Topshelf Records’ (a DIY indie label based out of Massachusetts) label tour, as they call it, began earlier this month as many shows in New York do nowadays: with a powerful opening band killing it on stage, albeit with little reciprocation from what appears to be an audience of ‘too-cool’ kids standing motionless in place.
Field Mouse, a grungy, female-dominated synth band kicked off the night with the first cut from their most recent LP release ‘A Place You Return To In a Dream‘, building up a wall of bass-heavy, groove oriented power-pop that was relentlessly knocked down by the sweet licks of guitarist Andrew Futral and the unbreakable grooves of bassist Saysha Heinzman and drummer Tim McCoy.
Sporting matching Fender Jaguars and a Roland Juno-60 synthesizer, this band knows exactly what they want sonically, and they delivered it unheedingly. With small spouts of dry humor from frontwoman Rachel Browne, and the classic ‘middle-finger-with-the-audience’ selfie photo, they are well received – although in typical New York tough-love fashion the only response from the crowd comes after the set has finished.
Johnny: “I play the drums, Jordan is our bass player and lead vocalist. Dan and James on guitars.”
Jordan: “We’re all from Tallaght, south Dublin.”
James: “I’ve known Johnny all my life, Johnny went to school with Jordan, and Dan is a friend of a friend. We were all into the same stuff – same music, clothes – so it made sense.”
Dan: “We all wanted this for a long time. Two years ago we got together and decided to give it a proper go.”
For some people of a certain age – predominantly male – there are a number of acts of heresy that can lead to the total excommunication from an entire social circle.
One of these is openly admitting to enjoying The X Factor, another is coveting another man’s wife (unless of course she wants to be coveted), but the most heinous of all is the crime of not worshiping Johnny Marr.
Not like he needs an introduction, but as well as making spiritual gee-tar whoopee with THAT band, Saint Johnny has also added that certain something to The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse and The Cribs, along with guesting on dozens of other top brass laden projects in between.
Live, he’s the coolest Uncle/Dad/brother you never had, playing so effortlessly that it’s almost impossible to imagine him ever maintaining even a shred of self-doubt, wisecracking away at the expense of the establishment whilst other rockin’ rebels usually just wind up as one big pile of awkward embarrassment.
All things considered, we reckon there are few artists who better embody the spirit of good old Cool Britannia, his combined feats making him a national hero whose work should in a fair world be part of the National Curriculum.
Zola Jesus’ journey towards pristine, icy synth perfection continues apace with her latest offering, ‘Taiga‘.
A record full of intrigue and drama that entices the listener in with its pop sheen, only to then grip them vice like with its subversive power.
The record, on the face of it, appears to mine similar territory to acts like The xx, only on a far more epic scale and with a grander perspective. It may be walking the same path, but it leaves far greater footprints.
Zola Jesus seems to be playing all her cards on ‘Taiga'; every single track is bursting with power and emotion, from the subversive indie-pop of ‘Dangerous Days’, to the crescendo of ‘Lawless’, it is a record of real beauty and power. But it is also a record of rhythms and textures, from the edgy break beats on the titular opener and the almost dubstep stylings of ‘Dust’; to the haunting ‘Hollow’ and the wonderfully lush ‘Ego’, and even the rousing ‘Lawless’.
During the recording sessions for ‘Sleeping Operator‘ The Barr Brothers, in their prolific nature, created 40 new tunes.
Now, condensed into thirteen, they have collectively compiled a folk-rock wonder capable of nurturing and nourishing every wound that might scar the surface of our skin.
Meditative, hypnotic, but always unusual thanks to orchestrations conducted to compliment the plethora of other strange instrumentations, it is an album that pulsates with promising and powerful charm throughout, always at home in the seclusion of our own thoughts.
To be a great story, there are three things you must have: A beginning, a middle, and an end.
But the real key has always been the ending, and this is what so many bands put no thought into. Many have come to such ignominious ends, with no real thought for their story, their legend. The history books are filled with explosive starts, promising middles, and then…just nothing.
The Jim Jones Revue, though, are not those bands – they have always appeared to have a appreciation of their story.
Ian Mackinnon (vocals/guitar)
Mick McGeoch (keys)
John Boyle (bass)
Mark O’Donnell (drums)
All based in Glasgow but Mick hails from Stranraer and Mark from Mallaig.
We met each other through mutual friends really. A couple of us had played in a band before this and decided we wanted to change the way we did things, and that’s how Medicine Men came about.
With ‘Plowing Into The Field Of Love’ it is a sure thing these post-punks Iceage have discovered a soft-spot for writing love songs that come with as much beast as they do beauty.
The engine is running fast, with enough horsepower to out-race any strike of lightning, adding some surreal starkness to an album that is prepared to do nothing but impress, enveloping tunes with one finger dipped in the liquefied goodness of the late seventies and the other firmly pointed elsewhere, potentially the future.
The fascinating Alt-J return with their second album‘This Is All Yours’, and it is some return.
‘This Is All Yours’ picks up exactly where their debut ‘An Awesome Wave’ left off and sprints for the finish line.
That’s not to suggest it is a record that tears the walls down, or is full of fast paced, powerful stormers. It actually implies that this record takes all the wonder of their distinctive sound and let’s it grow and grow.
Like a distinctly British Yeasayer, Alt-J have an individual, warm and instantly familiar sound. Also like Yeasayer, they have a wonderful magpie nature, and appropriation is done with the brilliance of artists like Captain Beefheart, with an ability to take the form and function of a particular style of music and translate it into something truly their own. As with Beefheart’s ability to sing the blues without ever singing the blues, Alt-J have taken all the nuance and stylings of dance music, and used them all without ever recording any actual dance record.
Metronomy love New York and, from the look of back to back sold out shows at Irving Plaza (photo) and the Warsaw on Friday night, New York loves them right back.
Visit our full gallery of Metronomy @ Irving Plaza.
The UK outfit took to the stage at Brooklyn’s iconic Warsaw venue clad in matching white suits – indicative of the almost mechanical synchronization which would underpin the entire performance. Opener ‘Holiday‘, with Joseph Mount on bongos and lead vocals led into ‘Radio Ladio‘, both ‘Nights Out‘ singles which immediately locked in Metronomy’s groovy trance, a trance propelled by the mesmerizing, tight low-end licks of bass player Gbenga Adelekan and drummer Anna Prior.
‘Love Letters‘, the title track from the band’s most recent album, concluded a distinctly dance-heavy portion of the set, strong with on point full-band backing vocals that continued to support Mount’s easy voice throughout.
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