Archive for October, 2012

Sun Returns To D.C.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 31, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica M9, Noctilux.  Loving the use of Color Efex Pro 4 filters — this one’s called Fuji Velvia.

How Things Look On The Eve of The Eve Of All Hallows Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 30, 2012 by johnbuckley100

A long night for D.C., a disastrous night for our friends in NYC and points north.  A muted Halloween coming, we’re sure, as the region wakes up, looking like this guy.  Leica M9, Noctilux.

Fire Up The Chariot, Dear, We’re Going To See The Sic Alps

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 29, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Discovered in a parking lot yesterday, when we went out searching in vain for flashlights and D batteries.  Leica M9, Noctilux.

The Sic Alps, So Near, And Yet So Far

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 29, 2012 by johnbuckley100

So while we’re on this little run of obsessing over SF bands (see the highly overwrought prose below, heaped upon both Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall), we happened to look at the weather forecasts for the Bay Area this morning.  All the weather guys are predicting sunshine and massive hangovers, at least for Giants fans.  (It’s the only way sports news could make it on the broadcasts, what with non-stop coverage of the Frankenstorm.)  Oh yeah, while the West Coast is all sunny and bright, we here in the Mid Atlantic have the Clouds O’ Doom sailing in like the Spanish Armada.  And the worst of it?  It may keep us from seeing the Sic Alps tonight play at Comet Ping Pong.

So we’re loving the eponymous Sic Alps album, love the “Hey Joe” soundalike, “Wake Up, It’s Over II,” appreciate to no end how they can take a song like “Thylacine Man” and shroud it in this Blood Meridian (the band, not the greatest novel ever) sense of remorse.  This is exactly the band you would want to travel, by automobile, the approximately two miles from your home to see play at a restaurant notable for two things — the pizzas, which are both wonderful and come shaped like comets, and the ping pong tables in the back where many an adult has just crushed it while their kids, on the losing end of the exchange, giggle and wail.  Yeah, exactly the kind of place you’d want to see a band play a rocker as effin’ perfect as “Moviehead” — shimmering guitars chiming with languor that seems like suppressed urgency, not anything genuinely laid back — which of course was the plan.  To go t0night to see the Sic Alps play Comet Ping Pong.  Only this storm has come in on such a torrent of apocalyptic hype, one wonders if we could pack up the car and get there without being swept away to West Virginia, or crushed under a toppling silver maple.

So all day long we will wonder: will the Sic Alps even have been able to get here from Brooklyn (where they at least were scheduled to play last night)?  Will we be able to see the visiting San Francisco band?  Even if they get here, will Comet Ping Pong defy, if not the Mayor — does DC have a Mayor? — then reason to keep us out while the winds howl at 75 miles per hour?  We shall see.

Will This Be Here After The Storm?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 28, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Not the rose.  The house.  Upper Georgetown, Sunday PM.  Leica M9, Noctilux @f/2.8, LR4, CEfex4

Lest That Damn Frankenstorm Have Any Designs On Us…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 28, 2012 by johnbuckley100

You know, it’s Halloween on Tuesday… Give us a break.  Leica M9, Noctilux wide open, light wash in LR, a rinse in Color Efex Pro 4, slightly warming it and adding film grain.

No Mind/Body Problem Grokking Thee Oh See’s “Putrifiers II”

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 28, 2012 by johnbuckley100

It actually is kinda hard understanding Thee Oh Sees, whose new album Putrifiers II stimulates all body parts, from the tips of your toes to the furthest cranial hideaways.  How could a band that, just last year, in their epic punk rock masterpiece Carrion Crawler/The Dream, harken to the heyday of “Final Solution” Pere Ubu and give Capsula a run for their pesetas as the band you’d like to pogo to, come back with something so jaw-droppingly boss’n’beautiful as Putrifiers II?  There’s punk rock galore on this album, but saying it’s a punk album is like saying Sgt. Pepper’s is rock’n’roll — there’s rock’n’roll on it, but so much more!   Just when you think you’ve got them pegged, they wriggle out of your mind’s definition and confound you!  And if that’s not the mark of a first-rate rock’n’roll band, we don’t know what is.

On the title track, see, they recycle Captain Beefheart’s “Dropout Boogie,” hit you with the ol’ Pere Ubu/Cap’n soprano sax, and still twang your woogie with something completely new.

“Wax Face” kicks the album off with a Cream meets Pop Levi in Ozzie’s basement mashup that pulls your grin mechanism into near-fatal rictus.   Wax face?  No, it just dissolves like the cover of Ty Segall’s Melted. 

And then they come back with a sax’n’double drum boogie, John Dwyer and Bridget Dawson harmonizing like imminent stars on a soap opera from a parallel universe that is built upon “Nashville,” but only those corners of town where tattoo parlors are punctuated by removal studios for those with tattoo regret.

Then like Pablo Sandoval swinging a bat, they hit you across the face with double cellos while a drummer recruited from a filming of The Last Of The Mohicans patiently taps the tom toms.

And just when your mind has taken all that in and tries to synthesize so much data — SF punk rock band and Ty Segall buds that produce each year, on average, two records of sheer blasting fun, anarchy in the US of A, return in 2012 with a record that stimulates both pedal extremities and the pop brain’s pleasure centers — they come back with “Lupine Dominus” and its Fugazi-meets-Jesus and Mary Chain’s Munki antics, and it all just shuts down, the mind that is.  I give up!  I’ll just lie here and enjoy it!  And what do they do?  The reward us with the gorgeous “Goodnight Baby.”  A song which you can just lie down and enjoy, drool maybe forming at the edge of your mouth.

We’re ready to throw in the towel and just move to SF.  Ty Segall.  Sic Alps.  And now we can’t get Thee Oh Sees off our playlist.

The very intelligent and seeming great guy John Dwyer has explained that he’s not a one-album-per-year person — and even forgiven the lack of promotion various record labels have given their music, chalking up their inattention to the reality that, no sooner will they have put one record out, he’ll be back in the studio putting together a record that is completely different.  Yeah, the stuff great bands are made of.  With Putrifiers II, The Oh Sees are on a double-drum roll and we hope it never ends.

The Leica Monochrom In Washington’s Most Beautiful Spot

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 27, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Leica Monochrom, 35mm Summilux FLE, ISO 3200, f/11, 1/350th of a second, at sunset, October 10/23/2012

Let us all agree that Washington, D.C. is a beautiful city.  With monuments and vistas along the Mall, tucked as it is in a bend on the river, it is arguably the United States’ most beautiful city.  For me, the most beautiful corner in our small but lovely metropolis is the Dumbarton Oaks estate, which sits on the hill above Georgetown.  Wending over hills and valleys across 57 acres, approximately half of that deeded to Rock Creek Park, but with a sizable portion still part of the original 1701 estate, it is a genuine urban oasis.  On a hot summer day, or a lovely autumn afternoon, it is a glorious spot to walk around, with follies and mysteries tucked into the gardens.  Since late August, when we received our Leica Monochrom, we’ve wandered the hills and gardens, camera in hand.

For a collection of images taken in the most beautiful spot in D.C., click here.

Is That Superstorm Really About To Hit DC?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 26, 2012 by johnbuckley100

Hmmm.  Danger, keep out.  Leica Monochrom, 35mm Summilux FLE, orange filter.

Woods’ “Bend Beyond” Is A Gorgeous Psyche-Folk-Garage Melange, And A Perfect Album

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , on October 25, 2012 by johnbuckley100

If the slot for shimmering alterna-folk in last year’s Tulip Frenzy Top Ten List ™ had not been taken by Kurt Vile’s Smoke Ring For My Halo, then surely Woods’ Sun and Shade woulda made the cut.  An artisanal byproduct of Platonic Brooklyn, where everything is tasty and hand-crafted and somewhat left of center, Sun and Shade was like a Galaxie 500 record produced by Neil Young, punctuated with 7-minute ambient ragas.  It was pretty great, but excellent as it was, it is still a solid step below Woods’ astonishing Bend Beyond, available now in digital music stores hiding just behind your browser window.

Bend Beyond ranks in the Pantheon with Darker My Love’s Alive As You Are, John Hammond’s Southern Fried, Luna’s Penthouse, and The J. Geils Band.  You know where this is heading: yes, the declaration that Bend Beyond is a *perfect* record.  That’s right, perfect.  As we’ve commented before, perfect records are as rare as baseball pitchers’ perfect games.  (Even with that pronouncement, whether it will end up as Tulip Frenzy’s Album of the Year is not yet known, for as perfect as it may be, and it certainly is, the world has to account, and likely this year, for the greatness that is Ty Segall.  Does “World Historical” beat “perfect”?  We shall see.)

Bend Beyond does something we never even considered possible, it is an expression beyond our previously far too limited imagination, for it melds the aforementioned folk-rock marriage between Neil Young and Galaxie 500 to farfisa-lubricated garage rock with ambient traces of psychedelic fireworks exploding softly on the edge of your vision.  Somehow, like a Ben’n’Jerry’s flavor combo moved to the realm of geographic mash-ups, we have achieved this brilliant union of Brooklyn with Woodstock with Topanga Canyon sliding in muddy goo right on top of it, and the tasty output, while perhaps a mite bit lacking in carnivorous gristle, is nourishing and fine.

Go listen to “Find Them Empty” and tell me to my face that if it were slipped into a pail of nuggets taken from Lenny Kaye’s latest archaeological dig, you wouldn’t think it was the ’60s garage find o’ the year.

Tell me — we dare ye — that if you heard “Cali In A Cup” while lying outside on an autumn sunny day, headphones on while you stared at that red leaf falling from a maple tree, you wouldn’t contemplate chucking it all to go work in some Williamsburg wine bar, dedicating your evenings to reading Richard Brautigan novels.

Play “Is It Honest” loud from your Mustang while driving on Sunset Boulevard, and the remnants of the Paisley Underground would all march out with their hands up, their eyes blinking from behind Roger McGuinn half-shades.  “Hey man, what is that?”

It’s Woods’ Bend Beyond.

Like we said, a perfect album.

UPDATE: And so we find they are playing at D.C.’s Red Palace on November 2nd.  Ho ho ho. Can’t wait.

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