Archive for November, 2007

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Concert notes: Holy Fuck

November 30, 2007

[Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA; November 29, 2007]

Holy Fuck lived up to their name at their show last night. Their music is like the bastard lovechild of Battles and Dan Deacon – while less virtuosic than the former and less straight-out batshit than the latter, they possess a tremendous anarcho-punk energy. And they were clearly really, really having fun onstage. Plus they were handing out free 7″ singles – a split disc, with a Celebration remix of their song “Frenchy’s” on one side, and their remix of a Celebration song on the other. If you’re not lucky enough to catch their act and pick up your own copy of the vinyl at one of their shows, you can download both MP3s here.

Image: Holy Fuck in Philadelphia PA, May 2007. Photo by Oliver J. Lopena, reposted here under its Creative Commons license.

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Concert etiquette: miss debcha speaks

November 27, 2007

My inner Emily Post is struggling to get out and rant about polite behaviour at concerts, so here’s a few tips. Note that this is strictly geared towards small, crowded concerts at bars – we’re not worrying about showing up late and waiting for the intermission before the usher shows you to your seats.

Smell nice. At a typical show, you can expect to have a dozen people within a one-metre radius of you. Unless you ride the Tokyo subway regularly, this is probably the most people you ever have within smelling distance. Shower. If you normally use deodorant, now is a good time. If you use perfume or cologne, lovely, although you probably don’t want to reapply right before the concert.

Don’t push your way to the front. If you want to stand in front of the stage and flirt with the bassist, arrive early. That’s what everyone who’s already there did. Just because we’re too polite to do more than glare at your back as you shove us out of the way, it doesn’t mean you’re not being rude.

And on a related note, don’t hold hands as you move around. Attending the concert with a group of friends? Fine. Negotiating a crowded space is bad enough solo; you don’t need to hold hands as you move from one part of the room to the other. You are not crossing the Khumbu Icefall.

More tips, a link to more conventional concert etiquette advice, and an MP3 after the jump.

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2007 in review: LCD Soundsystem

November 22, 2007

It’s Thanksgiving in the US, which means I can start thinking about the year 2007 in music. Without question, “All My Friends,” by LCD Soundsystem (off the brilliant album, Sound of Silver) was my defining song for this year. Using an evening out as a framing device, James Murphy incisively considers growing older while finding (and losing) one’s place in the world. You might have to be old enough that you can relate to self-descriptions of ‘with a face like a dad’ and to thoughts like, ‘when you’re drunk and the kids look impossibly tan,’ but I find this song and video deeply poignant. Lest that sounds boring, I should point out that the melancholy lyrics and dry delivery are backed with driving, anthemic musical lines.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his lyrics in this song and in songs like “North American Scum” and “Losing My Edge,” James Murphy is engaging and funny; the Guardian Unlimited music podcast posted a Music Extra interview (MP3s at bottom of page) with him that gives some backstory.

MP3: LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends

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Concert notes: The Pipettes

November 17, 2007

[Great Scott, Allston, MA; November 15, 2007]

The Pipettes are my guilty pleasure. They sing these sweet, catchy songs that almost exclusively about, as they freely admit, love and dancing. And they are this total retro throwback to the girl groups of the 60s, which I’m not particularly into. But somehow, they manage to produce wonderfully infectious indie-pop songs that I love. And, not surprisingly, the Pipettes (with a short ‘i’ if you are from the UK, it seems, but us North American scientists definitely go with the long vowel) put on a great live show, complete with matching outfits and synchronized dance moves. Their band, Cassette, did an excellent job of backing them up, but they aren’t really the point – they were as nondescript, in their grey, British-public-school-boy vests, as the Pipettes were flamboyant – and they are barely visible on stage. With their charming lyrics and memorable tunes, the Pipettes are a nice antidote to the mopey, dark music that I normally listen to.

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This MP3 is for Kate, who was curious that I knew all the lyrics to the song they described as ‘a bit naughty.’

MP3: The Pipettes – One Night Stand

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Concert notes: Nicole Atkins and the Sea

November 17, 2007

[Great Scott, Allston, MA; November 15, 2007]
Back in the realm of the dark and mopey, the big surprise of the night was Nicole Atkins and the Sea, who opened for the Pipettes. Aside from also singing songs about love and also being a retro throwback (we decided on ‘Blondie crossed with Edith Piaf if they were performing in the 50s’), Atkins’s moody music couldn’t be much more different from the Pipettes cheery vocals. But she has a phenomenal voice and is a stunning live performer. They are scheduled to be on Conan O’Brien next week, if the writer’s strike ends – it’s worth crossing your fingers for.

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MP3: Nicole Atkins – The Way It Is

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Best handstamp ever.

November 16, 2007

From Great Scott in Allston Rock City, MA.

 

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Concert notes: Battles

November 13, 2007

[Paradise, Boston; November 12, 2007]

They absolutely rock live. You should go see them. That is all.

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The taste of going out

November 12, 2007

Red Bull

Red Bull over freshly-brushed teeth. Eeeee.

Toothpaste and sweetness receptors.

Toothpaste for Dinner.

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Concert notes: Sea Wolf

November 7, 2007

[Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge; November 6, 2007]

Sea Wolf played an modest little show at the Middle East Upstairs last night (no pics, sorry – there wasn’t enough stage light for my poor little camera, and I didn’t want to ruin the atmosphere by using a flash). Despite the intimate setting, they didn’t sound quite as warm live as they do on their full-length CD, Leaves in the River. Alex Church, the principal (singer, songwriter and lead guitar) rocked out quite a bit more than I expected – not quite devil-horns level, I’ll admit, but there was some rockin’, especially on “Black Dirt.” And I particularly liked the old-skool Moog-y keys of Lisa Fendelander.

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mp3: Sea Wolf – Black Dirt

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Techno and impressionable young minds

November 6, 2007

A friend of mine pointed me to this vintage Sesame Street clip, with the description, ‘The last few seconds of this clip may hold an answer to my early love of techno.’

More: A taxonomy of electronic music; The zen garden theory of minimal techno; xkcd and techno

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Two guiding quotes

November 3, 2007

Today, we have an infinite number of choices available to us, and when content is infinitely abundant, the only scarce commodities are convenience, taste, and trust. [Peter Rojas]

Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.
[Tim O'Reilly]

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I’ve been to shows like this

November 3, 2007

toothpaste for dinner
toothpastefordinner.com

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Concert notes: Pansy Division

November 3, 2007

[Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge; October 26, 2007]

Pansy Division totally rocked out at the Middle East Downstairs. I think they are the perfect pop-punk songwriters, and their hilarious and/or touching lyrics are just an added bonus. I was delighted to hear that they are working on a new album, and they played some new songs, including one that Jon Ginoli introduced by saying, “You have to be a certain age to write a song like this.” Someone in the audience yelled out, “Twenty-eight!” Ginoli gently disagreed with the audience member before revealing the title, “Twenty Years of Cock.” I’m really looking forward to the new album, not least because it means they will tour again soon.

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mp3: Pansy Division – I’m Gonna Be a Slut

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