Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Giant Dog Cover Arcade Fire

A Giant Dog at The Saint back in July

Neon Bible

I spent about a year from the end of 2004 through 2005 with Arcade Fire's Funeral in my car's CD player. 3 years later, the band released the follow-up, Neon Bible; and, ever since, I've gone back and forth between those two albums as my favorite Arcade Fire record. Neon Bible definitely contains some of my favorite Arcade Fire songs like "Keep the Car Running," "(Antichrist Television Blues)," and "Intervention."

The stuff I listen to has changed a bit over the last 10 or 12 years. And, maybe, I've drifted away a bit from those Arcade Fire records. One of the bands I encountered and fell in love with over that time is A Giant Dog. Like Funeral and Neon Bible, the last two A Giant Dog albums (the excellent Pile and Toy) came out on Merge Records. As part of the label's 30th anniversary celebration, A Giant Dog recorded a full-album cover of Neon Bible. Subscribers to Merge's 30th anniversary vinyl series (a group that includes yours truly) received their copies on purple, marble vinyl earlier this week. At midnight on September 20th, the rest of the world will be able to stream the album in full.

In a press release, A Giant Dog lead singer Sabrina Ellis says, "Recording a cover album, we felt like actors in a movie. Taking someone else's lines and embodying those emotions, and expressing those ideas through our own selves, made us portals of human expression… and that's why the album artwork is an open butthole.*

*The awesome butthole artwork was conceived by our drummer Danny and made possible by our friend Jennine Turow."

I hadn't spun or pressed play or whatever on Neon Bible in a long time. A Giant Dog imbue this classic with their inimitable, all-out, soul-baring, heart-filling style. They take something that I -- a lot of us, probably -- know backwards and forwards and give it a fresh edge and vitality.

Check out A Giant Dog's take on "Intervention," and stream their whole cover of Neon Bible at midnight from wherever you like to do that sort of thing.

What's Going On: 9/19, 9/20, 9/21 & 9/22, 2019

Dentist celebrate their upcoming North American tour at APYC on Friday.

Official End of Summer

We had summer. We had the Unofficial End of Summer. We had / are having Local Summer. Come 3:50am on Monday, though, it's all over. Take advantage of the nice weather for one, last summer blast.

Lost In Society play AP Brewery on Thursday with Divided Heaven and The Fullers. Witch Taint come to The Saint with help from The Ribeye Brothers. The Aquabats are at The Stone Pony.

On Friday, Dentist celebrate their upcoming national tour with a kickoff party at APYC. The Tide Bends join them for that one. Also on Friday, Orville Peck plays a sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg and Yawn Mower open for The Wrecks at Wonder Bar. Low Cut Connie and The Vaughns play House of Independents.

Dave Hause and a bunch of his friends play HOI on Saturday. Austin's Black Pumas play The Saint. Francie Moon hold a record release party at Trans-Pecos in Queens with Sharkmuffin, Daddies, and Fughawee Hunting Club. Cat Power is at Webster Hall on Sunday.

There's also a big festival in Asbury Park on Saturday and Sunday that doesn't really need any help from me. It's important to point out, though, that Lowlight hit the stage in Bradley Park at 1:45pm on Sunday. Brick + Mortar play on the beach at 12:30.

There also may or may not be something called the See Ya Later Festival taking place at The Legendary Wells Fargo. Sponsored by Moon Cheese Records, it allegedly features bands like Dorito Cancer, Shartnado, Turtle Head, Eddie Bills, and Mulch. You can contact Mulch for all of the info on that one.

Have fun. Don't drink and drive.


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

Asbury Lanes (Asbury): Old Joy / Skylar Pocket / Jeff Linden & The Black Spot Society / Goose Ranger, 6pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Lost In Society / Divided Heaven / The Fullers, 8pm

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Captain Cream & The Forest Fires, 9pm

Barca City (New Brunswick): 81 Rich / The Other Lovers / Lolo Shang, 8:30pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Fun & Game Shows Comedy Benefit, 7pm

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): Seamstress / Looms / Atlas Engine, 8pm, $7

Meatlocker (Montclair): Dutchguts / Leather Lung / Mother Iron Horse, 9pm

Red Tank Brewing (Red Bank): The Fustics / Holler and The Hand, 8pm

The Saint (Asbury): Witch Taint / Ribeye Brothers, 7pm, $10

The Stone Pony (Asbury): The Aquabats / Koo Koo Kanga Roo / MC Lars, 7pm, $25-$28

FRIDAY (9/20)

Asbury Lanes (Asbury): The Mercury Brothers / Dave Mooney & Viewers Like You / The Extensions / Arlan Feiles & The Broken Hearted / Deidre Forrest and The Black Seams, 7pm

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Pepperwine / Moonwater, 8pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Free Throw / Chris Farren / Youth Fountain / Macseal, 7pm

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Dentist / The Tide Bends, 9:30pm

BoonTunes (Boonton): The Schwam / Will Wood / Matthew Danger Lippman / MattyLeeRay / Gene Baker, 7-m

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): 19DRT / Defiance Engine / The Red Room / Erotic Novels, 7pm

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Woodfish / Mark Fisher, 9pm

Elsewhere Hall (Brooklyn): Tropical Fuck Storm / Gustaf / Lola Pistola, 6pm, $15

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): Hurricane Dorian Benefit Hosted by CC Roots, 7pm, $10

House Of Independents (Asbury): Low Cut Connie / The Vaughns, 8pm, $20-$22

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): We Used To Cut The Grass, 9:30pm

Meatlocker (Montclair): Stupid Stupid Henchmen / Public Serpents / Crazy & The Brains / Disposable, 9pm

Mercury Lounge (NYC): Dude York / Desert Sharks / QWAM, 9pm, $12

Millhill Basement (Trenton): ILL VILLAIN presents Banging in the Basement Ft. Rome Streetz, 10pm

Modern Vice (NYC): Vanessa Silberman / Kristeen Young / Cloud Cover / Sharkmuffin, 9pm

Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn): Orville Peck / Le Ren, 9pm, SOLD OUT

The Saint (Asbury): The Lily Vakili Band / Tropic Vibez / Thrill Ride, 7:30pm, $10

The Seafarer Bar (Highlands): Stringbean, 7pm

The Stone Pony (Asbury): LETTUCE, 8pm, $31.50-$35

Stosh's (Fair Lawn): 50 Ft. Furies / Scoville Unit / This Bliss / Apollo Sonders / The Furies, 7:30pm

Wonder Bar (Asbury): The Wrecks / Yawn Mower / Judo Chop, 8pm, $30


Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): gods / The Cold Seas, 9:30pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): HeadMotor / Sixx Seconds To Mars / Bollocks, 8pm

The Broadway (Brooklyn): Monograms / Big Bliss / Russian Baths / Jelly Kelly, 8pm, $10

Chamber 43 (Highland Park): Lance Greene / Freddy Unreal / Joe Galuppo, 8pm

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Half In The Bag / The Deplorables, 7:30pm

The Clubhouse (Toms River): Centennials / Old Charades / Nothing After / Dan Rosler, 7pm, $5

Debonair Music Hall (Teaneck): Shonen Knife, 7pm

Grove PATH Plaza (Jersey City): Dancing Tony's All About Downtown Stage, 12noon

House Of Independents (Asbury): Dave Hause & The Mermaid & Friends, 10:30pm, $28-$32

Knitting Factory Brooklyn (Brooklyn): Big Cheese / Fruit & Flowers / Pop Empire, 8pm, $10

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Des & The Swagmatics, 9:30pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Raymond Strife / King Spade / Gibby Stites / Wormtooth / Dre Skuffs, 8pm

Neshaminy Creek Brewing (Croydon, PA): The Toasters / Hub City Stompers / The Cryptkeeper Five, 6pm, $15

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): The Zombie Mafia / K.K. Reaper & The Carnies Of Chaos / The Mary Lous / Take Away The Ugly, 7pm, $15

The Saint (Asbury): Black Pumas, 10pm, $25-$30

Seafarer Bar (Highlands): Levy & The Oaks, 7pm

The Stone Pony (Asbury): St. Paul & The Broken Bones / Tangiers Blues Band / Mike McReady, 10:30pm, SOLD OUT

Trans-Pecos (Queens): Francie Moon / Sharkmuffin / Daddies / Fughawee Hunting Club, 8pm

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Ripe / Oak & Ash, 10:30pm, $30

SUNDAY (9/22)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Sandy Mack, 4pm

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): DJ Foggy Notion / Mr. Ticklehands, 7pm

Bergen PAC (Englewood): Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, 7:30pm, $69

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Ogbert The Nerd / ¡Go Casino! / The Open Minds / Future Reflection / Richie Mandanici / A Sleepless Endeavor, 6pm

Meatlocker (Montclair): Jean Pool / Professor Caveman / Rare Demo / CRUST, 8pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): The Mighty John Caseys / Tim Hoh Jr. / American Television, 7pm, $5

The Saint (Asbury): Cranston Dean Band / Bobby Mahoney & The Seventh Son, 8pm, $10

Scarlet Pub (New Brunswick): Nefertiti Gold / Bad Blooms / John Shepherd / Alejandro Meola, 8pm, $5

Webster Hall (NYC): Cat Power, 7pm

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Waiting On Mongo, 9pm, $12

Monday, September 16, 2019

Bethlehem Steel Played Trans-Pecos with Sharkmuffin and Cat Cohen, 9/13/19

Bethlehem Steel by Rose Lamela

DIY Queens

Words and Pictures by Rose Lamela

For someone who grew up so close to NY, I have not explored the boroughs other than Manhattan as often as one would assume. Brooklyn got my attention last year, but Queens is a borough that I had not had the opportunity to tread into often. This past Friday, I attempted the long trek to a neighborhood in Queens I had never been to. The venue, Trans-Pecos, was one that has come up several times as a place I wanted to hit up. I was due for some Sharkmuffin, but I decided to give Bethlehem Steel a quick listen before going to the show. The first song I heard was "Bad Girl," and I was immediately sold. It's a great song, and so is their latest, self-titled release.

Trans-Pecos was super easy to miss, and I did miss it like three times. This place was as DIY as you could get, and I was happy to be there despite it being poorly lit which will give any photographer anxiety. I stood in a little corner and waited for everyone to be casually late to the event. I was taken aback by an old lopsided radiator holding up a speaker. This place got my approval for authenticity.

A comedian by the name of Catherine Cohen opened up the show with her hilarious self deprecation and raunchy songs. She was really good at involving the audience in her set and hijacking their attention. I have always felt that the hardest form of art is comedy. When someone can get most of the audience to genuinely laugh, they definitely get all of my respect.

Sharkmuffin came on stage next and they were dressed up in costumes. They were dressed as female historical figures that died tragic deaths. In between songs they tried to get the audience to guess who they were without using their phones to Google the clues with which they taunted the audience. I was happy to see them live since it felt like Austin was a million years ago. I especially love hearing my favorite song "Liz Taylor" live. I was excited to find out that I share a name with Sharkmuffin's current drummer.

Tarra doing the move

Bethlehem Steel took the stage and played their new release in full. I didn't quite get the fake blood that was being given out to the audience and used by lead singer Rebecca Ryskalczyk until I got home. Both music videos for "Bad Girl" and "Govt. Cheese" feature gory scenes with blood.

Bethlehem Steel
Bethlehem Steel
The band played as one would imagine on a Friday night in a small, intimate venue with the haze of soft-colored light. It was good to be able to feel the drums during the bridge of "Bad Girl" as I don't think anyone was following any noise ordinances in nowhereland, Queens. It was one of those nights where the crowd was super into the music and nice to be around. I even had someone nicely give me their hand to help me down as I attempted to climb a booth to get better photos.

Bethlehem Steel
Bethlehem Steel
Bethlehem Steel
Bethlehem Steel

The drive back wasn't as painful as dodging the rats on the street on my way back. It was garbage night, and this Jersey girl has never seen rats that big in clans. After surviving that, I smiled. They kind of gave essence to the vibe and grit of the hipster NY scene, the vibe to the scenes that pop up in neighborhoods we have yet to explore.

Bethlehem Steel is out now on Exploding In Sound.

You can see the rest of the pictures over at Rosi's Flickr account.

Recent Releases From The Beautiful Music: James Clarke Five, Parlour Sounds / Armstrong, Under Blue Skies, 2019

A Pair of Album Reviews

By Henry Lipput

The Beautiful Music, the Canadian label run by Wally Salem, recently released James Clarke Five's Parlour Sounds and Armstrong's Under Blue Skies, two albums of wonderful pop music in new formats. Salem liked these albums so much that he wanted to put them out as physical and full-color CDs.

In the press release for Parlour Sounds, Wally wrote, "One of the greatest things about running a label is getting to share with the world some of your favorite artists and digging up treasures that are sometimes lost in the mists of time."

James Clarke Five, Parlour Sounds

James Clarke Five is the brainchild of keyboardist / singer Jimmy Hughes. Hughes played in the short-lived 80s Liverpool band, The Cherry Boys, who only released a handful of singles and broke up before releasing a full album.

Parlour Sounds was originally released in a digital format on Amazon and iTunes in June 2018. But, because no physical format was available, Wally got in touch with Hughes who sent him the album files so it could be released by The Beautiful Music.

Parlour Sounds is full of the sounds of other albums but all of the songs are given a unique spin by Hughes and company. For example, "Rock and Roll (Took Me To The River)," with its nod in the title to both Al Green and Talking Heads, recalls the sounds of XTC's Colin Moulding, especially on albums like Mummer and The Big Express.

"Under My Skin" lifts the beat from The Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb;" but, instead of putting down a woman, Hughes's take on it involves a woman who's getting to him, but in a good way. And maybe it's love: "She's under my skin / And she's welcome to it."

"Someone Out There Somewhere" is a funk-fest with groovy guitar licks, a terrific guitar solo, and some Stevie Wonder-like electric piano riffs.

"Mairead" is a melancholy gem. The lyrics are a letter from a young soldier to his girlfriend as he waits for the fighting to resume during World War I. There are some lovely and sad horns, and I really like the wordplay of "You can rain (reign) over my parade anytime you like."

Parlour Sounds is out now on The Beautiful Music.

Armstrong, Under Blue Skies

Armstrong is Julian Pitt, and Under Blue Skies was originally self-released in very limited quantities on CDr in a photocopied black and white cover. The Beautiful Music decided to give the album a proper release and added demos and otherwise lost tracks. The album is a true find, and the songs on Under Blue Skies are, as The Chills said of one of their own tunes, heavenly pop hits.

One of the things that attracted me to Under Blue Skies was its comparison to the work of the great David Scott and The Pearlfishers. It's fantastic company to be in, and the melodies and harmonies of Under Blue Skies' "Crazy World" and "Baby You Just Don't Care" are definitely in that rarefied class. The absolutely gorgeous "Sorry About Lately" has more than a little early Pernice Brothers sound to it.

The musical touchstones of Under Blue Skies also include the mid-60s work of Ray Davies of The Kinks. Imagine if Ray, leaving behind his satirical edge, wrote more songs like "Waterloo Sunset" for other groups like The Hollies, and you might end up with Armstrong's "September Skies." "Try And Find The Answers" sounds like a bonus track from Lloyd Cole and the Commotions' Rattlesnakes album.

Under Blue Skies is out now and is a joint release by The Beautiful Music and Country Mile Records.