Off The Record is a recurring feature, here on the Drunkard, that marries two of my greatest interests; music and travel. Having a locals perspective when visiting a new locale is the difference between experiencing it through the lens of a tourist and of that of a native.
Off The Record gathers some of my favorite artists, asks them to reflect on their city of residence, and choose a handful of places they could not live without, be them bookstores, bars, restaurants or vistas.
OTR is back, and with one of our favorite modern purveyors of the honky tonk, Joseph Plunkett and his band The Weight. We’ve raved about the former Athens, GA, cum Brooklyn, singer/songwriter/bandleader numerous times over the years and did a double take when The Weight’s new LP Are Men arrived in the mailbox (as there had not been a proper record in years). Now known simply, and economically, as The Weight, Are Men again finds the band swaying between barn burners and tear in your beer clinchers.
Below: Plunkett lists five of his favorite Brooklyn/Manhattan go-tos.
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Uniondocs (Brooklyn) :: This is our new practice space. Upstairs they make super serious documentaries about the evils of capitalism, and its a photography studio too. No Joke, they even gave my buddy Murat a job there. He just holds up a light and looks at model’s boobs all day, one hundred bucks cash every time just for looking at tits. That’s New York for ya. Seriously though, we’ve been kicked out of so many practice spaces for nothing. “Dear Weight, you left an empty can of soda on my amp. You’re out of here.” People can be so uptight. At Uniondocs they seem to think that five dudes hanging American Flags everywhere, drinking Coors light and jamming Grand Funk tunes all night is a Hilarious art project. They’re always saying funny things like “this is exactly what’s going on in Berlin”. Check your watch dude, We’re in America. Finally we have a home, and it has a sweet backyard. I’m currently planning a fourth of July BBQ blowout super party, totally righteous.
Jammyland (Manhattan) :: This is the all reggae record store right across the st. from the Hell’s Angels Clubhouse in the East Village. I think its on third street.. Anyway, I put my toe in waters of Reggae record collecting, and brother I had to jump right on in. This place is the real deal. The dude behind the counter is so chill and he hates money. Typical conversation: Me “Hey man how much is this one?” Dude. (totally bummed) “Oh man, that ones like eight bucks”, Me, “Cool I can do that” Dude (relieved and psyched) “Awesome! want a bag”. It’s the best monetary transaction of the week. CHANT DOWN BABYLON! (Stop the presses, I just found out JammyLand closed down last month. R.I.P. buddy, This town sucks.)
Taco Bite / Endless Summer Taco Truck (Brooklyn) :: You’d think in the city that never sleeps someone would be burning the midnight oil learning how to make a decent burrito, but for years it was impossible to find one. Sure there are some bodegas that make sweet tacos in the back but you can’t really hang out there. I even worked at a Mexican place in the lower east side for a while. The menu was written by a white girl, and the Mexican cooks would laugh at the crappy food, and make the good stuff just for themselves. Now that these two gems have opened up, things are much better. My girlfriend went out of town for three weeks and I ate nothing but burritos, it was amazing. Taco bite is really traditional cheap Mexican eats, and they deliver to my house. Endless Summer is run by a bunch of rocker scumbags who are perpetually hung over and grumpy. It’s straight up mission style, and it totally reminds me of Tortillas in Atlanta. My eyes are misting up and my mouth is watering as I type.
Clem’s (Brooklyn) :: UUUUUggggghhhhhhh! This one’s tough. This is the best bar in Williamsburg, but I hate it too because I work there. When I was just an anonymous patron this place was like my own personal oasis. No games, no jukebox, no jager bombs no nuthin’, just the coldest bud in town and nothing to distract you from drinking a lot of them. One day I woke up from a little nap on the bar to discover I had a new job. It’s a great place to work, and Clem is a badass boss but it’ll never be the same as it was when I was just a fly on the wall. It’s too small a joint not to know everyones deal, a real whirlwind of triumphs and tragedy. Let’s call it tramedy, cause it’s still pretty funny. Come by when I work (if you’re a good tipper)
Delivery service (NYC) :: From the illicit to the mundane, In New York City everything can be brought to your doorstep. Movies and TV make it look like everyones out networking and trying to get in hot nightspots, but most people are at home stoned and eating gourmet cheeseburgers.
Previously: Joseph Plunkett & The Weight :: Re-revisited (2007)
MP3: The Weight :: Like Me Better (new)
MP3: Joseph Plunkett & The Weight :: Black Roses (old)
Amazon: The Weight – Are Men