Dance the Monday Blues away: The Drums at Bowery Ballroom, 11.7.11

I saw The Drums at the Bowery Ballroom at the end of a very long Monday. Patrick Cleandenim opened. Here’s the rundown:

7:00 a.m. I wake up, though had not really slept. Narcissus is as far away as possible from me in my bed.

7:45 a.m. I’m drinking coffee in the kitchen when I hear him cough. I bring him a glass of water. He drinks it and tells me he doesn’t feel well.

8:00 a.m. We leave the apartment. I ask him some question on the way to the subway. He answers, “I don’t know.” We continue in silence until we part ways.

9:45 a.m. Something stupid happens at work that bothers me. A lot.

10:15 a.m. Narcissus sends me an email saying that he just can’t do this anymore. He feels it in his heart. He feels it in his guts.

3:30 p.m.  A meeting goes well. For the first time, in a long time, I don’t feel useless.

5:30 p.m. Finally write back to Narcissus. I tell him I love him, but that I’ll get over it.

6:30 p.m. Late to class. The teacher points out that I have a habit of rolling my eyes.

9:30 p.m. Arrive at the Bowery Ballroom. Drink it off.

So, there I was. The end of the day, at the end of my rope, and it was only Monday. I had to remind myself that this was just the beginning. Day 1 of many days that stretched out before me. This was opening ceremony.

While I’ve heard the exit music before, I feel that this time is the time to let it be over. It sucks and it hurts, but I’m almost glad. Good grief, some relief. No more of that sinking feeling every time I see him. Or don’t see him. Read the writing on the wall. Pack it up and go. Don’t send postcards.

What’s a girl like me to do now? No clue. But I’ll start by going to the show.

10:00 p.m. Patrick Cleandenim

Imagine that it’s a better time – 1969, maybe. Late July and Neil Armstrong has just walked on the moon. The world is a-flutter with excitement.

You’re on vacation. Somewhere warm like the Bahamas or Hawaii or Mexico. Fuck that live like the natives in a grass huts bullshit – you’re staying at a kitschy-glitzy resort that has buffets 24-hours a day. You spend the day on the sand reading magazines and at night, you go to the resort’s “social” to drink rainbow-colored tropical drinks with paper umbrellas and plastic sword skewered fruit. You’ve worn something flirty, showing a lot of skin. The music starts. It’s Patrick Cleandenim and his 12-piece band.

Cleandenim has a non-assuming presence on stage. There’s no ego out there, almost like he’s just been hired to sing and not the namesake of this act. This isn’t to say that he doesn’t command attention. He’s totally invested and interesting. Tambourine in hand, he’s kind of a cross between Cat Stevens and Michael Stipe; he shouldn’t be a rock-star but he is.

The tunes seem like long lost tracks that you discovered in your mother’s record collection in the attic. They inspire nostalgic of a time you probably weren’t alive to remember, but Cleandenim really does make his own sound out of the funky beats and the guitar riffs, the dizzy-jazzy piano and the smooth grooves. His band is tight – musicianship, at long last, and his lyrics are so light-hearted and sweet and genuine – “I want to dance with you.” Patrick Cleandenim equals lots of fun and made me miss summertime.

11:00 pm The Drums

The Drums. The Drums. The goddamn Drums! Jesus Christo, I was not expecting The Drums to be so good. But they were. They were fucking incredible.

I’ve said this a couple times – The more I listen to The Drums, the more I want to listen to The Drums. There’s something infectious about them. Their latest, Portamento, is just brilliant. It’s been twisting my heartstrings for quite some time now.

This was my first time seeing them live and no one ever told me about the weird and wonderful Jonathan Pierce. He’s Captain Captivating. Really can’t take your eyes off of him. And he’s got the best dance moves –like a happy-go-lucky Ian Curtis.

The show took off and never really stopped. No matter how tortuous and bleak their songs can be, The Drums made each one of them into pop – energized, playful, heart-racing pop. While I would have loved to hear “Searching for Heaven” or “In the Cold,” I didn’t really have much time to miss them. I was too busy dancing. As was everyone else – it was a great crowd.

Anyway, the upbeat stuff provides plenty of moments that strike the painfully deep cords within. It’s all about not understanding what happened and how hard someone is making it to love them, how you’d do anything for them in spite of that – Ah, bless. Listening to The Drums reminds us that we are all under the same curse.

Sharp ending to this one. But, I suppose, endings can be like that.


You had me hooked for years.

List-o-mania!!!! Top 5 Radiohead Albums

A quick, off-the-cuff response for Luke Lewis. His list is fantastic-o. You can read it here:

Here are my favorite Radiohead albums and why:

Let’s go backwards, shall we….
05. Hail to the Thief: Not the most sentimental of Radiohead’s oeuvre, but definitely the most twisted and mind-f*cked. Personal Favorite – the dizzy “A Wolf At the Door.”
04. The Bends: You always remember your first time and this was my first time with Radiohead. I hated “Creep.” All the boys who treated me so badly when I was a teenager loved this song. It was their anthem, their excuse for being “creepy.” Very akin to the way people justify being a downer by celebrating Holden Caulfield. So I never really paid attention to Pablo Honey. The Bends, however…I was crushed out. It was all about “High and Dry” and “Fake Plastic Trees.” Years later, my Apollo would sing “Black Star” to me while we were sitting in traffic and I’d fall in love him all over again.

03. OK Computer: I think I’ve had sex to this album more then any other Radiohead albums. There’s reason enough to love it. Plus, “Let Down.” Jesus Christo, that song is dolce.

02. Kid A: This album has great stories. Take the title track, Kid A. It could easily be the tune the Pied Piper is humming under his breath, that he seduces the children with after all the adults refuse to pay his fee. The message, crystallized and sad – when you grow up, the child within disappears into the cave. If it doesn’t disappear, it’s left behind, crippled. Also, Idioteque is KILLER – any song that has the word “scaremongering” in it has my vote.

01.  In Rainbows: Was anyone in the world prepared for how good this album was? Didn’t it come out of no where? And remember how it was for free? In Rainbows affected me in way I never really imaged. It hit a cord, put the needle to the vein. It is dangerously intimate and yet so beautifully universal. I downloaded it for 5 pounds the first day it was available and it’s nibbled on my soul ever since. Weird Fishes and Videotape still have the power to stop me in my tracks and make me want to cry.

BONUS: And I’d just like to quickly do a shout out to Eraser – now, it isn’t Radiohead, but it’s close enough. Atoms for Peace is terribly yummy – “Peel all your layers off, I want to eat your artichoke heart.”

Chillingly beautiful Zambri – Glasslands, 11.3.11

Zambri at Glasslands in Brooklyn 11.3.11

Honestly, I was going to leave.

I’ve been trying to see Autre Ne Veut for a while now. I missed the show at Cameo last month because I was a loser. Tonight, I showed up late. Loser, yet again. We’ll have our day, Autre Ne Veut. I’ll pull it together. Someday. Just you wait.

I’m not sure what compelled me to stay, though I do love Glasslands. It’s one of my favorite places to see shows. For a small venue, it’s got a lot of space and the drinks are at a good price point. There’s usually a good crowd, but it never seems cluster fucked and, of course, there’s that cloud installation, billowing and frozen above the stage. One one hand, it’s whimsical. On the other, it’s kind of groody, like it’s been there too long and is full of dust and mites, once organic but now slowly decaying. It fits the place.

Zambri also fits the place. Chilling and beautiful. Airy and earthy. Goth and Disco, so you can shadow dance and shake your ass. I instantly liked them because they were all in black (except for a pair of red sneakers) and weird. You know, they started up with playing these strange, unidentifiable, cacophonous  sounds and dancing to them with absolute commitment. It was fun to watch, but I wouldn’t have all night.

And then, all of a sudden, there was a really good groove and these voices that gave me spine chills. I was wide awake and I wasn’t leaving.

Cristi Jo & Jessica Zambri (sisters) know how to throw down. I don’t know who’s who. They intertwine their voices – sometimes singing into two microphones fused together, lots of echos. There’s random moments of high-pitched screams and then, all experiments are put aside and it’s just lovely gold and honey harmony. The one with the red sneakers is intense. Dark and striking, she’s the honey, the deeper voice. The other, (I think it might be Jessica?), she’s got the golden lungs. It’s been a long time since I heard someone able to fly their voice that high.

They’re somewhere between sirens or banshees.  Otherworldly is a good word here. It isn’t only their voices. It’s the way they dance, flinging their hair in possession, frantically pressing buttons and twisting knobs. But when they do address the crowd, they are dolce. Absolute, bonafide dolce.  They are unpretentious and gracious, to my mad relief.

At first, I went where anyone who was fourteen in 1992 would go – Shakespeare’s Sister. ( I don’t care what anyone says – I will always love “Stay.”) However, Zambri have a lot going on. Yes, they definitely are Siouxsie Sioux-esque and Kate Bush-ish, which is a very high compliment from me. But I hate making comparisons like that. These two have their own sound which I can only describe at this late hour as a mixture of experiment and ceremony that you can dance to.

They’re releasing an EP on November 8th so look out for that. This song was my personal favorite tonight – From the Starts. It probably one of their more conventional songs, but was so beautiful tonight. What I’ve attached here doesn’t really do it justice. (It’s also just the song – no video)  In fact, none of their recorded tracks do them justice. They aren’t bad – it just isn’t the same as seeing them live. Last note – Zambri also draws a good crowd. People were freaking out over them tonight. I’m glad to join the club before it becomes a mob.

And for those of you who remember this song and love it, as well as those of you who are discovering it for the first time. Stay by Shakespeare’s Sister:

Shake your turkey legs: Skeleton on Escalators Gig Guide NY

Here are the shows I’m excited about from now until the goddamn year is over and through.

Nov 3          St. Vincent @ Webster Hall

She is a beautiful and weird creature. This show is sold out. So have fun all of you lucky bastards who get to see her. I’m highly considering breaking my no more than $35 rule and getting fucked on StubHub just so I can see her sing Strange Mercy. 

Nov 7          The Drums @ The Bowery Ballroom

The more I listen the the Drums, the more I just want to listen to the Drums. MY TICKETS ARE PURCHASED – SEE YOU THERE

Nov 8          WU LYC @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

These guys are Manchester babes. It’s worth it for the drums. They’re known for being quite mysterious. It’s interesting that they chose that angle. In an age over-sharing, it’s refreshing to have band act like a recluse.    MY TICKETS ARE PURCHASE – SEE YOU THERE

Nov 11          Kurt Vile & The Violators @ Webster Hall

There’s always a lot of buzz about Kurt Vile. Every time I heard his name, I thought of Kurt Weill and how much I love him. Recently, I heard Creature. This song is beautiful enough for me to stay all night to see if I like him.

November 18          Keep Shelly in Athens @ Bowery Ballroom

This band has my vote for best name! Dreamy electronic love music. 

December 1         Future Islands @ Bowery Ballroom

YAWP! I want to scream my affection for Future Islands from the rooftops. I don’t want to tell anyone about this show so it can just be me and them at the show. They released On the Water earlier this month. This show at my favorite intimate Mercury Lounge will be ridiculous.  

December 7         Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah @ Webster Hall

Why not? I missed them last time.

December 10           Antlers @ Webster Hall

I’ve been addicted in a bad way to Burst Apart for months. Every time I think I’m over it, someone will play it and I’m right back there – in the glow of love. TICKETS PURCHASED – SEE YOU THERE.

December 15           The National with Wye Oak

The National are staying home for Christmas and playing SIX shows. The thing is, I saw them once and really didn’t enjoy myself. But whenever I listen to them, I can’t help but drown in love. So…I’m going to try again. Maybe I just was in a mood. Of all the shows, I recommend the one with Wye Oak. She’s dazzling.

Midnight Magic is playing this month, in NY and Los Angeles. But I forgot the dates. I don’t have the dates yet. Chew on this:

Cure for homesickness on a rainy day

It’s funny how the universe conspires. The heart shatters on the pavement, and then it starts raining. Of course, on both fronts, we knew this was coming. The autumnal equinox was September 23. Summer has been over for a while.

Of course, I’m not really used to this because I come from a place where there are no seasons. The land of endless summers, one of the most despised metropolises in the world, my paradise, my heartland, my home – Los Angeles.

All my saddest memories feature the sun shinning brightly outside. Like crying in the morning while driving on the 101, the bright white glare of the sun blinding me. Or my cousin’s funeral – it was the most beautiful day but we were all in tears and in black. Whenever I was miserable or disappointed or lost, it was always a warm and comfortable 78 degrees.

I never thought I’d leave Los Angeles. When I was young, I had dreams of escaping, but the older I got, the more I loved it. I became so deeply connected and I celebrated my good fortune of being born there. It was different for us natives. The streets belonged to us, as did the sunsets and palm trees and canyons. We lived on Mexican food, in movie places, on boundless love. When you needed to think or runaway, all you had to do is jump in your car and drive. I was poolside at twilight, watched the fires from the top of a mountain, crawled home on the glittering glassphat, shared a first kiss during a traffic jam – these were my salad days.

It’s taken me some time to warm up to NY. I love it but, of course, not the same way. I’ve gotten used to the cold and rain. But I can’t lie. It makes me homesick.

Which brings me to the goddamn point. Someone recently sent me the link for’s Photo of the Day. This has helped to chase my homesick blues away.

This guy is fun, too:

New York, I live here and I’m not going to complain. But this is what a sunset looks like:

Future Islands have perfect timing: “On the Water”

Future Islands “On the Water” came out on October 11. It’s taken me a bit of time to write about it. I’ve been swooning, you see. Swooning. And it’s been a while since I swooned, so I hope you forgive me.

If I was dating Sam Herring and a girlfriend asked me explain what he was like, I’d blush, dreamily look heavenward and say, “He’s like a mix between Tom Waits and Peter Gabriel.” Yum. Let’s just go ahead a spit out a slew of words to describe this man.  His voice is more of a roar – raw, gravelly, ripping screams through the air and husky pleading whispers. It is haunting and haunted at the same time. His lyrics, too, are sweetly tormented. Consumed by a heartbreak, they dwell in memories and the torture of ‘what if.’ What if it could have been different? What if we try again? That query comes up again and again throughout the album – The plea for one more chance after the last chance has already been used up.

There is plenty of despair for us pain junkies, but no anger and no spite. Instead, these are songs about the continuing love we commit ourselves to as our lovers take leave of us. These ballads and anthems are about how we cope with still loving someone even though we know that they aren’t coming back and ultimately, how we find deeper understanding in it and discover or manufacture a way to hold on and move on. 

Who was this woman and when is poor Herring going to get over her? Is it completely selfish of me to prefer that he didn’t so i can continue to write songs like this forever?

This album is chock full of affectionate sentiments. “I shield you like a candle,” from On the Water and “I would have carried you as far as the stars” in Before the Water. It’s also got some painful zingers. Like from the call-and-echo duet, The Great Fire – “I can’t be the wound you wear to sleep, always.” This prayer-promise features lovely vocals from Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak.

But, with Herring’s words, it really isn’t the poetry that gets to you, for he’s more a Raymond Carver than a John Keats. It’s the treatment of the things we actually say. In the tender and piercing, When I Found You, it is simply put – “You know I love you / And I still do.” There’s a line in Close to None that I’ve been waiting for a man to say to me for years, “I’ve been trying to get back to you for some time.” These words are proof that people don’t need poetry as much as explicit maxims that sum everything up – I love you. I miss you. I want you back.

The last few tracks concern turning the corner.  Give Us the Wind is an anthem about not denying your pain, embracing it, in fact. Wearing it with pride like a war wound on your chest. I love the defiance – “Don’t bless me / No don’t bless me / We don’t want your blessing.” Rather feel the pain then regret never feeling anything at all. As I recently said to a friend. I’d rather be burned by the chemicals then to not do the experiment.

In Balance, we’re reminded that it takes time, which seems corn dog, but it’s always good to be reminded of that. There’s the hymnal Tybee Island and then the exit music of the album, Grease, which is kinda about starting over again. I like the last line of the chorus, “I’m growing old / I was a boy not long ago.” I know the feeling. We all do after a certain point, if we are playing this game correctly.

Much of “On the Water” was recorded literally on the water in North Carolina, so throughout, ambient sounds of the waves and wind chimes can be heard. Or maybe it’s the clinking glasses of the restaurant on a loop. Either way, the first melody sneaks up on you – and wherever you actually are doesn’t really matter because you’re suddenly lost in thought and memory and hope about the last great love of your life. It’s that moment that you’ve finally found yourself at enough distance. You turn this album on as you start walking away. Each step is going to hurt, but it was going to hurt anyway – wasn’t it?

Among other things, I believe that music is a tool to help us retain our memories. I use it to lock in moments and feelings, the look in someone’s eye, lovemaking sessions and fights, conversations, the seasons, the electricity in the air, where I live, what I love. I’m one of those people who organizes life with albums. On the Water couldn’t have shown up at a more timely time. Initially, I thought this was about my Apollo. Especially the tune, Where I Found You. It seemed so pertinent for us.

But, no. It turns out that this album belongs to my beautiful Narcissus. In ten years time, when I listen to these laments and ballads, it’ll be his eyes I see with those long, long, eyelashes. I’ll be his Echo again, deep in cave, repeating my affections to his deaf ears.  Something snapped in him last night. I did something I don’t fully understand and I think he’s gone for good. I’m so stunned and sad about it that I haven’t been able to cry yet. I haven’t even really slept, either. But I have listened to this album about twelve times.

To listen to the album before you commit:


Future Islands will be at the Bowery Ballroom on December 1 – And so will I. They will be closing out US dates in Baltimore, their home turf, on December 3. I love them so much, I may just hightail it there as well.

They will also be in performing in some of other favorite cities in November:

November 5 – Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Fest

November 15 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill

November 17 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echoplex
November 18 – Long Beach, CA @ Alex’s Bar

November 23 – New Orleans, LA @ Circle Bar

I know you weren’t good to me. It hurts to lose you all the same.

Mornings don't make sense to me.

There's nothing to look forward to on my weekends.

“Isn’t she easy?” Pretty in Pink is kind of a heartbreaking song

Maybe the Psychedelic Furs are singing about a prostitute. Maybe Caroline is a transvestite. Either way, this new wave anthem that immortalized Molly Ringwald as the inamorata of teenage love triangles in the eighties, is actually a pretty tragic portrait of a girl who is easy on the eyes and easy to get into bed.

In the  movie, Andie gets the boy. In the song, Caroline gets used. Her lovers never buy her flowers, brag about bagging her and then forget her name. However, if there is a tribute at all to the tarts of the world, Caroline stays a sweet optimistic flower in spite of how badly she is treated. She laughs in the rain, tells jokes and loses herself in dreams. She whispers, “I love you” in her lover’s ear and buttons his shirt as she sends him on his way to the traffic that is waiting outside where “these cars collide.”

But the collision with Caroline is the one that matters. The last line of the first verse explains it, “She lives in the place in the side of our lives / Where nothing is ever put straight.” Caroline is the irresistible desire on the outskirts of reality that we all live in. Time with a girl like Caroline drowns a person in their senses. It’s a world where they listen to the libido litanies and willingly choke on the smoke of bedroom fires. But we can’t live there, can we?  A person cannot accomplish their goals there. They can’t get a promotion or buy a car or pay their taxes in a world like that.

Oh, Caroline, I know how it feels. My lovers, too, have crawled away while I was dreaming about them. Have we really been forgotten so easily as we fear? Or did we make an indelible mark of some kind? Has our blissful hour been tattooed somewhere beneath their skin? And did it itch when he, who we loved so well, walked down the aisle towards a future with a more suitable woman? Will he remember us when he is old and slow and, in that feverish dream, will we still be young and loving and pretty in pink?

This is the original video. Checkerboard floors, Victorian dress, smashing guitars, busts, armless mannequins, tutus in frames, and Richard Butler on a pink chaise lounge! What does is all mean?!?!?!?

Pretty in Pink Lyrics

Caroline laughs and
It’s raining all day
She loves to be one of the girls
She lives in the place
In the side of our lives
Where nothing is
Ever put straight
She turns herself round
And she smiles and she says
‘This is it’

‘That’s the end of the joke’
And loses herself
In her dreaming and sleep
And her lovers walk
Through in their coats

Pretty in pink
Isn’t she?
Pretty in pink
Isn’t she?

All of her lovers
All talk of her notes
And the flowers
That they never sent
And wasn’t she easy
And isn’t she
Pretty in pink
The one who insists
He was first in the line
Is the last to
Remember her name
He’s walking around
In this dress
That she wore
She is gone
But the joke’s the same

Pretty in pink
Isn’t she?
Pretty in pink
Isn’t she?

Caroline talks to you
Softly sometimes
She says
‘I love you’ and
‘Too much’
She doesn’t have anything
You want to steal
Nothing you can touch
She waves
She buttons your shirt
The traffic
Is waiting outside
She hands you this coat
She gives you her clothes
These cars collide

Pretty in pink
Isn’t she?
Pretty in pink
Isn’t she?