Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jadedpunkhulk on Twitter

I'm embarrassed to admit that I read Twitter, but Jadedpunkhulk is well worth the personal shame.

Check it out here.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

John K. Samson - Provincial

The Weakerthans have become some semblance of a big deal in recent years, inexplicably at least to these ears due to much adulation for the track Civil Twilight off their most recent Anti- studio release Reunion Tour. I listened to the record a couple times and never got back to listening to it again or even reviewing it here, something more than unprecedented when it comes to Winnipeg's finest.

Canadian pride has always figured prominently in the Weakerthans canon (government subsidization helps) but even taking than into account, South of their border, a fair amount of eyebrows were raised when lead Weakerthan John K. Samson announced an initiative wherein he would release a series of seven-inches about Manitoba roads. We got two and then word came out that there would be a full-length solo effort instead. Both initial releases are reprised on Provincial, with another six appended for good measure. I like them ok, with the brooding Grace General probably taking top honors. All of the tracks are unmistakably Samson, albeit without the rocked up trappings. That said, songs like Cruise Night definitely fit in the mold of later period Weakerthans, so johnny and janie come-latelys stand little chance of being scared away. Older fans may be a tad non-plussed, but Provincial is far from a bad record.

See for yourself here at the Anti- web presence. John K is here.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shane Sweeney - The Finding Time

Those in the know may recognize the Shane Sweeney name from his role as the bassist and co-leader of Columbus, OH roots rock powerhouse Two Cow Garage. who released their excellent fifth record Speaking In Cursive in the last year or three.

The Finding Time is Sweeney's solo debut.  I picked it up a while ago, but Shane's recent Two Cow stuff hasn't been totally up my alley and I had put off giving it a virtual spin until recently. Shane and his lady had their first child recently and I figured this was going to be heavy on the wide-eyed new father tip. Well, once again it seems like this asshole's face is red, as The Finding Time is a great record.

The lion's share of The Finding Time is solo and acoustic, with only the odd backing vocal for the most part. The vibe is Steve Earle meets Mike Cooley and heavy with the populist sentiment. It's almost folky in that way, normally a death sentence at JS-NYC, but The Finding Time songs are solid enough to carry the sentiment. The talking blues of Promised Land Blues might be accused of a misstep, as could the cover of Big Star covering Loudon Wainwright, but for the most part the eleven tracks here come highly recommended.

Get The Finding Time in virtual or actual form here from your friends at Last Chance Records.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Wussy, Bob Christgau, and PopMatters JS-NYC lovefest

JS-NYC Massive:

It should not to be new to you that the new Wussy record is called Strawberry and exceedingly awesome. Read how I liked it for PopMatters here and try and contemplate the personal nerd back-patting going on at JS-NYC HQ with the advent of a pull quote on the Wussy web presence next to Bob Christgau. Long live the cranky with taste!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

DJ Premier & Bumpy Knuckles - Kolexxxion

In this era where hip-hop is making more money than it ever has off a raft of jokers that would have never recorded a syllable in the analog era, it's refreshing to see the old school continue to make quality records. Even better, in the first quarter of 2012 we are seeing those artists return to the one mc/one producer/DJ aesthetic that made the old boom-bap records so great. The KRS-One/Kenny Parker BDP record is bananas and now DJ Premier and your man Bumpy Knuckles have dropped Kolexxxion.

Primo and Bumpy are a combination that is pretty unfuckwithable. Kolexxion serves up seventeen hot tracks (nineteen in the deluxe version), mostly new, but there is a Primo remix of Turn Up The Mics and The Lah reappears for nostalgias sake. Listening to Primo rip tracks like The Key, it becomes painfully obvious that most of the new school cut and paste kids have a lot to learn about making quality hip-hop. Bump bodies the mic for the duration here rhyming on and off the beat between ridiculous scratching and beat dropping. Highly recommended to anyone who still remembers that hip hop was light years better last century.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Jon Snodgrass - Five State Record

Well, it's 2012 and our esteemed Mr. Snodgrass sees  last year's Tri-State Record and raises us two more states, adding five more tracks to the back end to give us Five-State Record.

I'll refer back to my take on the previously released tracks here but one can rest assured that the fearsome fivesome that are appended newly are as strong as any of the best of the previous Snodgrass oeuvre. The split is 4 to 1 on the quiet songs, but Hopper is a top-notch rocker ala the opening Hey, Dennis. They're Not Friends and Excitable are pretty and slow, as is the unexpected presence of a formal recording of his Song For Gibson; pretty much sealing the deal for Five-State Record scoring a slot in the must-have column for anyone possessing the modicum of taste. One would hope you number among them.

Get Five-State Record here. Now.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Live: Frank Turner and Sleeping Souls @ Knitting Factory 3.13.12

I really liked the song Turner did with the estimable Jon Snodgrass, but hadn't investigated too much past that until I saw him on Kimmel a couple months back. I picked up England Keep My Bones soon after and fell for it like a short haired brunette, just in time to miss out on the sold out Bowery show with Andrew Jackson Jihad. I was quicker on the draw for the Knitting Factory show, which seems prudent as he's evidently playing Wembley in the next couple weeks. While I like me some Turner, I was pretty flabbergasted to hear that he was that big overseas. Further investigation revealed that there is a Wembley Arena across the street from ginormous stadium. 12,500 seems reasonable, given last year's ridiculously strong England Keep My Bones, but it doesn't make me look any more forward to having to see him in the big rooms over here.

Turner and Co put in work for a little over an hour, hitting most of the high points of England Keep My Bones and dipping back for favorites like I Knew Prufrock Before He Was Famous. He's charismatic as hell and the band is pretty damn tight as well. They are pretty much the perfect band for a room the size of The Knit (although I still wish it was on Leonard, or Houston even) and the wall to wall people seemed to feel the same. See Frank Turner in the small(er) rooms while you can. I see a lot of Terminal 5 in his future and me very cranky and in attendance.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Richard Buckner - Our Blood

There's been a lot of Buckner on the house system at JS-NYC as of late. That is a slippery slope of a statement, as it could speak to wildly different states of mind. Buckner has one foot in the depths and the other in euphoria and for better, I'd say, the more up stuff has been prevailing in the playlists. As such, I was more excited than usual for a new Richard Buckner record. The last couple seemed a little meandering to me and haven't really struck a chord with me like Bloomed or Devotion & Doubt. That said, I'm pleased to report that I really dig Our Blood. 

Buckner's been with Merge for a bit now and it seems to be a good fit. Why, in light of that, he would move to Kingston, NY is beyond me, but regardless, my old stomping grounds has not exactly rolled out the red carpet for the new guy. A spate of bad luck forced the bulk of Our Blood to be recorded three times after a black comedy of machine failure and thievery stymied each previous effort. I feel for our Richard, but it seems to have fostered his best record in a long time. Nine songs in total, each titled with a single word and presented in warmly unadorned form. I'll go with Confession as my favorite currently, although I can't say I'm crazy about the overly layered chorus vocals. Regardless, there are four or five more easily as solid here, so don't hesitate in any way, shape or form to pick Our Blood up with the quickness here from Merge. Find Sir Richard of Kingston here.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Live: Wussy @ Cake Shop 3.3.12

Ah, lifestyle issues. I love Wussy and was excited to see them again at Cake Shop. Hell, it was even a good time (more on that in a second), but I'll add the lack of ticket stubs in this day and age to the cauldron of denial I sup from and thank Nyctaper for posting the show and reminding me that I had gone and should probably blather a bit about it. Alright then.

So this was a four band bill, with Versus in the headlining slot that should have been held by The Figgs. Wussy played clean-up, knocking out an ultimately way too short 40 minute set. You can blame Cake Shop and the late show, as Wussy offered serious value for your indie rock dollar. In their continued attention to detail, and to better approximate the more expansive sound of their latest recorded effort StrawberryWussy have expanded to a quintet and added former Ass Pony John Erhardt to the fold. Sonically, things worked out fine, but the last thing anyone needed was another person in the basement of Cake Shop. Packed in cheek to jowl, it seems to speak to the idea like people are getting behind the new record in general and Wussy in particular. That's a good thing, and hopefully an eventuality that means we'll see them in a bigger room, maybe even with a stage, sometime soon. Ten songs total, pretty much half from the new record, with some chestnuts sprinkled in to keep it interesting. Hear it for yourself here, courtesy of the modern day saint nyctaper.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Doug Stanhope - Before Turning The Gun On Himself...

Our Mr. Stanhope has been prolific of late. On the heels of last year's live Burning The Bridge To Nowhere comes an entirely new set, again via the curious eventuality that is the comedy arm of Roadrunner records. Believe me, I questioned it my own self, but they seem to have hit the mark with the two Stanhope releases. Before Turning The Gun On Himself... is the newest Stanhope. Recorded in Salt Lake City, UT in front of a crowd of the devoted, the set finds our hero in typically obstreperous fashion, savaging AA and Dr. Drew and tempering it with commentary on the smell of his urine and Giant Black CockTM. I think its pretty great, but those that are in recovery, child possessing or a songwriter might do well to skip this chapter of the Stanhope canon. It's digital only, but do you really need a comedy CD in this day and age? Lovers of the tangible can look forward to the DVD release  of Before Turning The Gun On Himself...  later on this year. In the interim, get the digital approximation of same here from Roadrunner. Find the Stanhope web interface here.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Live: Cheap Girls @ Knitting Factory 3.6.12

God bless the Midwest. America's Heartland has been ponying up the quality rock of late and Cheap Girls are close to the top of the heap. Hailing from the wilds of Lansing, Michigan, said Girls (who are in fact, three dudes) make the rock in the power trio format, paying homage to a host of pop and punk predecessors like the Lemonheads (Deily more than Dando) and Dinosaur Jr. They have a new record called Giant Orange out on Rise that is pretty solid, albeit a little over-produced. You would do well to own it in virtual or actual form.

I rolled into a maybe half-full room as Cheap Girls were setting up, having missed the much buzzed about (and to these old ears, not especially remarkable, on record at least) Sidekicks. The set (pictured above) featured a little over half of the new record, with some choice dips into their previous releases. Ft. Lauderdale popped up at the end of the set, but sadly the new On/Off Switches did not. Cheap Girls may not have a ton of stage presence, but they have songs for days and play their asses off. They'll be on the road a good bit in the coming months, hopefully not mid-carding for some horrible Warped Tour band, so keep an eye peeled here for tour dates within range of your ear and/or eyeholes.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Cheap Girls - Giant Orange

Ah, Cheap Girls! The Lansing threesome have been recent faves at JS-NYC HQ in recent history. Anticipation has been high for a new full-length, and wonderfully Spring has brought the thaw as well as the aces new Giant Orange for our pleasure. This one is the first for new label Rise and for better or worse sports the production of Mr. Tom Gabel of Against Me!. That will doubtless appeal more to the Asslight Anthem set more than lovers of genuine unaffected rock goodness, but even his silly ass can't sink this ship.

He do try, though. Giant Orange certainly sounds a little overproduced in places (see the ZZ Top meets Boston guitar tone of Manhattan On Mute), but regardless of questionable engineering, the The Force continues to be strong with our heroes and songs are definitely still there. Six of the ten tracks on Giant Orange are damn solid and the other four ain't all that shabby neither. I'd say On/Off Switches is the current fave, but Giant Orange gets a lot of play around the JS-NYC corporate HQ and the front-runner changes by the day. Share our problems and get Giant Orange here from the Cheap Girls web presence. Lavish us/them with thanks later.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lucero - Women & Work

Lucero are one of America's finest bands. JS-NYC favorites for the better part of a decade, its always cause for much rejoicing when the Memphis sextet roll through town or drop a new record. Last time they staggered through, Ben mentioned they had a new record called Women & Work coming. Well it's here, courtesy of your friends at ATO Records.

Now, I would never say not to buy a Lucero record, as Women & Work is a decent record, but it certainly has not set me afire like previous releases. The boys are changing: I was pretty cool with the addition of dual monsters Todd Beene from the mighty Glossary on steel and Rick Steff on keys and accordion. Horns have been more prevalent on the record and road in recent years and its been a slippery slope for me. Lucero are from Memphis after all, and I respect the desire to push the envelope a bit, but at the end of the day I wish the songs were better. There's really nothing here that grabs me, but with a back catalog bursting with great tunes, I'm going to fall back on seeing Lucero as much as possible and hope that the songs on Women & Work grow on me.

Keep track of what towns should be hiding their daughters via this handy link and get Women & Work here from the Lucero web presence.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Live: Craig Finn and Some Guns @ Mercury Lounge 2.29.12

Craig Finn, Mercury Lounge and an 8:30 start time are a perfect storm of awesome for this old timer. The improbable addition of Shia Labouf and rain complicated things somewhat, but I still managed to post up stage left with Eric right before things got underway. I'm not all that crazy about Clear Heart, Full Eyes, but continue to relish any chance I get to see shows at Mercury Lounge, so cash was ponied up. From the initial Apollo Bay, it was pretty obvious that I could check my ambivalence at the door and the songs were going to translate better live. The backing band for the tour, dubbed Some Guns, featured four Austin heavyweights (including Alex from Grand Champeen) and kicked serious behind for the duration. Finn is engaging as hell and his stage presence and banter really help things, as did the month of shows they had played previous to this double set of shows, no doubt.

Most of Clear Heart, Full Eyes was addressed in the hour plus we were afforded, as were four pretty damn aces tracks not on the record. I rollled in cranky and pleased things were wrapping up early and left wishing I had bought tickets for the late show. Nyctaper has this very set available for your downloading pleasure, so know that it comes highly recommended and download it yourself here.