Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Throbbing Gristle at Brooklyn Masonic Temple

Throbbing Gristle by Paul Heartfield

Throbbing Gristle by Paul Heartfield

When I discovered industrial music as a tender, spooky-goth teen, my introduction to the genre (and favorite ever since) was, appropriately, Throbbing Gristle. They pioneered industrial music, using samples and special effects mixed with distorted guitars and vocals to create a unique sound, and used disturbing imagery in their work, much to the consternation of proper British society in the ’70s. (In fact, even their name is offensive to some, as it is Hull slang for an erection.) Their last performance in the U.S. was in San Francisco in 1981, but they did reunite a few years ago to record new material, and have played a few shows in Europe since then. To the delight of U.S. TG fans, they embarked on a U.S. tour this April, starting and ending here in NYC, with stops at Coachella, San Francisco, L.A., and Chicago.

On April 28, at the last show in their sold-out tour of the U.S., TG really went all-out, with a longer set than the first show at the Masonic Temple on April 16 and a really phenomenal performance. I, along with the rest of the audience, was transfixed by Genesis P-Orridge‘s vocals and performance and the intensity of the music, so much so that I neglected to write down the set list (naughty blogger!). I was especially thrilled with the performances of “Hamburger Lady” and “Persuasion”, as the acoustics of the venue perfectly reverberated GPO’s eerily haunting voice and the distorted sounds of Cosey Fanni Tutti’s headless guitar, Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson’s tapes and effects, and Chris Carter’s synth. They also debuted the new Gristleizers, re-created by Charles Howes with the guidance of Chris Carter of TG after the recent demise of the last original one. Each member of TG tested out their new Gristleizer during a sort of experimental jam session (which is the closest term I can possibly think of to describe the wonderful cacophony that ensued) during the set.

Throbbing Gristle will be touring in Europe in June, and with airfare so low, you may want to head over there and see them. I think it’s worth it.

More photos (taken by Atom) after the jump.


A is for April

Visited the ever monumental American Museum of Natural History this weekend with some out of town guests, like you do. Went into the Butterfly Conservatory. If standing around inside a terrarium with a lot of flying insects is your idea of fun, go see it! It was really quite magical. On our way home we took the A train, which was running on the C track in front of the museum. In the station was a man in a green trench coat, wearing a beard, playing the violin. At one point a small child was very interested in what was happening with that weird looking stick the man was rubbing on that small wooden box, so the man knelt down to let the boy hold the bow. He showed him how to push it across the strings and did the necessary finger work to play a tune. The boy was elated and the whole platform of people immediately gained new found acceptance for the man in the green trench coat with the violin. Little moments like that are another reason to fall in love again with this city of ours. Then on the train a man in a dirty jean jacket sitting next to my friends mother asked if we were going uptown or downtown, classic. The A train is for April.

Who are the Hare Krishnas?

Singing in the Montreal suwbay

Singing in the Montreal suwbay

I’m familiar with the Hare Krishna movement – followers of ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness) are often misunderstood as a cult. When they’re doing chant sessions at the Union Square L train stop, people sometimes keep smiling and walk away.

Some, however, stop to learn a little more. I should just say that I’m a big fan of their movement and what they try to achieve – peace for themselves and others through harmless means.

The origins of ISKCON happened on 2nd Avenue by Srila Prabhupad. The temple he founded was on 2nd Avenue and 1st street. At that time, several people who were seeking happiness were looking to do it through artificial means of drugs and free “love.” Not much has changed since that time. People are always searching for happiness – it is human nature to do so.

So what the Krishna lovers do is spread the ancient religion of Bhakti – connection through devotion (which may include, singing, dancing and meditating) so that this happiness can be derived through natural means. A lot of misconceptions can be cleared by visiting the Krishna NYC site’s FAQs.

Getting back to the East Village, their program has become superbly popular and each week more and more devotees show up for the chanting sessions. I had the opportunity to go there and record the session (episode 16). I’ve always found them to be peace bringing and meditative. Hopefully, if not all, at least one person attains that meditative state that I do when I attend by listening.

And the next time you see them chanting on the subway, stop and ask a few more questions. They’re not weird at all, in fact, they happen to be super nice!

RIP Lux Interior

The Cramps

The Cramps via

Lux Interior, frontman for the seminal punk band The Cramps, died today at 62 of a preexisting heart condition. Sean at the LA Metblog covered this as well, noting how important The Cramps were to the punk scene. They were an integral part of the growing punk scene in NYC at the now-defunct CBGBs in the mid-70s and are counted as influences for a number of bands with diverse styles.

I saw them live in Southern California in the late 90s, and they kicked ass in their own inimitable way. Lux was amazing, as always.

From LA Metblog:

Lux died this morning from a pre-existing heart condition, he was 62. I met him a few times through friends and he was incredibly cool, and there’s no arguing how important The Cramps are. He’ll very truly be missed.


Born Erick Lee Purkhiser, Interior started the Cramps in 1972 with guitarist Poison Ivy (born Kristy Wallace, later his wife) — whom, as legend has it, he picked up as a hitchhiker in California. By 1975, they had moved to New York, where they became an integral part of the burgeoning punk scene surrounding CBGBs.

Their music differed from most of the scene’s other acts in that it was heavily steeped in camp, with Interior’s lyrics frequently drawing from schlocky B-movies, sexual kink and deceptively clever puns. (J.H. Sasfy’s liner notes to their debut EP memorably noted: “The Cramps don’t pummel and you won’t pogo. They ooze; you’ll throb.”) Sonically, the band drew from blues and rockabilly, and a key element of their sound was the trashy, dueling guitars of Poison Ivy and Bryan Gregory (and later Kid Congo Powers), played with maximal scuzz and minimal drumming.

Because of that — not to mention Interior’s deranged, Iggy Pop-inspired onstage antics and deep, sexualized singing voice (which one reviewer described as “the psychosexual werewolf/ Elvis hybrid from hell”) — the Cramps are often cited as pioneers of “psychobilly” and “horror rock,” and can count bands like the Black Lips, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the Reverend Horton Heat, the Horrors and even the White Stripes as their musical progeny.

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