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Hiss Golden Messenger Make a Connection at Rough Trade NYC

September 19th, 2014

Hiss Golden Messenger – Rough Trade NYC – September 18, 2014

Hiss Golden Messenger - Rough Trade NYC - September 18, 2014
Raw seems to be everyone’s go-to word to describe music that’s innately soulful, so much so that it can sometimes seem a little overdone. I’ve always taken it to define the stuff of pure heart, feelings berthed there spilling right out, largely unfiltered by the brain, the great rationalization of our abstract and unruly emotions. There are few people who sing this stuff better than MC Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger. It’s not just evident in his compositions’ great emotional landscapes, but also you can see physical evidence of it as he performs. When he sings loud, he leans back as if the feelings coming out cause recoil like when firing a gun. Sometimes he’ll squint a little, further proof of the cocktail of feelings that first berthed the music. And all of that was on display last night at Rough Trade NYC, a perfect setting for an intimate performer.

When Hiss Golden Messenger last came to town, it was just MC Taylor and an acoustic guitar. This time, though, he was backed by a full band, including longtime collaborator Scott Hirsch and talented Megafaun multi-instrumentalist Phil Cook. With projects largely the vision of one musician, backing bands can seem a little out of step or merely following the lead of the group’s visionary. But that’s not the case with Hiss Golden Messenger, which speaks both to the band’s pure talent and their ability to feel out Taylor’s vision. “We’re going to start the dancing portion of this set,” said the frontman, somewhat tongue in cheek as he introduced “Blue Country Mystic.” The song had an irresistible group sound to it fleshed out with a full band, complete with collective rhythmic pauses, swooning baritone saxophone lines from Matt Douglas and some Cook wizardry on the keyboards.

“Lucia,” off the latest release, Lateness of Dancers, showcased the Hiss Golden Messenger’s harmonizing prowess, including some backup vocals from guest Alexandra Sauser-Monnig. The band’s encore took them out into the audience to play an acoustic rendition of “Drum,” a song that first appeared on the lo-fi Bad Debt and again on their latest release. The audience was encouraged to sing along to the song’s chorus: “Take the good news and carry it away/ Take the good news and spirit it away.” And without much coaching, fans beautifully filled out the harmonies. As adeptly as this band fulfills Taylor’s vision, there just might be something about his music so fundamental that it’s felt by everyone—and damn easy to sing along to. After the show, in what now seems to be standard protocol at Rough Trade NYC, the band hung around to talk to concertogers. The band-fan connection is strong with Hiss Golden Messenger, and it’s a beautiful thing. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Peter Senzamici | petersenzamici.com

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Rootsy Folk Trio the Ballroom Thieves Play Mercury Lounge Tonight

September 19th, 2014

Martin Earley (guitar and vocals), Devin Mauch (percussion and vocals) and Calin Peters (cello and vocals) formed the rootsy folk trio the Ballroom Thieves three years ago in Boston. But they burst onto the scene—first in their hometown and then throughout the region—when their five-song debut EP, The Devil & the Deep (stream it below), filled with foot-stomping energy and three-part harmonies, came out in 2012. A four-track self-titled EP (stream it below) followed in 2013, and thanks to their rousing performances, unique instrumentation and topnotch songwriting, the Ballroom Thieves (above, doing “Coward’s Son” for Audiotree Live) are now making a name for themselves beyond New England. Find out for yourself why tonight at Mercury Lounge. Soulful psychedelic-blues four-piece the Tontons, out of Houston, open the show.

Slow Club Launch New Tour at The Bowery Ballroom

September 18th, 2014

Slow Club – The Bowery Ballroom – September 17, 2014

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Charlie Watson and Rebecca Taylor have been playing together as Slow Club since 2006. Blending two-part harmonies against a multitude of instruments, they’ve toured their native homeland, England, this summer in support of their recent release, Complete Surrender. The third full-length album has been described by the Guardian as “a soaring account of bruised hearts and tear-soaked pillows” and lauded by Paste as “making the kind of songs that aren’t just meant to score feelings, but actually make the listener feel.” They arrived Wednesday evening to kick off their North American tour at The Bowery Ballroom.

Starting with the appropriately titled “Beginners,” off their previous album, Paradise, Taylor crooned against Watson’s backing aahs and oohs. The pair quickly settled into material from their latest album, starting with the title track. As the drum solo kicked in, the disco ball quickly turned on for the infectious dance tune, before halting for “Tears of Joy.” Taylor stood alone against a single spotlight as she belted out “Not Mine to Love.” And upon returning, Watson confessed he’d dreamed of playing The Bowery Ballroom, but not in the baggy dad pants he was wearing. (Heck, comfort first, right?)

Fans were treated to some back-catalog treasures, like the Beatles-inspired “Never Look Back,” the rapid-paced “Our Most Brilliant Friends” and the rollicking “If We’re Still Alive.” Taylor’s and Watson’s vocals were on full display as the set neared its close. For “Number One,” Watson delivered deep, plaintive lyrics supported by Taylor’s gutsy backing vocals. Those pipes were further highlighted on the soul-drenched closer, “Suffering You, Suffering Me.” Hinting earlier in the night that there’d be an encore, the two returned to the stage with “Dependable People and Things That I’m Sure Of” and “Two Cousins.” And then several people had already exited as Watson and Taylor came back again to treat the crowd to an unplugged, acoustic version of “Hackney Marsh.” —Sharlene Chiu

 

 

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Double Your Pleasure with Two Nights of the Cave Singers

September 18th, 2014

When his previous band, Pretty Girls Make Graves, called it quits in 2007, guitarist Derek Fudesco teamed up with former Cobra High drummer Marty Lund and former Hint Hint singer Pete Quirk to start a new one, the Cave Singers, to make rock music with a folk bent (think: Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie). The Seattle three-piece had enough material for their first album, Invitation Songs (stream it below), within months of forming. A second disc, Welcome Joy (stream it below), followed two years later, and after the third, the-more-electric-than-acoustic No Witch (stream it below), was released in 2011, the trio became a four-piece with the addition of Fleet Foxes multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson on bass. Their first album as a quartet, the terrific Naomi (stream it below)—perhaps heavier on the rock than the folk—came out last year, and the Cave Singers (above, doing “Shine” live in studio for KEXP FM) are currently touring the East Coast. Catch one of their high-energy live show tomorrow at Mercury Lounge or, alongside psychedelic-soul four-piece Ghostpal, on Saturday at Rough Trade NYC.

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Ty Segall Proves to Be a Rock Music Life Force at Webster Hall

September 18th, 2014

Ty Segall – Webster Hall – September 17, 2014

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

“Did anybody lose a red shoe?” asked Ty Segall last night, the Webster Hall stage littered with lost items: a blue backpack, a handful of wallets, a boot, even a belt. With more people in the front row trying to crowd surf than hold up said crowd surfers, the venue had become one giant lost and found. What do you get when you have a sold-out Webster Hall audience collectively losing their shit? You get a lot of people, well, physically losing a lot of their shit. For anyone not familiar with Ty Segall at this point, he can best be described as some superhuman rock music–making machine. At 27, he’s already got seven solo albums to his name, plus another excellent one filed under the Ty Segall Band, several side projects and bands he’s involved with in one way or another. Segall has yet to put his name on anything subpar. He tours constantly. And with the energy he throws into performing, seeing him play live makes this output slightly more believable, further proof that there’s some supernatural rock music life force coursing through his veins.

Segall, who came out wearing the same glam makeup he wore on his latest appearance on Conan, was joined by longtime collaborator—and accomplished solo artist—Mikal Cronin on bass, Charlie Moonheart on guitar and Emily Rose Epstein on drums. Everyone besides Segall sporting waist-length hair made their collective head-banging a glorious spectacle. They opened with the title track off Segall’s latest album, Manipulator, and continued checking off most of its songs. Three tunes in, the barricade separating the audience from the stage began showing signs of giving out, with five security guards doing their best to keep it together. And then two songs later, Segall announced that they were going to pause so they could get the barricade out of there, thus beginning the endless crowd surfing.

For his guitar solo on “The Faker,” Segall joined the surfers, walking out onto the crowd’s hands Iggy Pop style to rip his face-melting guitar solo right into his fans’ faces. But the best crowd surf of the night was courtesy of the band’s “manager,” Jimmy Longhorn— prior to the show, he declared that the band was from Jupiter—who came out asking people to carry him to the bar on the opposite side of the venue and back, and they happily complied. “Caesar” brought out a bunch of folks from backstage into the audience. Shows don’t usually get this out of control. Musicians don’t usually release this much quality music this fast. Concerts don’t usually sustain such a high level of energy. Those in the crowd aren’t usually that willing to give it their all. But maybe this band really is from Jupiter. —Dan Rickershauser

(Ty Segall plays Webster Hall again tonight.)

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Spend the Last Friday of Summer with the Replacements

September 17th, 2014

Bob Stinson (guitar), his brother Tommy Stinson (bass) and Chris Mars (drums) were already in a garage-punk outfit when Paul Westerberg (guitar and vocals) joined the band in 1979. The quartet changed their name to the Replacements since under the previous name, the Impediments, they’d been banned from some local Minneapolis clubs, thanks to rowdy behavior. Initially they were compared to another Twin Cities band, Hüsker Dü. But as the Replacements became increasingly known for their wild (drunken?) live performances— and as their sound drifted from punk to jangly alternative rock, including elements of pop and folk—they made a name for themselves, unquestionably emerging as one of the most influential, trailblazing bands of the ’80s, thanks in large part to their energetic live shows and the seven terrific albums they released between 1981 and 1990: Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (stream it below), Hootenanny (stream it below), Let It Be (stream it below), Tim (stream it below), Pleased to Meet You (stream it below), Don’t Tell a Soul (stream it below) and All Shook Down (stream it below). But eventually things began to go off the rails. They were banned from Saturday Night Live in 1986, and Bob Stinson left the group later that year (and died in 1995). Mars departed in 1990, and then the Replacements closed up shop in the summer of 1991. And that’s where the story would have ended, except that seemingly out of nowhere, Westerberg and Tommy Stinson, joined by other musicians, played six shows last year. Buoyed by the response, they’ve teamed up with drummer Josh Freese and guitarist Dave Minehan to play several shows this year, including Coachella and Boston Calling. And on the heels of triumphantly playing their first hometown show in 23 years, which Billboard called “an absolutely stellar performance from start to finish,” they Replacements (above, performing “Alex Chilton” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon) are coming to New York City to play Forest Hills Stadium on Friday night with a pair of like-minded, don’t-miss bands, the Hold Steady and Deer Tick. It’s the last Friday of summer, and this is one not to skip.

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Portugal. The Man and Grouplove Close Out Tour in Central Park

September 17th, 2014

Portugal. The Man/Grouplove – Rumsey Playfield – September 16, 2014

Portugal. The Man – Rumsey Playfield – September 16, 2014

Portugal. The Man

Midway through their set at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Tuesday—the closing night of the Honda Civic TourGrouplove’s Hannah Hooper declared that the tour was all about “making art.” As incongruous as that may sound, the show was one of those rare instances where live rock and roll was elevated to an art form: the music, the lights, the visuals and the crowd interaction. The pairing of Grouplove with Portugal. The Man was an inspired billing, each band bringing a different aesthetic and energy to the performance, and both inspiring a whole lot of singing along, clapping along, waving arms along, pretty much everything along.

After a big-sound set from Typhoon, Grouplove entered amidst a cloud of smoke and a haze of hip-hop over the PA. Their set was 70 minutes of cathartic, jubilant bounce, beginning with the opening “I’m with You” and its sing-along-ready ah ah ahs and oh oh ohs. The audience was in it from the start. Grouplove’s free-form sing-along contrasted with the visuals, which had a sleek, modern feel, colorful geometric rectangles or simulated multihued television static danced on the large-screen backdrop while the audience danced in front. Everyone loves a hit, and Grouplove played plenty of them, highlighted by the ecstatic groover “Tongue Tied.” The set peaked with the couplet of “Slow” and “Borderlines and Aliens,” and particularly the space in between the two, where lights, the band’s movement and the pulsing drums worked together as one entity, eventually releasing into a wild guitar jam. After a rousing “Colours” to close their part of the show, the band returned for a rare mid-show encore, bringing along members of Portugal. The Man for a crowd-riling version of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” everyone screaming the classic lyrics. Any other night it would have been the ultimate sing-along, but there was more to come.

A quick breather later, Portugal. The Man returned and picked up right where Grouplove left off, with another classic-rock along, covering a verse and a chorus or two of Pink Floyd’s anthemic “Another Brick in the Wall Part 2” before quickly kicking into their own “Purple Yellow Red and Blue.” Their aesthetic was more bright-eyed psychedelic, like crawling into a living version of frontman John Gourley’s bizarre drawings. That is until the lasers came out, transforming Rumsey Playfield into an alien planet, with Portugal. The Man’s music as a galactic soundtrack. The band was in top form, looping verses of multiple songs into coherent medleys, stretching others, like “All Your Light,” into prog-rock freak-outs and dropping snippets of perfectly placed covers throughout. This was live music as art form, the audience digging every moment and singing from beginning to end. Like Grouplove had done, the band saved the biggest moment for their encore, which began with their slow-build rager “Sleep Forever” and ended with all of Grouplove and Typhoon onstage—horns, strings and all—for the second ultimate sing-along of the night, everyone belting out the coda to “Hey Jude”: the final touch on a work of art. —A .Stein

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

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Glass Animals – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 15, 2014

September 16th, 2014

Glass Animals - Music Hall of Williamsburg - September 15, 2014

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyphotography.tumblr.com

(Glass Animals play a free show tonight at Rough Trade NYC.)

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Stromae on 9/20

September 16th, 2014

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Stromae has gained fame across the world, and as he crisscrosses North America this month, the Belgian singer-songwriter comes to New York City for two weekend shows at Terminal 5, on Friday and Saturday. Both appearances are already sold out, but The House List is giving away two tickets to see Stromae on Saturday. Want to go? Then try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Stromae, 9/20) and a brief message explaining your best suggestion for how to spend the last weekend of summer. Eddie Bruiser, a fan of endless summer, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Lia Ices Celebrates New Album Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

September 16th, 2014

Lia Ices writes, sings and plays the piano. She grew up in Connecticut but began making music in Brooklyn. And thanks to her voice, she was quickly compared to Tori Amos and Cat Power. Ices (above, performing “Love Is Won” for indieATL) signed with Jagjaguwar in 2010 and the label released her second album, Grown Unknown (stream it below)— which featured a duet with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon—the following year. Spin proclaimed, “Ices’ lush melodies and dreamy voice will convert skeptics and mesmerize supporters of Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom.” But as she began working on her next batch of songs, Ices was in flux: “I was beginning a gradual move to California, constantly traveling back and forth from New York. I was experimenting. I was falling in love. Our studio in the Hudson Valley was full of electronics and computers and the sounds of future ships sailing through the vastness of space, and I sometimes forgot where I was. The first songs we wrote were called ‘Flying 1,’ then ‘Flying 2,’ and so on, which eventually evolved into songs on the album. Flight became a metaphor for the ignition of the imagination. The process created a lightness in me, a freedom and positive energy that I’d never before felt or explored.” And what she ended up with was her third album, Ices (stream it below), out today, which the Guardian, in a five-star review, notes for its “luxurious fusion of spacious electronica, playful tribal pop and layers of breathy vocals.” Lia Ices celebrates her new album tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

September 15th, 2014

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Bear in Heaven Stay Local for a Pair of Hometown Shows

September 15th, 2014

Back in 1998, when he was still living in Atlanta, Jon Philpot began making music in a recording studio. A move to Brooklyn a few years later didn’t prevent the singer-songwriter from continuing his project. In fact as more people he knew from Atlanta and its surrounding areas also made the move to Kings County, Philpot had more musicians to record and perform with as Bear in Heaven (above, doing “You Do You”). Red Bloom of the Boom (stream it below) came first, in 2007, with a prog-rock sound. The band, now a trio with Philipot on vocals, guitar and keys, Jason Nazary on drums and Adam Wills on bass, released their fourth album, Time Is Over One Day Old (stream it below), last month. Spin says, “This Brooklyn trio thrives in that sweet spot between poppy and freaky, accessible and alien: Call it Top 40 on Uranus.” And furthermore: “Featuring 10 tracks of gooey, dislocated goodness, its gravity-free atmospherics are just right for soundtracking summer moon treks, intergalactic windsurfing and asteroid volleyball. Down to earth it is not: These deep but compact space jams can’t get much higher.” And before they cross the Atlantic for a European tour, Bear in Heaven play a pair of hometown shows tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom and Wednesday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

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Chromeo Bring Their Dance Party to Central Park

September 15th, 2014

Chromeo – Rumsey Playfield – September 12, 2014

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(Photo: Timothy Saccenti)

As summer winds down there are only a few remaining outdoor shows around the city, and, fortunately, Chromeo’s appearance at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Friday night was one of them. The dance-pop duo’s set not only kick-started the weekend for a few thousand fans, but it also helped close out a season. The band proved again that Chromeo as a whole are more than the sum of their parts. Look too closely and you’ll see David Macklovitch tapping at a keyboard and easing his way through guitar solos, or Patrick Gemayel occasionally crashing a cymbal or cowbell with a drumstick. But focus less on the details and let loose a little and suddenly you see Dave 1 and P-Thugg orchestrating one hell of a dance party.

All those little things, like handclaps timed to strobe lights, escalated the atmosphere surrounding the hook-filled jams Chromeo so adeptly make. The set was filled with a range of their songs, from the pounding dance beats of “Sexy Socialite” to “Momma’s Boy,” a sweet blend of electronic sound straight out of ELO mixed with guitar that would make the CarsRic Ocasek proud. And regardless of whether they’d seen Chromeo prior to Friday, everyone at Rumsey Playfield ended up hearing something they could enjoy, which always makes for a fun night. —Sean O’Kane

 

 

 

 

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A Double Dose of Marco Benevento This Week

September 15th, 2014

For NYC music fans of a certain age and musical taste, it may be surprising to realize that it’s been more than a decade since Marco Benevento arrived on the scene as the organ half of the groundbreaking Benevento Russo Duo. Still, it’s no surprise that Benevento has been able to combine his knack with keyboards, composition and collaboration to establish a unique signature sound that’s equal parts electronica groove, jammy jazz, post-rock anthem and catchy-as-hell pop hook. His road-tested trio (above, performing “Escape Horse”), rounded out by Dave Dreiwitz on bass and Andy Borger on drums, returns for two homecoming shows this week, to celebrate the release of his excellent new album, Swift (stream a track from it below), which finds Benevento adding vocals to his many talents. Check him out tomorrow at Mercury Lounge or on Wednesday at Rough Trade NYC. Expect some singing and some dancing and some rocking and plenty of shenanigans … oh, and maybe a piano solo or two. —A. Stein

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Sylvan Esso’s Potent Chemistry on Display at Rough Trade NYC

September 12th, 2014

Sylvan Esso – Rough Trade NYC – September 11, 2014

Sylvan Esso – Rough Trade NYC – September 11, 2014
Last night’s Sylvan Esso show at Rough Trade NYC, alongside Landlady, sold out at lightning speed when tickets went on sale months ago. Adventurous pop rockers Landlady took the stage first and delighted the audience with their sprightly music. Six men strong, they commandeered the stage and held everyone in their thrall as they launched into a glittering set of percussive, psychedelic songs. Lead singer Adam Schatz propelled the performance with his soulful crooning and no-holds-barred dancing. Songs like “Maria” and “Above My Ground,” from the band’s sophomore album, Upright Behavior, began ever so quietly and culminated thunderously. Schatz provided plenty of entertaining and insightful banter throughout and had no trouble engaging the crowd in sing-alongs.

Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso took the stage next, Meath in six-inch platform sneakers and Sanborn with his fingers poised to take command of his soundboard. The sultry chords and audacious beats of “Hey Mami” launched their set. Sylvan Esso’s music is simultaneously doe-eyed and wolfish—it’s a tantalizing tangle of abstract lyrics and sly electronica. The duo’s chemistry is some of the most potent stuff around these days. They faced off throughout the set, feeding off each other’s energy and charging the air with fervor. Heavy reverb on Meath’s vocals made for an especially heady effect. The two played some artful cover songs during their encore, but it was the originals from their self-titled debut album that mesmerized most. These two bands are the quintessence of enchanting, and their magic won’t be fading any time soon. —Schuyler Rooth

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com

(Tonight’s Sylvan Esso show at The Bowery Ballroom is sold out, but you can see them play Terminal 5 on 1/23.)