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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

June 26th, 2017

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Up-and-Coming Folkies Kacy & Clayton Play Mercury Lounge Friday

June 23rd, 2017

Canadian cousins singer-songwriter Kacy Anderson and Deep Dark Woods guitarist Clayton Linthicum grew up just a few miles apart in Saskatchewan with a keen interest in British folk music. Initially they began performing together in a local bar, but as the word got out, their stages grew larger. Their debut album, The Day Is Past & Gone (stream it below), arrived in 2013. “We can indeed be very glad for this disc. It’s remarkable to think that Kacy is just 16 and Clayton 19. Let’s hope they get to take this act on the road,” said Exclaim. That’s exactly what they did. And last year, Kacy & Clayton (above, doing “Brunswick Stew” for CKUA FM) returned with their sophomore release, Strange Country (stream it below). “On this set, Kacy & Clayton have melded the rootsy overtones of vintage North American folk-revival albums of the ’60s with the passionate traditionalism of British folk-rock,” offered AllMusic. “Strange Country is a mysteriously and profoundly pleasing piece of work, and if Kacy & Clayton can create a few more albums this strong, they have the potential to be the new heroes of the North American folk community.” Jeff Tweedy was such a fan of the LP that he produced the duo’s upcoming release, The Siren’s Song, out in August. Catch them live tonight at Mercury Lounge. As an added bonus, Nashville singer-songwriter Andrew Combs opens the show.

 

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Evan Dando Celebrates Album Reissue at The Bowery Ballroom

June 23rd, 2017

Evan Dando first burst into the mainstream fronting the Boston band the Lemonheads as the ’90s stalwarts’ singer, songwriter and guitarist—and occasionally as their drummer. Landing in the sweet spot between indie rock and melodic punk, the prolific group put out seven full-length albums between 1987 and 1996 before going on an extended hiatus two years later. Eventually they’d get back together, but before doing so, Dando (above, performing “Hard Drive” live in New York City), mixing power pop and country-rock, put out his solo debut LP, Baby I’m Bored (stream it below), in 2003. “Lots of low-key, three-chord songs, sung in his achingly lovely voice and lasting not a second more than need be,” according to AllMusic. “Even if it seems unassuming and underwhelming upon its first listen, Baby I’m Bored with each spin reveals the uniform strength of the songs and the sweet, understated charms of Dando as a performer.” Earlier this year, on Record Store Day, the album was reissued with the addition of outtakes, covers and B-sides. “The songs on Baby I’m Bored show an artist venturing deeper into himself than ever before to produce some of his most magnetic, vulnerable work,” says Paste. “Once the needle hits the record, it’s hard to imagine any committed listener turning away.” And to celebrate the album’s reissue, Dando plays The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday night. Another Boston singer-songwriter, Jason Lowenstein, opens the show.

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Pissed Jeans Bring New Music to Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

June 22nd, 2017

The first thing I learned about Pissed Jeans was that you apparently can’t write the word “pissed” in The New York Times. The second thing I learned about Pissed Jeans, going to see them for the first time in 2008 after reading the Times review calling them “***** Jeans,” was that they can raise quite a ruckus: wrathful, spike-edged, hilarious, somehow charming in a wet-smack-to-the-head way. These guys are ferocious—you’d call them a Pennsylvania-based sludge punk band and be technically accurate but only that—and they await the kind of amped-up, late-night crowd they’ll no doubt receive Friday night (late!) at Mercury Lounge (alongside San Francisco trio Feral Ohms, with Philly duo Pinkwash opening). Pissed Jeans’ fifth album, Why Love Now (stream it below), is just about perfect for these fraught, fractious times: taut yet messy, rampaging yet focused, full of swagger and the Jeans’ typically potent blend of acidic humor and forceful frankness. There are songs called “(Won’t Tell You) My Sign,” “The Bar Is Low” (watch its official video, above) “I’m a Man” and “Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst,” because of course there are. They’re meant to unsettle you a bit and land some punk angst not in a neat package but in kind of a rumpled heap. Some of it’s dirge-y, some of it’s ferocious, and all of it’s direct, knowing and self-assessing. Coproducers are Arthur Rizk, well-known to fans of thrash metal and of Philadelphia music that likes to surf the big waves out on the edges of sanity, and the one and only Lydia Lunch, icon of no wave. Shirts will come off at the Merc. Beer will be spilled. There’ll be some scary-funny laughter, surely. “What I’ve always gotten from punk rock is to question the status quo,” said singer Matt Korvette. “Just being kind of self-aware. Don’t take accepted answers as gospel.… I think I’ve maybe got some more immature things squared away. I’m not an insecure 24-year-old anymore.” He’s actually a 35-year-old insurance adjuster. And we’re betting that he’s a good one. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

June 19th, 2017

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Magic Giant Headline The Bowery Ballroom Tomorrow Night

June 19th, 2017

Austin Bisnow (vocals and guitar), Zambricki Li (banjo, mandolin and fiddle) and Brian Zaghi (bass and guitar) formed the folk-revival outfit Magic Giant three years years ago in Los Angeles. Mixing acoustic instruments with electronics into a sort of folk-rave sound, the engaging trio has won over crowds with their hook-laden anthemic songs, inspiring sing-alongs wherever they play—their energetic live shows usually turning into a foot-stomping dance party, earning comparisons to Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers in the process. Magic Giant’s debut full-length, In the Wind (stream it below), dropped last month. “The band blends folk and pop in equal doses, creating killer harmonies, intriguing instrumental accompaniment, literally using any instrument they happen to find, including drums, banjo, trumpet, saxophone, harmonica, synthesizers, electric bass, cello, viola, violin, dobro, lap steel, mandolin and more,” says PopMatters. “Their sound is huge and features melodies that soar to majestic heights, and the way the album was created has a lot to do with that.” Making their way across America in support of the new tunes, Magic Giant (above, performing “Set on Fire” in studio for JBTV) headline The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night. Local six-piece the Ludlow Thieves open the show.

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Great Good Fine OK Play Two Hometown Shows This Weekend

June 15th, 2017

Influenced by the likes of Prince, Michael Jackson and Chaka Khan, Jon Sandler and Luke Moellman—who met through a friend in common—have been deftly mixing disco, pop and synths as the Brooklyn electronic duo Great Good Fine OK (above, performing “Always” live for Baeble Music) since forming in 2013. Their newest EP, III (stream it below), arrived just after the start of the New Year. And they’re finally back in their hometown this week for a pair of shows, tomorrow at Rough Trade NYC and then at The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday night. Soulful singer-songwriter Morgxn opens each performance.

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Los Colognes Play the Early Show at Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

June 14th, 2017

Nashville, Tenn., five-piece Los Colognes—Jay Rutherford (vocals and guitar), Aaron Mortenson (drums and vocals), Gordon Persha (bass), Micah Hulscher (keys) and Chuck Foster (keys)—released their third studio full-length, The Wave, (stream it below), about a month ago. The album comes on the heels of a pair of well-received long-players—by fans and critics alike—2013’s Working Together (stream it below) and 2015’s aptly titled Dos (stream it below). After recording live to tape in studios on their previous efforts, Los Colognes (above, their video for the single “Unspoken”) primarily worked from their garage practice space this time around, earning comparisons to JJ Cale to Dire Straits to the Grateful Dead to Pink Floyd in the process. And out on the road, they play the early show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.

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James Vincent McMorrow Brings Brand-New Tunes to Brooklyn Steel

June 13th, 2017

There’s something about Ireland that breeds singer-songwriters, like Damien Rice, Villagers and Hozier. Enter James Vincent McMorrow. Having only picked up a guitar at the age of 19, the late boomer quickly tried to master other instruments in order to create richer layers of composition. Like a Celtic Bon Iver, he trapped himself in a house on an Irish coast to produce his 2010 debut, Early in the Morning (stream it below). McMorrow didn’t return with the follow-up, Post Tropical (stream it below), which shined more on his R&B and soul influences rather than folk music, for nearly four years. But he’s been downright prolific ever since. In fact McMorrow’s fourth full-length—and third in four years—True Care (stream it below), suddenly arrived just a few weeks ago. The Irish Times says, “McMorrow presents 15 new tunes that further consolidate his position as a songwriter of meaningful, depth-charged soul music.” While the Irish Examiner calls the album “a sublime, abstracted gift that keeps on giving.” And having just kicked off a North American tour in support of the new LP, McMorrow (above, performing “Get Low,” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and, below, covering “Purple Rain”) returns to NYC to play Brooklyn Steel on Thursday night. —Sharlene Chiu

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

June 12th, 2017

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Spend the Weekend with Singer-Songwriter Chuck Ragan

June 9th, 2017

When Gainesville, Fla., punk band Hot Water Music amicably broke up in 2006—although they’ve since just as amicably reunited—singer-songwriter-guitarist Chuck Ragan (above, playing “Bedroll Lullaby” for Out of the Ordinary) chose a different musical path, launching a solo career as a folk musician, telling evocative tales in his exceptional gravelly voice. Eventually he decided to put together the Revival Tour, which grouped together like-minded musicians traveling the country (and Europe) making and playing music together as they go. Ragan has continued to remain busy with a variety of well-received projects—with solo albums, the most recent of which Till Midnight (stream it below), came out in 2014; live albums, including last year’s The Winter Haul Live (stream it below); and movie soundtracks like 2016’s The Flame in the Flood (stream it below). But the thing about him is that no matter how terrific his recorded material is, Chuck Ragan is best experienced live, which works out great locally because he plays the early show tomorrow at Mercury Lounge and then on Sunday at Rough Trade NYC.

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Kick Off Your Weekend with the Specials at Brooklyn Steel on Friday

June 8th, 2017

There’s so much that can be said about the legendary U.K. band the Specials that it’s almost unfair to simply credit them as forefathers of the second wave of ska. Formed in 1977, the band fused together Jamaican reggae and ska rhythms with a punk sneer, adding highly political lyrics tackling both racism and class issues. Their self-titled Elvis Costello–produced debut (stream it below) is a stone-cold classic of the era with hits like “Nite Klub,” “Gangsters” and a cover of Dandy Livingstone’s “A Message to You Rudy” that all transcend the 2 Tone genre and still sound visceral and full of life today. With many lineup changes over the years and a lengthy hiatus, the Specials got back together as a touring unit in 2008 and have been moving crowds ever since. Back in America, the Specials (above, performing “Ghost Town” for BBC Radio 6) bring their joyous sound to Brooklyn Steel this Friday for what is bound to be an epic party. Kings County five-piece the Far East open the show. —Patrick King | @MrPatKing

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Jay Som Thrills Sold-Out Rough Trade NYC with New Songs

June 7th, 2017

Jay Som – Rough Trade NYC – June 6, 2017


Better known by the stage name Jay Som, DIY wunderkind Melina Duterte crafts melodic, fuzzy masterpieces from her bedroom in Oakland, Calif,—and she released her debut full-length album, Everybody Works, in March to glowing reviews. NPR described it as a “gorgeous and messy intimacy [that] has the capacity to forge connections with those who might be going through similar uncertainty and tough times.” After touring with fellow Asian-American female singers Mitski and Japanese Breakfast last summer, Duterte headlined a sold-out Rough Trade NYC last night in support of her latest release.

Guitarist Oliver Pannell, bassist Dylan Allard and drummer Zachary Thomas Elsasser joined the singer onstage to open with “One More Time, Please.” Her compositions really flourished with a full band, as Allard added heavy basslines on the Fleetwood Mac–sounding “Turn Into.” Four songs in, Duterte joked that “Take It” would be the last tune, eliciting a roomful of grumbling quickly followed by laughter. The Left Coaster continued her playful banter, asking folks about who was gainfully employed and lauded them with a “sick” reply in admiration, a nice segue into the title track.

“Baybee” played up the pop influences, which perhaps were derived from her listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion while writing her recent album. Fan fave “The Bus Song” had the packed crowd singing, “But I hate the bus,” before Duterte cooed the chorus of “Take time to figure it out.” The short but ethereal “Lipstick Stains” performed solo had the audience rapt, and the performance culminated with an encore featuring the uproarious “1 Billion Dogs,” in which Pannell and Duterte exchanged licks in a dueling guitar battle. —Sharlene Chiu

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A Double Dose of Circa Waves’ New Music This Week

June 6th, 2017

Influenced by bands like the Strokes and Arctic Monkeys and formed in the Beatles’ hometown, Kieran Shudall (vocals and guitar) and Sam Rourke (bass), Colin Jones (drums) and Joe Falconer (guitar) formed the lively, melodic quartet Circa Waves four years ago in Liverpool, England. Their debut full-length, Young Chasers (stream it below), came out in 2015. “A gleefully frenetic, youthfully exuberant collection of catchy, guitar-based indie rock,” described AllMusic. “They make an urgent, angular style of stripped-down pop that touches upon ’80s dance-punk and ’90s slacker rock without ever giving in too much to either.” Circa Waves (above, performing “Fire That Burns” for BBC Radio 1) returned with their follow-up release, the weightier Different Creatures (stream it below), this past March, again impressing AllMusic: “Part of what makes Circa Waves so compelling is that they are able to match the sound of their influences while still believably making the results sound their own. They’ve grown into an assured rock entity, but they’ve retained their fundamental sense of working-class Liverpudlian blues.” Back in America, they play Rough Trade NYC on Wednesday and Mercury Lounge on Thursday.

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Don’t Miss These Northside Festival Shows This Week in Brooklyn

June 5th, 2017

Beginning on Wednesday, the ninth annual Northside Festival will bring thousands of people to Brooklyn—specifically Williamsburg and Greenpoint—“to uncover the future of music, innovation and content.” And with music as part of the equation, you just know that The Bowery Presents is gonna be involved. Although Mary Timony playing Helium at Rough Trade NYC on Thursday and Big Thief (above, performing “Paul” for NPR Music at this year’s SXSW) at Rough Trade NYC on Friday are already sold out, fortunately some tickets still remain for these other stellar shows:

Thursday
Mild High Club (with Cut Worms and Aerial East) at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Friday
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart with Beverly and Ablebody at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday

Saturday
An Evening with Big Thief and Friends (Friends = Twain, Relatives and the Brother Brothers) at Park Church Co-op

Timber Timbre and Ohtis at Music Hall of Williamsburg

Lower Dens performing songs from ABBA’s Gold: Greatest Hits, Tony Molina performing songs from Dinosaur Jr.’s You’re Living All Over Me and Tredici Bacci String Quartet performing songs from Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. soundtrack