Category Archives: Punk

Get ready for The Chew Toys to put the bite on you (video, SoundCloud)

Jay Tag and Kevin Dickson are The Chew Toys. (Photo by Dave Ehrlich)

Jay Tag and Kevin Dickson are The Chew Toys. (Photo by Dave Ehrlich)

Northeast LA duo unleashing self-titled debut album on Sept. 2

The Chew Toys debut album coverThe infectious sound of The Chew Toys makes them one of the most entertaining new bands in Los Angeles these days.

The self-proclaimed queercore duo comprises married couple Jay Tag and Kevin Dickson, who have been polishing — maybe refining is a better word — their punk sound with dozens of live shows around Northeast LA since 2012.

On Sept. 2, this local legend will take break out of LA and take on the unsuspecting world with their first album, a self-titled collection of 13 songs — 11 of which clock in at well under 3 minutes — that are sure to become earworms.

Check out a video and a SoundCloud song sample after the jump.

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The Walking Dead? Maxwell’s planning to reopen in Hoboken

Preparing for the wake at Maxwell's on July 31, 11th Street next to the club was blocked off. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Preparing for the “wake” at Maxwell’s on July 31, 11th Street next to the club was blocked off. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Something feels wrong — no, make that preposterous — about the idea of saying farewell to an old friend at a raucous wake only to see that friend return to the land of the living a matter of weeks later.

But that’s just what seems to be happening at Maxwell’s, the much-loved bar-restaurant-music venue in Hoboken, N.J.

Erica Seitzman/Facebook

(Erica Seitzman/Facebook)

The place has seen limited action — as a rain venue for a concert and a one-shot studio for a Justin Timberlake concert-cum-Target-commercial.

But over the Labor Day weekend, some eagle-eyed Hobokenites spotted “Help Wanted” posters seeking staff of the restaurant-bar.

I don’t think I’m alone in feeling like I’m in the middle of an episode of “The Walking Dead,” which, if nothing else, has taught us that while the Walkers look like those we knew and loved, they’re not who they appear to be.

Maxwell's founder Steve Fallon, left, and booker/co-owner Todd Abramson at Maxwell's "wake." (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Maxwell’s founder Steve Fallon, left, and booker/co-owner Todd Abramson at Maxwell’s “wake.” (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

After 35 years, Maxwell’s closed on July 31 with a block party outside and a long evening of shows — punctuated by plenty of reminiscences and a few tears — inside the music room. The end came after Todd Abramson, co-owner, music booker and public face of the club, decided he’d had enough of the problems that come running such a business in the uber-gentrified Mile Square City.

Justin Timberlake's Maxwell's tweet.

Justin Timberlake’s Maxwell’s tweet.

On Aug. 8 — barely a week after the shutdown — the lights were back on and the restaurant was pressed into service to host a show by Swingadelic, originally scheduled for nearby Frank Sinatra Park. It was part of Hoboken Administrator of Cultural Affairs Geri Fallo‘s backup plan, the Cliffview Pilot reported, to avoid a rain-out.

It all made sense. First, Swingadelic’s founder is bassist Dave Post, who also happens to be a co-owner of Maxwell’s. Second, despite the extensive partying there in the club’s final days, the place apparently was left with a decent amount of quaffables to keep the bar stocked.

Then along came Timberlake, a musician who I’m guessing never set foot in Maxwell’s while it was in business.

Hundreds of fans lined up and then flooded the streets around Maxwell's in Hoboken where Justin Timberlake is filming a commercial for Target. Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. -- Joe Shine/For The Jersey Journal

Hundreds of fans lined up and then flooded the streets around Maxwell’s in Hoboken where Justin Timberlake is filming a commercial for Target. Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. — Joe Shine/For The Jersey Journal

His crew took over the empty club for a one night fan concert (well, a one-SONG appearance for a Target commercial) in the still-equipped music room. Thousands crowded the streets outside the shuttered club, The Jersey Journal reported. Fans weighed in effusively on Facebook and Twitter, often with disparaging comments.

Timberlake drew some particularly amusing snarkiness on Twitter from Yo La Tengo, a band that got its start in Hoboken and is indelibly linked to the club.

YLT Tweets

And now, there’s the reopening. Yes, Maxwell’s is hiring staff to reopen the bar and restaurant, but, apparently, not the music room.

Post tells Tris McCall of The Star-Ledger that Maxwell’s will reopen as a bar and restaurant only, staying in operation until the place sells. (The business and a 10-year lease can be yours for just $625,000.) He said he wasn’t sure when he’d be reopening.”Hopefully, it won’t take too long to make a sale,” Post told McCall. “But even if I sold Maxwell’s tomorrow, it would take 90 days for the license to transfer.”

The Star-Ledger reports that Abramson — who was a constant presence in the restaurant, seating diners, delivering orders and overseeing proceedings — is not involved in the reopening.


Maxwell’s bowing out with a block party; many details still to be revealed

Patrons enter Maxwell's at 11th and Washington streets in Hoboken, on July 5, 2013, (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Maxwell’s at 11th and Washington streets in Hoboken, is planning a farewell block party on July 31. (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)
is reporting
that Maxwell’s, the restaurant and music
club in Hoboken, N.J., will make its farewell with a block party on
11th Street at Washington Street on July 31. It’s clearly an effort
by longtime booker and co-owner Todd
to make the 200-capacity club accessible to
the masses of people who will want to be a part of the venerated
venue’s last day. But a block party with DJ music as its final

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Saying goodbye to Maxwell’s: Share your ideas for the final show

Patrons enter Maxwell's at 11th and Washington streets in Hoboken, N.J., on July 5, 2013, (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

Patrons enter Maxwell’s at 11th and Washington streets in Hoboken, N.J., on July 5, 2013, (Photo © 2013, Steven P. Marsh)

We’ve been thinking a lot about closing night at Maxwell’s, the well-loved Hoboken, N.J., music club that hosts its last show on July 31.

There’s a selfish motive, in part, of course: How can WE get to be there. Surely with all the bands and fans that have passed through the Washington Street club over the last 35 years there will be far, far more people trying to get in than the small (capacity 200) venue can possibly hold. With closing a bit over three weeks away, Todd Abramson, the club’s booker and co-owner, is working on a plan.

Todd Abramson with the New York Post's Mary Huhn in Austin in 2003.

Todd Abramson with the New York Post’s Mary Huhn at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, in 2003.

But, as he told us by phone this morning, “there’s no news here” just yet. He definitely has some ideas about ways to make it accessible to more people and to level the playing field for those who want to be there. But he says he still has a lot to work out.

What we know is that “a,” the first band to play Maxwell’s, is supposed to reunite for the farewell show. And The Bongos, the much better-known band that grew out of “a,” will also be on the bill. But after that, just about everything is pure speculation.

Since things are in flux, you have a chance to weigh in with ideas of your own.

How should the final show be handled? Should it run all day. Should it be free on a first-come, first-served basis, a normal Maxwell’s price ($15-$25 from TicketFly) or should it be premium priced, a la Neil Young at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., where’s the best seats are tabbed at $285? (Then again, when speaking of Maxwell’s, there are no SEATS, really.)

What about timing? July 31 is a weekday. Should the show start at 9 and go all night? Or should it start in the early afternoon and go on and on?

Who else — band, solo artist, influential individual or fan — be a part of the show in some way?

Don’t just tell us who or what. Tell us why — make a case for your idea. There should be a good reason for every eulogy and every participant in the farewell proceedings.

The sky’s the limit. Share you ideas in the comments section. Get a conversation going. Have fun thinking of the wildest ways possible to pay tribute to Maxwell’s incredible legacy.

Meanwhile, The Bongos promise details of some sort about the show on their Facebook page soon. And keep an eye on Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? We’ll be sure to let you know of any developments as soon as we can dig them up.

Holy huaraches, El Vez brings his Mex-Mas cheer to town tonight!

El Vez: This is not what we had in mind for the Yule Log!

Talk about short notice!

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? just realized this morning that Mex-Mas is upon us. December chill is in the air, and the scent of corn tortillas baking on the stone is everywhere, along with bags of oranges in red plastic stockings.

And you know what else Mex-Mas brings:

A visit from the one, the only El Vez (aka The Mexican Elvis).

That visit for New Yorkers is tonight (Wednesday, Dec. 5)  at Littlefield, 622 DeGraw St., Brooklyn. Tickets are $20 and available by clicking this link.

Doors are at 8 p.m. Comedian Jessica Delfino opens, followed by Corn Mo. And then, at 9:45, Mex-Mas will arrive!

Sorry for the late notice, but El Vez didn’t keep us posted on his tour dates this year. El Vez has done an annual Merry Mex-Mas tour for a long time. (El Vez 4 Prez is is other specialty, but that’s really only every four years.) Continue reading

Tickets for Wilco’s Solid Sound music and arts festival on sale now

A view of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA.

A view of the Solid Sound Festival at MASS MoCA.

First-rate festival returns after a one-year absence

We felt a void this year. After staging the Solid Sound Festival for two years in a row on the campus of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, Mass., Wilco decided to skip 2012.

It was disappointing. But that makes today’s news all the more delicious.

I suppose it’s no surprise. The fantastic three-day event requires an enormous amount of planning and commitment from every member of the band and it support staff. And while I’m sure the band didn’t lose money on the festival, it’s unlikely that it was a huge moneymaker, either.

Wilco perfoms on the main stage in Joe's Field at MASS MoCA.

Wilco perfoms on the main stage in Joe’s Field at MASS MoCA.

Wilco promised to return to the beautiful Berkshires in 2013, and the band is keeping that promise. “Early Worm” tickets for next year’s festival — running from June 21-23 — are available right now.

Those tickets are just $99, and well worth it. Click here to get tickets now.

Once they’re sold out, a limited number of “Early Bird” tickets will be available for $124 — still a relative bargain.

If you wait too long, you’ll have to settle for the $149 regular three-day passes.

Solid Sound is a family friendly event, with three-day passes for children ages 7-10 priced at a mere $50, while kids 6 and under are free.

If you can’t go all three days, or think you won’t want to (bad idea, in our opinion), there will be a limited number of one-day passes.

The festival promises two headlining Wilco sets on a fabulous field next to the factory complex that houses MASS MoCA. Wilco side projects and bands and comedians curated by Wilco members also will perform. You can also count on art installations, probably some films, and definitely a lot of great food and drink. Plus, in the past there have been pop-up stores, a coffee shop imported from Chicago, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy in a charity dunk tank and falconry demonstration.

Oh, and we shouldn’t forget about access to the amazing exhibitions in the museum itself. The people who run the museum are fully invested in this festival — they’re not just renting the space out to the band.

The first two editions featured acts such as Mavis Staples, Levon Helm (RIP), Mountain Man, Thurston Moore, The Books, Syl Johnson, The Handsome Family, The Baseball Project, Here We Go Magic, Autumn Defense and many more.

While the 2013 lineup won’t be finalized for quite awhile, we guarantee this will be a great festival for anybody who likes Wilco.

You don’t need to be a super-fan to enjoy this festival. Jeff Tweedy and the other members of Wilco have diverse tastes in music and art, and all of those tastes have been on display in previous editions of the festival.

Camping and transportation from New York City and Boston is also available.

Hey, Buke and Gass, ummm, GASE, are back with new music

Thoughts on a name change

Buke and Gass keep their feet busy, too. (Photos © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)


It’s been more than a year since Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?  mentioned Buke and Gass. We’re overdue.

Arone Dyer on buke.

Maybe you’ve already noticed that there’s something different about this intense duo — their name. They’re now Buke and Gase, in what appears to be a slightly sad surrender to phonetics.

For those who have been paying close attention, the morphing began late last fall when the band posted this brief, cryptic bulletin on its website:

October 26 – Just played a show in Canada and our name is morphing.

But the reality didn’t sink in until we saw announcements for the band’s May 4 appearance at The National‘s Bryce and Aaron Dessner-curated Crossing Brooklyn Ferry series at BAM. We thought somebody had made a typo. On further investigation, we discovered the band had indeed changed the spelling.

Aron Sanchez on gass.

Although the pronunciation of the band name was easy to remember once you knew what it stood for — baritone ukulele=Buke, while guitar+bass=Gass — it appears the second half of the name was too often the butt of jokes rhyming with ass. So Arone Dyer, who plays the buke, and Aron Sanchez, on gass, gave in and changed the spelling.

But they didn’t change the sound, as you’ll hear on this great preview track from their next album, which they hope to release in September.

If you can’t make it to Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, or you just want more Buke and Gase, check out the lineup they’ve curated (they’re not listed as performing, just curating) through May 15 with Terry Riley‘s son Gyan Riley, at The Stone, John Zorn‘s music venue in Manhattan’s East Village.

Scenes from a fund-raiser: Benefit for Lucinda’s Kids, Night 1

The first night of the two-night Benefit for Lucinda’s Kids was a great night of almost 7 hours of entertainment on Sunday, April 29 at The Bowery Electric, with a great crowd and a fantastic lineup of artists, including Marah, Jesse Malin, Jimmy Gnecco, Willie Nile (who almost missed the show because of a delayed flight from Chicago), Jim Boggia, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Michelle Casillas (Ursa Minor), Mystie and more. As of Sunday night, there were still tickets left for the second night of the benefit to raise money for the trust fund that will benefit the two teenagers left behind when their mom, super music fan Lucinda Gallagher, committed suicide last December.

Here’s the Monday lineup.

Monday, April 30, doors at 7 p.m.
Tommy Stinson (The Replacements)
HR (Bad Brains)
Alan Vega (Suicide)
James Maddock
Aaron Lee Tasjan

Tickets are $20 and available here.

And here’s what you missed on Sunday.

Jesse Malin

Many, many more photos after the jump.
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The ‘Portlandia’ effect: Wild Flag rocks Webster Hall in NYC

Wild Flag at Webster Hall in New York City on April 1, 2012. From left, Rebecca Cole, Mary Timony, Janet Weiss and Carrie Brownstein. (Photos 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Wild Flag is an all-female supergroup whose members are drawn from three ’90s bands — Sleater-Kinney, Helium and The Minders. But thanks to her incredible stage presence (and her seeming ubiquity as a result of her cult hit cable TV show “Portlandia”)  guitarist Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney), was the one who really owned the stage at Webster Hall in Manhattan on April Fool’s Day.

Carrie Brownstein, with Janet Weiss on drums.

Brownstein shares lead vocals in Wild Flad with Mary Timony (the Lolita-esque former frontwoman of Helium). But only Brownstein behaved like a rock star onstage. She pranced, jumped and stretched like a cat (not much purring, though, as her vocal delivery was aggressive) throughout the band’s tight, well-paced set. Despite being encumbered by her guitar for most of the evening, Brownstein, with her lithe figure, managed to evoke Mick Jagger with her moves.

That’s not to say that the other three were slacking. Timony, keyboard player Rebecca Cole (The Minders) and drummer Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney) each held up their end of the bargain quite well. Continue reading


Last chance to see Stew & The Negro Problem in NYC

Stew, Heidi Rodewald and The Negro Problem at Joe’s Pub on Jan. 23, 2012. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

If you didn’t get to Joe’s Pub last night to see Stew &  The Negro Problem and grab a copy of the new album, Making It, all is not lost. 

They’ve got another CD-release show at Joe’s at 9:30 tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 24). Tickets, $30, are available here. Book now. If you miss it, you’ll be sorry.