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burn all your recordsToad is burning up! February 16, 2008– a date already twitching in infamy in Canarsie-native Charles Burney IV’s forthcoming A General History of Brooklyn Music (Pinakothek Press) & soon to be tripping off the tongues of swingers, boppers, moldy figs, folkies, hippies, mods, rockers, dreads, punks, no wavers, b-boys, blunt heads, fly ladies & prisoners throughout the County of Kings. The Guatemalan woman walking down Bath Avenue? She’s going. The Guinean selling Nigerian dvds on Fulton Street? Him too. All those apparent rapscallions waiting for the L at Rockway Boulevard? Better watch out for them, they look like graffiti writers or something– Park Slope forbid!! But Southpaw, 125 5th Avenue, they allow: Antietam, The Scene Is Now (above left*), that skinny motherfucker with the high voice himself, James McNew & … all the way from Marine Park… ya’ll loved him in Eight-Eyed Spy… ya’ll impressed your (second) ex-wife with the name of Sonic Youth’s drummer before Bob Bert… ya’ll took a first date to one his gigs with the Cramps (litmus test)… While best known recently for his terrific work with Nick Cave in both the Bad Seeds & Grinderman (shout to Warren Ellis: what’s good, homie?), tonight, Jim Sclavunos leads his New York band, The Vanity Set, in songs from the Greek-American underworld & … mourmoúrika!

BZA (or The Dervish’s Broad) adds: So once upon a time when bohemians outnumbered luxury baby stores, I was on the scene… pretty much. There was no “indie rock” then & “college rock” was bosh but CB’s & Maxwell’s were still the meccas. Sadly, I didn’t get to see Chris Nelson & Phil Dray (subject of a classic rembetica, “The Dude From Vilnius”) much then, tho’ I was a great admirer of their records. Antietam, by comparison, made some fine & interesting albums that– truth be told now– never came close to their live brilliance. Among his many accomplishments, James McNew has played bass let’s straighten it outon Cage’s Hell’s Winter & the second best Brooklyn hip-hop album of 2007, El-P’s I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. Solo, as tonight, I believe he answers to the name Dump, who singlehandedly popularized the term “grown-ass man” to a world of largely uncomprehending Yo La Tengo admirers. Once upon another time in the late 1970s, two Minnesotans (Nelson & Dray) from the Lower East Side met a Greek-American in Brooklyn (Sclavunos): everyone went home barefoot.

* Gerde’s Folk City photo courtesy The Scene Is Now & Angel Dean.

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