Recent Posts in music - Page 2

October 31, 2014

Arcade Fire

It's Halloween and the horror short films keep coming. First Avey Tare, and now Arcade Fire have put one out called Festi. The band gives the following description:

Festi, an Arcade Fire production.
In association with people in Austin.
A look back at the Arcade Fire summer festival tour, 2011.
It was directed by "Noreen Bauble" and stars the members of Arcade Fire, James Murphy, Fleet Foxes, The National, ZZ Top, Slash, Peter Gabriel and more. Watch the full spooky thing below...

Continue reading "Arcade Fire release short horror film 'Festi' ft. James Murphy, Fleet Foxes, The National, Peter Gabriel, Slash & more"

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is about to complete the Basement Tapes series next week (11/4) and he's now confirmed a new studio album for 2015 titled Shadows In The Night. Stereogum says it seems likely that it will be a covers album containing the cover of Frank Sinatra's "Full Moon and Empty Hearts" which was released earlier this year and can be streamed at Dylan's website.

Dylan's upcoming tour hits NYC from 11/28 to 12/3 for five Beacon Theatre shows and also includes a show in Newark on 11/26. Ticketmaster says not many left.

photos by Mimi Hong, words by Andrew Sacher

Pianos Become the Teeth @ The Studio at Webster Hall - 10/29/14
Pianos Become the Teeth

Pianos Become the Teeth released their excellent third album, Keep You, this week and brought their release week tour to NYC on Wednesday (10/29) at The Studio at Webster Hall. The place was packed -- if it wasn't sold out it was close to it -- and Pianos put on the best show I've seen from them yet. Following two screamo albums, Keep You is the band's first album since Kyle Durfey started doing clean vocals, and what first seemed like a jarring change has actually resulted in their best album yet. They played a lot of Keep You, and even though the album had only hit the internet nine days earlier, a ton of people knew every word. That's good too, because this is the kind of music that's cathartic to belt out in a room of people doing the same thing. Like much of PBTT's material, these new songs find Kyle grappling with the death of his father, and there's a real power to seeing him open up about it in his new clear-as-day singing style. They worked in a few older songs too, which really got the longtime fans going, and included "Hiding," the excellent song off last year's split with Touche Amore which foreshadowed Keep You and is as good as any track on it.

The openers were well-matched, each working with a different side of Pianos' sound. Gates had the atmospheric rock and soaring vocals of Keep You, whereas Frameworks brought the '90s-style screamo that Pianos had on their first two records.

More pictures of all three bands, including one of Pianos' setlist, below...

Continue reading "Pianos Become the Teeth celebrated 'Keep You' at The Studio at Webster Hall w/ Frameworks & Gates (pics & setlist)"

Singles

The Singles were an '00s-era Detroit band who dared not be be garage but power pop, releasing three albums before fizzling out. Frontman Vince Frederick and reactivated the band in Los Angeles with another Detroiter, Nicky Veltman, and just released Look How Fast A Heart Can Break, the first new Singles album in six years. We've got the premiere of the Martijn Veltman-directed video for "We Don't Talk Anymore" (not a cover of the Cliff Richard song) and you can watch that, and stream the album via Rdio, below.

You can catch The Singles on tour starting next week, including a stop in NYC on November 13 at Pianos with Banker$, Dennis Cahlo & the Change, and Rally. All dates are listed below...

Continue reading "The Singles released new LP & video, touring (dates, streams)"

by Johnny Zachman

P4k

Pitchfork Paris began yesterday (10/30) in the Grande Halle de la Villette, a slaughterhouse-turned-cultural center in the city's 19th arrondissement. The festival featured two stages at opposite ends of the venue, with acts performing in immediate succession on alternate sides of the room.

Montreal's four-piece art-punk band Ought kicked off the night, injecting the already sizable crowd with good energy off the bat. Lead singer Tim Beeler channeled David Byrne, David Bowie, and most especially Jonathan Richman in his performance - which was spoken almost as often as it was sung - and the band's combination of keyboardist Matt May on Nord Electro 3 and the rhythm section's tight, dynamic and often repetitive grooves made for a refreshing take on punk.

How To Dress Well performed next, also as a four-piece. "It's nice to be back in the barn" remarked singer and songwriter Tom Krell, before saying hello to his mentor Beck, who was watching the show via live stream. The band performed many of the highlights from this year's excellent album "What Is This Heart?" while a series of muted, abstract visuals were projected behind them. I was impressed by the band's ability to recreate the album's sounds in a live atmosphere. On stage, Krell performed with two microphones - one dry and the other soaked in full reverb - between which he would modulate throughout the show, sometimes mid-phrase. Krell was backed by a drummer and two multi-instrumentalists covering violin, maracas, guitar, vocals and keys. Krell gave props to Ought for their excellent performance and also expressed his excitement to see The War On Drugs later in the night, who are his current favorite band.

The Notwist brought a packed stage including two xylophone players to the party. Compared with other times I had seen the band, I was impressed by how quickly they moved away from their songs and into heavier psychedelic territory, executing multiple movements of noise-based chaos that each felt earned and not excessive. Markus Acher's relaxed voice contrasted nicely with the more dissonant, anticipatory mood of the music, and the festival's extensive lighting rigs played especially well into The Notwist's swirling experimental soundscapes.

The War on Drugs
P4k

The War On Drugs performed "Burning," "Eyes To The Wind," "An Ocean In Between The Waves," "Under The Pressure," "In Reverse" and "Red Eyes" to the most palpably energetic crowd of the night. The band was as tight as the last time I saw them (in June at Williamsburg Park), and I was happy to see so many young Frenchmen jumping up and down to Adam Granduciel's guitar solos and singing along to the "Woo!"s from the album. Even within the 45 minute format, the band still took their time with the instrumental sections, extending multiple guitar solos well beyond the album's length, including an exceptional version of "Red Eyes" to end the set.

Mogwai's performance began with remarkable force. The Glasgow natives played to the biggest crowd of the night, sending their dynamic waves of emotional post-rock slamming down on the audience's ears. The band played with excellent restraint: quiet instrumental passages were pursued for minutes at a time; louder peaks were continued well past their originally-perceived climax. I was surprised by how much louder Mogwai's set felt than everyone else's - not in amplitude but in thickness. The band had a confidence in them that flowed into their music, setting a dark, almost terrifying mood within the room.

Jon Hopkins carried the mood from dark to hypnotic, delivering his tastefully emotional electronic compositions along with projections whose concepts included an alternating series of solid colors and the "Collider" music video. Hopkins was very active within his setup - which added to the energy of the performance - and a constant stream of red lights flashed around the room to enhance the ambience. The crowd reacted well to Hopkins' cinematic soundscapes, with relatively subtle shifts in the music drawing various cheers.

James Blake closed the night with performances of "Retrograde," "The Wilhem Scream," "Limit To Your Love," and an arresting show-closing rendition of the entirely loop-based "Measurements." Blake's voice was in stellar form, modulating between multiple octaves and singing over his loops with remarkable ease. I'm always impressed by how much Blake adapts his sets to fit the mood of the room, and last night's late show was rightfully less song-based and more reliant on the ambient, with a healthy dose of songs (including one new one) mixed in.

It was an excellent first day for Pitchfork Paris. The sound was spot-on for all of the artists, and I especially enjoy festivals when only one artist performs at a given time so that there is no sound bleed between stages.

Belle & Sebastian, St. Vincent and more play today's portion of the festival, and we'll be back with coverage of that too. If you're not at the fest, stream it live HERE. Today's stream begins at 1:30 PM EST with Perfect Pussy.

A few more pictures from yesterday below...

Continue reading "Pitchfork Paris day 1 review: James Blake, The War on Drugs, Mogwai, The Notwist, Jon Hopkins, HTDW & Ought"

by Bill Pearis

Mac McCaughan @ HiFi during CMJ (via @marcviloria
IMAGE

I make no bones about my love of '80s goth: Bauhaus, Siouxsie, Xymox, Xmal Deutchland, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, The Bolshoi etc...I'm all for it. (Fields of the Nephilim, not so much.) But my favorite is probably The Sisters of Mercy whose first two albums -- 1985's First and Last and Always and (especially) 1987's Floodland -- are pretty much stone-cold classics that I can listen to anytime of the year, but I tend to OD on around Halloween. I was, in fact, listening to them today when I saw that Superchunk frontman and Merge mogul Mac McCaughan had just posted a cover of "First and Last and Always" on his soundcloud. Mac keeps the inherent drama but gives it the Portastatic treatment, stripping it down to acoustic guitar and synths. (Mac adds, "Doktor Avalanche was not available for the session.") You can stream it below.

Mac was just in NYC for CMJ, playing a solo show at HiFi. Anybody catch his set? Mac's take on the Sisters, plus a mix of classic '80s goth for your Halloween listening, below..

Continue reading "Mac from Superchunk covers Sisters of Mercy for Halloween (listen)"

by Rob Sperry-Fromm

M.A.P.S.

The noise-oriented M.A.P.S (Metropolitan Audio Pain Source) series will continue in November with performances from a Baltimore-centric lineup. The show is in NYC on November 8 at Trans Pecos and will feature performances from Reverse Baptism, FFH, Corephallism, Gene Pick, Field Grave, Spiteful Womb and Sickness. Tickets for this show are currently on sale.

Reverse Baptism are a power electronics/spoken word project from Jason Crumer of Facedowninshit and various other harsh noise projects. FFH, also from Baltimore, definitely fall on the more abstract end of the harsh noise spectrum, providing distorted vocals and thick washes of dissonant sound. The final Baltimore band, Gene Pick, traffic in a John Wiese-like type of noise that's more evenly distributed and paced, building a progression into madness from a series of harsh blips and hits that evolve into something more enveloping. Masssachusetts-based Corephallism bring a slightly more melodic, more metal-influenced sound (somewhat along the lines of Prurient) into the fray. This is an extremely varied lineup, with each out-of-town act bringing something unique to the table.

These shows are leading up to the big M.A.P.S. festival on December 13 at Trans Pecos. Updated lineup for that, and streams of the artists playing the 11/8 show, below.

Continue reading "M.A.P.S. noise series continuing w/ Reverse Baptism, FFH, Gene Pick, Corephallism, Sickness & more"

Kaitlyn

Experimental synth artist Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has a lot of cool projects coming up. She's working on music for the film Brasilia: City of the Future which was co-written by and starring Reggie Watts and directed by Brooklyn filmmaker Benjamin Dickinson. She helped electronic music pioneer Suzanne Ciani prepare for a European tour and has a collaboration with her in the works. She also has plans for a "virtual reality project" with director Daren Rabinovitch.

On top of all that, Kaitlyn has signed with Western Vinyl who will release her new solo album, Tides, on November 11. Its opening track is 15 minutes of gorgeous, droning ambience, and that premieres in this post. Check it out below.

Continue reading "Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith working on a film w/ Reggie Watts, releasing a solo album (stream a track) & more"

by Bill Pearis

Zombie Dum Dum Girls @ Brooklyn Bowl (via @donstahl / @soundbitesnyc)
DDG
DDG

Dum Dum Girls played a Devil's Night show at Brooklyn Bowl last night (10/31) and, as a band that clearly enjoys Halloween, Dee Dee, Jules, Sandy and Malia played as flesh-eating zombies. It was also one of the last dates on their Too True tour, and as such began the show by playing the album front to back. Having seen DDGs at various points from throughout the year, this was definitely the best I've heard these Too True songs sounding live, and Dee Dee's voice in particular was in great form. The band then took a little break and came back for a second set of older songs, including a few that they don't play very often, like their lovely cover of Strawberry Switchblade's "Trees and Flowers" from the End of Daze EP. They finished off the night, appropriately, with a cover of The Cranberries' "Zombies." A short video clip of that, Dum Dum Girls' Brooklyn Bowl setlist, plus more instagrams and a few cellphone pics, below.

The night also included sets from Ex Cops who also dressed up (Amalie was in zombie mode too) and played a set comprised of all new songs, save for maybe one, from the just-released Daggers. Christines did not get in the Halloween spirit but their Swervedriver/MBV brand of shoegaze sounded good (and loud) nonetheless.

DDGs pics and video below...

Continue reading "Dum Dum Girls were sexy zombies, covered "Zombie" on Devil's Night at Brooklyn Bowl (pics, video, setlist)"

Marissa Nadler

Marissa Nadler has no upcoming tour dates at the moment, but she just finished a tour and was in NYC to play CMJ showcases for two labels: Sacred Bones at Trans Pecos and Bella Union at Le Poisson Rouge. We don't have video from those shows, but watch a full set she played in the KEXP studios earlier this year, below. How were the NYC shows?

Meanwhile, it's Halloween, and who better to get a playlist from on this dark holiday than Marissa Nadler. Listen to the creepy holiday mix she made at Spotify. Enjoy selections by Billie Holiday, Mazzy Star, Ry Cooder, John Carpenter and more.

Continue reading "Marissa Nadler played CMJ, made a Halloween playlist (listen)"