Monday, August 30, 2004

VINCENT GALLO @ Rothko (New York NY) - Aug 25, 2004
In the apparent scenester event of the season, famed indie filmmaker Vincent Gallo teamed up with the son of rock's most famous couple, Sean Lennon, for a night of music on the eve of the American release of Gallo's new Brown Bunny film. Even though we arrived early, we still had to line up about a block away from the venue and once inside, were packed in tightly.
The pre-show music which played through the sound system set the tone for the evening: Nick Drake, King Crimson, Gordon Lightfoot, etc. I cringed, however, when whoever was in charge decided to play a John Lennon song. Sean, by the way, looks too much like his dad these days. Someone should tell him to cut the hippie hair and lose the round glasses. He looked like he just left his mom behind at a bed-in.

Gallo and Lennon were rounded out by drummer Nick Hoss, who until that evening had never played a show before. If you've heard the Buffalo 66 soundtrack, you should have a good idea of how they sounded. Clean guitars, warm vintage organ, and quiet drums. Gallo switched around instruments while Lennon showed us that he's a pretty good guitarist.
Just a short observation: I think King Crimson's "Moonchild" must be Vincent Gallo's favorite song. Not only is it on the afforementioned soundtrack, but the original version was played while we waited for them to come out AND then they covered it during the set. It is a really good song, though.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

VIA SATELLITE and THE BIG SLEEP @ Sin-e (New York NY) - Aug 21,2004
I really didn't know anything about either of these bands going into the show, but I can tell you now they're both very much worth seeing. The Big Sleep are a mostly instrumental trio (guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, samplers), but their not so secret weapon is the guitar. Few guitarists have initially impressed me as much as Danny [last name unknown], who, aided by an array of effects, sent many cool sounds spilling out of his amps. Although anyone with enough pedals could probably do the same, what sets him apart is the way he attacks the instrument and, most impressively, shifts his playing style from song to song -- giving us anything from a ferocious roar to an almost jangly-sound.
As I said before, they're a mostly instrumental band. The bassist/keyboardist did sing on one song (but thanks to the Sin-e sound system, it may as well have been an instrumental). A review linked on their website mentioned a fourth person; a part-time singer. She wasn't there that night, although I'm now very curious how their sound could incorporate a vocalist. My friend's one complaint with the band was their lack of vocals, but I think in this case the guitar was working overtime, serving as both the guitarist and singer rolled into one.

Via Satellite began their set by announcing they were from San Diego and their van, earlier that morning, had been broken into and all their equipment stolen (welcome to New York). They were playing with borrowed gear and hoped everything would sound okay. It did. The band -- some of the members are also involved with the Album Leaf -- was another trio. While the drummer was busy laying down some very impressive drumming, the other two kept trading the guitar and keyboards as well as singing responsibilities. Despite the constant instrument swapping, they managed to pull off a very cohesive set.
I ended up buying their ep and, while it's still good, I think they sounded better live than they do on my stereo. Unfortunately, the recorded version of the band has knocked the live version out of my head so I'm not even going to bother trying to describe what they sounded like. You should instead pay a visit to their website and check out some of the mp3s for yourself. And check out the Big Sleep's page while you're at it.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Here are some mp3 links. Enjoy.

Delia Derbyshire - "Music of Spheres"
Dirty on Purpose - "Mind Blindness"
Jolie Holland - "All the Morning Birds"
Saint Jude's Infirmary - "Damn the UV"

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Motel Creeps are playing a free show tomorrow night (10pm) at the Luna Lounge. I will be there and you should come join me.

If you happen to be in Scotland, Severin will be playing Tigerfest on Saturday (Aug 21) at Swamp Bar, Caledonian Backbackers. I'm guessing that's in Edinburgh, but I could be wrong.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

The War Against Silence will be coming to a close in the next two weeks. Although Glenn McDonald has been updating his site weekly since 1995, I only discovered it just this past year and have been reading it regularly since then. My musical taste varies a bit from Glenn's, but I've often found myself both relating to his enthusiasm for music and envious of his writing style. He will be missed.

On a happier note, Six Feet Under is fast becoming my favorite show on tv. In addition to all the things I like about it, I couldn't help but notice all the good music they slip into the background. Tonight's episode was no slouch. When Claire showed up at Edie's apartment, they were playing that Killers song which is all over MTV these days (and probably the closest thing to a Pulp song ever played on American tv). Later on when Claire was showing her diorama to Nate, she was listening to a newish favorite of mine: Earlimart -- more specifically, "Interloper" which is my favorite song off their Avenues ep.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I don't know which is worse: listening to Dave Matthews or getting doused in his raw sewage.

Monday, August 09, 2004

I've now mentioned both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones for each of the past 3 days. I'm surprised the ads at the top of the page haven't noticed this yet.
I'll write about something else. I promise.
Question: Is it just me, or are the Rolling Stones the most overrated band ever? I've been listening to my girlfriend's Stones cds today and think I spent more time hitting skip than I did actually sticking out a song.

I can't take anymore. I just put on a Beatles disc instead.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

VARIOUS ARTISTS The British Invasion: the History of British Rock (Rhino)
For its first decade, rock and roll was essentially a one way conversation from America to whomever may have been listening. As 1964 rolled around, Great Britain made it known they were not only listening, but had a lot to say as well. Rhino Records compiled the British Invasion series to document the musical explosion from our transatlantic friends.

Initially a four volume set, it since expanded to a grand total of nine installments. I only have the first four cds. As to be expected with such a collection, the range is rather broad and juxtaposes the still hip (the Kinks, the Zombies) alongside the forgotten fads (the Hullaballoos, Freddie & the Dreamers). Noticably absent, but not necessarily missed, are the two biggest bands from that era. As ubiquitous as the Beatles and Stones have become, including them would accomplish nothing but to overshadow many of the lesser known gems found here. That's not to say, however, you won't find a couple of Lennon-McCartney compositions. Writing more songs than the Beatles could use, they gave some songs away to other bands -- often times giving that band their only hit. Peter & Gordon even made a career out of just that (chalk it up to nepotism; Peter's sister was dating Paul at the time).

The liner notes for each cd give plenty of room to each act representated, as well as cursory details about the track listing. As with any compilation package, the skip button is sometimes your friend but Rhino did a good job with assembling a snapshot of one of rock's most exciting time periods.

For more info:
You can visit the Rhino Records website, but I couldn't find anything about this collection there. It may be out of print. Additionally, I imagine there are lots of sites devoted to the British Invasion. Here's one such site

Thursday, August 05, 2004

In case you were looking for a time waster, the Smoking Gun has a collection of concert riders. I've only read a few, but here are some quick observations:

1. The Rolling Stones are just as lame as I'd thought they be.
2. Paul McCartney is even more pretentious than I've given him credit.
3. Moby's rider isn't as annoying as Beatle Paul's, but he's still a loser. Come on, man, buy your own underwear for chissakes.
4. While Bruce Springsteen drinks green tea and Christina Aguilera demands bottled water (but not Evian) served at room temperature, Johnny Cash asked for a gallon of coffee in his dressing room. The Man in Black also had the best dinner menu.
5. U2, at last, show what a real rock band's rider should look like: five and a half cases of beer, three 5ths of liquor, a lot of wine, and nothing else.
6. What's up with Pavarotti's golf cart and elevated sofa?

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

This looks pretty bad. Pitchfork is reporting that the upcoming Hollywood biopic of Ian Curtis will star Jude Law as the late Joy Division frontman and utilize Moby as a possible musical advisor for the film.
The movie is based upon the book Touching From a Distance, which was written by Curtis' widow. I never even knew he was married -- he was only 23 when he killed himself.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Once again, Time Out NY is one step ahead of the free weeklies and has a very nice preview for the Archives Listening Project: "This edition's featured long player is the Flaming Lips' experimental opus Zaireeka, and the gang will be airing the album as nature intended, with all four cds playing simultaneously." Well put.

Mike and I will be at Rififi (332 E 11 St, btwn 1st & 2nd Aves) this Tuesday at 9pm. Our friends Rahul and Umesh will be helping out with the cds, and Vlad will be providing the visuals. There's no cover charge and the drinks are cheap.

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