Thursday, June 03, 2004 at 13:33:47 (EDT)

Oh! you pretty things
Still no word on whether Motico has a review in Punk Planet or not, but we finally got reviewed in Splendid. All the CDs MRK sent out months ago are finally coming to fruition! The new review is quite complimentary, which I should probably accept with an arrogant rockstar sneer, as is the fashion. Time for Motico to have some super-preening photos taken! Why is it bands always looks so ridiculous in their studio press photos? I guess these days it's tougher than ever to come up with something that doesn't look absolutely stupid, what with our post-ironic times and all.

Back in the day a band like Led Zepplin could retain their rock cred with a rather unassuming shot:

Could be the Allman Brothers

But as time lurched onward, such rudimentary photos no longer cut the mustard. Today most bands seem to follow either the "Quirky-Ironic" look or the "Too Cool for School" look:


They Might Be Giants

The Sexy Magazines

Trail of Temper

I've always liked Shellac's publicity shots, they're straightforward but mildly goofy:

The latter photo may have been meant to look like Slint's Spiderland cover:

Of course, Slint made a few wrong turns in their presskit as well, but then they were mere youngsters when they took this photo:

Some bands go for an approach that doesn't try to embody the music, but rather embraces a "We're nice people" philosophy. Here's Babe the Blue Ox and my old band, Planet of Pants:

Babe the Blue Ox

Planet of Pants, circa 1994

At any rate, I'm pretty sure we can keep from embarrassing ourselves if we live by the rule, "Do the Opposite of Whatever Perry Farrel Thinks is a Good Idea":


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Wednesday, June 02, 2004 at 10:37:32 (EDT)

There's always one step lower you can go
While hanging out with members of the elusive Detective Computer the other night, we got to talking about the history of dive bars. We were, naturally, at the Alibi, trying to determine what exactly qualifies as a dive versus a "shithole," which is like a dive but without a certain allure. Eventually we realized that we didn't know exactly where the word "dive" came into play as descriptive noun for this sort of establishment. So days later I have finally looked this up:

Dive - emerged 13c. from O.E. dufan "to dive, duck, sink" (intransitive, class II strong verb; past tense deaf, pp. dofen) and dyfan "to dip, submerge" (weak, transitive), from P.Gmc. *dubijanan. Past tense dove is a later formation, perhaps on analogy of drive/drove. Sense of "disreputable bar" is first recorded Amer.Eng. 1871, perhaps because they were usually in basements, and going into one was both a literal and fig. "diving."

Dive Patrons: Then

It comes as no surprise that the term "dive bar" appears to be an American invention. I'm having trouble locating more specific information, but I haven't had my requisite 40 cups of coffee yet. From what I have read in other sources, it appears the dive bar is a direct descendent of the bars that evolved on the ground floors of tenement buildings in New York. Many tenements leveraged their sub-par amenities with super-cheap watering holes on the way out of the building. The film version of Gangs of New York gives some indication of the level of service at such venues, featuring the popular "needle beer," which was a concoction of leftover rancid beer spiked with turpentine. Yummy! You could forget all about your poor family, rapidly starving in the pitch-black room upstairs, suffocating under the heat and the stench from the human sewer that existed behind the building (ironically, today many of these back yards have become lovely outdoor gardens of bars that were once horrible tenement dives).

Dive patrons: Now

From this grand tradition comes the dive bars we now know and love, like Fort Greene's own Alibi, which is a pretty good example of modern dive. Of course, they are talking about renovating the bathrooms which may endanger their standing in the dive world. Still, when it comes to the debate between "True Dive" and "Faux Dive" compared to the original hell-holes from the 19th Century, few bars could truly qualify for True Dive status. And for that we should all probably be thankful.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2004 at 12:33:42 (EDT)

Who wrote the night?
At the North Six show on saturday, the management decided to hold the show in the weird basement space instead of the usual main space. Bob, drummer of Aqui, seemed convinced they did this to 'punish' his band because they were playing later that night at the Black Label Bike Club's show at Volume (which the Fire Marshal had shut down, forcing the show to move to Asterisk). Farfetched though it was, we bought this explanation. Nobody stopped to consider that because it was Memorial Day weekend, a period when the city traditionally empties, perhaps the N6 folks just didn't want to have to clean up the big room, knowing that not many would make it out to the show. They were right. The basement is not a bad place to see a band, but it is the polar opposite of the space upstairs. Small, with no real sound system, but despite the caliber of musicians scheduled it never got packed. USAISAMONSTER kicked ass as usual, and I think Aqui was good (it was hard to tell over the huge amounts of delay on the vocals), and Sicbay was totally bitchin'.

We returned home and I, drunk, decided to throw Mr Bones over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and then when I wouldn't put him down after several warnings, he bit my nose. Fangs bared! Blood flowed! But I didn't learn my lesson until I had hounded him a couple more times and he scratched up my hands and head pretty good.

I spent the rest of the weekend fighting a stupid cold, but at least I didn't have to work. Despite my infirmity I went out in the rain yesterday, trying to track down a copy of the newest Punk Planet, as we have it on dubious authority that Motico got reviewed in it. But none of the places listed on their site had any copies (indeed, several locations do not even seem to exist at all), so it was kind of a waste of effort. If anybody sees a copy, let us know if there is indeed a Motico review, and if it's favorable enough, we might actually buy a copy.

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Week of May 30 - June 5, 2004

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