Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 67: “Pennypacker’s Top 25 Countdown of 2012”

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 67: “Pennypacker’s Top 25 Countdown of 2012”

#25b: “Lonely Boy” by the Black Keys

Set 1
#25a: “Audio/Stereo/Radio” by Bryan Dunn
#24: “Want it Back” by Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra
#23: “Curse Me Good” by the Heavy
#22: “American Land” by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band
#21: “Haunt You” by the Pack A.D.

Set 2 (selections of live favorites in 2012)
“Skip Steps 1 and 3” by Superchunk
“Masochist” by Devin
“The Descent” by Bob Mould
“Breathing Underwater” by Metric
“Get Off” by Metz
“Psychobilly Freakout” by Reverend Horton Heat

Set 3
#20: “How’m Doin’” by Mountain Man
#19: “Stay Away from Downtown” by Redd Kross
#18: “Turn Me On” by the Grates
#17: “Nauseous” by Terry Malts
#16: “Hold On” by the Alabama Shakes

Set 4
#15: “Palms Will Smoke in Cold Air” by the Pica Beats
#14: “Every Band We Ever Loved” by the Henry Clay People
#13: “The House That Heaven Built” by Japandroids
#12: “Surprise” by Royal Headache
#11: “No Future” by Craig Finn

Set 5 (selections from favorite albums of 2012)
“Going Home” by Leonard Cohen
“The Lake” by Clare and the Reasons
“Who You Waiting On?” by Lucero
“Danger” by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Set 6
#10: “Capricornia” by Allo Darlin’
#9: “Can’t Change Me” by Lydia Loveless
#8: “Waiting for Something” by Nada Surf
#7: “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” by the Darkness
#6: “Bad Thing” by King Tuff

Set 7
#5: “Turn the Knife” by Voxhaul Broadcast
#4: “Can’t Just Be Friends” by Bad Sports
#3: “Cold Shoulders” by Gold Motel
#2: “North Side Gal” by JD McPherson

#1: “Philadelphia (City of Brotherly Love)” by We Are Augustines

Sonic Parthenon's Year in Music 2012: The Concerts

Casey Shea; Luke Wesley @ Rockwood II

Craig Finn @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Band of Skulls; We Are Augustines @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

WILD FLAG; Hospitality @ Webster Hall

Bryan Dunn @ Rockwood II

JD McPherson; Lucius @ Mercury Lounge

The Paul Collins Beat; Supertouch @ Generation Records

Xiu Xiu; Dirty Beaches; Father Murphy @ Bowery Ballroom

Norah Jones @ Bell House

Alejandro Escovedo @ Madison Square Park

The CBGB Festival: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah; The Hold Steady; Superchunk; Duff McKagan's Loaded

Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival Day 1: Buddy Guy, Quinn Sullivan, and John Mayall

Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival Day 2: Neko Case; Charles Bradley; 
George Clinton & P-Funk All-Stars @ Rockefeller Park

Eleanor Friedburger; Ex Cops @ South Street Seaport

4Knots Festival: Nick Waterhouse; Devin; Bleached

WILD FLAG; Mission of Burma; Ted Leo @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts @ Coney Island

Afro Punk Festival: TV on the Radio; Janelle Monae

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band @ Citizens Bank Park

Bob Mould; Cymbals Eat Guitars @ Williamsburg Park

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band @ Met Life Stadium;
Metric @ Radio City Music Hall 

The Darkness @ Terminal 5

The Gaslight Anthem @ Terminal 5

X; The Reverend Horton Heat @ Irving Plaza

Matisyahu @ Terminal 5

Metz @ Generation Records

The Infamous String Dusters; Lake Street Dive @ Bowery Ballroom

The Hold Steady; Lucero @ Wellmont Theatre

Sonic Parthenon's Year in Music 2012: The Playlists

The trends of the last few years continued in 2012. Singles, singles, singles. Just about every, if not indeed every, album noted throughout the year were honorable mentions. It was once again all about individual songs. In fact, if my obsessive personal statistics from the Ipod are to be believed, this was also one of the most disparate years in my listening life. Nothing truly dominated. Well a couple of things did but you'll have to listen to the year-end edition of the Sonic Parthenon Show to get those details. BAIT!

Early 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Infamous String Dusters; Lake Street Dive @ Bowery Ballroom

The Infamous String Dusters; Lake Street Dive
@ Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY - December 27, 2012

On a strong recommendation and a free ticket, your obedient servant made a sudden stop at the old grand venue on Delancey to see the opening act. It will be remembered as one of those great Gotham music moments - the happenstance beginnings of a modern musical obsession. Local act Lake Street Dive are one in a long, ongoing line of pure soul-rock revivalists but they are a cut above the rest. Three tight musicians led by a perfect songstress. The authentic love of the music comes rolling out of the band in every song. It was an excellent performance. And the best part is...they're local. Another privilege of living in this city.

The Infamous String Dusters are straight modern bluegrass. And I mean straight modern bluegrass...that's all I got.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Autumn and End of 2012

Gold Motel - Cold Shoulders
The Heavy - Curse Me Good
Allo Darlin' - Capricornia
Redd Kross - Stay Away from Downtown
The Grates - Turn Me On
Lydia Loveless - Can't Change Me
Dwight Yoakam – Take Hold of My Hand
Aimee Mann – Labrador
California Wives – Blood Red Youth
Lavender Diamond - I Don't Recall
Bob Mould - The Descent
Pacific Air - Float
Big Ups - Shut Your Mouth
Kid Koala - 2 Bit Blues
Line & Circle - Roman Ruins
Langhorne Slim & the Law - I Found My Heart
Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons - I've Been Accused
Admiral Fellow - Guests of the Government
Cult of Youth - New West
Ivan & Aloysha -On My Way
The Allah-Lahs - Tell Me (What's On Your Mind)
Fall Away - Wax Poetic (with Norah Jones)
Fergus & Geronimo - Roman Tick
The Raveonettes - She Owns the Streets
The Dustbowl Revial - That Old Dustbowl
Toussaint Morrison - Can't Relive the Party
The Mountain Goats - Cry for Judas
Stars - Hold On When You Get Love
Moon King - Only Child
My Bubba and Mi  - Through and Through
Parquet Courts - Borrowed Time
Benjamin Gibbard  - Hard One to Know (Live at KEXP)
Tilly & the Wall - All Kinds of Guns
Cate Le Bon - What is Worse
Ben Sollee - Unfinished
Benjamin Francis Leftwich - Atlas Hands

The Darkness - Hot Cakes
Lucero - Women & Work
Amanda Palmer - Theatre is Evil
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Meat &Bone
Dinosaur Jr - I Bet on Sky

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 66: “Another Pennypacker Festivus…or…Why We Should Celebrate the Winter Harvest and the Revolution of the Earth Around the Sun"

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 66: “Another Pennypacker Festivus…or…Why We Should Celebrate the Winter Harvest and the Revolution of the Earth Around the Sun"**tvtimesbenny1960a.jpg
“Rock n Roll Christmas” by George Thorogood

Set 1
“Fuck Christmas” by Fear
“Christmas is Cancelled” by the Long Blondes
“Mistress for Christmas” by AC/DC
“Christmas Tree’s on Fire” by Holly Golightlt

Set 2
“The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole
“The Christmas Song” by the Raveonettes
“Christmas All Over” by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
“Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” by the Darkness

Set 3
“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” by the Ramones
“Blue Christmas” by Leon Redbone
“Christmas Lights of Blues” by the Come Ons
“Twinkle (Little Christmas Lights)” by JD McPherson

Set 4
“Father Christmas” by the Kinks
“Santa’s On His Way” by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys
“Must Be Santa” by Bob Dylan
“Tell The Lord (What Santa’s Done)” by Goober & the Peas
“The Party in Your Head”  by Reverend Horton Heat

Set 5
“Happy Hanukkah” by Matisyahu
“Hanukkah Dance (alternate take)” by Woody Guthrie
“Tiny, King of the Jews”  by Big Black

Set 6
“Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
“Bells of St. Ignatius” by Wormburner
“Fruitcake” by the Superions
“Christmas in Hollis” by Run-DMC

Set 7
“All I Want for Christmas” by Shonen Knife
“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by New Bomb Turks
“I Wish It Was Christmas Today” by Julian Casablancas
“White Christmas (live)” by Stiff Little Fingers
“My Last Christmas” by the Dirtbombs

“New Year’s Eve” by Tom Waits

The show concluded with a special reading of the non-holiday classic by S. J. Perelman: “Call Me Monty, and Grovel Freely”.

This year’s Airing of Grievances:


John Ashton is a great actor and because of your trivial tastes he barely had any notable work between Midnight Run and Gone Baby Gone. Shame.

It is your poor judgment that allows for all these awful commercials during sport matches. Especially from the Ansheiser Busch Beer Beverage company.

If I see one more tv program that is about some kind of minor social disagreeable moment or is about some kind of niche hobby and it has “wars” in the title, I’m blaming you.

The esteemed writer E.S. Trott once said that absinthe makes the heart grow fonder. Well here we are, three quarters through the bottle and I’m still aggravated. That’s what she gets for not writing a follow-up to her crackerjack novel, “The Four Wonders of Irma Papercrepe”.

It is thoroughly laid at your foot this terrible premise of the Honey Boo child.

Who in the hell could be responsible for Mitt Romney getting as many votes as he did? You guessed it – Frank Stallone. (Credit Norm MacDonald with that one).

You’re always going on about “Breaking Bad”. “Breaking Bad”. “breaking bad”. “you gotta watch breaking bad.” Fine.  I did. And it was great. But what’s your excuse?

Here they are. A thousand letters. All addressed to Santa Claus. And they all say you deserve a right Bronx raspberry this year.

Are you responsible for this car parked on my block that hums like some kind of musical instrument with its strange chord progression? Or is it the mad scientist with the dredlocks who lives across the street? Probably the latter.

“What’s in your glass, crum bumb?” “Buttermilk!”. That line’s from Some Like It Hot. Could you have written that? Hardly.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Metz @ Generation Records

Metz; Dirty Old Women
@ Generation Records
New York, NY - December 18, 2012

I will not use this review to rant about today's teenagers and twenty year olds who speak like they live on Rodeo Drive and are devoid of authentic human emotions and didn't even go to this show because they were into the band. I will not use this review to rant about today's teenagers and twenty year olds who speak like they live on Rodeo Drive and are devoid of authentic human emotions and didn't even go to this show because they were into the band. I will not use this review to rant about today's teenagers and twenty year olds who speak like they live on Rodeo Drive and are devoid of authentic human emotions and didn't even go to this show because they were into the band. I will not use this review to rant about today's teenagers and twenty year olds who speak like they live on Rodeo Drive and are devoid of authentic human emotions and didn't even go to this show because they were into the band..

Somewhere in the nether regions of the hardest, loudest, purest sounds of rock n' roll, is the nexus of punk and metal. The three chord crunch of melody is there but is kicked with that extra special throaty monster and occasional sludge-down of metal. Metz technically fall on the garage side of things (more so than a similar band they recall - the once-mega-hyped Pissed Jeans) but damn there sure is a lot of metal going on. There's a lot of Husker Du too. It all adds up to something borderline excellent. These riffs are incredible. They are a fantastic live band. They are especially fantastically live in a basement surrounded by vinyl records. This is what it is all about and other cliches.

Dirty Old Women are much more metal. Garage metal? Is that a genre? It should be. There. It is. This band is in that genre. If you like this sort of thing, then this was good. Which is how I feel about most forms of metal.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Matisyahu @ Terminal 5

Matisyahu; Danny Zamir Band
@ Terminal 5
December 15, 2012 - New York, NY

9 years ago Christmas Eve, I was taken to Southpaw - the now closed Brooklyn club that for a little while was the be-all of New York rock music. I went there on that night to accompany a friend who had become a severely practicing Jew of a highly devout nature. He knew that while yours truly had abandoned everything about my own Judaism except for Yiddish mannerisms and the pastrami on rye, that I was into the rock n' roll music. And here - at this Chanukah show - was a rockin' orthodox (Chasidic even?) Jewish reggae rock punk going by the moniker of Matisyahu. I figured I had a lot to say about that night but the archives tell me I said this:

An orthodox Jewish reggae rapper. I am not kidding. And he was good.

That's it. That's all I had to say. It was true. But that was it. I don't know what mitigated any elaboration: limitations of my affection for reggae rock? The alienating feeling from the orthodoxy around me? It wasn't the fact that he was some mainstream hit. That came later. In fact, I wasn't happy about that. But that was early 2006 and you can see the infantile societal bitterness at work in the shoddy writing.

Now we are almost at 2012. It's Chanukah again. Here we are again. But things have changed and changed again. Matisyahu is residually popular from a moment in the sun. He's also no longer the same kind of Jew. Or is he? He shaved the beard this year and now looks like he's about to manage Arsenal in a league match. But the songs are the same. The entourage remains a mix of professional jammers (Dub Trio), hip hoppers, and yes still a contingent of orthodox/Chasidic practitioners. And while the records have become thoroughly packaged pop music for the suburban youth, the live show still demonstrates that Matthew Paul Miller - gift of god or not - is a good egg with a good soul in the name of good music.

But speaking of that suburban youth. Could be my age and my own personal issues or feelings was a bit off-putting to be surrounded by very large segment of babes-in-the-woods, lost-in-the-city young Americans who appeared to mostly be there for the Born Again-like spirituality of the faith they were born into, meeting their cursory love of Hip Hopped up music. The appearance of underage tramps, who weren't even doing it right, was almost as unacceptable as the appearance of clearly nebbishy Woody Allen-type neurotics thinking they are Mossad bad asses and that somehow justified the popped-up ballcaps twisted to the side and frequent renderings of "yo" peppering their speech. No.

Danny Zamir leads a jazz ensemble, running through a cross of Middle Eastern sounds and Kenny G. He also threw around the "yo"'s but he gets a pass because he actually contributed something to the night.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 65: “Get Your Head Out of the Past”

The Sonic Parthenon Show – Episode 65: “Get Your Head Out of the Past”

“Shut Your Mouth” by Big Ups

Set 1
“Bag of Bones” by Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
“2 Bit Blues” by Kid Koala
“What Do You Do When You Are Lonesome” by Wanda Jackson
“I Swung the Election” by Citizens Band
“That Old Dustbowl” by the Dustbowl Revial

Set 2
“Want It Back” by Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra
“All Kinds of Guns” by Tilly & the Wall
“Float” by Pacific Air
“Fall Away (featuring Norah Jones)” by Wax Poetic

Set 3
“Cry for Judas” by the Mountain Goats
“Labrador” by Aimee Mann
“Hard One to Know (live at KEXP)” by Benjamin Gibbard
“Atlas Hands” by Benjamin Francis Leftwich
“Unfinished” by Ben Sollee

Set 4
“Long to Live” by Metric
“Death Rays” by Gibraltar
“Secret Days” by School of Seven Bells
“Must Land Running” by Stepdad

Set 5
“Blood Red Youth” by California Wives
“Bird in a Cage” by Lost Brothers
“Through and Through” by My Bubba and Mi
“What’s Your Name” by No
“Borrowed Time” by Parquet Courts

“What is Worse” by Cate Le Bon

X; The Reverend Horton Heat @ Irving Plaza

X; The Reverend Horton Heat; Not in the Face
@ Irving Plaza
New York, NY - November 30, 2012

Two bands that immediately come to mind when I think of shaping my sensibilities about rock n' roll are X and the Reverend Horton Heat. But beyond that, the pomade, and the same love of punkabilly speed, there isn't really any way to find a tie between them except that of course it would make a perfect dream bill if they played together. And so here we are.

The aforementioned speed and the riffs are the most obvious ties but the songwriting matters more with these punks than your average ones. You already know this to be the case with X. John and Exene's post-beat poetry, in their own melodies, set against Billy and DJ's rock n' roll fury,  carried the X signature. But the words of Horton, perhaps more surprising, matter just as much to their songs. Occasionally subversive and winking, often times honest and sincere, Mr. Heath doesn't even walk a line of some kind. And with JIMBO on the unrelenting upright, that's just about all you need right there.

Somehow it worked out that in all these years I've only seen the Rev once before while I've seen X many times. So then I don't feel guilty that my excitement seemed to have built more and peaked more for the Rev. Going through one song from each of their records - and to my amazement, it dawned me that I actually owned all the records and knew every song they played - Horton did the equivalent of "playing all the hits" as part of a slapdash 25 year retrospective. It was incredible.

X in turn now look on 35-plus years of existence and also do the equivalent of "playing all the hits" to a devoted following of peers and rock n' roll children of other parents. Wiser than their years 35 years ago, and wiser still now, that makes them cooler than you...still. There was also a very happy vibe to the set, not something unfamiliar to an X show, but not something always as obvious. Exene and the band have good reasons to be so happy and it makes us happy too.

Between X and the Rev, a phrase churns in the coconut: Happy punks. Good lord, who knew?

Meanwhile, opening act Not in the Face didn't slouch. These Austin kids put on a wallop - even their Kings of Leon-style ballads were satisfactory. But their prime delivery was the three chord goodness - especially covers of "Ain't That A Shame" and "20th Century Boy", the latter of which it has been scientifically proven changes the chemistry of bodies (for the better) in the presence of the opening riff.