Jemina Pearl-I Hate People (featuring Iggy Pop)
Japandroids have released Post Nothing, a fantastically ironic album name and they are doing a lot of touring. They stopped in DC with a band called Real Estate and played the Rock and Roll Hotel. Real Estate is made up of some boys from New Jersey and they have a sound that encompasses a Jersey shore suburban kid vibe. They played around a lot with just instrumental stuff and may need some time to incubate as a band. What they are doing sounds nice though and their hit Beach Comber at the end is the final product of the types of songs that these boys are capable of.
Japandroids are from Vancouver and I swear recently Canada has been producing some musical talent that is absolutely ground breaking. This two -piece band creates a ginormous sound with a small drum kit and a guitar. Brian King has an enthralling energy on stage, dancing around and standing on his amp pumping out power chords. The microphone he uses has a large red sponge cover and this muffles his voice a little and when he sings loud it really comes across well.
Halfway through the set David Prowse revealed that they had to stop the tour bus for King to throw up on the side of the road and that in fact King was very ill. As they were pulled over the van got stuck in the mud, King said, “yeah start a band your life will be filled with puke and mud.” He being sick did not stop him from putting on a good show and this band, if you are listening to the album and you dig it you must see live. Prowse came out after the last song when we were expecting an encore and said “Sorry guys Brian is on the verge of death so we cannot come back out.” A fan then screamed “DRUM SOLO!!” to which Prowse said before leaving the stage “drum solos are so lame man, c’mon.”
Japandroids - Young Hearts Spark Fire
Japandroids - Sovereignty
Photos by Gabby Bond
Together they've played roofs, porches, isolated islands off the coast of Maine, and the streets of Nashville; now theyre coming to the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn this sunday at 9:30. Hit up our friends Chester River Runoff on their myspace for more details, more music, more everything...
Chester River Runoff-Morning Song
Elliot Smith-Needle in the Hay
In light of his extremely violent death his music lends authority to the view that his death was a suicide. He was a man so deeply tortured by demons, that its clearly plausible that he couldn't bear to live anymore and did himself in. Smith's lyrical content is consistently dark; sometimes sad, sometimes angry and even mocking; but even his happiest lyrics are never brighter then bittersweet.
Elliot Smith-Son of Sam
His life story is visible through the barely veiled lines and can make on squirm a little to hear. His parents divorce, his distrust of women and lack of self esteem are all on display throughout his discography. His words can be uncomfortable to read (thus no quotes) yet he wrote harmonies which were so incredibly melodic, that even his darkest thoughts are beautified and palatable on the ears of a listener willing to delve into ugliness. He washed down some of his most brutal lines with Beatles quality musicianship that one rarely sees within singer-songwriters.
His music speaks for itself, however what is of interests on this anniversary of his death, is the controversy behind it. Although the cause of his death makes suicide seem unlikely (very few people commit suicide by stabbing themselves); there has been documentation that Elliot had tried suicide by other creative and painful means in the past. In 1998 while drunk and drugged up he ran off of a cliff in North Carolina, but his fall was broken by a tree, and he survived. He threatened record execs at Dreamworks to release him from his contract or he would kill himself; and many friends of his claim that he had also made suicidal threats to them. He had also become a heroin junkie and crack addict for a few years and was rumored to have smoked almost $1500 of drugs a day at the height of his addiction. In short, these facts paint a picture of a person deeply unhappy with themselves despite their success.
Elliot Smith-Everything Means Nothing to Me
So why is there still a controversy over his death? This appears to be a cut and dried case of suicide, another tortured artist who took his life like Kurt Cobain only a few years before him. However, if one looks at a time line of his despondent behavior and his substance abuse; it seems as if the worse was behind him at the time of his death. Also the circumstances of the murder paint a plausible case for murder.
Details of his death are scant and only one witness was there, his girlfriend of a year Jennifer Chiba. Jennifer was in a punk band called The Happy Endings, and at the time Elliot was producing their first single, but apparently he was difficult to work with, and the two of them had become infamous for fighting. Yet they were living together at the time of his death. He had been sober for six months, and toxicology reports found only "prescription level" amounts of anti-depressants and ADD medications in his body. According to Chiba, they'd just had a fight that morning, and she went in to take a shower when she heard a scream. She came out to find Elliot in the kitchen with a knife sticking out of his chest. She pulled out the knife and attempted to perform CPR while on the phone with 911, however she was not able to revive him. He died in surgery at a nearby hospital at the age of 34, he died at 1:34pm. Apparently a suicide note was found written on a post-it on the kitchen counter which read " I'm so sorry—love, Elliott. God forgive me"
Despite Elliot's previous attempts at suicide, doubt has been cast on his death being a suicide. For one, Chiba's claims of what happened, place her prints on the knife and thus absolve her from guilt, and the suicide on the post-it that was found by detectives was vague. The Los Angeles coroner's office, has yet to officially confirm that the fatal knife wound which killed Elliot Smith was self-inflicted. The Los Angeles Police Department has listed his death as a suicide. The only one who can truly say what happened to Elliot Smith is Jennifer Chiba. Whether it was an argument that resurrected his suicidal tendancies, or an argument that ended in domestic violence; is not mine to determine. All that is known is that the music world lost one of its most deeply introspective voices today, six years ago. What may make one think twice is that a bootleg exist of the last song Elliot recorded before his death, which has not made either of his posthumus releases. Whether this gives closure to his death is up to you.
Elliot Smith-Suicide Machine
Miguel Calderon is a Mexican artist that expresses life though crass and sometimes disturbing images and ideas. His art gives gritty realism a mystical quality and Calderon's approach is very innovative. He has been in the spotlight for about ten years now with exhibits in the Guggenheim in NYC and San Francisco’s Art Institute the Diego Rivera Gallery. He is most famous actually for a series of pieces titled “Aggressively Mediocre” as they were shown in the Wes Anderson movie Royal Tenebaums, the piece that you may remember from this is at the top of this article. Here is a video of him discussing the various projects he has been involved with.
His most recent work is the most political charged piece yet and delves into the sad realties of the violence that exists in Mexico because of the Drug War. He is collaborating with George Kuchar, well known bay area independent filmmaker. It will be featured at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and is called "Tropical Vulture". There is a film that utilizes " lo fi aesthetic" and some photographs and drawings.
Yesterday I got a message on myspace from the White Rabbits and at first I thought...Oh shit, they wanna hang out with me, sweet. But no, actually it was for a myspace live ep that they put together...I'd link you to that, but its not on their myspace page for some reason. Oh well, here it is....
Half way through the show Bingham and his Dead Horses did something that I think surprised a lot of people, he broke into a mariachi style for about three songs. Most of it was instrumental but he sang on the last song, singing the beginning in Espanol. This part gave the show some real dynamics. The mariachi sound is something Bingham is familiar with and he sang about “the old Aztec souls buried in the hills of Old Mexico.” These lyrics give insight into Bingham and reflects what he seems to possess, what many call an "Old Soul".
The guitarist picked it up the mandolin periodically during the set, the bassist also played keys and this switching around on instruments made for a good range of sounds. At the end of the show Bingham picked up a guitar that he hadn’t touched all night to play slide on a few songs. He went out with a bang playing the loudest and the one that ripped the most for his encore, standing on the tables near the stage getting everybody to their feet.
This is the world premiere of the new Never Home single: Sick Religion. Once again we got the exclusive, since I manage the band. Those boys are just churning em out the jams in their basement, and the sound is surprisingly good. Don't forget to catch them tomorrow night at Sullivan Hall. Hit up their myspace for more info
Never Home-Sick Religion
Kid Cudi-Can I be
Kid Cudi-Switching Lanes
Cop the whole thing here
Fences (Soft Pack Remix)-Phoenix
Tomorrow-We All Together
Ram On-Paul & Linda McCartney
Hold On-John Lennon
East Mountain Joint-MV & EE With the Bummer Road
Baby Boomer-Monsters of Folk
In the Room Where You Sleep-Dead Man's Bones
In the rare moment when I find good reggae, its usually in this form, a mix of artists I've never heard of, curated by an afficianado . There is no point in reaching into the back catalogs of these artists, I've tried..more often that not, they don't exist.
Madlib is hip-hop producer, however, he has created a worthy mixtape of mid to late 70's reggae and dub that's pretty much perfect. 46 tracks, some as long as 2 minutes, some as short as half a minute, while that sounds schizophrenic, it's not, one track bleeds easily inot another and it's worth playing through.
The Rural Alberta Advantage is a group of emoting, rocking, and wholeheartedly genuine people that brought good tunes and good times to the Rock and Roll Hotel on Sunday night in DC. The Canadian influence is a very heavy one and many of their songs reference certain things about Canada. Niels Edenloff told a brief story about the song Frank AB which is about Frank Alberta a mining town where the Frank Slide happened. The Frank slide was a natural landslide that killed 70 people and is a significant moment for some Canadian historians. The lyrics of the song
“And the cold depths of the rocky clutch
Won't take away our love
.... save you from this life
and I'll hold ..... I'll hold on to your touch
'til there's nothing left of us
.... save you from this life
I'll hold ..... I'll hold on to your touch
'til they find the bones of us
.... save you from this life”
Is a chilling reminder of what happened in Frank. Edenloff loves Canada and it interweaves itself into the essence of the band. Amy Cole the amazing little sweetheart that jams away on keys, xylophone and occasionally banging on a kick drum that stands alone, mentioned how they started playing at open mic nights in Toronto that no one came to. Edenloff reminded us of this when he did a solo version of “Eye of the tiger” saying that this went all the back to the days of said open mic nights.
The three of them came across as some of the most authentically nice people you may ever meet and added a level of comfort to their show that I wasn’t expecting. The band is very percussive and songs such as “Drain the blood” highlights Paul Banwatts drumming ability on his tiny set. For the last song they walked right out into the crowd and Edenloff explained that this song never sounded right onstage, a slowed down tune bidding everyone good night called “The good night song”. This had the crowd completely quiet, a nice ending moment.RAA - Drain the Blood
RAA - Frank AB
This is a video of a artist from Portugal by the name of Alexandre Farto aka Vhils. He is doing some large scale portraits on walls that are stunning. He is a graffiti artist that has now gained recognition when one of his pieces showed up alongside street artist Banksy at the Cans Festival in London in 2008. A photograph of him creating the work appeared on the front page of the London Times.