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April 14, 2014

by Bill Pearis

J&R's now-closed storefront (photo via @gr1fter)
J&R

More and more Manhattan fixtures seem to be disappearing. The future of Pearl Paint on Canal is shaky, and last week (4/9) J&R Music World shut its doors, though they say not for good:

J & R Music and Computer World, a mainstay music and electronics store in Lower Manhattan for 43 years, closed its doors on Wednesday to redesign its space on Park Row.

The move was foreshadowed in October, when the store scaled back its footprint between Ann and Beekman Streets. Once occupying eight buildings on those blocks totaling 300,000 square feet, the business was resized to five floors each at 1 Park Row and 15 Park Row. Rachelle Friedman, who with her husband, Joseph, opened J & R across from City Hall in 1971, acknowledged at the time that as part of the changes they were laying off some employees. - [NY Times]

While the brick and mortar storefront is closed, you can still order from J&R's website.

J&R's record store was always a good place to go for Record Store Day items and was always my go-to place for tech stuff, though when I went to buy a headphone adapter there last summer the staff looked at me like I was crazy.

In happier news, Wrecords By Monkey, which makes jewelry, accessories and home products out of old vinyl records is opening a storefront, The Crate, at 304 Boerum St. in Bushwick. In addition to wares, they'll sell $1 used records and new vinyl from local musicians. The store has its Grand Opening on Saturday (4/19) which is Record Store Day:

We will be having an opening party for our new storefront The Crate on Saturday, April 19th from 12 to 9pm in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The party will have live silkscreening on reclaimed vinyl and a display of our newest collection. FREE beer, as well as DJ sets from APSPDR+ and Silent Rider and an exclusive after party from 7 to 9pm featuring DJ Codes. Limited tickets for the after party are available for free and can be picked up at the store starting at noon that day.
Flyer for the opening party is below.

In other non-RSD record store news, The WFMU Record Fair returns from May 30 - June 1 at the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan. No word on special events and DJs yet. Stay tuned.

And before that we'll have the return of the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair on May 10 which this time is part of the Red Bull Music Academy, with DJ sets from Caroline Polachek, Autre Ne Veut, Tanlines and more.

Continue reading "J&R Music World closed for renovation; Wreckords by Monkey opening Bushwick store; WFMU Record Fair announce dates"

by Andrew Sacher

Kelis at SXSW 2014 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Kelis

Kelis returned to the live stage at SXSW this year after three years off from touring, and the R&B/neo-soul singer has now announced a full (but brief) North American tour for this June. The tour brings her to NYC for a show on June 13 at Webster Hall. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (4/18) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (4/16) at noon. She also tours Europe before and after. All of her dates are listed below.

The tour is in support of her new album Food which comes out next week (4/22) via Ninja Tune. It's her first album on an independent label, following a decade-plus career of often-underrated pop (she's much more than "the girl who sang 'Milkshake'"), and was produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek. The album is a huge departure from its predecessor, 2010's dance-pop Flesh Tone, instead coming closer to Erykah Badu's (neo) soul and the early '70s days of the genre too. You can hear the whole thing now on NPR. Also at 4 PM EST today (4/14), NPR will host an interview about the album and you can get involved on Twitter. Here's the details:

At 4 p.m. ET on Monday, April 14, we'll all hit play on this First Listen, and for an hour Kelis will take questions and tell stories on Twitter about creating an album that sounds like nothing we've heard from her before. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #AskKelisNPR and following @iamKelis and @NPRandB.
Check out a new live video of "Friday Fish Fry" (performed on KCRW) off the new album, with the list of tour dates, below...

Continue reading "Kelis streaming new LP 'Food,' announces tour (dates, listen)"

Robert Aaron

The NY Times ran a great profile of musician Robert Aaron who was busted with lots of heroin in his apartment after cops barged down the door looking for someone to pin Philip Seymour Hoffman's death on...

If drugs were a part of his evolution, they were not the center. For concert tours and a three-year residence in Paris, he said, he stopped using heroin without much difficulty. James Chance brought Mr. Aaron into his punk-funk band James White and the Blacks in 1981 and has worked with him ever since, taking him on tours of Europe and Japan. In all that time, he said, Mr. Aaron's drug use never interfered with his playing.

"Not at all," Mr. Chance said. "He's always been a total professional. Robert's like the most versatile musician I've ever worked with."

Like other friends interviewed for this article, Mr. Chance spoke protectively of Mr. Aaron, whom he called "a real gentleman."

"There's a whole image that people get from the media about people who use narcotics, that they're completely crazy and unreliable," Mr. Chance said. "That's not necessarily true. There's a lot of people who are totally functional, and you would never know that they used anything. And Robert is one of them.

Now out of jail on bail, Robert expects to still be crucified, but meanwhile has been playing some gigs including one with Chance. Read the whole thing at the NY Times.

by Bill Pearis

Factory Floor

Factory Floor are releasing "How You Say," originally on last year's terrific debut LP, as a single via two EPs this month. The first of those is out this week (4/15) and features a host of remixes by Invisible Conga People, Daniel Avery and Gunnar Haslam. This is the first we've heard from Invisible Conga People since their 12" on DFA back in 2011. Their remix makes its premiere in this post. Stream it, and check out the original's new video, below.

Meanwhile, Factory Floor just played Coachella yesterday (4/13) afternoon and will do so again this Sunday (4/20). Those appearances are part of the band's first North American tour, and that hits NYC on April 23 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets are still available. That show and the DC show are with Protect-U, who tour with Peaking Lights after.

One more thing, Factory Floor also recorded a KEXP session while in Seattle and you can stream that here. Updated tour dates, plus the remix premiere, are below...

Continue reading "Factory Floor releasing "How You Say" EP and video (stream Invisible Conga People remix ++ updated dates)"

The National at Beacon Theatre in 2011 (more by Toby Tenenbaum)
National

As discussed, The National are touring extensively this year and that tour already includes Celebrate Brooklyn shows at Prospect Park on June 17with Phosphorescent and 6/18 with Lord Huron. Both of those shows are listed as sold out, but the band have now added a third Prospect Park date happening on June 19 with MS MR. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (4/18) at noon with AmEx and National Fan presales starting Wednesday (4/16) at noon, and a Celebrate Brooklyn presale starting Thursday (4/17) at 10 AM.

Updated dates are listed below...

Continue reading "The National add 3rd Celebrate Brooklyn show at Prospect Park w/ MS MR to tour (updated dates)"

Juana Molina at Prospect Park in 2008 (more by Chris La Putt)
Juana Molina

Molina has released two of the very very best records of the past decade in 2006's Son and 2008's Una Dia and they were records that insisted, if you let them in, that you'd develop an almost cult-ish obsession with her, dissatisfaction with near-enough everything else. Wed 21 continues the intrigue, amplifies the obsession, and is 2013's most addictive and compelling album made by anyone anywhere. I have no end-of-year list. Just Wed 21. Top of the pops. King of the hits. A primary work of colour. [The Quietus]
Argentine singer/songwriter Juana Molina released her sixth full length album, Wed 21, via Crammed Discs last year which followed multiple releases on Domino, including its 2008 predecessor, Una Dia. The Spanish-language folktronica album gained much acclaim, including the Quietus review quoted above and a spot in NPR's top albums of 2013 list. If you haven't heard it yet, you can listen on Rdio and stream two of its tracks below.

Last week, Juana came over to the US to support Wed 21 with a tour here. That tour has her in Cambridge tonight (4/14) and hits NYC on Tuesday (4/15) at Le Poisson Rouge. Opening the show is the NYC-based Xenia Rubinos, who also sings some (but not all) of her music in Spanish (she is of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent). Tickets for Tuesday's show are on sale now.

All remaining tour dates are listed, with the song streams, below...

Continue reading "Juana Molina supporting 'Wed 21' on US tour (dates, streams)"

Robyn in Austin in 2012 (more by Tim Griffin)
Robyn

As previously announced, collaborators Robyn and Royksopp are going on a tour together that hits NYC at new summer venue Pier 97 on August 20 (sold out). Now they've announced they're releasing a collaborative mini-album, Do It Again (due out 5/26 via Cherrytree/Interscope) and released a snippet of its opening song "Monument."

You can listen to the new clip, with the EP tracklist and list of tour dates, below...

Continue reading "Robyn & Royksopp releasing a mini-LP before tour, post clip"

by Bill Pearis

IMAGE

Echo & the Bunnymen have a new album, Meteorites, due out May 26. It's the band's first new album in five years. The record began as an Ian McColloch solo album but guitarist Will Sergeant ended up contributing guitar, hence it getting the E&TB name. McCulloch says the record features his most personal lyrics yet and he seems quite pleased with it in the press release:

At long last we've made the worthy successor to 'Crocodiles', 'Heaven Up Here', 'Porcupine', and 'Ocean Rain'. 'Meteorites' is what Echo and the Bunnymen mean and are meant to be...up there in Heaven...untouchable, celestial, beautiful, and real...it has changed my life.
Mind you, he says a variation of this with every new record. They don't call him "Mac the Mouth" for nothing.

You can listen to three tracks from Metorites in this post and "Lovers on the Run" (which premiered on The Quietus today) definitely has some of the cinematic drama one associates with the Bunnymen's golden years. No word on a North American tour (they were last here in 2011) but stream the tracks below...

Continue reading "Echo & the Bunnymen ready 'Meteorites' (stream 3 tracks)"

Austin photos by Tim Griffin

Arcade Fire w/ Debbie Harry / mirror man @ Coachella / "Obama" in Austin


Obama

Arcade Fire were introduced by a man wearing a suit made of shattered mirrors and opened up their set with 'Reflektor', with Chassagne shining mirror discs strapped onto her hands into the crowd. "Alright guys, we're gonna give you every ounce of what we've got if you give it back to us," said frontman Butler before 'Rebellion (Lies)'.

Butler later railed against the various VIP areas at the festival to cheers from the crowd, commenting: "I just want to say that there's a lot of fake VIP room bullshit happening at this festival, and sometimes people dream of being there - but it super sucks in there, so don't worry about it." He also made a sly dig about the electronica/EDM heavy aspect of the festival, giving a "shout out to all the bands playing instruments this weekend" at the end of the set. [NME]

Coachella wrapped up its first weekend yesterday (4/13), after kicking off this past Friday (day 1 pics). Among the day 3 performers were Arcade Fire, who have played Coachella before, but this was their first time there as headliners. Among the bobbleheads that Arcade Fire have been featuring in their shows were President Obama and Pope Francis, who both made their debuts at Arcade Fire's recent show in Austin. Also like at that show, they played a cover of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" into the similarly '70s new wave-style "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)." But this time was more exciting because they were joined by Blondie singer Debbie Harry who was a guest singer at SXSW for the Dum Dum Girls (who also played Coachella). Debbie sang "Heart of Glass" with them, and she stuck around to sing backup on "Sprawl II" too. Watch a full set video of Arcade Fire's Coachella set, along with their setlist, below.

Speaking of Debbie Harry and covers, she's on the cover of the May issue of MOJO which is available now. Pictures of Coachella day 3 are coming soon, but meanwhile you can check out some pics from the recent Austin show (Obama bobblehead included) in this post. More below and many more at BV Austin.

Continue reading "Debbie Harry joined Arcade Fire at Coachella (setlist, video); Obama was introduced in Austin (pics)"

photos by Tim Griffin

Mac DeMarco / getting close with a fan @ Mohawk, 4/13/2014
Mac DeMarco, Juan Wauters, Que Pasa @ Mohawk - 4/13/2014
Mac DeMarco, Juan Wauters, Que Pasa @ Mohawk - 4/13/2014

Fans have come to expect messy, raucous live shows, and the first 10 rows are often getting crazy before Mac even hits the stage. "Sometimes I'll kiss my bass player just to get a little giggle out of everybody but people come to our shows and it's out of my hands, essentially." Here, mention must be made of the drumsticks-up-the-bum incident. It occurred onstage in Montreal in 2012 and is to DeMarco as biting the head off a bat is to Ozzy Osbourne: a signature story of outrageousness that's too good to ever die. There's footage of it somewhere, in a dark corner of the internet. Which his mother happened to see.

"She was just like, 'What the fuck?' and a couple of other members of my family were like, 'What's wrong with you?' They were more concerned and confused than angry. As soon as I called them and was like, 'Hey guys, it's OK, I'm not smoking meth or anything,' it was OK."

He adds, frowning: "I don't really know why it happened... My girlfriend told me everyone had been saying, [he puts on a sulky voice] 'Man, Mac's shows aren't crazy any more.' The shows before that had been drunken, crazy stupid spectacles. So it was a reactionary thing to, 'They think I can't be crazy any more!'" Further amends were made with the song Freaking Out The Neighbourhood ("Sorry mama," he sang sweetly, "there are times I get carried away..."). - [The Guardian]

After playing two sold-out shows in NYC, Canadian-born and current Bed-Stuy resident Mac DeMarco has been heading west on his tour with Captured Tracks labelmate Juan Wauters. The tour hit Austin last night (4/13) for a sold out show at Mohawk. He kept his clothes on but there was the usual crowd surfing and random makeout sessions that seem to happen at a lot at his shows. Pictures from all the shenanigans are in this post.

More pics, including ones of Juan Wauters and Austin openers Que Pasa, below...

Continue reading "Mac DeMarco played Austin with Juan Wauters (pics)"