Posts Tagged ‘New York’

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The album artwork for ‘Container’ displays cans of tinned food – stockpiling chic, if you will – while portentous song titles such as ‘Fear My Society’ and ‘Clearly A Crisis’ could hardly chime more with the doomy current climate.

Comprised of two members of New York art-punks Bodega Madison Velding-VanDam and bassist Heather Elle and completed by drummer Jason Gates, the confident self-produced debut from is riven with taut anxiety and a sense of looming dread.

Yet it’s also a collection of razor-sharp pop songs that gleam through the gloom. They mine the sinuous basslines and euphoric bleakness of post-punk outfits such as Gang Of Four (with Velding-Van-Dam’s lyrics seemingly similarly preoccupied with stripping away the lies of capitalist and consumerist culture) and the dancefloor nous of bands from their home city (think LCD Soundsystem. So while ‘Clearly A Crisis’ apes Andy Gill’s distinctive, serrated slashes of guitar, the title track ‘Container’ takes us back to the early noughties when Mattie Safer first picked up a cowbell and James Murphy fretted about losing his edge.

The brooding Depeche Mode style existential goth-pop of ‘Fear My Society’ dealing with the post-crash economic fallout of a man pondering his place in the world – proves that Velding-VanDam is worthy of wearing the Dave Gahan-style leather chaps he regularly sports onstage. ‘Ape Trap’ and ‘Hydra’ could be cuts from Interpol totemic first record ‘Turn On the Bright Lights’ , and – inspired by the soundtrack to David Lynch’s cult movie ‘Lost Highway’  ‘The Motor’ is a frantic, pulsating rave-up. The fallout shelter funk of ‘Nuclear Party’ locks into a lolloping Talking Heads groove, with Velding-VanDam sardonically deadpanning lyrics like: Kiss my bombs and I’ll kiss your bones.

Interspersed throughout are dark, ambient instrumentals ‘Machine Room’, ‘Aluminum’, ‘Waiting Room’ and ‘Voltage’. This adds an extra layer of claustrophobia and menace, but also feels like the band are padding out a very good eight-track album into 12 songs.

Still that’s a minor quibble – as ‘Container’ is a masterful statement of intent

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Since the last time we heard from Aaron Maine of Porches, he’s spent some time holed up in his New York apartment, immersing himself in his emotions and creating more low-key electronic ballads. In the space of a decade, this project has consistently delivered raw and understated synth-pop. The sounds reflects his ‘look’; it’s glossy and glamorous. Luckily it’s also incredibly compelling.

2018’s ‘The House’, his third album, delivered colourful, vibrant pop while showcasing an intimate internal dialogue about seeking clarity of your own emotions. Maine recently said of his creative process: “My aim is to swim to the bottom of myself and find the most beautiful and strange things I can offer.” He’s essentially put the magnifying glass on this concept with latest record ‘Ricky Music’, and although the production is rich and textured, it also feels less polished here, as though he’s thrown his thoughts and feeling straight into the laptop.

Maine’s mournful vocal leads the way on opener ‘Patience’, evoking a sense of struggle and dogged self-belief. “Cause I’m rooting for you / And I’m rooting for me / And I’m rooting for that baby”, he sings, alluding to a complicated relationship over poignant and dramatic synths. The accompanying video depicts Aaron being pelted with basketballs, through which he battles to the other side of a gym; it’s a smart reference to his resolve to deal with everything life throws his way.

None of these synth-pop songs are longer than they need to be. This album is like a well-kept diary, neat entries playing part of a much bigger picture. Things continue in this vein with ‘Do U Wanna’ and ‘Lipstick Song’, which further explore the minimal and spacious electro sound.

You get the sense that Maine has as many sultry synth-pop bangers inside him as he pleases but, while he’s capable of dominating a more mainstream territory, he refuses to indulge in such temptations. Instead he’s taken the road less travelled, carefully placing his honey-sweet lines and choosing the moments to excite the senses musically. The occasional hard-hitting synth brings to mind something between the sounds of Stranger Things and Twin Peaks.

Still, Porches knows when to cut loose. There’s a shiny glamour to the Italo-disco synths throughout, which peak on the ’80s-influenced ‘I Wanna Ride’. “Each day the night falls,” he sings, “I stare at the moon ’til my eyes get so messed up / I can almost see you”. This is swiftly followed by the minimal acid-rave sounds of ‘Madonna’. It feels like the album has been building to this pivotal moment of release.

Whether he continues to be a minimal outlier like friend and collaborator (Sandy) Alex G, or makes a bolder move towards the limelight with his next step, you get the feeling that Aaron Maine isn’t a man who’ll make concessions to the mainstream. This effort is a bold step that shows no compromise on the horizon

Porches – “Patience”, from ‘Ricky Music’, out now on Domino Record Co.

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Zachary Cale is an American songwriter/musician based in NYC. False Spring is his 6th full length album. To be released May 29th, 2020

From pop to rock to hip hop to country, music is increasingly being mechanized. Autotune, synths, mixers, and laptops are the items of choice, as artists focus on creating loud, anthemic, and catchy songs. Pockets, however, exist within each genre, where a musician or band rewind the clocks and create music from bygone eras. Their music is driven by a simple but embracing melody and features stories which should be read and not just heard. Singer-songwriter Zachary Cale is one such individual, whose indie-folk approach recalls Guthrie, Dylan, and Baez. To call him a throwback would be a compliment because he is a rare breed today.

Five years ago, the Louisiana-born, Brooklyn based Cale released the masterful Duskland, which was indie-folk given the widescreen treatment. Since then, he’s released a couple of EPs, including a covers one, but otherwise he’s been relatively quiet. Earlier this week, however, he announced that his sixth full-length album will be released later in the spring, and he shared its first single, “Riverbed”.

“Riverbed” is a classic slice of indie-folk and Americana. There aren’t any bells or whistles. There are just the familiar, sweet notes of a keyboard and a couple of guitars and the steady pulses of rhythms. Cale’s soft vocals, meanwhile, rise through the sweet melody, and he’s reflects on his life. For nearly five minutes, he delivers a confession, and, in the process, he seeks redemption. It is not through the concrete streets of Manhattan that he searches for forgiveness and a resurrection. Instead, he takes us back to Louisiana and the stream behind his childhood home. Together, we dip into its waters and find salvation.

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False Spring. This double LP, which features 16 songs, arrives May 29th on Cale’s own imprint All Hands Electric.

Recorded live at The Crocodile in Seattle, Washington on August 17th, 2019.

We had an amazing West Coast weekend in Seattle in August 2019, holing up at The Crocodile for three super fun shows. We’d just released “Thrashing Thru The Passion” and were in the mood to celebrate. This set kicks it off with a Positive Jam and features quite a few songs from TTTP: Epaulets, Star 18, Confusion in the Marketplace Entitlement Crew– and Blackout Sam in the encore.

Side note, we’d written the song “Meet Me In The Lobby” at soundcheck that day and recorded it the next week in Chicago. Good times. Hope you enjoy. Thanks for listening. Thanks for understanding. Stay Positive.

For each Bandcamp “Unified Fridays” live recording The Hold Steady releases, we’ll be donating a portion of the proceeds to a staff fund from one of the past shows.
Proceeds for this show will go to the staff relief fund for The Crocodile.

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released April 3rd, 2020

The Hold Steady are: Bobby Drake, Craig Finn, Tad Kubler, Franz Nicolay, Galen Polivka, Steve Selvidge

The band recently shared a concert video from Sonic Youth‘s 1995 show at Philadelphia’s Electric Factory an amazing live video to watch while you’re home and every other show is cancelled. Perhaps with a similar idea in mind, Sonic Youth have now made eleven show recordings available on Bandcamp. They range from the late ’80s (City Gardens 1987, CBGB’s and Cabaret Metro 1988, Moscow 1989) to mid and late ’90s (The Warfield 1993, Los Angeles 1998), to the 2000s (L’Olympia 2001, Cabaret Metro Chicago 2002, The Orange Peel 2004, Daydream Nation Live in Glasgow 2007, Berlin 2009), wrapping up with the band’s final US show, in Brooklyn in 2011. Lee Ranaldo writes:

Aside from 5 previously scheduled shows in South America in November of 2011, this was the last Sonic Youth show. The last one in the USA, anyway. We were joined by opening acts Wild Flag and Kurt Vile, both of whom played terrific sets on this day. The stage was facing the East River from the Williamsburg, Brooklyn waterfront, and I recall the sun going down in the west during our set. It was a pretty magical, if kinda weird day. Fitting, somehow, that our ‘last show’ should be in New York City, our home and where it all began…

Sonic Youth live

Sonic Youth live in Brooklyn, NY at the Williamsburg Waterfront
August 12th, 2011 .Aside from 5 previously scheduled shows in South America in November of 2011, this was the last Sonic Youth show. The last one in the USA, anyway. We were joined by opening acts Wild Flag and Kurt Vile, both of whom played terrific sets on this day. The stage was facing the East River from the Williamsburg, Brooklyn waterfront, and I recall the sun going down in the west during our set. It was a pretty magical, if kinda weird day. Fitting, somehow, that our ‘last show’ should be in New York City, our home and where it all began…
Released March 25th, 2020

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Fronted by singer/bassist Shannon Wise and guitarist/producer Max Shrager, The Shacks’ cinematic songs are the soundtrack to a mysterious alternate reality. The Shacks’ signature sound and blending of genres has gained them a worldwide fan base. The group has toured internationally with artists such as Khruangbin, Lee Fields & The Expressions and Chicano Batman. The Shacks have created a sound that’s somehow both retro and modern. 

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Band Members
Shannon Wise and Max Shrager

OVERCOATS – ” The Fight “

Posted: March 17, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Tempering punk energy with vulnerable vitality and irresistible catchiness, “The Fight” is a ten-song battle-cry. It’s the kind of record that might inspire you to quit your job, run a marathon, divorce your husband, change your life in the way you always wanted to, but needed an extra push for. The Fight is the push.

“The idea you have to fight for who you are, what you want, and what you hope to see in the world became poignant for us,” says Overcoats. “We realized the thing to do is not to wait for life to get easier, but to start fighting harder.”

released March 6th, 2020

Last year, Laura Stevenson released her latest in a line of great albums, The Big Freeze. Since then, she’s released covers by Wilco and Neil Young and tourmate Adult Mom.

Today, she’s shared a new original track that emphasizes our constant anxiety in trying times: “Quit smoking baby, even though the world is ending,” she sings in its opening lines. “Keep looking maybe there’s a place to rest our heads better than this/ You’ll find the hardest part’s the mark you didn’t make.”

Stevenson had to say about the song: I wrote this song right after I got married, right as Trump got elected. It was a crazy time and a lot of people felt really hopeless. That hopelessness has lingered over the last 4 years, but humanity and love continue to peak through thats just the human spirit & Ive been so inspired by those that stay strong and keep fighting to enact some positive change.

This song is about how the world might seem like its falling apart but we still have love and all we can do right now is take care of ourselves &each other Now during THIS crazy time,I find myself 38 weeks pregnant, waiting in self isolation for my baby to be born, praying that I dont get sick and hoping I go into labor before the hospitals get overrun. Im worried about my baby, In worried about my parents ,I’m worried about everyone.

I know there is so much uncertainty but maybe this song will provide a little comfort, or just remind you that there’s still hope to be had. Sending everyone my love.

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Released March 15th, 2020

Written following a bout of heavy touring, eventual hiatus of previous incarnation EZTV and amidst the degradation of multiple relationships, the songs that make up ‘Carousel’ were culled from an obsessive trove of over 50 home recorded demos. Sounds oscillate from jangly meditations (“Turn the Time), drum machine fueled heart pangs (“Picture Taker), and the ethereal ruminations of a shut in (“Loud Sounds)”. After tracking live at Brooklyn’s Figure 8 Studios, guitarist Ezra Tenenbaum and drummer Michael Stasiak fleshed out knotty hook-filled arrangements at home with the help of a rotating crew of friends.
Releases May 1st, 2020

Ezra Tenenbaum – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Synthesizer, Organ, Electric Piano
Michael Stasiak – Drums, Percussion

Called the perfectly cool combo of Lucinda Williams meets Patti Smith, Emily Duff’s street-smart poetry and vocal style conjure moods & images that seduce the listener to visit emotional vistas that entice and beguile. Her SWEET & SOUR ROCK AND ROLL WITH A GREAT BIG HIT OF COUNTRY SOUL digs deep, weaving a patchwork of sin, tragedy, romance and regret that lies at your feet begging to be mended.

Emily replaced Jeff Buckley as lead singer for Gary Lucas’ Gods & Monsters and had the honour of opening for Bob Dylan & Paul Simon at Jones Beach Amphitheatre with her band, Eudora. Her debut solo record “Go Tell Your Friends” was released in 2015 and follow up “Maybe In The Morning” (2017) received 5 stars in Country Music UK Magazine. 2019 saw the release of “Hallelujah Hello”, recorded at Fame, produced by John Gifford III and featuring an All-Star Band of veteran Muscle Shoals, Alabama musicians including members of the original Fame Gang. Emily is working on her next album with producer Eric Ambel (Bottle Rockets, Steve Earle, Yahoos, Del Lords, Blue Mountain). Born On The Ground by Emily Duff is a collection of Nine “love” songs that capture 9 different break-ups from Emily’s past.

Born on the Ground is a luxurious 20/20 hindsight, look back without anger for the year 2020. “I wanted to examine former wounds through the mature lens of time with self-confidence, faith and the wisdom of motherhood and marriage. On my own from a very young age, I grew up without positive role models for relationships and learned from my mistakes to understand where true love & happiness lives for me today. Those ideas were definitely born on the ground cause that’s where I was left to figure it all out and when you’re born on the ground, there’s really only one way to go…or is there?” – Emily Duff.

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Emily Duff clothes her plainspoken truth about the difficulties of love and life in a straight-from-the-soul rocking vibe that wont allow you to sit still. Duff turns her heart loose on her songs, turning every musical style she touches into a gift”

released March 6th, 2020, All Songs Written By Emily Duff