cat_preview

Miracle Legion Return to Say Goodbye at The Bowery Ballroom

April 20th, 2017

There are many paths to Miracle Legion fandom. Perhaps you found them via ’80s college radio stations that featured the band’s jangly guitar rock on heavy rotation. Or better yet, you lived near their hometown of New Haven, Conn., close to their touring circuit and the college-radio airwaves repping Connecticut’s finest. Or maybe you found out about the group because of their involvement with the fantastic and criminally underrated ’90s Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete, in which former Miracle Legion members starred as the semifictional band Polaris and wrote the show’s theme song, “Hey Sandy.” Or maybe it was Miracle Legion frontman Mark Mulcahy’s solo work that he’s been putting out at a steady rate ever since. Maybe a random interview with Marc Maron plugging Mulcahy’s solo album Dear Mark J. Mulcahy made you do the research and realized all these projects were connected. There are hints that fans have been along for the journey all along: a successful 2015 Record Store Day release of The Adventures of Pete & Pete soundtrack followed by a Polaris tour. Now the original band that started it all is back on tour, for the first time this millennium, with a recently released live album, Annulment (stream it below). Expect some new fans to find them along the way and begin their own journey backward into an impressively consistent catalog of songwriting that’s stood the test of time. And be there when Miracle Legion (above, performing “Screamin’” live for Paste Studios two weeks ago), playing their final shows as a band, return to Manhattan for the first time in 20 years, tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom. Singer-songwriter Elvis Perkins opens the show. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

cat_preview

Sam Outlaw Brings a Taste of California Country to Mercury Lounge

April 19th, 2017

Former ad-sales executive Sam Morgan has been doing business as the California-country singer-songwriter Sam Outlaw (above, performing “Love Her for a While” for WFUV FM) since his debut studio album, Angeleno (stream it below), arrived in 2015, featuring cameos from My Morning Jacket keyboardist Bo Koster and Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith, among others. “As an album, Angeleno holds up time and time again,” said American Songwriter. “For anyone who feels similarly disenchanted about country music, Outlaw’s songs—closely bound to tradition, endlessly romantic—are the perfect remedy.” His second full-length, Tenderheart (stream it below), came out last Friday. Vulture makes comparisons to Gram Parsons, Ryan Adams and James Taylor, adding: “Tenderheart is the sound of Angeleno’s budding artist finding his voice and crafting a work as great as his killer country nom de plume. Two years after shaking his life up to chase a dream of country stardom, Sam Outlaw is sitting on one of the genre’s best albums of the year. It’s never too late to heed your calling.” Check out Sam Outlaw live at the early show Thursday night at Mercury Lounge. Virginia singer-songwriter Dori Freeman opens.

cat_preview

Ahead of New Album Café Tacvba Come to Terminal 5 Tomorrow Night

April 19th, 2017

Rubén Albarrán (vocals and guitar), Emmanuel del Real (keys, guitar and vocals), Enrique Rangel (bass) and Joselo Rangel (guitar and vocals) have been doing their own unique take on alternative rock en Español since forming Café Tacvba more than 25 years ago in Mexico City. Deftly mixing Mexican folk, punk, electronic music and Latin rock, the quartet has won over fans across the world. Their most recent studio album, the well-received El Objeto Antes Llamado Disco (stream it below), came out in 2012. But with Jei Beibi due to arrive in just a few weeks, Café Tacvba (above, performing “Aprovéchate”) play Terminal 5 tomorrow night. Brooklyn’s Buscabulla open the show.

Contest

Contest: Win Free Tickets to Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass on 4/20

April 19th, 2017

“Take my fascination with Grateful Dead songs and mix it together with my love of psychedelic improvisational bluegrass music and out burps this project,” says Keller Williams. So he’s hit the road with Jeff Austin, Danton Boller, Andy Hall and Jeremy Garrett. And this projectKeller Williams’ Grateful Grass, loose bluegrass takes on Dead tunes—comes to the Capitol Theatre tomorrow night. To make things even better, we’re giving away two tickets. To enter, fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass, 4/20) and a brief message explaining why you’ve got to be there. The winner will be notified by tomorrow.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

cat_reviews

The Decemberists Drop In on New Venue Brooklyn Steel

April 18th, 2017

The Decemberists – Brooklyn Steel – April 17, 2017

image(The Decemberists play Brooklyn Steel again tonight and tomorrow.)

Not to show my age or anything, but (I looked it up), the first time I saw the Decemberists was at the relatively intimate Mercury Lounge nearly 14 years ago. Back then it was as equally inconceivable that a venue like Brooklyn Steel could exist where it now does as it was that the Decemberists might headline one of its first run of shows. The Decemberists were “Portland” before “Portland” was a thing—or “Williamsburg” was a thing for that matter—and still have the same magic today that they did back then. Kicking off the first of three shows in the brand-new room, they felt like an old friend stopping in for a visit. Before we get to their set, though, I have to spare a sentence or two for Julien Baker, who induced chills in the opening slot, reducing the large venue with just her guitar and voice, commanding the place as if holding a heart-to-heart in a living room. If you’re going to one of the next two nights, don’t miss her.

The Decemberists took the stage to a literal fanfare over the PA, frontman Colin Meloy announcing, “Welcome to Night One,” not even waiting until the first song to play with the crowd, joining in on drummer John Moen’s intro to playact lifting up the audience. By the time “The Infanta” began in full, the band and audience were already locked in for a long night of Decemberists-induced fun. With Meloy’s judicious use of the dramatic pause and the lights momentarily catching the disco ball, bathing the crowd in stars, Brooklyn Steel was immediately transformed. Without a new album to promote, the band was free to play from across their vast catalog, and it only took a couple of songs to realize that you could fill quite a few sets with “greatest hits,” things rolling with “We Both Go Down Together” (introduced as Donald Trump Jr. fan fiction) and a sing-along “Down by the Water.” With slight tweaks on their instruments, like guitarist Chris Funk moving to pedal steel or Jenny Conlee picking up her accordion, the band transformed their sound, gypsy swing to fantastical prog rock, all while Meloy sang his pitch-perfect songs, usually of woe, creating new worlds within the greater Decemberists universe.

Olivia Cheney came out to guest on a debut song from a reported fuller collaboration with her, which stretched that universe even more, the band becoming backing musicians as she sang and played harpsicord-esque runs on the keyboard. Another new tune, introduced as “about the state of the union,” centered on the joyful phrase “everything is awful,” but it was actually a rather exultant number, easily inducing the audience to sing along with the chorus. The show closed with more well-worn, well-loved Decemberists material—too many songs to list—including an extended mini-suite from the more-than-10-years-old-but-still-feels-new album The Crane Wife and a fun version of “Chimbley Sweep” complete with a guitar-accordion duel that played like a short skit. Meloy was, as always, equally adept with between-song banter. I mean, who throws out the phrase “conviviality of a campfire” in casual conversation? But the evening did have that intimate feeling, just another evening with old friends. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Chairlift on 4/22

April 18th, 2017

1

Brooklyn avant-pop duo Chairlift return home for their final performance as a band on Saturday night at Brooklyn Steel. And while the show is already sold out, The House List is giving away two tickets. 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 (Chairlift, 4/22) and a brief message explaining why you just have to be there on Saturday night to say farewell. Eddie Bruiser, who will be there for the festivities himself, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

cat_preview

Moderat Bring Acclaimed Live Show to Terminal 5 Tomorrow Night

April 18th, 2017

Approaching a decade ago, Sascha Ring—who was making ambient, dreamy soundscapes as Apparat—teamed up with Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary—already known for their rambunctious, genre-spanning techno music as Modeselektor—to form the Berlin experimental-techno trio Moderat (above, doing “Bad Kingdom” live in concert on Pitchfork TV). They’ve released a host of EPs alongside three full-lengths, including last year’s aptly titled III (stream it below). “The rich subtlety of its sound design demands repeated plays. Each time the album reveals something new. III is an album that worms its way into your day-to-day life. It’s an album that grows each time you listen to it. It’s an album than sounds different, and feels different, with each subsequent play,” gushed Clash. “III is a triumph that takes pop and redefines it, and may come to be seen as a watershed moment for the group as they hit full stride.” Another aptly titled release, the live recording Live (stream it below), arrived later in 2016. PopMatters lavished the album with praise, but added that “Live cuts out a crucial part of the Moderat live experience: the visuals. The light show and films that feature in Moderat’s concerts are essential.” Fortunately, you can get the entire experience when Moderat play Terminal 5 tomorrow night. Multimedia artist Dominick Fernow’s Vatican Shadow opens the show.

cat_preview

Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2 Provide Easter Treats

April 17th, 2017

Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2 – The Bowery Ballroom – April 16, 2017

Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2 – The Bowery Ballroom – April 16, 2017
Chaz Bundick, performing as Toro Y Moi, plays a palette of dyed-egg pastel colors: yellows, pinks and muted purples of groove. Twin brothers Jared and Jonathan Mattson, performing as the Mattson 2, are an oversized, slightly psychedelic rabbit of instrumental music. Together, they’re appropriately called Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2, and they proved to be a perfect Easter treat last night for a sold-out Bowery Ballroom. More or less playing from their recently released album, Star Stuff, the trio met somewhere in the middle of their styles, which turned out to be a rather large and fertile musical space.

Although Bundick provided vocals on several songs, the set felt largely like instrumental music, relying more on mood than lyrics. And for the most part, that mood was decidedly jubilant. The stage was lit like a dance club—shafts of color through clouds of smoke, and the music pulsed with that energy. Bundick swapped between his synthesizer and a Hohner bass pretty much every other song, creating a checkerboard of sound, a playful push and pull between styles. That space between Bundick and the Mattsons was filled with modern jazz, Santana disco, drum-heavy free-form, psychedelic boogaloo and power-trio rage.

Every show has an arc and Sunday night was a one-way trajectory, each song sounding more focused and better than the previous, a constant build to an ecstatic conclusion, the album tracks thoughtfully arranged to optimize the live performance. When the end was finally reached, Bundick announcing, “No encore, we mean it,” they’d pretty much played it all, there were no Easter eggs left to uncover. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

cat_preview

Surfer Blood Bring New Music to Music Hall of Williamsburg Thursday

April 17th, 2017

Bands get formed for all kinds of reasons, but those who started Surfer Blood did it to play music as much as possible—to record an album and tour nonstop. They made a name for themselves, locally at least, during CMJ Music Marathon 2009, and then even more so with the arrival of their well-received debut, Astro Coast (stream it below), in 2010. The band “has become a standard bearer of the wi-fi lo-fi era in short order,” proclaimed PopMatters. “The highest praise you can give an album like Astro Coast is that it sounds like something completely familiar that you haven’t heard before.” Surfer Blood (above, doing “Six Flags in F or G” for KEXP FM) have remained busy touring and recording ever since. And although group has dealt with death and lineup changes, they continue to persevere. Their fourth studio album, Snowdonia (stream it below), came out this past February. “There’s a clear sense of melancholy and yearning, but there’s also optimism spilling out from the edges,” according to the Line of Best Fit. “Grief and hardship have changed Surfer Blood, there’s no denying that. But they deserve praise for making a record that still has its own joie de vivre and doesn’t completely overhaul the alphabet that has made the band a success in the first place.” See them on Thursday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Brooklyn trio Lazyeyes open the show.

cat_preview

Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

April 17th, 2017

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

cat_preview

Get a Dose of String Music with Mipso at Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 17th, 2017

Jacob Sharp (mandolin and vocals) and Joseph Terrell (guitar and vocals) first teamed up musically while students at UNC-Chapel Hill. Wanting to form a band focusing on bluegrass and Appalachian folk, they added Wood Robinson (bass and vocals), and two became three. With their sound still evolving, a couple of years ago, Mipso (above, performing “Coming Down the Mountain” for 89.3 FM the Current) blossomed from a trio into a quartet with the addition of Libby Rodenbough (fiddle and vocals). Their fourth LP, Coming Down the Mountain (stream it below), was released just a few weeks ago. Roots-music journal No Depression says it’s “an album of 10 tunes that explore that tender spot just past the midpoint of your 20s, where the band now resides, when you’re taking stock of the past while looking to the future. Just as in that stage of life, the album exudes a sense of wistfulness among moments of joy, a few worries amid youthful confidence. Some regrets mingle with a wide-open view of the future.” Now touring behind their new material, Mipso play Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday night, and the like-minded 10 String Symphony open the show.

cat_reviews

Spafford’s Hot Streak Continues at Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 14th, 2017

Spafford – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 13, 2017

69-og
The jam-band scene is a happy-eyed, self-sustaining beast: Young bands grow to become veteran and vanguard bands—just as they did a generation earlier in the post–Grateful Dead afterglow—and then do their part to support the next generation of improvisers and torchbearers. Fans do the same: Word of mouth does wonders for long-term support of a fledgling jam band like in no other pocket of the music scene, especially as buzz builds and what was seemingly moments ago a regional favorite is now a headliner with national buzz, collecting believers left and right.

And so, as of April 2017, goes Spafford, the Arizona-based four-piece on a true hot streak, coming off a summer tour opening for Umphrey’s McGee, and now, as evidenced by a slam-bang show last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, well worthy of the spot atop bills. Despite mounting their first national tour less than a year ago, Spafford are a band with “future vanguard” written all over them. They played until well after midnight: two sets of shape-shifting, rigorously funky groove music that hit all the hallmarks—segues, guests (what up, Todd Stoops!), well-chosen covers that added but didn’t dominate, plus lengthy, unhurried workouts on songs with names like “Slip and Squander,” “Electric Taco Stand” and “In the Eyes of Thieves,” that last one a hot groover that emerged from a spookily psychedelic place and built to peak after hammering peak with screaming guitar.

People have grabbed on to Spafford early because there’s a lot to grab. I liked the patient builds and forward-looking improvisations, which didn’t feel like extended vamps—didn’t revel in ambient noise—and seemed to have a destination in mind even as they slowly unfolded. “America,” a chugging, panoramic road trip, was a great example. I liked their Dead cover, “Feel Like a Stranger,” soaked in keys and perfect for who the band is. I liked the filthy disco of “Ain’t That Wrong,” with Stoops spider-handing the keys. I liked “Beautiful Day,” an anthemic stroll that hit somewhere among Phish, Ben Harper and Bill Withers. It segued into “Leave the Light On” to close the second set—lilting, a little tentative, and then building into one more jammy release. I like that these guys trust one another and can demonstrate, astonishingly well sometimes, a deeply connected understanding of where they want to take a song, instead of just surrounding the guitar player and letting him cut loose every four minutes.—Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

cat_preview

Little Hurricane – Mercury Lounge – April 13, 2017

April 14th, 2017

Little Hurricane - Mercury Lounge - April 13, 2017

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

cat_preview

Dance with Louis Futon at Tomorrow’s Late Show at Mercury Lounge

April 14th, 2017

“Don’t let their punny name (and boyish good looks) fool you, the Philly-based duo of Tyler Minford and Logan Zoghby make seriously good music—a refreshingly funky blend of R&B, jazz and more electronically inclined elements,” raved Interview a couple of years back. Minford has since gone solo, creating official remixes for big names like Mos Def, Logic, G-Eazy, Future and Wiz Khalifa. But he insists that “genres don’t define me.” An eponymous EP (stream it below) arrived two years ago. “Philly producer Louis Futon has dropped off his self-titled EP, and simply put—it’s quite good,” said Hypebeast. “The electronic producer delivers on four original and undeniably entertaining tracks, as three remixes also join the party.” He’s been working on new material, and you can see him at the late show tomorrow at Mercury Lounge. NYC singer-songwriter Sam Setton opens.

cat_preview

Leela James and Daley Take On the Apollo Theater on Saturday Night

April 13th, 2017

Influenced by the likes of James Brown, Donny Hathaway and Mavis Staples, talented singer-songwriter Leela James has been making her own winning mix of bluesy soul and R&B for more than a decade. Her sixth studio album, Did It for Love (stream it below), which explores all the different sides of love, came out just a few weeks ago. “I don’t really try to think of concepts when I make music, I just go with the natural flow of the evolution of the making of the album,” James tells Rated R&B. “As I’m recording, sometimes it’ll take a life of its own. When I’m writing the songs, they’re usually based off direct and indirect experiences. It kind of tells its own story.” Touring in support of the new music, James (above, performing “Don’t Want You Back” for Baeble Music) has been making her way across North America with English singer-songwriter Daley (below, doing “Alone Together” live in concert), who’s known for mashing together soul, electronic music and pop into his own unique sound—and has been compared to Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall. See them both on Saturday night at the world-famous Apollo Theater.