Tag Archives: Williamsburg

cat_reviews

Joseph Entertain Music Hall of Williamsburg with New Music

September 18th, 2017

Joseph – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 15, 2017


Sisterly vocals aren’t exactly a new thing. In fact, there’s already the Andrew Sisters, the Secret Sisters, First Aid Kit, the Staves, Haim and plenty more. So what’s another band of sisters to add to the ever-growing group? The sisters Closner—Natalie, Allison and Meegan—formed a trio when then solo Natalie (now Schepman) recruited her twin sisters to join her on the new project that birthed Joseph. Hailing from Portland, Ore., their namesake also comes from the band’s home state and the town where their grandfather lived. The sisters swung into Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night after a recent release of their Stay Awake EP earlier this month.

Against a backdrop featuring the band’s name, the siblings charged the stage with “All,” off the latest release, followed by the soaring harmonies of “Lifted Away.” The EP was played in its entirety, as well as several tracks from their sophomore full-length album, last year’s I’m Alone, No You’re Not. Whether intentional or not, the sisters dressed differently, perhaps to reveal their unique personalities: Allison in an oversized white button down and lined pants; Meegan in all black cropped top and high-waisted pants; and Natalie in a flowing blouse and ripped jeans. This mesh of fashion could be translated in their music from the dance-pop “SOS (Overboard)” to the bittersweet ballad “I Don’t Mind,” sung to aching perfection by Meegan. Natalie shined on protest-worthy “White Flag,” emphatically stamping her feet to the chanting chorus.

Newer material like “50, 60, 80” was welcomed, while two covers especially enraptured the crowd. A rendition of Tears for Fears“Everybody Wants to Rule the World” was in response to our current state of affairs. Natalie explained in an interview to NPR: “In all honesty, it feels like the house is falling down around us, but the lyric ‘holding hands while the walls come tumbling down’ resounds in our minds. We hope that our music can be a force of togetherness when it seems like everything’s trying to divide us.” The sisters added their own lyrics to the ’80s hit to bring positivity to our embattled nation: “Make the most of freedom and pleasure/ All I know is take care of each other/ An open door, a seat at the table, there’s enough to go around.” After opening the show, Bailen returned to the stage for a closing cover of the Rolling Stones“Moonlight Mile,” and the sisters put the night to bed with an encore of “Sweet Dreams.” —Sharlene Chiu

cat_reviews

Big Thief Close Out Two-Night Run Back at Home in Brooklyn

September 13th, 2017

Big Thief – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 12, 2017

Big Thief, a local Brooklyn band, have done a lot in two years, from releasing a debut album, Masterpiece, in spring 2016 to dropping their follow-up LP, Capacity, just this past June. Lead vocalist Adrianne Lenker’s song delivery anchors the band, while guitarist Buck Meek, bassist Max Oleartchik and drummer James Krivchenia provide the exclamation marks. They’ve been touring nonstop this summer in support of the latest release, including their recent debut at the Newport Folk Festival and a swing through Europe.

Last night, Big Thief played the second of two shows this week at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Lenker wore denim overalls, while Meek favored a more traditional tweed vest and pants combo. The band had the crowd rapt early as they offered up two favorites, the slow-burning “Masterpiece” and the longingly aching “Shoulders.” There was little banter from the soft-spoken lead singer, but her musical voice said enough.

Lenker’s attempts to fill the space between numbers became odd ruminations on dinner, so instead she stuck to her plaintive songs to charge the room. A preemptive surge of applause greeted the first chords of “Mythological Beauty,” and the second album’s title song earned an equally fine reception. The set concluded with the delicate lullaby “Orange,” which was followed by an encore with a guitar-less Lenker crooning “Mary.” —Sharlene Chiu

cat_preview

Blanck Mass Brings New Music to Rough Trade NYC on Thursday

September 12th, 2017

Benjamin John Powers is known as half of the English experimental drone duo Fuck Buttons. But he’s been doing his own electronic project as Blanck Mass (above, the official video for “Please”) since an ambient, droning eponymous debut full-length (stream it below)—recorded in his apartment and inspired by Carl Sagan and Ennio Morricone— arrived in 2011. “The shadow of his other band always feels like it’s on his shoulder, but that tension between his past and present guises is what makes this work so well,” said Pitchfork. “Blanck Mass is all about Power excavating new domains while still working wit.” The third Blanck Mass LP, World Eater (stream it below), dropped this past spring, winning over AllMusic: “Considering his legacy, it’s all the more impressive that Power found even more challenging places to go with his music, but World Eater’s focused chaos is some of his finest work yet.” In the middle of his North American tour, Blanck Mass plays Rough Trade NYC on Thursday night, and Egyptrixx opens the show.

cat_preview

Don’t Miss Public Service Broadcasting at Music Hall of Williamsburg

September 12th, 2017

On paper, Public Service Broadcasting’s music might sound like a gimmick: They compose and perform sweeping instrumentals around bits of spoken word taken from historical audio recordings—archival tapes, newsreels, propaganda. Their 2015 album, The Race for Space (stream it below), featured a variety of tracks that covered the early history of space travel, and their newest, Every Valley (stream it below), charts the coal industry in South Wales. In practice, these songs prove the London trio, operating as J. Willgoose, Esq., Wrigglesworth and JF Abraham, to be expert documentarians. The music tells compelling stories, finding modern-day relevance and emotional hooks in the brief historical snippets delivered in a soaring post-rock package. Public Service Broadcasting (above, performing “Gagarin”) will bring their history-steeped instrumentals to Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. They’ll be rocking songs about space and coal and much more. And who knows, you just might learn something and have a good time. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

 

cat_preview

Aussie Duo Vallis Alps Kick Off Tour at Music Hall of Williamsburg

September 1st, 2017

Vocalist Parissa Tosif (from Canberra, Australia) and producer David Ansari (out of Seattle) first met while on a gap year in Israel. They began to collaborate, expertly mixing downtempo synth pop with hip-hop influences, in person and over the Internet before forming Vallis Alps a few years ago in Sydney. They’ve since released a pair of EPs: A self-titled affair (stream it below) arrived in 2015. “The newcomers explore a shadowy soundscape on their impeccable debut—seamlessly blending acoustic guitar, chimes and the odd piano key with drowsy synths,” said Idolator. Vallis Alps (above, performing “Fading” for Triple J) returned with their second extended play, Fable (stream it below), earlier this year. “The two-piece have continued to use their signature silky production and soothing vocals on their latest project to create a moving, minimalistic body of work,” according to Best Before. “Despite only being a brief EP, Fable is marked by a cohesion and depth that seamlessly ties together to create Vallis Alps’ rounded, colorful sound. Nothing on Fable feels disingenuous; it extends a hand out to the listener in the hope of creating an authentic connection and a mutual understanding.” Understand for yourself when Vallis Alps launch their American tour at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night. Two local duos, Salt Cathedral and Glassio, open the show.

cat_preview

Lo-Fi Guitar Hero Doug Tuttle Brings New Music to Rough Trade NYC

August 25th, 2017

Influenced by ’60s and ’70s pop, rock and psychedelic music, singer-songwriter-guitarist Doug Tuttle has been playing music since he was just six years old. He and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Neveu formed the lo-fi psychedelic band Mmoss about a decade ago in New Hampshire. But when the relationship soured and the band broke up, Tuttle (above, performing “Where You Plant Your Love Is Where It Grows”) retreated to Massachusetts and immersed himself in music. His first solo album, a self-titled freak-folk breakup record (stream it below), came out in 2014. “While Mmoss created a small but memorable body of work, Doug Tuttle proves their former guitarist has the talent and the vision to create music just as remarkable all by himself; hopefully, he won’t have to have his heart broken again in order to deliver another set of music this engaging,” said AllMusic. His sophomore release, It Calls on Me (stream it below), followed in 2016. “Whether it’s clear precisely what or who is calling on Tuttle, his ability to harness the message is not in question,” rang in Paste. “The musical algorithm he’s concocted, while not entirely unique, is built for pure beauty, and Tuttle has homed in on a fantastic stretch of output as a result.” His third solo LP, the breezy Peace Potato (stream it below), arrived this past May. “The Massachusetts performer delivers more blissful tunes. Tuttle played every instrument and recorded the entirety of Peace Potato in his bedroom studio but the sound suggests something more than your usual home-recorded musings,” according to Noisey. Catch him live on Monday at Rough Trade NYC. Boston psych outfit Sunburned Hand of the Man open the show, and as an added bonus, there will be a live analog liquid light show by Mad Alchemy.

cat_preview

A Double Shot of Soul with Durand Jones & the Indications Next Week

August 25th, 2017

Like someone out of a CCR song, soul singer Durand Jones was born on the bayou in New Orleans and raised in rural Louisiana. Influenced by the likes of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Al Green, he sang so much at home that his grandmother forced him to join their church’s choir. Eventually Durand decamped to Bloomington, Ind., for college and began collaborating with Aaron Frazer (drums) and Blake Rhein (guitar), writing and recording numbers about “the party, political and social consciousness, and love songs,” Durand told the Something Else. The first Durand Jones & the Indications album, a self-titled EP (stream it below), arrived in 2016. It hearkens “back to a time when soul was recorded, performed and (if possible) heard live. Their music is markedly different from most stuff of its ilk coming out today in that, if there is some electronic wizardry going on under the hood, it’s kept very far away from the musical performance—it’s the kind of thing which should be completely reproducible live, all performed and no sampling or remixing,” according to PopMatters. Winding down their summer tour, Durand Jones & the Indications (above doing “Smile” for Spectra Sonic Sound Sessions) stop in New York City next week to play Mercury Lounge on Monday and Rough Trade NYC on Tuesday.

cat_preview

J. Roddy Walston and the Business – Music Hall – August 22, 2017

August 23rd, 2017


Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

cat_reviews

Courtesy Tier Put On a Commanding Show at Rough Trade NYC

August 17th, 2017

Courtesy Tier – Rough Trade NYC – August 16, 2017

(Photo: Daniel Cavazos)

How best to describe Brooklyn trio Courtesy Tier? Blues-adelic is probably a good place to start: These guys work up a woozy, potent racket that can veer Hendrix-ian or Zeppelin-esque and get plenty gnarly—but always in service of sturdy melodies. That they’ve been compared to bands like Meat Puppets, Morphine and Chris Whitley in his Rocket House era isn’t so much that they resemble any of them as much as they similarly put a bit of mess into familiar sounds, making them an acquired taste that, once acquired, feels eminently immediate, alive and embraceable.

Courtesy Tier have been kind of a shape-shifter, growing into what they’re supposed to be. Guitarist-ead vocalist Omer Leibovitz and drummer Layton Weedeman have been the guts of the band for about eight years, and in that time they’ve expanded to as many as six players and collapsed back down to a duo on more than one occasion. The lineup’s seemed to be fluid, but last year, Courtesy Tier settled into their current identity as a three-piece, with bassist Alex Picca aboard as a permanent third member. Out of that chrysalis came their first full-length album, the superb Everyone’s OK, much of which was the focus of their headlining spot last night at Rough Trade NYC.

Courtesy Tier played a commanding show, this night deftly organized around standouts like “Childish Blues,” with its slovenly, ’70s-blues-rock-meets-Nirvana vibe, “Cold,” more of a roiling rock and roller that builds to a shattering metallic guitar climax, and “When You Were Young,” an eased-into but still spiky groove more reminiscent of the pre-pop Black Keys. Courtesy Tier had new songs too, including a cover of Can’s “Vitamin C,” which wrapped a stabbing refrain of “You’re losing/ You’re losing/ You’re losing/ You’re losing/ Your vitamin C” in scuffed pop. It was another reminder that, at the intersection of guitar-heavy power-trio blues and a number of other potential jumping off points, they’re really on to something, without being too fussy about what to call it. It’s Brooklyn-y, in a good way, and perfect for these jittery times. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

 

 

cat_reviews

El Ten Eleven and Emile Mosseri Move Rough Trade NYC Audience

August 16th, 2017

El Ten Eleven Featuring Emile Mosseri – Rough Trade NYC – August 15, 2017


El Ten Eleven are an instrumental band in the truest sense of the word. The two—Kristian Dunn on basses and guitar, Tim Fogarty on drums—bend their instruments to their will, pushing them to their limits with electronics and other implements. That’s what they did for the first half of their show at Rough Trade NYC lst night. Playing a range of fan favorites from across their 10-plus years of releases as well as some too-new-to-have-names songs, the duo was in fine form. Gone were the elaborate lights and spectacle from their last area performance. This was just Dunn and Fogarty creating emotional soundscapes in their complicated calculus of compositions. Dunn seemed to play both coming and going, using his double-neck bass-guitar to fill the room with an array of sound before moving to a fretless bass for a section of what he referred to as “dance party” selections. The set list and the grooves kept the audience happy and moving, none more so than “My Only Swerving.”

If you had been at that last show, you might also remember when Emile Mosseri came out to sing a song with the pair. That was a small preview for the second part of Tuesday’s set, which featured Mosseri prominently, Dunn and Fogarty moving to backing-band status as the now-trio played songs from a forthcoming album. Behind Mosseri’s falsetto, the group became a different thing, creating a subtler, textured soundscape. After one or two songs, Mosseri grabbed an acoustic guitar and three members of the opening electro-rock band Pete International Airport joined on backup vocals on songs like “I’m Right Here.” What had once been a larger-than-life duo was now a large-ish band, but the sound actually became lighter. For their final song, Dunn moved back to the double-neck and introduced some unobtrusive loops again, Fogarty slightly bringing back the tempo to a typical El Ten Eleven speed, the music meeting midway between the first and second halves of the show and perhaps hinting at the potential of things to come. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

cat_preview

Delta Rae – Music Hall of Williamsburg – August 15, 2017

August 16th, 2017


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

cat_preview

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.

cat_preview

Delta Rae Bring New Tunes to Music Hall of Williamsburg Tomorrow

August 14th, 2017

Approaching a decade ago, siblings Ian Hölljes (vocals and guitar), Eric Hölljes (vocals, guitar and keys) and Brittany Hölljes (vocals) teamed up with Elizabeth Hopkins (vocals), Grant Emerson (drums) and Mike McKee (percussion) to form the gospel-tinged bluesy country-folk outfit Delta Rae in Durham, N.C., specializing in powerful harmonies-filled, radio-ready tunes. Their second full-length, After It All (stream it below), came out in 2015. “Like a musical, After It All is all about dynamics: It careens from delicate, introspective solo numbers to full-throttle, all-in anthems that encapsulate the Big Themes and Ideas underpinning the entire production,” said PopMatters. “The sum of its parts is both personal and political, confessional and theatrical, and if someone ever makes the genius decision to adapt Delta Rae’s music for the stage, we could all do worse than to buy a ticket.” Delta Rae (above, performing “Scared” for Cardinal Sessions) returned this past spring with a new EP, A Long and Happy Life (stream it below), and according to Rolling Stone, it’s filled with “harmony-drenched Southern pop-rock with slick production and giant hooks.” And as part of the six-piece’s summer tour, they play Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. Texas Americana singer-songwriter Lauren Jenkins opens.

cat_preview

Mew Play The Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg

August 2nd, 2017

Vocalist-keyboardist-guitarist Jonas Bjerre, bassist Johan Wohlert and drummer Silas Graae have been making their own brand of dreamy space rock since forming Mew more than two decades ago in the Danish suburbs outside of Copenhagen, ably employing what AllMusic calls “expansive pop dramatics, intricate passages and shimmering atmospheric sound.” Original guitarist Bo Madsen left the band two years ago, and Mew (above, performing “In a Better Place,” “85 Videos,” “Twist Quest,” “Satellites” and “Wake of Your Life” live for Low Four TV) put out their seventh studio release—and first without Madsen—Visuals (stream it below), this past spring to acclaim across the world. “The album captures just about everything that’s always made Mew special, so it also serves as a strong battle cry of a band that refuses to let a recent loss get in the way of their magic,” says PopMatters. “There’s still no other band quite like Mew, and this seventh studio outing is a victory not only within itself, but also as a declaration of how strong and special Mew remain.” The band kicks off an American tour this week in New York City, playing The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday.

cat_reviews

Liam Gallagher Thrills Intimate Sunday Crowd at Rough Trade NYC

July 31st, 2017

Liam Gallagher – Rough Trade NYC – July 30, 2017

(Photo: Dana Distortion)

It was Sunday afternoon in Williamsburg, and all Liam Gallagher wanted was to buy a pack of cigarettes. It should have been a seamless transaction, right? The most cocksure frontman in rock and roll slowly waddles into a deli, slams his money down and walks back out presumably with a limp smoke barely dangling out of the front of his mouth. But as his Twitter pointed out, things were not so easy for our boy. “I’ve just been told I can’t buy cigs unless I got ID im 4FUKIN4 has the world gone mad,” he proclaimed. Rallying against the world at large has pretty much defined Gallagher’s life after the demise of his once world-dominating band, Oasis.

As the main songwriter, his brother, Noel, was the brains behind the operation, as to where Liam had always personified an area a little farther down South in its figurative anatomy. Aside from getting carded at local bodegas, he was in town this week for two small shows to promote the release of his first ever-solo album, As You Were. The gig Friday night was a secret show at McKittrick Hotel in Manhattan, and his band headed across the river Sunday afternoon to play an in-store at Rough Trade NYC for a small group of fans who had preordered the new record. The tiny back room was packed tight for the 5:30 p.m. show and the air felt heavy with anticipation. The lights went down as the PA blasted the Oasis song “Fuckin’ in the Bushes” (a pretty bold move) and out waltzed Liam Gallagher and his band. Decked out in a parka and athletic shorts with a look of profoundly cool ambivalence, he greeted the hysteric crowd with the shake of his tambourine and launched right into the Oasis classic “Rock ’n’ Roll Star.” He followed that with “Morning Glory,” which had everyone in the room bouncing and shout-singing in unison.

In his age, Gallagher’s voice has become a strong yet weathered instrument—always raggedly on key. After the initial one-two punch, he and his band ripped through some As You Were tracks. Singles like “Wall of Glass” and “Chinatown” had dedicated fans singing along like they were hundreds of yards from the stage viewing the show on a JumboTron. In between new songs, he found time to treat the crowd to some A+ banter. After seeing a guy wearing a Manchester United scarf, Gallagher singled him out, asking, “You wanna hear a joke?” Answering immediately, “Man United. Funniest joke ever.” Fans also came to their hero’s rescue by throwing packs of cigarettes from the crowd. The gesture seemed to be greatly appreciated. To close it out, Gallagher and Co. bookended the set with two more Oasis songs: “Be Here Now” and “Wonderwall.” As he sang the final chorus, Gallagher advised the crowd to “take care of each other” and unplugged the microphone, handing it to a lucky fan in the front row. He then tossed his tambourine to a group of sweaty dudes and walked offstage with the swagger of a tough old rooster. Over at the merch table, they were proudly displaying some Oasis reissues along with the new record. The shirt on sale was one of those designs that was a play on the popular Cards Against Humanity font. You’ve probably seen them, those shirts that list the first names of each member of a band? Liam Gallagher had a few names listed on his shirt as well. But they were all his own:

Liam
John
Paul
Gallagher.

As you were, Liam. —Pat King |@MrPatKing