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Friday, March 26, 2010

Chris Knox Benefit Show - May 6th at Le Poisson Rouge

On Thursday, May 6th, 2010, Le Poisson Rouge, Wordless Music and WFMU will be hosting a benefit for New Zealand musician Chris Knox, who suffered a series of life-altering strokes last year. The show comes on the heels of Merge Records’ release of Stroke, a double album compilation of artists covering Knox songs with the proceeds going to benefit him and his family. All money raised for this event, save for circa $2,500 base costs to cover direct club expenses, is going straight to the Knox family.

Chris Knox’s presence and influence on New Zealand music can only properly be compared to the relationship between Caetano Veloso and Brazil, and Ali Farka Touré in Mali. He started as one of the first and most highly regarded Kiwi punk rock musicians in the late seventies, and went on to be known for his work as a comic artist, television host, film reviewer and music producer for releases on the illustrious Flying Nun roster. His work as Tall Dwarfs (with Alec Bathgate) and as a solo artist has influenced musicians far beyond his country’s borders, as evidenced by the lineup for this show.

Artists, all of whom will be performing shorter than typical sets, at Le Poisson Rouge include Yo La Tengo, Portastatic, Kyp Malone (TV On The Radio), Claudia Gonson (The Magnetic Fields), comedian John Mulaney and Sharon Van Etten. Additionally, New Zealand will be represented by one of the only bands who can be considered a rival to Knox’s influence, The Clean, solo sets by Clean members Robert Scott and David Kilgour, as well as Dimmer, whose leader Shayne Carter is best known on these shores from his years of fronting the seminal Straitjacket Fits. In addition, we are pleased to announce the night will include a very short acoustic set by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, his first public performance in over a decade. The event will be partially recorded to broadcast on WFMU at a later date, as well as on New Zealand community radio stations like Radio 1 in Dunedin.

Tickets will be made available via next Tuesday, March 30th. Kickstarter is a great new website where people can directly support projects they love. All tickets purchased will be for the person who bought the ticket – i.e. there will be no way to scalp. If a ticket buyer is purchasing the tickets for somebody else, they will be required to provide the name of that person upon purchasing to secure the spot. We will be holding a separate fundraiser on Kickstarter to cover transport costs for the artists; people who donate will receive the Stroke 2xCD comp. Keep watch on Kickstarter for information like ticket price (they won’t be cheap – it’s a benefit!) and other salient details. There will be no guest lists whatsoever.

In addition to the music, New Zealand goodies will be on hand thanks to contributions from various organizations. For instance, we’re going to have meat pies from Dub Pies in Park Slope!

Seabear from Iceland with Love!

At my Kevchino / The Nym Guy SXSW Party I had the honor of having this great Icelandic band Seabear play my showcase. I've bee traveling so sorry for the late notice but they're playin Southpaw in Park Slope tonight or as Seabear miss-typed it on their myspace "Shouthpaw." They played Mercury Lounge last night Nick from Musicology went to the show and enjoyed them. They have a few more dates in Canada and the US left before they hit Europe.

Mar 26 Shouthpaw Brooklyn, NY
Mar 28 TT the Bears Cambridge, MA
Mar 30 20Green Room Montreal, QC
Mar 31 Horseshoe Tavern Toronto, ON
Apr 1 Grog Shop Cleveland, OH
Apr 2 Schuba’s Chicago, IL

Beck does INXS with a little help from some friends

Beck, St. Vincent, Liars and Os Mutantes are redoing the INXS album Kick, for Beck's Record Club series. Here is the results of the first track "Guns In The Sky."

Record Club: INXS "Guns In The Sky" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

Sharon Van Etten - Daytrotter Session

Sharon stopped by the Daytrotter Session studio some time late last year when she was on tour. Grab these free downloads of "Consolation Prize," "Give Out," "It's Not Like" and "Take" here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Devil Makes Three Saturday March 20th, 2010 – Troubadour, Los Angeles

The Devil Makes Three seamlessly combine the sentiment of blues music, the nostalgia of country, and the painterlike lyrics of folk and serve it up with a side of intense rock fervor. With the burning rage of finger-plucking guitarist Cooper McBean, The Devil Makes Three began their set with "The Bullet," from their self-titled album, with its high-speed banjo playing that made the crowd begin to simmer.

The Santa Cruz trio’s sound is reminiscent of simpler times, with frontman Pete Bernhard spitting highly spirited lyrics that served as a mantra to some. The petite Lucia Turino produced brawny beats on the upright bass in "St. James," creating a buzz with the loyal crowd, which was like watching a midget wrestling a tiger and coming out the victor. The solitary imagery seeping out of “Graveyard” captivated listeners, transfixed to a story with the labored singer Pete Bernhard as principal.

Overall, the band cooked up a generous portion of Americana that left me wanting to visit the South and order up some comfort food.

Erica Urech

Monday, March 22, 2010

Marissa Nadler New Video and Tour Dates

© Photo by Andrea Blankenship 2010

Marissa Nadler is working on a video with the amazing photographer Patrick Fraser! From the looks of the picture above and Fraser's resume it will be the most epic video of hers to date.
She has been doing a small tour and has a few dates left. She will be doing a show with Meg Baird in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Thu Mar 25 10 08:00 PM | Littlefield | Brooklyn, NY | w/ Meg Baird
Fri Mar 26 10 08:30 PM | TT the Bear's Place | Cambridge, MA | w/ Basia Bullat

SXSW Day 4 March 20th - Kevchino The Nym Guy Party

Thunder and lightning and pouring rain woke me early Saturday morning. The rest of SXSW was all blue skies and sunshine, and I wondered if our & The Nym Guy outdoor day party at Cafe Mundi would take flight. Our Austin promoter, Rob Dalley, aka The Nym Guy, insisted, "The show must go on, rain or shine!" So the rain stopped a half hour after the show was supposed to start, and we decided to have it under the café’s covered patio instead of the rain-soaked stage we had rented that Sandra Bernhard performed on two days earlier. Starting the show a half hour behind schedule, Threeleaf took the stage, and the long day began. This was the final show before Cafe Mundi closed their doors, having recently lost their lease, probably due to the new 32-mile MetroRail train line which had the Plaza Saltillo stop just down the street. (The train service started on Monday, just after SXSW.) Other than the early rainstorm and cold weather, which kept the crowds small, those who braved the elements were treated to a great show.

Shilpa Ray
After watching the bands outside freezing in the cold, Shilpa opted to play indoors, solo, without her Happy Hookers. She put on a great set with her harmonium and projected her natural voice to the crowd.

Her Happy Hookers
Some of Her Happy Hookers whispered along with her lyrics and lightly tapped their parts on the table.

Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten played her set as the sun set. It was thirty-two degrees, but she powered through her set in the freezing cold. She asked if anybody had blue eyes and brought a blue-eyed boy named Brian on stage and serenaded him with "Ooh Love," a Blaze Foley cover (see video below). She also performed "For You" and a song she said she rarely plays, called "Damn Right."

Domino Records sent Irish band The Villagers’ frontman, Conor J. O’Brien, to SXSW this year. Conor performed a great set with his classic yet-to-be-released song "Becoming A Jackal," off his upcoming album to be released in June. He stole the hearts of many audience members and won over new fans, including Sharon Van Etten. He did a Beatles cover, "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," and got the audience to sing along. He also did a great cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying."

The show was running ahead of schedule, and we were lucky to have Damien Nicholas DeRose of Peasant, who was in the audience, step up to do a surprise set.

Drink Up Buttercup
Philadelphia's Drink Up Buttercup were the most energetic and playful band of our showcase. They previewed songs off their new album, Born And Thrown On A Hook.

Rey Villalobos
Portland's Rey Villalobos put his band The Coral Sea on the wayside to promote his beautiful whispery folk solo EP titled Roses in the Nordic Countries.

Eagle Rock, California's Princeton played a great set. The standout was the tropical-sounding "Calypso Gold."

Austin, Texas's Joannabarbera played some tunes off her album Carnival Beginning. She's originally from New York.


Seabear traveled all the way from Reykjavík, Iceland to play SXSW and built up quite a buzz during their stay in Austin. Their sophomore LP, We Built A Fire, was also featured on this week. Seabear played an amazing set and had the largest crowd of the day. I highly recommend checking out this band. They're on tour in the US, so check out their MySpace page for dates.

Odawas were another highlight of the show. Their songs were reminiscent of Calexico if the band were on Ambien. I picked up a copy of their album The Blue Depths, on Jagjaguar. "Harmless Lover's Discourse" was a standout song in their set.

Anni Rossi
4AD's multi-instrumentalist Anni Rossi put on a great set as she gracefully plucked and played her violin. Backed with a live drummer and keyboardist, she played tunes off Rockwell.

Brooklyn's Monogold impressed many with their set. They played their great song, "Traps/Offerings," off the We Animals EP. They made some new Brooklyn fans in Austin, Texas.

Brittain Ashford
The lovely Brittain Ashford and crew just finished recording her new album in Marfa, Texas.

Austin locals Threeleaf opened the show. They were also supposed to back Sarah Castro during her set later in the day, but she was sick with the flu.

During the Odawas set, I noticed tons of graffiti artists showing up across the train tracks. One artist started stenciling, and the others did color fills. It was fun to stare across the tracks and see the art taking form as the music played on.

Words and Photos by Kevin Serra

Saturday, March 20, 2010

SXSW Day 3 March 19th 2010

Seeing all these phenomenal bands in one place is just ridiculous and thank god for that! That’s the beauty of SXSW. Woke up super early to check out the Pitchfork show at Emo’s today.

To start, Warpaint, a female led group out of L.A. were in full force and played some amazing new instrumental songs off their upcoming full length on Rough Trade records. They didn’t play their beautifully lush song “Billie Holiday” but they did a fantastic job live. They added a new female drummer, so for the moment Warpaint is now an all gal band. If you haven’t heard them before, run to your record store and pick it up now.

Local Natives
Local Natives put on a very tight set. The crowd went bonkers when the band went into “Wide Eyes” off their album Gorilla Manor.

Washed Out
Seems like out of nowhere the term “Chill Wave” popped up and now some of my favorite bands are thrown into the category. Speaking of the term, Washed Out AKA Ernest Greene started off his set with a mellow blend of looped electronics and reverb drenched vocals that had the crowd swooning. This kind of minimal electronics with a dance music approach is what I guess the genre is about. After a solo set his backing band, Brooklyn’s Small Black joined in making the songs jump out into the audience. The crowd went wild for “Feel It All Around” and “Hold Out.”

I think the highlight of the day was going for a beer and seeing Gwar walking around the enclosed outdoor area in full Gwar outfits drinking beer, talking to fans, and having their pictures taken with everyone. Thank god they didn’t have a bucket of fake blood with them!

Memory Tapes
Brooklyn’s Memory Tapes AKA Dayve Hawk, also part of the Chill Wave movement jammed on stage with a live drummer while singing and playing guitar. He closed his set with “Bicycle” and played an amazing and extended guitar solo. The track played on for over ten minutes! Not a bad way to end a full day of music!

Words by DaVe Lipp | Photos by Kevin Serra.

SXSW Day 2 March 18th 2010

Grandaddy Earlimart new project Admiral Radley

Started off seeing Admiral Radley at a bar called Vice-Lose Control 2. The band may not sound familiar, but its members are, as half are from the band Earlimart and the other half from Grandaddy, who blend electronic samples and folk to make a really pretty blend of old and new. Gotta say, these guys and gal are worth checking out.

Afterwards, I headed over to Stubb’s, which is one of the best barbecue joints in Austin and just happens to have an outdoor venue the size of a football field that serves BBQ and beer and has a free pool table. This was one of the bigger shows of the night going on. On the bill were the Besnard Lakes, hailing from Montreal, who brought a psych-mixed-with-pop sound that didn’t feel like it fit in a performance space this size, but did their job at getting the crowd ready for the bigger acts to come.

The Soft Pack
Up next was The Soft Pack, who originally were called The Muslims, but changed their name for obvious reasons. Bringing rock and roll with hints of a punk sound, the guys got the crowd jumping in this never-ending night of music.

The Drive-By Truckers were up next, and from Athens, Georgia, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands with their heavier classic Southern rock anthems, even bringing out Muscle Shoals legend Spooner Oldham, who played keyboard on their last song, “Let There Be Rock,” which was in remembrance of Alex Chilton who had just passed on the day before, and to dying record stores where kids would once go to learn about music.

Band of Horses

Up next was Band of Horses, who, from start to finish, completely blew everyone away and were the winners of the night. Their set sounded polished, and the band had fun with the audience, joking around. But live, their performance converted me, and I’m sure everyone else there, as a fan.

Broken Social Scene

The show and the night ended with Broken Social Scene were plagued by technical difficulties and a stage filled with different members coming out for select songs, including former singer Emily Haines coming out of nowhere with her Metric bandmate James Shaw to perform “Anthems for a 17-Year-Old Girl” as the audience went crazy. But with twelve mics, and musicians wandering in and out of songs, their show was confusing, while the new material left everyone dry, aside from their new song, “World Sick,” which is one of the best songs the band has ever put out. Aside from all that, it was good to see Broken Social Scene back together again.

Words by DaVe Lipp | Photos by Kevin Serra

Thursday, March 18, 2010

SXSW Day 1 March 17th 2010

SXSW had just started, and as you might imagine, it was overwhelming, as too many bands, from Motorhead to Broken Social Scene to Broken Bells and everything in between, are playing every open venue available. On day one I dove in headfirst and checked out the Terrorbird/Forcefield show at Red 7, where I caught the last song in Beach Fossils’ set that had the crowd all wearing smiles. Kinda wish I had caught the beginning of their set. Frankie Rose and the Outs, whose leader has drummed for Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, and The Crystal Stilts, rocked the crowd with a blistering set of ’60s-inspired girl-driven rock with reverb-drenched vocals that the crowd was heavily into.

As a first-timer to SXSW, it was such an overwhelming feeling of being surrounded by music coming out of every crevice and every available space in Austin, Texas. But thankfully all the bands were groundbreaking, possibly the next big thing, and had something special to offer. Choir of Young Believers were the surprise of the night as this indie/folk act from Copenhagen, Denmark won everyone over with great musical choices and harmonies.

For the record, one of the bands I saw that night who literally blew everyone away was Neon Indian, a synth-heavy act who take lo-fi ’80s keyboards to another level. Led by Alan Palomo, these Austin, Texas natives, now settled in Brooklyn, tore the roof . . . er, tent off the outdoor performance space. I wasn’t sure how the songs would come off live, but surprisingly they were better than on the record, which was one of my faves of 2009.

We ended the night (not by choice) with a performance by Solid Gold, another favorite band of mine, at Vice-Lose Control 2. It was a great show, and the band played several new tracks, including “Matter of Time,” which sees the band continue to explore their inventive and very chill electronic-infused indie rock.

Real Estate, one of the headliners, had a near-capacity crowd hanging on their every word as the band played much of the material off their self-titled album.

After attempting to attend a party at Stubb’s to see The Walkmen, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Broken Bells, and Spoon all on the same bill, we quickly realized the pitfalls of SXSW and of the events that were to come, where the bills were stacked so heavily that we waited on plenty of lines around the block to get in. But tonight we quit while we were ahead.

Words by DaVe Lipp & photos by Kevin Serra