Entries tagged with: Atlas Sound
I hate writing year-end lists, as might be obvious to many long-time BrooklynVegan readers. That said, I also like them. They help organize things, which is related to my problem though. I'm too unorganized and hectic to ever get around to making one! But this year a few of us (BrooklynVegan contributors) got together and decided to come up with a collective list of albums that we loved that we think most represented 2011 in BrooklynVegan land. Our indie rock-centric list purposely does not include metal (that's HERE) or hip hop (we should make a separate list). With that in mind, our top 26 albums of 2011, in alphabetical order, are listed (with some commentary and a list of honorable mentions too) below...
photos by Natasha Ryan
Atlas Sound @ Bowery Ballroom
Atlas Sound (aka Bradford Cox) played his annual winter shows in NYC this past weekend at The Bell House on Saturday (12/17) and Bowery Ballroom on Sunday (12/18) where he he played most of the recently released Parallax, a few older cuts and a Christmas song called "Artificial Snow."
NYCTaper was there and you can download the complete show at his site. He wrote:
What elevated this Bowery show above the rest was not just the final polish on a finished and released album, but the near flawless level of proficiency with which Bradford performed. The Parallax numbers (nine of the twelve songs were played) were stretched out and allowed to breath, while Bradford developed looping tracks that were faithful to the album's theme.--
Bradford recently gave us his list of his ten favorite albums of 2011 and 20 older songs that he's been into over the past year. Check that list out, along with more pics, videos, and the setlist from the Bowery Ballroom show, below...
By Bill Pearis
Parlovr at M for Montreal 2011
It's that time of year again, so let's sing it up real pretty. Are we all in the spirit? Better be, because there's a zillion holiday parties going on this weekend, including two thrown by this very blog you are currently reading. How these parties differ from the shows we go to the rest of the year? Only a Scrooge would ask such a question. But to answer it: there's maybe more strand lights. And some Christmas songs thrown in sparsely by DJs or as covers by the bands playing. And some snowflakey sweaters. Whatever you call it, there's lot of great music to go see this weekend. Here's some of it.
Montreal's Parlovr are visiting, playing two shows. Tonight (12/15) they play the Popgun Holiday Party at Glasslands and then tomorrow (12/16) at Mercury Lounge with Shout Out Louds offshoot thing Serenades.
I'm on record as being a fan of this trio who I most recently saw at this year's M for Montreal. I'm not sure any of their records have quite captured the band's live energy, which is why you should go see them. But the recorded version of my favorite song, "Hell/Heaven," comes pretty close. You can download it above. Live, there's lots of flying hair (via singer/guitarists Alex and Jeremy) and flying limbs (lanky drummer Louis) that fits well with Parlovr's spiky indie rock. The band have recorded a holiday track called "Spike the Eggnog" which judging from the video (you can watch below) the spiking involves something much stronger than whiskey.
The Popgun Holiday Party tonight looks to be a good time, with Bell and TWII-faves North Highlands playing as well. There's also a "+ Special Guest" listed as well, no idea who that might be but the Popgun folks usually don't throw around that phrase too lightly.
Tomorrow's show is with Serenades which is a Swedish super-duo consisting of Adam Olenius from Shout Out Louds and Markus Krunegård of Laakso. Their album Criminal Heaven is out next year in the U.S. and is chock-full of sparkling pop that seems aimed directly at the charts. It's slicker than Shout Out Louds (Laakso were pretty shiny, though they sang in Swedish) but still maintains that sharp melodic sense and shaggy, sad-eyed lyrical bent. You can download a track at the top of this post. Serenades also play tonight (12/15) at Knitting Factory.
There's also the Brooklyn Night Bazaar which runs tonight through Saturday. The enormous space (40,000 square feet!), the layout of which was based on the set of Lars Von Triers' Dogville (!!!), is a holiday shopping, eating, drinking and live music extravaganza as you have probably already heard. Tonight (12/15) is James Murphy DJing, along with Poolside, the Crystal Ark Party Machine and Midnight Magic. Saturday night (12/17) is The Hold Steady, Titus Andronicus and Wakey! Wakey!
Friday (12/16) is the BrooklynVegan Presents night with a SPIN Album of 2011 winners Fucked Up, plus Dom, Big Troubles, Caged Animals, and Radical Dads. Frankie Rose and myself will be spinning tunes before the bands start and between sets. And only $10, so that's only two bucks a band. What a bargain! Tickets will be available at the door too. I am DJing starting at 5PM, Frankie will be there from 6PM and bands start at 7PM, with Radical Dads up first. (Then Caged Animals, Big Troubles, Dom, and Fucked Up.) If you're coming, do make an effort to get there in time for them, they're awesome. As are all the bands on the bill I think. Shop, eat, rock out, eat and shop some more, rinse repeat. Say hi.
In addition to DJing our party tomorrow, Frankie Rose is also playing an acoustic set at Glasslands on Saturday (12/17) as part of a Jonathan Toubin benefit that also features Xray Eyeballs, K-Holes and The Stalkers. Frankie Rose's new album, Interstellar, is out in February and I think will surprise a lot of people. She is definitely out of the garage on this one, ditching the reverb and embracing synthesizers, jangly guitars and her inner pop star. Like a lot of folks this year, The Wake seems to be an influence. Fans of Craft Spells are gonna like it.
And to wrap up BV holiday party related items, Saturday's fest with Twin Sister, Widowspeak and Ava Luna is sold out! Hope you got tickets! If you're going, we're raffling off a load of cool prizes -- like every Domino release of 2011 -- with all proceeds benefiting Toys for Tots.
And last but not least we've got Atlas Sound here for two shows this weekend:The Bell House on Saturday (12/17, tickets still available) and Bowery Ballroom on Sunday (12/18, sold out). Andrew Sacher wrote about Atlas Sound's new album Paralax a few weeks ago which I'm gonna quote:
The flow of the album subtly works in the slower, more ambient cuts to space out the relatively high amount (for an Atlas Sound record) of pop standouts. Like many pop experimentalists before him, Bradford Cox has mastered the art of leaving his own weird touch on even the simplest tune. This comes across most strongly on "Mona Lisa," a re-recording of a track that appeared on his Bedroom Databank collection. The song is carried by the sort of upbeat acoustic guitar rock that Bowie experimented with on Hunky Dory, and Bradford sings with a fragile falsetto that brings to mind Lennon's "#9 Dream."I'll add that Parallax has a post-2AM vibe to it and some of Cox's best songs yet. It also reminds me, a bit, of Spoon too.
That's the big stuff. Some more picks, day-by-day, follow.
by Andrew Sacher
Atlas Sound at Creators Project in October (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
Bradford Cox released the latest effort under his Atlas Sound moniker, Parallax, on November 8 via 4AD. For someone who seemingly can't stop releasing songs, when Bradford puts out a proper full length, it always comes off as a cohesive piece of work and Parallax is his most focused album yet. It's got a similar overall feel to the dreamier direction Deerhunter took on 2010's excellent Halcyon Digest, but the material is so strong that it hardly sounds repetitive. The flow of the album subtly works in the slower, more ambient cuts to space out the relatively high amount (for an Atlas Sound record) of pop standouts. Like many pop experimentalists before him, Bradford has mastered the art of leaving his own weird touch on even the simplest tune. This comes across most strongly on "Mona Lisa," a re-recording of a track that appeared on his Bedroom Databank collection. The song is carried by the sort of upbeat acoustic guitar rock that Bowie experimented with on Hunky Dory, and Bradford sings with a fragile falsetto that brings to mind Lennon's "#9 Dream." You can stream the entire Parallax album on Spotify and purchase it at the 4AD webstore. You can also grab two MP3s from the album above.
As mentioned, Atlas Sound will be playing in NYC this winter, like he has been doing for the past few years. Earlier today, we mentioned the 12/17 Bell House show, which tickets are on sale for. It has since been announced that another show is happening on December 18 at Bowery Ballroom, which is good news for those who plan on attending our BV Holiday Party with Twin Sister, Widowspeak, and Ava Luna on 12/17 at Bowery Ballroom (tickets). Both Atlas Sound shows are with Balkans. Tickets for the Bowery Ballroom show go on sale Friday (11/25) at noon.
Like he did in years past, Bradford Cox aka Atlas Sound will play a winter show in NYC, or more specifically at the Bell House in Brooklyn (on December 17th). Balkans open this year's show and tickets are on sale.
UPDATE: 2nd Atlas Sound show announced
Fucked Up @ House of Vans in July (more by Harriet Roberts)
today in NYC
* Whiplash @ UCB
* Brain Cloud @ Barbes
* Chicha Libre @ Barbes
* David Bazan, Golden Bloom @ Maxwell's
* John Hodgman @ Barnes & Noble Union Square
* Youth Lagoon, Young Magic @ Mercury Lounge
* Buddy Guy @ B.B. King Blues Club and Grill
* Fucked Up, Titus Andronicus @ Le Poisson Rouge
* Karl Berger's Stone Workshop Orchestra @ The Stone
* Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds @ Beacon Theatre
* Reverend Vince Anderson & His Love Choir @ Union Pool
* Russian Circles, Deafheaven, The Men @ Bowery Ballroom
* Field Theory, Memphibians, Wojcik, Randi Russo @ Death By Audio
* Gross Relations, Hard Nips, Omega Express, Jewel Heist @ Saint Vitus
* Prospector, The Wicked Tomorrow, Slothpop, The Counselors @ Cake Shop
* Foo Fighters, Social Distortion, The Joy Formidable @ Prudential Center
* Jim Campilongo Electric Trio with Stephan Crump, Tony Mason @ Living Room
* Hot Tub w/ Kurt & Kristen w/ Eliza Skinner, Ben Lerman, Ted Alexandro @ Littlefield
Fucked Up perform "David Comes to Life" at LPR tonight, and then again tomorrow at Warsaw. Titus Andronicus open both shows.
Check out a video of Atlas Sound performing at the Ace Hotel for KEXP during CMJ, below...
DOWNLOAD: Altered Zones - Te Amo (MP3)
Atlas Sound @ Creators Project (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
"We are thrilled to announce today that Atlas Sound has joined the lineup of our event this Saturday at New Museum! More information, as well as set times, will be revealed Friday." - Altered Zones
photos by Dominick Mastrangelo, Justice shots by Bryan Derballa
As we were saying, the Creators Project takeover of DUMBO went down this past weekend. Here is a second set of pictures from Saturday, now with Justice, Florence & the Machine, and more. They continue below...
words & photos by BBG
Hopefully, there weren't masses that headed to DUMBO on Saturday (10/15) expecting a few Mozz-a-repa stands, a sausage & pepper cart, and a dealer selling his collection of "tobacco" pipes while looking for the live music. The Creators Project had much more to offer. It celebrated the different facets of creativity within art, music, and theater while showcasing live music alongside interactive sculpture to create a wholly different "festival" environment.
The musical portion was limited to two live stages and a third "DJ" stage which also housed a few exhibits. One live stage was located under an archway beneath the Manhattan Bridge. The other was in the "Tobacco Warehouse", a brick structure that has also hosted the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. The shows were free, though you needed to RSVP (and even then you needed a confirmation that you were accepted).
I kicked off my afternoon at the Tobacco Warehouse stage with Teen Daze whose laptop knob-twiddling didn't make for much of a live event. After a few songs I moved on to my first band of the day, Brooklyn's Chairlift. Caroline Polachek is the clear focus of the band's sound, with her vocals pushed to the front and the electronic-pop complementing her lilting voice. Their sunny and simple compositions were sugar-y, well executed and a good way to ease into the day, but not particularly memorable. The next performance would bring about an abrupt change.
No one outcrazys John Maus. After the crew cleared the stage of seemingly every piece of gear, the very unassuming Maus came on to plug his Roland SP-404 sampler into the DI and his microphone into an echo pedal. With the hit of his sampler, Maus kicked off his set by bouncing left and right and jumping around. Veins bulged in his neck and face as he began to scream, sing, whimper and all but cry into his microphone during his vocal parts. Even if I had no interest in his recorded material (which I do, and tons of it), I would, as I'm sure any passerby would, still find the maniacal John Maus live (almost freak) show absolutely enthralling. Catch him again this week at 285 Kent.
After 3+ songs from Clams Casino on the laptop which was about as exciting as it sounds (dramatic key-stroke!), A$AP Rocky opened his set by explaining that people are saying he is the "biggest thing to hip hop since the Wu-Tang Clan". I'd like to meet these people. Regardless of how over/correctly hyped A$AP is, he and his crew (which included an appearance from Spaceghostpurrp) were particularly high energy - stage-diving, inciting mosh-pits, and hopping around on stage. The crowd didn't move with the same enthusiasm though. Despite calls for more participation, the crew didn't ignite similar energy in the crowd.
After a visit to see Four Tet (another knob-twiddling set), I cruised over to see Bradford Cox do a one-man Atlas Sound. I prefer Atlas Sound in full band mode to Bradford solo, but his set was fresh change to the mostly electronic vibe of the day. Cox's voice coupled with the Bridge backdrop and the Manhattan skyline was particularly impressive.
It had been around 14 years since I saw Company Flow on tour with Organized Konfusion, the former celebrating their seminal Funcrusher Plus and the latter promoting what may be their final effort, The Equinox. That summer in 1997, Co-Flow sounded so alien to everything else in the era; primitive, noisy beats made with crude synths and harsh scratches were complemented by abstract and double-time rhymes. Lead by a white redhead-ed MC (a rarity in the era), Company Flow was truly unique in their time.
Company Flow were massive to me in that certain, early-backpacker Rawkus era, the blast-off point for El-P's noisy and dystopian blueprint at Definitive Jux. So it pains me to say that the primitive Company Flow sound hasn't aged so well live; El-P still has a good stage presence as always, but unfortunately the rawness of the tracks just now come across as simplistic in comparison to his sleeker production. It was good to see the crew though, and with Pharoahe Monch in tow, much like that night in DC in 1997.
After Co-Flow, I caught a bit of Florence & The Machine before calling it an evening meaning I also missed the abbreviated Justice DJ set. Though cops shut down Jusice early and a vocal minority of DUMBO residents complained about the takeover of their neighborhood streets, the complaints were minor leagues compared to the impressive spectacle that descended on art galleries, parks, storefronts, and even an archway underneath the Manhattan Bridge.
We're splitting this into multiple parts, so stay tuned for the rest. Meanwhile, more pictures of everything I saw, below...
Zola Jesus at Pitchfork Fest (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
On October 19, Zola Jesus, We Are Augustines, Portugal. The Man, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah will perform during the day with "Matador, 4AD, and Rough Trade DJs" at night. On October 20, there will be performances by Widowspeak, Givers(who opens for Portugal. The Man at Webster Hall), Dum Dum Girls (who also plays Bowery Ballroom), and The Lonely Forest, and DJ sets by Acephale Records and RVNG INTL. On October 21, there will be performances by WATERS (who has other CMJ shows), EMA (who has two other CMJ shows), Atlas Sound, and one more TBA, and DJ sets by Group Tightener and Merge Records. You can just show up and watch, or else tune into KEXP to listen on those days.
Full CMJ KEXP schedule below...
The Creators Project will return to New York from October 15 - October 16 by transforming the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn into a colossal two-day arts and technology festival.Except for Karen O at St Ann's, it's all free with RSVP.
After spending the year traveling the world, VICE and Intel's The Creators Project lands back in New York with a marquee lineup of live performances and original Studio works by groundbreaking artists, musicians, designers and filmmakers.
This year's festival will take to the streets of DUMBO, Brooklyn, erecting 30-foot sculptures, showcasing works from over thirty leading international artists, and featuring dozens of live music performances. The event will also include the world premiere of Karen O's psycho-opera, Stop The Virgens, along with film screenings and panels.
Original artworks include Life on Mars Revisited, an immersive short film of David Bowie's classic space-rock anthem from legendary music photographer Mick Rock and filmmaker Barney Clay; 'A Physical Manifestation of Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space,' a cathedral-like physical manifestation of the song created by Spiritualized's J. Spaceman and acclaimed film director Jonathan Glazer; and Origin, a striking thirty by thirty foot audiovisual installation by UVA and composer Scanner, which will be the largest responsive work ever created by the UK based artists.
The festival runs:
Lineup, venue list, etc, below...
DOWNLOAD: SBTRKT - "Wildfire" (Drumma Boy remix ft. Shabazz Palaces) (MP3)
Back in June, we announced the killer initial lineup for Moogfest 2011 (October 28, 29, 30). That lineup just got even better with additions including TV on the Radio, Special Disco Version featuring James Murphy and Pat Mahoney, St. Vincent, SBTRKT, Flying Lotus, YACHT, John Maus, Araabmuzik Baths, Zomby, Active Child and more. It was also announced that Brian Eno, part of the initial lineup, will be presenting Brian Eno's 77 Million Paintings and "Illustrated Talks" as part of this year's fest.
The initial announcement also included Suicide, Tangerine Dream, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Austra, M83, Little Dragon, Passion Pit, Toro y Moi, Moby (full band), The Flaming Lips, Battles, CANT, Brandt Brauer Frick (who will be on a US tour that hits Glasslands), and more.
Speaking of CANT (aka Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear), he revealed the song "Believe" from his upcoming debut LP yesterday. Stream the track below. The album comes out September 13 on Chris' own Terrible Records. He's also got an upcoming tour surrounding Moogfest which includes a show on October 25 at Bowery Ballroom. Tickets are still on sale.
Speaking of SBTRKT and Little Dragon, Drumma Boy remixed the SBTRKT song with Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano on lead vocals. Shabazz Palaces is also featured on the remix (compare that to Drake's version). Grab the track above via Gorilla vs Bear. Shabazz wrote on Facebook today, "Besides the release of Black Up, I don't think I've seen one article on here create such a surge of activity as this Wildfire Remix has. Amazing."
Sampha, who sings live with SBTRKT and on his album, also recently released his own song, "Indecision." Stream the track below. Moogfest is one of the stops on SBTRKT's recently announced US tour that also hits Bowery Ballroom on October 31 (with Araabmuzik) and Music Hall of Williamsburg on November 1. Tickets for both shows are still on sale.
Little Dragon plays a BV-presented Record Release show at Music Hall of WIlliamsburg TONIGHT (8/16). The show is sold out, but if you don't have tickets you can catch them in NYC again on their headlining tour which hits Terminal 5 on October 14. Tickets are still on sale.
Song streams and full Moogfest lineup below...
Atlas Sound in a church
Northside Festival got off to a sweaty start yesterday, but luckily, the weather held out. I don't think I'm alone in saying that last night may have been the most stacked. Forget a slow build-up. It was 8:00, and there were already at least three places I really wanted to be, but I decided to go with Atlas Sound. I mean it was at St. Cecilia's, so it got extra points.
"I think this is the first time I've been in a church," one guy said tentatively to his friend before the show started. With its stained glass windows, carefully carved decorations, shiny chandeliers, and beautiful pews, it was a sight to behold.
The setting couldn't have been more fitting for the opening act, Lichens. The set got off to a slow start - seven solid minutes of a monotone buzz, but it soon started to build with every passing minute as Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe added more to the mix, including some otherworldly vocals. The natural reverb of the space further complimented his sound.
After about playing for about thirty minutes straight, he stopped as suddenly as he had begun, and another one-man act, Adam Forkner (aka White Rainbow), took his place behind a folding table and began to fiddle with a series of knobs and pedals. Forkner, too, carefully looped his music together, but for him, the music was more to entertain - not to bring about a religious experience. With the addition of some bass in the mix, it was just enough to get two people near the front to stand up in their pews and start dancing. (I smell a Craigslist missed connection in the making.)
Up next was yet another one-man act, Atlas Sound. In his red button up shirt and high-wasted khaki pants, Bradford Cox was dressed for the occasion. The majority of his set comprised brand new songs (for which he apologized, saying he had forgotten how the other ones go), but he did at least slip in a few older ones, including "Shelia." It's only a matter of time before Cox starts to make up songs on the spot for each show (as he joked he was doing at the Brooklyn show).
Unfortunately, though the atmosphere was ornate, I didn't love the sound quality. (Or maybe I'm just spoiled from hearing him play at the Bell House.) At times, the guitar took on this jarring quality as it pierced through the otherwise dreamy mix, but the crowd didn't seem to mind too much (Andrew liked it). A number of people left their seats in the back and filled in the space in between the pews as the show went on.
After a brief encore, Bradford Cox delivered something of a benediction to the crowd, and turned everyone loose to dash to the next show - for me, it was off to a sticky hot Bruar Falls (as per Bill's recommendation) for a bit of jangly pop, courtesy of Reading Rainbow and Eternal Summers. It was still early after all.
by Andrew Sacher
Atlas Sound at SXSW (more by Chris Gersbeck)
Atlas Sound played St. Cecilia's Church last night (6/16) with support from Lichens and White Rainbow. If half hour drone sets are your thing, you may enjoy catching Lichens again at Zebulon on June 22 with Soft Circle and Urxed. And if you're into similar sounds, but with more hip hop beats, White Rainbow plays again tonight (6/17) at the Impose Magazine & Weird Magic show at 285 Kent Ave. The bill also includes Laurel Halo, La Big Vic, Co La (who aren't playing Death By Audio), and others. There will also be DJ sets by Brian DeGraw (Gang Gang Dance), DJ Azizaman, and Weird Magic DJs.
Atlas Sound, which was Bradford Cox with mic, guitar and effect pedals, played a great set last night with a ton of new songs (Bradford said he didn't really remember how to play most of his old ones). A full review and pics of this show coming soon.
Updated Deerhunter dates below...
Deerhunter at Webster Hall in 2010 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
So far Bradford Cox has limited his his summer show announcements, with both Atlas Sound and Deerhunter, to shows that end in "fest" or "Festival", until now. Deerhunter will play Webster Hall on August 22nd. Tickets for the NYC show go on AmEx presale at noon on 5/18 and regular sale on Friday.
As previously announced, Atlas Sound has an upcoming show that is part of Brooklyn's Northside Festival. Bradford will play St. Cecelia's on 6/17 as part of the fest and tickets are still available or you can try and use your Northside badge.
All Deerhunter dates below...
In their own words:
Northside Festival is thrilled to announce special series of shows in beautiful St. Cecilia's church in Greenpoint.And the shows are:
St. Cecilia's is one of the most beautiful and vital churches in Brooklyn. We are excited to be working with this community institution and proud to say that St. Cecilia's will be an important part of Northside.
There will be four shows taking place at the most spectacular venue imaginable.
words & photos by Chris Gersbeck
!!! @ the BrooklynVegan/MFM Day Party Saturday
By the time Saturday rolled around in Austin, I was admittedly starting to tire of the massive crowd that had been occupying 6th Street since I arrived on Tuesday. That didn't stop me from hitting up as much live music as I could in that final day though. Thanks to an insane amount of free day parties, this was a relatively easy task, albeit an exhausting one.
To start things off, Jonny Corndawg (who has a Brooklyn Bowl residency coming up) was playing a Fiji Water-sponsored, artist-only brunch in the upstairs of Barbarella where the BrooklynVegan/M For Montreal Day party was happpening downstairs (with !!!, Trail of Dead & more). Though I've seen Corndawg several times before, it goes without saying that he's an entertaining performer/songwriter, and his intimate set was well received by the early morning brunch-eating fans.
After that I jetted downstairs to the outside Barbarella stage to catch one of the weirder performances I'd seen all week. Misteur Valaire, a five piece Canadian dance-punk outfit energetically jumped around stage, switching instruments on nearly every song, and often breaking out into choreographed dance sequences. To say it was odd is an understatement, but nonetheless I had a smile on my face the entire time. It was also a great way to embrace us for the crazy dance party that ensued when !!! (chk-chk-chk) took the stage next.
Nic Offer, easily the greatest short-shorts wearing frontman in indie rock, made no hesitation in getting the increasingly packed outdoor crowd dancing for !!!'s set. Though he did express his dismay of there being a couch on the dance floor (yes, for some reason there was a couch in the middle of the dance floor), Offer used it as a prop to jump into the middle of the crowd several times. And their tribute to the late Nate Dogg, a cover of "Get Up", was a great way to conclude their set.
Up next on the Barbarella outdoor stage was Austin's own Trail of Dead, who initially suffered from sound/equipment problems, but eventually got it together to play a pulverizing set to the still packed outdoor stage. Though short in length, it was in no way short on enthusiasm, and Trail of Dead blasted through their set as they flung themselves around on stage. Bassist Autry Fulbright III even broke a bass string towards the end of their ecstatic concluding song, a feat I've rarely seen accomplished.
After an ill-fated trip to the free Mess With Texas party where I hoped to catch the Dead Milkmen and Odd Future (the location was so dusty and packed it was unbearable), I was able to make it into the official Red Ryder SXSW showcase at the Central Presbyterian Church on 8th Street in time to witness a jaw dropping performance from Sharon Van Etten.
Sharon Van Etten @ the Red Ryder SXSW showcase
Van Etten was one of the more talked about performers of the entire SXSW festival, and I couldn't have been happier to catch her set after missing her at the BrooklynVegan showcase earlier in the week. The church made for absolutely breathtaking acoustics. Members of Wye Oak and TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone watched from the balcony. I cannot stress it enough, do not miss her upcoming show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 16th.
Portland, Oregon super-sized group Typhoon followed Sharon Van Etten, and though that may have been the problem, it was also a reminder that often less is more. Not to say they didn't put on a heartfelt performance, or that the massive church setting wasn't perfect for their big, full sound, but their enthusiasm at times came off as a bit much. Though if you're a fan of the Polyphonic Spree or We're From Barcelona, Typhoon is likely right up your alley.
After catching them at the Bowery Ballroom the week prior, I was definitely excited to see the Rural Alberta Advantage again. They didn't disappoint. Stating that they played the same venue at SXSW in 2009, keyboardist Amy Cole expressed a slight feeling of déjà vu, but said they were happy to be performing in such a space for a second time. What was apparently a repeat of that '09 performance, the band returned for an encore of a stripped down performance of their song "Good Night" surrounded by the crowd, completely un-mic'd and unplugged. It was an entrancing and honest moment from the Canadian band, and a perfect way to end a long, long week of live music where I also caught sets by The Kills and Atlas Sound.
Pictures from everything mentioned above, below...
DOWNLOAD: Crystal Stilts - Practically Immaculate (MP3)
"The Black Angels and Reverberation Appreciation Society are happy to announce the dates, location and initial lineup for Austin Psych Fest 4. The 4th annual festival will be held at The East Side Drive In, an outside venue in the heart of downtown from April 29 - May 1, 2011. Spanning the full range of the psych sounds, the festival honors the past while also magnifying the modern vanguard of mind-expanding music. The festival grounds will feature a multi-stage setup and wide-open spaces for you to stretch out and enjoy live performances from these bands and many more to be announced."Grab the free new Crystal Stilts holiday track above. Check out the Psych Fest lineup below...
Ornate blue and white paper snowflakes dangled from the ceiling of the Bell House on Saturday night (12/11), announcing the unofficial onset of winter and appropriately setting the stage for the sparse, introspective music of Atlas Sound. Following Lyonnais' early performance (which I inadvertently missed), Bradford Cox walked on stage alone and began with a bit of an awkward intro. "How you doing? Can you guys hear this?" He took a seat on the stool. "Oh, it's soft," he admitted with surprise. He hadn't even begun to play, but he already held the audience's full attention. With a harmonica strapped around his neck and a guitar in his lap, Cox kicked off his show with a string of newer songs, beginning with the excellent "Terrarium."
After a few songs, Cox addressed the crowd, his voice comically laden with reverb. "It's great to be here," he began. "I figure [he reached to turn off the effect] I figure I came here in the winter last time and played and had such a good time. Why not repeat the experience? I really like this place a lot. The people are awesome, and I really like the sound. And I think I'm going to come here every year. In the wintertime.... like a Christmas tradition... or Hanukkah tradition...or Kwanzaa - whatever it is you choose. A holiday tradition. What do you think?" The crowd cheered enthusiastically in response.
Though Cox played a few songs from his studio recordings (like "Shelia" and a toned down version of "Walkabout"), much of his set contained songs he self-released on his website in recent weeks. "I hope some of you have heard these," Cox announced mid set. "I got off tour with Deerhunter, and I went home and didn't have anything to do. I started feeling pretty wild. Like cabin fever, you know? I watched two seasons of Law and Order: Criminal Intent in like 52 hours, and I wasn't returning phone calls. It was dark. So I got out my little recording machine and made some recordings and then I decided to play them."
As per usual, the lyrics in Cox's new repertoire were often on the bleak side, making them well-suited for the winter show format. But to counteract the foreboding sense of gloom that pervaded his lyrics, Cox warmly interacted with the cordial, sold-out audience throughout the evening.
After capping off his set with a few longer, more meandering songs, Cox thanked the crowd and announced that there was another event scheduled, so he had to wrap up his set. As he walked off stage, the lights to the venue came back on, but it wasn't enough to deter the crowd from cheering for an encore. Cox soon returned with a big grin plastered on his face.
"I'll remember this. That was a nice feeling. I really didn't think I'd have time, then they told me to come back." He fumbled around for a moment, trying to figure out what to play. "Would anyone be mad if I played 'The Screens'? You guys are actually making me nervous. You're so nice." "You're nicer!" came a gruff male voice in response. Cox began to play the harmonica, then stopped abruptly to shake the spit from it. "Let's see if I can't fuck this up."
Despite his low estimation of his talent (or perhaps because of it?), his brief encore was the perfect end to the evening, and I eagerly await next year's winter show, as promised.
Atlas Sound also played Maxwell's in Hoboken one night earlier. The approximate setlist from The Bell House and a video from the show, below...
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Violens - Acid Reign (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Violens - Violent Sensation Descends (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fergus & Geronimo - Powerful Lovin' (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Warm Ghost - Open the Wormhole In Your Heart (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Weed Hounds - Beach Bummed 7" (ZIP)
DOWNLOAD: Acylics - Nightwatch (MP3)
We'll start of this week with a giveaway. Violens play Santos this Saturday and if you'd like to win a pair of tickets to the show as well as a copy of the band's new album, Amoral, just send an email to BVCONTESTS@HOTMAIL.COM with "VIOLENS" as the subject and we'll pick a winner at random.
I think Violens' debut is a pretty sweet slice of glossy goth pop, heavily in debt to bombastic '80s UK mope but with a modern sheen. If it's out-of-step with what's currently in favor in Brooklyn, it's all the more distinctive for it. It also sounds really good loud. Amoral may hold up pretty well down the line, too, as songs like "Violent Sensation Descends," "Acid Reign" (both downloadable above) and "The Dawn Of Your Happiness Is Rising" are cleverly-produced and catchy-as-hell.
What else is going on this week? MOJO Album of 2010 recipient John Grant plays two shows this week: an early show tonight (12/8) at Mercury Lounge and then Saturday (12/11) at The Rock Shop. If you haven't checked out the former Czars frontman's solo debut -- produced and backed by Midlake -- you should really do so. From MOJO's year-end review:
[Midlake]'s intervention supplied confidence, empathy and a meticulous '70s soft rock sound, allowing Grant to channel a life's worth of vitriol and self-flagellation into songs of spiritual hunger, emotional fireworks and bile-black humour that always searched for self-improvement and atonement. Here were tales of alcohol and cocaine dependency, self-hate and destructive love affairs that raised the twin ghosts of Patsy Cline and Karen Carpenter. The result was in an intensely bittersweet pop record, that, like a couple of similar MOJO classics before it -- Antony's I Am a Bird Now and Bon Iver's For Emma... -- sounded like it's creator had been waiting his whole life to make.You can listen to the whole shebang via a widget at the bottom of this post. Unfortunately, Midlake won't be backing him on these shows so we won't get Queen of Denmark is it's truly epic glory but I have a feeling that Grant, with help from multi-instrumentalist Casey Chandler, will do just fine on a smaller scale.
Trip hop pioneer Tricky is here this week as well, with shows at Le Poisson Rouge tomorrow (12/9) and Brooklyn Bowl on Friday (12/10). Here's one of those artists that even that despite a string of lackluster records, I always give the new album a chance. While there are more than a few regrettable moments on Mixed Race (I don't think anybody could make a Peter Gun sample work in 2010), there's also some of the best we've heard from him in ages that drip that paranoid, slow-burn cool that made his first two albums classics.
Atlas Sound, Feb 2010 @ the Bell House (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
While Deerhunter's terrific Halcyon Digest is finding its way into many's Top Ten of 2010 lists (maybe mine, we'll see), Bradford Cox stays busy as Atlas Sound who play an Maxwell's on Friday (12/10) and The Bell House on Saturday (12/11). Has any other artist been on such a creative hot streak as Cox since 2008? The guy releases at least one "official" album a year in one of his two guises, with regular demo dumps via his blog that are almost always worth downloading. Like the four-part Bedroom Databank series we got in the last two weeks. May this ride never end.
And a few more picks, day-by-day, for shows not covered above.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8
It's the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death, and Glasslands pays tribute tonight with a cavalcade of indie names, including: Acrylics, Amazing Baby, Nicole Atkins, Here We Go Magic, Eytan & The Embassy, Psychic, Teen, The Royal Chains, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Bizi Gara, Class Actress, and Brian Harding. Proceeds go to Arts Education International.
Over at Death by Audio, you can catch a rock-solid bill featuring bash-pop duo Sisters, Total Slacker offshoot Web Dating, indie rock quartet Shark?, sleazoid garage rockin' X-Ray Eyeballs, and Philly duo Slutever.
Bradford with Deerhunter at Fun Fun Fun Fest (more by Tim Griffin)
"Left with huge amounts of material which [would] never leave his bedroom, Bradford Cox decided to simply release the tracks on his blog. Containing early versions of well known tracks, total rarities and covers the download series was a treasure trove for fans.Atlas Sound plays the NYC area twice SOON: 12/10 at Maxwell's and 12/11 at The Bell House. Bradford can also be found at at The Echo in LA on 12/3, and that's it for now - three shows total, though Deerhunter has some dates coming up in Japan and Australia.
However... Sony weren't pleased. Sending the songwriter a stern 'cease and desist' order the label demanded that Bradford Cox take down almost every track from the download series.
Infuriated, Bradford Cox complied with the order then simply re-loaded them.... "Apparently Sony Music Owns my bedroom," he complained. "I am re-uploading the files now."
A bizarre case, which just took a rather pleasing twist. Bradford Cox recently received an apology from the label, which has admitted that it was in the wrong... "The Bradford Cox tracks were mistakenly removed. We advised Mediafire that the titles were mistakenly taken down. We have communicated all of this to Bradford Cox and his manager." -[ClashMusic]
All dates and a couple of recent videos below...
Memorial Day Weekend officially opened the summer, and for those in the Pacific Northwest it also brought Sasquatch Music Festival (pictures from all three days are coming soon). Now the lineup for its Labor Day cousin, Bumbershoot 2010, has been announced. That fest, happening at Seattle, WA's Seattle Center September 4th-6th, will include headliners Bob Dylan, Mary J. Blige, Weezer, Hole, Rise Against, Neko Case, The Decemberists, J. Cole and "one more very special guest to be announced soon."
Tickets (including non-Mainstage 'economy' passes) are on sale now. The rest of the lineup (by day) for the seven-stage festival is posted below...
words & photos by Dominick Mastrangelo
"I had this all planned out," said Atlas Sound's Bradford Cox, "This was going to be a mind-blowing second song." Cox battled technical issues with one of his loop machines throughout his sold out show at the Bell House in Brooklyn, dropping it on the stage several times to get it to work.
Through it all, the Deerhunter frontman handled the technical difficulties with grace, humor and self-deprecating wit. Once he was up and running (almost making it through that second song, "Te Amo" before the drum track cut out again) his eight-song set was a sprawling reworking of many tracks off last year's, Logos.
The two standout tracks from that record, "Walkabout" and "Shelia" went back to back. Excellent on the record, but live both songs were lacking those key elements that make them so winning - the infectious piano melody on "Walkabout" and the shuffling drums on "Shelia." But those were minor complaints when songs like main set closer "Attic Lights" were so stunning with building echoing vocals and feedback that filled the venue.
The title track was one of three songs performed during the encore. Before he left the stage Cox charmed the audience even further explaining how much he appreciates playing in New York.
Opening were NJ-based, dance-rock outfit Memory Tapes (Dayve Hawk). Atlas Sound plays a 2nd NYC show, this time with Neon Indian, tonight (2/4) at NYU. More pictures from the Brooklyn show below...
Atlas Sound @ ATP NY 2009 (more by Ryan Muir)
tonight in NYC
* Aziz Ansari @ Comix
* Mick Barr @ The Stone
* Dinosaur Feathers @ Fort Useless
* Sarah Silverman @ Apple Store Soho
* Motion City Soundtrack @ Irving Plaza
* Big Teriffic w/ Max Silvestri @ The Cameo
* Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ Highline Ballroom
* Atlas Sound, Memory Tapes @ The Bell House
* Those Darlins, Pine Hill Haints @ Maxwell's
* The Constellations, Brian Bonz @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Weasel Walter & BJ Rubin Variety Show @ Death By Audio
* Midnight Masses, Borrowed Eyes, Submarine Bells @ Union Pool
* Miniboone, Pet Ghost Project, I'm Turning Into, Shark? @ Glasslands
* Jimmy Gnecco, Static, Papercranes, Adam Kowalczyk, Starbolt @ Mercury Lounge
* Adam Franklin (Swervedriver), Bolts of Melody, Hopewell, Soren Well @ Southpaw
* Nate Wooley/Peter Evans Duo, Travis Laplante, Gerald Cleaver, Mike Formanek @ Zebulon
* Stories in High Fidelity w/ Nicole Atkins, Echoecho, stories from David Byrne, Alan Light, Dan Kennedy & Jason Gordon @ Bowery Ballroom
The Max Silvesti-hosted free comedy show at the Cameo tonight will includes sets by Kristen Schaal (flight Of The Conchords), Julian Mccullough (comedy Central Presents), Joe Randazzo (editor, The Onion) and Edith Zimmerman (the Awl, Nymag.Com).
Atlas Sound (Bradford) play The Bell House with Memory Tapes tonight, and then NYU with Neon Indian tomorrow. Both are sold out. A live video of Atlas Sound performing "Cold as Ice" in Georgia in 2008, below...
Death By Audio's avant-jazz/improv music variety show
.puttin' on the ritzVideo of Fanfarlo performing "I'm a Pilot" live on KEXP, below...
.bj rubin & walter weasel
.matt mottel [of talibam!]
.tim dahl [of child abuse]
.sarah lipstate & caroline contillo
.sexy thoughts [aka kevin shea]
Punkcast video of The Octagon playing "(Save your Body for) Revolution" at Bruar Falls on January 22nd below...