Greenroom Catastrophe

Dale Eisinger Is With The Band

Spring has sprung in music's favorite city, and columnist Dale Eisinger takes us along for a sonic ride through NYC's latest musical happenings.


Greenroom Catastrophe is a column that serves as an intro to the phenomenology of New York music. Join the coincidental misadventures of a lifer, Dale W Eisinger, as he searches for new noise through scene reports, reminiscences, and musings on the state of New York music, desperate for a thrill.

That’s my name in the headline (record scratch) and you’re probably wondering how I got here (same). Brief answers include “audacity” and “poppers.” The longer story includes a nonsensical compulsion to never go home, while documenting it all, so that I might reflect fondly on the montage of my youth, when I’m no longer capable of going out. It’s hard to explain, especially when I choose music specifically so I don’t have to talk. I’m a music guy because, in music, you don’t necessarily have to say anything. Am I an awkward person? Not as long as we’re just standing there, watching the band. And the next band. And the next band. And the next band. And then I’m playing drums in the band after that. I don’t even care what it sounds like–-there’s always something to love.

Moving On

Did you hear? Music is back! We’re all gonna get laid and rich! James Blake has come to our defense! First, to take platforms to task for devaluing music to the point of worthlessness! And then… to launch another platform? Anyway, I don’t have to pretend the theme of this issue is connected to anything at all, because this column is actually the theme of the issue–you’re welcome.

Broken Media Scene

It was such a frigid night in Gowanus the guitars went out of tune between songs. Kevin Drew, the founder and frontman of Broken Social Scene, was joined by a single guitarist. Maybe my expectations were low just because of the diminished faculty—a band that usually consists of approximately one million people on huge festival stages, reduced to two. What it revealed was the core and strength of the songwriting from his expansive catalog. In particular, “World Sick” hit like a sack of rocks. “I get world sick every time I take a stand/ Well, I get world sick, my love is for my man,” from 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record, felt even more salient given just how sick the world has become. Maybe it was a bit of nostalgia, but I did cry a few tears.

In recent years, Kevin’s apparently been going through some heavy periods. Yet he remains an icon of light. At a point between songs, Kevin brought up the recent news of Pitchfork, a publication that undeniably helped build his career. Someone cheered this news, and the mood turned. “Don’t celebrate the destruction of art,” he said. There are so many real people doing their best behind these publications, and the naysayers tend to forget that. I agree, and like to quote an Eartheater song in these instances: “The Internet Is Handmade.”

Here’s my riposte: Y’all wanted Pitchfork to be everything for everyone. Scenes crumble, cultural consensus changes, and staff shifts in and out. Yet the correct opinions of a commentariat reduce the website to a resentment generator when the published sentiment fails to exactly corroborate one’s own. All the while, the private equity vampires at the top worry about clicks, views, and shares. Slowly, the sky-high expectations of those not willing to engage in good faith erode these publications from the outside in. Really, we all killed Pitchfork.

“Slowly, the sky-high expectations of those not willing to engage in good faith erode these publications from the outside in. Really, we all killed Pitchfork.”

Rat Kings of the Underground

I don’t know how much I should divulge about the funnest venue I’ve been to in a decade. They’re just calling it The Shop, and it’s fronted by an exterminator. You gotta crawl through this equipment locker, and then you’re in this big art space, where a really fancy vending machine had White Claw tall boys and also miniature bottles of Aperol and Patron. The actual venue is in the basement and it’s decked out like an actual club, but it definitely is a basement. By virtue of the proprietor, it definitely is free of vermin.

The ‘Bergers–respectively ‘Huns and ‘Wein–are booking these wild downtown freakouts of readings, comedy, music…and I’m sorry, but the people just keep getting hotter. The first installment featured my current gig, Kareem’s Tiny Gun, along with Nikita Lev, Boyfriend Network, Savoia, Matthew Danger Lipman, Ludwig, Luke Rathborne, Matt Starr, Alex Arthur, Lily Lady, Jo Rosenthal, Charlie Sosnick, Pooja Tripathi, and Nina Tarr. It sounds like way too much, but it all happened fluidly, ecstatically, seamlessly, and with/ some of the most joyful, welcoming, and energizing vibes I’ve encountered in a minute.

They Do Kill

We haven’t checked in on the “indie sleaze” discourse in a minute. It seems fairly exhausted; at this point, I think all that’s left is cocaine, cigarettes, and skinny jeans. One of the sleaziest of the sleaze is The Kills. Does anyone recall when singer Allison Mosshart–20 years ago now!–chain smoked for an entire set the day after indoor smoking was banned in NYC? Well, I didn’t see her light up at one of two sold-out Webster Hall shows, but she was definitely smoking, haha. She looked a thousand feet tall on stage, even as Jamie Hince’s guitar tones towered even higher. It was a sea of black leather edging-on-rockabilly for the sold-out show. When Mosshart sang “Wasterpiece,” the lyric “You're VIP in the hall of fame/ I'm RIP on the walk of shame,” hit a little differently, watching from up in the balcony. When they brought out Mayteana Morales and Missa Thompson to sing angelic backups, it hit even harder. A show like this, with an obviously older-leaning crowd, shows that Sleaze was always more aesthetic than actually inspirational–or maybe just an excuse for outlandish behavior. I suppose I’m all for that.

Industrial Espionage

Incredibly heavy vibes in the basement of Ki Smith Gallery the other night. Have you ever seen a trio of horrifyingly poorly face-painted mimes just throwing trash all over an art gallery basement? Have you ever seen those same mimes talking to each other? It was entirely disconcerting. Anyway, I was at this Uncensored New York Club Della Morte happening, where roiling and pummeling machine sounds undergirded the screams of Cristiano Grim, pacing around, leaving us with the lyrics, “I feel great/ let me hate” (I think?).

When the (slightly) more structured sounds of Universal Space Jam started–what resembled a drum beat–a woman behind me said, “Oh my god, a BPM! I thought I’d never hear that again!” I haven’t seen Onyx Collective in years, so Isaiah Barr joining up with Griff Spex hyped me greatly. Isaiah processed his tenor sax live through delays, reverbs, and god knows what else. Griff pushed his stream-of-consciousness vox through the same. What sounded like waves crashing into a 7/8 groove with the mantic vox and psyched-out sax reminded me of the best of the cloud rap era, Dior Paint bubbling up in the back of my brain–I felt the based god amidst the evil in that basement. Next iteration, Stella Rose got up with Death Dance Music (again) Never Sol, Swiss Miss and Gimp, and host Young Warhol–fittingly, as the old Warhol’s famous screen tests are projected both upstairs and downstairs.

Gold Medals for Silver Lining Lounge

The Devil’s Workshop setup at Silver Linings Lounge–the Cherry Bomb parties on Wednesday nights that have been happening for a few months now–makes me laugh on principle. There’s this Tao Group-owned slick-as-hell proper nightclub, juxtaposed with these infiltrations of far-out up-and-comer rock shows. They’re an absolute blast: Zara and Matt know how to curate a bill and a crowd, though it seems like it can’t last forever–and that’s how these kinds of legendary things tend to go. I haven’t spent a lot of time in high-end clubs like Silver Linings Lounge. A place like this has so many rules, for example, “stand there” and “it costs $75 to sit at a table” (?). So when the entire place was packed for The Telescreens the other night, it felt great to see some rowdy weirdos contradicting the uptight management. The chiseled Jackson Hamm used the grand piano like a trampoline, resembling some kind of ‘50s freakout icon. The Telescreens live show hits a really rambling, punchy, classic energy. “Rock ‘n’ roll lives in New York City,” Hamm said more than once. It’s hard to disagree when legions of hot people mosh and sing along to every song like I haven’t seen since, like, Party Expo. “Scream if you were at that apartment,” Hamm said of a party earlier in the week. “I want to hear you scream loud if you saw the walls fuckin’ fallin off.” He added, “People took a lot of ketamine at that party.” These days, you’ll have to be more specific than that, Jackson.

“Have you ever seen a trio of horrifyingly poorly face-painted mimes just throwing trash all over an art gallery basement? Have you ever seen those same mimes talking to each other?”

I’m With The Band

There’s a rising tide of people coming up in the “country” sphere previously marginalized from that space–Beyonce, Shamir, Denitia, just to name a few, are returning to their true roots. I’m going to throw a hot take in here, that Josiah Leming is one of these people, marginalized by the viciousness of the industry he so dearly wanted to be a part of. First gaining attention on American Idol (portrayed as a down-and-out teen living out of his car) he landed a disastrous five-album deal with Warner Brothers, too young to understand how much of his art he signed away. Like so many great country tunes, he tells that story in the song “Six Dollar Check,” $6 being the biggest payout he’s seen from his former label in all the years since. When he performed the tune to a sold-out crowd at Irving Plaza the other night, the uproar was in support of his unquenchable spirit. After years of continuing to struggle–working in Amazon warehouses, bars, and scraping by in between–he’s finally found a solid footing in live music, leveraging social media to regain an audience on his own terms, doing bluegrass covers of Top 40 songs on TikTok. In fact, a huge part of the audience seemed unaware he had been an Idol contestant. He calls his “backing band” The Bonnevilles, and it refers to the fans themselves. I guess I’m one of them now.

Best of all Time

A necessary shoutout for the newest release from Operator Music Band. The trio of Dara Hirsch, Jared Hiller, and Daniel Siles emerged from a shocking personal tragedy, that will ensure them to legend. Jared fell through a skylight into the warehouse of Rough Trade, suffering both broken wrists, half-a-dozen broken ribs, and a broken face that has resulted in hearing loss. You wouldn’t know that from listening to the new EP Four Singles–understated, forward-looking, live-performed party music. Nods to Noah Prebish for crafty production and Chris Mulligan for class-A visuals.

Big ups to the LP quietly released by Threshold. The singer/producer, who’d like to not be attached to any writing about the record, also would like to not stress any anonymous character of the record–a sticky wicket. It’s an angelic ode to the church of rock ‘n’ roll, sounding like if The Rolling Stones ran only with the intro of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” dropped the ambition, and played The Road House once a week. There’s an austere spiritual quality to the record, and opposes the third-wave hyperpop garbage we’re still dealing with, most evident in the line, “And man I mean every word I say/ Get these drugs out of my face.” That’s a seemingly impossible task these days, but someone has to be the first to say it–shoutout to that someone.

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