girl monster

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Beirut @ InSound

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Beirut, not the beer game

Since I have a moderately-involved day job, I can't keep on top of new music as much as the professional music fan/blog crowd. But, I usually take note of what they're talking about and try to give it a fair, open-minded listen if the hype sounds interesting. Generally I ignore anything described as soft, quiet, or pretty, and I was afraid that Beirut (i.e. 19 year-old Zach Condon and some other musicians he's gather together) might fit into such a category. I downloaded his album Gulag Orkestar out of curiosity and haven't listened to it thoroughly yet, but Beirut actually seems pretty cool. They have a wistful, klezmer-rock thing going on; I studied in Prague in college so maybe that accounts for me digging the whole Eastern European vibe. Hype or not, Beirut is worth checking out if you like bands like DevotchKa or the fabulous Storsveit Nix Noltes. Beirut is playing a free in-store performance at Sound Fix in Billyburg on Saturday at 8pm. I'm hoping to check it out after spending the afternoon having my hair colored. it's going to be really, really dark, as long as i don't flip out and cancel the appointment. more on that later. maybe.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Is it possible to be in love with a radio station?

Wow, i am such a fucking good Samaritan tonight. Time to hear me rant about all my pet causes. Anyway, this week is one of three times a year that my all-time favorite, gets-me-through-the-work-day, makes-me-feel-warm-and-fuzzy-inside radio station, KEXP Seattle, is hosting a pledge drive (you can listen online from anywhere in the world; only the lucky Seattlites can listen in their cars too). You'd think that I would switch to another station during the pledge drive so I'd miss out on all the extra talking and drumming up of listener support. But, I stay tuned it because I just like hearding these DJs talk. Seriously, they have the most beautiful voices. That's how much I love this station and believe in what it stands for: introducing people to new music that they would never hear elsewhere, supporting local bands and bands on independent labels, and creating a sense of community among music listeners. Tune me into KEXP, sit me down with a nice microbrew and maybe a chunk of cheddar to go with it (ok, i'm wierd, whatever) and I'm the happiest girl in the world. I already donated this year and got a rad kexp tee with a skull and dagger on it (so cute!) but if my income would allow it, I'd give them everything I had. If I did, you can too: become a member and keep this station alive and flourishing.

I Love My Hometown Record Store

Don't you wish that you worked in a record store like the one John Cusack works in in High Fidelity? Especially if you got paid more than minimum wage. A place where music nerds could hang out and listen to music that their roommates might find annoying. My hometown, Haddonfield, New Jersey, has a record store called Mars Red that's damn close to the ideal. I always make a point of going whenever I'm in town, and not exclusively because I have a crush on one of the guys who works there. They have a great selection of used CDs and I always come across some eclectic finds for cheap, like the Jesus & Mary Chain's 1989 Automatic or Hot Chip's 2005 Coming on Strong, both for a mere twelve bucks.

I think it's really important that we keep these kind of individual places safe from the talons of Tower Records and the like. Next time you can't download that obscure song you're looking for, hit up somewhere local instead of ordering it online or joining the flocks at a mega music store. Even if you end up paying more for your purchase, you'll feel better about it.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Solid Friday Night

So I missed all but the last ten seconds of the Lovely Feathers' set at Bowery Ballroom last night because I couldn't decide what to wear (I had been going for sort of an post-war Italy look), but I did catch that their keyboardist was wearing silver underwear OVER a yellow unitard, thus confirming my belief that they're way, way over-the-top. everyone seemed to be having fun though. then i met up with my partner-in-crime Nate, who is easy to find since he's always the tallest person in the room, and we bumped into the ubiquitous Jay Belin after picking up some Stellas. He'd been drinking since lunch, which i can justify since his fabulous blogger's lifestyle requires alot of schmoozing, but was all good times as usual. i'm sad about not being able to go to the Loose Record BBQ today - I'm going to New Jersey for my cousin's graduation party and will be spending the afternoon spiking my little sister's soda with champagne.

Nate and I pushed our way closer to the front for Dr. Dog's set. Dr. Dog is a really happy band that writes solid songs in a feel-good, seventies-style that reminds me of Harry Nilsson. They also have this Jimmy Buffet thing going on with their oversized plastic sunglasses. I don't think that anyone in the band was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, but it would have fit. They're fun performers to watch and I understand why everyone likes them so much, but I'll admit that I started to get bored. Too sunny and radio-friendly for my taste. Ok, I'm a snob, but I can't help it. I went to high school with Dr. Dog's guitarist, Frank, and he's a super nice guy, so I'm happy about their success for his sake. They've signed to Rough Trade in the UK and we're going to see more and more of them around here.

After re-grouping with more beers it was time for the main event: The Spinto Band. Wow, they were different from what I expected. Nice and Nicely Done is a sweet, nerdy pop album of the variety that makes girls think the band is really cute. So I had envisioned something tailored to that audience: clean, crush-inspiring boys next door. turns out that they aren't just aw-cute nerdy, they really are nerds. at least two members appeared to be under eighteen, and most of the band looked like stunted orphans that noboday wanted to adopt. ok, that sounds really mean, but nate agreed. plus, one of the guitarist/vocalists makes really wierd facial expressions and sometimes sings with a frozen smile on his face. it was way creepy. CREEPY. Now, I really don't mean to sound like I'm talking trash about them. If anything, I'm more impressed with the impeccable, well-crafted pop songwriting than I was before. And creepy orphans are actually really interesting to watch. they played the favorites like "Oh Mandy" and "Brown Boxes", plus some new and equally catchy songs. the best part was the encore, when the band busted out a rap of "Where My Dogs At". At first I wasn't sure what to think, but they were really good and it wand it was hilarious - everyone had the words down perfectly and there was even some well-synchronized choreography. I'd go to see them again.

I declined more drinks and headed home since I'm lame now that I've moved to Crooklyn. But there's alot to be said for not waking up hungover in the morning. K, time to go run and then head down to nj.

"Enjoy the nice weather. Go talk to that boy or girl you like. Take them to a rock show."

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Big Sleep Sign to French Kiss Records, Album this Fall

According to Brooklyn Vegan, the Big Sleep have been snatched up by French Kiss records and will release an album this fall. Finally, I'll have something to live off of other than the 4 songs on their myspace page. the loud, psychedelic drone rock of the Big Sleep pretty much epitomizes my taste in music and it's been great to witness their growing popularity. Congratulations Big Sleep!

Tonight's Show Recommendation

The well-matched trio of the Spinto Band, Dr. Dog, and The Lovely Feathers are playing at Bowery Ballroom tonight. The Spinto Band plays twee power pop with the occassional kazoo, and they're all cute in a nerdy, Weezer kind of way, so if you're a girl you'll love them. I interviewed them for loose record. Philly-based Dr. Dog is sloppy but fun, and their live show is authentic and refreshing. The Lovely Feather's album, Hind Hind Legs is frighteningly manic-depressive, but live this might come off as raucous rather than psychotic. And their jumpy anthem "In the Valley" is insanely catchy. Come early, stay late.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Black Angels at Southpaw

The Black Angels put on a show tonight to match their stellar album. southpaw was packed with hipsters and hippies, and the Angels cranked up the drone, very compelling. the even played a couple new songs, which i thought made it more interesting than if they just played the whole album straight through. they were surprisingly normal-looking - i was picturing long, dark hair and beards - but any one of them could have been your college roommate at UMass. they actually have a very glamourous, blonde female drummer. regardless, they make me want to dye my hair black and never smile again for pictures. and i mean that in the best way possible.

the drone, man. THE DRONE.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Album Reviews and The Black Angels

I reviewed Psapp's new album, The Only Thing I Ever Wanted for loose record. Eclectic, sophisticated, experimental: an Architecture in Helsinki with less of a sweet tooth.

My review of Ambulance Ltd's New English EP, which came out in January, is also up on the loose homepage.

The Austin, Texas-based drone rock band The Black Angels are playing at Southpaw tomorrow night. Velvet Underground-tinged, loud, and heavy on the reverb, The Black Angels' debut full-length, Passover, is one of my favorite albums of 2006 so far. There is seriously not a weak song on the album, and there's a retro feel thoughout– it's hard to believe that this album wasn't written forty years ago. Dark and political, the Black Angels sing without sentiment about wartime horrors that could apply to Vietnam or Iraq. But lyrics regardless, they'll kick you in the gut and hold their foot there. I'm psyched. Come to Brooklyn and say hi to me.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Loose Record (BBQ Saturday)

I write for a music news site called Loose Record; it's a really informative, well-designed site and you should check it out to read some good reviews of shows and albums, interviews with bands, previews of upcoming shows, and other fun stuff to distract yourself with at work.

the editor of loose record, jay belin, is my favorite man-about-town. he affects this sort of crass, faux-sleazy persona, but he's actually one of the nicest people you will ever meet and cute by virute of his bear-like quality. i want to hug him every time i see him. plus, he deserves props for plugging some great local bands on his blog. two favorites that i share with him are The Big Sleep – LOUD, droning, fearless psych-rock – and Sam Champion – authentic, fuzzy, sprawling rock & roll that often inspires Pavement comparisons.

Come celebrate Loose Record's one-year anniversary at a BBQ at Union Pool this Saturday, June 10th, at 2pm. Love Is Laughter, The Picture, and Shade are all playing, and it'll only cost you 3 bucks. A sweet deal for sure.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Duke Spirit kicks ass

The Duke Spirit was amazing at Mercury Lounge tonight. I am, by definition, a head-bopper/heel-tapper music fan, and i danced. i DANCED. This band combines danceable, catchy rock with blast-away loud, wall-of-sound guitar, and the effect is intoxicating. plus vocalist Liela Moss wins the award for most charismatic frontwoman. she's sassy, smart, has great dance moves (loved the knee-kicking/hair-tossing thing) and has the pipes to pull it off. It's too bad that Snow Patrol's summer tour—for which the Duke Spirit was opening—has been canceled. Buy their CD, Cuts Across The Land and go to see them asap because before you know it they'll be headlining webster hall.

oh, and jena malone (donnie darko, the dangerous lives of altar boys, saved!) was there. the girl has impeccable taste in screenplays and music.

Duke Spirit Tonight/Wolfmother last night

Tonight I'm off to see the Duke Spirit at mercury lounge and I'm pretty psyched about it. i first heard the Duke Spirit a year and a half ago on Indie Pop Rocks! On Soma FM (go to the Radio section of ITunes and scroll down under 'Alt/Modern Rock' and you'll see what I mean) and I a) thought they were awesome, b) didn't get why nobody else really seemed to be familiar with them and c) was frustrated that they didn't seem to have any plans for a U.S. tour at the time. Finally, their album Cuts Across The Land was released in the U.S. this winter and they've gotten loads of well-deserved attention from bloggers, a spot opening for Ted Leo, and airtime on taste-making independent radio stations like KEXP Seattle (my favorite) and WOXY. So I really am happy about their success even though I secretly will be a snob and think of them as "my" band. Tonight we'll find out how their live show is—and if KEXP dj Cheryl Waters was exaggerating when she said that they all look like models.

Wolfmother ROCKED Webster Hall last night. I was in such a good mood after their show at Bowery Ballroom in April that I didn't think they could top it, but they did. Success suits them well. Andrew Stockdale is a genuine old-fashioned rock god. The vests, the high-kicks, the skinny jeans, the hair—I love it all. the bassist/keyboardist was also in fine form: lots of punk-style jumps and tilting the keyboard until it almost toppled into the audience. All while growing a charmingly tasteless hipster mustache. i think that with their growing fame—selling out Webster Hall, landing a spot on an iPod commercial—they feel comfortable taking more rock star liberties, hence the increasing theatricality and long, trippy jams—and I'm not complaining. and did you see the drummer eating a banana in the middle of the set? i guess even rock stars can't live off of drugs, beer, and coffee all the time. cheers.