Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Excepter, WZT Hearts, Daniel Higgs, Pit Er Pat, and Lichens at Floristree Space

Caught 5 bands last night at my favorite Floristree Space in Baltimore. Man, these marathon shows are tiring. I didn't get home until 2am. Lichens started things. This is a side project of TV on the Radio's Rob Lowe. He did a lot of effects pedals distortion of his voice and guitar - very ambient.

This gradually blended into the next act, Pit Er Pat from Chicago. There sound was very nice and poppy with female vocals accompanied by electronics and a little dub-noise instrumentals. I really enjoyed them.

Third performing was Daniel Higgs from the band Lungfish. He played acoustic guitar and jews harp with a lot of distortion and feedback, and his voice was rough and smoky. I liked this, but I was starting to feel the length of the show by this time.

Fourth up was locals WZT Hearts, with Floristree Space resident Jason Urick. They combined electronic sounds with a drum kit- really nice and driving. I liked their energy.

Finally, headliners, Excepter hit the stage at about 1am. They sounded great- really cool electronics. For some reason the singer reminded me of Leon Redbone- the hat?!?

Gelato from The Bent Spoon, Princeton, NJ

Over the weekend, I was up in Princeton and had some gelato at The Bent Spoon. My flavors in front were strawberry mint lemonade and bartlett blue ginger. Delicious. My cousin and fellow foodie said that the gelato here was better than Capogiro's, a joint in Philly that gets a lot more press. The prices were better here as well $2.75 for this would be about $4.25 in Philly.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Walkmen with Mazarin and The Cobbs at the Theatre for the Living Arts

I was in Philly last night at the Theatre for the Living Arts on South St. to see the Walkmen play in support of their latest record, A Hundred Miles Off. Nice venue, not very crowded, but the Philly crowd was a little sedate. Opening was a duo, The Cobbs. They both played guitar, and were accompanied by a dvd of the drummer who was projected behind them, a nice touch. I liked them some- a lot of energy, reminded me some of FIlm School the night before, but their songs seemed to sound the same by the end of the set.
Next up was Mazarin, a Philly band. Their music is psychedelic tinged rock- I liked them a lot- good songs and loud. I didn't realize that their song "Another One Goes By" is covered by the Walkmen on the new album. I liked their version better possibly.
Mazarin - "Another One Goes By"

The Walkmen have been one of my favorite bands to see live since I saw them at the Casbah in San Diego a few years ago. I love how intense the lead singer is on stage- reminding me of punk rock. His screaming on "The Rat" is amazing, and I wonder how his voice holds up for a show. The first two times I saw them, they opened with this song and he finished the show with no problems.
My cousin also reminded me how most lead singers nowadays are very effeminate and she said she liked how Hamilton Leithauser had a manly presence. I have only heard the new record a couple times, but the new songs were great live. For "Louisiana", they invited two young ladies to play trumpet onstage. These guys remain one of my favorite new bands out there now. Great show.

Download their 9:30 Club show at the NPR site.

Philly Cheesesteak

Before the Walkmen show in Philly last night, went to the famous Jim's Steaks (since 1937) for a delicious cheesesteak hoagie. I loved how the line cook was rude and insisted the passive whiteys to speak up and be clear when ordering. Mine was a cheesesteak with cheese whiz, mushrooms, onions, and hot peppers- surprisingly not greasy or oily at all. The whiz is the best part.

Film School with Margot & the Nuclear So and So's at Fletcher's

First off, Fletcher's has the worst interlude music ever.
My first time at this venue, I went to see SF's Film School, a psychedelic-noise-pop band that reminded me some of the Cure and My Bloody Valentine. Despite the small gathering, these guys were really intense and played a nice set of their songs. No frills and good music.
It turned out more people were there to see openers, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, bad name. Very emo-pop band that reminded me of Bright Eyes but with an 8 member band including the lead "emo" guy, requisite pretty girl, a trumpeter, a cellist, 2 percussionists, and 2 guitarists. Breaking no new ground, but alright to see.

The "Bosnian Burger" at Cosmopolitan Cafe

As I happened to be in Alexandria, VA, and inspired by recent posts in DCist and Suburban Tasteland, I grabbed lunch at the Cosmopolitan Cafe, a Bosnian carryout place. I ate ordered the pljeskavica, a burger of sorts, enormous with spiced ground beef, onion, and sour cream on a homemade bun. Delicious. Cockta, a Slovenian soda reminded me of Dr. Pepper. I need to return to try more items, but truly a delicious burger.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Found Vs. Postsecret

Tonight, local indie bookstore, Atomic Books, hosted, at the Golden West Cafe, a night with the creators of Found Magazine and Post Secret. A great turnout- very Bo-bo- people in garden clogs, Patagonia, linen, and a distubing number of open-toed shoes for a cold spring evening.
First up, Atomic's Benn introduced Davy Rothbart to the stage. I had no idea the picture of the psyched trophy bowlers in the first Found book was found here in Baltimore. Awesome.
Frank Warren of Post Secret shared some of his postcards: some were funny or dirty whereas others were sad or inspirational. I should check out his book. He started the project as an exhibit and handed out self addressed and stamped blank postcards to people for them to send him their secrets, and this grew into something larger. He now gets hundreds of secrets a day, and blogs them weekly.
Davy Rothbart then presented various items from Found which were really funny, and then his brother Pete came up and sang a couple of songs including my fav "The Booty Don't Stop"!

Monday, May 22, 2006

"Get In On It!"

So Baltimore's new slogan is pretty bad- get in on what? The Sun paper says this catchphrase cost the city half a million dollars. Nice. The rejects are pretty bad as well:
"The City You Savor"
"Breeze Into Baltimore"
"All City, No Hurry"
"Enjoy The Pace"

My pick would have been "Bawlmor, Hon!"

Josephine Foster at the Talking Head

Last night, weird americana singer Josephine Foster played at the Talking Head club. Good turnout for a Sunday night. Opening for her were a couple acts: Abuelo Hongo, a stoner couple playing acoustic noise/experimental, and Autumn Rains, an older gentleman not as good as Michael Hurley.
I liked Josephine Foster- her voice is operatic as well as reminiscent of songs from the 30's and her guitar is very much in the vein of experimental folk music. She played solo, and my favorite song was about grits. I wish I could have caught the last act, described as shoegazer pop, Beach House, but I had to wake up at 5 in the morning.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Trockeneis Record Release Party

Tonight, after comedy, I went to the H & H Building, 5th floor for the Ehse records release party for Trockeneis, a local experimental group. Great turnout which included Ian from True Vine, Jason from Floristree Space, and Nautical Almanac's Twig Harper.

Opening was HARIAS, an electronic and guitar duo featuring Jenny Graf (Metalux) and Chiara Giovando. They were similar to Metalux in that they played off of each other using their instruments as well as voices.

Second was Alessadro Bosetti, an Italian free saxophonist. He played his soprano saxophone sans reed initially- relying on air and spit. His performace was quiet, accompanied by the loft cat meowing, the floor creaking, and people urinating.

Trockeneis put on a really great performance. They are a five piece with the lovely Audrey Chen on vocals whose singing reminded me of a female EYE. The remaining members all did percussion- relying on a lot of friction on items like saws and a drum kit- they also bowed metal.
Additionally, they all had blocks of dry ice in front of each of them which they would use by touching various metal items like cymbals, bells, and pans to create a squeaking sound as they contacted the dry ice- reminded me of icebergs creaking. Great sounds- really novel to watch them perform.

Trockeneis - Side 1, Cut 1
Trockeneis - Side 1, Cut 2

Eugene Mirman, Michael Showalter, & Leo Allen at Ottobar

Checked out some comedy tonight at the Ottobar- saw a show with comedians Eugene Mirman, Michael Showalter (Stella, The State), and Leo Allen.
They were all funny, but I think Mirman was my favorite. He has an album, En Garde, Society!, on SubPop which is pretty good. He showed a few videos he made as well as some Powerpoint enhanced skits. For some reason the three comics were obsessed with Toby Keith. They played a song called "The Taliban Song" that begins with:
I'm just a middle-aged middle-eastern camel-herdin' man
I got a little two-bedroom cave here in North Afghanistan
Things used to be real nice and they got out of hand
Since they moved in
They call themselves the Taliban
Oooh, oooh the Taliban, baby

Thursday, May 18, 2006

American Dime Museum

This week, some friends were in town, and we visited Baltimore's American Dime Museum.
It's dedicated to presenting the items displayed in dime museum of the 19th and 20th centuries, often an array of medical oddities, hoaxes, and oddball exhibits. The gentleman who runs the museum gave us a history - P.T. Barnum had a large museum in New York as well as ran travelling shows with the circus. Unfortunately, they could not compete with other entertainments like the movies, and eventually stopped.
The dime museum itself also is having hard times. With no regular hours, we had called to make an appointment to see the place. It was really cool- reminded me some of the Mutter museum and Joe Coleman's museum. My favorites were: Abraham Lincoln's last poo (top), the Gum Lady (above), and the Squirrel dioramas.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Wilderness and Parts & Labor at the Floristree Space

My cuz and I went to the Floristree Space tonight to see Baltimore's own Wilderness play with fellow JagJaguwar label mate Parts & Labor opening.
First off, tonight was much better attended than my last time at the Floristree Space. Brooklyn's Parts & Labor opened, and despite some initial technical difficulties with a blown fuse, were pretty good. They play a hard, thrashy rock with keyboard and effects. The drummer had the worst posture by the way.
Wilderness followed, and they were amazing- reminded me of the Chicage bands on Touch & Go I liked back in the 90's. The drummer and bass player were tight and furious. The singer, whose voice my cousin found annoying, reminded me of Johnny Lydon. To me, his voice fit with the music. I also liked his stiff white boy robot/popping dance. The band was really good a building their instrumentals up into strong, realized melodic crescendos. All in all, another great show at Floristree, which might be my favorite venue in Baltimore now. Excepter plays there at the end of the month.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Look who was on Gilmore Girls!

First off, Veronica Mars is the best damn show- more intricate than frickin' 24, more consistently awesome than Galactica, better dialogue than Deadwood, and more heart than Buffy. What a season finale tonight! It tied up some loose ends from way back in the first episode. I love Kristen Bell! I hope it is renewed on the CW.
Anyways, Sonic Youth was on Gilmore Girls! Also, Mary Lynn Rajskub was there, too. Yay, Chloe!

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Concretes at the 9:30 Club

Last evening, ventured down to the very empty 9:30 club to see the Swedish pop group The Concretes.
The opener was New Buffalo A.K.A. Sally Seltmann, a singer-songwriter from Melbourne in the vein of Cat Power. She was pretty good- playing on her own on the keyboard or guitar or accompanied by her iPod. Some songs were melancholy while others were like jazz songs. She sang a Go-Betweens' song in tribute to the recently departed Grant McClennan

I've been a fan of The Concretes for some time. They are a great pop group very reminiscent of The Belle & Sebastian in style. They have eight members- including a horn section and a classic Swedish blonde woman on drums. Lead singer Victoria Bergsman was really cute- she looked up and aloof through the show, but she did interact with the audience of fifty or so folks. She asked us about owning guns in our country and the D.C. murder rate.
Fellow singer and guitarist Maria Eriksson was also super cute with her sideways haircut. When she was jamming on her guitar, she stuck her tongue in her cheek. Even drummer Lisa Milberg sang lead on "Your Call". All in all, despite the low turnout on the rainy Sunday, the show was great.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Andrew Lampert at the Whitney Biennial

Yesterday, spent the day in NYC to see my good friend Andrew Lampert, present his installation piece "Varieties of Slow" as well as performing with cellist Okkyung Lee in "Okkyung Duet"
Overall, the Whitney Biennial was hit and miss. I liked the Daniel Johnston and Taylor Mead drawings as well as the Jim O'Rourke installation and a fake trailer for a Caligula remake.
Andy's performance was great- he used several super 8 projectors cranked at different speeds and projected films side by side and overlapping, creating a unique image while Okkyung Lee improvised on the cello.
It was also nice to see his father and sister there. I haven't seen them in years. I can't believe one of my friends in an emminent artist now. That's so weird. I'm glad for him.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Coca-Cola BlaK

I'm always up for a new soda or snack item, so I finally got around to trying Coca-Cola BlaK, the coffee infused cola. Impressions? Sweet with a definite coffee flavor. I might drink it again, but not sure if it is worth trying beyond that. I still prefer the birch beer.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Books on Tape and Captain Ahab at the Floristree Space

Last night, went to a place downtown called the Floristree Space to see a show. Mainly, I wanted to check out the space because Wilderness is due to play there next week. Turns out it's a loft space- a great venue for small acts - even though it's private- it has it's own stage, PA, and a great view of the city from the 6th floor. I was impressed. I can't wait to come back.
Last night's show started with a performance art piece about a "Gay Utopia"- I'm not big on theatrics like this, but the audience enjoyed it some. First up was Books on Tape, a sampling mashup musician from LA. He was pretty fun to listen to - nice beats.
Following was a crazy group called Captain Ahab. They consisted of one guy who programmed electronics and sang, and the other merely got into his briefs and danced around and accosted the singer and the audience. They reminded me of A.R.E. Weapons but with more hilarious antics. The dancer molested me and mouthed my nipple through my shirt, but it was fun regardless of felling violated. I hope their song "Snakes on the Brain" is used by the upcoming Snakes on a Plane with Sam Jackson, bitch.