Posts Tagged ‘New York’

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Parquet Courts have had a busy year, releasing great new album Wide Awake! back in May and touring almost nonstop since. The individual members also keep themselves occupied when not immersed in PC duties, and drummer Max Savage (brother of singer/guitarist Andrew Savage) formed his own group, Maxband, this year. Despite the name, Maxband is more than Max (who sings and plays guitar here). Bassist Patrick Smith (A Beacon School) also brings production/mixing skills, and the group is rounded out by drummer Eric Read (Bob Dylan Deathwatch) and lead guitarist Tim Nelson (Architectural Digest) — all four contribute to the songwriting.

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Maxband began playing back in the spring (shows have included opening slots for The Men and Tokyo Police Club), and they released their debut, Perfect Strangers, back in August via Gentle Reminder. (Perfect Strangers was their original name.) As a singer, Max sounds a little like his brother, but no one will mistake this record for Parquet Courts. There are riffy jammers (“Spent,” “Means to an End”), and a real fondness for ethereal dream pop, too. That side comes out on super catchy single “Jerry” — which features Patrick on lead vocals — and driving instrumental “Underground.” There’s a little Pavement-style indie rock creeping into songs like “Baggage Claim” but it too is on its own Maxband tangent. With eight songs clocking in at 24 minutes, Perfect Strangers is a quick, fun listen that leaves you wanting more.

released August 24, 2018

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Kevin Devine will transform into Kenny O’Brien and The O’Douls for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Boston-area and NYC . He’ll be playing at Great Scott in Allston, and early and late shows and at Mercury Lounge in NYC, and in his words: “It’s gonna be a party, essentially, the kind of punk, uptempo side of what I do with some Celtic instrumentation.” To get a taste of what it might be like, Kevin’s got a newly-recorded cover of The Pogues“The Body of An American,” It’s a pretty faithful take on the original, but it also has that unmistakable Kevin Devine touch, and it’s good stuff.

Kevin also put together a (pretty funny) video of himself explaining the reasoning behind the name “Kenny O’Brien and The O’Douls” and what these shows will be all about. He also includes a story about a St. Patrick’s Day 14-hour alcoholic blackout at SXSW.

To get a sense of what we’re doing, head over to BrooklynVegan (who’ll be presenting the shows), enjoy our cover of The Pogues’ “The Body of An American” & get some more info on the project & the weekend:

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Released December 13th, 2018

An inspired/incendiary power trio team-up of Kid Millions (Oneida), James McNew (Yo La Tengo) and Chris Brokaw (Come, Codeine, many more). There are plenty of blowouts , “The High Price” is a total rager, with Kid and McNew laying down a demonic beat and Brokaw coughing up shards of glorious riffage and white-hot feedback. But the album isn’t all thrash-and-burn. “Playa del Ticia” and “Skeleton Coast” are both sunshine-infused pop numbers. Best of all is the closing self-titled epic, with the band finding an elevated plane of sonic conversation over the course of nearly 18 wonderfully transporting minutes.

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Charnel Ground are Chris Brokaw (guitars), Kid Millions (drums) and James McNew (bass)
Released April 6, 2018

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“Modern Meta Physic” is the debut album of Peel Dream Magazine, the nom de plume of New York City-based musician Joe Stevens. Stevens, a talented multi-instrumentalist, wrote, played, recorded, and mixed the album in his apartment in Brooklyn — quite surprising, considering how much “Modern Meta Physic” sounds like it was played by a tour-seasoned band.

A nod to BBC Radio 1 legend John Peel, arbiter of all things underground, all things quality, and all things — it must be said — “cool,” Peel Dream Magazine is highly evocative of a certain strain of independent music. As Stevens explains, “I wanted to conjure media . . . to create an outlet for subcultural wanderers. Something you can subscribe to.”

Exhausted by what he thinks of as the manipulative aspects of contemporary pop music, Stevens harkens back to the early 1990s, when The Velvet Underground resurged as an inspiration to a new set of bands wielding synthesizers, off-set guitars, and a political bent. The Peel Dream experience is defined by a gentle, fuzzy psychedelia, largely indebted to London’s onetime “Scene that Celebrates Itself.” It’s a hypnotic bit of mod-ish lo-fi pop, recalling the best of early Stereolab, Lilys, and other shaggy haired kids with vintage fuzz pedals, slim trousers, and good record collections. Stevens conjures a distinctly 90s vision of the 60s. Not the actual 60s, mind you, but perhaps a 60s daydreamed about from the creature comforts of a suburban living room. An abstraction. Shag carpet turned to bowl cut. Jean jackets — disaffected but wholesome youth. It’s not irony, exactly. It’s the love that comes from loving. And a bit of whimsy. It’s the 90s, again. Post-post.

Written and recorded over a four-week period in the fall of 2017, “Modern Meta Physic” fixates on the New Age universe of the Catskills region of New York. Stevens deals in generic bohemian fare — Far East philosophy, Native American tradition, mid-century modern cool — as he appraises the world according to privileged urban expats who increasingly call the upstate paradise home.

Not everything is tongue-in-cheek, however. Stevens also pays homage to Catskills as a place replete with natural wonder — a place of self-discovery and impromptu adventure. “I wanted to convey the Catskills the way that Brian Wilson conveyed Northern California on the post-Smile records. It’s a little trippy, a little childlike, but the feeling is real.” In “Living Room.” Steven’s surrenders to Mother Nature in a bit of dada-esque worship, transfixed by “sound, sight and weather.” On “Don’t Pick Up Slackers,” Stevens settles into a woodland getaway home as he tries to make sense of his neighbor’s “fruit diet.” One might get lost in the nostalgia of aimless road trips and cabin retreats, but there are moments where Stevens ventures on to new topics. On “Art Today,” he opines on what he sees as the maddening and thankless task of committing oneself to making art. “Us for Chanel, all are to sell. I want to tell, some days are well.”

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Leading off the album, “Qi Velocity” is a metronomic take on French pop that yields to a lush, twee chorus reminiscent of Belle and Sebastian. “Deetjen’s,” named after the much-loved bed & breakfast in Big Sur, would fit snugly on Unrest’s best Teen Beat material. The ambient “Levitating Between 2 Chords” suggests Oval in “94 Diskont” mode. There is an economy to these tracks — everything is distilled down to it’s essential elements, no gestures are wasted, no superfluous ornamentation taking up space. Where some might add effects, Stevens removes them, opting for surprisingly straight-forward arrangements of Farfisa, monosynth and guitar. “Due to Advances in Modern Tourism” displays a soft take on Neu!, while the organ that enters could be a sly wink to Steve Reich’s “Four Organs” or even Terry Riley’s West Coast take on minimalism. “Wood Paneling” is a lysergic trip, a memory of a memory of an experience not lived but learned — how can something feel so relaxing yet so … uneasy?

While Stevens is more than happy to show his influences on his sleeve — mind you, they’re great influences — it’s clear Peel Dream Magazine isn’t just a “sound”. The guy can write songs. And when he wants to hit a target, he hits it. Where he goes next is anybody’s guess.

Released October 5th, 2018

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Austin Texas band Sun June refers to their music as “regret pop.” Their sound exudes more heart and less theatrics, which is exactly how we see them in this Buzzsession. Filmed in the Brick by Brick studio in Brooklyn the five-piece band came to to perform two songs off of their latest album, Years. These recordings of “Young” and “I’ve Been” are bookends of sorts, each showcasing different sides of what encompasses the group. In true Buzzsession fashion, Sun June gives us a personal and vulnerable retelling of songs we already loved.

Directed by Scott Sweitzer, this session lets us see the band in a setting where their chemistry shines. Whether it’s the harmonies shared by Laura and Sarah, or how the intricate and groovy guitar lines brightens up “Young,” the musical connection between the group is almost tangible. As Laura sings “I’ve Been,” there is a passion behind each word making the emotions behind these lyrics just as fresh as the day they were written. As she sits on the ground playing the keys and singing, “I’ve been crying about you,” her voice rightfully becomes the center of attention. The sunlight that peaks in through the window and illuminates up the interior of this small Brooklyn studio seems to be metaphorical for the upcoming and noteworthy, Sun June.

Band Members
Laura, Michael, Justin, Sarah, Stephen
‘Buzzsessions’ is an original video series produced by The Wild Honey Pie. With each new episode, we capture footage of our favorite bands as they record alternate studio versions of their songs.

Take careful note of the album cover for this Buzzsession. Liz Kay embodies the energy of the recordings with her stunning illustration of a sun setting over rustic mountains. Hard not to fall in love with her whimsical typography as well.

Recorded live at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 26th, 2018.

We’ve had a blast throughout 2018 doing these long weekends of shows – our first shows in London since 2014, Constructive Summer in Philly/NJ, San Francisco and Toronto; extended Constructive Summer with some beer fests in Chicago and Minneapolis; and, of course, finishing up last weekend at Brooklyn Bowl in New York for Massive Nights III.

Whether you realize it or not, we’re recording these shows so we can share the memories with you. This is the first set of live recordings to celebrate — the first night in Philadelphia at Union Transfer.

Philly in July was a true highlight. It’s always been a fun place to play for us, and Union Transfer is really an incredible club. We remember a great atmosphere in the club that night, and we met a bunch of cool people before and after the shows. Enjoy reliving it!

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This will be available pay-as-you want for only a limited time. We’ll have some more surprises in the coming weeks and months and if you choose to download these recordings, the money will go towards continuing to record and release as many of the live events as possible and any additional funds will go to the K+L Guardian Foundation.

Thanks for listening, thanks for understanding and Stay Positive! Happy Holidays and see you in 2019!

The Hold Steady

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Oh my goodness. Ocala Wick is an intimate insight into love and the city. Emma does such an amazing job telling stories and crafting sounds– polished bedroom pop for bedridden romantics

Gobbinjr is among an elite group of pop songwriters, the type that create songs that wiggle their way into your head, forever and unshakably engrained there for the rest of time. While Emma Witmer’s songs often revolve around anxiety, falling apart, and everyday tragedies, their music is always radiant and clever. Their new album Ocala Wick came out on Topshelf Records, in all its hooky glory. It’s somber yet uplifting, infectious and well-constructed… and dammit, these songs are all on a scale of incredible to flat out amazing. It’s the most fun you’re ever going to have from what is essentially a set of sad songs.

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Released June 8th, 2018

It was only January and there was a good chance The Royal They had already released one of the year’s best albums. Even though we are near the end of the year nothing has changed. From the colossally heavy beginning of Foreign Being through to the wildly energetic end, the Brooklyn based trio’s sophomore album is all smash hits. Power pop songs buried in heavy punk slime and surging post-hardcore deviations, The Royal They blur the lines between sweetness and primal fury, writing songs that are bright and hooky with enough muscle to shake the foundation of any DIY venue. There’s not a moment wasted throughout Foreign Being, a record that shifts between ominous and immediate with explosive grace.

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All songs written by The Royal They

Released January 13th, 2018

This is among one of the year’s best albums, Anna McClellan’s voice is utterly incredible, a natural presence that’s so strong yet fragile, emulating the grandiosity of the singers from the 50’s and 60’s, but the earnest cracks and trills are explicitly modern (and expressively personal). Her analysis of anxiety and relationships mixed with the mundane and scattershot thoughts is brilliant, effective, and easy to relate to. We all have a galaxy of thoughts in our heads, only a fraction of which we ever choose to articulate, but throughout Yes And No, McClellan lets us into her mind, pulling at sentimental moments with a deadpan sense of humor. I don’t often keep tabs on my favorite songs of the year, but “Nail Biting Song” is an undeniable minor classic, a sweeping calamity of anxious energy set to staggering brilliance. Except no substitutes, Anna McClellan forever.

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“I went to the moon, I saw your head up in the clouds, What could I do?” is such a great opening line from this swoon-worthy NYC trio. Back in January we had the pleasure of sharing the premiere of Wooing’s “In Colour” video, a song taken from their debut EP, Daydream Time Machinereissued at the start of the year via Ba Da Bing Records. The New York trio will bookend with 2018 with the release of The Clouds, a new 7″ due out next month on Kanine Records. The single’s a-side “Could Have Been” is another great psych pop song, led by Rachel Trachtenburg’s breathy vocals and visionary lyrics. Working itself into a claustrophobic space, Wooing dig into brightened pockets of layered melodies and dense textural effects that rest between haunting tension and soaring above the clouds. Trachtenburg sings “once I came back down to planet Earth” creating an inescapable feeling of an alien presence, and we’re ready for the invasion. Ultimately the song deals with relationships lost as we’re left with the repeated “you could have been dear to me.”

Wooing offer hauntingly beautiful vocals backed by echoing guitars: the urgency of underground 90s rock (i.e. Helium, Quasi) meets the psychedelic Syd Barrett sounds of the 60s.

From the forthcoming 7″ The Clouds on Kanine Records,

BAND.
Rachel Trachtenburg -Guitar & Vocals
Rosie Slater -Drums
JR Thomason -Guitar