The Gentleman Loser

Thoughts and Musings of a Loser

A few days ago a not-so-mysterious package arrived in my mail.  Inside was an advance copy of The New Loud’s upcoming EP, Can’t Stop Not Knowing.  You may remember that I mentioned this entertaining band in my review of the 2009 Forward Festival. So seeing as I have this shiny new bit of  soul and commercial product in my hand, I might want to give it a review.

Don't Dance

First off, the packaging itself is nice.  A glossy digipack case with lots of clean solid coloration.   From a graphic design standpoint, it is simple and tasefull while evoking a mood consistent with at least the albums slower songs.  I should take a moment to mention that the graphic design element for this band is really strong, take for example the image to the right, created for the EP’s single Don’t Dance. What looks like a simple Holga double exposure evokes an aesthetic that makes one think of a movie poster.  Which brings us to…

The first track, Don’t Dance starts out a little iffy, but structured oddly which keeps you interested.   Around the 2 min mark it becomes amazing.   The call and response style made me think back on just before AFI became a big thing.   Synths are simple, frentic and analoguey.  You can hear for yourself by checking out the music video posted on their blog. And you should.

Next on the EP is a cover of Radiohead’s 2+2=5.  The presence of both a male and female vocalist has a surprisingly strong effect on the vibe of this cover.  The band’s driving-an-out-of-control-car feverishness plays well with the original song’s lyrics.   An intense song like that is all the more impactful when it runs head first into the slower ballad song Heaven which is sweet but seems rather simple compaired to the complexity of it’s peers on this album.

“The Short Way to Get You” starts out with a slow gait, but in short time picks up to a more poppy pace.  Perky bright synths contrast with vocals that remind me in a abstruse way of a lovechild between Alkaline Trio and Brandtson.  This song is the one that stikes me as having the most “mainstream potential” though I am not sure whether I mean it as compliment or criticism.  One thing for sure is that this song strongly illustrates the vocal talent of this band.

Every Girl I See, which is a demo, might be my favorite song on the EP.  Only a little rough, it is a somber song drenched in distrortion and noise.  It’s no wonder that I especially like this one, I’m a sucker for that combination.   Were I the one putting this album together, I would have closed it with this track.  Aside from being a great wind-down from the pacing of the rest of the EP, as it ends, it leaves the listener with a bit of emotional residue.

All in all, this seems like a whole differnt band from the one I saw live at Forward Fest.   Now that I have a chance to hear more than the wall of structured noise and frustration, I am surprised to find harmonies and a far more positive and hopeful soul at this band’s core.  I am looking forward to their upcoming LP, but in the more near future, I can look forward to their next show here in Madison:

The New Loud 1/23/2010 10:00 PM at High Noon Saloon – Yo La Tengo after party w/The Hood Internet

701A E. Washington Ave., Madison, Wisconsin 53703


This last Saturday (Jan 9th 2010) Velvet Darkness put on a screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Majestic complete with live stage show underneath the projector screen, props, and lots of rowdy audience members.  I am going to assume that you, the reader (I have readers?), are familiar not only with the movie, but the basics of it’s cult traditions.  If you are not, a suggest checking out it’s Wikipedia page that I have helpfully linked two sentences ago.

Costume Show 2

Preceding the film screening and live reenactment, were other festivities, complete with party favors such as fake plastic lips, party whistles, and the odd condom.  Pre-show events included a costume contest and a trivia contest, both with prizes.

Now, this was my first time seeing Rocky Horror in a theater setting, and as such it was an exciting engagement.  As it would seem, however, I was not alone.  I was VERY not alone.  I would say that along with me, roughly a third of the audience threw in their lot with the uninitiated and got up on the stage so that the presenters could coronate our devirginization.

Before the show started proper, the MC layed down some ground rules.  Each ground rule, if broken, would, through an unlikely series of events, result in the same fate, “we all fucking die!”   One of such rules was to not through rice because, as he points out, rice will “cook” within the sweaty bras of the performers and that is gross (and will lead to a disease that will spread through the theater and we’ll ALL FUCKING DIE).  However, without fail, rice was thrown from the balcony during the wedding scene.

Much of the show proper was drowned out by the sound of various audience members shouting the many varied “audience responses” at the screen.  My friend Rob, who was in attendance, said that you could, “tell which decade people got into Rocky Horror by what they yelled at the screen.”  My personal favorite bit is an offshoot of the running gag that whenever Brad appears on screen you should yell “asshole” and whenever Janet appears on screen you should yell “slut.”  Well in an early scene, the two are driving through the rain and as the windshield wiper goes back and forth in front of them the audience yelled “Asshole, slut, asshole, slut…” and on and on.

The performers on stage acted out, in rather impressive synchronicity, the events on screen and proved that the freaks have all the talent in this world.

Velvet Darkness plans for another show in the coming months of this year.Announcement


Found this quote of mine on Channel3000.com of all places:

““How about I just say this: I sit down in front of my toys and whatever comes out of them is what comes out. I’m tired of trying to be this or that, I just am. **** it, I don’t know the inner workings of the universe and neither do you, and when it comes down to it, that has nothing to do with music, so where does that leave us?””

It’s hilarious because on the surface it sounds kinda deep and stuff, but if you think about it for a few seconds, you realize that I’m just totally rambling shit that I pulled out of my ass.  But according to Channel3000, I “dance to the beat of my own mixtape.”

Also discovered today that some short stories I wrote last decade, likely along with other stories that were published in the same anthology, have been translated to Russian.  Da comrades!

But UPDATES, yes updates:
Morey and I are currently in the studio cooking up track for our “Intergalactic Sugar Club” project and will have a full length album out sometime early Febtober.  We also have a second album at around the %75 mark.  We planned to have THAT one (titled …will have their revenge on Madison) out in April, though that may be pushed back in order to do something weird with that one, bring in a bunch of collaborators to fuck it all up.

On The Gentleman Loser front, I am busy starting work on writing a new EP to be titled Five Cocks to Block You that should be finished in a month or two and released early Spring.  So far, it’s going to be cool, and will be a solid album I can stand behind, and will be trying to make a more concerted effort to get this one published.  If nothing else it has great album art.five cocks to block you update1


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The night was a clusterfuck.

I was going to the Wil-Mar center, a place I always hear about on fliers in cafés but had never been, to see my friend Julie perform in a belly dancing troop.  Do groups of belly dancer call themselves a troop?  Or is it something more exotic, like coterie?  Regardless I got there late and had to stand just outside the door to the main room along with a man and his ever crying baby.

Going from there I went to my favorite block in Madison.  The little one-way stretch of E. Main street just off of the capitol square.  There were two bands I wanted to see, and both of them were playing at the same time in two neighboring venues.

Sleeping in the Aviary was playing at The Frequency and The Gusto was playing at The Corral Room (of course).  So I started out with Sleeping in the Aviary, who were playing their blend of psychedelic power pop.  Interestingly enough, they were promoting at their merch booth a new project (a big surprise for musicians who’s prolific nature makes KMFDM look stingy) called inBOIL.  I didn’t have to even care what it sounded like (it sounds good by the way, or at least as good as ironic country music can) to buy it.  The packaging was a hand-made cardboard book with a personalized title (each copy had a different album name, mine was “Be A Gentleman”).  Morey and I had just been talking about how we were going to release our next CD and this kind of tactic was much discussed, but I digress.

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Mid-way through the set I dashed off to the back alley and popped in to The Corral Room (I had been jumping back and forth during the opening bands for a few hours already, and wish I could recall one of The Gusto’s opening bands because they were really good).  The Gusto had gotten a song or two into their set and the crowd was getting rowdy.  That’s the best part of going to shows in that venue, the crowds are always dense and really into the shows.  The Gusto have always been a solid pop-punk band, and the members have been at it for well over a decade now.  Suffice to say, they know what they’re doing and it shows.  The set wound down to one shirtless man and a group of several audience members commandeering one of the microphones to sing along.  I left to go back to The Frequency.

Sleeping in the Aviary played for another half hour beyond that, putting on a long set, perhaps making up for lost time from their much maligned Forward Fest show.  I have a friend who said he once say them do an entire show with the lead singer Elliot having a blanket over his head.  That said I have seen them put on some rather incoherent shows, but this night they seemed…concise.  I don’t know whether I think that made it a good show or a bad show.  It’s just hard to tell with them.


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