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Just a few days after the historic blizzard that hit New York City in late January, Brooklyn duo Chairlift, consisting of Caroline Polacheck and Patrick Wimberly returned home after a quick show in Los Angeles to play a show for their hometown crowd. They were playing in celebration and launch of their wonderful new album, Moth which is out now via Columbia Records and what was their venue of choice? Well, it was one of New York City’s most beautiful new spaces (and one of my new favorites): National Sawdust.

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As the crowd started to fill out the space, they seemed to kick on the fog machines full blast helping to create an atmosphere within the venue that truly could only be experienced being there (no photos can really do it justice). The angular shapes within the venue being enveloped in fog with their lighting is something you simply can’t get anywhere else at any other NYC venue and seemed like the perfect backdrop for Chairlift’s synth–pop goodness.

Just when it appeared they were going to jump into the opening song, the fire alarm went off inside the venue (but there was no visible fire anywhere – this was probably due to the amount of fog within the venue). Along with the band, the crowd all looked around confused like “uh, should we leave? Whats going on?” This continued for roughly 10 or so minutes and during those 10 or so minutes the band left the stage as nobody really knew what to do.

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Noah Chenfeld

New Yorker Noah Chenfeld first caught our attention in early 2014, with his very Strokes-esque single “Get Lost.” A few years have since past, and Chenfeld has returned with a rather beautiful mature offering by the name of “Give You What I Want.”

There’s a loungey jazz quality to “Give You What I Want” that instantly clicks and is smooth sailing all the way. Everything about the recording is a mature step in the right direction, from his vocals to the welcome saxophone appearance towards the end of the song.

Excited to see what else Chenfeld has waiting for is in the near future. For now, enjoy the stream of “Give You What I Want” below, along with a live performance that he did as a part of Kurrent Music’s “Dorm Sessions” below that.

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Writer

Brooklyn’s very own Writer is comprised of brothers James and Andy Ralph. They’re currently gearing up the release of their sophomore album Principle Web on April 8th via Small Plates Records.

For this record the brotherly duo is expanded to a trio with the help of multi-instrumentalist Joshua Greco. This creates results such as the rich single “Neighborly” a gloriously fuzzy rocker taken from the album. It captures that garage-rock feel of 90s acts such as Dinosaur Jr. while also looking ahead towards the future.

Find a stream of “Neighborly” below, and pre-order the album on black or white vinyl here. They’ll also stop in to NYC for a performance at Berlin on Saturday, April 9. Grab tickets for the performance right here.

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On January 14 Ratatat once again returned to New York for a big-time performance at Hammerstein Ballroom in support of last year’s Magnifique (released via XL Recordings). It was their third New York stop in the past year, with the previous shows coming at Governors Ball as well as Webster Hall.

The night featured their trademark stunning visuals and light show, featuring those always jaw-dropping laser beams that never cease no amaze. The songs off Magnifique worked well amongst the tried and true Ratatat favorites such as “Wildcat” and “Seventeen Years,” providing a night of non-stop grooves and dancing from start to finish.

Find a photo set posted below, along with the setlist.

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Seratones

Louisiana soul-rockers Seratones will release their anticipated debut album Get Gone on May 6th via Fat Possum Records. Today they’ve shared the energetic and sun-soaked new single,”Sun.”

Imagine Alabama Shakes pissed off and playing the diviest bar imaginable. There’s an unshakable urgency to the main guitar riff of “Sun” that hits hard as all hell and doesn’t look back for even a second. Those who claim that rock and roll are dead clearly just need to look a little bit harder.

Stream “Sun” below and check up Seratones upcoming tour dates, which include supporting dates for The Dandy Warhols in New York later this month.
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Frankie Cosmos

Frankie Cosmos releases her delightful new album Next Thing tomorrow via Bayonet Records. She’ll celebrate its release this weekend with album release shows this Friday and Saturday at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium.

Not only will the performance feature a heart-warming performance from Frankie Cosmos and her band, but both nights will also feature an opening set from the wonderful Eskimeaux. Anna McClellan will open Friday’s show, and Jonah Furman Saturday’s.

Both shows are sold out online, but there may be some tickets if you show up early enough at doors day of. If you can find a way to make it out, it would be a good idea, I’m sure the days of these guys playing these smaller DIY venues are numbered.

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Cass McCombs delivered one of the first great shows on 2016 with his performance at Bowery Ballroom on January 7. The show served as both a support run for his 2015 compilation release A Folk Set Apart: Rarities, B-Sides & Space Junk, Etc., as well as a chance to share some new songs.

I anticipated a set that leaned towards mostly new material, but no my surprise only three new songs were played (“River Of Blood,” “I Want To Know,” and “Why Does It Rain”). The rest of the set was classic Cass, which he and his band (now featuring two drummers) delivered with the precision and finesse that you come to expect.

The night come to an epic conclusion with a 13-minute delivery of “County Line” and then an even more epic 14-minute encore performance of “Dreams Come True Girl,” dual drum solo and all. The way he was able to stretch these songs into completely new arrangements was truly a thing of beauty, a testament to the power of live music.

You can find some more photos from the performance below, and stream the performance thanks to our friends at NYC Taper who recorded the entire show.

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On January 6, the ever-rising Spanish rock group Hinds kicked off my year of concerts with an intimate record release show at Brooklyn venue Palisades. The show was put on by Hype Machine’s “Stack Live” in celebration of the release of Hinds’ fun debut album Leave Me Alone, released via Mom + Pop Music. Admission broke the bank at a truly unreasonable $3 at the door.

Half a show, half a release party, the first half of the show featured a performance from Hinds, while the second invited fans to join them on stage to sing their songs karaoke style, all while the band was playing behind them. This loose atmosphere definitely fit the stylings of Hinds, who have won so many fans over with their live life by the moment atmosphere and raw style of garage rock.

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Their regular set got the (very) young crowd going wild, doing a bit of mosh-shoving (not quite moshing) to the front, something I didn’t expect, as it didn’t occur when I saw Hinds at Baby’s All Right last April. The night was definitely a shared celebration, with the band bringing out guests such as John Eatherly of Public Access T.V., Alan Palomo of Neon Indian, and Shamir.

The karaoke section of the show didn’t quite work out as they hoped, as not all of the young intoxicated fans who snuck up on stage actually sang along, or knew the actual words. But as with most things, it was the thought that counted, and Hinds set out to give their fans a memorable night, and ultimately succeeded.

Find some shots from the performance posted below.

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The New York music scene has long been one of the most vibrant and diverse in the world. Well established along with up and coming artists from every genre, including some which haven’t even been named yet, perform daily in spaces ranging from dive bars to posh nightclubs.

Performance calendars, like here, illustrate this concept well. However music fans who are planning their first visit to NYC might want to consider planning their vacation around one of the city’s music festivals.

Traditional and Showcase Events

The Governors Ball is one of the longest running festivals around and has definitely earned the title of “Best New York Summer Music Festival.” The three-day festival kicks off June 3rd and features a diverse lineup including Beck, Kanye West, Courtney Barnett, Eagles of Death Metal, Death Cab for Cutie, Killers, and Bat for Lashes.

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The producers of Coachella are also planning to bring the Panorama Festival to the City in July. The festival has run into a number of obstacles, including being forced to change the dates and location due to opposition from the Governors Ball organizers. While the Coachella producers have managed to make camping in the California desert cool based on the festival’s lineup, art installations, and general vibe, the Panorama Festival seems to be a bit up in the air. The lineup for Panorama has not yet been announced, but is well worth watching if you are planning to travel in July.

If discovering new artists is more your thing, consider the CMJ Music Marathon which happens in October. The weeklong event, which is celebrating its 36th anniversary, features concerts and showcases at venues throughout New York along with conferences, parties, and other events.

Record Shopping

New York remains one of the best destinations for music lovers, including record shops as well. While some of the fabled shops have unfortunately closed their doors, there remain a number of excellent choices for those who prefer discs over downloads.

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The Thing in Brooklyn is more like a garage sale than a shop. There is no organization, no labels, no prices, just boxes and stacks of music from polka to obscure rock and hip hop singles. If a slightly more organized approach is more to your liking Rebel Records has one of the best selections of vinyl, including imports, that you will find anywhere. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly.

If you prefer a more traditional shopping experience, Rough Trade boasts a great selection of CDs with the bonus of a having a venue in the back that often features local and traveling artists. Classical and Jazz fans should include a visit to The Academy which is well known for its unsurpassed inventory of jazz and classical recordings on CD and vinyl.

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New York hotels rank in the top five in the US in terms of costs, which can seriously eat into you music budget. Visitors can save a bundle by booking their stay through sites like Owners Direct   and AirBnB, which feature everything from efficiency apartments to brownstones suitable for large groups.

Even with the uncertainty of the Panorama Festival, the 2016 vacation season includes many reasons for the music fan to include NYC in their plans.

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