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Kick Off Your Weekend with Mogwai’s Atmospheric Rock at Terminal 5

December 6th, 2017

The Glasgow post-rockers Mogwai (above, performing “Every Country’s Sun” for BBC Radio) formed in 1995 when three friends, Stuart Braithwaite (vocals and guitar), Dominic Aitchison (guitar) and Martin Bulloch (drums), decided to make music together. With the later addition of Barry Burns (bass, keys and vocals) and John Cummings (guitar), who’s since departed, they’ve has become known for trafficking in serious guitar rock, although that guitar rock has also gone through changes. “Few ’90s rock bands were better prepared than Mogwai for the movie-trilogy blocks of music allowed by the iPod,” per Rolling Stone. “The Scottish outfit moved from making bombastic explosions in the sky to crafting widescreen soundtracks to goin’ down the road feeling bad.” But on this year’s Every Country’s Sun (stream it below)—the four-piece’s ninth studio release—things haven’t changed too much. “The group has grown into an acclaimed international act, 22 years and counting, with a reliable musical formula that’s steady as a slow-burning fuse. That remarkable consistency makes Every Country’s Sun resemble a greatest-hits album, even if it’s made up of brand-new tracks,” says the A.V. Club. “By now, there have been thousands of other bands plying Mogwai’s fusion of quiet and bombastic, but Every Country’s Sun argues that there’s still no one who does it better.” And with their fall tour winding down, Mogwai play Terminal 5 on Friday night. Electronic musician Xander Harris opens.

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A Positive Spin Tomorrow Night at Music Hall of Williamsburg

December 6th, 2017

All too often in life you’ve got to choose between a good time and a good cause, but that’s not the case on Thursday at Music Hall of Williamsburg, thanks to A Positive Spin, a benefit concert for the Lower Eastside Girls Club, an organization that helps develop the city’s young women through arts, literacy, science, health and leadership skills. A Positive Spin began in 2014 as a DJ workshop for at-risk youth in Los Angeles. It has since evolved into an annual benefit concert held in L.A. and now in Brooklyn. In addition to ticket sales, a raffle will be held, as well as a food drive to benefit Food Bank for New York City, with a request for two nonperishable food items to enter the drawing. And as an added bonus, there will be performances by Craze (performing, above), the Blue Stones, EZI, Flor De Toloache, Michael Blume, Nick Catchdubs and Wrabel, with DJ sets from the Knocks and the Juan Maclean—plus special guests.

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Electronic-Pop Legend Gary Numan Comes to Brooklyn Steel Thursday

December 5th, 2017

English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gary Numan first burst onto the scene fronting the New Wave electronic act Tubeway Army from ’76 to ’79. But that latter year also saw the arrival of Numan’s solo debut, The Pleasure Principle (stream it below), with its smash single, “Cars” (above, performed live for KEXP FM). “The most popular of all the Gary Numan albums is undeniably 1979’s The Pleasure Principle. The reasons are simple—there is not a single weak moment on the disc,” says AllMusic. Numan remained busy recording and touring for the next two decades, his unique electronic-pop sound influencing generations of musicians, including Trent Reznor, Foo Fighters, Afrika Bambaataa and Marilyn Manson. But after slowing down some around the turn of the century—and following the 2013 release of Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) (stream it below)—Numan returned this past September with Splinter (Songs from a Broken World) (stream it below). “Music can be a potent escape from the pressures and anxiety associated with the real world. But it can also be the exact opposite, acting as a mirror of society, reflecting its flaws. Gary Numan is doing the latter, confronting the dangerous, divisive times we live in and the long-term effects they might create,” says PopMatters. “Savage is a compelling cautionary tale of what may happen if we’re too complacent to give a damn about future generations. It’s also a stunningly sharp and diverse collection of songs from a living legend.” Numan’s fall tour comes to Brooklyn Steel on Thursday night. Local garage-rock duo Me Not You open the show.

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An Evening with David Rawlings (and Friends) at Brooklyn Steel

December 1st, 2017

When the book is written on the all-time great musical couples, the chapter on David Rawlings and Gillian Welch (or is that Gillian Welch and David Rawlings?) will be one to dog-ear and go back to again and again. In fact, the first couple of Americana discovered they had enough great folk in them that putting it out just as Gillian Welch wasn’t enough, and so Dave Rawlings Machine was born, with the first release (stream it below) back in 2009. Now on his third album, Poor David’s Almanack (stream it below), Rawlings (above, performing “Cumberland Gap” live for KMCP FM) has dropped the Machine from his moniker but has actually grown a full band, featuring some of the genre’s truly best musicians sounding as good as ever. Rawlings’s superlative guitar playing and timeless songs are backed by Willie Watson, Brittany Haas, Paul Kowert and, of course, Welch. The group is back on tour with a stop at Brooklyn Steel on Tuesday, a chance to stomp your feet, hoot and holler, and see a pair of all-timers do their thing. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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Have a Foot-Stomping Good Time with the Ghost of Paul Revere

November 30th, 2017

Deftly layering three-part harmonies over a mix of bluegrass, roots, rock and Americana, childhood friends Griffin Sherry (guitar and vocals), Max Davis (banjo and vocals) and Sean McCarthy (bass and vocals) formed the Ghost of Paul Revere six years ago in Buxton, Maine. Ever since, they’ve been winning over fans one show at a time with their fiery, foot-stomping holler-folk music, earning comparisons to Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers in the process. The band released their second full-length, Monarch (stream it below)—which deals with turning heartbreak into metamorphosis—last month. “The gift of Monarch lies in its honest simplicity. It appeals to the sunshine that lives in most of us and dares to try to brighten the gray skies that hold others hostage,” says American Blues Scene. “It succeeds in lifting up all those it reaches out to.” But be proactive: Reach out to the Ghost of Paul Revere (above, performing “Montreal”) yourself when they play Rough Trade NYC on Saturday night. Jersey rock quartet Wyland open the show.

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Catch the Suitcase Junket at Wednesday Night at Rough Trade NYC

November 28th, 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 this past spring. “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,” said 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 Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night. New Paltz seven-piece Upstate Rubdown open the show.

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Don’t Miss Angel Olsen Live at Town Hall on Wednesday Night

November 27th, 2017

Angel Olsen (above, performing “Give It Up” live on Conan) is a two-faced musician … in the best way possible. Her music is both emotionally plainspoken and honest, something to listen to and contemplate, and her music is gritty and rocking and groovy, something to move your body to. Appropriately, she now has two relatively new records out, 2016’s proper studio album, the highly acclaimed My Woman (stream it below), and the recently released Phases (stream it below), an assembly of B-sides and demos. While the latter is a stripped-down living-room affair often featuring little more than Olsen’s voice and the former a fully realized, full-band vision, they both manage to show off her two sides. Luckily Olsen’s touring band is adept at both featuring her depth, allowing the singer-songwriter space when needed and then digging in to get the crowd moving. Luckier still, she will be showcasing her two faces in two different boroughs in two different rooms in this city, with two nights—Wednesday and Thursday (which is already sold out)—at Town Hall and then Friday night at Brooklyn Steel (which is also already sold out). While each venue might naturally better lend itself to one side of Olsen’s talents or the other, she’s sure to show off all she’s got each night. San Francisco quartet Heron Oblivion open each night. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

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The Weather Station Come to Rough Trade NYC Tomorrow Night

November 27th, 2017

For more than a decade, singer-songwriter-actress Tamara Lindeman has led the Toronto folk outfit the Weather Station (above, performing “Thirty” live for eTown), surrounded by a rotating group of band members, now made up of Ben Whiteley (bass), Adrian Cook (pedal steel) and Ian Kehoe (drums). The band’s self-titled rock-leaning album (stream it below) arrived this past September to rave reviews: “The Weather Station is Lindeman’s loosest, most confident album yet, but it may also prove to be her most deeply psychological; she doesn’t hold back,” exclaimed Exclaim. “Toronto songwriter Tamara Lindeman self-produced her bold fourth LP. From front-to-back, this is the first Weather Station album that sounds as fleshed-out and powerful as the world it contains,” said Pitchfork. “I’ve been a fan of the Weather Station for a while now and always quite enjoyed her albums, but this one is on another level,” added NPR’s Bob Boilen. “These songs sit in a place between thought and expression, where the music flows confidently from heart to tongue.” Catch the Weather Station live at Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night. James Elkington and Adeline Hotel open the show.

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Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Headline Brooklyn Steel on Friday Night

November 22nd, 2017

Greg Ormont (vocals and guitar), Jeremy Schon (guitar and vocals) and Ben Carrey (bass and vocals) met eight years ago while at the University of Maryland—in 2015 Alex Petropulos replaced original drummer Dan Schwartz—and what began as a dorm project has become a full-time job, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. Mixing psychedelic funk, fun-loving enthusiastic live performances, a healthy dose of improvisational jamming and a straight-up cool light show has earned the Baltimore band fans across the country, often appearing at bigger venues each time they return to a city. But they’re not only known for playing live. In fact, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (above, doing “Sunny Day”) put out their fourth LP, Pizazz (stream it below), about a month ago, which has again prompted them to hit the road. Extend your Thanksgiving festivities and see them on Friday night at Brooklyn SteelFlamingosis opens the show with funky hip-hop beats.

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Shake Off Thanksgiving with Cut Copy at Terminal 5 on Friday Night

November 21st, 2017

What began as a solo project for DJ-producer Dan Whitford blossomed into a trio with guitarist Tom Hoey and drummer Mitchell Scott onboard for the 2004 release of debut full-length Bright Like Neon Love (stream it below) and then turned into a four-piece with bassist Ben Browning joining Cut Copy (above, performing “Future” live in studio for KCRW FM) for their third LP, 2011’s Zonoscope (stream it below). And by then the band’s deft mix of classic disco and electronic pop had people making comparisons to LCD Soundsystem and Daft Punk. The Melbourne, Australia, dance outfit’s fifth long-player, Haiku from Zero (stream it below), came out two months ago. “Cut Copy always seem to discover new ways to fine-tune their inclusive dance music and keep it sounding fresh and vibrant,” said Exclaim. “Cut Copy are a band that know how to make distinctive, original electronica that—crucially—sounds like them,” added the Line of Best Fit. “It’s pretty and smooth; the shimmers and reverb of their earlier records have been compressed into a concentrated essence of what made them great in the first place.” Dance off any lingering Thanksgiving excess and catch Cut Copy live at Terminal 5 on Friday night.



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Modern English Play Rough Trade NYC the Night Before Thanksgiving

November 20th, 2017

The post-punk/New Wave outfit Modern English became known across the world following the 1982 release of “I Melt with You” (above, live for Kink FM) their second single off their second full-length, After the Snow (stream it below). Despite that song’s upbeat vibe, the band—original members Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar and vocals) and Mick Conroy (bass and vocals), now with Stephen Walker (guitar) and Roy Martin (drums)—was originally influenced by the likes of Joy Division and Bauhaus. Following a couple of breakups over the years, Modern English began performing again in 2010, and earlier this year, they put out a brand-new studio LP, Take Me to the Trees (stream it below). “Listeners who thought McDowell’s electric work on the early albums was too low in the mix should be thrilled with the presence it has here, cutting and slashing through the most inspired moments,” said AllMusic. “A slightly baleful, almost submerged feeling from front to back adds extra allure to what is, at its core, a set of solid material untainted by nostalgia.” The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is often one of the most fun nights of the year. Give it something extra by seeing Modern English close out their fall tour live at Rough Trade NYC. Raleigh, N.C., five-piece the Veldt open the show.


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Five Questions with Kamasi Washington

November 17th, 2017

Back in 2015, saxophonist extraordinaire Kamasi Washington (above, performing “Re Run” live in studio for KEXP FM) put out the aptly named triple album The Epic (stream it below) to universal acclaim—becoming one of the hottest jazz musicians on earth in the process. He’s since toured the world and then returned this past September with the impressive EP Harmony of Difference (stream it below). Now out on the road, crisscrossing America’s highways and byways, Washington, with pedal-steel virtuoso Robert Randolph as a special guest, plays Terminal 5 next Wednesday, the night before Thanksgiving. (Local favorites—and feisty live performers—Break Science open the show.) Last weekend, Washington (below, doing “The Next Step” live for Paste Studios) rang up The House List from Cleveland to answer Five Questions.

As a touring musician do you notice if your music is received any differently in New York city than it is elsewhere? I feel like the response has been pretty universal for me, but I’ve always gotten a lot of love in New York, which is a huge honor because you see everything there. And it humbles me every time. New York has an energy that’s unlike any place in the world. There’s just so much going on that you get supercharged.

Once material is recorded, does it stay that way permanently? Or as you play songs live do they continue to stretch and grow? They stretch and grow and change every night, basically. The recording is the version I heard in my head. It’s the definitive version, but live we do it different every time.

As a jazz musician, you appear at nontraditional venues and you’ve played huge festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo. Was this part of your plan all along to cross over? Or has it just been a natural progression of where your music’s taken you? It’s where my music naturally wants to live. It’s definitely rooted in jazz. It’s my foundation. But there’s lots of other kinds of music in there. And it doesn’t really fit into one box very well. We definitely still play jazz clubs, but it’s natural to jump to different kinds of clubs and audiences—different experiences, sitting down in one place and standing in another. It’s options: Every day do something different.

You’ve appeared on albums by Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels and, back in the day, Ryan Adams. Is that something you’re still looking to do? And now that you’ve made such a name for yourself is there any chance you’d look for some of them to appear on your albums? Yeah, man. I’m always open to adding people to my music and I still love working with other artists. But I’m enjoying focusing on my own music and collaborating with my friends. I always leave it up to the music. The music dictates to me what to do with it. If it feels like it needs this or that, I’ll try to get it. But I never try to force it.

For someone who’s never seen you perform before, how would you describe a live Kamasi Washington show? It’s different every time. I try to connect to the room and the vibe, a journey we all go on together. I hope what it feels like is very inclusive. The music connects us and we all push the night in the same direction. And by the end we’re all together in one place. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog

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American Football Return to NYC to Play Brooklyn Steel on Sunday

November 16th, 2017

Mike Kinsella (vocals, bass and guitar), Steve Lamos (drums and trumpet) and Steve Holmes (guitar) were just three college kids enjoying the summer when they formed the emo/math-rock band American Football outside of Chicago in 1997. A self-titled EP (stream it below) arrived in 1998, with an acclaimed eponymous full-length (stream it below), filled with uncommon time signatures and jazz-influenced chords, released the following year. But then that was pretty much it, with each member going off to do his own thing afterward. And that’s where this story would end if the influential American Football (above, performing “Born to Lose” live in studio for WNYC FM) hadn’t reunited—with the addition of Mike’s cousin Nate Kinsella (bass)—in 2014 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of their LP, which was rereleased with bonus tracks and demo recordings. According to Paste magazine, “The album serves as what indie rock should be about, synthesizing the musical world around us, not dividing and separating,” and per the A.V. Club: “American Football proved that a brief existence doesn’t preclude a band from casting a long shadow.” Things went so well that the band put out another crowd-pleasing full-length named—you guessed it—American Football (stream it below) last fall. “While the record is rooted in nostalgia, so much so the cover features the same iconic house as their debut, it also manages to feel fresh and tentatively exciting, something that’s a result of the band exploring new ideas or looking at old ones from different perspectives,” said Drowned in Sound in a rave review. “Time has only strengthened the chemistry of the band, distilling its essence in to something much purer than its base product. In a year of excellent records, American Football have quite possibly made the best.” See them live at Brooklyn Steel on Sunday night. Land of Talk and Pure Bathing Culture open the show.

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Experience John Carpenter’s Spooky Soundtracks Live at Terminal 5

November 15th, 2017

Halloween may have come and gone, but for those who wish they could experience just a few more spine-tingling moments before we succumb to the more cheerful holiday season, you’re in luck. Often referred to as the “Master of Horror,” director and composer John Carpenter will bring a live performance of his famously chilling film scores to Terminal 5 on Thursday. In conjunction with a new release that collects his film music on one album for the first time, Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998 (stream it below), Carpenter will perform his iconic synth-driven pieces from such classic films as Halloween, They Live, The Fog and Christine. There’s no better time to dust off those VHS tapes and take a moment to revisit Carpenter’s filmography (above, the Escape from New York main-title theme live in studio) in preparation for what promises to be a memorable (and spooky) night of music. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

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The Drums Play a Hometown Show at Brooklyn Steel on Wednesday

November 14th, 2017

What began nearly 10 years ago as a duo and blossomed into a quartet has more recently become a one-man band with Jonny Pierce doing all of the writing and producing on Abysmal Thoughts (stream it below), the fourth studio album from the Brooklyn band the Drums, out earlier this summer. “The new sounds heighten the bittersweet flavor, as Pierce opens up about feeling lonely, stupid, betrayed, empty, and at times, hopeful. If his life hasn’t exactly gotten easier, his music has never been better,” said the A.V. Club. And Paste magazine was equally impressed: “Don’t let the title fool you. Abysmal Thoughts is a fun, lovely record, radiating sunshine in every melody and shadows in the lyrics. It’s whole and complex and captivating, a treasure chest of an album in which you’ll find something different and unique hiding within each listen.” Catch the Drums (above, doing “Days” live in concert for KEXP FM) when they return home on Wednesday at Brooklyn Steel. Australian four-piece Methyl Ethel open the show.