Friday, May 15, 2009

Fischerspooner at the TLA in Philly last week

There were no instruments, just a DJ. But Casey Spooner, primary songwriter/singer/diva, only needed a microphone, his dancers and racks of wardrobe changes to put on an engaging colorful performance last night. Warren Fischer, the composer and co-founder of Fischerspooner, was unnecessary and probably not present for the group's 2009 American tour debut (right here in Philly!). 

It was a disappointment for Spooner that he only got to tour their stage production supporting the release of their last full length, 2005's Odyssey, for only a few months in Europe. So with 2009's Entertainment it seems like funding and enthusiasm surrounding their brand new record have gotten the flashy, art star, electropop team back on stage and here in the U. S. of A. Three strong singles have already become Fischerspooner standards: "The Best Revenge," "Danse En France" and "Supply & Demand." 

Though the TLA was nearly half full, it didn't stop Spooner and his tightly choreographed, hard-working, sweat-dripping troupe of dancers from giving America a proper sign of arrival: shouting "DANCE MOTHERFUCKERS, DANCE!" repeatedly during "Emerge" (see attached video) despite minimal crowd dancing. It took Of Montreal's April Trocadero show to a higher level; a more professionally executed spectacle. Only slightly disappointing; not a hint of confetti or glitter thrown about. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lez Zeppelin Live at the Trocadero

Can ladies shred like dudes? This is the eternal question the four members of Lez Zeppelin look to eliminate with each white-hot guitar lick, and each thundering drum thud as long as they tour their Zeppelin tribute act to macho white men who’re looking for sexy girls to not only melt their face, but also maybe make out with one another.

The answer, of course, is “fucking duh.” Lead guitarist Steph Paynes has a double-neck guitar and wields it better than most humans with testicles. Lead singer Kris Bradley’s sexy sways, stumbles and shimmies were entrancing whether she was singing the Zep hits or a couple original tunes—the Led Zeppelin inspired “On the Rocks” and “Winter Sun”—off their 2007 debut that was recorded by Zep II engineer Eddie Kramer. Bradley’s tight jeans, feather-trimmed tank and dirty, sexy rock hair were employed perfectly to conjure a suitable, even preferable Plant representation.

A tribute to Zeppelin is no easy feat, of course—the band has a catalog as deep as Alister Crowley’s penchant for the satanic—and Zeppelin fans are as die-hard as they come. No one really ever says, “Yeah, I liked I & II but Presence just kind of ruins them for me.” Zep enthusiasm is usually all-encompassing.

As such, the crowd was treated to a wide array of Zep rockness, including many of the hits—”Dazed and Confused,” “No Quarter,” “Friends,” “Rock and Roll,”—interpreted in a modern, thrashy way that was much-appreciated. Lez were loud and distorted, it was a set with many moments of balls out, nay tits-out, blistering rock moments. “Whole Lotta Love”—in which Bradley poured on the sex charm getting on her knees to worship Paynes’ guitar work at crotch level—and “Communication Breakdown” leveled the crowd with its initial burst of guitar and drum energy for a fitting ending during Lez’s encore.

And, no, they didn’t kiss each other.

On the Record: Polly Scattergood, Rhett Miller and More

Polly Scattergood
Polly Scattergood

Sounds Like: Whisper to shout, she’s got the Björk’s No. 1 fan title; dash of Joanna Newsom sans helium.
Free Association: Holly Golightly wearing a swan dress.
For Fans Of: Regina Spektor

Jason Lytle
Yours Truly, The Commuter

Sounds Like: Grandaddy brain gone solo getting his Philip Glass-y keys on.
Free Association: Skateboarding down a low-fi, foggy highway, hair in the breeze.
For Fans Of: Ryan Adams

New Distances

Sounds Like: Hardcore churny sludge metal complete with growls. And art!
Free Association: Soundtrack to a postapocalyptic Mad Max underworld.
For Fans Of: Lamb of God

Wandering Radiant

Sounds Like: Metallica with potbellies and cigarette voice, but cool and wise.
Free Association: Epic epic-ness; Explosions in the Sky.
For Fans Of: Metal hair.

Rhett Miller
Rhett Miller

Sounds Like: Rad Texan bearing his brand of American rock in a Tom Petty, Bright Eyes acoustic flurry.
Free Association: Road sodas drunk by dudes in denim jackets.
For Fans Of: Spoon; Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady.”

Andy Shauf
Darker Days

Sounds Like: A young Elliot Smith from Saskatchewan who’s seeing professionals and taking legal drugs.
Free Association: Bedroom recording studio with a view of cold plains.
For Fans Of: Sad Neil Young.

Suckers EP

Sounds Like: Another MGMT to love so much for a few months, then hate when they break.
Free Association: Clap Your Hands Say “Beach Boys,” “David Bowie.”
For Fans Of: Unbridled joy.

Viva Voce
Rose City

Sounds Like: Fifth record not so special for Portland husband-wife, she shreds and he bangs but all herky-jerky.
Free Association: Listening to acid rock sans acid at couples therapy.
For Fans Of: Black Keys

Monday, May 11, 2009

I make movies for Philadelphia Weekly sometimes

Here are a couple:

Promtrash at Bob & Barbara's

This one didn't go on for obvious reasons.

Flashlight Tag becomes Cinco de Mayo

P.S. I wrote a review of this British band The Horrors

The Horrors have always walked a delicate tightrope between ridiculous and authentic gothic rock. In spite of gimmicky names like Joseph Von Grimm and Spider Webb (you read right), their music is good, eerie, and deliberately dark, showing undercurrents of Interpol and Deerhunter with an occasional punky edge ala The Sex Pistols. On their sophomore effort, Primary Colours, this team of Bath boys reveals more maturity and professionalism with their efforts.

On opener "Mirror's Image," a slow buildup to the drums and distorted guitar hints at The Smiths’ creepier moments or a more talented She Wants Revenge. The second track, "Three Decades," sounds like surf rock fed through an Addams Family filter while lead singer Faris Badwan's voice reaches out over the steady percussion of Coffin Joe. The record's highlight is the stellar "Who Can Say," in which Badwan channels Ian Curtis beautifully. It's no wonder that their tour often includes a cover of Joy Division's "No Love Lost." With a nearly monotone delivery over languidly soaring key distortion and guitar battery, The Horrors wear their love for this music on their stinky, patched-together leather jacket sleeves.

Even if you didn't wear baggy JNCOs and Cure shirts in high school, The Horrors’ earnest love for and execution of goth is easy to appreciate. And with the NME stamp of approval and bill-sharing with the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Crystal Castles and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, this quintet may be on their way to mainstream appreciation with Primary Colours whether they like it or not. Now THAT is horrific.


Oh, I did this thing about Of Montreal a couple weeks ago

20 Things I Saw Last Night At The OMG Visual Shit Show By Of Montreal
By Bill Chenevert, Make Major Moves intern

1. Lead Of Montreal madman Kevin Barnes wore dramatic silver eye makeup.
2. And tighter than skin-tight black pants.
3. And a blousey teal silk leisure shirt.
4. With purple blazer.
5. And matching neck scarf/tie.
6. The girl on keys wore a miniature black prom dress.
7. With aqua leggings.
8. A 12-string guitar.
9. Angel wings.
10. “Rapture Rapes the Muses,” the band’s third song, was accompanied by a trio of dancers in nude suits.
11. And a guy in a hot pink leotard.
12. A new song called “Coquette, Coquette” was accompanied by the same dancing trio dressed as blond men/women who posed, angry and howling, with arms outstretched.
13. Crowd surfing.
14. Dry ice.
15. More Dry ice.
16. Barnes in a suit that looked like a pine tree. It was smoking. Looked like Christmas. On fire.
17. Sexy George Washington Santas, in crushed red velvet and embellished lace collars.
18. In gas masks on.
19. A tall kitten-headed man became an applause meter during the encore.
20. “She’s a Rejector” from Hissing Fauna closed out the night before Barnes took it upon himself to face-plant into the drum set.

Show was fantastic.


My 30 Second Record Reviews in Philly Weekly

On the Record: Bob Dylan, New York Dolls and More
Settle, Apostle of Hustle, Ben Harper and Relentless7, Electric Owls, The Secret Handshake, My Favorite Highway all have new records.

By PW Staff

Settle At Home We Are Tourists
Sounds like: Easton, Pa., boys inspired by social network sites and dance punk.
Free association: Cleverness; carabiners on jeans.
For fans of: House parties.

Apostle of Hustle Eats Darkness
Sounds like: Dreamy Canuck rock with fits of manic poeticism and a dash of Cuba.
Free association: Toronto indie-rock royalty.
For fans of: Stars.

Ben Harper and Relentless7 White Lies for Dark Times
Sounds like: Slide guitar maven going strong with a new band; funk, blues, folk, rock.
Free association: Laura Dern; huge in Australia, not here.
For fans of: Taj Mahal.

Electric Owls Ain’t Too Bright
Sounds like: Guy from Comas breaks up with NYC, finds solace in NC mountains.
Free association: Strummy, synthy storm of guitar pop.
For fans of: Rogue Wave, Neutral Milk Hotel.

My Favorite Highway How to Call a Bluff
Sounds like: Virginia Christians in love with ‘90s pop radio emulating Maroon 5.
Free association: The Hills, The City, Laguna Beach.
For fans of: Vapidity.

The Secret Handshake My Name Up in Lights
Sounds like: Auto-tuned pop punk; ‘80s movie soundtrack meets Fall Out Boy.
Free association: Take their instruments away pronto.
For fans of: Self-flaggelation.

New York Dolls ‘Cause I Sez So
Sounds like: A 60-year-old wheeled to the mic by his new young bandmates.
Free association: Red pleather, raisins, Keith Richards’ face.
For fans of: Face lifts.

Bob Dylan Together Through Life
Sounds like: He’s 68 and sounds it; dirty, slow bluesy old-man mutterings.
Free association: A bum singing for change in Memphis.
For fans of: “Intellectuals,” pencil mustaches.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Some hotness.

Did you know that I wrote poems once in a while?

Here are some I've written lately:

I wrote this one today in the Italian Market.


I walk around and hope for open doors
Not figuratively, but for a view
Living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms will do
Dwellings that have been domesticated
For months or years, interiors are a reflection
I can see your life out here on the sidewalk
Books, plants, mirrors, flickering television sets
Oh, they have tubed Christmas lights up in May
Some spaces seem more permanent than others
She's been in that house her whole life
Her mother cried in the guest room as a child
But those boys with their shirts off, they're new
The walls are bare, the kitchen is empty, no rugs
A new start, a new space, a new neighborhood
I've been relocating and hunting for years
For the right spot, a home for good
I year for permanence of some kind
It seems like that place will be a house with a yard
Maybe a lover, some animals, big furniture
I'll be sure to leave the front door open here and there
So some boy on a walk's heart will swell

Dorky music enthusiast poem:


There's nothing quite like it
When you love a record or a singer so much
That you watch where they're playing
Maybe you buy a ticket months ahead
Even drop a couple hundred
It doesn't matter what's going on in your life
You will plan around it
Just to catch a musician in person
As if some kind of miracle will be performed
If you don't get there you'll die a little inside
The next time they're in town might be years from now
This songwriter who has changed your life a little
She might just go cray or stop touring
Sometimes it's tough to prioritize
Even flipping through the Weekly
You can spot ten shows you'd like to see
But you sat on the couch and smoked bowls instead
I've never seen her before, always wishing and imagining
To think that I'm writing about it for an audience
It makes the night even more exciting
It's my responsibility to pay good attention, take it all in
Helpful, that I know almost all of her records by heart
And adore them, absolutely worship them

I wrote this on the bus:


The biggest man I've ever seen on a bus
Wears a black t-shirt and leans over his belly
He digs through his canvas tote full of shit
Finds his discman and places it on the seat next to him
Then his CD of choice, then back in for the headphones
He has chosen the furthest back corner to occupy
He wears navy suspenders that might actually keep his pants up
Am I wrong to be fascinated by this enormous man?
As I sit with skinny cord on listening to my tiny fucking mp3 player?
I wonder where he's going and who he loves