Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Modern Rivals @ Mercury Lounge July 25

Erick Lee (left) with Andrew Sheron, Photo: Jake Seymour
Most of the guys that make up Modern Rivals met in the St. Louis, Missouri, area and recently moved to Brooklyn where indie bands are apt to thrive.  Frontman Erick Lee continued his studies as a graduate student at New York University before joining husband Paul's team of composers at Big Foote Music + Sound.  He was able to use the studios after hours to record the band's latest EP, Sea Legs, to achieve a crisp, professional sound for any bandcamp page.  The songs have a strong, textural underpinning with vibrant melodies. At Mercury Lounge July 25, the group recreated the songs faithfully without the added benefit of any kind of stage show.  Interactions between the musicians and any grooving going on was lost in the darkness, but perhaps in a different venue this interplay can be rightly appreciated by their willing fans. They will be paying The Studio at Webster Hall on August 25 and The Rock Shop on September 13 -- catch them if you can.

Official PopMatters write up here and another video from the show below.

Modern Rivals "Clocks vs. Darts" @ Mercury Lounge NYC 7/25/12

Modern Rivals Set List

Monday, July 23, 2012

Replacements Movie Coming to CT Friday, July 27th

The movie Color Me Obsessed was recently part of the film screenings at the CBGB Festival with an informative Q&A with filmmaker Gorman Bechard, and this Friday, July 27 it will be in New Haven, CT at CafĂ© 9.   There will even be a live tribute to the band and other regional musicians after the showing.  See a complete listing of upcoming engagements here and for those interested, there will be a DVD release before the end of the year.

Last year PopMatters declared Color Me Obsessed one of the Top 5 most anticipated music documentaries, and it is certainly worth seeing for anyone who counts The Replacements part of their personal history or any others that wish they could.  Bechard made an unusual creative decision not to include the band or its music going into the project.  It’d be similar to the Mats, to use their nickname, in that things could have been so much easier for all if everyone adhered to the rules. He found fans on Facebook and Craigslist eager to tell the tale instead, with locales decided by where participants were comfortable doing an interview.  So the story revolves around how many concerts people attended (for Bechard, the number was fifteen) and which is their favorite album (Bechard’s is Tim).  It wasn’t until editing the final cut that Bechard decided to add a few photos at the end, a heartbreaking effect after ending the film with the band’s breakup in 1991. 

The effect of not seeing them or hearing their music makes the audience want to run home and listen to the band as well as looking up online resources, especially the train wreck which was their Saturday Night Live Performance.  (Gawker explores a few of them in a recent article with the backstory.)  Bechard can be forgiven for the slight of hand in the editing room with this labor of love, for example allotting screen time to George Wendt comparing the song “Here Comes a Regular” to his hit series Cheers. These indie rock pioneers were a messy group of guys mixing classic rock with punk charged energy and attitude, earning them a place in Rock and Roll history.  The music scene simply hasn’t been the same since.  

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer 2012 New Music Playlist

Summer is in full swing with plenty of new music heating things up for the next playlist. A single from the much-anticipated Passion Pit album starts things off with the venerable Hot Chip next in line.  Newcomers Deep Sea Arcade, Teen Daze and Stepdad are definitely worth a listen, while more music from Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Pomegrantes are always welcome additions. Link to listen here, enjoy! 

1. “Take A Walk” – Passion Pit
Boston area electropop band Passion Pit burst on the scene with their debut album in 2009, with a youthful embrace of danceable songs and Michael Angelakos’ soaring falsetto. This is the first single off the quintet’s sophomore album, Gossamer, introducing a serious approach to lyrics over the ever chugging beat.

2. “Night and Day” – Hot Chip
“Night and Day” is off the fifth studio album, In Our Heads, by the U.K. electropop band Hot Chip.  Alexis Taylor’s vocals float amid a layered dance groove and call backs galore to bring this dance frenzy to a close.

3. “Brains” – Lower Dens
Lower Dens is a Baltimore based indie folk band formed in 2010.  The quintet just released their second album, Nootropics, with this psychedelic tune providing an expanded, ethereal sound for the song list.

4. “Pass Away” – Pomegranates
Cincinnati band Pomegranates have stayed true to their indie rock roots since 2006.  This upbeat song with whoops of fun is off their fourth album, Heaven.

5. “How Do I Know” – Here We Go Magic
6. “Make Up Your Mind” – Here We Go Magic
Here We Go Magic is an indie rock band based in Brooklyn, New York.  These two infectious songs are off their fourth album, A Different Ship. 

7. “Dreambeat” – Peaking Lights
Wisconsin husband (Aaron Coyes) and wife (Indra Dunis) duo Peaking Lights recorded their latest album Lucifer in a professional studio, leaving behind the homemade tracks of last year’s debut release.  The experimental nature of the music is fully intact, however, as “Dreambeat” proudly displays.

8. “Man On Fire” – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
The Los Angeles band Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros recently convened to record their second album, Here.  Singer Alex Ebert fronts this folksy troupe of a dozen or so members, a fluid group befitting the casual nature of their songs.

9. “Girls” – Deep Sea Arcade
Schoolmates Nic McKenzie and Mick Weaver formed Australian band Deep Sea Arcade back in their teens.  The quintet’s sound is sun drenched indie pop, as this song off their first album, Outlands, reveals. 

10. “1997” – Saint Motel
Saint Motel is an indie pop band based in L.A. with a confident mantra utilizing plenty of outside influences for their first full length album, Voyeur. A/J Jackson’s smooth crooning vocals lead the charge for this four-piece group.

11. “Must Land Running” – Stepdad
“Must Land Running” is the audacious single off Stepdad’s first album, Wildlife Pop. This electronic pop quintet was formed by roommates ultramark and Ryan McCarthy in their Chicago apartment in 2009, but are now based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

12. “Endless Flowers” – Crocodiles
“Endless Flowers” is the title track of the third album by this indie pop band from San Diego, California.  The wall of sound production brings a sunny vibe to the fuzzy rock groove, with strumming guitars and a persistent percussive backbone.

13. “Gold Morning Mend” – Ian McGlynn
Ian McGlynn is a singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist from New Jersey, who just released his third album, Now We’re Golden. The song showcases McGlynn’s emotive vocals over an intricate indie pop sound.

14. “No. 1 Against The Rush” – Liars
Liars is a Brooklyn based three-piece electronic dance punk band, formed in 2000 by Californians Angus Andrew and Julian Gross.  This multi-layered song is off their sixth album, WIXIX (pronounced ‘wish you’).

15. “Brooklyn Sunburn” – Teen Daze
16. “Hold” – Teen Daze
Teen Daze is the solo project of music producer Jamison from Vancouver, British Columbia.  These synth compositions are from his first album, All of Us, Together, inspired by a book found in a thrift store called Utopian Visions.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

PopMatters Reviews for CBGB Festival, July 5 - 8

Here are links to my official coverage of the CBGB Festival on PopMatters, enjoy!  

And additional photos...

Shayfer James @ The Canal Room
BenTaylor @ The Canal Room
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. at The Highline Ballroom
Josh Epstein of DaleEJrJr

Monday, July 16, 2012

LCD Soundsystem Documentary this Wednesday, July 18th

There's a few tickets for movie theaters in the NYC area for Wednesday's one night showing of Shut Up and Play the Hits, The Final Days of LCD Soundsystem (official trailer below and list with links here).  Frontman James Murphy appeared on The Jimmy Fallon Show last week, explaining that the movie will now play a few dates, since fans had a chance to "demand it" in their town.  It does make it all seem more like an event, similar to the final concert at Madison Square Garden in April 2011. And similarly, the band added more dates at Terminal 5 during the week prior to this, which I was able to score tickets for and will surely be on my top ten concerts ever forever (write up here with "Dance Yrself Clean," the top video on our YouTube channel!)  

Murphy has been seen around town and elsewhere playing dj sets with drummer Pat Mahoney as Special Disco Version, in the studio with the Klaxons,Yeah Yeah Yeahs,  and the Julie Ruin.  He also almost had an acting role as well as a providing a musical score for HBO's adaptation of Jonathon Franzen's novel, "The Corrections." (According to The New York Times, Murphy's director friend Noah Bambach was ready to hand over the part of Gary before the project was pulled.)  To quote one of my fave LCD songs, all I want is to have my beloved band back.

**Update: Loved the movie, lusting after the DVD, only cried three times.

SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS - Official Trailer (HD)

Friday, July 13, 2012

New Video for Onuinu’s “Happy Home”

It took just one listen to get caught up in the shiny synth groove and pluck this song “Happy Home” for my Early Summer New Music Playist on the sidebar here (new playlist coming next week!) Portland multi-instrumentalist Dorian Duvall likes to call his personal musical genre “Disco-Hop,” after dabbling in electro pop.  He appears in the new video created by Andrew Sloan of monstrousmedia.com, with some crafty use of Reynolds Wrap to begin a journey beyond space and time.  The song is off the debut release due in September, Mirror Gazer.  And those in the New York area can catch Onuinu with Tycho this Saturday, July 14 at Webster Hall.

ONUINU / Happy Home from Andrew Sloan on Vimeo.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Notes on the CBGB Festival July 5 - 8

Most of NYC may have cleared out for the week, but after inviting over 300 artists to perform around town the CBGB Festival had plenty of people participating in programs throughout the day.  It all began tastefully late after noon at the Landmark Cinemas, home of independent film in the city on East Houston Street. Krist Novoselic of Nirvana set the tone as the keynote speaker, providing a rich musical history with a call to get involved in the country's political process befitting his new role as activist and chairman of FairVote.  Music panels followed on the business of getting noticed and all the new tools available, as well as a discussion of way things were in the original club.  A film conference addressed the visual side of things simultaneously, and then there were film screenings along with the music showcases at night.
Krist Novoselic, another bass player!

The brand CBGB seemed alive and well, with opportunities to pick up T-shirts (like the festival staff already had on) everywhere.  There was a nice, quirky but handy CBGB Club Etiquette Guide which filled the back page of the handouts listing the events -- see below. I'm old enough to have gone to the place, but certainly not in its hay day.  But I know the music from those years well, as familiar songs from house bands such as Blondie, The Ramones and Joan Jett played before the presentations.  As with the New Music Seminar, most of the speakers were of the male gender.  The panel on stage for the "Music Industry: Today and the Future," were actually EX-record label guys, a statement in itself. And the next generation listened to it all, though usually while multitasking away (in the last panel on day two I was actually surrounded by people playing with their phones held high in full view!)

Subjects crossed into new territory, for example whether a music artist even wants a record label or not.  And new music outlets in film and television were readily embraced for a infusion of cash and exposure.  There was a slight tangent over an argument regarding Spotify, even though other free or nearly free online music outlets were hardly mentioned.  And the old beef over the quality (or lack thereof) of mp3 files surfaced again -- as one who has fond memories of music discovery while listening alone in my room to an AM transistor radio or driving with a basic car radio I can't get crazy about this... besides, my ears just aren't that good to pick up on the all the nuances of fancier formats.  Isn't that what musicians are here for in the first place? Make it sound as nice as possible and thanks for all that, but we music fans will listen how we please. Rock on!

"Music Industry: Today and the Future"

"CBGB - Tales from the Club"