SPONSORED POST I’m puffing away at my desk, e-cig hanging from my mouth like some reporter from the 40’s in an old Manhattan newsroom, the loud AC unit keeping the early-Summer humidity at bay. We just closed the August issue of BUST and my bosses are on vacation for the week. I’m feeling good about the progress I’m making on the quitting angle. I’ve gone through the wracking cough that accompanies your esophagus getting accustomed to not having smoke shat down it every couple hours or so. My trips to Emily Tepper’s studio have been productive, opening my perspectives to encompass the reasons why we treat ourselves with irrational disdain and teaching to replace this bad habit with good ones. Hobbies are key.
I had to realize that the only hobby I’ve been cultivating lately was drinking too much. I’m a social drinker and I’m very, very social. Then I realized that a lot of that drinking has been the backdrop to a lot of good music I’ve been exposed to this year. Enjoying live music is a hobby right? Cool. I have two hobbies now.
I do get invited to a lot of shows as I liaise (I love that word) between a lot of record labels, publicists, band managers and media – primarily BUST, but other blogs and stuff too. I’ve been really digging soaking it all in. I thought it would be fun to list out some shit to pass along to you. I’m taking this back to around March, when I went down to SXSW for BUST and threw a three-day-long house party with 27 bands til just this past weekend’s 4Knots Festival thrown by some friends at the Village Voice. It’s a lot, but I hope something here ends up being your new favorite sound.
Beast Patrol – This is my old roommates band. You know that friend that’ll let you stay on his couch at a moments’ notice, gives you a key to his apartment for when you happen to come to town, will slap you when he’s drunk and thinks it’s funny (knowing he’s gonna get fucking throttled for it), has the best perspectives/conversations and is simply a beast behind a guitar? This is Robert Granata’s band. I go to all of their shows.
CC Sheffield – We met at SXSW, randomly shared the same plane (from Austin to Dallas) and she casually drops she’s a Grammy-nominated musician with collabs with Tiesto/Skrillex/Deadmaus etc. Oh, and she’s on True Blood, Boys and Girls Guide to Getting Down, Rob Dyrdek’s skate movie blah blah blah. More impressively she’s a generous person who gives her time to helping mentally and physically challenged actors find outlets for their art. She’s a good person/friend and I want you to hear her stuff.
So So Glos – So I met these guys through their manager Asif Ahmed of Shmanagement, author of quite possibly the funniest emails I’ve ever read. They once rescued my wallet (with my ID and the only credit card I had with me in Austin) and made it so I could get on my plane back to Brooklyn. They’re awesome and play the kind of pop punk you’re not afraid to admit liking. Their live set will kick your nuts into the dirt, too.
Chaz Van Queen – This dude. Poet monk from the Bronx. Another “I met his manager” story that ended up in many nights of drunkedness. He also played my Make Music NY afterparty at the Gibson Guitar showroom and rocked so many faces off we had to hire a plastic surgeon to clean the place up afterwards.
Body/Head – So my boss Laurie Henzel has a way of casually introducing me to people that my brain shits its pants over (metaphorically, because, gross.) We have a lot of the same musical tastes. So, at the Portlandia premiere last December, I get pulled into a circle of people by the most badass woman in the world, Kathleen Hanna (more on this below), and shake the other most badass woman in the world’s hand, Kim Gordon. I got to check out her set at the Northside Festival last month with Body/Head, her new noise outfit. Of course Henzel was there.
UPDATE on Henzel’s ability to make me look like a star-struck fool: Mark Arm visited the office yesterday before going to her family’s house for dinner. He’s on Fallon tonight. I’m a longtime Mudhoney fan. Laurie Henzel is the shit.
The Julie Ruin – So, what I was just saying a second ago, I’m at this Portlandia party. The irony was palpable because it was like a 90’s exhibit in there. If someone ever wore a flannel and ripped jeans on TV or in a band at some point, they were most likely in that room. With all this grunge gravity in the room I step up to the bar, having no credits to my confidence except the free drinks I’d been abusing, and wait for the bartender. I don’t shut up often so when a tiny, smiling, punky lady sidles up next to me to join her laser beam stare to mine aimed directly at the back of the bartenders head, I say hi. About ten minutes later, we’re laughing about something stupid (still no drinks) and I realize we haven’t exchanged names.
“I’m Christian by the way” extending handshake…
“I’m Kathleen.” Smiles…
“Hanna?” The shock beats the “cool” to my face. I recover quickly-ish.
“Oh, you know who I am?!” Looking genuinely pleased and surprised.
“Do I know who you are? Seriously?? ‘Rebel Girl’ defined everything I’ve ever looked for in a girlfriend! Besides being one of the best songs ever…”
We talk about the time she used to live in Richmond (where I lived for a long time), mutual friends, her attempts at being Courtney Love’s not-enemy, and a number of things before she grabs me by the wrist and brings me to meet her husband, umm, oh yeah, AdRock. Fuh Real.
SWANS – Funny. For a long time all I liked about this band was their t-shirts. And then I went through this No Wave phase and I got hooked. They’re not eveyone’s bag, but most of the best bands have an ability to either be hated or loved. You can’t just not have an opinion about them. Legendary wizards of menacing ominosity (not a word, but you get it). Here’s one of their more accessible tracks from a looong time ago. ‘Bit more Leonard Cohen than highway construction noise. You know what? Fuck it. Here’s just some old weird stuff by them.
Chelsea Wolfe – Chelsea Wolfe opened for SWANS during the Northside Festival and I don’t mind saying that she scares me a little bit. In a good way, though. Creepy goth goodness galore.
Foxygen – This was a surprise. I went to the Bowery Ballroom as a guest of Life or Death PR’s Heathcliff Berru, professionally cool human being, to see Unknown Mortal Orchestra and ended up falling in love with this band, one of their openers. They’re versatile, sometimes sounding like a track from the first act of a Wes Anderson movie, othertimes (again, not a word, should be) like a Bob Dylan of Latter Day Saints. Maybe that makes no sense but check it out, see if I’m right:
Wampire – Ohhh, and by the way, these fucks. At that same Unknown Mortal Orchestra show I ran into these guys who played my BUST SXSW show and proceeded to get blitznuts ‘facehoused with them at the afterparty. I also didn’t mention that as I was wall-leaning and head-nodding to UMO during their set, I turned to my right and noticed that I was digging this band next to the GZA and Kirk form The Roots. Standing in a hallway after the show discussing music with these two took the cake, like, the whole cake. Oh, Wampire, they have the best album cover and the best Kraftwerk cover.
Dammit. This is getting really, really long. I’m going to have to finish up this post tomorrow. I really hope you check some of these bands out though. Oh, and don’t smoke.