Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jaded Scenester NYC: Best EPs of 2011

As I understand, it's in the way that you use it, or so the Michelobs are telling me. Here's the JS-NYC take on all things short format in 2011.

1.  Iron Chic – Split & Shit EP
Their crowd is getting a little wearisome to this old bastard, but when it comes to hooky LIHC with a decided post-Lifetime bent, you can't go wrong with Iron Chic or Split & Shit.

2.  Drive-By Truckers – Sometimes Late At Night EP. It's chaos as usual for Team DBT, with bassist/singer Shonna Tucker the latest to depart in the time-honored ambiguous circumstances. This EP came out before the split, featuring a handful of live tracks and a studio version of the Vic Chestnutt tune, When I Ran Off And Left Her. Be interesting to see what's next for these Sons Of The South.

3.  The Hold Steady – Live from Soho EP
I still miss Franz, but this is a pretty solid eight song showing from Team THS. I'm intrigued to see how Craig's solo record impacts things as/re: the new (non-Vagrant?) record. I'm calling ATO as the winner, unless they score themselves a too-good-to-be-true major deal with Anti.

4.  Restorations – The Key Studios EP
Restorations have been a big deal for me over the last year ago and I was glad they sweetened the top with this live recording. Five great takes, with a little studio banter to remind you its not all glowering and dynamic shifts with these nice young men.

5.  Chixdiggit – Safeways Here We Come EP
Chixdiggit pretty much redeemed their last half-hearted junket through town with a fun EP and a great set with Kepi Ghoulie on an East River Rocks Off death barge. On Fat Wreck again, as well. While Hot n' Horny is embarassing for guys as old as these dudes, Since You Got A Dog continues to be an anthem for our times.

6.  Armalite – Humongous 7”
The eight year locusts of hardcore re-emerge from dormancy to drop three jolts of post-D4 Philly punkcore. Boo-ya. And Go! for that matter.

7.  Jon Snodgrass – Tri-State Record
I wish Jon would pull a Wedding Present and release a song a month and then offer a catch-up comp release at the end of the year, as he's almost prolific to a fault. Tri-State Record is the best cumilitive record this year, although the Scorpios record is quite a little delight as well.

8.  Superchunk/Coliseum - Record Store Day 7”
C'mon: The Chunk and Coliseum togther doing Misfits covers. That's worth a spin.

9.  Bobby Bare Jr. – a storm, a tree, an acoustic ep EP
The companion EP to A Storm, A Tree, My Mother's Head gave nerds and completists a shot at the demos that fostered the full-length.

10.  Trash Talk – Awake EP
Blaaaah! Blaah-Blaah-Blaah-Blaah! Circle Pit. Mosh-mosh-mosh. Chug.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jaded Scenester NYC: Top 11 Records of 2011

Ok All:

The TBs are back in full effect, courtesy of Time Machine, so without further ado, let's start the recappery for 2011.

Day One: 

Top 11 Records Of 2011

1.  Banner Pilot – Heart Beats Pacific
Longtime readers know that Banner Pilot gets much love at JS-NYC HQ, but even I was a little surprised that they took the top honors for 2011.  I think the CMJ live shows sealed the deal for me, The Fat Wreck deal getting the gents to the East Coast more than in years previously. The gents tore up the Reload store and followed up with a pretty aces set in Brooklyn later that night. Heart Beats Pacific has the same relentless amount of hooks, changing things up on the vocals but still with the bass mixed up front. Eleven songs, and not a bad track on the record. I'm pretty sure the gents are already in pre-production for the next one, plus they are letting the punters pick the set list for the spring tour, so get on over to the Banner Pilot web presence and ruin the spring for me. Get Heart Beats Pacific here.

2.  Centro-Matic – Candidate Waltz
Said it the first time and am now saying it again: Why Centro-matic aren't gargantuanally huge boggles what little faculties I still maintain. Centro-matic are everything that I don't see why people like about My Morning Jacket and The National (who, truth be told, seem like fine people, exclusive of their profoundly unremarkable records). I dare not contemplate what a four hour MMJ set would be like, but every time I see Centro-matic live I wish it would never end. The last show at Mercury was no exception, unsurprising as Candidate Waltz is the finest record to date from a band that continually releases amazing records. Bookmark their web presence here.

3.  Tenement – Napalm Dream
The fact that 2011 brought a new Tenement record was a personal high point. They were top fucking notch a couple years ago in Greenpoint and I've been salivating at the prospect at seeing them again ever since. There are only two solid members in the line-up, which hampers the whole touring thing. It's a shame, as Napalm Dream has some of the best indie rock tracks you'll hear this year. Shades of 90s Boston and America's Finest Rock BandTM The Figgs abound, with the breakdown of Stupid World ranking as perhaps my favorite recorded moment of this year. Keep track of Wisconsin's finest and all things Napalm Dream here.

4.   Restorations – s/t
Restorations are definitely my favorite new discovery of 2011, although sadly my favorite track is from their first EP. Lack of Linear Notes aside, and despite a curious tendency toward black metal in their artwork choices, this fearsome Philly fivesome get high marks from JS-NYC. Now lets see a lot more NYC shows please.

5.  Glossary – Long Live All Of Us
My review is coming up at PopMatters soon, but much like Centro-matic, you cannot go wrong with any release with the Glossary name on it. I generally loathe bands with singers who both live and rock together (see the utterly execrable Mates Of State), but Joey and Kelly make it more than worth your while with Long Live All Of Us.

6.   Bridge & Tunnel – Rebuilding Year
The time Bridge & Tunnel lay fallow has fostered a bumper crop of great music. Rebuilding Year features great J. Robbins-y vocals from Jeff and top-fucking-notch guitar work from Rachel. Along with Iron Chic, there is rarely a safer bet in a local show.

7.  Frank Turner – England Keep My Bones
A close second behind Restorations in the new discovery queue, Frank Turner grabbed my attention on Kimmel and England Keep My Bones quickly racked up neighbor maddening levels of rotation at JS-NYC HQ. I Am Disappeared ranks just as high in singles of the year. FT is going to be a very big deal, very soon.

8.  Samiam - Trips
I think Samiam may have actually deposed the mighty Jawbreaker as my all-time favorite East Bay band. They have made pretty regular appearances out East Coast way this year and been pretty damn great every time. Trips has a gang of great songs and hopefully will usher in a new era of Samiam dominance.

9.  Gateway District – Perfect’s Gonna Fail
Without disparaging Maren and Carrie's significant contributions to Gateway, the idea that Nate could write two amazing records worth of music (see #1) deserves notice. I really need to get to Minneapolis.

10.  Direct Hit! – Domesplitter
Got this one cold in the mail, maybe through the good folk of Southern Lovin' and the terrible cover art kept me off listening for a bit, but once I did I was more that stoked at what I heard. Obvious D4 and Screeching Weasel earmarks, but with enough personality to not get lost in the shuffle. 

11.  Money Making Jam Boys – The Prestige
2011 has been a terrible year for hip-hop, but this Philly all-star team fucking kills it on their debut mix tape. P.O.R.N, Truck North, Dice Raw and STS rhyme hard but MC juggernaut Black Thought is the hero here, asserting himself as one of the pre-eminent mic stylists of our generation and saving this year from being over-saturarted with Odd Future fomented Asbergers Rap.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Technical Difficulities


Sorry for the longer than usual bit of stagnation.

The MEH2000 at JS-NYC HQ is on the fritz currently, so sit tight while we harness the power of Time Machine.

JS-NYC Year end coverage starts on the morrow (Jobs willing).

Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Live: Cory Branan @ Mercury Lounge 12.11.11

Cory Branan is JS-NYC favorite, a proud son of Mississippi current residing in Austin. He has a couple full-lengths under his belt, with his most recent release being a 2009 split with the great Jon Snodgrass. Record number three has been rumored for some time, and was even alluded to again at this show, but at this point appears to be the Chinese Democracy of the singer-songwriter set.

This tour was with Dave Hause and Laura Stevenson and had Cory in the midcard slot. I showed up early to find that things were about an hour and a half behind schedule, prompting a return to the couch that resulted in my missing Laura Stevenson and presumably The Cans as well. I swanned into a not-especially full room and Cory was up in short order. He played solo, opening with the great Survivor Blues and romping through 40 minutes or so of his back catalog, including Prettiest Waitress In Memphis and Tall Green Grass. All in all, a pretty good showing for a long-hair. I recorded the Branan set, so if you'd like a copy, hit me up via the e-mail and I'll mail you a link. I didn't stay for Hause, as I much prefer my own and its companion couchery.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Slow Death - Born Ugly, Got Worse

Is there anything more reliably solid than Twin Cities punk rock rock? JS-NYC would argue no, and The Slow Death make for a pretty convincing argument. Spawned from the ashes of Pretty Boy Thorson, The Slow Death shares some members (and a fair amount of the set list, as I understand), most importantly lead lungs/liver scarrer Jesse Thorson. To sweeten the pot and keep things scene compliant, Mr. Paddy Costello holds down the bass half of the rhythm section, with the ubiquitous Mikey Erg on the drum stool and Ms. Annie Soviette holding down the lady vocal slot. Not too shabby, huh.

And it's not less than the sum of its parts. Born Ugly, Got Worse takes the best part of Dillinger Four and The Replacements and pairs it with the high points of the Ben Deilly era Lemonheads (esp. on Stay High) to make one of the best bastard unions you have gracing your earhole(s) this year, even (or mayhaps because) one of the tracks is a straight Chixdiggit ripoff. You'll get 12 songs in just over a half-hour for your holiday dollar, insuring multiple replays with little in the way of diminishing returns. Get Born Ugly, Got Worse here from your friends at Kiss Of Death and keep track of all things Slow and Deathlike here. Buy it now, thank me later.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gucci Mane & V-Nasty - Baytl

I can't say that I ever foresaw an era where I would ever have a full-length from Gucci Mane in my possession and I guess as this mixtape is a split with V-Nasty, I'm still technically correct, but either way it comes with more than a soupcon of ambivalence. You can blame Kreayshawn, I guess. I was pretty into that Gucci Gucci track for a hot minute and thought the mixtape was pretty ok, but it's never going to knock Lord Finesse out of heavy rotation.

And let's not get it twisted, I think we can all agree that it was a check that brought this unholy union together. I can't think of too many people clamoring for Gucci and V-Nasty, as it's hardly G. Rap and Rah Digga linking up. There are a couple kinda ok tracks on Baytl but can we stop the fucking deconstructionist spelling already? I bet this is probably much better with a bunch of thugged-out Oakland hip-hop ladies around, but lacks a little bit in the compulsion to replay department. Baytl is not the greatest release you'll hear this year, but each party drops a good line or two (not a verse, mind you) and if you look around you probably won't have to pay for this. Google away, I say.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bottle Rockets at PopMatters

Hey Kids:

Those interested in my take on the new live acoustic record from Bottle Rockets can use this link to get over to the good folk of PopMatters.

Thanks be to both parties.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

R.I.P: The Sainte Catherines (1999-2012)

All these posts about death and band break-ups reminded me I had forgotten to mention the shitty eventuality that is The Sainte Catherines breakup. Oh universe, you spoil me!

Not sure how this will impact their rootsier alter-ego Yesterday's Ring, but it sure does suck. The hygenically challenged Montreal punks released Fire Works in 2010, a record that was my favorite TSC record since their debut Those Stars Are For You. I was well chuffed at the prospect of finally seeing the band that had become my personal Bad Brains in recent years, having canceled a half-dozen shows for reasons unknown, an eventuality that netted a personal zero in the JS-NYC Sainte Catherines live shows seen column, a stat that makes me pretty irritated at having missed their 500th show when I was in Montreal last. Now it seems that the time-honored personal differences and family obligations have caused the gents  to hang it up. You can read their statement (in English and French) here.

Meh, and Bah!


Friday, December 2, 2011

R.I.P: The Riot Before (2005-2011)

Fuck. The Riot Before have been one of my favorite new(ish) bands from Richmond. Tony from Southern Lovin sent me the amazing Fists Buried In Pockets and I drank the kool-ade in bulk, yet always seemed to miss them when they made it through town behind that record and the equally stellar follow-up Rebellion. I always figured our paths would cross eventually, but it appears that I'm going to have to wait for Brett to tour solo for that to happen.

You can't go wrong with any of The Riot Before catalog. I'd pick it up immediamente. Stay tuned here for word on future goings-on from members of a band that will be sorely missed by JS-NYC.