Saturday, January 24, 2009

Name Dropping Post

Friday night was a big night for me in NYC. First I met Harry from Almost Ready Records at a show in Bushwick- Vivian Girls, Fucked Up and Pissed Jeans. These were the "name" bands, but the big surprise for me was Gavin McInnes from VICE Magazine opening the show as the frontman for an 80s hardcore cover band! He was all decked out in studs and spikes and speaking between songs only in broken Quebecois French, saying things like "Tabarnack! Obama es une Arabe!". They even had a slutty-looking French Canadian girl holding up cue cards with the lyrics to the songs like "Victim in Pain" and "Six Pack", so the kids could sing along. They played all the classics and basically did them justice.
Afterwards I got to talk with McInnes, and he asked me if I knew the song "Coup D'etat". He was appaled that none of the kids there had seemed to know it. "Haven't they seen Repo Man?" he asked. I got a chance to tell him that I really liked the comic he did about visiting squats in Europe that he had found out about through the back pages of Maximum Rock'n'Roll. (haha this drunk-ass photo is his top hit on google images)

Also there was Trace Crutchfield, the impossibly white-looking host of VBS TV's Music World. I talked to him about this amazing episode he made about Houston Rap and Syrup- Screwed in Houston (Part 3 is a must-watch, where he gets fucked-up on Lean and then goes "Lets get up on some weed."). Basically I was kissing a lot of journalistic ass, but I guess that's better than kissing the ass of, like, MGMT or something. (I was kind of like this homie in the photo)

The music was good, too. Vivian Girls play an anachronistic, fuzzy kind of freak pop which sounds like the music on old French compilation records that Matt Groening probably hoardes in his basement. Pissed Jeans were way better than I thought a hyped-up hipster punk band could be. It reminded me of Black Flag and Black Sabbath, which is the exact same cocktail that Eyehategod always said defined their sound. While Pissed Jeans didn't sound nearly as bleak or drone-y as Eyehatehod, they had the same kind of bluesy undertone to their distorted thrashing. Fucked Up I was not too crazy about. It sounds as if they have progressed musically good and far from the fat-guy hardcore band they must have started as, but they have not gotten rid of the bearded, ranting screamer frontman that defines that genre. So while the guitars are doing cool boogaloo runs and even Velvet Underground-like hypnotic psych parts, the vocals don't move past the mosh pit. I guess if you are 20 and grew up on Converge, this band sounds like the messiah, but not so much for me.

I left that show a bit early to make it to Plan B in Manhattan for a Scion-sponsored party featuring The Rub and U-tern that started at midnight and featured like 7 DJs. U-tern is my choice for artist to watch in the coming year. He's a Canadian DJ and producer who focuses on 80s funk and electro-boogie. A few of his groovy, synth-heavy tracks and remixes are making the rounds online, and the mixes from his show "One Day Later" on Brooklyn radio sometimes approach the level of masterpiece.

Consider the mix Love Lost, which is one of the greatest "Break-Up/I Want u Back" mixtapes ever! About halfway through there is a moment of sonic beauty in which what sounds like a crying robot intones "Please, tell me, when did things start to change?" over a mellow electro-funk beat. This refrain had become a sort of mantra for me in my more emo moments of the past few months. I asked U-tern about this part and he told me that it was a one-off throwaway track that he made just for the mix and didn't even plan to release! Basically, he throws away better tracks than most producers are flogging on Beatport right now.

It was another ass-kissing session for me, as I got to gush to U-tern and meet Drop the Lime, the legendary breakcore-turned-heavy bass artist. If you don't know, watch this video for his song Butterscotch to see the level of originality, creativity and unabashed dorkiness he brings to the scene. He is also the author of an amazing quote about LCD Soundsystem's authenticity in the NY club scene: "I don't know what James Murphy is talking about. I mean I came up as a raver. James Murphy was a Skanking Pickle fan".

I nearly blacked-out on the train home and then ended up eating pancakes at 7 am by myself in a Mexican diner, speaking in broken Spanish with the waitresses. NYC, baby!

Ok, now I'm done name-dropping and I'll go back to just making fun of things.

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