Tag Archives: Mercury Lounge


Nashville Folk Ensemble Seryn Plays Twice in NYC This Week

April 20th, 2015

With their wide range of instruments, layered harmonies and energetic live performances, the folk ensemble Seryn, founded in a college town in North Texas in 2010, makes the kind of winning Americana-tinged pop music that has won them comparisons to the likes of Mumford & Sons and the Low Anthem. Last year Trenton Wheeler (vocals and ukulele), Nathan Allen (guitar and vocals), Aaron Stoner (bass and vocals), Jenny Moscoso (vocals, guitar and banjo), Jordan Rochefort (drums) and Scarlett Deering (violin and vocals) left small-town Denton, Texas, for Music City—Nashville—for better opportunities. And earlier this year, Seryn (above, doing “Disappear”) released their second full-length, Shadow Shows (stream it below). And Paste magazine weighed in: “Distilling Shadow Shows to its simplest folk pop form doesn’t represent the album fully. Rather, Seryn returns with a conceptual record that requires more than a cursory listen to appreciate its sonic nuances and musical juxtapositions.” The six-piece lands in New York City for two shows this week, alongside Corey James Bost and Great Caesar, tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge and with Conveyor and Bost again on Friday at Rough Trade NYC.


Doldrums and Moon King Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

April 16th, 2015

Electronic producer Airick Woodhead was already a veteran of the Montreal DIY noise scene by the time he launched the solo project Doldrums (above, performing “Jump Up” at MoMA PS1) five years ago. Thanks to several singles filled with electronic sounds and noisy samples, people began to take notice. His first full-length, Lesser Evil (stream it below), arrived in 2013. CMJ described it as “a combination of peculiar intergalactic noises, heavy bass and eerie vocals.” Furthermore: “Doldrums has decoded to take us on an untidy journey into his own headspace. Lesser Evil is an unflinching and unashamed document of that trip, like a travelogue of a doomed vacation through Woodhead’s brain.” Doldrums recently released his follow-up, the darker The Air Conditioned Nightmare (stream it below). Per AllMusic, Woodhead takes “hold of the confusion, conflict and ugliness of the record and sculpting it into something compelling in a voice all his own. Woodhead’s brother, Daniel, and a childhood friend, Maddy Wilde, have just put out their debut full-length, Secret Life (stream it below), as Moon King (above, performing “Apocalypse” and “Rosewell”). Daniel tells Fader, “I’ve been describing the record as a collection of sad songs played with joy and energy.” And Renowned for Sound calls it “a powerful, enigmatic album; one that manages to be beautiful, creepy and oddly tragic, often all at the same time.” Catch both bands at tomorrow’s late show at Mercury Lounge.


Night Terrors of 1927 Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

April 7th, 2015

Former Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett and former Honorary Title frontman Jarrod Gorbel met through mutual friends in 2010, but they didn’t begin making music together until after Gorbel left Brooklyn for Los Angeles two years later. Initially they were writing songs just to do something different than either of them had previously done—neither intended for it to become a new band. “I wanted to create something with someone, not just on my own like I always had. When I moved to L.A., I called Blake and was like, ‘Hey, can we just get together and write a song. I don’t know for what or why.’ And that was that,” said Gorbel. But they were so happy with their new material that they launched the electronic-tinged rock duo Night Terrors of 1927. Their debut EP, Guilty Pleas (stream it below), came out in 2013. Spin praised it as an “anthemic debut,” further mentioning its “open-hearted, high-drama glory.” And earlier this year, Night Terrors of 1927 (above, doing “Running in Place”) released their debut full-length, Everything’s Coming Up Roses (stream it below). According to AllMusic, “Sennett and Gorbel have bridged their seasoned musical pasts into a sweet pop music present.” See them play the late show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Minneapolis three-piece Strange Names open.


Close Out the Weekend with Parker Millsap at Mercury Lounge

April 3rd, 2015

A young guy with an old-timey Americana sound, 21-year-old Parker Millsap grew up in small-town Oklahoma attending Pentecostal church three times a week, which—despite the fact he no longer considers himself to be very religious—undoubtedly affects his songwriting. He began playing acoustic guitar at just nine years old, but once Millsap discovered Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton, like Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, he plugged in. And thanks to a post–high school performance in Nashville, Millsap won a coveted spot opening for Old Crow Medicine Show and later Patty Griffin, Shovels & Rope and Lake Street Dive. But with the release of his self-titled debut album (stream it below) last year, the engaging live performer became known for more than his gravelly, soulful voice. In a glowing review, PopMatters proclaimed, “Road tunes and leave-takings are a fitting metaphorical trope for this album, because Millsap is clearly going places. With his voice and his rich, suggestive songwriting, it might not be long before Red Dirt isn’t just a bandwagon that people recognize, but one that they might be willing to jump onto.” And per American Songwriter, “Like the best of his peers, Millsap lets his music and lyrics do the talking, keeping the production sparse, not stark, and creating a terrific, even audacious first effort. Millsap’s subtle style allows the listener to discover the emotional vortex of his often confused characters, helping us identify with their motives without casting judgment.” Of course, you can judge for yourself because with a night off from opening for Houndmouth, Parker Millsap (above, doing “Truck Stop Gospel” live at the Grand Ole Opry) plays the early show at Mercury Lounge on Sunday.


Two Chances to See Fat White Family Beginning Tomorrow Night

April 1st, 2015

Following the dissolution of two other bands, Fat White Family—now Lias Saoudi (vocals), Saul Adamczewski (guitar and vocals), Adam Harmer (guitar), Jack Everett (drums), Nathan Saoudi (organ) and Taishi Nagasaka (bass)—formed in South London in 2011, combining rock, blues and bits of country. Noisey has declared, “They’re British rock and roll’s final hurrah—not just a fuck you to everything that has become sanitized but a reminder that rock and roll can, even as the last embers fade, continue to mean something beyond an NME cover.” Speaking of which, NME calls them “the best new band in London.” The weekly publication also has kind words for the wildly entertaining six-piece’s debut full-length, Champagne Holocaust (stream it below), labeling it “a fantastic racket” and “political, satirical and downright perverse.” But make no mistake, Fat White Family (above, doing “Is It Raining in Your Mouth” at last year’s Glastonbury) are a band best experienced live, and you can see them twice locally this month, tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge and then again on 4/30 at Music Hall of Williamsburg.


Hinds Bring the Fun to the Late Show at Mercury Lounge Tomorrow

March 30th, 2015

A few years ago, Carlotta Cosials (vocals and guitar) and Ana Perrote (vocals and guitar) teamed up to make music in Madrid. And after posting two songs to their Bandcamp, publications and other musicians began to take notice in 2014. So the duo became a quartet with the addition of Ade Martin (bass) and Amber Grimbergen (drums), under the name Deers. But due to recent legal pressure from a similarly named Canadian band, the Spanish group has become Hinds (the plural form of another word for a female deer). Inspired by the likes of Ty Segall and Black Lips, Hinds (above, performing “Bamboo” live for 3FM) are party starters, always looking for a good time. “We want to play the music that we enjoy listening to,” Cosials tells NME. “When we try to write a sad song we always have it going well for a bit, but then someone will come into the room and we’ll all start jumping around until it turns into a happy song. We can’t help it!” Thanks to their raucous live shows, the lo-fi garage-rock Spanish four-piece won over American fans with a very busy SXSW followed by a trip up and down the California coast. And now Hinds are coming to New York City to play the late show at Mercury Lounge tomorrow night.


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

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 11.10.07 AM

“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.