October is the only month that ends in a holiday celebrating exquisite exaltation of darkness, death and freedom, this year it was also, appropriately, a barn burner month for a rapidly proliferating genre: Screw Gaze.
Earlier this month OOoOo (pronounced “Oh”), aka Christopher Greenspan, outta the San Francisco Bay area, released an exquisitely solid self-titled debut EP. I’m hopelessly strung out on the heroin highs that are the standout tracks “Mumbai”, “Hearts” and “Burnout Eyes” (sick title right?). Rating: 8.5
It’s also been an eventful month for Brooklyn-based band CREEP, the dynamic duo of Lauren Flax and Lauren Dillard. Three weeks ago, they got signed to the prestigious indie label “Young Turks” (The XX, Wavves, Holy Fuck), and if that wasn’t enough, Thursday heralded the premiere of their new music video for “Days”, their upcoming single, unveiled at the party at The Cove. The crowds’ reaction to this spooked-out masterpiece was a frenzy of awe. Be on the lookout for big things from CREEP in the near future, including their debut EP and heavy rotation of the new “Days” video on VH1 and MTV.
Hot Shit (CREEP remix)
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the month were Salem’s performances at NYC’s CMJ Music Marathon 2010. This triad of hyper-modern occult heroes and fashion/art world darlings were crowned the unofficial winners for standout live gig and have been the talk of the town for the past week.
Vogue anointed Salem as one of the ten must see shows of CMJ. Salem rose up and beyond the hype delivering in full force, defying everyone’s expectations with two shows that unequivocally killed it.
Most of this buzz surrounding Salem is due to the glowing critical reception of their debut full length album King Night, released a mere 33 days ago. Another small part is due to controversy: their “rape gaze” [Ed: the term does belong to a joke made by Laurens from CREEP and I'd hate to see it stick] lyrics, their songs deemed “drug music,” the band’s high profile occult perceptions, and their fearless EP titles like Yes, I Smoke Crack. Such things have led to cries of offense from those jumpy few who are easily startled. The most powerful critical weapon against the band were their poor past live performances, though Salem’s current live show has now come of age seemingly overnight, thus killing the one relevant complaint. And any other beefs are transparent: simple, moralist, sanctimonious pussy bullshit from mouths who need to grow a pair.
The two shows left those familiar with the band’s live history simply stunned. Brains were altered by the assault of the dirty, bass-blistering, mind-vaporizing new live sound, performances which Time Out called “hauntingly resonant” and Village Voice deemed “transcendent.”
Salem’s second, tiny show was literally underground at a nearly impossible to locate and refreshingly esoteric gallery named “Ramiken Crucible” located in the deep (below East Broadway) Lower East Side [Ed: Chinatown, really]. This absurdly exclusive show (90 person capacity), offered only fifty tickets to the general public, albeit quasi-secretly, announcing it only on their Facebook fan page. Included among the celebrity-studded 40 person VIP guest list was art world superstar Terence Koh, who arrived arm in arm with Liv Tyler, appropriately decked out in Givenchy.
The press recognized these were mind-fucking mind blowing performances, gigs that reduced industry-infested, jaded New York audiences into frenzied, shrieking tweens, tween girls pleading for an encore, tween girls willing to die (or at least wait) for an encore worth dying for.