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.