Tag Archives: live music

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Best Music of 2017

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

It’s the end of the year, and you know what that means: music publications published their year-end coverage approximately one to three months ago. We here at SportsAlcohol.com do not have a list of our 200 Favorite Albums That Came Out Between January and Mid-October, though we will have some individual write-ups of songs we love throughout the rest of the month and maybe into January. But Marisa, Sara, Rob, and Jesse did sit down to talk about our faves (and other opinions) from this year in popular musics. (They also took selfies. See above.)

For our best music of 2017 wrap-up, we decided to take a different tactic and take a roughly chronological trip through the various live shows we all attended, together and apart, throughout the year, and let the discussion spring from there. You’ll find out who we went to see because we’re afraid of death, whose live show exceeded their disappointing album(s), which band(s) Sara cannot deal with right now, and which show got Rob feeling real emotional in a rough year.

We are now up to SIX (6) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

TRACK MARKS: “False Alphabet City” by Eleanor Friedberger

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Eleanor Friedberger used to live in my neighborhood. I’m pretty sure I passed her walking down my block once. Other people I’ve passed on the street in my neighborhood include Craig Finn and Ray from Girls, which is to say I might be priced out of Brooklyn before I’m done writing this. Back when Eleanor Friedberger lived in my neighborhood, she played a show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, just south of here; the vast majority of times I’ve seen her play, either as a solo act or as part of her band the Fiery Furnaces, have been in Greenpoint (here, until I get priced out) or Williamsburg (just south of here, until I get priced out). At that Music Hall of Williamsburg show, I was in the front row, and toward the end of her encore during the song “My Mistakes,” she lowered herself from the stage onto the floor, using me and the guy next to me to help herself down. Offhand, I would call that brief moment the most intimate one I’ve shared with a professional rock and roll musician, especially if that sex dream I had about Shirley Manson doesn’t count. (It doesn’t count.) That moment, combined with passing her on Calyer Street, combined with the time I saw the Fiery Furnaces play at a club a block away from my old apartment that no longer exists (before you ask: both. The club no longer exists, and the apartment no longer exists, at least in the form it did when we lived there), combined with the lyric in “Owl’s Head Park” about posing for a photo on Manhattan Avenue, has lodged Eleanor Friedberger firmly into my head as one of the New Yorkiest of indie rockers. It’s a selfish distinction; she feels like New York City to me because I know that she knows my New York City – even if most of her New York references talk about further-flung places like Coney Island, Roosevelt Island, and Owl’s Head Park, places I go maybe once a year if ever; Owl’s Head Park being someplace I went mainly because of the song.

Those New York references I shouldn’t care that much about continue with “False Alphabet City,” her new single that doesn’t appear on her new album New View. She recorded it for some kind of film-based art project (oh, New York) but it stands alone just fine, even for a New Yorker who rarely finds himself in Actual Alphabet City. The way it starts with a stuttery creep throws back to her Fiery Furnaces days; the way the guitar swings in after seconds feels like a veer away from the Furnaces’ weirdness (though their pop instincts, occasionally deployed, were not too shabby). Where it really opens it up is its New York City sentiment: “Everyone’s searching for their own letter in the false alphabet city.” She’d know better than most, having spent over a decade in the city and only recently decamped for upstate. The NYC-centric lyrics, plus the tempo and instrumentation, don’t really fit in on New View, so it makes sense that it was left off; you wouldn’t want the best song on an album to be one that sounds nothing like the rest of it.

For most of her show last night at the Bowery Ballroom, I didn’t think Eleanor Friedberger was going to perform “False Alphabet City.” She played every song on New View, and had to play some older stuff, too (impeccably chosen), which didn’t seem to leave much room for a one-off single based on an art project. But she played it, late in the show, telling the crowd it was for us. That would sound like a cheesy rock-star sentiment coming from a lot of singers, but one of the more remarkable things about Eleanor Friedberger is the way she combines real, sometimes inscrutable charisma (that voice, those mysterious bangs) with a slight hesitation – she’s not a wild dancer on stage, but when she moves with her music, it looks natural and sincere. So when she tells me and a couple hundred other people that a song is for us, I believe her, no questions asked, even if I don’t see her around anymore.

Eleanor Friedberger is out on tour in support of New View right now.

They Might Be Giants: Biography and Bibliography in Brooklyn (May Edition)

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

They Might Be Giants is playing a show on the last Sunday of (almost) every month of 2015 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Marisa and I have been attending them, and we will be reporting on each show. Here is the fifth installment of our TMBG musical biography, arriving more than a little late.

They Might Be Giants at the Music Hall of Williamsburg: 5/31/15

1. Climbing the Walls
This was a show spotlighting TMBG’s 2007 album The Else, an interesting conceit because their album-spotlight shows tend to revolve around the first three releases: the Pink Album, Lincoln, and Flood. There have been occasional Apollo 18 and Factory Showroom shows in the last decade, but none that I’ve been to, and anyway, that still doesn’t include any of their post-90s albums. In a recent SPIN piece I’ve already read several times (and no one is more surprised than I am to read that clause), Linnell mentions that he really likes The Else and how that record “in particular made [him] very concerned and worried subsequently about trying to match the quality of that recording,” especially interesting to me because it seemed like, at the time, the sparer and weirder Join Us was talked up as a corrective to the heavier, more rock-and-roll vibe of The Else, and a lot of TMBG fans (who do sometimes fetishize the band’s weirdness, experimental work, and/or lack of guitar solos) seemed to agree. So I’m pleased that the band was interested enough in revisiting a relatively recent album to plan a show around it. A song like “Climbing the Walls” probably won’t make many best-of-TMBG lists but, like a lot of these songs, it is a perfect example of what it sounds like to listen to They Might Be Giants.
Continue reading They Might Be Giants: Biography and Bibliography in Brooklyn (May Edition)

THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (FEBRUARY EDITION)

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

Latest posts by Marisa (see all)

They Might Be Giants is going to play a show on the last Sunday of every month at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Jesse and I have tickets to all of the Williamsburg shows that have been put on sale so far, and we will be reporting on each show. Here is the second installment of our TMBG musical biography.

[Marisa’s Note: Jesse was away for the February show. He left it up to me to cover it. That’s why you didn’t get a report until the eve of the March show. I am the worst.]

They Might Be Giants at the Music Hall of Williamsburg: 2/22/15

The theme of this show was They Might Be Giants, the self-titled “pink album,” so there are lots of oldies here. My date for the evening was the always-up-for-a-TMBG-show Rayme. (The Instagram photos of the show are hers,) Off we go.

Continue reading THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS: BIBLIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY IN BROOKLYN (FEBRUARY EDITION)

They Might Be Giants: Bibliography and Biography in Brooklyn (January Edition)

Jesse

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

I have been going to see They Might Be Giants in concert for almost twenty years. 2014 was the first year since I started seeing them (in 1996) that I did not catch their live show, mostly because they did just a handful of one-off shows. Through 2014, I had seen They Might Be Giants forty-six times. That number is about to shoot further up, as the band is putting out a wealth of new material this year, mounting a full tour, and also keeping a standing engagement to play a show on the last Sunday of every month at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. Marisa and I have tickets to all of the Williamsburg shows that have been put on sale so far (though I’ll have to miss the February edition), and we will be reporting on each show. Here is the first installment of our TMBG musical biography.
Continue reading They Might Be Giants: Bibliography and Biography in Brooklyn (January Edition)

Observations at a Neutral Milk Hotel show

Rob

Rob

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

I had the pleasure of seeing Neutral Milk Hotel perform at Brewery Ommegang this weekend. I actually don’t have much to say about NMH’s actual performance besides that it was great. If you were ever on the fence about seeing them live because they are a reunion act now, my recommendation would be to go. They played every song that you would want them to with a verve of a much younger act. I had one criticism though: it was kind of messed up that George R.R. Martin was playing with them. I know Mr. Martin has been very defensive about how he spends his time while his fans wait for him to finish A Song Of Fire And Ice, but touring with a band just seems to be flaunting it. The show is going to catch up!

GRRM NMH
This was taken from at a different show, but I think the joke still works. source

All this being said, there were a lot of things I noticed that had nothing to do with the band I went to see. Growing old is a terrible thing. Going to concerts in my mid-30’s not only highlights how old I feel, but how much concert-going has changed since I started seeing shows as a kid.

Continue reading Observations at a Neutral Milk Hotel show

OK Go Ahead and Watch This Now

Marisa
Gripes

Marisa

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

Latest posts by Marisa (see all)

When I go see a concert, I hardly ever buy the album from the opening band. It’s not that I never wind up liking the opening band. It’s just shelling out for merch so quickly is a big commitment. I need to go home, consider, do some research, and make sure that band will still sound good to me in the harsh light of day, after the excitement of the gig has worn off.

Except there was that one time…

I hardly ever buy EPs. Maybe I did at some point, before the Hype Machine and SoundCloud and Spotify made it I could have access to the few EP songs that are worthwhile to me.

Except there was that one time…

Those “one time” were the same time. It was a cold November in 2000, and I was at the Bowery Ballroom to see They Might Be Giants–as you do. There was something different about the opening band. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I do remember being excited that they played “Panic”. They had two EPs, and I bought them both.

And then they became famous for doing crazy videos. That’s cool, too. Probably better than being known for a Smiths cover, in fact.

The latest of their crazy videos is out today. Watch it below.

 

See, I knew they had something. Is that all one take? I particularly like the part with the boxes.