Because I've just come back from vacation in New York (happy to be back where the heat—in those few weeks when there is heat—isn't a wet, sweaty, soiled blanket), and I don't have much Seattle-specific to write about yet today, some more musical happenings from NYC (with occasional Seattle connections):
On Thursday night, wound up as a plus one at some fashion party at the Tribeca Grand where XXXChange, Eric from Rub n Tug, and the DFA's Jacques Renault were DJing. Also there: Seattle's own Pretty Titty, Xavier de Rosnay of Justice, seemingly hundreds of very sharply dressed young folks. I called the previous night's Special Disco Version at Santo's a hip scene, but not a hipster scene; this night was rather the opposite, the sort of party that doesn't quite make me sympathetic to the odd Adbusters screed so much as it makes me think that My Own Personal BrandTM might just be a little more low key (and low class). Ditched out on the party for Happy Endings before Free Blood played.
Which was fine, because Free Blood played a Todd P warehouse show in Bushwick the next day along with Tussle, and it was much more chill. Tussle sounded better than ever—two drummers interlocking tight, Tomo Yasuda (also of Hey Willpower, etc) stretching his fingers around rubbery bass lines, a shadowy figure in the background holding down keys and delays. They played a number of cuts from their forthcoming Cream Cuts, and while its songs aren't exactly a new direction for the band—just more moving bass and drum grooves with dubby, noisy accents—it's probably their best sounding album, matched by the sonic quality of their live show. The band played in a corner, the walls buttressed with noise-dampening mattresses. Kids (meant loosely, though it was all-ages) danced (there was plenty of room) and drank. The whole thing was delightfully dirty and DIY. The PA and stage lights cut out during one song, but Tussle's drummers just kept drumming, and the crowd kept dancing and clapping along, and when the lights came back on and the bass kicked back in, the audience went nuts. If they could get away with it, I'd say Tussle should orchestrate and overcome a blown fuse at every show—the crowd really ate it up. Free Blood, sounded great, their pre-programmed electro grooves abetted by a guest live guitarist, John Pugh spending most of the show down on the floor, working the crowd into a proper funk. Free Blood isn't hitting Seattle again (they were last here with Hot Chip) any time soon, but Tussle play the Comet on Wednesday Oct 1st, and it should be a total blast (maybe they'll even blow a fuse).
On Saturday night, while Seattle was Geniusing, caught legendary Bronx dance band ESG at Santo's. The band playing that night consisted of three original Scroggins sisters—Renee on vocals, Valerie on drums, and Maria on congas—a guitarist and bassist, as well as two younger girls on vocals. These two girls were pretty amazing—not so much as singers, although they were fine, but as dancing, crowd exhorting, hand clapping, t-shirt throwing entertainers. They were big stage presences—big hair, big bodies, big expressions—the kind of black girls you might imagine Beth Ditto or Tracy Turnblad wanting to be. They were by far the flashiest presences on stage, but it was still mostly just cool to see the Scroggins sisters (who all basically just look like somebodies aunts) working out some of their classics live. They opened with a particularly vampy take on "You're No Good." They played a perfectly compelling version of "Dance." They played "UFO," its singular (and heavily sampled) live guitar loop sounding just searing live. I'm not sure if it counts as an old cut or a new one (released in 1991, but recorded when?), but "Erase You," vocals provided by one of the group's new, younger ladies, just killed. They also played a lot of newer material, though, more traditional sounding and more relaxed funk jams filled out with cheesy guitar to distract from their more monotonous (and overlong) grooves. Still, their classics remain just that, they sounded supreme on Santo's sound system (gushed over in previous posts here), and they were a rare treat to witness live, even this late in the game.
Left ESG after a goodly amount of songs to head over to the record release party of DFA duo Runaway in Brookyln. The duo's tracks are all dark disco and re-edits, but their at-capacity party was playing La Bouche while would-be revelers waited outside for the small club to clear enough room for more people to enter. The music wasn't all gay euro house (alas), but neither was it as consistently cool as the act's recorded output.
On Sunday, saw Matt & Kim in Williamsburg's vegan-friendly ice cream parlour, Penny Licks—not performing, just buying ice cream.
(My left ear never properly popped on the plane home.)