Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Home Video @ Mercury Lounge, June 25th 2007

Home Video opened up for Apostle of Hustle last night at the Mercury Lounge, and they play a shoe-gaze style of electronica that is a little bit Radiohead and a little bit, dare i say it, Slowdive! But perhaps more suitable for a dance club than either of the aforementioned groups. Their drummer has machine-like accuracy, and it's a wonder that he doesn't get tired from all those open hi-hat fills. Anyway, play them at your next dance party, or during your next lonely midnight drive.

Apostle of Hustle @ Mercury Lounge, June 25th 2007

Apostle of Hustle is my new favorite Broken Social Scene spin-off group. Maybe because the lead-guitarist in BSS, Andrew Whiteman, is such an integral part of BSS's signature sound, so it rubs off in 'the Hustle' more than in the other 'Scenes.' Tonight they played with special guest Latin percussionist, Danielito "el suerte" Patanemo, who definitely added another rhythmic level to their sound, and made it even spicier (in short, think of BSS, but happier, less instruments, and an up-beat Latin rhythm base - sweet). Overall, it was an intimate and lovely show, with that happy vibe that BSS shows are known for. Whiteman was in a talkative mood and it was nice to see stage banter that isn't formulaic (his story about a ninja-midget drugging the white house was hilarious!). Even though I didn't know any of the songs, and half of them were sung in Spanish, I had to stay to the end (which was a little later than I wanted to stay out on a monday), but the music was that good. Anyway, I've finally found the BSS spin-off that I can really get excited about, so now all I have to do is buy all of their records and take them to the beach for my life to be complete. :)

The New Mastersounds @ The Annex, June 23

It's hard not to shake your booty with The New Mastersounds. They're a five-piece funk-blues band from England but they sound, to quote my buddy Chris, as if "they came up playing bars in New Orleans in the late 60s." It's hard to find bands that can pull this off, especially without a singer. They reminded me of that other notable funk-super group, The Meters. So, check 'em out if you're into that shit... and you should be.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Voxtrot and Au Revoir Simone @ Webster Hall, June 15th, 2007

Geez, I go to too many shows. I should really like stay home and read a book or something... Anyway, I only caught the last few songs of Au Revoir Simone, because they played an early set at the ghastly hour of 7pm (don't they know I have to work!) They have a very sweet sound comprised from vintage synths and drum machines, with vocals that hearken to Dirty on Purpose (one of the three lovely ladies in the band used to sing for DOP) I was trying to decide which one I wanted to make-out with the most, but I couldn't, but I guess that is really part of their charm. No, it's the music dammit! Aaaaggh!

Voxtrot photo: courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan.

My buddy Jay introduced me to Voxtrot. And when I first saw them, they reminded me of like a punk Belle & Sebastian, if B&S were schooled on the mean indie streets of Austin. Of course now, I absolutely love their free-indie.com album, which is really why i went to this show (mostly to see Mothers, Daughters, etc. played live). This Webster Hall show had more of an early Beatles vibe (maybe it was just the bass player's Paul McCartney hofner or the use of the additional string section for this show). And of course the audience dug it (gotta love those pop melodies). They wouldn't even leave after Ramesh played a lonely encore, solo on the acoustic guitar. I know if I was a 15 year old girl, I would definitely have their poster on the wall. Heck, I might even do it anyway.

Foreign Islands @ Luna Lounge, June 14th, 2007

This is a live review I wrote for Loose Record. You can see it there, or just read it below:

Ah, the lovely Foreign Islands… No, I’m not talking about some vague tropical scene that undoubtedly crossed your mind when I wrote those words. I’m talking about an electro-punk band from Brooklyn that I saw last night at the spacious new Luna Lounge in Williamsburg. Luckily, this band sounds nothing like the lazy, steel drum music that their name-sake implies. In fact, their songs would be more at home in some sort of sweaty island dance party in between tracks by Daft Punk and Franz Ferdinand.

Now, I knew nothing about this band before the show, except what I heard on their MySpace page. But it says something about those 3 songs, if they motivated me enough to go see their live show without any further kind of recommendation. Unfortunately, the set I saw was cut short by a computer malfunction after 5 songs. Apparently their “bass player,” (which is the affectionate term they call their laptop computer) got drunk at the bar before the show (ie. Crashed in the middle of their set) and they couldn’t recover from this loss.

Yes, for better or worse, they play synched up to a laptop, so all the bells and whistles on their record (of which there are many) are right where you expect them to be in the live show. Sometimes when bands do this it comes across as a little too prefabricated for my taste, with not enough raw energy or improvisation for me to enjoy the live show (hey, if I wanted to hear an exact version of the album, I wouldn’t pay $8 bucks to see it in a poorly lit club at high volume). But thankfully Foreign Islands produce the majority of their sound through good old-fashioned guitar amplifiers and a kick-ass drummer (there is an old saying: that a rock band is only as good as its drummer, which, in this case, Foreign Islands should have a promising future). Not that the singer or two guitarists are lacking in any sense. I mean you gotta love those high speed dueling guitar riffs. Overall, the band had an energy and musicianship that was fun, enthusiastic and effortless. They’re definitely worth checking out if you’re into LCD Soundsystem, or just a fan of up-tempo anthem electro-rock music. I just hope next time their laptop can keep up.

Panda Bear @ Bowery Ballroom, Monday June 18th, 2007

If Television is the past, then Panda Bear is the future. Just one guy running a sampler into effects into a mixer and singing over it. This is first-class electronica. I feel like more people will eventually (when they figure it out) make this kind of music. The key is using reeeeeally good samples. I especially liked when he would sample his voice and then harmonize with himself. Many of the samples he would subtly pitch-shift, or slightly change the tempo of, all as he's adding massive amounts of reverb and delay, which sounded rad. And the best part is, I got in to the show for free! (it was sold out, and some dude gave me his wrist band as he was walking out after like 2 songs -- thanks dude!) Actually, that wasn't the best part, it was the insanely good music. The audience didn't even know how to react. Seriously, that shit was maybe 10x better live than on the album, and the album is damn good. I hope somebody recorded a bootleg...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Television @ Central Park Summerstage, June 16th 2007

I had to skip out on half of Steve-o's mustache party to catch what was purportedly Television's last show ever!! at Central Park Summerstage. I'm glad I did. To see their musical dynamic and artistic statement live, in person, even though they were in their prime over 20 years ago, is something I won't soon forget. Richard Lloyd is a helluva guitarist and plays in a unique, creative soloing style, which really can't be duplicated. Their drummer, Billy Ficca, was also very impressive, and plays imaginatively off of the rhythms and melodies of the rest of the band. They also gave a very cool, artsy, anti-corporation vibe which isn't as apparant on the albums (in one song they took an impromptu jab at Starbucks). Speaking of albums, there were a few songs that I didn't know, but were excellent, and so I'm gonna try and pick up the rest of their catalog somehow. Wow, i can only imagine what their early shows at CBGB's would've been like... amazing!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

The Fucking Champs @ Mercury Lounge, Monday June 4th, 2007

I was introduced to The Fucking Champs by my friend Casey back in Boston, when he put on an extremely aggressive but enjoyable CD that definitely lives up to their namesake. Their drummer is quite solid. Just watching him is like taking an advanced rock drum lesson, with a focus on poly-rhythms. And they were loud. I mean, I usually like to go up front and check out the gear for a minute to see what they're working with (vintage Marshall amps, no joke), but it was so loud I could only stay up there for like one song. So what do they sound like? Kind of like a mix of heavy metal grunge and math rock. Basically, "guitar hero" in real life. There was this one dude in the audience (my buddy chris), who was head-banging so hard, it made my night. On the downside, by the end of their set, all the songs kindof sound the same, but wtfn (why the f not), they're the Champs.

Animal Collective @ South Street Seaport - Friday June 1st, 2007

My camera broke. It fell literally half a foot onto my desk and now I get the infamous lens error that makes these Canon POS (pieces of s---) famous. Hopefully, this blog won't die just for the lack of a camera, but it will be a lot less pretty to look at, and I'm in no mood to drop another buck fifty on unreliable technology (i might even go back to analog photography!).
Anyway, this Animal Collective show was hipster heaven. I haven't seen this many hipsters in one place since the Les Savy Fav show at the McCarren Pool last summer. They were everywhere. And just as cool and unaffected as ever. (I have photos but i can't get them off my dumb camera). AC played a tight set, I don't know their stuff that well, but I love Panda Bear, so I had to check out the goods, and they delivered. Hopefully next time, I won't be behind the stage (there were too many people in front to get around) and the sound will be better. But hey at least at the seaport you can drink Margaritas on the street. Right on.