Kingston After Dark: Stand up for yourself

The Red Owls.

The Red Owls.

It’s a slow-burn Sunday early afternoon. I was out late last night and just rising. Bees are literally divebombing into the numerous purple and orange flowers in the garden, vanishing like yellow-and-black flying mini-billiard balls. I’m listening to the witchy, trance inducing Blood Moon Rise album by retro, occult stoner-rock band Jex Thoth and feeling the gypsy vibes.

Last night was awesome. Met an amazing band from Philly called Fad Nauseum, a co-ed noise pop band who tote an electric violin and some gothy vibes along with a certain coquettish Pixies-esque pop sensibility, paired with the raw conceptual line where Swans and Sisters of Mercy could somehow be friends. And I partied with a member of Sparkle Motion, the talent show band in Donnie Darko. Sparkle Motion is way cooler than most of the bands I get to write about.

Yeah, Daveigh Chase is doing a movie around here that I’m looking forward to — yet another awesome creative project with pro talent being produced from the ground up out of the Hudson Valley. She was earnest to meet and I was also very pleased to see a lot of my friends out and about really mixing it up and partaking in the current great social and creative environment around here. People are finally becoming slightly more aware of the fact that being content to be a big fish in a small pond is kind of a low-hanging-fruit life goal these days. 2015 is a time when you can literally promote growth for your whole community if using social media to enrichen, rather than, say, post butt pictures (though that can also enrichen lives if it’s a nice booty, to be objective).


Method Man’s new record is out, duh. Between that and Compton we’ve actually been spoiled the last few weeks with good new hiphop and not just people biting Drake (including Drake lately, though the Meek Mill feud has been really entertaining from both camps). It is nice because Meth and Redman have great old-school skits still on their rap albums, which newer rappers suck at or never do these days. Nice I don’t just have to bust out some Deltron, Mobb Deep or Grand Puba and can enjoy some new joints, if from older cats still in the game.

That’s a key thing, though. It’s long-term dedication that’s allowing a crucial element of our current crop of most talented local entertainers, private startup business owners or even the recent housing opportunities at Lace Mill to manifest. While fresh imports to our scene and area are rad, it makes me really proud to see my friends like Pugsly from the barber shop or his ex-Anadivine bandmate Sean Paul Pillsworth having carved lives for themselves. Seeing Snapper’s have a banner night or two in recent weeks as well as knowing that interwoven Kingston startup punk record label Altercation Records (Two Fisted Law, Plastic Fantastics) is thriving still inspires me.

I was talking to one of the pizza guys from Vincenzo’s on the street yesterday evening and he said that people thought they were crazy years ago when they opened their Wall Street location. Seeing local businesses pop up like the mulberries on the tree outside my parents’ house in a good year has been a dream come true after years of more anemic Kingston scenarios. There is a JEFF The Brotherhood lyric I’ll inject here from “Black Cherry Pie” (which features “the dude from Jethro Tull” on a hipster-fied guest flute solo!) from the Tennessee duo’s Wasted on the Dream album: “Heard the world is turning into a giant ball of shit. What are we supposed to do?”

What are we supposed to do? Well, the answer seems to be buckling up and kicking as much ass as possible, and it looks like Kingston is winning.

“The show on the 28th is really taking on a lot of meaning,” says Sean Paul Pillsworth himself in regards to the band’s gig with Albany’s After the Fall (Bridge Nine Records). The Red Owls are a band that go back to my musical beginnings and having After the Fall there will make this show something special.”

Zoe West. (Photo: John Hauschildt/Rum Doodle Studios)

Zoe West. (Photo: John Hauschildt/Rum Doodle Studios)

The Red Owls include former alumni from The Ataris as well as Nightmares for a Week, plus local drummer Justin Meyer who previously played in pop-punk Kingston heroes Jerk Magnet a decade and some change back. The Red Owls have a pop-punk zinger of a new EP, Do You Feel Any Better?, mixed at famed studio The Blasting Room. “Why don’t you stand up for yourself?” asks Pillsworth on a particularly melodic and pop savvy yet hard-hitting title track (online at After the Fall’s Dedcation album is also one of the best this year, a dedication to a recently departed founding member of the band who died too young.

“Just because I’m wearing a short skirt and have a sense of humor, does not mean you have the right to try to humiliate me in public without getting a smackdown in front of all your gangster friends,” local actress and model Zoe West shared today.

We should honestly be flipping out at how cool it is that Godspeed You! Black Emperor are playing Basilica Soundscape on Sept. 8 in Hudson, that legacy act NYC urban fusion band Candiria are back in action and just killed it at Afropunk Fest, and that we’ve got an amazing swing of mainly positive energy flowing between the Capital Region and New York City (plus out-of-state tourist and talent imports on the rise in recent years).

You get back what you put in.