Sunday, November 03, 2013

yeah, it's cold now in the city

Kristin Mueller at Union Pool, 11/3/2013

Ah, fall! What better time to reclaim our frozen lethargy, reconnect with those depressing 5 p.m. sunsets, track down our parkas and ski leggings and constantly misplaced woolen hats and even more constantly misplaced gloves, and curl up in a fetal position in inconsolable mourning for the lost promise of summer while awaiting, for what feels like a futile eternity, the return of warmth and the sun.

OK, not too much fun. So here's a better idea -- let's say we take the L train out to Brooklyn instead, swing by the Union Pool and feast our ears upon the musical wonderments wrought by beloved Caulfield Sister Kristin Mueller.

That's right -- she's playing at 8 p.m. tonight in a release show for her new album "Deserts & Long Trails," a long-awaited follow-up to her splendid, haunting 2006 offering "Port of Call." She'll be there with compatriots C.Gibbs and Common Prayer (a\k\a Jay Russo), who've also got new solo stuff out. So it's a triple celebration, and who can resist that?

Speaking of the inestimable Ms. Mueller, she's awash in more musical projects than I've got space to name here -- not just her classic work for Cynthia Hopkins (which I finally got to witness first-hand earlier this year in "This Clement World"; her drumming, even behind gauzy black curtains, has an overpowering presence in person that's hard to appreciate even from the recordings) and Lucinda Black Bear, but also her audio engineering for the likes of WQXR, her musical composition for the gem-like truck-stop-runaway film "What Alice Found," her Saudi Arabian travels with Mary McBride's band and her performances on musical felts crafted by Tel Aviv-raised artist Naama Tsabar. Her own website has much, much more.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

take your ear above the ground

Sad news for anyone who was hoping to spend Memorial Day weekend in the Mid-Hudson for Hopewell/Clementines/Caulfieldspalooza — apparently the Sisters have had to cancel. (Saturday's show is still on, but The Fasads have taken their place in the lineup, if not in our hearts.)

Whatever the reason for this change, I hope all is well with them.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

you killed the loneliness that day

Ah, spring! What better time to leave behind our frozen lethargy, forget those depressing 5 p.m. sunsets, deposit the parkas and ski leggings and constantly misplaced woolen hats in a moldering heap in the mudroom, and take a lazy car ride up the Hudson River -- out past Wappingers Falls and Poughkeepsie, say, crossing the river from Rhinecliff, arriving finally in the former New York State capital of Kingston, where one will find a nifty arts/entertainment complex anchored by a tiny gem called the BSP Lounge.

But I can hear you asking -- "Hold up there, Roscoe! Doesn't that sound like a whole second helping of trouble?"

Not when the Caulfield Sisters are playing. And not to drop too many hints, but: They are.

It all goes down May 25, in what folks far and wide are hailing as an "evening of centripetal forces and feats of gravitation." The Sisters are due on stage at 9:45 p.m., but you'll want to show up at 9 for Artie Fisk: Ukelele Man and then stick around for New Paltz's own Sweet Clementines and longtime Caulfield allies Hopewell

Looks like tickets might eventually show up for sale here. They're not yet, but keep watching that space, 'cause they won't last long. Or you could go to tonight's Duke McVinnie show, claim a barstool, and wait there a month just to be safe.

Oh, and looks like Kingston was originally called Esopus, so there's even a tangential link between this show and one of the finer moments in Caulfield Sisters history. It's all enough to make someone believe in rebirth.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

lay me on the ground, i'm feeling low

Now where we? Oh yeah, the Caulfield Sisters are putting on a show tonight at Williamsburg's favorite bar/concert space/dismantled-then-reassembled-Minnesota-bowling-alley-in-a-warehouse, i.e. The Gutter. And speaking as someone who got an "A" for bowling in college (yet, oddly, have never scored above a 170), that sounds like a mighty splendid combination indeed. Plus, ya know, The Sisters are playing!

Deets below:
  • Also playing: The Turnup Kings, Surfing and Milk Dick
  • $5 will get you in
  • You gotta be 21
  • Address is: 200 North 14th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Sadly, I will be miles away from Brooklyn at the time, probably watching a movie about Brooklyn unless I'm helping a friend drill holes in her furniture. But I'm betting the evening will go something like this:

In other words, magical. Enjoy, y'all.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

i do believe you've got something to lance

April 26 at the Matchless Bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Major, Ghana-style props to TheEastVillagerNYC for uploading this.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

i swear to god that i don't mean to cry

Someday, I hope, someone will fill me in on who this "balloon boy" is that everybody's been going on and on about lately. But meantime, I know why I've floating aloft all this week in my own emotional homemade experimental aircraft -- it's sheer, full-bore ecstasy, inspired by the knowledge that the long drought is over, the aquifers are replenished and the mighty Caulfield Sisters spring tide is washing over the land, sweeping aside the driftwood and jetsam and discarded Wendy's burger wrappers of our musical despair. Or something like that.

But don't take my word for it. The venerable Time Out New York, which chronicled some of the Sisters' glory days in years past, has also taken note of last weekend's triumphant return to the stage, blessing it with this write-up:

Fans of The Caulfield Sisters are happily getting back into their groove, as the Brooklyn gal trio returned to playing live last month following a four-year hiatus. On Saturday, the band played Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg and, unsurprisingly, the venue’s cute caboose-style performance space was packed to the rafters. Even after the lengthy break, there’s a real charm and simplicity to the Caulfield sound, recalling Ray-era Lemonheads and Throwing Muses.

Do charm and simplicity tend to fade after lengthy breaks? Do they curdle, like milk accidentally left overnight on the counter? Not sure, but TONY also treats us to a slideshow of photos from the show, with sights to behold: Cindy in a jaunty hat; a laughing, shortly coiffed Mary; Kristin pounding away, taking a break from that other amazing band of hers. (Seriously, anybody who hasn't yet checked out the Accidental Trilogy really fucking needs to.) I can only imagine what it sounded like.

But wait -- there's more! The Sisters now have a fan page on Facebook, with some photos and even more encouraging words:

The Sisters rocked a packed house at Pete's Candy Store last night, thrilling the crowd with some old classics, and even unleashed some amazing new rockers. Stay tuned for info on the next show...

New songs? More shows? Stay tuned? Oh, we will. We will.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

have we got contact, you and me?

In the words of a Persian poet:

The spider weaves the curtains in the palace of the Caesars;

the owl calls the watches in the towers of Afrasiab.

And the Caulfield Sisters? Why, they're heading back on stage where they belong, ready to win the Nobel Prize for rocking your motherfucking ass off.

Last time we heard from the Sisters, way back in the yonder days of Ought-Seven, it was still George Bush's America, the Great Depression was still in the planning stages over at Goldman Sachs, and ... well, just trust me kids, it was way different. Not too many people knew about that Twitter thing yet, so for entertainment people would sometimes sit in their houses and watch something called "television," or if they were really lucky they'd get to wander down to Pianos or Sin-e and witness three amazing women blasting everyone's synapses to pieces with their songs about mosquitoes, Johnny Cash, shovels and Holden Caulfield's kid sister.

Amazingly enough, those days are back. But let's let them tell it:

That’s right! We'll be playing our first show in over two years on October 10th at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn, NY. We’ll be performing as very special guests at American Laundromat Records release party for Julie Peel's album "Near The Sun".

The party starts at 7pm and goes till 11pm. We'll be going on at about 9:30pm but get there early to see Julie, and the other performers.

We hope to see you there... we're gonna rock your asses off!!!

Uh, did I mention that the show is tonight? It starts in about an hour -- so hurry! hurry!

P.S. Want even more memories of the old days? Seems like American Laundromat has dredged up some more physical copies of the Sisters' stellar 2004 EP Say It With Fire. You can buy them here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

she’s gonna be a writer and no one can stop her

You know, I think those remarks by Obama's pastor are getting misconstrued by the media. Clearly, what he meant is: "God damn! America is so totally ready to see and hear more from those Caulfield Sisters!" And who could possibly quarrel with that? (Yes, Senator McCain, I'm looking at you. But is there any truth to the rumors that Hillary's a fan and, if nominated, plans to give an acceptance speech that consists solely of a dramatic reading of the lyrics from "Mosquito Song"? Take that, Samantha Power.)

Anyway, if you've been waiting all this time trying to make up your mind about whether to buy a physical copy of Say It With Fire, the Sisters' splendid 2004 EP with that cool cover depicting what looks like a homespun floral dress that's suffered some tragic ironing mishap, you're just about out of luck, slim. American Laundromat's online store now lists the disc as "out of print," and my quick-and-dirty perusal of Google, GEMM and eBay turns up a whopping total of one used copy for sale in the entire universe. (Actually, it's amazing that even one person who has ever purchased the EP feels like parting with it.) Feel free to keep checking GEMM if you're truly desperate, but I'm just glad I scarfed as many copies from multiple vendors as I did when the album was still extant. Sure as shit worked out better than all that Bear Stearns stock.

Yes, the album's still available from iTunes. I suppose you can also buy a Bentley instead of a Rolls, or vacation on the Adriatic instead of the Riviera, if you feel like lowering your standards a smidge. Your call.

On the other hand, we live in an amazing universe, so opportunities still abound to partake of Caulfields-esque magic. Cindy side project du jour Land of Tomorrow is still stalking the Earth like the wildebeast of musical wonderment that it is and last night was scheduled to conduct what I can only assume was a majestic show at Glasslands in Brooklyn with Oakley Hall, and if you missed that there's always April 19 at Cakeshop.

Meanwhile, Kristin's other band Gloria Deluxe just celebrated the release of its new album Must Don't Whip 'Um, containing songs from the second operetta in its Accidental Trilogy. This will allegedly be available on Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby soon (I definitely recommend the CD Baby option), but meanwhile you can squint at one of the photos on this page and see Kristin drumming away happily up on the riser.

Kinda overwhelming, isn't it, having all these options? Or as the Rev. Wright might put it: "God damn!"

Monday, January 21, 2008

no, she can do it with her eyes

I hope everyone is having a good MLK Day. Here's a treat for y'all: Someone has uploaded a second live video of the Sisters onto YouTube, this time showing them performing at Pianos, which I'm guessing was a few years ago.

The camera moves around a lot and offers a good look at all three, each seeming very serious but rocking out nonetheless. Is Mary amazing on that bass or what? Kristin's got her headphones on and is drumming intently with that right shirtsleeve cuff unbuttoned, and late in the song Cindy starts wailing on the pedal and pounding on her guitar like she's trying to knock some sense into it.

Damn, what an amazing contribution to Western civilization and the Milky Way galaxy they are.

Anyway, here goes:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

the flood will take us when we're in our sleep

Let's just say, hypothetically, that you drive five hours across the state to see a wonderful band whose debut album has been immeasurably enriching your life during the past couple of months, but then because of some absurdly inaccurate Google Maps driving directions coupled with extreme fatigue and your usual stupidity you arrive just in time to catch the last song and a half of their set, for a total of maybe five minutes. But this is the most glorious five minutes ever. And the band that comes up next also rocks the joint hard, and so it is with less disappointment and chagrin than you probably would have expected that you sleep off your embarrassment in some hotel, wake up early the next day and make the trek back home, trying not to worry too much about that weird bird-chirping noise your front left wheel suddenly seems to be making. And you finally arrive at your house without further adventure, aside from the hour you spent napping in a turnpike rest stop when the exhaustion finally became too much to bear.

You'd be in the mood for some relaxin' at this point, wouldn't you? I certainly am. I mean, yeah, you would be.

And you'd be in luck, because the always-enterprising Ms. Cynthia Wheeler has formed yet another new band, this time called Land of Tomorrow, whose mission statement, she explains, is to service one's psychic needs on those "'jesus, i need to chill the f*ck out' days." (This is the band formerly known as Mostly Water, according to American Laundromat's latest e-mail.)

They've got a couple sound clips up at their MySpace site, and as far as chilling out is concerned, all I can do is echo Mr. Bush: Mission fucking accomplished. Cindy's laughter at the beginning of "I Loved" is pretty damned beguiling too.

Best of all, the band will be rocking out live Thursday night at the Cake Shop in NYC. So go check 'em out. My advice: Bring a goddamn map too.

P.S. Looking for another band to check out? Wye Oak! Wye Oak! Wye Oak! (formerly Monarch)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

from my east side, from my west side

I'm running out the door to go listen to Paul Krugman (who's basically the Mary Catherine Guidera of John Bates Clark Medal-winning Princeton economics professors who write columns for The New York Times) speak at the Miami Book Fair. But when I get back, looks like I got some downloading to do, thanks to our friends at American Laundromat:

We promised you we'd be releasing the "Deal Breaker Demos" on iTunes and we have. Just after the break-up of Pee Shy and the formation of the Caulfield Sisters, Cindy and Mary recorded a demo for their old label under the moniker Three Wheeler. The demo was never released and Cindy and Mary went on to form the Caulfield Sisters and record "Say With Fire" which was a stunning debut that earned glowing reviews, landed them opening slots for bands like Interpol, and charted on college radio for months. The Deal Breaker Demos are a fantastic collection of songs that could have been part of the Say It With Fire sessions; haunting melodies, great hooks, and all the cool we've come to expect from The Caulfield Sisters. Sean Glonek at SRG Studios (Kristin Hersh, Frank Black, Tanya Donelly, Dresden Dolls) mastered the tracks for us. Buy it on itunes now.

Thank you! Thank you! And fuck you, David Brooks!

Friday, September 21, 2007

now that's a thought i can follow

I have nothing constructive to add, just thought it worth noting that a cool person named Stacey took some photos at this month's Caulfield Sisters/Hornrims show at Don Hills. Besides the one above, you can see the others in their natural habitat here.

Did anyone else know that besides Look It, Cindy and the flute goddess Suzanne Thorpe were in a second band called The Forest For the Trees? Suzanne mentions it here, and here's an atmospheric photo of them in action. Apparently Cindy concocts bands the way Bush keeps coming up with excuses why we need to spend an extra 6-18 months in Iraq.

Also, it seems that the Caulfield Sisters are trendy. I didn't know that, but let's hope the trend continues.

Meanwhile, it turns out that there's a second Caulfield sisters video on YouTube. But it's just a home movie made by two sisters named Caulfield. I wonder if they know about their namesakes.

Another loss in Tampa: There was some very sad news a few days after the show: Jeff Wood, the former drummer for the Hornrims' Joe Popp, along with Barely Pink, the Fugitive Kind, one configuration of Monday Mornings and a slew of other Tampa bands, died Sept. 12 after a long fight with brain cancer. He was only 42. My condolences to those who knew him. Joe has set up a tribute site here, and you can read more here, here, here and here.