Monday, December 29, 2008

Old Hearts

The following article is from the New York Times. It talks about the Faust, Gate, Thurston Moore and Cul de Sac show that happened back in May of '94, arranged by the Table of the Elements label at Real Art Ways. The show has sort of become part of local folklore, but mainly because almost nothing like it ever happens in the Hartford area. I was fortunate enough to watch a video of the show this past weekend. A big surprise: the T. Moore band, then going around as Male Slut I think, was Psychic Hearts. More on that after you read this:

Published: May 3, 1994

Dinosaur rock bands like the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Traffic may be on tour this summer, but so are some of their lesser-known contemporaries. And they have sledgehammers.

"Don't retire" were the first words Jean-Herve Peron sang tonight when the 25-year-old German band Faust performed at Real Art Ways here. Then Mr. Peron, who is in his mid-40's, smashed a few television sets.

Faust is generally credited as the first band to perform the industrial music made popular by noisemakers like Nine Inch Nails and Ministry. It is also among the first groups to create electronic rock music in a recording studio with no intention of performing it live. Even in its heyday in the early 1970's, Faust didn't tour much. Until this year, it had never performed in the United States.

Tonight the group (which included two original members, Werner Diermaier and the French-born Mr. Peron) extended a little sympathy to the audience. During a rainstorm that delayed the outdoor concert by two hours, it performed "It's a Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl" as a kind of warm-up, beating rhythmically on large pieces of scrap metal as Mr. Peron sang.

During its actual performance, Faust wasn't always so noisy. A duet between a jackhammer and a chain saw faded into a gentle acoustic guitar solo; French and German poetry preceded brutal feedback attacks. Faust espoused a violent back-to-nature agenda that wasn't out of date, although it did seem silly when Mr. Peron held a goldfish bowl and instructed the audience to "listen to the fish."

Whereas tonight's performance was a collage of song ideas and performance art, Faust's concert on Thursday night at the Knitting Factory in Manhattan consisted of a single musical idea. The group collaborated for the first time in 22 years with the violinist Tony Conrad on a 45-minute violin-and-percussion drone that is featured on its record "Outside the Dream Syndicate," recently reissued by Table of the Elements.

Mr. Conrad stood silhouetted behind a white sheet, slowly bowing a violin with a bridge that was flattened to produce a constant, harmonically rich drone. Mr. Peron stroked a double-necked guitar while Mr. Diermaier maintained a hypnotic drumbeat. Like the music of other progressive German groups of the same era, the song seemed endless but never boring. Infrequent chord changes and subtle rhythmic nuances pushed the piece along slowly and rapturously.

At both performances, Faust was preceded by Heino Keiji, a Japanese guitarist, and Gate, a guitar duo consisting of Michael Morley, from New Zealand, and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. Gate created a wall of impersonal feedback; Mr. Keiji played the guitar so quickly and adeptly that it sounded as if six musicians were playing separate and distinct parts.

On the bill tonight only, the guitarist and singer for Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore, performed new songs with the Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelly and Tim Fuljohn, a guitarist. As Mr. Moore read sarcastic lyrics from large pieces of cardboard, the trio played underdeveloped but promising songs constructed of basic rock riffs and atmospheric guitar noises.

Well, it turns out that the NY Times journalist wasn't the only one underwhelmed by the T. Moore set; Glenn Jones from Cul de Sac told an Italian mag (I don't have a date or title of the mag, but this was on the Cul de Sac page) this:
I enjoyed myself very much. It was an outdoor show, and consisted mostly of waiting around in the rain for several hours while Faust made last minute repairs to the stage. Due to this delay we only got to play an abbreviated set. Keiji Haino followed with his assault on the eardrums; Gate (with Lee Renaldo) I thought were more interesting, playing with varying levels of noise and sound textures in a thoughtful manner. The Thurston Moore Band, with guitarist Tim Foljahn and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, was perplexing. (I remember these lyrics: "Kick out the jacks, and I'll buy the snacks. . . .Superchrist!" Is he trying to sound Japanese?) But, what the hell -- the kids seemed to like it.

"Perplexing"? Hmph. That perplexing project became Psychic Hearts, one of my favorite records of all time, a record that is for this kid as inspiring today as the first day I heard it back then. After watching the video, I grabbed Psychic Hearts off the shelf and pulled out the Elegy for All the Dead Rock Stars 12 inch. I moved over to the window so I could get the sunlight to catch the Rita Ackermann etching on the B side. I never even ended up putting Psychic Hearts on. It was good enough just standing there by the window puzzling over the perplexing etching.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It's really something else how everyone in the world these days seems to have their own blog, yet when you ask for help with a page like CT Indie, there's little interest. Unfortunately for me, I'm in a fix that has resulted in CT Indie being neglected. I expect to have even less time to devote to CT Indie in the future and so I've asked for help a number of times. Now I'm extending that request to people I don't know. I do have a couple of specific posts that I would like to get up here, including a rather rare late 90's recording of the Lee Ranaldo / Leah Singer project Drift when they came to the Municipal Cafe. In other words, I would like to continue contributing when I can.

So, if you think you can give a hand, send a message to ctindiemusic at gmail dot com.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Icelandic invaders tonight at the Space

Wednesday, December 3 2008 - The Space and Manic Productions Presents:

KIRA KIRA w/Dygn, Belly Boat, and The Files and Fires

The Space
295 Treadwell Street
Hamden CT
$10.00 - 7:00PM - All Ages

Click here

Click here

I'm incredibly bummed out to not be able to go to this show tonight. It turns out I've been a fan of Dygn for quite awhile now. If you're a fan of Sigur Ros, then you likely know about Riceboy Sleeps. If you've visited the Riceboy Sleeps MySpace page, then you've probably seen a project called Limbic Somnus, or nowadays, Slumber Party in their "top friends". This guy John down in Maryland is making some potently ambient sound sculptures under several different monikers, each distinguished by mode and mood. Dygn is one of them. Fresh from a gig down at Cake Shop in NYC, Dygn follows Kira Kira on up into New England, nicely stopping here, then playing Sierra Grille up in Northampton, MA Thursday night, along with a few other dates further north.

Kira Kira (from Iceland) is Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir on thumb piano, music boxes and all kinds of toys wired with contact mikes. She also plays guitar, glockenspiel and of course loud lady laptop. These kids have been playing with Kira Kira lately: Alex Somers on piano, glock and casio puppy. Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson on trumpet, flugelhorn and music box. Hilmar Jensson on guitar. Samuli Kosminen on percussion (dingalee dang). Pétur Hallgrímsson on lapsteel (skriðgítar). Magnús Helgason on super 8 projector. Guðlaug Dröfn on glock and piano. Kristinn Gunnar Blöndal on drums. For fans of CocoRosie, Mum, Sigur Ros, etc. on Smekkleysa.

Dygn are beautiful ambient drone music from Maryland. Among this guy John's other killer projects such as Slumber Party, which used to be called Limbic Somnus, also check out another of his called Mothersday.

Belly Boat: Cutesy, ramshackle folk from Zoe Latta and Silvie Deutsch in Santa Cruz, CA. Their voices clamor for attention like small children but then suddenly out of the dixie-cup folk they pull together into sweet earnest pop songs. Mostly comprised of the two voices, some dime store guitar, piano and the breathy squeeze of an accordion, Belly Boat is the sound of joyous inexperience; and where others drown themselves in layers of perfection, Zoe and Silvie let their rough edges charm you until you let them fall away and reveal the pop gems at their center.
Not Not Fun Records

The Files and Fires is the result of ongoing collaboration between multi-instrumentalists Tyler Smith and Ian Tait. For fans of Six Parts Seven, American Analog Set, etc.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shaki this Sunday

Sunday, November 16, 2008 - at BAR:

254 Crown St
New Haven CT
FREE - 9:00PM - 21+

DIRECTIONS: Click here

For anyone going to BAR for this show, check out the recent piece in the latest Arthur. This link is to a pdf file that has a meaty writeup on Brightblack Morning Light, pages 3-5 of the pdf:

More on Fursaxa here: CLICK and Zomes here: CLICK

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Riffs Are Universal: An interview with Atrina's Kelly L'Hereux

Kelly L'Hereux recently talked with CT Indie about the band's new form, older songs growing into newer songs, the new self-released EP Beautiful Evidence, and Kelly's own renewed sense of self.

CT INDIE: So, Atrina is back?

ATRINA: Atrina is back, though not necessarily re-united. We’ve got two new members, Dave Parmelee (The Vultures, Horsefeathers, Goose Lane) on drums and Phil Law (Bloarzeyd, Humanoid) playing guitar. I’m still not exactly sure how it all came about. I got side-tracked with life for a while, some pretty serious stuff too. And even though music wasn’t my focus for a long time, Atrina still felt like an unfinished project—like everything fell apart just as we were starting to really find our sound and point-of-view as a band. I’m not the type of person who likes to leave things unfinished. So, there was always this unease. I really believed in the songs (on most days anyway) and thought they never got their fair shake.

Then Will (Iannuzzi, original bass player, also of The Vultures and Baby G) brought up playing again. We talked to Warren (Brelsford, original drummer, also of The Vultures, Humanoid, Black Noise Scam), but it just never happened. A few months later, Will mentioned that Dave was interested. They were both so enthusiastic about the music. I was flattered, really, that people were willing to dedicate time and energy into it. So I asked Phil (Law, of Bloarzeyd, Humanoid) to play guitar and—all of sudden—Atrina was back.

Next thing I know, we are in the studio, recording what seemed like the logical grouping of songs. Then we booked a show and just made it happen. Now I’m hoping I can write more songs! They seem to come from nowhere or happen completely accidentally, which is freeing, but also scary because you never know when the next one will come.

CT INDIE: Of the songs that were selected for the EP, is the opening track "Seven Ways" newer? The whole EP feels completely interconnected, but at the same time “Seven Ways” sounds like its very own statement.

ATRINA: I always find how people hear or perceive songs, records, shows—especially my own—to be fascinating. Good or bad, all opinions are valid, but usually entirely different from my own intention or inspiration. The dichotomy between “making” and “reading” cultural texts was actually the focus of my work in college. That said, and to answer your question more directly, except for the last track, all of the songs on the EP were written between 2002 and 2003. “Seven Ways,” “Beautiful Evidence”, and “Feed” must have come in 2002 because we played them at our first show. “A Witness” came later... We debuted that one in March of 2003.

Having played these songs with one group, then sitting with them for 5 years before picking up and playing them with different group, they almost feel like new songs. I’m not sure what they would have sounded like if they were recorded back in 2003. The downtime probably helped. I usually write over an unchanging drum machine beat, working out the major melodic themes, lyrics and a loose form before bringing songs to the band. But they continue to evolve in unexpected ways, sometimes staying very close to my original idea, sometimes straying pretty far, and many times, going in both directions simultaneously. Then there’s the whole matter of the studio, which I tend to use as another instrument—and wish I had done so even more on this EP. But it was the first time I, or another band member, wasn’t recording it on our own, as well as the first time I recorded digitally. All that, on top of not making music for 5 years, I felt a little lost in the studio at first and that affected the way things turned out for sure. But I digress...

Sometimes I feel satisfied more by the accomplishment of recording something than the actual outcome, because during the recording process you get intimate with a song in new ways. It can expose a lot of its strengths and weaknesses. But with day jobs and life and music not exactly paying the bills, you have limited time and money to work with that awareness. Like, you’ll hear something you wish the drums did after you’ve laid down 15 other tracks and you can’t just overdub a full drum set for one little part. So you just do as much as you can, work with what you have, make the best decisions you can, and eventually call it a day. Otherwise, you’d never get anything done! Then you wrap up the recording and go back to playing live. Only now you’re working out those things you noticed in the studio and evolving the song again, trying to get closer to the new, recorded version. And all of a sudden, you are intimate with the song in yet another way. You wish you could go back and record it again—bigger and better. It’s a constant cycle of recording, playing live, recording, playing live. I could probably spend a lifetime going back and forth with just one song and still never be completely satisfied with the outcome, but never get bored either.

CT INDIE: So, getting an EP out right away was naturally the next step to take.

ATRINA: I’ve always been big on having something to put in people’s hands. As soon as Atrina was “back together”, I knew we would have to record. You play to expose people to your music, and without a recording it’s difficult to find an audience. Hell, it’s difficult enough when you do have a recording. A live show is fleeting and, to a large extent, a shared experience. But there’s also that side of music where people want to possess it, claim it as their own. So I’ve always tried to give that to the listener in a recording—something intimate, an atmosphere to get lost in for a little while (preferably loudly in the headphones!). Plus, I just really love recording. Like I mentioned before, it’s an opportunity to get inside the songs and refine the nuances. But it’s also like a scrapbook, really—a document of all the memories that went into creating that song. It’s capturing the energy of all the people, moments, and circumstances that played a part in its evolution. And in the case of Atrina, that was really important to me, cathartic even. I wanted to honor the ideas the original members contributed, while allowing the new members to infuse their own ideas too, to take ownership of their parts.

Because of the lineup change, there’s new energy and life to the music. The best part is that I get to play with some of my favorite musicians and people in the world. But at the same time, the past kind of lingers. Not that there’s bad blood or anything, at least not on my end. I spent many years making music with Warren and John (Butwell, original guitar player) and miss their energy and spirit in so many ways. But life took us in different directions, and I just couldn’t see it working out the same. So I took and worked with the songs that were truly “mine.” The one exception is “Sulu”, from Searching for a Better Way..., which we still play live (with John’s blessing, of course!).

CTINDIE: The new EP sounds woven together, with each song as equally distinct from the others as they are interconnected. Has being a three-time cancer survivor influenced you to explore this interplay? What about more mundane inspirations? Has your day job as an Information Architect had any influence on you to go in this direction with the EP?

ATRINA: Since the songs were written well before I was formally an information architect, I can’t blame it on that. In fact, I tend to start out very unfocused and haphazardly on projects, thematically and directionally. I’m focused on producing an end product and have distinct visions for the individual parts, but not the holistic view when I set out. All the while, I remain conscious of representing things as a whole in the end. So throughout the process I kind of identify themes and start to exploit them. It’s like, I’m open and let things happen by chance, but I search for meaning in that and start molding all those little coincidences into a unified piece. I have these songs and I spend equal amounts of time writing, performing, and just thinking about them. And each part of that process informs the other. Then I reflect about other things going on in my life in relation to it all, and start piecing together a narrative that means something to me. If other people identify with it—all the better. But I can say that my decision to become an information architect has something to do with the title of the EP, which is taken from an Edward Tufte book about information design that inspired the transition. And if this music thing doesn’t work out (maybe even if it still does), I’m really interested in studying library science of all things. I love music and noise, but I also love and crave silence just as much.

But back to your question… the songs will always be interconnected because they are born from the same place, which I think is a desire to make sense of existence, and my life in particular—my place in the world. I know that sounds cliché and pretentious, but I don’t mean it to be. I can only speak for myself, but I often feel very conflicted. Among other things, being a 3x cancer survivor has a lot to do with that. I’m constantly trying to balance a lot of pain, confusion and fear with gratitude to all the people who help me through that and a sense of duty to make this life that I have fought so hard to keep something worthwhile. That duality in thinking has been there as long as I can remember, and I think it extends to the music.

I mean, drama tends to find its way into everyone’s life sooner or later. But having that drama introduced at such a young age (I was 11 at the time of my first diagnosis), seems to amplify it. It’s almost expected or forced upon you, because it sounds so extraordinary to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. And you are constantly put in a position to retell your story—every time you meet a new doctor, to someone who was just diagnosed, because you want to educate others and drama is an important tool for that... So it becomes a major part of your personality, of your “story”, whether you want it to be or not. It gets a response, you know? But I don’t know any differently. For better or worse, it’s all just “a part of life”, so to speak. My life, sure, but that’s my only vantage point. I don’t know whether I was dramatic to begin with or if I just felt this duty to be dramatic about it. Maybe a little of both? Either way, it keeps me thinking about life as narrative. And that thought process extends to making music, whether I’m putting together a set list or piecing a record into a whole.

CT INDIE: Would you say that all of this, then, connects to your "renewed sense of self" that you describe in your Why I Ride bio on the CT Challenge website?

ATRINA: It’s like, I used to be really uptight and controlling about music and the band. But part of this renewed sense of self is still being persistent and diligent enough to make things happen, but also a little more laid-back. (I think they call it “having fun!”) I always thought that making music had to be all or nothing. But now, it’s more like, “today I feel like riding my bike”, and I’ll do that without the accompanying guilt of thinking, “but if I don’t play my guitar today, I’m not a real musician.” Because the truth is, I have lots interests and whims that I used to deny myself. Now, I’m less concerned with being this or being that, than just being and having balance. Not having music in my life for 5 years was depressing. But now it’s back in the mix, because I understand how it fits into my life. It’s not the be all, end all. It’s damn important, but there are so many things I feel compelled to do and explore. Letting everything be connected just makes each endeavor and experience much richer.

Before, I never would have mixed music and my cancer experience. But now, it seems almost impossible not to link the two, because they are both HUGE parts of my life. Being sick makes you realize what’s important to you. But it also means staying healthy enough to pursue what’s important to you. So making sure I exercise every day is as much a priority to me as playing music. Whereas before I would spend hours and hours working on a song at the four-track, not eating well, or getting enough sleep and exercise; now I know I can’t afford to do that. I need to balance all these priorities and desires that are part of my “new life.”

CT Indie: What about the influence of your “old life” on you?

ATRINA: I grew up in Naugatuck. I have been singing and playing music most of my life. But I was also good at school and sports, and never chose one thing over the other. I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast for awhile, and did compete as a child until I got sick. Then I turned to diving, but broke my nose. So far, I haven’t broken anything playing music... So maybe that was always my true calling.

Even with music, I was really unfocused. I played anything I could get my hands on. Then I transferred from Naugatuck High (which had an excellent music program) to a small, private school in Waterbury (whose band was playing stuff that I’d played in middle school). So I quit the school band and started a rock band with John (again, a major player in the original Atrina lineup/recordings). We were called “Glider” at that time and the MBV influence was huge. But we also tried to infuse a little heaviness into the music (which happens when you are from Naugatuck I guess).

CT INDIE: What is it about Naugatuck that inspires a heavier sound?

ATRINA: I’m not really sure if there’s any particular correlation, to be honest. It’s just kind of a running joke, almost a self-defensive thing like, “I can’t help it. I’m from Naugatuck. (Smirk. Smirk. Wink. Wink)." I don’t really know how to put it, but Naugatuck is a working class town where classic rock and heavy metal loomed large. It was also what all the people I made music with grew up listening to. So again, it’s like parts of your personality that you aren’t really sure where they came from. Riffs just come out of me and I need to blame something or someone, so Naugatuck is as good a scapegoat as any.

I remember being very young and playing one of the first songs I’d written for someone who was like, “Dude, that sounds just like Black Sabbath” and I was like, “Who?” So, who knows. I listen to and love all kinds of music. A lot of the melodicism comes from playing to orchestral and symphonic music. But I’ve always respected the power and irony of a good riff. It’s just so obvious and almost non-confrontational despite the aggressiveness, because it’s so familiar and cliché. But ultimately that is what makes it comforting. I’ve always found that dichotomy interesting. Plus, a riff is universal, so simple and basic that even non-musicians “get it.” And it just always seems that, rather unintentionally, I end up mixing that directness with more obscure ideas and sounds. What Naugatuck has to do with that? I’m not exactly sure. Like I said, I just don’t always want to have to take full responsibility for it.

CT INDIE: How can everyone get a copy of the new EP?

ATRINA: We did a run of advance release CD-R copies at our BAR show in July. 100% of those sales went to the CT Challenge, which ended up being close to $200. The official CD is out now and is available through, which has graciously committed to donating $1 for every sale to the organization as well. Also, all the packaging is 100% recycled material. I wouldn't call myself a do-gooder; I just try to do good wherever, whenever possible.

photos by jenn d.

ATRINA website:
CT CHALLENGE donation page:

Friday, October 3, 2008

Shaki this Sunday

Sunday, October 5, 2008 - at BAR:

254 Crown St
New Haven CT
FREE - 9:00PM - 21+

DIRECTIONS: Click here

Sunburned Hand of the Man is a band in the loose sense of the word; it's better described as a banner under which a collective of musical freaks have gathered. Based in Boston, Sunburned Hand of the Man grew out of trio which called itself Shit Spangled Banner and featured John Molony and Rob Thomas who would later become anchors of the Sunburned coterie. According to Molony, Shit Spangled Banner was conceived as "a cross between the Melvins and Sonic Youth," but the group was fast picking up a host of like-minded dropouts and musical wanderers who would show up at their loft, and their sound soon began to incorporate everything from early American folk music to drone, free jazz, space rock, and funk. After one release, 1996's No Dolby No DBX (released as part of Ecstatic Yod's Ass Run series), the group changed it name to Sunburned Hand of the Man. A string of self-released CD-Rs followed, including Mind of a Brother (1997) and Piff's Clicks (1998). With 2001's Jaybird, Sunburned reached a new pinnacle, forging their disparate elements into a distinct (if not complete) sounding collection. By this time like-minded groups such as Jackie-O Motherfucker, Tower Recordings, and the No-Neck Blues Band (who are somewhat of a sister group to Sunburned) were also coming into their own and gaining critical applause. The term "free folk" started popping up in an attempt to describe these bands and Sunburned were seen as leaders (or at least co-leaders) in a musical movement of sorts, a movement which had its antecedents in Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music as much as in avant-jazz and noise groups. Sunburned Hand of the Man continued to refine and expand their sound on CD-R and vinyl-only releases such as 2001's Wild Animal, 2002's Headdress, and 2003's Trickle Down Theory of Lord Knows What. Each release was a rough but often brilliant indicator of where the band was headed, rather than finished statements of where they had been. In August of 2003 the profile of the band raised considerably when they were featured on the cover of the respected British music magazine Wire, appearing above the headline "New Weird America." (

At the heart of the music made by Pittsburgh’s Centipede E’est is a subtle yet ever-present vein of dub. It’s not most obvious compliment that you’ll hear paid to a punk band, nor is it something that should really work (Fugazi excepted). But Centipede E’est’s reverby, echo-tweaked live show is nothing short of mesmerizing: take a noisy, energetic rock band and splice in preternaturally precise control of rhythm.

Their “Sinking Boats” opens with focused math-rock guitars—fans of Rodan and Slint may well nod their heads in recognition. This first section is deeply claustrophobic: monochromatic vocals, creaking and lyrics that evoke the title (it’s maybe the best nautical-rock track since Les Savy Fav’s “Reformat”). After “Guess the punchline to this joke/Is hidden in our deaths,” there’s an uptick, the bass comes up in the mix and ushers in something new, something more even, an interlude that calms things down while retaining the tautness of the first section.

And then you realize that it’s all been about restraint. Drummer Samuel Pace picks up his shaker and suddenly the guitars go mad—this is the part where the crowd goes berserk (or at least they damn well should). The last 50 seconds find Pace devastating his drum set and slowly, irreversibly, it becomes clear that every instrument is now playing a percussive role, escalating and escalating until finally, finally, it breaks. - TOBIAS CARROLL Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Friday, September 26, 2008

Shaki this Sunday

Sunday, September 28, 2008 - at BAR:

254 Crown St
New Haven CT
FREE - 9:00PM - 21+

DIRECTIONS: Click here

Meet Endless Boogie, the best-kept secret in New York's rock scene. The band's sound is a meltdown of metal, psychedelic and classic rock with a heavy dose of riffage, a kick-ass beat and super-cryptic lyrics. It's thunderous and mellow at once. To put it another way, it goes well with beer. (papermag)

"...Federale relies on the oldest tools of the trade: loud guitars, pounding drums, great musicianship and hooky songwriting. Their self-released debut is a triumph of twisted blues and boogie played loud and fierce and frenetically... this is not a record of dark and sludgy dirges, this is rock and roll." -Josh Madell (Other Music)

Eerie Show Tonight

Friday, September 26, 2008, from Manic Productions:

MOUNT EERIE w/Julie Doiron and Calm Down, It's Monday

People's Center
37 Howe Street
New Haven CT
$8 - 7:00PM - All Ages

Click here

Click here

Mount Eerie (songwriter/producer/Microphone Phil Elverum) is set to release the new LP Lost Wisdom, October 7 on his P.W. Elverum & Sun label. The album is a collaboration with vocalist Julie Doiron (of '90s band Eric's Trip) and guitarist Fred Squire, which leans heavily on folk sounds, taking a break from the "punkest incarnation of Mount Eerie" featured on 2008 10" Black Wooden Ceiling Opening. Like most of Phil's stuff, it bears distinctive marks of his Anacortes, WA studio. (brooklynvegan)

Canadian singer-songwriter Julie Doiron may be little-known in the United States, but in Canada she is widely admired, both as an ex-member of the band Eric's Trip and as a solo artist. Her songs have earned her a Juno Award--the Canadian equivalent of the American Grammy Award--and she has been critically acclaimed for most of her musical career. Often compared to folk singer Joni Mitchell, Doiron is noted for her typically serious mood and the spare presentation of her songs.

Calm Down, It’s Monday is a guitar and drum duo from New Brunswick, Canada playing stripped down indie rock songs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Merge Records Showcase

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - at Cafe Nine:
The Broken West, Wye Oak, and aeroplane, 1929

Cafe Nine
250 State Street
New Haven CT
$8 9pm 21+

DIRECTIONS: Click here

The Broken West play stylized softpop suitable for discotheques and your older sister's dinner parties. The songs are slick (they are from L.A) but remain consistently pleasant. Their latest on Merge, "Now Or Heaven," comes out on Tuesday.

Wye Oak are a duo from Baltimore, MD. Andy Stack (drums, keyboards, backup vocals) and Jenn Wasner (vocals, guitars) play a woozy brand of 90's rock with an emphasis on the lush vocals. The guitars are detuned and there is feedback aplenty, but there's a well-groomed pop sensibility to it all. They appeared on Merge's 2008 Record Store Day split 7" with Destroyer and head to Europe in October to tour with Dr. Dog. (Fun fact: The Wye Oak used to be the honorary state tree of Maryland and the largest white oak tree in the United States).

New Haven's own aeroplane, 1929 open. Fresh-faced locals play clean and well-crafted indiepop with an bent. Folky arpeggios and overly-earnest lyrics abound.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shaki this Sunday

Sunday, September 21, 2008 - at BAR:
DEATH VESSEL w/Micah Blue Smaldone

254 Crown St
New Haven CT
FREE - 9:00PM - 21+

DIRECTIONS: Click here

Death Vessel is Joel Thibodeau's work as both a solo artist and band leader. His music, captured on the resplendent record "Stay Close", is an eloquent distillation of a life's tales. Born in Berlin, Germany before The Wall fell... raised in Kennebunkport, Maine before the senior Bush's presidency... this musician lived a childhood where the ghosts of Cold War casualties and seaport tragedies haunted the alleyways and beaches. Leaving Maine as a teenager, Thibodeau moved to Boston, Providence and New York. In Providence he was a founding member, songwriter and performer of the group String Builder. Now as then, Thibodeau captures the surreal and the sublime in wondrous song.

Thibodeau's vocal delivery is astonishing. Perhaps his singing is best-described as descendent from "the high lonesome sound" - unleashed upon the world by Roscoe Holcomb in the early 1960's. With this voice, Death Vessel delivers stunning lyrical poetry that transcends the "whisky 'n' haystack" imagery of its neo-folk contemporaries. Thibodeau brings this same unusual experimentation to the acoustic guitar (his primary instrument). The daringly melodic plucking of strings and the odd tempo changes provide expertly unexpected accompaniment.

To watch Death Vessel perform live is to watch an audience under a spell. This applies whether it's just Thibodeau alone with an acoustic guitar or with an expanded lineup that often includes regular contributors to Death Vessel Pete Donnelly (The Figgs) and Erik Carlson (Area C).

Micah Blue Smaldone stepped from his punk band The Pinkerton Thugs into gloriously stripped down folk. Impressive.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Manic Mania Saturday

Two shows courtesy of Manic Productions this Saturday, September 20, 2008:

JOHN WIESE w/Sickness and Heaven People

People's Center
37 Howe Street
New Haven CT
$7 - 7:00PM - All Ages

Click here

Click here

John Wiese is a noise and experimental music artist. He is extremely prolific, releasing many albums both as a solo artist and as a member of groups such as Bastard Noise, Sissy Spacek, and LHD, and he frequently collaborates with other musicians, including Sunn O))), Wolf Eyes, Thurston Moore, Lasse Marhaug, and Merzbow.

Sickness started in the early days of 1986-1987 as a tape-loop/ industrial project. Now, so many years later, it has grown into the infestation you see before you. To further the destruction, Sickness formed its own label, Ninth Circle Music, and it has been around for over six years, releasing special limited edition tape only releases.

Heaven People are a New Haven based duo who destruct and reconstruct the environmental and artificial sounds and energy. They create pulsating spirit drones through modified acoustic guitar, electronics, vocals, samples, music boxes and thumb piano. They await their 1st LP on Ecstatic Peace! and plan to tour thereafter.

and then there's

HORSE THE BAND w/Heavy Heavy Low Low, So Many Dynamos and Raised By Falcons

Heirloom Arts Theatre
155 Main St
Danbury CT
$12 - 6:00PM - All Ages

DIRECTIONS: Click here

Click here

Horse the Band: Stumbling out of Los Angeles, CA, Horse the Band has been many people's favorite little secret since their inception in 2000. The godfathers of the sound already coined as "Nintendo-core", they've built a sizable worldwide fan base just by being creative and having a slightly demented sense of humor. Deconstructing hardcore and metal trademarks and soaking them with a sharp tongue and inventive keyboard leads, Horse the Band has risen to the forefront of eclectic and extreme hard rock music.

Heavy Heavy Low Low is Robbie Dalla, Danny Rankin, Chris Fritter, Andrew Fritter, and Matthew Caudle. They have a broad range of influences and create music that is both expressive and emotional, combining various elements of grind, hardcore, metal and late 90's 'screamo' with a slight dose of catchiness. From San Jose, CA.

So Many Dynamos meld pop with disco, punk and R&B ala The Dismemberment Plan/Cake. From St. Louis, Missouri.

Raised By Falcons is a Metal/Grind band from Fairfield, CT.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Toad's this week

Unless you've been dead asleep for the last few months, you are already aware that a few big fish are swimming upstream this week to play in our 5,544 square mile backwater. At Toad's Built to Spill play with Meat Puppets on Wednesday night, and Dinosaur Jr. on Friday night. You know these guys well enough, but what about the openers?

The Built to Spill / Meat Puppet show has The Drones opening. They play a laid back shred of bluesy punk garage and are all the way up from Melbourne, Australia.

And opening for Dinosaur Jr. is Om, a project with Al Cisneros on bass and Emil Amos of Grails on drums. There is no recording that could possibly do justice to this duo's sound. They drone - rock's rhythm section meditating through song. If G. I. Gurdjieff had an electric bass and an amp back in his time, he would have been the one channeling what Cisneros has tapped into. It does take patience and focus to get past the repetition, but the trance his playing puts you in is exhilarating. Not since Hoover's song Electrolux has simplicity sounded so intense. The one gripe might be that Emil Amos's drumming is a little too polished to match Cisneros's playing. Even so, Om are the Whirling Dervishes of psychedelic rock. I can't decide what's more impressive, Amos having to duct tape his blisters mid-song or Cisneros's fingers apparently being so shredded that he no longer has to worry about the pain.

No coincidence that all these guys are in town, as each are playing ATP Festival in upstate New York this weekend. Nice of them to stop by for a little taste for those of us unable to attend ATP.

Hey, maybe there's a secret third act playing that Dinosaur Jr. show... My Bloody Valentine anyone? Nah.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Shaki this Sunday

Sunday, September 14, 2008 - at BAR:
M.T. BEARINGTON w/Begushkin

254 Crown St
New Haven CT
FREE - 9:00PM - 21+

DIRECTIONS: Click here

Matt Thomas knows how to write a song. That much is certain. Who he'll be performing these songs with, is a different thing entirely. He's been the front person for many a band; In Vain, Leaves of Lothlorien, Weigh Down, Short Pants Romance, and the short lived but still talked about Orange Forest. Amidst the chaos of the last couple years, as one band fell apart and another reunited, Matt started writing songs for himself, bringing them home and recording them in his house at the end of late nights, early mornings, and whenever he found the inspiration. The end result, "Cloak Of Nouns And Loss" (SMR011) is a beautiful collection of pop psychedelic folk bliss, owing as much to Brian Wilson as to Roy Wood, complete with highs and lows, perfect harmonies and lush tones. With the exception of a bass line here and a drum track there, the album was recorded, mixed, and performed by Matt Thomas alone. Now, with Weigh Down on hiatus, Matt has assembled the Bearington band to bring his bedroom recordings to life.

Begushkin: "Amidst layers of circular, minor-key guitar passages and a full band which includes instruments like violin, accordion and singing saw, Smith colors his stark songs with rich imagery that's just surreal enough to keep things from being too dirge-y. His throaty waiver and lyrical abstractions are actually reminiscent of Destroyer's Dan Bejar, only Smith seems to be reaching for many of the same trad-folk songbooks that Will Oldham goes to, as opposed to Bejar's well-worn copy of Hunky Dory. Unlike either of the two, however, Begushkin's songs twist through more exotic locales, be it tip-toed flirtations with Gypsy music during "Stroll with Me" or the Middle Eastern-inspired guitar snaking through "Hearth Light of Our Home." - Other Music

Tonight at Toad's

Friday, September 12, 2008 - at Toad's:

Toad's Place
300 York Street
New Haven CT
$10.00 - 9:00PM - 21+

DIRECTIONS: Click here

Roll back nearly two years to a small room in a house in Belfast Northern Ireland. Toying with ideas and pushing all the buttons on their keyboards led duo Rocky O’Reilly and Shaun Robinson, otherwise known as Oppenheimer, to fall into a sound that the BBC called “all poetic and blip-tastic.” After looping, cutting and recording enough tracks, they soon started playing in local clubs. Encouraged, they started sending music to their favorite labels, Bar/None Records being the first. In the six months that it took an intern in the Hoboken office of Bar/None to dig their CD from a pile, the two had continued writing and recording two minute slices of pop, and were making friends at home. They played shows with acts like Ash, Architecture In Helsinki, Tilly & The Wall and The Bravery and were proclaimed to be “immensely watchable pop-peddlers‚” by the Belfast Telegraph.

By the start of 2006 Oppenheimer put the final synthesizer bleeps on their debut album. After completing a session with guest vocalist Tim Wheeler of Ash. A limited edition, hand printed 7” was released in the UK in April, selling out quickly. Bar/None released the album on June 6th, followed by releases in Australia, Japan and Thailand. What followed was hundreds of shows, sixteen weeks of touring in the states and another sixteen in Europe that helped Oppenheimer hone their lush electronic pop sound.

At the same time their tracks began finding their way into television shows like How I Met Your Mother and Ugly Betty and commercial campaigns for Fujifilm and Nike, switching even more people onto this Irish two piece.

Oppenheimer were then invited by They Might Be Giants to tour North America, before returning to Ireland to record again…

And now the dynamic duo are set to release their sophomore long player for Bar/None, brazenly titled Take the Whole Midrange and Boost It. We ask, is it a shot at the shallow pre-fab pop machine, a heady and complicated insight to their own sound engineering techniques or are Rocky and Shaun going macro, rendering a title that we’re supposed to take as a metaphor for Life on Earth?

The new record embraces some pretty esoteric themes: politics? fireworks in New Jersey and Cate Blanchett impersonators to name a few. But they’re certainly not all above the neck. The band’s soaring, visceral approach is pure pop for now people, winning the love of friends, fans and press alike-- Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol proclaiming, “Oppenheimer are like the Irish Flaming Lips or Mates of State. It’s extremely rare for a band from Belfast to have that otherworldly sound. They’re an incredible new band.” Alternative Ulster Magazine voted the band #1 Most Likely To Succeed Amongst Irish Music Professionals and Ireland’s Hot Press has said, "Their warm electro pop make Oppenheimer stand apart in a city dominated by dreary guitar bands.” And it hasn’t only been the obvious giving the duo their props, "I am stoked and thankful to have been a part of this record," says Matt Caughtran of thrash-punk godheads The Bronx who lent his voice to the appropriately heavy handed “The Never Never.”

The other 11 songs embody Oppenheimer’s trademark epic synth and guitar driven pop, but introduce a more obvious mandate to rock hard. While the album kick off “Major Television Events,” is reminiscent of “Breakfast In NYC” from their 2006 self-titled debut, the step up to a poignant grind is undeniable. Scribe Gordon Matthews even said, "Look Up may be Rocky and Shaun's 'Born to Run.'" The aforementioned “Cate Blanchett” is a vast pop soundscape, “Support Our Truths” harnesses a sweet, memorable melody in classic Oppenheimer form and “Only Goal And Winner” slides from a swirling haze of synths and chorale voices before locking into a beat that takes it to another level of pop ingenuity. And that’s just to describe a few. But why dance about architecture?

In a few short months, (June, to be exact), Oppenheimer’s Take the Whole Midrange and Boost It will be released on Bar/None Records. Hang tight till then. The band will be joining They Might Be Giants for another string of North American dates come February, so we’ll keep you posted on that.

Opening is Etta Place (a CT Indie fave, but it looks like they have flown the CT coop for NYC). "Their sound is equal parts indie and rockabilly, using a plethora of instruments from synced strings to electronic noise (alongside the use of almost the entire percussion family). The result is smart orchestration in tracks such as "Before the Bumblebees Die," where looped percussion creates a somewhat creepy, somewhat peppy electronic feel. (New Haven Advocate).

Last Tuesday's Thrills

Last Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cafe Nine
250 State Street
New Haven CT
$8 9pm 21+

DIRECTIONS: Click here

CT Indie missed this:

SHAKI PRESENTS: Pontiak w/ ArbouretumThrill Jockey Records label mates Pontiak & Arbouretum are releasing a split 12" of singles and John Cale covers titled "Kale" on July 22. Pontiak have wowed the Elm City twice before, come check out this amazing show.

But, head on over here for a review of the show: CLICK

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I AM FESTIVAL this Saturday

Don't forget that the I AM FESTIVAL is happening this Saturday, September 13, 2008.

Waterfront Park
111 Union Street
New London, CT 06320
$Free - 12:00PM to 11:00PM - all ages

"It's not easy to describe exactly what makes the growing New London music scene so special, but I AM Festival manages to get right to the heart of things, growing in scope each year alongside a solid collective of bands that has helped put the shoreline on the proverbial musical map.

In 2006, Girl Talk helped establish the annual end-of-season festival as a force to be reckoned with. Last year brought an even bolder, more eclectic lineup, with MC Chris, Chinese Stars and Pete Francis of Dispatch fronting the bill.

This year, there's something from everyone, from garage-punk headliner Jay Reatard to Rock the Bells vets Kidz in the Hall and much-revered singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright. Oneida and Oakley Hall lend I AM some Brooklyn flavor, and all nooks and crannies of Connecticut are represented by the likes of Fatal Film, M.T. Bearington, Panda and Child, Suicide Dolls and Aeroplane, 1929.

If that stellar lineup isn't enough of a draw, you can also check out the indie craft fair, live graffiti demonstrations and other interactive workshops and art exhibits. And don't miss the after-party at the old El-n-Gee, featuring Quiet Life, Wonderlust and Gone for Good."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Danbury: Rock City

The following article appeared in the Fairfield County Weekly back on Thursday, October 18, 2007:

Danbury: Rock City
It hasn't become The New Seattle, Thurston, but the Sub Rosa Party, the Heirloom Arts Theatre and Billy Baloney's are making Danbury the best place in Fairfield County to beat the cover-band scene.

"Oasis, Jewel, Korn, Frank Black, Blink 182." Mike Mori sits in the Manhattan offices of the global Agency Group and lists the bands that played Tuxedo Junction when he was the booking agent for the Danbury club in the mid-to-late-'90s. Mori says Blink 182 "opened for about $100 a night back then."

Billy Willy, aka Billy Baloney, who ran Billy Willy's at the same time and the Empress Ballroom from 2000 to 2004, has his own list: My Chemical Romance, Story of the Year, Simple Plan, Fall Out Boy (who played for $150), plus "tons and tons of local bands."

But the most important band to ever stop into Danbury—judging by the impact of the show if not the prominence of the band—was Sonic Youth. At a 1993 Tuxedo Junction show, guitarist Thurston Moore declared onstage that Danbury (population 66,000 according to the 1990 Census) would be the "new Seattle."

Maybe he was feeling a bit jolted by the good reception; maybe the Bethel-raised Moore was being kind to his old stamping grounds; or maybe he was so impressed by locals like China Pig, Monsterland and G'nufuz that he meant it.

In any case, a Rolling Stone reporter was in the audience and Moore's declaration was to the Danbury music scene of the 1990s what cries of "Gold!" were to the California economy of the 1850s—hype that had a real and lasting effect.

Danbury bands would accrue fan-bases stretching as far as the real Seattle; local record label Mudd Industries would become as much as an industry power player as would be cool in the era of the slacker; the Gas Ball was to be elevated from yearly local festival to a "cultural event" that attracted buses of college kids; the counterculture shop Trash American Style would (literally) sell the scene; Danbury would be a must-stop destination for national bands on route from New York to Boston; and airplay on Western Connecticut State University's WXCI would be an indie-rock breakthrough.

At least some of the above was supposed to happen.

Only WXCI asserted its Thurston Moore-given right to relevance. "It was one of the first stations dedicated to alternative rock," says Mori. "These were the days before MP3s or blogs, where, if you were really into alternative rock, you had to tune in to a college radio stations." Today, the 3,000-watt WXCI is still one of most prominent college rock outlets in the Northeast, and helps gear WestConn's 5,000-plus students to shows.

On the other hand: the local top dogs provided a staple of quality musicians that have been recycled into new local top dogs. Mudd dried up. The Gas Ball was canceled due to a lack of sponsorship. Trash closed up last year. And, the concert scene...

"I remember that there was this awesome scene in the '90s," says Jay LaPierre, who runs to Heirloom Arts Theatre in the space where the Empress once was. "I went away to school and came back and there was this hardcore scene that eventually left everyone cold."

One of the blessings and curses of Danbury is its appeal to young concertgoers. Twenty-one percent of the population is under 18, and the city seems safe compared to, say, Bridgeport or Hartford, meaning parents in the surrounding suburbs may have fewer qualms about sending their kids off to a show.

So when a ticket to the Family Values Tour made you the baddest kid in the ninth grade, teen mosh pits started erupting in Danbury clubs.

"It was a tough time," says Billy Willy, who's always run alcohol-free, all-ages clubs. "Most shows went off without a hitch and even in the ones where there was an incident, it was only two or three kids causing a problem. But a few bad apples can really ruin the bunch in that case."

Everyone interviewed for this story remembers an incident at Tuxedo Junction that seemed to epitomize the problem. New Haven-based Hatebreed, on their way up through the metal ranks, stopped in and "a security guard grabbed someone who was a friend of the band and they sicced the entire audience on them," says Jeff Jowdy, whose cousins owned Tuxedo Junction at the time. "A lot of people didn't need the hassle anymore and stopped booking as many national acts."

Mori confirmed the event happened but says "that was just one show, and I'd prefer to think about all the hundreds of ones that did go well."

Besides, the other shoe was starting to drop.

"It's a blue-collar town and you couldn't always bank on indie rock," Mori says. "I love Frank Black but we lost money when we brought him in." WRKI 95.1 set up shop and became an anti-WXCI of sorts, bringing in '70s and '80s bands that were still touring but were, shall we say, low-profile enough to consider a city the size of Danbury worth their while: Ratt, Dokken, Dio...

"At the tail end of it, I was just burnt out," says Mori. "National acts weren't selling as many tickets and they were skipping us for Toad's Place." A new owner took over Tuxedo Junction and moved most of its live music nights to its sister business the Monkey Bar.

Mori says he doesn't send many of the acts the Agency Group has a hand in managing to places like Danbury. "On a tour for a smaller or mid-sized act, you have to be very focused and I want them in all the major cities where people will want to write about them."

Still, Danbury is a blip on some rock & roll radar screens.

"When you're doing a basic track around Connecticut, you usually hit Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford and Danbury", says James "Fuzz" San Giovanni, who's made countless such tracks as guitarist of Deep Banana Blackout and his current band Rolla. Note that Danbury beats out the more populous cities of Stamford, Waterbury and Norwalk—which are in a 40 mile radius of the city.

No doubt Danbury has all the components needed to be a concert hotspot. But its fate may lie in the hands of a few club owners. The new Heirloom Arts Theatre, the two-year-old Sub Rosa Party at Cousin Larry's and the soon-to-be-opened Billy Baloney's—alongside old stalwarts like the City Ale House and the Monkey Bar—are vital to the revitalization of the scene.

The Heirloom Arts Theatre

Some of the kids stand back near the bar that serves only snacks and sodas and press their fingers into their ears. Some of them stand at the edge of the stage and stare at "ghettotech" ensemble Fag Muscle as if they weren't musicians but ice sculptors or contortionists—exotic performance artists whose work engenders intense curiosity. A few parents sit at the Heirloom Arts Theatre's only bench along the wall and wonder when the sound check is going to end.

Jay LaPierre, who opened the Heirloom Arts Theatre (or HAT) last summer, "got one noise-rock band and then another and decided to make a night out of it." Four acts (New Haven's Fag Muscle and florida = death, along with Brooklyn's Slasher Risk and NonHorse) will entertain, fascinate and confuse a group of mostly high school-age kids with compositions that can't quite be described as songs.

LaPierre, was raised in Newtown, "sort of fell into" taking over the space that used to be the Empress Ballroom.

"I was back from school and wasn't doing much" (indie scene-wise, he means, as LaPierre is director of operations at the ritzy Ridgefield Playhouse) "and the owner was looking someone to take over the space and I was like, 'Fuck it. I'll do it.'"

Between the closing of the Empress in 2004 and the opening of HAT in 2007, the theater, which is hidden within a mammoth business plaza on Main Street, had fallen into disrepair and the first step was clearing out trash, repainting the walls, getting the bathrooms to a point where they "half-work" and restoring the above-crowd veranda to turn it into a "beer balcony" for the over-21 set. LaPierre wants to get couches and an espresso machine and turn the Heirloom into a seven-day hang out spot with a schedule of art-film screenings. But his goal for now is "to just be self-sustaining."

So far the venue has racked up an impressive line-up of artistically viable bands from outside the area, far outside—Japanese noise-rock band Melt-Banana is playing Nov. 10 and the venue is already selling tickets. Other upcoming shows include Los Angeles' No Age, a Sub Pop?signed one-time Spin Band of the Day (Oct. 24) and Orange County-based the Blank Tapes, a favorite of the OC Weekly (Nov. 12).

LaPierre says the best event the venue has hosted thus far was August's "D.I.Y tag sale," for which the owners of Trash American Style unloaded some of their stock, a torch-passing of sorts. LaPierre has also inherited some of the problems of the old days.

"During one of our first shows, some kid made his way onto the balcony and threw paint down," says LaPierre who, when we spoke, was still in the process of renovating the venue. "I guess he thought it was funny but it's all over the [downstairs] bar now."

Sub Rosa Party

Cousin Larry's Cafe is half sports bar and half rock club, and I mean that almost literally.

On one end is a bar facing shelves full of TVs perennially tuned in to ESPN or Giants games and ornamented with neon signs from the usual breweries.

Across the room, the carpet stops and black and white tiles that comprise a dance floor begin, leading to a stage decorated with flyers from past shows. A curtained-off "bands only" area is cubby-holed to one side and a space for a state-of-the-art soundboard to the other.

This is where, for the last two years, Anthony Yacobellis, whose pedigree includes local bands Sneakthief and Human Vice Patrol, hosts acts from across the Northeast and beyond at his Sub Rosa Party (sub rosa being Latin for "under the rose" or, for our purposes, "beneath the radar).

"We're not a niche bar, never have been," says owner Larry Stramiello. "This is just a place where anyone can come and have a good time." He has a soft spot for local music and has acted as a sugar daddy to the local scene, lending Yacobellis cash to record an album and not just hosting the Sub Rosa Party but bankrolling its stage and sound system.

After the old guys in flannel jackets pay their tabs and the long-haired kid in the WXCI shirt starts taking a cover at the door, the vibe is loud. Rolla, Boston's Ben Crespo, Danbury's Chris Kiley and Stratford's the Way Up complete with college kids playing pool and downing drinks and a chatty waitress approaching each patron to offer a $2 fruity shot that comes in a plastic test tube.

It's a far cry from the my-first-rock-show crowd of the Heirloom Arts but it can't be said that Sub Rosa doesn't introduce crowds to new bands.

"We had the Mathematicians, a band from upstate New York, in and everyone left a Mathematicians fan," says Yacobellis, who wears a t-shirt of Greenwich punk band Elvis McMan. Other favorite shows from Sub Rosa's first two years include Kiss Kiss, also from upstate N.Y., and Earl Greyhound and the Outside from New York City. (An anniversary show is booked for Nov. 17.)

Sub Rosa started as a weekend showcase but it was so well-recieved, Yacobellis took over all of Larry's booking and now plans up to five shows a week—featuring mostly indie bands from Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts—and hosts a WXCI show previewing the upcoming week. In addition, Yacobellis is a math teacher at the progressive Calhoun School on New York's Upper West Side (a two-hour commute).

The same things that make Yacobellis an exceptional teacher make him an exceptional concert promoter: He never tires out; he's relentlessly positive; and he gives everyone individual attention.

"Tony is very good about caring for bands," says John Pioli, guitarist-vocalist of the Way Up. "He's good at compiling shows so you're always on with acts that match up well and he makes sure everyone gets paid."

Yacobellis can and did talk at length about the painstaking care by which he divides profits. In short, every band gets what they were promised, even if the club doesn't make a profit, and bands are not responsible for selling their own tickets.

"Most nights we do well but there've been dry spells that have lasted for weeks," he says. "If I added up all the money I've made and all the money I put into Sub Rosa, no, I probably have not made a profit."

He says he does it for Danbury, his hometown where he still went regularly for band practice when he lived in a $2,000-a-month box in Manhattan.

"If a band comes through and is treated well and has a really positive experience, they'll remember it and word will get around."

Billy Baloney's

The Danbury music scene has eaten up and coughed out the man known as Billy Willy and Billy Baloney more than a few times but it's only made him stronger.

A perennial member of some local punk band, Billy opened Billy Willy's on the Brookfield border in 1996. "It was a dance studio during the day and a rock club at night," he says with the relish. "The overhead was ridiculously cheap and we'd have killer shows for $3 or $5 a person."

In 1999, he moved on up to the Empress Ballroom downtown. The bigger space allowed for bigger bands and bigger crowds, but also a bigger rent. "I'd have the bands sell the tickets and say, 'Okay, you sell 50 tickets and you're on the bill.' They'd come back selling 10 tickets and I'd still let them on, but I picked up the difference." He adds, "It could be hard to make a profit when you are selling no alcohol."

It wasn't just about rock and roll anymore; it was about business, and that's hard for someone who goes by "Billy Willy" professionally. He'd see large crowds come to the Empress and didn't see a scene blooming. He saw potential liabilities because of that one "bad apple." Bands, audiences, musical genres—these things he loved had to be factored into a budget now. "It seemed like I was getting whacked on all sides, trying to improve the Empress, get the acoustics better, pay rent and promote the music I loved and I didn't think I could do all of that," he says.

After the infamous 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire, his insurance skyrocketed and the Empress closed.

Recently, he's put together Billy Baloney's, a club on Ives Street and amazingly, after what he's been though, he's operating the same way, keeping the booze out, inviting the kids in and lining up a mishmash of punk, hardcore and ska bands.

"You can't keep me away from this stuff," he says. "I love putting on shows and promoting shows." Billy is still wading through zoning permits to start regular operations but he's booked a few lineups that show he kept a Rolodex through his decade in the scene: The Toasters played the venue's maiden show in September and the Color Fred, featuring Fred Mascherino of Taking Back Sunday, headlines Oct. 28.

Asked if he has any advice to new promoters, Billy keeps it simple: "Bring music, man. Don't let anyone get in your way or any stipulation stop you, just bring the music back to Danbury." (The writer would like to thank Weekly contributor and Danbury musician Bruce George Wingate for his invaluable assistance.)

Show this Friday

Friday, September 12, 2008 TOBY GOODSHANK w/Schwervon! and Brook Pridemore

Heirloom Arts Theatre
155 Main St
Danbury CT
$5 - 8:00PM - all ages

DIRECTIONS: Click here

Lyrics like "Staple my penis shut and nail it to the wall" usually suggest cheap potty humor; but, in the world of Toby Goodshank, even the most perverted images retain a soulful grandeur, sung with a tender baritone that could melt hearts and cocks alike. After recording 14 solo albums in just five years, Goodshank is a veritable gland of lo-fi acoustic gems -- a legend in his Anti-Folk community and a mystery to bio-musicologists: how does he do it? The soft-spoken, enigmatic Goodshank made his high-profile debut playing acoustic guitar in The Moldy Peaches (Rough Trade). Once that band began its indefinite hiatus, Goodshank kicked his solo career into overdrive, pumping out albums the way some men pump out semen, touring Europe twice with the likes of Jeffrey Lewis (Rough Trade) and fellow Moldy Peach Kimya Dawson (K Records). In a relatively short amount of time, Toby Goodshank has become a crucial voice in the underground NYC music scene, with unconventional song-structures and surreal lyrics supported by an uncommonly professional approach to his performative craft.

His records range from the soothing (2004's lush "Safe Harbor") and simple (2003's voice-and-guitar "We Can Build You") to the frenetic (2004's electronic "Come Correct") and preposterous (2002's erratically joyous "Music for Heroes, Volumes 1-3"). Recent albums like "Jyusangatsu" (2005) and "di santa ragione" (2006) find Goodshank synthesizing his history of sonic moods into a seamless blend of chunky guitars, crystal-clear vocals, fringe sexuality, and a rotating cast of Anti-Folk comrades.

A prolific performer, Goodshank inhabits the stages of NYC both solo and with bands Double Deuce (along with sister Angela Babyskin) and The Tri-Lambs (with Angela and her sister Crystal Babyskin). These projects have "Goodshank" written all over them, with his signature heart-felt pornographic tendencies lending the songs a sense of erotic wonder and innocence. If Anti-Folk has ever known a legend in the making, destined to have his records collected by the troubled teenagers of the future, it is Toby Goodshank.

Schwervon! have been making DIY rock music since 1999, soon after they met and fell in love amidst the fertile gutters of downtown New York City. Together they have released two albums (Quick Frozen Small Yellow Cracker and Poseur) on Olive Juice Music and on Teenage Fanclub Drummer Francis MacDonald's label Shoeshine Records. They have made two videos, one for the song "Dinner" from their debut album, and one for the song "Swamp Thing" (Poseur). They have fully embraced their "Sonny & Cher meets the Pixies" comparisons and are not afraid to to fight, cook dinner, and deconstruct rock scenes all in a days work.

Their third record is entitled I Dream of Teeth. A couple's therapy session gone awry - they reveal their dirty truths unashamedly as anxious lyrics fringe dinosaur stomp drums and walls of guitar squalls. Their reconciliatory keyboard acts like a third bandmate. There is a rap song and a group sing along. There is a Herman Dune cover. There are a couple horns and some harmonies. But there is mostly Matt & Nan, warts and all, duking it out in true psychedelic pop glory.

Brook Pridemore was born on the lowest rung of the middle class in Detroit, MI. Obsessed with melody from the get-go, he banged on pianos, drums and whatever else he could find, until he was got his first guitar at the age of fourteen. Arguments erupted over influences, genres and who would play what, and bands dissolved quicker than you could say "artistic differences." As the Nineties ground to a schreeching halt, Brook found himself clean-scrubbed, wide-eyed and brandishing a shiny new acoustic guitar. Actually, it wasn't very shiny at all, it was black, but it served its purpose. He wrote a whole batch of songs about his favorite bands, girls he wanted to meet, and people who had done him wrong.

Flash forward a few years. Brook found himself living in New York (actually, New Jersey), coping with life in the big city and trying to meet other like-minded songwriters. The culmination of those last few Michigan years was documented in compilation form with Metal and Wood, a collection of home recordings and acoustic tracks. Much traveling and friend-making ensued, planting the inspirational seed for First Name/Last Name, the first fully-realized studio recording of Brook Pridemore songs.

More traveling, love, loss, and the deaths of several close friends led to the writing of The Reflecting Skin, a new album of singalong-able songs for eager crowd-participation enthusiasts. On The Reflecting Skin, Brook Pridemore strives to put the PUNK in punk-folk, tries to play his guitar like a drum set, and, hopefully, earns redemption. Eleven danceable folk songs that'll make you dance. Serious metaphor buried in nonsensical jargon and cheeky pop-culture referencing. Brave new world.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Shaki this Sunday

Sunday, September 7, 2008 - at BAR:
LATITUDE/LONGITUDE w/Pillars and Tongues

254 Crown St
New Haven CT
FREE - 9:00PM - 21+

DIRECTIONS: Click here

Latitude/Longitude are new to me and I'm absolutely loving everything I'm hearing of theirs online. They make me think of old Supreme Dicks as played in the distant future. They're a Bruce Conner film in musical form. They meld incidentals like no other improv band I've heard. It's music I imagine bees hearing in their little heads while drunk on the sun soaked juices of rotten apples.

New Haven's Advocate had a pretty good write up on this upcoming Shaki show. Here it is:

"Lucky for true lovers of the avant-garde and not just catchy rhythms in the guise of weird, one has to look no further than BAR on Sunday night to a performance by Latitude/Longitude, a truly uncategorizable instrumental trio that would leave Sincabeza scrambling for a better descriptor.

Latitude/Longitude's sound defies labels. The sparse instrumentation shifts. The tempos are sometimes non-existent. It's sort of jazz, if only because that's what critics may call it for lack of a better word, but jazzheads would scratch their

In fact, it's hard to even call Latitude/Longitude a band, because the word "band" implies that there are songs, says drummer and New Haven resident Jason Labbe, and songs are something they don't do.

'We play with varying instrumentation and our performances are totally improvised,' he says.

A quick perusal of the videos on their website or a listen at their MySpace page and one knows Labbe ain't lyin'. These are some texture heavy, plinkity-plink, whackity-whack, thumpity-thump, go-with-the-flow sounds. The music ranges from gleeful to somber to droning to pulsing, sometimes within the same performance.

It breaks down like this: Labbe plays drums. Michael Garofalo plays keyboards (including a Farfisa — hello, 1967!) and various electronics. Rounding out the trio is Patrick McCarthy on guitar and mandolin.

'We stick with a single idea and play it until it's not interesting anymore,' says Labbe. 'You just have to find a good idea and develop it and go with any inspiration or good feeling you may have.'

The outcome is different each time. For musicians who can pull it off, the result can be exhilarating for the band and for the audience — if they're willing to submit to something new. Thankfully, Labbe and his cohorts are acutely aware of the challenge that improvised music can present to listeners and they make a conscious effort to keep it accessible.

'Sometimes it's quiet and subtle and sometimes it will be louder. We try to have range,' he says. The crowd's vibe and other bands on the bill are something Labbe, Garofalo and McCarthy consider. (For those fearing a noise-fest along the lines of the Thurston Moore/Ryan Sawyer gig at the People's Center in May, delicious though it may have been, fear not.)

This Sunday's musical feast also features Pillars and Tongues, a Chicago band with more structure but no less adventure than Latitude/Longitude. How they'll recreate their classically-fueled sound should be a compelling listen.

The members of Latitude/Longitude soon plan to release a cassette — yes — on a label run by Titles drummer John Miller. Too bad cassettes aren't sold on iTunes. The 'Uncategorizable' category would be much more interesting."

Heirloom Arts Theatre tomorrow plus secret noise Sunday


Heirloom Arts Theatre
155 Main St
Danbury CT
$5 - 7:00PM

DIRECTIONS: Click here

HAT CITY INTUITIVE - you know them.
LA OTRACINA - Brooklyn.
OAK - Vermont.

...enough said.

And then on Sunday more A Snake in the Garden and Oak:

To find out where this event is happening, go to Redscroll Records before 9PM.
24 North Colony Road
Wallingford CT
$5 - 9:00PM

DIRECTIONS: Click here

The Vermont-born noise acts stay over for a second night. Oak, A Snake In The Garden and Tucker Andrews, also from Vermont, take their Summer Ender tour through Connecticut on Sunday, playing with natives Medicine Lake and Glace-Neuf.