So, let's talk about a few things from NYC. Sadly, we didn't get a chance to meet up with the lovely Colleen or new transplants, the lovely Mr. & Mrs. Emry, which was a real bummer. I did speak with Miss Von Crumbcake on the phone though, and we had a totally giggly conversation that clearly proves that once we do get our timeframes matched up, we'll have a darn good time hanging out together, I'm sure.
Thing two: The Duke Spirit at the Mercury Lounge Sunday night. Apparently Jena Malone was there, but we didn't see her. However, I wish she'd been the girl standing in front of me (we were far stage right on the second-ish row) instead of the obnoxious, gigantic, and willowy girl-blogger who spent the entire show taking crappy flash pictures that she immediately emailed to her Flickr or her blog or something. And to do so, she kept leaning back into my personal space with absolutely no regard for the fact that oh, I don't know, I might find that just a little bit annoying. Let's just talk about this for a minute -- out of courtesy for the band, not to mention your fellow show-goers, people, learn how to use the exposure settings on your camera and use the flash as little as possible! For cryin' out loud, there are people standing around you also trying to enjoy the show -- plus, hello, you are blinding the band -- nice! Poor Pinkie had to endure an epic rant much like this one as we walked down Ludlow after the show; obviously I'm still not over it! Anyway, we barely survived loathsome openers The Colour, one of the only bands I really, truly hate more than anything. I've had the misfortune of seeing in two different cities, even, nearly two years apart (the last time was with The Like and Phantom Planet at Emo's in Aug. 2004, and they were just as horrible back then...). On!Air!Library offshoot Daylight's For The Birds is a lovely shoegaze project, but they're still suffering the growing pains of new bandhood; I think Pinkie liked them much more than I did. The instrumental part is really fantastic and holy cow, their drummer, Brad Conroy, is amazing. But it seems that new lead singer Amanda Garrett is still holding back a little and feeling out her role (which was formerly occupied by former On!Air!Library! vocalist Claudia Deheza) both vocally and in terms of her stage presence. I have faith, though, that she'll work it out.
As for The Duke Spirit, well. Look, there's something we need to get out of the way; as Texas girls, we absolutely do not throw around comparisons to Janis Joplin lightly. At all. But by the end of the night, both Pinkie and I were in agreement that frontwoman Leila Moss' stage presence and vocals lie somewhere between Axl Rose, Janis Joplin, and Iggy Pop. She taunts and teases the boys in the band, she stomps and shimmies and swings her parti-colored shaggy mane -- all while delivering a note-perfect performance (surely she must have perfect pitch...) -- in black leggings, black cowboy boots, and a little blue t-shirt accessorized with a trendy feather-and-charm gold necklace. But what's most interesting is that if ever the adage "I'm more man than you'll ever be, and more woman than you'll ever get" was applicable to anyone, it's Leila. At one point, as the band blared and chugged and rocked out in a blues-heavy fashion, I was actually worried that she didn't have an instrument to wank on like the other boys. My concern was quickly remedied when she began to manhandle her mic stand in rather uh, suggestive ways. Yes, I said "like the other boys" back there -- her sexuality clearly has a very masculine bent, but she's not butch in the slightest. Oh no. She's totally a sassy girl, but she's also totally just a dude.
The Duke Spirit -- Lion Rip
Janis Joplin -- Tell Mama (live)
Iggy Pop -- Sixteen (live)
In other news, French blog This Woman Coil has some tracks from No Wave pioneers Ut's last, Steve Albini-produced album Griller (1989). Incredible, elegant stuff -- even if it's not as raw as their earlier releases.
Hey, have you noticed that former Spin editor-in-chief Sia Michel, she who made editing a music glossy a glam hipster job, is over at The New York Times now? (Related: Pemberton fired at Spin after three months?) They seem to have her on a rather Spin-ish beat; she had an inauspicous debut in early May with a belaboured capsule review of The Red Hot Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium that contained a rather major error concerning the development of the term 'Californication.' (Plus, we can totally name about oh, a billion bands equally, if not more associated with Southern California than The Beach Boys and RHCP. No Doubt? Guns n' Roses? The Minutemen? Seriously!) Anyway, she also seems to be covering the shows that Kelefa Sanneh won't (or is he out on summer vacation?): Tapes n' Tapes at The Bowery and Joan Jett and The Blackhearts at Southpaw -- and pontificating on pretty Davey Havok and the glamification of AFI. I find this all very odd because Ms. Michel formerly covered hip hop and urban music topics for the Times (and other publications) in a really smart way. Her current pieces make it clear that though she was the managing editor of modern "alternative" rock tastemaker Spin, she's not exactly comfortable being ghettoized into actually covering the modern rock beat for the Times. Naturally, we hope that Ms. Michel's transition back to working at a daily becomes less bumpy over time.
The following songs are offered for no other reason than we heard these Monday night (and for added effect, here's one from Sunday too) at Black & White, where I was danced up by a charming boy (whose name is quite similar to mine and who, as we were leaving, was spinning a skippy copy of the first offering below) in a fashion that rivals the last time I was danced up at that Spinto Band show last summer. He was an awfully good lead and totally super cute.
Supertramp -- The Logical Song
Q Lazzarus -- Goodbye Horses
Nine Inch Nails -- Sin
Oh and, needless to say, the latest big winner of the summer is the new one from The Hidden Cameras, which was posted all over the place while we were gone. Check out tracks at Good Hodgkins (here and here) and Said the Gramophone (which also has a great Puffy Ami Yumi track, too). I don't think I'll ever get over missing The Hidden Cameras at SXSW this year -- after years of wating to see them play live! Well, at least I've finally seen The Duke Spirit now!