the Vic Chestnutt track When I Ran Off And Left Her, plus four live tracks. The closing live Buttholeville (dovetailed with State Trooper) features Cody Dickinson of North Mississippi All-Stars for added jam value. It's been getting a little tired saying how good DBT have been of late, but it's true once again with Sometimes Late At Night. The live versions of Buckets Of Mercy and Everybody Needs Love are pretty stellar and the Vic cover is pretty choice, too. Cover art is pretty aces, too. Get this from iTunes or from the DBT web presence here.
Can't say that I've listened to SCC (yet), but David suggested I/you check them out, so we'll call that a more than safe bet. They've got a new record out called A Past We Forget That We Need To Know they funded through Kickstarter, throw some cash at it and get some choice swag out of the deal in the offing. Here's a link.
Well I guess when you have four dudes on (and very probably with) A.D.D. and they are all named Dave, it's inevitable that a band is going to jump off. Davey Tiltwheel, Dave Decker-Clairmel, Dave Disorder and Dave Haberkorn have got themselves a Fest-y sounding band that knocks out two minute hooky punk jams as quickly as they shotgun cheap beers. This one has thirteen tunes, one of which is a Body Count cover. Cover art by Mr. Ben Snakepit. If you ascribe to the Too Many Daves credo of Burn Weed, Not Pizza and like yourselves any of the members' other bands, you could do a lot worse than picking Weekend At Dave's up from the kids at A.D.D. Here's a link.
I can't front and say that I was in this for anything more than Capital. All respect to Sweet Diesel and Supertouch, but I had never seen the LI boys and the records are getting lots of spins at JS-NYC HQ, so it was time to break my Santos cherry. After the nicest yet most thorough TSA grade pre-entrance search I've received before a show in years, I posted up just as Sweet Diesel launched into what may have been their first reunion set? It was odd to see them outside of Brownies, but beyond that they kinda brought it. Old crowd, highlighted by many Bill Dolan (of American Standard) stage invasions. They seemed to draw most of the old Brownies crowd and evidently stand to do some more shows soon. Whouda thought.
Capital were up next. Did I mention that I like me some Capital. Fronted by Tommy Corrigan (ex-Silent Majority) they sounded like Dag Nasty if they came from the L.I. Corrigan gives good smart-ass banter and the kids are pretty tight. Get the new record for free at their web presence.
As it was cold and all, I figured I see a song or two of the Supertouch and probably end up heading for the hills early. As they were setting up, I realized that Dean Baltounis was playing bass for them, which sweetened the pot considerably. I had thought he was out of the live rock game, but I guess Mark managed to cajole him. Either way, fuck were Supertouch good. Mark sure doesn't look healthy, but the band is fucking killer. I'm going to have to revisit the catalog before I can conjure up any semblance of a setlist, but I do know that Paul Bearer came out to scowl his way through Victim In Pain towards the end, if that sways you. Either way, a hell of a show for the $12.
I like me some John Waite. Despite still never having listened to The Babys, I still play all his solo records with good regularity and the Bad English stuff still holds up (for what it is/was). I've never seen him live, but Missing You has moved into evergreen status in recent years, and the Alison Kraus cover couldn't have hurt any. There was an ok live record a couple years ago and a studio recording that was about the same.
2011 brings a new record, with a bunch of the tunes evidently co-written with a dude (but not the dude, if that makes sense) from Matchbox 20. Rough & Tumble, despite the profoundly homoerotic overtones of the title, is pretty good. It starts off strong. The first three songs would stand a chance of being singles if they still existed, quality rock tunes with big hooks. It's not rocket surgery, and our Mr. Waite has been doing it for years. When he gets off track and into cliches like the cowboy tale of Hanging Tree or whatever the horrible track with the spoken word parts about him going to see a dance performance is, I want to jam sharp things in my ears. Props are due for putting all the songs firmly in either the great or trite column(s). As such, 75% of these tracks I want to play constantly, the remainder make me want to personally request my wasted time back from Waite. It's your call, but if you liked John Waite before, you won't be disappointed by this one. If this isn't out already, it should be soon. Keep track of the tour behind Rough & Tumble (A-yo!) via the John Waite web presence here.
Savvy readers know that if JS-NYC isn't reprinting info that David forwarded my way, it's probably recycling hip-hop links stolen from Robbie over at Unkut. A recent jaunt over that way revealed there's a new G Rap EP available for free download. Here's a link, just in time for Valentine's Day.
In the midst of a bleak late winter in Gotham City, it was a pleasure to get a fat mailer of the punk rock from the good folk of Southern Living. While this wasn't inside, in popping over to the No Idea web presence, the pot was sweetened considerably by news of this little bit of vinyl delight.
Now Lemuria I like generally, but Cheap Girls I like a whole big bunch. As my god is a cruel god, there is but one Cheap Girls track here, paired with two new tracks from Lemuria. The CG track is the great mix of Lemonheads and Gin Blossoms you've come to expect from the Lansing threesome. Called Pure Hate, it might be accused of being a wee bit long, but its still pretty damn good. The Lemuria tracks are sparkly little gems, especially Lemons. The other track is a little saccharine and deals with falling in love with a single mother. I'm not going to play it every day, but it's a fair shake better than a lot of stuff, even if there appears to be xylophone on the track. Check out their new full-length Pebble.
I'd like to see some dates with Lemuria and Cheap Girls behind this little slab of delight. With Cheap Girls out with the nightmare that is Against Me!, I'm not sure when this might could happen, but keep tabs at No Idea HQ here and grab a copy of this split while you're there. The Lemuria web-presence is here. Cheap Girls is here. Enjoy!
You know I'm distracted when I hear about Archers Of Loaf reunion show three weeks after it happens. As I understand it, said Yeoman of Loaf played an unannounced set opening for The Love Language on 1/15. Can't say I expected that, but you're not going to catch me arguing either.
Looking at the set list, it seems like it was a pretty good one. And did I mention there was a recording of it? Well, thanks to David pointing it out, now we both know. Even better, here's a link. Word is that there will be more shows this summer, so look out for an over-priced Brooklyn Waterfront nightmare show in the all-too-recent future.
Depending on my level of personal hermitude, my interest in the Superbowl vacillates from tepid to non-existent. The advent of the Puppy Bowl over the last decade has pretty much trumped it outright. Like I mentioned last year, my quarrel with the proceedings in recent years has revolved around Animal Plant not being able to leave a good thing alone.
Now, I'll be the last person to downplay the cultural firestorm that were to take place if Animal Planet were to come out more on the side of the canine community, but is it really that much of an issue to confine that which is defined as a 'Puppy Bowl' to just puppies? The kitty half-time show continues to be a snoozefest trumped only by the Rabbit cheerleaders. And where are the bulldog puppies?
February is turning out kind of shitty in the first place and the sub-par Puppy Bowl isn't really helping any, I gotta say. Luckily, David was kind enough to forward this link of all the key plays from this year's proceedings as compiled by NY Magazine. Maybe it'll come off better in a more concise form. Enjoy, and let's hope for more bulldog representing in 2011.
As I approach middle-age, I like to lie to myself and maintain the idea that I am a man of some principles. Despite being somewhat of a dick, I try to be a straight shooter and at least outwardly respectful of those who a deserving of it. That said, I can't really explain why it is that I am so infatuated with Skarhead. Yet I am, and eat up every release. Kickin' It Oldschool compiles the now out of print Drugs, Money, Sex 10" with a handful of demo and remix tracks. For those of you concerned that there would not be enough thuggery, there are a host of answering machine messages from various snubbed jump-offs and local vice cops just to keep thing (dis)honest. All this with some crunchy guitars and workmanlike rhyming. It seems to be the perfect tooth-grinding soundtrack to malt-liquor fueled vileness. I'm pretty sure this is a limited release, but it is remastered, so you may want to grab this. Valentine's Day is coming up, don't you know. Here's a link.
I love me some Chixdiggit, really I do. We first fell in love over ten years ago and sealed the deal with a truly awesome show at CBGBs. Having played my hands-down worst sets ever at CBs and having had some of the worst times ever there, it's a pleasure to have a glimmer, at least, of nostalgia about the new John Varvatos store. Subsequent to that, the gents dropped off the face of the Earth for a good while, then surfaced to play a couple US shows behind their last pretty ok full-length Pink Razors. One of the guys, Mike I think, was sick and didn't make it. Some guy filled in at the last minute and the set was really kinda shitty and lame. I was way bummed, even more so when they dropped off again for a while, then surfaced with an absolutely flaccid re-recording of their classic first Sub Pop record that was utterly soul sapping.
So you can imagine my ambivalence when I heard that Chixdiggit were dropping a new EP. I did some checking and was mildly pleased to find that the record was coming out on Fat Wreck. That brand loyalty has bitten me in the ass more and more recently, but with Chixdiggit it seemed enough of an incentive to hunt Safeways down. I'm pleased to report it's pretty damn good. Things get a little sketchy with the last couple tracks, notably with Hot N' Horny, but all in all Safeways, Here We Come is something you should be snapping up with the quickness. Here's a link to the Fat Wreck web purveyor. Keep tabs on Chixdiggit here.
I like VRGNS. The new record Manimals is a good one and they have managed to survive in the wake of douchey major label bands making power plays for their name. The No Longer Entertainment 7" pairs the banger from the new platter with a Born Against cover sung by Ryan Patterson of Coliseum. It's good. Pretty sure this is optimized for the collector nerds and limited, so if you want it in your hot little hands, get on over to Kiss Of Death stat. Here's a link.
In the crop of new comedians breaking on a national level, Al Del Bene is often spoken in the same breath as Dane Cook, which would normally scream halitosis at the ol' JS-NYC HQ. Guys like Del Bene and Dov Davidoff are funny guys that come off a little too far into the jabronie spectrum for my tastes. I guess if I had to choose, I'd prefer my comedians in that arm of comedy to be scumbags (Norton, Vos). Cook and those of his ilk tend to attract a post-frat guy/bottle service kind of douchebag crowd that even by conventional comedy standards is a little much for me.
That Get In The Van is sadly more of a serial killer homage than it is Black Flag homage is a second strike against it, but even I recognize that as a douchey shortcoming to consider. So sue me. Or spite me and buy Get In The Vanhere. Evidently Del Bene is hooked up with the new Jon Lovitz comedy special, so if you're on the fence about that kind of comedy, maybe check that out first. Or look up Del Bene on his web presence here.
It may be freezing-ass cold in Gotham, but one can take small consolation in the fact that Spring isn't so far off. Another glimmer of hope is the impending new Austin Lucas record coming via Last Chance Records. Austin reached out and wanted to let the JS-NYC massive (i.e. David) that he was releasing a new single from A New Home In The Old World. It's called Thunder Rail and you should march your ass over to your favorite digital retailer and get it pronto. It's a little more of a big rock sound, with some harmonized Thin Lizzy-ness in the guitars that makes me smile whenever I hear it. Keep an eye out for Austin at SXSW with the Drag The River dudes and dates out East once A New Home In The Old World drops.
New year, new Black Wine 7". This one is called Dark Energy. One track each from Jeff and Miranda with an improbably compelling cover of the Jethro Tull chestnut Locomotive Breath batting in the cleanup slot. I think maybe I like the Miranda track a little bit more, but you can't go wrong with either. It comes courtesy of your friends at Don Giovanni Records. Here's a link to tap into Dark Energy.