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Don’t Miss a Live Floating Points Set on Thursday at Brooklyn Steel

April 11th, 2017

Floating Points is the brainchild of Sam Shepherd, the Manchester, England, electronic musician with a Ph.D. in neuroscience and epigenetics. I guess contributing to just one emerging field wasn’t enough for him. Without knowing enough to say anything about his scientific output, his musical output is undoubtedly advancing electronic music into new areas, blowing up the formula in a similar way that free jazz disrupted the jazz formula. It’s a demanding sound for a full band to play live: Shepherd’s big on throwing his music into warp speed until it practically dissolves into chaotic synthesized noise, before reining it back into its familiar beat. Some numbers go back and forth a few times, and when a song settles down, you’ll be reminded of from where it evolved. Other tracks feature impressive reverb-drenched guitar solos reminiscent of David Gilmour, and spaced-out thoughts will be inevitable as your mind is blown to bits, both visually and musically. Thankfully, there will be a neuroscientist in the house to put everything back together again when Floating Points (above, performing “Silhouettes” live for KEXP FM) plays Brooklyn Steel on Thursday night. Okay Kaya and JFDR open the show. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

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The Octopus Project Bring New Music to Mercury Lounge Tonight

April 11th, 2017

They say everything’s bigger in Texas, a statement that certainly rings true for the big-ass sound of Austin’s very own psychedelic slingers the Octopus Project. Think of them as the poppier stepchild of fellow Texans the Butthole Surfers. Their strain of psychedelia seems designed to not just expand your consciousness but to blast holes through it. Officially a band since 1999, the Octopus Project (above, performing “Sharpteeth”) have been fine-tuning their sound with each release ever since. Their latest, Memory Mirror (stream it below) out last Friday, is their first proper release since 2013’s Fever Forms (stream it below). Memory Mirror has the troupe of multi-instrumentalists at their shape-shifting best, with their rhythmic, arpeggiating sonic assaults firing into the cosmos like a well-oiled machine. Recorded with the help of legendary Flaming Lips producer Dave Fridmann, the album shares a mission statement with the Lips in seeing just how far pop music can venture into the weird while still holding on to its hooks (answer: very far). The album highlights everything you’d expect and then some from the seasoned vets of trippiness. It has the bliss-inducing bleeps and bloops of “Understanding Fruit,” the rapid-fire guitar shreds and diced-up vocals of “Woah, Mossman!!,” the bowel-punching bass booms of “Ledgeridge,” the grime beats laying down the foundation for “Small Hundred.” The band heads to Mercury Lounge tonight, with Brooklyn’s Brothertiger opening. So prepare your psyches and strap in for the ride. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

 

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Xenia Rubinos Stays Home to Play The Bowery Ballroom Tomorrow

April 11th, 2017

Brooklyn’s Xenia Rubinos is a talented singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose first LP, Magic Trix (stream it below), came out four years ago to a fair amount of acclaim. “She’s triumphed unambiguously: Magic Trix is a startling lightning bolt of a record,” raved Pitchfork. The big-voiced Rubinos (above, doing “Just Like I” for Audiotree TV) crafted her live show while touring in support of the album, thrilling audiences along the way with her take on rock, funk, jazz, hip-hop, Caribbean rhythms and electronics. And last spring, the energetic, engaging performer returned with her follow-up, Black Terry Cat (stream it below), again impressing the folks at Pitchfork: “Black Terry Cat is all about breaking beyond limitations. From mostly keys, drums and bass, Rubinos and her small cohort bring a funky fluidity to the bright splatters of her debut, and forge a level of inventiveness comparable to Esperanza Spalding’s recent epic, Emily’s D+Evolution.” And before she heads to Europe later this month, Rubinos plays The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday night. The Kominas and Starchild and the New Romantic open the show.

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

April 10th, 2017

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Jonathan Richman Returns for Two Nights at The Bowery Ballroom

April 6th, 2017

Singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman took up the guitar at the age of 15 and was playing in public just a year later. He relocated from Boston to New York City in 1969, but his music didn’t get a lot of love, so he headed back north and formed the influential protopunk band the Modern Lovers. Wanting a quieter sound, Richman eventually turned the Modern Lovers into an acoustic group, most notable for their doo-wop sound and the funny lyrics that would remain a hallmark of his later solo work. Richman earned the most attention his career would get thanks to the Farrelly brothers featuring him and his music as a comedic Greek chorus in There’s Something About Mary. And although that flick came out nearly 20 years ago, punk-rock OG turned modern-day troubadour Richman (above, performing “When We Refuse to Suffer” and “That Summer Feeling”) remains as busy as ever. He’s currently touring with drummer Tommy Larkins, and together they play The Bowery Ballroom on Sunday and Monday.

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The Bowery Presents: Brooklyn Steel

April 6th, 2017

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The Bowery Presents’ newest venue, Brooklyn Steel—which is now the largest general-admission venue in Kings County—opens tonight with the first of five sold-out LCD Soundsystem shows. “With every venue we open, we aim to create a space where both fans and bands can fully enjoy the experience,” say Bowery Presents partners John Moore and Jim Glancy. “From easy access to bars and restrooms to unobstructed sight lines and state-of-the-art sound and acoustics, we’re confident that Brooklyn Steel delivers on our commitment to keep the music first.”

Located at 319 Frost Street, the 20,000-square foot Brooklyn Steel features raised platforms and a mezzanine allowing for terrific sight lines across the space, in addition to three bars and 40 total restrooms. Keeping with the industrial look of its legacy, the venue is filled with hundreds of tons of steel and repurposed materials, and the bar in the main lobby was created from scrap metal and incorporates an installation of three original fans.

Of course, it’s not just about how the place looks, it’s also about how it sounds. And to that end, The Bowery Presents retained L-Acoustics, pioneers in their field, along with help from acoustical consultants at Arup Engineering, to ensure unrivaled audio inside the building and audio containment within the property. Additionally, Brooklyn Steel is topped with a 10,000 square-foot green roof that will help rein in sound. This LCD Soundsystem run is just the beginning, though, and a stellar, packed lineup of shows continues with Floating Points (live), the Decemberists, PJ Harvey and many more.

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Extend the Weekend with Gucci Mane at Terminal 5 on Sunday Night

April 6th, 2017

Dirty South rapper Gucci Mane burst into the mainstream more than a decade ago out of Atlanta. He’s since become known for his raw talent, speaking his mind and doing work: Last year alone, he released Everybody Looking (stream it below)—with guest appearances by Drake, Kanye West and Young Thug—followed by Woptober (stream it below)—with cameos by Rick Ross and Young Dolph—and then The Return of East Atlanta Santa (stream it below)—which features Travis Scott and Drake again—shortly before the end of 2016. And with all of that new material, Gucci Mane (above, performing “Last Time” with Travis Scott on Jimmy Kimmel Live!) is out on the road touring the country, which brings him to Terminal 5 on Sunday night. Chicago MC Dreezy opens the show.

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Active Bird Community Bring New Tunes to Mercury Lounge

April 5th, 2017

Tom D’Agustino (vocals and guitar), Zach Slater (bass) and Andrew Wolfson (guitar and vocals) formed the band Active Bird Community while still in middle school, back in 2005. They’ve since added Quinn McGovern (drums), and the Brooklyn garage-pop outfit’s become known for creating “freshness out of classic sounds,” according to Stereogum. Their second full-length, Stick Around (stream it below), came out in March. New Noise Magazine compares Active Bird Community (above, doing “Home” for Sofar Sounds) to Pavement and Ra Ra Riot, adding “While there’s post-punk underpinnings and plenty of melodic discord, the album is rooted in a strong garage-pop feel, where the apprehension of post-college life comes through the turbulent but tense harmony.” But don’t take their word—or ours—decide for yourself when Active Bird Community play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Gold Connections and Soccer Mommy open the show.

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Bombadil Bring New Music to Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

April 4th, 2017

Influenced by Bolivian folk music—and formed more than a decade ago at Duke University—Bombadil make what AllMusic calls “both jolly and world-weary North Carolina–based indie rock with eclectic, mostly acoustic instruments.” And with a new lineup, multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Daniel Michalak, James Phillips and Stacy Harden released the band’s sixth album, Fences (stream it below), about a month ago. “Throughout, the limited instrument palette exposes songwriting full of charming melodies and gently frolicking rhythms, alongside expressions of deep affection and insecurity,” says AllMusic. “It’s a refreshingly direct presentation, and a set that makes one root for the characters as well as the band, who will hopefully stick around for more.” Catch Bombadil (above, the audio for “Not Those Kind of People”) tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Singer-songwriter Victoria Reed opens the show.

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

April 3rd, 2017

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Two Nights of Crystal Fighters at Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 3rd, 2017

Sebastian Pringle (vocals and guitar) and Gilbert Vierich (electronics, guitar and percussion) knew each other from way back. The latter separately met Graham Dickson (guitar and txalaparta), and once he moved to London, the three of them began to make music together, experimenting with different genres, from lo-fi R&B to metal and synth music. But then (now former member) Laure Stockley visited her reclusive grandfather’s Basque country home and discovered an unfinished opera with a section that roughly translates to Crystal Fighters. The opera opened the group to new ideas and the world of Basque folk music. Soon enough, Crystal Fighters had a new folktronic sound combining Spanish folk instruments with heavy synths, booming bass and drum loops. Their third full-length, Everything Is My Family (stream it below), came out last fall. “Crystal Fighters are an eclectic bunch, and their third record—opening with a multilingual spoken-word track—is predictably bonkers and brilliant,” raved the Line of Best Fit. “Crystal Fighters have matured from the erratic mania of their youth into a band whose distinctive sound now has direction and purpose, and what a joyful purpose it is.” Winding down an American tour, Crystal Fighters play Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday and Thursday. L.A. synth-pop band Machineheart open both shows.

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Catch Weyes Blood Tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg

March 30th, 2017

Natalie Mering’s arresting voice doesn’t sound as if it’s emanating from a person as much as from a lineage. As Weyes Blood, she even looks the part of the “atemporal” enchantress—to use the description of her record label, Mexican Summer—whose songwriting has an “ancient resonance,” almost as if she were passed into this time through the wardrobe door. And there’s as pretty of a sadness you’d ever want to hear generating her songs. Something transformative took hold of her sound on last year’s exquisite Front Row Seat to Earth (stream it below), her second proper Weyes Blood full-length. Reiterations of Judy Collins, Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell were elevated to a contemporary clarity, as if their classic folk songs of longing had undergone inventive remastering. On the closing of “Be Free” (above, performed live for Issue magazine) the eerie and delicate lift of Mering’s voice in slow waltzing lockstep with forlorn trombones makes you want to give her a grateful hug. And when “Generation Why” transforms from a somber piece of folk into a rising futuristic star with undercurrents of Enya and Giorgio Moroder and Klaus Doldinger, there’s a realization of being in the presence of something beautifully strange. Mering cherishes the art form while seizing it for her own design. Along with her latest recordings with Ariel Pink (including Myths 002, stream it below) to add to her discography, Weyes Blood has plenty to draw from for prime performances that may exist only in the timeless vacuum of Mering’s exposition, to which she has extended invitation. Essentially, it’s those artists like Weyes Blood who keep the lifeblood of alternative music pumping, so it hovers in mist over the high frequency electric bandwidth of excess, just above the glow of the streetlight, which is comforting to know. Walk into the dark of a park and you can reach up and touch it. And you can do the same when Weyes Blood plays Music Hall of Williamsburg tonight. Big-voiced singer-songwriter and guitarist Julie Byrne opens the show. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly

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Don’t Miss Vera Blue at Tonight’s Early Show at Mercury Lounge

March 29th, 2017

Sydney singer-songwriter Celia Pavey broke into the mainstream in her native country as part of the 2013 season of The Voice Australia. And in addition to putting out folkish music under her own name, Pavey’s also known for her Vera Blue project, thanks to the release of the well-received EP Fingertips (stream it below) in 2016. “Vera Blue delivers a compelling blend of electro-pop and folk-pop,” according to Renowned for Sound. “Pavey has exhibited a burgeoning maturity and artistry, and it will be neither surprising nor disappointing to hear her voice with increasing frequency.” The easiest way to up your frequency of hearing her is to go see Vera Blue (above, performing “Hold” live in studio for Triple J) tonight at Mercury Lounge. Taryn Randall’s Cote opens the show.

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

March 27th, 2017

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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The Regrettes Come to the Lower East Side and Williamsburg

March 24th, 2017

Lydia Night (vocals), Genessa Gariano (guitar), Sage Nicole (bass) and Maxx Morando (drums) formed the energetic punk-rock quartet the Regrettes a little more than a year ago in Los Angeles, and earlier this year, the band’s first full-length studio album, Feel Your Feelings Fool! (stream it below)—influenced by ’50s rockers like Buddy Holly and the Ronettes—arrived on Warner Bros. Records. According to Teen Vogue, “Their music sounds like a lively blend of lo-fi surf rock meets the Strokes with a strong female lead.” And per AllMusic, “The Regrettes thread feminism, sneering angst and ecstasy. All these intertwined emotions give the album an emotional punch that complements its musical rush, a confluence of nervy energy that could easily be interpreted as a reflection of the Regrettes’ youth. Perhaps the quartet members are all in their teens but they’re preternaturally gifted as musicians, so Feel Your Feelings Fool! offers the best of both worlds: craft that endures combined with boundless excitement.” You’ve got two chances to catch the Regrettes (above, doing “A Living Human Girl” for Jam in the Van) locally, tonight at Mercury Lounge and on Monday night at Rough Trade NYC.