Archive Page 2
Got this off Nat’s LJ. Freaking fun. Luckily no Broken Social Scene or I’ll have a hard time deciding the headliner. Go here to make your own.
I know I haven’t reviewed anything for yonks, not cause I haven’t been reading (I have) but I just couldn’t be arsed lately, what with work and all.
But lo! The Rambling Librarian has asked me to review his (and this guy’s) spanking new album, SeaStars 2007!
I just realised I’m not sure whether that refers to the band or the album. The band is called Starfish Stories. Download the album for yourself here.
Anyway… here’s what I think:
The album in a nutshell – wispy synths, straightforward piano, quite emo lead guitar (sometimes bordering on hair-metal, which is a good thing), and kinda cheesy sea-related sound effects (like dolphins and waves), all very new-agey and inoffensive. Bordering, actually mostly crossing the line over to sleepytime music.
I like myself some ambient from time to time, but I think people tend more to slit their wrists to Enya more than Aphex Twin. Did that last line make any sense? I have to say though, I did kinda like the guitar overdubs in Stargazer, but that’s probably my inner 80s hair metal fan talking.
In any case, the problem I have with new age music is that it’s pretty much meant to be unobtrusive background music. So I listened to the album 3 times through and spaced out each time. I just can’t actively listen to and appreciate something that’s constantly slipping and sliding out of my conscious brain. So if that was the plan – good job, guys. I’m pretty sure there’s a market for this in the yoga or spa music business, if it exists, that is.
But I’m just a punkrockertechnofreakdiscogrooverpostrocker at heart, and much prefer something I can dance to.
And……. I’m back!
And now for the final instalment; I’m showered and ready to sleep, need to wake up in 5 hours to catch my bus to JFK, so now’s a good time as any to update on the past 3 days:
I went to the Bowery at 8 to get tickets for the gig but was super early so went to walk around. Found Little Italy which was really prettily done up for Xmas, but stupidly forgot to take photos. Walked around Chinatown for a bit also. I realised I’d been walking around in the open for over an hour when I realised I’d lost feeling in my face cos of the cold, so then I went back to the Bowery Ballroom.
The first band, Blacklist had already started, and they were a super emo band with the requisite floppy hair and skinny ties. Somemore the song titles were like “When Worlds Collide” and “Flight“. OMFG lor.
2nd band, the Giraffes on the other hand, are responsible for my best time in New York so far. They’re like blues-metal, kinda Rob Zombie actually. Loads of hardcore shredding and swigging Jack Daniels onstage. And they were funny! Also, during their set I totally noticed 2 girls checking me out. Like for reals.
But then I went to pee and realised my fly was open. Cannot help lah. Giraffes were so good I had to rock out with my cock out.
Check out the Christ pose. So appropriately seasonal somemore.
3rd band were the Cloud Room of Hey Now Now fame. Meh. Pretty boring. The guy really sounds like the singer from Simple Minds, which are like a subpar U2.
Finally were the headliners, A Place to Bury Strangers, allegedly New York’s loudest band. Ok only lah. I’ve seen Mogwai play before lor. Clothes will flutter one leh. Not to mention the time I caught the DJ set by Justice, which had my ears ringing for week. APTBS actually sound like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, yet another Jesus and Mary Chain-esque band. But they did bring on a hot blonde for vocals on their last song. Hot.
Check out the fishnets. Hot.
Supposed to be a sunny day, so I decide to finally do Brooklyn Bridge.
Marvel of engineering, yes. But the wind was freaking cold.
Here I am on the Brooklyn side, looking back to Manhattan.
It was too cold out, so I only spent like an hour walking around the area near the bridge and then took the subway back. Did some last minute gift-shopping for a bit. Decided to queue up at the 5th Ave Abercrombie & Fitch to see what the fuss was. Cos there’s always a queue outside. Quite a madhouse inside, just loads of people grabbing essentially very basic collegiate shirts and things. But then got half-naked male model wearing only jeans. Maybe thats why. And I noticed all the female sales people were Wonderbra’d to the max. Like seriously up there. Good marketing strategy.
After going back to the apartment to chill for a bit, I took the subway to the Rose Center’s Hayden Planetarium to catch Sonic Visions, a light show set to music mixed by Moby. That really should have been my first clue. It was pretty bad. It started great with Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place“, but it kinda went downhill from there. Worst part was when he mixed in Spiritualized’s “Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space“, one of my all-time favourites, but ran it for only 30 seconds, with shit visuals too, I might add.
Then I hightailed it back to Brooklyn to the Music Hall of Williamsburg to catch Electroma, the new Daft Punk film. It was ok, pretty artsy, with an excellent soundtrack. There’s one really funny shot involving female nether regions that you don’t really recognise until it starts zooming in, but then suddenly, there it is!
Outside after the show. Williamsburg’s obviously more slummy than Manhattan, but quite happening at the time, which was close to 11pm.
Had breakfast with Andrew at this quaint French dessert place. Super sweet macarons, man.
Had a chocolate crossiant and raspberry macaron.
We walked to his office in SoHo, then I went off on my own. Decided to go to the New Museum in Bowery.
Lovely building but the exhibition was a total waste of time. Serious waste of 12USD. I was in and out in 3omins, plus paying admission, gift shop and peeing time. Stupid abstract collage sculptors. Can really smoke lor.
Decided then to make my pilgrimage to Strawberry Fields at Central Park, which is an area dedicated to the memory of John Lennon. Thought I’d walk up since it was my last day in the city, so walked freaking 70 blocks. Which in Singapore parlance means gan far.
Interesting sidenote: there was this anti-torture protest across the street from Rockefeller Plaza in front of a church, with a big NO TORTURE banner and people in Guantanomo orange overalls and black hoods ala Abu Ghraib. Overhead this out-of-towner American couple asking each other, “Who’s being tortured? What’s this about?”. Serious disconnect with your country’s politics, people.
But then again, there was one of the costumed protestors shouting out, “Who would Jesus torture?!” over and over again, which totally spoiled the effect.
So anyway, I make it to Central Park and walk another 20 blocks to Strawberry Fields, which was actually quite amazing compared to the rest of the park.
Central Park is great, but Strawberry Fields is really prettier than all the other parts I’ve seen.
Above us only sky…
Pilgrimage done, I do my ultimate last-minute gift-shopping and meet my hosts back at the apartment to go for my farewell dinner. Went to this really nice, but kinda expensive Italian place in the West Village.
That’s Beh, Andrew’s housemate.
Andrew and I. Note my beanie hair. Also, my camera kinda sucks. Autofocus kinda screwed liao. Everything’s blurry.
And now I’m back, packed and ready to go. Really glad to finally be heading home, really. Oh yeah, also I stupidly miscalculated and will actually be home on Boxing Day cos of the time difference. Sian, man. Next day go to work already.
In any case, goodbye, New York – I love you but you kept bringing me down, but I love you all the same. If I don’t update in Bangkok while on transit, as they say in New York (or actually just the Giraffes):
and Hail Satan.
Haven’t updated for a bit cos I’m a little burnt out. Pretty damn ready to go home already. Yeah, I’m a pretty weakass traveller lah. Anyways…
Can’t really remember what I did during the day, I suppose I went shopping for a bit probably. But then I met Gillian and her friend Irene at St Mark’s Place at night for dinner at this cool Japanese restaurant Kenka. First hipster joint I’d been so far. And after that we went for drinks at an even more cool place, Decibel; super tiny also Japanese bar tucked away underground. So small I was sitting with a lantern touching my head the entire time. I think the girls particularly enjoyed the very good-looking Japanese waiters. Irene also introduced me to this great Himezen Sake, which is pretty much like dessert wine. No kick at all and the perfect amount of sweetness; could’ve drunk it all night. A pussy drink, but a tasty one nonetheless.
Together again at last….
Gills and Irene filtered through my sake-filled perspective.
Later as I was going to the subway, I accidentally swiped my Metrocard for the wrong entrance, so had to wait for an 18 minute delay before I could swipe again. So I ducked into a nearby McDonald’s for a pee (only after buying a cookie) and decide to walk to the next subway station. So I’m at 1st Ave, middle of nowhere, middle of the night, cold as shit, and a little bit lost, when The Perfect Kiss by New Order comes on my iPod. And its 9 and a half minutes of feeling I’m exactly where I want to be.
Shopping madness at Woodbury Common! Essentially its this entire village upstate devoted to factory outlets of designer labels. I was so sure I’d be really cool and be in and out like a flash, since I’m not usually into shopping. But I was there solidly shopping for 6 freaking hours, and would have gone on for more if I wasn’t supposed to meet Andrew for a thing later that night. I’m a bit disgusted with the amount of shopping, man. I bought like 3 pairs of shoes this trip. I’m a total girl.
Anyways, after I lug my haul back to the city, Andrew takes me out to the Lion’s Den somewhere in Bleecker for a book reading by Chip Kidd, one of his design idols. So we get to the bar and it’s like the whitest place I’ve been so far in NYC. Turns out the reading is over, and Chip’s band is performing in a bit. So we stand there watching this Nickelback wannabe band, and some dumb NYU kids bopping around, when I realise to a curious mix of horror and self-satisfaction that I’m having a beer in a bar in New York and I’m the most
hipster emo guy there, with my hoody, Vans and kinda skinny jeans. I say this not to brag – though that’s a happy accident – but it was just astounding to me at the time. One of the hippest cities on Earth and I out- hipster emo everyone else in a bar. So anyway, the Nickelhacks finish and the college girls fall over themselves trying to buy a drink for long-haired growly singer douchebag. Eventually Chip Kidd comes on, and his band’s actually pretty good. A little New Pornographers, I might add.
That’s him in the tie on the drums. Quite cool guy. I shook his hand and told him I didn’t know anything about his design work but that I really liked his music. Which was a really cliche thing to say, but he liked it.
After that me and Andrew walked back to Chelsea, and he tried to get waffles at the downstairs diner. Waffle machine was broken and he was sad. I had a great bacon and cheese omelette though. Yum.
At this point, I’m pretty burnt out and just chilled at home for a bit. Went out to Union Square for lunch, read some comics at Barnes and Noble and walked back to St Mark’s to do some gift-shopping. Came back, chilled some more and met Andrew for dinner at Times Square.
I look disgusted but the ramen totally rocked. Cheap too!
And then we adjourned to Palace Theatre….
Damn fun to watch. I’ve a little crush on the star, Laura Bell Bundy now. She’s damn cute. Great legs too. Tip for anyone planning to watch a Broadway show; search online for discount codes first. I got mine from Broadwaybox.com and it ended up almost half-price. Broadway shows are fun! But no time to watch another one. Next time go West End instead.
And that’s it for this update. Probably going to the Bowery tonight, see how.