Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In the streets we were running free, like it's only You and Me

I cannot wait for September. Moving to a new CLEAN apartment building a block away from one of my boyfriend's favorite people, watching two of my close friends get married in Maine and heading to Seattle for a mini-vaca. All of these things will be a great beginning to my favorite time of year, Fall in New York. Watching Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero's visit to NPR this morning awakened the butterflies in my stomach who have been resting up for Bumbershoot. I freaked out when I saw them with Fool's Gold at Williamsburg Music Hall. There are too few truly magical places like the NPR offices left in the industry. KEXP offices, my co-worker Nicole's den, the displays at Seattle's East Street Records...that is half of what makes the video so wonderful. A ten piece collective of musical inguenines packed into a room stocked full with magazines, vinyl and cds is pure happiness to someone who still believes the music industry is a good place to be. Thank you NPR and thank you Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. You made my rainy Wednesday morning full of sunshine.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Release Day!!!!

I am beyond excited for two records that came out today. The first being the follow up to Ra Ra Riot's amazing debut release, The Rhumb LineThe Orchard has been highly anticipated by many music lovers and I can very happily say that it is beautiful and I absolutely love it. Stream it over at SPINNER here. The band is playing a record release party tonight in Williamsburg at Brooklyn Bowl. Members of Ra Ra Riot and Vampire Weekend will be teaming up to show off of their DJ skills. Maybe we can hope for a live Discovery set? Who knows! Definitely check out the band's myspace for a complete list of tour dates, some with my new loves, The Givers who were highlighted this week on Stereogum as a "Band To Watch." Special thanks to the ultra innovative and always fantastic Barsuk Records for supporting and releasing this delightful band.

The second record that I am really excited about is definitely going to be one of my favorite records of 2010.  (Yes, we are already in August and starting to think about end of the year lists...). Dead Confederate are a rusty/raw -- dangerous band out of Augusta, Georgia. Like any proper Southern band they wreck your eardrums with hot, dusty, bittersweet guitar rifts. With their new record, Sugar, the band departs from their rustic dark caves of sound and and take a route that reminds me of Silversun Pickups and old-school (aka: GOOD) Smashing Pumpkins. The overall effect is a lighter more experimental record that will appeal to people's old school grunge tendencies as well as the love for a good pop song with digestible lyrics. This band has always been good. This is no secret. With this record I hope they get the attention they so dearly deserve. Heading out on a North American tour they will be sharing the stage with one of my ABSOLUTE favorite bands of the year, Futurebirds. Do yourself a huge favor and check out this band. They are ridiculously talented, delightfully fun and disastrously addictive. Overall, going out to see these two bands in one night will prove to be more fun than you can handle without bringing friends along and perhaps taking home a vinyl or two.
You can also steam Sugar over at SPINNER or purchase it from iTunes (with an exclusive download tossed into the mix), I know it is unheard of to BUY records but you should and especially anything released on Old Flame, Dead Confederate's loving home.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Levon Helm + Jim James=Pure Happiness

Of all the summer festivals these two waited to bring out the big guns by teaming up for "It Makes No Difference" at Outside Lands a few days ago. I do prefer hearing Levon on this song having been spoiled to see him perform this live, which almost brought me to tears. He is just truly magical. There will never be anyone like Levon Helm. Ever. As for Jim James, he is pretty alright as well. I'll keep him. Do yourself a favor if you love music and go to a Ramble. It is the best money you will ever spend on music. Period.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Skeleton Swoon

Today is the day to post about creepy music. Whereas everyone seems to think Vampires are trendy I have always been into them. Growing up with an older sister who was fascinated by Anne Rice and had a crush on Robert Smith you either became a follower or you spent your time being scared of things that were frequently surrounding you. Then there is the whole aspect of being a major science geek and wondering about aliens...which leads to tend to like things that freak you out. It is healthy. It is fun. It makes you feel alive.

Matador's latest signing of Esben and The Witch is perfect background music for a cold November night when you are walking down a deserted street with dead curled leaves scraping the ground, crawling their way back to a semblance of life with their veins holding them together before the first winter snowfall. The track, "They Use Smiles To Bury You" echoes like a beseeching call down an empty corridor...lonely, scared and sad. They will be journeying stateside in October, first playing Bowery Ballroom on October 1st and then The Knitting Factory on October 26th. Sure to be a band to keep track of they are bound to draw compliments for being similar to Bat For Lashes and The XX.

Visit their Myspace for a fairy tale depicting the characters that outline the band's name:

"Sir Red now told the king that the brothers could bring him a lamp which could shine over seven kingdoms. Esben asked his brothers this time for a bag of salt. For this task Esben had to enter the witches home, he entered secretly by the chimney. He crept about the decaying house but could not find the lamp which the witch guarded carefully. Esben hid in the baking oven and waited. The witch called to her daughter and demanded some porridge with no salt added, Esben emptied his bag into the porridge slyly when it was left unattended. The hag complained and had her daughter make more; she found though that they needed more water. The daughter requested the lamp from the witch so she could go out in the gloomy forest to fetch more. Esben followed her to the well, pushed her in and stole the lamp."

Definitely something to enjoy as August unwinds and heads into my most favorite season of all. Fall.

****Esben and The Witch Tour Dates****
5--Offset Festival--London, UNITED KINGDOM
23--7th Street Entry--Minneapolis, MN
24--Lincoln Hall--Chicago, IL
25--Magic Stick--Detroit, MI
27--Lee's Palace--Toronto, ON
28--La Sala Rosa--Montreal, Quebec
29--Paradise Rock Club--Boston, MA
3--First Unitarian Church--Philadelphia, PA
1--Bowery Ballroom with The Foals--New York, NY
3--Palms Casino Resort--Las Vegas, NV
5--Masquerade--Atlanta, GA
6--Club Downunder--Tallahassee, FL
8--Walter's on Washington--Houston, TX
9--The Mohawk--Austin, Texas
10--The Nightmare--Dallas, TX
12--Larimer Lounge--Denver, CO
14--Casbah--San Diego, Ca
18--El Rey Theatre--Chico, CA
19--The Blank Club--San Jose, CA
20--Bottom Of The Hill--San Francisco, CA
21--Doug Fir Lounge--Portland, OR
22--Venue--Vancouver, BC
23--Neumos City Arts Music--Seattle, WA
26--The Knitting Factory--Brooklyn, NY
4--La Boule Noir--Paris, France
10--Electrowerkz--London, UK
11--The Deaf Institute--Manchester, UK
12--Captain's Rest--Glasgow, Scotland
14--Leeds University--Leeds, UK
*Esben and The Witch Tags

Mercy Street

Is there anything that Karin from Fever Ray and The Knife does that isn't haunting, enrapturing, fascinating, creepy and delicately beautiful all at the same time? The Knife and Fever Ray's songs go beyond music. Her vocals call upon mythical times and other universes of sounds and artistic development. As bands her projects are all at once musical and art performance pieces. With this latest single, a cover of Peter Gabriel's "Mercy Street" she finds new layers of emotional gravity. Head over to NME right now for the exclusive 24 hour ONLY download of Fever Ray covering "Mercy Street." Mute Records will be releasing the track on September 17th within the US and North America for download.

Karin Dreijer Andersson says:

We made it more intense and faster to fit our excentric pecussionists and energetic live musicians. It’s a monotone track but we work with the dynamics trying to make it sparkle. I listened to it a lot when I was around 15, it still moves me. Made me start reading Anne Sexton too.”

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON from Dean Fleischer-Camp on Vimeo.

This is possibly the cutest thing I have seen in awhile. Thanks goes out to my lovely friend Jortz for sharing! You have to love your friends who are trapped on the internet during the day and find the most random, wonderfully creative things to share. This made me giggle at my desk like I was 12 years old all over again. Jenny Slate, you are some kind of wonderful.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

With Every Ghost I'm Looking Through

The first time I saw Ra Ra Riot I was in Seattle with my friend Kerri. I had jumped at the opportunity to travel to the city I had always dreamed I would end up someday and when she found out the band was playing a show nearby we procured tickets and showed up early.

Their songwriting is not complex. Like any good pop singer, frontman Wes Miles is easy to understand with his crisp clear delivery and a sincere presence that makes you like the band instantly. The band started off with golden promise first appearing at SXSW in spring of 2007 and haven't looked back since. They have overcome the loss of a bandmate and beloved friend, John Ryan Pike and poured their sadness and love into their tour and each other. Seeing them live is enjoying one cohesive movement of joy.

Ra Ra Riot "Keep It Quiet" (Preview) from Barsuk Records on Vimeo.

When I heard news of their upcoming record, Orchard due out next week on August 24th via Barsuk Records I excited at what the first single would sound like. "Boy" slowly sparked up on the blogs along with a beautiful EPK full of summer and sunshine as their tour dates were announced with Louisana's Givers.

The video for "Boy" appears to have debuted on MTV and the band definitely looks like it is trying to gain that audience with their whole aesthetic. Whatever helps them sell tickets and continue to write good music works for me.

I am still a huge fan of "Can You Tell." Check out their video here:

****Ra Ra Riot Tour Dates***
8/24--Stripped Down In-Store Session @ Sound Fix Records--Brooklyn, NY
8/24--Record Release Party @ Brooklyn Bowl--Brooklyn, NY
8/27--Funk 'n Waffles--Syracuse, NY
8/28--Molson Canadian Amphitheater w/ Tegan & Sara & City and Colour--Toronto, Ontario
9/5--Bumbershoot Festival @ The Seattle Center--Seattle, WA
9/9--Northwest MusicFest--Portland, OR
9/12--End of the Road Festival @ Larmer Tree Gardens--Salisbury, Wilts, UNITED KINGDOM
9/18--The Cracker Factory--Geneva, NY
9/21--Bowery Ballroom--New York, NY
9/22--Bowery Ballroom w/ Lower Dens--New York, NY
9/23--Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ North Highlands and We Barbarians--Brooklyn, NY
9/24--Music Hall of Williamsburg w/ Anamanaguchi--Brooklyn, NY
9/27--Pearl Street--Northampton, MA
9/28--Toad's Place--New Haven, CT
9/29--The Met--Providence, RI
10/1--Royale--Boston, MA
10/2--Trocadero--Philadelphia, PA
10/3--Diesel--Pittsburg, PA
10/4-Blind Pig--Ann Arbor, Michigan
10/5--Metro--Chicago, IL
10/7--Varsity Theatre--Minneapolis, MN
10/8--Waiting Room--Omaha, Nebraska
10/9--The Granada Theatre--Lawrence, KS
10/11--Bluebird Theatre--Denver, CO
10/12--In The Venue--Salt Lake City, UT
10/13--Crystal Bay Club--Crystal Bay, Nevada
10/17--Treasure Island Festival--San Francisco, CA
10/19--Glass House--Pomona, CA
10/20--The Music Box--Los Angeles, CA
10/21--Belly Up Tavern--Solana Beach, CA
10/22--The Clubhouse--Tempe, AZ
10/24--White Rabbit--San Antonio, TX
10/26--Emo's--Austin, TX
10/27--Warehouse Live--Houston, TX
10/28--Granada Theatre--Dallas, TX
10/29--Rev Room--Little Rock, AR
10/30--EXIT/IN--Nashville, TN
11/1--WorkPlay Theatre--Birmingham, AL
11/2--Masquerade--Atlanta, GA
11/3--Orange Peel--Asheville, NC
11/4--Cat's Cradle--Carrboro, NC
11/5--9:30 Club--Washington, DC
CANADIAN TOUR (All Dates with Wintersleep)
11/13--The Commodore--Vancouver
11/17--MacEwan Hall--Calgary
11/19--Louis' Pub--Saskatoon
11/20--The Garrick Centre--Winnipeg

Head over to NPR to hear The Orchard in full right now.

*Ra Ra Riot Tags

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Around and Away We Go

Tonight Twin Sister is playing with MemoryHouse and Oberhofer at the Mercury Lounge. I will admit, it has been a really long time since I have ventured out to see three bands I was curious about and it feels AMAZINGLY good. I am incredibly excited to check out Twin Sister. Their lush, lackadaisical, luring lullabies leave me incredibly nervous about whether they will be able to pull it off live. The xx does this sound justice and whereas I was completely musically fulfilled by their live set during CMJ many people have been arguing they are terribly boring live. There is nothing wrong with playing a perfect set without dancing around and having tons of lights and affects...but that is just me.

I have heard very good things about Oberhofer and am pretty sure the next time they play the Merc they will be headlining judging from the massive amounts of buzz surrounding them. Guessing they will be one of the bands to see during CMJ come October. My favorite track of theirs is "I Could Go." There are so many different elements all going on at once. Sounds like it could be simmered down Fuck Buttons in the background with the lyrics raging and tumbling around over top the frayed out guitar fuzz. All of this makes for a catchy track and a show that I hope to be a lot of fun. They are a local band which always makes me hope that they are really good because let's face it---Brooklyn is on fire right now.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thank you...Maybe?

Just checked out the latest track from the dauntingly talented Antony of Antony and the Johnsons and honestly am not loving it. I thought the track was skipping at the end...

Then again, it is Antony and NO ONE sounds like him, or ever will.

With Hearts On Fire

Reason 428,932 why I love living in Brooklyn right now. We have Pool Parties on the weekends a 5 minute walk away from my apartment. Cut Copy on Sunday seemed to be quite a success and lucky for me Big Ass Lens was there to capture the magic for all of us. Thank you!

Cut Copy - Blink and You'll Miss a Revolution / Hearts on Fire - Live in Williamsburg from Big Ass Lens on Vimeo.

"Hearts On Fire" is one of my favorite tracks by the Australian duo that seems to have added a few players to the stage. Fresh off of their performance at Lolla they debuted some new songs off of their upcoming third record and follow up to In Ghost Colours.

At the time I was pouting like a little five-year old that I was missing the show while scouting out a new apartment in Greenpoint with my boyfriend. Luckily we could hear some of the songs echoing off of the buildings, but I definitely wanted to be in the mix of the sweaty masses jumping around like a crazy lady. It is good for you at least once a week. Plus I really shouldn't complain since I was able to see their very early shows in NYC at Studio B and Mercury Lounge. Oh, Studio B---I really miss you!
*Cut Copy Tags

Monday, August 9, 2010

Julian Casablancas STILL Wears Sunglasses At Night

***Photo taken by Dana Loftus***
Thank god for somethings always staying the same. As this past year ticked away I kept anxiously awaiting news of this supposedly upcoming Strokes record. The interviews with Julian came out and they were not always what I had hoped to hear...that the band wasn't writing together and other snarky comments added by various bloggers but at least they were back in action.
With a sprinkling of surprise London shows and this past weekend's performance at Lolla it is evident the band has been practicing and are still as they have always been, one heck of an awesome rock band. Things have drastically changed since the band last toured together in 2006. Bands such as Yeasayer, MGMT, Grizzly Bear, Suckers, Neon Indian, Fleet Foxes, Local Natives have taken over the indie rock headlines and then there is the whole internet/blog craze. Still The Strokes have weathered the storm. They continue to strike a soft spot in the hearts of many ever-so-fickle tastemakers hearts and they seemed to reign over their audience in Chicago....Lady Gaga armed with fireworks and all. Good music will ALWAYS be good music. This band always had that going for them. You can't fake talent, chemistry or hard work. Pitchfork's mini-review of their set says it all. Check it out here. Another avid fan wrote a review that made me remember what it felt like to see them live here.