Honey, The Men, Foster Care, JJ Doll
Friday May 6, 8 pm at Alphaville: $8 in advance/ $10 at the door
The season of leisure is (sorta, almost) upon us, but before you can pull out your pastel polos and Adidas flip flops n’ white socks (predicting that a health-goths-in-hot-weather with ’80s Beverly Hills golf club vibe will dominate Riis Park Beach Bazaar this summer), you gotta ease into that seasonable mindset of giving very few fucks. Without the zen attitude, you’re just another banker boy who spills mustard on his Comme des Garcons tennis shoes and makes his French bulldog Daisy pay the consequences. In my opinion, the best way to avoid wanton animal abuse is to eliminate all possible stress factors– that means lining up your go-to tunes for the summer far in advance so that when it comes to making an all-day playlist on the fly, you’ll be ready to go.
Granted, this isn’t an easy task– those tracks have to be noisy enough to mask the roar of your battery-powered Jimmy Buffet margarita machine, but also chill enough so as not to attract the beach pigs to your beach-towel plot like flies to a Detroit-style coney dog. Here’s at least one new album that fits the bill: Honey’s Love is Hard (out on Wharf Cat Records).
To celebrate the release of their first proper LP, the Brooklyn garage band with roots in both Psychic Ills and Amen Dunes are gathering at Alphaville, where Honey will presumably play some of their new psyched-out, hotter-than-hell tracks. Speedy enough to conjure images of smoking amps, but sloppy and fun enough enough to invoke the Stooges’ rip-roaring bender pranks, Love is Hard is full of hair-whipping guitar riffs, and contains not a hint of somberness or bloated melancholy. Who’s got time for that stuff during the summer anyway?
As for the rest of the lineup, JJ Doll lend some street cred with their maniacal, speed-spitting, snarly piss punk, while local noise rock mainstays The Men (a band that’s also due for a new album soon) guarantee a good time. Foster Care round out the bill– expect their particular brand of energetic garage-punk, which sounds like it’s held together with cigarette papers, half-drunk deuces of Ballantine, and spittle.
Mykki Blanco & Friends
Friday May 6, 10 pm at the Good Room: $15
At this point, Mykki Blanco hardly needs an introduction. As the stage persona of Michael David Quattlebaum, Jr., Blanco has been one of a slew of rappers who are putting their ultra-weird, gender-bending selves at the forefront of their act. In a genre that’s dominated by ultra-masculine posturing and tough-guy boasting (not to mention latent homophobia), Blanco plays the punkest of them all, demonstrating that for one, she won’t be butted out of the genre or even discouraged by gay-hating, and that for an art form to be innovative, it also must be flexible, norm-shattering, and avant-garde.
Of course Blanco’s look is already a major departure from what we’ve seen from mainstream rap– she’s sometimes shirtless, rocking long tresses and a flat chest sequined with what look to be stick-n’-poke tattoos, and at other times she’s sporting a shaved head and expertly-contoured face, teetering on heels while squeezed into painted-on dresses. But it’s not the cross-dressing or gender fluidity that defines her sound.
Blanco’s music makes perfect sense when you consider that Quattlebaum (who goes by “he” off-stage and “she” while performing as Mykki Blanco) counts a number of disparate influences and trajectories including Riot Grrrl, theater, drag, and Busta Rhymes. The Village Voice captured Quattlebaum well with the summation: “He’s a gay, black, half-Jewish transvestite art-school prankster who can rhyme.”
Good Room is the place to party (and apparently get burned by cigarettes, too, if you’re not careful) so Blanco will be joined by her posse– like-minded artists from her record label, Dogfood Music Group, including Macy Rodman (the Bushwick drag queen of Bath Salts fame), who started recording twisted pop numbers after she blew up big time on the Bushwig scene. There’s also Tygapaw (DJ/producer from Crown Heights), who will be performing “sultry club” music inspired by her Jamaican heritage and love for ’90s R&B. Meanwhile, Psychoegyptian is set to share his clubby, horror hip-hop with the party people. Dancing shoes and a flippant attitude about nudity are required, it’s bound to get pretty wild.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Veldt
Monday May 9, 8 pm at Webster Hall: $25 – $30
So what on earth have the Brian Jonestown Massacre been up to, aside from continuing to release music at a breakneck speed? For one thing, Anton Newcombe has started to look increasingly, eerily like Brian Jones. The band’s frontman/multi-instrumentalist virtuoso is also its spiritual and its black hole. (As Dig showed us way back in 2004, he happens to be something of a feisty, ego-tripping gremlin with a history of tossing out band members in the same way you’d throw away any surviving evidence that you ever listened to the Dandy Warhols– as swiftly and coldly as possible.)
Aside from looks (brought on by the inexorable forces of old-man hippie weirdness), Newcombe is aging rather gracefully where it counts. Namely, BJM has maintained its commitment to writing weird country jams alongside meta-psych meanderings and anti-establishment fuck-you tunes. Though they dangled somewhat close to the edge of commercial success, they never quite got there, but more importantly they never even attempted to shape-shift into something even slightly marketable (see: Thank God for Mental Illness, now out on vinyl for the first time). Instead, after Dig came out and made them a household name in certain circles, BJM took what was already a penchant for throwing up middle fingers and turned it into a habit of setting a million bloodied finger carcasses on fire, continuing to flaunt their wild live-act and learning nothing from the doc about what it means to be a respectable band. Fast forward to now, and BJM’s still going strong, while their well-groomed colleagues, who always looked like a teeny-bopper mall band in comparison, disappeared into early-aughts Trivial Pursuit obscurity (where they were always headed anyway).
Now, they’re on track with a new album, Musique de Film Imaginé, which Newcombe says is a “tribute to great directors and filmmakers.” It’s a quiet, even somewhat haunting mystic-tripping journey into moody slowness that, yeah, sounds like a really good soundtrack to a super depressing/disturbing French art house film or something. In other words, Anton’s still got it. BJM’s still got it. Squeeze into Webster Hall while you still can and prove that you still got it.
Uh Bones, Savants, Cut Worms
Thursday May 12, 8 pm at Alphaville: $8
When it comes to garage, it’s nice to see that some bands are making a real effort to push things back from where they came. Like, way back. See the likes of Uh Bones, the Chicago-based Kinks-inspired, old-school rock n’ roller outfit whose emphasis is less on a slick, one-track-minded, bubble-gum-clacking kind of garage rock– what seems to have taken over in the last few years and is blurring the lines between noise rock and West Coast pop trends (the stuff of car commercials).
Instead, the Bones boys are reviving much-missed ’60s tropes like harmonizing vocals, Motown/soul-ish hooks, and old-ass organ grinding. Sure, they’re indebted to the likes of The Gories too, who were doing this thing back in the early aughts, but it’s a sound that’s been glossed over recently and we’re glad to see it’s making a comeback.
Okay, so Savants might be indication that this is a full-on trend– their music rewinds to an even softer-lensed vision of psych rock, back when a hit of LSD was probably about as strong as one toke of the backup stuff your delivery guy’s got when his bubble kush supply’s tight– in other words, baby’s milk. I’m gonna go ahead and owe this one to all of Bernie’s revolution-talk. We’ll have a little bit of variety thanks to Cut Worms and their brand of folky, down-tempo rock.