Sunday, January 30, 2005

I just want something for nothing

So Saturday was interesting. Went out to this place they call "Brooklyn" to see The Bravery at the North Six. While on the L out to Williamsburg, I participated in some sort of magician's show - he incorporated pots, pans, and a box that had a fake rat in it. Yeah, this was gonna be an interesting evening.

Started the Billyburg adventure at Greenpoint Tavern on Bedford, where I met J. Ryan Miller and co-pilot Hey Ashley Clark. We imbibed draft beers out of a frighteningly large styrofoam cup. at this great dive bar.

Then it was on to North Six for the show. The cohorts and I got a spot against the bar - always a good choice. Packed house, as this was a sold out show. And The Bravery did not disappoint. They opened with "Unconditional" and hit my favorites - "Tyrant," "Out of Line," and "Honest Mistake" and finished with an encore of "Fearless." Great show and the crowd seemed pleased. Looked like a lot of newbies in the audience - only a small group in the front danced and most people didn't seem to know the songs.

Here's Mike H working the bass. He performed the impressive feat of not only playing bass lines for a band, but chugging two beers during said performance. Chatted with him after the show for a couple of minutes. Nice guy. He says that following the U.K. tour in February where they'll be playing "anywhere they let us," the band will be doing a full tour of the U.S.

And here's a little more Bravery, doing that thing they do. (Yeah, the pic is a little dark, but it was a dark venue - or I had my hand over the flash).

J. Ryan, Hey Ashley Clark, and I skipped the "official" The Bravery afterparty, and headed on to Brooklyn Ale House. On the way, we passed by the largest Thai restaurant on the planet - appropriately named "Planet Thailand." Seriously, this place was huge. Following a couple of Stellas at Brooklyn Ale House (a wholly independent country that apparently does not recognize the "No Smoking" law), I left team North Six and headed back to Manhattan. It started snowing, which means no cabs. So it was back on the L for me, luckily without magicians this time.

After arriving on the island, I was propositioned by a prostitute while walking down 14th Street. Just great. She either liked my jeans or really wanted to share a cab with me. I declined (I mean sharing cabs are only for the special people in my life), and made it to my next destination, Tiswas at Don Hill's to see Tim Burgess dj.

Here's Tim, making a selection. Unfortunately, there were a lot of trainwrecks and uncomfortable silences. Nevertheless, the highlight was the Monkey Mafia remix of Saint Etienne's "Filthy." Tiswas was packed. I'm really glad, because it's been so empty recently - I guess the hipsters have moved on.

More Tim, being sneaky in that black hat. Great to see him pumped up and rocking the place.

Interestingly, I ran into the Manchester girls that have been haunting the Atomique party at Eleven recently. They are a fearsome pack - not afraid to get down.

And then I ran out of energy, or was just really drunk, and decided to go home. The realization that I only had $4 was not cool, as most cabbies don't appreciate such paltry sums. Wandered through SoHo to find an ATM, took care of that, and made it home, just enjoying the snowfall.

Gotta love New York.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby

So I was able to procure the not-yet-released album by The Bravery. I've heard six of ten songs already (well, actually, I've heard them all live), such as "Honest Mistake," "Fearless," "Unconditional," and while these were great, the ones I had not heard were just ok. "Tyrant" is the lone exeption - this is a great song, perhaps their best. The ten songs (and an awful eleventh bonus track - "Hey Sunshine Day" - which sounds like a poor Beach Boys song) are pretty much what you'd expect if you've heard this band already - quick, in and out, three minute songs that are just fast enough to dance to. Do they deserve all the hype? Perhaps. I like them a lot, but I'd still like to see more out of the album.

Rainy, Kentish Town Tuesday

Drowned in Sound has done a marvelous job pointing out the "new Britpop" by comparing today's Brit bands with the bands from the halcyon days of 1995. For example:
4. Franz Ferdinand - A little arty, a little on the wrong side of the usual music industry cut-off age of 25, Alex Kapranos has become something of a skinny pin-up. The band have already crossed over into the teen market thanks to mammoth foot-stomping hit ‘Take Me Out’. If their debut album was ‘Different Class’ then the next album will be the ‘misunderstood’ one. Or it may sell fuckloads. Whatever. Helped by the fact they absolutely butchered ‘Mis-shapes’in an early radio session, it may not surprise you to learn that Franz Ferdinand are really Pulp.

That's not bad, but try being compared to Kula Shaker or Menswear (Kasabian and The Ordinary Boys, respectively). Check the rest out here. (Thanks to J. Ryan Miller for passing this along).

Monday, January 24, 2005

Please, stop looking at my...

...iPod playlist. From (via Stereogum):

But perhaps the ultimate New York experience is having your personal space breached. In a city where everyone wants what everyone else has, even iPod playlists are not off limits for the curious. At the Equinox near Union Square, Lisa Kolodny was exercising and listening to her iPod recently when she noticed the woman on the elliptical trainer next to her trying to speak to her. Ms. Kolodny took out her ear buds, and the woman asked if she would mind trading iPods while they worked out because she was bored of her playlists.

"I felt like it was the equivalent of asking a stranger to lick your face in the middle of a bar," said Ms. Kolodny, 26, who politely declined, partly because she feared the woman's iPod would be stocked with Olivia Newton-John.

Seriously, not only are you checking out my 'Pod, but what if you only listen to Olivia Newton-John?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Interpol at Radio City, blah...

Much like the sentiment over at One Louder, I think I'm gonna pass on the much-blogged about Interpol show at Radio City on March 1. I also used to automatically go to an Interpol show, but since I've seen them 5 or 6 times, just picked up two bootlegs (Boston's Avalon from 2003 and Nottingham's Rock City from 12/19/2004), and fully know that they are going to play their songs note-for-note as on the album, I think I can sit this one out. You can buy tickets from their site starting on the 20th.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Razorlight and afterparty

I saw Razorlight last night at the Bowery. Pretty good show, even though I'm not really into their music. Johnny Borrell really has great stage presence and played to the crowd. They basically played loud rock and roll, and I thought that "Golden Touch" was especially good.

I wasn't going to see Razorlight but when I heard that Asobi Seksu was going to open for them, I then bought tickets as I have been dying to see Asobi Seksu. They lived up to my expectations and sounded like what I was hearing about them - shoegazer-type guitars with reverb, sweet vocals, some effects. I was really impressed with their rhythm section. The Features played after Asobi and were ok. Good musicianship, but not my kind of music. They had kind of a jam band, frat house rock thing going on, which is ok I guess, if you're into that.

Actually, the best part of the show was during the interlude between The Features and Razorlight - the house p.a. played The Cure's Three Imaginary Boys. I absolutely love "It's Not You" and "Fire in Cairo."

The afterparty at Eleven, hosted by Audrey (Atomique) and GBH, was great. Grabbed a couple of cd's and t-shirts and other assorted trinkets and whatnot. And there's nothing better than hearing "Parklife" and "Do You Remember the First Time" while out. Because the Razorlight show went pretty late, the afterparty really didn't kick in until 1am or so, but when it did, it was packed. Good times all around.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

New Order to release new album

New Order's new album Waiting for the Siren's Call will be released on March 28 in the UK, with the first single "Krafty" being released two weeks prior. This album is supposed to re-hash the late 80's dance sound, and as Peter Hook previously mentioned, will sound a little more like Technique. NME also reports that Phil Cunningham has replaced Gillian Gilbert as a full time member of the band.

I really liked 2001's Get Ready, especially "Crystal" and "Someone Like You," and I hope Siren's Call will be just as good.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Ian Curtis' biopic coming soon

A film on Joy Division and Ian Curtis has been announced. Called Touching From A Distance, the film will be based on a book by his widow Deborah. Thankfully, it will be an "inside" production, as Deborah Curtis and Tony Wilson (Factory Records head/Manchester music svengali) will executive produce the film. Anton Corbijn, who's made some great videos for Depeche Mode and U2, will direct (his first feature film outing). I hope this turns out to be just as good as 24 Hour Party People.

The Bravery top BBC News Sound of 2005 poll

How about that? Via Gothamist, New York's band du jour are tops in Britain, garnering the number one spot in the BBC News Sound of 2005 poll. Past number one's were Keane and 50 Cent, not a bad track record. The best quote was from Chris Hawkins, host of BBC 6 Music's chart show: "The Bravery are proof alone that New York City is still home to hot new talent." Thanks Chris, we're pretty pleased with our city's scene too. He also did a nice job with the use of the term "electro-clash."

Curse the alcohol

Remember when you were in college and could drink all night, get in at 4am (if at all), and still make it to Western Civ at 9am? Yeah, well that's a far cry from where I am right now. I spent too much time drinking Stella last night at the Magnetic Field, and frankly, it was a chore waking up this morning. But I did get to play the DFA remix of The Rapture's "Sister Saviour" while I was there, so I've got that going for me, which is nice.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

For the love of God...

...I've tried really hard not to like The Killers. I heard "Mr. Brightside" and "All These Things That I've Done" on XFM London last summer and thought they were ok. And I found the fact that they are from Vegas pretty interesting (people are from there?!?!). The fact that they've recently been on TRL, have a loose affiliation with The O.C., and every girl I know that likes decent music is convinced that she's going to marry the lead singer, has kind of put me off from this band. But as I gave the album a full listen this morning at the gym, I realized that I actually really like Hot Fuss. I especially like "Jenny Was a Friend of Mine" and "Smile Like You Mean It" (great song title). I hope there's room on the bandwagon for me.

And for something completely different - the heat won't come on in my apartment! And it's freezing here!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Violator and The Go Station at Plaid, then Elkland at the Knitting Factory

I went to see Underbelly present Violator and The Go Station at Plaid last night. Really good show. Violator, an all girl Depeche Mode cover band (imagine that), were unbelievable. I could never imagine that live instrumentation and a non-Gahan vocalist could make Depeche Mode songs sound so good. My fave was "Personal Jesus." The Go Station were also great. Matt the guitarist is not afraid to break out a long guitar solo when necessary. Rachael, my cohort that evening, commented that Doug the vocalist sounded like Tim Booth from James. I can neither confirm nor deny that comparison.

Following The Go Station, Rachael and I quickly headed down to the Knitting Factory to see Elkland. Currently being hyped all over the place, they were much better live than I expected and sounded very Erasure-ish rather than New Order-ish as I was told. With his moves like Nick from Franz Ferdinand and arm-sways like Ian Curtis, Jon the vocalist looks like that kid from the private high school that you wanted to beat up. He did perform bravely, as he had a vicious sore throat. I'm looking forward to seeing them again. Check out their new Sony BMG sponsored web site!

Friday, January 07, 2005

New Oasis album due out in May

I know most people don't care about Oasis anymore, but their new album will be released on May 16 in the UK. The biggest collaborative effort by the band yet, the album will have songs written not only by Noel, but by Liam, Gem Archer and Andy Bell. I thought Heathen Chemistry was pretty good (especially "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" and its b-side, "Shout it Out Loud"), so I'm looking forward to their new material.

Although the music press is hyping up so many new bands right now as the best in Britain, Oasis are still pretty relevant - they've sold 330,000 tickets for a stadium tour this summer in the UK.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

How novel - a "Best Shows I Saw in 2004" list

Yes, it's cliche and everyone who blogs about music has one, but did they publish their list on January 4th!!! I think not. So here's mine, starting with the best:
  1. Kasabian at the Bowery Ballroom on November 18th - A truly amazing show. They just came out and rocked, and had a good time doing it. They played all the great's off their self-titled debut ("Cutt Off," "Processed Beats," "L.S.F.") and the crowd danced around the whole time. It was just a fun show - plain and simple. I'm looking forward to their return in the Spring. Interesting fact - Kasabian is named after Linda Kasabian, Charles Manson's getaway driver.
  2. The Bravery at the Bowery Ballroom on December 9th - Although they were co-headlining with Moving Units, The Bravery went on first, and boy did they outshine M>U. Opening with "Honest Mistake" (my favorite track), and plowing through "Unconditional," "No Brakes," and "Out of Line" among others, they really rocked (and electro-ed). I think that most of the crowd was there to see them and left following their performance. (N.B. - this was one of the most attractive crowds I've seen at a show in NYC in recent memory - seriously, plenty of gorgeous women in attendance). Although I think that their New Year's Eve performance at the Motherfucker Ball was a better show, that occurred at 3:38am - thus disqualifying it from the 2004 list.
  3. The Cure at the Curiosa Festival on July 31 - The Cure is probably my all-time favorite band, and yet this was the first time that I've seen them live. I thought they played a great set, even though some of the other Curiosa dates had better playlists. I managed to be 5 or 6 people in from the front rail for their performance (I staked out my territory by the main stage all day, sorry Muse) and was amazed at the show they put on - hard and loud. At one point, I turned around and was just amazed by the sight of thousands of people with their arms up in unison for the band. The highlight was definitely the first encore - "M," "Play for Today," and "A Forest."
  4. Morrissey at the Apollo Theater on May 3rd - This was the Mozzer's 2004 opening night in New York, prior to the release of You are the Quarry. I know it has great history and all, but the Apollo is not a great place to see a band in my opinion - it's just shaped weirdly in the mezzanine and kind of hard to see. Nevertheless, Morrissey and his mates put on a great show. He previewed numerous songs from YATQ, while throwing out classic Moz tunes and even Smiths songs in between. The highlight for me was hearing "The Headmaster Ritual," "There is a Light That Never Goes Out," and "Hand in Glove" live. And I thought that "Let Me Kiss You" and "Irish Blood, English Heart" sounded the best off the new album.
  5. Get Loaded featuring Shaun Ryder and Peter Hook at Turnmills on November 4 - Ok, so this wasn't a live rock performance, but seeing Ryder and Hook dj, as well as telling tales of their sordid musical history, was just an amazing experience. It was really cool to see Hook dancing around to Joy Division and New Order songs.
  6. Moving Units at the Bowery Ballroom on December 9th - This would have been a better show if it had not been for the equipment malfunctions, which may be why The Bravery (who went on right before M>U) upstaged them. M>U opened with my favorite song of theirs ("Anyone"), but the microphone wasn't working for the first couple of verses. They later had trouble with the guitar amps. Nevertheless, they played their best dirty-disco and the crowd responded by getting down to the funk. I was disappointed that they didn't play "Available" though.
  7. The Rapture at the Curiosa Festival on July 31 - A homecoming performance for NYC's The Rapture, and they didn't disappoint. They probably had more fun than the crowd did. And even though it was still light out when they went on, they had the crowd grooving to their dirty disco. Love that cowbell!
  8. Franz Ferdinand at the Bowery Ballroom on February 19 - I'm sure that most people would have this show near #1 being that it's the world's current favorite band playing at a small venue, but I didn't think that Franz would be the greatest thing ever when I was at this show. I must say the show was very good, but when I later bought the album, I was shocked at how great they were. Anyway, just beginning their American invasion, Franz regaled the Bowery crowd with tales of mischief in wee Scotland set to an electro and rockin' backdrop. I was mightily impressed with the Jarvis Cocker-moves that Nick threw out behind the keyboard.
  9. UNKLE at the Canal Room on October 25 - Again, not a live rock set, but James Lavelle and co. put on a great performance. The crowd was mesmerized by the beats and visuals. I walked out of the Canal Room extremely impressed with such a strong performance.
  10. Interpol at the Hammerstein Ballroom on November 12 - Of the 6 times that I've seen them, this was probably their weakest performance even though they had 2 encores. Their performance at Curiosa would have made the list, but due to equipment malfunctions ("That was our new song Evil, without bass") it was sub-par musically. I think that their final Hammerstein performance was hampered by the fact that it was the most crowded show I've seen of theirs and the fact that there was no animation by the band whatsoever. I know they are not big talkers, but usually Sam will at least get up from behind the drum kit and say a few words ("Are you looking forward to the Cure?" at Curiosa; "You are such a good-looking crowd" at the Hammerstein on October 15, 2003). I was disappointed that they didn't play my faves - "Untitled," "the Specialist," and "Obstacle 2" - but good show nevertheless.

Honorable mentions: The Libertines at Webster Hall on October 12 (no Pete Doherty, but a loud, raucous show); Athlete at the Mercury Lounge on March 16 (first show in America and free Astralwerks samplers!); Elefant at the Bowery Ballroom on February 21 (much better live than on the cd); and On!Air!Library! at Tonic on September 21 (it was nice to see them prior to the larger venue Interpol tour).

And there you go.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The Motherfucker New Year's Eve Ball

So I went to the New Year's Eve Ball that the Motherfucker Crew were putting on, primarily to see The Bravery. Although it was supposed to start at 2am, the line was huge and the door pretty disorganized, so even though I had tickets I didn't get in until 3am. The Bravery, scheduled for a 3am start time, didn't go on until about 3:40am. They completely blew away the crowd - so many people were jumping up and down that the shoddy floor at Club Shelter was bouncing. Again opening with "Honest Mistakes," which I think is their best song, The Bravery plowed through about 11 songs and even threw in some stage diving courtesy of the shirtless Mike H (who crowd-surfed as if this was 1993).

Justine D and Michael T were spinning in the main room, pre and post-The Bravery, and were mixing up the new indie rock classics, i.e. Interpol, The Killers, The Libertines. A nice touch was Pulp's "Disco 2000" - a very danceable song for the motherfuckers in the crowd.

Good night overall - even though there was the initial mayhem and numerous disorganized lines (door, coat check, bathroom, bars). Nevertheless, I should have worn some eyeliner.