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The War on Drugs Are in Fine Form at Brooklyn Steel on Sunday Night

April 9th, 2018

The War on Drugs – Brooklyn Steel – April 8, 2018

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

While Adam Granduciel described the show as a sort of one-off warm-up for Coachella, the War on Drugs played their sold-out Sunday show at Brooklyn Steel with a Saturday ferocity and the confidence and skill of a band at the end of a long tour. Granduciel asked if “Everyone’s feeling good?” before launching into an opening set of songs—“Brothers,” “Pain” and “An Ocean in Between the Waves”—that interlaced stoner-poetry lyrics with crackling guitar rock-outs. The recent Grammy winners brought best-rock-album energy to the show, often lit by bright white shafts of light that added an arena-strength visual to the set. For a while it seemed like each tune would top the last, longer jams and more of them.

Midway through, Granduciel promised a “big reveal,” a special guest, after a couple of songs that had the crowd buzzing with who-could-it-be? anticipation. Finally, they brought out Craig Finn, who shared vocals, leading the War on Drugs through a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Accidentally Like a Martyr,” which shifted the tone and gave the band a new space to work out figure-eight excursions. After Finn left the stage, the energy shifted in a more exploratory direction with a powerhouse stretch that stitched “Holding On,” the ambient space-out “The Haunting Idle” and “In Reverse” into a single psychedelic medley, the mood enhanced by beams of pastels swirling around the stage. The encore opened with an not-played-too-often cover of Tom Petty’s “Time to Move On,” a perfect fit for the time, place and band as the War on Drugs head out West, probably not needing it, but indeed, fully warmed up for Coachella and whatever else lies ahead. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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Cigarettes After Sex – Brooklyn Steel – April 7, 2018

April 9th, 2018


Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

April 9th, 2018

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Ought Find Magic at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday Night

April 9th, 2018

Ought – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 6, 2018

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com

Montreal’s Ought still feel like the kind of band that’s this wonderful secret you can’t wait to tell someone about. Their fans, who have gradually grown in number and in their affections since the quartet’s 2014 debut, More Than Any Other Day, all seem to share that sparkle of knowing about greatness yet to be widely discovered. As it turns out, there are a bunch of those fans in New York City, as evidenced by Ought packing them into Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night. “Into the Sea,” off Ought’s latest and most impressive album, Room Inside the World, sent an instant jolt into the air with its churning, essentially post-punk bassline that implored the bodies in the room, helpless to its charms, to bounce and sway. That energy kept mounting as the show continued in a blissful blur, picking up steam with other striking post-punk-revival delights off the new album, like “Disaffectation,” “These 3 Things” and “Take Everything.”

To bring heart rates down some, the bluesy gospel stride of “Desire” provided respite. For a song recorded with and carried by a 70-piece choir, the live rendition was still decidedly full and radiant, due to precisely synced musicianship and frontman Tim Darcy’s sonorous bellow. His stage presence was also undeniable. It’s meant as a great compliment to describe him as a grown and elongated version of the boy protagonist of Moonrise Kingdom, Sam. (Ought are also clearly influenced by Wes Anderson favorites like the Velvet Underground, the Clash and the Ramones, to name a few.) As he swung a guitar around in awkward angularity, occasionally flipping back his hair with a quick on-beat head shake, Darcy easily won over everyone in the crowd.

Of course, the music took care of that, too, thanks to the band’s consummate professionalism. Behind Darcy, bassist Ben Stidworthy, keyboardist Matt May and drummer Tim Keen played so fluidly as to sound like the music wasn’t being performed with effort and strained focus, so much as it was imagined into existence in the way the group ideally wanted it to sound. No beat was skipped or note rushed as songs from earlier records populated the back half of the show, some stretched and probed in extended forms, as if searching for a bit of ephemeral magic. There was plenty to be found, especially on the irresistible grooviness of “Habit.” By the encore, it felt like the room was in a collective trance and the very gracious Ought happily played a few more for an audience not shy in showing appreciation for them. And dancing loosely with a grin, you kind of thought that Ought were a secret you wish you could keep. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly

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Lorde – Prudential Center – April 6, 2018

April 9th, 2018


Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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Yo La Tengo Satisfy a Sold-Out Brooklyn Steel with Two Sets on Friday

April 9th, 2018

Yo La Tengo – Brooklyn Steel – April 6, 2018

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

Not too many rock acts out there even attempt to play two full sets of music every show, filling a set list with different songs from across their catalog each night. Even fewer do it after almost 35 years as a band and rarer still that such an outfit would do so while also promoting a brand-new album that’s as strong and vital as any of the newest music being put out today. All of which makes Yo La Tengo a unique band. The trio has played something like 10 shows in New York City over the past year—from a free-jazz freak-out to their free-form Hanukkah shows to a free show in Central Park. They seem to invert everything about rock and roll, just playing a regular old club gig is the rarity. But that’s where Yo La Tengo found themselves, in the middle of a regular old tour, playing a sold-out gig at Brooklyn Steel on Friday night. The date happened to fall on the venue’s first birthday, one year since opening its doors, which somehow felt appropriate—as NYC’s live-music landscape changes with each passing year, Yo La Tengo have been a constant.

That consistency was on full display throughout their show. The eight-song first set played like a single entity, a group meditation that held the audience in complete attention. The band—Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew—moved around the stage to different instruments, a ballet of guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. Regardless of who was playing what at any time, the mood was one of utter relaxation, the music alternating between Zen loops, crunchy guitar melodies and whispered singing. Quietude was the overarching theme and the crowd followed along: A huge rock club in complete silence is the rarest of all things, but with Yo La Tengo leading along on songs like “She May She Might” and the lovely “Ashes,” it felt completely natural. Everyone was happy to luxuriate in the peace the band was offering. The real joys were found in between the songs, the veterans lingering on interstitial themes and setting up new ambient spaces in the segues.

The second set quickly flipped the script: “Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)” unleashed Kaplan’s guitar into a gesticulating chaos while McNew and Hubley chugged along. The restraint of the first set dissolved into a host of rock-outs, building to a peak in “Ohm,” which found Kaplan passing his guitar into the crowd, held aloft like a rock star, feedback filling the room. The set-closing “Pass the Hatchet I Think I’m Goodkind” was a patient jammer, epic in length and intensity, Kaplan soloing and singing while lying on the stage. A Velvet Underground–cover-heavy encore showed off other facets of Yo La Tengo’s upside-down rock and roll and kept their local and loyal fans satisfied until the next encounter. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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Superorganism Leave Them Wanting More in Williamsburg

April 6th, 2018

Superorganism – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 5, 2018


Here’s a story of a lovely lady, Orono Noguchi, an aspiring musician who went on to form a supergroup to say the least. Noguchi moved to Maine from Japan to study and eventually attend college in the States, however opportunities arose in the most unexpected ways leading the singer to meet the Eversons, a band she very much admired, while on a visit to her home country. The New Zealand act kept in touch with the young singer and had record vocals for what would be the first single for a new music project, Superorganism. Noguchi graduated high school last fall and has put college aside for the moment. In that time, the band added two background singers with Ruby and B, as well as a South Korean background singer Soul better known as CHI in the band. Coming off the heels of a successful SXSW, Superorganism played a sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg last night.

Donning colorful raincoats, the band descended onstage to begin with “It’s All Good.” The diminutive singer took a swig of water before commanding the crowd to dance for “Nobody Cares.” Bathed in videos produced largely by band member Robert Strange, images of pawns and iPhones showered over the band. Ruby, B and Soul traded in their raincoats for fruit-shaped percussion shakers for “Night Time,” while claps ensued for “Reflections on the Screen.” Mini inflatable whales branded with the band’s name flew unexpectedly into the room from the balcony. Saving fan favorites to the very end, the pair of “Everybody Wants to Be Famous” and “Something for Your M.I.N.D.” ended the show. Although a short set, fans left thoroughly satisfied and full of glee. —Sharlene Chiu

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Mallrat Closes Out American Tour on Tuesday at Rough Trade NYC

April 6th, 2018

Grace Shaw grew up in Brisbane, Australia—although she’s still just a teen—and began sharing her own original songs online in 2015. She took the name Mallrat from a song by the Orwells, and was later dubbed the Hannah Montana of the rap game” when her debut EP, Uninvited (stream it below), a mash-up of hip-hop, R&B and electronic music, arrived in 2016. “Her fresh and vibrant outlook on the most kitsch and mundane of everyday events makes for an interesting and, at times, surprising listen. Her lyrics are cutting and insightful, it’s easy to forget she’s only 17 years old,” said the Music. “The six-track EP is filled with simple melodies, quirky DIY beats, awesome production (particularly from Tigerilla and Rey Reel) and strong vocals—Mallrat really has it all and is most certainly going to be one to watch.” She’s been putting out some new singles this year and this past March, Mallrat (above, performing “Better” for Do512) made her SXSW debut. And before she heads home to Oz, you can catch her live at Rough Trade NYC on Tuesday night. Another precocious performer, Beshken, opens the show.

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Brandi Carlile – Beacon Theatre – April 5, 2018

April 6th, 2018


(Brandi Carlile plays the Beacon Theatre again tonight and tomorrow.)

Photos courtesy of Dan Salimbene | northfieldproductions.com

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Ravyn Lenae Brings New Music to a Sold-Out Rough Trade NYC

April 5th, 2018

Ravyn Lenae – Rough Trade NYC – April 4, 2018


Ravyn Lenae is a workhorse. In the past year, she graduated from the Chicago High School for the Arts, provided support on R&B sensation SZA’s Ctrl tour and released her third EP, Crush, to rave reviews. Now, she’s touring behind the new music, which brought her to Rough Trade NYC on Wednesday night. Such a rapid ascent might shake the average performer, but 19-year-old Lenae seems to only have been buoyed by it. She opened with “Venezuela Trains,” off her first EP, Moon Shoes. The song, like many to follow, felt looser and lighter than its production-heavy recording. Even “Closer (Ode 2 U),” the evening’s first track off Crush, played jazzier than expected: The album’s producer is the Internet’s Steve Lacy, the man behind Kendrick Lamar’s Damn.

Lenae herself was an ebullient presence, with red hair and a red boa–wrapped microphone to match. Her astonishing vocal range dominated the evening—a rendition of OutKast’s “Prototype” transformed the Atlanta duo’s funky love song into something beautifully heartfelt. But the singer really came into her own on “The Night Song,” also off Crush. She sang, “I wanna be no one but me/ And all I really need is my own company.” Lenae remarked on the number’s deep relevance, saying it’s especially important “in this social climate” that women feel beautiful on the inside and outside. The song is just that—a joyous celebration of women feeling themselves: “Ooh I love my body, tellin’ everybody.”

“Sticky,” the single off Crush, followed, and was the audience favorite by far—a delicious, sultry dance track with Lacy’s fingerprints all over it. Lenae closed the set with a classic Chicago house song, an ode to her hometown and certainly to her influences. But leave it to the classical-music major to opt for the unexpected, ever the eclectic, the singer, ended the performance with an encore, singing a classic French chanson. Bonne nuit, indeed. —Rachel Brody | @RachelCBrody

 

 

 

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Public Access T.V. Headline Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday

April 4th, 2018

Amidst some considerable buzz, John Eatherly (vocals and guitar), Xan Aird (guitar and vocals), Max Peebles (bass and vocals) and Pete Star (drums and vocals) formed Public Access T.V. four years ago right here in New York City. And following the arrival of a couple of EPs and singles—not to mention battling addiction, label issues, infighting and losing their East Village rehearsal/recording/living space in a gas explosion—the post-punk band’s debut LP, Never Enough (stream it below), dropped in early fall 2016. “The New York New Wave reprobates’ debut delivers instant gratification via boisterous choruses and loveable melodies,” raved NME. “Never Enough is laser-focused on doing the simple things to perfection: guitar, bass and drums in service of verse-chorus-verse hooks that will rattle around your head for days with rakish, disreputable charm in spades.” This past February, Public Access T.V. (above, their video for “Metrotech”) returned with their sophomore full-length, Street Safari (stream it below), again to terrific reviews. “In short, the world can never have enough albums like this,” said the Line of Best Fit. “Not only have Public Access TV added to the run of great New Wave–tinged pop records of the past few year or so, what they’ve also done is make an album that sounds like the more metropolitan end of New Wave, encompassing disco, punk and ’80s pop.” Back home from the road for the weekend, Public Access T.V. headline Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night. Local acts Honduras and Pretty Sick open the show.

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James Bay – Brooklyn Steel – April 3, 2018

April 4th, 2018


Photos courtesy of Michelle Figueroa | mfigueroaphoto.format.com

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Ahead of New Album L.A. Salami Plays Rough Trade NYC Thursday

April 4th, 2018

In the decade or so I’ve been attending Newport Folk Festival, each year there’s that one artist who sticks out, who catches you off guard, who makes you think, “I’ve got to see him again!” For me—and many others I spoke to—last year that artist was L.A. Salami (above, performing “Anything’s Greener Than Burnt Grass” live in studio for WFUV FM). Charming and witty and thoughtful and inviting, the London native’s demeanor and, of course, his voice, songwriting and progressive folk sound seemed to signal the start of something, the tip of an iceberg. And with his newest release, The City of Bootmakers, due to arrive in mid-April, Salami is back Stateside and coming to Brooklyn this week, appropriately playing at Rough Trade NYC on Thursday night. It’s a chance for his fans to get reacquainted with his music and for those who haven’t had the chance yet to say, “I’ve got to see him again!” by the time the night is through. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

 

 

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See the War on Drugs on 4/8

April 3rd, 2018

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The War on Drugs return this weekend to play Brooklyn Steel on Sunday night. The show is already sold out, but if you got shut out on tickets, you can still try to Grow a Pair of them from The House List. It’s pretty easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, email address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (War on Drugs, 4/8) and a brief message explaining which is your favorite song on A Deeper Understanding. Eddie Bruiser, who insists on listening to this album only on vinyl, will notify the winner by Friday afternoon. Good luck.

(The War on Drugs return this summer to play Panorama on 7/27.)

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Catch Jared & the Mill Tonight at Rough Trade NYC

April 2nd, 2018

Jared Kolesar (vocals and acoustic guitar), Michael Carter (banjo and mandolin), Larry Gast III (electric guitar), Chuck Morriss III (bass), Josh Morin (drums), Gabe Hall-Rodrigues (accordion and keys) all met while attending Arizona State University and formed the folk sextet Jared & the Mill seven years ago. Their first full-length, Western Expansion, came out in 2013. “As a debut album in a genre boiling over with groups hoping to make it big playing ersatz folk, Western Expansion is a document that seems completely genuine, Jared & the Mill offering something new in a musical terrain increasing peopled by those who favor playing it safe instead of taking risks,” declared PopMatters. Three EPs, Life We Chose (stream it below)—out in 2015—plus Jared & the Mill on Audiotree Live (stream it below) and Orme Dugas (stream it below)—each debuting in 2016—came next. And now having recently released a new single, “Soul in Mind” (stream it below), Jared & the Mill (above, performing “Lost, Scared and Tired” for Jam in the Van) are back out on the road. Catch them live at Rough Trade NYC tonight, with New Jersey folk trio Cold Weather Company opening.