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.