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Cut Loose with Earthless Tomorrow at Mercury Lounge

August 21st, 2014

Although they’ve each also played in several other bands (including Rocket from the
Crypt
and Howlin’ Rain), guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba have been making high-quality, jam-heavy instrumental psychedelic
rock together as Earthless since 2001. They’ve released one live album and three studio full-lengths, the most recent of which, From the Ages (stream it below), which also includes vocals, came out last year—and it was so good that even Pitchfork liked it: “This is the atavistic magic of three people locked in a room only with their instruments and each other, eyes closed, and mouths open…. The dudes are once again just riffing here. It’s a trip worth taking, at least a few times.” Earthless also recently released a live LP with Heavy Blanket (which includes J. Mascis), In a Dutch Blanket (stream it below), about which Noisey says, “Get ready to cry because you will never play this well.” They just kicked off a new tour last night, and you can see them play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night.

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Influential New Zealand Rockers the Clean Play Rough Trade NYC

August 20th, 2014

They’re one of the founding fathers of indie rock in New Zealand, and despite being an influential post-punk band worldwide (winning over fans like Stephen Malkmus of Pavement and getting a fair amount of play in the ’80s on American college radio), the Clean—David Kilgour (guitar and vocals), Hamish Kilgour (drums) and Robert Scott (bass)—are still most well known in their native country. They formed in 1978, mashing together punk and psychedelic rock into their own cool, unique sound. And while they’ve spent a fair amount of time apart—Hamish moved to New York City in the ’90s and formed the Mad Scene—essentially coming back together to perform and make new music when it pleases them, the Clean (above, performing “Draw(in)g to a W(h)ole”) have still managed to release five studio albums, five live albums, three compilations, three singles and a pair of EPs. (Pitchfork calls them “the Halley’s Comet of indie rock, appearing after prolonged absences in a flash of brilliance, only to disappear just as quickly.”) Their most recent full-length, Mister Pop (stream it below), “a mixture of wide-eyed pastoral pop and playful experimentation,” came out in 2009. And according to PopMatters, “The Clean are growing older with grace and humor on this humane, smart and unpretentious record.” See them play Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night.

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Ryan Leslie Keeps It Local Tomorrow at The Bowery Ballroom

August 19th, 2014

Don’t take this the wrong way, but Ryan Leslie is smarter than you are. He aced the SATs, getting a perfect score, when he was just 14 and then graduated from Harvard at 19. The oh, so talented Leslie has since gone on to become a successful producer, rapper, singer, multi-instrumentalist (all documented on his YouTube channel) and businessman. He’s written and produced for Beyoncé, Britney Spears and New Edition while still finding time to put out a few of his own singles and mixtapes. As if he weren’t busy enough with that, Leslie has also released four albums. And while the first two were much more influenced by R&B, on his third effort, 2012’s Les Is More (stream it below), and last year’s Black Mozart, Leslie (above, performing “Ups and Downs” live in studio for Sway in the Morning) dives into the rap world alongside notable guests like Kanye West. See him play a hometown show tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom.

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Frontier Ruckus Play Two Local Shows This Week

August 18th, 2014

While in high school outside Detroit, singer-songwriter Matthew Milia and banjo player David Jones formed Frontier Ruckus, focusing on a mishmash of bluegrass, country, folk and rock. The band blossomed into a six-piece while the two were in college, and they went on to release a pair of well-received albums, The Orion Songbook (stream it below) in 2008 and Deadmalls and Nightfalls (stream it below) in 2010, before paring down to a four-piece, now with multi-instrumentalist Zach Nichols and vocalist Anna Burch, for last year’s terrific double album, their third LP, Eternity of Dimming (stream it below), which Allmusic calls “a beautiful, nostalgic (in the best meaning of the word) hymn to time and place, a long suite of songs that falls together like a wonderful quilt of memories.” Frontier Ruckus (above, performing “Thermostat” for do317 Lounge Sessions) have a new full-length, Sitcom Afterlife, arriving in November, but they’re already out on the road now. And you’ve got two shots to see them this week: tomorrow at Mercury Lounge and on Wednesday at Rough Trade NYC.

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

August 18th, 2014

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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10 Ft. Ganja Plant Celebrate New Album Tomorrow Night

August 15th, 2014

Dub engineer Craig Welsch originally formed 10 Ft. Ganja Plant as an offshoot of the reggae group John Brown’s Body. The new band was somewhat mysterious from the very beginning—with a shifting lineup and because their albums contain no credits, so it’s difficult to know who’s played what. And while their sound has branched out from dub and reggae over the years, they’re still expertly mining that “traditional ’70s Jamaican sound,” often calling to mind Lee “Scratch” Perry. The collective (above, doing “State of Man”) has released a host of albums since 1999, including last year’s Skycatcher (stream it below). And with a brand new one, 10 Deadly Shots, Vol. III, out right now, 10 Ft. Ganja Plant celebrate its release tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom. Another roots-reggae act, Destroy Babylon, opens the show.

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Red Wanting Blue Headline The Bowery Ballroom on Friday Night

August 13th, 2014

Red Wanting Blue are road warriors, playing upward of 200 shows a year, which becomes easier to do the deeper a band’s catalog is. Scott Terry (vocals, guitar), Dean Anshutz (drums), Eric Hall (guitar, vocals), Mark McCullough (bass, vocals) and Greg Rahm (guitar, keys) have been putting out their own winning brand of Americana since forming in Athens, Ohio, in 1996. Their most recent LP, Little America (stream it below), finds the five-piece in as fine form as ever. The Columbus Underground says it’s “the kind of album that makes you want to call up your favorite people and go on a road trip. It’s the perfect soundtrack to summer driving and campfires with people you love.” But the thing is that this new material is best experienced live. And it just so happens you can do that when Red Wanting Blue (above, performing “Pour It Out” for Audiotree Live) play The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night. The Bridgeport, Conn., duo the Alternate Routes and the NYC folk-pop quartet Morningsiders open the show.

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Brooklyn’s Weeknight Stay Local to Play Rough Trade NYC

August 12th, 2014

Andy Simmons and Holly MacGibbon have been making music together for nearly a decade, but they’ve been crafting a dark-pop soundscape of harmonies and melodies fueled by coed vocals layered over synths as Weeknight for a little more than two-and-a-half years now. Initially, the Brooklyn duo (and real-life couple) earned comparisons to Depeche Mode despite only releasing a handful of singles. But with the release of their weighty debut full-length album, Post-Everything (stream it below), Weeknight (above, performing “Honey” for Exclaim! TV) have been making a name for themselves, blending genres into their own unique sound. The LP came out earlier this year, and Noisey calls it a “hazy blend of dreamy and haunting pop.” And you can experience their new music live and in person on Thursday night at Rough Trade NYC. A pair of local bands, post-punk quartet Boot Blacks and fuzz-throb trio Youth Worship, open the show.

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Twin Peaks Bring New Tunes to Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

August 12th, 2014

While it might often feel like most young, up-and-coming groups play electronic music or skew toward the New Age of folk, some bands just want to rock, and thankfully Twin Peaks are one of them. Stereogum recently proclaimed them a Band to Watch, and NME labeled them “Chicago’s most promising new band.” The four guys in the reverb-loving garage-rock outfit—Cadien Lake James (vocals and guitar), Connor Brodner (drums), Jack Dolan (vocals and bass) and Clay Frankel (vocals and guitar)—have known one another since elementary school. And they bill themselves as “four doods, gnarly ’tudes, total hunks, play to drunks” influenced by David Bowie and Marc Bolan. “You know, rock and roll still rocks on. Just because we all have computers and anybody can listen to anything, people are still digging back and finding the good shit on their computers. And they’re like, ‘Oh, the good shit has got some real instruments and shit.’ Not that synthesizers don’t have their place, but I like real instruments,” James told Stereogum. Twin Peaks (above, doing “Irene” live in studio for KEXP FM) put out their debut album, the lo-fi Sunken (stream it below), last year, and per Pitchfork, “Sunken is less than 20 minutes long, but it packs a lot of cooler and verve into that blink of an eye.” The quartet returned this year with the just-released Wild Onion (stream it below). And Consequence of Sound weighed in with a ringing endorsement: “The lesson here might be to never judge a band by its age. With just two records to their credit, Twin Peaks are quieting dissenters who might have thought they were too young or too brash to use the riches of ’60s and ’70s sounds to their scrappy advantage. Rather than a barrier, the band’s youthfulness might be their biggest weapon. They’ve (hopefully) got years ahead of them still, and listening to Wild Onion just makes you hungry to see what else they have in store.” See Twin Peaks play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Another Chicago band, the Lemons, open the show.

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

August 11th, 2014

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Lily & the Parlour Tricks Play Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

August 11th, 2014

Playing a kind of retro soul that Spotify calls “vintage pop for the future,” the NYC six-piece Lily & the Parlour Tricks—Lily Claire (lead vocals), Darah Golub (backing vocals), Morgane Moulherat (backing vocals), Brian Kelsey (bass), Terry Moore (drums) and Angelo Spagnalo (guitar)—employ delicate three-part harmonies layered over a healthy dose of hard-driving bass and swaggering guitar that’s best experienced live. Speaking of which, Lily & the Parlour Tricks (above, performing their latest single, “Requiem” for Audiotree Live) play a hometown show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. And another local band, the blues-rock quartet Blue & Gold, opens the show.

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Tiny Ruins Play Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

August 8th, 2014

Initially Tiny Ruins began as a solo project for singer-songwriter Hollie Fullbrook—whose voice has been compared to Beth Orton’s—but on her second album, this year’s Brightly Painted One (stream it below), she added bassist Cass Basil and drummer Alexander Freer to round out the dreamy folk sound, to a winning effect. Per PopMatters, “As with the best of songwriters in the folk tradition, Tiny Ruins’ Fullbrook manages to bring the characters populating these 10 gorgeously sparse tracks to life, imbuing each with a breadth and depth that leaves them fully formed in the ear of the listener, having lived very real, meaningful existences that extend beyond the brevity of the songs themselves and into some lush world that transcends its fictional origins.” See the New Zealand trio (above, performing “Reasonable Man” for Rhapsody) play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night.

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The Hatters Reunite to Play The Bowery Ballroom Tonight

August 6th, 2014

They formed in Philly, while attending the University of Pennsylvania in 1988, but Adam “Tree Adams” Hirsh (vocals and guitar), Adam Evans (guitar and vocals), Tom Kaelin (drums), Jon Kaplan (bass), Bill Rives (drums) and Billy Jay Stein (keys) made a name for themselves—as the Mad Hatters—in New York City, playing venues like Wetlands and Nightingales alongside bands like Blues TravelerSpin Doctors and God Street Wine. Combining their love of funk, bluesy Southern rock and Allman Brothers Band–like jamming, the group became known for talented songwriting, an exceptional rhythm section and an energetic stage presence. Plus, they liked to play all night long. They eventually shortened their name to the Hatters and put out three albums before breaking up in 1996. But social media can be a powerful thing, and thanks to fan encouragement on Facebook, the band has reunited, and tonight at The Bowery Ballroom, they’ll perform live for the first time in 18 years. The Tangiers Blues Band open the show.

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

August 4th, 2014

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Catch Reignwolf Tonight Before They Hit the Big Time

August 1st, 2014

Jordan Cook grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and, thanks to a musician father, he began playing guitar at just two years old. He later decamped for Seattle and began buying cheap guitars and booking shows wherever he could, performing as if the guitar were one of his limbs. Cook eventually began playing as Reignwolf with bassist David “Stitch” Rapaport and drummer Joseph Braley. And they started gaining attention for their wild, incredibly high-energy shows on the festival circuit. Rolling Stone calls Cook “an unhinged, lovelorn, electric Canadian blues wild man who can’t decide if he wants to be Robert Plant or Jimmy Page.” And before hardly anyone even knew who he was, Cook and Co. (above, performing “Are You Satisfied?” and below, doing a solo cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” for KEXP FM) were out on the road with both the Pixies and Black Sabbath. And now they’re coming our way. Go see Reignwolf tonight at The Bowery Ballroom. NYC’s own three-piece rock outfit Strngrs open the show.