Saturday, September 26, 2009

Entertainment//Revel Hotel//White Light Lametta @ Coco66

Frankie Teardrop curated an excellent lineup last night at Greenpoint's Coco66, featuring electropop duo White Light Lametta; his own band, the increasingly sweepingly excellent Revel Hotel; and Athens, Georgia's dark, damaged darlings, Entertainment. Openers White Light Lametta were unexpectedly charming: the seductive synths and sexy monotone chorus of "U Wanna B My + 1" and their cover of the 80's montage classic "Scarface (Push It To the Limit)" completely won me over. Then came Revel Hotel, who have really come into their own, fusing decadent, glitter-dusted cabaret with jagged slices of heated electronic fervor. (The band's much anticipated debut EP, The Beating of the Wings, will be reviewed closer to its release.)

The marvel of the evening, however, had to be Entertainment, whom I'd heard on record, but never saw in the flesh. A slow burn of anarchic pleasures moving between pounding, tribal vigor and creeping, Gothic slither, few bands can make music this cold and abyssal so fiery and enticing. Frontman Trey Ehart switched between keys and guitar whilst alternating between seething seriousness, eyes piercing through the fog, and gleeful, devilish half grins - even efortlessly telling one heckler to "fuck off" with the same bratty bravado. Although I reviewed Entertainment's most recent release, Gender, for The Big Takeover, the band's sound live comes across as more vital and unique. Not merely a tarted up younger sibling of Christian Death or the Virgin Prunes, Entertainment forge beyond their influences with inimitable style, snapping sonic sinew in their wake, leaving listeners bruised and scorched in an auralgasmic aftermath. Post-show, you'll likely require a frozen cold shower.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Vampires: The Neverending Story

A recent article on Slate by Christopher Beam and Chris Wilson begs the question, "When have we not been in the midst of a vampire craze?" It's an apt proposition, as I can't really remember a time in my life where fanaticism for the bloodsucking undead hasn't been de rigueur. The authors then focus on compiling data (and handy charts!) on recent eras sans vampire, which they christen [har har] "The Garlic Years." Timely, interesting, and worth a laugh.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Cult's Love (Omnibus Edition)

Today marks the re-release of The Cult's sweeping, reverb-kissed sonic masterpiece, Love. It's no coincidence that Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy are also in the midst of playing shows of the 1985 album in its entirety, so the record is having new life breathed into it in myriad ways. I saw the NYC stop @ Terminal Five a few weeks ago, and despite other gripes, hearing all those tracks back to back live was quite a treat. Beggar's Banquet is doing things right and including four CD's with this new box set, and nine new remixes and live tracks are available for immediate download after purchasing. (The "She Sells Sanctuary" Slutnostic remix by J.G. Thirlwell is pretty scuzzy, psychedelic and delicious). More info at the Beggar's Archive site!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Daniel Ash Exclusive!

Culled from my recent interview for the upcoming issue of The Big Takeover, below are a few Ash exclusives on the state of 'the album', his penchant for 'girly songs', his favorite biker movie, and what he really wants to be doing...

2010 solo release:

I don’t really believe in albums anymore. I think it’s all about single tracks. Or EPs. I’ve got a MySpace called The Real Daniel Ash and I’ve got about four or five songs on there I’m going to put on an EP and have those available on iTunes in the near future. But the idea of a whole album? I haven’t got much faith in that. I think that people these days are more interested in single tracks than whole albums. I like the idea of that. 3 ½ minute songs, one at a time, that appeals to me. Most albums you’re lucky to get three great tracks. Most of it is junk. Every time I get something new there’s only three tracks on it that I really like. I think it’s great if you can hone all your energies on making one song sound great instead of doing ten songs and eight of them might as well not have been recorded.

Stylistically, [the new album] is a big cross-section. One of the tracks called “Flame On” sounds to me like it could have been on Raw Power by The Stooges, it’s very much inspired by Iggy Pop, and then it goes right into another track called “Candy Eye” that I would describe as ‘Europop’. I’ve always been a sucker for girly songs. It’s sort of romantic, sort of French sounding to me. It was something that I had recorded, the instrumental part, a couple years ago, and I had the chorus and everything but I sort of had writer’s block lyrically in the verses. Christopher The Minister hooked me up with Angelique [Bianca] and she came in and wrote the lyrics on the verses and sang them and it all fell into place.

Favorite biker movie:

The Loveless. Easy Rider is right up there, but those two. The Loveless is often one most people haven’t heard of. The main character in that is Willem Dafoe. You’ve got to check it out. Set in the late 50s, made in the early 80s. The Loveless is in a different league. It’s not that hard to find but it’s a very underrated film. And It’s got a great soundtrack.

Are Love and Rockets//Bauhaus really over?

I really really really really really really really hope so! That’s like a million miles away from me. All that stuff's too old for me to get excited about. Music that’s over 30 years old? I can’t listen to that stuff anymore.

What about Tones on Tail?

We had the Bauhaus thing that's regurgitated itself several times and Love and Rockets have done the same, so the natural question is what about Tones? No, it’s not gonna happen. I would be so surprised if anything would come of that. I mean, “Go,” has been such a used track in commercials. Lincoln Mercury most recently. I love the fact that it’s being used for that stuff. It’s fantastic, I’m so pleased. Apparently in that ad, the girl in the car, she says, “Hey, play that Tones on Tail song.” I mean, who out there has heard of Tones on Tail in the real world? Like, nobody, it’s a super obscure band. It’s like the car company is trying to be super hip.

And what he'd really like to be doing...

TV and film scores. That’s my goal. That’s something that I’d love to do. Put it this way, if someone turned 'round to me and said, "OK Tarantino wants to use you to score such and such a film," I’m like, "I’ll be there in a New York second!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Hunt @ Wierd

My favorite band of brothers eschewed their guitar-bass-drums lineup for the thrash of synthesizers, keys and a lone lead guitar, making a much anticipated minimal wave debut last night at Wierd.

The transformation was strange but ultimately quite rewarding. Although some songs didn't make an easy transition into the new musical milieu, the last two tracks of the night were explosive and romantic, electrified by the heretofore unknown pleasures of former lead guitarist Christian Count's analog mastery. Everything aligned when Singer J. Vigil, animated and impassioned as ever, began to sing "Scripts." The soundscape swelled with an epic grandeur to match the melancholic chorus ("I love the ones who leave me/Leave the ones who love me") and it became a dark synth masterpiece, even surpassing its original rock 'n' roll incarnation. The Hunt's first single, "1,000 Nights," followed to finish off the set, with the punk raucousness of wide-legged stances and steely glances in Revel Hotel-er Frankie Teardrop's intense keyboard performance and former bass guitarist Mike O'Brian's stoic focus as he sliced through the synthetic fog with the song's unforgettable lead riff. And so The Hunt begins...again.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Disko Nouveaux @ The Vault

Purevile!'s Wren Britton and Dances of Vice's Shien Lee have created an exquisite monster with their new monthly party, Disko Nouveaux. An excessively fashionable overdose of decadent New Romantique revelry, I couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief that a night like this finally exists in the late aughts. See Metromix's review for more of these great pix featuring yours truly and some of the other fine creatures of the night that attended. With DJ sets by Revel Hotel-er and fellow dark musik blogger Frankie Teardrop and the inimitable Michael T, father of Motherfucker (RIP) and too many other club nights to count, how can you go wrong? Trax by Bowie, Nightmares On Wax, Alphaville, Magazine, and SSQ are just some of the gems they spun. Run, do not walk (without tripping on yr platforms) to Disko Nouveaux's second coming October 11th @ The Vault.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lizzie Borden @ The Living Theatre

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
Gave her mother 40 whacks,
When she saw what she had done,
Gave her father 41...

At turns touching, absurd, anachronisistic and delightfully wicked, the rock musical adaptation of this Victorian-era tale is irresistibly campy. Creators Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer, Tim Maner, and Alan Stevens Hewitt have taken great liberties to fill in the historical blanks, injecting the Lizzie Borden household with child abuse and lesbian love to heighten the drama and provide motivation for the infamous double homicide.

The show is equally carried by a cast of four women boasting strong vocal talents: Lizzie Borden (Jenny Fellner), her 'friend' Alice Russell (Marie-France Arcilla), Lizzie's older sister Emma Borden (Lisa Birnbaum), and the maid Bridge "Maggie" Sullivan (Carrie Cimma). The latter two were my personal favorites: Birbaum rode the line of Lita Ford rock goddess dressed in black leggings, spike heels, and Victorian-cum-glam metal jacket topped off by pouting lips and headbanging tosses of her chestnut hair, while Cimma, done up in steampunk dyke chic regalia, brought comic relief delivered in a sardonic Irish brogue.

The musical composition was quite interesting at times (particularly in the “Shattercane and Velvet Grass" duet between Lizzie and Maggie), although more often it was a solid backdrop to showcase the voices onstage. Lyrically, there were a few cringe-worthy moments, but that's not to say there weren't clever ones, like Lizzie deeming herself the "Yankee Clytemnestra."

Lizzie Borden is described as a "rock road show," which hints at the possible impetus for some of the choices in production design, particularly the use of head mics as well as microphones with stands. I see how it added to the 'live rock show' feel of the piece as the four were backed by a tight live band, but the awkwardness of the long cords also stood in the way of more dynamic movements and moments between characters onstage.

In the end, this is an experience not to be missed - I have already made plans to attend again. My only hope for next time is that there will be MUCH more blood...

For more information, visit the official site, here.

Friday, September 11, 2009


This newly minted shop on 132 Ludlow beckoned me inside with its glowing green cross last night. Veda showcases the work of designer Lyndsey D. Butler, whose pieces in the boutique are goth metal chic with a splash of undead Kelly Bundy on the prowwwl. It's all buttery leather and black lace in Veda, and the gleaming headstone inside makes a great centerpiece for the place. Quite delicious.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Black Monday

Wandering the streets in search of sales, I found two dark divas hocking wares.

Grace Jones for Zara, and Billy Idol for BoConcept?

Slave-to-the-Rhythm office wear and Flesh-for-Fantasy furniture indeed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Brow Beaten

I wrote a cursory examination of eyebrow-less artists in 2006 for The Big Takeover, and now that shaved brows are so in vogue, (literally!), I had to mention the topic once more. Deborah Harry is pushing the trend, as are a number of Fall fashion looks. (See Adriana Lima for Givenchy.) The New York Times is even promoting the practice as recession-friendly. (Can't afford the latest handbag? Buy a razor instead!)

Speaking as one who has rocked a naked, asexual alien brow for nearly six years, this trend is a bit perplexing. Now, instead of awkward stares and ridicule, perhaps I'll be viewed as one of the elite followers of a new wave of personal grooming. That is, of course, until it soon goes out of style. Then they'll look at my face, thinking, "that's so last season" instead of just wondering why I look "a little off."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Devotion Gallery

Caught the opening of an intimate new gallery space in Williamsburg last Saturday night. Devotion is clearly the product of artistic synthesis, but the foremost firebrand is musician/visual artist Phoenix Perry, of SF/NY electro duo Memory Systems. The exhibits on display ranged from skateboard art with East Asian landscape painting cum computer graphics to motherboard circuitry sculpture and twisted glass jar sound experiments.

Expect more radical synesthesia from this space in the future.

Follow Devotion on Twitter + visit the space in Brooklyn @ 54 Maujer St.