Birdmonster Triple Up on New York

In addition to the Mercury Lounge show I mentioned last week, it turns out Birdmonster is playing two more NY-area shows next month. To wit:

Wed., Sept. 6 – Maxwell’s – Hoboken, NJ
Thurs., Sept. 7 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
Fri., Sept. 8 – (To Be Announced) – Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn show should be announced soon. I may have to hit that one…

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Monday 31 July 2006 at 6:50 pm

New York Enters the 21st Century

From New York One:

New Law Allows Earlier Beer Sales On Sundays

July 30, 2006

A new state law is in effect Sunday that allows stores to start selling beer at 8 a.m., instead of waiting until noon.

The old rule was part of the state’s so-called blue laws.

Lawmakers say the change will make it easier for those who are traveling, among others.

Before 2003 stores couldn’t sell liquor on Sundays at all.

More importantly, this makes it possible to buy beer before Sunday football games, and to get wasted in time for Meet the Press.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Monday 31 July 2006 at 8:48 am

The Golden Smog Post

So I skipped both Bishop Allen and Bloc Party this weekend. Not thrilled about the first, but after hearing about how short Bloc Party’s set was, how crowded the venue was, and how hard it was to get a beer, I’m kinda glad I bailed.

Anyway, since I don’t have new concert photos for you this weekend, I figured I should play catch-up on a couple Golden Smog reviews that I’ve been meaning to do. Nothing fancy, of course, because we all know I’m no Kelefa Sanneh, but just some general thoughts and impressions.

I should start by saying that I’m a pretty big alt-country fan, and that I’ve been a fan of Golden Smog and the bandmembers’ other projects (Wilco, The Jayhawks, Soul Asylum, Big Star) for a lot of years. So I’m predisposed to like pretty much anything this band releases. What I love about Golden Smog is that, no matter whether their songs are good, bad, or somewhere in between, what comes through their songs is the sound of a band having fun. For me at least, Golden Smog is about the joy of making music, and in particular the joy of making rock music. Just listen to “V”, “Red Headed Stepchild” (from Down By the Old Mainstream), “Until You Came Along” or “Reflections on Me” (Weird Tales), or, even better, their cover of Bad Company’s “Shooting Star” (On Golden Smog). To me, all of these songs are the sound of a bunch of friends having a great time doing what they do best – making music. Even the band’s slower, lower-key songs still sound to me like a band loving what they’re doing.

So I was a little worried when I first heard the lead single “5-22-02” from the band’s new album, Another Fine Day. While by no means a bad song, it just didn’t grab me in the way that a Golden Smog song usually does. Luckily, though, it’s my least favorite song on the album. By far. In fact, Another Fine Day is very quickly becoming my favorite Golden Smog album. And the song “Hurricane” may be one of my favorite Golden Smog songs ever, encapsulating everything that I love about the band. (And “Long Time Ago” may be my favorite Tweedy song since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.) Excellent stuff, highly recommended.

As for their show at Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday, well, it was good, if not great. Early on Dan Murphy remarked that the band was “criminally under-rehearsed”, and boy did it show at times. There were times it wasn’t even clear that the band were all playing the same song. Nonetheless, the band seemed to come together towards the end of the set, and showed how good a live band they have the potential to be. There’s rumors of a full tour, so maybe next time they’re through they’ll be as tight as the ought to be. And even if they’re not, it’ll still be a fun show anyway.

Check out a few of my favorite Golden Smog songs, one from each of their LPs:

“Hurricane” [from Another Fine Day]
“Please Tell My Brother” [from Weird Tales]
“V” [from Down By the Old Mainstream]

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Sunday 30 July 2006 at 4:30 pm

When Local News Goes Horribly Wrong

Somehow I think Robin Scherbatsky would have handled this a little better than Jodi Applegate. I’d like this better if the dude has been able to keep a straight (or, even better, pained) face when he was on the ground.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Friday 28 July 2006 at 12:47 pm

Birdmonster Return to NYC

One of my current favorite bands, Birdmonster, who recently rocked NYC at Sin-e and the Knitting Factory, are coming back in September to headline the Mercury Lounge. The show is Thursday, September 7th, and tickets are available now. Among the openers is the much-blogged-about Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Thursday 27 July 2006 at 11:21 am

Golden Smog @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC [7/26/06]

Damn good show last night, with a couple of surprise guests (Mike Mills, Craig Finn). Rushing to get to work, so I’ll give a fuller account a bit later. Until then, peep the pics. As always, there’s more at Flickr.




Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Thursday 27 July 2006 at 6:04 am

Kevin Smith, Jason Lee Officially Out of Fletch Movie

Maybe it’s old news that Kevin Smith’s planned effort to revive the Fletch series, with Jason Lee as the titular character, has died. What is news, however, is that the project is apparently now going forward under the guidance of Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence. And, wouldn’t you guess it, but Bill wants Zach Braff to star.

Not sure how I feel about this. I always though Jason Lee would be perfect as Fletch, and as much as I like Scrubs, I’m just not sure that Zach Braff has the right level of smugness/smarminess for the role. His characters tend to err on the goofy side, and Fletch should be a bit more of a man’s man (with goofiness thrown in). Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

(From The Hollywood Reporter East.)

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Wednesday 26 July 2006 at 10:22 am

Human Television Makes a Video

Pitchfork has a link up to a new video by Human Television for their excellent song “In Front Of The House”. The video itself? Not excellent, but maybe not as bad as Pitchfork makes it out to be. That said, was the 20-second, achingly long shot of the bassist, at about the 60% mark of the song, really necessary? I think not.

Watch the video here.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Wednesday 26 July 2006 at 8:32 am

The Whigs Return to NYC

I just can’t get enough of The Whigs. And, thankfully, it seems like they can’t get enough of New York, because they’re coming back to NYC for the fourth time this year.

The details:

Saturday, September 16th at Mercury Lounge
Tickets on sale today at noon via Ticketweb.

The show is the same night at the Magnolia Electric Co., Shearwater and Bottomless Pit show at Knitting Factory, but the KF site says that that show is an early 7pm show, and that there’s a different event starting at 11pm. So, assuming the Whigs play after 11pm (and they did last week), I should be able to do both… fingers crossed.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Wednesday 26 July 2006 at 8:08 am

Odds and Ends

Here again is my patented “find and dump” post where I link to all the interesting stuff of the last few days… enjoy:

The Rich Girls Are Weeping, a blog that I don’t read nearly enough, has the new Wrens song from the long-rumored They Might Be Giants tribute album. Check out “They’ll Need a Crane”. Sounds like a Wrens song to me (even though it’s not), and I likes a lot.

If you didn’t like Kill Bill, it looks like you might be out of luck. Apparently Quentin announced at Comic Con that he’s set to do two full-length animated movies based on the Kill Bill universe, one a prequel and one a sequel. I loved the second movie, but thought the first one was a tad slow. (Link via Kingblind.)

Harp Magazine has a great article about Golden Smog and the making of the band’s new album. I’ll be posting my notes on the album soon, but my nutshell review is this — good on first listen, better with each additional listen, now I love it. (Link via Joel, who I urge you to vote for at some future date.)

If you missed it, tickets for Eric Bachmann and Richard Buckner at Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday, September 20th are on sale.

Lots and lots of live music:

Your favorite and mine, RBally has two great new sets. First is a 5-part set of Guided by Voices, a/k/a, the great rock band of all time, from the 40 Watt in Athens, GA on January 22, 2000. Two parts are up so far.

Second is a short set from The Cure from Sydney, Australia on August 17, 1981.

Sweet Oblivion has a 7-song set of live Catherine Wheel from 1995. (Link via Torr.

And Captain’s Dead has a 5-song live set from Jeremy Enigk from his 1996 solo tour. (Also via Torr.) Can’t wait to catch Jeremy at Bowery next month in support of his forthcoming followup solo LP.

From Wussy’s website comes news that the band will be recording a new record after their east coast tour this fall. Still no dates on the tour, but that’s great news about the album.

Finally, check out a song from Lambchop’s forthcoming disc, Album Damaged, called “Crackers”. The album is out on August 22nd on Merge Records. (Link via Coolfer.)

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Tuesday 25 July 2006 at 7:36 pm

Lucero, Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers Available NOW

Even though Lucero’s new album, Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers, isn’t due to hit record stores until September 25th, you can get it NOW through the band’s website.

Here’s the deal:

(1) Go to the band’s website and pre-order the album for $13.98 + shipping.

(2) Within 2-4 days, a digital download of the new album will be sent to you.

(3) The physical CD will then be shipped one week prior to the album’s September 25th release date. There’s also some free pins or something in the deal, but really, I’m 31, I don’t need no pins.

Oh, you can also find four tracks from the album streaming on the website too. And excuse my French, but fuckin-a is “I Can Get Us Out of Here Tonight” an awesome song.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Tuesday 25 July 2006 at 3:16 pm

New Damien Rice (Finally!)

Head over to I Am Fuel, You Are Friends to hear some new Damien Rice songs which may or may not be on his new album. Yep, you heard that right – he apparently has a new album entitled Childish coming out in December. About friggin’ time!

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Tuesday 25 July 2006 at 11:01 am

Hold Steady Pre-Sale for NYC and LA

From the all-knowing Brooklyn Vegan comes news that the Hold Steady have announced a month-long tour of the U.S. in October in conjunction with the release of the third LP, Boys and Girls in America, on Vagrant Records on October 3rd.

The band’s shows in New York (Irving Plaza, Sunday 10/3) and Los Angeles (Troubadour, Monday, 10/16) are available via pre-sale now.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Tuesday 25 July 2006 at 10:35 am

The Hiders @ Pianos, NYC [7/24/06]

If I were to put together a list of my favorite musical “discoveries” of 2006 so far, Cincinnati’s The Hiders would be near the top of the list. If you don’t know them, the Hiders are the latest project of Bill Alletzhauser of the legendary (to me, at least) Ass Ponys. Their album, Valentine, is one of the best alt-country-ish discs I’ve heard in a while. Or maybe it’s the best Neil Young album that Neil never made. Either way, it’s fantastic, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Check out a couple songs:

“Everything I Wanted”
“Into the Sun” (live)

I didn’t expect to actually have the chance to see the band live anytime soon, so I was pretty thrilled to notice a few weeks ago that they’d added a date here in town following a big festival they played in Philly yesterday. They didn’t disappoint. The band sounded great. They played pretty much the entirety of Valentine, and I think one or two new songs which were both excellent as well. My pictures kinda suck, since I tried going without a flash, and it didn’t work all that well:


Listen to some more songs at the band’s website or at its MySpace page.
And if you like what you hear, pick up a copy of Valentine at Miles of Music.

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Monday 24 July 2006 at 10:50 pm

Decemberists To Play Hammerstein (Dammit)

So I’ve pretty much come to accept the fact that the Decemberists are freakin’ huge these days, and that they’re only going to get bigger with the release of their new album, The Crane Wife, on Capitol on October 3rd.

(That’s not to say I understand why they’re so big. I love them and all, but how did a dorky band that writes dorky songs that aren’t about teenage angst get so popular??)

What I can’t get over, though, is that they’ve decided that their popularity requires them to play New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom – i.e., the worst venue I’ve ever been to. For those of you unfamiliar, Hammerstein has a humungous general admission floor and two or three large balconies, giving it a total capacity of around 5,500, I think. The room has several key flaws, not least of which is that the stage is too low, meaning that unless you’re at the front of the floor (a near impossibility unless you’re the first person in the door), you can barely see the band. I saw Dylan there a couple of years back and was lucky to see his hair sticking above the crowd for about 5 minutes. The second major problem is that the sound sucks on the floor. Just awful. So if you want to hear anything, you need to be in a balcony, where, of course, you can’t see a freakin’ thing. And, considering that one of the Decemberists’ calling cards is their connection with their concert crowd, this is going to absolutely kill their live dynamic. I’d much rather see them do 2 nights at Roseland, as bad as that place is.

Anyway, the show is November 3rd (thanks to Brooklyn Vegan for the heads up), and Ticketmaster has no indication of an onsale date yet. Personally, I may skip Hammerstein and go to one of the following shows at much better venues:

Sunday, October 29th, 9:30 Club, Washington D.C.
Monday, October 30th, 9:30 Club, Washington D.C.
Wednesday, November 1st, Electric Factory, Philadelphia

Posted under Babystew Home by Steve on Monday 24 July 2006 at 1:19 pm

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