Wednesday, June 19, 2019

New Song and Video from SUPER 8

"Love Like Ours"

By Henry Lipput

There's DIY, and then there are those who are even more DIY. UK-based SUPER 8, aka Trip, aka Paul Ryan, writes, sings, plays all of the instruments, records, produces, mixes, and masters his songs in the shed in his backyard. He has also released some of my favorite music in the last year and a half including his HI LO album from last October which was my top of the pops for 2018. In addition, he and his wife have handmade his videos including the adorable video for his new song "Love Like Ours."

Last month, just before the release of his recent compilation album Backers & Maracas (which included two new songs: the jangle gem "Something New" and a great cover of Michael Head’s "X Hits the Spot"), Trip took a holiday to Greece carrying an acoustic guitar and a portable four-track recorder. During those two weeks, he wrote a bunch of new songs and compared the quantity to what The Beatles had produced during their stay in India.

"Love Like Ours" is the first of these songs to be given the shed treatment and get released. It's got a great 60s pop/rock vibe and the 'backers return in full force. There's also a wonderful Beach Boys-sounding bridge, a really terrific guitar solo, and handclaps. I'm a sucker for handclaps, and it must be because The Beatles used them throughout their recording career starting with "I Saw Her Standing There."

"Love Like Ours" is now available on SUPER 8's Bandcamp page.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Sweet Spirit, High Waisted, Spiral Heads, William Tyler, Renee Maskin, Father's Day, and a Wedding, 6/14 - 6/16, 2019

Sweet Spirit at Rough Trade NYC


So, here's how things have been going around here lately.

I had a great weekend. Spent Friday evening with CoolMom at a lovely wedding. On Saturday, I headed into Brooklyn to see Sweet Spirit, High Waisted, and Spiral Heads. Sunday was Father's Day, of course. CoolMom and the cooldaughters made it a great day full of hugs, gifts, and great food. That evening, I headed over to The Saint for the early show from Renee Maskin and William Tyler.

Throughout the weekend, I had some interactions that made me feel pretty good about the site. People mentioned how they'd like to see me keep on trucking here. I got compliments from several folks on my photographs, and I heard some pretty affirming and validating things about what I've been doing here for the last seven years.

Rejuvenated and inspired, I planned to write about all of that here yesterday. Then... ...I just didn't. That's how things have been going. Motivation -- even after a run of fantastic experiences -- has been tough. I'm working on it.


CoolMom and I headed out to New Hope on Friday night for a wedding. The weather was beautiful, and so was the ceremony. I'd had tickets for Sweet Spirit's Philly stop for a while, but I ended up handing those over to Chris Dickman while CoolMom and I celebrated with friends.

I did manage to hump it over to Rough Trade on Saturday for Sweet Spirit's Brooklyn show. I've mentioned it before, but there's just something about what Sabrina Ellis, Andrew Cashen, and their bands get across through their various projects that fills my heart with joy at every one of their live performances. Saturday was no different. Sweet Spirit is the poppier, more accessible maybe, offshoot of A Giant Dog; but all of the passion and abandon are still there. People around me bopped non-stop to new songs "Touch" and "Los Lonely Girls" as well as older tunes like "Pamela," "Rebel Rebel," "The Power," and "I Wanna Have You." Sweating and singing along with Sweet Spirit: I'll take it any chance I can get.

Sweet Spirit
Sweet Spirit
Sweet Spirit

I brought my little, crop sensor Sony and a few primes so that I could travel light. The lighting was  a little rough. It made me wish I'd brought one of the full frames. And there were moments when I got too wrapped up in things to snap pictures. I managed a few shots, though. Such a great band to shoot.

High Waisted were also on this bill; and I, honestly, can't remember the last time I caught one of their sets. On Ludlow remains one of my favorite records; and hearing "Party in the Back," "Trust," and "Shithead" again put a big smile on my face. That was helped by the fact that High Waisted always bring it during their live shows. Also nice was getting the chance to catch up over by the merch table.

High Waisted
High Waisted

Spiral Heads, the latest project of Simon O'Connor of Simon Doom, opened as the space was filling up. Jess Dye of High Waisted walked by just after Spiral Heads finished their set and echoed my own thoughts when she said to me, "Did you catch that last band? They fuckin' rocked."

Spiral Heads
Spiral Heads

After a really beautiful and lazy Father's Day spent out by the pool, I headed down to Asbury for the early show at The Saint featuring William Tyler and best bud, Renee Maskin. Whether it's with Lowlight or solo, every set from Renee is a unique and intimate experience. She lives in her songs; and, no matter how many times I hear them, they sound fresh and true.

Renee Maskin
Renee Maskin

William Tyler is a revelation. Tyler introduced most of his songs by relating what inspired them: solo drives through America's wide-open spaces, looking for life in the barren desert. And, as someone steeped in rock and pop, the idea to me that specific ideas could come across simply through the guitar, without lyrics, is a little foreign. But, damn, they do. The audience sat rapt and attentive; and, when I wasn't snapping a picture, I closed my eyes and let the sounds wash over me.

William Tyler
William Tyler
William Tyler

As I was leaving The Saint, I commented to a few friends that I'd had an "inspiring weekend." Inspiration hasn't come easily for me lately. That's not because the sources of inspiration have been fewer. I just think I've been less capable of responding to them than I have been in the past.

I managed to get all of the pictures from the weekend edited before going to bed on Sunday, and I woke up Monday with big plans to pump out some Real A+ Content TM. Then... well, we've been over this. Sweet Spirit, High Waisted, Renee Maskin, William Tyler, the coolfamily, and my friends all started to break through a bit this past weekend. Lots of cool stuff coming up in the next few weeks. Should be inspiring.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Bruce Springsteen, Western Stars, 2019

Strings Attached

By Vera Hough

Others have noted the strings.

It's the main, the most noticeable, the most substantive departure on Bruce Springsteen's new and highly anticipated album, Western Stars. You'll be listening to, say, "Chasin' Wild Horses" or "Sundown," and just as you're thinking, "Well, this is just a Bruce SpringsteenTM song," the strings come in. With them, they bring the Bacharach, the Campbell, the Webb. And they soar.

It's not that we haven't heard soaring from him before. Big Man's saxophone could soar. But that was the sound of a heart soaring into dreams of escape as its body struggled on the ground. This is more like a hawk making lazy circles in the sky.

Because it's the spaciousness, isn't it, that fascinates Easterners when they fall in love with the West? Of course it's not just one thing. If it were one thing, though, it would be the wide open space -- the size. When the soaring strings come in, something happens to the song we thought we knew, the one we thought we had heard before. As Tess Gallagher says, "Then something else happens. The song gets large."

I spent a few days on my own in Big Sur last fall, and as I drove the PCH I did my usual homespun cognitive behavioral therapy.

"What's wrong, honey?" I asked myself (I'm trying to be nicer to myself). "What are you so anxious about? We're past the part where you might drive off the cliff."

"It's the parking," my anxious self said. "When I get to the inn, where will I park?" (a perennial fear).

*Laughter* "Wherever you want! This is California, there's all kinds of room!" (Angelenos, don't @ me).

I noted the others, noting the strings, because I'm a little nervous about my qualifications to review a Bruce Springsteen album. I have some of my bona fides: the first Christmas present I ever gave my father was the Born To Run LP. I got really pissed once when I was running the Spring Lake Five and someone cut "Rosalita" off in the middle of the track to play "Eye of the Tiger" on their front-yard speakers instead. "Glory Days" makes me cry.

I'm not a completist, though -- I only own a handful of albums -- and I'm the farthest thing from an expert. I have one real qualification. Like the Springsteens, my family goes way back in Monmouth County. As my mother recently mused, "Who am I, after all these generations of people, to decide to go somewhere else?" Baked into that line is the acknowledgement that there is a real temptation to go somewhere else. We rooted New Jerseyans get what's cool about California.

I realized: I don't have to be a reviewer. I'm just a fellow traveler, a sort of very distant cousin who might just think the same way about things that Bruce Springsteen does. That's how everyone feels, of course, that's his secret. It's how people felt about Woody Guthrie, how they feel about Bob Dylan (if they could actually figure out what he thinks about anything), how they should feel about Jimmy Webb if they were paying attention. (I "discovered" Jimmy Webb singing his own stuff about ten years ago, so I feel extra-proprietary about him).

Speaking of Bob Dylan, there's some genuine poetry on this album -- especially in "Stones" and "Moonlight Motel." Squinting at my phone mid-run on my first listen to the album, I thought "Stones" was called "Stories," and it easily could be, since it's about telling lies. I predict that Bruce Springsteen wins a Nobel Prize some time in the next ten years, and I further predict that a lot of people will be real jerks about it. There are some great story songs, too, like "Drive Fast (The Stuntman)" and the title track. There are some nice freight train rhythms to the guitar that opens "The Wayfarer" and of course "Tucson Train."

Then the strings always come in. They soar, and they open our cramped eastern minds up to the space they crave: the desert, the mountains, the big sky, and the Pacific, which somehow manages always to look bigger than the Atlantic, even when you're only looking at a little piece of it.

So this is Bruce doing what he always does: taking a little piece of America and saying big things. Only this time he's drawing a bow across it: tremolo, legato and all.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

What's Going On: 6/13, 6/14, 6/15 & 6/16, 2019

Austin's Sweet Spirit play a couple of area shows this weekend.

Happy Father's Day

It's Father's Day weekend; and, here at CDMHQ, we're still feeling the sting of losing two of the coolest and best-ever dads within about 12 months of each other. Give your own dad or whomever fills that dad role for you a hug this weekend. If you're missing a dad / dad figure, I'm right there with you. Remember the good times; and, maybe, go out and scream, sweat, or just sit and take it all in at a show. I'll be doing a little bit of all of that.  

On Friday night, Austin's Sweet Spirit are at Johnny Brenda's in Philly with High Waisted. They bring that show to Brooklyn's Rough Trade on Saturday. On Sunday, William Tyler is at The Saint with a little help from Renee Maskin. There's plenty more.

Happy Father's Day. Stay cool, dads. Have fun. Don't drink and drive.


ALPHAVILLE. (Brooklyn): Nicole Yun / Peel Dream Magazine / Charles Bissell, 8pm, $8-$10

The Asbury Hotel, Rooftop (Asbury): Emily Grove, 6pm

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

Asbury Lanes (Asbury): Brian Kirk & The Jirks, 8pm

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Daytrip / Olivia Bec / K. Quintana, 9pm

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Country Music Night, 7pm

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): Vivian Sessoms / Tiffany T'Zelle, 7:30pm, $20

House Of Independents (Asbury): gnash / Anna Clendening, 7pm, $20-$25

Prospect Park Bandshell (Asbury): The National / Courtney Barnett, 6pm, $65

The Saint (Asbury): Sean Marshall / Francis Lombardi / Jackson Pines / Arlan Feiles, 7pm

Transparent (Asbury): Matt Cook & Ashley McKinley, 6pm

The Whitechapel Projects (Long Branch): Idle Wave / Solo Dolor / MJT / Dead In Dog Years, 7:30pm

Wonder Bar (Asbury): The Angry Pirates / The Clydes / Obil, 7:30pm

FRIDAY (6/14)

The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): Handsome Looks / Bohemians / Apollo Sonders / Brian Erickson, 9pm

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Clementine / My Rising Fall / Goalkeeper / Pete Zen, 8pm, $10

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Ribeye Brothers / Hell Yeah Babies, 9:30pm

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Puppy Grease / Venus Envy / El Noordzo, 9pm

The Fox & Falcon (South Orange): Arlan Feiles / Renee Maskin, 9pm

House of Independents (Asbury): Ron Funches / Blair Socci / Gabe Dinger, 7:30pm, $25-$30

In The West (New Brunswick): Pynkie / Nicole Yun / The Natvral / Resounding No, 7:30pm

Johnny Brenda's (Philly): Sweet Spirit / High Waisted / Scantron, 8pm, $15

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Sandy Mack, 9:30pm

Monty Hall (Jersey City): TrĂ¼ / Crazy & The Brains / Real Dominic / DJ Barbarella, 7:30pm, $10

PNC Bank Arts Center (Holmdel): Free Show: The Ventures, 7:30pm

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): Screamin' Rebel Angels / Sean K. Preston / The Loaded Pistols, 7pm, $15

The Saint (Asbury): Western Stars listening party, 4pm

Scarlet Pub (New Brunswick): Olive & The Pitz / Bad Blooms / Lazy Bones, 8pm, $5

Seafarer Bar (Highlands): Predator Dub Assassins, 4pm

Seafarer Bar (Highlands): Stringbean and The Boardwalk Social Club, 7pm

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Light My Fire (Doors covers), 7pm, $17-$20

Stosh's (Fair Lawn): aBIRD / Yawn Mower / The Components / Serpent Worship, 8pm

Webster Hall (NYC): Real Estate, 8pm, $32.50

White Eagle Hall (Jersey City): The Jayhawks, 8pm

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Popa Chubby, 8pm, $15


The Asbury Hotel, Soundbooth (Asbury): The Constant, 9pm

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Coach N Commando / Jeremiah Tall, 9:30pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): The Cure, Smiths, Morrissey Tributes, 6:30pm, $12-$15

Chamber 43 (Highland Park): Redhouse/Bluehouse / Francie Moon / Christinna O, 7:30pm, $5

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Foxhedge / Sunsets From Jupiter / Mojohand, 6pm

Chubby Pickle (Highlands): Huttch / Brook Pridemore / Matt Dubrow, 9pm

Harp N Bard (Clifton): Scary Hours / Holler and The Hand / Fairmont / Nine Eighteen, 8pm, $10

House Of Independents (Asbury): Daughters, 6:30pm, $18-$20

John & Peter's (New Hope, PA): Finding Feebas / Bohemians / Fake Pockets / The Extensions, 8pm

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Xol Azul, 9:30pm

Millhill Basement (Trenton): Boob Sweat / Kiwi Army / The Looms, 9pm, $5

Pino's Gift Basket (Highland Park): The Accelerators / Drew Barutie / Fangers / Puppyboy / The Silverhounds, 8:30pm

QXT's (Newark): Broken Heroes / The Droogettes / DSU / Implicit Bias, 7pm, $10

Rough Trade NYC (Brooklyn): Sweet Spirit / High Waisted / Spiral Heads, 8:30pm, $15

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): NJ Proghouse 20th Anniversary, 11am

The Saint (Asbury): Lost Transmission, 7:30pm, $10

The Seafarer Bar (Highlands): Kul d'Sack, 7pm

The Stone Pony (Asbury): John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band, 7pm, $30-$32

Transparent (Asbury): The Down & Outs / Alice Genese / Greg Connors, 4pm

Webster Hall (NYC): City Of The Sun / Fruit & Flowers, 8pm, $20-$25

SUNDAY (6/16)

The Asbury Hotel, Rooftop (Asbury): Audra Mariel, 6pm

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

Asbury Park Brewery (Asbury): Ditz / Hysteria / Old Fox / Sugar Trip, 8pm, $10

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Levy & The Oaks / Bottled Blonde, 8pm

Brighton Bar (Long Branch): City Of Homes / Hero & The Horror / Nights Of Malice / Dissentience, 6pm, $12

FM Jersey City (Jersey City): We The Heathens / All Torn Up / Wombat In Combat, 6pm

House Of Independents (Asbury): The Dangerous Summer / Have Mercy / Modern Chemistry, 6pm, $18-$20

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): NJ Proghouse 20th Anniversary, 11am

The Saint (Asbury): William Tyler / Renee Maskin, 6:30pm, $15

The Saint (Asbury): Timothy Eerie, 9:45pm, $10

The Seafarer Bar (Highlands): Thayer Naples, 4pm

The Sin Bucket (Philly): Dogwood Tales / stillhungry / Shannen Moser / Rob Blackwell, 7pm

Wonder Bar (Asbury): Kathouse, 6:30pm, $5