Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bushwick Book Club (2/3), Schwervon! CD Release (2/6)


I wanted to briefly mention a couple shows that I attended in the last week. On Tuesday the 3rd Goodbye Blue Monday presented the Bushwick Book Club in which a bunch of songwriters interpreted Raymond Carver's story " What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." Susan Hwang organized the evening and the participants were Susan, Ben Krieger, Babs, Frank Hoier, me, Jeffrey Lewis, Julie LaMendola, and Toby Goodshank. The story basically represents a conversation among two couples, mostly talking about love, but it very skillfully lays out the tensions and contradictions that seem to characterize many relationships. It inspired some cool songs from the participants--a kind of rollicking examination of love from Susan, Ben Kreiger's thought that you'll know who loves you when you see them crying at your funeral, two minimal songs from Babs, a tune about love from Frank Hoier (who played piano) performed with his girlfriend Moselle and with Peter Nevins (visiting from Montreal), my own schmaltzy-bitter love duet (sung with Susan), Jeff Lewis's question "what do we sing about when we sing about what we talk about when we talk about love, a song from Julie LaMendola that included a story about Carver and Bukowski, and Toby Goodshank's fantastic imagining of a more pornographic version of one of the Carver stories. 

This shorthanded version of the evening doesn't do it much justice. Everyone's songs were strong plus there was a nice spirit of camaraderie among the many friends on stage and in the audience that night. Susan did a great job of organizing the evening and m.c. ing. A video of the whole deal is available here: www.snazl.com/snazlet/388. The series continues next month on March 3, with "Flatland."

Friday night was Schwervon!'s cd release show at Cakeshop. with Purple Organ, The Leader, Ching Chong Song, and Schwervon. Dave End was m.c. Again, great stuff from everyone who played. Schwervon!, of course, rocked it out of the park. Their new album, Low Blow is great. I also was really was impressed seeing Doug Johnson/Purple Organ again. The guy has a sort of Rube Goldberg, type set up that allows him to play guitar/snare/cymbal at the same time, along with some other processed effects that I don't understand. But despite the novelty aspect of that, he has some really good songs. A number of them deal with kind of oversexualized or explicit topics ("I Shit My Pants in the Garden of the Luxemburg" for example), but there are moments of real beauty and creativity in the stuff he creates. I've been listening a lot to a copy of one of his CDs that I bought Friday.

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