Entries tagged with: Will Sheff
"When I was making Black Sheep Boy, I felt like it was good, and I was confident that it was gonna be the best record that I'd made. That said, I didn't expect for it to be successful, necessarily"
photo: Okkervil River @ Bowery Ballroom, 11/22/15 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Realizing that 2005 was ten years ago is a kind of strange, almost surreal moment. Maybe it's aging that gives time a more abbreviated characteristic or perhaps the fact that more things come into our lives to reduce what were the seemingly endless spaces between moments of significance in our youth. Because of that, timelessness and all that comes with the word in the context of art becomes a rare commodity. One of the more recent examples came just a decade ago by way of the Austin-based Okkervil River's third full-length, Black Sheep Boy. An eleven-song course through the mind of its fictional title character, the album was released to nearly universal acclaim with vocalist/guitarist Will Sheff offering his most unapologetically earnest narrative. In 2015, the band played the album in full on tour in support of a 10th anniverary reissue. That included three nights at Bowery Ballroom.
A story told from the mind of a character based partially in fiction and partially in what at the time was the crippling reality of addiction and heartbreak for the band members, the vulnerability paired alongside Okkervil River's confrontational type of folk rock made Black Sheep Boy one of the genre's most compelling albums since Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, an album still considered as one of the 21st century's greatest musical achievements. I recently spoke with Sheff over the phone about the album's significance to him now and what changes and what also stays the same in the course of ten years.
BV: After ten years, do you view Black Sheep Boy in a different light than you did when you first wrote those songs?
Will: Well, it's an interesting question because as simple as it seems I don't know really know the answer. So much has happened since then. When I was making Black Sheep Boy, I felt like it was good, and I was confident that it was gonna be the best record that I'd made. That said, I didn't expect for it to be successful, necessarily. I didn't really know what to expect. It was kind of just a last try in my mind at that point. I thought it was good at the time. I guess if it was some album that I didn't think was good, and then I changed my mind and then thought it was good, then maybe so. You have a really difficult or different relationship with this stuff when it's your own work. I remember writing those songs, and I remember recording them, and I remember all the songs that I didn't record, and I remember all the guitar parts that we didn't use for one solo section of a song, so that album means something slightly different for me than maybe it does to somebody who didn't experience all of that. But I will tell you that going back listening to it, and I usually don't listen to my own records that much, and I don't think that's very uncommon at all, because like I said, if you live through it, and you go through every little bit, it's like listening to work, and you're really familiar with it anyway, and you don't need to refer back to it. But after ten years passes, you do come back to it, and you do that with a new perspective, so in the process of approving masters and re-learning these songs and everything, I did feel kind of happy with my younger self on some levels. Everything I've ever done, there's some part that I probably wouldn't have done like that. I didn't feel a desire to reach back in time to fix it or make some little tweaks.
Cass McCombs, Jana Hunter (Lower Dens), Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Gang Gang Dance, Kevin Devine, MAS YSA, Frankie Cosmos, Spirit Family Reunion, and many more will be performing as part of a two-night fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. "Brooklyn is Berning! - 2 Nights of Music and Culture" happens at Baby's All Right on January 5 & 6. Tickets are $30 for each night (or $100 a night as a "Super Supporter") or $150 for both days as a Super Supporter.
Here are the daily lineups and set times:
TUESDAY, JANUARY 5They're promising special appearances too -- maybe Sanders himself? Full lineup of "Brooklyn is Berning" is listed below...
Jana Hunter - (Set time: 11:30 PM)
Frankie Cosmos - (Set time: 10:50 PM)
Kevin Devine - (Set time: 10:10 PM)
Jamie Kilstein - (Set time: 9:35 PM)
Will Sheff of Okkervil River - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Dead Heavens - (Set time: 8:20 PM)
Spirit Family Reunion - (Set time: 7:40 PM)
Kat Wright & Brett Hughes - (Set time: 7:00 PM)
DJ Hiro Kone - (Set time: 6:00 PM)
* DJ Tommie Sunshine between sets
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6
DJ Gang Gang Dance (Liz B and BDG) - (Set time: 11:15 PM)
WET - (Set time: 10:45 PM)
Cass McCombs & The Chapin Sisters - (Set time: 9:45 PM)
Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Mas Ysa - (Set time: 8:15 PM)
Pants Velour - (Set time: 7:30 PM)
DJ Stretch Armstrong - (Set time: 6:00 PM)
* DJ Moses Archuleta (of Deerhunter) between sets
photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
Okkervil River are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their best album Black Sheep Boy with a reissue (due 12/4 via Jagjaguwar) and a tour that has them playing the album in full. They're currently in the midst of a three-night run at NYC's Bowery Ballroom that wraps up tonight (11/23). We caught last night's show.
Will Sheff opened with a few solo acoustic versions of songs that came out before Black Sheep Boy and talked a bit about their early days, and then the rest of the band came out to perform the album front to back. These shows were already going to be special, but it got even more special when Black Sheep Boy era member (and Shearwater frontman) Jonathan Meiburg joined them on "Black" and stayed for the rest of the set. Plus for the next song ("Get Big"), Will's girlfriend and frequent collaborator Beth Wawerna of Bird of Youth joined them on harmonies and stayed for several others too. They played the album exactly the way you'd want to hear it, with all the beauty and raggedy edges it has on record. Nostalgia for this type of thing has been hitting pretty hard lately (or hitting me, at least). Enough time has passed and "indie" has gone through enough changes that I kinda miss the era when that genre was often associated music that's a little folky but rooted in punk's energy, and fleshed out by unconventional (for rock) instrumentation. Black Sheep Boy is certainly a classic of that era, and last night's show had all those elements coming together: pounding drums, Will rambunctiously bringing his sing to a shout, trumpets, violins, mandolins, organs, slide guitar, the works. You could tell the band (and the packed crowd) was having a great time playing these songs, and they sounded as fresh last night as they did ten years ago.
Will & Jonathan
They left the stage after Black Sheep Boy closer "A Glow" and returned for an encore that had them playing the entire Black Sheep Boy Appendix EP, which came out a few months after the album and included material from its sessions. The whole show (which had no opener) lasted just about two hours.
More pictures from Okkervil River at Bowery night 2, below...
Robyn & Eugene Mirman (via Robyn's Facebook)
As mentioned, Robyn Hitchcock is playing NYC's City Winery on November 20. There are still a few tickets left for that 7 PM show but Robyn has now added a late show (10 PM) that same night. Tickets for the late show are on sale now.
Robyn will also be performing at the next edition of Wesley Stace's vaudevillian Cabinet of Wonders which happens at City Winery on October 9. Also appearing: Dave Hill, Kelly Link, Eugene Mirman, poet Tom Sleigh, Emma Swift, The Dead Milkmen's Joe Jack Talcum and Loudon Wainwright III. Tickets are on sale now.
The November edition of Cabinet of Wonders happens 11/18 at City Winery and is with Advance Base, Tanya Donelly, Jon Glaser, The Barenaked Ladies' Steven Page, Okkervil River's Will Sheff and Bobby Tisdale. Tickets for that show are on sale as well.
All Robyn Hitchcock dates are listed below...
by Bill Pearis
Will Oldham in 'Eden' / Will Sheff's directorial debut 'Down Down the Deep River'
The Rural Route Film Festival happens this weekend (July 24-26) at The Museum of the Moving Image. Now in its 11th year, the fest showcases "international films that take the road less traveled. This year's focus will be on bold, independent women behind and in front of the camera." Music is an element, too, and figures into a couple of the RRFF's events. On Saturday (7/25) it's the world premiere Down Down the Deep River, the directorial debut of Okkervil River's Will Sheff. Sheff will be on hand for the screening, playing a short set before the 42-minute film and participating in a Q&A afterward. Tickets are on sale and here's the synopsis:
The sci-fi fantasy world of two bullied sixth-grade boys invades reality and changes their lives forever. An explosion of the music video into a narrative film, Down Down the Deep River grew out of the recent work of acclaimed indie band Okkervil River, and directed by front man Will Sheff. The song of the same name appears in multiple incarnations throughout the film, interpreted in '80s appropriate styles (New Wave, soft rock, rap). A poetic, abstract tribute to classic children's fantasy films, Down Down the Deep River was shot in and around Sheff's hometown in rural New Hampshire and stars local actors.Then on Sunday (7/26) it's Elise DuRant's new feature Eden which stars Will Oldham:
Nine-year-old Alma is forced to leave Mexico with her artifact-smuggling father, John (played by Will Oldham). Years later, after her father's death, she returns to Mexico to confront the man responsible for their emigration. But she finds more than she was looking for, in the form of a new cultural identity and old secrets that are revealed. This sensitively depicted, personal exploration of the ties-that-bind--to family or country--is a film about our search for roots and a sense of belonging and the love and loss that accompanies this search.Preceding the screening will be a performance by Mariachi Flor de Toloache, "the first and only established all-female mariachi band." Director DuRant will be on hand for a Q&A after the film. Tickets are on sale.
You can check out the full list of Rural Route Film Festival screens over at Museum of the Moving Image's website.
photo: Fat White Family at Baby's in 2014 (more by Gretchen Robinette)
You can browse our full NYC show calendar for all of tonight's shows, but here are some highlights...
Fat White Family, Sun Club, Roya @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
UK band Fat White Family are back entertaining/scaring audiences with their dark-hued brand of scuzz-rock. It should be said that despite their (deserved) wild rep, FWF have a load of great songs and keep it together live, despite the antics (and, according to The NY Post, the smell). If you're up for post-show mischief, head to nearby Passenger Bar for the afterparty.
Four Tet b2b Floating Points @ Output
IDM mastermind Four Tet and jazzy UK bass producer Floating Points are teaming up to DJ Output together tonight. No opener, so they're going all night long.
Yonatan Gat, Tonstartsbandht, Pill, Sunflower Bean @ Aviv
Onetime Monotonix member Yonatan Gat smudges the line between performer and audience -- as long as you're prepared to be an active participant, his shows are a lot of fun. He headlines this particularly solid bill that also features Montreal noisniks Tonstartsbandht, sax-fueled skrokers Pill, and the ubiquitous Sunflower Bean. If you've been meaning to check out new DIY spot Aviv, this would be a good one to go to.
Six Organs of Admittance, Elisa Ambrogio @ Baby's All Right
Ben Chasny's long-running experimental rock project Six Organs of Admittance remains prolific and released its newest album, Hexadic, earlier this year via Drag City. Making the night a great double bill, support comes from his labelmate and past collaborator Elisa Ambrogio (of noise band Magik Markers), who put out a very not-noisy solo album last year.
The Muscadettes, Raccoon Fighter, Dances, Will Sheff (DJ) @ Baby's All Right
Montreal's shouty duo The Muscadettes are here to have fun and make sure everyone else does too. Like early B-52's or Fuzzbox, they're in the same vein. Free midnight show. In the front room Will Sheff of Okkervil River will be DJing.
Empress Of, Patrick Wimberly (DJ Set), Dev Hynes (DJ Set), Lee Bannon (DJ Set) @ Elvis Guesthouse
Empress Of, aka NYC art-pop musician Lorely Rodriguez, will preview music from her forthcoming debut album for XL/Terrible with this five-night stand at Elvis Guesthouse. Tonight has Dev Hynes on DJ duty so who knows what may happen.
Blockhead, Mono/Poly, Ellie Herring, DJ Ryan Rasheed of Prefuse 73 @ Good Room
In addition to producing a large amount of Aesop Rock's material, Blockhead has had a lengthy solo career putting out instrumental hip hop on Ninja Tune. He's in solo mode tonight.
Dragons of Zynth, Valley Lodge, Danny Fingers and The Thumbs @ Rough Trade
Long-running NYC art-rock band Dragons of Zynth (who were on hiatus for a while) headline tonight. This bill also features Dave Hill's band Valley Lodge whose song "Go" is the theme song for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
As Friends Rust, UnWed, Pagan Girls @ Saint Vitus
As Friends Rust came out of the same late '90s Gainesville punk scene as bands like Hot Water Music, and after being gone for a while, tonight they play their first NYC show in 7 years. Also on the bill is UnWed, who count Hot Water Music bassist Jason Black as a member.
Kool A.D., Lakutis, TECLA, Kassa @ Santos Party House
Heems has been an especially active solo artist lately, but he's not the only Das Racist member keeping at it. Kool AD, who last released Word O.K. last year, plays a hometown solo show tonight with Lakutis and more.
Big Ups, EULA, Painted Zeros, Charly Bliss @ Silent Barn
Local post-hardcore band Big Ups are somewhere between Fugazi and Slint, and having a very animated frontman doesn't hurt them any, either. Right before them it's EULA, who recall the NYC noise rock scene of the 1980s (and worked with producer Martin Bisi from that scene on their newest record).
Lord Huron, Hamilton Leithauser @ Terminal 5
Folk rocker Lord Huron headlines the night, and if you're going to this show we recommend showing up for The Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser.
Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt @ Capitol Theatre
Get your dose of quality Americana tonight with these two country-folk greats.
Ben Folds, yMusic @ Town Hall
Ben Folds' collaborative new album with classical sextet yMusic still doesn't have a title or release date, but you can hear it tonight, live, when Ben and yMusic play this sold-out show.
Mark Ronson (DJ Set), Blu Jemz @ Verboten
He's responsible for the song you can't avoid short of gouging your eardrums out...producer, gad-about, and "Uptown Funk" creator Mark Ronson spins records tonight.
The English Beat, The Skints, Easy Star Allstars @ Paramount
If you aren't too concerned that Dave Wakeling is the only original member of the band, and don't mind hearing General Public songs too (and maybe even "She's Having a Baby"), you'll probably have a good time singing along to "Save it for Later," "Mirror in the Bathroom" and "Tenderness."
Dave Harrington Group, Diamond Terrifier (DJ( @ Cameo Gallery
Darkside is no more (or at least on hiatus), but both members are staying active on their own, and tonight Dave Harrington performs a live improvised score to Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."
'Salad Days' screening @ Nitehawk Cinema
The 'Salad Days' documentary chronicles the 1980s DC punk scene, which birthed Minor Threat, Fugazi, Bad Brains, Void, Faith, and so many more now-legendary bands. It's screened in NYC before, and does again tonight.
Phantom Posse, Pope Coke, Moon Bounce, Blood Moon @ Palisades
Quickly-rising rapper iLoveMakonnen just played two sold-out NYC shows this week and he has tonight off before continuing his tour in DC tomorrow. It looks like maybe, just maybe, he'll show up at this small show with Phantom Posse, the musical collective that frequently counts him as a member.
Andy Hull, Dustin Kensrue, Tanner Merritt @ Bell House
It's the second of two NYC shows for Manchester Orchestra frontman Andy Hull, and the last one had Brand New's Jesse Lacey and Kevin Devine show up to sing with him. Will any guests come out tonight? Dustin Kensrue (frontman of the reunited Thrice) co-headlines.
Heaven, New Myths, Midnight Plus One, Gold Lake, Wrong Dots @ Pianos
Local shoegazers Heaven and slinky/sleek New Myths headline this bill of quality local acts.
For all of tonight's shows, and tomorrow's, check out our NYC concert calendar.
For laughs, check out the NYC Comedy calendar too.
Follow BrooklynVegan on instagram.
photos by PSquared
Matthew E White @ Baby's All Right 4/6/2015
How can you recreate this attitude for highly-orchestrated music live on stage in a small venue like Baby's All Right, which isn't exactly Carnegie Hall? You probably can't, and wisely, White doesn't try - his show is a clever bait and switch. Accompanied by a fiery, pliable three-piece band, featuring Alan Parker on lead guitar, Pinson Chanselle Jr. on drums and Cameron Ralston on bass, White revamped his tunes, rendering them earthy and raw, less studied. The group took the stage to Curtis Mayfield's "Billy Jack," a deep, sprawling groove from 1975, which gives you an idea of their mindset.Matthew E White's tour swung through NYC on Monday (4/6) for a sold-out show at Baby's All Right. While he didn't have the full-orchestra that was there for his BRIC House record release show, he and his very solid band delivered straight-ahead versions of Fresh Blood's tracks and other songs. Pictures and setlist are in this post.
This doesn't mean that White entirely remade his sound in performance: He maintained the signature aspect of his vocal delivery. His voice is low, wide and whispery; he spilled out over the music like Serge Gainsbourg, guttural, raspy, even slightly creepy at times. It takes courage to step up to a microphone - a tool for making yourself loud - and ooze rather than belt.
But there's no syrup in the live arrangements: White and his band, nearing the end of a month-long tour, came hurtling at the audience, muscular and tightly coordinated. They opened the set with "Take Care My Baby," which is the closest White gets to pure R&B on record. In performance, the waterfalls of dueling guitar verged on the downtown art-rock of Television, and the pummeling surges of bass leaned towards reggae. - [Diffuser]
Opening the night were his tourmates Wilsen, and Karima Walker. In the front room at Baby's that night, Okkervil River's Will Sheff was the DJ for the evening. Pictures from their sets, and more of White's, below...
Dave Derby, former Dambuilder and current mastermind behind New York's ever-rotating outfit Gramercy Arms seem to have a thing for love. Last year the band dropped The Seasons of Love and now Dave is putting together the NYC edition of long-running post-Valentine's Day tradition "The Love Hangover" at Bowery Electric on February 15. Tickets for the show are available now.
If you're unfamiliar, The Love Hangover features "the world-weary and the true believers alike huddle in pairs, playing songs to heal broken hearts and break whole ones." The NYC edition features a lot of Gramercy Arms-related pairings:
Dave Derby (Gramercy Arms) & Renee LoBue (Elk City, Melting Hopefuls)The next night, Will Sheff will also be DJing the front room Baby's All Right on February 16, which is free.
Kendall Meade (Mascott) & Doug Gillard (Death of Samantha, GBV, Nada Surf)
Will Sheff (Okkervil River) & Beth Wawerna (Bird of Youth)
Lisa Clair & Benjamin Cartel (Kaiser Cartel)
Michael Aranella & Alan Cary (Dreamland Orchestra)
Alison Tusick & Richard Alwyn
In related news, Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws (who sings on The Seasons of Love) will feature on the first of Kevin Devine's split 7" series where Devine teams with artists to cover each other's songs. The first split, out February 24 via Kevin's Devinyl Records, has Caws covering Devine's "Fiscal Cliff" and Devine covering Nada Surf's "Inside of Love," which you can stream (via AV Club) below.
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...