Friday, October 31, 2008

Free Suburban Home Fest Comp!

So, here marks another year that I sit in NYC when I could be shouting my lungs out in Gainesville to all of the good bands that currently exist. The Fest is a magical thing, and goddammit, come hell or high water, I'm going there and seeing fucking Tiltwheel next year.

That bile somewhat purged, Virgil Dickerson and the good folk of Suburban Home will be in attendance this year, as will a good part of their spectacular roster. Virgil has been really putting in work. In addition to tirelessly blogging, hawking vinyl and going out on the road with his bands, he's managed to build a roster with some of the best up-and-coming bands out there.  Come on, he's dropped amazing records like the amazing Ninja Gun (oo-wee-ooo) and Two Cow Garage records, as well as the new Useless ID and Lagrecia discs. And for once, I'm not being stubborn about calling them records. If you look at the graphic, it says Vinyl Collective. VC has released a gang of new and old stuff on the old licorice pizza. If you still follow the format, you owe yourself to check it out.

So if I can make a vague attempt at making any of this cohesive; about the free shit and The Fest, Virgil's got a free sampler to commemorate the Suburban Home bands' presence in Gainesville. You can buy it on vinyl (ooh, a third strand woven!) here or download it for free here. It's got stuff from Joey Cape, Two Cow, Austin Lucas and a gang of others. And it's fucking free. Not a bad deal from a great label and great people. Snag the sampler and buy some full-lengths afterward. I'm not sure how long the download is going to be up, so you should probably step lively. Virgil may be at The Fest taking all comers in the competitive PBR shotgunning, but he's going to come to his senses sometime.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Heltah Skeltah - D.I.R.T

On the heels of what was undoubtably Sean Price's phoenix year comes the return of his partnership with Rock and his original franchise: Heltah Skeltah. I really can't believe how little I liked Sean Price, or in this environment Ruck, on the past HS recordings. Maybe it was the dreads, or the fact that he was skinny, but even after busting out Magnum Force ten years on from its debut I still can't see the appeal. Give me any of the Sean P material any day, please.

Time has prompted both parties to shed their locks, but not their Boot Camp or Decept affiliations. Both are shouted out at some length all over D.I.R.T (Da Incredible Rap Team) . As if they needed to. Both Rock and Ruck have a flow that is Boot Camp to the core. The rhymes come fast and furious and from the intro you'll realize that you would not do well to relegate this dynamic duo to old school status.

Or do. It's your ass that will catch the beatdown and not me. I will say that the old-school Pen and Pixel cover might be a bit of a misstep, as are the costumes, but the rhymes more than speak for themselves. Their partners in grime from Smif and Wessum and Black Moon make their obligatory appearances, as does the Prince Of Crown Heights, Rusty Juxx. It's all better than your favorite record, so reallocate a $20 from your weed budget and pick up D.I.R.T here. Support independent hip-hop. Duck Down has been around forever and have essentially same roster. Name another roster that's stayed that consistent. I thought so. Buy the record and check out Boot Camp TV on public access.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

If You Make It demos, part six: Air Raid Barcelona

Part six, and for the time being, part last, of the If You Make It series. This installment features the good folk of Air Raid Barcelona, who are probably an ex-band at this juncture. Good stuff, cut from the same cloth as much of the IYMI fare. There's some stuff with the bass mixed high and driving things, some indie-rock guitars and the vocals are pretty much almost all-there. When the singer sticks to the monotone delivery, it almost gets a little Jawbreaker, but for the most part it seems like these songs would sound best a couple beers in at somebody's house, preferably through a shitty PA. See what you think.

 I would venture that most of the players in the ranks of Air Raid Barcelona are members of other bands featured on the If You Make It site, so if you get a taste for the sound, there's ample succor to fill the void. And, as I've reiterated some times previously, it's free. Get it the demo here and leave a damn donation, ingrate! 


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

If You Make It demos, part five: The State Lottery

Yowza! Now here's a great fucking record. And let me point out from the onset that it's free. Evidently the parties that comprise The State Lottery are scattered between the outer boroughs of our fair city and the charmingly bucolic town of Detroit, Michigan. If the separation is what's keeping me from seeing The State Lottery live, I may have to personally sponsor a reunion. 

The State Lottery sound like a band that's moving out the back end of their punk phase into a more roots rock direction. Don't get me wrong, it's going to be a long time before anyone confuses The State Lottery with The Jayhawks, but you can hear the band champing at the bit to evolve. That said, there's nothing to complain about on Cities We're Not From. The faster stuff sounds like Potboiler or maybe early Buffalo Tom. It's a little cleaner than Birdbrain or records of that caliber, but whoever's writing the songs in The State Lottery is showing all the signs of being as much of a threat. Really. I'm not saying that The State Lottery are as good as Buffalo Tom were at this stage in the game, but I'm already salivating at the prospect of the next recording.

Get the record for free here. Leave a damn donation already.
You can buy it on vinyl (colored too, nerd) from the good folk of Salinas here
Stay tuned for more The State Lottery info and check out the web presence here.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Mark Your Calendars: Liquid Limbs

Matt from Sound Study Recordings got in touch to remind us that the rock juggernaut that is Liquid Limbs is coming through town in November. They are at the Charleston in on the 8th and at Lit on the 11th. Check out the rest of the dates here. Go see them, but don't forget the earplugs. See you at the rock show.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

If You Make It demos, part four: Iron Chic

Iron Chic are another of the many bands that have sprung up in the wake of the dissolution of Long Island's Latterman franchise. This one features guitarists Phil Douglas and Bran Crozier. Vocals are from the enigmatic Lubrano from Small Arms Dealer. The band is not all that far removed from Latterman or, by extrapolation, late-period output of Hot Water Music or Jawbreaker. They are kind enough to offer up the five songs that comprise their demo on their web page here or for free on the If You Make It page here. It's well worth checking out, and you sure can't beat the price. Five songs in under fifteen minutes, but lucky for you audio files don't wear out and you can play this over and over again. Just don't spend too long contemplating exactly how Iron Chic is going to 'take the future and fuck it to death' like they threaten on Sensitive Dependence. That's not a good visual. At all really.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Live: Two Cow Garage @ DC's 10.24.8

It used to be a lot easier to get out to Hoboken. The last time I rode out there was for the acoustic Ergs/Drag The River show at Maxwell's. It was a Saturday night and I had to wait for five trains to pass before I was able to get my bike on. This time I arrived at Christopher St. to find that there was no working machines, so I could either jump the turnstile (with a bike) and be the most conspicuous arrest of the early evening commuter set, or ride to Sixth Ave and get on there. Luckily, that passed without incident and I touched ground in Hoboken in fifteen short minutes.

DC's is out on 8th Street in Hoboken, out by Water Music. To say that it's small is a gross understatement. It makes Lakeside look expansive. I saw Micah and the new keyboard guy out front and walked through the front door seemingly on to the stage, before I realized that the band was crammed in behind the pool table and bathrooms, leaving about ten square feet for the Two Cow fans and bar-goers. It made it that much easier to find the Brothers Johnson for night two of our rock tour. We had some drinks while the gents set up and wondered openly if they had ever hosted a band there before, a fact corroborated by many a local who walked in to no small amount of confusion and left soon afterward.

The gents had to be over by 11pm, so they stepped lively and got underway by 9:30. They cranked out a good amount of the new record Speaking In Cursive, with a couple dips toward older tracks. We also managed to convince them to play Can't Hardly Wait and Born To Run for good measure. The whole thing served to assert two things: one being that Two Cow Garage are a hell of a lot of fun to see live and two, whoever the guy named Joe who convinced the band to play DCs for his birthday was, he's a hell of a lucky guy. Buy a copy of the new record here and convince them that they need to play a New York show soon. Shane was saying that they had fully intended to this time around, but they got screwed by all the CMJ shows. It's a bummer, as this is one of the best shows I've seen all year. Keep up with what the boys are doing here. Here's hoping we get them on our side of the water soon.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Live: Chris Mills @ Cake Shop 10.23.8

This evening marked my first official foray into the nightmare that is CMJ in general and the 2008 version in particular. This was the Ernest Jennings Record Company showcase. Had it not been Tim's label and Chris Mills I would have passed, as Cake Shop is a scheduling nightmare, but the quasi-regimented CMJ schedule made it worth trying. Issues with the sound guy delayed things a bit longer, but before we knew it Mills and his band were on stage and making other bands feel bad.

It astounds me that Ernest Jennings hasn't sold a million copies of the new Chris Mills record. It's called Living In The Aftermath and only serves to reassert the fact that Mills is the best singer-songwriter we have in NYC. His crack band, with David Nagler on keys and Steve Goulding (Gang Of Four, Mekons) was a little rough, but still better than most other bands. We got a good representation of the new record, with Atom Smashers being the highlight, as well as a smattering from his first three records. It being CMJ and it being an early slot, the set passed pretty quickly. Too soon, really, to the point where I had to listen to more Mills once I got home. Get the home version of the Chris Mills rock show here and stay in the loop as to when the next show is here. You can thank me later.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

If You Make It demos, part three: Halo Fauna

I didn't think that I knew Halo Fauna until the other shoe dropped and I realized that Dave Bierling had been out on tour with them this summer. Checking out their tour dates, it would appear that this Buffalo/Brooklyn collective hasn't stopped since then. As of today, they appear to be keeping up with the kids in Lemuria and are out on the road until December, with stops at The Fest and a big ass loop West and back after that. Here's hoping they hold up, as the five songs here are pretty damn great. Evidently this is a precursor to their current record on Plan-It- X, but don't think it's going to get all twee up in this mofo. They seem to be pretty DIY, and judging by the spate of touring, either are doing pretty well or driving the old Potboiler van that ran on vegetable oil. The current tour is the seventh incarnation of the Gadabout Film Fest partnered with the Just Seeds travelling art tour, so perhaps the Plan-It-X bus is transporting the kids.

If I was going to have to go to an travelling indie film festival, I think I'd want to be able to see Halo Fauna. They number anywhere from one to four-pieces and play their trade in a folky punk that sounds a lot like early Built To Spill. Scenescence is only five tunes, but they picked a good batch to represent them. New Paltz Summer is a quality track that deserves to be cranked in a car in that aforementioned time, capturing an optimistic ennui in a few short minutes without overstaying it's welcome. That aesthetic extends to the entire demo. The five songs pass far too quickly for this asshole. Looks like I'll be picking up the new one. In the meantime, download Scenescence here from If You Make It and leave a damn donation. You can get the new record Durak from the band here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

100th Post

So it's the 100th posting today at the Jaded Scenester. Actually, 101st, but since I'm steady schooling you lot, it seems apropos, even if my French does not. Thanks to both of you who have made this successful beyond my wildest expectations. I'm taking the day off to go get in trouble at the Aldenbarton mansion. Look for more delights on the morrow.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

If You Make It demos, part two: The Brass

The Brass are from Brooklyn. There's quite a little scene jumping off out there around between the various house and basement shows, Don Pedro's and the like. With the Astoria and Jersey pop-punk scenes imploding, it seems like a lot of bands are taking a different tact on the 90's Midwestern sound that's become so trendy as of late. While the pop-punkers opted for Screeching Weasel, bands like Meneguar, Get Bent and The Brass are taking more of a Boys Life or Braid tack. Works for me.

There are four songs in the demo, ranging from 'promising but falling a little bit short' to 'these guys could be a problem'. You can get the demo from the good folk of If You Make It here. Make a donation, cheap-ass. For the statisticians in our midst, you've got ex/current members of Latterman, Potboiler, On The Might Of Princes and Air Raid Barcelona in the band. The Brass are at Lost And Found in Brooklyn on 10/23 and seem well worth checking out. They also like taking shots at Rick Healey. Check out the web presence here.

If You Make It demos, part one: Thousandaires

Well, I guess the first thing to point out with Thousandaires is that despite the proximity factor, and with all due respect, I am not referring to these gents. If extraneous HTML code was jewelry, these guys would be Slick Rick.

No, my friends, our debut in the If You Make It spotlight is the NYC area band Thousandaires. It features Jeff from Bridge and Tunnel, with Jared from Get Bent and Potboiler and Dave and Dom from Halo Fauna. Only three songs so far, but they are pretty great. Phil Douglas recorded them in his usual masterful fashion. He may be our next J. Robbins at this rate. The three tunes here sport a Braidy kind of midwestern vibe with the expected NY spin. It makes me feel really bad about not having seen Get Bent live as yet. I'm going to rectify that situation ASAP and hope that we hear a lot more from Thousandaires in the very near future.

Get the demo here from If You Make It

Make a donation!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Spotlight On: If You Make It

So between weddings, other writing gigs and the upcoming dung heap that is this year's CMJ, I'm going to be stretched even more thin than usual this week. Dave from If You Make It got in touch after seeing the Get Bent review on JS-NYC. He recommended the Thousandaires, and suggested I check out the If You Make It site. It's got a great video series, as well as a bunch of free demos from a gang of bands like the aforementioned Thousandaires and Get Bent as well as Halo Fauna, plus a gang of other good up and comers. Check out the demos and videos. Even more importantly, make a donation. I did all of the above and for the rest of the week will feature reviews of demos from bands featured on the site. Look out for the jump off tomorrow with a review of the Thousandaires demos. It features Bridge and Tunnel, Get Bent and Halo Fauna Kids and was recorded by Phil Douglas. More tomorrow.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Ergs - Hindsight Is 20/20, My Friend vol 1

Man, just when I was beginning to think something was happening around these parts, the whole thing starts going down the shitter. Hunchback announced their break-up today, it looks like Short Attention's days might be numbered, and perhaps the saddest of all, the Ergs are calling it a day.

Hindsight Is 20/20, My Friend is a collection of b-sides and comp tracks that was in the works well before the gents announced that they were hanging it up. As a comp of an active band, it's great, but as a posthumous epitaph it's really kind of depressing. Not because it sucks, but because they were great and they were local. I saw them a handful of times and always had a great time. I still hope to see one of their last shows, but am glad that I didn't try to see the D4 show last week, as I hear the stage collapsed four songs in. I'm not sure how it went from collapsing during The Ergs set to supporting the sultans of svelte that are Dillinger 4, but things in Brooklyn work in strange and mysterious ways.

But I digress. So there's a gang of great stuff on Hindsight: stuff from the Lemuria split, stuff from that mp3 they released on 3.5 diskette, the 3 EyesEP stuff and a gang of others that are better than your shitty band's best stuff. Pick up Hindsight Is 20/20, My Friend from Ken at Dirtnap here. Check out the Ergs web presence here for word on their final shows and start counting the days before the reunion shows.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Star Fucking Hipsters - Until We're Dead

Star Fucking Hipsters are from points outer borough here in town. They are an adjunct of the Leftover Crack crew, featuring Sturgeon from that smelly bunch. The band was initially the brainchild of Sturgeon and LoC drummer Brandon Chevalier-Kolling, but fell by the wayside after the drummer's accidental death by Vicodin on tour with LoC. Much of the stronger SFC material was cannibalized into the last LoC release, but a gutting of the line-up and refurbishment with ex-and current members Ensign, The Slackers and World Inferno Friendship Society has prompted a deal with Fat Wreck and the release of Until We're Dead.

Star Fucking Hipsters are all over the punk spectrum, kicking things off with the Pop Will Eat Itself meets Sigue Sigue Sputnik Introduccion de los Hipsters and proceeding through ska, crust and acoustic fare before leaving you sweaty and confused forty-five minutes later. It's not a bad thing. The songs are good, despite Stza's attempts to 'punk' things up by singing like he's fronting the River Bottom Nightmare Gang on some of the tracks. Singer Nico De Gaillo hold down the female end of the spectrum nicely, sounding a lot like Linda Hopper from Magnapop in a couple places, but more than holds her own regardless of what genre is thrown at her. It seems like Star Fucking Hipsters may have replaced Leftover Crack as Stza's main focus. Barring their seeming inability to ever play a hometown show, I can see Fat making Star Fucking Hipsters a pretty big deal. Stza is the x-factor, if he can keep his cop-baiting at bay (and would stop feigning innocence and shock afterward) Until We're Dead should get a lot of notice from a lot more than just the squatter set. Buy the record here and see where the cops will be showing up next here


Friday, October 17, 2008

Two Cow Garage - Speaking In Cursive

Things are well in the world. There have been a slew of great releases lately, but few have been more exciting for this shut-in than the new Two Cow Garage record. It's called Speaking In Cursive and it's coming out via Virgil Dickerson and the good folk of Suburban Home (and the Vinyl Collective, if you are so enamored of the concentric spiral groove). I just got the pre-order a day or so ago, complete with buttons and beer coozie. Other than ears, what more do you need?

Speaking In Cursive marks the first Two Cow record without original drummer/Jesus doppelganger/God Of Thunder who lives and walks among us: Dustin Harigle. While Two Cow are hardly The Who, his drums were a big part of their live show. The gents seem to have found a replacement, and a full-time keyboard dude, since and expanded their arrangements accordingly. Don't expect a Marillion record or anything, but the move to a five-piece and mentoring by Brent Best (The Drams, Slobberbone) and Matt Pence (Centro-matic) has made for a bigger (and better) Five Cow sound.

Maybe you saw the This Is American Music tour last year with Glossary, The Drams, Grand Champeen and Two Cow? If you did, you probably heard some of the songs that have finally been magnetized on Speaking In Cursive, most notably Micah's stellar new Skinny Legged Girl. If that was the only track on the record, I would still put it in my top ten for the year. Lucky for us, it's not and the other dozen or so tracks are pretty damn good. Micah's got the lion's share of the tracks, but Shane and his baritone weigh in with a couple of numbers that are rapidly becoming my favorites.

And hopefully yours, too. They've cancelled more shows in NYC than they've played, but I'm looking forward to seeing them at DC's in Hoboken on 10/24. I've flown out to a handful of shows that historically would be stymied by amp failure or other enviornmental issues, but when they overcome the rock inertia, those boys tear it up live. I hear Chris Flint (manager and occasional guitarist) is out with them, so it's a fully-functioning death star. You really need to see them. Just watch out for the flying headstocks. The record's not out until 10/21, but I believe you can still snag the pre-order here. Buy it even if you don't need the buttons or the coozie.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tracy Shedd review up at The Tripwire

Hey Kids:

Review of the new Tracy Shedd record Cigarettes and Smoke Machines on Teen Beat up at The Tripwire.

Check it out here. Thanks to Derek Evers and Mark Robinson!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Live: Aldenbarton w/ Steve Shiffman and the Land Of No @ Pianos 10.14.8

Call me selfish, but anytime I can get two out of three of my favorite local bands on the same bill within ten blocks of JS-NYC headquarters, I'm going to try and make that happen. This time, for the byline challenged, it was Aldenbarton teamed with Steve Shiffman and The Land Of No. Next time we'll get Bowery Boy Blue on the bill for a real Rob-a-palooza. Pianos was kind enough to slot another band on the front end of the night, charmingly stymying a good deal of promotion, but The Land Of No came on to a pretty good-sized crowd.

As well they should. They have come a long way from the duo shows with Steve and Pete. Adding Alec and Kent from The Holy Ghost and the hellfire slide guitar from Dave Hollinghurst has done nothing but make the band that much more terrifying. More often than not, five pieces (especially when three are guitars) can get a little cacophonous, but Shiffman and Co. have impeccable taste in arrangements as well as songs. There are at least four people writing for the band and everyone seems to be bringing their A game. In the case of Pete Hayes, quality footwear is also represented. They definitely have t-shirts and I believe a record, although perhaps not released in an official capacity. Somebody really should get on that. There are far too many boring bands in this burgh and Steve Shiffman and The Land Of No really deserve some notice. I'm not sure when the next show is, but you can probably find out here.

Aldenbarton closed the night out with another great set. They have their debut Exodus of the Eldest dropping soon and i, for one, can't wait. Aldenbarton always bring it live. The interplay between those three jokers obviously speaks volumes about the benefits of living and rocking together. If you can deal with the interpersonal ridiculousness, it sure does bear fruit. And a gang of new tunes, three in fact this evening, all as good if not better than the stuff on the record. That bodes well for Exodus getting a lot of shine. It should also make a lot of other bands a wee bit nervous if Aldenbarton has got tunes this good on deck and the first record hasn't even dropped. Get a taste of them at the next show. Should be a month or so, but keep checking here and here for MP3s and more info. Maybe buy a t-shirt, too.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Get Tattooed by Derek Olsen

My dear friend Derek Olsen of Portland, Oregon, is currently tattooing up a storm. If you are in that neck of the woods (or are willing to pay him to travel), he's doing great work. Contact him here to see his work and make an appointment.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Live: Cory Branan @ Cake Shop 10.12.8

If you're like me (and frankly I pray that you're not), Cory Branan came on your radar through Lucero, whether it be the shout-out on Tears Don't Matter Much or through him opening one of their shows. He mentioned last night that he had lived here for a spell, but I was never aware of him playing a solo show in town previously. I've acquired most of his stuff and was pleased to see him in town until I found that it was at Cake Shop. Nice room, decent bartenders, but with the worst scheduling I've encounted in twenty years of concert going and playing

I arrived at the advertised time to find that the order had been switched and Cory was going on last. Cue the normal return home to kill time while The Quiet Life worked through their set. QT seem to be decent enough guys and they have a hell of a lead guitar player, but I wasn't crazy about the songs. They definitely seem to have a good record in them, but them seem a couple years out from really playing their own lane. Inexplicably, Cory was on before I returned, but seemed to already have the crowd in the palm of his hand. He's got an infectious grin that seems likely to get him equal parts pussy and punches, perhaps even from the same person.

More often than not, Branan plays solo, especially outside of Mississippi, and tonight was no exception. A cracked nail made things more interesting, but didn't keep him from knocking out close to 20 songs before his Midnight curfew. He's an engaging performer in the Bob Keen/Todd Snider school of things, keeping the audience thinking and laughing with equal fervor. The faster stuff went over a little better, but it's not like the entire female population wasn't swooning their way through his entire set, either. There were a couple new songs in the set, but tried and true favorites like The Best Looking Waitress in Memphis and A Girl Named Go popped up to keep the crowd happy. He seemed to get the job done, the crowd was bigger than I had seen in some time and ate the set up with a spoon for the most part. This appeared to be the last night of the tour, but I'm hoping Cory Branan comes through again real soon. Keep an eye on his movements here. He's got two records and an EP for your listening pleasure and all three are available here. You know you want them.

Go see Alden Barton and Steve Shiffman and The Land Of No at Pianos tomorrow starting at 9pm.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Minus The Bear - Acoustics

Hearing that Minus The Bear were doing an acoustic record was not exactly a cause for much celebration for me. Don't get me wrong, I dig those guys much. I've seen them on every tour they've done and marveled at how well they melded live guitar and keys with electronics on stage. It didn't hurt that Matt Bayles was in the band for a time. His sonic alchemy has done much for the Minus The Bear. The band has persevered and is by no means scuttled by his departure, and Bayles recorded their last studio record Planet Of Ice, but his grinning mug at stage right was always a great part of MTB shows.

So if you've heard Minus The Bear, you know that you would normally get some rock dappled with electronica. Jake Snider's coolly delivered vocals are a big part of the MTB sound, as is guitarist Dave Knudson, who plays lots of finger-tap guitar and dares to experiment with clean textures where most would hide behind distortion. Minus The Bear's refreshing desire to be as organic as they can has manifested itself in an acoustic EP. Again, one would wonder if that's really a good idea. The electronics are such a big part of the band sound that one would be right to wonder if paring it down might be a little naked. That's somewhat ironic, especially given the Minus The Bear image of a bunch of space-age swingers. I'm pleased to say that Acoustics translates pretty well. I prefer the originals across the board, but Knudson is a gifted guitarist who fills out the tracks nicely. He's a little up-front in the mix, and I could do with a little less of the hard-panned acoustic on the Sunspots setting, but Knudson is definitely one of the most interesting players in the genre. There are only seven tracks, but if you're a completist, be forewarned that one of them is a new track called Guns and Ammo. It's ok.

Acoustics is available currently as a digital download here. Currently, you can get only hard copies of the cd on tour, but it's alleged to be released via MTB label Tigre Blanco in the coming months. See them at Webster Hall on the 25th if you want. Tickets for that are here.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Young Widows - Old Wounds

So I'm interviewing Young Widows for Skyscraper in a couple days. I knew Breather Resist a bit and was familiar with other Patterson family projects, but never really had any strong feelings for any of them. For the uninitiated, Young Widows is a trio; Breather Resist without singer Steve Sindoni.

I've got a lot of respect for the Kentucky scene, but it's been since Rodan really that I had a band that drew me to Derby City. I'm still waiting for a hard copy of Old Wounds but I took the liberty of appropriating the record electronically in the interim. Listening to the record the first time, I could have sworn I heard applause, but figured that it was just studio banter. I'm wholly in favor, especially if it's real and not some sort of skit. Other tracks had obvious crowd chatter and Patterson addressing an audience, yet OW didn't seem to be a live record. A little digging revealed that Mr. Kurt Ballou recorded four shows and used some of the tracks for the record. It's a great idea if the band has enough control of their sound that they can match the two. I aim to find out if the tracks were overdubbed, but Young Widows don't seem to be the type of band to hide behind studio trickery. At the end of it all, Old Wounds in a great sounding record. It sounds very Shellac-y in the rhythm section and very AmRep in it's clear angular guitar. Patterson is also sounding great vocally. He's been in touring bands since his early teens, but only sang in the last couple of years. Helming Young Widows can't be good for the old pipes, but Patterson seems like he can take the strain. I guess we'll find out, as if there is any justice in the world, Old Wounds will be a big success for Young Widows.

Young Widows hit the road starting the end of the month. They are playing in Brooklyn on the 26th at Club Europa, a venue I believe I kinda hate, but it may just be because I think I saw Matt & Kim there. Judging by the live tracks on Old Wounds, you'd be smart to go see them. You can get the record from Temporary Residence here. Keep checking their site for word on the four split seven-inches they are releasing in the coming months. The first three artists have been confirmed and are Bonnie Prince Billy, Pelican and Melt Banana. Start saving those pennies.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Crooked Fingers - Forfeit/Fortune deluxe edition

Eric Bachmann is one enormous enigma, literally and figuratively. You should remember him from his tenure fronting the exceedingly awesome Archers Of Loaf, a band that is increasing becoming the go-to carcass for unimaginative bands looking to rip off songs. Once Team AOL was formally scuttled post-Atlantic signing, most Bachmannophiles (myself included) were a little taken aback by his dropping his voice an octave and getting in touch with his inner Johnny Cash. Those first two NYC shows were real eye-openers. It wasn't until the close of the Brownies show where he debuted The Rotting Strip that things really started to make sense for me. I still wasn't totally on board, but it was hard to dispute that song's greatness and it definitely bode well for his new Waits-ian direction.

Eric debuted Crooked Fingers soon after on Athens, GA indie WARM, displaying a more adult direction driven by subtle electronics and nylon string work, with special guests drunken sorrow and depression. Could have been the relocation to Seattle, I guess. Bad luck and sorrow aside, the Crooked Fingers got better and better. The Red Devil Dawn soundtrack followed on Merge, as did the absolutely stellar Dignity and Shame. The last couple of years have found Eric releasing a solo record on Saddle Creek and living in a van outside of Seattle, hopefully of his own volition. The solo tour was ok, and featured the return of some old AOL favorites, but it really only whetted my appetite for the formal return of Crooked Fingers.

Wonderfully enough, the wait is over. Eric is releasing the newest Crooked Fingers on his own label though Constant Artist/Red Pig. Normally, I could see that meaning cost-cutting measures such as rudimentary packaging or shorter records but the deluxe pre-release comes in a great double gatefold with a bonus DVD. Musically, it appears that this will be a grower. The songs are decent, but even after the fifth or sixth spin, I'm still trying to figure out his intentions on some of the songs. There are female vocals and songs in Spanish to keep things interesting, but I'm waiting for the moment when the planets align for me and Forfeit/Fortune really clicks for me. I thought it might be the two shows earlier this week, but I dropped the ball, so it looks like its back to the stereo set for this old man. And to the store for you all. Buy Forfeit/Fortune here and check out for new tourdates here

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Live: The Wedding Present @ Bowery Ballroom 10.8.8

On the heels of my interview with David for Skyscraper, it seemed prudent to drop in the show at Bowery and say hello to the Weddoes. They are touring behind their new record El Rey and (technically) the 20th Anniversary of George Best being released. Seems as good a time as any to check back in. Thanks to Wendy at Hello Wendy!, I managed to breeze right in and get some pretty primo real estate in short order.

Ran into the Windup Records kids and hung for a bit. They are a good bunch. Before I knew it, the Weddoes were on in short order. David was pretty boldfaced about the fact that they are playing the same set every night. Not surprising, given the rotating line-up, and I'm not sure that stating it outright is the way to play that card, but it was a pretty good cross-section of stuff from the new El Rey record all the way back to the beginning of the band. It was a pretty motley crew of thirty-something ladies in publishing, UK ex-pats, and mouth-breathing shut-ins trying to mosh. Lots of too-drunk ladies dancing with guys that thought they were going to get some, some saucy Northern Britain lads and even a guy who fell asleep standing up at stage right. Good times.

I would have liked to have heard Brassneck, but all in all David and Co. knocked out a pretty decent set. If it wasn't going to be the same one tonight, I might think about double-dipping. The Weddoes are at Southpaw tonight. If you don't make it, you can get El Rey here as well as assorted other Cinerama and Weddoe merchandising delights.

Tell David Jaded Scenester NYC sent you for absolutely no discount.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Git Some - Cosmic Rock

Git Some hail from Denver, Colorado and may be on your radar as the band that half of Planes Mistaken For Stars morphed into after their demise. Not that you could tell by looking at that hippie-ass cover or anything. It's been a while since I saw a Planes show, but historically, if anyone was long-haired and naked there you can bet that it would be a drunk dude. Maybe things have changed, or it's just a West Coast thing, but Git Some are more hate-edge than Haight Ashbury.

Think Black Flag. Git Some are slower than you'd expect, but it's still pretty spirited. I can see them in a sweaty basement or UK squat pretty easily, although it's still catchy enough that you don't have to have a facial tattoo or hop a freight to like them. They have a drummer who pounds the hell out of the kit and a three other guys that rage at least as hard. It might also help to smoke a ton of weed beforehand, just so you're all on the same page. Git Some do commit the transgression of having a singer who just sings, which personally I find troubling. Luke is from the Rollins/Yow school of frontmen, which is a step in the right direction, but I'm going to reserve judgment until they make it to this side of the country.

That doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon, as the gents leave for two months of EU/UK touring in the next day or so. Playing every day, too. No rest for the weedy, or weary, at least. Git Some have a split with In The Red (Mike from Gunmoll) on 1-2-3-4 Go (with Cristy Road artwork) that you can get here. The full-length is also available from our counting friends. Link for Cosmic Rock is here. Buy them shits.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Devin The Dude - Landing Gear

Devin The Dude is a bona fide legend in Texas hip-hop. He's been around forever and just ended a fifteen-year association with Houston's Rap-A-Lot records. Historically, this would mean an iminent move to Koch, but ever the defier of convention, he signed to Razor and Tie for a single record deal. They have the distro and the licensing know-how, but I wouldn't think they would be a go-to for an established hip-hop artists. Remember all the luck Matador had with hip-hop? Nuff said. Either way, it's a pretty good score for Razor and Tie and Devin sure isn't phoning it in: Landing Gear is another top-notch hip-hop record, regardless of where your auditory allegiences lie.

Devin tracks have always featured the live funky instrumentation that Dr. Dre codified into G-Funk. It's bass-heavy, with clean wah guitar and funky drums, plus you can drink cough syrup to it. Not my thing, but all my styrofoam cup wielding Weez-o-philes sure do like to sip that purple. Having spent the last three days putting the Rob in Robotussin, I'm not sure they get anything done, but I bet they don't much care. Landing Gear is definitely ear candy. I don't have a car, or even the greatest desire to cruise in one, but if I did this record would be my go-to. These are some funky-ass tracks. Check the bass and flute combo of Your Kinda Love or the Barry White smooth slow jam I Need A Song if you don't believe me.

Now as 'adult' the instrumentation is, the content is even more so. Devin's reputation as a disciple of Blowfly and Andre Williams will not be undermined. The problem is that they are so insidiously hooky that you might not be able to help singing along with some of the more *ahem* ribald fare. He's also no stranger to more introspective fare like I Can't Make It Home; but as much as some of the songs are potential slow jams, it's going to be tough to use Stray and its chorus of "I Can't Stand Stupid Bitches" as the soundtrack to getting your freak on, but if anyone can pull that off, it would be Devin. That is one smooth singing and rapping brother. I've caught a handful of his live shows in recent years and he's also notable for being one of the only rappers I've ever seen that's actually capable of performing entire songs live. I'd really like to see him in one of the fabled Fifth Ward warehouse shows with a live band, but I would venture maybe discretion might be the better part of valor in that regard. I can always hope for a DVD.

Landing Gear is only the fifth formal Devin release, although he's been a part of releases by his compatriots in the Odd Squad and Coughee Brothers outfits, but in that time he's been on a short list of rapper's rappers. It's mind-boggling to me that he hasn't crossed over huge, especially in the wake of Outkast's success. His contributions to the glory days of the Death Row seemed poised to push him into the spotlight, but in the interim, it's indie labels and a lot of dates on the road. Check out the initial dates here and hope that Devin and his Landing Gear touch down in your town very soon. Landing Gear drops on 10/7, you can preorder it here.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Live: Zazen Boys @ Mercury 10.6.8

So I was sick as a dog all weekend and living on a steady diet of Robotussin. How the youth of today manage to drink entire bottles of that stuff and skate is beyond me. Of course, I have to get sick on a weekend where I've got a million balls in the air and trying to get a couch bought and delivered. Doesn't make for a fun weekend, I'll tell you, but with the help of the White Lion (not White Lion, mind you) and Craigslist, there's a new sofa bed cluttering up the living room. Won't the guests be pleased! So as I'm hauling the monstrosity into the house with Drew, I get a text from Eric about checking out this Japanese band he's into. Turns out they were called the Zazen Boys. I threw their stuff on while I did my couch assembly and immediately wondered why the hell Eric was trying to rope me into seeing some damn J-pop on a Sunday night but the couch came together in short order and it was early, so I figured what the hell and ran out for a drink.

I figured there was either a Dave Fridmann or a Number Girl connection and Eric confirmed that both hypotheses were correct. I only knew of Number Girl through Eric having played sax on one of their records and from the Superchunk documentary, but had a pretty good sense that they were huge in the East. Number Girl broke up a couple years ago and singer Mukai Shutoku initially tried a solo acoustic route before getting the Zazen Boys off the ground. The band has always had an improvisational direction but has bounced around genre-wise over the ten or eleven releases they've managed since 2004. That's what you call a work ethic. It was a half-filled, mostly Japanese room at Mercury when the men (Boys) showed and I figured that I'd have a drink and demur early. Little did I know that Zazen Boys would blow my mind.

It's kind of hard to articulate what the Zazen Boys do. I guess the easiest description would be a Japanese Dismemberment Plan. It's got some dance elements, some jazz, some rock but all quality, paired with some of the most awesome stop/start arrangements you'll ever hear. There are chops for days in the Zazen Boys franchise, but it never degenerates into noise or wankery. There are lots of odd meters against different odd meters yet I defy you to not shake your ass. Such a good time and an awesome surprise. I hear that they were recording with Fridmann before they made it to town, so look out for new material soon. I couldn't tell you where to get any of their material outside of torrent sites, but I would go out of my way to see or hear them as soon as possible. Check their web presence here

Gotta get me over to Japan!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Liquid Limbs - Orquid

What is the deal with all these two-piece bands? Is it really that hard to find other people to play with? Ordinarily, I'd say that we might be able to chalk it up to finances: less people in the van, smaller vehicles; blah, blah, blah; but invariably the bands feel the need to be twice as loud, which I would think would offset any savings, albeit garnering them proportionately more drink tickets.

Whatever their motivation, Liquid Limbs break from convention and opt to have vocals, and even melodic ones sometimes, on top of their pummeling sonic onslaught. Rumor has that it works live, although I bet like everyone else they are often at the mercy of the soundman. Singer/guitarist Kevin Nowak seems like he might be a new-school Billy Corgan (a musical, not personality compliment) in the way he matches sludgy post-Sabbath riff rock to hooky melodies. He's got a lot of balls in the air, playing all the chordal stuff on standard and baritone guitars well as holding down the mike slot, but he makes it sound pretty easy on Orquid. There is ample time in each of the eleven songs for him to merely rock the shit out of you, as Liquid Limbs do lay down a formidable groove when they want to. It helps that drummer Chase Permann pounds the living bejesus out of his kit. I give you Make Peace To War, as an example. It matches the technical precision of Pelican with the vocal gymnastics of Totimoshi or maybe even a little Judas Priest. I like the way the vocals sound more than the actual words, but Orquid has really piqued my interest. They've played a bunch of The Fest shows and toured with Torche and Baroness, but I could see them just as easily with Kayo Dot or Dillinger Escape Plan. Hell, if someone decides to care, it wouldn't surprise me if we saw Liquid Limbs playing with bands like Coheed and Cambria in the near future. Liquid Limbs have the chops and the heaviness to hold their own in either arena.

If you like your music Sabbath heavy but with some King's X vocal layering, Liquid Limbs may very well be your thing. They will be at The Fest this year and are no doubt playing a gang of dates behind Orquid. You can buy the record here from the good folk of Sound Study Recordings. For whatever reason, it's only available on vinyl and digitally, although I bet you'll get the convntional CDR with the vinyl. SSR is run by some ex-As Friends Rust/Salem dudes and Orquid is their first release. It's a good choice. They are playing in town in November at Charleston and Lit Lounge. I'll harass as it gets closer, but if I have my druthers, we'll see these guys with Batillus sometime soon. Check out the LL site here.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dillinger Four - Civil War

It's been a long six years since the last Dillinger Four record. That's an eternity in the world of punk rock, making the successor to Situationist Comedy some semblance of a punk rock Chinese Democracy. Civil War was streamed in anticipation of its formal Fat Wreck release on 10/14 on a couple of punks sites and popped up on the torrent sites in short order, prompting a shocking bit of not-especially-believable (or particularly realistic) bitching from Fat Wreck and a couple days of internet pissing between cartoonist Mitch Clem and Civil War producer Dave Gardener, among other wastes of internet bandwidth.

The big question (and the crux of the download issue) is whether Civil War is worth the wait. The short answer is yes, but that is tempered by the fact that there aren't too many bands putting out good records. There have been flashes of brilliance, like the soon to be defunct Ergs!, The Copyrights, plus fellow Twin Cities punks Off With Their Heads and Banner Pilot, but they have been few and far between. Erik has most of the songs here, although our dear Paddy clocks in with two or three. As I don't have a hard copy as yet, I'm not sure whether Billy has been afforded any songs, but he had said previously that they were going back and doing more stuff in their old-school triple vocal vein, so maybe my discriminating ears are failing me. Publishing aside, Civil War sounds good: Gainesville and Clown Cars on Cinder Blocks are top-notch Erik tunes (albeit with a bit of preaching to the choir, what's next? a song about Grumpy's?) and Paddy's songs are always a good choice to finer-point around your living room to. Trust me, you want this record.

After playing a bunch of Dillinger 4th Of July shows and the odd Leatherface tour, the mighty D4 overcame their inertia and started doing some more dates on this side of the country. Their sets on the Fuck Yeah tour were decent, albeit short, but it left me more than salivating for a longer show in a punk-er (not punker) venue. It appears that we'll be afforded that in the coming weeks at the Record Release Show they are playing at the Renfro Warehouse show with The Ergs! and The Measure (SA) on 10/14. That ought to be a fair share more fun that the two shows with NOFX at Irving that precede it, but maybe we'll see some guest starrage. Rumor is that Municipal Waste are on the bill as well. That oughta spike the poor hygiene factor. Either way, I'd take a guest list slot for either of the NOFX/D4 shows in NYC if any of my rainmakers out there can work some magic. Buy a ticket for the Renfro show here and pre-order Civil War here. See you in the pit!


Friday, October 3, 2008

Ninja Gun and The Tripwire

Ninja Gun review up at The Tripwire. Thanks Derek!

Ninja Gun are at deathbyaudio in Brooklyn next Tuesday and Lit here in town on Wednesday.


The Riot Before - Fists Buried In Pockets

The Riot Before are from Richmond, VA and ply their trade in the odd amalgamation of DIY punk rock and roots music that is becoming more and more prevalent in this day and age. The whole thing is a slippery slope for me. Uncle Tupelo tread that same path over a decade before and I will unequivocally say that those records are untouchable. The same can be said for Rank and File and The True Believers and even Lucero. The new school of stuff like Against Me!, Fake Problems and Gaslight Anthem are a considerably more dodgy proposition.

AM! never caught on for me. I thought their whole 'let's assert how punk we are on the DVD, then sign to the same A&R we mocked the whole time immediately afterward' stunt showed their true colors, but they are purported to be solid enough people. Fake Problems I never really cared for one way or the other. It's Gaslight Anthem that kind of stick in my craw. Granted, a bit of my antipathy lies in some previous editorial ridiculousness, but most of my antipathy lies in the ridiculous forced earnestness of the whole thing. I don't want to hear a 24 year old kid singing Sam Cooke in between songs and I certainly don't want to hear a third-rate Lucero record called The 59 Sound recorded in ProTools. If they could just settle in to being a band that made music, rather than recording a million YouTube videos and trying to be Springsteen, they might be tolerable, but at this point, I wish they would just go Taking Back Sunday and rise to the Hot Topic/Warped circuit so I don't have to see them cluttering up my shows.

The Riot Before have considerably less pretense to them and come out that much stronger for it. It's pretty obvious that they like themselves some Lucero, but I don't trust people that don't, so that's an obvious step in the right direction. Brett is a little too much like him vocally. but I can see the band getting a little bit more of their own voice as they get more road time under their belt. From the opening title track, though, it's pretty obvious that The Riot Before are a band that is that much closer to carving out their own identity. They put in a hell of a lot of road time, and every release seems to have stronger and stronger songs on it. You Can't Dance Sexy To Punk Rock may very well be their best song yet. That's definitely the song that's going to cross them over. And well it should. Check out the track on their social networking interface here or just cut to the damn chase and buy Fists Buried In Pockets here. I assume you can buy from their label, Say-10 Records, but I'm not sure. Contact Say-10 here and keep up with The Riot Before's web presence here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ben Nichols - The Last Pale Light In The West

If you've made it this far, you probably already know that Ben Nichols is the singer from the Memphis rock juggernaut that is Lucero. It's been almost ten years for the band and they've been on a steadily rising trajectory since their inception, moving from local Memphis labels like Madjack, through Tiger Style and East/West imprints to their recent signing to Universal Republic. I trust that the boys know what they are doing and hope that they get some serious gas and distro out of the deal.

Lucero guitarist Brian Venable just had a baby and the band has been lying low while his family gets their affairs in order, giving our Ben time to drop a little bit of a solo release. It's called The Last Pale Light In The West and is allegedly a series of Cormac McCarthy characterizations from his Blood Meridian novel, ala Richard Buckner and his Edgar Lee Masters homage The Hill. There are only seven tracks and they are pretty spartan. Todd from Glossary adds some steel and the accordian guy from Cat Power pops up, but things are pretty stark for the duration. Ben's got the kind of voice that I'd listen to even if he was doing Matt & Kim covers. Luckily, he's not.

The Last Pale Light In The West will be released in tangible form in early 2009, but if you do the pre-order here, you'll get a link for a digital download to tide you over. There's also a cd/t-shirt deal here. Hopefully we'll see some random Lucero tour dates as the holidays draw nearer. In the meantime, check out Ben on the Suburban Home Revival Tour with Chuck Ragan and various regional guests like Tom Gabel and Jon Snodgrass. Dates are here.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The New Trust - Get Vulnerable

I'm pretty sure that I first saw The New Trust at Knitting Factory a couple of years ago. I know they were opening, maybe for Small Brown Bike or Hot Water Music, although I venture it would make more sense that it would be Cursive or The Good Life. Either way, I thought they were totally great. I'm still trying to remember whether I saw them first in their three or four piece incarnation. I will argue four, as it was the tour behind the first EP and the record was called We Are Fast Moving Motherfuckers, We Are Women And Men Of Action. Either way, the kids from Santa Rosa kicked a lot of east coast ass that night.

Andrew at Skyscraper sent me the EP soon afterward and it quickly joined the ranks of the records I played to the point of neighbor insanity as well as becoming a staple of my year-end lists/comps. This even after I found out that the band was helmed by a married couple. For some reason, I've missed them on their last couple tours, although truth be told, I'm not sure that they have been this far East. It's a shame, as the band gets better and better with every release. Maybe you missed last year's Dark Is The Path That Lies Before Us, but I sure didn't. Trust me, both of you need to go out and pick that record, if only for the closing You've Got To Be Fucking Shitting Me. Lest you think this is yet another case of post-A.C. 'all title and nothing else' rock, that happens to be the chorus and it rocks.

This year the good folk of The New Trust have bestowed Get Vulnerable on us. While they had previous claimed Slowdance for life, it would appear that their newfound vulnerability now encompasses self-releasing their records. While I admire their entreprenurial moxie, I hope that their ambition doesn't mean that Get Vulnerable falls through the cracks. I would argue that it's their best release yet. It's all in the bridges this time around: even if you were to only make it through the first four songs, you'd leave with your jaw on the floor and your fists in the air. The songs here are good, but the middle eights on these songs are absolutely exceptional. Check out the bridges of Breathe Underwater and Fast Asleep In Her Arms for evidence. Thems is some hooks, kids. Props should go to Matthew Izen for recording Get Vulnerable so well and the same to Matt Bayles for giving it the polish. With all the great songs and amazing production here, it'll be a crime if Get Vulnerable goes unrecognized.

That's not going to happen on my watch. Buy Get Vulnerable from The New Trust here for $8, whether it be download or in tangible form. You can get vinyl and a cd, if you were of a mind, here for $12.