Tag Archives: Brooklyn

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Violents and Monica Martin Bring Their Dream Pop to Brooklyn

April 27th, 2017

Violents and Monica Martin – Rough Trade NYC – April 26, 2017


Collaboration (noun): the action of working with someone to produce or create something. Jeremy Larson is a master collaborator and the man behind the indie collective Violents. The multi-instrumentalist not only plays all the music he has composed, but he also writes all of the lyrics. The hitch is that he partners with a female vocalist to bring each of these pieces to fruition. Previous collaborators have included Stacy King (Eisley, Sucre), Olga Yagolnikov (Kye Kye) and Nashville, Tenn., singer Annie Williams. For the first full-length record, Awake and Pretty Much Sober, Larson enlisted Phox frontwoman Monica Martin to flesh out his compositions with her sultry vocals.

Two days before the release of the album, Violents and Monica Martin played their first performance during an afternoon session at the Paste Studios before gracing the stage of Rough Trade NYC last night for their debut concert. Accompanied by the string quartet Rootstock Republic and a drummer (Joe), the duo opened with the glittering “Equal Power,” the first of four tracks released prior to the album. The performance would debut six additional songs, from the come-hither lullaby “Line Lie” to the trip-hop groove of “It Won’t Stop.” Throughout the set, clips of cinematic scenes played, including the iconic dance sequence from House Party providing the backdrop for “Hue.”

Midway through the show, Larson told the story of how the partnership formed after being a long admirer of Martin’s. He confessed he was a little cocky writing songs especially meant for her to sing before ever meeting the vocalist. Luckily a mutual friend got them connected and the rest is history. Martin added that a “shared insecurity” manifested with her singing lyrics she hadn’t written and Larson relinquishing vocal duties. As if new songs weren’t enough to satisfy the crowd, Martin proceeded to cover Frank Ocean’s “Self Control.” The evening was a reverie of dream pop that concluded with the title track and the apt closer “How It Left.” —Sharlene Chiu

 

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Generationals – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 25, 2017

April 26th, 2017

Generationals - Music Hall of Williamsburg - April 25, 2017

Photos courtesy of Annie Kane | anniekane.work

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Balkan Beat Box Bring Their Unique Dance Party to Brooklyn Steel

April 25th, 2017

Firewater members producer-drummer Tamir Muskat and producer-saxophonist Ori Kaplan (also formerly of Gogol Bordello) were born in Israel and met in Brooklyn. United by a love of music, and playing together—as Balkan Beat Box—they blend Balkan, klezmer and Mediterranean sounds with dub, electronica and hip-hop. They perform live joined by a rotating group of musicians, but singer-percussionist Tomer Yosef has officially joined them as the third member of the band. Their fifth full-length, Shout It Out (stream it below), out last year, finds the band “as wild as ever,” according to Relix. “Shout It Out is spicy and exotic—but even a pop-radio audience could get behind it.” You can get behind it yourself when Balkan Beat Box (above, doing “I Trusted U” at Paste Studios) play Brooklyn Steel on Friday night. Das Racist’s Heems opens the show.

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Chairlift – Brooklyn Steel – April 22, 2017

April 24th, 2017

Chairlift - Brooklyn Steel - April 22, 2017

Photos courtesy of Nick Delisi | www.nickdelisi.com

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Ra Ra Riot – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 22, 2017

April 24th, 2017

Ra Ra Riot - Music Hall of Williamsburg - April 22, 2017

Photos courtesy of Annie Kane | anniekane.work

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Acid Dad – Rough Trade NYC – April 22, 2017

April 24th, 2017

Acid Dad - Rough Trade NYC - April 22, 2017

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

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Record Store Day – Rough Trade NYC – April 22, 2017

April 24th, 2017

Steve Earle - Rough Trade NYC - April 22, 2017

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

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Overcoats Sound Right at Home at Sold-Out Rough Trade NYC

April 21st, 2017

Overcoats – Rough Trade NYC – April 20, 2017

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Sisterhood runs deep between best friends Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, a bond so strong it’s birthed a band, Overcoats. The New York City–based duo’s debut, Young, is a reverie of R&B soul folktronica coproduced by Nicolas Vernhes (Daughter, Torres, Dirty Projectors, Cass McCombs) and fellow singer-songwriter Autre Ne Veut. NPR’s Bob Boilen recently described the record as “driven by ambition and passion, not craft … the emotion in their harmonies and the space they give each other is filled with compassion.” Last night, the inseparable pair graced a sold-out Rough Trade NYC on the eve of their new EP’s release, donning white jumpsuits and silver platform boots. Microphone stands adorned with flowers and garlands of cameo silhouettes set the stage as their first headlining tour opened with the rhythmic “Smaller Than My Mother.” The crowd swayed to the lullaby of “Hold Me Close” before Elion exclaimed, “We are so fucking excited to be here.”

Covering the entirety of their album with the exception of one track (“Father”), the kindred spirits garnered much love from fans as the mutual admiration between each singer was palpable. They embraced often in between songs and danced side by side without a care in the world. When introducing the debut single “Little Memory,” Elion confessed it was the first one the girls had written together. The duo covered Hozier’s “Cherry Wine” midway through the set. Elion laid her head on Mitchell’s shoulder to preface “Siren,” as she proceeded to sing, “I feel many weights of many worlds on my shoulders.” In a speech that was carved out on the set list, Mitchell offered their gratitude to touring drummer Joao Gonzalez, Andy on sound and their agents. An overwhelming acknowledgement of the upcoming year ahead left the women truly humbled before an encore of the hymnal “Mother” and the rollicking “Leave the Light On” concluded the performance with a fever pitch of participatory claps. —Sharlene Chiu

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PJ Harvey – Brooklyn Steel – April 20, 2017

April 21st, 2017

PJ Harvey - Brooklyn Steel - April 20, 2017

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Dance into the Weekend with Squirrel Nut Zippers and Ozomatli

April 20th, 2017

A pair of genre-spanning bands, each known for energetic, fiery live performances—the Chapel Hill, N.C. outfit Squirrel Nut Zippers (above, rehearsing “Plenty More”) and Los Angeles collective Ozomatli (below, performing “Como Vez” live in concert for Paste)—have united together to bring their music to the people. Squirrel Nut Zippers have been mashing together swing music, punk and jazz for nearly 25 years, and they’ve been celebrating the 20th anniversary of their second studio full-length, Hot (stream it below). For roughly the same amount of time, Ozomatli have been expertly blending hip-hop, Chicano rock, reggae, world music and Latin sounds, winning over fans in the process, thanks to their exceptional stage presence and recorded fare, like 2014’s Place in the Sun (stream it below), resulting in AllMusic saying the band’s “become masters of their trade, crafting a supremely engaging album that hits the musical sweet spot every time.” Their combined tour launched in March and with it winding down now, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Ozomatli come to Brooklyn Steel tomorrow night.

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The Decemberists Drop In on New Venue Brooklyn Steel

April 18th, 2017

The Decemberists – Brooklyn Steel – April 17, 2017

image(The Decemberists play Brooklyn Steel again tonight and tomorrow.)

Not to show my age or anything, but (I looked it up), the first time I saw the Decemberists was at the relatively intimate Mercury Lounge nearly 14 years ago. Back then it was as equally inconceivable that a venue like Brooklyn Steel could exist where it now does as it was that the Decemberists might headline one of its first run of shows. The Decemberists were “Portland” before “Portland” was a thing—or “Williamsburg” was a thing for that matter—and still have the same magic today that they did back then. Kicking off the first of three shows in the brand-new room, they felt like an old friend stopping in for a visit. Before we get to their set, though, I have to spare a sentence or two for Julien Baker, who induced chills in the opening slot, reducing the large venue with just her guitar and voice, commanding the place as if holding a heart-to-heart in a living room. If you’re going to one of the next two nights, don’t miss her.

The Decemberists took the stage to a literal fanfare over the PA, frontman Colin Meloy announcing, “Welcome to Night One,” not even waiting until the first song to play with the crowd, joining in on drummer John Moen’s intro to playact lifting up the audience. By the time “The Infanta” began in full, the band and audience were already locked in for a long night of Decemberists-induced fun. With Meloy’s judicious use of the dramatic pause and the lights momentarily catching the disco ball, bathing the crowd in stars, Brooklyn Steel was immediately transformed. Without a new album to promote, the band was free to play from across their vast catalog, and it only took a couple of songs to realize that you could fill quite a few sets with “greatest hits,” things rolling with “We Both Go Down Together” (introduced as Donald Trump Jr. fan fiction) and a sing-along “Down by the Water.” With slight tweaks on their instruments, like guitarist Chris Funk moving to pedal steel or Jenny Conlee picking up her accordion, the band transformed their sound, gypsy swing to fantastical prog rock, all while Meloy sang his pitch-perfect songs, usually of woe, creating new worlds within the greater Decemberists universe.

Olivia Cheney came out to guest on a debut song from a reported fuller collaboration with her, which stretched that universe even more, the band becoming backing musicians as she sang and played harpsicord-esque runs on the keyboard. Another new tune, introduced as “about the state of the union,” centered on the joyful phrase “everything is awful,” but it was actually a rather exultant number, easily inducing the audience to sing along with the chorus. The show closed with more well-worn, well-loved Decemberists material—too many songs to list—including an extended mini-suite from the more-than-10-years-old-but-still-feels-new album The Crane Wife and a fun version of “Chimbley Sweep” complete with a guitar-accordion duel that played like a short skit. Meloy was, as always, equally adept with between-song banter. I mean, who throws out the phrase “conviviality of a campfire” in casual conversation? But the evening did have that intimate feeling, just another evening with old friends. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Chairlift on 4/22

April 18th, 2017

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Brooklyn avant-pop duo Chairlift return home for their final performance as a band on Saturday night at Brooklyn Steel. And while the show is already sold out, The House List is giving away two tickets. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. 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 (Chairlift, 4/22) and a brief message explaining why you just have to be there on Saturday night to say farewell. Eddie Bruiser, who will be there for the festivities himself, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Surfer Blood Bring New Music to Music Hall of Williamsburg Thursday

April 17th, 2017

Bands get formed for all kinds of reasons, but those who started Surfer Blood did it to play music as much as possible—to record an album and tour nonstop. They made a name for themselves, locally at least, during CMJ Music Marathon 2009, and then even more so with the arrival of their well-received debut, Astro Coast (stream it below), in 2010. The band “has become a standard bearer of the wi-fi lo-fi era in short order,” proclaimed PopMatters. “The highest praise you can give an album like Astro Coast is that it sounds like something completely familiar that you haven’t heard before.” Surfer Blood (above, doing “Six Flags in F or G” for KEXP FM) have remained busy touring and recording ever since. And although group has dealt with death and lineup changes, they continue to persevere. Their fourth studio album, Snowdonia (stream it below), came out this past February. “There’s a clear sense of melancholy and yearning, but there’s also optimism spilling out from the edges,” according to the Line of Best Fit. “Grief and hardship have changed Surfer Blood, there’s no denying that. But they deserve praise for making a record that still has its own joie de vivre and doesn’t completely overhaul the alphabet that has made the band a success in the first place.” See them on Thursday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Brooklyn trio Lazyeyes open the show.

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Get a Dose of String Music with Mipso at Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 17th, 2017

Jacob Sharp (mandolin and vocals) and Joseph Terrell (guitar and vocals) first teamed up musically while students at UNC-Chapel Hill. Wanting to form a band focusing on bluegrass and Appalachian folk, they added Wood Robinson (bass and vocals), and two became three. With their sound still evolving, a couple of years ago, Mipso (above, performing “Coming Down the Mountain” for 89.3 FM the Current) blossomed from a trio into a quartet with the addition of Libby Rodenbough (fiddle and vocals). Their fourth LP, Coming Down the Mountain (stream it below), was released just a few weeks ago. Roots-music journal No Depression says it’s “an album of 10 tunes that explore that tender spot just past the midpoint of your 20s, where the band now resides, when you’re taking stock of the past while looking to the future. Just as in that stage of life, the album exudes a sense of wistfulness among moments of joy, a few worries amid youthful confidence. Some regrets mingle with a wide-open view of the future.” Now touring behind their new material, Mipso play Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday night, and the like-minded 10 String Symphony open the show.

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Spafford’s Hot Streak Continues at Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 14th, 2017

Spafford – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 13, 2017

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The jam-band scene is a happy-eyed, self-sustaining beast: Young bands grow to become veteran and vanguard bands—just as they did a generation earlier in the post–Grateful Dead afterglow—and then do their part to support the next generation of improvisers and torchbearers. Fans do the same: Word of mouth does wonders for long-term support of a fledgling jam band like in no other pocket of the music scene, especially as buzz builds and what was seemingly moments ago a regional favorite is now a headliner with national buzz, collecting believers left and right.

And so, as of April 2017, goes Spafford, the Arizona-based four-piece on a true hot streak, coming off a summer tour opening for Umphrey’s McGee, and now, as evidenced by a slam-bang show last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, well worthy of the spot atop bills. Despite mounting their first national tour less than a year ago, Spafford are a band with “future vanguard” written all over them. They played until well after midnight: two sets of shape-shifting, rigorously funky groove music that hit all the hallmarks—segues, guests (what up, Todd Stoops!), well-chosen covers that added but didn’t dominate, plus lengthy, unhurried workouts on songs with names like “Slip and Squander,” “Electric Taco Stand” and “In the Eyes of Thieves,” that last one a hot groover that emerged from a spookily psychedelic place and built to peak after hammering peak with screaming guitar.

People have grabbed on to Spafford early because there’s a lot to grab. I liked the patient builds and forward-looking improvisations, which didn’t feel like extended vamps—didn’t revel in ambient noise—and seemed to have a destination in mind even as they slowly unfolded. “America,” a chugging, panoramic road trip, was a great example. I liked their Dead cover, “Feel Like a Stranger,” soaked in keys and perfect for who the band is. I liked the filthy disco of “Ain’t That Wrong,” with Stoops spider-handing the keys. I liked “Beautiful Day,” an anthemic stroll that hit somewhere among Phish, Ben Harper and Bill Withers. It segued into “Leave the Light On” to close the second set—lilting, a little tentative, and then building into one more jammy release. I like that these guys trust one another and can demonstrate, astonishingly well sometimes, a deeply connected understanding of where they want to take a song, instead of just surrounding the guitar player and letting him cut loose every four minutes.—Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson