The Last Shadow Puppets Interview

There was a point in time where I started to wonder if The Last Shadow Puppets would ever return. The duo of Alex Turner and Miles Kane had been gone for eight years, understandably busy with their other projects. Thankfully, this year the stars aligned and the duo are back with their long-awaited sophomore album Everything You’ve Come To Expect, which was released last Friday via Domino Records.

A few months ago on a cold day in early February, I headed to the Ace Hotel to meet up with Alex and Miles, to chat over some fine cups of tea and talk about stepping back into the spotlight, the new album, how they work together as a duo, and what what exactly fans can expect this time around. I even brought up the James Bond comparisons, and what exactly it would take for them to pen the next Bond song.

Enjoy the full interview, which is posted below.

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1_Muse_The Prudential Center

On January 29, larger than life rockers Muse returned to the tri-state area with a performance at New Jersey’s Prudential Center, just two days after selling out Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The show came in support of their latest record Drones, featuring the biggest live show of Muse’s career, which is saying something for a band always known to deliver a bombastic live special.

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1_Oh Wonder_MHOW

London indie-pop duo Oh Wonder have had quite the young career. Staring in Setpember 2014, Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West (a couple in real life) wrote and released a new song every month on the bands soundcloud page. These songs caught the attention of music listeners and publications alike, growing their fanbase tremendously with every new release. In 2015, these songs became the foundation of their self-titled debut album, released via Caroline International.

On January 28 they stopped through Music Hall of Williamsburg for the first of a completely sold out two-night run in New York City (Bowery Ballroom came the next night). It was one of those shows where I, a 25-year-old, felt like one of the oldest members of the audience. There’s a youthful appeal to Oh Wonder, thanks to their modern approach of directly connecting with their fans, and an easy to please songwriting style that captures the best of the pop and r&b genres.

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1_Neon Indian_Music Hall of Williamsburg

On January 27, Neon Indian delighted a packed Music Hall of Williamsburg for a free intimate performance put on thanks to Converse Rubber Tracks live series.

Neon Indian frontman Alan Palomo and his band sounded as tight as ever ripping through the dance/funk tunes from his slightly underrated new album VEGA INTL. Night School, which Mom + Pop Music released last year. It’s amazing how far he has evolved from his chill wave days, becoming a master of his own craft.

Find the setlist posted below along with some more photos.

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1_The Weather Station_Baby's All Right

All photos by Emily Lembo

On January 27, Canadian folk group The Weather Station delighted an intimate crowd at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn.

The group, fronted by Tamara Lindeman, delivered tracks from their lovely album Loyalty, which was released in 2015 via Paradise Of Bachelors.

Our photographer Emily Lembo was on hand to capture some photos from their performance. Find some more posted below.

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1_Lucius_Gramercy Park Hotel

On January 26 the mesmerizing folk-rock duo Lucius took up shop at the intimate Gramercy Park Hotel, a secret show set to showcase material from their new album Good Grief (out via Mom + Pop Music).

I’ve caught Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig’s group before, but only as openers or brief festival slots. So this performance served as my first proper show from them, and what a performance it was. Mere feet away from the crowd, the ladies and their tight band performed tracks both new and old, delighting the crowd with their timeless sounds of retro-folk rock and soul. Wolfe and Laessig, in matching yellow outfits, command your attention with their powerful voices that are in complete sync, of beauty, power, and grace.

Find a gallery from the performance posted below.
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1_Julien Baker_Rough Trade NYC

On January 25 Rough Trade NYC saw two of indie rocks most promising folk-songwriters Julien Baker and Eskimeaux take their stage and break the heart of the sold out audience.

Julien Baker captured my heart last November when she opened for El Vy at Music Hall of Williamsburg. Her haunting debut album Sprained Ankle was as good as it gets, ending up as one of my favorite albums of 2015.

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1_Miami Horror_Bowery Ballroom

On a snowy night on January 22, Australian electo-rock group Miami Horror played to packed Bowery Ballroom, just one night after playing Music Hall of Williamsubrg. Their tour came in support of their 2015 sophomore effort All Possible Futures, released via Dine Alone Records.

Led by Josh Moriarty and Aaron Shanahan, the group powered through disco-rock jams that certainly warmed up the crowd through the power of dance. I shouldn’t have been surprised by how well that their sound translated live, but there was a power and tightness to their performance that you don’t necessarily always expect when dance/electronic elements are at play.

The show also featured an opening performance from local act MOTHXR, fronted by actor Penn Badgley, who you may know from his role on Gossip Girl or films like Easy A.

Find photos of both Miami Horror and MOTHXR posted below, along with Miami Horror’s setlist.

Miami Horror Setlist:

1. American Dream
2. I Look To You
3. Real Slow
4. Moon Theory
5. Cellophane (So Cruel)
6. Love Like Mine
7. Strandbar (Todd Terje Cover)
8. Out Of Sight
9. Wild Motion (Set It Free)
10. Echoplex
11. Summersun
12. Who Is Gonna Save Us?
13. Sometimes
14. Holidays
15. Forever Ever?

MOTHXR:

1_MOTHXR_Bowery Ballroom

2_MOTHXR_Bowery Ballroom

3_MOTHXR_Bowery Ballroom

Miami Horror:

2_Miami Horror_Bowery Ballroom

3_Miami Horror_Bowery Ballroom

4_Miami Horror_Bowery Ballroom

5_Miami Horror_Bowery Ballroom

6_Miami Horror_Bowery Ballroom

7_Miami Horror_Bowery Ballroom

8_Miami Horror_Bowery Ballroom

9_Miami Horror_Bowery Ballroom

spotify_featured

Taylor Swift made huge waves in 2014 when she decided to pull all of her music off of Spotify’s streaming service. Her motive was one all musicians and even real fans of music, in general, can understand: Spotify’s pay rates are terrible. For an artist to earn even a meager living from streaming their material, that material would have to be listened to millions of times every day. Even artists seen as highly profitable (like Swift), barely earn anything from Spotify’s royalty structure.

For many, streaming services like Spotify are the new form of piracy. After all, when you can listen to something for free in perpetuity without it taking up tons of space on your hard drive or worrying about embedded malware (like you do when you pirate via torrent), why would you stick with the old (and illegal) way of getting the music you want?

Streaming and piracy are real problems for many musicians, especially those who are hoping to make a living from their art without the backing of a major label. So how do they keep their work safe? Is there such a thing as creating something that is piracy-proof?

Security Issues

As many musicians’ popularity grows, the risk of being hacked and having demos, and other not-for-public-consumption files, leaked grows as well. It is imperative that, as a musician, you protect your data and keep your servers safe. Solid network security from Trend Micro is the best tool to have in your arsenal against hackers getting into your stuff and releasing it without your permission.

Security isn’t just important for your own server and the devices you use to work on/upload material. It is also important for any service through which you offer your songs. Making sure that sites like BandCamp, CDBaby, etc are secure is of vital importance to the security of your work and income.

Finally, having security at shows and on tour is also important. A lot of pirated material is created by people who film events and then upload that footage to sites like YouTube. Unofficial concert videos are another source of piracy that many musicians forget about (especially since releasing your music on YouTube is a great way to grow your audience). It’s also difficult to police because automatic cloud backups allow hopeful pirates to keep their files even if a security officer makes them delete the file from the device itself.

Obviously, you can’t confiscate every ticket holder’s phone. You can, however, ask that they put their phones away and make it known that security will remove anyone who tries to film the event.

Make People Want to Buy

Perhaps the best way to secure your files, music, etc. is to make people want to buy what you’re selling. Amanda Palmer gave a fantastic Ted Talk (and wrote a fantastic book) about this exact subject and it’s worth a watch if this is something with which you’ve been struggling.
Believe it or not, there is more to making people want to buy your music than simply creating good music. To encourage people to buy instead of steal your work, you need to form a connection to your audience. Unlike major labels that encourage space between artist and fan, interacting with listeners and helping them to feel more like friends than fans will do far more to discourage pirating than most of your other efforts.

Alternative Income

Finally, it is imperative that you not rely solely on your music sales to earn your living. If it were possible to earn a living via song and album sales alone, bands would rarely tour. Touring and putting on a great live show is one fantastic way to recoup income you might have lost to piracy.

Of course, touring is also incredibly expensive. This is why so many musicians also sell branded merchandise like shirts, buttons, stickers, bags, etc. Merchandise sales offer the largest profit margin and are the easiest to fulfill, especially if you work with third party providers like CafePress, Zazzle, RedBubble, etc.

The simple fact is that piracy is something that is going to happen. It has been a reality since fans found ways to replicate albums on their own. Nothing is completely piracy-proof. Still there are steps you can take to secure your files and to recoup the income that is lost to it. Hopefully, this article will provide you with some ideas as to how to do that.

Twin Peaks

Chicago rock-outfit Twin Peaks have shown a great deal of maturity on their grown-up new album Down In Heaven, recently released via Grand Jury Music. They’ve honed in on their songwriting craft, proving them to be one of the most exciting bands making their way up the ranks of the current rock and roll scene.

Next week they bring their always energetic and wild live show to New York for a pair of shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg on May 24 and Bowery Ballroom‘ on May 25. It will be interesting to see how the more grown-up songs work their way into their typically crazy sets.

Tickets for both shows are currently on sale, but I wouldn’t wait too long on securing yours. They’re bound to sell out closer to the shows.

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Young Magic

Experimental pop-duo Young Magic will release their brand new album Still Life tomorrow, May 13, via Carpark Records. The album is a special one for Young Magic’s singer Melati Malay, who used these songs to explore her birthplace of Indonesia both culturally and politically, revisiting her family roots and reflect upon where she came from.

The duo is currently on tour with fellow New York experimental rockers Yeasayer, who are also supporting their own new album. The two will bring the tour to us in New York at Irving Plaza on Saturday night, for a sold out show that is sure to be one of the highlights of the weekend.

Tickets are sold out, but keep checking closer to the show. There’s always a chance they sell some at the door as well. For now, enjoy “Lucien” from the album posted below.

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