Tag Archives: Mercury Lounge


Rootsy Folk Trio the Ballroom Thieves Play Mercury Lounge Tonight

September 19th, 2014

Martin Earley (guitar and vocals), Devin Mauch (percussion and vocals) and Calin Peters (cello and vocals) formed the rootsy folk trio the Ballroom Thieves three years ago in Boston. But they burst onto the scene—first in their hometown and then throughout the region—when their five-song debut EP, The Devil & the Deep (stream it below), filled with foot-stomping energy and three-part harmonies, came out in 2012. A four-track self-titled EP (stream it below) followed in 2013, and thanks to their rousing performances, unique instrumentation and topnotch songwriting, the Ballroom Thieves (above, doing “Coward’s Son” for Audiotree Live) are now making a name for themselves beyond New England. Find out for yourself why tonight at Mercury Lounge. Soulful psychedelic-blues four-piece the Tontons, out of Houston, open the show.


Double Your Pleasure with Two Nights of the Cave Singers

September 18th, 2014

When his previous band, Pretty Girls Make Graves, called it quits in 2007, guitarist Derek Fudesco teamed up with former Cobra High drummer Marty Lund and former Hint Hint singer Pete Quirk to start a new one, the Cave Singers, to make rock music with a folk bent (think: Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie). The Seattle three-piece had enough material for their first album, Invitation Songs (stream it below), within months of forming. A second disc, Welcome Joy (stream it below), followed two years later, and after the third, the-more-electric-than-acoustic No Witch (stream it below), was released in 2011, the trio became a four-piece with the addition of Fleet Foxes multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson on bass. Their first album as a quartet, the terrific Naomi (stream it below)—perhaps heavier on the rock than the folk—came out last year, and the Cave Singers (above, doing “Shine” live in studio for KEXP FM) are currently touring the East Coast. Catch one of their high-energy live show tomorrow at Mercury Lounge or, alongside psychedelic-soul four-piece Ghostpal, on Saturday at Rough Trade NYC.


Lia Ices Celebrates New Album Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

September 16th, 2014

Lia Ices writes, sings and plays the piano. She grew up in Connecticut but began making music in Brooklyn. And thanks to her voice, she was quickly compared to Tori Amos and Cat Power. Ices (above, performing “Love Is Won” for indieATL) signed with Jagjaguwar in 2010 and the label released her second album, Grown Unknown (stream it below)— which featured a duet with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon—the following year. Spin proclaimed, “Ices’ lush melodies and dreamy voice will convert skeptics and mesmerize supporters of Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom.” But as she began working on her next batch of songs, Ices was in flux: “I was beginning a gradual move to California, constantly traveling back and forth from New York. I was experimenting. I was falling in love. Our studio in the Hudson Valley was full of electronics and computers and the sounds of future ships sailing through the vastness of space, and I sometimes forgot where I was. The first songs we wrote were called ‘Flying 1,’ then ‘Flying 2,’ and so on, which eventually evolved into songs on the album. Flight became a metaphor for the ignition of the imagination. The process created a lightness in me, a freedom and positive energy that I’d never before felt or explored.” And what she ended up with was her third album, Ices (stream it below), out today, which the Guardian, in a five-star review, notes for its “luxurious fusion of spacious electronica, playful tribal pop and layers of breathy vocals.” Lia Ices celebrates her new album tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.


A Double Dose of Marco Benevento This Week

September 15th, 2014

For NYC music fans of a certain age and musical taste, it may be surprising to realize that it’s been more than a decade since Marco Benevento arrived on the scene as the organ half of the groundbreaking Benevento Russo Duo. Still, it’s no surprise that Benevento has been able to combine his knack with keyboards, composition and collaboration to establish a unique signature sound that’s equal parts electronica groove, jammy jazz, post-rock anthem and catchy-as-hell pop hook. His road-tested trio (above, performing “Escape Horse”), rounded out by Dave Dreiwitz on bass and Andy Borger on drums, returns for two homecoming shows this week, to celebrate the release of his excellent new album, Swift (stream a track from it below), which finds Benevento adding vocals to his many talents. Check him out tomorrow at Mercury Lounge or on Wednesday at Rough Trade NYC. Expect some singing and some dancing and some rocking and plenty of shenanigans … oh, and maybe a piano solo or two. —A. Stein


Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons Play Mercury Lounge Tonight

September 10th, 2014

Prolific singer-songwriter Jerry Joseph, a musician’s musician, began his music career more than three decades ago when he formed the reggae-tinged rock band Little Women in 1982. Since then, he’s done plenty of solo work and he’s been involved with and associated with a variety of bands, including Stockholm Syndrome and Widespread Panic (and even Woody Harrelson). But he’s most well known for fronting Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons (above, doing “Amazing Grace”). Their most recent album—actually a double album—Happy Book (stream it below), came out in 2012, and Relix called it “one of Joseph’s finest efforts to date.” But a new LP, Singing in the Rain, is due out next month. And backed by guitarist Jeff Crosby, drummer Steve Drizos and bassist Stevie James Wright, Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons play the early show tonight at Mercury Lounge.


Tits of Clay – Mercury Lounge – September 4, 2014

September 5th, 2014

Tits of Clay - Mercury Lounge - September 4, 2014

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com


Papercuts Play the Early Show at Mercury Lounge on Saturday

September 4th, 2014

Jason Quever is a busy dude. He’s got a home studio in San Francisco and works as a singer, songwriter and producer. On top of that, he’s collaborated with all sorts of other musicians, including Cass McCombs, plus he fronts his own indie-pop musical collective, Papercuts. The band’s first album, the lush Mockingbird (stream it below), arrived in 2004. But it was Can’t Go Back (stream it below), released three years later, which put Papercuts (above, doing “Future Primitive” live in studio for KEXP FM) on the map. Pitchfork approved: “West Coast to the core, it’s music for the journey, not for the arrival, the soundtrack to getting somewhere else rather than music to get lost to. Or maybe both.” Their most recent full-length, Life Among the Savages (stream it below), came out this past May. And again, critics, were impressed. Per PopMatters, “Jason Quever’s Papercuts has crafted a near-perfect collection of contemporary baroque pop ruminations on the modern condition, one of isolation, sadness and an affectation that requires us to present an outward façade not generally indicative of the emotional turmoil raging within.” And you can see Papercuts live on Saturday night at Mercury Lounge.


See Thumpers Play the Late Show Tonight at Mercury Lounge

August 27th, 2014

Friends since childhood, Marcus Pepperell (vocals, guitar and keys) and John Hamson Jr. (drums, vocals and bass) each played in various London bands before teaming up for the synth-pop duo Thumpers three years ago. The project initially began through e-mail correspondence, but once they began writing and recording together in 2012, their catchy, exuberant recordings instantly caught on via the Internet. And then thanks to just a few tunes, Thumpers (above, performing “Together Now” for KEXP FM) signed with Sub Pop. Their debut full-length, the polished Galore (stream it below), arrived in North America this past winter, and AllMusic was impressed: “Thumpers manage to tuck a wide scope of ideas and sounds into their songs without ever feeling too overbearing or crowded…. Constructed with flawlessness in mind, Galore succeeds in its ability to sound intensely produced and polished but never sterile. The same strong heartbeat that makes acts like Dirty Projectors, Phoenix, Suckers and the like equally human and precise beats inside Thumpers’ best songs as well.” See them play the late show tonight at Mercury Lounge.


Rubblebucket Are a Force to Reckon With

August 27th, 2014

Rubblebucket – Mercury Lounge – August 26, 2014

Rubblebucket – Mercury Lounge – August 26, 2014
A name like Rubblebucket might conjure up a mishmash of musical nuggets, which is exactly what the seven-piece outfit creates. Anchored by a strong horn section, a flurry of explosive synthesizers creates melodies that range from indie pop to dance funk. The band began with leader Alex Toth meeting Annakalmia “Kalmia” Traver at the University of Vermont, and from there the bond has spanned nearly a decade. Slowly building a fan base on the festival circuit, the Brooklyn band has garnered a healthy following, including NPR Music’s Bob Boilen. On the night of their third full-length album release, Rubblebucket played a sold-out Mercury Lounge christening their latest, Survival Sounds.

A setup of a tarp backdrop and strobe floor lights hinted at the night ahead as the troupe took the stage that seemed barely big enough to contain them. “My Life,” off their latest, opened the set to a sea of adoring fans. Traver exclaimed that it was Survival Sounds day and expressed that she was feeling crazy this evening. The septet rippled through old and new material, following up the opener with “Silly Fathers,” off Omega La La, and brought out the flutes for “Sound of Erasing.” Toth and trombone player Adam Dotson provided some choice backup dance moves behind the eccentric Traver on lead vocals. Throughout the evening, the band employed stage effects like a confetti cannon, balloons released from a black trash bag and a long panel of fabric, which stretched close to the end of the venue—creating a billowing tent over half of the audience.

Toth descended into the crowd for “Came Out of a Lady,” sending many into uproarious cheers. The tempo mellowed for “Young and Old,” but that didn’t last long as the group continued playing new material, including the clap-happy “Origami,” a crescendo-heavy “Hey Everybody,” crowd-favorite “Shake Me Around” and the upbeat, jazzy “Rewind.” On the latter, Traver invaded the floor to start a Soul Train line, with fans eager to join. As the show’s end neared, the single “Carousel Ride” built up the energy as everyone sang a chorus of  “round and round.” Following the final song, “Pain from Love,” everyone in the band jumped off the stage to march through the audience and into the front bar, but not before they’d proved that Rubblebucket are a force to be reckoned with, from their fierce music to their showmanship. —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

(Rubblebucket play Rough Trade NYC tonight.)


Catch Rubblebucket Tomorrow Night at Rough Trade NYC

August 26th, 2014

Musically speaking, Alex Toth (trumpet, percussion and vocals) and Kalmia Traver (vocals and sax) have been together for a while. The two met as music majors at the University of Vermont and upon graduation they joined the reggae outfit John Brown’s Body. Eventually they decided to go in a different direction, forming Rubblebucket (above, doing “My Life”) and mashing together psychedelic pop and dance music with layered rhythm and melodies and arrangements by Toth. And as their sound grew bigger, David Cole (drums), Adam Dotson (trombone, vocals and percussion) and Ian Hersey (guitar) joined the band. The Brooklyn-based dance-rock crew released their newest full-length, Survival Sounds (stream it below), today. According to Baeble Music, “Like going on an island vacation with Passion Pit and Earth, Wind & Fire, Survival Sounds demonstrates the group’s seamless blending of their reggae, electronic, and ’70s funk influences.” The five-piece celebrates the album’s arrival tonight at Mercury Lounge, which is sold out, but you can still see them tomorrow at Rough Trade NYC. And if you go, just be prepared to shake it all night.


Cut Loose with Earthless Tomorrow at Mercury Lounge

August 21st, 2014

Although they’ve each also played in several other bands (including Rocket from the
and Howlin’ Rain), guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, bassist Mike Eginton and drummer Mario Rubalcaba have been making high-quality, jam-heavy instrumental psychedelic
rock together as Earthless since 2001. They’ve released one live album and three studio full-lengths, the most recent of which, From the Ages (stream it below), which also includes vocals, came out last year—and it was so good that even Pitchfork liked it: “This is the atavistic magic of three people locked in a room only with their instruments and each other, eyes closed, and mouths open…. The dudes are once again just riffing here. It’s a trip worth taking, at least a few times.” Earthless also recently released a live LP with Heavy Blanket (which includes J. Mascis), In a Dutch Blanket (stream it below), about which Noisey says, “Get ready to cry because you will never play this well.” They just kicked off a new tour last night, and you can see them play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night.


Frontier Ruckus Answer the Question at Mercury Lounge

August 20th, 2014

Frontier Ruckus – Mercury Lounge – August 19, 2014

Frontier Ruckus – Mercury Lounge – August 19, 2014
“What’s the song about?” For many singer-songwriter types, that’s probably an annoying question to answer. Sure, sometimes it’s easy (I, like, love you very much!), but I imagine for Frontier Ruckus, with their word-dense, evocative, nonlinear songwriting, it’s usually more complicated than that. That being said, last night’s late set at Mercury Lounge featured plenty of explanations. So we had a number of introductions from frontman Matthew Milia like “this song is … vaguely about finding a stash of porn behind a Taco Bell” and “about getting drunk at your enemy’s wedding” and “winter in Michigan” and “on the surface, this is a breakup song.”

But when these tunes were played, dense forests of language with layers of lyrical fauna and flora, it was clear that they were much more than the descriptions offered. Part of the joy of listening was trying to grasp and digest these bits of imagery before the next one quickly came along. Of course, Frontier Ruckus are more than just lyrics, and the band was in fine form for their first of two area shows. To describe their sound, you need only know that in addition to the folk-rock staples of acoustic guitar, bass and drums, they feature a banjo player, David Winston Jones, and one of those Swiss Army knife guys who does a little bit of everything. This was Zachary Nichols, who rotated through keyboards, melodica, tuba, trumpet and the freakin’ saw, oftentimes all in the same song.

The set featured older material, songs from their excellent Eternity of Dimming album
as well as a healthy highlight of their soon-to-be-released, Sitcom Afterlife, which, ever with the wordplay, is both their fourth and forthcoming album. Highlights abounded: “Dealerships,” nominally about Michigan winters, punctuated with nice trumpet and banjo; the instrumental banjo-meets-saw duet of “Moon River”; the audience-requested “The Tower,” another duet with Milia again backed by Nichols on the saw; and the set-closing, long-player, “Adirondack Amish Holler,” with enough musical and lyrical twists and turns to fill at least a month of Tuesday nights. What’s the song about? That’s a good question! —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

(Frontier Ruckus play Rough Trade NYC tonight.)





Frontier Ruckus Play Two Local Shows This Week

August 18th, 2014

While in high school outside Detroit, singer-songwriter Matthew Milia and banjo player David Jones formed Frontier Ruckus, focusing on a mishmash of bluegrass, country, folk and rock. The band blossomed into a six-piece while the two were in college, and they went on to release a pair of well-received albums, The Orion Songbook (stream it below) in 2008 and Deadmalls and Nightfalls (stream it below) in 2010, before paring down to a four-piece, now with multi-instrumentalist Zach Nichols and vocalist Anna Burch, for last year’s terrific double album, their third LP, Eternity of Dimming (stream it below), which Allmusic calls “a beautiful, nostalgic (in the best meaning of the word) hymn to time and place, a long suite of songs that falls together like a wonderful quilt of memories.” Frontier Ruckus (above, performing “Thermostat” for do317 Lounge Sessions) have a new full-length, Sitcom Afterlife, arriving in November, but they’re already out on the road now. And you’ve got two shots to see them this week: tomorrow at Mercury Lounge and on Wednesday at Rough Trade NYC.


Smoke Season – Mercury Lounge – August 14, 2014

August 15th, 2014

Smoke Season - Mercury Lounge - August 14, 2014

Photos courtesy of Lina Shteyn | www.linashteyn.com


Wildcat! Wildcat! Charm Mercury Lounge

August 14th, 2014

Wildcat! Wildcat! – Mercury Lounge – August 13, 2014

Wednesday nights at Mercury Lounge can begin slowly. But last night’s late-show crowd was mesmerized early on as multi-instrumentalist Marley Carroll took the stage. He kicked off things by songs filled with sharpshooting synths and airy vocals. Initially, the crowd shied away from dancing due to the set’s slow, ambient beginnings, but Carroll’s fast-morphing samples and rhythmic bass quickly took hold of everyone. Based in Asheville, N.C., the producer has a knack for melding effervescent pop stylings with eerie electronic elements to create a gorgeously sleek sound. A pair of tracks from his 2013 album, Sings“The Hunter” and “Speed Reader”—anchored his impressive performance.

Grinning ear to ear, the four Wildcat! Wildcat! bandmates wove through the dense crowd and onto the stage. In town for a second night, the inventive indie rockers were more than happy to have another keen New York City audience. They opened with “Tower,” the first song off of their debut full-length album, No Moon at All, which came out just last week. A longstanding friendship among the three core Wildcat! Wildcat! members explains the organic camaraderie that radiates from them onstage. There’s a lot of humor and exuberance at play in their material, and while these elements could easily make their music float aimlessly into the realm of sugary synth pop, introspective, desire-filled lyrics and beguiling harmonies root the crafty Los Angeles outfit’s music firmly in its own little plot of land somewhere in the Venn diagram overlap of dance, pop and rock.

“Hero,” “Circuit Breaker,” the playful-yet-somber ballad “Mr. Quiche” and “The Chief” (complete with a very clever sax solo) stood out. And the entire show proved that Wildcat! Wildcat!’s songs are built for live play. With the memory of last night’s sparkling performance still clear in my head, I’ll happily put No Moon at All on heavy rotation and surrender to the band’s ever-vibrant charm. —Schuyler Rooth