Happy holidays from the staff at Radish White Icicle. We've got ideas that we actually plan on writing down and posting online in the months ahead. Things started off strong and then the holidays happened, people got busy with their day job or reviewing restaurants in Chicago or finishing up with college. But yeah, next year, we plan on being your twelfth or thirteenth source for independent music news. Or something like that. Cheers.
Sleater-Kinney played BJ's in Fredonia back in December of 2004. The band had been in town during November recording at Tarbox Studios. These songs would become their album The Woods. This was their first album on Sub Pop after several years of releases on Kill Rock Stars. It would also turn out to be their last album, as the band went on hiatus in 2006.
The show happened on a snowy Thursday night. It was December 16th, which was probably the last day before the college closed for winter break. There was a brief power outage in the downtown area at about 10:00 PM, which could have jeopardized the whole evening. Luckily the lights came back on and things could go on as planned.
Since Sleater-Kinney had just finished a new album, the BJ's show was a tune up for a New Year's Eve concert at Madison Square Garden. They were opening for Wilco and the Flaming Lips. Every so often a band that records at Tarbox will play a show at BJ's. This has happened before with Mogwai, Phantom Planet, Longwave and MGMT.
There was a good turnout for the show. It wasn't the most packed that I've ever seen the bar, but Sleater-Kinney certainly weren't playing to the bartender and the walls. The crowd was supportive because they were hearing new songs many months before they were officially released.
I'm not a huge Sleater-Kinney fan and at the time of the show I only knew their One Beat album. The then new songs sounded pretty good. The band was solid and put a lot of energy into the show. I guess there were some complaints from long time fans that their favorite older songs didn't get played, but that seems to be a moot point six years after the fact.
And that's the story behind another show in Fredonia from some time ago.
1. Sleater-Kinney were the only band that played. There was no opening act.
2. In going through my old photos, the walls used to be a lot cleaner at BJ's.
Drainolith will be at Soundlab in Buffalo on Monday, November 22nd. The band is the solo project of Alexander Moskos, guitar player for AIDS Wolf. Moskos uses guitar, synthesizers and electronics to create lo-fi noisescapes. He is doing a short tour around the Lake Erie region:
Nov 22 - Buffalo, NY at Soundlab
Nov 23-25 - sesh in Cleveland
Nov 26 - Cleveland at Cool Ranch
Nov 27 - Toronto at Taranga
Nov 28 - Montreal at Cagibi with Emily and AJ, IDMTheftAble.
Downer, Jacobian and UVB76 are also scheduled to perform.
Soundlab is located at 110 Pearl Street. The doors open at 9:00 PM.
For more info:
Note: The flash going off in the video is from my camera.
Taken from the band's myspace:
"The Progress was a band from 2001 to 2008. We were four grade school friends who learned how to play music (and our instruments) together. In our lifespan, we wrote two EP's and a LP. We spent the majority of our time as a band winning the hearts of guys in their 20's and getting booked on metal shows that we didn't make any sense playing. Live and learn".
Counterfit was a four piece band that started in 1999 and broke up in 2004. They released 2(?) EP's (On The Downside, and From Finish to Starting Line), one full length (Super Amusement Machine For Your Exciting Heart), and toured forever. They were on Negative Progression Records, home to another band and future post, The Progress.
I guess what amazes me about Counterfit is how polished they are, and how much they bring to the table with so little. What I mean is, they don't really use a lot of intricate guitar leads or complicated instrumentation. Instead they take basic chords and delicate picked sections and somehow manage to combine it with precision and energy. A few of my friends and I joke that Counterfit is most impressive when they're not playing anything. Their stops, starts and transitions are seamless, without compromising songwriting or melody like some technical/mathy stuff tends to suffer from. If you're a fan of Mock Orange, Park, or No Knife, check this band out:
Unfortunately, like many bands, Counterfit's largest tour (with Recover and Finch in 2003) was also their last. They released a DVD/CD in 2007 entitled "Managing the Details of an Undertaking" documenting the tour, the entire farewell show, tons of unreleased songs (including a cover of "Million" by Jawbreaker), and old performances.
Bass player Justin Rodriguez and Guitar player Dan Reed both have current solo projects, while brothers Marc and Adam Allen started Helen Earth Band, who happen need your help with a van! If you want to see them, toss them a few bones or pick up their album Our Own Ghost City. It rules.
Helen Earth Band - "(We All) Talk With Knives"
Counterfit - "From Finish to Starting Line"
It's probably a good idea to explain a little about the background of this website to provide a degree of context for anybody who is reading that doesn't know us personally. As it stands right now, Radish White Icicle is the product of three people: Matt, Dylan and myself. It couldn't exist without the town of Fredonia, NY. Fredonia is a small college town about an hour southwest of Buffalo. The Bills used to have their training camp here, if that helps you find it on a map. Matt and Dylan met while attending SUNY Fredonia. I got to know them from this being a small town and having a mutual interest in many of the same bands. Matt finished up college in May and moved to Chicago. Dylan is in the final stages of getting his degree. I'm the older local guy who tells them what albums from Chavez and Guided By Voices they need or that I saw the Archers Of Loaf back in 1997.
All of that brings us to Pond. Dylan posted their video for "Spoke" on Facebook a couple weeks ago. I was like, "Wow. Pond. There's a name from the past. They played Fredonia with the Screaming Trees and Poster Children in 1993 or 1994." After digging through my tickets stubs, I found the one for the show. It would have happened my freshman year of college at Allegheny College. I came home often because there weren't many shows going on there and Fredonia has always had some degree of a relevant music scene.
This tour featured the Screaming Trees, Poster Children and Pond. The Screaming Trees were riding their big MTV hit song "Nearly Lost You." It almost seems hard to believe today that heavy airplay of a video could make or break a band. Nowadays you have to hope your video goes "viral" on YouTube. And that just sounds lame. Things like that along with the radio and actual written press coverage mattered. I'm not saying that to be judgmental, but merely to point out the differences. Both the past and present have their positives and negatives without either one necessarily being better or worse.
As for the show, I don't remember all that much about it. The Screaming Trees were awful. I wasn't familiar with Pond or Poster Children, but I seem to recall that Pond were the best band of the night. My friend Dan bought their self titled debut album on Sub Pop and I taped it from him. (Side A of the tape has L7's Smell The Magic, in case you were wondering.)
I listened to the Pond tape again recently out of curiosity. They definitely fit the Sub Pop "grunge" sound of the time. It's a style that I have a rather low tolerance for and I generally find anything grunge to be about the most painful thing ever to listen to. Their album is decent and veers more toward the indie/post-hardcore side of things. After checking out their website, I'm sort of inclined to investigate the Poster Children's back catalog a little.
Now everyone knows some background about this here website and about one show that happened in Fredonia a long ass time ago.
Screaming Trees (I won't feel bad if you don't watch this.):
If you look at the bottom of the ticket, the location given is the Campus Center. This is the building now named the Williams Center. Since I grew up in Fredonia and spent a lot of time at the university because my dad worked there, I will always call the building the Campus Center out of force of habit.
I saw this Athens, Georgia band at the Supernaut Booking Pagan Christmas Party at Soundlab in Buffalo back in December of 2006. They were opening for Zombi. I don't remember any other bands at the party and I think they just had some of their friends spinning records. I went to the show on a whim since I didn't have anything else to do on a Saturday night. I was armed with only a minimal knowledge of Maserati based on two songs off a Hello Sir Records compilation that also featured Cinemechanica and We Versus The Shark. I knew they were instrumental and fit nicely in the realm of post-rock stuff that I like, so I figured why not check it out.
As usual this is one of those "I'm glad I went" types of stories because Maserati were absolutely amazing live. They played the bulk of songs off their then unreleased album Inventions for the New Season. The stage was bathed in blue light from white lights placed under Jerry Fuch's clear, blue drum set. Not liking the standard crappy red stage lights and being a fan of the color blue, it looked awesome. The show started with guitarists Coley Dennis and Matt Cherry taking the stage first and playing the intro to "Inventions". Eventually Fuchs and bass player Chris McNeal joined them to fill out and finish the song. From that point it was on and Maserati delivered an impressive batch of Krautrock influenced instrumentals. They ended with "Show Me The Season." Dennis and Cherry left the stage to let Fuchs and McNeal wrap it up in a reversal of how the show began.
Unfortunately, there is a major element of tragedy to the Maserati story. In November of 2009, Jerry Fuchs accidentally fell to his death trying to get out of a stuck elevator in Brooklyn. Fuchs also played drums with Turing Machine, !!!, LCD Soundsystem and the Juan Maclean. He wasn't always the drummer for Maserati and after listening to their older albums, it was clear to hear what he brought to the band. He upped the driving rock content considerably. At the same time, the delay heavy guitars remained intact to provide texture, atmosphere and melody. It was a perfect fit.
Maserati's new album is called Pyramid of the Sun and will be available from Temporary Residence on 11/09. There is also a limited edition 12" called Pyramid of the Moon that is available now. The band will be on tour in November:
Nov 11 - IOTA, Arlington, VA w/ Psychic Paramount, Steve Moore
Nov 12 - Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA w/ Psychic Paramount, Steve Moore
Nov 13 - Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY w/ Psychic Paramount, Steve Moore
Nov 14 - Lily's, New Haven, CT w/ Psychic Paramount, Steve Moore
Nov 15 - The Middle East, Cambridge, MA w/ Psychic Paramount
Nov 16 - Garfield Artwork, Pittsburgh, PA w/ Parlour
Nov 17 - Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL w/ Parlour
Nov 18 - Zanzabar, Louisville, KY w/ Parlour
Nov 19 - The Earl, Atlanta, GA
Nov 20 - The 40watt, Athens, GA
1. A.E. Paterra of Zombi is drumming with Maserati for the tour.
2. Turing Machine's Zwei is one of my favorite albums ever for listening to while driving.
3. Incidentally, Cinemechanica's song "The Professor Burns Vegas" from that Hello Sir comp is one of the best tunes ever for those that are into the good old version of emo and not the mall vampire version that haunts us today.
For more info:
A Wonderful is the stage name used by a dude from Rochester named Tim Wilson.
First off, a note on pronunciation. My friends introduced his music to me as "Ay Wonderful" which makes less sense, phonetically speaking, than how one would pronounce it as the middle part of "What A Wonderful World." Either way, it's been a few years since I saw him play live so I can't remember how he said it. I'm gonna let the music speak for itself (this happens to be one of the worst things a person can say about anything).
A Wonderful, in a live setting, layered twinkly 90's emo guitar lines utilizing a looping station. Sometimes friends would accompany the performance. It was during an A Wonderful set that a friend of mine gave the award of "most indie instrument" to the floor tom played with a maraca. I managed to take in a few A Wonderful sets in my days of basement shows. They were always great. And short.
Tim Wilson's personal, minimalist lyrics combined with auxiliary percussion and knotty looped guitar parts for minute and a half long bursts of brilliance. His voice lands somewhere between Bobby Burg of Love of Everything and Phil Elvrum of Mount Eerie, it's reed-thin and hesitant, which happens to fit perfectly with the intimate, low fidelity recordings.
The A Wonderful record I've connected with the most over the years is the Uncorked Understandings ep. It's just over 11 minutes long, features 8 song/sketches, and lasted the exact amount of time it took to walk from my Freshman year dorm to the cafeteria where they sold chicken finger subs until 10:00pm and back. The second track on the album, "Under Cover(s)" is one of the most perfect songs ever written. I can't really say much more than that.
Also available on the internet is a tour-only ep called Light Hearted Dark Days, which features four more fleshed out songs that make the Elvrum influence more apparent. While all four tracks are of high quality (both the songs themselves and the recordings), "All But Invisible" is a clear standout. Its fuzzy, blown out, and messy for the first minute, until the song suddenly relaxes, a shaky egg is brought to the party, and what quietly unfolds for the remaining two and a half minutes is worth your time.
I don't know what A Wonderful's been up to lately, I'm relatively good acquaintances with a few people who might know, but I'm not prepared for that kind of journalism.
"We like to play loud."
This band came to Fredonia in early August. They were on tour, had a gig fall through elsewhere and thanks to the magic of technology, were able to set up a last minute show at LGHQ, a local house that used to host shows.
The photo is from the end of their set. They were quite a sight to see live. I had never heard of them before and was impressed. Snowing completely tore up the living room with a high energy performance. The singer from Glocca Morra, another band who was on tour with them, helped out with the vocals on every song. Sometimes this meant holding the microphone stand and other times it was singing along. As a whole, it was nuts. Both guys laid on the floor without moving for probably a little too long after the last song. There might have even been some wrestling antics that went down prior to the collapse.
Incidentally, this was the last show at the house known as LGHQ. Most of the Fredonia band Longitude lived there from 2008 to 2010 and it acquired the name Longitude Global Headquarters. Since LGHQ was directly located behind several bars, noise was never a problem and shows could happen without the fear of being busted. Some of the many bands to play the living room included Mock Orange, Maps & Atlases, Loose Lips Sink Ships, Sleeping In The Aviary and the Failures' Union.
Notes: Snowing are from Philadelphia and contain former members of Street Smart Cyclist and Boy Problems. The band was started in 2008. They are working on a new album and have songs available on their websites to check out.
They win an award for having a song called "Methuselah Rookie Card." Why? For the sheer absurdity and obscurity of this particular Simpson's reference.
For more info:
Alright so there was this website called Useless Division that my friend and I would look at all the time in high school. I think it was some guy from Armor for Sleep, or one of their friends that took videos of all these bands they encountered on tour. Regardless, there were a ton of sweet videos of Murder by Death, Northstar, and this one of Denver in Dallas that we watched about 50 fucking times a day:
Why do I like it so much? Well, their singer, Matt Holdren slings his body around the stage and runs into the crowd (always a plus for me) while the guitar players (Ramon Alarcón and Adam Delnegro) perfectly compliment each other using tight leads, awesome controlled feedback, and the prettiest odd timed dual-guitar riff at 4:23.
They released an EP After Diego on ECA Records (2001, 2004?), but I'm not really sure what happened to them after that.
Check them out if you like old Deep Elm stuff, dancing, The Get Up Kids, or At The Drive-In.
Also, because I lurk their old myspace page I noticed that they posted two songs (from their 2001 demo?), including an older version of "Arizona" from After Diego. Check out "And The Light Faded" and "The Day After" here:
There was this band called Silkworm who had been putting out consistently good and underrated albums for the last fifteen years. They played the good type of post-punk influenced Midwestern indie rock. Silkworm came to a tragic end in 2005 after the death of drummer Michael Dahlquist. Dahlquist was killed in a car accident caused by another driver's failed suicide attempt. Silkworm had released albums on Touch & Go, Matador and C/Z. They even wrote what might be the best song of the 1990s, "Couldn't You Wait." Their finest hour in terms of a full length album is probably 2000's Lifestyle.
Bottomless Pit were formed in 2005 by the other two members of Silkworm, Andy Cohen and Tim Midgett. They teamed up with Chris Manfrin of Seam and Brian Orchard of .22. They have a new album out on Comedy Minus One called Blood Under The Bridge. While certain stylistic points are similar, Bottomless Pit has its own sound. The more abrasive rock leanings of Silkworm have been smoothed over into a sleeker and cleaner Krautrock-esque style. The songs move in a different way now. The fact that there are two guitar players allows for more intricate guitar lines to develop and expand the sound, as is exemplified in the opening track "Winterwind." The album as whole works very well. Also worthy of note is their first album, Hammer of the Gods, which is where the video at the top is from.
For more information: Comedy Minus One
So I'm an intern for a PR company that works with Coliseum, a hardcore band fronted by Ryan Patterson, a dude who knows the fuck out of his shit. I was doing some data entry style work when I came across a feature he participated in on Self-Titled called Needle Exchange, an ongoing series of playlists curated by a wide array of cool/interesting artists (like James Blackshaw and Wooden Shjips, both of whom are on the list of stuff I'll probably write about in the future). Ryan compiled a well-researched playlist of tracks by his favorite bands based out of Washington DC, featuring tracks from nearly 30 years of punk rock history.
I'm pretty picky when it comes to punk/hardcore, but what kind of guy who reads about music on the internet would I be if I didn't like Fugazi? Either way, Ryan from Coliseum, on this Needle Exchange comp, strayed away from too many obvious picks to make more room for hidden gems, stating "I left out a lot of obvious bands for obvious reasons (Minor Threat, Embrace, Rites Of Spring, The Nation Of Ulysses—you should own these records),"which is good move on his part.
One of the tracks selected was "My Better Half" by One Last Wish, a band formed by Guy Picciotto and two other members of Rites of Spring and the former guitarist for the proto-emo legends Embrace. The band only existed for four months, shortly before Guy and Brendan Canty joined Ian in Fugazi, but they managed to record one of the most innovative and interesting punk albums I've ever heard. "My Better Half" packs a ridiculous amount of hooks and ideas into two minutes. Guy's vocals are as impassioned and enthusiastic they are on any Fugazi track, and the guitar lines are consistently changing and propulsive. The rest of the album is almost as good as this.
The album is called 1986 and can be purchased from Dischord.
The Alberta, Calgary band Women will be at Mojo's in Jamestown on Monday, October 4th. Women work an experimental lo-fi blend of melody and noise to create their songs. The sound would appeal to fans of the Swell Maps, Sonic Youth and Pavement. They have just released their second album, Public Strain, on Jagjaguwar. It earned an 8.0 on Pitchfork this week.
Jamestown's own Escape Tower have the opening slot.
Mojo's is located at 104 E. 2nd Street in Jamestown.
I'm pretty partial to brevity, when done correctly (that being said, I'm not very good at it, my blog entries are sure to be long, rambling, and moderately stream of consciousness). A proper full length album's tracklisting traditionally hovers in the range of 10-12 songs, and I find it to be a huge show of confidence when a band releases an LP with a slim track count. Albums like Slint's Spiderland and Japandroids' Post-Nothing avoid bloated running times and throwaway tracks; they're both under 40 minutes long and boast 6 and 8 tracks respectively, and are better for it.
Richmond, Virgina's Antlers released a 22 minute long LP in 2007 that has stayed with me since I first picked it up on vinyl and cassette (viva la dead formats ya'll) two years ago at a MACRoCK, a music festival in Harrisonburg, VA.
Antlers was on my radar long before a similarly named Brooklyn buzzband rolled onto the scene. The Antlers' Hospice never really did much for me, and it'd be in your best interest to forget I even mentioned them. Antlers (no "The") packs countless riffs, several group singalongs, and multiple mid-song tempo changes into an 8-track LP that clocks in at just over 22 minutes. Also of note is that every song is named after a type of tree (Black Walnut, Sequoia, Bur Oak, etc.).
Antlers (the album) is densely layered and frequently math-y without being overbearing or obnoxious on either count. An annoying way of describing it would be if Fang Island taught kindergarten rather than Classic Rock 101.
Antlers toured the East Coast with the equally excellent Snack Truck (who may be covered here later) earlier this summer. As of right now, it looks like the band is in a state of transition; their bassist recently left the band to move to North Carolina and they appear to be taking some time off to adjust their lineup.
First, two seemingly contradictory things about Sleeping in the Aviary:
1) They have an uncanny ability to crank out barnburning pop punk that most 17 year old skate rats (or rapidly aging hardcore dudes looking to cash in their scene points for a spot on a side stage at Warped) would trade their Guttermouth discography for.
2) Their lead singer/songwriter Elliott Kozel crafts intelligent folk rock that rivals Okkervil River in terms of unbridled emotion and intense lyrics.
Their first LP, Oh, This Old Thing?, beats The Thermals at their own game, with a string of minute and a half long fuzz-laden blasts of unbridled energy. 2008 saw the release of their followup, Expensive Vomit In A Cheap Hotel, an album with a decidedly more folk bend. Expensive Vomit opens with the instant classic "Write On", a lo-fi tirade dedicated to anyone who has ever dared to date a musician. Another highlight is "Gas Mask Blues", a redfaced rant that makes for an intense climax during their ragged and wild live shows.
Both of those joints are still available for purchase, via the webstore at Science of Sound. Their third album, Great Vacation!, is set for release November 30th. The first single from the album is called "Y.M.C.A. (No, Not That One)" and features synthesizers, harps, and a group of water-gurgling backup signers. It's one of the band's most adventurous tracks to date and promises another stylistic shift for album number three.
I'm not gonna be the dude to upload all their albums, the band tours relentlessly and deserves your money (they're currently planning a four month tour that kicks off in January 2011). Luckily, they've made tracks from each of their three albums available for download.
Sleeping in the Aviary:
Great Vacation! (Science of Sound, 2010)
Sleeping in the Aviary- Y.M.C.A. (No, Not That One)
Expensive Vomit in a Cheap Hotel (Science of Sound, 2008)
Sleeping in the Aviary- Write On
Sleeping in the Aviary- Gas Mask Blues
Sleeping in the Aviary- Windshield
Oh, This Old Thing? (Science of Sound, 2007)
Sleeping in the Aviary- Pop Song
Sleeping in the Aviary- Another Girl
Sleeping in the Aviary- Lanugo
Also: This is exactly why I love this band. Forgive the mid-song start, the beer shower during the bridge makes up for any videological errors.