Tag Archives: Williamsburg


Beth Ditto Is a Force to Be Reckoned with at Brooklyn Steel

March 15th, 2018

Beth Ditto – Brooklyn Steel – March 14, 2018

Beth Ditto is a force to be reckoned with as she sets forth sans her former band, Gossip. Pulling from her Southern roots for her first solo album, Fake Sugar, Ditto leaves behind power dance-punk for a more pop-rock sound that continues to showcase the “fat, feminist, lesbian from Arkansas” (her words). NPR Music put it best: “It’s become standard procedure to look askance at underground artists who take big swings at stardom. But if Beth Ditto becomes a full-blown mainstream star—as a queer plus-sized outspoken feminist with her own fashion line—it’ll come at the expense of every norm she’s spent her career working to tear down. Fake Sugar may be just the Trojan horse she needs.”

After an unfortunate cancelation of last year’s Rough Trade NYC appearance, Ditto returned healthy and ready to go for her show at Brooklyn Steel last night. Dressed in what she described was a “harlequin frog” jumpsuit, hammering basslines made way for the opener, “Oh My God.” The performance was a mix of the siren’s solo work and her past catalog with Gossip. “In and Out,” with harmonies that reminded me of Lucius, was a break from the largely dance-heavy set list, thanks to old favorite “Yr Mangled Heart” as well as new gems “Ooh La La” and the synth beats of “Open Heart Surgery.” As the spunky singer delighted the crowd with her humor, Ditto jiggled and pranced onstage affectionately referencing the burrito she had for dinner.

After reciting the tenets of a “Beth sentence”—never take yourself seriously and don’t do well in school—she led the audience in a sing-along of Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One.” All kidding aside, Ditto has used her music to define moments. Telling her story about being in London when the news of Trump’s presidential win hit, the Southern woman exclaimed that it’s the people who keeping moving on that define the times. “Power to the people,” declared Ditto before ending her set with “Standing in the Way of Control.” Following a brief stage exit only to return in gold sequins, the firecracker encored with a trio of “Heavy Cross,” “Fire” and a cover of “Dream a Little Dream.” —Sharlene Chiu


Get Your Weekend Started with Anomalie Friday at Rough Trade NYC

March 15th, 2018

After years of studying classical and jazz piano, Montreal keyboardist and producer Nicolas Dupuis decided to develop an new sound under the name Anomalie, combining his classical training with a fusion of funk, hip-hop, jazz and electronic music. Last year he released the EP Métropole (stream it below) on Gramatik’s Lowtemp label. “In these eight tracks Anomalie manages to showcase everything his music is about: incredible creative energy combined with songwriting techniques from jazz and a foundation of contemporary beats ranging from hip-hop to broken beat,” said the Music Essentials. And you can catch Anomalie (above, performing “Cresecents”) live as a four-piece band tomorrow night at Rough Trade NYC. New Jersey producer and multi-instrumentalist Birocratic opens.


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See the Midnight on 3/16

March 13th, 2018


On the heels of releasing Nocturnal last fall, bicoastal synthwave duo the Midnight return to New York City this week, and they’re playing Music Hall of Williamsburg on Friday night. Although there aren’t any tickets left, you can still try to Grow a Pair of them from The House List. And it’s pretty easy to enter: Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, email address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (the Midnight, 3/16) and a brief message explaining your best bet for avoiding overzealous St. Patrick’s Day revelers. Eddie Bruiser, who’s cleaned up more green puke than he cares to admit, will notify the winner no later than Friday afternoon. Ádh mór.

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Kick Off Your Weekend with Ella Vos at Rough Trade NYC on Friday

March 8th, 2018

Following her son’s birth, Ella Vos eventually realized she was experiencing postpartum depression, and ultimately she decided the best way to combat it was to begin writing. After the release of several well-received singles, the L.A. singer-songwriter’s anticipated debut full-length, the dreamy, electronic-pop-filled Words I Never Said (stream it below), dropped last November. “She isn’t just singing a collection of songs, she’s telling her story. From the first note of her hit song ‘White Noise that starts the album off, to the intimate lyrics of tracks like ‘Mother,’ Vos displays her unique perspective as both an emerging artist and a new mother,” said Huffington Post. “There’s an unparalleled depth that one would expect of a seasoned artist, which makes it all the more impressive from an artist debuting their first album.” Or as Earmilk so succinctly put it: Ella Vos (above, performing “White Noise”) is “the new force of ethereal synth-pop.” Now making her way across North America on her first headlining tour, she plays Rough Trade NYC on Friday night with London singer-songwriter Freya Ridings opening the show.


Nada Surf Celebrate Acclaimed Album’s Anniversary at Brooklyn Steel

March 6th, 2018

Matthew Caws (vocals and guitar) and Daniel Lorca (bass) met in school in New York City and formed Nada Surf in the early ’90s. Drummer Ira Elliott joined in 1995, and the trio’s first LP, the Ric Ocasek–produced High/Low (stream it below), arrived the following year, with lead single “Popular” quickly becoming a big hit. (They became a four-piece in 2012 with the addition of former Guided by Voices guitarist Doug Gillard: “The veteran player adds so much more punch and beauty to Nada Surf,” per Paste.) But it was thanks to their third full-length, Let Go (stream it below)—which came out in the U.S. in 2003—that the band (above, performing “Happy Kid”) broke into the mainstream. “Virtually every song on Let Go hits its mark in one way or another, dispensing consistently remarkable moments that range from the sweet minor-key swoon of ‘Blizzard of ’77’ and ‘Neither Heaven Nor Space’ to the sleek, bouncy new wave of ‘Hi-Speed Soul,’raved the A.V. Club. “Examining relationships, fruit-fly swarms and Cheap Trick lyrics with equally keen understanding, all while dispensing a disarming array of subtly endearing hooks, Nada Surf complete the evolution into a smart pop marvel before most listeners knew it had begun.” The band is traveling the world in celebration of the acclaimed album’s 15th anniversary, and the North American leg of the tour brings them to Brooklyn Steel on Thursday night.


Lola Marsh Launch New Tour Tomorrow Night at Rough Trade NYC

March 5th, 2018

Gil Landau (guitar and vocals) and Yael Shoshana Cohen (vocals, percussion and ukulele)—now joined by Mati Gilad (bass and vocals), Rami Osservaser (guitar, keys and vocals), Dekel Dvir (drums and vocals) and Ran Gil (keys)—formed the Israeli folk-oriented Lola Marsh five years ago in Tel Aviv. Their debut EP, You’re Mine (stream it below), filled with evocative lyrics, Middle Eastern guitar melodies and Cohen’s sultry vocals, arrived in 2016. Interview magazine says their “unique sound straddles the line between indie folk and electro-pop.” Their first LP, Remember Roses (stream it below), followed last year, sounding “inspired, matured and smooth. Yael and Gil have managed to free themselves from overwhelming influences—be it Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Nick Drake, Sufjan Stevens, Edith Piaf—and compose a feel-good soundtrack for the summer season,” according to Vents Magazine. “The album shines with suave romanticism and sweet nostalgia. Friendship, love and fears from childhood are recurrent themes that flow throughout the 11 songs.” Lola Marsh (above, performing “Wishing Girl” for Paste Studios) launch a new American tour tomorrow night at Rough Trade NYC. And singer-songwriter Hillary Capps opens the show.


Spend Saturday Night with Kolars and Escondido at Rough Trade NYC

March 2nd, 2018

Wanting to make spacey blues and disco-inspired rockabilly they call glam-a-billy, husband and wife—and He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister bandmates—singer-guitarist Rob Kolar and drummer Lauren Brown teamed up to form Kolars (above, performing “One More Thrill” for Jam in the Van) two years ago in L.A., putting out their eponymous debut LP (stream it below) in 2017. “This up-and-coming Los Angeles–based duo is worth watching and their chemistry on every track of the album is sublimely in-sync,” said Lemonade Magazine. “The more you listen to the album, the better it becomes. It is addictive. So for something that is not mainstream, the Kolars are blazing their own trail.”

Multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Tyler James and singer-songwriter Jessica Maros have released two long-players as Escondido (below, performing “Heart Is Black” for KCRW FM), the second of which, Walking with a Stranger (stream it above), came out in 2016. Glide proclaimed that they “soar with dense, layered arrangements.” And furthermore: “The ultimate result is an album that exudes both warmth and circumspect, weight and pretext. Yet it doesn’t get bogged down by its own importance either. It’s substantive to be sure, but it’s still the kind of record that can entertain at a party when the guests arrive, and keep the mood elevated until the company finally takes its leave.” The Nashville duo are currently on an East Coast swing with Kolars that brings them to Rough Trade NYC on Saturday night. Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist Aaron Roche opens the show.

Injury Reserve Close February with a Wild Show at Rough Trade NYC

March 1st, 2018

Injury Reserve – Rough Trade NYC – February 28, 2018

(Photo: Matt Kaplan)

There’s still room in rap for surprises and an Injury Reserve show is chock full of them. Last night, the Phoenix rap trio (two rappers and a redhead on beats) took to the Rough Trade NYC stage hiding beneath sheets, rapping through some verses over a haunted, witchy beat. The surprise here wasn’t that they were hiding under those sheets but that when they dropped a beat, jumped out and launched into “Oh Shit!!!,” the venue broke out into one giant mosh pit like a bomb had gone off in the place. Oh shit, indeed.

Injury Reserve may have the craziest white-boy fans of any group in any genre right now. Second song into the set and multiple guys already had their shirts off. The moshing occurred for more numbers than it didn’t, even for slower ones like “Washed Up.” Songs would begin, a circle would open and at the drop it would collapse into a pile of sweat, spit, limbs and fans spitting bars. This energy even took Injury Reserve a little by surprise—at one point Parker Corey took out his phone to record videos of the crowd. After a tiny intermission, the trio returned for a slowed-down jazzy rap version of “S on Ya Chest” then sped up the song in its second half. There’s something pretty hilarious about watching the audience selectively sing along to the lines: “What you know about a young nigga like this? What you know about a young neighbor like this? I did the second one for the white kids, ’cause I know you want to say it, but that ain’t right kid.”

Injury Reserve’s Stepa J. Groggs and Ritchie with a T beautifully complement each other, with the former’s loud boom of a voice contrasting with latter’s raps like yin and yang. But Corey’s beats are the secret sauce that brings the dish together, weird when it’s needed, hook-y on songs that call for a sing-along chorus. The rest of the show was one hard-hitting hit after another, running through “Boom (x3),“Yo,” “Ttktv” and, after tossing out a stack of money into the audience, ending with “All this Money.” There just might have been a riot if they hadn’t returned for an encore, so Injury Reserve (with a shirtless Groggs) came back for an even more amped-up version of “Oh Shit!!!” If the night had any overarching theme it was definitely no shirts and oh shits. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks


Joan as Police Woman Celebrates New Album at Rough Trade NYC

February 27th, 2018

Joan as Police Woman – Rough Trade NYC – February 26, 2018

(Photo: David A. Fitschen)

Joan Wasser has been creating music by the stage name Joan as Police Woman for more than a decade, but her life before then was already remarkable. Largely a violinist, first with the Dambuilders, she joined Antony and the Johnsons and then toured with the likes of Rufus Wainwright and Joseph Arthur. Her voyage into solo work was largely an answer to the sudden death of then boyfriend Jeff Buckley—more than two decades ago—as a coping mechanism. Fast-forward to Wasser’s fifth studio album, Damned Devotion, which she celebrated with an album-release party last night at Rough Trade NYC.

Playing the newly released record front to back, the singer-songwriter donned red leather pants and opened with the downtempo groove of “Wonderful.” It was refreshing to see a seasoned artist in her element sharing her latest work without too much nervousness, but rather a genuine thankfulness for the collective that helped produced the work. Throughout the set, she expressed her gratitude for everyone from session players to those who helped with videos and artwork.

Wasser also shared inspirations for songs, like how a recording from last year’s Women’s March turned into “The Silence” and a quote from her dad, who passed last year, became “What Was It Like.” Music has indeed become the solace for loved ones who have died. Her all-male band of drummer Parker Kindred, bassist Jacob Silver, and keyboardist Jared Samuels provided a backing choir on the album’s closing tracks. Without leaving the stage, an encore of fan favorites “Eternal Flame” and “Run For Love” concluded the festivities. —Sharlene Chiu





Phoebe Bridgers Backs Up the Hype at Music Hall of Williamsburg

February 26th, 2018

Phoebe Bridgers – Music Hall of Williamsburg – February 23, 2018

L.A. musician Phoebe Bridgers has been dubbed an artist to watch for good reason. Having released an initial 7″ on Ryan Adams’ label, Pax-Am, back in 2015, the singer-songwriter’s first full-length album, Stranger in the Alps, debuted last fall to strong acclaim. She supported the similarly attuned Julien Baker on her 2016 East Coast tour and will open for Bon Iver in early March at a pair of London shows, broadening her presence across the pond. Her music has been described as “impeccable—warm, cool, conversational, gently slurred—but her songs also swim in the self-aware obsessions and messy meanderings of an unquiet mind.” Selling out two shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg, this ebb and flow of composition was primed for the second show, on Friday night.

Opening with “Smoke Signals,” the heart-aching singer was dimly lit by twinkle lights wrapped around her microphone stand in front of her debut-album cover as a backdrop. The performance turned woozy thanks to guitarist Harrison Whitford’s gentle attention at the lap steel on “Funeral.” Same as the night before, “good friend” Conor Oberst joined on “Would You Rather” to the audience’s glee. Prior to a solo career, Bridgers played bass (but not well, she said) for her friend Haley Dahl’s band, Sloppy Jane, and covered “Wilt” with the songwriter watching in the wings. The room erupted for the rumbling “Motion Sickness,” introduced as “the song for Ryan Adams.” Opener Soccer Mommy and Oberst returned to finish the set with “Scott Street” as gigantic black balloons launched into the crowd while the disco ball fully spun. Covers of Mark Kozelek and Jimmy LaValle’s “You Missed My Heart” and Ednaswap’s “Torn” served as an encore to close out the show. —Sharlene Chiu


Get Loose with StéLouse on Thursday Night at Rough Trade NYC

February 21st, 2018

Denver DJ and producer Ross Ryan grew up playing in rock bands, influenced by the likes of Metallica, Tool and the Prodigy—one of those bands even earned an opening spot on Jane’s Addiction’s 20th-anniversary tour for Nothing’s Shocking and a monetary prize, thanks to winning a Guitar Center contest. Ryan invested his share of the winnings in a laptop and music-production programs and committed himself to learning the ins and outs of electronic music before posting remixes of songs—as StéLouse (pronounced: “stay loose”)—in 2013, followed by his debut EP, the rock-influenced Home (stream it below), a year later. Last spring, he put out an eponymous long-player (stream it below): “StéLouse took the initiative to combine his background in live instrumentation with his passion for all varieties of music to create his new self-titled LP,” according to Your EDM. “A compilation showcasing the producer’s talent and new direction, StéLouse combines elements from his old production with blissful organic sounds and teams with some of the hottest vocalists to create a whole vibe reminiscent of indie meets R&B with some electronic future touches added in.” See StéLouse (above, performing “Plastic” with Madi and Said the Sky) live on Thursday at Rough Trade NYC. No Sleep opens the show.


Starcrawler – Rough Trade NYC – February 16, 2018

February 20th, 2018

Photos courtesy of Adela Loconte | adelaloconte.com


Up-and-Coming L.A. Four-Piece Starcrawler Play Rough Trade NYC

February 15th, 2018

Influenced by the likes of the Runaways, high school friends Arrow de Wilde (vocals), Henri Cash (guitar), Austin Smith (drums) and Tim Franco (bass) have been doing their own take on post-punk since forming Starcrawler—“a hard-swinging stoner-metal quartet with a taste for ’70s glam and dazed SoCal sleaze,” per the Los Angeles Times—three years ago in L.A. Their catchy singles and feisty live shows (in Europe and at home) have earned praise from Dave Grohl, Elton John and Ryan Adams, the last of whom produced the band’s self-titled debut full-length (stream it below), out last month on Rough Trade Records. “They are raw, have attitude and strut with brazen impunity. For all their unabashed posturing, they could very well be the millennial Stooges; they’ve certainly got the demeanor,” said Exclaim. “In an industry littered with sycophants, Starcrawler’s brand of exuberant noise is refreshing. The future may be bright for these young guns.” Currently making their way across North America, Starcrawler (above, performing “I Love LA”) play Rough Trade NYC on Friday night. Sundown Club and Dr. Danny open the show.


Two Chances to Catch Now, Now Live in Brooklyn This Week

February 14th, 2018

About 15 years ago, Cacie Dalager (vocals, guitar and keys) and Bradley Hale (drums and vocals) met while in the marching band of a suburban Minneapolis high school and eventually began writing songs together and playing them with a rotating group of musicians. After a name change, the duo finally settled on Now, Now, and inspired by ’90s alternative rock, they’ve released two LPs, including 2012’s Threads (stream it below), several EPs and a pair of remixed albums, all filled with acoustic guitar and fuzzy synths. But after recently releasing some punchier pop singles, Now, Now (above, performing “SGL” live in studio for KCMP FM the Current) are back out on the road, and they’ve got two appearances this weekend in Kings County. See them opening for X Ambassadors on Friday at Brooklyn Steel and then headlining Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday, with the four-piece Mothers opening.


Shake It into the Weekend with the Funk Hunters at Rough Trade NYC

February 9th, 2018

Vancouver, B.C., DJ duo the Funk Hunters—Duncan Smith and Nick Middleton—have been mashing together old-school funk, disco, hip-hop and soul with new-school electronic music to make their own winning future-funk sounds that have been featured on big festival stages across the world for close to a decade. When they first began performing live, it was just mixers, turntables and video software, but somewhere along the way they started to occasionally add live instrumentation to the mix, to great effect. But either way, they’ll get you to the dance floor. And with just a few dates left on their winter tour, the Funk Hunters play Rough Trade NYC tonight, with the bass-heavy Defunk opening.