Entries tagged with: zoos of berlin
by Bill Pearis
Detroit's Zoos of Berlin are an intriguingly odd lot, whose music doesn't really sound like anything else going on right now. The word I keep coming back to is regal. It is soft-focus but obtuse, a little foppish and often fancy. Still pop music made by guitars and keyboards and drums and voices, but these guys are definitely in their own orbit. I once called them a "baroque, Krautrock Steely Dan" and I think that's about as close as I will every coming to pinning them down.
After a two-year abscence -- during which primary members Trevor Naud and Daniel I. Clark made a wonderful ambient LP under the name South South Million -- Zoos of Berlin are back with a new album, Lucifer in the Rain, which will be out July 15 on Time No Place. album art and tracklist are below.
We've got the premiere of one of the album's "I Went Too Shapeless in the Night" which is one of the album's more straightforward pop songs. (Relatively speaking.) You can stream it below.
No word yet on live dates, but we can hope they'll be making their way East once the album comes out.
by Bill Pearis
This will be a shorter column than usual (please hold your applause till the end) as I'm heading across the Canadian border to attend this year's M for Montreal festival where I'll be seeing the likes of The Dears, PS I Love You, Valleys and a bunch of bands who sing in French. (Also, Gene Simmons has been invited for some reason and will be filming his reality show while there.) It will also be about 20 degrees colder up there so, gentle readers, don't be too jealous of my international travels. There's plenty of cool stuff going on here.
Darwin Deez plays his last NYC show of 2010 at Mercury Lounge tonight (11/17) with Bell (who just played Glasslands the other night with Suuns), King Charles (a UK artist who just got done touring with Mumford & Sons - you might have caught him the past two nights at Terminal 5 - he also plays the Rock Shop on Thursday) and Friends. Darwin's had a good year... in the UK. He came in at #10 on NME's Cool List 2010 (in between Marcus Mumford and Carl Barat, for context) and was pictured on the cover of the issue (see above - the guy with the string on his forehead), and his self-titled debut came in at #56 on Rough Trade Shops' Best LPs of 2010 list.
Here in his home town (or home country), Darwin doesn't get much press or blog love. Mind you, his album hasn't even come out in the U.S. yet -- it's due February 2011, nearly a year after its UK release. (I also don't think his look is doing him any favors over here.) When it does hit these shores, it's definitely worth checking out -- a poppier, funkier take on Strokes-style indie rock that shows off impressive melodic and lyrical talent. It's an immediately likeable record and he deserves more attention than he's getting. Check out the Cosmos-inspired video to his single "Constellations" at the bottom of this post.
Xeno and Oaklander @ PS1 in 2009 (more by Zach Dilgard)
Tonight is also the seventh anniversary of the Wierd parties which started at Brooklyn's Southside Lounge and grew into a label specializing in minimal synth and darkwave. Wierd Records has released some great stuff this year, including debut albums from Automelodi and Frank (Just Frank). Their weekly party now happens at Home Sweet Home on Christie St. in the L.E.S. and for tonight's special occasion, in addition to great tunes and smoke machines they've got Xeno and Oaklander performing live. These two perform like the last three decades never happened, strictly analogue, with piles of vintage gear strung together with patch cables. Squint and you might think you'd been transported back to Sheffield, England circa 1979.
Zoos of Berlin
Detroit's Zoos of Berlin are taking a break from recording their second album to hit the East Coast for a couple of NYC dates this weekend. They play Friday (11/19) at Cake Shop and then a show at Spike Hill on Saturday (11/20). I've written about ZoB a bunch of times over the last year and always try and catch them when they're in town. There's no other band that sounds quite like them, a mix (as I've said before) of Berlin-era Bowie and Steely Dan.
If you haven't checked out their music yet, now's a perfect time as they've made both their eponymous EP and first album,"Taxis," available as free downloads from their Bandcamp page. And do go see them play if you can, they're tight and surprisingly funny given their regal sound.
One of my favorite new bands of last year, Acrylics, have finally put the finishing touches on their debut album which will drop on January 25, 2010. It's ten songs of dusty, dreamy pop (Mirage-era Fleetwood Mac gets you in the right ballpark) that is above all else a showcase for the duo's enviable songwriting abilities. The sparkling arrangements and soaring harmonies are impressive too.
With the new album in the can, Acrylics are starting to play live again and have two shows this weekend. They play Friday night at Glasslands with Chicago's Light Pollution (who leave on tour with Delorean and Lemonade a day later), Blood Orange (Dev of Lightspeed Champion who opened for Glasser last night and who also plays a show at Union Pool tonight), and Unsolved Mysteries. Acrylics also play Cameo Gallery on Saturday (11/20) with their pals Amazing Baby , and two hard-to-Google bands I'm not familiar with: TEEN, and Psychic (at first I thought the band was Teen Psychic, but it's apparently two separate groups).
Acrylics, Amazing Baby, and, and Teen are also part of an upcoming John Lennon Tribute show taking place at Glasslands on December 8th along with Nicole Atkins, Beige, Eytan & The Embassy, Here We Go Magic, Psychic, The Rassle, The Royal Chains, and Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson.
Big Troubles @ Mercury Lounge last week (more by Amanda Hatfield)
And I'll hopefully be back from Montreal in time Sunday night (11/21) to hit Glasslands for their killer bill of Weekend, Young Prisms, Minks and Big Troubles (maybe you caught them recently opening for Magic Kids), one of the more solid, well-curated line-ups I've seen in a long time. If you like any one of these bands, you'll probably like the rest. As I've said before, Weekend's debut album, Sports, is a superior slice of post-punk shoegaze that is both pummeling and beautiful. Weekend aren't reinventing the wheel, but the San Francisco trio are expert drivers. Two MP3s are at the top of this post.
Their tour-mates are fellow San Franciscans Young Prisms who practice similar hazy, loud sonics and will release their debut album on Kanine early next year. You can check out an MP3 from it at the top of this post. If you can't make this show, Weekend and Young Prisms will be back after Thanksgiving for a show at Cake Shop on November 27.
The rest of the Glasslands bill: Minks, whose debut album on Captured Tracks is one of my highly anticipated releases of 2011 as I've dug both their singles so far, as well as their live show. And if you haven't heard Big Troubles' debut, which came out early this year on Olde English Spelling Bee, I recommend you remedy that, especially if you have a fondness for early-'90s shoegaze. Big Troubles know their stuff, have digested it all and come up with their own appealing version.
That's it for this week. Tour dates, videos, some others shows and flyers are below.
by Bill Pearis
This week is extra-packed with musical goodness, so I'm breaking up TWII into two parts. Here's your mid-week edition.
Best Coast are here, playing Knitting Factory tonight (4/6) and Mercury Lounge tomorrow (4/7). Initially a solo project for onetime Pocahaunted singer Bethany Cosentino, Best Coast is now a collaboration with producer/guitarist Bob Bruno. Bethany is a talented songwriter with an amazing voice that has a Linda Ronstadt quality to it (maybe even a little Loretta Lynn in there). It's unfortunately buried under a spill reverb and low fi sludge on her first couple singles. That they were still worked is a testament to the songs, I think. But both sides of Best Coast's latest 7", on the Black Iris label, are knockouts, somewhere between the Everly Brothers and '60s girl groups. Sonically, it hits that Goldilocks sweet spot of sounding produced but not slick in any way. You can download the b-side, "This is Real," at the top of this post.
Live there's even less reverb than the recordings (or at least there was both times I saw them at SXSW) and you're really hit with the songs and that voice. Ali Koehler, on loan from Vivian Girls, will be on the drumkit (they had a dude playing drums in Texas) and The Bitters (member of Fucked Up) open both shows, with The Babies also playing tonight (which means at least 2/3 of the Vivian Girls perform at the show tonight).
As previously reported, Darwin Deez's show tonight has been relocated from Market Hotel to new DIY space Party Expo (929 Broadway, the Myrtle stop on the JMZ), which seems appropriate in this case as it's his birthday. I'll be the first to say Darwin looks kinda like a hipster dufus, but there's no denying he's a talented guy and I think his self-titled album, out May 10, is pretty great. And despite his look, his music is not some '80s throwback. He's carved out a very distinct sound for himself, staccato guitar pop with thoughtful lyrics and Darwin's warm voice smoothing things out. It's pretty charming stuff.
Zoos of Berlin
Zoos of Berlin are back in town and were scheduled to play Market Hotel on Wednesday (4/7) and that has since been relocated to Shea Stadium. I've written about them before, and I really urge you to check them out. Nobody else sounds like them, a regal mix of Bowie's Berlin period and Steely Dan funk. No really. They're pretty awesome. ZoB have brought fellow Detroiters Child Bite (kinda punk, kinda jazz) with them. The two bands are on tour together and all remaining dates are at the bottom of this post. The Shea Stadium show also features Electric Tickle Machine, who are better than their name might suggest.
A couple more Wednesday, 4/7, picks. At Cake Shop, there's a good line-up of Florida's Tough Knuckles, local '90s throwbacks Mr. Dream and South Korea's 10 (with help from Brown Wing Overdrive), plus Effing and Your Youth. Check out the rockin' MP3 of Mr. Dream's "Knuckle Sandwich" at the top of this post.
Look for the weekend edition of TWII on Thursday. Till then, there's tour dates, flyers and videos after the jump.
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Zoos of Berlin - Electrical Way (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fanfarlo - Finish Line (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fanfarlo - I'm a Pilot (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fanfarlo - Luna (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Ballet - The House of Fire (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Phantogram - When I'm Small (Mp3)
DOWNLOAD: Invisible Hand - There's Room in My Will (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Invisible Hand - Caught Myself in a Coy Trap (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Drunk Tigers - Outer Banks, Inner Peace (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Phil and the Osophers - We Have All Summer (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Dream Diary - Bird in My Garden (MP3)
French Horn Rebellion
As previously reported, Detroit band Zoos of Berlin are in town this weekend -- playing Matchless tonight (12/18) and Cake Shop tomorrow (12/19). Mixing elements of baroque, Krautrock and '70s shag carpet, Zoos of Berlin don't really sound like anybody else -- which is a good thing, right? They're good live too, maybe even better than on their album (which is worth seeking out).
I'm told Zoos of Berlin are on early-ish (9:45) so my personal plan for tonight is to catch ZoB at Matchless then head over to Cameo Gallery for the Cantora Late Nite Holiday Special featuring Savoir Adore and French Horn Rebellion. Doors are at 11PM and if you RSVP, admission is only five bucks. I think I've probably written enough about Savoir Adore this year (and you can read their year-end Q&A) for you to know that I'm a big fan and think you should go see them. French Horn Rebellion is David Perlick-Molinari, who plays in the live line-up of Savoir Adore, and his brother Robert -- and their brand of funky electro draws inspiration from Michael Jackson and early '80s disco. They know their way around a catchy tune too -- "Up All Night" is pretty irresistible, and will end up on my Best Singles of 2009 list...whenever I get around to putting that together. That song's video is at the bottom of this post. I've never seen them live -- Paul and Diedre of Savoir Adore play in the French Horn Rebellion touring unit -- so looking forward to seeing them.
Fanfarlo @ MHOW during CMJ (more by Tim Griffin)
Also tonight: after a successful CMJ (including their great performance at the Brooklyn Vegan showcase), Fanfarlo are back in NYC, moving up to Webster Hall where they play with Freelance Whales. Not bad for a band who have yet to get written about at all on Pitchfork. (Though they are one of the choices in their Bands to Watch in 2010 section of theirreader's poll.) I'm still listening to their debut, Reservoir, which has held up over the last 10 months or so. It's a nice pairing with Freelance Whales who were lovely the only time I saw them --at the Brooklyn Vegan day party during CMJ where they played acoustic. Fanfarlo seem like a good band to see during the holidays -- they're very Christmasy. Tickets are still available. Fanfarlo recently stopped by the NPR offices to film an acoustic performance, including a cover of Low's "It Was Just Like Christmas," and you can watch that at the bottom of this post.
The long-running indiepop party Mondo! happens tonight (12/18) at Don Hill's and tonight features a performance by The Ballet who were kind of a big deal with blogs a few years back and played on a few choice bills, opening for Voxtrot, The Hidden Cameras and others. And then they just sort of faded away. Well, The Ballet are back with their second album melodic, upbeat synthpop, Bear Life, and I like it quite a bit. You can download album track "The House on Fire" at the top to this post. Stephin Merritt comparisons are inevitable but it's definitely more Future Bible Heroes than Magnetic Fields.
Moving on to Saturday (12/19), there's a worthwhile free show at Brooklyn Bowl with Phantogram and Class Actress. I might try to hit this one as I have yet to see Phantogram live and am a fan of their debut album, Eyelid Movies, which will get an official release on Barsuk Records in February 2010. You can download "When I'm Small" from the album at the top of this post. It's a pretty good taster for the album, which is kind of trip-hoppy but in a '00s sort of way (breakbeats but no John Barry or Morricone samples). Chilled, atmospheric, but still danceable.
Class Actress I wrote about last week, but have now actually seen them play (at Mercury Lounge). I don't think they've quite figured out the live show, but they're not bad. I like the EP which will be out on Terrible Records in the new year.
If you miss the bowling alley show, Phantogram also just added a February 12th show at Mercury Lounge. Tickets are on sale at noon.
And finally, for the indie pop fans out there we've got a good show at Matchless on Saturday night, featuring Brooklyn bands Dream Diary and Phil & the Osophers, plus two bands from Charlottesville, Virginia -- The Invisible Hand and Drunk Tigers. The Invisible Hand remind me a bit of Of Montreal by way of Superchunk or the Clean. Definitely a '90s indie rock thing going on, pretty good. You can download two tracks at the top of this post. Drunk Tigers aren't bad either, a little more in the shouty Port O'Brien school of things.
As for the local acts, I'm on record as being a fan of Dream Diary whose jangly style should appeal to fans of The Pastels and other '80s-era Creation Records bands. And Phil and the Osophers have been at it for nearly five years and whose new album, Parallelo, is worth checking out -- you can download an MP3 at the top of this post.
That's gonna do it for this week. No column next week, so happy holidays folks. Videos, flyers and tour dates are below...
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Zoos of Berlin - Electrical Way (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Computer Perfection - Able Archer (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Christmas Party with Computer Perfection & Friends (Zip)
Zoos of Berlin @ Market Hotel in September
Detroit's Zoos of Berlin are coming back to NYC for two shows this month: they'll play December 18 at Matchless and December 19 at Cake Shop. They were great when they played Market Hotel back in September. Here's what I wrote on Soundbites:
Zoos of Berlin are from Detroit and are fronted by Trevor Naud who also spent time (maybe still does) in the notoriously unprolific but occasionally awesome Pas/Cal. Unlike that band's sunshine pop, Zoos of Berlin are more buttoned up and immaculate, like a high society tea... but one that desperately wants to be disco-fest. Naud and turtleneck-wearing bassist Daniel Clark keep it regal, but drummer Colin Dupuis and, especially, keyboardist Will Yates are there to party. The result is like a weird mix of Cardinal and Steely Dan, a combination that is perfected on "Electrical Way" which has Yates laying down a super-funky Clavinet part over most of the song, with a breakdown which is straight out of "Peg." And it just sounds awesome, such good musicianship overcoming the deficiencies of Market Hotel's PA, where they played a few weeks ago.You can download "Electrical Way" at the top of this post. Zoos of Berlin also have a Bowie thing going in there somewhere (yes, his Berlin period if you must know), and there's really nothing like them in NYC right now, which is why you should go despite it being so close to Christmas that you'll probably show up to the gig with shopping bags in tow. (Make room for their album, "Taxis".) They're good so go see them.
While we're on the subject of Pas/Cal offshoots, I would be remiss to not mention Computer Perfection, the fairly new band that features most of Pas/Cal (minus main man Casimir) and who released their debut album last month which fans of their old band will probably like too. I caught them at CMJ and thought they were quite good, despite playing in a room smaller than my bedroom. I will admit being swayed by their spot-on cover of The Flowerpot Men's "Beat City" from the Ferris Bueller's Day Off soundtrack, which was enough to help them lug stuff to their van after the show and buy a copy of their CD. They're not touring right now, but keep an eye out.
Computer Perfection released a Christmas record last year that came out so late it almost missed the holiday, but you can still download it -- for free -- from their website. It's like fruitcake, it's just as good a year later. It also features contributions from Chicago's 1900s, Computer Perfection member LTD, and more. It;s worth the disc space of downloading alone for Aunt Beru & The Juicers' "Santa Brings It" which melds "Here Comes Santa Clause" onto Beyonce's "Single Ladies" which is sure to be a hit at any holiday office party. Grab the Zip file above. Cover art below.
Video from Zoos of Berlin's show at Market Hotel in September, plus upcoming tour dates , after the jump.