Friday, May 29, 2009

Action Painters; The Brunettes @ Mercury Lounge

Action Painters; Sean Bones; The Brunettes
@ Mercury Lounge
New York, NY - May 28, 2009

Action Painters and the Brunettes came to the rescue after original headliners, those Scottish lads the 1990s, had to cancel. Action Painters showed off some of their New Wave chops with covers of Television's "See No Evil" and The Brains' "Money Changes Everything" (the latter of which can be found on the band's new digital EP). The rest of the set featured the exact kind of rock n' roll and power pop this band has been perfecting for a few years now. When I first got into them, "Absolutely Clear" and "Sooner or Later" were the two towering achievements but slowly but surely, "456" has become this heavy hitter, an immensely strong number. Though they remain a relative secret on the cusp of makin' it, these WOXY stars already display the fine mix of raw rock n' roll grit and professional panache that the greats need to possess. Also, any band that does this is alright by me.

Sean Bones is a tribute to vintage ska and reggae. Straight up. There's a lot of rock n roll oomph in his work but a lot of that oomph stems from when ska and reggae are done right live. A very fun set from beginning to end, and the kid seems to already have a solid fan base.

The Brunettes moved to Brownsville and now use backing tracks. At least that's the story as it seemed to be as the band played for the first time in a year, and were a little tense and nervous. Correspondingly, the music was a little darker and more timid than it had been when they opened for Sons & Daughters last year at MHOW. They acknowledged missing their horns, which provide a lot of the sprightliness this band excels at. Nevertheless, the new material is able enough and the kids have still got it.

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Fuzzy Fuzzies: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (from Eclectic Six)

Another piece over at Eclectic Six - this one about the Pains, or POBPAH if you prefer. The band's Tuesday night show at the Bowery Ballroom is sold out. Amazing. Their free show at the Seaport this summer is going to be massive.

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

King Khan & The Shrines; Mark Sultan @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

King Khan & The Shrines; Mark Sultan; Georgiana Starlington
@ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY - May 1, 2009

I had always hesitated to see Khan with the Shrines because as much as I loved the pulse-pounding soul I heard on record, I resisted the gimmicky antics I heard about, not to mention the obnoxious sudden hipness of the act and the later scenester embracing of that nice little secret called King Khan & BBQ. But putting aside the snobbery for a night, I finally took in King Khan & The Shrines and Holy Moly what a show. Yes it was a little gimmicky - the fat man in the speedo spitting glitter, who came out of the crowd, appeared to be a plant. But Khan kept his notorious wang in his pants and kept his spit and other bodily fluids to himself (maybe it was because of the swine flu), and instead focused on his amazing music. The thrilling, heart-stopping soul churned out by Khan's seemingly endless number of musicians is up there with the greats. In fact, I officially shun the notion of exclusivity, and declare that King Khan & The Shrines go beyond their crass scenester popularity, and come to be a top-rated popular act among the soul circuit. Don't lose any of that garage grease, and just take it to the polished confines of the soul music world. They won't know what hit 'em (Hopefully it won't be Khan's wang).

"Mark Sultan" was in fact "BBQ" as he was in Toronto at Rancho Relaxo two weeks prior. It was him on guitar and snare drum with 2 pals helping out on either side of him. It was a fine reminder of his stellar voice and songwriting but there was no "Shake Real Low" and again ol' Montreal Mark felt the need to mess around with his songs - speed 'em up, slow 'em down, stop 'em halfway - as if he's either tired already of his old catalog or wants to mess around with his tight little fan base. Also the contrast of seeing this act from a place like Rancho to a place like MHOW was noticeable: despite MHOW's fantastic acoustics, it was a little too large to absorb Sultan's pocket-full-of-energy.

And why was there some apparent of rule of no King Khan & BBQ during the night? Come on boys, you're in the same room.

Georgiana Starlington is a country-punk act. The front gal looks like a 60's/70's Nashville star and is drunk like one too and her band is deliberately sloppy. I suppose I can look up where this is from (and I will) but I'll just go ahead and say Atlanta and lob this shtick in with that crude garage scene down south that was fun for about 10 minutes before every mustache-and-big-sunglasses scenester made it as uncool as the sloppy music. Looking it up...hmm...they appear to be locals. And it appears this is a band name, not the name of the chick. I better go re-edit this paragraph. OK, done. Well I'm glad that's settled.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

"You've Got To Make Them Move": Metric and the History of Dance-Rock (from Eclectic Six)

As a favor to friends, I wrote a piece over at The Eclectic Six that gives a once-over to the new Metric record and putting it, and the band's entire discography, in the context of rock music and dancing. The historical scope of the piece makes it a little different than what I write here obviously but it's still worth posting about here on the ol' blog.

Meanwhile, Metric released a video to go along with "Help I'm Alive":

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