Long live rock, I need it every night

Thursday, January 17, 2008

En Garde

Blonde Redhead
9:30 Club
January 17, 2008

It wasn't supposed to be like this. By the time I was 36, I was supposed to be living in Manhattan. I was meant to have an awesome job, in a building with lots of natural light, staffed with wacky, creative types. On weekends I would visit the galleries in Chelsea with my fashion model wife. At night we would hold elaborate dinner parties with my good friends Whit Stillman, Parker Posey and Eric Stoltz. People would seek out my opinions on the latest books, film, design and music. There would be stray copies of Wallpaper and Interview strewn about my loft apartment.

Ah yes, brilliant

Oh, but the reality is so different. I work for Enormous Computer Corporation. If my coworkers are wacky or creative, it's usually by accident. My friends and I look like extras from a Dockers commercial. I see movies, not film, and I don't see them at Film Forum, I go to the Multiplex in Silver Spring. The closest I get to Chelsea on weekends is when I lie on the couch scratching myself while I watch Fox Soccer Channel before NFL comes on.

Thankfully bands like Blonde Redhead and their New York cool let me pretend I'm living the dream. This Manhattan-based band has a unique sound that's been tagged as avant garde. Their music does tend sometimes to be non-linear, but any band with a Japanese chick lead singer will get that. They do give off an art school vibe, however, almost like some European band.

I'd like a single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man's hat.

Whatever labels they've been given, Blonde Redhead doesn't sound much like anyone else to me. Maybe the swirling, ethereal vocals of Kazu Makino bring to mind bands like the Cocteau Twins, or Lush (go figure, another Asian female lead singer), but the similarity begins and ends there. The band uses prerecorded tracks mixed with live instruments to great effect, and the resulting fog of music has just enough structure so that it doesn't cross the line into wanker-type "sound experiments" that never turn into real songs.

On the contrary, Blonde Redhead has a number of tracks that verge on being radio-friendly. Their latest single, "23," was a highlight, as were "Misery Is A Butterfly," and "In Particular." Guitar/bassist Amedeo Pace shared singing duty with Makino, and he showed his chops on "Spring and By Summer Fall." But it's Makino's distinctive voice that drives Blonde Redhead. She's far from classically trained, and sometimes verges into screeching territory, but mostly she uses her voice as another instrument in the aural miasma of the band. "Equus" in particular was a highlight--in a live setting, the words sound as if they've been fed through machine translation software two or three times. All the elements of the Blonde Redhead sound are held together by the metronomic drumming of the other member of the Pace family, Simone.

"Equus" (Blonde Redhead, Misery Is A Butterfly, 2004)

On the down side, music like Blonde Redhead's can be a tad slow in parts, and for portions of the show the crowd was fading and I was looking for a place to sit. There were a few extended random noise-style jams, and I was struck by how close they were to sounding like a Grateful Dead-type drumz/space jam. Probably not what they were after, but that's not my fault.

I liked these guys a lot and thus give them an RC rating of 7.4. For all you devoted Hustler readers, that's about halfway between three-quarters and 100% erect. Rock Club is split on Blonde Redhead. Jumbo Slice thought they were just average, RC sub Ted liked them, and Potsy said they sounded like Pink Floyd. We walked to Manny & Olga's to get jumbo slices (where'd you think the Jumbo Slice name came from, anyway?) and discuss. We were surprised there wasn't a big crowd of people hanging around the Black Cat, until I remembered that the scheduled MGMT/Yeasayer show had been moved from the Backstage to Fed Ex Field as a result of these efforts. Power to the People, yeah!


Jimbromski said...

Yeasayer joke credit to Sacklunch, before he complains

KCG said...

Just as most people figure out which Beatle they most identify with, I thought I had figured out which DC Rock Club contributer I most like. I won't say which it one it was, but I can tell you it shore as heck wasn't Jimbromski.

Until this post.

After a few days of "the softer side" of Jimbromski posts, we get this glimpse of what he'd hoped his life would look like at 36. And low and behold, it's almost EXACTLY like what I though MY life would look like. The job. The loft. The friends. Except in my daydream it was SoHo, not Chelsea, and I was MARRIED to Parker Posey, not just friends with her. But close enough.

So I'm feelin ya Jimbo. I think I'll be able to look past the cursing of Christmas and see the real you from now on.

KCG said...

Oops, unfortunate typo ... I meant to say in the first paragraph that I had determined "which DC Rock Club contributer I AM most like ... certainly not Jimbromski"

Anonymous said...

Me third on the NYC dream...except in my version I AM Parker Posey and I am married to Whit Stillman and living in Greenwich Village and hanging out with the cast of RENT.

Jumbo Slice said...

I didn't get was the long awkward pauses in between songs. People would yell stuff and it was only a matter of time before some jackass yelled "Freebird"!

Don't people know by know how incredibly lame that is? It was never funny. Just stop.

Other than that it was a perfectly nice show.

Unknown said...

I prefer to say it's a coincidence, not an accident...

PS - I hate you

G.H. said...

"Their music does tend sometimes to be non-linear, but any band with a Japanese chick lead singer will get that. They do give off an art school vibe, however, almost like some European band."


Anonymous said...

I read about you suckholes in the Express a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd check out your blog and see what kind of "rock journalists" you guys really were.

I started with the first post and moved my way forward. My initial reaction was "meh". As I continued going through each post I found myself getting more and more pissed off. Then I came across this one.

All I can say is: Wow. I've never read a review of a band / show / album / blowjob / bukake festival that was so trite, inane, poorly written, and chock full of faggotry in my life.

IMHO, you guys have no clue how to "critique" a band. You might as well have just said: "That band was so awesome because the awesomeousity of their awesomeness was so awesome that I had a total awe-gasm."

I can't wait to see what you have to say about Holy Fuck. It will probably go something along these lines: "Holy Fuck is right. OMG LOL!!1!1111!!one!!"

Your writing is so shitty I can smell it. It smells like the corpse of a man who made a living eating shit.

The DC ROCK CLUB is nothing more than a mobius strip of recovering douchebags who craved municipal rock stardom back in "the day" but had to get "real jobs" cause the expensive, yet necessary, STD medications were just too much to handle.

My advice to you guys is this: Fucking quit. Seriously.

BTW, I was at that show and I totally dug the slow parts. But, hey...I'm no rock journalist. I'm just a recovering douchebag like yourselves.

Jimbromski said...

I bet "Lloyd" is really my mom writing under a pseudonym

Potsy said...

Thanks for stopping by Lloyd. You clearly have it all figured out.

Jimbromski said...

This Lloyd guy is spewing Olympic-level bile. We need more of this. If Lloyd were a free agent I'd start preparing a big offer sheet so we can replace Jumbo Slice after he moves to Texas.

Maybe he's right, shit's gotten too nice around here. We all need to take a long look in the mirror.

Thank you, Lloyd, for the tough love.

I still like Blonde Redhead, though. LOLOMG1010101pwndWTF.

Anonymous said...

I think Lloyd is just upset that he can't afford the Washington Post and has to read the free copy of the Express.

Also, I can't wait to use awe-gasm--that is top notch. Thanks, Big L!!!

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree. There are plenty of generic STD medications that are reasonably priced.

I think LLOYD is actually an acronym for Loading Love On You Douchebags.

The only real reason he took the time to post is that when he woke up this morning, he had a strong desire to use the term "mobius strip". It may have been as he was removing his Crest Whitening strips, can't say for sure.

KCG said...

I think Lloyd is what Jimbromski would be like if he were deprived of theraphy, mood-stabilizers, sex and vitamins from the four basic food groups.

Jimbromski said...

I may have posted that Lloyd screed during a schizophrenic episode, who knows.

When we lived in NYC my wife worked at an ad agency and her account was Vatrex, the herpes medication. So go suck a dick Lloyd, I can totally afford STD meds, I got connections.