Friday, August 31, 2007

Feist razzle dazzles McCarren Park

A tad late for the wrap up, but Wednesday night was the Feist show in McCarren Park. Wow, what can I say—I love Leslie Feist. Just after sunset, she took the stage, and draped her silver sequined arm band over the microphone. She proudly showed off her new acoustic guitar and asked the crowd to help her name it, and promised she’ll call her guitar this name for the rest of its time on earth. After she said she would take suggestions via paper airplanes, Sofiblu ended up relaying airplanes towards the front of the audience for a bit of the night. The best name someone recommended was “McCarren.” Of course, if you’re going to play in front of thousands of New Yorkers, you gotta show Brooklyn some love.

Although she didn’t play my two favorite songs, "One Evening", and "How My Heart Behaves", I really enjoyed “Limit to your love,” ‘Sea Lion Woman” (which really got the crowd going), and the demo version of “Leisure Suite.” She said she recently found the four track demos so she and the band re-taught themselves this version. Recordings don’t do her justice. She sounds so amazing live, and her charm just rolls off the stage lik ripples in a sea of cigarette smoke.

(links expired)

Feist- Leisure Suite (demo version)

Feist- Leisure Suite (album version)
(Buy Let It Die)

Feist did an interview with Index Magazine about two years ago. She discussed her songwriting, and mentions Canadian girls.

“I love how Canadian girls manage to look totally hot in their enormous parkas. In Canada, it’s not about fishnets and heels, or other fantasy female stuff. Canadian girls are stalwarts---ruddy and healthy.”
I’m sure she’s just itching to work her parka this winter.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Raveonettes Demos

The Raveonettes have new songs up on their MySpace. On their last albums, the Danish duo melded retro fifties pop with punk friendly guitars. Although I wasn't a fan of their cover of The Angels' My Boyfriend's Back, the single "Love in a Trashcan" more than made up for it. It's has one of the slickest, coolest guitar riffs I've ever heard.

Of their new songs, “Lust” is my favorite. I’m a sucker for a brooding bass and dark beats. It seems like their new material peels off the heavy punk aspect that was more noticeable on the first couple of albums and is instead moving towards a sparser sound. They’ve also scaled back band-wise. Their current tour consists of Sharin and Sune, with the addition of one female drummer.

I’m really excited for their show at Bowery Ballroom on October 12. I’ve always wanted to see them live. They are also playing Southpaw in Brooklyn on October 10th.

The Raveonettes perform “Lust” at the Detroit Bar in California:
(It looks like it was filmed by a fan in the audience, so the video quality is not so great, but the sound is surprisingly good.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

I hear with my little ear...

On Wednesday, I'm going to McCarren Park Pool to see Feist, along with about a thousand of her other closest friends. The “pool” is this crazy huge swimming area that’s been drained to accommodate happy concert goers—like me.

Although I love the energy that comes from huge venues like this one, small and intimate shows are what I hold closest to my heart. It’s the same way I feel about dinner parties. Why have 20 people come to dinner and speak to each person for a few minutes, when you can have five people huddled around a table, deep in conversation, wine glasses emptied, and refilled by the people who make you laugh so hard your cheeks hurt?

So while I look forward to the show on Wednesday, I kind of wish I was in Toronto when Feist picked up her guitar, and probably a milk crate or something, and did a live, intimate street side performance for NXNE in 2004. It’s like you and Feist, and the random happenings of the city. I’m having fun figuring out the little noises in the background, but Mushaboom lets your imagination run a litlte.

What do you hear?

(link expired)
Feist- Mushaboom (live at NXNE, 2004)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Locksley, Ra Ra Riot @ Studio B

On Saturday, a couple of friends and I went back to Brooklyn to check out After the Jump Fest, a full day music event which aims to raise money for music education. This was my first time at Studio B, which I think is the perfect place to host dances— the indie rocker’s dream prom. Clearly, I was loving the disco ball.

We were there mainly to see Locksley and Ra Ra Riot. But as the day progressed we ended up inhaling cookies and coffee from the sweets truck parked outside. I was probably more partial to Locksley whose music jams incredible upbeat rockability in every song. They were really quite charming, and in honor of music education, even pulled two people from the crowd to play guitar and tambourine with them.

-- Kal, teaching a fan the chords

-- Jamming with Locksley

This tune has the potential for a crowd sing-along:

Locksley- Why Not Me (link expired)

Ra Ra Riot hail from Syracuse, and seem like a group of friends who just enjoy playing together. The girls who played cello and violin were selling their band’s merchandise after the show. Un-jaded young musicians are always a pleasure.

Sofiblu and I will be seeing them again on Sept. 7th when they open for The Editors at Webster Hall.

Slow down.

On our way to Rumsey Playfield last evening, a friend and I passed two men wearing Aaliyah t-shirts. It didn’t even occur to me till much later that it was six years to yesterday that she died in a plane crash.

In six years, a lot has changed. Mothers who had infants, now have little children. Students who left behind high school, have traded school bags for cubicles. Friends became lovers, lovers are now husband and wife.

When people honor a memory, it makes the world slow down. How much has changed in your life?

(link expired)
Aaliyah- I Miss You
(From I Care 4 U)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rocking the Fort

The maracas are my new favorite instrument. Forget fancy guitars-- the maracas are where it’s at!

Friday night was probably the most fun I’ve had all week. Sofiblu and I were down in Williamsburg for the White Rabbits concert at Soundfix. The “stage” is merely a raised floor which works great for intimate shows. We were up in front and towards the end of the set, a band member nonchalantly hands a maraca to the crowd. When he didn’t get any takers, he put it back down on the keyboard. Without thinking, I grabbed it and started shaking it like nobody’s business. The guy next to me picked up a drum stick and started banging on the drum set in front of him. I love it when bands get the audience involved in their music. It’s so much more fun that way!

Here are a few pictures from the show:

Have you checked out Fort Nightly yet? Here's a four minute sampling of what it's like to embark on the White Rabbit holiday.

(link expired)
White Rabbits- Tourist Trap
(Buy Fort Nightly)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Party Girl

I fell asleep last night after watching a stack of movies I've been meaning to get around to-- my favorite thus far, is Party Girl. Parker Posey is queen of the dead-pan dark comedies, gotta love her.

In Party Girl, Mary is an orphaned 20 something, living it up in New York with drugs, illegal raves, and a boyfriend who lowers her self-worth. When she gets her ass tossed in jail, she calls her godmother, Judy to get her out. To make good on her bail loan, Judy gives Mary a job as a library clerk. The Dewey Decimal system can do wonders to whip this girl into shape. Along the way, she meets a hot Falafel vendor, vogues with the best of the drag queens, and discovers there's more to her life than partying-- life lessons as taught by Parker Posey.

As for me, I have a new favorite movie.

How does your garden grow?

Art: Thaw Malin

With the daughters on our arms, into the gardens, we'll run...
- The Rosebuds

My inner Martha Stewart wanted to take up gardening. I imagined myself with a woven basket and trimming shears in hand, tending to a shrub of fragrant and beautiful peonies. Did you know these little suckers take 3 years to bloom?!? Patience, sadly, is not one of my virtues.

Green-thumb, I have not, but I can plant my own playlist.

I heard this song "Get Up, Get Out" from The Rosebuds' Night of the Furies album. It opens with an impossibly catchy rhythm, reminiscent of some 80s new years party. I should get a mirror ball, and we can all put flowers in our hair and bust a move, BYOPS style (Bring your own polyester shirt)! I think there's a good variety here. If you haven't heard Reese Witherspoon sing before, her rendition of June Carter's Wildwood Flower is sweet and demure. Liz Phair's Flower on the the other hand, is everything but--- let's just say, "Boys, if Liz takes a liking to you, it's hard not to get the hint."

(links expired)

1) The Rosebuds- Get Up, Get Out
2) Sea Wolf- Black Dirt
3) Radiohead- Fake Plastic Trees
4) Air- Cherry Blossom Girl
5) Ben Lee- Daisy
6) Reese Witherspoon- Wildwood Flower
7) Liz Phair- Flower

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

School spirit

College kids, you don't know how good you've got it. You wear pajamas for the better part of the week, and in four years, learn to perfect the art of ramen slurping,. Sure, classes get in the way, but hey, it's not like you show up half the time.

I got college on the brain because White Rabbits AND The National are playing Cornell University on Saturday, August 25th. Cornellians, I plead with you, do not miss this concert. Otherwise, years down the road, you will look back and cry because your favorite band ate at your dining hall while you were doing something unimportant---like studying.

Same goes for you, Vassar! These Brooklyn bunnies will be in your area on September 5th.

Check here for more White Rabbits tour dates.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Uh... welcome to New York.

You know I love me some New York Noise, but whoever is making decisions about programming over there, you need to put down the crackpipe. This interview with The Cribs is probably the most absurd thing I've ever witnessed. Still, it's not every day a punk band from England gets interviewed by a New Yorker in a tiara.

Seasons, you are hair

Blondie and Blonde Redhead are perennial favorites. The young Debbie Harry and her shocking blonde coif bouncing to poppy tunes reminds me of summer. Kazo Makino's piercing echo set against the melancholy drums and guitars of the Pace brothers is the call of winter ushering spring. But what about autumn?

I'm all over this duo from New Zealand who rightly call themselves "The Brunettes." Heather Mansfield and Jonathan Bree are what autumn dreams are made of-- a flush of mellow guitar and piano melodies with catchy, sometimes sweetly haunting, and sometimes silly lyrics-- "I'm going loopy loopy over love... loopy loopy love," sounds like the work of Jack Black. Imagine raking up a yard of leaves, and then hurling yourself into the piles. Fun times! They kick off their North American tour in Vancouver on September 5th, and will be playing Mercury Lounge here in NYC on October 2nd to promote their latest album, Structure and Cosmetics.

So as you get ready to say farewell to another summer, throw on that sweater, contemplate darkening your tresses for fall, and give The Brunettes a listen.
(links expired)

Blondie- The Tide is High

The Brunettes- Loopy Loopy Love

The Brunettes- Small Town Crew

Blonde Redhead- The Dress

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kick! Scream!

I don't know how many of you have heard of this film, Kicking and Screaming but it surely would have helped me to see it last year when I spent many a day waking up confused about life.

Made in 1995 (seems like just yesterday, no?), it's a witty and immensely quotable dramedy staring many indie film actors of the 90s, including Eric Stoltz and Parker Posey. It follows a group of friends who graduate college but can not pull away from college life and face the real world. So they patron the same bars, sleep with undergraduates, and try to find meaning in between waking up and going to sleep.

Eric Stoltz's character, Chet, is the most memorable. His profession: thesis writer. Having attended college for the obligatory four year term, he decides this warm, fuzzy, academic bubble is the place for him, so he stays and prolongs the completion of the thesis. For money, he works as the bartender at the collegetown bar, where he dispenses sage advice to the wayward.

"You wanna know the surest way to make God laugh?" He says. "Have a plan."

Ain't that the truth.

I rained out

I saw South Street Seaport from the train going down into Brooklyn Friday night. It was bit of a let down to not be able to see The National perform, but hey, shit comes up. No worries though--I heard it was a great show, and they are playing Terminal 5 on October 11th, so crossing fingers that I can be there.

Friday, August 17, 2007


Seriously considering renaming this blog to the "Might Emigrate To Canada Blog." It seems like every other post is about a Canadian band or musician. Or is it because the majority of good indie acts are coming from Canada? Rest assured, as long as there is poutine, and maple syrup, there will be hot Canadian shit here. (Whether I am aware of it or not, apparently.)

Anyhoo, I was thinking about this because a pal of mine in L.A. suggested that we spend a few weeks trekking across Canada from one coast to the other. Let's sweeten the pot, I said, and go concert hopping along the way. Wouldn't that be fantastic? The downside is, being that we are both native New Yorkers, driving through Canada will be sorta tough. Avoiding pedestrians will look like a game of Mario Kart. Maybe we'll do it the old fashion way-- throw our possessions in a couple of sacks, catch a ride on a freight train, and listen to Dirty Jim Harry play the banjo while we subsist on canned fish and jarred tomatoes.

Thoughts? Advice on proper canning techniques?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cat Power's Madison Square Garden show confirmed

Pitchfork confirms that Cat Power will open for Interpol in New York. The former label mates (Cat Power is signed to Matador, as was Interpol for their first two albums) will rock Madison Square Garden on September 14th.

I love Chan Marshall. I know she used to be depressing as all hell, infamous for incoherent sets, and bizzare stage behavior, but I loved her anyway. Everything she sings is poetry. And now she's sobered up, and better than ever.

From her interview in Spin magazine last year:

Do you have stage fright?

It makes my heart beat faster just thinking about it -- all the people and the lights. I don't appear shy, but I'm a very sensitive person.

Do you have to play live? Is that part of your contract?

No not at all. I wanted to.

You enjoy playing live? You don't always seem to enjoy it.

That's the thing about me. People think, Oh she's crazy -- she doesn't like to play. But that's not it. It's like tapping into some communal vein. There's always one person who talks to you after you go through this physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological experience. It's a dualship, a communication between the listener and me, even though you're not talking to each other or looking at each other, there's this space that starts living. This space in the universe that we all share, and it opens up, and then we forget we're in a bar. It's like looking at a painting or watching a horse run. It's that thing that keeps us liking life.

This is one of my favorite songs--
Cat Power- Werewolf (link expired)

A happy meal

I'm too dull to burn out. Low watt light bulbs. It's laziness is all, coupled with late nights attempting to string together coherent sentences, and trying to make sense out of uncertainty. Long hours in fast food restaurants with my best friend as we draw our lives on napkins, flow charts, stick figures, step ladders-- an island isolation. Let's not live in a box if we can help it.

I hate loitering but I'm afraid I have nowhere to go. She smacks sense into me, tells me what I don't want to hear, but packs it into a little bitter pill.

Open. Drink. Swallow. Is it over yet?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

In case you were hoping for Tegan and Sara tickets...

Yeah they've sold out Webster Hall for November 19th. Check their myspace for tour dates and cross your fingers that there are still tickets available in your city. Austin, TX is on the tour by the way. You know, for you Texan Tegan and Sara fans out there.

For the disenchanted listeners who need a song for their mixed tape--

Tegan and Sara- The Con (link expired)
(Buy it- The Con)

Monday, August 13, 2007

All I do is fold

Y'all know my pechant for origami. It's a hobby of mine. This old Japanese tale says that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes you are granted one wish. I feel weird about this because like Santa Clause, if I fold 1,000 and nothing happens, it would be as much a let down as spoiled milk and stale cookies (Santa? I'm talkin' to you).

What I think I will do is fold 999, and just sit on the brink of knowing that something spectacular could or could not happen. I would have to retire from folding and live on the thrill of the unknown. These birds have history. They make me ache. Alcoholics can't touch liquor.... Origamists can't square pieces of paper.

The Paper Cranes- I'll love you till... (link expired)

This song is spiffy as hell. It sounds like the weight of 999 paper cranes. I discovered them while sitting at work thinking, "If I had a band, I would probably call us, THE PAPER CRANES." But dang, these guys beat me to it. No worries though, they're making good on the name. In the era of TV soundtrack promos, I think it won't be long before they're featured on the next O.C./Grey's Anatomy type show. And double props because they're from Vancouver! If you are in the area, their myspace says they are playing a show at Richards on Richard on August 17th.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Cribs with White Rabbits and Foreign Islands: Bowery Ballroom Aug. 9th 2007

Ah yes, those lovable Wakefield twins. Ryan and Gary Jarman might as well be the Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield of the indie rock scene. If Francine Pascal ever wrote the indie punk rock version of Sweet Valley High, it should star the Jarman brothers. For starters, the brothers are from Wakefield, and like they sing on the track, "I'm a Realist," Ryan is a "realist" and Gary is a "romantic," and they're both "indecisive pieces of shit."

The show at Bowery Ballroom started with Foreign Islands (who had some acrobatic mic work), and then White Rabbits came on for a brilliant, energetic set. Their sound is fresh and catchy and I'm sure they will make it big.

The Cribs opened up with "Major Titling's Victory" and Ross Jarman had some very impressive drum work. Guitarist Ryan Jarman was a favorite with the ladies up front who were how should we say... molesting his leg? In any case, he seemed to find it amusing. Of course he, and the rest of The Cribs were also drunk off their kiesters, which Sofiblu points out, doesn't explain the nimble and remarkably accurate guitar skills. We were both in the front for a few songs till the crazy moshers started attacking people. The Cribs sobered up briefly to keep the peace but by then, the damage was done. It would have been ironic and cool, if they pulled Lee Ranaldo out and did "Be Safe" which is spoken word poetry track featuring the legendary founder of Sonic Youth. The Jarmans provide the chorus. Nothing like the finger wagging of a rock legend to make people calm the fuck down.

I actually missed the part where they sort of put their heads on each other's necks, like two giraffes hugging (how else to explain it?) . It's just something they do. Precious.

Yeah, Ryan is playing the guitar by scraping it across the amp. You would think it has the same effect as stopping a wall with your face, but quite a fun way to end the show.

I listened to their album, Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever in its entirety today and I'm loving it. They played "Ancient History," at the show which is slowly growing to be my favorite track. "Shoot the Poets" is another favorite, and an unexpected way to end the album. The acoustic guitars show a softer side to the Jarmans, as if to make the point that despite the hype, their loyalty is to each other, and their hearts lie with Wakefield.

The Cribs- Ancient History (link expired)

The Cribs are playing another show tonight at Union Pool, Brooklyn. If anybody goes, I would love to hear how it went.

Set something on fire

Set something on fire. Preferably all the letters, nightmares, hopes, desires, carnal lusting, and insomniac ramblings. Douse your soul with liquor and light the match. Let it go, drop the bottle. A swig here, a flicker will show itself. The burn starts slow, but the warmth, oh yes, soon life will spark in your eyes.

Go back to the beginning. You can start over. Give birth to yourself. Jump into the fire. It is the element most conducive to finalizing an end, and the pre-condition needed to begin again.

Let Karen O show you how with Gold Lion:

(links expired)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Gold Lion
(Show Your Bones)

The Used- I Caught Fire (In Your Eyes)
(In Love and Death)

Stars- Your Ex-Lover is Dead
(Set Yourself On Fire)

Thirteen Senses- Into the Fire
(The Invitation)

Pics from Thursday's concert are coming soon.... by soon I mean, whenever I get around to it... which is probably soon.

Friday, August 10, 2007

NY shame

Just got back from The Cribs at Bowery Ballroom. Is it asking too much of New Yorkers to act a little civilized? Yes, it's a rock concert, but really, I would think us New Yorkers would be better than smacking women in a mosh pit till they got a bloody eye. Or pull their hair, or spit in their face when they push you assholes back and tell you to get the fuck off. We can jump up and down and dance and scream lyrics without getting pushy now. What are we, 15? Boys and girls, handle your liquor like an adult. GROW UP. Seriously, did not have this problem at all in Vancouver.

That said, Sofiblu and I vacated our spots close to the stage for the balcony where people gladly slid over and I watched a very nice man throw ice cubes at the dumbass moshers. And when the said hair-puller/spitter tried to get onto the stage, The Cribs' roadie threw him off. Literally... like into the hardwood floor. Karma? I think so. After the show, Sofiblu and I ran into The White Rabbits who were the second act, and we went up to talk to them. Okay Sof did the talking. I'm into smiling awkwardly and suppressing word vomit. The White Rabbits were fabulous. It's like... indie rock to a cool ocean breeze. Do see them live if you get a chance. They have a show in September with the Kaiser Chiefs, and also a performance at Soundfix in Brooklyn.

Pictures/etc tomorrow. I must wash spit out of my hair.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Boy band redux

Band break ups are as common as Hollywood divorces, but unlike Britney Spears, some careers might have a chance to rebound. History tells us that disparate frontmen go on to other musical acts and become hugely successful-- like New Order or Audioslave.

But, I'm thinking this will not be the case for Sureshot, a boy... er.. man-group, I should say, composed of former pop stars of 90s boy bands: Color Me Badd, 98 Degrees, N'SYNC, and LFO. Yes, even a Lyte Funkie One, famous for badmouthing Chinese food and popularizing Abercrombie & Fitch, is not immune to the surreal world of celebreality.

I hate to say it, but I was intrigued. I watched the first episode and man, the only thing I took away from it is that life's a bitch. Rich Cronin (LFO) was diagnosed with Leukemia a few years ago and he's trying to get back in the game. Bryan Abrams has the saddest story of all. More than 10 years after Color Me Badd hit it big, he's now working in an auto shop, rolling tires, not really sexing anyone up. This is the sad reality of fame, but I honestly don't think a "Making The Band" type of show on VH1 would further a person's career for more than 15 minutes. I suppose, if you put four former stars together, you'd get an hour tops, but really, come on...

Mission: Man Band airs Mondays on VH1.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

As seen on the street I

TO DO: Get more Post Its...
Brooklyn, NY

Monday, August 6, 2007

The right question

On Saturday I went to Zune- Live at the BBQ which had some fresh hip hop acts. I won't pretend to know very much about rap and hip hop, but I love seeing concert goers get really into the music, reciting the words, eyes closed and feeling the beats.

Jadakiss and his crew, The Lox, opened my ears to the song "Why" which asks some pretty shrewd questions. Then I found this remixed version with Common, Nas, Styles P and Anthony Hamilton, which builds on the fundamentals of the song. In your every day living, and your every day thinking, never stop asking yourself, "Why?" Why does the world work this way? Why can't we change things? Why is it so hard to move people to action?

It's useful to ask this question in your personal life. Like me for example, why do I continue at a dead end job? Why am I afraid to be truly independent? Why can't I do 30 crunches without collapsing in exhaustion? Why is it so hard to move ME into action?

A little taste of the question at hand...

Jadakiss- Why (remix) (expired)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

But it's a struggle

I make tea. When the water is very hot, I drop in a tea bag, and I put my ear close to the cup to listen to it effervesce. It speaks to me the way rice krispies talk to little children. My face gets warm. "What are you saying?"

This life is a struggle.

Ringside- Struggle (expired)
(Buy the album: Ringside)

Balthazar Getty (the actor) is the beat master of this collaboration with singer/guitarist Scott Thomas. The music sounds like wounded confidence. How very L.A. Sigh... how very me right now.

The music video:

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Diamonds are forever

A friend invited me to a screening yesterday for Raquel Cepeda's documentary Bling: A Planet Rock (see the trailer here). The film examines commercial hip hop's proliferation of the materialistic culture of bling, and how this affects people an ocean away-- namely in Sierra Leone. Rappers pose with their jewels, and flash their grills, but the money used to buy these gems trickles into a war-torn society, supporting a civil war where children kill children, women are raped, rebels severing body parts to strike fear into the people. These are the blood diamonds of Africa. Now that peace has been declared in the country, Cepeda enlists rappers Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan, Paul Wall and Tego Calderon to travel to Sierra Leone to see the diamond mines, visit the people, and see how massively hip hop music can affect a nation, culturally and politically. I thought the film was enlightening.

There was a Q&A session with the director after the screening and she mentioned how she purposely picked certain artists for this project. Sending rappers like Mos Def or Kanye West to Sierra Leone doesn't shift any views, but what about someone like Paul Wall? He certainly surprised me. So did Tego:

"I didn't go to school, but I went to Africa."