1.) SONG OF THE YEAR: Palma Violets - "Last of the Summer Wine"
Just like countless other great rock n' roll songs, this one's greater than the sum of its parts. Yeah, the intro's too long on this song. And so's the outro. The lyrics are moronic. (The "official" video is absolute garbage - see above.) And the chord progression isn't exactly original but... there's just somethin' about the classic guitar tone and the finesse they play the lick with and the sweet, sweet melody that slays me every time.
These guys are sick and tired of the near-constant Nirvana comparisons, but they should take that shit as a compliment. While Ideal Cities is their least Nirvana-derived release so far, that's not necessarily a good development; it's also their least consistently hooky. That being said, "Weird" and "Bait Car" are great fucking songs, and if these guys had put out an album packed with stuff approaching the quality of those two songs, this would be the best album I've heard this year, hands down.
Diarrhea Planet - I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
By all accounts, I should love this album, since essentially it consists of a combination of what the two finest bands in Brooklyn (Fang Island and Liquor Store) do best. Marrying the latter's boneheaded, anthemic kraut-punk to the former's ecstatically sunny prog should work on paper, but somehow here the sum is way, way less interesting than the sum of the parts. It doesn't help that the vocals sound like a drunk guy impersonating a retarded person.
Hmmmm. I have very little experience describing / reviewing "Soul Clap Dance-Off"s, so I think I'm going to just steal as much as I can directly from the horse's mouth at the New York Night Train website:
Soul Clap and Dance-Off 6 Year Anniversary Party with JT playing the all-time SOUL CLAP CLASSICS and guest selector JIM MORRISON (The Doors!) via medium IAN SVENONIUS (Chain and the Gang/The Make Up) and LIVE SEANCE ON STAGE! 1AM DANCE-OFF judged by Willismburg’s DELUXE SALON for $100/$75 METROPOLIS VINTAGE CERTIFICATE – followed by Brooklyn Brewery’s NYC CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND FOR $500 CASH PRIZE plus Metropolis certificates for the second places, $5 Espolon tequila drinks all night long, and other great surprises, 11:30PM-4:00AM, $7
That works, no?
Anyway, my pal Cindy and her friends were in town from Buffalo, and I met up with them at Brooklyn Bowl for this shinding shortly after leaving the Liquor Store show at Matchless. Truth be told, I was still exhausted from Thursday night's post-Tyondai bacchanalia, and having worked up a decent sweat at Liquor Store, the prospects of dancing my fat ass off for 3+ hours seemed dim at best.
This, of course, was before I discovered that 1.) Brooklyn Bowl was selling $18 pitchers of Brooklyn lager, and 2.) the music played during said Dance-Off Extravaganza would be exclusively vintage '50s / '60s era seven-inches, the very vast majority of which I'd never heard before. Yup, right smack dab in my oldies-fetish wheelhouse - all the doo wop and early R&B you could handle. Fuck yeah, sock hop!
And dance we did, until nearly 4 AM. I'm told that prizes were awarded, and although I wasn't commended at the time, I'm just going to have to assume that my award for "Sweatiest Bastard in the Room" is in the mail. Thanks in advance to the judges for that one! Apparently there was also a seance (?), but again I will point you, the reader in the general direction of the New York Night Train website for the "official" wrap-up and pictures.
Fortunately, the party continued for some time after we schlepped back to my place, and with Uncle Acid's awesome stoner bullshit as fuel, my Christmas tree was (finally) no more (see below). Fuckin' awesome time, y'alls.
It's hard to believe that this is the first article I've written for this blog solely dedicated to Liquor Store, since as recently as last year I identified the band as "The Best Brooklyn Band Who Gigs Regularly in the Area." But times change and shit happens; before this show I hadn't actually seen them perform live in about 6 months, and, until this one-off at Matchless (of all places), they hadn't yet played an area show this year.
As of press-time New Jersey’s Liquor Store boasts six guitarists (at least five of whom definitely can not be heard on these two songs) and a front man who looks like he should be working at one of those chop shops outside of Shea Stadium in 1986. Stoopid with a capital “O,” the Store is a non-stop fire sale/boner party for those of us who felt “Surfin’ Bird” was a little too deep. I know “trash” gets thrown around these parts regularly as a descriptor, but man, Oscar the Grouch meet your new favorite band. The A-side, “Free Pizza” is exactly that; there’s no one who doesn’t like free pizza, but there’s only one band who decided to write a song about it (and you know what they say, even the worst ‘za is pretty good). Snooze you lose, Peter, Bjorn & John. The flip, “Trash Sandwich (Parts 2 & 3)” sams and shams and more than lives up to its title. The white sleeve and generic label are perfect, as these guys give you exactly what you need (songs about food) and not a drip more. Liquor Store just might be the worst band in the world, but they’re the best worst band I’ve ever heard.
I would've agreed wholeheartedly with all of that a few years ago, but since then Liquor Store has transformed into a well-oiled machine, with a stable full of great songs, a consistent band lineup, and road-tested live chops. At this point, Liquor Store is a stellar fucking band, and they rock harder than literally ANY other local act. It's just that simple.
We showed up to the gig right as the band was lugging their shit in through the front door, and we began slugging PBRs immediately. Shortly, the band started their set, and although they were tight as hell, the rhythms were a bit slower than usual - a likely symptom of not having played out enough recently. PLAY MORE SHOWS, MANG!! But as the set went on, I was totally impressed with each of the newest batch of songs which I'd never heard before.
That was good news. Their debut album, Yeah Buddy, was one of '11's best records, and it sounds as though the band has taken a step forward in their songwriting: the licks are still steeped in classic, driving, twin-guitar KrautPunk, but the new stuff has a bit more of an anthemic classic rock flavor. That's nowhere more evident than in the dueling, Thin Lizzy-esque guitar solos, which aren't an entirely new element in Liquor Store's repertoire - although the proficiency displayed in the solos certainly is.
So yeah, great stuff, the set was fun as hell, I can't wait to hear the new record, and I eagerly await the time when it seems like Liquor Store is playing multiple shows every month mere stumbling distance from my doorstep. GET ON IT, DUDES!
While scanning OhMyRockness last week, I was shocked to see that LiveFastDie was still around and playing gigs. After a quick Googling to confirm that it was the *same* LiveFastDie (c'mon, it's not totally implausible that another band had chosen to name itself after one of GG Allin's most infamous tatoos), it was on.
I first saw LiveFastDie opening up for King Khan at Mercury Lounge in August, 2008, and their kamikaze style of full-contact performance stole the fuck out of that show. The band members scrambled aimlessly across the beersoaked stage, alternately wiping out painfully and smashing into each other; the lead guitarist (who is now the frontman of The World's Greatest Band, Liquor Store) fell off the stage several times while still somehow managing to pound out his "hey mom look at me!!!" over-the-top awesome wankery. One part Jackass, one part catchy-as-fuck gutter-punk jams.
This was not, as it turned out, a simple case of "whoops, too many rock-bottom whiskey shots" - the band's onstage attitude seemed to perfectly match their MySpace page's slogan of "oh boy. Another band that can hardly play their instruments and like to get wasted. Check back with them in a year and see who's dead." I "checked back with them" the following April at Union Pool, which wound up being the first time (of twenty or so) that I saw Liquor Store (who at this point were regularly performing with 5 guitarists onstage simultaneoulsly) live.
Anyway, fast forwarding to the present, these guys are still fun as hell. A persistently malfunctioning amp provided way more humor than it should've, as did an audience member's seemingly constant pleas for the band to simply "STOP!!!!" So watch these videos and judge for yourself, yeah?
So, recently, I attended 7 show in 6 days, as mentioned above. Not too shabby a showing, if I do say so myself... in fact, that might actually be a personal record of some sort. [On that tip, who th' fuck knows / cares.] Over said 7 shows and 6 days, a ton of bands were seen (including Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Colin Stetson, Harvey Milk, Occultation, Fang Island, Hollerado, Monogold, Goes Cube, Austerity Program, Rosetta, Naam, Liquor Store, Wild Yaks), comical quantities of beverages were consumed, acquaintances were renewed with old friends, and an unfair amount of fun was had. Frankly, I have no clue how I managed to avoid getting really sick / throwing my back out / collapsing due to sheer exhaustion throughout this whole debacle because, let's face, it, I'm no spring chicken.
Anyway, deets onward:
Goes Cube, Austerity Program, Rosetta and Naam at Studio at Webster Hall, Wednesday March 9, 2011
Met up with my buddy Jimmy Dogshit for some booze (including appletinis, an unfortunate tradition of ours) and mediocre burgers at the Pour House. Our waitress resembled a wholesomer version of British pornstar McKenzie Lee. That's all I'm'a say about that.
Rolled up to Studio towards the end of Naam's set. Wish I had more to report on these guys (because I've been told they're worthwhile), but sadly I don't.
Rosetta was up next, and they lived up to their reputation as being "the hardest band in the world to mic." Their set at Santos in January opening up for Kylesa during one of the blizzards really converted me from "casual fan" to "ardent admirer who has no qualms shirking responsibilities to go out and see 'em on a random weeknight." The sound sucked ass (I know, unusual for a Studio show) but the sweaty performance made up for it.
Let's just say I enjoyed a few beverages. When I got home late night, I noticed that for some reason I had 7 empty plastic shot glasses in my pocket. "THESE'LL COME IN HANDY!" As mentioned earlier, a shabby performance by me this was not.
Austerity Program's set was next, and allow me to report (it ain't no secret): the house was thoroughly ROCKED. They played the entirety of their fucking stellar EP from last year, Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn, as well as "Song 20" and... uhhhh... was that it? Fuck, I don't remember, but let me tell ya, it sure made for great drunken thrashing around.
Goes Cube finished off the evening with exactly the type of skullfuckingly brutal performance that I've come to expect from them since I started seeing them live 5 years ago. [Goddamn, how many times have I seen these guys live? 15? 20? I'm not in Brooklyn at the time of this writing so I can't consult Tuddd Archives for the answer, but it's somewhere up there. [edit: apparently it's 15 times, although that assumes that Tuddd Archives is actually accurate, which is highly unlikely.] Shee-itt.] Anyway, their set drew liberally from what seemed like all of their most recent releases: 2009's Another Day Has Passed LP, last year's 7", the digital recording from Coextinction Recordings, and, of course, their forthcoming LP, In Tides and Drifts (which ain't out yet, but which, of course, I dorkily pre-ordered). With Goes Cube singer / guitarist David no longer living in NYC, I wasn't expecting the set to be as tight as it was, and the great sonics of the Studio space really highlighted Kenny's superb drumming and Matt nimbly holding down the low end. Obviously I'm a huge fan of these guys' music, and it was great to hear that this was the brand of fury they'd be truckin' down to SXSW. RAWK.
Anyway, tried to spit game with two Norwegian (uh, I think?) chicks post-show / failed miserably / wound up drinking Heinekens in the back of a cab during the ride home. Woo Fucking Hoo.
Liquor Store at Death by Audio, Thursday, March 10, 2011
Nuff. Fucking. Said.
Friday, March 11th: Monogold at Glasslands AND Fang Island at Bowery Ballroom.
Well, not really. Actually it's more about the combination of lucky scheduling and way too much time on my hands than anything else. But nonetheless, I'm not exactly sure when the last time was that I pulled off attending two shows in one day. Hmmmm. It might have possibly been in September '06 when I saw Mastodon at Webster Hall early, then Comets on Fire at Knitting Factory late. Not gonna lie, that was pretty fucking badass. ('Twas a good day indeed.) Anyhow, the way this night shook out, I already had tix for Fang Island at Bowery, but I figured out I'd check out Monogold's early opening set at Glasslands before heading in to Manhattan, knowing that Monogold would be setting out in the van and driving down towards South by Southwest literally the moment their set was over. Good shit.
I first saw Monogold's live show at their Public Assembly record release show in mid-January - holy shitballs are they a good band, and man, was that a fun night. They have a "current"-ish Williamsburg indie pop sound without the overbearing tweeness of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart or Grizzly Bear or whoever, while creating well-crafted, tuneful music that makes the kids want to shake they shit. I've also been enjoying the bejeezus out of their newest album, The Softest Glow, as a nice change of pace from the usual steady diet of Melvins > Sleep > Melvins > Sleep > Melvins > Sleep playlist that more often than not can be found blaring out of my car stereo.
Monogold's set on this night was great, as it had been the first time I saw 'em. Frankly, they're another band that proves that I Don't Know Jack Shit About What Makes Music Popular, because they should be fucking huge. My personal favorites from the set were "Dead Sea Minerals" and "Ivory Tusk, Golden Teeth"... check below for studio versions of these two sick motherfuckin' jams:
I wished the gents my best on their SXSW journey and basically ran the fuck out of Glasslands the moment their set was done, heading southward back to my apartment briefly for a quick power-up / pit stop. Sadly, this brief (yet hyper-necessary) dalliance meant that I'd get to Bowery towards the end of opening band Hollerado's set, which I regretted; I'd seen them open up for (and blow away) Black Lips (who fucking blow) in this same room in September '07. Anyway, by the time I stumbled into Bowery, Hollerado was in the middle of a positively rippin' jam based on ZZ Top's "La Grange," and they looked to be having a great fucking time... again, I wish I had made it there a bit earlier, goddamn it.
Snuck way up front amongst the assembled 12 year-olds for Fang Island's set. Of course, I'm on record as being a Fang Island booster from way back in the day. Don't believe me? Here's a short, sweet, and to the the point list of accolades I've heaped on these guys:
First time I saw them live was in 2008, opening for Chairlift at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and I loved 'em instantly.
Second time I saw them live, in April '10 at Maxwell's, uhhhhh... looks like I didn't write them up or anything that time around, but my buddy OattJerk shot this video of "Daisy" at the show. Honest Injun.
When it came time compile a list of my favorite songs of 2010, Fang Island scored the year's top slot, with an unprecendented *four* songs in the Top 25. Impressive!
And, as befitting an album with so many fantastic songs, Fang Island's Fang Island topped my "Best Albums of 2010" list. It's also one of the ten best albums of all time by anyone.
Right on cue, this night's Fang Island set was somethin' special. In fact, my only real complaint about the previous two times I'd seen them -- sour vocals -- seems to have been largely remedied. And the larger Bowery stage allowed the three guitarists ample room to bust out some hilariously over the top ARENA RAWK stage moves. The setlist consted of most of songs from Fang Island (YAY!), with few older ones and one new one thrown in... I was hoping they'd have six Andrew W.K.s come out to reprise his glorious quasi-operatic vocal coda from "Patterns on the Wall" but alas it wasn't to be... regardless, even without that highly unlikely occurrence going down, this was one of the finest sets that I've seen all year.
OK, naptime. I will try to get a post up about Saturday / Sunday / Monday's shows and goings on but I can't promise anything... heading to Costa Rica on Wednesday for what's sure to be the Douchiest Bachelor Party Ever With the Douchiest Group of Douches That Ever Douched. Tuddd out.