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Hamilton Leithauser Kicks Off the Weekend at The Bowery Ballroom

January 28th, 2015

For more than a decade, Hamilton Leithauser has been known as the frontman of turn-of-the-century NYC rockers the Walkmen. But that band went on an “extreme hiatus” in late 2013 following a tour in support of their seventh studio album, Heaven. Not one to sit idly by, Leithauser (above, performing “5 AM” live in studio for WFUV FM) put out his first solo full-length, the Frank Sinatra–inspired Black Hours (stream it below), late last spring. It’s safe to say that critics were impressed. “In the hands of a less capable fontman and songwriter, Black Hours could have turned out as a cheesy attempt at ’50s pastiche. Instead, it’s a lively, confident and charming first effort,” said the A.V. Club. And Leithauser kicks off the weekend by entertaining his hometown fans on Friday night at
The Bowery Ballroom
. But arrive early because the big-voiced Elle King opens the show.

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Don’t Miss Marilyn Manson on Monday Night at Terminal 5

January 23rd, 2015

Going on 20 years now, Brian Warner—doing business as Marilyn Manson (above, his video for “Cupid Carries a Gun”)—has been known for shocking antics both onstage and off. But with the release of his ninth studio album, The Pale Emperor (stream it below), earlier this week, he’s being singled out for his music, earning some of the best reviews of his career. Per Rolling Stone, “Marilyn Manson hones his dark magic for his best, most twisted alt-rock party in years.” And AllMusic declares that “Manson and company sound like they’re stepping away completely from the caricature of themselves that started looming on the band’s weakest mid-2000s material. Taking their sound in a new, unforeseen bluesy direction accomplishes the near impossible by making Marilyn Manson sound even more sinister than before.” Catch Marilyn Manson on Monday night at Terminal 5. Brooklyn metal trio Unlocking the Truth open the show.

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Datsik Brings the Party to Terminal 5 on Saturday Night

January 22nd, 2015

For a musician with a last name like Beetles, it probably makes sense to choose something else: Troy Beetles has been working as producer and DJ as Datsik (his Xbox Live gamertag) since 2007. Mining dubstep, drum and bass, trap and house music, he put out his highly anticipated, crowd-pleasing debut full-length, Vitamin D (stream it below), in 2012, on Steve Aoki’s label, Dim Mak. Let It Burn (stream it below), his follow-up LP, arrived a year later. And while Datsik is most known for his association with dubstep, he’s not afraid to branch away from that. “I want to write a few timeless pieces that people will be listening to in the future. Sounds come and go, but I definitely wanna get a couple of those really cool tracks in there. I also wanna try and merge a few different ideas and genres together,” he told Beatport. But one thing he definitely will do is bring his shake-your-body, bass-heavy music to Terminal 5 on Saturday night.

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Former New Yorker Israel Nash Plays Mercury Lounge Tomorrow

January 21st, 2015

After a solid upbringing in the Midwest, singer-songwriter Israel Nash headed to New York City to make a name for himself as a folk musician almost 10 years ago. His debut album, 2009’s New York Town (stream it below), earned him comparisons to early Bruce Springsteen and Ryan Adams. His follow-up, Barn Doors and Concrete Floors (stream it below), arrived two years later. After that, he left the Big Apple for a small town in Texas, and that move fueled his third full-length release, Israel Nash’s Rain Plans (stream it below), out last year. “These songs are all about moving from New York to the reaches of the Hill Country and what those hills represent to me, which is greater than just nature. It’s about my life and home. I really wanted to go new places and abandon any rules that had made me cautious before. It’s about creating an environment that is so much bigger than any individual,” says Nash (above, performing “Just Like Water” live in studio for KEXP FM). According to Relix, “there is an easy-rolling, outdoorsy, relaxed feel to the songs here.” But, of course, the very best way to experience those songs is live and in person, which you can do at the early show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.

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A Dynamic Night of Music at Mercury Lounge

January 19th, 2015

Kingsley Flood – Mercury Lounge – January 16, 2015

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Watching Kingsley Flood play to a rowdy Friday night crowd at Mercury Lounge, the word that kept entering my mind was dynamic. That’s not surprising considering the kinetic energy that Naseem Khuri and his band brought to the stage and the room—there was nothing static about the set. The show was an official EP release party for the Boston band, and they restlessly bounced between songs from the new recording as well as older favorites that had the audience singing, clapping and dancing along. But there were also dynamics within the music itself, with many of the songs going loud then quiet then loud again or vice versa—Khuri’s lyrics and vocals filled with heartfelt emotion.

After a deceptive three-chord hummer to open the show, Kingsley Flood picked up on “Pick Your Battles,” off 2013’s Battles LP, with wailing guitar, violin and organ filling out an addictive hooked rocker. Early highlights from the new EP included “Set Me Off,” with a surf-meets-violin vibe and the quieter “Cavalry,” with Khuri moving to the keyboards while Chris Barrett on trumpet, Eva Walsh on fiddle and George Hall on guitar perfectly meshed on the beautiful melody. This was the other dynamic on display: the interplay between the guitar and violin (and occasionally the trumpet) and how they colored Khuri’s lyrics while drums and bass kept things rocking. Another highlight was “Anything Could Happen,” an Ellie Goulding cover (also on the EP), which featured a ripping, dare I say dynamic, guitar solo from Hall.

After fighting the chatty crowd with a couple of passionate quiet ones, including the excellent “Waiting for the River to Rise,” the show ended in bang! bang! bang! fashion with “Won’t Say I’m Sorry,” displaying their Boston roots with a kind of Irish-folk-punk feel, and the blazing “Down,” which, despite the lyrics “I won’t go down, down, down…” had Khuri down in the crowd doing his dynamo thing. Finishing with “I Don’t Wanna Go Home,” Kingsley Flood summed up the previous hour of rock and roll in one swing, with superlative songwriting, violin-trumpet-guitar chemistry, start-stop, quiet-loud sections, plenty of high-energy dancing in the crowd and Khuri once again bringing his dynamic talents into the audience. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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A Three-Night Dillon Francis Dance Party This Weekend at Terminal 5

January 16th, 2015

Fusing together house music and reggaeton, Dillon Francis began to make a name for himself as a pioneer of moombahton about five years ago. According to AllMusic: “Think Diplo with extra snark and you’re close to the sound of this electro and EDM producer/DJ.” Which is perhaps why he signed with Diplo’s label, Mad Decent. After releasing a host of singles and EPs, Francis saw his debut full-length, Money Sucks, Friends Rule (stream it below), arrive last fall. Again AllMusic weighed in. “The man debuted with the hot, stuttering moombahton sound and then moved onto the stomping genre of trap, and with his debut album, Money Sucks, Friends Rule, he’s up for whatever the rave requires.” And this weekend at Terminal 5, all that the rave requires is you. Friday’s and Saturday’s shows are already sold out, but you can still catch Dillon Francis with Bro Safari, Chrome Sparks and special guest DJ Hanzel on Sunday night.

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Two Chances to Catch Knox Hamilton This Week

January 14th, 2015

As Knox Hamilton, Bradley Pierce (vocals, guitar and keys), Drew Buffington (guitar), Boots Copeland (bass and vocals) and Cobo Copeland (drums) have been making the kind of exuberant, dance-floor-ready rock that’s earned them comparisons to the likes of Foster the People and Phoenix. The Little Rock, Ark., four-piece (above, performing “Rightfully So” for WTTS FM in Indianapolis) are out on the road right now, and they arrive in New York City for a pair of shows—opening for Civil Twilight tonight at Rough Trade NYC
and to play the early show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Dr. Dog on 1/17

January 13th, 2015

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Dr. Dog finish up a sold-out eight-night run in New York City at The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday night, and The House List is giving away two tickets. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. 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 (Dr. Dog, 1/17) and a brief message explaining which tune from the band’s brand new live album, Live at Flamingo Hotel, is your favorite. Eddie Bruiser, who just might listen to the LP all day, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Two Nights of Bright Light Bright Light at Mercury Lounge

January 13th, 2015

Rod Thomas likes to get people moving. Born in Wales, but based in London, he’s a singer, songwriter, pianist, producer, DJ and performer—which he does as Bright Light Bright Light. His dance-inducing mix of disco, synth pop and house music has secured him touring spots with the likes of Scissor Sisters, Erasure and, most recently, Elton John. That last pairing was sparked by the two working together on a track from Thomas’s second full-length, last year’s Life Is Easy (stream it below). John says, “He makes the music I’d like to make but don’t know how to, so when he asked me whether I would consider singing on his new record, ‘I Wish We Were Leaving,’ I said I’d love to.” Find out just why the Rocket Man couldn’t say no when Bright Light Bright Light (above, in the video for “I Believe”) plays Mercury Lounge tonight and tomorrow.

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Don’t Get Shut Out of Dr. Dog Next Week

January 8th, 2015

Deftly mixing melodic pop and psychedelic rock, Dr. Dog have been winning over fans for more than a decade. And even after releasing seven terrific studio albums, the Philly rockers are still most known for their energetic live performances. And to that end, a live album, the 19-song Live at a Flamingo Hotel (stream it here), comes out next Tuesday. And tomorrow night, Dr. Dog (above, performing “Shadow People” for the live album) kick off a new tour with eight(!) shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg and The Bowery Ballroom. Six of those dates are already sold out, but some tickets still remain for 1/12 at Music Hall and 1/14 at The Bowery Ballroom. But they’re going fast—so don’t get shut out.

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Rustie Plays Live Tomorrow at Music Hall of Williamsburg

January 7th, 2015

Russell Whyte grew up in Glasgow, Scotland, with an interest in music. By the age of 15, he was already playing the guitar and spinning on turntables. He first burst onto the scene—under the name Rustie—in 2007 as a producer, deftly mixing dubstep, funk, hip-hop and electronica. Two years later, Rustie (above, doing “City Star” at MoMA PS1 for Pitchfork) joined Warp’s roster, and his debut full-length, the psychedelic-tinged Glass Swords (stream it below), came out in 2010 to some considerable acclaim. According to the Guardian, the album “is almost entirely composed of dance-floor highs, a series of those hands-in-the-air peak-time moments that stick in the memory long after the rest of the night has turned hazy…. Rustie has a knack for an irresistible hook, and for knowing when to stick with it and move on.” His second LP, the more serious Green Language (stream it below), came out last summer. And critics were again impressed. Per Spin, the album excels “not only because of its smooth integration of ambient, experimental and R&B influences, but also as a seamlessly ranging and novel concept album.” And it delivers, “serving as a fascinating turn for an artist who earned his reputation by essentially bashing fans into submission with bass.” Of course, performing live, he’s a little subtler, which you can experience for yourself tomorrow night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Straight out of New Jersey, Nadus open the show.

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The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra Play Mercury Lounge

January 6th, 2015

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra have been winning over fans in their native New Zealand going on a decade now. And in addition to their ukes, the band—a very talented 10 to 12 strong, occasionally including the Oscar-winning Bret McKenzie, of Flight of the Concords fame—employs accompanying instruments, exceptional harmonies and a terrific sense of humor (come on, they’re a ukulele orchestra), but their music is no joke. The genre-hopping group hits bluegrass, country, rock, reggae and R&B while covering the likes of Prince, Kings of Leon, Pharrell and Randy Newman, to name just a few. After releasing four EPs (stream them below), the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra (above, performing “I Love You, Raylene”) released their first full-length—of Kiwi covers—Be Mine Tonight (stream it below), last year. And now they’re making a rare Stateside appearance for a tour that kicks off tonight at Mercury Lounge. Local singer-songwriter and ukulele player Emilyn Brodsky and New Zealand comedian Steve Wrigley open the show.

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Soulful Nick Hakim Kicks Off Residency at Mercury Lounge Tonight

January 6th, 2015

He grew up in Washington, D.C., raised by Chilean and Peruvian parents, listening to folk, go-go, hip-hop and soul—and he now makes his home in Brooklyn. So it should come as no surprise that talented singer-songwriter Nick Hakim isn’t tied down to just one genre. And thanks to the release of two excellent EPs, Where Will We Go, Pt. 1 and Where Will We Go, Pt. 2 (stream both below), last year, Hakim (above, performing “The Green Twins” for Sofar Sounds), channeling Marvin Gaye and Harry Nilsson, has quickly earned the reputation of a powerful, refined crooner with an old soul. But it’s his live shows—including a stint opening for Maxwell—that have really won over fans. And to that end, tonight at Mercury Lounge, Hakim kicks off a January residency, playing every Tuesday this month. Come see what the fuss is all about.

(Nick Hakim also plays Mercury Lounge on 1/13, 1/20 and 1/27.)

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We’ve Got You Covered on New Year’s Eve

December 30th, 2014

The thing about New Year’s Eve is that it’s so easy to get caught up in other people’s expectations of what the night should be. When on the last night of the year you should think about yourself for once and do what you want to do. And if that’s going to see some terrific bands play live music, then good news, we’ve got you covered. PhilRAD (featuring Phil Lesh and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead) at the Capitol Theatre and the Hold Steady at Music Hall of Williamsburg are already sold out—although we’re giving away two tickets to the Hold Steady.

But don’t despair because: Mercury Lounge has local rockers Black Taxi, along with Little Racer and Brothertiger, at the early show, and Mr. Brownstone doing terrific covers of Guns N’ Roses at the late show. Deer Tick close out their six-night 10th-anniversary residency at Brooklyn Bowl doing a fan-selected set with special guest T. Hardy Morris (of Dead Confederate and Diamond Rugs fame). Playing on the big stage at Terminal 5, Erasure—joined by Book of Love and Alex English—finish their two-night run. Reunited after an eight-year hiatus, emo trio Rainer Maria headline The Bowery Ballroom, with Moss Icon and Petal opening. And following opening sets by Mail the Horse and Twain, Spirit Family Reunion will have everyone at Rough Trade NYC clapping and stomping along as we welcome in 2015.

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A Saturday Night of Cool Space Rock at The Bowery Ballroom

December 26th, 2014

David Bello (vocals), Josh Cyr (bass), Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak (guitar and vocals), Greg Horbal (guitar and vocals), Steven Buttery (drums), Chris Teti (guitar and trumpet), Katie Shanholtzer-Dvorak (keys and vocals), Chris Zizzamia (poetry and spoken word) and Tyler Bussey (guitar and vocals) have been making music together as the atmospheric-emo collective the World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die (above, doing “Heartbeat in the Brain” for Audiotree Live) since forming in northeast Connecticut five years ago. Their sound is somewhere in the Venn diagram overlap of Explosions in the Sky and Sunny Day Real Estate. They put out a number of singles, splits and EPs before their debut LP, Whenever, If Ever (stream it below), came out last year. And according to PopMatters, the album is filled with “songs you shout along to in crowded basements, at all-ages venues…. This is the best possible first LP to follow all those one-offs and shorts EPs. While not long, it spreads out along record sides, stretching its legs. This group has always had the power to make something very new, and hopefully, in their evolution into bigger and brighter places, the World Is a Beautiful Place… only expand more and more.” Catch their last live performance of the year tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom. Columbus, Ohio, four-piece Saintseneca and Pittsburgh quartet Brightside open the show.