Monday, August 30, 2010

Triton Industrial Fest Takes Brighton Beach

 Though I'll be doing my best to hustle my way into ATP New York this coming Labor Day weekend, it almost pains me to know that I won't be around to witness firsthand the cultural mashup that is the Triton Festival, which is set to go down over three nights at Oceana Hall—a Russian nightclub in Brighton Beach.

An ambitious festival in its first year, Triton promises three nights of Industrial music madness with an international lineup of artists from Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Detroit, plus a host of parties and DJ sets.

At first, I got a chuckle at the idea of unsuspecting locals getting all dolled up for a night out on the town only to come across the place overrun by patrons wearing cats-eye contact lenses and bands like Icons of Coil and Hanzel und Gretyl. Then, the more I thought about it, the more I realized Industrial-Goths and Russians had a lot in common...

1. Both Russians and Industrial fans wear black almost exclusively.

2. Both spend an inordinate amount of time getting their hair in unnatural shapes/colors.

3. Russians and Industrial fans *love* to over-accessorize and sometimes put on too much makeup.

4. Hello.... uniform fetishes!!

5. Last but not least, THUMPING BASS TRACKS!

So while I'll be stalking out Jim Jarmusch in the Borscht Belt, I implore the rest of you to check out Triton. And take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dax Riggs Might Be a Vampire

What is it about New Orleans natives and their obsessions with preternatural creatures? Louisiana-bred Dax Riggs seems to be no exception, and in fact, may be a vampire himself.

Exhibit A: The guy doesn't age. Watching him onstage last night at Mercury Lounge in his trademark white T-shirt and jeans, it was hard to imagine that the baby-faced singer/songwriter is in his late 30s—and that Acid Bath first hit the scene in 1991.

Exhibit B: Virtually all of Riggs's songs touch upon grand themes of redemption, sin, life and death, usually pointing out the slight subtleties between the latter two. [See: last night's throwback track, Deadboy & the Elephantmen's "Stop, I'm Already Dead."]

Exhibit C: Like any other charismatic undead character, Dax Riggs controls a cult-like stable of minions. An eclectic bunch to be sure (and not a void of beardos, as predicted), the audience reacted to even the slightest gesture from their leader—including a round of hollers for a simple mic check. Unfortunately, the devoted were also a bit misguided, like the dick in the High on Fire jersey who insisted on spending the entire night with his hand in the air recording the show on his Nano. Really buddy, I'm sure it's not the view everyone behind you was paying for.

Riggs didn't disappoint his followers in any way on Saturday night. Kicking things off with "I Hear Satan" from his brand-new album, Say Goodnight to the World, he stuck to a set rooted in new songs, plus those off of 2007's hypnotic We Sing of Only Blood or Love. Favorites like "Night is the Notion," "Demon Tied to a Chair in My Brain," and "Living is Suicide" were followed by renditions of newbies "Let Me Be Your Cigarette," "Gravedirt on My Blue Suede Shoes" and the sexiest cover of Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" ever made. Elvis may have had the pelvis, but Riggs is set with those pillowy lips and often sings like he's delivering a sloppy kiss.

New tracks sounded fuller with his tight backup band; older tracks were sped up with kicked-up urgency. And though Dax Riggs's songs don't tend to break the three-minute mark, the hour-long set went by so quickly that some were undoubtedly left disappointed by certain exclusions.

Me? I would've killed to hear "Radiation Blues." Maybe I'll find out if he plays it tonight during his second gig at Mercury Lounge.

I think I've been glamored.

More amateur live show pics can be found here

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Five Songs I Never Want to Hear Again

Make no mistake, this is not a list of terrible songs—shit, that would take ages to write up. Instead, this list chronicles those songs I never want to hear again (especially in public) because they're utter fucking buzzkills capable of halting good times within a few feeble notes.

1. "Mad World" by Gary Jules - No disrespect to Adam Lambert, but every time I hear this song, all that comes to mind is a greasy-haired dude in a bunny suit who was stabbed in the eye through a cosmic mirror. If you didn't get that last reference, consider yourself lucky for never getting sucked into the endless pondering that comes with seeing the extended director's cut of Donnie Darko. [The very first cut was really enough, Richard Kelly.] Gary Jules's stripped, melancholy rendition for the soundtrack only made Donnie's fate seem that much more hopeless.

2. "Good Woman" by Cat Power - One of the things that endlessly endears me to Cat Power is that whenever a barfly in her hometown of Atlanta related a story about her, it was generally followed by the coda "...that crazy bitch." Yet crazy drunk bitches don't always manage to write selfless, heart-wrenching songs about longing and the guilty feelings that come with being their true selves. That's what makes this ballad that much more powerful—and one hell of a bum-out.

3. "Changes" by Black Sabbath - Need I say more, #srsly? I would rather hear "Sweet Caroline" over this at a bar any day.

4. "Jolene" by Dolly Parton - Is this song really a testament to how women dealt with infidelity in the '70s? What did chicks ever do before Maury started airing to straighten our man-folk out? Everything about this song reeks of desperation and pleading, making it incredibly difficult to listen to once you get sucked into the lyrics and much like the aural equivalent of Larry David—utterly uncomfortable to be around.

5. "Hotel California" by the Eagles - I was technically never abused as a child, but my older brother's incessant playing of this record just might count. In fact, when he got married and moved out of the house leaving his old stereo and records behind, my first act of independence was taking Hotel California to Seth Low Park for an extended game of frisbee. Maybe it's because the six-plus-minute title track epitomizes the cocaine languidness of the times in such an absolute—and overplayed—way that I equate it with pure torture.