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Conor Oberst has always kept himself plenty busy, but with the release of both Ruminations last October and Salutations this March (both via Nonesuch Records), the prolific songwriter has outdone himself even by his standards.

He brought his tour to Brooklyn on July 20 for a performance at Prospect Park for the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. The performance once again saw him backed up by The Felice Brothers as his live band just as they did last year during Northside Festival.

As if that wasn’t good enough, the show featured an outstanding triple threat lineup that included opening sets from both Hop Along and Big Thief.
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Preview: Hop Along at Terminal 5 This Saturday

By Will Oliver, March 16th 2016

Hop Along

Hop Along make their return to New York this Saturday night, opening for Dr. Dog at Terminal 5. The show will be a much larger performance than their last stop here, a great performance at Bowery Ballroom in December.

The band are currently in peak form live, delivering the tracks of their terrific 2015 album Painted Shut in an incredibly passioned manner that you can’t help but get swept up by. They’ve killed it every time I’ve seen them, so getting to see them play before Dr. Dog is as good as it gets.

Tickets for the performance are still on sale at the moment, but don’t wait too long, as night one of Dr. Dog’s two night run at T5 just sold out, so this show may be sold out come the weekend. If you get tickets, be sure to get there in time for Hop Along. You don’t want to miss out, as they’re bound for an even bigger breakthrough with their next release.

Hop Along at Bowery Ballroom (December 12, 2015)

By Will Oliver, February 27th 2016 — with 1 comment

1_Hop Along_Bowery Ballroom

Not many bands broke through in 2015 the way that Hop Along did, with their terrific third album Painted Shut making many year end lists and garnering the type of acclaim that the band has long deserved. I got to see them open up for Modest Mouse during the fall, but their sold out headlining performance at Bowery Ballroom would serve as my first proper live journey with the group.

Things started off right with two solid opening sets from Des Ark and Radiator Hospital. From there Hop Along took over and immediately took over the room and never looked back. On record their energy is urgent and contagious, hitting the deepest part of your emotional soul. Yet somehow their impact live is even stronger, proven by the crowd who sang along to every lyric that the raspy voice of front-woman Frances Quinlan fed them.

They were on point all night, even when they ventured into an unexpected cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Bombtrack.” I’m just real sorry it took me until now to experience Hop Along live. I doubt they’ll be playing in rooms the size of Bowery for much longer.

Find some photos from Hop Along, Radiator Hospital and Des Ark posted below.
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We All Want Someone’s Best Songs of 2015

By Will Oliver, March 18th 2016 — with 2 comments

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Artwork thanks to our very own Anthony Bauer

We look back 2015 fondly, one of the best years of music in some time. There was almost too much of it, making it nearly an impossible task to come up with my top albums of the year. Even worse, was choosing the best songs of the year.

Many albums had multiple offerings that deserved recognition, but I tried my best to limit it to one song per artist, except for a few special cases. It wasn’t easy to do a top 100 list, but it was fun to reflect on 2015 with all the sounds that helped soundtrack my life throughout those months.

Below you can find the list posted in countdown style from 100-1, and I’ve created a handy Spotify playlist in countdown order for your listening convenience and pleasure. I’ve posted the embeded playlist below.

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Will’s Best Albums of 2015

By Will Oliver, March 18th 2016 — with 1 comment

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Artwork thanks to our very own Anthony Bauer

We’re certainly far enough removed from 2015 now for me to properly look back at the year and realize how remarkable it was. I meant to get this list up in January, but as it does, life got in the way and things got delayed. Sure, I may have missed the “list” cycle, but that’s ok. Now with some more time I was able to catch up on albums I wasn’t able to get to during the 2015 calendar year, as well as give some albums the chance to further reveal themselves to me over time.

2015 saw an abundance of great artists converge to release new material, almost to the point where there was a consistently too much great music on a week-to-week basis. Worlds smallest violin playing, I know.

I already shared my honorable mentions for best albums of the year, and many of these albums were good enough to make a top list any other year. But 2015 was a really great year, and this top 50 list really demonstrates how much quality stuff was released.

Without further ado, here are my top 50 albums of 2015.
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1_Modest Mouse_The Space at Westbury

Back on October 22, Modest Mouse returned once again to New York, this time to Long Island, for a performance at The Space at Westbury. It was my first time venturing out to The Space at Westbury for a show, but it was on the whole a very pleasant experience. The venue is very modern and clean, and slightly more intimate than places Modest Mouse normally play (aside from that fantastic performance at Webster Hall last March, right when their new record Strangers to Ourselves was released via Epic Records.

As expected, the setlist did feature plenty from the new record, but also plenty of favorites from across their long and favored career. After seeing them nearly 4-5 times now, it was actually the first time that I heard them play “Float On,” and I’d be lying to you if that didn’t frustrate me a bit. I can understand that Isaac Brock is probably well tired of it by now, but it’s still a fantastic song. The long build up definitely heightened it’s impact, making it one of the coolest concert going moments of the last year for me. The regular set was about 16 songs before they took a short encore break before returning for a marathon 7-song encore. Brock is cool enough to let photographers stick in the pit for the entire show (they’re one of the only bands that have ever offered this), so I was close to the action and got to see Brock call audibles to his bandmates during the encore about which songs were playing, showing that it was indeed instinctual decision making based on their feelings and of course, the vibe of the passionate Westbury crowd.

As if getting to see Modest Mouse wasn’t enough, we were treated to an opening set from Philadelphia rockers Hop Along, who delighted us with a set of songs from their standout 2015 record Painted Shut (released via Saddle Creek).

Find shots from both Hop Along and Modest Mouse posted below.
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John McCauley at City Winery (September 7, 2015)

By Will Oliver, December 28th 2015

1_John McCauley_City Winery

On September 7 Deer Tick frontman John McCauley took over City Winery for a two night run. He shared with us some brand new Deer Tick songs as well as staples such as “Main Street” and “Baltimore Blues No. 1,” along with a duet of “In Our Time” with his wife, Vanessa Carlton.

The gracious 21-song set also included various covers, such as Tom Waits’ “Innocent When You Dream (Barroom)” and work from his two side projects, Diamond Rugs and Middle Brother. The night started off equally strong with an opening set from Hop Along’s Frances Quinlan.

Find photos of both John McCauley and Frances Quinlan’s performances posted below.
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The Cribs – “Burning For No One”

By Will Oliver, March 3rd 2015

The Cribs

British trio The Cribs will release their new album For All My Sisters on March 24 via their new label, Arts & Crafts. They recorded the album in New York at The Magic Shop along with producer Ric Ocasek.

The new label marks another shift in the bands decade-long career, and the change is evident in the tracks we’ve heard so far. Take the first song released from the record: “An Ivory Hand.” It comes off as a very 2000’s Weezer track with a relaxed California vibe. This vibe is also found on current single “Burning For No One,” and visualized for the music video, which finds the band of brothers stranded on a desert island. If the rest of the album sounds as laid back and easy going as this, we may have our first summer record of the year.

Find the video for “Burning For No One” posted below, and find the stream for “An Ivory Hand” right after.
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