Tag Archives: Kurt Cobain

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Catch Up-and-Comer Adia Victoria Tomorrow Night at Mercury Lounge

May 18th, 2016

Singer-songwriter and guitarist Adia Victoria grew up in South Carolina with a church-provided education before attending public high school, where she began writing poems, influenced by the likes of Kurt Cobain, Miles Davis and Fiona Apple. Afterward, Victoria (above, performing “Dead Eyes”) tried out New York City and Atlanta before settling in Nashville. Last year, Rolling Stone labeled her a New Artist You Need to Know despite the fact that, at that time, she had only released one song. But now she has several more because her highly anticipated genre-blending debut studio album, Beyond the Bloodhounds (stream it below), came out just last Friday. AllMusic mentions her “melodious voice, which shifts between demure testimonies and fiery incantations at the drop of a hat” and that a “vivid crossroads of punk, blues, garage and folk mark the arresting debut.” Find out how it all sounds live when Adia Victoria plays Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Lionlimb open the show.

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Ásgeir Leaves No Doubt at Mercury Lounge

June 20th, 2014

Ásgeir – Mercury Lounge – June 19, 2014

Asgeir
There’s something about the far off environs of Iceland that gives birth to unique musical voices. Everyone knows Björk and Sigur Rós, and soon they will know the name Ásgeir Trausti. With one out of 10 people in Iceland owning his first album, he is already well known in his home country and is ready to conquer the States. The English translation of his debut album, Dýrð í dauðaþögn (renamed In the Silence) was translated with the American singer John Grant and released earlier this year.

Donning a trucker hat, Ásgeir ascended to the cozy stage of a sold-out Mercury Lounge. Icelandic folk music preluded the start of the show, however Trausti began his set with the English tune “Head in the Snow.”  There’s something interesting about hearing songs in which you don’t know the lyrics or the meaning behind them. As he sang the pair “Leyndarmál” and “Sumargestur,” thoughts of what they might be about tickled my brain. Was it a ballad for an unrequited love or a song about homesickness for the beauty of his home? Only the Icelandic speakers would know, but the mystery is almost alluringly fitting for the language so steeped in a far-off land.

Weaving between his native tongue and English throughout the performance, Trausti made sure to offer several mid-set treats with a debut of a new song, “Ocean,” drenched in reverb, and a cover of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box.” The latter was a drawn-out version of the original that reminded me more of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” than of Kurt Cobain’s grunge masterpiece. Trausti managed to play most of his debut album, which included an acoustic rendition of “Summer Guest,” plus fan-favorites “Higher,” “Going Home” and “King and Cross.” For the final song, Trausti admitted that it was “a strange moment” as his band—consisting of his producer, his big brother, the album’s lyricist, and a drummer—couldn’t exit the small stage as he concluded the night with the lullaby “On That Day.” But there’s no doubting the family onstage and the magical evening they produced for the New York City crowd. —Sharlene Chiu

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The Breeders Play a Pair of Shows at Webster Hall

December 18th, 2013

Kim Deal first rose to fame as bassist and backing vocalist for the Pixies. But while the seminal alternative rockers were touring behind their highly influential debut album, Surfer Rosa, Deal began working on new material fit for a different creative outlet. Since forming the Breeders in 1990, she has remained that band’s lone constant as lead singer and rhythm guitarist—Deal’s currently joined by twin sister Kelley on lead guitar, Jim MacPherson on drums and Josephine Wiggs on bass. The band’s first album, Pod (stream it below), put the Breeders (above, performing for the BBC) on the map and went on to influence the likes of Nirvana. “It’s an epic that will never let you forget your ex-girlfriend,” said Kurt Cobain. Nevertheless, the group remained a side project until the Pixies broke up—and although they’re currently back together, Deal is no longer part of the band. But even still, the Breeders went on hiatus in the mid-’90s before reuniting to play several shows in 2001 and release their third LP, Title TK, the following year. But they’re currently celebrating the 20th anniversary of their second full-length, Last Splash (stream it below), by hitting the road again to play full-album shows featuring Last Splash and Pod. Catch them tomorrow and Friday at Webster Hall.

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Fully Reunited, Come Play The Bowery Ballroom Tonight

June 28th, 2013

Way back in 1990, Thalia Zedek (vocals and guitar), Chris Brokaw (guitar and vocals), Arthur Johnson (drums) and Sean O’Brien (bass) were all playing in different bands when they met through a mutual acquaintance in Boston. They began jamming together and formed the dark blues-rock outfit Come. Two years later, their acclaimed debut, Eleven: Eleven, was recorded in little more than a week and released on Matador Records. Entertainment Weekly glowingly referred to it as “a captivating blast of ennui and feedback that may be Matador’s finest moment yet.” Not only did the album receive some serious media love, big-time musicians like Kurt Cobain, Bob Mould and J Mascis all publicly praised it. Three more excellent—and almost as equally dark—albums followed: After Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell came out in 1994, Johnson and O’Brien left the band. Several musicians filled in on 1996’s Near-Life Experience, before Winston Bramen (bass) and Daniel Coughlin (drums) joined Come for their fourth full-length, Gently, Down the Stream, which came out in 1998. But then other than a few reunions over the years, that was pretty much it … until recently. On the heals of its 20th anniversary, Eleven: Eleven, which had long been out of print and much sought after, has been reissued, and the original lineup of Come (above, doing “Dead Molly,” “Submerge,” “Bell” and “William” in France) is back together. And now, after all these years, you can finally see them onstage again tonight at The Bowery Ballroom.