Tag Archives: Mercury Lounge

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Two Nights of Dark Pop with In the Valley Below in NYC This Week

August 16th, 2017

As In the Valley Below, Jeffrey Jacob (vocals and guitar) and Angela Gail (vocals and keys) are what AllMusic calls “a Los Angeles–based duo with a penchant for crafting stylish, noir-kissed blasts of dark electro-pop.” Their debut full-length, The Belt (stream it below), arrived in 2014. “Belts can hurt you if used as a weapon, but they can also hold your pants up, and In the Valley Below do a deft job of exploring both polarities with their music,” said PopMatters. About a month ago, In the Valley Below (above, performing “Peaches” live for Wilcox Sessions) put out their fourth EP, Elephant (stream it below). “With so much going wrong in the world today, there are a plethora of songs inspired by the darker side of life. The uniqueness of In the Valley Below is that they do not phone in the music or the message when they create their art,” rang in Impose. “They believe that in order to have the most effect, they must reach the largest audience with genuinely good music, and it shows. This EP comes from a authentic mindset, raising awareness for important issues, and it doesn’t hurt that the songs are great to listen to.” They’re also great to experience live, which you can do on Thursday at Mercury Lounge and on Saturday at Rough Trade NYC. Electronic five-piece Flagship open both shows.

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Slothrust Play a Hometown Show at Music Hall of Williamsburg

August 10th, 2017

Leah Wellbaum (vocals and guitar), Kyle Bann (bass) and Will Gorin (drums) met while studying music at Sarah Lawrence College and went on to form the Brooklyn band Slothrust. “Blending apathetic vocal delivery and sludgy guitars with a sound rooted in punchy blues, grunge revivalists Slothrust breathe newfound life into the angsty sounds of the ’90s,” according to AllMusic. “People have always had trouble comparing us to other bands, but someone recently described us as Nirvana meets Wynton Marsalis, and I loved that,” said Wellbaum. The band’s third release, Everyone Else (stream it below), dropped last fall. “This is an album for music lovers who can appreciate the achievements of a band that’s hitting its stride and has the ability to capture the best of rock, jazz and blues on one album,” per Art for Progress. And with their summer tour winding down, Slothrust (above, performing “Rotten Pumpkin” for Audiotree Live) come home to Brooklyn to play Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night. Arrive early to catch Maine trio Tancred and New York City’s Mal Blum & the Blums opening the show.

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Zeshan B Brings a Unique Take on Soul to Mercury Lounge on Friday

August 10th, 2017

Zeshan Bagewadi grew up in Chicago, the son of Indian immigrants, picking up blues, funk, rock and soul courtesy of his dad’s music collection. But he’s not only into the hard-driving rhythms and horn-heavy sounds of the ’60s and ’70s—he’s also equally interested in that period’s social activism. And as a result, the debut Zeshan B (above, performing “Ain’t No Love (In the Heart of the City)”) studio full-length, Vetted (stream it below), arrived earlier this year as “the full encompassment of Zeshan B’s vision for an album depicting his life as a Muslim and Indian-American in the Trump era,” according to PopMatters. “He does so with undeniable heart-rending soul. Vetted is an album for the awoken, as well as those who still need to be shaken by the shoulders a bit to wake up.” Don’t miss this unique, talented voice live at the late show on Friday at Mercury Lounge.

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Catch Future Thieves Early at Mercury Lounge on Tuesday Night

August 7th, 2017

Elliot Collett (vocals and guitar), Austin McCool (guitar), Nick Goss (drums) and Gianni Gibson (drums) have been making ethereal alternative rock—in the vein of Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket and Delta Spirit—ever since forming Future Thieves four years ago in Nashville, Tenn. Their debut full-length, Horizon Line (stream it below), arrived in 2015. And earlier this year, Future Thieves (above, performing “Soon”) put out Live at Blue Rock (stream it below), which Guitar World calls a “collection of turbo-charged Americana tunes.” Now out on the road, they play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Funky Bronx four-piece Thelvnguage open the show.

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Grace Mitchell – Mercury Lounge – August 2, 2017

August 3rd, 2017

Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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Tweed and the McLovins Play Late at Mercury Lounge This Weekend

August 3rd, 2017

Philly four-piece Tweed—AJ DiBiase (guitar and vocals), Joe Vela (drums), Jon Tomczak (synths and vocals) and Dan McDonald (bass and vocals)—have been getting people to the dance floor with their infectious mash-up of funk, rock and electronics, not to mention their improvisation-filled high-energy live performances. And following Phish at the Garden, you can keep the good times going with Tweed (above, covering “You Can Call Me Al”) playing late night at Mercury Lounge on Friday night. Brooklyn progressive-funk quartet the Phryg open the show.

Another improvisational quartet, the McLovins (above, doing “Buildin’ It Up”)—Jake Huffman (drums and vocals), Jason Ott (bass and vocals), Justin Berger (guitar and vocals) and Atticus Kelly (keys and vocals)—also do late-night duty after Phish this weekend, playing Mercury Lounge on Saturday night. The Hartford band’s most recent album, a self-titled affair (stream it below), out in 2015, is filled with the progressive mix of rock, funk, jazz and soul you can expect to witness live on Saturday night.

 

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Grace Mitchell Makes Her NYC Headlining Debut at Mercury Lounge

August 1st, 2017

Portland, Ore., singer-songwriter and mult-instrumentalist Grace Mitchell (above, peforming “Kids (Ain’t All Right)”) quickly earned comparisons to Halsey, Lorde and Lana Del Rey when, still in her mid-teens, she put out a pair of EPs, Design (stream it below) and Raceday (stream it below), in 2014-15, filled with electronic- and R&B-fueled pop. The genre-bending musician has recently been releasing singles, and with a debut long-player due to arrive later this year, she makes her New York City headlining debut tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Local electro-pop duo Frances Rose open the show.

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Aussie Bluesman C.W. Stoneking Plays Mercury Lounge Tomorrow

July 26th, 2017

Australian blues musician C.W. Stoneking already had two solid albums behind him by the time he released Gon’ Boogaloo (stream it below) in 2014, the record that revealed the deeper, darker mojo of his sound that the first two only nodded toward. Undoubtedly it felt heavier. Stoneking went toward an electric six-string approach—favoring a Fender Jazzmaster—rather than the National steel and banjo formats from earlier. But he framed those gnarlier guitar sonics still in the gospel, ragtime and swaggering Delta blues he loves, and sweetened it a bit with backup singers. Stoneking is pure old-timey mojo. It takes a certain someone with a certain something to acquit numbers like “The Zombie” (performed live, above) or lines like “Down where the drums go boom, baba-boom, baba-boom, mm-mm/ Anybody see me, sure ’bout to meet their doom” and not have it sound like some kind of Cab Calloway–aping approximation of bullshit hoodoo or junior-league Tom Waits. Instead, thanks to Stoneking’s style and distinctive voice, it’s awesome, haunting and thick with tension, while not so self-serious that it loses the entertainment value—Stoneking once admitted that his song “Jungle Blues” was inspired as much by the keyboard in 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” as it was 1920 and 1930s hellhound-on-trail stuff—or devolves into lo-fi howling just ’cause there might be a full moon tonight. “I take inspiration from all sorts of music, from locations all around the world and different time periods,” he told PopMatters in 2016. “I make my own thing, which, depending on your frame of reference might sound like any one of those but to me, knowing my process, it’s a different thing altogether.” Stoneking plays the early show at Mercury Lounge on Thursday. Get there early for Moist Paula’s Bliss Station, featuring bari saxophonist extraordinare Moist Paula (Moisturizer, Rev. Vince Anderson, Binky Griptite and many more) in a sax-bass-drums format. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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RAQ Play Late After Phish at Mercury Lounge on Friday and Saturday

July 20th, 2017

The guys in RAQJay Burwick (bass and vocals), Chris Michetti (guitar and vocals), Todd Stoops (keys and vocals) and Scotty Zwang (drums)—formed the experimental, improvisational jam band in Burlington, Vt., at the turn of the century. They’ve been winning over fans ever since thanks to their complex song structures and quirky-yet-accessible lyrics. And with Phish kicking off 13 dates at Madison Square Garden beginning tomorrow night, RAQ (above, doing “Beauregard”) will be handling late-night duties on Friday and then again on Saturday at Mercury Lounge.

 

 

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The Cactus Blossoms Keep Mercury Lounge Cool on a Hot Night

July 13th, 2017

The Cactus Blossoms – Mercury Lounge – July 12, 2017


Honky-tonk noir anyone? Well you’re in luck because Minnesotan brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum are serving up just what you’re craving as the Cactus Blossoms. They resemble a blend of vintage sibling pairs, with the harmonies of the Everly Brothers and the bittersweet waltz of Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk.” It’s not surprising that the two made their national-TV debut on the recently rebooted Twin Peaks: The Return, playing the melancholic “Mississippi” as the third-episode outro. After a string of Midwestern dates opening for Jenny Lewis, the duo returned Stateside following a quick European tour to grace Mercury Lounge with a late-night session on Thursday.

Playing to a sold-out crowd, Torrey hit the stage last apologizing for the late start as he was locked in the bathroom. Thankfully freed, the reunion produced an evening of sweet Southern charm as the Cactus Blossoms played a large portion of their debut full-length album, You’re Dreaming. The title track had the crowd soaring to the brothers’ harmonies, followed by the eerily haunting track featured on Twin Peaks. Drummer Alex Hall literally wheeled up to the stage with suitcase in hand to relieve his stand-in, Grant. Turns out Hall’s flight had been delayed 12 hours. But the consummate professionals rolled with the punches, noting that as musicians, it’s rare when things go as planned.

The Cactus Blossoms treated devoted fans to cuts from their back catalog, including the farewell tune, “Adios Maria,” which was less about a woman and more about parting with a place. After a new song, they covered the Kinks“Who’ll Be Next in Line,” paying homage to a fellow sibling pair, and dedicated “Happy Man on a Gloomy Day” to an unfortunately canceled Spain show. A previously requested “Spotlight Kisses” was happily applauded, and the country waltz of “Powder Blue” had everyone in the room swaying in delight. With the encore imminent, Torrey announced it was “too hot to rock,” instead concluding the evening with a slow one, “Travelers Paradise.” It was a fitting adieu on a steamy night. —Sharlene Chiu

 

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The Kickback Celebrate a New Album Thursday at Mercury Lounge

July 12th, 2017

Now based in Chicago, Billy Yost (vocals and guitar), Jonny Ifergan (guitar) and Daniel Leu (bass) have been making eclectic music together since forming the Kickback close to 10 years ago. Following the release of several EPs, their catchy debut full-length, Sorry All Over the Place (stream it below), dropped two years ago. “The Kickback turn Sorry All Over the Place into a whimsical and ambitious fit of rock potpourri,” reported Consequence of Sound. “The band squeezes the pop-rock template dry, milking that broad category for its many musical riches.” Their sophomore LP, Weddings & Funerals, arrives on Friday, but the Kickback (above, doing “White Lodge” for Jam in the Van) celebrate its release a night early, on Thursday at Mercury Lounge.

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Catch the Cave Singers Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

July 11th, 2017

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 in 2013, and the Cave Singers (above, performing “That’s Why” live in studio for KEXP FM) followed that with their fifth LP, last year’s Banshee (stream it below). “The finished product shows the group understands very well what works for them,” said AllMusic. “Banshee is a smart and impressive piece of work that speaks to the mind and the soul with similar clarity.” The Cave Singers kick off their new tour tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge. Brooklyn’s LAPêCHE open the show.

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Up-and-Coming Folkies Kacy & Clayton Play Mercury Lounge Friday

June 23rd, 2017

Canadian cousins singer-songwriter Kacy Anderson and Deep Dark Woods guitarist Clayton Linthicum grew up just a few miles apart in Saskatchewan with a keen interest in British folk music. Initially they began performing together in a local bar, but as the word got out, their stages grew larger. Their debut album, The Day Is Past & Gone (stream it below), arrived in 2013. “We can indeed be very glad for this disc. It’s remarkable to think that Kacy is just 16 and Clayton 19. Let’s hope they get to take this act on the road,” said Exclaim. That’s exactly what they did. And last year, Kacy & Clayton (above, doing “Brunswick Stew” for CKUA FM) returned with their sophomore release, Strange Country (stream it below). “On this set, Kacy & Clayton have melded the rootsy overtones of vintage North American folk-revival albums of the ’60s with the passionate traditionalism of British folk-rock,” offered AllMusic. “Strange Country is a mysteriously and profoundly pleasing piece of work, and if Kacy & Clayton can create a few more albums this strong, they have the potential to be the new heroes of the North American folk community.” Jeff Tweedy was such a fan of the LP that he produced the duo’s upcoming release, The Siren’s Song, out in August. Catch them live tonight at Mercury Lounge. As an added bonus, Nashville singer-songwriter Andrew Combs opens the show.

 

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Pissed Jeans Bring New Music to Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

June 22nd, 2017

The first thing I learned about Pissed Jeans was that you apparently can’t write the word “pissed” in The New York Times. The second thing I learned about Pissed Jeans, going to see them for the first time in 2008 after reading the Times review calling them “***** Jeans,” was that they can raise quite a ruckus: wrathful, spike-edged, hilarious, somehow charming in a wet-smack-to-the-head way. These guys are ferocious—you’d call them a Pennsylvania-based sludge punk band and be technically accurate but only that—and they await the kind of amped-up, late-night crowd they’ll no doubt receive Friday night (late!) at Mercury Lounge (alongside San Francisco trio Feral Ohms, with Philly duo Pinkwash opening). Pissed Jeans’ fifth album, Why Love Now (stream it below), is just about perfect for these fraught, fractious times: taut yet messy, rampaging yet focused, full of swagger and the Jeans’ typically potent blend of acidic humor and forceful frankness. There are songs called “(Won’t Tell You) My Sign,” “The Bar Is Low” (watch its official video, above) “I’m a Man” and “Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst,” because of course there are. They’re meant to unsettle you a bit and land some punk angst not in a neat package but in kind of a rumpled heap. Some of it’s dirge-y, some of it’s ferocious, and all of it’s direct, knowing and self-assessing. Coproducers are Arthur Rizk, well-known to fans of thrash metal and of Philadelphia music that likes to surf the big waves out on the edges of sanity, and the one and only Lydia Lunch, icon of no wave. Shirts will come off at the Merc. Beer will be spilled. There’ll be some scary-funny laughter, surely. “What I’ve always gotten from punk rock is to question the status quo,” said singer Matt Korvette. “Just being kind of self-aware. Don’t take accepted answers as gospel.… I think I’ve maybe got some more immature things squared away. I’m not an insecure 24-year-old anymore.” He’s actually a 35-year-old insurance adjuster. And we’re betting that he’s a good one. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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Los Colognes Play the Early Show at Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

June 14th, 2017

Nashville, Tenn., five-piece Los Colognes—Jay Rutherford (vocals and guitar), Aaron Mortenson (drums and vocals), Gordon Persha (bass), Micah Hulscher (keys) and Chuck Foster (keys)—released their third studio full-length, The Wave, (stream it below), about a month ago. The album comes on the heels of a pair of well-received long-players—by fans and critics alike—2013’s Working Together (stream it below) and 2015’s aptly titled Dos (stream it below). After recording live to tape in studios on their previous efforts, Los Colognes (above, their video for the single “Unspoken”) primarily worked from their garage practice space this time around, earning comparisons to JJ Cale to Dire Straits to the Grateful Dead to Pink Floyd in the process. And out on the road, they play the early show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.