Is this thing on or what?!?!? Hello! OMG, we're back. I kind of swore up and down (and UP AND DOWN) for months that I wouldn't wouldn't wouldn't resuscitate this project, yet here we are.
We have some catching up to do, but I think that would just be boring, really. I mean, did anything good come out in the last 6 months? Oh, I'm kidding, I'm sure something did. You should tell us what you're hot for, yeah?
First off, look! We actually rated a voice in the Idolator poll this year (ok, I filled out the ballot, but Pinkie helped!) -- I couldn't have been more thrilled. And, it's 2007 in a nutshell, more or less -- can we reiterate how much we love James Murphy AND T-Pain? The only thing that would be better is if they would actually work together. Ha!
In the meantime, I have to admit I got the itch to write about thrilling new music again after seeing blogger favorite Bon Iver open for Elvis Perkins back in early December. Initially, I'd avoided Bon Iver like the plague -- nothing like the deafening clamor of CMJ buzz to kill any nascent interest one might have in a band. However, once I actually stopped to listen (ok, ok -- yeah, it was the press release from Jagjaguwar that finally hooked me, I'll confess), I was floored.
And the live experience of one-man band of Justin Vernon, hunting cabin popster? It's is a joy to behold and hear -- he's got an arsenal of pretty instruments and looping processors and a pretty voice to go with. On record, his vocals are haunting, distant -- but in person it's clear that Mr. Vernon is the bizarre musical offspring of Joni Mitchell and Joe Cocker, with a liberal dash of Warren Defever and greasy side order of Benjamin Smoke. The set left me giddy and weak in the knees, though I wasn't quite as tongue-tied as the idiot blogger who declared to Mr. Vernon that For Emma, Forever Ago was "Easily in my top six records of the year!" (People: NOT TOP TEN. OR TOP FIVE. TOP SIX. Really, now!) No, let's instead say that Mr. Vernon has made one of the best records of the new year -- it's getting a splashy re-release in February on Jagjaguwar -- really, we can't express how strongly we believe that it's totally worth your time to spend a watery, grey winter afternoon with this one.
His Name is Alive -- No Hiding Place Down Her
The Opal Fox Quartet -- Frail Body
Bon Iver -- Skinny Love
Bon Iver -- Lump Sum
So, after spending November recovering from our non-bloody appearance at the Bellmer Dolls' video shoot (more on that when they actually release it to the public), a December full of travel (don't ask how I ended in Orlando for 3 hours, I just did!) and a January full of work (I edited over 1,000 pages for three books and Pinkie saved the world approx. 16 times), we're busting full-on into 2008 a month late with activity levels not witnessed in ages and ages.
We sadly skipped Blacklist opening for The Teenagers and the inaugural date of Andi & Jen's new monthly Corduroy Pop Dance Party at Cake Shop, to catch Joanna Newsom & band with the Brooklyn Philharmonic at the BAM. Now, since Pinkie'd had such a great time seeing Antony (and assorted Johnsons) perform with the BP last year, I was expecting something transcendent -- but instead just came away with a really, really bad taste in my mouth. Newsom & Co. were dazzling; but the orchestra was limp, faint and practically toneless. And the oboeist's contempt for the proceedings was unprofessional and distracting, as she sat moping, chin in hand, turned off by either Newsom's performance or Van Dyke Parks' oboe-less orchestrations -- or both. The best part was when she matter-of-factly tooted her few notes, packed up her instrument and closed her score in the middle of a song. Note to orchestra: when you're on a stage, we can see you. That being said, big ups to the trumpet player for totally rocking out. Dude, you rule. Thank goodness that torture only lasted a few songs; the general climate of the performance improved greatly after the orchestra vacated the stage and Ms. Newsom donned a too-short hot pink velvet dress.
As for the rest of the weekend? Well, we'll have to miss Ola Podrida at Union Hall because we simply must catch our favorite tailor, moonlighting Bellmer Doll and all-around righteous dude Anthony S. Malat's shows with pals Tex Napalm and Dimi Dero at Glasslands on Saturday. Also on the bill, Five Dollar Priest, Jerry Teel & the Big City Stompers, WOMAN, and the ubiquitous Jim Sclavunos on selector duties (pick a link...we can't decide on one). The party continues Sunday night at The Annex on the early side (7:30!) with a slightly different bill (Mark Steiner and the NYC Pikers, Napalm/Dero/Malat, Jerry Teel & the Big City Stompers, WOMAN) -- happy birthday, Ryan!
So, we're back. We're planning some regular features and lots of fun things in the next few months, but we'll sign off for now and respectfully dedicate this entry to the Bad Taste Bear crossing Fulton this evening, headphones leaking Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl." Sir, this one's for you.