Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thursday - Full Collapse - 10th Anniversary Tour

I dreamed this day would come. This album anniversary tour thing seems to be the trend these days. I feel like the Pixies started it off with the Doolittle tour or Sonic Youth with Daydream Nation then the Flaming Lips, MMJ, Weezer and others followed.

When I first heard Thursdays Full Collapse it was a style like nothing had ever heard. The term "screamo" gets tossed around and stuck to tons MTV friendly bands these days but Thursday was the originator...and it was done well. At least for Full Collapse. I liked hardcore...I liked melodic punk...I liked hard rock...these guys combined the three in a way that wasn't prevalent amongst any bands back in 2001. Please pickup this album if you like hardcore rock and roll. The later albums were decent...but nothing could ever compare to Full Collapse. Its been a constant listen among my collection over the past 10 years. Can't wait to see this live.

They are also sharing this tour with Underoath...another great hardcore screamer...I think they are a christian band? Serious. I have a few of their albums...pretty intense.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pavement Tour Review - Philly (9/17/10) & Brooklyn 9/19/10)

Pavement has been one of those very impactful bands in terms of my young adult life. The first album I heard was Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain during my freshman year of highschool via my good buddy Matt. He would throw it in on our drive to lacrosse practice (so suburbs). I was immediately hooked, buying up any/all recordings and seeking out shows. Pavement was very obscure for the time (early/mid 90s) even falling out of the grunge and emerging indie scene. For Matt and I and a few of our friends Pavement was a band that fit our personality, the lyrics were ridiculous and the music was chaotic but so unique. We would be the rebels and throw them in at high-school parties when no one was looking and belt out the lyrics and blast them from our shitty cars while driving down to the beach over the summer. I have so many great memories of driving from the burbs and into Philly seeing Pavement multiple times at the Trocadero. Getting so pumped that before the encore I had to go into the bathroom and suck on the faucet as to not pass-out from exhaustion. I remember seeing them at Lollapalooza ‘95, the WDRE Fest in Camden etc. Its just one of those bands that stuck with me and brings back so many great memories.

I continued to listen Pavement all throughout college. They eventually broke-up right before I moved to NYC and right after the Terror Twilight tour ended. I was it a bit of a transition period so I missed that tour. I made every other since Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain. The catalyst for the break-up is debatable but seemed to center around front man Stephen Malkmus’s desire to pursue a solo career. Seeing Malkmus over the years was great too as he has a solid band but just hearing his voice and guitar reminded me of Pavement. The past decade there have been rumors upon rumors of a Pavement reunion tour. This time last year the dream came true. The first show scheduled was in NYC at Central Park Summerstage…then there were three more…then it became a world tour. I jumped on tickets for Philly and Brooklyn. I had tickets for Central Park but had to bail last minute due to adult/work-stuff. The Philly and Brooklyn shows were phenomenal. Here are the set-lists and some pics. Take a guess which ones were taken from a pro vs me and my buds. Hmm?

Philly – The Mann Music Center 9/17/10


2.Cut Your Hair
3.Kennel District
4.Heckler Spray
5.Elevate Me Later
7.Silence Kit
8.Starlings of the Slipstream
9.Box Elder
11.Fight This Generation
12.Shady Lane
14.Spit on a Stranger
16.Two States
17.In the Mouth a Desert
18.Conduit for Sale!
19.We Dance
20.Rattled By The Rush
21.Range Life

22.Date w/ IKEA
23.Trigger Cut
24.Stop Breathin'

Encore 2:
25.Gold Soundz


Williamsburg, Brooklyn - The Waterfront 9/19/10


1.Cut Your Hair
2.Date w/ Ikea
3.Rattled By The Rush
4.Elevate Me Later
7.Shady Lane
9.Perfume V
10.Fight This Generation
11.Silence Kit
12.Box Elder
13.Stop Breathin'
14.Two States
15.Father to a Sister of Thought
16.Heckler / In the Mouth a Desert
17.We Dance
18.Summer Babe (Winter Version)

21.Spit on a Stranger
22.Trigger Cut/Wounded-Kite at :17
23.Starlings of the Slipstream

Encore 2:
24.Gold Soundz
25.Kennel District
26.Range Life


They played every track I wanted to hear...except for Debris Slide which I found out later that they played it in pissed. Box Elder was the suprise highlight for me as I don't remember them playing that in highschool or college.

All said both shows were insanely good. The Philly show I thought was better played (something was off for a few of the BK songs) and held a special place for me given I experienced it with friends that grew up with the band with along side me. Brooklyn was equally sentimental as I rocked along with my sister who is always there to dance with me even when lame NYC crowds wont. The bands we've seen together over the years I cant even begin to count. Another "point of reflection" is that my first NYC apartment was in Williamsburg not too far from where Pavement took the stage...really hit me how much has changed in both the neighborhood and for me personally in the past 10 years or so. Sad sappy sucker.
While new recordings from Pavement are extremely doubtful and a reunion tour in 2020 would be even more doubtful, I was glad to be transported back to the alt-rock 90's...if only for a few nights.

The lyrics to Range Life really sum it up nicely. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Remember When I Said...

Neko Case and The Klaxons had the greatest album covers of all time? Well folks...this is a close second....or could trump them all. So many levels of "awesome".

Here's a video...TONS of cameos.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pavement Plays Colbert!!! Malkmus Does An Awkward Interview!! (not shocking)

(via Pitchfork/Audioperv)

"Gold Sounds"

"Awkward Interview"

I am in the middle of my "Pavement Tour 2010" (Philly Friday, Crooklyn Sunday and Central Park tonight) so I will have a more detailed show review with pics int he coming week(s). All I can say upfront is that the set-list both nights KILLED. Box Elder, Two States, Summer Babe etc...stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How..How did I not know about this? UGH!

If you ever get a chance to see these it...regardless if you're a punk fan or not. So many great show memories from my high-school/college days. Ask me about when I stage-dove at a show in Philly in high-school...and the crowd parted like the red sea. BMOC.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen...The Greatest Album Cover of ALL TIME (The Sequel)

Remember when I posted last year that Neko Case had the greatest album cover of all time for Middle Cyclone. Well...there's a new contender for 2010. I only have a few tracks from these dudes from their last album (some good..others too abstract....Golden Skans is a top-notch track) but I have seen them interviewed and that said...this choice of cover-art does not surprise me at all. Purrrrfect.

If I pick up The Klaxons latest Surfing The Void I will throw out a review.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are You Kidding Me?

Unreal. This is the kind of pairing you (aka me) dream about. R.E.M. was a big part of my childhood and The Walkmen my adulthood. This song in particular brings back some memories. Cant wait to see them in October...The Walkmen. I probably should check out R.E.M. the next time they tour.

"The power lines have floaters so the airplanes won't get smashed..."

The Walkmen cover R.E.M.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Show Review: QUASI @ Johnny Brendas - Philadelphia, PA (4/23/10)

I know this is mega late but I needed to make sure I had this evening on the CugeRock record. The last time a saw Quasi live was…the Sword of God tour…I think. It’s been a long time. I got into Quasi in college. I was always a Sleater Kinney fan so I knew Janet Weiss was a solid drummer but didn’t know much about Sam Coomes or his other bands including Heatmiser which he played with Elliott Smith.

True story – I rode my BMX to a house party at U of D back in 1998 with my Sony sports walkman (yes…walkman). While most guys were trying to get laid and drunk I was only interested in talking music with some friends…and getting drunk. My buddy Karl was a big music freak who worked at the local record shop. His recommendations were always on-point/highly regarded. He had mentioned this band Quasi who he was really into at the moment. The party was blaring Phish or DMB or some other jam-bandy/hippie crap so he brought me upstairs to listen to the Featuring Birds record in which (after hearing the first track) I immediately had him tape for me. For some reason I remember the dubbing process taking forever. Late night I was wasted and popped the tape into my player and listened to Our Happiness is Guaranteed while swerving downhill on main street back to my house. One of the great college/music related memories I have.

The “signature Quasi sound” I fell in love with was the distorted Roxichord keyboard Sam would pound on while Janet kept the beat and backed his vocals. After the Sword of God album…the albums were strictly guitar rock…which…while good…didn’t blow me away hence I lost interest after purchasing Hot Shit and When The Going Gets Dark hoping for at least a few Roxichord tracks…no dice. Apparently Sam would still break out the Roxichord at live shows but couldn’t use it for recordings (which makes zero sense to me). I was just turned off. Then I started reading press leading up to the release of their latest album American Gong.
They added Joanna Bolme from Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks for a fuller sound. I thought "OK, I'll bite". I was pleasantly surprised. The tracks on American Gong are so rocking…so much so I forgot why I fell in love with this band in the first place (Roxichord). Janet is the most insane drummer Ive ever seen…on par with Neil Peart and Travis Barker. I am always mesmerized. Don’t tell my girlfriend but I've always had a crush on Janet. I brushed her arm once while watching an opener at one of their Maxwells shows I saw with my sister…I was creepily jazzed about that interaction (see the “Quasi Tour” from a prior post - )
When I saw they were playing in the spring at Johnny Brenda's in Philly I jumped at the chance. It just so happened to coincide with the same weekend of my Uncle Eds 70th birthday so my sis, her hubby, my girlfriend, cousin and his girlfriend all made plans to go (rollin deep son). Johnny Brenda's is such a small/cool venue that they were right on top of us. It reminded me of when I saw them at Brownies in NYC years ago. They played all of the top tracks off of American Gong like Bye-Bye Blackbird, Repulsion and Little White Horse but then I saw Sam break out the Roxichord and I knew “it was on”. He played Our Happiness is Guaranteed, as well as The Poisoned Well and I’ts Raining (I think). My sister and I were PUMPED. Then they encored with a few covers from The Who! I remember Pictures of Lilly and I Can See For Miles and Miles but I think they played a few more. Such a great show and it was Sam's birthday that night to boot. The openers Let's Wrestle came out and sang him the Happy Birthday song along with the crowd (which was otherwise…pretty dead…which is odd for Philly…NYC yes). Seeing Janet drum in such an intimate venue was amazing. The sound was great despite the odd architecture of the venue. Here are some crude pics of the show.

Here’s where it gets interesting - The bar is right next to the stage and the merch table was across for the bar. We hung out at the bar for a bit after the show to have some Kenzingers (cheap/awesome Philly beer) and eventually Janet and Sam came out to hang at the merch table. Joanna was seen breaking down the set then disappeared....almost like she was their roadie...weird. They were signing LPs, CDs and shirts so I immediate picked up a signed LP. My sis got a cd and Danny got a signed shirt BY JANET EXCLUSIVELY. Living in NYC for so many years I rarely would get star-struck...but when it comes to musicians I love and respect…I turn into a 14yr old….alcohol doesn’t help (ask Danny about the time he hung out with Ted Leo in Boston…I expect a comment to this post DC).
I have a pretty deep history with Quasi and given Sam was good friends with Elliot Smith (who, like Ben Folds, got me through some tough times and is one of the top if not THE top songwriters of all time in my opinion) and Janet is one of the best drummers in history…why the fuck wouldn’t I introduce myself. The the conversation should have went down like this:

Me: “Hi guys. I’m Tom (shaking hands) Great show. I’ve been a huge fan since day one”
Sam & Janet: “Thank you. That’s great. Thanks”

Then I walk back over to the bar....

How it really happened was somewhat different. I introduced myself and (since there was literally no one else at the bar besides us, Sam, Janet and their merch manager) began rambling about my history with them. I spoke about the Quasi tour of 2002….then specifically told them about the time when we saw them at Brownies NYC (during our tour) where I proceeded to steal the setlist from under Sams keyboard after the show (I was drunk…shocker). They both looked bewildered as I described what went down back in '02.

My brother-in-law Rob stood next to me and witnessed the present carnage...then I called my cousin Danny over…"Danny…c’mere…remember that Brownies show?” So I roped him into the embarrassment. I still have that setlist which I placed in a frame (pictured here)
See this prior post which provides a little more detail on "the great heist" -

I didn’t get the vibe that they were pissed I stole the setlist but rather that I was STILL TALKING TO THEM. At one point I turned to Janet and was like “Brownies…you remember Brownies?” She was visibly irritated and replied “Of course I remember Brownies man. C’mon” (exact quote could be exaggerated). The conversation then pretty much came to an awkward end and we walked back to the bar.

All-and-all this was phenomenal show that was intense and brought me back into the Quasi die-hard fan club. Not only did I get to enjoy their music but I also got a chance to share a piece of my life/music history with them via face to face conversation (which is extremely rare). Whether they enjoyed the stories or not (leaning towards not) it was pretty amazing to actually explain to them how they played a significant role in many of my more prominent/positive rock and roll memories. "Boom"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Thermals Cover Green Day @ PMF

(via Pitchfork TV)

So so good. I really hope this becomes a regular cover at their future shows.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Charlatans UK Are Back! Again! In the US!!

The Charlatans UK ( is one of my favorite brit pop bands of all time. Ask any of my friends growing up and they would tell you I was an avid fan through the 90s until present day. I was even a subscriber to their fanzine "109". I still have a copy. Albums like Up To Our Hips or Between 10th and 11th are monumental in sound and songwriting in my opinion. The b-sides I would pick up off singles were just as good. In fact...many of these tracks were much better in respect to the album single they were released with. I remember Repo Records in Ardmore PA would be chock full of these "imports" when I was a teen....ahh those were the days.

Like other bands (Stereolab, Alice In Chains etc) when a key member of the group dies...a good bulk of the fanbase dies with he/she. The sound just doesn't seem the same. This was the case for the Charlatans. Rob Collins, the keyboard player, passed away via car accident in the mid 90s. The sound Rob achieved with the organ/piano/synths had a lot to do with why the Charlatans were so unique in sound in relation to the other brit rock acts around at the time (Blur, Suede etc). That all said I pretty much stopped listening to the Charlatans after Robs death. Telling Stories was the last album I purchased (a great album despite Robs absence). I read reviews from time to time of the more recent "post Rob" albums and they always got satisfactory to poor marks. I should know better than to trust the critics but I just lost interest.

More recently I was watching a program called London Live around xmas which features live British rock acts with accompanying interviews. This particular program happened to feature the Charlatans...present day Charlatans. The tracks they played were mostly from the albums that I knew and they sounded they didn't skip a beat. The band (fronted by Tim Burgess) didn't appear too weathered either. It made me I hope they come to the US and play a few shows. Sure enough last year I thought my dream was realized...then blown to bits when they cancelled. Then I see this latest news bit.

I'm excited for the NYC show but a little disappointed about the Philly show for a few reasons. First, I live in NYC now so I can't make it to a weekday show in Philly (unless it was a Minor Threat reunion or Fugazi show). Secondly, they are playing at Johnny Brendas. Ive seen a few bands at Johnny Brendas. Its a very small venue. Its one of those bitter-sweet deals in that you would love to see them at an intimate venue...but you feel bad that the band couldn't book a larger space. I felt this way when I saw Gene at the Mercury Lounge in NY back in the day or more recently Sloan (which could sell out huge venues in Canada) at the North Star Bar in Philly.

I guess its just a fact that I'm getting older and some of the bands from the 90s/early 00s that I love may have faded from the spotlight a bit. HOWEVER, I would much rather go see one of my favorite bands at the Bowery Ballroom or Johnny Brendas than MSG or Wachovia Center...Weezer, DCFC, Radiohead, Metallica Im looking in your direction.

Anywho, seeing The Charlatans UK at a place like Johnny Brendas would be like having them play in your buddy's basement...anyone who can make that show please do. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mates of State: Crushes (The Covers Mixtape) out TODAY ($2.99 as Amazons "Daily Deal" TODAY ONLY)

Sorry for the late heads up. Been "busy". I have some show/record reviews coming shortly. Now on to the Cugerock news of the day.

Mates of State released their latest record Crushes (The Covers Mixtape) today and you can get it for cheapskis as Amazons "Daily Deal" for $2.99. You can get there directly from

Here is the track list and corresponding artists. Some great picks....

1. Laura (Girls)
2. Son et Lumiere (The Mars Volta)
3. Sleep the Clock Around (Belle & Sebastian)
4. Technicolor Girls (Death Cab for Cutie)
5. Long Way Home (Tom Waits
6. Love Letter (Nick Cave)
7. Second Hand News (Fleetwood Mac)
8. 17 Pink Sugar Elephants (Vashti Bunyan)
9. Roller Coaster Ride (Dear Nora)
10. True Love Will Find You in the End (Daniel Johnston)

You'll notice that they cover Belle & Sebastian's Sleep Around the Clock as well as Dear Nora's Rollercoaster Ride...which is the title of a track on Belle & Sebastian's The Boy With The Arab Strap. Sadly these are two completely different songs. Not "sadly" is that they are both excellent songs in their own right. Wow...that was some meaningless/buzkill-esque info there. Lo siento. Been a long day.
Mates of state is one of my favorite bands of all time ever since I saw/heard them for the first time live opening up for Beulah @ The Khyber in Philly...many...many years ago. I can not f-in wait to see these covers live this summer when they're on tour.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Show Review: The Thermals - Brooklyn Bowl NYC (4/20 & 4/21)

The Thermals via Portland Oregon are one of my favorite bands of all time. I've seen these cats three or four times in NYC and twice in Philly. I initially saw them on MT2 Subterranean back in the day in their video for How We Know from the album Fuckin-A. I was immediately hooked. I started seeking them out live after I picked up The Body, The Blood, The Machine (one of the top albums of all time in my opinion). As a guitar/drum/bass three piece their shows are loud and energetic = fun rock. With Hutch Harris (lead vocals/guitar) and Kathy Foster (bass/backing vocals) at the helm since day one they seem to have a Spinal Tap-esque rotation of different drummers over their career but the latest guy seems to be here to stay as he's been along for the last two tours. He loves the crowd and has a shit-eating-grin as he pounds away. Their albums are a good mix of punk and pop with lyrics that can make you think...but not too much. Dark humor is the best way to describe them especially on their last record Now We Can See. The lyrics on BBM are a playful stab at Christianity that should be viewed as just that...playful...whether your Christian, Agnostic or Atheist. Now lets talk about the shows...

Brooklyn Bowl ( which opened its doors in Williamsburg last year is a place I've never been to. I lived in Williamsburg back in 2000 on Bedford and South 2nd street as it was just beginning its hipster/gentrification build. There were minimal bars/clubs/restaurants/people. I feel like an old timer when I go there now as its 1000x more vibrant. Like the East Village on ritalin. Abandoned warehouses have been replaced by clothing/art/restaurant/loft installations. Not to mention the modern condos that litter the neighborhood (much to my dismay).

Brooklyn Bowl is a bowling alley/bar/restaurant/music venue which is pretty freakin cool. The space is unique to say the least. It looks like a refurbished brick warehouse (no windows) that may have been used prior by the Brooklyn Brewery which it backs into off of Wythe Ave and north 11th street. The space is completely open so if you are lucky to reserve an overpriced lane around 10pm then you'll also get to check out some live music behind you. Still trying to figure the whole situation out.

The first night I went with my friend Tracy and her boyfriend. The second night I went with a few friends (Amanda & Ridge) and my girlfriend Tracy (pictured here). Go figure.

The venue about the size of Irving Plaza in NY or The Troc in Philly but slightly smaller with no balcony. The first night was sold out but there was room to move. I caught the tail end of the first opener (The Coathangers...I think). They were God awful. A bunch of wannabe riot grrrls with no musical talent. just screaming and drumming and keyboards while pissing the crowd off between songs. That's my assessment. The second opener Past Lives was a different story. As they began playing I thought the lead singer and a few of his bandmates looked familiar as well as the sound. Turns out they are 70% of the recently broken up band The Blood Brothers. I'm a HUGE Blood Brothers fan. I believe two of the BBs including the lead vocalist teamed up with former Pretty Girls Make Graves members to form Jaguar Love while the remaining members including the backing vocalist formed Past Lives. Similar sound as the BBs but way more structured/melodic. Extremely great live on both nights. I have to pick up their record ASAP. Here are some pics (click to enlarge).

The Thermals took the stage the first night and just killed it. I was in the back of the venue and the sound was still incredible (despite the stage adjacent to a bowling alley). Like a nerd I tried to capture notes on the set list during the shows using my blackberry calendar (proooobably should of used the "memo pad" application...idiot). My blackberry subsequently died this past weekend so I'll have to go by memory. Here is the set list from the 4/18 show in Boston at The Middle East which gives you an idea. They pretty much played the same tracks on both nights but in a different order. (Bold = NEW!)

1. Now We Can See
2. We Were Sick
3. I Let It Go
4. When I Died
5. It's Trivia
6. How We Know
7. St. Rosa and the Swallows
8. Only For You
9. I Don't Believe You
10. A Passing Feeling
11. Back to Gray
12. Separate
13. Here's Your Future
14. I Might Need You to Kill
15. Test Pattern
16. When I Was Afraid
17. An Ear for Baby
18. A Pillar of Salt
19. No Culture Icons 
20. Returning to the Fold
The band sounded great as always. The crowd sucked on the first night per NYC standard (people talking/yelling over the music, motionless, young girls texting and looking around everywhere but the stage). The crowd was a little more lively the second night. That assessment could be skewed as I was way upfront for the 2nd night and closer to "the action". Tracy is a peanut as is my friend Amanda so getting close to the stage was priority #1...less tall dudes to look around. I'm a big freak so if they made a adult-sized Baby Bjorn I would accommodate. They played a healthy mix of tracks from old albums (How We Know, No Culture Icons, Our Trip) as well as newer favorites (Here's Your Future, Now We Can See, A Pillar of Salt, We Were Sick, St Rosa & The Swallows, When I Died, Returning To The Fold).

However on both nights they played three or four brand new songs which were SOOOOOO GOOD (no Canada unfortunately). Usually I get a little skeptical when bands test out new tracks on the road but I was pleasantly surprised (mainly cause I cant sing along/bob my head from memory). Very melodic lead riffs with some heavy/fast bass lines as well. The also played the track Separate off of their Record Store Day split 7inch with The Cribs. The new tracks sounded like a perfect hybrid of song structure from the last two albums. That said I am mega psyched for their new album which will come out later this year.

Here is a video I captured of one of the new songs on the second night. Blogger couldn't upload directly so I had to create a YouTube account (whether I create a CugeRock YouTube channel remains to be seen).

I don't think this track was played in Boston judging from the set list above. I remember they played I Don't Believe You and Separate in NY and Only For You just doesn't seem right given the chorus (Power Lies? Power Lines?). The video quality is great but the audio seems to cut out every time I zoom or "woo"...sorry.
All and all both shows were incredible as usual. A mix of old, recent and brand new tracks. They encored with Returning To The Fold on night one and Our Trip on night two (which was awesome).  If you ever get a chance to see this band in your city please please please do so. You will be fully satisfied with a meal of pure rock goodness?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Blur Single - "Fool's Day" (Record Store Day 7-inch)

Not bad. Not bad at all. This is the first new song from Blur in 7 years! Fools Day was the single they released as a 7" in the UK for "record store day" that sold out almost immediately. I was bummed but (thanks to a heads up from my buddy Steve) I found out the band wanted everyone to have access to the single so they just released a free download. Go to to get the free download (MP3 or WAV).

Blur frontman Damon Albarn was interviewed recently and said that they aren't planning on touring again or recording a new album any time soon given the lack of material and all of the work he is doing with Gorillaz (plus the 1000 other side-projects he is involved in). However, he did say that Blur will record some more singles to be released in the near future. I'll take it. It's so good to hear a new song from one of my favorite bands of all time (I know...I say that to all of the bands). Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Village Voice 10th Annual SIREN FESTIVAL (7/17/10) : Line-Up Announced

Umm Ted Leo + Surfer Blood = I'll see you in Coney Island on 7/17.

Matt & Kim should be solid live as well...although I was hoping to see them for the first time in a smaller venue like The Troc or Bowery Ballroom rather then an outdoor show. Wait...whats that? It's still free? Yes...yes I will shaddup. I'm not a huge fan of indie press darlings Pains of Being Pure at Heart but seeing them live should be interesting.

I've been to almost all of the Siren Festivals since its inception in 2001. If you can shake off your hangover from the night before and brave the long subway ride and the heat...every year its hot as all hell.....then this is an experience you need to have. The sound always sucks but its Coney Island for gods sake. Beers on the boardwalk, corndogs, THE CYCLONE, vomiting from the beer, corndogs and Cyclone. Man I love Coney Island...however I'm really nervous to see what they've done with some of the old time amusements to make way for the "revitalization" of the area. I'm glad they kept The Cyclone...hell of a ride. You feel like a kid afterwards exclaiming "lets do it again! Again!"...then you puke.

Some of the more notable bands that come to my mind from the past Siren Festivals I've attended include Sleater Kinney, Quasi, The Shins, Liars, Trail of Dead (drunk per usual), Superchunk, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Q and Not U, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Rainer Maria, We Are the top of my head. The top slots/headliners we usually didn't stick around for because (A) we were exhausted and (B) you don't want to hang out in Coney Island after the sun goes down. "Dicey"

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Dark and mysterious. Classic Interpol. Enclosed is a widget in which you have to confirm you are over 18 and provide your email address to have the download sent to you. Open up the zip file and it will be automatically added to your iTunes library. The song is decent but nothing revolutionary. Regardless I love it as I have always loved this band. Anything new is exciting. Paul Banks (aka Julian Plenti) recent solo album is not to shabby either. It could almost be a sub-par 4th Interpol album. The new Interpol album is slated to come out at some point this year but the band is being...well...dark and mysterious about a release date/touring. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for the heads up on this Mr Faust.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Extreme Makeover: CugeRock Edition

Hey y'all. I apologize for the lag in posts. I've been redesigning CugeRock over the past month and finally forked up the cash to register the custom domain name of The site is still serviced via Blogger so it will be pretty seamless if you are a "follower" and if you visit the old address you will automatically be redirected to Let me know what you think of the look/feel/attitude (going "global" son).

I'll have some new posts in the coming weeks. Might have some show reviews as I will be pulling a "double-header" in checking out one of my favorite bands, The Thermals, in Brooklyn (Bklyn Bowl) tonight and tomorrow night then checking out Quasi at Johnny Brenda's in Philly on Friday. I also picked up the new Ted Leo and Miles Kurosky albums (which are SOLID) so I will try to get those reviews up as well.

Enjoy the spring weather kiddos (excluding Icelanders).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ALBUM REVIEW: SURFER BLOOD - ASTRO COAST I can honestly say that I haven't heard an album this good in a loooooong time. I think everyone will have different (albeit positive across the board) interpretations of FL band Surfer Blood and their influences in making Astro Coast. I have read many positive comments about this album from my friends and over the interwebs/blogosphere. I did see a high rating on Pitchfork but didn't read the review as I wanted a completely unbiased/untainted Cugerock perspective on this one.

From the first track Floating Vibes I was immediately transported back into to early 90's. I thought "hmm...Sonic Youth? Dinosaur Jr?". That's not to say their sound isn't unique or dated. I believe Astro Coast is a pioneering record but certain chord progressions and song structures overall remind me of tracks from indie bands I was listening to in high-school/early college. There are songs like Slow Jabroni that start out broken and slow then (around the 3:40 mark) transform into a heavenly/mesmerizing/bob-your-head-slowly straight rock jam that tend to remind me of tracks indicative of early indie albums. So freaking good no matter how you categorize. However there are some more recent influences that can be heard as well.

There's some Sonic Youth, Sugar, Shins, Hum, Autolux, Archers of Loaf, Cribs, Superchunk, Cursive...hell even some quick Vampire Weekend (Take it Easy) and Fugazi (intro to Anchorage) sounding portions that are in there. Again, this is my interpretation. There are so many I cannot pinpoint. I welcome comments (as always) in regards to to some bands I haven't thought of. I feel like I'm missing a few.

Vocally they are relatively unchallenged but for some reason I hear a Tim Kasher (Cursive) or Ryan Jarman (The Cribs) similarity in a lot of the songs. Specifically with Swim that screamed "Ryan Jarman" and Harmonix that could have been a track on any Cursive record (skewing towards the more recent). The lyrics themselves are solid. They aren't too complex and have certain lines that jump out at you....specifically on Anchorage, Twin Peaks and Catholic Pagans.

I also will NOT note some of my "favorite tracks" as every single song is amazing from #1 to #10. I've had this album on repeat for weeks now. Please, please pick up this record.

BOLD STATEMENT ALERT! There are a ton of new albums that have come out and are scheduled to come out in 2010 however I do not see Surfer Blood Astro Coast leaving my #1 album of the year designation any time soon. Prove me wrong Thermals, Band of Horses, New Pornographers, Interpol, B&S etc....


Live performances (via their MySpace page)

Video for Swim

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Show Review: F**ked-Up & Kurt Vile - The Middle East, Cambridge, MA (2/20/10)

"You reminded me, that I would never be 22" is a lyric from a Promise Ring song (Make Me a Mixtape). One can interpret that line however they want. It never really had any significance to me until I started to ascend into my late twenties. I saw it as meaning...basically...there are experiences you have in your present life that would have been much easier had you were facing them at a younger age OR some present experiences will take you back to a time where you had a little less "weight" on your life. It can be nostalgic and good but strangely depressing sometimes. Ha! There are songs and movies and people that serve as reminder of that. Seeing a Fucked Up show recently in Boston was one of those moments...and it was just what I needed.

I went to the show with my cousin Danny who lives in Boston and a buddy of his. Danny's "show buddy" as we like to call it (Chris Budz & Cathy are my Philly equivalents as Scotty, Horton & Tarik are my NYC compadres...and Danny most times). The show was at the Middle East club in Cambridge Mass which is just over the river from the city of Boston. I'm not sure if it is zoned as Boston proper but I'll just refer to it as Boston to make things easier (less letters to type). Cambridge is the home of Harvard and a Saucony outlet store (cheap Jazz kicks). When I saw on Fucked-Ups tour schedule in the fall that they were playing a Saturday at the Middle East (which I've never been to) and with Kurt Vile (who I don't know much about other than he is from my hometown) I knew we had to make this happen. Seeing as I hadn't visited Danny in 5 years it made it all the more pressing.

Now I've seen Fucked-Up before in Philly at the "intimate" Northern Liberties Club - Kung Fu Necktie. I wont rehash the experience but check the link from a prior post -

The Middle East is a significantly larger club than KFN. That said I thought there was no way I would see lead vocalist Damian "Pink Eyes" Abraham take the "liberties" with the space/crowd/mic-cord that I saw in Philly. I was pleasantly mistaken. More about that later.

While we were checking coats (so punk rock) I noticed Damian just hanging out by the merch table. I had a few beers in me so I thought I would go talk to him. I introduced myself, gushed like I was meeting the hardcore equivalent of the Jonas Brothers and he was mega cool and very appreciative. I then asked him if he remembered the KFN show last year, more specifically, when he poured hot candlewax on is fat chubby chest while standing on top of the bar. His reply (laughing) "Hahah ooooh didn't hurt that bad cause I was sweating so much". True Champion.

Kurt Vile opened up to a crowd that was literally shaking in anticipation for Fucked Up. I've never heard his music before but read up that it was alt-rock/folk-ish. To anyone who didn't know that FU & Kurt were Matador labelmates then this would have been viewed as an odd paring. He played ok. He had no drummer and just a rhythm guitarist to join him. His voice is solid and the tracks he played were pretty good. I'd mos def like to catch him again with a full backing band. The crowd was very respectful despite the headliner. Any women that were currently at the venue were long gone after he finished. I honestly could count the number of girls present for FU on one hand...and one of them is in the band.

So Fucked Up takes the stage. I think they opened with Son the Father but who the hell knows. The loud opening chords just placed the whole place on fire. The "pit" immediately formed and expanded, with the edge a few people in front of us. We all had our forearms out to block any stray moshers. We were Id say 1/3 of the way back from the stage-left (close to the bar). I couldn't locate the set list online but here is one from 6 days later at a Toronto show:

1.Son the Father
2.Magic Word
3.David Comes to Life
4.Days of Last
5.Golden Seal
7.The Two Snakes
8.Crooked Head
9.No Epiphany
10.Black Albino Bones
11.Twice Born
12.Baiting the Public
13.The Chemistry of Common Life
14.Bodies (Sex Pistols cover)

Since before the last show I had only heard the latest FU full length, Chemistry of Common Life, I made sure I bought the singles collection recently released (Couple Tracks 2002-2009).

Basically a compilation of 7-inches. If you want a taste of how good this compilation is then I suggest you download Black Hats. So good I kept yelling it out to Damian in hopes that they'd play dice.

Fucked Up is unique as they are by all means a "modern-hardcore" outfit, yet the music has more rhythm/layers to it which isn't hardcore standard (remember when Helmet came on the scene?). Maybe that is why FU are Pitchfork darlings but I think its more of the band make-up, Damian's personality on/off stage and his willingness to collaborate with just about anyone. Oh and they won Canada's Polaris Music Prize.

The crowd was going absolutely nuts including myself. I didn't think it was physically possible for Damian to get off-stage and into the crowd. I even said to Danny "There's nooooo way he can get on top of either bars" (there was one a few steps up stage-right and one on the floor a few feet from us). Minutes after I make this prediction I look on stage and he's no where to be found (still screaming lyrics mind you) but I look left and sure enough he's on top of the bar, then back on stage, then back on the bar, then on the floor where we were (patrons supporting the mic-cord over their heads), then up on the bar (next to a disco ball oddly enough - here is what I captured from my Blackberry shit-camera)

...then he jumped off and fell down on the floor in front of us so we picked his sweaty ass up. The whole time the band continues to look forward and belt off the music like "ho-hum...classic Damian". Might I also add that the band was SO TIGHT (Danny can back me up on this). The only distortion I sensed was in Damian's voice ...which was normal.
Towards the end, the energy was so intense and the pit was so close a drunken voice inside me said..."you gotta get in the pit old man"...then I said to the guys "I'm going in!". I'm a big dude but I was getting knocked around like a skinny straightedge vegan, swirling around in a sweaty mass of positive manergy eventually getting feet from the stage and screaming lyrics and pumping my fist.

To cap it off they encored with a Sex-Pistols cover Bodies with a surprise appearance from none other than TED LEO!!! As if the night couldn't get any better then Ted freakin Leo jumps up on stage to sing Sex Pistols!!! With Fucked Up?!!!! (visualize Scanners head explosion).

Easily one of the greatest shows I've ever seen. Such a positive show which reminds me why I love music so much and how live music can be so therapeutic in so many ways. Not one douchebag in the crowd. All participants were just amped on a Saturday night to see one of the most energetic live band performances out there.

After the show the band was hanging out by the merch table so I went over and made a point to tell them how ridiculously awesome the show was. Kurt Vile was also hanging out. I shook his hand and said "Im from Philly dude" or something to that drunken effect. He gave me a "right on" and looked scared as I was glassy-eyed and sweaty.

The Aftermath: The next day, not only was I hungover but my voice was shot from screaming and my muscles ached from "dancing". Soooooooo worth it. As I noted prior, this show reminded me that I would definitely never be 22 again...but a decade older...I can still slam with the best of em. Age is merely a number my friends. Thanks Advil.

CUGEROCK BONUS: To get an idea of the live Fucked-Up show experience, here is a short film from Ray Concepcion which completely captures the spectators view. A "couple tracks". Enjoy.

Every Man for Himself and God Against All: Fucked Up from Ray Concepcion on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Excellent feature.

Best performance:

Best Quote:

"Hullabalooza isn't about freaks; it's about music, and advertisement, and youth-oriented product positioning." --Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon