Rattle thy bones – My Winter Gig Guide

JANUARY

January 1/13  Bridges and Powerlines – Union Hall in Brooklyn

I’ve never seen these guys but I’ve got a buddy in the band and he’s a nice guy so….my hopes are high. They also have the cutest website ever:  http://bridgesandpowerlines.com/

January 1/14

Hess Is More – Mercury Lounge

“If you think of a piece of music as a rubberband – I like to try and stretch it. Let’s say melancholy in one end, and humor in the other, and see how far you can take it. Bringing oppositions together. ”
Welcome to the playful world of Mikkel Hess aka HESS IS MORE.  http://www.hessismore.com/

January 1/17

Winter Sounds – Mercury Lounge

Sweet, sad, beautiful…Perfect for the impending snow. http://www.thewintersounds.com/

January 25

Wintersleep, Arms, Writer – Glasslands

In this line-up, Arms is my jam. He plays a ukulele, which usually isn’t my thing. But I really like this song:

January 27

Hundred in the Hands – Glasslands

I’ll miss this because I’ll be in London. But this will be a good night of dream pop.

February 2/17

Tall Tall Trees – Mercury Lounge

Bluegrass! Need I say more!

March 1

School of the Seven Bells – Mercury Lounge

March 3/23

Grimes – Mercury Lounge

April & May

April 4/2

Keep Shelley In Athens – Glasslands

KSIA just did a mixed tape for The 405. The finish it with the Vangelis theme from the Bounty. Now I love them even more…

Plastic Platform C02: Keep Shelly In Athens by The 405 | The 405.

April 4/5

Perfume Genius – Glasslands, Brooklyn

There’s another show at the Mercury Lounge on April 3rd.

April 4/26

War on Drugs – Music Hall of Williamsberg

May 5/8

Bears in Heaven – Bowery Ballroom

Stolen from Future Islands Tumbler: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/future+islands

In other news…

Handsome Furs is currently touring the West Coast right now. I’m very excited by the possibility of them playing in NY this summer.

Midnight Magic is going to Texas and Europe.

Congrats to my girl, April at Sparkplug on the “Alchemy” exhibit which opened last night at 7Eleven Gallery, new space located at 711 Washington Street. Check it out if you can – Highlights include handmade instruments constructed from old wooded doors  from the GAINES brothers and an opportunity to watch porn in public.

Plus, AIGA is currently showing winners from their “50 Books/50 Covers” competition. This website has been set-up in conjunction with the show: http://www.whatthebook.org/  Shelve your opinion as to whether or not you silently judge people by what you see on their bookshelves (I do) and define a book.

2011: Music Memories

I prefer seeing music outside. But this year, I wasn’t drawn to the island or the waterfront. I wasn’t interested in sitting around in parks and drinking from plastic cups.

In 2011, I was a creature of ballrooms, bars, lounges and halls. I checked my coat a lot this year and drank bourbon instead of beer. I got my heartbroken but I never got sunburned.

As I send my thoughts back, I can say with confidence that I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Best shows:

6. Devotchka at the Bowery Ballroom. This was like going to a family reunion. Total celebration with shadow dancing burlesque beauties wearing antelope horns and holding umbrellas.

5. LCD Soundsystem at Terminal 5.  I’ll admit this. I’ve never been a fan of LCD Soundsystem and thought they were completely overrated. I was proven wrong, so wrong and I am the happier for it.

4. Midnight Magic at everywhere! Particularly a show at Public Assembly in June. Or was it July. Who knows as I saw these guys about 5 times this year.  So, I never usually write about them because I’m desperately in love with the lead singer and have been since high school. That all said, I continue to see them because they bring it every time – actual musicianship, a singer with lady balls and dirty-sexy-sweaty dancing. At least that’s what I’m doing when I’m there. And it is good…

3. The Drums at the Bowery Ballroom. These guys transformed a bad night by saying it hurts for all of us. Let’s just dance anyway and we did – nonstop, through the pain.

2. Future Islands at the Bowery Ballroom. Gush. Gush. Gush. I’m under their spell. The show did not disappoint. I would follow them to the ends of the earth.

1. Handsome Furs at Bowery Ballroom. Maybe it was because it was summertime. Or maybe because it was my birthday. Maybe it’s the fact that Dan Boeckner is complete dark scraggly dreamboat and his wife Alexei Perry is an intoxicating nymph. Maybe it was the way she lifted her leg above her head and keyboard and told us that she wanted to have sex with all us. Maybe it was because Dan couldn’t take his eyes off of her either and you really thought at any moment, he was going to throw down his guitar and take her right there . Or at least you hoped he would. Yes. This was my favorite show of the year because I was hot, dancing my ass off and letting my sexual fantasies run free.

Honorable Mentions

War Paint at Brooklyn Bowl – These girls give me visions of California and I have a girl crush on the lead guitarist. It was also a defining moment. I ran into someone and who knew someone I used to know and the rest is history.

Twin Shadow at Webster Hall – I saw this show with my girl, Pencils from the UK. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship all around.

We Barbarians at Pianos – These guys are from Long Beach, CA, which was my first address. This show in March made me transported me back to my teenage years when I used to go see my boyfriend’s band at Mancini’s on Reseda Blvd in the San Fernando Valley. Oh. Those. Were. Great. Days.

 

December Soundtrack: Songs for Evictions & January Soundtrack: Songs for Rock Climbing

DECEMBER

I’ve never kicked someone out of my life that I still wanted. I’m a sucker for holding out on the hope that things will somehow magically iron themselves out. Which they do. Just not as expected.

To be honest, that might not be exactly how it happened. Did he drop me or did I shaft him? Did Echo disintegrate in the cave before Narcissus fell into the lake or vice versa? Of course, it doesn’t matter. It hurts either way.

Not much will be accomplished by mourning a death that hardly was alive. It had a heartbeat but no breath. A stillborn kind of love.

I’m glad this mad season of my life over, even as hard as it is to forget what a beautiful mess he was.

JANUARY

When you reach rock bottom, there are two choices – Sleep or climb.

The thing is – I’ve been at rock bottom a lot longer than I thought. I don’t even know how long. Maybe months. Maybe years. I’ve had company so I didn’t notice.

I think the last one was trying to climb out before I was – that could have been one of our problems. I didn’t mind being at rock bottom it as long as he was there with me. But that’s no way to live. Maybe he knew that before I did. Maybe he kept trying to climb out but kept falling back. And maybe sometimes he was falling back on purpose because he wanted to stay with me. Maybe that was true sometimes.

And maybe the same was true with the man before him. And the man before him. And so on.

Sometimes needs to be over. It’s time to wake up and climb.

December Soundtrack: Songs for Eviction

1. Broken Social Scene: Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old

2. Autre Ne Veut: Sweetheart

3. Sufjan Stevens: Dumb I Sound

4. Gotye: Somebody that I used to know

5. James: Out to Get You

6. Roy Orbison: Crying

7. Prince: The Beautiful Ones

8. Fleetwood Mac: Silver Springs

January Soundtrack: Songs for Climbing

1. Passion Pit: Swimming in the Flood

2. Rilo Kiley: More Adventurous

3. The Replacements: Within Your Reach

4. Nina Simone: Suzanne (Leonard Cohen)

5. The National: Walk Off

6. Evan Rachel Wood: If I Fell (The Beatles)

7. Autre Ne Veut: Soldier

8. Nantes: Beirut

9. Cant: Believe

PAST SOUNDTRACKS

November: Songs for Monsters at the Bottom of the Ocean

https://skeletonsonescaltors.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/november-soundtrack-songs-for-monsters-at-the-bottom-of-the-ocean/

October: Songs for Road Trips to Recover from Heartbreak and Soul Sickness

https://skeletonsonescaltors.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/october-soundtrack-songs-for-roadtrips-to-recover-from-heartbreak-and-soul-sickness/

My hurricane dreams: The Antlers – Webster Hall 12.10.11

I messed up at The Antlers show. I was worn down and worn out. Had gone out to the Catskills the night before, drank heavily, dealt with a friend’s nervous breakdown, nursed a hangover in the morning, and drove back two hours to NY. I took a disco nap but I was bruised and battered and really just not in the mood. Plus, Webster Hall is not my favorite venue.

It doesn’t seem to match The Antlers either. Too glossy and pretentious for Silberman’s soul shattering falsettos and the impalpable sadness that takes hold of you when listening to them. Webster Hall should be great – the spooky staircases and the ghostly-lit chandeliers in the main hall make you feel like you’re a visitor in someone’s memory. Maybe it’s the crowd that ends up there, the interruption of your flow by scantily clad teenagers in the “club” on the first floor, the disgusting bathrooms. The point is, I’d been looking forward to The Antlers for so long and I really wasn’t in the right place – mentally, spiritually or physically.

In spite of this, The Antlers were, as expected, devastatingly beautiful. Songs were transformed to fit the concert vibe – louder and longer with flashing lights, but they accomplished this with aplomb and without distorting their intimate sound. My favorites on the album were also my favorite live – No Widows, Hounds, French Exit, I Don’t Want Love.

And then there was Putting the Dog to Sleep. This song kills me with its tear-jerking guitar and bluesy drum. The melody goes in circles, like a whirlpool and this memory of a dream I had once always pops into my head.

I’m at this bar in some nameless town that’s been deserted because there’s a hurricane coming. I’m wearing a red sun dress because it isn’t cold, just gray and white and gloomy. I’m drinking a lot bourbon and slow dancing with this man who has been, up until this moment, intent on making it as difficult as possible to love him. The hurricane is not far off and we might die in it but it’s too late to escape our fate. So we continue to dance and drink straight from the bottle and stay close to each other and confess our final secrets and wait for the hurricane to come and do its worst. We’re scared, of course, but not alone. And of the terrible ways we treated each other when death was not at the door – it just doesn’t matter anymore.

Tagged ,

Dangerous Intimacy with Future Islands – Bowery Ballroom 12-1-11

Future Islands makes me what to go ahead and quit my job. I’ll follow them around the country and across the seas – panhandle for ticket money, flirt for drinks. Maybe they’d let me run the merch table. This could work out.

It’s no secret. I’ve been under a Future Islands spell all year. I can’t play it cool. I gush like a idiot. I turn them on and on and on again, knowing full well that listing to them is going to rip up my soul, but I just can’t stop. Every time I think I’m tired of them, I start to miss them. What is it that keeps me coming back for more?

Well, there’s Sam Herring. A man, not boy, of boundless, almost reckless energy. It took a second to get used to him lunging at us from the edge of the stage but by the end, we were all charmed. A special call out to keyboardist Gerrit Welmers. He really is a secret weapon. He lightens the darkness, makes you feel like you’re in a cathedral on one song and at a carnival on another.

I think I keep coming back because Future Islands awakens epic emotions in my modern heart. These anthems, these canticles, these cries – they just don’t fit in this day and age. Instead of irreverence, they play with imagination. They abandon the nostalgia and tinker with memory. If only for a moment, they shake us up and break us out of our little worlds.

My new boyfriend’s name is Ed Schrader

 

This duo from Baltimore opened up for Future Islands at the Bowery Ballroom. Ed Schrader is on drums and sings, Delvin Rice is on bass, and that is absolutely all they need.

On one level, they’re just singing goofy tunes – Schrader used to be a stand-up comic and all of us that missed out on those gigs are very sad about that. But there’s something running under the radar of these seemingly silly ditties. Schrader is hilarious stage presence turns haunting on a dime. The songs are as short as pissed off suicide notes. Punk revels are broken here and there by almost sorrowful soliloquies. Most songs have quipster titles: I Can’t Stop Eating Sugar, Beautiful Transvestite In the Rain, Gas Station Attendant, In My Car – There was one song that Schrader dedicated to REM. It seemed sincere, no jokes, no screaming – I was, dare I say, moved. Let’s cross our fingers that these two put together a proper recording.

In a world where everyone seems to be trying so hard to sound just like everyone else,– Ed Schrader seems like he’d really just like to help us snap out of it and have a good laugh with him.

Can you call them a band? Maybe, maybe not, but that’s sort of missing the point. This project doesn’t seem to be trying to hit it big with their music. They will most probably never sell out Madison Square Gardens and thank God for that. I can never afford seeing anything there anyway.

Future Islands was off the hook. Sprinkles said he was going to write about it. We’ll all have to wait…

I love U right now

Knowing when to let go is important. Knowing when to hold on is just as important.

This is what it means to have good timing.

Knowing what to keep and what to give away is also important.

This is what it means to be perceptive and forgiving.

You never need to know how. It will become clear to you once you decide.

This is what it is to be committed.

You never need to know why. Allow the mystery to reveal itself when it is ready to.

This is what it is to have faith.

The who is you and the who is me. And it is something you never need to question.

You have all my love for all time.

November Soundtrack: Songs for monsters at the bottom of the ocean

Strindberg

When I was a little girl, we had a swimming pool. I was deathly afraid of being by myself in the water because I thought that there was some sea creature like a great white or an octopus or a crocodile lurking in the deep end, just waiting for everyone to leave so he could come up and eat my legs. It’s sounds silly but it was a very real fear that terrorized me. Now older, I realize that there are no monsters in swimming pools but if I do happen to find myself alone in one, my heart skips a beat and I quickly get out of the water.

On land, I’m not as much on my guard. I trust that I’m not going to encounter a shark when I turn a blind corner. Octopi under the bed don’t particularly spook me when I go to sleep. Color me optimistic, but I just don’t fear running into Moby Dick in the elevator.

But that’s exactly how it happens in water. When you think that you’ll just go and have a nice swim when seemingly out of know where,  a creature grabs a hold of you and you’re gone. If you did expect it, if you felt it coming, then it would be your own fault if it got you, right? Your fault for not running, for not getting out of the way, for getting into the water in the first place.

Yet, water is so inviting. As dangerous as it might be, you still get in, float on your back, let your weight dissolve. The water is so perfect that you let down your guard. You start having a good time, you splish and splash and play Marco Polo. You forget your fears. You go out farther, you dive in deeper and you don’t notice the creature right beneath your treading feet. It’s a stupid mistake.

A couple Tuesdays ago. I was with the man that I, with nothing but affection, call Narcissus. It was nice to see him on a Tuesday. We rarely saw each other during daylight, let alone weeknights. So, it was Tuesday and he was exhausted from work. Maybe that’s why he was too tired to play the game we’d been at for six months. He was suddenly accessible. We were tucked into this booth, drinking bourbon and it wasn’t as hard as it usually was. I let myself speak without measuring my words and he reached across the table to kiss me in the middle of a sentence. We were so close to one another, sharing whispers about nothing of particular importance and before the drinks were dry, he turned to me and said, let’s go home.

For just one moment, I thought that we could save each other. Narcissus would pull Echo out of her cave and Echo would pull Narcissus away from the lake. The curses would be broken.

Then, seemingly out of no where, there was a snap. I lost my legs and I was dragged down to the coldest and darkest place on earth. And I was alone down there. My Narcissus, gone and gotten himself out of the water.

It happened so fast, that I didn’t realize what I done until it was done. I said something stupid, then I repeated it. Twice. Then, I made worse. And then I made it even worse. I had felt so carefree, that I became careless; So victorious, that I became prideful; and then so desperate, that I became a degenerate. My ugly side came out, ran amok and fucked up everything.

It turns out, that this monster that I’ve feared for so long, is not some sea creature, but rather, something I’ve been hosting inside of me for God knows how long. Call it the accumulation of my bad habits. My own personal reservoir of cruelty. It’s that part of my nature that doesn’t play fair and  that is all but willing to take someone down with her just because she can.

I can hardly hold it against the man for lashing out at me. I mean, if a shark is coming after you, punch him in the nose. If someone is bringing you down, you cut yourself loose. React to monsters with a monster. Mine is haughty thoughtlessness. His is cold rage.

Our hearts never had a chance, did they?

I knew that this one was going to be dangerous. I was afraid the whole time, but took comfort in knowing that the end was inevitable, as much as I didn’t want it to be. I was always watching out for it, sure that some siren would appear and enchant him away from me. I was prepared for that. I never considered that it would be my big stupid mouth and my desperate arrogance, that would bring us to past. I’m not so bad, of course. But I can be, and I have been, and I was, that night.

I’ve no conclusion right now. Still in the aftermath, feeling battered and bruised, trying to sleep it off on the cold lonely floor of ocean. I don’t quite feel capable of swimming to the surface, yet. I’m eyeballing this monster and trying to fend off my regrets. I’m so angry myself, that I can’t seem to make a move.

It’s difficult to iron out the fallacy in my thinking. I see myself confusing it all. Harboring memories of hurt and letting them becoming weapons that I use against people. Are we all so crushed by our own gravity and blinded by our vanity? I feel like people are all drifting farther and farther away from one another in the water. We trust that liar, that traitor, rattling his chains in our heads and we deny ourselves the one thing that might save us. People leave us and we act like sore losers. We act like victims. We seek forgetfulness as a cure. Apathy as a state of health.

I will eventually swim up out of this gloom, but I don’t want to forget and I don’t want to not care just so I can feel better. This is getting old and I don’t want to find myself here again.

And so, for the time being, as I cry myself to sleep at the bottom of the sea, these are songs that I’m listening to.

Soundtrack

1. Kurt Vile The Creature

2. DeVotchKa Transliterator

“The homemade weapons you are fashioning are hellbent on doing us both in”

3. U2 So Cruel

“She wears my love like a see-through dress”

4. REM – Half A World Away

5. PJ Harvey – In the Dark Places

6. Radiohead: A Wolf At the Door

7. Sleater-Kinney – One More Hour

8. The Drums: In the Cold

So this is awesome. The Drums don’t post on YouTube, so this video just has some random guy standing in the snow. Please make sure you don’t take your eyes off of him.

9. The Antlers: No Widows

10. Love and Rockets: Haunted When The Minutes Drag

“This is for when we’re feeling happy again.”

11. Future Islands: Give Us the Wind

“Don’t Bless Me”

12. Craig Armstrong & Blue Nile: Let’s Go Out Tonight

Hot Skeleton Action that Pierces At the Heart – “Mourir Aupres de Toi”

“Mourir Aupres de Toi” (To Die By Your Side) epitomizes all that is Skeletons on Escalators – rather all that is “Skeletons-on-Escalators-esque.” Spike Jones collaborated with fashion designer Olympia Le Tan and French filmmaker Simon Cahn to tell this hauntingly lovely allegory about life, death and the triumph of love. It took them six months to animate this masterpiece.

As said before, this is all that Skeletons On Escalators adores –  skeletons in love, old books in dusty bookstores, saucy brunette literary figures that make rude gestures, punching whales, chomping snakes, a dramatic silent movie film score, animated felt and little voices that tell the truth.  Not unlike Orpheus and Euphrates, our heroine is willing to face any danger to be with the man she loves, even the greatest fear of all.  This is all Skeletons on Escalators aspires to, the content of its dreams, the theme of its obsessions, the curse that it is happy to carry to the ends of the earth.

Go to Nowness, a much savvier blog than mine, that also has an interview with the geniuses that made this:

http://www.nowness.com/media/embedvideo?itemid=1640&issueid=1691

Spike Jonze: Mourir Auprès de Toi on Nowness.com.

BONUS TRACK: Stay tune through the credits. Not only will you see hot skeleton action as promised “Hump and Jump” written by Soko. “Even when we are dead, we still have bones to hump and jump.” Oh. So. True.