Entries tagged with: Colin Stetson
The Antlers @ The Parish
One of the highlights of my day on Thursday at SXSW was the NPR showcase at The Parish. Though I didn't arrive in time to see Colin Stetson or tUnE-yArDs (I saw the latter the following day), I stuck around for the rest of the line-up, including the grand finale: The Antlers, who, as advertised, played their unreleased upcoming album (Burst Apart) in its entirety for the first time in public. But more on that later.
I arrived to the sounds of Malian singer Khaira Arby, who Jon Pareles of the New York Times later confessed to me was his go-to recommendation for the festival. I don't typically see much world music, but there's no denying Arby's effortless ability to captivate the audience with her rich vocals and rhythmic percussion.
The Joy Formidable @ the Parish
Up next were The Joy Formidable/ I confess it was hard to get past singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan's wild stare, but if anything, the sheer intensity of her gaze was well suited to the tough indie rock strains of the London-based trio.
The energy level in the room continued to climb as Wild Flag took the stage. Not only does singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein have a dedicated fan base thanks to her past band - Sleater-Kinney, she also received quite a warm welcome from NPR Music's Stephen Thompson due largely to the time she spent blogging and contributing to the site. This familiarity imbibed an otherwise strictly rock performance with a genuine warmth that made for a compelling combination on stage. Though their current musical project is young, these veteran lady rockers put on a triumphant and confident performance. Of course, it helps that the remaining three band members (Mary Timony, Rebecca Cole, and Janet Weiss) each have quite an impressive musical ability (and resume), themselves.
Wild Flag @ The Parish
Next came the part of the showcase that I was most anticipating - the preview of Burst Apart. After the Antlers' 2009 release, the cinematic and harrowing concept album Hospice, I was eager to hear what course they would take in their follow-up. Apparently, one of the biggest challenges the band faced leading up to the show was figuring out how to effectively translate all of the layers and effects found in the studio recording into a live setting. Being unfamiliar with the material, it's hard to tell if they achieved this goal.
I enjoyed the chance to hear the new material without having read any spoilers online, but at first listen, it seems that Burst Apart does not boast the same kind of sparse, sweeping intensity and catharsis that distinguished Hospice... but maybe that's a good thing.
In an interview with Pitchfork a few months ago, chief singer/songwriter Pete Silberman confessed:
For a while, I thought the next logical step from Hospice was to make some very sad, post-Hospice concept record. But thinking in those terms started to feel really manipulative and gimmicky. So I just let go of that idea and, from that point on, I was much happier. In a lot of ways, this album is an easier record to listen to than Hospice; you can put it on and not feel like it has to be a severe emotional experience. It might be. But it could also be on in the background.Like Hospice, portions of the new album seem to project a dark kind of resignation to pain, sickness, and heartbreak. But in addition to the darker songs, it ended in a surprisingly hopeful, (albeit Gothic) vein as Silberman sang, "I'm not going to die alone. I stitched the stuff up so to close up the hole" in a particularly Hospice-like song.
Burst Apart will be releaesd by Frenchkiss Records on May 10th. The Antlers will head out on tour a week later with stops at both Music Hall of Williamsburg (May 19th) and Bowery Ballroom (May 20th). Both shows and much of the tour is with Little Scream who meanwhile is on tour with Sharon Van Etten. Tickets for both NYC shows go on AmEx presale Wednesday at noon, and then general sale Friday at the same time.
All tour dates and more pictures from the NPR show at the Parish, below...
words & photos by Andrew Frisicano
Twin Shadow @ Fader Fort
A crowded backyard tent filled with cigarette smoke, free open-faced tacos (pork, chicken, brisket or veggie), a man carting a dolly of Lone Star cases through the crowd, and a pair of middle-aged guys picking a fight with each other on a Wednesday afternoon. "Doesn't he know I'm a ticking time bomb?" the offended guy says, a bit like he's not joking. JEFF the Brotherhood is playing too, which is more or less the occasion for all of this, my first show of SXSW 2011. The JEFF brothers aren't really the focus though, since they'll be playing a dozen other times this week, and most of the people are concentrating on the tacos, their conversations or their inability to get away from the door of the totally (did I say?) packed room.
In spite of that, the band is tearing through songs from Heavy Days and their new LP We Are the Champions, and between songs tossing out free vinyl singles into the crowd: "Those are going to slice someone's neck open," says Jake before slinging a few more across the room. They go into "Bummer," a ballady, Dino Jr.-style headbanger, that's one of the standout new tunes.
Trash Talk @ BV/Feed the Beat Day Party (photo by Samantha Marble)
Ty Segall's entertaining and totally worthwhile band is up next, but the BrookylnVegan day show at Emo's is also currently happening, the highlight of which has to be the simulatneous staging of Cali punks Trash Talk (who went on before Kylesa) and Mister Heavenly (who went on before Surfer Blood). Mister Heavenly are a supergroup of-sorts you've heard about. On the inside, Trash Talk frontman Lee Spielman towers over everyone with the body of a scarecrow and a scary-as-hell perma-scowl; he smashes his forehead with the microphone a few times to draw blood. "Stick around for Surfer Blood," he says, before crawling into the crowd and standing on what I can only hope were someone's shoulders. People start edging toward the door. On the outside stage, Mr. Heavenly performs an appropriately lovely set, its two frontmen trading verses in their own styles.
After that, the Fader Fort brought Twin Shadow on stage, the bedroom-pop project of George Lewis Jr. that's become a wildly good live band. For an outdoor venue, the system sounded impressively balanced and clear - which would turn out to be a rarity at the festival. That was 'specially good for Yelawolf, whose songs sounded vital in a way that your iPod just can't do. With no crew to speak of, his solo athletics put in an early bid for best-of.
Yelawolf @ Fader Fort
Later that night at Stubb's, Yuck and James Blake played what would be the first of several for both. Both did well on the big stage, a portent of things to come, vibing out in their respective styles: fuzz rock and chilled-out pop. Check out both of their sets for yourself at NPR- Blake and Yuck.
by Andrew Frisicano
Speaking of Colin Stetson, you can see him tonight at the Blue Note (2/25), where he plays with Steven Bernstein (trumpet), Vicente Archer (bass) and Dan Weiss (drums) as part of Spontaneous Construction, a new series put on by Search & Restore happening at the venue most Fridays (midnight doors, with a $10 cover). The idea is to pair up musicians that don't regularly play together into one-night combos, and the schedule for the next few months includes big names like Jason Moran, Bobby Previte, Ari Hoenig, Nasheet Waits and Dave King (with plenty TBAs too). All the sets will be recorded for Search & Restore's ongoing video project, which launched earlier this year. For a taste of the quality of those videos, check out their recording of the group Four Bags, posted below, with the Spontaneous Construction schedule thus far...
DOWNLOAD: Colin Stetson - The stars in his head (Dark Lights Remix) (MP3)
"Today, February 25, at 12pm noon, a very small number of tickets to Godspeed's Thursday and Friday (March 17-18) shows at St. Paul the Apostle will be released for an exceedingly short time." Those are two of the five total NYC Godspeed shows coming up including Terminal 5 which is now also sold out.
The other NYC openers are Kurt Wagner, Eric Chenaux, Kurt Wagner again, and Samara Lubelski (in that order).
All remaining GY!BE tour dates with openers, listed below...
photos by Rahav Segev, words by Andrew Frisicano
Laurie Anderson's Delusion, the first production in this year's BAM Next Wave Festival, is in effect the artist opening up her notebook to the audience. The 90-minute work recounts dreams, stories, parables, musings, jokes and melodies strung together with moody cinematic projections. Some of the stories we've heard before, like "Another Day in America," a song intoned as Laurie's male alter-ego, from her stellar LP Homeland was was released earlier this year. Others - an emotional story about the death of her mother, sharp one-liners and surreal scenarios about the afterlife - were fresh from the workshop.
Above all though, Laurie's sonorous voice, and her ability as a monologuist to travel to different places (the moon, Iceland, dreams), drove Delusion. The metronomic brilliance of the words and cadences would've been enough to propel a one-woman show in any downtown space. Here, they were supported by the projections and stage elements - one main screen in the center, with a smaller projector focused on a covered seat, and two smaller screens on either side.
Her supporting cast loomed beyond those side screens: violinist Eyvind Kang and horn & reed player Colin Stetson. Their silhouettes, namely that of Colin's unmistakeable bass saxophone, rocked steadily behind the backlit screens as they added layers to the evening's instrumental moments. The pair peaked up mainly during Delusion's chaotic interludes, when a red light washed over the stage, evoking the landscape of hell, with Anderson the Mephistophelean figure guiding the madness.
Clearly, Laurie was having a good time on stage, during the goodtime moments, with a permanent grin and a wink. The wink, as we found out, might be genetic; it also speaks to her style of communication: subtle, everyday gestures that unfold in countless ways. "Not a lot of people know this but..." one of her stories goes.
Delusion is at BAM Harvey Theater through October 3rd, every day except Monday. Tickets are on sale.
More pictures from the show are below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Laurie w/ the dogs in Australia (more by Roberta W.B.)
Some in the audience howled with glee, others stood on trembling legs and a few drooled in delight as famed performance artist Laurie Anderson debuted her original "Music for Dogs" composition outside the Sydney Opera House on Saturday [June 5th].Laurie Anderson, queen of this year's Mermaid Parade, performed her piece "Music for Dogs" at Sydney's Opera House on June 5th accompanied by Eyvind Kang, Skúli Sverrisson, and Colin Stetson. The event was part of the two-week Vivid Live Festival, which is being curated by Laurie and Lou Reed (king of this year's Mermaid Parade).
Hundreds of dogs and their owners bounced around as Anderson entertained them with 20 minutes of thumping beats, whale calls, whistles and a few high-pitched electronic sounds imperceptible to human ears.
"Let's hear it from the medium dogs!" Anderson called out from the stage, as a few dogs yipped in return. "You can do better than that -- come on mediums! Whoo! WHOOOOOO!"
The concert was originally billed as a performance for dogs' ears only, and was going to be largely limited to electronic noises played at a frequency too high for human ears. But Anderson changed things up when she decided she wanted people to have some fun, too.
"We didn't want to do something that humans couldn't hear," she said. "We brought the octaves down into our hearing range so we could all have the experience." [AP]
Laurie Anderson will be performing her new work Delusion this fall at BAM as part of the Next Wave Festival. That show will go on tour as well.
Before then, Laurie's new record, Homeland, comes out June 22nd on Nonesuch. It's streaming in full at NPR (up till the release date) - check it out. She'll play songs from that album on a very short tour this July. Stops include on-air sets at World Cafe Live and Late Show with David Letterman, and a Tuesday, July 13th show at (Le) Poisson Rouge. Tickets are on sale.
The album has some alright guests (including Laurie's male alter-ego Fenway Bergamot)...
On Homeland, Anderson is joined by a diversity of collaborators, from the Tuvan throat singers and igil players of Chirgilchin to New York experimental jazz and rock players including Rob Burger (keyboards), Omar Hakim (drums), Kieran Hebden of Four Tet (keyboards), Shahzad Ismaily (percussion) Eyvind Kang (viola), Peter Scherer (keyboards), Skuli Sverrisson (bass), Ben Witman (percussion and drums) and John Zorn (saxophone). Antony Hegarty contributes additional vocals.Beyond those projects, "Anderson is also preparing a major retrospective of her visual work that will open in Sao Paolo in August 2010 and a book of her stories that will be published in 2011."
Videos from the "Music for Dogs" performance and tour dates are below...
photos by Paul Birman
"Thanks to everyone who came to the BV Haiti benefit last night. You made it really special." - St. Vincent
"St. Vincent and Justin Vernon performing together was easily one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen/heard." - Steph Lo
Wyatt Cenac was funny. Then came Britt Daniel (of Spoon) with White Rabbits frontman Stephen Patterson. They had such a good time on stage together, you can tell they were buds. Janeane Garofalo came next - she has the smartest humor and is a strong rooted New Yorker. Made a ton of jokes about the L train and hipsters which the crowd took very warmly to. Gosh she's tiny. St Vincent went on and sounded like the lovely thing she is. Someone yelled while she was setting up 'show us your bush'????', In which she replied, 'that is the strangest thing someone has ever said to me...on or off stage'. Adorable. Following her was Zach Galifianakis who everyone was undeniably waiting for. It really looked like he just rolled out of bed, picked up some papers from a table and walked on stage totally winging his whole act...hilarious. Alas came Justin Vernon (aka Bon Iver). His voice sounded just as amazing it does on record. The room was at its most quiet during "Flume". Unreal. He was the last act but did say something about a special guest - I heard it was Megafaun/My Brightest Diamond (had to leave early), which I imagine rounded out the benefit nicely. Really awesome that these guys all came together"...Thanks for that partial recap S&S. You should have gotten there earlier and stayed later though!
[Stadiums & Shrines]
The night opened with a great debut set by singer-songwriter John Shade (previously Dave Godowsky) who brought out Justin Vernon on drums for two songs. Before and after John, and between every set of the night, came comedy by our two able hosts: Bobby Tisdale and Leo Allen. St Vincent's set included a National and a Nico cover. Justin covered John Prine. Britt Daniel did three songs, which was one less than he played at Sound Fix a few hours earlier.
And yep, the special guest after/during Justin's set was in fact Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) who (after headlining Bowery Ballroom one night earlier) played two jaw dropping numbers - one with Colin Stetson on his most-insane giant saxophone, and a cover of Prince's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore".
But it didn't end there. A supergroup called Songer Singwriter featuring Annie, Justin, drummer, and Brad from Megafaun came back to close the night off right with a set of four more covers. Neil Young's "Harvest Moon", Tom Petty's "Face in the Crowd" (with Brad on lead), Dolly Parton's "Jolene", and Annie Lennox's "Why". Each of those final covers was better than the next. To quote one of my tweets, "To quote my friend, 'Sounds like sonic youth playing a dolly parton song. Sick!' and now Annie Lennox Why! Full room Bon Iver singalong".
We ran almost non-stop for 3.5 hours straight (8-11:30), and raised over $20,000. I'm still waiting for an exact number. More pictures (one of two sets we have) and some videos from the show, 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: Colin Stetson - Letter to HST (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Colin Stetson - Time Is Advancing With Fitful Irregularity (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Erik Friedlander - May It Please Heaven (MP3)
As previously mentioned, Saxophone player Colin Stetson and cellist Erik Friedlander get together for a night of music Friday, June 5th (tonight) at Abrons Art Space Recital Hall (466 Grand Street, NYC). Tickets are on sale.
The show is being put on by the Manhattan New Music Project, which works to connect new-music artists and the community "by reaching out to adult audiences through performance and recording, and to children through residencies in New York City public schools."
Credits for Friedlander include collaborating with John Zorn, Mountain Goats, Sting, Yoko Ono (on her new EP) and others. Stetson has played with the Arcade Fire, Antibalas and Bell Orchestre, and opened on tour for The National.
At the gig, Friedlander will be playing selections from his Zorn disc Volac, Book of Angels, Masada Book II. Speaking of Zorn, Erik will also be playing The Stone (where Zorn is artistic director) on Sunday, June 14th.
Live solo videos of both performers, below...
Like Tonic did, The Stone frequently brings on guest curators (not coincidentally Stone founder John Zorn was one of Tonic's most regular hosts and played at Tonic's final show). Now, with guitarist Grey Gersten's monthlong May curatorial run ending Sunday, May 31st, former Tonic co-owner Melissa Caruso Scott comes out of booking retirement to take the reigns in programing the first two weeks of June at The Stone.
Speaking about her choices Scott said, "These artists played some of my favorite Tonic shows and I can't wait to see them again." Her picks include Japanese musician Yuka Honda, who's also playing a Summerstage show with Mike Watt, guitarist Charlie Hunter, Elysian Fields, Vernon Reid, Joan as Polcewoman, cellist Erik Friedlander, and more. Her full schedule is posted below.
Speaking of Friendlander, he plays on Yoko Ono's new DON'T STOP ME! EP (out June 9th Via iTunes Exclusive Digital Download), and you can also catch him live on June 5th along with saxophone player Colin Stetson at the Abrons Art Space Recital Hall. The show is presented by The Manhattan New Music Project, and tickets are on sale.
Before the time of both Tonic and The Stone, the original Knitting Factory on Houston Street featured an ecclectic mix of avant and experimental music (frequently with Zorn and others). The co-founder of that venue, show promoter and current owner of City Winery Michael Dorf, will curate the second half of the June at The Stone.
Acts on his schedule include Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers (who have completed their Pianos residency and are also playing Citysol), Ethan Iverson (of the Bad Plus) with saxist Tim Berne, and Marc Ribot, the guitarist who's had considerable presence at each of the aforementioned venues -- gigging regularly at the Knit on Houston St, getting arrested for protesting the closure of Tonic, and hosting several nights of his 55th-birthday retrospective at The Stone in mid-May.
Check out the full June schedule for The Stone, below...
by Andrew Frisicano
Bell Orchestre @ BAM (more by Kyle Dean Reinford)
Starting in April, Bell Orchestre (featuring members of Arcade Fire) will tour its native Canada, followed by US dates that include a NYC show at Le Poisson Rouge on April 30th with The Havels and Colin Stetson. Tickets are on sale now.
Bell Orchestre just released its sophomore full-length, As Seen Through Windows, on March 10th on Arts & Crafts...
As on their previous album, Bell Orchestre's music is essentially cinematic. Though it has features of minimalism and occasionally seems completely rootless, the group's too impatient, too modern to spin meaning out of extended repetition. Their music's evocative and romantic, casually taking advantage of modern tools in the service of the creation of their potent soundscapes. So As Seen Through Windows will likely continue to solidify Bell Orchestre's reputation for making interesting and occasionally challenging instrumental music that not enough people have heard. It shouldn't be too hard to change the last part. [PopMatters]All tour dates and a band-made European tour video featuring new song "Water/Light/Shifts", below...