Neon Lights presents...Eamon Hamilton

Dear friends,

Behold Jeff K's wise words about Eamon Hamilton, our headliner tomorrow night at Neon Light presents... at Galapagos.


"The final performer on Saturday's kick off to the 2008 Neon Lights calendar is Eamon Hamilton, better known to the blog-music devotee as singer and songwriter for Brakes (you can triple that if you feel so inclined). The Brighton, UK band is signed to Rough Trade in the UK, which has brought us such flashes in the pan as the Smiths. He wrote one of the most laser focused political songs of these dark days containing only the lyrics, "Cheney, Cheney, Cheney, Cheney, Cheney, Cheney, Cheney/ Stop being such a dick." Their latest record, 2007's The Beatific Visions drew Trans-Atlantic praise that most bands would murder for in publications like NME, Spin, Pitchfork, and the BBC. With that record's successor on his mind already, Eamon's solo set will see some newbies mixed in among the proven oldies. He's been touring this set around the UK, opening for his old band mates British Sea Power, and occasionally wrestling behind them on national television. This will be the first time this material will be played in this manner, for US audiences. Not too bad for our first ever European import.

A smattering of audio-visual evidence for review:

Brakes - "Hold Me in the River"

In which our man, the pugilist, tries his hand at suburban boxing and gratuitously mentions Scarlett Johansson.

Brakes - "Hold Me in the River"

Brakes - "Hi How Are You?/"Heard About Your Band"
(live @ Trash, London)

This first rant against mid-song audience chatter will likely greet any patrons whose late night drinking has effected their internal volume control. And the second war against incessant self-promotion likely applies to Williamsburg in even greater depth than in did to London.

Brakes - "Beatific Visions"
(live @ Chop Suey, Seattle, WA)

You'd think that the song above, a sweet melodic pop song, would translate best to a man-and-his-guitar revamp. Or perhaps it'll be the tender country winders such as the one below that are best suited to the troubadour act...

Brakes - "Be On Your Side"

We'll all find out together on Saturday night/ Sunday morning, I suppose.

And even though I don't think he was with them at this point, how about a song from Eamon's running buddies British Sea Power, just for kicks.

British Sea Power - "Fear of Drowning" (early single version)

Remember folks that you still have a pair of opportunities to gain free admission to the extravaganza, and see Eamon along with Crystal Stilts and Titus Andronicus. For the first, check the details at Prefix, and for the second just avert your attention to a previous post on this very site. Your reasons for resistance are looking ever thinner...

Sounds good eh? I think so. Also, our DJs for the night, Cindy Hotpoint and Pinkie Von Bloom of the fabulous (and newly resuscitated - yay!) The Rich Girls Are Weeping and David Klein, Merry Swankster contributor and mad genius behind their Numerology series, are sure to delight and thrill the ears of our discerning audience. See you there!

Love, D

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Neon Light presents...Titus Andronicus

Dear friends,

A little information on Titus Andronicus, courtesy of Jeff K...


"As you know, the first Neon Lights show of 2008 is going down this Saturday, at Galapagos in Williamsburg. The second in our slate of Saturday night bands, in Shakespeare's/New Jersey's vicious Goth-slayer, Titus Andronicus. This slightly folk, sort of punk, definitely crowd-awing band of youths has been playing all around the Tri-State area in advance of the moment when indie stalwart Troubleman Records releases their debut, The Airing of Greivances, and they can seriously blow us all off for good.

For the here and now, a couple:

Titus Andronicus - "Titus Andronicus"

This self-mythologizing number sounds like a drunken fistfight between two long time friends that briefly becomes a teary-eyed man hug, before returning to sloppy haymakers. Also, kind of like Wolf Parade being tricked into playing a St. Patrick's Day Parade. And why is it so perversely fun to chant along to the climactic hand-clap accentuated breakdown? Maybe because screaming "Your life is over!" at anonymous members of the crowd implicitly suggests that yours is still chugging along quite nicely. So why's everyone else chanting it in your direction as well?


Titus Andronicus - "Upon Viewing Bruegel's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" "

I'm not certain how Dutch Renaissance man (as in a man who lived in the Renaissance, I don't know if he could do a lot of other stuff) Pieter Bruegel reflects the exalted Jersey ennui of this 2006 EP track. Are there mythic beings drowning to general indifference in the Passaic on a regular basis? It's another raggedly melodic punk basher whose lyrical dread is performed with enough cymbal bashing brio to trick you in to believing that the whole sun-buzzing endeavor might not melt your wings this time, if you want it badly enough. Or maybe it's an expression of the dread resulting from lugging that god damn plow around everyday while golden boys in the distance get to splash around in the water all day. William Carlos Williams was a fan of that painting too, and he was a bitter man who ate others' cherished fruit for kicks. So maybe it's just a favorite among artistic types with issues to work out. Thrash therapy was the pharmacist's prescription here.

My biased words are echoed by triumphant trumpeting of the band that is starting to filter in from all corners:

- Pitchfork: "...perfectly clangorous pop songs..."

- Brooklyn Vegan (in fairness, more of a spare, sorta neutral mention that prompted the band to post about it on their MySpace under the title: "Brooklyn Vegan to Titus Andronicus: "You Exist")

- Said the Gramophone: "...shirtless, jangle-barking..."

- Oh My Rockness: "...so damn delightful, it's enough to soften even the shells of die-hard Spiderland fans."

- Breakthru Radio: "...about to explode."

Preceding Titus into the void will of course be Crystal Stilts, to whom you've recently become acquainted. After them will be Brakes' Eamon Hamilton who we've yet to discuss at length. If you're the find your Christmas presents early type, you can get all the info you need right now, right here. But I'll be filling in the gaps very soon because, as you know, it goes down this Saturday.

Two down, one more to go...

Love, D

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Neon Light presents...Crystal Stilts

Dear friends,

I'm sick as a dog and more. I'll be back soonish. I swear. In the meantime, Jeff K is here to save the day with some words about the bands that will be playing this Saturday at Galapagos as part of the first Neon Lights bill of '08! First up is Crystal Stilts...


"As previously threatened, this is the week in which I go over the bands playing Saturday night's Neon Lights show at Galapagos in minute detail. The first and only group of native Brooklynites on the the bill for Saturday's show will be the great, gloomy Crystal Stilts. I was unaware of the band when I stumbled into their coveted slot as an opening act for Kiwi legends, the Clean. They are sort of a conundrum. There's lots of space surrounding everything in the mix, but it's still urgent and vital. It just sounds like that vitality is happening in occurring in the direct center of a very large cave or something. It was glibly suggested to me at the show that they were "the Jesus and Mary Clean," combining the echoed legend of the Brothers Reid with the immediacy of the Brothers Kilgour. I'm not sure I'd be so reductive but even conceding the point, you'd have to admit that it does sound like a tasty recipe.

Also, Swedish people like them, and you know you need to be on the ground floor when that happens...

Crystal Stilts - "Converging in the Quiet"

The steady drumbeat that starts this track gains is given more power by a sparse set up that's all kick drum and no rattling cymbal. The vocals are far away, delivered in a dreamy accent that seems to come from a more world weary place than modern day Brooklyn. The winding guitar line that forms the song's spine is where that errant Clean comparison really rings true. I'm thinking inspired '82 stuff like "Fish" or "Point That Thing Somewhere Else." Good company.

Crystal Stilts - "Crippled Croon"

This one has a bit more spring in its step, though the regally detached voice could still coming from a chilling radio program, revealed to be emanating from beyond the grave in a Twilight Zone episode's final minutes. And none of this really suggests the spark that their very active, usually standing drummer brings to their live show.

For exact details, like right now, go here. More to come on the full night in the next couple days. You won't have to look very hard for it, trust me.

More to come...

Love, D

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Neon Lights returns, this time in Williamsburg!

Straight from Jeff K, here is the latest scoop on the return of Neon Lights presents:

"Eagle-eyed MySpace obsessives may have gotten the drift already, but for the rest of you (marginally) better adjusted blog readers, it's time for the ritualistic unveiling of the Neon Lights line-up!


The latest installment of D's and my ongoing New York concert series moves for the first time to my home 'hood, sweet misbegotten Williamsburg. On Saturday, March the 1st, we will celebrate the Chinese Leap Year* at Galapagos Art Space with three colors from the rock spectrum. Eamon Hamilton, who's long earned his stripes on the UK scene as a member of British Sea Power and the songwriter behind Brakes (Brakesbrakesbrakes if you're litigious), will be treating our audience to a rare solo set of material destined for his next full-length opus. Further delight will be offered by the winningly sloshed anthems of rambunctious Jersey boys, Titus Andronicus, and the dark and cavernous pop delights of Brooklyn's own Crystal Stilts. Easing you through the stylistic change-ups will be the DJ stylings of our very own Numerologist David Klein as well as the Rich Girls are Weeping**, who've recently had a phoenix-like return to active blogdom.

Those who've popped in regularly for the past year or so know that all implicated parties will be discussed in bone crunching detail as the intervening nights drain away. For now a quick, teasing niblet of what's in store:

Brakes - "Hold Me in the River"

Titus Andronicus - "Titus Andronicus"

Crystal Stilts - "Converging in the Quiet"

...Much more to come...

* This does not exist

**Misty-eyed Rich Girl, Michaela Drapes, is responsible for another in a long line of handsome show posters. Merci.

Hope to see you there!

Love, D

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The first words that came could've been more inspired

Dear friends,

There's been a lot of apocalyptic programming on TV lately. I watch it, rapt and tortured, planning my escape to a bear-proof cave somewhere above the tree-line so that the tidal waves can't reach me.

In Our Gun by Gomez isn't about the survivalists, it's about the people who turn a blind eye. They throw a party, light a bonfire and ignore the signs of desperation. The glasses that shatter, the chaos outside. Towards the end, a hushed hymn is sung and for a moment there is a feeling of togetherness, but it collapses under the weight of approaching destruction.

In Our Gun/Gomez (mp3)

(photograph by Jay Blakesberg)

Gomez probably would not endorse this depressing interpretation. But I doubt I'm wrong about the song's serious as cancer vibe. Note the double bass line that starts off the song, courtesy of the inimitable Danny Thompson (Pentangle, Nick Drake, John Martyn, Richard Thompson.) Thompson's playing on the intro is portent itself, a mini-encapsulation of the song's weary fatalism. You don't bring out the big guns for nothing.

Sadly the intro is cut off in this Later on Jools Holland YT clip but it's still worth a look for a glimpse of the Thompson magic and Tom Gray's electric fuzz bass takeover at the end.

In Our Gun (Featuring Danny Thompson) (Live)/Gomez (Video)

Purchase In Our Gun by Gomez on Amazon Digital.

Love, D

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