Tag Archives: Mercury Lounge

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Low Cut Connie – Mercury Lounge – May 9, 2017

May 10th, 2017


Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

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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.

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Courtney Marie Andrews Plays Early on Monday at Mercury Lounge

May 5th, 2017

Talented singer-songwriter Courtney Marie Andrews began playing guitar and writing her own original songs while just a teenager in Phoenix, and she began performing live before graduating high school. Soon enough Andrews (above, performing “Table for One” live in studio for KEXP FM) became a backup singer and session guitarist for numerous artists, including the likes of Damien Jurado and Jimmy Eat World. But thanks to her own work, combining country, folk and pop, she’s earned the reputation of a songwriter’s songwriter. Andrews’ most recent release, Honest Life (stream it below)—which she considers a coming-of-age record—came out last year. It’s “an album at once elegant and deeply moving,” said Paste in a review comparing her to Emmylou Harris and Neko Case. “They’re excellent songs, expertly written, but Andrews’ voice is what makes them unforgettable.” Experience that voice live when Courtney Marie Andrews plays the early show on Monday night at Mercury Lounge.

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Jerry Joseph Pulls No Punches at Mercury Lounge on Sunday Night

May 1st, 2017

Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons – Mercury Lounge – April 30, 2017


Jerry Joseph isn’t one to sugarcoat: As longtime friend Widespread Panic bassist (and sometime bandmate) Dave Schools has put it, his music can be “an absolute emotional slaughterhouse.” Which is not to call it dour—a Jerry Joseph show is a master class in old school, highly emotional rock and roll energy—just that when you experience it you’re often in for a scorched-earth kind of evening, no-holds-barred, no-punches-pulled, no-edges-filed-down, no phony sanctimony. He’s an iconoclast, for sure, and the less he seems to care about how some take to his abrasive sentiments, the more his music deepens and becomes more soulful. It can sound ferocious and cynical, tender and fragile, world-wise and world-weary. And he’s crazy prolific. Each time Joseph returns to New York City he’s got new songs that sound of a piece with everything he’s done over a 30-plus-year career—and yet don’t repeat himself.

One of Joseph’s masterstrokes was finding bandmates who could be an extension of this personality and translate it into feral rock—jammy and shape-shifting. The Jackmormons, now again a trio after a stretch as a quartet, returned to Mercury Lounge Sunday night for a rare local long-play, meaning it wasn’t over and done within a tight hour and had ample room to stretch out, welcome friends and do what they do best: rough-scuffed folk rock played at times with Crazy Horse–like abandon and paint-stripping guitar. Whether it was the anthemic, gospel-y “Think on These Things” to open or the roiling “Soda Man” or a long, gnarly jam out of Bob Marley’s “Positive Vibration” that burrowed its way into the metal-scraping “Brother Number One,” every tune took its time, unhurried, and yeah, with incendiary guitar solos, chunky bass and crashing drums but none of it out of place or feeling extra. A lot of bands jam because they want to expand a song with improvisational solos or groupthink, but Jackmormons jams seem to go long because the emotional weight of a lot of this material commands a full workout. As an audience member, you’d rather be drained instead of left too heavy.

This show was a benefit for Joseph’s forthcoming trip to Iraq to work with refugee, cultural and educational organizations—a very Jerry Joseph think to do—and summoned some extra friends to accompany Joseph, bassist Steven James Wright and drummer Steve Drizos. Among them were the sage Mookie Siegel, dappling the music with heavenly organ and piano, and the ace Jamie McLean, bringing a red-meat blues-rock sensibility as a foil for Joseph’s own teeth-bared guitar playing. Especially remarkable was how well both of them became an extension of the Jackmormons, a trio that at times couldn’t seem to possibly hold more personality, and yet, there they were as part of the band, deep in its thrall. Potent stuff, you’d say with a chuckle, like calling an erupting volcano “potent stuff.” —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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A Double Dose of the Wild Reeds in New York City This Week

May 1st, 2017

Individually they’re known as Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe and Sharon Silva, but collectively the three are known as the Wild Reeds (above, performing “Patience” for KRCC FM), the L.A. band deftly mixing straight-up rock, ethereal folk and twangy country, all beneath three distinct voices joined in harmony. Their second full-length, The World We Built (stream it below), came out last month. NPR Music compares the trio to Crosby, Stills & Nash, adding that the album “is underpinned by brash guitar textures, harmonium and a killer rhythm section. The Wild Reeds grasp the wonder of song.” In New York City this week, they play tomorrow at Rough Trade NYC and on Wednesday at Mercury Lounge. Nashville, Tenn., rock five-piece Blank Range open both shows.

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Sweet Crude Bring Uniquely New Orleans Sound to Mercury Lounge

April 26th, 2017

Sweet Crude—a collection of friends and relatives: Jack Craft, Sam Craft, Stephen MacDonald, Alexis Marceaux, Dave Shirley and Skyler Stroup—are a uniquely New Orleans band, a six-piece with lyrics written in a mix of English and Cajun French, working in tune with five-part harmonies, tribal rhythms and pop hooks. According to the-Times Picayune, “The musicians of Sweet Crude are bilingual because the music is, and not the other way around. Writing in Cajun French connects Marceaux and the Crafts to their heritage, but it also opens up an expansive other world of sound; a whole other dictionary to play rhyming games with, for one.” Their debut full-length, Sweet Créatures (stream it below), came out just last week. And Consequence of Sound calls it: “An alluring indie pop record filled with playful rhythms and a genuine love for the Louisiana city. Touring North America in support of their new music, Sweet Crude (above, performing “Mon Esprit” for New Orleans Live) play Mercury Lounge on Friday night. The NOLA five-piece Motel Radio open the show.

(And if you find yourself in New Orleans for Jazz Fest, see Sweet Crude open for Lake Street Dive at the Civic Theatre on 5/6.)

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Don’t Miss Juliana Hatfield on Thursday Night at Mercury Lounge

April 24th, 2017

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Juliana Hatfield has had a long, distinguished career in alternative rock, doing time with the Lemonheads, Blake Babies, Some Girls, Minor Alps and the Juliana Hatfield Three in addition to her much-acclaimed work as a solo performer. And despite thinking her songwriting career was on hiatus, or perhaps even finished, she found herself inspired by last year’s presidential election: “All of these songs just started pouring out of me. And I felt an urgency to record them.” As a result, Hatfield (above, her video for new single “Short Fingered Man”) has a new album, Pussycat, out on Friday, and she celebrates its arrival with a pair of shows this week at Mercury Lounge—the first on Wednesday night, which is already sold out, and then again on Thursday. Singer-songwriter Laura Stevenson opens each performance.

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Sam Outlaw Brings a Taste of California Country to Mercury Lounge

April 19th, 2017

Former ad-sales executive Sam Morgan has been doing business as the California-country singer-songwriter Sam Outlaw (above, performing “Love Her for a While” for WFUV FM) since his debut studio album, Angeleno (stream it below), arrived in 2015, featuring cameos from My Morning Jacket keyboardist Bo Koster and Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith, among others. “As an album, Angeleno holds up time and time again,” said American Songwriter. “For anyone who feels similarly disenchanted about country music, Outlaw’s songs—closely bound to tradition, endlessly romantic—are the perfect remedy.” His second full-length, Tenderheart (stream it below), came out last Friday. Vulture makes comparisons to Gram Parsons, Ryan Adams and James Taylor, adding: “Tenderheart is the sound of Angeleno’s budding artist finding his voice and crafting a work as great as his killer country nom de plume. Two years after shaking his life up to chase a dream of country stardom, Sam Outlaw is sitting on one of the genre’s best albums of the year. It’s never too late to heed your calling.” Check out Sam Outlaw live at the early show Thursday night at Mercury Lounge. Virginia singer-songwriter Dori Freeman opens.

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Little Hurricane – Mercury Lounge – April 13, 2017

April 14th, 2017

Little Hurricane - Mercury Lounge - April 13, 2017

Photos courtesy of Marc Millman Photography | www.marcmillmanphotos.com/music