Thursday, February 26, 2015

Swami John Reis and The Blind Shake Played Brooklyn's St. Vitus Bar w/ The So So Glos, 2/25/15 (PHOTOS)

Modern Surf Classics

John Reis was an amiable host for the evening. He acknowledged to his fans, many of whom were probably there because of his other projects, that surf music wasn't everybody's bag. He asked that we indulge him and The Blind Shake for about 45 minutes, though, and encouraged everyone to dance. Then, he and the relentless Minneapolis band proceeded to reel off selections from their recent Modern Surf Classics collaboration.

About three-fourths of the way through the first song, I think surf music -- at least of the Swami John Reis and The Blind Shake variety -- became everybody's bag. The Blaha brothers went absolutely crazy, the beads around their necks bouncing against their Hawaiian shirts. Drummer Dave Roper was a force of nature behind the drums. The sounds they put out were a combination of surf rock and garage rock, and they rarely let up for even a second. People danced. Someone jokingly shouted, "Hey! How about playing something aggressive for a change?"

Between songs, Reis smiled, wiped the sweat from his hands, and sheepishly apologized for having to tune so often. He passed out PBR tallboys to the audience from a six-pack onstage. But once the music started up again, it was all out craziness.

Brooklyn's So So Glos started things off (significantly later than the advertised 9pm. Not their fault, probably; but it did mean that Rocket From The Crypt superfan, Scotch LaRock, would miss the headliners since he had to go to work.). They played a set heavy with new songs that also included most of the standout tracks from their most recent effort, BLOWOUT. The band mentioned that they were working on a new record.

This same combo hits Manhattan's Mercury Lounge tonight and Swami and The Blind Shake take on The Black Box at Philly's Underground Arts on Saturday. If there's any chance for you to catch either of those shows, don't blow it.

Here are photo highlights from last night. There are more, as always, at Flickr.

What's Going On: 2/26, 2/27, 2/28 & 3/1, 2015

Screaming Females celebrate the release of Rose Mountain this weekend at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory.

Rose Mountain

Big, busy weekend around here at CoolDad Music HQ. CoolDaughter #1 has her championship swim meets, and I have band practice. Don't ask. We're also entering the first month that has spring in it, and there are several excellent shows to check out.

Things get started on Thursday night with Doe, The Blithedale Romance, Everything Ever, and Eli Whitney & The Sound Machine at New Brunswick's Court Tavern. Pat DiNizio continues his free Langosta residency. The Saint has the Jerzy Jung curated Songwriters Circle featuring Rick Barry, acoustic Dollys, and more.

On Friday, Roadside Graves are back with a show at Asbury Lanes that also features Vinyl Tigers, Lowlight, and The Vaughns. The Clydes, The Strangers, 4444, General Collection, and The Great Depression are at Court Tavern. The rescheduled EP release show for Maeby Funk happens at The PussyPad with We're Ghosts Now, Foxanne, and Debt League. Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes hit The Stone Pony to play some deep cuts. The Wonder Bar has Will Evans, Chevy Lopez, Jamie Coppa, and Tam Garcia.

Honah Lee hold their record release party at Asbury Lanes on Saturday with help from Mikey Erg, Molly Rhythm, Doug Zambon, and our friends in Hot Blood. New Brunswick's Bomb Shelter hosts Casual, Dogs on Acid, You Vandal, and Wall. NGHTCRWLRS celebrate their own record release at Jersey City's The Dopeness with Cicada Radio, France, and all-time faves Dentist. The Empire hosts a great show which gives you your second chance of the weekend to catch Maeby Funk and Foxanne along with Holy Komodo, The Gray Company and Dollys (whom I am tempted to refer to as DOLLAH$ forever more). Overlake and Sink Tapes head to Brooklyn's Gutter with KNTRLR and Hermano Stereo. Teenage Halloween hit The PussyPad with The Great Depression, Feeny, and more. Only Living Boy hold their record release at The Saint with a diverse bill that includes Amy Malkoff & The Moonshines, Thee Idea Men, and Ether Sunday.

Also on Saturday night, Screaming Females celebrate the release of Rose Mountain with two shows at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory serving as Night 3 of the 2015 Don Giovanni Records Showcase. Both shows include Priests, Tenement, and Vacation. Both shows are sold out.

Aidan's Garage Palace in Sea Bright celebrates its 1-year anniversary on Sunday with a show featuring Teenage Halloween, Have A Good Season, Corrina Corrina, and more. 

Have fun. Stay warm. Start thinking about spring. It's coming. I can feel it.


Court Tavern (New Brunswick): Doe (UK) / The Blithedale Romance / Everything Ever / Eli Whitney & The Sound Machine + art show, 8:30pm,

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Pat DiNizio, 8pm, FREE

The Saint (Asbury): Songwriters Circle: Jerzy Jung / Rick Barry / Dollys (acoustic) / more, 7:30pm, $10

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Thomas Rhett, 7pm, $27.50 adv, $30 door (ALL AGES)

FRIDAY (2/27)

Asbury Lanes (Asbury): Roadside Graves / Lowlight / Vinyl Tigers / The Vaughns, 7pm, $8 (ALL AGES)

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Steve Reilly, 9pm, FREE

The Banana Stand (New Brunswick): Runaway Brother / Heart Attack Man / Vasdueva / The Blithedale Romance, 7pm

The Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Calabrese / Zombie Mafia / They Call Us Death / Murdersmile, 6:30pm, $12 adv, $15 door (ALL AGES)

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): The Clydes / The Strangers / 4444 / General Collection / The Great Depression, 9pm

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Brother Valiant & Wild Sun, 9pm, FREE

The Meatlocker (Montclair): Basement Beers / Hurricane Season / Dizzy Bats / Heavy Flow / Weird and Wonderful Words, 9pm, $10

Pigeon Pad (New Brunswick): Jon Kohen / Saul Conrad / Owen Quigley / CachaBacha, 7pm

The PussyPad (New Brunswick): Maeby Funk (EP Release) / We're Ghosts Now / Foxanne / Debt League, 7:30pm

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): Dennis Gruenling / Steve Guyger & The Excellos, 9:30pm, $10

The Saint (Asbury): The F.L.O.W. / Des & The Swagmatics, 7:30pm, $10

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Freestyle Explosion NJ, 8pm, SOLD OUT

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, 7pm, $45 adv, $50 door (ALL AGES)

The Wonder Bar (Asbury): Will Evans / Chevy Lopez / Jamie Coppa / Tam Justin Garcia, 7:30pm, $10


Asbury Lanes (Asbury): Honah Lee (Record Release) / Mikey Erg / Hot Blood / Molly Rhythm / Doug Zambon, 7pm, $10 (ALL AGES)

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): gods / St. James & The Apostles, 9:30pm, FREE

The Bomb Shelter (New Brunswick): Casual / Dogs on Acid / You Vandal / Wall, 8pm, $5

The Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Black Angel Down / Mind Riot / Roulette / 10 Paces / Escape From Crete, 7pm, $10 (ALL AGES)

Clash Bar (Clifton): Hollow Earth / Pharaoh / Divider / Forever Losing Sleep / Hounds, 8pm, $10

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): Bodega Satellite / Oh Dam / Area IVI / Bigger Than Bears / The Black Sox Scandal, 9pm,

The Dopeness (Jersey City): NGHTCRWLRS (Record Release) / Cicada Radio / Dentist / France, 8pm, $10

Empire (New Brunswick): Holy Komodo / The Gray Company / Dollys / Foxanne / Maeby Funk, 7:30pm, $5

The Gutter (Brooklyn): Overlake / KNTRLR / Sink Tapes / Hermano Stereo, 8:30pm, $5

Knitting Factory (Brooklyn): Don Giovanni Records Showcase, Night 3: Screaming Females (Record Release) / Priests / Tenement / Vacation, 2 Shows: 7pm & 10:30pm, SOLD OUT

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Karmic Juggernaut, 9pm, FREE

The PussyPad (New Brunswick): Teenage Halloween / The Great Depression / Billy Mack Collector / Feeny / BooseGumps / Queen Jesus, 6pm, $5

The Saint (Asbury): Only Living Boy (Record Release) / Amy Malkoff & The Moonshines / Thee Idea Men / Ether Sunday, 7:30pm, $10

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): BUSH / Theory Of A Dead Man, 7pm, SOLD OUT

The Wonder Bar (Asbury): Juggling Suns Project, 7pm, $10

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why CoolDad Music

Black Wine as Devo at The Knitting Factory Brooklyn.

I Have to Do a Post Like This Every Once in a While

"What the hell am I even doing?"

That's what I was thinking to myself as I sat, pulled over on Marcy Ave., waiting for the NYPD officer to finish writing out my summons for supposedly running a red light. It was about 3AM, and I'd maybe endangered the lives of me, my passenger, and whomever else could have come through that intersection. We were heading home from the second night of the Don Giovanni Records showcase in Williamsburg.

We got back home at about 4AM, and I sat in the driveway scanning the ticket. It could end up costing $278. Ouch.

I thought the same thing again -- "What the hell am I doing?" -- as my car slipped and slid down Route 35 on my way to The Battery Electric's record release party. About 3-4 inches of slush covered the highway, and there was always someone behind me who thought I could be driving faster.

Coming home was less harrowing but no picnic either. It was probably about 2:30 by the time I got to bed.

I'm a 45-year-old suburban father of two getting home at 2, 3, 4 in the morning from covering rock concerts. I spend hours on Satudays and Sundays and almost all of my free moments during the week editing photos and preparing posts. Why??

I got my answer soon after those Don Giovanni shows in Brooklyn.

And, again, after that Battery Electric release show in Asbury.

And these are just two examples. Over the three years that I've been running CoolDad Music, I've had several thoughts about what I want the site to be. What I've found that works the best for me is just documenting. Documenting what these artists, however big or small, bring to a show night after night. Documenting what happens inside these venues. Documenting the feelings that all of this brings up inside my own mind. When I go back and view these pictures or read these posts, they take me back to some of the special moments I've experienced and shared over the last three years. Those experiences, together, have been a life saver for me; and it's just icing on the cake when I see evidence that they hold meaning for someone else.

So the answer to "What the hell am I doing?" is "I'm doing something that I love. I'm producing work of which I can say that I'm proud." It's no small thing, I tell you.

I've said this before, but that thing that you always read about finding your passion? It's true. Find what you love and do whatever you can to shoehorn it into your life. Doing it as a job, I guess, would be cool; but who really gets to do that? It doesn't matter anyway. Find what you love. Devote as much time to it as you are able. Do a good job. And when you find yourself asking, "Why the hell am I doing this?" look back at the work you've produced, and you'll see that it's healed your soul; it's allowed you to express who you really are; and it's probably touched other people along the way.

That's kind of what art is, isn't it? I believe each and every one of us is an artist deep down inside. We all just have to figure out what kind  -- musician, painter, writer, photographer, parent, chef, baker, sandwich maker, friend, listener, ballplayer, housecleaner, or a combination of several different things. Whatever kind of artist you are, once you find it and act on it; you'll be the happiest you've ever been.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Screaming Females, Rose Mountain, 2015

Album Review

Premiering at NPR. A producer (Matt Bayles). Airplay on the mainstream SiriusXMU. The cover of the SPIN. Our favorite New Jersey hard rock power trio (well, mine) look like they're making their way out of the basement. Not so fast, though. While Rose Mountain sounds as put together as anything Screaming Females have put out to date; and while it even contains a few slow, pretty numbers, there is still enough fire, rage, and rawness that my notes are illegible in some places because I couldn't stay calm enough to write clearly.

Opener "Empty Head" starts with a big, poppy riff; and the verse and pre-chorus are catchy as well. Screaming Females and Marissa Paternoster can't stay too poppy for too long, though. The song deals with the familiar subject matter of a deteriorating relationship, but things become dark and gothic-sounding with the chorus as Paternoster sings " bring the songs of cherubim into your empty head." It goes out on a solo that hits that signature tone I just love from this band. That happens all the way through the album.

Throughout the record, which sounds like a breakup album, Paternoster's lyrics mirror her visual art, which is full of complex, wild, and beautifully disturbing takes on the human form. There are many references in the songs to the body and bones and blood and physicality.

Single "Ripe" builds on an opening squeal of noise and King Mike's bass as Paternoster sings, "I said, 'Peel the skin raw... ...pinch it 'til the feeling's gone.'" Amidst the driving bass and metal-influenced guitar, though, she pleads, sounding kind of vulnerable, "...and if you're through with me, please just say so."

Early single, and the song you'll hear on Sirius, "Wishing Well," is a stone masterpiece. It's a change of pace for Screaming Females with its surfy jangle, but it gives Paternoster's bellow a chance to shine. "I toss dimes in the wishing well, but I'm broke 'cause you took all of me." I like to read that as a having the double meaning of financially broke and physically broken. One of my favorite songs in a long time.

"Broken Car" has kind of a retro-y, 60s garage rock feel with its "whoo ooo ooos." "Hopeless," which sees Paternoster "trapped at home waiting for you to call," also feels like an updated take on a 50s or 60s ballad.

"Broken Neck" could be referencing Paternoster's bout with pain and illness a few years back. Unsurprisingly, the physical images are there again with references to "swollen bones," "after-birth," and "stretching skin."

The title track starts simply with bass and drummer, Jarrett Dougherty. Paternoster comes in with some more metal-y chords before things quiet down a bit as she sings, "I'm nothing like the others. I was made just for you." The song includes some backing "ooo ooos" and goes out with some lo-fi, music box-like harpsichord.

"Triumph" and album-closer "Criminal Image" are the tracks that most heavily reference Screaming Females' earlier sounds. They're both jammy without spinning off the rails and feature Paternoster's trademark sonic references to the 90s and Billy Corgan. "Criminal Image," in particular, contains some physical references again: "draw your blood," "drag a needle on your skin," "cups of your tears," "blood in your kiss." It also has a pretty cool Book of Exodus / Passover reference with "Crimson red paint on my door. You skipped over me before."

Screaming Females sound as good as they ever have on a recording with Rose Mountain. Paternoster opens herself up with songs of love and breakup, but her most pining lyrics are always offset by some more raw blood and guts imagery. Musically, the fire and the crushing blows from the band show that sadness and anger are often two sides of the same coin.

This should be a breakout for Screaming Females, but who even knows what that means anymore? It will, for sure, send them hurtling beyond the basements of New Jersey in a way that their previous releases haven't. I'm sure, though, if you keep your eyes peeled, you'll be able to find them at some small DIY venue no matter how big they get.

Rose Mountain comes out tomorrow on Don Giovanni Records. The band will play an in-store at Brooklyn's Rough Trade tomorrow night (LP purchase at the store required to obtain wrist bands), and they will headline Night 3 of the Don Giovanni Records Showcase on February 28th with two sold-out shows at The Knitting Factory. We get to see them closer to home when they return to Asbury Lanes on April 4th with new Don Giovanni signee, Mitski.