Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Big Troubles w/ Babies @ Death By Audio, December 18th, 2010

Even with a sunny and cool Babies headlining set, featuring the hot girl from Vivian Girls, and a dude from Woods, openers Big Troubles won the night, with excellent Pains of Being Pure of Heart-esque shoegaze pop, meets early 90's british alt-indie. They were so convincing, I even bought their last LP "Worry" which I'm happy to report will require many excellent repeat listens. Reading Rainbow also played a set, and while they have a pretty fantastic band name, there's just something about their music that really annoys me...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hunnie Bunnies w/ Skimask @ Party Expo, December 9th, 2010

Hunnie Bunnies are cave-men bunny rabbits drenched in bunny blood dropping blitzkreig hip hop beatz over heavy vocal feedback. By destroying everything cute in their band name and the world, they reveal the charade that anything is truly innocent (even bunnies), and leave the audience wanting to rage. That's a good thing. There are too many pretty little bands out there trying to "make it big" for the glory of their own inflated ego. HB inspires you to run around the room like a wild dog, raise your fist to the moon, and rip your hair out in frustration at our inability to live in a modern society without being exploited for greed. This is "release" music for the post-reagan 99% global corporate slave generation, where the only brave yet desperate gesture we have against conformity is to recreate the sounds of a bunny being skinned alive, and amplify it as loud as we can.

PS. Skimask is the perfect opener, like a disillusioned 90s rural noiserock band attempting a big city bank robbery as revenge for the 2008 financial crisis.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hauschka @ Manhattan Inn, October 25th, 2010

Hauschka is a neo-classical german composer who somehow managed to break into the indie-rock scene in Brooklyn. Here's a nice recording I've made of the last song in his set. Beautiful.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cloud Nothings @ Don Pedro's, October 23rd, 2010

You might not notice it from the recordings, but Cloud Nothings has pretty much the sickest punk drummer out there right now. He was doing like 16th notes on the Kick without a double bass pedal! Yeah, you know a band has BIG potential (like Vampire Weekend big) when the hipsters form a mosh pit and start crowd surfing in a venue smaller than my apartment.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Candy Claws, Tape Deck Mountain, Wise Blood @ The Delancey CMJ Showcase, October 20th, 2010

I guess Candy Claws were the reason why I trekked out to The Delancey for this CMJ show. Their new album Hidden Lands is dreamy, like the soundtrack to some psychedelic stop-motion christmas movie with paper mache elves and talking snowmen. And they're from San Diego, what's not to like? Okay, so they lose points for the zorro masks, but gain points for wearing headphones on stage. See, it all works out! I really liked what the guitar player was doing, fabulous stuff. Their songs don't follow a straight traditional rock structure (verse, chorus, verse). It's more classical, with key modulations and variation on a theme, less repetition. Different! Good!

Tape Deck Mountain is an awesome band name. Guess what? It's also a damn fine band. Kinda post-shoegaze? This was Carl's favorite band of night. I really liked their lyrics, which surprisingly, you could make out loud and clear. The drummer was simultaneously playing a keyboard throughout, the guitarist had an elaborate looping effects setup, and the bassist plays through a Rat pedal. Cool!

I like bands that get wasted before their CMJ showcase, scream their guts out, rip off their shirt, sample The Beatles, and only play for 15 minutes, like Wise Blood.

Women w/ DDMMYYYY @ Knitting Factory, October 9th, 2010

Phew! Women were amazing. One of the best shows I've seen in a while. You know who they remind me of? The Joggers! But a little more 60's pop psych. I just love those jangly guitars! Their new album Public Strain is really solid, def in my top ten this year... I only saw the last few songs from DD/MM/YYYY, but they're also fun! Spazzy artsy uptempo indie math rock at it's best =) Good dudes too.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Deerhunter @ Apple Store Soho, September 28th, 2010

Oh boy! There was some serious B.O. at this show. Honestly, Deerhunter fans need to take a shower. We couldn't see much (the Apple Store doesn't have a 'raised' stage) and it was pretty packed, but the sound was excellent (Bradford has the same Marshall stack as me!). Overall I think I still like Mikrocastle better, but there are some excellent new songs on Halcyon Digest that were cool to see live (my favorites so far are Helicopter and He Would Have Laughed). Too bad I wasn't close enough to see their effects pedals, I bet they have some good ones...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pavement @ Central Park Summerstage, September 25th, 2010

Here it is. The long-awaited Pavement re-union tour. The one so anticipated that it went on sale a year in advance. I guess people were a little too confident about their schedules back then, and were outside the venue selling extra tickets like crazy. The original ticket price was $38.50, and you were lucky if you got $10 bucks for one. I got in for free! (thanks dude at the door) Times New Viking opened up and I liked 'em, even though I can't listen to their ultra lo-fi albums. Also, the drummer was showing some Cincinnati love, go Reds! =) So, how was it? Was it worth getting soaked in the lightning storm? I think so! A little fear of death makes any show better. They sounded great, huge guitars, big drums, Malkmus was on point. But there was a little bit of that feeling you get whenever you watch bands from the 90's play their old hits, that this-was-relevant-15-years-ago-why-am-i-still-spending-my-time-to-see-this thing. Still, great songs from an influential band!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Panda Bear @ Governor's Island, September 11th, 2010

I've been waiting to see Panda Bear for a long time, since his last show was such a revelation. This one comes on the cusp of his new album, Tom Boy, which has yet to be released. It was pretty cool to be one of the first few thousand people to hear the new sounds, and almost makes it worth the $25 cover charge (but still, that's no excuse to charge $12 for a Jack on the Rocks -- sorry dude, no tip on that bs). What's the verdict? There are definitely some jams. He seems like he's going for a slower, artsier approach to this album, which is nice, and kind of fits my mood (I don't always enjoy watching people spazz out on stage - ahem, I'm talking about you, opening-band-i-don't-care-what-your-name-is). You can definitely hear a couple of the merriweather post pavilion samples in there, and some of the drum beats are fantastic (that is his specialty). And of course, his voice is in top form. I don't know of anyone else who can do male falsetto in such a sweet, un-obnoxious way. The projector video was decent too, kinda glitchy computer graphics spliced with 80s vhs clips. He did go a little heavy on the dual fog machines. That, combined with the view of the towering 9-11 memorial lights across the water, really reminded you of that terrible, world-changing day. But it's good to remember things like this, how we don't really live in a completely safe and harmless world.

Why? @ Williamsburg Waterfront, July 11th, 2010

Why? was pretty good... I'm not a huge fan (like Alex, who knows the dudes), but it was enjoyable. You'd think that Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu playing Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" album would be rad. But it was not.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shiv Hurrah @ Arlene's Grocery, May 25th, 2010

My friends have a new band, Shiv Hurrah, led by David Bechle. I think everyone was duly impressed by this, their first show! I hope they stick together, and get real tight and awesome. Check out the video I shot!

Shai Erlichman w/ Murderfist, Johnny McNulty @ Petri Dish, May 22nd, 2010

I like Shai Erlichman. He only played a few songs in between some pretty hilarious comedy improv acts (including Murderfist (see video below), and Johnny McNulty). But Shai's new band seems like a good fit, and I'm looking forward to new music from him. What a fun night!

Apollo Sunshine @ Mercury Lounge, May 19th, 2005

Ooooooooooooooooooof. Apollo Sunshine slays. Seriously, if you can see them, do it. Well, first buy all of their albums, so you know the songs, then go. Sam SHREDS on lead guitar, one of the best out there. I'm so glad they're still playing! Why isn't this band huge dammit?

This Frontier Needs Heroes @ Bruar Falls, May 18th, 2010

This was kinduva weird night. An intimate This Frontier Needs Heroes show means Brad and Jessica Lauretti are gonna be a little rambunctious. The new merch is awesome. Do I want a custom made one-of-a-kind This Frontier Needs Heroes pillowcase featuring the gulf-oil spill drawn by glitter gun? Yes, I do. Brad was just in Texas for the last few months writing new songs, and he debut'd a few of them here. His favorite, "Space Baby," which he declares as the best song anyone has written anywhere in the last year, is, i'll admit, fantastic. I hope their new album (recently kickstarter funded) lives up to this fact.

Broken Social Scene @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg, May 8th, 2010

"Are you ready for The Forgiveness?" Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene asked the sold-out crowd at Music Hall of Williamsburg on a Saturday night in Brooklyn. After opening their set with a few staple BSS hits, the band launched into songs off of their new album aptly titled Forgiveness Rock Record. The new album is good, not my favorite BSS, but I'll gladly keep supporting this band if they continue making poignant, inventive music. I'll probably never see BSS again in such a small venue. And it felt a little weird too, like we were watching a band that had clearly out-grown the mid-sized club. The audience was a little dazed for most of the show, not knowing what to make of this new incarnation of the band. And the band noticed it too, commenting halfway through the set, "I feel like we all just woke up." Of course, this was a big event and all of the branches of the extended BSS family tree were there, including special guest appearances by Emily Haines, and the Philly Horn section. My favorite of the night was their version of "It's All Gonna Break" which they didn't play at Webster Hall the night before. Ahh, another BSS show for the memory books.

Gross Relations @ Bruar Falls, April 23rd, 2010

Bruar Falls was packed for the debut of Gross Relations. They were pretty good, sort of like an even more lo-fi version of Guided By Voices, if that's possible, except with a vibrato-y keyboard and distorted vocals. And I'm not just saying all this cuz they recorded their EP at my studio, I would never do that!

Doomstar! @ Party Expo, April 1, 2010

Holy shit. Doomstar! fucking destroyed! They just keep getting better, with such a huge sound for 3-piece. Sorry, no pictures. I was too busy jumping around!

SHITSTORM w/ The Walk-It-Offs, Martha Dumptruck Massacre @ Matchless, March 31st, 2010

Due to scheduling conflicts (Drum had to skip practice to break up with his girlfriend) SHITSTORM had to play this shit-show as a two piece. I think it went well? At least all the blips and beeps were in their proper order, and everyone had their mind blown. Noise collage at it's best. Thank you for your support! No pics from the show, but we bought some nerd glasses and took a couple portraits during practice. I think Carl looks fantastic.

Martha Dumptruck Massacre always brings a big smile to my ears. For some reason, I can't really describe them, but at least one song really put everything in perspective, and made my night. They're also cool dudes.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Yellow Tears @ Whitney Museum, Friday March 26th, 2009

Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Couch For a Long Time, 2009.
Photograph by Dan Kvitka.

Okay, so I arrived a little late and missed most of Thurston Moore's noise set for this Whitney Biennial event (but I saw him at Glasslands a while back and it was fantastic, so I don't feel too bad). Anyway, Thurston was gonna headline, but didn't want to follow Yellow Tears, and with good reason, they have a monstrous sound and deserved the top spot.

Yellow Tears are what I would describe as "weirdo noise." Their sound-scape collage is consistently unexpected and indescribable, thus perfect for an Art Museum show. They used one sample of a woman screaming in pain, as if she were being stabbed or murdered, that really blew everyone's mind (or at least mine). I couldn't see very well, but I did see the band doing these contorted facial expressions and rapid tongue movements to the music, that in any other context would seem really off-putting, but somehow worked with the strange music. Check out their album The Piss Mop to see what I mean...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Choir Of Young Believers @ Pianos, March 11, 2010

Beautiful, just beautiful! If the stupid bouncer hadn't detained me at the door for 15 minutes for no reason, I would've seen the whole Choir Of Young Believers set (I guess I was in a line full of scheezy dudes -- but I was going to the show! not to hit on girls at the bar!). As it was, I walked in right during a lush version of "Next Summer" and I knew I was in the right place. They came all the way from Denmark for what I assume is their first US visit. Wow. They were amazing. Jannis Makrigiannis has one of the most beautiful voices out there, just as shimmery as Band of Horses or Fleet Foxes, but COYB tunes are slower and more exposed (instead of hiding under a wall of sound, you can hear every note). Their drummer was real good. Shit, they all were. I was worried their live show would be too EMO or too slow or depressing. Not even close, they're were pros and even rocked out a bit at times. They played a few new songs that were also choice. This band will be huge in like a year or two. They probably already are in Europe. See 'em in a small venue, if ya can...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Morning Benders @ Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, February 25th, 2009

It's hard to resist The Morning Benders for a regular show, but an all-acoustic bookstore gig? With proceeds going to fight hiv/aids? Near impossible! ("You say the money for this beer goes to fight aids? Yes, I'll have another, and I'm buying one for Carl!"). There was also a cool CD swap thing at this show. I traded my Veckatimest record for a Miles Davis CD, which I didn't end up liking. Oh well, still a cool concept...

So, TMB have a new album out, Big Echo, but it wasn't out yet for this show, so most of us didn't know all the new songs they played. No matter, we all sang along with the new single, "Excuses" for the closer, which was pretty cool. It was lead-singer Christopher Chu's birthday, so I'm sure it was a special night for the band too. And it looks like TMB are moving to nyc too, so now we can go hang out at The Levee together and be friends. Sweet! BTW, the whole line up for this show was good Check out Shark? and Cuddle Magic. Both solid.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Here We Go Magic @ Music Hall of Williamsburg, January 29th, 2009

What's nice about having a blog in which you don't really care about whether it 'blows up' is that you can take your sweet ol' time in posting. I saw Here We Go Magic a couple of weeks ago. They've got one of the best albums out this year and I've been waiting a while for them to get their act together and play a show (they play surpisingly infrequently for a 'local' band).

I thought it would be hard to translate the album to the live stage since i read somewhere that Luke Temple wrote and recorded the album all by his lonesome in his Greenpoint apartment (no small feat). But, lo and behold, everyone knew their parts and they were bad-ass! Probably the most relaxed band I've ever seen on stage. It felt like we were just hanging out in their practice space! Either they're amazing actors or just really chill dudes! Or maybe headlining one of the biggest venues in Brooklyn isn't such a big deal? It isn't! What i liked, is that they really explored their songs instead of just going thru the motions. As if they actually enjoyed playing their music! As if! They've got a girl bassist, and she's pretty much smokin' in more ways than one. Why are hot girls so good at bass? (insert punchline) but yeah, Here We Go was flippin' rad (notice the napolean dynamite reference to the word 'flippin' - yeah, sweet). Even worth the $12+ cover charge. That says a lot! I mean you've got to be good to back up an incredible video like this one... Fangela!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Yummy Fur @ Market Hotel, January 15th, 2010

The highly-anticipated triumphant state-side debut of 90's glaglow indie-rock band The Yummy Fur exceeded all expectations and brought the real, sweaty, old-school diy ethos to a packed crowd of Brooklyn hipster know-it-alls. I was trying to think of the best way to describe this band... maybe combine the melodic drone of My Bloody Valentine with the post-punk singing styles of The Modern Lovers, aka. AWESOME!

For a band that has been pretty much DOA for the last decade, they really sounded zipper-tight! This current line-up includes the sick drummer from Franz Ferdinand, the blazing guitar lines of Brian McDougall, and an ebullient lead-singer in John (Jackie) McKeown. They even impressed my younger brother, who was in town on vacation, and he usually only gets down with the latest in mid-west underground hip-hop! I bought a tape of Yummy singles after the show from What's Your Rupture? Kevin, who was ecstatic at having The Fur finally play in The Apple. Definitely try to see these guys before they skip back across the pond, you don't want to wait another ten years to see what a truly professional indie-rock band from the 90's sounds like!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Dutchess & The Duke @ Mercury Lounge, January 8th 2009

I'm not exactly sure what compelled me to go to this show. I mean, $10 is a bit much to see just The Dutchess & The Duke. Although I really like their new album, "Sunrise/Sunset," which has some earnestly-sad folk-pop ballads, so that's the majority of my reasoning, but I've seen 'em live before, and they're not exactly mind-blowing (ie. there's not much to look at/ no one doing anything that super-inventively new). Still, something about this band is resonating with New Yorkers, given the sold-out crowd, and even the band members themselves don't quite understand it, asking "How did we trick you into liking us?" I think it has to do with their lyrics. Their songs deal with real emotions, in a bare, stripped-down way, that is refreshing in an often over-produced, overly-effected modern musical landscape. Despite the fact that somebody bought them a few shots of whiskey, and handed them a joint on stage, so their show and professionalism kind of fell apart into a stand-up comedy routine by the end, most of their set was quite lovely and pristine sounding (it's always a pleasure to hear a band perform at The Mercury Lounge, such a gorgeous room). And I truly enjoyed being able to hear all of the lyrics, which can be difficult sometimes on a mixed album. There. I think I just convinced myself!