Tag Archives: Poliça

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Bon Iver Close Out Epic New York Run at Music Hall of Williamsburg

December 15th, 2016

Bon Iver – Music Hall of Williamsburg – December 14, 2016

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During a cold winter in a Wisconsin cabin, the first Bon Iver album, For Emma, Forever Ago, was written out of heartbreak—and the indie folklore remains forever in perpetuity. Although raved about in music critics’ circles, the band wasn’t well-known until winning the Best New Artist Grammy in 2012 for the self-titled sophomore effort. Even then, the public was uncertain who was in the band with tweets throughout the telecast wondering exactly who Bonnie Bear was. After a three-year hiatus, Bon Iver returned to headline the inaugural Eaux Claires Music Festival in frontman Justin Vernon’s hometown. This fall, the latest release, 22, A Million, welcomed a new era in the band’s evolution, moving away from the melancholic, acoustic crooning to heavily Auto-Tuned vocals against grainy synths leaving little resemblance to that emotionally cracked man in the cabin.

Over the past two weeks, the once unknown folk band has played sold-out shows across the New York City area from Hammerstein Ballroom and Capitol Theatre to Pioneer Works and Kings Theatre. The residency ended last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, blocks away from an in-store the band played almost a decade ago at the long-shuttered Sound Fix Records. The stage was set with gear trunks decorated with Eric Timothy Carlson’s artwork from the recent album and served as tables for laptops and synths.

Carlson’s graphics were projected throughout the entire set, offering a strange mix of numerology and lyrics. The opener, “22 (OVER S∞∞N),” echoed a familiar voice that sounded like Merrill Garbus (aka Tune-Yards), but Vernon’s foray into electronics has masked his vocal coherency. The frontman’s earlier work with the band Poliça can be heard in his delivery of “10 d E A T h b R E a s T,” where distorted percussions give way to shredding guitars. Midway through the show, Vernon confessed that it was great to be back “playing one of our favorite rooms.” In a charming moment, the sextet of backing horns, known lovingly as “Sad Sax of Shit,” accompanied the band on “8 (circle).” The evening was largely dedicated to the newer material, but Vernon offered a morsel of the past with an encore that included “Creature Fear.” —Sharlene Chiu

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Poliça Bring New Music to Sold-Out Warsaw on Saturday Night

April 25th, 2016

Poliça – Warsaw – April 23, 2016

Poliça – Warsaw – April 23, 2016
A lot can change in a year. For Channy Leaneagh and Ryan Olson of Poliça, change came both personally and professionally. Last year the couple welcomed their first child while they worked on their third studio album, United Crushers. With parenthood came matured lyrics tackling some darker subjects, from drugs to police brutality, which paint a rather bleak outlook for a newborn child. This week’s news of Prince’s passing hit the proud Minnesotan band especially close to home. From birth to death, the themes all converged on Saturday evening at a sold-out Warsaw

Drenched in heavy Auto-Tune rendering Leaneagh to a low baritone, the quartet opened with “Summer Please” and followed with more from their latest, including “Lime Habit” and “Someway.” The artwork from United Crushers provided the backdrop, while lighting was at a minimum with the exception of glowing floor lights leaving members illuminated like neon figures. Leaneagh mentioned how nice it was to play Warsaw as they are often mistaken for a Polish band. Also, who doesn’t love having a few pierogies during a show?

The exuberant crowd lit up as the jangling synths gave way to fave “Chain My Name.” The recently blonde Leaneagh weaved her hands and swayed to the basslines and multiple drumbeats—the band’s got not one but two drummers, Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu. On probably the most-mellow track, “Lately,” Leaneagh’s vocal sounded particularly ethereal and melodic. But don’t let that soft spot fool you: She proceeded to head-bang during her rendition of “Berlin” and crooned with conviction against the heavy basslines provided by Chris Bierden. An encore of “Baby Sucks” and “Amongster” happily sent off fans into the night as reverberations of the evening lingered. —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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Poliça Preview New Material at Sold-Out Rough Trade NYC

February 22nd, 2016

Poliça – Rough Trade NYC – February 19, 2016

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Rough Trade NYC was packed to the gills on Friday night with good reason: Poliça were in town. But first, roots rocker JM Airis and his band took the stage to play songs from Wild Birds, their laid-back, road-weary swagger warming up the crowd and providing a good contrast to the dynamic, electro-heavy sounds that were soon to come from the headliners.

Channy Leaneagh and Co. took the stage and launched into their set without wasting a moment. The sounds of tightly wound synths, ominous percussion and Leanagh’s torchy vocals charged the air with fervid energy. The band rolled out several tracks from their forthcoming album, United Crushers, throughout their performance, punctuated with the familiar “Wandering Star,” “Tiff” and “Warrior Lord.” The new-track offerings included Poliça’s pensive ballad “Lately.” Leaneagh’s recent quote about the song speaks volumes: “Don’t let love become a distraction. I want to be moved by my lover but not put in a lethargic state of apathy for doing anything else but be with another person. Love is a place where we make each other better and inspire each other to make cool shit.”

Poliça have conquered a hefty feat—they’ve consistently released bold, multifaceted work since forming in 2011. Leaneagh’s vocal prowess, Ryan Olson’s masterful production, Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu’s bold drum work, and Chris Bierden’s daring bass all melt into a sound that’s simultaneously manic and euphoric. Their ever-growing fan base will be excited to hear that the band will return to Brooklyn this spring. Leaneagh’s new baby will be joining them for a good part of the tour, and he’ll learn how to be a road warrior from some experts. —Schuyler Rooth | @SchuylerSpeak

(Poliça play Warsaw on 4/23.)

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Poliça on 2/19

February 16th, 2016

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With their third album—and a new tour—due in just a few weeks, Poliça make a special appearance at Rough Trade NYC on Friday night. The show sold out quickly, but you can still see them when they return to play Warsaw on 4/23. And if you just can’t wait ’til spring, try to Grow a Pair of tickets from The House List to see Poliça on Friday night. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Poliça, 2/19) and a brief message explaining your favorite tune by the Minneapolis five-piece. Eddie Bruiser, who’s freezing snowballs to use this summer, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Poliça – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 17, 2014

June 18th, 2014

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Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Good Times on a Friday Night

November 11th, 2013

Poliça – Webster Hall – November 8, 2013


With the release of their debut album, Give You the Ghost, last year, Minnesota electro-pop outfit Poliça quickly gained success, leading to opening slots for Bon Iver and the xx. The quartet, helmed by frontwoman Channy Leaneagh, manipulates vocals through loops and Auto-Tune to create a whirlpool of sound that sucks you in. At a nearly sold-out Webster Hall on Friday night, Poliça played before a backdrop depicting the cover of their latest full-length, Shulamith, and its material served as the meat of the evening’s set. With drummers Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu (yes, there were two drummers with full kits) getting it started, Leaneagh’s gloved hands gesticulated for the opening song, “Spilling Lines.” The gloves were promptly removed for “Lay Your Cards Out,” off their previous album, Give You the Ghost.

Bassist Chris Bierden revved his strings on “Very Cruel” as Leaneagh slithered across the stage. Although there was little banter throughout the night, the singer simply offered, “I hope you all have a good time” to a roared response. As the house lights came on to the crash of cymbals during “Vegas,” it was clear that the fine folks at Webster Hall were having a ball. Before she introduced “Chain My Name,” Leaneagh disclosed that her mother gave her such a unique name in the hopes that she’d become a country singer. The first single from Shulamith would be the pixie songstress’s “country song.” Although the set closed, appropriately, with “So Leave,” the band came back onstage for a three-song encore. Bierden was the first to return, followed shortly thereafter by Leaneagh, who sang a slowed-down, yet shortened version of “Wandering Star.” With the pair of drummers joining them, the full band treated the crowd to a cover of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me” before finishing the night with “Matty.”Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

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Catch Poliça Tomorrow Night at Webster Hall

November 7th, 2013

Minneapolis’s Poliça, a psychedelic R&B offshoot of Gayngs, began when singer Channy Leanagh and producer Ryan Olson started collaborating together in the summer of 2011. Things clicked, and within a month, the two already had enough material to begin recording. So they recruited bassist Chris Bierdan and drummers Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu, and cut Give You the Ghost, which came out early last year. How well was the album received? Well, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon said, “They’re the best band I’ve ever heard.” Their follow-up, also well-received, Shulamith (stream it below), arrived a few weeks ago. Consequence of Sound says Poliça (above, doing “Dark Star”) “push beyond their previous record through the maturity of their sexy, electronic R&B sounds united with darker lyrics and political connotations.” See them, with Marijuana Deathsquads opening, tomorrow night at Webster Hall.

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The xx Sparkle at Radio City Music Hall

September 24th, 2013

The xx – Radio City Music Hall – September 23, 2013

The xx have managed to bypass any questions of a sophomore slump with their follow-up album, Coexist. Not much has changed with their overall sound, and fans are still enamored by their songs. The trio quietly fills atmospheres with a serenity that manages to encapsulate the attention of an entire audience. Their first gig at a sold-out Radio City Music Hall last night wouldn’t be any different. The delicate male-and-female vocals of Oliver Sim and Romy Madley-Croft effortlessly wove against the vast, ornate backdrop of the famed New York City establishment.

As floodlights blinded the audience, the black-clad trio took their places onstage setting off the evening with “Try.” Fans quickly rose for “Heart Skipped a Beat,” a favorite from the British three-piece’s debut album, xx. Another track from it, “Crystalised,” was reimagined with the delivery slowly dragged out for added drama. The night really took a turn as beats master Jamie Smith (aka Jamie xx) intertwined his own song “Far Nearer” with “Reunion.” From behind his MPC, the intro of delicately rattling steel drums climaxed into a series of double and triple beats, moving onlookers to dance among the velvet-upholstered seats. Smith continued his reign, undoubtedly breathing new life into familiar tune “Shelter.” With a crazy level of layered thump, Radio City became a nightclub sporting rays of lasers.

With little talk between songs, Sim’s few words describing the experience of playing the hallowed hall as “surreal” resonated with fans. “An incredible moment for us. This was just something we started as a hobby in our bedroom.” Nearing the end of the set, the audience joined in to sing, “I can’t give it up” on “Infinity.” Not to leave the crowd wanting more, the trio returned to encore with “Intro” and “Angels.” The latter fittingly closed the night with lyrics “Being as in love with you as I am/ Being as in love, love, love”—to which, Sim made a heart shape with his hands as he exited the stage. The love was, needless to say, mutual. —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

(The xx and Polica play Radio City Music Hall again tonight.)

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Poliça – Webster Hall – October 6, 2012

October 8th, 2012


Photos courtesy of Chris Becker | www.artistsweetsbecker.us

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Poliça Play Webster Hall Tomorrow Night

October 5th, 2012

Minneapolis’s Poliça, a psychedelic R&B offshoot of Gayngs, began when singer Channy Leanagh and producer Ryan Olson began collaborating together in the summer of 2011. Things clicked, and within a month the two already had enough material to begin recording. So they recruited bassist Chris Bierdan and drummers Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu, and cut Give You the Ghost, which came out this past Valentine’s Day. How was the album received? Well, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon says, “They’re the best band I’ve ever heard.” And you can hear them in person when Poliça (above, doing “Dark Star” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!) play Webster Hall tomorrow night.

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Two Bands Live Up to the Buzz

March 29th, 2012

Poliça/Zulu Winter – Mercury Lounge – March 28, 2012


Last night was pretty much a perfect new-music lineup for me. After seeing both Zulu Winter and Poliça play great shows at SXSW, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t duped by the Texas heat and that both of these bands were as good as I had thought they were. To my delight, they were indeed. British boys Zulu Winter opened the show with their danceable indie pop and got people, who were likely mostly there for Poliça, moving and excited early. Highlight songs included the single “We Should Be Swimming,” “Let’s Move Back to Front” and “Never Leave.” With bass lines you can cling to and a charismatic frontman, they should be back in no time.

With great bass lines and charismatic leaders being the theme of the evening, Poliça took to the stage to loud cheers. Channy Leaneagh and her ethereal R&B vocals soon filled the room as they played through their electro-R&B debut record Give You the Ghost, my favorite album so far this year. Ostage the band transformed it into something special. Songs like “Dark Star,” “Lay Your Cards Out,” “I See My Mother” and the well known “Wandering Star” had the entire room moving yet transfixed.

Leaneagh’s seductive, and at times jarring, rhythm is hard to tear your eyes from, but each member of the band is incredibly impressive to watch and, my, do those two drummers get a workout. The show felt like it will become an “I saw them way back when” moment. With a great debut record, a fantastic live show and with that much charisma filling a stage, there is nothing standing in the way of Poliça. —Lauren Glucksman