The Rich Girls Are Weeping: March 2008

23 March 2008

(photo courtesy of iandavid)

Well, sorry we didn't get to the post-apocalyptic playlist last week; I'll save that for another time -- promise.

What to say about The Mountain Goats show at Webster Hall? I'll admit, it was weird. It's always kind of weird to see your friends play that venue; its so huge, and hey, remember that time you saw them with 30 other people in a tiny room a million years ago? (It's an old story around here...) But it was an amazing show nonetheless; it was the first time I'd seen them play with drummer John Jon Wurster, who's amazing. And, though reports varied about the sound quality, it sounded pretty damn good on the balcony level. And I'm a little bummed that I didn't think to swing by the merch table and pick up one of the new hoodies.

And we must sincerely thank Mr. Darnielle for playing "Have to Explode" (off sentimental fave Tallahassee) during the 'solo' bit of the set -- I think that's one of my very favorite songs in the entire tMG ouevre. Also, we simply must let you know that Peter Hughes may indeed have (finally!!) ascended to the post of Best-Dressed Bassist in Indie Rock, snatching that coveted post from the grabby hands of Carlos Dengler. (Fashion-forward cardigans and sharp topcoats are rad, but NOTHING trumps Etro.)

We send our very best wishes to Mr. Darnielle & co., and hope that he's feeling better soon; illness recently forced the band to cancel the upcoming Australian/NZ leg of their spring tour.

The Mountain Goats -- Have To Explode

In the meantime, I can't help but want to share this with you: YouTube videos of Mountain Goats covers. Everyone from Ben Gibbard to teenage girls in Europe. Amazing stuff.

(photo courtesy of ryan muir)

As for The Gutter Twins -- it was sublime. We still don't have words -- especially when it comes to discussing, say, that bit of "Amazing Grace" in the midst of an 8-song (or thereabouts) encore. We'll just let Dinah Washington tell you about our general feelings.

(That being said, those guys are touring like gangbusters, and if they're headed your way, you really need to go -- I'm looking at you specifically, Europe -- if you're in need of some soul saving at the bottom of a grim, hazy, red-lit oubliette. Or something like that.)

Dinah Washington -- Fat Daddy


One of the best things that happened at this one-two punch of shows at Webster Hall this week was the chance to see two bands that were sorta on our radar who totally blew us away in person.

The Moaners, who opened for the Mountain Goats, are some fine ladies who play some very fine blues music. We're always glad to see women who don't play like "girls" (sorry, really, it happens); and this guitar-and-drums duo pack a vicious wallop. (Also, don't listen to anyone who compares them to The White Stripes; think early, early Quasi instead.)

That being said, I have to take someone to task here: neither the band nor their label, Yep Roc, provide a sample mp3; however, you can stream their new album, Blackwing Yalobusha, at the Yep Roc site. So, go buy the album, people, okay? Because Melissa and Laura seem the type who would not appreciate you engaging in piracy.

As for Great Northern, they are consumate professionals -- L.A. scene veterans whose lush, epic sound brings to mind a bizarre hybrid of Fiona Apple, Medicine, and Slowdive. Early demos suggested a more twinkly L.A. powerpop sound (by way of the band's associations with Earlimart and Grandaddy), but the band's definitely decided that a more dark and mysterious sound is the way to go live -- or maybe it's just touring with the Gutter Twins that's brought out their wicked side.

This means, unfortunately, that any of the recordings out there, especially from their debut Trading Twilight for Daylight, frankly don't do Great Northern justice. It's hard to say that because they do have so much promise live. That being said, I very strongly believe that they need to possibly license the hell out of the following song and embed it into the brains of teenage girls, who, I believe, would totally eat it up.

Great Northern -- Telling Lies


We're WAY busy this week; we've got a hastily-scheduled Kindling & Tinder photoshoot and two dj gigs -- Wednesday we'll be curating the music selections at Sidecar Bar in Park Slope at the second installation of the Brooklyn Based Cocktail Club. We'll be bringing the Mexican music to go with the tequila theme, so come by between 6:30 and 9pm and say hello.

And Thursday we're the guest djs at Corduroy, the new monthly at Cakeshop. Also on the bill are the inimitable DJ Jennifer and the perky pop of The Fourelles. Again, stop by and say hello!

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18 March 2008

Hello, dear readers. We've got a mad week ahead, what with The Mountain Goats tonight at Webster Hall and The Gutter Twins on Wednesday, also at NYC's moldiest venue. (n.b. The Mountain Goats play Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday, btw) You should come too, yeah?

Have fun recovering from SXSW; we'll see you later this week, wherein we will post our post-apocalyptic playlist (it's a real bruiser), tell you about our misadventures at the Virgin Megastore and exhort you to go see The Vanity Set this weekend (Saturday 3/22 at Supreme Trading and Sunday 3/23 at the Annex). Also, we solemnly promise to stop bitching about the mediocrity of Southby coverage in the mainstream media. Maybe.

The Mountain Goats -- Lovecraft in Brooklyn (repost)
The Gutter Twins -- I Was in Love With You

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14 March 2008

Andi and Duckie are silently judging you.

Believe me, the above image will make sense. In a minute.

This is just a brief post. I hope that everyone @ SXSW is having a good time; we're looking forward to seeing What Made Milwaukee Famous and Louis XIV at Irving Plaza (or Filmore East, or whatever they're calling it these days...) tonight.

It seems like outside of the SXSW action, all anyone was really talking about this week was Vampire Weekend -- be it their Saturday Night Live appearance, or the fact that they seem to be everywhere at SXSW this year.

Now, I know it's become terribly passe to criticize Vampire Weekend or froth at the mouth about them or what have you, but I must relate the following story to you.

One of my co-workers is a bit older than me and is totally adorable because she only keeps up with the new music via what she sees on TV. She loves Ghostland Observatory and Bloc Party because she saw them on Austin City Limits. But she was a hardcore fangirl back in the day -- we had a great conversation about Urge Overkill, of all things, a few weeks ago. Anyway, yesterday afternoon she ambled over to my desk and asked, "So, what do you think of this Vampire Weekend band?"

"Well, I honestly don't like them," I said -- remembering with a shudder when The L Magazine pegged them as a "band to watch" early last year and how I kind of threw up in my mouth a little as my eyes first met the term "Upper West Side Soweto," and how that pretty much made me want to give up writing about music altogether.

"Oh good!" she sighed. "I kept hearing about how great they were, and when I saw them on Saturday Night Live, all I could think was: If Blaine and Steff started a band, it would sound just like this."

By Blaine and Steff, dear readers, she meant Andrew McCarthy and James Spader's characters, respectively, in the 80's teen angst epic Pretty in Pink.

"Yes," I said. "After Andi and Blaine broke up, and Andi got together with Duckie [which is how it should have turned out in the first place], Blaine starts a band with Steff in a fruitless attempt to win her back!" (n.b. Amusingly, when I related this story to Pinkie later that day, she totally followed my co-worker's imaginings to the same logical conclusion.)

"Exactly. And that band is totally Vampire Weekend."

So, there you have it kids. When you wonder why us crabby old bloggers hate Vampire Weekend -- it's not really because of the inappropriate appropriation of South African pop by tacky upper middle class white kids who have no sense of musical history. Rather, it's because they remind us of the Blaines and the Steffs of the world. [A note from Pinkie: Another reason the Soweto reference is completely offensive is that those of us who are cranky and jaded enough to make the Blaine & Steff connection are also old enough to remember Apartheid while it was happening. Somehow Vampire Weekend's namecheck doesn't ring with the same passion as Peter Gabriel's homage to Stephen Biko.]

The archetypes of high school society presented in Pretty in Pink are slightly quaint relics now. It's no longer taboo to make your own clothes, dress differently, hound dark rock clubs on a school night -- it's practically de rigeur. And from the outside, it seems like for many teenagers and early 20-somethings, faceless interactions through the Internet and other new technologes, as well as the economic opulence of the past 10 years or so, have completely wiped hardcore class distinctions that were the foundation of youth culture in the 80's and 90's.

So yeah, cut us some slack. Those Vampire Weekend songs are p(r)eppy and hollow and catchy -- and they're totally the Tapes 'n Tapes of 2007-8 (on the same label, even!) -- good for them. But frankly, we're still hanging out with the music nerds and the weirdos and the burnouts and the drama fags and other assorted high school untouchables. And we'd much rather listen to the music they're making now.

Just for you, some selections from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack.

The Smiths -- Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
The Psychedelic Furs -- Pretty In Pink
Echo and the Bunnymen -- Bring On The Dancing Horses
Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark -- If You Leave

Bonus vid, New Order -- Shellshock

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10 March 2008

(photo credit: Chrissy Lush)

What can you say about seeing Nick Cave? Even a truncated, kind of under-rehearsed set?

It was fucking awesome.

Especially now that we're uh, grown-up ladies. Because, although we've been fans since high school, or perhaps earlier -- we can't quite agree on that point -- we'd never seen Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds play live.

(We imagine we both probably saw the video for "The Mercy Seat" and thought: He's pretty, but this is kinda scary...)

But you know, it all made sense when it came down to parsing out preferences a few years down the road. Suddenly, that brand of grown-up male sexuality wasn't so intimidating. It was ... hot.

And even though Nick Cave is kind of ridiculous and balding and still flails about in a gawky way (but never, I would say, a parody of himself ... or Neil Diamond -- at least not too badly), we were just as uh, moved as when we were teenage girls.

Gentlemen, I warn you. He's set that bar pretty high. Keep tryin', y'all. And for those of you just a centimeter from grasping it full in hand, we salute you. Because you're awesome.

And to the pretty, pretty boy in the crowd with that spectac mohawk/lazy eye configuration: Bless you, my child -- keep fighting the good fight. This one's for you:

Other PLUG Award highlights: St. Vincent was also pretty incredible and The Forms aren't quite ready to play venues as big as Terminal Five. Speaking of -- the last time we saw White Denim was at Chain Drive, so seeing them in a venue that large was just weird. And hey, I finally got to see Dizzee Rascal, and probably will never see him again. Not surprisingly, Jose Gonzales was kind of a yawner. Matt LeMay, we saw yr. hair, but not the rest of you -- do you need a Nick Cave primer now, or have you absorbed the entire ouevre since Thursday? Oh and! Sorry Bryce, I'm totally night blind and totally thought you were Aaron...


06 March 2008

(photo credit: Cambria Harkey; location: End of an Ear, our favorite wrecka sto in THE WHOLE WORLD.)

Oh, my bad! Yesterday we were so uh, excited by sexy old bastards that we forgot to tell you that our Austin homeboys, What Made Milwaukee Famous, have a new album out, too! And a sassy video with fencing (and Farmer in an eyepatch!) for the first single, "Sultan." And Lance Armstrong. We're not a fan of the latter, but hey -- they share management, so.

Here's some old, old tracks from the pre-Barsuk version of Trying To Never Catch Up -- the one gift that my awful ex-boyfriend bought me (immediately after I saw the band play for the first time, sometime in 2002) that I actually still have. And remind me to tell you why I have a vintage seal fur coat sometime, instead of those damn William T. Vollman books he bought me. Anyway, my fave is "Hellodrama;" Pinkie prefers "Around the Gills," a track that didn't make it on to the Barsuk version of the album.

What Made Milwaukee Famous -- Hellodrama
What Made Milwaukee Famous -- Around the Gills

And here's a sample track from the new album, What Doesn't Kill Us.

What Made Milwaukee Famous -- Resistance St.

This is special shout-out to Joanna, awesome cookbook author and new mommy, who introduced me to Milwaukee initially; she was also with us the first time Pinkie saw the band, at Emo's Free Week 2005 with The Chapters and This Microwave World. Wow, things sure have changed since then. Damn.

WWMF are on tour this spring with Louis XIV -- check 'em out when they come your way, they're great live. As proof -- here's some highlights from WMMF's legendary "Austin City Limits" appearance, wherein they totally destroyed headliners Franz Ferdinand.

What Made Milwaukee Famous, Austin City Limits, Video Highlights

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Hey! We're hipster douchebags! And this guy said so. (Quel Chicago!) Pinkie's telling me that I am a hipster, and well, I guess it really is the douchebag part I take issue with, actually. I bet he just had to say something shitty because we like Eno. Anyway, too bad there's no comments in the Electrical Audio LOLbini thread from Steve himself. Oh, and. I didn't use proper LOLgrammar because hello, it's Steve Albini! Like he'd ever use imperfect grammar! Duh.

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05 March 2008

(i have used my photoshop skillz for EV1L!!!!!1!!!!! pinkie found the putrescent brushes!)

So, while everyone plotting their adventures in Austin (where?) and getting tied up in that SXSW nonsense, we are content to stay here in NYC and sit around and listen to the latest releases from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and The Gutter Twins -- Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! and Saturnalia, respectively.

For those of you who missed the Valentine's Day pr blitz, The Gutter Twins are the inimitable and formidable Greg Dulli (late of The Afghan Whigs) and Mark Lanegan (ex-Screaming Trees). Though Lanegan appeared on all the Twilight Singers albums (Dulli's sorta solo project from 2000-2007), he started appearing as a backup singer on TS tours a few years ago; we flipped out when we saw them at The Parish in the fall of 2006 -- what a sight to behold! And not bad for the ears, either.

Apparently, they so enjoyed the experience of working together that they started recording an album in 2003, ditched the Twilight Singers mantle and reemerged as The Gutter Twins. The album so long in the making, Saturnalia, was released by Sub Pop yesterday. First off, put your 90's prejudices behind you -- really, if anyone should have survived the Grunge shitstorm, it's Dulli and Lanegan. They never quite fit the paradigm anyway, producing music on the fringes of fame in the mid-90's. And, it's true, Saturnalia flirts with the churning, grinding sound that made the Afghan Whigs so divine -- but it's certainly not a detriment. (Especially on panty peeler "God's Children," and album closer "Front Street" is ripped right from the old Whigs' epic blues playbook.)

And holy buckets, did we mention Mark Lanegan's voice yet? (You remember his voice? Right? Tar-lined gravel pit, 40 feet deep?) Not that Dulli's a slouch in this department -- just a mention of his impromptu cover of "I'm On Fire" at the aforementioned Twilight Singers show is enough to send us into paroxysms of teenage girl giggles and wise old lady winks.

And, of course, it doesn't help our current lovelorn states that Saturnalia is full of real heartbreakers and longing. Pinkie advises not listening to it anywhere in public if Dulli/Lanegan vocals might make you weak in the knees.

We missed The Gutter Twins' now kind of mythic Valentine's Day gig at Bowery; you can catch them, though, on tour now through the US and Europe through May 4. They'll be back in NYC on March 19th at Webster Hall.

Your special bonus, the video for the Afghan Whigs' "Gentlemen"

And here's a piece of "Front Street" live in London a few days ago.

As an interlude, I was reminded that once upon a time, we called Devastations something along the lines of Nick Cave with a dash of Afghan Whigs. (No, really. I did.) They also kind of sounded like The National, occasionally. Now they're like. Um. Well, let's just say that on their new one, Yes, U, they've figured out how to sound like ... themselves. I know we recommended this last week, but we must bring it up again, mostly as a segue into the Nick Cave section of this entry.

Devastations -- Rosa
Devastations -- Mistakes

Yr. next bonus video. Devastations' "Take You Home"

Right. So, we kind of have this new unofficial rule about not listening to albums before release dates. You'll notice that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' latest, Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, was out Monday in the UK, and won't be out here until April sometime. Really, we love Mute and all, but separate release dates in this day and age seem kind of silly. Therefore, we're discussing this one, as we did with the new Goldfrapp, after the UK release. Because we want to.

We must also mention that as much as we lurve Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, we will NOT be going to see them play what is sure to be a truncated, assy set at the loathsome PLUG Awards this Thursday at Terminal 5. Because your favorite Cindy Hotpoint will NOT suffer through Patton Oswalt for anyone, even Nick Cave. And Pinkie just hates "fun." We endured the PLUG nonsense once before to see The National and Celebration; the only thing that saved the experience, besides the great sets from the aforementioned bands, were the motion graphics from Austin's awesome SUPER!ALRIGHT!. Here's hoping that Nick Cave et al play more U.S. dates sometime this year, even if they've stated they won't. We'll keep our fingers crossed. [N.B. and edit by Pinkie - We are complete and total liars. We'll see you there. But I still hate "fun."]

So, right, the album. Well, ok. How do you follow up Abattoir Blues/Lyre of Orpheus AND Grinderman? Well, you make a slightly goofy album that takes a sharp right turn somewhere in the middle and you end up back squarely on the road to that dark warehouse out by the industrial park where you probably shouldn't go, but there's a really great band playing there, or so you hear. Maybe.

Which is to say that we just got through listening to Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, and spent a good portion of it with idiotic grins plastered to our little faces. There's really nothing quite like Nick Cave hollering epic lyrics for 20 minutes straight and then quietly crooning something dirty about 3 songs later. I've seen the phrase "return to form" and "new direction" both bandied about in reference to this album -- that's a little reductive. It's not like we're begging for Nick Cave and band to do something new -- though we certainly didn't turn down Grinderman's ham-fisted come-ons -- but we always love it when he and the boys surprise us. Which is why we're quite pleased to whole-heartedly recommend Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!. Like you expected anything less...

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds -- Jack the Ripper
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds -- (I'll Love You) Till the End of the World
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds -- Breathless

Bonus vid, natch. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds -- "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!"

ps -- here's our setlist from Saturday -- in case you were wondering. Thanks to Neon Lights for having us, the staff at Galapagos for being really awesome and sweet and Crystal Stilts for being totally amazing and hype-worthy.

Wolfgang Press -- Shut That Door // Grinderman -- No Pussy Blues // Human Sexual Response -- What Does Sex Mean To Me? // James White & the Blacks -- Contort Yrself

X-Ray Spex -- Art-i-ficial // Japan -- Adolescent Sex // Suzi Quatro -- Rock Hard // Sparks -- Angst in Yr Pants // Human League -- Being Boiled // This Microwave World -- Fun Fun Fun // Throbbing Gristle -- Hot on the Heels of Love // Felix da Housecat -- Silver Screen Shower Scene // Marsheaux -- Popcorn // Book of Love -- Lullabye // Brian Eno -- Everything Merges With the Night.

Short and sweet, but it was a cold night and there was a bangin' party in the little room that looked like gobs of fun...

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