Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Billy Joel...Bruce Springsteeen....Together....for Barack

Hammerstein Ballroom Thursday 10/16

The cheap tix were $500, those are all gone. All that's left are the big wigs who can snag the $2500 seats, and the mega donors who can fork over $10,000 which must mean the Piano Man and the Boss play on your lap...presumably at the same time.

As the Times points out, Billy and Bruce played together once before, doing "Glory Days" with Rhymin' Simon for a charity show at MSG in 1987.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

On This Day of Collapsing Economies and Civilization...

Random Zooey to improve your soul

and Camera Obscura pictures:
From their MySpace

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

New From The Blacks: "Ammunition" & "Gravitas"

Amalgamated online record label RCRD LBL is putting out a new EP from Frisco kids the Blacks, and they've put two of the tracks up for free download. Dig the X reference on the page, as well as the timeliness of having a song called "Gravitas".

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Joan as Police Woman @ Bowery Ballroom

Joan as Police Woman; The Perces; Violets
@ Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY - September 25, 2008

Joan Wasser, sporting an 8-piece band and a Foxy Brown/Coffy-esque afro, played her deluxe cavalcade of Indie folk, pop, soul, and R&B, with the gritty wit and talented finesse that she is naturally embued with. Intersplicing her various pieces with affable interaction with the audience, Joan proved to be the sweet natured chanteuse as much as she proved to be the imposing artiste. "To Be Loved", "Eternal Flame", and a sexed-up, smokey cover of Jimi's "Fire", were the big highlights but there wasn't a let-down in the set. Joan's voice is so naturally sexy and authentic, it could carry the show on its own but her well-crafted torch songs and bluesy requiems are more-than-boosted by an outfit of talented musicians. This is one of those total package type deals. Not too shabby.

The Perces are an ode to Edith Piaf and Nancy Sinatra gone down Alabama way. Looking like they had boots made for walking, the sisters and their five-piece band ran the gamut from soul to rockabilly, all in a vein of cabaret and go-go. This type of music is ripe for lighthearted tomfoolery ala the Ditty Bops, but there was a vague sense of gothic darkness underneath the whole affair. The disco song at the end though was kind of out of left field. But that was nothing compared to the fact that their bass player was none other than the Mooney Suzuki's Sammy James Jr! What the heck was he doing there?!

Violets, not to be confused with the Violets of a few years ago, seemed to be playing their first ever show, which gave them an edge of nervousness but also of legitimate excitement. That being said, having yet another 80's-influenced dance-club band isn't exactly invigorating at this time. The lead singer, wearing the kind of jacket that was supposed to be the 2008 look as seen in 1983, was legitimately happy but also kind of dorky and he was more dorky than sexy which is what he was aiming to be. Some of the songs showed a lot of promise so let' s not be completely down on these guys.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pass It On: The Childballads @ Glasslands Tomorrow

(This is possibly the beginning of a brand new feature on the ever evolving blog here: a recommendation from a fellow blogger that provides a window into a band - or anything else for that matter - that has not only not been previously addressed on SP, but is not something even on the old man's radar. So here is the first recommendation and it comes from hot DC-based blog, Between Love & Like:)
The Who & The What: The Childballads @ Glasslands in Brooklyn
The When: Tomorrow night, Thursday September 25th, 2008
The From: Between Love & Like

Erica says: Lupton's baritone voice reminds me of Marc Bolan posing as an Exile on Main Street-era Mick Jagger, all sputtering with smoldering bravado and bad-boy grittiness.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Always Look On The Bright Side of Life

  • What is the point of the MTA's placement of new violations & fines signs on subway platforms? By that point, the fare jumper has already jumped the fare and obviously not been caught.
  • The two real notes to come away from the movie-within-the-movie Tropic Thunder with are as follows: Tom Cruise has never acted better, for once not playing Tom Cruise, and he does it by playing one of the studio honchos who for years let him act as a dud before tangling with him after he went off the rails with Scientology; Robert Downey Jr. is incredibly, exceptionally entertaining and shows how talented he is by playing an actor who is supposed to be incredibly and exceptionally entertaining and talented.
  • I know I'm an Ashkenazi Jewish-American male but I don't quite understand it sometimes. And other times I most definitely do.
  • Vicky Christina Barcelona is so very boring, and not just because Javier Bardem doesn't kill everyone.
  • "Don't panic" has become awful relevant again in so many ways.

  • A friend tells me to stop being so down on the people and allow for the possibility that the people can make reasonable, rational decisions...and you know what I tell him? TAKE OFF!
  • Labels:

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Richard Wright of Pink Floyd Passes On to the Great Gig in the Sky

    The second member of the Floyd to die.


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    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    The Large Hadron Collider Has Been Activated!!!


    Personally, while I sweat with excitement at the notion of a black hole opening up and swallowing the universe in upon itself, I am obviously much more hopeful about the particle collider being the conduit for the Infinite Improbability Drive leading to a whale and a geranium being called into existence, with the geranium observing "Oh no, not again."


    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    More Toronto Music Violence

    What is going on in the fair metropolis of Toronto? Forget the Great Bicycle Thief, how is that one of the most highly reputable, cleanest, nicest, most cosmopolitan cities in the world is home to such brazen, and extraordinarily lame, acts of rock-related violence? First there was the nonsense at the Jay Reatard show in April, and now comes assault on Oasis.

    Watch the YouTube clip. Was the attacker going for Liam next? Or was he trying to commandeer the microphone in order to explain to the world why he did what he did? Was this a get-famous stunt? Was this done on behalf of one of the many, many people that have been verbally attacked by the infamous Gallagher brothers?

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    Monday, September 08, 2008

    Emily Haines & James Shaw (Metric) @ Union Pool

    Emily Haines & James Shaw
    @ Union Pool
    Brooklyn, NY – September 7, 2008

    Originally billed as a three-set variety around the multiple works of Emily Haines, the lady of the hour decided at the last minute, along with her Metric partner one Mr. James Shaw, to play two practically identical sets showcasing material from the upcoming Metric record before her set with Tall Firs. In an immaculately intimate setting in a tiny little bar under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Emily and James channeled their scrappy NYC days but at the same time stripped away all the electronic razzle dazzle to reveal what really sometimes seems is the best-kept secret in Indie rock: that Emily and the Metric boys are some of the most consistent songwriters out there. Emily wows as a rock star, a punk rock girl, and an electro-pop artiste on a regular basis but this was one of those rare opportunities to see what else she is: a deep, thoughtful, classic singer-songwriter who has an ear for the lyrics as much as she does for the hooks. In a slight bit of irony, these new songs – whose development and much delayed proper release is starting to border on Chinese Democracy timeframes – were played in simple ballad fashion though they promise to be melody-heavy, maybe even loud, rock n’ pop once the unnamed LP finally sees the light of day (the duo was taking title suggestions during both sets…don’t be too surprised if the album is called Graffiti on the Kellogg Diner).

    Another Video
    And Another ("Live It Out"!)
    Playing to a polite but enthusiastic audience, Emily and James were keenly witty, whimsical, and fun. Emily complained about her general stage banter being blogged about and leading to questions and controversy so she promised to keep her musings to a minimum, which she failed at. Fortunately for her, she didn’t say anything much more blog-worthy except for maybe the way she goes “rwar!” but you have to see it to appreciate it.
    More Photos
    Panic-alert: At the end of the second take, Emily surmised “that’s the new record” but they didn’t play “Stadium Love”. Did they not play it because the song is just so rock-based, so chalked up with anthem-goodness, that it just couldn’t be mined for a slow, soft, keyboard and acoustic guitar work-up? Or has the song been shelved from the LP, thereby constituting the biggest musical tragedy of the decade? How can they leave this song off?! It’s so good! Listen to it!

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    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    Meet Brazilian Girls

    No, not actual Brazilian Girls but the NYC dance-pop band that has the late summer hit of "Good Time" and who will be playing Terminal 5 on Friday, October 10th.

    Good Time - Brazilian Girls

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    Monday, September 01, 2008

    The Definitive Essay on Hipsters or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Embrace Being a Vintage-Head Who Likes Certain Yuppies

    So for a long time I really liked the hipsters. I really did. The music they flock to is pretty much the bread and butter of this blog, and the girls are cute. But I've recently had to directly interact with a couple of them and it's not a pleasant experience. They are incapable of communicating. The notion of socializing seems to freak them out. And they are absolutely, as a rule, unfriendly, if only because they don't expect to have to communicate. An out of town pal of mine took his virginal daylight walk down Bedford Ave around N 7th this past June and he asked, "is this some kind of weird social experiment?" Another friend of mine - one who lives among them and the native Poles in Greenpoint - pointed out that these were the kids who were the freaks and losers in suburbia and that rather than make the effort to be better at communication and general socializing like us urbanite freaks and losers, they chose to crowd around each other, develop a needlessly overworked fashion style in order to stand out, and then devolve into vacuous ninnies.

    What kills me is the years-long cool factor of eye glasses and vintage clothing. It made me think they're all a bunch of nerds. They're not! They're too stupid to be nerds! They just co-opted the look! The idea of a Utopian world of hot, smart people seemed to be at our grasps, only for us to find that it was a facade. Dumb, pretty people just figured out a way to look smart, not be smart.

    But what's really triggered my contempt is the rise of the keffiyeh. I became really bothered by this fashion trend of Palestinian resistance scarves for two reasons: 1) the use of scarves in the summer time because it's "cool" and 2) either the blatant association with the imagery or the lack of information in regards to said imagery. It's not a question of whether one agrees with any or all of the dimensions of the Palestinian cause. It's a question of the motivation behind it. How many of these vapid morons have actually taken the time to understand the symbolism and how many of them have given deep thought to the merits and demerits of the cause (see the Che shirt phenomenon)? Though I am by no means an "Israel is right no matter what" kind of fool, I am heartened by the rise of Israeli Defense Force shirts in the scene as the Mideast conflict plays itself out in the hipsterverse. Of course, the fear is that some of these response-wearers are themselves uninformed. But someone had to start wearing it out of substance. They had to. Either way, the fashionistas seem to have broken down into civil war, which is in and of itself maddening as it is fascinating.

    A month ago, the Times wrote a piece about the end of McCarren Park Pool as a venue and the fact that the writer could not avoid pointing out the little quirks about these strange people is hilarious. It is one of the best pieces on hipsters I have ever read. In a follow-up, the Times wrote yesterday on the Sonic Youth finale, and they hilariously wrote that a hipster asked to be off the record on how they are deliberate about their look (that's a no-no to admit) but the writer also erroneously described Craig Finn as a hipster (he's not, he's a regular guy with glasses who's too literary and too normal to be a full-on hipster)! So there are a couple of examples of the so-strange-one-can't-be-objective-about-it hipsterverse.

    There are those out there who will defend the hipsters as those who keep the Indie and cutting edge music and art scenes alive with their money and their scenester-ism. This is a valid point. And for a long time I would even go so far as to champion the hipsters over the boring yuppies who gentrify everything to the point of excess, leaving New York too expensive for the rest of us. But the yuppies can communicate. The yuppies can have conversations. The yuppies don't like to hoard their culture, they like to sprinkle it around (though they do like to hoard the money, which can be a problem if you're into the whole progressive communal thing). And the yuppies can provide the very funds that the hipsters do. In fact, as the yuppies move into the hipster neighborhoods, they've come to adopt a lot of the hipster look - creating some disturbing test-tube-like hybrids known as the "Yipster".

    I am working on a theory to delineate people like me from the hipsters. The working label is "vintage-head". I appreciate the elements behind some of the hipster look. Turning-back-the-fashion-clock is truly the way to go. But one can be a vintage-head without being an anti-social, cliquish, spoiled brat. It is simply an appreciation for the finer things in past lives, to make a new pastiche in the modern world.

    At one McCarren show I attended this summer, I met who I thought was the First Nice Hipster. In fact, she turned out to be a yipster (I figured it out because she looked the part of the hipster but had only heard of bands like the Black Lips and the Hold Steady; if she was a true hipster she'd have been well-versed in such matters, and she wouldn't have been talking to random, friendly people in the first place). And because this girl was so nice, and friendly, and social, she smashed the stereotype of the arrogant yuppie for me. And frankly, I've been meeting some very nice yuppies this summer and over the year past. And I get along with them a lot better than I do with the hipsters. So in conclusion, the Love of the Hipsters is Dead. Long Live the Vintage-Heads and Their Friends in the Yuppie/Yipster Community. May we live together in harmony and may we even intermingle and have Vintage-Yuppie/Yipster babies. And may we take back the hot-nerd look. And above all, may we be able to carry on a nice conversation. Take that you lousy hipsters! Now get me my mocha latte! And do it on the quick before I blow my lid and throw my fedora at you, see?!

    (Please note the possibility that the "vintage-head" theory may a distraction from the realization that this writer may just be a plain ol' yuppie who likes fedoras and bad 1940's movie talk, and has been rejected and dejected by hipsters, and doesn't want to own up to it. If this turns out to be the case, and the writer is called on it, please see the upcoming essay "Why All Yuppies, Hipsters, Yipsters, and Vintage-Heads Can Rally Together Against the Hated Hippies".)

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