Wednesday, April 19, 2006 at 15:39:07 (EDT)

I'm buildin' me a home
While checking out Kedar's new blog and flickr site, I started looking for other photos of Broken Angel. I hit the mother lode: an album of shots in and around Broken Angel taken by Arthur Wood's son! It's pretty mind-blowing, especially with the addition of pictures of the building before it was altered by the Woods. I had no idea how much was added on, the entire front section is an add-on. In fact, when the building was unretouched it looked like your basic multi-family apartment building, not unlike the ones on my block. I know it's lame to feel good about yourself due to arbitrary proximity to things (like rooting for the Yankees just because you live in NYC, "school spirit," etc.) but I'm rather glad I live close to this structure.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006 at 12:59:21 (EDT)

But I could tell she was blushing
I am very disappointed to find out that this band is not in fact an all-female Slint cover band.

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Monday, April 17, 2006 at 15:46:39 (EDT)

Bird Bites, Dog Cries

We descended on Astoria and drank wine and listened to Hatebeak and ate a bunch of food and drank mead (!) and then went into Manhattan for a show but we missed it so we went to the Parkside. Guess which one of these things I'm not in a rush to do again (hint: it involves 15 pounds of honey). Here's some pictures, mostly of the recording studio Justin recently finished.

Earlier in the weekend we celebrated Janice's birthday at Daddy's, one of those bars in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint area with the huge half-circle shaped bars that seem a little grandiose for the otherwise-small space. Do bartenders need that much space just to walk across and pour a shot? Anyway that was fun, and I learned a lot about how marketing folk come up with interesting and distinctive (yet not too discrete from existing naming conventions) names for prescription drugs. Fascinating!

Saturday we hit the Glasshouse Gallery to see Cobretti and the Teenage Prayers. I went to college with the lead guy in the latter band, they were good old-schooly rock. I didn't have the energy to talk to the guy; besides, I kind of remember him not liking me very much so perhaps I shouldn't push my luck. Anyway, Cobretti has gotten really rockin' since the last time I saw them. I don't know if that's because the guitarist now has a full Marshall stack (head and 2 separate 4-speaker cabinets). The music is morphing into something that reminds me a lot of the late Black Cat Revolver, which both pleases me and saddens me a little, as it makes me remember how much I liked them. C'est la guerre. Also, I guess it goes without saying that Cobretti is sounding lots like early Bob City, largely due to the fact that both bands had the same lead singer. I don't know if they two bands this night knew that there were Ohio boys in each outfit.

I wish I had brought the camera, if only to document what has been done to the interior of the Glasshouse. Where before it was a rather raw space in which bands set up amongst debris and a few odds and ends on the walls, the space has been transformed into a veritable forest of garbage-art. It's hard to describe but it involves a lot of bent metal strips, paint, old boom box speakers and Barbie dolls. It's pretty impressive just from a (literal) trash art perspective. But the also built a column of glass and crap in the center of the room; it's at least 3 feet wide and basically impenetrable. They moved the 'stage' are to the opposite side, so now if you stand in the middle of the room to watch the band, you have to decide if you're going to watch the guitarist or the bass player; you won't be abel to see the lead singer or the drummer or anybody in the center. Cuz there's a big friggin' tree of garbage in your way! I tend to think this was envisioned by the art mavens of the Glasshouse who haven't taken kindly to the intrusiveness of the bands who routinely knock stuff down, and are generally without sensitivities delicate enough to determine what is actual art, and what may be an ashtray. This is just a theory.

The last band of the night, The Transformers, had a clever solution to the obstructed view issue: they set up all around the room. The drummer setup in the usual spot, but the guitarist and bass player moved to opposite ends of the room, surrounding the garbagetree, which they proceed to play at for the next 40 minutes. They lost a few points with me, when their singer grabbed an open gallon of orange paint and jogged around the circle of the room, dumping the whole thing on the carpet (not to mention the guitarist's Memory Man pedal). Even if he had cleared this action with the venue, it's still sorta lame. I dunno, maybe I'm an old fogey, but I don't wanna get orange paint all over me. Yes, I am sounding fogeyish.

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Friday, April 14, 2006 at 13:30:46 (EDT)

I'm special, sooo special

After our show last night, I went over to Union Pool with the Purvis sisters to see Celebration, the dance band from Baltimore with the really poorly chosen name. Here's a band that played a couple of really small clubs about a year ago, and now has signed to 4AD and seems to only play huge venues like Bowery Ballroom. I don't know if it's a matter of having good connections, or if there's some kind of "This is the girl" Mullholland Drive kind of thing happening here, but they seem like they have been marked for the Big Time. So it was nice they were playing this smaller venue. But then ...

It was announced that TV on the Radio would be added to the bill, as the 'super secret special guest' that Celebration had been hinting about on their site for a while. I haven't seen them in almost 3 years, at a pricey, sold-out show at The Hook. I remember that show very fondly, so I thought it would be cool to see them now that they're so huge.

We had to run over and get stamped before the Motico show to ensure we'd get in, since word of the special guest was bound to spread fast. And indeed it did. They started stamping for the show at 6PM and it was sold out by 8:45, maybe even earlier (had BrooklynVegan been a little more on the ball it would have sold out in 20 minutes).When we got there, the place was crowded, but not horribly so. We saw Eye Contact (I think), a jazz sorta band with a bass clarinet(!). The turnaround time between bands was excruciatingly long, especially because the outdoor patio was filling up with those doofus-types who only seem to leave the house when the weather gets nice. Celebration took the stage next, and we were right up front, which was probably a good move. See, this one guy in the band, he plays a big organ, and guitar. Sometimes he does both at the same time. He sits with his back to the audience, so you can watch his stockinged feet as they play the bass pedals. And he really plays those pedals, it was really weird watching his feet doing this balletic dance across the bass notes, while his upper body was either playing the keys or guitar. I guess the woman lead singer of the band is supposed to be its central selling point, but I couldn't keep my eyes off this guy's feet. God I'm a dork.

Anyway, they put on a really good show. For fairly poppy dance music they do it really well, in a way that doesn't make you feel dimly lame. So many of the dance-rock bands out there all sound so similar and the sound is such a straight-up rip off of a couple of bands from the early 80s, it's always good to hear somebody who does it right. while I would like it if they would stay small and play places like the Glasshouse Gallery for all eternity, I can see why they might get big and I guess that's as it should be. Meanwhile, Motico continues to operate below the radar when we could be making so many children around the world happy.

After an interminable wait, TV on the Radio took the stage. It wasn't actually as packed as I thought it'd be. They started playing these really slow songs that lacked anything I liked about them before. Except maybe their singing; they still have good voices, but the pace was really languid. Then they played another slow, boring song. When they started into a third boring song, we left. I don't know what they were doing, and honestly I don't know their material well enough to know if that's what they do nowadays. But it was too bad, even if they aren't the experimental keyboard band they were back in the day, playing at Luxx, they still used to be a lot of fun. Maybe their real fans liked what they played last night, but I'm not feeling too sorry that I never go see them play at the Enormodome.

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Friday, April 14, 2006 at 12:33:57 (EDT)

No, not even that, but a symbol of fish
And so ends this chapter of Motico performances for the spring. We wrapped our 2-Borough tour last night and will now focus on finally finishing our damn record so we can have something besides those damn 45s to hand over when we play out. Thanks to everyone who showed up, it was a fine turnout, although I won't be waiting by the phone for the booking company to offer us another show. I'm glad there are bookers in this city willing to book unknown bands, but this group had so many stipulations attached it added an unpleasant sheen to the entire transaction. But it worked out in the end.

I was nervous because we were set to cover "It's a Rainy Day Sunshine Girl" by Faust, which ends with a brief, purposefully-sloppy saxophone riff. I was already nervous about even being able to pull this off (last time we tried this the horn had a broken key and would only emit horrifying squeaks), but also because Matana Roberts, the jazz saxophonist was gonna be there to run a show after ours. Maybe she wouldn't care, but what I did to that horn compared to the work she does was like beating the sax with a large fish.

We're gonna try to get the record done in the next couple of weeks. Then we'll have time for more important things, like choosing a name for the album. Any suggestions? If we use your album title, you will receive one handsome, slightly used Siberian Snow Leopard.

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Thursday, April 13, 2006 at 14:52:36 (EDT)

Then we sang about the lovin' things

Don't forget! Tonight Motico plays at the Lucky Cat in Williamsburg at the early early hour of 7:30PM. I don't even think the sun will have set at that time. The Lucky Cat is a good venue for the noncommittal music fan, as it has two rooms, one of which that does not contain the band. But you can still more or less hear the band in the front room. As far as I remember it has a full liquor license but is also a coffee bar, for those of you who haven't sucked down enough free caffeine at work today. Actually, I have noticed recently a growing affinity for the decaf version of "House Blend" by Flavia. I started in on the decaf because I was thinking I was drinking entirely too much java, and this way I would theoretically cut down on the dangerous stimulants therein. And of course, in the back of my mind I heard my old vegan fundamentalist friend Paul reminding me, "You know, even decaf coffee still has a little bit of caffeine in it. They can't get it all out." So it's not like I'm a total wuss.

Okay, I'm a total wuss. Come see my band and mock me openly!

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006 at 13:34:26 (EDT)

Why is tonight different from all other nights?
Happy Passover! I find it odd nobody celebrates by putting fake blood on their front doors. Anyhoo...

This is kinda fascinating: a Brooklyn geneology site has text from a bunch of old newspapers from the 19th to early 20th centuries. It's so weird reading about all the everyday stuff that was going on right around where I live. But the "Deaths" section is even more intriguing. Here's just a couple snippets from September 1928:

Woman Hospital Inmate Dead After 3 Story Fall
Mrs. Anna MILLER, 63, of Alsop and Ocean avenues, Jamaica, while a patient in the Jewish Hospital at Classon and St. Marks avenues, early to-day jumped or fell from a third floor window of the institution into St. Marks avenue. Dr. DREYFUSS was called from the hospital by policemen who found the woman's body and pronounced her dead. The woman was in the hospital suffering from heart trouble.

Crazed Man Uses Hatchet and Razor in Effort to Wipe Out Family
Slayer Still Free
West Seventh Street Resident Leaves Note Saying He Was "Tormented"

Mrs. Lillian WHEELER, 48 years old is dead, slashed and battered with an ax and a hammer; her daughter Hindel WHEELER, 19, is mutilated for life, her attractive face criss-crossed with at least twenty-seven razor cuts, and police of the entire metropolitan area today are hunting for the father and husband, Alfred WHEELER, 52 years old.

1876 was a banner year for Fourth of July Celebration-related injuries.

In 1879, the Brooklyn Union Argus had a column entitled "Teach Your Boys," which passed on valuable advice such as

Teach them that smoking in moderation, though the least of vices to which men are heirs, is the most disgusting to others and hateful to themselves.

Wait, so moderate amounts of smoking is the least of bad habits, and yet it's the most disgusting? My oh my, what will become of the heaviest smokers? I guess by that logic, people who smoke a lot may actually reduce their disgust levels.

And finally, do you remember how people always lambasted high school student council elections as "popularity contests?" Did you ever wonder if there really ever WERE actual popularity contests? Well brother, are there ever!

James KELLY, of 100 Fort GREENE place, clerk of the Kings County Court, high ranking Elk and citizen of unbounded popularity, is the grand prize winner in The Standard Union $55,000 prize contest, which ended June 29, after running for three months.

Turns out the use of the term 'popularity' was a bit more elastic in them thar days; if you read further on you find out he just sold the most subscriptions for the newspaper. I guess that made him very popular with the circulation staff. Wow, $55,000 probably set you for life in 1929. Lord knows he'd need that money a few months later when the stock market crashed.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 at 16:16:04 (EDT)

Damn your chest-beating
Awww, can you believe Cheeta the chimp is still alive at 74? It used to boggle my mind as a kid why an ape was named "Cheetah," but I guess it's not really spelled like that. He's in the Guinness Book for being the oldest chimp on record (few live past their 60's). If you weren't familiar with those Saturday-afternoon local TV movie shows (Superhost!) you may have missed Cheeta's star turns in those Johnny Weismueller Tarzan movies from the 30's. Damn that was a long time ago. It's kind of sad reading what happened to most of the "talent animals" after they grew too old to act, but Cheeta managed to live pretty well. He's now in a sanctuary for former showbiz animals, working on his hobby ... painting (warning: photos of Elaine Boosler).

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 at 12:18:21 (EDT)

Watching the telly and thinking 'bout your holidays

One saving grace of the Internet is the existence of things like George Carlin Radio, an unofficial stream of pretty much anything Carlin has ever recorded throughout his long and storied career. It has become a necessary balm to me on pretty much a daily basis to get me through another day at the office. I prefer his most political/social commentary stuff, less so the early "hip" comedy albums (but even these have good material germinating). I'm listening to his latest show, Life is Worth Losing, and while maybe not as sharp as some of his work from a decade ago, it's still got a lotta surprises. Overall it's still better the latest stuff by Chris Rock or Eddie Izzard. And the guy's gonna be 70 on May 12th. He underwent angioplasty at the end of last year but according to his tour schedule he's been back out on the road already since March. And I have trouble getting up early enough to make it to work on time every day.

Now if we can just keep him away from Kevin Smith ...

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Monday, April 10, 2006 at 12:32:37 (EDT)

Everybody know it spring again

Apparently my department is moving from its lovely downtown office to a faceless plot on Lexington Ave in midtown. I know I still have no room to complain, but that's gonna suck major if I have to commute that much further every day. It seems pretty clear, too, that the reason for this is purely financial (they have extra space in their pricey midtown office they can't let go to waste). Why do we even have more than one office building? I guess it goes without saying that I have trouble understanding the motivations of multinational corporations, and this is no exception.

The move wouldn't be happening for several months, and there is already a protest afoot, so we may yet be spared. Of course, this kind of shake-up is just the sort of thing that an enterprising young telecommuter can spin into a renaissance of working from home for the summer.

The job is good but it's keeping me so busy I don't have the time to post on this blog the way I used to. For that I apologize, even if the content here is normally lacking anyway. Taking cues from my job as Executive Businessman, here are some bullet points:

  • I haven't heard yet what I will owe to the hospital, but I got another bill from a doctor I'm not even sure I met
  • I also haven't heard anything yet about my amp that caught on fire a couple weeks ago, but I'm scared to heard how much it will cost to fix
  • The mixing of Motico's first album continues to inch along but would probably go faster if all three of us could agree whether or not "gated reverb" is evil
  • I looked at a house this weekend whose previous owner saw fit to install two full bathrooms on each of the home's three floors. This is not nearly as nice an amenity as one might imagine.
  • I finally bought Oneida's latest album on vinyl, then drunkenly left it at a bar
  • Motico has our final show of the season this Thursday, in part to celebrate Matt's birthday; we're going on super early to accommodate all your other old folks
UPDATE: I got my records back! The folks at The Subway Bar are such nice folks.

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Wednesday, March 01, 2006 at 16:20:31 (EST)

I got your number, don't wait by the phone

Until I can come up with some highly illegal method of circumventing my companies annoying web proxies, I cannot update my band's web site, not can I do much in the way of management of this site. Not that it matters, but now that I can't do it ... I want to do it, really bad. Ah, that predictable human condition. See how universal the blogworld experience is? And not just because 95% of you are sitting in similarly beige cubicles, getting fidgety from too much free coffee and too little intellectual stimulation.

Web limitations notwithstanding, I am slowly adapting to this Boring New World. It's probably my vestigial fight-or-flight response, but I haven't had any trouble getting up hours earlier than I have in years. However, going to sleep is still problematic, as my thoughts are wont to drift to obsessive thoughts about what shoe will drop tomorrow at the office, what fresh horror awaits me. And what's worse, I can't get the cat hair off any of my clothes. I look like an extra in that Nepalese bar scene in Raiders.

Anyway, I did have time to throw together this half-assed flyer for our FREE show next Wednesday. Yes, Motico is back and returning to the very stage that was the site of my spiritual de-pantsing way back in September. Will I make a fool of myself again? Only one way to find out!

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