Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I caught a set-list from a recent B2S show in NYC off Brooklyn Vegan and was floored…tracks like Kicked it in The Sun, Stab and Time-Trap. My cousin Danny will tell you...I’ve been waiting to hear Time-Trap live for a decade. Every show we would go to in NYC I would be “that guy” yelling out (booze on breath) “Tiiiiiiime Traaaaaaaap” constantly. Its worked only a few times in my life…one time at a Lemonheads show I yelled out “Frying Pan” and Evan responded “I can do that”. I think it worked at a Quasi show at the Knitting Factory once as well for “All Bent Out of Shape” a rare gem. Again I digress.
I thought I knew what to expect by looking at prior setlists. I almost wished I didn’t see the NYC set-list prior cause I was pretty blown away from the Philly set. Here is is:
- Distopian Dream Girl
- Nowhere Lullaby
- Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
- Wherever You Go
- Nowhere Nothin Fuckup
- Stop The Show
- Planting Seeds
- Untrustable/Part 2 (About Someone Else)
- The Weather
- Goin' Against Your Mind
The crowd was amazing. Young, old...me. They were so into it. Doug made a point to mention to the crowd how awesome they were and that the NYC crowds that he just played to nights before absolutely sucked. Knowing that NYC crowds in general suck from my 8+ years of going to shows there...I knew he was being sincere and it wasnt "lip-service" ("Hello Cleveland!")
The biggest highlights for me was Nowhere Nothin' Fuck-up and Sidewalk. I normally wasnt to thrilled with Goin Against Your Mind off the YIR album...however as a live ENCORE...un-fucking real. Its absolutely floored me (see also: "Oops, I crapped my pants").
They played the full catalog which is always refreshing as no one wants to hear a live version of the new album. However, the new album is SOLID and the tracks live sounded great. Sadly...no Time Trap...oh well...next time. It is truly my white-whale.
Happy Turkeyday kiddos.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
(fingers in ears, eyes closed, stomping feet) LALALALALALALALALALAICANTHEARYOUICANTHEARYOUICANTHEARYOU.
Remember when the Walkmen were on The OC?...multiply that feeling x100.
Remember when the Doobie Brothers were on What's Happening?...subtract that feeling x100.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
(I told you Pitchfork was still my place for news)
So that’s what Miles from Beulah has been doing the past 5 years…growing out his hair and hanging out at Hooters…with…with hooters. “Miles Kurosky – Owl Whisperer. “
I know I’ve peppered Beulah into a few of my posts. They are one of those great bands that remind me of college/early NY. I first heard tracks off of “Handsome Western States” on WVUD while driving around Newark, DE delivering pizza (Grottos) my junior year. There was no iPod auxiliary jack (or CD player for that matter) in the Ford Escort/Pizza Warmer hybrid they had me pilot. Wild West kids…wild western Delaware.
HWS was such a hard album to find if I remember correctly. I think it was an Elephant6 release which didn't have much distribution at the time...let alone to college indies. I scoured Bert’s on Main St but I think I ended up picking it up in Philly. Great story Tom…cheeeesus.
Friday, October 2, 2009
On a similar note, their “Top x of x time period” lists are always way off the mark in my opinion. Currently on the site they are doing a “Top 500 Tracks of the 2000’s” ( http://tinyurl.com/qn9ygo ) or what they view as the top 500 influential songs given the past decade. They also have many other related articles and lists including the top 200 albums of the past decade which oddly enough I completely agree with…aside from a few rankings in question.
Now back to the issue at hand. Someone high up at Pitchfork (I’m acting like its Globex Corp.) or Mr. Pitchfork’s son/daughter (Pete or Penny Pitchfork) must absolutely love the band The Knife cause I feel like they’re on every top whatever-the-fuck list they put out…and they suuuuuuuuuuck. Antony & the Johnsons is a close second. One year I think two of the Knife’s albums were in the top 5 for the year. So I thought…wow…these guys must be good. Notsomuch. I know Pitchfork doesn’t like to make obvious ranking choices but peppering in obscurity for obscurity’s sake or pop-music singles for pop-music singles sake does not do anyone any good. You shouldn’t reward artists who cater to what would sound good at a pro basketball game during a timeout. I used to give Pitchfork the benefit of the doubt as they are music experts (and honestly…I still do) but once you read the disparities below you’ll see how I’m starting to have doubts. Keep in mind…this what they are saying is the top 500…FIVE HUNDRED SONGS OF THE PAST 10 YEARS….top 500….last ten years.
KEY MATCHUPS IN QUESTION - (#Ranking. Artist – “Song” vs #Ranking. Artist – “Song”)
1. Outcast – “Bombs Over Baghdad” vs 301. The Shins – “Kissing The Lipless” (SHOULD BE #1…or at least in the top 10…301? Crickets!)
Maybe it’s just me but the list seems to have too much LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, Robyn and of course…Outcast. Don’t get me wrong most all of the pop-songs I detail above are no doubt important and should be a part of this list as they have had relevance across the decade…I mean…especially Jurgen Paape – “So Weit Wie Noch Nie”…no one could deny the catchiness of that one (eyes rolling like a slot machine). Seriously, just because I personally don’t like them doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be included or are important (except for Jurgen…I mean…c’mon). Outcast songs like “Hey Ya”, “Ms. Jackson” and “Bombs Over Bagdad” are great tracks. I love them…any normal human being would. “I am foreaaaaal”. I only have issue with the ranking…I just have issues in general. Bombs Over Baghdad…the top song that defines the decade? I’m sorry….am I being completely biased to rock songs here?
TRACK MIS-STEPS: No tracks on the list were off of the latest Fucked Up album? They threw an older track on for indie cred I guess. No New Pornographers songs off of Twin Cinema? Sing me Spanish Techno? Bones of an Idol?
BANDS LEFT OFF THE LIST ALLTOGETHER: Mates of State, The Anniversary (No DANB tracks?), Quasi, Maritime or Promise Ring (No Electric Pink EP tracks? That was 2000), Stephen Malkmus, Stereolab, Blood Brothers, Matt & Kim, Pilot to Gunner, Radio 4, SLOAN (you have something against Canada?), Rainer Maria, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Beulah. Really…no Stereolab…nothing off Sound Dust. Really? WTF LMAOOL OMG Pitchfork.
My friends will tell you that I enjoy making people mixes…often. I do repeat bands within the mix on RARE occasions. In terms of the top 500 songs of the decade so many tracks could have been cut from bands who appear multiple times on the list (albeit good bands) and so many great tracks could have been included from the aforementioned bands left off.
I could go on but I feel so jaded that there is a sense of physical pain. I’m not an angry person…but when it comes to music...I can get spicy. I just don’t understand the logic applied in terms of what songs are considered more important or more influential than others not to mention the bands that were left out entirely. Please give me a job at Pitchfork and we can discuss…as frienemies.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Some bands that have been around awhile, 25 years or so and still tour (less likely to record new tracks) usually sound like garbage…more pop…lyrics lose complexity…tempo decreases. The term “going through the motions” comes to mind. They play the songs that made them popular as an opener and encore but they are usually a lot slower than the originals. Then there is Sonic Youth.
When I heard the Sonic Youth track 100% when I was a kid I thought. “Ummm this is cool”. That was probably the first track I ever heard…then I heard Dirty Boots and said to myself “Umm holy shit this rocks”. They had a way of closing tracks so kick-ass. Then I proceeded to pick up the albums Goo and then Dirty (on cassette tape). I especially liked Goo as this was a nickname I had for a brief period when I was a pre-teen (don’t ask). I listened to them constantly as I delivered pizza in high school. I must be honest that I didn’t dig Kim Gordon’s voice at first…that quickly changed when I heard Kool Thing. Man she’s awesome. Her duet (so to speak) with Chuck-D was reminiscent of Debbie Harry, Blondie-esque but for a new generation. Daydream Nation I didn’t get into later although it came before those other two albums mentioned. Teenage Riot is hands down one of the top songs of all time in my opinion. When I lived in a dingy (that’s being polite) basement on 2nd St in the East Village with my cuz we would go to this local bar called The Library for happy-hour pretty much every other Friday. We would throw in 3 or so bucks and would play the same songs every single time…mine were Minot Threat and Misfits. Danny’s were Pavement and Sonic Youth…no other song but Teenage Riot.
Sonic Youth has so many albums that on the later records I would only pick and chose tracks to download as most of them sucked in my opinion. They were too much of what they are famous for which is long track times filled with feedback. Rather Ripped was refreshing as the tracks had some structure and vocals to them (Download - Reena). I remember seeing them when I was in high school with Pavement, Bosstones, 311 etc at the Philly WDRE fest in the early 90’s. They headlined but their set sucked as all they played were 10min long songs filled with distortion (that’s what I remember). As a teenager I didn’t really “get” what they were trying to do with a live show. I was filled with angst. “Whatevs”. I wonder if that tour many years ago brought them together with former Pavement bassist Mark Ibold…who is now a permanent SY band member. Hmmm. I heard them live two other times. Once my cuz and I couldn’t get into the Central Park Summerstage show so we listened from outside the fence…so good. The last time was literally a year ago on Labor Day weekend when I saw them at the final Macarren Park Pool show in Brooklyn. That weekend actually spawned the Cugerock blog. They were so freakin good. The songs they played were across the catalog and the sound was amazing. Thurston played guitar behind his back for Gods sake. Such a great night. That brings me to their latest album The Eternal.
Like I said, Sonic Youth has such an extensive catalog of music. My bro in law Rob, Eric or my cousin Danny could definitely school me on SY history. I only have experienced a small chunk which had a definite impact on my teenage years….stepped away…and now is back in a significant way. The staying power and relevance of this band is unparalleled. They are an influence on countless bands from mainstream to indie. Most bands from the 80s that are still “on the scene” just plain suck now - U2 I’m looking in your direction. “Blackberry loves U2”…great well Tommy doesn’t. I “Used2”. Ha!
Happy Labor Day kiddos.
Monday, August 31, 2009
1. I heard "Two Weeks" in CVS over the in-store radio station (file under "wtf")
That is all.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
For me personally, the one thing that makes the Pernice Brothers different from any other band I listen to (and I listen to many) is the lyrics. The lyrics really get to me. My girlfriend laughs because I am definitely a “tunes first, ask questions about the lyrics later” kind of guy. Plus unlike her I don’t read many “books” per se. I read a lot of content on the web, city papers and magazines…that counts right? Its called AADD…look it up. The music is important of course but Joe Pernice tells a short story in every song which has always drawn me closer to his personal story. The songs/stories often deal with women, money, love, drugs, booze, social standing etc but not in the typical rock-star lyrical formula you’re used to. It’s hard to explain but for me personally, the songs are very relatable yet unrealistic in the same vein. They remind me of situations I’ve been in throughout my adult life but I couldn’t give exact matching contextual detail if you asked me to. You’ll see when you download tracks like “Blinded by the Stars”, “One Foot in the Grave”, “PCH One”, “How Can I Compare”, “Clear Spot, “Working Girls” and “Somerville”. I’ve been trying to keep tabs on Joe Pernice as the years went on hoping to catch a show. After the last album was released, every so often I’d read an article about Joe moving to Canada (he lives in Toronto) or him guest lecturing at UMass (he has an MFA in creative writing) or some other side project. So when I read that Joe had written a book and more importantly was playing music to compliment/support it I was pretty psyched. There were two weekend dates in close proximity to me geographically. Friday at the Bowery on NYC or Saturday at the Tin Angel in Philly. I attended the Tin Angel performance…
I had never been to the Tin Angel. The venue is located in the Old City section of Philadelphia. It is a small upstairs venue with table seating/singular waitress service…a far cry from the sweaty venues I normally frequent (aka it was refreshing). Seeing as Joe played at the Bowery Ballroom the night before I guess I expected something slightly smaller but nothing like this…the place was tiny. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I thought in the back of my mind that Joe just might get up there solo with an electric acoustic. I was right. We walked in and he had a small table set up by the sound board with copies of his books, the IFSGWIS album and some Pernice Brothers recordings. He also had some eco-friendly cloth grocery bags with his label logo (“Ashmont Recordings”) on them. The opening act was a comedy duo consisting of two brothers from Mass called “The Walsh Brothers” (I think?). Pretty hilarious improv. Then Joe came on stage. Surprisingly he had a noticeable Boston accent. His singing voice sounds 180 degrees different then his speaking voice. Honestly…I was scared as you know when you really get into a band but never had seen them perform (or even any photos) so you have a certain expectation of how they’ll look or act? The way they appear in your mind when you hear the tracks on your iPod or in your car. You are afraid “the real deal” will ruin it. I know it sounds silly but it’s true…at least in my case. Luckily Joe looked and acted how I expected. He was a little more average-Joe (no pun intended) in personality than I thought but it really didn’t matter.
The whole show was kinda mellow and laid back that I felt like he was playing on my friends back porch or something. There also wasn’t any mention of the city he was playing in. There wasn’t any cliché greetings like “Hello Philly”, “Great to be back in Philly” or “Philly…hell of a town”. This was again…refreshing. However he was very conversational with the crowd. He got up and joked around, explained what he was going to do which was read some passages from his book then play some of the covers from the album. He opened with a passage from the book. The story of the novel revolves around a young NYC struggling musician who meets the love of his life then leaves the city her after one day of marriage and heads to Cap Cod/South Shore Boston. The story goes back and forth from the past to the present (which reminds me of 500 Days of Summer). Of course this is how the book is described and what I felt from the readings. I haven’t read it yet. The passages were hilarious and well written (a la Joe Pernice). One passage involves a funny story about Joe meeting Lou Barlow from Sebadoh/Dinosaur Jr outside the late Brownies music club in NYC. Apparently in real-life Joe called Lou and told him he was putting him in the novel but not to worry because he made him out to be a good guy. Lou basically said to Joe – Thanks for the heads up but you can write me in as a total dick if you want.
I’m calling it now. If the entire book is anything like what he read that night…this will be turned into a High-Fidelity-esque indie film years from now. Again…just a hunch…I have to read it first. Joe actually makes reference to High Fidelity in some interviews (that he’s trying to stay away from that comparison) and is apparently friends with Nick Hornby.
The covers he played are amongst his favorite songs that had a significant impact on his life and thus translated well to the story line of the book. I heard of most of the bands but never heard any of the tracks he played except for the Sebadoh track “Soul and Fire”. There was one song “I’m Your Puppet” by Bobby & James Purify that I particularly enjoyed. Most of the bands were obscure and pretty old school (in my eyes at least). I guess the Pernice Brothers have an older skewing fan base judging by the attendees at the show which were in their late 30s/early 40s. I think we were the youngest people there besides the waitress. Given the press I’ve seen and the Gilmore Girls association I thought maybe he appealed to a younger sect as well. Why do I even care? All I’m saying is that it was just noticeable. Regardless the songs were great. I shouldn’t judge. I’m a Blink-182 fan (dead serious).
Then after Joe was done with the book reading and song covers he said he was going to play a few Pernice Brothers songs. My eyes lit up. TOTALLY unexpected. He picked a few tracks he thought would translate better to acoustic versions including “How Can I Compare” which has significance to me personally and one of my favorites so I was pretty blown away. After the show was over I immediately bought a book (yeah) and walked over to Joe to introduce myself and get it signed. He was a really nice guy. I was completely star-struck…you’d think after seeing celebs on pretty much a monthly basis living in NYC for 8 years I’d play it cool. It’s different when you meet someone who created something that has such a significant impact on your life. He asked me who I should make the autograph out to and I said “Tommy” (like I’m fucking 10 years old). My girlfriend seeing that I was incapacitated, stepped in and asked Joe if he could make it out to “Cuge”. Thanks T. I might as well of had a bib on…however I hope I never lose that level admiration for musicians…at any age.
BOOK EXCERPT: http://tinyurl.com/lcc8w8
DOWNLOAD THESE: Somerville, Blinded By the Stars, PCH One, Clear Spot, How Can I Compare, Baby in Two, Lightheaded
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
1. Architecture in Helsinki - Do The Whirlwind: Get out you Turbo Grafix, a packet of Big League Chew and some Garbage Pail Kids. Love this video...current yet nostalgic.
2. Mogwai - Batcat: Such an intense track and the creepy video matches the song so well...I really haven't seen a better fit.
3. Blur - Coffee & TV: How can anyone not identify with this guy?
4.The Eagles of Death Metal - I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News): Good cameos and a great song...man I wish I could pull off a mustache and aviators.
5. Every Time I Die - Ebolarama: One of my favorite hardcore bands from Buffalo NY. Fuck disco...hardcore flows so much better at the roller rink.
6. Belle & Sebastian - Step Into My Office Baby: Ha! I can like...so relate to this. Reminds me of my first job in NY. "Cheeky Scottish humor"
Monday, July 27, 2009
1. RUSH “Roll The Bones” Tour (or was it Presto?) - The Tower (Philly) - 1980something – My first show EVER (My aunt Joanne instructed my cuz Danny & I “not to breathe” while in the venue – marijuana reference…we had no clue what she was talking about at the time)
2. Death From Above 1979 @ Bowery Ballroom (NYC) 2005 – I threw my full cup of beer to the ground I was so pumped…my voice was shot for a week
3. Quasi, Elliot Smith and Sebadoh @ The Astoria in London 1999 (Study abroad…the line up from heaven in my book…one of a few times I saw Elliot…once in Philly/NYC/London…my friend Cathy and I bailed on a class mandated theatre outing…umm I think it was worth it…f-the Old Vic).
4. Guided By Voices + The Strokes + David Cross – Apollo Theatre – NEW YEARS EVE - Harlem NYC 2001 - Need I say more? This was exactly what we needed after such a shit-September (thanks Osama). Unfortunately that was the only time I’ve been to the Apollo. Tried to go to one of those Morrissey shows but the Moz as always was sold out)
5. Any Pavement or Bouncing Souls show ever seen…most taking place at the Troc in the early to mid 90s
6. Sonic Youth – Last McCarren Park Pool Show – August 2008 - The term “still got it” is insulting…the night was steamy but clear…rocked so hard…Thurston played like he was 18yo…”I love you Kim” was a common outburst by men and women
7. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Bowery 2002 – JSBE are one of the top live acts I ever seen…Elliot Smith came out midway through the show as a surprise to debut some new stuff…it was the last time I saw him before he passed
8. Blur - The Black Cat - DC - 1996 (Favorite brit rock band of all time…I wept)
9. Swervedriver/Hum @ Irving Plaza (NYC) 1998 – Chris…remember?…so seeeeeck
10. The Quasi Tour NYC 2002 w/ Danny Cuge – Brownies, Knitting Factory, Maxwells and Coney Island for Siren Fest (Manhattan/Brookyn/Hoboken NJ)
11. The Charlatans – Irving Plaza 1996 (I was obessed with these guys in high-school. I think this was before their keyboardist Rob Collins passed away…I had foot surgery the day before..it was a delicate situation but I managed to stay up front)
12. The Thermals – First Unitarian Church Philly 2007/Bowery 2006 – Both Unreal (The Philly show was on my b-day….yaaaaay Tommy)
13. Morrissey – Electric Factory – 1998 - I felt like a little girl….he covered “Shoplifters Unite”
14. The Lemonheads – Black Cat - DC – 1990somethin (Car/Button/Cloth Tour?) - Wasn’t that crowded…my friend Paula and my sis got on stage and sang with Evan Dando…hilarious…absolutely hilarious
15. Mates of State – Knitting Factory – New Years Eve 2006 (NYC) – They Covered Anne Murray’s “Danny’s Song”…nuff said.
16. Mars Volta/The Rapture 2003 - Roseland – Rapture was so much better - I was on crutches and I think my girlfriend at the time broke up with me the very next night…”swish!”
17. Weezer – The Roseland – 2002 - So good…they played a boatload off of Pinkerton and the blue album…not much off of the crappy green album which just came out
18. Blood Brothers – Irving Plaza 2006 - Rawkous. God I’m so pissed they broke up…along with DFA79…The Kinison…the list goes on.
19. Beastie Boys, Roots & Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – OLD Phila Civic Center 1992? - We got really drunk in Ron B’s minivan before the show…Creepy Rick P puked on the side of a Wawa
20. H2O, Bosstones, Warzone – 1996 UMD Student Union – I chatted with Dickey Barrett after the show and Warzone ended up staying in our apartment as my roommate was the college radio program director…and they were broke….and they were definitely not acting “straight edge”
21. Hall and Oates & Chicago at the Sony E-Center/Tweeter Center/Susquehanna Bank Center/Partridge in a Pear Tree Center – Camden 1998? - We were the only people under 40 there but god damn are those guys are legends…Chicago played all of their old tracks with a horn section…incredible
22. Fucked Up, Pissed Jeans – Kung Fu Necktie (Philly) – 2009 – See my post from 1/29/09 & 2/2/09
23. New Pornographers - 9:30 Club (DC) - Winter 2005 - Twin Cinema Tour, Neko on vocals, my sister was 7-months preggers with my niece "Rosie" so her husband and I were holding onto her belly with one hand...beers in the other...one of those shows I'll never forget. Chris...remember when Rob tackled an evergreen tree in the park after the show? Sorry Amy. "Three Men and a Baby...almost"
Those are the top 23 off the top of my fat head….in no particular order except for maybe the top 3. I’m sure there’s a ton I am forgetting. There were a number of SKA shows I went to in the early-mid 90s but nothing crazy comes to mind. In terms of most recent (in the past 12 months), I’ve seen M83, Phoenix, Walkmen, Thermals (Philly & NYC shows) among a few others. These were top-notch shows and the first time I had seen M83 or Phoenix but nothing so life-changing that I would throw it on the aforementioned list. Phoenix would have made it up there if we hadn’t missed the first 3 or 4 songs. TIP – If you are going to see a band at Terminal 5…get there at 9pm no later. There are many shows coming up in the late summer/early fall I want to hit up including Animal Collective, Bouncing Souls/Lifetime, Joe Pernice, Slackers, Dinosaur Jr and another round of Phoenix shows so there will definitely be “Volume II” of this post…when Im 50. Hopefully I can keep this going till I’m an old man and die. Yeah…I’ll be that guy at a show.
(In the “future”)
Kid #1: “Who’s that geezer in the back?”
Kid #2: “I know…so lame…doesn’t he know that Green Day broke up in the 20’s”
Kid#1: “Hahahah what a loser…you want a hit of these neon space-dust-crystals”
Kid #2: “Totes McGoats bro...let's get stoopid”
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Thank you boys. If you come state-side I guarantee universal harmony all over the world will be achieved (whatever the f that means). Now if only Obama could open the shows with some witty stand-up. “Good evening ladies and germs. How about them Blur boys huh? (cheers) Aaaaanybody here from the USA? (thunderous cheers)”. Hope/Change.
Friday, June 19, 2009
(eyes closed, fingers-crossed with a rabbits-foot dangling from my wrist) Please have Roxichord on the new album…oh PLEEEEEEASE. I miss you Sam. Your guitar skills are great but it’s the Roxichord (distorted clavinet-ish, guitar sounding organ thingy) which hooked me from the beginning (Our Happiness is Guaranteed…first Quasi song ever heard…but that’s a whole other post). I know you dig it out for live shows but I need some new tracks son. Bottom line…we need another Sword of God. A live Quasi show is something to be seen my friends (saw Sam hump the keyboards a few times). Just seeing Janet drum in general is a thing of beauty.
Fun Facts: I saw Quasi so many times when I lived in NYC that my cousin Danny and I (Cugini means “cousins” in Italian btw…look it up) went on the “Quasi Tour 2002” seeing them in Manhattan (Brownies), Brooklyn (Coney Island) and Jersey (Maxwell’s) over a 5-day period. Here is the set list I swiped from under Sam's Roxichord after the Brownies show.
We were going to talk to Sam & Janet…but we were pretty hammered. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a white loose-leaf sheet of paper under the keyboards. So I went for it! (cougar sound). I was acting all stealthy-like (sweating, drunk, heart racing, giggling). It was the best feeling I’ve ever had. Second best feeling - When the opening band was playing at Maxwell’s (during Cugini Quasi Tour ’02) I realized that I was standing next to Janet Weiss (Quasi/Sleater Kinney/SM & the Jicks). We were sort of off to the right towards the back of the crowd. In a bold move I brushed-up against her (my lower forearm to her upper – she’s kinda short). Only so I could say to my friends “I touched Janet Weiss” (sounds creepier then it is….oooor not). I’ve been bragging about it ever since. Pathetic. Oh and I also shook Heidi Klum’s hand (not a joke). Been bringing that one up for years. (see also: pathetic).
A year prior to the CQT02 we saw Quasi at the Knitting Factory down in lower Manhattan on Leonard Street…not even a week after 9/11. They just started letting people back down below Delancey St. I’ll never forget the smell (like turpentine mixed with gasoline and burnt rubber x1000) before and after the show. During the show I didn’t really think of what was going on outside the venue. Thank God for music. xoxo
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
If you haven’t seen Phoenix live you’ll be happy to know that they seem to be ever adding US tour dates. Unfortunately most are sold out at the moment. Thank God (more like "Thank Rob") I am going to one of the NYC shows.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
I was kind of a late bloomer with this band, not really getting into them until the late 90s. Once I heard Hyper Enough live I couldn’t get it out of my head and was on a mission to pick up whatever album it was on...turns out it was HWTSCI (my personal favorite album of the band). It was the early Promise Ring, Modest Mouse or Ben Folds Five effect in where once I heard one album I had to get them all YTD recordings immediately. Superchunk kind of dropped off the scene as a band after 2001’s Here’s To Shutting Up came out. They (two of the band members I believe) concentrated on running their own label MERGE (such a solid roster of artists) and subsequently I had thought the band would never record again. I’m pretty glad that they did. Please pick this EP up whether you’re a long time fan or newcomer. A new full length is still TBD but look for them on tour this summer (7/17 with Versus @ South Street Seaport NYC).
“I can’t hold my breath anymore, I stopped swimming and learned to surf”
DOWNLOAD THIS: Learned to Surf, Screw it Up, Hyper Enough, Driveway To Driveway, Iron On, Detroit Has a Skyline
Friday, May 15, 2009
Many musicians have whored-out their talents to support advertisers since the beginning of time. Being a music freak and working professionally in the advertising field…my senses are heightened, Whether it’s personalities in the ads themselves - Chris Brown (boooo) endorsing Double-Mint Gum, Santogold,/Julian Casablanca’s endorsing Converse and MXPX endorsing Pepsi or songs used in place of a “jingle” such as The Postal Service endorsing UPS, Blur endorsing Levis/Nissan or Of Montreal plugging Outback Steakhouse (aka - oh my god if I hear that one more time I’m going to murder…a bloomin’ onion…dammit) . The most notable are typically car commercials as there really isn’t a lot to communicate expect the car driving in an unrealistic setting (outdoorsy or futuristic). There no need for detailed ad copy so attention grabbing music is key for sustainability.
I used to be a complete snob when hearing these songs, crying “sell-out!” I was visibly upset when I heard Modest Mouse in a mini-van commercial back before Johnny joined the band and more recently with Interpol in some cologne ad? Then I reached my 30s and realized that musicians do not make a ton of money (at least not consistently over the long term) unless you’re U2, Coldplay or Madonna. A little extra cash (depending on the campaign you can make a great deal of money….after you split it with the record company and ad firm). Most are done tastefully (Mates of State for Royal Caribbean) but with others you totally want to throw up and burn your records (Weezer cover for Sandals Resorts).
I think I finally let go when I saw the recent ad campaign for Cadillac staring Kate Walsh. She’s all sexy and soft spoken then slams down the pedal in her stilettos while the thundering riff of Hum’s 90s epic trak Stars thunders as the sports car speeds down the highway. There are two ways I could have taken this.
1. "WTF…now some yuppie car company is having that Grey's Anatomy spin-off chick pedal their product using our beloved alt-rock gods Hum? That’s bollocks."
2. "Holy shit…I forgot how f-ing kickass that song is and revolutionary that band was…time to throw all of my Hum albums into a playlist. Thanks advertising! (giving the double thumbs-up to the camera)"
#1 = 22 year old TommyC
#2 = 32 year old TommyC
Friday, May 8, 2009
OLD: “Start Choppin” from DINOSAUR JR (off Where You Been in honor of my last post)
SLIGHTLY WORN: “Cheap Champagne” from SLOAN (see my album review of Sloan’s Parallel Play in the “Top Ten ’08 Albums” post on 12/19/08)
NEW: “Learned to Surf” from SUPERCHUNK (off the Leaves in the Gutter EP – Full Cugerock review next week)
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I was never crazy about the old-old albums with the Lou Barlow/Murph line-up (Bug, You’re Living All Over Me, Dinosaur) but the last album Beyond (2007) with them reunited proved me wrong (download – Crumble). One of my vivid memories from high school was me trying to wire up boom-box speakers to my Suzuki Samurai car stereo so I could blast D-Jr's Where You Been album and more importantly the lead-off track Out There…I also felt compelled to blast Mudhoneys Suck You Dry. Such powerful tracks…I guess I’m a child of 90s alt rock. Seeing frontman J.Mascis play live has always been an experience I can’t really describe to people. You have to be there to witness it…however this video gives you a pretty close idea of the pure sensory overload you would experience. Do not let the grey hair fool you. If you are close to the stage…tears well up…the solos are so fucking powerful and skilled you are left with a gaping mouth…regardless whether you’ve ever played yourself. If you have played the guitar in the past, which my cousin Danny has, try to get up front to see what pedals Jay is using to get that sound. Danny & I once saw J.Mascis solo at the Mercury Lounge in NYC…yeah…small venue + loud guitars = awesome. Danny pushed toward to the front to get a glimpse of the hardware. Not sure if any conclusions were made. Danny?
WARNING: If you do have a chance to go see Dinosaur Jr live…please wear ear-plugs. There was a legend about a Lollapalooza show back in the 90’s where a man who was in the audience sued the band claiming that Dinosaur Jr was so loud that they literally blew-out his eardrums. I laughed at that story for a long time…siding with the band and dismissing the story as a gold digging scam…then I saw them live. Holy…
Friday, April 17, 2009
Werd up kiddos. THE 2ND ANNUAL RECORD STORE DAY IS TOMORROW!!! Please go out and support your local independent record stores. This is a fitting lead-in from my last post (thank you for pointing that out in advance Dominic. Go Flyers). With digital and mass market music distributors taking over, the smaller locally owned/operated record stores face big challenges to keep up. THEY NEED YOUR SUPPORT. This is the second annual record store day and there is so much going on I can only give you some highlights. There are countless rare split 7inches, collaborations/compilations, t-shirts, vinyl/CD re-issues, unreleased live material and in-store performances. Please check the official website (http://www.recordstoreday.com/ ) for participating shops in your area. If you live in the northeast here are some Philly/NYC notes on in store performances (I may have missed some so triple check the site):
- Generation Records NYC: BOUNCING SOULS ACOUSTIC!!!!!! (Not sure what that’s going to sound like but it’s the Souls so it should be pretty kick-ass?)
- Other Music NYC: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Prefuse 73 (again not sure how this will go live)
- Main Street Music PHILLY: Good Ol’ War (a newer version of CSNY in my opinion...should be cool live)
- AKA Music PHILLY: Smog (thanks Chris B)
RELEASES: Some special releases that deserve highlighting (sorry for the crude format):
Original EP 7" reissue
colored vinyl; 6 tracks from 1981
"War is Placebo/Booksmart"
7" - two exclusive tracks w/die cut sleeve
7" "What Love Can Do"/"A Night With The Jersey Devil"
packaged in clear sleeve with 3x5 photo
"French Navy" 7"
7" (RSD exclusive)
Cold War Kids
Live at Fingerprints 5 song EP
Split 10" picture disc
four songs, two unreleased and two new
Remix CD #2
Death Cab For Cutie
T-Shirt - exclusive design for Record Store Day
Hang You From the Heavens 7"
Jack White's new band! The debut release from both the Dead Weather and Third Man Records
7" "Wrong"/"Oh Well"
Dr. Dog/Floating Action
Split 7"- exclusive
El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez Lopez (Mars Volta)
Limited Edition Vinyl for RSD (3,000 pieces)
"Lorraine Lookout" 7"
two tracks, one unreleased
Flaming Lips/Black Keys
split 7" "Borderline"/"Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles"
Flight of the Conchords
"Pencils In The Wind"/"Albi The"
7" - two exclusive tracks w/die cut sleeve
Live from Park Ave 10" - 6 tracks
Live on KCRW 7"
two tracks, "While You Wait For The Others"/"He Hit Me"
Airstream Driver 7"
non-album b side
Guided By Voices
Hold On Hope LP
Three bonus tracks
Heaven & Hell
7" "Bible Black" / Neon Knights (Live)
Created exclusively for Record Store Day
7" "Mountain Song" / "Standing in the Shower…Thinking"
7" Mtn. Song/Standing In The Shower- Packaged in original replica picture sleeve
Jenny Lewis/Elvis Costello
7" --"Carpet Baggers"/"Go Away"
Never before available in the US
9 x 7" pack
A pack of nine 7"s
Loney Dear/Andrew Bird 7"
split 7" - hand-silk screened covers; tour & mail order item
T-Shirt - exclusive design for Record Store Day
7" "Kick Out The Jams"/"Motor City Is Burning"
Packaged in the original rare picture sleeve, first time available since 1969
"Help I'm Alive" 7" Picture disc
"Help I'm Alive"/"Help I'm A B-Side"
Walk Among Us LP
Pressed on 140 gram vinyl
7" --"Satelite Skin"/"Guilty Cocker Spaniels"
both tracks are brand new
My Morning Jacket
Celebracion De La Ciudad Natal
CD & 2 x 10" Vinyl - 4-14 Street, Vinyl one time shot. Recorded LIVE in LOUISVILLE
7" (live) "Temptation" / "Hurt" - as and A&B side.
Sugar Mountain Live at Canterbury House 1968 2LP
The special vinyl package
Falling Down Remix LP
Falling Down Remix LP
"Live in Germany 1988" LP
unreleased show from 1988
Poison The Well
Six track CD
6 track CD, taken from 2 7" singles that the band sells on the road, and an upcoming 7" single that will be out later this spring
10" vinyl series (see list of titles in NOTES)
THESE ARE BEING RELEASED EARLY FOR RSD: Drill, Creep, My Iron Lung, High & Dry, Fake Plastic Trees, Just, Street Spirit, Paranoid Android, Karma Police, No Surprises, Pyramid Song, 2+2=5
Live @ Fingerprints CD and CD/DVD Combo
Russian Circles/These Arms Are Snakes
Split !2 - Previously Unreleased songs on Clear Vinyl (1,000 pieces)
exclusive release ahead of their new album
7" single "Psychopathy Red"
packaged in special X-Files-style, "confidential" packaging
split 7" (RSD exclusive)
Sonic Youth/Jay Reatard
split 7" (RSD exclusive)
"Superstar Punani"/April 29, 1992" 7"
7" single with 2 live tracks, first time on vinyl
Taking Back Sunday
7" Carpathia/Catholic (live)
77 LP [reissue]
Pressed on 180 gram vinyl
7" "The Rake's Song"/"East India Lanes"
B-side, "East India Lanes" is unreleased
7" "The Headmaster Ritual" /"Oscillate Widly"
Never before available in the US as a 7" single.
7" "1969"/"Real Cool Time"
Packaged in the original rare picture sleeve
split 7" Get Down Stay Down (4 tracks unreleased)
T-Shirt - exclusive design for Record Store Day
Ashes of American Flags DVD
DVD is released with an exclusive window of two weeks for indie stores and mail order
Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs
It’s Blitz LP
vinyl version of forthcoming Yeah Yeah Yeahs CD
So much I am getting anxiety just looking at the offerings. Really…I’m experiencing shortness of breath.
GET OUT THERE AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT YA BEAUTIFUL SONSABITCHES!!!!!
ALSO - It doesn’t hurt that the weather on Saturday is going to be (singing) soooooooo sweet. Um in the northeast at least.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
OK...here’s the deal. I’ve been incredibly busy (which is good given the hell-hole that our economy is in…freaking consumers out will bolster confidence right?). I’ve listened to numerous albums in the past few weeks but I don’t have time to review them to you in the long (winded) format so here is the “short-short” version of a few…
Trail of Dead – Century of Self
Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
I’m gonna be honest. The “feeling” behind the cover of Neko Case’s latest album Middle Cyclone didn’t really match the sound in my mind. All I hear is “Barracuda” when I see that cover. Anyway, I listened to Neko’s solo work for the first time with this album. She is truly an amazing vocalist. I only knew her previous work with the New Pornographers with songs like Bones of an Idol on Twin Cinema and the title track off Challengers just to name a few. As for Middle Cyclone goes, it is a pleasant listen but lacks anything unique in my opinion. It’s a true Singer/Songwriter recording. The lyrics and harmonies in songs such as the opener This Tornado Loves You, Vengeance is Sleeping and The Pharaohs are sublime. I could have done without Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth (I hope that track was meant as a joke) and the 30minutes of “nature sounds” at the end. All in all I feel like this album is parallel to Jenny Lewis’s solo work. It’s nice and pretty and folksy and could be more easily played on your local adult contemporary (light hits) radio station than on some indie stream/satellite channel. I know many will disagree but I’m just being honest here. Download This: This Tornado Loves You, I’m an Animal, The Pharaohs
Von Bondies – Love, Hate & Then There’s You
Thursday – Common Existence