LIVE: J Mascis Strips Down for NPR

Even though his de facto method of transmission with Dinosaur Jr. is at ear-splitting volume, J Mascis proves his chops are not merely a byproduct of noise with an acoustic performance for NPR. Mascis runs through a medley of songs off his latest solo record for Sub Pop, the unsurprisingly solid Tied to a Star, as well as the Dinosaur Jr. classic “Little Furry Things.” [via Spin]

STREAM: St. Vincent’s Complete Live Set at Pitchfork Music Festival

St. Vincent’s self-titled fourth record is without a doubt in my top ten for the year. Her music is an idiosyncratic mix of post-Bowie stylized weirdness, syncopated, dance-able rhythms, and off-kilter guitar bravado. There is no one in her league. Her lyrics are intellectual and articulate with the requisite amount of oddness to match the music’s strict left-of-center bent. She’s clearly come into her own musically with this record, and her live show brings a theatrical element that elevates her bizarre stories and dystopian commentary. If watching her perform doesn’t make you want to buy her records, I can’t help you.

Sonic Youth Releasing Vintage Live Set

Even though the band is being coy about its future after the marital break-up of guitarist Thurston Moore and bassist Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth has released plans for a vintage live set due out November 14, 2012. Sonic Youth’s Smart Bar – Chicago 1985 will be released via the band’s own Goofin’ imprint on double vinyl gatefold LP with download card as well as the requisite CD and digital versions. Gerard Cosloy of Matador Records will write the liner notes for the set comprised of material from the band’s summer 1985 tour in support of the then newly released Bad Moon Rising. A few early version of songs from EVOL make appearances along with live rarity “Kat ‘N’ Hat.”

On a gratuitous personal anecdotal tangent, while I was in New York City for CMJ in 1995 1994 (Thanks, Brian), I dropped by Subterranean Records to shop around. I happened to be flipping through the Sonic Youth section and picked up an original copy of Bad Moon Rising. A towering figure behind me said, “man, I think that’s a bit too pricey.” I turned around to see Thurston Moore and Mike Watt standing there laughing. I laughed nervously, too, but you know what? I bought the shit out of that overpriced copy of Bad Moon Rising anyway.

Sonic Youth – Smart Bar – Chicago 1985

1- Hallowe’en
2- Death Valley ’69
3- Intro/Brave Men Run(In My Family)
4- I Love Her All The Time
5- Ghost Bitch
6- I’m Insane
7- Kat ‘N’ Hat
8- Brother James
9- Kill Yr Idols
10- Secret Girl
11- Flower
12- The Burning Spear
13- Expressway To Yr Skull
14- Making The Nature Scene

The Wedding Present performs Bizarro on tour, while David Gedge guest edits Magnet

The Wedding Present’s David Gedge is the Guest Editor over at Magnet Magazine to coincide with the launch of the band’s latest tour, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of its legendary Bizarro album. I made the trek to Atlanta this past Wednesday night to see the album performed in its entirety. Gedge always makes a point of not playing encores, so the band played a pre-set of material ranging from tracks off its latest El Rey to George Best-era classics like “Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft” and even on to “Corduroy” off my personal favorite Wedding Present album, Sea Monsters. Gedge apologized for also playing two new songs, but they were nothing to scoff at, ably holding their own alongside such classics. The band sounded outstanding with its legendary lightspeed strumming in full force, which could have been helped along by a mix of my excitement and nostalgia, but the current line-up rivals any I’ve seen, even the one I had to watch through a window when I was 17 because I wasn’t old enough to enter the club (the name of which escapes me now). My friend Robert and I were turned away at the door for ageism that night in 1991, despite the fact that literally no one was there. Nashville wasn’t quite the hip metropolis it is now.

Some wise technophile had the wherewithal to record “Granadaland” at The Earl on Wednesday night, so you can bear witness to a small dose of what was a glorious evening of music:

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Death Becomes Even The Maiden – The Only Thing I Feel For You Is The Recoil

Columbia, South Carolina’s Death Becomes Even The Maiden say farewell to their drummer at the 2009 Free Times Music Crawl with the crowd pleaser “The Only Thing I Feel For You Is The Recoil.”

Also check out the video for their track, Control from The Arrangement EP.

(Full Disclosure: While we typically eschew posting self-promotional items on The Drawer, I’m posting this without Eric’s knowledge or even consent, so there’s really no conflict of interest. Eric is in the band. I’m a fan of Death Becomes Even The Maiden and I think they deserve whatever little exposure Drawer B can provide.) (via)

Marnie Stern will make you swoon

Saw Marnie Stern live Friday night in Charlotte, NC at this dive bar called Snug Harbour. Stern was far less imposing than I had assumed. For some reason the artwork for her sophomore LP on Kill Rock Stars, This Is It…, makes her seem lanky and tall. In person, she’s a tiny little thing, but, man, can she tear it up on guitar. Her tapping is not exactly a new technique, as one Edward Van Halen will attest, but the context in which she uses it is bizarrely refreshing. She would loop an intro, play rhythm for a bit, then loop that, and then tap over loops of everything, while her drummer was going absolutely berserk on the kit in furious, jazz-inflected runs. It’s extremely hard to keep all that stuff straight, much less stay in time with mechanized multiple loops. Her music is a proggy mix of metal, punk, and sugar-coated pop. Stern’s voice is saccharine and clean, often sounding innocent and girlish, even when she’s angry. It also didn’t hurt that she’s ridiculously cute, making the entire room full of wannabe indie rock guitar players swoon.

Stricken City / Screaming Lights

It’s always a pleasant evening when you can attend a free show by a band you’ve liked but never seen (Stricken City) and get introduced to an interesting new band (Screaming Lights) in the process. Stricken City’s single Tak o Tak was one of my faves of ’08, so I was quite chuffed to finally get to see them live. Stricken City come across as a bit of a ramshackle but more rock’n version of Metric, sans electronic beats, combined with the indie ethos of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Rebekah Raa has a great stage presence and a captivating vocal style, which to my ears is a very palatable blend of the sweetness of Alison Statton (YMG), the straightforwardness of Amelia Fletcher (Talullah Gosh) with the occasional dash of that Mary Timony (Helium) sneer. All that, and she’s easy on the eyes.

Liverpool’s Screaming Lights were the unexpected highlight of the evening. Having just had a conversation about new bands referencing the sounds of bands that were clearly aping the sounds of bands from a by-gone era (mostly of the post-punk variety or New Romantic era), I immediately recognized the pastiche of influences pouring forth from the stage. Yet, despite my initial jaded reaction, I was won over by the second song. Screaming Lights tease bits from bands like Bloc Party, She Wants Revenge, Interpol, The Killers, Bravery, et al., stir in a bit of those catchy synth lines from the likes of Cut Copy and The Whip, and mix with confident (anthemic?) vocals, and the requisite driving bass and post-punk guitars, to create this entirely derivative stew that should be absolutely, positively disgusting, but oddly is quite entertaining.