Wednesday, November 30, 2011

R.I.P: Patrice O'Neal (1969-2011)

Man. When it rains it pours. First Greg Giraldo, and now Patrice O'Neal passes on. I saw on Twitter that he had a stroke a month or so ago and judging by the somber tone of the O&A announcement soon after, it sounded like things were not optimistic. Last word was that he had been moved to a rehabilitation facility, where he evidently passed on 11/29 at the age of 41.

Patrice had been around forever, but was riding on some recent mainstream buzz after his spot on the Charlie Sheen Roast and his recent Elephant In The Room special. I'm told that he also had an arc on The Office. In the wake of his passing, a ton of material has appeared on the interwebs, all worth checking out. I expect that there will also be a slew of not-especially well done retrospective stuff put out and hope a collection of the late, great Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn series is part of it. Whether you are a long-time fan or Patrice came on your radar after the news blitz about his passing, check out his specials and buy the posthumous record called Mr. P due to be released in February.  You can pre-order Mr. P here.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tommy Stinson - One Man Mutiny

Tommy Stinson has meant a lot to me over the years. Not so much in recent years, as it still seems to be straight-up fucking odd that he's the bass guy in the Axl Rose fronted Guns And Roses tribute band that tours South America to keep the lights on, but Bash And Pop and Perfect were pretty great rock bands. Even the solo record he's released post-Perfect was kind of ok, albeit with a higher Meh factor.

One Man Mutiny is self-released, and wisely so, as while TS has some cachet with the older set, he's not exactly going to set the charts on fire. The songs here are decent, with tracks like It's A Drag and Seize The Moment rising above. Steel guitar makes an appearance on Zero To Stupid, but most of the tracks have a late period Mats feel. I think I'd prefer mid-period if I had my druthers, but lovers of all things Tommy Stinson will not be disappointed.

Get One Man Mutiny here from the official Tommy Stinson web presence.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Trash Talk - Awake EP

Happy Thrashgiving:

I like Trash Talk as much as the next old guy. You're not going to catch me thrash-capped out and standing on the fringes of the pit with my deck ready to bean some sucker, but I will take exception to Trash Talk being featured as ESPY-rock. That's kind of fucked, I think, even if I could have stolen the cover art from another source.

Either way, Trash Talk are always a blast (ha!) to see live. The show with Youth Of Today that I evidently neglected write up was pretty aces, even if the skate douche factor was a little spiked. These five songs are the usual post-Flag thrash that you have come to expect from team Trash Talk. Awake should have you circle-pitting up a storm in short order. Get it here from said Trash Talk Collective.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bridge and Tunnel - Rebuilding Year

Bridge and Tunnel might be my favorite non-Drew related band here in town. It's nice to have a strong No Idea franchise in town, especially one that plies its trade in some co-ed 21st century post-Jawbox meets Jejune rock. And well at that.

Singer/Guitarist Jeff Cunningham pens much of the vocal material, but I would venture that Bridge and Tunnel are very much a democracy and co-guitar/vocalist Rachel Rubino is a powerful presence. Much is made of the female from Screaming Females, but Rachel tears it up here. She is no stranger to a fingertap, but is equally good with textures. Or singing lead on tracks like Hands. Ex-Jawbox-er J. Robbins recorded Rebuilding Year, lending a little bit of fat and smoothness to the sound while still masterfully matching the layers of vocals and guitar to make the strongest Bridge and Tunnel release we have heard to date.  If you like(d) the Midwestern rock of the late 90s and the last three decades of music DC has had to offer, I would snatch up Rebuilding Year and the entire Bridge and Tunnel catalog with the quickness. Get Rebuilding Year here from your friends at No Idea and use this link to keep track of all things B&T.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Andrew Jackson Jihad - Knife Man

Andrew Jackson Jihad hail from the arid land of Arizona. AZ has been representing pretty hard in recent years, starting with Jimmy Eat World and Pollen and continuing with the late Shang-a-Lang and more currently with Andrew Jackson Jihad.

I really like a bunch of Andrew Jackson Jihad songs and feel the same way about a good bid of Knife Man, but the inner asshole in me does tell me that if AJJ were from Brooklyn and/or played Sidewalk with any regularity, I would be ever so quick to swig me some hater-ade and then shit all over them and Knife Man for a myriad of reactionary short-sighted reasons.

To start, AJJ are billed as folk-punk, which is a bit of a hackle raiser, if not a redundancy really. A second is the anti-establishment slash populist thing they've got going on that I'm pretty much on board with, although safe money is on the team drawing a crowd that will flare my inner cranky old guy intolerant tendencies. I don't normally stand on pretense and expect that my favorite bands have a singer who can really sing. Those looking for irish tenors would do well to look otherwise, as AJJ is not blessed with a young Sam Cooke as a frontman, but the songs on Knife Man are pretty uniformly strong, and definitely deeper than the titles like Hate, Rain On Me and The Michael Jordan Of Drunk Driving might belie. The duo seem to be investigating more of a full band thing rather than the duo thing I had believed them to have been purveying previously but it seems pretty unforced here, proving especially effective on tracks like the soaring closer Big Bird. I'd pick it up.

I believe AJJ are overseas currently, but keep track of all their current goings-on here. Get Knife Man here from The House That Park built.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire

I haven't enjoyed a Ryan Adams record since the first one, although judging by the last ten years of press, I seem to number in the minority. Oh, well. I can't be the first guy to rightfully point out that the young man needs himself an editor and the full plate of ex-band members seems to support the young man's mercurial ways. The internet tells me Adams had actually retired from music a couple of years ago, owing to a battle with Meniere's. There you go.

Ashes & Fire is the first Adams record for Capitol. It was recorded at Adams' California studio, with Glyn Johns behind the boards. Norah Jones and his wife Mandy Moore lend backing vocals, as do Neal Casal and Chris Stills, for those of you scoring at home. Marks for Adams will probably eat this up, but I'd say he does little to dispel the notion of being a second-rate Steve Forbert.

Recent press for Ashes & Fire has claimed this is a high-water mark for the now clean and sober Mr. Adams, so I moved it higher up in the review queue than it would have normally been afforded. Those initial reviews may be correct, don't run with that too far. Ashes & Fire may be better than his recent spate of records, but it's still firmly in the Meh category to these ears.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jim Florentine - Cringe N' Purge

That Metal Show, aka The Best Show Currently On TV, has been a win-win all around. Bands that haven't seen wide-scale US TV time in decades can revel in new-school exposure and the hosts have been able to use the platform to expand their profiles accordingly. That has been a more slippery slope: Eddie Trunk's book was great and is highly recommended, but Don Jamieson's debut comedy cd is a disaster on the level of the Jimmy Fallon record of years past. Don't get me started on his stupid acoustic death metal project he's trying to hawk. Stick to TV producing, sideburns.

But I digress. Jim Florentine has deferred on the Trunk side of things with his recent work. His movie presence has expanded a ton recently and he's done ok for himself previously with the Crank Yankers and Terrorizing Telemarketers series. The have also been a couple of live stand-up releases previous that are pretty decent. Cringe N' Purge is his third, to my knowledge, and his first for Metal Blade. The usual Florentine topics of gay gays, religion and Slayer are addressed in typical Jersey style, so maybe don't play this at Thanksgiving for Grandma, but definitely pick up Cringe N' Purge if you like your comedy on the dark side of the politically correct.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Hot Water Music - The Fire. The Steel, The Tread 7"

So Hot Water Music is back. I guess that's not a bad thing, or all that surprising really. They broke up easily five times before the turn of the century and its frankly pretty surprising that they only broke up most recently five years ago.

In that time, Wollard and Regan have done the solo bearded acoustic guy thing with various degrees of success, while George has played with Against Me and Jason has played with Sense Field. Now they are back, at least for shows. And now a new 7". The new record comes (unsurprisingly) courtesy of the good nerds of No Idea. It's called The Fire, The Steel, The Tread and it sounds like you would expect a late-period Hot Water Music record to sound like, but I'd like some Split Lip and they are coming a little Chamberlain for my tastes, if you take my meaning. And calling the b-side Adds Up To Nothing is asking for trouble, although I'd argue it's the better of the two tunes here.

Get The Fire, The Steel, The Tread in all the popular formats here from No Idea and keep track of current HWM going's on here.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Live: Airfix Kits and Young Offenders at Union Pool 11.4.11

I liked me some Airfix Kits, or perhaps more specifically their predecessors Giant Haystacks. Seeing them with Young Offenders was the frosting on the beater, especially when Erika and Oliver were friends with that lot and word was that most of the Bay Area short-haired set was coming out for the shows. They weren't lying. This show was another one of the pantheon of great Hardcore Gig Volume shows and had moved to Union Pool after Bruar Falls closed down and the vibe was definitely one spaghetti plate away from being a  show at the Bottom Of The Hill.

I rolled in just as Young Offenders were setting up. Word was that the team had lost a bass on the way in, an eventuality that didn't seem to make the short-haired gents any sunnier of disposition. Good set though. The new record Leader Of The Followers is pretty aces in a Jam meets Wire at the Cock Sparrer show sort of way. Tim is a hell of a frontman (and a drinker, it would appear) and the rest of YO are pretty damn tight. These shows were rare East Coast shows for the gents and the turn-out was accordingly decent.

Things seemed to fill up more for the Airfix Kits. I'm pretty sure this was their first show out here. It was refreshing to have a band this good fronted by a man with more of a Fred Perry problem than me. Lots of clean downstroking and anglo-oi leaning for the duration, with a decent well-lubricated crowd eating (or rather drinking, really) it up. I'll give Airfix the lean for better of the two, but both parties were pretty damn aces. Kudos to Ian Dickson and Hardcore Gig Volume for bringing the gents our way. Here's hoping we see the boys out East again very, very soon.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones


Since my antipathy for all things Time Warner forced me to finally get rid of cable, I don't see as much late night TV as I used to, but I caught Turner on Kimmel the other night and he and that Limey lot  promptly handed my ass to me.

I say again: Damn!

Kudos to Epitaph for snapping up Mr. Turner. He had been on my radar with his collabo with the mighty Jon Snodgrass and while Old Fast Songs is a great fucking tune, I didn't think I'd fall as quick and hard for England Keep My Bones as I did. My Irish affections aside, as you might surmise this is quite an English record. Turner has heard himself a Billy Bragg or two, but he's far from a carbon copy. Whether keeping it traditional with English Curse, upping the punks and skins in I Still Believe or taking it to the open road with I Am Disappeared, Turner gives it the business. You should give him yours and snap up England Keep My Bones in whatever format works for you here from Mr. Brett & Co. 

Up the punks!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Armalite - Humungous 7"

Hey now, new Armalite record!

I would have though Eric would have hipped me to this (or maybe even recorded it) but it appears to be a solid no on both points. Armalite is a Philly scene-as-fuck amalgamation of your boy Atom Goren (sans His Package) with Dr. Dan Yemin from PIB/Lifetime/Kid Dynamite, Jeff from AAJ and Mike from Kill The Man/Amateur Party throwing down the D4-tinged jams for your listening pleasure.

There are three of said jams this time around, two sang by Mike and one from Atom. All solid, although those unenchanted by Atom's voice previously will probably remain unmoved hearing him in a more hardcore aesthetic. That caveat extended, Humongous is still pretty fucking aces.

If you are a fan of any of the aforementioned acronyms and/or the players therein, you can't really go wrong with Humongous. Get it here from the lovable nerds at No Idea and keep track of all things band-y and Armalite here.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Live: Vagina Panther @ The Delancey 11.3.11 late

The evening had turned into quite an evening for bearded drummers. Having taken in my first amazing Boy King Island set down the block earlier in the evening, it was a pleasure to inch ever closer to JS-NYC HQ with my rock gourmandizing.
I'd seen Vagina Panther a couple times previous and thought they were ok, but Rut on the drum kit seems to have kicked things up a couple notches. They sound a lot better, and the bass player sure seems to have a ball playing with the stick splitting caveman that comprises the other half of the VP rhythm section. Mario was on the scene to keep the drummer quotient high while June and Co. rocked the hell out of the lower level of The Delancey. They've got a good thing going and a new self-titled record you can get here at the Vagina Panther web presence.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Live: Boy King Island @ Pianos 11.3.11 early

Drew was playing a(nother) new band and was pretty big on it, but I had been lazy as hell in checking them out. This show rolled around and was in the neighborhood, plus Jim had sent me a link and I was pretty enthused at the prospect of seeing a little bearded guy pound the hell out of vintage drum kit before I ran down the block to catch a big bearded guy pound the skins with Vagina Panther.

More on that later. I rolled into Pianos and immediately ran into one of the staggering number of Moms I meet at 1 year old birthday parties in this day and age, exchanged pleasantries and then hit the main room as the rest of Boy King Island (heretofore to be referred to as BKI, as the name reminds me much of Davey Von Boehlen and his Boys Who Climb Trees emo extravaganza) were setting up. I'm not too familiar with Jesse Rifkin the guy who leads BKI and half-think he had a solo thing on under a band name previously, but he's evidently got a little bit of a name for himself. He's got a Jay Reatard look going on and is evidently no stranger to a Nudie Suit.

Nudie wear is rarely a bad idea, and let's say from the jump that Boy King Island are a really fucking strong band, but there's a weird costume thing going on with the band. Perhaps wearing a Road Warrior vest is what enables the ridiculous guitar-osity that Ben Seretan served hot for the duration, and if that is the case so be it, cause its fucking working, but the songs are all way too solid to be distracted by overt costumery. They are part of a larger psychedelic vibe BKI are putting out, with tape loops and visual stuff going on. Now that I think about it, its kind of a Flaming Lips aesthetic, without the frat-douche vibe or silly Pink Floyd wankery. Rifkin is no Pavoratti, but the voice matches the sound and the sound is well worth hearing. A bit jammy at times, but with song structure (and chops) to back it up, Boy King Island are a band to see. Keep track of BKI here and look for a record soon.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

900th Post

JS-NYC Massive:

Thanks for everything. See you at 1000.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Live: Todd Barry @ People's Improv Theater 11.1.11

So I got a *ahem* tweet that Todd was celebrating his 24th year in comedy by running through his set for his upcoming Comedy Central special at The Pit for standards and practices. Figuring this was the best way to avoid having to buy two overpriced drinks on top of the door, I scrambled down and grabbed one of the few remaining seats. Todd is always a good time, but I always forget that seeing a Comedy Central taping means that if you follow the comedian in any capacity, you've heard the material before.

And I had. Between his recent set at Maxwells and some general radio and internet nerdery, all of the set was familiar ground, but it went over well and should make for a good special. It's taping 12/1 somewhere here in town. Snoop around and you can probably scare up a ticket, else look for it airing sometime after the New Year. Keep track of Todd here at his web presence.