don't you tell me how i feel.


i likes what i sees by v
November 4, 2013, 7:19 am
Filed under: badass, Shit I love, Shows | Tags: , ,

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Last week I finally got to see Thee Oh Sees, who have topped my please-tour-in-NYC list for some time, at Irving Plaza (only to discover that they later added a Brooklyn show, which rankled a bit).

But fiiiiirst, the openers. Minneapolis-based The Blind Shake were pretty straightforward rock — supershort songs, ample shouting, nary a bass in sight. No complaints from me.

More objectionable were OBN IIIs, an Austin band with a frontman whose obvious Iggy Pop aspirations ruined them for me in the first two minutes (no offense to Mr. Pop). He played no instruments and his voice was nothing to write home about — instead, his role was to fist pump, play air guitar, stage dive, heckle the audience, and engage in every other rock ‘n’ roll trope imaginable. So I hated him, but his band was actually great. Maybe they’ll wise up.

Thee Oh Sees were every bit the hyper-professionals I expected: John Dwyer is an insane guitar vituoso, Brigid Dawson’s harmonies are clearly the secret weapon, and the entire band sounds like they’re tripping over themselves to get through the songs — you almost feel like you can’t breathe, it’s so dizzyingly fast (but always masterfully executed). Also, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen so quite many crowd surfers or beer cups thrown at a show.

Unfortunately, the band had some sound issues that resulted in an encoreless set, and Dwyer started verbally lambasting the sound guy for texting during the performance instead of resolving the problem. Immediately after the show, you could see him onstage still yelling and gesturing angrily over it.

You can see better images of the show here.

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The weekend… by don't you tell me how i feel.
September 2, 2013, 2:33 am
Filed under: badass, Shit I love, Shows, trent, wow | Tags: , ,

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…looked something like this.



surfin’ usa by v
August 26, 2013, 7:12 am
Filed under: badass, New music, Shit I love

La Luz, a group of Seattle ladies, make fine use of surf guitar and organs on an EP that seems designed to herald the sad sad end of summer. Also, love the silhouetted pompadour cover art.



flashback friday: undertow by v

I don’t think we’ve flashed back to an entire album before, but I had to share this now-ancient Tool footage, which brought me back to my high school obsession with 1993’s Undertow. Oh, to be one of those 20 lucky people in that dingy Philly club watching Maynard Keenan unblinkingly exorcise his demons.



all the rage by v
August 21, 2013, 9:20 am
Filed under: badass, moody, New music, pj harvey i love you, Shit I love

I’ve been listening to Scout Niblett’s breakup album It’s Up To Emma for months now, and I keep coming back to the obvious PJ Harvey comparison. Lead track “Gun” has that familiar controlled fury, with merciless Harvey “ha!”s punctuating her tale of losing a dude to a girl “in a shitty band”…and dulling her pain with a firearm purchase. It’s a fitting intro to a record built almost entirely on simmering rage and confusion, with little more than wounded vocals and hazy guitar as the soundscape to her jilted ladyland. I’d be scared shitless if I were the guy who did her wrong.

The one piece I can’t quite figure out here is her cover of “No Scrubs,” which seems out of place on a record that is NO JOKE. Although I suppose the subject matter is fitting.



mr. ed by v

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This weekend I saw Ed Schrader’s Music Beat — the Baltimore duo who I praised on this blog not long ago — at 285 Kent in Brooklyn, which was as bizarre and riveting a show as expected. The band was second to last, sandwiched between headliner Ceremony, who I’d never heard of and didn’t stick around for, and Give, who were busy making everyone miserable when we arrived. Give were a clear grunge-era throwback, a bunch of guitar-wielding dudes in long hair and shorts thrashing around behind a singer whose range was limited, to put it nicely. I wish I’d left for the show about 20 minutes later, but Schrader, thankfully, didn’t disappoint.

Their setup is deceptively simple: Schrader plays a single drum that he lights from below, giving his face that classic haunted-flashlight effect. For accompaniment, there’s bassist Devlin Rice, shouting along as needed. At first glance, both look like they just got off of a shift at Kinko’s — Schrader with his tucked-in polo shirt, Rice in nerdy glasses. But the instant soundcheck ended, you could tell this was no joke.

Schrader slams out beats and sings with near-scary concentration, each song an intense sub-three-minute burst. It’s clear that much of the band’s appeal comes from Schrader’s theatricality (unblinking eyes and lots of shamanlike hand motions) and chameleonlike voice, which shifts seamlessly from a punk shout to a low, slow rumble. A man with a lesser set of pipes — or one who broke character, ever — couldn’t pull this off.

On another throwback note, during their set I found myself (inadvertently) in the middle of a mosh pit for the first time in years. Ugh.

More Ed Schrader here



kickstarted by v
July 24, 2013, 7:37 am
Filed under: badass, New music, Shit I love | Tags:

With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, Arizona-based North Dakota released Pat Waggy earlier this year — a messy, rapidfire record that sounds like friends crashing around in a garage with abandon. Thank god for those generous donations, because I love everything about it, including the Brak homage on track 2. Remember this?