September 22, 2014

REVIEW: "The Physical World" by Death From Above 1979

Ten Years Later, Death From
Above 1979 Follow Up Addictive Debut
   Ten years ago Death From Above 1979 released their debut, You're A Woman, I'm A Machine -- a perfect album of deadlocked distorted rock sleaze. Then, the group went dormant and broke up. Surging quietly back into the scene, they return with the follow up, The Physical World.
   The opener "Cheap Talk" brings us right back to 2004. "I go crazy the way she makes me be on my knees,” drummer and singer Sebastien Grainger sings against the chugging bass of Jesse Keeler. The two-man group wrestle a heavy tar-thick rock and roll sound from so little. They prove that all a rock band essentially needs is rhythm and attitude to succeed. Death From Above 1979 are stocked with both.
   They’ve not lost a step since their debut. Plenty of the songs fall into the same pace set on You’re A Woman. "Government Trash" pogos along with abrasive snare blasts. Grainger's vocals get hoarse, teetering on the edge of a scream. The bass gets meatier with every hard-driving chug.
   Their unmistakable sound and style remain intact, and that alone, is hard to dislike. "Crystal Ball," “Gemini” and “Nothing Left” all exhibit heavy bass-shredding and tight jack-rabbit drum-pounds. They discover a new groove on "White Is Red," the album’s best song. Grainger’s vocals are seared and ambivalent as he details the story of a vanished lover. Keeler walks his bass through the shadowy groove.
   Grainger’s wiley vocals continue to be the anchor to every song. “Where have all the virgins gone? / Sleeping on their parents’ lawn,” he sings through the fuzz on “Virgins.” The whiplash chorus of "Right On, Frankenstein!" is instantly etched into the memory.
   On “Always On” Grainger damns the dangers of the all-consuming Internet Age. “If we brought Kurt back to life / There's no way he would survive,” he postulates about Kurt Cobain.
   At times on The Physical World Death From Above attempt to fill the gaps of their sound with rubbish filler keyboards that mostly bring the songs to places they don't need to go. "Trainwreck 1979" starts with a heavy bass rumble but quickly turns left into a swooning chorus with layers of rising keyboards.
   Had The Physical World been released sooner on the heels of Death From Above’s addictive debut, it easily could have been remembered as the latter album’s equivalent. Unfortunately, with ten years in between, it doesn’t have that same kick. The Physical World still rocks and sounds like no other band, but, with all its minor attempts at evolution, it doesn’t strengthen or push their sound forward. In the end it merely serves as a reminder of what the two men with elephant trunks did so well a decade ago and invites more repeat listens of album number one.

Key Tracks: "White Is Red," "Government Trash," "Crystal Ball," "Virgins"

source: http://imp

September 18, 2014

Remembering Afropunk Fest | Day 2

Afropunk Fest
Day 2 | August 24
Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn

   On the second and final day of the Afropunk Festival, the sun over Brooklyn was at full power. Upon my arrival I was able to catch the last few songs of The Tontons, a sea-breeze psych-pop group from Texas. Their new album, Make Out King and Other Stories of Love came out in February. 
   Before their final song, singer Asli Omar remarked that “Afropunk is the prettiest festival we’ve ever played.” She’s right. America’s mainstream festivals (and I’ve been to most of them) do not compare to Afropunk. The crowd was full of energy, creativity, respect and an all-consuming lust for life. More than anything, everyone there had a unique sense of self. Everyone had their own bold style, mixing and matching prints, clashing colors, and bodies adorned with all sorts of jewelry and head pieces. It felt rewarding to be among a large group of confident individualists. The social atmosphere was refreshing.
   After gawking at the beautiful bodies awhile, I straightened up and walked over to the Red Stage.

Lolawolf | 3:15-3:45PM
   I could hear the deep electronic booms of Lolawolf as I approached the stage. As I got closer, the reverberations dissipated and I could see and hear the lovely ZoĆ« Kravitz. Her voice floated off the heavy beats like steam. She sauntered about the stage, smoking a cigarette and wishing for the sun to back the hell up.
Lolawolf's Zoe Kravitz kneeling before the heat. Photo by Michael Della Polla / Quiet Lunch.
Cakes Da Killa | 4:15-4:45PM
   While standing in wait for Cakes Da Killa, a group of dancers taught the audience how to do the catwalk, the duckwalk and other moves while Mikeq spun. Cakes Da Killa lumbered onto the stage wearing a football jersey with a lavender and fuchsia flower print and DEATH 78 printed in white text. The performance felt like a sporting event, minus the pads and pom poms. Despite the thick heat, Cakes chewed up the stage like a stick of Wintergreen chewing gum. It was some no-nonsense through-the-ceiling cunt shit.
   On either side of Cakes, two flexible dancers shook booty and limbs. Dressed in all white there was a pair of guys and a pair of girls who switched places every few songs. They synchronized a few moves with Cakes, but he mostly ran rampant on the stage, grabbing a handful of ass from a male dancer with great exaltation.
Cakes Da Killa feelin' gud on stage. Photo by Michael Della Polla / Quiet Lunch.
   Cakes was a force. He spit and sweated, blew kisses, hopped from speaker to speaker and jumped to the railing to engage with the mob. On “Truth Tella” from Hunger Pangs, released on Mishka NYC at the top of the summer, he sounded confidently deranged. 
   The final song was “I Run This Club.” Before the song began the Brooklyn United marching band wormed through the crowd. I couldn’t tell if it was a spontaneous occurrence or not, but as the song began, the marching band added quick shots of horn into the chorus. Whether it was planned or not, it went along perfectly. Cakes finished and the marching band continued to weave toward the Green Stage.

SZA | 5:15-5:45PM
   By the time SZA graced the stage I was off to the side barricaded by the constant flow of bodies. She seemed to have a steady command over everyone with her lush voice and cool-to-the-touch beats. Listening to her EPs, S and Z, later on I regret not being in a better position.

Jasmine Solano + Melo-X | 4-6PM
   If you had time to kill between acts, there was no shortage of things to do. Beyond the stage area was an area designated for lounging, snacking, dancing and general partying. Food trucks lined the grassy courtyard and clusters of humans relaxed and rehydrated in the sun. 
   At the edge of the grassy area, a giant black military-grade Red Bull truck housed alternating DJs. Dubbed the “House Of Marley,” its sole purpose was to keep the crowds in a continuous state of movement. I got there for the last half of Jasmine Solano and Melo-X. A 10X10 wooden block of speakers bookended the truck. Each speaker bounced like jelly with every bass boom and flipped everyone’s dancing feet to automatic.
   In addition to the House of Marley, there was a whole merchandise area with a wide selection of homemade clothing, jewelry, literature and other knick-knacks. Pony was giving away pairs of shoes. Between the Red and Black stages, BMX bikers swooped up and down the curvature of two half-pipes. Most people were driven to the fest for the music, but there was plenty more than that to occupy the mind.

Unlocking The Truth | 5:45-6:15PM
   When you were thirteen-years-old, sitting in your room ripping through Metallica and Led Zeppelin riffs, you never could have imagined a mosh pit opening up before you like the guys in Unlocking the Truth can. The trio of barely-teens has had a shocking rise to recognition over the last year, after having been discovered in Times Square and consequently getting signed to a major two-album deal with Sony. 
   They proved their worth with a classic combination of a pure metal with elements of speed, thrash, punk and hardcore. Their riffs are dark and foreboding like Black Sabbath, but jacked with energy. The songs twist and turn like the tightly wound DNA double helix of heavy metal.
Alec Atkins, Jarad Dawkins, and Malcolm Brickhouse of Unlocking the Truth. Photo by Della Polla / QL.
   Singer Malcolm Brickhouse understood the power and importance of showmanship. He egged on the crowd, cursed the sunlight, and didn’t smile. Unlocking the Truth is definitely no novelty act, no gimmick; they’re just some young minds who have tapped into the spirit of heavy metal and know how to harness it. Fly free younguns.

Meshell Ndegeocello | 7-7:45PM
   For the final two performers of the festival everything slowed down to a time-displacing space crawl. Meshell Ndegeocello started at the strike of 7:00 p.m. with a performance as brisk as the late summer air. 
   I only recognized Ndegeocello from the early 90s, hailing a cab with John Mellencamp in their video for “Wild Night,” but she showed me the true depth of her sound. The music was soothing and tranquil with an under-bubble of funk at every turn. The anxiety in my head came to a complete still and Ndegeocello’s voice nursed my nerves.
   She performed songs from her newest album, Comet, Come To Me and other classics. She preached for peace pausing to offer words of wisdom. “Be kind to your children,” she said. 
   Then, the night came to a standstill. Everyone packed in before the Green Stage waiting for D’Angelo. 

D’Angelo | 8:30-9:30PM
   Our anticipation rose and fell. D’Angelo kept the crowd waiting and anxious until Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams came out and promised a night of great music with some surprises. More than an hour after the scheduled start time, every light finally dimmed.
   Moving in the darkness was the figure of a tall man with a large round head, who sat down at the drumset. It was none other than Questlove, the backbone to The Roots and driving force behind D’Angelo’s breakthrough album Voodoo. Alone on the stage, recognizable only by his iconic outline, he jumped into a simple beat that evolved into a full-on drum solo. Whether it was a stalling tactic or not was of little relevance. 
   Soon after, Captain Kirk Douglas, guitarist for The Roots, joined in, bending the strings of his guitar. Mark Kelly, bassist for The Roots, and the rest of the band filled the stage and finally, it was set for the man of the evening. 
   Casually D’Angelo stepped up, gave a wave and sat at the bench of his piano. From there no time was wasted. The set came in a flash. The band played all covers: “Burnin’ and Lootin’” by Bob Marley; “No Head No Backstage Pass” from Funkadelic; Prince’s “She’s Always In My Hair” and others. Each song was completely unrecognizable from its origins; each one was dipped in the glittering sweat of D’Angelo. 
   Angelo Moore, from Fishbone (who played earlier in the day), came out for a rendition of his band’s “Black Flowers.” The mood was deep blue as the sleepy sounds of an organ rose into the hard charging chorus. D’Angelo gave an empowering performance, at one point leading a call-and-response of “Hands Up. Don’t Shoot.” with the crowd.
   The set ended with the Prince cover. The stage was bathed in purple light. But right when it felt like the show might go even one step further, it was suddenly over. The musicians filed offstage into the shadows of Brooklyn and Afropunk 2014 had found its conclusion. 


Best Act I Hadn’t Heard Of: Lolawolf

Coolest Moment: Questlove drum solo to start D’Angelo

Ballsiest Performance: Cakes Da Killa

Artist I’ve Listened to Most Since: SZA

Star of the Evening: D’Angelo

Remembering Afropunk Fest 2014 | Day 1

Afropunk Fest
Day 1 \ August 23
Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn

   Between August 23 and 24, the colors of every nation’s flag flooded Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn for the tenth Afropunk Fest. 
    The lineup was a perfect blend of Punk, R&B, Hip-Hop, Neo-Soul, and everything that permeates and runs between. Every act held some hint of each style in the fabric of their sound from Trash Talks’ thrash punk to Meshell Ndegeocello’s slow-jam space funk. This year’s festival was the definitive live mix-tape of what Afropunk is. The curators of the festival did a fine job putting together musicians that compliment one another. Each act worked within its own specific niche, but yet, no act overlapped in style. 

LOAF Muzik | 2:15-2:45PM
   The first act I saw was LOAF Muzik, a four MC collective who rap about everyday problems over retro beats. One song was deemed so gangster by Kidaf that it would make you want to murder your mother. After the audience gasped, he dedicated it to his mom.
   The beats were heavy and the energy manic. They took advantage of their early time slot to get the crowd ready and riled for a day of in-your-face music. On the final song, Oso Dope threw a crash test dummy dressed like Eddie Vedder into the audience, and then climbed the speaker tower. From his vantage point he could have looked to his right and seen Denitia & Sene, starting on the Green Stage.

Denitia & Sene | 2:45-3:15PM
    From Brooklyn, Denitia & Sene were a nice surprise on the Green Stage. Singer Denitia sang incredible hooks and moved fluidly with the electro-soul beats in her sun-reflecting gold pants. The audience was tuned in too, singing and moving to “Casanova” off their album His & Hers from last year.

clipping. | 3:15-3:45PM
   As I approached clipping. on the Red Stage, I heard a mishmash of industrial noise. At center command was the hulking MC Daveed Diggs. He was bulleting out lyrics, crafting the rhythm as he went. His words painted a harsh realism, piling on the finest of details to macabre scenes. Behind him William Hutson (also from Rale) and Jonathan Snipes (also from Captain Ahab) turned knobs and ricocheted clipped samples off each other adding dark sonic energy to Diggs’ visions.

MC Daveed Diggs of clipping. Photo by Eli Jace.
   Their set ended with a new song that was written in response to the disconcerting events of police ineptitude in Ferguson, Missouri. Diggs railed against the blind brutality of the enforcement as the sound of threatening pounds on a front door provided the rhythm and startling gun shots rang out. 
   Throughout the weekend the events in Ferguson weighed heavily on the hearts of some performers and many in the crowd. A call and response of “Hands up, don’t shoot,” could be heard often and a poster with those words written on it served as a backdrop for many photographs. Thankfully, the NYPD officers overseeing the festival paid no mind to the verbal attacks on their brethren and ignored the constantly billowing plume of glorious weed-smoke throughout the weekend. Good on them. The atmosphere was nothing but cordial each day.

Valerie June | 4:45-5:15PM
   Next was Valerie June from Tennessee--possibly the exact opposite of clipping. She came out in a baby blue and white-embroidered country dress with her hair piled high on her head. The very moment her high-pitched zinging voice hit the microphone, she had the adoration of the crowd. 
   She played from her fourth album Pushin’ Against A Stone released last year to widespread acclaim. Her songs were a direct transport to Southern back porches, rocking and languid, introspective and empowering. “This is my baby,” she said raising a banjo in the air. “She wants to be a big star.”
Valerie June smiles before her set on Saturday. Photo by Eli Jace.
Shabazz Palaces | 5:15-5:45PM
   Before Shabazz Palaces took the stage, the announcer could only muster the word “magical” to describe the sound. After an almost-too-long introduction, Palaceer Lazaro and Tendai "Baba" Maraire walked to their station.
   The music swirled around the stage like pieces of debris locked in orbit.  Maraire sat to the right of Lazaro, two bongos draped in an orange patterned cloth, a microphone, a hi-hat and floor tom before him. He would smack the bongos full-palm, or lightly with his fingertips and ring little notes from them.
   They played songs off Black Up and this year’s golden release, Lese Majesty. Lazaro’s lyrical delivery was snappy and charged, but the content was laid back, in search of pleasurable vices in a world of decay. His words could be meticulous, but also utterly simple. On a few songs the ladies of THEESatisfaction added harmonies to their psychedelic stew.
   Shabazz Palaces are the hip-hop equivalent of Sun Ra. The duo have drifted into a space few others in rap have gone. 

The Bots | 5:45-6:15PM
   Another surprise was The Bots, a two-piece punk rock deconstructionist act from Los Angeles. They relied more on their physical power and energy than they did song structure. The singer Mikaiah Lei bopped around the stage halfway between a mid-air somersault and a belly flop while singing about everyday teenage  monotony. The Bots are the kind of punk rock that is fueled purely by boredom. Their newest full-length album will be released on Fader Records later this year.
Mikaiah Lei from The Bots. Photo by Eli Jace.
Trash Talk | 6:15-7PM
   Some confusion came with the anticipation of Trash Talk. At their scheduled time, the group Fame School were introduced, causing many in the crowd to wonder if they got the details wrong. In a brief panic I left to see if Trash Talk might be on another stage. They weren’t. 
   When I returned all I could see was a morphing blob of human beings, each one stuck in a perpetual whirlpool of bodies. Yes. Trash Talk was here. After the second or third song, singer Lee Spielman jumped down onto the pavement and inserted himself in the middle of the crowd. “That’s why they give me a long mic cord,” he said breaking the fourth wall and standing within inches of my face. 
   The whole of the mosh pit spiraled behind him. He demanded a circle pit to form around him and from that point chaos struck. A man dressed as a cow was tossed around, cigarettes went ashing, silly string sprayed, someone lost a phone cord, someone lost a shoe, and at some point records spun up and into the crowd.
   When I saw Spielman next, a swoop of blood dripped from his forehead. In one of the greatest displays of influential frontman power, he ordered the entire crowd, spastic and looking for things to burn, to sit calmly on the ground. And, after a massive dogpile, nearly everyone did. As the band played, he knelt and screamed the lyrics above everyone’s heads. Eventually the stillness couldn’t be sustained and people started to stand. Spielman remained in the middle, the cut eye of the storm.
   For the last song he ordered everyone to run as fast as they can in the opposite direction to catch Bad Brains on the Black Stage. Surprisingly, everyone did. Eventually, everyone had to. I ran like I was being chased by a pitchfork-wielding mob. When I couldn’t move forward anymore, I looked up and there was Dr. Know, Darryl Jenifer and Earl Hudson. Bad Brains.

Ban Brains | 7-7:45PM
   They were introduced by Chiara de Blasio, the mayor’s daughter and longtime Bad Brains fan. Her papa, Bill, watched from the side.  
   They started with a song in honor of the late Beastie Boy, Adam “MCA” Yauch, who produced their album, Build a Nation in 2007.
   Their performance was loose, switching between their raw punk classics like “Sailin’ On,” “Reignition,” and “Attitude,” to their hazy reggae trances. They were without vocalist H.R., but had friends to fill in. Corey Glover of Living Color, John Joseph McGowan of Cro-Mags (who played Sunday), and the rapper Murs all took the mic for a few songs each. 
   There was clearly some slight, but playful, animosity for being placed on the tight, rutty Black Stage. Bassist Jenifer pointed across the blacktop to the Red Stage where Body Count had begun and lights were flashing. “Maybe we can get on that stage,” he said with a grin. He was just being jolly. During a quick tune-up he said it shouldn’t matter since all of Black Dots was recorded out of tune. “Why can’t we be like Dave Matthews and make a billion dollars?”

Body Count | 7:45-8:30PM
   By the time Bad Brains finished, it was dark and Body Count’s lean, muscular metal was pummeling the speaker system. The group, founded in 1991 by rapper Ice-T, blasted out songs from their fifth and most recent album, Manslaughter, as well as classics like “There Goes the Neighborhood” and “Cop Killer.” Ice-T proved he was far from the persona of Detective Odafin "Fin" Tutuola, his character on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He lambasted police brutality and explained his derision for “the pussification of men” in today’s society. He wanted the audience to put up a fight. By the tone of his voice, he was ready to take every individual on, uniformed or not.

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings | 8:30-9:30PM
   After adjusting to nightfall, I found my way to the cool, grassy area and claimed a spot for Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings. 
   After The Dap Kings unloaded onto the stage one after the other for a true introduction of showmanship, Sharon Jones bolted toward the middle. Given the short time slot (the only real downside to Afropunk), Ms. Jones and her group went to work squeezing an entire revue into one crisp hour of entertainment. The horns pumped and the drums swung. 
   Jones moved like she was single-handedly trying to rescue us from an oncoming flood. Her black sequin-layered dress whirled with each swivel of her hips. She did her best Tina Turner impression, introduced her band, gave thanks, and at one point brought a dancing fan from the audience onto the stage.
   The fan seemed totally flummoxed by the offer, unable to compete with the hips of Ms. Jones. She kept it up the whole song--at least three minutes--swinging, twisting, corkscrewing up and down, right in front of the guy. All he could do was smile widely, a little uncomfortably, and wish he had half the moves she did to compete.
Sharon Jones dances with a fan on stage. Photo by Eli Jace.
   Jones was in a hurry to make us feel good about our lives. She had an exorcism on the cancer that almost took her life last year. She gave a rousing thank you to her fans for their positive energy during her time battling, and she sent it right back to the crowd, making us all feel like survivors. 
   But Jones wasn’t finished there. For the final number she brought on stage all of the female performers of the night to participate in a loose dance-off. In twos, the women twirled one after the other across the stage, with Jones positively enforcing their every step. Sharon Jones is one of those people who you see live and come to understand that she was born to perform. The stage is the place that makes her most happy and all she wants is to share that happiness with her audience. If you hadn’t yet danced during the day, Ms. Jones made it her duty to move the ground beneath you.


Best Act I Hadn’t Heard Of: Denetia & Sene

Coolest Moment: Bad Brains opening with a tribute to Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch

Artist I’ve Listened to Most Since: Shabazz Palaces

Ballsiest Performance: The Bots / LOAF Muzik

Star of the Evening: Trash Talk’s Lee Spielman

September 14, 2014

REVIEW: "Ryan Adams" by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams Welcomes
Back Ryan Adams
   The Man with the Golden Temper Tantrum returns. The fourteenth album by Ryan Adams is the most appropriate one to be self-titled. On Ryan Adams we hear the convergence of Country Ryan and Metal Ryan for his best album since 2005's 29.
   The follow-up to 2011's mostly yawn-inducing Ashes & Fire is an album of stark, minimalist, pure-hearted rock'n'roll. The guitars are lean, stripped bare and fall in line with the rhythm section. The melodies are catchy and each song follows a basic verse-chorus-verse structure.
   Adams wades into territory just slightly left of his usual countrified sound. Gone is the country twang from his work with the Cardinals. His voice is more subdued, mushier. There is a spookiness to the sound, a slight reverb on every guitar lick and howling background vocals (by Johnny Depp!) and creeping organ. It comes right in time for the onset of fall.
   Throughout the album Adams sounds vulnerable and paranoid, like he's singing to you from a dark room. Who knew sharing a life with Mandy Moore could get you so down in the dumps?
   On "Kim" Adams deals with the sight of an old flame moving on with somebody else. "As the autumn leaves begin to fall," he sings, "walking down the streets where we used to walk / I see him." The guitars latch onto the constant pounding of a snare and each line is bittersweet. Other times he sounds dejected and spiteful. "I don't love you anymore," he sings on "Am I Safe, "I just want to sit here and watch you burn."
   "My Wrecking Ball" is the quiet folk tune Adams perfected on Heartbreaker and Gold over a decade ago. Adams' narrative asks to be knocked down by the big wrecking ball, the person to fix his life. He's beaten down and in need of a total rebuild. "You're my wrecking ball, won't you come and maybe knock me down," he sings over the calm acoustic strum.
   The album is filled with straight-forward, plainspoken lyrics (to greater and lesser degree). Most of the time Adams' sings about having nothing to say, which after the second song makes you wonder, why even sing? Other times the simplicity of the lyrics leave open much to meaning. "Your name is like a false alarm ringing in my head, " he emotes on "Kim."
   Ryan Adams was recorded at Adams' home studio, PAX AM. It's his first album to fully self-produce. On "Gimme Something Good" there is a disquieting desperation in Adams' voice, not unlike Morrissey on "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want." The repetitive pleaded refrain, with all its deadpan, somehow catches in the mind and gets stuck on a loop. It's been a few years, but Ryan Adams has finally given us something good.

Key Tracks: "My Wrecking Ball," "Feels Like Fire," "Shadows," "Kim," "Gimme Something Good"

source: http://imp

Black Bananas / Shockwave Riderz at South Street Seaport, Manhattan

Jennifer Herrema and Brian Mckinley of Black Bananas. Photos by Eli Jace.
   At the Black Bananas’ set on August 8 at South Street Seaport in Manhattan, the damn kids scampered about like damn kids often will. When the unabashed rock group eventually collected on stage, the children fell in line.
   The Seaport stage, set nearby, but not directly on the seafront, is built on a flap of fake grass and surrounded by fancy boutique bars, restaurants, craft tables, and an Abercrombie & Fitch. The concert felt at first like a sideshow to an outdoor flea market and for most of the passersby, it was.
   Shockwave Riderz, a three-piece band from Pittsburgh, opened the show. Still fresh in form, they currently have a 3-song EP and two split singles. Drummer Phil Boyd screeched vocals while bouncing up and down above his compact red set with each snare and tom-pound. Vashti Windish and Paul Quattrone added a smattering of backing vocals and effects evoking crusted daytripping moods. The perfect precursor for Black Bananas.
   One by one Black Bananas casually collected on stage. One little girl stepped into the gate taking pictures as singer Jennifer Herrema walked with sharp-toed snakeskin boots to the center of the stage. Her expression was shrouded by her long burnt-blonde hair and aviators. Herrema wore ripped jeans and a large white shirt with the imperative phrase, SMOKE WEED, framing a bright green pot leaf. The little girl gazed, her hands clasped tightly around the bars, holding on for whatever she was about to witness.

   Black Bananas is the creature coming into form in the shadows of Herrema’s first glory, Royal Trux, and its rebound spawn, RTX. Herrema has been making and performing music for over twenty years. Royal Trux’s first release, a self-titled album, arrived in 1988. Together with longtime band partner, Neil Hagerty, she helped to kickstart Drag City and Domino Records in the U.S.
   The rest of the group fills out with Kurt Midness on keyboards and samples, and Brian Mckinley on his snakeskin guitar.
   The set came together loosely. Midness warmed up with a mess of loops and beats while Herrema and Mckinley took their places. Altogether the sound was too quiet, kept mostly contained on the stage, and held together by fraying blue, red and yellow wires. It sounded like it was being beamed from a rusty satellite. It worked with their offbeat slacker swagger, but would’ve been more suited in the closed, cramped corners of a dingy rock club. (But hell, free is free.)
   The spirit of rock & roll lifted off Herrema like smoke. When she inhaled, the scuzzy soul of Janis Joplin filled her lungs. As she performed, she was not too interested if the crowd was responsive or not. She careened across the stage with a carelessness that was too cool for most of the child-rearing crowd.
   Meanwhile, Midness stood at his station working in pre-programmed drum beats and garbled clips of undefined noise. Whenever he looked up, a widening smile of surprise developed on his face as if he couldn’t believe a crowd had formed. Mckinley, meanwhile, I don’t think once looked up. He stayed hidden behind the curtains of his long thin hair while noodling crazy psychedelic guitar over Midness’ noise.
   They played cuts from their two albums, the recently released Electric Brick Wall and their first, Rad Times Xpress IV, released in 2012. Black  Bananas’ set was a showpiece of slouching rock and roll, unconcerned with theatre of any kind. When it was all over, I just shrugged my shoulders.

source: http:quietlunch

PHOTOSET: Black Bananas at South Street Seaport, Manhattan

"The spirit of rock and roll lifted off Jennifer Herrema like smoke."
Read the review for Quiet Lunch here.
All photos by Eli Jace.
Black Bananas: [r-l] Kurt Midness, Jennifer Herrema, Brian Mckinley