Monday, February 20, 2012

Awesome Things That Have Happened Thusfar In 2012

"Stop the press. Girl you turn me on." 

    Wait, I'm pretty sure that's an R. Kelly lyric. Oh yes, it is. 

So far, this year has been full of decently positive vibes. Just this last week, I traveled to Pittsburgh with a theater company that I find quite exceptional, led by the talented Young Jean Lee. I play bass and sing in the band that is 'Future Wife' and I stand very, very still. We performed the show that is "We're Gonna Die" to a full auditorium at the Andy Warhol Museum, where we were well received.  Also, I can now say that a genuine interest in Andy Warhol has been sparked within me. 

I foresee a few research sessions unfolding in the next few weeks. Of all of the fascinating things on exhibit there (all 6 floors), I especially apreciated the many rooms full of television monitors playing video tapes of various interviews Warhol did with the budding and bright stars of his day. It was like having all these tiny windows through which to glance into the man's life and an America I'll never totally understand. Oh, and there was a giant room full of floating silver "clouds" that were being blown around by a small fan. I won't try any harder to describe it. I only recommend visiting the museum for yourself, or any museum for that matter, if only to stand in this room and feel... floaty.


Speaking of museums, last month the Metropolian Museum Of Art was kind enough to invite Asphalt Orchestra to play the opening of their New American Wing. We did that. It was a blast. Check it.


And to finish off a great weekend, just last night, I got to make noise at Brooklyn Bowl with 'Hess Is More'; a 5+ piece, Danish disco-jazz-funk-party band. I sat in on percussion. It was definitely a party following a party, followed by bowling. The party that preceded our party was the party that was brought by none other than the legendary ska band, The Skatalites. Check it. They still rock (steady). My body feels it all. It hurts so... good?


    Run Dan Run made a music video for "Lovesick Animal", from our latest album Normal. It's rated PG-13 for mild violence. Directed by Dan McCurry and filmed/edited by Hunter Boone

Awesome Things That Will Soon Happen In 2012 + Citings of Creative Influence

Asphalt Orchestra is in the process of working out new material for the celebration that is the Bang On A Can 25 Year Anniversary. We're featuring music of otherwordly-gifted drummer/musican/performer Tatsuya Yoshida wrote with a band called Ruins. They rule. Check it. The most awesome part is that Mr. Yoshida will be performing with us on this evening. Our co-direction/saxophonist Ken Thomson has taken the helm of arranging a couple of his peices. They're super fun, actually. Site-specific stunts choreographed by Mark DeChiazza will again ensue as in passed shows. Catch us, among other spectacles, at the event on April 28th at the Lincoln Center (Alice Tully Hall). You can grab tickets HERE


  As aforementioned, "We're Gonna Die" has been taken on the road after it's debut at Joe's Pub... just over a year ago. Wow. The next landing and performance will be in May, upon the far-away soil of Calgary, Alberta. Yep. That's in Canada. I'm excited about this, making it my second visit to Canada. I have a curious respect and adoration for this Canada-place and it's people. I read somewhere that Leslie Feist spent a little time in Calgary herself. 

"Paper, paper obsolete. 
How will you reach out to me? 
I thought you'd ask me not to leave. 
Lonely, lonely, that was me..." 
(from "Lonely, Lonely", found on Feist's Let It Die, 2004)  


    Hearts and Plugs will be making noise on the "junior indie-label" scale. We are pushing forward with new jams and new music from Run Dan Run, Ashley Hopkins, Mr. Jenkins, and now... The Lovely Few. Stay tuned and you will see things happen.


    Mr. Jenkins is about to begin collecting sounds to build a sound bank for the next album. You may be asked to contribute to the noise. This will be a continuation of the volumes of blind-sampling-compositions-turned-mp3s-via-email project called "Commercials". This will be Commercials, Volume 6: Sound Banks and Audible Documents and I'll be collecting samples throughout the entire month of March.

Current Musical Recommendations + Similar Jibba-Jabba 
    So, since Run Dan Run's latest album has been burning up the indie-rock music blog charts that like quirky, yet mature alternative-pop music, we've also been featured on a number of samplers, mixtapes and compilations. One of the most recent ones included tracks by Sharon Van Etten and this band from Oakland, California called Kapowski

    There is so much that I find delightful about this band. You can stream their latest album from their website. It's an ear-full of smart lyrics, solid song structures, fresh melodic stuff, and very tasteful drumming. I dig it. This is the kind of "indie" music that makes me happy. It makes me want to keep "digging for gold" as they say, Not to mention, the name of the band is pretty great. I hope to see them perform soon.

    Maybe Kapowski and Run Dan Run can have a play date sometime in the 2012 era? (Eh?)


Oh. A few weeks back, right before I went on the road with the Highlife, we kicked off the week of shows with a set at Vaudeville Park. At this particular "gig", I met a young lady. Her name was Elana. It just so happens that she makes really hot electro-pop jams. She has a project called "Vernous". Check it. The songs are salty/sweet, energetic, very genuine and I think her passion for this kind of music comes through the mix quite well. Turn it up or keep it low. I recommend it to my friends who try channeling Depeche Mode, The Knife and Fever Ray among other audio wizardry. My favorite track thusfar is this. C'est si bon. 

In the same evening, I met a filmmaker named Mollie McKinley whose work I find very intriguing. I would go so far as to call it playfully haunting work. She directed and shot a video for a Jason Ajemian/Highlife tune called "Slide Life" which debuted that evening.
Check it.

Ok. I know this is probably a long-way off, but there are people, around the world... who believe that there might be another No Doubt album coming out this year. I am one of those people. I'm not losing sleep over this as of yet, and I don't want to jinx it, but I think about it sometimes. I... I... think about it.

    Via Audio is another band with a new album in the pot. Put your hands up. They're so rad. 
Go Brooklyn!

Snack-Time Tip Of The Day

    When pouring the final bits of crumbs from a potato chip or cookie bag into one's mouth, it is usually a good idea to close one's eyes.


Thank you for taking time to check in and to read my rants about some of the more positive fleeting moments in my day-to-day. There have been dark times, too. We shall save those tales for chatting over a couple of pints of various dark liquids... soon. I promise to stop saying, "Check it". Check it. Doh. 

Nicholas M. Jenkins