Tag Archives: David Bowie

cat_reviews

Pond Evoke the Past While Providing a Glimpse at the Future

October 16th, 2014

Pond – The Bowery Ballroom – October 15, 2014

61-atxl1Having never been there, I imagine Australia to be like a bizarro northern hemisphere— perspective is flipped, up is down, the earth spinning in the other direction. For all I know, it’s possible the arrow of time is pointing in the other direction, so a band like Pond isn’t influenced by past greats, but is somehow instead influencing classic rock’s future past. As they tore through their late set last night at The Bowery Ballroom, the Perth quintet evoked the sounds of prog and psych rock—bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Black Sabbath and even David Bowie—but made these sounds their own from an alternate universe where those bands don’t even exist yet. Maybe that doesn’t make too much sense, but these are the kinds of things that run through your head when your body and brain are being jostled around by Pond’s live set.

Things got to that place quickly, particularly with “Giant Tortoise,” off last year’s Hobo Rocket, early in the set. With pixilated stripes of primary colors jiggling on the screen behind them, Pond deftly switched gears, high then low then back to high again, propelled by Jay Watson’s superlative drumming. The guys in the band didn’t seem to take themselves too seriously at all. Guitarist and lead singer Nick Allbrook wore a dress more appropriate for a picnic date and a Justin Bieber sweatshirt that only muddled the ensemble, plus he went on a long ad-libbed bit in the middle of “Fantastic Explosion of Time” that touched on a number of topics, including the taste du jour, pumpkin spice.

The music, though, twisted expertly through multisectioned compositions, heavy two-guitar rock-outs and more prog-y interludes. The crowd pulsed with each shift and crescendo, bouncing and bumping around the Ballroom floor. “Don’t Look at the Sun or You’ll Go Blind” was a brilliant Pink Floyd–as-disco jam from their back catalog, while “Xanman” was pure Sabbath fist-pumping energy. As the music pulled in different directions, Pond remained tight, largely on the strength of Watson’s intense playing and focus. The set climaxed with “You Broke My Cool,” off their 2012 album, Beard, Wives, Denim, a dense double helix of psych and funk, and the closing “Midnight Mass (At the Market Street Payphone).” That last tune was pure “save the best for last,” with a long spaced-out bridge zapped with a dreamy slide-guitar riff from Joseph Ryan. Evocative and futuristic all at once, which describes Pond through and through. —A. Stein

(Pond play Rough Trade NYC on Saturday.)

cat_preview

Twin Peaks Bring New Tunes to Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

August 12th, 2014

While it might often feel like most young, up-and-coming groups play electronic music or skew toward the New Age of folk, some bands just want to rock, and thankfully Twin Peaks are one of them. Stereogum recently proclaimed them a Band to Watch, and NME labeled them “Chicago’s most promising new band.” The four guys in the reverb-loving garage-rock outfit—Cadien Lake James (vocals and guitar), Connor Brodner (drums), Jack Dolan (vocals and bass) and Clay Frankel (vocals and guitar)—have known one another since elementary school. And they bill themselves as “four doods, gnarly ’tudes, total hunks, play to drunks” influenced by David Bowie and Marc Bolan. “You know, rock and roll still rocks on. Just because we all have computers and anybody can listen to anything, people are still digging back and finding the good shit on their computers. And they’re like, ‘Oh, the good shit has got some real instruments and shit.’ Not that synthesizers don’t have their place, but I like real instruments,” James told Stereogum. Twin Peaks (above, doing “Irene” live in studio for KEXP FM) put out their debut album, the lo-fi Sunken (stream it below), last year, and per Pitchfork, “Sunken is less than 20 minutes long, but it packs a lot of cooler and verve into that blink of an eye.” The quartet returned this year with the just-released Wild Onion (stream it below). And Consequence of Sound weighed in with a ringing endorsement: “The lesson here might be to never judge a band by its age. With just two records to their credit, Twin Peaks are quieting dissenters who might have thought they were too young or too brash to use the riches of ’60s and ’70s sounds to their scrappy advantage. Rather than a barrier, the band’s youthfulness might be their biggest weapon. They’ve (hopefully) got years ahead of them still, and listening to Wild Onion just makes you hungry to see what else they have in store.” See Twin Peaks play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Another Chicago band, the Lemons, open the show.

cat_reviews

A Top Five Look Back at 2013

January 10th, 2014


Ten days into the New Year, The House List looks back at 2013 with some Top Five lists.

My Top Five Favorite Shows
1.
The Postal Service, Barclay Center, June 14
My decade-belated live date with the Postal Service finally culminated at Barclays Center, where rabid fans, like myself, roared as Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello hit the stage. As if acting out lyrics from “Nothing Better,” Gibbard and Jenny Lewis shimmied close for the duet. Old friends reunited onstage never felt so good.

2. Haim, Webster Hall, September 3
I was late to this bandwagon, as fellow House List contributor Alex Kapelman shortlisted Haim last year for his Top Five Bowery Presents Shows of the Year. I knew I was in for a good one when I could barely find a spot in the rafters to catch the three sisters, who charmed with their onstage banter and wicked musicianship

3. Jessie Ware, The Bowery Ballroom, January 17
Straight off her Jimmy Fallon taping backed by the Roots, the British songstress elated the crowd with her effortless, down-to-earth stage demeanor. Her star quickly rose with American audiences, as she sold out shows at Webster Hall, Music Hall of Williamsburg and Irving Plaza throughout the year. I was glad to have caught her earlier in the more intimate venue.

4. Basia Bulat, Bowery Ballroom, November 23
I’ve been a fan of Basia Bulat since I heard her cover Sam Cooke’s “Touch the Hem of His Garment.” This show on a cold night wasn’t sold out, which made me a little sad since she’s quite the talent. But those who were there were enraptured by her prowess on autoharp to the point that you could hear a pin drop during her solos.

5. Daughter, Bowery Ballroom, April 30
Somehow Elena Tonra manages to disguise heartbreak behind soulful lyrics and melody. She has a knack for turning happy dance songs into somber endeavors. The band mashed-up Bon Iver and Hot Chip’s “Perth/Ready for the Floor” that evening. Check out Tonra’s somber retake of Daft Punk’s hit “Get Lucky” for further proof. —Sharlene Chiu

My Top Five Shows I Never Thought I Would See
1. Desaparecidos, Webster Hall, February 26

Desaparecidos (and really any Conor Oberst project) were my bread and butter back in the early aughts, and for a while they seemed to be a one-off, a politically minded side project firmly planted in the past. Fortunately (and unfortunately) the global state of affairs remains messed up enough for the band to regroup to write protest songs for a new decade. It was a nostalgic, sweaty and inspired performance.

2. Shuggie Otis, Music Hall of Williamsburg, April 19
Shuggie Otis began putting out music in the mid-’70s, followed by a long period of laying low. Content to groove along to songs like “Ice Cold Daydream” at home, I never really thought about the possibility of a Shuggie Otis tour in 2013. But when I found out, I was there. And “Ice Cold Daydream” is even better in person.

3. The Flamin’ Groovies, The Bowery Ballroom, July 6
Instead of discovering the Flamin’ Groovies in a smoky San Fran club in the ’60s, I was introduced to their catchy psychedelia on a Nuggets compilation more than 30 years later. Who’d have thought they’d still be going strong in 2013 and that I’d be dancing right alongside some old school fans at this fun summer show.

4.  John Prine, Beacon Theatre, September 26
John Prine has been active since the early ’70s, but unlike Shuggie Otis, he never really went away, writing and recording songs at a steady pace throughout the years. But I still always thought of him as an artist too legendary for me to see in person—or that tickets would be too out of reach. But John Prine put on an amazing show, highlighting his singular skills as a songwriter and storyteller.

5. The Julie Ruin, Music Hall of Williamsburg, October 25
I was late to the party for the original riot-grrl movement, but I became an admirer of Bikini Kill frontwoman Kathleen Hanna during her time in Le Tigre. She’s dealt with some debilitating health issues in the past few years, but I had no doubt she’d continue to make art and music. So I was happy to learn of her latest project, the Julie Ruin, and her energetic show did not disappoint. —Alena Kastin

My Top Five Shows
1. Yo La Tengo, Town Hall, February 16

I don’t like to pick a favorite, but my last.fm account tells me I’ve listened to Yo La Tengo more than any other band since 2007. At Town Hall, they performed an acoustic set and an electronic one, doing two versions of “Ohm,” my favorite song of the year. And then I ran into Tim Heidecker from Tim & Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job! Had the Red Sox not won the World Series, this would’ve been my favorite night of the year.

2. Killer Mike/El-P, Webster Hall, August 14
I don’t care what anyone says: The best two rap albums of 2012 came from Killer Mike and El-P. And in 2013 they topped them, coming together as one entity, Run the Jewels. The night included a set from El-P, a set from Killer Mike and a combined set with both. El-P’s ingenious production plus Killer “I bleed charisma” Mike equals one concert I will never forget.

3. Foxygen, The Bowery Ballroom, October 21
With Foxygen it occasionally feels like shit could fall apart at any moment. And sometimes it does. But when their shows don’t come unhinged they deliver that sweet thrill of relief, like narrowly avoiding a car crash. And on this Halloween-themed night, the band made a weird show even weirder with homemade costumes and pseudo spooky vibes.

4. Steve Earle, Music Hall of Williamsburg, May 8
You can just tell some people are genuine, and Steve Earle is certainly one of them. Forever wearing his heart on his sleeve, that same energy bleeds right into his music, which he played alongside what he’s calling “the best band he’s ever had.”

5. Meat Puppets, Mercury Lounge, April 4
Not only are the Meat Puppets still kicking (after living through some serious shit), but also they’re thriving. And as much as I respect their legacy, seeing them play for more than two hours with the intensity you’d expect of a band 20 years their junior makes me respect them that much more. Long live the puppets of meat! —Dan Rickershauser

My Top Five Shows
1. Dessa, Union Hall, May 5

There are few performers I feel can move mountains with their vocal chords, and Dessa is one of them. This performance was an eruption of defiant lyrics and bold beats. A sizable crowd of young girls knew all of her lyrics, giving the show a chant-like feel. The only female member of Minnesota’s Doomtree collective practically vibrates with energy, and it’s completely contagious.

2. Kishi Bashi, Irving Plaza, September 12
Kishi Bashi sounds even better live than he does recorded. And he delivered a dazzling set with profuse vocal looping and an excellent backing band. Kauro Ishibashi has a supercharged, effusive aura, and his music embodies that persona. This set took a rowdy turn that involved crowd surfing, strobe lights and an outright jam session.

3. Panama Wedding, CMJ Music Marathon
I happened upon newcomers Panama Wedding three different times during CMJ: Initially, opening for NONONO at Mercury Lounge on the first night. Since the band had only released one song, “All of the People,” I was eager to see what would unfold onstage. Their set was so tight that I caught the fantastical pop group the following night at Pianos and then again at a showcase at Santos Party House.

4. You Won’t, Rockwood Music Hall, October 30
The live iteration of You Won’t is a spectacle to behold. I watched eagerly as Josh Arnoudse and Raky Sastri wielded a slew of instruments with ease, quickly fascinating the audience. The duo took their jaunty music into the audience a couple of times to break the barrier and enlisted some extra vocal support by encouraging us to all to sing along.

5. James Blake, Terminal 5, November 6
In this spellbinding live performance, complete with plenty of vocal looping and haunting electronica, James Blake made a cavernous room filled with people feel intimate. And that he’s such a dapper-looking fellow only helps boost his appeal. I’m still transfixed by this performance nearly two months later. James Blake’s music has some serious lasting effects. —Schuyler Rooth

My Top Five Shows with Regard to Lights, Visuals and Production
1. Umphrey’s McGee, Brooklyn Bowl, January 20

Kick-ass creative lighting
and Brooklyn Bowl don’t usually go hand in hand, but Umphrey’s McGee lighting guru Jefferson Waful turned the room into a thing of beauty.

2. Föllakzoid/Holydrug Couple, Mercury Lounge, March 21
What better way to enjoy some old school psychedelic music than with some old school liquid projections courtesy of Drippy Eye.

3. Plaza: Portugal. The Man, Irving Plaza, May 20
Freakin’ lasers!

4. The Flaming Lips/Tame Impala, Terminal 5, October 1
It was almost as fascinating to watch the Lips’ spectacle getting set up as it was to see it in action—confetti, strobes, LEDs and, well, pretty much everything. And Tame Impala’s projections were no slouch either.

5. Phish, Atlantic City Boardwalk, October 31, November 2
Phish’s fall tour found lighting director Chris Kuroda playing the Willy Wonka of eye candy all over the East Coast. —A. Stein

My Top Five Albums
1. Phosphorescent, Muchacho
I’d only seen Phosphorescent once before listening to Muchacho for the first time. And while much of Matthew Houck’s previous work is country-tinged (not that there’s anything wrong with that), this album, ostensibly about a breakup, covers more territory, from the meditative sounds of “Sun, Arise (An Invocation, an Introduction)” and “Sun’s Arising (A Koan, an Exit)” to the jammy, driving “Ride On/Right On” to softer fare, like “Muchacho’s Tune,” all centered on Houck’s evocative voice. I still can’t stop listening to it.

2. Foxygen, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
Foxygen’s third full-length, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, comes off as a loving mash note to ’70s rock. You’ll hear bits of the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground and David Bowie, but the album expertly manages to sound like something whole and new rather than something derivative.

3. White Denim, Corsicana Lemonade
Upon the first couple of listens, I found White Denim’s latest, Corsicana Lemonade, to be too singer-songwriter-y, but I continued to give it a chance, and it opened up to something much bigger, with genre-hopping songs like “Let It Feel Good (My Eagles)” and “Pretty Green”—not to mention some searing guitar parts—grabbing me by the throat.

4. Futurebirds, Baba Yaga
Admittedly, I didn’t know anything about Futurebirds, out of Athens, Ga., before writing a preview of their late-May show at The Bowery Ballroom. But while listening to their second LP, Baba Yaga, as I wrote, I became totally enamored of the album—half twangy Southern rock and half spacey reverb.

 5. Kurt Vile, Wakin on a Pretty Daze
I love Kurt Vile’s Wakin on a Pretty Daze so much, that I can’t believe it’s only No. 5. Labeling it stoner rock, as many have done, is lazy. Although I supposed me calling it laid-back rock isn’t any better. But the fact of the matter is there might not ever be a better album to listen to while walking the streets of New York City with headphones in your ears. —R. Zizmor

Exclusive Video: Diamond Rings Goes Acoustic

July 11th, 2013

When the post-punk quartet the D’Urbervilles took a break in 2008, singer-guitarist John O’Regan began working on the solo project Diamond Rings. And even though he became known for channeling the glam androgyny of David Bowie and Annie Lennox, the raw but hook-laden synth-pop of his 2010 album, Special Affections, spoke for itself. Diamond Rings returned last year with a bigger and bolder follow-up, Free Dimensional. But it’s still his songwriting that shines through, even when stripped of all the trappings of modern pop, never more apparent than in this take on “All the Time” in a SoHo apartment.

You can see Diamond Rings in person when he opens for OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) next Wednesday at Terminal 5. And for even more John O, watch his acoustic performance of “Put Me On” and check out his wide-ranging interview about his first solo song, his first musical memory and plenty more.

cat_preview

The Dandy Warhols Play Terminal 5 Tomorrow Night

May 30th, 2013

Formed in mid-’90s Portland, Ore., the Dandy Warhols—frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor, drummer Brent DeBoer, guitarist Peter Holmström and keyboardist Zia McCabe— immediately earned heady comparisons to the Velvet Underground with the release of their debut full-length, Dandys Rule OK?, in 1995. But it was actually their second album, The Dandy Warhols Come Down, which came out two years later, that really put the band on the map. Not only did their music begin appearing in movies and in television, but the quartet began to have a bit of international success, too. The Dandy Warhols (above, doing “Bohemian Like You” on Later … with Jools Holland) eventually supported David Bowie on a European tour and then appeared in the documentary Dig! alongside the Brian Jonestown Massacre. But despite this success, the group continues to record new material every couple of years, including 2012’s This Machine (stream it below). Next month they release a remastered version of their biggest album, Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia, but tomorrow night they play Terminal 5.

cat_preview

Houndmouth Are a Band on the Rise

April 10th, 2013

Houndmouth—Zak Appleby, Shane Cody, Matt Myers and Katie Toupin—from the farmlands of Kentuckiana, formed by chance in late 2011. Their influences include the Band (“Levon Helm is my hero,” says Cody), David Bowie, Randy Newman and the Faces. And as such, they make a kind of music perhaps best categorized as y’alternative (the Venn diagram overlap of Americana, blues, folk and rock). The quartet’s debut full-length, From the Hills Below the City, arrives in June, but if their self-titled EP (stream it below) is any indication, Houndmouth (above, doing “Penitentiary” for Close Shave Music at last year’s Forecastle Festival) just might follow the path of such like-minded bands as the Lumineers and the Head and the Heart. See them tonight at Mercury Lounge.

cat_preview

The London Souls Captivate in Their Tour Opener

January 9th, 2013

The London Souls – The Bowery Ballroom – January 8, 2013


The Jimi Hendrix comparisons are inevitable for Tash Neal, the lead guitarist and singer of the London Souls. It’s by far the easiest way to categorize him, not just because he’s a black guitarist who shreds, but because it seems like everything he emits provides more similarities. His band is a trio with a floppy-haired drummer and he’s groomed an epic ’fro—plus he even wears those hipster earmuffs that have become fashionable around Williamsburg, which could easily be mistaken for one of Hendrix’s bandannas. Superficially, Tash is channeling Jimi’s ghost.

But hearing the London Souls last night at The Bowery Ballroom shattered any notion in my mind that the London Souls are a just an updated Jimi Hendrix Experience. Neal’s guitar playing owes more to Duane Allman’s country blues than Hendrix’s psychedelia. He has more discipline than did Hendrix, keeping his solos tight and purely in support of his songs. And his stage persona allows for far more fun than Hendrix’s atomic focus ever did. Maybe this last point is a function of his surviving a near-fatal car accident last year, when his cab was struck by drag racers. “For everyone who’s sent a positive thought my way,” Tash remarked last night, “I just wanna say thanks. I’m still around. It’s fine.”

The London Souls played last night’s show as if it could have been their last. They must have burned through their entire catalog during their two-hour set, including “Steady Are You Ready,” “She’s So Mad” and “Old Country Road,” and the band also busted out AC/DC and David Bowie covers. Neal melted faces throughout, but the high point must have been the extended solo on “Someday,” the reggae-tinged cover that, at its midpoint, takes a turn for the heavy. Neal subdued the toxic amount of distortion from his amp and captivated the crowd as his fingers danced across the fret board. Yes, Tash Neal and the London Souls are still around. It’s quite fine. —Alex Kapelman

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

cat_preview

Spend Saturday Night with Matthew Dear at Webster Hall

November 15th, 2012

You can’t pin down Matthew Deer, so don’t even bother trying. The producer, DJ and avant-pop musician first discovered electronic music as a teenager in his native Texas. In college in Michigan, he began DJing parties, which led to producing and then eventually making his way to the front of the stage to sing his own music. Pitchfork said of Dear’s fifth solo album, Beams, which came out earlier this year: “Each successive release under the Detroit producer’s own name has seen him reveal more of himself as he simultaneously retreats deeper into the shadows.” But make no mistake, influenced by Brian Eno, David Bowie and Talking Heads, Dear (above, playing “Headcage”) makes the kind of music that gets people moving. And you can get moving yourself when Matthew Dear—alongside Light Asylum, Beacon and MNDR—plays Webster Hall on Saturday.