You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chikpiks (Halloween is overrated, who's with me? Edition)

In honor of the day, I bring you the 20 Worst Vampire Costumes, no doubt inspired by all of the quality vampire literature in bookstores these days. Since I couldn't find any Jane Austen/Mr. Darcy costumes on the webs, feel free to submit any you spot while you're out in the Halloween trenches tomorrow night.

Oh, and here are some scary Halloween events/parties, some of which I may actually appear at (no costume guaranteed).:

And at Mercury Lounge, featuring the insane live show of garage rockers Black Taxi (keeping ska alive in the best possible way), and awesome electro-glam duo Hank and Cupcakes, both of whom I've covered here:

Are you missing the Vivian Girls? Seems like they've fallen off from their previous 5 shows a week schedule since their sophomore album came out. Well here's your chance. I'm sure they'll be doing something scary.


Wooden Ships
Vivian Girls
Crystal Stilts
Religious Knives

:: dj Keegan Cooke

171 Lombardy St @ Varick Ave | Greenpoint, Brooklyn
| 8pm | all ages | $12

| curated by Caleb Braaten |

And yeah, this is 20 bucks, but the description makes it sound pretty impressive. Plus, it's "secret." Yeah right.

The Last Masquerade

From the site: "Three vast spaces in the dark heart of Brooklyn have been re-imagined for
this all-night adventure. Over three dozen artists and performers will
infuse these forgotten structures with a pre-apocalyptic fairy-tale built
on music, mischief and a heavy dose of the unexpected."

260 Meserole St., Bushwick Brooklyn
and continues at two indoor loft spaces steps away...

7pm through 7am : Saturday October 31st.
$20 : Costumes will be rewarded : 21+
Arrive before 8:59pm and you pay only $10.

And for those who have far, far more endurance than I for looking at more bad vampire costumes:

Afterparty at Market Hotel

Starts at 1:30 a.m., immediately following the Mt Eerie/Liturgy show.

Djs include Veronica Vasicka (founding member of East Village Radio and electronic label Minimal Wave, lover of new wave, italo-disco, and house music) & Steve Summers (whose Back From The Future mix is below):

80% chance of smoke machine, $5 at the door (free for Mt Eerie/Liturgy showgoers).

Mp3 - Steve Summers - Back from the Future

And finally, Bobby "Boris" Pickett is sadly no longer playing in New York or anywhere else on earth, but the sole act of hearing "Monster Mash" once is enough to call my Halloween a success. So, via Audio Muffin, I present to you:

Mp3 - Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers - Monster Mash

May he rise as a zombie in peace.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's the deal? Your weekly Publisher's Lunch deal snark

Publisher's Lunch says: Hannah Pittard's THE FATES WILL FIND THEIR WAY, about a girl who goes missing on Halloween and how her disappearance unexpectedly transforms the lives of those who knew her, in particular, the neighborhood boys, whose memories, curiosity, and teenage lust keep them searching for information, rumors, theories about her disappearance for the rest of their lives, revealing their stumbling paths to adulthood, their tragedies and devotions, and her relentless enduring significance to them and the possibilities of her fate, to Lee Boudreaux at Ecco, for publication in Winter 2011, by Jim Rutman at Sterling Lord Literistic (NA).

Indichik says: Enough with the missing-kid books already, okay? It isn't just that this sounds exactly like The Lovely Bones, which it does (and I swear I've already used this feature to talk about a previous ripoff of that book). But it's that the national "media" continuing to hyperventilate every extremely rare instance of this, causing perfectly reasonable parents to live in fear because they, ridiculously come to believe that this is some kind of epidemic. And I don't hold fiction writers above that standard, no matter how literary they claim to be. It's all a form of exploitation and pandering; like mysteries and thrillers, violence and death and grief ; people are (let's face it) sick and it's what they want to read about. I almost might remind you that traditionally, most successful novels featured children who didn't go missing. David Copperfield, anyone?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

CMJ Saturday: Sini Anderson and The Roulettes at Bruar Falls

Bruar Falls' unofficial CMJ day show/BBQ (lovely in the garden during the five or so minutes it didn't rain) Saturday. Sini Anderson, formerly of feminist spoken word collective Sister Spit, is up to her old tricks with new friends. Violins literally play, whenever she speaks about her search for a place in the sun.

Portland transplants The Roulettes are back big (frontwoman Rebecca (Keith) Roulette is a poet and also co-hosts the Mixer Reading and Music Series). The four-piece are riot grrls for a less riotous age, their old-fashioned musical grammar taking us back to when groups like The Ronettes were tough and so, so pretty (it's no coincidence that The Roulettes covered Phil Spector), while underneath concealing comically voracious sexual appetites (case in point: "Hot Ticket," below). Disbelief St. and Red Wire Black Wire performed afterward, but no photos, alas (too many $3 Bloody Marys?)

Mp3 - The Roulettes - Hot Ticket

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chikpiks CMJ Day 4 Lightning Recap/Going Crazy Edition

So don't hate The xx for being the Official CMJ Buzz Band (TM), because they're all bunch of sweet, black-clad likely London lads (and birds. Do they still say "birds" in England? Did they ever?) I talked with Oliver and Romy before the show at the Apple Store, which was packed, predictably, with Steve Jobs' Nazi minions prohibiting any kind of photography whatsoever. But Brooklyn Vegan has a bunch of pics from their show at Mercury Lounge on Wednesday that are almost as good. They also play tonight at the Music Hall at 10:40 with School of Seven Bells, and later at Tribeca Grand.

Tonight Grooms play at 7:45 at Littlefield, a show I probably have no chance of making, and there's the Polyvinyl showcase at The Bell House, featuring Motel Motel, Cale Parks, and Japandroids, which is likely to be packed (what isn't likely to be packed?)

Also the Underwater People's showcase is tonight at the Delancey, where lo-fi pop bands Holiday Shores (is this band named after a retirement community in Coral Gables, or what?) and Real Estate are playing, and that I am going to try to catch (I didn't have the same luck with NME at the same venue last night, but that's a long story.)

And then will be heading to Spike Hill (yes, Spike Hill) at 11:10 for Sissy Wish, a Norwegian electro-pop princess whose voice is good for your soul, and whose single "Dwts" is probably #1 right now on the Norwegian music charts, because, what else would be?

Mp3 - Sissy Wish - Dwts

Thursday, October 22, 2009

CMJ Wednesday: Broadcast and Atlas Sound at Music Hall of Williamsburg

My entire Wednesday night ended up devoted to this show, and it didn't disappoint for comprehensiveness or novelty. Though Atlas Sound (Deerhunter's Bradford Cox) seemed to be the draw, Broadcast was first on the bill. The English band (a boy-girl duo, now), behind them, projected choppy, vaguely creepy abstract film clips in time with the music, a result of their latest collaboration with graphic designer Julian House (The Focus Group), "Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age." Together it all resembles the soundtrack to a 1970s children's TV show -- from Neptune. The strange and talented songwriter behind Microcastle and the recently released Logos, Cox, when his acoustic guitar string broke halfway through, proved himself a wizard of patter, joking about CMJ coke parties and striking "sensitive" and "rock star" poses for the cameras. He remained upbeat, even when the show had gone way over schedule and the half the hall had walked out. Also, I, meanwhile, still have a bruise on each kneecap from falling down two stairs at the Music Hall. Believe me, it was a long night.

Mp3 - Broadcast and The Focus Group - The Be Colony

Mp3 - Atlas Sound - Criminals (Electronic)

Chikpiks CMJ Day 3 Edition

Damn you, College Music Journal. I don't have enough time to upload anything from last night's show before I have to start touting what's going on today. Sigh. So, but first:

On Chichi212, recap of Tuesday's New Zealand showcase at Red Bull Space, which featured Die Die Die, below.

The xx play at the Soho Apple store at 7 tonight, right after a photo shoot and interview It's free and I'm not aware that this is an official CMJ show, but of all the buzz bands in town right now, The xx are by far the buzziest, so it's a must-go.

Then, of course, if you're looking for some double-o soul, there's this:

Finnish band Rubik plays at 8 at the Arts and Crafts showcase at Union Pool. I missed out on them last night, but I have it on good authority that it was a huge, huge mistake.

Lastly, this has nothing to do with CMJ, but over at the Village Voice, Rob Harvilla has written a Pulitzer-worthy essay on how, despite what the mainstream publications tell you, "Brooklyn hipsterism," is not a movement, of any sort. In fact, it's hardly even a thing, like, at all. Thank you, Rob.

Mp3 - The xx - Basic Space

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CMJ Tuesday: Sian Alice Group at The Knitting Factory

So in case you didn't know, The Knitting Factory is my new favorite Brooklyn venue (and not only because of its proximity to the G train, I promise), and seeing Sian Alice Group, a band freaky-hippie Brits with a flute, at The Social Registry showcase was a great way to chill out at the end of the night. Hell, even the bouncers, in contrast to wherever else I'd been, seemed jolly and rotund rather than enormous and threatening.

Mp3 - Sian Alice Group - Through Air Over Water

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

CMJ begins, I follow (Chikpiks CMJ Day 1 Edition) Grooms are just The Muggabears with a different name.

This is one of the many, many fun facts you can learn at this year's CMJ Music Marathon, which begins today. Grooms, in fact, are playing right now, at the Pop Tarts showcase at Cake Shop, along with, among others, Surfer Blood, Small Black, and Holiday Shores, all tinted various shades of pop. However, don't fret if you don't happen to be there, because Grooms will also be playing tonight at Death by Audio. And again tomorrow. And again on Friday. And finally, on Saturday, at the After the Jump party at Brooklyn Bowl. But that's just CMJ.

Deerhunter side project Atlas Sound plays tonight at 10 at (Le) Poisson Rouge.

Gritty, Kings of Leon-influenced rockers Black Taxi also plays tonight at 10:45 at Arlene's Grocery.

The Social Registry showcase is tonight at the Knitting Factory, headlined by British psychedelic experimentalists Sian Alice Group at midnight.

To be sure, I'm dubious about the effectiveness of CMJ passes for actually gaining admission to CMJ shows, considering that larger ones like Atlas Sound already sold out to the norms ages ago. However, they certainly are useful for partying with a bunch of New Zealanders at the opening night soiree at Red Bull Space. Pity the girl with the press pass.

Mp3 - Black Taxi - Head on a Pike

Sunday, October 18, 2009

When Justin Vernon of Bon Iver breaks up, we all break down (The New Yorker Festival 2009)

The story of Bon Iver is already approaching the level of myth: the mono, the cabin in the woods, the primitive recording techniques, the crack band he assembled upon his return to civilization. Not to mention the identity of the mysterious Emma. For Emma, Forever Ago is one of those rare albums that carved out a space for itself in the world, and then filled it.

A. Sussman / Getty Images

So is it any more meaningful to get up close and personal with the man who created such songs as "Flume," "Skinny Love," and "Blindsided"? For New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones, who readily admits he broke down weeping during Vernon's live show at the Bowery Ballroom, and who wrote about it in his feature on Vernon in the December 12, 2008 issue, it is.

Me, I know I could do without the Bon Iver groupies (yes, it's true they exist) squawking about how "'Skinny Love' is so about me and my boyfriend," or the pretentious college undergrads going out of their way to impress Vernon with knowledge of Vernon's own music -- how, exactly, do they expect that to work, again? Personally, I enjoy Vernon's music more when I'm somewhere where I don't have to think about these idiots liking it, too. When I can pretend I'm the only one in the world who also knows what it's like to be snowed in at a cabin in northern Wisconsin, and thinking about another time and place entirely.

A. Sussman / Getty Images

But the good thing about this music is that when Vernon starts playing, you kind of forget there's anybody else in the room, especially when he plays a song he insists will "never be heard again" (Michicant), or Springsteen-esque working-class love ballad like "Hayward," which was in consideration for inclusion on Emma but didn't even come close to making the cut, according to Vernon. And then there's "Flume."

div>Listening to Vernon play, and sing in a falsetto that you must hear live because it sounds Brian Wilson-level impeccable no matter how many Leinies he's supposedly drunk, did NOT make me love everybody in the room. It did perhaps though make it a bit easier to relate to the girl who, when it came time for audience questions, walked up to the mic and asked "I'm just going to ask what I most want to know...who is Emma?" And of course, Vernon's answer was what we all sort of knew..."she's a composite, based on a relationship I couldn't get over." But then he went on to add something that we also sort of knew: "It's really about not being able to move on from a time in your life."

A. Sussman / Getty Images
Vernon said of "Flume," just before he played it, that it was a song, and not just a song but a concept, a feeling, that he woke up to one day, and he's still trying constantly to understand, to swim toward (he really did say "swim," I'm sure of it). And that, I think, is what Frere-Jones understands about making the intensely personal experience of Bon Iver just slightly more public. Because so are we, and Vernon is letting us take that journey with him.

Ian Hunter and Graham Parker tell us how it's done (The New Yorker Festival 2009)

Assembled with an assortment of wannabe glam rockers and aging punks inside (Le) Poisson Rouge Saturday night, listening to '70s British rock legends Ian Hunter (of Mott the Hoople) and former "Angry Young Man" Graham Parker (of Graham Parker and The Rumour) talk to The New Yorker's Ben Greenman (also a fellow contributer of mine to Underwater New York), I couldn't help but think of Spinal Tap a couple times. Actually, imagine Spinal Tap if they'd actually been successful.

"What were you like as a child?" Greenman asks Hunter.

"We didn't have personalities in those days," Hunter (imagine heavy deadpan British accent) replies.

Both, in their days, were compared and collaborated with legends like Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen and pioneered the glam and proto-punk scenes, and both continue to take influence from them as they've continued their careers in the new milennium. They're both currently churning out excellent solo work, which I'm not sure how many people are listening to these days (I admittedly wasn't aware of it, although I was also the youngest person in the crowd, so who knows?)

Both played all-acoustic sets, with Hunter's "I Wish I Was Your Mother," from the 1973 album Mott one of those songs that come along and introduces you to an emotion or desire you know you've felt somehow all along but never realized it until someone else articulates it so perfectly: only so you could have known that aspect of them, and seen them from those eyes. Incredibly moving. Both of these guys, as aging punks/glam rockers, could so easily devolve into cynicism, but neither have, as far as I can tell, even though their interview answers might indicate different sometimes.

Hunter reunited with Mott this year for two shows in England, but if you're hoping for long, drawn-out reunion tour, you might be out of luck. They had a couple of decent hits (the Bowie-penned glam anthem "All the Young Dudes" being one). Parker claims he couldn't retire even if he wanted to. But at least he doesn't have to open for Styx to shouts of "go home English faggots" anymore. So really it all worked out.

Below is Hunter performing "Man Overboard," from last year's album of the same name, his 13th solo release: