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Elvis Perkins Celebrates an Album Milestone at Rough Trade NYC

October 23rd, 2017

Elvis Perkins – Rough Trade NYC – October 20, 2017


Family reunions can be planned or impromptu, times of joy and nostalgia or pain and remembrance, barbecues or funerals. Elvis Perkins’ music has always been a mix of melancholy and jubilance, and so it was perfect for a “reunion” on Friday night in Brooklyn at Rough Trade NYC. The appearance was one of two anniversary shows (the other in L.A.) celebrating the 10th anniversary of Perkins’ breakout album, Ash Wednesday. For the show he assembled most of the original musicians and more, musical cousins and brothers and sisters joining together once again to make music and share memories and maybe make some new ones as well.

Like the album—and, really, like most gatherings of old friends—the show began with its most powerful, emotional moment. “While You Were Sleeping” started, as it always has, with Perkins solo, singing, “Time flew, the phone rang/ There was a silence when the kitchen sang/ Its songs competed like kids for space/ We stared for hours in our maker’s face.” One by one the musicians came onstage and began playing, bass and drums and backup singers and then horns and a four-piece strings section, the family together again and a wave of emotion swelling inside the room. To me, the album was always one of the more poignant responses to 9/11, but its happiness-from-sadness energy resonated just as strongly on Friday. The full complement of strings seemed to generate much of the emotion, at times eerie or chilling or sobbing.

With the massive band and the range of feelings coming from the stage, the centerpiece was still Perkins’ songs—lyrics as poetic and meaningful as ever—like “It’s Only Me”: “The white noise falls away to reveal the perfect day/ Where roses bloomed out of thin air and music rose from down the buried stairs.” After closing with a penetrating version of “Good Friday,” Perkins introducing the full band, goodbyes imminent, they added an encore of “Doomsday” from the Elvis Perkins in Dearland album, an unplanned moment, perhaps not everyone knowing the song but happy to linger and enjoy one another’s company for just a bit longer. Like most reunions, the event felt all the more significant by the uncertainty of when we all might meet again. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

 

 

 

Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

October 23rd, 2017

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Anders Osborne and Jackie Greene in Perfect Balance at the Space

October 23rd, 2017

Anders Osborne and Jackie Greene – the Space at Westbury – October 20, 2017


Jackie Greene and Anders Osborne met through Phil Lesh, of whose Phil Lesh & Friends lineups they’re both alumni. They’ve since each gone on record to say they were simpatico from the beginning, and that isn’t surprising: Both musicians write Americana-driven rock and pop songs with healthy undercurrents of blues and psychedelia. Greene, in recent years, has gone in more of a blues-rock direction from his original folk-pop beginnings. Osborne, still best known for the roiling guitars and ragingly cathartic jams of his electric band, has gone quieter and more introspective with his last few albums. Both artists are as different as they are similar, but you can easily understand the admiration for each other’s material and the kinship they found.

In this setup—which Greene and Osborne have tested and now fashioned into an actual tour—the two are a mostly acoustic duo. Sing some songs, pluck some strings, tell some stories, bathe it all in a winning mojo. At the Space at Westbury on Friday night, they alternated lead vocals, more or less, for a 90-minute set that drew heavily on their respective catalogs and included not only guitars but keyboards, harmonica and touches of banjo. The concert had a relaxed, hootenanny feel: Listen to songs of uplift, some tales of woe, reflections from a learned place. Laugh a little, or laugh a lot, and pass round that whiskey. That it was a folksy gathering—not a smoothly packaged concert presentation—was precisely the point. The deeper appeal of this format is that both musicians agree to play with and play off each other, but take it a level beyond that, investing in the other’s music beyond just accompanying and waiting for the next lead vocal.

Greene added just-right keys to tender Osborne tunes like “Burning Up Slowly,” and with crackling guitar, Osborne scuffed up “Gone Wanderin’,” “Modern Lives,” “Tupelo” and other strong examples of Greene’s pensive/cynical narratives. Their give-and-take worked, again and again. Greene’s “I Don’t Live in a Dream,” in this format, sounded like Bill Withers on the back porch, while Osborne’s “It Can’t Hurt You Anymore” went deep for pathos and Greene’s accompaniment went right along with it. Osborne’s rollicking “Lafayette” was the best of a lot of things, with Osborne, Greene and guest Cris Jacobs having a three-way acoustic-slide summit. The three also picked through the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie” at a boozy, laid-back tempo—yet one more simpatico moment. “Fuckin’ Deadheads everywhere!” exclaimed Greene to crowd roars. Yes, including on the stage, but everyone sure felt welcome. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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The Soft Moon Wind Down U.S. Tour Tuesday at Rough Trade NYC

October 20th, 2017

Making experimental-guitar pop punk, the Soft Moon began as Luis Vasquez’s side project eight years ago. It started with a couple of singles and then a self-titled LP (stream it below) and an EP, Total Decay (stream it below), earning heady comparisons to the likes of Joy Division. Pitchfork said the music draws “from the coldest, most metallic zeniths of post-punk and industrial rock.” The material is the product of Vasquez—“I’m Cuban, so I grew up with a lot of Afro-Cuban funk”—and his surroundings—“There are no straight lines in San Francisco.” But while it’s a one-man band when it comes to recorded material, live, the Soft Moon (above, performing “Tell” live in studio for KEXP FM) are a three-piece, with the addition of Luigi Pianezzola on bass and Matteo Vallicelli on drums. Their most recent full-length, Deeper (stream it below), came out in 2015, and in a glowing review, NPR Music called it a “stunning new album” before suggesting, “The result is unnerving, but it’s also tenderly, eerily gorgeous.” With a new LP, Criminal, due to arrive next February, the band winds down a short American tour on Tuesday at Rough Trade NYC. As an added bonus, the duo Horoscope opens the show.

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A Margo Price Storm Blows Through Rough Trade NYC on Thursday

October 20th, 2017

Margo Price – Rough Trade NYC – October 19, 2017


Predicting the next big music star is just about as easy as predicting the weather. Even with a lifetime of knowledge and the best instruments, you still get it wrong just as often as you get it right. But sometimes the barometer, thermometer, hygrometer and the Doppler radar all point to one obvious conclusion: It’s gonna rain. And for the crowd lucky enough to make it in for her All American Made album-release show at Rough Trade NYC last night, there was no doubt about the forecast, that’s Margo Price coming over the plain, a drought-killing downpour of talent and charm. Opening with “Nowhere Fast,” she perhaps subtly, perhaps subconsciously, was dressed as the Woman in Black, a modern-day outlaw country, with a more-than-meets-the-eye mix of soul, gospel, blues and funk to go along with the band’s considerable honky-tonk roots.

Price led her secret-weapons-grade band through the new album, the track order shuffled expertly to maximize the live-show experience. Pedal-steel-infused boot stompers like “Weakness” mixed in with gorgeous ballads. “Learning to Lose” hushed the hepped up crowd to near silence with Price’s voice filling the room, complemented by pretty guitar and pedal steel solos. She sneaked in the caveat that it was the first time playing a lot of the material live, but there was little sign of tentativeness or rust, quite the contrary. The songs showed off a bit of depth, both in sound—“Cocaine Cowboys” was as much Little Feat as Willie Nelson and “All American Made” was as much in the tradition of Neil Young as Loretta Lynn—and subject matter, songs about love lost and found replaced by deep storytelling with some social commentary proudly thrown in.

The band picked up steam and Price’s voice gained some extra torrential-rain power as they built the set to a head, finishing the album material with strong versions of “Loner” and the title track and then offering some crowd-pleasers to the already-quite-pleased sold-out crowd in “Tennessee Song” and “Paper Cowboy.” Here the band really flexed their muscles, drums and bass providing the thunder and lightning in a set-closing maelstrom, Price leaving the stage to applause while they rocked out for several minutes, just in case you hadn’t already appreciated their effort throughout the performance. That storm had passed as quickly as it had come, but for Margo Price, it’s easy to predict that it’s still just getting going. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions End Tour at Brooklyn Steel

October 20th, 2017

Around the turn of the millennium, Mazzy Star singer Hope Sandoval teamed up with My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig to form the dream-pop outfit Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions. Their first full-length, Bavarian Fruit Bread (stream it below), debuted in 2001. “The two great transatlantic strands of narcoleptic pop having been dramatically united, Bavarian Fruit Bread represents a towering piece of morphine-induced self-indulgence,” said NME. “Making no pretense at being contemporary, Sandoval has kept an uncharacteristic vice-like grip on the sleepy sound that earned her and Ó Cíosóig their musical spurs.” Through the Devil Softly (stream it below) followed in 2009, impressing Drowned in Sound: “This is a record to be drunk from deeply, preferably in solitude, along with a bottle of whatever makes you purr as warmly as Sandoval and her Inventions can—and evidently still do—at their best.” Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions (above, their video for “Let Me Get There,” featuring Kurt Vile) returned last year with their third LP, Until the Hunter (stream it below). “It features many hushed, lit-by-candlelight ballads, loads of quiet beauty, and Sandoval’s timelessly beautiful singing. Songs drift by on a wispy cloud of acoustic strumming, lazily twanged slide guitar and twinkling keys, sometimes gently pushed forward by lightly brushed drums, sometimes left to float along on their own,” according to AllMusic. And while the duo often goes years between releases, they put out a three-track EP, Son of a Lady (stream it below), prior to hitting the road last month. Be there when they close out their American tour on Sunday night at Brooklyn Steel. Austin, Texas, four-piece Holy Wave open the show.

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Nicolas Jaar – Brooklyn Steel – October 18, 2017

October 19th, 2017


(Nicolas Jaar plays Brooklyn Steel again tonight and tomorrow.)

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com

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Wolf Parade Headline Brooklyn Steel on Saturday Night

October 19th, 2017

Considering their first-ever show was opening for Arcade Fire, Wolf ParadeSpencer Krug (vocals and keys), Dan Boeckner (vocals and guitar), Arlen Thompson (drums) and Dante DeCaro (bass and keys)—got off to an auspicious start. On the Montreal quartet’s initial tour they recorded and released a self-titled EP. These guys are prolific, so not too much later, another EP, also self-titled, emerged before Wolf Parade (above, playing “Valley Boy” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) headed to Portland, Ore., to record with Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock, who was then also an A&R rep for Sub Pop Records. And so where post-punk and indie rock collided, a third EP (you can probably guess the title) was born before the band’s first LP, the terrific Apologies to the Queen Mary (stream it below), quickly followed in 2005. Pitchfork gave the full-length its Best New Music label, adding: “On paper this all could sound average, but Wolf Parade’s true talent is transforming the everyday into the unprecedented. Fittingly, then, the record isn’t going to change the direction of modern music, but it will enrich small moments of your life—lying in bed alone or with a loved one, the morning commute, the dance floor, a house party.” The band went on hiatus in 2011 but returned last year with another self-titled EP. The tour in support of it was a big success and the band is now back out on the road thanks to their another long-player, Cry Cry Cry (stream it below), which arrived two weeks ago. “The despondency of Wolf Parade has always been palatable because Boeckner and Krug excel at packaging bleak messages in boisterous hooks and spirited chaos,” says Consequence of Sound. “The band’s fourth album offers a mid-life crisis you can dance to.” Dance away Saturday night at Brooklyn Steel when Wolf Parade perform live with local four-piece Charly Bliss opening.

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Ministry – Terminal 5 – October 17, 2017

October 18th, 2017


Photos courtesy of Brian C. Reilly | www.briancreilly.com

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Børns on 10/21

October 17th, 2017

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With a new LP due out in a few months, singer-songwriter Børns is in New York City this week, which includes an appearance at Rough Trade NYC on Saturday night. The bad news is that the show sold out quickly, but the good news is that The House List is giving away two tickets. So if you want them to be yours, try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, email address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Børns, 10/21) and a brief message explaining why you deserve a Saturday night out. Eddie Bruiser, who’s looking to help, will notify the winner by Friday.

(Børns also plays Terminal 5 on 2/16.)

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Weaves Bring Brand-New Album to Rough Trade NYC Tonight

October 17th, 2017

Upon bonding over music after meeting at one of her solo performances, Jasmyn Burke (vocals) and Morgan Waters (guitar) began recording demos in the former’s Chinatown apartment in Toronto. As they continued to flesh out more and more material, the twosome became a foursome with the addition of Spencer Cole (drums) and Zach Bines (bass), broadening their sound and launching Weaves with the release of several singles in spring 2013. The four-piece soon became an important member of TO’s thriving DIY scene, AllMusic calling their music “sharp and angular, but with a genuine sense of fun and exploration.” Their eponymous debut long-player (stream it below) arrived last year. “Exciting Toronto outfit builds on deconstruction, a remarkable feat of explosive chemistry,” said Consequence of Sound. “Weaves have put themselves at a compelling intersection of pop, noise and rock. They’ve created their own unique sound, and their self-titled record features more than a handful of fun, exciting songs.” Weaves (above, performing “#53” and “Walkaway” for Stiegl Hidden Sessions Studio) returned with their sophomore LP, Wide Open (stream it below), last week, finding the “quartet immersed in the world of stadium rock, cribbing plenty of influence from the likes of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen,” said Exclaim. “It’s a fairly drastic change, but one they’re able to effectively reconcile with their latent avant-garde tendencies.” The good people at DIY were also impressed: “Flinging open the entrance to yet more invention, there’s no stopping this lot spinning their oddball yarn.” Weaves make their last U.S. stop on their North American tour in Brooklyn tonight at Rough Trade NYC. Tancred open the show.

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Against Me! Thrill Packed Brooklyn Steel Crowd on Saturday Night

October 16th, 2017

Against Me! – Brooklyn Steel – October 14, 2017


For some, Against Me! are the only band that matters, while in other circles the group hasn’t mattered in more than a decade. In their early days, the Florida four-piece fused folk and punk in a way that put their sound somewhere in between Billy Bragg and Crass. Their 2002 debut, Against Me! Is Reinventing Axl Rose, was filled with scrappy sing-along tunes that promoted far-left politics and an infectious DIY charm that quickly won over the punk scene and influenced countless other acts. Then things began to change: Their 2007 album, New Wave, was a divisive sea change for the band as they jumped from indie label Fat Wreck Chords to the major label Sire Records. The LP paired them with famous producer Butch Vig, who helped them expand upon their sound and buff out the amateurish edge that seemed exciting and dangerous to many of their longtime loyal followers. But for those fans who turned their backs around that period, they have really missed out as Against Me! have come into their own in so many ways.

During that period, singer Laura Jane Grace (previously known as Tom Gabel) had begin to subtly hint in her lyrics that she was suffering from gender dysmorphia—and in the following years, she began to fully transition. This process fueled Grace to write the band’s masterpiece, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, so nakedly honest about her experiences while still rocking with more fury and passion than the band had displayed since their early days. During this time, the original rhythm section left and after some temporary substitutions, drummer Atom Willard and bassist Inge Johansson became permanent members. With these additions, Against Me! have become one the best live bands going. And after touring behind their newest album, Shape Shift with Me, for seven weeks, they brought their well-oiled machine to Brooklyn Steel on Saturday for a life-affirming night of rock and roll.

The room boiled over with a collective joy impossible not to notice as Against Me! blasted into Blues“True Trans Soul Rebel.” The mania in the crowd barely let up as the sea of fans bounced along in unison with crowd-surfers perpetually rolling overhead throughout the set. The band treated fans to a well-balanced mix of material from throughout their career, even busting out some deep cuts from the early days, like an especially heavy rendition of Axl Rose’s “Jordan’s First Choice.” One of the most surprising moments of the main set came as the quartet played a faithful rendition of Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream” that did the fallen Florida icon proud. Their encore also started with a cover as Grace played a solo rendition of the Mountain Goats classic “The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton.” The song’s lines “When you punish a person for living his dream/ Don’t expect him to thank or forgive you” could act as a rallying cry for the resistance and Grace sang it with an intense purpose that sent chills down the spine. As the show came to an end, the band went out with a one-two punch of “Sink, Florida, Sink” and “We Laugh at Danger and Break All the Rules” that had fans singing the words long after the house lights had come on. —Pat King | @MrPatKing

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

October 16th, 2017

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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GoldLink – Brooklyn Steel – October 13, 2017

October 16th, 2017


Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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Catch Ministry and Death Grips Live at Terminal 5 on Tuesday Night

October 13th, 2017

Chicago’s Ministry began as a New Wave synth-pop act prior to becoming industrial-metal pioneers in the early ’80s, before the likes of Nine Inch Nails. The band—founding member Al Jourgensen (vocals and guitar) joined by Cesar Soto (guitar), Derek Abrams (drums), Jason Christopher (bass and vocals), John Bechdel (keys) and Sin Quirin (guitar)—went on hiatus around turn of the century, but otherwise Ministry (above, doing “Hail to His Majesty (Peasants)”) have remained busy touring and recording. Their most recent album, From Beer to Eternity (stream it above), came out in 2013, but with their 14th studio album, AmeriKKKant, due to arrive next spring, Ministry are out on the road, touring the country with Death Grips (below, doing “Guillotine”)—Stefan Burnett (vocals), Andy Morin (keys) and Zach Hill (drums). The Sacramento, Calif., experimental hip-hop trio’s fifth full-length release, Bottomless Pit (stream it below), came out last year. “Everything sounds so precise, crisp, hard-hitting and indomitable,” said AllMusic. “For that exact reason, Bottomless Pit is an ideal effort for longtime fans and newcomers alike. Needless to say, whatever the type of listener, it won’t be forgotten.” Ministry and Death Grips come to NYC next week for a pair of shows. Monday at Brooklyn Steel is already sold out, but some tickets still remain to see these two on Tuesday at Terminal 5.