September 5, 2015

photo: Vince Staples at BV-RBSS in August (more by Amanda Hatfield)
vince staples

You can browse our full NYC show calendar for all of tonight's shows, but here are some highlights...

Vince Staples, Derrick May, Egyptrixx, Clark, Dan Bodan ft. Draveng, Sporting Life @ MoMA PS1 (Warm Up)
It's the final Warm Up of 2015 and it's a great one. Rising rapper of the year VInce Staples headlines, and before him it's Detroit techno originator Derrick May, Canadian bass master Egyptrixx, UK IDM wiz Clark, DFA's Dan Bodan (ft. Draveng), and Ratking's Sporting Life.

Teengirl Fantasy, Dan Bodan + Draveng, UMFANG, Sasha Jan Rezzie @ Palisades
Think of it as a Warm-Up way-afterparty with Dan Bodan + Draveng again plus Teengirl Fantasy to keep you dancing late into the night. Doors at midnight.

Swervedriver, Dearly Beloved, Overlake @ Bowery Ballroom
Arguably the heaviest, most rocking of the original UK shoegaze acts, Swervedriver returned this year with their first new album since the '90s -- and it's pretty damn good. But expect to hear favorites like "Duel" and "Rave Down," too.

AJ Davila y Terror Amor, Ice Balloons, Surfbort @ Cake Shop
Davila 666 frontman AJ Davila plays tonight with his other fearsome garagepunk band Terror Amor. His wild shows are a pretty safe bet for a good time, and tonight's bill is all-around good.

Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer, Anthony Jeselnik, Jay Pharaoh, Jeff Ross, Jim Norton, Michae Che, Nick Kroll, Todd Barry @ PNC Bank Arts Center (Oddball)
The annual Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival puts some of the best comedians of the moment together for a huge tour, and tonight continues the NYC-area run. Aziz Ansari and Amy Schumer were both on the 2014 tour, but there's no denying their careers got major boosts in the past year, so it's exciting to see this time they're back as co-headliners. The rest of the lineup ain't too shabby either.

By The Grace Of God, Pulling Punches, The Last Stand @ Saint Vitus
Louisville hardcore greats By the Grace of God shared members with Guilt, Endpoint, Elliott, Falling Forward and more, and they put out two records on Victory in the '90s before that label went to shit. They initially disbanded in 2000 but have reunited a few times, and now they're back once again.

Saviours, The Skull, Mirror Queen, The Bevis Frond @ The Wick
This is day 1 of Tee Pee Records two-day 'Cosmic Sonic Rendezvous' featuring a variety of heavy and psych sounds, including cult UK band The Bevis Frond and The Skull (ex-Trouble).

For all of tonight's shows, and tomorrow's, check out our NYC concert calendar.

For laughs, check out the NYC Comedy calendar too.

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September 4, 2015

by Bill Pearis

Empress Of

Empress Of, aka Lorely Rodriguez, releases her debut album next week via XL/Terrible. She produced the album herself -- the album's titled Me -- and it's an impressive collection of modern, danceable pop. You can stream the whole thing, via Hype Machine, below.

Lorely will play a record release / tour kickoff show at Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg on September 13 with Abra opening. Tickets are still available.

Continue reading "stream Empress Of's debut album, 'Me'"

photo: Motorhead in Austin earlier this week (more by Tim Griffin)
Motorhead

As you may know, Motorhead had to cut some shows short and cancel others entirely due to Lemmy's health problems. Unfortunately, they've had to cancel even more dates, tonight's (9/4) Dallas show and Saturday's (9/5) Houston show. The band writes:

Regrettably Motörhead have had to cancel their Dallas and Houston appearances. Saxon will still be playing in each city (please check local media for up-to-date venue information). Lemmy fully intends to resume touring duties as, and when, his doctors give him the all-clear.

STAY TUNED FOR FURTHER UPDATES, and as always, THANK YOU for your support, understanding and good wishes.

If all goes well, the tour picks back up again on Tuesday (9/8) in St. Louis, and it's scheduled to hit the NYC-area on 9/16 at Jones Beach with Anthrax. We hope you get better soon Lemmy!

Read our piece on Motorhead's lasting influence (review of their recent San Francisco show included) over at Invisible Oranges, and check out recent pictures from Austin here.

Updated dates are listed below...

Continue reading "Motorhead cancel more dates, post statement"

by Bill Pearis

heavenly-beat-intent

Heavenly Beat, aka onetime Beach Fossils bassist John Peña, will release his fourth album, titled Designer, later this year and has just shared it's first single, "Intent." Where the first three HB albums (including 2013's great Prominence) all hewed to the same basic formula -- nylon-string acoustic, steel drums, crisp drum machine sounds, hushed vocals -- he's switching things up this time. It's still near Ibiza, but it's a new set of instruments. It's a promising first taste and you can listen below.

As mentioned, Heavenly Beat will be on tour this fall with Teen Daze and they'll play Brooklyn's Baby's All Right on October 9. Tickets are still available. All tour dates are listed below...

Continue reading "Heavenly Beat readies fourth album, shares "Intent" (listen)"

by Andrew Sacher

photo: Meek Mill at SXSW 2012 (more by Ryan Muir)
Meek Mill

As you probably know if you've opened a web browser in the past two months, Meek Mill has been having quite the year. Drama aside though, he's still staying prolific in the studio. He just dropped a fire freestyle over Young Dolph's "Preach" and he's also on two tracks of the brand new Rick Ross mixtape, Black Dollar. Check out both below.

Meek has two big shows coming up this Labor Day weekend. The first is in his hometown of Philly: Made In America festival, which also features Beyonce, The Weeknd, Modest Mouse, Hop Along, Waxahatchee and more (tickets). Then he'll be in NYC for Fool's Gold Day Off at 50 Kent on Monday (9/7) with A-Trak, Skepta, Flatbush Zombies, D.R.A.M. and more. Tickets for that one are still available too.

Meek returns to NYC for Power 105.1 Powerhouse at Barclays Center on 10/22 with Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Future, Fetty Wap, Jeremih and more. Tickets just went on sale.

Continue reading "Meek Mill shares new freestyle, on the new Rick Ross mixtape, playing Made In America & Fool's Gold Day Off this weekend"

by Bill Pearis

Deaf Wish @ Death by Audio, 2014 (photo via @BrooklynVegan)
Deaf Wish DBA

Australia's Deaf Wish released Pain, their first album for Sub Pop, last month and they've just announced a U.S. tour happening in October. Dates include two NYC shows: Cake Shop on 10/10 and Alphaville on 10/11. The rest of the lineups for those two shows haven't been revealed but tickets are on sale now.

Their name is no joke: Deaf Wish's show at DbA was probably the loudest show I saw last year. Bring earplugs. All tour dates, plus a stream of Pain, below...

Continue reading "very loud Australian band Deaf Wish announce US tour dates"

by Bill Pearis

Molly Nilsson

German singer Molly Nilsson's new album, Zenith, will be out September 25 on Dark Skies Association / Night School. Musically, this is dreamy synthpop, but Nilsson's vocal delivery (and lyrics) cast a shadow. Check out videos for her very good singles "Lovers Are Losers," "1995," and "Mountain Time" (all of which are on the LP) below.

Nilsson's tour with TOPS will be in NYC on November 1 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets are still available.

Continue reading "Molly Nilsson releasing 'Zenith' (watch videos for 3 singles)"

by Andrew Sacher

Craig Finn

The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn releases his next solo album Faith In The Future on September 11 via Partisan (pre-order), and now the whole thing is streaming in full. Craig's in Springsteen mode a lot of the time, but as the early singles hinted, he embraces his mid-'80s Bruce side a lot on this album. With all the love The War On Drugs got last year, this sound's having a bit of a moment right now. Check it out below (via Vulture).

Craig's upcoming tour includes three NYC shows: an afternoon in-store on Saturday, 9/12 at Rough Trade (more info), a proper show at Bowery Ballroom on 11/6 (tickets), and opening for My Morning Jacket on 11/28 at the Beacon (tickets).

Continue reading "Craig Finn streaming 'Faith In The Future' (listen)"

by Bill Pearis

Shannon & the Clams

Shannon & the Clams' new album, Gone by the Dawn, is out next week and you can stream the whole thing right now (via Noisey). Sticking to their early '60s R&B/rock n' roll style, it features perhaps Shannon and Cody Blanchard's best batch of songs yet with killer performances and spot-on production. Listen below.

The band's tour starts next week as well, and will be in NYC during CMJ at Music Hall of Williamsburg on October 16 with tourmates Shopping. Sheer Mag (who just played three NYC shows with Royal Headache) and PMS and the Moodswings were recently added to the bill and tickets are still available.

Continue reading "Shannon & the Clams streaming 'Gone by the Dawn'; Sheer Mag and PMS & the Moodswings added to MHOW show"

by Andrew Sacher

The Wonder Years

"Pop punk" was once widely considered a dirty term in most indie rock circles, but over the past few years it's been sneaking into indie rock vernacular. We use it here on BV a lot. Pitchfork has used it when talking about anyone from Cloud Nothings to Upset to Joyce Manor. Stereogum has used it for The Sidekicks, Chumped, and Cayetana. NPR for Wavves, Title Fight and Waxahatchee. The list goes on.

It's easy to see what made "pop punk" such a turnoff as it became progressively more mainstream in the '90s and early '00s. "Punk" is a genre with a code of ethics that punk fans feel should be kept sacred, and "pop" is basically the antithesis of those ethics. So "pop punk" is theoretically the worst thing that could ever happen to punk. Indie rock fans adhere to similar ethics, so when "What's My Age Again?" hit TRL, it's no surprise that Sebadoh fans weren't gluing their eyes to their TVs.

But for a younger generation, some combination of Green Day, The Offspring, Rancid, blink-182 and New Found Glory (or all of the above) was a foundational listening experience, and an entry point into alternative music. Those bands may have made punk more mainstream, but they were also gateways to older and more universally canonized artists. blink-182 directly led to Descendents, Dinosaur Jr and Drive Like Jehu; Green Day to Husker Du; Rancid to Roger Miret and Sham 69; New Found Glory to Lifetime and Gorilla Biscuits; and so on. The people who grew up on those bands are becoming today's indie rock musicians, fans, and critics, so it makes sense that the sounds of pop punk are making their way into indie rock. Not to mention Best Coast, who started as a lo-fi band on Mexican Summer, went on to cover blink-182, collaborate with New Found Glory, and tour with Green Day.

photo: Best Coast opening for Green Day in 2013 (more by Dana Distortion)
Green Day

Right now, the amount of bands blurring the lines between indie rock and pop punk is pretty astounding. We saw pop punk's influence sneak into indie rock on a handful of our favorite records of last year, and this year we have great records from Colleen Green, Bully, Superheaven, Turnover, All Dogs, Radioactivity, Royal Headache, Titus Andronicus, Worriers, Hop Along and Adventures that all fit the description.

Even with this huge influx of indie rock bands taking influence from pop punk, it's not hard to see why there's still resistance against the "pop punk" tag. The kind of over-produced pop punk that critics cringed at in the early 2000s is still very popular. All Time Low's new album debuted at #2 on Billboard this year and there's nothing "punk" about this. 5 Seconds of Summer may be the biggest band in the world right now that anyone is calling "pop punk," but they also share management with One Direction, have toured with them, and are closer in sound to 1D than to any band who ever signed a contract with Fat Wreck Chords. If 5SOS can be called pop punk, or apparently anyone who plays Warped Tour -- like Front Porch Step, who in addition to his questionable actions, makes cringe-worthy music that has nothing to do with pop punk -- it's understandable why some people want to avoid the term.

There's also a group of bands who frequently play Warped Tour and not only warrant being called pop punk, but pride themselves on it: bands like Man Overboard, The Story So Far, Four Year Strong, Neck Deep and State Champs. Their approach is basically to take the moment pop punk took over the world and recreate it. (The Drive-Thru Records catalog is a big influence here.) They're not shy about their style -- Man Overboard make shirts that say "Defend Pop Punk" and Neck Deep make ones that say "Generic Pop Punk." They don't seem to be after hugely mainstream success and tend to build their fanbases like punk bands do, but to our ears they're usually unoriginal at best and still kinda cheesy at worst.

If you have any place in your heart for early 2000s-era mainstream pop punk though (and if you've read this far, you probably do), there's one band I think is doing a hell of a lot of justice to it: The Wonder Years. Unlike the bands bringing pop punk's influence into indie rock, The Wonder Years are making the kind of pop punk that is in fact pop music, but they also happen to make really fucking good pop music. It's becoming more prevalent for critics and "serious music fans" to discuss great pop music, and this is a good thing because great music can truly come from anywhere. The recent Beyonce and Justin Timberlake albums were steps forward for music in general, whether or not you normally listen to the radio. A lot of fans and critics noted that, but for whatever reason there's still a stigma when it comes to pop punk. You're more likely to see certain critics champion Fifth Harmony, a new teen-pop group formed by Simon Cowell on The X Factor, than even mention the latest Bad Religion or Rancid albums. It's a stigma that hopefully disappears, because The Wonder Years don't deserve to be ignored by any serious music fan.

photo: The Wonder Years at House of Vans in 2011 (more by Andrew St. Clair)
The Wonder Years

The Wonder Years started out as more of a generic pop punk band, and while in hindsight I respect the people who knew they were great from day one (or at least since their 2010 breakthrough The Upsides), they didn't really catch my ear until 2011's Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing. And it didn't really click until 2013's The Greatest Generation, which might be the greatest true-blue radio-ready pop punk record since Enema of the State. It probably owes more to New Found Glory and The Starting Line than it does to blink-182, but even if those bands have proved to be more influential, they never had this level of songwriting or maturity. Even on New Found Glory's "mature" album, they couldn't escape writing songs about girls who "smell like angels ought to smell." The Greatest Generation grapples with hitting your mid-to-late '20s, seeing your friends and cousins getting married and transitioning into adulthood, and thinking "did I fuck up?" When they do sound like they're singing about high school crushes ("I hadn't felt a heartbreak until now") you quickly realize they're singing about the death of a friend.

It's close to an absolute perfection of its form, and it's hard to say just yet if they've topped it, though they've undoubtedly made another artistic leap on the new No Closer to Heaven. It's the band's most overwhelmingly emotional album yet, and the most musically diverse too. In 45 minutes it touches on double-time pop punk, slower atmospheric songs, heavy rock riffs, and an acoustic song to close things out. It's the kind of record that might piss off some old fans and cause them to say The Wonder Years "aren't pop punk anymore," but it might win over a bunch of new fans in the process. It's pop punk's Sunbather. The thing is though, unlike say Title Fight's trek into atmospheric rock, this is a pop punk album. It pushes the boundaries of the genre about as far as they can go without losing the type of thrill you specifically get from this style of music. Really it shouldn't piss off old fans because it manages to retain the sound they've always had while clearly pushing it forward.

It makes me think a lot of Brand New's The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. It doesn't sound like Devil and God, but that was the moment Brand New made a devastating, cathartic album that defied its genre without abandoning it, and that's what TWY do here. They're also similar to Brand New in that each record is a shift from the last, and that people (rightfully) worship these guys. To compare it to an album it does sound like, it's actually a little like The Hotelier's last one, and that may be the most acclaimed album the entire emo revival has given us. But it feels a little unfair to compare those two, because The Hotelier are a young (yet fully-formed) band and No Closer to Heaven is clearly the work of seasoned songwriters.

The Wonder Years are more dynamically diverse here than ever. They know just when to switch from a chorus turned up to 11 to a bridge of clean guitar arpeggios and back again. They know which lyric needs a three-part harmony, which needs frontman Dan "Soupy" Campbell to sing gently and which needs him at the top of his lungs. At least half the songs completely avoid the standard verse-chorus-verse. Recurring lyrics and themes throughout an album aren't new ground for The Wonder Years, but No Closer to Heaven might be the closest they've come to a true concept album. Death, if it wasn't obvious, is that concept here. The lyric we hear over and over is "We're no saviors if we can't save our brothers," and that's only one of the instantly-quotable lines packed into this thing. There's a harsh reality to Soupy's lyrics this time around, and when he brings his voice to a shout it feels more like a reflex than an artistic decision.

Like the last record, his melodies are familiar without being predictable. Thanks in part to the fact that almost every member can sing, they've mastered the kind of multi-part harmonies and overlapping vocals that most of their peers aren't even attempting. (My only complaint about the new album is the guest vocals from the singer of letlive. who come too close to a maligned genre I won't defend, nu-metal.) The production is once again shining with gloss, but nothing sounds artificial -- unlike many of their peers, the band and longtime producer Steve Evetts (who has helmed other pop punk classics like Jersey's Best Dancers and Through Being Cool) have long discussed avoiding auto-tune and sample replacing. The interplay between the band's three guitarists also make this far more detailed than punk's "learn three power chords, form a band" mentality. But The Wonder Years do stay true to the latter half of the phrase "pop punk," and if you've seen them live you know this. They typically fill big rooms these days, but they still play like they came out swinging from a South Philly basement. They might not win over a snobby punk purist, but for the genre-hopping listener who finds emotional depth and musical ambition in both the new Drake and the new Sufjan Stevens, you may find it in the new Wonder Years too.

photo: You Blew It! at Riis Park Beach Bazaar - August, 2015 (more by Mimi Hong)
You Blew It

No Closer to Heaven is out today via Hopeless (order yours) and you can stream the whole thing via Rdio, below.

They'll be on tour this year with another unique pop punk band, Motion City Soundtrack, emo revival darlings You Blew It!, and State Champs. That tour hits NYC for two Webster Hall shows in October, but first TWY play an acoustic in-store at Rough Trade on Wednesday (9/9).

Continue reading "Pop punk's complicated relationship with indie rock, and the great new Wonder Years album (which is streaming)"

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