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Archive for the ‘The Front Bottoms’ Category

[ATTENDED: May 10, 2019] Kevin Devine

I saw Kevin Devine open for Frightened Rabbit back in 2017.  I didn’t know his music, but I really enjoyed his solo set.  When I heard that he was doing this tour with John K. Samson I was really excited to see him again.  I had hoped he’d be with His Goddman Band, but it turned out to be solo again.  I kind of assumed it would be with the band because of the new piece of merch (below) which I love but can’t imagine where you’d wear.

But it was excellent to see him not with the Goddamn Band because he was excellent solo.

Devine came out on stage to much applause.  He fiddled with the microphone stand and then said, you should be careful with your applause–what if I spend the whole night just tightening the mic stand.  Which he proceeded to do for another 40 seconds or so to much laughter until he admitted he couldn’t keep up the joke.

Devine played a song or more from nearly all of his nine albums as well as from his new split singles sets. (more…)

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porkSOUNDTRACK: THE FRONT BOTTOMS-“Mountain” (2011).

fb The Front Bottoms have a new album coming out.  I’ve liked a lot of their songs and decided to dig a bit deeper in their catalog, and that’s when I discovered this song which led me to realize that they are from New Jersey (Woodcliff Lake, in fact).  As a New Jersey band they clearly grew up eating Taylor Ham sandwiches.  And so they get the honor of being attached to this book.

The Front Bottoms are a fun lightly punk pop band.  The singer Brian Sella sings slightly off kilter and sometimes is speaking more than singing. And their music is energetic and sorta sloppy (but not actually sloppy at all) and it all stems from a great ball of fun that the band seems to be having.  The songs are largely guitar and drum, although they have added keyboards and the occasional trumpet to flesh out these simple ditties.

This particular song has some rollicking drums, an introductory trumpet and simple strummed guitars.  It also features this perfect lyric:

“I bought fireworks, a big bag in Pennsylvania, I’m gonna light ’em up when I get home to Jersey.  They’ll probably arrest me they’ll probably ruin my whole summer.”

Their new album is coming out in a few weeks and features the super catchy song “Laugh Til i Cry.”

[READ: August 22, 2015] The Pork Roll Cookbook

I saw this book at the library and had to check it out.  I love pork roll, it’s a treat that my father loved and which my family simply doesn’t eat often enough.  Of course, since we’re from North Jersey we called it Taylor Ham.

I wasn’t really interested in pork roll recipes because, well, you really only ever need to eat it with egg and cheese on a roll (or bagel).

But the beginning of the book gives a fascinating history of this local delicacy which barely makes it beyond the New Jersey border. (more…)

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aug2013SOUNDTRACK: THE FRONT BOTTOMS-Tiny Desk Concert #297 (August 19, 2013).

frontbotI really enjoyed The Front Bottoms’ “Au Revoir” and was pretty excited to see they had a Tiny Desk Concert.  After watching this, I’m very curious to see what they do in a full band setting because their sound works very well in this stripped down fashion–with acoustic guitars, penny whistle and muted trumpet (!).

Lead singer, Brian Sella, reminds me a lot of Mike Doughty in his speaky/singing way (especially on “Swear To God The Devil Made Me Do It”–although less speaky than Doughty or Cake–there’s just something about his delivery that puts me in mind of them.

He’s also always got a smirk on his face, which makes me like them more.

I’m torn between wondering if they’re a novelty band that I wouldn’t listen to more than a few times or a cool alternative band whose idiosyncrasies only get better with each listen.  I love the way “Twin Size Mattress” has little elements (like the tambourine moment–and the “no fucking way moment) which elevate it above some of the seemingly sillier songs.  Not to mention the lyrics are really good in the song.  Indeed, even though the lyrics are funny, they are often very clever, too.

I really enjoyed all four songs in this set and I have listened to it many times now.  “Au Revoir (Adios)” sounds great.  All four songs comes from their new album Talon of the Hawk.  And the more I listen the more I’m convincing myself to jut get the damned album.

[READ: September 6, 2013] “Gaboxadol”

This essay was actually hard for me to read.  That’s because the first half was all scientific chemistry talk and I really got lost–I don’t really know what GABA receptors are or do and I didn’t even really understand what he was talking about what Stepan Krasheninnikov did in 1755.  And I worried that I wasn’t going to enjoy this at all.

But soon Morris brought it back to an area that dummies like me can enjoy   He talks about the history of Gaboxadol a drug created by Dutch chemist Povl Krogsgaard-Larsen in 1977.  The first time Povl took it (self-experiment was very common until recently) he said it made him feel like he had just had three beers–a very comfortable feeling.

But Gaboxadol never found its niche.  Povl knew it had relaxing qualities but he couldn’t specifically diagnose who would best benefit from it.  It was tried on the mentally ill.  The desired effects did not really arrive–but the side effects made people feel sleepy.  Then it was tried as an analgesic for cancer patients.  It relieved some pain but it made everyone sleepy (you see where this is gong, right?).  It was then tested on patients with anxiety disorder, but the side effects were more powerful that the anti-anxiety effects.

So then the drug was just shelved (were people just less experimental back then?)  It wasn’t until 1996 that Marike Lancel a somnologist in Munich read the research and decided to try it as a sleeping aid.  She realized that Gaboxadol assisted sleep and also had none of the side effects that Ambien had (apparently terrible insomnia once you stop taking it–so I’ll not be taking that, thank you very much).  Merck bought the rights to Gaboxadol for $270 million. (more…)

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