Violens, John Grant, Tricky, Atlas Sound, Weed Hounds, Acrylics, My Teenage Stride & more in This Week in Indie
by Bill Pearis
DOWNLOAD: Violens - Acid Reign (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Violens - Violent Sensation Descends (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Fergus & Geronimo - Powerful Lovin' (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Warm Ghost - Open the Wormhole In Your Heart (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Weed Hounds - Beach Bummed 7" (ZIP)
DOWNLOAD: Acylics - Nightwatch (MP3)
We'll start of this week with a giveaway. Violens play Santos this Saturday and if you'd like to win a pair of tickets to the show as well as a copy of the band's new album, Amoral, just send an email to BVCONTESTS@HOTMAIL.COM with "VIOLENS" as the subject and we'll pick a winner at random.
I think Violens' debut is a pretty sweet slice of glossy goth pop, heavily in debt to bombastic '80s UK mope but with a modern sheen. If it's out-of-step with what's currently in favor in Brooklyn, it's all the more distinctive for it. It also sounds really good loud. Amoral may hold up pretty well down the line, too, as songs like "Violent Sensation Descends," "Acid Reign" (both downloadable above) and "The Dawn Of Your Happiness Is Rising" are cleverly-produced and catchy-as-hell.
What else is going on this week? MOJO Album of 2010 recipient John Grant plays two shows this week: an early show tonight (12/8) at Mercury Lounge and then Saturday (12/11) at The Rock Shop. If you haven't checked out the former Czars frontman's solo debut -- produced and backed by Midlake -- you should really do so. From MOJO's year-end review:
[Midlake]'s intervention supplied confidence, empathy and a meticulous '70s soft rock sound, allowing Grant to channel a life's worth of vitriol and self-flagellation into songs of spiritual hunger, emotional fireworks and bile-black humour that always searched for self-improvement and atonement. Here were tales of alcohol and cocaine dependency, self-hate and destructive love affairs that raised the twin ghosts of Patsy Cline and Karen Carpenter. The result was in an intensely bittersweet pop record, that, like a couple of similar MOJO classics before it -- Antony's I Am a Bird Now and Bon Iver's For Emma... -- sounded like it's creator had been waiting his whole life to make.
You can listen to the whole shebang via a widget at the bottom of this post. Unfortunately, Midlake won't be backing him on these shows so we won't get Queen of Denmark is it's truly epic glory but I have a feeling that Grant, with help from multi-instrumentalist Casey Chandler, will do just fine on a smaller scale.
Trip hop pioneer Tricky is here this week as well, with shows at Le Poisson Rouge tomorrow (12/9) and Brooklyn Bowl on Friday (12/10). Here's one of those artists that even that despite a string of lackluster records, I always give the new album a chance. While there are more than a few regrettable moments on Mixed Race (I don't think anybody could make a Peter Gun sample work in 2010), there's also some of the best we've heard from him in ages that drip that paranoid, slow-burn cool that made his first two albums classics.
Atlas Sound, Feb 2010 @ the Bell House (more by Dominick Mastrangelo)
While Deerhunter's terrific Halcyon Digest is finding its way into many's Top Ten of 2010 lists (maybe mine, we'll see), Bradford Cox stays busy as Atlas Sound who play an Maxwell's on Friday (12/10) and The Bell House on Saturday (12/11). Has any other artist been on such a creative hot streak as Cox since 2008? The guy releases at least one "official" album a year in one of his two guises, with regular demo dumps via his blog that are almost always worth downloading. Like the four-part Bedroom Databank series we got in the last two weeks. May this ride never end.
And a few more picks, day-by-day, for shows not covered above.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8
It's the 30th anniversary of John Lennon's death, and Glasslands pays tribute tonight with a cavalcade of indie names, including: Acrylics, Amazing Baby, Nicole Atkins, Here We Go Magic, Eytan & The Embassy, Psychic, Teen, The Royal Chains, Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Bizi Gara, Class Actress, and Brian Harding. Proceeds go to Arts Education International.
Over at Death by Audio, you can catch a rock-solid bill featuring bash-pop duo Sisters, Total Slacker offshoot Web Dating, indie rock quartet Shark?, sleazoid garage rockin' X-Ray Eyeballs, and Philly duo Slutever.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9
Next door at Pianos are Translations, whose free download single "The Wanderer/The M.O." will be on my Best Tracks of 2010 list whenever I manage to get that up(which should go up sometime before 2011). Still haven't seen them live, think tonight will be the night. They play with Grandchildren who I'm going to be loved the shit out of Merriweather Post Pavillion and are on their second Thursday of a four-week residency at Pianos.
The Hundred in the Hands, whose self-titled debut doesn't get the credit it deserves if you ask me, play The Studio @ Webster Hall tonight. They also publish a really good music blog, actually, that has become a (one-off?) print zine available at Other Music, Sound Fix and Kim's. Tonight's show is with likeminded folks Home Video (check out their new video below) and Warm Ghost (MP3 above).
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10
Weed Hounds, who are much better and perhaps different sounding than their name might imply, play Shea Stadium tonight. Think C-86 meets 4AD/Creation-era shoegaze. Good stuff. They play with Sweet Bulbs, Byrds of Paradise, both pretty good from what I've heard on cursory listens.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11
Acrylics are performing these days as a duo, a bit sad for anyone who saw them in their full pop glory in 2009 or so. But they're still worth seeing and see them you can -- for free -- at Zebulon tonight. The band's debut, Lives and Treasure, is pretty mellow/dreamy which I guess suits the two-piece core... but I still like them better with a drummer. Check out LP track "Nightwatch" at the top of this post.
That's all she wrote for this week. More flyers and videos and streaming players and tour dates are below:.
Violens - Violent Sensation Descends
John Grant - Queen of Denmark
John Grant - 2010 Tour Dates
12/4 Chicago, IL Schuba's Tavern
12/6 Toronto, ON Music Gallery
12/8 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
12/10 Philadelphia, PA World Café Live Upstairs
12/11 Brooklyn, NY The Rock Shop
12/15 San Francisco, CA Swedish American Hall
12/16 Los Angeles, CA Gene Autry Museum, Heritage Court
12/17 Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge
12/18 Seattle, WA High Dive
12/19 Vancouver, BC The Media Club
Tricky - Ghetto Stars
Tricky - 2010 North American Tour Dates
December 9th New York, NY Le Poisson Rouge
December 10th Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Bowl
December 11th Montreal, QC Club Soda
December 12th Toronto, ON Mod Club
December 13th Chicago, IL Lincoln Hall
December 14th Minneapolis, MN Varsity
December 17th Seattle, WA Neumo's
December 18th Vancouver, BC Venue
December 19th Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge
December 21st San Francisco, CA Independent
Decemeber 22nd Los Angeles, CA The Troubadour
Home Video - Ever Love That Ever Was