There’s not much better than getting a new song out of the blue from one of your favorite bands. We got that today with a brand new single from The National called “Sunshine On My Back.” It’s not the first single of a new album, but rather a leftover from the Trouble Will Find Me sessions and it’s being included as a bonus for fans who purchase the bands documentary Mistaken For Strangers.
It’s a beautiful sweeping track that features the always fantastic Sharon Van Etten on backing vocals. It’s a great song, but I can sort of understand why it was left of the album. Not a knock on it, but stylistically it doesn’t seem to fit as well.
As a fan of Alt-J, even I was caught off guard when they announced that they were playing Madison Square Garden. They only just released their debut album An Awesome Wave three years ago. But with the release of their sophomore album This Is All Yous last year, the Leeds-based group have only gotten bigger and bigger with each passing moment. It took some of today’s prolific acts such as Arctic Monkeys nearly double that amount time to finally grace the stage of the world’s most famous arena, so many people doubted that Alt-J were ready for these huge leap into the big time. Last night they proved all the doubters wrong as they not only sold out The Garden, but they put on a bold and confident performance that filled out the large space with ease.
The night was started with a set from Phantogram, the New York duo of Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter. Their career arc isn’t too different from Alt-J, starting from humble beginnings (Barsuk Records), and now one of the more popular acts in the game (they’re now on Republic Records). They got the show started with a energetic set that saw many of their own fans in the crowd, just as eager to see them as Alt-J. No surprise, as Phantogram always deliver a thunderous live performance led by Barhel’s mesmerizing vocals and a electronic-rock hybrid sound that hits like a hammer. This was my first time seeing them since their set at Governors Ball three years ago, so I’d say I’m long overdue to catch a proper Phantogram show of their own someday. Read the rest of this entry »
On Saturday night Baby’s All Right hosted a triple bill featuring Wand, Babes and Scully, an epic night of rock and roll that probably left a few members of the crowd left with a slight case of tinnitus. The tour was a part of Wand’s tour in support of their newly released album Golem (out via In The Red Records). Read the rest of this entry »
On Saturday night German folk-duo Milky Chance stopped by Music Hall of Williamsburg as a part of their giant U.S. tour which includes two more upcoming sold out shows at Webster Hall this week (Tues, March 31 + Wed, April 1), and eventually a much less intimate Central Park SummerStage later this summer.
Dana Pacifico was in attendance on Saturday night for the hot-rising band’s set, and will actually be returning for a second dose tomorrow night. Enjoy the photos from Saturday night below, and stay tuned for more photos from their Webster Hall show later in the week. Read the rest of this entry »
On Friday night indie-supergroup Diamond Rugs stopped in to Bowery Ballroom for a night of rock along with New Madrid and Justin Collins, who opened the show. The stop came as a part of their tour for new album Cosmetics, which was released in February via Sycamore Records/Thirty Tigers/RED.
Diamond Rugs flashes an impressive lineup featuring John McCauley of Deer Tick, Ian St. Pé formerly of Black Lips, T. Hardy Morris of Dead Confederate, Bryan Defresne of Six Finger Satellite, and Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. Live, the group tore through a beer-soaked set of tunes from both Cosmetics and their 2011 debut album.
The crowd at Bowery Ballroom was a much older one than I usually see, all with a drunken energy that saw them singing along all the way, while the band rocked out earnestly. The refreshing thing about Diamond Rugs is that even with all the rock and roll talent up there, they played as a real band, not as a super group with various leading egos. It was good to see, and really makes a huge difference. The end of the set saw them joined by opening act Justin Collins (and producer of both their albums) who helped elevate the finale of the show even further.
If you’re looking for a good old fashioned rock and roll show, go find Diamond Rugs when they stop into a city near you. Good thing for you New Yorkers, they’re coming back on April 11 for a show at Brooklyn Bowl. Tickets are still on sale for that show, which is bound to be a party.
Find more photos from their show posted below along with the setlist:
You don’t see the sort of instant success that Canadian artist Tobias Jesso Jr. is currently experiencing all that often. What makes his quick rise among the ranks so amazing is how naturally it unfolded. He released a few songs last year, which got heavy praise from publications and blogs alike. He played Pitchfork Paris, and soon was playing late night TV with The Roots. For those knew to Jesso Jr. it probably seems like he came out of no where and is suddenly everywhere all at once.
Jesso Jr.’s songs are instantly contagious, memorable, and likable. The thing is, 6’7 tall Jesso Jr. is an extremely pleasant and likable presence, quick to tell a joke and always sporting a contagious smile. You can’t help but take a liking to Jesso Jr., it also helps that he’s releasing some great tunes along the way.
He just released his debut album Goon on True Panther Sounds, and it’s been one of the best reviewed albums of the year so far (rightfully so). This week he made his return to New York City for his first set of official New York City performances (we saw him play a show at a loft last November). On Thursday night he played Mercury Lounge, and last night he played Baby’s All Right, selling out both shows with relative ease. Read the rest of this entry »
After only a few listens to Villagers’ new album Darling Arithmetic, I’m positive it’s going to end up as one of my favorite albums of the year. It’s not a surprise, as Irish native Conor O’Brien has given us nothing but great folk-records in his short, but impressive career. Darling Arithmetic will be released next month (April 13 via Domino Records), so O’Brien is in town to start the promotion of the new record, which included two shows in New York. The first came on Monday where he opened for Laura Marling at Warsaw. The second came on Wednesday night where he headlined the intimate Union Pool.
Union Pool was the perfect venue for a intimate performance from O’Brien, who was accompanied by only a harpist, who also played keys and added backing vocals. His new album is his most sparse and bare yet, which he wrote, recorded and produced at home. It resulted in some of his most personal and affecting recordings to date, which you can feel pouring out him with every lyric shared. New songs such as “Courage” and “Everything I Am” fit snugly alongside cuts from previous albums like show-opener “Nothing Arrived” and “Ship Of Promises.”
The 2-song encore of “27 Strangers” and Darling Arithmetic was a gut-wrenching finale, with a good bit of humor involved for the former, when O’Brien realized that he unintentionally wrote in a sexual innuendo (“So I walked home / Just feeling nothing on my own / noticing that tree of yours / I’ve been watching it grow”). He paused in the middle of the “tree” line, laughed and explained: “Every time I sing it now, I realize it’s an euphemism for a penis. There goes that song…bye bye.” After both the crowd and he recovered from a shared laugh, he kicked back into gear and somehow managed to finish the song, with some help from the crowd during the sing-along bit of “oooohs.”
It was great to be able to see Villagers play in what felt like a one-on-one experience rather than a show. He’ll be back soon for a proper tour for the new record, and while I’m sure the shows will be great, I doubt they will be able to reciprocate the personal nature of his Union Pool performance from Wednesday night. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Find photos of the show posted below, along with Villagers setlist. Be sure to pre-orderDarling Arithmetic, it’s fantastic.
Villagers – “Hot Scary Summer”:
Villagers – “Courage”:
1. Nothing Arrived
2. Everything I Am
3. Dawning On Me
4. So Naive
5. My Lighthouse
6. Hot Scary Summer
7. The Soul Serene
8. Ship Of Promises
10. Darling Arithmetic
12. The Waves
13. That Day
UK spoken word/rapper/poet extraordinaire, Kate Tempest joined us in Brooklyn Wednesday night at Rough Trade NYC. She walked on to stage looking completely nonchalant, like any other person you would see walking down the street and not take a second glance at. In fact, I saw her standing in the audience prior to her performance and didn’t realize at first that was her. Later she mhe made that fact known as she spoke out numbers from her 2014 debut album Everybody Down. Read the rest of this entry »
Los Angeles rockers Wand released new album Golem on March 17 via In The Red Records. It’s a heavy-hitting record of sludgy garage-rock goodness.
They’re bringing their tour to New York City for a pair of shows this weekend, with the first coming at Baby’s All Right (they’re at Mercury Lounge on Sunday). I haven’t seen the group live yet, but I have no doubts that the show will be a vicious display of guitar rock goodness. Support will come from BABES and Scully
French alt-pop duo Lilly Wood and the Prick are coming to New York on April 2 for a show at Irving Plaza with French Horn Rebellion. Tickets are still available to purchase, but we got a pair that we’re giving away to one lucky winner.
To enter the contest, send me an email at email@example.com with “Lilly Wood and the Prick” as the subject. I’ll pick a winner and notify them closer to the show. Good luck!