Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The True Sex Pistols Revealed in Williamsburg!

The beast is alive, and punk's not dead. Alana Amram and her ever growing gang pulled it off again with the Monster Mash this Halloween, at Don Pedro's in Williamsburg. Some bands were missing, the schedule was almost as messed up as the audience, but none of that mattered: We got to see a great and worthy performance of "Hüsker Dü", a hilarious comic version of "The Beatles", and a great female Roger Daltrey of "The Who". Most impressive, though, were "The Sex Pistols". Not only did it sound grand in the tiny place all of a sudden, Johnny Rotten materialized (as you can see in this great pic by Tobias Klutke) and sang and sneered better than ever. We saw the real Pistols reunited at some festival show, and mind you, the copy in this case might be just a bit better than the original.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Take The Halloween Highway!

If you don't know yet where to go on Halloween this year, I recommend this Punk Music Festival, organized by the imperturbable Alana Amram. It's been a lot of fun the last two years. All the cool imposter bands play only three to four songs and dress up as the famous originals. And it's only a dollar, dressed up or not. Now, that's the right spirit, driving on the left side of slow down the Halloween highway...Don Pedro's at 90 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206.

Monday, October 27, 2008

C. Gibbs Finally Back in Switzerland

This is the new video of C. Gibbs with the band he will be touring Switzerland with the next two weeks. On Cello, Keys and Bass we have the unique Frank Heer, on drums the female incarnation of Ringo Star's better brother, Kristin Mueller.

Rarely are tours of Rockbands truly anticipated in Switzerland. Musicians just pass thru, and folks go and see them, since they have enuff money in their pockets over there. Either the stars come for a show or two, on their way through Europe to Asia (expensive tickkets). Or they live there for a while as singer-songwriter-model daters for a while because the country is simply so amazing (buy the guy a beer). Not so Mr Christian Gibbs. Over the course of a couple of well-received small, but excellent managed and executed tours, C. Gibbs has built himself a strong and ardent following in Switzerland. The upcoming 15 gig tour through every corner of the country, which starts tomorrow in Basel, might just help him to take Europe like Crowded House did in '90 or Pink Floyd in '69. Switzerland, this is probably the last time zou see this guy for little money and up close, dont miss your chance - we hear some of the shows are almost sold out already,

For all of you in Switzerland who speak german and haven't heard about c. Gibbs, here's Frank's short update for newcomers:

Und nun noch etwas Rock-Trivia für Neuaufsteiger: C. GIBBS erprobte bei Foetus, Modern English und Cpt. Sensible das Bühnen-Handwerk, bei den Morning Glories brüllte er sich den Bourbon aus der Seele und mit Lucinda Black Bear entdeckte er die wohlorchestrierte Langsamkeit. Auf seiner aktuellen Tournee bedient sich der New Yorker aus seinem tiefen Repertoir von Songs am Randes des Abgrunds.

Show dates:
29.10. Kuppel, Basel
30.10. Gare de Lyon, Wil
31.10. Dampfschiff, Brugg
01.11. Café Kairo, Bern
03.11. Helsinki Klub, Zürich*
05.11. LeBourg, Lausanne
06.11. TapTab, Schaffhausen
07.11. Mariaberg, Rorschach
08.11. Café Kairo, Bern
09.11. Club Stereo, Nürnberg, D
10.11. Centre Fries, Fribourg
13.11. Chrämerhuus, Langenthal
14.11. Helsinki Klub, Zürich*
15.11. Gaswerk, Winterthur

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy 50th Birthday, Phil Daniels!

Daniels and his partner on Strictly Come Dancing

You have a week left to send your best wishes to Mr. Phil Daniels. You might not remember him, but he played Jimmy in the Who's movie "Quadrophenia", gave his signature Cockney slang to Blur's hit "Parklife" and was just recently kicked from a British celebrities dancing TV show. But that's not why Daniels is high on our list of icons of British culture. In 1980 (can you believe that's almost 30 years ago?) Phil Daniels + the Cross released an Album called "To King Cross Main Line & Suburban" which is pure gold. If you can get your hands on a copy, we guarantee your satisfaction.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wire Just A Bit Too Wired

In blue: Lewis, Newman and Spigel, in black and white: Robert Gray (formerly Gotobed) at Irving Plaza
Some of you may like the crunching pulsing Wire of the late Eighties, I prefer the first three albums. Of course, I respect a band's right to move on and not look back, developing its own brand. But why, when you have hits like "Outdoor Miner", "Marooned" or "I am the Fly" at hand, not show us who actually the heroes of New Wave are, just here and there? Okay, I'm a nostalgic sucker and yeah, Wire gave us "The 15th" (famous here because of the Fischerspooner cover version), "Lowdown" and "12XU" in a one minute hi-speed version, but where are the glorious harmonies and choruses of the early compositions? Their new record "Object 47" has some interesting new material, but with an indistinct booming bass and harsh guitars, a lot of it was lost on the audience. Colin Newman and Graham Lewis, formerly famous for not giving a toss, at times seemed to try just a little too hard, instead of facing the music with a wink and a smile. I'll go again, of course. I should have known better?
And with a nod to Enkel 154: Made it to Wire, as you can see, but missed one of these rare Residents shows. From what I heard it must have been great. Are you reporting about the Bunny Boy, too?

No More From The Jam, All the More Feelies

The Feelies at Bowery Ballroom
So Bruce and Rock & Co. cancelled on me and my fellow New Yorkers - From the Jam for no obvious reasons cancelled most of their U.S. tour, just to announce gigs in Vienna, Austria, a few days later. Hm. Didn't they say they want to have a new record out by the new year, anyway? Maybe Paul Weller has some songs he can spare?
Enough already, now for one of the greatest reunions ever: The Feelies played two well packed shows at the Bowery Ballroom in the original line-up, Bill Million rejoining the gang for the first time in 15 years. And boy, were they good! My friends and I saw them decades ago in Zurich and were blown away, but honestly, i think this was even better. Glenn Mercer is by now one of the best and most precise guitar players i have ever seen, Million is the glue that bindes the band together. Looks like only the two drummers ever smile - the strings work and sing like a manic machine, strumming and pumping ahead, spinning melancholy and melody. Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo in the front lines with an open mouth. A frenetic audience, but where were you Brooklyn hipsters? These are the masters you could learn so much from!

Friday, September 19, 2008

More From The Jam!

We told you about it in February and we tell you again: Go see Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler with their new band, simply called From the Jam. They play fired-up, precise versions of the tunes that made the Jam famous back in the late Seventies and sound as fresh (and probably better) than when Paul Weller was with them. Foxton and Buckler replaced the Modfather with two guitars, and Russell Hastings does a good job, not imitating Weller but never veering too far away from the original performance. The video should put any fears that you will not be getting the real thing at rest!
From the Jam are at the Blender Thyeatre in Manhattan on Friday, Sept 26th.

Don't Miss Your Chance to See the Feelies!

A little older, but looking good - Mercer (2nd from left) and Million (2nd from right) reunited with the original line-up. The band that had the first "New Wave!" sticker on its debut album is back, 30 years later and after a 15 year break: this weekend, the Feelies are in town, Saturday at Williamsburg Hall of Music, Sunday at the Bowery Ballroom. In case you haven't heard of this extraordinary and most influential group (cited by Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo among others), we recommend you go to both shows to get a grasp on how to combine pop, punk and melancholy. If you know them, we know you'll go to both shows anyway. See you there!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New York Ain't Sleepwalking, I Am

Full Tank at Cooco 66 by Tobias Klutke

There's live shows worth blogging out there, sure! It's just that my computer gets so hot after all the typing, I need to get away from it, from time to time, say to Fire Island to inspect the ticks situation and play Kadima. Or to the catskills to swim in forbidden lakes and inspect suspicious alien activities in hundred year old cellars. And then, my trusty help and videographer Schmiani just went and got married and all, and now she ain't blogging now more.

Still, we managed to see some great shows. First off, the taking off of Falcon at Rehab, after their much reviewed EP hit the stores. As you can see in the sidebar, we recommend you both the live as well as the packaged version. The photo is by Geoff Northrop, you give him shit for playing around with those nasty Adobe fonts.

Then, we caught the revitalized Overlord at the Cake Shop and were given the excellent new single "My Mechanical Heart". George tells me that they will release a new track at every show till the new CD is complete - a nice idea of concept rock in a digitally confusing age. Third, Sword was the word, again at Rehab, which is the coolest place in Manhattan these days anyway, if you still have to go to (or live on) the money infested island. The new quartet with the amazing bass/drums duo of Kristin Mueller and Jessica Hallman harmonized beautifully with the eccentric fantasies of Anton Sword and Kristofer Widholm and give the sword a new bite. Now, tell these stories, Antony!

Last not least we saw the also reinvigorated riot grrrls from Full Tank at hip hip Coco 66 and were positively surprised with new additions Joe Jameson and Ness Newcastle on drums respectively bass, who trim the ladies' bubbliness into a tight punky unit. Now we strongly suggest Simone changes her last name to Smirnov and Halona to Heineken. Gail Grappa, meanwhile should have a drink with Ennio Moriccone.

But now I'm off to Glasslands, another show I forgot to mention on the liver calendar, the Walking Hellos, just to find out what Heather has been up to and talk to hear about my plan for an new NGO that fights for animals' rights to their names. So go, Falcon, the Overlord may grant you a Full Tank, so you escape a ton of Swords.

Falcon at Rehab by Geoff Northtrop

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fuckintosh vs Yanni

Here is a hilarious review from The Phoenix of Fa's show in Boston. He insists he doesn't "toss back his hair" (it's the headphones, silly.) And he's genuinely upset about the Yanni comparison! We like the "Higbrow Sound Collage" and the plaintchant dirges. We looked for a picture of Yanni staring down the acropolis in his white suit, but then leave it up to you to compare the synthi sinfonist with the mashmaster Fa:

Reporter Matt Parish has his take on the events and writes:
"Some guests shuffled back through a closet door to the small special-exhibition gallery for a look at Luisa Rabbia’s new video piece, a wall-sized montage of Mrs. Gardner’s photos from China spliced with rippling water and animated plant roots growing from beige landscapes like a Windows 95 screensaver. The small klatch sipped and listened to critic Mario Diacono parse the playfully trippy work with parlor-game nonchalance.
DJ Fa Ventilato stood in the courtyard garden mixing plainchant dirges with harps and ritualistic drum loops, tossing back his long hair, the Ronnie James Dio of highbrow sound collage. A young graphic designer and her social-worker friend gazed past him to the fountain. “We should do shrooms in here and run away from the fish that would fly out of that thing,” she said. Another guest wondered aloud how soon everything would turn into Eyes Wide Shut. Ventilato ended his set and raised his bottle up like Yanni staring down the Acropolis, which was in the general direction of the coat check. No secret-society masks appeared, but the night still managed to tweak reality into a few exotic kinks."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The World Thru the Eyes of Paul Weller

Forget TV, give it to YouTube and a guy called JBtheManchesterMod to give us the first complete historic overview of the works of Paul Weller and the Jam. Here, in a good hour you can watch six ten minute pieces about Weller and his songs, commented in a nicely understated way by PW himself, but also giving Foxton, former wife DC Lee and Paul's father and manager John deserved screen time, as well as Style Council collaborator Mick Talbot and Steve White. The Pistols had their film(s), the Clash their visual hommages, now here's the Jam. Enjoy!

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
And now, go out and buy Paul Weller's new CDE 22 Dreams - it might take a while for it to fell home at your place at first, but it will stay with you forever. And if you're in New York, I'll see you probably on the ominous 9/11 at the Highline Ballroom. Here's for the Modfather's rehabilitation!

The Greatest Hits as Many Matters on Swiss Day 08

This gig will go down in my New York memories as entirely enjoyable, in company of great friends and minds, musically and visually magnificent experience. I'm exaggerating? You weren't in our shoes! The sound's fake, of course - it's from Steve's trusty mini digi stick, during the one and only rehearsal. We're only getting started. Leane took all of these - and even more - amazing photographs. The Empire State Building appears courtesy of NYC.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Falcon flies, Lucinda Black Bear at Garden Party

The animal named bands come out to play again, and not the least of them: First, the Falcon really takes off with getting a big nod not only in NY Time Out, with above classic understated photo of the band, the stylish Mr. Bongers far left, as ever. Check out the TONY story here. Then read the Village Voice article, jump to the one from radio NPR, on to the one in ther Daily Herald and if you didnt realize that the guys are about to make it, read it in Chartnet. Then ask the guys about that strange Jared story yourself, we're sworn to silence.

Then our favorite teddy LUCINDA BLACK BEAR (minus Mike) will be playing a downsized acoustic set in an outside garden in Brooklyn this Thursday. Christian, at the moment playing the Boradway show Passing Strange to the film cameras of Spike lee, tells us it's the first ever party hosted by LIVE FEED and takes place at Bar Reis, 375 5th Ave at 6th St., Park Slope. According to him, there will be indeterminate chaos brought to you by the cast of Black Eye Fixer. Plus Dancing! Booze! Garden Flirtations! (what happens in the garden stays in the garden?) Come help them celebrate the concrete condo tidal wave that's taking Brooklyn by storm! $10 cover (to benefit the renegade theatrical tactics of the one-and-only LiveFeed). C. Gibbs and Lucinda Black Bear will play Joe's Pub August 6th before heading West on a US tour from until September 2nd, then head to Europe in October. And finally and occasion to post the beautiful video for the Bear's "You got it blue" video:

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Greatest Hits Starring as the Many Matters

Swiss National Day is the 1st of August, but here in New York we celebrate it early, so that most of us sweaty Swiss can get a plane on time for the real thing back home. The Swiss Benevolent Society who organize this event have found a great spot: The roof garden on top of the high rise building 230 Fifth Avenue. It's ten dollars to get in, but you will be rewarded with a great view, nice people, swiss food, and music: There's a live rock band, called Radon Love, and a DJ. With Jan and Bernd being out of town, I found fantastic friends to help me out for my part as "THE MANY MATTERS" - we play three songs by the greatest Swiss songwriter ever, Mr. Mani Matter. Since I was told that these songs don't work with my horrible St. Gallen accent, I translated them into English, where, being in NYC the accent don't matter much. The superb band, also dishing out a few 80ies Pop Songs in Cowpunk versions, is also known as The Greatest Hits with the wonderful Kerry Kennedy on vocals and guitar, the inimitable Quentin Jennings on vocals and all sorts of string instruments, NYs top ten bassman Christian Bongers, not to speak of the american Brassens, Pierre de Gaillande of Melomane and Steve Schiltz of Longwave. We had a blast rehearsing, and hope it comes across just as well as intended... Come help us out and sing along! It starts at 12 noon, Radon Love are on at 2pm, there's some short speeches and stuff, we're on after 3.30pm.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jarvis, Rockstar Like You And I, or Mick Jagger

So, Jarvis Cocker, leader of Brit-Pop's Pulp, came to town for two nights, first at the Williamsburg Hall of Music, next at Terminal 5, the new big space in midtown west. After seeing him last time at Webster Hall, it was clear that it will probably not be as cool as Pulp in 99 at the Hammerstein Ballroom, but Jarvis is an excellent showman and quite a British gentleman, too. With his long speeches and spastic dances, he's the kind of manly intellectual every girl wants to cuddle with, but then again, the wiry frame and the rock moves exude just as much sex as the (not so young) Mick Jagger. And then he lectures about the white man and the Blues. And then he says, there's only three things to write songs about: Sex, Death and Cars. And then he rants about American politics. And then everybody loves him. And then, him and his band look and sound just like The Rolling Stones. But beware: He has at least one new hit at hand: "Big Stuff" will be coming, oh yeah.

Andy White Pays Us A Visit From Australia!

He's Irish, but he's been living in Melbourne for about as long as I've been in New York: Old friend Andy White played a short notice gig last night at the Living Room and showed in a short 45 minute set that he hasn't lost his knack for melodic songwriting and witty lyrics. The highlight came when he unpacked his tiny 12-string "Aubergine" and per effect box added nice guitar loops to his acoustic strumming. Andy's new CD "Garageband" will be out in the U.S. in the next few weeks. He says it's a rock record and after giving it a first listening, we say he's right! Review to follow on this blog!

Only Chrysler Stays Cool at PS1

It's time for the PS1 dance fests again, no matter how high the temperatures out there rise. So we treked to Long Island City despite the blistering sun to hear the cooling soothing sounds of Theremin Queen Dorit Chrysler, who finally is back in town and working feverishly on a new record. There's one or two new pieces in the current set, I think, and judging by those, Dorit listened to a lot of Gary Numan, OMD and Young Marble Giants, lately - which, imo, is a good thing: Will there be a chart hit for the Austrian-American indie star?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hello New York, Goodbye Jan

Jan on stage with Room at East River Bar.

Summer is here and I am back, what a bad combination. Luckily, the snow are playing on Thursday, so I'll ice my cake there. Otherwise, of course, I miss the alps and the lakes, the cool climate and cool people. Seems a lot of people are either out of town or leaving town soon. On returning, we had to detect serious damage in the Room: Our dear omnitalent Jan is moving back to Berlin, today. We'll try to take it with stoic equanimity, but believe us, it's difficult. Anybody who's had the pleasure in seeing Jan either on stage or on a soccer pitch will agree. Best of luck meanwhile to Verena and Jan in Berlin, where publishers of beautiful books better hurry up to seek his advice. He'll stay loyal to the excellent New York publishing house of PA Press, I'm sure. To say goodbye, we have a little track with Jan doing the Stingster on a classic Poleez track, please don't tell em.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Open Air St. Gallen: From Kravitz to Kooks

So my stay in Switzerland comes to an end befitting: Writing for the Swiss newspaper Tagblatt I will get a chance to see quite a few interesting young bands: The Enemy, who won Paul Weller's praise and have been mentioned on this blog before, then the Wombats (with the sweetest greets to their biggest NYC fan Martial Vivot of Room: how was the show?) and the Kooks. Me, I am looking forward to see my friends Stahlberger & Band: The wittiest lyrics over the freshest music, in swiss german, though. Then again, you Americans dont know whatcha missing anyway: The combo Zueri West has been around for 25 years and beats Lenny Kravitz in one single bar.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It Is Not About Winning, Is it?

So, Switzerland lost against Turkey in the Euro 2008 and can focus on what the Swiss do best: Hosting. Finally, done with the drama, the supersized star posters, the bread rolls with Swiss flags in it and every car seller giving away free soccer balls etc. Back to quaint quiet non-euphoric Swissness, watching others play and commenting dryly on their mistakes instead of keeping our own porch clean. Who's gonna win? The Germans, probably. Or the Italians (I hope). But it's not about winning - it's about playing the king of games, Football. So forgive me for taking a break from all that Rock'n'Roll and focusing on the round leather. But, just so you know that there are good concerts in the alps, let me give you a rundwon of what I've seen so far: Palace SG hosted the first Silver Jews show ever in Switzerland and fans came from hundred of miles away to be treated to an intense and beautful set of alt country with a bitter twist. Switzerland's own Guz played Palace, too and he is so real and true, even you Americans would be impressed - i'll have to get him to come to NYC one of these days. Then there was the unique Jeffrey Lewis and his brother Jack, who don't get enough out of supporting Steven Malkmus on his tour and use their days off to play strangely beautiful squat places such as the Binz in Zurich, where hundreds of alt folkies managed to transform old factory spaces into a Swiss Mini-Bushwick. The Lewis brothers, you could tell, felt like home and rewarded us with two hours of music and history lessons. Grand. More to come, I am looking very much forward to reporting from the Open Air St. Gallen, where we will have a chance to see acts such as Beck, Bad Religion, The Enemy and, erm, Lenny Kravitz. No Witz.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Out and About in Zurich

Here, for you Roman, is a list of some clubs and music venues in Zurich, to help you find a place to go hear some music. You might try the Helsinki Klub, it's pretty cool, I've been there a couple of times. Hope this helps!

Roman Is Having A Dream Time In Switzerland

Ah Now I Understand The Style Guide For This Blog. Thanks, Roman For Helping Me. I Have Included A Picture That Helps Illustrate My Post While Providing Some Visual Stimulation For Your Readers. Now I Realize That Roman Is Not Updating His Blog Because He Is Extremely Busy Staring At This Clock. It's For His Job, Honest. He Is Working Hard!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Heather Peng Looking for Green Pastures!

Thanks, Heather for taking care of the blog while I am gone, and not just that, as the post below demonstrates you do it tactfully and tastefully! I adore your use of the language, the depth and insight you manage to pack into your few lines, and the creativity you put into your esteemed writing! Just some minor reminders on how we want the blog to look: 1. Main words in headlines start with capitals. 2. Make sure the headline ist not too short and not leaving a lot of empty space (f. e. "Roman is Gay" is way too short, "Roman Is Having A Dream Time in Switzerland" would have been much better. 3. Try to find a picture that fits the story - but no vulgar or offensive material, kids love the blog, too.
Looking forward to your next blog, Heather, and do not fear: I won't sue you before I'm back!

Friday, May 16, 2008

roman is gay

roman moved to switzerland and decided he didn't have to update his blog anymore, oh i guess there is no music in switzerland, how convenient for roman who has decided to turn GAY or LAZY! denise is going to hear about this, do you think she is not going to notice that you turned GAY! and NO LONGER CARE ABOUT MUSIC? don't get me wrong, i am not HOMOFOBIC i love the gays but this is lameness, not love! come on! how busy can you be?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's Burnt Finger's Birthday and we give him Room!

Bernd writes: What should I add, I'm usually not that big in self PR but I guess I can blame it on Roman who was so kind to organize and also made that great flyer. Please ignore that strange person on the picture but isn't it a BEAUTIFUL guitar? I should try to sell it to Gretsch for their ads (the picture, not the guitar, that is).

So yes, please come and join us and have a drink! Oh, right, feel free to bring friends, relatives, and kids and whatever (did I just write kids? well, what the heck - fine, yeah, kids too) and forward this, I don't have everybody's email address and at my age people tend to forget a lot so don't be angry if you don't get this email from me but from a friend of yours...


P.S.: You think 6 pm is early? I don't know about you but I'm not getting younger...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I Saw Mick Jones and The Clash Won

So I finally got to see The Clash in New York! 24 years after being denied attendance of their show in Bern, Switzerland, by parents and teachers (which in hindsight, didn't turn out to be such a bad thing, cause they just kicked out Mick Jones and it wasn't that good anyway), I've seen them all. Mind you, not together. My brother an me went to one of Joe's last shows with the Mescaleros at Irving Plaza, about a year before he died. Then, last year, an astounding Paul Simonon lent his full credibility to Damon Albarn with The Good, The Bad and the Queen. Now, Mick Jones played Irving Plaza, standing on the same stage from which Joe belt out a last "I fought the law". Now, Mick was in the best of moods, helped by the trusty guitar of Tony James and a couple of shots of whiskey, I guess, but all the merrier. James was Billy Idols sidekick in Generation X, the first punk poppers, and then briefly had success with the rather embarrassing Sigue Sigue Sputnik. He must have a flair for unusual names, Mick and Tony's band thus is called Carbon/Silicon - why, nobody really knows, at least it's easy to google. They didn't play any clash songs, except for a bit of "Police on my back" mixed into one of their new songs. The pieces are pretty nice pop rock tunes, especially memorable was "The Global War on Culture" and those moments when Jones and James showed off on guitar. Mick was, after all, the best punk guitar player. But with The Clash it's a bit like with the Beatles: Just like McCartney solo always lacked that shot of bitter Lennon, Mick's boyish singing lacks the bite of the Strummer.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Friday Picks For Non-Planners: Mick Jones in NYC

In case you have no idea yet what to do tonite, here a few tips for shows of musicians who definitely are worth your attention:

a) Carbon/Silicon, Irving Plaza, 20 bucks: Mick Jones, guitar player of the Clash and Tony James, guitar player of Generation X, Billy Idol's first group, bring their new band to NYC. We just wish Paul simonon was on bass. And dedicate a prayer to Saint Strummer.

b) Anti-Nowhere League, Club Europa, 10 bucks: Second wave punx (ca. 84) from England, 24 years later still going strong. A furious version of Streets of London made them famous back then, we hope it's still in the set. Lead singer animal, we hear, is still roaring.

c) Steve Wynn, Luna Lounge, 12 bucks: Former singer of psychedelic rockers Dream Syndicate, recently released a new Album of great pop tunes. Last time I've seen them, he was backed by an excellent band. Plus Luna Lounge needs your support. If you dont go tonite, do not miss former Feelies main man, Glenn Mercer, there.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

See Christian Gibbs on Broadway!

Time to tell you of "Passing Strange", a rock musical on - hear, hear - Broadway. It tells the story of a young man in Los Angeles who wants to travel the world writing songs. He lands in Amsterdam and Berlin, where he gets to know sex and drugs and rock'n'roll, politics, philosophy and finds out about love. The strong all-black cast is supported by white musicians on stage, most notably the ever rising star Christian Gibbs who adds special rock flavor to the catchy songs written by the witty MC of the cast, Stew, and the elegant bass player Heidi Rodewald. With his offbeat humor Stew, whose semi-autobiographical story is told, creates an instant connection to the audience that is only enhanced by the versatile actors/singers. After the show Christian gave us a tour of the beautiful Belasco theatre, where the legendary Harry Houdini made an elephant disappear. The top apartement, left unchanged since the death of Mr. Belasco, is said to be haunted by his ghost. Another helpful ghost behind the machine makes sure everything stays in tune: the ubiquitous Mike Fornatale. You go to rock shows all the time in dindgy clubs, now treat yourself to the real thing, the New York institution Broadway and enjoy Passing Strange, finally a musical that truly rocks.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Do Robots Do It?

We didn't think so, but no, they do. If they can play such passionate folk music whith such emphatic titles like "I break for Cannibals" and "4 Senses on Alert", they must be capable of sex. Listen to 'No They Do' by Pierre's friend Pete Kellers and you'll find proof in such sorrowful tunes as 'Robot Love' and 'Lonely Robot Blues. It's a concept album of robot folk music, as Pete describes it. Not robotic are the influences they list: Tall Dwarves, Elf Power and Daniel Johnston. We also hear some Violent Femmes in there.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Room Serenade You This Thursday

ANTON SWORD and his fine band kick off their American Tour with two sets of some of his songs and some covers at Club Midway (Avenue B, btw 2nd and 3rd Streets), TONIGHT at 7.30pm. He has invited a dozen or so guest singers. I will sing an old Velevet Underground song in set II, around 9pm. Come by and sing along!

But that's not all. ROOM, impressed by such beautiful recent work from friends such as Lucinda Black Bear, Melomane and The Snow, leave the loud guitars and amps at home and play it safe and soft, probably for the last time at BAR ON A, this THURSDAY, 27th of March. We had so much fun playing five songs for five friends last month, we want to do it again. We start after 9pm and it is, as always, free.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Painted Word Video

In other things from the free-spirited eighties: I had no idea they ever even made a video, but here we go, thanx to YouTube: Enjoy one of the most hauntigly beautiful songs in the world, "The Painted Word" by Television Personalities.

Look Forward to St. Nightingallen!

A word to the rock loving people of Eastern Switzerland: Do not miss your chance to see The Nightingales at Palace in St. Gallen on March 26th. Here's a band that weathered all the storms already the first time around in the early Eighties, playing Northern Soul in the left wing of the Fall, Television or Gang of Four. Now, the unique drunkenly dodgy singer Robert Lloyd and his trusty guitarero Alan Apperly are back, reinvigorated, rejuvenated by Matt Wood, who looks like John Cooper Clarke and hits the strings with mozartesque genius. The show in Brooklyn two weeks ago at Death by Audio was pure fireworks of rhythm, rhyme and frantic melodies, swirling around the serenading, barking, burping, howling Lloyd. The band has been touring extensively and is vehemently tight - captivating from the first manic beats to the last stroke. Born and bred, indeed.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Melomane Gear Up For Tour

So Pierre and Daria leave Kenny and Quentin at home, but bring Eveline and Heather along to Germany and Switzerland, where they'll hook up with Privateman Frank to give Europe the yearly dose of Melomane it has come to depend on. There's a goodbye show for all us New Yorkers and if it's as funny as Eveline's invitation blurb, we should all go see them. Here's what Eveline writes:
"Honey, what's for dinner"...Smack your lips on some Texas-style BBQ brisket then shake your hips and shimmy your biscuit! Your swiss art director/trombone slinger Eveline Feldmann and the band Melomane (www.melomane.org) are popping up at Hill Country (30 W. 26th St./Broadway & 6th) on Thursday, March 6 from 9:30-Midnight. So bring your friends, appetite and dancing boots because pig and pop together never sounded better. Melomane plays cinematic, catchy and clever pop-rock. Sounds like Elvis Costello and Serge Gainsbourg collaborating on an album with Calexico.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sword Cotillion and Extravaganza

The wound of the sword heals, the wound of word never, goes an old african saying...well: here is the Sword with the word: Anton Sword is inviting us to a tour-kick off extravaganza at Club Midway on March 24th. He neither says who the surprise guests during his excursion into pop history are, nor where his tour is going... So come by, ask him, hear the swordsmith. Not to spoil the suprise: Expect Pierre de Gaillande, Kerry Kennedy and Erik Paparazzi among the NYC stars. I'll be among the attention hogs.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Los Angeles and the Track of our Lives

I admit I've been bad at keeping you updated, but I had the pleasure to fly out to Los Angeles to interview Gnarls Barkley. They have a new record out called "The Odd Couple", it sounds a lot like real cool "Pet Sound" Beach Boys, jus a likkle darker. My hit tip: A beautiful track called Surprise.

The real discovery for me in Los Angeles musically was a Swedish band called "The Soundtrack of Our Lives". I have somehow ignored them up to now, and their music thus hit me with the force of chills down the spine and knots in the stomach. Highly recommended from now on -i hope they come to New York soon. There's another great band I neglected to mention on this blog so far, they are called Shack and are from England. The songwriting and leadplaying brothers Head made two great records as the Pale fountains in the Eighties. Lucky you, if you find them.

My friend Minnie Cho has finished her record with Swoon: A great sounding, lush landscape of music, tender, but sharp with lots of room for Minnie to lament love lost and black fate. "Doubt" would in my opinion make a great single. Minnie chooses to keep her voice calm and almost understated. An egdy anger or growling fury here and there wouldn't hurt, though. Them guys don't deserve to be spared, Minnie!

Then I missed two of Anton Sword's shows, one in Jersey, one in the East Village. That, though, doesn' mean I'm getting lazy but rather that Anton is getting busy, craftily aided, I might add, by the mighty guitars of Kristofer Widholm. Let me know how the show was and send pix - i'll post them.

The rest of the action this summer seems to take place in Switzerland. C. Gibbs, currently on Broadway, is planning to visit the quaint country with the good taste, but also Melomane are organizing their tour - Bookers, take the chance to get them to your club on March 29th! Send last minute offers to: peeair@optonline.net. Frank Heer, who has been heard playing with both these artists moreover joined Modfather Charles from HeadQuarters and Zurich legend vocalist Johnny for a series of folksy gigs. Wish we could be there. Already reserved is the 23rd of May for the Silver Jews at the Palace in St. Gall. Moreover, the elusive Here Hare Here have vowed to play together for the first time since 15 years.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Shalitas bring their rock and roll dance party to BScene

Check out the video of our favorite soul girls, The Shalitas, shot right here in Brooklyn.

The busy girls and their band are playing Philly, Baltimore and DC, but will alo haunt their favorite Greenpoint club, Matchless, on March 6th. And then they are of to Switzerland, of all places: March 29th at Midnight The Shalitas play The Kuppel as the only American Band invited to the BScene Festival in Basel.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Animal Band Names Swarm SXSW

Taking the risk that you are not even going to see my raving Jam and Hugh Cornwell revue below, I have to post this email from Heather. Okay, the girl doesn't play soccer anymore, but that doesn't mean she's ain't funny no more. Underscoring her obsession for animals is the picture they put up for Heather and Jay's new band, Peng used to be this picture:

But here is Heather in her own words:

so, i have been kind of obsessed with animal band names for a while (rather...i'm obsessed with the fact that people keep naming their bands "bear/wolf/grizzly-something" and nobody seems to notice/is afraid to look silly by noting that there are 7 bands with that species of north american mammal in its name already. so for fun i looked at the list of south by southwest bands, which, no matter what you think of it, is some kind of cultural barometer, to see if there
were a slew of animal band names (or should i say, a "pride" or a "flock" or a "murder" of animal band names). and i was not disappointed! most prevalent were birds, especially pigeons, and tigers! so, by analyzing the syntax of some of these names, i have come up with some new ones that i will use for my next band. or you can, if you want, i do not have time for a new band right now.
so this is what i have:
(clever word play incorporating animal name): "PHANTOM LAMB"! "ROY OR BISON"
(funny combination of animal names/punctuation): "¿POODLE-POODLE-ELK?"

okay, here are the names of some animal-themed bands performing at
SXSW next month, weird, right?

Bear in Heaven (Brooklyn NY)
Bearsuit (Norwich UK)
Beasts and Superbeasts (Victoria BC)
Big Red Rooster (Dallas TX)
Biirdie (Glendale CA)
Birds Of Avalon (Raliegh NC)
Birds of Wales (Toronto ON)
Black Moth Super Rainbow (Pittsburgh PA)
Bowerbirds (Raleigh NC)
Buffalo Stance (Philadelphia PA)
Care Bears on Fire (Brooklyn NY)
The Chocolate Horse (Cincinnati OH)
Cobra Krames (Brooklyn NY)
Death Sentence: Panda! (San Francisco CA)
Deer Tick (Providence RI)
DJ Chicken George (Austin TX)
The Dodos (San Francisco CA)
Doveman (New York NY)
Dr. Dog (Philadelphia PA)
Eagle Seagull (Lincoln NE)
Faux Fox (Dallas TX)
Fleet Foxes (Seattle WA)
Frightened Rabbit (Glasgow UK)
Goat The Head (Trondheim NORWAY)
The Golden Dogs (Toronto ON)
The Goodbye Horses (Brisbane AUSTRALIA)
Gram Rabbit (Yucca Valley CA)
Grim Skunk (Montreal QC)
Guinea Worms (Columbus OH)
Horse + Donkey (Austin TX)
The Iguanas (New Orleans LA)
Lions (Austin TX)
The Lovely Sparrows (Austin TX)
Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds (Washington DC)
Mostly Bears (Tucson AZ)
Ocelot (Leeds UK)
The Octopus Project (Austin TX)
Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man (London UK)
Panda (Monterrey MEXICO)
Panther (Portland OR)
Papercranes (Gainesville FL)
Pata de Elefante (Porto Alegre BRAZIL)
Peter and the Wolf (Austin TX)
Pidgeon (San Francisco CA)
The Pigeon Detectives (Leeds UK)
Pigeon John (Los Angeles CA)
Pig Out (Buckinghamshire UK)
Plants and Animals (Montreal QC)
Pride Tiger (Vancouver BC)
Pterodactyl (Brooklyn NY)
Ravens & Chimes (New York NY)
Sea Wolf (Los Angeles CA)
Snowbyrd (San Antonio TX)
Spring Tigers (Athens GA)
Tigercity (Brooklyn NY)
Tiger Lou (Stockholm SWEDEN)
Tiger! Tiger! (Atlanta GA)
Tiny Animals (New York NY)
Vancougar (New Westminster BC)
Videohippos (Baltimore MD)
White Mice (Providence RI)
White Rabbits (Brooklyn NY)
Woodpigeon (Calgary AB)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

From The Jam: A Dream Come True

Who needs Paul Weller - long live the Jam! Don't get me wrong: In my opinion, he is one of the most talented living songwriters and deserves every award the music world has to offer. It's just that this Saturday night, when a teenage dream came true and I heard the Jam live, heard "Eton Rifles," "Private Hell" or "In the Crowd," I did not miss him a second. Russell Hastings, who has to fill the big shoes, does a great job, staying close to how Paul sang the tunes in melody as well as in timbre. In great British understatement he doesn't try to be Paul, nor does he show too much ego and attitude. Hastings delivers a solid, honest job, and one can only hope that he is as gifted a songwriter as a singer/guitar player. Bruce Foxton, whom I had the honor to talk to after the show, says they have new material that he believes is as strong as the Jam's stuff. Rick Buckler says hello to D-J Stieger. The new man on second guitar and keyboards, Dave Moore, is the quiet man in the background, precise and precious. He is also ready to testify that I sang along every single song. "Saying find here enclosed one son, one medal, and a note to say he won." Take that, America. Who says songs grow old? People do, but some of them get better, also. And yeah, we sang "We Are the Mods," but tonight we were.

The Blender theater at Gramercy is, surprisingly - a stylish old cinema, reconverted into a live theatre, bit like The Palace in St.Gallen, but that tad bit grittier, British working class. There was Debbie Harry and a few people from VH1 from New York, but the rest - xcpt me an d. - was all british blokes, the sort you would wanna see the Jam with. Quentin was missing, Brett was there (kudos!). Ex-Strangler Hugh Cornwell warmed the audience up with some dirty Stranglers versions (more about his show see below). FTJ say, they will have a record out with new material by early 2009. First, the weather proof Brits go to enjoy Australian summer.

That guy from Blondie, Bruce Foxton, the bloke who sang 'we are the mods' with me' and Rick Buckler in New York.

Hugh Cornwell: "Why can't the Stranglers Say Something Nice about Me?"

Talking backstage after the show at the Blender on Staurday, Hugh Cornwell said he is no longer in contact with his old band members from the Stranglers. Though Cornwell as well as the remaining Stranglers still tour and play some of their old material, they have not performed together since 1990. No chance for reconciliation and a reunion? "I'm just waiting for them to finally say something nice about me, you know?" Hugh told me. "Why can't they ever say something positive about me?". In the meantime, Hugh is proud of his new band and his new found lust for rock.
Cornwell has always been a gutsy guy: He left the safe career of teaching for the rocky path of punk rock, flirted with global success and horrible funk, got out of the Stranglers and went solo. He still gets Toni Visconti to produce his album, but almost nobody to buy them. (They do have great moments, though. See a review of his newest CD, "Beyond Elysian Fields," on the right sideline of this blog).

What Cornwell, opening for "From the Jam" in New York did, was very courageous: As a trio, Cornwell, a girl on bass and a maniac drummer, they went through old Stranglers material as if Greenfield's keyboards weren't an integral part of the Stranglers, and showed that Cornwell's songs indeed easily stand the test of time. Hurrahs for Hanging Around, Down in the Sewer and Get A Grip. The tough man also stayed away from the sugary Stranglers stuff like Golden Brown and Always the Sun. Bravo.
Then again, asked, if he gave the new Stranglers LP "Suite XVI" a listen, Cornwell replied with a disinterested "No." He should, and maybe say something nice about it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Abundant Adventures of Jim Avignon

The tirelessly creative Jim Avignon is roaming the streets and clubs of NYC again, playing at the knitting factory old office this
saturday in his musical incarnation, Neoangin. All kind of weirdos will enter the stage, there will be dancers and Jim will decorate the entire place . His show will be around 10pm and next to his grand pop tunes he also announces the big welcome the year o the rat. Other performers: The Honeycomb Theatre Group, Adirana Stimola, Elizabeth Harper, Woodshellm and more. The venue will have strange people in costumes will be giving psychic insight, "an element of fire" plus much more we don't want to put on the blog just in case the feds are...oops.

The Snow In Your Living Room!

At long last, you can experience The Snow in your Living Room! Please join Hilary (one l no Clinton) and Pierre and their excellent band this Friday, February 8 at 9.30 pm to celebrate the release of their first CD, True Dirt. The CD is not yet available anywhere else so come get your copy hot off the press. The Poor Things will open, and Pierre recommends get there early! It's also the last snow show for a while - Hilary flies south until spring, we hope she'll be blogging again from there.

LucidCulture.com writes “Add the Snow to the shortlist of the half-dozen or so best bands in New York…” And if all of the album is as good as the song True Dirt, which we had the pleasure to pre-listen, then add the CD to your shortlist of things to buy. Pierre's going on tour soon, too, so seize the chance to see em and say adieu.

Monday, January 28, 2008

THE MONKS documentary screening in NYC -- one-time only -- Tuesday!

Hope y'all can come, it's free and it's one-time only. The timing is particularly poignant following so closely on the heels of Dave Day's death. Which I still haven't gotten over.

This is a very good film, even if he did cut me out of it. Grouse grouse. Wendy's in the film, still!

(Actually that's not entirely true. You see me onstage with them at Cavestomp '99 during the curtain call, for about a second and a half, with no explanation as to who the goofy-looking guy might be. But you'll know. Don't blink.)

the monks – the transatlantic feedback


TUE JAN 29 AT 7 PM (no cover charge)
Goethe-Institut New York
1014 Fifth Avenue@83rd Street
New York, NY 10028



Me too.

Seriously, it's free and you'll love the film even if you're not a Monks fan. Their backstory is just ridiculous.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Almost A Rose Garden...

...in the middle of winter. Kerry Kennedy and her Ghost-Wise band treated us to a bunch of fine songs, mostly about love and again everybody was raving, from producer Quentin Jennings to cabaret star Paul Wallfisch, President De Gaillande, Lady Schmiani and all the nice folks who came to Rose on Grand Street in Williamsburg. We can't wait till Kerry sings her heart out at the studio - it's high time, girl! The band did not sound as grand on the tiny stage at Rose as at their first gig at Greenpoint's Europa, but this band comes together so nice and naturally, they already have their own unique sound. To which, of course, Mrs. Kennedy's tender songs and grandiose voice contributes. Tobimeister took the above photograph. He's got more. Then Anton Sword and his excellent band took the stage. He hasn't changed the lyrics yet, but that's okay - what else would I have to complain about?

Room Test New Songs Acoustic

Your favorite Roomies have been holed up for quite a while now, enjoying their rehearsals and exploring new musical fields. Tonight, at Bar on A (Avenue A and 11th Street in Manhattan) is by no means the comeback of the euro trash rockers, since les deux frenchies are absent, one covering the elections, the other busy opening his own shop! Bernd, Jan and Roman will hence play a stripped down, folked-up version of some of their new songs.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Union Hall of Fame, Williamsburg Hall of Music

Melomane Live At Union Hall

So they said it might sell out and, boy, it did. Beautifully convincing sets by both Melomane and Lucinda Black Bear on Friday night were proof that solid handmade live music will always have a special place in our souls. Pierre "rocked his heart out" and looked almost as presidential as Mitt Romney, if it werent for the mean moustache that makes him decidely European, where Melomane will be heading in March. Kenny is still the most entertaining drummer since Ringo to watch, and Quentin duelling Pierre on guitar makes up for all the lack of entertainment value a Melomane show had ca. '99, hiho. C. Gibbs meanwhile is heading towards Broadway, seriously, but no more (yet) about that - just put on "Capo My heart" and relax. Lucinda Black Bear is probably the best live folk pop band you get to see for under $10 in New York City.

Misson of Burma live at Willis Hall of Music
Saturday brought the return of Mission of Burma upon Heather's request, at the new Williamsburg Hall of Music... you still can tell it's the old North Six, but then again, it's not. MoB sounded pretty shitty in the beginning, messy mixing and that didnt seem planned or wanted. It got really good towards the end, and we like legends. All in all, too loud, but then again, we knew this years ago.