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Dry the River Kick Off Tour Saturday at Music Hall of Williamsburg

March 5th, 2015

Peter Liddle (guitar and vocals) began Dry the River as a solo project. But wanting a bigger sound, he invited Will Harvey (violin and keys)—who has since left the band—Scott Miller (bass and vocals), Matt Taylor (guitar, keys and vocals) and Jon Warren (drums and percussion) to join him in making what he calls “folkie gospel music played by a post-punk band.” Early appearances at Glastonbury and SXSW earned Dry the River (above, doing “Alarms in the Heart” for Amazing Radio) comparisons to Fleet Foxes and Mumford & Sons. Their second full-length, Alarms in the Heart (stream it below), came out last year, winning over critics and fans alike in the process. According to AllMusic, the album offers “ten lush slabs of audio finery that blend the bucolic art-pop of Stornoway with the ceiling-peeling arena rock of the Killers” and it “always feels like it’s coming directly from the heart, even as it’s set to explode.” The London four-piece kicks off a new U.S. tour on Saturday at Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Oklahoma City five-piece Horse Thief and local quartet Regret the Hour open the show.

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Three Shows, Two Nights, One Craig Ferguson This Weekend

March 4th, 2015

After 10 years hosting the Peabody Award–winning The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Craig Ferguson has returned to his standup-comedy roots. His most recent comedy album, I’m Here to Help (stream it below) came out in 2013. But now without the time constraints of doing a nightly talk show, the Scottish-American comedian can do a proper North American (Hot & Grumpy) tour, which brings him to our fair town to perform at Town Hall on Friday and twice, early and late, on Saturday.

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Celebrate Texas Independence Day on Saturday at Terminal 5

March 4th, 2015

This week marks the 179th anniversary of Texas Independence Day—and this Saturday at Terminal 5 is the seventh anniversary of us celebrating it in style. Inspired by Lonestar musical royalty like Waylon Jennings, Robert Earl Keen and Willie Nelson, singer-songwriter Pat Green has been making Texas country music since 1995, while he was still in college. And he’s been fairly prolific ever since graduating, releasing nine studio albums and a pair of live LPs, in addition to becoming known as an energetic live performer, all of which has made him very popular in his home state. Green’s most recent album, Songs We Wish We’d Written II (stream it below), highlighted by covers of “Even the Losers” and “Soulshine,” came out in 2012, but he’s currently working his way up and down the East Coast. And you can see Green (above, performing “Wave on Wave” for Texas Music Scene) on Saturday at Terminal 5, alongside the like-minded Josh Abbott BandCasey Donahew Band and Hudson Moore. And as an added bonus, any patron at least 21 years old with a Texas-related tattoo or wearing an article of clothing with a logo from a Texas college on it will receive one complimentary drink.

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Two Chances to See the Bright Light Social Hour at Mercury Lounge

March 3rd, 2015

The Bright Light Social Hour began as a post-hardcore rock collective more than 10 years ago in Austin, Texas. And thanks to their incendiary, high-energy live performances, they’d already become well known across the South prior to releasing their acclaimed self-titled debut full-length (stream it below), filled with a deft mix of psychedelic Southern rock and bluesy soul, in 2010. Since then, the foursome—Curtis Roush (vocals and guitar), Edward Braillif (synths and guitar), Jack O’Brien (bass and vocals) and Joseph Mirasole (drums)—has continued to be known for leaving it all onstage every night. Their second LP, Space Is Still the Place, comes out next Tuesday, and ahead of its arrival, the Bright Light Social Hour (above, doing “Infinite Cities”) play Mercury Lounge twice later this week, the early show on Thursday and the late show on Friday.

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North Mississippi Allstars and Anders Osborne Team Up to Make Music

February 25th, 2015

Brother-duo North Mississippi Allstars (above, doing “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” for Jam in the Van)—Luther Dickinson (vocals and guitar) and Cody Dickinson (drums and vocals)— combine their Delta blues–based rock with guitar aficionado Anders Osborne (below, performing “Lean on Me” and “Believe in You”) and his soulful New Orleans rock (by way of Sweden) to form the exciting new musical venture NMO. The trio put out a full-length album, Freedom & Dreams (stream it below), just last week. And it’s safe to say that recording the LP was an easygoing affair. “Freedom & Dreams is extremely honest and captures NMO’s relaxed chemistry so well, most of these songs did not even have a proper count off or beginning,” said Luther Dickinson. “We were interested in combining Anders’ singing and songwriting with NMA’s groove and aesthetic to create something unique that neither of us could do without the other—a type of modern Southern folk rock.” For his part, Osborne was equally enthused: “I loved every minute of this recording session! Surrounded by such an amazing group of people, filled those four days with nonstop creativity, love and good food! And the record came out sounding just like it! So good.” Now out on the road, NMO are playing highlights from each catalog, both acoustic and electric, in addition to their new, shared material. And you can see them on Thursday at the Space at Westbury and on Friday at the Capitol Theatre.

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Hang 10 with Swami John Reis & the Blind Shake at Mercury Lounge

February 25th, 2015

San Diego post-punk singer-songwriter and guitarist James Reis is perhaps best known for fronting bands like Rocket from the Crypt and Hot Snakes, while Mike Blaha (vocals and baritone guitar), Jim Blaha (guitar and vocals) and Dave Roper (drums) stay in the mid-range in not using a bass but deftly mixing surf rock and garage punk into their own unique sound. And now all four musicians have teamed up as Swami John Reis & the Blind Shake (above, performing “Sets of Fire” live). They holed up at Pacific Beach in San Diego to record the recently released Modern Surf Classics (stream it below). According to Nerdist, “It’s reverb heavy and certainly surf infused, but make no mistake, this is a hard rockin’ endless summer. It’s punk rock: fast and furious.” And you can see them perform live tomorrow at Mercury Lounge. Brooklyn four-piece the So So Glos opens the show.

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Ariel Pink Headlines Terminal 5 Tomorrow Night

February 24th, 2015

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ariel Rosenberg has been making music (from lo-fi psychedelic pop to smooth jazz to melodic dance beats) on his own terms as Ariel Pink for more than a decade. He’d recorded hundreds of tracks at home before sharing some of them with members of Animal Collective, who, ultimately, decided to release his music on their Paw Tracks label. After teaming up for several years with the talented backing band the Haunted Graffiti, Ariel Pink (above, doing “Put Your Number in My Phone” for Morning Becomes Eclectic on KCRW FM) decided to go solo (in name at least) for last year’s acclaimed double LP Pom Pom (stream it below). Per Spin, “Ariel Pink makes another wondrous mess with Pom Pom,” and “the 36-year-old mad scientist has finally developed a full-length that does right by the songwriting sensibility that’s led to collaborations with fellow pop-world oddballs simultaneously keeping his peculiar personality at the center.” But no matter who backs Pink, he remains an engaging live performer. And he just so happens to have one last stop on this leg of his American tour tomorrow night at Terminal 5. John Webster Johns’ Jack Name opens the show.

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Don’t Miss a Soulful Saturday Lineup at Terminal 5

February 20th, 2015

JJ Grey (vocals, piano, guitar and harmonica) grew up outside Jacksonville, Fla., with twin interests in surfing and music. That second one eventually blossomed into a band— currently with Anthony “AC” Cole (drums), Jeff Dazey (sax), Anthony Farrell (organ), Dennis Marion (trumpet), Todd Smallie (bass) and Andrew Trube (guitar)—playing a stew of North Florida influences: country, blues, gospel, funk, R&B and Southern rock, turning JJ Grey & Mofro (above, doing “99 Shades of Crazy” for KINK FM) into cult favorites in the process, thanks to their gritty soulful performances. The band’s most recent full-length, Ol’ Glory (stream it below), comes out next week, but you can probably hear some of the new tunes on Saturday at Terminal 5. And as an added bonus, Bayou soul singer Marc Broussard and local rockers the London Souls open the show.

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Emmy the Great Plays the Early Show Tomorrow at Mercury Lounge

February 18th, 2015

Inventive singer-songwriter and guitarist Emma-Lee Moss has been a part of London’s anti-folk movement for close to a decade, performing with Noah and the Whale and Lightspeed Champion, and doing her own thing as Emmy the Great. Her debut full-length, First Love (stream it below), written on the heels of a breakup, came out in 2009 to some considerable plaudits. According to Drowned in Sound, “Emmy the Great’s debut is a triumph, with a maturity beyond her years, and with a humor no less enjoyable for being subtler.” Virtue (stream it below) arrived two years later, again following a breakup—this time the dissolution of an engagement. And again critics were impressed. BBC Music labeled the LP “a dense, accomplished set of songs” and “an extraordinarily confident work, shaped by confusion and turmoil.” Emmy the Great (above, doing “Paper Forest: In the Afterglow of Rapture” for Amazing Radio) recently returned with a new EP, S (stream it below), about a month ago. Per Drowned in Sound, “This is the richest, most musically complex she has ever been…. Even that voice has learned tricks, becoming jazzier and more experienced sounding. It’s quite something.” Of course, Emmy the Great is quite something when performing live. And you can catch her doing just that tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Electro-pop duo Clementine and the Galaxy opens the show.

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Two Nights of Brooke Fraser to Close Out the Workweek in NYC

February 12th, 2015

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brooke Fraser began making a winning brand of folk pop in 2003 with the release of her debut full-length, What to Do with Daylight (stream it below). But it was actually her third album, the universally acclaimed Flags (stream it below)—out in 2010—that made a name for her outside of her native New Zealand. Glide magazine called it “a wonder … drenched in beauty,” claiming that she “is not just another in a long line of pop singer-songwriters who get by on their looks and marginal talent. Her observations alone about the human condition cause this collection of songs to rise above the efforts of many of her contemporaries, and her rich vocals combine with the plethora of piano pop-rock sounds and sometimes otherworldly accompaniments to make the whole experience even more impressive.” In the time since her previous release, Fraser (above, performing “Kings & Quesns” live) has moved in a different musical direction, as evidenced by last year’s Brutal Romantic (stream it below). Per AllMusic, “An acoustic songbird trying on an edgier pop sound isn’t necessarily a revolution, but this sea change still feels pretty dramatic.” Witness it for yourself when Fraser plays The Bowery Ballroom tonight and Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow. L.A. artist Nick Long’s Dark Waves opens both shows.

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Wardell Celebrate a New Release Tonight at Mercury Lounge

February 11th, 2015

Brother and sister Theo (a onetime House List writer) and Sasha Spielberg began making music as Wardell several years ago in Los Angeles. Influenced by the disparate likes of Led Zeppelin, Fiona Apple, the Strokes and Joni Mitchell, the bicoastal (he in New York City, she in L.A.) indie-folk duo put out their aptly named debut EP, Brother/Sister (stream it below), in 2013, with Sasha on vocals and Theo handling the instrumentation. Afterward, they really began to work on their sound while performing live, including a plum gig opening for Vampire Weekend and Haim at last year’s SXSW. Today, Wardell (above, doing “Funny Thing” and “Love/Idleness”) see the release of their debut full-length, the charmingly easygoing Love/Idleness (stream it below). And they celebrate its release tonight at Mercury Lounge. Bushwick dream-pop four-piece Arc Waves open the show.

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Tom Vek Plays Rough Trade NYC Tomorrow Night

February 10th, 2015

While studying graphic design, Tom Vek also spent years writing and recording in his parents’ London basement, but his hobby paid off and became his profession. Vek’s debut album, We Have Sound (stream it below), came out in 2005. Critics mentioned Beck and LCD Soundsystem, and AllMusic called it a “brash mix of indie rock and dance,” further proclaiming that the singer-songwriter “manages to make this fusion of styles sound organic instead of opportunistic.” His follow-up didn’t arrive until 2011, but Leisure Seizure (stream it below) turned out to be well worth the wait. NME rang in with a rousing review: “Vek truly exploits the benefits of being in a one-man band: all instruments and ideas can be used as often or as sparingly as he likes…. Vek may be out of time but he’s also out of this world.” Fortunately, Vek (above, performing “Sherman (Animals in the Jungle)” in studio for KCRW FM) didn’t disappear nearly as long before his third album, Luck (stream it below), came out last year. Per the Guardian, “A six-year gap divided his debut and 2011’s Leisure Seizure, and though his third arrives comparatively promptly, every lurching guitar line and electronic squiggle sounds like it was planned with meticulous care. That could be a problem, leaching Vek’s offbeat pop of energy and life, but the more he works dissonant elements into these songs, the more thrillingly unbalanced they feel.” See him tomorrow night at Rough Trade NYC, when he will feature the more electronic side of his repertoire and reimagined versions of songs, accompanied with synchronized visuals showcasing the strong graphic design that accompanies his releases.

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Ahead of Their Debut EP Prinze George Play Mercury Lounge Tonight

February 10th, 2015

Naomi Almquist (vocals) and Kenny Grimm (production and multi-instrumentalist) grew up as childhood friends outside Washington, D.C., in Prince George’s County, Md. Later, the two met Isabelle De Leon (drums) while she was in college and things took off from there, forming the band Prinze George, now based in Brooklyn, in 2013. Almquist has a keen interest in bands fronted by women, so it should probably come as no surprise that the hook-heavy pop singles they’ve released have won the band comparisons to the likes of Lana Del Rey and MS MR. Their debut EP comes out next month, but you can catch Prinze George—along with Ayertonight at Mercury Lounge.

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Robert Earl Keen Celebrates New Album Over Two Nights Next Week

February 6th, 2015

Legendary Texas country singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen self-financed his debut album, No Kinda Dancer (stream it below), which struck a winning balance between sensitive and raucous, back in 1984. And the Houston native has been a road warrior ever since, knocking out up to 200 shows a year in the ’90s, and even becoming known for the aptly titled “The Road Goes on Forever.” But of course it’s easy to play live when you’ve got so much material. And Keen has put out six live albums, a host of singles and he releases his 12th full-length, Happy Prisoners: The Bluegrass Sessions, next Tuesday. Robert Earl Keen (above, doing “What I Really Mean” live in studio for KDHX FM) celebrates its release with a pair of New York City shows next week, at The Bowery Ballroom on Monday night and at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Tuesday. Do your best to catch him live at least once. You’ll be glad you did.

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Three Hannibal Buress Shows Tonight and Tomorrow

February 6th, 2015

Hannibal Buress was born in Chicago, but he’s made a name for himself in comedy in New York City, writing for and appearing on local shows like Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, Broad City and High Maintenance while building up his standup career to the point he stars in his own comedy specials and travels the country as a headliner. And this weekend, Buress brings the Comedy Camisado Tour back home to perform at the Space at Westbury tonight, both early and late, and at the Capitol Theatre tomorrow night.