The Afghan Whigs formed while still in college and launched out of Cincinnati in the mid-’80s, making the kind of amped-up garage rock that would earn them comparisons to the likes of the Replacements and Dinosaur Jr.—and gain them a cult following thanks to what AllMusic calls frontman “Greg Dulli’s tortured, angst-ridden tales of broken relationships and self-loathing.” They released six albums between 1988 and 1998 before amicably breaking up three years later. But you can’t keep a good band down, and so the Afghan Whigs (above, performing “Algiers” for KEXP FM) returned in 2012. Their seventh long-player, Do the Beast (stream it below), arrived two years later. “Do to the Beast leaves you emotionally wrought. Where Dulli had previously played the sleaze we reveled in living vicariously through, here he has us choking back tears for him, the violent aggressor,” said the Line of Best Fit. “The album has an air of closure, the Whigs pull out all their musical stops and Dulli seems to find an end, albeit not the happiest one.” And this past May, the band put out another well-received full-length, In Spades (stream it below). “Bolstered again by the louche and ravaged voice of singer Greg Dulli,” said Pitchfork, “the latest from the indie rock icons is delightfully stuffed with romance and rancor.” Having just launched a new tour, the Afghan Whigs come to The Bowery Ballroom on Friday to play In Spades in its entirety followed by a second set and then hit Brooklyn Steel on Saturday. Former New Yorker Har Mar Superstar opens both shows.
Tag Archives: Dinosaur Jr.
Beginning on Wednesday, the ninth annual Northside Festival will bring thousands of people to Brooklyn—specifically Williamsburg and Greenpoint—“to uncover the future of music, innovation and content.” And with music as part of the equation, you just know that The Bowery Presents is gonna be involved. Although Mary Timony playing Helium at Rough Trade NYC on Thursday and Big Thief (above, performing “Paul” for NPR Music at this year’s SXSW) at Rough Trade NYC on Friday are already sold out, fortunately some tickets still remain for these other stellar shows:
Lower Dens performing songs from ABBA’s Gold: Greatest Hits, Tony Molina performing songs from Dinosaur Jr.’s You’re Living All Over Me and Tredici Bacci String Quartet performing songs from Koji Kondo’s Super Mario Bros. soundtrack
Tags: ABBA, Ablebody, Aerial East, Beverly, Big Thief, Brooklyn, Brother Brothers, Cut Worms, Days of Abandon, Dinosaur Jr., Gold: Greatest Hits, Koji Kondo, Live Music, Lower Dens, Masterpiece, Mild High Club, Music, Music Hall of Williamsburg, New York City, Northside Festival, Ohtis, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Park Church Co-op, Preview, Relatives, Rough Trade NYC, Sincerely: Future Pollution, Super Mario Bros., Timber Timbre, Tony Molina, Tredici Bacii String Quartet, Twain, Video, Williamsburg, You’re Living All Over Me
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Dinosaur Jr. – Rough Trade NYC – August 5, 2016
Forget about the Olympics. Anyone looking for a classic example of people getting together to produce greatness despite their differences need look no further than J Mascis and Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr. Their historic infighting dissolved the band in the late ’90s in what was bound to remain a tale of what could have been. Yet against the odds, they reunited in 2005 sounding as good as ever, putting out album after album like nothing had changed. And in a way, things haven’t: They still don’t get along. Barlow recently admitted that he’s hardly on speaking terms with frontman Mascis. They’re like an indie-rock Fleetwood Mac minus the mountains of cocaine and intraband romances.
Friday night at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade NYC marked the release and celebration of Dinosaur Jr.’s fourth post-reunion full-length, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, another ear-splitting album to add to the band’s canon. The humbly introverted Mascis nestled into his stack of Marshall amps while sporting a giant blue Cookie Monster T-shirt. They kicked off the set with the muddy classic “The Lung,” with Barlow’s heavy slaps of bass crashing down like his Muppet mop of hair. The new album’s first track, “Goin’ Down,” followed with Mascis providing buzzsaw riffs reminiscent of Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades.” “I don’t think we’ve made it through this song one time,” said Barlow, introducing “Love Is….” And if not for the squelching Mascis guitar solo in the middle of it, the tune could have easily been mistaken for one by Barlow’s other band, Sebadoh.
Mascis’ noodling appeared as effortless as ever—no one shreds as nonchalantly as he does, and it’s not even close. The soloing outro of “I Walk for Miles” was enough to burn down the venue, and even if it had, Mascis would’ve probably just stood there like the This Is Fine dog. The set closed with a tear through the classics, “Start Choppin’,” “Freak Scene” and a massive “Gargoyle” jam, plus a two-song encore of “The Wagon” and “Out There.” Some people believe God scattered dinosaur bones around the planet to confuse us about evolution, to test our faith. Those people are fucking crazy, but not as crazy as the fact that after all these years, Dinosaur Jr. are still together, and not just together but still insanely good. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nricks
Photos courtesy of Pat Tabb | pattabb.com
Tags: Brooklyn, Dan Rickershauser, Dinosaur Jr., Fleetwood Mac, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not, J. Mascis, Live Music, Lou Barlow, Motörhead, Murph, Music, New York City, Pat Tabb, Photos, Review, Sebadoh, Williamsburg
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Steve Gunn and the Outliners – Music Hall of Williamsburg – June 9, 2016
Steve Gunn is a guitarists’ guitarist, much in the same way that there are comedians’ comedians (Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, Louis CK). He’s earned the respect and admiration of Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis, Wilco and the guy who I buy strings from in the guitar shop off Carmine St. Gunn falls somewhere on the guitar family tree under John Fahey, the legendary master of Americana ragas, and he certainly shares his ability to hold down meditative rhythms while stringing a different melody through them. That he’s able to sing on top of it all (something Fahey rarely did) makes the skill all the more impressive. Back from a recent European tour, Gunn returned home to Brooklyn—at Music Hall of Williamsburg—last night, kicking off his American tour in promotion of the excellent Eyes on the Lines, his Matador debut.
Gunn began as a guitarist for Kurt Vile’s Violators, and Vile got his own start as a guitarist for the War on Drugs. If this tradition holds up, stay tuned for an amazing debut from Jim Elkington, who embellishes Gunn’s tunes with artful twangs of his slide guitar. Elkington and Gunn proved to be impressively skilled, trading guitar solos in an epic call-and-response session off the jams of “Park Bench Smile.” Both made use of racks of guitars and a healthy number of pedals to bleed just the right sound out of their noodling. “Ancient Jules” showcased some of the finest riffs to have come out thus far in 2016, searing through a steady on-the-road flowing rhythm. Mid-set, the crowd started yelling, “More Steve!” “More Steve?” replied Gunn. “What does that even mean? Oh, turn me up?”
The set wound down with just Elkington and Gunn on acoustic guitars for a stripped-down version of the beautiful “Wildwood.” The full band returned for the encore with “Way Out Weather” with Gunn’s guitar drifting in and out of the song like a gentle breeze.
—Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks
Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com
Tags: Bill Hick, Brooklyn, Charles Steinberg, Dan Rickershauser, Dinosaur Jr., Eyes on the Lines, J. Mascis, John Fahey, Kurt Vile, Lenny Bruce, Louie CK, Matador Records, Music Hall of Williamsburg, New York City, Steve Gunn, Steve Gunn and the Outliners, War on Drugs, Wilco, Williamsburg
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Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis is currently touring behind his (mostly) acoustic new album, Tied to a Star, which brings him to The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night. The show is sold out, but The House List just so happens to be giving away two tickets. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (J Mascis, 10/17) and a brief message explaining what you most like about his latest work. Eddie Bruiser, a J Mascis fan since way back, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.
Built to Spill – Music Hall of Williamsburg – May 20, 2014
Someone casually observing Doug Martsch might find it hard to believe that his voice comes out of him. The bearded, stoic and always somewhat serious looking frontman of Built to Spill is not a person you’d expect to have a fragile tenor voice that comes out gracefully tender. And it comes alongside a trademark wiggle—starting at his leg and up to his head, it runs through him like an electrical current, almost looking unnatural, like his voice is being pulled out of him from the deepest depths of his feels. By contrast, his guitar playing couldn’t look more effortless, pulling out incredibly difficult riffs without seemingly giving them any focus whatsoever. There’s really not a subpar guitarist in Built to Spill, you could pick anyone out of the Brett Netson, Jim Roth, Martsch trifecta and they’d likely crush any other band’s guitarist.
One of the best things about Built to Spill is that they’ll hide just a short couple of lines within a song that you’d love to last forever. Playing live, if you’re lucky, they’ll find that part and stretch it out into an epic jam, which has everything to do with their collective guitar mastery. All three guitarists soloed at the end of “Conventional Wisdom,” each relying heavily on the whammy bar, the wavering guitar tones leaving the song feeling almost like a living, breathing thing. They’d trade off, with one covering the beauty of the main riff, the other two mudding it up with equally beautiful noise jams. The climax in crowd-favorite “Carry the Zero” also stretched out into a swirling guitar jam. The prolonged intensity of its dizzying denouement almost felt exhausting to endure (in a good way, of course). For most Built to Spill fans, this is the first show with Jason Albertini on bass and Steve Gere on drums. The two fit right into the fold, pretty impressive considering they had 21 years of Built to Spill to catch up on.
The band’s cover choices were like a cherry on top of a sundae, beginning with the Dinosaur Jr. classic “Sludgefeast,” perhaps in honor of J. Mascis’ weeklong residency on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Then came Blue Öyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” quickly becoming a live go-to for the band. They were generous enough to let everyone get in their “more cowbell” jokes before the second half of the song, when someone came out with one. The encore ended with an epic jam of Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love,” with some singing help from two guests, Erin and Peter, who pulled fans onstage, the show finally ending with a solid half of the crowd dancing alongside the band, with Music Hall of Williamsburg’s disco ball turned up to 11. —Dan Rickershauser
They began making punk(-ish) music back in 2008, but with the release of New Moon (stream it below), last March, the Men moved in a different sonic direction: still tapping into feedback and distortion, but doing so over more classic-rock sounds, or what Allmusic calls “creating a sound akin to Dinosaur Jr. on a serious Tom Petty kick.” But that was 12 whole months ago, an eternity to a prolific group like this Brooklyn five-piece. So, naturally, they return with the ambitious Tomorrow’s Hits (stream it below), their fifth album in five years, out today. This time, according to Rolling Stone, “the band reinvent themselves yet again as a slamming blue-eyed soul group.” “We had been kickin’ the horns idea around for a little while,” singer-guitarist Mark Perro told the magazine, “thinking about Fun House by the Stooges, Exile on Main Street by the Stones and all those old classics Stax and Motown records.” Band members—Perro, singer-guitarist Nick Chiericozzi, guitarist Kevin Faulkner, bassist Ben Greenberg and drummer Rich Samis— share singing duties, and while performing live, the guys in the Men (above, playing “Settle Me Down” for KEXP FM) occasionally get lost in a solo, with their back to the crowd, but it doesn’t mean they’ve lost focus. Instead, they’re just caught up in the music. Get caught up in the music yourself when the Men celebrate their new album tomorrow night at The Bowery Ballroom.
Tags: Ben Greenberg, Bowery Ballroom, Dinosaur Jr., Exile on Main Street, Fun House, Kevin Faulkner, Mark Perro, Motown, New Moon, Nichk Chiericozzi, Preview, Rich Samis, Rolling Stones, Stax, the Men, the Stooges, Tom Petty, Video
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Sebadoh – Baby’s All Right – February 25, 2014
For any out-of-towners now living in Brooklyn, have you ever felt embarrassed to tell people you live there? Sebadoh’s Jason Loewenstein occasionally does, something he confessed last night at Baby’s All Right, on the final stop of the band’s tour promoting their latest release, Defend Yourself. It’s the band’s first release since 1999. They’ve never actually broken up, it’s just that Lou Barlow likes to put out albums when he feels like he can write one and it’s the right time to do so. The group’s output has cemented their role in the close circle of indie-rock royalty, although you’d never know that just based off the humble way they carry themselves. Barlow still sits at the merch table to sell records—or cassettes, which he says sell better in Brooklyn than anywhere else, go figure—while Loewenstein can be seen near the front row rocking out to opening act Octagrape.
Sebadoh play their music with a degree of nonchalance common among other great ’90s indie acts (think: Pavement or Dinosaur Jr., a band Barlow plays bass in), although their lyrics tend to be much more candid and confessional. The songs on their latest album cover topics as wide-ranging as Barlow’s recent divorce to dropping off his daughter at school to feeling inadequate while looking at the muscular calves of other Los Angeles dads (“State of Mine”). The band also has an uncanny ability to rock off the rails with technically challenging yet loosely held together jams.
Sebadoh let the main riff from “Careful” run absolutely wild, almost seeming like they had little control over the squealing guitars and bass thumps emanating from their instruments, as if they were casually trying to domesticate the noise. Barlow and Loewenstein switched instruments and lead-singer duties several times throughout the night. They ended their set with the hard-hitting song “The Freed Pig” followed by the more down-tempo and sentimental “Willing to Wait.” Two different sides of the same coin, both Sebadoh songs right down to the core. —Dan Rickershauser
Yuck are an international band: Singer-guitarist Max Bloom is a Londoner, bassist Mariko Doi hails from Hiroshima and drummer Jonny Rogoff is straight out of Jersey. (Guitarist Ed Hayes recently replaced original member David Blumberg, while Bloom took over Blumberg’s vocal duties.) Yuck (above, performing “Operation”) have put out a pair of albums, a self-titled affair (stream it below) in 2011—which “recalls the aesthetic of some of the forefathers of indie rock,” according to Consequence of Sound, which also glowingly makes comparisons to Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and the Jesus and Mary Chain—and
last year’s Glow & Behold (stream it below)—about which PopMatters says “it’s a real pleasure to hear their take on the past.” But in the very near future, you can see Yuck play The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow night.
Tags: Bowery Ballroom, Daniel Blumberg, Dinosaur Jr., Ed Hayes, Glow & Behold, Jesus and Mary Chain, Mariko Doi, Max Bloom, Preview, Sonic Youth, Video, Yuck
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MGMT/Dinosaur Jr. – Barclays Center – December 13, 2013
Underage was the word that occurred to me as I watched fans stream into Barclays Center on Friday night: goofy-looking dudes with skinny necks and hats on sideways, girls covered in colorful crop tops and fluorescent face paint. So when I got to my seat and saw a woman older than my mom sitting nearby, I had to talk to her. Good-natured ushers rebuffed my first two attempts, though, and I enjoyed the openers, Kuroma and Dinosaur Jr., from the comfort of my own section. Kuroma delivered excellent, jangly rock tunes and with three MGMT members gave an exciting preview of the show to come. Dinosaur Jr., playing mostly to teens who weren’t born when they first broke up, didn’t disappoint either. J Mascis ripped off a succession beautiful, frenetic solos as they barged through deceptively simple rockers, highlights being “Feel the Pain” and a thunderous cover of “Just Like Heaven,” which brought their set to a sing-along close.
Finally, I made my way over to the white-haired woman and was astounded to learn she was bass player Matt Asti’s mom. After trading memories of past shows, I asked if she ever thought her son would be a rock star. “When he was three months old, I took him to an astrologist who said he’d make his living onstage. So I guess I should have known,” she replied. And with that, the lights began to dim, so I said a quick goodbye and good luck. The latter, as it turned out, was completely unnecessary. Opening with “Flash Delirium” followed by “Time to Pretend,” Asti and his bandmates had the crowd standing and screaming right away.
MGMT’s set was a rousing blend of Oracular Spectacular’s catchy tunes and their other albums’ more psychedelic fare. The show also featured trippy, Spirographic projections, a remote-controlled flying saucer and surprise guests—little known 1960s psych rocker Faine Jade, who came out to sing his “Introspection” (which MGMT covered on their eponymous new album), and Gibby Haynes, of Butthole Surfers, who joined them to sporadically bang on an massive cowbell and jump into the crowd during “Your Life Is a Lie” and “Kids.” MGMT then treated fans to two of the new album’s best songs (“Alien Days” and “Cool Song No. 2”), plus an epic encore of “Congratulations.” And if everyone else was as lucky as I was, they got to see Ms. Asti dancing in the aisle all show long. —Mickey Novak
Tags: Barclays Center, Butthole Surfers, Dinosaur Jr., Faine Jade, Gibby Haynes, J. Mascis, Kuroma, Matt Asti, MGMT, Oracular Spectacular, Photos, Review
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Local psychedelic rockers MGMT have been away for a while, since the release of their previous album, Congratulations, in 2010. But, fortunately, they returned to the studio to record their third full-length, MGMT (stream it below), which came out a few months back. In a glowing review, NME calls it “a transcendental [journey] you’ve never been on before.” And while MGMT (above, performing “Introspection,” “Your Life Is a Lie” and “Mystery Disease”) haven’t played a New York City show in three years, they head to Brooklyn tomorrow night to play Barclays Center.
But a big show calls for something different, and so MGMT will be joined by the massively influential alt-rock trio Dinosaur Jr. and Hank Sullivant’s quartet, Kuroma. And while Kuroma are up-and-comers not to miss, it’s worth mentioning that although Dinosaur Jr. have been around a while, the distortion-loving band remains as vital as ever, releasing the acclaimed I Bet on Sky (stream it below) last year. Paste called it “a jangly rock throw-down with a nostalgic center and a confident drive that ends up capturing everything that’s great about the band.” This will be one not to miss.
They began making punk(-ish) music back in 2008, but with the release of New Moon (stream it below), their fourth full-length in as many years, in March, the Men have moved in a different sonic direction: still tapping into feedback and distortion, but doing so over more classic-rock sounds—or what Allmusic calls “creating a sound akin to Dinosaur Jr. on a serious Tom Petty kick.” Band members share singing duties, and while performing live, the guys in the Men (above, playing “Jennifer” for KEXP FM) occasionally get lost in a solo, with their back to the crowd, but it doesn’t mean they’ve lost focus. Instead, they’re just caught up in the music. And you’ll be, too, tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg. And while you’re at it, make sure you arrive early enough to catch Purling Hiss and Pampers.
The Men – The Bowery Ballroom – March 7, 2013
Capping off a big week that included gracing the cover of The Village Voice and releasing their fourth full-length album, New Moon, Brooklyn band the Men performed a sold-out show at The Bowery Ballroom last night. The five-piece have been lauded for their ability to blend elements such as Dinosaur Jr. levels of feedback and distortion and vigorous punk riffs with Neil Young– and Tom Petty–inspired crooners, often with surprising flourishes of harmonica or saxophone. In the capable hands of the Men, this confluence of disparate retro influences comes out sounding both familiar and wholly unique.
Band members traded off on vocal duties as they ran through songs from the new record as well as 2012’s Open Your Heart. The dirty and rough surface of their sound often belies the polish and precision beneath it, and although the Men may not seem to bother with details like perfectly tuned guitars, they took care to fine-tune their instruments as they readied to play “Turn It Around,” admitting, somewhat bashfully, “Gotta get it right, you know.”
As they played, band members at times turned their backs on the audience completely— riding a melody, lost in a guitar solo, perhaps simply having bounced, swayed or shredded a bit too heartily. However, rather than seeming disconnected, the band’s focus and intensity while playing created a natural magnetism, allowing the postures of conventional stage presence to remain an afterthought, captivating through authenticity. —Alena Kastin
Tags: Ben Greenberg, Bowery Ballroom, Dinosaur Jr., Kevin Faulkner, Mark Perro, Neil Young, New Moon, Nick Chiericozzi, Open Your Heart, Review, Rich Samis, the Men
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