September 29, 2010

Deerhunter played the Apple Store in SoHo

Record release days don't have too much importance these days, so to mark the release of their gorgeous new album Halcyon Digest, Deerhunter played an intimate free show in Apple's SoHo store as some additional promotion. The set list consisted mostly of new songs which sounded epic in comparison to their recorded quality in the tiny space and the band played probably the best show I have seen in the store. While calling any Deerhunter song light is by no means accurate, the new album refrains from the harsher tones of previous tracks, especially those found on Cryptograms and earlier work. The opening medley of "Desire Lines" into "Hazel Street" was excellent and "Helicopter" sent waves of sound penetrating through the audience at exceptional volumes considering the event was happening in a retail store. While all of the songs sounded fantastic and left a hankering to see the band play a full set with material from all of their releases, the closing number "He Would Have Laughed" was simply spectacular. The dreamscape nature of each song sounded so much more full live and really displayed the raw talent of Bradford Cox and company as the band was able to add some extra jams in each number, really showcasing that these guys are capable of mixing so many genres into each song.

Desire Lines -> Hazel Street
Don't Cry
Fountain Stairs
Rainwater Cassette Exchange
He Would Have Laughed

September 28, 2010

Titus Andronicus played Webster Hall

The Springsteen inspired punk rockers wasted little time getting down to business Saturday night as they kicked off their set with "A More Perfect Union," the first track off their excellent new album The Monitor, and did not let up for the entire night with the lone exception of when front man Pat Stickles took a moment to replace a broken string so he could keep using his 'good' guitar. The brash noise rock was received with positive raves from the relentless crowd who equally matched the endurance displayed by the band. Titus Andronicus did a nice job of evenly matching tracks from both full length releases and seemed to be thrilled to be playing in front of a hometown crowd. When the band wasn't rocking out with their harsh and heavy hitting tunes they changed the pace with some elegant ballads that still left the crowd screaming along with almost every word. The repetitive nature of many of the bands songs really came forward throughout the night, yet it did not deter the highly under 21 crowd from raging in the pit. The ever enthusiastic fans reacted with great response for almost every song played throughout the set and reached a shocking standstill as tour mates Free Energy took the stage to form the super group Temporary Tattoos as the combined ensemble blasted their way through the ACDC classic "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)".

September 26, 2010

Headless Horsemen / Crocodiles played Glasslands

Although plagued by equipment failure and the debut performance by Headless Horsemen showed nothing but promise from the young duo. The post-rock/lo-fi inspired sound displayed the knowledge and skill behind this songwriting pair. Perhaps more at home in a recording studio, or under the embrace of headphones, the mesh of textured sounds and focused thought throughout each number showed large aspirations of great things to come.

As San Diego noise rockers Crocodiles took to Glasslands on Saturday night, I was greatly surprised upon first impression. The clean cut greaser punk and Clash inspired demeanor juxtaposed the harsh noise-pop/post-punk sound imposed by the expanded quintet. Based off the dense sound layers and heavy bass on Summer of Hate and their recent, just as exhilarating, record Sleep Forever the polished appearance did not seem to coincide with the intensity pumped through the speakers. While the Jesus and Mary Chain influences lashed out in every song, the band failed to acknowledge their crowd and plowed through their set with such fervor it appeared as if they were simply at work. Despite a lack of connection, each song sounded spot on and was met with the highest approval of the night.

September 15, 2010

Modest Mouse played the Williamsburg Waterfront

As the opening notes to "Gravity Rides Everything" rang through the speakers, I knew this show was going to be great. During their roughly two hour long set, these indie rock titans blasted through jams from each of their full lengths as well as obscure b-sides from various EPs. The band was a well oiled machine powering through song after song with little banter in between. A band in their position could easily have played newer material from high charting records such as their two most recent, however they know their true loyalty to long time fans perhaps seeing them for the first time. The set list was equally comprised of hits, lots of Good News for People... and obscure tracks "Baby Blue Sedan" and "Here It Comes" for the diehards. "Float On" drew mixed emotions, clearly many people became fans of the band from that song, yet it was classics like "Cowboy Dan" "Dramamine" and "3rd Planet" that really enthused the crowd. The six man line up really played out as the double percussion, stand-up bass, horns, and at one point four guitar attack really added to the audio assault displayed by the band. At one of the last outdoor summer shows of the season, Issac Brock led his troops in Modest Mouse through two decades worth of epic jams that could only have been more astounding if they played for another two hours.

Set List:

Gravity Rides Everything
Black Cadillacs
Satin In A Coffin
Here It Comes
Float On
Cowboy Dan
Blame It On The Tetons
King Rat
3rd Planet
Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes
Bury Me With It
Autumn Beds
Here's To Now
The Whale Song
The View


Guilty Cocker Spaniels
> Life Like Weeds (Tease)
Baby Blue Sedan
Spitting Venom
> I Came As A Rat (Tease)
Alone Down There

September 13, 2010

Panda Bear played Governor's Island

By the time Panda Bear took to his boards Saturday, it had already been a long night of droned synth heavy soundscapes that dazed the crowd. Entering among heaps of smoke Panda wasted little time getting down to business. He began his set with the some ambient sounds before launching into a solo take on the Merriweather track "Daily Routine". Instantly sparking the crowd, Panda Bear rarely let the momentum down during the entire night. Mixing and twisting his way with thick juicy beats and throbbing bass, Noah Lennox did an amazing job blending new material from unreleased tracks much in the sense of former Animal Collective shows. However when he wasn't teasing the crowd with new nuggets he powered through stellar performances of recent summer singles "Tomboy" and the set highlight "Slow Motion" as well as Person Pitch closer "Ponytail" and an enthralling rendition of "Comfy in Nautica" in which the entire crowd surged toward the stage with each blasting beat. The setting of lower Manhattan to the left of the stage left quite the ominous tone for the show however the gargantuan and clear sounds was some of the best I have ever heard for an outdoor show. Despite the short set time, Panda Bear did a good mix of crowd pleasers and new material with the usually bizarre background images and pillars of smoke.

September 11, 2010

The '90s (Albums)

As I end my reflection of the 1990s with my list of favorite albums from the decade it becomes increasingly apparent just how important records were and how much the music industry really changed in that time. It was MTV's first and last full decade of influence. By the end of the '90s the channel had drastically decreased the amount of videos played and reality television was beginning to dominate their programming. Print publications were about to lose their game to online zines and the CD itself was soon to become a thing of the past. 1999 saw the launch of Napster and music would never be the same again. Major labels would soon be crashing as would the idea of an album. In the decade that followed, physical releases were of no importance, release dates turned into leaks, and soon people would only obtain select songs by their favorite artists, something they were previously only able to do with singles. Once again this is a list of how I remember the music from the decade, but unlike the songs I listed earlier, there is an importance to each of these records. I vividly remember the day my parents bought a CD player and countless CDs in the early half of the decade just as clearly as the day my dad helped me download Napster. So not only is this list important because these albums can each hold their own against any other best list from any other decade, but these albums also matter because they were the last of a soon to be dying breed.

100.  TEMPLE OF THE DOG | Temple of the Dog
099.  SUGAR | Copper Blue
098.  THE OFFSPRING | Americana
097.  RANCID | ...And Out Come the Wolves
095.  EARTH | Earth 2
094.  FUGAZI Repeater
093.  BEDHEAD | Beheaded
092.  THE CLEAN ] Vehicle
091.  CODEINE | Frigid Stars

090.  THE DISMEMBERMENT PLAN | Emergency and I
089.  THE CRANBERRIES | Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?
088.  SWERVEDRIVER | Mezcal Head
087.  PALE SAINTS | Comforts of Madness
086.  SEBADOH | Bakesale
085.  THE BETA BAND | The Three EPs
084.  LUCINDA WILLIAMS | Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
083.  GUNS N ROSES | Use Your Illusions I & II
082.  JANE'S ADDICTION | Ritual de la Habitual

080.  NO DOUBT | Tragic Kingdom
079.  DEPECHE MODE | Violator
078.  THE CURE | Wish
077.  SHELLAC | At Action Park
076.  SAVES THE DAY | Through Being Cool
075.  DINOSAUR JR. | Green Mind
074.  GALAXIE 500 | This Is Our Music
073.  THE BREEDERS | Last Splash
072.  JAY-Z | Reasonable Doubt
071.  RIDE | Nowhere

070.  RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS | Blood Sugar Sex Magic
069.  AMERICAN FOOTBALL | American Football
068.  PUBLIC ENEMY | Fear of a Black Planet
067.  RAEKWON | Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
066.  MADONNA | Ray of Light
065.  OASIS | What's the Story Morning Glory?
064.  THE FLAMING LIPS | The Soft Bulletin
063.  THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. | Ready to Die
062.  THE AFGHAN WHIGS | Gentleman
061.  HOLE | Live Through This

060.  WILCO | Summerteeth
059.  SLEATER-KINNEY | Call the Doctor
058.  MAZZY STAR | So That Tonight I May See
057.  SQUAREPUSHER| Music Is Rotted One Note
056.  AIR | Moon Safari
055.  BUILT TO SPILL | Keep it Like a Secret
053.  PULP | Different Class
052.  GZA/GENIUS | Liquid Swords
051.  THE GET-UP KIDS | Something to Write Home About

050.  MOGWAI | Young Team
049.  RODAN | Rusty
048.  TALK TALK | Laughing Stock
047.  SPIRITUALIZED | Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Now Floating in Space
046.  DAFT PUNK | Homework
045.  TLC | CrazySexyCool
044.  THE FUGEES | The Score
043.  JANET JACKSON The Velvet Rope
042.  CORNELIUS | Fantasma
041.  NAS | Illmatic

040.  BELLE AND SEBASTIAN | If You're Feeling Sinister
039.  ALANIS MORISSETTE | Jagged Little Pill
038.  SOUNDGARDEN | Superunknown
037.  PIXIES | Bossanova
036.  FOO FIGHTERS | The Colour and the Shape
035.  MASSIVE ATTACK | Mezzanine
034.  SMOG | Knock Knock
033.  SMASHING PUMPKINS | Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
032.  YO LA TENGO | I Can Feel the Heart Beating as One
031.  SLOWDIVE | Souvlaki
030.  STEREOLAB | Emperor Tomato Ketchup
029.  SONIC YOUTH | Goo
028.  LAURYN HILL | The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
027.  REFUSED | The Shape of Punk to Come
025.  FIONA APPLEWhen the Pawn...
024.  THE COCTEAU TWINS | Heaven or Las Vegas
023.  RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE | Rage Against the Machine
022.  WU-TANG CLAN | Enter the Wu-Tang [36 chambers]
021.  R.E.M. | Automatic for the People

020.  PEARL JAM | Ten
019.  NINE INCH NAILS | The Downward Spiral
018.  BOARDS OF CANADA | Music Has the Rights to Children
017.  PAVEMENT | Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
016.  MODEST MOUSE The Lonesome Crowded West
015.  BECK | Odelay
014.  A TRIBE CALLED QUEST | The Low End Theory
013.  SILVER JEWS | American Water
012.  DIGABLE PLANETS | Blowout Comb
011.  GREEN DAY | Dookie

010.  ELLIOTT SMITH | Either/Or
009.  WEEZER | Weezer
008.  BJÖRK | Post
007.  OUTKAST | Aquemini
006.  SLINT | Spiderland
005.  NIRVANAIn Utero
004.  PORTISHEAD | Dummy    
003.  NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL | In The Aeroplane Over the Sea
002.  MY BLOODY VALENTINE | Loveless
001.  RADIOHEAD | OK Computer

September 8, 2010

The '90s (Songs)

To start this off, this is not just a ‘best of’ or ‘most important’ list, this is also a list of my favorite songs that to me, best help to remember the 1990s. It was after all the first full decade in which I was alive, and I would be lying to you if I said I remember each of these songs when they came out and told you about how each one impacted me and the way in which I listen to music today. Instead, I can tell you about how I remember my dad having cassette tapes by Green Day, Nirvana, and Sublime and my mom loving the soundtrack to The Body Guard. I remember watching Stephanie Tanner’s band lose the talent show at the Smash Club because they spent too much time on their looks and not enough time practicing “The Sign” by Ace of Base and the time I watched Outkast on SNICK’s Kenan and Kel or any musical guest for that matter who appeared on All ThatNeedless to say this list is merely one for memories. I don’t have a staff recalling countless songs and I’m sure I am not doing many artists and genres justice, subsequently this is how I choose to remember the decade. Personally, however, I do think that "All Apologies" is actually the best Nirvana song and one hell of a swan song, but in terms of defining an era and a generation, I know that's not the right choice for this list. Still, it's better. To include as much as possible, I stuck to one song per band/artist. I'm sure there are major tracks missing you can argue about the order all you want and to which I'll say, show me your list. When people stop having ‘80s themed parties and switch to the ‘90s, this is the play list I am hoping to hear.

September 2, 2010

The Raveonettes - "I Wanna Be Adored" (Stone Roses Cover)

Hot off the heels of the video in which Swedish pop star Robyn covered the Bjork classic "Hyperballad" another cover featuring two excellent artists has been ringing in my head this week. Fuzzed out post-punk revivalists The Raveonettes have covered the Stone Roses' madchester/brit-pop classic "I Wanna Be Adored". The Stone Roses never got much love in the states, but in England they were deemed visionaries who combined shoegaze and dream-pop in what would later be known as Brit-Pop. They influenced an entire generation of British musicians, notably Oasis who pretty much robbed their sound, and recorded what many consider to be one of the greatest debut albums of all time. The opening track off that album has been given serious compliments in this cover and is a noteworthy song worth checking out.

mp3: The Raveonettes - "I Wanna Be Adored" (Stone Roses Cover)