An Interview With Bloc Party

So much has already been said about Bloc Party, from the early clamor around “She’s Hearing Voices” right up through today’s release of Silent Alarm. All that hype is tough to live up to, but Silent Alarm definitely delivers. It’s one of the best things we’ve heard this year, and we can’t wait for Bloc Party’s sold-out appearances at the Bowery Ballroom on April 7 and 8. Needless to say, we were pretty excited to sit down and chat with guitarist/lead singer Kele Obereke and drummer Matt Tong a few weeks ago. Fresh off of performing at the Motherf*cker party, they stepped away from VH1 Classic for a few minutes to talk to us. This interview was done in conjunction with our friends at OneLouder.
Are you surprised by the reaction you’re getting in New York?
Your shows were sold out well before the album’s release date.

Matt Tong: It’s the downloading that’s going on.
Does that bother you?
M: I remember the people who are singing the words
[laughter] and we meet them afterwards.
Kele Obereke: We get the roadies to go out and shut
those people down. We give them the shakedown. [laughs]
Is there any concern from you or your label about downloading? Some artists are worried about losing sales, but you’ve sold out two shows at the Bowery Ballroom.
M: Complaining about downloading really seems to be the province of people like Metallica; immensely successful people who want more, more, more.
K: I read somewhere that Madonna was really worried she wouldn’t be able to give her kids an education because of people
downloading her records. It’s really ridiculous.

[Read more…]

Keane's Greater Brooklyn Art Crawl

I suppose I should be at PS1’s Greater New York congratulating my friend D about his ascension into the ranks of the emerged artist. Instead, I find myself alone with a wretched hangover and a bucket of cynicism. I’m soaking my feet in it to soothe the bitterness that washes over me as I read over the list of artists that have emerged since the 2000 exhibit. The sad thing about this one is that instead of going out and finding artists that haven’t quite emerged, they went looking for people that already had.

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Disgusting and callous GOP memo says the Terri Schiavo issue offers political rewards

It’s important to keep in mind what this whole the Terri Schiavo BS is really about; the 2006 elections:

From Seattle Times:
Republican leaders believe their attention to the Terri Schiavo issue could pay dividends with Christian conservatives whose support they covet in the 2006 midterm elections, according to a GOP memo intended to be seen only by senators.
The one-page memo, distributed to Republican senators by party leaders, called the debate over Schiavo legislation “a great political issue” that would appeal to the party’s base, or core, supporters. The memo singled out Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who is up for re-election next year.
“This is an important moral issue, and the pro-life base will be excited that the Senate is debating this important issue,” said the memo, reported by ABC News and later given to The Washington Post. “This is a great political issue, because Senator Nelson of Florida has already refused to become a co-sponsor and this is a tough issue for Democrats.”

Your rent is about to go up again…..

“More than 130 buildings are under construction in a haven for artsy young people.”
click image for building slideshow – care of NYTimes (reg req)
From NYTimes [read it here (reg required) or below]
Williamsburg Reinvented
In the last decade, Williamsburg in Brooklyn has been a first stop for young people new to the city, just out of college. As they have grown up, the neighborhood has too, evolving from dive bars and movie rental joints to chic sushi restaurants and designer furniture emporiums.
Most of these Williamsburg devotees are now young professionals, often working in creative fields. They tend to be in their 20’s and 30’s and earning $60,000 to $150,000 a year, according to David Maundrell, president of, a real estate company in Williamsburg.
“It is a small town of late 20- to 30-somethings,” said Mr. Maundrell, who is 30 and grew up in East Williamsburg. “They recognize people on the train going to work in the morning. Saturday mornings you go to walk your dog and get your coffee at 8 in the morning and someone else has the same routine.”

[Read more…]

New Exhibition at PS1: Greater New York 2005

We were going to post this last week as a “to do” but knew the opening weekend crowd would be too annoying. Check it this weekend:

P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center
Greater New York 2005
MARCH 13 – SEPTEMBER 26, 2005

click for directions/info
Greater New York 2005, jointly organized by P.S.1 and The Museum of Modern Art, will go on view at P.S.1 on March 13,2005 showcasing more than 160 artists from the New York area. This exhibition builds from the spirit of its first incarnation, Greater New York, which opened at P.S.1 in 2000, shortly after the two institutions became affiliated.
Greater New York 2005 presents artists who have emerged since 2000. Their work explores both this specific time period, during which New York City has changed dramatically; shows vitality, energy, and exciting promise; and anticipates new artistic directions. The exhibition includes artists from New York’s five boroughs, as well as nearby towns in New Jersey.

If it happens in the past or outside of the US, it doesn't count….

From NY Times:

Under sharp questioning at a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mr. Goss sought to reassure lawmakers that all interrogations “at this time” were legal and that no methods now in use constituted torture. But he declined, when asked, to make the same broad assertions about practices used over the last few years.
“At this time, there are no ‘techniques,’ if I could say, that are being employed that are in any way against the law or would meet – would be considered torture or anything like that,” Mr. Goss said in response to one question.
When he was asked several minutes later whether he could say the same about techniques employed by the agency since the campaign against Al Qaeda expanded in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks in the United States, he said, “I am not able to tell you that.”
He added that he might be able to elaborate after the committee went into closed session to take classified testimony.

And of course, it’s not torture if you kill them. It’s a good thing we’re nipping that steroids/baseball thing in the bud!

Jennifer Gentle – Valende

[Sub Pop – 2005]
Review by Monte Holman
So your favorite bands are the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. And during the last decade you listened to a lot of Guided By Voices. Oh, and you’re a big fan of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Well then, Jennifer Gentle is your band.
Jennifer Gentle isn’t really Jennifer and is only sometimes gentle. This Italian male duo explores rough lo-fi recording and the rock aesthetic lightheartedly, finding music in laughter, kazoos, cowbells, and even squeaking balloons. But there’s another side to the band that helps us accept the jokiness and continue listening both critically and carelessly. Despite its superficial high jinks, Valende, Jennifer Gentle’s third album and first Sub Pop release, impresses.
Marco Fasolo and Alessio Gastaldello, the core of the band, write songs that are multifaceted. Sort of schizophrenic. Two tracks, “The Garden” (parts one and two), sound like they’re sung by the real-life female embodiment of Jennifer Gentle. Breathy and delicate falsetto vocals unravel atop acoustic guitars in “The Garden, Part One” and build back up in “The Garden, Part Two.” In between the garden songs convulses “Hessesopoa,” the kind of frenetic chaos Sun-Ra would enjoy (all seven minutes, thirty-three seconds of it). Beginning in light, quick cymbal hits, the song spirals out into hysteria, evoking the image of the Indians from the Good, Bad, and the Ugly soundtrack chasing Elmo through the percussion section of a music store.
These tracks represent the extremes of Jennifer Gentle: the band appreciates quiet harmonies, but they’re also really hyped up on coffee as one song title, “Liquid Coffee,” suggests. The other seven tracks on the album consist of possible combinations of the garden songs and “Hessesopoa.”
The backbone of most songs is a tinny acoustic guitar, a ride accompanying a loose drum kit, and a bass line. But Fasolo and Gastaldello fill everything out with extras, xylophone, Stones guitar, dreamy vocals, a recorder, whatever fits. “I Do Dream You” contains distorted guitar bends and warm organs topped off with hand claps. It’s a fast-paced go-go song. And I’m pretty sure the helium inhaled for this one carries over into the next track, “Tiny Holes,” which begins with a rising chord progression, lazily floating as if the musicians, well, inhaled too much helium and are now paying the price.

[Read more…]

U.S. Military Says 26 Inmate Deaths May Be Homicide

From NY Times:
At least 26 prisoners have died in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002 in what Army and Navy investigators have concluded or suspect were acts of criminal homicide, according to military officials.
The number of confirmed or suspected cases is much higher than any accounting the military has previously reported. A Pentagon report sent to Congress last week cited only six prisoner deaths caused by abuse, but that partial tally was limited to what the author, Vice Adm. Albert T. Church III of the Navy, called “closed, substantiated abuse cases” as of last September.

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