Saturday, August 30, 2014

Picture Dump 9.02.2014: BIG HUGE, Hector's Pets

The Show: King Pizza presents Sunset Guns (Derek Hawkins and Jon Mann, SZ #10) at Rippers w/ BIG HUGE, Hector's Pets, Friday, August 29, 2014.

Depicted below: BIG HUGE, Hector's Pets.


— DJH + JM


Thursday, August 28, 2014

See ya, Season 2

Dear friends,

Today, Square Zeros is closing the books on its second season. Season One was an experiment and a blast: unveiling the concept, bringing in a host of bands and musicians, and to a certain extent finding our voices as music writers and interviewers — none of which we could have done without the brave souls willing to dig around in their closet for some old songs that no one ever wanted (until now).

With Season Two, we really wanted to tailor Square Zeros to the audience we established early on, and to broaden that audience with a focus on musicians and bands who also actively work to build a musical community. We had Jimmy Doyle giving us the unabridged history of Long Island ska-punk; Win Scarlett explaining the theoretical underpinnings of slackgaze; Seth Applebaum and Greg Hanson of Ghostload Sound and King Pizza Records; and Chris Carr (aka Stonehenge Parnhashnakovsky), whose organization Brooklyn Wildlife fosters music, the arts, and many other types of performance in Brooklyn and beyond. We also unveiled the new feature Know Your Record Store to delve into the spaces that buttress our musical communities.

But hey, we also had a good thing going before all that, and we weren't about to short you Square Zeros purists on the bread and butter. Uproarious group interviews with Mayor Creep, Noxious Foxes, Bezoar, and Vulture Shit gave insight into the often hilarious chemistry developed between band members, while one-on-ones with Polly Watson, Jim Wood, and Joey Farber allowed us to dig deeper into the work of lifer musicians.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Square Zeros Show Listings, Weds–Sun, August 27–31

Square Zeros Show Listings, Wednesday–Sunday, August 27–31

[[WEDNESDAY, August 27:]]

Providence, RI punk rockers GYMSHORTS (SZ #27, forthcoming) begin their seven-week, cross-country tour! The kickoff isn't in Brooklyn or anything, but we're just damn proud of them. Check out their itinerary here, and see them when they come to your town.


[[THURSDAY, August 28:]]

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Picture Dump 8.26.2014: Mad Doctors, 56k, Vicky and the Vengents, OTTO MANN

The Show: King Pizza presents Mad Doctors (Seth Applebaum and Greg Hanson, SZ #20) at Don Pedro w/ OTTO MANN, Vicky and the Vengents, 56k, The Chickenhawks, Friday, August 22, 2014.

Depicted below: 56k, Vicky and the Vengents, OTTO MANN, Mad Doctors.


— DJH + JM


Monday, August 25, 2014

In Defense Of: "How Bizarre" by OMC

This week's In Defense Of was contributed by Square Zeros' Derek Hawkins

Pauly Fuemana. That name probably doesn't ring a bell. But unless your mom forbade you from watching MTV in the mid-90s, you know the man's music, I'm sure — maybe a little better than you want to.
Cruisin down the freeway in the hot, hot sun.

Fuemana is the late frontman from OMC and the author of what's widely regarded as one of the biggest one-hit-wonders in a generation: "How Bizarre." You remember the video, right? The one with the red Chevy convertible and the shitty green screen shots and those backup dancers that weren't really that hot? Of course you do. What about the synth trumpets and the Casio keyboard dance beat and that mariachi guitar? So lame. Were they Mexican or something? And who could forget the goofy singer guy with the black leisure suit and his painfully awkward delivery:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

ZEROFEST! 4 nights, 20+ bands, Oct. 2–5

It’s time!

Square Zeros has now made it through two seasons: our pilot, which ran in the spring, and the current season, which we’re closing the books on today. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve taken part in some capacity. Maybe you’re one of the courageous musicians who’s appeared on the show. Maybe you’ve contributed an In Defense Of or attended a showcase. Or maybe you’ve just listened to a couple episodes. Whatever the case, we’re enormously grateful for your support.

With each episode, we get to know the amazing musicians in the community a little better — and we hope that’s true for our listeners too.

It’s time to bring it all under one roof: ZEROFEST.

Four nights, four venues. Twenty-plus of your favorite Square Zeros alums and friends, including Crazy Pills, Vulture Shit, Chimes, The Mad Doctors, and The Planes.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 2, through Sunday October 5.

We’ll release the full roster of bands and venues early next week. Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Picture Dump 8.19.2014: BAD LOOK, The Black Black, DONE

The Show: Sunset Guns (Jon Mann and Derek Hawkins, SZ #10) at Don Pedro w/ BAD LOOK, The Black Black, DONE, Thursday, August 14, 2014.

Depicted below: BAD LOOK, The Black Black, DONE.


— DJH + JM


Monday, August 18, 2014

Outside Pitch — "In Defense of Sublime" by Bree Davies

As our In Defense Of mission statement provides, we don't claim to be the originators or arbiters of the idea of defending bands. Part of the reason we seek outside contributors for the column is that we believe that everyone has a valid opinion of music that they love, and they should be encouraged to articulate that in response to someone else's equally valid right to malign or dismiss it. In personal conversations about the enterprise, I've frequently described it as "a sort of inversion of the A.V. Club website's 'HateSong' format." While HateSong is often hilarious and regularly reflects my own taste in music (Low Barlow's conflicted take on Don Henley being a particular favorite), it presents a necessarily negative approach to music that we find enjoyment in subverting on our site. Also, sometimes they're just way, way too obvious ("Really, Laura Pleasants? You don't like 'Rock Star' by Nickelback?" :yawn: "No, no, please. Do tell."

You can imagine, then, how excited we were when Bree Davies' clever and pointed defense of Sublime on the (immaculately named) "Justify My Love" column for Denver's Westword blog came across our desk here at Square Zeros.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Picture Dump 8.14.2014: Greasy Hearts, Rat Hammer

The Show: The Saturday Revenge One-Year Anniversary at Don Pedro w/ Mad Doctors (Seth Applebaum and Greg Hanson, SZ #20), Absolutely Not (Chicago), Rat Hammer (Chicago), Greasy Hearts (Joey Farber, SZ #23), Wanted Man (DC), VAMANOS, Saturday, August 9, 2014.

Depicted below: Greasy Hearts, Rat Hammer.


— DJH + JM

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Square Zeros Show Listings, Weds–Sun, August 13–17

Square Zeros Show Listings, Wednesday–Sunday, August 13–17

[[WEDNESDAY, August 13:]]

Sometimes Wednesdays can be a real kitten in a kick drum, nahm sayin'?

Well, there aren't any Square Zeros alumni playing on Wednesday, per se, but if we decide to poke our heads out early this week (see what I did there?), we're going to see Charlottesville, VA-turned-Philadelphia, PA indie rockers Left & Right w/ Kal Marks, Sleepies, Washer at Death By Audio 8pm $8 LINK

Left & Right

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Picture Dump 8.12.2014: Mad Doctors, Bezoar

At Square Zeros, we understand that an important part of supporting local bands is actually filling a venue and getting involved with music. Picture Dump is our attempt to create an image archive of the scene around us.

This week, we have a special treat. Through his involvement as a band manager at the Youth Empowerment through Arts and Humanities (YEAH) 2014 Rock Camp, Jon Mann was able to get pictures of Mad Doctors performing for an awesome group of musicians aged ten to seventeen. Through his involvement in, you know, checking out totally gnarly heavy metal shows, he also snapped some pictures of Bezoar.

Five bucks if you can tell when the first set starts and the second begins. You'll never guess.

— DJH + JM

Monday, August 11, 2014

Square Zeros #25: VULTURE SHIT (Red Vs. Black, Black Jello, Purple Cocks)

Bassist Mike B. and drummer Mike D. were playing as a duo called Purple Cocks, while vocalist Randy Vandal was fronting the hardcore band Red Vs. Black. They’d shared stages on the road a few times, but it didn’t occur to them to join forces until one night in Crown Heights.

A large building near the corner of Franklin Ave. and Park Place had erupted in flames, and Mike B. had stopped to see what was happening. The spectacle had grabbed Randy’s attention too.

“I saw him and I was like, ‘Hey,’” Mike recalled. “And we didn’t really talk too much. We just watched this building burn.”

Something about that interaction — and I’m not even sure the guys know quite what it was — spawned the drums-bass-vocals noise punk powerhouse Vulture Shit.

Mike D. compared it to the home run that legendarily inspired Haruki Murakami to write novels.

“You guys saw that building burning and you were like, ‘I could be in a band.’”

In Defense Of: "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" by Jim Steinman

This In Defense Of was contributed by Square Zeros' Jon Mann.

It was 1997, I was fourteen, and life had just become completely unmanageable. Aside from the universal pressures of entering high school, slowly consolidating that whole puberty experiment (Conclusion: not great; worth it), and whatever-else-have-you, there was in that year another demon of seemingly universal scope, and that unholy behemoth was Titanic.

Titanic was everywhere. The movie itself was in theaters for what seemed like forever, eventually grossing over two billion dollars at the box office. Two billion dollars. People lined up to see that three-hour-and-fourteen-minute movie multiple times. I’m not saying it’s a bad movie, but man. The print campaign put Leonardo DeCaprio and Kate Winslet on every magazine cover in America. Hell, Kathy Bates and Billy Zane probably even snagged a couple. But more importantly to our present conversation, Céline Dion’s version of the soaring James Horner-penned love theme, “My Heart Will Go On,” was inescapable.


The song is an undeniably gorgeous ballad that Dion knocked way, way out of the park — I’m not going to deny that now — but as a young male teenager, I didn’t want to hear it. In fact, I made it a point not to hear it. Even in late high school, I can remember priding myself on the fact that I’d never heard it all the way through. I was ready to have that carved on my tombstone. It wasn’t an easy feat, because it meant talking people into changing the channel in their car, leaving the room when it came on, and, of course, not watching Titanic, which was, okay, probably the easiest part for a teenage boy. But ironically, none of this was as disturbing to me at the time as the fact that — despite my associative hatred for all things Céline — I couldn’t shake the magnetism of her previous hit, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.” It was so powerful, just thunderously, pulse-poundingly powerful, and the songwriting behind it was pure theater. Needless to say, I had to keep my feelings about the song very close to the vest.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Square Zeros Show Listings, Weds–Sun, August 6–10 —— —— (plus Monday BONUS SHOW)

Square Zeros Show Listings, Wednesday–Sunday, August 6–10 ——
—— (plus Monday BONUS SHOW)

[[WEDNESDAY, August 6:]] 

Ease into your show weekend with the softer indie pop of Howth (Jeremy Duvall, SZ #17) w/ Caged Animals, Bueno, Parlor Walls at Palisades 8pm $5 LINK


Monday, August 4, 2014

In Defense Of: Counting Crows

Today's In Defense Of was contributed by Jason Lawrence, a Brooklyn-based drummer who wishes he was someone just a little more funky.

“But I just don't think you want to end up where that's all you get out of your life and you don't have no sense of yourself and no one who cares about you and no one you care about. If your dreams come true and you can't find a way to live with it, you are the biggest fuckin' loser on earth. And I have been the biggest fuckin' loser on earth. I mean, I dreamed a dream that is impossible and I got it.” — Adam Duritz in Rolling Stone, 2012

We all have secrets — bands or albums in our past that meant something to us, but that we keep hidden, or that we occasionally open up about in an eye-rolling, “I was such an idiot” kind of way. If you listened to Counting Crows before, say, 1999, you should resist the urge to make them one of those secrets.

If you listened to any of their stuff after, say, their third studio record, that’s on you, but before that it’s just not embarrassing. If you never really did listen to them, but you think of them as one of those bullshit bands that everyone loved for a little while and then grew up and realized how dumb they were, you’re not getting the whole story.

And maybe you never will — listening to their old records for the first time now would probably be like watching The NeverEnding Story or The Dark Crystal for the first time as an adult. You missed it, and you’ll never see it in the context of its time — but don’t talk shit about how messed up the puppets look compared to today’s technology. Save that judgment for Dave Matthews Band (although, I’d love to see someone step up and write a defense of the ol’ DMB) or Hootie and the Blowfish (an even bigger challenge to defend!). Don’t let Counting Crows’ later transgressions affect your opinion of their early stuff, and don’t accept that there was never any reason to have liked them in the first place.