Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A Great American Band Says Goodbye

Sleater-Kinney, the best Pacific Northwest rock export of the last 10 years (and to be daring, maybe ever...gasp), is breaking-up. Known for their social-political tint, Sleater-Kinney were able to sing socially concious songs with a personal, intimate touch. They were able to communicate important ideas through simple heartfelt emotions. Musically, guitarists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein had impeccable, wonderful voices and Brownstein especially could play some mean licks on her axe. Janet Weiss played some powerful dreams, whether it be with a ferocious rock n' roll flare on songs like "Hollywood Ending" or on touching, risky material like "Modern Girl".
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The very small Summer tour will be their last. It seems as if this is a pretty sudden development, considering the limited number of existing dates and their locations (nothing on the West Coast).

Sat 7/29 Mellwood Arts Center, Louisville,KY
Mon 7/31 Starlight Ballroom, Philadelphia,PA
Tue 8/1 930 Club, Washington,DC
Wed 8/2 Webster Hall, New York City,NY
Fri 8/4 Lollapalooza @ Grant Park, Chicago,IL

The New York date had tickets available for awhile...then within hours of the announcement, it sold out. I missed my chance to say goodbye.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: Pas/Cal

This was an easy one. Pas/Cal put on a heck of a show last Thursday and this is a little post-gig recognition.
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Check out "Summer Is Almost Here" on my page, before going to the band's page, and official site.


Off and On Nights

The Avatars; The Bamboo Kids; Electrajet
@Trash Bar
Brooklyn, NY – June 24, 2006

The Avatars returned to Brooklyn with technical problems and tired voices but still managed to pull off a decent gig.
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The Bamboo Kids, who have been off the scene for awhile, have shed the early Clash look for blazers and a full head of hair, and also unfortunately seem to have lost the fans that packed the house the first two times I saw the trio. Nevertheless they sound better than ever and their new album in September promises to be good.
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Electrajet is an odd and successful trio, playing dark, almost grungey sounds but with a National Dobro guitar and an organ. My girlfriend said they have a “Tim Burton” feel to them and I liked that description.
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(Photos by Roxxan H)

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Friday, June 23, 2006

"The Forlini's of Detroit"

Pas/Cal; The White Rabbits
@Mercury Lounge
New York, NY – June 22, 2006

Detroit’s Pas/Cal are not like – and not really associated with – the bands that have come to personify the “scene” that has come out of the Motor City over the last half-decade or so. Pas/Cal is more like the Decemberists, Velvet Underground, and jangle pop bands and a guy who is a bridge between Lou Reed, Colin Meloy, Wes Anderson and a flamboyantly feminine emo dude fronts it. In describing the band, the lead singer dubbed them the “Forlini’s of Detroit” in reference to a Downtown NYC restaurant that was met with silence by the crowd when the lead singer asked if anyone had been there. That about sums up Pas/Cal in context. The standout song is “Summer Is Almost Here”, one of the finer indie pop songs to be released in some time – composed of the hooks and melodies that don’t exceed mainstream friendliness or indie sloppiness. This is a great band for fuzzy feelings.
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The White Rabbits are a New York band in which some of the band dress like 80’s English teen sensations Squeeze (and even have a drum kit that says “William Tell” on it). The band’s music flows between the dance-beat rock that’s all the rage and indie pop etherealness. Surviving several equipment and sound problems, the band was able to put forward a mix of stimulating tunes and meandering malaise. Both Pas/Cal and The White Rabbits opened for Asobi Seksu.
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(Photos by Roxxan H)

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: The Avatars

From the state of Michigan come the Avatars, offering an authentic and delicious new take on good ol' rock n roll. Pop hooks, fun solos, all the fixin's and then some. The band has their first full-length finally out and they'll be coming to the Trash Bar in Brooklyn next Saturday.
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In the mean time listen to "Honey Do" on my page, then go to their page and official site.

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The Return of Mondo Topless

Mondo Topless; The Insomniacs)
@Magnetic Field
Brooklyn, NY – June 17, 2006

For the first time in over a year, Mondo Topless invaded Brooklyn for more good time rock n roll fun. Sam and the boys mostly played material from their new album, including the stellar “Louise” and the novelty hardcore…parody (?) “Beer”. The Insomniacs played more of their pop-fueled rock but nothing tops their “Switched On”.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: The Ditty Bops

Originally from New York, but based out of Los Angeles, the sweet, cute, and not-so-deceptively risque Ditty Bops have a second album to tour the country with, Moon Over The Freeway. It promises more pleasant exploits from Abby, Amanda, and their troubadours.
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Listen to the title track on my page, then go to the band's official page, and official site.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Blue Republic's My Space Band of the Week: The Dansettes

Now this is a band with gumption. Sassy, spunky, cute New York girl group trio The Dansettes, backed by an all boys rock band, sing 60's soul. Sounds like Tralala? Sure - but these gals have a sound all their own. They are a local touring machine and they will open up for the Dirtbombs next month at Maxwell's. Keep checking the calendar for dates.

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In the meantime, listen to "Oh My" on my page, then go to their page and official site.

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Not X-static

Boooo! X is uncharacteristically going on a national tour for the second time in a year (this time with Rollins Band) but as of right now they're skipping New York City. Did Billy not enjoy it or something? Shame. The closest dates are in August at the Starland Ballroom in the middle of nowhere in New Jersey (with no direct public transportation to the place) and the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, the city where I first saw X in June 2003.

In between now and then, let's be on the lookout for a New York date.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

June: Record Breaking

It's finally June - and it's packed and loaded with gigs. Nearly every single day in the month, as of right now, has gigs you should go see, and most of those days have multiple gigs to choose from. It makes sense - June is the end of spring and the beginning of summer, the most ideal feel good weather to go out and have fun. Maybe it's the increased and peak daylight hours - artists want to pack in as much night time as possible.

Well anyway here is the break down for the month, and since it is such a packed month, here it is chopped up into sections to make it easier. Good luck:

June 1-4: Legends Bookend Weekend
Let's just call it a 4 day weekend holiday month kick-off. A legendary band by the name of The Fall return to New York, playing the Knitting Factory tonight and Southpaw tomorrow night. Also tonight, The Twilight Singers play Irving Plaza.
Tomorrow night features Mary Timoney and Tralala packin' 'em in at the Mercury Lounge while Super Furry Animals really kick off the summer outdoor River to River series at the South Street Seaport.
Saturday night finds Snow Patrol at Roseland Ballroom and Les Sans Culottes at Pianos.
The highlight of the weekend may be on Sunday night: Dick Dale, the one and only, will be playing CBGB. Also that night, Tapes 'n Tapes at the Bowery Ballroom.

June 5-8: Joan Jett Week
The leader of the Runaways and the Blackhearts is owning New York this week, playing 4 gigs in 4 nights. Bowery Ballroom on Monday, Southpaw on Tuesday, CBGB on Wednesday, and the Knitting Factory on Thursday.
(International) Noise Conspiracy will be playing CBGB on Monday the 5th. Suddenly CBGB is happening again, just as it gets ready to close up in the autumn.
Tapes 'n Tapes plays a second show at the Bowery on Tuesday.
Southern Culture on the Skids plays the Merc on Wednesday.
Excellent rapper Common plays the Central Park Summerstage on Thursday while blues band The Wiyos play a small show at Joe's Pub the same night. If you're looking straight up garage rock mayhem, skip those two shows, and go see the Demolition Doll Rods at the Trash Bar.

June 9-11: Double Duty
Lots of bands are playing multiple gigs and this weekend features a lot of overlapping. The Demolition Doll Rods play a second night at Trash on Friday. Cat Power will make up her February date with two nights, Friday & Saturday, at Town Hall.
That busy Friday also features gypsy-rockers Gogol Bordello at Irving Plaza and British one-woman band KT Tunstall at Webster Hall.
Saturday features the first night of a double bill of garage punks Be Your Own Pet and Whirlwind Heat at Maxwell's.
Sunday night has the first of two nights of the inemitable Los Angeles rock 'n soul band, The BellRays at Joe's Pub. And also on this very busy Sunday: !!! at NorthSix and Stiff Little Fingers at Irving Plaza.

June 12-15: Midweeks shouldn't be so busy
On Monday, Be Your Own Pet/Whirlwind Heat play their second night, this time at the Knitting Factory while the BellRays wrap it up at Joe's Pub. Want to see some legends instead? The Buzzcocks will tear down Irving Plaza.
On Tuesday, CBGB again serves up gold - Sonic Youth. If those legends weren't enough, Radiohead returns to NYC, playing Madison Square Garden. The Black Keys will have the opening band honors, an amazing and surprising development. The two bands will play at the Garden again on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, it will be Hipster Central at Roseland Ballroom, as the Arctic Monkeys headline a show opened up by We Are Scientists (you'd think Art Brut would have found a spot in this show or somewhere this month, but June is surprisingly Art Brut-free). If you hipsters can't get into that one, you can go see Forward Russia! at the Merc.
Thursday night has Bobby Bare Jr. at Maxwell's.

June 16-18: Pre-Spectacular fun
As of right now, by some odd reason, there are no gigs of note for Friday June 16th. Someone send something in to me to keep the streak alive!
Saturday night can only be spent one way: Mondo Topless with the Insomniacs at Magnetic Field. If you really must be somewhere else, then there's good ol' Les Sans Culottes at The Hook (they should just move their show to the Magnetic bill) and Rhett Miller with openers Ollabelle at the Central Park Summerstage.
Nellie McKay plays Joe's Pub on Sunday while Blue Cheer - yes you read that right - plays Maxwell's the same night.

June 19-22: The 25th Anniversary Spectacular Week
It's not that I'm self-centered or conceited or self-important or anything, that's just what I decided to call this week of my 25th birthday.
The birthday (the actual spectacular) is on Tueday the 20th. You can celebrate by seeing Son Volt at the World Financial Plaza or Pat Benatar at the Hammerstein Ballroom, but I personally recommend Blue Cheer and the Black Hollies at CBGB for a 60's psychadelic garage rock extravaganza. If I was to do a venue of the month, CBGB's would win, and that's not something I would have predicted in all this time that I've done concert calendar listings.
The spectacular continues on Wednesday with the Gourds at the Merc (who are the Gourds? Remember about 6 years ago or so, there was a song spread around the internet that was supposedly by Phish with John Popper, a cover of Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice"? Well it was the Gourds who did it.) Also on Wednesday - Gomez with Martha Wrainwright at Webster.
It's not listed at the Mercury Lounge's website, but I've been told that Detroit folk-pop act Pas/Cal will be playing on Thursday, and that should be their New York debut. That same night Alejandro Escovedo, Marah, and more special guests will be playing Irving Plaza. A week before, Blanche will be playing with Escovedo in Cleveland. Wouldn't it be nice if Blanche played one of these shows as part of the 25th Anniversary Spectacular? I think it would be quite nice.

June 23-25: The Spectacular wraps up in style
Friday June 23 has softee boys Keane at the Bowery while folk queen Michelle Shocked plays Joe's Pub.
Saturday night's highlight is the return of Detroit pop-rockers The Avatars to the Trash Bar with New York's own Bamboo Kids helping out. If you can't make it, go check out Devotchka at the Bowery.
Sunday night has Mark Sultan aka BBQ returning to Magnetic Field, this time with his pals Demon's Claws. Also on Sunday, Fiest and Buck 65 turn the Central Park Summerstage Canadian.

June 26-30: The month finally ends
And what a way to end it - Calexico on Tuesday at Warsaw and the next night it's Bonnie Raitt with Keb Mo at the Central Park Summerstage.
Thursday has the first night of Joe Jackson at Town Hall and night 1 of We Are Scientists at Warsaw while oddballs The Fiery Furnaces play Webster.
Friday night, the last night of the month, is utterly chock-full of stuff - almost as if Rock N Roll-dom knew this month in New York was too loaded for its own good -
Joe Jackson has night 2 at Town Hall and the same goes for We Are Scientists at Warsaw. Outdoor shows are plentiful with Amy Rigby at the Seaport and TV on the Radio at Prospect Park's bandshell. And fittingly, the Walkmen, New York's own, end the month at Webster Hall.

As usual, apologies for any needless ass-kissing of artists in this rundown and all that jazz. Go have fun out there.

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