This past week has been exceptionally bonkers. First, there was the gigantic shitstorm kicked up by the Crocodiles’ appearance at the Firebird on Wednesday night. Riding in on a wave of moderately not-negative buzz, the San Diego two-piece coifed their carefully crafted Lou Reed circa 1967 look, flicked on their drum machine for approximately 13 seconds, and promptly started bitching about what they perceived as the cheap boombox sound of it all, and rather than try and fix the problem, they sulked off stage. So that was fun.
Although the venue handled themselves responsibly, locals enjoyed piling on the “poncy divas,” the band issued a humorous retort (humorous because of their complete overestimation of the size and dedication of their “fans”), and it somehow ended up with a tweet of mine getting twoted on Brooklyn Vegan. All this comes after the band nearly pulled out of the gig anyway over a dispute over $50 – apparently their booking manager felt the needed more than they had previously agreed to because they had received a modest endorsement from Stereogum or something (hey, Hive Mind follows the Buzz!). I haven’t read the ‘Gum in a while, but I get the impression they have a fairly low threshold for endorsing new bands these days.
As the comments over this isolated tantrum started to grow old and ugly, news started to spread like wildfire over the shocking and tragic death (or, if you’re feeling conspiratorial, the hoaxed death) of the King of Pop, news that entirely eclipsed any attempts at a sunny birthday party being held by a puny little music blog. I spent Thursday night practicing the Moonwalk in my bedroom with tears streaming down my face.
Friday was better. Julie Doiron, who I wrote about for the RFT, came to the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center and put on an endearing show of low-key, lo-fi granola rock that was ideally suited to the communal hippie vibe of the Lemp. Plus, she did it all with the most bare bones sound system imaginable. It was strangely refreshing to go to a show where the audience is so supremely attentive and reverent of the performer – maybe it had something to do with the median age of the average attendee.
Julie Doiron – “Nice To Come Home”
So Many Dynamos held their release party for The Loud Wars at the Firebird on Saturday, two days after the non sequitor critical thrashing it received from Pitchfork and, in an unexpected meta twist, the review of the critical shortcomings of Pitchfork’s review by Pop Sense. (For what it’s worth, I actually like the album – highly complex song structures packed into tightly-wound pop song formats, complemented with Fripp & Eno-styled cascades and mathy Battles-indebted climaxes.) Unfortunately for the fans, the bands, and the venue, the A/C decided to go on the fritz, and with Saturday already being the hottest day of the year with heat indices well above 100 Fahrenheit, inside it felt like we were trapped in the steamcooker of Satan’s armpits. It wasn’t pretty, but the kids didn’t seem to mind, and skinny arms were a-pumpin’ throughout the Dynabros’ set.
The highlight of the night came, unequivocally, from Emperor X. While all the kids were huddled sweating near the front, Chad Matheny took a microphone from the sound deck in the back of the room and started singing the chant from Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” and eventually got the whole crowd clapping in rhythm and singing “Mama-se, mama-sa, ma-ma-coo-sa” while he improvised geekily soulful lyrics on top. To call his set “eccentric” or “earnest” or “Phil Elverum-esque” doesn’t really do it justice. Just download The Blythe Archives, Vol. 2 from his site, and plan on catching him next time he’s performing in town.
Emperor X – “Falklands/Malvinas”
Hopefully, the ol’ ‘Bird has fixed the A/C by now, because they’re hosting a “SnoCones & Lasers Mega Monday Dance Party” tonight that should be worth czeching out. To the best of my knowledge, this event is going to include flavored vodka Sno Cones (for inebriation), borrowed rave lasers (for heightened ‘80s awesomeness), and a veritable round robin of various DJs and “electro” composers (for dancing). Phaseone, who I’ve written about before, is one of the performers, and his recent remix of Animal Collective’s “Daily Routine” has been popping up all over the Hype Machine lately, if you follow those sorts of things. Bring quarters for the pinball machines, in case the sno cones and lasers don’t do enough to transport you back to 5th grade.