Tuesday, March 29, 2011

J. Mascis and Kurt Vile Played Mercury Lounge - Pictures, Review

Last Thursday we made our way to Mercury Lounge to catch what was effectively a co-headlining gig from J. Mascis and Kurt Vile. We had never seen Mascis in a solo capacity, or Vile with a full band, so it was set to be a night of exciting new music. While it didn't work out to be quite what we had expected, it was an evening of solid music nonetheless.

The night opened with newcomers (they don't even have a web site yet!) Call Of The Wild playing a frenetic set of speedy guitar rock. It was a nice amalgam of textures, and fell somewhere between metal and punk, with a good dose of melodic enthusiasm thrown in for good measure. If you see them on a bill around town, we'll tell you this: definitely worth your time.

Soon after, Kurt Vile took the stage with his band, The Violators. As mentioned, it was our first time seeing Kurt with a full band, so we weren't sure what to expect. In fact, it is a vastly different show than Kurt's solo gigs. The echoey acoustic vibe was replaced by a three guitar (and no bass!) wall of sound that completely encompassed the tiny room.

While there wasn't much in the way of feedback, the fuzzed out guitar wash still took on a life of its own, as the various textures mixed with the drum attack and Vile's distinctive melodic sense. There were a number of guitars on hand, including a back-to-basics Les Paul, a flashy glitter number, and an Vile's standard acoustic.

The selection of tunes called heavily on the most recent record, Smoke Ring For My Halo, but also dipped into the back catalog with "Freeway", and closed the night with a killer Springsteen cover. Our takeaway was nothing but positive from Vile's set, and it was a treat to see him with a full band. While the sound's completely different, it engaged his tunes at a whole other (far more energized) level.

When J. Mascis took the stage we were totally stoked and ready for some serious guitar work, and we certainly got our wish. Despite playing solo on an acoustic guitar, Mascis managed to use a Vox head and a number of pedals to put himself firmly in "electric" territory. As might be expected, his fretwork was impecable, and he tore it up with some serious solos.

The setlist was varied, and in addition to pulling from his most recent solo effort Several Shades Of Why, he also dipped into the later (non-Barlow) Dinosaur Jr. catalog. Hearing "Get Me" live on an acoustic guitar was, to say the least, a treat.

The only misstep in Mascis' set came with the somewhat confusing addition of a flute player. We weren't totally clear on what this added to his sound, or why the addition was made. Yet there she was, halfway through the set, fluting away. We're not ones to stifle creativity, but the flute's presence really took away from J's guitar, and we could have done without it. Nonetheless, his amazing fretwork and songwriting easily made up for it, and closed the night leaving us quite pleased we had made our way out to the show.

More pictures in the HAD Archive

Monday, March 28, 2011

Black Joe Lewis and The Honeybears Played Bowery Ballroom - Pictures, Review

We were thrilled on Friday to catch up with Austin, Texas’ own Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – who were back for two shows at Bowery Ballroom a year after they tore it up here in February 2010. This time the band’s on the road behind their new album Scandalous – which delivers more of the same retro blues and funk-inspired rock we’ve come to love from these guys.

Bowery Presents promoted the shows by Tweeting “Come shake your ass” – and that feels exactly right. If there’s another band out there on the indie rock festival circuit that will bring you into the world of big booty’d women and Mustang Ranch whore houses, with songs like “Humpin’,” “Messin’,” and “You Been Lyin’,” we’d love to know about them. There doesn’t seem to be anyone out there doing what these guys do and having as much fun doing it.

Black Joe Lewis himself brings a classic James Brown howl and a raunchy sense of humor to some great talking blues moments, but what makes these guys much more than just a gimmick are the musical skills that underlie everything they do. They just groove. With another year of shows under their belt, white dude band mates Zach Ernst (guitar) and Bill Stevenson (bass) have ratcheted up their swagger enough to share the stage comfortably with their charismatic frontman.

We dig both albums –produced Spoon’s Jim Eno, a Hippies Are Dead Hall of Famer if there ever was one – but this is the kind of band that feels like it exists to play live. If they weren’t always on the move and settled in as the house band at a boozy blues bar somewhere, we’d probably be there every weekend, whiskey in hand doing… what else? Shaking our ass.

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive.

Pictures and Words By Chris Goldberg.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kurt Vile Played Pitchfork's "Don't Look Down" - Videos

Kurt Vile @ Other Music, from the HAD Archive

We've been seriously sweet on his new record, and his solo show blew us away. So, we were psyched to discover that Kurt Vile had stopped in at Pitchfork to do an awesome full band set for their "Don't Look Down" rooftop series.

The set featured four tunes, and we've been really digging "Runner Ups". above. You can check the rest of the set by heading over to the "Don't Look Down" page.

Kurt Vile is at Mercury Lounge and Music Hall Of Williamsburg with J. Mascis tomorrow and Friday

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TV On The Radio's Nine Types Of Light Due On 4/12

TV On The Radio @ Outside Lands 2009, from the HAD Archive. Photo By Rick Audet.

Yeah, sure, we know you've already heard the word, but just in case, we had to mention: TV On The Radio have a new record dropping on April 12th, and it's going to be awesome. Entitled Nine Types Of Light, it's their first since 2008's Dear Science. How awesome is it going to be? Well, if the two tracks the band has already released are any indicator, then very, very awesome.

The first, "Will Do", is a pretty chilled out affair, with a sweet melody overlaid on some nice, screeching guitar textures. It definitely plays on TVOTR's sonic hallmarks, and while it's not breaking any barriers, it's pretty damn sweet.

The second, "Caffeinated Consciousness" is a bit more of a departure for the band, and leverages a sound that during the verse is almost reminiscent of a nice taste of Faith No More. Hearing the band rock out is a treat, and we're hungry for more.

What can we say, we were expecting killer tracks, and the band delivered. Check it for yourself below!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jack White Played SXSW (Video)

Are you one of the many feverishly debating whether or not SXSW jumped the shark this year? We certainly hope not, because that would be silly. Because one fact remained unassailably true: SXSW features awesome musicians, making awesome music. And where there's awesome music, well, that's a good place to be.

We didn't make it down to Austin, but luckily the fine folks at NPR Music did, and delivered this fine video of Jack White. Jack was on hand for the launch of the Third Man Records moving store, as well as to celebrate the signing of Seasick Steve, who also features in the video.

First, you get to hear White do killer solo versions of "Not Fade Away" and "Dead Leaves On The Dirty Ground". Next, Seasick Steve delivers a killer dose of blues, in spite of a finicky and malfunctioning amp. Like we said: awesome, awesome, music. Forget the haters.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Grand Lake Record Release Party Is This Sunday At Amnesia

Sure, we know you've been down in Texas giving South By Southwest the very best of your love. But while you were at it, guess what? Grand Lake put out their ridiculously amazing EP Leaves Ellipse on Tuesday! Awesome? Yes, we know! Leaves Ellipse is a beautifully amazing departure for the band, and trades in some of their edgier sounds for a lush, layered, melodic wonderland. Seriously amazing stuff.

Luckily for you, the new record is just the beginning. The band is holding their record release party this coming Sunday at Amnesia for you to enjoy. They'll be joined by Devotionals and Anna Ash, and it promises to be a killer night of music.

In the meantime, you can check out the first single from the record, "Which Days Were Those Days?". Not only can you snag the mp3 for free, but there's also a killer video that the band pulled together. Seriously, we're loving this, a lot. We didn't know what to expect after the band holed up recording for the winter, but the result is very, very, good. Check it out below!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The New York Dolls Played Bowery Ballroom - Pictures, Review

Last night we had the pleasure of stopping in at the Bowery Ballroom to catch the first of The New York Dolls' two shows there this week. In many ways the set was exactly what you would expect: an iconic band reliving their glory days, much to the delight of an enraptured crowd. However, there was also more than that. The band have just recorded a new record, and it was clear that they were enjoying a vitality and new life in their music that brought it beyond the roots of their classic debut record.

The only remaining original members of the band are David Johansen and Sylvain Sylain, and in most respects, they held down dual duties of keeping the concert on track. Johansen played his role of cagey front man, while Sylvain took on an almost Paul-Schafer-esque band maestro position. The combination worked well, as it left Johansen free to handle the crowd, while Sylvain would work the band and crowd to equal extents.

The rest of the band shouldn't be overlooked. It was a welcome surprise that the Dolls had enlisted some heavyweights to join their new lineup. In addition to drummer Brian Delaney, who has been with the band since they first reunited, the Dolls have also enlisted Earl Slick on guitar, and Jason Hill on bass. Slick is best known as David Bowie's lead guitar man, while Hill is better known as the frontman of Louis XIV. Together, the two served as an extremely solid blues combo that created a perfect foundation for the Dolls' music.

Despite the band being an awesome on stage presence as a unit, we have to say that Johansen was still unequivocally the man of the evening. He exudes a frontman charisma that is incredibly dynamic, and at the same time almost so kitsch that it's comedy. He's an odd combination of Jagger, Nick Cave, and about a million others. Seeing him live on stage was one of the best true performances we've seen in a long time.

After the show, we overheard some folks at Marshall Stack who hadn't been at the show discussing whether or not the Dolls are past their prime. We had to chime in, because they are certainly not. The show last night was straight up rock and roll of the very best kind. Was it challenging conventions or breaking through any edgy barriers? No. But it was a damn good time, and frankly, in case you forgot: that's what rock music is all about.

The New York Dolls play Bowery Ballroom again tonight. Tickets are still available.
Many more pictures at the HAD Archive

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ryan Adams Records With Glyn Johns, Mounts European Solo Tour

Ryan Adams at The Catalyst, from the HAD Archive

Oh my. This is very, very, good news. Over facebook yesterday, Ryan Adams dropped the bomb that not only has he started working on a new solo record, but he's recording with his classic collaborator Glyn Johns. The two crafted some of Adams' best solo work, including Heartbreaker, Gold, and 29. with the father of his classic collaborator, Ethan Johns. The legendary Glyn Johns has apparently decided to take over where his son left off and help Adams out in the studio.

On top of having new songs and making new recordings, Adams has apparently also decided to share them with the world. In June he will embark on a solo European tour, consisting of twelve dates, to debut the songs. Lucky you, Europe. Looks like we need to start shopping for plane tickets!

Ryan Adams Summer 2011 Solo Dates
6/10/11 Stockholm – Cirkus
6/11/11 Oslo – Folketeatret
6/13/11 Malmo – The Concert House
6/14/11 Copenhagen – Koncerhauset
6/16/11 Lisbon – Aula Magna
6/17/11 Porto – Teatro Sa Da Bandeira
6/20/11 London – Barbican
6/22/11 Brighton, UK – Dome
6/23/11 Manchester, UK – Bridgwater Hall
6/25/11 Glasgow, Scotland – Academy
6/26/11 Oxford, UK – Oxford New Theatre
6/28/11 Amsterdam, Holland – Concertgebouw

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Besnard Lakes Coming To Bowery Ballroom In May

The Besnard Lakes at the Independent, from the HAD Archive. Photo by Brian Fong.

We've been singing the praises of The Besnard Lakes, both live and on record, for a while now. So we were pretty psyched to discover that the band is making a quick east coast headlining run in early may. Specifically, they'll be stopping at the Bowery Ballroom on the 13th of May. We're more than a little bit stoked to check out the band, and we suggest you do the same. If you happen to be in Boston or DC, you can check out the band in your hometown as well, at Great Scott and The Black Cat, respectively. See you out there!

Tickets are on sale now.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Deerhunter Vids For Your Monday Morning

Deerhunter in Boston, from the HAD Archive.

It's Monday morning, and it's the middle of March, which inevitably means one thing: head colds. Head colds, in turn, lead to sitting around and discovering video awesomeness that passed us by while we were busy being frenetic and out of control, and in turn causing ourselves to get sick.

Today's object of affection: Deerhunter. The band made a series of television appearances in support of Halcyon Digest, and they are awesome. If you haven't seen them, the time to watch is now.

Friday, March 11, 2011

David Byrne Played Music At Ted, Too

David Byrne at The Greek Theater, Berkeley, from the HAD Archive

You may recall that last year we gave mention to David Byrne's awesome TED talk about music in spaces. Well apparently that wasn't Byrne's only duty on the conference, as we just stumbled upon this awesome version of the Talking Heads classic "Nothing But Flowers".

Accompanied by Thomas Dolby and the string quartet Ethel, Byrne delivers a chilled out performance of the tune that's very much to our liking. Not only is his voice in top form, but the new arrangement gives the song new perspective and life. Now if only we could hear the rest of the concert...

mp3: Talking Heads - Nothing But Flowers

The Walkmen Drop "Orange Sunday" Complete With Video

The Walkmen at Terminal 5, from the HAD Archive

It took us a minute to give "Orange Sunday" a look and listen, but we're glad we finally did. The track is a b-side from The Walkmen's fabulous record Lisbon. Upon listening it rapidly becomes clear that in this case "b-side" and "throwaway" are by no means the same thing. A beautifully stark track, the song highlights Hamilton Leithauser's voice over the interplay of two guitars, acoustic and electric.

Clearly, the band felt the track had merit, as they not only gave it to the world, but also made a video to accompany it. Eerily awash in water, the clip feels slightly darker to us than the song, but still seems to suit it. Check them both below.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Strokes Videos Than You Can Shake A Stick At

The Strokes at Outside Lands 2010, from the HAD Archive (Photo By Rick Audet)

Yes, we know it's been almost a week since The Strokes were on SNL, but we've had a busy week; give us a break! Now we're all caught up, and delivering you the goods. First up are two vids from the SNL performance: the single "Under Cover Of Darkness", and the new track "Life Is Simple In The Moonlight". Then come two more parts in the "making of Angles" EPK series. Finally, if you scour the internet, you may just be able to find leaked copies of "Machu Piccu" and "Taken For A Fool" - and you might just find them awesome.

Angles drops March 22nd, The Strokes play Madison Square Garden on April 1st.

Kurt Vile - "My Best Friends" (Video)

At Tuesday night's Kurt Vile show, the man aborted an attempt at "My Best Friends from his killer record God Is Saying This To You.... We're certainly not ones to hold it against him, but it did leave us with a hankering for the tune. When we got home we started scouring the internets, and found this awesome vid from the site Big Ass Lens. We think you'll find it's well worth your while. (And, while your at it, checking out the whole Big Ass Lens site certainly might be as well...).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kurt Vile Played Other Music - Pictures, Review

Last night we stopped by Other Music to see Kurt Vile's third record store appearance of the day - and it was well worth the effort. After waiting in a length line for about thirty minutes, we barely squeezed in to a packed house. For the next hour or so, Vile delivered a set that pulled largely from his fantastic new record Smoke Ring For My Halo.

As is typical Vile, much of the set was sung from behind his notably massive head of hair, with the occasional grin or eye sparkle here and there. That did nothing, however, to hurt the performance, which was nothing short of stellar. Armed only with an acoustic guitar and a handful of reverb, he delivered a set that was intimate, emotional, and composed.

The set not only illustrated why Vile has a rapidly expanding fan base, but also just how rock solid his songwriting truly is. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Vile won't be playing small rooms forever. Catch him while you can.

Kurt Vile appears with J. Mascis at Music Hall Of Williamsburg on March 26th
More pictures in the HAD Archive

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sonder Lerche - "Domino"

Sondre Lerche at Mercury Lounge last summer, from the HAD Archive

We'll confess: we love Sondre Lerche. With his charming manner and killer pipes, the Norwegian singer songwriter falls handily into the "can do no wrong" side of things. Given that, we were stoked to hear that he has a new self titled record on tap for June 7th.

The first track from the new record has been a Lerche live staple for a while now, and it's great to finally hear "Domino" in its studio form. The production is reminiscent of Lerche's first record, and that's certainly not a bad thing. He's often at his best when in singer songwriter mode, and this case is no exception: "Domino" is half Bond theme, half classic Lerche. In other words: awesome.

XOXO RIOT GRRRL, Part 1: 1990

Today marks the first in a series of features on the music of the 1990's. Our beloved pal XOXO RIOT GRRRL is writing a series of editorials on the best tracks from the iconic TV show 120 minutes. Enjoy!

I was pretty much the nerdiest child ever growing up, with one exception. Come Sunday night, as my parents fell asleep, I would lay in bed in anticipation of 2 hours of glorious music videos formally known as 120 minutes, MTV’s finest show (though trust me-Alternative Nation with my girlcrush at the time, VJ Kennedy was a close second). At midnight, I would sneak into our guestroom and watch with rapt attention, taking notes so I could impress my friends with the depth of my music knowledge.

Perhaps it’s the recent frenzy of reunion tours or that catchy theme to Portlandia, but lately I have been in a tailspin into an even deeper nostalgia for the good old days. My lack of perspective is your gain, my friend, as I will be bringing you a weekly 90’s Playlist-highlighting everything from the top of the Modern Rock charts to the height of cool kid indie and all the grunge that fell in between.

Squirt TV may be long gone, and Evan Dando may be clean and sober but in my world these buried 90’s gems are all still buzz clips.

XOXO Riot Grrrl

1991 (A review of the top videos of 1990)
20) Happy Mondays “Step On”
19) Iggy Pop “Candy”
18) The House of Love “I Don’t Know Why I Love You”
17) The Stone Roses “Fool’s Gold”
16) The Pixies “Dig for Fire/Alison”
15) Cocteau Twins “Iceblink Luck”
14) The Jesus & Mary Chain “Head On”
13) Nine Inch Nails “Head Like A Hole”
12) World Party “Way Down Now”
11) The Soup Dragons “I’m Free”
10) Concrete Blonde “Joey”
9) The Cure “Never Enough”
8) Midnight Oil “Sky Blue Sky”
7) The Charlatans UK “The Only One I Know”
6) The Sundays “Here’s Where The Story Ends”
5) Sonic Youth “Kool Thing”
4) Sinead O’Connor “Nothing Compares 2U”
3) Peter Murphy “Cuts You Up”
2) Jane’s Addiction “Been Caught Stealing”
1) Depeche Mode “Enjoy The Silence”

Monday, March 7, 2011

Some Zwan Videos For Your Monday

What's that? You had a hectic Monday and wanted to bask in the awesomeness of Zwan? No worries, us too. Check the vids above.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Strokes Drop New Video, B-Side

Yesterday saw the release of the "Under Cover Of Darkness" physical single from The Strokes, and along with it came some nice goodies. First off, the video for the track has been released, and it's fab. What can we say? We're giddy to see the band back in one room together and delivering rock and roll cool as only they can. It doesn't hurt that the track is completely awesome as well. Just make sure you set it to 1080p - it makes a difference.

On top of the vid, the band also released a b-side with the physical single, and it's quite a divergence. "You're So Right" is less of a throwback to the band's early days, and sounds more along the lines of the tracks that Julian Casablancas dropped for his solo record. That being said, the band doesn't let Julian steal the show, and the guitar and rhythm interplay is unquestionably all Strokes. Grab the track below.

mp3: The Strokes - You're So Right

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spoon Drops Another Demo Of "Is Love Forever?", This Time As Reggae

Spoon at Music Hall Of Williamsburg, from the HAD Archive

You may recall that last month we brought up Spoon's demo for "Is Love Forever?" that the band was giving away for free on their website. You may also have noticed that the mp3 conspicuously labeled it "version 2" of the demo. Well, guess what? Version 1 has been put out for the world to hear.

Given how straight-ahead the last version was, this one came as quite a surprise: we really wouldn't have pinned the first demo as being a dubbed-out reggae jam that would sound right at home on Sandanista!. Nonetheless, we gotta say: we love it. As things progress, and Britt Daniel stretches his legs on his dub fetish bit by bit, we start to realize that it's one of the crucial parts that makes this band so great. Enjoy.

Hippies Are Dead Set To Drop New EP From The Heavenly States On April 19th

Currently our lovely little record label has two bands signed. Why only two, you ask? Well, mainly because we only put out albums by bands that we feel so happy, so comfortable, and so psyched about, that there simply isn't any way we'd let them be put out anywhere else. Case in point: the new EP from The Heavenly States, Oui Camera Oui.

What's so great about this record? In short, everything. It is melodic, addictive, raucous, gentle, endearing and complex. It would beg for your attention if it needed to, but it doesn't, because it is songwriting and performance at it's very best. We've been listening to it consistently for close to a year, and it's not even close to wearing thin.

Sure, we hear you: you think we're running a record label and trying to sell you on our product. Well, you could say that, but you'd be wrong. This record is bulletproof, and it will sell itself. All you need to do is listen. Grab the lead track, "Model Son", below - the rest can be yours on April 19th. No regrets; we promise.

mp3: The Heavenly States - Model Son