Friday, February 27, 2009

Yaps Farewell Party @ Pianos, February 26th, 2009

My old college buddy, Tom Yaps, is moving to LA, and this was a party in his honor.

Noah Chernin of Sam Champion started the party with a barebones set of covers and originals, which included Kinks and Tom Petty songs.

Next up was Brenda, a 3-piece indie-rock band from Portland, ME. They were great! Sometimes that's all you need, guitar, bass, drums, good musicians and strong songwriting. They kinda reminded me of Built To Spill but happier, more straight-forward and less epic. Their drummer was truly on point. Where can I get an album?

After Brenda, Peelander-Z brought the party. These guys love flashy spandex, rocking out, monster costumes, "mad tigers," and audience participation. The bassist was playing on top of the bar. The guitarist used himself as a bowling ball, and smashed into some pins set up on the floor. They even dragged me on stage, threw a mask on me, and gave me a cowbell to bang on for one song. Yeah, fun stuff.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Telepathe w/ Teengirl Fantasy, Soft Circle @ Market Hotel, February 20th, 2009

Telepathe are two cute girls with drum machines and effects pedals. Sounds like a recipe for success. And their new album, "Dance Mother," ain't too shabby neither. Everyone I went with to this show bolted before they played, because they heard that they weren't that good 'live.' But I don't know... I kinda liked it, and stayed for the whole set. And I usually don't go for all-girl bands that don't have guitars or live drums.

Teengirl Fantasy was a little too dance-y and techno-y for me. But their visuals were amazing. I don't know how they were doing it, but I couldn't look away... It was like a kaleidescope of 3-D gradient rectangles traveling at hi-speed and exploding to the music. Killer.

Soft Circle was probably the best performance of the show. A one-man band, Hisham Bharoocha (the drummer from Lightning Bolt), loops beats and sounds through a sampler, then plays live drums on top of it. It actually kinda reminds me of Shitstorm, the way he layers the sounds (he even has the same problems of lining up the samples to the beat - except his sampler has an 'undo' button - and ours just creates a mess :) His live drumming is still the hi-lite of the show, he's scary good. But he could use just a touch more instrumentation, to keep things moving. Overall, pretty cool!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Titus Andronicus w/ Los Campesinos @ Bowery Ballroom, February 14th, 2009

So what do you do when you're single on Valentine's day? You go to a rock show by yourself, that's what! I actually liked openers, Titus Andronicus, a little better than Los Campesinos. Titus was more straight forward rock, with three guitars, bass, drums, and a lead singer who really screams his head off (can you see the bass player standing on his amp? Pretty dope.) Also, Titus did a Modern Lover's cover, "Roadrunner" declaring it the best rock song ever written. You know, they're kinda right...

Los Campesinos wrote not one, but two critically acclaimed albums last year. Also, my friend Dave said they put on a killer live show, so I decided to check 'em out. I guess my expectations were a little too high. No doubt they're pretty good, with some interesting instrumentation, but I found myself getting a little annoyed by the lead singer's accent. He sounded a little too bloc party-ish for me. I'd had enough of standing around by myself next to couples making-out, and left half way thru the set to meet a friend at a bar nearby. Another V-day down the tubes.

Nodzzz @ The Underground, February 8th, 2009

This was a free show with WAVVES and Woods. A pretty solid line-up, but it was too packed inside and I couldn't see a thing. Nodzzz sounded great though, way better live than on record. They're the only band I stayed for. Can you blame me? It's a sunday afternoon!

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart w/ Ca-USE Co-MOTION, The Depreciation Guild @ Mercury Lounge, February 7th, 2009

The triumphant record release show for The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Fresh off of an 8.4 from Pitchfork. If you haven't heard of these guys, you're probably living on another planet, because they are all over the inter-web. I didn't take any pictures of them, because the place was packed to the brim with greasy hipsters and who wants to see that?

Ca-USE Co-MOTION played 2nd. Some of their songs are undeniably great. Fast, fun and nerdy indie-punk. The bass player jumps around a lot! =)

The Depreciation Guild opened. Nintendo shoe-gaze with 8-bit graphics. I wasn't really feeling it tonight, but that's just cuz I saw them a month or two ago, and it was too soon for a repeat. They'll be touring with the Pains, so catch 'em on the road.

Doomstar! @ The Annex, February 7th, 2009

I caught Doomstar! at the Annex before the Pains show. I still think they were the best band of the night. Maybe that's just because I like indie-psych better than indie-pop. And I feel that Doomstar has a more unique sound than any of the other bands... plus, they friggin' rock!

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Anti-superbowl, w/ Thurston Moore & Mats Gustafsson, John Olson with Okkyung Lee & C.Spencer Yeh @ Glasslands, Feb 1, 2009

There's nothing like a noise show to cure the Superbowl blues. Something about the big game always gets me down. I guess after 4 hours of meaninglessness violence and commercialism, I'm understandably distraught. I was pretty tired after all that tube, but something drew me to this show (specifically, his name was Alex) and I'm glad I went. This was the anti-superbowl. After that horrifying halftime show by the Boss, Thurston Moore's blanket of pedal-induced guitar rebellion was a reassuring breathe of fresh air. Yes, there's more to music than selling out to Bridgestone Tires. Yes, some people are still artists and trying to make something new and real. I think this video explains it all. Now, just imagine if Thurston did the half time show...