Village Voice vs. New Yorker, Round 21
A little bit about the long-standing Village Voice–New Yorker rivalry: In the summer of ’84, the year of the rat, John Updike and several other affiliates of the Times Square publication infiltrated the Voice offices. Updike, a famous prankster in his collegiate days (when pranks were called “STUNTZZZ” and STUNTZZZ involved vaguely terrorist activity), hid a bed of thumb tacks in the swivel chairs of famous Voice writers, such that the next morning, when (say) Bob Christgau sat down to start his day of rock&roll& muckraking, he found himself in unfathomable pain. The Dean of American Rock Critics nearly died that day in fact, and with him, rock and roll itself.
The whole event later inspired a cartoon in the October 19, 1984 issue of the New Yorker, which featured a married couple sitting on a couch watching television. All of the sudden, the wife tells her husband, “I think I’m sitting on a tack.”
Now I won’t bore you with the details of our two-decade rivalry– that’s what police blotters and Wilco songs are for– but let me assure you of one thing. The summer of ’05, the year of the rooster (and the trimester of love), belongs to the Village Voice.
Riff Raff Presents: An Exclusive Riff. Perhaps some of you readers know the work of New Yorker pop critic Sasha Frere-Jones? He used to write for the Voice, but more famously played in freak-nasty heavy-metal funk-rock band Ui (and the band Dolores before that, best known for their fabulously disjointed cover of the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows”).
Ui’s been done since 2003’s Answers, but on his own blog and elsewhere Frere-Jones has hinted at a “new band.” That new band is the Sands. And through only the most illicit means, Riff Raff brings you an exclusive The Sands track from the unsigned I repeat unsigned band’s indefinitely delayed debut full-length. The song’s called “The Hostage Song”, and it’s written, voice-, guitar- and bass-riffed by Frere-Jones. If the song’s swirling top-heavy groove strikes you as “Chavez-esque”, that might be because James Lo, the drummer of Chavez, is behind the raff set. (Other dudes play stuff too.) I would say this leak’s the ultimate end-of-rivalry coup, except it’s actually pretty damn good.
Exclusive MP3 Download: The Sands’ “The Hostage Song“
Disclaimer: With the exception of the MP3 and verifiable band bio, this entire entry is probably made up.