10/31/2014 Leave a comment
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Celebrate this gory, ghoulish, gut busting holiday with the one an only NOBUNNY! “Lizard Liars” meets teenager slasher flick y’all.
P.S. cameo from a green one….
punk slime ALL OF THE time
10/29/2014 Leave a comment
Check out this timely beauty courtesy of KLYAM Records own ELECTRIC STREET QUEENS. With art and animation by respective Queens Coco Roy and Avi Paul Weinstein, “Brew-Ha-Ha” won’t be leaving your memory sooooon. Naked witches!!
Then go see them tonight at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain!
FB Event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/313297295522341/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular
Listen to Live From Your Dreams: https://electricstreetqueens.bandcamp.com/
Pick up a copy of the tape as a (TRICK! orrrr) treat this Halloween for that special psycho in your life. Available here from KLYAM Records: http://klyam.bigcartel.com/
10/28/2014 Leave a comment
Connecticut’s actually the whole world’s superstar garage punk Italio-American Halloween theme band The Gabba Ghouls are back – of course, it’s Halloween in a few short days – this time with a new single I Want Your Blood / Rot in Candy.
Featuring members of rock n roll slingers Jacques Le Coque, The Gabba Ghouls released their self-titled debut album a year ago. No doubt you can head to their Bandcamp and play it. Recommended as background music for Halloween parties, passing out the candy to trick-or-treaters, and spaghetti.
HOLD ON though – if you happen to be in New York on Thursday (October 30) and Halloween (October 3rd…31st dumby), The Gabba Ghouls are playing at Don Pedro’s in Brooklyn.
Get at their FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheGabbaGhouls?ref=br_tf
10/28/2014 Leave a comment
Boston flunk revolutionaries Guerilla Toss have been doing it up solidly for years now, playing near legendary basement shows around the Commonwealth and to further stretches of the centuries old United States. But like the hard workers should be, they have gotten a much deserved boost in status from the larger legions. But like a timeless experimental band, they’re still operating on their own bases and look it we have this Smack The Brick.
Smack The Brick G-Tosses new 4 songer on NNA Tapes is them right now, their new configuration I take it, and it is really something of a listen. As unexpected yet so Guerilla Toss, describing them always escape me. I can usually hear something of references in music, but with this group I really can’t and that is such an sickkk revelation. If I knew what I was doing I’d want to be Guerilla Toss. The creativity of the instruments, the changes in literally how a song sounds, it’s like ya dude you don’t even need to be crazy to listen to this. It’s like you tap the lady next to you’s shoulder, hey Guerilla Toss, hey Madonna, hey Kylie Minogue, hey Eddie Current Supression Ring. No one blinks any eyes or anything. It’s noisy rock ‘n roll and so many other things. The bass and the drum are what you can count on to some degree if you are down for a traditional following-along. If you really wanna get wacky though and I recommend this, it’s keeping up (no actually, actively following along!) with the guitar and Kassie’s vocals. The result is that Which You Can See in the dance movements of the crowd at a G Toss show.
It doesn’t make sense and should it. It makes complete sense. It is the most liberating of today’s music and you didn’t even realize that. “Be the Breeder” takes me back to the year 1997 or 1998 a time when I listened to the latest in hip-hop and R&B. This is that no no I’m not nuts! It’s like they’re pressing knobs, man, hey those are people here, live people, performing music. Smack The Brick is not all that, there are some no confusing moments just groovy, catchy, funky, punky, jabby, spacey times, you got it. Often all at once. With so many satisfying side projects like Jane La Fonda and MEDS (more on this very soon!!!!!), I’d say Kassie dominates the mic like no one else around here. It’s hardly arguable. Listen up
BandCamp / Order The Tape: https://guerillatoss.bandcamp.com/album/smack-the-brick
11/6 Hudson NY @ Bard College
11/7 Boston MA @ Hassle Festival 6
11/19 NYC @ Death By Audio
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER EUROPEAN TOUR
11/22 Budweiss @ Naab
11/23 Strasbourg @ Stimultania
11/24 Amsterdam @ TBA
11/25 London @ Old Blue Last
11/26 Paris @ Instantschavires
11/27 Bilbao @ Mem Festival
11/28 Valencia @ Bar Cure Antidisco
11/29 Alicante @ Sala Magazine
11/30 Benicarlo @ Lion Cafe
12/01 Porto @ Maus Habitos
12/02 Lisbon @ Musicbox
12/03 Madrid @ El Perro De La Parte De Atras
12/04 Barcelona @ TBA
12/05 Marseille @ L’embobineuse
12/06 Lyon @ Grrrnd Zero
12/07 Genf @ Cave
12/08 Berline @ Schokoladen
12/09 Munich @ Cafe Kult
12/10 Hamburg @ Astra Stube
12/11 Köln @ Gold+Beton
12/12 Brussels @ TBA
12/13 Den Hague @ State X New Forms
12/14 Rotterdam @ Poortgebouw
12/15 Halles/S @ Huhnermanhattan
12/16 Pilzen @ Pohoda
10/27/2014 Leave a comment
Alvin Dahn, ya say? Alvin Dahn has been writing popular music since the year 1968. Popular is subjective, though. I do not really mean popular because his output is easy on the ears and moving (it is, in fact), but because it stays close by the center of rock ‘n roll’s roots. Like the days when rock ‘n roll had a wider mass appeal. I ran into Alvin Dahn by way of the classic outsider music book Songs in the Key of Z and Irwin Chusid, the novel and website’s author. Alvin’s musical career is not extensively profiled in Songs and there is not much in the way of Alvin in the annals of online.
My first impression of Alvin and his music came from this Vimeo “Clip from Outsiders: Alvin Dahn and ‘Don’t Throw Your Dreams Away”. The first twenty-five seconds are awesome and I feel like giving away what happens: there’s a clip of Tonawanda (no idea where that is… I looked it up and it’s in NewYork), audio from what sounds like a radio station introducing Alvin Dahn, and then there’s a middle age gentleman standing chuckling to himself as heavy metal riffs go off in the background. He turns off the music and says: “As you said earlier, a little wilder than I looked. But what is an artist supposed to look like? You know, you do what you think you want to do at the time, what you’re feeling, not what you’re looking.” I think I paused the video at that point. That statement stuck with me. The rest of the video is an informative narrative of Alvin and some of his music career. I say some because it mainly focuses on Alvin’s early 1990s output, which I mistakenly believed was his only foray into the music world. I don’t think my mistake was a serious error or anything. The world of outsider music is strangely made up of interesting characters, some regular Joe types, some people a bit more ‘crazier’, but who is crazy and who is not crazy in music, anyway? So it’s interesting to speculate what little we actually know about these people. I kind of wanted to avoid that for this piece because Alvin is worthy of a more honest look. Come on, baby.
I’ve recently reached out to Alvin and now have a better idea of the merits of his non-career in music. In some other era, I would wager that if you slapped on some Alvin Dahn on the Juke Box, nobody would think of you any less. When I heard “Don’t Throw Your Dreams Away,” I was like wait a sec, this is a larger than life classical, sun shiny ‘60s ballad. Incredibly eerie, though, or ripe for a soundtrack or something. Maybe I’ve missed the boat on music’s history and I bet I have, but this seems almost like a real original here. But then I stumbled back upon “You’re Driving Me Mad,” which is the heavy metal sounding (besides Alvin’s light vocals) track from the Vimeo. Ultra clean production and exquisite technical playing. Was this an all Alvin affair on the instruments?
Well, Alvin told me that the songs on his It’s Time album (which is commercially available online) were composed and arranged by his truly prior to the professional studio recordings, which took place over the years, 1990 to 1993. He played guitar, piano, violin, percussion, and sang on It’s Time. In 1991, the first ten songs were released on vinyl and cassette, and the two Christmas songs were released as a cassingle. “You’re Driving Me Mad” is a rehearsal version and the other two songs – “Don’t Throw Your Dreams Away,” and “The Devils Candy” were released as a cassingle in 1993. These songs collectively perhaps are Alvin’s most popular work – granted this is incredibly tough to measure – primarily due to the exposure received via Chusid, a revered WFMU disc jockey. [Chusid notably included “You’re Driving Me Mad (Rehearsal Version)” on his compilation album Songs in the Key of Z Volume 2.] It’s Time is the only album of Dahn’s that I own. It stands out for its stylistic fluidity – you will hear early rock ‘n roll, new wave, disco, country, gospel, blues, metal, and Christmas songs. Alvin flows here and there with his own familiar-totally unfamiliar flourishes. I cannot definitely pick a favorite song, but I suggest to Alvin that “The Devil’s Candy” is his most creative. He tells of the instrumentation on this one, “I thought the use of the harpsichord lent a very different feel to the song. The soprano sax made to sound like an oboe growling was meant to show the devil’s frustration.” The fuzzy guitars and harsh drums give this one a dark feel, although the song itself is really melodic, inviting, and yes, yes, sweet as candy.
Alvin’s first 45 “I Left My Yo-Yo Back In Nashville b/w Blue Girl” was recorded and released in 1974 on a private, local (New York) label. His follow-up 1976 single “404 b/w Free Rolling Man” is credited as The Alvin Dahn Band and was released on Alvin’s own Sky-Child Records imprint. Alvin set up his record label and publishing company, Sky-Child Music, because he realized that if he was to be successful, he “needed to be able to release in a larger geographical area.” Alvin received recognition from Billboard magazine for his releases, but he was not able to elicit major label interest. After his third single, he was able to secure a print contract with Big Three Music, the print division of EMI. In the years following, Alvin released and published records for other artists. In 1998, he wrote and performed “Healing Miracles” for a Christian cable TV show of the same name that aired until 2010. Alvin tells me that he has a “huge stockpile of new songs” that he would love to record and release, but it is not likely that he will be able to. I am so down to see what Alvin has up his sleeve!
I was wondering what Alvin thought of the term “Outsider” and what it means to him. He says, “I think that only refers to the people who have never had a break with a major recording company.” I understand what Alvin means because he is not in fact short on instrumental, production, and songwriting ability. He started playing the violin when he was 9 years old and went on to play in a variety of orchestras, choruses, and choirs. What might set him apart, what might have made/make him an “outsider” may have to do more with just how invested he was in his creative output. The directions he gave to his hired session musicians may certainly have seemed confusing and unusual. Alvin attributes this behavior as an attempt to “contain all the large egos and get everyone to play exactly what I wanted.” Alvin also explained his bronchial asthma, which heavily affects his vocal performance. It is hard for him to breathe to support his pitch and this affected his recordings.
My take away is that rock ‘n roll is not perfect and it can be tricky to replicate a complete vision even with the most attuned musicians. We often hear about “musical geniuses” and there is no one way to characterize these folks. Some slip through the cracks (largely), never breaking through to a widespread audience. Alvin has never toured or even played a live show, putting him in an exclusive category of recording aficionados. But his music, which has helped him through the toughest of personal struggles, will seemingly always be. I appreciate Alvin’s contributions even more knowing a bit of his back story, which I incorrectly assumed was that of a musically naïve man who, maybe on a whim, invested all his savings into an extravagant artistic project that was stunning and beautiful. But no. Alvin was doing what he loved and ultimately that made sense to him, free of all outside pressure and influence. Well that’s a solo, DIY I will say, musician for you and one that I think still has a bevy of bona fide songs waiting to delight his listeners, whoever they may or may not be. God bless the man, Alvin Dahn.
10/26/2014 Leave a comment
By Joanna Trachtenberg
This was the Illegally Blind show I have been waiting for for quite a while. That’s right: 2 Time Super Bowl Champions The Mighty Bass Drum of Death are back in town! For those of you who don’t know. Illegally Blind is Jason Trefts’s booking company.
I saw the opening band Black Beach only about a week earlier blow the roof off of Thieves Grotto. They were probably my favorite band at that party so I was looking forward to seeing them again. They were the perfect local band to open this show. They played pretty much the same set as a week ago but they sounded and looked even better with the lights and projections around the stage. They rip hard and are a force to be reckoned with. John from Bass Drum of Death even commented that they are the best opener he has seen so far on their tour. Big props to Jason for adding them to the bill.
After a brief break Michigan psych 5 piece The People’s Temple came on. This was my first time seeing them. I have heard their recordings and I think that they rock much harder live than on those recordings. For some reason I thought they were going to be more laid back. I guess to keep up with Bass Drum of Death you really gotta rip it. Their singer reminded me a little of Hadden from The New Highway Hymnal. They impressed me.
Now it was time for 2 Time Super Bowl Champions The Mighty Bass Drum of Death to rip everyone a new asshole. The crowd started jostling as soon as John Barrett strummed the opening riff of Velvet Itch. As the heavy hitting jams continued, the crowd just got more wild. The band members long hair went flying around the stage nonstop as they played. Bass Drum of Death just put out a rippin’ new album appropriately titled RIP THIS! So obviously they featured a number of songs from it. They also did a number of my favorite older songs of their such as I Wanna Be Forgotten, Nerve Jamming & Get Found. For some songs there were girls that jumped onstage and danced. Just watch the video of Crawling After You. For their encore they did GB City track Religious Girls and a cover of Spirit In The Sky which at first I wondered if it was BRMC’s Spread Your Love because those songs have similar chord progressions. After the show I got to chill with the guys. They are some of the most awesome nice guys ever. Finally it was time for me to go home and let my bruises heal. This was not the first time I was bruised at a BDOD show.
10/26/2014 Leave a comment
I saw Cloud Nothings for the second time this year. It was a tough decision for me to choose between seeing Cloud Nothings or seeing Warpaint who were playing the same night at Royale. One of the reasons why I chose this show was because of the opening band Tyvek who I will get to later. The first band on were Chandos who are a new local band I’d never heard of. I met a couple of their band members before the show and they told me that they are kind of punkish and thought I’d like them based on my tastes. They came on and sounded decent but I didn’t find anything extra special about them. I thought that Black Beach opening for Bass Drum of Death a few days earlier were much better because they had more bang for their buck.
Now it was time for the band of the night TYVEK! They were so amazing. This was my first time seeing them and they impressed me so much. They remind me of a rawer version of Parquet Courts. I overheard someone refer to them as “choppy” which I can only assume was a compliment. Some of the songs they played included Honda, Underwater 1, This One or That One and my personal favorite Wayne County Roads. I wish that the crowd was more into them. Most of the crowd was standing still during their set yet I was bouncing the entire time. One thing in common with Tyvek and Cloud Nothings is that they have both had bass drum trouble when I have seen them. At the beginning of Tyvek’s set the bass drum kept shifting and they couldn’t get it to be still on the stage. The drummer was having trouble playing it so they had to finish their set using Cloud Nothings’s bass drum. That reminded me of when I saw Cloud Nothings in April and the drummer was playing so hard that he broke his bass drum. At least Bass Drum of Death didn’t have Bass Drum Trouble. That would have been ironic though if they did.
Anyway back to Cloud Nothings. Cloud Nothings hour or so long set consisted mostly of songs from their two recent albums Here And Nowhere Else and Attack On Memory. I don’t know his name but their dummer is such a beast out there. He really enhances their live performances. The highlight of their set was the 10+ minute version of Wasted Days which turned into a mini jam. Then for an encore they played No Future/No Past which they did not play when I saw them in April. Afterwords I ran into a few of the Tyvek guys and I told them how much I loved them. I want to see them again soon.