Monday, December 19, 2016

Twelve Records and One Reissue I Liked This Year

Bald Eagle - Clean Living (Self Released)

The Conformists - Divorce (Aagoo Records)

Kyle Craft - Dolls of Highland (Sub Pop)

Fake Limbs - Matronly (Don Giovanni Records)

Helms Alee - Stilcide (Sargent House)

Jorge Arana Trio - Mammoth (Haymaker Records)

Maple Stave - V (Comedy Minus One)

Multicult - Position Remote (Reptilian Records)

Parlour - Self Titled - (Temporary Residence)

Russian Circles - Guidance (Sargent House)

The Rutabega - Unreliable Narrator (Comedy Minus One)

We Are The Asteroid - We Are The Asteroid (Self Released)

Reissue of the Year
Dazzling Killmen - Face of Collapse (Skin Graft Records)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Shellac in St. Louis. Again. Twelve Years Later

     Shellac last played the St. Louis region on June 17, 2004 at the Collinsville, IL VFW hall. It was a make up date for a show originally scheduled for October 23, 2002 at a different VFW hall - The Fairview Heights (IL) branch, if memory serves me. Clearly, the show was postponed. Drummer Todd Trainer injured his back, OR so the story goes. I was bummed. Now I'll never get to see Shellac. Oh the woe.
     At the time, seeing Shellac of North America was truly the last of my "I HAVE TO SEE THIS BAND BEFORE I DIE" shows. In the twelve years since that day, I've seen Shellac on two other occasions in Chicago. Hell Night 2016 will be three as Shellac returns to St. Louis City proper. The lesson of bucket list bands is that even if you miss out the first time, chances are decent, if you are willing to hop a train, you will get another chance.
     I wrote a review of that show and while I own the review and find it more or less accurate, it does illustrate a couple things about aging.
     One is how we interpret things as a twenty-nine year old versus how we see things pushing forty-two.  There is a certain overreaction, a mild misinterpretation if you will. The folks at the VFW hall in Collinsville did not screw Shellac by cutting their last song short. They cut their last song short, because the liquor laws said that they had to. We should be grateful that they allowed the fine dudes in The Conformists to book the show. Not that they cut the song 'Copper' by thirty seconds.
     In addition, the hero worship, the elevation of dudes who have graced your town with their presence is a little overstated. I like Shellac, you might even say love, but what Steve Albini thinks is not word nor gold. He is a micro-celebrity, who content aggregators monitor for headlines, but he is just a dude -- who taxes do NOT pay my salary.
     So WELCOME BACK Shellac. I will be the dude in the Bob Weston costume. JAZZ HANDS!!!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Fallacies of The Vodka Bar (or Breakfast at First Watch)

In my experience, when beloved music venues close, be it because of shitty landlords, domestic strife or whatever, what follows rarely succeeds. Property owners get it in their head that it’s the location that made the previous spot successful, not the tenants and their patrons.  They get the idea that if the building was rehabbed into martini bar or an upscale Italian restaurant, that they can up the rent and make even more money. Most times, it backfires as a stream of failed ventures follows.  Food is fickle, whereas live music recycles forever. It is a sustainable model that as long as the quality of bands remain high, the people will continue to come. As does the loyalty and the life long relationships. It is a goddamned shame when some people just don't get this and how it benefits a scene and a city. They usually trot out the same bullshit reasons of why they want to try something else, but they usually are back pocket reasons that have existed for ten years and will always be there. The bottom line is that it’s all about money and the short sighted mentality of reaching for the mytic more instead of sticking with the steady and the consistent. All you can do is hope that in the end, the good guys move to a spot down the road and continue to succeed while the blind get to manage an empty store front six months from now. Or, if you’re into playing the long game, you lose track of how many places have failed at end of this decade.  I honestly don’t know the specific reasons, but I’ve seen this rodeo a few times before. Til' we meet again recordBar 1.0.  Winter is the shit season for live music anyhow.