O'death for O'leans

by Kevin K.
Locals O’death will be playing a cool little benefit house party for Katrina victims tomorrow night (3/10) in Bushwick (along w/ the Good Good, Hi-Red Center, and Schmendricks). The tracks from their new CD Head Home on their Myspace site sound dang fine (I’ll be reviewing the release later in the month) and they’re already getting some great buzz in the music blog world.
From An Aquarium Drunkard:

The O’death sound: Imagine a slightly disturbing blend of old-world Appalachian folk music crossed with Tom Waits fronting a modern-rock/folk band. Insanity works for the band, and it’s clearly captured on the album. It’s the soundtrack to your worst nightmare…or perhaps a bad experience with hallucinogens, but in a good way somehow.

Some “live” photos of O’Death (and a very ecstatic endorsement) can be found at Sucka Pants.
FUN FACT: I was once at a bluegrass festival where the legendary Ralph Stanley sang “O Death” and someone in the audience had a heart attack during the song and later died. That evening, during his second appearance of the day, Ralph sang the song again. I guess he wanted to see if he was God or something. Nobody died the second time.

Last call for art

by Kevin K.
Gabriel Fowler’s
Due to this weekend’s popular Armory Show in Manhattan, Williamsburg galleries will be burning the 11 o’clock oil this Saturday evening. From flavorpill:

In tandem with this week’s art-fair activities, After Hours organizes Williamsburg galleries to keep their doors open late Saturday evening for the many locals and visitors who dedicate this weekend to art. Among the excellent alternative viewing opportunities are Outrageous Look, which features the beautiful and obsessive brushstroke paintings of Michel Carluccio, Hogar Collections‘ show of the drawings of Alfonso Cant√∫, whose delicate depictions of appliances and other objects reveal the artist’s interest in functionalism, and Unmodern Obsessions, a group show curated by artists at SouthFirst Gallery, demonstrating the energy and diversity of young artists today.

Williamsburg gallery listings here. NURTUREarts’ “Well Read” show looks interesting if you’re stumbling out of DuMont with a belly full of DuMac & Cheese.

Debates sure are different from when I was in high school…

by Kevin K.
And now your warm ‘n’ fuzzy story of the day from AVN (careful@work):

Ron Jeremy recently debated Craig Gross, one of the founders of the Christian porn ministry, XXXChurch.com, in front of a raucous audience at Northeastern University in Boston.
Jeremy billed the spirited debate last Thursday before 1,100-plus students as ‚”the porn star meets the bible thumper.” The Metro Studios contract star said both he and Gross wanted the debate to happen.
‚”The nice thing about it is I checked their website, and he did say I was nice guy. He likes to say he won and I like to say I won,” Jeremy told AVN.com Monday. ‚”He says nice things there and there are pictures of me and him posing with the police and girls.”
While Jeremy was cheered throughout and received a standing ovations, Gross was booed upon his introduction.
‚”It was a great meeting and it was a brutal debate,” Jeremy continued. ‚”We were friends off the stage, and on the stage we were on it, tearing each other apart. But afterward we went and had coffee and talked for two hours. I think he’s a nice guy, and I don’t even mind what he does. I’m glad he’s there. I don’t have a problem with it.”
To view Gross’ account of the debate, click here.

Here’s an article about the event in Northeastern News.

Centro-matic's Ft. Recovery

by Monte Holman
Centro-matic is Will Johnson, Scott Danbom, Mark Hedman and Matt Pence.
Thankfully, longevity is not usually associated with rock bands. Most these days provide a flash-in-the-pan something that’s pretty innovative, and then they’re on their way to melting into other formations and lineups in other bands showcasing the new twist on the old rehash. But Centro-matic hit the ground running a decade ago, and they’ve managed to remain relevant ever since.
Which is astonishing considering how much music these guys make together. Sometime between 1995 and 1997, front man Will Johnson became infected with the Bob Pollard bug. Centro-matic is not only Centro-matic (two cassettes, seven EP/7″/singles and eight full-lengths among other recordings in the last ten years), but they’re also South San Gabriel when feeling sparse (two full-lengths) and Johnson’s solo recordings when feeling sparser (two full-lengths and one 7″). The band also tours continually under one moniker or another. And to audiences each show seems like the first thanks to the give-a-shitness the band injects into each outing. From Denton to Denmark, their barroom sing-alongs encourage crowds, new and old, to get real drunk and join in the howling.
Ft. Recovery (Misra), the band’s latest effort, is further proof that the Centro-matic knows how to carry the energy of the stage-or dingy pub corner-to a recording. Overall more subdued than the band’s last record (2003’s Love You Just the Same), Ft. Recovery has the same tenor as previous Centro-matic albums, featuring cheap fuzz from busted amps, distorted bass, doo-wops, memorable hooks, friendship. But in Ft. Recovery, the quiet tunes are lovelier, harnessing the characteristic feedback and harmonies into ghostly ambience (“Covered Up in Mines” and “I See Through You”). The raucous songs are more determined, slower in tempo but more confident in step and direction. The band’s as loud as before but the instrumentation is more epic (“Monument Sails”).
This is not to say Ft. Recovery doesn’t retain the alcohol-induced anthems we expect from Centro-matic. “For New Starts” begs you to throw back your can of Lone Star, lock arms with your friends and join in the drawled-out shouting: “carefully braced and disgraced in this battle trash and waste – that’s no condition for a new start.” Swaggering guitars and a reckless tambourine carry us, wasted, from the bar. The pop songs pop-“Calling Thermatico,” “Triggers and Trash Heaps” and “The Fugitives Have Won” are sturdy staples to a discography sprinkled with catchy refrains. “Take the Maps and Run” is a haunting stroll through a ghost town, cymbal-less and acoustic. The most unforgettable chorus on the record is found on “Patience For the Ride,” a driving song for North Texas highways.
This album also offers some touching songs that surpass any Johnson has written. “In Such Crooked Times” is a beautiful old country standard; its steadiness is an imagistic reflection on companionship and loyalty. Similarly, “Nothin’ I Ever Seen” sweetly ponders eternity and ends with Johnson’s bare vocals wavering falsetto. Isolation is always at hand in Johnson’s lyrics, but he’s held close by Scott Danbom’s slings of keys, violins and backup vocals, Mark Hedman’s dynamic bass lines and Matt Pence’s unremitting mix of toms and snares. Some would be tempted to say that Johnson’s penchant for using archaic language is a distraction, too precious. But the strength of the band is its ability to pull Johnson back to the listener with the accessibility of the music. Johnson’s vulnerability is sincere in these slower songs, and we believe him.
Centro-matic’s continued pertinence doesn’t spring from trying to be the first to do the next big thing. It’s simply that they write good songs and do it well. The likeability lies in the simple structures, the verse/chorus layouts, the few tricky chords. Centro-matic is folksy Americana within everyone’s reach-tender, desperate, hopeful.
Fittingly, “Take a Rake” is the rowdy closing track, kicking the chairs out from under everyone during last call. As the lights in the bar start to come on, the band trails off, downs a shot of whiskey, then launches into a shrill, Hendrix-esque fuck-you to the owner for trying to close the place down before two. They’re not done yet.
Ft. Recovery can be streamed Misra’s website. It comes out Tuesday, March 7, and Centro-matic is playing at the Mercury in NYC on April 2. Go to this show.

Saturday Gut Rumble

by Kevin K.
I was going to write a what-to-do post yesterday, but the FREEwilly server took a tumble and I was on the phone listening to a recording of a woman saying “Your business means a lot to us” over and over for 48 minutes, so yesterday you were probably wandering around aimlessly, bumping into door jams and cologne-soaked, black-eyed guys named Alojzy. You’ll still be doing the same thing today:
Your soundtrack for the day:He Ain’t Heavy…He’s My Brother” by Rufus Wainwright
Tonight: Elisa Flynn at Stain Bar. Imagine Barbara Manning living in Brooklyn and being a founder of the Bunny Brains. “I love him, he’s the turtle king.” (warning: auto-audio)
A video for you to enjoy:You’ve Got to Hold On” (Wayne Coyne and robots … who woulda thunk it?)
You haven’t read this yet?:The Memo
Pick hit to click next week: The Boy Least Likely To at R&R on Friday (3/10). It’s guranteed that your friends will hate you after you play them this syrupy, banjo-and-piano-laden mush, but we all know they secretly like Spyro Gyra, Europe and Molly Hatchet (in that order), so who cares? Losers.
“I couldn’t have said it better myself” sign of the day:
Freedom Cheese
Solidarity With Denmark Rally, NYC, 3/3/06
(alternative title: An incredibly boring event packed with nutters who treat displays of free speech and freedom of the press with cries of sedition and/or treason here in the homeland)

The Thin White Ego

by Kevin K.
Via Tiny Mix Tapes we see that the White Stripes’ Jack White has been getting a little batty about the tepid response to Get Behind Me Satan on his unnavigable psuedo-blog:

“What a funny album, coming from divided critics to supposed disappointing sales, to going platinum in several countries, to making most critics top ten lists, to winning a Grammy. That’s funny right? When that happens pitchfork has to call spin to confer on whether to ignore or make fun of it They lose perspective, the sewer workers below their lower east side Manhattan hipster bar out smarts them every time. They all play a coward’s game. Only one side to their playground. Such an easy fight that way. The faceless opinion of print and the internet. What is it teaching all of us? Back when there was a time when we had great writers, and respected journalists who had earned their position as tastemakers, and won peoples’ respect with their knowledge and insight, it was much easier to understand a written opinion because at least you knew who it was coming from. Now those printed opinions are probably coming from the person sitting next to you in the mall. Why should you care about their opinion? Why shouldn’t you? … Personally I go to senior citizen community centers for my dose of editorial. At least I know those people have lived long enough that they deserve respect. Critics are the only public expression that isn’t “allowed” to be critiqued. Be careful children, you don’t have to listen to all those opinions out there, and not even this one you are reading. Remember the person’s opinion you are reading probably knows less about less about the topic you are interested in than you do.”

Children, you could dig deep into the psyche of White and come up with some really juicy stuff (he also accuses veteran garage rocker Billy Childish, who has been recording since White was 4-years-old, of plagiarism), but it’s much easier to just point to the part (with a snicker or three) where he chest-thumps about his Grammy—the most embarrassing award to win next to a Razzie—and finally understand how Renee Zellweger could go from dating Jack to marrying Kenny Chesney. Mystery solved.

Pssst … secret Akron/Family show

by Kevin K.

Akron/Family‘s split album with Michael Gira’s Angels of Light (titled, oddly enough, Akron/Family & Angels of Light) was one of the most criminally neglected releases of 2005. I’ve yet to see A/F live, but I’ve heard very good things and according to Todd P, A/F is going to be playing a secret show at an undisclosed Brooklyn location on April 1st (tix only available @ Eat Records in Greenpoint).
I went to a secret show in north Williamsburg many moons ago that featured those zany New Bomb Turks as the headliners. It was in an old warehouse and candles provided the only light in the service elevator you had to take to get to the space. I don’t know how in the hell she found out about it (being a dork and all), but MTV’s old VJ Kennedy was there. I found that to be very distracting, but had a helluva time. I’m fairly certain the A/F show will be great, too, but if Jesse Camp‘s there, I’m hurling him off the roof.
Akron/Family’s “Dylan Pt. 2” from A/F & A of L (MP3)

Fun With Headlines

by Kevin K.
From the LA Times:
Trip offers Bush a break from troubles back home
From ABC News:
Tens of Thousands Protest Bush India Visit
Where did that brush go?