Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fucked Up - Year Of The Pig EP

It's been a good year to be Fucked Up. Success was never their primary intention, but after near riots (and/or a bridge collapse) at SXSW and more and more buzz building, Fucked Up signed to a larger label in the States after releasing a full-length last year on Jade Tree. While it wasn't a surprise that they moved to a larger company, I never thought in a million years it would be on Matador. Not that Matador wasn't the first label (ok, after Twin Tone) that I became a catalog fan of, but after Pavement became the big deal over there, I lost interest for a bunch of years, but it seems like George and I are liking the same stuff again.

Fucked Up are no stranger to esoterica, releasing a slew of releases in odd formats that seemed to simultaneously evaporate and be deleted. The CD version of Year Of The Pig reviewed here has four versions: the album version (in all of it's eighteen-minute glory), US, UK and Japanese edits, plus three b-sides and a cover. Year Of The Pig is the second of their tributes to the Chinese Zodiac and weighs in heavily on the Keith Morris-era Black Flag end of things. It starts with a bit of a red herring in the pretty female vocals but Pink Eyes soon brays his way into the fray and it's off to the races for the next fourteen or so minutes. The b-sides are good and the cover is a song by Castlemusic, whose singer Jennifer Castle provides the aforementioned female vocals on the single.

This EP is the predecessor to the first Fucked Up full-length on Matador, a record alleged to be called The Chemistry Of Common Life. It's due out in October. This EP is available now on the Matador site for $7. I think there's a pre-order for the vinyl of Chemistry, too.


Wedding Present interview in Skyscraper #28

Hey Kids: The new issue of Skyscraper is out. Issue 28, to be exact. It happens to feature my interview with Mr. David Gedge of The Wedding Present and reviews of the new Alkaline Trio, Daturah, Drag The River, Glass and Ashes, Chris Mills, Travis Morrison Hellfighters, The Tim Version and Hot Water Music releases. 

 The Weddoes have a new record called   El Rey that's out on Manifesto in the States and Vibrant in the UK.  David's living in LA now and it's got a vague 'California Record' vibe to it. Coming into the interview, I was even more neurotic than usual, but figured I'd do a mailer so I didn't freak David out too much. Everything was fine until he looked at the questions and wanted to talk instead, on about 24 hours notice before a real short deadline. Good times! I managed to co-opt a studio at work, roped Pat in to engineer and was on the phone to David's UK cell in short order.

As most of you probably realize, in most live interviews I do it's not really a big deal for me to find relevant questions to ask, especially when I really like who I'm chatting with. Most of the time the real internal battle is not to freak the interviewee(s) out with way too much info about themselves. Ask Anthony Roman about the first time he met me downstairs at Brownies. I'd like to think that in the time that's passed since I've spin doctored my behavior into the realms of the almost endearing, but suffice to say I know all too well that you never get a second chance to make a first (uncreepy) impression.

And who's on the phone but David Fucking Gedge From The Fucking Wedding Present, a band that was a huge influence on the mighty Musclecar, the rock band I was lucky enough to play in with the frighteningly talented Jack Marshall. David proved to be chatty and a hell of a nice guy. Listening back to the audio, it only took two or three days to get the wince off my face, which is better than most interviews. For a guy that yammers on like I do, I sure do hate to hear the sound of my voice. Oh, life and it's delicious ironies!

Most of the conversation is in the piece, but there was a pretty good moment while we were talking about his relationship with Albini. Albini's quite a shark on the pool table, to the point where he offered to do In Utero for free if the guys could beat him. I asked David if the rumor that he was the only person to have beaten Albini on the slate was true. When he said that he hadn't, I felt like kinda of a rube and replied 'another myth dispelled'. When his amused Northern burr came back over the line, "did you just say 'another myth dispelled?' You really need to come down to the show'" I've never felt more simultaneously embarassed and excited. It's the small things. Now if I can just keep from reminding him of that "moment" he's no doubt already forgotten, I'll be golden.



Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ninja Gun - Restless Rubes

The South sure does seem to be rising again. Drive By Truckers and Lucero kicked open the door for rock with a Southern tinge to it and a gang of bands like the Dexateens and Ninja Gun have run through with amps blazing. We sure need do it, especially up North. Ridiculous Polyanna bands like Gaslight Anthem have taken everything genuine about the genre and sullied it with crappy YouTube video posturing and sleeve tattoos. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you have more videos than singles, you really need to re-evaluate why you're in the rock game.

Ninja Gun are on Suburban Home, which even as recent as a couple years ago would have seemed at best an anomaly and at worst an impediment for an up-and-coming rootsy band. God bless Drag The River, they fostered the post-Gamits paradigm shift over at SH and opened a lot of younger eyes to music that wasn't strictly pop-punk. They also kick a shit-ton of ass. After some shows with the DTR kids, they got in touch with SH head honcho Virgil Dickerson and eventually hashed out a deal to release Restless Rubes through the Colorado label.

Teaming up with Dickerson seems to be a good move for Ninja Gun. They don't come too much more respected on the indie label scene, plus Virgil has a gift for seeing the forest for the trees. Realizing that a lot of people aren't exactly rolling in disposable income for bands they haven't heard of, both SH and the band seeded the Net in the usual places with a zip file of the new record to get a bit of a buzz going. It's a smart move that really seems to be paying off.

And well it should! Ninja Gun have decent songs with big hooks that should appeal to punks and alt-country fans alike. And they write about what they know. It's kind of refreshing to have a roots band with a pig farmer rather than a graphic designer at its helm. That experience makes songs like "Front Yard Fighters (Kitchen Kissers)" so much realer, rivaling songs like Patterson Hood's Bulldozers And Dirt for painting a picture that's simple and true. Drive By Truckers have written entire records about what they call 'The Southern Thing', hopefully exposing more sheltered fans to the fact that reverse racism and classism are still racist and classist, even if you do go to a liberal college and vote for Obama.

Ninja Gun take the hookiness of Big Star and Teenage Fanclub and mix it with a healthy dose of V-Roys and Star Room Boys to make a tasty julep of rock delight you'll order by the pitcher. I was sort of on the fence about Restless Rubes at first spin, but it's grown on me like kudzu in the weeks since then. Singer-guitarist J. Coody appears to write most of the songs, but Ninja Gun really feel like a band, and a damn good one at that. These Valodosta boys are no stranger to a hook or a 'woo-ooh' harmony and they have no qualms about using them. That makes every song on Restless Rubes a sing-a-long. You'll need stronger fortitude than I have to not spin this record all day long.

Ninja Gun is doing a month or so of road dates in October and appear to need some help in getting some shows, so check out the MySpace and help the boys out. You probably won't be seeing them on the Warped Tour any time soon and for that you should thank them. Give a little back and buy Restless Rubes from the kids at Suburban Home.



Freddie Foxxx is Back!!!

I'm not sure if any of you check out unkut.com with any regularity, but if you are into older (ie: good) hip-hop and the history behind it, you really should check it out on the regular. Their interviews with old school OG's like Dr. Butcher and T La Rock are absolutely stellar and the MP3 hosting is off the damn hook. Last night, I checked in and gave a Ricky Powell-esque 'Oh Thit!!' when I saw that Fat Beats was releasing the shelved since '94 Freddie Foxxx release Crazy Like A Foxxx. Even better, it was dropping as a double-disc digipak with the original mix as it was to be released through Flavor Unit as well as the version as produced by the D.I.T.C collective of Showbiz, Buckwild and the all-powerful Lord Finesse. Disc two marks the first installment of Bumpy's Artist Series of releases from the absurd amount of unreleased material he has in his vaults. Case in point is the long-rumored and even longer delayed Amerikkan Black Man record. Freddie has three versions of the record in the can with no set release date.

Foxxx claims that he's been building catalog in the time since he released his Street Triumph mix tape, compiling entire records with produced by Peter Rock and DJ Premier. Records that are no doubt owned 100% by the Foxxx himself. Freddie has long been known as a man who has zero interest in being jerked by a record company. An early connection with R&B great Lloyd Price refined his business sense to a laser sharpness, acumen that helped Bumpy Knuckles earn the highest selling independent release of 2000 with Industry Shakedown. It's been all-indie since then: Foxxx has released his Street Triumph mix tape and two installments of music with his motorcycle crew Krupt Mob, not to mention digitizing a collabo record with KRS-ONE called Royalty Check and producing virtually all of hip-hop material for the WWE. And you street kids think you're gangsta! Try clocking those kind of checks and owning your masters at the end of the day.

Owning those masters has kept the Freddie in houses and gym equipment for years and he'll no doubt do fine licensing Crazy Like A Foxxx to Fat Beats. I had acquired a couple different versions of Crazy via the shadier corners of the web over the years, but never in such an expanded form. I never, and I mean never buy hip-hop new and rode through a thunderstorm on a Sunday to pick this up. Believe me, it's worth the trip. After a couple hours with it, I can say that I prefer the D.I.T.C version of the record, but it's important to remember how hard Flavor Unit were. Back then it was mostly Mark the 45 King's show, but Latifah was no joke back then, and with a crew that included Lakim Shabazz, Craig G and a gang of other dudes that were hard as nails, the Unit got a whole lot of well-deserved respect. To the best of my knowledge, there are no hard feelings between Flavor Unit and Foxxx, but you have to guess that '96 must have been the era when Mark really went off the deep end with the Dust, because there is no reason why this record should have been shelved.

The Flavor Unit version that comprises disc one is actually the second version of the record, rejiggered by Foxxx after the D.I.T.C demos were rejected by the Unit. It's a lot shinier than the grimy D.I.T.C version, with some ill-chosen interlude stuff and some beats that come off a bit dated fourteen years on. There are also some questionable moves, like leaving off a banger of a track with Kool G. Rap in favor of a Tupac collabo, or ushering in his pre-Bumpy Knuckles personae of Daddy Boot Knock, but Crazy Like A Fox is still pretty strong. Compared to most hip-hop today, it's practically Breaking Atoms. Chuck D makes a great cameo on Step, and it's funny to be reminded that the title track was an Ultramagnetic diss. All of this is from an era where beef was beef and not just rap beef, making the prospect of making Foxxx's knuckles that much more bumpy all the more terrifying. No wonder Kool Keith was making up rumors about being in Bellevue.

The Diggin In The Crates demos that comprise the second disc are that much rawer. I personally would be interested who produced what. but credits are non-existant. Could be for fifth-amendmant self-incrimination issues, as there as more asses being beaten and bodies being caught than a bad a day at Attica. There's much more of a boom-bap vibe and it is banging. Songs like Click Click will be giving rappers nightmares like Freddy Krueger. Every one of these tracks from 96 show how much of a fucking beast Foxxx was (as is). Only a couple of the tracks from this era made it to the Flavor Unit, Project Mice is an interesting gimmick that doesn't do much. I feel the same way about Reverend Glock, but Pressure On The Brain kills and bangers like 8 Bars To Catch A Body and the G. Rap collabo Cook A Niggaz Ass should have made the cut. They cut your speakers like a buck fifty, but don't think that Freddie Foxxx needs a tool to beat your ass down. His Bumpy Knuckles and raw rhyme power get the job done just as handily.

Leave the Lupe Fiasco cd on the shelf and grab this from Fat Beats with the quickness. Two cds for $15 is a pretty decent deal and you won't have to wear white louvered sunglasses to enjoy it. On the more recent, Bumpy has jacked 50's How To Rob and dresses down all the fake-ass rappers on How To Rob 2008. Consider yourself warned and check it out on the Myspace.

the eighteenth letter


Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Wussy EP!!

Chuck, Lisa and the rest of Team Wussy are back with a new EP called Rigor Mortis. To no one 's surprise, it's on Shake It! Records. They are evidently dropping a new full-length soon, but this should tide you over til that arrives in the Fall. The EP features two tracks from last year's Left For Dead full-length, two new songs and a gang of live tracks from a recent radio session. John Curley (ex-Afghan Whigs) recorded the studio stuff at Ultrasuede and is currently manning the boards for the new record.

Not much has changed on Rigor Mortis, but why would they? The new songs are great, playing that middle ground between Richard and Linda Thompson and X. I would expect that they will pop up again on the new one, but why postpone joy? While you're waiting, check out the new EP and pick up the previous two releases from Shake It! (Left For Dead and Funeral Dress) while you're at it. There's a two-fer special on the SI! site. You could do a lot worse for $19.99.



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dillinger Four: live at Fuck Yeah Fest 7.12 & 7.13.8

Nice to hear that the drunken louts in Dillinger Four were able to get up off their collective fat/lazy asses to make it out here for a show or two. Sure has been a while. There was the ill-fated appearance at Pointless Fest in Philly where Paddy threw up the whole set, but save for St. Patrick making it through town with Sean Na Na, The Arrivals and seemingly every other band on Earth, the D4 has been keeping it local and assumably recording a new record for the last, I don't know, six years. I'm not sure who cajoled them to go out on the road with The Circle Jerks and a coterie of nightmarish electro bands, but if it gets those boys in town, so be it.

Or so I thought until I had to suffer through a Matt & Kim set. Man is that some insipid crap. Just when I though nothing could be worse than Mates Of State, our friends across the East River stepped up and trumped them. Brooklyn, I continue to underestimate you: your capacity to produce irritating crap is utterly unparalleled. It may not be as crassly commercial as shitty bands from LA, but it sure is horrible. While Kim can drum and seems to be very lovely, I would like to punch her partner Matt in the throat forever. I am also in favor of threatening the removal of his fingers if he does not cease playing that fucking irritating keyboard racket. I can honestly say that Matt and Kim are everything that is wrong with music today. Please take your place with Fannypack and Northern State in the canon of ex-bands.

Manahttan economics work to our advantage every once in a while. Highline had a late show booked, so Dillinger Four were onstage by 9pm. One things is apparent: whatever D4 have been doing in their absence, dieting isn't one of the activities. Them is some big boys. It was business as usual for the boys. Paddy was in his usual high spirits, keeping up his regular schtick about how he's dying to sell out and working in a running gag with the head of security being a record company bigwig. Good times, plus a pretty decent set that worked in Mosh For Jesus, Smells Like OK Soda and a a gang of other old school favorites. No new material (in the stage banter or actual songs) but a hell of a solid set all around.

Night two was at Club Europa in the foul smelling neighborhood of Greenpoint. While I pay far too much for my charming downtown hovel, I can take small consolation in the fact that it doesn't smell like a sewer treatment plant. Maybe it's all the electroclash that's fouling the air. Now when you have the same bill and the same door time, you'd figure the bands would go on at the same times, right? You would guess right if it wasn't in a Polish disco in Greenpoint. Todd P deserves props for all the alternative venues he books shows in, but Europa is by no means enjoyable. Nor is the second to last band going on at 11:45 on a Sunday. Come on guys! Over by 9:30 on a Friday but going past midnight on a Sunday with a non-drinking crowd? Well done!

Granted, it was the last night of the tour and the whole thing was supposed to celebrate diversity (a good idea in theory, unless you have listen to it) but diversity that includes at least one not-especially-good comedian and my being subjected to Matt & Kim for the second time in 24 hours is enough to make me hardline. At the risk of over-asserting the point: Matt and Kim are absolutely terrible. I really feel for the families of the kids that listen to that crap. Kim again proved to be mildly engaging and beat the hell out of the drum kit for most of the set, but a tour-ending set with her counterpart thanking everybody in America had many a D4 fan in the crowd contemplating a stage invasion.

The world's unluckliest, and sadly unfunniest comedian got to work the room while Dillinger got set up. I guess he was paid for, but it being the last night and all, they could have killed the second-rate Richard Lewis they dragged out and no one really would have complained. It was better than Matt & Kim, but then again so is hysterical deafness. Comedian #2 went over a little bit better, but all in all, not a good idea late on a Sunday night. When you have Keith Morris and Patrick Costello in the house, you can send the b-list comedians home early.

Dillinger Four, on the other hand, are a good idea all the time. Day, Night, whenever: they truly bring it. Same set essentially from the night before, banter included. I was pleased to find that they had been up til 6:30 the night before with Paul Bearer. Most of the crowd seemed to have no idea who Sheer Terror were, much less be old enough for him to be nasty to them at the door at Brownies, but someone's gotta rep for the old school. It would have been nice to see a guest appearance from ol' PB, but you can't have everything.

Dillinger Four have finally finished the new record, which will assumably be dropping on Fat soon. They are playing a couple of dates opening for NOFX in October, so look forward to seeing Fat Mike and the boys getting their asses handed to them (and hit me off if you can score me some guest list- Vanessa?) and pray for a headlining tour in the Spring.

Bottomless Pit and Kadane Bros at Knit 7.11.8

Can I get a 'what the fuck'? Not that I'm not old and/or cranky but I hate, hate, hate the fact that you can never find out the actual time that a band is going to play in this day and age. Maybe it's just a NYC thing, but I regularly go to a venue hours before a show to find out a start time and arrive to find that the set time has changed two hours when it hasn't even been that long since I asked. That was an awesome way to miss most of the xlimp wristx show last year, I'll tell you. This night I got there at 8:45 to find that the Kadane Bros. were no longer headlining and that the twice confirmed 9pm start time for the Pit was now 11. Good times.

After a rare set from Kahoots, the Kadane Brothers ambled on to the stage. The Bros, of course, used to be half of Bedhead and currently helm Texas titans The New Year. Both bands ply their trade in hushed vocals and reverb-dappled clean guitar wash. Bubba also played fourth man in Silkworm prior to the bands demise, fleshing out the sound nicely with keys and strings. The Bros. played mostly as a duo with both brothers on electric, sometimes supplemented with Chris Brokaw (ex-Codeine, Come and a million other bands you should know). They went over well, and featured a seamless set that incorporated Bottomless Pit into their last number. More bands should work that angle, but then again most bands can barely play with themselves, much less another band.

Bottomless Pit features Tim and Andy from Silkworm, with a rhythm section comprised of Chris Manfrin from Seam and Brian Orchard. Not too fucking shabby, I'd say. Live and on record, it's all about clean low end with the Pit. Tim is playing baritone guitar and that combined with an actual bass player and down-tuned guitar will fill a room with some frequencies. Tim and Andy are both singing, although not together. Oddly enough though, their voices are getting more and more similar. Neither of them are going to give The Irish Tenors any sleepless nights, but it's no less beautiful. There are only maybe a dozen songs in the Bottomless Pit canon, which doesn't make for the longest set, but we still managed to cajole the boys back for an encore.

Between Tim's electrical engineering job at Shure and Andy's law career, we don't see a lot of road dates for The Bottomless Pit. Hopefully there will be more dates behind the new Congress EP. Look out for road dates. In the meantime, order it (or a gang of other Silkworm related material) from them via the website or get the digital downloads from Jon Solomon at Comedy Minus One. Links are below.

See you at the rock show!



Transparent Methadone Copyrights

The Midwest continues to uphold it's long-standing tradition of not fucking around when it comes to making the quality punk rock. Chicago and Minneapolis have always been a hotbed for such things, presumably because the weather is crappy about ten months out of the year and there is little else to do but head for the basement to rock and/or drink heavily. With bands like Dear Landlord, The Copyrights, Canadian Rifle and Methadones stalking the bars and basements of this land, it just isn't safe to be in a shitty punk band anymore.

Dan Methadone and Adam Copyright have decided to hammer that point home and found their own label called Transparent Records. It's as good an outlet as anything else for throwing away cash in this day and age. The only issue I can really take on the front end is the small issue of another longer-standing label with the same name coming out of Jersey City, but to be fair the proprietors of the Garden City Franchise seem to be more concerned with selling Star Wars cards in this day and age.

All name (and ironically enough, potential copyright) issues aside, Dan and Adam are no fools. They are thinking globally and acting locally, releasing their first product in the form of a split featuring Methadones and The Copyrights. Wonder how they scored that signing? Their shrewd wooing of up-and-coming bands has really paid off, as this split kicks a ridiculous amount of ass.

Methadones feature one Dan Schafer, who you may remember more familiarly as Danny Vapid from a little Windy City Band called Screeching Weasel. Post-Weasel, Schafer vacillated between Methadones and fellow Ramones-worshipping outfit The Riverdales before founding this incarnation of Methadones in 2001. They've dropped five full-lengths since then, mostly on Red Scare, but they sure haven't wasted all their good material on other labels. Their (virtual) side of this split, from the opening Imperfect World through What Do You Believe In? has Team Methadone turning up the heat for the rest of the pop-punk set.

Most bands would wilt in that heat and get the fuck out of the kitchen, but then again most bands aren't The Copyrights. Said Copyrights hail from Carbondale, IL, a college town known for its educational programs. It makes sense, cause The Copyrights are straight-schooling all you dummies on how to make a hooky pop song to shout yourself hoarse to. Their set last month at Insubordination Fest brought down the house and featured most of the songs on this split. Maybe is was the $2 PBR special Razorcake was footing, but 500 people going apeshit to stuff they hadn't heard before bodes pretty well for Transparent moving a bunch of this split.

I can (and will) split some hairs over the lack of song credits, especially as both bands sound kinda similar, but all the songs here are top-fucking-notch, regardless of who wrote the damn things. Props are due to Matt Allison, who recorded this at Atlas in Chicago with Neil Hennessey. He works his usual magic here, and despite a couple instances of the vocal mikes seeming to be set to the Skiba pre-set, he really captures every hooky nuance of the songs.

Transparent Records are making all the right moves with their debut release. This split sets the bar pretty damn high. There's no word on what is next from the label, but there are rumblings about the Dear Landlord full-length being next in line. It remains to be seen, but if that's the caliber of material Transparent has at it's disposal, Transparent may very well end up very much in the black.



Stay Positive

It’s no secret that I have somewhat of an unhealthy fixation with the Hold Steady. Since Ryan Shadrin leant me a copy of Pleased To Meet Me in high school, Minneapolis has been the Fertile Crescent for music as far as I’m concerned. Since then, cities like Chapel Hill and Austin and Athens have tugged at my heartstrings, but the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have always played a ridiculously important part in my life.

I had always dug Lifter Puller, but after they played the closing shows at Brownies, Craig and Tad dropped off the radar for me. A couple people had mentioned Boys And Girls In America to me as a record they thought I should check out and eventually Christian ended up sending me a copy of the record at work. When I threw it on and heard the piano part opening Stuck Between Stations I had to get up and ask Heath if they were actually serious with the Springsteen jocking. As the first verse came in, Craig clubbed me over the head with his line about girlfriends that were cool to kiss but not all that great as girlfriends. That hit close to home. That night, when I got back to the apartment I had just moved back into after an absurdly toxic stab at cohabitation, it was down to bare bones. I had the essentials: the stereo, a camp chair from Keri, and two Minneapolis records: the Off With Their Heads Hospitals EP and Boys And Girls In America. Various combinations of those two records were played over and over in the weeks before the rest of my records got out of storage.

Cue a ton of shows behind that record where I discovered both the joys of a five beer Hold Steady show and the pain of the most fervent fingerpointing I’ve engaged in this side of a Dillinger Four show. I had to stop dating at HiFi, especially when Galen was bartending, as I always found that I’d rather listen to him or whoever else from Team Steady was there. I got down with the Unified Scene kids and since then I have had a bunch of great (albeit hazy) times in a lot of cities. There’s been the small matter of too many photos and videos of some old guy waxing rhapsodic at the shows popping up on the net, but I hear that that’s getting under control.

I got a leak of the record maybe six weeks ago and I fell for it like it was a short-haired brunette on a track bike. Craig had said it would be called Stay Positive, a nod to his hardcore roots and a view from an aging guy who still loves rock and roll. I do, too.

Kath mentioned the Randy Newman connection after I sent her the last record and it’s really apt. Frankly, it kills me that I didn’t make the connection my own self, but I take small consolation in knowing that the force is strong in my sister. The Hold Steady really are the E Street Band fronted by Randy Newman. That’s the type of bastard offspring we need more of.

Boys And Girls was a pretty enormous pair of shoes to fill, but Brooklyn’s finest have maybe even trumped it. It’s really only the lack of another three-way with Dave Pirner and Elizabeth Elmore that keeps maybe in the equation. Where do you start on the things that ring my bells? Is it the Breaking Away allusion on One For The Cutters? Maybe the fact that Craig insists on referencing Dillinger 4 on every record and this time around it’s fucking doublewhiskeycokenoice? Oh, boys! You do spoil me. And that only really covers the first three songs.

Stay Positive is really a remarkable record. The songwriting is top-notch, both with Craig’s lyrics and everyone else making the racket. Franz gets a lot more room to flex his skills, busting out mean harpsichord and harmonica in addition to his usual amazing piano and accordian. Koob makes his Jimmy Page turn here and commits his best recorded solo yet in the stellar Lord I’m Discouraged. I defy you to find a better one this year. You know where to find me. Prove me wrong.

Zeppelin has always played a big part in the Hold Steady sound. I introduce their cover of Hey Hey What Can I Do into evidence. For most bands, venturing into that territory is not a good idea. You may remember Duran Duran and Thank You, although I pray no one other than Mike Marciari does. I will give him a pass, but anyone else who can condone such behavior should be held in serious question. That The Hold Steady succeed with the Zeppelin pastiche that is Joke About Jamaica is a true testament to the power the boys wield.

Then there is Magazines. If there is ever a chorus that resonated for me, it’s that song. It’s songs like that that make me almost believe there are stronger forces at work in the universe. If the boys released a seven-inch with Magazines and Modesto’s Not That Sweet on the b-side, then broke up, they would still decimate 98% of the competition. Oddly enough, a good part of that remaining 2% guest on Stay Positive. Patterson Hood and Ben Nichols both sing back-ups and Doug Gillard and J. Mascis drop by for some steel-string slinging. None of them is essential to the record, but their presence is worth it for sheer mojo alone. A Unified Scene, indeed.

The crowd is an integral part of that scene and it’s a pleasure to be a part of the mob that’s crammed up against the barriers with a finger in the air. The boys are on tour, back in town to play Letterman (link) . They’ll be back in town soon enough and there are rumblings of a three-way extravaganza in the works with one, if not both, of the bands that some of the aforementioned guests play in. That, my friends, bodes well for some great nights and shitty, dehydrated mornings. I, for one, can’t fucking wait.



Monday, July 21, 2008


Hey Kids:

Welcome to Jaded Scenester, my newly launched exercise in virtual narcissism. Ok, actual narcissism in the virtual realm, but if you’ve made it this far you’ve no doubt endured (or hopefully at least been amused by) my obsession with all things enjoyed aurally enough to check out my little corner of the universe. It is, as our friends from Athens so eloquently put it, a blessing and a curse. You can take small consolation in the fact that you don’t have to enjoy my ranting firsthand any more. I’m going to try to make it a good time here, so strap on in. Thrill at the awkwardness when I diss your boyfriend or sister’s band without realizing the connection. Revel in my hypocrisy. Watch me flip-flop like Amy Winehouse on bad coke. This is going to be fun.

You can still find me in the usual print and web places, but I’m going to try and update this at least once daily. I’m going to post live reviews as well as record and DVD reviews and can pretty much guarantee that I’ll review everything that comes my way as well as hosting MP3s and video. E-mail me at jadedscenesternyc@gmail and I’ll hit you off with a mailing address. That said: if you’re in an electro-clash band, a member of Gaslight Anthem, or just plain suck outright, don’t expect me to not call a turd a turd. Give it your best shot. If it makes you feel any better, I used to hate everything, but now I just hate most things. I’ll call that progress.

the eighteenth letter