Tag Archives: Mercury Lounge

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The Regrettes Come to the Lower East Side and Williamsburg

March 24th, 2017

Lydia Night (vocals), Genessa Gariano (guitar), Sage Nicole (bass) and Maxx Morando (drums) formed the energetic punk-rock quartet the Regrettes a little more than a year ago in Los Angeles, and earlier this year, the band’s first full-length studio album, Feel Your Feelings Fool! (stream it below)—influenced by ’50s rockers like Buddy Holly and the Ronettes—arrived on Warner Bros. Records. According to Teen Vogue, “Their music sounds like a lively blend of lo-fi surf rock meets the Strokes with a strong female lead.” And per AllMusic, “The Regrettes thread feminism, sneering angst and ecstasy. All these intertwined emotions give the album an emotional punch that complements its musical rush, a confluence of nervy energy that could easily be interpreted as a reflection of the Regrettes’ youth. Perhaps the quartet members are all in their teens but they’re preternaturally gifted as musicians, so Feel Your Feelings Fool! offers the best of both worlds: craft that endures combined with boundless excitement.” You’ve got two chances to catch the Regrettes (above, doing “A Living Human Girl” for Jam in the Van) locally, tonight at Mercury Lounge and on Monday night at Rough Trade NYC.

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A Double Dose of Alex Lahey in New York City This Weekend

March 24th, 2017

Alex Lahey, a favorite of Australia’s influential Triple J radio, finds songwriting cathartic: “I’m not a runner at all, but I can imagine it is a really similar experience to someone that enjoys running. It’s challenging, but it’s rewarding, and there are probably a lot of endorphins at the end. I imagine it’s something like that. It’s really challenging, but it’s a challenge that I’m willing to accept.” Before it was rereleased on Dead Oceans earlier this year, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter and guitarist self-released her debut EP, B-Grade University (stream it below), last summer. In naming the Melbourne, Australia, native an Artist to Watch, Stereogum proclaimed, “Lahey charges full-speed ahead into explorations of post-collegiate career anxiety (‘Ivy League’), blissful romantic fixation (‘Wes Anderson’), and youthful indiscretions (‘Let’s Go Out’) among other adventures.” She’s even since more recently made a name for herself with several buzzed-about sets at this year’s SXSW, and now Lahey (above, doing “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me” for Balcony TV) is amidst a swing up the East Coast, which brings her to Rough Trade NYC tonight and Mercury Lounge tomorrow.

 

 

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Jens Lekman Offers an Antidote to NYC’s Winter on Saturday night

March 20th, 2017

Jens Lekman – The Bowery Ballroom – March 18, 2017

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

(Photo: Andie Diemer)


(Jens Lekman performs live at Rough Trade NYC tonight.)

Given New York City’s week of Swedish weather, with gray days and precipitation falling within the never land between rain and snow, it must have felt like home for one of Sweden’s great pop troubadours, Jens Lekman, who, before returning to Europe, ruled the weekend here in the city, playing The Bowery Ballroom on Saturday and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday—plus he’s at Rough Trade Trade NYC tonight. His Saturday show began with just him and an acoustic guitar, performing “To Know Your Mission” and “Evening Prayer,” off his latest album, the fantastic and much-acclaimed Life Will See You Now. The latter track was particularly Jens-ian, a tender yet optimistically upbeat tune about worrying and carrying for a friend going through chemotherapy.

“Who here is seeing Jens Lekman for the first time tonight?” asked Lekman to a handful of cheers. Going back all the way, he then went through every one of his local shows, even asking who was at his 2005 Mercury Lounge appearance. “I like growing older with you guys. I want this thing to last forever,” he said. The rest of the band then joined him onstage for “What’s That Perfume That You Where?” about memories triggered by a scent. After an amp malfunction that cut the song short, Lekman began again, playing through on acoustic guitar, somehow sounding even better the second time around: Nothing can hold back those danceable Lekman grooves. There’s a heartfelt warmth to his music that even permeated how he performed. For the end of “The Opposite of Hallelujah,” Lekman pantomimed the xylophone notes in front of him like falling snowflakes.

He introduced “I Know What Love Isn’t” as something he wrote during a cynical time of his life, but even this song brought forth a sense of cheeriness. Perhaps cynical New Yorkers have our taste for cynicism skewed too far to recognize the finer nuances of Scandinavian cynicism. Lekman introduced “Dandelion Seed” as the last song, realizing as he said it that the audience wouldn’t let things end there. The band returned for Lekman classics “Maple Leaves” and “A Postcard to Nina.” And when even that wasn’t enough, the affable performer returned solo yet again for “I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots” and “Pocketful of Money.” “I’ll come runnin’ with a heart on fire,” sang the packed crowd with Lekman repeating the chorus over the audience, delivered like a high-pitched plea. There’s no better antidote to the dregs of a New York City winter than huge moments like these. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nricks

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Jesca Hoop Proves to Be a True Original at Mercury Lounge

March 9th, 2017

Jesca Hoop – Mercury Lounge – March 8, 2017

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Jesca Hoop was once a nanny to Tom Waits’ kids, and she’s worked with everyone from Blake Mills and Stewart Copeland to Sam Beam, with whom the singer-songwriter released a gorgeous duets album in 2016 and subsequently toured. Hoop has signed to Sub Pop, and she’s a touch mystical—a vocalist and soothsayer from some faraway, possibly not terrestrial place—but she can tell a bar joke with the best of ’em. She’s accessible and impenetrable at the same time. An artist like that, you’d think, would be someone more written about than listened to, but listening to Hoop’s music is only the beginning of the larger embrace. Live, she’s quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) devastating. She formed a deep and detailed bond with an audience over the course of a 75-minute set at Mercury Lounge last night, framed by the recently released Memories Are Now, a collection of new Hoop songs that reveal more with each subsequent listen.

What do we call this? Hoop arrived as part of a four-piece band that included drums, bass, harmony vocals and other effects. Her music could sound trance-folkie, as in the opening one-two of “Songs of Old” and “Animal Kingdom Chaotic.” It could sound bittersweet and kind of country, as in “Peacemaker.” It could creep up and then, well, overcome you, as in “The Coming,” which thanks to some spectral-sounding guitar in its intro sounded distant and then was upon you. It’s cinematic—panoramic even—as Hoop created little worlds out of lyrics. “I refuse to think that my best friend’s going to hell anymore” is what might be called a classic Jesca Hoop line. So is “And now you gotta get it with what you’ve got/ With what you’ve been given or not” (from the late-in-set standout “Born To”). And so is “You say it’s impossible/ But your dumb computer says no.”

Hoop’s an artist in whom you can hear what you want to in her forbearers and potential influences. The mind drifts to Laurie Anderson, Kate Bush, Björk and plenty of others. When the mind settles, however—and you can really pause to hear and absorb the nuances when in the thrall of Hoop and band in the live setting—you feel like you’re hearing a true original. No one else quite sounds like this, and you’re thirsting for more when an unhurried set still goes by like a finger snap. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury Brings His Sam Patch Project to NYC

March 8th, 2017

Following Arcade Fire’s world tour in support of their fourth studio album, Reflektor, Tim Kingsbury—the band’s guitarist and bassist—launched a side project called Sam Patch. Inspired by the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Leonard Cohen and ABBA, Kingsbury released the debut Sam Patch album, Yeah You, and I (stream it below), last month. It’s “a winning, engaging solo project full of analog synths and killer hooks,” according to PopMatters. “The songs have an innocent directness that’s welcoming and refreshing.” Kingsbury recently launched a short North American tour in support of the new tunes, which brings Sam Patch (above, the album’s second single “Listening”) to Mercury Lounge on Friday night. New York City singer-songwriter Miles Francis opens the show.

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Montreal Trio Heat Bring New Music to Mercury Lounge Tomorrow

March 8th, 2017

After doing time in other bands, Susil Sharma (vocals, guitar and synths) recorded the noisy, melodic demos that would become the original basis for the Montreal rock trio Heat, eventually joined by Matthew Fiorentino (guitar and synths) and Raphaël Bussières (bass). Their debut EP, Rooms (stream it below), arrived in 2014 and was rereleased the following year, earning the band comparisons to Pavement and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Taking a sonic leap forward, Heat (above, a video for “Lush”) returned with their debut full-length, Overnight (stream it below)—“heavy on melody and hooks, but with brash, shadowy undertones,” according to AllMusic—in January. And they play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. NYC pop quintet Navy Gangs open the show.

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Springtime Carnivore Plays the Early Show Tuesday at Mercury Lounge

March 6th, 2017

After the breakup of prior bands, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Greta Morgan began artfully mixing psychedelia with sunny pop and folk rock as Springtime Carnivore a few years ago. A self-titled debut full-length (stream it below) came out in 2014. “This collection of warm, fuzzy indie pop, rock and psychedelic-tinged numbers represents a true new start for Morgan,” according to Paste. “The best of these songs transcend her previous work and hint toward new vistas that she’s clearly hoping to explore, and we’ll happily look in on her journey.” That journey continued with the 2016 release of Midnight Room (stream it below). The A.V. Club compared Springtime Carnivore (above, performing “Nude Polaroids” in studio for KEXP FM) to Neko Case & Her Boyfriends and Jenny Lewis and mentioned the album’s “beautiful, self-assured identity”—adding: “From the opening title track and its delicate blend of subdued synths, a brisk guitar rhythm and a lofty chorus, the record is emotionally adrift, wafting through comfortless heartbreak, warm nostalgia, and the alternative stargazing flourishes of fantasy and fatalistic wariness of delusion. The vehicle for all this is measured, glossy dream pop, polished with smooth, lush electronics and chilled with airy acoustic tones.” In mid-tour form, Springtime Carnivore plays Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Terribly Yours open the show.

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Dead Coast – Mercury Lounge – March 2, 2017

March 3rd, 2017

Dead Coast - Mercury Lounge - March 2, 2017

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

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London’s Jamie Isaac Brings Blissed-Out Tunes to Mercury Lounge

March 2nd, 2017

Inspired by a host of disparate influences—from Dave Brubeck to the Beach Boys to Chopin—South London–based singer and producer Jamie Isaac has been doing his own take on what the Guardian calls “magisterial, ambient dub sulk” for about five years. He’s been known to collaborate with King Krule, and after releasing several singles and a pair of EPs, Isaac (above, performing “Pigeon” for Distiller TV) put out his debut full-length, Couch Baby (stream it below), last year. The Line of Best Fit says the LP “presents him as a unique, intelligent and talented musician with a bright future.” And Noisey takes things further: “I guess what we’re saying is: This is the quintessential ‘sitting at home and smoking weed with your friends record.’ It is the new king of the hill. More than sounding like a modern-day classic for every red-eyed and cotched-out music fan though, Couch Baby is also a triumphant achievement in blissed-out ambience and is, perhaps, the greatest album of its kind we’ve heard so far this year.” Check out how the tunes sound live tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Mothica opens the show.

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Leif Vollebekk Investigates the Blank Spaces at Mercury Lounge

March 1st, 2017

Leif Vollebekk – Mercury Lounge – February 28, 2017

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Leif Vollebekk opened his performance at Mercury Lounge on Tuesday recalling an earlier trip to NYC when his show sold exactly one advanced ticket and was canceled. That seems highly unlikely to happen again as Vollebekk and his trio kept the roomful of paying customers rapt and enthusiastic for the better part of 80 minutes last night. The set opened with “Vancouver Time” off of his just-released-album, Twin Solitude. Backed by just a bassist and a drummer, the band playing together for the first time in a crowded Mercury Lounge, doing brand-new songs, you could forgive him for being a bit nervous, but Vollebekk sounded at ease, beginning on the electric piano, his words taking center stage from the start. Throughout the night there were almost too many great lyrics, each song crammed with several phrases you just wanted to write down. The opening number featured lovely imagery, like “buffalo clouds over the plain,” and real emotions, like “I’m only leaving because I can’t stay.”

Often when songwriters are capable of delivering lyrics like Vollebekk can, the tendency is to cram as many words into a line as possible. But he is the opposite: His songs are filled with pauses, the blank spaces allowing the words to linger and to let the music seep in to accentuate, drums and bass adding weight while Vollebekk added electric piano or guitar or harmonica. He was equally adept at filling the spaces between songs, joking around and drawing in the audience with his banter, endearing himself to the room. A riff about Neil Young’s tuning became an impromptu half cover of “Cowgirl in the Sand” that actually sounded like it might have legs for a bit.

The set was mostly anchored by the new material and was better for it. The theme of many of the songs seemed to be that of place, not just the settings—Vancouver, Michigan, Telluride, Colo.—but of the coming and going to each. In a way, it was road-trip music, not necessarily music for listening to in transit, but more about it, the gaps and empty spaces to fill with thoughts and images and music. Vollebekk sang the word “Telluride” almost like it was three—“Tell you right”—and on “Michigan,” he sang, “You and me, Robert, we ramble on,” which I want to believe is a Zeppelin reference as well as the snow piling up behind him in the rearview mirror. The trio encored with “Into the Ether,” Vollebekk picking up a violin to add some atmospheric loops, the spaces between lyrics filled to capacity, the room equally so. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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Tash Sultana – Mercury Lounge – February 15, 2017

February 16th, 2017

Tash Sultana - Mercury Lounge - February 15, 2017
(Tash Sultana’s show at Rough Trade NYC tomorrow is sold out, but she returns to NYC to play The Bowery Ballroom on 10/2 and Music Hall of Williamsburg on 10/3.)

Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Tash Sultana on 2/17

February 14th, 2017

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Australian singer-songwriter, guitarist and looping artist Tash Sultana plays twice in New York City this week, tomorrow at Mercury Lounge and on Friday at Rough Trade NYC. Both shows are already sold out, but The House List is giving away two tickets to her second appearance. Don’t have any and still 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 (Tash Sultana, 2/17) and a brief message explaining the best way to spend Sundays now that there’s no football. Eddie Bruiser, who’s got some time to kill, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

(Tash Sultana returns to NYC to play The Bowery Ballroom on 10/2 and Music Hall of Williamsburg on 10/3.)

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Gang of Youths Kick Off February Residency on Monday Night

February 10th, 2017

Although they hail from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and the United States, Max Dunn (bass), Jung Kim (guitar and keys), David Le’aupepe (vocals and keys), Joji Malani (guitar) and Donnie Borzestowski (drums) formed the baroque-pop five-piece Gang of Youths five years ago in Sydney. Rolling Stone called their first full-length, The Positions (stream it below)—a vivid celebration of life following some seriously dark times—an “emotionally charged debut” and made comparisons to Kings of Leon and Bruce Springsteen. Last year, Gang of Youths (above, performing “Poison Drum” for World Cafe) returned with the EP Let Me Be Clear (stream it below). “The expectation of a sophomore slump can be enough by itself to throw off the career of the most promising bands, and it would have been easy for Gang of Youths to keep churning out string-tinged rock songs,” according to Sputnik Music. “Instead … they’ve shown an insatiable thirst to keep building and transforming their sound.” Find out how they sound live when Gang of Horses play Mercury Lounge on 2/13 and 2/20 and Rough Trade NYC on 2/27.

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P.O.S Brings New Music to Rough Trade NYC and Mercury Lounge

February 6th, 2017

Rapper, singer, self-taught multi-instrumentalist and producer Stefon Alexander has been doing business as the punk-influenced underground hip-hop artist P.O.S in Minneapolis since around the turn of the century. He’s one of the founding members of hip-hop collective Doomtree, while also finding time to be part of a punk band, Building Better Bombs, and another Twin Cities collective, indie rockers Gayngs. Fortunately, P.O.S (above, performing “Sleepdrone” live in studio for KEXP FM) continues to do solo work. His fifth full-length studio album, Chill, Dummy (stream it below), which features guest vocals by Justin Vernon, came out at the end of January. A.V. Club calls it “a record about surviving, living and battling for every little thing you’ve got—something P.O.S knows his fair share about.” And Pitchfork says Alexander “is still all about his consciousness, and usefully motivated by anger. But on Chill, Dummy, he embraces a freed-up feel, with some grooves you might hear in a club.” Now out on the road, the lyrical bomb-thrower plays Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night and Mercury Lounge on Wednesday. Rappers Ceschi Ramos and Transit22 open both shows.

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Icelandic Singer-Songwriter Ólöf Arnalds Plays Mercury Lounge

February 3rd, 2017

Despite her instrumental prowess—classically trained on violin and viola and self-taught on guitar and charangoÓlöf Arnalds’ calling card is her crystalline voice. She was already fairly well-known in Iceland’s music scene by the time her debut solo release, Við Og Við (stream it below), arrived in 2007, going on to win Record of the Year and Best Alternative Album at the Icelandic Music Awards. When the LP came out in the U.S. three years later, Paste declared, “Earnest, heartfelt declarations of love are a welcome change from the too-cool posturing of so much of today’s popular music. Familial affection will never go out of style; neither will deftly plucked stringed instruments, subtle orchestral swells and a songbird lilt this impossibly lovely.” The singer-songwriter has since toured with the likes of Björk, Jonathan Richman and Dirty Projectors and released several more EPs and full-players, including 2014’s Palme (stream it below). It’s “as pure as powdered snow, yet bubbling over with fairy mischief,” proclaimed AllMusic. Arnalds (above, performing an Icelandic version of “Turtledove” for the Line of Best Fit and, below, covering “Mr. Tambourine Man”) “is a weaver of ephemera, and with each new collection of music, she both defines herself and furthers her own mythology, a mythology that’s wholly intertwined with the lore of her Nordic homeland.” See her play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Alternative-folk trio Cold Weather Company open the show.

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