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Margaret Glaspy Gets Earnest at a Sold-Out Bowery Ballroom

February 17th, 2017

Margaret Glasper – The Bowery Ballroom – February 16, 2017

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The cold and wind in New York City was pretty insufferable last night. But lucky for me, I got to slip into The Bowery Ballroom and join a sold-out crowd for the brilliant Margaret Glaspy and the dynamos of Cuddle Magic, a chamber-pop group whose members have some impressive names on their résumés (Beyoncé, Amanda Palmer and Okkervil River). The six-piece took the stage first and launched into a set of songs from their brand new album, Ashes/Axis. Layered synths, staccato beats and exquisite vocals make it a great listen. The bandmates hopped down into the crowd and went acoustic for part of the set amidst their beaming audience. They also used the night as an opportunity to film a music video for “Kiss You”—there was a kissing booth set up downstairs and everyone was encouraged to slide on in for a cameo. Speaking of cameos, Glaspy briefly joined them onstage for a song they wrote together.

The headliner and her band made their way onstage next for a first-rate set of songs from her critically acclaimed full-length, Emotions & Math. Glaspy’s sultry voice could make any space intimate. She’s magnetic and it seemed impossible to not take a few steps forward to soak in every one of her nostalgic lyrics and jagged guitar riffs. Highlights included “Somebody to Anybody,” a cover of Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-Factor” and a soulful rendition of Lucinda Williams’ “Fruits of My Labor.” Glaspy brought out friend and collaborator Julian Lage to add to the guitar magic with a couple of exceptional solos. There’s affection, hurt and pride in her music, and she scrutinizes the highs and lows of love and heartbreak in a jaunty, approachable way. There’s no limit to this type of exploration, as musicians have proved to us for years. Here’s hoping Glaspy keeps on bringing us her earnest, gorgeous take on the matter. —Schuyler Rooth | @SchuylerSpeak

 

 

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Tash Sultana – Mercury Lounge – February 15, 2017

February 16th, 2017

Tash Sultana - Mercury Lounge - February 15, 2017
(Tash Sultana’s show at Rough Trade NYC tomorrow is sold out, but she returns to NYC to play The Bowery Ballroom on 10/2 and Music Hall of Williamsburg on 10/3.)

Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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Borgore Brings New Music to Terminal 5 on Saturday Night

February 16th, 2017

Asaf Borger is a record-label owner who’s been in an Israeli deathcore band in addition to a dubstep duo, but he’s most well-known as the producer and vocalist Borgore, making an aggressive metal-influenced EDM he calls “gorestep.” He’s toured around the world and collaborated with the likes of Miley Cyrus, Waka Flocka Flame and Barrington Levy while releasing a slew of singles and EPs, the most recent of which, The Buygore Album (stream it below), came out in 2015. And with new music on the way—the album Harder arrives on Friday—Borgore celebrates its release at Terminal 5 on Saturday night. NYC’s Prince Fox and Ray Volpe, out of Charlotte, N.C., open the show.

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Tash Sultana on 2/17

February 14th, 2017

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Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist and looping artist Tash Sultana plays twice in New York City this week, tomorrow at Mercury Lounge and on Friday at Rough Trade NYC. Both shows are already sold out, but The House List is giving away two tickets to her second appearance. Don’t have any and still want to go? 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 (Tash Sultana, 2/17) and a brief message explaining the best way to spend Sundays now that there’s no football. Eddie Bruiser, who’s got some time to kill, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

(Tash Sultana returns to NYC to play The Bowery Ballroom on 10/2 and Music Hall of Williamsburg on 10/3.)

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Common Kings Bring Brand-New Music to The Bowery Ballroom

February 14th, 2017

Inspired by R&B, soul and reggae—and their Polynesian roots—JR King (vocals), Taumata Grey (guitar), Ivan Kirimaua (bass) and Jerome Taito (drums) began jamming together a few years ago while attending Orange Coast College, which led to them later forming the pop-rock four-piece Common Kings in Orange County, Calif. After putting out several EPs and singles, their impressive debut full-length, the catchy, upbeat Lost in Paradise (stream it below), arrived earlier this month. And touring behind the new tunes, Common Kings (above, their official video for “Lost in Paradise”) play The Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night. Miami hip-hop group ¡Mayday! and big-wave surfer and reggae-pop singer-songwriter Makua Rothman open the show.

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Drive-By Truckers Raise a Passionate, Poignant Racket on Friday Night

February 13th, 2017

Drive-By Truckers – Westbury Theater – February 10, 2017

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In their earlier days, Drive-By Truckers were tagged alt-country, Southern rock and even country rock, but let’s call them what they are: no-bullshit rock and roll, anxious and unfiltered, and on their best nights, one of the best live bands of the last two decades. Still more remarkable is that despite major lineup changes, they seem to get better and better, the old songs aging gracefully but with more than a bit of veteran grizzle, and the new songs finding darkness, humor and poignancy in quotidian angst without sounding topical for topical’s sake or shading (too far anyway) into rock-protest sanctimony. Truckers characters are people you know: lived-in, loaded and lumpy. Their problems are your problems. Their shots at redemption are understandable and their failures disappointing.

This mature balance—the ability to be present and unflinchingly direct about news making matters of the age without being thin or pedantic—is so crucial to the current Truckers tour, filled with set lists that focus heavily on last year’s American Band, their most overtly political album. In Westbury, Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley and Co. gave us hails of guitar, clattering drums and passionate vocals that came from somewhere deep to frame stories of shootings in Oregon on a beautifully sunny day (“Guns of Umpaqua”), an ill-fated Mexican teenager (“Ramon Casiano”) and the long-lingering ghosts of the Civil War (“Surrender Under Protest”). Some of these songs (“Darkened Flags on the Cusp of Dawn” or “What It Means,” which addresses racism head-on) didn’t require much interpretation. Many were loud, with a sticking finger in your chest, although still others, such as Cooley’s “Once They Banned Imagine,” included acoustic guitars and had the world-weariness of protest-folk without decoupling from the band’s rambling, gnarly rock-ness. And it’s worth noting that politically potent Truckers tunes with a “to hell with this crap” edge aren’t anything new: “Puttin’ People on the Moon,” played fourth, is more than a decade old and its small-town family tragedy has never felt more acute. Same deal with “Sinkhole,” the Truckers’ epic of social class, murder and family values.

As they’ve gotten leaner—the band is now Hood, Cooley, drummer Brad Morgan, multi-instrumentalist Jay Gonzalez and bassist Matt Patton—Drive-By Truckers have gotten meaner, filling more space with paint-peeler guitar solos and working up huge, rambunctious rackets. What’s never quite changed is how they pace a show—peaks and valleys of hard-rocking defiance and melancholy resignation that eventually give way to a runaway train of concert warhorses and an explosive finale. The last 30 minutes on Friday night served up the wry-sad “Buttholeville” with a dovetail into Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper,” along with “Zip City” and “What It Means.” “Love Like This,” Hood’s fist-pumping “Let There Be Rock” (greasy with the saluted nostalgia of the Truckers’ many forebears, from AC/DC to the Replacements) and the anthemic “Shut Up and Get on the Plane.” Hood told us there would be no encore—they haven’t played any on this tour, choosing to barrel through rather than pause, lest any of the loaded tension dissipate too soon—and the Truckers left with “Grand Canyon” and its protracted guitar meltdown. It was ragged and right, as the Truckers always are. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

 

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

February 13th, 2017

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Gang of Youths Kick Off February Residency on Monday Night

February 10th, 2017

Although they hail from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and the United States, Max Dunn (bass), Jung Kim (guitar and keys), David Le’aupepe (vocals and keys), Joji Malani (guitar) and Donnie Borzestowski (drums) formed the baroque-pop five-piece Gang of Youths five years ago in Sydney. Rolling Stone called their first full-length, The Positions (stream it below)—a vivid celebration of life following some seriously dark times—an “emotionally charged debut” and made comparisons to Kings of Leon and Bruce Springsteen. Last year, Gang of Youths (above, performing “Poison Drum” for World Cafe) returned with the EP Let Me Be Clear (stream it below). “The expectation of a sophomore slump can be enough by itself to throw off the career of the most promising bands, and it would have been easy for Gang of Youths to keep churning out string-tinged rock songs,” according to Sputnik Music. “Instead … they’ve shown an insatiable thirst to keep building and transforming their sound.” Find out how they sound live when Gang of Horses play Mercury Lounge on 2/13 and 2/20 and Rough Trade NYC on 2/27.

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Shy Girls and Flamingosis End Tour at Music Hall of Williamsburg

February 8th, 2017

Dan Vidmar grew up in State College, Pa., and played in local rock bands while attending Penn State. Upon graduation, he moved to Portland, Ore., and became interested in what some call PBR&B. Some singles and a pair of EPs under the name Shy Girls led to collaborations and work with the likes of Haim, Odesza, Maxwell and Jagwar Ma. His first full-length, Salt (stream it below), arrived last month. “As soon as Dan Vidmar hits you with those soft falsettos, it’s all over,” says Nylon. “The album is soaking with smooth and sophisticated power ballads supported by a resilient force of production.”

Hailing from Morristown, N.J.—and influenced by the likes of J Dilla, Flying Lotus and vintage funk and disco—producer, beatboxer and DJ Aaron Velasquez makes funky hip-hop beats under the name Flamingosis (the name comes from a freestyle Frisbee move his dad invented). On his most recent release, last year’s Bright Moments (stream it below), he “flawlessy fuses hip-hop and funk,” according to Hype Beast. “The producer’s new album weaves smooth 1970s and 1980s samples into perfect grooves,” per MTV. Come shake your way into the weekend when Shy Girls and Flamingosis close out their tour on Friday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

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P.O.S Brings New Music to Rough Trade NYC and Mercury Lounge

February 6th, 2017

Rapper, singer, self-taught multi-instrumentalist and producer Stefon Alexander has been doing business as the punk-influenced underground hip-hop artist P.O.S in Minneapolis since around the turn of the century. He’s one of the founding members of hip-hop collective Doomtree, while also finding time to be part of a punk band, Building Better Bombs, and another Twin Cities collective, indie rockers Gayngs. Fortunately, P.O.S (above, performing “Sleepdrone” live in studio for KEXP FM) continues to do solo work. His fifth full-length studio album, Chill, Dummy (stream it below), which features guest vocals by Justin Vernon, came out at the end of January. A.V. Club calls it “a record about surviving, living and battling for every little thing you’ve got—something P.O.S knows his fair share about.” And Pitchfork says Alexander “is still all about his consciousness, and usefully motivated by anger. But on Chill, Dummy, he embraces a freed-up feel, with some grooves you might hear in a club.” Now out on the road, the lyrical bomb-thrower plays Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night and Mercury Lounge on Wednesday. Rappers Ceschi Ramos and Transit22 open both shows.

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

February 6th, 2017

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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The Lumineers – Madison Square Garden – February 2, 2017

February 3rd, 2017

The Lumineers - Madison Square Garden - February 2, 2017

Photos courtesy of Marc Millman Photography | www.marcmillmanphotos.com/music

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Icelandic Singer-Songwriter Ólöf Arnalds Plays Mercury Lounge

February 3rd, 2017

Despite her instrumental prowess—classically trained on violin and viola and self-taught on guitar and charangoÓlöf Arnalds’ calling card is her crystalline voice. She was already fairly well-known in Iceland’s music scene by the time her debut solo release, Við Og Við (stream it below), arrived in 2007, going on to win Record of the Year and Best Alternative Album at the Icelandic Music Awards. When the LP came out in the U.S. three years later, Paste declared, “Earnest, heartfelt declarations of love are a welcome change from the too-cool posturing of so much of today’s popular music. Familial affection will never go out of style; neither will deftly plucked stringed instruments, subtle orchestral swells and a songbird lilt this impossibly lovely.” The singer-songwriter has since toured with the likes of Björk, Jonathan Richman and Dirty Projectors and released several more EPs and full-players, including 2014’s Palme (stream it below). It’s “as pure as powdered snow, yet bubbling over with fairy mischief,” proclaimed AllMusic. Arnalds (above, performing an Icelandic version of “Turtledove” for the Line of Best Fit and, below, covering “Mr. Tambourine Man”) “is a weaver of ephemera, and with each new collection of music, she both defines herself and furthers her own mythology, a mythology that’s wholly intertwined with the lore of her Nordic homeland.” See her play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Alternative-folk trio Cold Weather Company open the show.

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cat_reviews

Bear’s Den Leave Them Wanting More at The Bowery Ballroom

February 2nd, 2017

Bear’s Den – The Bowery Ballroom – February 1, 2017

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The British folk rock band Bear’s Den wrap gorgeous compositions with a searing banjo ribbon. It’s not a surprise that they supported fellow countrymen Mumford & Sons, as both share similar musical sensibilities. They’re also no strangers to road-tripping across America, having jumped in a Volkswagen Campervan to tour with Ben Howard, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Staves in 2014. In support of their sophomore release, Red Earth & Pouring Rain, the lads played to a sold-out Bowery Ballroom on a crisp Wednesday night. The balcony was overflowing with spectators, as folks could barely get on the floor. Although the evening featured songs from the recent release, special attention was paid to the faithful when the rarely sung and mostly back-cataloged “Sophie” was played acoustically as the audience came to a hauling silence.

Band leader Andrew Davie admitted it was likely their “second-oldest song,” and fans, new and old, were grateful. They erupted for “When You Break,” a favorite from Bear’s Den debut, Islands. A pause in the set carved time for guitarist Christof to make his traditional bottle-flip attempt. The suspense was thick as the water bottle flew in the air, and Davie bear-hugged his bandmate upon success before wailing the sea shanty “Auld Wives.” Christof strapped on the banjo for another favorite, “Above the Clouds of Pompeii,” as clapping hands and stomping feet revved up the band before they exited the stage.

There was little doubt they would not return for an encore, and they did with horn accompaniment for “Napoleon.” Davie, bassist Kevin Jones and Christof made their way into the crowd with only instruments on an acoustic rendition of “Gabriel.” Back onstage, Davie explained that throughout their tour they have been playing covers that were of local artists or about the city they were in. Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” checked off both those requirements. The evening wrapped up with the anthemic “Agape,” which was a fitting soundtrack to lead folks into the night and onto a new day. —Sharlene Chiu

 

 

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The Chain Gang of 1974 Kick Off the Weekend at Rough Trade NYC

February 1st, 2017

After becoming heavily influenced by Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” DJ and multi-instrumentalist Kamtin Mohager launched the post-funk electronic-dance project the Chain Gang of 1974 about a decade ago, earning comparisons to Daft Punk, New Order and Passion Pit with the release of Wayward Fire (stream it below) in 2011—“A bright, hook-laden, bouncy affair that takes your face and rubs it in its subwoofer big beats,” according to PopMatters—and Daydream Forever (stream it below), which per AllMusic has “even more attention to hooks and beefed-up production that thickens the pop sheen with a heavy electronic backbone,” in 2014. With new music on the horizon, the Chain Gang of 1974 (above, performing “Sleepwalking”) play Rough Trade NYC on Friday night. Bel Heir, a Philly trio, open the show.