Monthly Archives: July 2009

Live Studio: Annie & The Beekeepers

Check out this in studio performance from Annie & The Beekeepers, recorded earlier this week at Shelter Island Sound in Manhattan. Their latest release, Squid Hell Sessions is available now. The band joins Keegan Dewitt at Union Hall in Park Slope Brooklyn tonight!   LISTEN HERE!

Upcoming Shows:

7/31 @ Union Hall w/Keegan Dewitt – Brooklyn,NY
8/3 @ Galaxy Hut – Arlington, VA
8/6 @ Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar – Charlottesville, VA
8/7 @ SounDoug Studio – Richmond, VA

00:00 Annie & The Beekeepers
01:24 Again & Again
06:59 Interview Part 1
09:19 Next to Me
13:06 Like A Dog
16:57 Interview Part 2
19:26 Pirate’s Life
23:57 Sad Boy
27:39 Interview Part 3
31:35 Dirty Laundry
36:03 Take It Back


Live Studio: Phil and the Osophers

Phil & The Osophers recently visited us to perform songs from their new record Parallelo and chat with me about what they’ve been up to. Check them out at Union Hall in Brooklyn, NY on September 9 (with Princeton). Enjoy!

You can listen to the entire show right here.

00:00 Phil & The Osophers on BTR Live Studio
01:13 Pineapple
05:19 We Have All Summer
08:50 Interview Part 1
12:25 Staring Down The Sun
15:21 Third World America
21:12 Interview Part 2
23:38 Uses of a Man
27:32 Cheap Living
32:17 High Art
36:03 Interview Part 3
40:43 Pretend Song
44:29 Thanks

Ninja Turtles Impression…..

The Gay Blades live at 1982

(photo by Joel Didriksen)

The starting line hath proved hard to find for this review of The Gay Blades, who played at 1982 in Gainesville, Florida on Tuesday night. Beside the overall sentiment of “Yes, that was a bloody great show,” a proper entry point/segue has yet to reveal itself. So, we shall first dispense with the facts.

The duo, hailing from equal parts New York and New Jersey, is comprised of Clark Westfield (AKA James Wells-guitar/vocals ) and Puppy Mills (AKA Quinn English-drums/vocals). Alongside PersonL and Ace Enders, The Gay Blades are currently in the midst of a hefty, cross-coast jaunt about the United States, the “BBQ Across America Tour,” it’s called. This good-eating musical roadtrip booted off on June 30th at the Marquis in Denver, Colorado, and has already plugged into power strips at The Knitting Factory in Los Angeles, El Corazon in Seattle and The Max in Dallas.

1982 in Gainesville, Florida was not on the original BBQ menu. July 21st was supposed to be a day off in the Sunshine State, between dates in Jacksonville and Hotlanta. The Gay Blades and PersonL, however, decided to diss rest and oversized sunglasses at the beach in favor of zest and overpowered amplifiers at 1982.

So local acts Paint Me Irrational and Bearstronaut (another bear-related band name, for real?) were unexpectedly joined by two nationally-touring bands at 1982 on Tuesday night, making for a fat, four-band-billing. And, in this case, the three bands not called The Gay Blades were suddenly faced with a fearsome feat – How are we supposed to go on after those guys?

Like The White Stripes, The Gay Blades are but a drummer and a singing guitarist, though this bare-bones duo is all the same sex, and with matching beards to boot. Guitarist/singer Westfield is quite possibly one of the best frontmen around at the moment, I say with nary a pause or stutter. I learned after the show that his father is a revivalist preacher, and it goes without saying that a lot of that stage swagger and dramatic, demagogue-ish command was in full effect at 1982.

Between songs he was dropping stories, soliloquies and one-liners, mixed with deft antics and overly dramatic body language, so there was no down-time.  Westfield held the crowd utterly rapt, with a stentorian voice and punch-line timing. You couldn’t recover and process, because the show kept on happening. Whether it was another song, or another banter between songs, it didn’t matter; both were so good, you didn’t want to blink. The songs themselves, raw and loud, delivered with shivered gusto, were just as rad. “Hey She Say” and “O Shot” had the black-walled box of 1982 bouncing merrily about – it was an all-ages show and the kids was riled up.

At one point Westfield did a long, rousing speech about how The Gay Blades had come to Gainesville, whilst drummer Puppy Mills pounded out a steady, rattling roll. The man must be given credit for doing a little local research and noting the surrounding interstate geography. He weaved a constantly-rising-action tale of driving along the boring highway, before reaching a high point (he may have said mesa), and seeing Gainesvile, massive on the horizon. “It filled the windshield,” Westfield  marveled aloud, and he brandished his guitar from the neck with one hand for effect, as if dangling some hapless fool over a cliff.

Bruce Springsteen does a similar thing at his shows, just getting all fire and baked bricks o’ brimstone up about the gospel of music and the church of rock and roll and all that hallelujah. That’s what The Gay Blades were bringing to 1982, although the denomination might be more of what the band themselves refer to as “trash pop.” People in the crowd were hanging on to Westfield’s every word, and if he had suddenly decided to holster his guitar, grab someone up front and bellow, “Be gone, evil spirit!” and then throw the dude aside in triumph, it would have been fine.

The best part of the show, however, was the way in which Westfield introduced his band, repeatedly throughout the set (but never annoyingly so). He would intone, with a deep, Charlton Heston-esque grandiosity, “We are The Gay Blades!” This sounded as Westfield was, in fact, standing on a clifftop with his fist raised, like a general overlooking his vast army, bellowing, “To Arms! To Arms!”

The tell-tale moment came, like it always does, when the band finished. Muddled up in the queue, trying to get outside, one could hear snippets of post-show palaver. “Wow, that was insane,” or “That’s the best show I’ve seen in a long time.” One guy remarked, “that’s it, right?” For real, after a show like that, one needs to take a moment and reboot the senses from dumbfoundedness.

It’s always energizing to see a show that really wallops, but it’s also nice to know that everybody else was feeling the same way. Such feeling of community betwixt  folk, all kindred spirits for a short moment, marks many a great show. The Gay Blades wrought one of those, sho’ nuff, and Gainesville was better for it. The fact that the duo, alongside PersonL, unleashed such a beast on their day off, was even better. One wonders what The Gay Blades are like during the work week…


Jul 24 2009 at Sonar Club Stage in Baltimore, MD
Jul 25 2009 at Crocodile Rock Cafe in Allentown, PA
Jul 26 2009 at Mohawk Place in Buffalo, NY
Jul 28 2009 at Webster Underground in Hartford, CT
Jul 29 2009 at Harpers Ferry in Allston, MA
Jul 30 2009 at School of Rock in South Hackensack, NJ
Jul 31 2009 at TLA in Philadelphia, PA
Aug 1 2009 at Harmony Grange in Wilmington, DE
Aug 9 2009 at WZNE Pary In the Park in Rochester, NY
Aug 19 2009 at Paradiso in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Aug 20 2009 at Rotown in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Aug 21 2009 at Pukkelpop Festival in Hasselt, Belgium
Aug 22 2009 at V Festival in Stafford, UK
Aug 22 2009 at V Festival in Stafford, UK
Aug 23 2009 at V Festival in Chelmsford, UK
Aug 27 2009 at Circolo – Kiss This Club Night in Milan, Italy
Aug 28 2009 at Razzmatazz – Pop Bar in Barcelona, Spain

– Matt Lehtola

A Brand New Nights of Our Lives: Summer Jobs

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. Here are some of the best!

You can listen to this amazing show here!
All of these performances were recorded at the UCB Theater in NYC.
Hosted by David Martin.
Theme: Summer Jobs

00:00 Nights of Our Lives Intro – David Martin
08:50 Jon Gabrus
27:20 David Martin
29:09 Anthony Atamanuik
46:00 David Martin
46:50 Noah Garfinkel
59:50 David Martin
60:35 Curtis Gwinn
84:17 Nights of Our Lives Outro – David Martin

Artist of the Week: Bibio

The air is like a sweat milkshake, but the smell of roasting meat, freshly-cut grass and water falling from the sky, well, it carries on over to the porch, where we sit and palaver with our friends. The daylight goes on forever in the summer, as does the conversation and condensation. We refill our slippery drinks, watch our shadows grow long, and look for lightning bugs in the twilight. They blink here and there, illuminating tendrils of cigarette smoke wafting away, like some slowly waving hand.

Good friends are visiting from afar, and they speak of stories from afar. Snippets of other lives, adventures and relationships pepper the air like cartoon speech bubbles, brightly outlined (and in strange fonts). The back door bangs open and bangs close as people wander in and out, trading waves of humidity for icy blasts of conditioned air. It’s a right fine summer gathering, and as a thick funnel of barbecue smoke skewers up into the sky, someone says, “Let’s put on some music!”

The penultimate moment strikes.

What options there are, and far more wrong ones than right ones. A poor choice could kill the party, but a wise choice could make it more than just a summer barbecue. Suddenly the iPod/turntable looks intimidating. Once you make that decision and hit play, everyone will turn and look at you, for good or ill. They will know what music you played, and they will remember if it sucked.

What to do?

Well, there are two (mostly) fail-safe options: Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Bob Marley’s Legend. Both have become timeless house party albums, and everybody knows them. They bridge generations, and seem to have become relevant to all walks of life. Pick one of those venerable landmarks, and people might actually contribute money for a new keg when the host goes around asking for donations. As soon as “Wanna Be Startin Somethin” kicks in, you can dance confidently away from the iPod, mission accomplished.

However, if you have neither one, Bibio’s debut for Warp Records, Ambivalence Avenue, might do the trick. Yes, it’s only been out for a few weeks, and no, it has not remained relevant for decades. The creator has not invented awesome new dances, nor has he become the vanguard of an entire genre of music. As a matter of fact, Stephen Wilkinson, the man behind Bibio, fancies fishing.

But after listening to this album almost every day for the past month, and getting great reactions after playing it at multiple house parties and inside multiple hooptys, I really can’t think of a better way to introduce its importance. For me, Ambivalence Avenue has become the soundtrack for the summer of 2009. It’s the kind of record that grows, revealing multiple layers and strata with every listen. But at the same time, it’s instantly gratifying, and that is key.

In general, most of the 12 tracks on Ambivalence Avenue feature funky beats, extremely melodic guitar and exceptional production, all filtered through a grocery aisle’s worth of flavors, brands and colors. Some songs are more on the glitchy, classic Warp Records side of the fence (“S’Vive,” “Fire Ant,” “Sugarette”), while others are just simple harmony, guitar and keyboard (“The Palm Of Your Wave,” “All The Flowers,” “Abrasion”). Naturally, the best results come when Bibio weaves these two together with some sort of unknown magic (“Ambivalence Avenue,” “Jealous of Roses,” “Haikuesque”).

A great example is “Lovers Carvings’.” A classic, two-part song, the first 01:27 is nothing but Bibio playing guitar. By the sound, he is musing on something lovely, and it absolutely reeks of cheery thoughts, like a summer spent barefoot, tanned and young. Then a simple beat comes in, composed of a very muted cowbell, a muffled clap mixed with finger-snap, and a shaking shaker. That might not be the exact recipe, but it sure gives the right, light-hearted impression. Once Bibio starts singing over it, as if skipping down a lane and picking flowers, the mood is complete. He kills the lyrics toward the end, opting for a bunch of do-dah doo’s and bah-bump bahs, whilst a 70’s-dipped Zappish effect warbles winkily in the background. Ice cream trucks the world over should be blasting it.

Furthermore, there seems to be a song for every mood, whether it’s the straight-up porno bounce of “Jealous of Roses” or the haunting, hold-your-breath emotion in “The Palm Of Your Wave.” The latter might just be the best song on the record, because when Bibio sings “Ohhhhhhhhh, this moment,” a man could cry and not be ashamed. But if you really want a hint at how many solid aural pleasures and treasures Ambivalence Avenue holds, just listen to the album sampler circulating about the Internet.

I hadn’t heard it until just recently, because I’ve been too busy listening to the whole album. I’m usually not a fan of album samplers, but after digesting the record 47 minutes at a time for the past month, I thought I’d give it a go, you know, and see how Bibio cut and pasted 47 minutes into a 4 minute snippet.

Needless to say, listening to the sampler was quite a shock. It really hammered the quality factor home – almost ridiculously so. All those amazing moments, all on one album, all the work of one dude, good gravy, really?

So, buy Bibio’s record now, and enjoy the summer while it lasts. Once you’ve sealed the memory in your mind (and music is the best marker), you can revisit the summer whenever you want. That’s how good a stroll down Ambivalence Avenue is.

Link to this article:

– Matt Lehtola

Live Studio: Wheat

Check out this in studio performance and interview from rockers WHEAT. After a decade of experiencing the highs and the lows of the music industry, the band has put together a wonderful new album, released this summer by The Rebel Group. The band joined me at Dubway Studios earlier this summer to perform songs from White Ink Black Ink and chat with me about Wheat news.

You can hear the show right here!

CD Release show: 8/1 @ Great Scott – Allston, MA

00:00 Wheat
00:56 My Warning
04:00 Interview Part 1
07:04 Hott
09:36 Changes
13:16 Interview Part 2
17:50 El Sincero
20:46 Livin’ To Die
24:03 Music Is Drugs
29:53 Interview Part 3
31:52 If Everything Falls Together
34:54 Interview part 4
35:38 Baby In My Way
37:44 Thanks

Artist of the Week: Ty Segall

Ty Segall may be relatively new on the scene, but he’s also a veteran. This San Francisco rocker has been pulling duty in San Francisco bands for several years now.  Whether he’s been drumming, playing guitar, or front-manning, he’s been a part of The Perverts, Party Fowl, The Traditional Fools, Sic Alps, and Epsilons. Phew. Seems like even though he’s only put one album as Ty Segall before this week, he’s definitely been around the block. His latest album, Lemons, came out last week to good reviews, and we’ve been spinning it like crazy here on BTR.

is chock-full of crunchy, garage-rock lo-fi sound. But unlike some of his peers in the now fully-emerged California lo-fi movement, his music is consistently sprinkled with catchy hooks and choruses, worthy of the 1960s garage rock he is so influenced by. One of the few influences listed on his Myspace is the proto-punk band, The Troggs, best known for penning “Wild Thing.” The Troggs, however, were really one of the first true garage rock and roll bands, and played simple, soulful, dirty rock music that was just plain good. They’re a clear influence for Ty Segall, and an interesting one in comparison to the rest of his new brethren in the lo-fi class of the late 2000s. Instead of reveling in the punk sounds of the 70s and turning them into something sloppier and somehow new (Vivian Girls, Dum Dum Girls, Nodzzz, etc.), he goes back to the source, making simple, guttural 60s-tinged tunes that stand on their own songwriting.

Take the ninth song on Lemons, for example. “Die Tonight” begins with a very familiar chord progression that could fit well anywhere from a Beach Boys’ to MC5 tune. The vocals then go on to chant over the repetitive, heavy guitar “you’re gonna die tonight,” simply mimicking the guitar part note for note. It’s simple, but incredibly effective. That’s how I’d ultimately have to describe Segall, and especially this new album, Lemons. He keeps it simple, but to brilliant effect.

In the past, Ty Segall has performed as a one-man-band, playing whatever instruments he was able to manage by himself. Apparently it was a bit gimmicky, which doesn’t represent his music at all. Luckily, he’s added a few musicians to play along with him now. He’ll certainly be playing a few shows in support of his new release, even though there’s only one scheduled at press time. If the rocking simplicity of his recorded music is any indication, Ty Segall must put on one hell of a show. Keep your ears peeled for more from this brand new up-and-coming artist on BTR!


7/26 – Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA

Link to this article:

– Madalyn Baldanzi