Tag Archives: Spoon

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It’s the End of the Year as We Know It

December 28th, 2017

With 2018 fast approaching, The House List takes a look back at 2017.

Adela Loconte, Photographer @adelaloconte
Top Five Favorite Shows
1.
At the Drive-In, Terminal 5, March 22
2. Arca & Jesse Kanda Live, Brooklyn Steel, July 6
3. The Flaming Lips, Terminal 5, March 9
4. PJ Harvey, Brooklyn Steel, April 20
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kings Theatre, November 7

Chad Berndtson, Writer @cberndtson
Top Five Favorite Shows
No music fan sees everything, and so much depends on the time, the night, the conditions—my ephemeral joys might be your disappointments. That’s part of the fun, right? Among scores of shows I saw in 2017, here are five nights that stuck with me.
1. Drive By Truckers, The Space at Westbury, February 10
One of the great live bands of the last 20 years has gotten leaner and meaner, unafraid of political jabs or paint-peeler guitar solos.
2. Explosions in the Sky, Capitol Theatre, April 22
Ominous music, loaded with portent, staring into the abyss or looking with a smile at some triumph high in the sky. Heavy, cinematic and deep.
3. Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons, Mercury Lounge, April 30
A master class in old-school, highly emotional rock energy. Still don’t understand why more people don’t know him, 30-plus years into a career of rough-scuffed folk rock delivered sometimes with tenderness and sometimes with Crazy Horse–like abandon.
4. The xx, Forest Hills Stadium, May 19
OK, I’m buying: Hipster as hell, but what they did was paint an outdoor venue in darkly beautiful soundscapes. The most fun I’ve had getting lost in a band in some time. They turn large, unforgiving venues into intimate listening rooms—and get you dancing.
5. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Music Hall of Williamsburg, November 20
Nelson has learned a lot from two musical dads: his actual dad, Willie, and also Neil Young, whom the Promise of the Real have backed on and off for years now. The type of show that defines the word swagger—a generous meal of rock, country, folk, blues and R&B by an old-school showman barely in his prime.

Dan Rickershauser, Writer @d4nricks
Top Five Favorite Albums
1.
Big Thief, Capacity
The one record I found myself returning to again and again. It was a shitty year, but something about this album soothed my sorrows. Adrianne Lenker’s songs feel personal yet completely pull you in. May she never let go.
2. Kendrick Lamar, Damn.
This may be my least favorite Kendrick Lamar record to date and yet it’s still the second best album that came out this year. The man’s a legend and the world seems to know it. It’s a good thing he’s so humble.
3. The War on Drugs, A Deeper Understanding
Adam Granduciel, the obsessive studio wizard, put out another beauty, this record even more gorgeous than the last. It’s the sound of rock perfection from a perfectionist.
4. Waxahatchee, Out in the Storm
Katie Crutchfield’s songwriting just keeps getting better. She comes out of the gates swinging with some dangerously catchy jams.
5. Grizzly Bear, Painted Ruins
Of all the great indie bands of the late Aughts returning with new albums this year, Grizzly Bear’s takes the cake. Way too many critics slept on this one!

Pat King, Writer @mrpatking
Top Five Favorite Albums
1. Jens Lekman, Life Will See You Now
I had never really given Jens Lekman a chance as a songwriter, but this year it finally clicked for me in a big way. I got laid off from a job that I thought I loved early on in 2017 and was feeling pretty lost and listless in life. I was taking the train from the city to upstate New York to help my dad with a few big projects and was feeling incredibly low sitting alone on Metro North. All of the sudden, I heard “To Know Your Mission” and was completely overcome with emotion. It was the perfect tune for me at that time and each song that followed helped me understand my situation a little more clearly. I couldn’t believe how wise and endearing Lekman is as a lyricist.
2. Mark Mulcahy, The Possum in the Driveway
Whenever the discussion veers toward musicians who have not been given their just dues, I always think of Mark Mulcahy. As the frontman of Miracle Legion and the Nickelodeon-sponsored Polaris (“ay-yay-yay-yi, Hey Sandy”), Mulcahy had been known for a certain type of feel-good college jangle pop that was certainly a product of the ’90s. What many people may not realize is that his solo releases have been more emotionally and musically rewarding than either of those old projects, and he’s been one of few artists who each album he releases is better than his last. Over the past couple of decades he has reinvented himself as one of the great American balladeers, with lyrics and a voice that can cut you down to the bone. This year’s the Possum in the Driveway is a brilliant testament to his powers as a songwriter and one that proves he is in a league of his own.
3. Pallbearer, Heartless
Pallbearer have always shown promise of being one the best doom-metal bands around. But with their self-titled third album, they’ve transcended the genre and gelled into one of today’s most exciting rock bands. The songs are slightly shorter (although still around eight minutes) but have somehow intensified their scope in a more epic way. With this LP, Brett Campbell has made his case for being one of the best singers in heavy music. His lines never reach the outrageous heights of some of his peers in metal but bring enough power to stop you in your tracks. The same goes for this record’s instrumentation. The songs never feel like they have too many parts or get played out to the point of metal parody. It’s just a front-to-back banger that finally cemented Pallbearer as one of the best around.
4. Björk, Utopia
There aren’t many artists who you could say are peerless in popular music. Björk is definitely one of those artists. Every time she releases a new album, fans wait with anticipation to see where she if she will be able to clear the bar she set for herself on the one before. Utopia is such a statement as a complete work as she tries to understand and find happiness in her life after exploring decimating heartbreak on her last release, Vulnicura. It’s amazing to hear her reach the same breathtaking heights as a visionary artist this far into her career. Bow down and give respect.
5. Robyn Hitchcock, Robyn Hitchcock
Robyn Hitchcock delivered the back-to-basics Soft Boys–style album that many of his fans had been longing for for years. Teaming up with producer (and ex-Raconteur) Brendan Benson, Hitchcock turned up the amps and delivered 10 near-flawless rock songs that reminded us why he is one of the most inventive songwriters around. His wit as a lyricist is still ever-present, but hearing him deliver guitar parts reminiscent of Underwater Moonlight on songs like “I Want to Tell You What I Want” and “Mad Shelley’s Letterbox” was one of the most welcome surprises of 2017 for me.
Pat King’s Top 20 Best of 2017 Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/126049064/playlist/2idgUHVCiGSJqKkwkfex8v?si=wewT–RFRfWWxEVV3rmWsQ.

Sharlene Chiu, Writer
Top Five Favorite Shows with “New” Artists
1. SZA, Brooklyn Steel, December 10

So if you haven’t yet heard of SZA, you won’t be able to escape her name anytime soon. Riding a debut album that has already produced two platinum singles, the singer played a very sold-out Brooklyn Steel the night after performing on SNL. Her vibrant stage presence was supported by the Sing Harlem Choir. Girl’s going places and you’ll see her next year at the Grammy’s, where she’s the most nominated woman with five nods.
2. Maggie Rogers, The Bowery Ballroom, April 11
When a video of Pharrell’s reaction to Ms. Rogers’ demo of “Alaska” went viral, she was on the up-and-up. Her performance at a sold-out Bowery Ballroom was not only a homecoming, but it was also a beginning of bigger stages and larger audiences. She became teary and confessional near the end of the set, reminiscing about the previous times she’d been to the venue as an audience member. After her pair of Bowery shows, she set off on a whirlwind international tour taking her to Europe, Australia and Japan.
3. The Cactus Blossoms, Mercury Lounge, July 12
The first time I caught the Cactus Blossoms’ noir-infused honky-tonk was at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco last year. When I saw they would be playing a late show at Mercury Lounge, I had to be there. Friends, I do not go out late on school nights, but for brothers Page Burkum and Jack Torrey, I made an exception. Their languid waltzes were the perfect soundtrack for steamy July.
4. Jay Som, Rough Trade NYC, June 6
A triad of Asian-American songwriters, including Mitski, Japanese Breakfast and Jay Som have been self-producing music since last year. The latter rolled into a sold-out Rough Trade NYC to charm the crowd with not only her skilled musicianship, but also with her charming wit. Som was recently shortlisted by NPR’s All Songs Considered in their year-end best of 2017.
5. Violents and Monica Martin, Rough Trade NYC, April 26
OK, this one isn’t technically new, but the pairing was. Monica Martin, best known as the frontwoman for the now-on-hiatus Phox, and producer Jeremy Larson aka Violents teamed up for this rare tour. Larson has collaborated with female vocalists before, but this one was special. Songs were paired with cinematic footage ranging from scenes from House Party to sweeping black-and-white scenery. What still sticks in my memory was a haunting cover of Frank Ocean’s “Self Control.”

 

 

 

 

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Spoon Deliver Career-Spanning Set at Brooklyn Steel on Tuesday Night

November 29th, 2017

Spoon – Brooklyn Steel – November 28, 2017


Few bands have been as consistently great for as long as Spoon have. It was a claim music critics might have made maybe five years ago, and Spoon have since released another classic album and another one after that, too. Last night the Austin, Texas, group sold out Brooklyn Steel for their first New York City show since the release of the much-acclaimed Hot Thoughts. Their set list could have pulled from any Spoon era and the energetic crowd would’ve been satisfied. Instead, fans got a career-spanning set, a welcomed reminder for Spoonheads that this band’s catalog is now a very deep well.

The performance kicked off with the Hot Thoughts banger, “Do I Have to Talk You Into It,” with the bouncy synth and keyboard arpeggios welcoming Spoon to the stage. They were backlit with intensely bright colors reminiscent of the Hot Thoughts album cover, alternating between warm and cool tones to match song spirits. For “The Beast and Dragon, Adored” the stage turned a hellfire crimson red. “I Turn My Camera On” began with an epic jam featuring some wobbly guitar harmonics. It had the song feeling almost like a reimagined early era Modest Mouse number (think “Dramamine”). Frontman Britt Daniel faced some sound issues with his guitar mid-set but they made the best of it. If nothing else, it provided the rest of the band ample time to mutate the typically classic-sounding rock jam “Don’t You Evah” into an all-out noise-rock jam.

“The Underdog,” a clear fan favorite, might be the closest thing we’ll get to a Spoon theme song. For a band cast aside by their major label early on, only to have a long career championed by indie labels, lines like “You got no fear of the underdog/ That’s why you will not survive,” sound like an epic FU to the major labels blindsided by the music era in which Spoon have flourished. Their encore kicked off with Daniel alone on guitar singing “I Summon You” followed by the early career favorite “Metal Detektor” off 1998’s A Series of Sneaks. They ended the night with “Hot Thoughts” and “Rent I Pay.” One more thing worth noting is the greatness of drummer Jim Eno, a man who doesn’t get enough credit. In a live setting, it’s striking how many Spoon songs are carried by an on point Eno rhythm. He’s a drummer in the spirit of Ringo Starr. In a way he’s the band’s ethos personified—nothing too flashy or over the top, just always on point, on rhythm and, well, consistently fucking great. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Adela Loconte | adelaloconte.com

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Spoon on 11/29

November 28th, 2017

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Beloved Austin, Texas, four-piece Spoon bring their newest album, Hot Thoughts, to Kings County this week to play Brooklyn Steel tonight and tomorrow. Both appearances sold out right away, but The House List is giving away two tickets to tomorrow’s show. Don’t have any and want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, email address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Spoon, 11/29) and a brief message explaining your favorite tune on the new LP. Eddie Bruiser, who’s still full from Thanksgiving, will notify the winner by tomorrow afternoon.

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Hamilton Leithauser’s Remarkable Friday Night in Williamsburg

February 27th, 2017

Hamilton Leithauser – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 24, 2017

Hamilton Leithauser – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 24, 2017
Call it New York City’s other sold-out Hamilton show, although this one showcases not a rapping founding father but one of the best voices in rock right now, the strained high range of Hamilton Leithauser’s, which will catch you off guard with its sheer power. “I use the same voice I always had,” he belted out in the closing lines of “Sick as a Dog,” the opener on Friday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. It was the first display of his voice in full force, firing off like the starting pistol for a remarkable night of music, the second of three local sold-out shows. Multi-instrumentalist and collaborator Rostam Batmanglij, Eric Harvey of Spoon, Greg Roberts and Stephen Patterson of White Rabbits—whom Leithauser had met touring over the years with his previous band, the Walkmen—joined the frontman.

They sounded like they’ve been playing together forever, a band perfectly suited for Leithauser and Batmanglij’s bluesy rock songs that fit perfectly well within the American songwriting canon. “If the man that you need honestly wasn’t me, tell me honey who could that be?” sang Leithauser in a desperate pleading voice over a wavering organ. With its lush sound, his 12-string took the slow-building “In a Black Out” from simmer to a boil and back to a simmer. He told the audience a story about attending a wedding where the father of the bride made a toast and broke out into “Wild Mountain Thyme.” Apparently an awkward affair for everyone else at the wedding, Leithauser fell for the guy in the moment, writing the tender song “The Bride’s Dad” from the father’s perspective. Knowing the song’s background set an incredibly vivid scene of the affair.

The catchy “1,000 Times” followed with hundreds of voices joining in for the chorus. Free-jazz saxophone and Batmanglij’s piano rambling like a rolling river closed out the set with “Rough Going (I Won’t Let Up).” Leithauser’s wife, Anna Stumpf, and the opener, Lucy Dacus, came out for an encore performance of the dreamy “1959.” If the Walkmen were the first act of Leithauser’s career, this collaboration is a hell of a second act, one that shouldn’t see a curtain call anytime soon. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com

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Spoon Sound Right at Home at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn

June 17th, 2015

Spoon – Kings Theatre – June 16, 2015

Spoon – Kings Theatre – June 16, 2015
It was a study in contrasts last night as the beautifully restored Kings Theatre in Brooklyn hosted the Austin, Texas, five-piece Spoon. One of the borough’s most ornate, intricately decorated performance venues showcased a band with a knack for the minimal. Spoon’s crisp, neat compositions sounded right at home in the grand concert hall, beginning with “Rent I Pay” and “Knock Knock Knock,” from their recent album, They Want My Soul.

While they have made this their specialty for years, on their new recordings, Spoon have grown even more adept at crafting catchy songs with hidden complexity, as evidenced by their performance of numbers from early in their catalog, like “The Way We Get By,” from 2002’s Kill the Moonlight, and “Fitted Shirt” and “Anything You Want,” off 2011’s Girls Can Tell, each song appealing and spare.

Spoon’s performance style has an overall attention to detail, highlighted last night by frontman Britt Daniel’s perfectly timed jump at the end of “Small Stakes,” drummer Jim Eno’s crisp and precise percussion at the beginning of “Don’t You Evah,” the interweaving call-and-response style chorus at the end of “I Turn My Camera On,” and the acoustic guitar’s soft tone on the gentle “I Summon You.” And by the end of the night, it was obvious that the band and the venue have something in common after all: an abundance of details and flourishes in both decor and in music, with some just more overt than others. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

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Spoon Make a Beautiful Night in Central Park Even Better

September 11th, 2014

Spoon – Rumsey Playfield – September 10, 2014

Spoon – Rumsey Playfield – September 10, 2014
Last night was perfect to see music outdoors, the temperature was just right and the conditions were breezy, not blustery. The same could be said for Spoon, the Austin, Texas, five-piece that made high-level rock and roll look easy with little bluster at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. With equal parts grit in his guitar and his voice, Britt Daniel kicked off things with “Knock Knock Knock,” off Spoon’s newest release, They Want My Soul. The crowd was a catchall mix of types: boozy college girls, graying rockers, new parents enjoying a night out, giddy Spoon geeks with tour T-shirts and a running set list on their phones, and everything in between. The career-spanning set appealed to them all, each song drawing excited reactions and sing-alongs from at least one or two happy fans.

The show hit its stride early with the clavinet-heavy groover “Small Stakes,” off 2002’s Kill the Moonlight, and “Inside Out” and its ethereal three-keyboard breakdown. The stage was set up with large white-sheet panels that filled with light and shadows. Each song was enhanced with its own color palette, the mood running through a rock and roll rainbow of sorts. So there was “Who Makes Your Money” in mellow pink with a matching bass riff and ripping guitar; summer-sun orange for “Rhthm and Soul,” a muted purple-orange mix for the chunky guitar-and-piano voodoo rock of “My Mathematical Mind”; and a particularly saucy guitar jam in green for “Got Nuffin.”

Daniel switched to an acoustic guitar for a couple of highlights, including the set-closing “Black Like Me,” which began with no color at all, murky shadows on the panels until a high-energy bridge in white, a mirrored pyramid suspended above the stage became a primitive disco ball as the audience sang, “Yeah!” along with the band. The three-song encore was, as it should be, highlighted by the hits everyone wanted to hear: “You Got Yr Cherry Bomb” in cherry red (natch) and a big, sing-along “The Underdog” in pretty much every color of the rainbow. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyphotography.tumblr.com

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Spoon Return to Play Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

September 9th, 2014

After releasing Girls Can Tell (stream it below) and Kill the Moonlight (stream it below) in consecutive years around the turn of the century, Spoon made the transition from underrated band to one of the bigger names in all of alternative rock, thanks to what AllMusic calls “a heady blend of precision punk and serpentine classic rock.” Their seventh album, the excellent Transference (stream it below), came out in 2010—Spoon have since blossomed from a four-piece into a five-piece with Alex Fischel (keys and guitar) joining Britt Daniel (vocals and guitar), Jim Eno (drums), Eric Harvey (keys and vocals) and Rob Pope (bass and vocals)—so it’s safe to say fans have been patiently awaiting the Austin, Texas, group’s latest effort, They Want My Soul (stream it below), which came out last month to some considerable acclaim. Rolling Stone called the album “an immediate grabber on par with the group’s best work to date” and added that the band has “always done surprisingly well on their own terms, in their own world. And that world sounds bigger and brighter than ever.” Spoon (above, performing “Inside Out” last night on Late Show with David Letterman) bring their engaging live show to New York City tomorrow night at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Arrive early to see !!! and Operators.

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The Best Summer Festival Starts Tomorrow Night

September 4th, 2014

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While it might seem like summer ended on Labor Day, not only does it last nearly another three weeks, but also the summer festival with the best lineup kicks off tomorrow night in Boston. That’s right: Boston Calling is back, and how. On Friday night, things get started with the National, Neutral Milk Hotel and Future Islands. And then the rest of the weekend is absolutely packed with Lorde, Childish Gambino, Girl Talk, Volcano Choir, the Hold Steady, Bleachers, Sky Ferreira, S. Carey and Clifflight on Saturday. Plus Sunday brings something for everyone with Nas, the Roots, the Replacements, Spoon, the 1975, Twenty One Pilots, Lake Street Dive, the War on Drugs, White Denim, San Fermin and Gentlemen Hall. So do yourself a favor and ship up to Boston this weekend.

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Boston Calling: Summer Starts Tonight

May 23rd, 2014

Summer this year officially lasts from 6/21 to 9/21, but the summer season runs differently, bracketed by two fantastic Boston Calling festivals—over Memorial Day weekend and the weekend after Labor Day. This Saturday and Sunday are already sold out, but the good news is that this year Boston Calling packs in even more music and kicks off a night earlier, with a full-on folk attack beginning tonight at 6 p.m. with Jack Johnson, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Cass McCombs.

And as things begin winding down at beaches across the land, Boston Calling returns with another fantastic three days and nights of nonstop music in early September: the National, Neutral Milk Hotel and Future Islands on 9/5, Lorde, Childish Gambino, Girl Talk, Volcano Choir, the Hold Steady, Bleachers, Skey Ferreira, S. Carey and Clifflight on 9/6, and Nas, the Roots, the Replacements, Spoon, the 1975, Twenty One Pilots, Lake Street Dive, the War on Drugs, White Denim, San Fermin and Gentlemen Hall on 9/7.

(Take a look at last year’s inaugural Boston Calling, above.)

 

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John Vanderslice Proves Why He’s So Likable

November 6th, 2013

John Vanderslice – Mercury Lounge – November 5, 2013


John Vanderslice has been making music for more than a decade, however I’m most familiar with his production prowess. Vanderslice has recorded such acts as Death Cab
for Cutie
, Spoon and the Mountain Goats in his two-room recording studio, Tiny Telephone, in San Francisco. He is the type of guy who buys a round of beers for his fans, and it’s no surprise that he is well loved by those who have collaborated with him. During the late show last night at the Mercury Lounge, Vanderslice thanked the audience for coming to watch him play at 11 p.m. Spanning his vast discography to delight new and old fans, he began with “The Parade,” from 2007’s Emerald City, and followed with “Exodus Damage,” off Pixel Revolt.

Turning to newer material, “How the West Was Won,” the first single from his latest, Dagger Beach, provided the joie de vivre of the evening. Fittingly the video for the track melds his music with all the behind-the-scenes “heavy lifting” that goes on behind producing a record. Vanderslice’s last album was successfully funded by a Kickstarter campaign that generated close to $80,000. Rewards ranged from a digital download of the album to Vanderslice marrying a backer (to someone else.) No one actually took him up on that, but a few got him to perform at house shows and one even got to record at Tiny Telephone. His Kickstarter also funded John Vanderslice Plays Diamond Dogs, which were given away as limited-edition digital copies. He played “Sweet Thing” and “Big Brother” from that cover album.

To cap off the night Vanderslice, drummer Jason Slota and sax and flutist Mitch Marcus came down from the stage to encore among audience members. Fans joined in on “White Dove,” singing along to the chorus: “White dove, white dove. What are you thinking of?” As Tuesday evening became early Wednesday morning, there was no doubting Vanderslice’s likability. No pretense, just genuine care. —Sharlene Chiu

Exclusive Video: Divine Fits Rock a Hotel Room

October 29th, 2012

Apart from his sterling work as frontman for rock stalwarts Spoon, Britt Daniel “wanted to try some new things and go some places I hadn’t gone before.” So he teamed up with Wolf Parade guitarist Dan Boeckner and New Bomb Turks drummer Sam Brown to form Divine Fits. Joined by Alex Fischel on keys, the foursome crafted A Thing Called Divine Fits, which Rolling Stone calls “their psychedelic, synth-heavy LP.” Here, the band plays “Civilian Stripes” exclusively for The Bowery Presents Live channel on YouTube.

In a room at New York City’s Ace Hotel, the guys in Divine Fits discuss the music their family listened to, meeting one another and when they knew the band would be just fine. Watch the interview: http://youtu.be/Kvknel_8MTQ. And subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live to watch more performances and interviews like these, and the latest info on our upcoming live-streaming shows, like Grouplove live from Terminal 5 on Friday.

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Influential Label Showcases Talent

October 19th, 2012

Merge Records Showcase – Mercury Lounge – October 18, 2012

Mount Moriah (Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

One could argue that no other independent label from the past 20 years has released as many instant classics as Merge Records. After all, they gave the OK for the Magnetic Fields to put out a three-album collection of 69 love songs, they introduced bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Arcade Fire to the world and they gave a rock act by the name of Spoon a second chance. So it’s safe to say that Merge is on a bit of a hot streak that might not be cooling off anytime soon. While any given day of the CMJ Music Marathon is a somewhat frantic race to absorb as much great music as possible, last night’s Merge showcase at Mercury Lounge, spanning almost seven hours and six different acts, was something of a cruel temptation and a great excuse for ruining the following workday by staying out past 2 a.m.

“It’s kind of hard to follow your label boss, though I’m sure he’d hate to be called that,” said Eleanor Friedberger, taking the stage after a set from Superchunk frontman and Merge Records cofounder Mac McCaughan. Friedberger played a solo acoustic set with some “in the works” new material that could come out early next year. She was followed by a searing set from Mount Moriah. “We’re Mount Moriah. We’re from Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and we’re really excited to put some records out on Merge,” said lead singer Heather McEntire. The set sampled songs off their self-titled debut, as well as some new tunes from their upcoming album. The band’s sound is familiar yet unique, a strange combination of all genres Americana (blues, rock, country, soul, gospel).

It makes sense that as of September they’re sharing a label with acts like Lambchop, self-proclaimed “Nashville’s most fuckedup country band.” Between Mount Moriah and another recent Merge signee (and show opener), William Tyler, it will be interesting to see if the label can continue to push the boundaries of country music, bringing this strange new iteration of the genre to music fans usually repulsed by the word country. “We’ve been listening to a lot of the Allman Brothers Band—I don’t know if you could tell,” said McEntire after firing through a particularly bluesy-rock new song. You could tell, but this was a very good thing. If the past is any indicator, 2013 should be a huge year for some or even all of these bands. And if the performances last night are any indicator, it probably will be. —Dan Rickershauser

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Divine Fits Hit Webster Hall Sunday Night

October 19th, 2012

How often have you had a conversation with someone at a concert about doing something in the future that never came to fruition? Fortunately, when Spoon frontman Britt Daniel ran into Wolf Parade guitarist Dan Boeckner at a show, their discussion of forming a band together didn’t fall by the wayside. Sure, it took a little bit of time, but the payoff—joining together with New Bomb Turks drummer Sam Brown to form Divine Fits—was more than worth it. With the help of Alex Fischel on keys, the trio put out an album, the very well-received A Thing Called Divine Fits (stream it below), in late August. And despite this seeming like it could be a one-off experience, Pitchfork says Bockener and Daniel say it’s an ongoing project “and rock fans should hope they stick to their promise.” But even if they don’t, you can still see Divine Fits (above, playing “My Love Is Real” for Studio Q) at Webster Hall on Sunday.

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Spoon – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 13, 2010

September 14th, 2010

Spoon - Music Hall of Williamsburg - September 13, 2010

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Macchiarelli | www.jennylow.com

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A Fire in the Garden

August 6th, 2010

Arcade Fire – Madison Square Garden – August 5, 2010

(Photo: Mina K)

(Photo: Mina K)

Both physically and symbolically, Madison Square Garden represents the center of entertainment in New York City. Elongated posters of iconic images remind visitors of the venue’s historic past in sports, music and, yes, the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. By the shear force of its name, MSG amplifies all events it houses. So when Arcade Fire booked not one but two headlining dates this August, expectations abounded.

The Canada-based indie-rock band is responsible for two outstanding records, Funeral and Neon Bible, and they released their third album, The Suburbs, this week. While this is a relatively small discography for a band scheduled to sell out “the World’s Most Famous Arena,” songs like “Wake Up” have permeated the mainstream. On Thursday night against any and all doubts, Arcade Fire delivered an unforgettable performance.

Supported by openers Owen Pallett and indie-rock veterans Spoon, Arcade Fire filled the venue with their triumphant songs, boundless energy and wholly transfixed fans. All nine members of the touring band dressed like an advertisement for individuality. In addition to frontman Win Butler’s fawned-over-on-the-Internet haircut, Régine Chassagne wore a sequined dress and Richard Reed Parry seemed to have found one of David Bowie’s vintage jumpsuits. Their appearance, as well as Terry Gilliam’s simultaneous live Webcast, acted as a show within a show. This, however, was secondary to the group’s incredible renditions of anthems “Rebellion (Lies),” “Keep the Car Running” and “Intervention.” There was an urgency and awareness to their performance, which truly connected with the audience. At the end of their encore featuring “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels),” it strangely felt as if MSG wasn’t big enough for Arcade Fire. —Jared Levy

(Check out highlights of this show here.)