Okay, this rain shit has got to stop. It's making me moody and sluggish. It's been raining non-stop for like three fucking weeks! More, probably. I brought my lemon tree outside a couple of weeks ago, thinking it wasn't getting enough light / moisture, but now I'm worried it's gonna be washed away.
Spinnerette played Bowery Ballroom on Monday. Committed readers will know that I've been a fan of The Distillers since I first saw the video for "Drain The Blood" on MTV of all places while channel surfing at 680 Degraw. At the time I couldn't believe that I hadn't heard of a band as good as that. But I was like, fuck, this is great, I can get really into them and go see them live. And I did, once, right after they released their most commercial-sounding album and right before they broke up forever. That's just the way of things. So I was psyched when I heard Brody Dalle was putting a new band together, somewhat less psyched when I heard it was going to be a techno grime dance rock band, but then a little psyched again once I heard a couple of their singles last summer. An eponymous album has since come out. The Onion A.V. Club describes their sound as having "rubbery hooks," which, although it sounds like oblique music criticism jibberish, is oddly accurate -- the beats throb instead of, you know, beat; and the melodies have these eerie harmonies that defy being prized apart.
So I figured that when I saw them live, it'd be Brody and a bunch of keyboards. Not so -- they managed to produce a sound pretty comparable to the album using three guitars (Tony Bevilacqua, Brody, and some other dude), a bass, and a whole fuck of a lot of flange pedal. The real draw, of course, was Brody's voice, which was frighteningly good as usual, despite her claim that she'd been stricken with laryngitis. "They gave me a shot in the ass," she said. "So I could sing for you guys." ("With a cock?" someone in the audience hollered. "I wish," she said.) Also present were the hordes of tween girls (sans Courtney Love this time), hollering, pogo-ing, and doing that annoying dance where you kind of press your arms together above your head and just kind of sway, eyes closed -- the dance that, according to Dave Chappelle, all white people do when they hear guitar music. But, man. That voice. Whatever shot she got must've been a doozy, 'cuz she sounded pretty much perfect -- there's something in the sonic middle of that hoarse, ragged sound that hits the resonant frequency of your skull. They mostly played stuff off their album, including plenty of songs I hadn't heard before and which sounded a little rougher than their singles -- some of them kind of unfinished, even. Perhaps as a consequence of her illness, they didn't play any encores. I confess to a guilty desire to hear "Dismantle Me," but it was not to be.
Free summer rock and roll music continues apace. Startlingly, Jay Reatard played a set at this free concert series called Music On The Oval being sponsored by the idiots who bought Stuy Town. For those of you who didn't know (like me), the park in the center of the maze that is Stuy Town is called the oval, and, in an attempt to dampen the financial tailspin that they're in, Tishman Speyer has been setting up little pay-to-play premium areas, which they call "amenities," all kind of branded, uninspiringly, with the word "oval." There's OvalKids (a playpen for little Max Fishers, I guess), OvalLounge, OvalStudy, etc. So the powers that be booking Jay Reatard is entirely consistent with their history of making poor choices. Land grab? Billion-dollar boondoggle. Family music festival? Awkward performance by sweaty hair-punks.
It had rained the night before, and although it was a beautiful day the oval was pretty swampy: Nina lost a flip-flop to a sucking mud hole. There were toddlers and non-plussed-looking oldsters everywhere. An events coordinator with the demeanor of a kindergarten teacher introduced the band as "Jay Ree-a-tard," and the band played a short, tight set. I don't really know what to say about it -- those guys are great, and they played energetically, spinning their hair as they thrashed out their songs. Jay's between-song commentary (when there was any) showed he was not unaware of the contradictions inherent in the situation, and his set list included "Greed, Money, Useless Children." But it felt wrong, kind of like that scene in Spinal Tap where the 'Tap plays the Air Force base. Eve and Nina and I sat towards the back of the park and ate bagels and drank beer, which Eve loudly referred to as "soda" so as to thwart detection by Stuy Town security personnel on the prowl for open containers. You know, culture-jamming.
On the Bad News front, my employer has run into some cash flow issues -- the cash ain't flowing, and I'm on an enforced, unpaid two-week vacation. We're going to re-evaluate at the end of it. Things might clear up, or they might not. So, you know, I don't want to be premature here, but if you think you might need someone to engineer some software for you, I encourage you to look at my resume. To paraphrase Katt Williams, I love engineering software; engineering software is my shit. That's my shit.
Of course, all this free time has left me with plenty of time to hang out with friendos. KT threw an impressive dinner party at her new apartment on Saturday on the Upper West Side, which is more or less a studio but has an impressive view and a wonderful, maze-like entryway -- the building houses both commercial and residential units, and to get to the apartments, you have to go up several staircases and through a bunch of doors that don't look like you should be opening them. It reminds me of dreams I've had. And then Ted and Cat had a cook-out in the back yard of the ground floor unit in their posh Park Slope apartment (they're house-sitting). I showed up a little early and helped Ted whip up some Mexican-inflected Rick Bayless recipes: A tomatillo salsa type concoction (which caused a minor explosion in the food processor) and a spicy, quivering pork loin that we slow-cooked in the grill. Cat made these little individual strawberry shortcakes, which were crazy good.