Sunday, January 24, 2016

Jen Gelineau // C.H.S. Split Cassette

Sam Hadge is becoming a big wig in the western Massachusetts alternative music scene. I go away for one Summer and he's running the place when I come back. He engineers and produces original music cassettes frequently besides going to many shows and videotaping them ala Ted Lee. Besides those busy activities, he also has procured some dynamic shows around the area. Tonight as I write this I am considering a trek to Amherst from Greenfield to see/hear some righteous sounds.

In the meantime, I will take this opportunity to exhort you all to acquire his latest release which is a split between Sam's project C.H.S., and Jenifer Gelineau. Believe me, it is worth more than Five Bucks.

It is hard to know what to write about Sam's side. All my superlatives have been used in other reviews too many times. I liked how it wasn't anything I expected. Hearing sounds and sound stories which I haven't heard before or imagined is the way I like to hear music. Sam maintained the surprised interest I like for the whole 30 minutes of his uninterrupted piece. I won't give away how he surprised me because !spoiler! right? Buy your own cassette.

At first I thought "annoying" but quickly, in that pleasant Stockholm Syndrome way, I became a complete convert to determined noise message he was sending. Occasionally, he pulsated differently, adding a surprise which I found pleasing. These were not necessary and I often wondered if there was really anywhere else to go with his palate of sounds and there always was. There was always a new level to explore and I was happy to do that. During the third or fourth surprising level of change, the music made me stop eating the spicy stir fry David had made and sit up straight, as if I needed to be sure of what I heard. "It sounds like sound powder-sharp pieces of powder raining sideways." I ventured, trying to describe the sounds in words. He nodded, dumbfounded. We kept listening avidly until the end of the cassette clicked finished.

Jenifer asked me to listen to her side a week or 2 before she submitted it to Sam. I gave a few critiques and asked some questions but basically said Ready to Go. A month or two later she told me the cassette release had dropped and I asked her if she had made any changes. She said yes so of course I was not interested in hearing the new version.

Being a great friend, I paid the five dollars and bought her cassette. It was rewound to Sam's side so we listened to that first. The next day I played Jen's side.

Enough time had gone by that I don't even know what the difference was between her first version and this final. I have seen her play live a few times recently and I found her recording to be a departure from her live performances, which I was glad to hear. I love the unexpected. Her 30 minute set was divvied up into 3 movements. At times it sounded like the perfect compliment to Sam's side, with its persistent hum and cry. I would used the word industrial but I abhor the general cliche. There were times I felt like I was hearing what a pet hears in the airplane's cargo hold but also what seemed like animal screams. Overall, it sounded more organic when she played violin, like an animal's screams and moans, all conducted with occasional flourishes and thundering.

One Month From Now, We're Gonna Have Fun at the Ashfield Lakehouse. Come Join.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Greenfield, Massachusetts is a groovy art town

In the next week, there are things happening in Greenfield every day and I choo choo choose to go to three of them and I'm happy and excited to stay in my town and soak up the art life.

On Tuesday at John Doe Jr. Matt Robidoux continues his series of music concerts with a super show featuring hisself and Colby Nathan coming off their Canadian tour. It is a big show, you'll get your money's worth. I don't know about any of the acts except ANGELA SAWYER. Yep, Angela will be doing a set Tuesday night along with 4 other acts. More info, check the faceblah event page I know it will be an amusing and hopefully ethereal night.
Wednesday WOW! In Greenfield at the Garden Cinemas again rides the ONE MINUTE FESTIVAL of video and film. This event started two years ago and it was a fun scene to see folks' mini videos shown in the big theatre. Starts at 7 pm and it's gonna be great.

Thursday! More alternative music in Greenfield, this time at the newly reopened Wheelhouse bar in the Arts Block building. I'm excited to see/hear Jake Meginski play as well as a set by my Egg, Eggs costar Sophie Leetma. Again I refer you to the write up on the FB event page because it knows more than me.

I am happy I don't have to leave my lil town to see shows and events that I would probably drive to Florence or Northampton to see but I don't need to, thanks to the arty folk in my thrivingly vibrant town. See you later on.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

But I am writing little songs, As little ladies will.

Last night there was a great concert at the Montague Bookmill which featured two sets of music. The first set was by Ruth Garbus and Julia Tadlock and then Myriam Gendron played songs from her album, Not So Deep as a Well, which is on Feeding Tube Records. Ruth Garbus played songs from her Feeding Tube record, Rendezvous with Rama.

David Russell said about Ruth and Julia's set, "That music was so intense, it made me feel fucked up." and he was right. There was no point during their 8 song set that my mind wandered away. Ruth played guitar with a light finger touch that took us all through the songs without hesitation or question. Then on top of her sweet tune, she and Julia sang curious lyrics that I strained to catch and when that task seemed too burdensome, I enjoyed the instrumentation of their harmonies and voices. There was a point when my mind's comparison to them and the Roches seemed too base, too obvious, but then when they sounded like Giles, Giles and Fripp during the song "Slusher," I was more amused with that comparison. Not that I don't love the Roches but comparing one group of ladies harmonizing to another? I find that a dull comparison although I love to hear those sounds.

After Slusher, Ruth introduced the next song, "Grey Sweatshirt," and Julia pulled out some zils for accent while Ruth sang alone. I heard her sound a little like Nico during this slower, more reflective song. "I shall play my song and wonder if it should exist." She allowed herself a short piece of gentle scat singing which may have been improv'd, or, it may have been done before but tonight when I heard it for the first time, I thought appreciatively, "Wow, what did she just do?"

Julia pulled out a guitar and they played together while she sang a cover of Neil Young's "Motion Picture," and then they sang three other Ruth originals. The song in the middle I thought was called "Doritos" or "Doritos at the Time" because that was a repeating refrain. After the set I asked and Ruth said it was called "I could use more of that" and there was a very clever lyric about synesthesia and Byron Coley. People laughed aloud. Go listen to Ruth play. Buy her album.

The name of this post is a quote from this poem:

Song Of Perfect Propriety
Dorothy Parker

Oh, I should like to ride the seas,
A roaring buccaneer;
A cutlass banging at my knees,
A dirk behind my ear.
And when my captives' chains would clank
I'd howl with glee and drink,
And then fling out the quivering plank
And watch the beggars sink.

I'd like to straddle gory decks,
And dig in laden sands,
And know the feel of throbbing necks
Between my knotted hands.
Oh, I should like to strut and curse
Among my blackguard crew....
But I am writing little verse,
As little ladies do.

Myriam played a few songs off her album which is full of songs Myriam wrote the music for and used Dorothy Parker poetry as the lyrics. I dig Dorothy Parker and I loved Myriam's guitar playing but during the set, I am one of those numbskulls who wishes for a lyric sheet as a guide. I don't know enough Dorothy poetry to be able to hear and glean the meaning of the poem as Myriam delivered it vocally. Although, if I had the poetry guide, I might find myself paying attention to that and pondering the poetry instead of listening as closely to Myriam's guitar playing as it deserved to be heard. That is a nice situation to find oneself in, I expect. I was able to catch some phrases, like in the poem shared here, I remember hearing her sing, "but I am writing little songs as little ladies do" and that stayed with me and became a theme for the night because I was very eager to attend to these women's little songs just as I am eager to go home and write little songs of my own. I've watched shows and gone to hear music for most of my life and the powerful women musicians who I see more and more surrounding me in this community are exciting.

The Lady Killigrew was hopping tonight and the bookmill was full of people who were eager to sit on the floor and hear these women's music. It was great music and everyone seemed satisfied as they filed out the room or milled about afterwards talking or not talking.

Oh, I should like to dance and laugh
And pose and preen and sway,
And rip the hearts of men in half,
And toss the bits away.
I'd like to view the reeling years
Through unastonished eyes,
And dip my finger-tips in tears,
And give my smiles for sighs.

I'd stroll beyond the ancient bounds,
And tap at fastened gates,
And hear the prettiest of sound-
The clink of shattered fates.
My slaves I'd like to bind with thongs
That cut and burn and chill....
But I am writing little songs,
As little ladies will.

Thanks Dorothy Parker, for everything.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Two Days with Bob Fay:When Does The Show Start? part two~Sunday

Have you ever gone to a show on time and sat there for too long waiting for it to start? I have. I used to think, "What a good girl I am, getting here on time! I want to see the whole thing, don't want to miss the opening act!" And after finishing a beer, felt mad that people are still shuffling around with amps, mics, guitars. "Wait, you said the show started at 9 and it is 10:30! Why am I here?" You might ask someone in charge. They shrug, look around at the crowd which maybe just consists of yourself. They are too cool to play to an "empty" room. So next time maybe I'll come late too. The trouble is that the longer they wait, the later the show will go and perhaps the sets will be shorter as well. I hate all that. If I am playing a show, I am happy to go first and I usually tell my fans (ha ha) to get there on time to see me and whether or not those certain people do get there in a timely fashion, I just go. It works out. Playing music is fun.

Saturday night, I texted Matt R, one of the hosts at JdJ shows, and asked when they were going to start. He said right at 8:30. I got there at 8:30 and they started. It was great. Stupidly, I thought Sunday was going to start at 8:30 also. I didn't even bother looking at the event information on this webpage or on faceblah. It didn't start at 8:30. It started at 8 with Bob Fay and Mary Staubitz and when I walked in at 8:30 Dollar Bin were breaking down their equipment. He had played prepared guitar and she had some electronics and synths. I was devastated. So much for my "Two Days with Bob Fay", right? I missed Bob Fay's set! In desperation I turned to Ted Lee of Feeding Tube records who was holding his camera. "Would you please post the set for me so I can continue with my blog double feature?" I begged him. He said he would if I came to his store and bought $125 worth of records and tapes. I agreed. Dollar Bin at JdJ They sound great. Some of their music could be successfully used as part of a horror movie soundtrack and some of it at the end sounded like monsters playing on a shoreline. I'd go back for Dollar Bin.

Unfortunately, I was too distracted at that point to give the next group their due in terms of my attention. Lysha Smith played laptop/controllers rig, Wayne Smith- cello and Nathan Jepsen- guitar/keyboards. They played downstairs and from the first floor I could hear some really nice sounds and I was intrigued. Here is a photo of them by Matt Robidoux. I would like to hear them play again and preferably be sitting on a couch with a cocktail and my listening ears on. Keep me posted.

David Gross is kind of a big deal. He's been playing forever and he's really good, everyone hates him. He just finished a quick tour with these folks and they were finishing that tour at John Doe Jr. Sarah Hennies played drums and I know her from when she played with my brother in law in the band Weird Weeds. She now lives in Ithaca, NY, having relocated from Texas. I find this funny because it is near where I sometimes relocate. She was funny to talk to and on stage and good with the drum sounds. They were quiet and loud and mesmerizing. I do not know Morgan Evans-Weiler who played viola but the three of them together kept me enthralled. At one point the viola sounded like the bowed snare and they kept up a heavenly drone for a while which Dave Gross added to with some percussive horn whispers and horn bellows. I went to look at my notes to help me write this and there was nothing. I was too busy listening to write comments. I did record about 45 seconds of their music twice to send to David Russell and I am able to listen to that to help me here. Both pieces sounded wholly different but both had slight alarm sounds happening. One alarm sound was the viola playing the same riff over and over and sort of sounded like an old police car from a British film circa 1966 and the other time was when they played in unison and the brains all vibrated. I loved them.

Matt Weston played a brief set next with drums and synthesizers. He controlled the synthesizers using a foot pedal while drumming, which I find impressive. I know people play pedals with their feet all the time and sure, no big deal, but I am recently learning to use my feet to do stuff like that while playing guitar and I find it difficult. I liked what he played. I wondered about it and was surprised by it.

We all went downstairs to hear Vic Rawlings play his electronics. I didn't know what to expect unlike most the people there. I sat down on a milkcrate with my notebook and listened. I wrote this: "Vic, also a birthday boy, interesting array of speakers spread before him while playing (prepared) pedals and wired components to make feedbacky fuzz and light drone noises the type one might find annoying while looking for a radio station in 1944, but lined up and played not so randomly became an intriguing tableau for the brain to consider. All the fuzz noises were like notes on a piano but mysterious and logical to my mind. I like how this music make me think a little bit differently than before I heard it." He was really good.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Two Days with Bob Fay: Are You an Aging Rocker? part one~Saturday

This past weekend I went to two shows in two nights at John Doe Jr in Greenfield, MA. I was excited because my favorite aging rocker, Bob Fay, was playing both nights with 2 different bands. I jokingly use the term "Aging Rocker" because this is what people become if they don't die of an overdose or a fire-induced trampling/crowd crush. If a person isn't aging, then that person is dead.

SATURDAY: Bob played with Danny Cruz and Matt Robidoux in their band called Vanishing DMC. I liked it a lot. The first song was fun and catchy, I think it was called Evil Eye. Danny played keyboards and sang. Matt played drums and Bob guitar. After that song Bob played drums while Matt played guitar and bass. The 2nd song, Fake Pizza, was a loud rock tune and the 3rd song had a improvised intro which Danny waited through, wearing his long leather gloves. The fourth song I think was called Peaceful Thing and was interesting, with the perfect effect on Danny's voice. It was a bit like the Clash. The last song, which was About Sex, had people starting to dance and bop around a little bit.

After the set I asked Big O what she thought of the set and she said, "It was real." I asked Bob how the band got together and he said Matt called him up and they were going to get a fourth player, a drummer, for the group but Bob took the drums and after the first practice, they knew it was all they needed. I was glad to have checked them out.

The second band did not feature Bob Fay but did feature Jackie Jackieboy who changed into a white turtleneck behind a stack of amplifiers before his set. He was the punk vocalist frontman for UROCHROMES, who were fun and good. Before they started their loud, exciting and new punk music set, they waited to be joined by their second guitarist. Jackie entertained us with a story of playing at a club that had a bathroom right by the stage. The bathroom was so small that there was no sink. The sink was outside of the bathroom, near or perhaps on the stage. Jackie told us that he delighted in using the toilet and then coming out of the bathroom and publicly NOT use the sink. I wasn't personally shocked by that disclosure but I was very amused that he played the dirty boy role.

There was a band from Cleveland which was playing, Cruelster. They were driving to the show and didn't make it in time for the 3rd slot. Jackie announced that they were driving here to the show and then after the show were driving right back to Cleveland because someone was expecting a baby to be born at any minute and one of the guys in Cruelster wanted to be there. They ended up arriving and playing last.

So the third band was a local named Gluebag. Have you ever seen them? Why is that their name? From Urban Dictionary:Gluebag. any person exhibiting unusual, erratic and ridiculous behaviour or practices. (usually the result of gluesniffing). I didn't find them very erratic at all. They are a straight ahead rock group with fabulous frontman guitar solos by Tony Pasquarosa. This is them on the youtube. Here is their LP for sale from Framework. At the show folks were wild about Gluebag. If I may come clean about my personal choices, I would rather hear Tony play something like this.

Cruelster showed up and did their rendition of punk rock. They were different from Urochromes in that they were brighter and heavier. I felt like I was somewhere outside of western mass and I was, I was in Cleveland, which was very cool. People crowded in the basement and there was a bit of moshing. I'm not sure if they had their baby yet.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Next Saturday JULY 18 at John Doe Jr in Greenfield

Next Saturday two cool noise guys from Chicago are coming to little Greenfield on their tour and enlightening the smart set who decides to drop in on John Doe Jr to see and hear Shingles and Sugarm. I hope you will be one of the many who come.

Comers will hear homegrown locals, foambidoux Allen Group, which consists of two basses and a sax, played by the music impresario Matt Robidoux, Adam Foam and Andy Allen. They will be a pleasureable and interesting to hear.

Also on the bill is the young local band Thee Arcadians, who are making their way around the valley, playing everywhere that'll have them. This band changes frequently but I hear that for Saturday, guitarist Nico Lapinski, Ian St George and one of the rotating set of "Sons of David Russell" will be playing. For this show it will be Elliot Russell playing the kit, instead of Sal McNamara.

And finally, I am going to play a solo set, my first gig with electric guitar instead of ukulele. I am going to do a bunch of my original songs (you know you love it) and a cover or two on the Hagstrom 1966 I bought last December in Nashville.

I hope I see you all in Massachusetts.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tonight! Thee Arcadians hit John Doe Jr in Greenfield

My Kid, Salvadore McNamara, is playing drums with thee arcadians tonight at John Doe Jr. in Greenfield. I've never heard this band before. I'm pretty sure they are very loud so I am going to bring earplugs. I am also going to bring cheese puffs for people to snack on and enjoy.

Other bands which will be playing are Trogpite, Headband, Kate Ferencz and Harmon Butcher. For slices of their pie, go to the facebook event page and chase down the L I N K S I've never heard nor seen any of them, which should be interesting.

Thursday, April 9, 2015