Tag Archives: Grizzly Bear


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
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
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.”






Grizzly Bear Dazzle Hometown Crowd at Brooklyn Steel on Saturday

November 6th, 2017

Grizzly Bear – Brooklyn Steel – November 4, 2017

The draw to go see Grizzly Bear in concert runs parallel to the argument to watch a film by Christopher Nolan or Quentin Tarantino on the big screen. In both cases you’re not only experiencing art in the form that conveys its native impact, but you’re also most fully absorbing the styles, angles and dimensions that gloriously distinguish the artist. Such opportunity was afforded on Saturday at Brooklyn Steel, where Grizzly Bear played the last of three sold-out shows marking their return home to the borough where they were born—and their symbolic return to the contemporary music landscape. While the current tour is no doubt in service of their first new album in five years, Painted Ruins, that focus was discreetly carried home by integrating the long-player’s songs into the rest of Grizzly Bear’s 13-year catalog. Outlined by the magical confines of translucent gauze like fabric that formed a celestial cave dwelling, band members Ed Droste, Daniel Rossen, Chris Tyler and Chris Bear expounded upon a career-spanning set list curated with the narrative and stylistic arc that distilled Grizzly Bear’s significance and contribution to a field of music they were responsible for expanding.

As such, the fantastic show was sort of like a retrospective exhibition. Songs like “Yet Again,” from 2012’s Shields, were played with defiant bluster, as if Grizzly Bear wanted to convince you of the album’s overlooked merit, while “Ready Able” and “While You Wait for the Others,” off their essential 2009 album, Veckatimest, pulsated through the room, heightening and transforming the atmosphere, one of the band’s instinctive abilities. It was clear that any rust that had developed over their individual detachments from playing music in the last five years has already disappeared. Rossen’s guitar strumming still had that irresistible surf-rock dissonance that sucked you into that familiar Grizzly Bear place, and Bear’s drumming still held rhythm and threw fills with jazzy soul. During the levitating rendition of “Fine for Now” the vocal interplay between Rossen and Droste effortlessly combined into two-note harmony. Even something like “Two Weeks,” which we’ve all heard countless times, became irresistible again, revived by a live thrust that had everyone bopping along. When new songs “Mourning Sound,” “Three Rings” and “Four Cypresses” were played, it was only then you realized there were glowing new colors that all blend seamlessly into the Grizzly Bear repertoire.

One thing the performance pushed through in myriad ways and with resonance was how integral this band has been in the past decade of alternative rock. And even though they have become universally respected recording artists, the members still carry themselves like your friends who are thrilled to put on a show at a local bar, which only adds to the warm enchanted feeling you get when seeing Grizzly Bear live. During the set, original founder of the band, Droste, expressed his gratitude for the turnout: “Thank you for welcoming us back to where we started.” Grizzly bear were quite welcome on a night when it became so clear how far they’ve come. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Grizzly Bear on 11/4

October 31st, 2017


Touring for the first time in four years—and following the release of their fifth studio album, Painted Ruins, this past summer—Grizzly Bear launch a brand-new American tour tomorrow, which brings them home to Brooklyn for appearances at Brooklyn Steel on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets still remain for the first date, but both weekend shows are already sold out. And to that end, The House List is giving away two tickets to see Grizzly Bear on Saturday night. Don’t have tickets and 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 (Grizzly Bear, 11/4) and a brief message explaining why you’re looking forward to daylight saving time ending this weekend. Eddie Bruiser, who’s not a huge fan of changing the clocks, will notify the winner by Friday afternoon. Good luck.

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Celebrate New Golden Suits Album Tomorrow at Mercury Lounge

October 6th, 2016

Not only is Fred Nicolaus one half of the folk-pop duo Department of Eagles alongside Grizzly Bear’s Daniel Rossen, but he also fronts his own psychedelic-folkie solo project called Golden Suits (above, performing “Under Your Wing” live in studio for WNYC FM’s Soundcheck). The name comes from the last line of John Cheever’s “The Country Husband,” and the subject matter of the self-titled debut full-length (stream it below) was inspired by a difficult year filled with money problems, relationship problems and rat problems. “Steeped in handclaps, tambourine, deceptively simple guitar lines, soulful piano and swirling melodies festooned with enigmatic lyrics, Nicolaus has crafted a truly engaging set of oddball pop songs that deftly blur the line between the convoluted lives of those who populate the pages of Cheever’s evocative short stories and Nicolaus’ own triumphs and misfortunes,” praised AllMusic. His second album, Kubla Khan, comes out tomorrow, and you can celebrate its arrival with Golden Suits at tomorrow’s early show at Mercury Lounge. Brooklyn’s Wilder Maker kick off the festivities.



Catch Blonde Readhead at Warsaw on Saturday Night

June 11th, 2015

Blonde Redhead have a unique backstory with an international bent: Start with twin brothers Amedeo and Simone Pace, who were born in Italy, raised in Montreal and studied jazz in Boston. Then add a chance encounter with Japanese art students Kazu Makino and Maki Takahashi at a New York City restaurant. Next, cut to Amedeo and Makino on guitars and vocals, Takahashi on bass and Simone on drums. Their sound caught the attention of Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley, who produced and released the band’s self-titled debut on his own label in ’95. Takahashi left a short while later, and despite cycling through several different bassists, Blonde Readhead (above, playing “Here Sometimes” live for 4AD Sessions) put out four more albums over the next five years, often changing their sound on each one. The only thing that’s really slowed down this group is when Makino sustained serious injuries after getting tossed from and then stepped on by a horse. But they’ve been back on the grind ever since. Their ninth studio album, Barragán (stream it below) was released last year to some considerable plaudits. “Just as poetic, mysterious and bewitching as Blonde Redhead’s more baroque albums,” wrote AllMusic, “Barragán is a quietly audacious set of songs that ranks among the band’s finest music.” See them play Warsaw on Saturday night. Performing as a duo, Grizzly Bear’s drummer Chris Bear and keyboardist Aaron Arntz open the show.


Daniel Rossen’s Brooklyn Homecoming

April 16th, 2014

Daniel Rossen – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 15, 2014

(Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

(Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

Daniel Rossen and William Tyler make a great touring duo, like a fine wine perfectly paired with a gourmet meal. They were only on the road together for about a month before ending it last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. For a night already feeling surreal due to a heavy rain that slowly turned into an unexpected and unseasonal snow shower, the one-two of Tyler and Rossen evoked an even more surreal sense of spiritual strangeness. Tyler’s music gets called a lot of things, but usually Americana is thrown in somewhere there. The Nashville native’s music in many ways reflects the sum of our vast and expansive country—the music that arises out of the heartland. “I’m always trying to pay attention to the melody of every landscape,” said Tyler before “Country of Illusion,” referring to the sound as the land’s “eternal ramble.” His fingerpicked acoustic guitar work does have its way of blurring into a meditative hum, a Zen-inducing sound on par with the word om. Much of his music carried a more dissonant sound than on his recordings, perhaps because he was so far from his home that inspired the original compositions.

Rossen, a New Yorker since his college years, inspires a similar vibe. His music sometimes evokes that feeling you get when you zoom out of the chaos of New York City and distill it down to its odd feeling of harmony. Rossen’s made an impressive amount of music that spans across two other bands, Grizzly Bear and Department of Eagles, in addition to his own solo work, which compared to his other material, feels much more stripped down, especially when he’s performing with just a guitar, piano or (for the final song of his set) a banjo. Dubbing the night “the most homecoming show I have ever had in my entire life,” Rossen expressed how happy he was to return, rewarding his hometown accordingly. With just an EP to his own name, Rossen included several new songs and older ones that haven’t been recorded in his set. Additionally, there were also some unexpected covers, including Townes Van Zandt’s “Kathleen” and a tune by Department of Eagles collaborator Fred Nicolaus. For his encore, Rossen did his version of Judee Sill’s “Waterfall,” one of the incredibly underappreciated singer-songwriter’s most beautiful numbers. There’s too much to thank Rossen for, but bringing this song to my attention is pretty high on that list.
—Dan Rickershauser




Brazos Close Tour with Ski Lodge Tonight at Mercury Lounge

December 17th, 2013

What began as a home recording project for singer-songwriter Martin Crane in Austin, Texas, has become, with the help of drummer Ian Chang and bassist Spenzer Zahn, the Brooklyn-based alt-rock trio Brazos. Crane’s debut full-length, Phosphorescent Blues, out in 2009, led to opening for big-name bands like Vampire Weekend, the National and Grizzly Bear. But he opted to expand his group’s sound with the addition of Chang and Zahn for the second LP, the more ambitious Saltwater (stream it below). The Austin Chronicle glowingly calls it “emboldened and expansive, torn between childlike wonder and quarter-life introspection.” Brazos (above, performing “Charm” live at Braund Sound) have been on the road with Brooklyn jangly pop four-piece Ski Lodge all month, and their tour comes to a close tonight at Mercury Lounge.


The Ruby Suns Play the Late Show at Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

February 28th, 2013

About a decade ago multi-instrumentalist Ryan McPhun left California for Auckland, N.Z. He joined several groups before deciding to front his own, Ryan McPhun & the Ruby Suns. McPhun did a considerable amount of traveling—spending time in Africa and Asia before settling in New Zealand—so it’s no surprise that his band, now simply called the Ruby Suns, makes upbeat pop music with world-music (and psychedelic) influences. The Ruby Suns worked with Beach House and Grizzly Bear producer Chris Coady on their fourth LP, last month’s Christopher (stream it below). The album is filled with heavy hooks and big electro-pop sounds, and you can hear plenty of it when they play the late show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.


The Weather It Is a-Changin’

February 8th, 2013

American Royalty/Vensaire – Mercury Lounge – February 7, 2013

American Royalty

As the Northeast awaited another impending storm, the theme of the fantastic late double bill at Mercury Lounge last night was “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes,” as both bands hit a dizzying array of sounds, themes and influences, filling every minute with crowd-pleasing music.

First up, Vensaire took the stage while green laser spots floated around the entire room like CGI fairies bringing a little magic to the Lower East Side. To understand Vensaire, all you need to know is they’re the kind of band that that is very easy to dance to and also the kind of band that has a violin player. Their opening song was nine minutes long and stretched through multiple sections, somewhat freaky-folk Grizzly Bear-ish, before an extended, pounding, triumphant ooh-la-la coda that could have been its own song. From there, the band pulled in some Japanese influences, the violin sounding downright eerie. Throughout the set four different musicians took lead vocals and everyone put their own punctuation on the sound—art-rock vocals, groovy bass and keys, and a prog-y lead guitar, covering a lot of territory, all very smart, all very open and loose, and all very danceable.

Picking up where Vensaire left off, American Royalty began in a now nearly packed room with an ambitious string of songs that featured multiple overlapping sections. And each seemed to bounce among styles: It almost felt like an expert DJ working the turntables, mixing and layering sounds to create a new music. Except these guys were doing it live, and every transition was perfect, the trio hitting three main styles: Zeppelin-esque rock and roll, soul and dance club in some combination in their set. About midway through, American Royalty covered Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman,” which was perfectly nearly unrecognizable, a real-time remix that captured the essence of the original but re-envisioned it as an American Royalty classic. From there the set was one workout to the next—including the standout material from their released-this-week Prismatic EP—fist-pumping sections comingling with hip twisters, each song building a narrative and usually ending in a high-energy climax. So, yeah, if you didn’t like the “conditions” in the room last night, they’d change soon enough, except it was more like every 30 seconds and, as it turned out, everyone seemed to love it all. —A. Stein



4 Artists 1 Cause – Terminal 5 – December 14, 2012

December 17th, 2012

Sleigh Bells

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com

(All proceeds from this show go to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City in support of hurricane-relief efforts.)


Grizzly Bear’s Growing Sound

September 25th, 2012

Grizzly Bear – Radio City Music Hall – September 24, 2012

“This is surreal,” commented Ed Droste of Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear last night as he took in the view from the stage of Radio City Music Hall, a massive crowd filling the seats of the historic theater. “This is absolutely crazy. It makes me think back to our first show at [Brooklyn bar] Zebulon in 2004,” he remarked, seeming both awestruck and humbled. Indeed, last night’s performance was the local band’s biggest hometown show in their career, plus it was an opportunity to perform material from their new album, Shields, and the magnitude of the occasion was not lost on Grizzly Bear. Droste even announced that his 91-year-old grandmother had flown in for the show, her first time seeing the band.

Opening with Shields“Speak in Rounds” and “Sleeping Ute,” Grizzly Bear’s signature vocal harmonies and mastery of precise, dynamic instrumentation were on full display, complemented by the gentle rise and fall of a backdrop of glowing lights, reminiscent of abstract jack-o’-lanterns. Although Shields’ musical aesthetic fit in naturally with Grizzly Bear’s catalog—plenty of shimmering guitar lines and intricately crafted melodies—songs like “Yet Again” and “A Simple Answer” pack a stronger punch than we’ve previously heard from them. It seems Grizzly Bear’s sound has grown in time with the increasing scale of their concert venues. Fans may never have expected dizzying strobe lights to perfectly punctuate a Grizzly Bear song, but it happened, and it worked

In contrast, mellower favorites like “Cheerleader,” “Ready, Able” and “Foreground,” from 2009’s Veckatimest, held their own on the large stage as well. The band maintained this tranquil thread for the show’s encore, beginning with the understated “Knife” (noting that it was the first song they ever wrote together), and ending with a simple acoustic version of “All We Ask,” which highlighted the subtle interplay of their voices. Although Grizzly Bear proved they have mastered the art of the large-scale show, as they played this final song, the stage nearly dark, they were able to replicate a sense of intimacy akin to their modest roots, back in those Brooklyn-bar days. —Alena Kastin

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesolivierphoto.com


Grizzly Bear – Music Hall of Williamsburg – May 31, 2009

June 1st, 2009

Grizzly Bear

It’s been a pretty big week for Grizzly Bear. In addition to releasing Veckatimest, their first full-length album since 2006, the band also performed two shows at Town Hall. While those two previous concerts may have been just across the river, Sunday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg felt like the band’s real hometown show—an intimate, celebratory night for fans and friends to cheer the group on as they prepare to leave our fair borough and head out on a summer tour around the world.

The band’s performance was lit theatrically by colorful lights that evoked the new album’s kaleidoscopic cover art—a mesmerizing and effective complement to Grizzly Bear’s haunting psychedelic-operatic music. Their new material flowed seamlessly along with older songs, and the springy keyboards that open Veckatimest’s “Two Weeks” were greeted by the rapt audience with just as much fanfare as older favorites like “Knife” and “Colorado.” From song to song, as each member intuitively floated among a range of instruments and winding harmonies, the different elements worked together with an almost perplexing precision: Grizzly Bear demonstrated over and over that they are nothing if not razor sharp.

When singer Ed Droste began the percussive double-clap, double-snap breakdown in “Fix It,” the audience seemed all too eager to join in. While our timing may not have been as precise as the men of Grizzly Bear, I’m sure the enthusiasm did our hometown heroes proud, as they finished off their big week with another triumphant performance. —Alena Kastin