I Felt So Lost, I Couldn’t Say Why

We got a write up on Real Gone. They liked us! Thanks, ya bunch of suckers. We pulled a punk trick on you.

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I Just Want to Feel Some Rhythm

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If you are the kind of person who likes to listen to podcasts, perhaps you should check out this episode of Jonah Raydio, an episode that features the sweet sounds of Science Club.

Thanks to Jonah Ray for playing our song on his show, and thank’s for creating a much more interesting backstory than our actual one. Listen here.

Also, while we’re here, I suggest you investigate the following podcasts.

Who Pays for Their Fucking Bullshit? We Do.

Science Club is playing The Trocadero on March 1.

I know, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, either.

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The story of how this show came to be is a boring one, full of all the mundane details one would expect if they ever tried to book their band someplace. An opening was presented. We sent an email. The email was responded to. Here we are now.

What matters, I guess, is what this means for Science Club and what this means for you.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR SCIENCE CLUB is that we get to knock something off our list. I never in a million years thought this band would last as long as it has, let alone did I think we’d ever play a show outside of the dingy, small Philly bars I know. I certainly didn’t think we’d get a chance to play (what is, in my opinion) one of the top 5 best venues in the city.

I wrote the other day that the Lit Lounge has history. The Troc has twice that history. I’ve seen dozens of my favorite bands play here (Face to Face, Hot Water Music, The Lawrence Arms, Ted Leo, The Hold Steady, dozens more), and now we get to sweat all over it and try to bum everyone out.

Us. The same band that wrote a song about Star Trek.

If bands can have bucket lists, this is getting crossed off ours.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU is that we are going to test all the friendships we’ve ever had.

We are going to sell tickets for this show. Odds are, if you are reading this, we’re going to ask you to buy a ticket.

Now, look. I get it, I really do. I’ve had friends in bands all the way back to grade school and, while I’ve loved all my friends, I haven’t loved all their bands. I’ve been asked to buy tickets to some truly horrible shows before, and it’s a pain in the ass. No one knows that more than I do.

The only way this is different is that now I’m the one asking, not the one trying to change the subject or politely declining.

So, if you know us, we’re gonna try and pitch you. Of course, if you’d just like to up and buy one, do it from us by clicking this link here and we’ll make it happen.

So, yeah. Science Club. The Trocadero. Saturday, March 1.

This is so stupid. This is so exciting.

Science Club forever.

Someone Said That You’d Be Back Today

The Lit Lounge, NYC.

If you weren’t driving on 95 northbound between Philadelphia and New York City on Saturday, you probably didn’t notice the giant black cloud that looked like a palisade in the sky around 4 p.m. I sure did.  Ever since I got new windshield wipers about a month ago, driving in the rain isn’t a problem, but I won’t pretend I wasn’t a little intimidated by the sight of the weather. Weather is usually something that just happens. When you can see if coming, it becomes so much worse than that.

I grew up in New York state, but I didn’t actually go to its namesake city until I was 20 years old, after a lifetime of telling people that I thought the place was a dump, sight unseen. Part of me probably resented being associated with the Big Apple despite the fact that Rochester has more in common with the hills of Vermont than it does with that place that James Murphy keeps writing songs about, but the reality is that I was just a shitty kid who liked to talk nonsense.

Since then, I’ve gone back and forth on New York (henceforth used to signify the city, not the state, Rochester for life, son). On Saturday, before Science Club’s show at the Lit Lounge, I liked the place. After our show, I hated it.

That makes it sound like we had a bad show. We didn’t. That said, the process of getting to the club, loading out stuff in, and getting out stuff back out was a goddamn nightmare. The Lit Lounge is located a few blocks away from NYU’s campus in lower Manhattan, wedged between a grocery store and what appears to be a nightclub. It’s a greasy little spot without a sign or any marker signifying it. As such, there’s nowhere to park a car and unload an amp.

This isn’t the club’s fault. It isn’t anyone’s fault, I guess. Still, after unloading in a bus lane, driving for 30 minutes to find a spot 30 minutes away, then having to make the trek again in reverse to get home, I’ve decided that New York can share California’s inevitable future and slide into the angry ocean. At least we’ll finally get that Atlantis we were all promised.

*****

Dan Mariska and the Boys Chior

Dan Mariska and the Boys Chior

The Lit Lounge basement is a very cool place. It’s all brick walls and black surfaces and shadowy little alcoves that look a little bit like what TV and movies keep insisting parts of 19th century London looked like. It’s a place with “history,” as they say. The bartenders were helpful, but dismissive. The sound guy looked like a survivor of 80s hardcore and, at one point, got into it with a drunken patron of the show (after reviewing the tape, I’m on the sound guy’s team).  The door woman read a book the entire time, but it’s hard to say if her detachment from the situation is based on personal issues or the fact that it was a show that Science Club was playing and, as such, there’s not a ton for a door person to do.

We played with three other bands. The first, Dan Mariska and the Boys Chior, were a four-piece rock and roll outfit from the Midwest. If there were any justice in the world, they’d be opening up for the Kings of Leon or the Alabama Shakes or whatever. They were as tight a band as I’ve seen, and their (oh, I hate this term but I guess it works) roots-rock sound reminded me how fun the guitar can be. They were talents as hell and, tragically, criminally, viewed by only the members of Science Club and one other girl. Watching them, I was reminded of the song “The Late Greats” by Wilco. Look it up. That’s more of less what happened at the Lit Lounge between 8:30 and 9:15pm. I suggest you purchase their music here.

The second band was equally talented, while having fuck-all in common with the first band. What can I tell you about Sursum Verbo? Well, firstly, I will cop to this: I thought their band name was needlessly odd until someone told me that its Latin and not just some gibberish. The lesson here is, as always, that I am dick.

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Sursum Verbo might be my new favorite band. They are a three piece from New York. Their sound is post-punk, I guess, though the lead singer would tell me later on that they don’t much like to pigeonhole themselves that way. They reminded me of Title TK-era Breeders. They reminded me Ticonderoga. They reminded me of the Talking Heads or Television or any other angular band that uses the tools of traditional rock and roll and tries to push something new out.

Their rhythm section was phenomenal. Their guitar playing was creative without being showy. The lead singer had three drinks on stage, because “you’ll never know what kind of thirsty you’ll be.” They were unlike any band I’ve seen in years. Listen to them here. Go see them when you can. We exchanged emails after the show. I fully intend to bring them to the City of Brotherly Shove this year. Come to that show.

*****

The Lit Lounge on Saturday was our second show in as many days. After Friday’s show, all members of Science Club came off the stage feeling pretty confident. I don’t think that sense of confidence was as prevalent after Saturday. Nick, especially, seemed shaken, after breaking a bass string during the second song.

Photo by Aunt Laurel. Dumb face and body by Nate.

Photo by Aunt Laurel. Dumb face and body by Nate.

Nick felt bad about it after the show, but considering that A) he was able to play every song anyway by adjusting the octaves in his head on the fly because he is a musician and his mind is sharp B) I break so many strings all the time and this is the first time in recorded history it’s ever happened to him, he had no need to feel ill about his performance. I guess no one did. Joey couldn’t hear us as well, crammed in the crawlspace that the Lit Lounge banishes drummers to. I played fine, but goofed up a bunch of chords and couldn’t get my FX pedal to make the loud grumbling sound I like.

Still and all, we did what we do, which is to say play stupid punk songs and look like we enjoy doing it, which is easy because we do. I blew my voice out with two songs left and ended up sounding like Tom Waits for the rest of the night. We shook hands with new friends (shouts out, again, to Sursum Verbo, the drunk guy who got into the with the sound guy, the sound guy, who sought me out after to tell me he loved our set, Claire, a friend of a friend who likes the song where everyone is going to die, and to Tom, Jared, Omar and Jules, the truest of all Science Club fans) and hugged old ones. We had a few drinks, watched the last band, and posed for the photo that now sits atop this page.

The rock show ended at 12 a.m. At 12:10 a.m., the Lit Lounge basement turned into the nightclub from the Matrix. It was as if someone open a fire hydrant in the basement and, instead of water, thin, attractive people from NYU came gushing out. We got our gear and got the fuck out of there.

*****

If you haven’t listened to Aging Punks in a while, why don’t you? While we’re at it, have you ever heard “S.E.I.” as God intended? What about “Funky C?” Go forth and reacquaint your self with Science Club. We’ve got some big news coming up this week that will explain why.

I’m Coming Back to Life Again / Resuscitation of the Year

 

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Happy New Year, people of Earth. Science Club is back at it.

The Club played it’s first show of the new year, it’s first booked through a new booker. Plently of room for stuff to go wrong, especially considering that we’re prominently involved.

The Voltage Lounge is described as being “next” to the Electric Factory. This is technically true: there is what appears to be an office / loft space separating the larger, established venue from the smaller club that is, by all reports, still trying to find itself (if the proper way to determine the age of trees is to cut them in half and count the rings, the proper way to age a rock and roll bar is to see how much grafitti is in the bathroom. I’d estimate that more than 80 percent of the men’s room remains unmolested by bathroom poetry and hastily scrawled band names).

From the street, however, it looks like Voltage is connected to TEF. The two story bar faces the street and boasts a similar layout to the larger venue that shares it’s space. The bottom floor has a bar, tables,  a small dance floor / mosh pit area, and stairs leading up to more tables that overlook the stage. It looks nice. It’s big enough, however, that a smaller, shittier band (you know, like the band I am one/third of) could potentially get worried about not bringing enough people and making the bar look even bigger than it is by the absence of paying customers. Addition by subtraction, if you will.

I need not have worried. Science Club had a pretty good group of fans come out to see them Friday night in Philadelphia. In return, we played a pretty good show in which I only lost my voice a little bit. It was a good start to the year. Shouts out to a group of teachers, a gaggle of dudes from Bensalem, PA, some shaggy West Philadelphia people and my roommate Brett for making it out. We even got paid, which has happened, what, less than six times? Pretty cool stuff.

When I say “we got paid,” I want to make it clear what this means. First, it means we made a little bit of money, enough money to pay for our practice space and not a thing more. We didn’t make enough money to fill a gas tank. That’s okay, though. For a band like ours, a band made up of three guys with other stuff going on, a chance to practice for free, even for a week, is a blessing. Secondly, not every venue will pay a performing band. I used to get way more upset about the kind of low-level screwjobs that venues will pull on small bands who scrambled to get a draw then get nothing back from it. Many venues won’t pay out until the bar closes, only to scrape out $10 out of the tip jar. Others will flat-out still a band entirely. I doubt this happens to Banner Pilot or Dillinger Four or whatever, but when you’re just some slapdick 20-something playing power chords to 10 people, it’s easy to get screwed (not that you really should be getting that much money anyway).

The other bands on the bill were all pretty great, too. The first band, Andorra, was a group of dudes who appeared to be just over 21 but played with a mastery beyond their years. Ariables is a prog three-piece who seemed to apologize for being a prog three-piece by covering “My Own Worst Enemy,” “The Middle” and “Baba O’Riley.” Jeanette Berry and the Soul Nerds were a full-fledged soul band with the vocals to back it up. All three were a party and fun to share / ruin a bill with.

All of this is to say that I enjoyed the Voltage Lounge. It was a good venue. The soundman, Lee, was helpful. The bar didn’t have any beer specials, but whatever, thems’ the breaks. We’re playing there again in February. It’ll be good.

Tonight, Science Club plays its second show of the year at the Lit Lounge in Manhattan. According to my cousin, it’s a pretty big venue with some history to it. I just hope no one throws anything too heavy at us. Lord willing, we’ll make a friend and get a little more money to spend at on practice.

Two big developments in the Science Club world are happening this year. Stay tuned for the full gory details.

You’re Too Old to Rock, No More Rocking for You

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Last night, Science Club held it’s first practice of the New Year and the first practice where I tried to use earplugs.

There’s a test you can take online. You plug in your headphones and listen to a series of tones. As each tone plays, the screen will list the age at which people can usually hear these tones. In essence, this test tells you how old your ears are.

I took this test. My ears are in their 50s. Not great, since I’m not even 30 yet.

Going deaf has never been a concern of mine. I’ve played in loud bands since I was a teenager, and I’ve been using headphones to listen to loud music since before the bands. I always assumed that I’d lose my hearing somewhere down the road and, when that happened, I’d just get a hearing aid and move on with my life.

That plan, for any number of reasons, seems much less feasible now than it did when I was 12 and my Grandmother was worried about getting me a diskman for my birthday.

So I tired to use earplugs at practice and it wasn’t great. There’s something missing when you play with plugs, a disconnect that I can’t really explain but would make sense if you played music. I took ‘em out about 2/3 of the way through practice. Looks like hearing aids for me.

I will say that they helped me hear myself sing, and, just as we all suspected, I’m a golden-throated angel.

The first hour of practice was a bit of a slog. The second hour went better. We’re ready for our shows.

OH YEAH, WE’VE GOT TWO SHOWS THIS WEEK. 

Come and get it. We’ll play a song for you.