Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Alright, one more item and then that's it for today, I swear.
The original classic lineup of Hoboken power-pop favorites The dB's are recording their first album in more than 20 years. Chris Stamey, Peter Holsapple, Will Rigby, and Gene Holder recorded a bunch of tracks at Water Music in Hoboken in January, and the album release is planned for early 2006. Yay!
I played music from Holsapple & Stamey in Show #1 and from Stamey in last week's show.
THIS JUST IN: Hoboken Rock City has nothing to do with bizarre health & beauty aides that may or may not be sold by Amazon
Brooklyn Vegan—who gave Hoboken Rock City this lovely plug a few days back—offers this podcast "disclaimer" which is so good it must be quoted, spread, repeated, and shouted from your local rooftop:
You DO NOT need an Apple iPod to listen to a "podcast." You do not need to be a techno geek to listen to a "podcast." The poorly chosen term, "podcast," is nothing more than a large MP3. Download away.
To anyone wondering how to listen to my show, I hope this erases any last vestiges of confusion. It's a mix show in MP3 form. That's it. Enda story. Like my high school trigonometry teacher said about the Pythagorean Theorem, "You carve that on your leg."
For some meta-fun, check out The Vegan's review of a panel discussion on music blogs held last night at Columbia—the university, not the record label or the District (which I hear sleeps alone tonight, wocka wocka).
My former Yeah Yeah Yeah magazine and Rutgers colleague Brandon Stosuy interviews Gustav Estes a.k.a. Dungen in Pitchfork this week. Fascinating; I honestly had no idea Gustav was so angry when he recorded the album.
As someone who's written a few hundred promo emails for my own DJ gigs, I know a great one when I see one. Julia Factorial's latest, posted by Sara Sherr, is truly inspired, even if I think it should say "music from the autumn [not the summer] of the hanging chad." Regardless, that's one of my favorite genres.
Julia spins the !Radio On! party tonight and every Wednesday at The 700 Club in Philadelphia, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. She's also on WPRB, 103.3 FM in Princeton, N.J., on Sundays from 3 to 5 p.m. I've never heard her spin, but all signs point to her having exquisite taste.
Fimoculous notes that David Duchovny has a blog. I'm neither a fan nor a hater; in fact, I can't remember seeing him in anything. I watched one and a half episodes of The X-Files—which is exactly one more episode than I ever watched of Star Trek, incidentally. But maybe someone can clue in Mulder (or is it Scully?) on the existence of this new, cutting-edge literary technology called the paragraph.
In other news, I'm proud to announce that soon this website will be covered by a Creative Commons license. As soon as I have time to set it up. Which should be, you know, sometime in late 2009.
Saint Etienne, The Donnas, Edwyn Collins, Annie, Superchunk, The Fundamentals, Mates Of State, Waltz For Debbie, The Divine Comedy, Bill McGarvey, Peelander-Z, Crookston, and The Whatnots all rock you like a hurricane on Hoboken Rock City - Show #5. Still more glamorous indie rock & roll from New Jersey and far beyond.
Get the free download here.
Goods - MATES OF STATE
All Day, Polyvinyl, 2004
I'd missed this EP when it came out last year; never even heard this song until today, but I loved it so much I had to play it. You can download this and a few other songs by the organ/drums duo of Kori Gardner and Jason Hamel at their label Polyvinyl's website.
Me Plus One - ANNIE
Anniemal, 679/Vice, 2004
The Norwegian chanteuse's masterpiece will finally get a U.S. release later this year on Vice.
It Takes A Little Time - EDWYN COLLINS
The Magic Piper (Of Love) single, Setanta, 1997
Lost classic b-side, one of many by Edwyn. The most recent word on Edwyn's condition is that he's breathing on his own, eating real food, communicating, and struggling to become mobile. For someone who had a cerebral hemorrhage a little more than a month ago, that's significant progress.
He Loves Anna - WALTZ FOR DEBBIE
Gone And Out, Parasol, 2000
Great Swedish electro-pop duo, Martin Permer and Annica Lundback. Pop as fuck!
Lose That Girl - SAINT ETIENNE
Good Humor, Sub Pop, 1998
One of the group's classic singles while we wait for their new album Tales From Turnpike House, due later in 2005. No word on whether any of the songs take place on the Jersey Turnpike. Read my interview with Saint Etienne's Sarah Cracknell.
Becoming More Like Alfie - THE DIVINE COMEDY
Casanova, Setanta, 1998
Neil Hannon, another dude that is a band/band that is a dude. He's reportedly working on new material.
Dragon - PEELANDER-Z
Dancing Friendly, Eat Rice, 2005
They just brought their reportedly wild stage show to The Mercury Lounge on Easter. Keep your eyes on the skies; there are sure to be more area dates from the Japanese punk superhero trio soon.
Do You Wanna Hit It - THE DONNAS
The Donnas Turn 21, Lookout!, 2001
A tune from my favorite Donnas album in honor of their New York shows next week at Radio City Music Hall. Sure to be a rawkathon.
You Should Know Better - CROOKSTON
Troublemaker, no label, 2003
NYC rock & roll from ex-Honeydog Tommy Borscheid, who's also in The Pillcrushers, as featured in Show #3. Head Pillcrusher Greg Beshers returns the favor and plays with Crookston too.
Slack Motherfucker - SUPERCHUNK
Superchunk, Merge, 1990
An indie classic. Also appears on the singles compilation Tossing Seeds. Get it all at Merge Records, the iconic indie label the band founded and runs.
JERSEY ROCK CITY SET - ALL HOBOKEN EDITION
Again - THE FUNDAMENTALS
Feeling Strange, P.O.S., 1989
Hoboken rock & roll from the late '80s, produced by Richard Barone. Half of this band ended up being two-thirds of The Gefkens. Do the math.
Retribution Kicks - THE WHATNOTS
Snug, no label, 1996
An unreleased Hoboken gem. Whatnots singer Jim Higgins teams with ex-Fundamental Matt Azzarto for a live set of music at The Goldhawk on Friday, April 15, opening up for Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens. And Whatnots drummer Paul Moschella bangs the skins for Shelby this Tuesday, April 5, 9 p.m. at Rothko.
Standing Next To Gloria Steinem - BILL MCGARVEY
Tell Your Mother, Thievery, 2003
A winsome ballad about subway courtship rituals in a post-feminist world. No, really. Buy it at the iTunes store.
The Hoboken Rock City rock show / podcast is produced with the cooperation of the artists and record labels whose recordings appear on the show.
Thank you: Pat Pierson, Tris McCall, John and Frank Navin, Adam Shore, Chris Jacobs, Keith Cullen, Seth Hubbard, Michael Roux, MaiMai, Erin Smith, Tommy Borscheid, Greg Beshers, Frank Harkins, Christina Rentz, Fran Azzarto, Matt Azzarto, Paul Moschella, Jim Higgins, Bill McGarvey, all you crazy listeners, all you crazy kids who send comments.
See ya for next Wednesday for Show #6...
Monday, March 28, 2005
Well, this is it. SCOTUS hears the Grokster case tomorrow. The future of P2P file-sharing technologies may well hang in the balance.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a good breakdown of the case, and an interesting roundup of relevant examples of other technologies that "enable" copyright infringement, from the Xerox machine to Silly Putty.
Props to Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for putting his money where his mouth is. Link courtesy of Bob Lefsetz's mailing list.
And for the love of all things digital—or cultural—if you haven't read Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture yet, get the hell off this blog and go read it now. That shit is the Bible.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Robyn Hitchcock played a delightful two-hour solo show last night at Maxwell's that spanned the globe to bring the lucky audience the constant variety of...songs. The acknowledged Dylan acolyte opened with a cover of "Gates Of Eden" and later reprised the bard of Hibbing by playing the second half of "Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands" (he'd apparently done the first half in Brooklyn on Friday).
The former Soft Boy gleefully took handwritten song requests passed up to the stage scrawled on napkins and torn sheets of notebook paper, touring through pretty much his whole career. Songs like "Television" and "Sometimes A Blonde" from his recent album Spooked stood tall among staples like "I Often Dream Of Trains" and "Queen Elvis." (One of my favorites from Spooked, "We're Gonna Live In The Trees," is featured on Hoboken Rock City Show #2.) About three-fourths of the show was played on an acoustic, but he did play some electric guitar in the second half of the show. When he switched from an amp that was slightly feeding back to one that worked perfectly, it seemed to inspire a spontaneous blues vamp of Bo Diddley's "You Can't Judge A Book By Its Cover" into "Who Do You Love."
After two hours, running late, and with the club needing the clear the room for a late show by Stand and Michael Brunnock, Robyn went to the edge of the stage, off-mic, and mentioned something about needing to clear out the house. He began smiling as he strummed his way around the room, stopping at different points and inviting audience harmonies and humming with a medley comprised of KC & The Sunshine Band's "Keep It Comin' Love," George McCrae's "Rock Me Baby," Dr. Hook's "When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman," Bowie's "Sound And Vision," and closing out with a little Carl Douglas "Kung Fu Fighting" action. At that point, if the audience had asked for more, we would have been just plain greedy.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
The seats were practically on top of each other, the service was spotty (only place I ever stiffed a waiter on the tip, and he deserved it), and every ten minutes the sounds and vibrations of the Lexington Avenue subway line shook that cramped basement. Still, for my money—and they took a lot of it—Fez, which closed its doors as a performance venue Wednesday night, was the best small room in New York City for live music.
It wasn't the most rock room, no. But the small downstairs space that straddled the line between cabaret and rock & roll had, really, everything. It had some of the trappings of a folk club, but none of the stereotypically tired singer/songwriter performance styles or musically conservative attitudes that tend to go along with that. It was the right size. The sound was always, always good. The bookings were stellar, despite a recent turn in a more cabaret/comedy/drag direction that fit the room but didn't compel me to spend my money there. And most of the time, except maybe on a CMJ night, people in the audience generally kept their mouths shut and paid attention to the acts.
Fez was everything that so many jaded Manhattan rock venues are not: it was a music venue that was actually dedicated to the listening of music. Above all else, this is probably why I appreciated the place most.
I'm all for nights out at Irving Plaza spent mainlining $6 Heineken keg cans, hanging near the back, and making catty comments about the latest buzz band. But variety is the spice of life, and that's why I will sorely miss the evenings I enjoyed sipping cocktails or Red Stripes in the cozy confines of Fez, where over the years I intently watched memorable sets by the likes of Martin Sexton, The Loser's Lounge, Michael Penn, Rogue's March, Colin Blunstone, Lucy Kaplansky, The Mingus Big Band, Charlotte Martin, Richard Julian, Morricone Youth, Armen Ra, The Aislers Set, Future Bible Heroes, The Cover Girl All Stars, Cardinal Woolsey, Joshua Tyler, Edward Rogers & George Usher, and The Mingus Orchestra.
I think I saw Hamell On Trial there three times, including my last Fez experience, back in January. I believe I saw The Aluminum Group play the room four times, before one of which I spent a nice chunk of the afternoon interviewing them there while Stephin Merritt and Future Bible Heroes ran through a sound check a few yards away. I saw Dave's True Story at Fez at least five times, including the memorable night when singer Kelly Flynt and bassist Jeff Eyrich eloped on stage. There was also the time they dedicated their song "Blue Nile" to me, and the time Kelly playfully worked my name into a rendition of "Kiss Me Quick."
It's a minor travesty that Joan Rivers got to close out the place last night. The original plan was for The Mingus Orchestra to play the venue's final show last Thursday. That would have been apropos, since The Mingus Big Band, which recently moved over to Iridium, played Fez's first show in 1992. But for whatever reason, the plastic-surgery-laden comic's last show got rescheduled for this week, and thus Fez goes out with a wimpy whimper.
Word is the club's owner is renovating. I have no idea what is planned for the space. The Mingus Orchestra is moving across the street to Joe's Pub, which is nice, but more upscale and less intimate. If Fez does not return in a form similar to what it was for the past 13 years (and yes, clubs can return from the dead—witness Maxwell's), it will be awfully hard to replace.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
In a change of plans, DJ Pat Pierson of WRSU, The Loop Lounge, and Yeah Yeah Yeah magazine fame will be running the rock & roll show in my stead this Saturday at The Goldhawk whilst I recover from my third round of oral surgery in the last eight months. Pat knows his toonz; if you don't believe me, listen to his Radio Boy program this Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. eastern on WRSU.
I'll be spending most of the weekend at home with lots of semi-solid foods and at least 50 hours worth of DVDs to be watched, though I'm gonna marshal whatever strength I have in me to make it over to Maxwell's for Robyn Hitchcock on Saturday. Hopefully.
Lo Fi - RENO'S MEN
Step Up To The Stereo Slider, Quagmyre Shagpile, 2005
Jersey's favorite Scottish expats usher in the lo fi revolution. Buy it at the iTunes store or CD Baby.
Helicopter - BLOC PARTY
Silent Alarm, Vice, 2005
What's that humming sound? Oh, it's the biggest Brit buzz band of the moment. The album's out this week in U.S. The snooze-lose principle applies: their two shows at Bowery Ballroom in April are long sold out.
How We Know - THE THERMALS
Fuckin' A, Sub Pop, 2004
Punk as—well, duh—fuck! Okay, there's punker, but The Thermals are pretty punk. Download this track for free from Sub Pop or directly from the band, punk.
Never Felt Like This - EDWYN COLLINS
Doctor Syntax, Setanta, 2002
Here's the latest encouraging news from Edwyn's wife Grace, writing on edwyncollins.com: "I think we can say that Edwyn is now virtually out of immediate danger. We are organising his next move, to intensive neuro rehabilitation, which should happen in the next few weeks at the latest. This is a tough challenge, but you know he's beaten the odds already and I fully expect him to go on in his customary stubborn manner... If you wish, you can send cards to him at: West Heath Studios, West Heath Yard, 174 Mill Lane, London, NW6 1TB."
Sickos - THE HARLEM SHAKES
demo, no label, 2004
They just played Southpaw with the heavily hyped Go! Team, and they're playing Sarah Lawrence College next Thursday, March 31.
Ungrateful After All - SMART BROWN HANDBAG
Little Things Are Everything, Stonegarden, 1999
The best little band in America. Buy their most recent at cdbaby.com.
JERSEY ROCK CITY SET
Everybody Dies - DRAMARAMA
Made In N.J., johneasdale.com, 2004
Yes Virginia, there is new music from Dramarama, the first in more than ten years. Download this and more new tracks from bandleader John Easdale's site.
Shapes Of Things - THE CHRIS STAMEY EXPERIENCE
A Question Of Temperature, Yep Roc, 2004
The ex-dB leader teams with Yo La Tengo for an album recorded in Hoboken. Yes, this is a Yardbirds cover.
New York City - CRAYON ROSARY
Crayon Rosary, XOXO, 2004
Gorgeous twee pop from New Brunswick. Free download of this track from Bayonne's XOXO Records.
Early Morning Fuzz - THE GENERAL STORE
Mountain Rescue, no label, 2005
The latest pop pastiche from British singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Tam Johnstone—that's son of Davey, Elton John's guitarist since Honky Chateau—is another gem. Buy The General Store's previous album Local Honey at the Not Lame store. Read about the afternoon we spent bopping around Brighton a few years back in this rambling travelogue.
Lipsill - DUNGEN
Ta Det Lungt, Subliminal Sounds, 2004
The incredible psychedelic fuzzed-out Swedish one man rock assault, in one of his more tender moments. More info at his label's site.
I've Got A Feeling - MR. ENCRYPTO
Hero And Villain, Death Barney, 2002
A brilliantly executed cover of an Ivy song by a '60s pop fan's '60s pop fan.
Thank you: Pat Pierson, Tris McCall, John and Frank Navin, Mr. Jim Murphy, Adam Shore, Chris Jacobs, Brent Katz, David Steinhardt, Keith Cullen, Chris Stamey, David Rose, John Easdale, Brendan & Keith of Crayon Rosary, Lola Emanuelli, Tam Johnstone, Bruce Gordon, Stefan Kery, MaiMai, everyone who sends comments, and everyone who listens. See ya for Show #5 next Wednesday!
Feeling stronger every day...
Edwyn Collins, Dramarama, Bloc Party, The Thermals, Dungen, The Chris Stamey Experience, The Harlem Shakes, The General Store, Smart Brown Handbag, Reno's Men, Mr. Encrypto, and Crayon Rosary are all featured on Hoboken Rock City - Show #4. Yet another installment of glamorous indie rock & roll from New Jersey and far beyond.
Get the free download here.
Please vote for the show at Podcast Alley.
It's just a big ol' MP3. So if you wanna listen, just download it like you'd download any other MP3. Then listen in Windows Media, iTunes, what have ye.
Get comments off yer chest here.
As always, show notes with discographical info and links to come.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
What am I gonna do, write a five-paragraph essay on how much I hate the New Jersey DMV—sorry, the MVC, as those McGreevey commercials pointed out—for making me wait and hour and a half yesterday morning to get my license renewed and then not calling my number before they closed for the day? No; I want to write about that even less than you want to read it.
Reasons to be cheerful: there was a great crowd at my gig last night, podcast #4 is shaping up for Wednesday (download and listen to #3 in the meantime), the new Ivy and Electric Six albums are great, there are five candidates for mayor of Hoboken and the election is in six weeks (shitty coverage here), winter seems to be more or less over, and Opening Day (well, Night, which is a travesty, but let's not get into it here) is in two weeks.
By the way, can't vouch for the album 'cause I haven't heard it, but Doves' "Black And White Town" is the best song of 2005 so far. Just sayin'.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
This Boy Is Exhausted - THE WRENS
The Meadowlands, Absolutely Kosher, 2003
The hard-luck band from Secaucus. They sold out two shows at Maxwell's this past Saturday. I caught the early show and was mesmerized. They're at SXSW this week.
Pure Convenience - THE HEAD SET
unreleased, no label, 2005
NYC four-piece. One of three new tracks from recent sessions produced by Richard Lloyd. You can download this track and others for free from the band's website. They're playing next Tuesday, March 22 at Crash Mansion, and Saturday, April 9 at Pianos.
I Love You 'Cause (You Look Like Me) - THE PONYS
Laced With Romance, In The Red, 2004
A track from my #5 album of 2004. They're on tour later this month and on into April, including two nights at The Bowery with Bloc Party and a date at the Mercury Lounge.
I'm In The Band - BRATMOBILE
Girls Get Busy, Lookout!, 2002
I predict a rrriot! A typically high-energy song from the most recent of their "comeback" albums.
JERSEY ROCK CITY SET
Texas Is The Reason - SPIRALING
Challenging Stage, no label, 2004
My long-distance dedication to everyone in Austin this week. Spiraling is playing a benefit show for the Metuchen High School music program at the high school this Friday the 18th. That's at 400 Grove Avenue. All ages. $10, 7 p.m. They're also at The Court Tavern in New Brunswick this Saturday at 11:30, and at Club 218 in Philadelphia on April 10.
Anticipation - THE GEFKENS
Heroes, P.O.S., 1998
The trio that carried the torch of power pop in Hoboken throughout the '90s. Produced by Don Fleming.
Philos2k3 - TRIS MCCALL
Shootout At The Sugar Factory, Melody Lanes, 2003
Jersey City's favorite son.
Jenny Jump - THE ROADSIDE GRAVES
If Shacking Up Is All You Want To Do, War And Oats, 2004
Not as depressing as it sounds, though not far from it. They sound like nice boys from Metuchen. Honestly.
SPCA - CERVERIS
Dog Eared, Low Heat, 2004
Michael Cerveris is probably the only Tony Award® winner I'm likely to be playing on the show for a while. In addition to his award-winning role in Assassins, he's graced the New York stage as Tommy and Hedwig. This track from his first solo album in indie-rock mode was co-written by Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker, who also sings on it.
Beautiful Release - THE PILLCRUSHERS
Welcome To The World, Not Lame, 2005
New York City power popsters. Download this and other fine tracks from their website; buy the CD from the Not Lame store.
Sommes Bleues - DAVE'S TRUE STORY
Dave's True Story, Bepop, 1994 (reissued 2002)
A difficult band to classify, Dave's True story are a little bit folk-pop and a little bit '40s-style vocal jazz. Their new album Nature comes out in April; here's a track from their debut.
Gertrude - MISTY ROSES
Komodo Dragons, Frog Man Jake, 2004
Lush, sample-driven soundscapes from a transcontinental duo whose self-described style is "glamorous easy listening music." For fans of Goldfrapp, Portishead, and Ennio Morricone.
Make It Go Away - EDWARD ROGERS
Sunday Fables, Not Lame, 2004
A bit of a tearjerker from Rogers, the veteran of bands like Green Rooftops and Primrose Hill who issued his first solo album last year. Guest vocals on this track by Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent of The Zombies.
The Mattachine Society - THE ALUMINUM GROUP
Plano, Minty Fresh, 1998
One of my favorite songs from perhaps my favorite album of the last ten years. Which I'd like to think is pretty significant praise.
Thank you: Pat Pierson, Tris McCall, John and Frank Navin, Cory at Absolutely Kosher, The Ponys, Eliot Wadsworth, Jordan Blaugrund, Michael Blaugrund, Erin Smith, Dina Laura, Fran Azzarto, Matt Azzarto, Chris Gefken, Michael Cerveris, Claudia Chopek, Jeff Eyrich at Dave's True Story, Robert Conroy, Edward Rogers, John Gleason, MaiMai, everyone who sends comments, and everyone who listens.
Say it, don't spray it.
As always, it's one hour of glamorous indie rock & roll, including the famous Jersey Rock City set. Show #3 features music by The Wrens, The Head Set, The Ponys, Bratmobile, Spiraling, The Gefkens, Tris McCall, The Roadside Graves, Cerveris, The Pillcrushers, Dave's True Story, Misty Roses, Edward Rogers, and The Aluminum Group.
Get the free download here.
Please vote for the show. Hoboken Rock City is just a few votes away from being in the Top 50.
People keep asking, so I'll keep saying it: the show is just a regular ol' MP3, albeit a large one. Listen to it the same way you would listen to any MP3.
If it's inside ya, it's gotta come out. Send it here.
Show notes—with links—to come.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
The Wrens put on an exceptional show at Maxwell's on Saturday. Well, they most likely put on two exceptional shows, but I can only vouch for the first one, as I was DJing a few blocks away during their second set.
One of the few bands whose angst I actually want to listen to. And wallow in. And lose myself in. And the brothers are from Secaucus.
Met the drummer Jerry right before their set. He was working the merch table himself. Amazing.
They're doing two shows at SxSW. Wednesday at Parish, Thursday at Emo's. For any of y'all lucky enough to be down there.
Monday, March 14, 2005
Dirty Old Town – TED LEO/PHARMACISTS
Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead, Lookout!, 2003
An Irish tune by a Jersey guy in honor of Hoboken's St. Patrick's Day parade, which blew through town like a natural disaster on the first Saturday in March.
Things Fall Apart – GROUP SOUNDS
Group Sounds, no label, 2005
A band that's really starting to happen around New York City. They played The Bowery Ballroom with Hot Hot Heat and Louis XIV last week. They're also playing the soon-to-be-defunct Luna Lounge this Saturday, March 19 with The Vitamen. Free downloads at their website.
Let Me Out – JONNY POLONSKY
The Power Of Sound, Loveless, 2004
A power pop god ever since his 1996 debut Hi My Name Is Jonny. Check out my interview with Jonny.
Mounds Of Money – THE CAPITOL YEARS
Let Them Drink, Burn And Shiver, 2005
Jersey-bred, Philly-based Shai Halperin's band. A former Rutgers guy and WRSU dj, in fact. The album just came out March 8. Currently touring the world and elsewhere—get the dates on the website.
Subdued – NUMBER TWELVE
Number Twelve, no label, 2004
Yowza! This New York/Strong Island female power trio kicks ass and takes names.
So Here We Are – BLOC PARTY
Silent Alarm, Vice, 2005
Album came out in U.K. a couple weeks ago and debuted at #3. Out in the states March 22. A release so highly anticipated there may already be a backlash.
Up On Colours – CASIONAUTS
Bailamos! Murimos! Juntos!, Omega Point, 2005
Michigan new wave/punk crazies. They had a Jersey gig this past Saturday that may or may not have been at the Metuchen V.F.W. hall.
Ouija Me - COMMUNIQUE
Poison Arrows, Lookout!, 2004
San Francisco-based synthie rockers.
Samantha Secret Agent – ALL GIRL SUMMER FUN BAND
2, K, 2003
Super cool twee multi-culti female quartet out of the Pacific Northwest. Shout out to K Records, the legendary label from Olympia, Washington, for being the first label to grant this show blanket permission to use its music.
Happy Mondays – MY TEENAGE STRIDE
Major Major, Becalmed, 2004
Jedediah Smith from Brooklyn wrote and played the whole album himself. Reminds me a little of Stephin Merritt. Love the lyrics on this one.
JERSEY ROCK CITY SET
Cherry Hi-Way – THE HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS
Heels ‘n’ Wheels, Get Hip, 2005
Not an all-girl group. The new album is out the first week of April, and the band is playing at its record release party at Maxwell’s on Friday, April 22.
Elvis – SIT N’ SPIN
Doin’ Time With, Blood Red, 2004
Female trio that started out a while back in New Brunswick and are still based out of Jersey. Fronted by Heidi Lieb, also of local alt-/old-timey country heroes The Lonesome Prairie Dogs.
The Day Roy Orbison Died – THE MARYS
Our Friends, no label, c. early 1990s
Written by the late Don Brody, one of the pillars of the Hoboken musical scene in the ‘90s. One of the most poignant songs I have ever heard.
One of my favorite singers and songwriters, EDWYN COLLINS, had a cerebral hemmorhage on Feb. 20. He had emergency surgery on the Feb. 25. On his website's bulletin board, fans have been posting well wishes. His wife Grace has provided occasional updates. It sounds like Edwyn is going to recover, though to what extent is unclear at this point.
• The Sound Of Young Scotland, a wonderful primer on the early '80s Scottish scene with special attention to Edwyn's band Orange Juice.
• My 1997 interview with Edwyn.
We’re Gonna Live In The Trees – ROBYN HITCHCOCK
Spooked, Yep Roc, 2004
Great acoustic-flavored album from the former Soft Boy. Tickets still available as of press time for his show at Maxwell's on Saturday, March 26.
7 Seas (live) – HAMELL ON TRIAL
Ed’s Not Dead: Hamell Comes Alive, Such-A-Punch, 2000
Must-have live album by a must-see live performer, the king of punk-folk.
Sammy’s Bat – DAN BERN
My Country II: Music To Beat Bush By, Messenger, 2004
Political parable with a Sammy Sosa reference. And I am so happy spring training is here.
On Saturday nights in March, you can see me spin live at The Goldhawk, located at 10th and Park in Hoboken. 10 p.m. till last call.
Thank you: Pat Pierson, Tris McCall, John and Frank Navin, Adam Shore at Vice, Erin at Lookout!, Amber at K Records, David at Yep Roc, Cynthia Santiglia, Lauren O’Reilly, Ed Hamell, Jonny Polonsky, Group Sounds, Shirley Halperin, Shai Halperin, Jedediah Smith, Tom Swope, Heidi Lieb, Jon Cendrowski, Miki in Dan Bern’s office, and all the listeners.
Send your comments here.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
The much-rumored iPod mini drawing at The Goldhawk (sponsored by a cigarette company that I will purposely forget to mention here, because I am anti-smoking) is allegedly happening tonight. Not sure what time the contest starts, but it'll be going on for sure when I start spinning at 10 p.m.
Pretty psyched for the rare opportunity to catch a show before my gig. I mentioned recently that I'll be doing that in a couple weeks when Robyn Hitchcock does an early show at Maxwell's on the 26th. Well, Jersey's own fabulous Wrens, who sold out a 10 p.m. show at Maxwell's tonight, added an early show, and I snapped up tix for that the other night. Looks like it's sold out at Ticketweb. Can't wait—strangely, I have never seen the kings of Jersey mope rock.
I'm also proud to announce that The Wrens' label, Absolutely Kosher, gave me permission to play the band on my show. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act dictates that web broadcasters are not to advertise in advance what recordings they are playing, but let's just say that anyone speculating that I may slip a Wrens song into next week's show might have a sizable chance of being right.
In other news, turns out that Reduced Fat Cheez-Its are actually pretty good.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Like clockwork, I'm back with another hour of glamorous indie rock & roll in convenient MP3 form. This week's show features indie rock from Brooklyn, Manhattan, Strong Island, Philly, South London, San Francisco, Michigan, New Mexico, and of course Hoboken.
Listen with Windows Media Player, iTunes, or whatever you normally use to listen to digital music.
Get the free download here.
If you really want to get on my good side, vote for me here. Show notes to come. If you have comments, send them here.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
It's only a passing mention, but Hoboken Rock City was referenced in a front-page story about podcasting in Monday's Bergen Record, which I believe is the second- or third-biggest daily in New Jersey. It's the newspaper I grew up reading, and also the one I delivered in my seventh and eighth grade paper route days. Being taught three classes toward my journalism major at Rutgers by the Record's former executive editor, the wonderful Robert Comstock, sealed my bond with that newspaper forever.
I hope I'm not geeking everyone out too much with all this podcast stuff. For what it's worth, I'm not a big fan of the word "podcast." It conjures up some horribly nerdy image, and the fact that a whole subculture has sprung up around it makes it seem like we're all a bunch of Ham radio operators just sitting around in sweatpants talking to each other. Maybe in some sense we are, right now. The medium has tremendous potential, though. My biggest concern at the moment are some legal and licensing issues to be worked out, which I am researching. Be assured that I am making every effort to ensure the show is legally compliant. A lot of musicians, labels, and artist managers have been tremendously helpful, and I thank them for everything.
And I'll say it again because people keep asking: you do not need an iPod to listen to the show. The show is an MP3 file—one big ol' MP3 file. To listen, use Windows Media, iTunes, or whatever program you normally use to listen to audio files you've downloaded. Even I haven't been listening to many of them on the iPod. Then again, my iPod is already full.
Barring unforeseen catastrophe, Show #2 will be up in the wee hours of Wednesday, March 9. You can get it right here.
In other news, did anyone else think tonight's episode of 24 was the lamest one of the season? It's literally the only TV show I watch that isn't news or baseball related (well, lately I've been sneaking in the occasional Jeopardy!), so I expect a lot from it. I already miss Behrooz. The last ten minutes were awesome, though. Two words: Michelle Dessler. I totally called that about five seconds before it happened. I'm so proud of me.
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Thanks to The Daily Podcast Feed for this glowing review. The Feed looks like a pretty cool blog with built-in streaming of about a dozen new podcasts a day. And it's from Jersey.
I haven't decided whether I care—or, if I do care, how much—but until I figure that out, I might as well send you all over to vote for the show at Podcast Alley. Click "Vote Now!" The site just changed its rankings to a monthly tally, so with only votes since the beginning of this month being counted, Hoboken Rock City stands but a few votes shy of being one of the Top 50 Podcasts on their chart.
Gotta acknowledge the encouraging words I got from Mike from 92-7.com, the new fan site/portal for fans of the old WLIR. They just started up a Screech Of The Week podcast where you can vote for your favorite new track of the week from among a hand full of contenders, a la LIR's old Screamer Of The Week, which later morphed into the Shreik Of The Week. Some good tracks in the running this week—I'm torn between The Doves and The Bravery.
I did some preliminary work on Show #2 this afternoon. Can't wait to record it Tuesday night. There's too much good music to choose from. The hits just keep on comin', and we don't stop till we get to the toppermost of the poppermost.
Mondo gracias to my excellent webmaster Jim Romaine for the most recent site improvements. Thanks to him, there's now a permalink to the most recent podcast at the top of the Blog page. Also at the top of the page—and on the Home page too—are links to the RSS feeds for both the blog and the podcast. And the Links page has a new Podcasts category which I've only just begun to live. I mean, to fill in.
The parade revelers await to be rocked...though I imagine that, in the other sense, they already are.
Friday, March 04, 2005
I Want To Break Your Heart – PETER HOLSAPPLE & CHRIS STAMEY
Mavericks, RNA, 1991 (Out of print)
Straight outta the rock city. I said on the show that Stamey and Holsapple were founding members of the definitive '80s Hoboken power-pop band, The dB's. Actually, Stamey was a founder but Holsapple joined later. Holsapple did continue to lead the band after Stamey exited. The two ex-dB's reunited for this one brilliant album as a duo, recorded at Water Music in Hoboken.
Radio – PITTY SING
Pitty Sing, Or, 2005
"Radio" is one of the many highlights of their self-titled debut album, which came out in January. The song was also on their late 2004 EP Demons, You Are The Stars In Cars ‘Til I Die. My favorite song of 2004.
Half Worth Having – SMART BROWN HANDBAG
The Big Sigh, Stonegarden, 2004
Great tune from the eighth album by the criminally overlooked California band. Another screw-up I made for posterity on my inaugural show: I said they were from the San Francisco area; they're actually from L.A. The album is available at cdbaby.com.
Walking To Do – TED LEO & THE PHARMACISTS
Shake The Sheets, Lookout!, 2004
The wizard of Bloomfield, N.J.
JERSEY ROCK CITY SET
Jersey to the core.
Phantom Power – RENO’S MEN
Step Up To The Stereo Slider, no label, 2005
Also from the Bloomfield area, but via Scotland. New release from one of my favorite live bands ever. Get it at CD Baby.
The Night Bus – TRIS MCCALL
Shootout At The Sugar Factory, Melody Lanes, 2003
The dean of the Jersey scene.
Siren Song – CRAYON ROSARY
Crayon Rosary, XOXO, 2004
Wonderful twee pop duo from New Brunswick. EP released by Bayonne's XOXO Records.
Given The Reasons – HUMA
Huma, no label, 2003
Another great band from New Brunswick, another self-titled EP. Coed trio. Read the Hoboken Rock City interview.
Ah, Sugar – SPIRALING
Challenging Stage, no label, 2004
Dunellen's Tom Brislin is a genius songwriter and a gifted keyboardist who has even been a touring member of Yes. Power pop and prog live on in Jersey.
Future Sightings – I AM THE WORLD TRADE CENTER
The Cover Up, Gammon, 2004
Coed duo from Athens, Georgia. Read my chat with the band's Dan Geller.
Heartbeat – ANNIE
Anniemal, 679/Vice, 2004
Norwegian dance-pop heaven. I said she was from Sweden on the broadcast, because until recently I kept forgetting that she was. That, and the fact that I'm a dope. I'd had a really long day before recording the show Tuesday night. Anniemal will finally get U.S. release later this year on Vice.
We Feel Good (Future’s Looking Fine) – ENDGAMES
single, Phonogram/Mercury, 1982 (Out of print)
British new wave manna produced by John Leckie.
Two Lights – THE ALUMINUM GROUP
Happyness, Wishing Tree, 2002.
John & Frank Navin, the brothers from Chicago. All the background music in this edition of the show is also by them, from their 2002 Happyness instrumental tour CD. Read my 1999 and 2002 interviews with them.
One Foot In The Grave – PERNICE BROTHERS
Yours, Mine & Ours, Ashmont, 2003.
Some lighthearted existential angst to bring it all home.
You can see me spin live at The Goldhawk, at 936 Park Avenue (corner of 10th Street) in Hoboken. I'll be there every Saturday night in March, rocking from 10 p.m. till last call.
Thank you: Pat Pierson, Tris McCall, Fran Azzarto, Erin at Lookout Records, David at Yep Roc, William Paris, John and Frank Navin, Dan Geller, Dina at Wildfire Publicity, Huma, Crayon Rosary, Mr. Jim Murphy, David Steinhardt, Shirley Halperin, Joyce Linehan, DJ Timmah.
And thanks to all the artists, labels, managers, publicists, and friends of musicians who have helped me obtain permission to play music that is not featured on this first edition of the show. There's so much more rock to come.
Got a comment on the show? Submit it here.
P.S. In my sign off I intended to say, "Keep on rockin' in the free world, or what's left of it." But I was so tired by the time I was recording the end of the show that what lazily slipped out of my mouth was "...or what's left to it." Next time, I hope to get more sleep the night before doing a show.
P.P.S. The wonderful iPod Lounge has probably the best, easiest to understand article I've read so far about podcasting. If you've read any of the previous podcast links I've posted and found them confusing, I encourage you to try this one by Alicia Bankhofer.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
You didn't hear it from me, but there's a rumor that Sonic Youth is playing Maxwell's on Saturday, April 16, with tickets on sale tomorrow. I respect the hell out of Sonic Youth, but I've never personally been a fan. "Talk amongst yourselves about Sonic Youth is neither Sonic nor youthful. Discuss." But then, who the hell am I? Maxwell's tickets are normally available through Ticketweb, and in person at Tunes in Hoboken (225 Washington Street—I think they used to have a website, but it seems to be long gone) and Other Music in Greenwich Village.
Other notable upcoming Maxwell's shows that are not sold out according to Ticketweb: Wreckless Eric on Thursday, March 10; The Dears (with The Winter Pageant) on Friday, March 25; and the one and only Robyn Hitchcock (with Amy Miles) on Saturday, March 26. The Hitchcock gig is a 7 p.m. show, doors at 6:30, which means I can actually go see a show on a Saturday night before my usual Saturday DJ gig. Sweet. If memory serves, I haven't done that since a Capitol Years date at Maxwell's in December 2002.
On a more urgent note, tonight is The Writer's Hang's seventh anniversary show at The Goldhawk, and host Scott E. Moore and guest Jim Boggia will be joined by one of my favorite songwriters of the '90s, ex-Hobokenite Freedy Johnston. The show is at 8:30 tonight, and it's a $10 cover at the door. Read my 1997 interview with Freedy to properly psyche yourself up.
And then there's that big pink elephant in the room known as the Hoboken St. Patrick's Day Parade. It's a tradition that Hoboken has its St. Patrick's parade on the first Saturday in March, so as not to compete with the big parade in the city. It's been a wildly successful move for Hoboken businesses, and particularly the bars. The first Saturday in March is always the biggest bar day/night of the year in Hoboken, by a lot. The bars open at ridiculously early hours, some at 8 in the morning—and they get lines out the door. By the time I start DJing at The Goldhawk around 10 p.m., the whole town will have been drunk for six to ten hours. Anyone who stops by should expect a good dose of revelry, but don't expect to hear the most adventurous DJ set of my career.
Black 47 is also playing at Maxwell's that night, breaking what seemed to be Maxwell's longstanding tradition of burying their head in the sand and pretending that the town isn't overrun that day with barely legal drinkers who haven't quite mastered the art of alcohol tolerance. I used to love Black 47, I still think their first two albums, Fire Of Freedom and Home Of The Brave, are good, and I'm sure they still put on a spirited set. But the most recent album of theirs I heard, New York Town, was wretched, and the fact that their new CD is called Elvis Murphy's Green Suede Shoes isn't too promising when you consider that the band already has an album called Green Suede Shoes.
I don't want to bash Larry Kirwan, a talented guy who was always charming and nice when I met him a bunch of times in the early and mid-'90s, but it sounds like he needs some new ideas. I wish him well, and I bet it's still damn near impossible not to have a good time at a Black 47 show.
P.S. Thanks to everyone who has downloaded and listened to my new show/podcast. Get the MP3 here while it's hot. There will be a new show up next Wednesday, and you don't want to fall behind...
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Whoomp, I'm a podcaster. It's a 57-minute show bursting with glamorous indie rock & roll and lots of Jersey love. I'm really happy with it.
Download the show and listen now.
Listen on your iPod. Listen on your hard drive. Listen wherever and whenever you want, as many times as you want.
Pause, rewind, fast forward. It's like TiVo on the internet.
No fee. No commercials. No RIAA content. No FCC restrictions.
1. Download iPodder or iPodderX.
2. Install the software on your system.
3. Copy and paste the Hoboken Rock City podcast feed into iPodder or iPodderX. The software will automatically download new shows.
Show notes and playlist to come; it's been a long day and night. Thanks to all those who granted permission for the use of their music, and to those who helped me get all these oks. I'm proud to announce that I have blanket permission to play music from three kick-ass indie labels: Yep Roc, Lookout, and K. And there are many others in the works. This is just the beginning.
Check it out and let me know what you think.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Holy crap. Edwyn Collins, one of my favorite singers in the whole world, had a cerebral hemorrhage on Sunday, Feb. 20. He had emergency surgery this past Friday and, according to his website "He has come through it as well as can be hoped for and is continuing to fight."
Edwyn's 1995 album Gorgeous George, which I didn't get until the end of 1996, was probably my most-listened to album of the second half of the 1990s. I haven't made a personal desert island discs list in a long time, but I know George would be one of the ten I'd grab on my way to the island. In 1997, at the height of my Edwynmania, his next album I'm Not Following You was picked up by Epic, and I got to work on the packaging for the U.S. release. I saw him play two brilliant nights of shows at The Mercury Lounge, and I had the pleasure of interviewing him too. He's only released one album since, the completely overlooked Doctor Syntax, and as far as I know has only played New York one more time, a charming acoustic set I caught at The Mercury in September 2003.
He's been working less in recent years, raising his son, producing and running his recording studio that's stocked with all kinds of cool vintage equipment. Here's hoping he makes a fast, full recovery.