Tag Archives: Pixies

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Calpurnia Leave Them Screaming for More at Rough Trade NYC

January 16th, 2018

Calpurnia – Rough Trade NYC – January 12, 2017


If you’re Finn Wolfhard, life is pretty great. From playing Mike Wheeler on the Netflix binge-worthy series Stranger Things to a starring role in last summer’s cinematic reboot of Stephen King’s It, the 15 year old is riding high, but it doesn’t stop there. Boy signed a deal with Royal Mountain Records in late November for his band, Calpurnia. As they’re currently recording their debut EP, what they played at a sold-out Rough Trade NYC on Friday night was an evening of surprises. To fully set the scene, a gaggle of preteen girls lined the entrance to the performance space in the back. When the doors opened to the stage, the screams were palpable and would go on throughout the short, yet varied set. Although bassist Jack Anderson and rhythm guitarist Wolfhard took the lead addressing the crowd, lead guitarist Ayla Tesler-Mabe stood out thanks to her impressive prowess. Her look and skills had me thinking she could be the new baby Haim sister.

The Vancouver, B.C., quartet debuted material from their forthcoming EP, including the punky “Wasting Time,” and played a slew of covers. The Velvet Underground’s “Here She Comes Now” was dedicated to Lou Reed and Hulk Hogan. I doubt half of those in attendance knew who Reed was. Certainly not the young ladies in the front swooning over the actor-singer, but perhaps their supportive parents in the back. Wolfhard confessed Calpurnia’s shared love for Twin Peaks before the band honored their label-mates with a take on “Butterfly.” The crowd sang along to Pixies“Where Is My Mind” in between extended squeals, of course. And Anderson throbbed the bass on a rendition of Weezer’s “El Scorcho” to close the set. A resounding “one more song” chant called the young band back to the stage to encore with a new original tune. Oh, what it’s like to be a teen again. —Sharlene Chiu

 

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Two Nights of Metz and Their New Album This Week in New York City

October 3rd, 2017

Alex Edkins (vocals and guitar), Chris Slorach (bass) and Hayden Menzies (drums) formed the fuzz-laden noise-rock punk trio Metz almost 10 years ago in Toronto. Their self-titled debut album (stream it below) arrived on Sub Pop in 2012. Sure, it was loud, but the A.V. Club proclaimed, “For all it’s abrasion and denatured noise, Metz isn’t a statement of nihilism or finality; it’s a bright, exploratory scalpel making the first of hopefully many incisions.” Fortunately, Metz (above, their video for “Acetate”) have indeed made more incisions. Their sophomore LP, the aptly named II (stream it below), came out in 2015 and has a clearer sound. Per Drowned in Sound, “There’s more space, and a better sense of dynamics as well. It’s a subtle change (if anything about Metz can be said to be subtle) but there’s a greater feel of depth here, the songs have more interesting journeys….” And furthermore: “Beautifully brutal weirdo punk.”

Their third full-length, Stranger Peace (stream it below), recorded with acclaimed producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Pixies), came out just two weeks ago to some rave reviews. “The Toronto-based trio Metz have incorporated harmony into their heavy sound on their third full-length. They shift away from all-out abrasion, adding color to their eruptions,” according to Pitchfork. “To be clear, Metz haven’t turned into a pop band. They’ve actually done the opposite, incorporating harmony without going soft. The fact that so few heavy bands have been able to pull that off attests to how difficult it is. With Strange Peace, Metz make it sound easy.” Out on the road, they play Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday and The Bowery Ballroom on Thursday. Two Brooklyn acts—a duo, Uniform, and a trio, Bambara—open both shows.


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Alt-Rock Icons Pixies Fill Space at Westbury with Dark, Jarring Rock

September 25th, 2017

Pixies – the Space at Westbury – September 22, 2017


Pixies don’t banter. They don’t do it slick. They don’t waste time. You wouldn’t call them nihilist, but their music usually paints in life’s darker corners, and they don’t mind some mess and abrasion in it. Sure, there’s nostalgia in the inevitable airings of big Pixies songs—“Wave of Mutilation,” “Debaser,” “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” “Where Is My Mind?”— but the band doesn’t serve them nostalgically: They mix with newer-era Pixies songs in a forceful, workmanlike way that can leave you brooding, rocking out or losing your balance. It may be 1989 or 2017, but your mind is in the moment.

That Pixies can still do this despite a major transition in their lineup—the departure of Kim Deal and arrival of bassist and multi-instrumentalist Paz Lenchantin over the last few years—suggests their service is to the music, which, save for backlight drama or a fog-machine blast or two, doesn’t rely on (or need) much spectacle to feel huge. Pixies strain everything from psychedelia and noise pop to country and blues through what might be called a classic “alternative rock” sound, and then scuff it up good. This isn’t and never has been comfortable, slip-on rock and roll. And that’s true even with the sunnier, more upbeat tone of their post-reunion records, Indie Cindy (2014) and Head Carrier (2016), whose songs are of a piece with the band’s off-kilter legacy material and slot in appropriately throughout a 90-minute-that-only-feels-like-20-minute show, the cultured Pixies weirdness still apparent even when dressed up in happy melodies.

At the Space on Friday, they launched into “Wave of Mutilation” and from there didn’t take much in the way of pauses, peeling off songs one after another: rockers, stomps, chugging metallic boogies. All in all, they got through about 30 of them, with standouts like “Monkey Gone to Heaven,” “Head Carrier,” “Crackity Jones” and “Um Chagga Lagga” mixing as ingredients in a spiked cocktail with the likes of “Velouria,” “Cactus,” “Snakes” and their gnarly version of Neil Young’s “Winterlong.” In some cases, the songs blurred together, around different sounds, around Frank Black’s piercing screams or Joey Santiago’s mighty smashing guitar, and that seemed to be the intended effect—a Pixies set is ultimately a panorama. Kind of a fucked up–looking panorama, maybe, but that’s life, as Lenchantin, Black, Santiago and drummer David Lovering would probably remind you. —Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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With a New Album Wussy Graduate to The Bowery Ballroom

July 11th, 2016

Wussy – The Bowery Ballroom – July 10, 2016

(Photo: John Corley)

(Photo: John Corley)

Wussy, the Cincinnati fivesome, write fractured love songs, bittersweet tales of woe, knowingly dire kiss-offs, fist-pumping rockers that turn regret into a hail of guitar noise. That they’re some of the best in the business at doing this sort of thing—sad-eyed but still rock-out-ready indie rock, pop and alt-country—and have until somewhat recently been a secret shared among their hometown fans, Robert Christgau and the handful of other critics who handed them accolades long before the crowds appeared. And then, at long last, audiences did begin to show up, and after years of daylong drives to play 30-minute showcase sets whenever possible, Wussy returned to New York City with bigger audiences and, as of Sunday, have graduated to The Bowery Ballroom. Oh, have they earned it. Their songs are emotional wrecks, lived in without being weighed down. Chuck Cleaver and Lisa Walker and Co. have written and recorded so many of them now without compromising what makes a hard-edged rock song with a tender core such a sturdy thing in the first place. They’re a bit odd—the songs and the band—but by about 15 minutes into a set, you’re enthralled, living in the little, hardscrabble, honest worlds these songs call to mind.

No Wussy show I’ve ever seen has been too long: Always, when they’re leaving the stage for the last time that evening, I’m thinking, “I could really use one more of those.” Last night’s headlining show focused on Wussy’s most recent album, Forever Sounds, and served up tunes like “Gone”—with its pinched, Pixies-like narrative singing over loud guitars—“Hello, I’m a Ghost,” “Sidewalk Sale” and the gently shoegaze-y “Dropping Houses.” Intermixed with these came the throttling “Pulverized,” plus older favorites like “Maglite” and “Pizza King” (“KOA all night or forever if you want it/ We’re catching air outside the value supermarket”—such a Wussy kind of line). Late in the set, Walker claimed the spotlight, with only guitarist and pedal-steel player John Erhardt to accompany her, for the devastating “Majestic-12”—she sang like someone who had only recently discovered she could and wanted to see what such a gorgeous, slightly scuffed voice could do. And they did their typically superb version of New Order’s “Ceremony” as a closer, an esoteric cover that was just the right fit for a band that doesn’t do many of them.

Wussy come off as a lovably dysfunctional family: They banter wryly, Cleaver and Walker draw in most of the energy, and behind them comes an assured foundation from bassist Mark Messerly and drummer Joe Klug, in addition to color and shading from Erhardt, who holds back his steel playing from its traditional role of narrating sad songs, instead making it a racket-bearer, washing what the rest of the band is doing in frothy guitar tones. It wouldn’t work for other groups, but it does for Wussy. And these cracked-poetry songs wouldn’t work for other groups, but they do for Wussy—a band that knows how good they are but never once shed the humility they had before people started to show up.
—Chad Berndtson | @Cberndtson

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The Pixies and the Transporting Power of Music at the Beacon Theatre

May 27th, 2015

Pixies – Beacon Theatre – May 26, 2015

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The settings in which we experience music can enhance and shape its impact. Listening then becomes a whole-body, visceral involvement, calling on all the senses. The places where we listen—cars, bedrooms, chambers of performance—affect the atmosphere and provide the scenic backdrop for our dances. Putting on the Pixies can provoke the kind of primal physical abandon normally associated with basements, backyard keggers and beach partying, so when this legendary band took the stage of the hallowed and glorious Beacon Theatre on Tuesday night, the reverence of the landmark space temporarily contained the energy that felt at some point would have to spill out into the aisles. Lunging in with the anguished surf ’n’ turf punk rock that is exclusively theirs, Pixies abruptly ignited the collective mood of anticipation, transforming the famed venue into a ceremonial grounds for their historic catalog. The assembly of avid “lifer” fans mixed with the new generation, sharing in common the appreciation of rock mastery and the gravitation to a kind of music that has served to channel the band’s vital restlessness.

Taking full advantage of impassioned company and the savory acoustics of the space, Pixies played a comprehensive set of a vast scope of work, weaving in and out of timeless classics and lesser known B-sides and current releases. Not content to rest on their laurels, they leaned into new and unusual material with the giddiness of a high school band at their first talent show, then pivoted into oldie-goodies, turning spectator intrigue into frenzied sing-alongs. All of it was presented with the dramatic arc of a rock opera. “Wave of Mutilation” ascended deliberately and hovered, with Frank Black’s voice crawling through Paz Lenchantin’s deep, muddy basslines. Then seizing on the hypnotic mood, Pixies grabbed the crowd by the necktie with the raucous anthems “Break My Body” and “The Holiday Song.” Lenchantin drove numbers like “Monkey Gone to Heaven” and “Velouria,” spookily mimicking former bassist Kim Deal with her playing and support vocals, while David Lovering’s flawless percussive churning intertwined with Joey Santiago’s standout guitar fluency on heavyweights like “Debaser” and “Bone Machine.” All throughout, Black’s unmistakable voice, which has remained as vibrant and true as it was on their earliest recordings, poured over the music like molasses. Pulling it all together like the firebrand lead he’s always been, Black added color and peaks at all the right moments with his quirky hoots and zany chirping.

By the time “Gouge Away” crept in with an extended-bassline intro and escalated into its deviously enabling chorus, Pixies were in full bash-out mode, playing with a purpose and zeal, proving that they’re anything but a band of yesteryear, reliving former glory. And ultimately, those in the Beacon audience had left their seats and spilled into the aisles, lending to the atmosphere that transcended the ornate walls, making it feel like the whole room had been whisked from its Upper West Side locale to a moonlit rager on the beach. It sure is magnificent when music can do that. —Charles Steinberg

(Pixies play Kings Theatre tomorrow night.)

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Three Chances to See Pixies Performing Live in NYC This Week

May 26th, 2015

With interruptions and turbulence a regularity throughout the Pixies’ nearly 30-year history, the group has reunited to tour in recent years, reinforcing their influence and affirming their legacy. Not much has changed in their approach to playing their visceral and bizarrely seductive collection of punky, surf-rock hits since their mid-’80s beginnings. The raw, scraped-knee energy is still intact, and so are frontman Black Francis’s agonized vocals, which spar with and then soften to linger over Joey Santiago’s shrill guitar textures. Drummer David Lovering still reliably supplies the amplification, together with new bass player Paz Lenchantin, who has slid in seamlessly. They eschew aura and flair, and, of course, the no-nonsense attitude and restrained angst still remain central. Touring behind their fifth studio full-length (and first in 23 years), 2014’s Indie Cindy (stream it below), Pixies (above, performing “Green and Blues” for KEXP FM) return to New York City to play three shows this week: tonight and tomorrow at the Beacon Theatre and on Thursday at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn. Talented singer-songwriter John Grant opens each night. —Charles Steinberg

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The Pixies Are Still the Real Deal

January 21st, 2014

Pixies – the Capitol Theatre – January 19, 2014

(Photo: Charles Steinberg)

With interruptions and turbulence a regularity throughout the Pixies’ nearly 30-year history, the group has reunited to tour in recent years, reinforcing their influence and affirming their legacy. And on Sunday night at the Capitol Theatre, they put on a retrospective show that ran the gamut of their visceral and bizarrely seductive collection of punky, surf-rock hits. Not much has changed in their approach to playing music since their mid-’80s beginnings. The raw scraped-knee energy is still intact, and so are frontman Black Francis’s agonized vocals, which spar with and then soften to linger over Joey Santiago’s shrill guitar textures. Drummer David Lovering still reliably supplies the amplification, together with new bass player Paz Lenchantin, who slid in seamlessly.

Of course the no-nonsense attitude is still central. The Pixies eschew aura and flair. Dressed in black and lit from behind, they punched out songs with restrained angst, letting the weight of their music take center stage. Toeing the line between atonal cacophony and loose, twangy melodies, the comprehensive set included all of the songs that have defined the Pixies. Classics like “Bone Machine” and “Wave of Mutilation” got the crowd involved early, and after mixing in a couple of new songs, the band geared up for the heart of the show. “Carribou” elicited bellows from the crowd singing along in fervor, which continued into the chorus-driven “Here Comes Your Man.” During “Vamos,” Santiago indulged in a full-on guitar monologue, punctuating and interjecting the steady, up-tempo drum rhythm with shredding, discordant flourishes.

Attention and anticipation built with each song, and in a stroke of calculated brilliance, the performance entered the final act with the epic “Where Is My Mind” and concluded with “Gouge Away,” making a sudden stylistic transition into the scintillating “Debaser.” Throughout their tight professional delivery, there remained a rough rehearsal element that has long marked the Pixies’ style and has always appealed to a large portion of their fan base. But most of all, they proved to be the genuine article. In the current alternative-rock climate of new bands coming and going, searching for identity, the Pixies are a true example to follow. They stepped up and laid it down, showing how it’s done: no fuss, no introduction needed, confident of the path they’ve paved. —Charles Steinberg

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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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Good Things Don’t Always Have to Come to an End

September 18th, 2013

Pixies – The Bowery Ballroom – September 17, 2013


One of my life’s most pleasant surprises came to me back in 2009, when I was blessed with the chance to see a band I never thought I would see live, the Pixies. They were on a short reunion tour in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of Doolittle, playing a set of the entire album start to finish. While they had reunited just a few years earlier for some shows (including a big one at Coachella), I never had any expectations that a band that had broken up via a series of faxes would start playing enough shows again for me to see one. But life is funny like that, and now I have had the chance to see them twice.

Last night’s Pixies show at The Bowery Ballroom may well serve as the epilogue to this pleasant surprise, with this tour being my chance to see them play every great song they may have missed on that Doolittle tour. Sure, this time they are sadly without Kim Deal, but outside of that it’s the same ol’ Pixies. Look no further than Black Francis’ gritty squeals of “U-mass,” singing “IT’S ED-JOO-KAY-SHUN-AL!” so loud and distorted it’s amazing he didn’t end the song on his knees searching for chunks of his own bloody vocal chords he may have screamed out. It’s incredible that this song came early in their set, and Francis somehow still had the voice to sing through the rest of the night.

The show featured several interesting set-list choices, beginning with two covers, “Big New Prinz” by the Fall and “Head On” by the the Jesus and Mary Chain. Most in the audience seemed to be looking at one another thinking these must be the new Pixies songs, but with the first few chords of “Crackity Jones” and its subsequent spastic hoedown, the venue was losing it. The band played through a healthy blend of songs from their four studio albums, performing the likes of “Tame,” “Wave of Mutilation,” “Hey” and “I’ve Been Tired,” alongside some of their albums’ lesser-known fan favorites (mine being “Caribou”). “Vamos” went into a noisy jam fest that toward the end featured Joey Santiago unplugging his guitar, holding his chord to his head and running the distorted electronic screams through his effects pedal. Pixies followed that with the night’s last song, “Where Is My Mind.” And where was my mind during this? It was hoping to see them a third time, because good things don’t always have to come to an end. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

(Try to Grow a Pair of tickets to Friday’s sold-out Pixies show at The Bowery Ballroom.)

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Pixies on 9/20

September 17th, 2013

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On the heals of releasing their first new material in more than 20 years (minus some singles along the way), EP1, alt-rock legends the Pixies play four sold-out New York City shows this week at The Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg. And if you got shut out but would still like to be there, try to Grow a Pair of tickets from The House List to see them play The Bowery Ballroom on Friday night. All you have to do is fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Pixies, 9/20) and your best suggestion on how to spend the remaining few nights of summer. Eddie Bruiser, who’s looking for some outdoor suggestions, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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The Breeders Celebrate a Milestone

May 7th, 2013

The Breeders – Webster Hall – May 6, 2013


Kim Deal deserves more credit—much more. Between her years as the bassist of the Pixies and her follow-up career as the lead woman of the Breeders, she’s earned her spot on the short list of rock musicians who have changed the course of music for the better. The last time I saw her perform was for the Pixies’ reunion tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of Doolittle. I remember thinking then if Doolittle had been released that day, it would still have been incredibly well received. Fast-forward four years and I’m watching Deal perform again, this time with the Breeders in celebration of the 20th anniversary of their iconic album, Last Splash, and feeling exactly the same way about this LP. It sounds as fresh today as it must have in ’93. This is for two reasons: The obvious being that each album was way ahead of its time. The other being that the music world we live in today is built on a foundation laid in large part by these two albums. We’d have neither without Kim Deal. We owe her the world.

The best thing about concerts where an album is played in its entirety is that you already know what to expect. So last night at Webster Hall no one had to wait for the distorted opening or the drumstick taps to know “Cannonball” was about to barrel its way through the venue. The arrangement of an album works out as well live as it does etched in record grooves. “Do You Love Me Now?” fits in perfectly as a concert’s midpoint as it does as the LP’s halfway mark. With it’s brittle arrangement, the song’s sparse instrumentation seems there only to hold up Deal’s soft-spoken vocals. The crawling guitar riffs are there at first only as embellishment to her tender singing. And even having heard the song hundreds of times, when it explodes with Deal’s sudden delivery of the loud plea “Come back to me right now!” it still has the power to turn up hairs.

It was sad to hear the ending reprises of “Roi” knowing that the show was ending the same way as Last Splash, but the band came back out to play through a hefty seven-song encore that was long enough to feel like the second act of the show. The encore included a Guided By Voices cover (“Shocker in Gloomtown”), a Beatles cover (“Happiness Is a Warm Gun”) and some non-Last Splash Breeders favorites. So happy 20th birthday, Last Splash! Enough time has passed that it’s now OK to consider its legacy. And hopefully the world fully realizes how incredible of an album this is and that those who crafted it get their rightful place in rock history. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Stephanie F. Black | www.flickr.com/photos/blackfrances

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Interpol Drummer Sam Fogarino’s EmptyMansions at Mercury Lounge

April 26th, 2013

Sam Fogarino is best known as the drummer for NYC’s own Interpol, but while they were touring in support of their 2010’s self-titled album, he was plugging away, writing songs that revealed his many influences—in literature, TV and especially music (like Neil Young, Stones, Pixies). Fogarino ended up recording the material with guitarist Duane Denison (of Tomahawk, among others) and producer and multi-instrumentalist Brandon Curtis (the Secret Machines), who handled bass, keys and backing vocals. The end result was the noise rock–filled Snakes/Vultures/Sulfate (stream it below), out earlier this month. The trio kicked off a tour in support of it earlier this week, which brings EmptyMansions (above, their video for “That Man”) to Mercury Lounge to play the early show tomorrow night.

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Bob Mould Plays The Bowery Ballroom Tonight and Tomorrow

February 26th, 2013

In the music world, if people know you’re name from even just one project, there’s a pretty good chance you’re doing something right. And if audiences recognize you for two influential bands (one of them iconic) plus an acclaimed solo career, well, you just might be Bob Mould. Raised in rural Upstate New York, he headed to college in Minnesota, ultimately making a home in the Twin Cities and forming Hüsker Dü—Mould on guitar and vocals, Grant Hart on drums and vocals, and Greg Norton on bass—in the late ’70s. Initially a thrashing punk band, their sound grew more melody driven but not any quieter. And while they didn’t find the success of R.E.M., they became indie-rock pioneers, paving the way for groups like the Pixies, Superchunk and Nirvana. But alas, for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t meant to last, and Hüsker Dü broke up while on tour in 1987.

So Mould went solo, releasing the excellent Workbook two years later. It was a big departure from his previous work, with much of the album acoustic with a strong folk bent. Another solo effort followed before he again formed a power trio—with David Barbe on bass and Malcolm Travis on drums—the more radio friendly Sugar. Their debut LP, Copper Blue, out in ’92, earned applause from critics and fans alike. But by 1995, Mould had ended the band and gone it alone again. He’s dutifully recorded more material and toured ever since. And his tenth solo album, the well-received Silver Age (stream it below), came out last year. Watch Bob Mould, above, performing “Keep Believing” on Conan and then go see him live at The Bowery Ballroom tonight and tomorrow, where he’ll play selections from Silver Age, Hüsker Dü, Sugar and his solo classics.

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Close Out Your Weekend with Titus Andronicus

November 30th, 2012

Since forming in 2005, indie punkers Titus Andronicus have earned comparisons to Bruce Springsteen, Bright Eyes and the Pixies. Rolling Stone has even gone as far as to say they “may be the most ambitious punk band in America.” Not too shabby, right? Following the release of their second album, the much-praised The Monitor, the five-piece went through some lineup changes. But now they’ve returned with an equally ambitious third LP, Local Business (stream it below). The new tunes were all road tested earlier in the year before Titus Andronicus (above, doing “In a Big City” for Pitchfork TV) headed to New Paltz, N.Y., to recreate their high-energy stage act in the studio. And now you can see them live
at Webster Hall on Sunday night.

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This Double Bill at Webster Hall Might Get Loud

July 31st, 2012

From the beginning Toadies had a revolving lineup anchored by Todd Lewis (vocals and guitar) and Mark Reznicek (drums). The Fort Worth, Texas, band’s post-grunge sound is influenced by the Pixies and pychedelic-tinged Southern rock. And their “Possum Kingdom” was undoubtedly one of the biggest songs to erupt from the grunge explosion left in Nirvana’s wake. Despite lasting so long, Toadies (above, doing “No Deliverance”) don’t just mine their past. In fact the group’s fifth album, Play.Rock.Music, is out today.

Page Hamilton moved from Oregon to New York City to learn jazz guitar in the ’80s. But upon discovering distortion through the likes of Sonic Youth, he moved in a different direction, founding Helmet in 1989. With a raw sound and Hamilton’s snarling vocals, Helmet (below, performing “See You Dead”), in earning comparisons to Soundgarden, was the only East Coast band playing what would soon be labeled grunge. The group’s fierce sound remains to this day, and, along with Toadies, they play Webster Hall on Thursday.