Tag Archives: Brooklyn

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Bleachers – Brooklyn Steel – November 21, 2017

November 22nd, 2017


Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock | dac.photography

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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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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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Ron Gallo and Naked Giants Blur Lines at Rough Trade NYC

November 20th, 2017

Ron Gallo – Rough Trade NYC – November 19, 2017


Sometimes it’s best to start with the end and work your way back to the beginning. Such is the case with the show at Rough Trade NYC last night, which closed in burn-the-house-down fashion, Ron Gallo and his band joined by opening band Naked Giants, two power trios banging around onstage, at least half of the six musicians having removed their shirts, the sweat a couple of hours of no-garage-can-contain-this rock and rolling. The Naked Giants guys had already been onstage for three songs to close out the set, at one point joined by Dr. Dog’s Eric Slick as well, playing both sides of their split 7″ single and culminating in a frenzied cover of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter.” Apparently they’ve been performing it together all along their tour, but when they played it in Brooklyn last night, it not only was an appropriate show closer, but also unwittingly, and perhaps unintentionally ironically, marked the passing of Charles Manson.

The packed house had been bouncing and percolating to both bands all night, but by this point, the energy from front to back was combustible, bodies slamming into one another and carelessly bounding up and down. Whatever the opposite of “quiet Sunday evening at home” is, this was it. The preceding set from Gallo and his trio had been an exercise in blurred boundaries, playing songs from their appropriately titled Heavy Meta record. The demarcation between headliner and opener seemed fluid, at one point midway through, after singing a song apparently about two headlining bands, the Naked Giants guys came on and swapped instruments, allowing Gallo and his group to hop into the audience to rock out with the crowd. Indeed the fourth wall between the performers and audience was as equally dynamic throughout, Gallo not only coming down off the stage on multiple occasions, but also chatting and bantering with folks in the audience, and the musicians mimicking the propulsive dancing of the crowd. At one point Gallo was able to merge all of the audience requests into one surreal medley, blowing into his trumpet and then threading together a few seconds of an unintelligible “Free Bird” with “Fight for Your Right to Party” and, of all things, “One of Us.”

The boundary between rock and roll show and performance art also disappeared, stretching back to the opening moments of Gallo’s set, when he played a little trumpet and then read a prepared introduction statement from a piece of paper seemingly channeling Christopher Walken. At other points, Gallo played his guitar with and on a skateboard. But for all the shenanigans, his set was a rage of rock and roll, channeling the great trios like the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream along the way. With Joe Bisirri on bass and Dylan Sevey on drums, the three-piece was greater than the sum of their parts, breathing fire into the material from the beginning. And as we continue to work our way backward through the night, we once again find Seattle’s Naked Giants. Seen from the end, their set was a bit of foreshadowing—their intense and thoughtful guitar-bass-drum rock a perfect tee up for the night. Their songs seemed to have a mind of their own, losing themselves in the middle to stray here or there in is-this-another-song fashion before hitting the head and drawing to a close. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

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Silversun Pickups – Terminal 5 – November 15, 2017

November 16th, 2017

(Silversun Pickups and Minus the Bear play Brooklyn Steel on Friday night.)

Photos courtesy of Brian C. Reilly | www.briancreilly.com

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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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Bully Ratchet Up the Energy at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Monday

November 14th, 2017

Bully – Music Hall of Williamsburg – November 13, 2017

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

In an era when we’re all coming to realize that women have a million reasons to angrily shout, Bully frontwoman Alicia Bognanno might just rock one of the best screams in all of rock music. Her vocal chords come with a built-in distortion pedal. It’s a slight miracle she can tour playing night after night with her gravely scream on full blast. At other times her voice is filled with tenderness—it takes a certain chorus or bridge to flick a switch then suddenly the same voice isn’t just cutting like a knife, it’s cutting you open. “I am trying to stay focused,” screamed Bognanno on repeat at a fever pitch for the final lines of “Focused,” each refrain ratcheting up the energy levels at Music Hall of Williamsburg, far higher than you’d think possible on a Monday night.

Not all of their songs hit so heavy: “I Feel the Same” came with a bouncy feel to it, with Bognanno flanked on both sides by pogoing guitarist Clayton Parker and bassist Reece Lazarus. The latter dedicated the set to two friends in the audience celebrating their two-year anniversary. “I don’t want to sing the saddest song we have after that. I’ll jinx this,” said Bognanno leading into “Blame.” But it was easily one of their best songs of the night, oscillating between soft contemplation and fury-filled choruses. “Milkman” one of their first-ever recorded tracks, had the whole band packing serious punch, with Lazarus’ thudding bassline doing the walloping. The show ended with “I Remember,” a tight number already trimmed of any fat whatsoever, played in warp speed. No better way to end the night than with a knockout blow. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

 

 

 

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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.

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Stars on 11/18

November 14th, 2017

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Thanks to their recently released ninth studio album, Montreal rock outfit Stars are back in New York City this week to play Rough Trade NYC on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All three dates are already sold out, but The House List is giving away two tickets to Saturday’s show. Don’t have any of your own and still want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s 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 (Stars, 11/18) and a brief message explaining your favorite song on There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light. Eddie Bruiser, a fan of Canadian rock in general, will notify the winner by Friday.

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Two Nights of Silversun Pickups in New York City This Week

November 14th, 2017

Brian Aubert (vocals and guitar), Chris Guanlao (drums), Joe Lester (keys and samples) and Nikki Monninger (bass and vocals) knew one another from playing in various bands before forming Silversun Pickups 15 years ago in Los Angeles. Their atmospheric sound, layered melodies and spellbinding dreamy pop immediately drew comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and the Smashing Pumpkins with the release of their 2005 debut EP, Pikul (stream it below), and 2006 debut LP, Carnavas (stream it below), “the sort of record that brings something new to discover with each listen,” according to AllMusic. “Thus, listen one is as enjoyable as listen five or 10, but probably for entirely different reasons, since unique bits continuously appear from the band’s dream haze of accessibly textured indie rock.” Their fourth studio album, the synths-filled Better Nature (stream it below), came out in 2015. Despite referring to it as a “transitional record,” Sputnik Music called the long-player “a gorgeous if slightly safe album that proves this band hasn’t lost their edge when it comes to making captivating music.” And live, Silversun Pickups (above, performing “Panic Switch”) are just as exceptional as ever. Catch them on Wednesday at Terminal 5 and on Friday at Brooklyn Steel. Seattle’s Minus the Bear open both shows.



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A Sunday Sing-Along with the Mountain Goats at Brooklyn Steel

November 13th, 2017

The Mountain Goats – Brooklyn Steel – November 12, 2017


John Darnielle might be the hardest-working man in indie rock. This is not to say he comes from the same school as Bruce Springsteen—playing epic four-hour shows every night with sweat soaking through his American flag bandanna. But as the singer-songwriter of the beloved band the Mountain Goats, he’s consistently churned out a thoughtful and varied body of work at such a dependable pace that you might take him for granted. While other prolific artists may have a high volume of toss-away moments in their catalogs, Darnielle’s lyrics have always seemed intensely labored over and essential. Once called “America’s best non-hip-hop lyricist” by The New Yorker, he’s able to cover an impossible amount of ground from verse to verse, all while releasing albums with the band and somehow also managing to write two critically acclaimed novels. How about that for work ethic?

The band’s latest album, Goths, was released this year, and the Mountain Goats’ tour brought them to town for a packed show at Brooklyn Steel on Sunday night. The LP explores Darnielle’s early ’80s teen fascination with this genre in the same way that 2015’s Beat the Champ paid tribute to his heroes of professional wrestling. In pure Mountain Goats fashion: always sincere and never with irony. Mothers, out of Athens, Ga., opened the show with a brief yet powerful set. Afterward, fans roared as Darnielle and Co. walked onstage. Backed by longtime bassist Peter Hughes, multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas and indie-rock drum royalty (and half of the comedy duo Scharpling & Wurster) Jon Wurster, the band leaned heavily on Goths, pulling off the new songs’ complex instrumentation with finesse. As this material is much more layered than the Mountain Goats’ usual bare-bones acoustic-punk material, Darnielle mostly stuck to playing the tunes on a Rhodes keyboard while Douglas would fill in the space with reverbed-out flourishes on either tenor sax or flute, eliciting huge crowd reactions in response. It was a thrill to watch the band gracefully pull off these new tunes live.

Some of the best moments of the night, however, were when Darnielle picked up his acoustic guitar to dust off some of the old sing-alongs from the band’s long career. Songs like “This Year” and “Against Pollution” had everyone at Brooklyn Steel singing in unison with Darnielle as he marched back and forth across the stage like an unplugged Angus Young. For the final number of their second encore, the Mountain Goats played a full-band version of the All Hail West Texas masterpiece “Best Ever Death Metal Band out of Denton,” with its rallying cry of “Hail Satan” filling the rafters and the hearts of everyone in the room. —Pat King | @MrPatKing

 

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Alex Clare Brings New Material to Music Hall of Williamsburg

November 13th, 2017

English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alex Clare’s Tail of Lions (stream it below) just came out recently in the U.S., striking “an enjoyable balance on his third full-length,” according to AllMusic, “with a further evolution of a sound that shines the spotlight on his voice.” The title, Clare (above, performing “Basic”)—who moved with his family from London to Jerusalem two years ago—tells the Independent, refers to an ancient Jewish Proverb: “‘It is better to be a tail to a lion than a head to a fox’ means that it is better to follow someone who is truly great, than to lead something negative and crooked.” Per the Line of Best Fit, “Deeply rooted in religious literature, [the album’s] other influences range from mental illness to the current political climate, making it an engaging listen from one of Britain’s most distinctive male vocalists.” Clare’s current North American tour touches down in Brooklyn on Tuesday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Singer-songwriter Bobby Bazini and Brooklyn five-piece Elijah open the show.

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Julia Jacklin Launches New Tour Monday at Rough Trade NYC

November 10th, 2017

Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin (above, performing “Don’t Let the Kids Win” in studio for Triple J) has been compared to Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten, thanks to what AllMusic calls her “seamless meld of dreamy indie folk-pop and confessional alt-country.” Jacklin’s debut full-length, Don’t Let the Kids Win (stream it below), dropped last fall, pleasing critics and fans alike. Consequence of Sound said it “works like a musical punch to the gut, a tearjerker that makes even the most public of spaces ready sobbing spots. Each of the album’s 11 songs sounds effortlessly polished, her voice seasoned with the emotion of an entire lifetime.” The Guardian added: “Don’t Let the Kids Win feels very much like one of those albums that will slowly creep into the affections of a large number of people; it’s that lovely.” Having recently released two new singles, Julia Jacklin kicks off a quick North American tour on Monday at Rough Trade NYC. Atlanta folk singer-songwriter Faye Webster and Brooklyn singer-songwriter Aerial East open the show.

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David Bazan Goes Deep at Rough Trade NYC on Thursday

November 10th, 2017

David Bazan – Rough Trade NYC – November 9, 2017


The opening verse of “Magazine” pretty much sums up the inner conflict that singer-songwriter David Bazan—of the beloved indie-rock outfit Pedro the Lion—has been struggling through his entire career. Once an evangelical Christian, he’s challenged his faith with each release in a way that never pulls any punches. After four full-lengths and five EPs, Bazan decided to retire the band name in order to go solo and explore his relationship with faith without the religious baggage his old band carried. Any longtime fan of his songwriting would be able to tell you that his relationship to the church was never an issue. As a lyricist, Bazan has always been able to pull apart the complex equations that everyday people spend their entire lives trying to solve. In the years since Pedro’s demise, he’s remained prolific, releasing albums and singles under his own name as well as launching many different side projects (his group Lo Tom, played Rough Trade NYC over the summer). Last month, Bazan announced that he would be reviving Pedro for a string of reunion shows this winter as well as plans to record and tour again as a working unit.

But before he can get to work on that, Bazan is finishing up promoting his most recent solo album, Care, which brought his tour to Brooklyn to play Rough Trade NYC last night along with singer-songwriter Michael Nau of Page France. Nau set the tone with a short set of laid-back songs accompanied by a lead guitarist, upright bassist and a drum machine that he’d program in between numbers. His material took on a trance-inducing quality that recalled Lambchop at their most ethereal with lyrics that seemed heartbreakinghly personal. Shortly after, Bazan took the stage backed by a three-piece. And for the most part, he and his band kept it “strictly business” as they plowed through material from Care and his 2016 LP, Blanco, with little talking in between songs, aside from a brief intermission when he took questions from the crowd. Both albums had been a slight sonic departure for Bazan, as they each strictly used synths and drum machines—so it was great to hear these songs getting the heavier band treatment live. He delighted the crowd with a few old Pedro songs, like “When They Really Get to Know You They Will Run” and “Penetration,” and even dusted off the old Headphones tune “Gas and Matches.”

For the encore, Bazan took questions for the second time of the night. As expected, most of them had to do with the Pedro reunion, and he was frank and honest with his answers, explaining that the decision was made in order to tour and record music “as a band” again and to bring his music to a much larger audience. For a sometimes frustratingly overlooked force in the world of indie rock, it’s hard to blame him. He also assured the crowd that the Pedro tour would make its way to New York City in the future but would have to keep us in suspense as to when. He and his band then closed with the opening song off of Pedro’s final album, Achilles Heel, “Bands With Managers,” which had everyone singing along in unison. —Pat King | @MrPatKing

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Make It a Funky Saturday Night with Turkuaz at Brooklyn Steel

November 9th, 2017

Dave Brandwein (vocals and guitar) and Taylor Shell (bass) formed the nine-piece funk orchestra Turkuaz—rounded out by Craig Brodhead (guitar and synths), Chris Brouwers (trumpet and keys), Greg Sanderson (sax), Joshua Schwartz (sax and vocals), Michelangelo Carubba (drums), Sammi Garett (tambourine and vocals) and Shira Elias (vocals)—in 2008. Mixing Funk, R&B and Motown with world-music flourishes, Turkuaz (above, performing “Chatte Lunatique” at this year’s Mountain Jam) take cues from bands like Parliament, Sly and the Family Stone and Talking Heads. Their most recent album, Digitonium (stream it below), which came out in 2015, “showcases the band’s deep playbook and versatility within the genre, dialing back the clock for a classic-sounding funk record,” according to Live for Live Music. It’s filled with the psychedelic funk and brassy soul that’s become one of the funk army’s calling cards. Another is their high-octane stage performances. See Turkuaz live when their fall tour brings them home to play Brooklyn Steel on Saturday night. Houston eight-piece the Suffers open the show with a dose of Gulf Coast soul. And then as an added bonus, Turkuaz return in two weeks with Tauksgiving at The Bowery Ballroom on 11/24.