I'll be trying to try a new song or two, maybe a tiny tribute to Ornette Coleman if I can pull it off, a cover-of-a-cover or two, and a few of the usual hide-behind-loops solo/wrens things...[READ ON]
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It has been a while, non? Even as four years of work on the album finally wrap up, actually leaving the house to climb on a stage, in front of people and flail a guitar like a man drowning.
Kevin & I (that's charles) are playing a benefit show for P.S. 154, a public school here in Brooklyn at which (full disclosure) our oldest attends kindergarten. So yes, daddy is singing for text books & pencils...[READ ON]
The more personal backstory goes something like this, at least as well as I can remember it…a few years back, Oct. of ’06 to be exact, we got a super nice email from someone named Ben who wrote because his band, Green Arrows, and a friend’s band, Joseph Ferocious, had combined to cover our song Happy at a co-headlining show at the Stone Pony and he wanted to share along a link for us to - you can see it here...
May come as a surprise, may probably not, but I, charles, am not only not the coolest person in the band, I’m not even the coolest person in our house. In fact, the arrival of children has now cemented my ‘not even by a long shot’ status.
Don’t usually make too big a deal of it, but I love indie rock enough in general, and the band Palomar in particular, that I married into it. Hence the move to Brooklyn a few years back, starting me on my own personal cool-makeover...
Just a little reminder that the Dear New Orleans benefit album is released today via your preferred places of musical e-commerce (iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody and eMusic) and includes our song Crescent from our own forthcoming album. You can read tons about it here (or just hit the “page down” button).
To mark the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina - and in response to the Gulf Oil Disaster also deeply affecting the region – the folks at Air Traffic Control have produced “Dear New Orleans”, a digital-only benefit compilation, the proceeds of which will be granted to a range of New Orleans-based nonprofit organizations including Sweet Home New Orleans and Gulf Restoration Network.
To do our tiny part, we have a new song, “Crescent”, included on “Dear New Orleans” which will be released & available for download on Tuesday, August 24th..
As mentioned last week, we’re playing as part of a larger benefit show for Haiti, and details (as well as tickets) are available today.
The show is Wednesday, January 27th, at the Bell House in Brooklyn, doors open at 6:00, and 100% of the proceeds will be split between Save the Children and Partners in Health.
All sets are short, stripped-down affairs and we should be on about 9:15 or so. Although with a line-up like this, it’s worth making a full evening of it...
By now, most of us have seen the heartbreaking scenes of destruction, suffering and death coming from Haiti, following the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck there at 4:53pm local time, January 12th, approximately 10 miles from Port-au-Prince. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people are feared dead, as the capital city has been devastated.
To do our small part in helping to raise money for this cause, we’ll be performing at a benefit show here in New York City, along with a handful of other musicians, and we’ll post details on that as they’re finalized in the next day or two.
When disasters of this magnitude occur, sometimes amidst the media coverage and discussion, it can be less clear to know where to go to help or to donate the much-needed money for relief and eventual recovery...
People often think of Williamsburg as full of trust fund hipsters, but the reality is that a significant percentage (about a third) of Community Board 1 is under the poverty level, and there are other major challenges -- displacement due to gentrification, out of control development, no infrastructure to support the influx of new people, environmental and open space issues, just to name a few.
Ok, doing my part to fight the Death Star, and with apologies for another last-minute plug, Charles is playing a solo show along with the Console War for a Barack Obama fundraiser tonight, Thursday, 9/4/08 in Washington D.C.
The event itself runs 6:00pm – 9:00pm w/ music starting around 7:00 and is at:
1610 20TH ST NW (right off dupont metro north)
Please come by if you are free tonight. Although the suggested donation is $150 (it’s very ‘Beltway’) the organizers stress they want people to come to enjoy the party and contributing any amount helps.
Here’s their official invite/description:
...time is running out....
Please join us for a night of excellent live music with shows from Console War and Charles Bissell.
Downstairs, there'll be delicious munchies and big-screen TVs for Redskins watching...
....and, as always, there will be fantastic company and lively conversation. We're encouraging donations, of course, to attend, but all are welcome. Please click here now to donate.
For those who can't make it, please help us raise funds for the Obama campaign by contributing now!
(Those of our dear friends who are lobbyists, we understand, and yes, please come without donating. Yes, special treatment, yet again....)
Kristen Grimm, Gwyn Hicks, Alex Slater, & Norissa Giangola
1610 20TH ST NW (right off dupont metro north),
Washington, DC 20009 US
Thursday, September 4, 6:00PM
Howdy citizens of 2008,
Hoping your all your holidays and new year and stuff have been as nifty as our own. I got an actual stocking.
Just a quick little – yet important - news item for this next week. Charles has been invited along with an impressive handful of much cooler musicians (see below) to participate in a 3-day artist retreat and benefit show in New Orleans put together by the Future of Music Coalition and Air Traffic Control...
Related to the story below regarding Bottom of the Hudson’s tragic accident, we’re doing a couple of benefit shows in September (details of both the accident and updates on news can be found on our label’s site,
First, Charles is doing a solo show at Monkey Town in Williamsburg, Brooklyn this Wednesday, Sept. 5th.
This is the usual solo Charles thing with out-of-the-norm wrens songs into looping pedals but unusually this time, in collaboration with video artists Elizabeth Maertens and Phillip Kim who will be pushing Monkey Town’s four built-in video screens to their limits.
Also on this bill is Tris McCall (another of NJ’s own and a wonderful songwriter) and the really, really good Overlord.
Monkey Town is a very nifty venue and a very small one - reservations are required and seating is very limited.
But note that they’re currently having server problems with the online reservation form so best bets are to email reservation requests directly to:
Whatever proceeds Charles drums up from this show will also be going to Trevor’s family and to help offset medical expenses for Bottom of the Hudson’s Greg Lytle, who was also seriously injured in the crash...
Here are the official details for tonight’s Charles/Kevin duo show thing at the Kitchen in New York for the really wonderful biannual arts magazine, Esopus:
"AN EVENING WITH ESOPUS" AT THE KITCHEN
For its first event at The Kitchen, ESOPUS presents an evening of readings and performances whose theme—creative collaboration—is approached from four different angles by four different groups of collaborators. In "Autographs," an audio-visual presentation recorded exclusively for this event, actor/filmmaker Jennifer Jason Leigh reads a series of short poems by Vincent Katz, accompanied by projections of never-before-seen drawings by his father, artist Alex Katz. (The entire suite of 12 drawings and poems is published in ESOPUS 7.) Film production designer Thérèse DePrez ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch," "Happiness") and cinematographer Ellen Kuras ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Unzipped") discuss with critic Amy Taubin the process of working together to create the look and tone of films like Mary Harron's "I Shot Andy Warhol" and Spike Lee’s "Summer of Sam." Playwright Christopher Durang ("Beyond Therapy," "Miss Witherspoon") stages and co-performs with actress Alma Cuervo a reading of a short parody of "Medea" that Durang co-wrote with the late Wendy Wasserstein (whose plays often featured Cuervo in starring roles). The evening ends with a set of guitar, loops, piano and vocals from Charles Bissell and Kevin Whelan from acclaimed indie band The Wrens. In keeping with the evening's theme of collaboration, their performance will include a song for which they will ask audience members to join them onstage to contribute single-note drones on extra guitars...
But grim reaper willing, charles will be playing solo on Saturday in Brooklyn at a benefit show for Emergency Communities, a relief organization based in Brooklyn, NY and Arabi/New Orleans, LA who continue to provide community-based relief (meals, medical care, legal advice & education) following Hurricane Katrina.
Their website sums up their mission statement far better than we ever could:
Doors are at 8PM (music starts at 9pm. Free beer from 9:00 – 10:00 courtesy of Greenpoint Beer Works). It’s $20 to get in but with all proceeds going directly to Emergency Communites’ efforts to help rebuild the Gulf Coast.
The venue: www.supremetradingny.com213 N 8th st, Williamsburg, Brooklyn,just three blocks from the Metropolitan stop on G train (the L is not operating this weekend. Surprise).