Buzzed Bands Podcast, Ep. 2 w/ Cold Blood Club

Sunday, June 30, 2013

8 Best Websites For Finding Events In New York City

Given that I've worked with several event & nightlife companies, have produced parties and concerts, and know tons of promoters and DJ types it makes sense that people often come to me when they are looking for something to do. So I thought I'd whip up a little post to help you find events in the city.

Sure, TimeOut, The L Magazine and similar sites/publications have event listings but in my opinion there's a quality control issue with some of those. They list just about everything and therefore it can be tough to weed out the good stuff. There are also tons of apps these days that help with finding events and there are plenty of sites besides the ones listed that do the same. This list is simply the sites I personally find useful when looking for something to do.

Many of the events I hear about I get from press releases and personal invites. Nonetheless when I do resort to the internet for guidance these are the websites I use. If there are any you use not on this list leave in the comment section.

  • This site is great for finding free and cheap concert listings but don't let the name fool you - they list more than just concerts. There are some pretty solid party listings here as well. They even have a tab where you can see just events with free booze.
  • This used to be a blog with listings for free and cheap drinking options but now it's a subscription based daily "boozeletter". Just sign up and you'll get an email everyday with that night's parties. The only issue really is that because it's events happening that night sometimes the listing's guest lists are already closed.
  • Lots of really fun opening parties, launch parties and other types of semi-exclusive events. Most of these events happen in the 6-10pm range so if you're looking for something to do after work, instead of another shitty happy hour, this site is helpful. 
  • If you're strictly interested in seeing bands then this is your site. They have very thorough listings but have always done a good job of sticking to listing good and interesting music. 
  • I used to use this site regularly but have fallen out of the art scene since. This site is the go-to site for finding out about art gallery shows. If you're into art, or the free booze that generously comes along with art openings, you should check them out and subscribe to their newsletter. 
  • I just recently started using this site and I love it. Facebook used to be great for finding events but it's gotten a little harder to use in that sense lately. HugeCity has come along and uses your geographical location and Facebook friend list to find events near you. It's all automated so of course there is a ton of garbage to filter through but I've found some amazing events this way that weren't listed ANYWHERE else. They also have an iPhone app.  
  • In the past few years I've gotten into the tech community in NYC. In fact, I now have an agency and work with tech start-ups. Gary's Guide is an amazing source for tech events in NYC. If you already work in tech, or are looking to get into the tech world, this is all you need. 
  • Back when I was working for an EDM company I had to keep tabs on all the electronic music events happening in NYC. There are a few sites for this but I found Resident Advisor to be the best. If you're looking for some ooonst this is your site.
Honorable Mentions:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

RIP Motor City

As you may have heard one of the last bastions of rock n' roll sleaze left in the LES is shutting down. The legendary Motor City will be closing their doors at the end of this week. I wasn't able to attend the closing party on Sunday but I saw a ton of pictures coming through my social media feeds and all the old regulars were there saying goodbye.

Motor City was one of the very first bars I ever hung out at on the LES. Back then there were plenty of dirty dive bars to hang out at downtown but most are sadly gone now. Motor City hung in their as long as they could but the condo class has moved in and the wine bars and cocktail lounges have taken over.

One of my best (or worst) memories of that joint was on my birthday a few years back. After a booze fueled BBQ celebration we hit the LES for even more drinks. After making the rounds to a few spots - Welcome to the Johnsons and a friends show at Piano's I believe - we ended the night at Motor City. At some point I went outside, roamed around aimlessly and passed out on a big window ledge a few doors down.

My friends started getting calls from a stranger claiming to have my phone. Apparently I dropped it somewhere on Rivington. Anyway, my girlfriend got my phone back and headed home assuming I pulled an Irish exit and went home - I hadn't. I was still sound asleep on that ledge. Eventually I came too and in the morning sun headed home. I didn't get the best greeting, as you may imagine, but it was one Hell of a birthday party.

While I may have missed the farewell blowout on Sunday I'm still going to try and pop in a few times this week for a few drinks and remember all the nights I forgot in that dump.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Raccoon Fighter Playing 2 Nights at Cake Shop

Raccoon Fighter are playing two back-to-back nights at Cake Shop starting tonight. Here are the lineups, both shows are $10 and start at 8pm. Click here for details.

Thursday, June 20th
Raccoon Fighter
Mount Carmel
The Teen Age
Punks On Mars

Friday, June 21st
Raccoon Fighter
The Denzels
Dead Stars

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Arctic Monkeys "Do I Wanna Know?" (Official Video)

Arctic Monkeys have a new video and well, it's a squiggly line. As is to be expected, the song is pretty damn good. At this point I don't think Arctic Monkeys can make bad music. They're far from my favorite band but hot damn can they write some songs. Am I the only one that is picking up on a Queens of the Stone Age thing here?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blondie Touring With X + New Music

Blondie just announced some US tour dates, which conclude on October 4th at Roseland Ballroom in NYC. They will be supported by X at all dates. The NYC show goes on sale on June 21st. Your ticket purchase will include five new tracks from Blondie.

Read More:

Die Antwoord "Cookie Thumper" (Official Video)

Despite the fact that Die Antwoord has been outed as a very elaborate ruse, I'm still fascinated with them. Everything about them is awesome in a way that I can't even begin to explain. This track exclusively features Yo-landi on vocals and it's just her in the video too. As always she's doing that creepy/hot thing that is hard to make sense of. A YouTube commenter said it best,"how is it that Yo-landi is both super hot and super repulsive at the same time? I'm so confused."

Challenge of the Future "You Can't Call Off the Dog"

Nick Zinner got his old college band back together and they're releasing an album they recorded at Adrian Grenier's studio, Wreckroom. The track is called "You Can't Call Off the Dogs" and it's just the type of weird I enjoy. It's fast with crazed vocals and I would take this over Yeah Yeah Yeahs any day of the week. I can't wait to hear the rest of the tracks. And who is the vocalist? This dude is fucking amazing. He sounds like a cross between Jack White, Jello Biafra and the Mad Hatter.

NGHBRS "Hold Up Girl"

When this track started out it seemed a little too clean and peppy for my taste but I hung in there. Turns out it's a pretty damn good song. "Hold Up Girl" is on NGHBRS upcoming album called Twenty One Rooms which comes out on July 16th.

Sunday With Black Flag, Adolescents & Subhumans

Yesterday was one for the books! I headed to Williamsburg around 2pm or so to check out some of the Northside action. After grabbing a slice at Vinnie's Pizza on Bedford, where I overheard French tourists complaining that there wasn't any mayo to put on their pizza (WTF?), I went over to Muchmore's for The Teen Age. Bill from Gunfight is in the band and they signed to my buddies label, Papercup Music, so I figured I'd swing by.

Of course the show was running late but that was nothing a few warmish beers couldn't help. The band on when I arrived was Bugs In The Dark, who I've heard of many times but don't think I've ever seen; they were good. The Teen Age came on next and I thought they were pretty solid. The singer's vocal style kinda threw me at first though. He was really bassy during the first song but as the set went on he found his groove and actually has a pretty interesting voice and a wide range. The Teen Age were pretty damn solid, check them out if you can.

After that I headed over to the Jameson Lounge with my buddy Malcolm for some free drinks and some grub. The Beets were going on when we got there. I dig the Beets so it was a nice surprise to see that they were playing.

After the set we decided to head over to Music Hall of Williamsburg for Adolescents and Subhumans. They were allowing 75 badges in so we wanted to get there early and get stamped so we could come back later. The idea was to go over to Grand Victory and see if we could get into the secret Black Flag show. Well, as it turns out, while I was walking over there I got a message saying I was on the list! I was pretty excited about the idea of seeing Black Flag in a venue that only fits 100 people (if that).

We hung around outside of Grand Victory chatting for a bit when Ron Reyes (Black Flag vocals) comes out. Malcolm starts chatting with him and he asks us what else we're doing. We tell him we were thinking about going back to see Adolescents and Subhumans. He says, "I wanna go!" and asks us how far away it is. After we tell him it's less than 10 minutes away he runs inside to check what time he needs to be back. He comes out and says, "let's go!"

My night went from not knowing if I could even get into the Black Flag show to not only getting in but hanging around with Ron Reyes and actually going to see the Adolescents with him - crazy! We got to Music Hall and talked to the door man who let Ron right in and then headed over to the merch table. We told the merch dude (who ended up being one of the guitarists for Adolescents) Ron was here and five minutes later Tony from Adolescents is downstairs with us. So now it's me Ron Reyes, Tony Cadena and my pal Malcolm just hanging out. It was pretty surreal for a dude who grew up on punk.

After awhile people started realizing what was going on and started swarming for photos. At some point Ron snuck out of there and probably headed backstage. The Adolescents went on around 9:30pm and the place was packed. It was a really fun show, people were stage diving, dancing on stage and singing along with Tony. At one point an overly excited fan wiped out and took down Tony. He took a pretty hard fall and it took him a minute to get back on his feet. He stopped the song and told everyone they could do whatever they wanted as long as they don't knock him on his ass.

Around 10:30pm or so I started getting a little nervous about Black Flag. I knew they weren't going on until after 11pm but I was worried the venue might fill up and I wouldn't be able to get back in. So I left while the Adolescents were still on stage and skipped out on Subhumans. I felt terrible because I absolutely love Subhumans and think they are one of the best live punk bands around.

I got back to Grand Victory and of course I walked right in. I considered heading back to Music Hall but I saw a few friends and decided to stick around thinking that Greg Ginn's other band, who were on stage, would be wrapping it up soon. I sure was wrong about that. I think they played for another hour after I arrived and by the time that Black Flag went on the Subhumans show was already over. Not only could I have stuck around but I could have caught the entire set! Damn it.

Anyhow, Black Flag eventually came on and the room filled up with people coming over from the Adolescents/Subhumans show. Black Flag played almost exactly the same set as Friday night, which is fine by me because it includes most of my favorite Black Flag tunes. The pit was a lot tamer than I expected but I that's because the goon faction wasn't really in attendance. It was actually a pretty mellow and fun pit, not violent at all. I jumped in for "TV Party" and "Six Pack" but I was drenched in sweat after just two songs so I got the hell out of there and headed to the bar for a beer.

When I got back to the bar I see Dick (singer) from Subhumans hanging around. I didn't say anything to him because it was just too damn loud for conversation unless you were all the way by the door. Black Flag fucking killed it, which is no surprise. I really have to commend Ron for sounding great, his voice was still on point even after three consecutive nights of shows. It was truly amazing to see legends perform in a room that small. I really had an awesome time last night. Robert from Scenic did a hell of a job putting it together and keeping it under wraps.

After the gig everyone poured out into the street for some fresh air (did I mention it was really hot?). That's when I said hello to Dick from Subhumans. He was heading across the street for drinks. I had actually agreed to meet my buddy Marty over there anyway. A couple of minutes after I get to the bar the Subhumans bust in and start shooting pool and drinking. I talked to the guitar player for awhile, very nice guy, and then said hello again to Dick. One funny thing that happened was the bartender had a Def Leppard album playing straight through and all these crusty old punk dudes were all singing along. It was hilarious since, you know, punks are supposed to hate bands like Def Leppard.

We hung out for awhile, we were both hammered at that point so I have no clue what we talked about. At some point he goes, "I like you. I'm gonna buy you a drink." He asked me what we were drinking so I tell him whiskey and he orders up some shots. So now I'm slamming whiskey shots with Dick from Subhumans. He's a real nice dude and it was super cool hanging out with him although I'm still bummed I missed their set.

I don't know what time it was when I left but when I walked outside the Subhumans were out there drinking and singing in the street. I think they had a car parked on the curb with the stereo blasting. Everything was a blur at this point but I said my goodbyes and went home.

So to recap I hung out with Ron Reyes from Black Flag and even took him over to an Adolescents show. Then I hung for a bit with Tony from Adolescents and Ron from Black Flag. And later in the night I'm doing shots with Dick from Subhumans. Quite the fucking night, if I do say so myself.

w/ Dick from Subhumans
Black Flag

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Black Flag Played Warsaw

Last night, after spending the day drinking awful Heineken under a tent, I walked over to the Warsaw to see if I could get into the Black Flag show. I ended up with a premium Northside Festival badge but I had no idea if that would get me in or not. We got there a little after the doors opened, talked to some people and managed to get in. Apparently something like 75 badge holders are let in so if you have one you might want to think about heading to the show tonight and if you don't they released some earlier today but they're probably sold out.

Anyway, we get in and head straight to the side room for a round of grandma style Polish food, one of my favorite things about going to Warsaw. While we were eating we realized that we missed The Netherlands, which sucks because they're awesome. The other opening bands, one of which includes Ginn on guitar, didn't really blow me away. Honestly, I was super focused on Black Flag so I kinda tuned everything else out.

Black Flag took the stage and went into some weird Ginny jam. Then Ron Reyes came out and they busted into a string of classics from The First Four Years era. Reyes sounded fucking awesome! I was blown away by how great, and dare I say youthful, his vocals sounded. They played a ton of classics during the set like "Six Pack," "TV Party," "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie," "Nervous Breakdown," and so on.

In the middle of the set Ginn and the gang went into an excessively long jam session where he employed his theremin. Have I mentioned I hate theremins? Why in God's name he decided to include that damn thing in Black Flag songs is beyond me. Sometime after the jam session they played "Rise Above" which set the place off. Every person in the room had their fists in the air and were singing along. The pit, which was already insane, erupted; it was awesome!

As per tradition they closed out the show with "Louie Louie". Some people stuck around trying to encourage an encore but it's Black Flag, they ain't playing no stinkin' yuppie encore. I heard mixed reviews as I filed out. A lot of fans of the Rollins-era were bummed that they played mostly pre-Rollins tunes. However, if you're a bigger fan of the pre-Rollins era, as am I, then it was fucking fantastic! The only other criticism I heard was that damn theremin - fuck that thing. All in all, I can't believe how good Black Flag was last night. I'm totally impressed and highly recommended doing whatever it takes to get in tonight. There's also a secret show in Brooklyn on Sunday. I think I know where it is but I ain't saying shit because it's tiny and you ain't stealing my spot (I actually don't have a spot but hopefully I can weasel my way in).

Theremin party tonight! Alright!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Editors "The Weight" (Video)

The Editors are still around apparently and they have a new video for their song called "The Weight". Not sure about the choice of title for the song; I seem to recall a pretty massively famous and damn near perfect song with the same name. The track is decent enough, not their best work but pretty good.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Northside Festival & Next Expo Start Today

Northside Festival kicks off today so there will be shows all over Williamsburg and Greenpoint the next few days. I'm more interested in the Next Expo element of the festival though. It's a series of tech start-up panels and networking events. I managed to win myself a free badge so I'm heading over there in an hour or so.

I'll be taking a breather from the tech stuff for a while this evening and stopping by Spike Hill for the Paper Garden showcase which has Wild Yaks on at 7pm. Then I'm off to Villain for the Jameson Black party with So So Glos performing. You have to RSVP for the Jameson event, just head to the So So Glos Twitter page for that info.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

CSS Has A New Album + Playing NYC July

I don't consider myself a CSS fan but they're one of those bands that are undeniably fun. If you're at a party and CSS comes on you're in good shape. They released a new album today called Planta with all sorts of guests on it and it was produced by Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio).

They're playing Bowery Ballroom on July 8th and Brooklyn Bowl on July 9th.

Cover Shows & Interview Bands For Brooklyn Ski Club

I'm a tired, old man. In the heyday of BSC I used to attend about 6-7 shows per week and I'd take photos and review every last one of them. It was insane and I have no idea how I managed it while I was working a 50/hour week job. The thing is though, those show reviews were huge hits. BSC reviews got picked up by every major music blog, website and magazine you can name.

So now that I'm bringing BSC back I want to get those reviews going again. I can't do it, there's no way. But you, you're young and energetic or maybe you're old and trying to make the most of these last few years of semi-youth before you have kids and die. Whatever. If you can write and have a half decent point & shoot camera then you can probably handle this.

You'll also have the chance to interview bands if you so choose. That could be fun if you're the outgoing type.

Now, of course, I can't pay you anything but hopefully you see value in going to shows for free and hanging out with rock stars. And no, it's not all shitty local bands. BSC still gets requests to cover & interview big touring bands. Free concerts, hanging with bands, some free booze on occasion and a line item in your resume. But in all seriousness some previous BSC writers are pros now (seriously) so this ain't no joke, son!

Interested? Send some examples to matt [@] brooklynskiclub (dot) com

***Should BSC start making money you will get some, if not all, of it. I don't do this shit for money so any income is pure bonus and I'm happy to share. 

Netflix Arrested Development Was Awesome

I finally wrapped up watching the new season of Arrested Development. I didn't expect much based on my own natural cynicism and the reviews seemed to affirm my suspicions. After watching the first two or three episodes I wasn't very impressed but I wasn't quite let down yet either. Once the stories started coming together and the bigger picture became more apparent I was hooked. Each episode was better than the last.

Some people had issues with the fact that each episode focused on a single member of the family and, at first, I too had concerns. However, the way it was done was perfect! My only issue is that I felt the series could have benefited from a family focused episode for the finale that tied everything together. That's not to say it didn't come together but it was odd having it all resolve through an episode dedicated to George Michael.

My only other issue is that I felt the portrayal of Michael Bluth didn't quite fit the character from previous seasons. He seemed a little too desperate at times and, in contrast, overly cocky at other moments. Michael is supposed to be the mild mannered character that comparatively seems normal but that wasn't the case throughout the Netflix series. Maybe that was intentional but it felt a bit off character.

Otherwise I thought the series was fantastic. The writing was brilliant and I might even say the laughs came at a faster pace than previous seasons. I don't know if they plan on another season but I would love to see it. Although, it would be better to release each episode on a weekly schedule. I think the reason for the negative reviews was solely a matter of people powering through all the episodes in a single sitting and not letting things sink in.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Stream New Heliotropes Album

I'm going to be honest here and tell you that I'm pretty damn bored with Brooklyn music these days. The bands that have been around forever are still killing it but there aren't too many new bands that get my attention. That said, Heliotropes are fucking awesome. They finally have an album and it's available to stream on Spin. I've listened to about half of it so far and I dig it. The mellow tunes kinda remind me of Hole but that's not why I'm writing about them, check out the heavier stuff because it's really amazing. I like everything about this band and I haven't even seen them live yet. I never say good things about bands I haven't seen live. I hear good things though. Anyway, give this a listen and try and tell me it's not killer.


Death Set In Another Commercial

The Death Set scored another big commercial, this time it's for the Xbox game Sunset Overdrive. Brooklyn bands are all fucking over the place right now. In the old days I would have cried sell out but this is the modern era and you gotta get paid wherever the fuck you can if you want to be a career musician so good for them - good for all of them!

Black Sabbath "God Is Dead?" (Video)

I've been hearing great things about the Rick Rubin produced Black Sabbath come back album so I was excited to check this out. I'm going to cut to the chase here, they need to get Bill Ward back in the fold. Brad Wilke is a good drummer but his style doesn't fit in right. He's not bluesy enough or something like that. Ozzy is singing more in the solo Ozzy style and less in the Sabbath Ozzy style. That's to be expected I suppose but Ozzy could be better. Iommi and Geezer are very much on point.

The first half of the song is a little boring but man does it pick up speed. By the end I was totally fucking digging this track. The video itself is kinda shitty but honestly who cares? Unless we're talking about Tool I don't really give too many shits about what the video looks like. For a bunch of dudes who haven't released a track since before I was born this ain't too shabby.

Why Do You Still Suck At Facebook?

I meet with lots of brands trying to beef up their presence on Facebook. They typically hire young, inexperienced "interns" with no real background in social media to manage their online identities. It's easy to think that a young kid who grew up with social media would be an expert when it comes to Facebook but that's just not true.

I often consult with social media managers for these companies and even the most basic best practices aren't being followed. Then I speak to the CEO or marketing director and they're clueless as to why Facebook "doesn't work" for their business. While Facebook is in fact based on top secret algorithms that doesn't mean you can't make it work for your brand with a few easy steps.

  1. Don't post too much: Facebook posts have a lifespan and if your previous post is still active you're competing for views with your own post! Generally speaking the bigger the following your page has the longer each post "lives" so don't over post. Depending on the size of your page and the popularity of your posts (actions per post) you should only post 1-2 times per day. 
  2. Use photos: Need to share a link? Okay, well you could drop it in and have Facebook convert it to a link post (that's the one with the ugly box) or you could share a photo relating to the link. "Link posts" suck - really, really suck! So instead find a good pic (preferably sized for Facebook) and upload it, then add your text and your link to the body of the post. It will still be hyper-linked but without the big ugly box. People love photos so the activity on the post will usually be much higher and you'll still get clicks on your link. 

Nine Inch Nails, "Come Back Haunted" (Video)

Nine Inch Nails released the first single from their new album which comes out in September. The track is called "Come Back Haunted" and not only is it good but it really reminds me of early NIN. Trent has been on fire lately so it's no surprise that this tune is awesome. I don't think it's a classic, it doesn't really grab you like a "Hurt" or "Head Like A Hole" or "Wish" does but it's still very good. Give it a listen.

Game Of Thrones Finale Was A Snorefest

Last night I took a break from watching the NBA Finals to check out the season finale of Game Of Thrones. After last episode's blood bath I had very high expectations for the finale. I'm not going to post any spoilers here so don't worry. Actually, nothing really happened of interest so there isn't much to spoil.

The finale was slow paced and kind of boring compared to the rest of the season. It was nothing more than a setup job for the next season, which is obviously needed but probably could have been done in a more exciting manner. They jumped around a lot trying to tie up any loose ends and it took away from the pace of the show. The final scene was just plain stupid, so incredibly boring and kind of goofy if you ask me (you didn't but I'm saying it anyway).

I truly look forward to next season but I wish I had a better taste in my mouth to go out with. This season of GoT was like eating a slice of pizza; it's delicious as soon as you take a bite, with a couple extra delicious bites where you get the toppings, and then at the end you're left with the crust. Sure, some crust is pretty tasty but compared to the bites with cheese and sauce and toppings it's just kind of bland. Unfortunately, given the shape of a pizza the most boring bite always comes at the end. That's Game Of Thrones, yup... pizza.

Brooklyn Ski Club, Expect More.

I've decided to start posting more often and essentially bringing back BSC to some extent. The topics won't necessarily be what you're used to though. Sure there's going to be some music and nightlife stuff covered but I'll be covering a wider range of topics. For the past few years I've been working in the NYC tech world so you might start seeing some posts about techy shit on occasion. I'm also loosely involved in food (Kings County Cookout & Dinner In The Woods) so you might see some food shit here too. It's basically going to be whatever I feel like posting, most will still be NYC oriented though.

Quick update on what's happening with me these days, in case you give two shits. A few months back I started an interactive marketing communications agency with an old co-worker from my days. We're primarily working with NYC tech companies. It's very revealing working with young, hungry companies in that it makes you realize how much experience you've acquired over the years. Apparently all my years busting my ass at various tech start-ups has lead to a deep well of useful knowledge. It's been fun and interesting so far but we've got a long way to go.

In other news I co-executive produced and was a cast member in a reality show called Dinner In The Woods. My buddy Lex, who cooked at my event series Kings County Cookout, had the idea for an camping & cooking show. I was already in talks with another friend about producing a show so I presented her with the idea and since we both loved it we shifted focus to Dinner In The Woods and self produced it. We'll have a webisode in a few weeks and start shopping it around to networks. If it gets picked up we may be traveling the country eating and drinking on a network's dime. Sounds fucking rad to me!

Well, that's all I got. Updates will be coming soon, maybe even today.
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