You Never Know When You’re Gonna Need a New 7″

December 10, 2009

Words by Erin Wolf

Margaret Stutt gives the term ‘busy bee’ a facelift. The Milwaukee accordionist/pianist known as Pezzettino has been in non-stop motion since last year, writing, recording and performing. Although Stutt’s most recent release, Lion, had her on a relentless tour schedule, she still managed to churn out countless creative and energetic videos to accompany her songs and special request videos for her fans. The above video heralds Pezzettino’s forthcoming single “You Never Know”, this time pairing up the visual with a classic audio format — vinyl.

This Friday, “You Never Know” will be available on 7″ at Hot*Pop and Stutt takes it a performance-art-step further by having local artist Dwellephant hand-paint each sleeve of each 7″ purchased at the release, demonstrating her love for combining the artistic with the musical. Stutt talks to Fan-belt about dropping her new tracks on wax, performance art penchants and guerrilla-tactic video editing.

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Historic Jawbox performance preempted by WTMJ 4 to talk about frozen water from the sky

December 9, 2009

Words by DJ Hostettler

Seriously, WTMJ? Seriously? OK, we get it–you’re a bunch of squares who don’t understand the magnitude of legendary DC post-hardcore indie-rockers Jawbox reuniting after 12 years to perform a one-off reunion on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Fine. But would it have killed you to wait 90 damn seconds until the end of what was a thrilling rendition of “Savory” off the band’s just-reissued and remastered For Your Own Special Sweetheart to butt into the broadcast with a weather update that basically amounted to “yep–still snowing”? Really? God forbid you preempt a commercial instead of, you know, actual programming. Seminal 1990s rock gods be damned–Aunt Portia needs to know if she should bring in the chrysanthemums, and the station gots bills ta’ pay.

Thank Christ the Internet is a thing where video exists, otherwise WTMJ would have their own mini-Heidi incident on their hands (by “mini,” I mean they would be sure to get a solid dozen emails AT LEAST from angry viewers such as myself). In case you missed tonight’s Jawbox reunion, or, ya know, you just missed the last friggin’ minute and a half of it, you can find the on-air performance of “Savory,” as well as web-only jams “68” and “FF=66,” on the Late Night blog. Oh, and if you missed the most recent weather report, look out a friggin’ window.

Point/Counterpoint: King Khan & BBQ at Mad Planet, 12.1.09

December 6, 2009

Both DJ Hostettler and Abbie Amadio attended last Tuesday’s Mad Planet show, and came out of it with differing takes on the evening. Here’s a Fan-Belt point/counterpoint on the merits of The King Khan & BBQ Show.

DJ Hostettler: I’m late to the party on the King Khan and BBQ Show. Associates of mine have been singing their praises for a while now, and finally, I made my way to one of their shows—last Tuesday’s gig at Mad Planet with Murfreesboro, TN’s Those Darlins and Milwaukee’s Drugs Dragons—based solely on hype. OK, people, let’s see what the big deal is here. Unfortunately, as I write this on Thursday night, I’m still wondering. Read the rest of this entry »

Recap: Melt-Banana at High Noon Saloon, Madison, 12.2.09

December 4, 2009

Image courtesy Skin Graft Records

Words by DJ Hostettler

Melt-Banana claim to be from Tokyo, but I’ve long suspected that it’s a cover for their true identities as time-displaced creatures who sprung fully formed from the atomic blast at Hiroshima, ready to throw spastic blasts of hardcore noise-punk at anything that moved. How else can one explain such a frantic, inhuman-sounding band? It must be true—they were once normal human beings who were atomized and reconstituted as super-powered, fourth-dimensional beings, Dr. Manhattan-style.

If my theory is false, well, I leave it to you to explain their consistently radioactive live show, which skipped Milwaukee (boooo!) and dropped an H-bomb squarely on Madison’s High Noon Saloon on Wednesday night. An eager (but not sold out—WTF, Madison) throng gathered in front of the stage to watch the Wisconsin debut of “Melt-Banana Lite,” which essentially can be summarized as “Three members of Melt-Banana spazz out like Original Recipe Melt-Banana, only with samplers, Theremin and Korg Kaossilator instead of guitars.” Perhaps as a play on the “Lite” conceit, the band performed this set almost entirely in the dark, save for a few handheld mini-flashlights illuminating the stage. The “Lite” set actually included a number of M-B Classic numbers from their most recent full-length, Bambi’s Dilemma, including the goofy “Dog Song.”

After the three-piece did their thing, Rika Hamamoto grabbed her bass and the performance moved seamlessly into the opening bass riff of “Shield Your Eyes, a Beast in the Well of Your Hand” from 2003’s Cell-Scape. The bulk of the set pulled from these two most recent full-lengths (c’mon, guys, bring back some stuff from Charlie! Throw us a bone here!), but was classic Melt-Banana: vocalist Yasuko Onuki yipping and yelping over Agata’s interdimensional guitar riffs and effects while the drummer keeps his extraneous motions to a minimum, lest he fall over dead from exhaustion after keeping the band rolling at about 500 BPMs for an hour. When watching Agata play guitar, it’s hard to decide what’s more thrilling—focusing on his hands or his feet as he frantically stomps his arsenal of approximately 60 pedals, all set to “VAPORIZE.”

The crowd response was a slow burn, starting with head-bobbing and building to full-on mosh pit by the encore, which included a bafflingly rad cover of “Monkey Man” by Toots & The Maytals (What?). But hey, M-B have always excelled at pulling out the genius mind-blowing cover somewhere in the set (previous tours have featured defibrillating versions of Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge” and Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”). By the end of the night, Madtown was properly sweaty and shins were aching—it’s hard to keep your balance while simultaneously dancing and keeping yourself upright against a throng of drunk slam dancers, to say nothing of the atomic blast coming from the stage. As the crowd spilled out into the December night, one could only hope Melt-Banana would be back before the fallout has time to settle. Getting to see one of the best live bands in the world only once every two years or so, after all, is downright torturous when you only exist in three dimensions.