Tag Archives: radiohead


Mutemath Bring New Album to Brooklyn Steel on Wednesday

September 18th, 2017

Influenced by the soulful sounds of the ’60s and ’70s and alternative rock of the past (think: Air, Radiohead, New Order), Mutemath (above, doing “War”) formed a decade-and-a-half ago in New Orleans. The band—now Paul Meany (vocals and keys), Jonathan Allen (bass) and Todd Gummerman (guitar)—has since been equally known for engaging live performances and their recorded output, including full-lengths, EPs and live releases. Their fifth studio long-player, Play Dead (stream it below), came out earlier this month, and their tour in support of it rolls through Kings County to play Brooklyn Steel on Wednesday night. Franklin, Tenn., four-piece Colony House and Toronto quartet Romes open the show.


The Moth & the Flame Play Mercury Lounge on Tuesday Night

November 25th, 2016

Formed in the Utah desert five years ago, the Moth & the Flame—Brandon Robbins (vocals and guitar), Mark Garbett (keys and vocals), Andrew Tolman (drums) and Michael Goldman (bass)—have been making the kind of experimental rock that, for many, immediately calls to mind Radiohead. The quartet has since relocated to Los Angeles, and the Moth & the Flame (above, performing an acoustic version of “Live While I Breathe” live on location) put out their second studio full-length, Young & Unafraid (stream it below), earlier this year. And winding down an East Coast swing, they play Mercury Lounge on Tuesday, and 888 open the show.


Catch Radiohead Drummer Philip Selway Thursday in Williamsburg

August 4th, 2015

Best known as Radiohead’s drummer, Philip Selway went solo as a singer-songwriter and guitarist with the release of the mostly acoustic Familial (stream it below) in 2010. According to the A.V. Club, “He’s the group’s George Harrison: interested in music’s quieter, reflective potential. His debut, Familial, is a hushed, fragile collection that explores the territory between Chris Isaak’s softer material and Nick Drake’s folk.” Selway (above, performing “Around Again” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!) returned in 2014 with a more ambitious follow-up, Weatherhouse (stream it below). And per AllMusic, “He’s tapping into the gentle ebb and flow of classic English art rock but he’s sensible enough to never succumb to the ostentatious display of brains that sometimes plagues classic prog. This is an immaculately crafted, impossibly tasteful miniature, one that will satisfy any listener longing for a Radiohead tripped of future shock.” See Philip Selway play live on Thursday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg.


Other Lives Take Music Hall of Williamsburg on a Trip

June 1st, 2015

Other Lives – Music Hall of Williamsburg – May 29, 2015

Other Lives – Music Hall of Williamsburg – May 29, 2015
The fans waiting for Other Lives to take the Music Hall of Williamsburg stage on Friday night first had to wait out a vibrating, otherworldly theme that shook the whole venue. It sounded as if the room were a rocket that was bringing the few hundred patrons past the stratosphere and into space. Truthfully, it was the sound that signaled the start of a two-night run in New York City in support of the band’s newest album, Rituals.

Other Lives have grown their sound from mere electrified folk to something truly intricate in its structure. No song that begins with acoustic guitar simply ends with acoustic guitar. In fact, most of the set featured this style. More traditional sounds like the deep, booming drums at the start of “Reconfiguration,” for example, were eventually met with New Age synths. The beginning of “For 12,” an older track, sounded like it would be right at home in a moody Western before it gained some Radiohead blips and strings.

Other Lives’ expansive sound isn’t just made of computerized filler, though. Two, three and even four band members often sang, and—when he wasn’t playing glockenspiel, piano or trumpet—Jonathon Mooney spent much time dueling with another violinist. Somehow, through all of this, the group’s sound still came across as simple. Singer Jesse Tabish always got the right mood of a lyric across, leaving those in the crowd feeling like a song took them from one place to another. The whole night, on both the biggest and smallest scales, was a trip. —Sean O’Kane | @Sokane1

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com


Alt-J Sell Out Madison Square Garden and Win Over New York City

March 31st, 2015

Alt-J – Madison Square Garden – March 30, 2015

Alt-J – Madison Square Garden – March 30, 2015
Conquering the shores of America has never been easy for most British bands. Sure there are the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Radiohead, to name a few, but on the whole, it’s not a simple feat. And now, Alt-J have not only conquered the States but they’ve also played the legendary Madison Square Garden. NPR has lauded the band with high praise: “No one else is making music like this. This is an original, innovative band with a brilliant present and a brighter future.” And with only two albums to their name, the four-piece—including Cameron Knight, who’s replaced one of the founding members, Gwil Sainsbury, on bass and sampler—conquered a sold-out MSG last night.

I’ve often shied away from arena shows, longing for the ambience of a smaller, more intimate venue, but I wouldn’t let myself miss another chance to see Alt-J live. The crowd rumbled into applause and cheers as the house lights dimmed to welcome the quartet to a backlit stage. Lead vocalist Joe Newman creeped into “Hunger of the Pine” to kick off the set, however the performance was largely a trip down memory lane with the bulk of the set list comprised of material from their debut album, An Awesome Wave, and fans joined in to sing along to favorites “Fitzpleasure” and “Matilda.”

Leaving the music to speak for them, Alt-J didn’t utter much more than a few thank-yous and some genuine appreciation to be in New York City, playingt their biggest local venue to date. And as a nod to their own hometown, the band pulled out “a really old song,” “Leon,” from their Leeds days. Newman’s and keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton’s choral-like vocals rang across the cavernous building as drummer Thom Green pounded the skins, particularly shining on the encore’s closing song, “Breezeblocks.”

Despite my qualms about seeing Alt-J in such a large venue, their music seemed to transcend space, transporting me back to my days of hitting festivals in the UK while still enclosed in hallowed MSG. I couldn’t help but join in for the final serenade of “Please don’t go, please don’t go, I love you so, I love you so” because the audience and I didn’t want the show to end. The lads from Leeds have certainly won over New York City, if not America. —Sharlene Chiu

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com


Alt-J Kick Off New Tour Monday at Madison Square Garden

March 27th, 2015

Joe Newman (vocals and guitar), Thom Green (drums), Gwil Sainsbury (guitar and bass) and Gus Unger-Hamilton (keys and vocals) met in 2007 while attending Leeds University and began making music together. Upon graduation, the foursome settled into Cambridge as Alt-J in 2011. Their debut full-length, An Awesome Wave (stream it below), filled with soaring folk-influenced dub music, came out in 2012. And not only did it rocket the band to stardom, earning comparisons to Radiohead and Coldplay along the way, but it also won them the prestigious Mercury Prize. After playing big festivals like Bonnaroo, Glastonbury and Lollapalooza in 2013, the quartet became a trio when Sainsbury departed the following year. (Cameron Knight has since replaced him for live shows, on guitar, bass and sampler.) But the beat goes on for Alt-J (above, doing “Every Other Freckle” for Jimmy Kimmel Live!): Their second full-length, This Is All Yours (stream it below), arrived last September. And it’s safe to say there’s no sophomore slump here. According to Rolling Stone, “It’s an ambling, entrancing listen—full of songs that blur weird folk and electronic zonkiness, classical filigree and straight-up rock, scrambling in all directions…. These guys know that alienation works best when it’s a little bit of fun.” Fresh off playing Lollapalooza in Brazil, Alt-J kick off their American tour on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. And as an added bonus, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., electronic-rock duo Phantogram open the show.


Cold War Kids Headline Diverse CMJ Lineup at Rough Trade NYC

October 23rd, 2014

Cold War Kids – Rough Trade NYC – October 22, 2014

Cold War Kids – Rough Trade NYC – October 22, 2014
Rough Trade NYC hosted a flock of impressive acts last night, and concertgoers who caught this show on the second night of CMJ 2014 lucked out, as the lineup provided such a satisfying variety befitting the festival’s spirit. Fresh off tours supporting Sylvan Esso and My Brightest Diamond, Brooklyn native Doe Paoro and her band entranced early arrivals with celestial electro soul. Australia’s Little May followed with their subdued rock sensibilities. The band had many an audience member swooning with material from their self-titled debut album. Little May’s gorgeous, resonant sound is full of husky whispers and hook-y choruses, and they played up their songs’ melancholic beauty throughout their set.

Moses Sumney took the stage next and quickly mesmerized the crowd with his velvety voice and artful looping skills. The Los Angeleno stood alone onstage and built vast choral phrases out of lilting, angelic tones and subtle beat-boxing. Sumney could sing every word in the dictionary and make it sound interesting—his voice is just that good.  The 20-year-old electro rocker Elliot Moss and his band continued the night with a dynamic set of songs from Moss’s 2013 album, Highspeeds. His music is mercurial, with elements of Radiohead, James Blake and Bon Iver popping up here and there. Having successfully wooed the audience to move superclose, Moss and Co. graciously left the stage to make way for the night’s headliners.

The much-loved members of Cold War Kids meandered onto the stage as the audience roared with excitement. The band’s career has spanned nearly a decade, and the five-piece has some serious discography to show for it. From their 2006 debut record, Robbers and Cowards, to the just released Hold My Home, the band has made a big impression on their fans. The gentleman barreled through an extensive set featuring songs from all over their repertoire. Nathan Willett’s valiant vocals drove “All This Could Be Yours” and “Miracle Mile” at the top of the set. All-time favorites like “Hang Me Up to Dry” and “Hospital Beds” got the crowd howling. The guys in Cold War Kids have an astounding sense of synchronicity. They’re constantly making contact with one another, whether it’s a hand on a shoulder or an intense glance during a chorus. Their set was a spectacular burst of energy, proving that Cold War Kids aren’t losing steam. Rather, they’re louder than ever. —Schuyler Rooth

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

(Cold War Kids play Terminal 5 on 3/20.)

(Elliot Moss plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday and Terminal 5 on 3/20.)

(Moses Sumney plays Rough Trade NYC tonight.)

(Little May play Mercury Lounge tomorrow and Pianos on Saturday.)


Double Your Pleasure with Two Nights of Connan Mockasin

April 30th, 2014

Connan Hosford recorded his first solo album—under the name Connan Mockasin— because “my mum forced me to make a record.” Forever Dolphin Love (stream it below) came out in 2011, and its winning psychedelic pop earned Hosford comparisons to Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd. The album also led to touring Australia and New Zealand with Radiohead and Hosford working with Charlotte Gainsbourg. But when his father had a heart attack, the singer-songwriter returned home to New Zealand to spend time with him. After a while, Connan Mockasin (above, doing “I’m the Man, That Will Find You” for Studio Brussel) took off for Tokyo and holed up in a hotel room for a month working on his second album, Caramel (stream it below), which the Guardian enthusiastically says sounds like an “LSD binge in a sleazy motel, or an elf covering a Barry White album, or maybe even a rom-com set on Mars.” And this week you’ve got two chances to discover how great the new material sounds live because Connan Mockasin and his band play The Bowery Ballroom tomorrow and Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday. Australian singer-songwriter Kirin J Callinan opens both shows.


Four Tet Provides Something for Everyone

February 24th, 2014

Four Tet – Terminal 5 – February 22, 2014

Over nearly 20 years, UK-based DJ, producer and musician Four Tet (otherwise known as Kieran Hebden) has explored a range of styles: from his post-rock and ambient-inspired work with the band Fridge to his loose, freewheeling jazz and electronic experiments with drummer Steve Reid to DJ sets at massive clubs all over the world, remixes of artists like the xx and Radiohead—and collaborations with Burial. On Saturday night at Terminal 5, throngs of folks greeted Four Tet ready to absorb his every beat, and he showcased an energetic and eclectic set, with hypnotic strobes and a shower of colorful balloons setting off things on the right foot.

A Four Tet DJ set is unique in that it manages to fuse all of his eclectic musical experiences and styles into a cohesive mix. For fans of his spacey, more ambient output, he’s got you covered. If you prefer grinding basslines and skittering beats, you’ll find them. If you love the way Four Tet can manipulate a vocal sample into a million different beats and combinations, he does that—leaving you shaking your head at just how effortless he makes it seem. Even Four Tet completists, who mentally catalog his many studio albums, remixes and live recordings, will have fun combing through the set to pinpoint recognizable samples and song elements.

Like any great DJ, Four Tet connects with his audience’s energy and knows how to time the ebb and flow of beats in ways that surprise and delight the revelers. And just as it should be, Saturday’s show flew by like any great night at the club does: an exhilarating multisensory experience of lights, colors, heat and sound. After an encore featuring a lively extended mix of “Sing,” from 2010’s There Is Love in You, all was quiet again, save for the popping of the last few balloons and the ringing in our ears. —Alena Kastin




Two Nights of Soulful Psychedelic Pop with Connan Mockasin

January 8th, 2014

Connan Hosford recorded his first solo album—under the name Connan Mockasin— because “my mum forced me to make a record.” Forever Dolphin Love (stream it below) came out in 2011, and its winning psychedelic pop earned comparisons to Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd. The album also led to touring Australia and New Zealand with Radiohead and Hosford working with Charlotte Gainsbourg. When his father had a heart attack, the singer-songwriter returned home to New Zealand to spend time with him. After a while, Connan Mockasin (above, doing “I’m the Man, That Will Find You” for Studio Brussel) took off for Tokyo and holed up in a hotel room for a month working on his second album, Caramel (stream it below). Released two months ago, the Guardian enthusiastically says it sounds like an “LSD binge in a sleazy motel, or an elf covering a Barry White album, or maybe even a rom-com set on Mars.” Find out how great it sounds live when Connor Mockasin plays Mercury Lounge tomorrow and Glasslands on Friday night.


Lianne La Havas Enchants a Sold-Out Music Hall of Williamsburg

April 11th, 2013

Lianne La Havas – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 10, 2013

A sold-out crowd filled the air with whispers of anticipation waiting for Lianne La Havas to take the stage last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Following a rollicking set from opener Jamie N Commons, we were primed and ready to hear even more fierce, soulful music. The lights crept up slowly on La Havas as she opened with an acoustic version of crowd favorite “No Room for Doubt.” The audience silently swayed and only occasionally sneaked pictures of the British songstress, clad in a gorgeous white dress and switching frequently among three guitars on hand for the occasion. A full band joined in after the first song and readied for “Au Cinéma.”

The other musicians—James Wyatt on keys, Chris Dagger on bass and Jay Sikora on drums, with backing vocals by Rhianna Kenny—combined for a sensational sound as La Havas continued to woo the crowd with renditions of “Everything Everything” and “Is Your Love Big Enough?” her breakout 2012 debut record’s title track. During the latter, she entreated us to join her, saying, “I’d like to make kind of a human drum kit” and quickly taught us a routine complete with syncopated claps and stomping. She then led us into a more subdued and mesmerizing interlude with “Tease Me,” “Gone” and “Lost & Found.” “Let us talk about my ex-boyfriend for a minute. I hope you will join me in getting some aggression out,” said La Havas, smiling coyly, before they doled out a triumphant version of “Forget!” followed by an excellent cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” and then “They Could Be Wrong.” Pleased by the crowd, at one point the singer-songwriter gushed: “Honestly, I just love my job.”

During “Don’t Wake Me Up,” La Havas smiled brightly as she introduced her talented band members, clearly a tight-knit bunch. Uproarious applause spilled through the venue as we beckoned La Havas back for an encore. She gladly obliged, with perfectly executed versions of “Empty,” “Elusive” and “Age.” Her music is uniquely soulful and simmers with graceful defiance. La Havas is about the begin working on her sophomore album, which she promises will be released later this year. And at the end of her set, grinning from ear to ear, La Havas asked us if she could snap a few pictures, going so far as to ask if the lights on the balcony could be adjusted to get a better shot of the faces beaming back at her. Her humility is sincerely enchanting, and this soul chanteuse is clearly destined for continued success. —Schuyler Rooth








A Remarkably Good Show at The Bowery Ballroom

April 10th, 2013

Chris Thile and Brad Mehldau – The Bowery Ballroom – April 9, 2013

Chaos theory states that a butterfly flapping its wings in Asia affects the weather here in New York City. Through some incomprehensible series of actions and reactions, the two completely unrelated phenomena essentially communicate with each other. I think a similar incomprehensible series of actions and reactions explains the communication going on between the seemingly unrelated musicians onstage last night at The Bowery Ballroom. In this scenario, the parts of the butterfly and the weather were jazz-pianist extraordinaire Brad Mehldau and mandolin aficionado Chris Thile.

From the beginning, high-level interplay was on display, a long introduction that felt like a free-form-improv instrumental provided the opportunity for both musicians to assume the role of the butterfly—multihued, delicate, light—and the weather—unpredictable, blustering, occasionally torrential. These long fugues were interrupted by lyrics and vocals on songs like “Chopped Down Your Shade Tree” from Thile, bringing the concept of song and composition to the music before disintegrating back into superlative two-man jamming and then back again. Pieces stretched to 10 minutes and beyond, the duo showing no signs of running out of things to talk about, themes to pursue and then deconstruct. One of the few fully instrumental songs pushed the limits of their talents, simultaneously layering an Irish reel with blues and free jazz, like Ornette O’Coleman from Memphis for mandolin and piano, shifting to a mandolin swing reminiscent of David Grisman and finally relenting to jazz-standard territory with Mehldau stretching the exercise to a full 20 minutes.

The highlights within an essentially highlight-reel show were the covers. Each began as if just an instrumental vamp on a familiar melody before fully exploring the material to its fullest. These included Gillian Welch’s “Scarlet Town” and an instrumental version of “Long Black Veil.” Anyone familiar with Mehldau or Thile wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the centerpiece of their show was an awe-inspiring, exploratory take on Radiohead’s “Knives Out,” which had both men in top form, weaving in and out of the song’s themes perfectly. The set closed with Fiona Apple’s “Fast as You Can,” featuring a vigorous back-and-forth between the two, the whole set coming to a head in deep musical conversation. Perhaps the best for last, the encore closed with a perfect version of Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” the jamming concise and on point, the audience, for once, literally not having to think twice about the chaos going on in front of them. It’s alright. —A. Stein




Two Nights of Michael Kiwanuka

September 18th, 2012

The TV show The Voice isn’t actually about Michael Kiwanuka, but it probably should be. Because his bluesy, soulful voice, which has earned him heady comparisons to Bill Withers, Otis Redding and Van Morrison, is his calling card. Kiwanuka (above, doing “I’m Getting Ready” on Later … with Jools Holland) grew up in North London with a thing for bands like Nirvana and Radiohead. Despite later becoming a session guitarist, he still did work of his own. The authentic, raw demos eventually caught the attention of Communion, which released his two EPs. Then things got progressively bigger: Adele invited the 24-year-old out on tour with her last year as she was ruling the music world. Then in January, BBC named the singer-songwriter the Sound of 2012 by the . And a few months later, he put out his debut studio album, Home Again (stream it below). It’s worth mentioning that despite talk of him having an old soul and the comparisons to legends of the past, Kiwanuka and his music are authentic and not just some retro throwback. “It would be easy to dismiss this all as a clever piece of calculated marketing,” says The Independent, “were it not for a soulful maturity in his voice that belies his age.” And, of course, the best way to hear that voice is live: Tonight at Webster Hall and on Friday at Music Hall of Williamsburg.

(Listen to Michael Kiwanuka play songs from his album and cover Jimi Hendrix for NPR.)


Alt-J Are Worthy of the Buzz

September 13th, 2012

Alt-J – The Bowery Ballroom – September 12, 2012

There was a certain geometric incoherence in play as hotly buzzed UK band Alt-J took the stage at a very sold-out Bowery Ballroom last night. Everyone was jammed together in this glorified square to see a band that insisted they were a triangle. See, Alt-J contend their name is more than a collection of letters, instead representing the outcome of a keyboard command, the combination of “Alt” and “J,” which on a Mac makes the shape of a triangle, making their very name an unspeakable symbolic iconography. Every face in the audience pointed toward four faces onstage offering seemingly infinite possibilities. This would all seem overwrought, if it weren’t for the uncommon quality of the band’s debut, An Awesome Wave, and their bizarre and brilliant live show. Somehow helpless against their insistence on three-way vanishing points—or how affected and silly this would seem in less capable hands—the audience and the band intersected over and over, creating a cohesive, if pleasantly limited, little world inside these invented boundaries.

The band opened with “(Interlude 1),” with a choir joining them to offer the band’s Baroque-ish two-part harmonies a chilling and elegiac varnish. One part Mumford & Sons and one part the xx, Alt-J slid between slow-drive, sexy arrangements and these warm duets between guitarist Joe Newman and keys player Gus Unger-Hamilton. “Something Good” and “Dissolve Me,” mid-album and middle-set songs expanded this notion of austere vocals and ebullient keyboard-driven arrangements, accented brightly with tactile guitar picking and high-fret work. The band played their best song, “Breezeblocks,” near the end, the track’s punching vocals and guitars ringing through the balconies as the audience shuffled around chanting lines like “Do you know where the wild things go?” The song’s conclusion, a collision of the lyrics “Please don’t go, I love you so” and “I’d eat you whole,” an awesome and approachable angle to a band that values its weirdness as much as its beautiful arrangements.

“This is the last song on the album,” Unger-Hamilton mumbled over the din as Alt-J returned to play “Taro” as the encore. At least one person in the crowd made the reference that is as controversial as it is possibly correct: “Radiohead.” This is a bit of branding too loaded even for a band currently touring with a gigantic neon triangle as their backdrop. However, there was something undeniable happening here. Alt-J finished the haunting last chords of “Taro” and held up a slightly altered version of the “diamonds in the sky,” triangle-ish hand sign that Jay-Z and Kanye West initiated with a straight face in 2005. The crowd returned it in kind having fully embraced this iconography of two lines and three points. The audience and the band made two of these three, one of the year’s best albums brought to the stage made the third at The Bowery Ballroom, a tidy and discrete geometric universe, a triangle inside a square. —Geoff Nelson




Here We Go Magic Gets It

July 20th, 2012

Here We Go Magic – Music Hall of Williamsburg – July 19, 2012

In an increasingly more crowded Brooklyn landscape, where it its inhabitants stumble over themselves to be cool, Here We Go Magic has settled into the mix and established credibility in an unassuming way. The danger with wanting to stand out and be noticed is that all too often the focus lands on style and image rather than on substance. But Here We Go Magic has recognized this pitfall, which is precisely what makes them cool. Essentially, they have quietly matured into a band that understands that you can’t try too hard.

This is not to say that Here We Go Magic has emerged from the Brooklyn music scene, where they formed in 2008, without hard work. To be sure, you can’t acquire the production services of Nigel Godrich, the man behind Radiohead, without being dedicated and serious about making great music. The Godrich-produced A Different Ship is one of the best albums of the year, and a reflection of Magic’s quiet confidence in the record was put forth last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, when it was played in its entirety. Feeling right at home on their native turf, the band strode onstage with the nonchalance of a group about to rehearse rather than perform.

The approach didn’t hinder them one bit as they barely missed a beat in a set that toed the line between loose freedom and honed execution. The beauty of Here We Go Magic’s most recent music lies in its restraint, and this quality, in both substance and delivery, lured the room gradually into warm appreciation of what they were hearing. Band founder, Luke Temple, eased into each song, sharing the stage presence and vocal duties with his mates, embodying the invaluable attitude that develops with experience: Real coolness is not about force-feeding and shouting what you have to offer, but rather genuinely going about your business and humbly appreciating when others take notice of your worth. Here We Go Magic gets this. Upon leaving the show with a smile and a nod, I noticed that the new album was being offered at the merchandise table in old-school cassette format, and I immediately thought to myself, “Now that’s cool.” —Charles Steinberg

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesolivierphoto.com