Sunday, June 24, 2012

Live: Cory Branan with Audra Mae @ Mercury Lounge 6.22.12

Cory Branan's been putting in work lately. There's been the aces new record Mutt he's dropped on Bloodshot and now we've got the companion tour. He returned to the Merc with Audra Mae opening for him this time around. I only caught the last couple songs of her set, but she definitely seems to be killing it in the Neko/Kelly Hogan end of things. Her solo set was well received by the crowd and definitely seemed to have some of her fans in attendance. Check her out here.

The Branan set wasn't too much different from his last couple swings through town, although a new song did pop up in the set. For some reason Cory had the guy from Sad & French get up and did a couple songs in the middle of things that were decent enough (and the same as the duo set at American Trash in April) save for the fact they could have been Branan tunes and there was a hard out given a late show. A good time regardless, and one that will no doubt be repeated a couple times in the upcoming months of Mutt promotion. Grab a copy and keep track of all things Branan (including his impending nuptials) here.


Friday, June 22, 2012

The Wedding Present - Valentina

The Wedding Present can often, if not always, be counted on to give you a solid rock record whenever they decide to release one. The Weddoes have been focusing on their back catalog and companion reissue initiative in recent years (this year:  Seamonsters) and dropping decent records in the interim.

The latest of said decent records is Valentina, coming courtesy of the TWP focal point David Gedge's Scopitones imprint. The band has changed pretty much 100% since the 2008's El Rey, but the sound pretty much remains the same: two clanging guitars, a driving rhythm section and Gedge dropping adenoidal tales of life, love and loss on top. The opening You're Dead establishes that TWP may have a different lineup, the Gedge songwriting has not suffered. Stop Thief is particularly aces, but the whole of Valentina is definitely a labor of love. Pick it up and keep up with all things Gedge, Cinerama and The Wedding Present here at the Scopitones web presence.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Adam Carolla - Not Taco Bell Material

Since Time Fucking Warner finally drove me to get rid of their shitty service, podcasts and AppleTV have ruled JS-NYC HQ hardcore. The Adam Carolla show has been in regular rotation since I got hip to it and has done nothing to diminish my pronounced man-crush on his acerbic ass. As such, I picked up his first book In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks when it dropped a couple years ago and enjoyed it a bunch. I've yet to grab the tangible book version of Not Taco Bell Material, but grabbed the audio book when it was offered. Not normally my thing, but as Adam himself was doing the reading and it was over eight hours, the economy seemed to be there.

The concept of Not Taco Bell Material is pretty much a memoir, with each epoch demarcated by the house Carolla lived in at the time. It works, as our narrator is engaging and can't stop going off on elaborate asides that eat up a lot of the third of a day the audio book takes to consume. By the end, a good portion of the back end of the book is first taken over by a text-to-voice program, then aborted outright, so feel free to enjoy Not Taco Bell Material in either form without too much fear of overlap. Get either (or both) and subscribe to the podcast here.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Municipal Waste - The Fatal Feast

Municipal Waste are not an everyday band for me, but like a lot of bands, when you specifically need something like Richmond's finest, there is no better tool for the job. The Waste profile has risen higher and higher with every release and it would appear that The Fatal Feast: Waste In Space will continue apace. The high-tech(ish) video for the title track (see-able here) probably won't hurt either. John Connelly from Nuclear Assault reps on guest vocals, should you need a co-sign.

Canned beer, thrashing, space, vomiting, zombies and vomiting said beer post-thrashing with zombies in space are all covered in the 40 minutes you get to Feast, backgrounded by a spate of old-schooly thrash metal that will put pit beer muscles on you within the first four songs. Lots of chug and ride cymbal, breakdowns galore and a gang of sing/mosh-a-long parts. Not the first record I'd throw on Sunday morning, but props to the four big fucking nerds in Municipal Waste for releasing the funnest record of 2012. Get it here.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sarah Jaffe - The Body Wins

I saw Sarah Jaffe for the first time last year when she came through last Summer opening for the mighty Centro-matic and fell pretty hard for her breakthrough single Clementine. Backed by cello and insistently sparse backing, the track put Jaffe on the JS-NYC house system with good regularity. I saw the last couple times she made in through town, often with some semblance of Centro backing her and it was pretty obvious by the slowly growing crowds that words was getting out about the proud Texas daughter.

While there were flourishes previously, The Body Wins features bigger production (courtesy of John Congelton) and more pronounced electronic elements. Its a move that makes things a little more La Roux/Bad Seeds meets Gossip than previous, but also one that seems to place Jaffe in a position to get a lot of notice. There are a lucky thirteen tracks here, none of them even close to bad, so if the description above even mildly intrigues you, step lively to the Kirtland web presence and grab yourself a virtual or actual copy of The Body Wins before its on the tip of everyone's tongue.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Live: Iron Chic with Laura Stevenson and the Cans, Low Culture and Swearin' @ Death By Audio 6.10.11

It's pretty rare in my cranky old age that I want to see an entire bill from stem to stern, but this show was one of them. Iron Chic have been a JS-NYC perennial since we got off the ground, and Swearin' have stepped in the breach in the absence of Little Lungs as my go-to lady fronted band in town.

I posted up just as Swearin' were getting under way and thoroughly enjoyed them. The What A Dump tape is pretty aces and they are on tour for most of the Summer, so go out of your way to check them out.

I had intended to miss Low Culture and Laura Stevenson in favor of hanging with the local bearded drummer set, but ended up sticking around and enjoying both of them. Low Culture are out for a bunch of dates with IC. Based out of  New Mexico, they have some ex-Marked Men and Shang-A-Lang dudes in their ranks and sounded like it. Grab their demo here from the Dirt Cult kids and look out for a full-length maybe in the Fall? I've ended up seeing Laura Stevenson a couple three times over the last couple years and liked her/them, but always wondered why The Cans played on the kind of indie/punk bills they did. Turns out Stevenson also plays in Bomb The Music Industry, so if you enjoy either or both, check them out. I understand LS needs some surgery, but look out for them to return to their continued heavy touring level in fairly short order. Here's a link.

Iron Chic closed out the proceedings with their usual set and respective blood alcohol levels. Things seemed to stretch out a little longer than I remember their average set being, perhaps owing to their having been playing some higher profile opening slots with Bouncing Souls and Hot Water Music in recent months. Either way, good set from good dudes and if the maelstrom of singing/flying bodies is any indication, team IC is maintaining their local fanbase quite nicely. Keep track of them here.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Jerusalem - Demos, Live, and B-Sides

Seeing Jeff Klein and the Afghan Whigs in fairly close proximity recently made me realize that I should probably be revisiting their respective catalogs. The recent heat wave and subsequent ushering in of the air conditioning season has made darkly warm fare like said same and the new Crooked Fingers attractive soundtracks for indoor recreation.

I've seen My Jerusalem a couple times in recent years and am pretty sure I enjoyed them.  I bought this collection from the MJ web presence in the last couple months after Jeff played in town last and only recently got around to giving it some serious spins. The ten songs are as billed: demos, b-sides and remixes, with a couple live tracks from Daytrotter and NPR for good measure, all pretty decent for the most part.  The live versions of Sweet Chariot and Proposition are probably the most compelling thing here, but anyone that is a fan of My Jerusalem would do well to pick this up.

That said, I'm not sure how available this is anymore, but the My Jerusalem web presence is probably as good a place as any to start looking.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Crooked Fingers - Breaks In The Armor

While Archers Of Loaf are back in fits and starts, the primary focal point for all things Eric Bachmann since the new millennium has been Crooked Fingers. While the spartan beauty of the tracks has always remained consistent, the instrumentation and arrangement have always been in flux. Recent times have found Bachmann working with a female foil. Liz Durrett has filled that role in recent years and reprises it here, adding polish and shine to darkly inviting tracks like Black Candles and Your Apocalypse. There is bad dark and good dark, and I'd put Crooked Fingers in the latter camp. Hurt and loss are the bedrock of Breaks In The Armor but the womblike warmth of the music leaves things in much more of of a hopeful place, more 2am sober contemplative than 4am drunken self-flagellation.

Get Breaks In The Armor here from the good folk of Merge Records. Come for the studio version and maybe double down and get yourself the whole enchilada in acoustic demo form, too. Crooked Fingers info portal is here.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Aziz Ansari - Dangerously Delicious

After Louis C.K. cleaned up selling his last special online for $5, the playing ground for successful comedians have been leveled. Ansari is pretty funny and I like his stuff, but not so much that I've checked out Parks & Recreation or even went back and checked that Human Giant thing. What can I say, JS-NYC lives in the moment.

No Randy, luckily, but his nephew Harris makes a return appearance, as does R. Kelly. It's mostly for good. Aziz is pretty obviously a smart guy with a great delivery and his everyman thing is engaging as hell. If you like Aziz, the $5 is a pretty easy expenditure. It's not so big of a hit if you're on the fence either, when you get right down to it. That reasonable pricing has kept the lights on at Chez C.K. and seems to be doing pretty well for Ansari as well. Whether Jim Gaffigan is the third time that is also the charm remains to be seen, but you would do well to get yourself Dangerously Delicious and dates for his new Buried Alive tour here.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hannibal Buress - Animal Furnace

Hannibal has been maximizing his potential lately, touring at a frantic pace while still curating a weekly comedy night at the Brooklyn Knitting Factory. Last year's My Name Is Hannibal did a lot to get him out there on a grander scale and by the looks of Animal Furnace, we may have a new heir to the Chappelle/Rock throne.

Less pickle juice humor, but food still plays a big role in the proceeding, as do travel and dating crazy ladies. That's really just the tip of the iceberg, as cancer walks, passive robberies and Montreal and Edinburgh also figure prominently in the proceedings. There really isn't anything un-funny about Animal Furnace. Those currently possessing of working ear and eye parts should avail themselves of this link and get it with the quickness.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Devin The Dude - Seriously Trippin'

There are few things in the hip-hop world as consistent as Houston's Devin The Dude. Lovers of smoked-out Texas funk know that Devin always brings lyrics for days and the beats are consistently aces. This little six-song EP is pretty solid, covering the usual touchstones of weed, ladies and the various permutations thereof our Devin encounters on the daily. I'd argue that, while well meaning, Exercise could be excised from the proceedings but save for that midpoint doldrum, the rest of Seriously Trippin' is tailor-made for your next Summer smoke-fest. It appears that it's a precursor to a new record called One For The Road, so keep an eye out.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Large Professor - Professor @ Large

Anyone with any sense of perspective on hip-hip knows that the scene today is chock full of straight digital trash. Now that anyone with access to a laptop can throw some shitty rhymes over tired loops and call themselves a rapper, we have a biblical plague of overly tattooed nobodies of tomorrow terrorizing our ears and trying to either be Wayne or Jay. The strongest stuff over the last year has been from the old heads: KRS-One, Bumpy Knuckles, even Nas if you count all the ghostwriting he's been paying the bills with.

Large Pro has been in the game since the 80s, initially rocking pause tape that got him production gigs for Eric B & Rakim at 17. Two decade plus later, he's a bona fide legend: having rocked with Main Source and rhymed and produced a million more tracks since. The uninitiated should check this amazing retrospective put together by the good folk of Complex.

On the solo tip,  Professor @ Large is only X-P's fourth release and while they may come few and far between, #4 is worth the wait. After a perhaps too up-tempo a start, things settle down into the pocket for what may be the best hip-hop album we've got this year. Large Pro holds his own on the solo tracks like the title track and Live Again, but the guest appearances on Professor @ Large are totally bananas. Queens gets much love for the duration, and its residents represent on Focused Up with Tragedy and Cormega alongside an off the hook track with Mic Geronimo and Grand Daddy IU. Straight from Golden finds XP rocking kind of a Bun B/G Rap flow before Busta bum rushes the proceedings with his late period Jamaican auctioneer flow. Brooklyn is repped by Fam and MOP on Happy Days R Here, sporting a less frantic than usual flow that is still hard as fuck and we even get the recorded debut of the new Large Pro curated project MARS featuring Mega, Action Bronson, Roc Marciano and Saigon. Not too shabby for an old head that is still South of 40. Get Professor @ Large with the quickness here from your boys at Fat Beats.