Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Art Brut Interview & Show @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg June 23rd

Eddie Argos brought a band to The Music Hall of Williamsburg before Art Brut headlined a performance there on June 23. It was back when the venue was known as North 6, “before it was cool” as he explained that night, playing in the lobby with the Art Goblins. On stage Argos led Art Brut through almost a decade of songs since they “Formed a Band,” as their first hit says.He took to tweaking his lyrics with updates of older ages and how modern art now makes him want to buy things from their merch table, which included comic books and an original painting by Argos himself, along with T-shirts. The increased tempo of live performance brought out the punk rock roots of the band and Argos’s banter throughout the set kept things thoroughly entertaining.

The night began with “Clever Clever Jazz” off their latest release Brilliant! Tragic! Argos took center stage with his heart still firmly on his sleeve and the occasional trademark entreaty to his band members, “Ready Art Brut?” This group is clearly having a blast making music with Argos as the everyman frontman. While playing bass, guitars and drums, they took to echoing the lead vocals with callbacks, freezing in place and having fun with exaggerated facial expressions to play off each other. Highlights included early classics off the first release Bang Bang Rock & Roll, “Formed a Band” and “Modern Art” to “Direct Hit” (It’s a Bit Complicated) and “Alcoholics Anonimous” (Art Brut vs. Satan). The latest single “Lost Weekend” was a solid fit while a new song “Atlanta Girls” was offered up after playing it live only a few times before. After asking it they had a curfew, Argos allowed requests so the encore included “DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake” and “Emily Kane,” the romantic tribute to the one who got away. Argos said his teen sweetheart actually “rung him up” after hearing the song although now a married woman, which he simply attributed to the power of rock ‘n roll. 

 The concert ended after midnight with “Post Soothing Out,” the crowd obligingly raising their handsup when asked by Argos while he acknowledged the warm up bands, individual band members and the fans. I was obviously way too excited about going home with the postcard souvenir! Interview write up here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

PB&J Live Session on KEXP

The KEXP music blog just posted a live session with Peter Bjorn and John (PB&J), featuring footage from a recent visit to the studio which looks more like a large closet with a few people lining the edges. It wasn’t quite the stage show that I covered for PopMatters covered in New York City back in May, but that didn’t keep the indie trio from rocking their tight knit sound – cowbell included of course. With the cameras on top of them as they played, the bearded Swedes gave an inspired performance which gives new meaning to the term intimate. Pared down versions of the songs also highlight the structured composition of each, as well as the variety of their music. Link to session here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Art Brut in Brooklyn Thursday June 23rd

There's tickets still available for Art Brut's show tomorrow night at The Music Hall of Williamsburg -- can't wait to see this band after years of enjoying their fun, quirky music. Here's the video for their single off the new release, Brilliant! Tragic! which frontman Eddie Argos has said is a sort of 'dramedy' for the band, explaining how all their collections of songs have echoed what is "said on the tin" from the first bold foray into the music scene entitled Bang Bang Rock & Roll in 2005, to things getting crazier with It's a Bit Complicated in 2007 andthe good vs. evil theme of Art Brut vs. Satan in 2009. I've just finished transcibing my own interview with Argos from earlier in the month which I'll post with a review of the show. He told me he'd rather release two album a year rather than an album every two years but "knows that's not possible." He loves writing music and has always wanted to be in a band... now he's living the dream. Buy tickets here!

Friday, June 17, 2011

David Byrne steals the show at Paul Simon Concert

I can't say I love how Brooklyn Vegan feels a need to post every picture taken at a concert, couldn't they weed out a few? But then picking up a video from YouTube showing David Byrne surprising the crowd June 7th during an encore at Webster Hall brilliantly told the real story... Byrne appears in his trademark white (at least these days) towering over the tired Paul Simon, full of happy energy and the joy of performance. A rollicking version of the Talking Head's "Road to Nowhere" showcased Byrne's strong singing and exuberance while Simon tried to keep up (link below).

For more concert footage of Byrne leading the charge, his latest trek "The Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno Tour" has been made into a film called Ride Rise Roar which was released May 31. Directed by David Hillman Curtis, the documentary covers backstage as well as performances across the U.S. and Europe. I was lucky enough to see the tour in Oxford, England and wrote about it here. Looking forward to reliving it all over again!

Brooklyn Vegan Review of the concert:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Dodos @ Bowery Ballroom NYC June 9th

The Dodos continued a busy tour with a stop at The Bowery Ballroom on June 9 before playing The Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn June 10. The New York crowd was supportive and enthusiastic during the show. New material was rolled out with confidence, from the opener “Good” into “Black Night,” the single off the new release No Color which was given the extra punch of live performance. “When Will You Go” followed without a break and only after that song did Long speak to the crowd with a “Thanks” and the question, “How you’all doing?”

Last March Meric Long spoke to PopMatters before embarking on the tour about the need of a third touring member to join him and drummer Logan Kroeber. They found a guitarist to fill the role but he was never introduced and looked more like a third wheel up on stage. As Long and Krober faced each other and sang, it was as though he was never really invited to the party.

The concert was more about the business of presenting their original, percussion-driven music, with breaks for tuning and a few quick thanks. “Longform” from Time to Die plus “The Season” and “Fools” off of The Visiter were offered to round out the set. At the encore Kroeber gave a shout out to his brother and then two new songs closed the evening: the banging intro drumbeat of “Going Under” and the opening cascades of guitar of “Don’t Stop.”

NMMatterscorp YouTube Video here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Matt & Kim Win Supporting Slot on 2011 Honda Civic Tour After Driving Ford Focus

I just heard the announcement last week that Blink 182 and My Chemical Romance pulled a smart one by inviting the overly energetic and beloved Matt & Kim with them on the Honda Civic Tour this fall. So it's funny to see them in cute little videos promoting the Ford Focus in a series called "The Road to Bonnaroo" during the live stream on VEVO over the weekend. I particularly liked Part 2 with clips of them back in their Brooklyn hood and performing at The Music Hall of Williamsburg -- the show I was hoping to see but was only able to score tickets to their show June 29th at Terminal 5. Ah well, looking forward to that anyway!

Watch the video here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SPIN Premiere: Listen to New Hooray for Earth

The new release from Hooray for Earth, True Loves, is out today and SPIN.com has a link up for listening to the entire collection of songs. Spin deemed the band one of their “5 Best New Artists for March” and is very complimentary in the accompanying write up. I had already picked the title track for my next playlist with the fuzzed out bumps and grinding beat intro, so it was fun to preview the whole thing. This 4-piece synth-pop band from Boston is now based in New York City and ready to take things to the next level. And just in case you might be wondering, the group is named for a line in the Nickelodeon television cartoon Invader Zim.
Link to listen here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Matt & Kim Interview May 2011

When PopMatters put out a call for writers to interview Matt Johnson of Matt & Kim fame, I jumped at the chance. Their infectious, catchy dance punk caught my ear instantly upon first listen of their song "Yea Yeah" five years ago. However, when it came time to call in to be patched across to Matt at the appointed time, I found myself using a Free Conference Call company number. I've used this service before and as the saying goes, you get what you pay for! Although I could have jinxed it... the call was dropped after the publicist signed off for the half hour allotted time, so I was stuck with the clock ticking and no one to answer my prepared questions. 

I called the publicist on her cell number in a panic, scrambling for words to explain what happened. Things were much better on the second try and I had take a deep breath to at least sound calm during the interview. Matt was very sweet and chatty from the start, a cheery guy for a fun discussion about their music.

My PopMatters post here.