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Ra Ra Riot were the first band I caught at the inaugural Escape Music Festival, which went down at The Governors Beach Club.

Although the weather was less than ideal, Ra Ra Riot warmed us up with a great set that kicked things off in style. I saw them play last year at Music Hall of Williamsburg where they delighted with both new songs off 2013 album Beta Love, as well as old favorites. This time around it was more old favorites than Beta Love cuts, which was fine with me. It’s always great to hear material such as “Too Too Too Fast” and “Dying Is Fine.” They also kept the mean cover of U2’s “Two Hearts Beat As One,” which they’ve quite perfected by now.

Find a photo gallery of their performance posted below.

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After 15 years, American Football are reunited and playing live shows together again. They brought the reunion tour to New York City last weekend, for three sold out shows in a row at Webster Hall (as well as a tiny late night show at Saint Vitus on Satuday). I was able to catch the first Webster Hall show on Friday, and it didn’t disappoint.

There was a heavy sense of excitement and anticipation in the air before the band took the stage, understandably so. It was a rare chance to see the group live, a first for many of the young fans that were in attendance, many who were only kids when the album came out.

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Last Thursday King Tuff stopped in to Bowery Ballroom in support of his new album Black Moon Spell, which he released via Sub Pop last month.

Barely a minute into the set opening performance of the titular track “Black Moon Spell,” seemingly everyone began lighting up, causing the whole room to be a cloud of smoke by the time it was finished. This stoner vibe certainly suits the California stoner-rock of King Tuff and his band, who were full of positive energy and smiles as they rocked on.

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Last Wednesday night Foxygen tour through Music Hall of Williamsburg in support of their new album …And Star Power, which was released this week via Jagjaguwar.

This version of Foxygen is a totally different one than the one that broke out in CMJ 2012. Nowadays they pack a whopping total of nine people on stage, including three female singers/dancers, as well as a few extra guitarists (With Jonathan Rado mostly behind keys now). These days singer Sam France sports long blonde hair, which seems to trail behind him as he frantically runs around the stage jumping all around seemingly never keeping still. He kept this pace from the opening bit of “How Can You Really” all the way through to to the finishing touch of “Teenage Alien Blues.”

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All photos by Rachel Barrish

Last Tuesday night Sandy Alex G played Bowery Ballroom on a shared bill with headliner Gardens and Villa and fellow opener Grand Resort.

Our photographer Rachel Barrish was on hand to capture Sandy Alex G’s night, which includes a few shots backstage and on stage with the band. Check out her photo gallery below.

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Last Tuesday Cloud Nothings headlined Irving Plaza for the final leg of their 2014 U.S. tour in support of Here and Nowhere Else.

It was my third time seeing them this year and as usual, they didn’t disappoint. The first show came at Baby’s All Right in January, where they played the whole album before it was released. Then came their sold out show at Bowery Ballroom which is still one of my favorite shows of the year. Irving Plaza was their biggest show yet, and the band gave yet another powerful performance.

The growth of Cloud Nothings over the years has been one of the best surprises, and it seems like the ascent will keep coming. Their smart heavy and aggressive take on grunge-punk rock is a ferocious beast live, one that you just want to be a part of. They play their songs heavier and faster, taking their time to flesh out the material to its fullest, such as the 10+ minute extended version of “Wasted Days” which is an untamed animal live.

Cloud Nothings have emerged as one of the best rock bands that music has to offer. It’s time that the rest of you get on board.

The night also featured an opening set from Detriot punk group Tyvek. Find photos from both Cloud Nothings and them, posted below.
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On Sunday, October 5, EMA wrapped up her tour in style at Bowery Ballroom with a powerful performance that was totally absorbed in the intimate crowd that filled the venue.

Being the last show of her tour for her 2014 album Future’s Void, it was naturally a special show. Erika made note that it would be the last show with the current lineup that plays with her, who are likely to move onto other projects now that the tour is complete.

They made the most of the night, performing powerful versions of tracks such as “Satellites,” “Dead Celebrity,” and “Neuromancer.” Then there was the always emotional and amazing performance of “California” which saw her throw the mic down allowing the power of the song to truly register within me.

The Ballroom should have been packed out more than it was, but Anderson made the best of the night, giving those lucky enough to be there a show that we won’t forget any time soon.

Find some photos from her performance posted below.

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All photos by Andrew St. Clair

Ed Schrader’s Music Beat had a good 2014. I was introduced to them when I saw them open for Cloud Nothings at Baby’s All Right at the start of the year. The next show came when they supported Future Island on their very memorable show at Webster Hall over the summer.

Earlier in the month they played their final show of the year at Death By Audio, which as you know, will be one of the final shows at the DIY Brooklyn venue, which is closing its doors next month (I gotta get there still..)

Andrew St. Clair was at the show, and got some shots of Ed Schrader’s Music Beat along with the other bands on the bill, which included: Sex Jams, H. Honne Wells, and White Rope.

Find all of Andrew’s photos posted below.

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Tiny Ruins at Mercury Lounge (October 5, 2014)

By Rachel Barrish, October 16th 2014 Other

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All photos (and words) by Rachel Barrish

England born and New Zealand bred singer/songwriter, Tiny Ruins is the project of Hollie Fullbrook. She has released two EP’s and two full length albums, the most recent being Brightly Painted One out on Flying Nun Records.

I originally discovered Tiny Ruins last year during CMJ where she played a solo set. While beautiful, it definitely works better with a full band. On Sunday October 5 she played along with her bandmates, bassist/back up vocalist Cass Basil and drummer Alexander Freer.

It was indeed a perfect Sunday evening for a Tiny Ruins performance. It’s the kind of music you would expect to hear while enjoying a coffee and a novel inside a vintage bookstore. The room at Mercury Lounge was just quiet enough for people to hear a whisper or a cell phone buzz. They played an hour long set featuring songs from all previous albums, including a cover of Toy Love’s song, “Rebel”. Fullbrook’s tame but enduring stage personality set the mood for sweet enjoyment and romance, with couples swinging and rocking back and forth to the sounds of her acoustic guitar.

Find a photo gallery of her performance posted below (all via Rachel Barrish).
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It was Cat Power who was lined up to close out the first ever Modern Sky Festival, but it ended up being the festival that closed her out. After only four songs, Chan Marshall and her band were told by the stage crew that they had to end the show, a shocking move that sent all the fans who spent their hard earned money (and time waiting) home utterly disappointed, confused and ultimately angry.

Thankfully she opened with “The Greatest,” which I at least got to hear. It was a very short teaser, but Marshall and her band sounded awesome from what I heard. With Marshall’s history, there’s always that worry that she may cut a show short, but it ended up being the festival who put an untimely end to the show of their headliner.

Cut short the main headliner of your new fest. That makes sense. Alrighty then…

Here’s a photo gallery of her short set.

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