Oh hi, did you forget SXSW was happening this week? Of course you did. It’s not like you actually would have wanted to go anyway. Austin is, like sooooo over anyway you say? Uh huh, yup. Cool your jets, kids, we’ve seen this act before. It’s OK, you’ve just got a wicked case of the FOMOs. But don’t prepare your death mask just yet– there is hope. A cure comes in the form of a bunch of great shows happening this week and beyond. Sure, some of these bands are picking up and heading south to Slackerville as soon as they wrap up their shows here, but you know what’s cool about that? You get to tell your holidaying friends in Texas (aka the jerks that freaking left you behind to wallow in loserdom) that you already saw most of the bands they’re going to see and that you’re just positive they’ll be worn out by the time they hit Austin. Then you can do that little kissy emoji or maybe even the hairflip one if you’re feeling extra, extra sassy.
Girl Band, Monogram
Usually when I think of musicians from Dublin I think of venture capitalist Bono, but the Irish guys of Girl Band thankfully seem to share nothing in common with the-band-that-will-not-be-named, the band that essentially hacked my iTunes without my consent and continues to cause me shame and embarrassment whenever someone appears to be looking over my shoulder on the subway. Please, please, please don’t think I’m actually a fan of not aforementioned band. But if someone were to catch me jammin out to Girl Band, I wouldn’t be humiliated. These fun loving Irish dudes landed in New York yesterday and are playing a couple of shows here before they embark on their U.S. tour.
Failed to catch them last night at Baby’s All Right, did ja? Well lucky for you, they’ll be bringing their tunes, which lean heavily on late-’80s and early-’90s indie rock with a bit of a punker edge, to the stage at Mercury Lounge. Their stomp-worthy songs and crunchy, grating guitars blend just enough post-punk vibes for a hard-earned darkness (in light of their squeakier Pavement-ish vocals) but thankfully abandon the temptation to be too derivative (*cough* every other freaking band out there right now). Friday, March 13, 11:30pm at Mercury Lounge (tickets: $10)Chef Brian Tsao Band
If Chef Brian Tsao (head chef at Mira Sushi & Izakaya in Flatiron) can play guitar as well as he can whip up a Bulgogi Beef Taco (we broke edge to gobble down that deliciously tender, spicy meat), then we’ll be seriously impressed. But we’re confident Tsao’s band will shred at this show. After all, he honed his skills playing in various bands circling in the Chinese metal underground. Tsao (who’s originally from Flushing, Queens and was born to Chinese and Korean parents) went to China at the age of 15 and eventually ended up playing what he says is China’s first touring thrash metal band. “I really had nothing to do other than play my guitar,” Tsao told us. He played Metallica and Pantera songs until he formed a band called Hollow in his late teens. “There was a metal scene in every major town and bands that were known in their region, but no one had done a full-scale tour before,” he explained. “We’re credited with starting the touring phenomenon in mainland China and a lot of bands were inspired to do tours after us, made a nice little name for ourselves.”
Tsao eventually returned to New York. “I was just this music guy with no direction,” he recalled. “I was planning to become a cop.” But thankfully he scrapped that idea and instead started working as a dishwasher and eventually climbed the ranks to head chef. “I first became a foodie in China when I was surrounded by all these international people,” he said. “That’s where I was exposed to this bigger food culture.”
Though he’s excited to have started a band again he says, “I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon” Tsao’s band (incidentally named the Chef Brian Tsao Band and includes a real estate power broker in its ranks, of all people), which takes notes from hair metal and stoner rock, is playing a show this weekend at the Bowery Electric and looking forward to recording their first album. Tsao’s still dedicated to his career as a chef, and as such, scheduled his band’s show for a Sunday night, “which is pretty much a Friday night in the industry,” he said, in hopes of attracting other restaurant and bar people. But he sees many parallels between working as a chef and being a musician: “Finding which chords work together is the same principle as understanding which ingredients work with one another.” Sunday, March 15, 8pm @ Bowery Electric (tickets: Free as hell)
Twerps, Ultimate Painting
Oof, even if you catch me on a really, really good day you’d have to force feed me any “indie rock” made past 2004 to get me to consume the stuff. Generally I’m just all, like, I can’t even when it comes to this stuff. But call my a hypocrite because I’ve found some indie rock pleasure in the band Twerps. And it’s actually not surprising these guys are doing good, inventive, aurally titillating things for their genre — they’re from Australia, surprisingly my favorite place (besides Ohio, seriously) to look for new music right now. Like, you’d have to hand me a million dollars and a private jet to go to Australia (why the hell would I want to spend a million hours flying to what’s essentially an upside down America with wild marsupials to speak with people whose accents and affinity for Foster’s just make me wanna die?!), but I’ll totally bite down hard on their cultural output right now. Ah I guess they also gave birth to Mel Gibson, who is like endlessly entertaining. But wait, it’s been a while since Mel drunkenly addressed a cop as “sugar tits,” and revealed himself to be a Nazi sympathizer. What gives, Mel? Who knows, maybe Mel will show up at the Twerps show? Fingers crossed, y’all!
Ultimate Painting has this doo-woppy thing going on, sometimes it pops up in their dreamy, catchy, lullaby guitar-centric music. Close your eyes and you’ll find yourself laying on a picnic blanket with your besties, dragging on a dooby, and nibbling at pie. It’s like sun-in-your-eyes but so-stoned-you-don’t-care music, if that makes sense. Just nod, say yes.Friday, March 13, 8pm at Rough Trade (tickets: $12) and Saturday, March 14, 10:30pm at Mercury Lounge (tickets: $12)
Red Dawn II, Chamber of Discipline
I caught the headliners at an epic show back in May featuring Sleepies and one of my favorite bands of all-time, Tyvek from Detroit. The whole thing was just perfect, and maybe I’m saying that because Tyvek tends to rub off on the bands they play with. Their bill-mates always seem to play harder, faster, and with more, er, jouissance than per usual. I swear, it’s the truest and most reliable phenomenon I’ve ever seen in a band. But Red Dawn II, also a punk band, totally ripped that night, so at least you know for sure members of this punk band have it in em. Speaking of Detroit Allison Busch, the drummer betch for Red Dawn II, also killed it playing for Awesome Color (a sick Stooges-esque psyche band from Michigan that went under a few years back after releasing a couple of super cool albums).
These guys have been around for several years, but they seem to have taken a hiatus since the Tyvek show last spring. Could this return possibly signal that some new recordings are wrapped and on the way straight to your ears? Possibly. Maybe. Why not go see em and find out? While you’re at it, you can solve another mystery: what the hell Chamber of Discipline sounds like. We’re guessing pretty freaking good, seeing as members of Sleepies, Vaz, and Pygmy Shrews are all a part of this project. Tuesday, March 17, 9pm at Union Pool (tickets: Freeeeee!)
Show Me the Body, Hunnie Bunnies, KTB, Video Daughters, I am Not a Sound
Wowzers, what a line up! Show Me the Body crafts songage that incorporates hip-hop and a unique folk essence: hunched over, finger-picking, twisted-as-hell Appalachian diddies (yeah, there’s a banjo involved). Weirdly enough, SMTB’s songs are essentially of this great and terrible city we call home. These guys are just really, really different which is super refreshing for local bands that tend to not be so weird — lest they end up having to choose between paying for their cash bundle gobbling practice space or food stuffs other than the occasional dollar slice.
Hunnie Bunnies are rolling in from Philly, a place of rampant, joyous musical freedom and experimentation. Sigh, maybe NYC will get back there someday. These guys are guaranteed to bring you a nasty, nasty noise set bordering on primal terror inducing. Another fantastic band Video Daughters join the rebellious fray with their crusty pop tunes which twist and shout intertwined with noise punk jams. Saturday March 14th, 9 pm at Nola Darling, (tickets: $8 at the door)