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The crowd skewed young and trashed at Monday’s Black Lips show. Everywhere, mini-hipsters were dancing around, all skinny and disaffected. One guy was regaling a group of friends with the story of how long his hair was the last time he saw the band.
I hadn’t seen Quintron & Miss Pussycat before, but I had heard tell of Quintron’s invented musical instrument, the Drum Buddy. It’s a strange contraption, full of holes and pipes and lights and spinning coffee cans. But it was pretty cool to see it in action. The music was a catchy but noisy blend of upbeat soul and synth pop. Quintron sat behind a keyboard decked out with a vintage Chevy grill, and Miss Pussycat contended with a fussy, flapper-like costume that involved what looked like a head band with a Koosh ball on it. I enjoyed the energy of the performance, which definitely got everyone dancing, but this is strictly party music. Great live, but I’m guessing they’re not nearly as interesting on record.
Oh, and when their performance ended, Miss Pussycat hopped behind the curtain of a big, strange, inflatable puppet theater she had brought with her and did a puppet show. Really.
Despite the drunken yelling, shoving, crowd-surfing, stage-diving, and beer-cup-throwing, the Black Lips were pretty great. They may have been rushing through songs a bit (and seeing the crowd, who could blame them?), but the frenetic element worked for them. An old-fashioned rock band that doesn’t resort to fancy outfits or contrived, onstage theatrics, they’re a purist’s dream. By the end of the set, the guys were completely soaked in sweat, and if that doesn’t signal a good night, I don’t know what does.
“For rock bands this is a great time to be weird and independent in Brooklyn. After years in which the sound of New York was defined by various shades of retro monochrome — the new wave minimalism of the Strokes, the disco-punk of the Rapture and LCD Soundsystem, the moody Anglophilia of Interpol — a new generation is making music that is indefinably eclectic and complex, and finding acclaim around the world.” Wait… really?
“The success of bands like Yeasayer and Vampire Weekend is to some degree an indication of a thirst for new ideas in a rock landscape that, from mainstream radio down to the underground, has been sorely lacking in them.” I don’t know where you’ve been for the past few years, dude, but the underground ain’t lacking for ideas. They’re lacking for audiences, and paychecks.
“With the promotional powers of the Internet and a network of increasingly sophisticated independent labels, bands that don’t have an obvious shot a mass popularity are finding fewer reasons to sign with the majors.” What are these mystical “internets” of which you speak? Please, explain to us their strange and magical ways.
All in all, another beautifully redundant Times trend piece. Thanks for that, Ben Sisario. I give it 10/10. A+. Best New Music… etc.
Michael Sarnes’s take on Gore Vidal’s bestseller might as well be the video guide to “Notes on Camp.” Rex Reed, in cinema’s most obvious casting choice, plays Myron Breckenridge, a dandyish film critic who undergoes cinema’s most surreal sex reassignment surgery to emerge as Myra (Raquel Welch), a glamorous supervixen hell-bent on shattering the heterosexual imperative. Inexplicably integral to this plan is Myra’s infiltration of her Uncle Buck Loner’s (John Huston) acting school as she fights him for her portion of a sizable inheritance. But the flimsy plot is incidental to the priceless, midnight movie trash that lurks within Myra Breckenridge’s terrifically fun digressions. Brief clips from black-and-white gems of the ‘30s and ‘40s provide a constant, almost tic-like, commentary on the action. Mae West transforms the film into her own, private Sunset Boulevard, as a debauched talent agent with an insatiable hunger for young men. Thirty-seven years later, we’re still not ready for her close-up.
Watch the trailer here.