Entries tagged with: Aaron Dessner
Megafaun at Ecstatic Music Fest in 2013 (more by David Andrako)
Megafaun kicked off their short tour in their hometown of Durham, NC last night (4/29) and it continues with another show there tonight (4/30) before hitting DC and finally wrapping up in NYC on Friday (5/2) at Baby's All Right. Opening the DC and NYC shows is, as Megafaun puts it, "a chance to see the legendary Grandma Sparrow," otherwise known as the solo project of Megafaun drummer Joe Westerlund. The band also mentioned earlier this month on Twitter, "This will be it again for a while on the 'ol Faun front. Anticipate some special guests and a very good time. We are real excited!" Baby's All Right mentioned the guests on Facebook too, saying "Friday will be a very special night with some very special guests. Please take our word for it and be here. You won't regret it." Keep in mind that Megafaun's list of past collaborators and friends is long and impressive. Before Megafaun they had a pre-Bon Iver band with Justin Vernon called DeYarmond Edison. Tickets for Friday's show are still available.
In related news, Megafaun members are some of the many people contributing to The National's forthcoming Grateful Dead tribute album. Phil Cook spoke to Jambands.com back in October:
We are also going to record with Justin [Vernon] and [The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner] on their Grateful Dead tribute. We are going to record out stuff at Justin's studio which is going to be a trip.The tribute will also feature members of Bon Iver, The War on Drugs, The Walkmen, Kurt Vile, Vampire Weekend and more. The National's Matt Berninger also gave an update on the project not long ago to Billboard:
I know the members of Megafaun have deep roots in the Phish world, but were the Grateful Dead an influence on you as well?
Not as much growing up but it has been a more recent thing. My dad was a big Deadhead and he'd take us all to Phish shows to kind of see where the scene was going. So I got into them through him but Phish was one of the bands that my brother and I grew up listening to at jazz camp. Growing up in a kind of removed area, camp and that music opened up our eyes to so many things.
Speaking of the Grateful Dead project, is the National doing a song for that?In other Megafaun news, related band Sylvan Esso just released a new video and announced they'll be playing a Governors Ball pre-party in NYC before their tour with tUnE-yArDs.
MB: Yes. And there's a huge debate over which one to do. They keep talking about "Box of Rain" for me. Something because of the register of the vocals. I'm staying out of it. It's [bassist Scott Devendorf and drummer Bryan Devendorf] that are probably the biggest Dead fans. There's constant emails going back and forth about what to do. They kind of kicked me out of the whole Dead project because I kinda don't know what I'm talking about. I've never followed the Dead much but those guys have become ... they're borderline experts on the Dead. It's a fun thing. Meeting Bob Weir and playing with him in San Francisco was surreal and awesome. I can't wait until that thing finally comes together.
Do you think the surviving members like Bob Weir and Phil Lesh would play on it?
MB: I think so. I don't know. That's a good question. I don't want to say "yes" but certainly Bob Weir ... we've done a couple things with him already and he's the nicest guy. All the surviving members are totally supportive of the project. They sent everybody box sets that we could pass around. They just opened up their entire catalog to us. They've been 100% behind it. I'm not sure who's signed up.
Updated Megafaun dates are listed, with videos (including one of Sharon Van Etten fronting Megafaun), below...
The National at Barclays Center in 2013 (more by Dana (distortion) Yavin)
The 24th Annual Tibet House US Benefit Concert happens on March 11 at Carnegie Hall, and since we last spoke, the lineup has been expanded. Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner join their previously announced bandmate Bryce Dessner (all of The National). Robert Randolph was added as a performer as well, Chuck Close, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard will be Honorary Chairpersons for the evening, and there will be a collaboration between UK poet Mike Garry and British composer Joe Duddell.
The new additions join the previously discussed lineup of Nico Muhly, Iggy Pop, New Order, Patti Smith, Techung, Joe Walsh, and artistic director Philip Glass. Tickets are still available.
UPDATE: The National also released "I Need My Girl" from 2013's Trouble Will Find Me as a single on iTunes today (2/4), and it comes backed with a cover of Perfume Genius' "Learning." You can stream that cover below.
The show happens in the midst of The National's extensive world tour, which currently has them over in Australia. Still no NYC dates for the full band at the moment, but the tour was just expanded (including Sasquatch). Updated dates are listed below...
photos by Chris La Putt
DOWNLOAD: Chelsea Light Moving - "Groovy & Linda" (MP3)
Sharon Van Etten @ Town Hall
Sharon Van Etten brought her tour through NYC for a hometown show at Town Hall on November 15, her biggest headlining date in the area yet. Though she unfortunately was not supported by Damien Jurado, who opened most of the tour, she treated her hometown fans to a special show without an opener, which instead saw Sharon playing two sets and an encore with a number of special guests. The guests, mostly past collaborators, included Jenn Wasner from Wye Oak, Peter Silberman from The Antlers, Brad Cook from Megafaun, Aaron Dessner (who produced her new album) from The National, Thurston Moore (and his band, Chelsea Light Moving), and her own father, who came out to cover "Barstool Blues" by Neil Young (who he is a fan of and it was his birthday, which is why Sharon chose that cover) during the encore. A special night for many reasons.
When Thurston Moore first came out, it was all the members of his band Chelsea Light Moving (Keith Wood, Samara Lubelski, and John Moloney) and all the members of Sharon's band, to play the CLM song, "Groovy and Linda," which you can download above and stream below.
Sharon is also presenting a show in NYC soon with She Keeps Bees and Speck Mountain, that she may or may not be performing at.
More pictures and the setlist from the show, below...
Sharon Van Etten at Bowery Ballroom in February (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Sharon Van Etten is on tour now and as discussed, that tour hits NYC on November 15 at Town Hall. At that show, Sharon will be joined on stage by a number of guests, including Thurston Moore, John Maloney, and a handful of her usual friends/collaborators Aaron Dessner (The National), Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak), Peter Silberman (The Antlers), and Brad Cook (Megafaun). Tickets for that show are still available.
In other news, Sharon is releasing a deluxe edition of her 2012 album, Tramp, on November 13 via Jagjaguwar with demo versions of every song on the album, a bonus demo of "Tell Me," a self portrait, and liner notes from Sharon's journal. Regarding the demos, Sharon just told RedEye, "I'm kind of excited about [the demos] because I'm always interested in hearing where people came from and how they progressed. I believe my songs are strong enough to stand on their own--even way back then when they were recorded badly and minimally."
A stream of the "Tell Me" demo and an updated list of dates are below...
photos by Tracy Allison
"Local Natives at Bowery Ballroom last night. New album is going to be fab! " - Theresa Montgomery
"New Local Natives material is sounding amazing. Get pumped for the new album. @ Bowery Ballroom" - John Verrochi
"Local Natives at Bowery Ballroom. New songs are more pastoral, but still anthemic." - B.Q. Nguyen
Finally the Local Natives took the stage and went straight into some new mind-blowing tracks. Their new stuff had a completely different feel from the first album. These songs were more brooding and intensely emotional. They had a slow build to them, which usually went from a quiet solo by Kelcey Ayer into that explosive three-part harmony for which the Local Natives have become so well known... Though I love the old materials, I was more impressed with the new and absolutely honored to be one of the first people to hear it performed live. [CMJ]Local Natives played a one-off Champion-sponsored CMJ show at Bowery Ballroom last night (10/17), for which they were announced as the secret headliner, two days earlier. Pictures are in this post. The band used the show to preview material off their new album which they announced today.
The new Aaron Dessner-produced album is called Hummingbird and will be out on January 29 via Frenchkiss/Infectious. A stream of the album's lead single, "Breakers," and the tracklist (including a song called "Bowery") are below. .
The band will be supporting the new record with a North American tour in 2013 which brings them back to Bowery Ballroom on February 2 and 3 and also hits Brooklyn for a Music Hall of Williamsburg show (2/1) a day earlier. Tickets for those shows are not on sale yet but check ticketmaster for updates. All dates, more pictures, the setlist from Bowery and new LP tracklist, below...
The Walkmen @ BAM
BAM's Bryce and Aaron Dessner-curated Crossing Brooklyn Ferry series/festival had its first night Thursday. It continues tonight/Friday with a lineup headlined by St. Vincent and The Antlers (and Saturday with Beirut and Atlas Sound).
Music kicked off at 5pm with early slots filled by indie-classical acts like yMusic and JACK Quartet. Composer-uke-player Jherek Bischoff started things out inside the Howard Gilman Opera House at 7pm, and his set featured guest spots from David Byrne and Amanda Palmer. Check out the pictures below.
The first band I saw was Twin Shadow, an act that always sounds a lot better to me on record than live (something about George Lewis Jr.'s voice and the intricacies of the production don't translate exactly on stage). A welcome special guest, the Blackfire Percussion, added drum corp percussion on a few of the songs.
Sharon Van Etten powered through a set that highlighted how much she's evolved since her early acoustic days. She offered a throwback to her Because I Was In Love debut with a solo version of "I Fold" dedicated to her parents. Aaron Dessner, who produced Tramp, played guitar on a few of the tracks. And Sharon tapped "Serpents" for the triumphant, soaring closer.
Sharon Van Etten @ BAM
The Walkmen navigated a set of new tunes and classics: in addition to putting out their sixth LP, Heaven, in June, this year marks the 10th-anniversary of their debut, Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone. Among the songs played were "Angela Surf City," "In the New Year," "Blue As Your Blood" and new tracks "Heaven," "Heartbreaker" and "Southern Heart." Hamilton, as always, stretched the limits of his voice to good effect, especially on the haunting A Hundred Miles Off track "All Hands and the Cook." The band closed with an encore of "We've Been Had," which they noted was the first song they wrote as a band.
Between those last two I ventured to the BAM Cafe to see Zs, playing as a duo and sounding completed different than the last time I saw them in July. Guitarist Ben Greenberg describes the change as "The old stuff was like an old Soviet tank driving down Main Street; the new stuff is like a spaceship landing on City Hall." The shift from angular guitar and skronking saxophone to whatever they do now was pretty evident in the small snippet that I caught. Greenberg's guitar laid dubby rhythms lines while Sam Hilmer's sax played melodies and riffs off in the distance. Hopefully they'll line up more shows soon. (As Hubble, Greenberg makes the NYC debut of that project's "quadraphonic Hubble Superposition set" tonight.)
After that I caught a few songs by Yellowbirds, hidden up in Cinema 3 and playing to a crowd of about 20 people (including Conrad Doucette). The Jonathan Richman-esque two-piece was a nice surprise to find soaked in the smell of movie-theater popcorn.
(People Get Ready and Heather Broderick played, and a program of short films screened, but I arrived too late to see them. And I only caught a snippet of Callers by skipping the end of Twin Shadow.)
One bummer about the schedule is that, with the exception of the extremely early classical sets, it's impossible to see more than a few minutes of the smaller bands without skipping the headlining acts. That scheduling, and the vague, unnecessary "Brooklyn" theme, are a bit puzzling, but all in all the fest is a good chance to see bands like the Walkmen and Sharon Van Etten in the gorgeous Howard Gilman Opera House, a space that's surprisingly intimate and cozy for its size (and having the first few rows of seats removed for the crowd to stand was a nice touch).
More pictures from Thursday below...
The National at Beacon Theater in 2011 (more by Toby Tenenbaum)
Doveman's Burgundy Stain Sessions at Le Poisson Rouge continue TONIGHT (4/13) with Aaron Dessner and Bryan Devendorf of The National, Julia Stone (of Angus and Julia Stone), Trixie Whitley, and more. Tickets for tonight's show, and for the next three, are still available.
In related news, Doveman collaborator and occasional Burgundy Stain Session player Dawn Landes also has a NYC show TONIGHT (4/13) at Mercury Lounge with Cheyenne Marie Mize and Donora. Tickets for tonight's show are still available. That same lineup also plays Cameo on Saturday (4/14). All Dawn Landes dates are listed below.
Doveman @ Le Poisson Rouge in 2011 (more by Toby Tenenbaum)
In more Doveman-related news, collaborator Glen Hansard is NOT currently on tour with Eddie Vedder, seeing as Vedder had to postpone the tour due to injury. Glen does have a new video for the track "Philander" off his upcoming Doveman (Thomas Bartlett)-produced solo album, Rhythm and Repose, which is due out June 19 via ANTI-. Check out that video below.
Meanwhile, Glen Hansard's Swell Season bandmate Marketa Irglova, who also contributed to his new album,
will be WILL NOT BE the musical guest at the Happy Ending Music & Reading Series at Joe's Pub on May 2.... UPDATE: Marketa has cancelled and the guest is Clare and the Reasons instead. Tickets for that show are on sale now.
Speaking of members of The National, Aaron Dessner and both Devendorf brothers recently joined The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir for a cover of Cass McCombs' "Love Thine Enemy" during a Bridge Sessions webcast. Meanwhile, Bryce Dessner joined Sufjan Stevens and Nico Muhly to perform a collaborative composition titled "Venus" with horn and string accompaniment at MusicNOW Festival in Cincinnati, OH. Videos of both of these performances are below.
All Dawn Landes dates and National-related videos below...
Remember that Dessner brother-curated festival, "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," which is happening at BAM from May 3-5? And remember how when we posted the National-curated ATP lineup we suggested (for obvious reasons) that it might hint at the BAM lineup? Well, the lineup is out now, and there are definitely some similarities to that, and also not surprisingly, to the ongoing Ecstatic Music Festival which is great at highlighting the growing mix between indie rock and indie classical that the Dessners are huge fans of and participants in.
The three day Brooklyn Academy of Music festival includes The Antlers, My Brightest Diamond (w/ yMusic), Sharon Van Etten, and Buke and Gase who are all playing ATP, in addition to The Walkmen, St. VIncent, Beirut, Atlas Sound, Tyondai Braxton (formerly of Battles), Oneohtrix Point Never, Caveman, Sinkane, Twin Shadow, Jherek Bischoff, Pat Mahoney and Nancy Whang (DFA DJ set), Ava Luna, and others which are all listed below. As mentioned, the fest also includes the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and the NOW Ensemble.
3-Day Festival Passes go on sale Monday (3/5) to friends of BAM and Tuesday (3/6) to the general public. More details and schedule at the Crossing Brooklyn Ferry website.
Full lineup below...
photos by David Andrako
Ecstatic Music Festival Day 3 -- 02/08/12
The 2012 Ecstatic Music Festival, which hosted Sxip Shirey and friends one night earlier, continued at Merkin Hall last night with performances by Richard Reed Parry (of the Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre), Son Lux (aka Ryan Lott), and yMusic, along with special guests Bryce and Aaron Dessner (of the National). As advertised, this happened:
"[Richard Reed Parry] takes on the role of composer, presenting a series of works for yMusic and its members utilizing the organic processes of the human body -- heartbeats and breathing -- to articulate the works' progress. Son Lux will likewise have his yMusic compositions (from their debut album, Beautiful Mechanical) performed, and will also present new arrangements from his album We Are Rising ("shamefully good," Seattle Post-Intelligencer), which used yMusic as source material for its electronic compositions. Parry and Lott will also each write new works that incorporate each other into the process, as vocalists, instrumentalists, or even as providers of source material for the new compositions.It was also "A New Sounds Live Presentation Hosted by WNYC's John Schaefer" which means it was streamed live and will be archived online if you mised it. and there are pictures in this post.
This Will Destroy You play the Ecstatic show tonight (2/9), or more specifically:
"The unique, "brilliant" (Boston Globe), self-conducted string orchestra A Far Cry joins forces with post-rock powerhouse This Will Destroy You and renowned composer Christopher Tignor, with his band, Slow Six, for an evening of music that is large-scale in every sense."Tickets are still on sale.
Pictures from last night with a video that was made before the show, below...
photos by David Andrako
Sxip Shirey & Angelica Negron @ Merkin Concert Hall - 2/7/2012
"The “mesmerizing” (New Yorker) multi-instrumentalist and composer Sxip Shirey (pictured) teams up with Angélica Negrón, composer of “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” (WQXR) music for an evening of fabulously eclectic and sonically wide-ranging collaboration. In addition to working together, they will be joined by a slate of special guests, including violinist/composer/Ableton master Todd Reynolds, guitar sound-architect Noveller (“simultaneously soothing and mind-wrecking,” NY Press), the wine-glass/guitar marvel Jonny Rodgers (“beautiful, fragile and consistently challenging,” New Haven Register). The teen alt-classical sensations Face the Music (“stunning,” “polished, exuberant,” New York Times) will give the world premiere of Angélica Negrón’s El Gran Caleidoscopio."That's the official description of the Ecstatic Music Festival show that took place at Merkin Concert Hall last night (2/8). Pictures are in this post. Pictures from the first show in the series, are HERE.
The festival continues tonight (2/8) at the same venue with the Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry along with Son Lux and yMusic. Bryce and Aaron Dessner of the National have also been announced as special guests on the show. Tickets are still available, and we're giving away a pair on Facebook.
More pictures from Tuesday's show, below...
Speaking of "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry", the Dessner brother-curated festival coming to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in May (May 3-5 to be exact), I have the names of a few people who will be part of it.
The Brooklyn Youth Chorus, who worked with the Dessners in 2011 (for a show at St. Ann's and an Ecstatic one at Merkin Concert Hall), will sing a major new work written for them by Bryce Dessner. The NOW Ensemble will perform Sarah Kirkland Snider's "Pale As Centuries", a work they premiered in October at the Miller Theatre as part of the SONiC Festival. That happens on May 5, 2012. The Brooklyn Youth Chorus date is TBD, but it will happen sometime within the fesival's three days in one of the "various venues in the Peter Jay Sharp Building."
Stay tuned for more lineup additions (including probably a bunch of indie rock ones). Tickets go on sale in March.
Tickets are on sale now for the National-curated ATP Fest happening in the UK in December. As previously mentioned, Sharon Van Etten, My Brightest Diamond, Wye Oak, Megafaun, The Antlers, Buke and Gase (FKA Buke and Gass), Lower Dens, Owen Pallett, Boris, Tim Hecker, Kronos Quartet, Suuns, and Dark Dark Dark are all playing that.
Meanwhile, NOW Ensemble plays with Dan Deacon in March as part of the 2012 Ecstatic Music Festival which begins this week. Listen to/watch a festival preview at the Greene Space even sooner.
The National at Beacon Theatre in 2011 (more by Toby Tenebaum)
Bryce and Aaron Dessner (of The National) are curating 'Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,' a music festival taking place in BAM's spaces from May 3 - 5. Each night will include a variety of NYC artists, film screenings, accompanying scores, and a late-night dance party. Lineup announcement coming soon and tickets go on sale in March.
Questlove is curating April 19 & 20 at the same Brooklyn venue:
Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the charismatic drummer and producer of the Grammy Award-winning hip-hop group The Roots, comes to BAM with an immersive musical experience. Enlisting a stellar lineup of artists, Questlove and musicians perform a free-flowing playlist--a kinetic mix of songs and sounds from unexpected musical bedfellows--that celebrates and reflects our current shuffle culture.That full lineup is also coming soon. Tickets will start at $25.
Jeff Mangum plays BAM this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Glen Hansard, Sharon Van Etten, a Dessner
Other Voices, an annual musical festival held in Dingle, Ireland, may not be nearly as old as the town's pubs, but it has already become a rich, meaningful tradition since its inception in 2002. Though typically held in a tiny church, Other Voices jumped across the Atlantic and landed in Le Poisson Rouge for a couple of nights this week with the help of Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman), Glen Hansard, and others--and it's all for a good cause! (All proceeds of the shows go to benefit Fighting Words, a writing center for children and youth in Dingle.)
"We don't know where we're going, we don't know where we'll be when we get there, and when we get back we probably won't know where we've been, so join us on this journey this evening," said Irish actor/writer Gabriel Byrne effectively introducing the event's pleasantly discursive nature. What unfolded over the course of the next three-and-a-half hours was a hearty round of poetry, prose, and music, much in the spirit of Doveman's monthly series, the Burgundy Stain Sessions.
Artist after artist shuffled onto the stage. Highlights included Glen Hansard's beautiful stories and songs, a newer piece by Thomas Bartlett (appropriately about the rain), a song or two from the talented folk singer Sam Amidon, a beautiful brand new piece written just yesterday by Bryce and Aaron Dessner that was inspired by the streets of Dingle, a couple of traditional songs by renowned Irish fiddler Martin Hayes, Joseph O'Connor's reading of an ode that creatively highlighted many of New York's music legends, and a surprise performance by Sharon Van Etten (and her sister Heather). The guests just kept coming. Bell X1 (who played a Smiths cover), Martha Wainwright, Jape, The Lost Brothers, Justin Vivian Bond, Nico Muhly; and from the Irish literary scene: Philip King, Roddy Doyle, Colum McCann, and Paul Muldoon. An unrecognizably shaggy Damien Rice even made a surprise appearance to play a couple of beautiful, completely unplugged and unaccompanied songs on his acoustic guitar.
The camaraderie in the air was thick. Though each artist had a chance to be in the spotlight, its loose structure allowed for one-of-a-kind impromptu collaborations. After a week of running around to catch ridiculously brief sets, often with compromised sound, it was a nice change to remain still and embrace a long, calming set as talent after talent humbly took to the stage. If you go tonight, just make sure to wear comfy shoes or arrive early to snag one of the few seats.
More pictures from the night below...
A Dessner smiles on Philadelphia (more by David Andrako)
Much like at Restoration Rocks over the weekend (which Talib Kweli wasn't too happy about), the artist-soon-to-be-formerly-known-as-Mos Def will team with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra for a show TONIGHT (10/12) at the World Financial Center at 7PM. As previously mentioned, the event is FREE. Check out some videos from Restoration Rocks below.
In related news, The National's Bryce and Aaron Dessner will participate in an upcoming performance at World Financial Center Winter Garden on 10/22, the world premiere of Bryce's St. Carolyn by the Sea
Under the direction of conductor George Manahan, the American Composers Orchestra will give the world premiere of "St. Carolyn by the Sea," ...who will be joined on electric guitar by his brother and bandmate Aaron Dessner. Showcasing some of the brightest young talent in the new-music firmament, the evening will also feature a world premieres by composers Paul Yeon Lee and Ryan Gallagher as well as New York premieres of music by Ruby Fulton, Andrew Norman, and Suzanne Farrin.Hopefully you can make it to the FREE show, but if not check out the audio stream at Q2 Music, "the online contemporary classical stream of WQXR".
Glen Hansard & Doveman @ Le Poisson Rouge (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Doveman's next edition of 'Burgundy Stain Sessions' at Le Poisson Rouge is this Friday night (9/23), and the listed special guests are: Chris Thile, Martha Wainwright, Trixie Whitley and Little Annie. Tickets for the collaborative evening of music are still on sale.
In October, on the 27th & 28th to be exact, 'Burgundy Stain Sessions' kick it up a notch with Other Voices NYC: A Celebration of Music & Literature. Scheduled to appear over the course of two nights at Le Poisson Rouge are: Glen Hansard (The Swell Season), Bryce & Aaron Dessner (The National), Doveman, Laurie Anderson, Sam Amidon, Bell X1, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Martin Hayes, Joseph O'Connor, and Colum McCann. Prestented in conjunction with Imagine Ireland with all proceeds going to FIGHTING WORDS Creative Writing Centre, tickets are on sale.
The National have six huge NYC shows coming up.
Martha has one big holiday show coming up with her brother Rufus, and one with Rufus even sooner as part of the The Fourth Annual Plant & Sing Festival in Shelter Island, NY.
Rufus's opera 'Prima Donna' happens at BAM in Feb. 2012. Tickets are on sale now.
Thirty minutes before showtime, the forecast wasn't looking good. What started as a small shower soon escalated into a near downpour, sending a patchwork of different colored umbrellas springing up at McCarren Park Friday night.
Then it happened: the event that nearly broke Twitter. It began with a low rumble that quickly rippled through the crowd. Then, "OH MY GOD! DOUBLE RAINBOW!" Within seconds, every smartphone was tracked on the sky, and cries of jubilation and cheap sarcasm rang out. If you think Sharon Van Etten is a tough act to follow, try a double rainbow. But Yellow Ostrich was up for trying.
Soon after the buzz died down, the newly signed Barsuk trio took the stage. Somehow despite all the weather-related chaos that had transpired over the past 30 minutes subsided just in time for the show. A Northside miracle.
Recorded, Yellow Ostrich is a fine-tuned, feel-good indie machine, but in a live setting, front man Alex Schaaf and company aren't afraid to let down their hair a bit. Sure, you still get the carefully looped harmonies - a delight to hear in the excellent "Whale" - but the music also takes on a more desperate and raucous tone, especially on new songs like "The Shake Down."
As I watched the stage transform for Sharon Van Etten's set, my excitement grew - especially when I spied Aaron Dessner of The National fiddling around with wires. "Hello, everybody. Thanks for bearing the rain," Van Etten said by way of introduction. She began her set with "Peace Signs."
With her honest lyrics and down-to-earth demeanor, and soul-soothing voice, Sharon Van Etten makes quick work of winning over the crowd. (I mean the woman dedicated a song to her dad in honor of Father's Day. How nice, right?)
As an added bonus, the last three songs of her set featured two additional musicians - Ben Lanz (on trombone) and Aaron Dessner (guitar) who is apparently producing Van Etten's next record.
Then, after a brief interlude from our sponsor, Zach Condon and company emerged to a round of applause that almost seemed more fitting for a Justin Bieber show than for Beirut.
Though Condon composed much of his newer music with a 17-piece mariachi band in mind, the six people on stage impressively flushed out the sound by constantly rotating through an assortment of instruments, including: French horn, tuba, drums, trombone, trumpet, accordion, and piano. But it was the ukulele - the crux to much of his earlier catalog - that seemed to garner the most applause.
After two short sets, it was nice to see Beirut take their time on stage. The band enthusiastically played through their set - no doubt inspired not only by the dedication of the rain-braving crowd but also by the stunning scenery in the distance. "It's nice to be playing for the Chrysler and the Empire State Building," Condon remarked. Of course with such a healthy play time (19 songs, by my count), they covered both the standards ("Postcards From Italy," "Elephant Gun," "Nantes," "Scenic World," and "Mount Wroclai" to name a few) and a handful of newer songs.
Though I was tempted to stay longer, if there was an encore, I didn't see it. After missing out on Seapony twice last week, I dashed out of the park and over to Pianos, where I made it in time to hear the last five songs from the delightful Seattle group. For the record, it was totally worth it.
More pictures from the Beirut show below...
Just when you thought Montreal was tapped out on its music talent, along comes Little Scream. Singer-songwriter Laurel Sprengelmeyer aka Little Scream (who bears a striking resemblance to a young Susan Sarandon), just finished up The Golden Record, her first studio album, co-produced by Richard Reed Parry of the Arcade Fire and Belle Orchestre.
The album was recorded in Montreal and New York, in the home studios of Parry and Aaron Dessner of the National. Both artists contributed to the album, with Parry playing on multiple tracks. Additional guest musicians include Mike Fueurstack (Snailhouse), Becky Foon (Silver M. Zion), Patty McGee (Stars) and Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Belle Orchestre).
The Golden Record (named after the 1977 Voyager space shuttle time capsule recording) is filled with stunning vocals and a beautiful use of reverb on songs such as "Your Radio." There are influences that span from the genre of folk on "Black Cloud," to the classical "Boatman." The heavy intro on "Cannons" bears the mark of Parry's work that can be heard in the Arcade Fire, but is unique at the same time. I was hooked right away with the soothing sounds of "Amahl," the album opener (a tribute to the Menotti opera that bears the same name), and the ballad that is "The Heron and the Fox."
There is good news for fans. Little Scream is on tour, playing this Saturday at the Pop Montreal Festival and the following Tuesday, 10/5, at Brooklyn's the Rock Shop. Tickets are still on sale for the Brooklyn show which is being headlined by Marnie Stern and also includes a set by the Forms.
LS is really excited to be playing the Pop Montreal Festival with Mary Margaret O'Hara, saying "she's kind of one of the reasons I play music." This set will also include guest musicians Becky Foon and Jess Robertson, and as previously noted, Doveman is also on that bill.
A limited run of CD's will be available at live shows, starting at the end of October. An official album release is slated for next spring. For a preview of The Golden Record, you can listen to new tunes at www.listn.to/littlescream and at her MySpace.
All tour dates and a Vincent Moon-directed Take Away Show, with pictures Ryan Muir took while that Take Away Show was being recorded at Pop Montreal last year, below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Collaborations were the order of the day on Big Ears' Saturday, March 27th schedule (day two). At 1pm, the 802 Tour - Nico Muhly, Thomas Bartlett (Doveman) and Sam Amidon with violist Nadia Sirota - performed songs written by each. The National's Dessner brothers and drummer Bryan Devendorf joined for a selection of full-band Doveman songs, and the finale was a clamoring, epic version of the folk song "The Two Sisters" arranged by Nico (part of the percussion included Nico combing Thomas's hair). Sam played his own set with help from Thomas one day earlier, and later Saturday night.
Before that, the day started with Andrew W.K.'s Q&A-heavy lecture at the Knoxville Museum of Art (he played a set of music the night before) and a Bang on a Can All-Stars set that included works by Dave Longstreth, both at noon. Dirty Projectors performed later in the day (3:45pm) at Tennessee Theatre on a bill that also included DJ/Rupture and William Basinski who went on at the same time as Liturgy (who played at the Big Ears Annex at 2pm and then again at Pilot Light at midnight).
Clogs took the stage at the Bijou Theater with guests as well. Rumors of a solo set by Sufjan Steven circulated, but he only played one of his own songs, "Barn Owl Night Killer," on piano. Clogs were also assisted by Shara Worden, Aaron Dessner and Calder Quartet. Matt Berninger was delayed en route to Knoxville, so he didn't make his duet on "Last Song," for which main Clog Padma Newsome filled in. That wasn't the actual last song - new-album closer "We Were Here" was, which featured Sufjan on vocals and banjo along with Shara Worden and guitar by Aaron Dessner. A similar show happened in Brooklyn a few days earlier.
The Saturday headliners - Vampire Weekend and Joanna Newsom - both played to sold out crowds (Vampire Weekend at the sprawling, ornate-adorned 1600 seat Tennessee Theater with opener Abe Vigoda). Joanna Newsom's set was opened by Fred Armisen aka Jens Hannemann, a master of "complicated drummer technique." Armisen also joined her set for one song to play awkward and out-of-place cowbell.
At the Tennessee, the night ended with Terry Riley's Autodreamagraphical Tales - music from Bang on a Can over Terry reading from his actual dreams (Eastern religion and weed popped up frequently) - and In C, led by BoaC's Evan Ziporyn and featuring the rest of Bang on a Can All-Stars as well as Calder Quartet, Clogs, Nico Muhly, Nadia Sirota, Gyan Riley, and Terry on voice. The open-ended song stretched to an hour, canceling out any chance to catch late night sets from Javelin and Gang Gang Dance. Gang Gang was stil going when I arrived, but the club shut down the power mid-song and flipped on the lights promptly at 3am, sending everyone home.
A recap of Friday is HERE. More pictures and videos from Saturday are below...
Olof Arnalds @ SXSW 2010 (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Chamber group Clogs played live (and spoke) on WNYC on Monday. You can listen at their site (and download it above).
Wednesday night (tonight, 3/24) is Clogs' record release show at The Bell House in Brooklyn. They've confirmed that Sufjan Stevens and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden (who also played with them on WNYC and was a special guest at the Regina Spektor show at Irving Plaza Tuesday night) will be their guests. Whether Sufjan will sing or not isn't 100% clear, but like Shara, he does sing on the new album.
The National's Padma Newsome and Bryce Dessner are permanent members of Clogs. Bryce's twin brother Aaron and the National's Matt Berninger aren't, but will also play with the group when they perform at the Big Ears Fest in Knoxville, Tennessee this weekend.
Full Big Ears schedule at their site.
With the new National record coming out, don't forget there's also a new Clogs record, The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton, out March 2nd on Brassland (cover art above). On that record, the band, headed by Padma Newsome and The National's Bryce Dessner, will be joined by vocalists Shara Worden, Matt Berninger and Sufjan Stevens (who is also a confirmed guest on the new National). Clogs just put out a pre-album EP titled Veil Waltz. They're also playing live including a Brooklyn show at the Bell House on March 24th. Tickets are on sale now.
Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond) recently headlined a show of her own at Bowery Ballroom one night before she made a special appearance for Haiti at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
More info on the new Clogs album and all dates below...
photos by Julieta Cervantes, words by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: The Long Count - Bull Run (feat. Kelley Deal) (MP3)
The Long Count premiered last night (10/28) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music while the Yankees were losing to the Phillies up in the Bronx. It's a risky piece - and not just because the pre-show epigraph was a radio broadcast of the last time the Yankees were swept in a World Series. The overarching "Creation" theme guides the piece's rise-collapse-rebuild structure, and its individual songs and their discrete musical worlds make each movement engaging and unexpected. Each part has its own center: At the beginning the band sounds like a chamber ensemble, with the two lead guitars playing in counterpoint. That transitions into a duet between twins Kim and Kelley Deal of the Breeders, whose smiles and lighthearted gait broke through any opening-night tension that might've been present. Their informality went against the general seated-show seriousness of the BAM Opera House. Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), in contrast, was in total performance-art mode, bouncing around lithely in a series of choreographed gestures and rotating costumes. The Deals sang muffled, overdriven harmonies, in their classic style, before splitting to take their own numbers. Kim's song in particular , "Time to play" it might be called, crested into a bass-less din like a staticy AM radio that filled the hall. (Kelley's, "Bull Run," you can hear above.)
While the Dessners sat (and rose at moments) on stage, they trusted the weight of their composed music to the assembled band. For the complexity of the piece, and the precision to which it was arranged, the tightness of the well-rehearsed and conductor-less band was remarkable. The middle of the piece is a series of instrumental arrangements that progress from relative order to menacing crescendo. To transition certain segments, Colin Stetson (on bass clarinet and bari sax) explodes through the hall with freefrom circular breathing figures. For these moments he's wholly alone.
A massive symmetrical backdrop of flowing abstract landscapes looms over the musicians and audience. The final piece, a Morricone-tinged number sung by Kim Deal, plays before a breezy, sun-burnt plain.
The show happens again at BAM on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are still available. More pictures from Wednesday below...
by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: Aaron Dessner - We Were Born (from the Long Count) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Long Count - Bull Run (feat. Kelley Deal) (MP3)
Twins! (the Dessners & the Deals)
The Long Count kicks off its three show engagement at BAM's Gilman Opera House tonight (10/28). Tickets are still available for the show, as well as for the Friday (10/30) and Saturday (10/31) performances.
The 70-minute music and multimedia piece, commissioned by BAM Next Wave Festival, is the work of Bryce and Aaron Dessner of the National and visual artist Matthew Ritchie. But they haven't been working alone. At every step of composing and arranging the Long Count over the past year, the brothers have tapped into their crew of skilled collaborators. The 12-piece orchestra that will be joining them on stage counts talents like NYC violist Nadia Sirota (who played last month's Archipelago series show), sax/bass clarinet player Colin Stetson, and Antony & the Johnsons' guitarist/violinist/conductor Rob Moose (who in particular assisted with some of the arranging duties).
As previously mentioned, the Breeders' Kim and Kelley Deal (twins) collaborated with the Dessners (also twins) on much of the music - they sing for nearly half of the show. Other vocal turns will be taken by the Nationals' Matt Berninger and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden.
All four singers play roles in the narrative of the Long Count, which takes its story from the Mayan creation myth of Popol Vuh. In that, multiple sets of twins (in the story and on stage) experience repeated cycles of life and death until giving birth to the world as we know it. The original tale ties in strongly with a ballgame played by its main characters - an element which the Dessners have woven in with their love of baseball, particularly Cincinnati Reds and the Big Red Machine.
Musically, the Long Count sections posted above, both from the show's work-in-progress performance at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on September 11th, showcase the piece's diversity. The first, "We Were Born," highlights the minimalist pedigree of the show, while "Bull Run" layers those elements with fearsome orchestral lines and extremely creepy vocals by Kelley Deal.
Paired with the spooky nature of Mathew Ritchie's animation (which you can preview here) the show looks to be a good Halloween night warm-up as any. In fact, the early Saturday night show has the most tickets available, and it follows a pre-show Q&A (ticketed separately) led by Brandon Stosuy (who's curating the Mount Eerie + metal show at Market Hotel later in the night).
Bryce generously answered some of our questions over the phone while in the last week of rehearsal (and in the hectic center of CMJ week). More photos from the production, and that interview, where he reveals the existence of an unreleased Christmas album he made with Sufjan, details on the new National record and more, below...
by Andrew Frisicano
DOWNLOAD: Aaron Dessner - We Were Born (from the Long Count) (MP3)
The Long CountThe MP3 above is the first musical glimpse at the above-described (and previously mentioned) Long Count project. The heavy minimalist influence on the track makes the role of those guest vocalists even more curious. Single tickets for the Long Count, and all the BAM Next Wave concerts, go on sale September 8th. A video trailer for the show, which falls on and around Halloween, is below. More Brooklyn Halloween show options HERE.
Oct 28, 30 & 31 at 8pm
Bryce Dessner, Aaron Dessner, and Matthew Ritchie
In an inspired collision of creative worlds, three inexhaustibly original artists--brothers Bryce Dessner and Aaron Dessner of indie rock royalty The National and omnivorous visual art phenomenon Matthew Ritchie--combine talents to create a song-filled myth about the beginning of time. A feast of images, instrumentals, and songs thick with primordial mystery, The Long Count pairs Ritchie's protean forms with a twelve-piece orchestra and the Dessners' gothic mix of electric and orchestral sounds.
Guest vocalists Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders [who are at the Bowery August 18th & 19th]), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), and Matt Berninger (The National) round out the line-up in this visionary collaboration between music and art.
Shara Worden has been keeping super busy and impressing Decemberists audiences across the country when she sings her part in the Hazards of Love production (and when she's doing Bob Dylan). Upcoming Decemberists dates include September 21st in Montclair, NJ.
The National recently played a set at All Points West in Jersey City.
Also below is a video from "a 20-minute animated and musical collaboration developed by Bryce Dessner and Matthew Ritchie" that premiered at the Kitchen in March (Sufjan Stevens played the harmonium), and trailers and music (!) for the other BAM Next Wave commissions including Imaginary City (the So Percussion show), Terra Nova (the DJ Spooky/ICE collaboration) and Meredith Monk's Songs of Ascension...
DOWNLOAD: Doveman - Hurricane (new MP3)
Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman) @ Dark Was the Night (more by Natasha Ryan)
The follow-up to Doveman's 2007 record, With My Left Hand I Raise the Dead, is on the way. That still-untitled album will come out on Brassland Records later this year. You can check out a BV-exclusive preview from that record, the especially upbeat (for Doveman) song "Hurricane," above.
Doveman will be performing his/their latest work (alongside the rest of his catalog and maybe some Footloose material) at his Thursday, June 18th show at (Le) Poisson Rouge in NYC. Tickets are still on sale, and we have two pairs to give away. More details on that below.
At LPR, Bartlett will be backed by long-time Doveman member Sam Amidon, who's also opening the show, and Aaron and Bryce Dessner and Bryan Devendorf of The National -- all of those musicians appear on the new record.
As usual, Doveman has been busy playing keys behind other performers. On June 14th and 15th, he played with Martha Wainwright in her "Songs of Edith Piaf" show. Those sets were recorded with producer Hal Wilner to be released as a live record.
This summer Bartlett will tour with Antony & the Johnsons in Europe. The National have summer dates too, and don't be surprised if Bartlett ends up making some of those gigs.
We talked to Aaron Dessner about his history with Doveman, the progress being made on the new National album and a forthcoming Dark Was the Night movie (and possible European dates). That exchange, and all tour dates, is below...
BAM has announced the schedule for the Next Wave Festival 2009, a series of fourteen new music, theater and dance pieces that'll run from September 15th to December 19th.
The lineup includes a number of awesome-looking BAM commissions and premieres.
Bryce Dessner & Aaron Dessner of The National (and Dark Was the Night fame) and Matthew Ritchie have put together a piece called The Long Count, to feature Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond, Decemberists) and Matt Berninger (The National) on vocals (Oct 28th-31st).
Imaginary City, a new 70-minute work by So Percussion, will be accompanied by video and take inspiration from the Italo Calvino novel of the same name (Oct 14th--17th). Meredith Monk will compose and perform in Songs of Ascension alongside her vocal ensemble and the Todd Reynolds String Quartet (Oct 21st--25th). (As a side note -- Reynolds and Monk both appeared, separately, at the Bang on a Can benefits at LPR on June 3rd.)
The program features a concert staging of the Philip Glass opera Kepler (Nov 18th, 20th, 21st). And, maybe in time for the first snow (...) a performance by DJ Spooky and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) of Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica, a piece "based around DJ Spooky's sound recordings in the Antarctic that explore the acoustic qualities of ice" (Dec 2, 4 & 5).
Most of the programs above will have an "Artist Talk" companion program, free to those with tickets to the event.
There's a couple ways to get tickets to the series. Friends of BAM will get the first stab at subscription packages, which let you pick a combo of shows to attend, on Monday, June 15th. Subscriptions for the general public go on sale Monday, June 22nd. Single ticket sales for Next Wave Festival starts Tuesday, September 8th (Aug 31st for Friends of BAM).
Full music lineup below...