Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obligatory Halloween Post

I was totally going to do a really great halloween mix and post it up today, but then I remembered, around 1am last night, that I don't know how to use Ableton when I'm drunk. So here's Portishead. This is as scary as it gets these days anyway - just try to get up and go do something after listening to this. You don't want to do you?

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Flavorpill Roundup

Here's some short, marvelously inconsequential things I've written recently. See I have been writing! Shut up!

Yura Yura Teikoku
at the Music Hall of Williamsburg

Against Me, Ted Leo & Future of the Left at Webster Hall

Todd P Halloween Bash at Goldenrod Brewery

St. John's Halloween Extravaganza at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback at the Anthology Film Archives

A Week of Noise
- Curated by Thurston Moore at the Issue Project Room

Bat-Manga Reading at the Strand

Pattern Is Movement at the Empty Bottle in Chicago

Thanks. More real posts soon I promise. I've been formulating plans for a long exegesis on greed, New York and the financial crisis that will probably never get written. But cross your fingers anyway. Also, aren't you glad there's no CMJ coverage here? Yeah!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Andrew WK: May 15 2008 -or- Belated Joy

This has been lying around for almost 6 months now. Here, for the sake of completeness, is a review of Andrew W.K.'s show at the New Museum from last May.

Andrew W.K.
May 15, The New Museum, New York, NY

From the crowd, which varied from the type of 20 somethings (I shy away from any term making use of "hip" or "thou") whose clothes make you a little uncomfortable to sexagenarian performance art enthusiasts, the event announcements, which admitted "we really have no idea what this performance will be like," to the performance space, a grand piano and practice guitar amplifier surrounded on 3 sides by bleacher like seats and more intimately by floor cushions for close up appreciation, it was apparent that I was not the only one feeling a bit unclear as to what to expect when faced with an Andrew W.K. performance in an art museum in 2008.

And, well, rightly so. The man himself often seems oddly divorced from the music he made his name with - a soft spoken proponent of positive thinking and friendship who performs songs like "Ready To Die" (of his own creation, not the Unicorns or B.I.G.) in a quasi-metal growl. Especially now that some of his most recent work has been production a Lee "Scratch" Perry and Sightings.

In the end, while those who came hoping for dub, sonic experimentation, or a surprise full band run through of I Get Wet may have gone home disappointed, Mr. W.K.'s performance should have pleased everyone else. Though the show was billed as a solo performance, Andrew arrived with Matt Sweeney, a guitar, and a drum machine. With little introduction, the two launched into a blues number over which Andrew sang a bunch of seemingly nonsensical lyrics, which eventually coalesced into chants about milk.

Andrew then confirmed that he and Sweeney would be improvising, and they continued to do just that, playing songs, all relatively blues based and backed by drum machine, with lyrical topics ranging from love, to turtles, to food and gaining weight. All of this served to confirm what everyone in attendance should have already known. Andrew W.K. can do no wrong, and will always succeed, albeit through some backwards means, at everything he attempts. A recording of these improvisations surely would be underwhelming - as you can argue Andrew's records are - but that's not the point. As Andrew himself stated later on in the show, music, or at least his music, is about the experience of the moment and nothing else.

Following the improvisations, Sweeney left and Andrew ran through 4 or 5 of his hits accompanied by a backing track and the shouting, flailing and encouragement of any audience members brave enough to step within his 4 or 5 foot arm and hair swinging radius of affection and joy. If you didn't like "Party Hard" before, this performance wouldn't have changed your mind, but if you even kinda liked it, it became your favorite song of all time for its entire duration.

The 15 or so kids who formed a maypole-dance-like circle around the piano during one of the numbers attests to the fact that Andrew W.K. is one of the few performers seemingly to still be able to turn a crowd of jaded 20 year olds back into excited teenagers. Which is why, when at the closing of the show he claimed never to have experienced anything exactly like this particular concert, you could sense that he was being less than totally honest for the first time in the evening. Joy is every day with Andrew W.K.

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