Archive for July, 2008

I owe ted leo one dollar

Posted in music with tags , , , on July 20, 2008 by MonsoonSeason

ted leo:  we only have til 8:30, so we’re just going to do the encore now.
nox5:  woo!  yeah ted leo!
ted leo:  something something something
nox5:  ‘timorous me’!
ted leo:  but yeah, here’s a few more…
nox5:  I will pay you one dollar if you play ‘timorous me’–final offer!
ted leo:  so yeah, ‘timorous me’.



subject:  I believe I owe you a dollar.

hey Ted,

thanks for playing castle clinton on thursday.  your set was powerful and fun, even if a lot of people in the wings weren’t dancing.  forget those guys, they’re no fun.

anyhow, when you came out for the encore portion, I shouted that I would mail you one dollar if you played ‘timorous me’, whereupon you did so.  I was ecstatic and it was, of course, fantastic.  but I am a man of my word!  may I please mail you one dollar bill?


Nolan Maloney


I have yet to hear back, but when I do, it shall be posted here.

ted leo and the pharmacists @ castle clinton, july 17

anyhow, Ted and the ol’ RX played an exciting show on thursday, to the delight of many kids and the not delight of many old folks.  he was the first show I’ve seen at castle clinton where the majority of the crowd was standing up at the request of mr. leo.  most of the audience was having a good time, jumping about, but there was an enclave of hipsters and old folks on the wings that were seated, arms crossed, disapproving of the standing crowd’s raucousness.  shame on them for not expecting it from punk rockers.

a quick aside about the sound set-up at castle clinton.  it’s refreshing to find that the best sound techs in new york are the ones actually hired by new york, rather than just some mediocre speech sound techs.  these people truly understand and appreciate sound, so it’s always great to go to a river to river show.  it’s perfect quality, and it makes me wish I had seen the avett brothers all the more.

the set was ‘shake the sheets’ heavy, playing at least seven songs from the album.  the other heavy was, obviously, ‘living with the living,’ with a few hits from ‘tyranny of distance’ and ‘hearts of oak.’  the band, as usual, was lively but slightly unapproachable, with ted still being the smiling face of the outit.  this works in their favor, however, as it allows ted’s voice to shine to the forefront and for his messages to be of largest prominence.

not sure what his cover was in the encore, however–sounded like misfits?  oh well.


ghostbusters fanfiction + a venture into local bands + what happened to punk rock that matt & kim was the most raucous band and didn’t have any guitars

Posted in music, neither, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2008 by MonsoonSeason

here we go again with the hiatuseseses

sorry internet, but I was busy riding a bike from new york to delaware in order to surprise my family vacationing at the beach. I rolled up on ’em towards the end of the annual 4th of july parade along bethany beach, de. tears were shed and beers were shared.

anyhow, onto things that matter to everyone that isn’t just me and my family:

cringe @ freddy’s, july 9

it all started with my addiction/nemesis twitter

twitter, for those not in the know, is a simple update aggregator for normal joes who like the concept of liveblogging, but never have the stones to keep up with it. you basically put down what you’re doing and/or thinking every few hours or minutes and follow all of your friends who are doing the exact same thing. normally, that sort of gimmick-y web 2.0 nonsense doesn’t jive with me, but twitter has such a laid back, don’t-install-applications attitude that it is endeared to me. it’s the internet equivalent of talking to a plant, your plant, in the middle of a public garden.

so I was weeding out the odd followers keeping track of my plant rambling when I stumbled across sarah brown, creator of the cringe reading series. the idea of cringe was interesting, seemingly funny: people read diaries and bad goth poetry and everybody drinks alcohol. it was like what I did back home during college (and will continue to do so probably). and it so happened that the first wednesday of every month, it was going down at freddy’s, which is like three blocks away.

but I’ll catch it next month, because the avett brothers, my favorite bluegrass/punk rock outfit, was playing a free show at stuyvesant high school for the river to river festival. OR SO I THOUGHT

a smoking girl around the area (both in activity and attractiveness) told me that they were sold out, inquiring if I knew other things in the area. I told her that I was thinking about cringe, but when she asked where that was, I told her I was clueless. oh well. my lovely male friend sam called and I had him give me directions, and then went to it with my friend rachel (also attractive I’m such a ladies man fuck).

situated in a seedy dive surrounded by warehouses and brownstones in a maybe-this-isn’t-a-great-neighborhood part of park slope (!), freddy’s is the kind of bar where you instantly don’t feel welcome. there’s a bunch of regulars drinking a bunch of regular drinks, a jukebox blaring peaches that nobody pays attention to, and off-putting wall decor. eventually, we made our way to the back room, which sort of looked more like an employees-only entrance, to hear a tale of a girl having sex with a guy in a sleeping bag.

the stories, as advertised, were painfully embarrassing and compelling. when a guy broke out his hand-painted ghostbusters fan fiction, it reminded me of the zine style hand drawn comics I did in third grade. the first, hand man, was about a superhero hand that fought the evil dr. foot. the other, slick, was about a retarded snake in a bow tie that got everything wrong. I only knew how to draw snakes and hands and feet, so the stories were a natural fit.

I have two large regrets about the evening, however: first, I should have come earlier; second, there won’t be another cringe next month until the middle of august, whereupon I will have already returned to indiana. problems. I hope that cringe is still going down when I move back in a year. until then, I guess I’ll just follow the tweets. on twitter. alone.

the kiss off, the king left @ pianos july 10

here’s what I said on july 10th:

“I can’t just keep going to famous bands I’ll lose my indie rock cred let’s go to pianos it’s a nice bar”

and so I did. trolling pianos’ website allowed me to learn of a few bands I hadn’t heard of, and it was either this or cake shop. the king left sounded great on the internet, so I went there. I showed up just as cinema cinema was ending. sorry sorry guys guys, I’ll get the next set, I promise promise.

so, I sat at the main bar and played a game with the bartender. the game is called “no really I’m fine I don’t want to drink.” this game is played by looking intently at the bartender until he looks back at you. then, you raise your wallet (you have to be holding your wallet or purse for this to work) and nod at the bartender. the bartender will acknowledge your glance, stall a moment, then turn back to his glass polishing or talk to other customers. occasionally, he will take other orders that have walked up to the bar far away from where he’s standing. after ten-fifteen minutes of gametime, he’ll reluctantly ask you if you want anything, whereupon you should give him a sugary smile and say “no really I’m fine I don’t want to drink at all.” he’ll nod and walk away.

oh wait don’t do that at all. also, if your bartender is a long-haired semi-muscular guy with condescending eyebrows, tell him that he’s a fucking asshole. or wait, nevermind, you won’t get that far. he’s too busy with HIS HEAD up HIS OWN ASS.

the guy in pianos’ show room, however, is way more amiable. he serves you drinks promptly and smiles.

I got to the show too late to see cinema cinema (sorry dudes), only just arriving as the kiss off graced the stage. they had a very approachable, marketable sound. if whole foods made tv commercials that were generally upbeat and featured 20-30somethings making food, maybe feeding their kids. in short, nothing like a kiss off whatsoever.

they sounded clear, vocally-driven, and beat heavy, if not light. it did the trick, if not generically. the only component that seemed out of place, sonically and physically, was the guitarist. it seemed as if guitars were added as an afterthought, adding little squiggles in and random notes, which I suppose was placed in to make the music feel less sleek. plus, the guy was dressed in all back, with a golden cross and geddy lee of rush’s hair. everybody else was just dressed like some dudes you would see at a bar. he was… creepy.

the king left, who I told the cheery ticket-taker I was here to see, came next. they liked radiohead. a lot. the singer had a tiny tattoo of the people shaking hands from the cover of ok computer, they list it as an influence, and they sounded exactly like radiohead if they decided to have a distinctively positive sound. maybe like pablo honey, but with depressing lyrics. I don’t know really what’s more to say. they were good, they just didn’t impress me.

it’s an interesting thing I’m learning about local new yawk bands–they’re by and large impressive, talented people, but with so many impressive, talented people, the music just sort of melts into a sonic soup. a delicious sonic soup, but one that has so similar ingredients that each bite just tastes the same. what I’m come to realize is that if you’re going to go to a rock and roll show in this town, you’re probably going to have a good time. you’re going to drink a few overpriced liquors, contemplate purchasing band materials, and never feel bad about leaving a little bit early. it’s just something to kill some time–not an event.

which is what I did during motel motel (what’s with the repeating band name thing? man man, the ting tings, the aforementioned cinema cinema?). I watched a few songs, took some pictures, noted that they were technically proficient but not entirely accomplished songwriters, and left. I bought some falafel, and caught the F train as soon as I entered the station, but it felt bittersweet getting on. Even with all this good music, catching the train home without having to wait half an hour was the highlight of the evening. 

f yeah fest @ club exit july 13

I take it back, I found an event

the highly anticipated f yeah fest finished their tour right in sleepy greenpoint, brooklyn, at a club that usually doesn’t have a lot of shows. club exit: a dance club with no ground floor, a swirling, psychedelic popsicle of a club, multi-tiered with a beautiful frosted-glass bar. who would have thought that it would house the most raucous, ham-fisted, drooling-lunatic punk rock show of the summer?

I arrived late, but whatevs, clubs always start late. japanther took an extra half hour to set up, focusing less on their instruments and more on their large banner that kept falling down. sadly, it’s what happens when you try to hang a giant cloth with scotch tape. I watched and had a beck’s. I forgot that beck’s was so good–I’ve been used to drinking amstel light, which is apparently the grown-up hipster beer, after they’ve stopped desiring chug-a-lug nights fueled by pbr.

these thoughts danced in my head until I finally realized that I forgot my camera at home. “shit,” I thought. “shit shit shit. the one show that I wanted to take pictures of.” I tried to justify that, if I bought a funsaver from the corner deli, that the pictures would be lo-fi, and thus ironic or something, and thus fit the ramshackle nature of the f yeah tour. having reviewed the pictures, I was wrong, and I wasted my nine dollars, but I’m still contemplating putting them on flickr.

also, those visiting from flickr: hello!

so I got back just as japanther was starting. I’ll be the first to say it I JUST KNOW IT but I thought the drummer’s stage banter was fucking terrible. he just kept telling us where the band was from, changing it sporadically, and telling us that their music was “just rock and roll.” yeah, dude, I got it. you’re just rock and roll. it’s apparent through your fucking music. just shut up and please continue rocking me.

and rock me they did. they play a fists-up, adolescent screaming match, singing songs about girls, about eating hot dogs on a beach and then swimming, about nighttime, and it sounds very much like a confused teenager not knowing how to vent his thoughts, and it sounds very awesome. the music, as barked at the audience several times during his banter, is incredibly no-frills: it is guitar; it is drums. it’s the sonics with less members on 2x speed; it’s white blood cells-era white stripes with no pretense. it is loud, and fast, and the perfect band to start off the last location of the f yeah tour.

next up, team robespierre, strewn about on the floor like dan deacon. I remember thinking that they weren’t that great when I heard them on myspace, but god damn if they didn’t make the party go live. during japanther, most of the kids just banged their head, but team r had everyone pushing and shoving in the second most gleeful happinesspit of the night.

let me explain: a happinesspit is something that occurs when everybody is having a genuinely great time, and instead of running into each other, the crowd just surges back and forth, smiling and laughing. if you get hit in the face, so what? they didn’t mean it! it’s just a good time for everybody! this phenomenon is usually aided by the use of a keyboard.

how to describe what team r does? the vocals range from white boy rapping to blood brothers (rip) style yelps to sultry soul singing. the keys squiggle and dance, but they also lead the rest of the music. the drums and guitars struggle to dictate the pace. the lead singer/rapper/guy is so charismatic, as well–he walks through the crowd, hugging kids, inviting them to sing with him, jumping up and down. it’s a colorful explosion, a burst of energy, perfect for 100 second party starters, with the perfect running time of 30-35 minutes.

also on the floor were monotonix, who are fucking terrible. but that doesn’t stop them from having a good time! butt rock metal mixed with an insane gg allin growler had the kids shaking it, but I couldn’t get with it. it was definitely funny to watch them cavort around, climb on stuff. the highlight of the set came when a bass drum was lifted in the air, the drummer climbed on top of his bass drum, sat down, and played the snare and crash drums, which were also held up by the crowd. almost all of the players and their pieces were aloft at one point or another, until monotonix was all but an unpleasant, awkward memory, washed away by the sea of humanity at club exit.

up next, paint in black. punk rock. unimpressive.

after them, the highlight of my night, brooklyn’s own matt & kim. there can’t be much said about the duo that hasn’t been said better elsewhere: they’re married, they made a band on a whim, kim is an enthusiastic drummer, matt talks a lot and is super damn excited, and they are cute, super cute, but without being nauseating like mates of state. they slam their head, talk about friends and happy stuff, and generally have a good time.

almost too good of a time. the happinesspit for matt & kim was out of control, the whole club seemingly crammed in and surging in the delight of matt & kim. I was thankful to be in the thick of it, even if this meant getting a big puffy spot below my eye and breaking my glasses. I was having a great time, trying my damndest with the funsaver to take brilliant pictures, and not caring about my failure. it was bliss–the most punk rock, throwdown bliss ever.

when the closer of their set came in, with “silver tiles,” matt didn’t even have to tell us that the song was about brooklyn–we all knew. when he refered to “all our hopes and all our friends,” he wasn’t just singing about the people they know personally, he was s speaking about everyone in the room, and everyone that we knew. it was touching, endearing, and totally fuck-yeah fun.

but after that I couldn’t see anything because my glasses were fucked so I went home. sorry dillinger 4 and circle jerks. I’ll catch you next time: same f yeah tour, same f yeah venue.