Tag Archives: Portishead


Nick Hakim Celebrates New Album at The Bowery Ballroom

May 18th, 2017

Nick Hakim – The Bowery Ballroom – May 17, 2017

Brooklyn-based Nick Hakim grew up in Washington, D.C., and matriculated from the famed Berklee College of Music before settling in New York City. He has a throwback feel to his vocals, with R&B grooves and good ol’ Motown sensibilities. Jazz influences are also heard, which makes sense as he recently completed a short residency at the Blue Note. And his pair of EPs, Where Will We Go, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2, have garnered considerable praise. Hakim’s upcoming full-length album, Green Twins, was born in a Brooklyn bedroom, and he’s described its influences as “if RZA had produced a Portishead album.”

Last night—two days before his LP’s release—Hakim graced the stage of The Bowery Ballroom. Opening with the title track, he quickly enraptured fans as his mellifluous voice lulled the room. The singer-songwriter managed to dip into his older material, producing “Cold” and the crowd-pleasing “I Don’t Know.” Hakim had lost his glasses and remarked that he couldn’t see, but who needs to see when you have an R&B voice that transmutes hefty doses of soul. Guitarist Joe Harrison took the “oldie” away with a soaring solo.

Midway through the set, pianist Jake Sherman offered up a heavily Auto-Tuned rendition of the Beatles“Yesterday.” The remainder of the performance was largely an introduction to his soon-to-be release, from the lilting “Needy Bees” to “Farmissplease,” which had the audience bopping to the percussion. There would not be an encore, but it’s plain to hear that the the Brooklynite’s neo-soul styling’s ushered in a unique take for this summer’s soundtrack. —Sharlene Chiu


Hælos Bring Acclaimed New Music to Mercury Lounge Tonight

March 29th, 2016

The up-and-coming London atmospheric synth-rock trio Hælos—Lotti Benardout, Arthur Delaney and Dom Goldsmith—put out their debut full-length, Full Circle (stream it below), earlier this month, impressing critics and fans alike—and earning comparisons to Portishead, Chelsea Wolfe and Massive Attack in the process. In an absolutely glowing review, Paste magazine declared that it’s “a dancehall record that grows on you and becomes more like a trusted friend who whispers wisdom from another universe.” Currently crisscrossing North America, Hælos (performing “Dust” live in studio for KEXP FM) play Mercury Lounge tonight. Kodacrome, a Brooklyn duo, open the show.


Broods Just Might Be the Next Big Thing in New Zealand Music

March 4th, 2014

Broods – Mercury Lounge – March 3, 2014

Last night at Mercury Lounge you could have run directly into the future with the New Zealand band Broods making their debut New York City appearance. Two of the vice presidents for alternative and Top 40 radio promotion from Capitol Music Group stood in the back, almost unavoidable if also hidden in plain sight. Representing the two pathways forward for the band—alternative radio and heavy-rotation at Top 40—a Capitol signee at the close of last year, these two wizards of the radio dial likely control as much of the group’s future as a major commercial act as the duo themselves. It was hard to avoid this sense of becoming from a group that by virtue of sharing producer Joel Little, Oceania and a digital snare drum, recall something of the mercurial, stupefying success of Lorde.

R&B aesthetics in alternative circles may well be a bubble, but Capitol has already doubled down on brother-sister-act Broods. Although for the 200 new converts packing the room, theirs was a different sort of business, a chance to buy low on—to buy intimacy from—a band seemingly about to head for your radio dial and living room. This was like listening to Chvrches in Glasgow two years ago or Lorde in Brooklyn last spring. Everyone arrived chasing some form of the future. Broods opened with “Never Gonna Change,” Georgia Nott’s vocals oozing fecundity if not outright sex, a mixture of footnotes from Dido to Imogen Heap. The sound registered somewhere between the aforementioned Ella Yelich-O’Connor and James Blake—slow-dance music for kids who hate to slow dance. Broods moved through “Pretty Thing” and “Sleep Baby Sleep,” the first owing much to Moby’s Play, the second featuring stirring vocals that would easily be at home on No Angel.

The closing movement of the set, a pithy eight songs, was highlighted by “Taking You There” (think: Avicii’s “Wake Me Up filled up with cold medicine), “Coattails,” another Dido-indebted jam, and “Bridges,” the song that earned the Capitol Records signing. “Coattails” featured the lyric of the evening, “a hit between the eyes,” before the whirring downbeat engaged, one of those literal and figurative direct hits that lays the foundation for buildings like Capitol’s 5th Avenue headquarters. Despite only one more day in America, Nott said they loved it here and would return. The feeling proved mutual, this much was obvious. Nott and the audience were both right, the set closed with a quiet new number, the future lying inside for a moment before it moved out there to Houston Street and into the American commercial night. —Geoff Nelson



Rhye Sell Out Webster Hall

February 24th, 2014

Rhye – Webster Hall – February 21, 2014

Canadian singer Milosh met the Danish multi-instrumentalist Robin Hannibal at Copenhagen’s Nørreport Station. Hannibal, already one part of Quadron, eventually moved to L.A., where he continued his collaborations with Milosh as Rhye. Although Hannibal doesn’t tour with Rhye, Milosh slightly reworks material with a band without stripping away the core of the original music and the feelings it evokes.

To queue the start Friday’s sold-out show at Webster Hall, a stagehand said to refrain from talking and taking pictures during the show before a loopy intro, à la trip-hop trio Portishead, announced Milosh and his band to the stage. Ensconced in shadows, he opened the set with breathy vocals for “Verse.” A pair of fan favorites followed: With throbbing basslines on “3 Days,” Milosh couldn’t help but croon, “Feel that crazy fucking bass.” Applause erupted at the first notes of “The Fall.” The singer took a moment to thank everyone for coming, as it had been some time since they had been in New York City. Following a bit of debate about the increase or decrease of bass, the show resumed with the smooth jazz interlude for “Shed Some Blood,” complete with rhythm guitar and Milosh’s reedy delivery. Accompanied by violin plucks, another crowd favorite, “Last Dance,” closed with Claire Chourchene’s trombone solo.

Diverting from the Rhye catalog, Milosh offered one of his own songs, “The City,” which he prefaced with doubt that folks would know it. He even joined the drummer behind the drum kit, pounding the skins of the tenor. His androgynous voice on “Open” was very reminiscent of the smooth operator herself, Sade. In a comical moment, Milosh had a brain fart on “Hunger” and admittedly sang, “Forgot the words to my own song. Holy shit.” No one seemed to mind as the crowd swayed to beat of the horns and chuckled at his impromptu lyrics. On the final song, appropriately Milosh’s “It’s Over…,” the room came to a hush as the band lulled sans microphones. There was no encore, but there was no disappointment, only acceptance and a treasured musical memory in one’s pocket. —Sharlene Chiu