Friday, December 15, 2006

The Day The Music (Really) Died

Friends, after three years of regular visits and almost famous, garden state memories, Black & White has closed its doors.

They swear they are reopening, but, as of now, my regular mid-week, post-jam, pre-yuppie, gentrified retro-dive bar is no longer. Maybe they finally got busted for letting people smoke inside, maybe the hipsters finally got hungry and ate that cowboy-like bar tender or maybe, just maybe, they finally realized Interpol wasn?t cool anymore and decided to throw in the towel.

Since first venturing to my favorite 10th Street bar (not counting HiFi and French Roast) in 2004 (I think), a lot has changed, yet this shadier than in seems slice of life has allowed me to make the same mistakes over and over again. Some hilights:

My first public fight with …the Christmas Jon managed to cock block me while simultaneously outing himself as a Sex in the City fanatic…Carlos from Interpol spinning in Sundays (I never made it, but can still name drop it), drinking with Evan and the Steel Train crew on Tuesdays (I almost always made it, but no one listened when I named dropped ), my second public fight with Emily...pre-Magic Numbers party planning, post-Modest Mouse party crashing…leaving the bar just as Bono and the Strokes arrived…arriving at the bar just as Christina who I have been trying to hook up with for three years left…my third public fight with Emily...Halloween post-Vegoose, goodbye drinks pre-Bonnaroo…those nights I wish I could remember, more of those nights I wish I didn’t remember my fourth public fight with Emily (come to think of it, maybe I should have brought her to a different bar)?

Perhaps it’s a sign that I’m not going to return from Israel or, really, that I need to update my blog. Either way, Goodbye black and white…Your credit car machine will surely miss my love of Seven and Sevens

Mikey Greenhaus

Monday, December 11, 2006 Year in Review Set

This week: Jon Fishman, Jon Gutwillig, Buddy Cage, Josh Baron, Broken Social Scene, Steve Adams, Steel Train, Andy Hurwitz, P-Groove, U-Melt, Alecia Cohen

Thursday, December 07, 2006


The concept of the plus one fascinates me mostly because it’s so undefined. Presumably the plus one is intended for a significant other, business associate, or prospective business associate/significant (or maybe both depending on how you define the term networking). Since I don’t currently have a prospective crazy girl/business associate in need of wooing, I’ve been divvying up any +1s among a few of my favorite concert going buddies who fit the bill of the plus 1, but, whom, also fall outside traditional crazy girl/business associate boundaries. And, yes, figuring out who is appropriate for what show has caused me to lose enough hair to look even more like George Castanza.

Take, for instance, Tuesday’s Ryan Adams show. In general I feel Ryan Adams shows are filled with dudes who pretend their girlfriends are ‘really into Ryan Adams’ so they themselves have an excuse to geek in the front row (if only girls liked Ryan, there is no way his cover of “Stella Blue” would earn a standing ovation). Since the show took place at a pretty stuffy venue (Town Hall) filled with seats really smusshed together (think coach class on an airplane) I had no choice but to take a girl to the show ( not that there is anything wrong with two male hipsters swaying side-to-side during “Sweet Illusions"). But, since the show also took place on a school night when I had homework (or at least an early morning deadline) I couldn’t bring someone who would, um, force me to become otherwise engaged post-show (what is this blog rated again? Has someone created a MPAA ranking system for blogs yet?). Anyways, I decided on my friend Jenny who

a) I have known since high-school

b) Have no interest in hooking with (since I have know her since high-school)

c) Wouldn’t want to hang out with me post-show (since I have no interest in hooking with her since I have know her since high-school

but who still fits the bill of the 5’3 neurotic Jewish girl with a slightly artsy edge I usually associate with (won’t want people to think I actually like Ryan Adams or have, err, listened to Cold Roses every day since January 23, 2005)

And, as expected, mid-show my cubicle neighbor Aaron sent me an o'-so-stealth ‘whose the girl text message.' Jenny loved Ryan, I loved Ryan’s Dead covers, and her plus 1 responsibilities expired shortly after show time. Now, if only the plus two wasn’t so taboo.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

And I Thought My Spam Problems Were Bad:

I hate spam, I really do. In many ways, it runs my life, forcing me to keep up with e-mail and to learn every variation of the letters v-1-a-g-a-r-i-a under the sun. As of now, I need to run my mail through three filters before I can read it (the one on Relix's server, through a mailguard system, and, finnally, through Eudora's filter). But my spam problems pale in comparison to the people affected by spam's ansestor, the junk mail:

From Yahoo:

NEW YORK - It's the kind of holiday mail that might have been tossed aside, discarded like any other piece of junk mail: a special offer for a facial at a local spa. Only the address on the letter no longer exists. And the woman the letter is addressed to died more than five years ago in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Hundreds of pieces of mail destined for the former trade center still arrive every day at a post office facing ground zero — the relics of the unfinished lives of Sept. 11 victims. Telephone bills, insurance statements, wine club announcements, college alumni newsletters, even government checks populate the bundles of mail. Each bears the ZIP code once reserved exclusively for the twin towers: 10048.

"I guess sooner or later they'll realize the towers aren't back up," said letter carrier Seprina Jones-Sims, who handles the trade center mail. "I don't know when." Some of the nation's most recognizable companies and organizations, from retailers to research hospitals, are among those sending the mail. Much of it seems to result from businesses not updating their bulk mailing lists, said U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Pat McGovern.

The postal service declined to identify the senders and recipients of the letters according to policy. Several companies formerly housed in the towers also declined comment. The trade center mail meets varied fates once it arrives at the Church Street station. A handful of companies pay for a service that forces the post office to hold the mail until a messenger picks it up. The rest of the mail travels various routes. Some will be returned to the sender, some will be forwarded to the company's current address and some will be sent to a Brooklyn recycling firm to be destroyed. That the Postal Service is even forwarding mail from a nonexistent address five years later is rare. "Normally we'd only forward mail for a year, but we're making an exception here," McGovern said. The trade center's mail used to travel from the Church Street post office and up through the towers. It would start on the ground tucked in the letter carrier's bag and continue up higher and higher — to the 68th floor, the 89th floor, the 104th floor.

The morning's mail never made it through the flames and smoke on Sept. 11, 2001. It stayed put with the letter carriers, who silently observed the chaos that unfurled outside the post office.
Flying debris blew out most of its windows. After a three-year restoration, its doors officially reopened in August 2004. Rafael Feliciano delivered mail to floors 78 through 100 of the south tower for three years. He watched the tower collapse on television from a bar several blocks away with a co-worker.

"He turned to me and said, 'You just lost your route,'" Feliciano recalled. When the dust cleared, he spent weeks identifying office workers who came to pick up their mail, searching for familiar faces to see if they had survived.

Mail addressed to people who were killed was marked as deceased right away, he said. But it kept coming.

"It's been five years later. How many people don't know the towers are gone?" he said.

Jones, 39, took over the trade center mail after Feliciano — too shaken to enter tall buildings any longer — left his route to become a driver. She gets to work at 5 a.m. The mail is carefully divided among white plastic trays labeled by company name.

But the Church Street post office — built in 1935 and now on the National Register of Historic Places — is no longer the bustling hub it was when it stood just steps away from the city's tallest buildings.

Between 2001 and 2002, the total weekly volume dropped from 1.2 million pieces to just 485,000. It has risen slightly in the years since. The neighborhood is slowly awakening, attracting more and more residents and businesses after the exodus that occurred five years ago. The post office's marble floors are newly polished and the building is brimming with employees. When they gaze out the long bay windows overlooking ground zero, they see nothing but blue sky.

"You start flashing back to that day," Feliciano said. "That's why I got off the routes. It's like a movie that plays over and over in your head."

Thursday, November 30, 2006


A style is coined, or at least, defined...

For many jam fans, particularly those in their late 20s located in urban pockets around the country, the demise of Phish and rise of indie rock led to a general backlash against the jamband stigma in 2004. As cited in both the December/January 2006 issue of Relix magazine and a contemporaneous issue of the Village Voice, the term post-jam has come to define a group of more song-oriented live bands with roots in the jam scene. Perhaps more unified by their fans than their sound, post-jam acts like the Slip, the Benevento/Russo Duo, Apollo Sunshine, Sam Champion, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and RANA appeal to a contingent of concert-goers who grew up on jambands but who shifted their interests to groups like Wilco and Radiohead largely through the festivalization of the music industry. Like Neil Young to grunge, My Morning Jacket can be seen as the “godfather” of the post-jam scene, a song-oriented country-rock band with a knack for improvisation. Seminal post-jam albums include the Slip’s Eisenhower, the Duo’s Play Pause Stop, and Apollo Sunshine’s Katonah.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Seasons (There is a Time):

Sometime around third grade, I remember having a heated debut about the seasons and strongly arguing for a two-way tie between summer and winter as Mother Nature’s best offerings. At a time when my life was defined by snow days and summer camp, it’s was only natural that my favorite months were the year’s coldest and warmest, youthful extremes filled with ski trips, swimming pools, and, of course, no school.

So, perhaps then, it’s a sign that I’m getting old, or at least older, that in the past few years I’ve grown to appreciate the more mild, mundane temperatures of the fall and spring, the often overlooked calm before winter’s onslaught and summer’s metal recess. I find a great deal of beauty in not just in the cycle of seasons, but the little, annual traditions we’ve carved into them, like the initials carved into The Giving Tree---that unnamed day the night before Thanksgiving when everyone between the ages of 21 and 28 make one final pilgrimage to their old, hometown bar. In an effort gain some control over my often influx world, I’ve created my own new holidays, things to look forward to each year and keep close with my childhood friends: Fall Day (an afternoon my friend Viv and I go apple picking and to local winery), my Spaghetti marinara mixer (an excuse to eat carbs with my oldest friends), and my hung-over for the holidays extravaganza (which usually falls in January when I’m too disorganized to have my holiday party around, um, the holidays)

So, if Thanksgiving has blossomed into my New Year’s Eve, then it’s only appropriate that I once again resolve to update my blog more often. Starting this week the Greenhaus Effect should adopt a few new features, including weekly mp3s, lists, and the self-depreciative banter which has formed the bedrock of this blog since its launch last April.

I also caved and joined MySpace in an attempt to pull a George Louis Costanza and follow the opposite of each of my instincts. We’ll see how it goes

Until then….

Friday, November 10, 2006

Vegoose Flashbacks

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Vegoose, but I don’t belong in Las Vegas. I mean, I’m all about a four day hedonistic binge, but Las Vegas simply doesn’t appeal to my main vices (chocolate milk, crazy Jewish girls, self-indulgent Garden State reflections). But that’s not to say I didn’t have an absolute blast staying up for four days, helping edit two newspapers, and interviewing everyone from for Guster (heady) to Widespread Panic (even headier). A good fifteen festival’s into Cold Turkey’s eight month summer tour (us hippies have a loose definition of both “summer” and “tour”) , I think I’ve finally figured out how to enjoy utopia. Since I’ve long since established that I’m way too ADD to sit still for a complete set---and way to neurotic to enjoy music for what it is---a multi-stage festival like Vegoose is an ideal way to filter my scatter-brained bounce. For those of you who couldn’t make it to Vegoose (or were to hung over to make it to the festival grounds before dusk), here is brief recap of some of the weekend’s most notable bands: The good, the bad and the blog able:

String Cheese Incident and Keller Williams: You can tell a band is on its way out when covers and guests start to replace new songs and tight jams on its setlist. That being said, I’d take a Talking Heads medley and a classy cover of the Wood Brothers over “Rivertrance” any day.

Jim James: Sometimes I wish My Morning Jacket wasn’t rock-journalism’s great hickster hope. That way they could be my own little garage-rock band, playing reverb drenched rock-and-roll in the rodeo bar down my city street. But, alas, I’m forced to share them with every critic and blogger whose ever compiled a top ten list. Yet, while Jim James’ solo acoustic set was neither solo (Carl from MMJ played throughout), nor acoustic (he used several keyboards and varied electric toys), for an hour the MMJ-frontman fashioned Las Vegas his own little hipster rodeo bar. Less cowbell, more reverb!

Guster: You can tell a band’s buzz by how packed its backstage area is. So it says a lot about that Vegoose’s parade of artists, publicists, and writers stood at the back of the tent instead of Guster’s tent instead of at the side of the stage. They were all there though, bouncing like they’d just received their senior driver’s licensees. Some bands truly get better with age.

Trey and Phil: Since releasing Shine, his 2005 attempt at post-Supernatural pop, Trey Anastasio has gone through two bands, one record label, and enough fans to populate a Phish-size festival. So why on earth is Trey still playing “Shine,?” especially when backed by Phil Lesh, John Medeski, John Molo and Larry Campbell. Besides that, though, seeing Phil and Trey play side-by-side was the best nostalgic combination since peanut butter and jelly (maybe).

Maceo Parker: Coachella might have nabbed Madonna, but Superfly once again proved its might by offering the mother of all diva sit-ins, Prince (and yes, I do mean mother).

Toubab Krewe: If the Slip spent a semester abroad in Africa they’d likely sound like Toubab How do you spell bounce is Swahili?

Yard Dog Road Show: It says a lot about YDRS (did I just coin that acronym?) that its primary guitarist (Enor) might have been too weird to stay in Les Claypool’s band. The perfect Vegoose side-show.

Radiohead: The best band I saw all weekend. Oh whoops, they didn’t actually play this festival. Oh, well we’ll just give them a nod anyway

Widespread Panic: I’m really sad I missed “Airplane” on Halloween. In certain ways, it’s the antithesis of everything Widespread Panic is: a slim, soft, pop ballad written by Michael Houser. But, in other ways, it’s everything Widespread Panic can be: a simple, beautiful song interpreted by a mammoth live band.

The Roots: I like the hip-hop as much as the next suburban jamband kid but these guys made Mars Volta sound quiet.

Built to Spill: Built to Spill has been playing edgy indie-rock since the blog world was just a sparkle in the Brooklyn Vegan’s eye, but took an appearance at Vegoose for hippies to realize that Doug March could be a long lost member of String Cheese Incident(or at least a stylistic replacement for Bill Nershi)

Jenny Lewis: My mom was so ahead of the hipster trends. Not only has she loved Jenny Lewis back when she was still the star from Troop Beverly Hills back in 1990, but she forced me to listen to her best cover (Laurie Nero’s “I Met Him on a Sunday”) way back when I was touring the northeast looking at colleges. Forward thinking New Wave-suburban-retro music at its best.

The Killers: If Las Vegas has a native sound, it resembles the Killers: flashy, stylish, fast superficial, and fun.

Tom Petty: Click Here, here, here, here or, even, here

Robert Randolph: I’ve loved Robert Randolph since the first time I saw him at the Jammys back in 2001, but after watching the pedal steel minstrel spread his gospel to a few lucky ladies on the dance floor during a Vegoose post-party at Light, I didn’t think I can ever listen to “The March” the same way again.

Monday, November 06, 2006

California Dreamin

Circle of Fun

All the Little Ants are Marching
Nick and Jay: right where I left them

I honestly think I’ve spent more time on the road than at home this year and, minus the Blackberries and Admirals Club access, I’m beginning to feel like a traveling salesman. I’ve learned my way around all three of New York’s airports, condensed my apartment into a suitcase size package, and finally figured out how to fall asleep before takeoff without getting my hair stuck in one of those annoying airplane windows (though I did develop a porthole size bald spot along the way). Since traveling is a synonym for stress in my suburban world, I’ve never really viewed flying as a form of enjoyment, but it’s been nice to catch up on my In Flight Magazine and experience a world where taking a field trip to the bathroom is considered a form of studying abroad.

Now that festival season has come to a close, most of my traveling has been part of wedding tour. Sometimes I think I want to get married, but then I realize I just want to throw a big, formal party, so I’ve decided to save my parents some stress and outsource my annual Hungover for the Holidays party next season (more on that in January).

In early-October I spent a long weekend outside Los Angeles, trying to figure out when exactly In-and-Out Burger replaced the gold nugget as Middle America’s main reason to venture west. In general, California is a pretty cool state, though at times I felt like Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm--- a New Yorker trapped in a world where all night subways, Jewish Delis, and dry witted sarcasm don’t exist (oh the humanity). Though I was in town for a family affair, I spent an extra few days in La La Land ( and Los Angeles) visiting a few friends who migrated west sometime after graduation. As much as I miss having them a stoners throw away from my apartment, its nice to have good friends in other parts of the country. I’ve never been one to strike-up conversation with strangers (as this blog surely proves, I prefer to undress emotionally online) so, for me, vacations are usually chances to escape form my social reality. But, with so many comrades on the left coast, hanging out felt like a episode of Saved by the Bell at Malibu Beach (the same story line filmed in a more exotic location). So it makes sense that my long weekend featured a healthy mix of sitting around, watching other people smoke weed, drinking chocolate milk and condensing affluent counties down to their OC-size equivalents. If I didn’t have to come home a day early for a second wedding, I would have spent some more time on Sunset Strip, or at least ripping Amanda and Caity CDs in their living room. But its nice to know that there are people like in all parts of the world, living out their own Seinfeldian fantasies one episode at a time. Lets just some the skate punk falls out of fashion sometime before my California adventure enters syndication.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hippie Chic

Last June the higher-ups at Relix decided that I’m in need of new wardrobe. Realizing that most members of the Relix masthead are in need of a ‘clean eye for the heady guy’ makeover themselves, they enlisted the aid of an FOR (Friend of Relix for you civilians out there) named Jenny who has one foot firmly planted in both the jam and JAP worlds. According to reports from the shopping trenches, Relix’s makeover was a success, mostly thanks to Jenny’s ability to select items which are ‘hippie chic’ (the rarely visited middle ground between Banana Republic and Be Good Family). Her ability to pick cloths which matched both my black Relix t-shirt and my exposed white undershirt immediately impressed me and, when and if I ever get a raise, I’m defiantly going to hire Jenny as my fulltime stylist (right after I hire someone to teach me how to tie my shoes and brush my hair---I clearly failed kindergarten). Until then I can only repay Jenny with free tickets to see the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and with endless praise on my blog, a combination of which you see above.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Face on Mars

I’m not usually one to give into supernatural superstitions and conspiracy theories, but I’ve always been somewhat fascinated with the so called “Face on Mars.” According to my Uncle Mark, who follows these sorts of things, the Face is the exact size and shape of the Egyptian Sphinx and proportionately located to another pyramid-like mound. The image below was taken by the Viking Space Craft in 1976.

Here is a picture of the Egyptian Sphinx when its body was buried in sand circa 1860. If its head fell backward, it would look suspiciously like the infamous Face on Mars.

According to these more recent images taking last month the Face on Mars and its rocky neighbors look more like a plate of gold mash potatoes than an Egyptian valley, but it makes you wonder if, in deed, there are ruins of a great civilization buried on mars (and perhaps an undiscovered breed of first generation jambands!---sorry Max Creek).

While I don’t think an ancient race of Flintstones skirted around the universes building Sphinxes (if they did, they’d at least look like Betty Rubble), I have stumbled across at least one interesting theory. According to The Mars Mystery, and as quoted by Wikipedia, “...we have demonstrated with a substantial body of evidence that the pattern of stars that is "frozen" on the ground at Giza in the form of the three pyramids and the Sphinx represents the disposition of the constellations of Orion and Leo as they looked at the moment of sunrise on the spring equinox during the astronomical "Age of Leo" (i.e., the epoch in which the Sun was "housed" by Leo on the spring equinox.) Like all processional ages this was a 2,160-year period. It is generally calculated to have fallen between the Gregorian calendar dates of 10,970 and 88810 BC (op. cit., p.189) Which means that, if some form of life did exist on Mars back then, they might have built a series of monuments based on the same set of stars which inspired the Egyptians.

Who knows, maybe before people had blogs, they built Sphinxes to waste time while they should be studying (or at least sleeping)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Disco Biscuits in the Mike-Mike

Last Wednesday I spent an afternoon in the studio with the Disco Biscuits. After interviewing the group regularly for almost three years, I feel like I’m finally at the point where we are comfortable enough to have a real, deep, unguarded conversation which is nice for any “journalist.” I sometimes feel like the Almost Famous life is wasted on me since I don’t smoke weed or play an instrument. But, since I still have Cameron Crowe’s haircut cira-1976, Magner did invite me to play keyboards with the band while he fixed his microphone levels. So, here is my first (and only?) sit-in with the Disco Biscuits. I sure hope my performance makes the album’s final cut. Jammys 2007 anyone?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I’m a Black Belt in Karaoke

I’m not sure why I never got into Karaoke. Since I pretty much spend my entire day walking, err bouncing, around singing to myself anyway, logic would suggest that Karaoke would be my sport of choice. But, for whatever reason, I prefer to listen to music in solitude, with only an imagery audience to observe my disheveled dance step.

Friday night, however, my friend Jen tricked me into a half-night of Karaoke with some of her teacher friends. It seems that New York City public school teachers are much like any other urban workers, meaning that they tend to end their work week downtown intoxicated, complaining about their colleagues with their colleagues (and all this time I thought they were FOILing quadratic equations, go figure)

Apparently at least some teachers also like to sing to one another, so, while the east village temporarily relocated to New Jersey for a Yo La Tengo concert, I found myself on St. Marks Place, singing with a group of people who in any other setting would have surely given me detenion. Even though my music taste is pretty specific, I'm usually able to wing a good music conversation in any setting. I have , after all, suffered through concerts by such diverse artists as Rod Stewart, the Sugar Hill Gang, Backstreet Boys and Bright Eyes (wow, my music journalism cred just vanished quicker than a plate of bangles at brake-fast).

But, scared that I'd out Jen as a closet hippie, I sat silently, nodding along as a group of obviously intelligent people recited the “Barbie Song” as if it were a missing passage from Beowulf with the aid of their friend Jack (Daniels that is).

It’s odd how genre stereotypes inadvertently play into everyday life. It’s somehow socially accessible for a group of academics to publicly spoon with a bottle of whiskey, yet mentioning the three-letter j-word could very well have cost my friend Jen her job.Perhaps in couple of years Trey will be so far removed from jam-nation that good natured, but square thinking , teacher types will spend their Saturday’s singing the words to “Shine.” I already noticed that “Heavy Things” has creeped its way into the Karaoke machine---and if that’s not a sign of the hippie-rock apocalypse I don’t know what it.

As for me, I’m going to go to bed now and mouth the words to “Airplane/Primitive,” an awesome track off the Slip’s new album Eisenhower. Its opening line has been stuck in my scull since I first slipped in the disc yesterday: “It’s the day before the rest of my life.” And, if that’s not a great High Holidays message, I don’t know what is.

L’Shana Tova