Thursday, July 31, 2014

Square Zeros #24: BEZOAR (Isle Of Citadel, Ruksac, Wizardry)

If you wanted to describe Bezoar, you could throw out a bunch of terms like heavy and doomy and psychedelic and stoner and experimental. And you could point out some similarities to Electric Wizard or Dead Meadow or Swans. But that would really do a disservice to Bezoar, whose raison d’être is to defy those types of labels and comparisons. Yes, they have a lot of those qualities, but they’re more mutable than any of that suggests.

Bezoar’s most recent LP, Wyt Deth, is a strange, cerebral odyssey that showcases the members' proclivity for complex, boundaryless songcraft. Perhaps inadvertently, they seem to spell out that approach in the eerie acoustic opener, "Burn Everything":  "I'm not waiting for chaaaaaange, burn everything, burn everything," bassist and singer Sara Villard moans. From there, Bezoar spirals out in all directions dark and menacing — from the galloping "Vitamin B" to the manic "Clocktower" to the epic closer "Knight" — with pummeling guitar emanations from Tyler Villard and Justin Sherrell pounding the drums.

"Life On A Cross" opens the episode, and the band was kind enough to share an exclusive demo of one of the new cuts, "Dark Trippin." 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Show Listings, Weds–Sun, July 30–August 3

Square Zeros Show Listings, Wednesday–Sunday, July 30–August 3

[[WEDNESDAY, July 30:]] Lay around in your piano bed, because you're too lazy to get up, you lazy shit. THERE'S A WHOLE WORLD OUT THERE, YOU LAZY SHIT.

Okay, yeah, of course I want a piano bed. I get it. Lay low. Big weekend ahead.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Show Listings, Weds-Sun, July 23-27

Square Zeros Show Listings, Wednesday–Sunday, July 23–27

[[WEDNESDAY, July 23:]] Rest up, homeys. You've got a big weekend ahead of you.

Monday, July 21, 2014

In Defense Of: The Playlist

By popular demand and in honor of our twenty-first installment of In Defense Of, the team at Square Zeros has created a Spotify playlist of songs that have been featured in articles thus far. Never before have Jimmy Buffett and Juvenile been thrown together with such an objectively great outcome. Yeah, you're welcome, Jimmy Buffett. And Juvenile.

We hope you'll join us in buying In Defense Of (or one of our fearless contributors) a drink for its twenty-first birthday. And don't forget to supplement your enjoyment by reading the original articles!

Thanks to everyone who's been a part of this, and keep the submissions coming.

You can always reach us with a pitch at

Your dudes in defense,

Derek + Jon

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Square Zeros #23: Joey Farber (The Jeanies, Greasy Hearts, Joey Ghostly, Red Pop, The Enthusiasts)

The first time Jon and I met Joey Farber was a few years ago, when we were all playing in very different bands than we're in now. We'd teamed up for a show at a bar and art space in the Lower East Side called The Suffolk, which as far as I know isn't hosting music anymore.

Joey, who sings and plays guitar in The Jeanies and Greasy Hearts, was still in high school at the time, fronting a garage-blues project called The Enthusiasts, whose airtight musicianship and beyond-their-years shredding blew us away. During the show, Jon was talking to the bartender, who remarked on how talented the trio was.

"Yeah," Jon said, "and it's staggering that these guys are only 18."

At which point, the bartender, who'd been serving them High Lifes all night, froze up: "...What?"

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In Defense Of: 400 Degreez, Juvenile

Today's In Defense Of was contributed by Square Zeros' Derek Hawkins.

Music history is full of cases in which artists, often through no fault of their own, get reduced to one song at the expense of their more interesting work. I’m not talking about one-hit-wonders, but genuinely talented, enduring musicians with broad discographies whose names become synonymous with little more than their most popular cut.

Juvenile is one of them — and his case is too upsetting to leave alone. I can think of few musicians from my youth who are as defined by a single song as Terius Gray is by his epic party anthem, “Back That Azz Up” (or, if you’re Tipper Gore, “Back That Thang Up”). Don’t get me wrong: it’s a great song in its own right (more on that later), but its over-the-top lewdness paved the way for people to unfairly caricaturize Juvenile, obscuring his more thoughtful music as a result.

Juvenile has released nearly a dozen albums over the past 20 years, with all the ups and downs you’d expect in a catalogue that large. His early cuts are well worth a listen, especially Being Myself, which features an underdeveloped but highly original blend of gangsta and bounce. Reality Check, from 2006, is also solid — if the year and title don’t give enough away, it’s got a dose of well-placed post-Katrina vitriol, along with some of Juvy’s best depictions of New Orleans project life.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Square Zeros #22: Chris Carr (Stonehenge Parnhashnakovsky, Brooklyn Wildlife)

Burlesque. Hip-hop. Performance art, dance troupes. Heavy metal, DJs. Fire spinners. Punk rock, indie rock. “Nudity is unity.” To catch a Brooklyn Wildlife production is to surrender to a single concept — freedom — and the platform reflects the artist behind it, Chris Carr. Chris started Brooklyn Wildlife with his longtime musical collaborator Keith Lay in 2011 as a way to promote artistic expression outside of conventional, often commercial channels.

His current hip-hop project — he performs under the name Stonehenge Parnhashnakovsky — operates under similar assumptions: “I have no interest in touring for 230 days of the year, performing the same seven songs that were given to me by a label saying, 'Heres your cowriter, here's the hook, here's the subject matter, here's what's trending.' I would never want to do that." As a result, Chris takes care not to label himself as a certain style of rapper.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Playlist: Great American Zero

Get your Independence Day hooks in this special Fourth of July playlist. We spent like, twenty minutes on it.

Honestly, though — it's pretty great.

If you wanna see us expand it, all suggestions can be directed to the Comments section below, but you can assume that we thought of that song you're thinking of and decided that it's TOTALLY LAME. So, you know: suggest at your own risk.

Just kidding: Happy Fourth, dudes.

— DJH + JM


Previous Square Zeros playlists:
Season 1 Mix
January-February 2014 Mix