Tag Archives: Williamsburg


Superorganism Leave Them Wanting More in Williamsburg

April 6th, 2018

Superorganism – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 5, 2018

Here’s a story of a lovely lady, Orono Noguchi, an aspiring musician who went on to form a supergroup to say the least. Noguchi moved to Maine from Japan to study and eventually attend college in the States, however opportunities arose in the most unexpected ways leading the singer to meet the Eversons, a band she very much admired, while on a visit to her home country. The New Zealand act kept in touch with the young singer and had record vocals for what would be the first single for a new music project, Superorganism. Noguchi graduated high school last fall and has put college aside for the moment. In that time, the band added two background singers with Ruby and B, as well as a South Korean background singer Soul better known as CHI in the band. Coming off the heels of a successful SXSW, Superorganism played a sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg last night.

Donning colorful raincoats, the band descended onstage to begin with “It’s All Good.” The diminutive singer took a swig of water before commanding the crowd to dance for “Nobody Cares.” Bathed in videos produced largely by band member Robert Strange, images of pawns and iPhones showered over the band. Ruby, B and Soul traded in their raincoats for fruit-shaped percussion shakers for “Night Time,” while claps ensued for “Reflections on the Screen.” Mini inflatable whales branded with the band’s name flew unexpectedly into the room from the balcony. Saving fan favorites to the very end, the pair of “Everybody Wants to Be Famous” and “Something for Your M.I.N.D.” ended the show. Although a short set, fans left thoroughly satisfied and full of glee. —Sharlene Chiu


Mallrat Closes Out American Tour on Tuesday at Rough Trade NYC

April 6th, 2018

Grace Shaw grew up in Brisbane, Australia—although she’s still just a teen—and began sharing her own original songs online in 2015. She took the name Mallrat from a song by the Orwells, and was later dubbed the Hannah Montana of the rap game” when her debut EP, Uninvited (stream it below), a mash-up of hip-hop, R&B and electronic music, arrived in 2016. “Her fresh and vibrant outlook on the most kitsch and mundane of everyday events makes for an interesting and, at times, surprising listen. Her lyrics are cutting and insightful, it’s easy to forget she’s only 17 years old,” said the Music. “The six-track EP is filled with simple melodies, quirky DIY beats, awesome production (particularly from Tigerilla and Rey Reel) and strong vocals—Mallrat really has it all and is most certainly going to be one to watch.” She’s been putting out some new singles this year and this past March, Mallrat (above, performing “Better” for Do512) made her SXSW debut. And before she heads home to Oz, you can catch her live at Rough Trade NYC on Tuesday night. Another precocious performer, Beshken, opens the show.


Ravyn Lenae Brings New Music to a Sold-Out Rough Trade NYC

April 5th, 2018

Ravyn Lenae – Rough Trade NYC – April 4, 2018

Ravyn Lenae is a workhorse. In the past year, she graduated from the Chicago High School for the Arts, provided support on R&B sensation SZA’s Ctrl tour and released her third EP, Crush, to rave reviews. Now, she’s touring behind the new music, which brought her to Rough Trade NYC on Wednesday night. Such a rapid ascent might shake the average performer, but 19-year-old Lenae seems to only have been buoyed by it. She opened with “Venezuela Trains,” off her first EP, Moon Shoes. The song, like many to follow, felt looser and lighter than its production-heavy recording. Even “Closer (Ode 2 U),” the evening’s first track off Crush, played jazzier than expected: The album’s producer is the Internet’s Steve Lacy, the man behind Kendrick Lamar’s Damn.

Lenae herself was an ebullient presence, with red hair and a red boa–wrapped microphone to match. Her astonishing vocal range dominated the evening—a rendition of OutKast’s “Prototype” transformed the Atlanta duo’s funky love song into something beautifully heartfelt. But the singer really came into her own on “The Night Song,” also off Crush. She sang, “I wanna be no one but me/ And all I really need is my own company.” Lenae remarked on the number’s deep relevance, saying it’s especially important “in this social climate” that women feel beautiful on the inside and outside. The song is just that—a joyous celebration of women feeling themselves: “Ooh I love my body, tellin’ everybody.”

“Sticky,” the single off Crush, followed, and was the audience favorite by far—a delicious, sultry dance track with Lacy’s fingerprints all over it. Lenae closed the set with a classic Chicago house song, an ode to her hometown and certainly to her influences. But leave it to the classical-music major to opt for the unexpected, ever the eclectic, the singer, ended the performance with an encore, singing a classic French chanson. Bonne nuit, indeed. —Rachel Brody | @RachelCBrody





Ahead of New Album L.A. Salami Plays Rough Trade NYC Thursday

April 4th, 2018

In the decade or so I’ve been attending Newport Folk Festival, each year there’s that one artist who sticks out, who catches you off guard, who makes you think, “I’ve got to see him again!” For me—and many others I spoke to—last year that artist was L.A. Salami (above, performing “Anything’s Greener Than Burnt Grass” live in studio for WFUV FM). Charming and witty and thoughtful and inviting, the London native’s demeanor and, of course, his voice, songwriting and progressive folk sound seemed to signal the start of something, the tip of an iceberg. And with his newest release, The City of Bootmakers, due to arrive in mid-April, Salami is back Stateside and coming to Brooklyn this week, appropriately playing at Rough Trade NYC on Thursday night. It’s a chance for his fans to get reacquainted with his music and for those who haven’t had the chance yet to say, “I’ve got to see him again!” by the time the night is through. —A. Stein | @Neddyo




Catch Jared & the Mill Tonight at Rough Trade NYC

April 2nd, 2018

Jared Kolesar (vocals and acoustic guitar), Michael Carter (banjo and mandolin), Larry Gast III (electric guitar), Chuck Morriss III (bass), Josh Morin (drums), Gabe Hall-Rodrigues (accordion and keys) all met while attending Arizona State University and formed the folk sextet Jared & the Mill seven years ago. Their first full-length, Western Expansion, came out in 2013. “As a debut album in a genre boiling over with groups hoping to make it big playing ersatz folk, Western Expansion is a document that seems completely genuine, Jared & the Mill offering something new in a musical terrain increasing peopled by those who favor playing it safe instead of taking risks,” declared PopMatters. Three EPs, Life We Chose (stream it below)—out in 2015—plus Jared & the Mill on Audiotree Live (stream it below) and Orme Dugas (stream it below)—each debuting in 2016—came next. And now having recently released a new single, “Soul in Mind” (stream it below), Jared & the Mill (above, performing “Lost, Scared and Tired” for Jam in the Van) are back out on the road. Catch them live at Rough Trade NYC tonight, with New Jersey folk trio Cold Weather Company opening.


S. Carey Thrills Rough Trade NYC with New Music on Thursday Night

March 30th, 2018

S. Carey – Rough Trade NYC – March 29, 2018

Growing up in Wisconsin, Sean Carey was literally born into music as a son of a music teacher and singer. Upon graduating from the college in 2007, he was in the right place at the right time having heard a little album by fellow Wisconsinan Justin Vernon and was inspired to learn all of the songs. He got the opportunity to sing for Vernon backstage and then his acceptance into Bon Iver was complete. A musician in his own right, Carey wrote his first album, All We Grow, under the moniker S. Carey, during a break in touring. After the release of his debut in the fall of 2010, Carey joined the Tallest Man on Earth as his opener. Since then, Carey has put out his third record, Hundred Acres, last month, and he landed at a sold-out Rough Trade NYC last night to serenade fans with the new material.

Following her opening slot, the very talented Gordi joined Carey and his band for the headlining set. Fitting in like she’d been in the group all along, her vocals nicely rounded out their harmonies. “Hideout” and the new single “Yellowstone” kicked off the show, and most of the set was comprised of the latest release. Carey took his comfortable seat behind the drum kit first on “Emery,” but would swap with guitarist Zach Hanson throughout the night. The evening’s supporting-player award went to Ben Lester on pedal steel, as his mastery of the instrument wove a sultry country twang throughout.

While Carey was tuning his guitar, Lester led the band in a rendition of Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk,” which instantly drew applause from the crowd. A trio of back-catalog gems, the Yosemite-inspired “Fleeting Light,” a bittersweet “Alpenglow” and oldie but goodie “In the Stream,” came toward the tail end of the set to the glee of longtime fans. An encore included Gordi’s “I’m Done” with the frontman dueting from behind the drums, and a cover of Tom Waits’s “Take It With Me” by a solo Carey. —Sharlene Chiu


Get Ready Because Noisey Weekend: Brooklyn Is Coming Your Way

March 29th, 2018

The end of this workweek isn’t just a regular weekend, and it’s not because of Easter and Passover. The Bowery Presents has teamed up with Noisey to bring eight diverse shows to four Brooklyn venues that you won’t want to miss. It’s Noisey Weekend: Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Steel

Friday: Los Angeles rapper Lil Xan (above, performing “Betrayed”) alongside $teven Cannon and Lil Gnar
Saturday: L.A. hip-hop producer Tokimonsta (below, stream Lune Rouge) with Leikeli47 and Deem Spencer


Music Hall of Williamsburg

Friday: Brooklyn rapper Young M.A. (above, the video for “I Get the Bag Freestyle”) alongside Creek Boyz, Yerr Eli, Koreleone and Funk Flex
Saturday: Atmospheric-psychedleic act Amen Dunes (below, stream Love) with Mike, plus a Margaret Chardiet DJ set


Brooklyn Bowl

Friday: Acclaimed Americana-Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers (above, performing “What It Means”) alongside Heartless Bastards frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom
Saturday: Dean Ween Group (below, stream Rock2) with Delicate Steve and Keith Kenny


Rough Trade NYC

Friday: California blues-rocker Hanni El Khatib (above, doing “Paralyzed”) alongside the Buttertones and Fascinations Grand Chorus
Saturday: Los Angeles (by way of Chicago) MC Open Mike Eagle (below, stream Brick Body Kids Still Daydream) with Tierra Whack


Darlingside Embrace Four-Part Harmonies at Rough Trade NYC

March 29th, 2018

Darlingside – Rough Trade NYC – March 28, 2018

The power of multiples was on display last night in Williamsburg. Instead of playing just one show, Boston quartet Darlingside decided two would be better and so we found ourselves at a late set at Rough Trade NYC on Wednesday night. Because it was the later show, they announced it would be the “loose” one, and the crowd definitely did their best to lighten the mood with plenty of whoops and call-outs. Still, with the way the band played, sharp and composed, the music felt anything but loose. The group employed multiple permutations of sounds and instruments over a variety of genres and influences to deliver a set that could best be described as harmonious.

Early on, “Eschaton”—off their new album, Extralife—combined violin and guitar with a harrowing synthesizer to create a cool room-filling effect. But it was the vocal harmonies of the group’s four voices that enraptured the audience, almost unnaturally pure, if you didn’t see them singing, engaging as a group around a single microphone, you might not even believe it was real. Those voices echoed a multitude of influences, evoking the past and the present, the Beach Boys, the Postal Service, Sufjan Stevens.

The combinations of instruments worked different moods and feels into the set. “Hold Your Head Up High” pulsed with violin and kick drum into ethereal spaces, while “Harrison Ford” felt light and limber on a mandolin melody and “Orion” was pensive in cello, violin, bass and banjo. While the band stayed loose, the music was tight, instruments and voices locked in like the perfect studio take. This extended even to the lights, the band bringing their own rig. When they sang about “white horses,” the stage was awash in the brightest white, and when they sang about the “yellow sun,” well-timed rays of yellow streamed between their faces. At times, the lights cast patterns on the ceiling, flowers and squiggles, transforming the room into an otherworldly place to match the voices resonating off the walls, a harmonious multiplicity of sight and sound. —A. Stein | @Neddyo




The Strypes Do Their Part to Keep Rock Alive at Rough Trade NYC

March 28th, 2018

The Strypes – Rough Trade NYC – March 27, 2018

Photos courtesy of Silvia Saponaro | www.saponarophotography.com

During the initial explosion of British rock bands in the early ’60s, it was pretty common for young groups to begin as carbon copies of the influences they were desperately trying to emulate. The first few Stones records, after all, leaned heavily on Chicago-blues covers, and the majority of the Who’s first album was a love letter to Motown. Each of these bands had templates they referenced before they mastered their crafts and created something completely different. The Strypes, out of Cavan, Ireland, started similarly. They experienced early success thanks to their throwback style that owed a huge debt to the early British pub-rock scene that predated the punk explosion of ’77. Bands like Dr. Feelgood, Nick Lowe and Dave EdmundsRockpile, and Graham Parker and the Rumour were all the template for them—and what made it most impressive was that these kids were all in their early teens. And man could they play.

Their newest album, last year’s Spitting Image, finds the Strypes expanding their sound a little bit more with a focus on lyric-heavy pop-conscious songcraft—not unlike their heroes Lowe, Parker and Elvis Costello. And it brought them to Rough Trade NYC last night in Williamsburg. To put it lightly: I was not prepared for what I was about to witness. The band tore into their set by absolutely pulverizing the classic blues standard “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.” They’re such a tightly wound force with drummer Evan Walsh thunderously dismantling his kit with each hit, bassist Peter O’Hanlon constantly pacing and jumping all over the stage, lead guitarist Josh McClorely stoically unleashing one perfect solo after another and lead singer Ross Farrelly—clad in a workman’s jumpsuit and big black sunglasses—commanding the crowd with a calm and cool I’ve-seen-it-all demeanor. The Strypes had it down, an image they could present and the skills and tunes to back it up.

The set flew by as they played material from across their catalog. You could tell each era of the young band’s career was specifically defined, as the pop hooks of new songs like “Behind Closed Doors” jumped out in the middle of their older bluesy rave-ups. The Strypes played for about an hour and a half before coming out for a brief encore that began with an incendiary version of Nick Lowe’s “Heart of the City.” If you are familiar with the Rockpile’s live versions of this song, then you know that I am not saying it lightly that the Strypes did it justice. The final number of the night was their early hit “Blue Collar Jane” before the band bid Brooklyn goodnight and turned off their blazing hot amplifiers. Maybe rock isn’t dead after all? —Pat King | @MrPatKing


Marlon Williams Brings His Stellar Second Album to Williamsburg

March 26th, 2018

Influenced by bluegrass, country, pop, rock and soul, New Zealand singer-songwriter Marlon Williams (above, performing “Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore” live on KCRW FM) has been making dark, atmospheric Americana music as a genre-spanning solo artist since his self-titled debut LP (stream it below) arrived two winters ago. “The national acclaim he’s had is hardly surprising: It only takes a split-second to be won over by the power of his unusually well-crafted country voice. He recalls the likes of Elvis, and Willie Nelson and Neil Young without aping any of them,” raved Drowned in Sound. While Paste added: “The fact that this record was made in the Aughts and not in the ’60s is mind-boggling. Williams’ voice may as well have time-traveled and spent an extended vacation with classic rock’s finest. It’s an album that leaves you wanting another nine songs so you can hear the end of the ‘story.’” Following a breakup, he returned last month with his second solo studio album, Make Way for Love (stream it below). “Williams explores the full gamut of emotions, and that rich and resonant voice is the perfect vehicle,” said Exclaim. “The result is a stunning work that will draw you back to repeated, if oft intense, listening.” The people at American Songwriter were also impressed: “It’s a bold, eclectic and audacious approach to the bulging catalog of breakup ruminations; one that emerges from the crowded field and shows Marlon Williams’ talents are just beginning to blossom.” In mid-tour form, he rolls into Brooklyn to play Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. Another New Zealand singer-songwriter, Tiny Ruins, opens the show. (Marlon Williams also opens for Brandi Carlile at the Beacon Theatre 4/5-7.)


Former Houndmouth Member Katie Toupin Plays Rough Trade NYC

March 22nd, 2018

You probably first heard singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Katie Toupin as the lone female voice in Houndmouth. But after five years, she amicably parted ways with the band to pursue other opportunities. And after taking some time off, Toupin (above, her live video for “Shake Baby”) left Indiana for Los Angeles and began working on new music. The move has also given her peace of mind: “It’s the first time I feel confident in who I am. It took settling down for a second to find that and feel grounded. When I first moved I was like, do I wanna make pop music? Do I wanna make electronic music? What do I wanna do? I was all over the map. I think being in L.A. sorta helped me own what I have, which is a Midwestern upbringing and a Midwestern mixture of sound,” Toupin tells WMUA FM. That sound comes through on her debut solo EP, Moroccan Ballroom (stream it below), which was recorded live without dubs or edits in one afternoon and self-released three weeks ago. “Katie Toupin has delivered a clairvoyant EP unlike any other. With raw vocals and uncut tracks, we are left haunted by her voice and simple approach,” according to Indie Band Guru. “Moroccan Ballroom is a jazz-dazzled apparition of love lost and found and is as unique as Toupin herself is.” See her live tomorrow night at Rough Trade NYC. Nashville, Tenn., five-piece Skyway Man open the show.


Moby – Rough Trade NYC – March 20, 2018

March 21st, 2018

Photos courtesy of Adela Loconte | adelaloconte.com


Knuckle Puck Headline Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday

March 20th, 2018

Knuckle Puck—Joe Taylor (vocals), John Siorek (drums), Kevin Maida (guitar), Nick Casasanto (guitar) and Ryan Rumchaks (bass)—rose up seven years ago out of Chicago’s south suburbs, mashing together emo and classic pop punk. Their first full-length, Copacetic (stream it below), which, according to the Plain Dealer, “defines pop punk for a new generation,” came out in 2015. The follow-up, Shapeshifter (stream it below), dropped last fall. “The sophomore record sounds like a concept album about change: changing relationships, changing surroundings, changing perspectives and changing within oneself, often without even realizing it,” according to Paste. Now out on the road in support of their new music, Knuckle Puck (above, their video for “Double Helix”) play Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. Arrive early so you don’t miss Boston Manor, Free Throw, Hot Mulligan and Jetty Bones opening the show.


Buffalo Tom Play New Tunes on St. Patrick’s Day at Music Hall

March 19th, 2018

Buffalo Tom – Music Hall of Williamsburg – March 17, 2018

With nine albums over the course of three decades, Boston’s Buffalo Tom have remained dependable underdogs in the world of indie rock. Releasing their self-titled debut album 30 years ago on the legendary punk and hardcore label SST Records, they cut their teeth alongside such other like-minded Massachusetts bands as Dinosaur Jr. and the Lemonheads. While they never reached the same commercial success as the latter group, Buffalo Tom have arguably taken the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race approach by quietly delivering great albums that stay true to their sound. The band just released their fantastic new long-player, Quiet and Peace, and rolled through Music Hall of Williamsburg on Saturday night to play a packed St. Paddy’s Day show.

Led by Dave Hill, Brooklyn power-pop band Valley Lodge opened, putting on a tight set with the comedian/WFMU radio host unleashing some insane leads and providing hilarious banter in between songs. By the time Buffalo Tom walked onstage, it was clear the crowd was getting loose for the holiday and ready for a party. The band obliged and treated fans to an almost two-and-a-half-hour show that highlighted their entire catalog. The power trio ripped through most of the classic album Let Me Come Over, delivering blistering renditions of songs like “Larry” and “Taillights Fade.” Main songwriter and guitarist Bill Janovitz’s voice was as powerful as ever on the former and stopped you in your tracks when he hit those high notes in the chorus. More known these days as a rock writer, you can tell Janovitz is a student of the classics as he windmill-strummed power chords like Pete Townshend and captivated the crowd with his deep, emotive croon.

The new songs sounded great and in line with Buffalo Tom’s robust catalog. The best of them was “Roman Cars”—sung by bassist Chris Colbourn—and it sounded like early Wilco covering the Jam. After a long set of would-be anthems, the band returned for a short encore before saying goodnight. The Janovitz-fronted number, “Freckles,” rose to new heights live, its slow build and clashing guitars were both transfixing and transcendent. Buffalo Tom closed the show with a faithful cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Only Living Boy in New York” that sounded like a last call from a bartender who wanted to keep pouring beers long after closing. —Pat King | @MrPatKing





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