Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Asbury Park Surf Music Festival Set for Anchor's Bend and Grand Arcade on 8/27

Messer Chups. Photo courtesy of the band.

Lineup Announced

The Asbury Park Surf Music Festival has become the East Coast's #1 surf music event. Following the closure of the fest's old home, the wonderful Asbury Lanes, husband-and-wife organizers Vincent Minervino and Magdalena O'Connell have relocated the festivities to the beachfront. The 2016 incarnation of the Asbury Park Surf Music Festival will take place on August 27th on the beach at Anchor's Bend and inside the Grand Arcade at Asbury Park's Convention Hall.

Topping this year's lineup are Messer Chups all the way from St. Petersburg, Russia. Other acts include return engagements from Atomic Mosquitos, Primitive Finks, Blue Wave Theory, Asbury Park's own Black Flamingos, and more.

This year, the festival will partner with the Asbury Park Bazaar to curate a market inside the Grand Arcade. As the Asbury Park Bazaar has been doing for a while now, the market will feature local and handmade goods from around the area.

Once again, there will be classic cars and a tropical Tiki drink menu curated by Vincent and Magdalena.

Check out the complete festival lineup below, and you can keep up with all the news regarding the festival, as well as purchase tickets, over at APSurfMusicFest.com.

Asbury Park Surf Music Festival Full Music Lineup

Messer Chups (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Black Flamingos (Asbury Park, NJ)
The Nebulas (Providence, RI)
Atomic Mosquitos (Arlington, VA)
The Primitive Finks (Philadelphia, PA)
Slowey & The Boats (Philadelphia, PA)
The Sharkskins (Philadelphia, PA)
Blue Wave Theory (Cherry Hills, NJ)
The Tarantinos NYC (Astoria, NY)
The Televisionaries (Rochester, NY)
Bongo Surf (Jersey City, NJ)

I Like This Song from Australia's Hockey Dad

Photo: Ian Laidlaw

"Jump the Gun"

I've been obsessing a lot on photography lately -- reading about lenses, trying to come up with ideas for shooting film. It's involved lots of reading and falling into the rabbit hole of YouTube videos, and I've fallen behind in some of the reviews and posts I've been thinking about getting out the door. It's always fun when something I like pops into my inbox as I'm struggling to work up a few things. That happened just a few minutes ago with the new single from Wollongong, Australia duo, Hockey Dad.

Hockey Dad were one of the bands I wanted to see at South By Southwest back in March, but our paths never crossed. I think they actually played inside at Sidewinder while I was watching Fear Of Men on the outside stage, but I didn't find out until it was too late. Oh well. Missed it by that much.

Yesterday, the band premiered "Jump the Gun" over at Consequence of Sound. The song is off of their upcoming Boronia which is due August 12th from Brooklyn's Kanine Records, a label which has put out several records I love from bands like Surfer Blood, Eternal Summers, Expert Alterations, Beach Day, Beverly, and Fear of Men. The song is sunny, jangly pop that reflects the coastal childhood shared by Zach Stephenson (guitars / vocals) and Billy Fleming (drums). Lines like "Somewhere it's summer" and "I don't wanna go home" give you an idea of what the guys are going for here. "Jump the Gun" is also reminiscent of Hockey Dad's Kanine label mates, Surfer Blood.

Check the song below. You'll be able to catch Hockey Dad when they return to the US on a tour that brings them to Philly's Boot and Saddle on August 30th and Brooklyn's Rough Trade on September 1st.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Dentist Released Ceilings at The Saint w/ Yawn Mower, Darkwing, and GayGuy/StraightGuy, 6/24/16

Dentist released Ceilings at The Saint.

Release Party

There really isn't much more for me to say about Dentist. In the run-up to the release of Ceilings, they've been the focus of several posts here: single releases, tour announcements. I've told you time and again that Ceilings, their second LP and first for Little Dickman Records, is a fantastic album. I've raved about many of their shows. What else can I say? Well, I can say that they sure know how to throw a party.

Last night, Dentist invited their friends Yawn Mower, Darkwing, and GayGuy/StraightGuy to The Saint to help them celebrate the release of their album. Fans and friends of all the bands packed out the venue, and each band was on their game. CoolMom came out, sporting a Dentist button on her collar. (Aside: CoolMom likes to travel light and often doesn't bring a wallet or purse. She looks just as beautiful and young as she did in high school, so The Saint wouldn't let her in without ID. After an arduous trip home and back and a frustrating search for parking, she eventually got inside and had a great time. Thanks to Justin for the use of his car.)

Yawn Mower are always a lot of fun and were a great choice to kick off the evening. The two-piece were joined by Jenn Fantaccione on cello for set-closer "Convenience Store." Darkwing came decked out for the beach, singer / guitarist Rich Gold wearing a wetsuit for most of the set. They definitely won over some new fans on their second (?) trip to Asbury Park with their "surf grunge." GayGuy/StraightGuy absolutely brought it once again, playing songs from their recently-released Shut Your Mouth and Eat Your Cake (egregious typo fixed) and throwing in a Radiohead cover.

Dentist played Ceilings in its entirety. Then they did that thing where they went out the stage door and stood on the sidewalk outside The Saint for a minute or two before coming back for an encore. Big time. Seriously, though, they played a joyful set; and the songs, especially the ones they almost never play live, sounded great.

Congratulations to Dentist and Little Dickman Records on the release of Ceilings, and good luck. You can order the record from Little Dickman or pick it up at a show like the one Dentist are playing tonight at NYC's Berlin with Best Behavior, Dead Stars, and Lightning Bug.

Pictures from all of the sets will be in the Flickr galleries and on the Facebook page.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Benjamin Dean Wilson, Small Talk, 2016

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

When I first heard the single “Sadie And The Fat Man” from Benjamin Dean Wilson’s debut album, Small Talk, I immediately thought of its similarity to the solo work of Lloyd Cole. If you read my review last year of Cole’s Pittsburgh concert and his latest album, you know how much I like his work. And I enjoyed what Wilson was doing musically and lyrically.

So I looked forward to hearing more of Wilson’s album but had to put it aside for a time. It seemed I was looking -- or rather listening -- for the wrong things. I was waiting to hear the next hook in the next song, but it didn’t come. Then it hit me: This wasn’t what he was doing. With a background in theater and films, Wilson was telling stories in his songs. And when you get to that realization, the way I did, Wilson brings a lot to the table.

Small Talk is made up of two character studies (“So Cool” and “William”): Three songs that are my favorites on the album: “Sadie And The Fat Man,” “My Wife,” and “End Of Never Again" -- recognizing my own limitations (it took a very long time for me to “get“ Dylan), more like what I’m used to hearing -- and the closing track, “Rick, I Tick Tock,” that’s more a novella than a short story.

“End Of Never Again” has a lovely, simple arrangement. It could be a scene in a movie, taking place in a bar in the middle of the afternoon, with one friend asking another: “Why don’t you remember the men who treated you better?” There’s also more than a little of the Lloyd Cole in Wilson’s vocal.

I especially like the lyrics and the sound of “My Wife.” Telling the story of a life spent with another, “It started out as nothing and grew to be more / I’ll hold your hand as you walk through my door.” There’s marriage and then there are kids (they grow up so fast!): “They start out in darkness / now they wear suits and ties.” There's more of the simple and lovely with a sweet harmonica break.

The last song on the album is “Rick, I Tick Tock” which clocks in at 14 minutes.  Made up of various bits that tell a story, in structure it’s not far from the Abbey Road medley or Billy Joel’s “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant.” It’s a musical drama in three acts that, in its movement from one character or scene to another, reminded me of Virginia Woolf’s use of cinematic techniques in her novel Mrs. Dalloway.

Hearing this album has turned out to be a welcome change for me. There’s a lot to listen to and enjoy in the words that Benjamin Dean Wilson has put into his songs.

Small Talk is now available on Tapete Records.