Friday, November 27, 2009

Motion City Soundtrack coming to Fillmore Irving Plaza February 3rd, 2010

Talk about pop-punk darlings. It's hard to imagine that Motion City Soundtrack, with catchy hooks, keyboard, high/clean vocals, and a very particular formula approach could have this much success....on Epitaph Records. They have a new tour to showcase their new album, My Dinosaur Life, out January 19th on Columbia (looks like that whole Epitaph thing is done) and they will be stopping by Irving Plaza (excuse me, Fillmore) so be sure you get your kicks at 119 Bar beforehand and then instill utter fear into the underage crowd that will no doubt line up in droves on February 3rd of 2010. 2010? Man that was an entire decade that went by and I still feel like 1990 isn't THAT long ago...

A couple things: first off, I like MCS. Their best songs can be poppy-romantic backed up with big chords and that damn keyboard. While I'm not warm to their new single off the new album "Disappear", I'm also wary of the whole major label thing. People have got to realize that many a time, major label recognition really does hinder the production of the music, but more power to bands for being able to pull in some more dough. I feel like a lot of times, the major labels just don't understand that some bands aren't fads that go away and are disposable, but they spend years building a loyal fanbase and what happens is they get taken out of context. Not that this can't happen with indies as well, but the business models are different. Anywho, they have a very pretty sound, and on songs like "Time Turned Fragile" (my absolute favorite of theirs) and "It Had To Be You", you feel like it's the holiday season all the time, both in terms of reflection but also upbeat romanticism. Two, and many consider, three solid albums in a row, you might be thinking, is it time for a clunker?

I saw them when they were touring in 2007 and they put on a great show; lots of energy and their sound translated well for a large venue (I believe it was Roseland Ballroom). I think count me in. Although the keyboard player could use a snip with the scis's on his bangs. Unless he wants to get confused with any other "emo" band member.

Props to Consequence of Sound and Hear/Say. Here is their latest music video for the single "Disappear" off the new album My Dinosaur Life. Rawr. It's one of their more forceful songs.

Motion City Soundtrack - "Disappear"

Motion City Soundtrack MySpace Music Videos

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Zero Bridge plays MTV Iggy Party at Vermillion, new EP

Zero Bridge, who has a new EP out called There We Were, Now Here We Are which came out yesterday, played a fabuloso MTV Iggy party last weekend at restaurant Vermillion. Check out the video below.

MTV Iggy is basically an attempt at "global pop culture" featuring artists from across the world, although most of the homepage is made up of Canada and the US. Vermillion is an attempt at Indian and Latin American flavors, and according to the friends at Yelp, it has succeeded so far.

Add a ethnically-conscious and ethically-conscious band like Zero Bridge and it's basically a formula for cultural positivity even with MTV's presence in the mix. Is MTV even relevant anymore? I stopped watching a while except True Life episodes, but is it still regarded as a premiere destination for youth pop or is it just one in a sea of premiere outlets? Maybe I'm just out of the MTV loop.

Zero Bridge just did a stint in Morocco and played at Public Assembly in Brooklyn for CMJ.

Some video of the perf:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Last Day to Enter Ms. G Train Contest!

From McBrooklyn and the Yelp NY talk threads comes a wonderful thing: the crowning of the next Ms. G Train (Carrie Prejean antics hopefully not included). City Reliquary is giving you ladies the rest of today to apply for consideration by the only train that decided not to go into Manhattan (not that the train has a mind of it's own, unless you want to call it lazy and uncooperative when you most need to get to Long Island City).

You can apply at this email here: but please take a look at the requirements first. You'll need a photo. If you don't have a camera, I would just find an approximation of you on the web and send it in.

On Nov. 19th during the daylight hours, finalists will be chosen. If you're a vampire, that's ok because the actual decision and par-tay will be in the evening at where else, the City Reliquary:

370 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211

What should go into being a Ms. G Train? I have no idea, but touring the city up and down the G line would be pretty cool. It's like a Ms. G Train sighting. She could end up being a dirty hipster, but hey the G Train is full of 'em right? Or an incredibly unreliable woman. Basically a lot of cliched negative things about subways, put it to the women, and let's see what happens.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ska-cision to Make: Less Than Jake and Aggrolites playing this Thursday November 19th

Less Than Jake

As if third-wave ska hasn't already bit the bullet 8 years ago, New York ska fans will have to make a small decision on Thursday: go all caffeinated with Less Than Jake at the Nokia Theater or go more trad-soul "dirty reggae" with The Aggrolites (who are touring with chillax poor man's Sublime: yes Slightly Stoopid is still around) at Terminal 5.


Less Than Jake is moderately priced at a 20 spot while Slightly Stoopid/Aggrolites is a bit much at nearly 30 clams but I can't get enough of that ska guitar clicking. Less Than Jake will probably have tons of smelly teenagers (not that we all weren't one once) and the benefit of gritty punk outfit The Casualties but The Aggrolites might have more big dudes with attitude doing some skinhead moonstomps. Or more weed, who knows.

My colleague and friend Loni of Berman Bothers would probably tell me at this point, "Who gives a poop?" but I know there are enough ska fans in Brooklyn but not Staten Island to get into these mixes. Definitely not enough to sell the venues out though.

In the end, you have to commend the fact that these guys still churn out music a decade later, in a genre that has been frowned upon by not only mainstream, but the independent scene as well. Since I enjoy the music, I dig it and defend most of ska even more.

For more info, go to ticket pages for Less Than Jake here and Aggrolites here.

Bar Spotlight (Football Edition): Harry O's

You can also read a similar review of mine on Yelp.

Harry O's
120 Lawrence Street (You don't think anything is on the block, but it's there)
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Harry O's is neatly (or not neatly) tucked away on a construction filled block of Lawrence (and stands to make lots of business if the new building across the street becomes inhabited, as the new tallest building in Brooklyn). It's definitely a bar to look out for in the next few years or so if it keeps around; the building across the street at 111 Lawrence will be a huge addition to Downtown Brooklyn's already boom-attempting bid for residential supremacy in the near future. However, with it's height, so much for the views from our roof! Being so close to me that when I first looked for it I couldn't find it because I didn't think it was that close, I walked in on a Sunday afternoon to watch the games. There were several regulars in the spacious bar area, and the restaurant section is actually rather large, decorated very simply and old school, everything wood, white linen tablecloths, well lit, like something out of Bay Ridge or more suburban upstate. I sat down at the bar and enjoyed a 3 dollar Yuengling and some cheap, really good chicken fingers (although I was hoping for some good sauces). The menu? Whatever was written on the chalkboard sign. The cook? Was the barback, which is awesome because he was just chillin' like a villain with the other patrons. The bartender was very sweet, she was being celebrity roasted by Hatch, a good natured (although I freaked him out about a dream I had about Troy Polamalu) Redskins fan that was big enough to play linebacker for them. I guess they were good with each other from a while back. There was a Steelers couple to my left, and two older gentlemen came in later and starting cursing about jobs, honor, and friendship. The jukebox every once in a while popped on a Sinatra tune which was kind of weird. All the games were on right in front of me, it was quiet (save Hatch's grilling), and incredibly chill. While it doesn't have the overall warm vibe that Cody's has, it's super relaxed and definitely hidden to most. The funniest thing? Hatch must have had a late night the night before, because he totally fell asleep at the bar at around 4:25 in the pm. The place was so chill that everyone just let him take a nap for about 20 and he went back to watching the games as if nothing happened. Bottom line, if you're looking for a bar that is a little out of the way (unless you're a DoBro denizen) to relax and watch the games with limited menus and a couple of characters, Harry O's could be your spot.

You can see the location here, take any train 'cept the N or D and you're kosher.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AMD Vision Event @ Greenhouse 11.9.09 - Watch HD Content and Dance

Image by Sam Posten.

I had the pleasure of working and mingling with several tech and entertainment bloggers and some agency folks at AMD's cozy and chill event to roll out their Vision line of platforms for computers and laptops. In a nutshell, the line, with three levels suiting three levels of user, is a fully capable system focusing on entertainment value and especially video capability.

It all may sound a little abstract at first but the get together was a nice way of putting the actual computers in a room and having everyone check it out. Basically what AMD does is provide the hardware for computer makers such as HP or Dell or what have you. Vision is how that hardware is packaged, sort of like saying, "I have a Dell computer running on Intel", in this case it is "I have a Dell computer running on AMD Vision hardware." Get it? Before, it was kind of like, AMD has all these parts but to package it together and make it more presentable and palatable to someone whose idea of customization is going to COMPUSA when I was 16 and thinking that I handpicked my computer when I really didn't.

It's hard to make a dent in the mainstream in their industry (AMD has been able to carve out a niche with hardcore gamers and such who spend a considerable amount on hardware to support the lifestyle), but with something like Vision, it's more clear cut in how to attack and capture a new audience. I mean, those Intel commercials, they are pretty compelling (the "rockstar" one is hilarious) and their focus on employee culture is relatable.

The basic Vision level, which has a set of standard features (listening to music, watching movies, surfing the web, operating on Windows 7) and the laptop can go for as low as 500 which is affordable. Then there is Vision Premium and Vision Ultimate, which peaks my interest in that I've never investing in a computer that really was tailored to multimedia editing (I just can't bring myself to invest in a Mac). Tempting for sure.

Anywho, sitting around chit chatting over a whiskey soda and mini cheese toasts, I got to connect with several of the good people that attended and hopefully walked away with a much clearer understanding of what AMD is trying to do this holiday season with Vision. The vibe was very low key, we had some serious gamers in the house trying out a 3 monitor set of first person shooter destruction, and I chatted with Headlight Entertainment, Paint The Town Red, Pocket Lint, Chip Chick, and journos Laurie Heifetz and Andrew Graham.

The cards say "dance to pulse-pounding music"...and who doesn't want to do that? To me, a computer can house so much of what entertains nowadays and I'm smart enough to know my options, I just need them marketed to me without any pretense or clutter as a baseline consumer. Who knows what's in store for AMD in the future as they have been unveiling a lot of new initiatives over the past year, but this is certainly a step to streamline things and provide a simple option for PC purchasing. Check out the peppy background music below:

Resident Film Critic Chris Cabin Reviews - Antichrist

Image by IFC Center.

An aria by Handel soundtracks the opening salvo of the entity henceforth to be known as Lars von Trier's Antichrist. Underneath the operatic swell, a series of slow-motion, black-and-white movements details a married couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) losing themselves in a particularly encompassing bout of pleasure while their toddler climbs up to the windowsill and falls to his death. A moment of this plainly ridiculous segment even features a close-up of genital insertion while the two are showering, catching glimmers of the bathroom light in the cascading drops of water.

Despite numerous reports that von Trier's lunatic cannonball into the void of art-horror is insufferable from frame one on, this stiff introduction counts as one of only two moments that deserve to be so harshly judged. For most of the films 100+ minutes in fact, von Trier orchestrates an effective look at grief gone mad, tucked away in a remote cabin the couple has named Eden. It is in said cabin that Dafoe's manipulative psychotherapist takes Gainsbourg's struggling PhD candidate to work out her grief and remorse through a series of exercises he has planned, including a rather fruitless attempt to figure out what she is really scared of: Husband, herself or just the plain evil of nature.

Then, as the film's now-canonical central quote pronounces, chaos reigns. A storm of acorns rattling Eden's roof and Dafoe confronting an animatronic fox eating its own intestines in the woods are fanciful lead-ins to the orgy of clitoral castration, penis-smashing and wanton mutilation that dominate the film's final quarter. As her madness begins to bellow in fits of screams and accusations, he finds a scrapbook of witches and pagan rituals performed by women that she has collected and entitled "Gynocide", which may or may not be a tip of the hand from the film's director.

The clutter is immense; noisy, showy and often times deliberately assaultive towards von Trier's (perhaps misguided) concept of inactive cinema. The Danish enfant terrible has consistently incurred bloodlust from the cinema community for his happily malevolent, wildly ambitious canon of experiments in genre mechanics. Over the years the results have swung from triumphant (Dogville, Europa, Breaking the Waves) to provocative (The Idiots, Dancer in the Dark) to imprudently polemical (Manderlay, Epidemic) but they are never films unfit for discussion or boring, for that matter.

Antichrist is no different; but for the first time in his career, von Trier's narrative diversions feel self-conscious and without meaning. The director has said that the film was birthed from a case of severe depression that he looked to excise through the filmmaking process and it's not hard to imagine his more brutal diversions (the fox, the raining acorns, a living burial) as cathartic responses to a dark psychotic state. But underneath the melee lies a tenebrous piece of traditionalist 1970s horror, something Polanski wouldn't have been completely incapable of creating in his heyday. Von Trier's structure here -- bouts of concentrated form interrupted by puerile intimations towards the avant-garde -- suggests a tightly paced art-horror film that was assailed by the director's own psychological dissonance.

That being said, Antichrist does contain one consistent element amongst its anarchy and that is Ms. Gainsbourg. Certainly one cannot discount the reliable Dafoe, who employs his distinct intensity and snarl here with sincere discipline, but Gainsbourg's dedication to von Trier's vision -- something which has been argued as wildly anti-woman and covertly pro-feminist -- is quite simply astonishing. Whether furiously masturbating against the bare, impious roots of a tree or trembling and torturing herself in their barren apartment, Gainsbourg's physical manifestation of one woman's hell is unshakeable. The same thing cannot be said, in whole, about Antichrist whose director seems too distracted by his own demons to dedicate himself to his characters' demons.

Antichrist is playing at the IFC Center in the West Village (ah, those were the days at the Waverly bar).

Chris Cabin is our very own resident film critic. You can find his reviews mainly at AMC's

Saturday, November 7, 2009

NYC Horror Film Festival in Tribeca Nov. 18th - 22nd kicking off with surf pop sirens Witches in Bikinis

Image from Icons of Fright.
The friends at the NYC Horror Film Festival are gearing up for what looks to be another year of great genre fun from Nov. 18th to the 22nd, so buy your tickets! Not only that, it will be held at the posh Tribeca Cinema, nearby where you'll be able to take in a few drinks at Nancy Whiskey Pub and shoot free shuffleboard until your luck runs out and some sort of verbal assault starts up. If you see the director of programming Joe Mauceri (you'll know, he's probably got that "man about town" look) you should totally buy him a beer and bug him to feature Jason X next year as the headliner.

Before you run through the press release below though, a couple things of note. There will be 5 bands at the kickoff party on the 18th at BLVD, most notable to me are Brooklyn's Witches in Bikinis, of whom I've been fans of now for a while ever since I went to see them at a Stray From The Heart fundraiser a couple years back. They play a real fun, "Monster Mash" type mix of surf and 50s girl pop and look exactly as advertised. I'm sure there will be enough fanboys gushing over them and blushing blood red to match some of the themes of the evening. I totally own a glo-in-the-dark shirt from them. What, you don't? Lamesauce.

While I'm not as big of a horror buff as, say, Andrew Jupin of the Jacob Burns Film Center and all around bearded fellow, I do enjoy horror films on a basic level. I can enjoy them as a flick to just pop in if I'm not feeling anything in particular. That might sound weird considering a lot of horror is not easy to watch (could be really scary, could just really suck) but it sucks you in to something more odd, more fantastic, or more unnerving. Taking that conspiracy and horror in American film class at NYU did me wonders in terms of understand horror on a higher level and it's a fun, timeless genre that can be wonderfully subversive. That and I own a ton of newer horror material but am taking my time going through them.

Anywho, if you have a few bucks and are willing to surround yourself with nerdy genrespeak, possible bad haircuts, and creepy, bespectacled people such as myself, please check out their official site with some cool artwork and find something that fits your bleeds.

Here's all the info:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (November 06th, 2009, New York City) – The 2009 NYC Horror Film Festival kicks off on November 18th, 2009, with the opening night party at a new venue, BLVD, located at 199 Bowery, in New York City. Doors open at 7:30 pm, with the festivities to kick off at 8:00 pm. The opening night party serves as one of the few fundraisers for the festival and a $10.00 donation is suggested.

Shorts screened at the party in between the performances include “Barbee Butcher,” “Aaragh, a Monster,” “Carved,” “The Stings of Clarity,” “Burn the Whole Place Down,” “Black Suit Youth,” “Elder Sign,” “Mascacator,” “You Better Behave,” “Close Call,” and “X-Mess Detritus.”

BLVD (, located at 199 Bowery, adjacent to the termination of Spring Street, BLVD features a world-class restaurant, café, nightclub, event space, live music venue and recording studio, all within one bi-level complex. Noted for its stunning high-tech computer controlled creative lighting and state-of-the-art sound installations that bring both warmth and excitement to the spaces inside, each area of the complex is crafted to support the best in dining, events and entertainment. The main area of BLVD provides a comfortable and spacious lounge and ultra-premium bar where guests can meet and mingle for a pre-dinner drink, or to spend an entire evening.

At just 23 years old Hayley Griffiths ( is achieving global recognition and critical acclaim for her classically trained vocal abilities. Her “stunningly pure soprano voice” (Chicago Medhill review) earned her roles as the lead singer in both “Riverdance” and Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance” world tours. Along with acting accomplishments in performances for both the RSC and the BBC, Hayley is ready to pursue her career as a recording artist for the Classical Crossover market. Currently recording her debut album in collaboration with Surefire Music Group, and working with producers who have written/produced for Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, Ne-Yo, Brooke Hogan, Makio, Ryan Toby and many others, Hayley’s New Age sound infuses the purity and beauty of her classical background with the solid rhythm and striking arrangements of pop and R&B music. Expect high drama, powerful lyrics and a captivating sound from Hayley’s debut EP, due out Fall 2009.

Brewed in a cauldron deep in Brooklyn, Witches In Bikinis ( combines beach party movie and low-budget horror flick themes into a unique rock ‘n roll experience. Composed of stunning female vocalists and a solid three piece band, the group’s sound is reminiscent of 60’s girl groups, Rocky Horror and B-52’s. Witches In Bikinis has been featured in the NYC Halloween Parade and Fangoria Sirius Radio.

The Tarantinos NYC ( play music that is total twang and severe reverb – an instrumental smorgasborg flavored by the films of Quentin Tarantino.

M-16 ( is a Latin Hardcore band that has been redefining heavy music since its inception. In the late 90's three friends and musicians emigrated from the Dominican Republic to New York in search of a wider audience for their brand of metal. Scathing, pulsing, louder than hell, M-16's music is at times bombastic and scalding yet poetic in style and nature. Unapologetic lyrics sung entirely in Spanish, scream and whisper tales of mortal disillusion, political terror, and the chaos of modern times. A band that firmly believes in substance over style, M-16 is all the angst and frustration of real people channeled through guitars, drums and bass. Currently the band is composed of original member Daniel Estrella and guitarist Marcos Medina. Ex-member Ray Reed is dominating the live drums.

The New York City Horror Film Festival ( was established in 2001 by Festival Director Michael J. Hein. The festival is dedicated to the international genre film community. There are no restrictions on the films that are screened at the festivals. The program includes films screened both in and out of competition. The Festival jury presents awards to films in the categories of Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, Best Cinematography, Best Special Effects, Best Actor/Actress, Best Screenplay for films showcased, and Audience Choice. The NYCHFF also presents an annual Lifetime Achievement award. Past recipients include director George A. Romero, Special Effects Artist and Director Tom Savini, Producer and Director Roger Corman, and Producer and Director Mick Garris.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Get Up Kids @ Gramercy Blender Theater 10.30.09

I consider myself a decent singer. One time maybe 2 years ago at Botanica on Houston, I was at the bar waiting to get a drink and a girl next to me mentioned that I had a very nice singing voice. I thanked her and offered to buy her a drink. She said that she was good and didn't need one, and I joked that I could buy her a water. She didn't really think it was funny, and I joked "weeeak" and she totally called me out on the fact that I was being arrogant when she was just trying to pay a compliment.

I guess that's how this review has started so far.

I usually try to sing at concerts if I'm into the band and know all or most of their catalog and if I feel I'm not doing a disgrace to their vocals by joining in. The Get Up Kids are one such band that I have enjoyed since Four Minute Mile. I sang my heart out at this show, and lost my voice a little bit at two points.

The music was grittier back during Woodson/Four Minute Mile and the other earlier recordings, and the guitars bled in a way that reminded me of a contemporary of theirs, Jimmy Eat World. It's like you are right there in a tiny room listening to their high pitched, fast picking Kansas bravado, so earnest and yet with smart lyrics. Their lyrics would grow more refined on Something to Write Home About as well as a full addition of one of my favorite musicians in James Dewees. The way things started to rhyme was one thing, but also the bare boned simplicity at some points was great.

There are pieces of On a Wire and The Guilt Show that I enjoy but I don't think they compare. There are some nice pieces on Eudora, a compilation they released that I have two copies of because I thought I lost it the first time.

Wearing my buttoned up polo and Metroschifter pin (who have a new album out called Carbonistas, if you are not familiar with them I highly suggest reading up on them) me and several buddies got drinks at Black Bear Lodge before hand and jumped right in as GUK was starting up. At the Black Bear Lodge there was a hilarious coincidence when the bouncer and a baby were inspired by a large animal:

Like Jimmy Eat World again, The Get Up Kids actually have two lead singers; Matt Pryor is generally considered the frontman but Jim Suptic sings some of their most pivotal songs like "Ten Minutes".

I've gone to several reunion shows in the past while, but The Get Up Kids just strike an easy chord for me. I feel like they get a lot of unjustified flack AND praise for being an "emo" band, that term which most people couldn't care less about. It's hard to define their sound which makes a return so welcome in an ever increasing hole that permeates current bands shoved into the same genres. They just do everything better, simple as that. From the very underrated rhythm section of the Pope brothers to Pryor's searing voice (it's piercing and has so much force behind it when he's full blast, almost like an extra distorted guitar) and Suptic's more warm, rounded, blunt singing, all overshadowed by the guitars that almost work as constantly as say Hot Rod Circuit's.

"See those blinding lights? It's call hope. And masks the fact that they totally were picking their noses"

They are also a band that is cohesive in feel and tone; the only thing that I'm thinking of in my chicken wing induced food drunk right now is like a ride that is not too fast but not the Scrambler? Anyone? Or driving with the window down at say 65 miles an hour. Not gunning it because you want to take in the moments, but with an urgency that pushes you to peak. They have breakdowns at the right moments, chorus melodies that linger for just the right amount of beats; it just all works. Some may call it unoriginal or just blah, but in nearly all of their work and especially the best of their work, it's very personal and can have a wonderfully intimate quality which I love in my favorite bands.

I was nearly screaming out all the lyrics, every word. We had a great view from the back, as the Blender has a nice up slope as you get back by the bars. GUK never has moshing at their concerts which I always found interesting; even at Motion City Soundtrack shows there are circle pits. I always think it is because GUK can have a sense of "older and wiser" as a theme, and maybe that's reflected in the crowd. Not that a good pit means younger and dumber, it's just every once in a while it's good to take a break.

They rolled out songs from every album/compilation (I was hoping for a Coalesce cover) including Replacements and Cure covers. A healthy dose of Four Minute Mile was great; it's their most stripped down and scrappiest work and hits hardest. They also made it through probably my favorite song of theirs "Close To Home" which was awesome enough to give me some sort of righteous conviction which I didn't use toward anything, it just sat in my soul through the rest of the concert. They were able to overcome the uneven sound of the venue to punch out an hour and 15 minutes of pure 1997-2002. Every crescendo, every rising riff was accounted for with my fist pumps and torso tilts. Their songs are like personal anthems; not epic statements, but of one heart at a time, one memory at a time.

Edit update: My buddy went for a second night on Saturday, as GUK dressed up as characters from the Wizard of Oz (a Kansas nod, perhaps) and played Something to Write Home About in it's entirety, which is redonculous.