Friday, December 2, 2016

Bad Moves, Bad Moves, 2016

EP Review

I've been doing pretty much two things this morning: continuously watching all the videos I posted a little while ago and playing Bad Moves' self-titled EP on repeat.

Bad Moves are a quartet comprised of David Combs, Katie Park, Daoud Tyler-Ameen, and Emma Cleveland. Combs's Max Levine Ensemble put out a new album at the end of last year; and the rest of the band have roots in several Washington, DC-area bands, making Bad Moves a DC supergroup of sorts.

Thematically, I guess, Bad Moves deals with a world that's basically pretty lousy. Opener "Shitty Tomorrow" could be the theme song for January 19th, 2017. The bouncing guitar and upbeat delivery mask a  resignation about a pretty bleak future: "They're coming for the future, yeah. They're coming and they're taking it all."

"Drain Me" gets at the feeling of trying to grow up and move forward when the deck is stacked against you.

"Get Slow," at this late point in 2016, is definitely in contention for one of my favorite songs of the year. The post-punky bass and slow build grab you and pull you in as Bad Moves try to convince you of the virtues of packing it in and leaving the rat race.

That temptation seems to be working on the narrator of "The Verge," stuck in a soul-sucking job and plotting escape.

This is all delivered in the form of infectious, cathartic, and amazingly wonderful power pop. Damn, I wish this EP were longer.

Bad Moves came out today, and it's available on cassette / download from Don Giovanni Records or as a download from Bad Moves' Bandcamp page.

Here Are Some Videos from 2016 for You to Watch While I Get Some Stuff Done

Kill Some Time This Morning with These Clips from 2016

I don't know. Just figured I'd give you something to do while I work on writing up a few things. Here are some videos that our friends put out in 2016.

YJY, "Amelia"

Roy Orbitron, "Swimmer's Ear"

Lowlight, "Bones"

American Trappist, "No Bibles"

American Trappist - No Bibles from Brian L. Tice Jr. on Vimeo.

dollys, "friendly"

Semiotics, "Cheers Me Proper"

Fortune Yeller, "White Flag (Halloween Edition)"

Paper Streets, "Freddy's Dead"

and hell...

YJY, "Past My Prime"

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Hold Steady Played Night 1 of Their Boys and Girls in America Anniversary Residency with Titus Andronicus at Brooklyn Bowl, 11/30/16

The Hold Steady

How a Resurrection Really Feels

I remember, back in 2006 or 2007, looking for some new music to buy. These were the days when I still bought most music on CD; so, after checking some "Best Of 2006" list somewhere, I came home with The Hold Steady's Boys and Girls in America in a little orange and white striped bag from Jack's in Red Bank. I'm going to admit that I didn't know what to make of it right away.

Boys and Girls in America is a big, loud, sometimes anthemic, classic rock-inspired album. I discovered it at a time when I was in full-on indie rock mode, and the keyboards and huge guitar chords sounded anachronistically Springsteenian to me at the time. Now, I've loved Bruce my whole life; but he hadn't been "cool" for a long time. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I may have been all about what was "cool" for a while there.

But you know what? I pushed past all that as I spent time with the record. I got lost in the strands of a story arc that I could see joining many of the songs. Frontman Craig Finn's talk-sing delivery invested the songs with drama and humor; and I eventually just gave myself over to the gut-punches of those massive guitars. Boys and Girls in America is one of my favorite albums ever.

The Hold Steady have returned from a hiatus to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the album. Keyboardist Franz Nicolay, whose work gives Boys and Girls a huge part of its signature sound, is back; and the band are in the midst of a 4-night stand at Brooklyn Bowl. Last night, I attended Night 1.

I initially had no tickets to any of the Brooklyn Bowl shows as pre-sale tickets disappeared within moments. Resigned to missing the live rendition of one of my favorite records of all time, I went about my life. Then, The Hold Steady started giving hints about the openers for each night. Night 1, it soon became clear, would be kicked off by Titus Andronicus. I got myself to the show.

I got myself to the show waaaaay early. Like almost three hours early. The idea of watching things over a sea of heads from the back of the room was wildly unappealing, so I arrived soon after doors. I relaxed with a couple of beers, then sauntered to the stage where I'd wait for about two hours.

Titus Andronicus hit the stage at the appointed 8:45. This would be an abbreviated opening set, but Titus Andronicus know what they're doing. They lit right into the usually mid-set one-two punch of "Fired Up" and "Dimed Out." Over eight songs, the band also hit a couple of oldies: "Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ" and "Upon Viewing Brueghel's 'Landscape with the Fall of Icarus.'"

Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus
Just as Patrick Stickles announced, "We've got a couple more for you," the sound man told the band they'd run out of time. After some confusion and a partial breakdown of the drum set, everyone realized that there were still ten minutes left in the set. Titus Andronicus came back for an "encore" and squeezed in "A More Perfect Union," ending just as we hit 9:30.

Titus Andronicus
The crowd had filled in all around; and when The Hold Steady took the stage just after 10pm, the place exploded. From the opening riff of "Stuck Between Stations" to the final strains of "Southtown Girls," arms stretched toward the stage and people screamed out lyrics.

Craig Finn did his usual dance of reciting a lyric and then stepping away from the mic to repeat it silently at the audience. Those who have been to many, many more Hold Steady shows than I have (I think I'm at 3 right now.) knew just when to make certain hand signals, when to cross their arms or cross themselves. At the far side of the stage from me -- stage right, I guess -- Franz Nicolay bounced maniacally and drank from a full wine bottle.

The Hold Steady's Craig Finn
When "Chillout Tent" came up, Patrick Stickles and High Waisted's Jessica Louise Dye came out to do the guest vocals on the song. Dye had to work to be heard above the band but did a great job. Stickles inhabited his role.

Jessica Louise Dye
Once the band had finished with the album, they played songs spanning their discography, from Boys and Girls bonus track "Girls Like Status" to Stay Positive favorites "Constructive Summer" and "Magazines" to the band's very oldest song "Knuckles." They closed the main set with "How a Resurrection Really Feels," and it was awesome.

The setlist taped down to the stage ended with just "Encore -- Audible." The Hold Steady returned with Almost Killed Me's "Certain Songs" and went directly into "Stay Positive."

The Hold Steady's Tad Kubler
Then they played what is, apparently, the deepest of Hold Steady deep cuts, "Ballad of the Midnight Hauler." There was a guy up front named Brendan (I think) who was at his 76th Hold Steady show. "Last night was his birthday," said Finn. "And this was the only thing we could think of that would surprise him." Brendan sang every word.

As things wrapped up, Finn said his thanks and left us with, "Brooklyn. Minneapolis. New York City. You. You. You. Us. We are all The Hold Steady." And that's what I love about this band. They may not be re-inventing rock and roll; but, even though many of their songs are about difficult subjects and sad people, The Hold Steady's music is ultimately joyful. Their music is just one of many variations on the theme of a gritty, communal, cathartic, human experience; and those are wonderful things.

The Hold Steady continue their anniversary celebration at Brooklyn Bowl through Saturday.

What's Going On: 12/1, 12/2, 12/3 & 12/4, 2016

Halfway to Memorial Day / Move for Hunger

Late night last night has me off my game this morning, but I'm getting back in the swing of things. I'm going to have to since this is a big weekend where CoolDad Music is sponsoring two separate shows. Let's go.

On Thursday night, Daughter Vision play and do Q&A at the Asbury Park Music Foundation. LKFFCT, Thin Lips, and Hodera support Steady Hands at Monty Hall in Jersey City. The Saint hosts Barb Wire Dolls, The Mighty Nothings, and Little Vicious.

Friday night brings Yacht Rock Night to APYC. Debt League celebrate the release of Akimbo with Hong Kong Graffiti, Lunch Ladies, and Old Hands at The Bomb Shelter in New Brunswick. Titus Andronicus play their first Bergen County show in a while at Hasbrouck Heights VFW with Liam Betson and Boosegumps. Frankie Cosmos, Rest Ashore, and Long Neck are at Stevens Institute in Hoboken. Jim Breuer brings his band, The Loud and Rowdy, to Wonder Bar.

Also on Friday, it's the Halfway to Memorial Day Party presented by Makin Waves, Sniffling Indie Kids, High Tide, Little Dickman Records, and me at The Asbury's Asbury Hall. Dentist, Sink Tapes, Black Flamingos, and Ex-Girlfriends play that one with DJ Hi-Tide covering the in-betweens. It's free and should be a great time.

Saturday afternoon is the grand opening of the expanded Lakehouse building. That features performances from Von Mons and gods. Also on Saturday, it's Punk Night at House of Independents. Corrina, Corrina head up to Hoboken for the SUMAC Holiday Special at Stevens that also features The Moms, Backyard Superheroes, Help Me Help You, and Calendar Year. Cabinet play The Pony.

Saturday is also the second show we're involved with of the weekend. Cassanova Cassettes is presenting a show to benefit Move for Hunger, and we're proud to be a part of it. That one features Levy & The Oaks, Beatrix Potter Band, Yawn Mower, GayGuy / StraightGuy, Prehistoric Forest, Ba Babes, and TrapBang. It's at The Overlook upstairs in Convention Hall. Bring a non-perishable food item, and get in for just seven bucks.

Noise In The Attic holds their winter coat drive at The Inkwell in Long Branch on Sunday. Young Rising Sons come to House of Independents with Deal Casino. It's Soft Sounds at The Court.

I'll tell you all about why I'm so tired this morning a little later. Hope to see you this weekend.


The Asbury Hotel (Asbury): Open Mic, 8pm, FREE

Asbury Park Music Foundation (Asbury): Daughter Vision, 9pm

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): Aust-N / Adam James / 2AM Soul / Kevlexicon, 8pm, $5 or $10

House of Independents (Asbury): Mercy & Kindness Benefit w/ Cat London, 7:30pm, $75

Meatlocker (Montclair): Travis Love Benson / Quantum Peruvian / The Little Engineers / John Cozz & The Squirts / Surprise Of The Century / Blue Skeleton, 8pm, donations

Monty Hall (Jersey City): Steady Hands / Thin Lips / LKFFCT / Hodera, 8pm, $10 adv, $12 door

Paradise: Lost (New Brunswick): The Great Depression / Hole in the Earth / Virtual Crimes / NGGA, 8pm

The Saint (Asbury): Barb Wire Dolls / The Mighty Nothings / Little Vicious, 7:30pm, $12

The Stone Pony (Asbury): The Sounds, 7pm, $22 adv, $28 door

FRIDAY (12/2)

Asbury Hall at The Asbury Hotel (Asbury): Dentist / Sink Tapes / Black Flamingos / Ex-Girlfriends / DJ Hi-Tide, 8pm, FREE

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Yacht Rock with Atom Worth, 9pm, FREE

The Bomb Shelter (New Brunswick): Debt League / HKG / Lunch Ladies / Old Hands, 7pm, $5 or $10 w/ CD

The Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Raftree / The Black Clouds / Craving Strange, 8pm, $10

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): MichaelIronside / The Zamborys / Aguirre / Matchaponix, 8pm, $5 or $10

Hasbrouck Heights VFW (Hasbrouck Heights): Titus Andronicus / Liam Betson / Boosegumps, $15 adv, $20 door

House of Independents (Asbury): Puddles Pity Party, 8pm, $30 adv, $35 door

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Predator Dub Assassins, 9pm, FREE

PK's Shamrock (Belmar): Waiting On Mongo, 10pm

Purgatory (New Brunswick): Olor A Muerte / Sick Shit / Weather Lore / SPANDEX / fluoride, 7pm

Rockwood Music Hall (NYC): Sean Kiely Band, 7:30pm

Roxy & Duke's Roadhouse (Dunellen): Bitter Crush / Ingrid & the X-Divine / The Ritualists / The Nuclears, 9pm, $10

The Saint (Asbury): Gallagher's Guest House / The Union / Downstream, 7:30pm, $10

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Granger Smith, 7pm, $10.60 adv, $20 door

Stevens Institute (Hoboken): Frankie Cosmos / Rest Ashore / Long Neck, 7pm, FREE

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Kane Brown, 7pm, $20 adv, $25 door

The Wonder Bar (Asbury): Jim Breuer and The Loud and Rowdy, 8pm, $18 adv, $20 door


Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Dirty / Leeds / Bobby Mahoney and The Seventh Son, 9pm, FREE

The Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Sometimes The Devil, 7pm, $10

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): The Hostage Crisis / AristoCants / Lowlight / Casino Sundae / The Carousers, 8pm, $5 or $10

Devin's Playhouse (New Brunswick): Hong Kong Graffiti / Stillwells / Busse & the Vibes / Hot Pickup, 8pm

Flemington DIY (Flemington): Gurlzilla Showcase, 5:30pm, $5

House of Independents (Asbury): Punk Night, 9pm, FREE

J House (New Brunswick): GULPS / MAD Doctors / ASHES to RAIN / Garbage BRAIN, 7:30pm, $5-$7

Lakehouse (Asbury): Grand Opening ft. Von Mons / gods, 11am

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Sandy Mack and Friends, 9pm, FREE

Meatlocker (Montclair): Bubbles 10 year Bath, 8pm

The Overlook at Convention Hall (Asbury): Levy & The Oaks / Beatrix Potter Band / GayGuy/StraightGuy / Yawn Mower / Prehistoric Forest / Ba Babes / TrapBang, 7pm, $10, $7 with non-perishable food item

Roxy & Duke's Roadhouse (Dunellen): Ring Of Fire, 9pm

The Saint (Asbury): The Black Suburbia Show / LYF / Trulogy / Drew the Recluse / Whodat, 7:30pm, $10

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Flatbush Zombies, 7pm, $22 adv, $25 door

Stevens Institute (Hoboken): SUMAC Holiday Special ft. The Moms / Corrina, Corrina / Backyard Superheroes / Help Me Help You / Calendar Year, 6pm, FREE for SIT, $5 for guests

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Cabinet, 7pm, $19 adv, $22 door

The Wonder Bar (Asbury): Sinderella's Ball, 7pm, $20

SUNDAY (12/4)

The Asbury Hotel (Asbury): Sunday Night Trivia at The Asbury w/ Gentleman Jim, 6pm

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): Soft Sounds & Creative Wonders: In Memory Of Mike Porrino, 6:30pm, $5

House of Independents (Asbury): Young Rising Sons / Deal Casino, 8pm, $16 adv, $18 door

Inkwell Coffee House (Long Branch): Noise In The Attic Winter Coat Drive, 8:30pm, $5 or lightly used winter clothing

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Billy Hector and The Queen, 1pm, FREE

Roxy & Duke's Roadhouse (Dunellen): Anthony Krizan, 4:30pm, $12

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Jody Joseph, 12 noon, $25