Another Time….

August 1, 2011


!OH MY GOD! Plays Pianos

September 8, 2010

Oh My God is simply one of the greatest live shows that has ever existed. I have been following these guys since about 2003, from Duffy’s Tavern to the Double Door and now to Pianos in Manhattan. It has been nearly eight years since I fist got a glimpse of the insanity that emanates from the stage – I was once fortunate enough to open for them.  Anyways, I’ve told my stories about one of my all time favorite bands in prior posts (here and here), but here they are again, beginning their fall tour with us in NYC. If you know what is good for you, you’ll go to Pianos tonight a see it for yourself.

Below are a few videos from their new material.  Also, visit their website oand myspace.



The Amygdaloids- Theory of My Mind

August 9, 2010

The Amygdaloids
Theory of My Mind
Knock Out Noise
June 15th 2010

Imaginate by the Amygdaloids

In the Fall of 2005 I walked into Union Hall in Brooklyn to catch a public lecture given by Dr. Joe LeDoux, professor at NYU’s Center for Neural Science. While I have many interests, I always fell short in the sciences, so you can imagine I was quite certain I wouldn’t understand a word of Joe’s discussion of the world of neurons, memory, fear and that little nut shaped region in the brain called the amygdala. But Dr. LeDoux’s lecture was entirely accessible and served as testament to his ability to communicate the business of neuroscience. He has written two books aimed at a general readership, offering not-so-science-savvy folks an avenue towards understanding how their brain works. So one might say that Joe has embraced his role as neuroscience’s public intellectual, ensuring that what goes on in the realm of his discipline does not become too far removed from the questions and curiosities of the people. Think Ted Talks. But LeDoux’s connection to the complex world of neuroscience is not the end of the story. After the lecture, the audience joined LeDoux and a few of his fellow scientist friends up to the first floor of Union Hall where they performed as The Amygdaloids. Right before my eyes I watched these scientists shatter every stereotype concerning the “right brain-left brain” dichotomy. But that was 2005; The Amygdaloids have come a long way since that Union Hall show, releasing their latest record in June called Theory of My Mind.

The two clearest influences that inform The Amygdaloids’ music are the distinct styles of lead guitarist Tyler Volk and LeDoux. Through Volk’s guitar flow accents and power riffs reminiscent of the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 and the immortal Woodstock that followed two years later. He celebrates the work of Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana with his blues laden psychedelia. LeDoux for his part writes songs that project the giest of 60’s dream pop, his songs are products of an ethic that demands good pop be, as Jack Tatum from Wild Nothing said, “catchy but not cheap.” LeDoux is a story teller who, with regard to lyrics and music, is guided by the path set out by the likes of Bob Dylan and The Byrds. The two band members’ influences combine to make a whimsical explication of neuroscientific import embedded in the form and fashion of rock and roll. The lyrics present in Theory of My Mind all hail from the band’s public intellectual ethos. Crime of Passion is a track that explores the question of how much responsibility individuals have when they commit crimes during heightened emotional states. The narrating character of the song croons from a prison cell, recalling the reasons he committed murder and his regrets, singing, “If I could go back, I wouldn’t have killed for you. You’re not worth what I am going through.” Appropriately, to accompany this morose contemplation, Rosanne Cash (daughter of Johnny) sings backup, imbuing the track with a strong sense of sadness.

It is clear from the various titles of the songs that theme of Theory of My Mind is brain science, with all titles in some way referring to motifs of memory, fear, and individual will. Rhythmically, Tyler Volk’s Automatic Mind is a very creative endeavor that diverges slightly from the overall cohesion of the record. This side item song has a style of its own, mixing the choral melody of 60’s pop with the grim and gothic verse of early 80’s British post-punk. The song succeeds as an unexpected amalgamation.

The CD’s title track, Theory of My Mind explores a psychological question concerning when individuals begin to impute mental states such as desires and beliefs to others, and in turn believe that other individuals impute such mental states to them. In essence, when do we feel empathy; when do we recognize the hopes and fears of others and when do we believe they know or think about ours? Often the answers to these questions have been idealized as representative of our most human emotions, but these emotions are not so easily understood. These questions have diffused over a broad field of disciplines including anthropology, primatology, philosophy, etc. Theory of My Mind is a record that explores these and many other questions. Using the language of love, regret, and all the other entries in the lexicon of rock and roll, Theory of My Mind translates the inquisitiveness of the laboratory onto the forceful expression of the stage.





Modest Mouse Williamsburg Waterfront 7-23-10

July 28, 2010

“Getting the boot from the Modest Mouse concert after it started to cloud up a little…”
-Dan Durller


Broken Social Scene- Meet Me in the Basement Video

July 28, 2010

An exceptional video from a band we love to hate sometimes!


Cadoc Gets Stood Up

July 23, 2010


Pharmacy Spirits- Teen Challenge

July 19, 2010

Pharmacy Spirits
Teen Challenge
March 2010

Pharmacy SpiritsBooks

Pharmacy Spirits – Just Like Charles

This spring we received a beautiful gift from Nebraska’s Pharmacy Spirits. Following the path carved by their debut EP Every Song Ended In 1994, Teen Challenge stands on the shoulders of giants, and it stands tall. The record somewhat insinuates a contradiction, sharing the name of an evangelical Christian outreach program created in the 1950’s to heal the country’s youth of their addiction to drugs, alcohol, and sexual perversion. Pharmacy Spirits and Teen Challenge explores the expanse between depraved debauchery and outlandish treatment programs; the anxiety of each extreme is encapsulated by the band’s style. Taking a listen to their earlier EP, one recognizes a celebration of British and American new wave and post-punk engaged in fornication with college radio demigods, producing a dance driving vegrandis opus that is ultimately hip.

The observation that sometime in 1994 the music died sells the narrative that the 80’s was a truly significant decade. The lives of such admired artists as The Glove, The Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus, The Fall, and later bands like the Pixies and Pavement (Slanted and Enchanted, 1992 and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain 1994), all flared and faded by the time 1994’s final sun set. Though this would be only one telling of the story, as many would argue that the few bands who still release albums are alive and well, not to mention, the very existence of Pharmacy Spirits’ seemingly inarguable relevance underscores the fact that many of these bands’ early catalogs have never been hotter. These artists though have come through the looking glass marred by the now romanticized experiences of sex, drugs, and death. Enter Teen Challenge.

Piecing together and then articulating the ambient qualities of a record is never easy. The critic is forever the douche bag for ever even considering the use of his vocabulary. Teen Challenge though has a warmth and beauty that is so exquisitely wrought with desperation and exhaustive emotion that it would be difficult to talk about it without reading like a canvas description at the MOMA. Teen Challenge has all that the throw-backs of the modern era could ever hope. The best songs make you want to dance, the rest are just as cool, though the contrast between pulsations such as Books or Just Like Charles and the slow downs like Safety Now only serves to elevate the power and energy of the former. Simply put, Teen Challenge is a beautiful gift that has reified all that we ever loved about the decade of decadence, yet at the same time Pharmacy Spirits has the guts and vision to move beyond a bygone time, through the looking glass, to explore what still counts, what is still relevant. By all measures they have succeeded.




Other Music
Every Song Ended In 1994 EP

August 28th 7PM Eclipse Records w/ Dragons Power Up! & tba Minneapolis, Minnesota
August 29th 9PM Vaudeville Mews w/ Gabe Cordova & tba Des Moines, Iowa
September 3rd TBA
September 4th TBA
October 1st 9PM The Cave w/ Gospel Gossip! Northfield, Minnesota
October 2nd 9PM 331 Club w/ Gospel Gossip Minneapolis, Minnesota


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