Friday, April 30, 2010

Because you asked for it!

So evidently the outcry regarding shitbag extraordinaire Solar and his handling of Guru's affairs both pre and post his passing have prompted an official Fuck Solar web presence. There is an insightful interview with Solar's ex- slash baby mama (who was also involved in day to day affairs at 7 Grand) and almost daily updates on the exposure of this sub-human leech. Check it out here.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

R.I.P: Guru (1966-2010)

Well, here's another sign that hip hop is pretty much fucked. It was bad enough when Guru insisted on going off with the seemingly exceedingly wack Solar (not to be confused with the exceedingly French MC Solaar) but to hear that Guru had passed a week or so ago from a heart attack and that he had been fighting cancer previous to that was even more disheartening.

In the wake of his passing, there have been many fingers pointed in Solar's direction regarding the handling of his affairs. Guru had been in a coma for a week or so before he actually passed, yet there has been a questionable note from Guru forwarded by Solar that pretty much defamed Primo and the Gang Starr legacy. Most bizarrely it seemed to give Solar control of his affairs. The note was questioned from the onset by those close to Guru and as time passed, what was once a note was next a statement dictated to Solar, then followed with obstinate silence. All of this seems fishy, and takes away from the legacy of a legendary MC. The Gang Starr records are the high water mark of quality hip-hop and there is no way that his post-Primo material could compare. I wasn't the hugest fan of the Jazzmatazz series, but recognized it as being well-done. It was the best selling stuff in the Guru catalog and huge overseas even without the JS-NYC nod and established Guru as one of the most forward thinking artists in hip-hop. Condolances to the Elam family and a big fuck you to Solar.

Anecdote(s): I could never go to any of the few hip-hop shows that came to my local roller rink when I was a kid. I couldn't go by myself and my parents would never take me, fearing violence, so it was only when I moved to NYC in the mid-90s that I could actually take in hip-hop shows on the regular. I was broke as hell that summer, so I only bought two cds for the first four months I was in town: the cd single of Stay by Lisa Loeb (which would later prove staggeringly ironic) and Hard To Earn by Gang Starr. GS protege Jeru The Damaja blew up huge that summer and I was stoked when I saw that Jeru was performing with M.O.P at Tramps, at that time just a few blocks from my house. It was either a CMJ or New Music Seminar show, so I got there early and there were the requisite million other artists tagged on, most unremarkable save for an early Bahamadia appearance. As the evening dragged on, the room filled up and I came to realize that myself and an older Jerry Garcia-looking photographer were the only caucasians in the room. Not a big deal, but as we moved forward towards the time the headliners were appearing and M.O.P took the stage the crowd parted and three guys forced their way towards the front of the stage. One had his bandana tied Juice-style and he pushed his way up front, shoving everyone out of the way. It was Guru and a couple of his boys, amped to see M.O.P.

On stage M.O.P are doing How About Some Hardcore when Guru and Malacki The Nutcracker of The Group Home +appear on the side of the stage. Malacki loses his shirt and has a straight cane that he's swinging around. He notices the older white photo guy and proceeds to spit on him repeatedly, concerning some people mildly and this guy and the photo somewhat moreso. While we are wondering how things are going to go, the crowd pushes violently to the right easily fifteen feet and I'm behind I flipped over table. Looking over the table we see a guy waving a gun around and the left half of the crowd bailing out the front door. I'm not sure what ever happened to the guy, but after escaping safely I enjoyed a chuckle that the first time I had gone to an NYC hip-hop show I had literally almost been shot. Those were the good old days.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Danzig Logo Lore on Double Cross

It's always nice when some of your favorite things come together. I stumbled upon Double Cross a year or so ago and spent the following weekend reading everything on the site. I wasn't aware of hardcore in the 80s to claim straight edge when I could have and certainly couldn't claim it now, but I still enjoy listening to the old school sXe classics and run into many of the players around town. My dear friend David was around during that time, and has done yeoman duty in filling in the gaps of my old school hardcore collection. Plus he reads JS-NYC on the regular and introduced me to Jawbreaker, so that puts him in the ranks of the unfuckwithable when it comes to musical oracles. There's a new post at Double Cross about the origin of the Danzig logo that I enjoyed enough to go back a couple hours after to read again, at which time I realized that David had submitted said link. Props are due to both parties.

Awesome back story aside, I never understood what all the fuss was about Danzig, or The Misfits for that matter. Granted I wasn't there in their heydey, but I've acquired their entire Danzig-era catalog in recent years and while I think there are a couple of good tracks, from the jump the silly Elvis/Jim Morrison-isms were real transparent. While Elvis is to be celebrated, there is nothing I find redeemable about The Doors. At all. They are a bad that opened up a Pandora's box of douchery that is worthy of eternal punishment. Listening to the music, it doesn't surprise me that they bit their logo, as their whole schtick seems pretty recycled. It's staggering to me that I wouldn't have fallen for some female with a Misfits jones, but in the absence of that as a last-minute shallow rallying point, there's been nothing that I have been able to latch onto. I listened to all the old music they were biting beforehand, so it seemed silly to go there. Oh well. There goes the punk cred. I hope that Jack won't think too poorly of me. I did enjoy the tour of Danzig's house on Talking Metal, if that's any saving grace.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Brian Posehn - Fart and Wiener Jokes

As a lover of most things comedy and the lion's share of that which is metal, it's been pretty awesome that there are so many avenues to enjoy both in recent years. That Metal Show is hands down the best show on TV, and while Posehn doesn't do purely metal material in his stand-up, he's the only one I've ever heard that does his own death metal songs. While I believe Posehn hasn't gone all Sam Kinison yet and started touring with a backing band, there are two metal chestnuts on Fart and Wiener Jokes. I'm sure there are a bunch of Richard Christys of tomorrow in the universe making music that is burning up the blogosphere, but few could gather the creepily ubiquitous Scott Ian along with a bunch of other luminaries like Mark Morton, John Tempesta and Jamey Jasta comprises part of the backing band for the two metal tracks. As much as I enjoy all of the parties involved, I will still label the cover of the Kenny Rogers chestnut The Gambler as questionable. That said, I would hope that you came first for the comedy, which is pretty damn funny. The title is no misnomer, there are both fart and wiener jokes herein, as well as bits about Slayer, masturbating and Kate Beckinsale. The other metal song on is More Metal Than You, wherein Posehn rightfully claims same. Again, not anything I'm going to throw in heavy rotation, but a respectable metal effort. The comedy, on the other hand, is pretty damn aces. If you're metal, you'll be over the moon. Get your fair share of Fart and Wiener Jokes from Relapse, along with some pretty cool pre-order packages. Here's a link.


Friday, April 23, 2010

David Cross - Bigger And Blackerer

I enjoy David Cross stand-up a lot, but it's tempered with a number of times I've interacted with or been around him where he almost universally seemed like a grade A douche. More often that not it just seemed to be for the sake of being a douche. You would think that a guy who was into his dog and Superchunk would be fun to be around at least once, but I've rarely found it to be the case. Whatever, I'm no day at the beach my own self and last time I checked I don't have a twenty-something actress girlfriend or any TV presence, nor am I releasing my second CD on Sub Pop. David Cross is doing all these things and releasing Bigger and Blackerer in a triumverate of incarnations to boot. As I understand, there is also a companion DVD of the same name that shares a small amount of the same material and a special on some weird pay cable channel I've never heard of. All of the material is good, taken from two back to back sets in Boston and while it's perhaps not as great as Shut Up! or It's Not Funny, it's still pretty entertaining. Cross skewers health care reformers, Diantetics and Mormonism, but also covers drug abuse, date rape and shitting ones self in public, so obviously Bigger and Blackerer should be on your short list of gifts for Mom on Mother's Day. Beat the rush and pick up Bigger and Blackerer here from your friends at Sub Pop.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Drive By Truckers - The Big To-Do

Drive By Truckers are pretty funny. They tour heavily and are forever proclaiming that they'll be taking some time off after their next release. Patterson is saying it again, yet DBT are releasing not one, but two, band records this year as well as solo records from Patterson and Cooley. That'll keep them at home.

The Big To-Do is the first DBT release of 2010. It features the usual three-way split of songs between Patterson, Cooley and Shonna. I think Cooley comes out on top again, but much like The Beatles, it's choose your own adventure time when it comes to favoritism in the Drive By Truckers franchise. Birthday Boy is my pick for the Cooley high point, but the quiet closer Eyes Like Glue is another strong contender.

As far as Patterson, he can still paint a picture like no other, but there are a few moments on The Big To-Do where his vocals gets uncomfortably Tom Petty for these ears. Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge Tom Petty fan, but I don't know how much I want to hear Patterson sing like him. But maybe that's just me. It'll be interesting to see how things go when DBT and Tom Petty tour together this summer. That small niggle aside, he and Shonna more than hold their own here, and record number ten marks another great release from Drive By Truckers. They are indisputably up there with Lucero and The Hold Steady as the best American bands out there. I'm excited to hear record number eleven this Summer. While you're waiting, look out for the Eddie Hinton 7", a song on the new John Prine tribute and the new documentary The Secret To A Happy Ending (now in limited theatrical release).


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Live: The Hold Steady @ Bowery Ballroom 4.17.10

While I was not exactly relishing the passing of another year, the prospect of two Hold Steady shows on my birthday lessened the sting a bit. It was going to do nothing for my hangover the next day, but the prospect of doubling up while accompanied by the Brothers Johnson was more than appealing. In the two days between snagging tickets and the show taking place, word came down the pike that we'd be getting Stephen and Annie at the Colonial Williamsburg show to boot. It was obvious that it was, as the kids say, on.

I met Eric at Motor City early for some warm-up rounds and Dave and our Upstate Dignitaries arrived in short order. Much libation driven conviviality was shared. Eric and I crossed threshold at Bowery a couple minutes before things jumped off. Ran into Flynn almost immediately (who gave me the heads-up on the ticket sale in the first place) and chatted for a second and then staked out our normal real estate at stage left. I hadn't heard too much of the new record, and was frankly a bit on the fence after hearing the first couple tracks that they leaked. Luckily, there's something fairly alchemical about the combination of beer and The Hold Steady. Positive Jam opened the proceedings, and from then on, it was pretty smooth sailing for the duration. Franz is definitely missed on-stage. The eminently wise Mr. Gersztoff opined earlier in the evening that on principle, eventualities like Bill Wyman leaving The Stones and Franz leaving The Hold Steady should not be taking place. I couldn't agree more. That's not an out and out diss to new third guitarist Steve Selvidge (ex-Lucero, Big Ass Truck) and/or keysman Dan Neustadt from World Inferno, but you want to see the championship team, especially when they are coming out from a period of hiberation. Keys are now in the back and while Craig is still animated as all get out, you really miss Franz shaking his ass to every song. That said, our boys still aren't fucking around. The new guys come off a little extraneous, especially on the older material, but play damn well. Know that rock is still brought in a pronounced fashion. Here's the set list.

[Total Time 1:19:31]
01 [introduction]
02 Positive Jam
03 Same Kooks
04 Hurricane J
05 Cattle and the Creeping Things
06 Magazines
07 You Can Make Him Like You
08 Rock Problems
09 Sequestered in Memphis
10 Navy Sheets
11 Soft in the Center
12 Barfruit Blues
13 The Weekenders
14 Chips Ahoy!
15 Stuck Between Stations
16 A Slight Discomfort
17 Stay Positive
18 Southtown Girls
19 How a Resurrection Really Feels
20 [encore break]
21 Massive Night
22 Slapped Actress

Not bad at all. Even more so with the prospect of doing it all over again in short order. If it looks good to you, you can get a copy of the show from hero of our times nyctaper here.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Live: Wussy with The Fervor @ Cake Shop 4.16.10

The rumored Hold Steady shows had taken precedence as I approached what I considered my own personal birthday weekend. While that is somewhat selfish (and with apologies to Sizzla, Brandon So Hideous, and my cousin Tom) I rarely indulge in such things, so others of the prospectively offended demographic are invited to litigate acccordingly. As said weekend approached, I happened to realize that the good folk of Wussy were passing through for another one of what is becoming regular Cake Shop shows.

I've spent a lot of time at Cake Shop in the last year or so and I can aver two things: they book good shows, and getting caught in the line of fire of their PA speakers is one of the harshest things I've ever encountered in a club. You have to work for it, but location is everything there. I arrived at the tail end of The Fervor and was pretty impressed. They got a little jammy, but the female who fronts the band (as well as playing keys) sure can sing. There is evidently a split with our Wussy heroes that sounds like it's well worth picking up.

Wussy were up in fairly short order and proceeded to throw down in their time-honored fashion. Chuck and Lisa are quite a couple, both visually and musically, and the chemistry seems to be working for the band. They've been breaking in a new drummer for a bit, but you wouldn't know it by listening. The gender change is a little more obvious, but it certainly hasn't impacted Wussy to the negative. They drew a decent crowd and got a couple encores, so it would appear that I'm not the only one in NYC beside Bob Christgau who is sweet on these kids. The set list is below. It, along with the photo above and the recording of the show you can get here were all stolen from the estimable nyctaper, whose site you should peruse early and often. Thanks and apologies to him. Once you get back from there, head on over to the Wussy web presence here and see if you're lucky enough to have the kids coming through your town soon.


01 Funeral Dress [false start]
02 Funeral Dress
03 Happiness Bleeds
04 [banter]
05 Crooked
06 [banter]
07 Sun Giant Says Hey
08 Do Do Do Do
09 [banter]
10 Breakfast in Bed (Hinton/Fritts)
11 [banter/monitors]
12 Death By Misadventure
13 Muscle Cars
14 Airborne
15 Yellow Cotton Dress
16 Fly Fly Fly
17 Rigor Mortis
18 [encore break/banter]
19 Soak It Up
20 [banter]
21 Jonah
22 [banter]
23 Maglite
24 [second encore break]
25 Don't Leave Just Now

Friday, April 16, 2010

Marco Polo and Ruste Juxx - The Exxecution

I've been a Duck Down guy since Black Moon jumped off. The house that Dru Ha and Buck built went through a bit of a fallow phase in the aftermath of their ill-fated union with Nervous, but have rallied hard since the turn of the century. Black Moon are in some semblance of an active period, as are Smif N' Wessum and Heltah Skeltah and new jacks like Kidz In The Hall and Torae have shown the new generation of Duck Down can hold their own. The standout of the crew in recent years has been Sean Price, who has essentially started over as an artist using his government.

P has championed Crown Heights' own Ruste Juxx in recent years, co-signing his debut release Indestructible and appearing often on the road with the gent. Your boy Vic Flair is back with a new one cosigned by Marco Polo and know that it is no less a banger. Canadian ex-pat Polo got major props for his Port and NewPort Authority releases, and he won't lose any fans with The Exxecution, especially with Juxx on the mike. Polo has a slick Primo vibe about his tracks and Juxx is just plain nasty, cutting most of today's rappers off within his first four bars. He's not fucking around with the collabos, either. Sean Price and fellow x-ophile Freddie Foxxx weigh in with typically solid verses. There is also the small matter of the Black Moon collabo. Oh, yes. You read correctly. That should be enough of a cosign to seal the deal for you lot, but if you have to investigate further, use this link to go on over to Duck Down. Tell them JS-NYC sent you.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

RVIVR - Derailer 7"

With the new RVIVR record just out, it seems prudent to do some clean-up on the older RVIVR stuff. This has been out for a bit, but you're not going to see JS-NYC ignoring one of their releases on my watch, especially one as good as Derailer.

Derailer breaks down like this: Two songs, one from Matt and one from Erica. Matt weighs in with a rocker, complete with whoa-ohs, a great guitar hook and an awesome horn break to boot. Erica does an acoustic number that didn't bode well with the studio banter intro, but more than redeems itself when it gets underway. RVIVR are on tour starting 4/21. Find out when you'll be seeing them on tour here and buy a copy of the record from Rumbletowne here. All proceeds from this 7" go to the Derailer Bicycle Collective in Denver, CO, so grab a last minute tax deduction and grab this pronto.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Live: No Friends with Deep Sleep and Night Birds @ Bruar Falls 4.8.10

This show came courtesy of Ian Dickson and Hardcore Gig Volume, one of many of the bumper crop of shows that the warm weather has brought NYCward. Personally, I was in it for No Friends. I've liked the first two releases and have been known to Face The Waste on occasion, plus Bruar Falls is close and small enough to make it fun, so on the bike I went. I got there as Night Birds were kicking things off. They feature Brian Gorsenger of the now-defunct Psyched To Die on vocals as well as Joey Erg on bass to ruin your average bass player's day. The Birds brought it, ripping through six or seven tunes and closing with Paranoid Time. Nice. I'm definitely going to try harder to see Night Birds in the future.

The time between sets featured the arrival of the most knee-weakening lovely female I've seen in some time filling the time admirably and before I knew Tony showed and the No Friends boys got all Dag Nasty up in the place. Not especially original, but certainly awesome. You would be silly to not get the new EP for free here. That was almost it for me, so it look like the bridge beckoned, as it was early and I am old, but the hot girl seemed to be there for Deep Sleep, so I figured I'd torture myself by finding she had good taste in music to boot. As it turns out, she does. Deep Sleep are from Baltimore and play the older GI style DC hardcore we have come to know and love. I wasn't all that familiar with them before, but have appropriated their back catalog, so look forward to some coverage of their recorded material soon.

Oh, even after staying for Deep Sleep, I was home by 10:30, which may very well make this the best show of the year thus far. Props to Ian and Hardcore Gig Volume for showing that punk shows don't have to run hours behind.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

1.6 Band - The Checkered Pasts of All Kings Present

I was never the hugest fan of 1.6 Band back in the day. I suspect it was mostly that they weren't Beyond, who I was pretty queer for. Fast forward too many years to my unexpected attendance and subsequent enjoyment of their reunion show at Cake Shop. I appropriated the discography soon after byt really figured that they'd be more of a reference part of the JS-NYC iTunes than anything.

1.6 had kind of a Minutemen thing going on back in the day. Don't run with that, but they played knowledgeably outside enough to warrant some semblance of a comparison. The newer stuff reminds me a little bit of the early (read: less keyboardy) Dismemberment Plan catalog. I would argue that they sound more DC than their predominately NJ roots, but those in the know might disagree. Either way, there are four songs on the 7" (with download code) and I gotta say that all of them are pretty great. There are even a couple Lifter Puller-y moments, mostly in the vocal cadence of Burning Coal and The Pets Still Think He's Coming Back keeps it interesting with some Quicksand-y riffery. I'm impressed, for whatever that's worth. Pick it up here from your new friends at Metastasis Records and look out for a handful of East Coast dates in June.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Devin The Dude

And there was much rejoicing. This is the video for the new single, "What I Be On", assumably off a full-length coming soon. This would not be the song to tune in for if you had been turned off previously by Devin and/or his predeliction for referencing weed, women or his nuts. In small wins for readers in that small population, there are no references to boo-booin. For the greater populace, this is fucking great. Why Devin isn't Snoop huge, I'll never comprehend. Devin is in NYC at the Knit on Thursday with his Coughee Brothers crew. He can actually rhyme live and puts on a decent show, so don't be afraid to pony up your hard-earned cash. Get tickets here and stay tuned to JS-NYC for news on the new record.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

And Still You Question!!?!

Sean Price and Duck Down are the fucking best.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Will Kimbrough review at PopMatters

Hey Kids:

Review of the new Will Kimbrough record called Wings is up currently at PopMatters. Peep it here.

Thanks to Sarah Zupko at PopMatters and Traci Thomas at Thirty Tigers!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Live: The Dopamines with Be My Doppleganger and The Homewreckers @ Tommy's Tavern 4.1.10

It's nice to see that Spring has pretty much sprung in NYC. It just makes it all around that much easier to get on the bike and see shows in Brooklyn without rain or snow to foster laziness. That said, I would walk to Brooklyn to see The Dopamines. They were one of the best bands at last year's Insubordination Fest, but I was looking forward to seeing them in a little smaller room, especially since I have been able to get all their stuff.

After a little jamming and a couple beers in the backyard with Drew and Jim we hit Tommy's. The Homewreckers were just starting, which presented a bit of a problem, as I figured them to be in the lower eschelon of the bill and it was late-ish already. Not that they weren't decent, but save for the fact that the drummer beat the hell out of the kit, I would have missed them if I could. There's some scene cred with the Cristy Road and Frank Unlovable in their ranks, so we'll see if they make their Little Lungs turn for me down the line. Next were Be My Doppelganger, who added a little Chixdiggit to the Midwest punk rock mix. They have been touring with The Dopamines for these dates and they are a good match. I have to track down their records, but they sure were fun to drink PBR to, even if some of the ladies up front couldn't hold their liquor

Drew bailed before The Dopamines, but Jim and I stuck it out to be rocked soundly. Man, are those Dopamines a good time, especially with Mikey Erg holding down the second guitar slot. It was kind of a short set, but we got a healthy smattering of non-hits and a Green Day cover for Larry Livermore's benefit. In checking in with Larry, it seems like that was a fairly epic set by Dopamines standards, and while I could have heard a couple more songs, it was a damn good time. Oddly enough, in checking out Livermore's web presence I assumed that I had missed House Boat, but they were actually the headliners, making the above flier absolutely 100% inaccurate in order. I really like House Boat and would have been all about seeing them, but left thinking I had missed them, begging the question: Is it that fucking hard to list the proper order and start times for a show? Even in punk rock, that doesn't seem to be too much to ask, especially as I'm pretty sure it was creeping 1am by the time Dopamines finished. That said, props to all the bands and to Tommy's (plus Drew and Jim) for a great $5 show.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Live: Lucero with Glossary @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg 3.30.10

You can't sell camaraderie short. If you are unaware or without a working set of ears, Murfreesboro, TN's own Glossary are a great fucking band. So are Lucero, who have utilized the talents of Glossary guitarist/steel wunderkind Todd Beene for the last couple years as a touring member. For a lot of up-and-coming (or NYC) bands that would be both a death blow and a shrewd political move to keep the next band from overtaking their 21st Century devaluated five minutes of fame but Lucero have actually upped the ante by taking Glossary on the road and signing them to their own Liberty and Lament imprint. Sure Todd has to play two sets rather than one, but there are worse crosses to have to bear.

The first Glossary for their new bosses is called Feral Fire. Look for a full review soonish, but be informed that said record posits the valid question: What would Thin Lizzy sound like if they loved Fleetwood Mac and were from Tennessee rather than Dublin? Pretty fucking great sure seems to be the answer. Glossary have been beating their head against the wall for the last ten years and it's nice to finally see them getting some headway. They got a lot of notice for giving their last record away for free. For better or worse, they also got a nod from that fuckwit Conor Oberst, but let's not dwell on the negative. I showed up during the first song of their hour-long set and had my ass rocked for the duration. Joey seemed pretty shithoused, but he and his wife Kelly harmonized like a Volunteer State John and Exene nonetheless. I had hoped that the two were siblings, but my creepiness aside, one can only hope their relationship is as harmonious. I'd like to see Glossary at Mercury very soon. Here's hoping.

I had missed Lucero when they came through last time, as I was recording my bands debut EP with Mr. Dean Baltuonis, but was pleased to find that they were touring as a ten-piece with. I was also pleased to run into a gang of the Unified Scene kids, including the estimable Lawyer Chris and John Cake. They were in their cups, as was most of the younger part of the crowd. Why the crowds in recent years have gotten so rowdy with young drunk asshats, I am unsure, but know that they were out in force. I managed to stay on the periphery of the fray for the most part, but enjoyed John's simple and effective foot-dispensed prevention of douchebags stage-diving to Memphis roots rock immensely. We got most of the new 1372 Overton Place record, along with a healthy couple hours worth of back catalog. Cake cajoled Ain't No Sunshine out of the boys and Ben closed things with a solo version of the stellar Lonesome Dogtown Nights. I will again go on record with my incredulity over how that was left off the new record, but I assume we'll see it in some formally released version soon. Hopefully we'll see these two bands back in town soon as well. There are only a few dates on the docket at present, but keep checking in here to see when/if they are coming your way. Alone or together, Glossary and Lucero are two of America's finest bands. You would do well to save the cash from that Wilco ticket and see this bill twice.