Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Farmer Dave Scher @ CMJ - Music Hall Of Williamsburg, October 24th, 2009

I really like former Beachwood Spark Farmer Dave Scher's new solo album (although how can you call it solo album with all those other musicians on it?). His mix of rock, psych, reggae and soul is unique I think, and in general this album is a very positive, optimistic recording. I wanted to see all the studio tricks in person, and Farmer Dave did have an ambitious set-up, with two drummers, a guitarist, a bassist, a hammond-organist, and his own multi-instrumental/effects setup. Was it worth all the hassle to lug all that equipment around the country? You bet! They sounded great, and definitely turned some heads opening up with "Bab'lone Nights" and also playing "You Pick Me Up," one of my favs! My only complaint is that since this was a CMJ showcase, MHOW limited his set to 20 minutes, just when they were getting into it! C'mon Man! Laaaaaame. Let 'em play!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Holiday Shores, Small Black, Blondes, Best Coast, Surf City @ Cakeshop CMJ Showcase, October 20th, 2009

CMJ 2009! This line-up was too good to pass up... and the price was right... FREE!

I had to leave work early to catch Holiday Shores, but I'm glad I did! They were my favorite of the night! They looked really young (or maybe I'm just getting old!) but that only means they have lots of potential, right? Did I mention their drummer was scary good? Yeah, he is. Not that the rest were bad, they were all good. But the drummer played some really rhythmically complicated beats almost effortlessly. How does he do it? Probably years of practice and instruction. So it's second nature. I'm jealous. =)

Small Black have a nice new record out, and this was a good chance to check 'em out. I really liked their bass player. He's not afraid to play up high on the neck, and he was jumping around, getting into it. They also did it all without a guitarist, only keyboards and samplers, which isn't common. Nice job guys. Keep at it.

Blondes do the whole 2-man-drum-machines-and-synths-into-effects thing very well. Almost to a point where you have no idea how they are doing it. They were LOUD too, which is good for this type of electronica-psych, and to keep the audience at a safe distance. Oh wait, that's not what you want...

Best Coast probably drew the biggest crowd with the pop-iest sound. Bethany Consentino has a nice voice, but I just couldn't get into the band itself. Where's the energy and excitement? Must be all that west coast sun...

Surf City were definitely the most ALT of night. Kinda like if Dinosaur Jr. formed a band today and weren't all depressed and angsty and shit, but still had those big guitars, drone-y vocals, and diy mentality. I think I caught them smokin' weed in the green room before their set. Can you blame them? They're from New Zealand!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dawes @ Mercury Lounge, October 15th, 2009

I had been wanting to check out Dawes for a long time, since their debut album North Hills is one of my favorites of the year. They opened with "That Western Skyline," one of my favs, and played most of the album, excluding some of the quieter songs, which didn't really fit the party vibe of the night. Their drummer was especially impressive with his sensitive fills and dynamic range. But I was truly sold when they played a cover of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy." What a great song to cover! (who am i kidding, i was sold like 5 months ago when I first heard the album =) Why isn't this band bigger?