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Two Nights of the Fauntleroys and Their Rock and Roll Swagger

October 7th, 2014

Longtime friends Alejandro Escovedo (vocals and bass), Ivan Julian (guitar and vocals) and Nicholas Tremulis (guitar and vocals) had never done much together musically prior to coming together in Julian’s Lower East Side recording studio (just a block from The Bowery Presents’ office). Needing to round out the rhythm section, the trio added Linda Pitmon (drums) and became a quartet, the Fauntleroys. In a matter of days they’d written and recorded several songs, which are featured on the band’s debut EP, Below the Pink Pony (stream it below), out last month. AllMusic calls it a “quick, dirty and rewarding debut,” while mentioning that the Fauntleroys (above, doing “I’m in Love with Everything”) “have an appetite for serious rock swagger and big, dirty guitar riffs.” Experience that swagger for yourself live and in person tomorrow at Mercury Lounge and on Thursday at Rough Trade NYC.

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Allen Stone Headlines Terminal 5 on Thursday Night

October 7th, 2014

A self-described “hippie with a soul,” Allen Stone grew up outside Spokane, Wash., raised on gospel music. But once in his teens, he discovered secular music and took to soul, R&B and singer-songwriter fare, which should come as no surprise since as a musician he’s been compared to the heady likes of Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway. Stone’s breakthrough came with the 2011 self-release of his eponymous second album (stream it below)— rereleased the following year by ATO Records. AllMusic approved: “[O]ne would never expect to look at him that he possesses one of the most foul voices this side of Marvin Gaye, with a joyous, positive feel and energy to match…. There’s a bright future here. Soul is where you find it.” A follow-up album (stream a preview below) is due out later this year, and while Stone’s voice is terrific in its recorded form, the engaging, energetic performer (above, covering “Is This Love” at last year’s Bonnaroo) is best experienced live. And he just so happens to be playing Terminal 5 on Thursday night. Boston R&B five-piece Bad Rabbits and Los Angeles pop and soul singer Roméo Testa open the show.

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Bear Hands Stay Local to Play The Bowery Ballroom Tonight

October 6th, 2014

The Brooklyn quartet Bear Hands—Ted Feldman (guitar), Val Loper (bass), Dylan Rau (vocals and guitar) and TJ Orscher (drums)—got started when Feldman and Rau met in college. The duo then paired up with Loper and Orscher, who had been involved in hardcore-punk bands, and they suddenly had a post-punk experimental sound. Their first EP, Golden (stream it below), came out in 2007 and Bear Hands (above, playing “Giants” for KEXP FM) eventually got a plum gig opening for MGMT. (Rau had attended Wesleyan with that band’s Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser.) A proper LP, Burning Bush Supper Club (stream it below), came out in 2010, and even the noted cynics at Pitchfork were impressed: “Bear Hands excel at crafting songs that chug manically under a cloud of reverb or coax wallflowers out onto the dance floor with an infectious marriage of musical precision and experimental messiness.” The four-piece returned earlier this year with their sophomore LP, Distractions (stream it below). “By giving up some their raucous, more punk-inspired roots, Bear Hands have collectively grown as both songwriters and shapers of sounds,” said Consequence of Sound before declaring an “undying punk ethos still shines thanks to their insatiable sense of curiosity and utter creative fearlessness.” See them play The Bowery Ballroom tonight. Local quintet Ski Lodge open the show.

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La Roux Brings New Music to Terminal 5 Tomorrow Night

October 3rd, 2014

English Singer-songwriter Elly Jackson’s synth-pop act La Roux began when she was introduced to producer-keyboardist Ben Langmaid in 2006. Their self-titled debut (stream it below) arrived in 2009 to nearly universal acclaim. “A childhood spent listening to folk and rock and roll can be heard in the simultaneous appreciation of songcraft and rejection of traditionalism that is evidenced by the ferocious pace of the opening quartet of cut-glass chart-toppers,” said NME before declaring it “a nigh-on flawless album.” Eventually Jackson and Langmaid parted ways, but La Roux undoubtedly continues. Her follow-up album, Trouble in Paradise (stream it below), came out this past July—and despite the time off between releases, critics were again impressed. The Guardian said, “The end result was well worth the wait” and “Almost sickeningly overburdened with fantastic tunes, Trouble in Paradise may well be not just a triumph against the odds, but the best pop album we’ll hear this year.” Discover how it all sounds live when La Roux (above, performing “In for the Kill”) plays Terminal 5 tomorrow night.

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Barcelona Play the Late Show Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

October 3rd, 2014

Brian Fennell (vocals and guitar), Branden Cate (keys and vocals) and Rhett Stonelake (drums and vocals)—have been making harmonious, melodic rock as Barcelona for nearly a decade. Their debut full-length, Absolutes, was released in 2007 and rereleased two years later. Per Absolute Punk, “Absolutes is a stunning movement of intelligent, atmospheric, and hey!, catchy pop music.” Their follow-up, Not Quite Yours (stream it below), out in 2012, involved more of the Seattle trio’s soulful, sultry rock. But Barcelona (above, performing “Fall in Love” for Audiotree Live) have moved in a different direction with the R&B-inflected Melodrama, three EPs released earlier this year “that explore the landscape of learning to love and be loved.” See them play the late show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Arrive early to catch the Philly trio Bel Heir.

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Bass Center VIII: Bassnectar Plays a Big Show in a Big Room

October 2nd, 2014

DJ and producer Lorin Ashton has been winning over fans across the world as Bassnectar thanks to his wild live performances and incredible light shows, not to mention his activism and community engagement. Several years ago Bassnectar kicked off his first regional event called a Bass Center. And the most recent installment, Bass Center VIII, comes to Madison Square Garden on Saturday night. Per Ashton himself, “It’s a ‘Come One, Come All’ special event, with people traveling from all corners, coming from miles around, road tripping, hitchhiking, sky diving, teleporting by any means necessary to gather under one roof for the 8th Bass Center: our largest, wildest, noisiest and most beautiful to date.” And of course, Bassnectar won’t be going it alone. Not only can you expect a huge dance party and a crazy light show, but he’ll also be joined by like-minded acts Big Gigantic, Rusko and Paper Diamond. Come be a part of the party. It will be one not to miss.

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Catch Real Estate Live at Terminal 5 Tomorrow Night

October 1st, 2014

Alex Bleeker (bass), Martin Courtney (vocals and guitar) and Matt Mondanile (guitar) grew up together in Ridgewood, N.J. “We all went to high school together. And we’ve been playing together forever,” says frontman and former Titus Andronicus member Courtney. So they logically formed a band, Real Estate, and were eventually joined by Jonah Mauer (keys) and Jackson Pollis (drums). Over the course of two equally well-received spare, lo-fi albums, a self-titled debut (stream it below) in 2009 and 2011’s Days (stream it below), they’ve made lush, rolling soundscapes of dreamy psychedelic surf rock you could easily get lost in. But on their third album, last spring’s Atlas (stream it below), Real Estate (above, playing “Criminal”) have gone a bit mellower and more nuanced. Pitchfork says the band’s sound hasn’t changed, but their mood has: “The result is at once their most forlorn album and their most beautiful.” Find out for yourself tomorrow at Terminal 5.

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Tycho Closes American Tour Tomorrow at Terminal 5

September 30th, 2014

Scott Hansen is a man of many talents—and of several names. Under the moniker ISO50, he’s a graphic designer well known for his pastoral, sunny style. This serves him well, providing eye-opening backdrops when, using synths and sampled live instrumentation, he makes dreamy music as Tycho. “I want the music to be a soundtrack to a visual experience where both the audio and the visual aspects of the live show are equally important to the audience,” he says. The San Francisco–based producer and musician uses swirling melodies along with halting beats and sampled vocals to paint a rolling sonic picture. His second full-length, 2011’s Dive (stream it below), earned Tycho (above, performing “Montana” on KCRW FM’s Morning Becomes Eclectic) comparisons to M83 and Neon Indian. On Hansen’s third album, Awake (stream it below), out earlier this year, he employs live musicians. Per Filter, “Silky, swirly synths still abound on Awake, but the groove of live bass, guitar and drums advance Tycho’s sound and put the songs right into the proverbial pocket. Shit, it actually sounds like these dudes are having fun.” Have fun yourself when Tycho closes out the American leg of his tour tonight at Termial 5.

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Tina Dico Brings New Music to The Bowery Ballroom Tonight

September 30th, 2014

Inspired by the likes of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, Danish singer-songwriter Tina Dico is most well know for what AllMusic calls “heavenly vocals and a poignant writing style.” After discussions with several labels around the turn of the century proved to be underwhelming, she formed her own label, Finest Gramophone to put out her first album, Fuel (stream it below), back in 2001. Since then, Dico (above, performing “Drifting”) has remained an important presence on the Copenhagen music scene and across Europe. Her most recent release, Whispers (stream it below), came out about a month ago to some fairly high praise, including from the Boston Globe: “As a new generation of smoldering young songstresses, including Lana Del Rey, Lorde and Banks, reaches a wide mainstream audience, it’s the perfect time for the reemergence of Danish singer-songwriter Tina Dico. Her latest studio effort is a richly rewarding, complex reflection on love, loss and acceptance.” See this big-voiced, engaging live performer tonight at The Bowery Ballroom. Josh Mease’s Lapland opens the show.

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The Prolific Ron Pope Plays Webster Hall Tomorrow Night

September 26th, 2014

Brooklyn’s Ron Pope is a DIY kind of guy: He plays guitar, writes, composes, records, produces and even manages his own career. The prolific musician’s been making his own brand of earnest, melodic rock since 2007. On his ninth studio album, Calling Off the Dogs (stream it below), Pope (above, performing an acoustic rendition of “Lick My Woods” on his couch) investigates some new musical terrain. It “finds the passionate singer-songwriter expanding upon his rootsy sound with a set of atmospheric, moody songs,” said AllMusic. “Recorded with a broad sonic palette that features layered, evocative guitar, delicate piano, electronic beats and, as always, Pope’s yearning vocals, Calling Off the Dogs is one of his most mature albums to date.” See him play Webster Hall tomorrow night. Brooklyn four-piece Frances Cone and Atlanta quartet Von Grey open the show.

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A Celebration Record-Release Party at Mercury Lounge

September 25th, 2014

Married couple Katrina Ford (vocals and percussion) and Sean Antanaitis (multiple instruments) began making music together in Ann Arbor, Mich., before trying out Chicago and then New Orleans prior to settling into Baltimore’s rich local music scene. Once there, they teamed up with David Bergander (drums) to form Celebration—Tony Drummond (keys), Tommy Rouse (guitar) and Walker Teret (bass) have since joined the band. The group’s brooding self-titled debut album, produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek, came out in 2005. AllMusic weighed in: “Theatrical and heartfelt, Celebration is a fully realized debut that promises even better things to come.” Last month the six-piece (above, doing “Tomorrow’s Here Today” for WTMD FM) released their fourth studio LP, Albumin (stream it below), filled with psychedelic rock and soul. AllMusic said, “They take their massive sound in directions that show they can do much more than glowering post-punk and glowing dream pop.” Join the party when Celebration, well, celebrate the new album’s release tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Keeping it in Charm City, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat opens the show with a heavy dose of drum, bass and reverb.

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Broken Bells Play Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on Friday Night

September 24th, 2014

Brian Burton—aka Danger Mouse—was already renowned for his considerable production work and being one half of Gnarls Barkley, and James Mercer was best known for fronting the Shins when the two combined forces to form Broken Bells in 2010. In calling their self-titled debut album (stream it below) “a sweet ’n’ sour and head-spinningly trippy set,” BBC Music declared, “Rarely have such brooding sentiments sounded so alluring.” And while some thought this would only be a one-off, Burton and Mercer remained true to their word about forming a band rather than making an album together just once. In fact they returned this past winter with their sophomore effort, After the Disco (stream it below). Spin mentioned “the idea of Broken Bells as a partnership built on the past’s vision of the future” and also called it “the rare, superior sequel—think Toy Story 2.” And although Broken Bells (above, doing “Perfect World” on Live on Letterman) record as a duo, they perform live as a full band. Go see them outside on Friday night at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser opens the show.

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With a New Album, My Brightest Diamond Plays The Bowery Ballroom

September 23rd, 2014

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Shara Worden has employed many of her considerable talents in mixing cabaret, chamber music, opera and rock as My Brightest Diamond for nearly a decade. The operatically trained vocalist’s debut full-length, Bring Me the Workhorse (stream it below), arrived in 2006 on Sufjan Stevens’ label, Asthmatic Kitty. Pitchfork noted the “accomplished, graceful music” in praising it. My Brightest Diamond (above, performing at the Haldern Pop Festival live on Rockpalast) has since made a bigger sounding album, 2008’s A Thousand Shark’s Teeth (stream it below)— replete with 20 musicians including a string section—and a boundary-pushing LP influenced by her Detroit roots—2011’s All Things Will Unwind (stream it below). And on her fourth full-length, This Is My Hand (stream it below), out last week, she, again, moves in a different direction. NME gushes, “Shara Worden makes a bid to join the U.S. experimental pop pantheon.” And according to AllMusic, “this unlikely but captivating combination of high art and pop culture delivers some of Worden’s most creative and fully realized music.” The one-time New Yorker returns to play The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday. Another talented genre-blending singer-songwriter, Doe Paoro, opens the show.

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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.