Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.
What It Is We're Doing Here
This is a place where I post anything my friends and I feel is relevant to the music we like. The kind of music in question can be seen pretty easily by checking out the playlists posted. I post a playlist every month and regular record reviews. By regular I mean 'when I get the chance'.
It is my sincere hope that any reviews or commentary you read here will not remind you at all of reviews you can read in Rolling Stone or Pitchfork or NME or any number of other professional music reviewers.
Why? Because for the most part, those reviews are just really, really boring and they kill the fun of music. No one (aside from guys who write those reviews) sits around with their friends and mentions how 'the deeply melodic tempo shifts emanating from the counter-intuitive and soulfully rhythmic jazz fusion guitar lifts us to incomparable ...'
Incomparable heights of bullshit, maybe. Not gonna happen here. (I didn't tell you this, but I still visit Pitchfork every day, but only for the articles, yeah.)
It would be a lie if I said there will be respect for a variety of musical tastes here, there will be no such thing. Some music, no matter how popular it is, just sucks. That doesn't mean this is a haven of indie rock snobbery by any means. There's plenty of well-regarded indie shit out there that is just fucking awful. Grizzly Bear, I'm pointing at you and nodding my head.
Really there are no limits to the kind of music we'll listen to, so anything goes. Forward on anything worthy that has not been discussed in enough detail.
If we miss something newsworthy or get something wrong, let us know. If you agree or disagree with an opinion here, let us know. It will not change said opinion, but you will probably feel better than if you kept it in. So go ahead.
How I Rate Music
When I post my thoughts on a record, I use the standard 1-5 stars format for a couple of reasons: 1) It works just as well as anything else and 2) Most people use an iPod, I rate my songs on my iPod, the iPod has a 1-5 star ratings system and therefore it's a common language to both of us.
Here is how I define my ratings:
5 Stars: Totally awesome. A great song. Permanent favorite. Think 'Fans' by Kings of Leon (before the hairstylists), 'Mahgeeta' by MMJ, 'Fight Test' by the Flaming Lips, that sort of thing. A rare rating, though.
4 Stars: Very good. I'll listen to this song again and again, I'm happy I bought it, I will refer to it in conversation as 'one of the songs I like on that album'.
3 Stars: Just OK. Nothing wrong here, it's just not that memorable and maybe if I listened to it three or four times I'd like it, but if it was really that good, I shouldn't have to, so that brings us full circle and therefore it is 'Just OK'.
2 Stars: Irritating. A bad song. This rating means something is really wrong here, and perhaps we should sit down.
1 Star: A sin against music. Why did you record this? Do you not have any friends who listened to this with you and said 'Wow, this is incredibly, incredibly bad'? This is the kind of song that totally pisses me off when I hear it.
A few songs almost automatically fall into 1 or 2 star category, in particular the trend gaining popularity with bands to once again put one minute snippets of music or horrible noise on an album. Spiritualized, I am talking to YOU. 'Harmony 6 (Glockenspiel)'? I mean, fuck you.
How I Make Playlists
Any 4 or 5 star song usually ends up on a monthly playlist. If an album is so good that it has more than three or four songs that warrant being added to a playlist (ie Windmill, Deer Tick), I'll space the songs out and put them on a subsequent month's playlist.
Playlists are generally 35 songs or so. Any more than that and you'll just never listen to some of them, any less and you'll just get bored because there's not enough music. I realize this makes no sense, I really just needed an arbitrary cutoff, so 35 it is.
Les Savy Fav (with Hannibal Buress) – 9/9/09 – The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY
Les Savy Fav seems to embody a similar aesthetic to The Hold Steady – aging indie rock guys who are taking bits and pieces of the great punk, hardcore and rock n roll that preceded them and rolling it into one sound that can only be called “post hardcore”.If The Hold Steady are Springsteen with a punk rock aesthetic, then Les Savy Fav are The Pixies with a Dischord Records aesthetic thrown in.It’s as if Ian McKaye and Fugazi learned how to have fun, spit brew and rock out like complete maniacs.
This is a tremendous live rock band, with frontman Tim Harrington providing some of the most entertaining shit going on right now.The band behind him is tight as hell and plays with real purpose– the rhythm chugs and the lead guitar whips through some nice unique sounds, all while Harrington prances around in nothing but briefs that are barely supported by his impressive beer gut.
On this night, Harrington started by coming out dressed in faux army fatigues and a white Italian “Polizia” hat.He seemed to be pretending to be in the jungles of ‘nam, shooting the audience members and radio-ing for backup until the band kicked in and the beer spitting and striptease started.It’s an incredibly hilarious and awesome scene, the guy just jumping off the stage into the crowd, prancing around amongst the audience, singing from the bar, climbing the walls and donning costume after costume, every stitch of which ended up on the floor.
The new Brooklyn version of The Knit is really nice and not that much different than Music Hall of Williamsburg – a compliment, for sure -- with great sight lines and $5 Ommegang Witte brews, and best of all, a window in the back of the music room that allows people in the outside bar to see all the goings-on inside.In the case of Les Savy Fav, they might have seen a fat, bald dude pressed against said window, threatening to drop his cut-off sweatpants.
I happen to think that their 2007 LP, Let’s Stay Friends, is one of the best records of the decade, and I’d heard about their wild live shows, so I was pretty excited to finally see these guys.They exceeded my expectations.This is a really great live band on all fronts and it was made even better by the fact that The Knit seemed to want to avoid overselling this show, so a room with a capacity of 300 seemed to only bring in 200 or so people.Plenty of room to move around, never more than 30 feet from the stage, $5 Omegang Witte brews and “Patty Lee” rocking your headpiece.This was very much worth every penny of the $17 entrance fee.
BV’s pictures tell most of the story.Go see this band. We got the picture above from the Village Voice here.