Posts Tagged ‘Big Troubles’

Visitation Rites Is Taking a Space Vacay

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Dear readers,

It’s been a long time since we skipped town, and Art Van Delay Industrees’ beginner’s space travel package was just too sweet to pass up. We’ll be back by Monday, August 16. For those of you who will be in Brooklyn while we’re gone, the Underwater Peoples showcase at Shea Stadium next Saturday should be the ultimate celebration of these summer dog days. As you take a breather on the balcony, we’ll be smiling down on you from the dark side of the moon.


The Visitation Rites Family

Underwater Peoples Summer Showcase 2010
Saturday, August 14th — $5 — Doors at 7pm
Shea Stadium — 20 Meadow St, Brooklyn, 11206

No Demons Here
Big Troubles
Family Portrait
Julian Lynch
Andrew Cedermark
Alex Bleeker and the Freaks
Air Waves
Fluffy Lumbers

Food will be made available by Last Action Hero (Mobile Deli Unit)

Pre-order tickets here.

Sightings: Big Troubles, “Bite Yr Tongue” Video

Friday, July 30th, 2010


Is Ridgewood, New Jersey beginning to take itself less seriously? Not Ridgewood the place, but Ridgewood the press construct, the suburban Never Never Land of slurpie-drinkin’, beach-combin’ Lost Boys who move home after college because trying to find a job right now really sucks? Monday’s new Ducktails video marked the descent of Jersey Shore indie rock aesthetics into smiling self-parody. With their new video for “Bite Yr Tongue,” dropped last night from the Olde English Spelling Bee dungeon, Matt Mondanile’s tour buddies (and 2010 backing band) suggests that the younger generation of Ridgewood artists is probably even more fed-up — and more in on the joke — than he is. Starring some of the finest fast-food establishments in Northern New Jersey, Spencer Davis‘ visuals make Ridgewood life seem pretty easy breezy until you blow too much of your parents’ money on rippers from Rutt’s Hut and you have to make a mad dash for the porto potty. Big Troubles indeed.

Underwater Visitations Episode #7: The Maids Episode

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

When I stumbled upon Maids at a one-off Upstairs CD-R show at Coco66 this Spring, I remember stopping dead in my tracks, covering my ears in pain, and being unable to stop mouthing the words, “Abandon All Hope All Ye Who Enter.” Behind a suffocating wall of smoke, the 2-man rhythm section of New Jersey’s Big Troubles could be seen down on the ground in matching child’s poses, bowing in deference before a projection of a giant floating head — not unlike the Wizard himself, pictured above. I could barely make out what type of gear they were using, but the squall they produced was so debilitatingly loud that I couldn’t help remembering the one time I saw Whitehouse play and actually experienced the sensation of my ear drums being stretched to the ripping point. Funny thing, is Maids sound like nothing like Whitehouse. As I learned when Sam Franklin (also of No Demons here) rolled up to Newtown radio last Sunday, they simply layer purring drones and lackadaisical pentatonic keyboard scales until the room gets so saturated with sound that you actually end up getting a little scared. Probably all the more so because they are clean-cut surburban dudes who play in indie rock bands and show up on stage with their shirts tucked in.

Underwater Visitations Episode #7: The Maids Episode
Download the entire episode here.

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Playlist after the jump.

Underwater Visitations Episode #4: The Big Troubles Episode

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Live, Big Troubles kick up such a sandstorm that it’s hard to remember that the band began as a bedroom recording project — or, rather, two separate bedroom recording projects, two hermetic hearts that began beating as one when high school buds Alex Craig and Ian Drennan got together last summer and decided to start a band. When the duo rolled up to Newtown Radio last Thursday, the station — recently fitted with a deluxe leather couch and a fridge filled with junk food and sodas — felt homey enough to bring us back to the days when the guitar-playing and songwriting half of Big Troubles had yet to round out into a full rock line-up.

Alex and Ian played out of the same guitar amplifier, sung out of the same mic, and babbled away in the kind of half-English vernacular you probably remember sharing only a few times in your life with one or two very close friends. They couldn’t seem more like two peas in a pod — which is why I was slightly disconcerted when, following the set, Alex presented us with a hand-drawn Venn diagram designed to represent their friendship: two giant circles labeled “Alex” and “Ian,” with only a tiny sliver of overlap at the center. I can’t remember what they said the middle part represented, but I think it had something to do with food. Whatever the reality of the situation may be, I like to think of the Venn diagram as a nice metaphor for the way their instruments interact in the episode you hear below: two runaway orbs of screaming guitar noise, colliding here and there into the shape of a song. At times they overlap a little too much, sharpening into points of feedback — but that’s kind of where the magic begins.

For those of you who tuned in for the first hour of last week’s show and were a little freaked out to discover a rambling discussion between a man with a heavy French accent and a panel of small children, please be cautioned: we don’t know why or how, but Underwater Visitations was hacked! Luckily, we were able to rescue the true-blue episode from the Newtown Radio archives — including a first hour of jams by Ari Stern and yours truly, and a Big Troubles-spun spool of semi-mainstream ’80s gold, which we proudly did not decide to censor.

“Underwater Visitations Episode #4: The Big Troubles Episode”

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Download the entire episode here .

Playlist after the jump.

Unofficial Backyard Memories, Installment #2: Big Troubles, “Slouch”

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Big Troubles- Live- SXSW- Micro-Pixel-Rites BBQ- Austin, TX- March 18, 2010 from Samantha Cornwell on Vimeo.

I have to admit that my favorite way to see Big Troubles is inside a darkly lit interior with the sound turned up just shy of shattering your ear drums. That liminal space between discovering yourself at the foot of a wall of sound the size of Stonehedge (replete with a secondary racket of screaming overtones) and no longer being able to hear anything at all (simply because the whole thing is too damn LOUD) is one the band wears well — especially since they manage to combine this effect with songwriting that that would already be something to write home to mom about, amplified or not. When they performed “Slouch” at the Micro-Pixel-Rites SXSW backyard showcase last week, I managed to find an invisible fault line across the center of the lawn where the sound funneled in a straight shot out of the amplifiers and into my ears. Seeing them for the first time in the light of day definitely spritzed some Sun-In on the whole Big Troubles experience, though I have to say that the Elysian setting somehow made their music even more inexplicably melancholic. Sigh.

Unofficial Backyard Memories, Installment #1: No Demons Here, “Cradles II”

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

No Demons Here – Live- Micro-Pixel-Rites BBQ- SXSW, Austin, TX March 18, 2010 from Samantha Cornwell on Vimeo.

Set-up time at the 2010 Micro-Pixel-Rites showcase flew by in a whirlwind of flying ice chips and quarter inch cables, but I do remember the moment when Big Troubles bassist Luka Usmiani squinted up at me from the concrete doorstep he was sitting on and quietly asked if he could perform an impromptu opening set as No Demons Here, his solo project. Sadly, I was on a wild bicycle chase after a renegade neighborhood taco stand when the showcase began and Luka stepped up to the mic, but the extreme close-ups in this video by Samantha Cornwell almost make me feel like I was there. I have to say: hiding beneath his sandy-brown forelock and seemingly taciturn demeanor is a wellspring of grumbling emotion that would make even Calvin Johnson weep. Never did I think I would breathe the words “Luka” and “roller-coaster ride” in the same sentence, but I think that is precisely what makes this rendition of “Cradles II” so riveting. On second thought, I guess it was already spelled out for me in the name.

A Family Affair: Micro-Pixel-Rites Unofficial Backyard Showcase, SXSW 2010

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Like the supremely chill afternoon of live music and bbq that the Underwater Peoples hosted at a cattle ranch outside of Austin the day before, MicroPixelRites’ SXSW debut on Thursday, March 18 was a family affair — and not only because it united a host of musicians, label people, and “blogger types” who were already acquainted either online and off. Even if you rolled up to a sea of strange faces, the afternoon was so long and the summer camp vibe was so strong that you were pretty much bound to leave feeling like you had known everyone there since you braved your first canonball off the dock. I know we are adults now, but it was just that kind of day.


Monday, March 22nd, 2010

SXSW 2010 was as blissed-out an exercise in excess as an exercise in excess can be. All in all, the Visitation Rites mobile reporting team (videographer Samantha Cornwell and I) probably caught more sun, saw more live bands, walked more miles, ate more tacos, drank more beer, laughed more, bickered more, took more photos, tweeted more tweets, shot more video, and reunited with more old friends than in all of 2009 combined. After five consecutive days of non-stop partying and documenting, however, we couldn’t help feeling a bit crestfallen when we realized that SXSW wouldn’t last forever.


Tuesday, March 16th, 2010


Remember when I told you that Thursday’s Micro-Pixel-Rites SXSW showcase was inspired by an obscuro musical collab between none other than Annie Lennox and Aretha? Well here, coming at you just two short days before our very own Austin frolic of beer, bands, and babes, is Micro-Pixel-Rites’ official video homage to sisters everywhere, past and present, doin’ it for themselves. And also our brothers, of course.


Monday, March 1st, 2010