I have the "Williamsburg Crud" -- a/k/a some crappy upper respiratory infection brought into my office last week by the creeps who live in Williamsburg. Nothing against them, or Williamsburg, but seriously, that place is like a freakin' kindergarten in more ways than one. The L train may be a swell train, but it's also a petri dish of disease. Sorry, you'd be this bitter too if you had a sharp, hacking cough that made you sound like a sick five-year-old. I'll get over it. Pass me a Ricola.
In the meantime, had a lovely time this weekend in Williamsburg, of all places -- and at the increasingly down-at-heel Annex in the increasingly trite Lower East Side. Pity that lovely faux walnut paneling is gouged like, 12 feet off the floor -- I don't even want to know how the hell that happened! But hey, they have nice barstools. [Pinkie argues that they're merely OK.]
We'd never actually been to the rather storied, infamous Glasslands, that bastion of hip artiness right next to the water and catty corner to the "historical" Domino Refinery monolith thing home to lots of rats who eat sugar. It's spitting distance from Manhattan (provided you don't mind a wade in the East River) and 2/3 a mile from the nearest Brooklyn subway stop. Riiiiiight. A $15 cab ride later (because you can't get there from any other neighborhood in Brooklyn, really -- unless it's one of the adjacent ones) we arrived just in time to catch the Napalm/Dero/Malat set (I totally tried to suggest a more mellifluous name, like Possum Noir -- one of my better suggestions, if I must say so -- but they had to be all Medeski, Martin & Wood about it). Anyway, wow. I mean sure, it's easy to rave about something when it's your friend's side project with his buddies from across the pond, but seriously... It was all kinds of dark and lovely and cinematic -- just what the doctor ordered. And any drummer who attacks his cymbals, as M. Dero did, with a length of chain is totally all right by us. And oooh, Tex Napalm is totally the naughty post-punk little brother of one of our other Berliner faves, Max Raabe (well, it makes sense to us, anyway... BTW, remind us to tell you about seeing Max Raabe und das Palastorchester from a box at Carnegie Hall for Pinkie's birthday with our friend Vonelle...)
So, anyway, catch the ol' Napalm/Dero/Malat train if you're in the PacNW this week:
Thursday, Feb 7 with Garland Ray Project (Sam Bond's, Eugene)
Friday, Feb 8 with The Dead Science & Magick Daggers (Vera Project, Seattle)
Saturday, Feb 9 with Magick Daggers and Garland Ray Project (Rotture, PDX)
Meanwhile, we thoroughly enjoyed Jerry Teel & the Big City Stompers, who did a grand cover of Johnny Cash and June Carter's "Long Legged Guitar Pickin' Man". And we totally got big, giant crushes on Five Dollar Priest before the bass cab blew out, bringing the proceedings to an early close. (Plus, they made us totally nostalgic for Austin's long-lost The Arm.)
Somehow, we managed to miss WOMAN both Saturday and Sunday (sorry, Ryan!) and we totally missed Mark Steiner & The NYC Pikers at the Annex because we're slow old ladies who need to do laundry on Sunday nights (sorry, Peter!), but here's a taste of his slinky song-stylings (with the aforementioned M. Dero on drums & Mr. Napalm on guitar) -- sit through the opening bit, it's worth it:
And now a note from Pinkie... Mere mention of The Arm is cause for me to start babbling about their fizzling out being the biggest disappointment in Austin music in the past several years (other than the mere existence of Sound Team). Ask me to justify it, and I can't, but I'm sort of embarrassed that I never fessed up, in person, about liking them so damned much. Sean Oh-No was sort of Austin's own James Murphy or Mark E. Smith and could (and probably still can) holler like no one's business, even though he's now over at The Onion A.V. Club. Five Dollar Priest took us back to that weird night at 710 when The Arm ran out of steam after an organ bit the dust. Cindy managed to get a word in amidst Ron Ward's hollering to tell me that she kind of missed The Arm, and that the Five Dollar Priest experience (ex-Swans / Sonic Youth status and a clarinetist notwithstanding) was probably the closest thing we were going to get...which led me to mumble something about the wrong city at the wrong time before I stepped back up onto the banquette so I could see the stage again. So NYC and other places, we bring you The Arm. Too little and too late.
The Arm -- Vile Lives
The Arm -- Song Automatic 1-2-3
In other news, another band from the hometown shortlist of awesomeness has a new EP. Said band would be Cry Blood Apache, who--last we saw them--were overly loud and performatively inaccessible, yet doing something that managed to be just shy of amazing despite the involvement of costumes. I'm not sure if Cindy remembers, but it was the night we went to meet Terry at le Chain Drive and check out the DJ booth before we started our residency. At the time, Cry Blood Apache were lauded long and hard by Voxtrot's Ramesh Srivastava, and they delivered on every superlative. It seems they've settled into a more mainstream post-punk groove with the new release, but we expect that the live experience is still pretty raw.
Cry Blood Apache -- The Northern Travelers
For a taste of the spectacle, here's some footage from a warehouse show at SXSW 2007:
Thus concludes today's note from Pinkie. At some point she promises not to talk about bands from Texas, dead projects that haven't had a release in 20 years, fantasies about the Pyramid Club in 1982, Modernism in the Weimar Republic, or the infamous October 1988 issue of Seventeen.
Blessedly, this week is pretty low-key, and hopefully, I can shake this terrible disease I've caught. Wish me luck. However, later this week, we promise to take you through our slush pile, for a new feature known as "You sent it to us, it's your own damn fault."
This post is respectfully dedicated to The Guy From The Middle of the Block who hollered after me Saturday night as we walked down the street, "Damn, I wish I was your daddy." Thank you kindly, but I'm not havin' it.