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The Felice Brothers Bring New Music to Webster Hall Tomorrow

July 8th, 2014

The Felice Brothers—led by brothers Ian (vocals, guitar), James (accordion, organ and vocals) and Simone (drums, guitar and vocals)—originally from the Catskills in upstate New York, first got started by playing their dad’s barbecues. Eventually they made their way to Brooklyn and began busking in various New York City subway stations. Since then, their roots-rock sound has taken them to Mountain Jam, Bonnaroo even Levon Helm’s barn for one of his now-legendary Midnight Rambles. But as the group has grown in size and stature (although Simone has departed to front his own band), there’s been no shortage of recorded music. On their previous studio release, Celebration, Florida (stream it below), the group successfully mined new musical terrain, employing electronic and synth sounds (think: less Basement Tapes and more hip-hop). But the Felice Brothers (above, doing “Meadow of a Dream”) return to their earthy roots with the recently released Favorite Waitress (stream it below), out last month. American Songwriter declares, “This is challenging Americana that never takes its audience, or its influences, for granted.” And Consequence of Sound calls the album “a return to their bare-bones roots music,” while adding, “the Felice Brothers have elevated their songwriting without losing their rambunctious charm.” Of course, these guys are most well known for their rollicking live performances, and they just so happen to play Webster Hall tomorrow night. Gifted singer-songwriter Robert Ellis opens the show.

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French Style Furs Celebrate Album with a Pair of Shows Next Week

July 3rd, 2014

A pair of Cold War Kids, singer-guitarist Nathan Willett and bassist Matt Maust, have hooked up with a barbarian—make that one of We Barbarians—drummer Nathan Warkentin, to form the brand new trio French Style Furs (above, performing “All the Way Down” for KCRW FM’s Morning Becomes Eclectic). The band’s name comes from a random Greenpoint, Brooklyn, storefront. The three recorded their debut LP, Is Exotic Bait (stream some of it below), in Kings County, and it comes out next Tuesday. Consequence of Sound writes: “While Willet still hits his trademark piercing high notes, tracks like ‘Turn or Burn’ find him exploring the lower registers of his voice, often creating a much more haunting and morose sentiment. Maust’s super-fuzzed-out bass, paired with Warketin’s super-sludgy drumming, focuses the album on a rolling, slow burn that rises and falls with emotion and tenacity.” French Style Furs celebrate their album’s release with a pair of shows, on Monday at Mercury Lounge and on Wednesday at Rough Trade NYC.

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Dance Your Way into a Long Weekend Tomorrow at Music Hall

July 2nd, 2014

Songwriter and synth-pop musician Vince Clarke (above, performing a live DJ set) has been a vital cog in that scene for decades, early on in bands like Depeche Mode and Erasure—and later remixing the likes of Simple Minds and Franz Ferdinand. And in a very special appearance, he comes to Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night alongside another synth-influenced musician (and founder of the influential Mute Records), Daniel Miller. Miller (below, perhaps his best known song, “Warm Leatherette”), who performs under the name the Normal, and Clarke will both be doing DJ sets, and as an added bonus, New York City fixture Alex English opens the show. And as another added bonus, Thursday is Clarke’s birthday.

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Pay Tribute to Some Classics Tomorrow at The Bowery Ballroom

June 27th, 2014

Mötley Crüe teamed up with Guns N’ Roses on a 1987 tour well known for its debauchery, and a pair of high-energy, all-girl tribute bands “plan on bringing the same spirit to The Bowery Ballroom” tomorrow night: Girls Girls Girls do all of Cruë’s sophomore album, Shout at the Devil (stream it above), and the Slash-approved Guns N’ Hoses play highlights of GNR’s Use Your Illusion I and II (stream them below). And as an added bonus Cheap Trick or Treat will play Cheap Trick’s fantastic second album, In Color (stream it below). Join in on the party tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom.

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White Lung Bring New Tunes to Mercury Lounge Tonight

June 26th, 2014

Vancouver punks White Lung came out swinging when their debut album, the brash It’s the Evil (stream it below), arrived in 2010. They returned with the even more energetic (and more melodic) Sorry (stream it below) in 2012. AllMusic said, “Already at the head of the punk revival in the Great White North, White Lung make their case as one of the best bands of their kind anywhere with Sorry, picking up where they left off two years ago almost seamlessly while innovating just enough to ready them for a larger stage.” Rolling Stone calls frontwoman Mish Way “one of the smartest and fiercest singers in the underground,” and alongside drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou and guitarist Kenneth William—bassist Hether Fortune joins the three on the road—White Lung (above, their video for “Down with the Monster”) just released their third album, Deep Fantasy (stream it below), last week. Time Out New York calls it “defiantly aggressive” and says, “When the year ends, it might be hard to find a record that’s both as catchy and in-your-face.” Let White Lung get in your face tonight at Mercury Lounge.

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Wakey!Wakey! Return Home to Play Music Hall of Williamsburg

June 25th, 2014

Before forming the chamber-pop group Wakey!Wakey! in Brooklyn more than a half decade ago, Michael Grubbs—influenced by the likes of Billy Joel and Elton John—was active in bar bands, musical theater and the anti-folk scene on the Lower East Side. Wakey!Wakey! (above, performing “Phoebe Cates”) first broke into the mainstream when the single “War Sweater” landed on an episode of One Tree Hill in 2009. Their most recent full-length, Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said the Last Time I Saw You… (stream it below), came out in 2010, featuring piano-driven rock backed by a variety of instruments, including violins, cello and bass. AbsolutePunk said it “may arguably be one of the year’s best releases. As the piano-pop genre continues to deflate, Grubbs and company just might be the ones to save it.” But Wakey!Wakey! have a brand new studio album, the upbeat Salvation, due out next month, and ahead of its release, they come home to play Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. Roots-rockers Chris Cubeta and the Liars Club and singer-songwriter Casey Shea open the show.

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Smoky Troubadour Jolie Holland Plays Music Hall of Williamsburg

June 23rd, 2014

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jolie Holland grew up in Texas with an affinity for folk, blues, jazz, country and rock. Her debut studio album, Escondida (stream it below), arrived in 2004 and it did not go unnoticed. It was a blend of genres held together by Holland’s smoky vocals. AllMusic said the album gives listeners an “experience that is singular, startling and soulful.” Over the ensuing years, she continued to record, tour extensively and collaborate with others. But, inspired by the live-studio recordings by the likes of Neil Young, the Rolling Stones and the Velvet Underground, Holland (above, her video for “Waiting for the Sun”) sought out a different sound on her newest full-length, Wine Dark Sea (stream it below), which came out last month. “The approach on this album is more about bandleading than anything else. On past albums, I couldn’t get people to do what I wanted them to do. More volume helped; getting more people onstage and not being polite,” she tells Mother Jones. Wine Dark Sea leans less on folk and country acoustics while embracing grungier guitars. Per AllMusic, “It’s a raw, often raucous presentation, balanced by Holland’s mature poetic vision and her continued exploration of American musical forms. She effortlessly links them, one source to another, as seemingly disparate performance styles are filtered through a universal language, the love song, and all 11 tracks here are just that.” See Jolie Holland play Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. Shy Hunters, a Brooklyn pop duo, open the show.

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Young & Sick Brings His Soulful R&B to The Bowery Ballroom

June 18th, 2014

Dutch visual artist Nick Van Hofwegen is a double threat. Before releasing any of his own material, he was already in the music industry, designing album covers—under the name Young & Sick—for the likes of Maroon 5, Foster the People and Robin Thicke. But beginning in 2012, Young & Sick began putting out several falsetto-fueled digital R&B singles before his self-titled debut full-length (stream it below) arrived this spring. AllMusic notes that “with downtempo R&B crooning, smeary washes of synths and simmering beats, delivered with so much style and graceful soul that it leaps ahead of the pack to become something of a minor classic of the form.” Young & Sick (above, doing “Glass” for Hype Machine) has also been honing his live show this year, performing at SXSW and Coachella, prior to embarking on his own North American tour this month, which brings him to The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night.

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Empires Bring New Music to Mercury Lounge Tomorrow

June 17th, 2014

Sean Van Vleet (vocals), Tom Conrad (guitar), Max Steger (guitar) and Mike Robinson (drums) formed Empires six years ago in Chicago. After releasing several singles and EPs, the garage-rock quartet put out their most recent full-length, Garage Hymns (stream it below), in 2012—its follow-up is due later this fall. Consequence of Sound noted Garage Hymns for capturing “Springsteen-esque classic-rock earnestness as well as the Gaslight Anthem and the Killers in their best moment.” Their new EP, How Good Does It Feel, arrives this week, and Empires (above, playing “How Does It Feel”) celebrate its release at the early show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Get there early to see the Philly haze-pop five-piece Cheerleader open the show.

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Get Psychedelic with Goat Tomorrow Night at Webster Hall

June 17th, 2014

The mysterious psychedelic collective Goat hail from Middle-of-Nowhere Sweden, and according to the Guardian, they mash together “funk and tribal rhythms, kraut and prog-rock repetition/extrapolation, psych freakery and astral/acid folkisms…. It’s a superjam involving Faust, Funkadelic, Fairport Convention and Fela Kuti.” Their lone full-length, World Music (stream it below), came out in 2012 to some considerable acclaim. According to BBC Music, upon listening to the album, you’ll find “that being a casual bystander simply isn’t an option: It’s all too captivating, too delirious and too gosh-darn wonderful for you not to join the fray. So surrender your mind, body and soul to the Goat and one of the year’s best albums so far.” Of course it’s worth mentioning that Goat are not just about their recorded material. In fact, their relentless performances—or “live rituals,” as they call them—are more like psychedelic costume parties, masks and all. And fresh off Bonnaroo, Goat play Webster Hall tomorrow night. Austin, Texas, garage-psych five-piece Holy Wave open the show.

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Two Nights of the Multitalented Lindsey Stirling This Week

June 16th, 2014

Lindsey Stirling is a busy woman with a wide range of musical interests. She’s a violinist, a composer, a dancer and a performance artist. And thanks to her love of EDM, classical music, dubstep and hip-hop, she’s got a unique sound all her own. People had already begun to hear of Stirling (above, performing “Shatter Me” live at the Kennedy Center), thanks to YouTube and America’s Got Talent before her self-titled debut album (stream it below) arrived in 2012. AllMusic notes that it “carves out a unique new niche in the classical-crossover genre.” But things have really taken off for Stirling with the release of her second album, Shatter Me (stream it below), earlier this year. AllMusic says it “offers up a spirited set of high-octane classical-crossover confections that occupy the barbed wire and flower petal–strewn middle ground between Evanescence, Riverdance, Skrillex and Narnia” and that “she delivers the heat with all of the fire, fury and mad, pixie-ish sweetness that drew millions of people to her Linseystomp YouTube channel.” Now out on the road in support of her new LP, she’s playing bigger rooms, which means you can see her on Wednesday night at Terminal 5 and then on Saturday at the Space at WestburyAJR, three New York City brothers, open both shows.

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The John Butler Trio Play SummerStage Tomorrow Night

June 16th, 2014

As you can probably imagine, a guy named John Butler fronts the John Butler Trio. He launched his musical career busking in the streets of his native Australia. And as a touring musician, he’s become known for his lap-steel talents and employing a wide variety of pedals and amps to distort his guitars. But despite the trio’s other two members changing over the years—Butler’s currently joined by drummer Grant Gerathy and bassist Byron Luiters—with the singer-songwriter-guitarist remaining constant, the Australian band’s penchant for anthemic tunes with socially conscious lyrics, dynamic live shows and roots-rock jamming have never subsided. The John Butler Trio (above, doing “Only One” live on Conan) released their sixth studio full-length album, Flesh & Blood (stream it below), earlier this year, and now they’re out on the road, playing festivals and big stages, like Red Rocks. But you don’t have to travel that far to see them perform because they play SummerStage tomorrow night. Expect to see a talented, road-tested band playing plenty of original material, with some covers mixed in, doing what they do best: laying it down live. And as an added bonus, you can also expect Allen Stone, who opens the show.

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Dan Croll Plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday Night

June 13th, 2014

He may be young, but there’s no doubting 23-year-old Dan Croll’s talent. The English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist mashes together folk sensibilities, electronic beats, sweet melodies, African rhythyms and a healthy dose of guitar hooks to make his own brand of smart synth pop, featured prominently on Croll’s debut album, the vibrant Sweet Disarray (stream it below), which came out earlier this year. The LP has earned him comparisons to Paul Simon and Vampire Weekend, and AllMusic hails Croll (above, doing “From Nowhere” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!) for his songwriting chops and “forward-looking experimentalism.” See him perform live on Sunday at Music Hall of Williamsburg as part of Northside Festival. I Am Oak open the show.

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Two Nights of the Legendary Aretha Franklin at Radio City Music Hall

June 12th, 2014

She is a legend, an icon—an electrifying talent with one of the most famous voices ever recorded—and she was even in The Blues Brothers. She is the Queen of Soul. She is, obviously, Aretha Franklin. You could reel off the number of awards and honors she’s won and list all of her No. 1 singles. But the thing is, for some people there’s a very clear thing they should do in life: Mark Wahlberg was not supposed to rap. Michael Jordan was not supposed to play baseball. But Aretha Franklin was supposed to sing. And, thankfully, she’s still doing it six decades later. So do yourself a favor and go see an honest-to-goodness legend performing live at the plushest room in town, Radio City Music Hall, on Saturday night and Sunday night as part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival.

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Kelis Headlines Webster Hall on Friday Night

June 11th, 2014

Kelis Rogers grew up in Harlem with music (and food) in her blood. Rogers’ father was a jazz musician, and she played a variety of instruments and sang in her church’s choir before attending the famed Fiorello H. LaGuardia School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Influenced by funk, soul and hip-hop, Kelis’s first album arrived in 1999, but it was her third album, 2003’s Tasty (stream it below), which told of how she “brings all the boys to the yard,” that made her a star. And on her most recent release, the soul-driven Food (stream it below), the Le Cordon Bleu–trained singer covers some of her favorite culinary topics. In a glowing review, Spin says the album “is teeming with warm brass and chunky riffs, with heaping hunks of vintage soul and salty slabs of funk,” and that “it’s a hearty take on soul food that still manages to shock your taste buds.” See Kelis (above, performing “Jerk Ribs” on Late Show with David Letterman) play Webster Hall on Friday night. The soulful Son Little opens the show.