It was a tough summer for Brooklyn’s DIY scene. There was the sudden shutdown of Palisades, followed by the closure of DIY-gone-legit venue the Acheron; then we lost Secret Project Robot, and soon enough, we’ll be saying RIP Aviv. The troubling number of ousters makes the latest news all the more welcome: Trans-Pecos, last night, announced that a new “annex” is on the way.
As the story goes, no one guessed that Nirvana’s Nevermind would become one of the defining rock records of the ’90s, let alone top the charts at number one.
Actually, scratch all that. Considering that Nevermind sold more than 30 million copies, it’s one of the top-selling albums of all time (that’s double-platinum 12 times over, aka a “diamond” selling record), which puts Nirvana up there in some pretty stratospheric company: Michael Jackson (Thriller), Pink Floyd (The Dark Side of the Moon), The Beatles (1). That’s not only a good indication that Courtney Love’s drug dealer is rich as shit, but it means that Nevermind has transcended the album and become something much more complicated– shared experience, a universal language, even a kind of philosophy on life (albeit a pretty angsty-teenager one that doesn’t look so great post-college).
But holy crap that’s a lot of heavy baggage to carry around. When was the last time you could listen to Nevermind or anything Nirvana recorded at all without feeling kind of weird about it?
If you’ve seen the 2013 documentary The Punk Singer, you know Kathleen Hanna was stuck out at sea for a long time when she was creatively paralyzed and overwhelmed by the day-to-day challenges of Lyme disease. One of the harshest consequences of her illness was profound fatigue, something that severely limited her capacity to write or perform music. At times, she found it difficult to even speak.
Lucky for us– oh, and for Hanna too– she’s doing much better these days, so much so that even though her band The Julie Ruin, like, just released their new album, Hanna is making an appearance this week at a speaker store in Soho, of all places, called Sonos.
Holiday Mountain, Coaches
Wednesday September 28, 8 pm at Berlin: $8 in advance, $10 at the door
Even when they’re jamming an oversized banana down your throat, you might find it sorta hard to swallow Holiday Mountain‘s product. It’s almost as if that great, mushy mass they’re thrusting toward you isn’t edible at all, but something meant to linger in your cheek like a big chunk of chewing tobacco– mmm, actually let’s just go with Big League Chew, coz even though I’ve railed snuff a couple of times in my life, I’m really not sure of the mechanics of actual dip.
While we’re talking about fall here, don’t go reaching for the pumpkin spice. That’s not what this is about. But if you would like to spice up your Thursday night plans, keep reading. Queer nightlife collective and “global network of artsluts” The Culture Whore is having an event called Sequinox tonight at Bushwick’s Flowers For All Occasions, billed as “a celebration of queer music and the turning of the wheel.” It’s part of a new initiative the collective has started, with a focus on showcasing new queer music and underground artists.
Harvest Moon: A Freak-Folk Cabaret
Thursday, September 22 at The Wild Project, 8 pm: $10-20 sliding scale.
Come ring in the soon-arriving autumn with this mystical evening of live art, from music and dance to film and fairytales and everything in between. A gaggle of artists based in Bushwick and beyond (some are regulars at Bizarre Bar staple Circus of Dreams, others frequent the nearby Tarot Society or Living Gallery) will assemble to bring you their artistic bounty. And it’ll be a bounty, all right– there are over 15 acts on the bill, including Jason Trachtenburg, Tarot Society’s Darcey Leonard, Omer Gal‘s music ensemble Cookie Tongue, and a Texas-themed Butoh troupe. If you’re pressed for time, you can just pop in for the second act at 9:30pm (there are two entry times) but all tickets earn you access to the whole shindig. The weather may get to the high eighties today, but fall is a-comin’. Eventually.
About a year ago, Peaches– aka Jessica Hopper, the Canadian electroclash artist best known for her transgressive, hyper-sexual, feminist dance music– broke her six-year silence with a new album, Rub, which Pitchfork declared had “arrived at a moment when the world needs Peaches most.”
That might be an even more appropriate thing to say now, as feminism, women’s rights, and the possibility of Hillary Clinton becoming the first woman President of the United States have taken on a whole new feeling of urgency. Though we’ve come so far in the fight for women’s equality, we’re still knee-deep in a cesspool teeming with indignity, unequal pay, unpaid labor, obstacles to reproductive health, and widespread abuse– sexual, physical, and psychological. And we’re just talking the privileged Western world, baby.
It’s only been about two years since Stuart Solomon, Zack Wheeler, and Olivia Russin first secured a barebones warehouse in Greenpoint’s small sliver of an industrial corridor and turned it into a DIY show space called Aviv, so it’s been something of a shock to hear that the venue will be closing its doors at the end of October. Add the fact that Brooklyn recently lost another one of its heaviest hitters, Palisades, and Aviv’s passing will almost certainly mean that, as far as indie/underground/punk shows are concerned, there’s going to be a period of relative quiet to follow.
Fat White Family
Tuesday September 6, 11:59 pm at Saint Vitus: $10
If you left town this weekend, chances are your brain’s feelin’ a little fried right about now. Depending on where you went, your gait might might be a little sluggish on top of that. Understandably so, there’s always that reverse culture shock when you come back to the Big City after spending time abroad where strangers are always trying to cramp your speedy style by attempting to engage you in something called a “chat,” and where time in general seems to pass at the speed of rock formation. The quickest way to jumpstart your recovery is to get to an IRL event that throttles you back to life and reminds you why you live in this rat-infested city in the first place.
Brooklyn performance art duo Wild Torus are known for their wild, orgiastic, and messy shows, which often get the audience involved. They’ve always been a bit extreme, but found themselves in a situation that shocked even them when, in April, a performance art festival they did with Estonian performance collective Non Grata at East Williamsburg space The Paper Box was shut down mid-show without warning.
Mike Berlant (aka Vlady VØz Tokk, one half of Wild Torus along with Amy Mathis / Mág Ne Tá) recounted their experience on Facebook, in a post that was shared over 50 times and led to many in the surrounding arts community leaving bad reviews of the venue (including bad experiences some organizers had with other shows done there) and calling for it to be blacklisted. A month later, Wild Torus found themselves being sued by Paper Box for defamation and for “trashing” the space. They say they weren’t informed of the suit until the New York Post called them for comment for a piece they wrote about it.
Ok, give me your hands and I’ll read your mind. Hmmm. Interesting. You don’t know the difference between Psychic Twin and Psychic TV? That’s understandable, really—their names are pretty close, and they both have new material out and upcoming shows. I don’t know why you put this shortcoming in the “deepest shame box” in your subconscious, but I do know that the latest installment of Bands Apart can help you get it out of there.
Chain of Flowers, Bootblacks, Ritual Humor
Wednesday August 31, 8 pm at Saint Vitus: $10
With a band name like Chain of Flowers, you might be thinking, “What have you signed me up for? Some hippie girl shit?” Well, not to ruffle any feathers but this band ain’t nearly as tough as all that. Rather, imagine a pale, gothy frontdude with perfectly applied pallor and lavender lipstick about to embark on the craziest acid trip of his short little life, and you’d be somewhere close to what screams out from this Welsh post-punk outfit’s cotton-candy-pink cassette tape.