Saturday, October 31, 2009


Is that a pistol in yr pocket, or are you just happy it's Halloween?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blondie @ the Brooklyn Museum

The members opening of Who Shot Rock & Roll at the Brooklyn Museum boasted a 45 minute set by Blondie: A fitting affair for an exhibition of rock 'n' roll photography. While it was much too crowded to spend sufficient time soaking in every shot on display before catching Deborah Harry & Co., the power of the exhibit was still palpable.

Curator Gail Buckland's attempt to capture lightning in a bottle integrates video, stills, album covers, collage, and even a DIY section for visitors. In works by Diane Arbus, David LaChapelle, Annie Liebowitz, Mick Rock, Ross Halfin, and so many others, the kinetic dynamism depicted at once forces the photographer to be elevated to rockstar status yet subsumed by the awesome musical subjects before his or her lens. Thus, the integration of subject and object is seamless.

From Elvis, James Brown, Fugazi, Pavement, and The Cramps, to Run DMC, the New York Dolls, and Amy Winehouse, nearly every genre is covered. The section of fan photos includes Norwegian Black Metallers in the same breath as grungey Alternative rock kids, and the album art selection has work by lesser known bands right near canonical classics.

As for Blondie, I was expecting a short and sweet tossed-off set, but to my surprise we got a real rock show. Debbie looked fantastic in a black satin suit jacket and skirt with blood red beads dripping off in slashes here and there. The band was in fighting form, (Chris Stein did a hot roadhouse blues solo bit), and the lighting was also stunning against the cavernous Roman architecture of the Beaux-Arts Court.

The band opened with "Call Me," followed by their only photography-related song (in the words of Ms. Harry), "Picture This." The juxtaposition of old, young, art world and rock world was apparent even in the first few rows: Blondie's genre-bending appeal is indeed far-reaching. Debbie's well-loved rhymes in "Rapture" were shouted out by the audience, and when Blondie played Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop" it was hard to believe it wasn't one of their origials. Plenty of audience participation made the night quite intimate, despite the crowd, and the band's set ended on a high note with "One Way or Another." Not bad at all for a bunch of old punk rockers.

Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present opens today and runs through January 31st.

(Photos from the Brooklyn Museum's official Flickr!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blacklist in L.A. Weekly

Now that Spin, NME, The Village Voice and a million music blogs have given props to Blacklist, L.A. Weekly joins the list with the following coverage:

Recommended for fans of The Chameleons, Mission UK and The Cult

Part of New York's Wierd Records family, Blacklist is single-handedly reviving the lush guitar, bombastic vocal combination made popular during the goth heyday of the mid-to-late 1980s. The band will make its West Coast debut on November 14 at Nomad as part of Wierd's weekend-long LA showcase. Check out Blacklist's latest album, Midnight of the Century.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Who Shot Rock & Roll? Exhibit @ the Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum's latest exhibit, Who Shot Rock & Roll? A Photographic History, 1955 to the Present opens this Friday. Works such as this cheeky 1981 shot by Andy Earl of Bow Wow Wow and an underage Annabella Lwin will be featured.
If you're not already a member, sign up now as you'll be treated to a LIVE performance by Blondie at Thursday evening's reception!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Cult of Relics

A French priest is touring the States with the supposed bones of Mary Magdalene, while sanctified curios of skin and hair are up for sale in the Upper East Side. The resurgence of the Catholic cult of relics is given a once over by David Farley in this Slate article.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blacklist - Flight of the Demoiselles Video

If you played your cards right, you'll be seeing Blacklist tonight at Brooklyn Vegan's secret CMJ loft show.

If not, you'll likely be seeing them soon anyway with The Mary Onettes at Union Hall on November 4th.

Until then, take in the video for "Flight of the Demoiselles" directed by Iqbal Ahmed...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ame to Ame @ Japan Society

Although butoh has been defined as an art form that cannot be defined, there are salient elements that signal the genre's existence. This dance/movement that originated in post-war Japan is not rooted purely in escapist fantasy, nor is it confined to unadorned realism. It is the clash and interplay between these two states that makes butoh so intriguing, and nothing was more evident at Japan Society's Friday performance of Ame to Ame (Candy and Rain), a duet performed by San Francisco's Shinichi Iova-Koga and Berlin's Yuko Kaseki.

Directed and designed by Marc Ates, artful moments in everyday movements were juxtaposed with stylized choreography that was naturalized by its injection into mundane circumstances. Playful and manic, contemplative and comatose, with plenty of grotesque grimaces and comic mugging to create meta-narratives throughout, Iova-Koga and Kaseki always exhibited complete control. Even when projecting rambunctious, sloppy revelry, their focus was so intense it radiated energy from the stage.

Ame to Ame concurrently drew attention to individual movements, the storyline, and the props onstage. The physicality of the performers was an obvious essential to the piece, whether in the stuttering minutiae of each muscle undulating in a particularly supersonic section, or the languid, drunken Noh-slow movements that stretched time out like cotton candy.

Equally important was each individual dancer's persona and his/her interactions with the other, which created a strange romance that seemed more narcissistic than sweet at times. Repeated moments where Iova-Koga and Kaseki hugged themselves and the air around them (or danced alone while voyeuristically viewing the other) created an excellent juxtaposition of expression for this so-called 'love story'.

Last but not least was the moving reverence for inanimate objects exhibited by the two. The way the duo play-fought over a small white desk, always picking it up with the greatest of care before stealing it away from the other transformed the prop into a third character onstage. Another charming bit was when Kaseki danced with Iova-Koga's white jacket, clutching its folds lovingly before unfurling it across his waiting back and shoulders with a James-Brown-cape-finale flair.

The music was a background element and at times shared equal performance space with the duo, ranging from ambient soundscapes to spoken word and art damaged folk rock tunes that were curious and delightful. The lighting was also excellent, and perfectly matched with the movements to punctuate and pronounce certain sections.

While there were moments that invited more attention than others, the piece as a whole was riveting. Ame to Ame combined so many styles, emotions, and forms of expression that it would be impossible to enumerate them all. Nor would that be necessary, for the part of butoh that is so anathema to definition is the part which allows the art form to retain its arcane aura, making it continually ripe for exploration even half a century after its enshrouded inception.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tamaryn: Mild Confusion + Light Shadows

True Panther Sounds presents Tamaryn's upcoming 7" single featuring "Mild Confusion" and "Light Shadows." I had the pleasure of playing voyeur in their SF studio while the chanteuse and Rex John Shelverton worked on the latter track. It's brightened with touches of The Sundays and Mazzy Star but still dripping with that dark, sinewy drone Tamaryn does so well.

Pre-Order for the December 8th release HERE.

+ Glowing reviews from The Fader, Stereogum and Pitchfork, too!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg

Green shadows playing
on the face of Hope.

Sweeping ever swimming
projections luminescent,
Less light,
More vocals,
Less talking, please...


Echo chambers, reverberations,
flowered cloth, and power
of psychedelic somber
and closing,
soaked with sepia tones, xylophones,
moving in slow motion on repeat.

Her face melts as she moves
Through the Devil Softly:

Inventions with intention spells


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Automelodi @ Wierd

The explosive emanations consuming Home Sweet Home's antechamber last night were from none other than Montreal's minimal synth darlings, Automelodi. The show sounded so good as I worked the Wierd door that I can't help but make mention of it, despite the fact that I saw very little from my outside perch. The sounds were all that mattered, really, both from Xavier Paradis, his band, and the ecstatic audience. "Buanderie Jazz" is still a favorite - it has far more force live than on record - with its romantique, quavering melody that hooks you from the outset. The new tracks played held just as much promise as the old ones, making me wish Automelodi could play here more often...

For more background, a review I wrote of the Fait ses Courses EP for The Big Takeover is here, but a real time experience can be had this Friday when Automelodi plays a WBAR sponsored event at Underground Lounge along with Martial Canterel, Led Er Est, and Light Asylum!

Full Review (from inside) by my compatriot Frankie Teardrop.
PH: Zincink

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Free Xeno & Oaklander Download @ Other Music

The first song available from Xeno & Oaklander's upcoming album, Sentinelle, "Saracen" is now a featured download of the week @ Other Music. Serene yet brusque, with synthesizer squeals and static squalls ornamenting its foreboding edges, "Saracen" is an apt analog for October's impending chill. Whether the title references Medieval followers of Islam or something completely beyond, Sean McBride's detached refrain matched with Liz Wendelbo's delicate vocalizing en Francais makes for a bewitching encounter. "Saracen" is driving intrigue, brooding restraint, and the result of compelling Xeno & Oaklander craftwork.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dark Entries

Author Eva Hagberg explores 25 spaces designed with a retro-futurist aesthetic in Dark Nostalgia. (Including some great downtown haunts in NYC.) A fusion of timeless materials for fully immersible interiors, we're talking "polished leather, velvet, reclaimed wood, and heavy metals," says a review on Flavorwire...

Purevile! has stitched together a fine new website. Do have a look and support designer Wren Britton's "Post-Apocalyptic-Victorian accessories and clothing for Time Traveling Dandies and Femme Fatales of all ages (and genders!)"