20 August 2007

"She said it grieves me so to see you in such pain."

The new issue of the Deli is out and around Manhattan and Brooklyn as we speak. Pick it up and enjoy a copy. It features Parts and Labor on the cover (who put out a great album this year), along with an article on the decline of the Lower East Side and an interview I conducted with Battles.This is my piece from the previous issue, which has now been put online. Nic Offer was highly entertaining and said some outrageous things about their punk nature and dorky fans.

!!! (Chk Chk Chk): Post-Punk Punctuation
Nic Offer once told the world, "Giuliani's got his rules but we ain't no fools, let's break them," in response to the mayor's Orwellian style, Footloose-revival. This rebellious rhetoric is exactly the sort of gospel that the New York die-hards crave. As the frontman for the New York by-way-of Sacramento band !!! (pronounced, chk chk chk, or any other percussive onomatopoeia) Offer has his mutinous catch-phrases down to a science, serving as the ideal commander on the S.S. Groove. If !!! were indeed a ship, it'd be a jarring ride, as the band's pulsing groove-infused dance punk would surely rock the boat. The band's policies, as staunchly pro-dance, speak volumes about their ever-expaning legacy as purveyors of this high-octane breed of punk.

Along with bands like The Rapture, Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem, !!! have pioneered a resurgence of hip-shaking in live music, proving a complacency in the state of indie-rock and effectively doing something about it. In the topsy-turvy world in which we live, there is something to be said about deftly picking your battles. Amidst political unrest and apocalyptic foreshadowings, !!! stick to what they now, speaking out against serenity and immobility and championing those who made New York City what it is, the seedy underbelly of sweaty freaks with a hop in their step. READ THE INTERVIEW...

!!! Must Be The Moon

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Bringing It Back: Retro 1987

These are two absolutely amazing records that I've gotten the opportunity to review as if it was the year of their release. It's fun to do, I love the albums and I actually like the way these turned out (The Smiths, especially). Read them if you love these albums, read them if you've missed 'em, and then, if that's the case, please do yourself a favor and check them out.

The Smiths
Strangeways, Here We Come
Remarking on death, Winston Churchill famously stated,"I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter." And with all the musing on death The Smiths' lyricist and lead vocalist Morrissey has done throughout the band's truncated career, one has to imagine that the hands responsible for molding such a messianic, conflicted figure as Steven Patrick Morrissey will indeed have those deft hands full when the two meet again. Additionally, on the subject, it seems as if The Smiths as a creative entity have indeed met their collective Maker, a premature demise with little more to blame than the ego-based clashes of two respective geniuses, Morrissey and Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr. One month before the release of Strangeways, Here We Come, Marr announced his exit from the group sending their shaky structure crumbling to the ground. Let us then assume prophetic foresight, for only bubbling turmoil and impending doom can be attributed the weight of Strangeways, The Smiths' most morose, fatalistic and cohesive work. READ MORE...

Sonic Youth
As the transformation approaches completion do not be frightened of things to come. A venture toward the unknown may very well come full circle, leaving off in an all the more familiar place. Through Confusion we saw light with the help of our Idols, but it did not pacify our uncertainties about change, and ultimately Death. The new Moon Rising meant a new day was to be born and EVOLve they did. Finally, emerging from the tunnel to bask in the light is a band fully representative of the American underground not content to idle in the pits of noise that spawned them, instead ripping to the surface, proudly flaunting a tried and true alternative bent but with their aim dead set on tradition. On Sister, Sonic Youth is a rock band but these are not your father's Stones. A head-busting racket without being "noise", tangential without losing focus and brutal but never menacing – this is structure unchained and without a cage. READ MORE...

The Smiths Death Of A Disco Dancer
Sonic Youth Tuff Gnarl

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"Meet me at the wrecking ball."

Tilly and the Wall: A Spoonful of Sunshine

La Mala Educación, Spanish film auteur Pedro Almodóvar's foray into religion, abuse and transsexuality, finds actor Gael García Bernal playing multiple roles, both male and female. And where Almodóvar's most lauded films typically deal in feminist themes and dynamic heroines, a male cast and sexual quirks allowed the female mystique to be examined through a new, albeit controversial lens. Tilly and the Wall's song of the same name ('Bad Education') explores similar scenes of steamy sex and transgender insecurities, a ripe coming-of-age for a band obsessed with youthful exuberance but never quite reaching this level of sexed up, latin-flavored audacity.

Tilly and the Wall bassist and singer Kianna Alarid remembers the song, written by male-lead/guitarist Derek Presnall, but stresses the coincidental nature of it all. Call it a cosmic connection: "I don't believe he'd ever heard of [the film] until much later. I don't know if any of us have ever seen it still! It's one of many examples of parallel ideas happening all over the world at the same time. You notice it everywhere if you pay attention. Everything is put out into the ether and travels around free to be picked up by sensitive minds." READ MORE...

Tilly and the Wall Bad Education

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