Talking Heads

ROCKTOBER 2012: 1979 - All In All It Was Just Another Fool In The Rain

With 1979 we saw the end of an era. Foreshadowing electronica and more arena rock, the 1970s also showed us how to do the hustle and spit on our fans. We smashed guitars with Townshend and (years later) became immortalized by Billy Corgan in Smashing Pumpkins' hit "1979," and we saw a lot of new music and new faces with punk rock, disco, and everything in between. We lost Sid Vicious and Charles Mingus but saw the birth of Derek Trucks, Pete Wentz, Kris Kross, Macy Gray, Chris Daughtry and Bob Bryar of My Chemical Romance. It was a big year for music, rounding out the last decade of ROCK AND ROLL before it went down the path of becoming alternative, independent, underground, massively mainstream, English, and sad.

1979 gave us new bands from everyone between Bananarama and Modern English. Leaders of the Do-It-Yourself movement, Mission of Burma and Husker Du, got together; we saw the first EP from Def Leppard and Led Zeppelin’s In Through The Out Door, their final record of entirely new material released just before the too-soon death of legendary drummer John Bonham. And if you weren't rocking out to Cheap Trick's infamous At Budokan, you were learning how to skank with The Specials, the first of many British ska revival bands.

One of the greatest bands ever released Highway To Hell, the last AC/DC record to feature Bon Scott before he too, faded into the black.  Hell is FULL of ROCK including the title track - which you might also know from any commercial outlet ever including baseball games, TV commercials, movies and mixtapes – and the timeless “If You Want Blood (You Got It)”. 

ROCKTOBER 2012: 1977 - This is the Day of the Expanding Man

What a year. 1977 saw the first test flight of the Space Shuttle, the incorporation of Apple, and the release of the first personal computer—the Commodore PET. There were events that would affect the life-philosophies of little boys and girls for the foreseeable future—the release of the first Star Wars movie and of the Atari 2600. It saw the death of a King (Elvis) and the birth of a slayer (Sarah Michelle Gellar). It saw the completion of long projects, now no more--the Concorde and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center (designed to withstand and impact of a Boeing 707—a common commercial plane at the time). Steven Biko died in a South African jail, the first MRI scanner was tested in Brooklyn, and GPS was ushered in by the US government. All of these events had the effect of moving the collective to be better, to be different, to expand.

The effects of 1977 are still expanding popular music. Punk had its start a few years earlier, but the release of the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks. Here’s the Sex Pistols slammed the genre into the ears of complacent mid-1970’s “rock” music listeners with all the subtlety of a steel-toed boot. Rock had arguably lost a lot of the biting edge that had so wonderfully angered adults of the 1950’s. Unfortunately, Punk also meant a loss of virtuosity. The Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the Stranglers, Iggy Pop - all proved that you could make seriously compelling music without having studied at Berkley or Eastman. To this day though, hipsters often consider a band less than authentic if its members can actually play their instruments and exhibit this proficiency either on stage or in recordings. To quote one such lost soul overheard at a show at the 9:30 Club featuring some of the best musicians of this modern day: “they’re just wankin’ off.”

Live Music: Hospitality @ The Black Cat - 4/19/12

As the midway point of 2012 rapidly approaches, it becomes more and more clear which bands stand out and are going to be the ones remembered in this, the final year of everything, and which ones are simply going to fall by the wayside…much like the totality of humanity. For me, one band that not only easily stands out, but sits at the top of the list is Hospitality. Given shape in the forge of intelligent, witty songwriting and an ancient miasma of old school NYC punk/new wave truth, Hospitality has taken the lessons that bands like Television, Blondie and Talking Heads laid down, and brought the gospel back to the masses  - surely a sign that the end times are upon us.

I kid but marginally so. It’s true that Hospitality is by far my favorite of the crop of bands that have “debuted” (they actually have been around since 2008) or released new records in 2012, but after their performance at The Black Cat last Thursday, which was the second time I’ve seen them in as many months, I have to say – it’s getting a little frustrating to be a Hospitality fan. To be clear, they delivered a GREAT performance, there just seems to be something…missing.

INTERVIEW: Amber Papini of Hospitality

Earlier this year, the New York band Hospitality released what is shaping up to be one of the years best records. With songs like "Friends", "Betty Wang" and our personal favorite, "The Birthday", the band is on the fast track to indie superstardom, and shows no time of slowing up anytime soon.  Tonight they'll make a stop at DC's The Black Cat opening for label mate Eleanor Friedberger and as great as their songs are on record, we're pretty comfortable with letting you know that you ain't seen nothing yet. 

A few months ago we had the chance to chat with singer/guitarist/songwriter Amber Papini a few months ago and she let us in on some of the history of the band, band crushes how making a their debut record took a mighty, mighty long time. Here's what she had to say.

I read that you guys actually wrote a lot of material for this record a while ago, and didn't quite get into the full-time band business until recently. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Yeah, sure. I wrote the songs over, I guess 2008 to 2009, and then we recorded in 2010. We started out…we recorded this EP in 2008 with [producer] Karl Blau, and wegot things going with that. And then in 2009 Brian got this opportunity to tour with White Rabbits, so he took that and it basically turned into like 2 years of him touring. So we were actually ready to be in the studio and record in 2009 but we just couldn't. It was between Brian's schedule, and then the studio’s that we wanted to work with schedule, and it just never happened so we just had to wait. And then when we did finally get in the studio, we were working with a guy who was sort of really busy. The same time he was recording us he was recording Sleigh Bells I think, so we were paying him discount prices and we were getting like… we had to do this very quickly and we really had to wait for the mixes.