Veruca Salt: "Playing Music Again Feels Like the Most Natural Thing in the World"

Categories: Live

It's certainly understandable if you, like many, suffer band band reunion fatigue. Nowadays, it seems, no band actually breaks up. But this is a reunion we're generally thrilled about: Veruca Salt. Singer-guitarists Nina Gordon and Louise Post fronted the '90s band, releasing singles like "Seether" and "Volcano Girls," which were the sonic equivalent of Pop Rocks: all sweet harmonies and sharp guitar grinds. In 1998, Gordon left the band, which then went through several incarnations with Post at its helm. This summer the original line-up -- Gordon, Post, drummer Jim Shapiro, and bassist Steve Lack -- is back together and touring. We spoke to Gordon about why this isn't that kind of reunion tour.

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Ask Andrew W.K.: Feeling Motivation in the Face of Discouragement

Photo Sandra Sorenson
[Editor's note: Every Wednesday New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions, and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose or -- no surprise here -- a party. Need his help? Just ask:]

Dear Andrew,

I've been really discouraged lately. Without going into too much detail, a lot of my dreams just haven't panned out the way I planned. I used to have so much hope and drive, but now every day I just feel more disillusioned. Part of me keeps telling myself to never give up, and then the other part of me is saying I'm a loser and am just fooling myself thinking I can ever accomplish anything in life. These days I've been feeling more unmotivated and depressed than ever. What if you're just too frustrated with failure to bother trying anymore? How far can you push yourself?

Yours truly,
Discouraged And Down

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Neutral Milk Hotel - Prospect Park Bandshell - 7/22/14

Categories: Last Night

No photos allowed at Neutral Milk Hotel so we're running this instead.
Better Than: The emotional, drug-enhanced séance you and your friends in college hosted to listen to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea in near-total darkness

If you're into Neutral Milk Hotel, there's no way to show up to a concert like last night's Celebrate Brooklyn barn-burner at the Prospect Park Bandshell and not brace for the worst. The quartet is one of the rare acts that has--since its naissance nearly 30 (!) years ago, through its twice-as-bright recording era, while its geniuses went on semi-reclusive hiatus, and now in the denouement of its year-long reunion tour--slowly assembled a mythology, one observed by even casual fans. It's the kind of mythology that elicits that sober, pious sort of fandom that reverts one back to his or her overemotional teenaged self, the kind that is shared in the quiet of dorm rooms, or on co-op house turntables, or through mix-tapes from ex-lovers.

See also: An Interview With a Girl Who Has a Neutral Milk Hotel Tattoo

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Bl'ast From the Past: Santa Cruz Punks Return to NYC After 25 Year Absence

Categories: Interviews

[UPDATE: Oops. It turns out Bl'ast won't be back out east after all, as vocalist Clifford Dinsmore has come down with a nasty ear infection. This interview with him, though, is pretty great, so you should read it anyway. Enjoy. And always know no one can cancel the mosh pit in your mind!]

Santa Cruz California's Bl'ast! were certainly one of the more peculiar bumps to pop up on the American Hardcore landscape in the '80s. Formed under the name M.A.D in 1982, the band was initially deemed too influenced by fellow Californians Black Flag to be taken seriously. For further proof, check out Flag vocalist Henry Rollin's scathing mention of them in his well-known tour diary bio, Get in the Van.

But oddly enough, it was when the band signed to Black Flag's label SST in 1985 that they finally found their own footing. Immersed in the labels' weed-fueled aesthetic and matchless roster of bands, Bl'ast! carved out their own disturbing sonic niche within the label which culminated with the release of their final LP in 1989, the falsely maligned Take The Manic Ride, and their break-up soon after.

See also: The Oral History of NYC's Metal/Hardcore Crossover

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Cheap Laughs: The Best Indie Comedy in NYC This Week, 7/23 - 7/29

Categories: Comedy

Brooks Wheelan, now former SNL cast member, brings his "Falling Back on Stand-up Tour" to Union Hall this Monday.

This week in Cheap Laughs, we have free pie, pole dancing titillation, two-handed improv genus, garbage men, and the some of the funniest people on earth. Here's our rundown of the best in independently produced New York comedy this week.

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The 10 Most Helpful Ask Andrew W.K. Columns

Here to help.
Since we began publishing the weekly "Ask Andrew W.K." column on January 1, literally millions of readers have tuned in to learn how to better lead a #partypositive lifestyle. But that's not all. In that time, we've discovered something.

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Why "Weird Al" Believes We're Still Talking About "Weird Al"

Categories: Handy Guides

Jena Ardell
"Weird Al" Yankovic has been the mainstream music jester for children (and adults) since the early '80s. Now, anyone and their grumpy father can create parodies and become YouTube sensations, but that isn't impeding on Weird Al's career.

Mandatory Fun, Yankovic's 14th studio album, dropped last week and according to Yankovic, it may be his final "conventional" album.

"I think I will get away from traditional, conventional albums," Yankovic told, "because I don't think it behooves me to do 12 songs before I put them out at once... I think that digital distribution just makes more sense. It makes sense for me to just put out singles or possibly EPs instead of albums. The more quickly and frequently I put albums out, the better for everybody I think."

(Gotta love a man who uses the word 'behooves').

Here's what Weird Al had to say about staying current during the age of YouTube.

Quotation above via

See also: A Brief History of "Weird Al" and Rhyme

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Getting Naked With Charlie "Bird" Parker at the Wildest Party in L.A. History

Categories: Jazz

Courtesy of the William P. Gottlieb Collection
Charlie Parker, the party animal, on sax
Charlie "Bird" Parker has been called the greatest saxophonist who ever lived, a jazz legend who not only spearheaded the bebop movement but also laid the foundations of modern jazz.

He was also a party animal.

In 1952, Los Angeles would play host to one of Parker's wildest exploits. The New York-based musician was in L.A. for some club gigs, even as his health was rapidly declining -- fat, and alternately strung out on heroin or in the throes of withdrawal, he nursed his pain with alcohol binges. He went hard until the end. When Parker died in 1955 from a bleeding ulcer and liver disease, the coroner estimated his body to be between 50 and 60 years of age. He was 34.

See also: Ten Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die

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Our Singer Is an Overconfident Manchild

Categories: Fan Landers

Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
I have been in an up-and-coming band for a little whole now. I love playing with them and we are killing every festival and moving up in the world. We are finding success, good things keep coming and the potential for it to just get bigger and better is all there, so I am left wondering why the fuck the leader of the band forgets to do shit like bring merch to gigs? Or say the name if the band during the gig? Not follow up on great opportunities? Not write a set list and stands around looking stupid trying to figure out what to play next? Gets super high before gigs and forgets the easiest changes?  

I understand that some of these things aren't big deals. I just feel like I'm a professional. I want to play that way. I want the show to be that start to finish. We have some nights where we murder the set in a good way. The crowd is freaking out and loving it. Other nights that are just duds because the main guy doesn't seem to care or thinks it's OK to not give 100% when there aren't as many people at a gig. 

Yours truly,

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Categories: Premiere

Credit: Kyle Dean Reinford
We already told you why people love Phish. And, perhaps, some of those very reasons are why folks are also gravitating toward NYC's TAUK, a dirty, funky foursome whose new album Collisions is out tomorrow. "Collisions is the next step for TAUK," says guitarist Matt Jalbert. "We took the things we liked from the last record and expanded on them. There's more texture, more groove, and each band members' personality stands out more. We've grown a lot since our last release and this album is a really great snapshot of where we are now as a band."

See also: Why People Love Phish

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