The Rich Girls Are Weeping: July 2007

26 July 2007

Oh shut up and drive already... So, it's been a while since we sat around the Castle and watched music videos; we've been busy at work and not in the mood to go to shows, so that's what we did this evening, after stopping at the grocery store after work and ooohing and ahhhing over my new box of records shipped direct from End of An Ear in Austin.

When Rihanna's "Shut Up and Drive" came on, Pinkie unceremoniously sneered, "This is a Republica song. A Republica song I don't even like." She paused. "Wait. That implies there's a Republica song I do like -- which, is not in fact true. I was listening to real dance music. Republica is the crystallization of all bad dance music."

Which naturally, prompted me to jump up and bounce around like Republica's hyperactive frontwoman Saffron, screeching "I'm back and ready to goooooooooho! From the rooftops, shout it out, shout it out!" (As previously discussed, dear readers, you know that I know at least the chorus to every terrible pop song ever written.)

Pinkie just looked pained.

"And, well, apparently Melody Maker coined the terrible horrible loathsome term "elecronica" to describe their music." I pointed out, after settling back on the sofa, post-dance break. "Thanks, Wikipedia."

"What about the New Electronica label?" she asked, incredulous.

"Oh, you would bring that up! I have no idea...!"

After some frustrated Googling, I discovered that the first New Electronica release came out in 1993; a full year before that alleged Melody Maker piece. Experimental music wins! Again. Yes, kids -- occasionally, the Wikipedia is totally wrong... Perhaps, more accurately, it was when the term was pulled up into the mainstream, which seems more likely.

[aside: david toop + robert christgau = awesome. we luv ocean of sound.]

But, anyway, back to Rihanna: there's echoes of the good in "Shut Up and Drive" too -- we're pretty sure there's more than a hint of Prince's "Little Red Corvette." You know. Because um, these are not songs about cars. Duh.

Just for kicks and giggles, I thought about posting Njoi's RAVE ANTHEM (tm) uh, "Anthem," featuring vocals from the lovely Saffron, but I realized that we really don't need to relive the Manchester warehouse scene ca. 1991. Or the 2006 remixes either. Srsly. You're welcome.


A few other items:

The always awesome Bellmer Dolls are opening for Grinderman in San Francisco (they're thankfully playing a few dates sans The White Stripes, but sadly, not here); that show's sold out, but Our Darling Dolls are playing Saturday night, too, at the ethereally lovely Rykarda Parasol's The Hive Art Space. If you go, do please tell them the Rich Girls sent you.

The Bellmer Dolls -- Push! Push!

Upcoming NYC shows of note: ...Trail of Dead & the amazing Shock Cinema @ Luna Lounge, August 2; The Holy Kiss @ Cake Shop, August 3 (They're also playing Midway on Ave. B on the 2nd).

...The big question remains, though -- To Suicide or not tonight at South Street Seaport? Generally, I loathe reunited bands, but this might be worth making an exception for.


Didn't you totally DEMAND these for your hot weekend doings? I thought I heard you asking...?

Interpol -- The Heinrich Maneuver (Paul Epworth Phones Remix) [OMG, we can dance to it now -- thanks Epworth!] [myspace] [remixer]

Cold War Kids -- Hang Me Up To Dry (Ingo Star Cruiser Remix) [Golly! Love those handclaps! I know it's deeply uncool to like this band, but I still think this song is great.] [myspace] [remixer]

Sly Hats -- Someone To Dress Up For [if you missed the Sly Hats show in Brooklyn last night, they'll be back at Union Hall on the 30th; the soft-spoken Aussie darling is currently touring the eastern seaboard, check myspace for info]

Let's Wrestle! -- Song For Abba Tribute Band [I'm slated to appear on next week's episode of Blog Fresh Radio (Monday), wherein I pontificate ineloquently on the greatness of this song] [myspace]

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20 July 2007

(photo by Scott Irvine)

I sat down with Calla in Greenpoint Wednesday afternoon at the cavernous (but blessedly cool) Coco66, after their last rehearsal before heading out for a few weeks on the road with Interpol. I was a little late due to some train delays -- but as a result, I got to watch bassist Pete Gannon handily beat soft-spoken frontman Aurelio Valle in a short rack of pool while Austin-based drummer Wayne MacGruder filled me in on all the latest news from my old hometown. (Pete and Aurelio are fellow Texas-to-Brooklyn expats, too, which always makes conversation a little easier!)

When we eventually sat down with my digital recorder, our conversation was practically drowned out in the big echo-filled room by a chatty multi-racial and multi-generational neighborhood pool league, so my plans to post an audio interview clip are kind of bunk. However, we had a lovely chat -- and discussed everything from plans for the sixth Calla record (about which the official word seems to be: if it happens, it happens), film editing, and the benefits of touring with their old friends Interpol.

"Touring can be really grueling -- so touring with friends, with people you've known a long time, makes it better, " Aurelio said with a smile. "The more, the merrier."

"It's nice, too, because the pressure's off us, even though we're playing bigger venues. We can just come and the play music, which is ideal," Pete added. "Even if only 10% of the crowd is listening."

He also pointed out that in light of Interpol's new, broader sound on Our Love To Admire, the two bands are a good match sonically on this tour, much in the same way the sharp, angular songs they both were making a few years back complimented each other well on their previous tour together, back in 2003. And it doesn't hurt that both bands manage to simultaneously exude a cool professionalism, functioning like well-timed machines, and a restrained passion -- two factors that are sometimes a turn-off for the rough and tumble indie rockers who prefer a little more 'authenticity' in a performance.

Calla's latest, Strength In Numbers (released in February of this year), is an unpretentious and carefully-crafted document of the band's evolution over the past few years. They formed out of the remains of Denton, TX-based experimental project the Factory Press, moved to Brooklyn (and successively larger labels as well, ending up at their current home, Beggar's Banquet, in 2003). Over the years, Calla has built a steadfast following with fans who like their rock on the epic side: hushed, darkly-tinged vocals winding through labyrinthine lyrics, propulsive rhythm sections and textured guitar bits. Strength In Numbers melds the band's trademark soundscapes with more traditional rock tropes, a move Aurelio said was definitely a conscious decision on their part when they recorded the album almost a year ago after a madcap summer playing the big European summer festivals. (Including one in Portugal where Calla played for a crowd of over 10,000 -- which they admitted was a little weird after playing the mid-sized rooms of the American indie rock circuit. "You get used to it, though," Pete interjected. "Once you realize how far they all are from the stage.")

Calla's late summer jaunt kicked off last night in Rochester, NY and they play Atlantic City tonight; that show is sold out, as are many Calla plays a few dates sans the 'pol along the route -- check their site for details. If you noticed that there's a distinct lack of NYC dates -- don't fret -- they will return to Brooklyn August 11 at Studio B with Castanets and Other Passengers.

Calla -- Bronson
Calla -- Sanctify


Last Thursday, we battled a soggy evening to take in what must have been one of the most fun shows of the year to date: Mark Ronson's first stateside gig with his touring band. Though the esteemed Ms. Amy Winehouse wasn't in attendance, more than a few of the other great contributors to his sophomore album, Version, were. Ronson and his "incredible fucking band" were joined by a genre-hopping array of guests, including charismatic rapper Wale, the perpetually perky Santogold (who opened with a great live dancehall set), the smooth-voiced (and very handsome) Kenna, the golden-throated (and totally adorable) Daniel Merriweather, and doofy Phantom Planet frontman Alex Greenwald, who was a dead-ringer for Damon Albarn, ca. 1992 -- down to the day-glo green whistle around his neck. The real highlight of the evening came from the latter -- a semi-impromptu version of "California" that inspired a number of audience members to gleefully hoist their lighters in the air, to the delight of Messrs. Ronson and Greenwald.

I admit, we weren't quite sure what to expect going into this gig, and to say that it totally blew our minds as we danced and danced and danced our asses off down on the floor, is a complete understatement. By the end of the night, we were exhausted and sweaty and happy -- but we couldn't help by make a few less-than-charitable comments amongst ourselves about the stodgier audience members who bolted when it became clear that Ronson's hip hop numbers were going to fill the first half of the set, or those in the balcony who were clearly confused when confronted with the vibrant and joyful reality of Ronson's perfect retro hi-fi production in the flesh.

Mark Ronson with Amy Winehouse -- Valerie


Friday night in NYC offers two great free events: Neko Case and Eric Bachmann (late of Archers of Loaf) play the Central Park SummerStage series and our neighbors down the next subway stop, The Dirty Projectors, bring their rendition of Black Flag's Damaged uptown to the Whitney Museum. Get there early if you're planning to attend either event!

The Dirty Projectors -- No More

Other highlights of the evening include the return of mashup dance party Bootie -- this time the SF crew is taking over Luke and Leroy; frisky San Franciscan the Baron Von Luxxury plays a live set Saturday at Union Hall's Siren Fest Afterparty with Scissors for Lefty and Sad Tropics.


Our final word is on the Shearwater appearance two weeks back -- rained out of Castle Clinton, the show went on at Pace University downtown, in the same theater where "Inside the Actor's Studio" is filmed. This of course led to the inevitable James Lipton jokes; lead singer/banjo player/pianist Jonathan Meiburg asked drummer and multi-percussionist Thor Harris (in somber Lipton tones): "What's your favorite curse word?" but then retracted the request when he remembered that his parents were in the audience.

It was a special treat to see one of our favorite bands in such a lovely space -- the PA was clean, the grand piano was perfectly tuned, and the crowd all attentive and appreciative. Yes, we often find ourselves crammed into tight crowds of dancing hipsters, but sometimes it's truly lovely to spend the evening seated, listening to lovely music made by dear, dear friends. Shearwater's done touring for the summer, but they are heading back into the studio to begin recording their follow-up to 2006-7's acclaimed Palo Santo. As a matter of fact, we were treated to three new songs in the set, all of which are shaping up very nicely indeed.

Shearwater -- Red Sea, Black Sea


IN HIGH DEMAND, FOR YOUR WEEKEND DOINGS, an array of remixes & covers:

Bang Gang -- It's Alright (62 French Girls Can't Be Wrong remix) [myspace] [remixer]

Roisin Murphy -- Overpowered (Kris Menace remix) [myspace] [remixer]

Sarah Nixey -- The Black Hit Of Space (The Magus Projection) [myspace] [remixer]

Turbo Crystal -- French Girl (Escort remix) [myspace] [remixers]

Yazoo (Yaz) -- Don't Go (Bailey and Rossko remix) [remixers]

Shout Out Louds -- Tonight I Have To Leave It (Kleerup Remix) [myspace] [remixer]

Rihanna -- Umbrella (Vandalism remix) [myspace] [remixer]

Jeremy Warmsley -- Girl Inform Me (Shins cover) [myspace]

Jellybean! -- Ignition (Remix) (R. Kelly cover) [myspace]

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11 July 2007

(photo by Sean McCabe)

Dear, dear persistent Google searchers, I'm here to help you -- it's Mates of State in that AT&T Wireless commercial (it's not for Verizon -- though I'm sure AT&T's ad agency might be interested to hear about the brand confusion).

The featured song is "For The Actor" off their latest on Barsuk, Bring It Back.

Bonus, an old fave: Mates of State -- Ha Ha 0ff Team Boo (Polyvinyl)

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10 July 2007

Thanks to d. & Jeff, all the bands, and the staff of Union Hall -- the Neon Lights show Saturday was a great time, and we look forward to entertaining you with our weird records again sometime. (We've shared some of the good bits below, but some things we only have on vinyl...)

Neon Lights @ Union Hall 7/7/07

Teresa Stratas -- Yukali // Marlene Dietrich -- Laziest Gal in Town // Edith Piaf -- Milord // Goldfrapp -- Boys Will Be Boys // Sparks -- Ladies // Sparks -- Moustache // Depeche Mode -- Flexible // Siouxsie and the Banshees -- Burn Up

Japan -- Life in Tokyo // Interpol -- The Heinrich Maneuver // Sheila E. -- Glamorous Life // Duran Duran -- Fame // David Bowie -- Let's Dance // Wire -- The Queen of Um and The King of Ur

10,000 Maniacs -- Scorpio Rising
// Brian Eno -- King's Lead Hat // Berlin -- No More Words // Kid Creole -- Annie I'm Not Your Daddy /
/ James White and the Blacks -- Contort Yourself // Liquid Liquid -- Optimo // LCD Soundsystem -- Jump Into the Fire // Celebration -- War

The Rubettes -- Sugar Baby Love // Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse -- Valerie // Supremes -- Back In My Arms Again // Chi-Lites -- Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So) // Chiffons -- One Fine Day // Bette Midler -- Chapel of Love // Laura Nyro and Labelle -- Jimmy Mack // Camera Obscura -- If Looks Could Kill // Sandie Shaw -- Jeane // Voxtrot -- Stephen //Orange Juice -- Rip It Up (The Intermediate Mix)

Li'l Mama - Lipgloss // Echo and the Bunnymen -- Bedbugs and Ballyhoo // The Last Night -- Some Sensation // Spoon - The Underdog // Wire -- Serious of Snakes // Ultravox -- Dancing (With Tears In My Eyes) // Sparks -- Angst In My Pants //
Cocteau Twins -- Donimo


Meanwhile, we hear those Interpol guys and some band called ... Spoon, I think, have records out today? (Haha.) Seriously, we'll have reviews up tonight later this week. That being said, we won't be at the free Spoon show at Battery Park on Wednesday (wotcha -- it'll be at Stuyvesant High in case of rain!), nor at the Interpol cd release "party" at Sweet and Vicious either. No, gentle readers, we will be at the very sold-out Mark Ronson show at the Highline Ballroom. His new album Version, full of great guest appearances (Amy Winehouse! Lily Allen! Robbie Williams! Kenna! That guy from Maximo Park!), is out today too.

Stream: Interpol, Our Love to Admire
Stream: Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Stream: Mark Ronson: Version


I keep forgetting to post about this; now's a good a time as any! The Speigeltent is back for the summer in NYC, and there's a few shows that we're really excited about -- including the Shout Out Louds, Ute Lemper (!!!!), and Weimar New York -- I'm sure none of these selections surprises our regular readers. The rest of the schedule sounds great (except, maybe, the aberrance of our very least favorite band in NYC, O'Death) -- Lady Sov's come and gone, but the Spiegeltent will be around thru August.

7/07: Lady Sovereign
7/16: Shout Out Louds
7/17: Weimar NY: The Spiegel Sessions
7/19: Shout Out Louds
7/24: DeVotchKa
7/25: DeVotchKa
7/31: Ute Lemper: ‘Voyages’
8/07: Lila Downs
8/08: Lila Downs
8/13: Badly Drawn Boy
8/14: Badly Drawn Boy
8/21: José González
8/28: Weimar NY: The Spiegel Sessions
8/26: O’Death
9/05: An Albatross
9/11: Penny Arcade’s “Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!”
9/18: Weimar NY: The Spiegel Sessions
9/22: Dan Zanes and Friends: Sea Music!

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05 July 2007

(photo courtesy of ... Kathryn Yu. Oh, you knew that!)

Hey, you probably heard this already, but the Shearwater show that was supposed to be at Castle Clinton tonight has been relocated due to inclement weather.

The official word is as follows:
Due to the threat of inclement weather, tonight's Music at Castle Clinton show featuring Shearwater has been moved indoors to The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, Spruce Street entrance.

The event will start at its regularly scheduled time of 7PM, but due to indoor capacity restrictions, tickets are limited and will be distributed on a first come-first served bases starting at 5PM at the Schimmel Theater Box Office. Doors open at 6PM.

We deeply regret that mother nature has forced us indoors, but we are thrilled to tell you that the show will go on!

As always, for a complete and last-minute updates on all things River to River, make sure you check out
So, see you there, then? Right.


Speaking of upcoming gigs, we would be remiss if we didn't remind you about our dj appearance this Saturday @ Union Hall as part of Neon Lights' semi-Austintastic bill featuring Ola Podrida, Via Audio, Tacks, the Boy Disaster, and Botany Bay. There's advance tickets, even. And, uh, we got some new Japan and Sparks records just for the occasion (well, new to us anyway -- thanks, Cake Shop!). But requests have already been logged for "Lipgloss," so... it will be an interesting time, as always! (I designed that poster, btw. I'm so available for hire if you need a pretty event flyer!)



Interpol -- Mammoth (Instrumental)
. Needless to say, this is for all my masher-uppers out there. Make us something beautiful? Dig the chiming Television-esque guitars (also: spot the Santana!) and the hot disco octaves (boing-boing-boing!) -- and just enjoy the depth of the mix. (Oh, and the bells!) See, we told you it sounded great... Oh, btw -- you didn't get this from us. Right? Right. (site)

Tomoyasu Hotei -- BATTLE WITHOUT HONOR OR HUMANITY (MTV Unplugged version). Better known as that freakin' kickass theme from Kill Bill. I love this track wholly and unapologetically -- Tomoyasu Hotei is a genius. I would like this to be playing as I walk to work everyday, dodging the dogs of Chelsea and the weird homeless dudes and the workmen precariously balanced on scaffoldings above me. It's a battle, I tell ya. (site)

Seelenluft -- Horse With No Name (DJ Hell Remix). This is a first -- an indirect request. I found this the other day and really dug it, and then on routine analysis of our Google stats, I discovered someone looking for it that ended up here. So, anonymous Googler, this one's for you. (I do my best to help you kids out, I do. Don't ever say I didn't do anything for you.) This is a nice rework of the America original into a chilly, pingy dancefloor anthem -- watch out for that breakdown with strings. Relatedly, I stand continually in awe of the current crop of Eurodancekids' obsession with the best and worst of American popular music. It's like, there's no prejudgment -- just a need for the following critera: big, earwormy hooks and ridiculous lyrics. BINGO -- "Horse With No Name." (site) (remixer)

Tilly and the Wall -- Sing Songs Along (Hot Chip Remix). Tilly and the Wall are awesome. Mock me if you must -- but the unmitigated joy pleases me to no end. And who better to give a squelchy, punchy remix treatment to this clackety hymn of joy -- 0ne of my faves from their 2005 winner Bottoms of Barrels? Hot Chip, of course. Oh, hey, can you wake me up when people stop knocking off Animal Collective and start ripping off Tilly and the Wall instead? OKTHX. (site) (remixer)

The Whip -- Dive Bomb (Crystal Castles Remix). In a perfect world, freestyle and hi-nrg and classic Moroder-y Italodisco NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER went out of style. And in this perfect world, tracks like this remix are SUPERHITS adored by everyone. (MySpace) (remixer)

The Black Ghosts -- Some Way Through This (Plastician & Skream Remix). I think this is one of the best tracks I've heard in months. No lie. I don't even know how to describe it -- goth R&B, maybe? Time to invent a new vernacular for hip-hop beats + heavy and dank blue-eyed soul. (MySpace) (remixer)

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