August 26, 2014
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
The National / How to Dress Well / the scene
Earlier this month, we sent longtime BrooklynVegan contributor Dominick Mastrangelo to the 2014 Flow Festival in Helsinki, Finland. Here's his report and photos from Day 2...
Flow Festival Day 2 ended up leaning heavily toward American bands. It wasn't planned, but with The Horrors canceling a couple days earlier and some scheduling conflicts, it's just how it played out. And not that it was necessarily a bad thing. There's definitely something cool and pleasantly disjointing about seeing bands you've seen stateside in a time zone seven hours away.
But the day did start out with two really solid Finnish bands back to back: The electro-pop of Shivan Dragn and prog-rock instrumentalists - and Spencer Krug collaborators - Siinai.
With a bit of time to kill I venture to the Main Stage to see Les Ambassadeurs led by Salif Keita. The catchy Afro-pop of the ensemble provided an enjoyable, uplifting respite before a run of bands in quick succession.
I caught a brief bit of How To Dress Well. My first time seeing Tom Krell since Pitchfork in 2011 and I was struck by how intense his live set had become. A much more assured and visceral performance than before -- eschewing the string quartet he had with him at Pitchfork in favor of a more straightforward live performance.
From there it was over to the Blue Tent for Bill Callahan, one of the artists I was truly jazzed about seeing in Helsinki. Callahan always seems to come across as the coolest guy in the room and as great as his set was, I was disappointed that much of the crowd chose to talk during his set. (Apparently, this is not a problem exclusive to concerts and festivals in the States.) But I maneuvered to a spot close up where the attention was more rapt and mesmerized by Callahan's smooth bass-baritone and stayed for the entire set; the first band whose set I stayed from start to finish.
I managed to catch a few songs of Danish pop-songstress, MØ at the Black Tent. It was a high-energy set and Karen Ørsted was dressed appropriately in boxing trunks and black tank top, bouncing from stage to speakers and whipping the crowd into a frenzy as us photographers in the pit worked hard to keep up with her.
After a bit of a break, I ventured over to the Balloon 360 stage to see Marissa Nadler. The stage-in-the-round setup, where the sound seemingly comes from everywhere, was perfect for Nadler's haunting, airy songs. It was simply beautiful.
The Main Stage was the next stop for The National. I'd mentioned earlier how wonderfully disjointing it was to see bands across the pond and maybe the The National were more so than any of the American-based bands I saw on the weekend. My first National show was seeing them open for John Vanderslice at a tiny rock club in Denton, TX nearly ten years ago. I've seen them at various points since on their upward trajectory so it was only fitting that I see them headline a festival in Europe. From Denton to Helsinki in a decade.
I finished off my night back at the Balloon Stage for Poliça. Drummers Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu faced each other and singer Channy Leaneagh and bassist Chris Bierden took up opposing spots with producer Ryan Olson on the edge of the stage running production. It was hypnotic as the glow of the balloon and hazy LED lights provided dreamy ambiance for rhythmic drum beats and the effects-laden voice of Leaneagh. With Jamie xx performing in the Black Tent and French electronic mastermind Kavinsky in the Blue Tent at the same time as Poliça it was impossible to be everywhere, so I opted to stay outside under the cozy environs of the balloon.
The evening continued at a techno club where we drank cider and beer and danced to generally undanceable songs before spilling out into the brisk Helsinki night and heading to another summer-specific after party out at the water. There young locals were hanging out drinking and chatting in a mashup of languages: Finnish, German, French, English... Some opted for an early morning swim, stripping down and flinging themselves off the dock into the chill. Some drifting way, way out into the dark.
As I rolled up to my hotel in the early morning hours of Sunday, with the sky brightening in the east, I got that feeling you get when you're having an absolute blast somewhere that you don't call home.
I didn't want to leave.
by Andrew Sacher
The Ukiah Drag in Chicago in June (more by Milos Markicevic)
The Ukiah Drag are following their 7" from earlier this year with a full length, The Reaper's Quarters, on September 9 via Wharf Cat. The album was produced by Ben Greenberg (formerly of The Men, currently of Uniform and Hubble), and you can get a taste from two of its singles, "Her Royal Grip" and the just-released "Final Prayer," both excellent doses of psychedelic punk. "Her Royal Grip" moves from a garage rocker to a Doors-style trip, and "Final Prayer" is an eight-minute dirge of acid-soaked aggression not unlike Ukiah's past tourmates Destruction Unit. Stream them both below.
The Ukiah Drag will come to NYC to celebrate the new album with a release show on September 11 at Saint Vitus. It's a joint release party with Uniform, who celebrate their self titled 12" that day, and also features local punk bands Crazy Spirit and Survival, as well as local noise artist Nick Klein. Tickets are on sale now. Show flyer below. It's the only upcoming date for both The Ukiah Drag and Uniform at the moment.
by Klaus Kinski
still from 'Roger Waters: The Wall'
In a life that is nothing short of a cornucopia of self-designed regrets, two of my most robust regrets are not ponying up the admittedly exorbitant cash money to catch Roger Waters when he toured "The Wall" back in 2010 and 2012. I had friends all over the country emailing me saying "Dude, bro, you have to see this concert. Even the cheap seats are amazing. The staggering scale of this thing makes your seat assignment almost arbitrary. Dude." But I, one of Roger Waters' biggest fans, passed. And for that, I am forever regretful.
Luckily for deadbeats like me, Roger Waters and the tour's creative director Sean Evans have teamed up and produced a live concert film called "Roger Waters: The Wall" and it will be premiering at the Toronto Film Festival on September 6. The film was shot over the course of several tour dates and this live footage will be intercut with other dramatic and autobiographical footage including Waters' recent journey to see the grave of his grandfather, who was killed in WWI, and a trip to Italy to visit a WWII monument near the Anzio beaches on which his father's name is inscribed. Although it probably won't come close to the experience of seeing the tour (which grossed nearly a half a billion dollars) in person, it is sure to be a striking document of one of the most ambitious tours ever undertaken. Details on a worldwide release or a DVD/BluRay/Streaming release are unclear at the moment, but you can be sure that if it'll make money it'll be done.
In other Roger Waters news with a more local and aristocratic flavor, Roger Waters will be among a handful of performers set to delight dozens of 1%ers (the non biker kind) this Saturday (8/30) in the Hamptons at the Perfect Earth Project's Second Biennial Family Picnic and Concert. In addition to part-time Hamptons resident Roger Waters, other performers include Rufus Wainwright, GE Smith (SNL), The Persuasions, Teddy Thompson, and more. Tickets range from $250 to $10,000. Proceeds benefit PEP, an organization that "promotes toxin-free lawns and landscapes to protect human health and the environment." If that's not some bored rich person's idea of activism, I don't know what is. Maybe Roger'll play "Empty Spaces."
by Bill Pearis
Portland quartet The Shivas are set to release their fourth album, You Know What To Do, via K Recs on October 28. The album was recorded at Dub Narcotic Studios and mixed by Calvin Johnson and is indebted to early-'60s rock n' roll. We've got the premiere of the surfy "Mansion Girls" in this post.
The Shivas will be on tour this fall, playing two NYC shows: Cake Shop on October 15 and Palisades on October 16. No openers announced for those shows just yet. Stay tuned. All dates are listed, along with the new track stream, below...
Blonde Redhead's new album Barragán, their first in four years, is out next week (9/2) via Kobalt. The band have offered up a few tracks already but you can check out the whole thing now via NPR. Same day as the album's out, Blonde Redhead will play a release show at Rough Trade NYC. To get in you need to buy a copy of Barragán that day (store opens at 11AM) which will get you two wristbands for entrance to the show.
In addition to this very intimate gig, Blonde Redhead have three lrager NYC shows at the end of their fall tour. Updated dates are listed below...
by Andrew Sacher
You already know UK producer SOPHIE from the very catchy "Bipp," or maybe from his newest single, "Lemonade" / "Hard" (streaming below). He's now announced a collaborative project with A.G. Cook (of the PC Music label) which they're calling QT, and they've signed to XL Recordings for their first single, "Hey QT." This one's a maximalist pop jam, as much an earworm as "Bipp" is. Check it out below.
UPDATE: Apparently there's some mystery as to who QT is. It may actually be the singer that Sophie and A.G. Cook produced this song for. Pitchfork says that's her pictured above, and that Sophie and Cook call her "a sparkling future pop sensation."
SOPHIE will be going on a short US tour this year, which brings him back to NYC for a previously discussed appearance at Warm Up at MoMA PS1 on September 6. It's the last show in this year's series, and one of the best lineups of the summer with Yeezus contributor Evian Christ, UK rave-fueled IDMer Lone, the psychedelic Forest Swords, and a special guest TBA. Tickets are still available.
All SOPHIE dates are listed, with those song streams, below...
John Cooper Clarke
We recently mentioned that Miriam, the new recording project of Miriam Linna (Kicks fanzine writer, A-Bones drummer/singer, Norton Records co-founder, etc) released her debut album of garage rock/Phil Spector pop, Nobody's Baby, earlier this year on Norton and that she'll be opening for The Muffs at the NYC stop of their tour happening October 10 at The Bell House with Vivian Girls/Hole-related band Upset (tickets). Before that though, she'll play her first official NYC show ever (she's technically played here before) as Miriam on September 12 at Bowery Electric.
The show is with US punk legend Cheetah Chrome (of Dead Boys and Rocket from the Tombs) and legend in his own right, "bard of Salford" and UK "punk poet" John Cooper Clarke, whose work was likely exposed to a younger, larger audience when Arctic Monkeys used his lyrics on "I Wanna Be Yours" from last year's AM. Mad Juana are also on the bill and Billy Miller of Norton Records will DJ. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Two days later at the same venue (9/14), both Cheetah and John will appear at the Ramones 40th anniversary celebration (a different one than the one that happened earlier this month) with other punk legends such as Handsome Dick Manitoba (The Dictators), Walter Lure (Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers), Ivan Julian (Richard Hell & the Voidoids) and many others. Tickets for that show are on sale now and proceeds will benefit Love Hope Strength. Full lineup here.
John Cooper Clarke also has other US dates around that time including two more in NYC: September 15 at Bowery Poetry Club and September 21 at The Standard Hotel. All of his dates are listed below.
Cheetah also has other tour dates, including a solo acoustic set in NYC on September 11 at Niagara (112 Ave A), which is free. All of his dates are listed below as well.
Mozart's Sister, the solo project from Caila Thompson-Hannant (Think About Life, Shapes & Sizes), just released her debut, Being, via Paper Bag last month. A mix of mid-'90s dance and R&B influences, Calia definitely brings her own strong personality to the album. You can listen to the whole thing via Rdio and check out a video and track stream below.
Calia and her band are about to head out on a Canadian tour with PS I Love You (who were just in NYC this past weekend with Frog Eyes), wrapping up with shows at next month's Pop Montreal festival. After that, Mozart's Sister will be in NYC in October, playing The Studio @ Webster Hall on October 28. Tickets for that show are on sale now. That's just after CMJ, so perhaps Calia will be here for that as well? All current dates are listed, along with streams, below...
We've already posted "Across the Water" from cult folk legend Vashti Bunyan's gorgeous new (and final) album, Heartleap (due 10/6 via FatCat), and she's now shared another equally great single, "Holy Smoke."
Listen, with her list of upcoming UK tour dates, below...
by Andrew Sacher
Texas rockers Vetter Kids put out their debut EP earlier this year via Texas Is Funny Records, and now they're following it with another EP, Logan on October 14 via Texas Is Funny and Better Days Will Haunt You Records. We previously posted "Santa Fe, NM" from that first EP, which was a nice mix of grunge and post-hardcore, but the new single from Logan, "Chlorine Dream," leans significantly toward the latter. The vocals are way harsher this time around, and yelled over rapid-fire stoner rock. "Chlorine Dream" debuts in this post and can be streamed below.
Vetter Kids are also going on a tour which hits NYC for shows on September 3 at Palisades with Slonk Donkerson, Le Rug and Sativa Cult; and September 9 at The Flat with more TBA.
All dates are listed, with the new song stream, below...