Category Archives: Archive

Ones/Hands, 1997-2005 (White Tapes) CD


Yet another semi-archival post. This review of the Ones/Hands, 1997-2005 CD on White Tapes originally appeared on April 25, 2005:

So my friend Russ Waterhouse has been running the high-quality, low-quantity White Tapes label off and on for years through various mysterious Brooklyn-located apartments, and 2005 has seen a re-birth of this ongoing concern. One of this year’s new ones is the collaboration CD by Ones and Hands, two American noisy units obscure by even most obscurists’ standards. Having only seen Ones in action, I feel confident in describing their modus operandi as officially awesomely weird: two dudes, crouching low over tables full of tiny objects, make atonal rattly creaky drony soft and oddly compelling noises. I’m assuming they’re responsible for most of those-type sounds on the disc, whereas I assume Hands provides the sweetly melodic guitar and drones that drift in and out, like the sounds of the street outside an open window. The combination of disparate elements makes this CD a fun time for fans of inscrutability, audio-style. Highly recommended.

More entries on White Tapes stuff forthcoming.

CORRECTION MAY 12: Ok, thanks to the benevolent stranger in the comments box, I learned that Hands is actually Hands To, aka Jeph Jerman. I think maybe Russ told me this but I forgot it. Whoops. And Nick from Ones plays the sweet guitar, so that’s good to know.

Download 1997-2005 here.


My ridiculously over-booked social schedule (no, really!) has me running all over town, and at no time was that more evident than last weekend, when I managed to make it from the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center (to see “Not a Photograph: The Mission of Burma Story”) at 6, up to Harlem to walk my friends’ dog by 8, and then out to Red Hook to catch this show. Thankfully, a car was involved, otherwise that’d be way too long on the subway.

Montreal noise-rock quartet Panopticon Eyelids kicked off the show, and unfortunately I don’t have any crappy cellphone camera shots of them. But they were quite the debonair Quebec’ers, singing such things as “AARON’S BALLS!” really really loudly. Really good in a AmRep-meets-now style. Mouthus followed, and in their inimitable way, they smoked. I have to admit, despite loving them a ton (and thinking they’re swell guys to boot), they can sometimes not deliver live. This was not an issue Saturday, and might’ve been one of the better Mouthus shows I’ve seen – though not as good as the show I did with them at the Palace that like nobody came to.

I first saw Monotract way back when in Chicago when they were on tour with Russ Waterhouse and a very young Joel St. Germain, and they’ve definitely changed a bit since then, adding more electronics to their sound. Honestly, I wasn’t too into them before, but Saturday’s show really brought out the best, even though they had some technical equipment issues. Their new album, XPRMNTL LVRS (I’ll be reviewing this soon for City Paper), has some strangely weird pop moments on it, and I think I like that side of the ‘Tract more and more.

Magik Markers are, in a word, unfuckwithable (if that’s a word).

Seriously I cannot think of another group of people who manage to walk into any live situation and just completely own it in the way they do. Not in the “fantastic performer” sense, because yeah I guess “anyone” can do this (which is the complaint of the common dumbass – no your five year-old can’t paint better than Picasso, either), but there’s something about their mind-melding musical ways that just transcends the “noise” thing. Pete and Elisa are just amazing, no matter who they play with (this time it was with Greg Weeks Steve Gunn, I think – I’m not up on my noisicians much any more), and this show was no exception.

And on one last note: props to Tony Rettman for playin’ fruity tunes!

Awesome Color, Awesome Color CD (Ecstatic Peace!)

Today’s City Paper contains my review of the Awesome Color CD, out now on Ecstatic Peace!. Check it out:

Rocking a serious Stooges-esque-or is that Stoogian?-vibe comes rather easily to Brooklyn-via-Michigan’s Awesome Color. The band’s self-titled debut is one of the finest examples of today’s version of yesterday’s heavy guitar rock action. Far be it for us to start declaring that an actual movement is afoot or anything, but the past few years have definitely seen a resurgence in a hairy, expressive, hard-rockin’ guitar thing that–despite some of our younger, lamer tendencies to suppress childhood memories of ZZ Top–we can’t get enough of. And thankfully, despite residing in New York, Awesome Color thoroughly rejects any lame “rock is back,” wannabe new wave crapola.

From the first chords of opener “Grown,” you know the louder-than-three-people-should-be (think Blue Cheer) AC is gonna bring it. Indeed, the opening two-thirds of Awesome Color is just about as sweaty as rock gets, even after being laid down in a sterile studio environment and pressed to little plastic discs (and even when Thurston Moore’s behind the console). And while the vocals aren’t as wild with abandon as Iggy’s, Awesome Color’s endlessly repeated holy mantras like “it’s your time” set a pattern for ultramelodic guitar leads to follow along in a gospel-esque-there’s that suffix again-call and response. Clearly the path to heaven, or at least Ann Arbor, runs through Awesome Color.

In other news, The Red Krayola was totally amazing at Northsix last night. 2-hour set, new stuff followed by all the hits. Great action and vibe. UPDATE: you can watch some great videos of the Red Krayola live in Chicago last year at their band page at Drag City.

One last: is anybody reading this damn thing? Drop a comment if y’are.


Not a review as such, as of course I am biased (how many times will I write that over the next few years?), but last Tuesday’s final-ever Sleater-Kinney show in New York City was pretty hot. I mean that literally, as it was one of the hottest days the summer had seen, and didn’t really abate much once the sun went down. After experiencing pretty terrible service at Republic (to be fair, the food when it finally arrived was tasty), my good friend Lisa and I high-tailed it over to Webster Hall, much to the chagrin of those who couldn’t partake in the sold-out action.

As I am the product manager for The Rogers Sisters, I exploited what priveledge I could (ha!) to get tickets and passes, which was nearly impossible since it was announced that they were opening well after tickets had sold out (that’s right, so don’t get all jealous – nobody else from the office got to go). It’s not just “the job,” though: I’ve been friends with Jen and Laura for nigh on a billion years (ok, not that long), and passing up the chance to see them in such a great venue where the audience was totally jazzed would’ve been criminal. And you know what? The Rogers delivered, like all git-out. I ain’t just saying that. After years of seeing them play (and that includes the very excellent, very under-rated Ruby Falls), this might’ve been the absolute best time I’ve seen them, and that includes lots of shows going back over ten years. Salud, Sisters!

I’m sure I’ll draw even more ire when I say that I have never been a S-K fan, but it’s the truth, I haven’t. The only other time I’ve seen them was when they opened for Guided By Voices (another non-fave I have respect for, but ain’t really into) at Central Park Summerstage back in ’97 (in the Matador internship days), and at the time I thought the vocals were too shrill (a la Belinda Carslile), and the music not “interesting” enough. Well, despite not knowing their songs at all (and only really having listened to The Woods twice, which is twice more than the rest of all their records), I have to say they also totally killed it that night. The crowd enthusiasm alone was enough for any decent band to feed on, but these girls shore did get stronger with every crazed round of claps, yells and hollers. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself when a band holds the audience in its pocket in such a way. So to the gals of S-K, I say, congratulations on a career well-rocked.

Bummer in the Summer: R.I.P. Arthur Lee


Rocker Arthur Lee dies in Memphis

Friday, August 4, 2006; Posted: 4:44 a.m. EDT (08:44 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) — Arthur Lee, the eccentric singer/guitarist with influential 1960s rock band Love, has died in a Memphis hospital after a battle with leukemia, his manager said on Friday. He was 61.

“His death comes as a shock to me because Arthur had the uncanny ability to bounce back from everything, and leukemia was no exception,” Mark Linn said in an email to Reuters. “He was confident that he would be back on stage by the fall.”

Lee died on Thursday at about 5 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT) at Methodist University Hospital with his wife Diane at his side, Linn added.

Lee, a Memphis native who referred to himself as “the first so-called black hippie,” formed Love in Los Angeles in 1965, emerging from the same scene as groups like the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors and the Mamas and Papas.

The first multiracial rock band of the psychedelic era, Love recorded three groundbreaking albums fusing traditional folk rock and blues with symphonic suites and early punk.

Bands as diverse as Led Zeppelin, Echo and the Bunnymen, and Siouxsie and the Banshees cited Love as an influence.

The band’s self-titled debut yielded the hit single “My Little Red Book,” written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. The 1967 follow-up, “Da Capo,” was one of the first rock albums to feature a song, “Revelation,” that took up an entire side.

A third release, 1968’s “Forever Changes,” which boasted adventurous horn and string arrangements, is considered Love’s bold response to the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s” album. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at No. 40 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

But Love, which rarely left Los Angeles, lost momentum as Lee hired new musicians and pursued a solo career. Various reunions amounted to little, and Lee’s eccentricities landed him in a California prison for six years during the 1990s for firing a pistol into the air.

After his release in late 2001, Lee assembled a new version of Love and toured Europe and North America, often playing “Forever Changes” in its entirety.

Lee was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia this year. In May, facing certain death after three rounds of chemotherapy failed, he became the first adult in Tennessee to undergo a bone marrow transplant using stem cells from an umbilical cord, according to The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal.

Doctors said the procedure lifted his chances of survival only moderately, the newspaper said.

Several benefit concerts were held in Britain and the United States to help Lee with his medical bills. Former Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant headlined a benefit in New York in June.

I wish he could have pulled through. The Love show I attended at Warsaw a couple years ago was phenomenal.

R.I.P. Coptic Light

One of my favorite New York bands, Coptic Light, have called it a day. Bummer news, dudes. Weirdly enough, I just found this out yesterday, and while on the L train today, I ran into CL guitarist Jon Fine (aka Johann von Poodles), who confirmed the tragedy. Needless to say, while not incredibly well known (or active), CL was one of the most aggressively awesome bands I’ve seen in the past five years. First time was at the Fireside Bowl, in 2002, when I still lived in Chicago. CL – which consisted of Fine (ex-Bitch Magnet, Vineland, Don Caballero), wildman drummer Kevin Shea (of the highly under-rated Storm & Stress), and bass mechanic Jeff Winterberg (of Antioch Arrow) – totally killed it, with a combination of heavy volume and dynamic, intricate melodies. I missed their past few shows in New York (they ended up playing more in Japan in the past year and a half than in the city), so this makes the news doubly bummering. But we’ll always have the music: go buy their LP, cleverly titled lp, from the fine folks at No Quarter. And keep your eyes open for a posthumous EP sometime soon. Gone, but not forgotten…

Time to Maybe Lay Off the Hash?

Wow. Just wow:

AMSTERDAM — A Dutch journalist has been sacked for making up an interview with American singer-songwriter Scott Walker.

The article by journalist Paul Hegeman appeared a few weeks ago in Dutch television listings magazine VPRO.

That’s some next-level Jayson Blair-type shit. Dude isn’t exactly Thomas Pynchon!