Author Archive

Xene Cervenka of the Band X Discusses ’70s Punk and Her Art Opening

Written by Saby Reyes-Kulkarni on . Posted in Arts & Film, Posts



Earlier this month, I spoke with Exene Cervenka, frontwoman of revered L.A. punk band X, that plays the Fillmore at Irving Plaza on Saturday the 24th on its 31st anniversary tour. The concert is preceeded by the Friday night opening of Sleep in Spite of Thunder, Cervenka’s second New York solo gallery exhibit at DCKT Contemporary (195 Bowery, Ground Floor). Cervenka discussed the much-storied L.A. punk scene of the ‘70s, her poetry and visual art, her attraction to antiquity and the vanishing America that she chronicles in some of her work.

How has X been able to keep the live energy up, especially over these recent waves of shows?

Exene Cervenka: I guess we love doing it. I love playing live, touring, and seeing friends. Seeing all the kids in the audience and all the people that have seen us a million times. It’s pretty exciting up there. I think that makes for a more exciting show, just the fact that you want to be there. There’s nothing worse than seeing a band that doesn’t want to be there.

When the band started, how long did you envision that it would last?

Oh, we had no vision of it lasting or not lasting. 

Besides enjoying it, what was the spark that got you guys started again? Writers attribute the return of X to the rise of alternative rock, and that seems oversimplified.

Oh no. It was 10 years ago, ’98. We got asked to do a commercial for the X Files. They were doing this series of commercials with people saying “I’m going to watch the X Files this year, aren’t you?” or something like that. And they asked Billy [Zoom] to do it, not knowing that Billy hadn’t really been in touch with the rest of the band very much. And he showed up for this thing with me. He said he would do it if I did it. He showed up with his silver jacket and his guitar and his amp. And I showed up just being me. They filmed us on the street. I got along really good with Billy and we decided to get back together after [Elektra] released an anthology [titled Beyond and Back] and wanted us to do an in-store and about a thousand people came....

Continue reading "Xene" here.
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Sunday and Monday: Two Sides of the Many-Sided Taylor Ho Bynum

Written by Saby Reyes-Kulkarni on . Posted in Music, Posts

Brooklyn’s own experimental Jazz cornetist/composer Taylor Ho Bynum plays in a myriad of groups, formats and styles, but he maintains his experimental streak and scouring-pad phrasing throughout. This Sunday and Monday, Bynum presents listeners with an opportunity to hear two completely different sides of his creativity. First, on Sunday night at Roulette, his Spider Monkey [&hellip
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What to Do Tonight: Drew Gress at Jazz Standard

Written by Saby Reyes-Kulkarni on . Posted in Music, Posts

Hot on the heels of releasing his delightfully head-scrambling album, The Irrational Numbers, bassist Drew Gress and his Seven Black Butterlies quintet hit the Jazz Standard. As the new album shows, Gress sure can get a band to go full-throttle into the swirl of improvisation. But that alone doesn’t lift Numbers above the ever-present din [&hellip
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Consider Protest the Hero’s Fortress Mushroom-Cloud Rock

Written by Saby Reyes-Kulkarni on . Posted in Music, Posts

On their new album, Fortress, Canadian math-metallers Protest The Hero address a topic nothing less than the re-feminization of human consciousness and the global shift in archetypal goddess energy. If that sounds a bit dense, rest assured that the band brings plenty of sassy sophomoric humor and self-deprecation to the table. PTH’s sound draws on [&hellip
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William Parker at Symphony Space Tonight

Written by Saby Reyes-Kulkarni on . Posted in Music, Posts

Beginning tonight, the Vision Collaboration Festival offers a feast on forward-thinking jazz in a three-concert series at Symphony Space headlined respectively by luminaries William Parker, Roy Campbell and Charles Gayle. Besides featuring the headliners in don’t-miss group configurations that include musicians of comparable stature—Billy Bang, Eri Yamamoto, Hamid Drake—each night is rich with various other hot collaborations as well as dance.

As the name implies, this event works as a scaled-down wintertime extension of the multi-venue Vision Festival, an annual summer ritual that in its 10-plus years has come to serve as a beacon for the worldwide avant-garde/experimental jazz community. As expected, several of the appearing musicians are Vision Fest alums and have creative ties to each other that, in some cases, go back decades.

For full "William Parker" click here.
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Howlin’ Lesbian: Otep at Irving Plaza

Written by Saby Reyes-Kulkarni on . Posted in Music, Posts

With so many heavy-music vocalists using it as their only mode of expression, screaming doesn’t have much of an impact these days, much less meaning. But Otep frontwoman Otep Shamaya manages to cut through all the noise (literally) with a vocal style that alternates between shrieks, taunting melodies, whispery growls and a rapid-fire sing-speak white [&hellip
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Giant Panda at the Met

Written by Saby Reyes-Kulkarni on . Posted in Music, Posts


It might seem difficult—in a city with a prominent Jamaican presence such as NYC—to justify going to see a reggae group that consists of twentysomethings from the suburbs of snowy Rochester, New York. (It’s between Buffalo and Syracuse, in case that part of the state may as well be a foreign country to you.) But you might want to reconsider in time to catch Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad when they play the Met tonight at 10. Admission is free for college students (from ANY college on the planet, by the way).

The unorthodox setting alone would be worth the trip to the museum, but Giant Panda also serves as a sort of musical missing link towards understanding how reggae music became synonymous with jam bands thanks to generations of affluent, pot-smoking white youngsters crossing streams. Giant Panda may look the part, but they dig deep, and their sincerity sets them apart from the Trustafarian cliches that easily snag their peers...

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Dillinger Escape Plan listening party with Car Bomb

Written by Saby Reyes-Kulkarni on . Posted in Music, Posts


No one in their right mind would ever think of Northern Jersey as a place where culture originates, but it’s precisely that environment’s lack of culture that gave the Dillinger Escape Plan part of its drive to come up with one of the most furiously innovative and technically demanding sounds in music. With its first two releases, the 1998 EP Under the Running Board and the following year’s full-length Calculating Infinity, the Dillinger Escape Plan worked audiences from metal, hardcore, and even modern jazz and avant-garde camps into a tizzy, creating one of the biggest sensations in underground music to date.

Tonight at Club Europa.

Read full "Dillinger Escape Plan" here.

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Melt Banana at Europa

Written by Saby Reyes-Kulkarni on . Posted in Music, Posts

Hell hath no fury equal to the whirlwind sonic power that Japanese four-piece Melt Banana can summon in the space of 20 seconds or less. The band, now going on its 15th year and legendary in the American and European underground, gets labeled many things: punk, hardcore, noise, art-rock, no wave, metal, etc. All of those labels apply, but none of them tell the full story about the band’s unique, delightfully furious, and irresistible sound.

Read full "Melt Banana" here.

Melt Banana plays Europa Sunday, Nov. 11 at 7pm.


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