Conversion Party

Dear Hugo Chavez,

Some thoughts of Jeff Mangum @ Asbury Park


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I saw Jeff Mangum perform at a restored theater on the boardwalk in Asbury Park last night. I hadn’t planned on going. When I heard about these shows few months ago, I immediately lowered my expectations of getting a ticket. I just put away any hope of seeing him perform live, and forgot about it.

Something about those two records inspires hysteria in people, and brings out the kooks (myself included). That’s how powerful the stuff is. So the craziest thing about last night’s show was actually how sane the whole thing was.

We drove up to a very quiet scene—a big lit up brick building with people standing on an outdoor patio. The sound of breaking surf, wind. A couple bars. An old lit up hotel in the distance. All very subdued. After a beer, we went in and found our seats in the balcony of the theater, which seemed about three quarters filled.

When Jeff Mangum came out and started to play my first thought was one of sudden concern. What if, instead of being blown away, I was quietly disappointed? The possibility hadn’t occurred to me. The acoustic guitar sounded a bit muffled at first, and the voice, that voice, was quieter than I would have liked.

He opened with Two Headed Boy Part II, the symbolism of which hopefully wasn’t lost on people—picking up where he left off. Any concerns about whether this show would be a disappointment quickly dispersed and the songs took over, one after another. The mystery is as deep as ever. The crowd was silent during the songs, but exploded into applause and cheers when the songs ended. It reminded me a little bit of some of those Dylan bootleg records.

Mangum seemed relaxed and it seemed like he was enjoying himself. He bantered with the audience. People occasionally shouted things at him. Lots of “I love you’s,” one “You saved my life,” and at one point someone yelled, “Are you enjoying this again?” And he said yes, confidently.

One funny thing is that he seemed a little dismayed that everyone wasn’t singing along. “How come you guys aren’t singing?” Which is funny because I feel like that kind of zealous, religious devotion is something he’s tried to bring down a bit, and so now everyone is so concerned about freaking him out, and not going overboard, that they’ve overcompensated in the other direction.

I’m pretty sure he played a new song, too. It was hard to hear what he said before he played it, but it sounded like he said, “Do you guys want to hear a song I’ve only played once before?” Then he launched into something that was definitely not familiar to me, except that it sounded a little like something I could have heard in synagogue as a teenager (in a good way)—somber, scary, beautiful, with snippets of breathtaking imagery. Ok, so maybe that’s not what I heard in synagogue. Anyway…

After playing “Oh Comely,” Mangum says, “Speaking of knowing who your enemies are, are you guys going to the protest on Wednesday?”  Ha. He played one encore—where he brought out a mini-marching band, which was great. My one and only complaint about the show (and it’s not really a complaint) is that at times I was waiting for the horns and the full-on marching band NMH-sound to kick in. Another time perhaps.

After one encore, there was that moment where the audience is trying to make up its mind whether to keep cheering for the second encore or pack it in. The moment passed, the house lights came up, and everyone staggered out onto the boardwalk, smiling, satisfied, happy.

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Tut Tut

Goddamn, it’s been too long. Time to drop a little missive with much more to come.

What have we been doing exactly? Man, everything. Too much to recount.

This happened. Kind of a big deal. Big revelation for one of us: stage monitors are an unbelievable thing.

A few words on CYHSY. The new record is really good. We hope these guys get a fair shake (you know what we mean). They’ve clearly been through the fire and come out the other side with something that sounds like a logical step forward. There’s lots to enjoy—lyrically, sonically, epistemologically. Taut, crisp drumming! Check out the last track. We’re proud to know these guys and wish them the best of luck—they’ve worked very hard.

A friend of mine shared this song by Washington Phillips with me last week. It’s heartbreakingly beautiful, and of course, Bradford Cox sampled it a couple years ago.

Other recommendations:

The Men (a bit pummeling at some points, but also pretty refreshing to hear a band really letting rip). Love that shoegaze-y guitar.

Saturday Night Duets. Our buddies Rad Dads played with these guys on a recent tour, and were nice enough to share it with me. Wear their influences pretty openly on the sleeve, but they’re good influences, so fuck it. One observation: these days it’s become de rigeur to steal from Pavement—namely a certain kind of approach to guitars, loose playing—but not many bands have stolen the goofiness of Pavement. And make no mistake, Pavement is a goofy fucking band.

Oh! Almost forgot. Kurt Vile, Smoke Ring for My Halo—this record has been spinning non-stop since it came out in the spring. His first records never really made a strong impact on me. But it feels like everything has really come together with this one. His drummer is also amazing. Pretty sure the War on Drugs record is like a companion (brother record), but I’m just getting familiar with that one.

The recent TV on the Radio record is good, too! Kinda came and went with little fanfare, but there are some bangers.

Ty Segall. Been pretty obsessed with this guy lately. I understand if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and I’m not sure the albums really work cohesively. But check out the song below. Anyone have a Tascam 388 they’re not using?

Random observation. Beck is actually a brilliant lyricist, and yet no one has tried to plow the surrealist vein he worked in for a long time.

Just getting to know the new Cymbals Eat Guitars record (Alien Lenses). It’s pretty dark, which is a surprise (not unwelcome, but a surprise nonetheless). I think that people might have a hard time with it, but I think that’s just something that happens. I remember going out to Staten Island to see these guys right before shit popped, and they were nothing but nice. Joseph Ferocious’ grandfather was there, and he seemed into it.

OK, that’s enough recommendations for now. You don’t need us to tell you what to listen to.

Posting a shit-ton of pictures.

New zine on the way! Should be ready for CMJ along with mastered songs we completed last year.

Speaking of songs…we’ve been writing a lot of em. Not sure what’ll stick and what’ll get kicked, but figure we might as well put it out there. We’re going to start posting more stuff on here, so stay tuned.

Bunch of shows in October. Be on the lookout. XO, CP

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Doubleheader this weekend

Doubleheader

We’re playing a doubleheader this weekend.

On Thursday evening at 9 we’re playing at Glasslands ($7). Saturday evening at 11 we’ll be at Pianos ($10).

Come on out! Cop the EP, a free koozie, a tee. It’ll be finnnnnnnnne.

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Our First Zine

The inaugural Conversion Party zine.

 

To coincide with the release of our new EP Favors (April 2011), we’ve created the first-ever Conversion Party zine. Check it out. Hopefully this is the first of many. If you like it, let us know.

And if you’re in the Brooklyn-area, we’re playing this Friday, Feb 25th at Union Hall. We go on at 9ish. Un Beso, CP

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Conversion Party + Fatal Film + Mr Dream

Conversion Party @ Rock Shop

Friends,

Mark your calendars. Save the date. We own the night.

Conversion Party is playing Rock Shop this Wed, Dec 8th with two of our favorite bands.

Fatal Film is a Conversion Party favorite and long time friends from New London. We haven’t played together in ages because lead singer Matt Potter is also…wait for it…our drummer.

Joining us are new friends Mr. Dream, one of the best NY-based bands we’ve heard in a minute. They’re also leading this anti-Lo-Fi campaign that we vigorously endorse.

We’re really excited about this one. Come out Wednesday night and sign the petition for less bands that suck.

First band goes on at 8:30

7 American Dollars

Besos, CP



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Conversion Party @ CMJ

UPDATE:

Supreme followers,

It’s official. We are “new music first” this Thursday, October 21 at Union Hall as part of the CMJ Music Marathon. According to the all-powerful internets, we go on at 11 p.m. along with our buddies Radical Dads, and some other fine acts.

Please to join us there if you can. If you can’t, catch us at The Delancey in Manhattan at 2 p.m. (daytime, bitches) on Saturday the 23rd, also part of the Music Marathon. Scratch that. We thought we were playing but we were bumped by fuckery beyond our control. Apologies to Steve.

See you all there.

Filed under: Conversion Party, Gigs

So much to tell you…

Some big doings in Camp Conversion Party. Let’s launch right in.

First off, album is done. Pretty weird, right? At a certain point, it seemed like it would never end, but it did. What’s not surprising to us is how good it sounds considering the help we had from our producer Sean “Fix It In the Mix” Greenhalgh (Drummer, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!), and the incredible mixing skills of Phil Palazzolo (New Pornographers, St. Vincent, Ted Leo, Okkervil River) at the luxurious Seaside Lounge. Can’t say enough about these guys. They’re both friends now, but professionally speaking, they did a fantastic job – knowing when to push and when to sit back and let us go. They both have great projects in the works (seriously)…so keep an ear out.

Next up, CMJ. We’ll be playing two shows: Thursday, October 21st @ Union Hall (see above) and Saturday, October 23rd at the Delancey (more info to come). You should come check us out. This is the best rehearsed we’ve ever been and I think we’re really starting to hit our stride as a live band. We’re playing with some good bands, too. Again…weird. We’re looking forward to getting out there and meeting people, which we don’t get to do often enough with our jobs, our band, our off-putting social tendencies.

What else to tell you? We have a new website that maybe you’re enjoying as we speak, where we blog, where we tweet, where we mug for de camera.

Want to send a big up to our new friends Mr. Dream. We’ve yet to link up in person, but something tells me we’re going to hit it off and do some spectacular shows together one of these days. We seem to have some kind of shared DNA or something. Check out their new song over at Stereogum. I’ve been singing one of their older songs all day. Bands who aren’t famous whose music we actually like…again, weird.  The last time that happened I was at a strip bar/cum rock club in Mottville, lying down in front of a kick drum. [sigh]

Not sure what else to tell ya. If you’re a record label, let’s talk. We’re going to write a number on a piece of paper and slide it across the table…

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Pop Tarts Suck Toasted’s Big Up for Conversion Party

CP got some very finely written love from New York music blog, Pop Tarts Suck Toasted.

Also, Conversion Party will play LES mainstay Pianos this Sunday, Sept. 12th with Gross Relations. See you all there.

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Conversion Party @ Rock Shop, Thursday August 4th

Conversion Party is playing a new venue in Park Slope called The Rock Shop this Thursday, August 5th.

Come check it out. 4th Avenue between Carroll and President, former site of the world-famous Cattyshack (R.I.P).

We’ll be joined by Rabbits, Great Unwashed, and Shark?.

We go on at 9, so swing through 830ish. See you then.

Besos, CP

Boulder and Co.

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Slopecore

Miss Jinners presents…
Conversion Party @ Union Hall
Friday, July 9th
w/ Hallelujah the Hills, Bird Love

God Bless, America

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