November 26, 2008
Allison and Jamie say goodbye to the pride of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Parting is such sweet sorry….on Drunken Politics on BTR.
November 26, 2008
Allison and Jamie say goodbye to the pride of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Parting is such sweet sorry….on Drunken Politics on BTR.
That said, if we did have to pick an overall winner, Of Montreal’s Skeletal Lamping would be the victor, because it’s the only one that made the list twice.
DJ Wynn (Mondays on BTR, Revolver, BTR World Music) picks Skeletal Lamping, by Of Montreal
DJ Emily (Tuesdays on BTR, Ladies Skate Only, The Alt-Country Show, Matt and Emily) picks June Degrees In December, by Bing Ji Ling
DJ RePete (Wednesdays on BTR, Backroom Blues Hour) picks Skeletal Lamping, by Of Montreal
DJ Lottie (Thursdays on BTR, All Access, Sideshow Acts, Spotlight On The City) picks Trouble In Dreams, by Destroyer
Latola (The Synapse, Dapper Fitting Drinking Hour, Matt and Emily) picks Los Angeles, by Flying Lotus
DJ Madalyn (Saturdays on BTR, All Access, God Bless Weirdmerica) picks At Mount Zoomer, by Wolf Parade
DJ Drew (Sundays on BTR, The BTR Reggae Hour) picks Kingstonlogic 2.0, by Terry Lynn
DJ Annie (The Mixtape Show, The BTR Top Ten) picks the Beehive State/Cotillion Blues single, by White Rabbits
DJ DoseU (Anatomy of a Blogger, The Remix Hour, The Rock Show) picks Sexuality, by Sebastien Tellier
DJ Chris H (TransPacific) picks In Ghost Colours, by Cut Copy
DJ Maia (BTR Live Studio, The Folk Wave) picks Child Bearing Man, by Little Teeth
Ms. Drama (Major Playaz Radio, Underground Noize Radio, Hip-Hop Digest) picks Untitled, by Nas
DJ Laura (Jam Session, The Boston Scene) picks Back To The Woods, by The Brew
DJ Mojo (Maximum Music) picks Alone In This Dark Romantic Night, by Beautiful Lunar Landscape
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– BTR Staff
November 26, 2008
Some of the funniest writers in New York are getting together to let you know about the nights of their lives – those nights that stand out a cut above the rest, that left behind stories so full of hilarity and wonder that they’re worth sharing.
This performance was recorded on October 22, 2008 at the UCB Theater in NYC.
Hosted by David Martin
Theme: “Tales of the Supernatural”
00:00 Intro – David Martin
08:44 Chris Gethard
21:27 David Martin
22:35 Charlie Sanders
36:09 David Martin
38:48 John Flynn
56:50 David Martin
57:31 Curtis Gwinn
71:58 David Martin
Check out the upcoming performances of The Nights Of Our Lives:
Wednesday, December 17th
9:30pm @ The UCB Theater- New York, NY
Tickets are only $5!
The November episode, themed “My Guiltiest Moment” airs in December on BTR!
David Martin began studying at the UCB in the fall of 2001. He has performed in numerous shows including The Documentary, Anydayville, Chastity Cove, Instant Cinema, as well as Police Chief Rumble’s sketch show Piece of Bullsh*t P*e. He has been a member of Police Chief Rumble, Trillion, Grenade vs. Washing Machine, and he currently can be seen performing with Arsenal. He recently had a book published by Simon and Schuster entitled Officespeak, a comedic look at office culture. It might just be the funniest book ever written.
Chris Gethard is a teacher at the UCB Theater and a member of The Stepfathers, who perform every Friday night at the UCB theater. He has appeared in dozens of shows at UCBNY, and has also traveled around the globe as a member of the UCB Theater Touring Company. Chris has appeared on Late Night With Conan O’Brien and the ABC sitcoms Hope & Faith and the Knights of Prosperity. In 2007, Chris served as a guest writer for Saturday Night Live. He has also contributed writing to the Onion News Network, the Fuse Network, and more. He acted on and assisted the writing staff of the Comedy Central show Crossballs. In the world outside of comedy, Chris is a writer for Weird NJ magazine. In November of 2005, Weird NY, a hardcover book he wrote, was published by Barnes and Noble. Chris is obsessed with seminal early 80s pop group The Smiths. Chris is a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Renzo Gracie. Which is kind of weird.
Charlie Sanders was raised on the mean streets of St. Paul, Minnesota. He started doing comedy at Comedy Sportz in Minnesota. Later he moved to New York where he joined the Chicago City Limits Touring Company. He has been performing and writing at UCB since 2001. You may have seen him in such shows as “Charlene Figures it All Out”, “Proceed With Honor”and “Buffoons.” He was a proud member of the award winning sketch and improv group Police Chief Rumble. He is a member of the UCB Touring Company and a frequent actor on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”
John Flynn is an actor and writer currently living in New York City. He is one of the co-creators of the hit show “Showgirls: The Best Movie Ever Made. Ever!” He is also one of the writers of Logo’s NewNowNext Awards, airing in June. John also created, produced, and hosted the internet show “Project Improviser,” a competitive reality show that explored the world of long form improvisation. His one man shows, Themepark Superstar and Dances With Pitchforks: Confessions of a Farm Boy, have been performed in New York at Caroline’s Comedy Club, Joe’s Pub, and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater, and in Los Angeles, Boston, and Key West, Florida. He’s a regular contributor to the monthly storytelling show at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater, “Nights of Our Lives,” and has been published in The Daily News, Go Metric Magazine, and an upcoming book about Craigslist hook-ups.
John has appeared off-Broadway in What in the World: The NEWSical Revue, Oedipus the Musical, All American Boy, and Around the World in a Bad Mood. Regionally, he appeared in the musical Gypsy (starring Betty Buckley and Deborah Gibson), Cold As Ice (an ice skating musical starring Oksana Baiul), A Chorus Line, and The Mystery of Irma Vep. On television he’s appeared on 100 Centre Street and Saturday Night Live, as well as numerous commercials, industrials, print ads, motion capture work, and he’s even done some hand modeling despite a life long habit of biting his nails. His website is http://www.allthingsflynn.com
Curtis Gwinn is a longtime member of the UCB community, performing and teaching for more than 8 years. He has studied improv under Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Michael Delaney and Armando Diaz.
His credits include writing for the Onion, MTV’s Human Giant, Comedy Central and FOX Searchlight Pictures. He has appeared in sketches for Conan O’Brien, the cult hit film Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story and is currently co-starring in a new series (which he also created and co-wrote) for Adult Swim called, Fat Guy Stuck in Internet.
Curtis can be seen in some of the best shows at the UCBT. He performs every Friday night at 11pm with his acclaimed improv ensemble, Death by Roo Roo and every month in the storytelling show, The Nights of Our Lives.
Hometown: New York City
Q Da Kid
“I’ll be featured in every Tag commercial and every magazine ad,” says Q. “I’m filming a MTV Diary right now. Being a new artist out of nowhere doing and MTV Diary? That doesn’t happen! They’re in the studio with me filming the making of my album.”
While the majority of the country may be meeting Q for the first time thanks to an incredible amount of instant exposure, New York City rap fans have been acquainted with the Brooklyn-born MC for quite some time. In the late ‘90s, Q dropped out of Kingsborough College to pursue a career in the music industry. He was offered a deal with Violator Records along with fellow Brooklyn rappers Red Café and Gravy. The trio called themselves Da Franchise, a name they came up with in high school.
During their stint at Violator, Da Franchise was featured on multiple mixtapes and both Violator compilations. Even though their work was well received, the group was never given the opportunity to release their own album. “We were signed for like three years but they wasn’t really trying to push forward,” says Q. “We were just stuck on the label and they didn’t know what to do with us. I was the first person to branch off and leave.”
Hoping to write his own destiny, Q moved to Miami in 1997 and recorded a demo with super producers Cool & Dre. He was introduced to a bevy of industry bigwigs and even offered a deal with one of the country’s most notorious heavyweights. “I met up with Mike Tyson and he was starting a label and he wanted me to be his first artist,” says Q, “but I was not trying to be back in the same situation as Violator so I went into the studio by myself and just kept recording more and more songs.”
During his four year stay in the Sunshine State, Q became a mainstay in the M.I.A. club scene known for his spontaneous live performances. He would team up with DJs like Khaled and Irie and kick live freestyles over whatever record was a hit at the time. After building a name for himself in Miami, Q decided to pack up and head to Atlanta in 2001, which was quickly becoming a hip-hop hotbed.
Once he settled in ATL, Q befriended DJ Shakim who was Bow Wow’s DJ and an associate of Jermaine Dupri’s. Shakim was impressed by Q’s lyrical prowess and the innovative freestyles he tacked onto the end of popular records. Before long, Shakim was playing Q’s homemade remixes in Atlanta’s hottest clubs. “Shakim kept telling me, ‘Yo, I’ve been hollering at JD and we’ve been having conversations about you,’” says Q. “Then one day I was in the club and I heard Shakim call me to the DJ booth. When I got there JD was in there. He was like, ‘What are you doing with yourself?’ I was like, ‘Trying to get it, here’s my number.’ He called me the next morning and I went into the studio with him the same night.”
In the summer of 2006, Q signed with So So Def/Virgin and appeared on a number of songs with A-list artists including, Fabolous’ “Make Me Better,” featuring Ne-Yo, “No One” by Alicia Keys, “Fine” by Mary J. Blige, and “Can’t Help But Wait” by Trey Songz. When Jermaine Dupri was named an executive at Island in early 2007, Q wasn’t sure how he would fit into JD’s new situation. “While he was getting established in the [Def Jam] building he kept telling me, ‘Be patient, I got you,’” says Q. “He told me that for a good year and a half straight. Then he called me one day and was like, ‘I might have a situation that would be good for you.’ We sat down and that’s when he told me about the Tag deal. He said it would be a good look for me and that I deserved it because I grind hard for what I want and that’s what the whole brand is about.”
Dubbing himself “The new breed of hip-hop,” Q is now ready to take over. With production on his debut album so far from No I.D. and Jermaine Dupri, Q promises his first LP will be a proper introduction to exactly who he is and what he stands for. “When I really put it together, I could be in the category of Rakim, Nas and Jay-Z,” he says. “Most rappers just be in the streets talking about selling drugs and stuff like that. I’m more into telling my story. Big was someone who was into telling his story, ‘Pac was a person who told his story, Jay is a person who tells his story.”
Thanks to the help of Jermaine Dupri, Q will not only get to rap about the world as he sees it, but he will also get to rap over the contagious club bangers executive producer JD is known and loved for. “JD told me, ‘Don’t stop grinding and being the person that you are,’” says Q. “’Just like you were determined to meet me and it took a minute to get it going and you was always in the studio, don’t stop now that you’ve got a deal. Just act like you ain’t got it. Stay hungry and be consistent.’ I told him, ‘Dawg, I’m gonna make you proud.’”
00:40 Single Ladies/ Q Remix – Q Da Kid
04:20 On a Mission – Q Da Kid
07:41 Major Playaz Radio with Q Da Kid
19:38 Untouchable – Q Da Kid
22:36 Jumpin/ Q Remix – Q Da Kid
25:49 Major Playaz Radio with Q Da Kid
40:18 Brooklyn – Q Da Kid
44:36 Major Playaz Radio with Q Da Kid
Check out this awesome live set from White Shoes & The Couples Company. This unique pop group traveled from their hometown of Jakarta, Indonesia to New York City to perform at CMJ 2008. Their itinerary included a Friday night pit stop at the BTR Studios for this exclusive live performance and interview with DJ Wynn!
00:00 White Shoes & The Couples Company
01:04 Today Is No Sunday
09:24 Roman Ketega
13:42 Aksi Kucing
21:01 Tentang Cita
24:28 Nothing To Fear
31:35 Windu & Defrina
Above: WhiteShoes & The Couples Company with DJ Wynn, DJ Latola, DJ Emily, and DJ RePete
Describing their music, the image that keeps coming back is that of dumping gasoline on a camp fire. The highly flammable liquid is going to blaze up and emit a powerful wave of heat, possibly singe some eyebrows, and roar like a starved puma. A bright flash will suddenly illuminate the surrounding woods, revealing previously unforeseen visual details in a matter of seconds. Then it will die down, and go back to that slowly devouring burn.
In other words, Crystal Antlers play at such a high level of intensity, one fears for their staying power (especially if their recent set at the Knitting Factory during CMJ week was any evidence).
The band’s bracing collision of psychedelia, prog, thrash and punk has caught the attention of many music heads, but it’s the fashion in which they incorporate these elements into a whole that smack of something special. For one thing, the crash cymbal never stops crashing. It’s as if drummer Kevin Stuart and percussionist Damian Edwards are running a smithy versus drumming, just straight-up pounding the metal in the hopes of getting that right shape. The effect is like a relentless exclamation point, forever calling attention to the crashing waves of reverb so prevalent within the Crystal Antlers sound. In a live setting however, it’s even more extreme, so it’s like an exclamation point and a question mark !?, which is something we writers use to visually express shock and disbelief.
Another key element is the extended soloing of guitarist Andrew King. The amount of fretwork he wields over the course of the band’s self-titled EP from Touch and Go is enough to make a jam band reference, which is not something this writer usually fancies. Yet, combined with everything else in the Crystal Antler crock pot, it makes perfect aural sense.
“Parting Song For The Torn Sky,” for example, revolves around a funky-ass bass line, which gets riffed over by King like aeroplanes dropping bombs on an apocalyptic landscape (with those ever-crashing cymbals ever-punctuating). By the time the first words are howled at a voice-cracking intensity, at the 2:19 mark, it feels as if we’ve been cowering in a shelter for weeks. Cowering from what? From “THE SKYYYYYYYYYY!” Singer/bassist Jonny Bell belts it out with such ferocity that blood must have flecked his saliva when it hit the pop filter in front of the microphone.
It’s trite, but there is a heavy influence of 60’s and surf rock on the EP, most notably via the funereal Hammond organ of Victor Rodriguez. Check it in “Vexation,” which speeds along at a breakneck, Doors-meets-Dick-Dale-in-a-crashing-dunebuggy speed. Meanwhile “Owl” has a certain Phantom of the Opera grandiosity to its organ parts, while “Until The Sun Dies (Part 2)” has bit of that Roddy Bottum style of synthesizer. Actually, one could easily make the argument that Rodriguez sets the tone for the entire EP. (He certainly did during the band’s performance at The Knitting Factory).
To describe the sound of the EP as a whole, it’s hard not to get clichéd Vietnam War imagery out of one’s mind. Whether it’s helicopters speeding over jungle landscapes or hippified soldiers chopping through bamboo en route to the next ambush, it all comes to mind. Perhaps we have Time Life books, Oliver Stone and Francis Ford Coppala to blame for that, but still… A lot of cats are going to want to blaze up a tree listening to Crystal Antlers.
The crown jewel of the band’s self-titled EP is “A Thousand Eyes;” a two-part song that abruptly switches tempo between the verses and the choruses, like a speeding car on the Autobhan suddenly slowing down to take in the scenery. It’s a scenery that takes only two ears to absorb, but a few replays and a thousand eyes might be required to notice all the subtle nuances. Yes, the Hammond organ is present, as are rolling waves of crashing cymbals, beautiful riffing from King and the rasped howl of Bell, whose excellent voice is easy (unfortunately) to take for granted amidst all the other fantastic stuff going on. His harmony during the latter half of “A Thousand Eyes” is one of the best moments on the EP, set to tom-toms and a slowly-building crescendo to the chorus. For all you lovers of melodic breakdowns, this song is what old hands will refer to as “The Joint,” and it’s probably the best example of Crystal Antlers nailing their art at 100% perfect.
But, this might not all come across via the studio recording. One reviewer noted the rather palpable difference between the band’s live set and the band’s sound on the EP. He was right. Though neither are to be missed, the live Crystal Antlers show is something else entirely. Standing front and center, it’s like being strapped to the prow of a Coast Guard Cutter going 50 knots into the wind. Six little bones in your ear drums will vibrate in a pleasant, new way, though it may not be an entirely safe, new way.
Yeah, it will tear your face off, like that scene in Poltergeist. And like the special effects team that worked on that classic Spielberg flicker, Crystal Antlers will not use CGI. This is that real, billion-times more satisfying use of raw, moldable materials, which is refreshing to hear in the current blitz of entirely synthesizer-based bands.
Now, don’t get me wrong; the EP is a must-have piece of music, definitely one for year-end “Best of” lists. It’s a very hard EP to stop listening to. But, having seen the live show, it’s blatantly obvious that the band takes things to – how did Phillip Anselmo say it – “A new level of confidence and power,” when performing live.
Of course, how long can the band maintain such a beast of a live show? Let’s hope Crystal Antlers can wrangle it into a long, slow burn, versus a brief flash in the pan. Furthermore, if you can, send the band protein shakes, bananas, and packets of Emergen-C. To keep tearing the faces off of fans the way they have been, they are going to need it.
Expect the band’s full length in June of 2009!
12/05/08 – Echo, Los Angeles, CA
12/26/08 – The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA
01/26/09 – Luminaire, London, United Kingdom
01/27/09 – Borderline, London, United Kingdom
01/28/09 – Lexington, London, United Kingdom
01/30/09 – ABC, Glasgow, United Kingdom
01/31/09 – The Pavillion, Belfast, Ireland
02/01/09 – Roisin Dubh, Galway, Ireland
02/02/09 – Whelans, Dublin, Ireland
02/05/09 – Bloomsbury Bowling Alley, London, United Kingdom
02/06/09 – Muziek-o-droom, Hasselt, Belgium
02/07/09 – 4AD, Diksmuide, Belgium
02/09/09 – 59:01:00, Munich, Germany
02/10/09 – Steinbruch, Duisburg, Germany
02/11/09 – Hafenklang, Hamburg, Germany
02/12/09 – Loppen, Copenhagen, Denmark
02/13/09 – Debaser, Stockholm, Sweden
02/14/09 – Debaser, Malmo, Sweden
02/16/09 – Magnet Club, Berlin, Germa
02/17/09 – Sonic Ballroom, Cologne, Germany
02/18/09 – La Laiterie, Strasbourg, France
02/19/09 – L’Aeronef, Lille, France
02/20/09 – Flech D’or, Paris, France
02/21/09 – Son’Art, Bordeaux, France
02/23/09 – Sonic, Lyon, France
03/02/09 – Le Romandie, Lausanne, Switzerland
03/04/09 – Botanique, Brussels, Belgium
03/05/09 – Vera, Groningen, Netherlands
03/06/09 – Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands
03/07/09 – Ekko, Utrecht, Netherlands
03/08/09 – Rotown, Rotterdam, Netherlands
03/10/09 – White Heat, London, United Kingdom
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– Matt Lehtola
I saw Wilderness Wednesday night at Cake Shop on the first stop of their US tour, and I have to say I’ve never met a band with such an appropriate name. Playing together in one form or another since 1997, Wilderness is a post-punk experimental rock band. Their incredibly dreary sound seems to fit the apocalyptic feeling that’s been seeping into our lives since the words “sub-prime mortgage crisis” were first uttered back in ’07. Part-time art rockers (they worked with artist Charles Long to produce a piece for the recent Whitney Biennial), this band has been channeling the “end-of-unsustainable-American-capitalist-lifestyles” vibe long before our happy, Clinton-era 1990s selves foresaw what was coming. The current state of affairs makes their haunting tunes all the more applicable and simultaneously uncomfortable – it truly felt like the band was leading us through a wilderness, and one that I didn’t necessarily want to be led through.
From the moment Wilderness took the stage, it was difficult to define them. The band has a quality of feeling very plain – like boiled plain chicken you eat when you’re on a really serious diet. It’s the most basic dish you could possibly eat; there’s nothing disguising the meat and giving it classy or trashy connotations. It’s not fried, it’s not grilled, it’s not seared with a ginger-soy vinaigrette. Wilderness are not hipsters, they’re not showmen, they’re not rockers – the band just plays music that they really, really care about. Frontman James Johnson exemplifies what works about this band’s straight-forward approach. Though I’ve read in older reviews that he puts on quite a show interacting with the audience, the Johnson I saw delivered raw, powerful vocals and only moved along to the music as he saw fit. It didn’t seem like he was putting on a show. It did seem like he was actually feeling the music and moving how it moved him (and he was still entertaining to watch). Isn’t that what we hope live music is in its purist form?
Johnson’s voice is also what saves the band from languishing in derivative musical obscurity, merely left reaching for the likes of Fugazi guitar sounds or even the experimental noise-scapes of some Mogwai-type bands. His voice is so bleak, depressing, and full of sadness that it brings what would otherwise be a lackluster post-punk noise project some cohesion and interest. The timbre of his voice is also surprising. It has a guttural quality that clashes nicely with often-bright guitar riffs. And while you can’t make out the lyrics, it’s clear that they’re about weighty topics. Their myspace page even boldly claims that one main theme of the band is “living through the end of capitalism.” Somehow, this message comes through the experimental sounds loud and clear.
Maybe it’s this bleakness about America that translates through Johnson’s vocals that ultimately defined my experience with Wilderness at Cake Shop. While I appreciated the band for what they were giving the audience, I didn’t necessarily enjoy it. There were incredibly beautiful moments, but the vague discomfort of standing in the basement venue did not make these moments worth the payoff. I’d almost like to see what they could do in a more traditional song-writing mode. The band was at their best when they weren’t lolling in guitar/bass riffs for several minutes. When Johnson’s vocals carried the swirling walls of sound to their peak, the result was nothing short of gorgeous. The highest point of the night was the last song, “Strand The Test Of Time” off of their new album (k)no(w)here. All parts seemed to work in sync as Johnson’s despondent cries of “here comes the new-law merchants” were one of the closest things we got to a chorus all evening. Their experimental sound definitely delivers a message, but I was left wondering if a band with such a clear message wouldn’t do better delivering it in a slightly more conventional, clear-cut form.
Nov 22 2008 at Floristree in Baltimore, MD
Nov 23 2008 at Brillobox w/ San Serac in Pittsburgh, PA
Nov 24 2008 at Beachland Tavern w/ San Serac in Cleveland, OH
Nov 25 2008 at Schuba’s in Chicago, IL
Nov 26 2008 at Jakes Nightclub w/ Tammar, San Sera in Bloomington, IN
Nov 29 2008 at Harvest Records w/ San Serac in Asheville, NC
Nov 30 2008 at The Earl w/ San Serac & Sleep Creep in Atlanta, GA
Dec 1 2008 at The Bottletree w/ San Serac in Birmingham, AL
Dec 3 2008 at The Mink w/ San Serac in Houston, TX
Dec 4 2008 at Emo’s w/ San Serac in Austin, TX
Dec 6 2008 at Solar Culture in Tuscon, AZ
Dec 7 2008 at Modified in Phoenix, AZ
Dec 8 2008 at The Casbah in San Diego, CA
Dec 9 2008 at The Echo in Los Angeles, CA
Dec 10 2008 at Crepe Place in Santa Cruz, CA
Dec 11 2008 at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, CA
Dec 12 2008 at The Lil’ Red in Arcata, CA
Dec 15 2008 at Rotture in Portland, OR