Archive for the ‘ Music ’ Category

Release your inner riot grrrl in Brooklyn this weekend

Release your inner riot grrrl in Brooklyn this weekend

The local line up features Claire’s Diary, The Tablets, Tiny Tusks and Bad Behavior. The evening will combine live performances with short films by the artist Itziar Barrio between sets, which delve into feminist oriented concepts and Brooklyn’s cultural landscape.

Because Memorial Day weekend (and any weekend, really. Or weekday, for that matter) is a good weekend to celebrate some awesome women.

Life is Music May 21, 2013 edition: Oklahoma City tornado recovery resources

It’s another rudieTuesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song.

Seems like this is another week where I’m left writing about a story that I wish I didn’t have to talk about. The good thing is this week’s disaster wasn’t a deliberate act of human hatred; the bad is that natural disasters can leave just as tragic a mess in their wake.

As of when I’m writing this, 91 people are reported to have died. Just a few hours ago, that number stood at about 50. By the time you see this, it will probably be an even higher statistic.

Having lived the vast majority of my life on the east coast, tornadoes were for a long time very foreign to me. I knew of the movie Twister. I had seen photos of them happening; a 400×600 pixel .jpg cannot do justice to the sheer power of a real tornado touching land. I heard stories of one passing through my college alma mater, but any aftermath of the minimal damage had been fixed long before I arrived.

Then, last year, I served with AmeriCorps NCCC. Part of my service took me to Henryville, Indiana, a town that is now a year into recovery efforts that will likely be ongoing for the better part of the decade. The town, along with neighboring towns that were in the unavoidable path of destruction, was completely leveled by a vicious tornado in March 2012.

It’s strange to see the aftermath of such destruction up close. To me, hurricanes were expected, but tornadoes were once so foreign. They leave a very specific, and very brutal, type of damage in their wake. Survivors of storms like this can be left with post-traumatic stress disorder, just like someone returning from war can experience it.

Unless I ever have to live through a natural disaster, I can never know the terror felt by everyone in that Oklahoma City suburb last night. I can never know the loss felt by families in Henryville who lost a doublewide trailer, the only home they knew, as they huddled in shacks and hoped for their lives to be spared by the storm.

What I can know, and what I did learn, is the strength people have inside them to rebuild. People will mourn; we will have ups and downs. Some will never recover from the mental stress; others will immediately run outside once the storm has passed to look for neighbors in need. Communities can and do band together with solidarity they didn’t know they could posses.

Moore will recover, just as will Henryville, and Joplin, and other communities affected by disaster natural and otherwise, at home and abroad. The communities have a support system within themselves, an inevitable bond with each other, and solidarity from others who can only empathize from afar.

It’s going to be a long, long road. But the survivors will rebuild, move on, and become stronger as a result.

Resources:
The City of Moore Recovers
All-encompassing list of immediate needs, shelters, emergency services and more
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
Feed the Children

En español
Red Cross
Moore Oklahoma Tornado Info Facebook
Resources for pets and animals

Edit: At this time the death toll has been revised and lowered to 24. Here’s hoping it stays down.

Life is Music May 15, 2013: ‘You Rang? Here’s Your Cuffs’ Edition

It’s another rudieTuesdayWednesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song.

In case you hadn’t heard, news broke Monday that the Justice Department subpoena’d a whole bunch of Associated Press phone records, supposedly as part of an investigation into a failed terror plot. The story spread fairly quickly; this isn’t just big news for journalists, but for anyone who makes phone calls. Or texts. Or has some sort of conversation with others in a form that can be recorded.

For journalists, if this can be allowed, sources can’t necessarily be kept anonymous. For whistleblowers and sources, who already face an inordinate amount of pressure to keep their blowholes far away from any whistle or face the consequences, this may be even less incentive to step forward.

This is also pretty bad-looking for the Obama admin, which keeps hailing itself for transparency and yet seems to keep taking awfully bumbling and obvious steps towards opaqueness.

For this week’s story, I’m going with The Slackers’ “Information Error.” It’s in honor of this “error” of secrecy in the Justice Department’s method of obtaining the memos. It’s for the fact that any information we transmit is becoming more and more subject to scrutiny and guilt until proven innocence “in this age of terror.” And it’s because The Slackers help me feel better when things are looking bleak.

Free ska comp from Dying Scene: Pick it up

Ska-Punk’s glory days of mainstream success and radio air play may have come and gone with yesteryear but the punk sub-genre is far from fading into obscurity. In fact it’s very much alive and well, and we’ve got the bands to prove it. “Skaface: Evolution” is a compilation that focuses on the “punkier” side of ska-punk, highlighting bands that convey the speed or angst that originally helped define our beloved genre. Through trombones, trumpets, saxaphones and upstroked guitars the mode of “ska” delivery varies but the musical aesthetic of this group of artists is undeniably “punk rock.”

We’re releasing this digital comp simply because we think the bands it features are badass and deserve a little more attention in the punk scene at large. It features quality tunes from 15 amazing ska-punk acts, including previously unreleased material from Big D And The Kids Table, Mustard Plug, Mad Caddies, 4 Aspirin Morning, Ghetto Blaster and Huge Puppies.

– Dying Scene releases free comp: “Skaface: Evolution” (features unreleased Big D, Mustard Plug, Mad Caddies and more)

Every day is a good day for ska! Every day is an even better day when that ska comes in the form of a free comp with some killer bands. Ska’s not dead as long as there’s people who love it.

Download it here.

Life is Music April 30, 2013: Gay in the (w)NBA

It’s another rudieTuesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song.

It’s been a huge deal the past few days that Jason Collins is the first NBA athlete to come out as gay. (Phew, that was a lot of links.) I don’t care much for sports, but I do care greatly for fact-checking. And Jason is far from the first famous athlete to be publicly LGBT*.

Many women athletes have told the world that they identify as gay. The website The Advocate, for instance, is currently running an article on Brittney Griner, a gay woman in the WNBA. The article, which talks about how she came out before her first pro game, is being featured on the site at the same time as an article hailing Jason as the first out NBA athlete. And it’s not unrelated that the sub-headline of the article questions whether Brittney’s gayness will interfere with the femininity of women’s sports.

I offer many kudos to Jason. In this world that wants to know exactly what’s going on in everyone’s bedroom, it must be incredibly tough to be a public figure and share something so personal and private about oneself, to open oneself up to such criticism. Even in one that’s becoming more accepting of gay men, Jason has already had to deal with intolerance.

As if this blog doesn’t have enough RVIVR, “Wrong Way/One Way” offers a message appropriate with today’s topic. While I want to reinforce that many athletes (including many women) have come out with much less fanfare, what’s really important is that everyone is accepted for who they are, no matter who they love.

Life is Music April 23, 2013: Put your wallet where your classroom is (because you have to)

It’s another rudieTuesday, which means another day where I equate a news event with a song. Today, coming in just over the wire, the first generation to be worse off than our parents keeps getting hit harder!

There’s lots of ways this seems to keep happening. Today in particular, Cooper Union announced that they will start charging up to about $20,000 in tuition for students who can afford to pay. Considering how mind-blowingly expensive some colleges are, this might not sound like much. But Cooper Union is a venue of higher education that has offered free tuition for accepted students for more than a century.

“The time has come to set our institution on a path that will enable it to survive and thrive well into the future,” the board chairman, Mark Epstein, said in an announcement to students and faculty members in the college’s Great Hall. “Under the new policy, the Cooper Union will continue to adhere to the vision of Peter Cooper, who founded the institution specifically to provide a quality education to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.”

That’s interesting. And, I’d argue, inaccurate. I don’t know the details of the true costs of operations for the school, but I’d say it’s a pretty devastating change in character for Cooper Union to start charging students. Charging students tuition is pretty incongruent with a mission of offering a quality education without having to worry about cost.

It’s a sad day for higher education. But really, it’s just another continuation of a trend in rising college costs. And so, this week’s song is Big D and the Kids Table’s “We All Have to Burn Something.” Because this event can be described as infuriating, and saddening, but not that surprising considering the state of higher ed (and the toyed-with futures of millennials).

By the way, I originally planned on covering how fans are asking Streetlight to consider changing their venue location in Virginia due to recent homophobe comments made by someone who worked there. It’s a story worth following, and likely I’ll post more about it if the venue does get changed.

“Mothers of Young Men Killed by NYPD Call on Musicians to Write Songs for Justice”

I would like for the artists to bring that pain out that I hold inside for my son’s death.

What say you, music makers?

(via Colorlines)

Another Record Store Day success story

Another Record Store Day success story

Finds:
Rocket from the Crypt: “Group Sounds”
Samiam: “Clumsy”
Gray Area: “Fanbelt Algebra

Not found:
Husker Du: “Statues”

Found, but not purchased:
Notorious B.I.G: “Ready to Die”

All in all, a most punk rock Record Store Day 2013. All fantastic albums, now all in my vinyl collection.

In which I review RVIVR!!!! (Exclamation points mine)

Every so often I go to a show where one of the bands look like they’ve having the best time of their lives during the show. Even less frequently does more than one band appear to be having the Greatest. Day. Ever. at that very show. And only once, in my experience, has that happened twice in one day.

And yet, this was Saturday at the final two RVIVR shows of the tour. I went to both, and going to see two RVIVR shows in one day is up high on my list of things in life that I did right. One show was better than the other, meaning they were both fantastic, crowded punk shows. Both took place in the tiny back rooms of bars, with a small stage that couldn’t quite contain the volume and force of the music.

Unfortunately, I didn’t plan ahead for taking photos, and my smartphone/high-tech camera was full to capacity and wouldn’t take any pictures. Luckily, I attended the show with F Yeah! Queer Music, where you can find a few photos and another great review. Both shows were so small and we planned well. Even at the packed and sold-out Union Pool, we managed to get close to the stage. This meant singing along and dancing literally alongside various bands before and after their turn on the stage. At one point, I found myself next to the members of Dogjaw, and told one of them how much they killed it at both shows. Saturday was way better than the third-to-last show at NYU on Tuesday, she told me. That one was weird. These last two shows really were the best.

And what more could you really hope for at the finale?

The Homewreckers opened the St. Vitus show with a classic punk sound and empowering tendencies. Guitarist Cristy C. Road also took part in an event at the New Museum the following day, and wrote a raw graphic novel that I plan to one day read in its entirety. “When capitalism falls/I’ll still meet you at the shopping mall,” went the awesome chorus of one song.

Dogjaw was next at St. Vitus. They played both shows, and they did so with furious intensity. They are raw and vicious and don’t hold back on stage. They will blow out your eardrums and you will want more. Listen to them. Seriously. They have a sound that will blow you away.

Extra Feeler opened the Union Pool show. Like Dogjaw and The Homewreckers, they’re a solid group of three with the basics of guitar, bass and drum. Three instruments, lots of power.

Shellshag is crazy. They’re reminiscent of the White Stripes in that the guy is on guitar while the lady rocks on drums, with a similar shoegaze-y feel on some of their songs. Wiki says they formed in the same year, so it’s likely a coincidence. Shellshag brought their own set up (a mic tower, three drums), started their set with a music video, covered songs by RVIVR and The Cure, and ended their set with a guitar handing from a chain on the ceiling, at which they threw drumsticks. Super danceable and insanely fun.

And then, RVIVR. Oh man. There are so many words, so many positive adjectives and adverbs to use for these shows. I described Dogjaw as empowering, but it’s so fitting for RVIVR, too. Free. Bold. Mind-blowing. Impossibly catchy. Real. They played through a good part of their discography, and their energy didn’t lag for one song.

Amazing shows. So glad I went to both. Can’t wait to see these bands again.

“Mikey Erg joins every band in history”

Pictured L-R: Mikey Erg, Tommy Erg, Marky Erg

ERG – 182 Pictured L-R: Mikey Erg, Tommy Erg, Marky Erg

Tumblr never stops creating beautiful things.

Noteable Mikey Ergs in every band in history:

ERG – 182 (pictured)
SleatERG Kinney
The MenzingERGS
The Bouncing ERGS!
Jimmy Eat ERG
Joyce ManERG
Mikey Stripe of The ERG Stripes

You know you want to see more.

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