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October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

via hahamusic

Happy Halloween! This No Kids song is getting a lot of replay this week for obvious reasons, although I personally played this song out back in April. Past post on No Kids here.

See you at MHOW tonight! That is, if you can find me... (sad pun that you will only get if you know who I'm going as).

Please stay away from the candy corn for your own good.

For Halloween - No Kids

No Kids


October 25, 2008

Miracles of Modern Science - Glasslands Gallery 10.24.08

via K. of Escape Sounds

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Miracles of Modern Science, a band that I barely caught at a show, but they've become one of my current obsessions. Last night, I made my way to Glasslands Gallery, a space with a bizarre paper-mache backdrop, to check them out properly.

Right before the MOMS set, a huge crowd of people came into the venue and crowded around the front of the stage. Unsurprisingly, there were a lot of Princeton alums/students who were eager to support one of their own. I asked someone standing by me to confirm that there were indeed a lot of Princeton people in the vicinity. To that, he made a comment about how it's hard to be cool when you have high SAT scores. My friends and I were from a certain school uptown and one in Providence, and we find that it's not that difficult to be normal, but we don't generally discuss SAT scores.

MOMS put on a great, energetic show in their silver (and one blue) spacesuits. They were walking around the venue earlier, but I almost didn't recognize them without their show gear on. I could have used a little more sound from the violin, but man did those strings sound fantastic live. But, you can read here about why MOMS musically intrigues me. They closed with one of K.'s favorites, a track that is unfortunately not on the EP. I guess they're making us wait for this one.

I also saw some CMJ badges in the crowd, which I hope will help to get this awesome band more exposure. It doesn't hurt that Brooklyn Based listed MOMS as one of their CMJ must-sees.

MOMS released their first EP yesterday, and you can grab it here. It's a short one with only four songs, albeit most of the songs exceed the 5-minute mark. All the songs have been remastered from their previous demo versions, so you should definitely check it out. I especially like the reworked version of "MR2." Now I can finally share "Luminol" with you!

Luminol - Miracles of Modern Science

Eating Me Alive - Miracles of Modern Science


October 24, 2008

Crystal Castles - Webster Hall 10.23.08

Thanks to Andy Kim for the pictures

If you haven't seen Crystal Castles before, let me describe what their shows are like. Alice Glass comes onstage, literally screams into a microphone, and completely loses it, with some help from heavy pre-gaming. I know that many of you are probably thinking, "Hey, I could do that. I could be Alice Glass." No, you could never be Alice Glass. Scream into a mic, maybe you can do that. But, you couldn't look as good as she does while yelling.

Obviously, there isn't that much to the live act. Ethan Kath takes care of the sound while Alice jumps into the crowd, pours red wine into open mouths, etc. But, for a reason that I still don't quite understand myself, I had so much fun at this show. Never have I let go of all inhibition on the dance floor like I did tonight. I've always said that I could see how people could potentially lose control to Crystal Castles. Well, I did just that...and that doesn't happen often.

Maybe it's just what their music does to me. The music combined with seeing my indie idol, Alice Glass. Now, I know what 16-year-old boys must feel like when they see MGMT. I didn't even mind that my 5'2" self was getting crushed, or that I'd left with sweat on my body that didn't belong to me.

Not much else to say, but I need to see them again. Go to Crystal Castles if you need some crazy fun in your life. And, try not to let Alice fall while body-surfing. She screamed, "I'm dying," when the supporting crowd crumbled beneath her.

Bonus points for you if you recognize the sample in "Untrust Us" without looking it up.

Untrust Us - Crystal Castles

Mother's Knows Best - Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles


October 22, 2008

BrooklynVegan CMJ Showcase - MHOW 10.21.08

Note: Blogger took down the original post due to DMCA issues

Passion Pit

Singing DJ Jens Lekman
via Escape Sounds

Passion Pit = HOT
As you can see to the right, Passion Pit has been one of my current obsessions since their pre-Forkcast days. To put it lightly, they killed last night. Without much surprise, these guys have definitely grown since their first show at Pianos. I'm sure that it helps that everyone is talking about this band. Talk about a great confidence booster. I'd wondered how Passion Pit would fare on the larger stage of MHOW, but it turned out that a bigger setting was more appropriate for PP’s sound and energy. Compared to the Pianos set, everyone looked visibly more comfortable and as if they were actually (gasp) having fun. What really caught my attention about this performance was that Michael Angelakos varied up the vocals a bit so that he wasn’t singing in his upper range the entire time. There were some concerned comments about that from the first Pianos show, and it seemed like Angelakos had taken them to heart. Passion Pit played a great version of “Better Things,” which was one of the first tracks that hooked me into this band. I like when bands sound slightly different live and still manage to deliver. Isn’t this the point of seeing any show? Anyway, there was a song (or two?) that I didn’t recognize, since they’re not on Chunk of Change. Setlist, anyone?

A Singing DJ is exactly what you’d expect
I should have gone into this with no expectations. Instead, I dreamt of Jens’ emotionally manipulative voice, serenading the crowd with lyrics about how his heart has been set on fire. So, maybe I set myself up for this letdown, because a singing DJ is exactly that – a DJ who occasionally sings. Singing DJ Jens Lekman's set was interesting, to say the least. He spun “Fantasy” by Mariah Carey,which is arguably one of the best pop songs of the ‘90s (Confession: Fantasy may have been one of the first CDs that I'd owned). Regardless of good DJing choices, Jens’ performance of “Sipping on the Sweet Nectar” was not enough to satisfy. I wish there would have been less spinning and more singing. I guess I was hoping for a DJing singer.

I kinda liked Ponytail (K., don’t kill me)
Ponytail confused me at first, and now I’m intrigued. Is Ponytail my new Animal Collective? Will be listening to them when I get home today.

Also...who is Thor of Shearwater?
Wikipedia tells me that he is a musician, painter, and carpenter. His instruments include “found instruments and homemade instruments.” All I know is that he wears a braid, played a hammer dulcimer, and people kept on yelling out his name. A great name, too.

Official BV announcement here.

More Passion Pit here. More Jens here.


October 19, 2008

Ra Ra Riot - Music Hall of Williamsburg 10.17.08

I seriously need a camera with a functioning LCD screen or viewfinder

Even with sold-out shows at the Bowery and MHOW, Ra Ra Riot still delivers in the same way they did when I first saw them open for Tokyo Police Club back in April 2007. What immediately caught my attention back then was how much energy they brought to the small stage at Mercury Lounge, and the energy continues to be the reason why I see them. It is very apparent that RRR enjoy each other's company. They didn't even seem to be aware that there was an audience; they were just playing for the hell of it, and they sounded great. So many girly "I love you"'s were thrown out in between songs that I almost forgot where I was. I guess I shouldn't judge, but I like to keep my music crushes to myself. Or I mutter them under my breath, usually only for Fleet Foxes or Jonny Greenwood.

Off the new album, the emo-tastic "Can You Tell" is my current RRR favorite and is still on constant rotation. As MOKB pointed out in the band's breakdown of The Rhumb Line, the song has been reworked at least seven times over the last few years. I've posted two versions, one from the album and one from RRR's EP. Although the EP version is a great star-gazing interpretation, I personally prefer Wes' wispy vocals on the album version. He also had this very emo, contemplative look in his eyes during the performance. Très appropriate. This is probably as emo as I can get without disgusting myself.

Ra Ra Riot also played a new song, but I couldn't catch the name. Did anyone else?

Check out past post for more songs.

Can You Tell - Ra Ra Riot

Can You Tell (EP version) - Ra Ra Riot

Suspended in Gaffa - Ra Ra Riot

Ra Ra Riot


October 14, 2008

Yelle - Webster Hall 10.14.08

via kibbe

If the original Material Girl were French and actually feminine, she would be Yelle, a French electro-pop singer who will charm you by simply being herself. Unlike Madonna, Yelle didn't have prepared dance moves, nor did she descend onto the stage from a giant throne. She just did some fist pumps and jumped around with her hair flying around. Come to think of it, she sorta dances like me. But, of course, with more grace and charm.

I can't help but think that her being French is more than half of the charm. What is with les americains and our francophilia? Everything just seems to sound better in French. More cultured. Well, the irony of this, along with Yelle's innocent appearance, is demonstrated by the lyrics of "Je Veux Te Voir." For your education, you should probably click here for the English translation. "À cause des garçons" also has rather enlightening lyrics. Like I said, everything sounds better in French. If these songs were sung in English, I don't think they would work for me.

I need to find out how Yelle was able to get a huge crowd of New Yorkers to clap AND snap along with her. The woman is powerful. She somehow got me to dance without a care on a work night.

Je Veux Te Voir - Yelle

Ce Jeu - Yelle



October 11, 2008

Miracles of Modern Science - "Eating Me Alive"

via brooklynvegan

Over a week ago, my friend convinced me at the last minute to check out Parenthetical Girls and Evangelicals at Cake Shop. Good thing I did, otherwise I wouldn't have discovered Miracles of Modern Science.

A six-piece from Brooklyn and Princeton, Miracles of Modern Science describes itself as an "orchestral space-pop" band that uses classical instruments (mandolin, double bass, violin, cello) to drive their sound. I'm not really sure what space-pop is supposed to be, but they do wear spacesuits when they perform, and I suppose there are some lyrics about the sun and moon. Initially, their instruments caught my attention when I saw them at Cake Shop. When was the last time you saw a singer play an upright bass?? Although MOMS uses non-traditional instruments for a rock-pop band, there is definitely an accessible pop feel to their music. The combination of pop chord progressions and an acoustic instrumental foundation make MOMS a unique listen that's hard not to enjoy. Maybe it's my background in classical music, but I really like that the strings are the focus rather than embellishments, as they often are.

I've been playing "Eating Me Alive" on repeat for about a week now. This is one of the few songs that I caught at the MOMS set at Cake Shop since, unfortunately, I arrived too late to see the whole thing. The vocals are sprinkled on top of the strings in such a way that this song is very much about the instrumentals. I love the plucked strings that start around 1:24. Gives me chills, in a good way.

With the use of classical instruments (and some whistling), it is not surprising that many people are comparing MOMS to artists like Arcade Fire, Andrew Bird, and Broken Social Scene. In an interview, MOMS even cites Broken Social Scene as an influence. "Luminol," my second favorite track, definitely reminds me of BSS. Compared to the track that I have posted here, "Luminol" has more of a post-rock feel (Check it out here). I'm excited to hear their debut EP, which is expected to be released this fall.

Miracles of Modern Science will be appearing at the CMJ showcase at Glasslands Gallery on October 24. Suckers, Bryan Scary and the Shredding Tears, Little Teeth, and Netherfriends will also be performing. See you there!

Eating Me Alive - Miracles of Modern Science

MR2 - Miracles of Modern Science


Of Montreal - Roseland Ballroom 10.10.08

Yep, that's a real horse.

This was the third time that I'd seen Of Montreal, and it's probably going to be my last, unless I see them outdoors in some sort of festival setting. I've always said that Of Montreal puts on a very theatrical show, and they're visually entertaining. Well, it turns out that if the theatrics aren't accompanied by an acceptable quality of music, you pretty much feel like you're watching some bad high school musical production. In the past, I haven't really paid close attention to the stage happenings because I was too busy rocking out, feeling the music and such. But, with the Skeletal Lamping weak spots, I found myself distracted by the antics. I was not amused. I wanted to hear more of Hissing Fauna and Sunlandic.

For me, the best part of the set was the encore. Along with one of the guys from MGMT (I think? He sure looked like it but I didn't catch Kevin's intro), Of Montreal performed a cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." The guys who were in front of me (who resembled MGMT) looked like they were going to die from the excitement. I guess it's not every day that you coincidentally see the person who you're trying to look like/channel/be. Of Montreal closed with my Hissing Fauna favorite, "Gronlandic Edit." What a great song! I wish Skeletal Lamping were more like this. Instead, I feel like the new album is very much like the live show. While explicit (and amusing) lyrics are used to grab attention in songs like "St. Exquisite's Confessions," and absurd props and animals (see the picture above) demand your eyes and ears. Gimmicky, no? Purely for shock value.

Sorry, y'all. I just don't love Skeletal Lamping. I'm even annoyed by some of the songs, especially "Gallery Piece." I still love Hissing Fauna, and it remains as one of my favorite albums of all time.

Skeletal Lamping is officially released on October 21. Check here for tour dates.

An Eluardian Instance - Of Montreal

For Our Elegant Caste - Of Montreal

Gronlandic Edit - Of Montreal

Of Montreal


October 6, 2008

Department of Eagles - The Bell House 10.06.08

via iamtheeric

Beautiful. I had a stupid grin on my face the entire time. Department of Eagles had their record release show tonight at The Bell House, and I was lucky to get a ticket at the last minute (Thanks, Jason!). As you may know, DOE is another project of Grizzly Bear's Daniel Rossen. Along with Dan is his NYU roommate, Fred Nicolaus. Chris Bear and Chris Taylor, both from Grizzly Bear, also contributed to the new DOE album, In Ear Park. Despite all the Grizzly presence, DOE is not Grizzly Bear, minus Ed Droste, plus Fred Nicolaus. Well, musically speaking, anyway. To me, DOE's music has a very romantic, nostalgic quality. While listening to their music, I usually picture an old reel of my childhood. My idealized childhood, that is.

The night opened with Nat Baldwin, an experimental double bass artist from Maine. After his bit, he came back on with DOE as the bassist (Where was Chris Taylor? I didn't see him at all). As expected, Department of Eagles played plenty of material from In Ear Park, including "No One Does It Like You," which they said was their only "pop song." My personal favorite was "Sailing by Night," the first Department of Eagles song I had ever heard. While this was a release show for the new album, DOE whipped out a few pleasant surprises. They played the non-album "1997," which debuted on Stereogum last week. There were two new untitled songs, one of which was dedicated to Ed Droste. Still, the best dedicated song was Dan Rossen's cover of "Too Little, Too Late (JoJo)," the song that he recorded for Ed's birthday last year. It's too bad Dan didn't play "Deep Blue Sea," even though it was requested by the audience. Apparently, it's not something he does, despite that he had done it on a Takeaway Show, as someone pointed out.

By the way, I can't believe Dan Rossen is originally from LA? Says Wikipedia. He certainly has an accent, and I would have guessed Canadian or something. He's certainly not Southern, although the members of Grizzly Bear call him "Jimmy John" whenever he plays his banjo or does anything else that's remotely Southern. Reminds me of Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches back home.

In Ear Park is now available for purchase. Department of Eagles will perform again tomorrow for the Revenge of the Bookeaters Benefit.

No One Does It Like You - Department of Eagles

Floating on the Lehigh - Department of Eagles

Sailing by Night - Department of Eagles

Department of Eagles


October 5, 2008

Fleet Foxes - Webster Hall 10.05.08

Thanks to Alex for taking these pictures with my broken camera

Second night in a row of Fleet Foxes bliss. I know, I really am spoiled. Same amazing sounds, different banter. That's really the charm of these guys; they love to respond to the audience. I like how someone just randomly yelled out, "Ren and Stimpy!" To that, Casey Westcott joked that there was no open invitation for random pop culture references. The best moment was when someone yelled, "Play Katie Cruel," right after Robin had done just that.

Oh, and if you were wondering, Robin spent the day in Williamsburg. Seems appropriate.

Does anyone know what "important" attending people were responsible for making FF nervous tonight?

I'm going to keep this short, so check out the post on last night's Grand Ballroom show here for more details. Click here to hear more songs, read about other FF shows, and to see a video performance of "Crayon Angels."

If you haven't seen Fleet Foxes yet, you seriously have no idea what you're missing. I feel sorry for you. After this tour, FF is heading back to Seattle to record their next album. So, it may be awhile until you can see them again. :( Sad face emoticon is definitely appropriate here.

Setlist (I personally wrote this one down, so I would appreciate a credit if you post it elsewhere)

Sun Giant/Sun Rises
Drops in the River
English House
White Winter Hymnal
Ragged Wood
Your Protector
Crayon Angels (Judee Sill Cover)
Oliver James
Quiet Houses
He Doesn't Know Why
Katie Cruel (Traditional) - unplugged!
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
Silver City - new song!
Blue Ridge Mountains

Ragged Wood - Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes


Fleet Foxes - Grand Ballroom 10.04.08

via Escape Sounds

What an incredible night at an unusual venue (Apparently it's affiliated with the Freemasons? Says Robin, anyway). This was the first time that New York experienced a healthy Robin Pecknold, though I did see a little bit of coughing. He even played standing up! Someone (named Sean) asked him where his chair was, and he replied that Frank Fairfield, the opening act, was borrowing it. Fleet Foxes played a new song called "Silver City," which is apparently about Robin's first day of camp. He played electric for that one, instead of his standard acoustic. Another memorable moment was when Robin unplugged his acoustic for "Katie Cruel" and "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song." There was a great distance between the edge of the stage and where he was performing, so he moved up to be closer to the audience. I was lucky enough to be directly in front of him during these rare moments. It pays off to come early and camp out a little, especially when it's for one of my favorite bands.

The show had a lot of banter between the band members and the audience, which was missing at the last Bowery Ballroom show. The stage personalities were a big part of why my first Fleet Foxes show was so memorable and why it personally holds a special place in my mind.

It is truly amazing to see Fleet Foxes go from playing as an opener at Bowery Ballroom back in March to selling out venues with 1200+ in capacity in 6 months. These guys deserve it, and they truly sounded amazing tonight, as expected. I can't wait to see them again tomorrow at Webster Hall.

Wow, they just sounded so good. So good. I was giggly during the entire show and afterwards.

Setlist (As you know, FF do not have physical setlists. I personally wrote this one down, so I would appreciate a credit if you post it elsewhere)

Sun Giant/Sun Rises
Drops in the River
English House
White Winter Hymnal
Ragged Wood
Your Protector
Crayon Angels (Judee Sill Cover)
Oliver James
Quiet Houses
He Doesn't Know Why
Katie Cruel (Traditional) - unplugged!
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song - unplugged!
Silver City - new song!
Blue Ridge Mountains

Click here to hear songs and to see a video performance of "Crayon Angels."

Video of "Ragged Wood/Your Protector." Thanks, Nate!

English House - Fleet Foxes

Blue Ridge Mountains - Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes


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