Category Archives: Local News

EV2BK Nightlife Preview – The Draft and Billy Hurricane’s

For those of you who will be in and around the East Village this weekend, there are two new bars to check out with very different vibes.

The Draft

First up is The Draft, a brand new 1920’s-style sports bar taking over the space formerly occupied by The Blue Seats. Owners Kendra and Natasha are preparing for the soft-opening of the bar tonight and promise a “relaxed neighborhood sports bar” vibe. The 22 flat screens from The Blue Seats are still there, but the booths have been removed to allow for a more informal setting and a lot more standing room (as the venue is on the small to tiny scale). The proud new owners first met 12 years ago as bartenders at Bulls Head Tavern in Gramercy and are very excited to finally have a place of their own. The Draft offers a sizable menu with everything from pizza to wienies, sliders, and wings. Cocktails range from $6 to $12, and carry 1920s era themed names like “Gams,” Bee’s Knees,” “Putting on the Ritz,” “On The Lamb,” and “The Real McCoy.”

Billy Hurricane’s


The bright orange sign of Billy Hurricane’s on Avenue B has been heralding the new bar’s arrival for some time. With the Grand Opening yesterday, the wait was finally over. The concern about the frat-boy appeal of this “Mardis Gras-themed” bar in the former Rehab/ Midway Rock Club space that describes itself as a “speakeasy downstairs and a speakloudly upstairs” may be deserved, but whatever their clientele, Billy’s was certainly packing them in last night with crowds gathering in the sizable venue and spilling out onto the sidewalk. When EV2BK was there, the place was still heating up but the bright lights and over-sized wall decor was certainly an overhaul of the formerly dank space. It could be annoying or it could be fun, we’ll have to wait and see what the weekend holds.

The Draft, 157 Ludlow Street (between Rivington and Stanton)
Billy Hurricane’s, 25 Avenue B (between 2nd and 3rd)

-Melissa

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Jam of the Day – Ra Ra Record Riot

Two years ago, John Bastone teamed up with another recrod store owner, Stephen Gritzan, to create the “Brooklyn Record Riot,” a giant beer-and-DJ-fueled record sale with over “50plus tables of merchandise from 30plus cool dealers hailing from the USA and Canada.” Those looking to grab the dope records and the “Traditional Polish food” should probably get to Warsaw, in Greenpoint, for the $20.00 early admission from 10 am-noon (only $3 admission for the rest of the day until 8pm).

If the idea of the riot has left you wanting more, luckily for you Syracuse-bred Ra Ra Riot has just recently released a new video for “Can You Tell,” the third video from their first LP, The Rhumb Line. The band was just recently in Brooklyn to play with The Antlers as part of BAM’s Sounds Like Brooklyn Festival.

Ra Ra Riot – Can You Tell:

-Drew

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Jam of the Day – Elephant Wars

Well it looks like the elephants will remain in the circus, at least for the time being. A federal judge has ruled that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals does not have the legal standing to sue the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus under the Endangered Species Act. The lawsuit, originally brought by the ASPCA nine years ago, culminated in a six-week trial held without a jury. Tom Rider, the group’s star witness, was a former animal trainer who cared for elephants in one of the circus’s traveling units from 1997 to 1999. According to a report on Bloomberg, “Rider accused Ringling of causing physical, psychological, and behavioral injuries to the elephants by using rods with metal hooks and points to control their movement and chains to keep them in place on hard surfaces for extended periods.” The judge ultimately ruled that Rider’s testimony was not credible, as he was repeatedly impeached on the stand and had lied about payments he received from various animal-rights groups beginning in 2000. During the trial, Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Brothers, said that these things didn’t hurt the elephants, and that they were necessary measures to control them and ensure public safety. Not knowing all the facts of the case, I can’t accurately judge all the legality of what did and what didn’t go down with these pachyderms, but prodding at them with sharp metal hooks and keeping them in chains just doesn’t sound right. These animals have amazing memories and, if they are left alone and are healthy, they can live for between 50 and 70 years. Chaining them for human entertainment in this day and age isn’t necessary. Don’t go to the circus, go watch the Discovery Channel people!

Or, better yet, listen to the new single “Elephants” by LA-band Warpaint. Warpaint, founded in 2007, just released their first EP, Exquisite Corpse through Manimal Vinyl in October, 2009. Exquisite Corpse, mixed by John Frusciante (formerly of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), highlights the band’s sonic textures, jagged rhythms, and ethereal voices. Shortly after performing at the 2009 CMJ Festival, Warpaint wad signed to Rough Trade Records. The band has temporarily moved to Portland, Oregon, for the recording of their new album to be released by Rough Trade in late Spring, 2010.

Warpaint – Elephants:

-Melissa

P.S. Thanks to Matt at The Music Slut for the link to the new video, which just dropped today!

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Jam of the Day – Money Is Better Late Than Never

After a 30-year court battle, the Shinnecock Indians of Long Island finally won their case, proving that they meet the criteria for federal recognition as a Native American tribe. This federal recognition will allow them to pursue their plans to build a casino in New York City or its suburbs. The Shinnecock Indian nation has 1,066 members, most of whom live on 800 acres in Southampton, NY. As Randy King, chairman of the Shinnecock trustees said in a statement cited by the Times, “This recognition comes after years of anguish and frustration for many members of our Nation, living and deceased … Perhaps this recognition will help some of our neighbors better understand us and foster a new mutual respect.” The Shinnecocks would only be approved to build a “Class II” casino on their own land, which could feature video slot machines but no table games. Some tribal leaders have expressed interest in building elsewhere in the state so that they could build a “Class III” casino which they think would be more lucrative for the tribe and the state. The state would get no proceeds from the “Class II” casino, but they would be likely to insist on a percentage of the proceeds if the tribe is allowed to build elsewhere.

Money is what it’s all about these days and N.A.S.A. knows how the Shinnecock’s are feeling. That’s just what they’re talking about in “Money,” one of the best singles of of their debut album The Spirit of Apollo that came out earlier this year. We first talked about N.A.S.A. back in April and we haven’t stopped listening since. N.A.S.A. is a creative collaboration between Sam Spiegel (Squeak E. Clean) and Ze Gonzales (DJ Zegon). Sam Spiegel is a producer, composer, DJ, and remixer based in L.A. and Ze Gonzales is a DJ who made a name for himself on the Brazillian club scene and later as part of the rap-rock group Planet Hemp.

There are so many people on this album, including Kanye West, M.I.A., Santogold, Lykke Li, Spank Rock, and some of their musical heroes like Tom Waits and David Byrne (who is featured on “Money”). N.A.S.A. stands for North America/South America and is rooted in and permeated by Brazillian funk. There are a number of unexpected collaborations on the seventeen track release. As Spiegel explains on their MySpace page, the tracks themselves dictated who would be asked to collaborate, “we never said, ‘let’s make a track for this person.’ We’d usually make something we liked, and then as we were starting to write the song, it would tend to go in a direction that we’d be like, ‘this sounds like George Clinton,’ or ‘this sounds like Method Man.’ We would start to feel the song out, and feel the artist through the song as we did it. Basically, we’d sit around as we were making these tracks and say the nuttiest combination of names, like our dream of who we could get on the song. It’s crazy, a lot of times they actually happened.” A full-length documentary film about the creation of the album is nearing completion. It is said to include interviews with many of the artists who contributed to The Spirit of Apollo and some footage from the studio sessions. It’s the type of album that you listen to again and again and always hear something new. It sounds like the soundtrack from an epic party that you will never forget. This album rocks and I think it’s selling now for only $10 on iTunes; I know what my friends are getting this holiday season.

N.A.S.A. – Money (feat. David Byrne, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, & Z-Trip):

-Melissa

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Jam of the Day – Wishing They Were Fake Plastic Trees

Scene from a rooftop on 106th street last night. Photo Credit: Melissa Hersh

Scene from a rooftop on 106th street last night.
Photo Credit: Melissa Hersh

For any of you that were outside in the city last night, or anywhere near a window, I don’t have to tell you that there was one hell of a thunder and lightning storm. The storm, which only lasted for half an hour, between about 10 and 10:30, knocked down more than 100 trees in Central Park and damaged hundreds more.

Unfortunately, last night was the inaugural night of the seventh annual Central Park Film Festival, and they had to close down early because of the driving rain and powerful winds. The more than 2,400 people that were there had to run for cover as the storm clouds opened up over them, missing the end of the unnecessarily long Sex and the City movie (spoiler alert, they finally do get married in the end). As Adrian Benepe, the city parks commissioner, told the Times, “Central Park has been devastated. It created more damage than I’ve seen in 30 years of working in the parks.” Amazingly, although the storm brought wind gusts of 70 miles an hour, there were no reports of anyone injured around the city. Central Park Conservancy work crews are canvassing the park today to inspect the condition of the park’s more than 24,000 trees for loose and dangerous hanging branches.

Somehow foreshadowing this unfortunate turn of events, Radiohead released their latest song, “These Are My Twisted Words” for download on their website on Monday in response to speculation online that it was indeed a Radiohead track after it surfaced last week. If you dowload the song, you also get an accompanying pdf of artwork depicting scraggly, twisted, jagged tree branches. The artwork file is meant to be printed out on tracing paper for you to “put them in an order that pleases you.” The eerily appropriate sample of the finished product that they included is below.

Twisted Woods

Twisted Woods

The new song is ominous, the perfect soundtrack to the events of last night. Take a listen to “These Are My Twisted Words” below:

Radiohead – These Are My Twisted Words:

But Radiohead has always been ahead of the curve, even in an arboreal sense. Today’s Jam is one of the band’s best, “Fake Plastic Trees,” from their second album The Bends. It was the third single to be released from that album in the U.K., but it was released as the album’s first here in the U.S.

Radiohead – Fake Plastic Trees:

-Melissa

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Jam of the Day – Brace Yourself for the New Knitting Factory

Good news for fans of the now defunct venue, The Knitting Factory: they have just announced that they will be set to reopen in a smaller space in Williamsburg in early September. The new venue will be located at 361 Metropolitan Avenue, in the former space of the Luna Lounge. The Knitting Factory originally opened in 1987 on the Lower East side on East Houston Street, and developed a following for its eclectic mix of jazz, avant-garde, and rock music performances. This allowed the owners to move to a larger space in Tribeca in 1994. Its lease on the space expired in July, so the move to Williamsburg has been in the works for a while.

On their opening night of September 9th, the new club will present Brooklyn band Les Savy Fav. The group formed back in 1995 while attending the Rhode Island School of Design. The current lineup features Tim Harrington on lead vocals, Seth Jabour on guitar, Syd Butler on bass, and Harrison Haynes on drums. Bass player Syd Butler is also the owner of Frenchkiss Records (Passion Pit , Cut Off Your Hands, etc.), who released their latest full-length album Let’s Stay Friends back in 2007. Their live shows are punctuated by the antics of Harrington, who has been know to have multiple on-stage wardrobe changes and frequently kiss audience members, so watch out if you find yourself near the front at the show!

Les Savy Fav – Brace Yourself:

-Melissa

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Jam of the Day – Long Long Long Animal Love

As a fan of both My Morning Jacket and George Harrison, when I heard about the first Jim James solo EP where he covers some of George Harrison’s best songs, I was intrigued. James (the singer, songwriter and guitarist of My Morning Jacket) initially recorded the songs after George Harrison’s death in 2001 as a way of coping with his passing and paying tribute to his music. The resulting EP, Tribute To, is an intimate, beautiful homage that features simply James’ voice over acoustic guitar, and it does not disappoint.

James says that he wasn’t sure that the songs would ever be released until he was approached at a restaurant by animal rights activist, Jenny Brown, who asked him if he could perform a concert to benefit her animal sanctuary in Woodstock, NY. A few months later he decided to release the EP and donate a part of the proceeds to Ms. Brown’s Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. James saw a clear connection to the work of the sanctuary and the life that Harrison, an animal-lover and vegetarian, lived. As he told the Times, “George was one of those people that always seemed to be a good inspiration for other humans, seemed like he was a very socially conscious person, a very responsible person.”

The 6 song EP, released on Tuesday, includes covers of two songs that Harrison wrote for The Beatles, “Long Long Long” and “Love You To,” as well of four songs from Harrison’s critically acclaimed album All Things Must Pass, which was released after The Beatles broke up. You can preview and buy the whole EP here and listen to the original version of “Long Long Long” off of The Beatles White Album here. “Long Long Long” is, in my opinion, one of the great Beatles love songs and it’s often overlooked in their extensive catalog of hits. This cover is sure to remind people how beautiful Harrison’s lyrics really were.

Yim Yames – Long Long Long:

The above spelling is not a typo, by the way. Jim James decided to go by the moniker “Yim Yames” for his solo projects, I guess as a joke or something? Whatever makes you laugh dude…

-Melissa

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