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Double Your Pleasure with Two Nights of the Cave Singers

September 18th, 2014

When his previous band, Pretty Girls Make Graves, called it quits in 2007, guitarist Derek Fudesco teamed up with former Cobra High drummer Marty Lund and former Hint Hint singer Pete Quirk to start a new one, the Cave Singers, to make rock music with a folk bent (think: Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie). The Seattle three-piece had enough material for their first album, Invitation Songs (stream it below), within months of forming. A second disc, Welcome Joy (stream it below), followed two years later, and after the third, the-more-electric-than-acoustic No Witch (stream it below), was released in 2011, the trio became a four-piece with the addition of Fleet Foxes multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson on bass. Their first album as a quartet, the terrific Naomi (stream it below)—perhaps heavier on the rock than the folk—came out last year, and the Cave Singers (above, doing “Shine” live in studio for KEXP FM) are currently touring the East Coast. Catch one of their high-energy live show tomorrow at Mercury Lounge or, alongside psychedelic-soul four-piece Ghostpal, on Saturday at Rough Trade NYC.

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Spend the Last Friday of Summer with the Replacements

September 17th, 2014

Bob Stinson (guitar), his brother Tommy Stinson (bass) and Chris Mars (drums) were already in a garage-punk outfit when Paul Westerberg (guitar and vocals) joined the band in 1979. The quartet changed their name to the Replacements since under the previous name, the Impediments, they’d been banned from some local Minneapolis clubs, thanks to rowdy behavior. Initially they were compared to another Twin Cities band, Hüsker Dü. But as the Replacements became increasingly known for their wild (drunken?) live performances— and as their sound drifted from punk to jangly alternative rock, including elements of pop and folk—they made a name for themselves, unquestionably emerging as one of the most influential, trailblazing bands of the ’80s, thanks in large part to their energetic live shows and the seven terrific albums they released between 1981 and 1990: Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash (stream it below), Hootenanny (stream it below), Let It Be (stream it below), Tim (stream it below), Pleased to Meet You (stream it below), Don’t Tell a Soul (stream it below) and All Shook Down (stream it below). But eventually things began to go off the rails. They were banned from Saturday Night Live in 1986, and Bob Stinson left the group later that year (and died in 1995). Mars departed in 1990, and then the Replacements closed up shop in the summer of 1991. And that’s where the story would have ended, except that seemingly out of nowhere, Westerberg and Tommy Stinson, joined by other musicians, played six shows last year. Buoyed by the response, they’ve teamed up with drummer Josh Freese and guitarist Dave Minehan to play several shows this year, including Coachella and Boston Calling. And on the heels of triumphantly playing their first hometown show in 23 years, which Billboard called “an absolutely stellar performance from start to finish,” they Replacements (above, performing “Alex Chilton” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon) are coming to New York City to play Forest Hills Stadium on Friday night with a pair of like-minded, don’t-miss bands, the Hold Steady and Deer Tick. It’s the last Friday of summer, and this is one not to skip.

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Lia Ices Celebrates New Album Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

September 16th, 2014

Lia Ices writes, sings and plays the piano. She grew up in Connecticut but began making music in Brooklyn. And thanks to her voice, she was quickly compared to Tori Amos and Cat Power. Ices (above, performing “Love Is Won” for indieATL) signed with Jagjaguwar in 2010 and the label released her second album, Grown Unknown (stream it below)— which featured a duet with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon—the following year. Spin proclaimed, “Ices’ lush melodies and dreamy voice will convert skeptics and mesmerize supporters of Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom.” But as she began working on her next batch of songs, Ices was in flux: “I was beginning a gradual move to California, constantly traveling back and forth from New York. I was experimenting. I was falling in love. Our studio in the Hudson Valley was full of electronics and computers and the sounds of future ships sailing through the vastness of space, and I sometimes forgot where I was. The first songs we wrote were called ‘Flying 1,’ then ‘Flying 2,’ and so on, which eventually evolved into songs on the album. Flight became a metaphor for the ignition of the imagination. The process created a lightness in me, a freedom and positive energy that I’d never before felt or explored.” And what she ended up with was her third album, Ices (stream it below), out today, which the Guardian, in a five-star review, notes for its “luxurious fusion of spacious electronica, playful tribal pop and layers of breathy vocals.” Lia Ices celebrates her new album tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.

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Bear in Heaven Stay Local for a Pair of Hometown Shows

September 15th, 2014

Back in 1998, when he was still living in Atlanta, Jon Philpot began making music in a recording studio. A move to Brooklyn a few years later didn’t prevent the singer-songwriter from continuing his project. In fact as more people he knew from Atlanta and its surrounding areas also made the move to Kings County, Philpot had more musicians to record and perform with as Bear in Heaven (above, doing “You Do You”). Red Bloom of the Boom (stream it below) came first, in 2007, with a prog-rock sound. The band, now a trio with Philipot on vocals, guitar and keys, Jason Nazary on drums and Adam Wills on bass, released their fourth album, Time Is Over One Day Old (stream it below), last month. Spin says, “This Brooklyn trio thrives in that sweet spot between poppy and freaky, accessible and alien: Call it Top 40 on Uranus.” And furthermore: “Featuring 10 tracks of gooey, dislocated goodness, its gravity-free atmospherics are just right for soundtracking summer moon treks, intergalactic windsurfing and asteroid volleyball. Down to earth it is not: These deep but compact space jams can’t get much higher.” And before they cross the Atlantic for a European tour, Bear in Heaven play a pair of hometown shows tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom and Wednesday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

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A Double Dose of Marco Benevento This Week

September 15th, 2014

For NYC music fans of a certain age and musical taste, it may be surprising to realize that it’s been more than a decade since Marco Benevento arrived on the scene as the organ half of the groundbreaking Benevento Russo Duo. Still, it’s no surprise that Benevento has been able to combine his knack with keyboards, composition and collaboration to establish a unique signature sound that’s equal parts electronica groove, jammy jazz, post-rock anthem and catchy-as-hell pop hook. His road-tested trio (above, performing “Escape Horse”), rounded out by Dave Dreiwitz on bass and Andy Borger on drums, returns for two homecoming shows this week, to celebrate the release of his excellent new album, Swift (stream a track from it below), which finds Benevento adding vocals to his many talents. Check him out tomorrow at Mercury Lounge or on Wednesday at Rough Trade NYC. Expect some singing and some dancing and some rocking and plenty of shenanigans … oh, and maybe a piano solo or two. —A. Stein

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Mutual Benefit Headline The Bowery Ballroom Tomorrow Night

September 12th, 2014

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jordan Lee founded his band, Mutual Benefit, in Austin, Texas, making experimental music influenced by folk and psychedelic rock that earned him comparisons to Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens and Animal Collective. But he soon decamped for Boston to record and play with some friends there. Lee has since made his way to Brooklyn, but he continues Mutual Benefit (above, performing “Animal Falconry” for KEXP FM) with a rotating lineup of talented musicians. The band’s debut album, Love’s Crushing Diamond (stream it below), came out last fall to rave reviews. “The songs are fully formed and finely detailed, each taking on a life of its own,” according to Consequence of Sound. “Much like a great book keeps a reader riveted until the last pages are turned, Love’s Crushing Diamond leaves a hope that it could continue on and on.” Baltimore chamber-folk ensemble Soft Cat and Brooklyn four-piece Bellows open.

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Savoy Bring the Party and the Lasers to Terminal 5 on Saturday

September 11th, 2014

Multi-instrumentalists and producers Ben Eberdt, Gray Smith and Michael Kelly (who plays drums at their live shows) have cherry-picked elements from a variety of electronic-music genres to create their own unique, crowd-moving, party-starting sound. Thanks to their high-energy live performances, complete with laser light shows, Savoy burst into the mainstream on the festival circuit two summers ago. And they haven’t let up ever since. The Brooklyn-based trio put out their second studio full-length, Self Predator (stream it below), earlier this year, and they’ve been out on the road supporting it in style. But this weekend they stay local when they play Terminal 5 on Saturday night. Pretty Lights and Alex English open the show.

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Armed with a New Album, Trampled by Turtles Play Terminal 5

September 11th, 2014

Dave Simonett (vocals and gutar), Erik Berry (mandolin), Dave Carroll (banjo and vocals), Tim Saxhaug (bass and vocals) and Ryan Young (fiddle and vocals) have been putting a modern, thrashing, turned-up twist on bluegrass music, as Trampled by Turtles, for more than a decade. And like the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons, this Duluth, Minn., five-piece employs folkie and Americana instruments—plus layered harmonies—to get their point across, sometimes doing it a little bit louder. They released their first album, Songs from a Ghost Town (stream it below), in 2004, and Trampled by Turtles (above, playing “Are You Behind the Shining Star” on Late Show with David Letterman) have been steadily playing high-energy live shows ever since. Their seventh LP, Wild Animals (stream it below), out this past July, finds them in as fine form as ever. AllMusic says, “On their seventh long-player, Duluth’s acoustic troubadours Trampled by Turtles continue to push the outer limits of folk and bluegrass playing light against darkness, delivering one of their most thoughtful and downtempo albums to date.” Currently crisscrossing North America, their tour brings them to Terminal 5 tomorrow night.

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Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons Play Mercury Lounge Tonight

September 10th, 2014

Prolific singer-songwriter Jerry Joseph, a musician’s musician, began his music career more than three decades ago when he formed the reggae-tinged rock band Little Women in 1982. Since then, he’s done plenty of solo work and he’s been involved with and associated with a variety of bands, including Stockholm Syndrome and Widespread Panic (and even Woody Harrelson). But he’s most well known for fronting Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons (above, doing “Amazing Grace”). Their most recent album—actually a double album—Happy Book (stream it below), came out in 2012, and Relix called it “one of Joseph’s finest efforts to date.” But a new LP, Singing in the Rain, is due out next month. And backed by guitarist Jeff Crosby, drummer Steve Drizos and bassist Stevie James Wright, Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons play the early show tonight at Mercury Lounge.

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Five Questions with … White Denim’s James Petralli

September 10th, 2014

House List favorites White Denim (above, performing “Pretty Green” on Late Show with David Letterman) are back in town this week for three shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Friday’s is already sold out, but tickets still remain to see the engaging Austin, Texas, four-piece tonight and tomorrow. And last week frontman James Petralli checked in from the road to answer Five Questions.

You guys have played New York City for several years now. Are there certain places you like to revisit when you return? And do you ever feel like you could live here?
There are so many great places in NYC, and we are always so busy when we come to work that I generally hit new places every time I visit. One place I always find myself, though, is La Esquina—great food there. I’ve never done any of the popular tourist destinations or visited any of the multitudes of museums and galleries either. It is kind of a shame really. I need a few days off there someday. I could live in NYC, but I couldn’t see myself settling there. I need to have fast access to the countryside. (Preferably the Texas countryside.)

And do you notice your music being received differently in New York City?
There are so many things to do in the city each night that we feel honored to have developed a loyal audience there. People are pretty similar everywhere you go, in a good way. Except for Lufkin, Texas—terrible, villainous folks in Lufkin. Kidding.

Do you have any crutches when writing a song—are there certain words or styles you feel you lean on too much?
I am not always great at writing bridges or getting past a first chorus. I always have to force myself to write a third part and sometimes it takes long enough to lose interest in the tune entirely. I have hard drives full of single verses and choruses. I’m also probably either too oblique or too bang on in my lyrical approach. Still looking for balance there.

Do you have to be depressed to write a sad song? Do you have to be in love to write a love song? Is a song better when it really happened to you?
No, but I do believe it helps. I think that actual experience can really help a performer connect with the material and thereby have a more significant impact on an audience. As far as writing goes, though, I think it behooves one to be as imaginative as possible. I’m told research and observation can be nearly as effective as actual experience.

It’s 4 a.m. and last call has come and gone. What’s your next move?
Bust out the flask and keep my eyes out for a cool place to barf. —R. Zizmor

 

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Spoon Return to Play Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

September 9th, 2014

After releasing Girls Can Tell (stream it below) and Kill the Moonlight (stream it below) in consecutive years around the turn of the century, Spoon made the transition from underrated band to one of the bigger names in all of alternative rock, thanks to what AllMusic calls “a heady blend of precision punk and serpentine classic rock.” Their seventh album, the excellent Transference (stream it below), came out in 2010—Spoon have since blossomed from a four-piece into a five-piece with Alex Fischel (keys and guitar) joining Britt Daniel (vocals and guitar), Jim Eno (drums), Eric Harvey (keys and vocals) and Rob Pope (bass and vocals)—so it’s safe to say fans have been patiently awaiting the Austin, Texas, group’s latest effort, They Want My Soul (stream it below), which came out last month to some considerable acclaim. Rolling Stone called the album “an immediate grabber on par with the group’s best work to date” and added that the band has “always done surprisingly well on their own terms, in their own world. And that world sounds bigger and brighter than ever.” Spoon (above, performing “Inside Out” last night on Late Show with David Letterman) bring their engaging live show to New York City tomorrow night at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Arrive early to see !!! and Operators.

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Sir Sly and Wolf Gang Play Stage 48 Tomorrow Night

September 9th, 2014

Singer-guitarist Landon Jacobs, drummer Hayden Coplen and keyboardist Jason Suwito began making moody, ambient electronic rock together about two years ago without revealing much about themselves beyond their band’s name: Sir Sly. But things amped up for them considerably in 2013 when a pair of singles, “Ghost” and “Gold,” were featured in video games, commercials and the influential blog Hype Machine. Last year the Guardian, in naming them the new band of the week, proclaimed, “Hugeness awaits this L.A. trio.” Next week, Sir Sly (above, performing “Easy Now” for 97X FM in San Diego) put out their self-produced debut full-length, the highly anticipated You Haunt Me. And the band is already out on the road, touring with Wolf Gang.

Going on five years now, the lads in London’s Wolf Gang—singer and multi-instrumentalist Max McElligot, drummer Lasse Petersen, guitarist-keyboardist Gavin Slater and bassist James Wood—have been mashing together the swirling sounds of symphonic rock with subtler electro pop. Their first LP, really a McElligot solo album, Suego Faults (stream it below), came out in 2011. Since then, Wolf Gang (above, doing an acoustic version of “Ghost in My Life” for Radio BDC) have toured with the likes of Coldplay and the Killers, plus, like Sir Sly, they’ve also been named new band of the day by the Guardian and have had tunes featured in commercials and on TV. Earlier this year, the quartet put out new music, releasing an EP, Black River (stream it below). See Wolf Gang and Sir Sly tomorrow night at Stage 48. (This show has been changed to 16 and over.)

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Justin Townes Earle Celebrates New Album Tomorrow at Stage 48

September 8th, 2014

His last name comes from his father and his middle name pays homage to Townes Van Zandt, so it seems Justin Townes Earle was destined to become a musician. He grew up in Nashville, playing music at a young age, but not just country or bluegrass as you might expect. Instead, Earle joined a rock band and also toured with his dad before self-releasing the EP Yuma (stream it below) in 2007. His debut full-length, The Good Life (stream it below), an interesting mix of bluegrass, country and folk that helped establish a name for himself, followed the next year. And then like so many before him, Earle headed to the big city, eventually becoming a denizen of the East Village, which inspired the terrific Hudson River Blues (stream it below). Two years ago, the talented Earle (above, doing “White Gardenias”) put out his fifth LP, the aptly titled Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now (stream it below), but his latest, Single Mothers, comes out tomorrow. And Earle celebrates its release with a hometown show tomorrow night at Stage 48.

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A Double Bill of Texas Country on the Lower East Side Tomorrow

September 8th, 2014

While in school at Texas Tech University, Josh Abbott teamed up with some fraternity brothers to form the Texas-country group the Josh Abbott Band (above, performing “Hangin’ Around” for the Bing Lounge). Now based in Austin, Texas, the band consists of Abbott (vocals and guitar), Austin Davis (banjo), James Hertless (bass), Caleb Keeter (guitar and harmonica), Eddie Villanueva (drums) and Preston Wait (fiddle). They’ve put out three well-received albums, including 2012’s Small Town Family Dream (stream it below), and they’re currently out on the road with another like-minded Texas-country outfit, the Casey Donahew Band (below, doing “One Flag” live for the Texas Music Scene TV), also a six-piece, but with, perhaps, a bit of an edgier outlaw image. Donahew’s gang has released five crowd-pleasing albums, the most recent of which, Standoff (stream it below), came out last year. And both bands bring a taste of authentic Texas country to the Lower East Side when they play The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night.

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Mayer Hawthorne and 14KT Team Up as Jaded Incorporated

September 5th, 2014

Andrew Cohen and Kendall Tucker were childhood friends in Michigan with an affinity for ’80s post-punk and New Wave, and the ’90s shake-your-ass music coming out of Detroit. Of course, lots of people grow up with similar taste in music as their friends. What makes this more interesting is that Cohen records and performs as the neo-soul singer Mayer Hawthorne, while Tucker does business as the hip-hop producer and beat-maker 14KT. And now they’ve teamed up to make what they call beat wave as the synth-pop duo Jaded Incorporated. They’re now touring behind their debut album, The Big Knock (stream it below), and you can see them live and in person tomorrow night at Rough Trade NYC.