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1_Craft Spells_Brooklyn Night Bazaar

Saturday night featured a great night of free music at the always festive Brooklyn Night Bazaar. Craft Spells were headliners, with support comings from The Bilinda ButchersFoxes In Fiction, and Heavenly Beat. Unfortunately Foxes In Fiction’s Warren Hildebrand was under the weather and had to cancel, but even so, the trio of bands made for a memorable night of free music for fans of all ages (it was a very young crowd).
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Björk at Carnegie Hall (March 14, 2015)

By Will Oliver, March 15th 2015

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Icelandic wonder Björk has used New York City as her personal performance space in many ways this month. From the retrospective exhibit of hers currently available to view at Museum of Modern Art, to her series of seven sold out concerts across prestigious New York City theaters (Carnegie Hall, The Kings Theatre, and New York City Center). Björk currently has a firm grip on the city.

The set of New York shows are a part of the exclusive tour for her beautiful new album Vulnicura. Yesterday Björk played her second show of the series at Carnegie Hall (where the first was also held), an usual matinee show that kicked off promptly at noon. This was my first time ever stepping foot in the historic Carnegie Hall, and I can’t possibly think of a better first artist to see there.

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Björk came out wearing a lovely long dress, with her faced concealed in the same headpiece made of quills found on the colorful Vulnicura album cover. She was joined by the 15-piece string orchestra Alarm Will Sound, as well as producer, and Vulnicura collaborater Arca (Alejandro Ghersi) and drummer Manu Delgado. Together they formed an incredible live team that majestically brought the sounds of Björk to life in stunning intimate fashion.

The performance was broken up into two sections, with the first being the first six songs from Vulnicura played in order. Arca and Delgado brought the electronic and rhythmic side to life, but it was the string orchestration from Alarm Will Sound that gave her performance an incredible amount of beauty and grace. Their presence made each song even more of an emotional wallop that often left the crowd on the verge of tears, especially with the 10-minute stunner that is “Family.”


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After a 20-minute intermission (I think LCD Soundsystem’s farewell show at MSG was the last show I went to with one) she returned to the stage without her mask and turned back the clock to some of her older beloved material such as “Harm Of Will,” “The Pleasure Is All Mine, “Undo” and “Come To Me.” She also returned to Vulnicura playing “Quicksand” and “Mouth Mantra,” leaving “Atom Dance” as the odd song out, probably because Antony Hegarty wasn’t able to make the show.

You go into seeing a big time performer such as Björk differently, with with weighty expectations that seem nearly impossible to be filled. But we go into these shows with a different mind set because they truly are unique excursions that take your mind, body, and soul, and transport them to a totally different place that only these artists can summon. For a large scale show it felt very personal and intimate, leaving me in a bewildered trance that I couldn’t shake. I don’t know if I’ll experience another show quite like it this year.

Björk Setlist:

1. Stonemilker
2. Lionsong
3. History of Touches
4. Black Lake
5. Family
6. Notget

Intermission:

7. Pleasure Is All Mine
8. Come to Me
9. Undo
10. I See Who You Are
11. Quicksand
12. Mouth Mantra

Encore:

13. Harm of Will
14. Wanderlust

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The Cribs at Mercury Lounge (March 11, 2015)

By Will Oliver, March 12th 2015

1_The Cribs_Mercury Lounge

Man was it good to finally catch The Cribs live again. Before last nights intimate showing at Mercury Lounge, the last time I caught the British trio was in 2007, a hearty eight years ago. A lot of time has passed since then, but The Cribs have stayed strong throughout, expanding their sound in more ways than I ever expected.

The Jarman brother trio are gearing up to release their brand new album (their sixth) For All My Sisters on March 24 via Arts & Crafts. The show at Mercury Lounge was their first show in New York in three years, and the first of a sold out three night run, with the other shows happening at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right and Saint Vitus, on Friday and Saturday respectfully.

1_Cold Fronts_Mercury Lounge
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[new]: Mew – “Water Slides”

By Will Oliver, March 11th 2015

Mew

Danish rockers Mew will return with new album +/- on April 28 via Play It Again Sam. It’s the first album from them in six years (since 2009’s No More Stories Are Told Today…).

Today they released a new album cut called “Water Slides.” They released an edited version of the a peaceful meditative track, one that captures a truly dreamy and mesmerizing atmosphere that is all around pleasant. This follows the previously released first single “Satellites” which was a bit more large-scale.

Find both “Water Slides” and “Satellites” posted below. Hopefully we’ll get some new U.S. tour dates soon, aside from their stops at SXSW.
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Death Cab For Cutie

When I saw Death Cab for Cutie play a surprise show at Music Hall of Williamsburg in January, they played a few new cuts off their soon to be released album Kintsugi (March 31 via Atlantic Records). One of them was a song by the name of “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive.”

It stood out to be because of the amount of sharp bite that it had live, while interestingly also finding ways to trickle in a more airy atmosphere with the help of some electronic influences. I was excited to see how the recorded version turned out, and I’m happy to say that they were able to capture that same live energy on the recording.

Stream “The Ghosts of Beverly Drive” below, along with “No Room In Frame,” the previously released album track. You can hear first single “Black Sun” here.
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[new]: Tame Impala – “Let It Happen”

By Will Oliver, March 10th 2015

Tame Impala

Today Tame Impala surprised us all with a brand new song called “Let It Happen.” The song was made available as a free download on their website and is the first song off their new album, which we can expect later this year.

“Let It Happen” is a nearly 8-minute extravaganza that goes off a funky 70’s-inspired psych groove that it’s constantly weaving in and out of. The band is leaning towards a more electronic sound, but that stoned Tame Impala glaze is still very much there. This one builds and builds, and when that big climatic break occurs, it’s total a blissful dream. It’s damn good to hear those dreamy Kevin Parker vocals again.

It’s exciting to see Parker pushing the boundaries of what Tame Impala can do as a band even further. This is just the album’s opener too…imagine what else awaits for us.

Stream “Let It Happen” below, and catch some newly announced tour dates below. Head here to check out photos + a recap of their show at The Beacon Theatre last November.
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1_Catfish and the Bottlemen_Bowery Ballroom

There’s nothing quite like catching a young band on the verge of some pretty major breakout success. Sometimes you have no clue that the band you’re seeing will someday become huge rock stars, but sometimes you go into a show fully knowing that you’re fortunate enough to see the band at a intimate showing, something that will soon be impossible to replicate. I’d say that was the case last night at hot-rising English group Catfish and the Bottlemen’s sold out gig at Bowery Ballroom.
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Ryley Walker – “Sweet Satisfaction”

By Will Oliver, March 9th 2015

Ryley Walker

The power of Chicago singer-songwriter Ryley Walker can be immediately felt when embarking on one of his songs. Take “Sweet Satisfaction,” the latest track taken from his new album Primrose Green, out via Dead Oceans on March 31.

It’s hard not to get lost in the rawness of his Americana-draw vocal performance on “Sweet Satisfaction,” one that’s very distinctly unique to him. Or the impressive guitar playing that creates a layered dizzying effect, not the sort of thing that normally comes to mind for an artist that most are labeling under the folk-rock genre. At age 25, Ryley Walker has already formed into his own identity, seemingly way beyond his time.

It’s the 2nd track shared from Primrose Green, with the first being the title track, a more lush, springtime-ready affair. If these tracks are any indication, Primrose Green is going to be an album we will be playing all spring.

Find both songs posted below, along with Walker’s upcoming tour dates, some of which also include Kevin Morby (including Baby’s All Right this Sunday, March 15 – tickets are still available)
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1_The Growlers_Baby's All Right

The Growlers may be from Santa Ana, California, but for the past five nights, the band has taken over Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right for a set of sold out shows. On Saturday night I caught the fourth show of the residency, a very late night set that ran almost to 3 a.m. (or 4 a.m. with daylight savings). It was very much a party all around, with a lively set from openers Broncho.
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