Recent Posts in music
August 31, 2015
photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis
Tamaryn / Samantha Urbani @ LPR 8/28/2015
Tamaryn celebrated the release of her third album, Cranekiss, with a show at Le Poisson Rouge on Friday night. This was a completely different lineup of the band that I saw her with at Levitation Fest in May, and I was maybe not surprised but a little disappointed that Shaun Durkan, who cowrote and played on Cranekiss (and did the artwork), wasn't a part of the band on Friday. (He's a busy guy with his own group, Weekend.) Her band did a good job with the songs from the new album, though it will surely get tighter once they're on tour. Sound was a little bass-heavy near the stage but when I moved back, everything jelled a little more. Her 45-minute-or-so set was comprised entirely of Cranekiss songs (it was the record release show) and I thought "Last," the Chameleons-eque "Softcore" and the album's title track sounded especially good.
Opening the show was former Friends singer Samantha Urbani who has dropped a couple very catchy songs on her soundcloud recently. Her band included a guy who played a wind synthesizer which I had never seen played before.
Tamaryn has a few East Coast dates this week, including shows in Boston, DC and Philadelphia. All dates are listed, along with more pictures of her and Urbani at LPR, below...
by Andrew Sacher
Snoop Dogg at Riot Fest Denver 2015 (photo by @shaybird303)
Day 1, Day 2, and then finally Riot Fest Denver 2015 wrapped up with its third and final day on Sunday (8/30). Like the past two days, it was stacked from start to finish with never more than a 15-minute period where there wasn't a good band playing. I only caught partial sets from Explosions in the Sky and The Lawrence Arms due to overlaps with other bands, but what I did see of both sounded great. 7Seconds were terrific (more on them in a second), but after that band into OFF! into Millencolin I was a little burnt out on three-chord punk, so Nada Surf coming on next was a very welcome change of pace. The biggest surprise of the day was how undeniably fun Flogging Molly's set was.
All that and more made Sunday an awesome ending to the festival, but here's the five highlights that stood out most:
7SECONDS: It's an amazing thing how many OG hardcore bands are still going strong, and 7Seconds are no exception. Kevin Seconds, Steve Youth & crew stay true to the mentality they had over three decades ago on "Young 'Til I Die" -- they're loud, fast, and absolutely still young in spirit. Kevin introduced their cover of Sham 69's "If the Kids Are United" by saying "I'm 54 but I'm still a kid... well, sometimes" and even when they played stuff off last year's Leave A Light On they sounded as powerful as their classic era. And we got plenty from that era too. "You Lose," "Not Just Boys Fun," "Here's Your Warning," "Walk Together, Rock Together" and more were played, and they sounded tight as ever. The early crowd who came ready for a 1:45 PM mosh pit would probably agree.
BABES IN TOYLAND: Minneapolis grunge vets Babes In Toyland were one of the reunited bands on Riot Fest this year, and they made a very triumphant return. They're without bassist Maureen Herman, who was just fired mid-tour and they now have a younger bassist who kinda stands off to the side and lets Kat Bjelland and Lori Barbero do their thing, but that didn't hinder their set. Kat and Lori are in killer form in just about every way. As musicians, they're never not pounding away at their instruments, and they can both still scream their heads off. Too many survivors of the early grunge era have lost whatever once made them "alternative," but not Babes In Toyland. Feedback, noise and a genuine punk ferocity were all over this set. Their tour hits NYC in September.
BEACH SLANG: Beach Slang's debut album on Polyvinyl is imminent, and they continue to prove it's one to look out for. We got two songs from it at their Riot Fest set, lead single "Bad Art + Weirdo Ideas" that most of the crowd already knew every word to (it came out less than a month ago) and another that hasn't been released yet. Both were as anthemic and impossibly tight as Beach Slang's slightly older favorites like "Filthy Luck" and "Dirty Cigarettes." Like they did in Brooklyn last month, they included a cover of Jawbreaker's "Bad Scene, Everyone's Fault," which they pull off super well.
L7: Yet another reunited and still-awesome band on this year's lineup was L7. While Babes In Toyland were noisy and confrontational, L7 were rockstars. They cracked jokes between songs (one of which involved bassist Jennifer Finch giving the crowd her actual phone number), yelled "Hit it, Dee!" before "Fast and Frightening," and made rocker poses as much as Anthrax and Testament did on day one. They looked glad to be back, and the crowd was definitely glad to have them too. Fans were roaring in between and during songs, and the whole middle of the crowd was just a sea of pumping fists. They'll also be in NYC on their tour in September.
SNOOP DOGG: Snoop Dogg was billed to be playing his classic debut Doggystyle in full, and well... he didn't. Kind of a bummer, but he was still an amazing way to end the weekend. He did play some of Doggystyle -- "Gin & Juice," "Lodi Dodi," "Pump Pump," "Serial Killa," "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)," and "Ain't No Fun (If The Homies Can't Have None)" -- and included other classic Dre collaborations "Nothing but a "G" Thang" and "The Next Episode." It was way better than his set at Firefly that I caught earlier this summer, but I still think he has no reason to include things like Katy Perry's "California Gurls," House of Pain's "Jump Around" and Joan Jett/The Arrows' "I Love Rock and Roll" when he could, you know, play Snoop Dogg songs. But all that aside, the amount of classic Snoop we did get at this show was something to be grateful for and he was on fire for all of it.
David Bowie, The Flaming Lips, Dirty Projectors and other artists are contributing new songs to a Spongebob Squarepants musical. According to Entertainment Weekly, other artists contributing songs include Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, T.I., Jonathon Coulton, They Might Be Giants, Panic! At The Disco, Plain White T's, and Lady Antebellum. The musical is directed and co-conceived by Tina Landau who said:
I was drawn to this project not only for its wild theatrical possibility, but also because I felt SpongeBob, at its core, is a layered and hilarious ensemble comedy. SpongeBob himself is of course its center and beating heart -- the eternal innocent in a sea of cynics. He's also the classic underdog hero, and so our production sets him on a hero's journey with real stakes, all the while retaining the show's trippy humor and irreverence. We're taking our leads from the TV show but this is an original story, with an original design approach, and original songs written just for the occasion by an amazing array of songwriters. We will present the world of Bikini Bottom and its characters in a whole new way that can only be achieved in the live medium of the theatre.The Spongebob musical will premiere in June, 2016 at Chicago's Oriental Theatre before moving to Broadway in the fall.
photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis
Royal Headache / Sheer Mag / The Gotobeds @ Saint Vitus 8/30/2015
Watching Australian band Royal Headache is kinda like being courtside at a tennis match, with frontman Shogun being the ball. The guy is a constant blur, and was bouncing from one side of the stage to the other at Saint Vitus on Sunday night (8/30). He is most definitely the lifeblood of the band, an absolute maniac who was shirtless and drenched in sweat just a few songs into their set. He also reminded me a bit of The Fall's Mark E Smith in that, even though he doesn't play an instrument onstage, he seems to be the architect of their sound, correcting the substitute bassist when he played a bum note, and guiding the drummer at one point. All while singing his heart out in a soulful croon that is somewhere between Steve Marriott and Feargal Sharkey. They are a total blast.
This was the final of three NYC shows for Royal Headache, all in Brooklyn and all with Philadelphia's Sheer Mag. That band's tough sound draws most of its influence from late-'70s riff rock like Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy, while most of its energy comes from singer Tina Halladay who is also a belter. I don't quite get all the ultra-hype surrounding them in some circles, but they were good.
Opening the night were Pittsburgh's The Gotobeds who came up just for this show. They were in a good mood and frontman Eli Kasan, who was later singing along to pretty much every Royal Headache song, was cracking jokes and throwing kicks throughout the set. From what I could tell, a lot of the set was new - presumably from their first album for Sub Pop which is due out early next year. They also played choice cuts from last year's Poor People are Revolting (including the requisite "NY's Alright") and they invited Kevin Pedersen, who runs Royal Headache's label What's Your Rupture and whose birthday it was, onstage to sing vocals on a sloppy cover of Redd Kross' "Annette's Got the Hits." There was also a big skeleton/witch model/costume that guitarist Tom Payne decided to wear at the end of the set. "Can you believe we found this in the trash just a couple hours ago," cracked Kasan.
The Noisey-presented show was just $5.00 to get in, and that included a free Shiner beer, much like you'll get at the Speedy Ortiz show happening at the same venue tonight (8/31).
Lots more pictures from the whole night at Saint Vitus, below...
Lucero's new album, All A Man Should Do, will be out September 18 via ATO and the band have shared another song from it, a cover of Big Star's "I'm in Love with a Girl." They recorded it at Ardent Studios in Memphis, where the original was made, and features backup vocals from Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, as well as The Posies' Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow (who played in latter-day lineups fof Big Star). Lucero frontman Ben Nichols told us about the cover when Andrew Sacher interviewed him earlier this month:
With the last two albums we had gone deeper and deeper into our Memphis roots and influences. We had the Sun Studios boogie piano and the Stax Records B-3 organ and the horns. We had a blast. With the new record it was time to focus on other influences. This is the only album I've played only acoustic guitar on. So right from the start it was going to have a more subdued sound and a lighter touch. That happened to fit the mood of the songs I was writing. And the Big Star cover fit in there perfectly. I've said in other interviews that this was the record the 15 year old Ben would've loved to have recorded in 1989. A lot of what I was listening to way back then influenced this record. And "I'm in Love With a Girl" has that same innocence and that same feel. AND there was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity of having Jody [Stephens] and Ken [Stringfellow] and Jon [Auer] do harmony parts. They were all in town and we made it work somehow and the result is unlike anything on any other Lucero record.Listen to Lucero's Big Star cover below.
Carrie Brownstein's memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, is out October 27 and the Sleater-Kinney singer/guitarist and Portlandia star will start her book tour that day, with a reading and Q&A at Brooklyn's Saint Vitus (10/27) and Questlove will be in conversation with her at that one. Tickets are on sale and include a copy of the book.
The next night (10/28) Brownstein will give a reading at Barnes & Noble in Union Square which is free though there's priority seating for those who buy the book at B&N. No special guests have been announced for the B&N appearance but most of the dates of Brownstein's book tour are "in conversation" with someone of note. SNL's Aidy Bryant in Philadelphia, Amy Poehler in Los Angeles, and Dave Eggers in San Francisco. All dates and special guests are listed below....
by Andrew Sacher
Mike McGee of the now-defunct hardcore band the_Network is now fronting a newer band called Aneurysm. Going by the fact that they share their band name with a Nirvana song and their upcoming EP, Stop This Ride, includes a cover of Hole's "Violet," you can already get an idea of how Aneurysm sound. The Seattle grunge influences are strong here, and they do it well. The EP officially comes out this Friday but you can now hear the whole thing below.
by Bill Pearis
OBN IIIs' new album, Worth a Lot of Money, is out in a couple weeks (9/14) and the Austin rock ragers have shared another song from it. "Let The Music" is a big-riff ripper very much in the Thin Lizzy style, which Orville Bateman Neeley III and company do well. Let the music play, listen (via Stereogum) below.
As mentioned, OBN IIIs will be on tour soon, with a Brooklyn record release party at Union Pool on 9/15 with Pampers and Honey, making for a very good show. Tickets are still available. Updated dates are listed below.
Folks who revel in the notion that love-rock means never having to tune your guitar will no doubt grow weak in the knees upon first exposure to the Cannanes. The fluid Australian combo is willfully amateurish and occasionally a bit too cute for its own good, but the utterly unpretentious purity of the band's output is hard to deny. Their closest American corollary would probably be Beat Happening, but the Cannanes are slightly folkier, less prone to outbursts of rock primitivism. The band's debut EP is charmingly unsteady on virtually every level, from the cracks in Annabel Bleach's sweet warble to the audible string squeak that accompanies each acoustic guitar chord change. The informality only adds to the charm of songs like "You're So Groovy" and the quietly caustic "I Don't Want to Talk About Your Problems." - [Trouser Press]Australian DIY pop royalty The Cannanes are wrapping up a U.S. tour that finishes in Brooklyn with a show at Alphaville on Tuesday (9/1) with Pale Lights and The Hairs opening. Tickets are on sale.
The Cannanes released Howling at All Hours in 2013 which was their first album in over 10 years. (The played Chickfactor 21 then as well.) You can stream that via Spotify, along with a few other song streams, below.
by Bill Pearis
Cold Beat, the newish band from Grass Widow's Hannah Lew, release their second album, Into the Air, on Friday (9/4) and it's a killer mix of post-punk influences, from early '80s scratchy UK indiepop to minimal wave synth and more aggressive guitar blasts. That said, this is not just retro pastiche and Lew's ethereal vocals really tie everything together. It's a terrific album, one of my favorites of 2015 so far, and you can listen to the whole album, below.
As mentioned, Cold Beat will be back in NYC for four shows: September 18 at Union Pool with Decorum (tickets), September 19 at Shea Stadium with Home Blitz, MPHO, and OCDPP (tickets), a free in-store at Other Music on September 20 (7 PM), followed by a show later that same night at Silent Barn with Heaven's Gate and Honey ($8 at the door).