Tag Archives: Frank Ocean

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It’s the End of the Year as We Know It

December 28th, 2017

With 2018 fast approaching, The House List takes a look back at 2017.

Adela Loconte, Photographer @adelaloconte
Top Five Favorite Shows
1.
At the Drive-In, Terminal 5, March 22
2. Arca & Jesse Kanda Live, Brooklyn Steel, July 6
3. The Flaming Lips, Terminal 5, March 9
4. PJ Harvey, Brooklyn Steel, April 20
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kings Theatre, November 7

Chad Berndtson, Writer @cberndtson
Top Five Favorite Shows
No music fan sees everything, and so much depends on the time, the night, the conditions—my ephemeral joys might be your disappointments. That’s part of the fun, right? Among scores of shows I saw in 2017, here are five nights that stuck with me.
1. Drive By Truckers, The Space at Westbury, February 10
One of the great live bands of the last 20 years has gotten leaner and meaner, unafraid of political jabs or paint-peeler guitar solos.
2. Explosions in the Sky, Capitol Theatre, April 22
Ominous music, loaded with portent, staring into the abyss or looking with a smile at some triumph high in the sky. Heavy, cinematic and deep.
3. Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons, Mercury Lounge, April 30
A master class in old-school, highly emotional rock energy. Still don’t understand why more people don’t know him, 30-plus years into a career of rough-scuffed folk rock delivered sometimes with tenderness and sometimes with Crazy Horse–like abandon.
4. The xx, Forest Hills Stadium, May 19
OK, I’m buying: Hipster as hell, but what they did was paint an outdoor venue in darkly beautiful soundscapes. The most fun I’ve had getting lost in a band in some time. They turn large, unforgiving venues into intimate listening rooms—and get you dancing.
5. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Music Hall of Williamsburg, November 20
Nelson has learned a lot from two musical dads: his actual dad, Willie, and also Neil Young, whom the Promise of the Real have backed on and off for years now. The type of show that defines the word swagger—a generous meal of rock, country, folk, blues and R&B by an old-school showman barely in his prime.

Dan Rickershauser, Writer @d4nricks
Top Five Favorite Albums
1.
Big Thief, Capacity
The one record I found myself returning to again and again. It was a shitty year, but something about this album soothed my sorrows. Adrianne Lenker’s songs feel personal yet completely pull you in. May she never let go.
2. Kendrick Lamar, Damn.
This may be my least favorite Kendrick Lamar record to date and yet it’s still the second best album that came out this year. The man’s a legend and the world seems to know it. It’s a good thing he’s so humble.
3. The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding
Adam Granduciel, the obsessive studio wizard, put out another beauty, this record even more gorgeous than the last. It’s the sound of rock perfection from a perfectionist.
4. Waxahatchee, Out in the Storm
Katie Crutchfield’s songwriting just keeps getting better. She comes out of the gates swinging with some dangerously catchy jams.
5. Grizzly Bear, Painted Ruins
Of all the great indie bands of the late Aughts returning with new albums this year, Grizzly Bear’s takes the cake. Way too many critics slept on this one!

Pat King, Writer @mrpatking
Top Five Favorite Albums
1. Jens Lekman, Life Will See You Now
I had never really given Jens Lekman a chance as a songwriter, but this year it finally clicked for me in a big way. I got laid off from a job that I thought I loved early on in 2017 and was feeling pretty lost and listless in life. I was taking the train from the city to upstate New York to help my dad with a few big projects and was feeling incredibly low sitting alone on Metro North. All of the sudden, I heard “To Know Your Mission” and was completely overcome with emotion. It was the perfect tune for me at that time and each song that followed helped me understand my situation a little more clearly. I couldn’t believe how wise and endearing Lekman is as a lyricist.
2. Mark Mulcahy, The Possum in the Driveway
Whenever the discussion veers toward musicians who have not been given their just dues, I always think of Mark Mulcahy. As the frontman of Miracle Legion and the Nickelodeon-sponsored Polaris (“ay-yay-yay-yi, Hey Sandy”), Mulcahy had been known for a certain type of feel-good college jangle pop that was certainly a product of the ’90s. What many people may not realize is that his solo releases have been more emotionally and musically rewarding than either of those old projects, and he’s been one of few artists who each album he releases is better than his last. Over the past couple of decades he has reinvented himself as one of the great American balladeers, with lyrics and a voice that can cut you down to the bone. This year’s the Possum in the Driveway is a brilliant testament to his powers as a songwriter and one that proves he is in a league of his own.
3. Pallbearer, Heartless
Pallbearer have always shown promise of being one the best doom-metal bands around. But with their self-titled third album, they’ve transcended the genre and gelled into one of today’s most exciting rock bands. The songs are slightly shorter (although still around eight minutes) but have somehow intensified their scope in a more epic way. With this LP, Brett Campbell has made his case for being one of the best singers in heavy music. His lines never reach the outrageous heights of some of his peers in metal but bring enough power to stop you in your tracks. The same goes for this record’s instrumentation. The songs never feel like they have too many parts or get played out to the point of metal parody. It’s just a front-to-back banger that finally cemented Pallbearer as one of the best around.
4. Björk, Utopia
There aren’t many artists who you could say are peerless in popular music. Björk is definitely one of those artists. Every time she releases a new album, fans wait with anticipation to see where she if she will be able to clear the bar she set for herself on the one before. Utopia is such a statement as a complete work as she tries to understand and find happiness in her life after exploring decimating heartbreak on her last release, Vulnicura. It’s amazing to hear her reach the same breathtaking heights as a visionary artist this far into her career. Bow down and give respect.
5. Robyn Hitchcock, Robyn Hitchcock
Robyn Hitchcock delivered the back-to-basics Soft Boys–style album that many of his fans had been longing for for years. Teaming up with producer (and ex-Raconteur) Brendan Benson, Hitchcock turned up the amps and delivered 10 near-flawless rock songs that reminded us why he is one of the most inventive songwriters around. His wit as a lyricist is still ever-present, but hearing him deliver guitar parts reminiscent of Underwater Moonlight on songs like “I Want to Tell You What I Want” and “Mad Shelley’s Letterbox” was one of the most welcome surprises of 2017 for me.
Pat King’s Top 20 Best of 2017 Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/126049064/playlist/2idgUHVCiGSJqKkwkfex8v?si=wewT–RFRfWWxEVV3rmWsQ.

Sharlene Chiu, Writer
Top Five Favorite Shows with “New” Artists
1. SZA, Brooklyn Steel, December 10

So if you haven’t yet heard of SZA, you won’t be able to escape her name anytime soon. Riding a debut album that has already produced two platinum singles, the singer played a very sold-out Brooklyn Steel the night after performing on SNL. Her vibrant stage presence was supported by the Sing Harlem Choir. Girl’s going places and you’ll see her next year at the Grammy’s, where she’s the most nominated woman with five nods.
2. Maggie Rogers, The Bowery Ballroom, April 11
When a video of Pharrell’s reaction to Ms. Rogers’ demo of “Alaska” went viral, she was on the up-and-up. Her performance at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom was not only a homecoming, but it was also a beginning of bigger stages and larger audiences. She became teary and confessional near the end of the set, reminiscing about the previous times she’d been to the venue as an audience member. After her pair of Bowery shows, she set off on a whirlwind international tour taking her to Europe, Australia and Japan.
3. The Cactus Blossoms, Mercury Lounge, July 12
The first time I caught the Cactus Blossoms’ noir-infused honky-tonk was at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco last year. When I saw they would be playing a late show at Mercury Lounge, I had to be there. Friends, I do not go out late on school nights, but for brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey, I made an exception. Their languid waltzes were the perfect soundtrack for steamy July.
4. Jay Som, Rough Trade NYC, June 6
A triad of Asian-American songwriters, including Mitski, Japanese Breakfast and Jay Som have been self-producing music since last year. The latter rolled into a sold-out Rough Trade NYC to charm the crowd with not only her skilled musicianship, but also with her charming wit. Som was recently shortlisted by NPR’s All Songs Considered in their year-end best of 2017.
5. Violents and Monica Martin, Rough Trade NYC, April 26
OK, this one isn’t technically new, but the pairing was. Monica Martin, best known as the frontwoman for the now-on-hiatus Phox, and producer Jeremy Larson aka Violents teamed up for this rare tour. Larson has collaborated with female vocalists before, but this one was special. Songs were paired with cinematic footage ranging from scenes from House Party to sweeping black-and-white scenery. What still sticks in my memory was a haunting cover of Frank Ocean’s “Self Control.”

 

 

 

 

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Rostam Brings Debut Solo Album to Music Hall of Williamsburg

September 25th, 2017

The story of Rostam Batmanglij is one of continuation and staying on his creative toes. With an open mind and an open heart he’s thrown himself into each expression and partnership without getting bogged down. There was some level of redefinition in order when the instant but unsustainable starburst of his former band, Vampire Weekend, leveled out a bit, at least beyond their base following. But it was inevitable that he’d forge his own path. With inherent musical proclivity, it was just a matter of discovering new outlets. And he’s certainly found them. Along with lending his enlivening sense of melody and world rhythm to the production of acts including Frank Ocean, Charli XCX and Carly Rae Jepsen—and oh, by the way, writing original music for the reprise of Kenneth Lonergan’s classic Broadway play This Is Our Youth—Rostam struck collaborative gold last year when he buddied up with Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser to gift us with the rollicking resplendence of I Had a Dream That You Were Mine (stream it below).

The volume of his work keeping him limber, he was prime to really hit a graceful, ground-covering stride on his first proper solo affair, Half-Light (stream it below). Just released this month, the effort carries that extraspecial glow and pop of every fifth firework. From the moment his Panda Bear–esque vocals sail into the album entrance of “Sumer,” a feeling of bright-eyed anticipation of what follows keeps afloat like an air-blasted ping pong ball. A youthful blend of vulnerability and moxie suspend in a seasoned weave of production that takes cues from all directions. There are even melodic allusions to the coiled-spring bop of Vampire Weekend, yet they’re shrewdly integrated, as in “Wood,” with cleanly bowed strings jumping into the gaps formed from the seductive Eastern percussion. When hearing the melodious, uplifting cheer of what can be construed as Rostam’s prideful retort to the chirping birds comes through his cry of “Please don’t let it get to you/ Even if you don’t realize it/ It’s still all up to you,” you’ll feel like running out buck naked to take on the world. He’s arrived at that point of confident eloquence, tightly embracing what made him and what moves him—and letting the tracks fall where they may.

Rostam once said that he’s interested in inclusion rather than exclusion, that his goal is to make music that can move anybody. His solo album easily surpasses this goal, and when performed live, the vibe pulses through the crowd. There’s that inestimable moment in time when a beloved honorary New Yorker who has contributed richly to this city’s music scene returns to play under a spotlight that is all his. That rare moment comes Wednesday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. You’ll be able to reach up and touch the electricity in the atmosphere on the night. Among the devoted and adoring Vampire Weekenders and newly blossomed fans of his duet album with Hamilton Leithauser, others, picked up along his musical path where the scenery has never been dull, will join in on the anticipation of a prolific artist, who many leap at the chance to work alongside, finally having his own moment in the spotlight. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly

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Violents and Monica Martin Bring Their Dream Pop to Brooklyn

April 27th, 2017

Violents and Monica Martin – Rough Trade NYC – April 26, 2017


Collaboration (noun): the action of working with someone to produce or create something. Jeremy Larson is a master collaborator and the man behind the indie collective Violents. The multi-instrumentalist not only plays all the music he has composed, but he also writes all of the lyrics. The hitch is that he partners with a female vocalist to bring each of these pieces to fruition. Previous collaborators have included Stacy King (Eisley, Sucre), Olga Yagolnikov (Kye Kye) and Nashville, Tenn., singer Annie Williams. For the first full-length record, Awake and Pretty Much Sober, Larson enlisted Phox frontwoman Monica Martin to flesh out his compositions with her sultry vocals.

Two days before the release of the album, Violents and Monica Martin played their first performance during an afternoon session at the Paste Studios before gracing the stage of Rough Trade NYC last night for their debut concert. Accompanied by the string quartet Rootstock Republic and a drummer (Joe), the duo opened with the glittering “Equal Power,” the first of four tracks released prior to the album. The performance would debut six additional songs, from the come-hither lullaby “Line Lie” to the trip-hop groove of “It Won’t Stop.” Throughout the set, clips of cinematic scenes played, including the iconic dance sequence from House Party providing the backdrop for “Hue.”

Midway through the show, Larson told the story of how the partnership formed after being a long admirer of Martin’s. He confessed he was a little cocky writing songs especially meant for her to sing before ever meeting the vocalist. Luckily a mutual friend got them connected and the rest is history. Martin added that a “shared insecurity” manifested with her singing lyrics she hadn’t written and Larson relinquishing vocal duties. As if new songs weren’t enough to satisfy the crowd, Martin proceeded to cover Frank Ocean’s “Self Control.” The evening was a reverie of dream pop that concluded with the title track and the apt closer “How It Left.” —Sharlene Chiu

 

Congratulations to the Winners

February 11th, 2013

The Bowery Presents extends warm congratulations to every 2013 Grammy winner (and nominee). And if you take a look at those who took home awards, it’s like a who’s who list of acts that have recently played our venues, including:

the Black Keys: Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Album
Gotye: Record of the Year (featuring Kimbra), Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (featuring Kimbra), Best Alternative Music Album
fun.: Song of the Year (featuring Janelle Monáe), Best New Artist
Skrillex (featuring Sirah): Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronica Album
Frank Ocean: Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (Kanye West and Jay-Z featuring Frank Ocean and the-Dream)
Mumford & Sons
: Album of the Year
Adele: Best Solo Pop Performance
Bonnie Raitt: Best Americana Album
Dan Auerbach: Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
Miguel: Best R&B Song
Kelly Clarkson: Best Pop Vocal Album
the Civil Wars (and Taylor Swift): Best Song Written for Visual Media
Halestorm: Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance

 

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Catch Steven A. Clark Playing the Late Show Tonight

January 10th, 2013

Steven A. Clark burst onto the scene with the 2011 single “Superhero,” gaining comparisons to modern R&B singers like Frank Ocean and the Weeknd, which didn’t slow down with the release of last year’s Fornication Under the Consent of the King (stream it below) or, well, F.U.C.K., on which he handled most of the album’s songwriting, recording and production. The Miami singer-producer had just gotten out of a long-term relationship, so “F.U.C.K. means a lot as far as saying fuck a lot of things I don’t agree with. But for the most part, it’s fuck love, fuck relationships, fuck some of these girls. It’s a lot of shit.” Of course, he means that in a totally listenable way. Check out Clark, above, doing “Don’t Have You,” and then see him play the late show tonight at Mercury Lounge.

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Another Year Older and a Little Bit Bigger

October 8th, 2012

Flying Lotus – Terminal 5 – October 7, 2012


Take Flying Lotus beats out of headphones or tinny computer speakers and into a club and they become sometime else entirely. On recordings, Flying Lotus is the manufacturer behind chilled-out and jazzy shape-shifting beats. But played live in a jam-packed venue with the bass turned up so high that it’s felt in the knees, and you have an almost unfamiliar sound. It’s like comparing a wild tiger to one in the zoo—the setting changes the music in a fundamental way. Flying Lotus’s natural habitat is the club, where beats can roam free, bouncing off every corner of the venue and sweeping up an audience in the process.

It’s safe to say Flying Lotus was in his natural habitat last night at the sold-out Terminal 5. During the few breaks in the set, the crowd serenaded the L.A. producer, celebrating his 28th birthday, with several renditions of “Happy Birthday to You.” Set up behind a screen with mind-altering visuals, for a while all you could make out of Flying Lotus was a silhouette wearing a sequin-covered sweatshirt that reflected the colored projections back like a thousand laser pointers. Playing one song after another, he wove samples ranging from Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic” to Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You” into his own beats. After a few songs, he stepped from behind the screen to greet the audience, and after a few more, he invited everyone in his entourage onstage for the night’s most successful rendition of “Happy Birthday to You.”

Pop music moves pretty fast these days, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if a year from now Flying Lotus’s beats find their way into a Kanye West sample or something else equally mainstream. The same has happened with so many other producers carrying the banner for a whole new interpretation of club music. If it happens, everyone at last night’s show can say to jealous late adopters that they saw Fly Lo in New York City on his 28th birthday. The show certainly felt like the beginning of a big musician getting bigger, or in the very least, another year older. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com

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Odd Future Offshoot the Internet Play The Bowery Ballroom

August 3rd, 2012

Hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Will Kill Them All is slowly trying to take over the world. First Tyler, the Creator, Hodgy Beats and crew burst onto the scene. Then came solo albums, including Frank Ocean’s, and a TV show, Loiter Squad. And now, the arrival of individual groups from within the collective—like DJ, engineer and singer (and lone Odd Future female member) Syd tha Kyd paired with beat maker Matt Martians, together making soulful trip-hop as the Internet. Their debut album, Purple Naked Ladies (stream it, below), came out late last year. They began playing live in the middle of May, and as part of a brief East Coast swing this month, the Internet (above, doing “Lincoln” for lastereo.tv) play The Bowery Ballroom on Sunday night.

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Frank Ocean Is Worth the Hype

July 27th, 2012

Frank Ocean – Terminal 5 – July 26, 2012


It’d be difficult to guess just from the stage setup who you were seeing. With the sprawling Persian rug, two holstered guitars and the stool at center stage, it looked like the setting of
MTV Unplugged. On appearances, you wouldn’t immediately suspect this to be the playpen
for Frank Ocean: R&B wunderkind, Odd Future crew member and, most recently cultural sensation. But, it also makes sense. Since his arrival by way of the debut mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, Ocean has separated himself from the pop pack by infusing lyrical sincerity, crafty songwriting and infectious personality into his music. So creating an intimate setting for the most highly sought after concert in New York City in some time felt like a clever personal touch, unexpectedly expected.

Frankophiles, the legion of fans who sang aloud with every song and pointed their iPhones toward the stage to record every moment of the show, accounted for the vocal majority of the sold-out crowd last night at Terminal 5. Before Ocean took to the stage, they chanted,
“Franky, Franky,” in a familiar sort of way. And from his quiet melodic opener of “Summer Remains” to the not-your-average-10-minute-single “Pyramids,” he wooed the floors of
people individually and collectively. The immediate impact of his masterful debut album, Channel Orange, was displayed as fans sang along to most of the varied set list. He gave a vocal performance that made one hour feel like an entire night: chanting to “Super Rich
Kids,”
emoting on a tweaked version of “American Wedding” and mystifying with “Bad Religion.” It affirmed that Frank Ocean has the talent for stardom and the vision for
greatness. —Jared Levy

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Frank Ocean on 7/26

July 24th, 2012

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With the recent release of his highly acclaimed debut LP, Channel Orange, plus a pretty big personal announcement, Frank Ocean is red hot right now. So it should come as no surprise that his show on Thursday at Terminal 5 sold out quickly. But The House List is giving away two tickets. So if you don’t already have any but still 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 (Frank Ocean, 7/26) and a brief message explaining which song off the new disc is your favorite and why. Eddie Bruiser, who’s listening to the album right now, will notify the winner by Thursday. Good luck.

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Scissor Sisters End Tour in Style

July 9th, 2012

Scissor Sisters – Terminal 5 – July 7, 2012


Boasting endless energy, not to mention a healthy dose of innuendo, Scissor Sisters wrapped a two-night stay at Terminal 5 with a powerful Saturday-night set that had the crowd frenziedly dancing on all three floors. As he sang, Jake Shears’ nonstop movement stirred and stoked the fans, while his partner in crime, Ana Matronic, mugged her way through each tune, adding emphasis where Shears’ Whirling Dervish act wouldn’t allow.

Each of the songs’ swirling combination of disco, glam rock and radio pop, offered something different but never strayed too far from the band’s recognizable sound. From the New Wave “Running Out” to Shears and Matronic strutting around the stage during “Keep Your Shoes On”—and even as Scissor Sisters played their first big hit, “Take Your Mama”—the group proved to be more than just garish fun. They mixed in wildly technical guitar solos from Del Marquis and rounded out the rest of their sound with backup singers and multi-instrumentalists Randy Real on drums and Babydaddy on bass. (OK, so maybe there is still a big focus on the garish fun part.)

The fun raged on, including a loudly applauded extended welcome of rapper Frank Ocean “to the club,” some flashy performances matched by flashier graphics on the stage’s backdrop and plenty more audacious performing from the two lead singers, who by the end of the night had Terminal 5 feeling more humid than the July air that the crowd emptied into when the show finally finished. —Sean O’Kane

Photos courtesy of Chris Becker | www.artistsweetsbecker.us

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The Sophisticated Sounds of Frank Ocean

November 28th, 2011

Frank Ocean – The Bowery Ballroom – November 27, 2011


On “Swim Good,” one of the surprise hits from his debut mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, Frank Ocean sings, “And I’ve got this black suit on/ Roaming around like I’m ready for a funeral.” The song, like most of his limited yet excellent output, is dark, complex and soulful. It also comes from an artist whose 2011 emergence rivals all others, going from unknown Odd Future crew member to almost instant popularity as a Watch the Throne collaborator.

Before a sold-out crowd at The Bowery Ballroom last night, Ocean performed in his aforementioned black suit with a red-and-white-striped bandanna. The hip and sophisticated costume drew attention, not only from fans but kingmakers in attendance. ?uestlove, seated on the balcony, felt compelled to comment on Twitter, saying, “@ffrank_ocean [sic] is a class act yo. Suit & Sade cover. Nice start.”

In addition to the Sade cover (“By Your Side”), Ocean sang a number of choice selections from Nostalgia, Ultra as well as a medley of his work on Watch the Throne (“No Church in the Wild” and “Made in America”). The diverse crowd knew most of his material, even unreleased songs familiar only to those who scour the Internet. But “Dissolution” and “Super Rich Kids,” both of which Ocean mentioned will be on his proper debut, are sure to be hits, and fans are right to take notice. So while Ocean was right about his outfit, he better not be ready for his funeral. —Jared Levy

(Tonight’s Frank Ocean show at The Bowery Ballroom is sold out.)