Posts Tagged ‘review’

Live Review: “A Midsummer Night’s Concert”

September 1, 2010

THE SHAKE, LILY & THE PARLOUR TRICKS, CHAPPO, RACCOON FIGHTER, THE WALK-ONS AND F. MICHAEL HAYNIE AT CAMEO; CITIZENMUSIC PRESENTS “A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S CONCERT.”

Post by Meijin Bruttomesso (aka, The Damn Sexy Scenester)

Last Saturday night, North 6th Street in Williamsburg overflowed with musical possibilities. I played my cards correctly and hit Cameo Gallery, the intimate hideaway space behind The Lovin’ Cup. With splendid sound quality and eye-catching décor, spaghetti-like strings draped over the stage, that performers enjoy swatting much like cats mesmerized by yarn, the dimly lit venue hosted a hefty line-up organized by CitizenMusic Presents: The Walk Ons, Raccoon Fighter, F. Michael Haynie, Lily & The Parlour Tricks, The Shake, and Chappo.

The Walk-Ons

The Walk-Ons - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

I’ve taken on a bad habit of a scenester, arriving late to shows now, missing the acoustic set by F. Michael Haynie before The Walk Ons ran away with my heart. Music that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, but also rocks, is a rare find. This quartet has found a balance between blazers, ties, and rock ‘n roll; their new EP, We Did This On Purpose, features a handful (literally five) tracks that elicit smiling, dancing, and repeating. Take a listen to my favorites, “Can’t Be Satisfied” and “State of Affairs” at www.thewalkons.com/The_Walk_Ons.html.

Raccoon Fighter - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Raccoon Fighter - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Up next, Raccoon Fighter, a trio of multiple talents, played musical chairs as vocalists/drummers/guitarists Sean Gavigan and Zachary Ciancaglini traded places, and bassist Gabe Wilhelm held down the foundation and backing vocals. Despite some amplifier difficulties, the three blues-rock gentlemen handled their run-ins with grace, and impressed listeners with their small band, big sound dynamics and selections from their two, new, FREE EP’s, Liars Feet and Terrified, available at http://raccoonfighter.bandcamp.com. In an effort to apologize for the technical snafus, Gavigan observed, “You paid ten dollars to get in, but you get eleven tracks for free!” Good point. My top picks include “No Lover” and “Rollin’ Wheel.”

Lily & The Parlour Tricks - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Lily & The Parlour Tricks - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Stepping outside for a long moment, I returned at the final two songs of Lily & The Parlour Tricks, barely able to fit into the venue. The costumed ladies had magically shoe-horned the sextet on stage and attracted an influx of onlookers. I am still disappointed in my concert attending strategies, but according to some reliable, musically savvy sources, Lily and company not only dressed to impress but astonished listeners with their vocal range, harmonies, and precision. Find out on how I slacked at www.myspace.com/lilyclairemusic.

The Shake - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

The Shake - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

A favorite of the DFH’s and mine, The Shake, crammed the venue even more tightly. Their set gave fans “the hits” from The Shake Go Crazy, spotlighting the irreplaceable talents and solos of Eliad Shapiro, a sample of tantalizing new material with a dancier pop direction, and a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock,” featuring bassist Jeremy Stein on dead-on lead vocals. Probably one of their best gigs, these boys have honed the spirit of that “old time rock ‘n roll.” My Shake staples remain “Your Idols” and “Merry Musket;” decide which are yours at www.myspace.com/theshakeband.

Chappo - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Chappo - Photo by Meijin Bruttomesso, aka DSS

Around 1 AM, I imagined I had begun hallucinating. Instead, it was just Chappo. The tri-member group floated onto the stage, donning feathers, capes, and feathered capes. The tribal influences were not lost on front row fanatics, who danced and chanted in a circle. I think one guy even commented on my lack of participation, “Come onnnn! Get in the circle! You’re missing out!” One lucky lady was crowned with an elaborate headdress from front man Alex Chappo. Chappo were pleasantly exotic and psychedelic to say the least, and I would enjoy seeing their spacey, Native American get-ups again. I’ve been rocking out to “Sci-Fi Bandits” and “Space Shoes” (Maybe I just like S’s?) from their Plastique Universe EP. Enter a new dimension at http://www.chappomusic.com.

I emerged from Cameo a “merry wanderer of the night” (Thanks Shakespeare!), satisfied with the full evening of memorable bands. Next mid-summer, let’s do it again!

-Meijin Bruttomesso, aka The Damn Sexy Scenester

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Live Review: The Morning Benders (MHoW) 4/24/10

May 3, 2010

I still don’t know the name of the openers’ opening act, but let’s just say that their “lead” woman came off as something closer to terminal cancer patient who had been granted her wish to perform at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Rubbish. This dirty hipster, as lazy as he may be, does not have enough time to waste discussing such a band. Painful. Fortunately, the two bands whose names were written on my ticket, Holiday Shores and The Morning Benders, were terrific.

After taking a stroll down Kent to try and wash the bitter taste of the opening act’s set out of my brain, I reentered after Holiday Shores had begun their set. The room was beginning to fill up, and a much-needed adrenaline boost was delivered to the audience by an (unexpectedly) excellent band. I couldn’t help but say out loud: “this is the kind of music you want to hear at a show,” even though I was at the show alone. I got a weird look from an unattractive girl. This is when sunglasses at night come in handy.

Holiday Shores
Holiday Shores

Following Holiday Shores, I grabbed a beer , okay, a couple beers, drained the lizard and heading back into the room. Doesn’t it suck when you leave for ten minutes only to find that the only place to stand is right next to the stinkin’ sound guy? Either way, anyone who has read this dirty hipster’s review of The Morning Benders’ album will know that I was highly anticipating this show. I did not leave disappointed.

The Morning Benders
The Morning Benders

The Morning Benders lived up to their title as the headliner and put on a truly remarkable show. They were charming, engaging and, perhaps most importantly, tight as all hell. They executed every note to utter perfection. Julian, the lead guitarist, manned his instrument with a noteworthy adeptness, striking notes with both a machine-like precision and a genuine passion. But the show really rotated around Christopher Chu. Chu is a singer’s singer, ya dig? He delivers his lines with a contagious youthful sincerity. And, despite the fact that he resembles the sort of fresh-faced dweeb I’d push down the stairs in middle school/a prostitute in Apocalypse Now, he bears a commanding and professional presence on-stage. Heartfelt, melancholic songs of love, upbeat dance songs, brilliant musicianship and an undeniable band chemistry made for a truly outstanding performance. This dirty hipster highly, highly recommends seeing this band from Berkeley as soon as the opportunity presents itself. There are, allegedly, still tickets remaining for their July 28 show at Summerstage with the Black Keys. Skip Union Pool for a night and put that PBR money towards a ticket to see The Morning Benders. -DFH

Album Review: MGMT’s “Congratulations”

April 20, 2010

Now this album is a very pleasant surprise. A pleasant surprise, indeed! I thought Oracular Spectacular was okay. Songs like “Electric Feel” and “Time to Pretend” (my personal album favorite) certainly made MGMT not only a recognizable brand, but offered a defined and recognizable sound. But, despite a few indelible singles, something was always really fucking irritating about the band and the album. I don’t know about you, reader, but this dirty fucking hipster always found something terribly inorganic about OS. So, as a result, I never bought the record, never attended an MGMT show (which I had heard were awful, anyway) and never gave a thought to keeping up with their goings on. Fortunately for the band, they might have achieved the ultimate conversion: this stubborn, music-righteous dirty hipster just might be a fan now. Boy, I hope Titus Andronicus is reading this right now.

<i>Congratulations</i> from MGMT

'Congratulations' from MGMT

Congratulations starts out with a song, “It’s Working,” that had me hitting ‘pause’ and calling my friend to rave about how impressed I was; and to ask if what I was listening to was really MGMT. It certainly wasn’t the MGMT I remember hearing buzz by in every third car going down Metropolitan in the fall of 2007. It is rather off that a band who had built up so much support with their debut release decided to completely, and I mean completely, redefine their sound. And it is rather astounding that they were able to do so with such deft facility. It’s a whole new sound MGMT have cultivated, and it’s far superior to the old sound.

Stereogum cited a slew of influences that were apparent in the record, from David Bowie to The Beatles, The Kinks to Pink Floyd (and, to be honest, none of these comparisons are all that off-base, especially The Kinks comparison). Positing the band in such rarified air one would thing that Stereogum were sold hook, line and sinker on Congratulations, but, for some reason, they maintain that the jury is still out on the album’s merits. Well, this dirty hipster knows good music when he hears it and he’s not afraid to jump the fence and take a stand. This is a great, great album.


MGMT’s “Flash Delirium”

I suppose I’ve been getting a series of good recommendations because it’s been a while since I didn’t rave about a release. (She & Him didn’t release anything, I just happened to find and immediately hate them.) I’m going to leave lengthy description and summary aside on this one – as I suppose I seem to do anyway. Go into this one fresh. This is a different band. It’s corny, but I have to say, Congratulations deserves one gigantic cheer of “congratulations!” It’s musical, it’s brave and creative, and catchy as all hell. Certainly a lot of serious borrowing here, but that’s for another post. (And, it’s also not necessarily a bad thing. Zeppelin ! was, after all, more or less a series of borrowed blues progressions and lyrics.)

There will be another article on this album soon. There is something iconically Hipster about it and I’m looking forward to getting a little theoretical and writing a proper essay. Stay tuned, reader. In the meantime, either get on MGMT’s website to stream the album, or hop on iTunes and pay for a copy. -DFH

Live Review: Lights Resolve, Black Taxi, Blackbells, Deadbeat Darling

April 18, 2010

The Easter Bunny’s Early Arrival

Before I begin my tirade of praise for my music-filled weekend, I would like to thank The Dirty Fucking Hipster for inviting my writing into his space. I thought about the nom de plume “The Damn Sexy Scenester,” but I am far from that confident; and there are plenty who would disagree with the alias. Alas, I am simply me. Please enjoy my attempts to “dig deep” into the NYC music scene…

For the sake of story-telling, let’s assume the infamous Easter Bunny is real (spoiler alert!). The spring figure was good to me last weekend, bringing six of my favorite New York artists, Outernational, The London Souls, Lights Resolve, Black Taxi, Blackbells, and Deadbeat Darling, and a newbie, Uzuhi, over two days and three shows to the Tri-state area.

Outernational take over Santos

Outernational take over Santos

Santo’s Party House became a Friday night sweat-fest when Outernational returned, after five weeks on the road, to their home territory for the band’s only East coast show and before hitting the road again. Accompanying the Brooklyn-based rebel-rockers for the “One Way Finale” were New York’s Japanese punk crowd-pleasers and hosts, Uzuhi, and sultry, blues-rock trio, The London Souls. An ideal match for Outernational, Uzuhi (translates to “the Sun”) advocate music with no borders, a message preached with fervor in their inter-song patter. Fans melted at the touch of Uzuhi’s front man, Gosha, who shouted and perspired along with Dr. Tsu’s aggressive drums, Tsubasa’s elegant keyboard and back-up vocal melodies, and Katsuragi’s frantic guitar riffs. Audience participation was essential as Uzuhi commanded fans to sit down, guided one listener by the hand on stage for a serenade, and squished everyone into a group photo at the end of the set. A change in demeanor and style probably surprised the kiddies when The London Souls hit the stage.

The London Souls also rock Santos

The London Souls also rock Santos

Nothing short of soulful, the trio showcased their vintage vibe, intricate instrumental interplay, call and response vocal interchange, three-part harmony, and solid, intertwining solos. “Under Control,” “Stand Up,” and “I Think I Like It” happen to make me swoon; and throughout the venue, people agreed: the Souls’ bona fide rock ‘n roll brought on dancing, head-banging, or both, satisfying a wide spectrum of tastes. At this point, the antiperspirant levels were low but quickly plunged to zero as Outernational brought the heat. Never a disappointment, the quintet hit the stage running, cramming sixteen riotous rock-reggae-punk-world fusion songs into their stage time. Moshing and less belligerent activities accompanied highlights, such as “Future Rock,” “Sir No Sir,” “Que Queremos,” “Deportees,” an acoustic cover of a Woody Guthrie tune that brought the entire band stage front, and my new personal favorite, “Outernational.” Mid-set, members of Uzuhi paraded around the stage, while lead vocalist of Anti Flag, Justin Sane, joined the politically charged line-up. The evening’s intent of uniting people with music was evidently successful; everyone left with tinnitus and a piece of political shake-up.

Saturday afternoon, I suffered through hours of intense popcorn odor and equally stinky acoustic sets by innumerable Warped Tour-esque bands at Angels and Kings for a quarter-day, all ages “AKoustics” event. Relief finally arrived with Lights Resolve who, sadly, were having their final live show before escaping to the studio. Shockingly, Matt Reich (vocals/guitar), Luke Daniels (bass/vocals), and Neal Saini (drums/percussion) have not released a full album yet, together or individually, marking the upcoming studio stint as particularly historic. They plan to reemerge with new material, just in time for a summer tour. Joined by their previous bassist (who now plays in The Veronicas), LR debuted a few unrecorded songs, recently released tunes, the hit RockBand download, “Dreaming of Love,” and familiar tracks from the band’s EP’s, Currency and Prelude. In acoustic form, the vocal nuances, angst-ridden lyrics, and anthemic modulations stood out, demonstrating why LR’s music might outlast the rest and continue making Jersey Shore a bit more tolerable.

Black Taxi take the show on the road

Black Taxi take the show on the road

That same evening, I made the “trek” to New Jersey for an NYC invasion of Hoboken. The cream of the crop, Black Taxi, Blackbells, and Deadbeat Darling, played Maxwell’s for their first time. I have not found a single person that sits still during a Black Taxi show or leaves unsatisfied; and consistent with my field observations, this crowd had no exceptions. Mixing and matching their “grit-pop,” dance-rock tunes from Things of That Nature, a new favorite, disco-infused “Be My Friend,” and a cover of a golden oldie, “Miserlou,” Black Taxi made the evening worth a thousand Path train trips. Blackbells went west for their fifth show as a band and showcased material from the quartet's recently available self-titled EP. “High Healer” and “Young Again” have been ringing in my head for days. A consummate blend of rock ‘n roll and psychedelia with a touch of new wave and soul, Blackbells transported a classic but/yet refreshing sound to Jersey ears. Speaking of Blackbells, they will be playing Wednesday, April 14 at Mercury Lounge. It’s an early show, beginning at 7:30PM, so you won’t miss your bedtime. Deadbeat Darling completed the boast of the best from across the river with selections from Weight of Wandering and some unreleased compositions, “Broken Down Kiss” and “Insomnia Salvation.” DBD is not about showiness; instead, they channel a soft reggae-electronic rock ambiance that enchants listeners.

Deadbeat Darling bring a taste of NYC to Jersey

Deadbeat Darling bring a taste of NYC to Jersey

A triumphant NJ cherry pop, each band’s Garden State debut was well-received, reaffirming NYC band camaraderie and guaranteeing a holler back to Hoboken some time soon.

-Meijin Bruttomesso

Live Review: CitizenMusic Presents “The Theatre Shows”

March 21, 2010

I got this email from the guy who runs CitizenMusic [Presents] inviting me to something they put together called “The Theatre Shows.” Wouldn’t you know that this dirty fucking hipster was one sick dog this whole week? Fuck. Couldn’t get to Titus Andronicus – and everyone who reads this blog knows how much I wanted to post something overly-malicious about their performance – nor could I get to see one of my favorite bands in town, Black Taxi who were headlining the three nights of The Theatre Shows. Whoever these CitizenMusic folks are, they sure have their hands in some killer shit. I’ve been holding onto a review I wrote of one of their bands, The Shake, for well over a month now because their manager doesn’t think it’s “the right time to release a review.” Usually I’d say he was just another industry pig, but through several months of correspondence I’ve gotten to know him as a pretty good dude with good taste. Anyway, this paragraph is way too long already, I’ve just got to stop.

As fortune would have it, I was sent these reviews from Meijin Bruttomesso at The Deli Mag. She reviewed the shows, and now I’m sharing those reviews with you. I’m also kicking myself for not loading up on Vitamin Q and getting my dumb ass to these shows; seems as though they were pretty damn good. Fuck me.

The Theatre Shows: “Masquerade Ball”
Old Wives, The Shake, and Black Taxi, Live at The Players Theatre

Black Taxi Headlines All 3 Nights at The Theatre Shows

Black Taxi Headlines All 3 Nights at The Theatre Shows

On March 4, Greenwich Village’s Players Theatre bustled with feathers, masks, and glitter, for the “Masquerade Ball,” the first of CitizenMusic’s Theatre Shows. Verona, New Jersey’s Old Wives, a jazzy, funky, and soulful quintet, brought swing and sway to the sold-out venue with bluesy jams and a swanky sass. Although seating was available, the audience could not be restrained, especially when The Shake appeared. Masked and made-up, the four New Yorkers blasted through an explosive set, accompanied by confetti cannons, unstoppable noise-makers, and a slinky dancer, armed with flashlights for their final “Got No Soul.”

The Shake at The Theatre Shows: Night One - Masquerade Party

The Shake at The Theatre Shows: Night One - Masquerade Party

Closing opening night, Brooklyn’s Black Taxi energized the audience to a climax, as masqueraders, whether first-timers or devout fans, formed a fire-hazard in the aisles, dancing to newly debuted tunes as well as released favorites. The three exceptional bands joined center stage for a full-cast bow, and despite some sound kinks, expected from first-night jitters, the music set the bar high for the two subsequent shows.

The Masquerade Party

The Masquerade Party

http://www.myspace.com/oldwives
http://www.myspace.com/theshakeband
http://www.myspace.com/blacktaximusic

The Theatre Shows: “Prohibition Night”
Black Taxi, Apollo Run, and Milo and the Fuzz, Live at The Players Theater

Prohibition Night

Prohibition Night

The second of the three Theatre Shows, “Prohibition Night” commenced copacetically with the bees’ knees, Black Taxi. Due to the previous evening’s wild festivities, the joint encouraged dames and daddies to stay nearby their seats, but rules at a rock show proved baloney. The four Black Taxi members promenaded down the aisle with guitar and tambourine in hand, and flasks in pocket, before stepping on stage for an electrifying set that naturally brought flappers and bootleggers out of their seats and into the pit. Apollo Run, donning fedoras and suspenders, captivated with their impressive vocal range and nuance, and powerful lead keyboard. At the end of their set, the trio mingled with the audience and mounted the arms of the theater seats to serenade the front rows. Last but not least, Milo and the Fuzz, another band of three cool cats, played with a confidence beyond their age and put on the Ritz, wrapping up night two with a swell performance.

Prohibition Night - Milo & The Fuzz

Prohibition Night - Milo & The Fuzz

http://www.myspace.com/blacktaximusic
http://www.myspace.com/apollorun
http://www.myspace.com/miloandthefuzz

The Theatre Shows Night Three: “Post-Modern (PoMo) Night”
New Madrid, Toy Soldiers, and Black Taxi, Live at The Players Theater

The finale of the series on March 6, “PoMo Night,” featured an anything-goes, get-creative theme, that encouraged outfits which would normally not leave the house. First up, New Madrid, cleverly fusing Spanish and English lyrics performed with an intensity that surpassed the sound of three, and engaged the bizarrely dressed crowd with adrenaline-infused rock. During “La Araña,” the band even tossed out creepy crawly souvenir spiders.

PoMo Night - New Madrid

PoMo Night - New Madrid

Toy Soldiers, out-of-towners from Philadelphia, brought a classic, rootsy vibe and a standout brass section that left listeners swooning. Still standing after two raucous shows in a row, Black Taxi amped up the pace with perfected sound, riling up the off-runway-styled audience that demanded multiple encores. As the imaginary curtain closed and reopened, the leading men from the bands throughout the weekend reunited for one more celebratory bow before an exeunt omnes. The Theatre Shows’ all-around success promises a repeat of the event and proves that New York is home to pre-eminent music and original acts.

The bands take a bow together

The bands take a bow together

http://www.myspace.com/newmadridmusic
http://www.myspace.com/ohnotoysoldiers
http://www.myspace.com/blacktaximusic

-Meijin Bruttomesso

Album Review: Surfer Blood’s “Astro Coast”

February 26, 2010

I have been badgered and badgered endlessly by a trusted friend to listen to this album. After trusting him about Real Estate’s debut LP (which I would give a 1/10, the review is below) I was skeptical. Not to mention pissed that I had been convinced to spend $10 I don’t have on an album I don’t like. Nevertheless, he finally convinced me, so I gave it a spin.

Unlike Real Estate’s record, this one does not hide poor songwriting behind a veneer of post-productions. Surfer Blood’s “Astro Coast” is bold and straightforward. There’s neither a metaphor nor a simile in the lyrics throughout the whole album, which, for this this sort of punky music is ideal. Another point at which this LP delivers where Real Estate’s leaves wanting is in the melody-making. There are actual fucking melodies! Granted, they could easily be riffs you’d hear on a Weezer (sorry, boys, the comparison is too obvious) or a Jet record, but they are catchy nonetheless.



For anyone who’s seen Pink Floyd’s Live at Pompeii DVD, in which are excerpts from their time spent in the studio turning knobs and pushing buttons for the making of “Dark Side of the Moon,” Waters is quoted as saying something to affect of, and I’m paraphrasing here, it’s important to not allow new technology take control of you. While I certainly think that Surfer Blood successfully avoided the temptation to make an overly-reverby “surf” album, I’m not totally sold on this one. It’s good, but it’s really not great. The single, “Swim,” is terrific but entirely unoriginal. Since recorded music is unavoidably temporal, I imagine a scenario where this LP was released in 2001 and I feel differently about it. Unfortunately for Surfer Blood I can’t say that I’d go back in time and spend $10 on this album. “Swim” is worth 99 cents, though – that’s a fact, Jack. (And, the final track, “Catholic Pagans” contains a brutal and unabashed honesty that I appreciate.) To compound an underwhelming review of the band, the same friend who recommended I listen to “Astro Coast” sent me a review of their recent performance at DC9 in Washington, DC. The reviewer was about as taken by the show as I was by the album. Overall, decent, but I’m not cumming all over myself in anticipation for either a follow-up release or a live show. -DFH