Category Archives: music

Ted Leo’s comedy debut + a cover of “Just Gimme Little Sign”

Ted Leo guest hosted the Hot Tub comedy night at Littlefield on Monday, which he said was his first time doing anything like that (at least more than the witty between set banter at his shows). And he killed it! It’s hard to go wrong with a bit comparing farts to H.P. Lovecraft titles.

Ted also had this — is it a dig? A snark? I’m not sure what to call it, except maybe accurate — jem: when introducing comedian Jamie Lee, he said, “She was a finalist on Last Comic Standing … which you don’t know about, because you’re hipster trash like me and you don’t own a TV.” And it’s true.

So please enjoy a portion of his cover of the Brenton Wood Song “Gimme Little Sign” from Hot Tub.

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Fictional bands clearly based on Sparklehorse

1. Sparkle Pony, from the finale of season 1 of Portlandia, featuring Jenny Conlee of The Decemberists.

2. My Pretty Pony, from season 3 of Veronica Mars*, featuring Paul Rudd in a  great cameo playing in a clearly grunge-era band attempting to do a resurgence for the millennial generation after a fall-from-grace psychological breakdown.

3. The fictional band in my head (called something like Horse Radish [rad-ish in the tubular sense, that is]) in which we wrote and recorded “Someday I Will Treat You Good” five years before Sparklehorse did.

(*have you not watched Veronica Mars? If you like Party Down, you should watch Veronica Mars. If you don’t like Party Down, get the hell off my wordpress this instant.)

Actual Occurrences: The punk rock island we once knew and loved

[Here's the deal with this post: I wrote this more than a year ago with intentions of posting it here, then on a whim sent it off to NY Press, who responded that they would love to run it in the 8 Million Stories section. And, after a few follow up emails of reassurance ... they never did. So whatever. But while wandering around the Brooklyn waterfront yesterday, we happened to pass by Ted Leo at the promenade, so in this blog's grand tradition of letting no unpublishable work go unpublished, I decided to pull it up from the graveyard and post it. NOTE: all time-sensitive elements are related to Nov. 2009, just shy of a year since I first moved to Brooklyn.]

I have found the nexus at which punk rock musicians and struggling journalists who’ve written about them collide, and it is TJ’s.

Yesterday at reg in the midst of the inescapable writhing mass-of-humanity shitshow that is a sunny Sunday afternoon at Brooklyn’s favorite grocer, I was ringing up the purchases of a young, groovy looking couple in refreshingly good spirits considering aforementioned shitshow that often causes much grumbling among other customers (note: YOU ARE HERE ALSO TAKING UP SPACE).

The girl looked at my name tag which lists my hometown as “Hilton Head, S.C.” and asked me how long I’ve been in New York, if I came directly from South Carolina, etc.

The guy turned to her and said, “Oh, that’s where we played that show that they said it was like the ‘first punk show’ ever.”

Strange gears began to come alive and click together in my head as an improbable slide of memory pushed in reminding me that, not only had I heard that comparison before, but — hold on a second — I wrote it.

Turns out the guy was Marty “Violence” Key, the bassist for Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, who I interviewed last year before their head-explodingly nonsensical (but awesomely embraced by the five punksters on Hilton Head, four of whom worked at the newspaper) appearance at Stages on the island.

It included this:

Question. We did a little bit of research, and we think this may be the first punk show in Hilton Head history.

Answer. I used to go out with someone who lived on Hilton Head. I used to actually go down there a lot and visit her and we’d hang out and see shows in Savannah.

But there was one night where some ska band that I actually knew from New York was playing at like some crazy frat bar, and we went. And I remember her being so freaked out, like, ‘God, this is so weird, there’s actually a band that’s not like the String Cheese Incident or Widespread Panic or something that’s playing here.’

Wow, but I would have figured since then, that since there are kind of ‘punk’ shows everywhere, I’m surprised to hear that I’m the first.

Q. How does that feel?

A. It’s exciting. It’s auspicious. I had no idea. Continue reading

That top 10 thing again

10. Best Coast – Crazy For You

9. Warpaint – The Fool

8. Male Bonding – Nothing Hurts

7. The Drums – s/t

6. Sleigh Bells – Treats

5. Robyn – Body Talk (1)

4. Arcade Fire – Suburbs

3. Tame Impala — Innerspeaker

2. Screaming Females — Castle Talk

1. Titus Andronicus — The Monitor

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Disco Vietnam at Bar Matchless WEDNESDAY!!

Occasionally we turn over this blog space to help promote some friend-of-the-blog happenings, and this week is a big one:

DISCO VIETNAM RETURNS TO BROOKLYN

The Bros. Schwartz at the first recorded Disco Vietnam band meeting

Perhaps you saw them in town last summer, where the brothers Schwartz and their raucous melodic pop power shook the tiny fragile walls of Hank’s Saloon so much that Yelp reviews of the venue were immediately edited the following morning to update the status as “Vietconged.”

Now, the Schwartzes and the rest of the gang will load their equipment into the band’s standard AH-64 Apache helicopter at their Long Island lair and descend via rock grappling hooks and beat-making belay wires in their air-raid return to Socialist Republic of Brooklyn on Wednesday, with landing expected at Bar Matchless at 7 p.m.

DISCO VIETNAM

Bar Matchless (Greenpoint/’burg)

7 p.m. doors, 10 pm show, Wednesday 10-6-2010

(also appearing:  The Roof Walkers, Delta Hotel, Subject of the Question and Gift Exchange).

Are you unfamiliar with Disco Vietnam? What the hell? What have you been doing this whole time? Why not sample some tracks from their new EP “Totally Awesome Decisions” over on MyFace. Or download their latest single, Little Infinity, right now, put it in your SpacePhone to listen to on the train. It’s music that’s a guaranteed cure for a case of this.

[Special guest appearances also scheduled, though they are mostly relevant only to people who attended the University of Maryland between 2002-2007. But if this includes you, grab your snakehead fish and scream "OKAY!"]

Sega, I got some news for you

Thank you chiptune, and thank you the Daily What:

8-bit version of Cee-Lo’s Feck You*, as told from the perspective of a jilted NES system

Oh sh*t you play Street Fighter?
(well)
better get your moves tighter

*Not the actual title

Cee-Lo = He-ro

Cee-Lo’s new song is brilliant, and not just because it uses a brandishes a bad word about like the flag of a conquering army. It may be a deft creative strike against the plague of being overplayed into oblivion.

In pop music, you have this rarefied echelon of songs that start with the artists’ loyal following, slip into mainstream play and suddenly become ubiquitous at sporting events, BBQs, bar jukeboxes, and even the iPod nano your mother takes to the gym. See: Outkast’s “Hey Ya,” Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle,” Feist’s “1234.” Contrast this to any song from the Black Eyed Peas or Smashmouth, which seem to be constructed solely with the intent of seeing how many commercials and between-inning stadium pumping-up they could profit from. Continue reading