Monday, March 27, 2006

Richard Butler Upclose and Personal

Rare are the artists that manage to produce consistently good work. Some take risks and change directions like underwear, leaving strangely beautiful jewels as well as utter crap along the way. Others cling on to their schtick and rerepeat all they've ever done, shining once in a while. But most of them try to put records out, all of the time. Not Richard Butler. While he reformed the Psychedelic Furs in 2000, he kept that act as a showcase of their olden hits, including just one new - and brilliant - song. In the meantime, he worked on his first ever solo record, a frightengly upclose encounter with the man behind the spitting cynicism we know from the Furs or Love Spit Love. "Some cool electronical old fashioned songs" he sings in "Second to Second", a beautifully crafted pop piece with vocals that must make David Bowie as well as Damon Albarn jealous.
Live at the Canal Room in NYC, it was a weird experience to see that great stage performer being bound to a bar stool, occassionally glancing at lyric sheets. Not just for us - for Richard, too: Theres no rock band behind him, just two guys with guitars and computers. Unfortunately, those guitars didnt sound too good sometimes and made for a few rather trashy campfire versions of some old Furs stuff like Heaven or Love My Way, just a bit of over anxious to please, maybe. They could have relaxed, Butler has all the credits. But go get the record, you'll spend days, maybe years with these songs. You can get it here:

Nikki Sudden Dies After Knitting Factory Show

JC just called to bring us the sad news that Nikki Sudden died, last night, supposedly after a show at the Knitting Factory. Billboard reports this and says that no cause for his death was given. Lets hope it was painless for the 49 year old Swell Maps legend. For those who loved his music: He has just completed a last record, "The truth Doesn't Hurt". Nikki's my space is the right place to go to mourn with fellow fans. For me, going downstairs at the Knitting Factory three weeks ago, while upstairs the Loser's Lounge battled Blondie vs. The Pretenders, to get an earful of Nikki Sudden's sad performance before a handfull of people, followed by my off-hand comment about his show, comes back as a shock to me. I'll keep the romantic picture I treasure of walking through the snow in Rorschach past a secret girlfriends house with Nikki and the Jacobites on the walkman. RIP, Nikki Sudden, I hope you find Epic Soundtracks where you are now.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Niagara Hosts Chasm in Labrador

Our friends from Chasm in Labrador have their second outing: The band that wanders between dreamland, the Feelies, Go-Betweens with a splash of punk charisma will caress your ears at Niagara on Thursday night, 10pm. It's free, so buy Jan a beer! Niagara is at 112 Avenue A at 7th Street and the show will be opened by The Diabolical P-LiciousX. Which is yet another project name somebody could invent a game with.

Triple Treasures Tuesday Night

Sometimes a simple Tuesday night out on New Yorks Lower East Side can be more packed than any tourist sightseeing tour. And way better, too. Come on, where can you pack an English New Wave legend, and Austrian-american Thereminstar and the hottest bands emerging in Britain in one short eve? Here the short version of last nights events:

After a horrid bus trip through the USA that left John with hundreds of impressions and inspirations but was also pretty exhausting, the charismatic singer was glad to have a stage under his feet, a guitar in his hand and a charming drummer in Heather Wagner, who had just the right amount of groove and feeling for Watts' songs. John and Heather played for about an hour, mostly the great stuff from his new Double CD "Real Life Is Good Enough", but he also mixed in a couple of older diamonds like "One Voice". Thanks to Detour for hosting another beautiful evening and thanx to all the friends who came out to see John Watts - it was well worth it, right?

We then went on further down to Pianos, where we witnessed another great show which left the crowd stunned by the austrian thereminister Dorit Chrysler. Most enjoyable in my opinion where the big rock pieces which harked back to Gary Numans Tubeaway Army. One sure way to stay of the "Jazz and Experimental"-Section in the trendy mags, D! In my book, you 're still punk rock, too.

John got us into hiphip Annex, where the beautiful nerdy crowd from the Brit Shoow at Bowery Ballroom afterpartied. There were so many, you had to bump into hundreds of british rock stars / after all, sxsw in Austin TX was just over and they all had a stopover in NYC. Problem with them Brits is, you can never tell if they are stars or just look the part. The Brakes really rocked, though and the boys in Young Knives looked like they guys who have to stay at Office Depot while everybody else is going for lunch - but their music was some of the best I heard in a long time, Wire crossed with the Jam and excellent vocals. Lesson No.1, then again: It's not the looks.

See Slackers In The Underground!

This picture is so bad, but I just have to mention this Swedish-american band which combines nice pop hooks with heavy electonica and beats, all with decent vocals and the right dose of understatement. A short energy-packed was enjoyed at Lit last Saturday. Despite the club name, the stage was definitely not the lit. Some people were on both ends, though.

From The Guggenheim To A Jukebox in Zurich

From The Guggenheim To Helsinki, Zurich

From the Guggenheim Museum in New York to a jukebox in Zurich: For The Curated Jukebox, a project by Helsinki Klub Zurich, Matthew Barney listed his 50 favorite records. That's the concept: A famous artist lists his hundred favorite tracks and patrons of the club get a glimpse of the artists taste in music. After Sonic Youth and Lou Reed, this time a visual artist made his taste known: The 38 year old Barney is pretty much the hottest potato in the art world these days. His film series CREMASTER relies heavily on music: Country, Classic und Hardcore-Rock, moreover, the artist is married to Bjork. The curators in the pic are Mr. Privateman, left, and Cut-Cad L.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

John Watts of Fischer-Z at Detour NYC!

The man is back in town: Legendary Brighton New Wave pioneer John Watts has a new record out and is jumpstarting his American release with a few exclusive shows. The Fischer-Z leader who celebrated chart-topping succes in Europe during the heydays of New Wave travels light: He carries an acoustic guitar and some wild effects. After playing the acclaimed South by Southwest Festival in Austin this week, he returns to NYC to play a show at Detour, on Tuesday, March 21st at 8pm, before heading back to England. If you have never experienced John live, the man is living on adrenalin and is a firework of song, stories, jokes and great melodies. Rumor has it the morexoptimotarian Heather might sit in on drums. The show is free and a further adventure into Michaels rapdily reputation building series Rock the Jazzbar. This is John Watt's first show in New York in over five years, and the man has quite some stories to tell you! Detour is at 13th Street, just around the corner from 1st Avenue in Manhattan.

And then later, let's all go down to Pianos at Ludlow and Stanton to hear Dorit Chrysler's unique Theremin show, followed by her crazy Serbian friends! Dorit will leave for extensive world touring too soon and this is one of your last chances to see her in NYC again. When she comes back in fall, she will be a veritable star, having played the festival of festivals, danish Roskilde.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Is This Really It? Now That JC and Anphibius Finally Make People Laugh?!

The two people who said goodbye to funny years ago had the audiences cheers and laughs on their side last night at Detour, where Jazz has succumbed to Pop and Rock on Tuesdays. Anphibius announced the show as their last one in NYC for possibly quite some time: JC, after a brief stint in LA is moving to Amsterdam, while the ant will reside in Berlin soon. Joe McGinty and his wizard friend on sax warmed up the audience with Joe's tongue-in-cheek songs and created the right atmosphere for JC's slow motion Morrissey and ants antics, for whom the keyboard, no matter how long, always seems too short. Maybe they were always funny, but I missed the point for years. I finally got it. We will miss you guys, and hope we will here from your adventures in jolly old Europe on this blog...Sword Up!

Blondie vs. The Pretenders - A Fair Match

Well, not that everybody was spectacular, at the Knitting Factory when The Losers Lounge matched Debbie and her gang against Chrissie.
But hey, a short earful downstairs where Nikki Sudden played a sad set in front of about twelve art students, it felt much more like the losers lounge. So back upstairs, where especially Theremin Angel Dorit Chrysler reached back into her own punk days with Halcion and gave a Harry that Debbie would have blushed. The Greatest Pretender was, no doubt, Mike Fornatale whos incredible vocal strings wailed a rock the pretenders only about hinted at, while he humped the stage, broke a mic stand and killed about a dozen people with his eyes. Highly entertaining, and the victory deservedly goes to The Losers Lounge - they sounded great, although imo the Pretenders sound calls for Fender guitars. Oh, and minus points to the KF - what a damn shame to make Mike pay for the broken stand. Be glad he didnt bring down the house!

And George Was In The House

To enlist all the formations the late George Javori once played in or collaborated with is impossible, but they managed to get about twenty or so to play at Sin-e on Wednesday, March 8th. Man, it totally worked: It was a party, partly melancholic, partly dark, a bit weiird but full of honest emotion. Shining lights were Botanicas Paul Walfisch with the Jacques Brel cover "Voir un ami pleurer" and the nerdily beautiful Indigo Street and their attack on guitar.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Acoustic Rock Night at Detour Ends in Shards

Rock the Jazzbar: Acoustic Room...but these, at least where I come from, are supposed to bring luck, so maybe all is not lost for Room, but i think we shouldnt do the acoustic thing and return the our wall of sound. The mic cut my lips open, in return i knocked the lamp down. Overlord opened with a nice set, Kerry Kennedy and Mike Fornatale gave us a nice Buckley and Vega treat and were the stars of the evening for me. Thanks to all you folks who came out late on a regular Tuesday evening. We'll have CDs soon, so you can stay home and still hear us!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Die Letzte Uebung Finds Worthy Memorial

Everybody has obscure tunes in his head, from long forgotten bands, pieces of a melody from a song from your childhood and first impressions of what punk as an art form could be. In Switzerland, the honor of combining unique imagery, graphics, type and powerful music first goes to Die Letzte Uebung, a six piece band that made their shows surreal art happenings not unlike the Residents, but wilder. DLU did not shy away from playing fierce funk rhythms or include free jazz saxophone and roughest early synth shocks into their punky mix. Foremost, they were a band, and with that comes the territory of fighting, followed by premature break ups. DLU played four legendary concerts and never entered a studio. One old cassette tape of rehearsal room recordings has recently been restored by bass player Fredy Stieger. Entercontainer, a new virtual label of highest quality and good services presents the long lost tape in full length mp3s and is strong testimony of the raw power the band came across with, even under poor conditions. With the exception of Bleichenbacher, who was on synth, all remaining members of DLU still dabble in music. But to reunite the six on stage has so far proven impossible...