Biscuits, Triscuits…


New Old Reviews – Elliott Smith
September 24, 2013, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Dig This Real | Tags: , ,

New reviews will be written soon, but the beginning of school is a hard time. I have been writing blogs about my children twice a week with pictures and details about what they are doing. I love writing, and writing those blogs is something I am so passionate about, but when I get home it’s very hard to write one of my own. So for another week please accept these old reviews and I promise something new will appear.

Picture 4

Picture 2

 



Dig This Real oldies
September 11, 2013, 8:57 pm
Filed under: Dig This Real | Tags: , ,

At some point in the throws of grad school I reviewed Neil Young’s autobiography Waging Heavy Peace. Here is the published piece!

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Dig This Real- Elf Girl, Dirty Projectors, and Screaming Females
September 2, 2013, 11:02 pm
Filed under: Dig This Real | Tags: , , , , , ,

I have so many things I want to post about, like the amazing show I went to this past Saturday, but at the moment I am going to try to keep you busy with reading some of the articles i’ve written for Dig This Real over the last few years.

Here is a review of Rev Jen’s Elf Girl

Book Review – Elf Girl

Book Review – Elf Girl

Posted on September 5, 2012 by admin • 0 Comments

Rev Jen
Gallery Books

Rev Jen’s Elf Girl speaks novels about topics relatable to starving artists of New York, and maybe even the less starving ones, and those not from New York at all. She speaks to the weirdos and the freaks but also the creative types who have a sense of humor and the ones who are ambitious but don’t want to sacrifice their integrity. In addition to this, Rev Jen a writes in a way that speaks to women, of all ages, teenage to adult, that’s really uplifting and wonderful. While this book is a memoir of her antics and experiences living in the Lower East Side in the ’90s. participating in a series of ridiculous, debaucherous events, her own character as a strong, independent woman never waivers. There is no shortage of stories of men who were complete insane assholes to her, but she writes about them in such a matter-of-fact manner along with entertaining comments about their odd characteristics that she makes it clear that she is way cooler than they will ever be, and that she ended up on top. Despite the focus of being in the city and being involved in a creative underground scene, the exploits Rev Jen writes about are enjoyable and entertaining to all. Especially going to a metal concert dressed as the characters in the Christian Rock band Stryper and fighting Satan.

Through her stories, Rev Jen expresses her beliefs on issues from art to politics; one form of expression in particular was in regards to the Mayor and laws restricting dancing in un-licensed clubs. This she fought by creating the Dance Liberation Front (DLF) where they started a conga line throughout the Lower East Side, did the Hokey Pokey around City Hall, and several other public organized dances. They also created a manifesto with nonnegotiable demands including that Mayor Giuliani be obligated to have a 10-minute dance break at 4pm while wearing a pair of Reverend Jen “Manties,” and that the dance must be silly. She participated in a TV show called Toolz of the New School, a public access television show that consisted mainly of social commentary via crazy antics. One episode had her dressed up as a hooker and wandering around NYU during a tour begging for money and proposition students. Toolz had a float at the Mermaid Parade that had the theme of Coney Island Seashore so they had interns (yes, they had interns, and yes they got credit for this) apply sand, fake needles, condoms and trash on the side of the truck. During the actual parade, Rev Jen dressed as a sea monkey who was the victim of environmental disaster.

All of the vignettes in the book are connected; there is a reason for everything that is written in the book even the part where she dresses up as Doo Doo, the fifth teletubby who was the brains behind the whole show but was kicked out when his screen started playing scrambled porn. Doo Doo made an appearance at FAO Schwartz trying to give autographs to children. Her stories make the point that some of the most important points are best made (or the most fun to make) with a sense of humor, thus adding to the mockery of the issue they are fighting or just commenting on. There is meaning in her experiences with the public healthcare system, cults who believe in aliens, and society’s obsessions with fads and pop culture. Her stories are so poignant yet blanketed in level of wackiness that those on the other side of the joke have no idea that the joke is on them.

Despite the complete ridiculousness of the stories that are Rev Jen’s life the writing, the clarity and connectivity of her words flow together so quickly and with such pleasure to read. Her gratefulness for life and everything that has been handed to her even the piles of bills from a shitty hospital that failed to treat her properly is scrolled on every page. From the story of her birth and her certainness that she is the way she is because her mother induced labor while riding the teacups at the Enchanted Forest amusement park to the utter joy she felt for her Chihuahua as she was ‘shrooming in Virginia at a Pat Garrett concert her love of life is clear. Her apartment is a troll museum, which I plan to visit one day, she runs an open mic night monthly in the Lower East Side, which features everything and anything as long as it is less than six minutes. Most importantly, Rev Jen finished this book while not wearing any pants and did most of the things in the book while wearing elf ears. In short, there is nothing Elf Girl does not include that anyone with a sense of humor and a love of the absurd will not enjoy. – Lauren Piper

This is an article about the Screaming Females release Ugly:

 

Release Review | Screaming Females – Ugly

Release Review | Screaming Females – Ugly

Posted on August 31, 2012 by admin• 0 Comments

Don Giovanni Records

When you are a screaming female you don’t have to do much to be awesome. However, if you are also a badass guitar shredder and the rest of the band is equally as insane at their instruments, a new level that is hard to get to is reached. It is not just the sweet band name and the kitsch of having a screaming female as a lead singer, but it is also the music. Ugly, is the Screaming Females’ fifth record and by far the highest quality as seminal musician and engineer, Steve Albini, engineered it. While some of his influence on records has not been found pleasing to fans of certain groups, his work on this record shows off the talent, innovation and true genius of the band. Rooted in punk rock, these Jersey basement rockers gives “ugly” a new name with fast yet completely instinctual drums, distorted guitar and growing vocals. They present themselves in a grunge-y light tinged with elements of Classic Rock in the guitar solos that wail and echo through with flickers of so many great bands.

The band explores a variety of sounds but mostly give praise to the joy of music, not in lyrics of course – that would be absurd, but in every single instant of a song something fun, catchy or rocking is happening. The sounds presented on these songs cling to the ears like cellophane as Marissa Paternoster shreds like a monster and sings like a beast. “Rotten Apple,” is a throwback to happy grunge as it starts with a brilliantly fun intro. It tests the limits though with guitar riffs twisted inside out with what must be a lot of pedals. The vocals really throw one for a loop as they may not be considered “pretty” but they certainly are effectively catchy and confident. The bridge of the song is one of utmost class as it seems like it will be quick with a start stop riff and playful vocals and suddenly a guitar solo rocks the shit out of the whole song.

Throughout the record there are dark, dissonant notes that get channeled into a place of aggression and rebellion, keeping each song fresh. A feeling of complete confidence in their creation crashes over the songs as they bleed their way through the speakers. “Crows Nest,” starts with silence and maybe the CD has stopped working when suddenly a low, bass line creeps in with quiet, grunge-y rock drums and then the guitar flashes in with a classic sound. There is an authenticity and a breath of air in the guitar melody that Paternoster cleverly manages to mirror her vocals in a very mind boggling way. Jarrett Dougherty’s on the spot drumming clangs away alongside King Mike’s bass notes that sing slowly and melodically underneath the guitar. The steadiness and complete cohesiveness of the instrumentation feels as though it is tricking you. Nothing is this perfect without sounding lame or getting tired, but each song is just as gripping as the last.

The lyrics could stand-alone as they speak truths in winding webs, mixing them with metaphors and oddities, but combined with the music, they feel like a force to be reckoned with. They have songs that sound quite poppy but keeps it real with high-pitched guitar solos that are somehow played while Paternoster is sing/screaming like a banshee (an awesome alto one though, not that scary high-pitched kind). Some songs (most songs) are epic as shit, with some guitar styling that sound like Melvins meet Queens of the Stone Age and  yet some have breakdowns that sound like a Pavement song with a crazy chick singing her soul out onto the floor.

Screaming Females gave pretty much everything into the record to prove that they give everything into their music all the time. That’s what the songs on, Ugly, say in their genre-melding shifts and their balls to the wall instrumentation. After all of that adrenaline building and head banging that happens through out the record, The band leaves the listener with their final song, “It’s Nice,” a semi-acoustic number with Paternoster singing instead of howling accompanied by string instruments. It’s like saying, “oh hey, so you thought we rock really hard? Check it out, we can also be totally low-key and mellow and still kill it.” – Lauren Piper

www.screamingfemales.com

 

Dirty Projectors at Carnegie Hall:

 

Dirty Projectors with yMusic

Dirty Projectors with yMusic

Posted on January 23, 2013 byadmin • 0 Comments

Dirty Projectors
with yMusic
@ Carnegie Hall
New York

Wordless Music is a series devoted to putting together shows expressing a different side of the typical definition of “wordless.” The program showcases musicians and groups that create sounds reflective or portraying elements of wordlessness but illustrate that it can come in many forms. The shows take place at venues throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan and have featured artists such as Beirut, Do Make Say Think, Sigur Ros, Grizzly Bear, and Jeff Mangum.
Friday night at Carnegie Hall, Wordless Music featured Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors and yMusic. In 2012, Dirty Projectors released their most recent album Swing Lo Magellan following their 2009 release Bitte Orca; David Longstreth’s masterful breakthrough displaying how he creates music in unexpected ways using instruments as well as vocals as a powerful tool for instrumentation, a wall of sound, and syncopation. Having seen the band previously in a less classy venue; an outdoor concert where they were dressed in white and crunched together on stage, it was impossible to imagine what they would be like performing here, on this world renowned stage.
The opening act, yMusic, is a six-piece outfit playing classical chamber music in a modern and youthful style. Disproving ideas of stodgy, classical sounds, yMusic incorporates proficiency with a love of the craft and an innovation that breaths a refreshing tone into a style of music that might be considered old-fashioned. yMusic is featured on Dirty Projectors’ Swing Lo Magellan, My Brightest Diamond’s All Things will Unwind, and continue to merge traditional elements with more outside the box artists.
When Dirty Projectors first entered the stage, it was just David Longstreth on an acoustic guitar. He was then joined by the rest of the band including Amber Coffman on vocals and guitar, Haley Dekle on vocals, Nat Baldwin on bass, and for this show Michael Johnson on drums, and Olga Bell on keyboards and vocals. The band had plenty of room on this stage and they looked infinitesimal under the lights of the stage, yet so fancy.
Surrounded by gold ornamentation throughout the theatre Dirty Projectors erupted straight into their puzzle piece orchestrations with “No Intention” off Bitte Orca. Their voices filled the stage, bouncing off the acoustic paneling and stunning the audience. With a variety of instruments including upright bass and several types of guitars, and stunning vocals Longstreth’s creations truly are a wordless form of music. The bleating guitar parts dance with the drums and they incorporate handclaps and other unique elements to replace what could be another instruments. In this setting, every piece of sound could be noticed, the female vocalist’s faces were full devotion and urgency, and David Longstreth’s smile brought everything together.
The female harmonies dive and swell with as much complexity as the members from yMusic exhibited with their instruments. Imagine the syncopation of the plucking of strings recreated by three or four women producing different vowels at the same or different times. On top of all this there might be David Longstreth’s air-y, semi-falsetto voice, which in any other context might seem out of place, yet here, in this habitat he has created, it is cradled by the bending and winding of string and wind instruments, supported by drums, and lifted upwards by the female vocals.
They were accompanied on some songs by yMusic, who have the ability to play magnificent classical music and then add to the cacophony of sounds that makes up Dirty Projectors . On one song, the keys and the horns were sounding like something our parents would hate, yet when the vocals kicked in with an energetic upheaval, it somehow felt right.
At one point, David Longstreth and yMusic were left on the stage alone and joined by Angel Deradoorian, a former member of Dirty Projectors. She sang “Two Doves” off of Bitte Orca, a haunting performance with the live orchestra. The band returned and she stayed on to perform songs from the Mount Wittenberg Orca EP, a collaboration with Björk. The band then got into their louder, electric songs of their most recent release, in other words, they rocked out.
Upon walking up their regal steps of Carnegie Hall, the question had been if the band could pull off being on such an important, history-laden stage or if their unique sound would fall short. Friday night, Dirty Projectors demonstrated with complexity and passion, that they deserved to be there; they performed their beautiful, disjointed pieces with humbleness, sincerity, and a sense of wordlessness leaving their audience breathless. – Lauren Piper

http://dirtyprojectors.net/
http://wordlessmusic.org/