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August 21, 2011 9:51 pm
Bristol, Kristiansand, New York.

We are tracing the map with our little finger. Went to Bristol's three-day-long music and graffiti explosion, See No Evil; report and pictures in the pipeline. Soon, it's on to Punkt Festival in Norway - a softer, quieter, more delicate affair to take place in concert halls and museums of Kristiansand. Punkt is curated by David Sylvian and will feature, in addition to a (rare!) performance by Sylvian himself, appearances by Arve Henriksen, John Tilbury, Jan Bang and other icons of modern classical scene. The formats in which the music will be presented promise to be innovative, if not esoteric; we are looking forward to having our notion of a "concert" vaporized. Gently. And then, it's something we all have been waiting for years. Portishead. In New York. Stay with us.

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November 17, 2010 1:06 pm
Stop inertia.

We've been lazy, but no longer. Today, Junkmedia is unveiling an addition to its usual roster of posting formats. We've got album reviews, concert reviews, interviews, essays, MP3s, and now - drum roll please - photo albums too. Concert photography is an odd trade, with the bulk of the material forever left to gather the proverbial dust in digital vaults... or not, we thought, and dug the pictures up.

Our first photo feature is a compendium of snapshots from three of Massive Attack's 2010 concerts. The never-ending tour is nearly over: the Bristol natives get to go home in about a week, and we salute their energy, artistry and spirit. Well done.

In the coming weeks, there will be more photographs, new and old. Expect a report from a Blonde Redhead show, among other things, and perhaps a photo retrospective or two (we're thinking old favourites like Radiohead).

Stay connected! Tag along via RSS and get a heads-up for our fresh postings on Facebook:



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December 10, 2009 1:44 pm
Fun Fun Fun Fest, Austin TX.

The fourth annual Fun Fun Fun Fest went down last weekend at Waterloo Park in Austin, Texas, and the two-day, 90-band extravaganza brought something out of the underground for everyone. Experimental metal, indie rock, blog-hype rap, classic punk rock, indie stand-up comedy, and bleeding-edge dance music all made an appearance alongside the FFF’s mechanical bull and skateboard ramp mainstays. Though Day 1's heavenly weather gave way to Day 2's miserable drizzle and muddy mosh pits, a few poncho-covered mohawks were a small price to pay for some of the world's most forward-thinking music. A suggestion? Give the poor merch table people a tent so they don't spend next year selling rain-soaked band T-shirts. Highlights follow.

The Sword

Yes, they wear skinny jeans. Yes, the singer was wearing a fake vintage Van Halen tour shirt. Whether you call the Sabbath-inspired Austinites “hipster metal” or not, there's no doubt that The Sword are popular among a certain bearded demographic, and that they look the part. Still. The band tore through a largely instrumental set that leaned heavily on new material, and they were heavy enough to sink the Black Stage a few extra inches into the earth. New tune “Lawless Land” wrapped Allman-style country rock guitar lines around their trademark stoner fuzz as a long overdue acknowledgment of their Southern origins. With a new record forthcoming this spring, The Sword showed why they remain standard bearers of the New American Sludge sound.

7 Seconds

Old-school hardcore punk legends 7 Seconds took the stage with a “1-2 1-2-3-4” and hardly paused for breath for the rest of the set. With an energy that outshone bands half their age, the positivity-powered quartet ran through two-decade-old classics and a half-kidding frantic cover of paranoiac “99 Red Balloons.” Frontman Kevin Seconds joked early that his sweatshirt was a weight-loss strategy, but within five minutes the man had surely burned off a few days worth of meals. Watching Seconds lead the crowd in kinetic shout-alongs like “Young Til I Die,” it was hard to imagine that they would ever turn down, slow down, or get old. We're all luckier for it.

Todd Barry

The world's quietest comedian had the misfortune of playing behind the Black Stage, where some of the world's loudest bands happened to be laying it down. Barry's soft-voiced neuroses had to overcome frequent microphone feedback, hilariously poorly-timed emergency vehicles making their way through downtown, and sound bleeding over from across the park. However, by surrounding his familiar material with improvised missives at passing ambulance drivers and tweeting audience members, Barry handled it without missing an awkward beat.

Fucked Up

Fresh off earning the Polaris Prize, Canada's highest pop music honor, prog-punkers Fucked Up drew a giant crowd and ran them through the grinder. With what looked like all of Toronto standing behind the stage, the band's burbling wall of sound left more than one pair of ears ringing and red. Frontman Father Damian announced between songs that he'd gone the last week without taking his anti-anxiety medication, but his were not the actions of a nervous man. Sitting on the monitors and thrusting the mic into the audience (“it gives me the illusion of being so punk rock”), stalking the stage with his imposing bulk, and filling the park with his larynx-lacerating howl, Damian seemed to draw power from the complex drum work driving the band. Burying bassist Sandy Miranda's Stereolab-style female harmonies under layers of swirling hardcore guitars and carefully navigating breakneck time shifts, Fucked Up proved one thing conclusively: they're a lot more than just punk rock.

Coalesce

Progressive metal is enjoying something an uptick in attention in the latter half of this decade, with bands like Mastodon and Converge leading the hordes from the edges of popular music and into the mainstream. Coalesce seem to have picked up on this and have regained their focus after spending much of the aughts in turmoil. The new record Ox, a collaboration with the earsplitting experimental group Oxbow, clearly gave the band a major shot of the good stuff. They aurally assaulted the audience like they were the opening act of the Apocalypse, tauter and more sophisticated than they've sounded since 1999's 0:12 A Revolution in Just Listening. After a pretty bumpy decade they've found their groove again, and they're back and louder than ever.

Metallagher

The world's only Gallagher-aping Metallica cover band took the Yellow comedy stage Sunday afternoon and played rousing renditions of Metallica's 80s thrash classics while smashing various juicy fruits with a giant mallet. Cantaloupes, bananas, grapes, and of course watermelons met their crushing and hilarious demises in the midst of lengthy (and spot on!) instrumental sections. When The Darkness flopped in the US a few years ago, a frequent excuse from British apologists was that Americans liked to rock and liked to laugh, but weren't sure how to do both at the same time. Metallagher gave that statement the lie as the crowd laughed and earnestly headbanged in equal measure.

Lucero

The Memphis bar-room bawlers came to Austin with a horn section in tow, ready to play widescreen versions of new material from the brass-laden 1372 Overton Park and showcase fresh horn-enriched arrangements of old cuts. “Tears Don't Matter Much” took on a surprising E Street Band flavor when blessed with a saxophone solo, and “The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo” swung like a drunken prize fighter. When I interviewed frontman Ben Nichols he said that after so many months of consecutive touring the band was looking forward to taking time off the road before getting back into the studio “and starting it all over again.” With a band this exhausted still so clearly at the top of their game, it'll be worth the break to see what comes next.

Torche

Maybe it's because Meanderthal is a year old. Maybe losing second guitarist Juan Montoya late last year cost the band some of their momentum. Maybe they're ready to retreat into the studio to record something new? Whatever the reason, Torche didn't seem to have it in them this time around. The sludge pop band seemed to be going through the motions, avoiding crowd interaction and plodding through a few too many molten dirges. Typically one of the best bets around when it comes to high energy live shows, the Florida group may need a little time to recoup and regroup.

GZA

In a set that seemed designed to be heavy on crowd pleasing and light on deep catalog cuts, the Wu-Tang Clan's most arcane lyrical surgeon burned through ADD versions of Enter the Wu-Tang and Liquid Swords songs and almost completely ignored this fall's new record Pro Tools. He paid tribute to dear departed Ol' Dirty Bastard, doing a syllable-perfect cover of “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” and made the weird choice of doing unimpeachable Clan classics like “C.R.E.A.M.” acapella and spoken word style, stumbling more than once over the verses that weren't his own. After long stretches of beatless delivery the crowd seemed unsure whether to applaud or snap appreciatively, and when the set was over more than one audience member was heard to mutter “he was better last time I saw him.” Let's hope he's better next time too.

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October 21, 2009 1:02 pm
Psychic Ills + Butthole Surfers, Baltimore MD.

Psychic Ills held to their trippy name with a mélange of free form jamming and washed out visuals to provide a wonderfully appropriate setting for their practically nonstop performance. The Ills most recent record Mirror Eye pushed them in a more improvisatory direction and fell a little flat; during the show, however, those improvs sounded much tighter. Instead of creating a wall of sound, they seem to become more of a channel of sound, so much so that it’s hard to separate out one piece of the quartet’s work as superior to any other; its tightly wound explorations maintain the same tension throughout.

The Butthole Surfers could have been the next 13th Floor Elevators. Their wild antics and heavy drug use ran parallel, and Gibby Haynes voice, although electronically treated and assisted, almost held the same power as the vicious squall of Roky Erickson. Once they got a handle on recording, their albums from the late '80s were a great redefinition of psychedelia for a crowd that was turned off by the Incense and Peppermints vibe.

But from there, they wanted to get paid. The ensuing results were anything but flattering to an image of one of the most dangerous rock 'n' roll gangs: the MTV hit "Pepper," mediocrity, and the lawsuit against Touch and Go Records. The announcement of the reunion tour did leave a little skeptic's backwash in my throat; with all these bands from the late '80s/early '90s reuniting for nothing more than cash grab, it was maybe inevitable that the Surfers would seize such an opportunity. With the recruitment of second drummer Teresa Nervosa, there was as much promise of a return to the wild antics that you could read about in Our Band Could Be Your Life. But what really happened was the bamboozle of a cash grab.

I’ve seen a number of shows get away from a band and a number of audiences turned off and frustrated by a performer. What I haven’t seen before (at least on this kind of level) was a performer so entirely bored by an audience that was excited to see them. It’s fair to say that the weird stage presence wasn’t going to be there twenty years later, but it didn't even appear that the band wanted to be there. The riffs have not aged well either, but maybe that's many years of poor copies reincorporated by the late 80’s scene. Instead of being the 13th Floor Elevators, Butthole Surfers turned out to be more of a ZZ Top.

Andrew Murdock Livingston

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October 12, 2009 11:10 pm
Rain Machine, The Bell House, New York, Sept. 21, 2009

A few weeks ago TV On The Radio announced they were going on hiatus, but Kyp Malone must have been out of earshot and avoiding any form of media... and living in a cave. Indeed, the soft-spoken, bearded impresario has always been the aloof space-cadet figure in the band: his rhythm guitar keeps a pulse that we barely hear over David Sitek’s textured lead lines and wind chimes. Kyp’s huge beard and glasses have given him a distinct look which has turned him unwillingly into something of a Brooklyn legend on photoblogs like Last Night’s Party, while his solo shows played between band breaks past with nothing but his Gibson and a loop pedal. Kyp’s unique playing and singing styles have posed a challenge for sound guys at TVOTR shows before, too, as his voice ranges from back up falsetto harmonies on the songs Tunde sings, to the guttural croon and rapid-fire poetry he spits on the songs he sings lead on.

Yet all these quirks and eccentricities are what allow Kyp to craft a signature sound both in the group and on his own. Rain Machine’s self-titled debut is Kyp’s solo project in every way, full of hypnotic arpeggios, slowly progressive rhythms and Bowie-esque multi-tracked vocals. Rain Machine’s live show finds Kyp recruiting a five-member band to fill these rhythms out, amplifying the bliss-induced pious urgency you feel at a TVOTR gig by providing steady, looping accompaniment for the wide ranges his voice can reach. Rain Machine largely forgoes the industrial, jazzy sounds of Kyp’s other band, instead building slow psychedelic prayers in the vein of the classic “vagabond” frontman, like Neil Young or Jerry Garcia.

This night at The Bell House was special, the first date of Kyp’s tour in his hometown at a venue he had never been to. Kyp described walking to the venue from the subway, through the warehouses and industrial atmosphere surrounding the place. “It’s all connected,” he said with a wry smile, aware of his position as the master of ceremonies in an area one would normally never expect to find live music. It was a brief moment of relaxation for a guy clearly on edge from the excitement of the evening, but also indicative of the whole mood of Kyp’s music - taking “the sacred”, like the psychic idea of inter-connectivity, and transforming it into “the profane”, like walking under a highway and past a Lowes store to get there – as well as the humor and profundity that make up a Rain Machine show. When Kyp performed a solo tune in the middle of his set, providing a break for his band and creating what might have been the most intimate moment of the evening, it came as no surprise that the song was called “Holy Shit”.

Admittedly the songs lose much of the one-to-one intimacy of their recorded form, but the communal splendor they gain in a live setting more than makes up for this. Kyp’s voice sounded crystal clear, thanks to the restraint from the lead guitarist, while the bassist and drummer captivated the audience on tunes like set opener “Leave The Lights on” and “Hold You Holy”. Subtly filling out the spectrum of sounds provided by Kyp's voice, the female backing vocal of the electric pianist gave the songs an impish sense of vulnerability that made the build-ups toward louder moments have even more of an emotive punch.

The album’s last tune and the set closer, “Winter Song” brought both the pensive and rocking sides of Rain Machine full circle, as the pianist switched to banjo before accompanying Kyp alone with his guitar and falsetto. By the end of this 11 minute epic, the whole band had joined in for a polyrhythmic noodling session, leaving the crowd in awe at the tightness of Rain Machine live and cementing Kyp Malone's reputation as an old soul making new music.

Words by Justin Joffe, Photo by Myisha Fujii

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September 21, 2009 1:05 pm
Deerhoof, Le Poisson Rouge, New York, Sept. 15, 2009

Stand clear and make space for Deerhoof, New York. The nearly empty main room during last week’s Circulatory System show at Bleecker Street’s swanky Le Poisson Rouge transformed itself into a crowded, general-admission rock concert for this sold-out Deerhoof gig. Yet again we were watching the San Francisco band play in front of acid-collage artist Martha Colburn’s heady visuals, something we haven’t seen accompany the ‘Hoof since their tour in support of 2005’s epic The Runners Four. But much has changed since that show four years ago. The Deerhoof gig back then felt more like a gallery show or an art project, part of which had to do with the dense, lyrical sprawl of that then-new album. Their old second guitarist, the heavily textured but precise Chris Cohen, added to this feeling as well.

Fast forward a year after that show and Cohen has left the band to pursue his own project, The Curtains. We caught the ‘Hoof again that year in an opening slot for The Flaming Lips, to discover the band had soldiered on as a three-piece, sounding a bit more stripped down but no less dynamic. They filled out the sound at Boston’s gargantuan Bank of America Pavilion quite well, even premiering some new tunes from Friend Opportunity, which wouldn’t be released until early the following year.

So maybe this new, edgy vibe we got at Tuesday’s Deerhoof show had to do with the fact that they are a quartet once more. The addition of guitarist Ed Rodriguez to the band has provided a perfect second guitar pulse to the band, psychedelically responding to singer Satomi Matsuzaki’s rapid-fire, throbbing bass and her impish, wispy, deceptively innocent voice too.

Those last two things syncing - her voice, his guitar - are of paramount importance. Matsuzaki’s lyrical punctuations have met a guitarist to complement her perfectly in Rodriguez. He is the one largely responsible for the “heavier” sounds on the latest album, Offend Maggie, a fantastic journey through both the poppier and more experimental sides of the group. What’s more, the songs don’t find them needing to speed up or play faster so much as just relax and settle into a groove. What we got on stage that night was evidence of how tight these guys have gotten as a band, and proof of how dense that groove can get while still sounding distinctively like Deerhoof.

But wait, Offend Maggie came out last October? That was almost a year ago, and the ‘Hoof have already toured the country and even Europe in support of the album. What brings them back to New York? Those pesky, fish-and-chips-hawking lads of The Flaming Lips again, as it were (they have an album coming out soon and it’s righteous.) See, the Lips got selected to host the latest stateside All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, and this gig was a warm-up to the September 11-13 festival in the Catskills. As the host of the festival picks the lineup, Deerhoof were almost guaranteed a spot. Since the ‘Hoof had rehearsed for the festival, us club goers who couldn’t make ATP still got a taste of the badass set list the band had prepared.

Deerhoof’s hour-fifteen-long set was stuffed with gems from all of their albums since 1999’s Holdypaws. Highlights included Matsuzaki’s skills with a glow-in-the-dark basketball during Maggie’s “Basket Ball Get Your Groove Back” and a cover of Ramones’s tune “Pinhead”, which turned into a perfect expression of Deerhoof’s love for their audience. Drummer and band founder Greg Saunier further thanked us for being a supportive audience, and reminded us that the audience is often what pushes a band to play their best.

The stripped down but nonetheless danceable version of ”Milking” off 2004’s Milkman was pure pop bliss; of course, calling Flaming Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock up from the audience to guest on drums, letting Rodriguez switch to bass and putting Saunier on guitar didn’t hurt the groove much either. Matsuzaki was the master of ceremonies, and she couldn’t seem more excited to be there. The whole event was a celebration of collaboration and finding your proper footing as a band. Deerhoof have evolved again, to the point of such skill and tightness that their sound can hop from album to album and never miss a beat. And if the new song they premiered, “I Did Crimes For You”, is any indication, the ‘Hoof will only stomp harder from here on out.

Words by Justin Joffe, Picture by Nick Maestri

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September 7, 2009 12:32 pm
Jandek, ISSUE Project Room, Brooklyn, NY

At what point does artistic integrity cross the line into wasting everyone's $20?

That was what it seemed like many people were asking Sunday night at one of the biggest events in recent memory at ISSUE Project Room - the arrival of the mysterious Jandek. There were a good number of avant garde luminaries present, from Okkyung Lee, Aki Onda, to the well-respected openers Ryan Sawyer, C. Spencer Yeh, and Nate Wooley (as the Ryan Sawyer, C. Spencer Yeh, Nate Wooley Trio, naturally). The crowd was sizable, and after the opening set, a combination of free jazz drumming, microtonal trumpeting, and Yeh's trademark guttural growls and hisses, Jandek, who had been lurking around the scene here and there, made his way towards the mic.

Jandek's companions for this set were the aforementioned drummer, Ryan Sawyer, Susan Alcorn on slide guitar, and the cloaked Shahzad Ismaily on bass. As with typical New York crowds, many were sitting chatting, and it took several bars for everyone to settle down and take notice of Jandek, as he had been calmly playing the harmonica. As with many other "super groups" that have worked live gigs with Jandek, the ensemble here added subdued coloring as Jandek was given ample time and space to set the evening's tone. Things started promisingly, as Jandek slowly pulled from his instrument and spoke into the microphone, saying he wasn't able to come home, and that "I've lost all the money... and I've killed a man." For this, he says, he has to go to Sacremento. This ominous couplet, typical of the more straightforward, aggressive Jandek lyricism of late, was to be the last thing Jandek said for a very, very long time.

Much of the evening was given to long jams between Jandek and his band. On this first piece, the formula of loud and fast, and spare and quiet, created a great context for Jandek's words. When he finished this first piece, he stood still, and let the music dissolve into the darkness of the Canning Factory's courtyard. Yet, for the rest of the evening, there was only playing, and no speaking. Personally, Jandek's rock out was inspiring, as there genuinely seemed to be a give and take between the band, and there was, for Jandek at least, a joy in working with such esteemed artists. Sawyer delivered a great amount of ferocity and precision in his playing. The venerable Alcorn was a master of her instument, picking out microscopic lines while retaining the twangy grandeur of her instrument. Ismaily was a revelation, as he was both the most in tune with what Jandek "needed" and because his bass was not so much about melody or rhythm, but about pulses that drowned everything, cleared everything, creating shapes.

Amongst these talented instrumentalists, Jandek held his own. While these jams were not particularly thrilling at all times, given the two power outages that killed much of the show's momentum, they were distinct. Jandek has somewhat limited technique, partly playing partial chords, other times barre chords with his special tuning. However, he can pick out motives, direct the band with his density, and force others to change direction with his personal energy. If there was a complaint, it was not with the quality of the music, but the volume. The band simply tested the crowd's patience too long.

It is hard to tell how many people in the crowd were true, longtime Jandek fans, and it is hard to tell what they expected. Suffice to say, what has made Jandek a mystery, and what has been his central appeal, has been his words. For decades, poetry and loneliness have been communicated to the world from an undisclosed location. Now that the secret is out, people have expectations. What most certainly was not to be expected was an almost wordless set. For a man that has several vocal-only releases, it seems much of the crowd was disappointed that the man didn't come to speak. People sadly, almost ashamed, slowly filed out of the courtyard during the set, and, from the stage, the bustling crowd moved from anticipation to simple loyalty to a legend. That the band maintained energy is either evidence of disinterest in the crowd, or an act of musical professionalism.

Finally, Jandek came to play. He stuck to what he wanted to do, as he seems to always do. The crowd, perhaps, wished for compromise. In the future, perhaps Jandek will give the crowd a little of himself. He can play for the Hell of it anytime.

Review by Paul Banks

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June 16, 2009 4:42 pm
Crocodiles and Holy Fuck, Middle East, Cambridge, MA

"Electro-clash" is an odd pseudo genre, liberally applied to any music that incorporates a significant amount of electronic noise with either a more band-oriented or live focused aesthetic. Of course like most labels, it is also a largely meaningless and alienating term, almost putting the musically curious at more of a distance from understanding the artist's sound than they would be just letting the music speak for itself. Yet the genre tag is still not entirely without precedent, and this recent double bill featuring recent Fat-Possum signees Crocodiles and Toronto analog-ravers Holy Fuck showcased two bands that both receive shade under the vague "electro-clash" umbrella.

The increasing number of electronic shows at seminal Cambridge rock club The Middle East has been suggesting that this is a growing trend, yet this dynamic double bill with both a new, blogged to death group and a slightly more road-tested, certified bunch of party starters left Junkmedia convinced that the electronic rock show might not just be a new fad.

Kicking off the show was a set from a band that The Weekly Dig recently showcased in their local music issue, Hooray For Earth. The last time we saw these guys they were at Harper's Ferry in Allston, opening up for Deer Tick. And though in Allston their layered organ noises and anthemic choruses sounded a whole lot more like what The Dig would file as 'space rock,' Hooray For Earth still held it down on that tiny stage through that tiny PA at The Middle East Upstairs. Their presence at the show was, if anything, an early indication of the quality of these bands. Even though Hooray For Earth are still up-and-coming, still finding their sound, the Dopamine Records band even being on the bill was something of a stamp of quality that spoke in advance for the showmanship of the groups they were opening for.

That being said, both headliners delivered great sets, albeit in their own unique ways. Crocodiles have been dividing people to love 'em or hate 'em since they began earning attention, and maybe this has something to do with their set-up. Tackling the guitar noise-pop shuffle sound as just a duo, Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez take the drum machine and guitar shtick that early Echo and the Bunnymen were all about, name themselves after a later Echo record and throw in some California sunshine pop melodies before burying them under feedback. After all, they are from San Diego.

Though it's a simple set-up, Crocodiles work together because of their chemistry, not their aesthetic. When Welchez wasn't kneeling down at his programming boxes, churning out ambient tones that some speculated were intentionally "brown noise" to rile the audience up and make us uncomfortable, he was quite the entertaining singer, wearing Dylanesque shades and pushing the palms of his hands together above his head while doing a swimming, goofy guru dance. As entertaining and captivating to watch as this was, of course there are going to be a few haters in the blogosphere, frustrated at their own inability to peg the unique pastiche characteristics of Crocodiles and their quirky antics to a single time or place. But Junkmedia were not among those bloggers and skeptics. We really dug these guys, who were certainly more of a rock group than they were an electro act – sequencers and beat machines be damned.

Holy Fuck, meanwhile, are on the complete flip side of the 'electronica' coin. Having a drummer and a bassist, along with two keyboardists who also use kitchen sink effects and electronics (like a circuit-bent 35 mm film synchronizer and toy guns that make noise), they are thrilling to watch as a band entirely electronic that manages to build the progressive washing tone of their songs solely through analog means. In an age of auto-tune, when any douche with a laptop and sampling software can drop ecstasy, buy a hi-lighter neon American Apparel headband and call himself a mash-up artist, these guys manage to do it right. Choice of instruments aside, it was remarkable to dig how prog these guys were - in seeking to create an electronic soundscape through purely real, physical instruments, Holy Fuck have constructed a set of tunes that each build to a climax or explosion. And though much electronica functions in the same manner, the sheer scope and ingenuity of the devices they use to make it happen is really something to behold. Holy fuck, indeed.

--Photo of Holy Fuck by James Mejia.

--Review by Justin Joffe.

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May 26, 2009 1:40 pm
Peaches, Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA

Peaches may have faced a sold out show at the Paradise Rock Club but still managed to call the crowd to order with a militaristic opening, complete with search lights and her backup band, known as The Herms, in glittery camouflage S&M uniforms. The searchlights stopped after they found the 40-plus Peaches marching across the stage wearing a sexy camouflage mask and a fluffy pink outfit that would put the plump Violet Beauregarde to shame. Once on top of a giant speaker the mask flew off to reveal a renewed Peaches (she manages to reinvent herself more often than Madonna) and heavy bass vibrations that inspire the gay and lesbian love fest prevalent at her shows. Their bomb outfits and the smell of vagina graciously covered the shitty acoustics of the Paradise. This shock factor is only furthered by the fact that Peaches was formerly an elementary school music teacher and plays nearly all of the instruments on her self- produced albums.

Peaches began climbing through the crowd, onto the risers and railings while singing "Shake Yer Dix" a song of the 2003 album Fatherfucker that got the entire crowd moving: "Shake yer dix, shake yer dix, shake yer dix!...Are the motherfuckers ready for the fatherfckers?! Are the fatherfuckers ready for the motherfuckers?!" Even this writer/photographer began swinging his lens around. This is not uncommon for Peaches as the blurring of gender distinction is prevalent in her music; a way of bending gender issues. In fact Peaches has performed wearing a beard as depicted on Fatherfucker. The next song "Kick It" (featuring Iggy Pop) began with a Stooges-esque breakdown on guitar before Peaches once more took to the stage, only this time she was dressed in a bathrobe and Erykah Badu-style towel, claiming that all the sexy heat led her to take a cold shower. It was only fitting that Peaches should strip down once more to a jumpsuit wherein she performed something of a laser light show, stroking her light saber to the lyrics "Seems you got a little more than you asked for." With every stroke of the blade Peaches's guitarist bent a note or two.

The room truly began spinning once Peaches kicked off the last leg of her show with "Boys Wanna Be her" (Impeach My Bush, 2006) and Peaches stripped down even further, ending up in a bikini. She was always sure to reach out to the audience, reminding the nosebleeds, "Just 'cause you're in the pits doesn't mean you got the shits" and congratulating the recent college graduates. Next Peaches introduced the audience to her "best friends" – two hairy beings resembling Cousin It from The Adams Family who began dancing onstage alongside her while she spun what resembled anal beads around her neck in a hula fashion. The audience was promptly inspired to remove their shirts and spin them above their heads in a similar fashion while chanting with Peaches "Come on, let's set it off!"

The show began to draw to a close when Peaches's guitarist adorned a blonde wig for the song featuring Iggy Pop, "Rockshow." It might not have been the same as hearing Iggy's 2003 release Skull Ring/Rockshow but the guitarist managed to sing his part rather well. And of course the show could not truly draw to a close without more off of the 2000 album The Teaches of Peaches and an encore for the seminal Peaches song, featured in Lost in Translation, "Fuck the Pain Away." Suddenly crotches were swinging again while the keytar began glowing to "Suckin' on my titties like you wanted me, calling me all the time…What else is in the teaches of Peaches." Adorning a cape, Peaches joined us one final time for another encore for "Lovertits" during which she took a swig of a beer and began convulsing and holding her stomach before spewing fake blood in Gene Simmons fashion onto the entire audience.

--Photo and Review by Mark Gottlieb.

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May 10, 2009 9:24 pm
Deer Tick, Harper's Ferry, Allston, MA

Recently at Harper’s Ferry, Junkmedia watched John McCauley lead the denizens of Deer Tick through a fiery set composed equally of instant classics from first LP War Elephant and new album to be released in June, Born on Flag Day. Frankly, it was a religious experience. And not because of any hype or expectations that followed the band into Allston that evening, but due to a workmanlike performance which oddly enough suggested Deer Tick are some transcendent, rustic New England reincarnation of The Dead or something.

Allow us to explain. The extent to which McCauley is rooted in the folk/grunge scenes of New England is staggering. A friend of yours in Cambridge has probably jammed with him before. Some of them might even made some field recordings with McCauley. His dedication to remain an everyman came across in all the witty banter, including but not limited to talk about shrimping, as McCauley told all the women in high heels, “Ladies, don’t step in any shit. I wanna suck your toes later.” This band has played with Jana Hunter toured with Elvis Perkins. A current opening spot on the Jenny Lewis tour assures Deer Tick are ready for their moment to rock. It’s refreshing to hear an old soul write lyrics this wholly badass.

But what of the new tunes? How do they hold up against those on War Elephant? Amazingly well, the way the second Wolf Parade record expanded on the sound they made on the first while no longer sounding like they were all individual members in a group trying to get their songs on the record. This new DT album still has the singer/ songwriter quality as War Elephant, but the riffs are bigger, sadder, and more conducive to making hips move. New song “Straight into a Storm” begins with a super-sized Zep homage to “Whole Lotta Love” before turning into a rockabilly bluegrass number. You can see how these parallels to The Dead are apt.

Even the spirit of how Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia wrote songs together is alive in Deer Tick’s repertoire. A great example is “These Old Shoes,” one of the best tunes on War Elephant that was given a new depth of soul when McCauley’s old friend, songwriting partner, (whose name eludes us), became the lyricist of that song,. But important to remember is that the guy also led the band through a rousing cover of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy”. Between that cover and the cover of “La Bamba” fused with “Twist and Shout,” we remain convinced that Deer Tick’s dexterity as a well-oiled, rockabilly touring machine will keep them in working order for a long time coming.

--Review by Justin Joffe.

--Photo by Mark Gottlieb.

More photos here.
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