Tag Archives: Mitski
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.”
Tags: A Deeper Understanding, Adela Loconte, Arca, At the Drive-In, Big Thief, Björk, Bowery Ballroom, Brendan Benson, Brett Campbell, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Steel, Cactus Blossoms, Cage the Elephant, Capacity, Capitol Theatre, Chad Berndtson, Cntrl, Damn, Dan Rickershauser, Drive-By Truckers, Explosions in the Sky, Flaming Lips, Forest Hills, Forest Hills Stadium, Frank Ocean, Grizzly Bear, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Heartless, House Party, Jack Torrey, Jackmormons, Japanese Breakfast, Jay Som, Jens Lekman, Jerry Joseph, Kendrick Lamar, Kills, Kings Theatre, Life Will See You Now, Live Music, Lower East Side, Lukas Nelson, Maggie Rogers, Mark Mulcahy, Mercury Lounge, Miracle Legion, Mitski, Monica Martin, Music, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Neil Young, New York City, Out in the Storm, Page Burkum, Painted Ruins, Pallbearer, Pat King, Pharrell, Phox, PJ Harvey, Polaris, Queens, Raconteurs, Robyn Hitchcock, Rough Trade NYC, Sharlene Chiu, Sing Harlem Choir, Soft Boys, Space at Westbury, Spoon, St. Vincent, SZA, The Possum in the Driveway, Underwater Moonlight, Unpeeled, Utopia, Violents!, Vulnicura, War on Drugs, Waxahatchee, Williamsburg, Willie Nelson, XX, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
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Mitski – Union Transfer – July 7, 2017
Toward the end of show-opener Half Waif’s set, frontwoman Nandi Rose Plunkett mentioned speaking with headliner Mitski in the green room, saying a 30-minute set is like all the good parts of a relationship. It was a clever remark and many laughed, but it was also something to think about when taking stock of the talented lineup at Friday night’s sold-out show at Union Transfer. All three acts shared their unique, intimate selves and left like a perfect affair. Half Waif with dazzling and self-confident songs from her EP, Form/a, and Julia Jacklin with a hushed, solo electric guitar set, blending melancholic music with a soft yet powerful country-twanged voice. Each built on the other until Mitski, on bass and vocals, arrived with her two bandmates on guitar and drums. Then it was a great romance.
Mitski, playing coy, barely addressed the audience until she stepped forward with the spotlight shining on her. She wore a white dress, about which she later said, “Do I look like a princess? If I’m living my dream, I should do it up.” This kind of blunt vulnerability and dark sense of humor comes out on her most recent album, Puberty 2, and especially in the standout track “Your Best American Girl,” in which she sings, “If I could, I’d be your little spoon/ And kiss your fingers forevermore.” On the bass drum was the word HAPPY in reference to Puberty 2’s opening track. And while many of Mitski’s songs deal in darker times, at least when sharing these experiences, she found a deep connection with her audience. In that sense, like all of the performers, she found a way to have all the best parts of a relationship. —Jared Levy | @Playtonic
Tags: Form/a, Half Waif, Jared Levy, Julia Jacklin, Live Music, Mitski, Mitski Miyawaki, Music, Nandi Rose Plunkett, Philadelphia, Puberty 2, Union Transfer
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Jay Som – Rough Trade NYC – June 6, 2017
Better known by the stage name Jay Som, DIY wunderkind Melina Duterte crafts melodic, fuzzy masterpieces from her bedroom in Oakland, Calif,—and she released her debut full-length album, Everybody Works, in March to glowing reviews. NPR described it as a “gorgeous and messy intimacy [that] has the capacity to forge connections with those who might be going through similar uncertainty and tough times.” After touring with fellow Asian-American female singers Mitski and Japanese Breakfast last summer, Duterte headlined a sold-out Rough Trade NYC last night in support of her latest release.
Guitarist Oliver Pannell, bassist Dylan Allard and drummer Zachary Thomas Elsasser joined the singer onstage to open with “One More Time, Please.” Her compositions really flourished with a full band, as Allard added heavy basslines on the Fleetwood Mac–sounding “Turn Into.” Four songs in, Duterte joked that “Take It” would be the last tune, eliciting a roomful of grumbling quickly followed by laughter. The Left Coaster continued her playful banter, asking folks about who was gainfully employed and lauded them with a “sick” reply in admiration, a nice segue into the title track.
“Baybee” played up the pop influences, which perhaps were derived from her listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion while writing her recent album. Fan fave “The Bus Song” had the packed crowd singing, “But I hate the bus,” before Duterte cooed the chorus of “Take time to figure it out.” The short but ethereal “Lipstick Stains” performed solo had the audience rapt, and the performance culminated with an encore featuring the uproarious “1 Billion Dogs,” in which Pannell and Duterte exchanged licks in a dueling guitar battle. —Sharlene Chiu
Tags: Brooklyn, Carly Rae Jepsen, Dylan Allard, Emotion, Everybody Works, Fleetwood Mac, Japanese Breakfast, Jay Som, Live Music, Melina Duerte, Mitski, Music, New York City, Oliver Pannell, Review, Rough Trade NYC, Sharlene Chiu, Williamsburg, Zachary Thomas Elsasser
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Mitski – Music Hall of Williamsburg – July 27, 2016
In the unassuming manner that parallels the approach to her craft, Mitski Miyawaki took the stage last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg with just her trusty guitar and drummer. From the sight of the sold-out crowd of onlookers tightly pressing toward the front, you’d have thought some enthralling spectacle was about to begin, yet the rapt attraction was for a lone voice that has quietly become a sensation in the indie-music universe. The quaver of that voice, tenderly riding the smartly arranged songs she’s written, had the aesthetic of nimbly skimming above the babbles and currents of her guitar, like a darting river bird just above the surface of the water. It also revealed the raw emotional investment in the conception of the lyrics it delivers—lyrics that carry things from parts of self that don’t come out in the daylight, in a voice that is speaking to people in a manner transparently identifiable and profound.
Such have been the characteristics linked to Mitski’s since she composed her first two albums as music-school projects. Now, with her newest work, Puberty 2, a personal tour de force that has everyone gushing, her songwriting’s reach has extended, firmly grabbing hold of listeners. There’s irony in the sense received that the meaning she derives from the music she plays may be greater in isolation, in an empty room and as a means to cope. But Mitski’s first address of the crowd debunked this notion: “Thank you for letting my music be part of your lives…. Thank you for giving my music meaning.”
Over steady feedback buzz running in the background, Mitski coursed through a quick set of well-chosen songs that got right to the point of her purpose. It was a reminder that amidst all of the common hoopla of live performance, the bells and whistles of display and texture and atmosphere building, all you may really need is singular emotion on a stage, communicated through a telepathic syncing of guitar-and-drum pattern. Mitski showed that engaging mixture of vulnerability with badass posturing, at one point letting down her hair as the torment of her expression reached its peak. Although these were songs distinctly from a young woman’s perspective, everyone was equally transfixed, subdued by the power of songwriting that stands on its own. Mitski is Sharon Van Etten with bruised elbows, inspiring through resilient defiance in song. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly
Photos courtesy of Julia Berke | juliaberkephoto.com
Touring behind her acclaimed new LP, Puberty 2, Mitski plays Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. The album is terrific and the show sold out quickly. But even if you don’t have tickets, you can try to Grow a Pair from The House List. 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 (Mitski, 7/27) and a brief message explaining your favorite song on the album. Eddie Bruiser, who’s sitting on a block of ice, will notify the winner by tomorrow.
Tags: Brooklyn, Contest, Eddie Bruiser, Free Tickets, Grow a Pair, Live Music, Mitski, Mitski Miyawaki, Music, Music Hall of Williamsburg, New York City, Puberty 2
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Mitski – The Bowery Ballroom – June 20, 2016
An unlikely girl graces the cover of this month’s Brooklyn Magazine. Her name is Mitski Miyawaki and the said publication has touted her as the next big thing to take over the music world. She’s garnered a lot of fans in the press, including NPR—which offered Mitski their coveted headline slot at this year’s SXSW showcase—and NME. The singer has captured critics’ hearts with not only her deft guitar prowess but also her thoughtful, crisp lyrics. Although a nomad of sorts (she’s lived in Japan, the Republic of Congo, Turkey and China), the world traveler has called New York City home since graduating from SUNY Purchase. Fresh off the release of her fourth studio album, Puberty 2, Mitski took the stage at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom last night, donning a business-casual ensemble, consisting of a knit top and pencil skirt. She later referred to her outfit as her best attempt at a Cruel Intentions look.
Mitski blended new stuff with old pieces from her breakout album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek. Beginning with a crowd favorite, “Townie,” she quickly had the room in the palm of her hand as she introduced the newer “Thursday Girl.” The latter had her sounding a bit like an angelic Florence Welch with a guttural chorus of “Tell me no, tell me no” against drum machine–produced beats. Mitski dropped a gem with a cover of Calvin Harris’s “How Deep Is Your Love,” which she coyly stated was the only song she would sing written by a guy who makes a ton of money.
Everyone in the room sang along and swayed to single “Your Best American Girl” as the crescendoing chorus elicited the front row to head bang to the waves of riffs. With a trio of fierce screams of “Cry,” the set was punctuated with the appropriate finale song, “Fireworks.” Mitski returned solo to encore with a pair, “A Burning Hill” and “Last Words of a Shooting Star.” It’s rare when The Bowery Ballroom becomes so quiet and every person is rapt in awe. Last night was one of those rare evenings—on the summer solstice no less and during a Strawberry Moon. —Sharlene Chiu
Tags: Bowery Ballroom, Bury Me at Makeout Creek, Calvin Harris, Cruel Intentions, Florence Welch, Julia Berke, Live Music, Lower East Side, Mitski, Mitski Miyawaki, Music, New York City, Photos, Puberty 2, Review, Sharlene Chiu
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