Someone hopefully sanitizes that microphone after he's done with it.
This year's Siren had a much more satisfying conclusion after last year's clusterfuck that was Spank Rock. Holy Fuck's electro dance funk gave the people something to cheer for on the Stillwell stage. Those who endured the whole day waiting for them were rewarded with a blissful set of weirded out dance tunes. I left Matt & Kim after one song just so I can catch their whole set. I wasn't going to miss all those slammin' beats from these Canadians, who were the only foreign act on the bill. This being my fourth time seeing them (saw them open for UNKLE, Forward Russia! and Super Furry Animals), I knew wouldn't disappoint.
Time to blaze through these remaining pictures from Siren.
Caught the tail end of local boy Cymbals Eat Guitars. They are working on album number two this summer and filling in for Morning Benders on some dates for Black Keys. Turns out lead singer Chris Chu fell in Philly and had to be sent to the hospital. In any event, CEG will head out on tour for the fall with punk poppers The Thermals.
September 30: Triple Rock Social Club -- Minneapolis
Rocktober 1 : The Mill -- Iowa City, IA
Rocktober 2 : Annex -- Madison, WI
Rocktober 4 : Rhino’s -- Bloomington, Indiana
Rocktober 6 : Magic Stick -- Detroit
Rocktober 7 : Northside Tavern -- Cincinnati
Rocktober 8 : Beachland Ballroom -- Cleveland
Rocktober 9 : Lee’s Palace -- Toronto
Rocktober 10 : Castaways -- Ithaca, New York
Rocktober 12 : First Unitarian Church -- Philadelphia
Another loving post about Teddy Rockstar. I don't think it's possible to write anything bad about him.
I do want to start with a gallery my friend showed me. In honor of the Nobel Prize-winning TV show, Jersey Shore's second season debut tonight, E! Online listed the 9 Best Ever People from New Jersey. Only nine?
Mr. Leo was not on list so it is invalid. Neither am I. Granted, both of us are not Jersey-born, him- Indiana, me- Brooklyn. The people were Jack Nicholson, Queen Latifah, Sinatra, Meryl Streep, Jon Stewart, Bon Jovi, Bruce, Buzz Aldrin and Chelsea Handler. Sorry, President Grover Cleveland, Paul Rudd and Martha Stewart, you're not the BEST EVAH! according to E! Online.
Ted and Holy Fuck were the two acts I wanted to stay for the whole set. Is there much more to stay than Ted Leo is the man. I could spend two years doing nothing but learning guitar from Luther Dickinson and I could still not be as cool or skilled as Teddy Leo. Nicest guy in indie rock, hero to other musicians and cranks out hits after hits.
For his return to Siren, he brought fellow Jerseyian Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females for a rendition of Ted's Woke Up Near Chelsea. Hands down, the highlight of the day.
You should check out his website for his thoughts on his "retirement" that was blown out of proportions. As long as he plays locally, he can do whatever he wants the other days of the year. Speaking of which, he'll play Brooklyn Bowl, inside or outside, this Sunday for free. Somebody pass around the tip jar for the hardest working man in indie rock.
Creeping their way back into our hearts and minds are local cats The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. I've had a dysfunctional relationship with their music and the band. It's my typical music snobbery attitude. I caught onto them early on like most local NYC bloggers, back in 2008. CMJ that year gave them a huge shot. Their music was a loving recreation of late 80s shoegaze and early 90s indie pop.
Then, everybody starting getting into them, and it didn't seem so cool anymore to name drop them. Next thing you know, they are selling out Webster Hall. I got tired of hearing how awesome they were ... or how over-rated they were. So, I had written them off. Chalk it up for over-exposure. I gotta read less music sites.
You know what, seeing them at Siren, they are back on my good side. It reminded that these people actually rock. They're not a bunch of pussies singing about broken hearts, but they grind out some heavy guitar riffs and catchy tunes. I have a feeling that their new material will build on that hard edge. The Pain, you welcome back on my music rotation. I am sorry for dismissing you just because you became popular.
These cats were loud. Loud + Fierce = Hardcore. Early Greyhound made some ears ring with their set -- a grinding, southern soul style straight from the 70s. Its the kind of sound would expect to hear on the sidewalk of some small Mississippi town. Just look at guitarist Matt Whyte. I was looking for a time machine because he must have stepped out from the Dazed & Confused era. "You got any weed, man? It would be cool if you did."
With his chiseled bare chest, vintage jeans and long, sweaty hair, he should never look any different. He should go to sleep looking like that. In fact, when I saw them in passing the next day at the end of XPoNential, everyone was dressed the same. Also, I could hear their set from the Camden Waterfront parking lot.
Since sometimes I'm dummy, I realized when I saw them at Siren that their name is a riff on the tea, earl gray. Ohhhhhh.
Ponytail is the worst band I've seen since I've been blogging. BOLD. Underline.
After seeing them at CMJ two years ago (looks like Molly hasn't gotten a new shirt since), I knew I wasn't going to stick around for this train wreck. I dared myself to stay one song. Although, I don't think they actually have songs, so that's a gray area. Their music is just stream-of-consciousness noise that wants to think that playing nonsense is an art upon itself. It's not, it's just bullshit made for kids to push around each other.
Yes, there is that bulge. You see, lead singer Molly Siegel is gay, so she wears boy boxer briefs and stuff it. Isn't that funny? It's like a gay guy who tucks their junk between their legs. So daring! Totally outrageous! If she wanted to make a statement, trying writing a song with lyrics, style and meaning.
Good job, Wye Oak. I saw them two years ago during CMJ and thought they were rather dull. This was before they recorded and released The Knot. Last weekend's set was a thousand times better. Maybe, I should give band second chances. NAAHHHHHH.
I kid. The Baltimore duo have fine tuned their alt-county folk pop vibes and given their sound some life. The songs seem fuller and better constructed. Although, I think Wye Oak is a better band on record then they are live. The two person set-up does inhibit them from reproducing some of those larger elements from their albums like the forceful sections of "For Prayer" or "Tattoo". There's only so much you can do with guitar loops, drums and occasional keyboards. The new material they trotted had a little more of a harder, faster edge. Henceforth, I shall keep on eye on them.
Their next visit will be at Mercury Lounge on Sept. 1 and Sept. 4 at Maxwell's -- both will be opening sets for Lou Barlow.
If I could record my voice and play it for you right now, I would have a sound clip of my reaction to Screaming Females. I would throw some metal up on both hands, cross my arms and do some sort of opera/Justin Hawkins voice that would be "THAT ROOOOOOCCCKKK". I've known of the band's existence but never bothered to pay attention. Gimme a break, you should see my inbox and stack of promo CDs.
Their home base is New Brunswick, NJ (motto: crushing your academic dreams since 1766). I went to college there and we NEVER had any bands form while I was there. So I missed Thursday, The Gaslight Anthem, Tim Fite and My Chemical Romance emergence from the central NJ rock scene. With MCR, maybe that was a good thing that I missed that. In any event, Screaming Females have been playing house parties, basements and backyards for a past few years. More recently, they've been doing that DIY Brooklyn thing and opening up for Dead Weather.
Which brings me to Saturday's set, Marissa Paternoster is a guitar god in the making. She's this Cobain and Prince hybrid shoved into a 5-foot frame. She plays guitar like it was a wild boar that's attacking her. She spins and jerks around as if she's trying to tame her instruments. The screeches and distortions give it a raw energy. On the top of that, she screams her head off. Thus, a perfectly named band.
Their music is very much in the DIY, lo-fi indie punk vein -- your basic, guitar-bass-drum trio. Their advantage is Paternoster's chops. There a few songs where she'll just do her things while the others hang back and enjoy the chaos. It's something I've got to see again to witness that ball of energy slam around on a small stage. Thus, they play Maxwell's on August 13 and Death By Audio on August 14. And a head's up to my British readers, Luminaire on Oct. 28 -- get your arse there!
Let's blaze a trail through these Siren and XPoNential pictures.
Kicking off Siren festival was Massachusetts man or band, DOM, who's lead singer goes by the name DOM. They were better than last year's starter, Tiny Masters of Today. That was like, "That's cute kids. Now get off the stage and drink your milk." The starting band usually plays to an empty parking lot with a few early stragglers. On the bright side, they got to chill the rest of the day
The man DOM, who looks like Andrew VanWyngarden long-lost little brother, plays in that psychedelic dark pop genre that seems to be popular these days. I've heard that term chillwave so many times, I refuse to acknowledge it because nobody can explain it. In any event, they had good things going for, a lot of full songs, always active in their fuzzy guitars and swirling synths. I like Living in America, which recalls the early 80s dance pop mood, but didn't tread to heavily in the retroness. Rude As Jude had a good poppy pulse.
It seems that the last band on the main stage is designated for the established veterans. Before this year, New York Dolls and Stephen Malkmus closed out the stage. This year it was long-time indie rock who are on a major label mainstays, Built to Spill. I hadn't seen them since my college years when Perfect from Now On was the CD to own.
When they walked on stage, it was kind of startling to see Doug Martsch with a graying beard. When did they get some old looking? Has it been that long? Wait, that means I've aged as well. My little panic subsided when they kicked out the classics. They repeated something that the Raveonettes established: "We're not saying much because we've concentrating on playing. We haven't played together for a while, so don't take it as an insult." I have to scold myself a little but for listening to them more often. Albums like Keep It Like s Secret and Ancient Melodies of the Future are must own albums for indie rock bands.