November 21, 2014
by Andrew Sacher
Yesterday, American Football expanded their reunion tour and today they've announced the openers for their four-night New Year's run in Chicago which are all pretty amazing. Almost all of them in some way hail from the same influential emo scene as AF themselves -- night 1 gets fellow reunited '90s Champaign, IL/Polyvinyl band Braid, night 2 gets a reunion from their other Polyvinyl labelmates Pele (!) and S. Carey (who also opened for them in NYC), night 3 gets Joan of Arc (the band led by AF singer Mike Kinsella's brother Tim, which Mike and their cousin/current AF bassist Nate have both played in), and night 4 gets Maritime, whose singer Davey von Bohlen played in Cap'n Jazz with Mike. Night 4 is sold out, but if you're in Chicago or traveling there for the holidays (this would be a very good reason to do that), you can still get tickets to nights 1, 2 and 3.
So yeah all of those are stacked, but the one that sticks out the most is Milwaukee's Pele, who have been broken up since 2004. They put out a handful of excellent albums in the late '90s and 2000s, including a few on Polyvinyl, as well as a split with another now-reunited band, Toe, whose recent NYC show was opened by Nate Kinsella. With a sound somewhere between post-rock and math rock, their complex guitar parts foreshadowed the current trend of noodly emo bands, much like American Football's did. They also shared member Scott Beschta with another Milwaukee group, Davey Von Bohlen's post-Cap'n Jazz, pre-Maritime band The Promise Ring.
Since breaking up, drummer Jon Mueller formed Collections of Colonies of Bees, the band who later teamed with Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon to form Volcano Choir. And it's Bon Iver sideman Sean Carey aka S. Carey who's also on the bill with Pele and American Football, so maybe S. Carey doesn't feel like the odd one out after all.
Hopefully this means more shows on the horizon for Pele. Revisit their 2000 album, The Nudes, below. Also, Mike Kinsella recently covered The Promise Ring for the upcoming Owen covers album. Listen to that below too...
The very funny Fred Armisen is already on board for the 826NYC benefit at The Bell House on December 8 with Eugene Mirman, Reggie Watts and Sarah Vowell (tickets), and now he's got another NYC appearance happening a few days later. He was added to the Town Hall (12/13) stop of Aimee Mann and Ted Leo's Christmas tour, which also includes The Bangles' Susanna Hoffs and geek rocker Jonathan Coulton. Tickets for that show are still available.
Fred's also starring in an upcoming movie with Billie Joe Armstrong, opening Bob Mould's New Year's Eve show in Chicago, and the trailer was just released for season 5 of his IFC show with Carrie Brownstein, Portlandia. The 5th season is set to feature guest appearances from Vanessa Bayer, Steve Buscemi, Shepard Fairey, Greta Gerwig, Peter Giles, Matt Groening, Anna Gunn, Justin Long, Jane Lynch, Natasha Lyonne, Seth Meyers, Brigitte Nielsen, Parker Posey, Paul Reubens, Paul Simon, Olivia Wilde and Oscar the Grouch. Sounds pretty awesome. The S5 premiere airs on Thursday, January 8 at 10 PM. Watch the trailer below.
John Dwyer said Thee Oh Sees would be at Death by Audio for two nights and Thursday (11/20) was indeed night 2 for the DbA regulars. Their set seemed a little better last night than Wednesday, though neither show was missing any energy. While Petey, Brigid and Mike are missed, the new rhythm section (including White Fence's touring drummer) are not lacking in skill or drive, and Dwyer now plays a little keyboards as well which is a nice addition. Any chance to catch Dwyer in action is usually worth it. NYC has one more chance to catch Thee Oh Sees, tonight (11/21) at Warsaw (advance tickets sold out).
This was a little more of a cohesive bill than Wednesday, too. Nashville's Natural Child were another of the "top secret!" guests, who have also played DbA many many times over the years. The band's southern-fried rock is always a lot of fun and there were many folks in the audience shouting along to their raunchy 2009 single "Shame Walkin'." You can catch Natural Child tonight in NYC at Baby's All Right (tickets).
Also on the bill was Thee Oh Sees' tourmate Jack Name whose sound live is skuzzier and more vintage electronics than on record, veering into Iggy Pop The Idiot territory. With everyone but the guitarist seated, it didn't make for the most exciting set but they sounded good. They play with Thee Oh Sees at Warsaw, too, along with Kyp Malone's Ice Balloons (he'll be busy tonight as his slightly more known band TV on the Radio play too, at MHOW).
Skimask opened the show with a 5-song set that they played on the floor, so while we didn't see them, we did experience them and their punky noise and funny stage banter made for a good start to the night.
There are only two shows at Death by Audio left both are "Top Secret!" though they'll likely have clues for tonight's show up on their website later today. We've got a good guess as to who one of the openers is.
Video of Thee Oh Sees doing set-opener "The Dream" at DbA last night, plus a few more instagrams, below...
by Andrew Sacher
As discussed, Shinobu are releasing their fifth album, 10 Thermidor, on January 9 via Really Records and Lauren Records, and have been releasing a new single for every $1,000 raised in the presale. They've now reached a new milestone and are ready to put out the third single, "Jokes," which is making its premiere in this post. While the other two singles had a '90s indie rock vibe, "Jokes" is under a minute and a half of '80s-style hardcore which Shinobu does just as convincingly as their other stuff.
Once the pre-orders hit the next $1,000 milestone, they'll release a free download of the album via Quote Unquote Records. Listen to the new song below...
by Andrew Sacher
NYC's Couch Slut have only been around for about a year but have quickly been leaving their mark on the local heavy scene. Their debut album, My Life As A Woman (that's the awesome cover art above), came out last month via Handshake Inc and is streaming below. It's kinda metal, kinda hardcore, and kinda noise rock. If you're into all three of those things, this album is definitely for you. But if say you're 100% not a metalhead, but you are into early Sonic Youth, there's plenty you'd dig here too. Needless to say, the album is heavy as all hell, though parts of the post-rocky "Rape Kit" are downright pretty. It's a diverse listen and only six songs -- check it out.
Couch Slut's official release show for the new album happens in their hometown on Sunday (11/23) at Acheron with Derek Reinhardt (of A Guide To Rational Living), Ora Iso and 1MITATOR. Tickets are on sale now. Flyer below.
If you're headed to that show, it's also worth catching fellow Brooklynites Ora Iso, who put out their debut album, Bathcat, last month on Ba Da Bing. It's less heavy than Couch Slut, but a good pairing with its doomy, droning atmospheres and a similarly commanding vocalist. Check out two tracks from that below.
by Andrew Sacher
Rhyton returned this week with their newest album, Kykeon, on Thrill Jockey. Made up of three great players in the Brooklyn experimental scene -- David Shuford (aka D. Charles Speer and of No Neck Blues Band), Rob Smith (of Pigeons) and Jimy SeiTang (ex-Psychic Ills) -- Rhyton are well equipped to take on ideas as ambitious as the ones on Kykeon. Of its six songs, four pass the seven-minute mark and only one is under four, and they're all instrumental passages through Middle Eastern melodies and psychedelic rock. In terms of other modern stuff, Grails comes to mind as a comparison, and fans of that band would likely dig this. But really any fans of tripped-out extended jams should check this out. You can listen to the whole thing on Spotify and stream one track below.
At the moment, Rhyton have four shows scheduled including one in Hudson, NY tonight (11/21) and two upcoming dates in their hometown of NYC. The first is this Sunday (11/23) at Trans-Pecos with Fadensonnen (with special guests Chris Pitsiokos, Jim Sauter, Kevin Shea and Brian Sullivan) and Key of Shame (also No Neck-related). Tickets for that show are on sale now.
All dates are listed, with that song stream, below...
LCD's final bow at MSG, 2011 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
As mentioned, Saturday (11/22) at Le Poisson Rouge is the release party for the new issue of Radio Silence which features Stephin Merritt, Tanya Donnelly, Matthew Friedberger, readings by Greil Marcus, Rick Moody and more. One of the more interesting performers is a reunion of late-'80s NYC art-punks Dungbeetle whose frontman Sam Lipsyte is now an established author. We noted that one of their biggest fans was a pre-LCD James Muphy who ended up as their sound guy. Well on Saturday, he'll be playing with them as their drummer. Murphy hasn't done much (any) non-DJ performing since LCD Soundsystem's MSG farewell. Tickets are still available.
We're coming up on two years since Montreal's The Besnard Lakes released the last album, Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO, and while they haven't announced a new record, there is movement in the works. The band are currently touring Canada and in the new year, they'll drop into the U.S for a short Northeast tour that'll hit NYC on January 24 at Rough Trade. Tickets for that show go on sale at noon today (11/21).
All tour dates, plus a few videos, below...
Earlier this year, Leonard Cohen released his thirteenth studio album Popular Problems, which has the man (now at age 80!) still sounding excellent and putting out essential music. Before the year ends, he'll be following that up a live album and film. Leonard Cohen - Live In Dublin was recorded at his September 12, 2013 show at the O2 Dublin and it will be his "first (and only) release of a complete concert to be shot in high definition." It will be out in 3CD/DVD, 3CD/Blu-ray and digital formats on December 2 via Columbia/Legacy.
You can check out the full tracklist below, which includes his career-spanning setlist of "Suzanne" and "So Long, Marianne" through "Hallelujah" through a few cuts off 2012's Old Ideas which he was touring in support of at the time. A stream of the Live In Dublin performance of "Waiting For the Miracle," originally on 1992's The Future, makes its premiere in this post. Check that out below too
by Bill Pearis
Some of you may remember Swedish indie pop band Those Dancing Days whose update of girl group / northern soul was pretty charming. The bandwent on hiatus in 2011 but guitarist Rebecka Rolfart continues to make music with her new project, The Hanged Man. Their debut, First Quarter Moon, was just released via Kning Disk/Telegram Studios and displays a darker side than her old band ever did. There are still poppy moments, and danceable ones too, but these days are grayer. You can stream the whole mini-LP (via Rdio) below.
We've also got the premiere of the video for "The Island" which opens the record. Filmed on the island of Gotland in Sweden, directors Sheila Johansson and Michelle Claesson Eismann capture the mood of the song in gorgeous monochrome. Watch it below.