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DS Band Spotlight: Proper.

If you’re unfamiliar, Proper. are a three-piece formed in NYC roughly 5/6 years ago (as The Great Wight initially) but hailing really from a variety of locations across the country and bringing with them all of their collective experiences and musical influences and creating something that hasn’t really been done before. I remember hearing their […]

If you’re unfamiliar, Proper. are a three-piece formed in NYC roughly 5/6 years ago (as The Great Wight initially) but hailing really from a variety of locations across the country and bringing with them all of their collective experiences and musical influences and creating something that hasn’t really been done before. I remember hearing their last album, I Spent The Winter Writing Songs About Getting Better admittedly a little late and thinking “damn…I’ve never really heard anything like this before.” The new album, The Great American Novel, takes all of the things that were great about the last one and pushes the needles way past 10. It’s important music. It’s music about alienation and about not fitting in and about being a queer person of color in a land that, despite it being 2022, is at times becoming even less comfortable with people that check those boxes. It’s raw and it’s powerful and it’s somehow still hopeful. Oh, and if fucking rips. I feel lucky that I was able to catch up with the whole band (not just with Erik Garlington who spearheads the whole thing shredding on guitar and vocals but with the full band, new mom Natasha Johnson on bass and Elijah Watson on drums and whom you may also know from his “day job” as a journalist for Okay Player) for the (*both laugh*) podcast a couple months ago – you can check that our here or wherever you listen to your podcasts. In the meantime, fire up The Great American Novel and be ready to be blown away. we were able to catch up.


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DS Exclusive Video Premiere: Warn The Duke – “Anniversaries”

Brooklyn based melodic punks Warn The Duke are releasing a video for the track “Anniversaries” which is on their upcoming, ten track LP All That’s Solid. That’s it, just thought you should know. ….just kidding! We wouldn’t be here if that’s all we had to feed you, baby birds! Although the video doesn’t hit the […]

Brooklyn based melodic punks Warn The Duke are releasing a video for the track “Anniversaries” which is on their upcoming, ten track LP All That’s Solid. That’s it, just thought you should know.

….just kidding!

We wouldn’t be here if that’s all we had to feed you, baby birds! Although the video doesn’t hit the public airwaves until this coming Saturday, we got our grubby lil hands on it early (100% legal means, promise) and wanted to share it with our readers! The band is celebrating the official debut with a Release Show at the Cobra Club in Brooklyn on 10/29. But they ain’t stoppin’ there! Right after the show, they’re loading up and heading to Bean Town to play with Big D and the Kid’s Table at Brighton Music Hall the very next night. So, if you’re in one of those ‘hoods, stop by, say “Hi”, have a drink and listen to some terrific tunes!

Now, on with the video! Slap that play button (the repeat button a few times, too) and enjoy, comrades!


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DS Photo Gallery: Lucero & LA Edwards @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg (10-18-22)

Don’t you just hate when life gets in the way of the fun things? It’s taken me way too long to get this written up, and for that I wholeheartedly apologize. So without any further ado, here are my thoughts on what has turned into Lucero’s annual mid-October visit to New York City. I arrived […]

Don’t you just hate when life gets in the way of the fun things? It’s taken me way too long to get this written up, and for that I wholeheartedly apologize. So without any further ado, here are my thoughts on what has turned into Lucero’s annual mid-October visit to New York City.

I arrived at Music Hall of Williamsburg a little earlier than expected due to a surprising lack of traffic on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway aka the BQE (if you’re from NY, you know what a surprise it is whenever there isn’t any traffic on this highway). So walking into the venue, to see the room completely empty was a bit startling. At about 8 PM the handful of people in the room were greeted on stage by an unannounced comedian friend of Ben Nichols and the band. (I apologize for not having caught his name but if anyone does know it please leave it in the comments so that I can include it in this piece.) Not surprisingly, standing on a stage in front of maybe a dozen people in a room meant to hold up to 600, led to this sparsity of people to become the focal part of the act. Eventually hitting his stride, especially when he got on the topic of a certain sex act which much to his surprise, millennials have brought to the mainstream, the crowd (or those who were there at least) quite enjoyed the act.


L.A. Edwards, a foursome consisting of 3 brothers plus one, from Nashville by way of San Diego are the official opening act on this tour and they took the stage right at 8:30. With a vocal style very reminiscent of Jackson Browne, lead singer Luke Edwards along with brothers Jay and Jerry as well as guitarist Landon Pigg offered up a really nice opening set laced with soulful Laurel Canyon style harmonies backed by a mix of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers crossed with Dawes brand of rock and roll.

Ben Nichols, Brian Venable, John Stubblefield, Roy Berry and Rick Steff AKA Lucero took the stage shortly before 10 PM and started things off with “For The Lonely Ones” from 2018’s Among The Ghosts. Following this up with 2 fan favorites in “Chain Link Fence” and “Sweet Little Thing” both from their classic Tennessee LP, the boys now had the audience (which had grown into an actual “crowd” by now) singing and shouting right along with Ben at the top of their lungs.


Which brought us to the first of what would be 5 new songs on the evening. As you all have probably heard (or read right here in Dying Scene), Lucero will be releasing their latest full-length LP, Should’ve Learned By Now in February 2023. “Drunken Moon” is a slow burner ballad with actual backup vocals included which the Edwards boys from L.A. Edwards would come onstage to help out with. Ben, while calling them out onstage to help out with vocals, made fun of himself by saying that he’s been called an “anti-harmony” singer since such things are so rare on Lucero songs.


Throughout the rest of the evening we would be treated to “Buy A Little Time”, “Macon If We Make It”, “Nothing’s Alright” and “One Last F.U.” (encore) from the upcoming album. Unlike “Drunken Moon” these other 4 songs are for the most part serious rockers which the band seemed to be having a blast playing. This brings me to one observation which I was happy to see. We all know that 99% of the time we can expect Ben to be…well for lack of a better way to describe it, BEN. And of course this “Ben-ness” often has a direct correlation as to the amount of whiskey passed to the stage from the crowd. This night in Brooklyn was no different than in the past with one exception.


Brian seemed to be much more animated than he has been in quite some time. He jumped into one of Ben’s monologues at one point to say that Lucero had been playing at Music Hall Of Williamsburg for quite some time now, going all the way back to its days when it was known as The North Six. He even started to tell the story of when he played on this stage completely naked, then he came to his senses and held off on sharing the grim details.


In any event, my point is that more so than I’ve seen in the recent past at least, the boys in the band appeared to be having a truly great time on stage. Of course John was his usual campy self on bass and Roy just sat back and had a grand old time beating the hell out of the skins.


It was particularly great to see Rick doing well sitting behind the keyboards with his stately new (to me at least) tied-back ponytail. (Unfortunately, we were not graced with Rick pulling out the accordion on this particular evening, but it was really great to see that he was clearly on the mend from his health issues). Ben even took the time to mention that while this might have been the smallest crowd that they’d thus far played to on this tour, it was by far the most fun and best show (from his perspective) so far.

All in all, it was a fantastic way to pass away an otherwise mundane Tuesday evening in NYC. In what turned out to be a bit of foreshadowed irony, Ben did mention at the end of the show how he was really looking forward to their drive after the show over to beautifully scenic Secaucus, NJ which got quite a cackling of laughter from the crowd. Of course, the irony reared its ugly head the following day when a member of the band’s touring crew had some medical issues and the tour bus was basically sequestered for the next 3 or 4 days in “beautifully scenic Secaucus“.

L.A. Edwards Slideshow

Lucero Slideshow

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DS Show Review and Photos: The Beths, SASAMI & Charlotte Cornfield Live At BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn

I will be the first to admit that my main (aka only) interest in venturing over to Prospect Park on a hot & humid Friday night was to see New Zealand’s one and only The Beths. I knew next to nothing about the 2 opening acts, Charlotte Cornfield and SASAMI. I can only say now […]

I will be the first to admit that my main (aka only) interest in venturing over to Prospect Park on a hot & humid Friday night was to see New Zealand’s one and only The Beths. I knew next to nothing about the 2 opening acts, Charlotte Cornfield and SASAMI. I can only say now that am I REALLY glad I got to The Lena Horne bandshell early enough to witness one of these sets.

Cornfield took the stage promptly at 7 PM and proceeded to treat the crowd to a steady and competent set of rather quiet and subdued indie folk to which the NPR types in the crowd thoroughly enjoyed. For my ears, however her set just didn’t resonate all that much with me and after the 3 song photo allotment was met I found myself chatting with some of the other photogs in attendance for what seemed like a rather long time considering Charlotte was an opener on a three-band bill at an outdoor show that had a strict New York City mandated 10 PM curfew. Before I go any further, to be clear, Cornfield’s set did seem to be quite good but it just wasn’t my thing and I just kind of lost interest. That’s not to say that she didn’t make a lot of those in attendance very pleased with her set.


Next up was SASAMI who hit the stage shortly after 8 PM.  Truth be told, I had given SASAMI a bit of a listen on Spotify prior to the show and was merely lukewarm about what I had heard. Their first (self-titled) album released in 2019, was a quite polished indie pop album which while very listenable, didn’t exactly get my juices flowing.  And then there is this year’s second full-length LP, Squeeze which hit the shelves back in February. You’d have to do some serious searching in order to find a sophomore LP which takes as strong a departure from its predecessor as does Squeeze

The set started off with Sasami Ashworth’s “The Greatest” off the new album. And while the song on the album is rather subdued, the band came out and raged. They took what already sounded like a homage or at least a response to Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Gift Of All” and turned it into Whitney’s Greatest Gift from an alternative (much less hospitable) dimension.  From here the set only got darker, darker in a heavy metal kind of way with thundering bass lines and loud abrasive guitar chords coming from both Ashworth’s axe as well as the other guitarist who’s name I did not get. To say the least I was almost completely shocked. From here the band ripped through song after song with a fiery electric vengeance which I for one was 100% unprepared for. 


SASAMI

Sticking with a setlist comprised entirely of titles off the new one, SASAMI’s set was absolutely mesmerizing. The energy set forth by Ashworth and the rest of the band was transfixing. A combination metal hell fest combined with an almost performance art presentation made for a show to which I (and virtually every other photographer in the pit) was paralyzed to stop clicking the shutter button. Every moment following every moment felt like something that needed to be captured.  

SASAMI’s set lasted roughly 40-45 minutes yet it flew by in a flash. I for one felt winded after witnessing the whirlwind of a set which they had treated us all to. My initial reaction when it was done was, “I can’t believe it’s over so soon”.  Looking at their other setlists online however, it looks like we got pretty much their entire show.

Which brings me to the headliner, The Beths. It wasn’t all that long ago, you read from me that they were the only real impetus for me being at Prospect Park in the first place. And now as I stood and waited for them to take the stage, I couldn’t help but ponder, “How the hell are they going to top THAT?!?”  Having seen the band make a steady progression from DIY venue, Alphaville to 400-person Music Hall Of Williamsburg to 1000-person capacity Webster Hall, they were now faced with the unenviable task of playing (BY FAR) their most high-profile show ever in New York at the 5000 to 7000 person capacity Lena Horne Bandshell AND having to do that following an absolutely blistering set from the opener, not to mention their backs against the wall relative to a 10 PM curfew.


With it already being after 9, it appeared that we were most likely going to get a truncated set.  The band came on about 9:15, opening with “I’m Not Getting Excited” but clearly they were because they came out answering the call.  Despite what appeared to be some lighting irritations, Liz Stokes was exactly that, STOKED. She, along with guitarist, Jonathan Pierce, bassist, Ben Sinclair and Tristan Deck on drums hit the stage running. Barreling through stalwarts ” Happy, Unhappy” and “Out Of Sight” before offering up the lead single and title track to the upcoming album, “Expert In A Dying Field” due to drop in mid-September.


It was right about here in the set that it dawned on me that the band had figured out how they were going to get their entire set done in roughly three-quarters the normal length of the set. They were speeding everything up and HOLY SHIT, it was working masterfully!  I mean they were almost approaching Ramones kind of tempos and the songs and the vibes and the atmosphere were just perfect.

After “Dying Field” we got three more older songs before they cracked open another new one called “Knees Deep”, a bright sun-shiney rocker (come to think of it a Beth’s song and sun-shiney is just redundant…aren’t they all like that?)

Attacking each upcoming song at a breakneck pace which seemed different yet also quite right.  “Jump Rope Gazers” into “Uptown Girl” into “A Real Thing”, all done fast but not quite furious.

When all was said and done, The Beths managed to come out of the evening having sleighed the dragon. They overcame the adversity which faced them and finished the evening around 10:10 after a two-song encore of “You Are A Beam of Light” and “Little Death” to the delight of all. Liz and crew put on a masterful show which while certainly sped up, never felt rushed. As a matter of fact it appeared that the band had as much fun as the packed crowd. The normally stoic Jon on guitar was flashing a big grin much of the evening. Liz showed off a little Chuck Berry-esque duck walk and the rhythm section of Tristen and Ben were amazing keeping the sped up pace at bay and even keeled.

When all was said and done, all I could possibly say was, “What a night!”

NOTE:  For those in the NY/NJ area The Beths will be at The Asbury Lanes on August 26th and for those in or around western MA, they will be at Courtney Barnett’s Here and There Festival at MassMoca in North Adams on August 13th.

  • SASAMI
  • The Beths

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DS Show Review/Photo Gallery: Jesse Malin Performs “Glitter In The Gutter” Live at The Mercury Lounge, NYC (2022-09-15)

Back in 2006, longtime New York City resident Jesse Malin decided he needed a change. The post 9/11 New York had changed so much that the fixture of the Lower East Side punk scene, dating back to his early hardcore band Heart Attack and then his alphabet city punk/garage band, D-Generation, Malin who had been omnipresent […]

Back in 2006, longtime New York City resident Jesse Malin decided he needed a change. The post 9/11 New York had changed so much that the fixture of the Lower East Side punk scene, dating back to his early hardcore band Heart Attack and then his alphabet city punk/garage band, D-Generation, Malin who had been omnipresent in almost everything to do with the East Village music scene knew he needed a change of scenery.  

So off to the land of sunny California he moved and it’s there that he came up with the idea of doing Glitter In The Gutter along with producer Rob (just one more take) Caggiano. The album was released by Adeline Records in early 2007. Critically it was a mixed bag with publications like Rolling Stone who printed that it was a mix of “memorable, megatuneful adrenaline shots” and “generic hard rock”. Unfortunately, the album itself would soon fall out of print and even worse in this age of streaming, couldn’t be found on any of the usual suspected streaming sites. Hence to Jesse and his loyal and adoring fan base, it’s become known as the “lost album”. That is until now with the re-release of Glitter In The Gutter on Steve Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool Records, scheduled for a September 30th release.

Thin Lear (Mercury Lounge)

To celebrate the album finally getting its life back, Malin played an album release show at New York’s Mercury Lounge on September 15th in which he played the entire album from start to finish, something he had only done once before and that was on a lockdown streaming show. The evening started off with a solo set from folk/chamber pop artist Thin Lear. Lear offered up an enjoyable yet mellow set of well-crafted songs and stories to which the still sparse crowd were very receptive to. 

Alfonso Velez (Mercury Lounge)

Following up after Thin Lear was Alfonso Velez who noted that he was much more familiar playing the local clubs and cafes in the West Village and that he enjoyed the crosstown trek over to the East Village. Playing material from his upcoming debut release, he and his guitarist partner put on quite a nice set which the crowd found to be quite the appropriate warmup for Jesse and his band.

Taking the stage shortly after 9:30 PM it didn’t take Malin and his band long before they started ripping into Glitter. The album opener “Don’t Let Them Take You Down (Beautiful Day)” has always been a favorite of mine and not surprisingly they performed it swimmingly. Following the track sequencing from the album, “In The Modern World” was next, followed by “Tomorrow Tonight”. As anyone who has seen Jesse in concert can attest to, he is very good at stage banter and his introduction to the album’s reworked single “Broken Radio ‘22” was certainly no exception. With the story about how the song was originally written in honor of his mother who had passed away rather early in Jesse’s life he already had the crowd hanging on his every word. Then he switched gears in the story to offer up some details on how Bruce Springsteen came to be involved in the project. Of particular note was how Bruce pulled up to his Colts Neck home (which Jesse had already arrived at) on a huge Harley. Jesse also made fun of Rob Caggiano (who happened to be in attendance at Mercury on Thursday). Jesse and his band had come to be used to Rob’s constant request for “let’s do it one more time” but after one run through “Broken Radio” to which Bruce nailed his part, even Jesse was surprised that Rob insisted on another take, and another, and another. He guessed that Rob had busted Bruce’s balls for a total of 8 takes. Malin was mortified, yet thrilled with the end result.

Jesse Malin singing from the floor of Mercury Lounge

The set would continue mirroring the album song for song until Jesse took a detour while he was singing in the crowd. It was here that he started a story how he’d once lived in this very same building WAYYY back in the day long before it hosted the Mercury Lounge. He said his landlord ran a mortuary or a casket warehouse (I’m not sure which) out of the current club’s space. Anyway, Malin spun another great yarn about how he eventually moved out and across the East River over to Williamsburg. At this point he pulled an audible and led the band into “Brooklyn” from his Fine Art of Self Destruction collection.

Returning to the stage Malin went back on script and continued with the Glitter material.  Another special moment took place when he told us how at one point back in the mid 90s, he’d heard a song by this amazing female artist that was totally new to him. He immediately called Joey Ramone to tell him about this woman only to hear Joey tell him, “yeah I know Lucinda, I played with her at one of Vin Scelsa’s “In Their Own Words” shows at the Bottom Line. Fast forward a couple of years and Malin is at The Blue Note jazz club on W 4th St. (for a Charlie Watts’ show) and who’s next to him at the bar but Lucinda Williams. They spent the night talking up all kinds of music and have been friends ever since. Of course this was the intro to his song “Lucinda” which evidently the namesake of the song has never been a huge fan of.  

The rest of the night went pretty much exactly like this, with Jesse sharing stories and then playing the next song on the album. When the material from Glitter was complete, the night was not, as Malin treated us to a few more of his more recent material. 

The horns join in

And to cap things off, for the encore a horn section of Danny Ray on sax, Indofunk Satish on Trumpet and Alix Toucou on trombone joined the band onstage to close things out in classic New Orleans R&B style complete with an evening ending second line through the crowd and out the door to the tune of “Meet Me At The End Of The World”.
All in all, Jesse and his fellow musicians put on one hell of a show. It was such a fitting exclamation point to a truly great album. If you’re lucky enough to already be familiar with Glitter in The Gutter you know what I’m talking about and if you’re not, you’re in for a treat when it hits the shelves once again on September 30th.

  1. Very nice piece! Thanks!
    One correction though. Respectfully, the trombone player is Alix Toucou.

    • Correcting now. Thanks!!

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Early Riser

Early Riser is band from Brooklyn, NY founded in 2014 by Kiri Oliver (vocals/guitar) and Heidi Vanderlee (cello/vocals) and later joined by Nicole Nussbaum (bass/vocals) and Mikey Erg (drums/vocals).

Loma Vista Recording

Loma Vista Recordings is a record label founded by Tom Whalley, former chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Records and Executive of A&R at Interscope Records. The label was initially a joint venture with Republic Records and is based in Beverly Hills and Brooklyn.

In July 2014, the label announced it had changed strategic partners and was now part of Concord Music Group.

Lunachicks

Brooklyn, NY

Throughout the ’90s and into the ’00s, the Lunachicks’ hard-hitting rock-n-roll hooks, thick and gritty guitars, and heavy, pounding beats attracted a rabid fan base that stretched from the turbulent bowels of the Bowery all the way to the dizzying neon cavity of Tokyo. 

Formed as teenagers at NYC’s famed LaGuardia High School, Lunachicks were on a mission to loudly trounce planet Earth just like their idols the Ramones, Black Sabbath, Kiss, The Clash, Blondie, and Alice Cooper. Early on, they made a name for themselves in hallowed local clubs like CBGB and The Limelight, where they caught the attention of Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. In 1990, London-based record label Blast First released the Lunachicks’ debut album Babysitters on Acid. 

With every album that followed, the Lunachicks delighted most in taking a technicolor dump on propriety, morality, and the patriarchy. But it’s their live shows that best demonstrate their outrageous brilliance. Reveling in their love of movies by Russ Meyer and John Waters, the Lunachicks are a ferocious burst of bizarre costumes, huge wigs, garish makeup, and prosthetics. The shows would be pure spectacle were it not for the band’s irrefutable mastery as musicians and performers.”

MakeWar

MakeWar is one word. It’s a state of mind, not a statement. #PSA #PMA

Brooklyn-based punk rock.