mandatory shows:

mandatory sh
Animal Co
I did rate theirllective B AR, April 18, FREE,
favorite album most recent Sung Tongs my 21+.Well,
incredibly uniq of 2004. Animal Collective second
acoustic guitar ue and captivating music. Frewrites
like percussions, mindblowing vocal harmo ewheeling
music-loving fu , and childlike, joyous, drug- nies, tribalinfluenced,
The Shins Spn.
ing, April 23. Sp
rock very har
ring F
Shins. Taking Bde this year, thanks to New Mling will
modern influen ach Boys and Beatles roots exico’s The
ces, these guys
write some go d adding
wsh: Toast B AR,
recothirsty Lovers + Frencf a fantastic band
combination onch Toast, which
’s Fre
April 3
sses and
with Dischord
on Frenchkisser members of Nation of Uly
features formng band.
vance $30
Fugazi’s touri ad’s Place, April 10, $27.50 ad per will be
Mos Def To influential and talented rap– I would
door. This very ’s. Beware of it selling out
hitting up Toad
expect it to.
other shows
Duran Du
By the En ran Mohegan Sun Aren
7. Four-pieced of Tonight Wallingfa, April 3. Sorry, I had to
ord American
post-rock baninstrumental
Legion, April
Texas. It’s o
nly $
olly Webster
I’ll drink to M
Theater, Apri6l , too.
18. Irish pun
k band.
odeling Sc
Featuring Pri
aul of De la
Toad’s Place,
Soul and D
April 18.
Supersystan the Automator from
B AR, April 24
, 21+
Touch and Gon this band, but they . I couldn’t find much
o Records, w
hich is home on
to many a go
od band.
Let us know if you want us to add
a show to the list next issue, and ask us for directions to
any place you are unsure of ([email protected])
table of contents
vol. 1
issue 6
april 2005
[email protected]
from the editor..........................................................3
album reviews:
the mars volta............................................................5
the decemberists......................................................7
the kills........................................................................9
iron & wine...............................................................10
show reviews:
le tigre.......................................................................30
cloud room/la laque/harlem shakes....................33
quiz: is he right for you?...........................................16
how to dress like a gunslinger..............................18
britney spears: a retrospective............................20
oh, canada: the new kingdom of indie...................22
la laque: the epic interview...................................24
mixtape: agnes rec starts gunslingin’...................35
editor: anne nguyen
staff writers: liam andrew, alex benenson, mona
elsayed, ted gordon, sara holdren, matt humphreys,
agnes rec, alex sassaroli, violet woodard pu, kristen
contributing writers: neville chamberlain, g.
webelos, belinda m. trufflesnuffer
graphic design: sara holdren / joseph luna
cover/photo spread: kristen windmuller
yale university is not responsible for gunslinger.’s
content or the opinions of its writers blah blah blah.
In the car on a balmy Georgia night during break,
I heard the Arcade Fire’s “Neighborhood #3” on 99X, Atlanta’s New
Rock and 90’s Alternative Station.
It is a credit to the driver that we didn’t wreck after I started
shrieking and ranting and generally expressing my indie outrage at
hearing my favorite song off my number one album of 2004 on a radio
station that advertises with tacky billboards on I-95 proclaiming “Kobain
Lives!” I eventually calmed down (driving was apparently much easier
after I quit flailing around), and revised my initial plan of immediately
disbanding gunslinger.
(sorry, Hannah)
to simply changing its focus. See,
I’ve finally come to terms with actually
following through on our stated goal of
bringing indie music to wider audiences, and I recognize that 99X’s support is a good thing. The only logical conclusion to draw, therefore, is that
“selling out” is a myth – Ben Gibbard deserves to be on Atlantic after
all that stellar work on Barsuk. This way, Death Cab for Cutie will have
so many more options open to them, so many possibilities – they’re
only being rewarded for Transatlanticism, clearly their best and most
accessible album to date. (Also, no one wants to share label space with
Travis Morrison gone solo. God, Travistan was a mess. If he doesn’t start
working harder to appeal to a more mainstream audience, he’ll never get
to open for Blink-182 in Europe like DCFC did.)
The ties between so-called “indie” music and mainstream pop are
much stronger than elitist hipsters (I am ashamed to admit my former
allegiance) would have you think. After all, Regina Spektor opened for the
Strokes because of Julian Casablanca’s patronage; having pop sensibilities
doesn’t preclude an interest in new music. The “indie”/ celebrity gap isn’t
very large, either; Jack White dated Renee Zellwegger and Conor Oberst
made out with Winona Ryder in a parking lot.
It makes sense, though; music is designed to reach people, and
both pop stars and “indie” musicians are trying to do that. They often
share influences, and crossover success (Modest Mouse couldn’t possibly
expect acclaim after The Moon and Antarctica; it’s good to see that they
got the formula right with Good News for People who Love Bad News)
attests to that.
In essence, I’m really glad shows like The O.C. are featuring new
talent, because it does my heart good to think about 14-year-old girls
enjoying the Killers and Sufjan Stevens because they provide good
background music to the W.B. heartthrobs. Apparently, I could have run
into Benjamin McKenzie at Coachella last year.
Therefore, meet the new and improved gunslinger. We’re in the
process of trading in our demos from K Records for correspondence
with Columbia Records, and we’ll be sure to focus more on popular
music instead of relishing the obscurity of our music tastes. (There,
anne nguyen
everyone who accused of “pretension” can now feel rightfully gratified.)
In this issue, we’re featuring a brand-new Love Quiz from Liam
Andrew and a fashion photo-spread by Kristen Windmuller. Liam
also reviews Beck’s latest, which, you know, can’t possibly be as good as
the stuff they used to play on the radio, and Kristen further contributes
a look at the new Iron and Wine EP. Mona Elsayed appropriately
captures the new tone of our magazine in her article on the Le Tigre
show (nothing’s more unifying than an uplifting feminist message!) and a
review of the new Stars album (nothing’s more girly than pretty Canadian
duos!). Ted Gordon gives us his take on the Mars Volta (whom I also
heard on 99X) and an interview of La Laque. Pompous holdovers Alex
Benenson and Sara Holdren talk about the greatness of Canadian
“indie” bands and the Decemberists, respectively, but we’ll probably
replace them with Herald writers soon. Same goes for Alex Sassaroli
and his Kills review. Keeping it local, Violet Pu describes the Cloud
Room/La Laque/Harlem Shakes show at AEPi, and special correspondent
Belinda Trufflesnuffer tells us about the GWAR show at Toad’s
Place. Rounding out the contributing writers are G. Webelos with
a tribute to our favorite Pop Princess and the esteemed Neville
Chamberlain, who honored Ratatat with his presence at their
Knitting Factory show. Finally, we’d like to welcome the very real, very
legit Agnes Rec, who
starts us off with a mixtape.
Special thanks to Sara for
designing the first-ever issue
of gunslingerGIRL! Don’t
forget to tell us the results
of your quiz at
gunslingerGIRL! First 15
readers to respond win a
copy of the forthcoming
Jessica Simpson re-release of
In This Skin.
meet our
matt humphreys,
sometime gunslinger.
columnist and connoisseur of the finer
things in life, enjoys
writing poetry and
watching the OC.
the mars volta
frances the mute
ted gordon
In the early 1970s, ex-Yes
keyboardist Rick Wakeman
released an album entitled The Six
Wives of Henry VIII. This was his
attempt at some sort of grand
musical odyssey that would aurally
communicate what it was like
to be a wife of Henry VIII. Tours
of this album followed its release; Wakeman became infamous for
mounting the stage solo, surrounded by at least eight keyboards,
moog synthesizers and synclaviers, and basically musically
masturbating for about four hours. This type of epic rock music
was groundbreaking in both its use of technology and in its allencompassing agenda.
The Mars Volta try very hard to bring back Wakeman’s spirit
in their newest release, Frances the Mute. The difference between
the Mars Volta’s and Wakeman’s epic albums, however, is pretty
simple: Wakeman’s was technically impressive and unapologetically
self-indulgent, and actually had an intended point, whereas the Mars
Volta’s is a weak follow-up to their first album which breaks no new
ground. The desperate attempt to reach a wider audience doesn’t
make any sense for progressive rock music.
An obvious abuse of production power from songwriter
Omar RodriguezLopes, Frances
the Mute contains three
songs and two
rock-epics entitled “Miranda
That Ghost Just Isn’t
Holy Anymore” and “Cassandra Geminni,” each broken into
shorter (read: 7-minute) segments. Like the song titles, ranging
from “Pour Another Icepick” to “Plant A Nail In The Navel Stream,”
the music in these epic “songs” is about as absurd as a 12-year-old
teeny-bopper at a Cannibal Corpse show. The instrumentation
plods through a weak musical vocabulary of jazz flute, bad synth 5
the mars volta
trumpets and strings, gratuitous studio vocal overdubs, and fretless
bass. (As a bass player, this particularly offends me. Keep fretless
bass where it belongs: in the hands of Jaco Pastorius, or on Paul
Simon’s Graceland. That’s it.)
The Mars Volta simply overreach on Francis the Mute; they
try to bring prog-rock, something inherently intended for a small
audience of music geeks who can appreciate the fusion of musical
genres, to the masses. They tried to birth a magnum opus and
instead created an un-listenable album of self-indulgent, repetitive,
boring hard rock music. Even the album tracks not included in the
two 20-minute compositions fall victim to this distillation of “progrock.” “Cygnus….Vismund Cygnus” is a 13-minute track with about
four different “songs” contained therein. While it does have some
rock-out moments vaguely reminiscent of At the Drive In, Cedric
Bixler-Lavala’s old band, the majority of the time is taken up by
extended obtuse guitar solos, repeating synth lines, and recordings
of passing cars as an attempt at soundscape.
Perhaps the most egregious abuse of their
authority to “bend genres” under the guise
of “prog-rock” comes in “L’Via
L’Viaquez,” 12 minutes of alternating song sections. The fastpaced, melodic first section
is sung in Spanish, and the
slower, “Latinthemed”
second section is sung
in English.
Besides an
bid for a
Grammy, this section offers nothing but a bad attempt at Latin
fusion. In fact, most of the album’s recognizably-styled sections are
bad copies of good music that have passed through the Mars Volta’s
“prog-rock” filter. The ambient soundscape attempts can never
match those of Ikue Mori or the Boredoms’ recent material; their
“prog-metal with clean vocals” can never match Opeth or Pain of
Salvation, and the list goes on.
The album does have some excellent moments, especially
on the first and third tracks, but these are only moments, not
complete songs. The music is extremely listenable, radio-friendly,
and full of little details that make it really jam (technical cymbal
work, quick vocal harmonies, mixed time signatures, etc.) when
it rocks out, but these few moments pepper an unfortunately
disappointing and disturbingly incongruent album.
>>>1 out of 5 mini-moog synthesizers
The Wondrous Fortunes
of Clementine, Confirmed
Waif and Aspiring
Wastrel, as Influenced
by a Certain Incomparable
Band of Musical
the decemberists
sara holdren
There once lived in a sequestered and ramshackle sylvan
abode a youthful and whimsical waif by the name of Clementine
(actually, her natal appellation was “Sara,” but this name was
tragically commonplace and did not smack of the fantastical, the
nautical, or even the late Victorian, and so she changed it and
adopted a romantically consumptive air, a faint Cockney accent, and
a tame lioness named Mirabel).
One day as she was dividing her time between her antique
typewriter, Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil, and a glass of ancient
Shiraz, a youthful and whimsical knock came at her door. Loosening
the latches and locks, she was awed and astonished to discover
none other than the most magnificently marvelous band of
wandering minstrels in the kingdom—the infamous Decemberists,
heroes of vagabonds and wayfarers from Paris to Petrograd—
standing outside.
“Fair mistress,” opined their boyish bespectacled
commandant, the inimitable Colin Meloy, “might a humble and
harmonious huddle of traveling musicians take shelter in your
charming—if sequestered and ramshackle—sylvan abode for but
one night? We shall gladly sing for our supper, for indeed we have
recently returned from a myriad of misadventures—both maritime
and otherwise!—that have furnished us anew with musical matter
for all manner of mornings.”
Before you could say “drunken-sailor sealing-wax
bedraggled-urchin camel-tracks,” Clementine welcomed the entire
band of rollicking roisterers into her delicately dilapidated dwelling.
Appropriately bohemian drinks were passed all round in an
appropriately bohemian manner, and just as the moon began to rise
in a star-chequered sky, the musical merriment began.
“We call this epic chronicle of our travels and travails
Picaresque,” declared the sly, silver-voiced Mr. Meloy as he and
his entourage extracted their instruments from sundry
deceptively small knapsacks. “This one is about the princess
of Spain.”
And in the emerald twinkling of a feline eye, they broke into a
dazzling downpour of song.Visions of bespangled elephants, royal
concubines, “veiled young virgins,” and a “multitude of coronets”
flashed and flickered through the room as a crackling drumbeat
whirred behind gilded guitars. Suicidal lovers, doomed young street
peddlers, embarrassed athletes, seductive spies, bereaved beloveds,
writers and engineers and wayward drifters, vengeful young sailors,
“rakes and roustabouts,” and an enigmatic beauty with the moon
caught in her hair all floated like shades across the walls and burst
like fireworks on the ceiling to the brilliant buzz of accordion and
strings. Clementine was thrilled and delighted and enraptured and
not particularly embarrassed of the fact that her pupils had become
heart-shaped (most especially on the sinister, string-heavy “We
Both Go Down Together” and the heart-stopping love song “The
Engine Driver”).
When the musical odyssey came to a close, the
Decemberists spent an hour or so playing with Mirabel before
drifting off to sleep in a variety of youthful and whimsical positions.
Their boyish and bespectacled leader, however, stayed up all night
discussing Nabokov’s narrative voice and the literary symbolism
of the London Underground with Clementine. By morning they
had decided that they had better get married, so Clementine sold
her sequestered and ramshackle sylvan abode to a tinker in the
neighboring village and set off with the Decemberists to embark on
a another array of adventures, both maritime and otherwise.
>>>out of 10 best-things-ever, i give this album 16 x
32. plus one elopement with the 19th century rogue/
sailor/poet/boyish-bespectacled-walking-dictionary of
your dreams. ps, go watch the music video for “sixteen
military wives” RIGHT NOW.
the kills
no wow
alex sassaroli
the decemberists (photo copyright Alica J. Rose)
I’ll start with telling everyone
right off the bat that I am no Kills
expert. I don’t know the “old stuff,”
so I can’t put on that ultra-cool air
that comes from being able to say,
“Oh man, the old stuff is sooo much
better.” I don’t know the band’s producer or how they came
together or what happened outside the Knitting Factory that
one show with that one guy.Yep, can’t say I know much. All I have
is this one album, No Wow, and maybe that’s for the best. No
pretenses or prejudices. Just me and the album.
No Wow is the blues, as dirty and sultry as it gets - and how
sultry does it get. I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, a
lot of these songs cannot be described as anything less than sexy.
The opening track, “No Wow,” has VV singing over heavily distorted
guitars and a drum machine. The listener can’t help but appreciate,
and desire, the organic voice, if not because it’s sexy, then just
because it’s such a contrast to the music.
The Kills’, and especially VV’s, chanteuse side comes out
clearly on “I Hate the Way You Love.” VV’s coy and seductive voice,
even the way she says “loosing the button,” draws you in, only to
mangle you later with an exceptionally distorted guitar solo. The
play between the synthetic and organic is never better on the
No Wow, however, becomes almost formulaic after a couple
of listens. The edge is lost. After a while, the contrast is expected.
The first time the listener hears “I Hate the Way You Love” or
“Murdermile,” the shock of the distorted, and frankly, loud guitars
wears off. While the contrast is still noted,VV’s singing loses
its effect. After a while, the distance between the organic and
mechanical is lessened, until everything is predictable. The shocking,
sexy, and enjoyable contrast is no longer shocking, no longer sexy,
and never as enjoyable as the first listen.
>>>7 out of 10
iron & wine
woman king (ep)
kristen windmuller
Sam Beam’s follow-up to his 2004
LP Our Endless Numbered Days is a
solid progression of his carefully
layered yet beautifully simplistic
folk, with a fresher, louder finish. Still
peaceful, reflective, and yes,
religiously tinged, Woman King is full
and fleshy, a mature sound again
produced by Brian Deck’s Engine Music in Chicago.
There is something forceful to this six-song EP; more sonic
sharpness than on past releases. This is especially evident on the
10 title (and opening) track: cacophonous clacking opens the
song, complimenting Beam’s banjo and guitar standards as well as
the newly adopted piano and violin found throughout this release.
“Evening on the Ground (Lilith’s Song)” even features some (gasp!)
electric guitar. The standout track, the tribute “Jezebel,” feels like a
lover’s elegy to his misunderstood, and now lost, beloved. Slowly
building over the course of its five minutes, “Jezebel” is a mix of
word play (“wholly Jezebel…born to be a woman we could blame”)
about the Bible’s infamous pagan princess, here portrayed as “the
only shape I’ll pray to,” misunderstood and tragically heroic. Beam
goes as far as making bold statements of devotion: “we swear we’ll
love you.”
After four releases in two-and-a-half years, Beam is only
getting better. In this study of women and girls, ranging from leaders
to the scorned, there is a comforting sense of continuity and a
reassurance of growth.
>>>despite my terribly dry, unenthusiastic, and
academic analysis of this EP, it’s really, really good and i
really, really like it. A+ (i’m tired... apologies)
liam andrew
Beck’s career in the last decade has visited more genres than
Snoop Dogg has added “izzle” to
words. It would have been easy
enough for him to repeat the grassroots-meets-hip-hop formula that
met with so much success on 1996’s
Odelay, but instead he ventured into
60’s rock, then soul-funk, and finally lush instrumentation on his
most recent release, Sea Change. But as nice as it is for a popular
artist to experiment, I think most of us were a little disappointed…
sure, great CDs, but no Odelay.
And along comes Guero to continue the soap opera of Beck’s
genre dispositions. The world will get to, once again, press the play
button on their stereo and discover what Beck’s new fixation is.
Unbeknownst to listeners, though, Beck will keep them guessing for
the entire CD. Incredibly, Guero manages to find a bridge between
all of his former CDs (which, by my calculations, qualifies it as
covering every genre ever). The album opens with a guitar that
sounds exactly like “Devil’s Haircut”…a promising beginning. A 11
beck (photo copyright ami barwell)
catchy “na na na” chorus and percussion-only breakdown proves
it a fun rock song. “Que Onda Guero” comes next, which sounds
more like early 90s hip-hop than anything. The third track, “Girl,” is
reminiscent of a 60s track with a bluesy acoustic guitar breakdown.
You get the idea. The pattern of a lack of pattern continues. One
thing is certain, though: Beck has become, in his dozen or so years
of experience, quite the producer, with the help of the famed Dust
Brothers production team that is known for the Beastie Boys’
brilliant Paul’s Boutique as well as Odelay (they also did “MMMBop,”
but that is neither here nor there). Beck’s usual junkyard
percussion is given a metallic sheen by the Dust Brothers, to mixed
results; sure, the echo-laden blips and strings in the background of
“Missing” are pretty cool, but part of Odelay’s charm was the lo-fi,
almost cheesy drum tracks.
a few songs here
stand out as
absolutely fucking
Weather” begins
a 12-minute
salvo of genredefying, fun-loving
genius with its
lazy hip-hop beat,
cool guitar
chords, and
a bouncy riff on
keyboard that
should not fit
with the song,
but somehow
does. This is
followed up
with “Hell Yes,”
which is probably the most
hip-hop song
Beck has ever written. Here the Dust Brothers demonstrate the
reason for their renown with a combination of upper-register
12 keyboard blips, record scratches, and a fittingly unique guitar
sample at the end of each sequence. Throw in a harmonica riff at
the end (yes, it is Beck) and this is my early pick for song of the
year. Next comes “Broken Drum,” which has an amazing transition
from a relatively traditional rock song to a catchy piano/handclap/
bass breakdown.
Unfortunately, the momentum is killed by the 7-minute
bore-fest of “Scarecrow,” which is similar in substance and
function to Wilco’s “Spiders (Kidsmoke)” off A Ghost is Born: steady
drumbeat, single guitar riff played to death, some ambient effects
in the background, and after five straight minutes of the same, the
singular point where I simply lose interest in Guero. But pushing
the track forward button will reveal four more good cuts, especially
“Rental Car,” which goes from an almost Nirvana-esque tune to
cute harmonized “yeah!”’s faster than you can say “transition.”
So in the end, Guero comes out with fantastic songs
presented in a disjointed manner. It almost feels like an older, more
production-savvy Beck is trying to create Odelay Part Two with
another decade under his belt, and the result is smarter, but not
as fun. Still, Guero is probably the closest one will ever come to a
53-minute distilled version of Beck’s entire career. And given how
much the mainstream and the snobs alike adore him, this cannot be
a bad thing.
>>>8.5 hillbillies from outer space out of 10
set yourself on fire
mona elsayed
What is up with the Canadians
lately? I’m not complaining, but we’ve
got another bunch that deserves
some buzz. The third release from
Stars, Set Yourself on Fire, is a nearly
flawless crowd-pleaser.
To appreciate Stars, one must understand their character. This
description of their homeland Canada, excerpted from the band’s
website, is about as close you can come to capturing their earnest
but dreamy personality: “The cold is a vindictive bride-she’ll trap
you between her thighs and turn your heart to ice if you’re not
careful. Most sensible people spend their time indoors, trying to
combat the chill by drinking red wine, getting high and having
sex. Some fall in and out of love and some just fall asleep.”
The album hits the ground running with Your Ex-Lover
Is Dead, which features some clean, pure orchestral string
arrangements and a smooth steady beat that doesn’t try to
accomplish too much too soon. Borrowing some synth tricks
from the Postal Service on the title track, momentum carries the
album onto a show of versatility; Stars are no longer the one-trick
pony they were on their debut, Heart. Drifting in and out of firstand second-person narration, speeding through electronic bouts,
and slowing back down with easy rock, the album finally finds its
pace on the prototypical One More Night. But ah, do Stars get in
touch with their jazzy side on my personal favorite, The Big Fight.
A woozy bass gives this he-said/she-said song a sad swagger: “He
doesn’t want to go, he just won’t let it go.” Sparse instrumentals
complement each other in true simplicity—but not the sort that
leaves you wanting.
If the not-so-well-known quartet could even dream of
radio-play, Reunion would be the likely pick. I say this only because
it’s a bit catchier and strides more normally than the rest of their
repertoire. But it’s my opinion that the slightly offbeat nature of the
music is what proves to be the real draw—like that girl who’s made
pretty by her subtle quirks (or freckles, if that’s your sort of thing).
Perhaps the binding force that makes Set Yourself so
endearing is the sense of innocence it imparts, primarily from the
vocals. While it is usually my belief that male-female duet vocals
should be reserved for either Broadway or the Sonny & Cher show,
somehow Amy Millian and Torquil Campbell avoid cheesiness while
still catching the better effect of duet: the sense of narrative. In
any event, the duo creates a natural depth to the vocals by simply
singing the same line but an octave apart – so no distraction due to
any show-tune sounding harmonies.
But a caveat to accompany this glowing review: Gentlemen,
if you’re resistant to getting in touch with that…softer side…you’d
best leave Set Yourself to the ladies. The lyrics wax hopelessly
romantic and aren’t afraid of seeming rather naïve (and that’s not
even including some Lite FM tendencies). If you’re feeling a little
heavy in the testosterone department, don’t bother Soulseek-ing
this one.
Set Yourself On Fire is Sunday morning music; after a
tremendous night of boozing and losing, open your curtains to let
the sun in and put Stars on. It’s satisfying, in the sweetest way, and
you’ll feel better, I promise…no matter how much you do or do
not remember of the events of the previous night.
>>>$4 out of 5…but $4.85 when you convert to Canadian
(and (!) you can catch Stars, just off tour with Broken Social
Scene, at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC on April 27th)
gthuensmilxitanpeg..e. r.
e Sea
1. Weezer – Across th
2. Le Tigre – Riot Grr
3. Belle and
Sebastian –
and the
of Horses
for Cutie –
4. Death Cab
5. The Wrens
Months in
color Girls
– 13
6 Minutes
6. All-Girl
Jason Lee
Fun Band –
7. Dresden Dolls – Coin
– Jude
8. Brand New
Law and
a SemAbroad
9. Rooney – Daisy DuA Sister’s
10. Camera Obscura –
Social Agony
11. Spice Girls – Wann – Anthems
12. Broken Social Scene
ar-Old Girl
is he right for you?
gunslinger.’s ultimate quiz on
whether to ditch or keep your guy
by liam andrew
3. Music most likely to be heard in the background
while you are being intimate with your guy:
a. Interpol
b. Coldplay
c. The Beatles
1. Sneak into his bathroom and find his hair gel. Its brand:
4. His favorite pair of shoes
a. Converse lowtops or Vans
b. Regular tennis
c. Asics
2. The Faint is coming to Toad’s Place. When you mention
this to your guy, he:
5. Number of out-of-print Yo La
Tengo LP’s he owns:
a. 0
b. 1-2
c. 3+
a. None
b. CVS brand or related
c. Special pomade or related
a. Gets really, really excited. Possibly even passes out.
b. Already knows, of course; he’s only been talking
about it for months and bought tickets for you guys
weeks ago.
c. Says, “What, you feel faint? Why don’t we get some
6. Size and color of his usual
a. Youth medium, pink
b. Small, green
c. Large, black
7. Your guy smokes:
a. Nothing
b. Dunhills/cloves
c. Camels/Marlboros
8. Modest Mouse got really popular last
year all of a sudden. Your guy:
a. Immediately
shunned them.
b. Didn’t really
c. Started listening to
them after they
became popular.
you scored...
8-11: This guy is a loser.
Question 1:
a. 1
b. 2
c. 3
Question 2:
a. 2
b. 3
c. 1
Question 3:
a. 3
b. 1
c. 2
Question 4:
a. 2
b. 1
c. 3
Question 5:
a. 1
b. 2
c. 3
Question 6:
a. 3
b. 2
c. 1
Question 7:
a. 1
b. 3
c. 2
Question 8:
a. 3
b. 2
c. 1
Whatever you saw in him at first was clearly wrong, and you should dump him
12-15: This guy is like a bouquet of roses – nice, but not very original or
creative. He probably plays enough guitar and stands still enough at shows that
you aren’t embarrassed, but if a better opportunity comes around, don’t be
afraid to ditch him.
16-20: This guy is definitely a keeper. He listens to nothing but the best music
and wears nothing but the best clothes, and you should hold on to him.
21-25: If your guy scored this high, he is basically Jesus.
how to dress like a gunslinger.
by kristen windmuller
make them
aviators or
whether you call them
chucks, cons or just plain hitops, chuck taylors (preferably
black) are a must
we all know you can’t
run from all the Parliaments, but look the part
anyway. if sporty’s not your
thing, rock the old man
jacket and a whiskey on
the rocks
Diesels, Sevens: if
it costs too much, you
know we love it. pair
tapered or boot-cuts
with some bad-ass
lace-up boots
the name says it all
screenprinted by
our own Joe Luna in
the JE press. that’s
britney spears:
a retrospective
g. webelos
It’s hard to question that Britney Spears, the Pop
Princess, is one of the foremost artists of our time. In just
four albums, she’s completely changed the face of pop music
time and time again, bursting onto the scene with the bold,
post-feminist “…Baby, One More Time.” The video only
underscores the need for repressed American teens to
proudly flaunt their inner Catholic schoolgirls; in the wake of
Betty Friedan, naughty-but-nice is a way of recapturing our
femininity while asserting our rights and demands.
Beyond social messages, however, Britney has furthered
music to an incredible extent. The concept of the voice as an
instrument has never been as visceral; to allow one’s voice
to be digitally manipulated to such an extent is an incredible
act of confidence and demonstrates a true willingness to
yield to production magic. In a world of pop divas, where
else can we find such self-sacrifice? As well, Britney’s focus
on the undervalued visual component of music has sparked
innovation and integration in previously separated aesthetic
disciplines. This star has gone beyond simply changing music
to changing its very focus; part of her appeal is in forcing
consumers to suspend evaluation on her hit singles until they
view the accompanying video. The notoriously difficult-tocapture teenage boy demographic has been most responsive
to this, attesting to Ms. Spear’s expertise.
The evolution of Britney’s career is evident from her
discography and matched by her very public maturation;
that we’ve watched America’s latest sweetheart grow up
only lends poignancy to her work. “Toxic” stands as the
best and catchiest meld of glossy production and Britney’s
signature breathy/ sassy vocals; twangy guitar and orchestrated
strings provide contrast to a fuzzy electronic beat. This mix
demonstrates far more sophistication to the relatively sparse
arrangements of “…Baby, One More Time” and the more
simplistic “Oops! I Did it Again.” Luckily, My Prerogative
allows the listener to peruse all these fantastic selections
in succession. While “greatest hits” albums generally signal
the end of a career in the music industry, from Britney, it
becomes a bold statement of an artist establishing herself and
underscoring her achievements.
Who can truly doubt Ms. Spears’ talent? What
contemporary artist so succinctly captures the dilemmas of
modern youth (“Baby, don’t you wanna / dance up on me”)?
Who could possibly have the daring and may I say, genius to
record a convincing cover
of Joan Jett’s “I
Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”
as well as Bobby
Brown’s “My Prerogative”? We
can only rejoice
that Britney
assures us,
“[She’s] Just
Begun (Having
[Her] Fun).”
the inimitible
miss spears
(photo courtesy of
the one and only
oh, canada
alex benenson
the arcade fire
For a long time I wished Canada would stick to producing
outrageously under-regulated prescription drugs instead of music.
However, the recent steady stream of indie rock talent from our
northern border is making it clear to me that now, finally, Canada
does everything better than the United States.
In the twilight of the twentieth century, Canada made its
move on the American indie rock mainstage. It found early refuge
in border cities like Seattle but soon spread to the vast urban
areas which sustained our last great immigrant influx at the turn of
the nineteenth century: San Francisco and New York. For a quick
history we should probably start with Constellation Records,
the veritable Pablo Escobar of late 90s Canadian post/indie rock.
Constellation Records brought Do Make Say Think, A Silver Mount
Zion, and the post-rock shoe-gazing staple Godspeed You! Black
Emperor to the States.
Like the officers who made haphazard translations of
named their
band after
a hasty
of a popular
on Japanese
gangs. Their
music owes
a lot to
the over-produced and under-played legacy of Pink Floyd; songs
incorporate a wide range of symphonic orchestration and voice
samples. Perhaps their finest craftsmanship is on Lift Yr Skinny Fists
Like Antennas to the Sky, where the songs wander on well into
double digit track lengths and feature extended sampled
22 monologues ranging from melancholy to manic. Equally
complicated are their elaborate live shows, complete with original visual
accompaniment and complimentary sleeping bags (I wish).
Incest and nepotism ran wild on Constellation, spawning
side projects
which have
become arguably even more
popular than
One project,
Do Make Say
Think, has
proven itself
to be particularly nimble,
jumping from
Godspeedwolf parade
esque epics
to short low-fi hip shakers.
A new wave of Canadian goods was smuggled into the US on the
backs of acts like the Unicorns and the Arcade Fire. The Arcade Fire’s
meteoric rise to state-side fame in 2004 made it clear American rock had
been desperate for fresh blood. We had all been looking for something,
anything, to revitalize a scene which had been all but buried under the
generic sludge that had poured forth from the holes poked by labels like
Three One G, GSL, and Sub Pop. For once, Canada had the answer.
American bands seem to be taking notice as well. Modest Mouse,
which sustained a serious blow to its indie street cred after releasing the
candy-coated Good News For People Who Like Bad News, recently adopted
Canada’s Wolf Parade. During their latest tour, Modest Mouse snuck off
to a few small venues in New York City to play an un-ticketed bill with
the Canadian band. Crowds might have been shocked to see Modest
Mouse, who regularly sell out arenas, in their basement hang-out, but
they left only talking about one thing: Who the fuck was that first band?
With no real tour scheduled and only a low-fi EP in print, Wolf
Parade was left unprepared for the extraordinary response. I am so
intent on you listening to this band that I am going to act extremely
immaturely and not give you any “sounds likes” or “is a cross between.”
I am not going to help you out at all, lest I scare anyone away by a trite
analogy or an obscure reference. Go listen to Wolf Parade. If you don’t
listen to the song “Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts” or “It’s
A Curse” at least ten times each, I owe you an insult.
Jealous? Relax; Canada still manages to put out its fair share of utter
trash every year (goddamnit, the new Avril Lavigne CD was great). And
let’s not forget Canada spent most of the 90s producing the bands like
Our Lady Peace, Barenaked Ladies, and Len.Yes, RUSH was from Canada
too. So don’t worry, you still have some serious musical precedent to
back up your totally over zealous Canada-bashing. Enjoy it while
you can.
a communal interview
ted gordon
I laughed, I cried, I hurled—or rather, I was almost hurled
upon by a very inebriated AEPi brother. All in all, though, the Cloud
Room/La Laque/Harlem Shakes show on 2/26 was a good show,
and all three bands were more than willing to talk afterwards, until
we were booted out of the room for more important purposes
(see interview, below).
TG: So how did you guys end up playing a gig at a Jewish frat at
Yale, of all places?
Cloud Room: Well, Lexy [from the Harlem Shakes] invited us up
here. In New York, you know, this would be a huge bill, but to get
everyone here into a little room is pretty awesome.
devery, la laque lead vocals
(photo copyright jasper coolidge)
Cloud Room interviews La Laque:
J (lead singer of the Cloud Room): The Cloud Room wants
to know: A) What are your influences?
La Laque: Johnny Depp’s a big influence. Hitchcock! Alfred
michael leviton, la laque lead
guitar (photo copyright jasper coolidge)
la laque:
Hitchcock. Anna
Karenina. Sharks—the
species, and the water
they live in. Jeff Gannon
is a huge influence!
CR: He’s that stripper,
LL: No, no, he’s that bald
guy. Also, Link Ray and
David Lynch. And, of
course, Animal [from the
Muppets—this came
from the drummer].
CR: Oh, have you guys
seen the Fred Durst sex
LL: No, but I want to
see it so bad!
CR: You don’t want to
see it, unless you’re
sexually insecure like
me—in which case
you’re like, “Wow, this is awesome! I’m better in bed than Fred
Durst!” It’s like an aerial view of a pot belly and a really small dick.
Ok, we have another question…. this one is a really good one. Where
does the name come from?
LL: It’s an antiquated French word for hairspray. When we started
the band, and we wanted to do band names, I had all these ideas and
was looking in old French-language textbooks. And you know how
the textbooks have all these weird chapters— “at the bank,” “at the
library,” whatever, and one was “at the hair salon,” and “laque” means
CR: Oh, so it doesn’t mean “lake”?
LL: Noooooo, that’s “lac”!
CR: Because I was like, “dude, you gotta see ‘the lake’ – they’re one
kick ass band.”
LL: It means “hairspray,” or “lacquer.” You know, like lacquer—the thin
layer of musicality over all the bullshit.
LL: I was talking with my friend who’s French, and she told me that
nobody in France would use “la laque” for hairspray—they would
just use “spray,” the Americanized word. But if you watched an old
40’s French noir film, the gangster’s woman would say “la laque” for
hairspray. So it’s very French, and very old.
CR: So it’s about American hegemonistic [sic] globalization. Ok, the
Harlem Shakes have a question:
HS: Tell us about your songwriting process.
LL: Oh, that’s a tough one.
LL: Ew, do we have to? Michael [Leviton] writes all the music, and then
the band makes it a certain way, and then I feel a certain way, and then
write the words.
Random drunk AEPi dude: How do you feel about the Palestinian
Devery (from LL): I think religious fundamentalism is the worst
fucking thing in the entire world, and Bush is a fuck, Bin Laden is a fuck,
and everyone should just chill out and read some Jung.
Ben (the drummer from LL): Jung? Motherfucking Jung? Whatever,
that shit is all a myth, you know. Freud’s where it’s at.
Devery: Well, I’m way older than you; maybe I would know. Jung would
kick Freud’s ass.
Ben: Are you kidding me?
Devery: No, I’m not. I will cut my wrists open on that.
TG: Do you believe in a collective unconscious?
mean, violin and organ.
D: There is a big gender difference in the music, and in the way that
guitar/bass/drum are more masculine, and the girls are all Frenchspeakers. It just sort of happened that way, that the girls speak French—
but the boys don’t care. The drummer and the bassist have never asked
me what the lyrics mean. I mean, I haven’t been guarded or anything
about them, but they’ve just never really asked about it.
TG: I’ve heard people compare La Laque to bands like Stereolab and
Stereo Total—what do you think of those comparisons?
D: Well, I love those bands, but I think we’re different. I’m not sure what
really sets us apart, but you know—Stereolab is sort of clinical, in a way,
and Stereo Total is a husband and wife, and they have their thing together.
But both of those bands are much different—we’re not like the funky
ben shapiro, la laque drummer
(photo copyright jasper coolidge)
Drunk AEPi Brother #1: Yo guys, you gotta clear out of here.
[Later, we find out that he needs the room for a three-way with two
despondent-looking girls.]
Devery: Yeah.Yes, I do.You know, it’s the closest thing we have that goes
toward God.
Ben: Collective unconscious is bullshit. People assume it’s true because
they can’t deal with being alone.
Drunk AEPi Brother #2: Yoooo, where’s the naked party? Are
we getting this thing started? [He proceeds to pull down his pants, and
reveals the fact that he’s not wearing any underwear].
Devery: Let’s argue about this later when we’re not drunk, okay?
After we are forced to relocate all the bands’ equipment, I save Devery
from a pick-up attempt from yet another inebriated frat guy:
Drunk AEPi Brother #3: You know, you’re just so beautiful, and I…
I want to show you how much your music means to me, you know what
I’m saying? Your music makes me so happy. So happy.
TG: Could I interrupt for a minute, here?
Devery: Yes—
TG: So how did you find playing at this frat party? This must be really
different from most of your other gigs in New York.
D: It was really fun! It was awesome to see all these people going crazy,
and rocking out.You know, I was on top of the bar dancing, and everyone
had so much energy.
TG: But doesn’t that happen at most of your shows?
D: Yeah, I guess it does—but not in a place where you can see it. And you
know, people were dancing with each other, and flirting, and having these
little intrigues. It was amazing.
TG: I noticed that the guys in La Laque play very typically male
instruments—drums, guitar, bass. And your drummer is a monster—
and yet the girls in your band play more affected instruments— I
background music of Stereolab, and we’re not totally poppy like Stereo
Total—people can totally dance to us. I don’t think our music is
dependent on the [French]— I like to write songs where even if you
don’t understand French—this is going to sound stupid, but I’m really
careful about assonance and the sonic quality of the words.You know,
listen to any band carefully—their lyrics really aren’t all that. It’s more
about how the song feels, or an evocation of a mood or a period or
TG: So what plans do you have for the near future?
Michael Leviton: Well we’re putting out a 12”—we just recorded two
songs, and one of them is going to be our first release on this split 12”
with this band called Pascal, on Atlantic Air records. It’s going to be
designed by John McCabe, who is the greatest designer in the
world. And we’re going to have a release party in May— before
then, hopefully, we’re going to be playing some gigs. We’re looking
for a record label situation to emerge soon.
TG: How long has La Laque been gigging in New York?
M: Well, in this actual arrangement, it’s been 6 months. It’s been
more than 2 years since Devery and I have been playing together.
We actually met each other through Craigslist—
TG: Really?
M: Yeah, you won’t believe how helpful Craigslist is.
D: I wanted ukulele lessons, and I posted on Craigslist—and
Michael is an accomplished uke player.
M: Well my other gig is playing baritone ukulele; I write songs and
perform. So I met up with her, and thought she was really hot—and
then her ukulele broke, so I stopped giving lessons. But then one
night there was a drunken, ecstasy-ridden phone call, and we
became friends again. Then I gave her a mix CD with all this dirty
surf French music on it, and she said, “I could sing this—” and I quit
my other band, and we started writing songs together. Then we met
Leah, whom I knew from my ukulele gigs, and I bought a Vox Jaguar,
and all these things. And we would gain a member, lose a member—
D: And each person was better than the original person—
M: It was really incredible. We would play shows, and people would
us and then want to be in our band. It really turned out well for us.
TG: Well, thanks for talking, guys—
D: Yeah, no problem! So where are we going to eat?
the knitting factory, 2/28/05
neville chamberlain
If, like me, you used to read a lot of Tintin, then the mere
mention of the Brooklyn-based two-man band Ratatat should
immediately conjure up images of Mosquitoes strafing dhows. These
guitar-pickin’ wingmen carried out a surgical strike on the S.S.
Knitting Factory as it steamed through Chinatown in Manhattan the
evening of Feb. 28, and this reporter was on hand to witness the
The Knitting Factory is a strange venue, with no less than
3 stage/bar complexes stacked on successive floors. When I first
arrived, some guy was thrashing solo in the basement, a Japanese
trio was cutesying it up on the ground floor, and an uninspiring
classic-rock quintet was haphazardly opening on the main stage
upstairs. So I left and got some mu shu pork and a couple of beers
down the street. By the time I returned, Ratatat was about to
take the stage. I had barely positioned myself in the middle of the
room, between a hot drunk girl and some hot stoner girls, before
the Ratatat duo strolled out, said hello, and started haranguing the
techs to turn up the gain.
Ratatat live preserves much of the delicious electrofunk feel
of their studio cuts, probably because they use backing tracks for all
their songs (which is forgivable. There are only two of them, after
all. We can’t all be as boring as the White Stripes). But they don’t
just go through the motions
along with the tape.
The band has an
undeniable stage
presence, albeit
not because of
audience involvement; in fact, they
studiously ignore
the crowd to focus
on their playing. The secret of their power instead lies in their
seamless symphony. Ex-Dashboard Confessor Mike Stroud’s perfect,
deliberate riffs interlock with producer Evan Mast’s throbbing
bass to produce a breathlessly syncopated product. They attack
the downbeats in a concerted assault; their exact timing attests to
years of collaboration.
By far the most interesting parts of the show were when Mast
demonstrated his dynamic precision. His synth-bass soared joyously between his backing beats. If you’re wondering how he
accomplishes that awesome sound, all I know is that it has
something to do with a small box that glows blue that he holds in
his strumming hand while playing.
Most of their set consisted of standards from their selftitled album; “El Pico” and “Seventeen Years” were obvious crowd
favorites. There were a couple of new songs interspersed, but they
weren’t as arresting; it was as if they didn’t really have their hearts
in it. Time, like a mob peon with his nuts in a vice, will eventually
>>>on a scale of Cigar Aficionados, this show was a Sir
Winston S. Churchill
le tigre
- this island tour
toad’s place, 3/3/05
mona elsayed
My first attempt at a Toad’s concert was…unfulfilling, to say
the least. I must first admit that the decision to attend the March
3rd Le Tigre show was mostly one of nostalgia—recollections of
singing What’s Yr Take On Cassavetes while driving with my brother
to the beach freshman year probably got the better of me. So,
$17.50 later, there I was: back on the scene, at a “show,” that
terrible thing I had sworn off as being more bother than it’s worth.
A kind of late riot-grrl era incarnation, Le Tigre is led by
former Bikini Kill super-frontwoman Kathleen Hannah, the one who
inspired me to cut my own side part bangs into the bathroom sink
when I was 13. Two parts
electronic, one part feminist bitch
and three
Olympia Washington, the band has been pumping out controversial
but under-publicized albums on the Kill Rock Stars record label
since 2000.I wish I had something concrete to say about the
music, but mostly I was distracted by the dizzying array of genderbending. There were the political lesbians, the tomboy-ish girls, the
boys dressed like girls-who-want-to-be-boys. Anyway, this sort of
rainbow-themed affair was reinforced by JD Samson of Le Tigre
who sported her old-man plastic frames and her very visible upper
lip hair quite proudly. Hey, it’s not like I didn’t know Le Tigre was
post-punk feminist chick band. My question, however, is when did it
become one with such overwhelming gay affiliation? Well, at least it
added to the atmosphere…or something.
Armed with a megaphone and a commanding stage
presence, Hannah had the crowd dancing on the first song. Oddly
choreographed Macarena-like dance numbers made the band seem
more poppy girl-band than punk. Behind them, a sort of homemade
music video played that was about as chick-art as you can get. By
song three of the set, the audience was shouting hyper-politicized
lyrics as they literally followed-the-bouncing-ball on the big screen.
By halfway through the show, however, maintaining my post right
near the stage was looking unlikely—it appeared that everyone in
my immediate proximity had forgotten to deodorize and I couldn’t
handle much more of it. Pushing my way out of what I’d like to call
the “love pit,” I relocated to the back and enjoyed the music. With
a surprisingly true-to-studio sound, the band rocked a 40-minute
set that unfortunately included fewer hits off of their three previous
albums than I had hoped. But there it was, in the one-song encore
that blew me away: Deceptacon. And, gleefully diving right back into
the pit of sweaty lesbians, I once again swore I would never go to
another show, even while enjoying the pulsing electronic beats.
girls go wild for space aliens, no shit.
gwar / toad’s place, 1/30/05
belinda m. trufflesnuffer
What is it about enormous, sexually-deviant space-mutants
that make the girls go crazy and feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Well,
this chick-reporter extraordinaire, Belinda M. Trufflesnuffer, needed
to know exactly what it was that made her loins tingle whenever
she contemplated those engorged foam-rubber spikes, body-paint,
and gallons of fake blood, so off she went to Toad’s Place. It was
going to be a dream date with GWAR, in all of their grotesque yet
strangely erotic get-ups!
The evening started off with two warm-up bands, a wholly
forgettable local metal group and yours truly, Lindy, sure shook her
knickers on the dance floor to their cliché yet infectious (due to
the large amount of double bass pedal) beats, but remained largely
unimpressed by the poorly-styled fat goth (yay for Staind!) girls
who seemed solely interested in pushing each other. Which was let
me tell you, EW to the TENTH degree!!!!! :) Wink! Luckily, I had
good ol’ Matt there to help me out, because girls, if you don’t have
a big man to protect you while you’re dancing in the mosh pit, or
if you’re some kind of buff / corpulent goth-girl, you could totally
smear your mascara! (Of course, if you’re goth, there’s so much of
it, you don’t have to worry!)
Then the Viking look-alike group Alabama Thunderpussy (I
can’t believe I just wrote that! Ew to the third degree!) got up and
played some lovely traditional Swedish and Norweigian hymns…of
heavy, painfully repetitive “rock” that sounded really…really…shitty.
Oops, sorry, girls, but it had to be said. This young reporter took
her prim tush off the dance floor and placed it firmly on a bench.
I didn’t care whether they were from Sweden or Alabama; I may
just be plain old Lindy Trufflesnuffer, but I want my metal to be
technically progressive, utilizing complex compositional mathrock structures blended with virtuosic double-bass drumming
and dissonant, Botch meets Dillinger Escape Plan guitars! I’m sure
all you girls know just what I’m talking about—after all,Viking
rock died with Yngwie Malmsteen! (Just kidding girls,Yngwie’s still
rocking out; he’s the original Viking!)
Finally, the man-slaves of GWAR came out and revealed
the frightening set that the band was going to play on! I believe
my knees weren’t the only ones that weakened at that point…and
when GWAR stepped onto stage in all their odorous glory, I
just about screamed my sweet, feminine lungs out. Their set was
brilliantly fast, straight from 80s thrash metal, interspersed with
theater that was only rivaled by the acting of Sir Laurence Olivier,
in which they slew effigies of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Paris Hilton,
Michael Jackson, George W. Bush, Laci Peterson, the reanimated
corpse of Ronald Reagan, and others! Boy oh boy, did this
reporter love it when Oderous Urungus took his mighty sword
and lopped off Arnold’s arms! The blood and bodily fluids flowed
freely all throughout the evening, even from lead singer Oderous’s
unmentionables! (A large portion of which found its way onto
me! Boy, did I feel like a lucky girl—after all, who doesn’t dream of
carrying a violent alien’s children?) And it only got better. They
dedicated possibly the best song off of their album Violence Has
Arrived, “Immortal Corruptor,” to the memory of Dimebag Darell,
and played lots and lots of their earlier, better work. And it was
finally in one of Oderous’s inter-song lectures that this reporter
finally realized why girls love GWAR. It’s because GWAR loves
girls! As Oderous said, if there’s one word to describe GWAR, it’s
Yours from the field,
the subtle and urbane
oderous urungus
cloud room/la laque/harlem shakes
AEPi, 2/26/05
violet pu
In a city besieged by wintry cold, midterm ennui, and
somewhat limited weekend entertainment options, convergence
on tried-and-true locales is an expected outcome of students
seeking fun on the Saturday before Spring Break. But a show on
February 26 at AEPi featuring the Cloud Room, La Laque and Yale’s
own Harlem Shakes was probably the first place this gunslinger. has
seen artsy legwarmer-clad freshman girls acting out a (boyfriendapproved) half-hearted lesbian tableau alongside a perfectly coiffed,
pearl-wearing Pi Phi coolly sipping a beer. Though I’ll admit I’ve 33
only been to AEPi a few times, I’ve never seen such a seemingly
random assortment gather under this frat’s charming lighted
scrolling message board.
The besieged floor, which sagged and creaked with every
impassioned bounce of the crowd, can attest to the show’s
popularity. Sometime after 10:00 p.m. the fashionably late New
York-based Cloud Room appeared. The group consisted of three
males who supplied drums, keyboard, and bass under guitarist J’s
vocals. Their catchy songs pleased the crowd, which was soon to
expand greatly a la Kirstie Alley.
By the time Francophilic band La Laque hit the “stage”
(a corner of the room adorned with windows and a large sign), the crowd was adequately boozed and a
distinct perfume of cannabis began seeping into everyone’s clothes.
The six-piece rock band, also from New York City, set a moodier
tone. What La Laque’s songs lacked in the catchiness of The Cloud
Room it made up for in novelty – with the French vocals of singer
Devery, the use of untraditional instruments such as organ and
violins, and the interesting personalities and attractiveness of the
band members. My personal favorite was Gillian Rivers, a diminutive
redhead whose violin work was nearly as captivating as her
intriguing Alice-in-Wonderland getup.
Devery, a smoldering brunette in a black tube dress,
alternated between purring and slurring French and quiet intersong banter with her bandmates that included vocabulary such as
“awesome.” After she merci’d the audience and the Harlem Shakes
at the intended end of the set, the crowd’s cries of “encore!” began
in earnest. Initially flabbergasted by the unexpected turn of events,
the musicians soon regained their composure, and after frantic
conferencing came up with two more songs to play for the Laquehungry audience.
The Harlem Shakes came on close to the witching hour, after
much buildup. Leaving and entering the performance space was a bit
challenging for the bands, as what should have been backstage was
instead a scenic view of Crown Street. The suit-clad boys set up
and began to sing, and were a crowd favorite. Some sang along, not
missing a word as they followed lead singer Lexy Benaim’s vocals.
The musicians experienced some unfortunate microphone volume
control and feedback issues, but after these were fixed, the band hit
their stride. After a satisfying block of the Shakes’ trademark blend
of catchy rock, the band said goodnight, and audience members
flooded out the door to the various corners of campus from
whence they had come seeking a nice mid-winter diversion hours
new gunslinger.
new mixtape
agnes rec joins the team
1. Best song of the moment: Ted Leo + Pharmacists - Little
Dawn / I’m still reeling from having seen them in December.
2. Guilty pleasure: Paris Combo - Trois Petits Points / Oh,
French jazz pop, I love you so.
3. Song to hook up to: Jeff Buckley – Lover, You Should’ve
Come Over / Such a beautiful voice that a description wouldn’t do it
justice. Go listen, now.
4. Best driving song: Red House Painters - Cruiser / Like
driving slowly into the sunset, towards the ocean.
5. Best drunk song: Modest Mouse - Satin in a Coffin / Gives
voice to my drunken angst while the drums march in the background.
6. Song you hate that everyone else loves: anything by The Mars
Volta / Supposedly amazing, but I just don’t hear it.
7. Song you can never get out of your head: Troubled Hubble Nancy / Embeds itself from the opening chord.
8. Song that got you started on this whole indie rock thing in the first
place: At the Drive-In – One-Armed Scissor / This song blew
my 15-year-old mind and still does each time I come back to it.
9. Favorite sad song: The Eels – It’s a Motherfucker / Another sad
tale of lost love made amazing by the strings and the simple piano.
10. Best song that uses an obscure musical instrument: Joanna
Newsom - Peach, Plum, Pear / Oddly-voiced lady rocks out
on a harpsichord. It’s perfect.