Thursday, December 18, 2014

Square Zeros Show Listings, Thur-Sun, December 18-21

Square Zeros Show Listings, Thursday–Sunday, December 18-21

This guy, this big guy right here, he's ready for the weekend.
And he's singing something more than Silent Night.

'Tis the season for rocking (and for corny holiday references). The holiday season is on full blast and I, for one, am thankful that I have somehow missed all the usual holiday song staples and have instead tickled my ears with some sweet sweet Brooklyn/NY tunes. Gotta get away from Mariah Carey? Check out these shows going strong through the weekend.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

In Defense Of: Grateful Dead

This In Defense Of was contributed by Ani Monteleone, a Brooklyn-based singer and  keyboardist who wants to tell you all about what a long, strange trip it’s been.

Williamsburg, 2014? Grateful Dead, 1969.
“What a long, strange trip it’s been,” arguably the most recognizable Grateful Dead quote of all time, was also the most oft-quoted line printed under my classmates’ senior photos in our high school yearbook. My suburban New Jersey school was full of Dave Matthews Brand '90s hippies, and I surely scoffed at their lame attempts at being profound by using a Grateful Dead line as their senior quote. (My quote was probably something extremely angsty-sounding by some obscure band like Bleed or Chokehold.)

That being said, up until that point I had never given much thought to the Grateful Dead either way. My parents, who were a little too young to have been hippies themselves, raised me on a steady diet of jazz and The Beatles. My friend Colleen gave me Bikini Kill’s Pussy Whipped on cassette tape for my fourteenth birthday, and it was punk and riot grrl from there on out. When I hit the tween years, I turned quickly to punk rock. For most of my teenage career, if it wasn’t on Kill Rock Stars, Sub Pop, Lookout!, Revelation, Jade Tree, Ebullition, or K Records, then it was get it the fuck away from me.

Least Likely to Listen to Grateful Dead.

I discovered the Grateful Dead in my parents’ attic when I was about 18 years old. We had moved from our tiny stone cottage in the Pennsylvania woods to a rambling old Victorian outside Princeton, New Jersey. Our new house had a huge, dusty old attic with Christmas lights perpetually wrapped around the exposed wood beams. My dad had his record player up there, and my friends and I would spend our spare time thumbing through his massive collection, making mixtapes, and drinking 40s. In the crates were four Grateful Dead records: Workingman’s Dead, American Beauty, Wake of The Flood, and Terrapin Station. Being the pre-Spotify/Pandora/iTunes era that it was, here was how I digested music: I would find an artist I liked, hunt down their entire discography in record stores, and commit every song to memory. I’m going to sound like a crotchety old fart when I say this, but, though I love the accessibility of music these days, I find digging through crates of records and listening to them front to back to be a far superior way of getting into bands. There’s something magical that happens when a young person discovers older music on their own. If you watch this clip from the movie Ghost World of Enid listening to this old blues record on mute, and instead play the audio from Grateful Dead’s “Attics of My Life” you will have an exact image of how this experience was for me.

In the attics of my life, full of cloudy dreams unreal
Full of tastes no tongue can know, and lights no eyes can see
When there was no ear to hear, you sang to me

I have spent my life seeking all that's still unsung
Bent my ear to hear the tune, and closed my eyes to see
When there were no strings to play, you played to me

In the book of love's own dream, where all the print is blood
Where all the pages are my days, and all the lights grow old
When I had no wings to fly, you flew to me

In the secret space of dreams, where I dreaming lay amazed
When the secrets all are told, and the petals all unfold
When there was no dream of mine, you dreamed of me

Part of my teen rebellious nature was also to form my own opinions regardless of what others might think, and — whether or not it was cool or punk rock — I now loved the Grateful Dead. And if you think yourself too cool to like the Grateful Dead, you are missing out on beautiful, poetic shit like this.

Granted, I have always been a big fan of flowery, romantic, sentimental music, which is maybe not for everyone (but should be!). I also have a deep love of complicated harmonies being sung in rock music, which is not the most common thing to come across. Whenever I find a rock and roll band that also somehow manages to infuse their music with rich, velvety layers of vocal harmonies, I am always sold. But why is it okay to like other bands that do this but not the Grateful Dead? Cream, Simon and Garfunkel, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young — only to name a few — all wrote songs like this, but it is not considered "uncool" to like any of those bands.

Full disclosure: I am not interested in the Grateful Dead’s later recordings, or their extensive live albums filled with hours of jamming, or the “Deadhead,” drug-taking, hacky-sacking image that comes to mind when one thinks of this band. These are the things that give them the stigma that I prefer to ignore. And maybe this makes me a Grateful Dead poseur, but I’m here to tell you that if you have ever been a fan of rock and roll, blues, bluegrass, or folk music, there is definitely at least ONE Grateful Dead song that you will love. Because if you cut away all that fan bullshit, what you have at the core is a few very beautifully written and recorded studio albums.

1970's Workingman’s Dead, for example, is probably the most accessible of their records for any old fan of rock and roll. It has a minimum of the plinkety-plunkety, hippy-dippy guitar-picking sound that flourishes on some of their albums, and instead focuses on solid bluesy songs about good old-fashioned heartbreak, hard work, and cocaine.

Don’t you just want to cruise down a dusty old highway in a pickup truck with the windows down, smoking a joint and singing this song?

American Beauty (written, recorded, and released later in 1970) is, in my opinion, the quintessential Grateful Dead album. It is a classic that I won't shy away from calling a perfect album. There is not one dud of a song on it; the entire thing is hits, beginning to end, and each song is a cultural invention of its own. You just cannot fuck with gorgeous, melancholy ballads like “Ripple” and “Brokedown Palace”. Even the cover art of wood grain with psychedelic lettering and a single rose is singularly iconic and classic. There will never be another album called American Beauty by a band called the Grateful Dead. Try to be original people, that shit is taken.

And, of course, there is the whole other thing about them basically being the godfathers of psychedelia, and the whole "without the Grateful Dead and other bands from that era like Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jimi Hendrix, etc., the current 'New Psychedelic' movement that we all love so much would not exist" thing. But, like, duh. That’s Music History 101, right? Still, worth mentioning (if you consider little things like a band's musical legacy more important than their slightly annoying fans, who you probably encounter, you know, never).

Anyway, taste is subjective. What a person does or doesn’t like is not only based on when and where they grew up, but also when and how they were exposed to certain kinds of music. I’m a hardcore music nerd, but there is plenty that I still don’t know (I only just discovered Misfits and The Replacements within the last couple years, having previously written them off, and I grew up on punk rock). So maybe you’re 35, and your favorite band is Led Zeppelin, but you never thought you liked the Grateful Dead. Now might be a good time to give them a shot.

— Ani Monteleone

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Square Zeros Show Listings, Fri–Sun, December 12–14

Square Zeros Show Listings, Friday–Saturday, December 12–14

These guys have the right idea.

As I'm writing this, it's snowing. Welcome, Winter, to our city. We're going to complain about you. Trudge to shows in boots and parkas. Drink more whiskey than we should, because it's "keeping us warm," and be generally morose until you're done. But we like you. We like the snow and the fifteen minutes it looks pretty until this great city turns it into sludge. Let's celebrate, shall we, for Winter is here! Trek outside, there's good stuff happening this weekend...

Monday, December 8, 2014

In Defense Of: Rod Stewart

This In Defense Of was contributed by Carter Logan, a Brooklyn-based drummer who thinks he's got something to say to you.

It's honey-coated sandpaper. Gravel in a glass of brandy. A sweetly battered instrument, improperly used for maximum effect. It's as though his vocal chords were distilled and aged in charred oak barrels, then finished off with a carton of smokes. The result is a caramelized sting that cuts to a lyrical heart. Rod Stewart's voice is Sam Cooke run through British overdrive.

I found it accidentally. I was probably about thirteen, living in a boring town in Florida, and I had just asked for and received a cheap turntable for Christmas. On December 26, I convinced my parents to drive me over to the only record store I knew in town — a dirty little shop in a strip mall called Daddy Kool. While my mom semi-patiently waited in the car, I spent hours in that store picking out stuff that — if I was lucky — would get the nod from the punk guys behind the counter.

Around this time my interest in pop punk was bleeding through the lines into garage, psychobilly, cow punk, lo-fi blues, and pretty much anything loud, fast, and "primitive". So these first vinyl purchases were stuff like Rocket From The Crypt, The Humpers, and New Bomb Turks...and then, for some reason I can't quite explain, Rod Stewart.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Square Zeros Show Listings, Thurs–Sat, December 4-6

Square Zeros Show Listings, Thursday–Saturday, December 4-6

[[THURSDAY, December 4:]]

Here's Josh from The Mad Doctors. You'll see his mug a lot this weekend. 

Remember when The Mad Doctors
(Seth Applebaum and Greg Hanson, SZ #20) were on tour, and we missed them dearly for those three weeks in October? Well, forget about that, because they're back this weekend to end their post-tour drought with three shows in a row which starts Thursday night at the Psychic Pokemon Psych Fest w/ Heeney, Dumbwolves at Don Pedro 8pm $5 LINK

Monday, December 1, 2014

In Defense Of: Bon Jovi

This In Defense Of was contributed by Aileen Brophy, a Brooklyn-based rocker whose thunderous basslines routinely take it to 7800o Fahrenheit.

“I gotta go, I gotta, I gotta go, I gotta… I got…I got…I gotta do it again.  Wait a minute, hold on… I’m not done.  One more time.  WITH FEELING!”
                        — Bon Jovi, “Bad Medicine"

That line pretty much encapsulates the Bon Jovi formula for me. I’m talking about “Bad Medicine”, the smash hit off of 1988’s New Jersey, which was their album after their 1986 breakthrough, Slippery When Wet. Now, Slippery is probably acknowledged to be the ur-Bon Jovi record, the one that contains most of the monster hits that we all know and love to scream along to at karaoke (Ironically? Not ironically? I don't even know anymore). "Livin’ On a Prayer", "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Wanted Dead or Alive" — they're all on there, and they're all great. But New Jersey was the follow-up album that really delivered, polishing the pop-metal formula to a perfect sheen with just the right mix of everyman anthems about girls, cowboys, hangin’ out with your buddies, and loving your hometown.  And Bad Medicine is the tune where all the crucial elements of Bon Jovi’s winning formula collide.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Square Zeros #31: Michael Sincavage (Low Fat Getting High, Scrambled Porn, The Duck And Bunny Shit Show)

We're not really fans of awards and rankings and official accolades here at Square Zeros. But when the Village Voice — probably the country's most highly regarded alt-weekly — tapped Low Fat Getting High as NYC's best rock band of 2014, we gotta admit, we were pretty damn excited. If you've paid any attention to the Brooklyn independent music scene in the past year, the trio and their unique breed of grunge-tinged noise punk are almost certainly on your radar. And if you've been fortunate enough to catch them live, you know what a powerhouse they are on stage.

Low Fat just dropped their full-length debut on Money Fire Records (which you can pick up here), so we figured the time was right to invite singer and guitarist Michael Sincavage into the studio to give him the Square Zeros treatment. We talked with Michael about growing up in Florida, how he formed the band, recording the new album, and the artistic work he does outside of music (all those awesome album covers are his design). And, of course, he shared some of the songs that long predate Low Fat, including one of his earliest basement punk tracks, a Low Fat prototype called Scrambled Porn, and a truly weird cartoon musical number that you've really got to hear to understand. Check it out:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Picture Dump, Thanksgiving Edition, 11.27.2014: Mayor Creep, Band Lottery

Dudes: It's been a phenomenal near-year here at Square Zeros, and we're thankful for a lot of people. As if by design, Eddie Nazareno (of pow-wow! and Crazy Pills) and Amanda B. (also of Crazy Pills) threw together an incredible Band Lottery that brought together a ton of those people. Thirty local rockers threw their names into a hat and were selected to form never-before-heard bands together.

We've got some snaps from that show, a handful from Mayor Creep's Reunion Farewell show, and some links to photo and video by outside documentarians of the Band Lottery. Check out Dean Keim's phenomenal photo-set
here, and thanks to Eddie Nazareno for committing this all to video. The video links below are all his doing.

Thanks so much, guys.

The Shows
: Mayor Creep (SZ #17) Reunion Farewell show at Don Pedro
w/ Sunset Guns (Derek Hawkins and Jon Mann, SZ #10), Misdemeanors, Family Circus — Friday, November 21, 2014

Band Lottery at Trash Bar, featuring:
Psych Psweat: Amanda B.
of Crazy Pills (SZ #9) and the one full-time member of The Planes we haven't interviewed, the elusive Jeff Patlingrao
The Hut: Jim Wood
of Clouder and Crazy Pills (SZ #19)

Let's Be Nameless: Marta DeLeon of The Meaning of Life (SZ #8)
Fake Cops (Real Trouble): Nick Brooks
of Mayor Creep (
SZ #17)
Scallops: Jon Mann of Sunset Guns, Paper Fleet and The Jeanies and Josh Park of The Mad Doctors
(SZ #20)

Princesses of Wroth: Brian LaRue
of Shelter Dogs, The Planes, Dialogue From a Silent Film (SZ #30)
— Sunday, November 23, 2014

Depicted below: Misdemeanors, Family Circus, Mayor Creep,
and the many faces of Band Lottery.

— DJH, BW, + JM

Friday, November 21

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Square Zeros Show Listings, Fri–Mon, November 28–December 1

Square Zeros Show Listings, Friday–Monday, November 28–December 1

Tis the season, friends. It is starting. We all take a break, drink beers in the comfort of our homes under the distress of our families, stuff ourselves to the brim with potatoes and potato like products and add an extra layer to our gut that we'll never seem to shake. You know what it is, friends. It's the holidays. They are here. And, show wise, they are coming in with a whisper.

That child is not in a band, nor do we know who she is, but she has the right idea.

Monday, November 24, 2014

In Defense Of: Joe Walsh

This In Defense Of was contributed by Michael Guggino, a Brooklyn-based psych rocker who’s takin’ his time, choosin’ his lines, tryin’ to decide how to get you out of his dreams and into Joe Walsh’s Maserati.

Joe Walsh is the world’s greatest American. Maybe you’ve never said it out loud, but you have definitely felt it if you’ve ever heard “Funk #49” or “Walk Away” by the James Gang. His sound is a Midwestern boogie twang mixed with Detroit-style hard R&B, and if it had a smell, it would be beer and whiskey. The reason I must “defend” the World’s Greatest American is because most people know him as Joe Walsh from the Eagles, and that is an injustice I intend to right in the following paragraphs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Square Zeros Show Listings, Thurs–Mon, November 20–24

Square Zeros Show Listings, Thursday–Monday, November 20–24

[[Thursday, November 20:]]

One of the best parts of music is not only seeing where artists have come from but where they are going. Nova Luz of The Amputees (Louis Ramos with Nova Luz, SZ #13) takes the stage to kick off the weekend on Thursday with some of her solo work at Goodbye Blue Monday 10:30pm FREE LINK

Nova Luz (Amputees)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Picture Dump 11.18.2014: The Rizzos, Party Lights, BIG HUGE, Jacques Le Coque, Now People, Flowers of Evil, NO ICE, Polyon, Sleep Fleet, Yin Yangs, Hounds Basket

The Shows: The Jeanies (Joey Farber, SZ #23) at Muchmore's w/ BIG HUGE, The Rizzos, Party Lights — Thursday, November 6, 2014

Glassy Eyes vol. 3 presents The Jeanies (again) at Don Pedro w/ Flowers of Evil, Now People, Jacques Le Coque — Friday, November 14, 2014.

Sunset Guns (Derek Hawkins and Jon Mann, SZ #10) at Muchmore's w/ NO ICE, Polyon (Ryan McLaughlin of Typefighter, SZ #7), Hounds Basket, Sleep Fleet, Yin Yangs — Saturday, November 15, 2014.

Depicted below: The Rizzos, Party Lights, BIG HUGE; Jacques Le Coque, Now People, Flowers of Evil; NO ICE, Polyon, Sleep Fleet, Yin Yangs, Hounds Basket.


— DJH, BW, + JM

Thursday, November 6
The Rizzos:

Monday, November 17, 2014

In Defense Of: Bleed American, Jimmy Eat World

This In Defense Of was contributed by Jamie Frey, a Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter and freelance music journalist who needs this now more than he ever did.

It’s possible that some of you are cringing at the very title of this piece, and I think that the other half of you are feeling a warmth of youthful “sweetness” in your loins just at the mention of the record. I also must preface this defense — as many of you may be thinking or projecting upon me — with this disclaimer: I did not grow up as a devotee of American pop-punk or emo. I never went to the Vans Warped Tour. I was not a teenage obsessive of Jawbreaker, Sunny Day Real Estate, Alkaline Trio, or even Fugazi. I was not seeking out obscure record labels with the punkest punk or the most emotional emo or the indiest indie. I’m not even that familiar with Jimmy Eat World’s earlier three albums, which many will argue are more pure and good than this big hit-filled crossover record. But that is not what I am writing about; I am writing about the populist rock ‘n’ roll that you heard on the radio. I’m talking about Bleed American (or the self-titled Jimmy Eat World for post-9/11 weiners). I’m talking about songs that make young people want to hold hands and kiss.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Square Zeros Show Listings, Weds–Sun, November 12–16

Square Zeros Show Listings, Wednesday–Sunday, November 12–16

[[WEDNESDAY, November 12:]]

Copycat Night presents The Planes (Stephen Perry, SZ #2 and Brian LaRue, SZ #30) as Velvet Underground w/ Electric People, Wonderbug at Otto's Shrunken Head 9pm $5

The Planes

Wednesday not your thing? Well...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ZeroFest picture dump, Chris Giorgione edition 2

If you've been following Square Zeros the past month, you're probably familiar with the stellar images captured by Chris Giorgione, a Brooklyn-based videographer who does a ton of great work on behalf of local musicians. He shot almost all of ZeroFest last month, and he just dropped off some rad edits from those nights, along with some more pictures of your beautiful faces. Below is the second round of what he got. Stay tuned this week for video from the ZeroFest weekend. Thanks Chris!

RIGHTS: All bands, bookers, and publicists are free to use the photos below, as long as you attribute to Chris Giorgione. If possible, please include this link to his production website: