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Friday, October 28, 2011

Stop the Virgens - St. Ann’s Warehouse - Brooklyn NY

The cool night air flowed through the dark Brooklyn warehouse, packed to its fully exposed rafters as the blonde-wigged troupe of “virgens” took their places—be it onstage or amongst the audience—and let loose a divine chorus of lamenting love ballads and ’60s rock ’n’ roll dance numbers complete with formation dance moves and multi-nippled costumes.

The numerous virgens—appearing not unlike the children in Village of the Damned—seemed to be under the spell of two nun/witch type figures reminiscent of the Princess Mombi of Return to Oz, donned with large black oval-shaped head gear and equally as evil makeup and glaring scowls. Amidst all of this rose the cobweb-covered Viking horn- / microphone-wielding Karen O, eventually being tousled and torn about by said virgens to reveal a beautiful long-robed goddess-like figure, resembling a more elaborately dressed Tripitaka from Monkey Magic.

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the end of my story line review, as after that, I had basically no idea what was going on. At a guess, it seemed Karen O and the two nun/witches seemed to be in an eternal battle for the virgens’ souls, and—surprise, surprise—it was Karen O who won out in the end, as the virgen slaves fell at her feet, spurting blood from their mouths and all down their pretty white frocks, to then be resurrected by song and purged of their evil sins. Or something.

All this aside, it was a production of immense quality and creativity seven years in the making, with lavish and wonderfully eccentric costumes (courtesy of Karen O's longtime costume designer, Christiane Hultquist, aka Christian Joy), haunting and inspiring audio, visuals, and production, and an epic soundtrack that has to be heard to be believed. I must say this was the standout for me—the music was uniquely original, emotional, fun, daring, and perfectly paired with the goings-on onstage. And with musical performers such as Nick Zinner, Money Mark, and Brian Chase in the wings, you can’t really go wrong, can you?

Plus, rather than heading to your usual live music haunt on Manhattan to spend a fortune on drinks and watch your latest obsession churn out their greatest hits, it was a refreshing change to journey to a warehouse beneath the scenic Brooklyn Bridge to see a show I could never imagine and may never see the likes of again. Let it inspire us all, as it should do, to throw off our run-of-the-mill creative shackles and release them into the wild as nature intended.

by Meredith Webb

Monday, October 24, 2011

Anika, 10/22/11 @ The Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA

On her first ever appearance in Los Angeles; Anika played with her full band to a full house at The Echolpex - in the sketchy gone hipster neighborhood of Echo Park in Los Angeles. The sounds were among the experimental edges between Nico/VU, Slowdive, Laurie Anderson, and Ladytron, with backdrops spun out of electronica and trip-hop. The latter part not being surprising, as Portishead's Geoff Barrow became a musical collaborator with Anika, once she started looking for like-minded musical souls in her home-town of Bristol, by way of Berlin.

The night's tunes were largely taken from Anika's self titled release, with a few surprises thrown in. In mood and sound, the songs gave off a somewhat uneasy feeling: familiar, yet having an discordant and groove oriented texture, with the vocals sounding eerie and distant, all at the same time. Some of the high points were her stand out songs "I'm Not There,"  "He Needs Me," and last but certainly not least her song "Yang Yang" which reminded me of a dream of being abducted by aliens - though that's another story entirely. Her entire set had the simultaneous traits of making you slightly uneasy, but leaving you want more - a very interesting combination.

During the encore Anika gave the audience an unexpected treat, by way of performing a stylized interpretation of Talking Heads "Once in a Lifetime." Very cool & over too soon. Next time.....

Clovis IV: Photos & Review

Live Dates
Oct 22 - Los Angeles
Oct 23 - El Paso, TX
Oct 25 - Austin, TX
Oct 26 - New Orleans
Oct 28 - Asheville, NC

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Peter, Bjorn & John, 10/05 @ El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles

Peter Bjorn & John seem to have single-handedly created a Swedish musical invasion, with their "All You Can Eat" tour, in support of their latest album Gimme Some. After taking over New York, the band continued on their cross-country journey to Los Angeles; with four sold-out LA concerts at different venues, an art opening, and a food truck event. Peter, Bjorn & John succeeded in garnering countless new devotees - in a big way. Culminating their week-long stay in the city of angels, was their concert at The El Rey Theatre. This visit looks like it's cementing the band Sweden's most visible export --- move over Ikea, Volvo, & Abba.

Illuminated in the projected light of the Swedish flag; Peter Bjorn & John, launched their set with the epic anthem-esque sounding "Tomorrow has to Wait," and followed up with a myriad of equally catchy tunes from their latest album Gimme Some, as well as previous releases: Writer's Block and Living Thing, all the way back to the early 00's. The band for those who aren't entirely familiar yet is composed of Peter Morén on vocals & guitar; Björn Yttling on vocals & bass; and John Eriksson on drums & vocals.

Further into the set, when the trio went into "Eyes" from the new album. With it's 50's-esque memorable guitar riffs, they had the audience dancing and bouncing all over the place.  Peter did his best Euro-Elvis guitar playing/singing/jumping/shaking, while Bjorn played it more cool and collected - right out out of a Wes Anderson movie (ala Richie Tenenbaum w/beard), and John just seemed incredibly bubbly - more-so than most drummers not furry and on the Muppets.

With full visual accompaniment of random and amusing projector-art behind the band & a crazy looking bearded guy at the left back of the stage with giant three-thumbed blue hands, the band was quirky but very cool. One interesting thing about seeing the boys from Stockholm, having only limited knowledge of them before (yes, the whistling song); It was intriguing that their repertoire had so many nuances and different parts of it's personality. Flowing from one infectiously upbeat indie-tune to another; the band's sojourn in Los Angeles served as a kind of indie-pop musical-trinity, seeking converts. They hit the streets, setting the city's music enthusiast's feet to tapping.

Highlights of the show included the mellow/quirky tune "Amsterdam," the amusingly sarcastic "Lay it Down" from Living Thing, and the ubiquitously catchy whistling song "Young Folks." The last of which, Peter proceeded to jump down while whistling/singing and venture far into the audience - dancing and connecting with their new converts as well as long-time fans. While cheeky at points and rockin' at others, the Swedish trio's tunes and odd-antics made the band real crowd pleasers! In short, they're well worth checking out live, as well as giving a listed to their latest album: Gimme Some...

Clovis IV: Photos & Review

Marissa Nadler & Cat Martino UK tour videos

Marissa Nadler and Cat Martino just completed a UK tour together. I came across these videos of the two working together and thought I'd share. Cat Martino has sung with Sharon Van Etten and Sufjan Stevens and is getting ready to release an amazing solo album. Marissa is heading back to Europe for some more dates in late November in support of her amazing eponymous record. You can read our review of it here.

26/11/11 : De Statenzaal - Zwolle (NL)
27/11/11 : Le Guess Who – Utrecht (NL)
27/11/11 : Autumn Falls festival @ Botanique – Brussel
28/11/11 : Grammatikoff – Duisburg (D)
29/11/11 : Dachauer Kultur-Schranne – Dachau (D)

winter lady by marissanadler

Yr Not Alone by Cat Martino

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kevchino interviews the Lightman twins about Tasseomancy

I met up with Tasseomancy’s twin sisters, Sari and Romy Lightman, backstage at the Bowery Ballroom after a sound check for another music project they’re working on with Austra, whom they met at surf camp. We spoke of some differences between Halifax and Toronto (where they are from), the very moving history of their great-great-grandmother, how Edgar Allen Poe had an influence on their new record, and then the sisters sat down and took a brief quiz. Read the interview here.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Bright Eyes @ Santa Barbara Bowl, 09/25/11

Having arrived in town on a Sunday towards the end of summer and the beginning of the school-year for many; Bright Eyes brought their melancholy and angsty folk sounds to the 5k+ Santa Barbarians at the County Bowl - Southern California's equivalent of Red Rocks. This time out on the road, front-man Conor Oberst & band preformed a quintessential sampling of more-albums-than-I-can-keep-track-of, though featured their latest release The People's Key, and delivered another solid set of indie-folk/rock tunes.

Opening the night with the happily-disturbing yet optimistic "At the Bottom of Everything," and following up with "Four Winds," their catchy tune questioning organized religion; the band had the audience mesmerized from the first note. Representing the audience was a wide age-range of fans, from those too young to drive, to those nearly too old. This definitely spoke to the universal themes that the good Mr.Oberst covered in some of his songs: pain, redemption, heartache & joy.

The band's line-up for this tour included it's staple musicians: Conor Oberst on vocals/guitar (of course), Bright Eyes' notable producer Mike Mogis on guitar, and arranger Nate Wolcott on trumpet/etc, as well as other indie impresarios such as Andy LeMaster on bass, Laura Burhenn from The Mynabirds on vocals/keyboards/accordion, and Clark Baechle of The Faint on drums.

From “Take it Easy” and “I Believe in Symmetry” off of the album Digital Ash In A Digital Urn, to the poignant lyrics of “Land Locked Blue” which reveals the personal and insightful lyrics: “If you walk away, I’ll walk away – First tell me which road you will take.” Oberst further showed his development as a songwriter and storyteller with other high points, including ones from their new album The People's Key. Most notably, the stirring and thoughtful lyrics of "Shell Games," in which he emotes the ubiquitously familiar sentiment "My private life is an inside joke - No one will explain it to me."

Rounding out the night with a few encore tunes; the band preformed a heartfelt cover of Gillian Welch's song "Wrecking Ball," and closed out with the electro-folk sounds of "One For You, One For Me." By the end of the set, the entranced audience was speechless from Bright Eyes' impressive compositional, lyrical and emotional stimuli; making the evening a most memorable one...

Clovis IV: Photos & Review

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Check out Peter Bjorn and John as they take over Los Angeles!

Peter Bjorn & John's "Gimme Some" tour is bringing some exciting happenings to the The City of Angels. Starting with Thursday night's (9/29) packed art exhibition at "THIS, Los Angeles" and rolling into a massive food truck give-away event on Tuesday (10/4), and last but certainly not least 4 live dates at four different venues. The first of their four LA shows on Saturday October 1st at the sold out Troubadour, then hit The Smell on October 3rd for another sold out gig, followed by a set at the already sold out Echo on October 4th and then wrapping things in LA on October 5th with a show at the El Rey - mind that the El Rey still has a few tickets still available.

And if that’s not enough for the LA fans, Peter Bjorn and John along with their partner have selected LA as one of the lucky cities to be chosen for the Food Truck food giveaway around the All You Can Eat tour.  Scheduled to go down in LA on Tuesday October 4th – the Food Truck, the location, the time and the secret phrase will be revealed that day a couple of hours prior to the event via Twitter @PeterBjornJohn.  So be sure to follow 'em and get ready to receive some free food!