Archive for the ‘Garbage’ Category

[POSTPONED: July 1, 2020] Alanis Morissette / Garbage / Liz Phair [moved to September 1, 2021]

indexThis was a show I wasn’t sure about.

I have seen Alanis Morissette a few times live way back in the 90s when she toured with Tori Amos.  I was there for Tori and I don’t really remember much about Alanis (which is sad, I know).

On this tour, I was more interested in seeing Garbage again (they put on a heck of a show) and for checking out Liz Phair who I once liked and now kinda don’t but who I’m curious about what she’s like live.

This was definitely a show I was going to get lawn seats and try to upgrade.

Concerts are now being postponed earlier.

On May 9, Alanis sent out this message

“Hi everyone.  My North American tour scheduled to begin in a few weeks is being rescheduled to Summer 2021 out of an abundance of caution. Please hold on to your tickets as they will be honored for the new dates which we hope to announce very soon.

So much going on inside and outside take care of yourselves and each other.  Thank you for understanding.  Can’t wait to see you when it is safe for us all to gather.  Hand on all hearts til then.”

Garbage wrote this message:

So the @Alanis tour that @garbage and @lizphairofficial were supposed to be tagging along on this summer got postponed yesterday. We are totally gutted and apologise for any heartache caused. We assure you that we have every intention of fulfilling our obligations to Alanis and to any garbage fans who bought tickets in support of us. We appreciate you so. Please head on over to the @Alanis socials in the days ahead for further info. Please note this is not our tour so we have no answers whatsoever about what happens next.
Looking forward to the days when we all get to hangout and play for you.

No official word from Liz Phair that I have seen.

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[ATTENDED: April 5, 2018] +HIRS+

+HIRS+ (pronounced “heers”) is a collective. According to their website: “We are infinite and never ending. A collective of freaks and faggots that will never stop existing.” But mainly the band is made up of two semi-anonymous individuals, best friends JP on vocals and beats and Esem on guitar.


Incidentally, the band just released their first full length, which is currently streaming on NPR.  It is 14 minutes long–20 songs–and features guest contributions from Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), Shirley Manson (Garbage), Marissa Paternoster (Screaming Females), Alice Bag and more.

Vice describes their set so aptly:

A quick listen to one of their songs – and it will be quick, as most of their tracks don’t stretch for longer than 30 seconds – will definitely do the trick: Sample from a movie. Heavy blastbeats. Fast and pounding guitar riffs. Screamed, mostly unintelligible vocals. Repeat. If you’re seeing them live, the typical +HIRS+ set will last maybe ten intensely chaotic, fun minutes.

That’s a lot of talk for a set that lasted no more than 15 minutes.  But their set was one of the most incredible things I’ve seen. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 28, 2017] Blondie

When I saw that Blondie and Garbage were touring together (“The Rage and Rapture Tour”) I casually asked Sarah if she wanted to go.  It’s possible that Sarah was a bigger Blondie fan that I realized.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Blondie (I didn’t even realize that she grew up n the same town as I did!).  But I love The Best of Blondie and “Atomic” is one of my favorite songs from the era.  I believe that I even stood behind her at a Ramones concert in 1989, but alas I will never know for sure.  Retroactively I’ve realized just how important she was/is and I was pretty excited to see her live.

I knew that Shirley Manson loved Blondie but I didn’t realize he admiration was reciprocated.  I just read that Debbie Harry and Blondie asked Manson to deliver their induction speech upon entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a little over a decade ago. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 28, 2017] Garbage

When I saw that Blondie and Garbage were touring together (“The Rage and Rapture Tour”) I casually asked Sarah if she wanted to go.  She said yes and so cousin Kate got us tickets the same day she bought the King Crimson seats. I’ve never seen Blondie, but I loved Garbage.

I had seen Garbage at the Starland Ballroom almost exactly one year earlier.  That show was great. They played a really long set, played a lot from their debut album and I was really close.

For this show we were a bit further back (it was row T), but the view was great.  And, frankly, my location in Starland was hampered by some tall people.  So I had a pretty clear view of the show (except for the drunken people who were coming in later and later and later).

The sound was spectacular (I feel bad for Deap Vally that their sound wasn’t).  I especially appreciated how I could hear the difference between Duke Erikson’s guitar and Steve Marker’s guitar (when they alternated notes, you could really hear the sonic differences in their guitars). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 28, 2017] Deap Vally

My friend Kaylo [who has the best concert karma I’ve ever heard of and–even though she and her family live in Minnesota–we have made a pact to see Pearl Jam and Wilco should they ever play together somewhere.  A long shot but a drool-worthy one] saw Deap Vally open for Death From Above 1979 and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club last summer and said they were great.  I had heard their song “Royal Jelly” on NPR and really liked it (and their album is the genius named Femejism which is pretty solid as well).

So Deap Vally is a duo: Lindsey Troy (guitar, vocals) and Julie Edwards (drums and vocals).  And as with many duos these days, they are able to get a huge sound out of just a guitar and drums (even during the guitar solo which can often leave a big sound feeling a bit empty).

I loved that Lindsey was wearing a custom-made (Sarah asked her) fringed, sequined red body suit.  Julie was more hidden behind her kit, but she was also bedecked in sequins.

They played a half-dozen or so songs and they rocked (they were quite a bit louder than Blondie, but maybe only slightly louder than Garbage).  But I loved the band’s ability to impress an audience (I’m assuming a slightly older audience given Blondie) with their solid songs and stage presence).

They were genuinely happy to be playing and both seemed to be having a lot of fun.  And Lindsey’s guitar sounded tremendous (Julie’s drums were pretty great, too).

The one flaw was that Lindsey’s vocals sounded a little less great but that’s because of the venue, not her.  They were not hooked up to the sound system I don’t think, because everyone else’s voices were pretty clean.  But if you listen to “Julian”. you can hear that she’s a little muddied.  And that’s a shame because their lyrics are really great.

Like “Smile More”

And I am not ashamed of my mental state
And I am not ashamed of my body weight
And I am not ashamed of my rage
And I am not ashamed of my age
And I am not ashamed of my sex life
Although I wish it were better
I am not ashamed I am no one’s wife
Although the idea does sound kind of nice

I don’t know all of the song titles that they played, but I did get a video of the the great stomper, “Baby I Call Hell” from their album Sistrionix.

They closed with “Royal Jelly” which sounded perfect.  I thought I’d taped a clip but apparently I didn’t.

After their set they were out in the foyer signing things and giving high fives.  If I had known they were going to be out there I would have brought my copy of Femejism for them to sign. Instead, I just told them how much I enjoyed their set and wished them luck.  And Sarah got this excellent picture of them.


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[ATTENDED: July 27, 2016] Garbage

2016-07-27 21.26.35Back in the late 1990s, I loved Garbage.  Their debut and 2.0 were two  of my favorite albums of the era.  I had the chance to meet and greet when I was living in Boston, but when I got to the store, the line was huge and they cut it short about ten people in front of me.  But I did get to see them live.  And I saw them live later in the year when they played in New York.

They took a few years off and I didn’t love their next album.  Or the one after that.  I liked them, but I wasn’t as blown away (which I suppose is natural).  They released a new album last year and I liked it–it was a little less slick than those middle ones. And in the meantime, I’ve grown to appreciate those middle albums more–sure they are slicker, but there’s some good stuff on them.

So when I saw they were touring in the area, I thought it would be fun to see them again nearly twenty years later.

And man, was it ever.


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[ATTENDED: July 27, 2016] Kristin Kontrol

2016-07-27 20.08.28 I didn’t know who Kristin Kontrol was before this show.  I had to look her up and I saw that she used to sing for the Dum Dum Girls (she was Dee Dee Dum Dum).  I never really cared for them (I don’t like old time “girl group” music, so I didn’t need to hear it updated).  For some reason I assumed she would be loud and brash (which I realize is not what the Dum Dum Girls sound like anyhow).  Rather, her new outfit Kristin Kontrol embraces her love of 80s synth pop.

When she came out I didn’t realize she had been performing for a few years already (they formed in 2008), so while I knew she wasn’t a new artist, I was delighted with how much stage presence she had.  She even had “moves” down (arm gestures that went along with the songs) and she was really poised.

She told us that her first concert was Garbage way back in 1995 and it was that show that made her want to be a musician.  So she was delighted to be opening for them.

The band consisted of a drummer (who used a soft mallets on his cymbals, which I liked, as well as a mixture of electronic and analog drums), a guitarist who seemed to be playing lot of weird electronic sounds with is instrument (he was on the far side so I couldn’t really see him) and a bassist/keyboardist who was right in front of me.  Despite the guitar/bass line up, the overall sound was very synthy (even when no one was playing a synth).  (more…)

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elsewhere4SOUNDTRACK: GARBAGE-Not Your Kind of People (2012).

notyourkinddAfter Bleed, I had basically given up on Garbage.  And they had given up as well, so it made the breakup easier.  For seven years they stayed away, but in 2012 the band reunited and released Not Your Kind of People.  I wasn’t planning to get it–two great albums and two very mediocre albums l leave a listener with a tough decision   But I heard good things–a return to form, less dance more rock and I gave in.

And it was a good choice.  The slickness is still there, which makes sense given who we are dealing with, but it feels more powerful than recent albums and, even better, Manson seems angrier which always makes her vocals better.

“Big Bright World” could have been a hit (for a new band) although it’s a little generic.  “Blood for Poppies” returns to that good grungy guitar sound and yet with its “Wo Ho Ohs” it also has pop song trappings.  “Control” is big and loud with some interesting sounds thrown on top.  It’s probably the closest to 2.0  Even the chorus is very old school Garbage, something they seemed to shy away from on the last two albums.

“Not Your Kind of People is a slow ballady type song but it stands above their recent ballads–the song is cleaner and darker, much more interesting.  And given how sweet the backing vocals of the chorus sound, I’m surprised I like it as much I do.  “Felt” has a real “Stupid Girl” feel to it, except for the poppy bridge.  I don’t like the end where she repeats the Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh bit, but that’s just something I dislike about pop music in general.  “I Hate Love” brings in all of the glitches and electronics that the band uses so effectively, and despite the retro-90s feel of that, it really adds to the music.  “Sugar” is a beautiful slow song. The kind that, when they do it well, sounds great.

“Battle in Me”  is almost a great song.  The guitar builds and then stops short–it worked so well on “Supervixen” but sounds just too sterile here–the technology too crisp or something   But “Man on a Wire” does everything right–the guitars, Shirley’s screaming/singing, the rough guitars–it’s a shame this is buried so far down on the album.  “Beloved Freak” is a nice closer although as I complained from “Special” quoting someone else’s song in your song is cool once, but dong it again sounds lazy. So here we get her ending the song with a line from “This Little light of Mine” which doesn’t work and rather than making you smile like it did on Special it makes you go, “Huh?”  Plus as anyone who ever wrote a paper knows, never end with someone else’s words!

Still, this is a nice return to creative excitement from the band.  And while it never reaches the majesty of their first two albums it comes close to some of their past glories.

[READ: February 1, 2013] The ElseWhere Chronicles Book Four and Five

After a hiatus, Bannister & Nykko return with what feels like a new version of The Elsewhere Chronicles.  The look of the art is slightly different.  It’s clearly the same artist but the lines and angles look a little different on the characters–just a wee bit harsher.  It’s odd.  But it shows that things are a little different now.

The setting is nine moths after the end of book three.  Max has not spoken to any of the others since the lat book when his mother slapped him. Indeed, he’s been hanging around with his brother and his brother’s friends who are no good (especially to Max).  But Theo and Noah had rescued a bunch of things from Grandpa Gabe’s house.  They stored them safely somewhere before the house was demolished.  Meanwhile, Rebecca has been ill and hasn’t seen any of them.  She believes that the illness was caused in the other world and knows she needs to return there to get better.

Max is having a hard time with his new gang  They don’t respect him at all and he actually hates hanging around with them all.  In fact they just kicked him out of their gang and he is sulking when he believes he sees Rebecca.  Could she really have returned?  He follows her as she goes to her grandpa’s house.  She starts to break down when she sees that it was demolished.  She’s about to despair when and old friend sees her and gives her comfort.

Noah and Theo show her that they have Gabe’s possessions.  And they show her that the have figured out how to use the machine.  So they reactivate the passageway and the three of them return to the other world.  Before we can really see what happens over there, Max heads off to the hiding place.  He also passes through the passageway where he runs into Gabe who (after threatening to kill Max) offers to drive him to where Rebecca and the boys must be.

They arrive just as Rebecca and friends sneak into a cave.  Gabe says that the cave leads to nothing but danger.  And as the book ends, we see that that is true…. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_02_04_13Schossow.inddSOUNDTRACK: GARBAGE-Bleed Like Me (2005).

Wbleedhat happens when you take something slick and shiny and remove the shine?  You get something slick and dull.  And that’s the overall feel of Garbage’s fourth album.  After the dance pop of Beautiful Garbage, Bleed Like Me was d described as a return to the rock roots of Garbage.  And it’s true that there’s a lot more guitar.  But as in the production of Beautiful, the guitars feel really anemic–again, coming from Bitch Vig who made Nirvana’s guitars roar, this is a major surprise.

Worse than the production though s the utterly generic feel of the songs and the lyrics.  Manson was most powerful when she was personal.  Even if the songs were oblique, you knew they were about something.  But these songs just feel like words, and she sings them as if they were just words.

The single was “Why Do You Love Me” and it opens with a powerful heavy metal guitar riff.  But the verses quiet down and the chorus is fast but without any oomph.  It’s quickly forgotten and even the lyrics: “Why do you love me it’s driving me crazy” don’t really make you want to learn more about it.  “Run Baby Run” had potential for a radio friendly hit but it’s also quickly forgotten.

Then there’s the songs that seem to be about something.  “Sex is Not the Enemy” seems like it could be transgressive but it’s really not–it feels like a last stand from a beaten person rather than a rocking anthem.  Musically it’s mediocre and even lyrically it’s not that shocking/surprising.

“Boys Wanna Fight” brings some of that electronic feel back and it injects some life into the disc, but again the song isn’t that inspiring.

I wonder how much I would have liked this album without the history behind it.  I know that bands need to experiment and try different things, but it felt like Garbage fell especially far from the heights that I held them.  Garbage tool a pretty lengthy hiatus after this album–Shirley went into acting (catch her on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) and it seemed like the band was finished.

[READ: February 7, 2010] “Zusya on the Roof”

I read a story with a very similar setup recently (not implying that Krauss read it or anything).  In Russell Banks’ story “Christmas Party” a divorced man goes to his ex-wife’s new house and takes her newborn baby and…  the story ends.  [Spoiler, sort of].  This story has a similar arc.  And I guess I don’t understand this arc.  Or maybe, although I’m usually okay with endings that are vague, when you have a person with a baby, there are so many different possible endings that not leaning in one way or the other is just unfair–yes we can get clues from the story, but one never fully knows what a person’s intentions are.

This story also relies a lit on Jewish tradition.  And I find a lot of Orthodox behavior inscrutable (as Zusya seems to).  So I tend to get lost in the traditions.  Especially when, as in this story, names are used to indicate a tradition that I simply don;t know (and yes, this is my fault, not the author’s, unless she wanted to appeal to a goyish crowd).

So in this story, Zusya is about to become a grandfather.  But he falls ill just as his grandson is about to be born.  In his haze of hospital care, the grandson is born and he imagines that he gave birth to the boy–a kind of my life for his deal.  And when the grandfather recovers, he has strong emotional ties to the boy. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_02_11_13Greiner.inddSOUNDTRACK: GARBAGE-Beautiful Garbage (2001).

beautifulI loved Version 2.0 but never really absorbed just how poppy it was.  So Beautiful Garbage took me by surprise.  It seem like more of a natural progression if you listen in sequence but it’s impossible to imagine that the buzzing guitars of “Queer” would morph into something like “Can’t Cry These Tears” in just two albums.  “Tears” is practically girl groupy, it is so poppy and Spektorish.  Yes, there are some buzzy guitars, but wow.  What’s more surprising though  is the amount of manipulation that is done to Manson’;s voice.  Garbage was always about deconstruction and technology–they always mixed genres, but “Til the Day I Die” uses some pretty generic voice scratching  as if trying for a pop hit.  Or more specifically a dance hit.

The single from the album, “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)” doesn’t even sound like Garage–Manson’s voice is so treacly it has to be processed (and indeed it was sped up for the song).  “Shut Your Mouth” also seemed to head straight for the dancefloor and the rather anemic introductory sounds of “Androgyny” were a surprise.  What’s weird is that even the aggressive guitar riff is really so wimpy compared to the earlier albums.   Which is not to say that the song is bad–the riff, wimpy though it may be is still a good one and the chorus is catchy as anything.  It’s just a different audience.

“Cup of Coffee” removes all of the dancey/techno and is a simple ballad.  And it sounds like the Garbage of old.  It’ a very pretty, sad song.  “Drive You Home” is also a beautiful natural-sounding ballad.

But “Breaking Up the Girl” is the closest to the Garbage sound of old(ish) it could easily have come from 2.0.  “Nobody Loves You” has a much more interesting guitar based sound as it opens–implying something grand.  But after the opening, the song slows down into a more dark feel.  “Uncountable” returns to the dance floor (and even has some”uh uh”s).

So, overall this is a weird and unsatisfying album.  It sounds like they gave up on the rock side of things because their poppy songs were such a hit. But at the same time it sounds like their hearts just aren’t in it.  Even Manson’s lyrics are kind of lame.  Which is not to say the album is a disaster, it’s just…different.

[READ: February 6, 2013] “The Embassy of Cambodia”

In Zadie Smith’s previous piece in the New Yorker (which was an excerpt from her novel), she broke her story into a series of small sections.  It was unexpected from her.  And now she  has done it again.  The story has as a basic plot point a game of badminton.  Accordingly, all of the chapters are listed as a badminton score (a one-sided rout actually): 0-1, 0-7, 0-21.

The sections are mostly brief and kind of bounce back and forth between the main character of the piece, Fatou, and the citizens of Willesden (represented by a a single person–who took it upon herself to represent them, even if they didn’t want her to).  This unnamed narrator gives background information about Willesden and the eyes of the community who watch Fatou go about her business.  The narrator also talks about the titular embassy and how it’s not that unusual to see a building like it on their street, even if they never really see anyone Cambodian going into it,

The only thing that people can really see from the outside of the embassy is the shuttlecock which can be glimpsed over the top of the wall that surrounds the embassy   Clearly there is some kind of field there, although no one has ever seen it.  They just see the birdie arc over (and then get slammed back).

And Fatou enjoys watching it and imagining the people inside.  For Fatou is a housekeeper and sort of child watcher for a family that lives down  the street (the Derawals).  Fatou is African and her prospects are bleak.  She is not paid to work for them–she gets free room and board in exchange for her services.  In fact she does not even know where her passport is (Mr Derawal took it and she hasn’t seen it since).  At one point, after reading an article about a slave girl, she even wonders if she might be a slave.  (She decides she is not). (more…)

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