Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Couldn't You Wait? The Story Of Silkworm

Word of a documentary about Chicago by way of Seattle and Missoula indie rock juggernaut Silkworm has been wending through the internet for a bunch of years now. Finally, the end result is here and I'm pleased to be able to say that Couldn't You Wait: The Story Of Silkworm is pretty damn great.  Not that JS-NYC has a lot of perspective on the whole thing. To paraphrase, one of the talking heads herein, not many people have heard about Silkworm, but those that have are pretty much obsessed with them. As a record nerd who spent a lot of time in the brick and mortar shops back in the day, I definitely drank the koolade.

So did a lot of people, including Steve Albini, Jeff Tweedy, Steve Malkmus and a host of others. I only got to see the gents play three or four times before the tragic accident that took the life of Michael Dahlquist took the band out of active rotation, but treasure all of them and was pretty chuffed that they included footage of the SXSW show I was at with ex-original member Joel Phelps sitting in for the first time in years. Couldn't You Wait is pretty damn comprehensive, although arguably somewhat lacking in Phelps footage, but still gets the JS-NYC nod as best rock doc since the Minutemen opus We Jam Econo. The film is available in a couple of different digital forms, whether it be just the doc or the nerd cornucopia that is the extra live, bonus, song discussion and/or deleted footage. Treat yourself and snap this up immediately.

Get Couldn't You Wait: The Story Of Silkworm here


Friday, March 1, 2013

Tom Segura - White Girls With Cornrows

Tom Segura is an LA based comedian, actor and podcaster that got a fair amount of shine for his debut comedy CD Thrilled. White Girls With Cornrows is release number two and continues in the same aesthetic: not too vulgar or controversial, but still pretty funny in an everyman sort of way.

Stupid family members, cowboy hats, people with exotic pets and his Mexican heritage are but a few of the topics covered in this set recorded live last year in Denver. It's not especially vulgar and still pretty funny. If you like Patton Oswalt or Joe List, you'd do pretty well to check this out.

Get White Girls With Cornrows here from the Tom Segura web presence.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Pusha T - Wrath Of Caine

It's been well over a decade since the Bros. Thornton exploded out of VA with Grindin'. Since then, we've seen some dramatic changes in the Clipse franchise, most notably the conversion of Malice to Christianity, a change that begs the question as to how these proponents of cocaine rap will continue in the vein (pause) that they have previously.

While his brother pursues higher minded paths, rest assured that Pusha T continues to spit the drug raps, as evinced by the enchanting cover art for Wrath Of Caine. He's down with your boy Kanye and his GOOD Music collective, a affiliation that keeps him on a decent profile to the crossover hip-hop community. There's a new record called My Name Is My Name coming down the pike soon, but in the interim we have this new mixtape to build anticipation.

Wrath Of Caine lives up to its label's name in that it is definitely good, but far from great. There are guest spots from Rick Ross (yawn) and French Montana (what is the appeal?) to get the young heads all worked up, plus old school cronies like Ab Liva and Wale for those that have followed the Re-Up for a bit. Pusha is in pretty good form and can still unleash a serious verse or two when called upon, see: Blocka, but I can't say I'm going to go out of my way to listen to this again.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Live: Chris Mills with Ken Stringfellow @ Mercury Lounge 2.16.13

While the ticket to the left may state otherwise, save the wonderful times that the universe offers up shows with Chris Mills and some incarnation of the Mekons and/or their auxiliary, any show Chris Mills plays is a headline performance for the good folk of Jaded Scenester. This show was yet another in a recent string of great early shows at NYC's best venue and I hadn't seen Col in far too long either, so it seem all too prudent to double down and enjoy two of my favorite things simultaneously.

I braved the now all too old cold and posted up in a not especially full room and caught up with Col, scoring a vinyl copy of Almost Killed Me from Tad in the offing. Advantage: JS-NYC. In perusing the web before the show, I was none too pleased to find that Mills had played two full band shows in the past week, even more so when I found that Konrad was back in the drum slot, but this short set featured six or seven of the new songs that are slated to appear on the new Chris Mills record coming later on this year, along with a run through Atom Smashers. Chris seemed in good humor and the new songs are pretty damn aces, so things bode well for the new release. Stayed tuned to this space for details.

I can't say I've heard any of the last couple of Stringfellow releases since he's left town for Europe, but the room filled up pretty nicely by the time his set grew nigh, so it appears someone is keeping up. Ken was around and about the room for Chris' set, chatting and offering up spare instruments when needed. He played solo as well, but unfortunately opted to eschew both the stage and PA to play in the crowd for his set. Meh. Behind the lack of accurate set times at shows in this day and age, floor-based shows that aren't at homes or in basements are probably my biggest rock show pet peeve. Hey guys Ultimately we came to both see and hear you. Standing on a platform that facilitates this and using amplification is hardly putting on airs and should be a practicality realized and appreciated by someone who has been around as long as Stringfellow.  Alex Chilton sure wouldn't have done that. The two or three songs we made it through were decent, but having to strain to hear and see in a room as small as Mercury, paired with mildly ironic requests from Stringfellow to keep it down, prompted an early departure into the cold NYC night for both your heroes. He's got a new record that is probably good, so check it out if you were one of the decent crowd that stuck it out for the duration.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Studio City: Real To Reel

Since I decided that Time Warner could go fuck themselves a couple years ago, its been mostly music docs and podcasts on the entertainment docket at JS-NYC Corporate HQ and research seems to reveal that this has been an all-around positive move. It certainly helps that the last couple years have been very good for rock doc-ery. I finally got around to seeing Beats, Rhymes and Life last week and am eagerly looking forward to the Silkworm doc due to drop next week.

Word had come down through internerd channels over the past year or so that Grohl had managed to acquire the bespoke Neve 8028 console from the legendary Sound City studios for his own studio complex and had set to recording with a number of the artists that had recorded through the board, like Fleetwood Mac, CCR, Rick Springfield and Ratt, to name but a few. Updated skinny revealed that a documentary about the history of the legendary space has followed in short order, setting the non-studio world on its ear in the process. Docs on failing recording studios aren't my favorite topic in the whole world currently, but Sound City isn't your average studio, nor is Dave Grohl your average documentarian. Truth be told: he's not really one at all, but its not like Grohl puts on airs and gets all Ken Burns here.

Beyond the initial win of being named after the first Marillion live record, Sound City: Real To Reel captures the rise and fall of Studio City with equal parts laughter and tears (check the hysterical Rupert Neve interview portion with Dave Grohl internal monologue). And at $12 bucks, you could do a whole lot worse than to keep up with the Sundance set and grab yourself a copy. Use this link and bask in the nostalgia.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bettie Serveert - Oh, Mayhem

Back in the days when Matador and indie rock were king, Dutch quartet Bettie Serveert rode a wave of feedback into my life in the early 90s and stayed there for the better part of the rest of the millennium. I'm not sure whether it was my girlfriend at the time that introduced me to them or whether it was their opening slot for Buffalo Tom on the US tour behind their debut Palomine, but I definitely drank the KoolAde. Their 90s output resonated the strongest with me, but in touring the stacks at JS-NYC HQ, I definitely picked up all the records save for the Velvet Underground tribute as they dropped and saw my fair share of their stateside live shows. I'm pretty sure I missed out on the last set of US dates six or seven years ago owing to some sort of visa cancellation, but it was a pleasure to hear they had a new record in the breach.

In perusing the promo materials for the new (sadly, non-black metal-centric) Oh, Mayhem it was funny to see Peter wearing a t-shirt from Chapel Hill indie rock stalwart Local 506. Turns out that isn't so much of a coincidence, as in pulling the string, it appears that the new record is coming courtesy of North Carolina label Second Motion, itself part of a consortium that also includes Blurt Magazine and Triangle brick and mortar mainstay Schoolkids Records. Having dated the loveliest woman in Raleigh in the mid-90s, it was a pleasure to find that the Triangle remains a bastion of good musical taste.

Said promo materials also made the ominous proclamation that the band arrived in the studio with only a handful of songs and finished the record in the studio, a statement from the average band that historically means we are going to get ourselves an (at-best) half-baked stopgap release. As such, it took a bit to get this through the review cycle, but eight or ten spins in, I'm pleased to report that our Dutch friends still have it. The guitar flexing is scaled a little further back than I'd prefer, but all in all Oh, Mayhem is another strong release from the Amsterdam quartet. Hooks abound in all 10 tracks, and if there was still radio, I could see a good number of these tracks blasting from car radios all around this fair nation of ours. Blogs and earbuds are probably a much more likely eventuality, but regardless of the way you get Oh, Mayhem into your head, there is very little chance of it leaving for a very long time. Or your complaining, for that matter.

Keep track of goings-on in the Bettie Serveert camp here and get a virtual or actual copy of Oh, Mayhem via this handy link. Here's hoping we see them in NYC very soon.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Hot Water Music - Live In Chicago

Like a lot of bands, Hot Water Music are a band that I want to like a lot more than I actually do.

Not that it was for lack of trying. Back when I still had to do such things, I bought all their releases and enjoyed them live easily a half-dozen times, but at the end of the day, I always wished I could work up the fervor that HWM invoked in their most rabid fans. Ultimately, and I know it is aggressively to my old guy detriment, I chose to throw my lot in with Alkaline Trio, who have done little in recent years to thank me for my endorsement, save for perhaps eschewing trans-gender assignment surgery, to keep that love affair alive and unembarrassing. To that end: In a continuing nightmare, the Trio have announced their new record would be called My Shame Is True, a moniker that even Dave Vanian would have problems embracing in 2013. I feel for Danny.

Returning back to the subject at hand, beyond establishing the post-Leatherface template that a hundred bands stole part and parcel from them in the 90s, Hot Water Music are known as being no stranger to a break-up, splitting at least three times that I can remember before their most recent hiatus in the early part of the new millennium. A series of reunion shows last year started with the fanfare of sold-out Terminal 5 shows and ebbed into much smaller rooms, neither of which I took advantage of. Truth be told, I was excited to see them with the Descendents this Summer, but don't get me started on that whole thing.

The most recent shows in town were behind a new record, one that I gave a couple spins and couldn't tell you another thing about, not even the name, so when the new No Idea fostered live record Live In Chicago came my way, I exactly wasn't running to get it in heavy rotation. It was a pleasure to see Hot Water and No Idea back in bed together, but there was little beyond old guy nostalgia to attract me, save for the fact that it wasn't as utterly execrable as the recent legacy tarnishing Braid output. Both Chuck and Chris have been pursuing the bearded acoustic troubadour route in recent years, a choice that will hardly have Townes Van Zandt worrying about his legacy being diminished, albeit one that also seems infinitely wiser than, say, Mike Hale's choice to leave carpentry behind.

It definitely seemed that the personal HWM allegiances were not aligned toward the gruff shouty punk rock I am of a mind to hear from them, but after consuming a goodly amount of herbal and caffeine-based perspective realignment aids, I waded into Live In Chicago. Frankly, I would have liked to have seen the video portion of this more, as it captures the second night of the tapings in its entirety, but the double cd/triple vinyl musical portion offers up 30 songs in 90 minutes total. Recorded over two nights at The Metro in 2008, the recordings find the band in tightly workmanlike form. Black and Rebelo continue to be a monster rhythm section, and tracks like Turnstile and Aluacha still make me want to hoist a beer in the air, but even two decades in, I wish I was more excited about this.

JS-NYC crankiness and companion old age aside, The Metro crowd here is an enthusiastic one. I've not laid eyes on them, but I would venture that the crew attending these shows in 2013 is cut from a younger, less jaded cloth than JS-NYC and never saw the quartet in their unshaven, barefoot heyday and are using these shows to make up for lost time. Fair enough. Not nearly as right, but still charmingly ragged and beautiful, Hot Water Music encapsulate a solid catalog on Live In Chicago. 


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Live: Quicksand with Cymbals Eat Guitars at Webster Hall 1.31.13

I was intrigued when Quicksand reunited (again) last Fall at the Revelation Records Anniversary shows out West, but thought they were a little rough from the footage I saw online, plus I've seen my fair share of Quicksand shows (and last tours, for that matter), so it didn't really seem worth ponying up premium dollars to see them play again. The Music Hall Of Williamsburg show last year prompted a unexpected biblical deluge of texts from people losing their shit at how great the band was, but even then I didn't jump on tickets for the last two shows of the tour at Webster. Hey, it's cold.

An unexpected call from Laura had me braving the elements and grabbing a ticket for the last night of the tour. Despite all plans to the contrary, I posted up about halfway through the opening set from Cymbals Eat Guitars. Meh. Very meh. The foursome were met with pronounced indifference from the crowd and JS-NYC was decidedly among them. To be fair, an opening slot for Quicksand is a tough slot on a band's best day. I'm not sure if this was CEG's, but I was pretty bored by everything I heard.

I found Laura and caught up for a bit, then settled in as the lights went down and the boys launched into Omission. The next hour and a half of so saw the band tearing through most of their catalog to an older, but no less enthusiastic crowd. No one in Quicksand is a spring chicken, but everyone looks to be in fine fettle and the band is tight as a drum. Rarely has there been a band where all four parties are as formidable musically individually. Cage and Vega are a truly monster rhythm section, and Capone and Walter are a two headed beast to be reckoned with. Not a lot of small talk from Walter, just a gang of bangers as well as the obligatory romp through How Soon Is Now. Good times and good company in a good room. Plus I was home by 11, which makes it all the sweeter.

Take the groundbreaking chestnut that you should get into Quicksand and do what you will with it. Keep track of what the future holds for the fearsome foursome here.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bored Spies - Summer 720

Seeing Bitch Magnet with the mighty Moss Icon (who were pretty fucking amazing, by the way, both then and in retrospect) last year reminded me what a mark I have been for Soo Young Park over the years. In the wake of that show, I've favorably revisited most of my favorite SYP projects over the last few months (Seam, Korea Girl, Ee), but soon they were laid fallow again in the wake of six week Greg Dulli bender JS-NYC has been on of late.

As Soo Young lives in Singapore currently, it seemed like last Fall's run of shows was going to mark the end of any active music project for Park and the other members of Bitch Magnet, but earlier this week a tweet from Henry Owings alerted me/us to the presence of a new band with BM drummer Orestes and Park (as Panther Lau) with Seoul-based singer-guitarist Cherie Ko called Bored Spies. Not sure how the band rehearses and records given they live in three different countries, but regardless, Summer 720 is the first release from the trio and it's pretty damn good, featuring two very 90's indie rock dream pop chestnuts. The elastic Bitch Magnet rhythm section is melded to breathily assured yet unaffected vocals from Ko to make some serious ear candy. Evidently, a full-length looms ominously in our future. JS-NYC is excited.

Get the Summer 720 here for less than two beans US.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Dakota Suite - An Almost Silent Life

For almost as long as I've been an American Music Club fan, Red House Painters and Dakota Suite have been recommended to me by likeminded angst aficionados. RHP have been kind of hit and miss for me post-Down Colorful Hill, but Dakota Suite have always resonated. There is a strong argument to be made that the attraction is one stemming from the everyday contrarian JS-NYC nature and the fact that I'm pretty sure DS have never made it stateside for live shows, but regardless driving force Chris Hooson is definitely one to be held in the same stead as Mssrs. Eitzel and Kozelek.

Dakota Suite sport a cinematic chamber music vibe, spartanly beautiful and often underpinned by strings. An Almost Silent Life is a little less dark than its predecessors, but tracks like I Know Your Desolate Places and I Recoiled So Violently I Almost Disappeared stand very little chance of being reinterpreted on Glee. Not that that is in anyway a bad thing. If you like your music darkly beautiful or enjoy viewing other people darkness from an outside perspective, you can far few more darkly compelling artists than Chris Hooson and Dakota Suite.

If you're in the EU, look for some incarnation of Dakota Suite on tour in the coming weeks. Doesn't look like North America will be part of the promo experience, but keep track of their goings-on here at their official web presence.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Live: Nude Beach at Mercury Lounge 1.17.13

Nude Beach came on my radar a couple years ago when they played an in-store at Generation Records. The trio impressed me with their straight-forward rock leanings that were charmingly bereft of the Brooklyn douchebaggery that raises my old guy hackles at thirty paces. I can't say I foresaw them opening the gang of dates for Roky Erickson they scored last year, but more power to them.

I posted up as Nude Beach were settling in and the rock commenced in straight order. The singer kid is straight out of CBs in the 70s, albeit perhaps without the substance abuse issues. They romped through a little more than a half-hour of honest three chord rock that seemed more than a little indebted to The Figgs. Drinks were consumed, asses were moving and the crowd could safely be accused of having been rocked. I would venture that we'll see the gents on this side of the water again soon.

Look for a review of the reissued II soon and keep track of day to day Nude Beach goings-on here.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Live: MiniBoone with Pretty & Nice at Mercury Lounge 1.11.13

While the love from JS-NYC for Mercury Lounge is both longstanding and unabashed, an early show on a Friday night at 217 Houston is frosting on the rock and roll beater. It's always a pleasure not to have to ride over the bridge to Brooklyn in winter months, but more importantly, I like me some MiniBoone and the drummer has moved his sartorial and tonsorial tendencies from Let It Be to House Of The Holy, making it that much easier to look at him/attend his shows. The band has a new face in the bass slot and has a lot of potential goodness in the breach for 2013, including a new record with the good folk of Ernest Jennings.

I rolled up and got some quality beer time in with said MB skinsman and estimable drummer about town Jim Wood before we caught the Pretty & Nice set. The gents are from Boston and have a sort of Talking Heads/Modern Lovers thing going on that didn't really rock my world, but I am old and cranky and they definitely drew, so take that with a grain of salt. The lovely Marta de The Meaning Of Live showed and indulged me a healthy amount of bass nerdery and we all posted up front and center for the MiniBoone extravaganza. The set was tight as per usual, yet surprising bereft of side kicking from the crew, but asses were a-shaking and good times seem to be had by most. I'm excited to hear what the discriminating rockers about this fair country think about the boys. I understand there is a fairly ambitious touring schedule in the offing, including SXSW, so look out for the record and this merry band of miscreants in a town near you very soon.

Keep track of Mini-Boone here.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Live: Graham Parker and The Rumour with The Figgs at The Society For Ethical Culture 12.1.12

I had forgotten about this show, initially owing to the high ticket price and having seen the first (albeit then-without Brinsley Schwartz and Andrew Bodnar) Rumour reunion show at the dear departed Lakeside Lounge. I also figured it would be without The Figgs, as Ian Hunter had been playing the shows previous. I was wrong on the second point, but was pleased to get an 11th hour call from Pete and score some guest list.

I rolled in and posted up front and center as America's Finest Rock BandTM launched into their aces but far too brief half-hour set. Said Society For Ethical Culture seemed an odd choice for either of the bands, what with its pewlike seating and high ceilings but the boys were in good form, hitting some of the high points of the most recent double record The Day Gravity Stopped, peppered with some choice deep cuts from the back catalog.

As the Figgs set drew towards its close and more and more tony people were escorted by ushers to positions around me, it became pretty obvious that I was occupying some real estate that was soon going to be awkwardly challenged, perhaps to the detriment of my future Figgs guest listdom. Upon investigation, I came to find that I was correct and not in the front row. In fact, I didn't even have a seat at all, as despite there being no general admission area, I was in possession of a standing ticket. Didn't make a lot of sense, but I managed to be unobtrusive for a pretty aces hour-plus set that went two encores and included a pretty comprehensive run through a gang of enthusiastically received Rumour classics. Not too many spring chickens in the audience (or on the stage for that matter) , but one hell of a good set. GP and The Rumour are featured prominently in the new Judd Apatow film. It's going to be very interesting to see what it does for the Rumour in 2013.

Check the set list below and check out the new Rumour record Three Chords Good.


  1. Encore:
  2. Encore 2:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Twilight Sad - No One Can Ever Know tour EP

The gents from Glasgow have been spoiling us of late, dropping the new record and a remix version thereof, then bringing a tour only EP for the Stateside dates. The EP compiles six alt versions and demos in high quality digital form that is the perfect thing for the obsessive-compulsive music blogger in your life, all with charming homespun packaging.

I dig it a lot and am pretty sure all the tracks here are now available digitally for those that were/are unable to get this via a merch table. While nothing here is indispensable, it is undoubtably quality and perhaps a little more palatable for the average fan than the bloops and blorps of the remix record (look for a review soonish).


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jawbreaker - Bivouac reissue

Ah, Jawbreaker! While we continue the waiting game for the documentary, Adam and his Blackball Records have continued the Jawbreaker reissue initiative by releasing a remastered version of the second full-length to commemorate the two decades that have elapsed since its initial release on Communion/Tupelo.

I'm not going to stoop to the level of telling you why you should be buying this record, but will inform the uninformed that the non-album tracks that previously appeared on the Chesterfield King 12" are included, along with period photographs and art mockups in booklet form.  Sweating collector nerds should be informed that said 12" is also available again. Bivouac is also available in oversized black circular form, should you be so inclined.

Step lively. Here's a link to the Blackball web presence.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Frank Turner - Last Minutes and Lost Evenings

I came a little late to the Frank Turner party, but after picking my jaw off the floor and wrapping my head around a new artist in the 21st Century popping up on Kimmel and shouting out the punks and skins with equal parts credibility and skill, I drank the Kool-Ade like it was getting funneled down my pencil neck. 2011's England Keep My Bones proved to be pretty aces, as were the increasingly frequent NYC shows behind it.

Judging by his Twitter feed, our dear Mr. Turner sure does get around. He does ok on this side of the pond, but over UK/Europe way, he's a bona fide phenomenon. 2012 was very good to our hero, seeing the young man from Wessex selling out Wembley (Arena) and appearing at the opening ceremony for this year's Olympics. He's signed to Epitaph stateside, and Mr. Brett and co. have levied this little catch-all slab of delight on the heels of England Keep My Bones to get everyone in the US up to speed before a new record drops this Summer.

I had initially thought that Last Minutes and Lost Evenings was a live record. Evidently the UK version has a DVD of the live show from Wembley packaged with it, but this version is pretty much a primer for the new Turner marks that don't have the import First and Second Three Years comps. I'd like to see the live show, but the fifteen tracks here are more than worth the price of admission, starting with I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous and romping through to the closing live take on Ballad Of Me And My Friends. Often spoken of in the same breath as far inferior units like The Asslight Anthem, but with far better songs and the ability to win over opening slots for the likes of Social Distortion and Dropkick Murphys, Frank Turner is to be checked out immediately if you haven't already.

Get Last Minutes and Lost Evenings here from the Epi-punks and keep track of our jet-setting Mr. Turner and his Sleeping Souls here.