Entries tagged with: The Bell House

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Charlotte Gainsbourg

When Charlotte Gainsbourg began planning her forthcoming album, she thought Beck might be a perfect producer for the musically adventurous and diverse approach she had in mind. From their first casual hours together in the studio, she recognized a shared sensibility and the potential for a collaboration that would be both free and seamless. Because Music will release the resulting work, entitled IRM, in January 2010...

...Over the course of a year and a half of their writing and recording together, Beck¹s role grew to encompass all aspects of the creative process: He wrote all of the music and co-wrote the lyrics and is producing and mixing the recording. (This is the first time he has ever been so involved in another artist¹s work.)

Beck brought in many of his regular collaborators, including Joey Waronker and James Gadson on drums, Brian LeBarton on keyboards, David Ralicke on trumpet and Beck¹s father, David Campbell, for string arrangements. Though Gainsbourg¹s unique voice is instantly recognizable throughout, her vocal performances here are as varied as the material.

Charlotte will play live at the Bell House in Brooklyn on January 19th AND 20th (right after Beth Orton plays the same venue). Tickets go on sale Wednesday at noon.

Check out the video for the album's first single, "Heaven Can Wait" (featuring Beck), below...

Continue reading "Charlotte Gainsbourg releasing Beck-produced album (video), playing 2 Brooklyn shows in January (dates)"

Sheff and Caws

Field Music didn't make it, but there was a special reunion set by Pulsars, followed by the super duper Wye Oak who played before special guest Rumours last night at The Bell House in Brooklyn (12/3).

As advertised (at the last minute anyway), Rumours was a Fleetwood Mac cover band. Cover song experts Loser's Lounge made up the band and a rotating cast of singers came to the stage to play individual tunes. Those vocalists included Dave Hill dueting with Erika from Au Revoir Simone, Will Sheff dueting with Beth Wawerna, Matthew Caws, Britta, Sharon Van Etten, Wye Oak, and many more. The show was in honor of Bell House booker Skippy. Well, it was his birthday party, and he even came out to help perform "I Don't Wanna Know" with Mia Riddle. The full setlist (which did not include AC Newman or Eugene Mirman - both must be out of town) with a couple of videos below...

Continue reading "Rumours (indie all-star Fleetwood Mac band) played the Bell House w/ Wye Oak & Pulsars - video & setlist"

Blip Festival

REFORMAT THE PLANET is a feature length documentary which delves into the movement known as chip tunes, a vibrant underground scene based around creating new, original music using old video game hardware. Familiar devices such as the Nintendo Game Boy and Nintendo Entertainment System are pushed in new directions with startling results.

Using New York as a microcosm for a larger global movement, "Reformat the Planet" maps out the genesis of the first annual Blip Festival, a four day celebration of over 30 international artists exploring the untapped potential of low-bit video game consoles. With floor-stomping rhythms and fist-waving melodies, trailblazers of the chip tune idiom descend upon Manhattan to pen a new chapter in the history of electronic music.

That's the description of a documentary about the Blip Festival which is taking place again this year at The Bell House in Brooklyn. There are nightly concerts Thursday, December 17 - Saturday December 19th, as well as workshops, art installations, and film screenings. Advanced tickets are on sale. One of the film screenings is in fact "Reformat the Planet". That movie's trailer and the full Blip Fest schedule, below...

Continue reading "2009 Blip Fest lineup & schedule -- music, films & workshops "

Rumours

FIELD MUSIC US TRIP CANCELLED
This is one of my worst days for some time. Unfortunately, we are not able to play our scheduled shows in New York tonight and in Chicago on Saturday. I've come down with flu-like symptoms and given the swine flu situation, spending eight hours sharing my germs with the population of an aeroplane heading to the US would seem like a very silly and fairly irresponsible thing to do. I'm totally devastated about this and would like to apologise to everyone who's bought tickets to come and see us and also to the promoters who've spent so much time and effort organising for us to come over and promoting the shows, especially to Jack at the Bell House -we were supposed to play this evening as part of his birthday celebrations.

We will try our very best to reschedule these shows sometime in the new year. In the meantime, again, I'm incredibly sorry we're not playing these shows. I hope we can make it up to you soon.
David

That sucks! The Bell House says, "Field Music have postponed their set until early 2010. All ticket holders of advance tickets will be guaranteed FREE admission tonight for Wye Oak, Pulsars, and the special secret set by Rumours, which is an all-star indie rock tribute to Fleetwood Mac (there, we said it). Your ticket will also be good for the re-scheduled Field Music show which will be announced shortly (you will be notified via Ticketweb)."

photos by Tim Griffin, words by Bill Pearis

Amy Linton
Henry's Dress

Frankie Rose
Frankie Rose

Influential indie label Slumberland Records turned 20 in 2009 and celebrated this landmark with two big birthday shows -- one in Washington DC (where it got its start) and one in Brooklyn (where much of Slumberland's current roster reside). The Bell House show was a cardigan-clad indie marathon, with a nice mix of Slumberland bands (and fans) old and new. It really did feel like a party. There were favors for the guests (a Slumberland rarities compilation CD) and even a few surprises. Slumberland head honcho Mike Schulman joined Philadelphia's Brown Recluse on stage for some well-played tambourine, and Amy Linton, conspicuously absent from the listed proceedings, turned up for an unannounced, too-brief (and crazy loud) set of Henry's Dress and Aislers Set songs with help from Crystal Stilts. There might've even been a cake. With the label going strong, another 20 years doesn't seem entirely out of the question.

Videos (including the entire Henry's Dress/Aislers Set set), plus pictures of all the bands from the whole long, fun night are after the jump....

Continue reading "pics & video from Slumberland's 20th Anniversary party "

Bell House

"Join us at the Bell House on New Year's Eve for a legendary ROCK and SOUL blowout! Subway Soul Club's DJs will be spinning until the wee hours as well as special performances from OBITS and Eli "Paperboy" Reed. FREE cans of Sofia Blanc de Blanc champagne with admission. Food vendors! Party favors! Door prizes! Let's get it on." [Tickets are on sale]
Mercury Lounge just announced a late show with Titus Andronicus.

by Bill Pearis

Field Music
Field Music

Sunderland, UK's indie-prog-pop band Field Music are back from a two-year hiatus, with a new line-up and a new LP, Field Music (Measure), due out in February. Before that, Field Music will play The Bell House on December 3 -- their first NYC show since March 2007. Tickets are still on sale. Still anchored around brothers Peter and David Brewis, Field Music are now a quartet, with two new members replacing keyboardist Andrew Moore who is training to be a professional chef.

During their hibernation, both Brewis had high concept solo projects: David recorded under the name School of Language, an almost clinical exploration of phonetics; and Peter made the excellent The Week That Was, a concept album about the news media that was equally influenced by Paul Auster and '80s Trevor Horn production style. David played drums with The Week That was, so it's not like the Brewis brothers had that much time apart. And judging from the new two tracks they've offered up as a free download (after giving them your email address), Peter and David are still doing their own thing, just now under one roof. David's "Each Time is a New Time" starts off with a almost Southern-fried boogie rock riff before being worked into a more familiar baroque/prog vibe, and Peter's string-laden "Measure" at least sonically sounds like a Week That Was track.

Pulsars
Pulsars

The Bell House show is one of two U.S. dates Field Music are playing (the other being Dec. 5 in Chicago), and is actually a birthday party for Skippy who books the club (and Union Hall). The whole night is kind of awesome. In addition to Field Music, he talked '90s synth pop act Pulsars into reforming just for this show. The Pulsars (brothers Dave and Harry Trumfio) were kind of a big deal for a hot moment in the mid-'90s, one of the first bands signed to Herb Albert and Jerry Moss' Almo Sounds label who released their debut album in 1997. The band got sidelined when Dave Trumfio's production work became sought-after, leaving the Pulsars' second album sitting on the shelf, near-finished. The Trumfios are still talking about finishing it, and are also now recording under a new name, Our Future.

Also playing are Baltimore's terrific Wye Oak who are one of my favorite live bands of the last few years. Their second album, The Knot, was a bit of a grower, replacing some of their more obvious poppier moments with a warm hypnotic drone. It's a lovely record. The Brooklyn show is one of four December dates for them. They're all listed below.

There's a fourth act on the Bell House bill, cryptically listed as "Rumours." I've heard no, uh, rumors, as to who it might be but given Skippy's soft rock proclivities I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be a Fleetwood Mac cover band or something. But that is 100% speculation.

The Bell House is pretty rockin' all December longer. In addition to Skippy's birthday bash, Sloan play the very next night (December 4), and That Petrol Emotion their first NYC show in 15 years on December 12. There's also the fourth annual Blip Festival which happens December 17 - 19.

Videos and applicable tour dates below...

Continue reading "Pulsars reuniting for one Brooklyn show w/ Field Music, Wye Oak & "Rumours" (++ other tour dates & stuff) "

photos by Chris La Putt, words by Bill Pearis

Au Revoir Simone

Au Revoir Simone have spent the better part of 2009 working on, promoting and touring in support of their second album, Still Light, Still Night, wrapping things up -- for now, at least -- with a Brooklyn show at the Bell House on October 24 (tickets), which is part of the CMJ Music Marathon. The Bell House is also where their new video, "Shadows," was filmed. You can watch it over at the David Lynch Foundation Television website. Lynch has been a fan ever since he and ARS were paired together for that Barnes & Noble Upstairs at the Square event two years ago. He even wrote a nice little blurb for the girls:

"I LOVE AU REVOIR SIMONE ..... THESE GIRLS HAVE WHAT IT TAKES ..... MUSIC JUST FLOWS OUT OF THEM SO NATURALLY - AND IT'S GREAT MUSIC ...... THIS VIDEO FOR "SHADOWS" - FROM THEIR NEW ALBUM "STILL NIGHT, STILL LIGHT" IS MIGHTY - THE COLOR AND THE LIGHT ARE STELLAR - THE MOVES AND LOOKS - MINIMAL - CLEAN - MODERN AND SOLID ..... IT ALL COMES ALONG SO WELL SUPPORTING THE GIRLS AND THEIR MUSIC ..... ANNIE, ERIKA AND HEATHER HAVE GOT THEIR ACT TOGETHER - THEY'RE BIG - BUT THEY'RE GONNA BE BIGGER - THEY'RE GONNA BE REAL BIG"
I hope someone has since told David his Caps Lock was on. That Bell House CMJ show also has baroque pop band The Postmarks, and San Francisco's folk-ska ensemble Still Flyin' on the bill.

In November, Au Revoir Simone travel to China for shows in Beijing and Shanghai. Tour dates are at the bottom of this post, as are more pictures from Au Revoir Simone's Bowery show from back in June. Findlay Brown, who is also playing CMJ at the same venue (Bowery), opened that June show.

In between now and ARS's trip to China, ARS member Annie Hart will spend some time with her other band, Uninhabitable Mansions, which also features Robbie and Tyler from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Uninhabitable Mansions' debut album, Nature is a Taker, is out now digitally, with the CD version due at the end of October and vinyl in January. Uninhabitable Mansions, which now includes Annie Hart's husband (and former Dirty on Purpose member) Doug Marvin on drums, has two NYC shows coming up: a free show next Wednesday (10/14) at Cake Shop which is part of the MIXER Reading Series, then they'll play the Bell House on October 22 (part of CMJ) with Robbers on High Street, Freelance Whales (who are also on the Bowery Ballroom show Findlay is playing), Pomegrates and others. After that, they're going on a short East Coast tour, ending with a October 30 show at Union Pool. Then the band's on hold until the new year when they expect to launch a more extensive U.S. tour.

And while we're here, Robbie and Chris of Uninhabitable Mansions have another band,Radical Dads, whose new self-titled EP is downloadable for free.

CYHSY front-man Alec Ounsworth meanwhile has been doing his own thing and is appearing at Mercury Lounge during CMJ, as well as at a free BrooklynVegan day party at Pianos that same day (10/22). More details TBA.

Tour dates for Au Revoir Simone and Uninhabitable Mansions, plus more pictures from Au Revoir Simone's June 28 Bowery Ballroom show are below...

Continue reading "Au Revoir Simone, David Lynch, Uninhabitable Mansions, Radical Dads & CMJ - tour dates, pictures, free music & more"

photos by Chris La Putt

Basia Bulat

It's with heavy heart that I send this news.
Tomorrow's Bell House show with Basia has
been cancelled due to visa issues :(
Basia fan Chris La Putt is especially upset about this, and reminded me that maybe now would be a good time to finally post those pictures he took of her on September 19, 2008 at Highline Ballroom. So here they are...

Continue reading "Basia Bulat's Brooklyn show canceled due to visa issues (so here are some pictures from 2008)"

TPOBPAH @ Webster Hall on Saturday (more by Jake Forney)
Slumberland

SAT 11/14: 6pm / 18+ / $15
SLUMBERLAND RECORDS 20TH ANNIVERSARY
SPECIAL GUEST HEADLINER
CRYSTAL STILTS
BROWN RECLUSE
PANTS YELL!
FRANKIE ROSE
THE ROPERS
NORD EXPRESS
LORELEI

Slumberland began operations in 1989 as a collective effort consisting of members of DC area bands Velocity Girl, Big Jesus Trash Can/Whorl, Black Tambourine and Powderburns. We were inspired by such musical happenings as C-86, early Creation, Postcard, K, Bus Stop, lower East Side noise, and also the renegade art aesthetics of people like Cage, Burroughs and Duchamp. We were complete musical neophytes but so pumped-up about all the amazing things going on in post-punk independent music that we just had to jump in.

As Bill sort of hinted at, one headliner possibility is The Pains of Being Pure at Heart who just headlined Webster Hall. Tickets for the Bell House show are now on sale.

Continue reading "Slumberland Records 20th Anniversary show on sale "

by Bill Pearis

Frankie Rose

Frankie Rose is mainly known as a drummer, having played in Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, and Dum Dum Girls, but she's also a songwriter (she wrote VG's "Where Do You Run To?") and will be releasing her debut single, "Thee Only One," on Slumberland Records on October 27. She's also got a new band, Frankie and the Outs, who will make their live debut November 7th at The Woodser which will be the first show in a longtime for that South Williamsburg spot. Grass Widow is also on that bill.

With the new band, Frankie is sadly no longer drumming for Crystal Stilts. The split was amicable, guitarist JB plays guitar on her single. I'm told Crystal Stilts have a new drummer already, and the new Stilts lineup will even share a bill with Frankie and the Outs at two east coast Slumberland 20th Anniversary parties -- November 13th at the Black Cat and November 14 at the Bell House. (More on those further down the post.)

The Outs are a five piece, all girls, with whom Frankie will move from the drum kit to guitar (and vocals). The single's A-side is a two-and-a-half minute wall-of-sound pop that is what you might expect from someone who spent time in Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts. (It could be the sister of CS's "Love is a Wave.") The B-side, "Hollow Life," is more unexpected -- organ-driven, harmony-laden, dreamy and drum-free, owing a lot to Spacemen 3.

Neither the A-side or the B-side of Frankie Rose's single has made it onto her MySpace page, but you can listen to her demo of "Where Do You Run To," a track the Vivian Girls only played once live. However, Frankie says it will be part of the The Outs live repertoire.

Frankie will be behind the drum kit, though, for the Dum Dum Girls upcoming CMJ shows. This will be an all-girl line-up, apparently, unlike DDG's live debut at the Woodsist/Captured Tracks Festival this summer that included Crocodiles' Brandon Welchez on guitar and Captured Tracks major domo Mike Sniper on bass. But that's only for these shows.

As mentioned above, Frankie and the Outs will play the two Slumberland Records 20th Anniversary shows at the Bell House and Black Cat. The full line-up for both shows is : Crystal Stilts, Brown Recluse, Pants Yell!, Frankie and the Outs; plus some reunions of classic Slumberland bands The Ropers, Nord Express, and Lorelei. It will be the first Ropers and Nord Express shows in ten years. Additionally, the Bell House show features a "special guest headliner." And as D.C. was the original home of the label, I wouldn't be surprised if some different special guests played that one too.

I think that is enough for one post. Tour dates and some videos below...

Continue reading "Frankie Rose leaves Crystal Stilts, starts band, playing Slumberland Anniversary parties - full lineups & MUCH MORE "

photos by Ryan Muir

Fanfarlo
Fanfarlo

"Collectively, they have a homespun quality, as if still learning how to make do. Three band members played mandolin over the course of the show. Three played drums. On one song Mr. Balthazar put down his guitar and picked up a clarinet. Glockenspiel was used to dramatic effect. A melodica made an appearance." [NY Times]
And as the NY Times pointed out, not only can you compare Fanfarlo to Beirut, they share a member! At least they did at these recent shows which included Monday night at Bowery Ballroom, and last night (Tuesday, 9/22) at the Bell House in Brooklyn. The Beirut member in question is Jon Natchez who you can see with his shaved head and beard playing a saxophone in the pictures. Also joining Fanfarlo as a member of their band for this tour was Jeremy Warmsley who was my favorite multi-instrumental member to watch on stage last night. Catch him play his own show at Pianos in NYC tonight (9/23)

Arcade Fire are the second most obvious comparison to Fanfarlo. I probably wouldn't have also thrown Neutral Milk Hotel into the mix... if they hadn't chosen to close their 2-song encore with a cover of "In the Aeroplane over the Sea"! I wasn't a huge fan of the choice, which made me biased before it even began, but it got lots of applause. A video Bill took of it is also making the rounds on the Internet today. You can watch that below.

Speaking of closing their set, they wrapped it up a little early due to throat problems, and according to one member who spoke to Bill after the show, technical problems that they didn't really let the crowd know about. Speaking of the crowd, despite it generally being a stand-there-with-arms-crossed kind of night, people got loud when applauding, and while cheering for the encore.

Like at other shows on the tour, they started the encore with audience participation and plastic tubes...

"I sold on the band when they flipped the switch on those lovely, glowing lights after the first song of their set, but when they came back for an encore and handed out instruments to the crowd (no idea what they're called, but the band had purchased a gaggle of those plastic tubes you swing around your head to make noise), I became a devoted follower of the church of Fanfarlo. Ten or so audience members were whipping these tubes around in the air, and the pitch of the tubes was aligned perfectly with "Comets". Arms got tired, tubes were passed onto other audience members, and it felt like everyone in the room was part of the band." [Seattle Weekly]
Wildbirds and Peacedrums opened the show for the second night in a row. It was their 5th show in NYC in a week. Their other three shows were at Bruar Falls, Cake Shop and Le Poisson Rouge.

Fanfarlo's album, Resevoir, is well worth a listen, and as Bill taught me, will be released officially as a CD by Atlantic in October. October is also when they'll be back in NYC to play at least two shows including the BrooklynVegan CMJ showcase at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

More pictures from The Bell House below...

Continue reading "Fanfarlo & Wildbirds & Peacedrums @ The Bell House - pics "

by Bill Pearis

That Petrol Emotion

There's always one band at SXSW that makes you do a double-take when you see them on the schedule. For me it was That Petrol Emotion, who were popular in the late '80s (on college radio at least) and broke up in 1994. They were the band the O'Neil brothers of The Undertones formed when Feargal Sharkey left in 1983, recruiting Seattleite Steve Mack for vocals. The crowd to see them in at 1AM was sparse, but included Bell House / Union Hall booker Skippy, Britt Daniel and Andrew Bird. Sound was a bit of a mess, but the band played great - vocalist Steve Mack was still manic as ever, and they played my favorite TPE song, "It's a Good Thing."
That Petrol Emotion were one of my favorite shows at SXSW this year, and now the they'll be back in the U.S. playing The Bell House on December 12. This will be TPE's first New York show in 15 years -- tickets are already on sale. It's their only upcoming U.S. show as of this writing. While the SXSW set I saw focused mainly on the band's more straightforward final two albums (1990's Chemicrazy and 1993's Fireproof), I'm hoping the Bell House folks will try and get them to break out some of TPE's jagged early stuff like "V2" (from their essential first album Manic Pop Thrill) or "Creeping to the Cross" (from 1986's Babble).

Some classic TPE videos, plus footage from that SXSW show, are below...

Continue reading "That Petrol Emotion are playing NYC (++ video from SXSW ++)"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Dream Diary - Bird in My Garden (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Big Troubles - Drastic and Difficult (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Ty Segall - It #1 (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fanfarlo - Finish Line (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fanfarlo - I'm a Pilot (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fanfarlo - Luna (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Jeremy Warmsley - If He Breaks Your Heart (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Slaraffenland - Meet and Greet (Mp3)
DOWNLOAD: Slaraffenland - Open Your Eyes (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Horrors - Sea Within a Sea (MP3)

Ty Segall's drummer @ Cake Shop (more by Tim Griffin)
Ty Segall

I realize we're all concerned about This Week Next Year in Indie, what with this Pavement stuff, but there are actually good shows in the next few days too, so let's get down to it.

Ty Segall is back in town, playing three area shows before heading down to Memphis for next weekend's Gonerfest. If you haven't picked up his new album, Lemons (which is on Goner Records), you really should -- I think it's one of the year's better slabs of garage. And by all means see him live. He (and his band) were great when they played Cake Shop back in June. You can catch him Friday (9/18) night at Death by Audio (as part of this Maze installation which I have yet to see, and where they recently "chopped some of the walls in half [to help] with the viewing".), Sunday night (9/20) at Mercury Lounge with Golden Triangle, and Monday (9/21) at Maxwell's.

All dates on this current tour are with fellow San Franciscans The Mantles whose self-titled debut is just out on Siltbreeze. Every time I think I've heard all the SF bands doing psych-garage, here comes another and they all seem to put their own stamp on it. The Mantles are a little more on the tuneful, paisley side of things -- think Lyres, Mouse & the Traps or even The Turtles -- that the scream through a distorted mic kind of thing, so they make for a good "similar but different" match to Ty's grittier style.

Dream Diary
Dream Diary

It's Rosh Hashanah this weekend and the folks at Silent Barn are throwing a party Saturday night in celebration of it: "The party is to celebrate 5770 and will have a Jewish theme but non-Jews are definitely welcome... and encouraged to attend. Gonna be a party and a blast!" Headlining are Dream Diary, who I caught last week at Bruar Falls and thought were really good. Dream Diaryplay what I'd call classic indiepop: jangly guitars, fey vocals, with a love of both sunny melodies and rainy day minor chords. Think The Pastels, Orange Peels, or Trembling Blue Stars. You can check out an MP3 of "Bird in My Garden" at the top of this post, and there's video from the Bruar Falls show below. Also playing: duo Big Troubles who are also Fluffy Lumbers' backing band (if that means anything to you), and The Kezners. Plus: apples and honey!

Fanfarlo
Fanfarlo

We are in the midst of The Bell House's First Anniversary, which early in the week saw shows from OK Go, Fountains of Wayne and Rhett Miller, and is now ankle deep in the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival. The last day of this weeklong celebration (Tuesday, 9/22), however, is the one I'm most excited about: Fanfarlo. It's one of two dates they're playing in NYC, they also are at Bowery Ballroom on Monday (9/21). I'm a longtime champion of these guys and it's great to see them playing two of my favorite venues in the city -- a big move up from the 40 or so people in attendance at Fat Baby during CMJ 2008. Their debut, Resevoir, has been available digitally for some time (they were even selling it for a dollar for a while there) is finally getting a proper release on Atlantic in October. It's one of my favorites of the year, but I think Fanfarlo are even better in concert where their sweeping anthemicism really comes alive. The Finest Kiss caught the first show of their U.S. tour in Seattle:

Fanfarlo get compared to Arcade Fire quite a lot, but where Arcade Fire are all about pomp and bombast, Fanfarlo soften the corners coming across as a warmer friendlier band. They can sound big, but they also know how to do quiet. They all seem to be able to play multiple instruments, and apparently get tired of playing the same thing all the time based on all the switching off they did, and that restlessness spread to audience during the encore, when the band brought out hollow plastic whistling tubes and handed them out to various audience members for the song Ghost. It was just about perfect (except for ducking a few times) with the whistling forming and eerie bed of sound over which the band played. Like the stage set up, it was just another example of the band making a big impact with tiny props. It was a Monday night, but Chop Suey was pretty full for a UK band touring the US with no album out yet. The majority of the people there must have been fans, because after the encore the audience demanded another song. The house music and lights were coming on but everyone persisted and the band obliged. I rarely see a genuine encore, but this indeed was one, and the band were a little taken aback. They weren't sure that they even knew another song that they could play, but they pulled out the A-side to their second single "You Are One Of The Few Outsiders Who Really Understands Us." It may be the poppiest song they have, and just like the rush of the opening "I'm a Pilot" this put a smile on everyone's face. In a lot of ways a gig is like a salesman making a sale, it's all about the presentation, and Fanfarlo have got it down, visually and sonically.
Tickets are still available for both the Bowery and Bell House shows, though I think the latter's lodge-y vibe will suit the band best. But do go see one -- or both -- shows if you can. Both nights also feature percussion-heavy Swedes Wildbirds and Peacedrums, who played last night at Cake Shop and will also play at Bruar Falls Friday with Ramona Falls.

Jeremy Warmsley
Jeremy Warmsley

Helping fill out Fanfarlo's sound on this American tour (he's playing as a member of their band) is London musician Jeremy Warmsley who travels in the same circles as Noah & the Whale, Lightspeed Champion, Emmy the Great, Slow Club, the Wave Pictures and the rest of London's new folk scene, much of which was documented last year on his online show Welcome To Our TV Show. (You can watch an episode below.) His debut album from last year, How We Became, has yet to be released in America but it's well worth seeking out, a nice mix of acoustics, electronics and well-crafted songs. While here with Fanfarlo, he's doing his own solo show (which is also his NYC debut) on Wednesday (9/23) at Pianos. He's performing solo acoustic, but maybe some of the Fanfarlo folks will still be around to help him out? We'll see. He's good. You can download his single "If He Breaks Your Heart" at the top of this post.

Slaraffenland
ASDRFQWERWQE

If I wasn't going to the Fanfarlo show at Bell House I would probably be at Union Pool to see Denmark's Slaraffenland, their only NYC date of their current U.S. tour, most of which was spent opening for Akron/Family. Their new album, We're on Your Side, came out this week and while it's a little more straightforward than 2007's weird, wonderful Private Cinema, it's no less lovely. You can download two tracks from it at the top of this post. And I wholeheartedly recommend seeing them live. I wrote this about their show last year at Knitting Factory: "Live, Slaraffenland are pretty fascinating to watch, as all the members sing and play at least two instruments... often within the same song. The guitarist played the oboe; the percussionist played a variety of woodwinds; the bassist also played flute; and the keyboardist / sampler was often seen with a trombone. There is a lot of live sampling going on in their show -- many songs started with everyone playing horns which would become a backing loop -- so live percussion blended with canned bits. Very little of their music follows pop conventions, but there is melody and beauty if you stop waiting for the chorus and just let the music wash over you." You can also watch their Takeaway show further down this post.

Drink Up ButtercupIf you're looking for things to do tonight, I can recommend three shows. At Glasslands (9/17), it's Savoir Adore, Drink Up Buttercup, The Art of Shooting, and Candles of Paradise. Savoir Adore, who I've plugged many times before here on this site, are a great live band and I really like their debut, In the Wooded Forrest which is out this week on CD and vinyl. (They're giving away three tracks from it at their website.) I've also written about Drink Up Buttercup more than once, and the band have just signed to Yep Roc who will release their debut album early next year. In the meantime, you can download the A-side of their new single "Even Think" from YepRoc's website after giving them your email address.

There's also The Horrors at Bowery Ballroom. They didn't win the Mercury Prize (no surprise) but as I've said before, their new album Primary Colours is pretty great. I'll quote myself: "Mind you, I'm prone to like things that owe to '80s post punk and goth, as well as '90s shoegaze, but they transcend the influences I think. Like My Bloody Valentine's Loveless, some of the sounds on the record make you wonder if your stereo is melting. In a good way." Opening are Crocodiles who do a good JAMC / Spacemen 3 impersonation that works, I think, because they've got the attitude and snarl to back it up. Or maybe it's the sunglasses. If you miss them, both bands will be back in October.

And at Union Hall tonight (9/17) are We Are Ivy League, Americans who do wispy Brit indiepop just about perfectly. They got most of their press from being part of another band who wrote the Snakes on a Plane theme song, but I think their album from last year stands on its own. They've been mostly quiet since releasing it. It might be worth going to the show just to find out what's going on with them these days.

That's it for this week (and a bit of next). Flyers, videos, and tour dates follow...

Continue reading "Fanfarlo, Jeremy Warmsley, Ty Segall, Dream Diary, Slaraffenland, Horrors & more in This Week in Indie"

Bloodshot Records

A pair of reunions (Moonshine Willy, the Blacks), a local upstart (Scotland Yard Gospel Choir) and a staggering turn by the Texas-born Alejandro Escovedo highlighted Bloodshot Records' 15th anniversary celebration at a scaled-back Hideout Block Party on Saturday.

The daylong event, which took place under blue skies on an outdoor stage 25 yards from the door of the treasured dive, attracted a sizable crowd for performances by a number of former and current Bloodshot artists.

Almost every song in the Blacks' ferocious, too-short set touched on love -- or, more accurately, what happens when it falls apart. Front man Danny Black, dressed head-to-toe in white and sang like a man who had little but the bottle for comfort, while singer-standup bassist Gina Black (no relation) growled her way through a tormented "Horrorshow."

Scotland Yard Gospel Choir turned out an equally stunning set, building its shambolic indie rock tunes around front man Elia Einhorn's confessional lyrics. "Can I be brutally honest?" Einhorn asked on "Oh Lee," answering his own question with an unequivocal "yes" when he crooned the opening line of "Stop!": "I hope you catch syphilis and die alone." [Chicago Tribune]

The Chicago stop of the Bloodshot Records 15th anniversary tour happened last weekend on September 12th.

The tour has a (free) show in Austin this upcoming weekend (9/19) before coming to Brooklyn's Bell House on September 26th. The lineup there won't have Alejandro Escovedo or the Blacks, who are described above (acts rotate from city to city), but it will include Bobby Bare Jr, Exene Cervenka, Dex Romweber Duo, Cordero, Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, The Silos, Ben Weaver and Rosie Flores. 4pm doors / 5pm show. Entry is is only $5, no advance tickets are on sale.

This is the first time I've seen Exene on a bill since her June announcement that she has multiple sclerosis (which came shortly after her band X's 3-night run at Bowery Ballroom). That's awesome that, as she promised, she isn't letting her diagnosis control her life.

Dexter Romweber played some shows with Cat Power in February.

Videos from the tour's Chicago and Wisconsin (8/23) stops are posted, along with all Bobby Bare Jr. dates, below...

Continue reading "Bloodshot Records BBQ coming to Brooklyn w/ Exene Cervenka, Bobbby Bare Jr & more (full lineup, videos, dates)"

words & photos by Jacob Blickenstaff

Maxine Brown & The Sweet Divines
Brooklyn Soul Festival

The 1st Brooklyn Soul Festival was a great success. Sell out crowd on the 1st night and nearly so on the second. The crowd was a nice mix of the soul intelligentsia, older music fans and twenty-somethings out to hear some good music. Both backing bands, Eli Reed and the True Loves and the Sweet Divines/Divine Soul Rhythm Band did a phenomenal job bringing the groove and nuance out of a large range of material with obvious love and attention. That set the stage for the artists - Hermon Hitson, Roscoe Robinson and Barbara Lynn on the first night and Maxine Brown and Otis Clay on the second - to shine brightly and deliver stunning performances.

"The Sweet Divines seem to be taking a tip from the Sweet Inspirations, a sixties soul quartet that included Cissy Houston, who was Whitney's mother and Dionne Warwick's aunt. In addition to recording their own songs the Sweet Inspirations sang back up for Aretha Franklin and Elvis. Similarly, the Sweet Divines have sung back up for soul singers such as Sharon Jones (see Purplish Rain). In a move that seemed to bring everything full circle, old school soul meets retro soul, on Saturday the Sweet Divines sang back up for Maxine Brown, who was backed up by the Sweet Inspirations in the 1960's." [The Strongest Women I Know]
Read more about it with Jacob's first night's pictures HERE. More pictures from the second night, below...

Continue reading "The Brooklyn Soul Festival @ the Bell House - night 2 in pics (The Sweet Divines, Maxine Brown, Otis Clay & friends)"

words & photos by Jacob Blickenstaff

Eli 'Paperboy' Reed and Barbara Lynn @ The Bell House
Brooklyn Soul Festival

The 1st Brooklyn Soul Festival was a great success. Sell out crowd on the 1st night and nearly so on the second. The crowd was a nice mix of the soul intelligentsia, older music fans and twenty-somethings out to hear some good music. Both backing bands, Eli Reed and the True Loves and the Sweet Divines/Divine Soul Rhythm Band did a phenomenal job bringing the groove and nuance out of a large range of material with obvious love and attention. That set the stage for the artists - Hermon Hitson, Roscoe Robinson and Barbara Lynn on the first night and Maxine Brown and Otis Clay on the second - to shine brightly and deliver stunning performances.

One of the great highlights for me (among many) was Maxine Brown performing a gorgeous take on "Piece of My Heart" - the song originally performed by Erma Franklin, then Janis Joplin, and then interpreted again by Ms. Brown around the same time. If felt as if the whole room was singing along.

The music at the festival was able to connect the different groups and ages in attendance as well as the artists themselves. Many musicians who had played previous nights at the monthly series Dig Deeper were in attendance. Dean Parrish, Lenis Guess, Otis Clay (on the night before he performed) and Baby Washington were all enjoying themselves, watching each other perform with respect and reverence.

The music of the festival spanned blues, gritty funk, Brill Building craft, Hi Rhythm grit, gospel raves and plaintive ballads - and most importantly connected with the audience as great music of the here and now.

More pictures from the first night, below...

Continue reading "Brooklyn Soul Festival - night 1 in pics (Eli Reed & The True Loves, Hermon Hitson, Roscoe Robinson, Barbara Lynn)"

Maxine Brown

Village Voice: So how did the idea of a soul festival first start out?

Richard Lewis, Organizer of the Brooklyn Soul Festival: We've known Eli [Paperboy Reed] for a while and have been talking about doing a bigger deal than Dig Deeper; something more like a festival. In Europe, they have this concept of a weekender where everyone goes somewhere for the weekend and stays up til dawn dancing and listening to DJs and bands. That's done less so here in the U.S. Michael and I had this idea of doing a bigger thing with multiple artists like that and Eli had been thinking of doing a night with three artists that he had backed at various times. So we said, 'why don't we just do the thing together and make a festival out of it?'

Eli 'Paperboy' Reed & The True Loves will play backing band at The Bell House tonight (8/28). The Sweet Divines have that honor on Saturday. Tickets and more info on this weekend's festival, which includes a record fair on Saturday, HERE.

Recent live Eli Reed, who makes an appearance on the new Basement Jaxx album, videos below...

Continue reading "The Brooklyn Soul Festival is here (Friday & Saturday)"

words & photos by Anna Scialli

Islands

Islands packed the Bell House Wednesday night (8/19). Their new album, Vapours, due out September 22nd on Anti-. Opening was Brooklyn-based Radical Dads and viral internet sensation, Das Racist.

Radical Dads, who share two members of Uninhabitable Mansions and one member of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, took the stage first in front of a sizable crowd despite the early set. While their songs are catchy, Radical Dads' live show was lacking in energy. It's understandably hard to play to a room of people anxiously awaiting Islands and Radical Dads failed to leave an impression. Especially when followed by Das Racist, a bizarre and confusing sight to take in.

Internet darlings Das Racist introduced themselves with some middle school-esque "potty humor" and incoherent rambling as they launched into a set full of rap songs about pop culture, white people, and well, I have no idea what else. Das Racist has attracted attention to themselves with their amusing and oddly catchy song "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell", and by the crowd's bewildered reactions, it seemed that some people were unfamiliar with the rap-comedy trio. I was intrigued to see Das Racist perform, and their lyrics and commentary were certainly amusing but it didn't sustain itself. Their schtick got old; Das Racist is beating the irony dead horse to a bloody pulp. And they didn't even play "Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell".... how ironic. Maybe I just don't get it... or maybe there's nothing to get. To their credit, it was a different act opening for a band like Islands and the crowd was entertained.

Finally, after all that waiting, it was time for Islands. Nick Diamonds, known for his grand entrances (remember Siren 2008?), sauntered onto the stage in a flashy, rhinestone-covered cape. Yes, a cape. If anyone could pull it off, it's Nick Diamonds. Islands roared through their set, playing almost all new songs from Vapours, with the exception of four old songs off Return to the Sea and Arm's Way. The crowd was energetically dancing to the new songs, although the excitement was only really tangible when old favorites were played such as 'Creeper' and 'Don't Call Me Whitney, Bobby'. The songs from the new album were catchy but I couldn't help but wish we heard more crowd-pleasing favorites. Also, what happened to the violin? It was a great compliment to Islands' punchy-dancy songs and its absence was palpable.

Islands finished with a strong encore of 'Swans from Return to the Sea' and once they left the stage, people were still dancing and smiling. Despite playing mostly brand new songs, Islands were engaging, interesting, and a great live show. More pictures, and the setlist, below...

Continue reading "Islands, Das Racist & Radical Dads played the Bell House - pics & setlist"

DOWNLOAD: Josh Dibb/Animal Collective remix (MP3)

Animal Collective @ Sonar 2009 (more by Zach Dilgard)
Animal Collective

Despite what a few anonymous troublemakers tried to get people to believe, Noah 'Panda Bear' Lennox is still in Animal Collective (he just isn't playing his solo set the same day as them at ATP).

Animal Collective play their first of two shows at the Prospect Park Bandshell tonight (8/14). They play their second on Saturday.

  • Friday (8/14) - Animal Collective (8:15) w/ Black Dice (7:00) & Dam Funk (DJ between sets) (TICKETS AVAILABLE)
  • Saturday (8/15) - Animal Collective (8:15) w/ (no opener?) & Dam Funk (DJ between sets) (TICKETS AVAILABLE)
Afterparties are happening both nights at The Bell House.
  • Friday (8/14) - Bring your Animal Collective ticket stub to the Bell House and enter the Dungen/Woods show for $10 instead of $15.
  • Saturday (8/15) - 10:30pm / $5 or FREE w/ your Animal Collective Ticket Stub
    Celebrate Brooklyn & The Bell House Present
    THE OFFICIAL ANIMAL COLLECTIVE AFTER PARTY!
    The party doesn't stop after the show at Prospect Park - come dance & hang out with the Animal Collective Round Robin DJ Crew & special guest DJ Andy Beta at The Bell House!
I don't know who the AC Round Robin DJ crew are, but that's a nice segue into this show happening at Santos Party House on Monday....

Continue reading "Animal Collective weekend (Panda Bear included) - Prospect Park shows (tix on sale), afterparties & a Monday DJ gig"

by Klaus Kinski

Secret Wars @ All Points West 2009 (more by Tim Griffin)
Eugene Mirman

So we've got the Del Close Marathon happening this weekend (8/14-8/16) and we've got the New York Comedy Festival happening in November. And now it is with unbridled enthusiasm that I can achieve a comedy-festival-posting-hat-trick by announcing the EUGENE MIRMAN COMEDY FESTIVAL which is set to take over Brooklyn venues Union Hall and the Bell House from September 17 - September 20. OK, so we briefly mentioned the festival before, but with line-ups, showtimes, as well as venue and ticket info just released, it's time to spread the word.

Curated by the great Eugene Mirman, this year's festival has a gasp worthy line-up that is truly beyond belief and will feature stand-up, panels, videos, special guests, 'theme' shows, the occasional free drink, after-parties, and much more. The highlight of the festival for me are two Daniel Kitson headlining gigs at Union Hall. Daniel is a British Stand-up comedian who I've only had the opportunity to see once, but that one experience was epic. More monologuist than stand-up comedian, he is one of the smartest, funniest, most energetic and eloquent performers I have ever seen. We are blessed to have two chances to see him headline such an intimate room. Besides that, the festival boasts appearances by Reggie Watts, Todd Barry, John Hodgman, Bobby Tisdale, AD Miles, Kristen Schaal, Michael Showalter, Marc Maron, John Mulaney, Jon Benjamin, and many many more. And, of course, Eugene.

The schedule so far is below. According to the folks in charge, even more excitement will be announced in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!! Tickets for all shows go on sale Sunday August 16 Saturday, August 15 at noon via Ticketweb (Bell House, Union Hall).

Full lineup and more below...

Continue reading "Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival 2009 lineup (Daniel Kitson & more), an 826NYC benefit (tickets), a new Sub Pop album"

photos by Alex Erde

Harvey Danger

Harvey Danger somehow...got John Hodgman to introduce them. It was hilarious...Once they came out on stage, they were incredible. They played for about 2 hours and 40 minutes, longer than I've ever seen any band play for before in my life. By the end, there wasn't really too much left that they hadn't played. It was really awesome and didn't get boring at all...even if we were all insanely tired by almost 2AM when we finally walked out.

For the encore, they came out and did a lot of Q&A and took requests. A bunch of them.

They sounded really on all night too, even towards the end of the set, they were still playing well and having a great time on stage. If you didn't make this show, you messed up, big time. Below is the full set list so that you can kick yourself for missing the show...[ihaveamessage]

The review above is from Harvey Danger's Farewell Tour show on August 8th at that Bell House. Valley Lodge (photographed below) and Jukebox the Ghost (not photographed) opened.

Harvey Danger's final, final show happens August 29th at The Crocodile in Seattle. More NYC pictures, some videos and that setlist are below...

Continue reading "Harvey Danger played their final NY show -pics/video/setlist"

DOWNLOAD: Polvo - Beggar's Bowl (MP3)

Polvo @ Brooklyn Bowl - July 31, 2009 (backharlowroad)
Polvo

Philly Weekly: During the time Polvo was inactive, did you ever have a sense that the band would someday get back together in some form or for some reason, or did you feel like it was permanently over?
Ash Bowie: I didn't really have a feeling about it one way or the other. We never ruled out playing together again, but I don't think any of us were counting on it. Actually, I thought it was pretty unlikely.

PW: When you talk to fans after shows, are there a couple of questions that keep popping up? What do people generally have to say or want to know when they approach you?
AB: Sometimes people tell us how far they traveled to see us play. Otherwise, just questions about what our plans are and things like that. I've just started to realize how hardcore some of our fans really are. The response so far has been amazing and kind of surreal.

On Friday, July 31st, Polvo played a Seaport Music show that ended up happening at the Brooklyn Bowl (not the only show that got moved to the venue this weekend). Obits opened the Friday show that happened around the time Jay-Z was closing out the first night of All Points West in Jersey City.

And the Polvo reunion continues. They're currently putting the finishing touches on In Prism, their first studio album since 1997's Shapes, set to come out September 8th on Merge (who are also releasing a new album by Lou Barlow soon). "Beggar's Bowl" from that Polvo album is posted above.

The band played the XX Merge festival in July, not long before the Brooklyn Bowl show. On September 24th they will play the the Bell House in Brooklyn. Tickets are on sale.

More tour dates from the band, the In Prism tracklist, with re-posted videos from Friday's show, below...

Continue reading "Polvo played Brooklyn Bowl w/ Obits, playing the Bell House (tour dates) ++ new Merge record on the way (MP3)"

by Bill Pearis

Mark Burgess

Former Chameleons frontman Mark Burgess is playing The Bell House in Brooklyn on Monday, August 10 (tickets on sale now) and the Blockly in Philadelphia the next night (tickets on sale too).

The Chameleons (or The Chameleons UK as they were known in the U.S) were among the cultiest of '80s cult bands, musical contemporaries of U2 and Big Country who never achieved their level of success due somewhat to a string of label woes that would fell almost any band. Their influence, however, has far outstripped their sales, and you can hear echos of their sound in such bands as Interpol, Editors, Blacklist and The Horrors. Their 1983 debut album, Script of the Bridge is post-punk classic, equal parts angsty roar and ethereal guitar interplay. Their other two '80s albums are pretty great too, especially 1986's Strange Times which contains what might be their best-ever song, "Swamp Thing." The band broke up shortly after that.

The original line-up (Burgess, drummer John Lever and guitarists Dave Fielding and Reg Smithies) reformed in 2001 after a decade apart, releasing a new album, Why Call it Anything?, in 2002 and toured America, including mindblowing shows at Knitting Factory and Southpaw that were a dream come true for many fans, me included. The band split again in 2003, and Burgess for a while revived his post-Chameleons band, The Sun & the Moon, but has since adopted the moniker ChameleonsVox when he plays live.

As for these American shows, it's interesting how they came about. Originally Burgess was coming to the U.S. only for a personal visit:

Continue reading "Mark Burgess (The Chameleons) played Boston, playing Brooklyn & Philly (dates, tix, video & stuff) "

Over a month before they head out on tour with Happy Mondays and The Psychedelic Furs, Islands will play a gig at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Tickets for the August 19th show are on sale.