Entries tagged with: Islands

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by Andrew Sacher

photo by Christian Faustus

Last year, Nick Diamonds did the solo thing, but this year his band Islands is back for not one but two albums. To quote the press release, "Don't get it twisted: This is not a double album, nor is it a case of editing gone awry. These are two distinct, entirely unique records, each one a wholly individual offering." One is called Should I Remain Here at Sea? and the other is called Taste, and both are due May 13. If you pre-order through Pledge Music, you get an exclusive bonus mini EP and there are options for more exclusive material.

The band have debuted two songs, "Back Into It" from Should I Remain Here at Sea? and "Charm Offensive" from Taste. "Back Into It" is a poppy indie rocker that's not a thousand miles away from what Nick was doing in The Unicorns, but "Charm Offensive" is a moodier, new wavier song. Listen to both below.

Islands also announced a tour, including NYC on May 21 at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (1/29) at noon.

All dates are listed below...

Continue reading "Islands announce two albums & tour (dates, song streams)"

by Andrew Sacher

Nick Diamonds

The Unicorns' reunion was sadly short-lived, but both of the band's frontmen have remained busy with their solo projects. Alden Penner just wrapped up a tour, and Nick Diamonds (who you also know as Islands' frontman) just announced one.

The Nick Diamonds tour hits NYC on September 15 at Rough Trade with a TBA opener and September 16 at Mercury Lounge with Hollerado. Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday (7/17) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (7/15) at noon. All dates are listed below.

The tour is in support of Nick's new solo album, City of Quartz, which is out now digitally on Manque Music, and will be out on vinyl this month. With its quirky synthy pop, the album actually has some of the most Unicorns-sounding songs he's written since that band's initial breakup. If you were hoping that reunion would last a little longer, this album may quench at least some of your thirst. Listen to three tracks below.

Continue reading "Nick Diamonds announces tour in support of his new solo album (dates, song streams)"

Nick Diamonds

This may be old news to you, especially if you're a Serial podcast-listening, indie rock expert who paid attention to the credits for the past 3+ months and heard Nick Thorburn's name and immediately recognized it as that guy also known as Nick Diamonds from Islands and the recently reunited Unicorns. If not, now you know!

You can listen to the FINAL episode of Serial season one TODAY to find out who did it, and then get nostalgic for all 12 episodes by listening to the entire album's worth of Serial music by Nick, below...

Continue reading "Serial podcast music written by dude from the Unicorns (listen)"


Earlier this week we started to hear rumblings of a super secret, giant Vice party taking place Friday night (tonight, 12/5) somewhere in Brooklyn. Many big names were rumored to be playing. Like the event they just threw in Toronto, it would be to celebrate the now-mega-company's 20 years of existence. Then last night Nick Zinner tweeted the above "Vice Confidential" memo which has the Yeah Yeahs guitarist playing as part of a house band which will be fronted by Karen O and a ton of other exciting guests, if it all comes true. Pussy Riot is even on there, as are a bunch of Vice Records artists, as you can see above.

The show is invite only, but apparently they'll at least be filming it all (for the benefit of those not in attendance, and for those who make it in but partake a bit too much in the open bar), and they gave away a few tickets.

It goes without saying that the timing of this, though surely coincidental, is just a bit unfortunate for everyone since the last time we used "Brooklyn", "Vice" and "party" in the same sentence, was to discuss the final night of Death By Audio less than two weeks ago (Glasslands closes on New Year's Eve).

For what it's worth, I don't think there's any crossover between the Vice lineup and who played the final month at DbA, though Hisham Bharoocha used to be in Lightning Bolt who played DbA's final night.

So, who's on the list?

Nick Diamonds at Bowery Ballroom in April (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Nick Diamonds

Still no word on the Unicorns reunion, but Nick Diamonds just announced a tour with his band Islands to go down from late August into September. That tour hits NYC on September 17 at Baby's All Right. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (6/6) at noon.

Nick is currently finishing up his tour opening for The Both (aka Ted Leo & Aimee Mann) which hit NYC twice. All of his remaining solo dates, and all Islands dates, are listed below...

Continue reading "Islands announce tour, playing Baby's All Right (dates)"

Nick Diamonds w/ Islands at Culture Shock 2012 (more by Kellyann Petry)

Aimee Mann and Ted Leo put out their debut album this year for their collaborative project, The Both, and they're currently on the road in support of it. The tour brings them to NYC this week for two shows -- TONIGHT (4/29) at Bowery Ballroom and Thursday (5/1) at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Tonight's show is sold out, but you can still get tickets for Thursday's show. Updated dates are listed below.

Since we last spoke, Nick Diamonds of The Unicorns and Islands was added as an opener to the tour, which means Nick will be back in NYC tonight.

Coincidentally (?), Nick's former Unicorns bandmate, Alden Penner, plays his second of two NYC shows tonight at Brooklyn venue Glasslands with SoftSpot, Vassals and Xander Duell. Tickets for that one are still available.

The Unicorns recently discussed a possible reunion, though Nick said "it's just talk," but hopefully tonight won't be the last time he and Alden are in NYC together.

Updated The Both / Nick Diamonds dates are listed below...

Continue reading "Nick Diamonds on tour w/ The Both; Alden Penner playing NYC the same night (tonight)"


The exciting reunions keep coming. Alden Penner of early 2000s-era Canadian lo-fi pop trio The Unicorns was just interviewed on a Kreative Kontrol podcast, which Pitchfork transcribed:

But, Penner added, "the important thing right now is that we might play some shows and maybe even record some new material while we're at it. These are all maybes, which have been thrown out there a lot. I guess good practice is that you do what you say."

"We might arrange a handful of shows," Penner said. "We're definitely talking about playing together and seeing what happens. And we'll probably do some shows in the major cities we've played in-probably Toronto, Montreal, New York, L.A., Vancouver--that sort of thing. Whatever's feasible and it being conditional on it being fun for us to do."

So details are still up in the air, but this sounds like something to look forward to.

Alden Penner just released his debut solo album, Exegesis (stream it), and Nick Thorburn keeps busy with Islands these days.

Watch a couple live videos of The Unicorns playing material from their classic 2003 LP, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?, below...

Continue reading "The Unicorns discuss possible reunion"


One of the coolest festivals in the world, Barcelona's Primavera Sound will hold its 2014 edition from May 29 - 31. Arcade Fire, Pixies and Neutral Milk Hotel were announced as headliners a while back but the fest announced it's headliners today via an online short film. They've outdone themselves this year, as the three day event includes a reunited Slowdive (!), Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The National, Television, Slint, Foals, Warpaint, St. Vincent, Majical Cloudz, Kendrick Lamar, The National, Metronomy, Queens of the Stone Age, Disclosure, CHVRCHES, Darkside, Julia Holter, Cloud Nothings , and more.

Full line-up below and tickets are on sale now.

Continue reading "Primavera Sound 2014 line-up: Slowdive, Arcade Fire, NMH, Kendrick Lamar, Disclosure, QOTSA, and more"

Islands at Culture Shock 2012 (more by Kellyann Petry)

Islands have been on the road in support of their new album, Ski Mask, and as discussed, their tour hits NYC on Sunday (10/20) at Bowery Ballroom with Brazos and Fat Tony (tickets). Their tour schedule had a gap right before this NYC show, which fell right during CMJ, yet they had no CMJ shows scheduled. However, they will be making one CMJ appearance, as they are the special guests at tonight's Flowerbooking showcase at Knitting Factory (10/19) with Obits, The History of Apple Pie, Kid Karate, Prides, and Flashlights. Tickets for tonight's show are still available, and you can also try to get in using your CMJ badge.

Set times for tonight below...

Continue reading "Islands on tour, are the special guest at tonight's Obits show at Knitting Factory"


Islands, the current project of former Unicorn Nick Thorburn, are set to return with their fifth album, Ski Mask, in September via Nick's Manque label. You can take a listen to the album's first single, "Wave Forms," along with the album tracklist, below. That's the album artwork above.

Islands will also be supporting the new album with a tour that kicks off in September and ends in NYC on October 20 at Bowery Ballroom. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (7/12) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (7/10) at noon.

All dates are listed, along with the song stream, artwork and tracklist, below...

Continue reading "Islands announce new album and tour (dates & song stream)"

by Bill Pearis

the magic

Hailing from Guelph, Ontario (about an hour West of Toronto), Geordie and Evan Gordon have been kicking around the general Toronto scene for about seven years, pulling time in bands like The Constantines and Islands while working away at their own project, The Magic. Drawing influences from classic soul and Georgio Morroder electro, The Magic's debut album, Ragged Gold, is a nice little pop record and you can stream the whole thing below.

The band, which is a sextet live, are currently playing shows in Europe but have one upcoming U.S. that we've heard so far and it's in NYC: December 6 at Glasslands Cameo. Tickets for that show are on sale now.

A list of tour dates and album stream are below...

Continue reading "The Magic released 'Ragged Gold,' touring (dates, streams)"

Islands at Culture Shock 2012 (more by Kellyann Petry)

Islands will be heading to Europe for a tour this fall, but before that they'll stop in NYC for a show at Littlefield on September 14. Tickets for that show are on sale now. All dates are listed below.

In related news, Islands frontman Nick Thorburn (aka Nick Diamonds), who was one of the co-frontman of The Unicorns, took to twitter this past Saturday (6/30), for a quick little random rant, during which he mentioned "The Unicorns will never EVER reform," after saying, "The Unicorns could have done something amazing." He followed these with saying "The sophomore Unicorns album was gonna be a board game" and "Most tweets are just cries for help."

All dates are listed below, along with a video.

Continue reading "Nick Diamonds says Unicorns will never reunite; Islands schedule Brooklyn show before European tour (dates)"

photos by Kellyann Petry

Idle Warship at Culture Shock 4/28/12
Idle Warship

The 20th annual Culture Shock festival went down at SUNY Puchase from April 27-28. Day 1 (4/27) kicked off with the Stooges-meets-Jesus Lizard punk of Pissed Jeans, followed by California rapper Casey Veggies, who played SOBs a few days earlier. Day 1 of main stage wrapped up with an entrancing live-band IDM set from Tycho followed by Islands, both of whom played unexpected, crowd-demanded encores. Afterwards, Big Freedia packed Purchase's student center (The Stood) for an ass-shakin' afterparty, complete with nonstop dancing both on and off stage, and one of the biggest/craziest shows The Stood has seen in years.

Day 2 began with Cleveland rockers Cloud Nothings, who played almost the entirety of their powerful January LP Attack on Memory. Up next were two completely opposite sides of the folk spectrum; the foot-stomping Felice Brothers and the melancholic, distortion-drenched EMA. Day 2 ended with a headlining set from Idle Warship, the project of Talib Kweli and Res in full rock band mode. Idle Warship drew the largest crowd of the entire fest, and delivered an unfaltering set of Idle Warship originals, Talib classics, and a few covers (including the Stooges' "Search and Destroy").

Big Freedia and Casey Veggies will both be at Bamboozle this weekend and you can also catch Freedia in NYC at Santos TONIGHT (5/17).

More pics from the fest (excluding Pissed Jeans and Casey Veggies) below...

Continue reading "SUNY Purchase Culture Shock 2012 pics (Idle Warship, EMA, Big Freedia, Tycho, Cloud Nothings, Islands, Felice Brothers)"

YACHT @ Treasure Island 2011 (more by Autumn Andel)

today in NYC
* Joe Budden @ Irving Plaza
* Todd Rundgren @ City Winery
* YACHT afterparty @ Public Assembly
* The Oscar Show at the Pit
* Fred Armisen, Azita @ Union Pool
* Pauline Oliveros, Triple Point @ The Stone
* Marc Ribot Really the Blues @ Iridium
* JabberJosh, Bezoar, Xaddax @ Death By Audio
* Royal Baths, Pigeons, Invisible Circle @ The Suffolk
* Johnny Cash 80th Birthday Tribute @ The Grand Victory
* Big Ups, Ritz Riot, Cut Your Teeth, Fuck 666 @ Cake Shop
* Billy Martin & Wil Blades Duo, Baker's Dozen @ Brooklyn Bowl
* Sharon Van Etten, Carter Tanton, Glass Ghost @ Bowery Ballroom
* Chappo, Rioux, The Wellington Papers, Jackpot, Tiger @ Glasslands
* YACHT, Jeffrey Jerusalem, Bobby Birdman @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
* White Out, Anders Nilsson, Eleven Twenty-Nine, Loren Connors @ Zebulon
* The Viscounts, Amy Sheehan & The LoveHowl, Brian Bonz, Robin Bacior @ Pianos
* Nullsleep, Casper Electronics, Crudlabs Sound System, Selectronics @ Shea Stadium
* The Netherlands, Fall of the Albatross, Exemption, Beyond The Throne @ The Acheron
* The Pharmacy, Liquor Store, Osekre and The Lucky Bastards, The Spooks @ Big Snow Buffalo Lodge
* Nico Muhly, Nadia Sirota, Vijay Iyer, Prasanna, Nitin Mitta, Tania Leon, Zack Glass, Michael Reisman, The Collegiate Chorale, Brooklyn Youth Chorus @ Park Avenue Armory
* Wyatt Cenac, Baratunde Thurston, Charlotte Macdonald, Alex Koll, Kyle Bostic, Hannibal Buress @ Knitting Factory

YACHT headlines Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight, and then walks next door to DJ the afterparty at Public Assembly.

The Oscars are on tonight.

Follow @BrooklynVegan on Twitter.

Follow @bvChicago for just Chicago stuff.

Also follow @bvAustin for just Austin stuff.

Be our friend on Facebook too, and BV Austin's friend on Facebook.

Check out Islands' new video for "Hallways", below...

What else?

Continue reading "What's going on Sunday? (Oscars)"

Frankie Rose

Frankie Rose releases Interstellar this month (2/21) and as Bill points out, she's left the garage pop of her debut behind in favor of synthy, jangly pop. It's a huge step up from her last album and you can stream the entire thing at SPIN. She plays a record release show for the album at Knitting Factory on February 21 with Dive and Night Manager.

The new album from Dr. Dog, Be The Void, is out this week (2/7) and streaming at Conan O'Brien's website Team Coco. Watch the video of their performance on the show last night (2/8) below. Also, don't forget to grab your tickets for their Terminal 5 show on 3/23 while they're still available. More tour dates HERE.

Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater are touring together in support of their upcoming albums which are both currently streaming on NPR. Listen to Sharon's HERE and Shearwater's HERE. Their tour hits NYC on 2/24 at MHOW and 2/25 at Bowery Ballroom. Both shows are sold out but Sharon plays Bowery again the next night (2/26) and tickets are still available.

Islands' new album, A Sleep & A Forgetting, is due out February 14 via ANTI- and you can stream the entire thing below. Their tour in support of it hits NYC on 2/25 at LPR. Tickets are still available.

Instrumental hip hop producer Mux Mool released his new album, Planet High School, digitally this week and that can be streamed in full below (via FADER).

Field Music will release their new album, Plumb, on February 14 via Memphis Industries. You can stream the whole thing at NPR.

Tennis's new album, Young and Old, is due out February 14 via Fat Possum and you can stream it in full below (via P4K). Their tour in support of it hits NYC on 3/3 at Bowery Ballroom and 3/5 at MHOW. The Bowery show is sold out but tickets for MHOW are still on sale.

Air's new album, Le Voyage Dans La Lune, which features a collaboration with Beach House's Victoria Legrand, and as mentioned is a soundtrack, is out this week and streaming in full on NPR.

It's not exactly an album, but Fucked Up's 15+ minute "Year of the Tiger" single which features Jim Jarmusch, Austra, and Annie-Claude DeschĂȘnes of Duchess Says, can be streamed below.

Streams below...

Continue reading "Frankie Rose, Dr. Dog, Sharon Van Etten, Shearwater, Islands, Tennis & other new album streams "

Islands at the Bell House in 2009 (more by Anna Scialli)

As mentioned, Islands are releasing their new album, A Sleep & A Forgetting, on February 14 via ANTI- and touring in support of it in February and March. When we first announced the tour, we said that it included a TBA NYC show set to happen on February 25. It's since been revealed that the show will take place at Le Poisson Rouge. You may have noticed that when LPR first put the show on their website it was listed as 2/24, but the show will in fact happen on February 25. Tickets are on sale now.

Islands just revealed a second track from the new album called "Hallways," which you can stream below. The new song follows the first single, "This Is Not A Song".

Updated dates and song stream below...

Continue reading "Islands release new track, clear up NYC show mystery (updated dates & song stream)"

DOWNLOAD: Islands - "This Is Not A Song" (MP3)

Islands at The Bell House in 2009 (more by Anna Scialli)

Islands have a new album on the way called A Sleep & A Forgetting due out February 14 via ANTI-. They'll go on a North American tour in support of the album in February and March, which includes a Chicago show and a TBA NYC show set to happen on February 25. Presumably, they'll be touring with Luc from Pepper Rabbit, who recently disbanded and mentioned that Luc would be joining Islands on drums this spring.

They recently revealed the first single from the album, "This Is Not A Song," which you can download above and stream below. It's a bit more on the dad rock side than most of their previous material, but an enjoyable cut nonetheless. The video for the song premiered on Stereogum last month and you can watch that below too.

All dates, video and stream below...

Continue reading "Islands announce tour (2012 dates, TBA NYC show)"

Pepper Rabbit @ BV-CMJ showcase (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Pepper Rabbit

I wrote back in October that "there's a rumor that the BV [CMJ] showcase [at Music Hall of Williamsburg] may have been Pepper Rabbit's last show ever." Looks like that was unfortunately true. Facebook letters from Xander (who talks about how hard it is to be an indie band) and Luc (who points out he'll be drumming for Islands this spring) below...

Continue reading "Pepper Rabbit announces breakup, says its hard to be an indie band; Luc drumming for Islands"

Nick of Islands on stage w/ Mister Heavenly (more by Graeme Flegeheimer)
Nick Thorburn

Islands will release their new album A Sleep & A Forgetting this February 14th via Anti-Records..., this time band leader Nick Thorburn has infused the songs with a personal introspection that gives the record a new and powerful emotional resonance.

"This album is far more personal than any I've made before," Thorburn explains. "I left New York after the end of a relationship and came to Los Angeles. There was a piano where I was staying and that's where I wrote these songs. This record deals with loss, with memory and forgetting and with dreaming. I started writing it on Valentine's Day and it's coming out on Valentine's Day."
Though Nick Thorburn has made multiple appearances lately (10/18 at Union Hall, a 10/21 day party at Fontana's, a DJ slot at Creators Project), Islands played just a single CMJ show which was on 10/22 at Dominion Theater and Lounge (428 Lafayette Street)...
...at Dominion NY, the sign outside promises an "Intimate Evening with Islands"; the venue isn't lying. The basement doesn't seat more than one hundred; it's dimly lit, and barely anyone in the audience is talking. In addition, I am sitting uncomfortably close ("intimately close," even) to the stage.

While the rest of the band is dressed in black sports coats and black pants, Nick Thorburn is dressed in a light blue jacket and light-colored pants. He is clearly the star of the show. (None of the band members from the last time I saw them in 2008 are on stage here.)

Islands performs nine or ten songs from their new album, which Thorburn shares will be out February 2012. Some of the lyrical sentiments of the new songs are nice. At one point, Thorburn croons, "Don't I love you? Isn't the sky grey? Isn't the moon blue?" One of the songs has Geordie Gordon joining Thorburn on the piano playing a doo-wop style melody. To say that Thorburn's side project Mr. Heavenly with Honus Honus of Man Man is an influence on this song is an understatement. At one point, I said (to my notebook), "This sounds like 'Van Helsing Boombox.'"

Islands does break out two old gems: "Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby" and "Swans (Life After Death)" from the 2005 album, Return to the Sea. [Evil Monito]

That night, the new LP was the focus of the show and though there is no confirmation of the same at their forthcoming "special intimate seated show" on Friday, October 28th, expect some new jams at least. Comedian Max Silvestri and Mattie Safer (ex-The Rapture) are credited with the assist, and tickets are on sale for Islands' only current tour date.

DOWNLOAD: Hanni El Khatib - "Build-Destroy-Rebuild" (MP3)

Hanni El Khatib at Terminal 5 (more by Chris La Putt)

"Hanni El Khatib is so consistent in his live performances that when you see his name on a bill you know you're in for a fantastic show. Always dressed in black with his hair slicked back and bathed in a blood-red glow, El Khatib sings about violent love, past betrayals, and crumbling cities while backed by his equally talented partner in crime, drummer Nicky Fleming-Yaryan." [OC Weekly]
After a successful outing with Florence & The Machine last year, Hanni El Khatib will head back out the road with Florence again this year, though he won't be opening her sold out show at Central Park Summerstage (that honor is reserved for Twin Shadow and Bubbles). All dates are listed below.

While on that trek, El Khatib will play a pair of his own NYC shows though. You can catch him at Mercury Lounge on 6/24 and at Glasslands on 6/25. Tickets are on sale for Glasslands, and tickets for Mercury Lounge go on sale at noon.

Hanni is also playing Bonnaroo in June, and those in LA can see him for free much sooner courtesy of Record Store Day @ Origami Vinyl where he'll share a bill with Islands, The Growlers, and a "Secret Special Guest." UPDATE: he cancelled, and so did "Islands"? This is what is happening at the LA store:

Alright folks. The list you have all been waiting for. Below you will find all of the titles that we will have on Record Store Day this Saturday.

WARNING: We have yet to receive a couple shipments and have been told they are guaranteed to be delivered tomorrow. As soon as we receive these we will post them up in herrrrrre.

ALSO: Unfortunately Nick T had to cancel his in-store on Saturday. Dude is in Texas and can't get back in time :(((((

So: Secret Suprise Guest @ 2pm ::: The Growlers @ 8pm

We open at 10 AM. The line will be let in 5 at a time to keep from peeps being trampled. Good luck!


Speaking of records, Hanni El Khatib released a pair of 7"s in recent months in preparation for his upcoming Will The Guns Come Out debut LP due on Stones Throw this summer. Download "Build Destroy Rebuild" from the 7" and LP above and stream it alongside all tour dates and some videos below...

Continue reading "Hanni El Khatib schedules solo shows during Florence & the Machine tour, NOT playing Origami Vinyl on Record Store Day"

photos by Graeme Flegenheimer

Nick Thorburn & Michael Cera @ Lincoln Hall in Chicago
Mister Heavenly
Mister Heavenly

"Mister Heavenly, the newly formed band of Honus Honus, Joe Plummer, Nick Thorburn, and Michael Cera, took part in Tommorow Never Knows at Lincoln Hall [in Chicago on Friday night]... Mister Heavenly played around an hour, digging up songs nobody has ever heard, playing a few covers, including "Bad Man" by the Oblivians. For it being one of their first shows, it was really tight. A lot of these songs are really strong. The sound was great. The energy was there. They had fun, and it showed. A strong set for a young band of seasoned artists, with Michael Cera tipping up on one leg in his red hat. slapping a pick-less bass. They joked about cheese, told a few beginning to stories about snipers, got shit thrown at them." [Gonzo Chicago]
As mentioned, both Mister Heavenly's label (Sub Pop) and the venue they're playing in NYC tonight/Sunday (Bowery Ballroom) told me that Michael Cera would most likely not be there. Now that I know he played with them Friday night at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, I'm having trouble believing he won't be at the NYC show too. And considering Michael's name is not in any of the press materials or in the band's promo pictures, it just seems like some kind of big cover-up to downplay the biggest celebrity in the band which also contains members of Modest Mouse, Man Man and Islands. We'll find out soon enough (update: Bowery has since changed their story).

Tickets are still available for tonight's show. Sun Airway and Little Shalimar open and the show starts around 9pm, so Mister Heavenly will probably go on around 11pm. That gives you enough time to download (or stream) the two songs they're giving away (learn them before the show). Those songs and more pictures from Chicago below...

Continue reading "Mister Heavenly played Chicago (Michael Cera included), giving away 2 songs (MP3s, pics & a NYC show tonight)"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Fergus & Geronimo - Powerful Lovin' (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Final Club - Tragic World (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Tyvek - Underwater To (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Tyvek - 4312 (MP3)


Welcome to the first This Week in Indie of 2011. We are 12 days into this year and I have yet to see a show. If you add in the time before Christmas...this might be the longest I've gone without seeing live music in a long time. That drought will end for me this week, maybe tonight, but certainly tomorrow (1/13) as Gruff Rhys plays Rockwood Music Hall. I was a little worried this snow was to cancel his flight today, but he is currently on route to NYC as I write this.

Still no word as to who'll be releasing his new solo album, Hotel Shampoo, in the US but it seems likely someone will. Hopefully we'll get to hear a lot it live. As anyone whose seen him before -- either with Super Furry Animals or solo -- know, Gruff is an entertaining guy, who always puts extra effort into his shows. Highly recommended. Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces opens. Show starts early -- 7:30.

I also just watched Separado!, the musical travelogue documentary about Gruff's quest to track down distant relative (and '70s caped troubadour) Rene Griffiths in Patagonia. Like Rhys himself, the film is charming, scruffy, funny and full of good songs. Still not released in America but you can order the UK DVD (if you have a region-free player or watch on a computer) or, if you live in Williamsburg, rent it from Videology.

Fergus & Geronimo
Fergus and Geronimo

Fergus & Geronimo release their debut album, Unlearn, on Hardly Art next week, and are playing three shows this weekend in celebration: Friday (1/14) at Death By Audio (official official release party) with Final Club, Easter Vomit (ex Beets), new Captured Tracks signees Widowspeak, and Philadelphia's premiere surf band Dry Feet; Saturday (1/15) at Columbia University hangout The Ding Dong Lounge with Final Club; and Sunday (1/16) at Mercury Lounge with Tyvek. Xray Eyeballs and The Gaming Commission.

While it suffers from a slight case of identity crisis (droney psych, garagey rave-ups, organ-fueled soul), track-by-track Unlearn is a pretty solid record. Fergus & Geronimo are good at all the styles they dabble in. Check out "Powerful Lovin'" at the top of this post -- that shows off their soulful side. And while I haven't seen them play live in a year and a half, they were good then so I can only imagine they've gotten better.

Final Club
Final Club

If your eyes didn't glaze over at the list of bands two paragraphs up, you may have noticed Final Club are playing with F&G twice this weekend. The two bands were Denton, TX neighbors before Fergus & Geronimo moved to Brooklyn late last summer. Final Club are here just for these shows. They are worth seeing in their own right: sneery, melodic indie rock with a tendency to lean on the tremolo bar which gives them a little Swervedriver vibe. Confident and loud.

You can check out "Tragic World" at the top of this post. And if you like that, you can download their Hot Gaze EP as well. Look out for their excellent debut album, Blank Entertainment, later this year. In addition to the two shows with Fergus & Geronimo, Final Club play a headlining gig at Death By Audio tomorrow night (1/13) with Bogan Dust, Clinical Trials and Laserdisc.

Tyvek @ BV-SXSW 2010 (more by Tim Griffin)

Also as mentioned above, Tyvek are in town this weekend. While many of their peers have moved on to mid-fi production, the Detroit band keep it live and murky on their new album, Nothing Fits. It also sounds as anxious, angry and alive as the rest of their material. In addition to the Mercury Lounge show on Sunday mentioned above, they play Saturday night (1/15) at Glasslands with The Beets, Eternal Summers, and Sweet Bulbs. That is a good show. Do note it starts early, 8PM for real, as the Soul Clap dance party starts at midnight. I'll be there.

The BeetS

I should mention that openers The Beets have a new album Stay Home that's just out on Captured Tracks. After last year's swell, cleanly produced "Locomotion" single, they too (like Tyvek) are back to the same intentionally shitty "production" of their first album. (Maybe slightly less shitty.) Which, again, doesn't hurt them at all. The Beets are good songwriters I think, and especially good lyricists. And maybe if they can ever get a drummer to stick around for more than a month they might go places. Or just stay home. There's also a new Beets single, "Time Brought Age," and both the LP and 7" feature the bands signature comic artwork courtesy Matt Volz.

Mister Heavenly
Mister Heavenly

What else? Oh yeah, Mister Heavenly play Bowery Ballroom on Sunday (1/16) with Sun Airway and Little Shalimar. This extra super group just signed to Sub Pop, and the label would like you to know the band features Nick Diamonds (Islands/Unicorns), Honus Honus (Man Man) and Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse). Of course most of the press so far has been about the group's sometimes bassist who you may know from his non-musical day job. I don't mean the banana stand.

Going to see a band because there's a famous actor in it is usually a dumb reason to go (see Dogstar, 30 Seconds to Mars , 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, etc)... plus Mr. Cera is not an "official" member of the band and he may or may not be playing with them on Sunday (note that both the label and the venue told us they don't think Michael will be there). Luckily the rest of the band is known in their own right, so mabye you should go for that reason. Unfortunately there's no recorded music to hear yet, but their few shows so far have been well-documented on YouTube.

That's the main stuff. Here's a few shows, day-by-day, not covered above.


Nashville-via-Ohio band Mona -- one of the BBC's picks for Sound of 2011 -- invade NYC this weekend, starting tonight at Rock Shop. They also play Mercury Lounge on Thursday (1/13) (with Devin Therriault) and Union Pool on Saturday (1/15).

Given the abbreviation of this column you're reading, I would be remiss not to mention that The Twees play The Studio @ Webster Hall, a record release show for their just-released EP. They actually don't sound twee at all. I would say Strokes-esque pop would get you closer to a description.

Quirky, occasionally proggy, pop band Steel Phantoms at Bruar Falls.

more below...

Continue reading "Mister Heavenly, Gruff Rhys, Fergus & Geronimo, Final Club, Tyvek, The Beets & more in This Week in Indie "

Islands were the special musical guest at the Big Teriffic show at Music Hall of Williamsburg Friday night, and as part of their short 'funeral set', Nick Diamonds and gang performed a medly of two Daniel Johnston songs: "True Love Will Find You In the End" and "Honey I Sure Miss You". They sounded great. Check out the proof in the video below...

Continue reading "Islands played MHOW, covered Daniel Johnston songs (video) "

by Klaus Kinski

Islands at a show w/ comedians in 2008 (more by Eric Townsend)

Oh, hey guys. Lemme get these headphones off. There. Sorry, I've been listening to this Justing Bieber song that's been slowed down 800 percent non-stop since yesterday (sounds like a Justin K. Broadrick remix for crying out loud). Anyway, I almost forgot to tell you about some more very important comedy news. Keeping with the theme of great comedy coming to Brooklyn, Williamsburg's weekly Wednesday night comedy staple Big Terrific will leave the confine's of Cameo and grace the much larger stage of Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday August 27th (8:00pm doors). For the uninitiated and/or too-lazy-to-google, Big Terrific is a weekly show hosted by Max Silvestri, Gabe Liedman, and Jenny Slate that showcases local talent as well as international comedic super stars. It is one of the many great weeklies in NYC, and it boasts one of NYC's most consistently stellar comedy line-ups, week after week after week, and has been doing so for over two years.

As far as I'm concerned, all really great comedy shows in NYC deserve to get dragged out of the back rooms and basements and given the opportunity to curate a larger scale show at one of our better venues (like Invite Them Up did at Bowery... 5 freakin years ago!? (5 years!? damn)). And the Big Terrific show at MHOW seems like the ideal scenario. It's on a Friday. It's on a payday (for some of us). It features the comedy whatnots of Todd Barry, Brent Sullivan, Joe Mande, Jesse Popp, and MORE. It features a live performance by Islands. It'll have a shitload of surprises that cannot be publicized because that's how the industry works people. It's ONLY 12 BUCKS. So if you're into amazing comedy, jaw dropping surprises, reasonably priced beer, great music, at a wonderful venue (that is turning three years old), I'd say your Friday night is covered. And if you don't like any of those things, I'm wondering why you read this far. Shouldn't you be opposing a mosque somewhere or something? Anyway, times are tough, so if you'd like to try and win a pair of tix, look below.

In addition to Big Terrific, your hosts Max, Gabe, and Jenny are pretty busy pups. SNL keeps Jenny very busy, but she will be returning to the new season of Bored to Death on HBO, which premieres in September. She also just released a short film she made with Dean Fleischer-Camp called Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Gabe Liedman can be seen on the Short List on Fridays at 9 on VH1. And Max just finished filming a pilot for Comedy Central that will hopefully get picked up and then air for thirty years. Following the MHOW show, you can count on Big Terrific every Wednesday at Cameo.

Some videos (and the contest details) below...

Continue reading "Islands, Todd Barry & more fun added to Big Terrific show "

photos by Kyle Dean Reinford

Active Child & harp @ Mercury Lounge
Active Child

Active Child played their first NYC show last night (6/7) at Mercury Lounge. They totally killed it according to Wes Martin.

Active Child will play their second NYC show later this month when they open for Islands at Music Hall of Williamsburg on June 27th. The previously announced Northside Festival show (which is still on sale) also added Steel Phantoms and TV Carnage to the bill, AND is actually just the first date of a larger tour for Islands, Active Child and Steel Phantoms. All of those dates, and more pictures from Mercury Lounge, are below...

Continue reading "Active Child played Mercury Lounge w/ Blair (pics), touring & playing MHOW w/ Islands (dates)"