Tuesday, May 22, 2018

I've Been Quiet But Busy: Folked Up, Record Plants, Fruit & Flowers, Sweet Spirit, Michael VM, The Vansaders, and More

Sweet Spirit at Johnny Brenda's

What Have I Been Up To?

There was a time, back in the early days of CoolDad Music, when I would write recaps and reviews of just about every show I attended, no matter how large or how small. As I've become a veteran, jaded blogger, I've done less of that. I'm not complaining here because it's 100% my own choice to do all of this, but it's a fair bit of work to put together a post about even a small show if I want to include pictures and all that kinda stuff. Sometimes, I just get lazy.

I still attend a shit-ton of shows, though. Here's a round-up of what I've been up to in the last week or so.

Let's Get Folked Up!, Watermark, Asbury Park, NJ

On Wednesday, May 16th, I attended the inaugural Let's Get Folked Up "writers' round" presented by Chris Brown and Megan O'Shea in conjunction with Nashville recording artist Jo Smith. In addition to Smith and Brown, the line-up for this first show in a proposed series included J.T. Makoviecki of Jackson Pines, Renee Maskin of Lowlight, and Matty Carlock.

Jo Smith
Chris Brown et al

Artists took turns sharing songs and stories over the course of two sets before finishing up with a group performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah." It was a pretty laid-back evening in a beautiful space with waves crashing just outside the windows behind the stage. I'm hearing that the next installment will happen in July; and, if last week was any indication, it's definitely something worth checking out.

Thursday with the Dickmans, Independent Record Pressing, Bordentown, NJ / The Outpost, Asbury Park, NJ

On Thursday morning, Chris Dickman and I headed over to Bordentown where Randy Now has organized a tour of the new Independent Record Pressing plant which sits just a few minutes away from the Man Cave. We got a walkthrough of the production floor and saw vintage and new vinyl presses pumping out titles from bands like Radiohead, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Menzingers, and Snail Mail. It was pretty damn cool, especially to know that it's happening right in our backyard.

Fruit & Flowers

That evening, Chris & Amy managed to get me into a party that surf, skate, swim lifestyle brand Volcom were throwing at Asbury Park's Outpost. Fruit & Flowers, long a favorite of ours around here, were providing the musical entertainment. I, amazingly, hadn't seen the Brooklyn band since Austin; and it was nice to see that they could still blow me away. Earlier this week, Fruit & Flowers left for their first-ever tour of the UK.

Sweet Spirit / The 1910 Chainsaw Company, Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, PA

I already wrote briefly here about what a tough day Friday was. As the day wore on, I made the last-minute decision to head down to Philly to catch Sweet Spirit at Johnny Brenda's.

Sweet Spirit is a project featuring Sabrina Ellis and Andrew Cashen of A Giant Dog along with Josh Merry, Jake Knight, Jon Fichter, and Danny Lion. Where A Giant Dog are glam punk, Sweet Spirit are more soulful, more poppy. Ellis, though, is probably the most charismatic presence in live music right now. It doesn't matter which band she's fronting. And, I hate to put this kind of thing on artists who don't know me from a hole in the ground; but Ellis and Cashen have "been there" for me at times when I really needed it. Catching them at this show was really a no-brainer for me, and they didn't disappoint.

Sweet Spirit

I only brought the point & shoot and spent most of the set enjoying myself rather than shooting. Openers The 1910 Chainsaw Company were a nice surprise. To me, they sounded like what you might get if you crossed Pavement and The Beach Boys.

The 1910 Chainsaw Company

Side note: Philly is like 30 miles further from me than Brooklyn, but the drive on Friday was about 30 minutes shorter each way than my usual trips up to Brooklyn. I'll be heading down there more often.

Michael VM / Metal Mountains, Mercury Lounge, New York, NY

After taking Saturday night off from shows in order to spend some time with the family, it was back to it on Sunday for an early show at Mercury Lounge. Our good buddy Michael VM made the trip up from North Carolina with his family to celebrate last year's release, the happiest man on earth. I reviewed the album right around its original release, and it finds Michael in a quieter more contemplative place following his marriage, his move from NYC to NC, and the loss of his mother. He played live with a band that included several members of his former band, The Everymen, as well as his father, Ray. The songs translated well to a live setting and were as moving as they are on the record.

Michael VM

Duo Metal Mountains opened. Helen Rush (vocals / guitar) and Pat Gubler (guitar) delivered, maybe, the mellowest, most low-key set I've ever seen. Metal Mountains' Facebook bio reads simply, "Quiet in the noise..." and that's pretty spot-on.

Metal Mountains

Pastrami from Katz's after the show.

Kali Masi / The Vansaders / Have A Good Season, The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ

On Monday, I headed over to The Saint to catch The Vansaders, Have A Good Season, and Chicago post-hardcore / emo-ish band Kali Masi. Emily was working the door. Scotch LaRock showed up. Alex. Billy. Neil. It wasn't a huge crowd, but there were lots of familiar, friendly faces.

Have A Good Season do the 90s fuzzy guitar indie thing (Dinosaur Jr., Built To Spill) really well, and it's always cool when I catch one of their sets. I was saying to someone over the weekend that I've never seen The Vansaders turn in a bad set, and last night was no different. Just big gut punches of punk-inspired anthems. Kali Masi played to the small Monday night crowd as if they were working a packed room, which is always good to see.

Have A Good Season
The Vansaders
Kali Masi

Things ended relatively early -- always a bonus after a busy few days.

So, even though it's been quiet here at the site, I've been pretty busy. I've got a few interesting things lined up this week that I'll share with you before the coolfamily and I head down to Savannah for the long weekend.

Friday, May 18, 2018

New Stuff for a Weird Friday from Quiet Slang and The RockNRoll Hi-Fives

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives


This has been a weird Friday around here. On the Jersey Shore, we're on like day 47 in a row of rain. The fact that Asbury Lanes is forever gone will be driven home this evening as the new venue at that address holds its "soft opening." This morning, I watched the guy who caused my brother's accident get handcuffed and taken away to serve out his seven-year prison sentence. Weird, to say the least.

At times like this, when I'm feeling kind of disconnected and disjointed, I turn to music that holds meaning for me.

Quiet Slang, "Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas"

Beach Slang's James Alex released Everything Matters But No One Is Listening today. Put out under the name Quiet Slang, the album re-imagines the melodramatic, romantic, and loud punk rock of Beach Slang. Alex calms things down, adding piano and strings where before there were "Guitar, bass, and drums. Played loudly."

Beach Slang were the last band to play Asbury Lanes before it closed in 2015, and I always associate  "Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas" -- and screaming along to that song with friends old and new in the front row -- with that evening.

It seems appropriate that we get this sad, quiet version of that song, along with the rest of Everything Matters..., on this dreary, rainy day when it becomes official that Asbury Lanes is never coming back.

Everything Matters But No One Is Listening is out now on Polyvinyl.

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives, "Hold On"

The RockNRoll Hi-Fives played the first set I got out to see following my brother's accident. I don't know if it was the best set they ever played. I don't know if it was the worst set they ever played. I don't know if it fell somewhere in between. What I do know is that show was exactly what I needed right when I needed it. The songs that The RockNRoll Hi-Fives played that night gave me the push I needed to get myself through the immensely difficult next few days and beyond.

I recently accompanied Joe, Gloree, Eilee, and Evren Centeno on their tour of Japan. We spent lots and lots of time together; and I got to feel that same lift, that same push, at each show. It was like getting a little refill every couple of days of the fuel I needed to keep on keeping on.

Earlier this week, the band released the first single from their forthcoming LP, Re-Introducing the RockNRoll Hi-Fives. With "Hold On," the family band take their sound into the glam stratosphere; and it's one of the songs on which Eilee really comes into her own as front-person. I can't help but see her flaming Vans stomping around the stage every time that chorus comes around.

Re-Introducing The RockNRoll Hi-Fives comes out June 29th on Little Dickman Records, and the band will play Asbury Park Yacht Club next week, May 26th, with our good friends in Dentist.

Deal Casino, Isadora Duncan, 2018

EP Review

By Henry Lipput

Deal Casino's Isadora Duncan EP is their first batch of all-new songs since last year's terrific Deal Casino album (one of my top ten favorite releases last year). 2017 also saw them put out the Calidus EP which contained re-workings of some songs from the album and a sad, beautiful acoustic (and untitled) demo they've promised to record for their next album.

Last year's Calidus EP featured the title track, an eight-minute mashup of sorts of three songs from the debut album recorded live in one take in a New Jersey junk yard. This experience of taking a new look at the material has had an impact at what Deal Casino would do on Isadora Duncan.

In the past, I've said some Deal Casino songs have been influenced by artists as wide ranging as The Beatles and Radiohead. On the new EP, some of that shows up again.

The new EP is an excellent, mature work; and I mention The Beatles because Deal Casino (Joe P, Jozii, Jon Rodney, and Chris Donofrio) have begun to mix things up in the studio and expand their sonic palette like the Fab Four started to do beginning with Rubber Soul. On "Dirty T-Shirt," there's both a treated guitar throughout the song and a fuzzed guitar in the solo. I've been listening to Deal Casino since the Heck EP, and both of these sounds from the band are new to me.

"Dirty T-Shirt" is a post-breakup song with, it seems, one of the parties having left with all their clothes but ones that the other party had been wearing as well: "So you had to make due / With the smell of me all over you / Back then you didn't seem to mind / You used to wear me all the time / I guess it wore you out." And when a relationship ends, you begin to notice things you didn't before: "You're starting to show your age."

"Soft Machine" has a very 1980s indie vibe as well as some more manipulated instruments. Joe P sings in a falsetto and there's a big, Beatle-y crescendo in the chorus. "Paper Planes" sounds as if it would have fit nicely on the debut album between songs like "Human Cannonball" and
"Blueberry Pop." "I want everything," sings Joe P in the chorus. "I want everything all the time / Heaven's got away / I'm already living in Paradise."

"12 X 20" would not have been out of place on Radiohead's The Bends album. It's a spooky song that could be about a couple on the run and hiding from something or someone. "Wait right here / I'll tell you when the coast is clear / I'll tell you when it's safe."

Isadora Duncan is out now. Deal Casino will be celebrating with a release party on June 16th at Asbury Park's House of Independents. That one also features Sonic Blume, Well Wisher, and Haunt Club.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

What's Going On: 5/17, 5/18, 5/19 & 5/20, 2018

Austin's Sweet Spirit are in Philly tomorrow.

In a Rush...

Lots of stuff going on this morning, but here are your listings. I probably missed a bunch, but you know what to do.

Don't drink and drive.


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

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Idle Wave / Idle Threat / Bloom / Beauty, 7pm, $10

Barca City Cafe & Bar (New Brunswick): Foxanne / Jesse Elliot, 8:30pm

BoonTunes (Boonton): Flipturn / Ocean Heights / Natalie Claro, 7pm, $10

Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank): Dark Star Orchestra, 7pm, $27+

Flemington DIY (Brooklyn): Long Neck / Weller / Great Wight / Sugar Trip, 7:30pm, $10

FM (Jersey City): Yeti Shivers / Apollo Sonders / State Of Nature / Diana Zinni, 8pm

House of Independents (Asbury): Myles Kennedy, 7pm, SOLD OUT

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Peter Myers, 8:30pm

Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn): Speedy Ortiz / Computer Magic / gobbinjr, 8pm, $18+

Pet Shop JC (Jersey City): The Vice Rags / Darkwing, 8pm, FREE

The Saint (Asbury): Cat Dail, 7:30pm, $10

FRIDAY (5/18)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Finding Feebas / Rhonette & The Smiths / Sad Lips / Drew Barutie, 8pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Secret Mountain / Nervous Dater / Halogens / Hit Like A Girl, 7pm, $10

Asbury Park Music Foundation (Asbury): Threat 2 Society / Wastelands / Burning Limbs / Mom Fight / Jaws, 7pm, $10

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Country Grits & The Dicks / Coach N Commando, 9pm, FREE

BoonTunes (Boonton): Strange Weekend / Shinner / Katrina Weissman / Coconut Email, 7pm

Bowery Ballroom (NYC): Low Cut Connie / Leland Sundries, 9pm, $15

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Panzie / Lower The Veil / Memphis Crawl / Symetria / Scars of Envy, 7pm, $10

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Jessie McCormick / Devon Alana / Riley Schiro, 9pm, FREE

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): My Rising Fall / Harborland / The View From Here / Feeny, 8pm, $10

Debonair Music Hall (Teaneck): Strive / Chevonne & The Fuzz / Jack Names The Planets, 8pm, $10-$15

FM (Jersey City): SHRB / Cyclone Static / Experiment 34, 9pm, $8

House of Independents (Asbury): Mad Caddies / Worthess United / Backyard Superheroes, 7pm, $20-$25

Johnny Brenda's (Philly): Sweet Spirit / The 1910 Chainsaw Company, 8pm, $14-$16

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why, 9pm, FREE

Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn): King Tuff / Cut Worms / Sasami Ashworth, 8pm, $18

Pino's (Highland Park): Mr. Payday / Naughty Clouds / Gigantic, 9pm

Randy Now's Man Cave (Bordentown): Jeffrey Gaines, 7:30pm

Rent Party (Maplewood): Demolition String Band / The Vines Of Hoboken / The Clydes, 8pm, $10

The Saint (Asbury): Adv3ntures / Colin Henry / Red Freck / Whoislyf / Tony Lit, 7:30pm, $10

Seaside Heights Beach & Boardwalk (Seaside Heights): Jersey Shore Festival

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Battle of the Decades (covers), 7:30pm, $12-$17

Tim McCloone's Supper Club (Asbury): The Weeklings, 7pm, $25+

Transparent Clinch (Asbury): Karyn Kuhl Band / Not An Airplane / The Porchistas, 8pm, FREE

White Eagle Hall (Jersey City): Basement / Citizen / Pronoun / Souvenirs, 7:30pm, $20-$23.45

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Blue Water Highway / Taylor Tote, 8pm, $10-$12


The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Audra Mariel & A Real Human Jazz Band, 9pm, FREE

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): The Insomniacs / DJ Appetite, 9:30pm, FREE

BoonTunes (Boonton): Saint Slumber / Futures / 8 Graves / Young Thieves, 7:30pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Soda Club / Lightheaded / BBGuns / Sugar Trip / Hannah Burke, 7pm, $5-$7

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): CAVEART / My Cruel Summer / Joe Conte, 9pm, FREE

FM (Jersey City): Pushing Up The Daisies After Party ft. Mutual Interest / Yawn Mower / Wild Moon, 9pm

Historic Jersey City & Harsimus Cemetery (Asbury): 7th Annual Pushing Up The Daisies Festival, 12noon

House of Independents (Asbury): AK / Voss, 7pm, $13-$15

John & Peter's (New Hope, PA): Accidental Seabirds / The Mercury Brothers / Dave Mooney & The Aztec Gypsy / Justin Pope & The Swiss Guard, 8pm

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): The Chris Rockwell Extravaganza, 9:30pm, FREE

Meatlocker (Montclair): US Americans / Tula Vera / ok friends / Actually, I'm A Ghost, 8pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Open Flowz, 9:30pm

Monty Hall (Jersey City): An Evening With Lou Barlow, 8pm, $15

Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn): Courtney Barnett / Palehound, 7pm, SOLD OUT

Palette Gallery (Asbury): Jon Caspi & Ezra Caspi, 2pm

Prudential Center (Newark): The Original Misfits, 7pm, $99.50+

The Saint (Asbury): Gallagher's Guest House / The Dirty Shine / Shot, 7:30pm, $10

Seaside Heights Beach & Boardwalk (Seaside Heights): Jersey Shore Festival

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Honoring Powerhouse Females Planned Parenthood Benefit, 7pm, $12-$15

Trans-Pecos (Brooklyn): Tall Juan / Fruit & Flowers / Adore Acevedo, 10pm, $10

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Uncle Ebeneezer, 8pm, $10

SUNDAY (5/20)

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

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): The Messthetics / Shut Up, 9pm, FREE

BoonTunes (Boonton): A Gathering Of Trees / The Planet You / Ishmael / The Fifth Down, 7:30pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Rainbow Full Of Sound, 5pm, $5

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): House Boat / Hospital Job / Attic Salt / The Groucho Marxists, 8pm, $10

House of Independents (Asbury): Artist Showcase, 5pm, $15-$20

Mercury Lounge (NYC): Michael VM / Metal Mountains, 5:30pm, $10

Seaside Heights Beach & Boardwalk (Seaside Heights): Jersey Shore Festival

The Stone Pony Summer Stage (Asbury): The Flukes / The Fusions / Zach Matari / Shane Zen / Um Band, $10-$14

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Elvana, 7pm, $15-$18