Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Plus 1 TV launched today

Quick shout out to former pill DJ Jennifer Sullivan, who today helped launch Plus 1 TV, something I know very little about but am excited by nonetheless. Early reports look as enticing, so I'm gonna dive right into this now... (EDIT: Wait, is that a Nick Vershok sighting?!?)

New BM Linx album online

BM Linx, blah blah blah, you've heard me sing the high praises of these NYC cats before.

But today (and for maybe longer) you can listen to their dope as fuck new album, Black Entertainment, via the 'Space. It was produced my Alan Moulder, it drops I think in early February and yes, oh yes, that is yours truly introducing the band at the end of the opening track, "Valentine."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Download the new Wonderful Spells EP

One of my fav local bands, the Wonderful Spells, have put their new EP "The Haunted Garage" up for free download on their website. I'm checking it out as I type, but if it's anything like the "Smarmulous Rex" EP from last year, well then it seems Santa left us one last Christmas present under the indie tree.

New Year's Day goes pop

From today's Hotline: One Happy Island and friends go 'pop' on New Year's Day.

After you pop champagne corks on New Year’s Eve, pop music on New Year’s Day.

That’s what One Happy Island hopes. On Thursday night the local quartet will provide the soundtrack for the fourth annual Indie Pop New Year’s Day Night at the Middle East in Cambridge.

“The way I see it, New Year’s Eve is so 2008,” said One Happy Island guitarist Brad San Martin . “2009 is where it’s at.”

Joining the bittersweet boy-girl backbeat styling of One Happy Island is the hip-hop performance art of local bad girl Cathy Cathodic, Vermont-based twee-popsters the Smittens, and Cotton Candy featuring Teenbeat Records’ Mark Robinson and Evelyn Hurley of Blast Off Country Style.

“This bill is actually a pretty cool cross-section of indie pop as it is happening now,” said San Martin. “All the bands are very DIY, but they all take that aesthetic in different directions.”

Doors open at 8:30 p.m., and there is a $9 cover.

Monday, December 29, 2008

If Girl: On Moms & the Facebook

To quote the great Glenn Danzig: "Mother, do you wanna be Facebook friends with me? Do you wanna see everything? Ohhhhhh Mother!"

The If Girl, always a must-read, has a great entry today serving as a warning to those not already engulfed in the Facebook flames of annoying relatives: Moms are taking over your favorite social networking site.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Upon further review... and New Year's Eve news

I'm 30, and I'm still alive. On a related note, enough people asked me why I was killing off Vanyaland to make me reconsider and trudge on. The simple question of "why?", posed by a handful of friends, was all I needed to keep it alive.

Suddenly, there are a shit ton of cool things going on for New Year's Eve, from Passion Pit at Great Scott (only 75 tix left) to FTW's Fuck 2008 party at Privus, which features an early-night fashion show styled by my wonderful lady using designs from Rescue of Allston & Maya Made It).

As for me, I'll be at the House That Mod Night Built, the Commonground, spinning a fairly no-frills indie dance party, bouncing around between all three. I'm too old to get worked up for NYE, but I sleep well knowing Boston finally has options again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Good tidings

Merry Christmas to all and Happy Birthday to me. I found this under the tree this morning. Santa's jungle juice.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

20 songs that ruled 2008

I was going to rank these, but I figured what's the point -- All these songs rule, and I love them fairly equally. For me, it was a great year for music, mainly because I discovered a lot of 2005-2007 electro in the past 12 months. But here are my picks for best new songs of 2008. It's one fucker of a mixtape, and obviously the best list ever assembled.

Hercules & Love Affair “Blind” – The bassline is right out of Blur’s Girls & Boys, the vocals right out of a basement handjob at Jacques Cabaret. Of course I love it, and it's my clear-cut Number 1 song of 2008 (decided before Pitchfork posted it!!!)

Passion Pit “I’ve Got Your Number” – “Can you hear me cry, tears like diamonds?” Lyric of the year. Will be performed at my wedding.

BM Linx "Kids on Fire" - From the opening fistfuck bass to the anthemic chorus, this band only knows one speed. Killer.

Does It Offend You Yeah? “We Are Rockstars” – More a sentimental placement, but still fierce as fuck on a drunken dancefloor. Only on the rest of the album wasn't so half-assed.

Foxglove Hunt “The Life Highrise” – Arizona duo pay tribute to their idols (Mode, OMD, PSB) in a stunning 5-minute display straight outta 1986. Watching kids at the pill go nuts to this every Friday is very awesome, but I might need to retire it.

Black Kids, “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You” – Completely played out by now, but it's a Cure-revived modern indie classic that ruled when first heard.

Golden Filter “Solid Gold” – Synth lines as smooth as a roller rink floor, midnight vocals and sharp as knives synth loops.

Crystal Castles “Vanished” – No idea what the lyrics are, but the beats and keys show simplicity is best when sauced at the bar with your head on the bar. Bonus points for being taken from my top album of 2008.

MGMT “Kids” – Took over indie, took over everyone. But maybe the Soulwax remix is even better.

Toxic Avenger “Bad Girls Need Love Too” – Who needs vocals when the Toxic Avenger comes all sorts of electro-fucked correct. Playing this almost got me tossed from the pill DJ booth. Everything this guy does rules.

Cut Copy “Lights & Music” – ...are on my mind. All fucking year.

Hearts Revolution “Switchblade” – Epic is as epic does, and while the LA Riots mix trumps the album cut due to the lost final two minutes, the original is worthy of props.

Hot Chip “Ready For the Floor” – The first great song of 2009. And all we needed – and got – from the overrated Hot Chip.

MGMT “Time To Pretend” – Smug vocals only trumped by that synth line. Immediately distinguishable.

Grum “Go Back” (Le Castle Vania Remix) – Face-fucked electro spin by Atlanta’s DJ Dylan. Sound the feasting horn, and pound out the splatter beats.

Estelle “American Boy” – Every year one Top 40 pop song gets me. Here is it.

The Dossier “Another Night” – Saintface reinvented as a synthpop duo could finally give Peter Riley the fame and accolades he deserves.

The Presets “This Boy’s In Love” – On an album better swallowed as a whole than in parts, here’s the standout.

Crystal Castles, “Courtship Dating” – Alice will cut you. Alice will fucking cut you. Ahhhhhh, <3

The Ting Tings “Great DJ” – Fed up with your indie-gestion, it must be the drums.

Hooray For Earth gives us "Coal" for Christmas

From today's Christmas Eve Boston Herald Hotline: Hooray for Earth has given us a Christmas song, but you can skip my blah blah blahs and stream/download it straight from Hooray For Earth's MySpace blog.

Just when we thought we'd be stuck with the Yeah Yeah Yeah's eggnog-drunk Christmas song ``All I Want For Christmas'' as our indie rock holiday jam, local boys Hooray For Earth have come through with a dandy little number of their own.

The track is called ``I Hope You Get Coal,'' and it's available for free download through their MySpace blog. Written in just 80 minutes last Friday, ``I Hope You Get Coal'' has that traditional Hooray For Earth crunch-rock bounce, but with jingly holiday vibes mixed in like a warm glass of Bailey's Irish Cream. And the fact that it comes with no screeches, howls or purrs from Karen O makes it Hotline's favorite new Christmas song of the season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You haven't really lived...

...until you get your article debated (with both attack and praise) over on

Monday, December 22, 2008

De/Vision in Boston, Jan. 14

Now I’m too old and crotchety to be getting all excited about touring-band shows anymore, but I nearly shat out my limited edition “We Fly… Tonight” maxi-single when I saw that De/Vision are coming to North America next month.

Even more shocking than the German synthpop legends’ domestic jaunt is that they’re coming here to shitty-assed Boston. While I’m no fan of the club Machine or its D&D head-in-the-black-cloud fetish clientele, this is a suitable venue for this and I’ll easily deflect many a dirty stare from the goth leftovers in order to have fun.

I’ve been obsessed with De/Vision since the moment I heard 1992’s “World Without End” many moons ago, and while the piano-ballad era of recent years hasn’t painted them as well as the Antiquity-Fairlyland-Monosex era, this will be some epic shit. I won’t demand to hear “To Be With You,” a Top 5 Michael V song since college and still a mix-tape staple, but I will hope for some pre-1999 material. De/Vision was truly the soundtrack of my life in the late ‘90s, and along with Wolfsheim (who sucked live), were my two favorite acts during this period.

Outside of the quite amazing track “Hooked,” Seabound never really did much for me. I’m pretty detached these days from the grossly stagnant EBM-darkwave scene, but regardless, I’ll be reliving some golden days at this shit next month. Very exciting…

Morrissey snubs our very own Eli "Paperboy" Reed

From today's Hotline column: Eli Reed gets snubbed by the Mozzer!

When Morrissey hits Boston’s new House of Blues on March 29, he won’t have local soul man Eli “Paperboy” Reed opening the show for him. Too bad given how close the two came to pairing up for a lengthy 2009 tour.

Morrissey’s camp allegedly struck a deal to have Brookline soulman Reed and his band, the True Loves, open for five weeks of the Mozzer’s seven-week North America tour early next year. But two weeks ago, the former Smiths frontman took in a True Loves gig in London and suddenly nixed the deal.

Reed did not respond to several Hotline requests for comment on Moz-gate, but spilled the details last week on a local music message board, Lemmingtrail.

“It’s alright, now at least we can do all the other stuff we couldn’t do because of how long the tour was,” Reed wrote. “(We) just played for 1,300 people headlining in Madrid so at least I have that going for me. I really just wanted to play Carnegie Hall.”

Morrissey’s upcoming tour hits the New York landmark on March 26.

“At least he came to the show,” Reed wrote. “I just wish they hadn’t confirmed beforehand.”

The snub could be a blessing, as Morrissey’s opening acts have ranged from terrible to unlistenable. Anyone remember Elcka or the Planet Rockers?

Morrissey’s new album, “Years of Refusal,” drops Feb. 17 on his new label, Nashville-based Lost Highway records.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Michael on Allston eats

I just saw this, a few months after the fact, but I was quoted in the Phoenix in September about great food in the Allston area, and I hyped up Reef Cafe and S. Kiri. As is my life, Kiri is now closed. But I assure you, that dragon maki was indeed "off the chain." If I did this interview today, I'd still be all about Reef, but would also praise the shit out of Privus' sushi.

Marotta is wild about chicken shawarma from Reef Cafe (170 Brighton Avenue, Allston, 617.202.6366), served alongside its own creamy garlic sauce and pickle spears for the plate version ($9.95). Crisp cucumber, tomato and parsley salad counters the salty, marinated chicken.

"There's nothing like it in Allston, and that's saying a lot given the wealth of international food options,” he says.

Around the corner in the old Tokyo City spot is pan-Asian outlet Suvarnabhumi Kiri (90-92 Harvard Avenue, Allston, 617.562.8888), where Marotta calls spider maki ($10.50 for four pieces) “off the chain.” Satisfying pops of flying fish roe counter meaty hunks of fried soft-shell crab and creamy avocado, making this a wise stop.

Friday, December 19, 2008

ITP: Top 10 for 2008

This ran in today's Herald. Expect a more detailed list (Top songs/albums/reality shows) posted here next week.

1. Crystal Castles, “Crystal Castles.” This forceful debut pushes electronic music into the mainstream like Ladytron did earlier this decade.

2. Passion Pit, “Chuck of Change.” Inevitable stardom for our local synthpop boys became apparent 45 seconds into opener “I’ve Got Your Number.”

3. Hercules & Love Affair, “Blind.” The full album fails to live up to this six-minutes of nu-disco brilliance, but how could it?

4. MGMT, “Oracular Spectacular.” With two great, anthem-like singles in “Kids” and “Time to Pretend,” who cares if the rest is filler?

5. The Virgins, “The Virgins.” Overlooked party’s-over album for New York City’s about-to-end decade of decadence.

6. Hearts Revolution, “Switchblade.” LA-turned-NYC duo’s scratchy, glitch-filled electro holds up as album cuts and explodes when remixed correctly (as by LA Riots, Flosstradamus).

7. Black Kids, “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You.” It turned out Black Kids had only one good song - but what a song.

8. Does It Offend You Yeah? “We Are Rockstars.” Note to DIOYY: Stop the Killers-like wannabe cheese-pop and keep making pounding dance-floor bangers.

9. The Golden Filter, “Solid Gold.” Internet-only synth-disco track from anonymous NYC duo blew up the blogs and left us wanting more. Bring it on.

10. The Presets, “Apocalypso.” Corny lyrics aside, this Australian duo made one of the best electronic albums of 2008 - and that says a lot.

In case you were wondering...

... Yes, that was me on the jumbotron at the Bruins game last night getting the trivia question wrong. Serves the Garden folk right for putting a Devils fan up there to answer a question about the Leafs-Bruins. As far as I'm concerned, the NHL started in 1982...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Friday: 30 Rocked

While I debate the merits of every aspe4ct of my life outside my girlfriend and cat, I do know this much is true: Friday I eulogize my 20s in a hazy black sea of Jager and indie/electro. Barnicle helps with the honors.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Death of

Come Thursday, Dec. 25, this blog will die along with my 20s. Thanks for reading, all 6 of you. xo.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cheap Seats: Why we watch reality TV

On today's Herald A&E front page: You know you watch Charm School, I Love Money and the rest of them...

The world is a crazy place. The economy is in a recession, the government is bailing out private industry and “high-pitched hottie” Simeon Moses won VH1’s “The Pick Up Artist 2.”

As optimism over the current global climate declines, ratings and interest for some of television’s guiltiest pleasures seem to be continuing to rise, with VH1, MTV and Bravo among the chief beneficiaries.

Cool to see that right after this story ran, we learned that Sharon Osbourne ripped out Megan's hair, sending her to the hospital, after she said Sharon was only famous for marrying some "braindead rock star." Oof.

God I love this shit...

Also ITP recently: Boston trio gets Ikki on Double Shot of Love

Friday, December 12, 2008

Fleetwood Mac Hate Mail

Now I get all sorts of fun hate mail, but I may have received the BEST piece of hate mail ever this mornig from one John Blake, who hopefully isn't related to Robert:

You're a stupid, snide, ignorant, musically retarded piece of SHIT for insulting Fleetwood Mac. Whose cock did you suck to get your gig? Idiot.

Talk about the landslide bringing me down... Anyway, it should be noted that this reaction came after I insulted this band, seen below.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Countdown to 30

I have exactly a fortnight left of my 20s. For anyone who has known me throughout this Decade of Destructive Decadence, this is a monumental feat of excellence only matched by the landing on the moon, the 2000 New Jersey Devils and Suede’s first album.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Blur: Modern Life is Reunion

All together now: Woohoo!. Clearly motivated by semi-positive reviews of the new Oasis album, Blur is reforming next year, according to the NME. Wake me when Menswear reconcile.

2,700-year-old izm found. Won't get you zooted

Nearly two pounds of still-green plant material found in a 2,700-year-old grave in the Gobi Desert has just been identified as the world's oldest marijuana stash, according to a paper in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Botany.

But here's where I harsh your buzz: We know from both the chemical analysis and genetics that it could produce THC (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid synthase, the main psychoactive chemical in the plant)," explained Ethan Russo, adding that no one could feel its effects today, due to decomposition over the millennia.

Do you watch VH1 or Bravo reality TV?

Ok, I need help here. I'm writing a story about how the Bad Economy is inflating ratings of reality television, much the way the Great Depression fueled the initial Hollywood surge almost a century ago.

Are you broke as fuck, don't go out and instead watch crap* TV on Bravo, VH1, MTV, Oxygen, etc. to live vicariously through these drunken fools? If so, hit me up at and share your woes. (* And by crap I mean the best shit ever, obvs).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Drop the Lime crashes Circus, head asplodez

Ahhhhh, this weekend was fucking INSANE. Holy shit!

Friday night at the pill was its usual dopeness, Sunday night at the BMAs was its usual dopiness. But sandwiched in between was one of the most epic parties I’ve ever been to, let alone be a part of.

So Saturday night was the On That Tip blog launch at Circus, and I held up my duty by dropping my usual indie-dance electro banger set early on, eagerly warming shit up for DJ Die Young. But around 1-ish, just when the pills started to kick in, the appletinis started to melt my insides and the strobe burned alien messages into my head, it happened.

Brooklyn breakbeat master Drop The Lime ditched his scheduled appearance at the lame-ass teen party across the street at Harper’s Ferry, was hijacked by a FTW promoter and came over to Circus to throw down the most epic bass-pound dance set ever, culminating with Jon from Hot Pink Delorean free styling in the middle of a packed dance floor that didn’t even flinch when the house lights screamed out at closing time.

So to recap the night: DJ Michael V., then Die Young, then Drop The Lime (one of these things is unlike the other…) all at a packed out free party at a chic sushi lounge in Allston celebrating the launch of my lady’s nightlife blog. Motherfuck yes.

Love is All, tonight at GS

From the category of Things That Didn't Find It's Way Into Herald Print This Morning:Back in February, MGMT and Yeasayer rolled up to Great Scott and melted every face in the 240-person capacity room. Even before it went down, it was one of those “last chance to see these guys in a room this small” kind of shows. A few months later, MGMT sold out two nights at the Paradise Rock Club, and Yeasayer followed suit with its own ‘Dise gig in October.

The next in the “catch them now before your mom knows who they are” line of double-headliner bills hits Allston’s Great Scott once again this evening. This one features Sweden’s Love Is All and Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts, with local kids Reports opening things up.

How different is the modern world of indie in Sweden and Brooklyn? Where Love Is All channel the frantic energy of early post-punk with equal parts saxophone, guitar and keyboards, Crystal Stilts takes things down a notch with moody psych rock that’s become a blog favorite. Yet on the same stage, it should mesh perfectly.

Despite the difference in sound, both have one thing in common: Neither will be doing the club circuit next time in Boston. Doors at 9 p.m., it’s an 18-plus show and the cover is $10.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Weekend ahead! Lights Out, Circus, BMAs, Love Is All

TGImotherfuckingF. Big shit on tap this weekend, which is very much welcomed after my first week back at the compound. What goes on? Glad you asked...

Friday: I've wanted to get The Lights Out at the pill since spring, when I first heard the new EP and "Never Going Back" ruled my dome. The local rock dudes have this sweet mix of Muse/Franz with dirty American garage rock, perfect for coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Repeal Day and my return from Florida.

Saturday: Less than two months later, I'm back at Circus. And to make it even more ridiculous is I'm spinning alongside someone I truly admire, DJ Die Young. It's also the On That Tip blog launch party, even more reason to pound eight Appletinis at Privus and crash-in come Sunday.

Sunday: It's the Boston Music Awards, though who knows if they'll let me in. Full report to come...

Monday: Remember when MGMT and Yeasayer played Great Scott in February, only to move on separately to the Paradise months later? Well, Love Is All / Crystal Stilts tonight is the new MGMT/Yeasayer at Great Scott. Tell your kids-type show and shit. A more detailed description appears in Monday's Herald.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Year's Eve

Yes, I sold out, and no, you don't have anything better to do.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More on the BMAs (Better Move Away?)

Today in le Herald I ask the age-old question, If a Boston Music Award falls in an empty room, does it make a sound? The "big event" is Sunday, and right now it doesn't appear likely I'll be let in...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blender Mag name drops me -- kinda

If anyone's wondering, yeah, that was my Boston Herald article Blender cited on its Letters to the Editor page this month in the aftermath of their whole "2Pac Most Overrated blah blah" thing. Couldn't they have printed my name instead of saying "Boston Herald columnist." Is my name not golden?!?!?! Still way cool to suddenly read on the bike at Bally's

On That Tip launch party 12.06.08

This Saturday I'm back at Privus Lounge's dope electro dance party, Circus, for that On That Tip blog re-launch party. I'm spinning with Dopamine Records' DJ Die Young, who is one of the best DJs in the city right now. How did I pull this shit off? Yikes...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Life is good, ringtone lover

So I'm back. While traveling yesterday sucked harder than Sean Avery, things are pretty awesome. As in:

- Lola showed much affection upon coming home after 5 days away.
- Simeon won the Pick Up Artist 2, much to my relief.
- The planned Vanya consulting firm looks to have solid financial backing in 2k9.
- Only 24 days left of my tumultuous 20s.
- Scored some sweet music from my brother while in Florida, and ate at the world-famous Charlie's Steak House like whoa.
- Enjoyed Tampa's finest indie night, where a $10 cover means "open bar."
- Had a great time traveling with the lady, chilling on the lanai on the golf course.
- The countdown to the March Cuise to Mexico is on!
- And... I return to find the Herald finally ran my feel-good story on What Your Ringtone Says About You.

Stephanie Myers of Allston is the best around, and nothing’s going to ever keep her down. How does she know? The 26-year-old’s cell phone tells her so every time it rings.

Myers proudly sports Joe Esposito’s 1985 semi-hit “You’re the Best” - commonly known as the theme from the original “Karate Kid” movie - as her ringtone of choice.