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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Win Tickets to see Villagers at Knitting Factory!

Ireland's Conor J. O’Brien is back on the East coast with his full band Villagers. Be sure to catch a show while he's in the states. He played the presents SXSW show last year and we invited him back and he played another showcase we had this summer with Marissa Nadler. Read our interview with Conor here and check out the tour dates below. Enter here for a chance to win a pair of tickets to his November 2nd show at Knitting Factory Brooklyn here.

Nov 1 2010 Kung Fu Necktie PHILADELPHIA, PA
Nov 3 2010 Mercury Lounge New York, NY
Nov 4 2010 Great Scott Allston, Massachusets

Holly Conlan: House of Blues in Orlando, FL 10/12/10

With an effervescing personality and a voice that could charm even the toughest of men, Holly Conlan was a highlight at The House of Blues last Tuesday night in Orlando Florida. Conlan’s rich and velvety voice could be compared to that of Regina Spector, Ingrid Michaelson, or even Conlan’s tour partner, Sara Bareilles, but that would do Conlan an injustice because that girl can hold her own. Tight harmonies and a clean and soothing sound made The House of Blues go weak in the knees.

Everyone could not stop gushing at how adorable Conlan was on stage. Her fun and flirty personality brought the crowd to life and made a smile creep on every face, no matter how stubborn one wanted to be. It was nearly impossible not to leave that building a huge fan of Conlan and this is only the beginning. With her new fall single entitled, “Stay,” Conlan is definitely going to become a fixture among the singer/songwriters of today.

Conlan seemed like a natural performer and that playing for nearly sold out crowds are a regular thing for this rising indie-pop songwriter. Her confidence was apparent with every song she sung and rightly so, for this girl is going to be unstoppable.

Words by Jessica Nguyen Photos by Dave Lapham of Dave Lapham Photography

Greg Laswell: House of Blues in Orlando, FL 10/12/10

Cool and relaxed was Greg Laswell when he donned the stage of the House of Blues in Orlando Florida last Tuesday. If anyone could embody the feeling the House of Blues possesses, Laswell is it. With a thick and hazy voice that could soothe anyone into a relaxed state, and a raw talent that is hard to come by, Laswell stunned the audience into silence.

So deep were his lyrics that it made it hard not to feel a swell of emotion rise as he played and carried the audience on a journey of lost love and broken hearts. With songs such as “Off I Go” and “Your Ghost,” Laswell entranced the audience with his progressive build of the piano and the steady beat of the drum.

One of the many high points of Laswell’s performance was his cover of Cindy Lauper’s hit, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Before Laswell started the song, he told the story of a piece of email he received after performing this song. In the email, the not so happy sender reiterated how he despised the cover and as Laswell put it, “took his time explaining how much he hated me.” Hard to believe that anyone could hate this smooth singer-song writer, but never the less, this listener was not happy. Laswell responded to the letter saying he was very sorry that the man had wasted so much time saying how much he disliked the cover, and the man responded that, “it ‘s all good.” The crowd roared with laughter as Laswell gave heed that if you get hate mail you could end up with a new friend. And with that, Laswell proceeded to wow the audience once again with a cover that took the song into a completely modern and refreshing direction. Laswell’s version was slow and determined, adding a deeper dimension to the song.

Laswell ended his set with a song that would “cool your soul.” This phrase should be Laswell’s mantra for his music will not only bring you comfort, but will refresh and awaken your soul.

Words by Jessica Nguyen Photos by Dave Lapham of Dave Lapham Photography

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Interview with Seabear

Sindri Már Sigfússon of Seabear talked with’s Erick Mertz recently and discussed the inner workings of the band, including the recording of their latest album, We Built A Fire, touring, and the merits of being Icelandic. Read it here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Very Best live at The Hard Rock Orland, FL 10/11/10

With a sound all his own, Esau Mwamwaya, of The Very Best, educated concertgoers on how dance and hip-hop can be greatly enhanced with a bit of cultural influence from Mwamwaya native home of South Africa.

Last Monday night, The Very Best, got the crowd riled up and dancing before the headlining band, Vampire Weekend, took to the Hard Rock Live stage in Orlando, Fla. Screaming the phrase, “Feel the ancestrals,” The Very Best, set the tone of his set. Mixing African beats with some fresh DJ skills, the audience was transported to South Africa and given the opportunity to release their inner tribal spirit.

The set was not just about the music. Mwamwaya stirred the crowd with jokes like “how do you kill a mosquito? You clap.” Was it a bit corny, yes, but it helped relieve some of the dominance and power that was displayed during the songs.

Vampire Weekend wasn’t far removed, for lead singer, Ezra Koeing contributed to the backing vocals on “Warm Heart of Africa.” The stage was a bit large for this artist and his DJ, but that didn’t hinder the vibrant sounds from reaching every corner of the room. The Very Best was culturally entertaining and gave the crowd something to talk about after the show was over.

Words by Jessica Nguyen Photos by Dave Lapham of Dave Lapham Photography

Beach House live at The Hard Rock in Orlando, FL 10/11/10

Purely spectacular and painfully beautiful are the music and lyrics that are delivered by Baltimore’s own Beach House. Last Monday night, Beach House took the audience on a musical journey through time and space at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando, Fla.

With a simple and sophisticated set made up of three light reflecting pyramids and an intimate arrangement of instruments that brought the band to the edge of the stage, lead singer Victoria Legrand, lulled the crowd into a state of dreaming with her haunting voice and her bewitching talents on the organ. It was hard to not get lost in the music and to be emotionally moved, for their powerful lyrics spoke to everyone in the room. Songs such as their hit “Norway” ushered in claps and yells of praise as well as their final song “10 Mile Stereo” that was poetic and spoke of how loves like a pantheon, it carries on forever.

The music wasn’t the only thing that was extraordinary; the set and the atmosphere Beach House birthed were visually stunning. Legrand was an extension of the music; her limbs flowed with grace and ease of one so connected to her creation that it was almost too intimate to watch. Her musical soul mate, Alex Scally, seemed to be in his own world of notes and progressions but never failed to make every thing he played to be practically perfect in every way.

Many of their songs ere inspired by winter and that was evident in their crisp and cool arrangements and the harsh reminder of the drums. Beach House’s performance was a spiritual experience for music lovers everywhere.

Words by Jessica Nguyen Photos by Dave Lapham of Dave Lapham Photography

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jimmy Tamborello releases two new EP as Dntel

On Dec. 7th, 2010 Subpop will be releasing new music from Dntel in the form of a pair of companion EPs, entitled After Parties 1 and (very sensibly, given their complementary relationship) After Parties 2. Preview some track above.

Marissa Nadler needs your help!

Boston's best folk export Marissa Nadler is recording a self titled new album by herself without any help from a record label. She’s has set-up a Kickstarter page to have fans help donate funds cover costs of the new album. Fans who contribution ten dollars or more will receive a digital download of the album a before the official release date. Watch the video above with her new song "Daisy Where Did You Go?" and her sub titled video of her requesting your help. Visit here to help her out.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros live at The Ritz in Tampa, FL 10/16/10

Imagine you have this deliciously juicy secret that you are just dying to tell. You’re antsy and feel like you are going to explode if you don’t share the big news. Containing this information seems nearly impossible and you just want to shout to the world that this amazing thing is happening.

That is the exact emotions that Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros draw out of every one of their fans. Pure and simply they are folk music at it’s best. Messages of love and positivity are weaved through the eclectic mix of instruments and vocals provided by this vagabond 10-piece band. Entertaining the crowd at The Ritz in Tampa, Fla. on Saturday night, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros inspired the crowd to embrace love and freedom by engaging in the moment and soaking it all in.

The air about the room was full of positive energy right from the start. Opening the show was the brother-sister band creatively called He’s my Brother, She’s My Sister. Robert and Rachel Kolar gave a home-grown performance. Drumbeats came from their tap dancer, Lauren Brown, who performed on a soapbox of sorts, and really made songs such as “Coattails” and “Tales That I Tell,” come to life by imitating a chugging train. This all just added to the vibe already created of a travelling beatnik band.

Once Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros began their musical ascension into the realm of unity and peace for all, the crowd did not stop swaying to the rhythm and donating their own instrumentation by shaking the tambourines provided by Edward Sharpe and his gang of musical gypsies. The show could only be described as organically wonderful. Using every instrument from maracas and harmonicas to the accordion and a hand held keyboard; even using their own bodies as a means of a drum was what made this wacky group of musicians so enjoyable.

Storytelling through song, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros gave the audience a glipse into a life of optimism. Songs such as “Janglin” and “40 Day Dream,” can’t help but put a smile on your face. The blues influenced song of “Black Water” mixed with the meditative inducing melody of “Desert Song” beckoned for inner reflection. However, the pinnacle of the show was the giddy and heartfelt performance of “Home.” As the lights came down and all you could hear was the faint sound of the whistling intro, the crowd cheered in anticipation of the adorable song that was about to begin. Adoring looks from lead singers Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos made the song such an intimate encounter to watch. It was a conversation between two people in love and it was a beautiful scene that anyone would gush over. Castrinos’ mother was in the audience and during the interlude she introduced her family and went on to introduce the band.

This show was silliness at its best and generated love and heart-felt compassion that is sorely missing from the world today. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros help make you feel at home no matter where you are.

Words by Jessica Nguyen Photos by Dave Lapham of Dave Lapham Photography

Saturday, October 23, 2010

CMJ - Day 4 Dean Wareham plays Galaxie 500

Dean Wareham preformed a beautiful set of Galaxie 500 songs as a four piece with his wife Britta Phillips and a drummer and extra guitarist. It was nicely done. Very sad the original trio could not be reunited but if I closed my eyes it sounded just like records.

Words to come . . .

Somewhere in the middle of the set the played "Cheese and Onions."

Temperature's Rising
Decomposing Trees
Hearing Voices
Blue Thunder
When Will You Come Home
Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste (Modern Lovers Cover)
Fourth Of July
Ceremony (Joy Division Cover)

Friday, October 22, 2010

CMJ Day 3 Lowers Dens, Tamaryn and No Joy

Three really great bands tonight at the Mexican Summer showcase at Knitting Factory. First up was the Canadian four piece No Joy. The band was made up of two guys and two gals. The girls were on guitar duties and the boys played bass and drums. The band as my new friend Danny put it had the creamy 70's guitar tones reminiscent of Brian Jonestown Massacre but on many songs you could hear the Sonic Youth elements especially in the guitars. The girl guitarists and the bass player all shared vocal duties and each member played very concise musical parts while delivering a very large and fuzzy sound.

The San Francisco band Tamaryn caught my attention a few weeks back and been listing to their debut album The Waves non stop and was so excited to see they were playing CMJ. The band came out on a dimly lit stage and with beautiful colorful film textures projected on the stage as John Shelverton stood on the stage wailing precise guitar licks as the rest of the band followed on stage and rocked out then lead vocalist Tamaryn joined in the fun putting on an amazing live performance. They have a heavy 4AD sound with elements of shoegaze mixed with Cocteau Twins textures and even Curve. The crowd really enjoyed Tamaryn's set as I was rocking out to their set I noticed Nick Zinner standing right next to me. I really enjoyed the whole set but highlights included "Mild Confusion," "Sandstone" and "Waves." See the bass heavy video clip above of "Sandstone."

One of my favorite albums of the year is by Jana Hunter's new band Lower Dens. The four piece from Baltimore have made a gem of an album. The band didn't get a start till late in the evening and the crowd was thinned out but the people that stayed were just as excited about the band as I was and enjoyed every note of their set. They played a few new tunes and treaded us to classic tracks such as "Hospice Gates," "I Get Nervous" and "Tea Lights." The first time I saw them play a Death By Audio show and Sharon Van Etten, Kyp Malone of (TV On The Radio) and Anand Wilder of Yeasayer were in attendance. This show they had Nick Zinner and I ran in to Victoria from Taken By Trees in attendance . . . if that's any indication of how amazing a band Lower Dens are.

Words & Pics by Kevin Serra

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sleigh Bells live at Soho-Santa Barbara, CA 10-18-10

Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells drops to her knees belting out Treats tracks at Soho in Santa Barbara, California, October 18, 2010. Photo:

Slaying Belles

Seriously, Sleigh Bells ought to consider changing their name to Slay Belles, as this is what they do: they slay the crowd with an onslaught of persona, rock guitar, and deep-boom beats. When they played Soho on October 18 in Santa Barbara, California, the band was forty-eight hours free of a short run with LCD Soundsystem and Hot Chip that culminated a couple nights before at the cavernous Hollywood Bowl in front of thousands. When you take the energy needed to captivate such a place as the Hollywood Bowl and stuff it into a club for three hundred, the result can be raucous and oftentimes explosive. Case in point? Monday night’s show.

The band reworked the music club into a proper “club” club. Traveling with lighting, strobes, a wall of Marshall full-stacks, and an energy rarely seen, Alexis Kraus and Derrick Miller turned the intimacy into an inferno for thirty-plus minutes, playing all the tracks off this year’s debut, Treats. From the outset that included a loud metal intro via Metallica, the duo took over the stage with a fervor that did not subside. Track by track, the band stormed through as a storm raged outside, interacting with fans up front and going all out for the “crazy” Santa Barbara attendees.

While some might sniffle that the album gets tiresome after some repeated listening, the live arena for Sleigh Bells is a venue for which the professionalism and recent touring have paid off. After having the expanse of grander stages recently, to be compressed into the small environ brought an intimacy to the show and also made you feel as if you were locked in the cage with two rabid animals. While lightning cascaded from the outside of the venue in through the windows, the band’s lighting complemented tracks like “Infinity Guitar,” “A/B Machines,” and the Pitchfork-approved “Crown on the Ground.” The tender—relatively speaking to the rest of the onslaught—“Rill Rill” delivered mid-set gave Derrick a chance to swap guitars, wipe the sweat off his face, and limber up for the remaining slaughter.

The intensity of Sleigh Bells is rarely, if ever, seen in Santa Barbara. The last time I can recall such intensity was when another Brooklyn band, TV On The Radio, played the club just about four years ago. They too were ascending the ranks of the rock pyramid and were also days off an ear-shattering triple bill that summer that included Nine Inch Nails and Bauhaus. Here’s the deal. Set up shop in Brooklyn, release some jams, and get on a summer tour with some big acts. Then when the tour is over, immediately hit the small venues on your own headline tour and kill it.

Words & Pics by Justin Wagner

CMJ 2010 Day 1: Jenny and Johnny and Wild Nothing at Irving Plaza

On our first day of CMJ, we started the night out a bit late and sadly just missed Times New Viking, but we were just in time to grab a drink and catch the Wild Nothing set. The four-piece jumped right in, performing tracks off their debut album called Gemini, released on Captured Tracks. The band’s bassist was handling the hooks just as well as well as Peter Hook of New Order/Joy Division, running nice grooves up and down the fret board. The dueling guitar work was nice, kind of reminded me of a more ethereal version of the band Real Estate. The bassist and guitarist wore beards, while the singer, Jack Tatum, looked clean cut, like a prep school kid. The drummer had a clean-cut surfer look. The band had a nice sound heavy on the New Order/Joy Division influences with punching drums and bass, but the voice and guitars had the Pains of Being Pure at Heart vibe, maybe with some Interpol thrown into the mix. The crowd really seemed to enjoy the band’s set. It was very smooth and consistent. However, the songs "Chinatown," "Confirmation," and "Summer Holiday" really stood out.

The lovely Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis has now teamed up with Johnathan Rice, and they play together as Jenny and Johnny. They released their debut album I’m Having Fun Now back in August. They took the stage and opened with their song "Committed." "This song’s about some Cali snakes!" exclaimed Jenny Lewis as they then jumped into "My Pet Snakes," the first tune to feature Lewis on lead vocals. After the song, she said, "Do you think in ten years there won’t be any strip clubs in New York City? Everybody needs a little smut sometimes!" Besides playing bass and guitar and keyboards, Lewis joined in with the drummer on a mini-drum kit on the side of the stage on the next tune.

Jenny took on lead vocals and rocked out "Big Wave," which really seemed to get the crowd going. Next she said, "I’m going play a new song for all the girls out there, called ‘Just One Of The Guys.’”

Rice then shouted out, "If this song isn't blogworthy, I don't know what is!" as drummer Jason and guitarist Tiko left the stage and he and Jenny performed the tune "Animal" as an intimate duet.

The band members rejoined the group as Lewis said, "Doesn’t it seem like 2008 was so long ago? This next song is an oldie from 2008," and they busted into "Carpetbaggers," a tune Jenny did on her second solo LP, Acid Tongue. It originally featured vocal parts by Elvis Costello, and here Johnny filled in. They ended the show with another tune off Acid Tongue called "The Next Messiah." They almost played their new album, I’m Having Fun Now, in its entirety, except for one song, "While Men Are Dreaming."

Jenny and Johnny Set list:
Scissor Runner
New York Cartoon
My Pet Snake
Just Like Zeus
Straight Edge Of The Blade
Big Wave
Just One Of The Guys
The Next Messiah

Word by Kevin Serra Pics by Clovis IV

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vampire Weekend live at Hard Rock Live in Universal Studios Orlando, FL 10/11/10

I Stand Corrected. Vampire Weekend isn’t just a great band that eloquently combines clever lyrics with melodies infused with an essence of a 1980s summer. Oh no, this popular indie-rock band knows how to perform and hypnotise the crowd with the perfect blend of vintage sounds and African inspired beats. Add kooky dance moves from bassist Chris Baio, sick beats from drummer Christopher Tomson, creative electronic compilations from Rostam Batmanglij and vocal sophistication from lead singer, Ezra Koeing and you have all the makings of musical perfection.

Monday night in Orlando, Fla. Vampire Weekend took to the stage and gave a wickedly delightful performance for hundreds of concertgoers at the Hard Rock Live in Universal Studios. Starting the night off with their newly released single, “Holiday,” that entices one and all to let go of the stresses of life and take a much-needed vacation, was a highlight. The crowd’s cheers could not be contained when Koeing started his all too familiar guitar intro to “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa,” and when the lyrics paying homage to Louis Vuitton were uttered, a collective vocal contribution was provided by the fans. It leaves us to wonder how these four boys hailing from New York City keep up their stamina to perform these highly energized shows.

Supposedly, a wee bit of butterbeer, compliments of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, gave the band a boost of energy, which was exhausted during their rousing performance of “A-Punk,” followed by shouts of “Blake’s got a new face!” when the crowd favourite, “One,” was heard over the sound system. It was hard to decipher when one song stopped and the other began, but believe me that isn’t a complaint, but a sheer explanation as to why this band is unstoppable.

Performing every song in their entire catalogue, aside from three, Vampire Weekend is living proof that if the music is brilliant and the performance level is quality, unnecessary fluff in between songs is just distracting. And who really wants to be distracted from the indescribable and euphoric feeling one gets when Vampire Weekend is performing? I didn’t think so.

Words by Jessica Nguyen Photos by Dave Lapham of Dave Lapham Photography

Arcade Fire live @ The Shrine, Los Angeles, 10.07.10

Finding their way from the heart of the indie-scene to edge of mainstream consciousness, Montreal’s Arcade Fire has done so with audible grace and singular quirkiness. When bands get to a certain level of popularity, the quality of their songs usually seems to suffer. Not so with the Arcade Fire; be it in each successive record or their live performance; the octet deliver an outstanding performance.

On this particular fall evening, the Arcade Fire took the stage; opening the door and stepping into the dark (so to speak). The stage lights at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium pulsed with a seemingly organic life of their own, giving way to the apropos “Ready to Start,” passionately sung by vocalist/guitarist Win Butler. This was followed up by the new album’s proto-art-punk anthem “Month of May.” Focusing the evening notably on their new release “Suburbs,” there was a good mix of tracks from each of their releases.

The multi-instrumental multi-talented members of the band, seemed to change instruments between every few songs, in a game of their own invention; first becoming clear, in the lead-in to “Neighborhood #2.” Some tunes utilized dual drummers, some a hurdy gurdy, and some a hammond organ - Let there never be a question of Arcade Fire’s
musicianship. With all eight members and the flurry of instruments on stage, it was difficult to limit one’s attention to any one performer; and more a night to let the music wash over you.

In advance of the show, I was curious how the Arcade Fire would adapt to performing larger and less-intimate venues. They maintained their intimate connection to the audience, with the use of a drive-in movie screen; projecting composite video-art mixed with live video of the band, along with a rhythmic lighting show; pouring from the stage, out into the venue.

Coming to center stage from one of her roles as dual drummer; Régine Chassagne dawned in her glittery dress, performed one of the night’s sumptuous vocal high-points, in the form of “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains).”

At the beginning of one of the next songs, Win’s guitar stopped working. In a screw–it kind of way, he went and played the song on the hammond organ instead – proving that rolling with technical issues can be far more interesting than being a prima-donna, showing their passion for the songs, over the technically perfect set. As always, Win Butler came across as humble and appreciative, with many thanks for the audience’s support.

Moving towards the edge of the stage during “Neighborhood #1 Tunnels,” Win sang from the top of stage-monitors, before descending with orange-corded mic-in-hand, into the orchestra pit. As the band played their hearts out, Win’s interaction with the audience kept everyone’s blood moving with a sense of unpredictability - singing perched from the chair-tops and moving well into the audience, up the isles.

To be fair, a couple tracks didn’t resonate quite as well as others: “Deep Blue” & “We Used to Wait,” as examples just didn’t feel like they held up against the other material. These were the few exception though. Standout amazing performances for the night were many. A few more would include the cooing lullaby-like “Rococo,” “Intervention,” & the breathtaking anthem-like “Neighborhood #3 Power Out.”

Later in the show, Front-man Win Butler brought up the devastation from the recent earthquake in Haiti, and what the band was doing help out. He mentioned that the Arcade Fire would be donating one dollar per ticket towards relief and to rebuild through Considering the two nights in LA drew in the range of 6000 people per night (saleable tickets), the band donated $12k to Haitian relief fund, from those performances. It’s good to see people in the spotlight putting their money to good use. (

Winding towards the end of the evening; the last song before their encore was “Rebellion Lies,” which continued on after the band had left the stage, in the form of the audience singing the last notes of the song over and over, until the band came back to the stage – an interesting alternate to the usual foot stomping/clapping that bands usually get before they come back for an encore.

When they returned to the stage they broke right into “Keep the Car Running,” expressing their sheer gratification from being on stage performing; thanking the audience once again. Wrapping the evening was another anthem-like performance of “Wake up.”

Wanting to get a view from the balcony I made my way upstairs, where I could feel the entire balcony move in unison with the movement of the audience to the song. Amazing… The Arcade Fire definitely provided an evening to remember. They have seemed to resonate in a frequency like a magic trick, that will keep them interesting and engaging. Get concert tickets montreal.

Clovis IV: Photos & Review

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Azure Ray live at The Social in Orlando, FL 10/10/10

Have you ever heard a song and felt like it transported you home? Not just to your place of residence but to that time in your life where everything seems so safe and innocent. Where nothing could harm you. Stress and worry are just words of another language and warmth and happiness seep into everything fiber of your being. Comfort comes from the embers in the fireplace glowing in the living room and the sinking shallows of the sofa are beckoning for your return.

That is the feeling Azure Ray radiated through their performance at The Social in Orlando Florida. This show was the first of many on the first tour Azure Ray has produced in 6 years. Having taken a break from their duel project to focus on solo work, Azure Ray is back and better than ever.

The entire show was a family affair. Azure Ray’s, Maria Taylor, brought her younger sister, Kate Taylor and Kim’s husband Taylor Hollingsworth, to open the show. Sounding like a modern day Johnny Cash and June Carter, the audience enjoyed the folk-inspired musical stylings of the duo. The pair is just starting their musical accent; Kim Taylor has an EP to her name and Hollingsworth has a few recordings, but together these two are virtually unknown. It is a shame, for their creations are pure and delightful and one day these two will be making music for the world to hear and enjoy. Until then, we can find musical relief in the set they perform during this tour with Azure Ray.

The audience was already pulled into the world Azure Ray had created through the ambience of the set. Glowing lamps and plush rugs were places around the stage, inviting us in and preparing us for the intimate encounter about to take place. Azure Ray appeared on stage to a resounding applause. This tour has been anxiously anticipated for over half a decade and much was to be expected. As soon as the first chord was strummed the wait was over and nothing but sheer joy was spread across every face. Songs from their new album, such as “Don’t Leave My Mind,” were becoming engrained in the soul of the audience and entranced us all with the stories they told.

This ingenious musical group is one not to be missed. The outpouring of love that Azure Ray exudes through every aspect of this tour is something one can only experience for them selves. To discover when you can find them in your neighbourhood, please visit

Words by Jessica Nguyen Photos by Dave Lapham of Dave Lapham Photography

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Born Ruffians-Live at BackBooth in Orlando, FL 10/10/10

Potent. That is the one word that comes to mind when describing the Indie-Rock band, Born Ruffians. Don’t let their trendy good looks and stylish charm fool you; these Canadian boys have developed and crafted a sound that will marinate in your bones and urge you to move.

Born Ruffians began the show Sunday night at the Backbooth in Orlando, Florida in the most appropriate fashion by opening the show with “Foxes Mate For Life.” The perfect blend of sick drumbeats and brilliant guitar skills, not to mention the gorgeous vocals by lead singer Luke LaLonde, really just set the tone for the evening.

The show was like one gigantic house party. Eager fans screaming along to the tunes and throngs of people jumping up and down to the rhythm of the music just made everything so much more amplified and entertaining. Playing to a highly energized crowd must give the band some sort of a performance high because musical electricity was bouncing from every corner of the room. Anyone remotely in an off mood would instantly be beckoned into the atmosphere Born Ruffians create during their performances.

With the release of their new album “Say It,” a slew of new and utterly electrifying songs were performed that night from the staccato beat of “Nova-Leigh,” to the near sultry side of “What To Say.” The crowd favourites weren’t forgotten either, “I Need a Life” and “Hummingbird” were barely audible over the sing-along the crowd conducted. Quite an achievement since Born Ruffians aren’t what we call a subdued and low-key band.

This show had it all; fun, music, dancing, and addictive energy that keeps fans going back for more.

Words by Jessica Nguyen Photos by Dave Lapham of Dave Lapham Photography

Friday, October 15, 2010

Margot and The Nuclear So and Sos live at Crowbar in Tampa 10/8/10

With a new album entitled Buzzards, Margot and the Nuclear So and So are quite busy, but that didn’t stop them from putting on an amazing show Friday night at the Crowbar in Tampa Florida. With three opening acts, the crowd was raring to go when Margot and the Nuclear So and So finally graced the stage.

The show got off to a great start. Local band the Sleepy Vikings opened and got the crowd in a great spirit with their indie-punk sound. Connor, the lead singer, is backed by a fantastic all girl band, one of which had a broken leg and did the entire set sitting down. A feat considering that the music was groove worthy. The sound of Sleepy Vikings is very smoky and gritty in the best sense of the words and the crowd was deeply breathing it all in.

The second opening act was The Lonely Forest hailing from Washington State. The lead singer, John Van Deusen, took to the stage donned in a Yoda t-shirt and thick-rimmed glasses. He embodied the stereotypical indie band perfectly and his music didn’t disappoint either. With tight cords and a brilliant stage presence, a disappointed sigh was released when they had to cut the last song because they were running over on time.

Cameron McGill and What Army was the last opening act to perform on this musically eclectic night. With an earthy sound and a humble stage presence, the audience fell into a trance during McGill’s set. His power and control was evident through every song and it was nearly impossible to tear your eyes away from the stage. This wouldn’t be the last we saw of him during the night, McGill came back on stage when Margot and the Nuclear So and So finally performed.

Technical challenges were running rampant as Margot and the Nuclear So and So took the stage, but that didn’t deter the crowd from anticipating the sounds that were about to escape from the sound system. When the issues were finally resolved and the band came walking up to the stage, nothing could be heard over the sounds of cheers and applause. And that didn’t falter during Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s entire set. Performing songs from their new album, and also songs from their back catalogue, Margot and the Nuclear So and So, entertained the crowd with their indie pop rock sound.

This new album is a bit of a departure for the band. Trying a different sound that is a bit more edgy and intense, Margot and the Nuclear So and So are widening their fan base and creating a sound that is unique. Saying the crowd didn’t mind the new and improved musical direction is a bit of an understatement for nothing could have stopped them from singing along to the old familiar tunes and rocking out to the new.

Words by Jessica Nguyen Photos by Dave Lapham of Dave Lapham Photography

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Interview with James

We meet in an inconspicuous coffee shop near the show venue, our interview fit neatly between a much needed scone and cup of tea, and the band’s five o’clock sound check. There are already a hundred or more lining up outside the door. James are known for their sound checks, inviting a small number of fans in to witness the normally disregarded tour formality.Clearly, after a long absence from playing in the United States, though, the band is taking nothing for granted. Across from the microphone are long-time members of James, guitarist Larry Gott and bassist Jim Glennie. The two men possess opposite demeanors, yet once they get talking, they perfectly complement one another: Gott has a precise wit for details, his keen gaze obscured behind tinted glasses, while Glennie’s soft, youthful demeanor offers the emotional connective tissue between benchmarks in the band’s history. Read the interview by: Erick Mertzhere.

Belle & Sebastian Pics from 10/03 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium

Pics of Belle & Sebastian Pics from 10/03 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium by Justin Wagner

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Y La Bamba "Juniper" Video

Y La Bamba - Juniper from Tangible Worldwide on Vimeo.

Portland's Y La Bamba are an amazing band on the scene check out their video for "Juniper"

Warpaint Undertown Video

Monday, October 11, 2010

James live at Wonder Ballroom Portland, Oregon 10/8/10

The crowd is anxious. James hasn’t been through to play in Portland, Oregon in more than ten years, and the anticipation is tangible: you can feel it.

With all eyes fixed forward on the stage, a small number of fans near a set of stairs leading down off the main floor begin to cheer. The shaggy figure of trumpeter Andy Diagram appears in the balcony, heralding the show’s beginning with a few bleary tones. A spotlight on the top step reveals Tim Booth and Larry Gott in the midst of their fans, ready to perform. When they do, it’s an old favorite, “Sit Down,” with the charismatic Booth coaxing the audience on a slow walk toward the stage, where everyone turns back to find the whole band ready to play.

The show carries much of that communal energy forward. They move quickly into renditions of “Seven” and “Ring The Bells,” both older songs, still brimming with room for a fresh flourish or two. Seemingly never content, it feels like everything familiar takes on a slightly different skin than the album prepares the audience for, whether a quicker guitar riff or an artfully glossed or improvised lyric. With two albums on the new release shelf all over town, James bring out “Crazy” and “Dust Motes” (which feels like it will take up permanent residence in their set), but seemingly most effective is “Tell Her I Said So,” a bouncy, hip-twisting number off of The Morning After that feels like vintage James. Perhaps it is.

What is definitely vintage James is how well they play together. The stage is filled with hardworking wonder, from Saul Davies’s frenetic guitar and violin chops, to Larry Gott’s savvy to Diagram’s tireless fist-pumping and lunging of his trumpet toward the crowd. Discussions of a live James show must always make mention of Booth, one of the more difficult-to-ignore lead singers in modern music. If he’s not twisting and contorting his lean frame, then he’s staring out at the crowd, body still, meditative to the point of appearing almost catatonic. If the band is a patchwork of proper Manchester boys, then Booth is certainly their new age connection.

After the brief encore, the band sidesteps convention by playing “Out To Get You,” arguably the sleepiest track in their immense catalog. It’s lovely and seems altogether appropriate for the end of the show before they decide to close with a riveting “Sometimes” and a call-and-response version of “Say Something” that wants to carry on later into the night than curfew will allow.

Booth jokes that if they’re not careful, the crowd is going to believe they’re nothing but a “nostalgic pop band.” Perhaps he was joking. What gazed adoringly back the entire night, though, was a crowd perfectly willing to live briefly in the past.

Words by: Erick Mertz

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Natureboy European Tour Dates

If you reside over the pond or visiting do NOT miss this amazing band. Check out the Brooklyn three-piece Natureboy here. Click the poster to see date details.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Pete Yorn Bowery Ballroom, NYC 10/5/10

The muscle at Bowery Ballroom didn’t card us, which was weird. Neither did the bartenders. Jared knew one of the bartenders, who was very nice, which was also weird. And then Pete Yorn came onstage dressed all in white, along with the other three members of his band. Someone yelled out that he looked like Andy Samberg, but I thought he actually looked like Paul Westerberg circa 1989. The bassist looked like Luigi from Super Mario Bros. The guitarist looked like a number of people I hated from that bar Black & White on 10th Street. And the drummer looked, at first, like a young, long-haired Fabrizio Moretti, but that was just a coincidence.

There was a black-and-white cartoon show projected onto the stage, but most of the audience was wearing suits, or button-down plaid (not flannel) shirts. And when Yorn kicked into something from 2001’s musicforthemorningafter, the floor was instantly jammed for a couple songs before it would thin out again.

There were some who know every word, and there was a fist-pumper leaning against the balcony railing. The stage lights reflected back on half of her face. One guy turned to the girl he was with and said, “I haven’t, but I like this beat, though.” And so was the night. No opening act. And when Yorn closed out his encore with the Flying Burrito Brothers’ “Wheels” and I noticed I was the only one singing along, I went to join Jared at the bar downstairs, where he had been patiently working on his latest beer. It was then that I remembered that I met Pete Yorn once, a few years ago, backstage at Roseland. He said, “Hi, I’m Pete.” That was the end of it.

Reviewed by: David King