Thursday, October 16, 2014

Square Zeros #29: Leah Wellbaum (Slothrust, Slothbox)


"...Oh — you want that one? ...Yeah, alright, sure." — Leah Wellbaum, when asked if we could use Slothbox, "Did You Hear About the Devil?" for Square Zeros

Here at Square Zeros, we never claim that it's going to be easy to pull out old recordings and reveal them to strangers, or even your fans. We're continually impressed with our guests' willingness to pull out the tapes and blast those old songs; more often, we're impressed by how awesome those songs are.

When we contacted Leah Wellbaum of riffy Brooklyn indie rockers Slothrust about coming on the show, we got a positive response and one of those brilliant moments that reminds us why we do this:

p.s. my old project is solo and it is called Slothbox! I think there is a tape coming out of it actually. It's a lot of old casio keys and me singing about vomit and kidnapping.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Square Zeros Show Listings, Weds–Sun, October 15–19

Square Zeros Show Listings, Wednesday–Sunday, October 15–19

[[WEDNESDAY, October 15:]]

GNAR.

Now, we tend not to promote out-of-town shows, because a lot of bands we feature are touring bands, and it'd get way, way out of hand to list all of them. That said, when you take a bruise like Chris from GYMSHORTS (SZ #27) did at Don Pedro last weekend entertaining our Brooklyn family, you acquire certain perks and privileges that reach beyond mere in-town show promotion. So hey, if you're in Providence tonight — hell, you probably don't need us telling you to see GYMSHORTS — but we'll do it anyway: get your ass down to their homecoming show, because you know a band's never better than when they've got homefield advantage at the end of a long string of shows w/ Whore Paint, Hard Nips, Downtown Boys at AS220 8:30pm $6 LINK

Pictures of your post-homecoming show bruises should be directed to squarezeros(at)gmail(dot)com.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Picture Dump 10.14.14: The Mad Doctors, Gymshorts, Big Huge

The show:  The Mad Doctors release show and tour kickoff (Greg Hanson and Seth Applebaum, SZ#20, with Josh Park), Gymshorts (SZ#27), Big HugeThe Rizzos, Graveyard Lovers, Friday, October 10, Don Pedro. 

Depicted below
:  The Mad Doctors, Gymshorts, Big Huge. 




Monday, October 13, 2014

In Defense Of: Dashboard Confessional

This In Defense Of was contributed by Alexandra Smyth, a Brooklyn-based writer, poet, and Swiss Army Romantic.

I'm cringing, just a little, as I write this.
Chris Carrabba. Photo: CC, freschwill.


Now, don't get me wrong — I am one thousand percent here to defend Dashboard Confessional to you, dear reader. But the very essence of what I think makes Dashboard Confessional worth defending — their earnestness — is the very thing making me cringe right now. I'm betting deep down that earnestness is what makes you bag on them too.

Think back to when you were 16. For the sake of this essay, I'm going to talk about myself, but I want you to think about who you were at that tender age as well. At 16, I was chubby and excruciatingly awkward girl growing out an ill-advised pixie haircut. I made my own T-shirts emblazoned with phrases like "geek rock" and took photos of decaying things for my photography class. I had a terrible crush on a boy with a hot pink mohawk who in turn was in love with the prettiest punk girl in our neighborhood. My entire existence that year was that of a perpetually skinned knee — raw and obvious and oozing. Everything felt painful all the time, and it makes me squirm just to think about it. Maybe you're wincing too, thinking about your former self.

I was already listening to emo — of course I was — the usual Vagrant Records and Saddle Creek suspects, but when I heard The Swiss Army Romance for the first time it felt like I had made a tremendous discovery. Here was a man completely exposed and unafraid to tell the world how he was really feeling: Chris Carrabba was practically drowning in his own vulnerability. I had never heard anything like it. Dashboard Confessional was a band that embraced the feelings I had trouble expressing, who wrote songs that even seemed to celebrate these unpleasant feelings, in their own odd way.

With lyrics like "as for now I'm gonna hear the saddest songs / and sit alone and wonder how you're making out," and "close lipped / another good night kiss / is robbed of all its passion," I finally felt like someone got it. Now, I'm not here to defend the quality of these lyrics. This is not good writing, by any means, but I do think there's a real, if misguided, bravery present here. For many people, and more specifically, for many awkward 16 year old girls, it's not easy to say how you really feel, especially when the feelings are this jagged. It takes a certain level of courage to make declarations like “this is where I say I’ve had enough / and no one should ever feel the way that I feel now / a walking open wound / a trophy display of bruises / and I don’t believe that I’m getting any better." At 16, I ate it up. At 28, I want to give Carrabba a hug and ask him if he needs help finding a therapist. The lyrics are borderline histrionic, but he’s obviously feeling these feelings, and at 16 I felt them too. It’s hard to listen to, and it’s painful to remember.

Dashboard Confessional had happy songs that capture specific moments for me too. I remember driving down the George Washington Parkway blaring 
"Hands Down" from my beat-up Delta 88’s shitty sound system after a very successful first date with the shaggy-haired, olive-skinned boy who would become my first long-term boyfriend. I giddily shrieked along with the song, particularly the final lines, "and you kissed me like you meant it / and i knew that you meant it / that you meant it," absolutely shocked that I'd had the balls to kiss him — and that it had worked! Again, what the lyrics lacked in sophistication was more than made up for in the combination of jangly guitar chords and the open emotion in Chris Carrabba's voice. I put the song on a mix tape that I made this boy for his birthday a couple of months later, and it went on to become one of many songs that we considered to be "ours." Twelve years later, I can't listen to "Hands Down" without recalling the details of that first date.

Almost 15 years after discovering Dashboard Confessional, I have a vague sense of mortification whenever I hear one of their songs, much like whenever I see pictures of myself from that era. There is a level of sincerity to both that causes an almost offensive level of secondhand embarrassment. As adults, earnestness, sentimentality, and emotional vulnerability are things to be avoided like the plague. Dashboard Confessional possesses all of these traits to an exponential level. No one I have met has ever wanted to re-live their teenage years, with all the discomfort and messy feelings that go along with it, and that is precisely why I think Dashboard Confessional receives an unfair amount of our ire. You can't help but be reminded of a painful former self when listening to them.

Because of this, I think we all can relate to, and maybe even appreciate many of Dashboard Confessional's unvarnished sentiments. I've even seen it demonstrated in the private karaoke rooms of Saint Mark's Place and Koreatown in New York City. In a roomful of hip young adults, not one of them needs to look at the karaoke marquee because they still know every single word to "Screaming Infidelities," and every single one of them is singing right along. Maybe Chris Carrabba was right. Perhaps, as in "Vindicated," we are all "flawed," but we are also "cleaning up so well." Maybe it’s time we let ourselves have those earnest feelings, from time to time, no matter how indulgent they may feel.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Picture Dump 10.07.2014: ZeroFest Special Edition, Night Four

The Show: ZEROFEST 2014, October 2–5.

Night Four, Don Pedro

Depicted below The Rizzos, The Big Parade, Chandeli'ers, Stonehenge Parnhashnakovsky, Big Quiet, The Neighbors, The Othermen


Saturday, October 5

The Rizzos:


Picture Dump 10.07.2014: ZeroFest Special Edition, Night Three

The Show: ZEROFEST 2014, October 2–5.

Night Three, Shea Stadium

Depicted below: The Meaning of Life, Mumblr, Space Merchants, Chimes, Crazy Pills


Saturday, October 4

The Meaning of Life:

Picture Dump 10.07.2014: ZeroFest Special Edition, Night Two

The Show: ZEROFEST 2014, October 2–5.

Night Two, Bermuda Triangle


Depicted below: The Planes, The Black Black, Mad Doctors, Sunset Guns, Hounds Basket 


Friday, October 3

The Planes:


Picture Dump 10.07.2014: ZeroFest Special Edition

The Show: ZEROFEST 2014, October 2–5.

Thus concludes the inaugural ZeroFest. What a weekend! You guys are awesome. Never underestimate just how many incredibly creative and talented and positive people there are around you all the time, kicking ass and making great art. Rest assured we're already planning the next one. We were totally prepared to learn from our mistakes, and then everything went perfectly at every moment.

Except the police action at Bermuda Triangle, of course. That was unfortunate, and we apologize to Vulture Shit, who didn't get to play, and their friends, who didn't get to see them. We also apologize to the righteously unapologetic Stephanie Browne of Bermuda Triangle, who hosted one of the best shows we've ever seen and handled those cops like a pro.

Thanks to everyone who helped organize ZeroFest, the twenty-plus bands that played (that's like eighty individual musicians!), everyone at the excellent venues that hosted us, and everyone who came out or showed support.

In fact, this seems like the perfect opportunity to introduce you all to Bettina Warshaw, who's been behind the scenes of all of this, running our social media game and basically making sure you knew when and where to be and who was going to be on stage. She's officially a part of the Square Zeros family now, and her involvement in ZeroFest was absolutely indispensable. Here she is, slugging drums for The Rizzos, literally embodying everything we do.


Without further ado, we've got four nights of craziness to document. And these are just our personal photos; expect more photos from our homeys who are better behind the lens. And hey — if you're good with a camera and ever want to help us out at one of our shows, you know where to find us at squarezeros(at)gmail(dot)com.

Depicted below:

Night One at Human Head Records: Spaghetti Blacc, Clean Girls, The Amputees
Night Two at Bermuda Triangle: The Planes, The Black Black, Mad Doctors, Sunset Guns, Hounds Basket
Night Three at Shea Stadium: The Meaning of Life, Mumblr, Space Merchants, Chimes, Crazy Pills
Night Four at Don Pedro: The Rizzos, The Big Parade, Chandeli'ers, Stonehenge Parnhashnakovsky, Big Quiet, The Neighbors, The Othermen

Thanks so much, guys. Seriously.

— DJH, BW, + JM



Thursday, October 2

Spaghetti Blacc:


Monday, September 29, 2014

Picture Dump 9.30.2014: Sun Voyager, Greasy Hearts, Graveyard Lovers, Mad Doctors, Sleazy Thrills, The Rizzos, Parlor Walls, Prima, Painted Zeros, Dead Sexy Sheila

The Shows: King Pizza presents Greasy Hearts (Joey Farber, SZ #23) and The Fucktons (Seth Applebaum and Greg Hanson, SZ #20) at Don Pedro w/ Sun Voyager, Surfbort, Ice Balloons — Friday, September 19, 2014

Mad Doctors and Sleazy Thrills (Amandine Bordeaux, SZ #9 and Jimmy B. Goode, SZ #19) at Don Pedro w/ Graveyard Lovers, Sun Voyager, The Rizzos — Friday, September 26, 2014.

First Annual Bushwick Music Curators Meet and Greet Party, featuring Stonehenge Parnhashnakovsky (Chris Carr, SZ #22) at Bermuda Triangle w/ The Rizzos, Dead Sexy Sheila, Painted Zeros, Freecare, Prima, Parlor Walls, Kate Mohanty — Saturday, September 27, 2014.

Depicted below: Sun Voyager, Greasy Hearts, Sun Voyager (again), Graveyard Lovers, Mad Doctors, Sleazy Thrills, The Rizzos, Parlor Walls, Prima, Painted Zeros, Dead Sexy Sheila.

Enjoy.

— DJH + JM



Friday, September 19
Sun Voyager:


In Defense Of: Drake, or "Dirk Nowitzki Forever: A One-Year Nothing Was The Same Retrospective"

This In Defense Of was contributed by Chris Tracy, a Brooklyn noise rocker with a mithril shirt, a first pressing of So Far Gone, and a skyhook like Kareem.

It was at some point in early-to-mid September 2013, one of the first really autumnal feeling evenings, when the rain started. It was the sort of rain that I love, the kind that puts a spike in your back when you've spent all summer waiting for it to cool rather than choke you, the kind of rain that only happens at the siege of Helm's Deep or the drowning out of some lycanthropic moors, the kind that only comes under cover of darkness. Needless to say, I went to the pub — St. Dymphna's on St. Marks, my favorite actual pub in the city — for a couple pints of plain, some soup, and stout bread after a day of my meaningless job and even more meaningless existence, milling in recent post-grad school, post-birthday malaise, feeling completely alone.


It was while sitting toward the back of the bar, scrolling through my Twitter timeline, that I saw the link — another one had dropped.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

ZeroFest Show Profile #4: Sun., Oct. 5 @ Don Pedro

Each Thursday in September, Square Zeros has profiled one night of ZeroFest, our four-day, twenty-band festival running from October 2–5 at four Brooklyn venues. Sun., Oct. 5 at Don Pedro will be the event's final night.


The venue:
Talkin'. 'Bout. Don. Pedro. That place. From its humble roots as an Ecuadorian restaurant that hosted late-night shows in the back, Don Pedro has grown into Brooklyn's go-to garage rock venue. King Pizza Records founder Greg Hanson (Seth Applebaum and Greg Hanson, SZ #20) is now the dive bar's primary booker, and his no-frills, no-fuss attitude has truly brought it as close to DIY as you can get in a bar setting. Brooklyn Burro is in the back, serving up tacos and burritos so you don't lose your head drinking. In writing this, I found this old review from New York Magazine that makes Pedro's look almost unfathomably polished — don't be fooled. You don't come to Pedro's to have a classy time; you come for the raucous music, cheap beers, and anything-goes attitude that puts Pedro's in a class of its own. Pedro's is where you go to give in to having a good time.

The bands:

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Square Zeros Show Listings, Weds–Sun, September 24–28

Square Zeros Show Listings, Wednesday–Sunday, September 24–28

[[WEDNESDAY, September 24:]]

Corsair and friends

Alright, going off-script here: our homeys Corsair are one of the greatest metal bands you’ve never heard of. They reside in Charlottesville, VA and release through Shadow Kingdom Records. They were about to go on a Fall tour starting this Wednesday, but their drummer gashed three of his fingers in an accident involving a chop saw, which is the most metal sentence we’ve ever written for Square Zeros. We're choosing to support them in our own way, which is to tell you to go here and pre-order their record One-Eyed Horse, because once those fingers mend — holy shit, guys.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Picture Dump 9.23.2014: The Jeanies, The Fucktons, Rizzos, Party Lights, Sun Voyager, BIG HUGE, Adventures of the Silver Spaceman

The Shows: The Jeanies (Joey Farber, SZ #23) at Hank's Saloon w/ The Rizzos, Party Lights, The Piggies, The Mess Around Friday, September 12, 2014

King Pizza presents The Jeanies and The Fucktons (Seth Applebaum and Greg Hanson, SZ #20) at Baby's All Right w/ BIG HUGE, Sun Voyager, Adventures of the Silver Spaceman — Monday, September 15, 2014.

Depicted below: The Rizzos, Party Lights, The Fucktons, Sun Voyager, The Jeanies, BIG HUGE, Adventures of the Silver Spaceman.

Enjoy.

— DJH + JM



Friday, September 12

The Rizzos:


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Square Zeros #27: GYMSHORTS (Sessile, The Unwritten End, Hayworth, Thee Yo-Yo's, Jonee Earthquake Band, Seaborgium)



"Nine songs. We wrote them very quickly. And we recorded them very quickly. And we just wanted to get an album out and then travel. So that's what we did."

That's how Gymshorts Telecaster wizard Devin pithily summed up his scuzzed-out surf-punk outfit's origins. And it's perfectly accurate. The four-piece has been on top of their game since day one. But at the same time, it totally undersells what Devin, singer-guitarist Sarah Greenwell, drummer Chris Faulkner, and bassist Chris Annunziato have accomplished in the year or so since Gymshorts formed.