Tag Archives: My Bloody Valentine


Two Nights of Silversun Pickups in New York City This Week

November 14th, 2017

Brian Aubert (vocals and guitar), Chris Guanlao (drums), Joe Lester (keys and samples) and Nikki Monninger (bass and vocals) knew one another from playing in various bands before forming Silversun Pickups 15 years ago in Los Angeles. Their atmospheric sound, layered melodies and spellbinding dreamy pop immediately drew comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and the Smashing Pumpkins with the release of their 2005 debut EP, Pikul (stream it below), and 2006 debut LP, Carnavas (stream it below), “the sort of record that brings something new to discover with each listen,” according to AllMusic. “Thus, listen one is as enjoyable as listen five or 10, but probably for entirely different reasons, since unique bits continuously appear from the band’s dream haze of accessibly textured indie rock.” Their fourth studio album, the synths-filled Better Nature (stream it below), came out in 2015. Despite referring to it as a “transitional record,” Sputnik Music called the long-player “a gorgeous if slightly safe album that proves this band hasn’t lost their edge when it comes to making captivating music.” And live, Silversun Pickups (above, performing “Panic Switch”) are just as exceptional as ever. Catch them on Wednesday at Terminal 5 and on Friday at Brooklyn Steel. Seattle’s Minus the Bear open both shows.


Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions End Tour at Brooklyn Steel

October 20th, 2017

Around the turn of the millennium, Mazzy Star singer Hope Sandoval teamed up with My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig to form the dream-pop outfit Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions. Their first full-length, Bavarian Fruit Bread (stream it below), debuted in 2001. “The two great transatlantic strands of narcoleptic pop having been dramatically united, Bavarian Fruit Bread represents a towering piece of morphine-induced self-indulgence,” said NME. “Making no pretense at being contemporary, Sandoval has kept an uncharacteristic vice-like grip on the sleepy sound that earned her and Ó Cíosóig their musical spurs.” Through the Devil Softly (stream it below) followed in 2009, impressing Drowned in Sound: “This is a record to be drunk from deeply, preferably in solitude, along with a bottle of whatever makes you purr as warmly as Sandoval and her Inventions can—and evidently still do—at their best.” Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions (above, their video for “Let Me Get There,” featuring Kurt Vile) returned last year with their third LP, Until the Hunter (stream it below). “It features many hushed, lit-by-candlelight ballads, loads of quiet beauty, and Sandoval’s timelessly beautiful singing. Songs drift by on a wispy cloud of acoustic strumming, lazily twanged slide guitar and twinkling keys, sometimes gently pushed forward by lightly brushed drums, sometimes left to float along on their own,” according to AllMusic. And while the duo often goes years between releases, they put out a three-track EP, Son of a Lady (stream it below), prior to hitting the road last month. Be there when they close out their American tour on Sunday night at Brooklyn Steel. Austin, Texas, four-piece Holy Wave open the show.


The Radio Dept. Make It Seem Effortless at The Bowery Ballroom

March 9th, 2017

The Radio Dept. – The Bowery Ballroom – March 8, 2017

The Radio Dept. – The Bowery Ballroom – March 8, 2017
The Radio Dept. speak the wispy language of dream pop, straddling the spaces between badass and poignant, in the middle of My Bloody Valentine jacked up on something and Stereolab with highlights of ’80s-synth sentimentality à la Pet Shop Boys. There’s no question the band’s influences are long and distinguished, it’s just that because of the inflection and swerve, you only hear them. Last night the benevolent Swedes graced The Bowery Ballroom with a methodically expert set. Select songs from their catalog of rock electronica dating back to 2001 were played as an almost continuous DJ set come to life. Their return to New York City promised a devoted turnout, and the room was filled with fans spanning from old faithful to newly enchanted.

“Sloboda Narodu,” the glorious tribal synth anthem from last year’s Running out of Love, opened the proceedings, immediately putting the crowd in the palm of the band’s hands, which were steady as a surgeon’s. A self-assuredness propelled the performance, with members handling their contribution to each song like a tactician whose measures are second nature. This amounted to a natural flow, with attendees instinctually following along. More than anything, the Radio Dept. just wanted to jam—that much was evident. They’ve never been afraid to embellish in flowing blankets of up-tempo, electronically contoured instrumentation. This holds true onstage, and as they leaned into every groove, the Radio Dept. made it seem effortless.

Sometimes frontman Johan Duncanson sounded like Euro contemporary Markus Acher of the Notwist. The messages of political awareness were there yet felt like they were absorbed subliminally, in hushed expression that blended into the nebulous formations of sound. You’re reminded of the import of content amidst the spell they cast when Duncanson momentarily mentioned, “This next one is called ‘Death to Fascism.’” The Radio Dept. quite simply have a knack for pushing out immaculate, steady and uninterrupted rhythms whether on record or onstage. And last night’s winding journey through more than 15 years of vibrant, animated music was a gratifying retrospective. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com


Pins Headline the Early Show Tonight at Mercury Lounge

July 1st, 2015

Faith Vern (vocals and guitar), Anna Donigan (bass), Lois Macdonald (guitar) and Sophie Galpin (drums) formed Pins in Manchester, England, four years ago—Kyoko Swan (synths and guitar) has since joined the band. Their noisy guitar pop and take-no-prisoners live shows immediately drew comparisons to acts like Hole, My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Pins’ debut full-length, Girls Like Us (stream it below), came out in 2013. According to Drowned in Sound, “What Pins do so well is to take disparate strands of rock and roll, punk, post-punk and grunge, twist them viciously together into a multicoloured and roughly hewn tassel, then dance around to their own particular beat…. In successfully capturing this energy and the visceral thrill of their live shows, Pins have produced one of the most striking guitar debuts of 2013.” And just a few weeks ago, the band (above, doing “Young Girls” for WFUV FM) returned with their follow-up LP, Wild Nights (stream it below). It’s safe to say the folks at Stereogum were impressed: “They’re just a very good rock band making very good rock music, taking a familiar stew of influences and just nailing the fuck out of them. They’re not the sort of band you need to know about, necessarily. But if you’re getting dressed up and having a drink before going out for the night, or if you’re going out and driving fast on a sunny day, or if you’re looking for some cool shit to play in the background while you’re getting some work done, they’re the sort of band you want to know about.” Or if you’re going to Mercury Lounge tonight, where Pins, winding down their American tour, play alongside, Beverly and Kyoko.


Ringo Deathstarr Play Mercury Lounge Tonight

March 4th, 2014

Ringo Deathstarr may take their name from one of the Beatles, but this Austin, Texas, trio—Elliott Frazier (vocals and guitar), Daniel Coborn (drums) and Alex Gerhing (bass and vocals)—is clearly influenced by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, the Jesus and Mary Chain and Fugazi. The band’s released a pair of full-lengths, Colour Trip (stream it below), in 2011, and Mauve (stream it below), in 2012. In an enthusiastic review, Allmusic said, “Colour Trip is definitely worth taking.” And it raved that the follow-up, Mauve, was successful for the same reason: “total mastery of all aspects of noise pop and shoegaze.” But Ringo Deathstarr (above, performing “Summer Time” live in studio for KEXP FM) come totally alive when they take the stage. See them play Mercury Lounge tonight.


Minks Play the Late Show Tomorrow at Mercury Lounge

November 20th, 2013

Their first album, By the Hedge, arrived in 2011. Filled with moody pop, it invited comparisons to the likes of My Bloody Valentine and the Cure. And although Minks is ostensibly Shaun Kilfoyle’s project, he performed the material live as a six-piece. Eventually the band was streamlined into a smaller operation. And when Kilfoyle suffered from writer’s block, he, temporarily at least, left Brooklyn for the quieter environs of the East End of Long Island to record the band’s follow-up, the poppier and more poetic Tides End (stream it below), released in August. Allmusic says the “crisper sound is matched by pithier songwriting” and that the album “takes listeners on a deceptively breezy and surprisingly affecting journey through moments that can’t last.” Now back in New York City, Minks (above, performing “Funeral Song” for Newtown Radio) play the late show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.


Reunited Medicine Play Music Hall with Weekend Tonight

August 16th, 2013

It’s been nearly 20 years since original members guitarist Brad Laner, drummer Jim Goodall and singer Beth Thompson called it quits as Medicine. Laner had formed the band in Los Angeles in 1990. They put out an album a year from 1992 through 1995, gaining more popularity with the release of each. Playing a sound that overlapped shoegaze and noise pop won Medicine (above, their official video for “It’s Not Enough”) comparisons to My Bloody Valentine—before that kind of music became popular in the U.S. But last year Captured Tracks reissued the band’s first two LPs, Shot Forth Self Living and The Buried Life, prompting Thompson, Goodall and Laner to revisit their music. Reunited for the first time since 1995, the trio began recording together again. It went so well that Medicine worked up a whole new album, the acclaimed To the Happy Few (stream it below), just recently released. Allmusic says the album is “shockingly good” and that “the songs are drop-dead gorgeous, the waves of noise and sound are all-encompassing but arranged perfectly, and there is enough joyous craft and blown-out intensity in the sound to keep it from being just an empty nostalgia trip.”

Shaun Durkan (bass and vocals), Kevin Johnson (guitar) and Abe Pedroza (drums) began making music together in middle school. They officially formed Weekend—another American band compared to My Bloody Valentine—a few years ago in San Francisco. Since their debut, Sports, came out in 2010, the shoegaze trio left the West Coast to make a new home in Brooklyn. And the move has been good for their music: “Feeling at home is evidence of stagnation, and so I’m happy to say New York still feels alien to me,” says Durkan. Weekend (above, doing “Celebration, FL” for BreakThru Radio) recently released their second full-length, Jinx (stream it below), which, in praising the album, Paste magazine says it “is a cavernous, open field of sound from beginning to end.” See Medicine and Weekend tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg.


Don’t Miss Silversun Pickups on Monday at the Capitol Theatre

August 2nd, 2013

Brian Aubert (vocals and guitar), Chris Guanlao (drums), Joe Lester (keys and samples) and Nikki Monninger (bass and vocals) knew one another from playing in various L.A. bands before forming Silversun Pickups there in 2002. Their layered melodies and spellbinding dreamy pop immediately drew comparisons to My Bloody Valentine and the Smashing Pumpkins with the release of their debut EP, Pikul, in 2005. They’ve remained busy touring and recording music ever since. Their third studio album, the well-received Neck of the Woods (stream it below), came out last year, and Silversun Pickups (above, performing “Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)” for Minnesota Public Radio) are back out on the road. See them on Monday night at the Capitol Theatre.