Tag Archives: Mercury Lounge


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.




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



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.


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.


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.



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


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.


Spend the Weekend with Singer-Songwriter Chuck Ragan

June 9th, 2017

When Gainesville, Fla., punk band Hot Water Music amicably broke up in 2006—although they’ve since just as amicably reunited—singer-songwriter-guitarist Chuck Ragan (above, playing “Bedroll Lullaby” for Out of the Ordinary) chose a different musical path, launching a solo career as a folk musician, telling evocative tales in his exceptional gravelly voice. Eventually he decided to put together the Revival Tour, which grouped together like-minded musicians traveling the country (and Europe) making and playing music together as they go. Ragan has continued to remain busy with a variety of well-received projects—with solo albums, the most recent of which Till Midnight (stream it below), came out in 2014; live albums, including last year’s The Winter Haul Live (stream it below); and movie soundtracks like 2016’s The Flame in the Flood (stream it below). But the thing about him is that no matter how terrific his recorded material is, Chuck Ragan is best experienced live, which works out great locally because he plays the early show tomorrow at Mercury Lounge and then on Sunday at Rough Trade NYC.


A Double Dose of Circa Waves’ New Music This Week

June 6th, 2017

Influenced by bands like the Strokes and Arctic Monkeys and formed in the Beatles’ hometown, Kieran Shudall (vocals and guitar) and Sam Rourke (bass), Colin Jones (drums) and Joe Falconer (guitar) formed the lively, melodic quartet Circa Waves four years ago in Liverpool, England. Their debut full-length, Young Chasers (stream it below), came out in 2015. “A gleefully frenetic, youthfully exuberant collection of catchy, guitar-based indie rock,” described AllMusic. “They make an urgent, angular style of stripped-down pop that touches upon ’80s dance-punk and ’90s slacker rock without ever giving in too much to either.” Circa Waves (above, performing “Fire That Burns” for BBC Radio 1) returned with their follow-up release, the weightier Different Creatures (stream it below), this past March, again impressing AllMusic: “Part of what makes Circa Waves so compelling is that they are able to match the sound of their influences while still believably making the results sound their own. They’ve grown into an assured rock entity, but they’ve retained their fundamental sense of working-class Liverpudlian blues.” Back in America, they play Rough Trade NYC on Wednesday and Mercury Lounge on Thursday.


Catch the Suitcase Junket Early at Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

May 31st, 2017

For singer-songwriter Matt Lorenz just about anything can be musical. As the old school one-man band the Suitcase Junket, Lorenz makes a bluesy joyful noise with a beaten-up guitar rescued from a dumpster and his raspy, lived-in voice, plus just about anything else, including repurposed objects like banged-up pots and empty gas cans. Lorenz performs and records solo, and his fourth LP, Pile Driver (stream it below), came out about a month ago. “Lorenz’s musical interests turn out to be as diverse as his instrument collection, and Pile Driver runs a wide gamut of styles over its 12 songs,” says PopMatters. “The variety and songwriting are what make Pile Driver a thoroughly entertaining record. Lorenz manages to do a lot of different things with his set up and he does most of them well.” Catch the Suitcase Junket (above, doing “Earth Apple” for Folk Alley Sessions) live at tomorrow’s early show at Mercury Lounge. Singer-songwriter Caroline Rose opens.


Catch Urban Cone and Nightly Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

May 24th, 2017

Thanks to their energetic electronic-pop music, Urban ConeRasmus Flyckt (vocals and keys), Tim Formgren (guitar), Emil Gustafsson (bass) and Jacob William Sjöberg (keys)—have been getting people to the dance floor ever since forming in Stockholm a little more than five years ago. Urban Cone (above, performing “Old School” at the Swedish Grammys) are working on a third album to follow the release of the arena-ready Polaroid Memories (stream it below), which came out in 2015. “You just can’t make music that connects with people if your intention is to be superficial, and if the surface of Polaroid Memories gleams with polish, Urban Cone prove themselves to be the musical equivalent of marble cutters,” said Diffuser.

Urban Cone are currently out on the road with the cousin duo Nightly (below, doing “XO” live in Los Angeles earlier this year). Vocalist Jonathan Capeci and guitarist Joey Beretta’s debut EP, Honest (stream it above), came out last year. And you can see them alongside Urban Cone tomorrow night at the early show Mercury Lounge.


Whitehorse Play the Early Show at Mercury Lounge on Monday

May 19th, 2017

Before forming the Canadian folk-roots duo Whitehorse six years ago, singer-songwriters (and husband and wife) Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland had successful solo careers. Their eponymous debut full-length (stream it below) arrived in 2011. “Their self-titled debut record manages to amplify the musical personalities of both artists successfully,” according to AllMusic. “McClelland and Doucet had each been tending their own solo careers for a decade or so before starting Whitehorse, and both artists had been making their own inroads on the Canadian roots music scene, but these tracks find them crafting a more forceful, visceral sound together.” Whitehorse (above, performing “Tame as the Wild One”) have remained busy touring and recording ever since. Their most recent release, the blues-covers album Northern South Vol. 1 (stream it below), came out last summer. “Through the use of multi-tracking, the two can really build a song with a thick slab made of many layers. Rather than drone, Whitehorse adds color to the material through innovative arrangements to cover the chug-chug-chugging beat, which can range from affected vocals to fuzzy electric guitar riffs,” per PopMatters. “The two players understand the primal underpinnings of desire expressed in this music, ensuring that the songs come from the body more than the heart or mind. Whitehorse should be felt more than heard to be appreciated. Crank it up!” Hear them live at the early show at Mercury Lounge on Monday night. Singer-songwriter Brian Dunne opens.


Texas Five-Piece the Unlikely Candidates Play Mercury Lounge

May 11th, 2017

Kyle Morris (vocals) and Cole Male (guitar) initially formed the Unlikely Candidates (above, performing “Your Love Could Start a War”) as an acoustic duo close to 10 years ago in Fort Worth, Texas. They’ve since expanded their catchy, sprawling sound with the addition of Brenton Carney (guitar), Kevin Goddard (drums) and Jared Hornbeek (bass). Their second EP, Bed of Liars (stream it below), came out earlier this year. “Despite the short track listing, every song stands on its own with catchy hooks and beats,” says Literally, Darling. “This second release from the Unlikely Candidates serves as a perfect example of how much the band has grown into their sound.” Find out for yourself at Thursday’s early show at Mercury Lounge. Brother duo the Fame Riot open.


Low Cut Connie – Mercury Lounge – May 9, 2017

May 10th, 2017

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com


The Palms Play the Late Show on Monday at Mercury Lounge

May 5th, 2017

Ben Rothbard (vocals and guitar) and Johnny Zambetti (guitar and vocals) are part of the L.A. five-piece Terraplane Sun, but they formed the band the Palms toward creating music without barriers. Their debut EP, Sway (stream it below), came out last year. Interview called it “catchy as pop, yet melded with poignant elements of blues, hip-hop, rock and reggae. Rothbard’s distinct vocals also invite the listener into each track, allowing the duo’s intended messages to come through while simultaneously leaving space for individual interpretations.” And now the Palms (above, performing “Stupid LA Love Song” in studio for WEQX FM) launch a brief East Coast tour at tonight’s late show at Mercury Lounge. Local ethereal garage-pop duo Me Not You open the show.