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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Unleash The F***ing Bats

Where Do I Start?

Yeah I know, I have hangups with My Chemical Romance, but I still LUV them. I still wish I could do something about Gerard's pronounciation/enunciation (the "r's" do get on my nerves) and their over dramatizations, but that's like asking Kiss to get rid of the makeup and telling Paul Stanley he's too much of a ham. And since this is their DESTROYER/BILLION DOLLAR BABIES-Moment, it's way too late for quibbles. They are the biggest ROCK band in the country this week. And I think Gerard looks great as a blonde. And Mikey's beginning to eat his cereal and put a few pounds on the frail frame, finally. And Frank still rocks. Ray Toro remains (?) the quiet one.

I've always myopically turned a blind eye to their faults (all bands have them, remember?) as they pummeled all qualms out of the equation. Pretty easy for me 'cause when they hit the mark it's as great as rock and roll has ever been. See anyone else doing it for the kids? I haven't sense good new hard rock for eons, and don't expect anything anytime soon. This is it mama.

So I can dismiss "Helena" (overwrought) and that Army video song (ugh) while "I'm Not Okay (I Promise)" and "You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison" fuking soar. On "The Black Parade" it's pretty obvious on the title cut along with its Bob Ezrinesque aplomb, while "Dead!" is IT for me and "Teenagers" is glam-punk for the modern age. "This Is How I Disappear" crams all their fringe desires into a blaze of quick fixes and sharp turns and the inevitable killer hook they live for. (They've got 'em up the wazoo.) "House Of Wolves" is appropriately ferocious.

The rest is heavily anthemic. And not bad at it. Way less problematic than say Gene Simmons's "Great Expectations" on "Destroyer" or even that soppy hit ballad Kiss really didn't need, "Beth." Sure, this record does have its heavy handed grandiosities, this is My Chemical Romance after all. But it's never to the point where you think they've lost the thread. They're not stupid. My Chem remains heavily intact; pretty much the exact same band who cut their teeth at The Loop Lounge earlier this decade. I think they're still returning Hambone's phone calls, if not dragging him to the after parties to get drunk with.

And I should've asked Johnny McGuire (aka Hambone, The King Of Rock & Roll) about the current status, but now it's 3am on Mischief Night and this blog's gotta be prep for Tuesday's Radio Boy program. (And, no, it ain't gonna be a Halloween show. Tsk tsk.)

So it all came flooding back to me, as sleep didn't work and this recurring tale of rock kept spinning. The My Chemical Romance story. Well, sort of, but through my small view of it as I saw it happen. Which brings me back to Hambone, who was part of the first band, Pencey Prep (featuring My Chem guitarist Frank Iero, as lead singer) who came to The Loop Lounge via an opening slot for Nada Surf (circa 1999) which was a gig I helped book when Matthew, Ira and Daniel were trying to give life to their brilliant, yet dying second album "The Proximity Effect" which their U.S. label opted not to release.

Seems Pencey Prep were Nada Surf fans and wanted to be part of that gig. I could be wrong, but that's how I remember it happening. And from there I saw them grow. And become one of the first bands signed to Eyeball Records. In and around that time Mikey and Gerard Way were familiar faces at The Loop, although I don't remember meeting Gerard until the formation of My Chem.

Pencey Prep made one album, "Heartbreak In Stereo" and were still ticking but with powers that be in the cosmos, Frank saw the promise in My Chemical Romance and followed that yellow brick road.

It didn't take long for My Chem to coalesce and come out swinging like a mo-fo, when they "debuted" at The Loop Lounge around 2001/2002. Mikey Way was coy about it: "Yeah, I'm in this band who's playing here next week. You should check us out." And even though I knew Mikey and respected his taste in music, I didn't envision him in a band, although he looked the part. I just never heard him talk like he was a musician. It's something, after years of being around gazillions of friends who were in bands and were musicians, I could usually sense from someone. Mikey really didn't have that air about him. I just thought he was a kid who liked Brit pop and enjoyed going to Tis Was at Don Hill's.

So the shock of seeing what was the most promising young band to grace the stage at The Loop Lounge ever (and I had seen a lot, being the weekly DJ for a few good years) was huge considering it was Mikey's band (along with his brother Gerard, who was the star frontman already).

I made sure I took pix at the next bunch of Loop Lounge gigs they played knowing very well that if it all panned out they would break pretty big. I did rave about them and their debut in "Yeah Yeah Yeah," quickly realizing there was something that set them apart from the emo and punk crop. They would never settle for something half-assed and they went for the brass ring every time out. It was a big boom. They also grand aspirations that belied all the indie mindset. They wanted their cake to eat and throw in the face of everything stagnant. It was a new breed.

LATE 2006
So I missed the VMA's and My Chem's recent appearance on Saturday Night Live. Thank god for youtube. Now I'm caught up. Needless to say, they've reached the top. Top of the Pops that is. Can't say what my next conversation with Gerard will be like, if I ever run into him again. Our last one was about the price he was willing to pay to take that big jump to the majors and go for broke. It was just before they signed with Reprise. The boy was ready.

Funny, in a cool way to see how it's taken off. I've heard mixed stories about how it's gone to their heads a bit, but a lot of that is natural. Some of it might be people miffed by such a rock windfall. Some of it is the price of fame. This is the big time no matter how you slice it. And they've always strived to make it big. Nothing to fault when it's done the right way. Let's hope they still remember to keep on covering bands like The Misfits. And of course, we do need a new line of My Chemical Romance action figures for x-mas. Gerard's got blonde hair now...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween At Altrok Radio

There's a marked increase in the Halloween music we're playing today, and there'll be even more tomorrow...including music from the new Nightmare Before Christmas special edition soundtrack (Marilyn Manson on Walt Disney Records...who'da thunk it?)

We're up to about three different versions of "Everyday Is Halloween" and two of "Bela Lugosi's Dead", but nobody does "Halloween" like Siouxsie, don'tcha know...

We'll repeat Ferris O'Brien's Halloween show from last week tomorrow, as well as the Altrok Radio FM Showcase that aired at 90.5 The Night this past Friday - and there aren't any duplicates between 'em (though I came close with Bauhaus - solved that problem, though.) That'll be two hours each, four total, starting tomorrow at 11:30AM Eastern, and again at 11PM Eastern - you can get your trick-or-treating done between those times, right? Sure ya can...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How Does Appropriation Equal Art?

No need for an explanation...just let The Emergency Broadcast Network show you:

Emergency Broadcast Network - Get Down (Video)

(And for those who are interested, the guy with the gun is R. Budd Dwyer.)

Hat tip to Wintle for the link.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pierson's Skewed Tube 10/24

This week's picks are mainly music and I only did a quick search for something extra-curricular and settled for Jon Stewart on Crossfire, which I was glad to see was up.

Still, regular TV was really where it was at with VH1 Classics airing very rare BBC performances by bands like The Faces and AC/DC. The Faces show was beyond godhead. It re-airs some time this week, check VH1's website.

On TCM this month they've been showing a lot of Dick Cavett's best interviews from the late '60s and early '70s. Last night I taped a bunch and watched a good chunk of the Groucho Marx interview and was amazed at the Katherine Hepburn one which was as odd, brilliant and unique as an interview could/can get.

The other decent glimmer of hope on the TV horizon was NBC's "Studio 60" which is one of two shows based on a fictitious version of Saturday Night Live. Once you get past any of the casting of the show (which is good once you give it a chance; I was hesitant) it's an amazing show. Less over the top than "The Larry Sanders Show" but just as well thought out and intelligent.

Dig the YouTube while it's still free and easy. It ain't gonna be like this forever. And keep in mind that some of these may have been taken down. Hopefully, not.

my YOUTUBE top 10:

1. THE FRATELLIS - Henrietta & Chelsea Dagger (live on Jools Holland)

2. ALICE COOPER- Public Animal Number 9 (Beat Club 1972)

3. DAVID BOWIE- Space Oddity (rare early live performance)

4. BEACH BOYS- Forever (live 1971)

5. THE TUBES- White Punks On Dope (Old Grey Whistle Test)

6. ADORABLE- Sunshine Smile (video)

7. JON STEWART on Crossfire (Part 1 & Part 2)

8. TODD RUNDGREN- The Verb To Love (live)

9. THE DB'S- Big Brown Eyes (live)

10. ELLIOTT MURPHY- Last Of The Rock Stars (live)

(Pat's show airs at WRSU-FM on Tuesdays, 4-6pm Eastern - click to listen; he'll be spinning at the Loop Lounge in Passaic this Thursday, too.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Big List for 10/17

Here's who you'll hear today when you tune into Altrok Radio (or Altrok Radio SD, for folks with slower connections):

The Alarm, Arctic Monkeys, Asobi Seksu, Autons, Aztec Camera

The Beastie Boys, Beck, Blow Up Hollywood, Phillip Boa And The Voodooclub, Boat, The Boot Room Allstars, Bromheads Jacket

Captain, Cat Scientist, The Chilling Details, Chin Up Chin Up, The Church, The Clash, Lloyd Cole, The Coral, Graham Coxon, The Customers

The Damned, The Decemberists, Devo, Dirty Pretty Things, Dogs Die In Hot Cars, Duels

Eagles Of Death Metal, Echo & The Bunnymen, Electrelane

The Fall, Favourite Sons, Fields, The Figgs, The Flaming Lips, Forward Russia!, French Kicks, Freur, The Futureheads

Game Theory, Gang Of Four, Gnarls Barkley, The God Damn Doo Wop Band, Grand Ole Party

Chris Harford, Head Like A Kite, Robyn Hitchcock, Honeycut, The Human League


Jackdaw4, Joe Jackson, The Jam, Howard Jones


Larrikin Love, The Lemonheads, Let's Active, The Libertines, Liquid Liquid, The Little Ones, The Long Blondes, The Loud Family And Anton Barbeau, Nick Lowe

Mellowdrone, Milburn, Morphine, Morrissey

New Young Pony Club, No Pasaran!, The Noisettes

One For The Team, The Oohlas, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

Robert Palmer, The Pipettes, Pixies, Poi Dog Pondering, The Postmarks, The Presets, The Psychedelic Furs

R.E.M., The Radio Dept., The Ramones, Ranier Maria, Stan Ridgway, The Rifles, Ricky Ross, Rubicks

Fred Schneider, Scissor Sisters, The Screaming Blue Messiahs, Scritti Politti, Seachange, The Sharp Ease, Shiloe, Shiny Toy Guns, The Silents, Sloan, The Smiths, Snowden, Sonic Youth, Spearmint, Stiff Little Fingers, The Sunshine Underground, Super Furry Animals

TV On The Radio, Talking Heads, The Tears, Teitur, Tuff Darts

Tom Vek, Voxtrot

What Is It About Amsterdam, Anyway?

'Twas a few years back that I started to get the feeling that something good was happening in Amsterdam (musically speaking. Shut up, you.) That's when I found Seedling, and have since found lots more to embrace.

Like Voicst, for example. They actually wound up here in the US when Seedling came 'round (probably sharing transportation, in fact) and were pretty impressive then; time has proven to be kind to them, because their latest (due for download in mid-November) is their strongest yet.

I can even quote Spin and Rolling Stone's glowing reviews about them now, though I figure I don't really have to (you know what they're gonna say, right?) Go on, take a listen...

Voicst's site:
Voicst's MySpace:

Pierson's Thursday (and Friday!) Spinning Gigs

Looks like Pat Pierson's sphere of influence continues to expand, at least a bit. Not only will he hold court in the back room at Passaic's Loop Lounge, but he's found a cozy place called The Iron Monkey in Jersey City that appears to hold a bit of promise...
When Dan Roorda (of famed New Brunswick punk band Buzzkill) said he was managing the Iron Monkey and asked if I wanted to DJ, I said sure, but hesitated a little only because I've never been to Jersey City... That is, unless someone drove me through while I was sleeping.

When I finally stopped by to see the place I was amazed to see a bunch of familiar faces and a cool place to have a beer. One was a bartender who once worked at The Roxy in New Brunswick (Reggie) and the other was one who once bartended at The Goldhawk in Hoboken (Amber). And there was Mark from The Court Tavern bartending up on the rooftop (which may or may not be open this weekend depending on the weather).

So needless to say, this place passed the smell test with flying colors. And I know a bunch of people who have spoke highly of it before. For now this is a one-off until something is hashed out with my schedule. But the main thing is that good music will be played and you're guaranteed some very cool bartenders to boot.
So: ya free Friday? Why not head over and make Pat a hit?

Thursday at The Loop Lounge: 373 Broadway, Passaic, NJ; 973-365-0807
Friday at The Iron Monkey: 97 Greene St, Jersey City, NJ; 201 435 5756

Monday, October 16, 2006

Altrok Radio Music Update #134

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:
  • Gnarls Barkley
  • The Oohlas
  • Favourite Sons
  • Electrelane
  • Seachange
  • Lloyd Cole
Plus we've got newly-added music:
  • Joseph Arthur - Enough To Get Away
  • Chin Up Chin Up - We've Got To Keep Running
  • The Decemberists - The Perfect Crime 2
  • The Hold Steady - Stuck Between Stations
  • Honeycut - Shadows
  • Larrikin Love - Edwould
  • The Long Blondes - Weekend Without Makeup
  • The Noisettes - Malice In Wonderland
  • The Postmarks - Goodbye
  • Princeton - Tokyo, Japan
  • The Rifles - One Night Stand
  • Spearmint - The Competition
  • The Sunshine Underground - The Way It Is
Our Featured Classics:
  • Big Audio Dynamite - E=MC2
  • Elvis Costello - Senior Service
  • Devo - Jerkin' Back And Forth
  • Meat Beat Manifesto - 10 X Faster Than The Speed Of Love
  • New Musik - Sanctuary
  • The Ramones - Indian Giver
  • Siouxsie And The Banshees - Christine
  • The Smiths - You've Got Everything Now
  • The Stranglers - Skin Deep
  • X - The Hungry Wolf

Saturday, October 14, 2006

"It's not all Winnie The Pooh, is it?"

Ever since they sent me an early demo, Love Ends Disaster have been popping up in "ones to watch" lists for a while - and here's a great example of why that might be:

'Cause y'know... you just can't trust bears.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Melody Bar Refugees: A Reunion On The Horizon?

I've been hearing a fair amount of rumbling about a Melody Bar reunion. It started as a half-static message on my answering machine from Stiffy Biceptz, but has slowly built up steam, to the point where I'm getting random notes in my inbox about it. (Okay, one random note, but still.) Multiple sources are convinced Matt Pinfield is all but ready to be involved, though I wouldn't fault him for 'spinning' using two iPods - those record crates were damn heavy!

Here's my request: "Work", by The Electric Guitars. I still can't find that damn record, and it ain't the easiest thing to Google.

For those unfamiliar with New Brunswick, NJ's Melody Bar: yes, it was a commercial establishment where people paid money to receive drinks (and food, though that wasn't the attraction) that is, somehow, more than worthy of a reunion. A lot of my memories are attached to it - as well as a few non-memories, if you catch my drift.

Its appeal, if I were to try and analyze it far further than it likely has any right to be, was that it was as much a nightclub as it was a funhouse. Part of the thrill of navigating to the dance floor was that you never knew what you'd encounter on the way there - both in terms of decoration and of clientele.

I DJ'd there on a number of occasions, regularly for a while 'till they realized I was on the wrong side of the escalating drinking age I'd missed grandfathering by six months, back before there was an enclosed "booth", and even managed to be there once when the "booth" was a slab of plywood strewn across a couple of stoves in the place's former kitchen. (That'd be 1982 or so.)

But you need to know more, and that set me a-Googling - and that's why you're here, 'cause now you don't have to. Truth be told, there ain't much more, so there shouldn't be a problem using Altrok here as a forum to change that. Got some info? Send it through our Feedback page...but as for what's out there:

Firstly, a MySpace page for The Melody...

Secondly, and this is news to me if it's true, Wikipedia says James Gandolfini was once a DJ there. (Now I don't even need Kevin Bacon to be linked to a Soprano.)

And for the morbidly curious, there's this photo set from DJ Shaggy of the inside of the building as it existed in 2004 just before it was torn down. Of course, it was more than just the building, but...damn.

(Wonder if it was demolished with the single bottle of tequila still on the bar?)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Everything Old Is New Again: The Bongos at Joe's Pub 10/14

According to Altrok contributor Pat Pierson:

The Bongos will also be reuniting on Saturday, October 14th at Joe's Pub for a rare reunion gig which will include all of "Drums Along The Hudson." The lineup for the reunion is the original 3-piece.
Well, I was there for their final show the first time they broke up...perhaps I should carve out a bit of time...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Altrok Radio Music Update #133

Altrok Radio is at

Please remember to tune in whenever you can - every hour you listen turns into more visibility for the station; we show up higher in search listings, and such like that. And if you'd like to help us keep the stream running, check out the advertisers if they appeal to you; your interest actually helps fund us.

This week, our Grinders (the stuff we play heavily) include music from:
  • The Church
  • French Kicks
  • Tigers Can Bite You
  • Sloan
  • Rachel Zamsteen
  • The Features
Plus we've got newly-added music:
  • Beck - Think I'm In Love
  • The Dears - Death Or Life We Want You
  • Fields - Song For The Fields
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead - I Know I'm Not Alone
  • Gnarls Barkley - Smiley Faces
  • Head Like A Kite - Pour Me a Drink!
  • Kasabian - Empire
  • Milburn - Lipstick Licking
  • R.E.M. - Bad Day (Outtake from Life's Rich Pageant)
  • Stan Ridgway - Hanging Johnny
  • The Roman Numerals - The Rule Of V
  • Seachange - No Backward Glances
  • Silversun Pickups - Lazy Eye
  • The Thermals - Power Doesn't Run On Nothing
Our Featured Classics:
  • The Clash - Janie Jones
  • Lloyd Cole - Perfect Skin
  • The Cult - Rain
  • The Danse Society - Heaven Is Waiting
  • Electronic - Imitation Of Life
  • Le Tigre - Punker Plus
  • Lene Lovich - I Think We're Alone Now
  • The Skids - The Saints Are Coming
  • Talking Heads - The Lady Don't Mind (Extended Mix)
  • The Untouchables - Free Yourself
Want a piece o' that? Tune in!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Good Records Fer Cheap!

Memphis Industries has established a fine track record for interesting releases - The Go! Team, Dungen, The Pipettes and The Black Neon are some of the artists we've played for you at Altrok Radio, and there's more goodness where that came from.

"But Sean," I hear you say, "how can I get my hands on some of that fine, fine tuneage?"

Well, I'm sorry, my brother, but you must get your own. But you can get it for a more than reasonable price, though the element of surprise is part of the deal.

And the deal is this: five Memphis album releases chosen at random for the low low price of UKP9.99 (about $18) plus shipping. And here's where you place the order.
Please Look At Our Advertisers (Or The Website Gets It)
Congratulations, you've found the hidden text.
Welcome to, also available at and Here's where the remaining listeners of several fine radio stations have retreated, regrouped, and built a replacement strong enough to stand on its own. It builds on the independent legacy of New Jersey's FM106.3, New York's WPIX and WLIR, Oklahoma's 105.3 The Spy, the pre-buyout mindset of KROQ, WBCN and WHFS and of every other alternative station that was destroyed at a moment's notice - not because they weren't making money, but because there was bigger money to be found elsewhere.
We've stood by as truly independent alternative rock radio died. Sure, something called "alternative" took its place, but we know for sure that anything that "tests well" with soccer moms just ain't alternative. (Even if some of us happen to be soccer moms.) So we've taken matters into our own hands.
This really is independent alternative rock radio, visible here at and audible at our web radio station. It has the classic music that fired our passions back in the day - or that we maybe only heard about from our elders - but it's mostly made of the new music that does precisely the same for us now. We're paying attention to scenes all over the world, watching the energy build, and waiting to see what it creates. Wherever it happens, we'll make sure you can hear about it here. We've been slowly building all this since 2001, and now that you've noticed us, we're glad you're here.
Of course, it's only here because you want it to be here, and it can only stay if you help it along - especially by checking out our advertisers (they support us) and by listening (the more that listen, the more visible we are.) Please use the "feedback" link above to let us know whether it works for you, and what you want it to be as the future unfolds. (And if you need help hearing it, let us know that, too.)