Entries tagged with: bnlx

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by Bill Pearis

(photo: Ed Fruin)
IMAGE

BNLX, Minneapolis' premier psychedelic/noise/punk/situationist/"music" group, are set to release their eighth eponymous EP in April. It's lead single is the very catchy "Opposites Attract" and we've got the premiere of it's music video, filmed in Buenos Aires while on tour in South America. You can watch it below. If you want to play catch-up on their previous seven EPs, their compilation, Produit Collecté, is out now and if you order the vinyl, you also get a download of all the EPs in full (including the new one.) You can stream Produit Collecté below too.

BNLX will be on tour in May and while we wait for details on that, the group have also remixed a single from Swedish noir-gaze outfit Blackstrap. The track, "Make Sense Make Change" features Victoria Bergsman of Taken by Trees/Concretes, and features on the band's forthcoming TBA album. Stream the remix and the original below.

Continue reading "BNLX ready new EP, remix Blackstrap song featuring Victoria Bergsman (streams)"

by Bill Pearis

BNLX

In addition to last year's debut album, Minneapolis post punks BNLX have spent the last few years cranking out EPs and will release #8 sometime soon. Lead track from that EP, "Opposites Attract," is also the lead track on their new compilation album, Produit Collecté, which cherry-picks the best tracks from their EPs to date onto one vinyl record (or CD). You can stream the whole thing below and if you buy the physical product, you get a download of all eight EPs.

BNLX will be in NYC next week, playing a one-off show at Pianos on November 21 with Veda Rays, Eastern Hollows, Ponyhof, The Charlie Watts Riots, and No Sinner. Tickets are on sale now. If you are reading this from the Twin Cities area, you may already know that this weekend (11/15 & 11/16) is the second annual BNLX Fest which happens at Cause Minneapolis and features such bands as Blue Sky Blackout, Fury Things, Flavor Crystals and more. Details are here.

Stream Produit Collecté below...

Continue reading "BNLX release EP compilation (stream it), throwing 'BNLX Fest' in Minneapolis this weekend, playing NYC this month"

BNLX

As mentioned, Minneapolis' BNLX were just in NYC for a couple shows. Now back in their home state, the band have left us a present in the form of a new video for "Vibrant," a song off last year's full-length debut. The clip was filmed on their recent visit to Amesterdam and it premieres in this post. Watch it below.

Meanwhile BNLX are prepping another of their "serial indoctrination campaigns," like the quarterly EPs that first introduced the band. They're also about to play their first-ever West Coast shows, including dates in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Those are listed below.

Continue reading "watch the video for BNLX's "Vibrant" ++ updated dates"

by Bill Pearis

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Minneapolis trio BNLX's debut album was one of my favorites of last year. It throws a variety of post punk styles into a blender, and manages both lip-curl attitude and tongue-in-cheek awareness at the some time. The songs are also catchy as hell, and you can stream the whole album below.

The band will be visiting NYC next month, playing two shows: Pianos on May 16 with Wormburner and May 17 at Big Snow Buffalo Lodge with Honduras, Eastern Hollows, and Grand Resort. All BNLX dates are listed below.

Continue reading "BNLX playing shows (two in NYC)"

by Bill Pearis

BNLX

After a string of quarterly EPs (and accompanying conporate-speak press releases), Minneapolis' BNLX finally got around to releasing a proper album which, in their minimalist Repo Man style, is titled LP. Ed Ackerson, a Twin Cities indie rock veteran who fronted 27 Various and Polara, and his wife Ashley take various post-punk styles (situationist shout-a-longs, Husker Du-style roar, Bunnymen/Smiths grandeur) and meld them into a cohesive, loud, catchy-as-hell sound. Ed is an in-demand recording engineer and has made a terrific sounding record too, crafting big sonics without sounding slick. And with a secure day job, BNLX seems to be a "this is fun" project and and that joy comes across as well.

My favorite songs are the ones where Ed seems to be channelling Morrissey, like on album standout "Everything Must Go," but it's solid start-to-finish. You can stream the whole thing below and order your own copy (CD/vinyl/digital) via their website.

BNLX have come through town a few times in the past. While they have no upcoming dates, hopefully that will change. If you're heading to Austin for SXSW 2013, look for them there.

Album stream is below.

Continue reading "BNLX released 'LP' (stream it)"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Peaking Lights - All The Sun That Shines (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Peaking Lights - Tiger Eyes (Laid Back) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Peaking Lights - Hey Sparrow (MP3)

Bruar Falls

It never fails, the week after CMJ I get sick. So here I sit, with a big cup of green tea and a stuffy head, writing about shows that I want to go to, but probably won't. But hopefully you are in better health. There's a lot of great options this weekend.

As you may have heard, two-year-old Williamsburg club Bruar Falls is closing November 1. I live pretty close to the place, have seen a lot of great shows there and am bummed it's shutting its doors. But for Bruar Falls' Last Week Ever, it's going out in style with a bunch of great shows. Tonight (10/28) it's The Beets, Tanks Amigo, the Beachniks and, just in time for Halloween, a Misfits cover band.

Saturday night (10/29) is for you punkers out there: Stalkers, Tough Shits, Ex-Humans and Dino's Boys. And then Sunday night (10/30) it's Dive, Shark?, Air Waves and Bright Lights. And then Halloween night (10/31) is the for real last night ever with Friend Roulette, Hunktronik, Clouder and KNTRLR.

A lot of these bands are BF regulars so I imagine there will be a palpable party vibe there all weekend long. I'll miss ya.

Peaking Lights
Peaking Lights

Tonight (10/28) is the NYC debut of Wisconsin husband and wife duo Peaking Lights whose alluring, dubby album 963 came out early this year on Not Not Fun but is getting wider distribution next month via Mexican Summer and Domino imprint Weird World. You can download a few tracks from the record at the top of this post.

A lot of the strange sounds heard on the album come via homemade instruments and effects boxes that Aaron Coyes makes in the basement of his and singer Indra Dunis' home. You can find out more about this via an episode of VBS TV's Soundbuilders which is streaming at the bottom of this post. After watching that, I'm curious to see how Peaking Lights will pull off a live show, what with all the delicate McGuyver-esque gear. But the record's great and I'm hoping for the best.

Radical Dads
Radical Dads

One of my favorite sets at CMJ was seeing Radical Dads at Bruar Falls on Saturday night and reminded me just how good they've become. In fact, I'd go as far to say as they're one of Brooklyn's best bands right now. Certainly one of the more unheralded. If you like Wild Flag, I urge you to check out RD's debut album Mega Rama which has a similar vibe but is much less hyped. There's a streaming player at the bottom of this post.

I'm happy to report that Mega Rama is getting a belated vinyl release in December via Loud Baby Sounds. You can pre-order it now. The album art is one of my favorite record covers of the year and have been dying to own a big 12" version of it -- not to mention getting to play it on my turntable. Also on the vinyl tip, Radical Dads also have a 7" coming out in December, "Skateboarding Bulldog," which you can stream or download via a widget at the bottom of this post.

But more than maybe anything I suggest going to see them live which you can do tonight (10/28) at Spike Hill where they'll play with Plates of Cake, Quilty,  and Conversion Party. Cover's only five bucks.

Star Slinger
Star Slinger

If glitchy dance music is more your thing, the weekend has two very good options. Star Slinger, who was supposed to play here in the spring but had to cancel, is finally making his NYC debut at Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight (10/28). After a bunch of head-turning remixes and download tracks, Star Slinger recently released his first "official" single, "Dumbin," via Mountain Dew's Green Label Sound which you can stream or download at the bottom of this post.

After the MHoW, which also has SHLOMO and Shitego on the bill, you might want to swing over to 285 Kent where there's  a "secret guest" headliner. (G-Side and Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire play as well.) Though not mentioned out-and-out, they do link to Star Slinger's website on the Facebook invite.

Gold Panda
Gold Panda

Then Saturday night (10/29), the Fixed party at Cameo has UK act Gold Panda who's been remixed by Star Slinger and is following up last year's excellent Lucky Shiner with his spin on the latest installment of K7!'s DJ Kicks series. In a bit of Brooklyn weekend synergy, GP's track "An Iceberg Hurled Through Northern Clouds" just got remixed by Peaking Lights and you can stream the remix of that below.

The Fixed party at Cameo also features Lemonade, Blondes and an open bar from 8 - 10. Gold Panda then heads the next day (ouch) to Moogfest in Ashville, NC.

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Saturday night has a pretty killer show at Glasslands. Obits headline and are still driving on the high octane tank of gas that is their second album, Moody, Standard and Poor.  Perhaps even more exciting, for some folks, is opener Office of Future Plans which is the new thing from Jawbox man J. Robbins.

Terry Malts
Terry Malts

And finally, a little preview into early next week. Don't forget that the Wax Idols/Terry Malts tour hits Cake Shop on Tuesday (11/1) and Shea Stadium on Wednesday (11/2) for a double dose of San Francisco style fuzz. As I wrote elsewhere on this site:

Wax Idols are the new group from Hether Fortune, who has spent time in Hunx & His Punx and Bare Wires. Fuzz pedals crash into jangly guitars, vocals are high sneer but also full of harmony, and there's room for both girl group balladry and a tough cover of Wire's "Sand in My Joints." The band's debut, No Future, is out next month on HoZac and is quite good. You can check out "Dead Like You" from it at the top of this post.

As for the Terry Malts, their debut 7" on Slumberland from earlier this year is three quick blasts of sunny pop covered in a thick blanket of white noise. (Somewhere between '80s West Coast punk and C-'86 lies their sound.) It's the new project from most of the guys in Magic Bullets, a band that has been put in cold storage -- they played their final show August 24. They've got a new 7" out in about a month, and you can download "Distracted" from the first one at the top of this post.

Other bands on the Cake Shop bill are still TBA but the Shea Stadium show also features Sundelles, Habibi, and the ever-present Dive (if you haven't seen them yet, you're making an effort not to).

That's the main stuff. More daily picks are below.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28

Pixies continue to tour their best album, Dolittle, tonight at Asbury Park Convention Hall with Surfer Blood opening.

Meanwhile... Tanya Donnely, who was in the original line-up of the Breeders (not to mention Throwing Muses and then Belly) is doing a show at Joe's Pub. She'll be aded and abetted by Michael Hearst of One Ring Zero, writer Rick Moody, as well as Magnetic Fields cohorts Claudia Gonson and Sam Davol, plus Carrie Bradley who was also in the Breeders at one point (and folk rock band Ed's Redeeming Qualities).

Over at St. Vitus, it's an evening of dark sounds, with French minimal waver Frank (Just Frank), Bootblacks and Philly's Hot Guts.

continued below...

Continue reading "Peaking Lights, Star Slinger, Radical Dads, Bruar Falls, Gold Panda, Wax Idols, Obits & more in This Week in Indie"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Tropical Popsicle - The Age of Attraction (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Bleached - "Think of You" (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fidlar - Oh (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BNLX - Vaporize (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BNLX - Garbage Strike (MP3)

Anybody see anything good last night? I couldn't make it out, myself, but am planning on making up for it tonight. Lot's of great options, go see some music. Again, this is not some comprehensive guide, just my picks.

Of any city in America, I really feel like I don't have much of a grasp on what's going on in Los Angeles, musically. San Francisco, sure. Seatlle, of course. Portland, uh huh. Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Austin... I think I get the gist. But not L.A. so much, which is why I'm very curious about the indigenous/Spaceland showcase at Cake Shop tonight.

Amongst the angels playing tonight: Tropical Popsicle make hazy, tripped-out indiepop that might take you as high as the 13 Floor if your elevator goes that way. Trop Pop have toured with Pains of Being Pure at Heart and, while the sound ain't exactly new, the songs are pretty catchy. You can download a track off their latest EP at the top of this post. Please, however, don't go to this show yelling for them to play "Everybody Dry Fuck on the Dance Floor" -- that's a different Tropical Popsicle.

You've probably heard of Bleached (ex-Mika Miko) by this point if you've read any CMJ coverage this year. Again, familiar territory here but I like what I've heard. Bleached a playing a bunch this week, including the BV day party on Friday (10/21). All CMJ dates below

The rest of the bill: Fidlar is garage pop not unlike Ty Segall whose is out on influential label White Iris (check out an MP3 above). They sing about getting high almost as much as Bethany Cosentino and this is one of three shows they're playing tonight (also 7:30 at Santos, Midnight at Shea Stadium).

Yes, I'm still writing about the Cake Shop show...The Audacity (great name, seriously!) are from Fullerton and have toured with TY on the West Coast and are not to be confused with this cool dude; Races are signed to FrenchKiss and are kind of the odd band out on this bill, musically, as they're big, emotive anthemic rock (they also play the BV show Friday); Guards is ex Willowz, and then there's also Weekend who are from San Francisco but the coast is correct and who play the BV Official CMJ showcase Friday night (10/21) at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

King Krule
King Krule

Okay, moving away from Cake Shop (and L.A.),  there's the True Panther showcase tonight at Glasslands which is notable for many reasons but probably mostly as the U.S. debut of King Krule, aka South London teenager Archy Marshall who used to record under the moniker Zoo Kid. Marshall looks like he stepped out of 1956 but his sound is definitely now. Check out a stream from King Krule's forthcoming EP at the bottom of this post. KK will also play Gorilla Vs. Bear/YoursTruly's unofficial party at Shea Stadium tomorrow.

Little Red
King Krule

Also playing are Australia's Little Red who are probably the most straightforward band the label's ever signed. This is the sort of big heartland pop that was unavoidable in the '80s (Springsteen, Waterboys, The Call). This kind of stuff (which Canada's Arkells do as well) is totally out of fashion over here -- though not in Australia -- but the hooks are undeniable. Their album, Midnight Remember, is out next week.

The rest of the True Panther lineup: Tanlines, who really need to make an album (please) and the mayhem that is Trash Talk. Four bands who sound nothing alike! That's what you want at CMJ.

Davila 666 (more by Chris La Putt)

If you like the kind of bands that normally play DIY venues but enjoy a smoke-free envoirnment and good sound, and don't mind paying more for beer to get those things, Knitting Factory's got a great night of garage, punk and garage punk, headlined by the truly aweome Davila 666. They are a party no matter where they play.

Mouthbreathers

Also on the bill are Lawrence, KS's Mouthbreathers whose new 7" is out on In the Red Records and is streamable below. The band features members of Rooftop Vigilantes and Blood on the Wall and make the kind of sneering, melodic punk that is loud, fast and -- in the case of their live shows -- out of control. I dig. Also playing the Knit show are the Barreracudas, HiFi Fantom, and Audacity. This will be a gauranteed fun show.

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Arlene's Grocery seems to be the Canadian musical embassy for CMJ. M for Montreal's big showcase happens there on Friday (10/21) and tonight is the Canadian Blast with five bands from Up There you might not be familiar with. NYC tends to get the artier Canadian bands, from Montreal and Vancouver usually, but tonight showcases the more commercial side of indie, be it rock (Papermaps, The Reason) dance (Bikini, Data Romance) or in-between (Dinosaur Bones).

BNLX

I'm a big fan of enigmatic Minneapolis duo BNLX who are at the Rock Shop tonight (8PM) with Kaiser Cartel, Pretty Good Dance Moves and more. Actually, BNLX are now a trio, having just added a drummer to aid in their sonic assault. If you like Honey's Dead era JAMC but wished that Morrissey occasionally sung with them and covered Ice Cube, you are going to love them. Wear earplugs. Check out a couple tracks above and if you can't make it tonight BNLX play again tomorrow (10/20) at Rebel at 11PM.

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And over at Webster Hall tonight are The Wombats, the 10th most popular show of CMJ week, at least by those who logged into CMJ's Sched site. I'll admit to liking early singles like "Moving to New York" but that they are filling Webster Hall now seems a bit inexplicable to me. They do know how to write a catchy chorus though.

Unnoficial CMJ:

Tonight's the Domino Records/Stereogum/Todd P party at 285 Kent with Twin Sister, John Maus, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Deradoorian... $10 though a CMJ badge will get you in for half that. Advanced tickets are now available at the venue for this show today.

At 13 Thames, you can catch Spanish Prisoners, Sun Glitters, Chrome Sparks, fthrsn and Bushwiccan. Spanish Prisoners brand new album, Gold Fools, is a free download on their Bandcamp this week only. It's definitely worth checking out.

At Death by Audio it's Talk Normal, Grass Widow, The Golden Awesome, Coasting and Brute Heart.

And DIY venue MHoW has The Arctic Monkeys.

Ok that's my picks for tonight. What am I missing? What are YOU going to see? Videos, flyers, streams, etc are below.

Continue reading "CMJ 2011 - Bill's Wednesday nighttime picks (LA bands, King Krule Davila 666, Fidlar, Bleached, BNLX & more)"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: BNLX - Living in Exile (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BNLX - Vaporize (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BNLX - Dance Dance Dance (on the Radio) (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Senator (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Tigers (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Male Bonding - "Bones" (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Male Bonding - Tame the Sun (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights - Diamond Mine (MP3)

Malkmus

I guess we'll start this week with Stephen Malkmus who is doing two in stores on Thursday: Academy Records in Williamsburg at 6pm and then Other Music at 9PM. His new album Mirror Traffic, as you may know, was produced by Beck. I'm not sure what that was supposed to connote (more acoustic guitars? L. Ron Hubbard references?) but it's a pretty typical Malkmus solo album with some tight pop songs ("Tigers," downloadable above, and "Stick Figures in Love") and maybe a little more focused and less jammy than he's been in a while. But not much less jammy.

I'm the guy that thought his first solo album was a step in the right direction and has been somewhat ambivalent by what's followed since. But they're always worth hearing. Malkmus and the now Weiss-less Jicks are on tour next month and all upcoming tour dates are at the bottom of this post, along with the video for "No One Is (As I Are Be)."

BNLX

Voluminous and enigmatic Minneapolis duo BNLX are visiting this week, playing The Rock Shop tonight (8/24) and Pianos on Thursday (8/25). This is their third trip to NYC, and the first since releasing the 6th release in their quarterly EP series. It's description in typical BNLX corporate-speak:

BNLX commences the next phase in the BNLX First One Year Plan (extension two) with its sixth consecutive quarterly EP release of "music." These compositions combine rhythmically-expressed poetry in popular idiomatic vernacular ("rhymes") with pulsating percussive elements ("beats") and harmonic modulations/variations/transpositions (melody). The resulting unique juxtaposition of auditory and narrative elements can only be described as "music". Thematic topics on this release include IED's, event horizons, beards and banjos, and deposed royalty. "Vaporize" leads off the EP with a high-energy blast of high velocity psychedelic noise pop.
Three of the four EP tracks are available to download at the top of this post. What I really like about BNLX is that they seem to be doing this for fun and it really translates to the songs, and to the listener. This is well-tread territory, but it's a pleasure to crank up loud. Or to go see live. BNLX are an aural (LOUD) and visual (strobes, smoke machines) assault in concert and it works. Go see 'em.

The Rock Shop show is with Delaware's Sky Drops; the Pianos show also has Jeane (who I finally saw last week, liked 'em), Phone Home and Ventilader.

Violens

Speaking of regimented release schedules, Violens have been releasing a digital single every month this year, the latest of which, "Through the Window," is my favorite so far. With a skittering drumbeat and delay-drenched arpeggiated guitars, it sounds a little like Kitchens of Distinction (if you remember that early '90s band). Violens will be playing a lot of their new material tonight (8/24) at Glasslands.

The rest of tonight's bill is also worth checking out. Dive is the new band from Zachary Cole Smith who used to play drums (and wear mom jeans) in Beach Fossils. (He's also played in Soft Black and with Darwin Deez.) The one track I've heard is definitely a bit Fossil-ized, but am curious to hear more and see what they're like live. Dive play again on September 1 at Shea Stadium with Caged Animals and Forest Fire.

Opening the Glasslands show is Philadelphia's psych-shoegazers Arc in Round. whose most recent EP is cacauphonous and captivating...and sound like they might be very good live.

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Personal and the Pizzas are delivering in our area this weekend: Friday (8/26) at Maxwell's and Saturday (8/27) at Death by Audio. If you like good time Ramones style rock n' roll, and pizza (with extra cheese) you're gonna have a good time. I don't know what else to tell ya. There's video at the bottom of this post.

Male Bonding

Lastly, we've got Male Bonding rolling into town: Glasslands on Saturday (8/27) and Mercury Lounge on Monday (8/29). The UK band's new album, Endless Now, is out next week and as mentioned before it moves away from the swampy sound of their debut into defiant mid-fi. Any more fidelity with melodic punk like this and you might start getting into Blink-182 territory. This album is as produced as it needs to be and is a pretty fun listen with just enough shoegaze nods to keep old guys like me interested. You can download two songs off it at the top of this post.

The band are on tour with Austin's Love Inks who are 180 degrees from Male Bonding's sound: gentle, minimal, croony. The jury is still out on their live show (my jury at least) but I do really like their album.

That's the main stuff I'm talking about this week. A few more worthy picks -- day by day -- are below.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 24

Head to Pianos to catch dark and sexy ZAZA,  who play with Australian group Sherlock's Daughter who are on an extended New York holiday, as well as My Best Fiend, Our Mountain, and Alak.

continued below...

Continue reading "Stephen Malkmus, BNLX, Male Bonding, Violens, David Kilgour, Dive, Joe Pernice & more in This Week in Indie"

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: Amor de Días - Bunhill Fields (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Damon & Naomi - "Walking Backwards" (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Damon & Naomi - "Shadow Boxing" (M4A)
DOWNLOADBNLX - Burn the Boats (MP3)
DOWNLOADBNLX - Garbage Strike (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Beige - Folds (MP3)

Amor de Dias
Amor de Dias

This weekend is dominated, for me at least, by NYC Popfest but as I've already written an exhaustive (exhausting) post about that, so go read it and we'll discuss other shows here. There's lots more to cover anyway.

One thing, and this is Popfest related really, is that Amor de Días are here this weekend, playing Knitting Factory on Sunday (5/22) opening for Damon & Naomi. We've got a pair of tickets to give away to this show. Just send an email with your name to BVCONTESTS@HOTMAIL.COM with the subject line "Amor de Dias" and we'll pick a winner at random.

As you may know, the duo (Amor de Días) are Alisdair Maclean of The Clientele and Lupe Núñez-Fernández of Pipas, a group who played the first ever NYC Popfest back in 2007. I actually thought it was going to be Amor de Días in the "TBA" slot at the Thursday night Cake Shop show that turned out to be Pains of Being Pure at Heart. For this show to be happening at the same -- but not part of -- the 'Fest seems a little criminal.

MacLean and Núñez-Fernández formed Amor de Días back in 2008 and wrote and recorded whenever they had time, with help from current tourmates Damon & Naomi, indiepop legend (and master arranger) Louis Phillipe and Ladybug Transistor's Gary Olson. Their debut, The Street of the Love of Days, came out this week on Merge and is a lovely little album as you might imagine from the talent involved. Their styles and voices are a perfect match for one another and the arrangements are just perfect. Among the treats is a particularly nice version of The Clientele's "Harvest Time." You can download "Bunhill Fields" at the top of this post.

Damon & Naomi's new album, False Beats and True Hearts, is a really nice record too. And if it's still pouring out Sunday night, all the better. It's an evening of rainy day music.

BNLX
BNLX

A much louder duo, also in town this weekend, are Minneapolis' BNLX, who play Pianos on Friday (5/20) and The Rock Shop on Saturday (5/21). I've written about them a couple times this year already and I do really dig their mix of rockin' tunes and corporate humor. I'll quote myself again:

Volume isn't just for punishment, though in the wrong hands it most certainly is. But sometimes you just can't achieve that clarity of sound, that particular strain of feedback, that shriiiiiiinnnnng you get from flicking the strings above the headnut, that tone...without cranking the amp. Ed Ackerson, a 20-year veteran guitar slinger of such Minneapolis bands as 27 Various and Polara, knows what he's doing. BNLX didn't just blow eardrums, they kinda blew minds...

...for being just two of them and a laptop, they made quite a racket at the Rock Shop. Normally I'm one to complain about bands using canned backing instead of a real drummer, but vintage drum machine sounds -- right out of 1987, be it Jesus & Mary Chain or Age of Chance -- are kind of integral to what BNLX are doing. With a stroboscopic lightshow (what, no smoke machines?) you didn't really need anyone else.

You can download two tracks from EP#5 at the top of this post, and I have a good feeling they'll have EP#6 at the merch table for the NYC shows. Also playing The Rock Shop show is Black Onassis, which is not the ex-drummer of Urge Overkill but a new group from former member(s) of Kasabian and Daylight for the Birds. Don't know much about them.

Jets

More interesting is what's happening earlier that same evening at The Rock Shop: a tribute to Brian Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets featuring a cavalcade of indie rock talent. Here's the press release:

When Brian Eno's first solo record, Here Come the Warm Jets, came out in 1974 it turned heads. It continues to baffle great minds due to the sneaky way it overlays whimsical pop with the beginnings of Eno's whole philosophy of creativity and experimentation.

Indy music stalwart Rob Christinsen (Eggs, Grenadine, East Ghost West Ghost) and Rock Shop booker Jack McFadden team up to present this great curiosity of a recording LIVE with a melange of rockers and experimentalists.

"It sounds fantastic but one of the things that I tried to do with Warm Jets was to bring musicians together who would normally never play together and to play a music that they couldn't agree upon. The music would come from the chemistry. But of course, it was impossible to do. I couldn't expect any of the session people I worked with to go along with it. They literally fought." - Brian Eno, 1974.

In that spirit, fifteen singers and ten instrumentalists from all musical worlds team up to perform this masterpiece.

The evening will be emceed by walking/talking Brian Eno encyclopedia, WNYC's John Schaefer.

Musicians performing include Travis Morrison (Dismemberment Plan), Hamish Kilgour (The Clean), Richard Baluyut (Versus), Rob Christiansen (Eggs), Amy Klein (Titus Andronicus), and Ben Trokan (Robbers On High Street).

book

Of course the big tribute this weekend is Sunday's Our Concert Could Be Your Life which celebrates the 10th anniversary of Michael Azzerad's chronicle of the American indie rock scene in the '80s. The talent assembled paying tribute to the bands covered in the book is pretty amazing, and it's changed/expanded a bit since first announced:

  • Nat Baldwin, David Longstreth and Brian McOmber play Black Flag
  • Delicate Steve plays the Minutemen
  • Citay plays Mission of Burma
  • Ted Leo plays Minor Threat
  • Grooms plays Husker Du
  • Titus Andronicus plays the Replacements
  • Tune-Yards plays Sonic Youth
  • Callers plays Sonic Youth
  • Dan Deacon plays the Butthole Surfers
  • St. Vincent plays Big Black
  • Wye Oak plays Dinosaur Jr
  • Buke and Gass plays Fugazi
  • White Hills plays Mudhoney
  • Yellow Ostrich plays Beat Happening
Janeane Garofalo and Eugene Mirman host the evening -- which is sold out, but I wouldn't be surprised if tickets were released day of show. Keep an eye out. UPDATE: They are back on sale as I type this.

[note: both Tune-Yards and Buke and Gass play a sold out show at MHOW one day earlier. Dan Deacon also plays more shows this week. Delicate Steve has a headlining show coming up soon at Brooklyn Bowl.]

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Cymbals Eat Guitars
Cymbals Eat Guitars

And lastly, Cymbals Eat Guitars play their first show in a long time this Friday (5/20) at Glasslands. The band are finishing up their sophomore LP which is due out this fall ,so hopefully we'll get a preview of what's to come which they'll be playing in full at the show. The whole line-up is pretty good, with fellow '90s loving indie rockers Radical Dads (whose member Robbie just announced a new album for one of his other bands), Iranian transplants Yellow Dogs, and the psychedelic sounds of Mirror Mirror.

A few more picks, day by day, are below.

THURSDAY, MAY 19

It should be a fun night at Union Pool with neo baggy kids McDonalds, volatile and soul-bearing Wild Yaks, and The Surprisers.

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by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: BNLX - Burn the Boats (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BNLX - Garbage Strike (MP3)

BNLX @ Rock Shop in February
BNLX

Enigmatic Minneapolis duo BNLX are coming back to NYC for two shows later this month: May 20 at Pianos and May 21 at The Rock Shop with Black Onassis, which is during NYC Popfest (their only scheduled shows at the moment). Maybe you caught them when they made their Big Apple debut back in February. I did and was pretty impressed/deafened: 

Volume isn't just for punishment, though in the wrong hands it most certainly is. But sometimes you just can't achieve that clarity of sound, that particular strain of feedback, that shriiiiiiinnnnng you get from flicking the strings above the headnut, that tone...without cranking the amp. Ed Ackerson, a 20-year veteran guitar slinger of such Minneapolis bands as 27 Various and Polara, knows what he's doing. BNLX didn't just blow eardrums, they kinda blew minds...

...for being just two of them and a laptop, they made quite a racket at the Rock Shop. Normally I'm one to complain about bands using canned backing instead of a real drummer, but vintage drum machine sounds -- right out of 1987, be it Jesus & Mary Chain or Age of Chance -- are kind of integral to what BNLX are doing. With a stroboscopic lightshow (what, no smoke machines?) you didn't really need anyone else.

BNLX have continued their quarterly output with BNLX #5, another quality EP complete with an accompanying corporate-speak press release:
Our research indicates that the goal of providing the best possible BNLX experience will be better achieved through an ongoing effort. Pursuant to this, we are pleased to announce the BNLX First One Year Plan (extension one).

The BNLX EP #5 "music" product will be the centerpiece for our Q1 2011 activities. Four "music" compositions expressing Nordic, Gallic, Tri State, and West Coast idioms are contained on this product. Tracks one through three are original BNLX compositions based on authentic pop cultural memes, whilst track four is an interpretation of a beloved Californian folk composition.

You can download two tracks from BNLX #5 at the top of the post: the Zepplin-ish stomper "Burn the Boats," and winking Morrissey homage/parody "Garbage Strike." It's also got an amazing cover of Ice Cube's beloved Californian folk composition "It Was a Good Day" that is worth the purchase price alone.

There are more BNLX tracks to download over at their Facebook page. Hopefully they'll have BNLX #6 at the merch booth by the time of these shows.

by Bill Pearis

DOWNLOAD: BNLX - Do Without (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BNLX - Where is the Love? (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: BNLX - When Doves Cry (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Sweet Bulbs - Kissing Clouds (MP3)

Mitch Easter
BNLX

A lot of cool shows this week/weekend, some of which might be a bit under the radar. Let's get into it. Alt rock legend Mitch Easter, in addition to being part of that upcoming Big Star Third show, is on a rare Northeast tour right now that pulls into town Thursday (2/17) at The Rock Shop.

While he's maybe best known as a producer (the first two R.E.M.'s albums [with Don Dixon], Pavement's Brighten the Corners, Moose's ...XYZ among other things), Easter has had a long career as a musician, as a part ofThe Sneakers in the late '70s and frontman/songwriter for Let's Active, easily one of the most underrated bands of the '80s. He's also an incredible guitarist, and Let's Active albums are resplendent with awesome axe-work.

I like everything they ever did but 1986's Big Plans for Everybody is especially great, one of my favorite albums of that decade. Mitch put the kybosh on Let's Active in 1990 and didn't release any original material until 2008's Dynamico, an album which showed he still has chops and songs to spare.

Mitch's set at The Rock Shop is going to be heavy on the Let's Active tunes and if there's a song you really want to hear, like "Talking to Myself" from Big Plans, you can make a request. Opening the show are Brooklyn's own Boy Genius whose album from last year, Staggering, was produced by Mitch and is worth checking out. Also playing: Overlord.

BNLX

I'm pretty excited about this next one. Minneapolis' awesome and enigmatic BNLX play their first-ever NYC shows this week, stopping at Fontana's tomorrow night (2/17) and The Rock Shop on Friday (2/18).

BNLX seemingly stormed out of nowhere early 2010, releasing a new EP each quarter, featuring hand-printed, Neu!-esque sleeves and press releases like this:

-BNLX has been meeting and / or exceeding expectations since its inception in Q1 2010
-BNLX provides mission-critical services to the entertainment sector in the following categories:
--"music" (noise)
--found art -beatz / rhymez
--mélodies angéliques
--obfuscation / parallax
-these services are rendered in the live, recorded, and conceptual spheres
-BNLX is comprised of both organic and inorganic members
-this allows BNLX to achieve standards of performance surpassing nominal criteria
-Stage One of the BNLX First One Year Plan commenced in March, 2010; it has been successful
-Stage Two - the release of BNLX EP #2 - will be executed June 25th, 2010
-BNLX EP #2 will be available as a numbered limited edition CD art package
-it will also be available through iTunes, other digital retailers, and piracy
Keeping things mysterious, you could mainly only focus on the music which is pretty awesome: blistering post-punk inspired rock, with male/female, call-and-response vocals, feedback, harmonies, old-school drum machines and ridiculously catchy choruses. The first three EPs were all originals, and the fourth EP was all covers, including great versions of Rhianna's "Shut Up and Drive" and hometown legend Prince's "When Doves Cry." BNLX actually played the latter at First Avenue last month at an Onion party, which takes balls.

That obfuscation didn't last two long as people figured out that BNLX was the work of Minneapolis indie rock mainstay Ed Ackerson, who has led such excelent bands as The 27 Various and Polara over the last 25 years as well as running Susstones Records. His wife Ashley -- they're both also in Moodswings -- is the other half of the band. BNLX have culled the best of the four 2010 EPs as a free sampler which you can download for free. You can also check out a few of the songs, including that Prince cover, at the top of this post.

The Rock Shop show is part of the monthly Hard Light party which is a must for lovers of shoegaze, post-punk, '60s psych, Krautrock, metal, Sweden, feedback, '90s indie rock, and guitars in general. In addition to BNLX, Hard Light promises "drink specials- weirdo cult movies - and loudness."

Tamaryn

Speaking of shoegazy stuff, Tamaryn is back in NYC for her first proper shows since CMJ 2010. She plays Don Hill's on Thusday (2/17), and then an afternoon show at PS 1 on Saturday (2/19). I loved her debut album, The Waves, which came in at #12 on my Favorite LPs of 2011 list, and it's still in pretty heavy rotation here at TWII Headquarters (aka my kitchen). It reminds me a lot of the first Verve album,  tsunami waves of guitar matched with a nimble, groovy rhythm section and Tamaryn's lovely vocals.

There are a lot of chilly ice princesses out there right now, but I think Tamaryn deserves the crown. (Though I haven't heard the Austra album yet.) I thought she and her band were great at Coco66, those three songs before the cops shut it all down. If you can't make these shows, she'll be back in April touring with The Raveonettes, including two nights at Music Hall of Williamsburg (4/20 and 4/21). All Tamaryn tour dates are at the bottom of this post.

Sweet Bulbs

Keeping with the theme, let's talk a bit about Sweet Bulbs, "Brooklyn's blurriest pop band," whose album came out this week on Blackburn Recordings. It's choc-a-bloc with seriously catchy songs that are buried under layers of swirly guitars and effects pedals and other sludge. As someone who loved bands like The Swirlies, Drop Nineteens, Lilys and Henry's Dress, this is right up my alley. For those mystified by that litany of obscure '90s indie bands, just know Sweet Bulbs make beautiful noise. You can download "Kissing Clouds" from the album at the top of this post.

Sweet Bulbs play Bruar Falls this Saturday (2/19) with White Laces, Arches, and Tungs. Do check 'em out.

That's the main stuff this week. A few more picks, day by day are below:

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 16

The Church play three albums from their catalog in their entirety tonight at Highline Ballroom: Untitled #23, Priest=Aura, and Starfish. That's over three hours of music, which seems like a lot to me even for a devoted Church fan. Maybe if it was Heyday instead of Untitled #23 I'd be more inclined to go. They'll do it again tomorrow (2/17) at BB King's.

Tonight is also the third week of ARMS' February residency at Pianos, this week with The Silent League, Your Youth, Inlets and Thunder & Lightning (which is the new band from Brent Katz who was Todd Goldstein's bandmate in Harlem Shakes). ARMS were teriffic last week, this is highly recommended.

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