Long live rock, I need it every night

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Concert Preview: The Rosewood Thieves

On Monday The Rosewood Thieves are back in Austin for a show at Stubbs. In May I saw them at Mohawk and was thoroughly impressed. During the show they asked a fan to videotape their performance of "Junkyard Julie". They filmed the song at each stop for a video they planned to create after they returned to Brooklyn. Well, below is the end product, created by none other than Erick Jordan, lead singer of The Rosewood Thieves (check out our interview with Erick).

It's a glimpse of life on the road. It's like "Home Sweet Home" by Motley Crüe for the indie set.

Friday, August 29, 2008

What the Hell is a Lamprey Eel Anyway?

One of the first bands I discovered after moving to Austin was Loxsly (that's right, I discovered them, like Columbus discovered America). I saw them open for Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin back in May. They recently put out a video for "Lamprey Eels", my favorite song off their new EP, Flashlights.

The video reminds me of Potsy and his time in the sleep lab. Also, because he likes to wear his pajamas out in public. Although the video takes a decidedly Jimbromski-esque turn when the bloody hamsters appear. Wait, that sounds like a nasty Richard Gere reference. It's not, I swear. Just watch the video already.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


We now move into Round 4 of ACL Injuries, a weekly feature which will help us determine which bands to see at the Austin City Limits Festival in late September. Last week's battle put Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings up against the Drive By Truckers in the 2:30 time slot (on Saturday). There was no real consensus on that one, but we have another challenge in the 3:30 time slot with Brazilian dance-rockers CSS up against eclectic Philadelphians Man Man.

I will openly admit, I am not a huge fan of the dance-rock genre and therefore don't know a whole lot about this CSS. I do know that their name is an abbreviation of "cansei de ser sexy," which means "tired of being sexy" in Portuguese. I am not really sure what that means, is that being tired after sex? It kind of reminds me of that scene from Spinal Tap where there are problems with the release of "Smell The Glove":

Ian Faith: They're not gonna release the album... because they have decided that the cover is sexist.

Nigel Tufnel: Well, so what? What's wrong with bein' sexy? I mean there's no...

Ian Faith: Sex-IST!

David St. Hubbins: IST!

also have a female lead singer called "Lovefoxxx" (intriguing, triple X, huh...) and one of their songs, "Music is My Hot, Hot, Sex", was featured on an iPod ad, thus propelling them into superstardom. Their musical stylings are not really not my proverbial cup of tea, but it could make for a fun time with the sexiness and all.

Man Man, however, are more my style. Kind of goofy, Captain Beefheart-esque indie rock. I have enjoyed their album "Six Demon bag" in small doses, and I know Jumboslice gave a bit of praise for their latest release "Rabbit Habits." I have seen live footage of them performing at the Pitchfork Festival a few years ago and it seemed to be a foot-stomping good time. However, their schtick could get old after a couple of songs and I am sure they will attract a much dirtier, smellier crowd than the before-mentioned Brazilians. On the other hand, they are from Philadelphia, hometown of my lovely wife and they have a lead singer named Honus Honus.

Honus vs. Lovefoxxx?

Philadelphia vs. Sao Paulo?

Smelly vs. Sexy?

What say you, faithful readers?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let's Talk About It: White Denim

In a little over two years Rock Club has seen roughly 300 bands (no, My Morning Jacket is not one of them). Some good, some bad, a lot in between. I always wondered if I'd head out one night and be completely blown away by a band. You think it'll happen but it doesn't. Maybe I've become cynical. The more likely answer is that while yes, there are a lot of good bands out there, you rarely see a band that unexpectedly melts your face. We've seen some amazing shows. Sleater-Kinney, LCD Soundsystem, and The Dismemberment Plan reunions shows come to mind. But I expected as much going into those shows. The only band that truly caught me off guard was The Gossip. Well, on Thursday night in Austin I saw a band that even topped The Gossip. That band is White Denim.

I hadn't planned on going out until we received an email suggesting I go see Peel at Mohawk. I'm always up for seeing Peel. I love those guys (and girl). Peel, Zookeeper, and White Denim were all opening for Brazos.

Peel was up first and were great. I never get tired of their first album and the songs off their new EP, August Exhaust Pipes (go download it for free!), are just as good, if not better. The set was much better than when I saw them open for Oxford Collapse and Frightened Rabbit. After they finished I debated whether to call it night. I decided to stick around since the place was packed and hopping. The crowd seemed anxious for the next band to begin so I settled in on the railing overlooking what I thought was Zookeeper.

The first thing that came into my mind when they launched into their set: MC5. They had a bristling energy from the get go. I was dumbfounded. I turned to the girl next to me, Olivia, and asked if she had seen Zookeeper before. She replied, "That's not Zookeeper, that's White Denim!". Over the next few songs Olivia brought me up to speed on the history of the band, including their devasting performances at this year's SXSW which landed them on the cover of the Arts Section of The New York Times.

The band is an explosive mix of punk and blues rock. That mix of punk, blues and soul is tough to pull off but when you do, it's a something to behold (think early White Stripes). It makes for great rock and roll, the kind I've been dying to hear since the onslaught of beardy bands started a little over a year ago.

Josh Block on drums sets the tone for the band. He beats the drums like they sassed his momma. James Petralli on guitar and lead vocals has quite a few tricks up his sleeve. He produces a myriad of sounds from the guitar, from funky riffs to sonic distortion. When singing he utilizes two microphones. The extra one distorts the vocals with a sampler (as best as I could tell). Also, while onstage he has the perfect rock persona, which doesn't hurt.

The real star though is the bassist, Steve Terebeki. He lays down the sweet beats. His fast, funky riffs and amazing skills aren't what you'd expect from a tiny man who has the boyish looks of a 7th grader. Seeing him jam away and clearly love every moment only got the crowd more into the show. You can't help but like these guys.

The set seemed short and before I knew it they thanked the packed crowd and started packing up their gear. In my mind I was thinking, "What? That's it?! NOOOO! KEEP PLAYING!!!" But it wasn't to be. There was no encore. I'm forced to wait until their set at ACL. You can be sure I'll be up close for that.

After the show I was speechless. I had never been so blown away by a band. I wasn't prepared for it at all. Inside Mohawk I ran into my friend Callie (a.k.a. Show Lush). She's seen White Denim a few times and said my reaction was fairly typical. The band simply crushes.

I feel like this is my Jon Landau moment. In 1974, the influential music critic went to see a 25-year-old singer-songwriter. Amazed by what he heard, Landau wrote the famous line, "I saw my rock and roll past flash before my eyes. I saw something else: I saw rock and roll's future and its name is Bruce Springsteen." Now, I'm not saying that White Denim is the next Bruce Springsteen (who is?) but I know one thing for sure. They're one band I'll be following for years to come (or as long as they're together) and I'll go see them live every chance I get.

"Let's Talk About It" by White Denim

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So you think you can frolic

It's Tuesday and time to ponder blah blah blah...

Jimbromski once sent an email around to the rest of us where he declared that he "knew everything." Yet, when a conversation turned to the band Rusted Root not too long ago, he fell silent. Unbelievable, I know. He claimed he didn't know who we were talking about.

Me: "You know. Senmeonmway...?!"

Jimbromski: "What?"

Me: "Do-do-doot-de-do-do-Do-do-do-do-de-doot..."

Jimbromski: "You can do that all day, and I won't know what you're talking about. But go ahead, keep going."

As it turns out, Rusted Root played for Baltimore's "Artscape" this summer, which takes place in my dad's back yard.

My dad: "I heard this new band. They were great!"

Me: "Oh yeah."

My dad: "Yeah... have you heard of them? 'Rusty Roots.'"

I see that Rusted Root is playing at the 9:30 Club Monday, September 29th, so to be sure we're all remembering them right, this week's Youtubesday clip is the video for the only Rusted Root song I'll ever know.

I'll admit that I've never seen this video before now. But it's as I would have guessed. All sensibly spiritual. So there you go. Bust out your peyote and dream catchers for their show next month.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Going Out Tonight?

It's Monday and you're looking for an excuse to get out of the house, maybe grab something to eat and have a drink or two. Well, here's your excuse.

When a friend from Austin is in DC for a show, I'm going to let you know. Whether you like it not, but I think you'll like this. Claire Small is a sassy mamma-jamma that hails from Nashville, TN. She now lives in Austin, when she's not touring the country. Currently she's on the road performing with Peter Bradley Adams. Tonight they bring their acoustic indie tunes to Iota. The show begins at 8:30 with the opener, Dennis Jay. What better way to enjoy a relaxing Monday night as the summer winds down?

Jumbo Slice and Claire Small at Show Lush's house

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fore for Friday

The Beanstalk Library, The Jet Age, Kitty Hawk, and Brian Scary and the Shredding Tears at The Black Cat, 8/22/08

First things first, Potsy needs a new drink, just like Huey Lewis needed a new drug. I prefer gin and scotch. Jumboslice tends to go for beer. Jimbromski usually drinks beer, however he will more or less drink anything you put in front of him (Scotch, tequila, bourbon, Lysol, Aqua Velva..). Potsy, however, tends to drink more estrogen based beverages such as vodka and white wine. Before we went out last night, he was saying that he needs a new, more manly drink. One that would be easily accessible at most of the spots we frequent and relatively inexpensive. He did end up having a few Bourbon and gingers at the Black Cat, which I thought was good suggestion by the bartender. So, in the interest of Potsy, please suggest some more cocktails that you think he might enjoy that won't make him look like a complete puss. Now, onto the music.
I will keep this fairly brief, as it was a quiet Friday night and I really don't have a whole lot to say about this four band bill.
1. They sounded just fine, with kind of a Jayhawks, country thing going on.
2. There were only about 20 people in attendance when they kicked off (a little awkward for the mainstage)
3. Potsy commented that he would be happy if they played at a party he may (or may not) be throwing in the future.
4. Their last song sounded a bit like "Summer of 69'" by Canadian rocker Bryan Adams.
Next up, The Jet Age:
1. They definitely brought more of the rock than the previous band.
2. The second to last song they played (sorry, I don't know all the song names) was very, very good, as was the final tune of their set.
3. I thought the bass player looked a bit like J. Mascis circa 2007.
4. Unfortunately, with the 4 bands and a late start, it seemed like their set was pretty short. I wouldn't mind checking them out again.
5. Eric (if you are reading this), I went looking for you after Kittyhawk to say hello, but I think you must have left already. Sorry.
Third band of the evening, Kitty Hawk:
1. Only saw a couple of songs, as we got stuck in a lame conversation at the bar with some young folks. One of the dudes had driven almost 2 hours up from Harrisonburg to see the headlining act Brian Scary and the Shredding Tears. We now even had lower expectations of said headliners.
2. I went out for a smoke, came back, and they were finished. I think they played for like 20 minutes. I was a bit disappointed, as this was a band that I had seen perform before at The Federal Reserve Collective, and thought their musical stylings would be right in Potsy's strike zone. Alas, a very lame conversation about Rosetta Stone (yes, the language helper) caused us to miss most of their set.
1. Fucking terrible.
2. They all wore matching jumpsuits. The lead singer looked a bit like shaggy haired Eric Bogosian with a touch of the douchebag lead singer of The Mooney Suzuki.
3. I can't really describe the music. Melodramatic, nerd-pop? They seemed like the type of band that would appeal to a college age audience that really didn't know a hell of a lot about music.
4. We stayed for 2 songs and then left.
All in all, a good night out. Got to see four bands for only $10 and enjoyed a few drinks at the bar. What more can you ask for on a lazy late summer evening in DC?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Concert Preview: The Winter Sounds

Normally we preview shows happening in DC but I want to highlight what's going on in Fredericksburg, just a short drive down Rt. 95. For the past two years Fredericksburg All Ages (FAA) has been putting on live shows for a town desperate for good music. I went to college there and if you wanted to see a good show you had to drive to DC, Richmond, or even Newport News.* Well, some people got together and put an end to that nonsense.

Through the help of volunteers, FAA has been putting on stellar all ages shows. Check out some of the indie bands that they've hosted: Le Loup, Evangelicals, Georgie James, Headlights, Ra Ra Riot, Jukebox The Ghost, Travis Morrison, Imperial China (one of my favorite bands), Statehood, and These United States. I know you only scanned that list. Read it again. Okay. Not too shabby, huh?

FAA is about to add another excellent band to that list: The Winter Sounds. I caught these guys (and gal) in Austin while they were in town recording their new album. I was lukewarm on the band after listening to their debut album, Porcelain Empire. There's plenty to like on the album but it was missing a certain edge. I figured the live show would be similar. Wrong. Dead ... Fucking ... Wrong. It was a loud, clattering, noisy good time. The bassist and lead singer, Patrick Keenan, sings with urgency and earnestness. Oh, and the guy has some serious pipes. He adds a certain "Fuck yeah!" intensity to the show. You can sense the tension and emotions he's trying to convene in each song.

At the Austin show The Winter Sounds played a lot of new songs. My clear favorite was "Trophy Wives". It reminded me of Frightened Rabbit but without the Scottish accent. Take a listen:

The band is located in Athens, GA but thankfully they're not trudging out the same old "Athens sound" (I wonder if people in other cities say that about DC bands). That's a good thing. They put on a great show and I have no doubt they'll blow away the crowd tonight in Fredericksburg.

* the one exception to the drought of good bands was The Dismemberment Plan who had two members in school with us at the time. They would play house parties and I have to admit, it was pretty fucking incredible.


We will now move into Day 2 of the Austin City Limits festival for Round 3 of ACL Injuries, the weekly post where we decide which band gets the honor of having DCRC attend their performance. If the Pitchfork Festival is any indication, we will most likely be arriving late on Saturday, missing a few of the late morning acts. The first real dilemma comes in the 2:30 time slot, when we have southern rockers The Drive By Truckers, up against new-soul powerhouse Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings.

Apparently, Sharon Jones was one of top acts at the Virgin Festival a few weeks ago according to this guy and I think it would be a nice dose of something different. That is the beauty of the festival environment, it is a great opportunity to see bands that we may not normally see back at home. I have only heard a few songs, but I think "100 Days, 100 Nights" is a fly song and would love to see this 52 year old Shirley Hemphill look-a-like strut her stuff on stage.
Now, some other folks might disagree and would direct us toward southern rock revivalists The Drive By Truckers. To be honest, I was never really able to get into this particular band. I purchased "Southern Rock Opera" from the used CD place, and it instantly went back to another used CD place for a trade in. I hear they give one hell of a live performance (just like My Morning Jacket) and their one hour set at ACL could be a mind-blowing rock-tacular show.
Another consideration for which band to attend could also be based on the crowd. Sharon Jones will probably draw in lots of chicks, DBT will most likely be a sausage fest of the 100th degree.
I think I have my mind made up, but please chime in with your opinions.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hell Bent For Leather

My first official rock concert was Judas Priest, at the Capital Center. It was Summer 1984, morning in America. A young Joe Piscopo taught us how to laugh. Young nerds exercised their brains with the Rubik's Cube, which led to the invention of the computer shortly thereafter. And most importantly, Judas Priest released their classic album, Defenders of the Faith. My dad was stationed in Beirut for the year without us so my mom gave me the permish, not knowing that this exposure to live heavy metal would send me down dark paths. David Rogers's dad drove Dave and I to Landover and waited in the parking lot while we rocked out (yes, the very same parking lot where the classic Heavy Metal Parking Lot was filmed, a year prior during Priest's Screaming for Vengeance tour).

The band had a huge monster built on stage, called the Metallian. Rob Halford rode a Harley out of its mouth onto the stage and started the show. Wow! He strode out in all his leather, like he was cock of the walk, and announced he had never seen so many heavy metal motherfuckers in one place before. I'd never heard an adult curse in public like that. At the end of the show he asked us all to scream and cheer if we wanted Judas Priest to come back next year, and we all yelled, and he said they'd come back. That was a nice gesture, it really felt like we had a made a difference. And the opening band? Great White.

"The Metallian":
this was recreated on stage, and Halford rode a motorcycle out of its gaping maw

I remember finding out Halford was gay and being surprised, not so much at his gayness, but that he actually came out and admitted it. Maybe I underestimated the tolerance of the metal scene. The rest of Priest kicked him out of the band, then replaced him with a singer from a Priest tribute band (as loosely detailed in the 2001 movie Rock Star, with Marky Mark). That sucked so they brought back Halford.

It was a bit rich that the rest of Priest booted Halford for being gay, because it was Halford's gay leather fetish wear that helped them all carve a distinct niche in the metal scene. They were the first band to wear that stuff and shortly after nearly all the bands were wearing leather.

I spotted this clip on one of my favorite TV channels, VH1 Classic--this is Judas Priest prior to their leather makeover. They look ludicrous, like some sort of Led Zeppelin rip. If they hadn't changed their look there's no doubt in my mind that, as good as they were, they would have been forgotten and left behind. Enjoy:

Ice Ice Baby

It's Tuesday and time to pick a clip from YouTube to ponder.

Like last week, this week's clips are inspired by the ongoing Olympics in Beijing. Did anyone else hear NPR's recent tongue lashing of NBC's pronunciation of Beijing? It's "Bay-jing," Costas, not "Bay-shjing." Start practicing now, cuz we'll all be speaking Chinese by 2020.

While not a summer Olympic sport, who can deny the power that ice skating has over all of us?

Our first clip comes to us courtesy of the YouTube search engine: "olympics" + "rock" =

Yamaguchi and Witt, nice work KISS.

O'chimpic fever, catch it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Banned by the Beeb

Wouldn't it be a kick to be a censor? You'd have to ban all the politically sensitive stuff according to the whims of your overlords, but other than that you could put the kibosh on anything you didn't care for. One of the best censors was Yossarian in Catch-22:

All the officer patients in the ward were forced to censor letters written by all the enlisted-men patients, who were kept in residence in wards of their own. It was a monotonous job, and Yossarian was disappointed to learn that the lives of enlisted men were only slightly more interesting than the lives of officers. After the first day he had no curiosity at all. To break the monotony he invented games. Death to all modifiers, he declared one day, and out of every letter that passed through his hands went every adverb and every adjective. The next day he made war on articles. He reached a much higher plane of creativity the following day when he blacked out everything in the letters but a, an and the. That erected more dynamic intralinear tensions, he felt, and in just about every case left a message far more universal. Soon he was proscribing parts of salutations and signatures and leaving the text untouched. One time he blacked out all but the salutation "Dear Mary" from a letter, and at the bottom he wrote, "I yearn for you tragically A. T. Tappman, Chaplain, U.S. Army." A. T. Tappman was the group chaplain's name.
See? Good fun. This article from The Times details all the songs banned by the BBC in the United Kingdom over the last 80 years or so. Usually bans were straightforward: "death, drugs, death, swearing." I would guess the all readers of this blog are 100% free speech, but some of the bans really seem appealing to me. Here's an internal BBC directive from World War II: "We have recently adopted a policy of excluding sickly sentimentality which, particularly when sung by certain vocalists, can become nauseating and not at all in keeping with what we feel to be the need of the public in this country in the fourth year of war.” They should have made that one permanent.

Sickly sentimentality aside, most of the bans, particularly in the post-1960 years, are asinine. Not so much for subject matter, although that's part of it, but for their arbitrariness. "Eight Miles High," by the Byrds, got squashed for its alleged drug references, despite being a literal description of a the band's plane ride on their UK tour. Maybe they banned it for being inaccurate--most commercial airliners fly at an altitude of six to seven miles up.

An aircraft at eight miles altitude? My good fellow, you must be using drugs.

Meanwhile, "Here Come the Nice," by the Small Faces somehow slipped by unnoticed (well, not unnoticed--it hit #12 on the UK charts in 1967). Here's a video clip of "Here Come the Nice"--you tell me what you think it's about:

Man, the Small Faces, what a great band...

Friday, August 15, 2008


Jerry Wexler was a big-time record producer who died today at the ripe old age of 91. Maybe not "ripe" so much as "shriveled and fermented," when you're 91.

Wexler is best known for coining the phrase "rhythm and blues." Well done, sir.

I have also invented a few words in my day. I'm most proud of "genitalation," which is when a guy positions himself near a fan or other air source such that the air flow goes up his shorts and serves to cool and ventilate the genitalia. I invented this word when I lived in New York. All the taxis there have a crotch-height AC vent on the center of the partition. It's summer, you're walking around, you're sweating your tits off, you jump in a cab, and you get a blast of cool Arctic air up your shorts. Lovely.

I expect to be lauded as much as this Wexler character upon my death because "genitalation" is at least as good as rhythm and blues.

Wexler: "I turn this knob, and the air, it shoots right up my pant leg."

Contradictive Summer - THE HOLD STEADY@ 930 Club 8/14/08

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

America's Love Affair with Leon (cont.)

We have always been one of Leon's biggest boosters and we have enjoyed seeing him ride the rocketship to fame and riches. Some good Samaritan collected all of Leon's best moments from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and put them all in one golden YouTube clip. And when I say good Samaritan, I mean that literally--the person who compiled this clip resides in biblical Samaria. So now there's two good Samaritans, the one from the Old Testament, and the one who likes Leon. Make sure you distinguish which one you're talking about in the future.

I am responsible for picking our next show (Aug 19 - Aug 28). I was leaning towards Don Cabellero at Iota on August 19, but that was only to find out once and for all what the fuck "math rock" means. If anyone can suggest any other show options I would appreciate it. One other option is to have a Rock Club Movie Night and watch House Party again, because it rules, and it's music-related, because it has Kid n Play, as well as the guys from Full Force, not to mention local psychotic Martin Lawrence.

Here's the vid:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Talking At Shows

I've read a lot of stuff on other blogs (and on this one as well--"I'm not just a member of Rock Club, I'm also a client"...Sy Sperling? Anyone? Oh, fuck it) about people talking at shows. I had a few thoughts on this and as usual I'm having trouble keeping those thoughts to myself, despite the fact that they'll likely add nothing of value to the national conversation. Here goes:

  • It's undeniably annoying. It does seem like it's getting worse these days, I can't deny that.
  • It's not always the people you think it is, doing the talking. Everyone seems to have this idea that there's these groups of prototypical frat guy-types from the burbs with their bim girls, and they're the ones doing all the talking. I think everyone wants to blame the Late Night Shots people, I guess. But I must be fair to our meathead brethren and note that everyone talks at shows. Take me, for instance. When funny looking people walk by me, I generally tap Potsy or Sack on the shoulder and make a comment. If the comment is funny (always, in my opinion; sometimes, in their opinion) I'll repeat it to both of them. I'm not shouting, but I am talking loud enough to be heard. At the Bon Iver show there was this fat guy who walked out of the bathroom with a piece of toilet paper stuck to his show. You'd have to have had the self-restraint of a anorexic yogi not to mention that to the person next to you. So you have a room of 500 people. Now, there are definitely the jackass LNS people talking at high volume throughout the show, but we must admit that the aggregation of all the side convos--hey, you want a beer? or hey, that guy looks like Phil Collins! or Jesus, I should have taken a shit at your house before we came here--contributes mightily to the general din.
  • The sound quality/acoustics of the venue contributes to the problem. People talk at every show. I only seem to notice it at the Black Cat. The sound quality at the 9:30 washes everything else away, which is nice. The smaller venues like Rock and Roll Hotel, or DC9, put you so close to the amps that you can't hear anything else, sometimes for days afterward.
  • The bands bear some responsibility for the problem as well as the solution. If people are talking over your music, that generally means they're bored and that your show is flaccid. Pick it up. Play faster. Play louder. Start jumping around and cursing. Start a fight with the bass player. Take your clothes off. Do something. People don't talk at good shows. If you're going to play beardy folk-type music, you'd better be really really good. If you're the Black Lips, you can be as ragged as you like, but no one will be talking over you, because they'll be disgusted and speechless as you spit in the air and catch it in your mouth on the way down (that still grosses me out, by the way). People talked over the Bowerbirds, but not over Bon Iver, and there wasn't much talking at Fleet Foxes (at least where I was). Don't blame the crowd, it's your job to shut them up.
I gave my love a cherry...hey, could you keep it down back there?

One-nil to the talkers

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Answer the question Claire

It's Tuesday and time to pick a clip from YouTube to ponder.

This week I've been watching the Olympics quite a bit. I'm on vacation and have some time on my hands, so I've caught up on the on-goings in Beijing. I'm also in Los Angeles, which is why you're getting this after lunch. If you've been watching the Olympics too, no doubt you've seen this ad. But maybe you've been Tivoing everything. So here's this week's clip:

Remember how it used to be all kinds of taboo to sell-out your song for commercials? Now, it's not such a big deal and can be a big get for indie rockers to play the sound track for some product. Remember the Volkswagen ad with Nick Drake? Too bad he was already dead.

But in this case, we see a classic iconic song from Simple Minds ruined by a dying department store. Does JC Penney really think that a "brain...and a criminal...and a basket case...a princess...and an athlete..." all shop at the same store? Puh-leeze. I'll bet the high schoolers in this ad ran to their local American Apparel or H & M as fast as possible after this shot was done, just to get the crappiness off of them.

JC Penney isn't the only one doing this. YAZ - the birth control pill people (not the hall of fame Red Sox) - have hired the Veronicas to de-ball Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It," to sell their drugs. It's even worse than the JCP ad.

While we're talking about classic movies, let me throw in my endorsement of instant-classic "Pineapple Express," which I caught last night. I don't like it when people hype a movie, as I tend to have high expectations and end up disappointed. So all I'll say is go see Pineapple Express. It's the kind of movie that meets high expectations.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Well Done, Fort Reno

A little while back we speculated who would play the final Fort Reno show this Thursday, August 14th. Not surprisingly, people hoped it'd be the triumphant reunion of Fugazi. Others guessed it'd be Shudder To Think. Beauty Pill and The Evens were also mentioned as possible bands. Nope, wrong, guess again, and go fish. So, who's playing?

Title Tracks, The Jet Age, and Yell County. I was critical of the Fort Reno schedule when it first came out but they did a nice job with this final show. It may not have you jumping around, dancing on your toes like you have to go pee-pee but it's an intriguing triple bill.
Of the three bands playing, I'm least familiar with Yell County but I like the fast tempos and their punk rock attitude. Their songs have good hooks and lots of big, crunching layers of guitar. What's not to like?

In July I saw The Jet Age play in Austin, TX. I couldn't believe a nationally known band that had released two excellent albums wasn't given a slot on the Fort Reno schedule. Their live show is pure power rock and is a nice fit with Yell Country.

This first Title Tracks show was well thought out. Last week it was announced Georgie James had broken up and John Davis had already formed this new band. Putting on a show right away takes advantage of the recent publicity - the buzz as people in the biz like to say. Let's not kid ourselves, John Davis is no dummy, and he's no slouch as a musician. Listen to the songs Title Tracks have posted already and it's hard not to want to see them live.

So the fact a big name band isn't playing might be a disappointment to some, but not me. Seeing The Evens, who I love, play Fort Reno isn't such a big deal. I was never a Shudder To Think fan and wasn't deluded enough to think Fugazi would play. Putting two local bands that deserve the recognition and a new band people are curious about is a fitting end to another season at Fort Reno.


I wasn't sure what order the bands would play but it appears Title Tracks goes on first and then Yell County. The Jet Age gets the call as the final band of the 2008 Fort Reno season.

Special News Bulletin: RIP Bernie Mac

Bernie Mac, one of the original Kings of Comedy, died of pneumonia early this morning.

Funny guy. Why couldn't it have been Steve Harvey instead? That dude's not funny. Or even better, Jim Belushi. Why God? Why?

Was I wrong, America?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Thao and The Get Down Stay Down: A Photo Essay

I believe this is the first photo essay for Rock Club. Okay, it's really just a cheesy slideshow but I'm calling it a photo essay, okay? Fine.

Thao and The Get Down Stay Down put on another bumpin' show here in Austin. This is the third time we've seen them since April. Previously, they had opened for Xiu Xiu and Rilo Kiley but now they're doing their own headlining tour. They're like the The Jeffersons - movin' on up. They roll into DC on Thursday, August 14th for a show at the Black Cat. Their last two DC shows sold out so don't wait to get tickets. Considering this your warning.

After the concert they packed up their gear and crashed at our house. As you can see from the pictures we took a morning trip to Barton Springs for a quick dip. Unfortunately, the main swimming area was closed. No problem. We hopped in the water a little further down stream (along with the dogs and homeless people). Afterwards we headed back home for Mrs. Jumbo Slice's famous breakfast buffet. Mmm, delicious. Shortly after we finished breakfast, and after a few loads of laundry, the gang loaded up and headed to Dallas.

Best of luck to Thao, Willis, Adam, and Dempsey. Come back and visit anytime!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

ROCKWAR! Blam! Pow! Boof! Whammo!

Welcome to the first installment of ROCKWARS, which may become a semi-regular feature here at DC Rock Club. We members of Rock Club like nothing more than to bicker with each other, like a bunch of yenta women. Or better yet, like those guys from the Dockers commercials, only with 47% more douchiness.

We can argue about anything and often we each stake out extreme positions, the better which to piss off the other guy. For example, in 1996 Potsy asserted, with much certainty, that paper money would be obsolete by 2010. And here we are in 2008 and we’re still using the shit. We’ll always have paper money, because we need something with which to snort coke, and also because you can’t make it rain in the strip club with electronic debits.

Did I mention these arguments usually involve alcohol? Well, they do. I probably should have said that at the outset.

Okay, so the first ROCKWAR is the following: Boston is better than Steely Dan. I will be arguing the affirmative, and Sacklunch will argue the negative. Although I predict once he sees the onslaught of science and math that I will deploy, he’ll wuss the fuck out.


Sack’s first argument was that Steely Dan has better albums than Boston. My response to this is, dude, shut the fuck up, man. Everyone knows that the music biz is all about shifting units and nobody shifted units like Boston. For the sake of this argument we’ll ignore both bands’ later comeback albums, and focus on their glory years: 1972-1980 for Steely Dan, and 1976-1978 for Boston. Steely Dan released seven albums over that period: Can’t Buy a Thrill, Countdown to Ecstasy, Pretzel Logic, Katy Lied, The Royal Scam, Aja, and Gaucho. Aja was the top seller, hitting number 3 on the charts and going 2x platinum (equal to 2 million albums sold) as of 2008. Not bad.

Boston, on the other hand, was like a salmon, swimming upstream, busting a nut, and then quickly dying off. Also, like a salmon, they released only two albums, the self-titled Boston, and More Than a Feeling. Boston hit number 3, while More Than a Feeling went to the toppermost of the poppermost and hit number 1. As of 2008 Boston is 17x platinum (17 million sold) and More Than a Feeling is 7x platinum.

VERDICT: Boston, in a walk. Not only did their total album sales dwarf Steely Dan’s—24 million to 7.5 million—they did it all in only two (glorious) years. This is akin to Franco Harris taking 12 years to rush 12,120 yards, and he’s all like, wow, I’m a great running back, and then Barry Sanders comes along and rushes for 15,269 yards in only nine years, and then says, hey, fuck the NFL, I’m gonna go sell aluminum siding now.

Category: BAND NAME

Steely Dan named themselves after a dildo. That’s pretty cool, although the reference is from Naked Lunch, which is a little pretentious. Still, it’s better than naming yourself after a city.

VERDICT: Steely Dan. Let the baby have his bottle, I say.

Category: SONGS

Okay, this category is totally subjective, meaning I shall basically call everything I dislike “gay”, and everything I like “awesome”. Let’s begin.

I don’t dislike Steely Dan, I’m just sayin’ they’re overrated and aren’t as good as Boston. A quick look at their top songs shall prove this. Let’s rank their catalog, from best to worst:

Do It Again: This one’s pretty boss. Calling people “Jack” is a cool jazz mannerism that I endorse.
Dirty Work: Man, I had no idea this was Steely Dan. I thought it was Carly Simon, or someshit. Good song.

"Dirty Work" (Can't Buy A Thrill, 1972)

My Old School: Sack and I both went to William and Mary so we can dig this one. Would have been better if they had namedropped Burke instead of Annandale, but I’ll overlook that.
Peg: I like this song, but only because it reminds me of De La Soul’s “Me, Myself and I”.
Reelin’ In The Years: Yeah, okay.
Black Cow: Take my big black cow and get out of here? What the fuck are you talking about? And what will we do for dairy?
Deacon Blues: Whoa, stop. Lame easy listening crap.
Hey Nineteen: More of the same.
Kid Charlemagne: Crap song, and additional points deducted for inspiring the Hold Steady.
Rikki Don’t Lose That Number: Hmmm. I much prefer the Phil Collins version, “Don’t Lose My Number,” which is about Billy, who is probably a hotter piece of ass than Rikki, given that it’s Collins looking to get in there, versus Fagen/Becker.

Okay, now let's take a look at Boston's catalog.

More Than A Feeling: Oh, fuck yeah. He sees his Mary Ann walking away, and rips off a fucking awesome guitar solo. Mary Ann turns her shit around and walks back.
Foreplay/Long Time: Ooh, neat. Organ work leads to cool song that everyone sings along to with a scrunched up rock face: Well, I’m taking my time, I’m just moving on/You’ll forget about me after I’ve been gone...

"Foreplay/Long Time" (Boston, 1976)

Peace of Mind: More awesomeness. People, stop livin’ in competition, and let’s get high. Anti-9-to-5 screed.
Rock and Roll Band: One more reason Boston rules, is that they write songs about themselves and how they love to rock.
Let Me Take You Home Tonight: Much like myself, Boston will show you sweet delight, if you let them take you home tonight. It’s nice, really.
Smokin’: Boston wants you to toke up and have a good time. Okay, Boston, if you insist.
Hitch a Ride: Sometimes you gotta head out and hit the road, and hope it shows you the answers. Someday I myself shall hitch a ride.
Don’t Look Back: Are you kidding me? More blazing fretwork. Fuck jazz.

VERDICT: Okay, so the rest of Don’t Look Back is spotty, but everything on Boston kills Steely Dan. Boston wins again.


This is where Boston really pulls ahead. I am convinced that people give Steely Dan extra points because for some reason they think their music is more intellectual than Boston’s. They went to Bard College—ooh, so smart. They incorporate jazz into their music. Jazz is for Upper East Side Village Voice-reading grad student jerk-offs.

Prototype Steely Dan fans: "She goes straight for Arts & Leisure...I pick up the magazine."

Boston, on the other hand, is looked down upon for being a slicked-up studio band, a group of technicians. Their fans are the type of dudes who were in Heavy Metal Parking Lot, only just six or seven years prior. All across America, these freaks piled into vans with 10-20 friends, passed around the pills (uppers, downers, barbs, ludes, dust, whatever), and drank beer in the parking lot, and wore small denim shorts, smaller than any man should ever wear. Also, did I mention that Boston has pictures of spaceships on both of their albums? Rad.

I call shotgun

Verdict: Boston is better than Steely Dan. I sentence Donald Fagen to be shot at dawn. Becker can watch if he wants.


In round 2 of the weekly series ACL Injuries (see here for more information) we are still working our way through Friday at the Austin City Limits Festival. I am guessing we are all going to see Vampire Weekend in the 2:30 time slot, unless of course anyone is dying to see Jakob Dylan. There isn't much going on around 3:30 so I imagine we will use the down time to relax or perhaps use the (by now overflowing) Port-a-Johns. Then at 4:30 comes the next decision of the day. Do we head over to the WaMu Stage and check out folky M. Ward?

Or, do we get our Eastern European groove thing on at the AT&T stage with Gogol Bordello?

I think in this case a picture says a thousand words. Dude singing on drum, whilst being held in the air by numerous fans vs. introverted folkster with tattered sweater. As much as I like M. Ward on CD, I think the live performance of gypsy-punkers Gogol Bordello will blow him out of the water. Also, the lead singer of Gogol Bordello is named Eugene Hutz. Enough said.

Any objections?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Earlimart at Waterloo Records

In preparation for this in-store performance I went back and listened to Earlimart's last four albums. I'm glad I did. I'm partial to their earlier stuff, which reminds me of Grandaddy and Elliott Smith, but their last two albums are quite good as well. Their latest release is Hymn and Her. It might not grab you with the immediacy of the first two records but with each listen you find something new to like.

The performance at Waterloo was pretty stripped down. It was just Aaron Espinoza playing his guitar. The other performances I've seen at Waterloo, Shearwater and the Old '97s, used full bands. I found the simpler approach a better fit for the venue. I'm glad I caught them at Waterloo since I couldn't make the show at the Mohawk later in the evening. Mrs. Jumbo Slice and I decided we preferred to see Thao and The Get Down Stay Down at Emo's on Wednesday as our one night out (even in Texas babysitters aren't cheap). Besides, Earlimart was kind enough to perform this free show in the afternoon so the whole family could attend.

Jumbo Slice: This guy is awesome!
Mia: Check my diaper. I just ranked him a Type 6 on the Bristol Stool Chart.

One final note. I noticed a lot of familiar faces - people that attended the other shows at Waterloo. They're not indie rock fans and they could care less about who's playing. They're there for one thing: the free beer. It was more obvious this time than at the other shows. The beer line wrapped around the store before Earlimart even took the stage. I guess I can't blame them. Who doesn't love free beer?

Monday, August 04, 2008

I'm going to Spaceland

August 5, 2008

It's Tuesday and time to pick a clip from YouTube to ponder.

This week I'd like to turn our attention to the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. I have been accused of being a disloyal subject to His Majesty by some of my club mates, a charge which I vehemently deny.

This past week I saw in my favorite newspaper, The Express, that the folks at Graceland have embraced Web 2.0. As reported, the keepers of the Presley estate have partnered with MySpace.com to put on an online Karaoke contest through http://ksolo.myspace.com/. Until the contest closed late last night, contestant were encouraged to record one of three Elvis songs, "Hound Dog," "If I Can Dream" or "Suspicious Minds." If you want to know more about the contest, you can read about it here.

This contest coincides with my recent discovery of EricElviss. If you can believe it, Mr. Elviss has 191 videos posted on YouTube. I'll share one with you below.

"Very Good."
Highlights include:
  • Pink Flamingo
  • Bucket of roses
  • Tucan mobile
  • Peach colored "scarf"
  • "Tight cuddling"

Friday, August 01, 2008

Bon été

Bon Iver, w/ The Bowerbirds and Nick Schillace
Friday, August 1, 2008 @ The Black Cat $13

I was surprised to see Friday night's Bon Iver show at the Black Cat sell out so quickly. This Justin-Vernon-project has only the one release and it's mid-summer in DC when I thought half the city had escaped to the beaches of Delaware.

So here's my thinking on this.

  • First, I have to concede that I am not in tune with the indie-folk bearded culture. I had equated the laid-back nature of this demographic with a tendency toward laziness. I should have known better after witnessing the rise of Fleet Foxes from the Backstage to a sold out Mainstage at the Black Cat last month.
  • Then there's the x-chromosome factor. Unlike most of Rock Clubs shows, this was not your typical indie rock sausage fest, and no doubt the women of the District were on the ball and made sure they were well position for a night of upright spooning.
  • Factor in the lack of anything else worth seeing this weekend, and we're just about there.

  • Lastly, the line up itself made for a compelling night out. Jumbo Slice likes to raise this issue as he compares the shows he attends in Austin to the ones we see here in DC. It probably didn't hurt that anyone interested in seeing any one of the bands on the bill for Friday night would likely be drawn to the other acts as well.
Thankfully, I had some Karma capital built up and we were able to find our way into to the show.

Opening act Nick Schillace was a good start to the night. The Michigan musician couldn't demand your attention in such a big space. But he and his band mate set a good mood with their acoustic instrumentals. A quick aside - sacklunch and I share a fondness for Takoma Park guitar "legend" John Fahey. As it turns out, Nick Schillace is just a tad more into him than either of us, having written his thesis on the artist.

I was actually most interested in seeing the second act, Bowerbirds, out of the three. I caught the Bowerbirds perform as the opening act for the Rosebuds at the RnR Hotel in May of 2007.

This time around, the Bowerbirds faced a larger (and typically chatty) DC crowd, eventually asking folks to shut up. I can't really blame them for asking. But when you ask for 4 and a half minutes of silence for your next song, it actually seems like a lot to ask. Next time, just lie, and tell us it's 2 minutes. Like the homeless guy that asks for a quarter. We all know he's really asking for a dollar. Anyhow, I enjoyed this band yet again, and despite some occasional (and sharp) feedback, and a few broken harmonies, this trio kept the vibe going with songs evoking oceans, and forests, and god knows what else. Their lyrics started reminding me of The Moody Blues - not creepy and sci-fi-like - just a bit ethereal .
Here's a taste:

Music for your morning crossword?

Personally, I am no Bon Iver superfan. I don't yet have the debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago. And from the tracks that I had heard, I was anticipating another sleepy, give me something to lean on - my back hurts type of show. And that's kinda how the night began.

It was slow moving at first, but mid way through, with the addition of layers of distortion and greater volume, the folk gave way to the rock, and Bon Iver had my attention. Of course, the masses of date rockers got to squeeze their honey extra tight when Skinny Love finally flooded the room. The place was chock full of couples in position for a tandem jump.

I don't know which song it was, but at one point I thought Vernon's voice started to sound like Jackson Brown's in The Load-Out. Neither a criticism nor a compliment. I think Rock Club, as a whole, was pleasantly surprised by this performance. We've seen lots of folky beard bands lately it seems. Is that what happens when we're at war too long? Or when the economy tanks? Folk music tries to bring us back down to earth... Whatever it is, this show had a good flow from start to finish and made for an excellent Friday night out.

Others have posted about the interesting tactics some folks went to in order to see this concert. We saw two listings for tickets in exchange for a date to the show. And one craigslist posting asked for an essay submission, 200 words or so on "what moved you most about For Emma, Forever Ago," basically asking someone to prove his/her worthiness in exchange for a ticket.

This essay contest is an ingenious instrument actually. Let's say you have a project for work coming due. Just promise a ticket for the sold out show du jour in exchange for a briefing on the current state of forward vertical foreign direct investments in China. You don't even need to have a ticket to extort these things. You just collect all the entries and pretend someone else was the winner.

I've learned a lot from this Bon Iver show.