Entries tagged with: Delicate Steve
Delicate Steve @ T5, 2012 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
As mentioned, Delicate Steve is playing shows this summer, including Glasslands on September 6 (tickets). If you'd like to see him before that and not have to pay to get in, Delicate Steve is playing a free show at Mercury Lounge on June 22 with Superhuman Happiness. The only way to RSVP is via the Thrillcall mobile app which is available on iPhone/iPad, Google, and Android devices. RSVP on the app will open on Wednesday (6/12).
Delicate Steve has also added a bunch more dates since we last posted about him and all are listed below...
Delicate Steve @ 4Knots Fest 2013 (more by Chris La Putt)
Delicate Steve was among the performers scheduled to play GoogaMooga on Sunday that didn't end up happening on account of rain. For those who were especially looking forward to his appearance and don't mind waiting a while longer, Delicate Steve will play NYC at Glasslands on September 6. The rest of the bill is still TBA but tickets are on sale now. Steve also recently provided music for a drawn-on-film animated short called "Tallest Heights and you can watch that below.
Delicate Steve's only other 2013 date is part of the snowboard community-related Friendly Gathering Festival which happens in Windham, VT on June 28 & 29 and also features, Assembly of Dust, Rubblebucket and others. Full line-up is below.
people waiting to get in Sunday morning (via)
They really thought they were going to open today. They even announced that more tickets were being released today and that James Murphy, following in Sharon Jones's footsteps, had cancelled his performance today due to a family emergency. But the rain has won, and the second day of the 2nd GoogaMooga is now officially CANCELLED. The people pictured above waiting to get in today are probably especially upset.
Official reason: "NYC Parks Dept, Prospect Park Alliance & #Googamooga have canceled today's event in the interest of safety & prevention of damage to park."
All Sunday VIP ticket purchases will be refunded in full.
Bands and DJS that were supposed to play today included Delicate Steve, Cults, De La Soul, Kool & the Gang (instead of Sharon Jones), Nancy Whang & Pat Mahoney (instead of James Murphy), and M.A.K.U. Sound System.
Stay tuned for our pictures from Friday and Saturday, coming soon. Meanwhile watch a channel 12 video report that was filmed in the park early Saturday (it claims GoogaMooga will be back "bigger and better in 2014"), and a video of the Flaming Lips playing "You Lust" on Friday (you can hear people screaming "Vaseline, Vaseline!"), below...
GoogaMooga 2012 (more by Chris La Putt)
Brooklyn food, drink, and music festival The Great GoogaMooga, who we're sure have been working hard on figuring out to do things better the second time around, have announced the lineup for their second year which goes down from May 17 to 19 at Prospect Park. We just mentioned that the fest begins with a kickoff show on the Friday (5/17) with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Flaming Lips, and The Darkness. The rest of the lineup includes Matt & Kim, Father John Misty, Sharon Van Etten, Lee Fields & the Expressions, and more playing on Saturday; and Sharon Jones & the Dap-KIngs, De La Soul (who recently announced a tour with LL Cool J, Public Enemy, and Ice Cube), Cults, The Soul Rebels, Delicate Steve, and more playing on Sunday.
Tickets for the kickoff show and VIP Cocktail Experience tickets for Saturday and Sunday go on sale Thursday (3/28) at noon, and general admission tickets for Saturday and Sunday become available in an online ticket giveaway which runs from April 1 to 3. "Complimentary tickets will be awarded at random and recipients will be notified by email on or before Wednesday, April 10."
Full music food and drink lineup below...
Delicate Steve @ 4Knots Fest 2012 (more by Chris La Putt)
Like nearly every notable musician in the universe, Delicate Steve is going to be playing at this year's SXSW Festival and has planned a tour around the occasion. The tour kicks off on March 1 at the Stanhope House in Stanhope, NJ and hits NYC a few days later for a show at 295 Kent on March 5 with Celestial Shore and Total Slacker. Advance tickets are on sale now and all tour dates are listed below.
SXSW is no doubt a great way to see a lot of bands in a short amount of time and can be a lot of fun. But it can also be a little much for some. If you'd like to see many of the same bands but in a more genteel setting, you might be interested in The Savannah Stopover which happens the weekend before SXSW (March 7 - 9) in at various clubs in Savannah, Georgia. Over 100 bands will play, including Of Montreal, Merchandise, Mac DeMarco, Chelsea Light Moving, Hunters, Braids, Delicate Steve, Turbo Fruits, Ducktails and loads more.
Peter of HWGM @ Brooklyn Bowl, 9/18/2012 (more by Sarah Gainer)
Here We Go Magic's A Different Ship has made a few Best of 2012 lists, including ones from The Fly, Q, Johnny Beach of Bowery Presents and Freelance Whales. But what records did they like this year? Drummer Peter Hale submitted a list to us, with the following note:
Two confessions: I've ordered these very haphazardly, and I added my band's record as number one.Here We Go Magic only have one show on their schedule: January 17 at Le Poisson Rouge and tickets are on sale now. Meanwhile, HWGM started a Pledge Music campaign to fund a new live EP. There are some fun incentives, including having Peter cook for you or a private gig from the band.
I don't get asked to do this very often (maybe that's why), but I'm honored to do it and humbled (really) by the multitude of beautiful records. I'm probably wrong, but I imagine anyone who's ever worked as hard as he or she could on an album would agree that celebrating it is the best way to let it go; to release it not just to the public, but from those straps -- the emotions and toil -- that bind it so closely to our hearts. Like so many graduation days, this is letting go. What a great year!
You can check out their Pledge Music video below, alongside Peter's Top 11 of 2012.
As mentioned in What's Going on Monday, California rawk duo Deap Vally canceled tonight's Maxwell's show (10/15). But there will be no shortage of chances to see them this week, as their CMJ schedule boasts five shows, including the BrooklynVegan day party on Friday (10/19) at Public Assembly. They'll be on early (1:30 PM) and we'll be letting you in on the full schedule real soon.
They'll also play the Fader Fort at Converse Rubber Tracks Studio on 10/17, Bowery Ballroom on 10/18 with MNDR, MS MR, IO Echo, Sky Ferreira, and Gabriel Bruce, Rockwood Music Hall on Friday night (10/19) after our day party with Matthew and The Atlas, Foreign Fields, Matrimony, and KOOL A.D; and finally Cake Shop on Saturday afteroon (10/20) for the Village Voice party with Delicate Steve, Dent May, Heavenly Beat. Vockah Redu and Daytona.
Deap Vally will open for Muse in November on their European tour. CMJ dates and flyers are below.
Diamond Rings at Webster Hall in September (more by Amanda Hatfield)
As mentioned, Diamond Rings will be supporting the album with a tour that hits NYC on December 4 at Bowery Ballroom. Tickets for that show are still available. There will also be a free listening party for the album in NYC at the Distiller Promo CMJ showcase at Knitting Factory on October 19 with Delicate Steve, Slowdance, Gold Fields, and a screening of Soul of America.
Listen to Free Dimensional below.
Wild Belle at AV Fest/Hideout Block Party in Chicago in Sept (more by Sara Pieper)
Wild Belle is currently on a tour with Tennis which hit the NYC area twice this week for shows at Maxwell's (10/2) and Bowery Ballroom (10/3). They have some time off this weekend and will resume the tour on Monday (10/8) in DC, but until then, Wild Belle will be playing a couple of their own shows. They'll do a hometown show in Brooklyn TONIGHT (10/5) at Zebulon with Delicate Steve (who also have some CMJ shows scheduled) and Justin Walter, and are playing Albany on Saturday (10/6). Tonight's show, a rare cover charge show at Zebulon, starts at 9 PM and $10 at the door gets you in.
Wild Belle recently made a video for "It's Too Late." You can watch that and check out a list of all remaining tour dates below.
Hundred Waters at Bowery Ballroom in August (more by Amanda Hatfield)
As we mentioned before, Hundred Waters signed with Skrillex's OWSLA label, who reissued their terrific self titled debut LP (which initially came out in February via Elestial Sound) this week (9/25). That reissue comes with a bonus track, "Hydrodictyon," which they just made a music video for. You can watch that video below.
The band are on tour now, and as mentioned, they'll be in NYC for CMJ. While they're here, they'll play the previously discussed Windish showcase at Mercury Lounge on October 17 with Doldrums, Strange Talk, High Highs, and others. Tickets for that show are still available. They'll also play the Consequence of Sound showcase at Public Assembly on October 20 with So So Glos, Free Energy, Conveyor, and Delicate Steve. Advance tickets are not on sale yet for that one.
That showcase is one of a few upcoming shows for Delicate Steve, who as mentioned, play Glasslands on Saturday (9/29) with Anamanaguchi (free with RSVP), and the My Social List CMJ showcase at the Martin Room in Webster Hall on OCtober 16 (tickets).
Hundred Waters' video for "Hydrodictyon" and a list of all of their upcoming dates are below.
Delicate Steve at 4Knots Festival 2012 (more by Chris La Putt)
Popgun Booking is turning four years old and they're celebrating with an anniversary party at their homebase of Glasslands on Saturday (9/29) featuring performances by 8-bit partiers Anamanaguchi and instrumental wonderkind Delicate Steve and DJ sets by True Womanhood and Friendly Ghost. (They also list Mitt Romney as DJing which is probably a joke, but his schedule is open that day.) The show is FREE but you do need to RSVP.
Delicate Steve, who spent most of the summer touring his new album, will be here for CMJ too. He's playing a just-announced My Social List showcase at the Martin Room in Webster Hall on October 16 with Teen Daze, Dent May, Heavenly Beat, Mac Demarco, Bleeding Rainbow, The Young Evils and Grand Resort. Tickets are on sale now.
Anamanaguchi, meanwhile, will be touring in October and November with Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin being the trek's midpoint. All tour dates, as well as a flyer for the Popgun Anniversary party, are below.
MNDR at Internet Week 2012 (more by Ryan Muir)
So the free MNDR / Javelin / Delicate Steve show that was supposed to happen yesterday on the U.S.S. Intrepid but got postponed due to thunderstorms is now happening TONIGHT (7/20). (Red Baraat are no longer playing.) Doors are at 7:30PM, show starts at 8:30PM. If you RSVP'd for yesterday, you're still on the list and if you didn't, you can RSVP here.
The U.S.S. Intrepid is at 46th St at 12th Ave.
UPDATE: This show is postponed due to rain.
Delicate Steve at 4Knots Fest, 2012 (more by Chris La Putt)
MNDR, Javelin, Delicate Steve and Red Baraat are playing a free show tonight (7/18) on the U.S.S. Intrepid, the aircraft-carrier-turned-museum parked at 46th St at 12th Ave. The show kicks off "Samsung Spacesfest," a weekend-long welcoming of Space Shuttle Enterprise to the museum, with 40 interactive displays, activities and exhibitions from tonight through Sunday, July 22. A full list of the weekend's events is here.
Doors for tonight's event are at 6PM with the concert beginning at 7PM. While the show is free you do need to RSVP to attend. Let's hope Delicate Steve's set is less eventful than his one at 4Knots Fest on Saturday.
Meanwhile, MNDR's new album, Feed Me Diamonds, touches down on August 14 but she just released a new single from the album, "Faster Horses," which you can stream below where you can also check out a flyer for tonight's show.
Archers of Loaf / Crocodiles / the scene at 4Knots 2012
Even though the fire that broke out on the deck at the South Street Seaport Mall was certainly the most memorable act of the day, the Village Voice 4Knots Festival was a fine time at South Street Seaport, loaded with good performances amid the smoke and oppressive humidity. There was a big crowd for this second year of the fest, much bigger than last year, and though there wasn't a headliner the size of, say, Steve Malkmus or M.I.A. or Spoon (like they had at Siren in years past), that seemed by design in these post-Drake years. I like every band that played the main stage.
Well, I don't know anything about the first two bands who played the main stage -- The Smiling Lies and Fast Years -- who played before I got there at 1PM and seemed to be on by contractual obligation. Nick Waterhouse made a good, friendly primer for the day with his vintage, baritone sax-fueled '60s soul and R&B, looking dapper in a white oxford shirt that had to have been hot on stage. I prefer him in a tiny sweaty club to a big outdoor fest (I can say that about most bands) but he had the sweaty part down.
Bleached were up next and while we've yet to get an album from these girls, the crowd seemed to know most of their set of hook-laden poppy, punky, curled-lip songs. Hospitality were up next -- almost exactly a year ago they played to about 60 people at the Fulton Stall Market across the street from the Seaport, and they've come a long way since. Most of the crowd was bobbing along to much of their Merge debut... at least till the fire cut their set short.
After the smoke cleared it was Crocodiles whose new album Endless Flowers finds them branching out of strict JAMC love into brighter, poppier corners. They were probably the most animated band of the day with Brandon Welchez definitely playing up the rock frontman gig to the hilt. Crocodiles also inspired the only crowd surfing I saw on Saturday (but I might have missed some).
Speaking of animated, The Drums were up next. Once known for their Bring It On as an indie rock band, tambourine-tossing fabulousness, they are now a real live rock band with little in the way of backing tracks. While I think their most recent album was pretty good, and they sounded tight, they are a little on the subdued side live these days, or at least have been the last two times I've seen them. I think I liked them better live when they mostly pretended to play their instruments.
I was wondering if a lot of the crowd might leave after The Drums' set but, nope, everyone stuck around for recently-reformed '90s indie rock royalty Archers of Loaf. I'll admit I was never the biggest fan -- that was my college roommate, who seemed to get mail-order daily from TeenBeet, Merge and Simple Machines while I scoured import racks for Ride and Blur EPs -- but I certainly absorbed a lot through osmosis and the hit-filled set ("Web in Front," "Wrong," "Plumb") was even recognizable to this casual Archers listener. My friend Chris, a giant Archers fan, dubbed their performance "awesome."
Meanwhile on the Skipper's stage, we got mischievous Montreal band Doldrums, the twangy retro rock of Devin, punk-ish rockers Team Spirit (featuring Ayad of Passion Pit) and Delicate Steve whose set was also cut short due to the fire. And the afterparty went down in Beekman Beer Garden where things got wild during Black Lips' set.
More pictures from 4Knots are below...
As you may have heard, there was a big fire at the Pier 17 mall at South Street Seaport during the 4Knots Festival which broke out around 4PM, right in the middle of Hospitality's set. I was in the crowd watching the band and left about 3/4 of the way through to meet some friends on the VIP/press boat The Peking which is docked on the other side of the stage. Walking up the gangplank, I noticed everyone on the boat seemed to be gathered on the side, looking over at the Skipper's stage. My initial thought was "wow, Delicate Steve (who was playing or about to play) is more popular than I thought" but then I saw the smoke, which was emanating from the lower outside deck on the Southeast corner of the mall.
Then there were flames, and the smoke turned black. The flames got bigger. Hospitality were still playing, and didn't know anything was going on until someone came up and stopped them. Though you could hear the sirens wailing, the Shark boat was first on the scene using its hose to try and douse the flames which were now reaching the second floor deck. I thought for sure 4Knots would be canceled at this point. Then the FDNY boats arrived (it was a three alarm fire), and had most of the flames out quickly, except for the vending machine (a 'dippin dots' type ice cream thing) which would not go out and seemed to all of us watching to be the cause of the fire.
After about a half hour, things cooled down, and though that vending machine was still smoking (it took almost two hours to get it all out) the music resumed. Actually, Delicate Steve started playing what seemed to be improv jams to soundtrack the action which was under control at that point. Turns out it was an electrical fire:
Fire officials say the blaze that engulfed part of a building in New York City's South Street Seaport was caused by faulty electrical wiring.Miraculously, no one was hurt, no stores or restaurants were damaged and the pier was reopened to the public later that night. But it certainly made for a surreal day and an outdoor NYC concert those in attendance won't forget.
Fire marshals also were looking Sunday into whether there was any structural damage from Saturday's blaze in the tourist-friendly historic neighborhood.
The fire started under Pier 17 on the East River. It covered about 100 square feet. Big plumes of black smoke wafted over the Manhattan skyline.
Fire Department spokesman Jim Long said the blaze "could have been a disaster." The pier was teeming with hundreds of visitors. But no one was hurt, and firefighters doused the flames in less than two hours. [AP]
Needless to say, the fire was extremely well documented, as dozens of photographers were there for the fest and of course hundreds more were there with their smart phones out. More of our photos and some videos are below.
As you know, Siren Fest replacement 4Knots goes down at South Street Seaport this Saturday. Here are the times:
Main StageMeanwhile Eleanor Friedberger, Ex Cops and Zambri play a free show at South Street Seaport on Friday (6:30pm).
12:15 p.m.: The Smiling Lies
12:30 p.m.: The Fast Years
1:30 p.m.: Nick Waterhouse
2:30 p.m.: Bleached
3:30 p.m.: Hospitality
4:30 p.m.: Crocodiles
5:30 p.m.: The Drums
6:30 p.m.: Archers of Loaf
1:00 p.m.: Doldrums
2:00 p.m.: Devin
3:00 p.m.: Team Spirit
4:00 p.m.: Delicate Steve
Afterparty at Beekman Beer Garden (not free)
7:00 p.m.: doors
?:?? p.m.: DJ Jonathan Toubin
?:?? p.m.: Kid Congo Powers + The Pink Monkey Birds
?:?? p.m.: The Black Lips
Nick Waterhouse also has some other shows coming up.
Delicate Steve at Terminal 5 earlier this month (more by Amanda Hatfield)
As mentioned, 4Knots Music Festival happens on July 14 at South Street Seaport. The lineup already features Archers Of Loaf, The Drums, Crocodiles, Team Spirit, Doldrums, Hospitality, Bleached, Nick Waterhouse and Devin, and now also includes Delicate Steve. The festival is free and runs from 1 - 8 PM.
In other news, the 4Knots afterparty (which is not free) has been expanded as well. Jonathan Toubin will join the previously announced lineup of Black Lips, Kid Congo Powers, and The Pink Monkey Birds at Beekman Beer Garden after the fest (doors are 7 PM). Tickets for the afterparty are still available.
Jonathan will also be spinning at The Box on July 6 as part of CBGB Festival. As usual, he's continuing his weekly parties at Home Sweet Home, and is doing his last ever Soul Clap and Dance-Off at Glasslands on July 21.
A list of all Delicate Steve dates are below.
Micachu & the Shapes at Terminal 5 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
today in NYC
* Whiplash @ UCB
* Brain Cloud @ Barbes
* Chicha Libre @ Barbes
* Kacie Sheik @ Joe's Pub
* Tony Scherr @ Living Room
* Shawn Colvin @ City Winery
* Gabriel Kahane @ Joe's Pub
* Merzbow, Wold @ Saint Vitus
* Jim Campilongo @ Living Room
* Quadron, Teletextile @ Cameo
* Future, Pusha T @ Irving Plaza
* Lindsey Buckingham @ BB King's
* Kendrick Lamar @ Santos Party House
* Reverend Vince Anderson @ Union Pool
* Man Man, Raleigh Moncrief @ Maxwell's
* Emeli Sande, Selah Sue @ Bowery Ballroom
* Micachu & The Shapes, Zambri @ Glasslands
* Omar Souleyman, Dengue Fever @ Webster Hall
* Hot Tub with Kurt and Kristen @ Littlefield
* The CCB Reggae All-Stars @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise
* Ben Von Wildenhaus, Shoddy Prototypes @ Manhattan Inn
* Izia, Dionysos, Rinocerose, Coblism @ Le Poisson Rouge
* Sourpatch, Swearin', Waxahatchee, Pretty Wild @ Death By Audio
* Summer Girlfriends, The N'ere Dowells, The Upskirts @ Cake Shop
* Steve Gunn, Gunn/Trucsinski Duo, Georgia, DJ Koen Holtkamp @ Zebulon
* Kopecky Family Band, mynameisjohnmichael, New Beard @ Mercury Lounge
* Menage, Evan P Donohue, Alpenglow, Ramon & Dylan, The Decent Lovers @ Pianos
* The Foreign Exchange (Phonte + Nicolay), DJ Barry King @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* Marco Benevento, Dave Dreiwitz, Scott Metzger, Joe Russo, Craig Finn & Tad Kubler (of The Hold Steady), Nicole Atkins, Phosphorescent, Family Band, Diamond Doves, Kelli Scarr, Yellowbirds, Tom Hamilton @ Brooklyn Bowl
Hot Chip are streaming their new album, In Our Heads, over at NPR.
The Tallest Man on Earth is also streaming his new album, There's No Leaving Now, at NPR.
photos by Amanda Hatfield
tUnE-yArDs at Terminal 5 - 6/1/12
Over a year after the release of her album w h o k i l l, tUnE-yArDs still seems to be going strong, playing her biggest paid show yet at Terminal 5 on Friday (6/1). Did you go? How was the show?
If your copy of w h o k i l l is played out, Merrill teamed with Questlove, Beninoise singer-songwriter Angélique Kidjo, and Ghanaian-American rapper Akua Naru for a cover of Fela Kuti's "Lady" which is on the new (Red) Hot + Fela tribute and is streamable below. They played this at Terminal 5 immediately after tUnE-yArDs' ended and the T5 crowd stuck around to dance to it instead of shuffling off home.
The Terminal 5 show was with Micachu & the Shapes who play tonight (6/4) at Glasslands, and Delicate Steve who's new album was streaming via public listening ports at various Manhattan/Brooklyn locations over the weekend. More pictures of tUnE-yArDs, plus Micachu and Delicate Steve, are below.
Delicate Steve's second album, Positive Force, is out July 10 on Luaka Bop and you can download two tracks from the album at the top of this post. If you'd like to hear more, Delicate Steve has devised a sort of scavenger hunt, installing playbutton devices in ten locations throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, each containing one of Positive Force's tracks. The two-borrough musical installation is up now (5/31) through June 3. Locations of all ten tracks are below -- it's supposed to be a nice weekend, might be a fun thing to do. If you do decide to try and find them, bring your own headphones which you can plug into the playbutton devices.
In other news, Delicate Steve is currently on tour with tUnE-yArDs which hits Terminal 5 on Friday (6/1) with Micachu & the Shapes on the bill for that one as well. Once that tour wraps up, Steve will join Yeasayer on the road before doing his own headlining shows on the West Coast. All Delicate Steve tour dates are below.
Built to Spill at BV SXSW 2012 (more by Ryan Barkan)
The Hopscotch festival in Raleigh, North Carolina will celebrate its third year from Sept. 6-8, 2012 in downtown Raleigh, with 175 bands in 15 venues. The initial lineup, released today, runs the gamut from traditional indie favorites to punk to noise music to hip hop to noisy black metal and all stops in between, featuring performances from Built to Spill, sunn 0))), The Roots, The Jesus & Mary Chain (who played SXSW), Liars (who have a show coming up at Webster Hall), Baroness, Deerhoof, Death Grips (who play NYC soon and have new material on the way), Danny Brown (who was at Coachella and plays Prospect Park soon), Pallbearer (who play an exclusive East Coast Show soon), Screaming Females (who recently played NYC and are on tour now), Thee Oh Sees, The Spits (who just played NYC twice), Tenement, The Mountain Goats (two sets, one of which will be an all metal-covers set!) and so many more.
(and now we know the Jesus & Mary Chain are coming back soon)
Tickets are on sale. The full lineup and flyer (update: and a few more announced J&MC dates) are below...
photos by Amanda Hatfield
Hospitality @ Bowery Ballroom
"Since it was the Merge Showcase, the show itself featured a short set from Hospitality, a new signee to the label that showed a great deal of promise. Their music was meat-and-potatoes indie, with a little Stereolab and a little Built to Spill, but it was a perfect, if perfunctory, set-up for Wild Flag." [tripped media]As previously mentioned, Hospitality played a CMJ show at Bowery Ballroom with Wild Flag and Eleanor Friedberger, and play another local show with Caveman and JPF at Brooklyn Bowl tonight (11/2). Tonight's "Local x Local" show is free with RSVP, but RSVP is now closed. You can however still get in for just $5, either in advance or at the door. Caveman have no other upcoming shows.
Hospitality also play a show on 11/11 at Glasslands with ARMS, Franz Nicolay, The Building. That one is $10. ARMS have no other upcoming shows.
The next "Local x Local" at Brooklyn Bowl is in December with Delicate Steve and Milagres.
More pictures from Bowery Ballroom below...
Casiokids @ Public Assembly
Well, another CMJ week has come and gone. How did you fare?
Though Northside summoned a number of my favorite artists to town, the CMJ line-up was rather thin by comparison, so I made it my goal to catch as many new acts as possible this year. With help from BV's tightly scheduled day parties, I managed to squeeze in 46 bands. While it's all still fresh in my mind (ie, before I spend the next week hibernating), here's a recap of my week, complete with my favorite finds...
I kicked things off with trance-inducing, one-man knob twittler Sun Glitters. Figuring out how to bring life to headphone-friendly, sample-heavy music in a live audience setting can be a challenge, but the few I saw this week (Million Young, Chad Valley and Luxembourg's Sun Glitters included) were decent.
If last year was the age of the one-man laptop act, 2011 was rife with lo-fi, synth/guitar-heavy (mostly) male groups cloaked in reverb. Each band had its strengths: Sunglasses (great energy on stage), Gauntlet Hair, Guards (perfectly summed up the sound of the moment), 1,2,3, Balkans (nice balance of in-your-face guitars and sunnily-swaggering vox), Tiny Victories. But after a while, I confess they all started to blend together--especially since a good chunk of these bands came early in the week for me.
What did stand out for me in this category was San Diego's garage-psych outfit Tropical Popsicle. Instead of falling flat, the deadpan vocal delivery of Tim Hines pulled me in and kept my attention, making me forget about my plans to leave midset. Another pleasant surprise for me was Dive, the side project of Beach Fossils guitarist Zachary Cole Smith.
But after a rather slow start to the week when schedule issues and cancellations made me abandon my original plans, things definitely picked up midweek. I spent Wednesday evening shuffling around in the rain to some seven venues. From the synth-driven pop music of Norway's Casiokids (whom I managed to sneak in on my lunch hour) to the decent public radio-friendly folk-pop of The Lighthouse and The Whaler and Lissy Trullie's alluringly husky vocals, the day was full of pleasant surprises--not the least of which was John Maus, easily one of the highlights of my week.
As I walked through the door at 285 Kent, I immediately felt as if I had gone back in time. Thick music pumped from the DIY graffiti-covered space, through clouds of cigarette smoke. On stage, Maus shook with intensity as he addressed the mass of dancing, sweaty revelers. Beneath the shambling chaos of the quick synth riffs and simple drum lines is an unhinged but triumphant quality that is intoxicating. I had heard whispered stories of Maus shows before, but I never really understood the fervor until I saw it for myself.
Thursday was also packed with a number of good finds. I somehow found myself in the 7th floor of a swanky hotel for an "acoustic" (as in not electric; not unplugged) Dum Dum Girls set (though only 2/4 band members were present). Other highlights included the seriously talented and take-your-breath-away-beautiful dreamy folk-pop of Gem Club (who just released their debut album on Hardly Art), and Brooklyn's own, Headless Horseman who make fun, glitchy, hook-laden music with inventive beats (Their song "Wavlngth" was seriously one of my favorites all week.)
Friday, my band-count escalated rapidly, thanks to the BV day showcase at Public Assembly, which essentially had two bands playing each hour. I knocked out a few of the hyped bands in this fashion, including Chelsea Wolfe and Gauntlet Hair. (I also stepped over to Cameo briefly to catch a few adrenaline-packed songs from the Brooklyn duo Hunters.) With her beautifully haunting (but not annoying operatic) vocals Chelsea Wolfe was certainly one of the more memorable acts of the week. Would she be getting as much buzz if she didn't dress like "a medival [sic] reinactment [sic] person from Medival [sic] Times" (to quote an anonymous BV commenter)? Hard to say, but I have to give the woman credit--I couldn't take my eyes off her, and she was one of the few artists I caught twice. But my surprise favorite of the day show was Young Magic. Hip-hop and dark electro-pop may be unlikely bedfellows, but they sure make for quite an interesting pair. These guys are a force.
Other highlights of the day included the eye-catching electro-pop duo Purity Ring (love the name) and one of my favorite SXSW finds from earlier this year, Sea of Bees. At Webster Hall, Purity Ring's bass was so powerful at times that I almost forgot to breathe. Though the band relies on a lot of samples to craft their sound, they are far more interesting to watch due to their onstage chemistry and mysterious gold-piped instrument. Though nothing alike, my other favorite artist of the evening was Sea of Bees. Singer/songwriter Julie Baeziger's genuinely sweet demeanor and earnest acoustic performance are always a pleasant change of pace from the more aloof, laptop-driven artists that seem to sprout with the speed and frequency of mushrooms.
The week concluded not with a bang (I was turned away at the door of Brooklyn Bowl for Unknown Mortal Orchestra, whom I had hoped to end on), but with more of a slow fade-out. Forced to change my schedule at the last minute, I caught a few acts nearby, including Delicate Steve (how those five people were working from the same set list was a mystery at times given the haphazard nature of their sound, but it was fun to watch them put it all together), Races (pleasant and charming), Bleached, and about four minutes of the Kopecky Family Band (fun!) before hopping on the L and calling it a week.
So how does this year's CMJ stack up? Most people I spoke with seemed unimpressed. No doubt, the growth of SXSW--especially over the past few years--seems to have sucked some of the life out of CMJ. (It's hard to compete with free tacos, 76-degree days, and the compact nature of downtown Austin.) But like a hipster chick desperately scouring the racks at Beacon's Closet, I like the challenge of the frenzied search. There's good stuff in there hiding among the dross. You just have to look a bit harder.
Pictures in this post are from day parties at Pianos (We Listen for You) and Public Assembly (Under the Radar) on Wednesday. More of them below...