Entries tagged with: Will Sheff
Perfect Pussy at Shea Stadium in August (more by Dylan Johnson)
In the past year, you've seen Meredith Graves sing in her band Perfect Pussy, you've seen her talk Andrew WK, Lana Del Rey and double standards, and maybe you've read her opinions on Sun Kil Moon or her writing at Rookie (like this piece on Embrace). Well now she's got even more on her plate -- she's going solo.
She told DIY Mag that she's writing a solo record now to come out in 2015 and is also setting up her own record label and publisher, with the first two releases due out this spring. One of those, she told Fucked Up singer Damien Abraham on his podcast, will be from the band So Stressed.
She also says she'll be prefacing the solo record with a few split 7"s, including one with singer/songwriter Kevin Devine (who's touring soon). Regarding that decision, she told DIY Mag, "Each of us went through a motherfucker of a personal loss this year, and we just realized that without discussing it first, we're both writing songs about our situations. He's a new friend and I feel like I've known him forever." None of her solo music is out just yet but stay tuned. Hopefully it won't just be christmas cookies.
Perfect Pussy are done playing shows for 2014, but you can catch Meredith in NYC TONIGHT (12/11) at HiFi Bar (formerly Brownies) for their "Words and Guitars" series. She'll be reading, along with Okkervil River singer Will Sheff and rapper Billy Woods, as well as Zachary Lipez, Michael Tedder, Mishka Shubaly, Daniel Ralston, Hannah Silk Champagne and Rob Sheffield. That begins at 8 PM.
Perfect Pussy released their debut album, Say Yes to Love, earlier this year on Captured Tracks and it's been ending up on a few year-end lists. Watch a fan-made video of "Driver" from that with concert footage below...
Will Sheff getting ready to drone at Death by Audio in October (via BV Instagram)
Okkervill River frontman, former Shearwater member, Roky Erickson collaborator, Rock*A*Teens superfan, and all around cool guy Will Sheff will play a one-off NYC show TONIGHT (11/13) at Manhattan Inn (632 Manhattan Ave in Brooklyn) which starts at 11:30 PM and is totally FREE. He's promising brand new material and special guests.
Will's last NYC appearance was during the 24-hour drone marathon at Death by Audio in late October where the above picture was taken. DbA only has 10 nights left before closing. Dan Deacon plays tonight.
Watch a video of Will playing solo on a CBS morning show below...
Back when Death by Audio was known as the Sugar Factory, they used to have shows in the loft space adjacent to what's now the main show space. They call that space The Ranch and it looks like they're having shows again there, starting with a marathon drone event called Holly Jolloween which starts Saturday (10/25) at 7 PM and goes till 7 PM Sunday (10/26):
To kick off the final month of madness at Death By Audio, we're hosting a 24-hour wall of sound in the loft space behind the venue. Every performance will overlap with the set before and after, so that there will not be a second of silence for the duration of the day.Musicians involved in the droning include Will Sheff, Greg Fox, Excepter, Oliver Ackerman (A Place to Bury Strangers), Travis Johnson (Grooms), and lots more. The event is free and entrance to The Ranch is the door just to the right of DbA's on S. 2nd St.
List of participating Holly Jolloween drone performers below...
photos by Gretchen Robinette
The Rock*A*Teens @ LPR 8/10/2014
I often make the outrageous drunken claim that the Rock*A*Teens were the best rock and roll band of the 1990s. It's sort of ridiculous to say, but as I write this sentence stone sober and drinking a glass of juice, I still kind of believe it. I keep waiting to not believe it, as I very frequently don't believe all kinds of outrageous claims that I make, but I just cross-referenced with all the other 1990s rock and roll bands in my iTunes (we're talking bands here, not singer-songwriters - and rock, not hip-hop which I think was way more important than rock in the 90s anyway) and I'm pretty much ready to double down; this disastrously scrappy Atlanta band with their not-very-good-sounding recordings and their name half-swiped from a 50's rockabilly outfit were...okay, let's not say the "best," because I don't really believe there's any objective truth when it comes to evaluating music - let's say they were my favorite. They had more great records than Nirvana (although no defining masterpiece), were (a tiny bit) smarter and had more at stake than Pavement, were more consistent than Guided By Voices, and had better all-around songs than Galaxie 500. So, though I love all those other bands, I'm going with them.Okkervil River's Will Sheff got to fulfill a fan's dream of opening for his '90s heroes The Rock*A*Teens who reformed for Merge Records' 25th Anniversary last month. The Le Poisson Rouge show on Monday (8/10) was the second of their two NYC show (the first was at Glasslands). Before this tour, the band hadn't played live in 13 years but frontman Chris Lopez is still a howlin' sweaty true-believer as these photos attest. Other superfans in the audience: AC Newman (New Pornographers), Matthew Caws (Nada Surf), and Chunklet founder Henry Owings.
- Will Sheff
As for Sheff, his band included Takka Takka drummer and National sometimes-co-drummer Conrad Doucette and Craig Montoro on bass and the set included Okkervil River songs plus a Rock*A*Teens cover.. Will's girlfriend, Beth Wawerna, is also a huge R*A*T fan and her band Bird of Youth (named after R*A*T's 2000 album, Sweet Bird of Youth) opened the Glasslands show. Pictures of Will's LPR set and more of Rock*A*Teens' (we missed opener Ricer) are below...
photos by Kyle Dean Reinford; words by Bill Pearis
Bob Mould / Ted Leo / AC Newman @ HiFi, 5/17/2014
Back in the '90s, most up-and-coming indie rock bands touring through NYC played either Mercury Lounge or Brownies. Mike Stuto started booking shows there in 1994, and became co-owner in 1998. (Full disclosure: I've known Mike from before his Brownies days, and the club was the first place I saw a show when I moved to NYC.) Pretty much everybody played there and it was the site of the infamous 1998 show by The Fall that ended in an onstage brawl, with frontman Mark E. Smith arrested. When the club closed in 2002, Stuto turned Brownies into HiFi, a bar with no live music but with a digital jukebox that, at the time (iPods were still a novelty), had an astounding number of songs.
HiFi underwent renovations last fall, adding a small performance room in the back with a bar, and a DJ booth to the front. With the 20th anniversary of his association with 169 Ave A, there was an invite-only "20 Years of Stuto" party at HiFi last Saturday (5/17) that doubled as a benefit for longtime bartender Rhea Buckner who has been battling cancer and incurred a lot of debt from it. You can donate too.
The evening featured a lot of live music, and all the acts had played at Brownies at one point or another. After an opening set from NYC vet Don Piper, we got Boy Morgan (which includes members of Robbers on High Street) who played some of their own '60s-leaning material before inviting up a host of guest vocalists: Will Sheff of Okkervil River did Nick Lowe's "Cruel to Be Kind," AC Newman of New Pornographers did Wings' "Mrs. Vanderbilt" which was then followed by Ted Leo doing another Wings' song, knocking out "Band on the Run." Newman remarked, "New Pornographers' first New York show was here, as was my son's first birthday party."
Next up was former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty, which was followed by a short set from Ted Leo who told the crowd he probably wouldn't still be making music if it wasn't for Brownies' support and brought out the Pharmacists for a couple songs as well. Leo also brought up Stuto to do Elvis Costello's "Pump it Up" with the band.
Then out came Bob Mould who, even though it was just him and his electric guitar, was insanely, ear-bleedingly loud. I think his amp only has two settings: on or off. In addition to playing Sugar's "Hoover Dam" and "If I Can't Change Your Mind," we got a couple songs from his soon-to-be-released Beauty & Ruin. Then he brought back out Ted Leo + Pharmacists for a ripping rendition of Stiff Little Fingers' "Suspect Device."
The night's music ended with a set from Saratoga Springs power pop trio The Figgs who were the first band Stuto booked at Brownies. Their set also included some guests: Ben Smith (The Brought Low/Sweet Diesel) sang Small Faces' "Song Of A Baker," Jesse Malin (D Generation) sang the Stones' "Do Do Do Do Do (Heartbreaker)" and Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate/Baseball Project) and his wife, Linda Pitmon (on drums) came out for a cover of Lou Reed's "Coney Island Baby."
It was a very fun night and pictures from all the above are in this post. As mentioned, HiFi is hosting live music now in its very small (35 capacity) back room, nothing with drums and nothing as loud as Bob Mould. They host readings and other performances too and you can check their schedule here.
More pics from Saturday's party below...
by Bill Pearis
You know that scene in The Blues Brothers where John Belushi is in the church and God's light shines down on him? An epiphany like that. I watched the Rock*A*Teens play as I had numerous times before, but watching them onstage that night was an "I have seen the light!" moment. A moment that I will always remember. A moment where I got it. I got it--the Rock*A*Teens' swagger, their heartfelt lyrics, their powerful rhythm section, the random noisy flourishes, and the hooks that fell out of their instruments with alarming regularity. As Harvey Milk ended their career that night (at least for the time being), the Rock*A*Teens became one of my favorite bands from Georgia. Fuck that--one of my favorite bands from anywhere. - Chunklet founder Henry H. Owings'90s era indie rock band The Rock*A*Teens formed in 1994 in Georgia. While they took from rockabilly (love of reverb, crazed playing), they added elements of music hall and powerpop, creating a boozy sound all their own. After five albums and a handful of singles and EPs, the band called it quits in 2002. Their final album, 2000's Sweet Bird of Youth, never got a vinyl release but that is being rectified as part of Merge Records' 25th Anniversary. It'll be out June 3 on double vinyl and comes with a download of the band's final concert. You can pre-order it now.
The Rock*A*Teens have been coaxed out of retirement for the Merge 25 fest and will make the most of it with an East Coast tour. The culminates with two NYC shows: Glasslands on August 9 with Bird of Youth, and a Wordless Music-presented show at Le Poisson Rouge on August 10 with Okkervill River's Will Sheff. Tickets to Glasslands and LPR are on sale now.
All tour dates are listed, along with a tour announcement video and a few streams, below.
by Fred Pessaro // BBG
A giant marble room is a bit of an odd space for a band with amplifiers, but last night (4/8) that was the setting for an Okkervil River show at Grand Central Terminal (yes, the train depot). The Austin-based band played to the historic room for a show sponsored by Jack Daniels as part of the #JackLIVE series, a set of free shows across the country open to the public and featuring free booze and, at least in tonight's case, pizza. Yum.
But back to the show, Will Sheff acknowledged the echo-i-ness of a room of that make, and as such played "quiet" songs for a good portion of the set (quipping, "though I guess quiet is all relative"). Yet despite a predominantly gentle show, Sheff belted out vocals as he does best, as hard as he can.... as bulging neck veins and spittle caught in the stage lighting can attest.
More pictures and setlist from last night are below.
DOWNLOAD: Lovestreams - "Shock Corridor" (MP3)
Will Sheff at SXSW 2012 (more by Tim Griffin)
Jack Daniel's is "serving up great whiskey and great live music at legendary American Landmarks" with their new concert series. You can click that link to find the closest one to you (it happens in NYC, San Diego, San Antonio, and LA) and for those in NYC, you'll get yours on April 8 at Grand Central Terminal with Okkervil River. It opens at 6:30 and you'll have to enter Jack Daniel's contest to get in.
Okkervil River don't have any other shows announced at the moment. Meanwhile, listen to the track "Shock Corridor" from frontman Will Sheff's new solo project, Lovestreams, below, or download it above.
On the cusp of inheriting his father's estate, Swanson (Tim Heidecker - "Tim & Eric Awesome Show") is an aging hipster with unlimited options. He spends his days with like-minded friends ("Tim and Eric" co-star Eric Wareheim, LCD Soundsytem frontman James Murphy and comedian Gregg Turkington a.k.a."Neil Hamburger") in aimless recreation and endless games of comic irreverence. Director Rick Alverson's provocative character study touches a darkness behind the humor that resonates with viewers long after the story ends.As previously mentioned, new comedy The Comedy also stars Matador-signed comedian Jeffrey Jensen, Will Sheff (of Okkervil River), and many more. You may have caught an early screening of the film over the summer (like at BAMcinemafest), but the flick officially opens this month in limited theaters thanks to Tribeca Film. Check out the full list of locations and dates, along with the trailer and another video clip, below.
Those in LA get a shot at seeing the movie as early as this Friday (11/9) at the Cinefamily where Tim Heidecker will be in person, as part of a Q&A. Can't make that one? The Q&A will also be streaming online.
The film opens in NYC next Friday (11/16) at BAMcinematek in Brooklyn. Heidecker and Alverson will be in attendance for evening Q&As on Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17. Tickets are on sale.
You can see it earlier, though, and in Williamsburg where the film takes place. BrooklynVegan is proud to present a special FREE SCREENING of The Comedy at Knitting Factory THIS SUNDAY, November 11. No RSVP required. Doors are at 5 PM and the screening starts at 5:30, first come, first served. Hope to see you there (you can even take the L now if you have to).
You might also want to stick around at Knit after for a special three-year anniversary edition of Hannibal Buress' comedy show for which advance tickets are available and advised ("special guests"). Comedy after the Comedy (and P.S. you can also catch The Comedy actor Will Sheff as part of a Sandy benefit at Knitting Factory tonight)
The Comedy also has a soundtrack coming out next week on Jagjaguwar that includes tracks from Gayngs, Gardens & Villa, Here We Go Magic and Donnie & Joe Emerson to name a few. Full soundtrack listing is below.
Will Sheff at SXSW 2012 (more by Tim Griffin)
Like last night (11/5), there are many more Hurricane Sandy Relief benefits going on in NYC.
Knitting Factory is hosting a show on Thursday (11/8) with a large (and kind of random) lineup tonight with WIll Sheff (of Okkervil River), Jean Grae, Geoff Rickly (of Thursday), Jennifer O'Conner, Holly Miranda, Jaymay, Bird of Youth, Kevin Devine, Brian Bonz, Jared Evan, Zumo Kollie, Sonya Kitchell, and DJ Rajni Jacques. Tickets for this show are available.
The previously mentioned Bad Brains tribute show happening at The Bowery Electric tonight with Bad Brains frontman H.R., Kyp Malone (of TV on the Radio), Steve Earle, members of Cro-Mags, Living Colour, Faith, Danzig, and more is now also a Hurricane Sandy Relief benefit. All proceeds will be sent to Amnesty International and the American Red Cross. Tickets are still available.
Santos Party House is hosting "A New York State of Mind," a show hosted/supported by A-Trak, Fool's Gold Smokers Club, and others with music by Josh Madden, Deemehlow, DJ Huggy Bear, and Old Money. They're accepting monetary donations or supplies like jackets, hats, gloves, blankets, flashlights, batteries, food, diapers, etc. The flier for this show is below.
GrandLife is hosting shows all week, from tonight through Saturday (11/10), at the Soho Grand (310 West Broadway) and Tribeca Grand (2 Avenue of the Americas) with sets by different DJs each night, each benefiting a different organization. Tonight it's Jared Swiley of Black Lips and Golden Triangle bassist Alix Brown at Soho Grand and Erik Tonnesen at Tribeca Grand, with the proceeds going to Feeding America. Tennessee Thomas DJs Soho Grand on Wednesday (11/7) and Tribeca Grand on Thursday (11/8) with Alix Brown, with the proceeds going to Occupy Sandy. Blue Logan DJs Tribeca Grand on Wednesday and Soho Grand on Thursday, with the proceeds going to Salvation Army. On Friday, Nicholas Kratochvil DJs Soho Grand with proceeds going the Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC, and Florencia Galarza DJs Tribeca Grand with proceeds going to NY Cares. And finally, on Saturday, Mike Nouveau will be at Soho Grand with proceeds going to NY Cares, and Shorty will be at Tribeca Grand, with proceeds going to the Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC. All proceeds from GrandLife's 'Safe & Sound' cocktail and $1 from every beer, wine, or cocktail purchased will be donated. The flyer for these shows is below.
The So So Glos will be hosting a benefit in NYC on November 15. More details TBA.
This one's not a show, but Buke & Gase, who once called Red Hook, Brooklyn home, have put out a new single on bandcamp, "Hard Times" b/w a cover of New Order's "Blue Monday." The single can be downloaded for $5 or more and all proceeds over the next week will benefit the recovery of Red Hook. You can stream those two tracks below.
Toronto art pop musician Sandro Perri has a few dates scheduled to take place surrounding his appearance at this year's FYF Fest. They're a bit scattered at the moment so it looks like more might be revealed, but we know that one of them is a NYC show which happens on September 20 at Mercury Lounge. Tickets for that show are on sale now. All currently known dates are listed below.
Sandro Perri is also one of the many musicians being featured on the new Arthur Russell tribute album, This Is How We Walk on the Moon, that AIDS organization Red Hot (who are also responsible for Dark Was the Night, Red Hot + Rio and many other compilations) and Pitchfork are putting out. Sandro will join Robyn, Cut Copy, Hot Chip, Dan Boeckner, Twin Shadow, Washed Out, Laurel Halo, Sam Amidon, Devendra Banhart, Olof Arnalds, Jose Gonzalez, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Chad VanGaalen, Glen Hansard, and many others for the album. The project is being funded on kickstarter. The Kickstarter video and a list of all participating artists is below.
Earlier this year, DFA put out a remix 12" of material from Sandro's 2011 LP, Impossible Spaces. The stream of Eluvium's remix of "Changes," a list of all currently known Sandro Perri dates, and the Arthur Russell tribute info are below.
photos by Tim Griffin
Daniel Johnston @ The Belmont on 3/13
"A packed house of fans and well-wishers turned out to the Belmont Lounge Tuesday night for an official South by Southwest showcase to celebrate the release of Daniel Johnston's new graphic novel, "Space Ducks: An Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness." The event, which was hosted by Brooklyn Vegan, included performances by Built to Spill, Will Sheff of Okkervil River, R. Stevie Moore, Kimya Dawson and Johnston himself. Alex Maas of Black Angels, Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit and Irish folk singer Foy Vance all each performed Johnston covers before the renowned songwriter took the stage.We kicked off SXSW in style Tuesday night, our first of three official BrooklynVegan showcases at the Austin festival this year, with six hours of music including "special guest" Caveman who we couldn't announce due to another show they had to play that night. Dinosaur Feathers began things right at 8pm.
Nearly all who performed had some accolades to offer Johnston, the legendarily troubled outsider artist-turned-indie rock darling whose notoriety was cemented by Kurt Cobain when the Nirvana frontman famously wore a T-shirt of the cover to Johnston's album, Hi, How Are You?. [Hollywood Reporter]
It was all in celebration of "Space Ducks" which is out now as a Boom Comics graphic novel, and as a FREE iPad app you can download now, new Daniel Johnston music and tributes included (the soundtrack will get a physical release in a few weeks). Props to the team at Wieden + Kennedy for helping Daniel create something so cool with his art, and to Search Party, Primary Wave, Strike Team, Eternal Yip Eye Music, all the artists who played, and everyone else that helped us make the Tuesday night show and comic happen.
Almost everyone on the bill covered a Daniel Johnston song, and many came back to join Daniel on "True Love Will Find You in the End." Jeffrey Lewis, with help from Kimya (collectively they are the Bundles), debuted new song "Space Ducks" which Jeffrey wrote for the app at our request. New DJ-inspired songs are unlocked after you work your way through the Space Ducks galaxy. There are also songs in the app, co-curated by Search Party, by Deer Tick, Eleanor Friedberger, Lavender Diamond, and others.
Built to Spill closed down the outdoor show beautifully; it was just too bad that Austin has a 2am curfew...
Co-headliners Built to Spill couldn't begin their set until 1:15, and frontman Doug Martsch vowed to "play until they make us stop," which was going to be 2:00 regardless. It's a common rock show cliché, but true to their word, they kept going until the Belmont's people had to get on the sound system to tell them to stop, prompting a chorus of boos. But the elder indie statesmen were still able to cap it off by driving through an extended version of "Conventional Wisdom," effectively ensuring everyone would still be going home happy." [IDSNews]Here's a set of pictures from the special evening (and we have a second set coming soon on BV Austin. UPDATE: here they are). More below...
Hinted at and posted in some form on SXSW's website recently, but now offically announced... BrooklynVegan had the honor of helping put together what will be a very special show happening this Tuesday, March 13, 2012 in Austin as part of SXSW at the Belmont in honor of muiti-talented artist Daniel Johnston's very first comic book "Space Ducks", or more specifically to help celebrate the release of the FREE iPad app version that is coming first, new Daniel Johnston songs and tributes to him included. Read more about the forthcoming app and partially-Kickstarter funded graphic novel, which you can PRE-ORDER NOW, at the end of this post.
The party, big flyer HERE, is open to all SXSW badgeholders. Get there early for drink specials courtesy of Original Moonshine, Tecate and Republic Tequilia, and to experience the entire night of special sets. There will be Daniel Johnston covers and tributes throughout, with co-headlining performances by Daniel Johnston and Built to Spill. It will go like this:
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 @ the Belmont, Austin, TXDoors close at 2am.
8:00 Dinosaur Feathers
8:40 special guest (a band we're not allowed to announce)
9:25 R. Stevie Moore
9:55 Jeffrey Lewis
10:25 Kimya Dawson
11:10 Will Sheff of Okkervil River
11:35 Foy Vance
11:40 Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit
11:45 Alex Maas of the Black Angels
11:55 Daniel Johnston & Motopony
01:05 Built to Spill
This show is happening one night before the BrooklynVegan official SXSW showcase at Bar 96 which is two nights before the BrooklynVegan/Power of the Riff official SXSW showcase at Scoot Inn.
Learn more about Space Ducks, and others who had a hand in this all, below...
"I make a lot of coffee," James Murphy told NY Mag in an interview after the movie's premiere. "For my birthday, my girlfriend got me a training course with the world champion. That's what I'm going to do when I get back to London."Yet another one! Joining Wilco, David Lynch, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, and Starfucker in the coffee business is former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy.
Most recently done by Bonnie 'Prince' Billy with his limited edition "Bonny Billy Blend" from Kona Rose Coffee (available for purchase via Drag City), Murphy is planning on reiterating the trend with his own espresso blend.
According to Murphy himself, he plans to "just go to a roaster who lives near me and just start tweaking beans and temperatures," for the fun of it.
He loves coffee so much, he's releasing the hits, "Never As Tired As When I'm Waking Up (Without Coffee)", "Disco Percolator", and "Bean Connection."
Well, not really, but James is keeping busy in the art world too. The LCD Soundsystem documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22. Billboard reports:
The film is reminscent of Martin Scorsese's "The Last Waltz" (1978), about rock group The Band's final show, in that it documents an influential group's guest star-laden final live performance and largely focuses on the frontman (in "Waltz's" case, Robbie Robertson). When asked during a post-screening Q&A about trying to best Waltz, Murphy joked: "I was just like, 'that chump Robbie Roberston, I'm gonna take him --'"In the film, Murphy is often shown "crouched by an espresso machine," depicting his love of coffee, and inspiration for his blend.
Going into the project, Murphy said he was aware of the thematic similarities with "Waltz." "We all talked about it. Knowing that it is there, you can't not deal with it," he said.
And, "Shut Up and Play the Hits" was just one of two movies Murphy was involved with at Sundance this year. He also stars in The Comedy along with Bonnie Prince Billy's Drag City labelmate Neil Hamburger, Tim Heidecker (of Tim & Eric who also premiered another movie at Sundance), Eric Wareheim (of Tim & Eric who also premiered another movie at Sundance), Matador-signed comedian Jeffrey Jensen, Will Sheff (of Okkervil River), and many more. The film was directed by the Jagjaguwar-signed Rick Alverson, and the indie label is also involved with the film. Check out a clip with James,Tim & Eric below...
words by Christopher Paragraph, photos by Dana (distortion) Yavin
DOWNLOAD: Bird of Youth - Bombs Away, She Is Here to Stay (MP3)
Sondre Lerche looking sexy as usual @ MHOW Friday night
The Friday night show at Music Hall of Williamsburg featured three very different songwriters who all happen to live within a few blocks of the venue. The same is true for me so, in terms of proximity, the night was a success before it even began.
Bird Of Youth opened with a couple songs from their self-released album "Defender," breezing through them with ease and on-stage confidence that one would usually expect from a more seasoned band. This helped to counteract the darker themes of the songs, perhaps the best example of which was a song that lead singer Beth Wawerna wrote for her father. The unforgettable closing lines, "you watched me as I watched you watch me cry," caught more than a few off-guard. The songs are unique in terms of Wawerna's vocal phrasing. Rather than writing melodies over single chords, the melodies seem to form themselves over the chord changes. It feels like she allows the phrases to emerge from the song, instead of constructing a song around a pre-conceived melody. As a songwriter, Wawerna is doing something special and distinct. Unlike many female-fronted bands of their ilk, the songs don't hide behind her voice; her voice seems to be dragged along by the force of each song. This may present a problem for a pop singer, but for a band like Bird Of Youth, it proves to be a perfect way to articulate emotional, expressive songs. The last song of their short set took a different turn, however, and was significantly more poppy and conventionally structured. Working in a Nada Surf-esque style, the song succeeds in a way that runs counter the aforementioned thoughts in this review. An interesting way to end the set, leaving the audience pleased but just unsure enough to want to hear more.
Next was Will Sheff, frontman for the successful Okkervil River, a solo set sandwiched between two bands. It was informative and interesting to see Sheff perform solo. Over the years, Okkervil River has come to be known for their energetic, literate folk pop anthems. But most hear them as simply "a rock band." Sheff's folk influences shined through in this set, making the DNA of Okkervil River more apparent. Hearing these songs strummed and picked on an acoustic guitar made clear the influences of British folk songwriters like Roy Harper and Bill Fay. For audience members not interested in the musical roots behind Okkervil River (which many Sondre Lerche fans probably are not) Sheff provided an honest and emphatic set of complex, lyric-driven songs. It was clear form the entranced crowd that Sheff won over a bunch of new fans. Or at least hooked their curiosity. Sheff's lyrics beg the listener to re-listen. As opposed to the chordally-led phrasing of Beth Wawerna, Sheff's songs are driven by lyrics and melodies that command the chords. It was interesting to see songwriting approached from such different angles back-to-back. It is worth noting at this point that there were many people in the far back of the room who seemed intent on talking louder than the music. One can only assume they were attending to "see" Sondre Lerche and felt completely justified in talking over any other artist performing. Sheff took a moment to point out these people (which of course went right over their heads). This resulted in supportive applause from the majority, who were clearly distracted and annoyed by the loud group in the back.
SIDE NOTE: this raises a question, or at least an interesting debate: Is it "OK" to talk loudly at a concert? If someone pays $15 to see a show, isn't it reasonable to expect them to listen to the songs? And even if they aren't interested in a certain artist, isn't it reasonable to expect the respect and courtesy of keeping one's voice quiet, both in regards to the artists themselves and the fans who might actually be trying to listen? In the event that this occurs, should the artist take the initiative to shush them, or should a fellow audience member? Both? Neither? Discuss.
Back to the show. When Sondre Lerche took the stage, a young cavalcade of girls had pushed their way to the front. As he stepped to the mic the screams were shrill and unexpectedly loud. Lerche introduced himself with a solo number before bringing out the band. Although the synth player and bassist had apparently just joined the band a couple weeks earlier, they played tight and confidently, each member brimming with excitement about the songs, not just following charts. The drummer's incredible precision almost stole the show - he brought the energy of the songs out in ways drummers rarely can, and was single-handedly responsible for many "jaw-drop" moments. The only real way to describe it is that it's fueled by real passion for the songs. It's that special intangible thing you can't fake, and this guy clearly has it. Lerche fired off short gems from throughout his career, never letting go of the stranglehold he had on the crowd from the moment he stepped out. On one level his songs are complex, melding jazz chords with pop melodies a la Steely Dan. On another, he's able to perform simple, quiet ballads, which he did at one point, stepping away and unplugging, treating the silent room to an acoustic rendition of "Dear Laughing Doubters."
There were a handful of particularly special moments, including a performance of "When The River," a song about homesickness featuring a choir of the "people he misses most when he's away." This group included his wife, local songwriter JBM, and actor Christopher Abbott. Will Sheff and Beth Wawerna also joined Sondre on stage to trade verses on a cover of Steely Dan's "Dirty Work."
By the time the show was over, it truly felt like Lerche had turned the room into his own house full of friends. He stood atop a monitor wedge and performed the final encore, harmonizing to the 600+ people taking the lead vocal on "Modern Nature." Lerche has toured for years as a solo artist but seeing him with a band showed that he's not just a one-man show. His music is big and the full-band show proved him to be a full fledged rock n roll guy.
More pictures from the show, setlists included, and a video of Sondre and band on Letterman (from 11/22), below...
Will Sheff of Okkervil River at Fun Fun Fun Fest (more by Tim Griffin)
Okkervil River have released a new covers EP Golden Opportunities 2, the follow-up to 2007's Golden Opportunities EP. Much like that 2007 release, part deux is FREE, but features songs from Ted Lucas, Jim Sullivan, David McComb, Bill Fay, and others. Get your copy at their site.
Okkervil River have no US dates at the moment, but you can catch frontman Will Sheff at Music Hall of Williamsburg on 12/2 with Sondre Lerche and Bird of Youth. Tickets are still available. Note: though Sondre did just tour with them, Peter Wolf Crier are not also opening the Brooklyn show.
Will Sheff & Beth Wawerna @ Living Room
Tonight, Tuesday, August 24th, marks the third week of the Bird of Youth residency at the Living Room in NYC. Tonight's guest is Charles Bissell of the Wrens, so that should be especially good. The first week's special guest was Will Sheff who played solo, as a duo with (his girlfriend) Beth, and with her band Bird Of Youth who also played without him. Videos of all four situations, including previews of possible new Okkervil River songs, below...
DOWNLOAD: Bird of Youth - "Stop Staring" (MP3)
Roky w/ Okkervil River @ Webster Hall in May (more by Kurt Christensen)
Austin songwriter Roky Erickson will be touring again in November. That includes at least two NYC-area shows. Those happen November 10th at the Bell House (tickets on sale Friday at noon) and November 12th at Maxwell's (tickets also on sale Friday at noon). More dates, including Boston, TBA.
Roky's most recent set of shows and album included Okkervil River as his backing band. That won't be the case this time, but you can catch Okkervil frontman Will Sheff when he plays a solo show at the Living Room on Tuesday, August 10th. That show is part of Bird of Youth's Tuesday in August residency at the Living Room. Bird of Youth (the band led by BK musician Beth Wawerna)'s other guests include Charles Bissell of the Wrens and Timothy Bracy's Collection Agency (ex-Mendoza Line). They all, or most of them, also contribute to Bird of Youth's upcoming debut album (MP3 from that above). No advanced tickets. A flyer for the residency is below...
DOWNLOAD: The New Pornographers - Your Hands Together (MP3)
The new disc, Together, comes out May 4th, and their first show after its release (which comes more than a month before their other North American shows) will happen on May 6th at Woodstock, NY's 250-seat Bearsville Theater (about 2 hour drive north of NYC). Tickets are on sale now.
That show and the others on their tour will feature the band's full eight-member lineup: A.C. Newman, Blaine Thurier (keys), John Collins (bass, etc.), Todd Fancey (guitar), Kurt Dahle (drums), Kathryn Calder (vox, keys), Neko Case (vox) and Dan Bejar (vox, guitar, et).
Neko Case is currently touring as part of Jakob Dylan's band, and they play two nights in NYC starting tonight (4/21). You can catch them on Letterman tonight too.
Together's first single is posted again above. The second, "The Crash Years," is available on iTunes. There's also a series of listening parties in various cities (NYC TBA) for the record coming up. More info on those, all tour dates and a new video with actor Adam Goldberg interviewing members of the band (and album guests Zach Condon, Will Sheff and Daptone's Neal Sugarman) are below...
Will Scheff, Roky Erickson, Nardwuar (more by Tim Griffin)
The first Nardwuar interview that I witnessed in person (and helped set up)! Taped after the legendary Roky Erickson and Okkervil River finished playing at our BV/M For Montreal day party, the 10 minute, well-researched interview covers many topics including Austin, Tang and Will's love for cream. Watch that (and a new chat with Snoop Dogg where the rapper microwaves a joint), below...
Coming on May 4: the new album from The New Pornographers, entitled Together. Their fifth full-length was produced by the band and Phil Palazzolo, and recorded in Vancouver, Brooklyn, Woodstock, and Catskill, NY. The album is comprised of 9 A.C. Newman songs and 3 Dan Bejar numbers, and features the full eight-person lineup of Carl, Dan, John Collins, Neko Case, Kurt Dahle, Kathryn Calder, Todd Fancey and Blaine Thurier. Additional musicians include Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Zach Condon (Beirut), Will Sheff (Okkervil River), and the Dap-Kings Horns, among other talents.The artwork for the new album is posted above. There are no sounds from it available yet, but the band has posted pictures from its recording on New Pornographers' site
Lead pornographer A.C. Newman appears at The Bell House's Haiti benefit on Wednesday, January 27th. Also at the even will be The Walkmen (they replaced Cold War Kids who had to drop off), Ted Leo, The Wrens, Sondre Lerche, Eugene Mirman, Rhett Miller and Nicole Atkins. Tickets are still on sale.
Roky Erickson @ Maxwell's on January 2nd (schwartzray)
"Roky tore it up again [at Maxwell's on January 2nd], but I noticed he was really, really nervous for this show. He wasn't committing to the final notes or chords on each song and would turn and face the drummer to hide his fear and insecurity during the end of each song. in his defense, the crowd was loud and demanding, the space was small, it was late and freezing outside, and they played a huge set. His vocals were dead on for most songs and his guitar playing overall was pretty good. They played some really amazing cover songs really well, and I was overall very pleased with the night. When they closed with "Don't Slander Me" and left the stage, I swear I saw tears in Roky's eyes. I really hope they were out of happiness because the man has really left a great mark on my soul, and I know I speak on many other's behalf."Roky Erickson was in the NYC-area for three New Year's shows - he played Maxwell's on NYE, Southpaw on New Year's Day, and then returned to Maxwell's for a January 2nd show. The above pic and review are from the latter and its setlist is below.
[I Must Find Atlantis]
Okkervil River just teamed up with the Levon Helm Band to play Terminal 5 on January 7th (we almost had pics, but then Levon said no cameras were allowed). A few video clips of Okkervil's set closer, "Unless It's Kicks", are below.
Will Sheff & co. will again pair with a legendary rocker. They produce and play on Roky Erickson's new record set to be released by Anti-...
Legendary musician Roky Erickson triumphantly returns on April 20th with the Anti Record's release True Love Cast Out All Evil his first new album in fourteen years. Produced by Will Sheff and featuring his band Okkervil River backing Erickson, the record is comprised largely of unreleased songs that Austin, Texas native Erickson wrote throughout his decades-long career - detailing with heart-breaking candor a harrowing life that has included shock treatment, imprisonment, mental illness, and irreversible loss. With a wisdom that can only be marshaled by someone who has been through all of the this, Erickson also interjects the songs with love, hope, and spiritual grace.Anti- is also putting out the new Dr. Dog album in April.
More Roky album info and videos are below...
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...
The Levon Helm Band will be departing from their weekly "Midnight Ramble" gig at Helm's Studio in Woodstock for a show at NYC's Terminal 5 on Thursday, January 7th, 2010. Joining them at this show be Okkervil River (currently their only scheduled show). Tickets go on sale Friday, Nov. 6th at noon.
Okkervil River's last full band show in NYC was January '09 at the then-new-venue Bell House. The band recently appeared on an episode of Austin City Limits with M. Ward. A clip of them performing the song "Unless It's Kicks" from that is posted below.
Okkervil River's Will Sheff is one of the songwriters that collaborated with Norah Jones on her new album, The Fall, out November 17th on Blue Note. The record also includes co-writing contributions from Ryan Adams and frequent Jones partner Jesse Harris, guitarwork from Marc Ribot and Smokey Hormel, and keys from Roots member James Poyser. It's streaming in full at NPR.
The ACL video and all tour dates are below...
Willamette Week's Musicfest NW announces this year's festival line-up which will be held at various venues around the Portland, OR metropolitan area on September 16, 17, 18 & 19. On the heels of the most successful MFNW to date, MFNW 2009 launches with nothing but the hope of a bigger and better festival. MFNW's ultimate aim is to provide Portland with a unique and special musical experience that features all types of acts including nationally renowned artists while still honoring and supporting the special musical scene of the Northwest.Four-day passes to the fest are on sale now.
The lineup so far, including the newly-reunited Sunny Day Real Estate, is below...