Surfbort, Promise Land, Casey Hopkins, Flasher
Tuesday July 11, 8 pm at Elvis Guesthouse: FREE
It appears that live rock/other non-laptop-fronted music bands have returned to Elvis Guesthouse, which is definitely something we can get behind. Coz let’s be real, as far as cool, newer venus go, it’s slim pickins’ in the East Village. Plus, other than being the hipper more underground bar to the owners’ other venture, Baby’s All Right, (literally– at the end of an unsuspecting staircase to conceivably nowhere, Elvis is subterranean), the place was designed by that dude who does the Boob Pots. Which, if they don’t ring familiar, a liable to sound like a holdout from the days when being “King of the Road” actually meant an embroidered jacket and livin’ coast-to-coast on PBs-and-just-sometime-Js. But throw some fried bananas and bacon on that bish and you’re actually not too far from what the designer guy was going for.
The result was an admittedly very lovely space, albeit pretty dainty (or, depending on your taste, the unholiest of pleasure saunas ), devoted to a cute Elvis-Goes-To-Kathmandu conspiracy theory .There’s a wall of Bollywood-hued paper flowers, ’70s bathroom accoutrements, and parties that look like they belong in LA , so it’s no wonder that the Guesthouse is probably one of the city’s most Instagrammable establishments. It’s just a shame that it’s been all for naught (i.e. DJs)– or has it? Stay tuned to see how long this life-music situation sticks around, hopefully just as long as the King will stay in our hearts.
The venue seems to be on track to booking live acts via “residencies,” and this week, beloved party punk band Surfbort is it. If you didn’t make it to the July 5 banger that was night-one of their residency, this Tuesday’s your last chance to check em out in the spot. (They’re also playing Shea, Friday July 15 too, among other places around town in the coming weeks.) The residency program continues later on this week with Blonder’s turn to have a go on July 14. However we highly recommend that you do make it to this one, seeing as the ticket price for these fun little shows goes from totally free to $5 by then.
Surfbort’s whip-wild energy alone is enough to get our legs pumpin in a direction that isn’t necessarily “in front of” or “to” the nearest fan, but the addition of Promise Land seals the deal (lol unfortunately not your favorite “Symphonic Christian Metal” band from Pittsburgh). The nostalgic/ ’80s analog synth/haunted cyber disco project of Australian super-duo, Johanna Rashid and Harmon, make for some perfectly danceable tunes to keep it appropriately sticky inside the city’s only venue resembling a bathtub. Flasher‘s another band to get excited about– equally 80’s is there sound, but a little more weighted to the post-punk side of things. It’s cute, we promise. Casey Hopkins is sure to charm as well– imbuing ’70s glam/proto-cock-rock vibes with a whole new nowness.
Girl Band, Greys, Bambara
Thursday July 14, 8 pm at Baby’s All Right: $12
Don’t be fooled by the dashing good looks of the all-
girl-guy “girl” band, Girl Band, who have some true unwholesomeness lurking beneath their gleaming surface.
After the fairly recent release of their well-liked album, Holding Hands With Jamie, Girl Band dropped a brand new single (on a hand-prettied 7″) last week, and this video to boot (the director described his “In Plastic” effort as “a dream Kafka might have if he ever read 1984). In betwixt, the Dublin-born band’s been selling out/ will probably continue to sell out shows wherever they may go– festivals, Brooklyn venues, or on the road out West opening for Parquet Courts. (That last bit pretty much assures “it-band” status.)
But it’s sorta hart to pinpoint exactly why they’re so appealing– Girl Band’s actually relatively sluggish, (despite the comparisons to Liars) and as grey and rainy as a Dublin July day. But that’s all surface talk– deeper down, it’s clear things are pretty dang bleak , and lyrically, even more so.
Frontman Dara Kiely’s poetry-reading-style vocals suck you in to each word, you’re right there with him, mulling over the mouthfeel of each syllable. And just when you start swaying and nodding to the borderline- lullaby rock sounds, you’re inundated with the psychological terror of Kiely’s own descent into madness (he was living in a tent in his backyard for a minute, while experiencing delusions of grandeur such as believing he could control the weather– everything’s cool now though). But what that scary little detour left behind were some potent memories of what it’s like on the edge.
Child Abuse, Taiwan Housing Project, Dog, Conduit
Friday, July 15, 9 pm at The Glove: $8
Things haven’t looked this bad for Brooklyn’s DIY scene since a completely different kind of administration was reigning over the city, rearing its ugly head like an angry dragon that feeds on the souls of party people and guitar strings (which, as a baby, it mistook for guitar strings and never recovered). But a new venue called The Glove has just arrived and offers a glimmer of hope, thanks to the efforts of the good people who once ran the now defunct Bohemian Grove.
This 1,500 foot-square venue/art gallery, located just inside Bed-Stuy across the Bushwick border, could be the savior we need– seriously, Palisades is still closed (after the cops came in and shut the place down during Northside Festival, reportedly due to building code violations), and we juuuuust lost the Acheron. You can try her on for size yourself this Friday at this killer show at the Glove.
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to deduce what a band called Child Abuse might sound like, but just in case your brain isn’t steeped in the same defiled death fluid that mine is, here goes: their sound hovers somewhere between horrendously off-tempo grindcore (in the best way possible), guttural spewing, and the soundtrack that, before an exorcism, a two-pack-a-day demon would throw on for his last hurrah inside fresh, unspoiled virgin-body.
Taiwan Housing Project (whose ranks include ex-members of Harry Pussy) will embark from the wilds of Philly for our humble city, but they’re not here to show New Yorkers how to nip this affordable housing crisis (ha ha– no, wait really) in the bud, but to set up an entirely new housing regime. We’re talking “housing,” as in, a housing crisis of the mind, man. THP’s experimental, loopy compositions and improvisations are so extraterrestrial, so unfamiliar and strange, that throwing open the doors to our pitiful “houses” and letting their musical meanderings inside, may result in a sudden relinquishing of our restrictive ways. Scary? Perhaps. Nonsense talk? I mean, maybe, but you’ll never know your true potential for experimental thinking until you, too, open your ears up to total whacked-out weirdnes. The worst that could happen is that you’ll suddenly wake up, lock eyes with the reflection peering back at you from your routine, leftover puddle of almond milk (or are those just flax seeds? or do you have flax seeds for eyes?) and find that you’ve become that dude.
Grooms, Sleepies, Heaven’s Gate, Parlor Walls
Saturday July 16, 8 pm at the Silent Barn: $8
As Sleepies themselves said it, “Finally a new goddamn Sleepies song.” Well, actually the Brooklyn post-punk band is just being humble– they’re all set for a full-on album release party, going down this coming weekend at the Silent Barn. Naturally, their new LP’s titled, Natural Selection (mastered, no less, by Ben Greenberg of Uniform, ex-The Men)– an appropriate title, given that they haven’t released a full-sized thing since 2012, and I mean, it was kind of do-or-die at this point. (You can preorder the nice looking tape from Mirror Universe right over here.)
Judging by the single “Genetic Cousins,” Sleepies’ haven’t taken on any new trendy leanings and have stayed true to a confessional, yearning but whimsical vibe that’s very much been popularized by Parquet Courts. Here’s to hoping we see more of these guys around town.