Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bound & Gagged
1980 Modern Method

Side A:
1) Clutter
2) Chains and Polymers

Side B:
1) Attack
2) Roach Motel

Sometimes I really wish I was twenty years old in the late seventies/early eighties. I certainly would have embraced the punk lifestyle and gravitated towards the more artistic "wave" of new music that punk rock was beginning to spawn. I would have rocked out to DNA and Liquid Liquid, Teenage Jesus, Red Krayola, and Bush Tetras, (to name a few). Even if I did make it to these shows, more likely than not, I wouldn't have had the chance to check out Bound & Gagged. They seem to be a band that has fallen through the cracks of time. Maybe it's because their catalog is short, and their longevity as a band was short as well. Either way, their sound remains huge nearly thirty years later. The quirky guitars and sporadic, winding vocal melodies paint a picture of a band that you could convince me was a collaboration between ESG and The Contortions. They have a keyboardist too, and she does it right laying super percussiony lost and found keys alongside moderately dancey drumbeats, while executing an overall twisted no wave sound. The cover art is great (both front and back) and the label artwork and song names seem fitting as well. Throw their radical songwriting into the mix, and you have yourself a nearly perfect record.

This Ep was recorded in January 1980 and mixed at Studio B, Boston, Ma. by Allen D. Smith. It was produced and put out on the label of Boston's infamous Newbury Comics owners at the time of release.

Here they are L-R: Marcia Maglione: keyboards and vocals, Barbara "Britt" Britto: lead vocals, Deni Ozan; drums, Trude Koby: bass, vocals, Martha Swetzoff: guitar vocals, Wendy
Stone: guitar

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Someday they are going to try to sell us our Sunny Days". - SDRE Reunites.

It was a pretty big deal back in 1997 when we all heard that Sunny Day was reuniting and playing some east coast shows. About a dozen kids from all over the states flew in and drove out to my place so we could all catch the show at Irving Plaza. It was a long time ago, but I remember it being absolutely epic. I was excited to hear their third (1998) release How it Feels to be Something On, and remain pleased with that record. Unfortunately, I feel that this is where they stopped grabbing my attention. Their debut release Diary was the one that shook the rock world in 1994, with their unique brand of heart-felt melodic rock that hit a booming grunge scene with great surprise. But it didn't last.

I spoke on the phone with front man Jeremy Enigk for about three hours one July night in 1998. I asked him every question I could think of asking him at the time. The overall theme of the conversation became a discussion about his recent conversion to born-again Christianity and the effects it had on his life, his music writing, and his band. Their second record (that I always call LP2 even though some people call it the pink album, which was the result of guitarist Dan Hoerner's "I don't care, just make it pink" answer to Sub Pop's question: "what are we doing for a layout") was saturated with heavy , spiritual lyrics and complex musical arrangements. No printed lyrics were included with the record, but the public quickly recognized Enigk's lyrical subject matter as a direct reflection of his new beliefs. Jeremy's life-changing revelations about his own religion, along with tensions occurring within the band was enough to break them up while drummer Will Goldsmith and bassist Nate Mendel would join Foo Fighters.

Will decided to leave the Foo Fighters after some creative conflicts between him and Dave Grohl (which apparently included something about Grohl overdubbing Goldsmith's drum tracks) and Nate stayed on. The band eventually grabbed Jeff Palmer for bass and they did some more shows for 2000's The Rising Tide.
That's where I lost interest. I had piles of cassettes of live SDRE shows, I had shelled out massive amounts of money for rare records by the band, i had lost sleep worrying that I wouldn't get a ticket to their shows, and I had finally lost interest. I think it was the over-produced edge that The Rising Tide screamed as well as bad timing for me personally. I just wasn't into it, and decided to move on. In recent months, i was informed that the band had been practicing together as a the original lineup for a new tour. Yesterday this was confirmed for me.

The new facts are in the tour listing. The new rumors are that they will be playing with The Jealous Sound and Thorns of Life (Blake from Jawbreaker/JTB's newest). Expect a repress of their first and second releases (Diary and LP2 respectively) on Sub Pop, and who knows what else...

As great as this sounds to me,the band has picked me up and let me down about three times already. But Nate is on Bass again! Ugh. I'll probably end up going.

Sunny Day Real Estate Tour 2009

9/17/09 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
9/18/09 - Portland - Crystal Ballroom
9/20/09 - Salt Lake City - Murray Theater
9/21/09 - Denver - Ogden Theater
9/23/09 - Minneapolis - First Avenue
9/24/09 - Chicago - Metro
9/25/09 - Detroit - St Andrews Hall
9/27/09 - New York - Terminal 5
9/28/09 - Boston - House of Blues
9/30/09 - Washington DC - 930 Club
10/01/09 - Philadelphia - Trocadero
10/03/09 - Atlanta - CW Center Stage
10/05/09- Dallas - Granada Theater
10/06/09 - Houston - Warehouse Live
10/07/09 - Austin - La Zona Rosa
10/09/09 - Tempe - Marquee Theatre
10/10/09 - Anaheim - House of Blues
10/11/09 - Los Angeles - Henry Fonda Theater
10/13/09 - San Francisco - Fillmore
10/15/09 - Spokane - Knitting Factory
10/16/09 - Seattle - Paramount Theatre

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Psychedelic Furs - Wellmont Theater - Montclair, NJ - June 13th, 2009

I had my suspicions, but after seeing The Furs this time, I am convinced that they choose to exist as a group who captures the mystique of sunglasses-wearing Velvets and Mysterians, the mannerisms of an effeminate yet androgynous Bowie, and the heart-wrenching yet teeth-clenching growls of love-sick bobcats.
First we walked into the show,(which was flooded with middle aged men and women), handed our tickets over and found a nice seat right in the center of the theater. The first band sucked pretty hard. They sounded like Coldplay and Wilco had a slow child who didn't get enough attention. They were talented kids, but boring boring boring. A real shitty situation for them as well was the fact that not only were they not mentioned on any of the Furs show dates, but the theater didn't even have them up on their page. To make matters worse, their crappy reverbed-to-highhell vocals made it nearly impossible to hear anything they tried to relate between songs, so you could forget about catching their band name then. The way I look at it in this case, it was probably for the best.
The Furs came out eventually and saved the evening. The first thing I noticed that varied differently from the last time that I got to see them was the obvious presence of a saxophone player. Alleluia! Not to say that I am a huge saxophone fan, I'm actually far from it. In fact the only saxophones in music I can stand are anything James White has done, and maybe, maybe the songs featuring Andrew Brennan on The Cure's Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. Other than that, when hearing a sax wail I can't help but to imagine our nerdball 42nd president trying to impress his nation on the Arsenal Hall show. Either that or some adult pop, yacht rock Kenny G garbage. I just plain hate saxophones. Regardless, Furs sax player Mars Williams really held it down. His execution was right on, and for a tiny guy, his energy was off the charts. Plus, the only thing more brutally intolerable than saxophone is synthesized saxophone and that's what I got last time I saw The Furs in 2005. Get it?
I quickly noticed that one of two things was going on. a) John Ashton had lost about a hundred pounds and lost the boots and cowboy hat as well, or b) There was some new young buck on guitar. After struggling to see (despite my somewhat up-to-date eyeglass prescription) I came to a sad conclusion that there was no way in hell that this kid was 52 year old Ashton. Bummer. Kid had some serious licks though and pulled it off quite well, so bravo to him.
There were all kinds of rumors as to who the drummer was going to be this tour, but once I got a look at Paul Garisto's glasses it was pretty clear that he was the man behind the kit. Probably a good move for him since he hasn't done anything noteworthy since 1987's Midnight To Midnight with The Furs. He was solid nonetheless and seemed to keep his energy and "up" mood for the duration of the performance.
Amanda Kramer was back again on the keys and also did a great job considering the pressure she must feel to have to nail some of those notes that are irreparable when missed. She's great, and has come a long way since her stint with total shit band Information Society. Some of her highlights include touring with Siouxie Sioux and Julee Cruise (who wrote "falling" for Twin Peaks as well as other D. Lynch productions), and of course, The Furs!
Tim Butler has to be one of the coolest bass players out there. He never takes his sunnys off, never says a word (and is not privileged with a microphone ever), and he muscles around the stage from one end to another playing his bass like he is on some epic new wave mission. He generally wears a dark blazer and dress pants, and looks like some deranged, musical Willem Defoe. A total ripper for sure.
His brother and lead singer Richard Butler left little to be desired. His bouncy, spinning energy put just about the entire theater in a great mood. His voice was nearly perfect, and it wasn't until he had monitor troubles when singing "Ghost in You" that I noticed any flaws whatsoever. "Well that must've sounded like a train wreck" he quipped at the song's end. Everyone laughed even though most of us were thinking it sounded more like a dying dog. His recovery was amazing, and he quickly bounced back without the hearing assistance and the crowd loved every second of it. In fact, they loved it enough to trigger two girls to illegitimately jump on stage and dance with him during Pretty in Pink at their encore. The show was great and I guess if I had to say thanks to the band I'd thank them for a few things. 1) Thanks for playing so many Talk Talk Talk songs because it's a great record full of great songs that should be in every music lover's collection 2) Thanks for having a saxophone player this time because although I want to kill anyone who plays one, you are one of the few bands who get the free pass for me, 3) Thanks for only playing one encore. All these silly bands who actually think it's still clever to come back out on stage two or three times need to get schooled. I appreciate your awareness of this epidemic, and 4) Thanks for making a career out of creating music that lusty teenagers and twenty somethings can most undoubtedly relate to. Now do me a favor and write a new album.


Like a Stranger
My Time
She is Mine
I Just Want to Sleep with You
So Run Down
No Tear
Am of this
Ghost in You
It Goes On


Pretty In Pink
Love My Way
Dumb Waiters

Thursday, June 11, 2009

David Byrne - Prospect Park - Brooklyn, NY. June 8th, 2009

My pal Dan and I left his shop late to head into Prospect Park to catch the rumored David Byrne and Eno "thing" that was happening for the park's opening day. That's all we knew. Well, we knew that and we knew the show had definitely already begun by the time we got there.

If we hadn't been so excited about a project we were scheduled to work on for the next two days, we may have not missed the stop and ended up at the wrong end of the park. Regardless, we persisted through the park's winding paths. After a bit of a walk and an interestingly surreal adventure where we followed the distant sound of drums and vocals into the darkness, we hit the fields in front of the stage. The place was packed, and the glow of the stage lights and the jumbotron lights hitting everyone in the crowd's face was a neat visual. I was able to catch some songs from the end of the set and the encores, but missed out on some serious stuff.

So the mystery of "what is David Byrne gonna do at this show, and is Eno actually involved" comes to a close. David Byrne played Eno songs along with some T-heads and some of their classic and new collaborative works as well. Here's the set and a video.

Strange Overtones
I Zimbra
One Fine Day
Help Me Somebody
Houses In Motion
My Big Nurse
My Big Hands (Fall Through The Cracks)
Moonlight In Glory
Life Is Long
Crosseyed And Painless
Born Under Punches
Once In A Lifetime
Life During Wartime
I Feel My Stuff
Take Me To The River
Great Curve

Encore 2:
Burning Down The House

Encore 3: Everything That Happens

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

LP 2 Quiz Results

412 people viewed the quiz, 125 people entered the contest, and only 4 people scored a perfect 100%. I randomly drew a name from the 4 winners and came up with:

Christopher Schmidt of Reno Nevada.

So congratulations to him - he will be receiving a pretty hefty package of records, shirts, stickers, etc very shortly.

Stay tuned for the next one and thanks to everyone who participated!