Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Former Victory Records VP Speaks

This is like a crazy musical soap opera, and it's incredibly interesting. Keep with it, it's long but pretty insane.

Article from Ramsey dean, former VP of Victory records...

(the original article on Absolute Punk was taken down after Victory sent the site a cease and desist.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Jesse Lacey, Kevin Devine, Grace Read | Maxwells | 7.29.07

After a long and exhausting day of moving out of my apartment and into a storage space, leaving me homeless for the next month -- the last thing I wanted to do was trek to Jersey. But seeing that I have always been fond of Mr. Kevin Devine, and my dear friend Katie quite likes Jesse Lacey of the band Brand New. So the fact that they were touring together was basically our version of perfection.

The show was pretty stellar, with Kevin sounding top-notch as ever, and using his friend Jesse for harmonies. But seeing Jesse Lacey for the first time was a bit of a treat. I'm not too familiar with Brand New but apparently this show was a bit out of the ordinary for the usually recluse singer. He had an interesting Q&A session half-way through the set, urging bands not to sign with a label, for his CDs to be burned and shared, and what its like to have "old men" telling you about music.

After the set, I caught up with Kevin and was lucky enough to snap a photo of the three performers at the show. Apparently this is also unusual for Jesse as he rarely takes pictures, let alone smiles.

grace read, jesse lacey, kevin devine at maxwells 7.30.07

Friday, July 27, 2007

take a deep breath and hold it in

Holy moley. It's finally FRIDAY. I swear these weeks have been kicking my ass, as of late, and with a big move this weekend (to where? nowhere!) I've hardly had a chance to catch my breath. I've been overtly stressed, overtly anxious, and overtly tired and I'm pretty sure it's that much harder because I'm used to summers being relaxed. Not this year, of course.

But that's not to say I haven't had any fun, because I have. I'm at a very good place now in my life, and I couldn't be happier about how things are progressing. Plus, I'm off to London in a couple weeks for a much much needed vacation and to see the parentals (one of which, just met Prince Charles - crazy!) bringing along Pat who will be making his first trip overseas. Yipee!

But one of the biggest honors I've had as of late is being asked to write the liner notes to one of my favorite New York artists, Wakey!Wakey!. He will be releasing a live EP on Family Records, of that fabulous show back in April. I cant even begin to explain (or, okay, give away the liners) how great this guy is. Last night I was at Joe's Pub to see the Undisputed Heavyweights for the millionth time (and they are still as wonderful as always) and we were treated to having Wakey open. I was there with five other gals as a sort of goodbye party for my dear roommate (we will miss you!). All six of us girls were completely enamored with Mr. Wakey!Wakey!. And not just for the beard, I swear. His set was heartfelt and honest. He's quite a charming character, which always seems to invoke lots of chuckles and "aw goshs" but when heading into his last song -- the amazing "Car Crash" the laughs stopped, and Wakey shined. The song [listen here] is brutally raw and at times uncomfortable. But man, I would not have had it any other way.

Undisputed Heavyweights rule. You've heard me praise them enough. Go see them again when they play Joe's Pub for their last night of their summer residency August 24 (that's a Friday, right Wes?) Seth Kallen will be opening.

Speaking of Seth, you must check out his blog. He and Ben from Jukebox The Ghost have been galavanting around England for the past couple weeks, and it looks as though they are having a super time. They even include videos and MP3s (one of which I'll post below). But go check out the blog before they come back stateside and forget how much fun blogging is.

This weekend, I'm off to try and relax while moving everything out of the Lower East Side apartment. Once I get a free moment, I'm going to post an awesome mix that will try and sum up what it's like to live in that part of town. It sure has been fun, but I think I'll enjoy the quieter atmosphere of Chelsea!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

the darjeeling limited

Lately I feel more excited over the release of a film over an album. Perhaps its that the movie industry is still chained by release dates, opposed to albums that sort of end up on my desk months before they are released and I'm never even expecting them. There's a bunch of films I'm eagerly anticipating, with each new trailer another one added to the list. But thanks to Whitney, one has pushed its way to the top. The new Wes Anderson film entitled The Darjeeling Limited comes out late September, and from the look of the trailer, it's going to be nothing short of fantastic. But I suppose that's what we have come to expect from Mr. Anderson, whose quirky, heartfelt comedies always pack together my favorite actors and even better music. Second only to Cameron Crowe, there really isn't a film by this director I don't love. And something tells me it wont be changing any time soon.

Check out the trailer and see buddies Owen, Jason, and newcomer Adrien Brody on their bonding trip somewhere in the middle of the desert. Of course, much is left to be discovered but it has a fabulous Kinks song in the background, so I'm okay. And for the record, consider me excited.

The Kinks - This Time Tomorrow [via GvsB]

Monday, July 23, 2007

i woke up today

I'm moving...again. I promised myself I would stay in one spot for longer than a year, but it just didn't work out that way. All is good, I'm moving to a much nicer apartment that will give me a new area to explore. And with that moving comes the inevitable packing sessions, which I loathe, but can't really do anything about. Luckily it has forced me to start going through those piles and piles of cds I have hanging around, and one of those that I recently discovered is an album named The Wind And The Swell by Port O'Brien.

Once in a while you come across a debut album that just fits. I'd been looking for an album that could be an escape for a little while, with not too much thought, but much more enjoyment. The Wind And The Swell feels like a late night drinking binge with people who know you like the back of their hands. Its lo-fi production makes it feel like a one-take effort in all its imperfections. It's exactly what a love: sing-along songs with a wailing banjo to keep you up late.

The album is actually a combination of their favorite tunes from previously self-released EPs. Not too much is going on with the band at this moment, well except that half of them are in Alaska, according to their blog. Crazy! I'd totally make the trip to see them play. Who's with me?

  • Port O'Brien - I Woke Up Today
  • Sunday, July 22, 2007

    Siren Fest '07

    Ah, my first Siren Festival. And my first trip to Coney Island. Yes, I've lived in New York City for over five years now, and I've never made the trip. I usually seemed to be somewhere else in the dead heat of July (thanks to a wonderful thing called summer vacation, that I now miss). So I arrived off the subway with childlike excitement, gazing wide-eyed at the roller coasters and beach in front of me. But we had bands to see, and little time to stroll, so with a VIP bracelet in hands (mucho thanks Aaron), we headed to the "main stage" for Twilight Sad.


    Pat and I checked out the Scottish band a few months ago at Knitting Factory and although I left completely deaf, it was a brilliant show for a band I knew very little about at the time. Since then they've received a significant amount of buzz, including a coveted spot at this year's Pitchfork fest, which know means its solid gold for the young band. I only had time to catch a little bit of their set this time around, but sometime tells me it wont be the last. The intensity emoted from the lead singer's stares and vocals can be a bit intense at times. Even with the sun beating down and the Cyclone riding by, I was totally entranced.

    But, of course, it was off to see my favorites: the White Rabbits. In what could be considered stalking tendencies I never miss a show by this band. It's an excuse for me to feel totally giddy while checking out my top album of the year live. Luckily, their shows never get old as they tend to throw in a few newbies and covers along the way. This time, they played the incredible "Sea Of Rum" that worked perfectly in its surroundings. Dressed in adorable preppy beach attire, those six boys have yet to disappoint me live.


    From there, my wonderful boyfriend decided it was a good idea for me to go on the Cyclone for the first time. Now don't get me wrong, I love rollercoasters. But those rickity wooden ones always leave me with a headache, and a bit shell-shocked. This time was no different as I left the ride thinking I had had a near death experience, with my neck and head in pain. Obviously, I needed a drink.

    We headed on over to check out Lavender Diamond whose album I quite enjoy, but was a bit taken a back by their live show. Perhaps it's just a bit too odd for my liking, but the lead singer kinda creeped me out in a very unnatural way. I don't think she made much sense, maybe out of nerves, but her in-between banter caused a lot of "huhs" and "whats." However the songs sounded pretty stellar and I was surprised at how many people were into it. Maybe it was just me, after all.


    So we decided to check out the Noisettes, who I had never really heard much about, but Pat explained a bit and it sounded cool to me. Definitely the surprise of the day, as the band put on a tight set that was, by definition, rock and roll. The lead singer was enigmatic with her poofy hair and rowdy attire. At one point the drummer disappeared from the stage, and left the band (and us) in confusion. Luckily he came back and the set continued. I imagine this band would be pretty crazy in an enclosed venue. Will have to keep note of when they come back.


    It was a tough decision for me to choose between We Are Scientists and Matt and Kim. Damn you Village Voice for putting two fun local bands on at the same time. But since I had seen WAS a half a dozen times and M&K only once, we headed back to the other stage and boy was I glad. I needed a bit of an energy boost by this time and this duo was the perfect medicine. I really don't think a band could be more adorable both musically and personally. Apparently Kim was super nervous before getting to the fest, but it didn't show. The same ruckus ensued and they nailed every song. Too bad all the die-hard fans were behind the barrier. For the first time in my life I wanted to be in the middle of a crazy mosh pit.


    After that, I was pretty exhausted. I listened to Voxtrot while lounging on the grassy knoll behind them and moseyed on over to catch a bit of MIA. I then realized I looked like a lobster (whoops, forgot the sunscreen) and decided to head on home to avoid any chance of serious damage. All in all, a really fun time for my first trip over there. Next time, I'll pass on the Cyclone.

    For more pictures from the day, clickity-click over to flickr.

    this is why i should not blog.

    I used to tell funny stories about my tendencies to stalk (I mean, admire) pseudo rockstars, but when I started seeing these people more than once after exclaiming my love for them publicly on the Internet, it stopped. I have to be a professional a lot more these days, which yields the 13-year-old inside to hide more and more these days. But since I'm on this kick of not really caring what I write in here any more, I'll entertain you with a little anecdote of a usual Sunday afternoon.

    So even after an exhausting day yesterday at Siren Fest, I couldn't miss this Sunday at McCarren pool because of its stellar lineup: Oxford Collapse, Annuals, and Band of Horses. But we'll get to them a little bit later. So I spent the morning nursing my sunburn and then made my way up to the L train. Now I was perfectly fine minding my own business, listening to the new Justice album on my iPod and reading this weeks Entertainment Weekly but I happened to walk in front of a certain lead singer who was sitting on the bench reading the newspapers. And it happened to be Keith Murray from We Are Scientists (I wont link to avoid any more embarrassment).

    The "normal" thing in this situation would either be to totally ignore him completely, or get up the nerve to say hi, re-introduce yourself and laugh about that one time you interviewed them and it was totally awkward. But no, I never said I was normal. Instead, I decided to be covert and snap a picture of this guy on my sidekick, thinking I could get away with it.

    But I didn't.

    There's a flash.

    Needless to say, any chance of me hiding in the background was completely shot to shit when the flash went off and he looked up. I immediately grabbed my magazine and pretended to be deep concentration reading about the new Simpsons movie. About 30 seconds later the train came, and Keith got up. Instead of walking straight ahead into the doors, and thus being in the same train as me, he sprinted down as far as he could.

    And this, my friends, is why I should not blog.


    But I'm never one to let a little embarrassment go to my head, so when Keith was at McCarren pool to perform with Oxford Collapse I pretending the whole situation never happened. I mean, it's not like I followed him there, of course. The rest of the day was nice and hot, with three bands I've written about here before many a times. It's very strange to say but I'm looking forward to getting back into the working week. These weekends have worn me out completely.

    Oxford Collapse and friends:




    Band Of Horses:


    More pictures on flickr.

    Saturday, July 21, 2007

    don't be impressed

    I began looking at old blog posts the other night and became a little sad that I no longer have time (or really, the energy) to keep this thing going. So I'm going to try and change that. My problem is that now that blogs have become such a big deal, I feel all this pressure to make every post worthwhile. That wasn't why I started this, and let's face it, I was never that impressive of a blogger. I gush about the same bands over and over again, write nonsensical reviews, and tell you how in love I am with (insert indie rock band here). And I was okay with that. And maybe some of you were too. So I'm back, to tell you, that I'm not here to impress.

    What will impress you is the amount of shows I've been going to lately and the music I've been listening to (yay for new iPod!) I'll get to some new stuff soon (probably without MP3s, because I never remember to upload those), so you'll actually have to do some reading instead of stealing. Imagine that!

    I'm not really sure where to begin. I've been at the Seaport every Friday. I saw 77 drummers play one Saturday afternoon. I saw the Decemberists for the first time and managed not to cringe during Grizzy Bear. Oh, and I brought my interns karaoking where I belted out Mandy Moore and Blind Melon. See! I told you I started to get out again.

    But let's go recent with a show last weekend at Madison Square Garden. Yes, I went to MSG and yes, I saw Dispatch. Before you point your finger at me and laugh, I ask you to open up your mind a little bit and hear me out. For those of you who have read this blog for some time, you know about my musical history and Dispatch was a big part of it (although Guster, much bigger). So I wanted to go. I went on my own accord. And dammit, I had a blast.

    See at these types of shows I feel free to have a good time. If I'm stuck in Mercury Lounge with a bunch of industry know it alls and hispters du jour, I will stand there planted and not move an inch. Because when I do start, my moves aren't of appropriate behavior by those peoples standards. But while at MSG with a bunch of high schoolers smoking pot around me, I danced my little behind, sang really loudly, and did the finger point. If you don't know what that is, you are better off.

    I managed to actually use my trip to nostalgia for work, and interviewed Pete Francis of Dispatch for the CMJ Blog. You can read that, and see some pictures right here. If you want to be mean about it, don't, because it was all for Zimbabwe.

    Last night I drank too many margaritas and headed over to Mercury Lounge (the place I'm not allowed to dance) to catch Underrated favorites Mason Proper. I've gushed about this band so much that you don't need to know anything more, except that I have decided that if I had enough confidence to front a band, I'd act exactly like lead singer Jonathan Visger. I love his spasms. It makes the show so incredible to watch. You can read my review here.


    The band even managed to come to our office today for a super acoustic performance. It sure is fun having a job where you can see some of your favorite bands during your lunch break. With pizza in hand I hummed along to the four-song set, and was very excited to hear a cool b-side "Travelling Man (The Pond)." You can read that post here.


    It's a busy weekend ahead, and I'm already tired just thinking about it. Tonight is Seaport and accompanying Pat to go grab a copy of Harry Potter (I'm not really a member of Pottermania, but I'll observe). Tomorrow Siren Fest and McCarren on Sunday. One of these days I'll take a night off to relax, but it doesn't look like any time soon.

    I leave you with my grin of the day (new column perhaps? nah). White Rabbits performed on Letterman last night and they are the first band I know of that didn't look totally scared shitless when on national TV for the first time. In fact, they sound pretty spectacular. Check out the video below. Yay!

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    After The Jump Festival Lineup!

    After The Jump Fest | August 25, 2007 | Studio B

    AUGUST 25, 2007



    All proceeds from the festival will help fund grants written by New York music teachers for their classroom via the Bloggers Choose chapter of DonorsChoose.org. Please join us in making a great day of music and a significant contribution to music education in our city.

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    White Rabbits | Highline Ballroom | July 9, 2007

    Holy crap! White Rabbits are taking over the world. Not only were they superior last week at Highline Ballroom with Art Brut (pictures below), but they will be opening up Siren Fest this weekend....oh, after they play on David Letterman this Thursday. THAT'S RIGHT! I'm so excited I've already set up my DVR to tape it, but I know I'll be sitting in my jammies with a big grin on my face when it airs. Oh, and you must must check out their session on Daytrotter. The new songs are top-notch, I'm especially loving "Sea Of Rum."

    Bah! I can't get enough.




    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    I Still Heart We Are Scientists

    It's been a while since I posted about previous hottie-of-the-week band We Are Scientists, but something tells me it wont be long until I take back over this blog, among others, in preparation of their new LP. We ran an exclusive interview with said hottie, Keith Murray, today on CMJ.com in which he reveals the new album's title is in fact tentatively titled What $ of $ Do That Cost. While their sarcasm still remains the same, the sound may not as he hints there may be a bit of a change for their follow-up to the Underrated favorite With Love And Squalor.

    Are you consciously looking to one-up Love And Squalor?
    We definitely went into the studio with the intent to move along from the sound of the last album. This isn't to suggest that we think it wasn't a good album. It was, in fact, a great album, if the American press and our parents are to be believed. We recommend that other bands pick up where we left off and make a fortune mining our old sound. Ultimately though, we felt that it would be beneficial to grow as writers, or at least fake growth by cosmetically changing our sound slightly. I like to think that we've done the former....
    (read the rest here)

    I'm really looking forward to seeing WAS back on stage next weekend for Siren Fest. I've always been out of the city past years, so it'll be fun to actually experience the day firsthand. Chris has the complete schedule here and you will notice that my other loves, White Rabbits, will be one of the first bands up -- so get there early. I saw the band earlier this week at Highline Ballroom for a fantastic show...maybe I'll post some pictures or a review over the weekend.

    Too many shows, never enough time to blog about them.

    Thursday, July 5, 2007

    Editors vs. Interpol

    I understand the comparison, sure. They do sound similar. Both Editors and Interpol go with that moody rock a la Joy Division and run with it. Both are coming out with albums this summer. But that is where I shall stop the comparisons now and forever. Done and done. Because while I am a fan of both bands, I always side with my homeboys the Brits. (Oh, Happy 4th of July!)

    You see, I quite like the Interpol album. Our Love To Admire is better than I thought it would be, although I may have fallen asleep during the first half before it finally picked up. And it's funny, because that's what kind happens when I see them live too. In all honesty? They bore me. Love their songs, think they are cool, but are far from a good live show. I find myself watching the light show the entire time, although something tells me if I see them again I'll be more transfixed by Carlos D's moustache. Or something.

    But Editors need no crazy light show or pornstache to keep me entertained. They prove the intensity of their songs with a passionate performance. I've gotten chills, shed tears and god dammit I've danced at the many Editors shows I've attended. And from the many repeat listenings of their sophomore album An End Has A Start I've officially named them mainstays in my musical world. It's more of what they did last time around but better, and bigger, and Tom has let his vocals go to all ranges putting comparisons aside once and for all. It's a beautiful album -- when quiet, you can hear the restraint, and when loud, there's no holding back. Ladies and gentlemen, this is just the beginning.

    If you've never seen Editors live, you have no idea what I'm talking about. And what do I say every time someone tells me they sound just like Interpol? I say: go see them live. Then you'll understand. And hey! They are touring with Ra Ra Riot. Awesome!

  • Editors - Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors
  • Interpol - Heinrich Maneuver
  • Monday, July 2, 2007

    Under My Umbrella...ella-ella-a-a

    I'm not ashamed to admit that my "jam of the summer" as those morning DJs call it is Rihanna's "Umbrella." I actually hated the song when I first heard it and then it was stuck in my head all day and I found myself actually singing it in my head while bouncing down the street. Now, I get really really excited each time I hear it (which is a lot, as I'm sure you know). I think it might be the whole "ela ela a a" part that really catches me. Who knows.

    I found a cover via the other guilty pleasure of mine, Perez Hilton by a guy named Scott Simon. It's not fantastic, but kinda cool. Very Postal Service wanna-be and could be a contender for a Guilt By Association Volume 2. Any reason to listen to this song over and over and over again is fine by me.

  • Rihanna - Umbrella
  • Scott Simon - Umbrella
  • Ra Ra Riot @ The Seaport | 6.29.07

    I was a bit nervous heading to the Seaport on Friday night. I wasn't sure what to expect. It was to be the first show since the unfortunate loss of Ra Ra Riot's drummer John Pike, and it wasn't just a small show to get the young band back into the swing of things. But I should have known better, as the band played one of the best shows I had seen them play yet (and there's been a ton), throwing themselves full-fledged into every song. Perhaps they felt the same as I did, I'm not quite sure, but watching them play a fantastic set made me realize they have made the best decision in honoring John's memory.

    I was lucky enough to stand in the photo pit for most of the set, and although the band is incredibly hard to photograph (they never stand still!), I managed to snap a few good pictures. Pat was there too and got some great shots as well. Kudos to the band for putting on such a great set. They are, truly, unstoppable.


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