Petite League teach old dog "New Tricks" in music video premiere

I’m not usually one to quote other critics here but since I’m feeling a little lazy, and because there’s some provocative opinions on the latest album by Petite League out there, I’ll just share a couple quick ones here. Like the quote from the Americana Highways writer who says there’s no hyperbole at all in calling Joyrider “a lo-fi Pet Sounds” or prematurely naming it “the best album of the year” because “it’s just hard to image [sic] something topping this.” Congrats with that pull quote gentlemen! And over at The Family Reviews, in describing the overall vibe of the album, another writer observed that “the dominant force on this album [is being] blissful in the moment even with the knowledge that when the high wears off the hangover is going to be psychically shattering.” Which sounds a lot like Brian Wilson while making Pet Sounds so I think we have a running theme here. 

When it comes to the song “New Tricks” off the album and it’s newly released music video, Petite League demonstrate their considerable talent for making loneliness and regret and daydreams and succeeding-against-all-the-odds sound transcendent in a low-key/lo-fi kinda way, luxuriating in sharp, sweet suffering like teasing a loose tooth with your tongue. And while I can’t help but think of Rob Gordon at the beginning of High Fidelity when he wonders aloud whether the music or the misery came first, finally you gotta say “who cares!” when you can simply bask in the winsome strains of Petite League and the heart-rending tale of an old dog trying to learn “new tricks" in the parallel realms of romance and roulette.

Now that I think about it, this song’s scrappy shaggy-dog story is straight out of a hardcore country song--talk about a genre that knows how to confront everyday forms of sadness or at least it once did--about a gambler who definitely does not know when to hold ‘em or when to fold 'em as evidenced by all-night booze and baccarat filled bender at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City spent “betting it all on the wrong dog” and returning dejectedly on the 4AM bus back to the city smelling like ashtray butts and “the bottle I was sleeping in” and then showing up on your doorstep unannounced declaring “I’ve made a terrible mistake please consider loving me like you once did” and boy does this kind of stuff pull at your heartstrings, especially given the dogged optimism of the narrator holding out hope for “one more lucky strike / one more lucky hand / one more lucky night” a lot like the tragic protagonist of nearly every movie ever made about doomed dreamers and gamblers.

And when you’re this hard up you can sometimes find a perverse succor in being a sucker, that is, in giving yourself so entirely over to something or someone so that no matter how hopeless the reality of it you at least manage to escape yourself--like our narrator drawn to pretty faces that “always drinks for sugar and wine in my veins,” providing comfort to “a broken, broken man,” not unlike “the comforting heat from the warmth of a gun” or some other metaphor about being inextricably-drawn-to-what’s-worst-for-you in a way that's “hard to explain and harder to change” but hey just raise your hand if you haven’t been there before. (Yeah, I thought so!) Then if you dress up the quasi-story-song with gently shimmering Andy Summers guitar chording and bounding basslines and in-the-pocket timekeeping (courtesy of drummer Henry Schoonmaker) and blankly blissful vocals (courtesy of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo Gillis Cook) all wrapped up in the warm glow of the record's lo-fi production, and you’re likely to experience a slowly spreading sense of deep contentment whatever your current circumstances in life.

And speaking of being bathed in a warm glow, the music video only amplifies this sense of womb-like comfort and warmth with the band’s members ensconced in colorful mall-walker windbreakers kind of like oversized Members Only jackets as they wander around and lounge on a city rooftop decorated with pin-striped partitions and it certainly looks like a pleasant way to spend a day--especially with all the magic tricks and money flaunting and dice playing happening up there. This warm nostalgic aesthetic is only heightened by the video being filmed on Super 8 and 16mm film by band ally and video director KD Sampaio (Good Relation Records) with the resulting visual full of artifacts and vertical hold issues evoking the hazy, sentimental vibe of unearthed home movies discovered in the attic. 

And so the moral of the story may be "why not bet all your chips and shoot for the big jackpot, perhaps followed by a joyride in the Mojave Desert, because what else have you got to lose?" or at least that's my takeaway. At worst, you’ll experience a psychically-shattering hangover and then write a great song about it like this one. (Jason Lee)


Mary Shelley find the asshole within and make him dance


After checking out their debut single “Bourgeois de Ville,” if forced at gunpoint to guess some of the guiding lights in this young band’s musical firmament, I would propose such “old-skool-new-wave” artists as (shameless name-dropping alert!) Wire, Bauhaus, PiL, the Adolescents, the Police (peep that Synchronicity like cover image) Hüsker Dü, the B-52s, and later, the Pixies and the Breeders--as filtered through a Wall-of-Voodoo-meets-Oingo-Boingo sensibility and don’t forget to add dashes of Jesus and Mary Chain’s noisy fuzzed out bliss or Buzzcocks’ headrush pop-punk hooks. We can only hope that our deceptively clean-cut-looking boys keep raiding their cool uncles’ record collections and spinning gold from the old vinyl (yes we’re being presumptuous, but the “cool uncle” theory is a valid one to explore) and that they keep seeking out the human in the monstrous and the monstrous in the human like they do in this song just like their namesake.

Vacillating between first person and third person, the lyrics confront Frankenstein and his monster at once (and as one) coming up with such bon mots as “shut the fuck up you’re a Pisces / probably talking feels over ICEEs” and somewhere Kurt Cobain doth shed a tear. And before long the narrator is proudly reeling off examples of his own pretentious mendacity and overall asshole-acity before suddenly losing his cool and blurting out the unstated desperate subtext (“je suis intéressant!” which means “I am interesting” for all you non-Francophones) over and over again to a growing chorus of babbling voices in his head (that we can also hear) and you just know none of this can be a good sign. But it is a good cautionary tale that points the finger inward too because as frontman Jackson Dockery puts it “sometimes you’re the pretentious asshole” or in other words, doctor, heal thyself, like the crocheted pillow says.

These shifting psychological states are reflected in the music which opens on a tense anticipatory buildup like a slowed down, blunted out version of the intro of the Dead Boys’ "Sonic Reducer" before cutting off at the climactic moment and transforming into a crisp, tense post-punk-disco-beat-bass-groove with occasional guitar outbursts and soccer terrace-style vocal chanting of the title phrase which sounds like the name of a new club in the Meatpacking District. But then the song takes another turn and eventually builds up to a rush of crunching guitars and increasingly Tourette’s-like traded vocal (sometimes in Spanish) and continues apace with ebbs and flows like the tide coming in and out which is all rather fitting since there’s a strong surf-punk vibe at times too like in the breakdown section especially with the “Wipeout” drum rolls and swarming echoey guitar all building to a climactic finale of frantic Johnny Rotten style jabbering and I won’t spoil any more of it, you can just listen yourself.

Anyway it’ll probably make you wanna dance the pogo or smash things, or maybe just topple over a vase due to your spasmodic dancing, because this song doesn’t skimp on the jumpy restlessness or nervous-whisper-to-a-scream vocal acrobatics with Dockery coming across at times like Stan Ridgeway and Fred Schneider’s love child backed up by a band that echoes his manic mood swings to a tee. And by the end you’ll wanna punch your first repeatedly in the air while surfing in a moshpit in righteous fury against mindless Mobius strip banter at Bushwick rooftop parties that threatens to turn you into just another pretentious asshole, but one who likes to dance and to rant entertainingly at least--which I hope the band plan to do themselves at their upcoming gigs on 9/10 (gold sounds), 9/18 (Berlin) and 10/5 (bar freda). (Jason Lee)



Band name: 
Eugene Tyler Band
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...):
Venue name: 
Rockwood Music Hall

Summer Playlist Bingo

 The time is almost here for summer fun! And for summer fun, you need summer music! As in, summer music conveniently organized in playlist form! Obviously! As in a MASSIVE EIGHT-HOUR-PLUS SPOTIFY PLAYLIST of songs both old and new (but mostly new) that have a summer theme, or a summer vibe, or an "I'm playing this while it's summer" thing going on! And then, after you've taken a sick day off from work and risked getting fired to listen to the Spotify playlist, you can spend untold hours more viewing the custom-made YouTube playlist below--cleverly titled Beach Blanket Bedlam--which includes not only a bunch of cool music videos (and not very much overlap with the Spotify playlist) but also all kinds of wacky commercials and film trailers and news segments and other visual ephermera tied to summer somehow.

Wait. What? What's that you say? It's almost over? Summer's almost over? Uhhhhh whut?

Well, I guess summer is almost over. But that doesn't mean you can't still enjoy some beach-appropriate-music while you're raking leaves and baking pies and crying salty tears into the homemade crust you made for the pie because fall is here and summer is over. IT'S OVER!! JUST DEAL!!

What, what? Ahhhh, ok. So summer doesn't end for almost a month. On September 21, you say? And it doesn't even end "unofficially" until after next weekend and Labor Day. So yeah, then.....Better get out there now! HURRY! Summer fun is waning!! FUN FUN FUN FUN!!!! You're on a summer countdown clock dammit so better get to work!

And hey, along these lines, if you happen to be in the vicinity of Rockaway Beach at 94th Street (Queens, NYC) on Sunday 8/29 you can get in some last seasonal jollies at the NO NEW WAVE FEST 2 which FEATURES SIX HIGH QUALITY LOCAL BANDS playing live on the boardwalk starting at 2PM. And yeah, OK, it's not exactly supposed to be sunny. But it's not supposed to rain either. And since beggars can't be choosers esp when there's only about a week (or three weeks, or who-the-hell-knows-how-long....) left to Summer 2021 you'd better just get out there dammit!! 

P.S. And here's one last thought re: "things you should do" while I'm handing out orders here ----> You should follow THEE DELI on Instagram if you don't already. Because if you did, you woulda already known about the two playlists above weeks ago. And while you may live your life with regret until next summer knowing what-could-have-been you never know there may be a Fall or Winter playlist in the making. (Jason Lee)


Indie Rock

Band name: 
Jill Fiore
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...):
Venue name: 
The Bowery Electric
Band email: