Showpaper; DIY Invasion

The Eskalators

Showpaper remains true to its original inception producing a bi-monthly all-age music listing fold-out featuring a visual artist on every cover issue. When a concept is fluid, its evolution has few boundaries. Showpaper is branching out to include art and music benefits that support its printing, guerrilla-style music happenings, and participation in art fairs. Passion can be infectious, and Showpaper is worth spreading.

PS1 Art Book Fair

At the NY Art Book Fair housed at PS1 in early October, Showpaper displayed an array of colorful issues on a small ledge below Leandro Erlich's Swimming Pool art installation. Part of the Showpaper's charm is the dedicated rotation of volunteers manning the unofficial site. I spoke with a young woman who was doing a double shift and enthusiastically telling anyone interested about the Showpaper mission.

Vendorbar NYC, Showpaper

Recently Showpaper shared a booth with VendorBar, an exhibitor at The 2009 Editions|Artists' Book Fair showing videos by Flipswitch, Cassettes by Party Labs, and Showpaper editions. Greeting the curious was Joe Ahearn, Showpaper's volunteer impresario. He is constantly finding new ways to bring the Showpaper mission to different audiences. VendorBar, organized by Kirby Gookin and Robin Kahn, had awesome conceptual art editions, including Yoko Ono's Add Color: Imagine Peace -Stenciling Action, Sal Randolf Free money in book form, and printed editions and chewed drawing editions by Larry Miller.

Kirby Gookin and Robin Kahn are both working artists, and VendorBar is their latest curatorial endeavor whose mission is to open up direct lines of communication between artists and the public to make ideas and artwork more accessible.. They represent an older generation with an authentic love of art and an enthusiastic vision to inform. This is rare in adult form and even in the art world. Choosing to share a space with Showpaper proves that the spirit of art can cross generations and go beyond just the selling of products.

Michael Petruzzo, whose music taste I trust, gave me a list of must-see music emphasizing The Eskalators. Showpaper arranged the eighteen pieces to play a set to end the Editions Fair three-day run.

The group assembled at the upstairs entrance with a guitar, toy instruments, violin, array of brass, and a mini megaphone. Their spirited music, full of sing-alongs, great lyrics, and rag-tag fun, was in contrast to any art event's traditional and formal aspects, but what a welcome juxtaposition.

Flickr Set VendorBar / The Eskalators


Paper Garden Records @ 3rd Ward Review

Multiverse Playground event was presented by Paper Garden Records @ 3rd Ward in Brooklyn, a member-based design center. Sponsors included: 3rd Ward, Uncensored Interview, Art Battles, Lomography, 1776, The BLDG, Project Fathom.
Paper Garden Records' current roster, Peasant, Emanuel and the Fear, and Darla Farmer, represent a perfect diverse live line-up. I endured Art Battles and Comedy Central's Kurt Metzger before the bands started. It was an "Experience" for me, but both were enthusiastically received by the crowd.

Peasant @ 3rd Ward

Peasant's slot was to follow the comic, a difficult feat for a guy with a guitar at best. Fortunately, everyone who slowly reentered the backspace and committed to staying soon realized Peasant (Damien DeRose) is not standard singer-songwriter fare. His is a voice to follow. He played some new songs from Shady Retreat to be released in 2010, and one never performed live. We were treated to two older songs from On the Ground. "Your Good" was fabulous without the drums, and Damien said he usually plays "Manners" when an audience is polite. "Hard Times" was appropriate and gave me pause to think about Peasant's ability to weave topical content without being preachy. Peasant is a quiet but reflective voice of his generation. And his voice penetrates in a subtle but lasting way.

Emanuel and the Fear

Emanuel and the Fear are a great live experience with multi-layers of sophisticated composition and an accomplished orchestra. Emanuel Ayvason, on keys, guitar, and vocals, leads the pit with dynamic zeal and musical prowess. He is a music force with a vision and is willing to fuck with it in a good way. Adding drummer Jeff Gretz's metal magic adds an aggressive contrast to the mix. The sound leaves the listener on edge and shakes things up with untimely structures and raw and in-the-moment vocals without ever losing the sensuous full embodied sound. Aggressive Orchestral Pop!

Darla Farmer
Darla Farmer makes me smile. They are an ambitious six-piece outfit plowed through a lively, diverse set. Take guitar, bass, and drums, mix some horns and keys and grind it out. Their geeky awesomeness is appealing, blurring art rock, noise, metal, Orleans-style jazz, and screamo with the quirkiest nasal vocals of lead singer Bryce Leonard. We were treated to what seemed like impromptu Devo-style Hip Hop with the best awkward dance moves. It was a rip! Darla Farmer's original sound might be a result of geographical southern roots. Whatever the inspiration, I'm looking forward to more. 

At about 1:00 AM, more folks invaded to catch Boy Crisis and Das Racist, and for the young, the night was just starting. I left at 1:30. Flickr Set is not up to par, but I found the staging area too long with little depth making it difficult for band interaction.


Langhorne Slim Bell House live review

Langhorne Slim @ Bell House

Langhorne Slim worked up the hometown crowd @ Bell House in Brooklyn. They hung on every word, yelp, utterance, and soulful vocal. The songs from Be Set Free sounded so fresh. The new band lineup spiced up songs with additional keyboard, banjo, and saxophone. They set the house on fire with “Cinderella” and “For a Little While” and brushed us with a warm breeze with slower songs.

The ballads were amazing, and it was so nice when Slim was alone on stage, and the audience was with him all the way. This is not an intimate venue, so it was striking that he could have a conversation between songs.

Slim thanked the audience, who gave it back in spades. It is rare to see love and music working their magic. Langhorne Slim has a relationship with his audience, and it’s a good one.

Flickr Set Bell House

Be Set Free, Langhorne Slim review

Langhore Slim's Be Set Free has broken the glass ceiling reaching beyond the novelty beloved by fans to a wider audience. This is one side of Langhorne Slim. It is the studio side. Langhorne Slim is an incredibly raw live band. Be Set Free, produced by Chris Funk (The Decemberists) changes it up, adding variety with new instrumental treatments. I would call it Langhorne Slim smooth but not lite.

Slim's songwriting and vocals are so versatile that they cross various genres. Be Set Free combines soul, folk, and symphonic rock with heart-stopping vocals that reach for the rafters. A cast of talented contributors plays a slew of instruments, piano, organ, brass, and strings.

The songs are simple and basic, like a conversation spiced with little truisms. It is Slim's vocal delivery that adds emphasis to broadening interpretation. There are many great catchy melodies, raucous Honky Tonk, and heart-tugging solid ballads.

Starting with the upbeat opener, “Back to the Wild,” with its smooth strumming, a flurry of strings, and steady shuffle percussion. Followed by “Say Yes,” an optimistic take on love and possibilities.

“Be Set Free” is a ballad of significance with jewel-like slide guitar and expressive piano. The soft shaker is the heartbeat for “I Love You But Goodbye,” blending gorgeous cascading piano with Slim’s fervent vocals. Starting as a mild tempo and escalating to a full soulful throttle of impassioned intonation, “For a Little While” blends timing contrasts. It peaks when Malachi DeLorenzo's slow shuffle drumming evolves into a hardcore exuberance mixed with the exhilarating mayhem of mashed-up ingredients. “Cinderella” flirts with the listener, offering a soulful wink with the help of Honky Tonk swing and an enthusiastic boy chorus.

The sumptuous "Leaving My Love" uses symphonic swells interspersed with lovely vocal dialogue between Slim and Erica Wennerstrom (Heartless Bastards) The chorus of / I can't believe it / I'm leaving my love / intensifies like romantic longings. In the tradition of country confessionals, "So Glad I'm Coming Home" offers sincerity about going home in a sobered state and hoping to be welcomed back.

The album closes with "Boots Boy," an upbeat love affirmation, / I don't want just anybody / I want you / nobody but you /. Be Set Free is sweet and sultry and naturally uplifts the spirit, A high worth getting.


Little Teeth Make Folk an Art Form

This is a shout-out to the band Little Teeth from San Francisco. They have embarked on a huge ambitious tour through the US and are also planning a European one. Their debut album, Child Bearing Man, was released in September of 08 on Absolutely Kosher Records. I was going to see them again at Death by Audio tomorrow, but they canceled due to illness. I saw them for the first time at CMJ at Zebulon. I, unfortunately, created a poorly titled post-CMJ Day Three, so I'm hoping for a little more exposure via search with this re-post of the review and Video entry.
Feel Better, Little Teeth

Little Teeth CMJ @ Zebulon

To say I was delighted to see Little Teeth is an understatement. The twosome of Sofia Bell and Dannie Murrie recently added Sean Real to their inner circle. Their original music is Folk as an art form played with a conviction of sensibility and spirit. Their all-out abandon of song structure focused on experimentation, strange but beguiling harmonies, and escalating emphasis on vocals, drumming, cello or banjo.

I was outside socializing when the band set up and was flabbergasted when I moved to the front to find the most intricate found object drum set de jour, including a small xylophone. Dani Murrie strapped on an assortment of shells and bells from ankle to knee.

During the set, they brought out some additional homemade contraptions. The traditional instruments were plucked and bowed with attitude adding to the disjointed samplings of sound that fried my brain from overdrive of the unexpected. The drummer Sean Real has a passion for playing. A joy to watch.

the music sounds like a much looser Coco Rosie or The Roaches scrabbled. They bring it on with guts, punk, and moxie. Halfway through their fifty-state tour, they stated, “We showered tonight.” Everyone cheered.

and if intrigued, this is an awesome video highlighting their musical point of view.


Hop Along Halloween

Just had to post this fabulous picture of Hop Along Playing at the Zombie Party Festival in Philly. Hop Along used to be a solo formally known as Hop Along Queen Ansleis and is now with a full band. Many people in the DIY punk community embraced her music and often put her in their lineup. 

This picture gives me a reason to believe Hop Along is achieving its goals. Wow, wish I had been there.

Photo Credit: Amanda Shoulson