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Miguel – Terminal 5 – March 23, 2018

March 26th, 2018


Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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Lucius Soar at Town Hall on Thursday Night

March 23rd, 2018

Lucius – Town Hall – March 22, 2018


Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of the band Lucius struck quite an arresting image onstage at Town Hall during last night’s sold-out show, with their matching platinum-blonde wigs aglow under a large, color-changing neon sign bearing the band’s name. Incredible aesthetics aside, Lucius’ real impact comes the moment that Wolfe and Laessing begin to sing. As they stepped up to a shared microphone center stage to perform their first song, “Go Home,” they immediately created a sense of intimacy within the large concert hall.

That sense of intimacy is a key element to the band’s new record, Nudes, featuring acoustic and reimagined versions of songs from their catalog, along with some covers, which the musicians recorded with the goal of drawing listeners in and furthering the connection between the artist and listener. Last night, songs like “Tempest,” “Right Down the Line” and “Turn It Around,” were adorned by nothing more than acoustic guitars and drums, with Wolfe and Laessig’s unison vocals and harmonies soaring throughout the room. Cover songs were also prominently featured in the set list, including a sweet version of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” plus the Kinks’ “Strangers” and Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You in the End,” which the band blended into a rendition of their own “Two of Us on the Run.”

It was clear that the commitment to creating a connection with the audience was foremost on the band’s mind, and Wolfe and Laessig also devoted several minutes during the show to speak frankly to the crowd, expressing their gratitude, reflecting on the importance of their collaboration in their career as a band, and sharing some personal experiences, both happy and sad, that had recently touched their lives. By night’s end, Lucius seemed to have achieved their goal—delivering an impactful performance in sound, style and sentiment. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

 

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Former Houndmouth Member Katie Toupin Plays Rough Trade NYC

March 22nd, 2018

You probably first heard singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Katie Toupin as the lone female voice in Houndmouth. But after five years, she amicably parted ways with the band to pursue other opportunities. And after taking some time off, Toupin (above, her live video for “Shake Baby”) left Indiana for Los Angeles and began working on new music. The move has also given her peace of mind: “It’s the first time I feel confident in who I am. It took settling down for a second to find that and feel grounded. When I first moved I was like, do I wanna make pop music? Do I wanna make electronic music? What do I wanna do? I was all over the map. I think being in L.A. sorta helped me own what I have, which is a Midwestern upbringing and a Midwestern mixture of sound,” Toupin tells WMUA FM. That sound comes through on her debut solo EP, Moroccan Ballroom (stream it below), which was recorded live without dubs or edits in one afternoon and self-released three weeks ago. “Katie Toupin has delivered a clairvoyant EP unlike any other. With raw vocals and uncut tracks, we are left haunted by her voice and simple approach,” according to Indie Band Guru. “Moroccan Ballroom is a jazz-dazzled apparition of love lost and found and is as unique as Toupin herself is.” See her live tomorrow night at Rough Trade NYC. Nashville, Tenn., five-piece Skyway Man open the show.

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Moby – Rough Trade NYC – March 20, 2018

March 21st, 2018


Photos courtesy of Adela Loconte | adelaloconte.com

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Son Lux Bring New Music to Brooklyn Steel on Thursday Night

March 21st, 2018

Son Lux initially began about a decade ago as keyboardist-vocalist-composer Ryan Lott’s genre-bending post-rock solo project. But with the release of Bones (stream it below), out in 2015, the one-man show became a trio with the addition of guitarist Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang. “Because of the expanse in personnel, Bones is able to deconstruct genres with ease and then fuse them back together in Frankenstein-esque brilliance. The result is an eclectic monster of an album that moves on its own, lurching forward with a new perspective, in exploration of new terrain,” per Paste. The band’s fifth studio album, Brighter Wounds (stream it below), came out last month. “While not overtly political, it’s impossible not to hear a looming, if unspoken undercurrent of dread that informs Lott’s mindset as he tries to make sense of the joy and sadness that arises when confronted with literal life and death,” according to NPR Music. “Brighter Wounds achieves another breakthrough during a fraught and heartbreaking period. It’s the band’s most personal album yet.” And with new tunes comes a new tour. Catch Son Lux (above, performing “Lost It to Trying”) live at Brooklyn Steel on Thursday night. Kings County five-piece Sinkane and composer-vocalist Hanna Benn open the show.


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Knuckle Puck Headline Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday

March 20th, 2018

Knuckle Puck—Joe Taylor (vocals), John Siorek (drums), Kevin Maida (guitar), Nick Casasanto (guitar) and Ryan Rumchaks (bass)—rose up seven years ago out of Chicago’s south suburbs, mashing together emo and classic pop punk. Their first full-length, Copacetic (stream it below), which, according to the Plain Dealer, “defines pop punk for a new generation,” came out in 2015. The follow-up, Shapeshifter (stream it below), dropped last fall. “The sophomore record sounds like a concept album about change: changing relationships, changing surroundings, changing perspectives and changing within oneself, often without even realizing it,” according to Paste. Now out on the road in support of their new music, Knuckle Puck (above, their video for “Double Helix”) play Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. Arrive early so you don’t miss Boston Manor, Free Throw, Hot Mulligan and Jetty Bones opening the show.

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Miguel on 3/23

March 20th, 2018

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Singer-songwriter Miguel’s current North American tour in support of his terrific fourth album, War & Leisure, drops him off in New York City for two nights this week to play Terminal 5 on Friday and Brooklyn Steel on Saturday. Both shows are sold out, but if you don’t already have tickets to see him on Friday, you can try to Grow a Pair of them from The House List. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, email address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Miguel, 3/23) and a brief message explaining why you’re so happy for spring’s arrival. Eddie Bruiser, no fan of winter, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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Shabazz Palaces Offer a Glimpse of a Hopeful Future at Boot & Saddle

March 19th, 2018

Shabazz Palaces – Boot & Saddle – March 18, 2018


If now feels dangerous, it’s time to expand our minds. It’s time to imagine new possibilities. We want Black Panther’s Wakanda. We want to shift the boundaries of discussion, and music can be our messenger. Space is needed. Today is cluttered. But through clever lyrics and rich soundscapes, Shabazz Palaces move through the void. They inspire thoughts on an astral plane, somewhere beyond the earthly concept of what is possible to what can be imagined. They are steeped in art, from their dress to visual displays. On Sunday night at Boot & Saddle, the duo of Ishmael Butler (aka Palaceer Lazaro) and multi-instrumentalist Tendai “Baba” Maraire stood behind a projection of thought-provoking imagery. Even when the screen went blue, with a NO SIGNAL icon dancing about, it felt intentional. More so, clips of rocket travel, African tribes and a tense scene with Christopher Plummer.

The whole room was wrapped in sound, the low end rumbling against the walls. And the songs spanned the group’s entire catalog, including last year’s third and fourth LPs—centered on our relationship to devices—Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star and Quazarz vs. the Jealous Machines. The content of those two albums was woven in between standout tracks from previous recordings, such as songs from their debut release, Black Up, which received some of the loud crowd’s wildest applause. It was interesting to see such a cozy venue host such an immersive hip-hop group. With limited lighting, the two were backlit by the screen. We saw occasional flashes of a face, a necklace or a metal plate like armor. There were shadows of a drum machine. It was like ghosts in the machine: The voices and the grooves, space to imagine, boundaries pushed and a glimpse of a hopeful future. —Jared Levey | @Playtonic

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Hear Some of the Bands You Can See This Week

March 19th, 2018

Hear some of the bands you can see this week.

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Buffalo Tom Play New Tunes on St. Patrick’s Day at Music Hall

March 19th, 2018

Buffalo Tom – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 17, 2018


With nine albums over the course of three decades, Boston’s Buffalo Tom have remained dependable underdogs in the world of indie rock. Releasing their self-titled debut album 30 years ago on the legendary punk and hardcore label SST Records, they cut their teeth alongside such other like-minded Massachusetts bands as Dinosaur Jr. and the Lemonheads. While they never reached the same commercial success as the latter group, Buffalo Tom have arguably taken the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race approach by quietly delivering great albums that stay true to their sound. The band just released their fantastic new long-player, Quiet and Peace, and rolled through Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night to play a packed St. Paddy’s Day show.

Led by Dave Hill, Brooklyn power-pop band Valley Lodge opened, putting on a tight set with the comedian/WFMU radio host unleashing some insane leads and providing hilarious banter in between songs. By the time Buffalo Tom walked onstage, it was clear the crowd was getting loose for the holiday and ready for a party. The band obliged and treated fans to an almost two-and-a-half-hour show that highlighted their entire catalog. The power trio ripped through most of the classic album Let Me Come Over, delivering blistering renditions of songs like “Larry” and “Taillights Fade.” Main songwriter and guitarist Bill Janovitz’s voice was as powerful as ever on the former and stopped you in your tracks when he hit those high notes in the chorus. More known these days as a rock writer, you can tell Janovitz is a student of the classics as he windmill-strummed power chords like Pete Townshend and captivated the crowd with his deep, emotive croon.

The new songs sounded great and in line with Buffalo Tom’s robust catalog. The best of them was “Roman Cars”—sung by bassist Chris Colbourn—and it sounded like early Wilco covering the Jam. After a long set of would-be anthems, the band returned for a short encore before saying goodnight. The Janovitz-fronted number, “Freckles,” rose to new heights live, its slow build and clashing guitars were both transfixing and transcendent. Buffalo Tom closed the show with a faithful cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” that sounded like a last call from a bartender who wanted to keep pouring beers long after closing. —Pat King | @MrPatKing

 

 

 

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Beth Ditto Is a Force to Be Reckoned with at Brooklyn Steel

March 15th, 2018

Beth Ditto – Brooklyn Steel – March 14, 2018


Beth Ditto is a force to be reckoned with as she sets forth sans her former band, Gossip. Pulling from her Southern roots for her first solo album, Fake Sugar, Ditto leaves behind power dance-punk for a more pop-rock sound that continues to showcase the “fat, feminist, lesbian from Arkansas” (her words). NPR Music put it best: “It’s become standard procedure to look askance at underground artists who take big swings at stardom. But if Beth Ditto becomes a full-blown mainstream star—as a queer plus-sized outspoken feminist with her own fashion line—it’ll come at the expense of every norm she’s spent her career working to tear down. Fake Sugar may be just the Trojan horse she needs.”

After an unfortunate cancelation of last year’s Rough Trade NYC appearance, Ditto returned healthy and ready to go for her show at Brooklyn Steel last night. Dressed in what she described was a “harlequin frog” jumpsuit, hammering basslines made way for the opener, “Oh My God.” The performance was a mix of the siren’s solo work and her past catalog with Gossip. “In and Out,” with harmonies that reminded me of Lucius, was a break from the largely dance-heavy set list, thanks to old favorite “Yr Mangled Heart” as well as new gems “Ooh La La” and the synth beats of “Open Heart Surgery.” As the spunky singer delighted the crowd with her humor, Ditto jiggled and pranced onstage affectionately referencing the burrito she had for dinner.

After reciting the tenets of a “Beth sentence”—never take yourself seriously and don’t do well in school—she led the audience in a sing-along of Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One.” All kidding aside, Ditto has used her music to define moments. Telling her story about being in London when the news of Trump’s presidential win hit, the Southern woman exclaimed that it’s the people who keeping moving on that define the times. “Power to the people,” declared Ditto before ending her set with “Standing in the Way of Control.” Following a brief stage exit only to return in gold sequins, the firecracker encored with a trio of “Heavy Cross,” “Fire” and a cover of “Dream a Little Dream.” —Sharlene Chiu

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Get Your Weekend Started with Anomalie Friday at Rough Trade NYC

March 15th, 2018

After years of studying classical and jazz piano, Montreal keyboardist and producer Nicolas Dupuis decided to develop an new sound under the name Anomalie, combining his classical training with a fusion of funk, hip-hop, jazz and electronic music. Last year he released the EP Métropole (stream it below) on Gramatik’s Lowtemp label. “In these eight tracks Anomalie manages to showcase everything his music is about: incredible creative energy combined with songwriting techniques from jazz and a foundation of contemporary beats ranging from hip-hop to broken beat,” said the Music Essentials. And you can catch Anomalie (above, performing “Cresecents”) live as a four-piece band tomorrow night at Rough Trade NYC. New Jersey producer and multi-instrumentalist Birocratic opens.

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Mat Kearney Brings New Music to PlayStation Theater Tomorrow Night

March 14th, 2018

He’s a West Coast guy originally, but Mat Kearney’s made a name for himself as a talented singer and songwriter in Nashville, Tenn. His debut major-label full-length, Nothing Left to Lose (stream it below), arrived in 2006, making noise with three of its tracks featured in episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. And Kearney (above, performing some new songs for Paste Studio) has been busily putting out music ever since—touring alongside John Mayer and Sheryl Crow in the process—with his songs appearing in more than 20 different TV shows. His most recent full-length, Just Kids (stream it below), came out in 2015, the Pop Break dubbing it “personal, relatable, emotional. Mat Kearney’s Just Kids is a journey of life, love, pain and happiness.” But with a new album, Crazy Talk, dropping this May, he’s already out on the road in mid-tour form and performs live at PlayStation Theater tomorrow night. Andrew Belle and Filous open the show.

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See the Midnight on 3/16

March 13th, 2018

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On the heels of releasing Nocturnal last fall, bicoastal synthwave duo the Midnight return to New York City this week, and they’re playing Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night. Although there aren’t any tickets left, you can still try to Grow a Pair of them from The House List. And it’s pretty easy to enter: Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, email address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (the Midnight, 3/16) and a brief message explaining your best bet for avoiding overzealous St. Patrick’s Day revelers. Eddie Bruiser, who’s cleaned up more green puke than he cares to admit, will notify the winner no later than Friday afternoon. Ádh mór.

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OMD – Terminal 5 – March 10, 2018

March 12th, 2018


Photos courtesy of Dana (distortion) Yavin | distortionpix.com