Earlier on the day of the Ratatat show, I had a conversation that would come back to haunt me later.
Me: I can't imagine people dancing to Ratatat.
H: Yeah, same here. It's like, more chill.
Hah, chill would be the last word to describe the show that New York experienced last night at Terminal 5. From the moment I arrived at the venue, there were some early indications that the night would get a little crazy:
1. People were standing up and chanting "Ratatat" before the first opening act had a sound check.
2. The average age of the crowd was roughly 18, +/- 2 years. Man, I wish I was that cool when I was in high school.
3. Someone was wearing a robo-pig helmet made out of cardboard and plastic pieces. Pig was not a fan of showers.
4. E*Rock, one of the opening acts, wore a burka and aviator sunglasses.
Still, with these signs, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. When Ratatat hit the stage, the crowd just became violent/insane. I stuck it out for the first couple songs, but after "Mirando," I had to get out of the main stage area. Being 5'2", I quickly realized that the situation could turn very deadly for me. I called it quits when two elbows on either side of me were choking me.
From a safe distance, I could actually focus on enjoying the show. The most entertaining person to watch was the guy on synth/keyboards (Does anyone know who he is?), who is technically not apart of the duo that is Ratatat. I kept on wondering, how is this guy not getting whiplash from violently moving his head up and down to the beat? At times, he looked like he was going to hit his head on his equipment. The other guys were a little more contained and nearly unfazed by the crazy crowd. The set was a heavy on the newest album LP3, which is not surprising, but I personally prefer the older stuff. Ratatat unsurprisingly closed with "Seventeen Years," a crowd favorite and one of their best pieces. Even without any vocals (organic or synthetic), Ratatat's minimalist electro-rock music didn't feel like it was missing anything.
Again, I was reminded of My Old Kentucky Blog's The 10 Commandments of Concert Behavior. Why do people bring bulky backpacks to dance shows? If you think sweaty skin-to-skin contact is disgusting, nylon backpack-to-skin contact is just painful. I don't know what it is, but backpacks love me. While there were a good number of people who were wearing backpacks, it just happened that there was always a backpacker in front of me at all times. Even when I left the main stage area, a bag still found it's way to me. I'm pretty sure that people aren't whipping out their books from their bags to study in between sets, so please do everyone a favor and leave the bags at home.
Next time I go to a show at Terminal 5, I am going to arrive super early so that I can be right in the front. I think that's the only way to survive being in the main stage area.
Past post here. Ratatat is currently on tour in North America.
Wildcat - Ratatat
Mirando - Ratatat
September 28, 2008
September 27, 2008
NOTE: Not sure how this post was deleted... Originally posted 09.22.08
Crap, Pitchfork has already reviewed this. Oh well, this is what I get for sitting on this awesome album for 15 days. This album is amazing. Does anyone have extra tickets to any of the TVOTR shows at Brooklyn Masonic Temple? It would make up for the crappy weeks I've been having.
I'm going to keep this short because, well, everyone is raving about this album. And, I think they're right. Expect to see this on my list of top albums of 2008.
Crying - Tv on the Radio
September 25, 2008
I bet you're starting to think that this is a Chairlift blog. Buuuut, for those of you in New York, I've been asked to share this great event that's happening tomorrow. Only $9 for some films, a glimpse into why I think Chairlift is amazing, and an open bar after party. It's supposed to happen on a rooftop, but it'll be moved inside if there is rain. Bought my tickets yesterday so see you there! Past posts on Chairlift here, here, here, and here.
Friday, September 26, 2008
The Rooftop Films Summer Series Closing Night with Chairlift!
Join Rooftop Films for Closing Night on the Lower East Side! Enjoy food, drinks, a live set by Chairlift and highlights from the 2008 Summer Series films. After Party at Fontanas with free beer, courtesy of Radeberger Pilsner.
In 2008, Rooftop Films received over 2,000 film submissions, and screened 20 feature-length films and over 130 short films. We showed films from 33 different countries, in every imaginable genre—documentaries, narratives, animations, experimental films, music videos, home movies and more.
There were films by first-time filmmakers, and by experienced masters (including rarely-seen works by Salvadore Dali, for which we commissioned an original live score). There was an animation about a fire-fighting dog and a documentary about birds who make the skies safe for airplanes. There was a film about a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and a film about a furtive kleptomaniac. We began the year with a wordless film about kids in Turkey relishing the magic of cinema, and conclude with a program that celebrates the most magical short films of 2008.
Prior to the films, Sound Fix presents live music by Brooklyn based trio Chairlift. Having already played with Ariel Pink and MGMT, the band is revving up for an upcoming tour with Yeasayer and will release their first full-length album Does You Inspire You on October 28th. Their single "Bruises" is featured in Apple's new "nano-chromatic" ad.
Venue: on the roof of the Open Road Rooftop
Address: 350 Grand Street @ Essex (Lower East Side)
Directions: F/J/M/Z to Essex / Delancey
8:00: Doors Open
8:30PM: Sound Fix presents live music by Chairlift
9:00 PM: Films
11:30 PM: Open bar at Fontana's with complimentary beer courtesy of Radeberger Pilsner
*Tickets: $9 on Going.com: http://newyork.going.com/event-369279;Rooftop_Films_Rooftop_Shots
September 22, 2008
NOTE: Blogger somehow deleted this post for a second time. If I hadn't been trying to figure out when the last Cut Copy show was, I wouldn't have even noticed. Blogger, if you're going to take down one of my posts on purpose, please contact me when you do so.
Cut Copy & The Presets sold out a Sunday night show. Tickets were nearly impossible to purchase on Craigslist, unless you were clicking refresh every second. People got down on a Sunday night, and this is why I love this city. It's been a love/hate relationship ever since I was purposely elbowed in the face by a tall tranny around 14th St. & 3rd Ave (OINY), but, hey, maybe some compromises need to be made.
This was the first time I saw The Presets and pretty much the first time I heard their music beyond "This Boy's in Love." This Aussie duo packs more punch in their set than Hot Chip does (Figuratively, that is. I didn't leave with any significant bruising). When the drummer moved from his set and over to the other synth, I thought that people would start going crazy and losing it. I've said this about Hot Chip before, but I felt like I was in the Meatpacking District, an area I avoid like the plague. And, still, it was a lot of fun. Let's just say that The Presets made me believe that Carles aka HIPSTER RUNOFF may be right. The electrowar is coming/has begun. This electro music has the potential to drive people to violence.
If I had thought that people were losing all inhibition to the Presets... that was nothing compared to crowd's reaction to Cut Copy. During the set, while jumping around, I yelled over to my friend, "I feel like I'm at Girl Talk!" To that, some guy by me replied, "ME TOO!" Now, I wouldn't say Cut Copy is better than or on par with Girl Talk, which is by far the craziest, most fun dance act that I've ever been to. But, it was an experience to be a part of the crowd that was dancing/jumping like they just didn't care. It didn't matter if you were an obnoxious frat boy or a meek hipster girl. It didn't matter that this was New York City, where fun is not to be publicly displayed. There was dancing and a whole lot of sweating in the poorly ventilated nightmare that was Webster Hall. Cut Copy has come a long way from playing Mercury Lounge and Bowery Ballroom. I don't remember being this pumped at the last Bowery Ballroom show, but that may have been because I was half blind after losing my right contact.
If you had any doubt before, believe me when I say that the 80's are back, and they may be here to stay for awhile.
See past posts on Cut Copy here and here for more tunes.
Cut Copy and the Presets will be repeating their performance Monday night (tonight) at Webster Hall. They will also be DJing at the Meatpacking Apple store from 2-3:30 PM. To cap it off, Cut Copy and KIM of the Presets will be DJing at Santos Party House at the Official Afterparty. Jeez, do these guys sleep?? I guess electrowar soldiers don't need sleep.
Cut Copy Setlist (Thanks, Kyle!)
Nobody Lost, Nobody Found
Time Stands Still
Strangers in the Wind
That was Just a Dream
Feel the Love
Out There on the Ice
Lights & Music
Hearts on Fire
September 21, 2008
Not a bad picture, considering that my LCD screen is still painfully broken
It's always a privilege to see one of my all-time favorite bands. I've been a huge fan of Stars for many years, and I made my way to Terminal 5 to see them for the third time. Thankfully (and unsurprisingly), the Stars crowd was not like the Hot Chip crowd that I experienced at Terminal 5, so I escaped with no bruises.
What's great about a band like Stars is that they're able to bring out a large devoted fan base. Maybe it's because I tend to check out newer artists, but it's great to be a part of an audience that truly appreciates the band's music. There's something magical about being a part of a crowd that knows the words to all the songs. During a quiet moment in "Midnight Coward," you could actually hear the entire audience singing along. Folks, I live for moments like this, feeling a connection to the band and everyone around you. Hearing one of my favorite songs ("Elevator Love Letter)" performed live is an experience that I can't describe in words. I can only hope that everyone, at least once in his or her lifetime, will understand what I'm trying to convey.
The set had a good mix of In the Bedroom, Set Yourself on Fire, Sad Robots, and older stuff. I would have preferred less In the Bedroom, but that's my personal bias. The show itself felt a little long, but I was happy when Stars closed the night with "Heart," a song that I don't think I've heard live before, but my memory may be failing me. Will Stars ever bring back their cover of the Smiths' "This Charming Man?"
Now that I've gone through most of the good, I should probably mention some of the bad parts of the show. BellX1, the opening act, utterly confused me. Their songs spanned so many genres without any cohesion. In general, I don't think this band was an appropriate opener for Stars (Is BellX1 a Christian rock band?). My friend E. said that "I'll See Your Heart and Raise You Mine" reminded her of Nicholas Sparks. To make it clear, this was not meant to be a compliment. Let's just say there is a reason why Damien Rice left this band. Oh yea, and the lead singer definitely needs a visit to rehab.
And, here's something My Old Kentucky Blog's The 10 Commandments of Concert Behavior should cover: Thou shalt not drown out the band by screaming the lyrics. I couldn't hear Amy Millan half of the time because the girls behind me were screaming in perfect tone-deaf form. It may be a revelation to them that contrary to their belief, I came to the show to listen to Stars, not them.
Go see Stars. They are pop music at its best. Past post here.
Set Yourself on Fire was cut out :(
The Night Starts Here
Bitches in Tokyo
My Favourite Book
Going, Going, Gone
A Thread Cut with a Carving Knife
What I'm Trying to Say
Elevator Love Letter
Your Ex-Lover is Dead
Take Me to the Riot
One More Night (Your Ex-Lover Remains Dead)
Heart - Stars
Elevator Love Letter - Stars
Midnight Coward - Stars
September 19, 2008
It appears that I'm really far from the stage, but the venue is ginormous. I was happy.
Last night, I finally experienced Sigur Ros. Sigur Ros was one of the acts that I wanted to see before I die/they die (Sufjan, when are you having your next show???). In expected Sigur Ros craze fashion, both United Palace shows sold out within minutes after tickets were released. I was out of the country when tickets went on sale (I believe), so I thought there would be no chance that I would be seeing Sigur Ros. Last week, I was randomly looking at shows on the Bowery Presents website, when I noticed that the Sigur Ros shows were no longer sold out. AND, there were good orchestra seats left! I quickly snatched up OO row (about 13th row) center seats, and tipped off brooklynvegan to share the wealth.
I was told that experiencing Sigur Ros would move me to tears. There were some tears, but not from being overwhelmed with emotion. Here is a tip for those who will be or plan on seeing Sigur Ros in the future: Drink coffee or a Red Bull before the show.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the music wasn't beautiful. It is absolutely phenomenal to hear how good Sigur Ros sounds live AND without any backing strings or brass. I've never heard them with backup, so I can't really compare the two. Jonsi's falsetto voice sounded almost unreal, which was quite befitting to the ethereal music of Sigur Ros.
The problem was that I was sitting in a very beautiful theater in the dark while listening to Sigur Ros. Listen to "Svefn-g-englar" and tell me if you think you could listen to that in the dark, in very comfortable seats, without yawning just a little bit. It's not that the music was boring or that I was disinterested. The entire atmosphere was soporific. Hopefully, I didn't fall asleep for too much of the show, though I did have to fiercely fight my closing eyes. However, I was re-energized when Sigur Ros performed "Gobbledigook" with the members of Parachutes, the opening act. Unfortunately, this came way too late, right before the encore.
My OMFG moment of the show was when Sigur Ros opened the evening with "Svefn-g-englar." It sounded so incredible that I couldn't believe that I was actually watching it live. Whoever did their sound check was truly good at his/her/their job. I've read some complaints about the balance of the percussion, but I thought that the instruments and voice sounded great. Go here to see a picture of Jonsi singing into his guitar during "Svefn-g-englar."
I'd love to see Sigur Ros again, in a smaller, standing-room-only setting. And, next time, I will be sufficiently caffeinated.
Sigur Ros is currently touring in North America.
Inní mér syngur vitleysingur - Sigur Ros
Gobbledigook - Sigur Rós
Svefn-g-englar - Sigur Ros
September 16, 2008
via Force Field PR
Holy crap, I just realized that this great song that I've been listening to for the past month is Blitzen Trapper. This is what happens when you own an iPod shuffle. I'm starting to regret skipping out on Blitzen Trapper after seeing Fleet Foxes open for them back in March at Bowery Ballroom. Now that I'm intrigued by "Furr," I will definitely take the time to listen to the rest of the new album.
For those who tend to ignore lyrics, make sure you actually listen to the story that's captured in this song.
On a side note, Sub Pop Records has been putting out so much good music in the last year. It makes me want to move to Seattle, if I could get a job out there (nudge, nudge).
Furr - Blitzen Trapper
Furr is due on September 23. You can purchase the album from Amazon here.
From TPC's Bowery Ballroom show last April
I've had the Ra Ra Riot and Andrew Maury (of RAC) remix of Tokyo Police Club's "Juno" for nearly two weeks now. I've been bombarded with so much new music lately that I didn't get a chance to listen to this piece until this morning. The haunting plucked strings of the intro immediately grabbed my attention. What song was this? How long had this been on my iPod and why haven't I noticed? And then, Dave Monks' voice came in, and I realized that this was the remix of "Juno" that I had gotten recently.
I love the moment when Ra Ra Riot's Wes Miles comes in (along with female voice), in perfect harmony with Dave, giving the piece so much more texture. With the additional voices and strings, the remix is not just another remix. Rather, this is a beautiful reinterpretation of "Juno" that is arguably better than the original. Although I was a big fan of Tokyo Police Club's A Lesson in Crime EP, Elephant Shell is one of most disappointing records of this past year. Perhaps you think differently. In any case, maybe it's not that hard for the remix to be better than the original.
Past TPC post here. Tokyo Police Club is currently on tour with Weezer. Past Ra Ra Riot post here. Ra Ra Riot returns to NYC on October 17 with a show at MHOW.
Juno (Ra Ra Riot/Andrew Maury Remix) - Tokyo Police Club
Juno - Tokyo Police Club
September 9, 2008
**UPDATE: For those of you in New York, check out Chairlift on Sept 26! More info here.
Can I blog anymore about Chairlift? The answer is yes, and now they are featured in the new iPod nano commercial!!! Congratulations, Chairlift! You deserve it. I hope this ad does for you what it has done for others that were previously bestowed the honor (You should know that I have been a loyal Apple customer since 1993). In fact, as much as I like Broken Social Scene, I don't like Feist. I would have never ended up liking "1234" if it weren't for that iPod nano ad. Also, I only know the Fratellis from their iPod ad. Therefore, based on my personal experiences, Apple commercials are rather influential.
The song is called "Bruises," and it is from Chairlift's debut album, Does You Inspire You. The album is currently available for download. I've posted a demo version of the song, but I prefer the version off the album (which I've purposely not posted here). If you like what you hear, please support and purchase the album! "Bruises" is just a very small sample of how good the album is.
Past posts on Chairlift here, here, and here. You'll also notice that they are a current obsession of mine (list is to the right).
I'm permanently black and blue. Permanently blue for you.
Bruises (demo) - Chairlift
September 5, 2008
Here's a preview of one of Final Fantasy's upcoming EP's. Plays to Please was written by Alex Lukashevsky of the band Deep Dark United. The pieces are performed by Final Fantasy, Andrew Bird, and 33 other members. Leave it to Final Fantasy to make indie kids listen to beautiful orchestral music and like it.
Plays to Please is full of classical American music influences. Many times, I was reminded of Aaron Copland. "Horsetail Feathers" is my favorite track, with its stunningly beautiful opener. "Nun or a Bawd" has memorable lyrics, and you can check out the original Deep Dark United version here.
Enjoy! Final Fantasy's other EP, Spectrum 14th Century is due September 30 and Plays to Please is due October 21.
Horsetail Feathers - Final Fantasy
Nun or a Bawd - Final Fantasy
NOTE: This post was taken down by Blogger and "Evident Utensil" was taken down by Divshare, supposedly due to a DMCA copyright infringement. The funny thing to me is that Chairlift's former indie label Kanine Records told me to share "Evident Utensil" since it was free. Sure enough, RCRDLBL is still hosting the song, and so is Kanine Records! I'm not sure how Chairlift can just "take back" a free download, but I guess this is what happens when a band moves on to bigger and better things. A shame, because I've been a big supporter for awhile.
Last night, 'Sup Magazine hosted Chairlift, Titus Andronicus, and Au Revoir Simone at Lit Lounge. If you don't know already, I'm absolutely crazy about Chairlift (read more here). NME agrees, naming "Planet Health" as a track of the week. Judging by the crowd last night, it's apparent that many people are showing Chairlift a lot of love. A few minutes before they went onstage, Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor walked through the door in a signature plaid shirt. I may have had a mini celebrity freak-out when I was standing right next to him during the Chairlift set. I also spotted Ira Wolf Tuton of Yeasayer, a labelmate and upcoming tourmate of Chairlift.
Chairlift's set was short with only 4 songs. They hadn't planned on performing "Planet Health" (WHAT???), but the crowd kept shouting it out, so they closed with it. I wish they had played all their songs, especially "Earwig Town," which is my current favorite.
This band is absolutely phenomenal live. They sound amazing, and even better than they do recorded. As I said before, Caroline's voice is incredible, and she could rival many of the popular female singers today. I'm pretty sure that we're going to be hearing a lot about Chairlift when Does You Inspire You is physically released on October 28.
Does You Inspire You is currently digitally available. It's an awesome album, and you would definitely be missing out if you haven't purchased it already. I was about to name my favorite tracks, but then I realized that I would be naming every single song on the album.
Stop, drop, and roll. Gotta stop, drop, and roll out the fire.
September 4, 2008
Stars at Town Hall in Fall 2007
On September 1, Stars, one of my favorite bands of all time, released their Sad Robots EP. I wouldn't say the tracks are especially mind-blowing, but in traditional Stars fashion, the songs still move me in a certain way. I have to say that Stars is one of the few bands that actually make me feel emotion when I listen to their recorded music. With "Undertow," it's the beautiful bass line, coupled with the piano melody, with sprinkled lyrics (I love Amy Millan's voice). "14 Forever" is not very complex, but the melodies are simply beautiful and almost haunting.
I wasn't the biggest fan of In Our Bedroom, After the War, but I continue to listen to Stars for exactly the reasons why I care about this EP. I'm sure it's not surprising that "Elevator Love Letter" is the most-listened track on my iTunes.
Stars returns to New York on September 20. Purchase the EP here.
14 Forever - Stars
Undertow - Stars
Elevator Love Letter - Stars
via only angels have wings
I'd never really caught onto the Walkmen hype back in 2004 when they released Bows + Arrows, off which "Little House of Savages" is probably the most well-known track (Thank you, The O.C.). As a bright-eyed freshman in college, I had no idea who the Walkmen were or why I should be excited about their being the main act for our fall concert. Was it because one of the members was an alum? Possibly. Given that I lived on the 13th floor and my room faced the quad, where the stage was located, I didn't even have the desire to leave my room. I watched part of the concert from my room, and I was unimpressed. I'm sure the terrible acoustics were mainly the reason why the sound was unpleasant, but my friends who were actually physically at the stage also did not think much of the Walkmen.
Besides a few songs here and there, the Walkmen had pretty much left my mind. But, a couple weeks ago, I was compelled to download their new album, You & Me. Their favorable review by P4K made me curious, so I went ahead and gave the album a listen. I've been overwhelmed by a lot of new releases lately, so I didn't really pay attention, but I thought a few tracks were pretty good.
It wasn't until I had dinner at Momofuku Ko did I give the Walkmen another thought. Chef David Chang is not only known for his inventive dishes, but he also has some good taste in music. The atmosphere that he creates at Ko with his music almost mirrors that of Babbo, where I experienced eating 3-star (NYTimes) food to the tunes of Guns 'n Roses. David Chang will even be a guest curator for Merge Records' 20th anniversary compilations. So, during the nearly 3-hour dinner, I was attentively listening to the music, which included not one, but TWO songs by the Walkmen. "Little House of Savages" was not a surprising choice, nor was "Louisiana." With so much of the Walkmen in my head, I went home and gave You & Me another go.
For me, "On the Water" and "Donde Esta La Playa" are the standout tracks off You & Me. There is a dreamy, flashback quality to these songs. If I could use "vintage" to describe music, that's exactly the word I would use for these songs. They seem to be of a different era, but there is a very familiar quality to the music.
The Walkmen were recently featured on Pitchfork.tv, with live performances and interviews. "In the New Year" is incredible to watch, and I've posted it below. I feel like the lead singer was overexerting himself to the point of losing consciousness in the video. No NYC show dates yet, but let's keep our fingers crossed. Enjoy!
Note: I'm in the process of finding out what file services are compatible with Hype Machine
On the Water - The Walkmen | Alternative Link
Donde Esta La Playa - The Walkmen | Alternative Link
Louisiana - The Walkmen