Tag Archives: Landlady

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Landlady and Sex Mob Help Rough Trade NYC Dance Away the Pain

April 22nd, 2016

Landlady – Rough Trade NYC – April 21, 2016

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Landlady take over a stage to the point of spilling off of it, and their music sounds something like that, too—avant-pop, garage rock, funk, Afrobeat, heady jazz, pushed and pulled, knocked around a bit, sloshing like a too-full cocktail glass sitting on a wobbly table. This is a good thing: The New York of 2016 needs more of these risk-taking bands going for broke when it comes to blast-it-out improvisation and collective genre-smashing, somehow finding tasty melodies and total brain-fuck engagement in what to a passing-by ear could sound like blotted chaos. (The word surprise is used on their Facebook page as the group’s genre.) And that Landlady opted to share last night with one of the OG purveyors of this kind of sonic assault—Sex Mob—made for a wonderfully odd and unhinged show at Rough Trade NYC.

Near the end of their roughly 75-minute set, Landlady—the core five-piece with guitar, keys, bass, drums and percussion—tucked into “The Globe,” off their superb 2014 album, Upright Behavior. It’s an encapsulating song: Adam Schatz’s deceptively triumphant (or cheerfully weary?) vocals over a pie-eyed, finger-snapping melody delivered in service of a song that has something to do with living under stars but slouching toward, not Bethlehem, but a black hole. And that sort of happy-downtrodden balance frames so much of what Landlady do. Their tunes don’t force themselves on you, but once they grab your attention, then comes the rewarding variation, from manic percussion jams—drummers and percussionists Ian Chang and Booker Stardrum love to change positions and switch instruments with each other—to swirls of Farfisa and Wurlitzer to unexpected stabs of metallic guitar from Will Graefe. There were dynamic changeups left and right. “What’s the matter with my girl?” asked Schatz, sort of pained, sort of delirious, during “Girl” as a prelude to a full-stop beat of silence before he quietly built back the melody and then the whole band slammed into a refrain. “Dying Day” included a stab-y, aggressive melody and a format full of syncopation, yet its edges were smoothed with psychedelic keyboards.

Landlady are adventurous, but, crucially, don’t seem to get drunk on their own mojo. In fact, you never get the sense, even when their music spirals out into noisy, carnival sonics that they are anything but in control. The band paused to acknowledge Prince and the crowd cheered some heartfelt words from Schatz about playing songs because “that’s what we do” at a time like this: an invitation to dance the hurt away. When it came time for the hoped for Landlady-Sex Mob crossover, the collective turned not to Prince but to another recently fallen icon, adding most of Sex Mob to the Landlady cocktail for a vigorous version of David Bowie’s “Oh! You Pretty Things” that included a free-form jam studded with trumpet and sax and a percussion summit with Chang and Stardrum on the percussion rack and the incomparable Kenny Wollesen behind the kit. There was so much glorious noise at one point it sounded like the band would need to stop and restart the song, but with Landlady, as with Sex Mob, that’s usually where the song comes back out of the woods, surprising and gently chiding you for your concern about the musicians’ ability to not get lost. It was a lovely arrival from two groups that seem sort of insane but, as the poet wrote, are so sane they’ve blown your minds. —Chad Berndtson | @chadberndtson

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A Thrilling Triple Bill Sells Out Rough Trade NYC

July 24th, 2015

Son Lux/Landlady/Olga Bell – Rough Trade NYC – July 23, 2015

Son Lux/Landlady/Olga Bell – Rough Trade NYC – July 23, 2015
Last night, Rough Trade NYC hosted one of the best bills of the week, with the trifecta of Son Lux, Landlady and Olga Bell drawing a sold-out crowd. Olga Bell, whose newest EP—Incitation—is due later this year, took the stage first and played a solo set filled with plucky lyrics and glitchy beats. Her impish, nimble voice trekked up and over her varied chaotic synth-scapes. Brooklyn retro-pop group Landlady, up next, possessed the charm of a barbershop quartet, and they’re profoundly sincere. Frontman Adam Schatz is a stranger to dull moments. His optimism bordered on brash, but it worked in his favor. There wasn’t a single lull in the band’s set, and big brass, jaunty guitar riffs and Schatz’s clever lyrics in songs like “Above My Ground,” “Maria” and “Dying Day” enchantingly swirled together.

Ryan Lott, Rafiq Bhatia and Ian Chang—who did double duty as the drummer for Landlady earlier in the night—took the stage and launched straight into a raucous rendition of “Change Is Everything,” from their newest album, Bones, Lott’s potent lyrics dancing atop frenzied percussion, dazzling keys and piercing guitar. The band invited several friends onstage to provide a brass section for “You Don’t Know Me.” Ryan reflected on their tour and said how happy they were to return to Brooklyn: “We’re all here in this moment. It might be a brief one, but it might be a very important one. It certainly feels that way to us.” Son Lux closed with a sprawling version of “Lost It to Trying,” complete with thunderous, syncopated clapping from the crowd. Their music is some of the most inventive, intimate stuff around these days. Hearing it live was nothing short of thrilling. —Schuyler Rooth | @SchuylerSpeak


Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | www.charlesosteinberg.com

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Landlady Holiday Spectacular: Great Night of Music for a Great Cause

December 9th, 2014

 The Landlady Holiday Spectacular – Mercury Lounge – December 8, 2014

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I walked into Mercury Lounge last night to a festive holiday party already in progress. There were blinking lights, multiple trees and decorations throughout the room, a jar labeled FREE CANDY offered candy canes, and Santa Claus had just hopped off the stage to lead the room in “Silent Night.” Far be it from me to call Santa a liar, but the Landlady Holiday Spectacular would turn out to be anything but a silent night. In fact, with a makeshift second stage set up on the side of the room, there was almost no pause in the music for three-and-a-half hours, with brass bands big and small to indie-rock quartets to bluegrass trios, folk duos, large Afrobeat ensembles and almost anything else you could imagine. The sets were quick: two to four songs each, so if you didn’t like what you were hearing, you didn’t have to wait long, but that was rarely the case. It would take too long to even try to list the proceedings, probably about a dozen bands played in all, but there were Zula mixing Latin rhythms in an indie rock thing, the Westerlies adding Christmas songs to originals arranged for two trombones and a trumpet, the avant drum-and-guitar duo Star Rover expertly going post-post-rock, and Zongo Junction getting everyone boogieing down with their big, funky Afrobeat.

The audience constantly rotated between the front and the side, where little impromptu groups would spring up in between the more established ones, like when Rubblebucket’s Kal Traver joined the man of the hour, Adam Schatz, on a nice bluesy sax-and-vocals duet. Although the room was full, at times it felt like there were more musicians in the crowd than paying customers, a constant stream of saxophones and guitars fighting their way one of the stages. If this party were a movie, Schatz, who amazingly made the evening work while sitting in on sax with almost everyone, would’ve filled the director, producer and lead-actor roles. Still, by the time his band, Landlady, took the stage there was a risk that it would be anticlimactic after all that had already come. Not to worry, there wasn’t a chance of that happening. They opened with “Under the Yard,” off their new album, Upright Behavior, and raised the energy a few notches, mixing harmonies and offbeat rhythms with Schatz’s unique songwriting. The music was a groovy, progressive New Wave, a Talking Heads for the 21st century, with Schatz gesticulating lovingly at the front on keyboards. But even as he led Landlady through their repertoire—the title track and “Dying Day” were early set highlights—he was directing the show, prompting a horn section on the side stage to enter the fray at just the right moment.

Of course, with so many friends in the house, you had to expect even more collaborations, guests and permutations, and Schatz quickly ceded the stage to Jared Samuel (leading the band in a nice cover of George Harrison’s “Awaiting on You All”), Sam Cohen, Xenia Rubinos and Luke Temple. This highlight stretch turned Landlady into an expert house band primed for late-night talk shows, slipping between genres as easily as flipping through LPs at the record store. As if to punctuate the point, Landlady invited pretty much everyone onstage for a closing climactic one-two punch of covers by Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love” and Funkadelic’s “I Got a Thing.” With horns, guitars, drums and what seemed like the whole room singing along, spectacular doesn’t even begin to describe the festivities. It should also be noted that the whole night was a benefit for the Bushwick School of Music, which provides music education to kids who wouldn’t otherwise receive it in school. It was a worthy cause, indeed. Guys like Adam Schatz just don’t appear beneath the Christmas tree, you know. —A Stein | @Neddyo

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Sylvan Esso’s Potent Chemistry on Display at Rough Trade NYC

September 12th, 2014

Sylvan Esso – Rough Trade NYC – September 11, 2014

Sylvan Esso – Rough Trade NYC – September 11, 2014
Last night’s Sylvan Esso show at Rough Trade NYC, alongside Landlady, sold out at lightning speed when tickets went on sale months ago. Adventurous pop rockers Landlady took the stage first and delighted the audience with their sprightly music. Six men strong, they commandeered the stage and held everyone in their thrall as they launched into a glittering set of percussive, psychedelic songs. Lead singer Adam Schatz propelled the performance with his soulful crooning and no-holds-barred dancing. Songs like “Maria” and “Above My Ground,” from the band’s sophomore album, Upright Behavior, began ever so quietly and culminated thunderously. Schatz provided plenty of entertaining and insightful banter throughout and had no trouble engaging the crowd in sing-alongs.

Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso took the stage next, Meath in six-inch platform sneakers and Sanborn with his fingers poised to take command of his soundboard. The sultry chords and audacious beats of “Hey Mami” launched their set. Sylvan Esso’s music is simultaneously doe-eyed and wolfish—it’s a tantalizing tangle of abstract lyrics and sly electronica. The duo’s chemistry is some of the most potent stuff around these days. They faced off throughout the set, feeding off each other’s energy and charging the air with fervor. Heavy reverb on Meath’s vocals made for an especially heady effect. The two played some artful cover songs during their encore, but it was the originals from their self-titled debut album that mesmerized most. These two bands are the quintessence of enchanting, and their magic won’t be fading any time soon. —Schuyler Rooth

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com

(Tonight’s Sylvan Esso show at The Bowery Ballroom is sold out, but you can see them play Terminal 5 on 1/23.)