November 29, 2009
THIS WEEK IN SHOWS
WEDS, DEC. 2
Jaguar Love, The King Left, Yes Giantess, Violent Soho
8:00 PM, $10 adv/$12 do, 21+
People have said that Johnny Whitney of Jaguar Love sounds like “Robert Plant on steroids.” I was gonna say he sort of reminds me of Jay Reatard in a higher register. Either way, we’re talking shrieky, jolting energy. These guys make some catchy, noisy, uptempo pop with y’know, canned beats. Enjoy!
Werewolves, Strange Rivals, Heliotropes
8:00, $5, 21+
Never underestimate the power of the keys to take something dramatic and make it cinematic. I’m using the term “cinematic” very liberally to mean that you might find yourself playing out long scenes in your head while listening to Werewolves. Or maybe it’s their sneering vocals that do it, I don’t know yet. What I do know is that they’re dynamic performers and they’re playing Glasslands this Wedsnesday…
SAT, DEC. 5
8:00, $10, 21+
Did you know that the male bowerbird hops around with a flower in his beak in an attempt to woo a mate? How sweet! On the other hand, the male angler fish sniffs out the female, bites her, releases an enzyme that fuses the two at the blood-vessel level, and then atrophies until he is no more than a pair of parasitic gonads. The world is ugly, but if you want to linger on the more poignant aspects of life, why not get all acoustic and snuggly with Bowerbirds for the night? They’re also playing Bowery Ballroom with Elvis Perkins on Thursday, but I like to promote the more intimate, boozier, cheaper shows…
Or you can just head towards Kent Ave. and then decide…
More on This Week In Shows
October 29, 2009
JezebelMusic.com @ Santos Party House
October 20, 2009 | Panache Booking & New York Night Train CMJ Showcase
As someone who often judges music by her backbone, I’d like to take my hat off (yes, it’s a little fedora with a press card in the band) to Panache Booking and New York Night Train: both have a knack for putting on shows that get the crowd to really move. That being said, I was moving more than I’d expected at their two-floor showcase at Santos Party House, because the CMJ-tight scheduling meant that whenever a set ended upstairs, we could conceivably run downstairs just in time for that set to start, then scramble back upstairs to repeat the process – for a dozen bands, whew! My feet were pretty sore by the end of the night, and after a few hours of drawing, our sketch artist Hazel Santino had to start taking breaks to stretch those priceless thenar muscles of hers. But here it is, finally, a quick-and-dirty rundown of the ups, downs, hits, misses and highlights of the Panache Booking/New York Night Train CMJ Showcase of 2009.
In case you didn’t go to any CMJ shows this year: Surfer Blood is the new hot shit. If you did go to CMJ then you probably saw Surfer Blood: they played like a billion (or ten or twelve) times last week. They’re a surf band, but don’t think Dick Dale; think heavily-reverbed indie rock songs about the beach. I understand the appeal of Surfer Blood, and I think they should score a teenage summertime movie (maybe with The Drums?) and I’ll go see it simply for the tunes. That said, though they played cleanly and with friendly exuberance, Surfer Blood didn’t get me pulling my skirt over my head or anything. Sorry. I couldn’t hear the danger and chaos that’s been ascribed to their music by critics. Had it been there, maybe the set would’ve been tugged into a tenser, more interesting place.
If, as a child, I’d been aware of the possibility, I think I would’ve wanted to grow up to be in a band like Dinowalrus. Maybe it’s the Star Wars laser sounds, or the constant instrument trading, or lead singer Pete’s yeti growls and propensity for balancing on one leg. Hell, maybe it was the awesome screaming eagle t-shirt he was wearing that particular Tuesday night at Santos. Wherever it stems from, there’s definitely a child-like playfulness beneath all the noise of a Dinowalrus show. “This song’s kinda baggy,” Pete exclaimed at one point, “so put on your bucket hat like you’re going to Manchester!” I like the way Dinowalrus works their noise into a song, letting it gurgle or stew at the beginning, thunderstorming it out at the end, but making room for discernible and surprisingly catchy melodies at the core. From the “Once in A Lifetime”-esque synth and bass of “BEAD” to the snarling “Cage Those Pythons,” (which somehow kept reminding me of “Rowche Rumble,”) to a goose-call clarinet solo, Dinowalrus had me hooked in the gills from their very first song to the moment they rolled their snare drum into the audience, signaling that it was time for me to book it upstairs to catch Harlem’s set.
October 18, 2009
THIS WEEK IN SHOWS
It’s time for CMJ again, which means the same New York bands you can see all the time in will be playing alongside some touring bands – who would’ve all come to New York at some point anyway – in marathon-length shows full of semi-interested badge-holders and grumpy photographers who get angry when you accidentally bump into them while rocking out in the front row. (Except our photographers, who are very cool and friendly.) We tend to complain about CMJ, but since it’s here, we might as well embrace it. It IS really fun to see ten of your favorite bands in one night, and, exhausting as it may be, it’s fun to do that five nights in a row! As usual, these are my totally subjective and incomplete recommendations for the coming week. You can flesh this out by telling us who you’re going to see… Send us some photos if you go. Or boycott CMJ; that’s totally respectable too. As for us, we’re just excited for a reason to shirk our other responsibilities for a week and rock out in the name of journalism.
TUES, OCT. 20
PANACHE/NEW YORK NIGHT TRAIN CMJ SHOWCASE
Upstairs: Heavy Trash, Golden Triangle, Lovvers, Harlem, Surfer Blood, K-Holes
Downstairs: The Stalkers, Unnatural Helpers, Flexions Dinowalrus, Julianna Barwick, SCREENS
Santos Party House
7:00 PM, $10/$12, 18+
It seems that every other show I get excited about is somehow connected to Panache Booking or New York Night Train (or both), and Tuesday night’s bigass blowout is no exception – just check out the lineup!!! I just need to figure out how to be upstairs and downstairs at the same time. I’ve yet to see Heavy Trash, though I’ve heard good things about their show, but Stalkers deserve some props too. They don’t seem to get much press, but they’re one of my favorite live bands: their songs are totally fun and anthemic, and besides, I’ve seen them throw cymbals, get naked, dribble vomit, and last time I caught their show, lead singer Andy Animal was tossing firecrackers into the crowd with a menacing glee. Alright!
More on This Week In Shows: CMJ EDITION!
August 6, 2009
LOCAL SPOTLIGHT NYC
DJing is so weird; it’s such an ambiguous term. Some people would argue that a real DJ is someone who mixes or scratches. Some people would argue that it’s just someone who can keep the beat. Some collector DJs think being a good DJ is having the rarest records, and then on the other hand, some people are great party DJs and play very obvious choices. They play all the hits and they get everybody dancing. But on the most base level, it’s just rocking a party. Can you rock a party and can you do it your own way that’s distinctive? And if you can get the response from some weird place other than familiarity, and more from just energy and sharing things where people are like, ‘Where has this been my whole life?’ that I think, is probably what a good DJ is.
- Jonathan Toubin
I remember the first time I walked into one of DJ Jonathan Toubin’s Soul Clap and Dance-Off parties at Glasslands Gallery. Wiggly mamas were shaking their manes and hitting the splits, gangly boys were swinging from the balcony, and the two dance contest finalists, having already ripped their shirts off, were vibe-a-ratin’ like washing machines in the middle of a cheering crowd. And the music, man! I was getting hit by squall after squall of screaming, crackling soul tracks, some pitched so fast that I hardly knew how to move to them – so I did like everyone else and just let the music jerk my body around, flailing with the breathless abandon of a toddler. I’m a big fan of sixties soul music, but every song was new to me, each so raw and greasy and BIG and palpable that they had me scrunching my nose up and torquing my neck in this ecstatic frenzy. Now, I make a point of seeking out those rowdy shows and crazy parties that leave you sweat-soaked and grinning uncontrollably, but I’ve been hard-pressed to find anything that can top the roaring bliss of a New York Night Train Soul Clap.
And now Mr. Jonathan Toubin is taking ’em all over the world.
More on DJ Jonathan Toubin
July 13, 2009
JezebelMusic.com @ Glasslands Gallery
July 2, 2009 | Golden Triangle
I got to Glasslands right as The Beets’ set ended, and hung out with the sweet, massive, overworked bouncer as like 200 hundred sweaty peeps poured outta the door, one after the other; a bright-eyed cacophony of faces and skinny limbs, meeting a stream of maybe 100 kids trying to go the other way, in.
“At capacity, no one else can enter!” the bouncer yelled, though after a while he let me in when I told him I was gonna cover the show. Feeling like I’d won the golden(!) ticket, I made my way up to the left-hand corner of the stage and proceeded to inadvertently get in the band’s way, like twelve times, as they set up. I don’t think they gave a crap. The whole vibe there was kind of in the way, in yer face, off-the-hook, in the most gentle way possible. It was challenging and lulling at the same time – exactly what you would want from a night out. They had a garage-rock DJ and there were weird, rad, brightly-colored vids playing – they looked like benevolent skulls, fiery snakes, washed-out rainbows. But who the hell knows, it was hard to see through the steamy, sexy heat. The night was a trademark Toubinesque (as in Jonathan Toubin, New York Night Train founder) wild, happy party. The whole crowd seemed high on the hot, steamy, slightly oxygen-deprived setting. I was ready for a good inaugural view of Golden Triangle, who I’d scandalously missed for years.
Golden Triangle started up pretty quickly – exploded would be a better way to describe it. It felt like a fireball made up of three parts exuberant female, three parts art dude, crazy energy, crazy fun, with guitarist OJ holding it down and grounding the whole thing. I got obsessed with trying to capture stills of them, getting their crazy hooha, holding so still with my camera’s shutter open for like 20 seconds: a study in opposites. Every now and then I took a break to freak out with the boisterous audience. Every now and then lead singer Vashti’s vocals would break through with an endorphin-releasing post-Siouxsie clarity that made you just go, “ahhh.” It felt like they swept the audience up in their wild tornado, glamored us, and sent us back out, panting and happy, a half hour later. So, fuck yeah, go see Golden Triangle bring on the awesome.
by Rebecca Gaffney