Long live rock, I need it every night

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pitchfork Film Festival Mark III

Latest Entry

Since Sacklunch and Jumbo Slice have failed to submit their entries into this festival, I've nominated the one below to add to the competition. I wish I had met these hipster doofuses. They climbed trains and had access to a dog.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Preschool of Rock(Georgie James @ Ft. Reno)

First, my apologies for the tardiness of this review as 3/4 of RC have been sailing the high seas. I learned two impotrtant things on the semi-Rock Club sailing trip to Newport, RI.:

1. Jumboslice is very adept a sleeping and eating. I am surprised this dude doesnt have the figure of pre-Subway diet Jared.

2. Potsy seems to have a problem with meatheads.

On to the review.....

Since the summer seemed to be winding down, we decided to head out to Ft. Reno before it was too late. With RC favorite (actually Potsy favorite) Georgie James headlining the 2nd to last show of the summer I decided pack up the family and head out to Ft. Reno. It was a picture perfect summer evening in DC, and we got to Ft. Reno early enough to catch opener Brandon Butler. This guy plays soothing folk rock that was perfect for the outdoor setting. He also played a bit of harmonica which I particularly enjoyed. We ate burritos and they were good.

Next up was Perfect Souvenir who didnt really do it for me (or the rest of the group). They sounded a jam band with a touch of the DC/Dischord sound. I wasnt impressed. The songs dragged on for what seemed like an eternity and I soon grew bored. Jumboslice took Lil' Sacklunch(aka Sophie) to get a delicious fudgesicle and I discussed Potsys ill-advised journey to Merriweather to see Allison Krauss.

Georgie James came on just after the sun went down and they were quite good. It was nice to see all of the hipster doofus indie kids stand up and push toward the stage. They also played that song "Cake Parade" which I like a lot. Also, nothing was really lost in the outdoor setting and the tranquil scene actually improved the music, IMHO. They are definitely a local band to keep an eye on, with a charismatic lead singer and catchy indie pop tunes. The have the same vibe as a band like The Rosebuds and signing with Saddle Creek should help their exposure. I wish I had been able to stay for there entire set, buit the youngins were growing restless. I was pretty impressed that they held out for so long which gives me hope for future Ft. Reno shows next summer.

All in all, a nice evening out under the stars. Ft. Reno is a great summer venue and a DC tradition and I only wish we had attended more shows there this summer. Both offspring seemed to enjoy themselves and should be able to carry the RC torch after the founding members are too old and feeble to carry on. RC Rating (3 band average) 6.3

[Here's a clip]

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New Kid On The Block

Congratulations Jimbromski!

Welcome Jimbromski Junior.

Monday, August 13, 2007

One More

I am always on the lookout for Thorkelson Song of the Year candidates and while this one may not win, it's certainly on the shortlist for further consideration. It's "Digitalism in Cairo" by the band Digitalism, from 2007's Idealism. They're a German electronic/Kraut-rock band, they sound a little like Daft Punk. The song doesn't really jump out and grab your attention with the first listen, but it really grows on me each time I hear it.

The vocal sample used in the song is from The Cure's "Fire in Cairo", which was released in 1979. I used to really hate The Cure but the more I hear of their early stuff, the more I realize that perhaps I should reconsider my opinion of them.

On the Horizon

I just heard the song "Do It Better", by Imperial Teen, on the radio. It's from their new album The Hair the TV the Baby and the Band, which comes out on 8/21. Good song. They sound a little like the New Pornographers to me. One of their founders was a member of Faith No More. Potsy has a Faith No More shirt from the 1990s. In addition to Faith No More, Potsy has confessed to liking Collective Soul, Live, Counting Crows and other shitty bands from the 90s. I know he also liked Tracy Chapman.

Jesus Christ, I feel dirty having just typed those last two sentences. He can chalk it up to youthful indiscretions but that argument didn't fly during the Nuremberg war crimes trials and it won't fly now.

Check their MySpace page, there's a few other tracks there. "Ivanka" (2002) is also good.

I don't see a stop in DC on their tour calendar but we should keep an eye out nonetheless.

Here's a video from 1999, "Yoohoo":

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Monitors Monitored

The Hall Monitors
Aug. 10 2007
Quarry House Tavern, Silver Spring MD

Large picture of a large monitor lizard

Dear Jimbromski Jr.--

Three days before you were born, I attended a rock show at the Quarry House Tavern in Silver Spring, Maryland. Despite its name, Silver Spring is not silver, and there is no spring. And there certainly isn't a spring, flowing with silver. Let that be your first lesson--adults lie. Welcome to Earth, little man.

The name of the band dad saw was The Hall Monitors. A real hall monitor is a little fascist traitor who works for authority (henceforth known as "The Man") and rats out his (or her--in fact, most fucking hall monitors when I was growing up were chicks--lesson 2: women...no, forget it, I'll save that one for August 2022) classmates to the teacher. Don't ever be a hall monitor. I will disown you.

The band the Hall Monitors named themselves The Hall Monitors because they were being ironic. They don't actually look up to hall monitors, or want to be hall monitors. Lesson Two: adults lie.

Despite the fact this band lies, dad enjoyed the show. Why? Because dad likes garage rock. Garage rock is the best kind of rock. Growing up you will hear all kinds of shit about how you have to grow up in the big city in order to be "real" and authentic. If not the big city, then the backward-assed country. Bullshit. Everybody lives in the suburbs. We have the great good fortune to live in a middle class country. Don't run from it. Embrace it. Garage rock is the sound of the suburbs, son. Like your dad, you will grow up in a soulless suburb. Everyone will look alike. Everyone will wear the same clothes. Everyone will want the same things. One day, if you have any sense, you'll realize this and you'll start doing everything the opposite. This is similar to, but not to be confused with, "Opposite Day", which you will experience in grade school. In my day, "Opposite Day" was on Wednesdays. Doing things the opposite may mean wearing pressed velvet suits and ruffled collars, and growing your hair in a Prince Valiant 'do, and playing your guitars at high volume:

Lesson Three: The Kinks rule.

Lessons Four & Five & Six: (4) The Hall Monitors have a good garage sound. (5) If they're still around when you're old enough to drive, go see them. (6) Also of note is that the freaks and punks of Silver Spring hang out at the Quarry House. Pay attention in history class. You'll learn about people called "Catholics". Their HQ is in Rome. Catholics in Rome were notoriously decadent and cynical:

There were also a lot of Catholics in a place called Ireland. They were surrounded by heathens, pagans, and later, Protestants from England. As a result they were tougher, meaner, and more Catholic than the "real" Catholics in Rome:

My point is, it's easy to be Catholic in Rome, not so easy in Ireland. Punk rocker in East Village? Easy peasy. Punk rockers (or whatever they call themselves) in Silver Spring? Eh, not so easy. It's up to you, but remember, if you look and think like everyone else around you, that's not punk. If it means moving to Williamsburg and wearing Dockers to a Yeah Yeah Yeahs concert, then so be it.

To the Hall Monitors, I give a 6.5 rating. Maybe we'll go to a reunion show at Wolf Trap in 2022. What's that, you're busy? No, I don't mind. I'll just stay home and drink beer and pass out in front of the television, like I always do. Have a good time with your friends, son.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Rock and Roll Hotel
August 3, 2007

Rejected title for this post: They Made Us Like It. Some titles are too obvious, even for me.

Seeing as how we scored the Pulitzer Prize-winning interview with the band, and cleared them of plagiarizing Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire," I'll keep this review concise.

1990s played to a semi-full house at Rock and Roll Hotel. For some reason, there were a suspiciously high number of backwards baseball cap-wearing meathead types in the audience. Perhaps 1990s have a good future playing fraternity parties. The meatheads, however, were vastly outnumbered by the hipster doofus contingent, so everything was cool. Plus the meatheads brought their floozy girlfriends:

Quiz: how many people in this picture suffer from a social disease? Answers on a postcard, mail to DC Rock Club, Main Street, Washington DC

Fuck yeahs, homie. But on to the show.

After an uninspired set by openers Red Romance, 1990s took the stage to a smattering of applause. This was one of those times I felt bad for the band. Here we have a great rock group, with a strong repertoire of pop hits, coming all the way from Scotland to blow up our shit, and we Washingtonians sit there like a bunch of lumps. Not me, of course--I started doing the Lambada (also known as "the forbidden dance") as soon as 1990s came out.

I mulled this over in the days since the show, and I think it's all due to the fact that 1990s's album (Cookies), however strong it may be, had just been released a few days earlier. Add to the fact that, as usual, good songs are nowhere to be found on commercial radio, and no one with a fucking brain watches MTV anymore, and you have to reach the conclusion that 1990s were doing really well to draw as many people as they did. The band is doing four US dates on this tour, so we can only assume they're laying the foundation for a triumphant, multi-city return in about a year. That's how it works in the biz, my friends.

The quality was there. They opened with the rocker "Cult Status", which sounded great. My only objection is the final line of the song: "cult status keeps me fucking your wife." Three things here: (1) Jackie McKeown naked, having the sex...no; (2) why the cursing like that? and (3) if it's true then my wife has a lot of explaining to do when Jimbromski Jr arrives.

1990s continued with pretty much all of Cookies. They certainly have a talent for writing catchy, melodic songs. If this whole Rock Club experiment has taught me one big lesson, it's that most songs I hear go in one ear and out the other--they're instantly forgettable. Cookies has at least five memorable tunes, and they all sounded great live. One surprise to me was how much of the vocal duties were handled by Michael McGaughrin--I thought it was all Jackie McKeown. McGaughrin joins the pantheon of singing drummers, which includes top dudes like Phil Collins and Don Henley. Quick fact--did you know that Karen Carpenter started out as a drummer? It's true, I saw it on The Karen Carpenter Story. She liked hiding behind the drums because she thought she was fat. Then people heard her gorgeous voice, and her brother Richard said, yo, lardass, ditch the skins and take the mic. The rest is history.

Carpenter: before

Carpenter: after

Hey, McGaughrin--I didn't want to say it during the interview and embarrass you in front of your mates, but you look like you could lose a few pounds. Just sayin'.

To 1990s, I bestow a Rock Club score of 7.5. Nice work and we hope to see you back soon.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Big Get: Rock Club Interviews 1990s

On Friday, August 3, Rock Club went all Barbara Walters and shit and scored a big celebrity interview with Scottish popsters 1990s. 1990s are Jackie McKeown (guitar/vocals), Michael McGaughrin (drums/vocals), and Jamie McMorrow (bass). Potsy and I found the band relaxing backstage at the Rock and Roll Hotel before their show, noshing on a nice spread of food. Given that Potsy and I are newcomers to the world of the rock star/celebutainment interview scene, we tried to fit in by stopping the interview every five minutes to do lines of coke off of the asses of prepubescent girls, and chuck televisions out the window. We threw so many TVs out that they had to run to Circuit City to pick up a few more.

We found that 1990s had settled nicely into DC, enjoying some Ethiopian food the night before. “The bread…it was like,” Jamie said. Like naugahyde, I suggested? “Yeah, like a leather bowl,” replied Jackie.

Jamie McMorrow (l) and Jackie McKeown (r), 1990s

I informed the band that pretty much my whole knowledge of Glasgow these days came from the Irvine Welsh Trainspotting books. Was it accurate, I asked, that Glaswegians were all simpleton soap-dodgers? Jamie concurred, saying “it’s all true,” without a hint of sadness. “Glasgow and Edinburgh, they don’t get on with each other,” Jackie added. Edinburgh’s really beautiful to look at, but there’s fuck all to do. Glasgow’s very…horrible-looking. I love it though, there’re loads of bars.”

Glasgow may be Edinburgh’s ugly sister, but it certainly has Edinburgh beat when it comes to spawning good bands. Beginning with the Jesus and Mary Chain, and including such luminaries as Teenage Fanclub, Aztec Camera, Franz Ferdinand, The Fratellis, Mogwai, Looper, 1990s are the latest in this genealogy. Glasgow may never live down the shame of Wet Wet Wet and Gerry Rafferty, but at least they’re trying. But according to 1990s, there’s really no “Glasgow sound”, and there’s a reason for that. All those up-and-coming bands hang out with each other, “and the last thing anyone wants to do, is sound like anyone else’s band, because you’ll get laughed out of the city,” says Jackie. “So everybody wants their own sound.”

Speaking of 1990s’s sound, their three-minute rock songs show a marked influence of such 1970s bands/musicians such as David Bowie, Lou Reed, and Iggy Pop. “All my favorite music’s from the 70s,” remarked Jackie. So why call yourselves “1990s,” I asked? “Ach, we get that [question] a lot,” replied drummer Michael McGaughrin. “We used to be the 1960s, which was silly, and then we changed it to 1990s, which was even worse, and then we got signed, and we were stuck with it.” Another band influence is The Fall. Have they met Mark E. Smith, I asked? “No, but I love to,” Jamie answered. Jackie wasn’t so sure. “The Fall are a great band but he’s a fucking blowhard these days,” he said, laughing. “He talks complete shite. I hate to say anything against him, but he needs a good slap.” Mark E. Smith, a blowhard? Surely not! Judge for yourself:

Actually, that video proves nothing, but it is funny.

I asked the band about the “You Made Me Like It” video, which features scenes of the band executing some pretty slick moves on the parallel bars. All lies, apparently. “They had a 12-year old boy as my stunt double,” Jackie revealed. Maybe Nike should relocate their sweatshops to Glasgow, because apparently there aren’t any child-labor laws there. The video for “You’re Supposed To Be My Friend” is a quasi-homage to Hard Day’s Night, with hundreds of fans attacking the band, leaving them bruised and bloody. No stunt doubles there, however. “Those people actually kicked our asses, seriously,” Jackie recalled. “The woman who directed, Gina [Birch], said ‘when I say ‘action’, just run on stage and attack them.’ She said “action”, and they ran on stage and attacked us.” On the next take, she mercifully asked the fans to take it down a notch.

Being the hard-hitting rock journalists that we are, Potsy and I decided to fire a missile. In “You Made Me Like It” there’s a portion of the song where Jackie sings, TV cheats, herbal tea, money-back guarantee/Ladytron, Lady Di, how’d you make your baby cry, I informed the band that this laundry list-style shoutout sounded suspiciously like it was cribbed from “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” by Billy Joel, and if there’s one thing a red-blooded American won’t stand for, it’s Scottish cultural imperialists stealing from our uber-hitmaker Mr. Joel. The band ably defended themselves, pointing out that what I heard as “Ladytron” was actually “Lady Drum.” “Like the tobacco,” Michael helpfully added.

Michael McGaughrin, 1990s

Plagiarism controversy defused and our credibility shredded, Potsy and I left 1990s with one final question. How much would you pay to see the Rolling Stones at the Rock and Roll Hotel? We made sure to specify that there would be no time travel involved—this would be the 2007 version, not the 1966 or 1972 versions. It’s our game, dammit. Jackie was the high bidder—“over £70.” That’s like $4000, according to my pounds-to-dollars conversion. Michael was curiously unenthused, saying he’d pay £5, although he later raised that to £8 after Potsy helpfully pointed out that the Stones “were going to die soon.” Jamie’s answer was the most sensible: “I would try and get on the guest list.” Well, fairly or unfairly, the Scots have a rep for being, ahem, “careful” with their money, but you can’t argue with that strategy.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Watch This Space


While all of Washington DC is gripped by Beckham Fever in advance of Golden Balls's appearance at RFK on Thursday, Rock Club has been working undercover.

Watch this space for the results of our World Wide Exclusive interview with hot new pop band 1990s. I'll try and get it up tonight.

In the meantime, I have utilized my considerable talent-spotting skills and found another superstar band out of Glasgow -- link here. Unfortunately embedding has been disabled, probably because the sheer awesomeness of this video would destroy this website. But click the link and have a look, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, August 02, 2007