I used to think that rock and roll was dead. Hell, I thought music was dead, mostly because I didn’t get my cochlear implants until about four months ago, and no one told me that sounds could make patterns, or that you can make patterns out of sounds…I don’t know which comes first. That’s why after a few months with my implants, I asked my best friend Richard Solven “What show should I go to now that I can hear?” Richard immediately said “Scrotumger’s Cat,” to which I inquired “William Shatner?” “Scrotumger’s Cat.” “Scrotum in my mouth?” At this point, my Nana walked in and told me I would no longer be included in her will.
It was a crisp day in January and dandruff was falling from the sky as I fantasized about licking Ally Sheedy’s tattered scalp. I took the L to a venue on 17 Meadow Street called The Paper Box. For those of you who don’t know about The Paper Box, you should. The venue has historical significance – Tobias Yelin (the bastard child of the late Frederick C. Koch) founded it in the 1950s. The venue started as a nonprofit bebop enclave. The venue claimed that its proceeds went to NASA but in actuality funded the Russians who would later play a big role in igniting the space race in 1958. Interestingly, the venue is single-handedly responsible for the Soviet-launched November 3, 1957 Mission. The mission sent the first ‘being’ (Laika the Space Dog) aboard a Sputnik 8K71PS Rocket. What is left of Laika’s withered, overheated body is still orbiting our great cosmic expanse today. How did Laika die, you ask? Well, that’s another story.
As I walked into the Paper Box, I got a paper cut. I was curious as to why a recent renovation of the venue was done in such a spirit of contrived structural literalism, so I asked Jessie, a middle-aged punk who was working the door, what “the deal” was.
Jessie: Well, we figured if we made the venue out of paper it would last longer.
Me: What about rain?
Jessie: We have a tent, we don’t have yuppie replant, yada, yada, gentrification. It’s more mobile this way.
Me: Is that bacterial or viral?
Jessie: Definitely viral.
Me: How much is the cover?
Jessie: Ten shillings and 3 fingers.
Jessie took out a butcher knife, the kind of butcher knife you fantasize about Ally Sheedy holding while she gives you a multi-dimensional-blowy as you cry out in ecstasy “YOKO ONO WHERE IS MY TOOTHPASTE.” She chopped off three of my fingers and I screamed “BONO IS A FRUIT TART BASTARD”.
Jessie: You may enter.
I walked down a long white hallway that twitched in unison with what sounded like the plucking of strings. I entered a room of pit-stained t-shirts and velvet scarves surrounding a circular stage. I heard arpeggios and human suffering. I made my way through the crowd. I could only make out two band members through the necks of a couple that did not feel the need to grope each other in public; perhaps they were cousins…
One band member was delicately playing the acoustic guitar and the other was plucking a rubber band that was wrapped around the schlong of a cleanly shaved athlete. It was astounding, it was beautiful, it was authentic, and it was art. Two seconds later it was over. The athlete left the stage and the rubber band plucker sat crisscross applesauce center of the stage and said “Originality is feigned, authenticity is the noblest virtue.” In unison the crowd responded, “Authenticity is arts’ clitoris.” The guitar player yelled “You may rest,” and the crowd lay down on the venue’s floor.
This was not just a band, it was a philosophy. So, I obliged.
I lay down on the floor and the guitar player began to hum as the rubber band plucker punched the stage and screamed “MOMMY WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME.” I heard the sound of bells and the squeals of guinea pigs. I looked up and nothing was on stage but a lonely old Filben Maestro 78RPm jukebox. I weaved through limp bodies and made my way to the bar. I asked the bartender for something fruity. “Seven shillings,” he said. I don’t remember how I got home, but the next day I woke up in my bed wearing a “Scrotumger’s Cat” t-shirt. I have since bought all of their albums. I recommend that you do too. In the meantime, check out these other bands. Let them fondle your cilia.
PLAYLIST: BONO IS A FRUIT TART BASTARD
#1 Vinny Miller-Breaking Out Of Your Arms (4AD)
4AD is a label that is responsible for empowering most of the bands that I hold dear (well, with the exception of Future Islands). Anyway, I often diddle around in 4AD archives, which is how I discovered this gem. This gem goes by the name of “Vinny Miller,” and at times by the moniker “Starry Smooth Hound. “While it’s no Scrotumger’s Cat, Vinny Miller could make your grandmother’s salt-water gurgles sound beautiful (that is, if he wanted to). Give him a listen.
#2 Bea: We’re like the Hard Born
Now, I’m going to be honest here, I am not a fan of the following track for ear reasons; I am a fan of this track for eye reasons. But dear god, if this isn’t the internet at its finest I don’t know what is. If you can appreciate Tim and Eric, you’ll probably appreciate this video.
#3 Debbie Chou: Little Prince
I recently discovered a band called “Slap Bracelets.” I saw them play live at the Rock Shop in Brooklyn and immediately got that “oh shit” feeling that dwells in the gut, forces out the ego, and leaves the body raw and the mind transfixed. The following song belongs to Debbie Chou (one of Slap Bracelets’ members). It is unsurprisingly delicious.
#4 Luluc: Tangled Heart
OHHHHHH Luluc my dear Luluc. What could I possibly say about Luluc? Let’s just say I’m not thoroughly convinced that someone would be able to tell the difference between the facial expression of a person who just masturbated in a sauna and a person who just spent hours listening to Luluc.
#5 The Yin Yangs: Life in Space
The Yin Yangs are just an objectively cool band. They know how to play with texture and their vocals fly away, unrestrained in a helium infused tease, only to be tethered back down by the meatiest of riffs. MMMMMMM meat.
#6 Cat-People: Tea and Oranges
When I first listened to this song I was mid panic-attack. The guitar work is so grotesquely stunning it somehow taught me how to enjoy my own dyspnea…
#7 Red Temples: Intrepid
Red Temples is a band that not only recently won the “best punk- inspired surf-tinged psychedelic power-pop EP award,” they’ve also stolen America’s heart.
Disgruntled man: “Give America its heart back.”
Evan Moore: “It never had one.” *drops mic*
When I asked Evan Moore (a man with a seasoned musical lexicon) what he had to say about the following song, he had this to say: [it’s] a bad joke wrapped up in bad poetry that ends with a great punchline. It’s self-righteous garbage. Listen to the Stooges instead.
#8 Libel- Golden Child
Libel: a band that makes you angry at the world because it failed to tell you about them. They are so fucking refreshing and relieving because not only do they write sexy songs, they don’t hide behind anything. No excess drenching of reverb to mask mediocre vocals here sir! Just refreshing, dare I say minty, rock and roll. It’s probably going to be the least pretentious thing you have heard in a long time. You’re welcome.
#9 Meredith Monk: Vow
Last but certainly not least, I give you Meredith Monk’s “Vow.” However, I must warn you, this track may provoke some serious introspection. I would listen to it inside unless you’re okay with crying in public spaces.