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THE FUNDAMENTAL DIANE COFFEE
November 14, 2016 9:00 am

Guys. Me and Shaun Fleming of Diane Coffee have the same silver eyeshadow. And now that that’s out of my system, I can tell you that we were able to grab some quality time with the shiny bombshell himself Thursday night before his show with St. Paul and The Broken Bones at Terminal 5. Keep reading to get the essentials on how Shaun feels about touring, turning the big 3-0, and what it’s like to sing opera at Macaroni Grill.

It’s been a really weird week, with the election happening two days ago. Did you perform last night?
We did. I needed that more than anything else I’ve ever needed, ever. I look to music and to artists to get me though everything from cracked a toenail, or this. [The band] were talking about it, and none of us had slept the night before, and we were just…I’m sure a lot of people were stressed on both sides. It was really close for a long time. So we were feeling pretty down, plus sick all over from the outcome. [Drummer] Kate was throwing up before she went onstage. Everyone was feeling really dumpy and awful. We were in Philadelphia last night, and the crowd was so positive and so energetic, and it was really awesome to be someone’s relief.

How is your tour going otherwise?
It’s really great, we sold out tonight. It’s been one of my favorite tours. I feel like [St. Paul and The Broken Bones] and I are cut from the same cloth in a lot of ways, but we’re different enough where I think it’s a nice blend. We’re playing to a lot of people who have never heard us before, and they’re walking away really enjoying what they heard, so we couldn’t have asked for a better pairing. Crowds have been awesome, they’re here to dance, they’re here to have fun, and the few headlining shows we had done were great. I got sick early on; right when we hit the road, it became fall all of a sudden. I had to cancel a show, which was a bummer, but other than that I think it’s been awesome.
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Is it hard for you to sit in a van with a group of people for the entire length of a tour?
I’ve been playing with Foxygen as well, so I feel like I’ve been on the road for like five years straight. [Diane Coffee has] been touring this record since September of 2015, almost nonstop. It’s funny; I get home and I feel like I need to go to the gas station just to go to the bathroom to feel any sort of normalcy. It’s been awesome and very tiring. You get used to it, and I’m traveling with great people who are my closest friends, kind of the only friends I have now with being on the road.

The lineup for this tour is new; I was playing with a separate band for everything prior to this for the Good Dog tour. And this tour kind of came up last minute and the other band couldn’t commit. It’s fun for me, because everyone brings their own personality to it, so everything feels very fresh and very new and very exciting again.

Will you be playing with Foxygen when they perform in New York?
No, I’ve stepped away from Foxygen. I’ve got so much to do with this project now, kind of focusing on my baby. They’ve got a whole new lineup though, and it’s amazing. They just played their first show that I haven’t played with them, ever. It was kind of surreal to see the tweets and stuff, “Excited to see Foxygen!”, and I’d have a little panic attack like “I’m supposed to be onstage!”. It’s like that dream where you forget your clothes and you’re at school. It was that feeling. I’m excited to see my first Foxygen show.

I have to ask, what brand is your silver eyeshadow and is there a method to the madness in its application?
There is, I got way better at it. It’s been about 2 or 3 years in the making now. I started doing it with Foxygen and it developed in that world and spilled over into this one. I’m using Maybelline Color Tattoo. Once it dries, it doesn’t come off. And just a basic eyeliner. And I use that Maybelline silver eyeshadow for my lipstick too, which I don’t think you’re supposed to do. I got this stuff by L’Oreal, Liquid Diamond powder, and I was thinking of doing gold, but it kind of looks like you have jaundice. But if you mix it with a silver powder, it’s kind of a weird halfway point between silver and gold.

Guitarist Matt Kronish walks in.

Me and Matt grew up together in L.A.

Matt: I feel like we’re still growing up together.

What was he like as a teenager?

Shaun: Matt had shorter hair.

Matt: He was just as much of a dynamo when we were 15.

Shaun: We were just talking makeup. Matt wore makeup for the first time the other day.

I’m a serious journalist, and we’re talking about makeup.

Matt: Getting to the hard issues.

Shaun: How do you feel about the election? What brand [of eyeshadow] do you use? Actually, that’s actually exactly where it went.

Matt leaves.
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You’ve mentioned in interviews that you embody a female role for your Diane Coffee persona.
Not necessarily a female role. I embody the feminine archetype, which is sort of that performer. Everything gets lost in translation with interviews, especially stuff like that. Diane Coffee is that feeling that you get when you’re a shy, reserved person, but maybe you go to a concert and the energy surrounds you and because of that community, you’re singing at the top of your lungs, and you’re dancing and then you’re back home and you’re quiet and reserved again. It’s the same thing when you go onstage; that thing that kind of takes over.

You hear a lot of artists that say they don’t remember what they do onstage. I remember what I do onstage to an extent, but that part of me takes over completely. That’s what I call Diane Coffee. When I’m performing, I’m Diane Coffee. If the band feels it, they’re Diane Coffee. If the audience feels it, they’re all Diane Coffee. I definitely wanted a more feminine name, but I don’t think it’s a character I’m playing onstage. It’s a piece of me that’s amplified greatly.

You used to live in New York and L.A., and now you’re in Bloomington. Do you feel like a big fish in a small pond when you’re at home?
I really love Bloomington. When I grew up in L.A., I wasn’t in L.A. proper; I was in a small place called Agoura. New York is kind of scary; I lived on the Lower East Side, which was a lot. Everyone was like “You should’ve moved to Brooklyn”, and they’re probably right. Bloomington felt to me like going back to business as usual. I don’t feel like a big fish or anything like that. A lot of my band members come from Bloomington, and there’s a sea of talented people there. There’s the Secretly Canadian label, Jagjaguwar, all that stuff, so they’re there. It feels like an artistic community in the middle of Indiana. It’s like this cultural oasis in the middle of corn. It doesn’t feel like a lot of other midwest towns; it’s a college town.

I’m far enough away that I do kind of become a little bit of a shut-in. Me and my girl have a house out in the woodsy area and it’s great. When you tour, it’s like city, city, city, city, all the time. And when I get home, I don’t want to be in a city, I want to be somewhere where I can have a fire and kind of just unwind and get creative again.

You’re turning 30 in the coming year.
Yes, I am. I’m trying not to think about it though. I feel like 29 was freaking me out more than I think 30 will be. My then-girlfriend in high school, me and her made this pact: she made me promise that if nothing starts happening with music by the time I’m 28, I had to get out of music and get a job or something like that. When I was 25, 26, I was like “Fuck that, I’m gonna keep doing what I’m gonna do”, and I started playing with Foxygen and things were taking off and it was going well. But still, in the back of my mind I was like “Oh man, 28 is coming up. How am I going to feel about it when I hit that point?”. And then my birthday was during the Primavera festival in Spain, and I think that was the biggest crowd I had ever played to, like 20,000 people or something like that. And I remember just thinking “This is cool, I think this counts as ‘I can keep doing this.’” But I mean, I know a lot of cool 30-year-olds. You seem cool. The world’s not going to come to an end. At least not because I’m turning 30.

Have you ever had a “real” job?
I did acting and stuff as a kid, and then no one really taught me about saving any of it. And one day it was like “Ok, this is over now. I have no more money.” My first job was at Cold Stone Creamery.
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Did you have to sing when they put money in the tip jar?
We’d holler for a dollar. Everyone had to sing. I was not getting into it. I had a job at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and I was a host/opera singer. Every hour on the hour, I had to go into the middle of the restaurant, pull out a chair, take out a fork and a cup and sing some opera standard.

Our Macaroni Grill never did that.
I don’t know if it was just this one, or if they knew I could sing and were like “This is what you do, this is part of the job.” And I would have to go around to the tables and ask if people wanted a song and they would maybe tip me a dollar or something. It was so brutal. I hated everything about that job. That was, like, my darkest hour, I think. I was living in Reseda, in this little cramped apartment by myself. I was trying to play music and write, but I couldn’t get a band together. And L.A. just sucks for trying to put a band together.

That sounds like the theme of a Tom Petty song.
I tried everywhere – Ventura sucked, Reseda sucked. I ended up moving to Boston for six or eight months, crashed on couches. Tried to be in a pop band, that didn’t work out. I did a lot of teaching; I taught voice and guitar and a lot of stuff like that. Things were getting super dark and I didn’t know what to do anymore. So I was thinking about going back to school and trying to get into music business, which I’ve never really wanted to do. Anything to keep me in the world. That’s when Rado [of Foxygen] hit me up, and was like “Hey, we got a show, do you want to play some drums?”. That’s when one show became two, and two became more.

When you were a voice actor on the Disney cartoon “Kim Possible”, were you held to a strong code of ethics like many of the actresses on Disney’s live-action shows?
No, no one knows who the hell we are. It’s great, my dad would just pull me out of school, drive down and we’d sit in a booth and do the thing and get out. No one really knows who you are. Especially pre-internet, no one knew who the hell any of these vocal actors were.

Do you look forward to coming back to New York at all? Is there a pizzeria that you like?
I was living right across the street from Lombardi’s, so I was right in the thick of it. I look forward to the dumpling houses. I was right near Chinatown and I was broke as all hell, so dumplings.

I love being in New York and playing in New York, but I hate living in New York. I hate driving in New York. I hate parking. I always end up getting a parking ticket.

Do you have any last words before you go on tonight?
I think this is going to be the last show in New York for a while. I’m going to be doing the new record soon. I’m sure this will be one of the first stops. Don’t forget me, New York.

LANY: THE MAKEOUT TOUR ENCHANTS WEBSTER HALL
May 24, 2016 5:20 pm

Friday night we got rowdy with LANY at Webster Hall and watched them work their magic. Fans ranging from late teens to 30-somethings covered every inch of the Marlin Room as they awaited the California trio to come on stage. Odessa was the opening act who not only looked like some sort of ethereal goddess but whose voice was so beautiful it made you feel that her music is probably what’s on replay in heaven. (Seriously though). Her effortless folky charm was just right for setting the tone of the night.

LANY took the stage shortly after and gave their heart and soul to the crowd for the hour. Opening with their newest hit “Where The Hell Are My Friends,” the room roared. Next to me I heard an older woman gush to her friend over lead singer Paul Klein, “I can’t even believe he’s real. He’s so perfect.” Home girl is right. Paul, Les Priest (keyboard/guitar/vocals) and Jake Goss (drummer) are not just there as prime eye candy. It’s a real experience to watch them perform. A pure honest energy comes on stage with these boys, not to mention the true nature of their friendship, their vocals and their music. They performed all of their greatest songs including “Made In Hollywood,” “ILYSB,” “You Are Fire” and ended the night with an energetic encore performance of “Hot Lights.”

If you are a LANY fan, getting tickets to a show in your city should probably be added to your to do list right now! If you haven’t listened to them, check out their albums Make Out and I Loved You. For tour dates and more information about the band click here.

A NIGHT OH WONDER AT THE BOWERY BALLROOM
February 1, 2016 12:05 am

The Beasts were out last Friday night to witness the brilliance of our indie friends from across the pond; Oh Wonder, the highly acclaimed and widely talked about indie synth-pop act out of London. Opening the night was Pop Etc., a well respected pop indie outfit themselves, having toured with the likes of Broken Bells, Grizzly Bear, The Kooks and more.

Pop Etc. drew a “sophisticated” crowd of college types and future grad school students, yet their set expressed a sound rooted in punk anthems that have been deconstructed and reassembled as synth based pop songs. The show marked the debut and release date of their new album Souvenir. A high point in the set was a perfectly tempered version of the Tears For Fears classic “Mad World.”

By the time Oh Wonder took the stage, the ballroom was filled to capacity with a slightly older and more culturally hip crowd. Despite the tightly packed conditions, Oh Wonder’s music brought a lightness and fluidity to the crowd. The first song set the tone for a heartfelt night, fueled by the distinct energy that only New York City nightlife can provide. The songs touched upon the delicate emotions of love and navigating this world as a young adult.

Oh Wonder, fronted by Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht, created an impressive buzz in the music world over the past year by releasing one single every month beginning September of 2015. These releases eventually accumulated into their debut self-titled album, which they have since performed on tour internationally. The unorthodox independent release granted them the recognition of millions of listeners on Soundcloud and a contract with major label subsidiary Caroline Records. Even the grand master of pop music himself, Rick Rubin, proclaimed to be a devoted fan.

Despite the highly polished electric sound of the album, Oh Wonder’s live set translates really well acoustically and shows no doubt of true musicianship and aesthetic genius. Each song has been written, recorded and engineered by Anthony and Josephine themselves out of their London-based studio.

Their trans-continental tour picks back up in Europe, starting off in Paris on February 26th, along with plenty of North American shows beginning in May at Sasquatch! Music Festival. If you get a chance to see them live, don’t miss out on this rising act of genuine pop music, that is so full of wonder.

 

Saintseneca Release The Spirits @ Mercury Lounge
October 11, 2015 12:21 pm

Saintseneca passed through New York City’s Lower East Side on Friday night as they celebrated the release of their new album Such Things. The band shared the Mercury Lounge stage with the likes of Yowler and The Sidekicks as they began the Northeast leg of their three month long Intercontinental tour (wow!). This melting pot of friends and musicians came together in Columbus, Ohio, and they brought a distinct American tinged rock n’ roll with them. Yowler (who also happens to be a member of Saintseneca) began the night with a stripped down solo set which softened the crowd up for the explosive fullness of The Sidekicks. These guys brought an energy to the room which brought you back the post punk days of Fugazi, but with the moves of a thrash rock mosh pit. The show was riddled with minor sound issues, which allowed Saintseneca frontman Zac Little to use his humor to create a comfortable and entranced crowd. And as expected, there were plenty of melodic harmonies, washed out vocals, and musicians switching instruments, which has come to be a routine set for Saintseneca.

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Saintseneca formed around Zac Little after he moved from rural Appalachian Ohio to attend college in Columbus. They have been actively releasing music and touring since 2008. It takes a noticeably different direction as it seems to be moving closer to indie-rock and farther from folk but still keeps a noticeably unique balance between the two. This band is a refreshing escape from the Major city bands which miss out on a large portion of the American experience, and can sometimes be a little too close to each other  stylistically. All in all this is another sonically eclectic album from Saintseneca. The Beasts suggest you have a listen, and step outside the box. Make sure to support them out there when they pass through your town. You can find a complete list of shows right hereand their newly released music video for “Bad Ideas” below!

 

Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers Soothe The Crowd
September 10, 2015 9:51 pm

Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers first caught my attention when their video covering Hall and Oates’ “I Can’t Go For That” went viral 3 years ago. Who decided to record their impromptu jam sesh while driving?! Since then, I’ve been keeping up with their now famous “Van Sessions” which you can find on their YouTube channel. Aside from the unusual setting they decided to hold a jam session in, her impeccable tone and perfect harmonizing with the band members captured my heart, an easy task when you have their raw talent and acoustic sounds.

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Surprisingly this was the first time I’d been to the Bowery Ballroom, despite the number of concerts I’ve been to all throughout the city. She seemed to attract a wide range of fans, mostly who were much older than me and didn’t seem like natives to the LES. The show was pretty calm with no one needing to desperately shove their way to the front row thankfully. She came out with a beautiful flowy white outfit that made her look like a cherub, especially with the iridescent lights shining from behind her. She hit every note perfectly, putting us all in a dreamy state with her soothing voice. Surrounding fans were getting into the groove, all eyes locked on Nicki. You could tell that the crowd appreciated her music deeply. They brought out the opening band, Andrew Combs towards the end of the show to join them during “Ooh Las Vegas” which made it quite the memorable evening, leaving me wanting to take a road trip to Las Vegas.

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Hangin’ Loose With Surf Rock Is Dead @ Mercury Lounge
August 24, 2015 10:47 am

Brooklyn’s own Surf Rock Is Dead brought their set to a sold out Mercury Lounge last Wednesday as the opening act for Day Wave. This show was super laid back as the Brooklyn duo set the tone with their atmospheric, 80’s reminiscent indie-rock, in league with such bands as Beach Fossils and PORCHES. With thunderous bass lines and masterfully executed guitar effects, SRID laid down their riffs to a chilled out crowd that seemed to be ridin’ the wave. Perfect for the tail end of Summer, their sound is a mix between the puffy clouds and the roaring ocean, but with a ton more reverb!

After moving to New York City from both Chicago and Melbourne respectively, Kevin Pariso and Joel Wittenberg met at a studio in Brooklyn, where their musical worlds would collide. In a few short weeks (end of September) they will be releasing their debut EP. I was lucky enough to hear all about it before the show.

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So you guys are from Chicago and Melbourne, what brought you to New York City?

Kevin: When I was in college I was in a band with people that were all older than me. When they all left, they moved to New York. I was still in school at the time so I figured I should finish that, but I knew I would be coming to New York to join them so it was a music based choice.

Joel: I used to play in bands in Australia, but I felt it was time to do something different, so I came to New York. I needed a change of scenery. I was even considering this to be the end of music for me. That’s what I did; I would play drums in bands, and tour a little bit, and it sort of got old. It became just like a normal career. So I wanted to just focus on different musical things.

Cool, so then how’d you meet once you were here?

Kevin: So my old band had a practice space and I would just go and jam there. Joel was working there at the time, and he looked like a friendly guy so I was like, who is this? So we just started talking about music, and then worked on something very briefly. I just remember the dynamic was very good. It was very professional but friendly. If I asked him to try this he would do it, and If he asked me to try something it would make sense and I would do it. There was a foundation of respect in just trying each other’s ideas, which is a huge part of what is happening in this.

Joel: Yeah, I had to go away for a little while. So I was over in England for a bit and then I came back and I was working at a studio over in the city. I think drunkenly after one of his shows one night we just jammed and started switching instruments, and we realized we should do this.

Kevin: I think we were both at a point where music felt like work, and this wasn’t in this category.

Joel: And it was super collaborative as well. We were both putting ideas out that you don’t often find work in other environments.

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Nice. Well you answered my next question, but how do you guys write? What feelings or experiences do you draw for the material?

Kevin: Well a lot of it comes from personal experiences and such. We’re not like Bob Dylan, telling a tale..

Joel: Often it’s the little fleeting experiences like, people you meet in the city, or things that happened in the past, sometimes girls, sometimes friendship, sometimes work. It’s the little fleeting ideas that we sort of work our songs around.

Kevin: It’s a lot more atmospheric. But the lyrics we have we like to make them count, because there aren’t too many.

Joel: Yeah I try to make them concise, so in a very short period you know what’s going on. Either obvious, or elusive.

Cool, good answer. So what’s the ideal setting to listen to your music in?

Kevin: Let’s see, not the subway. I’m imaging like a bunch of people longboarding, But on a safe road! *laughs. That or just laying in bed with your eyes closed, imagining.

Joel: The serious response I’ d say to that is road tripping, but the non serious answer would be maybe snorkeling, like underwater but you can hear the tunes.

Kevin: Does that exist?

Joel: No! but it should. That would be awesome! *laughs

I think you’re on to something. As for the EP coming out in September, Did you do everything you wanted to creatively? Did you record and mix yourselves?

Kevin: This dude definitely did.

Joel: Yeah that’s what I did. I used to work in Red Bull Studios in the city, so I cut my teeth over there, did a lot of the mixing. It was all us.

Cool! What’s next? Tour in the works?

Kevin: Yeah we definitely have shows in the works, a little bit of regional stuff. But we’ll just be keeping the momentum going and tracking the other songs we have.

Joel: Ultimately, we’d like to tour nationally but I think over the winter we’ll probably just be doing the Northeast. We have a bunch of tracks we’re working on too so we’ll continue writing.

Cool, that’s the fun part. So sounds like there’s a sold out show tonight.

Joel: Yeah!

Kevin: It’s going to be fun.

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They certainly had a good night on stage, and more to come. Make sure to come check these guys out as they join the beach vibe revival that is slowly seeping back into consciousness here on the east coast. Catch them August 21st at Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn, September 6th at Palisades, or October 10th at The Boot and Saddle in Philadelphia.

Sol Cat Keepin’ it Trippy
July 18, 2015 9:00 am

If somebody’s going to name their band Sol Cat you’d think that they’d be a groovy, old school jazz orchestra…or at least have a liking for cats. “I’m super allergic to cats and I don’t like dogs either. I’m actually not an animal person for the record. Except fish, I love fish” lead singer Brett Myers tells me. Apparently the name was given by some “‘bohemian roulette dealer” that he came across while taking a vacation in the bahamas. “I could be hallucinating still, I still can’t figure out if it happened or not.”

This five piece band hailing from Nashville, Tennessee played a trippy show at Pianos and seemed to attract a wide range of fans from young hipsters to middle aged men in suits. They stay true to their dance-y psychedelic tunes and it’s clear that they’ve pulled influences from classic rock. Brett’s deep vocals echo through the room sending good vibes to everyone in the room who start swaying their body to the music. There’s something nostalgic about their sound that no other band has achieved so far, instantly bringing you back to the 90’s music scene.

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These kool kats met in college while Tom Myers (drummer) was schooling at a different location and eventually connected through mutual friends. “We were most like acquaintances in similar groups that kind of overlapped, so the band didn’t click until pretty much my last semester of college.” They originally envisioned Sol Cat as a World Music genre with “crazy, eclectic, Latin, African percussive influences with more contemporary pop American sort of things. So the original demos are very hilarious.” As much as we’d like to hear Sol Cat jam on congos and bongos, sadly, they are no where to be found on the interwebs.

They’ll be touring pretty much non-stop this month which means they’ll be spending most of their time in a van, sleeping and talking about “weird stuff.” “Jaan threw up a caesar salad on the way to New York [laughs]. We left really early and I don’t know why we had to be up here so early. That’s the most interesting thing that’s happened in the van so far.” Living their life in a van for a month seems pretty adventurous and fun, but Tom mentions the downside of it – “I miss my fiance. I should also plug in my dog, I miss my dog. I miss consistency, being home, and sleeping in my bed.” On the other hand, Brett seems to prefer the tour life. “I enjoy being on the road for the most part. I would say I miss being able to not have a schedule. I just miss waking up whenever I want to and work on music, be productive and just lay low.”

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Unlike every other band that writes music on the road, Brett prefers to write in the comfort of his home. “I don’t really do writing on the road thing. I hardly ever write anything when I’m on tour. My theory is that if I don’t write anything while we’re gone for two weeks, by the time we get home just by the nature of life, I have things that I need to get out after that. So it’s almost like – you’ll fill the glass up for two weeks, and then when you get home you just spill it. I find it really hard to sit in the van or venue and try to write. I think it’s awesome when dudes can go sit in the corner of bar and bring a notepad and channel it, but I can’t do that.”

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Being able to work as full time musicians now, he talks about another great job he’s had in the past working at a zipline when he was a teenager…Which turned out to be sort of a life lesson. “I loved pushing kids off that zipline! Think about it, this kids crying and you’re 40/50 ft up in the air and have a 100 yard zipline rolling down that makes them nervous, but guarantee every time they got to the bottom they came back and wanted to do it again. And that’s life. You just gotta push people ’til they fucking feel so uncomfortable they have nothing to do but have a good time and they come back for more.” So deep.

They released their EP “UNO” a few weeks ago and have another called “DOS” that should be out “August-ish.” They also have an appearance at Austin City Limits at the end of the summer, so don’t forget to give them some love if you come across them!

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Save B&H Dairy/A Short History of Diners in Music
July 9, 2015 11:00 am

East Village restaurant B&H Dairy has been closed for over 3 months at this point. Narrowly escaping the gas explosion that destroyed Pommes Frites on March 26th, B&H Dairy has yet to reopen, and the 73-year old luncheonette is at risk of going out of business.

Though B&H Dairy was unharmed in the explosion, subsequent inspections of the restaurant found it needed a new fire system at a cost of $28,000. A post on the blog EV Grieve outlines the full extent of the red tape the owners are trapped in:

For starters, owners Fawzy Abdelwahed and Ola Smigielsk needed approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission (the building is in the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District) to install the new fire suppression system. The LPC approval finally came through last week. And as of Wednesday [July 1st], the DOB had issued the necessary permit for the job. Work starts on Monday. (The contractor needed to be first approved by the FDNY.)

Jeremiah Moss of Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York adds in his own article on the diner:

…the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City promised financial assistance to residents and businesses impacted by the Second Avenue explosion, but no funds have made their way to Fawzy and Ola, and no one from the city has been in touch with them.

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So what’s the big deal about this place? It’s the best diner on earth. In its 73 years on Second Avenue, it’s been a home-away-from-home for countless people looking for comfort in a bowl of mushroom barley soup and a few thick slices of house made challah with butter. Little Jimmy Urine of Mindless Self Indulgence was kind enough to share his memories of B&H with ATYPICALSOUNDS:

I was born and raised in New York City and for 14 years I lived on 7th Street and 1st Avenue with my roommate and drummer Kitty. We spent most of our time on St. Mark’s Place and the surrounding neighborhood and one major staple of that neighborhood was and is B&H Dairy. It is a small, one-counter, old-school establishment with the most famous Challah French Toast in the world.

I’m not a vegetarian and have never been and I tend not to eat at super healthy places, but B&H was different. Kitty and I ate there thousands of times. Sure there are tons of places on the Lower East Side to get a good knish or blintze but B&H has a charm and a quaintness that is packed into the smallest restaurant I have ever frequented.

For years I would write songs all night until six in the morning and inevitably end up around the corner at B&H downing an omelette before I crashed for the day. I’m proud to say that B&H is a very big part of mine and Kitty’s life working and living in New York City. I don’t know much about the current situation that B&H is in as I have not lived in the city since 2005, but I would be very saddened to see another great local L.E.S. establishment lost like so many before.

Jimmy and the rest of Mindless Self Indulgence are getting ready to release Pink, an album of never-released tracks from the band’s early years. Pre-order the album here.

Another East Village native, indie folk musician Jeffrey Lewis, offered his memories as well:

B&H is a mainstay of the neighborhood, and has been for generations. I’ve been going there for years (I grew up a couple blocks away), and despite the small size I often bump into friends or neighborhood familiar faces; bumping into an ex-girlfriend there inspired a song on one of my albums a few years back.

When Lower East Side cultural hero Tuli Kupferberg of the Fugs died in 2010, Ratso Sloman catered the local memorial with borscht from B&H, a Tuli favorite. In fact, I may just be the only person who has figured out that the dark, obscure photo of Tuli on the back cover of his 1967 solo album No Deposit/No Return is, if you look closely, a photo of Tuli standing in the doorway of B&H. You can’t see the name, but the door-frame and surrounding details are unmistakable, for those who would know!

Jeffrey Lewis just completed a tour of Europe in support of his recent album, Jeffrey Lewis & the Jrams. Order it here.

What can you do to help B&H Dairy? Donate if you can. If you can’t, Jeremiah Moss has started a Twitter campaign to light a fire under the ass of city officials. And to remind you all of the importance of diners in pop culture, let alone New York City, here is a short list of diners in music.

Suzanne Vega – “Tom’s Diner”

While this pop iconoclast is on every. single. list of food-related songs, it would be wrong to leave out. There is no better place in the world for people watching than your local diner, and this song is a perfectly concise illustration of that. The song’s namesake, Tom’s Restaurant, is located at the corner of Broadway and 112th Street. It’s also known as the exterior for the fictional Monk’s Café on Seinfeld.

Listen: Suzanne Vega – “Tom’s Diner”

King Missile – “Detachable Penis”

Bet you haven’t heard this one since high school. While searching the East Village for his missing phallus, our hero stops for breakfast at the now-gone Kiev Restaurant. Closed in 2000, Kiev was known for its Eastern European fare, including blintzes and mushroom barley soup (much like the menu at B&H Dairy). Kiev was open 24/7 at the corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street, and must’ve seen some pretty incredible characters in its nearly 30 years in business.

Listen: King Missile – “Detachable Penis”

Rent OST – “La Vie Boheme”

This one isn’t about a diner, so much as it is a celebration of diner culture. In the Rent musical, the characters meet at the Life Café after Maureen’s protest of the eviction of the homeless from a vacant lot. It’s late at night, and Life Café stands out like a warm beacon on a dark city street. They celebrate. The real Life Café was located on Tenth Street and Avenue B. It closed in 2013 after 34 years in business.

Listen: Rent OST – “La Vie Boheme”

The Human League – “Don’t You Want Me”

This classic song about a failing relationship between a cocktail waitress and a jerk is a still a mainstay on dance floors everywhere (or just in Williamsburg). Since its release in 1981, the song has also appeared in commercials for mops, shower heads, cookies, and chicken.

Listen: The Human League – “Don’t You Want Me”

Greta Gertler & The Extroverts – “Veselka”

This polka-infused love letter to Ukrainian diner Veselka is all the more poignant when you learn Gertler originates from Australia, but still has a place she feels at home at the East Village diner. In it, she sings, “I used to go there on my own a lot/or with my best girlfriend/over coffee and pierogi/our hearts began to mend”. Veselka still stands at the same place it’s been since opening in 1954 at the corner of Second Avenue and Ninth Street, just over a block from where B&H Dairy remains closed. It’s clear Veselka won’t be going anywhere soon, and B&H Dairy shouldn’t have to either.

Listen: Greta Gertler & The Extroverts – “Veselka”