Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An Overdue Review of the Harmonica Lewinskies

I should have done this review a while ago, but due to my general lack of focus I've just gotten around to it now. Sorry guys.

The Harmonica Lewinskies are a Manhattan based band comprised of what I believe to be eight members... I speculate the amount of persons involved, because i'm pretty sure it varies depending on the gig. They play an eclectic fusion of classic rock n' roll, funk, blues, and southern influenced tunes that make for a hyper-animated type of live music experience.

My first interactions with the Lewinskies started way before their inception, when I attended high school with founding member, Dan McLane. Back then, Dan was just one of those kids sitting in front of his locker with his John Lennon t-shirt hanging out from under his catholic school uniform talking about Jay and Silent Bob movies. Every once in a while he would bring his guitar around and play some basic chords while jokingly doing an Eddy Vedder impression. After many drunken adventures and sloppy basement parties, I didn't see Dan for a couple years. In that time he apparently got his shit together (unlike me) and started the band that he belongs to today.

It wasn't until I graduated college and started working in NYC that I saw my first Lewinskies show. Constantly being notified on Facebook about their performances, a couple hometown friends and I decided to see them play one night at Bowery Electric. After our reunion moment with Dan, we were immediately introduced to the rest of the band, who were all  uniformed in their usual white button-up shirts, black pants, black ties, and suspenders. We did multiple whiskey shots before they played that evening's set as is their tradition.

They really are a fun group of guys, who's shenanigans are only matched by their musical talent and on-stage charisma. It's a pretty impressive sight watching members like lead guitarist, Will Simpson, and rhythm guitarist, Rob Bettega, switch up on vocals while Ollie Fetter does a fantastic job on drums. One of the unique things I noticed about the Harmonica Lewinskies (besides their name and attire), was their ability to psyche up the crowd more so than the band that was headlining that night. This quality remains true every time I see them play.

Their second EP Salad Days features such enjoyable tracks as "The Ghost Pal Song", which you can listened to here. If you want to experience the Lewinskies play live, be sure to check them out Friday, May 24th at Mama Coco's Freak Out #21. Should be a pretty good time.  

Also, vote for them here so they can play in Afro-Punk's: Battle of the Bands 2013... Do it now.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April Photo Review

April was a pretty spectacular mess of a month...in the best way. A lot of really good times with good friends. Some of those memories were a pretty blurry the next day. Luckily camera phones exist. For more photographic fun, follow my well titled Instagram @ohnoneilio

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tips: How To Survive With No Cash In NYC

So lately I've been broke as fuck. Mostly because I invest way too much cash into my social actives (i.e. bars, parties, shows, takeout food, etc...) and not considering how soon my rent is due until it's too late. I felt like this has to be a situation that many people my age living in the city have encountered, so I did some research into the matter. What I found was mostly garbage. The only way that most of these advice columns could ever be useful is if you were physically attractive enough to get away with almost anything or willing to sell every personal belonging and dignity you possess. Having none of these options truly at my disposal, I decided to take my own route in finding ways to get by until my next paycheck. Below is a series of tips that I have found actually work when it comes to having nothing and still wanting to live like a functioning human.

Note: This is kind of an ongoing process (as this is a situation I'm currently engaged in), so I'm not sure if these tips apply to everyone or is meant for long-term use. They work for me at the moment and hopefully will be even more useful to those who are more financially responsible than me.

  1. Eat for cheap. Most people think this refers to fast food chains (which are still a decent option). I tried this for a while and as satisfying as the immediate result is, this doesn't really work out in the long run. You gotta dig deeper and invest in some cost effective grocery stuff. Rice, bread, pasta, meats, soup, PB&J, etc... are life savers when you have only a few dollars to your name. There are some very useful online forums that explain what you need to buy based on your current budget. The mundane nature of your meals may piss you off at first, but I find that hot sauce makes every dull eating experience more enjoyable. 
  2. Avoid Seamless, Grub Hub and other food delivery options. Even though it seems like best option when your feeling lazy, the delivery minimums stealthily murder your wallet in the end. Maybe if you execute your food situation right, you'll actually be able to eat out every once in a while.
  3. Take anything that you can. I'm not encouraging people to start shoplifting like the crazy bag lady down on the corner, rather take the items that are available and not noticeable  I'm talking about the toilet paper stacked in your dorm's utility closet or the napkins and  plastic utensils at your local Chipotle (which is a poor man's gold mine if you know whats up). 
  4. Make the most of what is already available to you. You don't need to spend cash on franchise coffees with exotic names when your job provides you with a freaking Kurig machine. Your suffering bank account doesn't care if you hate the taste of the office coffee brew. If you need a morning wake-up, go with the free option or nothing. Apply this principle to all of your avoidable expenses. 
  5. Do favors for people. Don't go into it acting like people are going to reward you for your services (you come off as a mooch). Although, if you consistently clean the entire apartment, do the dishes, and take out the trash when it's your roommates' turn, they're are probably more inclined to buy you a drink than if you didn't. Doing favors also occupies some of your time and distracts you from the nothingness that is the contents of your wallet. 
  6. The internet is fucking awesome. It provides so many opportunities for you to make cash doing the simplest (and sometimes weirdest) services. Some of you are immediately going to assume I'm referring to web cam porn or something creepy. I haven't gotten to that level yet, but whatever floats your boat. Websites like Craigslist and Fiverr are more my thing. Paying gigs on these sites can range from moving some dude's couch to drawing a logo for some lame brand. The important thing is making sure you actually get paid...and not tricked into some sort of sex dungeon scenario.
  7. Make friends with those who are also desperate for cash. It's important to have comrades to help support you during your financial struggles, especially when they know exactly what your going through. Some of these people have been through this before, and can be great sources for knowledge on how to get by. 
  8. Make friends with people who have lots of money (especially when you want to go out). Just as important as tip number 6 in the sense that these people are very important to surround yourself with when you're on the brink of poverty. Rich kids tend to over-indulge on the their night's out in my experience, and part of that includes flaunting how much they are willing to spend. I don't think it's mooching if you conveniently find yourself in the company of someone who is going to buy the bar a round of shots. 
  9. Change. It's your new best friend. Pick it up, save it, spend it. I don't think a lot of my generation realizes how much real/spendable money is at their disposal you actually tally up all the small currency possess. It may seem absurd sometimes, but using change to it's fullest potential is one of your best options when you have nothing else. Just to give you fair warning, using change to purchase certain items will result in in you pissing people off. Sometimes you just need to suck it up and roll with the punches. You'll be less upset about this ordeal when your debit card is declined at the MTA machine, but luckily your pockets full of change allowed you to catch the next train. This train hopefully got you to your job on time and further helped you not be such a broke ass. (Collect discarded Metro-Cards too. People leave money on those all the time, and getting around is key in the city.)
Hopefully one of you found these tips useful. If not, oh well. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hangover Cure Reviews #1

Recently I made the move from good ol’ Jersey to Brooklyn,and the last couple of weeks have been a pretty interesting experience. I made this migration from my place of origin for a couple reasons, but the main one was making my daily commute easier (and getting the fuck out of my parents’attic). My under 20 minute commute on then L train kicks the shit out of my 1-3 hour commute on the godforsaken #33 bus. The only issue with the whole deal is convenience of it, which leads to the temptation to stay out late and wake up approximately 20 minutes before I have to be in my office. The cheap (almost college cheap) beer is also not contributing positively to my punctuality. So basically I had two choices in how to handle this matter. Either I quit drinking during the work week (which is almost impossible if you live in the McKibbin Lofts) or I find an actual working hangover cure that will make my morning’s a less excruciating experience. So this leads to the point of this series of posts that consists of on an ongoing review of various hangover cures and remedies that I have encountered.
One of my roommates is supplied this stuff at his office, but him nobody ever uses it. My apartment decided to take advantage of this opportunity and have him snag some for those who needed it. For a week they remained untouched and untouched pile on our kitchen table. Then one morning after a night of poor decisions involving slicing my finger open picking a lock and using a combination of toilet paper and floss as a bandage, I decided that it was go time for Blowfish. It kind of works like an Alka Seltzer in the sense that you dissolve tablets in water. It doesn't taste particularly good, but none of these things ever do.  There is a sudden burst of energy experience, but I would not describe the feeling as are turn to normalcy. If you don’t do well with straight caffeine exhilaration,then this is certainly not the remedy for you. Supposedly it only has 120 mgs of caffeine, but it gave me the shakes for about two hours. To conclude, Blowfish is a good solution if you’re looking to get out of your apartment, but not if you actually have things to do once you leave.

CoconutWater (Vita Coco)
This Shit. So I first tried Coconut Water when I was still in college living in an apartment above a bar. My roommate who was on a super cleanse/diet kick told me I should give it a shot considering the regular amount of “shots” I was taking downstairs (Corny Joke). At the time there was a lot of hype about Coconut water being this ultimate health concoction that basically made you   a more able-bodied human organism….and conveniently cures hangovers. What they don’t tell you is that it tastes like what I imagine old smegma would taste like. My four roommates bought one 16 oz pack of Vita Coco for the four of us and this thing lasted in our fridge for about 2 weeks. We had to be innovative about how we drank it just to make the experience slightly more pleasant. This involved mixing it with juice, watering it down, and then finally taking group shots ofit. I will say though, it does work. It produces the type of feeling you get after you just did something beneficial for yourself/the opposite of what you did the night prior. The taste coconut water also has the ability to induce vomiting…which also makes you feel better.

Does not work at all. I found this fake preventative cure in a bodega by my place one very drunken night. I truly believed and wanted so much for this to work. Nothing but lies. It tastes okay, but possibly makes you feel even worse in the morning. 

You suck.