Sunday, September 30, 2007

Artist of the Week: Arcade Fire

Oh wasn't it just a few years ago that a little Montreal thing called the Arcade Fire played the Mercury Lounge? Now, or rather next Saturday, they are headlining a mega bill at Randall's Island that really should have been labeled a festival. LCD Soundsystem, Blonde Redhead, and Les Savy Fav could have all easily shared the headline this week but they will get their dues in time. In the meantime, they will help make next Saturday one of the most triumphant days in the short life of the Bowery Presents (joining days such as the White Stripes headlining MSG and the upcoming kickoff of Terminal 5 by the National). But at the end of the night, and the end of the week, the glory will fall into the lap of Arcade Fire, a skillful, intense, compelling collective of musicians that tap the spirit of Talking Heads with a flair for the classical, and the gothic. They are not always perfect, but there is no one else out there quite like them.

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Looker Gets Lucky At The Lucky Cat

Looker; The Shondes; Mystery Family
@ Lucky Cat
New York, NY - September 29, 2007

Despite a bad sound set-up and tech problems, the power pop and punk quartet of Looker displayed fiery prowess and a superb knack for sharp hooks and catchy melodies. And where did this band come from?! Did anyone know there was this ready-for-prime time rock n roll band about in New York City? These kids are for real.
The Shondes mix straight up rock with a fiddle and it's an interesting brew. Was the set perfect? No. But it's working with something good.
Mystery Family are a Riot Grrl inspired band that had their own share of string problems and whatnot but their cover of the Breeders showed they have the right roots in mind.

Due to the poor lighting of the Lucky Cat and the cheapness of Sonic Parthenon equipment, there are no video or pictures for this gig. Drag.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ry-Ry And Minneapolis Don't Mix

What is it with Ryan Adams and Minneapolis? Why can't they just get along? In the great scope of rock "meltdowns" and other Ryan-sodes, this hardly qualifies as a serious problem. Ryan's come a long way, and yes there is always that edge of total flip-out underneath his cool exterior, and if I was in the crowd I'd probably be ticked too, but it's not the end of the world. What he should have done is blast "1974" and then declare war on James Blunt for trying to do him one better with "1973".

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A Word On Webster Hall

Excessively, brutally, high indoor temperature, the obnoxious smoke machines triggering stuffiness, congestion, sneezing, and more heat. If you didn't claim a spot upfront or along the balcony, you couldn't see a thing. It truly is a horrible venue. To top it off, the sound guys couldn't get things right. All Sheff had was his acoustic and a couple pedals and he couldn't get any of the monitors to cooperate. Then the mic stand was giving him problems. How about a little help? And this is of course to say nothing of the over-priced drinks.

Webster Hall needs to do a much better job separating their live music shows from the club nights. Sharing the same mentality for both makes it an inhospitable place for live music, no matter how consistent the calendar is.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Gettin' Their Kicks, Man: Okkervil River At Webster Hall

Okkervil River; Damien Jurado; Jonathan Meiburg
@ Webster Hall
New York, NY - September 28, 2007

Okkervil River has found a way to bridge symphonic pop with Texas blues and yet has somehow also found a way to not sound poppy or bluesy at all. Led by the enthusiastic if a tad trippy Will Sheff, Okkervil can belt out an array of tunes that invoke something of an art house Roadhouse. At the same time, they can occasionally cross over into dullsville, but that is rare and fleeting. "Unless It's Kicks" is the best example of the band at its best, catchy pop doused in a helpin' of Austin sensibilities. But then there is "Our Life Is Not Like A Move Or Maybe" which, in just a little over a month, has established itself as one of the best singles of the decade and no hyperbole necessary. This is the most defined record of ethereal Rock n Roll that has been heard in some time, and live it gets the full blown industrial treatment - musical showmanship, emotional purity, and commanding stewardship by Mr. Sheff. After the performance of the song, it was necessary to take a step back, find a seat, and inhale in what was just witnessed. It was that good.

As best as it could be captured, here is that performance. The recording doesn't begin to do it justice:

Damien Jurango is a melancholy acoustic guitarist and solo performer who renders a complaint free performance, but when he takes a step up with a more pop-infused guitar hook, there is real songcraft afoot.
Okkervil River's keyboardist, Jonathan Meiburg, opened the night with a short set, also solo, with a banjo and then a little electric guitar. As melancholy as Mr. Jurango, Meiburg's banjo is the key melodymaker here and it serves its function well. A nice little trip to Texas and back.

Photos here.

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Clear Channel Type Inter-Galatic Radio Station Explodes

Hmm...not quite.


The Very Neat Idea of the Decemeberists' Shows at Terminal 5

Check It Out, Son

“Long” evening will focus on the band’s epic, progressive compositions. “Short” nights (while no shorter in set length, we promise) will highlight their more succinct, pop-leaning material. Thursday, November 1 will be the "long" evening and Friday, November 2 will be the "short" evening. 2 night passes are available for $60.

Last year's Crane Wife wasn't as much of a letdown from Picaresque as it first seemed but it was still a bit of a letdown and even the live show last year at the Hammerstein indicated that the excitement of Meloy was going through a bit of a wind down but this idea makes these pair of shows suddenly exciting again.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Fillmore Takes Irving Plaza Down the Shitter

Kid Rock?
Puddle of Mudd?
Type O Negative?

How irrelevant can they get? When the Pipettes are the freshest thing on the bill, you got problems.

Maybe it's not the venue's fault. It could just be that the Bowery Presents has slain Live Nation.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Romance & Cigarettes

After 2 long years, Romance & Cigarettes has finally been released, by director John Turturro himself, and it's been playing at the Film Forum here in New York.
Pennypacker has never been one for musicals. The idea of breaking out into song in a brief suspension of reality always struck me as a bit stupid, even in good musicals. Little Shop of Horrors pretty much stands alone as the only musical this writer truly likes without any hesitation. And so that record remains after seeing Romance & Cigarettes but that isn't to say this is a bad film. This movie is neither bad or good, it just sort of is. It exists in its own bizarre alternative reality and so it exists as such in our world. Using unoriginal song material, and using original recordings of said material for the actors to sing along to, works out more than it bombs but this is irrelevant as the movie is overtaken by its strange, offbeat non-musical scenes. The dialog and delivery hover somewhere between a Broadway show and someone's dream. The story may take place in Queens, it may have construction workers and housewives and mothers but it's not the Queens we know, or the Queens we would know in a standard old-fashioned musical. There is an unwavering, unflinching sense of weirdness, of surrealism, throughout the entire picture. It doesn't feel real for one second.
Perhaps the most notable feature is the un-sexy-sexiness or sexy-un-sexiness of the film. Is Kate Winslet (back in glorious redhead, as she should always be) incredibly hot? Or is her character rather ugly, unattractive, and repulsive? Or both? And why is she Scottish?
Sure, one could also talk about whether Gandolfini breaks away from, or further steeps himself into, the grip of Tony Soprano. And about whether Christopher Walken was perfect or terrible. But there is a more important question: Why were Mary-Louise Parker and Aida Turturro cast as Gandolfini and Susan Sarandon's daughters? Mandy Moore made sense. But are Parker and Turturro playing significantly younger than they really are? Or is there some further twisted thing going on in this film's alternate reality? It seemed entirely plausible throughout the film that Aida Turturro's character was the actress's age but the character's mental problems included a distortion of her own age. But this is thrown off by the presence of Parker. Or at least it seems to be thrown off. Nothing in this film seems to be what it should, or could, or would. It just is.

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Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

  • Kathy Griffin is not funny. She's also ugly. But the fact that her comment was found to be "blasphemous" instantly made it OK.
  • Wow. Blades of Glory was unbelievably bad. Except for the one scene with the funny and beautiful girl from The Office. And surprising too in its own way. Cute girls shouldn't unleash something like that.
  • It cannot be underestimated how important it is that O.J. is back. Maybe the last 13 years have all been a bad dream. Maybe 9/11 never happened. Maybe Bush never became President. Maybe Bill Clinton is still President and hasn't yet met Monica. Maybe Seinfeld is still on TV. Maybe all is right with the world...rats.
  • Two nights ago, I had my first ever Zombie dream. I was walking down a street on the Upper East Side and saw Charlotte from Sex and the City when all of a sudden, a bunch of Zombies appeared from around the corner. I hate when that happens.
  • I'm off the grid: I had no idea about the "don't taser me, bro" incident until someone asked me what I thought about it, some 2 days after it happened.
  • This is who I want to be when I grow up:

  • And finally, on a personal note: AUUUUUUUUUUUUU


  • Artist of the Week: Okkervil River

    The biggest question of the week is this: Does "Our Life is Not Like a Movie or Maybe" really have the strength all on its own to carry Okkervil River to greatness? Or is it time for this writer to accept that the rest of the album is good and that it's time to be a true believer in Sheff and co? Find out this Friday at Webster Hall.
    "The President's Dead" at Rice University:

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    Saturday, September 22, 2007

    SPTV Canada: Ryan Adams Live at Massey

    While Ol' Elwood was dancing with Emily Haines and Metric at Webster Hall in New York City last night, Sonic Parthenon Toronto Bureau Chief Veronica Brown was being treated to a stellar night of Ryan Adams & the Cardinals at Massey Hall. Below is her report, in the form of "Dear John":

    Photos here.

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    Return of the Donnas

    Yeah alright fine we'll take 'em. The doable (hahaha double pun) Donnas are back with a new record, the first single of which sounds an awful lot like "Hate Myself For Loving You" by Joan Jett, as well as a host of generic hair band songs. I suppose the D's have switched their sound from retro-punk to this as a way to fill the void left by the Darkness.

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    Friday, September 21, 2007

    Cookin' With Metric: Live at Webster Hall

    Metric; Crystal Castles
    @ Webster Hall
    New York, NY - September 21, 2007

    When Emily Haines wasn't talking about giving up the music life to do cooking shows, she was leading her ferocious dance-rock band Metric in a blazing performance at Webster Hall. The half-Canadian, half-American quartet have a few albums that, while good, suffer from filler. Live-wise, the filler becomes substance and the quality becomes the stuff of pure excellence. The band's 3 best songs - "Monster Hospital", "Combat Baby", and "Dead Disco" - shook the club. I mean it. The club literally shook. The crowd would have been dancing all performance long too if it wasn't for the hypnotic light show (it cannot be underplayed how perfect the lighting was) and the presence of Ms. Haines. To sum up Emily in a sentence: She's Madonna if Madonna was a talented musician. In her little cave woman white tiger outfit, she held the audience in the vice-grip of her aura. The masterful bridge between the main set and the encore consisted of Emily making the crowd sing and clap the beat to one song. Who can do that?!
    Below is one of a few SPTV mini-clips from the Pennypacker Mobile, a snippet of "Dead Disco" that captures what the lighting and scene felt like from above the fray:

    Crystal Castles are a true club-rock trio: dark, a little scary, neo-party monsters. The jumpy lead singer, for whatever reasons, gave off the following vibe: a child, Anime, lesbian. All in one. Who can do that?!

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    Les Sans Culottes: Unplugged and Out There

    You may know this gentleman as Clermont Ferrand, but others may know him as Bill Carney, and while he has some important things to say, he also has a very cute cat:

    And what in the hell is this?

    You can find these and other videos on this site.

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    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Catch Up With the Missed Hold Steady Show

    Craig Finn must have had such a good time last night he was back tonight to check out M.Ward but if you missed it, like me, you can download the show here.

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    In The Shadow: M.Ward Live at the World Trade Center

    M. Ward; Victoria Williams; McCarthy Trenching
    @ 7 World Trade Center Park
    New York, NY - September 18, 2007

    Across the street from the remains of the Twin Towers, New York City this week is trying something new - rock n' roll live from the break of the city's heart. Last night, transplanted Minnesotans the Hold Steady did their best, and tomorrow night, the legendary Nick Lowe will sweeten the pot, but tonight belonged to the thoughtful, evocative, and graceful Matthew Ward. Ward's blend of folk, country, and blues is distinct, particularly when he's singing in that shadowy, haunted voice that sounds like it's coming over a transistor radio from 1934. Those who always seem to want to point out Ward's penchant for surf rock sounds neglect to mention that the surf Ward has in mind is on a rainy, cold beach. Put this all together and you have a complete, accomplished musician. It also helps that he has a superb backing band that includes two drummers.
    M.Ward performing "Four Hours In Washington":

    Imagine Norah Jones, older, wiser, and a little spaced out, sitting on a rocking chair on a porch somewhere along the Appalachians and you have Victoria Williams. Seeming to be the last of the red hot liberal mountainfolk, Williams' music takes sharp but understandable turns from country music to a span of Jazz, most notably old time Hot Jazz, which just can't be beat. Her quirky voice never sounds like the aforementioned Jones, but more like the songstresses of old, notably Billie, right up to Katherine Whalen of Squirrel Nut Zippers.
    McCarthy Trenching is from Omaha and boy, do they sound like it. What does that mean? It means they sound just fine - their penchant for alt-country smooth but slick - but it's also not very exciting.
    Photos here.

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    Monday, September 17, 2007

    Dirtbombs CMJ Music Marathon Schedule (It's A Doozy!)

    The Sonic Parthenon House Band, AKA The Dirtbombs, have officially taken over CMJ this year. THREE shows in three nights in the New York City Metro Area with line-ups sure to please the ears, eyes, and anything else in need of rock n roll stimuli.

    Thursday, October 18th @ the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan:
    The Dirtbombs will be joined by:
    -Jay Reatard
    -The Intelligence
    -Miss Alex White
    -Cheap Time
    -Turbo Fruits

    Friday, October 19th @ Southpaw in Brooklyn:
    The Dirtbombs will be joined by The Intelligence and Turbo Fruits

    Saturday, October 20th @ Maxwell's in Hoboken:
    Line-up TBA

    And a reminder, say hey to ol' Elwood here at the shows.

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    No Hold Steady/Old 97's Review For Tonight

    Well curses. This old dog misunderstood the start time and didn't investigate properly and so missed tonight's show. It's not the worst thing in the world but any missed Hold Steady show is a missed opportunity for America to get back on the right track. A few more Hold Steady shows and the housing market should correct itself, the troops will come home, and O.J. Simpson will be arrested for something....hey! We're one-third of the way there!

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    Another Night of Double Giggage: Apples in Stereo; Carina Round

    Apples in Stereo; Aqueduct; The Old Soul
    @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
    Brooklyn, NY - September 16, 2007

    Robert Schneider is one of the most likable men in rock, a verbose goof ball who combines psychedelic stylings with power-chord rock n' roll. His band, the Apples in Stereo, are truly in the vein of the Flaming Lips and other neo-psychedelic bands, but it is that consistent yearn for anthemic rock that helps the Apples stand apart. Live-wise, the power really shines and, at least on this night, Robert kept the talking to a minimum, focusing instead on bringing the house (pretty crowded but far from sold out) down, which he more or less succeeded at.

    Both Aqueduct and the Old Soul were complimentary power-pop bands. The former, from Seattle, sounded, at times, more 80's - especially when using some electronic gizmo. Also led by a likable (and notably unglamorous) frontman, Aqueduct would sometimes lose their way but they managed to bring it back to where it had to be time and again. The fun, rollicking cover of R. Kelly's "I'm a Flirt" was a high note. The Old Soul, from Toronto, are a more eclectic brand of power-pop rock. The one unifying theme in all their songs seems to be a subtle ragtime-ish swoon. All 3 bands had a good time but these guys really seemed to be having a good time. Also, a little anthemic but again, with a twist.
    Pictures here.

    Carina Round
    @ Sound Fix
    Brooklyn, NY - September 16, 2007

    There are two ways to think of Carina Round and the two ways do not contradict each other: Joni Mitchell and PJ Harvey defied science and had a baby and out popped Carina Round. That's one way. Another way is to ask you if you remember the mid-90's when a flock of female singer-songwriters seemed to really come into their own. On the one end were alternative rebels like the aforementioned Harvey and Ani DiFranco, and on the other were the more mainstream, pop-oriented acts like Sarah Mclachlan and her Lilith Fair cohorts. In the middle of that wide chasm, lies Carina Round. Think of Sarah Mclachlan's best work, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, dirtied up a bit by Polly Jean, and this is the music put forward - strikingly and successfully - by Carina. Carina's vocal talents are fascinating - she can sing pop songs dearly but she can thrown her voice around like a punching bag, creating effective alternative sounds. Her ability to scream a note without really moving her lips is a bit hypnotic to watch.
    This night, in a stripped down set of acoustic guitar and one electric guitar, Carina's music did not have the full register that it does on her records but it offered a simple, basic examination of the pop-craft she's weaving. It is this kind of pop-music with a knife edge that needs to be pushed and played and popular.
    Here's an SPTV Mini-clip of "Come To You":

    Photos here.

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    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Artist of the Week: Heavy Trash

    As of this moment, Sonic Parthenon will be providing a review of the Metric show on Friday but it is also worth noting that the impeccable, sensational force that is Heavy Trash will be playing the Luna Lounge that same night. With a new album, a hot tour, and a commitment to rock n roll, it really doesn't get much better than this.

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    Friday, September 14, 2007

    Bonjour, Fraulein!: Les Sans Culottes, Ziaf, Nicki Jaine

    Les Sans Culottes; Ziaf; Nicki Jaine
    @ Galapagos Art Space
    Brooklyn, NY - September 14, 2007

    It's become old hat for LSC by now but they've added a cover of "My Sharona" to the repertoire. It was a bit disturbing to see them without one of their guitarists (anything less than the full 8 members is just not right, people!) but they still sounded fine. Even when they had tech problems (not their fault), they didn't break character. And even with the rather light and distant crowd, they didn't miss a beat.

    A live slice:

    Ziaf is sort of like Les Sans but focused on one major French pop figure: Edith Piaf. A bit grittier and at least 1/3 more authentically French than their counterparts, this trio covers a range of sound from go-go rock n roll to rockabilly but all under the umbrella of Piaf. Magnifique.

    Nicki Jaine is a purveyor of German Cabaret music. Armed with a black guitar, black dress, and on occasion a musical saw (!), Miss Jaine - and her accompanying accordion player - did covers of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" as well as of tunes done by Marlene Dietrich. This was a real treat, that rare moment when something German proved to be gentle, warm, and sweet. Like a Bavarian chocolate cake. Or something.

    Pics here.

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    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Does This Really Count As A Gig?: Craig Finn at a Barnes & Nobles

    Craig Finn
    @ Barnes & Nobles Union Square
    New York, NY - September 13, 2007

    This shouldn't count as a gig, I know. Craig only played a couple songs and that was it. It shouldn't count. But you know what? You can't stop me. So this is a gig review. The Hold Steady leader sang one oldie and one song rejected for the final cut of Boys and Girls in America. And in between, he sat for a chat with Katherine Lanpher, the one time co-host of Al Franken's radio show, and now New York culture personality. Alongside Craig was Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, making for an eclectic and enlivening hour.

    Watch the program here.

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    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    Fair Game Does It Again: Heavy Trash

    It's official. Fair Game is the best national terrestrial radio show for music. After the Black Lips and Camera Obscura (to name but two), tonight (or last night) Faith hosted Heavy Trash, the basically perfect garage rockabilly blues thing by Jon Spencer (he of the Blues Explosion, of course). Listen here.

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    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

  • If Canada, Russia, Denmark, and the USA go to war over the North Pole, I'm putting my money on the Danes. The old Viking blood will kick in and they will commit slaughter all over the ice. But the real test will be when Greenland would try to secede. Could Thor handle a little icy Vietnam? I doubt it...
  • I didn't think the first calls of "General Be-tray-us" would be from the Left. I figured it would have been from the New York Post when Petraeus would admit defeat.
  • I can't decide if it's better or worse that this year was the first year that the media chose to lessen its 9/11 anniversary coverage.
  • Anyone else want to cancel a gig???!
  • 10 pounds lost at the gym in the last month. Still want to see I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With though.
  • I'm committed to the art and act of living quirky. Life should be like a Wes Anderson movie. But with a dose of This American Life realism. And a Talking Heads/Ryan Adams/Miles Davis soundtrack. In other words, that damn Annie Hall again.
  • I booked a gig by accident. I got the Dirtbombs and Dooley Wilson together in Bowling Green. No foolin'.
  • More on the cheese front: Gruyere is the new Asiago.
  • Spelling correctly is for suckers.

  • Labels:

    What Is Going On Today???

    4 different cancellations of tours, all announced in one day:

    -The White Stripes
    -The Noisettes
    -Rodrigo y Gabriela (all but CMJ)
    -The Kaiser Chiefs (all but New York and Austin)

    What all these kids need to do is take a lesson from the old guard: The Boss and Neil Young recently announced tours and Van Morrisson will be coming next month. The Police have also decided they haven't had enough of MSG yet and oh yeah, Moz is making up for the missed show in June with a week's worth of shows at the Hammerstein.

    Man, the date September 11th will just never be good for anything.

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    Monday, September 10, 2007

    The Spirit of Truth

    Bitch, I'm God

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    Sunday Gigs: The Yarrows et al.

    The Yarrows; Addie Brownlee
    @ Mercury Lounge
    New York, NY - September 9, 2007

    The last time the Yarrows played the Merc, they sounded better than ever and tonight they continued the pattern. The songs are as complete, full, and tenderly ripe as they can be but if anything, this show showcased the musicianship of the band, each excelling at their instruments in a crescendoing pace. It reached a climactic, intense fury - a bottleneck of sound that surged forward. From the opening strands of "Lie Awake" to the very end, this band is making something good happening in the Mid-Atlantic states.
    Here's "Impossible One"

    Addie Brownlee plays modern country music which, while not very sonically exciting, is made better with her sense of wryness and a free-spirited attitude towards the music. Also she has a nice face, which makes it hard to criticize her. And the cover of "Dancing Queen" was unexpected and fun (mostly because of the outstanding vocals) If I could make a suggestion, it would be for her to use her backing band that includes a dobro and pedal steel player, and an upright bass player, and make some good roots rock and traditional country-blues music. The talent is there. A lot of talent. It just needs to be redirected as I see fit.

    Photos here

    The Crayons
    @ Cake Shop
    September 9, 2007

    I stopped in the Cake Shop en route to the Yarrows and came upon a free all day kid metal punk hardcore fest and caught this young kid thing. Not the worst thing in the world, a good sense of the rawness which it needs, but also not exactly perfect. It is what it is.
    And that all being said, I'm going on record right now: Enough with the kids bands. Work in your garage till your 18. And then come out to play.

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    Sunday, September 09, 2007

    Artist of the Week: John Lennon

    Considering Tuesday, Mr. Lennon's particular meditation on life and the world struck a chord since the day six years ago. But he also did a particularly gripping cover of "Stand By Me".

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    Birth of a Big Band: Vampire Weekend

    Vampire Weekend
    @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
    New York, NY - September 8, 2007

    Where the heck did these kids come from? Were they even in an existence as a band a year ago? They don't even have an LP out yet (it comes out next January). Just a couple months ago, they were opening for the Thermals at Maxwell's. Yet here they are, Vampire Weekend, headlining a sold out show at the brand spanking new Music Hall of Williamsburg (so brand spanking new that the wood isn't polished yet). And not only was the place packed, but the several hundred in attendance were singing along with almost every song and pretty active towards the front and even on the sides. One would have no idea how relatively new this band is and would therefore be flummoxed by the rapidity with which they are climbing. In fact, this writer does have an idea and he's still flummoxed.
    As for the music itself - if you like the Police, you'll like Vampire Weekend. But if you can only take so much Police, you will only be able to take so much Vampire Weekend (how poetic is it that this band busts out in the year that the Police reunite...well maybe not poetic, but something...). My favorite tune of theirs, "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" (video below), is more Paul Simon Graceland and mid-late Talking Heads than the Police, but a few twists and turns aside, this is a pleasant, white original ska affair.
    And the funniest part of all...they only played for 45 minutes. They don't even know enough songs to play for an hour!
    Photos here

    Apologies to the Harlem Shakes and Yeasayer for missing them. The former have been toiling around for years and I've never had a chance to see them. Yeasayer is another rising band and if these trends continue, next week they'll be headlining the Music Hall while Vampire Weekend plays Giants Stadium.

    Quick note on the video: It's terribly shot. I know. Believe me. I know. But still, in case you weren't there:

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    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    Sonic Parthenon TV Insta-Clips

    Ta Da!

    Presenting a series of short clips, taken mostly from Mr. Pennypacker's mobile cellular device. These clips are, for the most part, utterly horrible - not because of the bands obviously, but because of the nature of the device used to take them. But nevertheless, they stand as a record of Sonic Parthenon giggage, and also they stand because Mr. Pennypacker does not know how to use Bluetooth.
    As a sample, here is a little of Camera Obscura (yes, I know, I can't stop writing about them!) from their intimate performance at Sound Fix:

    Also, the DirtBlanche clips have been moved to this playlist.

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    Sonic Parthenon TV: Langhorne Slim

    Finally! Here's a clip of Langhorne at Europa (review here), doing "Electric Love Letter":

    Labels: , , , , Highlights: Mystery Action 16 & Hot Slop 30

    This week's episode of Mystery Action on the podcasts features a lot of noteworthy soul, particularly the second and third tracks: a cover of Dylan's "Maggie Farm" by Solomon Burke and a cover of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" by Aretha Franklin, both on Atlantic. And to top it all off, towards the end, Mr. Gaskins plays a track off the new vinyl EP by the Yolks (previously featured here). Not soul, but good for yours.

    If non-stop good time Rhythym & Blues and soul is your thing, then the recent installment of Hot Slop will also be to your liking.

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    Wednesday, September 05, 2007


    It's finally happened. British scientists are mixing the DNA of humans and animals. Me, I'm picking the DNA of a bat to put into me. So I can become a vampire. Not because I'm into goth or anything like that - there's just a lot of people out there that need some biting.


    Okkervil's Sheff on NPR

    Will Sheff stopped by All Things Considered this weekend for a bit of a chat.

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    World's Cutest Band on World's Cutest Radio Show: Camera Obscura on Fair Game

    Cute lil' Faith Sailie hosts cute lil' Camera Obscura on Fair Game tonight. Listen here.

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    Tuesday, September 04, 2007

    The Violets' New Video: "Air To Breathe"

    Those of you here in New York may recognize the Violets as "That sticker that is obnoxiously put everywhere" but this writer used to know them as "the band my friend's roommate was in before the band's leader tried to retool the sound and then changed his mind". Here is the new video for the new song...not my favorite of theirs but hey, let's put those stickers to use:

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    Or Not

    Patti Smith's show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg has been postponed, which means that the honor of kicking off the new venue now goes to Against Me, the punk band who has had an interesting odyessy, but I gotta tell ya - I've never heard a single one of their songs.

    Actually, walking by the place the week before didn't look even remotely close to being ready in tuned.

    UPDATE: Patti will be playing on Thursday. Her Artist of the Week spotlight is not in vain!

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    Well That's Just a Bit Creepy...

    Here I am thinking to myself "Why hasn't Carina Round come around in so long?" and so I check her tour dates and what do you know, she's here tonight with the Cinematics at the Bowery Ballroom and she'll be back on the 16th at Sound Fix.

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    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Return of the Sonics?

    Thanks to Richie at Terminal Boredom, it's come to the attention of the world, that an incarnation of the Sonics - the band that may have invented underground alternative regional garage rock - will be performing during Cavestomp at Warsaw in November. The original keyboardist, guitarist, and saxophone player will be on hand so start your debates (or join the one at TB) over how authentic this is. But really - see them on their second night with the Fleshtones so you are guaranteed a good show.

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    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    Artist of the Week: Patti Smith

    The one and only Patti Smith was the last artist to play at CBGB...and now, just in the week after the passing of the owner of that institution, Patti Smith will be the first artist to play at what some people hope is a new institution in Williamsburg. As if the larger Luna Lounge wasn't enough, the Bowery Presents folks have opened a several-hundred person capacity venue on the remains of the old club NorthSix. The Music Hall of Williamsburg may have an oddly formal and unhip name but the line-up is shaping up to be quite the feast and it all starts off with the woman who wrote one of the greatest opening lines in rock history:

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    Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

  • Yeah, I don't get Lou Reed working with the Killers either.
  • Well Alberto Gonzales is gone. 3 down, 2 to go (I am going to go easy on Condoleeza Rice, because she's black and I'm liberal).
  • Oh no! Usually when I am in a public restroom, I tap my toes as soon as someone walks in so they know someone else is in the stall so they don't try to open it. I had no idea that was a signal for some random gay lovin'! Aw crap, what do I do now?!
  • Did you know Jenny Lewis was a childhood actress? Because I sure didn't.
  • What was I thinking saying that Camera Obscura's music was rainy and that the band didn't smile enough? They struck the right balance between Glasgow rain and sunny pop. And that's enough about that.
  • You know what's a bad move? Watching Stranger Than Fiction not long after seeing Knocked Up. It presents one with a struggle between the forces of living life to the fullest and growing up. Somewhere in between there must be a happy medium that includes the best of both worlds but it is highly unlikely that this medium contains a super beautiful female ala Maggie Gyllenhaal or Katherine Heigl.
  • You're mental if you're willing to pass up seeing Dinosaur Jr. on Monday but you're sane if you think doing so is the only way to avoid seeing Dr. Dog on the same night.
  • Some nights you have to pass up 3 gigs to see Superbad with your friends. You just have to. And not just because it's a funny movie or a movie that makes you reflect on your own end of high school period. But because you want to say you were there when you witnessed the official birth of Michael Cera as the great future of comedy for the next generation or two to come.

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    Saturday, September 01, 2007

    September 2007 Concert Calendar Highlights

    September is packed tighter than a train in India so here are just a few highlights and remember to check the calendar to get all the listings:

    -New York legends Dinosaur Jr. play Webster Hall this Monday.

    -New York legend Patti Smith christens the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday.

    -Peter, Bjorn, and John play Maxwell's one night next week and Roseland Ballroom the next night.

    -Saturday September 8th is particularly notable:
    • Modest Mouse at McCarren
    • Vampire Weekend at the Music Hall
    • The Ditty Bops playing two shows at Irving
    -Clap Your Hands Say Yeah resume their touring with a show at the Music Hall on the 10th.

    -The Noisettes come back to town for a couple of shows the weekend of the 15th and 16th and Apples in Stereo will be playing two shows spread out over almost a week starting that weekend.

    -The week of the 17th has several free shows at 7 World Trade Center including a double bill of the Hold Steady and Old 97's as well as M. Ward and Nick Lowe.

    -The Black Lips play the Bowery and the Music Hall that same week.

    -Friday the 21st is a killer night:
    • Metric at Webster Hall
    • Heavy Trash at Luna Lounge
    • Les Savy Fav at the Music Hall
    • The Subway Band at Lucky Cat
    -Rilo Kiley, despite their new album being hated, have sold out two shows at Webster Hall the weekend of the 22nd.

    -Okkvervil River play the suddenly very good Webster Hall on Friday the 28th.

    -There are also shows in September featuring the Arctic Monkeys, Joseph Arthur, Cheater Slicks, The Frames, Holly Golightly, Interpol & Cat Power, Nellie McKay, Devendra Banheart, SCOTS, Kaiser Chiefs, Iron & Wine, Animal Collective, localheads the Bamboo Kids and Star Spangles, and many many more.

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    Praise The Reign of Langhorne Slim!

    Langhorne Slim; Arizona
    @ Europa
    Brooklyn, NY - August 31, 2007

    Langhorne Slim has been pleasing the local scene and elsewhere with his country-blues-folk-rock for some time now but only now is this writer finally seeing him live. The records are more than satisfactory but they don't do the live show justice. Slim and company blew the crowd away tonight with an enthusiastic, well-spun series of rockers balanced by a few singer-songwriter ballads. It's rare to see such menace woven from an acoustic guitar. Having an upright bass, a classic electric organ, and an excellent drummer behind him certainly cemented the goods for ol' Langhorne. What a show!

    Video coming.
    Pics here.
    Arizona started off with some roots-rockish and Zeppelin-esque riffs, eventually threw some power chords in the mix, and wound up sounding like a decent middle of the road contemporary rock band. Not quite sure where they want to go with their sound, but at least they sound good in the meantime.

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