Tag Archives: Mercury Lounge


Tobias Jesso Jr. – Mercury Lounge – March 26, 2015

March 27th, 2015

Tobias Jesso Jr. - Mercury Lounge - March 26, 2015

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com


Foo Fighters’ Nate Mendel Brings Lieutenant to Mercury Lounge

March 26th, 2015

Nate Mendel is undoubtedly best known as the bassist in Foo Fighters (and for holding down the low end for Sunny Day Real Estate prior to that), but just like Dave Grohl went from being just the drummer in some band to becoming the driving force—as singer, songwriter and (rhythm) guitarist—behind his own group, Mendel is fronting his own new project, Lieutenant. “I’m not an enthusiast of solo projects,” says the new frontman. “Bands are bands for a reason and it seems that once the celery is out of the soup, you’re just left holding a stringy, watery vegetable. However, I knew there was more I wanted to do in music.” So he entered the studio, and with the help of a variety of musicians and producer Toshi Kasai, Mendel ended up with his very own new album, the recently released If I Kill This Thing We’re All Going to Eat for a Week (stream it below). NME declared, “The record is no vanity project, but a serious passion project,” and, furthermore, it’s an “impressive marriage of Sunny Day’s intimate soul purging and Foos’ powerful guitar heft, it’s a masterstroke of understated college rock.” Armed with a backing band, Lieutenant (above, performing “Belle Epoque”) are currently making their way up the East Coast, and you can catch them live on Saturday at Mercury Lounge. Vancouver, B.C., rock quartet Yukon Blonde open the show.


Sundy Best Play Mercury Lounge Tonight

March 18th, 2015

Childhood friends Kris Bentley (vocals and cajón) and Nick Jamerson (vocals and guitar) have been mashing together bluegrass, folk, R&B, rock and soul into their own foot-stomping take on Americana with a back-porch vibe since forming Sundy Best in 2010. The two began making music together at church while seniors in high school, and the band name comes from their Kentucky pronunciation of what they wore while doing so: their Sunday best. The band’s debut album, Door Without a Screen (stream it below), arrived in 2012. And thanks to their smart use of social media and energetic live shows, Sundy Best (above, performing “Southern Boy” for Made In) began to make a name for themselves. A second full-length, Bring Up the Sun (stream it below), out about a year ago, contains some rerecorded versions of Door Without a Screen songs plus new tunes. And while they could’ve been content to just ride out 2014, instead, the Lexington, Ky., duo put out a third full-length, Salvation City (stream it below), last December, impressing the folks at Rolling Stone: “The group took leaps forward on its new album…. Salvation City is a sonic ride, 10 songs that range from down-home hootenannies to soulful ballads.” And after spending some time at home preparing a new live show, Sundy Best play Mercury Lounge tonight. Chattanooga, Tenn., four-piece Hans Chew open the show.


Lo-Fi Four-Piece Twerps Play a Pair of Local Shows This Weekend

March 13th, 2015

Singer-guitarist Marty Frawley and bassist Rick Milovanovic founded the lo-fi band Twerps in Melbourne, Australia, seven years ago. Eventually Milovanovic left the group and Frawley settled in with bassist Gus Lord, drummer Alex MacFarlane and guitarist-vocalist Jules McFarlane. Their noisy pop and ’80s-influenced college rock (reminiscent of music released by the New Zealand label Flying Nun Records) became the band’s calling card, and the foursome has steadily put out new music followed by some considerable touring ever since. Their second full-length, Range Anxiety (stream it below), came out on Merge Records this past January. And it’s safe to say people were impressed. “Pretty much all the best rock bands in the world today come from Melbourne, Australia,” wrote Paste magazine, “and Twerps are at the top of that list.” Additionally: “Even at their most technically complex, Twerps still maintain a low-key, laid-back, indie-rock appeal. They pull off charming pop that sounds tender and thrilling at the same time.” See how it all sounds performed live when Twerps (above, doing “Dreamin’” live to air for Triple R Melbourne) play Rough Trade NYC tonight and Mercury Lounge tomorrow. London duo Ultimate Painting opens both shows.


Girl Band Arrive in NYC to Make Some Noise at Mercury Lounge

March 12th, 2015

Influenced by the likes of Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age and the Scottish post-hardcore trio Mclusky, four guys—Dara Kiely (vocals), Alan Duggan (guitar), Adam Faulkner (drums) and Daniel Fox (bass)—formed Girl Band more than three years ago in Dublin. Their debut EP, the noise rock–filled France 98 (stream it below), arrived in 2012, which Pitchfork said, “could’ve passed for a product of Sub Pop circa 1988.” Since then, the quartet has become known for energetic live shows. Recently signed to Rough Trade Records, there’s talk of new music, but ahead of that, Girl Band (above, doing “Lawman” for KEXP FM) have booked their first U.S. tour dates, and you can see them at the late show on Friday at Mercury Lounge. Brooklyn psych-pop outfit Monograms opens.


The Bright Light Social Hour Debut New Music at Mercury Lounge

March 9th, 2015

The Bright Light Social Hour – Mercury Lounge – March 6, 2015

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“Let’s have some fun!” That’s how bassist Jack O’Brien began the late show at Mercury Lounge on Friday night, and for the Bright Light Social Hour, is there any other way? The Austin, Texas, quartet has always been an instant party in a bottle, a genie of good times ready to be released on command. The clock had just nudged past midnight and the sold-out crowd was cocked and ready to fire as the band opened with “Sweet Madeline,” the lead track off their new album, Space Is Still the Place. The LP’s title may reference Sun Ra, but the BLSH source material is Southern rock meets the discotheque with jam sensibilities, and the opening songs highlighted all of these influences, Curtis Roush singing like a young Gregg Allman while playing a cosmic slide guitar, and Joseph Mirasole mixing techno beats with rock-out power.

The new material added subtleties to the Social Hour live show, many of the songs having quieter moments to offset and accentuate the high-energy rock and roll. The band played with veteran confidence, debuting soon-to-be-released tunes to the NYC audience like they’ve already been playing them for years. When the group finally broke the ice and busted out an old favorite, “Shanty,” the crowd responded with a surge, Edward Braillif laying down the irresistible synth hook, Roush building an expert slide solo and O’Brien bouncing around the stage with infectious glee. “I Need Your Love” was quintessential BLSH: blues with a funky inside, featuring tremendous drumming throughout from Mirasole, the party in full swing with everyone in the room singing along at the top of their weekend-ready lungs and getting their boogie on in between verses.

By midway through the set, the entire crowd was sucked into the resistance-is-futile party and the band went in for the kill. “Infinite Cities” felt completely like the “first single,” a groovy space-pop declaration of where the Bright Light Social Hour are right now, the entire band contributing and the audience responding in kind. “In and Out” pushed the room to its inevitable climax before the four-piece ended with the new album’s final two songs, “The Moon” and “Escape Velocity,” the latter featuring an excellent cruising-altitude jam. O’Brien said the closing pair described “orgies from the future,” which might have made an excellent alternative title for the funk-blues-dance-jam-groove-rock-and-roll party that is the Bright Light Social Hour. —A Stein | @Neddyo





Two Chances to See the Bright Light Social Hour at Mercury Lounge

March 3rd, 2015

The Bright Light Social Hour began as a post-hardcore rock collective more than 10 years ago in Austin, Texas. And thanks to their incendiary, high-energy live performances, they’d already become well known across the South prior to releasing their acclaimed self-titled debut full-length (stream it below), filled with a deft mix of psychedelic Southern rock and bluesy soul, in 2010. Since then, the foursome—Curtis Roush (vocals and guitar), Edward Braillif (synths and guitar), Jack O’Brien (bass and vocals) and Joseph Mirasole (drums)—has continued to be known for leaving it all onstage every night. Their second LP, Space Is Still the Place, comes out next Tuesday, and ahead of its arrival, the Bright Light Social Hour (above, doing “Infinite Cities”) play Mercury Lounge twice later this week, the early show on Thursday and the late show on Friday.


Leon Bridges Brings Raw, Timeless Soul to Mercury Lounge

February 18th, 2015

Leon Bridges – Mercury Lounge – February 17, 2015

Leon Bridges – Mercury Lounge – February 17, 2015
On the strength of just two songs—produced by White Denim guitarist Austin Jenkins and drummer Josh Block—posted to his Soundcloud, Leon Bridges announced his considerable talents to the world a few months back. Not much was known about him beyond his name and that he hailed from Fort Worth, Texas—and oh, yeah, his gospel-meets-soul vocals reminiscent of Sam Cooke’s. And from there things began to build. Bridges was signed to Columbia Records (a full-length album is due later this year), and he further made a name for himself performing alongside much bigger acts at a Nina Simone tribute at Sundance last month. This week he arrived in New York City for a pair of dates supporting Sharon Van Etten at Warsaw, plus his very own headlining show at Mercury Lounge last night, which sold out well in advance.

Bridges took the stage, stylishly dressed to match his timeless sound, modern while evoking the past, joined by Jenkins and Block, plus another guitarist, a bassist and a sax player, all dressed in suits, and two backing singers in dresses. It’s probably safe to assume that the majority of the people in the room only knew, at best, two songs. And the eight-piece kicked off the set with one of them, “Better Man.” Bridges is still relatively new to touring and performing—he didn’t even introduce the band—so he didn’t chat too much between songs, although he did say, “This next one’s dedicated to Rosario Dawson” before they launched into “Brown Skin Girl.”

The second tune everyone seemed to know, “Coming Home,” had the swaying crowd singing along. Bridges gave others their own moments to shine, especially Block, who, resembling a young Levon Helm, held together everything over the course of the 50-minute performance. The stage cleared after the 12th song, but after some hearty applause, Bridges returned on guitar backed by just the two singers for a gorgeous “River,” eliciting some of the loudest crowd response of the night and smiles across the packed room. It was the perfect musical antidote to the cold, snowy night. The singer-songwriter is still raw, he’s not even six months removed from bussing tables, but big things await Leon Bridges.
—R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com


Emmy the Great Plays the Early Show Tomorrow at Mercury Lounge

February 18th, 2015

Inventive singer-songwriter and guitarist Emma-Lee Moss has been a part of London’s anti-folk movement for close to a decade, performing with Noah and the Whale and Lightspeed Champion, and doing her own thing as Emmy the Great. Her debut full-length, First Love (stream it below), written on the heels of a breakup, came out in 2009 to some considerable plaudits. According to Drowned in Sound, “Emmy the Great’s debut is a triumph, with a maturity beyond her years, and with a humor no less enjoyable for being subtler.” Virtue (stream it below) arrived two years later, again following a breakup—this time the dissolution of an engagement. And again critics were impressed. BBC Music labeled the LP “a dense, accomplished set of songs” and “an extraordinarily confident work, shaped by confusion and turmoil.” Emmy the Great (above, doing “Paper Forest: In the Afterglow of Rapture” for Amazing Radio) recently returned with a new EP, S (stream it below), about a month ago. Per Drowned in Sound, “This is the richest, most musically complex she has ever been…. Even that voice has learned tricks, becoming jazzier and more experienced sounding. It’s quite something.” Of course, Emmy the Great is quite something when performing live. And you can catch her doing just that tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Electro-pop duo Clementine and the Galaxy opens the show.


Wardell Celebrate a New Release Tonight at Mercury Lounge

February 11th, 2015

Brother and sister Theo (a onetime House List writer) and Sasha Spielberg began making music as Wardell several years ago in Los Angeles. Influenced by the disparate likes of Led Zeppelin, Fiona Apple, the Strokes and Joni Mitchell, the bicoastal (he in New York City, she in L.A.) indie-folk duo put out their aptly named debut EP, Brother/Sister (stream it below), in 2013, with Sasha on vocals and Theo handling the instrumentation. Afterward, they really began to work on their sound while performing live, including a plum gig opening for Vampire Weekend and Haim at last year’s SXSW. Today, Wardell (above, doing “Funny Thing” and “Love/Idleness”) see the release of their debut full-length, the charmingly easygoing Love/Idleness (stream it below). And they celebrate its release tonight at Mercury Lounge. Bushwick dream-pop four-piece Arc Waves open the show.


Ahead of Their Debut EP Prinze George Play Mercury Lounge Tonight

February 10th, 2015

Naomi Almquist (vocals) and Kenny Grimm (production and multi-instrumentalist) grew up as childhood friends outside Washington, D.C., in Prince George’s County, Md. Later, the two met Isabelle De Leon (drums) while she was in college and things took off from there, forming the band Prinze George, now based in Brooklyn, in 2013. Almquist has a keen interest in bands fronted by women, so it should probably come as no surprise that the hook-heavy pop singles they’ve released have won the band comparisons to the likes of Lana Del Rey and MS MR. Their debut EP comes out next month, but you can catch Prinze George—along with Ayertonight at Mercury Lounge.


All Them Witches Play the Late Show Tomorrow at Mercury Lounge

February 4th, 2015

All Them Witches—Michael Parks Jr. (vocals and bass), Ben McLeod (guitar), Robby Staebler (drums) and Allan Van Cleave (keys)—have been brewing their own concoction of Delta blues and psychedelic rock since forming in 2012 and releasing their debut full-length, Our Mother Electricity (stream it below). “None of us grew up listening to the same music,” said the frontman. “In Louisiana, I heard a lot of ZZ Top and blues bands. Allan was raised on classical, almost exclusively. Robby and Ben listened to a ton of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. When we came together, it simply works.” And those influences are obvious on the Nashville four-piece’s follow-up, Lightning Out the Door (stream it below). It finds All Them Witches (above, performing “When God Comes Back”) beginning to stretch out their material, which certainly carried over to last year’s EP single, Effervescent (stream it below), a 25-minute instrumental track. It all makes for great listening at home, but the best way to experience All Them Witches is live in a dark room, and maybe even with your eyes closed. So see them tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge when they kick off a new tour. Austin, Texas, power trio the Well open the show.


Frontier Ruckus – Mercury Lounge – January 30, 2015

February 2nd, 2015

Frontier Ruckus - Mercury Lounge - January 30, 2015

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com


Former New Yorker Israel Nash Plays Mercury Lounge Tomorrow

January 21st, 2015

After a solid upbringing in the Midwest, singer-songwriter Israel Nash headed to New York City to make a name for himself as a folk musician almost 10 years ago. His debut album, 2009’s New York Town (stream it below), earned him comparisons to early Bruce Springsteen and Ryan Adams. His follow-up, Barn Doors and Concrete Floors (stream it below), arrived two years later. After that, he left the Big Apple for a small town in Texas, and that move fueled his third full-length release, Israel Nash’s Rain Plans (stream it below), out last year. “These songs are all about moving from New York to the reaches of the Hill Country and what those hills represent to me, which is greater than just nature. It’s about my life and home. I really wanted to go new places and abandon any rules that had made me cautious before. It’s about creating an environment that is so much bigger than any individual,” says Nash (above, performing “Just Like Water” live in studio for KEXP FM). According to Relix, “there is an easy-rolling, outdoorsy, relaxed feel to the songs here.” But, of course, the very best way to experience those songs is live and in person, which you can do at the early show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.


Savages – Mercury Lounge – January 14, 2015

January 15th, 2015

Savages - Mercury Lounge - January 14, 2015

Photos courtesy of Mina K