The Raveonettes @ Webster Hall, NYC

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It may have been record freezing cold temperatures in New York City last night, but it could not get cooler inside Webster Hall where Danish group THE RAVEONETTES headlined.

Guitarist/vocalist Sune Rose Wagner and his cohort, the striking Sharin Foo [(who is now a mother)](also on guitars/vocals), brilliantly served their sound to a hungry audience. That sound being the trashy love child of early American rock and roll and distorted post-punk – plenty of feedback please.

Unlike previous U.S. tours which took a much more minimalist approach, with Sune and Sharin taking turns on guitars and drums, on this go they brought a four piece band on the road to strengthen their towering wall of sound.

The set tended to focus on their latest release, last year’s Lust Lust Lust. However, the band did touch upon tracks from earlier albums such as 2002’s EP Whip It On and 2005’s homage to classic rock and pop from decades past, Pretty in Black. Highlights from the night included the girl group style of “Dead Sound” and “Love in a Trashcan” to the toe-tapping electro rock of “Twilight.” They ended the night with an encore of the oh-so-sexy “Aly, Walk With Me”.

(Orignally posted on Brooklyn Vegan, January 17, 2009)

http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2009/01/the_raveonettes_8.html

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THE ETTES: Look At Life Again (Album Review)

One part Nancy Sinatra/Shangri-Las-type vocals. One part distorted guitars. Add a driving beat, stir, and there you have it — The Ettes are back with a new album full of garage rock grooves that will have you twisting in no time.

Released last month, Look At Life Again Soon picks up where 2006’s Shake The Dust left off. Rather than going off and experimenting with unknown sounds or embracing new technology, the band continue their quest for the rock-n-roll holy grail. Recorded in London with producer Liam Watson at the helm, The Ettes (made up of lead singer Lindsay Hames, guitarist Jeremy Cohen and drummer Maria Silver) honed their talents by fusing a Spector-esque wall of sound with fuzzy, lo-fi guitars. The end result can go toe-to-toe with any of their contemporaries such as The Kills, The White Stripes and the Detroit Cobras.

The standout track is the last on the record. While not as upbeat as most of the other songs on life, the goth-country Where Your Loyalties Lie provides the listener with a sound reminiscent of post-punk roots music (think early gun club) underlined by an echoing, menacing guitar riff.
The standout track is the last on the record. While not as upbeat as most of the other songs on life, the goth-country Where Your Loyalties Lie provides the listener with a sound reminiscent of post-punk roots music (think early gun club) underlined by an echoing, menacing guitar riff.

At just under half an hour, my only complaint is that the album is too short. However, what it lacks in length, it makes up for in timeless rock.

The Ettes will be playing two area shows later this month —
sat 9/13/08 – Williamsburg Music Hall
tue 9/16/08 – Mercury Lounge

STEPHEN SPROUSE – ROCK ON MARS

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How many people can say they designed stage outfits for their downstairs neighbor [Blondie’s Debbie Harry], collaborated with artists and designers, [Keith Haring, Marc Jacobs, etc.] and hobnobbed with icons of the art world [Andy Warhol]. Well, Stephen Sprouse could.

Rock on Mars is a retrospective exhibition of Sprouse’s (1953-2004) wide range of work, from neon clothing, pop-influenced paintings, fabrics designed for Knoll, fashion sketches displayed under black light and a floor to ceiling wall of Polaroids.

Stephen Sprouse’s name is synonymous with 1980s New York City. He successfully fused the downtown punk rock/club kid sensibility associated with haunts like CBGBs and Mudd Club with uptown quality and recognition. His fashions are instantly recognizable and added much needed character to a city that is known for embracing an all-black uniform. For Sprouse, it wasn’t just a little splash of color – it was an all out day-glo assault.

His professional career ebbed and flowed but he experienced a resurgence when he joined forces with Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton with his graffiti-ed monogram bags in 2001. Jacobs resurrected his late friend’s designs for a new limited edition collection now available in Vuitton stores across the globe.

The show at Deitch Projects also coincides with The Stephen Sprouse Book, the first major book detailing Stephen’s work. The publication is available in four different day-glo colors, a subtle homage to the 1987 Rockbird album cover he designed for Miss Harry.

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Rock on Mars Exhibition: January 09, 2009 — February 28, 2009

Deitch Projects
18 Wooster Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 941-9475

Blondie: Parallel Lines 30th Anniversary Tour

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To commemorate the 30th anniversary of their landmark album, Parallel Lines, punk/new wave icons Blondie played a sold-out hometown gig Sunday, June 22, at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square.

Named after an unfinished poem written by Debbie Harry, Blondie tore through each song from Parallel Lines for the first half of their set and rounded out the second part with a mixture of greatest hits, a few covers and a smattering of Miss Harry’s recent solo work. Strutting onto the stage to the opening chords of “Hanging on the Telephone,” punk rock’s original bombshell looked beautifully surreal and decades younger than her 62 years. With her trademark blonde bob and clad in a slinky silver & black dress, Debbie effortlessly transformed stage personas with the blink of an eye – from seductively cooing on songs like the eerie “Fade Away and Radiate” and the sweet “Sunday Girl” to thrashing around like a rag doll to rock classics like “One Way or Another” and “Call Me.” But this was no solo effort – Harry was joined by original bandmates Chris Stein (guitar) and Clem Burke (drums), who also had their shining moments throughout the night. Rounding out the rest of the band were guitarist Paul Carbonara, bassist Leigh Foxx, and newcomer Matt Katz Bohen of New York’s Daddy, who filled in for keyboardist Kevin Patrick.

Opening act, the L.A.-based Miss Derringer, warmed up the crowd in anticipation of its hometown heroes. Lead singer Liz McGrath was a direct descendant of Debbie Harry’s dynamic frontwoman lineage. Heavily influenced by the roots of rock n roll, the band blended country, ’60s girl group pop and blues.

Starting over 30 years ago in New York City, Blondie emerged from the CBGB punk scene alongside the Ramones, Talking Heads and Television. While these bands may have initially enjoyed critical success, Blondie went from being the band least likely to succeed to evolving into the most commercially successful of that era. With crossover hits such as “Heart of Glass,” “The Tide is High,” and “Rapture,” their styles spanned the gamut. They were the visionaries that brought punk, disco, reggae and even hip-hop into the mainstream charts – years before Aerosmith’s rap-rock fusion with Run-DMC. They disbanded in the early ’80s only to re-emerge in 1999 with their album No Exit and number one single “Maria.” Since then, they have released three other albums and have toured on and off, both in the US and abroad.

As a lead singer, Debbie was an original – fusing innocence with aggression and femininity with overt sexuality. She created a complex stage character that could rival male counterparts like Iggy and Bowie. Her influence can still be detected in today’s frontwomen, such as Gwen Stefani, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Gossip’s Beth Ditto and, of course, Madonna. punk/new wave icons Blondie played a sold-out hometown gig Sunday, June 22, at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square.
Blondie will wrap up their Parallel Lines tour at the end of the month in Wisconsin before heading across the globe to the UK, MidEast and Russia. For more info check out Blondie.net or http://www.myspace.com/blondie

Set list

Parallel Lines album

“Whiteout”

“Screaming Skin”

“Necessary Evil”

“Prescience, Dear”

“Rapture/No Exit”

Encore:

“The Tide is High”

“My Heart Will Go On” (Celine Dion cover)

“Get Off My Cloud” (Rolling Stones cover)

Juxtapoz Magazine: I’m no Liza Minnelli: An Interview with Liz Mcgrath


Liz McGrath (Juxtapoz #83) is one of the most badass artists we know. When she’s not tearing it up alongside her husband Morgan Slade, with whom she plays in the band Miss Derringer, this daring artist is busy creating sculptures and paintings infused with emotion and obvious dedication to craft that prove visually arresting to almost any viewer.

Liz has exhibited her work around the globe but Shadowless Summer will her first solo show in New York, which is why Daniel Alonso snagged some talk time with this bold lady to ask her about her craft and why she’s “No Liza Minelli.”

Read the entire interview with Liz McGrath (and peep her very latest works) below:

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“I’m No Liza Minnelli” – An Interview with Liz McGrath
By Daniel Alonso

Elizabeth McGrath currently lives and works in Los Angeles with her husband Morgan Slade, with whom she plays in the band Miss Derringer, as well as her two tiny hairless dogs Blue and King Tut. Her artwork can be found in myriad publications, including a published collection of past works entitled “Everything that Creeps.” She has exhibited her work around the globe and “Shadowless Summer” is her first solo show in New York.

In the beginning, did you initially find it difficult to enter the art world or did being a self-taught artist and your innocence to the realm of fine art work in your favor?


Actually, it was through music that I really broke into the art world! My band at the time was asked to perform for an art show and when they came by to drop off postcards for the event, I was working on a piece for a friend and they invited me to hang it in the show. The piece sold at the event to then curator (and now gallerist) Greg Escalante, who invited me to participate in his future shows. I actually met Greg through his brother Joe (of California hardcore punk band The Vandals) whom I had met while interviewing for my fanzine at the time, Censor This. Also, I had worked on several music videos that also kind of gave me a lucky break.

I noticed on your website that you taught an art class affiliated with the program Room 13. What does it mean for you to connect with young students and expose them to a type of art they may not have encountered otherwise?

I think it is important for young people to have as much exposure to art as they can. It may be something they fall in love with or connect deeply with but they would never know unless projects like Room 13 exist. It’s especially important, as a lot of schools have closed their art departments because of the financial situation the world is in right now. For me, art is a way of life and something I value very much and I find it sad to think that some people may never know that feeling, only because the resources don’t exist for them. That is why I want to help out as much as possible with programs like this.

Along with being a visual artist, you are also the lead singer of the L.A. based band Miss Derringer. What medium did you discover first – art or music?

I was always in bands, so I’m going to go with music but I always had my hand in some sort of creative job. My aunt had a restaurant/bar and I would tie bows on vases for a nickel when I was young. When I was a teenager I airbrushed t-shirts in the mall and did glass engraving and window displays; I always had some kind of odd art job to make ends meet. I put together a punk fanzine with friends and started to take printmaking classes at Pasadena City College in order to make posters and t-shirts for my band and zine. Through the people I met working on Censor This and such, I found work in the art departments for indie films and music videos that led to art directing and styling, particularly with stop motion animation. I feel it all kind of went hand in hand.

Do you consider yourself more of an artist or musician or do you not see a difference between the two worlds?

I am definitely a better artist then musician!! But I love being in a band. Luckily for me my husband Morgan Slade is an amazing songwriter and he writes songs that I fall in love with so they are very easy for me to jump into and to be able to play next to him and travel is like a dream come true . . . but I’m no Liza Minnelli!

I would love to merge more of my art into the music and I’m hoping to have more of a chance for that in the future through videos, stage sets, costumes . . . its just been a time issue.

I have noticed quite a few visual similarities from seeing you onstage as your Miss Derringer character (top hats, spats, etc.) and a lot of your work. Does your persona motivate your art or vice-versa?

Well that’s thanks to my talented friends – Adele Mildred, Winter Rosebudd and Aileen Duke. Most of my friends are fashion designers so I’ll have a rough idea for an outfit and they help me put it together. When I’m working on a big art show (my shows in L.A. are usually huge because my gallery out here has a lot of space) I try to get as many of my designer friends on board as I can and have them design clothes for a creature or two. I love working with other people and I feel that having extra ideas only adds to the overall look of things. I actually went to school for fashion but I am a horrible sewer so I never finished. However, I still love to design things.

Miss Derringer is based loosely on a fictitious character who is part femme fatale, part damsel in distress who sometimes lives in the Victorian Wild West, but also could be in a mob movie in the ‘60s . . . I try to think of movements and clothing that would be suiting for her but also that would fit my body type. I don’t think I’ve quite got her nailed yet – she’s probably the toughest art project I have going!

Your work is extremely detailed – from the beautifully morbid small-scale dioramas to the larger (but equally detailed) surreal sculptures. Firstly, where do you find your inspirations and from that initial spark, what is your subsequent creative process like?

I really can get an idea from anywhere. If I’m on a very tight deadline I take up to a week to physically go out and see every thing I possible can – plays, museums, movies, magazines, gardens, bands, readings, libraries, craft stores, second hand stores, wrecking yards, the desert, shopping centers, etc. Then I brainstorm for a title and start researching the Internet for things that might fall in line with the title, and my mind kind of throws up everything I’ve seen the previous week and hopefully with all of that I start to get an idea of what direction I want the work to go in and how to get it there. Next I sketch and once I’ve got it, I narrow down what pieces I want to do and from there I get materials and plan to not see the light of day for a few months!

On average, how long would it then take you to finish creating/sculpting one of your pieces?

A big piece can take up to a month and a small one a day or two; I’m very obsessive about finishing things. Once I start I can’t sleep until I’m finished. These ideas really haunt me at night and if I do get any sleep it’s like Christmas the next morning and I jump out of bed and run to the studio to finish!

A lot of the subjects or “characters” in your work are animals; you tend to steer clear of stereotypically cutesy animals in favor of two-headed weasels and rats tattooed with religious and cholo inspired body art (those are just a few examples). Why such the affinity for the little creatures?

Well, I do have two tiny hairless dogs! I think that animals (large or small) can symbolize a lot of things for people, and by using depictions of animals in my work, especially ones that are not “stereotypical”, I can say what I want to more clearly than if I depicted people or abstract shapes. I also really like animals and feel that they are the unwitting victims of a lot of human “progress” which my work deals with.

What is the basis for your first New York solo show “Shadowless Summer”?

My new work deals with issues that I feel are facing all of us these days, whether we choose to ignore them or not. The failed economic system that we have relied on, the silent victims both personal and environmental of our constant striving for social progress and personal wealth, and the increasing isolation we are all finding ourselves in, even as we believe that technology and media are making us more “connected.”

What was the response like to your last solo show, “Tears of the Crocodile”?

It was amazing! Iguapop is in a great location, in the Borne district of Barcelona, near the Picasso museum. There was great publicity for the show and tons of people came out. We had the best time out there and met up with some very talented artists who took us for tapas the Spanish way!

Apart from your new exhibit, do you have any upcoming projects on the horizon or is a vacation overdue?

I have a solo show In L.A. the end of this year at BSFA and Miss Derringer will be touring this summer. I’ve recently fallen in love with ceramics and plan on taking more classes. . .and we do have a vacation planned for Ireland this June!

“Shadowless Summer” opening reception will take place Wednesday April 15th, 7 – 9pm at the Sloan Fine Art Gallery in New York.

For more info visit: www.sloanfineart.com or www.elizabethmcgrath.com