We’re So Cool: The Professional Critics v. Bikini Kill


Last month, Bikini Kill released the 20th-anniversary edition of their self-titled debut EP on their new eponymous label.

Dischord Records commemorated the occasion on its website; Ian MacKaye produced the record and was an early fan of the band. Coincidentally, in a Nov. 20 interview with The A.V. Club’s Marah Eakin, Kathleen Hanna compared herself to a “female Ian MacKaye, but with fewer morals.” Spin ran an entertaining oral history of the band’s first years. (Best part: Justin Trosper of Unwound’s anecdote about flunking high-school English after bringing Kathleen Hanna to speak to his class.)

All the requisite fanfare for a big-deal reissue, in other words. And as far as rock music goes, Bikini Kill is undoubtedly an important record. It provided inspiration to thousands of listeners; it rightly made a lot of detractors very uncomfortable, particularly in hardcore. Even in the late 1990s, an era hardcore fans remember for political correctness—in both the Old Left and Fox News senses of the term—run amok, columnists admitted or confessed to liking Bikini Kill in such right-on zines as HeartattaCk and Maximumrocknroll. It ushered in new discussions about gender politics, sexism, and sexuality in rock—punk and “alternative” rock especially, which so often believed themselves to be beyond criticism in that regard. It was confrontational. It was direct. In a very real sense, it had not been done before.

Yes, truly a groundbreaking release. What gets overlooked, though, in Bikini Kill’s historical significance, is the music itself. And let’s be real: the music isn’t there yet.

Continue reading…

KC’s Music Monday: The Chronicles

The Chronicles are feel-good music. The Albany-based six-piece (with occasional guests) combine a variety of genres, taking elements of modern and classic jazz, hip hop, funk and R&B, and blend it into their signature feel-good sound.

I’ve caught the Chronicles live several times over the years, including at the Big Up festival, the Bella Terra festival and at the BeatShot music fest, and have always enjoyed myself. Like I said, feel-good music.

This Friday marks their long-anticipated debut with their first full studio album, which is appropriately self-titled. I was a bit surprised to learn that this is their first full-length endeavor but I also think that helps add to the value of the album, especially considering how impeccable their live sets consistently are.

Comprised of Bryan Brundige (trombone), Jeff Nania (flute, alto and tenor saxophone), Justin Henricks (guitar), Daniel Lawson (bass), Andrae Surgick (drums) and Tyrone Hartzog (keyboards/piano/organ), the combination of various instrumentation is done so well that each instrument can be heard individually and one sound doesn’t overpower another. The Chronicles build with balance; some tracks feature heavy vocals, while others will have a keyboard or brass-focused solo and it’s never “too much” of anything.

I find the Chronicles to be welcoming and fresh in their sounds, appealing to people who don’t listen to that much jazz music in general – they’ve got something for everyone. So don’t be afraid of the word jazz. It’s more than that. The Chronicles make me want to listen to more jazz-influenced music – or rather – their new album on repeat. For the rainy day we had today, if I wasn’t listening to their album all day, I’m pretty sure I’d be in some kind of a mood by now. It’s upbeat and full of charm, while also being beautifully composed and a bit spontaneous at the same time.

Do yourself a favor and check them out this Friday at the Bayou Cafe alongside Mr. Breakdown for their official CD release party. Doors are at 8pm. Pick up their new album while you’re at it and see for yourself if you can put it down.

KAB picks:“Triumph,” “Rain Drops,” and “Suburban Grind.”

Don’t forget: parking permit system in Albany actually going to happen

Remember this? Albany’s residential parking permit system? Well, it’s actually going to happen and a tentative date has been set for enforcement. January 15th.

As you may have noticed, signs have begun to be installed throughout the area after months of the city talking about it. According to the Times Union, the system is tentatively scheduled to begin on January 15th so you’re going to want to get your parking permit before then.

Here’s what you need:

– Proof of residency, your driver’s license, your car’s registration. Full info see here.
– $25 (or $35 if you want to get a guest pass in addition)
– Patience (because you have to go to City Hall and that’s never fun)

Don’t put it off like I probably will.

Quality events for this weekend vol. 68

Friday, December 7th

First Friday! Be sure to check 8th Annual Members Show at the Albany Center Gallery, for a show consisting of all the ACG’s members work.

First Friday at Fuzz: Local art and tunes form Tall A$$ Matt, White Lotus and Paul Nice at the cities best record store.

40 Broadway Changed My Life: The last big jammer at a space that has shaped the Albany art and music scene for a long time.

Goonies and Gremlins: Goonies, then Gremlins, at Proctors. Can’t go wrong with these classics.

Vinylmania at Eldas: Time for Round Two! 40s, 50s, and 60s dance music, all on spinning plastic plates. Weird.

Break Science at Valentines: Electronic jams at Albany’s CBGBs.

Saturday, December 8th

The Santa Speedo Sprint: You know what this is! And it’s for a good cause.

Winter WonderLARK: Outdoor holiday market and all sorts of festive wares.

Such Gold, A Wilhelm Scream, After the Fall, Drug Church, Pentimento and Broken Field Runner at Valentine’s: All star local line-up with some great out of towners. Not a show to miss.

The Point Winter Semi-Formal: Trumaster spiining some tunes while you dance your behind off in some fancy-ass clothing.

Tight Knit: Get your holiday gifts sorted out locally.

Sunday, December 9th

2-for-1 at McGeary’s: Trumaster. Cheap drinks.

The Adventures of Kaila and the Kid in Albany

Earlier this week, I was introduced to the Adventures of Kaila and the Kid, who are a pair of individuals who combine the art of beatboxing and rapping at the same time. Based out of New York City, the duo has been taking advantage of what the city of Albany has to offer better than the locals.

Not many can pull off a tour in Albany hitting up a different venue every night of the week performing their craft to a varied audience but so far Kaila and the Kid have done so with adaptive ease.

On Monday, they performed at Tierra‘s open mic, which is a weekly event with a sign-up beginning at 6:30pm. Tuesday night, Justin’s played host and tonight, they will be performing in between sets at the weekly residency the Deadbeats hold down at Valentine’s.

Tonight’s event begins at 10pm and Kaila and the Kid will go on perhaps around 11:45pm. Get there.

If you can’t make it out tonight, you can catch Kaila and the Kid at the Hudson River Coffee House for their open mic tomorrow evening. Wrapping up the week, the two will be performing as part of the Gift Wrapped in Sound benefit at the Bayou Cafe alongside Mirk, Goldtooth and others this Friday. Additionally, the two will be joining in on the fun as part of the goodbye bash for 40 Broadway. Full event information can be found as featured on KAB last week.

KAB pro tip: Spend some time on their YouTube channel if you aren’t already intrigued.

KC’s Music Monday: Captain Murphy


That’s what Flying Lotus tweeted following the reveal that he in fact has been the man behind the elusive moniker Captain Murphy during a performance with Earl Sweatshirt this past Wednesday. The brilliant bastard.

For some backstory: back in July, a collaboration between Flying Lotus and Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt came out, called “Between Friends,” and featured a then-new-to-the-scene Captain Murphy, who was portrayed as a cartoon rap villain thought to maybe be the formerly-elusive Tyler, The Creator, among other speculations.

Two weeks ago, Captain Murphy put out a 35-minute mix tape, called Duality, which features production from well-known players TNGHT, Flying Lotus, Madlib and Just Blaze that got quite the hype in the time following.

Last Wednesday, in Los Angeles, a local mystery rapper (Captain Murphy)announced he’d be playing alongside Earl Sweatshirt at Low End Theory and people got so excited that at the venue, a line formed hours before doors began. I’m sure the whole thing was a mad scene to witness. During the end of the performance, Captain Murphy, wearing a sequined gold cape and a ski mask, said, “Just between us,” revealing his identity. Straight grinning and advising the audience to “tell no one.” You can watch some live footage here.

The Duality mix tape was originally released as one long .mp3 but now courtesy of DatPiff, you can download the original mix into 16 tracks, with artwork, instrumentals and bonus tracks.

Download it. And listen to it.

That is all.