Happy Halloween! Right? Right.
I don't have a costume and I'm making it my fourth year in a row that I won't make it to the parade. It's sad, yes. And I would like to, of course. But it's one week people. One week until Issue Seven and while it's started to take shape (and look super cool), there's a lot of work to be done. So no, I will not be celebrating this holiday. But you go ahead.
Friday I ditched out of work early (shh) so I could head to my apartment and unwind a bit before heading back into the city. I called up Liz who was down to meet me at Pianos so I proceeded to hop on the subway. When I arrived at Pianos I spotted a large man outside with some crazy ID swiping machine. When did this happen? I called up Liz and told her she wouldn't be able to get in, and she was okay with that because her boyfriend was on the phone from Germany or Switzerland or wherever he is these days and she wasn't going to come anyways. Oh well.
So I made my way through the packed crowd for Pianos 3 year anniversary and found Jerry in the back. The Undisputed Heavyweights were already up on stage and about to start. Perfect timing. They opened with "Money" if I remember correctly, and for the next half hour I was taken through many different styles and genres of music, all coming out of some pretty talented guys. I was pleasantly surprised, and I can say that there is definitely no band like this in NYC. They have the perfect amount of crazy and an inane amount of musicality in each song.
When lead singer Casey Shea wasn't praising the lord (I went with it), he dedicated a song to yours truly. For my birthday show, The GoStation sang me happy birthday, but this was the first time I actually got a legit shout out from the stage. At first I figured it was some other Rachael. But then he mentioned that this Rachael had lost her job that week. Ah ha. Thanks Wes, that was very sweet. And yes, damn the man.
Unfortunately we didn't get to see the whole set because we were off to Fat Baby to see a very cool performance. Morning Theft was performing as Weezer and playing the Blue Album from start to finish. Georgia met me over there, and she was pretty excited. She's definitely the biggest Weezer fan I know.
Fat Baby was beyond packed, which is quite impressive for only opening this Wednesday. We got a drink upstairs and began chatting away like we usually do, until I looked down at my watch and realized we were missing the show. We quickly went downstairs and entered a hot colossal mass of people singing their hearts out. It was quite a sight. Morning Theft did an amazing job. I never really got into Weezer that much, for no real reason. But I enjoyed the set thoroughly. And Ms. Georgia gave them a very big thumbs up. She was standing up on chairs and dancing along, if that's any sign of approval.
For the rest of the night we relaxed in the very comfy couches and rocked out to Nora's spinning. I guess I should inform you now then, that I'm very excited that Nora will also be spinning Underrated Magazine's Issue Seven Release Party on November 18. And there may be some more crazy collaborations in the future. Get ready to dance.
We called it quits at about 3 in the morning and I was in no state to wait for the Q all night. I hopped into a cab, asked if it was okay to head back to Brooklyn and had hands down the coolest cab driver in my life. We chatted the entire way home, telling our own life stories and experiences in New York. It's funny, I wrote a play about a cab driver about two years ago and have been working on it ever since. He gave me a whole new character and scene to work with. I felt inspired. Plus, he wouldn't let me tip him because he said in five years I'd get back into his cab as a millionaire, and only then would he let me give him a tip. Too cool.
The rest of the weekend I went back to Jersey to come to terms with my parents moving. Don't get me wrong, I'm still really excited to visit them in London, but the reality of the situation kicked in. I came home to find out my car had already been sold (I didn't even get to say goodbye) and a for sale sign outside our house. But my dad did bring me back two issues of NME and the latest Q. That made me pretty happy. I met up with some old pals and collectively drank our whole town away. It's great to get a rum and coke in a huge class and only pay $4. You can't get that in New York.
I had planned to get a lot of work done yesterday but I was kicked out of my house so that realtors could prance through and take my house away from me. I ended up going to a local cafe with free internet and was more productive than I've been in weeks. Maybe it was Jersey. Maybe it was the new mix I made to drive in my mom's car to. Maybe it's because I'm running out of time. But it's finally kicked in and I'm in my groove.
Let's hope this lasts until next Monday.
Monday, October 31, 2005
Happy Halloween! Right? Right.
Posted by Rachael at 6:46 AM
Friday, October 28, 2005
Last night was exactly what I needed. I managed to nap for an hour before jetting to Bowery Ballroom just in time to catch We Are Scientists. All the subways were waiting for me. I got there in no time. Perhaps something is right in this crazy world.
I don't know how to really explain how good this band is. They are almost too good, that they are making all of the other New York bands look bad. I don't understand how they can write songs so god damn catchy that I cant stop listening to the album, and to bring that album to a completely new level live. When I saw them at Scenic for CMJ it was a short-lived treat. That weekend was so crazy that I couldn't digest this band. Last night was a utopia.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure they played their entire album besides "Nobody Move, Nobody Hurt" and "Textbook" plus a new song. Three person bands no longer impress me. Apparently that's all you need to fill up Bowery Ballroom. And even with guitar strings breaking, it provided for a unique set with hysterical band banter. The guy in front of me was dancing his ass off and I felt his energy. I don't know how anyone in that place could have stood still, I wished it had been a crazy dance party cause that would have been cool.
Highlights for me were "Lousy Reputation" and the oooh and aahs of "Can't Lose." Okay and ending it with "Great Escape," you couldn't have asked for anything more. Keith decided he had enough of his broken guitar and enough of his microphone, and found himself on top of the drum set. It was anarchy, and I loved every second of it.
I met up with Jo, who I spent the summer with in London and we caught up in-between acts. I stayed for a bit of Ambulance LTD's set, but was exhausted.
Tonight head over to Pianos to check out The Undisputed Heavyweights or head over to Fat Baby for Morning Theft performing Weezer's Blue Album. I'm going to try and do both.
More pictures from last night on flickr.
Posted by Rachael at 9:50 AM
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Yesterday was a very bizarre day. I started much differently than I ended the night, I went from bad to terrible to drunk, and my plan to feel better about everything is now a massive headache. But let's rewind.
Getting fired from my job surprisingly wasn't the low part of my day. I was actually okay with the news, because it wasn't exactly my fault and I do have a bit of a buffer now to find something else. And now, with my boss's permission, I can work from home any day I want and do whatever I want (while still getting paid) until December. I wasn't the biggest fan of the job anyways, so now maybe this will give me the chance to find something better. Or something.
Quite tired from this whole week I still forced myself to go to class after work and sat through my usual crazy French class and then on to "Writing about Pop Music." I should love this class, but I dread going to it. We're now talking about race and politics in music. I just wanted to take a nap.
On the subway ride home I started listening to Ray Lamontagne and for some reason it made me all sorts of emotional. I hadn't listened to that album in awhile. I think it was Ari who recommended it to me way back when. Those songs just break my heart. And if you know me, outside of the blog, you know I'm not the most emotional person but perhaps its the stress or lack of sleep but needless to say, I was getting some strange looks on the subway.
Welcome to the low point of my day. I am a psychotic email checker, so the first thing I do, even before the coat comes off is check it. I had been waiting to announce the last band for the show on November 18 because the band that's on the cover still had yet to confirm. They are currently in the UK on the NME tour and are doing quite well over there. But we'd prefer them at home. Turns out their latest single comes out in the UK the same week as my show and now they wont be able to be back in time. Big bummer. Karen and I have decided we will just have to kidnap them, but in the meantime I feel like a complete failure.
Don't worry. I'll cook up something special in time for the show.
So needless to say it was 4 PM, I had a shit day, so I cracked open a bottle of wine. Halfway through I realized I should get my act together if I had planned on still going out that night. And any open bar that night was calling my name. Luckily, Nora is up to some crazy things at the new LES venue/bar Fat Baby so that's where the night began. The place is beautiful and still smelled like a new car. I ran into the boys from The Go Station there and Matt told me that he'd bullshit on stage if I needed him to play on the 18th. Something about a Storytellers if I remember correctly. I appreciated the gesture but I had exactly one hour to chug as many cranberry and vodkas as I could. I was on a mission.
My gals Becca and Liz were my partners in crime for the evening. We jetted out of Fat Baby at a little after 10, and being the compulsive one that I am, I made them hustle in case we were missing The Diggs at Scenic. We weren't. As soon as I walked in I was greeted by Tim and Charlie at the bar. It was nice to see the boys again, and they automatically were my favorite people ever-- they are still playing on the 18th. No need to worry.
A couple cigs and a PBR later we headed downstairs for the show. This was the point where I should have stopped drinking, but in my mind this was just the beginning. Liz and Becca had heard enough of my sob stories, I'm sure. Luckily the A Brief Smile boys came on my recommendation to check out the Diggs and I had the chance to tell my hell story again. And again. It's a good thing Scenic is loud. It forced me to finally shut up.
Sheesh, this post is getting quite lengthy, huh? Ok so The Diggs rocked my world like they always do. This band is musically yummy. (Yes I said it). After taking some pictures in the front I retreated to the back to belt out their tunes. It was far far too much fun. They ended the set with the beautiful "Trouble Everyday." I think I had a tear in my eye somewhere.
Jerry popped up, just like a Yeti would, and he appeared to be a couple drinks ahead of me. I again relayed my sob story (Liz was rolling her eyes by now) and Jerry felt my pain. Or at least he was nice enough to pretend to. The A Brief Smile boys took off, with a thumbs up on the The Diggs. I do what I can to spread the word.
So while I had been up front pretending to be a member of the paparazzi during The Diggs's set, Liz had been by the bar working her PR magic. She met Mike, who is not only in Autumn Thieves but also heads up Loveless Music Group. Of course she told me none of this, so when he started giving me suggestions on how to run the magazine, I basically gave him a big fuck you. Then his band went on stage. And then I felt like an idiot.
During their set, I ran into Robert, who is the owner of Scenic. He had worked the door on the first Underrated show. It was good to see him again and I congratulated him on the new place. He gave Liz and I a free round...always the way to my heart.
Luckily Liz and I ran into Mike later, and I apologized for my outburst. He seemed to take it in stride and we chatted about perhaps teaming a Loveless and Underrated concoction in the future. First good news of the night. When I finally knew it was time to say no to another beer, Liz was perhaps relieved. We both decided that a subway ride would not be good for me, and knowing my luck I'd probably get another ticket. So I paid for the cab ride back to Brooklyn, even though I am currently unemployed. The driver let me smoke in the car, which was like heaven served on a plate for me at that point. I needed to get to bed and have this day be over.
Waking up this morning didn't feel much better. Alas, enough of my whining. Tonight We Are Scientists shall be my great escape.
See more photos on flickr.
Posted by Rachael at 7:53 AM
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Sometimes the gnome in my closet says it's okay for me to go out. He'll be stuck at home writing all night.
Tonight: The Diggs at Scenic. Go.
That's all I have to say about that.
[Ed note: I basically was fired from my day job so now I have even more reason to go out, get drunk, and listen to good music. God I love Corporate America.]
Posted by Rachael at 6:59 AM
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
I won't be able to write much in these next two weeks, but be assured I'll continue to update. I need breaks anyways. Inspired by Wes's post yesterday, I took a look at my top 25. I regretfully do not have the array that he has, mine consists of about five artists. Oh well.
I'm pretty sure I've posted all of these at one point or another. I'll think of a newer mix later in the week.
Posted by Rachael at 9:24 AM
Monday, October 24, 2005
Four hours of sleep in forty-eight hours. My life has succumbed to a corner in my apartment.
The checklist. It's getting there.
I loathe transcribing interviews.
The outside world. It's been awhile.
Blank page. Common occurrence.
Posted by Rachael at 3:24 PM
Chaos has set in on The Underrated's lifestyle. It's officially crunch time. Two weeks from today you will be able to view Issue Seven of Underrated Magazine online. Then a week later you can join us at Crash Mansion to pick up your free copy and enjoy some of the bands featured. For you, that means anticipation and excitement. For me, that's terrifying. But a good kind of terrifying.
When someone from Jersey calls, you answer. (Okay, maybe that's just me). I was all set to stay in all weekend and transcribe, write, edit, layout but then Mikey called me to tell me he was on his way in. He was heading to Arlene's Grocery to check out Jupiter One, a band he told me way back when was not to be missed. I had to believe him. So I took off the glasses, popped in the contacts and let my hair down. Just the show and a couple drinks and I'll would be home by midnight. That was the plan.
On my way into the city, I was sitting on the C train enjoying my latest book when I began to smell something funny. I turned to my right and found the gentlemen next to me lighting a joint. I get busted for smoking a cigarette outside on a platform and three weeks later this guy has no problem lighting up on a subway car. I had to laugh at the irony of it all, and because I think I was getting a little high.
The rain was back but I was glad to be out of my apartment. The walls had started to close in earlier that day. I ran into some familiar faces at Arlene's and the place was packed beyond capacity. I enjoyed some much needed pints before the band took the stage. It turned out to be the drummer's birthday, which explained what seemed to be a big reunion.
Jupiter One exceeded all my expectations. I had downloaded a couple tracks way back that I still listen to, but their live show is not to be missed. They are catchy and yet eclectic, mixing cultures, genres, and lyrical intentions. Mikey told me that the lineup had changed a bit with a new bass player and a missing violin player (she was actually sitting next to us, and was quite pregnant so that's understandable). And although I was told their earlier shows were beyond this world, I found myself quite content on Jupiter.
We left Arlene's and headed over to Living Room where there was a little more room to breath. And apparently steal purses too. Unfortunately someone stole one of our friend's purses at the upstairs lounge (sounded all to familiar). After searching high and low there was no sign of it anywhere. Unfortunately I had to leave so I haven't heard the officially update. People suck sometimes.
So I'm leaving The Living Room and I get a call on my phone from an old old friend (we're talking grade school) who was in the city for the night. I decided that one drink couldn't make all that much of a difference so I headed up to Ave B to catch up. One drink turned into many, and 12:30 turned into 4 AM. I began to get really excited about this next issue of the magazine, now that I was actually away from my computer. I took Amy outside to smoke a cigarette and made her listen to the bands I was obsessed with at the moment. I had a guy do that to me once at Swift last year and I thought he was crazy. Now I was the crazy one. Luckily I convinced a cab driver to drive me back to Brooklyn for a flat rate and proceeded to tell him my entire life story. I'm sure he was glad to get rid of me by the time we pulled up in front of my apartment.
Four hours later, up again and back in the city. Met with Chrissy for breakfast to discuss magazine layouts and weekends. Starting this weekend, sleep is unfortunately off the priority list. Two weeks from today a huge weight will be lifted off my shoulders. Be sure to save me a seat at a bar.
Posted by Rachael at 3:43 AM
Friday, October 21, 2005
I should be happy it's Friday, but I'm not. The weather looks crummy, it's going to rain here in NYC all weekend. Perhaps that will make it easier for me to stay in. I have to lock myself in my apartment starting tonight, and not allowing myself out until Sunday. I will not, and cannot watch episodes of Arrested Development all weekend. No. I will do work. I will be productive. Because deadlines are creeping through, and time is running out -- to release this next issue, that is.
So have you heard about this show on November 18? I hear it's pretty cool. Apparently Jaymay and A Brief Smile are slated to play already. I hear there's an open bar and a super cool DJ. It's just what I hear.
Why not leave you with some excitement for the weekend? Ok! So who doesn't love The Diggs? There isn't a person I've met that has seen them play or listened to a song I've sent them that doesn't think they are amazing. And they are. So people are getting it right this time. Good job!
So I couldn't put on a show without asking my favorite drinking buddies The Diggs to play. That's right. Catch them November 18 at Crash Mansion to celebrate the seventh issue of Underrated Magazine. If you want some reassurance take a listen to these tracks, and catch them next Wednesday at Scenic for a sneak preview.
at Between (a Rock and Hard Place)
New York, NY
Friday, November 18
Open bar 9-10
Free entrance before 11
A Brief Smile
and more to be announced...
Posted by Rachael at 10:37 AM
Thursday, October 20, 2005
So believe it or not, I have other interests besides seeing shows, drinking, and getting fined by the MTA. My movie buff pal Conor sent me this and it's too good not to share. See The Shining "like you have never seen it before."
You must watch this.
I think I'm more disturbed.
Posted by Rachael at 9:10 PM
It dawned on me last night that it had been quite a while since I had seen a band that I knew absolutely nothing about. Maybe this city has gotten smaller, or that I just am a little more knowledgeable than I once was, but I remember when I first came to New York -- every night was a new discovery. So instead of me gushing about how good A Brief Smile was (you'll see them on the 18th and tell me yourself), let's talk about Cordalene, a band from Philly that played before them.
Last night's lineup was a hit and miss. Literally one after the other. Wasn't a fan of the first. Second was Cordalene (we'll get to that) and then the band after them was seriously painful. And I'm really not one to bash a band because I like to find the good in everyone, but I couldn't sit there and listen to it. Especially at 11 o'clock at night, having been up since 6:30 that morning. Nope. I wasn't feeling about it. The 90's are over, dudes. I'll leave you name out for your own sanity.
On to good things. So I admit I knew I was going to like Cordalene the second they walked on stage. I think I even told Susan that. Perhaps I have a little weak spot for good looking guys in bands, but that's besides the point, and not up for discussion. This Philly band was a complete breath of fresh air. I seriously dug it. I couldn't really put my finger on what their sound was, and that almost made it better. They'd be rocking out at one minute and then do this amazing breakdown in the middle of a song. I liked the variety, and I rocked out to all their songs. Look what happens when you venture into Williamsburg on a Wednesday night.
Cordalene has an album in the works and lead singer Mike Kiley was nice enough to give me some tunes. Now that I'm listening to the tracks, they oddly remind me of a cross between the pop of The Shins and the rock of Aberdeen City, maybe even with some Head Set voice crooning in there. But perhaps that’s just because I saw two of those bands this past weekend. Or perhaps it's just because I am never good at comparisons. Or perhaps that open bar last night just does that to you.
Anyways, take a listen. They are back in New York to play Don Hills on November 4 and Sin-E on December 2.
A Brief Smile
More photos here.
Posted by Rachael at 2:42 PM
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I rarely insist on any shows. I've been known to persuade, recommend, comment, etc but aside from the shows I put on myself (which are not to be missed) I don't like to have the authority to insist. Until now.
It feels like every two weeks since September I have the chance to see A Brief Smile play a show. I can't complain. I go every time and each time it's something different. You can't say that about many bands in New York.
Tonight they play Trash Bar in Williamsburg, which makes it easy for me to not have to deal with the silly subways into Manhattan. So if you live in Brooklyn (you know who you are), you have no excuse. And if you don't, well they promise that this open bar will actually exist. The show is being put on by Loveless Music Group who switch between Trash and Scenic each week. Last week I caught Saints + Lovers and coming up in the next few weeks are The Diggs and Beat Radio. Very cool.
The open bar is from 9-10 and A Brief Smile goes on at midnight. Take tomorrow off to catch up on all that work you've been avoiding tomorrow too. I insist on that, as well.
When's your next chance to check out A Brief Smile, you ask? Well how about at Underrated Magazine's Issue Seven Release Party? Yup, that's right. Now the band isn't exactly in this next issue, so let me explain...
It's strange to think that it was now three issues ago that they appeared in the magazine. The magazine was in a completely different state than it is now. I still had no idea what I was doing (do I now?) and it was still black and white photocopied pieces of paper stapled together by yours truly. We've come a long long way. So has A Brief Smile.
While I may be obsessed with new music, and finding new bands, I don't forget about the ones that I've listened to previously either. That's why I wanted readers to see the progress and be as impressed as I to where the magazine and the bands featured have come. And where this all could be going...
A Brief Smile will be our special guest at the show on November 18.
Listen to more at myspace.
at Between (a Rock and Hard Place)
New York, NY
Friday, November 18
Open bar 9-10
Free entrance before 11
A Brief Smile
and more to be announced...
Posted by Rachael at 8:39 AM
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
The professor of my "Writing about Pop Music" totally freaked out on my class yesterday. Apparently, as a collective group of people, we don't "discuss" enough, and "know enough" about music. I'm definitely not the most outspoken person in my class, but we do occasionally have some interesting conversations. Excuse us if we don't know all the details about Robert Johnson, or even Elvis Presley. I won't pretend that I know all about Bob Dylan's influences either. But when we start talking about our generation, and current music, we do speak. We have a wide range of knowledge and preferences in our class, and altough I wasn't the biggest fan of the class at first, I'm beginning to appreciate the 3 hours a week I have the opportunity to talk about music. Not like I can ever get enough.
So when I am given a recommendation to check out a band, I always will. One of my family friends told me to check out Her Space Holiday yesterday. Turns out that this one man band consisting of Marc Bianchi (who has worked with the likes of Bright Eyes, The Faint, and R.E.M. to name a few) has made the rounds on mainstream press and yet somehow I'm just hearing about him now. Indie Don't Dance posted about him just last month as well. His new album The Past Presents The Future sounds promising from the three tracks I've heard. It's sort of guilt-free pop, teetering with electronics and garage based recordings.
Announcement # 2 for the November 18 show tomorrow..
Posted by Rachael at 9:34 AM
Monday, October 17, 2005
While I had anticipated giving all you loyal readers the official lineup for the show last week, I'm still working out some of the fine details and don't want to jump the gun with anything. But hopefully throughout this week I'll be announcing more information, a little bit at a time. So today, I will make the first announcement. (By the way, the show is November 18 at Crash Mansion...so be there)
I felt heard of Jaymay at the beginning of this year, and in the cold cold winter, her beautiful voice warmed up my little heart. Hands down one of the most unique voices I've heard, and what this girl can do live is unbelievable. You are going to have to see it to believe it. I always like to have a singer/songwriter at the show, and have some sort of female representation. Luckily Jaymay fills both of those niches. She's fabulous, sweet, and a pleasure to listen to.
Posted by Rachael at 10:13 AM
Saturday, October 15, 2005
This is me, avoiding the world of real work. Nice to meet you.
This post will contain the following:
So yesterday I couldn't have been happier that it was Friday. The rain was on and off but now that I am looking out my window at a beautiful fall day, I'm ok with it. I got what I needed to get done at work and met my parents down at MSG for a delicious meal. They were going to see U2...without me. My mom said she'd say hi to Bono. Then they asked me if I had anything besides cigarettes for them to smoke before the show. My parents are nuts.
So realizing I wouldn't have time to head all the way back to Brooklyn before going to Mercury lounge, I found solace and a couch at Liz's apartment before the show. We watched The Apprentice and I remembered why I don't watch that show anymore. Those people are bitchy.
So off we were to Mercury Lounge. On the other side of Houston I was glad there was no line outside. By the time we crossed the street we were ten people deep. Boy, NYC really moves fast. I don't want to criticize Mercury Lounge, because I think its a great venue, but I wish they could do something to widen the bar space. The amount of times I had to push back and forth through people, I felt like I was giving birth each time (not like I'd know, but I can imagine). The place was packed, as it usually is on a Friday night, and I still nursing my hangover from the night before. All the people were just too much to handle.
Regardless, it was quite the solid lineup. I can't remember a time, besides CMJ, where in one venue there's three bands that completely blew me away. First up was Levy. I thoroughly enjoyed their show the last time I saw them at Arlene's Grocery and this was no different. It's almost like a time warp, seeing this band. I felt like I should have been at a sock hop, and Liz was waiting for lead singer James Levy to take out a comb from his back pocket. Their music is a fantastic return to when music was simply melodic and fun. And then I decided I want to be a 50's gal for Halloween. Maybe Levy will accompany me.
Liz and I squeezed back through the people to catch a smoke outside. Becca, who I haven't seen in forever, called me and said she'd come down to Mercury. Liz saw that as a perfect excuse to call it a night, and they made the switcheroo for who would make sure Rachael doesn't drink too much. I waited with Bec on line and we met a nice underage boy who needed to try his fake ID again. I reminisced about all the times I was so nervous trying to get into Mercury. Thank god those days are behind me.
Squeezing back through we were just in time for The Head Set to take the stage. I didn't really know what to expect from this band. I'd heard many good things, and the couple songs I had on my computer were pretty incredible. But shit, this band knocked me over the head. The lead singers voice is probably the best I've ever heard live. And their songs have an interesting mix of garage rock, brit pop, with a slight twang of country. I left unsatisfied. I wanted to hear more.
My addictions are another story, so naturally I risked another pummeling through the crowd to head outside. By that point I was yawning, and my back was aching and I was beginning to feel like an old lady. But no, I wouldn't go home. Aberdeen City was on next.
Walking back into Mercury it felt like a who's who in the NYC music scene. Maybe it was the fact that I was very much sober, or that I just wasn't in the mood, but Bec and I headed straight to the back corner for the set. I saw Aberdeen City at Pianos months ago and was surprised by how many people they packed in, especially a band from Boston. Mercury was beyond packed. Where did all these people come from? Their debut album isn't out for another week, but I've been lucky enough to have it in my possession for a couple months. It's quite good, one of those that grows on you over time. And checking out their show last night, reaffirmed that. And that guitar player can play his guitar with his teeth anytime he wants. Please do.
Bec and I decided to head out before the mass exodus and since we were in the back corner, I figured we could just head out that way. But of course Bec needed to use the bathroom and before I knew it I was following her downstairs into the backstage area. Luckily no one found us, and Bec enjoyed being sneaky. And then I saw the exit. I also saw the fact that it said, "emergency exit - alarm will sound." Clearly, that didn't have any effect on me because I proceeded to open it anyways.
And yes, an alarm did in fact sound.
Fearing that this could be my last time ever in Mercury Lounge, I made a quick 180 and grabbed Bec. We cut through the crowd still watching Aberdeen and made a run for it. I'm sure no one even noticed the alarm, but thankfully we made it out anyways.
My new favorite Aberdeen track that blew me away last night:
Still my favorite Head Set song:
Will always be my favorite Levy song:
Posted by Rachael at 1:54 PM
Friday, October 14, 2005
I'm glad you all enjoyed the Rainy Day mix yesterday, but it didn't seem to bring out the sun, just yet. I hear good things for the weekend. It better happen.
If there's anything that I learned from last night is that when I attend free shows, I seem to have to compensate by drinking triple the ticket price. And it's never a good idea to start that at 7 PM. Waking up for la classe de francias ce matin and spending the afternoon at work is harder than usual. Mais, c'est la vie. And it's Friday. Thank god.
From work I headed downtown and met Chrissy at Sin-E for my second Beat Radio(and apparently their fourth) show. It was a hundred times more enjoyable to see this band with a packed house. While the performance itself was the same, everything sounds so much better with people around you. Good for them for getting the word out, they deserve it. But they do not deserve any sort of hype backlash, so let's move on..
From there we grabbed a bite to eat and met Conor over at Scenic for more drinks before we moved downstairs. Conor and I discussed this week's Lost episode in great detail, while Chrissy looked at us like we were crazy. Conor said farewell, and Chrissy and I headed downstairs just in time for Saints + Lovers. I have been listening to their recordings for a little while now, but was my first time seeing this band live. What a treat. They are intricately detailed in every note, and each song raised the bar on all my expectations. And even with Scenic's less than great sound system (I was impressed with it during CMJ, but last night it was iffy), they were fantastic. And with a voice like that, I could listen for hours.
Liz met us half way through the set, and like the good friend that Liz is, she kept me there afterwards for a couple more drinks. I tried to sort out the rest of my life, while she tried to sort out her interview for the next day. We like to keep things in perspective.
Tonight everything seems to be pointing towards Mercury Lounge where they have quite the lineup: The End of the World, Levy, The Head Set, and Aberdeen City. Looks like another late night.
Now I'm trying to contemplate if I have enough time to go home after work for a much needed nap beforehand. Decisions, decisions.
Posted by Rachael at 3:06 PM
Thursday, October 13, 2005
This weather is just depressing. A broken umbrella is even more so. So I decided to make a Rainy Day mix, and it made me feel better. Perhaps it will do the same for you too.
However, tonight I will venture out in this weather, all for the love of music. Any excuse to leave work early is a good one, but a free show for Beat Radio is even better. They go on at 7 at Sin-E.
Afterwards I'll head up to Scenic to check out yet another free show (I like this): Loveless Music Group's showcase featuring Saints + Lovers, Downtown, among others.
Maybe by the time I'll get home tonight the rain will have stopped. Or maybe I'll just buy a new umbrella. Either way...
Posted by Rachael at 10:30 AM
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
I'm just beginning to get over my sickness, and yet now that my apartment is zero degrees (haven't put in the gas, yet) and this rain is ungodly, I fear my recovery will be postponed. That's ok. I have a lot of work to do in these next few weeks.
If you are cool and smart, not like me of course, you will head over to Sin-E tonight to see The Diggs play at a Hurricane Relief benefit show. I unfortunately cannot make it and no it’s not just because Lost is on, I have a long day today and a lot to do when I get home. But you have no excuses. They go on at 9 tonight. However, I can tell you that this fabulous band may or may not be playing at this fabulous show at Crash Mansion on Nov 18. Hmmm...
Speaking of that show...you are coming right?
Another band that may or may not be playing at that show is currently on the NME tour with The Rakes and Louis XIV. And before they grace the cover of Underrated Magazine, they got a nice write-up in NME's Radar section. Click on the picture below to read the piece.
NME or Underrated? Close call.
More details on the show coming up this week.
Posted by Rachael at 9:04 AM
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
You know how there are some songs that you just stop and say - I want to be in this band.
This is that song.
The Subways - I Want To Hear What You Have Got To Say
It happened when I saw The Subways during the summer play at Barfly in London. I can't help but listen to their album at least once daily, and rock my heart out. I want to be in this band. And I want to sing this song. And god love bassist Mary-Charlotte. She may be gorgeous and hold her own against the boys, but her voice isn't the greatest. I think I can sing it better.
Maybe they'll ask me to come up on stage, and prove it?
(I know I know, I am posting about the same bands over and over again. Forgive me, I play favorites.)
Posted by Rachael at 9:50 AM
Monday, October 10, 2005
I'm the worst I've ever been, and I'm not sure why. I kept myself cooped up all weekend, and yet every time I would sit down to transcribe an interview or edit an article, I'd find something else to do. Like alphabetize my bookshelf. Or scrub my bathroom. Or watch 6 episodes in a row of Made. I think there's something wrong with me, that needs to be fixed asap.
But it had been a while since I let myself have a night out on the town, so I put the tape recorder (er, swiffer) down and made my way into the city on a Saturday night. First stop? Knitting Factory. It may be just me (or maybe not), but I really dislike this venue. Granted I've never seen a show on the main stage, but I've had the pleasure of experiencing the claustrophobia in the Old Office, and the odd layout of the tap bar. When Lana and I walked into the Tap Bar, it was packed to capacity and took forever to get a drink. I publicly stated my hate for the venue, but soon had a change of heart. When I got my cranberry/vodka, it was hard to detect the cranberry -- just the way I like it.
So A Brief Smile has the daunting task of topping their show at TISWAS in August. I just don't know if you can have a better show that that. But fortunately, I don't think they really keep that in mind. Saturday seemed to be a nice opportunity to showcase the new songs they have been working on, that (I hope) I will find in my hands soon enough. So while the set was mostly unfamiliar, it was still up to par, even by Knitting Factory standards. Ran into Mr. Seth Kallen who is now a fan -- one person converted every day. Lana wanted me to leave early to run over to Crash Mansion, but I just couldn't leave in the middle of a set. That's just rude.
It's always fun to see other people singing along to songs (mostly so I don't feel so alone). And A Brief Smile had some passionate ones at this show. They capped off the night with "And So It Begins," a song gets better every time. It's interesting, for me at least, to see the development in bands I really like. There are a handful of them that I have watched since I first met them over a year ago, for some reason or another to do with the magazine. Some people ask me why I have to go to see every show a band plays, even if it is only a matter of weeks apart. It's not just that I enjoy seeing the music played live, but it's incredible to see the progress and process develop. A Brief Smile may be the best example I know. I've been consistently impressed over the last year. I can only imagine where they will be in another year's time.
So after I made my goodbyes, I found myself back in the rain. I graciously found a cab and met Lana back at Crash Mansion. I only caught one song of M-Lab's set, but it was quite a finale. I caught these guys months ago at Pianos, and Lana has been singing their praises since. It's definitely cool to see a violin used in a way that actually adds to a band, instead of distracts. We had the pleasure of chatting with that violin player, Skye, after the show. At that point, I can't really remember what he said exactly, but I remember him being quite charming.
I miraculously put my drunken self on the subway and before I knew it I was passed out on my couch. Of course the next day I woke up very hungover and didn't get started on any work until about 5 PM. Today I have off from school and work. I'm bound to be productive. I hope?
I love this song:
Posted by Rachael at 10:06 AM
Friday, October 7, 2005
Mark your calendars and clear your schedules.
November 18 @ Crash Mansion -- Underrated Magazine's Issue Seven Release Party.
More details soon...
Posted by Rachael at 3:08 PM
It was quite the big news day yesterday. I woke up to find some saddening news about a band that you'll find out about next week. Then I think I've just about finalized the issue release party that you'll find out all the details for, soon enough. Then this subway hooplah where I had everyone I know call me and tell me not to take the subway home. (Of course I did, but I hope that $50 I paid the MTA is going to good use). And then my mom called me while I was at work to tell me that they are moving to London.
I guess I should be sad. My childhood home (okay we just moved to a different house four years ago) in New Jersey will no longer exist. I'll have to crash at someone's house whenever I want to visit the Usual. But now I can jet off to London whenever I have time. Not bad, old chap, not bad at all.
Besides all that, I'm sorry this blog has been lacking in any excitement. I haven't been to a show all week. I've been in bed by midnight every night. I can't remember the last time I had a pint (my god!). Sadly this will have to continue for the next month. But it will all be worth it when you see the next issue. It's going to be damn good.
But of course you don't expect me to stay in all weekend. So I choose Saturday night to go all out, and for good reason -- A Brief Smile is playing at Knitting Factory. I highly recommend you check this band out. Their new songs are incredible and they are on to something big, huge even. They don't stay young very long these days. And if it's worth my only night out, then you know it has to be good.
Afterall, I did call them New York's Best Kept Secret. I never lie.
Lana and I will then be let loose in the Lower East Side. We'll try and make it to M-Lab at Crash Mansion or just go drink our lives away. This is, after all, our last night of freedom before I bombard her with stories to copy edit and I begin to start twitching from lack of sleep.
At least this is a 3 day weekend! Maybe I'll go out two nights. Oooh. Scandalous.
Some Rachael recommended tunes for your holiday weekend:
Posted by Rachael at 9:49 AM
Wednesday, October 5, 2005
It seems as though everyone else is having quite exciting experiences lately. I try and live vicariously through them, since I've forced myself to stay in everynight in an attempt to transcribe all those interviews I have laying around, and edit all those stories I have waiting on my computer. Instead, I chat on AIM and find out what's going on outside of my walls. One of my trustworthy and fantastic staff writers, Monica, seems to up to some pretty good stuff.
Chris -- get ready to be jealous.
Rachael (11:01:37 PM): what is this jenny lewis business?! do tell...
Monica (11:01:52 PM): i just interviewed her
Rachael (11:02:06 PM): for?
Monica (11:02:50 PM): the magazine i worked for this summer
Monica (11:02:52 PM): Relevant
Rachael (11:02:54 PM): oh wow
Rachael (11:02:56 PM): thats fantastic
Rachael (11:02:57 PM): how did it go?
Monica (11:03:02 PM): it was WILD
Monica (11:03:07 PM): we drank a pitcher of sangria
Rachael (11:03:13 PM): no way!!
Monica (11:03:59 PM): then i went to bartending school
Monica (11:04:03 PM): very very drunk
Rachael (11:04:08 PM): lol well seems approriate
Rachael (11:04:22 PM): so what was she like?
Monica (11:05:15 PM): she's really small
Monica (11:05:17 PM): and adorable
Rachael (11:07:15 PM): anything revealing in the interview?
Monica (11:08:43 PM): she hates being asked about her childhood acting career
Rachael (11:09:05 PM): i can imagine...i hope you didn't ask her about it ;-)
Monica (11:09:15 PM): um,
Rachael (11:09:20 PM): haha
Monica (11:09:21 PM): maybe a little
Monica (11:09:30 PM): i asked if she had any offers for acting jobs
Rachael (11:09:45 PM): fair enough
Rachael (11:10:03 PM): she has a solo album coming out, right?
Monica (11:11:10 PM): yeah
Monica (11:11:12 PM): i got it
Rachael (11:11:16 PM): how is it?
Monica (11:11:20 PM): it's ok
Monica (11:11:24 PM): she needs blake sennett
Monica (11:11:29 PM): but it's ok
Rachael (11:11:39 PM): haha
Rachael (11:11:45 PM): did u tell her that too?
Monica (11:11:58 PM): haha no way
Monica (11:12:01 PM): i told her i liked it
Monica (11:12:02 PM): which i do
Monica (11:12:08 PM): just not as much as both of them
Monica (11:12:14 PM): they should get back together
Rachael (11:12:25 PM): they should
Rachael (11:13:08 PM): anything else fun happen?
Monica (11:13:22 PM): we drank a lot of sangria
And if this is just the demo version, I don't know what to expect from their full length.
The Diggs - It's Just Like You Say (right click, save as)
Arcade Fire - Intervention (follow link)
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Satan Said Dance (follow link)
Posted by Rachael at 11:05 PM
Tuesday, October 4, 2005
I received "comments" from my professor on that paper I wrote where I had to choose a certain band and discuss whether they are “authentic” or not. Now I have the task of writing a final draft for a grade. I'm at a loss, I can't define authenticity, and I don’t want to. And these comments are less than helpful.
This is an interesting piece on the maneuverings of an up and coming band, but it seems inconclusive. You recognize the split inherent in pop music success, between being artistically 'true' and commercially acceptable, but you don't really define authenticity and take a stand for it (which doesn't necessarily mean preaching against 'success'). You promise a certain angle here and don't follow up on it. There is comic tension here that perhaps you could exploit a little more. At the end of the essay we have forgotten all about it.
Here's to a night of writing pretentious musical criticism. This is exactly what I hate about the profession I love.
You need some music, right? I thought so.
I received an EP from a British band, Morning Lane last week and finally had a chance to listen to it today. It has potential. It's not initially fantastic, but there are moments in these songs that cause me to rewind and listen again. There are pretty melodies and poetic lyrics but it lacks any real edge to distinguish it from any other band out there right now. It's just a tad bit too safe, I suppose. With that said, there are some clever songs and overall, it is entirely enjoyable. But who am I to judge? Take a listen for yourself.
Morning Lane - Kurt's Ballad
Morning Lane - Sweet Melodies
Morning Lane - Chill Pill
Morning Lane - Viciously
Sneak peak! This shot may or may not be on the cover of the next issue of Underrated Magazine (out at the end of this month, might I add). I think this one might do well with the ladies, don't you think?
Posted by Rachael at 9:04 PM
My friend Johnny works for a moving company that moves equipment for a lot Broadway shows and then some band's tours. Just so happens one of those bands turns out to be Guster. I won't deny it has been a long history of admiration for the band. So when he told me yesterday morning that he would be spending the day with the bongo maniac himself, Bryan Rosenworcel, I almost ditched work/school to go hang out with him. But alas, I am no groupie (or so they say) and lord knows I wouldn't want to be unprofessional. So instead my friend Johnny called me, as he is sitting next to Bryan to say hi. I kept my cool, just told him to say hi for me (Bryan and I have emailed a couple times, with my incessent requests for them to play Happy Frappy). Because I'm at a loss for anything remotely interesting to post today, here's our AIM conversation recapping the momentous event.
Rachael (10:30:42 AM): bleeh sucks, everyone is sick it seems
Johnny (10:33:17 AM): well now that i know how to get to your apartment... you and i can be sick together at some point
Rachael (10:33:31 AM): hah for sure, thats so funny that u were so close
Rachael (10:33:39 AM): is that where bryan lives?
Johnny (10:41:31 AM): hmmm... didn't get to ask him that
Rachael (10:42:13 AM): but its where their stuff is?
Johnny (10:43:43 AM): yea theres this small music warehouse
Johnny (10:43:46 AM): 227 st. marks
Rachael (10:44:01 AM): crazy
Rachael (10:46:40 AM): so wait did u say anything about the band's album that he produced
Johnny (10:52:17 AM): yup...
Johnny (10:52:21 AM): sam champion
Rachael (10:52:39 AM): ah man that sso cool!
Rachael (10:52:48 AM): was he impressed?
Johnny (10:53:40 AM): told bryan "my friend ra that runs this magazine had the greatest opinion of your production work for sam champion"
Johnny (10:53:57 AM): he smiled ... laughed
Johnny (10:54:10 AM): and was like wow... thank you very much
Rachael (10:55:27 AM): ahhh thats too cool
Rachael (10:55:34 AM): probably thinks im crazy, but still awesome
Rachael (10:56:34 AM): was it his cell # that u called from?
Johnny (10:58:03 AM): no thats my bosses cell phone
Johnny (10:58:19 AM): i should be getting one this week
Rachael (11:00:18 AM): ahh ok
Rachael (11:00:21 AM): it was restricted anyways lol
Rachael (11:08:26 AM): were u really right next to bryan when u called me
Johnny (11:08:54 AM): yea we were sitting on the back of the truck
Rachael (11:09:10 AM): did he think i was crazy
Johnny (11:10:01 AM): no... i phrazed it all towards you sounding like one who has a great appreciation for their music
Rachael (11:10:12 AM): thank god for that haha
Posted by Rachael at 11:04 AM
Monday, October 3, 2005
I tried to think of a funny title for this post. Something along the lines of this weekend being a complete bust. But, now that I am reminiscing about September 30-October 2, I realize it wasn't all that bad. Sure, I was stuck in my apartment during the day with piles and piles of tissues surrounding me. Sure, the shuttle service in Brooklyn decided to close down for the weekend, resulting in an hour and a half commute to the city (two subways + two buses). And so what if I was asleep before 1 each night and only consumed a usual nights drinking, spread out over three days? I still got to see two fantastic shows. And that, to me, is no bust at all.
My head felt like it was going to explode, but god dammit, I was going out. I popped enough advil cold and sinus to cure a small army and was on my way. Seeing Thumbsucker didn't exactly happen, unfortunately (see Q train above). So instead Georgia and I strolled over to 2nd ave to enjoy some yumminess at Virage. We sat outside and watched the people go by, both sniffling, and somehow I told her many a tales from freshman year. I'm sure she was bored, but luckily didn't let up.
Then it was downtown to Sin-E, and we were surprisingly early. I almost thought we were at the wrong venue because inside Sin-E was seemed to be a latin/reggae band playing to what looked like my mother's friends. There was free food, and lucky for us an open bar. Turned out to be a private party, and when a woman offered Georgia a bag of chicken pot pies to take home and freeze, all we could do is laugh. Gotta love New York.
But on to what really matters, which was when Beat Radio finally took the stage. Each song sounded as good, if not better live, and I found myself knowing all the words. Had I really listened to them that much in just a few weeks? The answer is yes. There's a certain mood and atmosphere that resonates from this band that I just can't get enough of. To say that lead singer Brian Sendrowitz is a jittery lead singer is not at all a criticism. In fact, it makes for a great visual. I like jitters. It's that I-feel-so-much-and-want-to-get-it-out intensity that brought their songs to a new level. Oh yeah, and they played "Ancient As The Stars." I just adore that song.
Blogger alert! Got to meet another fellow NYC blogger at the show. It's always nice to meet someone that hates the MTA as much as I, but loves music just as much. Nice to meet you Jerry.
Also, my sincere apologies to Rob of the fabulouso band The Hard Tomorrows. He was playing solo at Piano's at midnight, but my sickness just wasn't letting up. I will catch you guys next time, I promise.
I tried to be productive all weekend. I have many a interview to transcribe, but the thought of listening to something over and over again did not appeal to my mal a la tete. Instead I watched episode after episode of America’s Next Top Model. Why? I just don't know. My only feat for my Sunday was getting my laundry done. And that is a feat, ok!
7 PM rolled around and I once again made my hour and a half commute into the city. This time, I knew the bus like the back of my hand, and I wasn't missing a movie, so it didn't seem so bad. But MTA, I still hate you.
Grabbed a slice of pizza and headed to Georgia's apartment (conveniently oh so close to Webster). I chatted about West Wing with her roomie while we waited for Roxanne to call. Before I knew it, I was in Webster Hall, waiting 25 minutes for a drink and sweating already. I really dislike that venue for a multitude of reasons. Sure the sound is good, and while large it still remains intimate. But my god, have they ever heard of a thing called air conditioning?
I always think that when I go to see Interpol it won't be any different or any more thrilling that the previous time. Who knows what roots that expectation, but it fortunately is always exceeded. I wouldn't say that this was the best I've seen them, but each show gives me a completely new perspective on this band. This was the first time I could actually see the band (always a plus) and realized that they have an exuding stage presence. When I saw them at Radio City, I thought they were stand-still the entire show. Perhaps they were. In Dublin, I was so blinded by their lights that all I could make out were shadows. But last night I had perfect view (I stood upstairs right behind the sound guy) and enjoyed watching them as much as listening to them. From Carlos D putting his bass behind his head to a "aw-shucks" hug of all band members at the 2nd encore, I couldn't help but think that this is a hard-working band from NYC that has "made it"(whatever that means). That has got to feel pretty good.
As a set, it wasn't anything different than I've seen before. Opened with "Last Exit" and proceeded to play two encores. (A bit much, in my opinion). I felt giddy with some silly celeb sightings. After the opener we were brushed by the entire band. Couldn't get my camera out in time, though. But we did have Albert from The Strokes (I swear I see him everywhere) and the guitarist from Incubus (no idea his name) in front of us. And I have a picture to prove it, so there.
Click on the picture for notes.
Interpol's light show is fantastic. But unfortunately it's hard for an amateur photographer such as myself. I did my best.
Now I need to take some more advil. Happy Monday.
Posted by Rachael at 8:57 AM
Saturday, October 1, 2005
I have a little crush on Mr. Nic Harcourt, and I'm not afraid to admit it. It's that voice. Oh so sexy. When I had the chance to talk to him on the phone for about 15 minutes, I was as giddy as a school girl. Morning Becomes Eclectic keeps my work days enjoyable, and now that they have pod casts available to download, I have that voice with me wherever I go. Oh yeah, I dig his choice in music and his never-ending knowledge, too.
Download KCRW Podcasts:
I've been feeling a bit under the weather the past few days, so my life has consisted of Netflix and bed by 10. I'm feeling a bit better today, and will not keep myself cooped up in my apartment for another night. I'm going with Georgia to see Thumbsucker and then down to Sin-e to see Beat Radio. It's been awhile since I've grown to love the recordings of a band before I have had the chance to see them live. Not sure which is better, but I'm incredibly excited to see these songs that I have had on repeat for the past few weeks played live. I don't anticipate being disappointed.
And then tomorrow is Interpol at Webster. As much as I dislike Webster, I think this is going to be a good show. Last time I saw Interpol was in Dublin, which rocked. And then time before that was at Radio City, which was interestingly fun. Sad that for this band we know consider Webster an "intimate" venue for this band, but it just may be. We shall see.
I found these two songs on the 'net. They are from the Precipitate EP that came out in 2001. I hadn't heard them before, so they are new to me.
Speaking of Interpol, anyone hear their song "Direction" off of the Six Feet Under soundtrack? I was listening to the album when I bought it and came across the song and thought it was awful. Then I looked and saw it was Interpol, and was quite surprised. Is it just me or is that opening guitar line incredibly annoying? And it lasts over 2 minutes! Listen for yourself and see if it's just me.
Posted by Rachael at 12:03 PM