Long live rock, I need it every night

Monday, January 29, 2007

Who's Coming?

This is mostly for my benefit, not yours. Here are some shows I noted over the next few months. Slim pickings, it's as if we're living in Baltimore.

Vashti Bunyan
Black Cat
Black Cat
Apples in Stereo
Mooney Suzuki
Galaxy Hut
Fake Accents
Black Cat
Grizzly Bear
Badly Drawn Boy
Black Cat
The Ponys
Long Winters
Kaiser Chiefs
Black Cat
Junior Boys
Sunset Rubdown
Black Cat
Konono No. 1

Monday, January 22, 2007

And the Thorkelson goes to....

Time for Part Two of the 2006 Thorkelson Awards. Let's jump right in, shall we?

Best Album (A): released in 2006:

James: Okay, obviously these are the best albums I listened to in 2006, which is not the same as "the best." Admittedly, there was a lot of scrambling about in December once I knew I had to rate shit. Plus I never got around to purchasing the Black Angels, or the Peter Bjorn and John albums. But anyway, here goes:

1--Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, Arctic Monkeys. Check the issue date, suckas—Jan 2006. Catchy songs that tell interesting stories. You really don’t need much more than that.

2—Black Holes And Revelations, Muse. Another UK group. Bombastic, symphonic, veering into Spinal Tap territory at times. A big sounding group that would probably have toured with Asia, if this were 1983. And that’s a compliment.

3—Get Yr Blood Sucked Out, Viva Voce. Chick and guy that rock hard. Dude’s voice could use improvement but the songs are good. Qualifies as rock, this could be played on either an alt/college radio station, or on DC101. Either way, you know?

Dan: I had a list of my top 50 albums of 2006, but I was instructed not to post them. I hate you James.

Nightlife by Erase Errata - I have no idea what people mean when they talk about "No Wave", but apparently I like it a lot. I can't believe I didn't see Erase Errata's whole set. Next time, I'll be more prepared.

Return To Cookie Mountain by TV On The Radio - Have you heard this album? No? You should.

The Big Disconnect by The Fake Accents - As you all know, I love this album. Maybe it's b/c the songs are straightforward and Pavement-esque that I wonder, "Hey, maybe it's not too late to form my own band" (it is). There's one song I could do without, but the rest are a lot of fun.


Belle and Sebastian: The Life Pursuit (I really like this album, and I think it's the only CD I got in 2006 that didn't come from a RC member).

Jason: I would have to say "Get Lonely" by Mountain Goats. I am pretty sure it was released in 2006. Sad songs about ex-girlfriends and break-ups. I don't want Potsy to listen to it because it may depress him even more.... My other pick would be "Robbers and Cowards" by Cold War Kids. I keep going back to this one on my iPod. I cant believe you all missed the show, so sad.

Best Album (B): can be from any year.

James: I’m going to cheat here and pick two albums, Kill the Moonlight and Girls Can Tell, both by Spoon (2002 and 2001 releases, respectively). I only started paying attention to Spoon with 2005’s Gimme Fiction and I have since embraced them with the zeal of the freshly converted. No band around can touch these guys. Just as Rubber Soul and Revolver can be looked at as one double album, so too can Moonlight and Girls.

Dan: The World and Everything In It by The Oranges Band. I also discovered some good Talking Heads and Gang of Four stuff, but Rock Club isn't about to see them play anytime soon. The Oranges Band often play in DC and I'm itching to be at their next show.

Erin: In the Reins, Calexico/Iron & Wine. It's slow and moody. I can relate to that.

Jason: I started listening to a lot more Dylan after we saw that documentary. I have to say "The Times They Are a Changin'" is a fucking brilliant album. 2nd on my list would be "The Woods," by Sleater-Kinney. A tour de force of rock.

Worst Album:

James: No doubt in my mind—Empire, Kasabian. I think they were trying to be meaningful or something. A lot of quasi-deep druggy music. 2004’s Kasabian was chock-full of top hits and the show at the 9:30 was excellent. This album sucks ass, however.

Dan: Boys and Girls in America, The Hold Steady

Erin: Did the Dixie Chicks release something? If so, I vote the Dixie Chicks. I don't care how much we both dislike the President. I dislike your music more, Dixie Chicks.

Jason: That is a tough one, but I downloaded (legally) the album "Gotham" by Radio 4 (who we saw, and enjoyed at the R and R Hotel). I think I've listened to it twice. It is tiresome. Much better live.

Best Single (A): Of 2006

1—"Sons and Daughters," The Decemberists. I have previously condemned this band and all its listeners as "gay", so note that it takes a big man to admit he was wrong. I am that man. This is a great song. It makes me yearn. For what, I’m not sure—grassy fields, a bowl of Special K, a good massage? Anyway, I yearn when I here it.

2—"Half the Time," Pablo. Don’t know much about this band other than a couple of songs, but this song is very catchy and the singer has a good voice. I dig this one a lot.

3—"Once And Never Again," The Long Blondes. I bought this album in my aforementioned December 2006 panic-buying spree. While good, it didn’t make the top three, but this single is fantastic. Sentimental without being cloying, wistful yet up tempo. I predict this band will be for teenaged girls what The Jam and The Smiths were for their male counterparts—massive and meaningful.

Dan: I thought about listing songs, but one really stands out for me:

"Wolf Like Me", TV On The Radio - The more I listen to TVOTR, the more I'm convinced they're mad geniuses sent from the future to save us from shitty music. Thank You future music dudes.

Erin: "Ring the Alarm!" Beyonce. She's hot, and this songs gets my attention. If you know what I mean.

Jason: My top 3, that is difficult. I am going to go with "Knife" by Grizzly Bear. A slightly trippy song that grows on you after each listen. I also really like "Harrowdown Hill" by Thom Yorke. Definitely the best single off of "The Eraser". And I going to have to agree with Jimbromski that "Sons and Daughters" by the Decemberists is a great song.

Best Single (B): can be from any year.

James: "Strasbourg," The Rakes. This is a perfect little song in punk/pop tradition of the Buzzcocks. I hate to analyze lyrics because they rarely make much sense outside of the context of the music, but this song appears to be something about East Germans resisting their totalitarian government. Or West Germans undermining their bourgeois capitalist government. Or something. As a wise man once said, you don’t spell it, you eat it.

Dan: "Clap Hands", Beck. I had never listened to his 2005 remix album, Guerito. I totally missed this song until he performed it on Saturday Night Live. One of the best SNL performances I've ever seen.

Erin: "Who Are You", The Who. It builds momentum, rocks hard, comes to a crashing crescendo. It's got all I want and need. Second choice: Bitch, The Rolling Stones. I like a song that uses a touch of profanity. You can sing along but emphasize the bad word when it comes around.

Jason: I am going to pick a song that I had not heard until 2006 (is that the idea?), although it was released much earlier. "Do You Like Me" by Fugazi. The Dischord sound at its best. That song fucking rocks.

Worst Single: 2006

James: "Yell Fire!," Michael Franti and Spearhead. I hate hippie shit like this with a passion that burns brighter than a 50 watt energy saver eco-friendly low carbon footprint lightbulb. If your song’s lyrics end up on bumper stickers sported on hybrid cars in my hometown (Takoma Park MD), then you’ve failed as a rocker. Please, retire and become a full-time activist.

Any and all songs by the Hold Steady. No need to belabor the point, I just don’t like these guys.

Dan: "South Town Girls", The Hold Steady. I despise this song. It angers me.

Erin: I think this straddled 2005 and 2006, but it sucks enough to count for both if necessary: "You're Beautiful," James Blunt. That guy makes me hate England.

Jason: I don't know. "My Humps" by the lovely Fergie. Anything by The All-American Rejects or other bands of that ilk.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Power Pop Kids Rock Backstage at Black Cat

The Loved Ones (with Zolof The Rock and Roll Destroyer)
Backstage, the Black Cat
January 18, 2007

This was actually a triple bill, but for the life of me I cannot remember the name of the first band. We missed them anyway, as we were chewing the fat at Erin's house and took our time getting to the club. Jason remarked that he's making a special chocolate concoction for some kind of ASPCA benefit--a white chocolate dog dish filled with dogfood-shaped chocolate bits. While I pointed that chocolate is, in fact, poisonous to canines, this salient fact was met with indifference by Rock Club's resident chocolatier. Fuck it, the lawsuits will be his problem.

More important than dog poison is the fact that Jason revealed that he made the chocolate dog bowl by constructing a mold out of gelatin. Immediately the point was raised, that a person could make a gelatin mold of his dick, fill the mold with chocolate, and then present the end product to his wife or girlfriend as a Valentine's Day present. Maybe add a creamy center, I don't know. One drawback is that the mold takes like three hours to harden, so you'd have to obtain, and maintain, a boner for that length of time, so you'd probably need to pop a Viagra. Or, alternatively, you could forgo the Viagra and say, "Happy Valentine's Day, sweetie, here's a chocolate facsimile of my flaccid penis. Enjoy."

Okay, on to the show. Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer was up first (actually, second--see above). They're a five piece band. The lead singer is a broad. They have a big sound, with traces of power pop smoothed out with a punk appeal. It kind of reminded me of back in the early 1980s when Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were considered borderline new wave, rather than the heartland Springsteen/Mellencamp/Dylan type thing they turned into, except Zolof played louder and faster--think of a punkified "American Girl," I guess. This is a blast from the past, but they kind of reminded me of the Primitives, not least because the lead singer resembles Tracy Tracy. I was impressed by this band--good melodies, good energy, good guitar solos.

One serious drawback, and I am noticing this trend with more and more bands, was the on-stage banter. Everybody thinks they're fucking Jon Stewart these days, with their witty asides, and arch, ironic statements (examples: Ted Leo, KEXP DJ John in the Morning). Here's a news flash--Jon Stewart's schtick has been getting on my nerves for about year now, so don't fucking imitate him. Furthermore, a mediocre imitation is even worse than a good imitation. It's not a conversation--you have the microphone, I do not. At least if we were face to face talking, I could tell you to shut up. But I can't. The Zolof lead guitarist actually said, and I quote, "I had this plan to make fun of people at every show, and be like, hey man, nice sweatshirt. But I'm not gonna do that here because I like you guys."

Well, wow. Thanks. I avoided ridicule by some 18 year old numbnuts--phew!

I did like Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer's music, and you have to bring your A-game to rock the Backstage, so I'll give them a 7.4. It would have been a 7.5 if not for the banter.

Okay, the headliners--the Loved Ones. These guys sounded like Green Day and exhibited all the Green Day tendencies--fast songs, earnest singing, dedicated fans. On that last note, there were quite a few people there who were pumped up to see this band, and there was a lot of fists thrown in the air and singing along. So this band has a committed following. I can see why although they're not quite my bag--they hit that teenage guy focus group, the ones who are disillusioned but still hopeful. Sounding like Green Day isn't necessarily a bad thing--I'd rather that than see, again, for the umpteenth time, some knob gyrating about in a spastic manner, emoting like he's Diet Thom Yorke. To the Loved Ones, I bestow a score of 6.3.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Where Are They Now: Fun Lovin' Criminals

I was listening to my iPod device tonight, when the song "Fun Lovin' Criminal" came by. I like this song, and I liked a few of the other songs that came from this same album - Come Find Yourself (pictured right). I know Jimbromski enjoys these guys too; I've heard him say it publicly on several occasions. By the time he's done reading this post, however, I doubt he'd ever admit to it again.
I searched for the band's website, and after being confused by all the shouts outs to the great people of Northwest Europe, I came across the band's bio. I found it to be a long story better left unwritten. But here is the story of Fun Lovin' Criminals.

Fun Lovin' Criminals was formed in 1993 when Huey found himself behind the bar at New York's Limelight where he met Fast, who was working in the bowels of the club. Fast was already in a band at this point - he and F-L-C's first drummer Steve-O had formed a techno group. Meanwhile, Huey was spending a lot of time playing blues guitar and soon started writing tunes with Fast. Huey and Fast recruited Steve-O to drum, and the Fun Lovin' Criminals were formed. The three became roommates and ended up jamming together in their apartment and writing songs until they had enough material to convince the Limelight's manager to let them play a gig at the club.

Their sixth performance was seen by the head of A&R for EMI America who passed them a business card and asked them to give him a call. EMI had soon booked them into a studio
for a two-week recording session. However, the band finished all their recording inside of five days and spent the rest of the studio time running up a huge alcohol and food bill and waiting for EMI to wake up to what was going on.

Instead, two years later, EMI released their debut album Come Find You
rself, which spawned the hit singles The Fun Lovin' Criminal, King of New York and the UK number 1, Scooby Snacks. The Fun Lovin' Criminal is the band's self professed 'redneck hip hop song', an introduction to the ways of F-L-C, and a good musical overview, containing funky guitar riffs, trumpets, harmonicas, a catchy bass line (the latter three all played by Fast). King of New York shows a slightly more political side to the trio, with calls to 'Free John Gotti' while reserving the story-telling rapping for Huey.

The band made us wait two whole years for the follow up to Come Find Yourself, 100%
Colombian. This was a natural progression for the trio, with the album being a little more calmed down, and jazzy, but still retaining Rock n, Roll in the form of Korean Bodega, and Huey claims that Southside is their 'Heavy Metal anthem'. The first single to be taken off the album was Love Unlimited, a tribute to the late, legendary Barry White, who introduced Huey to the ways of women, and how they suddenly became 'the most beautiful things on God's green earth'. The next single was Big Night Out - a musical masterpiece, with the song split up into a rap half, with a sample from Tom Petty's 'American Girl', and a rock half, with an interpolation of the Marshall Tucker Bands' 'Can't You See'.

Somewhere between the release of the singles Big Night Out and Korean Bodega, drummer Steve-O "went a little crazy and departed to Peru," in the words of Huey. He was replaced by the incredibly talented, and just as crazy, drummer Mackie. Having played around the world in the likes of The Cro-mags, Bad Brains and (no really) Charles and Eddie, Mackie brought his trademark style and air of mystery to the band - as well as his amazing skills behind the kit.

With their first two albums, F-L-C created a refreshing, unique, and thoroughly brilliant sound, combining hip-hop and jazz rhythms with more traditional rock techniques. F-L-C created a brand new style that other bands, such as Everlast, Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit, have drawn upon for their inspiration, using the same mixture of beats, rapping and guitar to achieve a new style of music. But what sets the F-L-C aside from these bands is their ability to make a credible piece of modern rock music out of styles and instruments that were perhaps previously considered boring.

With the release of a 'payin for Christmas gifts album' in the guise of Mimosa, recorded in part on the island of Maui, Hawaii, Fun Lovin' Criminals took their New York vibe to the next stage. Huey explains, "It's a collection we put together cos' we needed to make some money for Christmas! If Celine Dion can do it, we can do it too! We kept getting asked on our internet sites where people could get this stuff and rather than direct them to a load of old singles that people are asking silly money for, we figured we,d do some again in a new style. Mimosa is a relaxed version of what we do, with a couple of new things on there too." Releasing a lounge album at this stage in their career must have seeme
d crazy to the record company but the band assured fans it was a temporary stylistic change and that they would be back in the new year with a full on Fun Lovin' Criminals album.

The certainly didn't disappoint and in 2001 they released the amazing Loco. Opening track Where The Bums Go was meant to wake people up and shake the lounge label well and truly off from the F-L-C name. A punky, shouty rock track about a catburger joint in New York where homeless people eat, it has become a staple of their live shows. Loco also spawned the hits Loco (featuring what is possibly the most politically incorrect video in history), Bump (with Jodie Kidd starring as "the finest girl of [Huey's] life") and Run Daddy Run.
The record label, against advisement from the band, released a best of collection called Bag of Hits in 2002, which crashed into the UK charts at number 5. The second disc of the best of included a compilation of rare and hard to find remixes from the ten years of the Criminals. Prior to the release of Bag of Hits, F-L-C also released Love Ya Back, a DVD featuring all their promo videos up to the end of Mimosa, their film debut - the classic Maui Homicide 2000
- and lots of tour footage.
In 2003 the band released Welcome To Poppy's. Featuring 'old skool' F-L-C tracks like You Got A Problem, Got Our Love, live favourite Baby, the single Too Hot and also Lost It All. With a video starring Neil Morrissey as a pimp daddy on a casino bus, this is one of the greats in the FLC catalogue. About the time of Welcome To Poppy’s the band joined forces with yet another new drummer: Frank the Rhythm Man. The third in an impressive line of drummers T.R.M. is a UK native hailing from Leicester where he has received much notoriety for his work in many bands. Rhythm Man is a great new addition to the band and slaughtered his debut UK gig at Meltdown. He’s blazin’ and we couldn’t do it without him. After four albums proper, one 'lounge' album, a DVD and a top 5 best of package, the band return with the latest offering: Livin' In The City. What the Fun Lovin' Criminals are trying to say is that they still mean business and business is still very cool.

It's been over 13 years fellas. I think it's time to give it a rest.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Yeah. Hell Yeah!

Something went wrong on the way to the Blog-o-sphere today, gents. I unexpectedly had to conform to the will of Google, and switch my log-in info. I used to be all giddy over google, but now I'm beginning to fear it. If the Terminator script were written today, I'm pretty sure it would start with today's google. Google would take over Microsoft, and then start building Robots. You know how it goes from there...

Anyhow, let's get on with it. The topic tonight is Judas Priest, Dokken, and the Caps Centre in Landover, MD. Add drugs and a video camera, mix and simmer, and you've got "Heavy Metal Parking Lot." A 15 minute trip back to 1986 that was recently reformated to DVD and shown at the Black Cat, January 6, 2007, with Nitro Tokyo and Death By Sexy ($9).

We only got to see the last song by Nitro Tokyo, which was a great cover of Mötley Crüe's "Kick Start My Heart." At least that's what I remember them playing. But that was 10 days ago, so I can't be sure. Anyway, they were awesome, and ironically enough, their latest track is called "Hell Yeah." Click on the photo to learn more. Also, our friend Tedwin is said to work with one of the Nitro Tokyo members (which I just can't imagine), but then again, Tedwin can't always be trusted to tell the truth.

After NT were through, we went down to the Red Room, which was full of attractive young hipsters. We enjoyed some beverages and at 3 minutes before midnight, ascended the stairs and met the two geeks that created Heavy Metal Parking Lot, John Heyn & Jeff Krulik. Now, I want to blame the technology at hand for what I'm about to write, but one of these guys began to talk to the crowd and sounded awfully similar to Lou Ferrigno. I couldn't tell if the microphone was cutting out, or if this guy had a speech impediment. But whatever it was, it was hilarious. And I laughed. And he eventually stopped talking, and we watched the movie. 15 minutes later, it was over. 10 minutes after that, we left and enjoyed drinks and food elsewhere until 3 AM. It was fun. Here's a clip:

You expected more? Look, the film is only 15 minutes, and we only saw one song from NT. That's all you get. Suck it up.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Listen Up, Assbags--it's the First Annual Thorkelson Awards!

Thorkelsons, 2006, y’all. It’s on.

Admit it, it’s what you’ve all been waiting for. But first, some odds and ends to take care of.

Last week’s post announcing the upcoming Thorkelson Awards Show elicited this comment:

As the publicist for the Peter Halsten Thorkelson mentioned in your blog, thanks for the comments. As they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity. PHT has some very heavy chops in numerous areas, so your choice of award, the statuette of a very heavy winged victory, could work.

We certainly hope that a "Thorkelson" will be awarded to "the Thorkelson" when his new CD, Peter Tork and Shoe Suede Blues, "Cambria Hotel" is released in January '07.

Check out a sneak preview of four of the tracks at http://www.myspace.com/petertorkandshoesuedeblues.

Thanks, an by the way, if you need a world class "Presenter"...PHT did a fabulous job of presenting "Long Island Music Hall of Fame Awards" to Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals and Mose Allison back in October 2006. Check it out.

Marilyn Ingram
for Peter Tork

Alright then, we’ll give Mr. Thorkelson a Thorkelson Award (category being, Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Being Peter Halsten Thorkelson). As we mentioned before, these awards are extremely heavy due to their solid-goldedness so as soon as we scrounge up enough to cover the UPS charges, we’ll get that in the mail to you, sir.

Okay, let’s get it on: the first installment of the Thorkelsons! Remember, these are only the first six award categories. We should wrap this whole thing up by June 2007.


Jason: Without a doubt Sleater-Kinney at the 930 club. Rock at its best. Energetic crowd, 2 encores. Awesome.

Dan: The Gossip. I loved the Sleater-Kinney show, but I knew that's be great going in. Not so with The Gossip. They were a revelation. Totally amazing. I just wish I had caught more of Erase Errata's opening set.

James: The Gossip—this was rock at its best. Small venue, crazed crowd, Black Sabbath riffs, overweight lead singer. Beth Ditto could have convinced all those fans to drink cyanide, no questions asked.

Erin: Art Brut – Top Of The Pops


Jason: I am going to have to go with Be Your Own Pet. The album is good, but the live performance was beat. Just the thought of that pimply faced dude with the Isro, spitting on the crowd. Who the fuck do these guys think they are? Big disappointment.

Dan: Lots to choose from: Bang Bang Bang, Konono No. 1 (due to the overwhelming heat), Band of Horses, Cedars. Let's not forget French Toast either. The worst show, though, was Be Your Own Pet. They were by far the most disappointing. Their album is very good and they had lots of hype. But even their hot singer couldn't save them from a poor show. Looking back, my 3.1 rating was pretty accurate.

James: Be Your Own Pet. A few weeks ago I heard “Adventure” on the radio and was reminded of why this is a good band and why I was looking forward to the show. A pointless waste of time, I should have stayed at home and masturbated instead.

Erin: Bang Bang Bust


Jason: This is a tough one since so far every review has been pretty fair. But I am going to have to go with the Cold War Kids. Not for the harshness of the review, but for the fact that Dan and James didn’t go to the show. That had the potential to be a great live performance in a small venue and you couldn’t muster the energy to go upstairs. Not a harsh review, but just a lack of RC ambition. Fucking pathetic.

Dan: Middle Distance Runner put on a very good show and deserved higher than a 5.9. Calling them "flaccid" was too harsh. I thought they rocked. They were better than Nunchuncks, but not as good as Black Tie Revue.

James: I didn’t mind Arboretum so much. Dan’s review: “I'm going to pretend the Arboretum set never happened. I know I'm passing up some good jokes b/c their dad was playing drums, but I'm trying hard to just forget their long, boring, rock jam.” They weren’t bad, kind of sounded like King Crimson or something prog like that.

Erin: Middle Distance Runner


Jason: I am actually going to have to single out one of my reviews. You guys were right, Gob Iron was pretty beat.

Dan: Gob Iron - a 5.4 ranking for a concert that everyone hated?

James: I wish that Gob Iron had been my show, because I would have busted out the famed two-word Spinal Tap Shark Sandwich-style review: Gob Shite. Whoever rated this 5.4 is a fucking retard, no question about it.

Erin: ???


Jason: There were quite of few, but I think I got the biggest laugh from James’s Dan v. RC conversation about the Vanilla Fudge. There are definitely others, but I think that one is funny because it is so true...

Dan: "Will the Great Rock Club Compromise of 2006 put an end to hostilities, or will it simply delay the onset of a splinter Rock Club, with a membership of one person, and the subsequent death of that one person, probably to take place in some anonymous Pennsylvania corn field, with that person face down in the dirt, pants unbuttoned, bleeding from the buttocks?"

James: Erin’s “review” of The Gossip: “What I imagine my fellow clubmates are really looking for is for me to chronicle how a simple night out on the town to see a fat chick from Arkansas (via Olympia, WA via Portland, OR) rock-out was derailed by tragic events in the Green Mountain State.” Murder/Suicide is always funny, people. It’s how we cope.

Erin: Dan’s review of Be Your Own Pet (“Pet Sounds”).


Jason: Erin's post about that Peaches song. That song sucked.

Dan: "As seen at the 9:30 Club" by Erin for his blatant failure to mention his jawing with a bouncer for no reason whatsoever.

James: Erin’s “Impending Crisis” post of July, for the following reasons: (1) shitty formatting, (2) Frederick Douglass quotation, (3) generally ruining the anarchic/punk rock spirit of RC with a neverending hard-on for stupid rules and regulations. Twat.

Erin: Cold War Kids review (although I liked the part about Dan’s loud marathon announcement)