Tag Archives: Rough Trade NYC


Spend Halloween with the Multitalented Pell at Rough Trade NYC

October 30th, 2017

After Hurricane Katrina hit, Jared Pellerin and his family left New Orleans for Jackson, Miss., and he began making beats, allowing him to make friends, gain confidence and eventually begin performing, which continued while at Mississippi State University. Pellerin ultimately decided to halt his studies and after putting out several singles as the rapper-singer-songwriter-producer Pell, he self-released Floating While Dreaming (stream it below) in 2014. “The 22-year old rapper and singer has a distinct style that blends the old with the new,” said Hip-Hop DX. “He is a storyteller, weaving his life experiences with melodic beats. The album’s title describes how he lives his dreams and inspires others to chase their own.” Pell (above, performing “Runaway”) has remained busy ever since, putting out singles, collaborating with the likes of G Eazy and Big Gigantic and honing his live performances. And to that end, in mid-tour form, Pell comes to Rough Trade NYC tomoroow night. Brooklyn rapper Jimi Tents opens the show.


A Willie Watson and Colter Wall Sing-Along at Rough Trade NYC

October 26th, 2017

Willie Watson and Colter Hall – Rough Trade NYC – October 25, 2017

Sometimes at a concert you get a real feel for what things were like back when. Sometimes it’s because of the room: Walk into Carnegie Hall or Village Vanguard and you are transported back through decades of New York City live-music history. Other times it’s the performers themselves who seem to transport you back to a past heyday. Last night at Rough Trade NYC featured two such performers who transported the crowd back in time, evoking a country and folk music of another era as if it were brand-new today.

Colter Wall is a Canadian singer from Saskatchewan who evokes a country music of a time gone by. He began his set solo, with just enough croak in his vintage voice and acoustic guitar, singing, “If I’m being truthful, I only live at night” and covering Woody Guthrie’s “Do Re Mi” like he’d written it on his way from Canada. He was joined by a band—mandolin, dobro, bass—and continued to mix old-school covers by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Hank Williams with originals from his self-titled debut that evoked the same spirit with a little updating along the way. A cover of Blaze Foley’s “Oval Room,” perfectly fit into the set and had the crowd whooping and hollering. Audiences will clap or sing along and this one did that aplenty, but the stomp along is a bit rarer and felt natural at several points during Wall’s performance—you could imagine yourself back when in a barn somewhere hearing murder ballads like his “Kate McCannon” and stomping along.

Willie Watson has a voice and a love for folk music and, let’s face it, a name that makes it easy to imagine sitting around a campfire or revival tent hearing gospel numbers and old-timey songs mixed with storytelling and off-center humor. He opened with “Take This Hammer,” his voice infused with a slight warble as he stretched out syllables, letting them fill the room. “If you know this one, sing along” seemed to be implied from the start of his set, and the crowd joined in as he worked his way through a musical time warp. Watson has been playing and touring and recording these old folk songs for years—his new album is simply and aptly titled Folk Singer Vol. 2—and he sings them possessed of their original spirit. Tunes like “Samson and Delilah,” “Gallows Pole” and “Midnight Special” in their original form before they were turned into modern-day rock songs were stripped to their original bare essence in Watson’s hands. Switching between guitar and banjo (giving the audience what he referred to as a proper dose of “vitamin B”), the set was both raucous and poignant. Like any good folk show, there were sing-alongs, like “Stewball,” and murder ballads, like “Frankie and Johnny,” and, of course, songs about the feats of John Henry. Through them all, Watson’s love for the music and performing it shined through, taking the audience to way back when for just one night. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

(Tonight’s Willie Watson and Colter Hall show at Mercury Lounge is sold out.)       


Elvis Perkins Celebrates an Album Milestone at Rough Trade NYC

October 23rd, 2017

Elvis Perkins – Rough Trade NYC – October 20, 2017

Family reunions can be planned or impromptu, times of joy and nostalgia or pain and remembrance, barbecues or funerals. Elvis Perkins’ music has always been a mix of melancholy and jubilance, and so it was perfect for a “reunion” on Friday night in Brooklyn at Rough Trade NYC. The appearance was one of two anniversary shows (the other in L.A.) celebrating the 10th anniversary of Perkins’ breakout album, Ash Wednesday. For the show he assembled most of the original musicians and more, musical cousins and brothers and sisters joining together once again to make music and share memories and maybe make some new ones as well.

Like the album—and, really, like most gatherings of old friends—the show began with its most powerful, emotional moment. “While You Were Sleeping” started, as it always has, with Perkins solo, singing, “Time flew, the phone rang/ There was a silence when the kitchen sang/ Its songs competed like kids for space/ We stared for hours in our maker’s face.” One by one the musicians came onstage and began playing, bass and drums and backup singers and then horns and a four-piece strings section, the family together again and a wave of emotion swelling inside the room. To me, the album was always one of the more poignant responses to 9/11, but its happiness-from-sadness energy resonated just as strongly on Friday. The full complement of strings seemed to generate much of the emotion, at times eerie or chilling or sobbing.

With the massive band and the range of feelings coming from the stage, the centerpiece was still Perkins’ songs—lyrics as poetic and meaningful as ever—like “It’s Only Me”: “The white noise falls away to reveal the perfect day/ Where roses bloomed out of thin air and music rose from down the buried stairs.” After closing with a penetrating version of “Good Friday,” Perkins introducing the full band, goodbyes imminent, they added an encore of “Doomsday” from the Elvis Perkins in Dearland album, an unplanned moment, perhaps not everyone knowing the song but happy to linger and enjoy one another’s company for just a bit longer. Like most reunions, the event felt all the more significant by the uncertainty of when we all might meet again. —A. Stein | @Neddyo





The Soft Moon Wind Down U.S. Tour Tuesday at Rough Trade NYC

October 20th, 2017

Making experimental-guitar pop punk, the Soft Moon began as Luis Vasquez’s side project eight years ago. It started with a couple of singles and then a self-titled LP (stream it below) and an EP, Total Decay (stream it below), earning heady comparisons to the likes of Joy Division. Pitchfork said the music draws “from the coldest, most metallic zeniths of post-punk and industrial rock.” The material is the product of Vasquez—“I’m Cuban, so I grew up with a lot of Afro-Cuban funk”—and his surroundings—“There are no straight lines in San Francisco.” But while it’s a one-man band when it comes to recorded material, live, the Soft Moon (above, performing “Tell” live in studio for KEXP FM) are a three-piece, with the addition of Luigi Pianezzola on bass and Matteo Vallicelli on drums. Their most recent full-length, Deeper (stream it below), came out in 2015, and in a glowing review, NPR Music called it a “stunning new album” before suggesting, “The result is unnerving, but it’s also tenderly, eerily gorgeous.” With a new LP, Criminal, due to arrive next February, the band winds down a short American tour on Tuesday at Rough Trade NYC. As an added bonus, the duo Horoscope opens the show.


A Margo Price Storm Blows Through Rough Trade NYC on Thursday

October 20th, 2017

Margo Price – Rough Trade NYC – October 19, 2017

Predicting the next big music star is just about as easy as predicting the weather. Even with a lifetime of knowledge and the best instruments, you still get it wrong just as often as you get it right. But sometimes the barometer, thermometer, hygrometer and the Doppler radar all point to one obvious conclusion: It’s gonna rain. And for the crowd lucky enough to make it in for her All American Made album-release show at Rough Trade NYC last night, there was no doubt about the forecast, that’s Margo Price coming over the plain, a drought-killing downpour of talent and charm. Opening with “Nowhere Fast,” she perhaps subtly, perhaps subconsciously, was dressed as the Woman in Black, a modern-day outlaw country, with a more-than-meets-the-eye mix of soul, gospel, blues and funk to go along with the band’s considerable honky-tonk roots.

Price led her secret-weapons-grade band through the new album, the track order shuffled expertly to maximize the live-show experience. Pedal-steel-infused boot stompers like “Weakness” mixed in with gorgeous ballads. “Learning to Lose” hushed the hepped up crowd to near silence with Price’s voice filling the room, complemented by pretty guitar and pedal steel solos. She sneaked in the caveat that it was the first time playing a lot of the material live, but there was little sign of tentativeness or rust, quite the contrary. The songs showed off a bit of depth, both in sound—“Cocaine Cowboys” was as much Little Feat as Willie Nelson and “All American Made” was as much in the tradition of Neil Young as Loretta Lynn—and subject matter, songs about love lost and found replaced by deep storytelling with some social commentary proudly thrown in.

The band picked up steam and Price’s voice gained some extra torrential-rain power as they built the set to a head, finishing the album material with strong versions of “Loner” and the title track and then offering some crowd-pleasers to the already-quite-pleased sold-out crowd in “Tennessee Song” and “Paper Cowboy.” Here the band really flexed their muscles, drums and bass providing the thunder and lightning in a set-closing maelstrom, Price leaving the stage to applause while they rocked out for several minutes, just in case you hadn’t already appreciated their effort throughout the performance. That storm had passed as quickly as it had come, but for Margo Price, it’s easy to predict that it’s still just getting going. —A. Stein | @Neddyo


Weaves Bring Brand-New Album to Rough Trade NYC Tonight

October 17th, 2017

Upon bonding over music after meeting at one of her solo performances, Jasmyn Burke (vocals) and Morgan Waters (guitar) began recording demos in the former’s Chinatown apartment in Toronto. As they continued to flesh out more and more material, the twosome became a foursome with the addition of Spencer Cole (drums) and Zach Bines (bass), broadening their sound and launching Weaves with the release of several singles in spring 2013. The four-piece soon became an important member of TO’s thriving DIY scene, AllMusic calling their music “sharp and angular, but with a genuine sense of fun and exploration.” Their eponymous debut long-player (stream it below) arrived last year. “Exciting Toronto outfit builds on deconstruction, a remarkable feat of explosive chemistry,” said Consequence of Sound. “Weaves have put themselves at a compelling intersection of pop, noise and rock. They’ve created their own unique sound, and their self-titled record features more than a handful of fun, exciting songs.” Weaves (above, performing “#53” and “Walkaway” for Stiegl Hidden Sessions Studio) returned with their sophomore LP, Wide Open (stream it below), last week, finding the “quartet immersed in the world of stadium rock, cribbing plenty of influence from the likes of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen,” said Exclaim. “It’s a fairly drastic change, but one they’re able to effectively reconcile with their latent avant-garde tendencies.” The good people at DIY were also impressed: “Flinging open the entrance to yet more invention, there’s no stopping this lot spinning their oddball yarn.” Weaves make their last U.S. stop on their North American tour in Brooklyn tonight at Rough Trade NYC. Tancred open the show.


Daniel Norgren Ends U.S. Tour with Two Shows in NYC This Weekend

October 11th, 2017

Inspired by his dad’s local rock career—and by the romantic picture of America portrayed in movies—Swedish singer-songwriter Daniel Norgren (above, performing “People Are Good” at last year’s Pickathon) has been doing his own winning take on Southern-fried Americana, folk rock and bluesy country for more than a decade. (NPR Music says, “His rock-steady ragtime piano playing has a chooglin’ ease, and his voice would be right at home echoing off the walls of Levon Helm’s barn.”) Thanks to his engaging live performances and his recorded catalog, including 2015’s The Green Stone (stream it below) and Alabursy (stream it below), Norgren has already made a name for himself in Europe, and he’s currently out on the road doing the very same thing in the United States. His American tour closes out in New York City this weekend with two shows, on Friday at The Bowery Ballroom (with William Tyler Band doing a full-quartet appearance) and on Saturday at Rough Trade NYC (with Odetta Hartman).


Widowspeak Come Home to Rough Trade NYC on Friday Night

October 10th, 2017

Some bands grab you from the get-go and some sneak up on you, a slow-moving rainstorm or a creeping sadness. Widowspeak (above, performing “Right On” for Audtiotree Live) have always been in the latter category, their music a narcotic blend of indie and dream and a somewhat surprising dose of country twang. Mollie Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas have a growing catalog that, without warning, has filled out into an impressive collection, inhabiting its own sonic space, equal parts mood mover and rock and roll. Their new album, Expect the Best (stream it below), is the sound fully realized, the group operating in the studio for the first time with their touring quartet. In the live setting, Widowspeak’s slow grab is even more powerful, the atmospheric melancholy unleashed into something quite rocking. They play Rough Trade NYC this Friday for a hometown appearnce that, despite the warning, still has a good chance of sneaking up on you. Chicago trio Clearance and Brooklyn four-piece Air Waves open the show. —A. Stein | @Neddyo


Alex Cameron – Rough Trade NYC – October 7, 2017

October 9th, 2017

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com


Boyfriend Comes to Rough Trade NYC on Tuesday Night

October 9th, 2017

Boyfriend was raised in a staunchly conservative church in Nashville before heading west to attend UCLA. Eventually, she left Los Angeles, arts degree in tow, for New Orleans, and, upon discovering her considerable freestyling skills, began working on what would become the experimental, sex-positive persona Boyfriend (above, a remix of “Say You Will”) at night—while teaching during the day. She calls her genre rap cabaret, which asks the audience to consider it like a live theater piece. Boyfriend worked with Big Freedia on last year’s A Very Big Freedia Christmazz EP, plus they collaborated on “Marie Antoinette.” Her most recent EP, Next (stream it below), came out this past spring. “Tapping into a rock-centric vibe, the self-proclaimed ‘rap cabaret’ performer enters another dimension of artistry,” said Grungecake. But take that cabaret part seriously, because Boyfriend is best onstage. See her on Tuesday at Rough Trade NYC. Local multimedia artist Latasha Alcindor opens the show.


The Horrors – Rough Trade NYC – September 18, 2017

September 19th, 2017

Photos courtesy of Dana (distortion) Yavin | distortionpix.com


Two Chances to Catch the Horrors at Rough Trade NYC Next Week

September 15th, 2017

Inspired by garage rock, post-punk and New Wave, Faris Badwan (vocals), Joseph Spurgeon (drums), Joshua Hayward (guitar), Tom Cowan (keys) and Rhys Webb (bass) formed the Horrors more than a decade ago in Essex, England. Their debut full-length, Strange House (stream it below), officially announced their arrival upon its release in 2007. “The Horrors bring a dose of dark glamour to an increasingly anodyne British alternative music scene too heavily indebted either to Oasis and the Libertines, or earnest post-punk,” opined PopMatters. “They blend their twin influences of early ’80s Goth and ’60s garage to startling effect.” The Horrors (above, performing “So Now You Know”) have remained busy touring and recording ever since. The band’s fifth album, the aptly titled V—which, according to the Guardian, “drags their grand, gothic, garage-y noise from the shadows and recasts it in throbbing electronics, drum-machine pulses and the most fully formed pop of their career”—drops next Friday, but you won’t have to wait that long to hear the new tunes because the Horrors play Rough Trade NYC on Monday and Tuesday.


Blanck Mass Brings New Music to Rough Trade NYC on Thursday

September 12th, 2017

Benjamin John Powers is known as half of the English experimental drone duo Fuck Buttons. But he’s been doing his own electronic project as Blanck Mass (above, the official video for “Please”) since an ambient, droning eponymous debut full-length (stream it below)—recorded in his apartment and inspired by Carl Sagan and Ennio Morricone— arrived in 2011. “The shadow of his other band always feels like it’s on his shoulder, but that tension between his past and present guises is what makes this work so well,” said Pitchfork. “Blanck Mass is all about Power excavating new domains while still working wit.” The third Blanck Mass LP, World Eater (stream it below), dropped this past spring, winning over AllMusic: “Considering his legacy, it’s all the more impressive that Power found even more challenging places to go with his music, but World Eater’s focused chaos is some of his finest work yet.” In the middle of his North American tour, Blanck Mass plays Rough Trade NYC on Thursday night, and Egyptrixx opens the show.


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Jordan Rakei on 9/15

September 12th, 2017


Soulful-singer-songwriter Jordan Rakei has a new album that comes out next Friday, and he’s coming to Brooklyn to launch his tour in support of it, beginning with two appearances at Rough Trade NYC this Friday. Tickets still remain to see the late show, but if you want to hit the early one, which is already sold out, you just might have to try to Grow a Pair of tickets from The House List. It’s easy. 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 (Jordan Rakei, early) and a brief message explaining what you like so much about the New Zealand–born musician. Eddie Bruiser, a huge fan of the Kiwis, will notify the winner by Friday.

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Extend Your Weekend with Birdtalker at Rough Trade NYC Sunday

September 8th, 2017

Shortly after marrying five years ago, Zack Green (vocals and guitar) and Dani Green (vocals and keys) began writing songs together. It went pretty well, so they wrote some more. Soon enough, Zack’s friend Andy Hubright (drums) joined in on the fun, and the tunes sounded better with three people. Brian Seligman (guitar, mandolin and vocals) caught them playing outside and liked what he heard, and then they sounded even better with four people. So they became a quartet called Birdtalker. And a year later, the Nashville, Tenn., band was a five-piece with the addition of Jesse Baker (bass and vocals). Their first EP, the Americana- and contemporary-folk-filled Just This (stream it below), came out last year. “This is an intriguing collection of songs that very much reward close attention. And that is because there is so much in these six songs that you discover something more each time,” according to No Depression. “It’s not just the two founders but the whole band who blend these songs of several layers to maximum effect with great emotion. It’s a team effort. Haunting and different at the same time.” Check out the team in person when Birdtalker (above, performing “Heavy”) play Rough Trade NYC on Sunday night. Singer-songwriter Becca Mancari opens the show.