Monday, December 24, 2012

Nate Bargatze - Yelled At By A Clown

Nate Bargatze first came on my radar through the Big Jay Oakerson helmed Legion Of Skanks podcast. His laconic Southern demeanor inititally hid a personality as bent as the rest of the L.O.S crew, but his true colors soon came to the fore and he began to pop up everywhere in the last year or so, from Robert Kelly and Marc Maron podcasts to his first Comedy Central half-hour special.

Yelled At By A Clown is the debut comedy record from Bargatze. Coming courtesy of your friends at A Special Thing Records, it's mostly personal stuff, ranging from his childhood as the son of a professional magician who freelanced as a clown through his current day drunken bedwedding issues and the domestic joy it engenders. Think Jim Gaffigan if he was one of Doug Stanhope's Unbookables. JS-NYC thinks highly of him.

Get Yelled At By A Clown here from A Special Thing.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pac Div - GMB

Pac Div have been holding it down on the West Coast for a decade now, carrying the torch for the Heiroglyphics style of non-gangsta Left Coast rap. While they seem no stranger to a good time,  Pac Div do seem to have someone's grandma on the cover and the GMB stands for first initial of the band member's governments, so I suspect any thuggery displayed by this crew will be via X-Box, unless you're cutting them online at a sneaker pre-sale. As they had serious lyrical skills and seemed unlikely to die in gang-related activity, Pac Div got a lot of shine quickly. Much was made of the trio linking with Motown Records for their first release, and its still unclear to me whether RBC Records is affiliated with the the Detroit powerhouse, but if the union has been severed, its not for Pac Div not bringing it on GMB.

You get seventeen tracks for your hip-hop dollar, peppered with guest shots from new jack heroes like Kendrick Lamar and Mac Miller. No stupid skits either. If your tastes lean towards lyricism and sneakers more than thugged-out swag rap, step lively over to your preferred digital retailer and get GMB with the quickness.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mark Eitzel - Don't Be A Stranger

One of the greatest record store epiphanies I've ever experienced occurred after I walked into the New Paltz branch of Rhino Records to hear the then newly released Mark Eitzel: Songs Of Love Live. Luckily for me, the store manager was a huge fan of Eitzel and his band American Music Club, setting in motion a now almost two decade love affair with the band's darkly beautiful stylings.

AMC ran its course by 1995 and Eitzel has been plying a solo path for the better part of the decades that followed. There have been a couple decent enough stabs at American Music Club reunions, but none has come close to capturing the glories of their mid 90s heyday. Eitzel was firing on all cylinders at that point, recording the brooding 60 Watt Silver Lining in 1996. Underpinned by airy production and muted trumpet, the record is definitely his best solo work, and the handful of eponymous releases Eitzel has recorded have been decent at best and paled in comparison.

Eitzel survived a heart attack earlier in the year and after some time in the cold, word came down the internets earlier this year that Eitzel was recovering nicely and had been afforded a block of free studio time. Further investigation revealed that our hero was recording with strings and a backing unit that included bassist Bruce Thomas and ex-AMC guitar foil Vudi. Suffice to say that interest was piqued over at JS-NYC central. Merge is throwing some promo muscle behind the record, most notably a series of tongue-in-cheek video shorts that preceded the release of Don't Be A Stranger, featuring a series of luminaries giving Eitzel promotional advice about promoting the record.

While I was quick to snap up Don't Be A Stranger, I wasn't especially crazy about it after the first couple of spins, but I'm pleased to report its a grower.  I'd say that I Love You But You're Dead is the best of the eleven tracks. The record doesn't hit me in the gut like his mid 90s output, but the more expansive production is definitely a plus, and Stranger is undoubtably the best Eitzel release in some time.

Keep track of our dear Mr. Eitzel here and get Don't Be A Stranger here from the good folk of Merge Records.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mike Cooley - The Fool On Every Corner

While Patterson tends to get a lot of the limelight in the Drive By Truckers franchise, those that have been around from the jump know that our dear Mr. Hood co-founded DBT a million years ago with Mike Cooley in the wake of the dissolution of their previous band Adam's House Cat (and those that aren't crazy about the DBT appellation should be informed that the band was formally dubbed Horse Pussy).

Post DBT blow-up, Patterson has dropped a couple solo records and maintained a pretty busy solo touring schedule, but Cooley has played the back, playing the odd solo show here and there, but never releasing a formal solo disc. Consider that rectified, as Cooley has released The Fool On Every Corner on his own eponymous imprint. Recorded solo, live and acoustic in front of crowds in Atlanta and Athens early last year, the record features new interpretations of 11 DBT Cooley favorites like Loaded Gun In The Closet and 3 Dimes Down, along with a Charlie Rich cover and a new track called Drinking Coke and Eating Ice.

The Fool On Every Corner is pretty decent. Frankly, I had hoped for a little more. Not for nothing, but those that are proponents of the great Sloan Simpson and his Southern Shelter web presence have arguably better versions of the tracks here. That said, the arrangements are definitely different, so completists and long-time Cooley marks should step lively if they haven't already. Cooley seems to be in good humor and his banter remains priceless, regardless of your personal feelings about banjos and the men who play them. Personally, I find the crowd(s) more than a little bit irritating, but I think we all know that JS-NYC maintains a pronounced level of old-guy intolerance in the best of times, so take that with a grain of salt and don't postpone joy if the prospect of this little bit of digital delight chuffs you.

Get The Fool On Every Corner here.


Saturday, December 8, 2012


The extrapolation of the posse cut into project group is once that has had decidedly mixed results in the past, but the cross-pollenation of the good folk of D-Block with the mighty Wu-Tang Clan seems far from a bad idea and the various collabos on mixtapes and the like in the past seemed to lend credence to the idea.

Ghost and Sheek have been talking about this for what seems like forever. Of course, with all those players in the game, the process of conception to actual release is going to be slightly longer than elephant gestation. The now non-album track Union Square dropped over the summer and now with red tape aside and after many pushes of schedule, Wu-Block has finally dropped; 15 tracks deep with bangers.

Ghost and Sheek were the driving forces behind this project, and come with the appropriate level of fire, heating things up for the rest of the crew and bringing out the best from cats like Cappadonna who you may have slept on in the past. All of the LOX and most of the Clan are in attendance. You would do well to be there as well. Wu-Block is the perfect soundtrack to the short dark days of year's end. Street dwellers and/or lovers of grimy East Coast rap should pick this up immediately.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sean Price - Mic Tyson

The props given to Sean Price are major at JS-NYC. Currently everywhere and on most tracks, the brokest rapper you know is finally back with the long-rumored Mic Tyson. There have been the aforementioned raft of guest verses and a run with Random Axe, but finally Brooklyn (soon to be Greensboro!) 's best is back with a full fifteen shot clip of straight bangers.

P and Duck Down have prefaced this release with some amazing videos featuring Sean P as Bob Ross and interviewing Pharoah Monch as Nardwuar. Both are absolute must-sees and assert that while your man P will whip that ass, he's not without a sense of humor.

Mic Tyson has a gang of producers, with The Alchemist weighing in with the most tracks, oddly enough. 9th Wonder and Evidence have a couple tracks and Buckshot, Rustee Juxx and Torae post up work from in front of the mic. Tracks are bodied regardless of who helps, with Price & Shining Armor taking top honors. Shit is, in fact, real, so take a second and turn off that Chief Queef crap (my god, is that ear-rapingly terrible!) and dedicate some time to a real hip-hop hero.

Get Mic Tyson here from your friends at Duck Down.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Samiam - Complete Control Sessions EP

The last couple of years have had Samiam and Jawbreaker jockeying for position as my favorite Bay Area punk franchise. Samiam have been coming out ahead more of than not, owing to them actually playing live in 2012 and releasing new records. Complete Control Sessions is exactly what is says on the label, 6 songs recorded live at one of the sessions for Side One Dummy Joe Sib's radio show.

Wonderfully, half of the material from Complete Control Sessions is from the probably sadly out-of-print Astray, featuring a Murderer's Row that has Dull, Sunshine and Wisconsin rubbing elbows with two tracks off their latest Trips and Take Care from Whatever Gets You Down. These tracks have been played an absurd number of times since they arrived as JS-NYC HQ. I'd suggest you do the same.

Get Complete Control Sessions here from Side One Dummy.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Chris Knight - Little Victories

If you were to paint a portrait of a singer-songwriter and ex-mine reclamation inspector  hailing from 90 acres in Slaughters, KY, Chris Knight would be the visage on the canvas. Writing songs from a common working mans perspective, Knight writes compelling songs filled with characters drawn not from TV or documentary portrayals, but from real-life, sweat and blood insight into the average 21st Century American's existence.

Knight is a man who prefers to let his music do the talking. If you are as contemptuous of modern "Country" music as JS-NYC and lucky enough to see any of his mainstream CMT-type interviews, check in to see Knight maintaing a level of interview enthusiasm halfway between Robert DeNiro and J. Mascis and watch the plastic hosts wither. His records come out every four years or so and perform as respectively as any other singer-songwriter on the circuit, but Knight keeps the lights on with the royalties from the covers of his tracks by mainstream acts like Montgomery Gentry and Ty Herndon.

Little Victories is a solid collection of songs, filled with portraits of good common men and women trying to make it through another day, not living high on the hog, but living nonetheless.  Co-conspirators include Buddy Miller as well as personal Knight hero John Prine, who pops in to take a pretty aces guest verse on Little Victories. Nothing On Me and You Can't Trust No One are two other high points, but there really isn't a bad song on Little Victories. I'd pick it up with the quickness.

As Knight thinks globally, but performs most locally around the South, those North of the Mason-Dixon line are best advised to get hard copies of Little Victories here from the Chris Knight web presence. Stay tuned to JS-NYC for news of any dates in town.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Toys That Kill at PopMatters

JS-NYC punk aficianados:

Those interested in my take on the new(est) Toys That Kill record Fambly 42 can use this link.

Go to there.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Live: The Twilight Sad with Errors at Music Hall Of Williamsburg 11.5.12

I'm still waiting for The Unwinding Hours to make their way across the pond, but in the interim I can take consolation in the comfortable pair of waterproof Scottish shoes that is The Twilight Sad. The Glasweigian quintet are touring behind their recent remix version of their most recent record I've yet to track down. No One Can Ever Know: The Remixes is the ingeniously appropriate title.

The Twilight Sad always draw a decent, albeit rarely huge, crowd but I posted up in a pretty much empty room when I arrived at the end of the Errors set. After a week without amenities, it mattered little to me, as I was hell-bent on outside stimuli but it seemed a prospective bummer to the Scottish gents who came so far.

Where the people came from, I'm unsure, but regardless the room filled up pretty nicely by the time The Twilight Sad took the stage. No real departures from the set from earlier this year, save for order, but then again, no wacky remix approximations either, so I'll call that a win. James was in good spirits, even moreso when it became apparent that people were actually going to attend the proceedings and  MacFarlane was the usual force of sonic nature we have come to expect live. If you've not seen Twilight Sad love, you should rectify that situation with the quickness. There was also a tour only EP that I snatched up, so stay tuned for a review.

Keep track of The Twilight Sad here.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

forgetters - s/t

It seems like the onset of Fall often brings renewed activity in the forgetters camp and this year is no exception. In a pattern seasoned Schwarzenbach followers have come to find familiar, forgetters popped up in the ashes of Thorns Of Life and played a bunch of shows. A pretty aces eponymous double 7" followed in 2011, as did a European tour, after which there was silence.

A random perusal of the J. Robbins owned  Magpie Cage Studios web presence earlier this year showed revealed a blog post reporting Blake and drummer Kevin Mahon had been recording there in the early part of the year. I'm still unsure whether the tracks here are the same, and my download is sadly bereft of any more info, but regardless the eleven tracks here may very well comprise the best Schwarzenbach tracks since the demise of the mighty Jawbreaker. Tracks like Lie Artist and Hoop and Swan hold their own with the best of the Jets To Brazil catalog. I'm not especially crazy about the opening Strike or the pithy In America, and the literary pretentions of Les Arrivistes might be better relegated to Blake's job interviews and/or dates, but the self-titled debut is far from bad. Beyond that, I've got little bad to say about any of the other tracks. The recent show at Death By Audio was purported to be pretty aces, and evidently marked the live debut of new bassist Michelle Proffit, also of Hiretsukan. I bailed on that show owing to my stupid job, but am not going to make that mistake a second time, I'll tell you.

Get the self-titled full-length from forgetters  here in all your favorite formats.

The rarely updated forgetters web interface can be found here.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Live: The New Trust at Cake Shop 10.25.12 late

Longtime JS-NYC sufferers will no doubt recognize The New Trust as a post perennial, and therefore be unsurprised at the JS-NYC glee at the prospect of a pretty good-sized tour as a tightener for a recording session with Albini in Chicago. A pretty tantalizing proposition made more so when I found I'd be taking in Bitch Magnet and Moss Icon as 'openers' over at Le Poisson Rouge.

Hustling over post-LPR, I got underground at Cake Shop to find a room that was far from overcrowded, but those that did make it out seemed to be devotees of the magic the trio has knocked out over the last decade or so. The set (see below) was heavy on what will evidently be the new record and while the pre-recording tour methodology is a sound one, and I definitely appreciate the Minutemen econo aspect of it all, I definitely would have liked to have heard more in the way of bangers from their early records.

That said, The New Trust are a great band and it was great to see them on our side of the country. Lock-tight, and showing the practiced familiarity of a band than has been together for a decade, the trio alternately joked and rocked their way through a tight eight song set that ended at a wonderfully reasonable hour. Kudos to them.

Word is that recording went well at Electrical, so stay tuned to the New Trust web interface here for news of when we might see the final product.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Live: Bitch Magnet with Moss Icon at Le Poisson Rouge 10.25.12 early

In a year that has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, the prospect of Bitch Magnet and Moss Icon playing together in 2012, in Manhattan and for under $20 (I think) was one of the higher points. Of course, I got these tickets back in June, so the wait was a little much, but beyond that it continued to be a pleasure to not have to ride over the bridge to see a show.

While it will never depose my beloved Mercury Lounge, Le Poisson Rouge is making a strong run for my #2 favorite place to see a show in town. The Watt book release and Codeine shows have been been definite highlights of 2012 and this show is definitely stands to flex a big presence on that list as well and I was pleased to see LPR getting a piece of this action.

The recent Temporary Residence discography reminded me that I really, really like me some Moss Icon. Seeing them at 8pm on a Thursday pushed the proposition of seeing them towards the sublime. For a band that has lay fallow for a bit and only played sporadic reunion shows this year, Moss Icon sure did level the room, blazing through a handful of the high points of their canon, plus a new tune called George. Brooklyn Vegan reported their playing I'm Back Sleeping, Or Fucking, Or Something, an event that went troublingly unremembered, and one that appears to be an incorrect one judging by the comments section, but rest assured the set was pretty great even with that unfortunate absence. Vance was in rough, but good voice and Tonie Joy continues to be quite the sonic alchemist on the old six string. A definite strong showing from the men from Maryland.

I stood in front of a small gentlemen of Eastern descent and his friend for most of the MI set, in between shifts to avoid a young Williamsburg-ian evidently enjoying his first drink and making a general nuisance of himself. Having met Sooyoung before a million years ago, I figured it couldn't be him, but once again the JS-NYC powers of perception we exposed as weak as he took the stage as the last of MI echoed through the room. No one has gotten any younger in the Bitch Magnet ranks, but the rust definitely was knocked off for their too-short of a set. Park did little to dispel his 'he of the eternal whisper' appellation, but proved to be a mouth that roared when necessary, with Fine and Morfin throwing their shoulder into it and plowing through to a closing one-two punch of Joan Of Arc and Americruiser. Very Nice. Logistics (mostly Park living in Singapore) pretty much made this the last chance to see Bitch Magnet, but here's hoping it leads to competitive offers for a Seam reunion next year.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Live: The Karl Hendricks Trio at Leftfield 10.19.12

There is nothing like the announcement that it has been a decade since Karl Hendricks played in NYC to make a jaded scenester feel a wee bit aged. Of course, JS-NYC was at that show, and all of the ones previous dating back to the mid-90s, so it wasn't hard to figure where JS-NYC would be on this evening. I caught the back end of the Choo Choo La Rouge set and then posted up frontish for the KH3 set.

Once JS-NYC processed the bizarre eventuality of three females attending a Karl Hendricks Show, it was a pleasure to enjoy the nine tracks we were afforded. As this was a Comedy Minus One showcase, the new The Adult Section figured prominently in the proceedings. Hold On, Cool Breeze opened the set and a broodingly rowdy romp through the Neil Young chestnut that is Thrasher capped things, but we also got a couple deep cuts, including You're A Bigger Jerk Than Me. While the set was typically criminally underattended, hopes are high that we'll see Karl & Co. back in NYC in the very near future.

Get The Adult Section here from the Comedy Minus One web presence and keep track of all other things Karl Hendricks Trio here.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Live: Mac Macaughan @ Merge 2012 CMJ Showcase, Mercury Lounge 10.18.12

photo stolen from NYCTaper and For The Love Of Brooklyn
To no great effect, JS-NYC has not been especially crazy about the recent ridiculously successful run of new signings that Merge has added to the roster in recent years, but if it keeps their reissue initiatives rolling and pays for a new Superchunk record down the line, I guess we can call it even.

This was the first Merge showcase at CMJ in a couple of years and as I knew Mac was playing and it was at Mercury, I grabbed tickets. I was decidedly nonplussed when I heard the rest of the lineup, especially when there was a four-hour wasteland of ambivalence (and no re-entry) between Mac's early set and the 1:15am headlining set from The Reigning Sound, so I hit and quit it after Mac wrapped.

The room was pretty full for the aces solo set, featuring a new tune slated for a new Chunk record and a dozen or so others from the Superchunk and Portastatic catalogs. There were some real clambake moments, but Mac more than held his own for the duration. If you were unlucky enough to have not made the scene, the good folk of NYCTaper were in the house and have the set available here for your downloading pleasure, so don't postpone joy and get yerself over there with the quickness.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Live: Greg Cartwright at The Friars Club 10.16.12

The Friars Club Film Festival has become quite the big deal in recent years, and as JS-NYC is in good favor with the bigwigs on the programming end of things there, it was a pleasure to get the invite to see Mr. Greg Cartwright of the Oblivions and Reigning Sound play a pre-festival solo set at the Friars Club.

The Club is certainly a venerable institution. I showed up and headed upstairs for some hobnobbing and a DJ set from The Hound before we dipped across the hall for a little less than an hour of Cartwright delight. The fifty or so attendees definitely seemed to have drank the Kool-Ade, respectfully hooting and hollering their way through their respective libations. I much prefer the Oblivions to Reigning Sound, but it was still a good time. Kudos to the Take My Tuesday crew and much thanks to The Friars Club and Eric from The Friars Club Film Festival.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

And we're back

JS-NYC Massive:

While JS-NYC has been on the laggard tip this year, ConEd taking a week to get power back to the JS-NYC corporate HQ certainly has not helped matters much. We now return to our regularly scheduled carping.

Thanks for your patience.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Live: Vagina Panther @ Trash Bar 10.17.12

Vagina Panther have become quite the rock juggernaut in the last year or so, playing well-received gigs from here to Columbus behind their recent Aqualamb EP Judge. The foursome returned to Trash Bar for their CMJ debut, romping through way too short of a set to a full house. I expect their Tinderbox set next month at Webster will be a tad more expansive.Vagina Panther is loud rock made in small rooms to be played on big ones like Webster Hall.

Seems like JS-NYC isn't the only one to think so. Check the interview with Vice here.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Trash Talk - 119

Love them or leave them, Trash Talk is pretty damn unfuckwithable. They have spent the last six years raising hell anywhere people would have them, from shitty basements to the New Museum. The level of youthful skater/hipster jackassery has risen exponentially in recent years, in no way helped to the cranky old JS-NYC eyes by their affiliation with West Coast hip-hop collective Odd Future. Generation gaps aside, Trash Talk have become the first non-hip hop artist to sign to the Odd Future collective.

119 is their first record for Odd Future Records (in conjunction with their own Trash Talk Collective) and shows little change from the Flag-ged up guitar thrash we've come to know and love from the fearsome foursome. Things rarely stretch past the one-minute mark, save for a brooding collabo with OFWGKTA proprietors Hodgy Beats and Tyler The Creator that seems tailored more for the after-parties Trash Talk have been playing on the recent Odd Future tour than anything people are really clamoring for. The rest is business as usual, and tracks like Reasons do make me want to hit people in the face with a shovel, so rest assured that your Sacto boys are still bringing it. Get 119 here from the TTC web presence and look out for them at Gramercy on 10/17 with Mellowhype. I suspect there will be ten or twenty underground shows for TT that day as well, so keep your eyes peeled.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Minus The Bear - Infinity Overhead

Minus The Bear are entering their second decade as forward thinking rockers, varying little in that time from their initial formula of dance-inflected, finger-tap driven guitar rockery. The years have fostered a comfortably incremental expanding of their fan base, and seen companion amounts of sales. As such, the crowds and rooms they play in have also gotten bigger, to the point where the douchey contrarian in me has seen me staying home for the last couple of tours. JS-NYC absence aside, the shows were held to be good, even with one-time MTBer Matt Bayles ending his performing tenure with band to return full-time to his production gigs for the likes of Mastodon and Mono.

Infinity Overhead is the fifth overall full length from the Seattle quintet, and the second Minus The Bear release for LA indie powerhouse Dangerbird Records, sporting ten damn solid tracks that may be the best MTB tracks since their first two releases. Things are not broken, and Minus The Bear are not trying to fix a damn thing: Knutson is pretty fierce with the tapping and all around pretty aces on the six string end of things, tearing tracks like Toska up in pronounced fashion, but still able to rein it in when the song calls for it. Vocals are the same brushed metal smooth you've come to expect, dappling the glimmering sonic underpinning of Matt Bayles nicely. Someone would do well to get these gents locked into some soundtrack work with the quickness, as I see someone licensing one of these tracks and Minus The Bear blowing up in Death Cab fashion. They do indeed make beer commercials like this.

Minus The Bear are due to jump off an run of dates with Cursive soon. Keep track of them and all things Infinity Overhead here.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Old 97s - They Made A Monster: The Noise Trade EP

Boy did I used to like me some Old 97s. It's been a hot minute since I've indulged in their live show, but I sure saw a gang of them behind the first handful of records. I'm pretty sure Alex and I were at their first NYC show at Brownies, a show notable both for being pretty aces and for first exposing a potential issue that became a much bigger deal down the line: I go up to Rhett and try to buy a copy of their first Hitchhike To Rhome and he tells me to try Tower, yet when the lovely Alex went up and asked, suddenly one appeared. An eyebrow was raised. Subsequent shows and records were consistently amazing, as were the stories and acts of douchery by a certain band member, but the songs and band were so good, you could almost let it slide.

Recent years have seen said same member desperately trying to leave the band behind for a solo career, attempts that have been met with a staggering amount of indifference by the fans and the odd precedent of Rhett opening his own shows with what I can only assume are his solo songs. Solo aspirations aside, at the end of the day, Old 97s butter the bread and as such the gents are reissuing their aces third record Too Far To Care in expanded form with outtakes and an extra disc of unreleased demo delights. This three song EP has three tracks not on the reissue, two of them unreleased, plus the acoustic demo of Salome. It also happens to be free and pretty decent, so step on over to the Old 97s web presence and grab The Noise Trade EP here.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Live: Afghan Whigs with Mighty Fine at Music Hall Of WillIamsburg 10.7.12

above stolen from Brooklyn Vegan
I was none too pleased with the eventuality of Eagles Of Death Metal opening the first announced NYC Afghan Whigs reunion show, nor the Terminal 5 venue, but was quick on the draw geting tickets regardless. I was even quicker to divest myself of them when I got tickets for this show, even if it was in Brooklyn. I missed Rev. Vince Anderson, but caught most of the typically aces Mighty Fine set. Steve Myers has reprising his role from the last AW tour and been showing up to Morris Day up the joint with the Whigs but it was nice to catch a full set from his day band as well.

Mighty Fine definitely seemed have fans in the crowd, but the room was very much amped for the Whigs. They have the all-white Boogie backline going again and seem to be only getting better, romping through a gang of hits including the top-scoring JS-NYC favorite You, My Flower. This was at the end of four or five months of regular touring and I bet a lot of bands are hoping they are hanging it up after these dates. I certainly wouldn't want to be one of the openers, even the Whigs seem to be bringing out friends for most of these dates. Beyond the music, my personal experience was heightened by the real-time disintegration of the relationship of the couple next to me, an arc that began with AW taking the stage and featured pertinent AW lyrics screamed at each other. Good times, I'll tell you. Set list is below. 
I would expect this is not the last we are going to see from Ohio's finest, but just in case step lively and see Afghan Whigs on their final announced dates for this year, especially the ones with the mighty Wussy.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Live: The Jealous Sound at Gramercy Theater 10.2.12

It had been a long minute since we had heard from The Jealous Sound, but their various web entities started stirring last year, sharing the good news that there would be a new record coming in 2012. And so there was A Gentle Reminder, which could safely be referred to as pretty fucking great. Much like their compatriots in Samiam, the benevolence of a more successful peer (Nate Mendel of Sunny Day Real Estate and more pertinently here, Foo Fighters) allowed the record to gestate over a year or so and they definitely reaped the musical benefits.

And for once I wasn't the only one. The Brooklyn show earlier this year was surprisingly well attended and I figured the reprise of the lineup at Gramercy figured to draw the same, but it was a not especially full room this time around. Granted Gramercy is a little bit bigger, and I can't say enough good things about the movie seating and great sight lines from the back, but things could have taken place in a smaller room. The breakup a couple days before of tour mates and local heroes Daytrader may have accounted for the downed numbers, but those that turn out were soundly rocked for the duration. Josh from The New Trust has been swapped for a new guy on bass and Pedro appears to still be out. Set featured a pretty good bit of the new A Gentle Reminder and most of the highlights of the early records, with Blair busting out a semi-solo Cold Enough To Break for the encore. Good times, made exceptional by the old man seating. If I could have smoked, I probably would have ended up squatting the damn place like a new school Chris Elliot, but settled for the early wrap and short ride home.

Check out the last few dates the gents have if you can and pray like JS-NYC does that we see a tour with The New Trust on the East Coast very soon.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kreayshawn - Somethin' 'Bout Kreay

So, about Kreayshawn...

She's from Cali, Oakland, I believe, and I guess you'd have to call her a rapper. MC Lyte isn't going to have any sleepless nights over her skills, but Kreay's definitely got a pretty decent buzz going for her on the back of her internet breakthrough track Gucci Gucci and a couple of mixtapes.

Kreayshawn works the ambiguous lesbian thing pretty hard, dressing like a Borderline-era Madonna and rhyming mostly about drugs and girls. Safe money is on the college lesbians and perv dudes to be two of the big demographic that are hot on Somethin Bout Kreay'. Students of the hip-hop game probably will not turn out in numbers.

But the first two sets do still buy records, which is the only possible way we can account for this dropping on Columbia Records in 2012. As Kreay and her label's shareholders are no fools, Gucci Gucci reappears, as do another dozen tracks of varying quality, both by her lonesome and in conjunction with a raft of sub-par rhymers including, but not limited to: V-Nasty, Kid Cudi and 2 Chains. None of the tracks trump Gucci Gucci, and the lion's share of them vacillate between making me want to skip over the track with the quickness and feeling utterly downtrodden that I'm a man as old as I am listening to them. I would, however, suggest checking out the 2 Chains track at least once to hear him shout out grapes.

For those that are not fruit-rhyme inclined, Left Ey3 embodies the whole Kreayshawn conundrum. On said track Kreay lets us know that she will, in fact, wild out like Left Eye if necessary, shouting out Amy Winehouse, Courtney Love and Lorena Bobbit in the offing. Point made. Definitely not good, but not necessarily totally bad either. While there are some real steamers that should have never left Garageband here, the Diplo track does have a decent enough beat, but all in all not a lot of positives here. No real hip-hop fan is going to give this more than even a passing look, but if you are under the legal drinking age and/or if you drink enough cough syrup to enjoy Kid Cudi or 2 Chains (nee Titty Boi), maybe you'll dig this.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Live: Iron Chic with Bridge & Tunnel and Treasure Fleet at St. Vitus 9.28.12

Anyone who has subjected themselves to JS-NYC for any length of time is aware of the props given to Bridge and Tunnel and Iron Chic, so its no surprise that I ponied up early for this show. The presence of Treasure Fleet upped the ante a bit initially, mostly given the presence of half of Chicago's mighty Arrivals in their ranks. When I dug a little deeper and found that the music was allegedly an homage to Syd Barrett-esque psychedelia, I was considerably less excited. Along with crab-core, most modern pop and now dubstep, apparently, the genre is normally relegated immediately to the ear-rape category and never acknowledged.

I showed up early at St. Vitus to insure maximum B&T and found that the order had shifted (always not a JS-NYC favorite) and that Treasure Fleet were batting second, an eventuality that would have allowed for the time-honored JS-NYC 'check the last three songs' modus operandi had someone bothered to advertise properly.

Beyond that evergreen, I was also pretty distressed to find that Isaac persisted in wearing the ridiculous Randy Of The Redwoods getup he had been sporting in the promo pics I'd seen around. Truth be told, a decent amount of the stuff wasn't totally terrible in a T-Rex sort of way, but the stuff that was bad was decidedly so. Drummer was definitely the MVP of the proceedings and deserves kudos for beating the living hell out of the kit for the duration. All the best, but don't think I'm going to call Treasure Fleet back.

Bridge and Tunnel are a great band. They've been a little off the grid since they got back from their Summer Euro junket (I think?)  but sounded pretty polished. Again, drummer props are to be afforded. That Schramm is a beast. Rest of the band isn't too shabby either. Definitely one of NYC's best bands. Do yourself a favor and see them if you haven't already. Iron Chic are another great band, but the jerk-off factor in their fanbase has gone off the meter in the last couple years. The volume of bad stage diving and absence of the nice skinheads from back in the day that would step on your neck and remind you of show etiquette has made my last handful of IC shows pretty wearisome. It's a shame, as their sets have been stretching almost to the half hour mark in recent years. This one was the same set they've been playing for a while, save for a pretty ok new track. Not exactly tight, or sober, but a pretty damn good time. Here's hoping we see this show reprised with Swearin' in the TF slot sometime very soon.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Live: Will Johnson and Anders Parker at Mercury Lounge 9.23.12

While there are many things that can be fronted on in 2012, a tour featuring Will Johnson and Anders Parker is not one of them. I've enjoyed both parties for decades and the prospect of seeing the gents at Mercury only sweetened the pot. Anders and Will did the first couple of songs together before our Mr. Johnson demurred and left Parker to his own devices. He dipped back into his back catalog for some Varnaline favorites and some new tunes, including a handful of tracks with Kendall Meade from Mascott that are evidently from a duet record coming next year. Wasn't crazy about the duet stuff, but will have to get a copy of the record to be sure.

One thing that was a sure thing was the ridiculous  level of songcraft that Will Johnson brings to the table. Or stage, if you will. Not that Parker isn't great his own self, and I much prefer WJ with his cohorts in Centro-matic, but Johnson definitely has a gift. I haven't gotten to the new Scorpion yet, but venture the songs I didn't recognize are from it. I'm really regretting not seeing one of the house shows that comprised the lion's share of the dates before this NYC show. Don't make the same mistake if you can. Get Scorpion here from the Will Johnson web presence and snag the new Parker record Cross Latitudes (all guitar instrumentals, btw.) here.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Live: Patterson Hood and the Downtown Rumblers with Hope For Agoldensummer at Bowery Ballroom 9.17.12

It's been a bit since I've seen Patterson play solo, and in this day and age, its probably more apt to say see his solo band, as the number of band members seems to increase with every tour. The Downtown Rumblers feature two multi-instrumentalist ladies (that also comprised the opening Hope For Agoldensummer) along with EZ B and Jay from DBT and a cellist.

Why these shows never draw as well as DBT shows is beyond me, but there was a decent enough crowd there for an average (in length) set from Patterson, almost two hours of older solo set perennials like Pride Of The Yankees and Pay No Attention To Alice along with a bunch of tracks from his new solo Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance. Set list is below.

Leaving Time
Little Bonnie
Pride of the Yankees
Daddy Needs a Drink
Better Than The Truth
September Gurls
After The Damage
Uncle Disney
(Untold Pretties)
Pay No Attention To Alice
Betty Ford
Heat Lightning Rumbles in the Distance
Come Back Little Star
Fifteen Days (Leaving Time)
The Righteous Path
Better Off Without
A World of Hurt
Back of a Bible
Bulldozers and Dirt

Patterson was in good voice, and the non-DBT musical elements made for a nice change of pace from his day band's live fare. And he closed with Bulldozers and Dirt, so you'd be foolish to complain. Or to have missed him. Don't get caught guessing a second time. Keep tabs on live dates and all other things P. Hood here and look for a review of the new record at JS-NYC soon.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Senses Fail at PopMatters

JS-NYC emo legions:

You may be pleased to peruse my take on the lads from The Garden State's new best of comp over at PopMatters. Or perhaps not.

Here's a link.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Live: Jim Lauderdale at Madison Sq Park 9.15.12

Despite its far too close proximity to the place where I work hard for the money (so hard for it, honey), Madison Park has been good for the free music alternatives this year. I've seen pretty aces shows from Jon Langford and Alejandro Escovedo and the prospect of Jim Lauderdale closing the season seemed well worth  the ride uptown on a day off.

While I am prone to enjoying the haterade when it comes to the country stars of today, it is small consolation to my jaded ass that guys like Marty Stuart and Jim Lauderdale will still rock a Nudie suit and Gram Parsons haircut in 2012. I'm sure there is some execrable asshole who is Cowboy Troy-ing it up in that sacred raiment as I type this, but dollars to donuts that joker isn't a quarter of what Jim Lauderdale is on his worst day. His collaborations with Robert Hunter have drawn most of the attention to him for the average punter in recent years, as has his work with Donna The Buffalo and Dr. Ralph Stanley, but Lauderdale earns a comfortable living from the songs he has written for most of the country stars of yesterday and today.

This afternoon set featured a four piece backing band comprised of the usual Nashville suspects from both sides of the recording desk for his last couple records, featuring guitar/bass/dobro/fiddle and a bumper crop of great tunes. A pretty decent amount of the new Hunter bluegrass collabo Reason And Rhyme made its way into the hour or so set, along with a pretty good cross-section of his strongest stuff from the last couple decades. No Persimmons, sadly, but Lauderdale is an old hand at the live game and worked the crowd masterfully whether singing or working the not-inconsiderable crowd. I bet he and his merry men were on their way to the airport for Nashville before I got back to the L.E.S, but the picking and grinning all around certainly made it seem like our heroes were having a good time of it.

Jim will be out on the road behind Reason And Rhyme for the foreseeable future. Keep track of wherer you can see him live here and look for a review of the new record at JS-NYC soonish.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Live: HHR at Spike Hill 9.14.12

JS-NYC has been pleased to enjoy a lot of the Aqualamb roster personally and professionally over the last year, but had yet to see Human Highlight Reel (aka HHR) tread the boards in town. The instrumental post-rock thing is a slippery slope for me, especially in 2012, but HHR do it properly and more importantly, without disappearing up their own ass. Add an 8pm start time to the proceedings and I'm there with bells on.

Four pieces, two guitars/drum/bass are the lineup, with the added benefit of vintage sports footage looped behind and the sagacity of America's Bass PlayerTM Mr. Jonathan Swafford. A little bit Chicago, a little bit DC, the foursome are good with the guitar interplay. The rhythm section doesn't fuck around either. Buy the book, see the live show, check out their debut EP Taking Drugs To Make Music To Sell Cars To. HHR web presence can be found here.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Live: Tenement with Swearin', Vacation & Space Trash at Brooklyn Fireproof 9.12.12

Tenement are an amazing band that I can honestly see getting embraced by the mainstream and going all Nirvana Green Day on us in the very near future. Tour dates are sort of feast or famine for a number of reasons, but NYC has seen its fair share of the Wisconsin indie rockers in last the last couple months. This show was pretty well booked, heavy with the some of best like-minded bands you'll see touring today, and very probably the best $6 you'll spend on an indie rock show this year.

That said, the proceedings did bring to light some of my favorite pet peeves about the DIY shows. First would be the 8pm start time. Or lack thereof. Now I can see things starting a half hour or so past then, but an hour and a half is a little silly, especially when the show is in the middle of goddamn nowhere. Kids could also take a fucking shower. If you are on tour, I can see giving a pass, but when the locals smell worse than the not olfactorally delightful road dogs, something needs to be rectified. Beyond that, Brooklyn Fireproof is a nice venue, and while the concrete room didn't bode well for acoustical delight, it was actually a pretty fun space to see a show. While I'm bitching, the addition of Space Trash was not especially welcome either, although they were decent enough for what was allegedly their first show.

Vacation batted second. The Ohio gents have stepped to the top of the list of bands I always internally bitch about being on bills and then wonder why when they rock my old ass. The drummer as lead singer thing is really the only thing I could take a cheap shot at, save for the fact that he's a great singer and drummer. I'll definitely have to come with a better attitude next time.

As things were getting late, I was pleased to see that Tenement were jumping the order (normally, a pet peeve). The Wisconsin trio has never been known for their epic sets, but this show was probably the longest, and by far best, show I've seen them play. Like Swearin', Tenement have just enough great songs to make opening slots a tornado of great tunes. They romped through a half-hour and came back for a couple more before I bailed on Swearin' and hopped in the saddle. I'm sure they were great. Swearin' are playing Cameo Gallery next week for some other bands record release show. Tenement are out for the next couple weeks, so see them when/if you can.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Live: Swearin' at Mercury Lounge 9.10.12

photo stolen with apologies and not from Mercury
Looks like Swearin' are blowing up, as the interwebs tell me they have transcended the blogosphere and good old word of mouth and are currently getting space in the New York Times about their new release. Kudos to them, even if they have upped and moved to Philly on us. Oddly enough, that move has precipitated an inordinate number of local shows of late. This gig was the opening slot of an early show and at Mercury, a perfect storm of awesome for this old man that had me gladly paying full price to leave after the first band.

Between the first EP and their new full-length, Swearin' have the perfect set for an opener and made the most of it, blazing through a half hour or so of the best of those releases. The better than usual PA gave a little more shine to Kyle's songs this time around, but everything about this set was pretty great. The touring is definitely paying off, at least when it comes to the foursome getting tight as all hell. Swearin' is obviously a band firing on all cylinders. See them with Tenement later this month in Brooklyn, at Cameo the week after, and look for them out with Japandroids in November.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Live: The Bronx with Screaming Females and Menzingers @ Riot Fest 9.8.12

I was pretty stoked for this show, as I was going to be able to catch up with old friends, see The Descendents and get the hell of Dodge at a reasonable hour, as Gogol Bordello were closing the proceedings. I ended up catching the latter part of a pretty aces Menzingers set and kinda sorta even enjoyed The Screaming Females after six or seven unintentional sets. I'd still like to hear her solo in anything close to a key, but they do seem to be growing on me. I'm sure they are all sleeping considerably more soundly with that JS-NYC decree. Here's to their continued success.

The Bronx are another band that I very much want to like, but never have really taken to. I've seen a couple of their shows and thought they were ok. Mariachi El Bronx I really liked, but people like Rut and the like talked so highly of them I had hoped for more of an epiphany. This show started to turn the tide a bit more. Despite borrowed backline, The Bronx Flag-ed it up for a solid 45 minutes, the latter part of which highlighted by the enormous thunderheads and lightning rolling in from the west that eventually cancelled the show; a move seemingly for naught after a 10 minute deluge but one that also garned a 100% refund.

It didn't make up for the move of Hot Water and Descendents to St. Vitus, an eventuality I was unable to get into even after a 20 minute bike sprint from Manhattan minutes after the announcement. The douche quotient outside was insufferable, so I can only hope that the line policing that kept JS-NYC out wasn't one that added insult to injury.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Live: Bob Mould with Cymbals Eat Guitars @ Williamsburg Waterfront 9.7.12

This show was curiously under the radar, despite it being in a pretty huge spot and sponsored by Lacoste. I showed up towards the end of the Cymbals Eat Guitars set and saw as much as I would have liked of their kinda sorta ok Brit flavored rock. Kudos to them for scoring the gig, but it was even more of a pleasure to roll into a not especially fully space and cut straight to the rock chase.

Bob has been simultaneously touring behind his new record Silver Age and commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the release of the first Sugar record Copper Blue. This set, and a few others featured Copper Blue in its entirety. A beautiful late Summer night combined with the new record being damn good and Bob having worked a fair amount of Husker Du tracks into the set in recent years, capped with Lacoste footing the bill, it made for one of the better shows this year.

The other two guys on the tour, that being Ironman Jon Wurster on drums and bassist Jason Narducy have comprised the Mould rhythm section for a while now, and it is pretty impossible to fault our Bob for choosing either. I'd say its his best band since the Maimone/Fier era by a long shot. The old and new material was/is great, and there was the added nerd bonus of Craig Finn coming out during the encore to shout his way through Something I Learned Today, a moment captured below and captioned in typical brilliant fashion by our dear Mr. Wurster, "And then this man came on stage and started yelling "I was into Bob Mould before any of you!"

All in all, a great night, especially given the price.
Get The Silver Age and/or the 3cd remaster of Copper Blue here from your friends at Merge.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Live: MiniBoone and The Meaning Of Life at Cake Shop 9.6.12

MiniBoone have been on the JS-NYC radar for a bit. Drew had got me out to a show a couple years ago that I was really not into, an unfortunate eventuality only complicated when he upped the ante and joined the band recently. This Cake Shop show found our hero playing for the openers The Meaning Of Life as well, so I posted up early-ish to catch their set as well.

The Meaning Of Life are actually pretty damn good. They are a three-piece, with a lady singer that also plays bass. They have 80s Brit thing going on, like many of their Brooklyn contemporaries, but they are good with it. Some signal chain issues on the guitar expressionist's part hampered things a bit, but I was pretty impressed with them musically. Hot ladies with Rickerbacker basses never hurt either. Check them out here.

I bailed on the band in-between and showed up just as MiniBoone jumped off with their last set with their current bass player. Once I acclimated to the sheer magnitude of the white-guy dancing that erupted in front of me upon their first downbeat, I was pretty pleased (read: relieved) that Mini-Boone kind of brought it. The pronounced volume of curious side kicks dispensed at pertinent points during the set by the various standing members may have asserted the point. Mini-Boone have a Talking Heads meets Soul Coughing absurdist NYC pop thing going on that is pretty engaging, with a tight rhythm section and catchy Africa by way of Brooklyn guitar interplay that do get the asses shaking. I'm not crazy about the three different vocalist thing they have going, nor the instrument swapping, but it should be pointed out that I am a cranky intolerant old man and also seemed to be very much in the minority in the Cake Shop basement.

Scuttlebutt is that there is a new MiniBoone record looming ominously in our future. Go here to keep track of when you might see/hear it and with the help of whom.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dan Padilla - Sports Fans

How great are fucking Dan Padilla! Their inability to reprint their Hell Bent For Burritos t-shirt aside, the San Diego foursome continues to relentlessly churn out awesome West Coast punk rock ala Tiltwheel, with whom they share most (if not all at this point) of their members.

Hooky as shit, with almost a Superchunk vibe at times, Sports Fans continues where their last record, the exceedingly awesome As The Ox Plows left off. Booze and bruised hearts still figure prominently in the proceedings, but listening to the thirteen tracks here, even this asshole might be able to believe that things are going to be alright.

Sports Fans is available inmediatamente digitally from your pals at Dirt Cult Records, with word being that vinyl is coming towards the end of the year. I wouldn't wait, as Bar Stool Forgetting and Burning On The Inside continue to haunt my dreams with their awesomeness and the rest are damn close to being as good.

Get Sports Fans here.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Karima Francis - Glory Days

I blundered into Karima Francis on Later With Jools Holland a couple years ago and was pretty taken with her amazing voice and outwardly freakish personae (meant as high praise).  In the time since her last record, there has evidently been a move to a major label subsidiary and a battle with anorexia, as well as some buzz after placing one of her tracks on a fairly successful British TV show. All of these things can only work against an artist trying to capitalize on their historically troubled second release, but judging by the new Glory Days EP things seem promising. The four song release precedes her new full-length The Remedy, due this fall.

Glory Days appears twice on this four song release, in single and acoustic version and while it's a decent track, my contrarian nature feels more strongly about the non-single tracks. Francis has an amazing voice to beat the (average) band and the adding of strings and big production smacks of lily gilding from where this asshole is sitting. Here's hoping the full-length blows up for her, but not before I can see her in small room here in town.

Keep track of all things Karima Francis here.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Slaughterhouse - Welcome To Our House

Since Wu-Tang established the idea that a single artist could get various group and solo deals, artists have formed any number of ad hoc ensembles (Random Axe, LikNuts, Wu-Block) to keep the lights on in their respective overpriced domiciles. Eminem's personal version thereof is Slaughterhouse, a Voltron-esque four man collective comprised of the great Joell Ortiz from Brooklyn, with Joe Budden from Jersey, West Coast almost-ran Crooked I and longtime Em crony Royce the 5'9".

While Ortiz is definitely the sharpest MC here and  no one on the team is a straight loser, it is fairly staggering how watered-down and unremarkable Welcome To Our House is. Eminem executive produced this for his Shady imprint and seems to be the guy we should blame for the thick cross-overcentric overproduction that bogs down most, if not all of the twenty tracks here. New school jockers might be intrigued by the presence of Cee-lo and/or B.O.B., but even after a couple run-throughs it's really tough to even remember a standout Ortiz verse at present. One would think that there would be at least one street banger thrown into the mix to placate the masses, but if there is one here, I've yet to uncover it.

Unless the Slaughterhouse have signed one hell of a deal, I can't see this unit having too much in the way of legs. I wish all the individual members the best in what is hopefully a more distinctive solo career.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Swearin' - s/t

Swearin' may very be my favorite new band. They've got the hooky boy-girl jangle rock thing going on that has been really hitting home at JS-NYC HQ, rock that is equal parts David Gedge and Kim Deal. I've seen a decent amount of their local shows and even the most oblivious of fans has to have noticed they've been filling larger and larger rooms  Their first EP What A Dump got a lot of spins at JS-NYC HQ and it was with much rejoicing six months on that news of this eponymous LP came down the pike.

Vinyl for Swearin' comes courtesy of your friends at Salinas Records and those that operate in the strictly digital domain can check out their Bandcamp presence. Twelve songs appear on their debut full-length, with the aces Kenosha and Crushing reappearing from the EP. The ten new songs are pretty aces as well, with Here To Hear and Movie Star topping the list. Looks like we are losing the band to Philly, but those of us that want to love a local hero should step lively here and here to get a piece of their rock while they still have NYC roots.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Live: Teenage Bottlerocket with Nothington @ Santos Party House 8.22.12

Now that I've drank the TBR kool-ade, their twice-a-year or so shows have been must-sees on the JS-NYC docket. The new Freak Out isn't their best, but its definitely catchy enough to get this old guy to pogo a bit. The West Coast dates were with The Dopamines, but sadly they didn't make this leg, in lieu of Nothington and Masked Intruder. MI are a little high-concept for my tastes, but I've been meaning to see Nothington again, the cherry on top being that I didn't have to ride across the water.

I showed up as Nothington were getting under way. They have a SF Hot Water/Leatherface thing going on, something that does little to turn JS-NYC off to the proceedings. They brought it to a half-filled room that definitely had some pretty excited dudes and/or ladies in attendance. Teenage Bottlerocket followed pretty quickly afterwards. kicking things off with a Kepi Ghoulie-esque sign that both ushered in the arrival of the band and suggested we keep in the spirit of the new product and freak out accordingly.

The crowd seemed to need little urging, fostering a fair amount of dumb guy push-mosh countered by aces old guy skanking the likes of which I've not seen in years.  Odd that it would be so prevalent at a Teenage Bottlerocket show, but I'm not arguing. Most of Freak Out and liberal smatterings from their back catalog appeared over the course of the set, to the great delight of nerds of all ages. I'd expect that we'll see TBR doing some more gigs out this way. Here's hoping the signs get left behind next time.

Nothington are here. Teenage Bottlerocket aren't.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Live: Marshall Crenshaw with The Bottle Rockets @ City Winery 8.14.12

After the Hard Skin show the night before, this show rapidly turned into the show after I called in to work and before I hit a work party. I'm not crazy about the City Winery tables and drink minimum vibe they have going, especially in light of the pretty steep ticket pricing, but I am more than willing to see free shows there, especially when the exceedingly aces pairing of Mr. Marshall Crenshaw and Bottle Rockets is on the docket.

Brian didn't make the trip, which proved to be a bit of a bummer, but Bottle Rockets make for a hell of a band whether or not Brian is there singing. His guitar firepower is a wee bit conspicuous in its absence, but the gents have proven to be a pretty aces backing unit for our dear Mr. Crenshaw. My long-term affections still lie with the Graham Maby/Robert Crenshaw power trio incarnation, but this combination is definitely the next best thing.

Things started promptly at 6, with Marshall and the boys romping through a pretty good cross-section of his last 30 years of rocking our ass. While I'm Sorry, But So Is Brenda Lee, didn't find its way into the set, Cynical Girl did, as did Someday and a gang of other songs better than a lot of your favorites.

What started as a somewhat sparse show ended up being pretty damn full at the end. As well it should be and while you certainly couldn't beat the price, it certainly speaks to the Crenshaw drawing power, as this has to be the seventh or eighth time he's played City Winery this year. I'd like to see more shows with the great Graham Maby, but this was a hell of a good time. Props are due to City Winery for doing this series. There are at least a couple more on the docket, so keep your virtual eyes peeled here. Keep track of Marshall here. Bottle Rockets are here.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Hard Skin - We're The Fucking George

Hard Skin are sort of the Crucial Youth of the Oi! set, staying true to the genre but loving it enough to take the piss. We're The Fucking George purports to be singles from the 1978-1981 era and while that is certainly not the case, the bootboy vibe of the era is definitely in full-fledge on this catch-all singles comp.

If these were even ever released as singles, that is. Fifteen 'hits' for your dole dollar here, with most of your live favorites like We Are The Wankers and A Punch Of Pissed Up Cunts representing. Those best trying to approximate the true Hard Skin experience (like being berated by Fat Bob, for instance) would be best suited to check out the Live, Loud & Skinhead bootleg from some years back. Can't speak to how available this is outside of the exceedingly rare live Hard Skin shows, but if you are down for their cause, you would do well to seek We're The Fucking George out.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Live: Hard Skin with Murderess @ Acheron 8.13.12

Hard Skin shows on this side of the pond can be pretty scattershot, but the last couple years have been pretty kind to us Americans in that regard. I would expect that the estimable Ian Dickson has something to do with their popping up in Brooklyn of late. You will find no complaints from JS-NYC, as rarely does an old man get the opportunity for laugh his ass off while he's pumping his fist in the air.

Portland's mostly female metal franchise Murderess opened the proceedings and seemed to do pretty well for attracting a lot of hygenically challenged ladies (and dudes). Not the best thing I've ever heard, but better than a lot of other bands on the grind/metal end of things. They have a couple good tunes and the lead guitar can rip off a lead or two when she's called upon, so we'll keep them on the radar.

The poster for the Hard Skin show they did a year or so ago with Forgetters had the gents in caricature as the Three Stooges. There are considerably less apt corollaries. Hard Skin ply their trade in new(ish) songs based in the sing-along anti-fascist Oi! tunes of yore, with Paddy Costello levels of smart-assdom filling in the spots between. You'd be a fool not to like it, and it didn't seem any of same were in attendance at Acheron. Perhaps they got pushed to the back once the kids started getting frisky, but Hard Skin sure brought it in their usual fashion.

Hard Skin has got a new singles comp called We're The Fucking George that features most, if not all, of your favorites covered in their set. Couldn't tell you where to get it outside of their live shows, but I'd step lively and get yourself a copy with the quickness if I were you.