26 May 2011

Chapter One

"We had troubles in the past, but never anything of this scope before," said the simultaneously stout and gaunt man as he touched his brow. His face was sunken, but fat hung from his neck. His stomach harbored much, but his arms recalled coffee stirrers the ones available at your neighbor corner store. He was a member of the Parking Lot Attendants Association for the city, and as the interview continued he shuffled his stance and adjusted his posture repeatedly. I wasn't conducting the interview, though. That was up to the real news men on the scene. Eavesdropping is an essential skill for an unemployed freelancer, with no fresh clips in over two years and an ever-present need for drink and smoke. Eating is largely unnecessary.
A car exploded in the unregistered lot on the corner of 30th and Market. It almost took out the bar down the road. It could have reduced the one up the street to rubble and debris, that would have been fine, but not the box at the end of the block. Lazy speculation would point to the teamsters, or possibly the new Black Panthers, and that will certainly be the angle that the professional newsies run with. Crooked bastards.

25 May 2011

All the lights on

The game is on, but the beer supply is diminishing. Outside, a dirt bike with a lawn mower's engine is ridden from end to end in the alley. Extra-long cigarettes burn at the bottom of green glass bottles. On the radio, the announcers say that the pitcher sports a mohawk which means it must be true. The dishes are drying, but the stacks of comics could afford to be rearranged. I keep telling myself that it is OK to write badly. The subway screeches to a halt, but there's nowhere to go at this hour. The books have been read, but there's one that hasn't been written yet. I keep telling myself that cheesy lines like that are OK, mainly because thats what tonight's pasta was lacking.
The change on the counter has been counted, and moved into rows. The flannels have been folded and put away while other long sleeves amass in a laundry pile. Its been a slow news day, but that hasn't stopped the de facto congregation in the street. They have car stereos, and will wait until October. The sirens are just getting started. I must have missed the gunfire.

Down vest

Tack up posters of your idols, and wait.
Quote novels on your refrigerator with grease pencil.
Straighten out a paper clip. Snap a ballpoint pen.
Get what you want, without waiting.
Cut your hair with fabric scissors.
Make lists of what's wrong.
Remember that one time when astronauts were mentioned.

24 May 2011

Ganglians - "Jungle"

This video is entertaining if nothing else. Love the lizard tongue and ominous hand forever giving the thumbs up. The new Ganglians joint is being released by Lefse and arrives in August. It will be called Still Living.
In other news, I got a new cd player. Big things on the horizon.

New Stephen Malkmus

Matador announced today that there will be in fact a new Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks record coming in 2011, and also added that the album was produced by Beck. The official release date is August 23rd, and while it isn't mentioned in the press release its safe to assume that digital copies will be available for purchase sooner than that as part of the label's Buy Early Get Now program.
The new long-player will be titled Mirror Traffic, and Matador also promised an MP3 at some point. It was also revealed that this will be the final Jicks recording with Janet Weiss on drums. She's got a lot going on these days. Jakes Morris of the Joggers will behind the kit when this act goes out on the road.
Dig the album art at the top of the page.

(via the matablog)

20 May 2011

Fog has been lifted

Cheap sunglasses don't hide the eyes well. Flimsy plastic on the sides, and waxy lenses that defy usefulness. This may not seem important, but it makes all the difference in the world for the three seconds. The three seconds there are to speak, make contact. When two individuals are on the street about to approach one another, there are exactly three seconds to make something happen. Smile, wink, or actually talk out loud. There are only three seconds to do it. A smirk can be misinterpreted, and generally a wink is a deterrent. A head nod is totally out of the question, and waves can be strange. Solely making eye contact isn't enough there has to be follow through. Done all in three seconds.

19 May 2011

Ty Segall - "You Make the Sun Fry"

New Ty Segall record entitled Goodbye Bread drops June 21. Album art is above, and the track can be downloaded over at Drag City. Feeling pretty comfortable in saying that the new album will be rad. Last year's effort was tight, and while this one seems like it will be a little more subdued and contemplative it will be a bright spot for us all.

(via gvsb)

16 May 2011

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, True Widow, Weekends @ First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, 5/12/11

Crossing the Schuykill River bridge, someone smiled at me. Not just anyone either. A young woman, who I've been stealing glances from for months. She stood there for a full second and a half at the stairwell, looking directly at me waiting with her right hand on her hip. I sheepishly smiled, shrugged, and crossed the street. I had no time to spare as tempting as it was. The internet said there were only fifteen tickets left, and I intended on being one. I rationalized that I needed a show more than a gal anyway.
The opening band, Weekends, hail from Baltimore so naturally I viewed them in a favorable light right from the start. It also helped that it was just two guys with guitar and drums, and they switched instruments halfway through the set. They were also tremendously loud with the kind of experimental guitar work that gets me excited about live music. Unfortunately, it seemed as though my enthusiasm was not shared by a majority of the crowd.
True Widow was the next band up, and holy shit. Their latest record entitled As High as the Highest Heavens and from the Center to the Circumference of the Earth dropped back at the end of March, and is definitely recommended if Sleep-ish, doom, "stonegaze" is up your alley. On the internets, there are descriptions of them being a heavier version of Low but honestly I could never really get behind Low so I'm sticking with thinking that they kind of, sort of sound like Sleep. Simply put, they owned and did so without looking up. Big time bass, guitar, and drums that I noted to be 'enthralling'. The sounds floated out of the speakers, and the walls were coated in a mystifying fog as if to ask why wasn't this the headlining act. Parts of this paragraph may suffer from bias.
It gets to be quite difficult to do much of anything when there's a 24 ounce lager wedged in your left arm pit, and an open one in your right hand especially when the guy in front of you is practicing air guitar moves in anticipation of Trail of Dead. To come totally clean, I had heard Trail of Dead only a handful of times but felt drawn to attend nonetheless. Something told me that a psych rock band from Texas may put on a decent show. After getting over the fact that all the songs would be unfamiliar, I finished one beer opened the other and proceeded to hang out. I'm not sure what they played exactly, but their set clocked in at about an hour and a half. I dug it, most of everyone else there seemed to as well. The band was into it, and enthusiasm like that is contagious. Their seventh album, Tao of the Dead, just came out on their own label.
The headliner was Surfer Blood. I left shortly thereafter.

11 May 2011

J Mascis - "Not Enough"

Off of Several Shades of Why which came out back in March on Sub Pop. That short story probably would have turned out differently if I had watched this first.

Desperately anxious to discover

"I was like, 'well can I at least get a peck?', and he was like 'I'm gay, I can't', and then I was like 'what does that have to do with anything?', and like..."
This is how the city has chosen to speak today. The same city that doesn't feel sorry for anyone, and no matter how dour circumstances become, the city that shows shit that is so much worse. All the shows are going to sell out, and the only place with an open door is a college dropout hangout where cherubs pay for single slices by credit card and in doing so distract the bartender from serving cold lager. My hair falls out as this realization sinks in.
"I've been scouting out districts for weeks now, but I'm having trouble settling on one..."
Agents for change, reformers, and the financially irresponsible all jockey for the same position. The papers have been saying that presiding over traffic court can net you 80k annually, and that it only goes up from there. The electoral race is fast approaching. The 'like' crowd isn't voting, and neither are the ones who strip naked in train station bathrooms and declare themselves to be Mumm-Ra in an eternal battle against Lunataks. They all need your support, and your cigarettes as well.
"You need to be careful, especially around the subway stops. You know, because you wear glasses..."
Toddlers step out in front of traffic during the day, and if someone didn't have their glasses on then you'd hear about it on the news. Nobody knows what they want, or even what they like. Collectively tires spin, but beyond that there isn't a whole lot going on. You can give up. They can too. I'm not.

10 May 2011

Open and Shut

Last week, it was announced that the Baltimore spot, Sonar, was being shut down. Yesterday, it was reported that they are re-opening. Apparently, the back and forth was the result of an expired liquor license. The owner didn't renew the license because as far as he knew he didn't own the club anymore, and said he had been trying to transfer ownership entirely. Something smacks of being totally strange. Either he owns it, or he doesn't. Regardless of the year, paperwork still exists and there is always a name on the dotted line.
It's not all bad news concerning that place. They only charge two dollars for PBR pounders some nights, and its where Maryland Death Fest is held. Personally, it's where I saw the holy shit amazingness of Deerhunter, No Age, and Dan Deacon performing all together in the same room at the same time as well as the space where I saw the majesty of Down for the first time. In the club room, I bore witness to High on Fire and on one particularly memorable night pushed around to a double bill of HEALTH and Double Dagger.

04 May 2011

Thee Oh Sees - "Castlemania"

Mark your calendars for Thee Oh Sees are releasing a new record. On June 14th, Castlemania will be released by In the Red. Not only that, but another long-player is due in the fall. In related news concerning one of my most favorite acts, they have also added a new member. Lars Finberg of the Intelligence has joined the band, which brings the grand total to five.
An LP titled Singles Collection Volume 1 and 2 came out back in March on frontman John Dwyer's Castle Face Imprint. That can be checked out here.
The video for the first track off of Castlemania, "I Need Seed", is up over on Pitchfork TV and here as well. (Writer's Note: The internet connection here at the train station kept cutting in and out. For a second there, I was concerned I wouldn't be able to share the video.)
(news via BV)

03 May 2011

Gang Gang Dance - "Eye Contact"

The new Gang Gang record officially drops May 10th via 4AD, but there is a stream available. The album title is Eye Contact. Good feeling about this one.

(via gvsb via dis)

I bought this on Amazon for less than a pack of cigarettes

SUUNS - Zeroes EP (Secretly Canadian 2010)
This one had been almost collecting dust in a digital sphere, but after seeing some SXSW reports it became apparent that this needed to be listened to further. To clarify, this wasn't purchased on Amazon but rather was made available as a free download on RCRD LBL back in August. Additionally, the band's initial name was Zeroes but after discovering there was already a group with that name it was then changed to SUUNS. These guys came to town about a month or so ago supporting the Black Angels on tour. Before that, they were on the road with Crystal Castles. While those two bands may have little in common, SUUNS make appropriate bedfellows with both of them. Thats what happens when a band boasts a post-rock post-punk sound that drips with texture. Also, want to highlight the word "boast" here as well. This is the first EP before album number one, but it sounds like they have been doing this for ions.
As far as the record itself, its a mere smattering of what could conceivably happen in the future. Six tracks clocking in at just over twenty five minutes. Enough though, to get an idea of what's going on and what is to come. There are two things that'll knock you in the head with each and every listen. One is the bass. There is actual bass all over this joint, and with headphones on its the bass that pulls at your synapses. On "Arena", the bass crawls up and down the fret board amidst the whirlwind of sound. The other is the unshakeable similarities between the vocals here and the vocals of Thom Yorke. "Optimist" and "Nnnnnnnn" are the most apparent of the batch. It's mostly in the delivery, but it registers in the mind just the same. It's not soft by any stretch of the imagination, but its not booming either. The voice comes across as the least essential piece at times, but it needs to be ever present so that the listener has something to latch on to. Throughout, there's this real wild interplay between the music itself and the words to the songs. The music brims with confidence while the words are seeped in doubt. On "Mudslinger" for instance, "Maybe this is how it ends". They're not saying that the sky is falling, but they're not ruling it out either. Or on "Disappearance Of the Skyscraper", "I killed a man when I was eleven years old/I'm innocent". The lyrical uncertainty to lines like these can be rather refreshing to someone, who for instance lives in an efficiency in West Philadelphia and second-guesses each and every decision of his existence while he tries to fall asleep.
These tracks are a lot longer than one realizes. They all go well over the four minute mark, but they fly by. The tone is established in the first minute and a half, then the vocals hit then it all swirls, whirls, and simmers and then it ends. Again, this is only the first recording. Developments certainly occurred before the proper long-player was recorded, and they'll probably continue unless of course they all grow to hate each other and the band is bogged down by infighting on-stage and then cease to exist. That does happen from time to time.

02 May 2011

Shabazz Palaces - "Blastit"

From the forthcoming documentary by Village Beat. The title is Tough Bond, and the score was done by Shabazz Palaces. Dig. For more information on this whole deal, you can visit the Village Beat Non-Profit Company page on Facebook.

(via gvsb)

Titus Andronicus - "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future"

Thursday night at the First Unitarian was for lack of a better term, fucking epic. Hopefully this video sheds some light on the cavalcade of emotions experienced on that night.

Black Lips - "Modern Art"

The first single for the new record has arrived. The new long-player, which will drop on June 7th, was produced by Mark Ronson and if this track is any indication then his fingerprints are all over this joint. It doesn't sound like they have deviated from form too much, although there was a thirty second period where it sounded oddly reminiscent of the Hives. That was probably just a first listen curveball. Arabia Mountain again comes out on June 7th via Vice, and "Modern Art" can be found over at Gorilla Vs Bear.

(via gvsb)