Giant Robot Store and GR2 News

  2012 was a pretty great year for shows, but of course, some are way better than others. Here are my top 10! Psychedelic Furs play tiny Maxwell’s in Hoboken, recapturing some of the magic from the first two awesome albums (at least until they play “Heartbreak Beat”).   Bruce Springsteen! At Madison Square Garden! My first time seeing Bruce live. Everybody should go at least once and soon. He’s the hardest-working man in showbiz.   Swervedriver at Bowery Ballroom. The juggernaut returns!  Frontman Adam Franklin is awesome singing in this band and solo.   Asobi Seksu at Highline Ballroom. Yeah, man! The coolest band in the world keeps smokin’!   Agnostic Front at Warsaw. Three decades along, the veterans show the whippersnappers also on the Power of the Riff bill how it’s done.   Asobi Seksu at Brooklyn Bowl. They count again because Yuki sang through a cold for this show. She is like so great!   Grimes at Hudson River Park. The show almost didn’t happen due to warnings for a thunderstorm, but Grimes could not be denied. Not my sort of music at all, but from the standpoint of delivering a live show — she killed it!   Ringo Deathstarr at Cake Shop. My favorite new band will go on to rule the fucking universe!   Public Image Limited at The Music Hall of Williamsburg. John Lydon has a never-ending supply of bile.   Corrosion of Conformity at St. Vitus. The Animosity-era lineup is having the time of their lives playing shows, judging by the smiles and jokes. “How’s the weather?” asked singer/bassist Mike Dean. This was about a week after Hurricane Sandy. “Too soon!” yelled back an unflappable audience member. New York. You gotta love it.
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Asobi Seksu at The Satellite (May 28, 2011)

There’s no more print mag with slots for me to fill in with reviews, but I still listen to music more than ever. So should you. Here are my takes on some newer releases. The first one is a free link, so at least read that far!

Asobi Seksu – Big Orange Studios

I was bummed that Asobi Seksu wouldn’t be joining Boris on the West Coast, but at least there’s this recent session that was recorded live in studio for Daytrotter and released in late September. Yes, there are only three songs, but each is an epic example of cinematic-yet-genuine rock, and an excellent example of how the New York band’s humungous sound translates live. “Trails” is the extra dynamic, hyper catchy single with every freaking dial cranked up and percussion sounding like fireworks propelling Yuki’s dynamic vocals. It makes you feel as if you’re flying through space. The middle number is the dreamiest, complete with Cocteau Twins-style scatting, and “Leave The Drummer Out There” is the dream pop equivalent of “Bohemian Rhapsody”–or is it “A Quick One, While He’s Away”? At any rate, if this primo sampling of dream pop were pressed on a limited-edition 12″ slab of candy-colored vinyl it would easily set you back 10-12 bucks before hitting eBay. Instead, you can download it for free. []

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I don’t get out much, but when I do, it counts. On Saturday night, Asobi Seksu came back to town. You might recall the interview I did a while back… After catching the band at a larger venue like The Troubadour, I was excited to see them at a dive such as The Satellite (ex-Spaceland). On one hand, the vibe was a lot less formal and way more casual, which I prefer. On the other, the sound totally sucked when the first song kicked in! I’m no audiophile and usually don’t even notice stuff like that, but a bitchin’ song like Trails absolutely requires the soaring vocals to balance out the grinding guitars. Fortunately, the mix got worked out sooner than later, and the band ripped through another mind-bending set of their ultra heavy, super dreamy psychedelic rock. They seemed to throw in some more really old stuff during this visit, which was very cool. Next up was Prince, who was finishing up his “21 Night Stand” of  Los Angeles, and this was actually the third show of his visit that I attended. There are only a handful of cases in which I binged on music like this. After being blown away by the Repeater tour when I was in college, every time Fugazi played multiple nights in L.A. I’d attend them all because they’d tweak songs in each performance, creating massively different sets. In total contrast, The Ramones would play the same songs the same way every time, but they did it perfectly and I wouldn’t miss a show of theirs for three years or so after high school. And when the reunited Descendents played a string of shows at the Whisky, I had to catch three of the nights because I didn’t know if I’d ever see them again. Prince… Well, this will require a separate post. Let’s just say no one has mastered or mixed funk, R&B, soul, jazz, and psychedelic rock like the Purple Yoda. And like The Ramones, he has created his own style of music. Like The Descendents, he has spawned, inspired, and even produced an entire scene of related bands. And like Fugazi, he plays each concert differently. Also like Fugazi, he clamped down on ticket prices during this stint… Twice I got killer seats for only 25 bucks including service charges! The three-day, three-show weekend ended in Westwood. When I went to college, I used to skateboard to Rhino Records all the time. I bought a ton of vinyl there, and saw a ton of cool musicians and bands there, too. Once I introduced myself to Mike Watt and then totally fanned out while he was perusing at the wall of used cassettes. Then he asked me to follow him to his van, where he handed me a fIREHOSE 7″ single and signed it for me. They also had free in-stores often, and it’s the first place where I saw Peg-Boy as well as The Hard-Ons. (Of course you rock out to...
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