Long live rock, I need it every night

Friday, September 21, 2007

Return of the Stache

I recycle.

Black Lips w/ the Selmanaires and The Points
The Black Cat, $12
Saturday, September 15th

Let me start by disappointing anyone reading this who thought I was going to write about the Selmanaires and/or The Points. Not going to happen since we didn't catch them. Maybe if Jumboslice had been in attendance he would have convinced us that these two bands that I've never bothered to listen to until right now, were going to be the next big thing -we would have motivated ourselves. But we usually ignore him when he says things like that anyway. Still, Sacklunch suggested the Selmanaires might be worth checking out after he listened to them a bit online. I checked out their stuff just now (as I type), and the first two tracks on their myspace page, "Selmanaire Rock" (terrible name) and "The Air Salesman," were pretty good with a decent synth sound, but their other two tracks were more conventional rock, and I didn't enjoy them much. So I'm not sorry we missed them. It seems like I would have only been half into it. So I guess I lied, I have now written about the Selmanaires. Sorry The Points, you won't be so lucky.

Black Lips returned to the Black Cat to headline this show in front of an unusually rambunctious DC audience. This was our third time seeing this band, and the first where they were headlining a large-ish venue. Since I will be referencing some of them, perhaps the starting line up is in order.


JOE BRADLEY - Vocals & Drums
JARED SWILLEY - Vocals & Bass
IAN St. PE - Guitar
COLE ALEXANDER - Vocals & Guitar

As the headline implies, this time around, Jared Swilley returned to the stage with mustache intact. The photo, courtesy of Jumboslice's earlier post, was from our first viewing of the Atlanta, GA band at the Black Cat in October of 2006. When they performed again in March of 2007, Swilley was sans-stache, and I believe they suffered as a result. Having returned to the Black Cat as headliners, coming off positive reaction to their live album, "Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo," and their September 11th release, "Good Bad Not Evil," Black Lips brought with them a young exuberant following and a higher-than-usual visible security presence on stage.

Cole Alexander seemed more of a commanding presence when he performed last week in comparison to the earlier two shows, when I was under the impression that Swilley was the man in charge. Perhaps this had to do with Alexander's constant spit and catch showmanship in those previous performances, which I don't find particularly slick, or maybe because he was left a bit emasculated by technical problems with his axe last time. These kind of antics don't build my confidence in you as a leader, but this is rock, so maybe it should. With fewer luggie-launches last week, Alexander donned an aqua colored painter's cap and seemed a bit more coherent and in command.

Ian St. Pe continues to look every bit the part of the heavily-sedated clueless-rocker. With his metal-plated teeth, St. Pe looks like a cross between Jaws from James Bond movies and a younger Lou Reed. And on stage, he seems to be cool with the pushing, shoving, spitting, and whatever else was taking place in the pit close to the stage. At one point he intervened when security was about to toss out another fan who had gotten a bit too rowdy. Yelling, "hey, don't kick that guy out," St. Pe went on to say that the ruffian was exactly the kind of guy the Black Lips want at their shows. I hope they have a decent lawyer.

So how was the show? It rocked. In a much needed way, RC finally had some live and lively entertainment after a few weeks of tamer activities. Black Lips rock with reckless abandon, and I found myself quickly heading downstairs to pick up a pair of ear plugs - remember what happened to Pete Townsend? He damaged his hearing after years of rockin out and eventually got caught with kiddie porn. I take that kind of lesson to heart. Ear plugs are sold out of a bubble gum machine downstairs at the Black Cat for 50 cents. The machine is tricky to operate, so be prepared to look more drunk than you might actually be, if it's your first time. (Where have I heard that before?) It was great to see an active crowd getting busy with the garage rock at the Black Cat. That should be encouraged.

I also enjoyed watching the skinny greasy bouncer leap off the stage to help the pear-shaped quasi-Asian guy (let's call him Grimace) and some other security dude hustle a guy out on to the street. Inspired by an episode of Cops we were watching at RockClubHouse before the show, I followed the scrum down the stairs and to the door just in time to see/hear Grimace tell the guy to "Go back to Virginia!" Clearly some hard feelings still exist for our confederate neighbor.

And where was Jumboslice during this excellent show? I think he was mixing Jaeger and Roaring Lion at RFK for a bachelor party... All I know is that RC x 3/4 rocked out and partied until 2:30am that night... I'm just saying...

I found an interesting video report on the Black Lips from their performance at SXSW. Check it out if you have 8 minutes. These guys are paying their dues.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What I Saw on the Drive Back Home From Dan Deacon/Girltalk

Curious? Read more here.

I'd seen this before so I knew right away what was going down, but I'd never seen it on this scale.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dan Deacon/Girl Talk Preview

I have to admit, I wasnt digging Dan Deacon the first time I heard the disc. Then I caught a glimpse of his live performance at Pitchfork and I was slightly more intrigued. I think this guy is some sort of freakish musical genius. Check out this live performance on some NBC morning show (I think it was like a year ago).

Should be a good show, although I heard (via another music blog) that Dan Deacon was a bit under the weather last night in Charm City and only played for 20 minutes.....And as Potsy said, "wear your mesh shirt, its going to be H-O-T"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Playing Catch Up...Travis Morrison at Iota

Oh, hello there. What? I was supposed to write a review of Travis Morrison and the Hellfighters? Really? Okay, hold on. Let me put on some pants...

This was my second time seeing Travis Morrison, sans the Plan. The first time was at Galaxy Hut right before his first album, Travistan, was released. Had Rock Club been alive to see it, it would have battled Richard Swift and Bang Bang Bang for Worst.....Show.....Ever (comic guy voice). We walked out. His Janet Jackson cover was the last straw. It was safe to say I didn't have lofty expectations for this show.

The Iota show was to promote his new album, All Y'all. The album has some odd and punchy songs that really work, although not on the first listen. "Catch Up", with its goofy white boy rap and bizarre transitions is a bit of a head scratcher. However, I enjoy it more with each listen. The song is awesome like Richard Dawson. Conversely, songs that I initially enjoyed have become grating. "I Do" is the best example. The sappy lyrics get old quickly ("I need you badly, I need you bad. You're the best thing I've ever had"). When he played this live Potsy commented "I wrote the same song back in 7th grade". He then gave the thumbs down, Spinal Tap-style, while continuing to reminisce about his middle school hoochie.

The current Hellfighters lineup is much better than Morrison's original crew. Three keyboardist and a couple drummers was an odd makeup for a band. Ditching some of the keyboardists and adding guitar full time was an obvious move. I'm a fan of the dual drummers (in this case, one drummer and a percussionist) so I'm glad they still have that going. If he added some dancing midgets the lineup would be perfect.

The set stuck mostly to the new album, although they did play "Song for the Orca" off Travistan. The stand out songs were " Catch Up", "Hawkins Rock", and "As We Proceed". The rest of the songs were okay, but not very inspired. I honestly wasn't paying enough attention to know if the band was still working out the kinks or if the songs simply didn't work well on stage. I'm guessing a little of both.

While Morrison and the Hellfighters aren't the tightest band in the world, they ain't too shabby either. One quote I read on DCist sums up Morrison and his band pretty well:

"Yeah, his new band is starting to find their stride. The Dplan wasn't quite ready for prime time the first few years in existence either...it wasn't until about 4 years into their existence that they really hit their stride with the Terrified album. Travis is a great performer, but the band wasn't quite there for a while. The original line up of the hellfighters looked like he grabbed a couple of folks from accounting and marketing and asked them to be in his funk band. They were nice people and good musicians, but they were a little uneasy on stage."

Thus far, the main trait of Morrison's solo music is the disparity of his songs. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground - they're either very good or really bad. I attribute that to his willingness to take chances. He lives every week likes it's Shark Week and is always trying new things. His musical formula is to have no discernible pattern, which I admire. However, my gut feeling is his solo work will never reach a level of ingenuity and consistency we saw w/ the last three Dismemberment Plan albums.

This may come as a surprise to those who think Morrison gives me the hot pants, but I only give this show a 5.2. I wasn't disappointented, but I wasn't overly impressed either.

One final note: Gist, who opened for Morrison, were a very pleasant surprise. The Indian dude on lead vocals and guitar was pure rock intensity. The band has a great post-punk power pop sound. I've been listening to their album Diesel City and while it's not as as good as their live show, it's still a fun listen. These guys bring the rock and deserve our support. I propose we put a future Gist show on our official To Do list. All in favor?

The Novemberists

Rock Around the Clock

I am one of those not-so-hipsters who really dug the Decemberists, "The Crane Wife" album. I didn't think I would for some reason, but I did. I listen to it a lot. Does that mean I want to see them in concert 4 days in a row? I hope not. While I'm happy that the Decemberists think so highly of DC as to camp out here for a week, it detracts from the uniqueness of a show when the show is playing 4 nights straight, no? This isn't Broadway.

They're even offering 2-packs of tickets for their stint with the 9:30 Club. This isn't a sporting event either...

F 11/9 The Decemberists w/ Laura Veirs and Saltbreakers 8pm Doors

Sa 11/10 The Decemberists w/ Laura Veirs and Saltbreakers 8pm Doors

F 11/9 & Sa 11/10 The Decemberists w/ Laura Veirs and Saltbreakers 2-Day Ticket. 8pm Doors

Su 11/11 The Decemberists w/ Laura Veirs and Saltbreakers Late Show! 8pm Doors

M 11/12 The Decemberists w/ Laura Veirs and Saltbreakers 8pm Doors

Su 11/11 & M 11/12 The Decemberists w/ Laura Veirs and Saltbreakers 2-Day Ticket. 8pm Doors

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sounds of the Seventies

Do you remember the good old days, AKA the 1970s? Here are various activities people enjoyed in the 70s:

1--Snorting coke off of Farah Fawcett's ass cheeks, then getting in a fistfight with Lee Majors--and winning
2--Hot tubbing with Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, and laughing your ass off when Tricky Dick threw Kissinger's Speedo on the White House roof
3--Ventura Highway, in the sunshine
4--Doing the following pills: uppers, downers, barbs, ludes, dust
5--Attending a Poco concert, after ingesting the pills listed in (4)

The list is endless but I'll stop there.

Here are some good songs from the 1970s vault that I keep in my house.

1--"Lowdown", Boz Scaggs: Scaggs attended St. Mark's Episcopal High School with Steve Miller, and was briefly a member of The Steve Miller Band. Thank God he left the band, because they have got to be one of the most annoying groups ever, in history. Ever. This song is from 1976, and was recorded with session musicians who later went on to form Toto. Dig the flute:

Boz Scaggs: pass the barbs

2 & 3--"Breakdown" and "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You", The Alan Parsons Project: Alan Parsons started out as a sound engineer and worked on various Beatles (Abbey Road), Pink Floyd (Dark Side Of The Moon) and Hollies albums.

Alan Parsons: look how gentle I am

He then formed the Alan Parsons Project and recorded some of the gayest, softest music ever heard, even for the 70s ("Don't Answer Me", "Eye In The Sky", "Games People Play", or, as my sister and I called it, "Gay People Play"). These two are cool, though. Here's "Breakdown", which sounds like Fleetwood Mac:

And here's "I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You", which sounds like Wings:

I know Jumboslice will say all these songs suck, but honestly, we all know that if I changed the names of the groups, and said that they were new bands, and that Pitchfork had given them ratings of 6.9 and 7.8, respectively, he'd be none the wiser. In any case all three of these songs would be great on a movie soundtrack.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An Alternate Alternative from the Nati

Late to the Party?

Maybe you've all chewed on this and spit it out by now, but I stumbled across it tonight while procrastinating...

Sick of suffering through KEXP's reggae hour, international beats hour, or any of its other not-what-I-was-hoping-to-hear hours?

10 LISTEN www.WOXY.com
20 GOTO 10

I listened to it through iTunes radio. Yeah, I know Jumbo Slice, you've got Rhapsodomy at your disposal. But I don't.

700 W. Pete Rose Way
Cincinnati OH 45203

Inside Look at the Upcoming Van Halen Reunion

Courtesy of Stereogum.

Can they match their 1983 form? Judge for yourself:

Attention Illinois, Ted Leo, Travis Morrison (and countless others): if your banter isn't as good as this, then don't bother. And it isn't, so don't bother.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I'm trying to figure out how to embed audio clips into a post. Let's see if this works:

Update: Looks like it's working for me. Nice. The track is "Into Action" by Tim Armstrong, off his new album A Poet's Life. Armstrong used to be in Rancid. That was an MP3 file, let me see if it works with an M4P:

This one is "Love Is An Unfamiliar Name" by the Duke Spirit, from the album Cuts Across The Land.

This website gives step-by-step instructions on how to perpetrate this shit. Thanks, Deepa.

Us versus the Rock

Usually, the rock and us, we are the good friends. But recently, it seems like we were born under the bad sign. Spoon--canceled. Spoon--rescheduled, but only mathematicians and NSA cryptologists can figure out how to redeem previously-purchased tickets. Gossip & Long Blondes: canceled. Dan Deacon and Girl Talk--sold out.

When did this shit become so difficult? I like these bands because they're not so popular, and it's always pretty easy to get tickets. We're victims of the popularity of indie shit. Except for the Gossip show--why was that canceled? Gastric bypass?

(Fat jokes are the lowest form of humor. And yet, I will persist.)

It hurts to say it, but Rock Club is powerless--we're at the mercy of chance, of kismet. Here we are, in video form:

Friday, September 07, 2007

Nice party, Lisa. You invited all my friends--good idea!

Rock Club Cinema Extravaganza:
The Room

Sept. 6, 2007

price of admission: your mortal soul

Tommy Wiseau's The Room is, in this reviewer's opinion, the Citizen Kane of self-produced, self-written, shot-in-35mm-and-HD, set-in-San-Francisco-but-shot-in-an-LA-studio, Romanian-influenced, no-plot-having, neck-twitching, Denny-starring movies. Ahem.

Oh, hi, darkness, my old friend!

Fuck, where to start? This must be the most inept movie I've ever seen in my life. That includes the movie that Sacklunch shot on his dad's giant-assed VHS camcorder in 1987 for his English class report, which reenacted, in exceedingly poor fashion, a scene from an Edgar Allan Poe story where some dude gets crushed between two stone walls. Instead of stone walls, Sack used couch cushions. It was really bad. The Room was worse, however.

Sestero, throwing the shrink off the roof

First, the plot. Allegedly, there is one, but I'm not sure what it is.

Second, the acting. One word--wonderful. Wiseau in particular gives a lifelike performance as Johnny, a man on a mission to say "hi" to everyone he meets, including dogs in the flower shop. Just the way he was raised, I guess. The woman playing Claudette is also excellent, as she battles breast cancer. Special mention to Greg Sestero's undetached earlobes. And manchild Denny--the fear on his face when he is nearly murdered by Chris-R...well, let's just say I didn't sleep well last night.

Denny just wants to watch

Look, I can't really describe this movie and for once I'm at a loss for words. People really just have to see it to believe it. I did try and make two points about it last night that I'll repeat here, before I go:

(1) This is like an episode of the "Twilight Zone," where the government knows that an alien life form has landed on earth and assumed human form. There's only one way to catch this alien, and that's to give every earthling $6 million and let them make a movie, and then watch the results. Once the government agents see The Room, the realize they have their alien. Only someone from Rygel 7 supernova would show such a complete and utter misunderstanding of narrative, dialogue, and, well, just how human beings (sorry, human "beans", as Wiseau pronounces it) interact. Like a replicant pod-spawned alien, The Room gives every appearance of being a real movie, but like the replicants in Blade Runner, it always falls short somehow.

(2) I feel like a born again Christian, in that I want every person in world to see this movie. Now.

I highly recommend going to IMDB and reading the user comments on The Room. It looks like Wiseau and his crew created a bunch of sock puppets to leave favorable comments on the movie. This comment in particular from "John N. Crawford" is fucking sidesplitting:

People who make fun of the"Lisa you are tearing me a part" line have obviously never had a love lost. I remember I cried the same way as "Johnny" when it happened to me. And to all you macho guys who think that its unmanly when a guy (like Johnny or me) cries because of heartbreak you are full of it. I was captain of my Highschool Football Team and have been with many girls.

Speaking of Highschool, I used to date this girl a few times in 10th grade. When I went to college i found out my best friend was seeing her so I know what the relationship between "Johnny" and "Mark" is like. The strange thing is her name was "Elizabeth" and sometimes people called her Lisa when they first met her.
I think Crawford must actually be Wiseau because everything Crawford wrote tracks with what Wiseau said in the Q&A after the film ("I make good American name, John N. Crawford, ha ha ha!"). Also I believe--but cannot prove--that Wiseau has some sort of mystical attachment to the sport of football, in that it provides a way for a freakish hunchbacked Romanian lurcher to fit into American society--"I play American sport of football, ha ha ha, I am prom king of Highschool!"

Here are some clips. Please, see this movie immediately. You can buy it at Amazon for $12.

Clip 1: Lisa has just accused Wiseau of hitting her after she got him drunk on vodka-bourbons. Here's his reaction. Despite his obvious anger, he still finds time to politely greet Sestero:

Clip 2: Compilation of every character greeting one another:

Clip 3: Tommy at the florist. Somehow the florist doesn't recognize him--he must be wearing his hair differently, or something. Note how Tommy greets the dog lying on the counter:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Who's Coming?

Brett? Present. Jermaine? Present. And Murray...present.

Look, I'm not saying it's the best show ever, I'm just saying it's better than...According To Jim, for example. That's all.


  • Rock Club Speaks Truth to Power: Bookers at the Birchmere must have read my last post, when I called them dirty, filthy, greedy hippies. There are two affordable, quality shows there on the list: Nick Lowe and Yo La Tengo. Also, Michael Bolton on 9/20, for $100. That's $5 more than they're charging for Wayne Newton. Discuss.
  • "I got her numbah! How do you like them apples?" Silver Apples play Rock and Roll Hotel on 9/10. I've never heard of them but I liked the picture. Read the Wikipedia bio, I wouldn't mind checking this out for shits-n-giggles.
  • Fuck me in the goat ass: We should see the Mountain Goats, 9/20, Black Cat. That's the same night as Bolton, so we should have the place to ourselves.
  • River Deep: Okkervil River are a little too emotive, sincere and earnest for my tastes, but they do have catchy songs. 9/30, Rock and Roll Hotel.
  • Someone to Drive You To McDonald's: The Gossip and Long Blondes, 11/14, Black Cat. We shan't miss this one.
Silver Apples
Bondo do Role
Black Lips
Nick Lowe
Girl Talk / Dan Deacon
Mountain Goats
Gruff Rhys
Michael Bolton
The Aliens
John Vanderslice
Iron & Wine
Okkervil River
Damo Suzuki
Yo La Tengo
Broken West
The Thermals
Black Angels
Rogue Wave
The Gossip / Long Blondes
Electric Six
Clap Yr Hands
Clap Yr Hands

Monday, September 03, 2007

Keytar Featured, Supergroup Vetoed

I've been watching Flight of the Conchords. I am deeply in like with it. It's not belly laughs but I find it amusing.

Anyway, I bring it up because last night's episode featured the band breaking up, and Jermaine, or Brett, being replaced by Demetri Martin. Demetri's instrument was the keytar. Also, later in the episode, there was a proposal to form a supergroup from the two splinter Flight of the Conchords, which was nixed. Also, Jermaine, or Brett, did this Kevin Bacon/Footloose dance.

I only bring this up because of the following reasons:

1--I have a longstanding fascination with the keytar
2--I am always going on about supergroups
3--I used to do the Kevin Bacon thing in the living room of 1453 Q St--I would punctuate it with a leap off of the ottoman, much like Bacon's leap off of the grain elevator

Furthermore, I have a feeling certain people, if they watched this show now, will claim that it's boring and it sucks. Later, in about 4-5 months, after it gets big, they'll do a 180 and say they liked it all along. Sacklunch did this with Austin Powers. Some people just need to be told what's good.

And also, I would like to point out that, despite my recent entry into the ranks of America's dads, I am still relevant, bitches. Eat a dick. Eat two dicks.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Some Kind of Meltdown

A banjo. Really?
This week Rock Club returned to the big screen for its dose of rock. Highly anticipated, Metallica's 2004 "Some Kind of Monster," was on the bill. This rockumentary was originally planned to capture the most prominent metal band in the world's recording of its 10th album, but instead, it yielded an unwelcome look into the petty disagreements and troubles that an over-the-shark band faces when forced to produce. Most of this 141 minute film chronicles James Hetfield's complete lack of confidence and unreasonable demands for control over the daily activities of his co-workers.

This film was chosen to add a little taste of metal for our rock palette without subjecting RC to the long drive to Jaxx in West Springfield and the inevitable fist-fight that would ensue. By the way, I think Jaxx has changed its website recently. I don't remember Jaxx specifically being a "Euro" metal bar. What's that about? Have a look: JAXX. I'm not sure why they are "DC's Euro Metal Home," as opposed to being "DC's Metal Home," but I'm guessing that title must belong to someplace else. I look forward to seeing RATT on September 8th. Anyhow, what this 141 minute film failed to offer was some serious metal. Instead we saw the creative process of metal-up-your-ass-40-something-millionaires-with-Basquiat-paintings-on-their-walls come to a screeching halt as one guy in particular drove off the band's bassist of 14 years (Jason Newsted) and decided that he was too scared to make music. Hooray. I was hoping to see an interesting back story to an old-school metal band as it struggles to make a kick ass album but later tours the universe kicking ass everywhere they go! Wohoo Mutherfucker!
Uh, yeah. This 2 hour and 21 minute film took me half-way there, but on day 576 of filming, I realized that there would be no rock in this movie. Watching this film was like my recent trip to see the Allison Krauss concert. I was left quite unfulfilled.

Watching a rockumentary is tough to do without making quick comparisons to "This Is Spinal Tap," (my suggestion for the next RC movie night). But here are a few comparisons that couldn't be helped.

First, wasn't it obvious the James and Lars were meant for each other? Just like Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins, I was expecting to see them with matching cold sores at one point. Clearly Kirk Hammet was the dimmer bulb in this light fixture, and basically sought peace and calm for his band (and his retirement plan), very Derek Small-ish. Bob Rock was perhaps the most intriguing figure in this film. Why was he playing bass? Did he hope to win the job for the tour? Why was he so pathetic a character? Was the hair cut to blame? Bob Rock was most similar to Spinal Tap's manager, Ian Faith. All he lacked was a cricket bat.

Possibly the Yoko Ono/Jeanine Pettibone character for Some Kind of Monster was professional counselor, Phil Towle. Pictured at right and wearing his favorite Cosby sweater, Towle shows the band lyrics he's been working on.

What this film did not do was deliver the rock. No good concert footage. No in-studio moments of inspiring genius. Instead, this film delivered on exposing the tail spin of the once mighty Metallica. As Jimbromski pointed out during the screening, there is good reason to question the decision to actually release this film to the general public. It wasn't a flattering look at a band that holds up an image as being total bad asses. They (in particular Hetfield) end up looking more like the popular kids from high school whose rule has finally come to an end.