Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Bumpy Knuckles - Leaks Vol. One

Contemporary hip-hop is a pretty ugly place. I try and keep up, but this world of Wiz Khalifa and other improbable hitmakers does not make me want to wade in like I did in years previous. Of course, I am old, but luckily there are MCs older than me and some of them can still bring it in their old age.

Like myself, but with 1000% more street cred, Bumpy Knuckles isn't crazy about the rap game of today. He's been trying to beat the system for a while now, and has pretty much succeeded. Not like he's Master P or anything, but he's done ok. Foxxx was one of the first to embrace home and digital recording, as well as independent releases, and the result is a whole lot of unreleased material. There was the release of Crazy Like A Foxxx a couple years ago, and there has been the long rumored, but to the best of my knowledge still unreleased Amerikkkan Black Man, but I've heard from the man himself that he has four records done and in the can. I'm not going to push the man about release dates, but it appears like the inertia has been overcome, as JS-NYC has just received word that Freddie Foxxx has released Leaks Vol. One. It's 14 songs and pretty good for the most part. The Gary Coleman track may be a wee bit of a misstep to these ears, but Leaks Vol. One is pretty damn solid.

And did I mention that it's free? Bumpy has linked up with DJ Chanin to give Leaks Vol. One away here. You certainly can't beat the price, and it will serve as a fine way to whet the appetite for Royalty Check, the upcoming collabo record with the Blastmaster himself: KRS-One. JS-NYC has it in-house and rest assured that it is pretty bananas. Stay tuned for a review in the next couple weeks, but Leaks Vol. One should more than tide you over in the meantime.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Superchunk - Here's Where The Strings Come In reissue

When Record Store Day rolled through this year, the mighty Superchunk lavished not one, but two gifts upon the good boys and girls who still visit brick and mortar music purveyors. In addition to the split 7" with Coliseum, Mac and Laura have seen fit to re-release the mighty Here's Where The Strings Come In in remastered form, along with some demo stuff and a new edition of the Clambakes series that captures a live show from 2003. I picked this up the day after from Sound Fix in Brooklyn. I hadn't been to a real record store in forever and was pleased to find all the record store norms still firmly in place: super-cute positive girl that every nerd in miles wants to kiss at the register, cranky misanthropic dude behind the counter with her, another guy outside smoking: some things are comforting in their familiarity.

Here's Where The Strings Come In is another aural bit of chicken soup for the soul. It came into my life on the heels of my first NYC heartbreak and the imprint has endeared this record to me ever since. In fact, it is my favorite Chunk release and it is still absolutely top-notch almost 20 years after it dropped initially. I hadn't realized it was out of print, but we can rest assured that the universe is once again in order. Here's Where The Strings Come In is back and now available on 180 gram vinyl for the collector nerds. You can also get download only stuff, if you are not a lover of tangibility. Here's a link. Free shipping on all US orders, too.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

RVIVR - The Joester Sessions 08-11

Despite the olfactory challenges put forth by the hygenically challenged mullet sporting quotient of the band, RVIVR make some pretty top-notch co-ed pop-punk. The recent mini-set at Generation reminded me that there is a new comp out from the kids called The Joester Sessions 08-11 that we've yet to address over here at the JS-NYC HQ. Said release compiles remastered takes of the first two RVIVR 7" releases, along with the Dirty Water EP and a new track. All of these were initially recorded (separately) initially recorded by Joey Seward at Left Field Studios, hence the title.

Get it here from Rumbletowne. East Coasters should look out for local dates, including a set at ABC No Rio on 6/11.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gateway District - Perfect's Gonna Fail

Given my long-time obsession with all-things rocking and Twin Cities spawned, it should not be so much of a surprise that JS-NYC is all about Gateway District. It's got half of Rivethead in its ranks, with a Soviette and a Salteen sharing vocal duties. One would be wise not to argue with that amalgamation. Like it's predecessor, it comes courtesy of the good folk of It's Alive and is full of two minute blasts of scrappy punk rock that should have any ambulatory human bouncing off the walls and singing along. Everything on Perfect's Gonna Fail is pretty aces, but New Hands and Fishman's Story are particularly top-notch.

I believe that home/work duties and Banner Pilot/Dear Landlord touring precludes Gateway District from touring too much, but in the absence of being able to see them live, go out of your way to grab Perfect's Gonna Fail. Here's a link.


Friday, May 27, 2011

The Lonely Island - Turtleneck and Chain

The Lonely Island have been the saving grace of late-period Saturday Night Live, dominating the SNL Digital Short domain with a string or crude collabos with a host of stars from Rhianna to Michael Bolton (and the odd drop from John Waters to keep it honest). The last LP lp did surprisingly well, to the point where we now have the inevitable follow-up. Called Turtleneck & Chain, it's 19 tracks of better than average song parodies covering a wealth of topics including, but not limited to: creepiness, public masturbation, sleeping with your buddy's Mom and pimping your label for trips to Japan. There is definitely some fat here that could be excised, but even the hate coursing through the JS-NYC veins can't dispute this is a pretty strong collection. The LP gents definitely know the genres they are lampooning well, making for a much more pleasurable experience than the average YouTube satire. I'm not sure I'm ready for the gauntlet of wanna-bes quoting this shit chapter and verse, but credit is due and JS-NYC props duly afforded.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Live: Two Cow Garage @ Union Hall 5.19.11

May has been pretty ok as it revolves around the rock, even more so with Two Cow Garage coming through Union Hall. I rolled in just as things were starting and posted up with the Bros Johnson and the lovely Jina for a face-ripper of a set from the newly re-trio-fied TCG.

Even with dodgy vocal levels and some bass amp ridiculousness it ended up being a hell of a good time. Pretty rabid crowd, too. No reason why they shouldn't have been, but NYC has been notoriously fickle with our heroes in the past. Judging by the number of encores, I would venture the tide may be turning in Two Cow's favor. We'll see, and you should see them anytime you can. I hear big things about the 10 year Anniversary coming up for the boys. Stay tuned for details.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Live: Jon Snodgrass and Joey Cape @ Union Hall 5.14.11

Jon and Joey were in town for another of their increasingly frequent duo shows. This one was at Union Hall, out in tony Park Slope.

I crossed threshold in time to block out some real estate and set up the recorder for just shy of two hours worth of songs from the boys. At least two new songs from Jon in the set, plus a lot of interaction with one of the legions of obsessive European Joey Cape fans that come out to all his East Coast shows who happened to be having a birthday. Was fun, although the room got a little chatty at times. If you want a copy of the recording, holler at your boy. Jon alluded to some new release, which could just be a 7"? Not sure, but the songs is good. Evidently the gents have a new band called The Scorpios with Tony Sly and an opera singing friends who share the astrological sign, so look out for that as well.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Live: Mansions with Waking Lights @ The Studio at Webster Hall 5.18.11 late

JS-NYC has been known to like themselves some Mansions. Louisville (now Seattle, I understand) dude Christopher Browder is the guy behind the name, often playing solo or with ad hoc ensembles as time and finances permitted. I had spent a fair bit of time trying to dance about the architecture of the newest Mansions record Dig Up The Dead, and was pretty stoked that they/he were coming through town low on the bill of some pay-what-you-will loss-leader Drive Thru Records.

The derailing of the RVIVR in-store got me over to Webster early, in time to catch the last three or four songs from the not-especially good NJ franchise Waking Lights, who ply their trade in Gaslight Anthem meets Phantom Planet dreck for young people with shallow record collections. Was funny to see Jim Testa running the same gauntlet.

Mansions were up next, with a keyboard/laptop jockey driving the proceedings while Browder played electric and his girlfriend played rudimentary inaudible bass. The whole set was a cornucopia of tech issues, from amp to keyboard and as such, I would not give especially high marks to Mansions. Granted the low guarantee might have necessitated the slimmed down backing, and the new record is well worth checking our, but given the chance to see them live next time, I wouldn't go unless Browder was solo or with a real band.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Live: RVIVR with Nude Beach and White Mystery @ Generation Records 5.18.11 early

Dashed out of work early to catch this in-store, as I wasn't sure I was really feeling hauling my ass out to (pic by Bill Shoudis/stolen from Generation web site) Silent Barn or 538 Johnson. I don't make it to the brick and mortar record stores much now that I get everything sent to JS-NYC, much less for in-stores, but it was a pleasure to beat the raindrops and hunker down in the basement.

White Mystery opened the proceedings with a half-hour or so of two-piece mixed gender Chicago rock. They had a pretty good turnout of older friends in attendance for their Spinanes-y rawk. The seemed a little taken aback at the lack of audience banter or maybe just didn't know NYers aren't friendly, but were decent enough for the price. Good drummer, too. Nude Beach were up next, a three-piece from Brooklyn that really caught some JS-NYC attention with their post-Husker Buffalo Tom-isms. I liked them a bunch. Evidently a fair part of the set was new material. This bodes well for some serious JS-NYC summer attendance at the Nude Beach.

RVIVR closed up the night in the basement with maybe three songs before a broken kick drum pedal wrapped things up early. The three tunes were decent, but above and beyond that, I'd recap as follows: lots of hot Oly ladies in the RVIVR caravan, Canino is a foul-smelling (albeit pleasant) individual and one would do well to snap up their records, as I would venture no one is getting rich off this, especially with free shows. Here's a link to the RVIVR/Rumbletowne web presence.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal

Eddie Trunk is a god among men (and women), especially those of the metal persuasion. He could be deemed as such just for bringing That Metal Show to television airwaves, but TMS is but one of the more recent high points in his decades of dedication to metal. It's a love that has manifested itself in a myriad of forms. A random sampling of the Trunk CV reveals that this proud son of New Jersey was: instrumental in signing Metallica to Megaforce, squired Anthrax while they tenured there, got Billy Squier in the mid-card between Skid Row and Bon Jovi at Giants Stadium, got Twisted Sister to reunite and was generally on the front lines for everything tri-State and metal for the last couple of decades.

Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal compiles 30 or so essays on his favorite bands, all posited against a backdrop of photographs from long-time cohort Ron Akiyama and supplemented with obscure facts and playlists of his favorite tracks from each. Trunk is an everyman metal fan with an encyclopedic knowledge garnered from first-hand interactions through radio, TV or print interviews. It's a shame that experts are so rarely afforded a forum as significant as That Metal Show, but you have to take the high spots when you can. This cannot come with any higher recommendations from the JS-NYC cognoscenti: if you are into metal and or hard rock in any, way, shape or form, there is no possible way you will not enjoy Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hoodoo Gurus @ PopMatters

Ladies, Gents, Kiwi Aficianados:

A somewhat outdated review of the new(est) Hoodoo Gurus record Purity Of Essence is now up over at the PopMatters.

Here's a link.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Live: Twilight Singers @ Webster Hall 5.13.11

I was kinda sorta on the fence about this show, it bring at Webster, but the attraction of going with Alex and the 8:30 start time sweetened the pot considerably. Alex and I grabbed some drinks beforehand and posted up in a pretty damn full room in time for the lights to go down.

Twilight Singers sports a revolving lineup, often sporting the likes of Ed Harcourt, Jeff Klein and/or Joseph Arthur in its ranks. This incarnation featured an amalgamation of Dulli cronies from LA, NYC and New Orleans, and was notable for a pretty aces keys/violin utility guy. The set list (above) is pretty solid, and featured a little AF interpolation to keep everyone on their toes. Still no chance of a Whigs reunion, but a good time and one that had me on the couch as JS-NYC HQ by 10:45, so kudos to all the bridge and tunnel folk who made the evening possible.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Live: Dear Landlord with House Boat and Mikey Erg @ The Knitting Factory 5.12.11

Looking at the fake poster to the left for this show, one might surmise that we had a contender for the show of the year for JS-NYC. I enjoy all off the parties, but it was really the mid-card that had me excited. It had been well over a year since the Unlovables had played out and The Sainte Catherines have a hell of a new record. Putting them on a bill where I could start thing off with the tail end of a House Boat set seemed like a fine recipe for an evening in Brooklyn. In what is becoming my new favorite irritation, the aforementioned two bands that I hadn't seen a million times before dropped off the bill just as soon as I bought the ticket. Don't get me wrong, it was only $8, but come on.

I considered bailing, but Mikey Erg jumped on the front of the bill, so I figure I'd make it an early evening and count my blessings. Mikey put in a good solo set, albeit one without the Cee-Lo cover that highlighted his solo show last week at Cake Shop. House Boat were up next. I always enjoy them a lot more than I expect to, but could deal with about 50% less drunk Grath per show. Suffice to say, he is no Paddy Costello. This show featured the recording, rather than ad hoc local, HB lineup with Zack and Mikey. It was good and hopefully now that Grath has a job, we'll get less talk and more rock in the future. As such, I hear there is a new House Boat record on the way, so we'll see how things transpire.

Dear Landlord came on at the wonderfully reasonable hour of 10 to a rambunctious crowd. I like me some DL, but was surprised to see the number of DL painted jackets and his and her t-shirt combos out at the show. Dream Homes has been out for a bit now and there is the new split with The Dopamines, but it still doesn't leave an epic amount of variety set-wise. I was more than pretty stoked to find that Zack and Brad have got the Copyrights half of the franchise knocking out Rivethead covers. That will get me to make the long walk down the block to ABC next month. All in all a good set, and I made it home by 11:15, so I will call this a win, despite the fact that I sure would have preferred to have seen The Unlovables and The Sainte Catherines on the damn bill.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Husker Du review at Skyscraper

Hey Kids:

Another one of my reviews of the awesome new Husker Du book is currently up at Skyscraper, should you want to peruse.

Here's a link.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Dopamines split with Dear Landlord

Hell-o! Wasn't aware this was coming down the pike, but you can bet your sweet ass that JS-NYC is all about Portrait Parle, which the interwebs tell me are the front and side portraits that predated mugshots. Oh, those smarty-punks! Two songs from each of these bands of jokers. It breaks down thusly: New Dopa-dudes tunes are aces. You can smell the canned beer and BO even before you're pumping your fist at the chorus. Dear Landlord continue to maximize their three singer potential with a couple bangers that would have mutes singing along. Save them the trouble and pick this up with the quickness. Let's get a tour behind this gents, shall we?


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Touched By Magic - Greg Prato

JS-NYC likes themselves some Greg Prato. His oral history of the grunge era and Eric Carr bio have received high marks from our discriminating scribes here. I knew of Tommy Bolin through magazine subscriptions and general obscurist guitar nerdery, but hadn't heard too much of his material and didn't have too much conception of him beyond the fact that he died pretty young and played with Deep Purple. Given my other alternative was a Prato book on the Blind Melon dude, Touched By Magic was an easy choice to make. Prato does his usual excellent job of recounting the Bolin story through the people that were closest to him personally and musically. It's ridiculous to think that he could have played on seminal works by Billy Cobham, The James Gang and Deep Purple and still died at age 25. It's a compelling, albeit tragic story. Pick it up here from Prato.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Iron Chic - Split n' Shit EP

Even in the wake of my recent run-in with the local constabulary post-Chic last time, I have to say that IC may be my favorite local band. They are getting a little big locally to maintain their small-time aspirations, but defeatist tendencies aside, Split N' Shit continues where last year's awesome Not Like This left off. Four songs: three pretty aces new tracks, and one not-especially remarkable Bikini Kill cover. Evidently these are all from European tour 7"s, so collector nerds should seek to slake their vinyl thirst over at Yo Yo or All In Records, as needed. You can also pick them up in virtual form over at the IC bandcamp presence.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Live: Ian Cheap Girls and Mikey Erg with Dave Hause @ Cake Shop 5.1.11

As regular readers may surmise, I was in this for Ian Graham of the exceedingly awesome Cheap Girls. Beyond that, I wasn't sure how the evening would present itself. Given the three parties and their usual go-to instruments, I thought we might have ourselves a little ad-hoc rock band with rotating singers, but I came in to a fourth dude doing a Rocky Votolato kind of thing with another dude on electric. As it was a school night, I wasn't all that enthused about the addition, but he was decent enough and Ian appeared soon after, knocking out twenty minutes of fucking great tunes that I have a not-great but decent recording of if anyone wants. E-mail me.

At this point I was pretty stoked. It was still early, so I figured I'd catch a couple Mikey Erg tunes and bail. Post-Ergs, I've grown so accustomed to seeing him play drums in almost every band that would allow him behind a kit that I forgot what a great songwriter he is. His half-hour set featured the cream of his namesake's output performed on solo electric, as well as a pretty aces run through your favorite Cee-Lo Green chestnut. Yannich is one talented dude, and perhaps one who has moved back to NJ? Off-hand banter seems to suggest as much. It's hard not to see him, but see him sing sometime soon, if you can. I got a recording of that set, if you are of a mind, so holler if you'd like a link. I didn't stay for Hause, nor did it seem a lot of others, but I did see Franz on the way out and still made it home early with embarassingly rudimentary recordings in tow. If you missed this and are going to find yourself in the Northern climes this summer, Mikey and Dave Hause are doing a Canadian spin later on this year with Tony Sly, so keep an eye out.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock by Sammy Hagar

Lets get this out of the way from the jump: the best Van Halen was when Dave fronted the band. I still remember getting up early to hear the debut of new single with Sammy on WPDH and being pretty flummoxed at the lack of rocking. As a VH obsessive, I still picked up the record, but secretly hoped that there would be a reconciliation. Don't get me wrong, Hagar has some great tracks and expect that sooner or later a Montrose epiphany will occur, but the first four Van Halen records are pretty untouchable.

That said, after I heard about Red on That Metal Show, I was at The Strand the next day picking this up. Not that I wasn't openly mocked (anonymously) by the staff when they paged me to pick it up, but such are the crosses one must bear to be old and metal in the new millennium. Ok, so now that we've added the Dave caveat, let it be knowm that Red is one hell of a book. Assuming that most of the tales herein are true, Hagar is quite a guy. Frankly, I thought the Cabo thing and the sale of 80% of the tequila franchise for a cool 100 million were dumb luck, but come to find Hagar has struck gold a couple times before, having been the biggest (and second ever) mountain bike purveyor on the West Coast and invested heavily in Northern California real estate even before he made his stadium turn with Van Halen.

Hagar is no angel and is quick to admit it, but to hear his side of the Van Halen story, especially in the wake of the ridiculously disrespectful ousting of Michael Anthony, it's not that easy to be part of the Van Halen machine. Anyone who saw the cadaverous cover he did for Guitar World could tell that there was something seriously awry, even above and beyond his fight with cancer and divorce from long-time partner Valerie Bertinelli. Red dishes dirt, but not from an especially malevolent place. Hagar seems like a filthy rich older guy who appreciates what he has. It makes for an engaging read that is optimized for the rock nerd but compelling for the average punter. I'd pick it up. Try here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Glasvegas - Euphoric Heartbreak

Glasvegas kinda rocked my world when they dropped their debut a couple years ago. Motown-isms, Glaswegian accents and healthy doses of reverb all are things that will curry favor at JS-NYC HQ and Glasvegas had them all in spades. The singer looked a lot like Joe Strummer, they had a bad-ass lady drummer and the neighbors soon got well sick of the repetition.

There was a pretty big push in the Q when this dropped and I gotta say that I wasn't all that excited to hear that the enigmatic frontman had written the lion's share of the record in Malibu and was currently wearing nothing but white, had his mother recording spoken word parts on the record and had two new tracks subtitled Homosexuality, especially when they were not concurrent with the singer announcing his practitioning thereof. Don't even get me started with the punctuation. Soon after, I got Euphoric///Heartbreak\\ flowed my way and can't say that I was over the moon about the whole thing. It seemed ponderous and didn't flow well at all. After the six or seventh spin, I realized I'd been playing the record backward and liked this a lot more. With all the sartorial and musical pretentions, I would have liked Euphoric///Heartbreak\\ to be a lot more engrossing than I find it currently, but it's a solid sophomore shot from Team Glasgow and I bet that I'll really fall for this over the next couple months. Stay tuned here for backpedaling revisionism. In the interim, keep track of Glasvegas here.