Archive for June, 2008

Brooklyn Record Riot. Sunday June 29th at the Warsaw.

Posted in music, record stores, Tom with tags , , , , , on June 30, 2008 by criticalreviews

The Brooklyn Record Riot was held at the Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave., Greenpoint, Brooklyn) this past Sunday. While I am a pretty big record dork this event fell pretty short of my expectations…and honestly my expectations were pretty low. While the short list of dealers that I read on Brooklyn Vegan looked pretty promising:

Denis from Le Pickup of Montreal
Josh Rock from Montreal
Bobby Soul from NYC
John from 21st Century Music
Billy and Miriam from Norton Records
Chris from Relative Action
Neil Drucker from Record Cellar of Philly
Marjorie from Permanent Records of Greenpoint
Malcolm from Trash American Style
Mike from Slipped Disc
John from Rockit Scientist NYC
Larry from ShoutShimmy Of Jersey City
Reggae Tim from Baltimore

Overall it just turned out to be overwhelming due to people and amount of merchandise, and underwhelming in terms of selection and/or price.

My first complaint off the bat is that it was a record riot, and not a CD or DVD riot. While I agree that these items do fit into the category of things a record buyer might purchase, I feel that too much space was given to them. While there were some really wonderful tables, KLK got some of the more obscure Pink Floyd LPs and Leah had some good cheap finds and a very special Nick Cave LP, I came up empty handed.

I felt like there was a lot of good stuff at the record fair, but that overall prices were high (on used LPs specifically). Personally I am always looking for Brian Eno and Frank Zappa but what I found, even records that I already own, were exponentially higher than what I paid for them or had seen them being sold for in Williamsburg or the East Village.

I almost felt like prices were jacked up due to it being a record fair. Possibly people thinking “Oh there will be record Geeks and DJ’s here.” This wasn’t all of the tables, but I did get this vibe from tables that didn’t have prices on anything (or that used a hand written pricing code: example A= $10 D=$40). I guess what I am getting at is that there was a serious lack of good things in the $10-$20 range, and even $20-$30. There were tons of cheap $1-$5, and plenty of collector-y $30-$200 things…but the median range was really weak.

While I will admit that every LP I looked at did appear to be in almost perfect condition, I don’t consider this too much of a luxury. I find that most used records, in stores, priced over $10 tend to be in excellent or at least very good condition.

Some tables were really organized…whether it was by alphabet, genre, or era, but others were just by price. And while this could be good for someone looking deal, it really is too much of a time investment with not enough results.

One of the highlights was the table of Permanent Records (of Greenpoint), which I didn’t shop at because I would rather support them in their very relaxed store. While their table consisted of mostly new records it was a nice change. They were organized, and friendly. Their store deserves a proper review of it’s own (and that should come sometime in the near future after a couple more visits).

I actually think it could have been better if there were more vendors selling new vinyl (like Permanent)…maybe by recruiting the likes of the recently closed Jammyland (because honestly from what I saw the reggae was particularly weak) or Hospital Productions, or other specialty shops.

Four things I would like to see that would have made the experience more enjoyable:

1. Organization (I don’t care how you do it…era, genre, alphabet…just not by price…unless it is a $1 bin).
2. Prices (post your prices on the records, or at the very least have a code that the customer can decode without asking you).
3. More specialty vendors.
4. Those portable record players are obnoxious…vendors should have them set up (if they want to), and customers should not be allowed to bring them.

Not being impressed might have been due to the fact that I didn’t get there til 2pm, but all of the bins looked full, and if it was in fact picked over I can’t imagine what it was like at 6 or 7pm. I can say the Brooklyn Record Riot was worth the $3 admission, and I’m not writing off record fairs completely (I’m looking forward to the next WFMU fair.)

(Tom)

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The Diamond

Posted in alcohol, bars, food, Tom with tags , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2008 by criticalreviews
43 Franklin St
(between Calyer St & Quay St)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 383-5030

The Diamond is located in a slightly less commercial section of Greenpoint, a little off the beaten path as far as bars go in the area (in between Williamsburg and Greenpoint proper), but it is well worth the walk. The bar itself is pretty average in size: with a long bar to the right when you walk in, a shuffle board table to the left, a two tables by the front windows, a couple more tables towards the back, and a small basement that opens up as a dancefloor on the weekends. There is also a largish garden area too with a quoits court.

I have been to the bar three times since I moved to the neighborhood, twice on Thursdays and a late night visit on a Friday. The scene was a little different each time but I think that was due to the time of day. My first visit was two weeks ago, and we got there around 8pm. The bar itself had very few people in it, but the patio was packed. We took a couple seats at the bar, and ordered some food and a couple beers. The second visit was this past Thursday with a little little bigger crowd, and quite a bit louder. And the third was late this past Friday, where the bar was kicking, but we had no problem rolling deep and finding a spot for our largish group.

The food is pretty limited, but that isn’t to say that it is not amazing. They savory pies and rolls from Tuck Shop, a cheese plate (the cheese change regularly: sm $7/lg $12), and a pickle and olive plate ($4). We ordered a Tuck Shop pie($7) and roll ($5), but they were out of the pies so we got two rolls. These were served with hot sauce, and were actually pretty substantial. I was really impressed. Not what you would expect. The Tuck Shop roll was a delicate pastry with delicious veggies inside. I will definitely eat this again as well as try the pie!

As far as beer goes they are pretty esoteric, and that is a complement coming from me. I have worked in the beer industry for three or so years now, and I know most breweries (or at least ones that show up on the East Coast), and their beer list really is wonderful. The first time I went they had a beer from Two Brother’s on called Cain and Able: a hoppy red brewed with rye and palm sugar. This was an excellent beer from a really obscure brewery. And the tap list has always been consistently great. They divide their beers in to Session Beers (low alcohol) and High Alcohol; with two menus. I’m pretty sure even the experienced beer drinker is going to find something that they haven’t tried at this place, and even if they have tried it they might have an older vintage! The taps change regularly (I know this because two kegs kicked late on Friday, and two new wonderful beers were put on). And it appears that they always have Reissdorf Koelsch on tap, and even serve it in a Kranz!

For a complete beer list check out the website.

Besides amazing beer, and a beautiful bar they have a killer jukebox. How many bars will take the a chance and put one let alone three Ween albums on their jukebox (The Pod, The Mollusk, and 12 Golden Country Greats)! Included in the mix were two Dinosaur Jr.’s, two or three Guided By Voices, a great two disk Kinks collection, Minor Threat and Embrace, New Order, and tons of other jems.

Other highlights are that every Wednesday there is a shuffleboard tournament, quiots tournaments once a week, and every Sunday there is a reasonably priced small plate and beer pairing.

I hate to say it, but I think the Diamond just replaced Well’s Ales and Lagers as my favorite bar…and The Diamond allows my dog to come with me! I will no doubt become a regular with it being so close to my house!

Photo from Newsday.com

(Tom)

Death By Audio invaded by Foot Village. “Friendship Nation” established on May 12th in Brooklyn.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , , , on June 20, 2008 by criticalreviews

Foot Village played Death By Audio a couple weeks ago (accompanied by Mincemeat and Aa, but I am going to focus on Foot Village bacause as far as I’m concerned they totes stole the show), and I was lucky enough to make it to the show despite traveling all day (long flight from South Carolina, straight to a noise show…exactly why I love this city).

Foot Village is a four piece from Los Angeles, and they blessed Brooklyn with their presence on May 12th. One of the members is Josh Taylor of Friends Forever (for more about Friends Forever watch the documentary), who I love but I didn’t know he was in the band until the day of the show. Foot Village set up in the middle of Death By Audio rather than on the stage. Their set up consisted of two full drum kits facing each other, and several toms and various other drums set up in between the kits creating an X formation. the four members were situated facing each other. Foot Village plays completely unamplified except for a Bull Horn which helps get a single persons voice over the loud thunder of the drums.

Their performance was really intense, and the drums and the chanting give them a tribal vibe while still being very experimental and noisy at the same time. When the four members sing/chant/scream in unison there is even a pop element, and while it wouldn’t go over in your typical mainstream fashion, I could see Foot Village gaining a slightly larger fanbase from some noisier acts out there (fans of old Animal Collective, ect.).

The band even joked introducing themselves by saying “Hi, we’re No Age.” It does feel like a barrage of LA bands have been hitting NYC lately (Health, Abe Vigoda, No Age, among others)…Foot Village is the most experimental of the crew, and seeing them really put me in the mood for No Fun Fest the following weekend. Although Foot Village isn’t your typical noise act, they definitely fall under that category, or experimental music best.

Foot Village give the vibe that they are just there to have fun, and it truely was. Turns were taken on the bull horn, and each member took breaks from drumming duties to dance and sing.

After Foot Village played Aa took the stage. While I can appreciate their music, I was still in awe from the Village so I wondered back to the merch table to pick up some Foot Village records.

Brian, one of the members, was working the table. I don’t know what it is, but I have found it common for merch people in New York to be less friendly than other places, but Brian proved me wrong. He truely was genuinely nice, and very talkative. He talked to me about their records (I picked up Friendship Nation, and a 7″ where Foot Village covers Alec Empires remix/cover of Bjork’s “Bachelorette”…I know how about that for a cover song). We talked about the South, and Brian even knew some people from Charleston, SC (I guess they played with Puke Attack before before out west). Overall talking to Brian was the icing on the cake of a great show. I wish these guys alot of luck…they have a great live performance, and lots of positive energy…come back to New York soon!

Media:

Foot Village live at the Opera House:

Part 1

Part 2

Listen to Foot Village at their Myspace

Photos of the show are from the CMJ Blog

Ok so I haven’t gotten back to my normal posting schedule…but at least I am back up to one a week. Cheers.

(Tom)

Scout Niblett @ the Knitting Factory Tap Bar. May 1st, 2008.

Posted in music, shows, Tom with tags , , , on June 13, 2008 by criticalreviews

So I am kinda of back to the blog with this post, and I know it is from quite a while ago…but I plan to be in full force beginning again next week. Please excuse some of the old reviews that I am about to post…I think they were totally review worthy so be expecting reviews of a bunch of noise (Foot Village and No Fun fest!) very soon. As well as my new favorite bar…I’ll leave you hanging on that one, but now to Scout.

Scout Niblett‘s This Fool can Die Now was mine, and KLK‘s, favorite album of last year (of which had the song “Kiss” which was probably the best music video of last year too, see below). Scout played New York a couple times last year, and we caught her at Bowery Ballroom with St. Vincent, and then again at Union Pool. Of all of the shows this one I think was the most interesting, and for several reasons.

The Knitting Factory Tap Bar is a strange venue, and at it’s best it is one of my favorites in the city…at other times it comes off awkward and leaves some people feeling at of place. I had been feeling under the weather, but saved my strength to make it too the show, and Scout rocked harder than she ever has before but the audience made the show feel strange.

The audience at this show wasn’t loud or obnoxious, but exactly the opposite…about a fourth of the people at the show were just sitting in the middle of the floor. They were attentive, and taking pictures, but didn’t seem wholly into the music. We stood of to the side, but still close, and in front of the stage.

Scout played a really loud, and amazing set. I know some people can’t get into her voice, but no one who sees her live can deny that she is a great performer. Her set was a little bit of everything from her catalog, and she even bridged into a partial cover of TLC’s “Scrubs” (whether it was a joke or not it was pretty awesome seeing her play it). Listening to This Fool Can Die Now you sometimes forget how much of a badass she can be on the guitar, and while playing the other night I could envision her being in a really great metal band…her riffs just ringing out with only her voice and drums to back her.

During a break between songs Scout even asked if there were any quetions, and someone ask: “Why is everyone just sitting down? They must have never seen you play before.” Scout responded “Yeah, I know it’s not like this is some hippie show. Why is everyone sitting down? Maybe they are tired or something.”

Needless to say I would have moved up a little closer if the crowd had budged, but no luck. Towards the end of her set, Scout’s drummer left the stage, and she moved over to the drums….and proceeded to belt out “Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death,” and it was totally rad. As a performer, musician, artist, ect easily one of the best right now, and it is sad that critics don’t give her the respect she deserves. I hope she makes it back to New York soon.

Media:

Video of “Kiss” featuring Will Oldham (off of This Food Can Die Now)

Video of Scout’s Black Cab Session playing “Nevada” (also from This Fool can Die Now)

Click here to hear Jens Lekman cover Scout’s “Your Beat Kicks Back Like Death” (wordpress please let me embed imeed.com songs)

(Tom)