CMJ Day 2 Seriously Happy

Ear Farm @ Pianos; Drink Up Buttercup, Project Jenny Project Jan After The Jump Fest @ The Knitting Factory (Old Office); The Beets, The Lisps I only had one day. I played hooky from my full-time for some Bloggers presented CMJ. My day started with Earfarm’s Matt and Mike (my inspiration) at Piano’s and ended at After the Jump Fest at The Knitting Factory. The Music Slut’s Matt and Jennifer we’re one of the many Blogger coordinators for this event, they are sweet and dedicated to music. Photographer Maryanne Ventrice was awesome to hang with.

Drink up Buttercup

Being the first New York Blogger to write about Drink Up Buttercup back in May of 07 and many times since has been a joy. It never ceases to amaze me the power and exuberance this band projects. Drink Up Buttercup is the zany jolting sound of crashing garbage cans, infiltrated with out-of-kilter skating rink organ, muffled guitar, brutal bass, pounding polka drums, and killer dead-on harmonies. Their sound of infectious delight drew instant smiles from the crowd of new listeners at Piano’s. Their short set consisted of many favorites, but the evolved version of “Farewell Captain” is a succinct intense punk-like rockabilly infused with a madcap circus-like keyboard. When it slows down, James Harvey’s operatic vocals astonish. Stage exploits are a given at any Drink Up show. Watching Ben Money banging a small red metal garbage can and abandoning it in mid-air as he seamlessly switched to bass and continued to move around the stage is exilerating. Listening to Frazad Houshiarnejad sing perfect harmonies while banging a giant metal trashcan with a maraca is admirable. Mike Cammarata will do anything for percussion, including positioning a tambourine between his teeth. An unintended mishap was James Harvey had to trade in his muffled acoustic for a baby blue electric. It was pretty! The set ended off stage with an acoustic stomp along with “The Lovers Play Dead.” What do they possess that other bands don’t? As audacious as their shows are, the band members are unassuming and unpretentious. They are happy to perform and welcoming. That enthusiasm translates. Drink Up Buttercup is a conglomeration of everything right with music.

Project Jenny Project Jan @ Piano’s

Project Jenny Project Jan was a treat to behold. Jeremy Haines (vocalist) is joined on stage with Sammy Rubin (programmer/keyboardist). Rubin’s feverish dance grooves are combined with Haines's extraordinary mock-speed rap. In front of a backdrop of video graphic editing, Jeremy includes every cliché dance move a geek dressed in a white suit, and black tie could conjure. Much like a Saturday Night Live skit, except this is not a joke, the talent is undeniable. Behind the digital setup, Sammy would smile and occasionally do an arm wave, creating a comedic contrast to Jeremy's intense kinetic performance. It was a rip and a roar of an art performance, full of sweat and energy. Hysterically, Karaoke gone Real. I loved them!

The Beets

The Old Office of the Knitting Factory was the appropriate setting to hear the beat-up sound of The Beets. The trio Juan Wauters (guitar), Jose Garcia (bass), and Jacob Warstler (two kick drums) all share vocals. They sound like a muted garage band with speakers at full throttle. Their vocal harmonies are barely audible but create an intentional direction of distinction. Something about it sounded like sloppy fun pop with a low-fi twist. Kind of like, The Monkees through a liquidizer. The Beets sound aesthetic has endearing qualities. Also, they had the best metal merch lunch box for their CDs and tapes.

The Lisps
My evening ended with The Lisps. The foursome creates quirky cabaret folk-art-rock whose vaudevillian staging augments their stellar sound. They combine great vocal arrangements with off-center instrumentation. The guitar, bass, and drums are combined with snippets of melodica and spiced with eccentric percussion accents like the banging of a soft mallet on a metal cabinet or hammer on a drum kit. The vocal synergy of the two main vocalists has a dynamic juxtaposition of pitch and style. Cesar Alvarez and Sammy Tunis sing/talk in a wordy patter in sync with precision and ease.

Center stage is the lovely star-lit Sammy. Her voice has Broadway-like clarity peppered with avant-garde finesse and a twangy bent. A little like Jenny Lewis meets cabaret. Cesar, her vocal counterpart voice is awesomely low in contrast. They present topical and contemporary savvy lyrics as editorial black comedy.  
The vaudevillian panache is highlighted with low-fi costume changes. Cesar and Jeremy Hoevanaar (bass) switched glasses and goggles between songs. They had a costume theme of sorts. Caesar wore a NASA suit, and Sammy a onesie (pants suit). A funny moment took place when Jeremy announced he was making a costume change advertisement. He slowly unbuttoned his shirt to reveal Drink Up Buttercup’s new brightly colored Tee shirt. The drummer Eric Farber was certainly part of the comic flair. I loved when he bounced on his cushiony drum seat, flying up in the air, looking like an oversized baby in a bouncy seat. His facial expressions were priceless throughout the set. He also weighed in on song selection, illuminating that this group is collaborative. The Old Office never sounded better! The Lisps music won me over, but their personal approach killed me. It was so inclusive. If they were a club, I’d sign up immediately. By the evening's end, my smile o-meter had risen off the charts.

Maryanne Ventrice Drink Up Buttercup Video / early date

flicker set


o'death "Home" Crackerfarm Video

Another acoustic beach entry from o'death. O’death and Crackerfarm do it again. Straight forward in Black and White on the beach. An acoustic version of the glorious “Home” from Broken Hymns, Limbs and Skin to be released in the US October 28th on Kemado Records. Doing this Blog has given me the opportunity to bring great people together and sometimes move the music culture forward. Greg Jamie of o'death did an interview where I was mentioned. I am proud of this! Read interview at Static Multimedia.


Jeffrey Lewis Obama Tribute!

The Blending of music, art, and now politics. Enjoy this "Quick Biography of Barack Obama by Jeffrey Lewis. Thank You, Mr. Lewis, for lending your art and music to this effort. Please Vote Everyone!


Avett Brothers "Murder In The City" Video

This is just too good not to share! Another Crackerfarm entry.



Sgt. Dunbar and The Hobo Banned; review

Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned 2007 self-released The Thing About Time is a passionate collection of brass-centric gypsy folk rock featuring a community of spirited voices and an array of instruments that sound like weathered antiques given new life.  This band of nine multi-instrumentalists and counting play the guitar, accordion, trumpet, trombone, flugelhorn, French horn, mandolin, saxophone, violin, ukulele, singing saws, banjo, bass, typewriter. The phenomenal found object percussion of hot water pipes, stainless steel chairs, squeaky glass pot top, and coffee mugs imaginatively enhance the festive atmosphere. The songs fluctuate between intentionally sloppy melding of instruments and cohesive mixing, two distinct but agreeable directions. The large band sound is reminiscent of Bright Eyes touring band during Lifted. It has that kind of a charming mess and endearing qualities. It also reveals the admiration of The Neutral Milk Hotel. Sgt Dunbar and the Hobo Banned is a lyrically smart outfit. The word Banned is cleverly chosen to highlight their culturally rebellious point of view. They weigh in on philosophical issues of life and time. Refreshingly nuanced is the term Wake Up which is repeated in several songs, affirming a commitment to staying awake and being aware. 

The first offering“Passing Time,” starts with a rumbling of guitar strumming, accordion, horns, and Alex Muro’s nasal fervent vocals that plea wake up. / I hear the sound months make when they disappear / gone into air, and only clues remain / that they were ever here / leaf floats freely down and turns into ground /. The full force of the orchestra is revved up as Wake Up, Wake Up is emphasized and harnessed between verses leading to an awesome prolonged lullaby chant, “Dave’s Song,” in the vein of “Hey Jude”. / Wake up / wake up / you can’t sleep all day / you can’t sleep all day/ the sun is out calling your name / the sun is out calling your name /. “Don’t Fall Asleep” is an appeal to those that have given up hope. / Dear little girl / I feel that your sadness is quite profound / chasing you around your mind / no place to hide / is dragging you down /. This song builds in volume and intensity, employing the singing saw to weep and the full chorus to implore / please don’t fall asleep / when you wake the world is a dream /. The song “The Weight” has a plucky bounce using the ukulele, guitar strum, and singing saw to launch a weighty message / some people's shame could fill up the ocean, some people's sadness can block all the sky/ some people's guilt could pave every highway, and some peoples fears makes many men die…then the reaffirming chorus / oh how heavy this gritty grating life / that the world is on / oh how silly is all you strain and strife / build a world so real and strong. “Realism Is The Purest Form of Art” features banjo, lazy horns, and clashing symbols with a pitter-patter beat. While "Telescope" is slower and examines how far you need to look away when love is untrue. / Do you believe in karma / does she believe in you / but what if I told you / that she wasn’t true? / Oh, what would you do? / Both songs exhibit Muro’s vocal range that strains higher to reach sighs of emotion. The under-belly of the beast is urgently felt in the stalwart rants on “Communist Father” with vocal force and added experimental accents that mimic the uncertain future. / Under the brightly blemished blanket of the night / an arrogant anthill with life / while weeping cities shed tears of light / into the unknown vastness of the universe / Sgt. Dumbo and the Hobo Banned recorded The Thing About Time in the living room and basement. 

This homegrown undertaking amplifies the community spirit they embrace and has enabled them to create ambitious and worthy music! B3nson Records CMJ Pete's Candy Store October 21, Brooklyn NY


Drink Up Buttercup; Talent Abounds

Drink Up Buttercup @ Cake Shop

No secret, I fucking love this group. My first impression back in May of 07 has not wavered. They are young, fresh, talented, and eager to venture into all creative realms. I like that they are true to themselves with a creative vision for their future. The unbridled energy they bring to the stage extends to other projects. They are in charge! Below is a music video for their UK single “Mr. Pie Eyes,” directed by Virgil F. Cardamone, which is a crazy comic book kidnapping heist and slapstick Russian roulette splashed with graphic zing.

"Mr. Pie Eyes"

I’ve been following two of their member’s videos and side projects. I’m hooked on Farzad’s (Captain Dum Dum) campy pop video called “Fever." Mike Cammarata, Drinkup’s youngest member is quite the thespian. His side project Yemen is a team effort partnered with Yoski Arocki is crazy as it gets. "Broccoli" Video.

Go to Drink Up Buttercup's MySpace site to hear the brand new “Young Ladies” track off LP recorded at American Diamond Recording.


The Lisps, César Alvarez Letter; Dear Sarah Palin

The Lisps band member César Alvarez posted an awesome bulletin entitled "Dear Sarah Palin". His impassioned words give me hope. It is hard to even bring myself to write about or focus on music in this political climate. One of my latest posts reminded touring musicians to register and apply for absentee ballots. I was losing hope until I stumbled upon this bulletin. I think it is worth spreading around. 

Dear Sarah Palin, Thanks for reigniting a culture war. Thanks for turning this presidential contest into a spiraling race to the bottom. Thanks for lying to the American people over and over and over. Thanks for showing us that you don't care if it's a lie as long as it serves your purpose. Thanks for being demeaning and sarcastic and setting a new tone of vindictiveness. Thanks for refusing to take questions from the media or voters for nearly two weeks after your nomination. Thanks for lying about your record on energy. Thanks for lying 27 times (and counting) about your record on the "Bridge to Nowhere." Thanks for lying about your record on earmarks. Thanks for putting out a press release about your daughter's pregnancy and then calling the press sexist when they cover the release. Thanks for degrading community organizers who are some of the hardest working and most selfless people in our country. Thanks for degrading Habeus Corpus, which is one of the most sacred pillars of our democracy. Thanks for completely ignoring and effectively denouncing the idea of the separation of Church and State, which is another pillar of our democracy. Thanks for opportunistically praising Hillary Clinton while cynically denouncing nearly everything she has spent her life working for. Thanks for claiming that "God" wanted you to build a gas pipeline. Thanks for saying that the war in Iraq is "God's work," and invoking the specter of religious violence and holy war. Thanks for plunging Wasilla into millions of dollars of debt and raising the sales tax (which is one of the most regressive taxes there is). Thanks for firing people that don't agree with you and abusing your power as Governor. Thanks for going along with a whole slew of smears and attack ads (many of which are filled with blatant lies). Thanks for lying about selling your state's plane on Ebay and then billing the state for $93,000 in airfare during 2007 for you and your family to fly. Thanks for billing the State for your travel per diem while you were at home in Wasilla more than 30 times. Thanks for lying about Obama's authorship of legislation. Thanks for opposing major legislation for health care, education, and seniors. Thanks for slashing funding for Passage House, which is a transitional home for teenage mothers. Thanks for offering to change Washington, but I think that what you're offering looks much worse than what George W. Bush has already done. Thanks, but no thanks. If we want change in America we'll build it ourselves. Sincerely, César César Alvarez Blog Music Is Free Now
Great Song "I'm Sorry"


Obama Ad Features song from The National

The drums beat time instead of keeping time, reflecting moments captured in thought. They march forward with a steady tin beat and pulsate like a life source. Embedding the instrumental segments of the song "Fake Empire" by The National is the perfect backdrop for this Obama ad. It mimics the pulse of a campaign that has motivated people to organize and work for a cause. The life force of the Obama movement beats on from the grassroots.

Boxer review


o'death Acoustic Crackerfarm style

Crackerfarm's noted videos have their own unique sensibilities. This new video of o'death on a beach in Bermuda playing "Adelita" from their first release Head Home is true to form. Bob Pycior's ravenous fiddle playing is exchanged for a ukulele while David Rogers-Berry squats and beats a washed box ashore with broken branches. A comedy that seriously sounds so good.

                                            The Crackerfarm Aesthetic article and interview

Peasant, Bones Premier Fox

Painting Gauche and color pencil by artifact, me

Peasant's, music will be exposed to a large audience tonight on the season premiere of Fox's television show Bones. The song featured is "Raise Today," which is one of my favorites from his recent release On the Ground. I am not a big television fan but know how important TV placement is for musicians to have a viable shot at making a living. In another music climate Peasant's music would have airplay and immediate traction. So cheers, Peasant on your debut! MySpace My Review of On the Ground *this is the only time I will mention the Fox network (Fox Virus) positively.