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#108
The lowdown on the
downtown music scene
Three of the bands featured in this issue of NEON – Schizo Fun Addict, The Soft Explosions, Death of Fashion – all have a connection to upstart label Canarsie Records. They also happen to be three of the most talked about groups on the current indie scene. The Brooklyn-based Canarsie is the combined brainchild of Schizo leader Jet Wintzer and Keith Ozar, manager of The John Sparrow.  So it’s no surprise that Canarsie’s initial release was SFA’s long-anticipated third album The Atom Spark Hotel or that Ozar’s band has a forthcoming recording on the label. But, Canarsie has also pressed singles for the other highly-touted bands above and some equally amazing recordings are in the works. All of Canarsie’s output is on good old vinyl with a complimentary CD included in each package. But we have a strong feeling most purchasers will be getting their kicks off the CDs and saving the pristine vinyls for their investment collections. The label has set up solid national and UK distribution and we’ve heard rumors and innuendo that Canarsie has some really big surprises coming this year – we can’t wait. (http://www.canarsierecords.com)

A couple issues back we told you about a young Florida based band that was doing some heavy-duty showcasing here in NYC. Alas, Day of Infamy is no more but that band’s former members now make up three quarters of Through You. Of course they’ve now gotten a bit older - brothers Michael (guitar) and King van den Berg (drums) have reached the lofty vintages of 16 and 11; and bassist Jeremy Morris has left his teen years behind. They’re joined on vocals by new singer Mike Kirkland. Don’t let their ages fool you, this is a mature sounding band. Their new promo demo (which includes a color cover shot by noted photographer Robert Caldaone) continues with strong classic rock sounds and is impressive on any level. A debut EP is due shortly.

Can't say we're sorry to see the demise of the disco Plaid which held forth for a couple years at the site of the legendary Cat Club on East 13th Street. The only reason we had for ever dropping in and subjecting ourselves to their moronic staff and sophomoric house rules was for the New York Underbelly Between (a Rock and a Hard Place) shows which have now moved on to Crash Mansion. On the other hand the imminent move of The Luna Lounge from their Ludlow Street location does not bode well for the current indie scene as the Luna was the spiritual hub of the area from which a number of other clubs radiated. Ludlow Street itself has an impressive place in NYC rock history. Among several other things, this was the street where John Cale and Lou Reed originally banged out the songs for The Velvet Underground’s “Banana” album. A new location is planned for the Luna elsewhere. Additionally, CBGB may soon disappear from the Bowery where it has been a shrine to punk rock through four decades. The club is little changed during that span of time and if you listen carefully you can still hear its flyer-pasted walls telling tales of the historic events that have played out there.

Although The Ghosts of Greenwich Village have been haunting the downtown streets for some time now, their unannounced appearances usually happen without note. That is about to change. You read it here first ... catch you next time.
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NYC BUZZZ
Contributors: Jeff Rey, Stephan Jaser, Malcolm Sane, BonnieTagate and Michele Falk - photos Jeff Rey
© Copyright 2005 NEONnyc.com, blue door productions
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The Continental has a long and storied past. Just around the corner from St. Marks Place on 3rd Avenue, the Continental Divide (as it was then known) was located in the heart of the punk rock/new wave scene. Back then it was still the neighborhood hangout of various and sundry Ramones, New York Dolls, Dead Boys and other notorious punk ‘n rollers. Drinks were cheap and the atmosphere relaxed except when the always exciting bands took the small stage that was jammed into a back corner. There was a small raised balcony section just off of stage left that had ancient and comfortable red vinyl booths and sitting up there felt like lounging in a friend’s loft and being entertained by an all-star jam band that just happened to drop in. In truth, you never knew just who might jump up on stage on any given night for an impromptu set with a local group. There were lots of electric surprises in those days. Then several NYU dorms were completed nearby, their occupants (armed with Daddy’s pocket money) flooded the streets and the scene was forever changed.

Nowadays the joint is little more than a square box of a room with pricey drinks, a shaky sound system and it usually hosts suburban hard rock bands that bring in way too many one-night-trippers. Yet some exceptional acts still gig there on occasion. And when promoter Jennifer Schwartz (of www.alecon.com) picked the place to throw herself a birthday bash, I knew it  just had to be cool.  (More on Fascination Autumn and photos HERE)


Fascination Autumn's Martin Bonventre belting it out at The Continental.
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