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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Atlas Sound Live at The Bell House 12/11/10

Atlas Sound at the Bell House was the best show I have seen in a long time, maybe ever. Bradford Cox Is a sorcerer.

He sauntered onto the stage shockingly lanky, carrying a Gibson acoustic and wearing a Bob Dylan harmonica rack on his neck. He took his stool behind his effects pedal board and began to cast his spell. Within seconds I knew I was witnessing something special. I felt stoned on the rich tones, complex intertwining melodies, and rhythms you had to hear to believe—all from just his guitar, harmonica, and devices. They underpinned the familiar, nuanced singing you may know from Deerhunter, the band Bradford fronts. His voice, effeminate yet with the rasp of someone who has been up all night talking, blended in and out of the music as well as any of the other elements. He seemed to shift from poetic and personal, to flippant and Impressionistic without it being distracting, or even being noticed.

The performance was dichotomous in many ways. On one hand there was the clarity of a guy sitting there playing and singing songs, and on the other hand, there was outright confusion at what he was doing and how he was doing it. Each piece he played had just enough song in it to strike a natural balance between old and new, structured and improv, earthy and ethereal, campfire and cathedral. It was just simple enough to have a certain purity, but lush enough to satisfy.

I could see that he was employing delay, harmonizers, arpeggiators, reverb, loops, and more, and he seemed to be doing everything live (no canned tracks), but as with all good magic shows, it’s hard to describe what it was, mechanically, that was being done. Bradford rendered (almost) everyone in the venue as much impressed as in a state of genuine enjoyment.

Not only is Atlas Sound better than your band, he’s better than his own band.

Word by Cedar Apffel

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jens Lekman & Victoria Bergsman (Taken By Trees) will DJ in Greenpoint

This Wednesday, December 15th there will be sweet sweet music coming out of the doors of Veronica Peoples Club in Greenpoint. Jens Lekman and Victoria Bergsman (Taken By Trees) will be DJ:ing from 9:30, all night long.

Veronica Peoples Club
105 Franklin Street
Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Writers Top 13 Albums of 2010 - Lukas Clark-Memler

001 | Arcade Fire "The Suburbs" Merge Read Review

002 | Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti "Before Today" 4AD Read Review

003 | Yeasayer "Odd Blood" Secretly Canadian Read Review

004 | Vampire Weekend "Contra" XL Recordings Read Review

005 | Kanye West "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" Def Jam

006 | Deerhunter "Halcyon Digest" 4AD Read Review

007 | Gorillaz "Plastic Beach" Parlophone/Virgin Read Review

008 | Twin Shadow "Forget" 4AD/Terrible

009 | LCD Soundsystem "This Is Happening" DFA/Virgin

010 | Foals "Total Life Forever" Sub Pop Read Review

011 | The Black Keys "Brothers" Nonesuch Read Review

012 | Beach House "Teen Dream" Sub Pop Read Review

013 | Harlem "Hippies" Matador Read Review

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jens Lekman live at The Green Building - Brooklyn, NY 11/10/10

Jens Lekman played three intimate shows in the US. The first one poolside at LA's Sky Bar and the other two nights in a row at Brooklyn's, The Green Building. Which is an intimate and lovely space on Union Street by The Gowanus Canal which has started hosting more public events.

We caught the last of his three shows. He played a bunch of new material and a good balance of stuff from Night Falls Over Kortedala and Oh You're So Silent Jens. Jens was accompanied by a live drummer who introduced as his friend Charlie Hall from Philadelphia. He played a great set which slowly ramped up in energy from his sad folk songs to his more danceable tunes at the end which included more live drums and disco keyboards.

He played the beautiful song "At the Dept. of Forgotten Songs" which blended right into an amazingly slow and delicate version of "Black Cab." He played another old classic "Maple Leaves."

Some of the newer songs were great one about stalking Kirsten Dunst called "Waiting for Kirsten," another great one called "I Want a Pair of Cowboy Boots" and another to explain why he has become a jeweler and made the key hanging around his neck called "Gold Key."

Jens opened the show with an acoustic version of "Sipping On The Sweet Nectar" and closed the show with happy more upbeat disco version from the album. He left the stage and treated fans to an encore of a few more tunes and ended with "And I Remember Every Kiss."

Words and Pics by Kevin Serra

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Kevchino Writers Top 13 Albums of 2010 - Kevin Serra

001 | Lower Dens "Twin-Hand Movement" Gnomonsong Read Review

002 | Tamaryn "The Waves" Mexican Summer Read Review

003 | Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti "Before Today" 4AD Read Review

004 | Deerhunter "Halcyon Digest" 4AD Read Review

005 | Active Child "Curtis Lane" Filter Read Review

006 | Atlas Sound "Bedroom Databank Vol. 1" Self Released

007 | Sharon Van Etten "Epic" Ba Da Bing Read Review

008 | Neil Young "Le Noise" Reprise Read Review

009 | Sufjan Stevens "The Age of Adz" Asthmatic Kitty Read Review

010 | Warpaint "The Fool" Rough Trade Read Review

011 | Y La Bamba "Lupon" Tender Loving Empire Read Review

012 | Memory Tapes "Seek Magic" Sincerely Yours Read Review

013 | Beach House "Teen Dream" Sub Pop Read Review

Read the Kevchino Top 13 Albums of 2010and more writers top 13 picks very soon!

Stornoway - Bowery Ballroom, New York NY 12/2/2010

Last Thursday I saw Stornoway at the Bowery Ballroom. Named after the Scottish town (which apparently appears on all televised UK weather reports), Stornoway are a band of cute guys from Oxford. They play a kind of bland English/Scottish-sounding songwriter pop. Frontman Brian Briggs, on acoustic, is supported by the fairly typical backing of guitar, drums, and bass, occasionally joined by the seemingly obligatory trumpet, violin, and the like. The singing calls up shades of a contrived Neutral Milk Hotel or an uninspired James Mercer.

The band was well put together. The bass sound was amazing, and the drummer sang backups well. They seemed to have a great understanding of what the crowd of thirtysomething couples on dates wanted to see and hear—but certainly didn’t seem to bring anything fresh to the table, and at times were just peeing in the pool.

Amidst screams of “America loves you!” from women on the floor, there were some nice bits from the band for sure, but the songs sounded like someone had overthought all the dynamics out of them. One joyous, anthemic chorus went “. . . battery humans, but we were born to be free-range.” Get it?

They ended with a couple of songs unplugged, which was cool in a big club, everyone shushing each other and singing along. In the end, the crowd was happy, and a good time was had by all. No harm done. I guess not everyone’s a critic.

Words by Cedar Apffel

Monday, December 06, 2010

Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori cover Cibo Matto Live at Le Poisson Rouge 12/6/10

Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori covered a few Cibo Matto songs live at Le Poisson Rouge for Yuka Honda's 50th birthday. They performed a Antonio Carlos Jobim cover of "Águas de Março" then they played "Le Pain Perdu," "Sugar Water" and "Birthday Cake." At the end of the set they brought out some birthday cakes for Yuka. She blew out the candles and they left the stage. Check out the video of "Birthday Cake" below:

Cibo Matto - Birthday Cake Live at Le Poisson Rouge 12/6/10 from Kevchino on Vimeo.

Wilco's lead guitarist Nels Cline opened the show with some of his bizarre cosmic guitar noisemaking. He is married to Cibo Matto keyboardist Yuka Honda.

The headliners were called Floored By Four which consisted of Nels Cline, legendary bassist Mike Watt(The Minutemen, fIREHOSE, and has played with The Stooges, Porno for Pyros and Ciccone Youth) and Cibo Matto keyboardist Yuka Honda. Mike Watt asked the audience to say "Otanjou-bi Omedetou" which means "Happy Birthday" in Japanese. Then the band played some tunes led by the bizarre cosmic guitarist Nels Cline.

More Cibo Matto picks:

Words & Pics by Kevin Serra

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Peter Hook performs Joy Division Unknown Pleasures Webster Hall, NYC 12/03/10

I have never seen so many Joy Division fans in one place as they poured into and packed New York’s Webster Hall. With so many black-and-white Unknown Pleasures T-shirts in one room, I could well have been in attendance at an astronomy convention. The show began with a half-hour documentary about Factory Record artists, though it took a few false starts to finally get the film to play. It covered the Factory Records label, The Hacienda, New Order, and Joy Division, with even a short mention of Durutti Column.

NME’s New York correspondent came out onstage and told a brief story about how Joy Division never made it to New York for their US tour, then spoke of the legendary New Order show that finally did arrive in the Big Apple, and then announced the band.

Peter Hook and his band The Light took the stage and performed some early material from Warsaw, then ripped into Joy Division’s debut album, Unknown Pleasures. Hook seemed a bit tense at first, with some sound issues, as he and the band tore into the tunes. The music had all the post-punk grit you could have ever expected, and Hook’s voice often sounded very Ian Curtis-like on the more low verse lines of the songs. As he tried to do the higher, more shouting parts, he often just sounded . . . well, like Peter Hook shouting. The band ended with “I Remember Nothing.” The set seemed to breeze by, but a few highlights were “New Dawn Fades” and “She’s Lost Control.”

Hook’s backing band did a decent job with the songs. His son took over the bass lines for Dad on the lyrical portions of the tunes. The drummer did a nice job and gave me a deeper appreciation for Stephen Morris’s amazing drum work. The guitarist did well with Bernard Sumner’s guitar lines, but every once in a while he got a bit carried away and ad-libbed some modern metal-esque noodling, which was a bit unpleasant for a brief second or two. Overall, though, for what it was, it was fun to seeing these songs played live.

When the band returned for the encore, the crowd and band both let their guard down and really got into the songs. They encored with one of the most beautiful Joy Division tunes, “Atmosphere,” which Hook dedicated to Ian Curtis. It was a real treat to hear it live, and I was very surprised they played it. Next up they performed an amazing version of “Transmission,” where the lyrics auto-suggest you should “dance, dance, dance.” This song really brought the crowd into a frenzy and had the entire audience jumping up and down. Peter seemed very touched by the new energy, as his hardened features then wore a boyish smile. He dedicated the last song to his promoter, and his father, who was sitting up in the balcony. Hook and the band tore into “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” and the crowd lost control and were dancing—and even moshing . . . It was quite an odd sight.

Words and pics by Kevin Serra

Friday, December 03, 2010

Warpaint, Rewards & Family Band at Music Hall of Williamsburg 12/3/10



Family Band
I’ve been a fan of Warpaint for a few years now and have always wondered when they would gain the attention of the masses. Well if tonight’s second sold-out show was any indication of the ladies’ achievements, I think it’s beyond safe to say they have finally reached a very solid fan base.

The show opened with Brooklyn-based Family Band, who jammed a pretty decent set of mellow, melodic tunes. Vocalist and guitarist Kim Krans held her ground and put on a solid yet understated performance.

Next up was Aaron Pfenning’s (formerly of Chairlift) new project called Rewards. He performed guitar and vocal duties, while he had a female bassist and drummer, and Lightspeed Champion’s Dev Hynes added additional guitar and background vocals and harmonies. The band started with some technical difficulties, and Pfenning attempted to engage the audience by interacting and making some jokes, but he wasn’t able to connect, and their set never really took sail. The band has some really beautiful songs, like “Two Cardinals” and “I Used To,” saturated with beautiful guitar textures and catchy hooks—despite the bass line on “I Used To” being so very similar to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” I’ll chalk it up to a bad show, and would be very surprised if Pfenning and crew don’t gain some lofty attention early in the new year.

Warpaint finally took the stage, and the four lovely ladies busted into a rocking track off their new album, The Fool, titled “Bees.” They then played an epic version of “Stars” off their EP. The lights went low, and little star lights filled the ceiling and stage as the band added some breaks and solos to the tune. Further into the set, the crowd was treated to their new single off The Fool, “Undertow.” The band once again shined and added some more nice breaks and fills. Other gems included “Warpaint,” “Majesty,” and “Burgundy,” and after an epic version of “Elephants,” the gals left the stage.

They came back out for an encore and performed “Set Your Arms Down” and “Beetles.” My only gripe is they didn’t perform “Billie Holiday.” I’ve seen them perform five times, and only once saw them perform it live, during the first show I saw them at in L.A. The girls’ vocals and guitar chops have really improved over the years, and Jenny Lee Lindberg’s bass playing is always a treasure to my ears, but the recently recruited drummer, Stella Mozgawa, was absolutely phenomenal. She was so amazingly tight with the band and added all kinds of playful parts and fills. All the girls should be congratulated on their A-game performance.

Words and Pics By Kevin Serra

Deerhunter perform "Helicopter" live on TEAM COCO!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Peter Hook Spreads The Joy

Friday on the 3rd of December in 2010 should prove to be an enjoyable upcoming date in the weekly music calendar. With New Order on the outs again this will most likely be the only time you'll hear Joy Division tracks live from one of its members. They had been known in their last incarnation to visit the JD catalog if you were fortunate enough to see them about town. Backing Hook and his signature bass sound is his new band, The Light. This will be the third of nine US dates. The flood of memories can be found at Webster Hall. Smiling faces are welcome.

December 1 Washington, DC 9:30 Club
December 2 Philadelphia, PA Voyeur
December 3 New York, NY Webster Hall
December 4 Boston, MA Royale Nightclub
December 6 Chicago, IL Double Door
December 7 Seattle, WA Showbox At The Market
December 9 Portland, OR Doug Fir
December 10 San Francisco, CA Mezzanine

Free show with Triple Down Records bands!

Triple Down Records is having a free show at Spike Hill in Brooklyn this Friday, December 3rd.

Featuring Adam's Castle, as well as Triple Down Records veterans, Gold & Gunmetal and Gigantic Hand, will be playing. Two other excellent bands from Brooklyn – Oceanographer and Penmanship are playing as well. Things get going early at 8pm.

Gold & Gunmetal 8
Gigantic Hand 9
Penmanship 10
Adam's Castle 11
Oceanographer 12

Spike Hill
N.7th and Bedford (right off the L)
Brooklyn, NY

The Black Angels and Black Mountain live at The Fillmore San Francisco, CA 11/26/10

The Dropout Boogie Tour features two of today’s more prominent psychedelic rock acts: The Black Angels and Black Mountain, both of whom are touring on the heels of the release of their respective third albums. I was fortunate enough to catch the November 26th show at The Fillmore in San Francisco.

The Black Angels opened with “You On The Run.” Loping slowly in a cloud of reverb punctured occasionally by a hoop or howl, it’s a textbook example of their psych-drone sound. They followed up with “Bloodhounds On My Trail,” a more straightforward garage stomper, enabling them to pivot and then showcase a string of similarly paced tracks off the new album. Highlights included “Bad Vibrations” and “Entrance Song.” “Yellow Elevator #2,” the flagship track off the new album, in my eyes, was mysteriously (and unfortunately) truncated.

It wasn’t until roughly halfway through the set with “Black Grease” that they switched gears back to the more drawn-out, lurchy drones of their first two albums—allowing the songs to breathe. Allowing the strobe lights and highly affected vocal and guitar sounds to worm their way into your head. Allowing the mind to navigate less-traveled waters. You know . . . as good psychedelic music can.

This continued for three more songs, cumulating with “The First Vietnam War,” a track that perhaps best imbues the dark, paranoid, and vaguely revolutionary mood of their overall work. They closed their set with their hit off the new album, “Telephone,” and “Young Men Dead.”

After a brief intermission, Black Mountain took the stage and started off with a couple of the more stoner-rock-influenced tracks from the new album, “Wilderness Heart” and “Let Spirits Ride.” They then looked back to their previous album and followed up with “Wucan” and “Tyrants,” a couple of epic tracks with strong progressive rock leanings. “Tyrant”’s two-minute instrumental climax gave way to McBean and Webber quietly harmonizing with each other as the song wound down. It was really a moving transition. And now that they had the audience’s attention, they performed “Buried By The Blues,” a melancholy acoustic duet that highlighted the vocal interplay between the two.

Following “Sadie” and “Angels,” two more acoustically oriented pieces, they picked up the tempo with a trio of tracks that would have fit in on the classic rock station I listened to in my youth. They closed out the set with “No Hits,” the only track off their first album and easily the most dark and experimental. The encore was a short one, and opened with their “feel-good hit of the summer,” “The Hair Song.”

So . . . how did the two shows compare? Good question.

The Black Angels experience is more of an introverted one. The monotonous rhythm section, the effects-laden ear candy teased out of Christian Bland’s guitar, Alex Maas’s well-placed vocal accentuations . . . they’re performed less to be watched, but more to set the mood in your head as you zone out to the fog and light show. Black Mountain rely less on the trippy tricks: marginal light show, little to no fog, significantly cleaner guitar sound. In this setting you tend to focus more on the band: how the support vocalist is center stage, how the drummer speaks for the band, how the leading force behind the band prefers to quietly rock out on the side of the stage . . . and how earnest it all seems to be.

As mentioned before, both bands are touring on new albums, and it was interesting to see how they incorporated the new music into their sets. The Black Angels’ new album, while still maintaining the bad-trip thumbprint of their earlier work, leans more toward shorter, highly produced garage rock tracks. The inclusion of these tracks made the performance something of a schizophrenic one. Bland’s loose guitar style further accentuated this issue, as, by design, the newer tracks were much more structured and polished.

Black Mountain’s third release is something of a departure as well, at times blurring the line between Black Mountain and its alter ego, Pink Mountaintops. Live, however, they seamlessly managed to weave together the various aspects of the band into a rather cohesive set list, which, ultimately, is a testament to the competency of its members. When their set concluded, a friend turned to me and said that Black Mountain are stoner rock’s Fleetwood Mac. Frankly, I don’t think he’s too far off the mark.

If you’re looking for “the psychedelic experience,” hunt down The Black Angels. If a well-oiled rock-and-roll machine is what you’re after, however, look no further than Black Mountain. If you’re looking for both, well, I can’t think of a better show.

Words by Geoff Clarke

New PJ Harvey song and LP

PJ Harvey's eighth studio album 'Let England Shake' is set to be released on the February 15, 2011 on Vagrant Records in the U.S.

'Let England Shake' was recorded in a 19th Century church in Dorset with long time collaborator Flood who co-produced the album with PJ Harvey, John Parish and Mick Harvey. The record was also mixed by Flood.

The new album will be supported by a run of sold out live shows early next year, with dates in Brussels, Berlin, Paris, and London's Troxy on February 27th and 28th. 2011 will also see Harvey return to the festival stage, with more details to be announced. PJ Harvey will perform with a live band which includes Mick Harvey, John Parish and Jean-Marc Butty.
Written On The Forehead by pjharvey

The New LP is entitled Let England Shake:

01 Let England Shake
02 The Last Living Rose
03 The Glorious Land
04 The Words That Maketh Murder
05 All and Everyone
06 On Battleship Hill
07 England
08 In the Dark Places
09 Bitter Branches
10 Hanging in the Wire
11 Written on the Forehead
12 The Colour of the Earth

Bright Eyes Announce New Album Details

Bright Eyes will release The People’s Key on February 15th 2011 on Saddle Creek. The People’s Key is the band’s seventh studio album, the eagerly awaited follow-up to 2007’s acclaimed Cassadaga. In support of the album Bright Eyes can announce two very special shows next year: Radio City Music Hall in New York City on March 9th and London’s famed Royal Albert Hall on June 23rd.

Since 2006 the once revolving cast of Bright Eyes players has settled around permanent members Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nathaniel Walcott, with additional musicians joining them in the studio and on tour. Fully realized and bursting with charisma, The People’s Key is an assured and accomplished album, artfully arranged and filled with the engaging and mesmeric songwriting for which Oberst is renowned. Recorded in Omaha, Nebraska, at the band’s own ARC Studios, The People’s Key was produced by Mike Mogis and engineered by Mogis and Andy LeMaster.

March 9th New York, NY Radio City Music Hall*
June 23rd London, UK Royal Albert Hall#

*Pre-Sale Begins: December 1 at 12PM EST. Public On-Sale: December 4 at 10AM EST
# Pre-Sale Begins: December 1 at 12PM EST. Public On-Sale: Saturday, December 4 at 9AM

Full track list for The People’s Key:
1 Firewall
2 Shell Games
3 Jejune Stars
4 Approximate Sunlight
5 Haile Selassie
6 A Machine Spiritual (In The People’s Key)
7 Triple Spiral
8 Beginner’s Mind
9 Ladder Song
10 One For You, One For Me

Additional Bright Eyes players on The People’s Key: Andy LeMaster, (Now It’s Overhead), Matt
Maginn (Cursive), Carla Azar (Autolux), Clark Baechle (The Faint), Shane Aspegren (The Berg
Sans Nipple), Laura Burhenn (The Mynabirds) and Denny Brewer (Refried Ice Cream).