Category Archives: The L Magazine

Where the Crowds No Longer Gather: A Look Back at 12 Years in the Brooklyn Music Scene

Source: The L Magazine » Music

Where the Crowds No Longer Gather: A Look Back at 12 Years in the Brooklyn Music Scene

No one who moved to Brooklyn after 2000 has a legitimate claim to getting in on the ground floor of anything. Still, in 2002, the degree to which New York City’s music scene was still carried out across the river from here is maybe difficult for more recent transplants to picture. Upon my arrival here that year, a club called Northsix lived where the Music Hall of Williamsburg now sits, and acts rolled through there often. Quiet corners supported tiny folk music hangouts like the now-dead Zebulon and the still-living Pete’s Candy Store. (Pete’s picked the corner that would stay quieter longer, it turned out.) Union Pool wasn’t set up for live music, yet; The Knitting Factory still took up three floors in Manhattan. The pool of regulars who could support something as relatively specific as the metal shows playing nightly at Saint Vitus was still years and years away. The stray DIY show in a decrepit loft space was a welcome surprise but hardly an expectation.

Where the Crowds No Longer Gather: A Look Back at 12 Years in the Brooklyn Music Scene

In 2002, the candy-colored, new wave, coke-fantasia that was Williamsburg’s electroclash nightclub Luxx was the nightspot of note. It only lasted a couple of years before switching into the just-closed punk dive Trash Bar, which will now become a Smoothie King or some such corporate enclave, probably. People who may claim the current environment is filled with pretentious kids playing dress up really have no idea of the level of skinny-tied commitment Williamsburg once commanded. (I expect it to pop up as a throwaway gag as soon as early 2000s Brooklyn becomes the setting for a prestige cable drama.) It was alternately terrible and amazing, and deeply memorable either way. But even then it felt somewhat disposable, something that’d be outgrown if it wasn’t shut down. I don’t think anyone there thought that stuff could, or should, last forever.

Since then the story of live music in Brooklyn has been one of almost continual growth. Though individual spots have come and gone, we’ve steadily amassed more clubs, more bands, and more variety of everything, including more options for how to consume music. The biggest single disruption of that otherwise steady climb happened last year, which had the most funereal feel of any I can remember in Brooklyn’s post-millennium music scene. As was exhaustively documented, debated, and fretted over, VICE’s multi-million dollar headquarters expansion ate a bunch of Williamsburg’s music venues, permanently closing 285 Kent, Death by Audio, and Glasslands, leading many to mourn the idea that this city could nurture art in a genuine way. And the irony of a media empire built on hip culture, bulldozing weird, cherished spots with investment capital money was too richly symbolic to feel anything other than blatantly gross.

Where the Crowds No Longer Gather: A Look Back at 12 Years in the Brooklyn Music Scene

But now, just a year removed from that much-lamented reaping, it’s clear that farther off places like Palisades, Silent Barn, Alphaville, and Aviv have continued the spirit that those rooms used to nurture, and have done it more or less seamlessly. Going to shows out there is to be surrounded by people whose whole idea of music and culture in Brooklyn is now being formed with those spots at their center. There’s more precedent now to suggest that if, or even when, those places close, they’ll be replaced too, and quickly. If it happens to be in Queens or deep Harlem or under the roller coaster on Coney Island, the feel inside those sweaty rooms of the future will probably be the same. So containing the rise and fall of Brooklyn’s music culture to the past decade or so (or even just to Brooklyn) feels counterfactual, and even kind of arrogant: “If our thing gets blown up, there may never be another thing!” Not likely. In fact, there are more places to see music now than there were when the L started printing, more stylistic diversity in the sorts of stuff being made, and more people just itching to make it. If the prohibitive expense of living in 2015 Brooklyn hasn’t killed the primal urge for expression yet, a further, truly apocalyptic annihilation just over the horizon seems pretty unlikely.

It’s true that the city doesn’t care about us as much as we care about it. It won’t make a preserved historical site out of the particular room where you saw your new favorite band, or the place where you got gloriously drunk and did something romantic, or flat-out stupid. Our own personal histories are marked with spots that no one else can visit, where crowds no longer gather. And that’s sort of great. But while those things are important to us, and while they make our identities and our memories dependent on the city, the city isn’t reliant on us—it won’t click on our pained farewell essays. And that’s sort of great too. If you spend enough years here and the main truth you’re out to prove is “everything dies,” you’ll be given ample evidence to back that up. But you’ve missed the overwhelming, sorta scary, yet ultimately reassuring idea that everything is reborn too.

Ingrained impermanence is culturally healthy, if not personally flattering. And there’s still a minor, undeniable thrill to leaving your footprints in the sand, then standing back to watch the ocean erase them.

The post Where the Crowds No Longer Gather: A Look Back at 12 Years in the Brooklyn Music Scene appeared first on The L Magazine.

The Best 15 Songs 4 2015 So Far

Source: The L Magazine » Music

The Best 15 Songs 4 2015 So Far

Sleater Kinney “Price Tag”
The iconic rock warriors wouldn’t have descended from Mt. Olympia without planning a strong first strike. The leadoff track from Sleater-Kinney’s comeback record keeps double-jumping to new levels of intensity. Janet Weiss’ precise drum blasts—like controlled explosions used to trigger ski-slope
avalanches—provide their perpetual spark.

Colleen Green “Deeper Than Love”
An unexpectedly vivid concept album about twenty-something ennui, Colleen Green’s I Want to Grow Up is deeply funny and totally fucked up. Its neurotic peak is this slinky kraut-pop epic, which departs from her usual hooky alt-rock to let conflicting fears of loneliness and intimacy dance a dead-eyed tango.

Rabit “Bloody Eye”
The metal shard landscape and ray-gun zips that make up this Texan version of British “grime” production suggest a laser tag duel that’s a little too real. (Its startling gun shot percussion is the sound of at least one player who isn’t playing.) This is experimental electronic music at it’s most
physically jarring.

Prurient “Greenpoint”
The Brooklyn neighborhood, home to bougie gift shops and boiled pierogi, is recast as an existential nightmare by Dominick Fernow’s long-running noise project Prurient. It starts with unexpected acoustic strumming, dangling something pretty for the coming dread to swallow whole. The drone builds slow behind Fernow’s sober narration of an alcoholic in ruin. It’s not rage-red but ice-cold; a poison frost freezing a flower from its roots.

Blanck Mass “Dead Format”
Ben Power’s other band, Fuck Buttons, are too often adrift in their own psychedelic fantasmagoria to make dance-floor fillers as straight as this solo jam. And even this is just a hair more propulsive than it is creepy. “Doom rave” is on the rise!

Kendrick Lamar “King Kunta”
Politically charged and just extremely goddamn funky, this badass single from Lamar’s trippy opus, To Pimp a Butterfly, is a frontrunner for song of the year. His last album updated the sounds of 90s gangsta rap. Here he struts like James Brown. And as the song says, “If he gives you the funk, you’re gonna take it.”

Kamasi Washington “Cherokee”
A collaborator to Kendrick, Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg, and Flying Lotus, Washington has unusual mainstream visibility for so young a jazz bandleader. The Epic, his buzzy triple LP, summarizes the form’s late-20th century highlights without becoming a stale tutorial. It’s warm, gracious and pop adjacent. “Cherokee” could easily have been the b-side to a killer downtown NYC disco 12” circa 1978.

Vince Staples “Norf Norf”
A few clicks and some sea-sick feedback are the only things backing up young Mr. Staples sing-song taunts here, but that doesn’t make them ring empty. “I ain’t never ran from nothin’ but the police,” he claims (a stance that currently seems sensible). Super catchy, if not nearly carefree.   

Bjork “Black Lake”
The autobiographical hurt rippling through Bjork’s Vulnicura is too soul-bare to enjoy as light celebrity gossip, and almost too overwhelming to bear at all. Brutally specific and emotionally devastated, this 10-minute expanse best stands in for the album as a whole. Its combination of classically building strings and cutting edge percussion is now as characteristic of the artist’s work as her unmistakable voice, which gives relatable pain such otherworldly release.

Fred Thomas “Bad Blood
In which an indie-pop lifer cries out from under a collapsed ceiling of cult success. As frontman for Saturday Looks Good to Me, Thomas recreated the tics of past pop triumphs but lost himself in perfect reverb. Raw, noisy, self-deprecating and more than a little bit bitter, his new songs are
honestly messy and finally distinct. 

Malportado Kids “Bruja Cosmica”
Cumbia, an utterly massive style of Latin American dance music that’s nearly absent from the U.S. pop consciousness, is a foundational element for Malportado Kids. Though a side-project from a couple members of the righteous Providence punk band Downtown Boys, this is their more radical endeavor. It kind of sounds like Le Tigre bum-rushing a street festival float (but only kind of).

Kero Kero Bonito “Picture This”
Though not as committed to living out a tonally baffling performance art prank as their pals in PC Music, this London trio is better able to complete a thought and land a joke. Here, they give the shame and glory of the perfect selfie the bubbly J-Pop anthem it deserves.

No Joy “Moon in My Mouth”
These Montreal shoegazers have finally reached that ultra-rare sweet spot for the genre, where disorientation isn’t achieved at the expense of articulation. At its heart this is a bright, clear song that just keeps on sliding ever-so-slightly out of sync.

Holly Herndon “Chorus”
This is a mosaic of digital fragments that seem semi-random at first, but eventually reveal a careful architecture. Herndon’s cerebral conception of a pop song may be futuristic, but it’s not alienating. A cyborg’s glitches are weirdly humanizing. 

Courtney Barnett “Depreston”
The Aussie rocker stretches out on this lovely countrified ballad, which goes into graceful short-story specifics on the secondhand sadness of making a new start by sliding into some ghost’s old home. Barnett’s ability to conjure up an entire life from a few stray lyrical details is something else.

The post The Best 15 Songs 4 2015 So Far appeared first on The L Magazine.

Déjà Vu All Over Again: On Giorgio Moroder’s return record, Déjà Vu

Source: The L Magazine » Music

Déjà Vu All Over Again: On Giorgio Moroder’s  return record, Déjà Vu

Upon hearing Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” Brian Eno famously guessed that the single would “change club music for the next 15 years.” That bit of fortune-telling, recounted countless times since spoken in 1977, ended up being an understatement. Electronically produced dance music hadn’t even sniffed its cultural peak by 1992. It’s since become youth culture, major festival fodder, and blockbuster mainstream entertainment on a scale that Eno wouldn’t have claimed on his fourth lager. Club walls can no longer confine it. And now, Summer’s iconic producer, Giorgio Moroder, returns as an elder statesman to a pop culture he had a strong hand in shaping.

Even at his hippest point, Moroder was more goofy than glamorous. He dropped super-silly vocoder mantras onto his slickest beats. He gave his tracks dad-joke titles like “Utopia – Me Giorgio.” He rocked a pre-Nintendo Super Mario ‘stache, wrap-around shades, and a white sport coat, looking like somebody’s uncle on a speedboat. But the serious influence of his production style—straight lines moving towards the horizon, fueled by the energy of several coke-lines—is now embedded in pop, dance, rock, and R&B music. Songs he produced for Blondie, Bowie, and Sparks redefined the ways rock songs could make people move. With Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” and Kenny Loggins “Danger Zone,” he kind of invented the mainstream schmaltz of the mid-80s, too. Which is why it’s a tad disappointing if not totally unexpected that Déjà Vu, his return record after a 30-year absence, isn’t one last great gaze ahead.

Déjà Vu All Over Again: On Giorgio Moroder’s  return record, Déjà Vu

The record features a series of alternately buzzy and bland guest singers. “Right Here, Right Now” is the record’s best moment, a two-pronged victory lap for Moroder’s legacy that mixes the thump of late-90s Daft Punk with Kylie Minogue vocals that channel her irresistibly airy hits from the early-00s. Of the moment guests Charli XCX and Sia fit in, but add b-side versions of their pre-established personas. Bringing in Britney Spears to do a blank, robo-version of Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner” ends up better than expected for such a weird choice. But for a producer who made his name as a great facilitator of artist reinvention, there’s little here that reveals a new aspect of the talent involved. It sounds like old Moroder, but even a thin version of that. It’s seldom as fun and funny as his songs once were. Compared to the humid sexuality of those classic Donna Summer singles, it seems utterly neutered. (Though with a septuagenarian producing tracks for a number of young women, that’s perhaps a small blessing.)

Disco’s recent pop peak, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories was also staid and underwhelming as a whole. (Moroder’s participation in one of its tracks is what nudged him back into the studio.) It was a stranger and more eclectic record than this one, though, with a smash single that proved pure-cut, 70s disco can still contain broad public charm. But with the genre already rescued from critical infamy, new ideas are needed more than restated old ones. After a long cycle of underground reassessment and pop chart renewal, disco’s in danger of coming back to death.

The post Déjà Vu All Over Again: On Giorgio Moroder’s return record, Déjà Vu appeared first on The L Magazine.

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

Source: The L Magazine » Music

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

Northside Festival might now have multiple components to it, but music is how it all started, and music is still the center around which the whole festival orbits. What we’re trying to say is: Massive public concerts in the bustling heart of Williamsburg have quite the gravitational pull. And with three outdoor stages, featuring more shows and artists than any previous year, Northside 2015 is bigger and more spectacular than ever before. Here’s a rundown of the 2015 schedule’s marquee events:



The Inlet @ 50 Kent

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

Friday, June 12th
Neko Case, Rhye, Majical Cloudz

Neko Case got her start playing drums in Vancouver punk bands in the mid-80s, then discovered she could sing. In the decades since, she’s secured a place in the singer-songwriter firmament with her magical realist lyrics and brassy vocals, which she often lends to Canadian indie rock mainstays The New Pornographers. Her sixth studio album, 2013’s Grammy-nominated The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, is both her strangest and most autobiographical, laying bare her struggles with depression. Case is joined by LA’s R&B crooners Rhye, whose vocals are so sultry and Sade-like most critics mistook them for women upon their debut (they’re actually two men), and Montreal electronic indie-pop duo Majical Cloudz.

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

Saturday, June 13th
Best Coast, Built to Spill, Alvvays, Bully

Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino and Bobb Bruno secure their status as the Golden State’s surf-pop-punk mascots with their new album, California Nights. It’s a little less sun-drenched than previous jangle-pop releases like “Crazy for You”—there’s thicker fuzz on Cosentino’s distinct vocals. 90s indie giants Built to Spill will play Untethered Moon, their first album in six years and the most universally praised since 1999’s classic Keep it Like a Secret. They’re joined by Toronto indie-pop quintet Alvvays, whose eponymous Chad van Gaalen-produced debut topped college charts last year with its goldtoned guitars and frontwoman Molly Rankin’s wry, self-deprecating lyrics, and Nashville grunge-rockers Bully, playing songs off their upcoming debut album Feels Like.

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

Sunday, June 14th
Run the Jewels, Sleigh Bells, Vince Staples

Veteran duo El-P and Killer Mike have had a hell of a year. They topped 2014 critics’ lists with their pummeling second record, Run the Jewels 2, and toured the world on an extended victory lap. Amid a flurry of social unrest, Mike became a voice of reason in the national media. They’ve even got their growing audience anxiously awaiting a remix record made out of cat noises. Now, Run The Jewels return to El-P’s home turf, Brooklyn, to burn Northside 2015 down at our closing-night rager! They’ll be joined by party-starting duo Sleigh Bells, who’ll bring their own giddy mash-up of metal riffs and bubblegum hooks, and young rapper Vince Staples, a one-time Odd Future brat who’s matured into one of the most acclaimed young voices in rap.

 


McCarren Park

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

Thursday, June 11th
Luna

After the break up of late-80s indie-pop greats Galaxie 500, singer/songwriter Dean Wareham formed Luna. Their decade-long run of graceful rock records proved even more perfect. The assured Luna lineup of the early 00s will be reunited here—Sean Eden, Lee Wall, Wareham, and his wife and longtime artistic collaborator Britta Phillips. This free show in the summer sun will be their first New York City performance in over ten years.

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

Friday, June 12th
The Very Best, HEEMS

UK-based beatmaker Johan Karlberg and Malawian-born, London-based vocalist Esau Mwamwaya, whom you likely first heard featured on M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” make up eminently danceable Afro-pop duo The Very Best. Their latest album, Makes a King, is less club-ready but more nuanced than previous releases, with guest spots by Malawian choirs and Vampire Weekend’s Chris Baio. Queens-raised rapper HEEMS, formerly of hip-hop wiseass trio Das Racist, performs his recent debut solo album Eat Pray Thug.

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

Saturday, June 12th
Against Me!, Special Guests

After 2014’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues, a powerful release following lead singer Laura Jane Grace’s coming out as a trans woman, Florida anarcho-punks Against Me! are as battle-ready as ever. They’re leading the charge in the trans-rights movement with anthems like “True Trans Soul Rebel,” which Grace recently performed with Miley Cyrus for the pop star’s new foundation benefiting homeless LGBTQ youth.


 

UOLive @ Williamsburg Walks

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

Saturday, June 13th and Sunday, June 14th
Bedford Avenue, a main artery of Brooklyn’s cultural pulse, will once again become Northside’s third outdoor stage on both weekend afternoons this year. In collaboration with Williamsburg Walks and thanks to our partners at Urban Outfitters, the neighborhood will delight to free performances from a varied lineup of up-and-coming performers. The street will see sets from stylish electronic duo Light Asylum, local psych-rockers Sunflower Bean, adorably twee-pop group Eskimeaux, otherworldly experimental singer GABI, and a few more too exciting to yet reveal!
 


 
 
Northside Music: A Day-by-Day Guide

With well over 400 bands booked every year, the festival presents too much music for any one person to experience in full. An informed plan is fairly crucial to choosing your own adventure. As a leg-up for both badge-holding venue hoppers and picky single show-goers, we’ve gone through the schedule day by day to underline a few of the line-up’s most notable inclusions.

 

Thursday, June 11th

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force
The son of world-music icon Fela Kuti was a member of his father’s legendary band from a very young age. His recent collaborations with high-profile hip-hop and rock groups has continued Afrobeat’s crossover into the pop mainstream. He’ll appear with The Positive Force, a seasoned backing ensemble he’s led since the late 1980s.
Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue

 

Bulletproof Stockings
You should know going in that men are barred from attending shows by these devout Hasidic alt-rockers. Taking an ancient principle from The Torah and embracing it as a method for modern empowerment, this Crown Heights group thrives on the specific energy of women performing music exclusively for women.
Bar Matchless, 557 Manhattan Avenue

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Lower Dens
Baltimore quintet Lower Dens leave behind cerebral, experimental art rock in favor of gauzy retropop with their latest album, Escape from Evil, which showcases lead singer Jana Hunter’s silky, androgynous vocals and stripped-bare emotions.
Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N. 6th Street

 

Jacco Gardner
26-year-old Dutch multi-instrumentalist Jacco Gardner’s baroque pop recalls the eccentric storytelling of 60s psychedelia (think Brian Wilson and Syd Barrett): His 2013 debut, Cabinet of Curiosities, is heavy on mellotrons and harpsichords, samples of laughing babies, and song titles like “The One-Eyed King,” like a soundtrack to a dark fairy tale.
Rough Trade NYC, 64 N. 9th Street

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat
Comedian/writer/musician Ed Schrader’s caveman grunt-shrieks and floor tom pummels plus Devin Rice’s menacing bass guitar make up this Baltimore punk duo, reminiscent of Frank Black and 90s noise rock weirdos Killdozer.
Palisades, 906 Broadway
 
 
 

Friday, June 12th

 
Spider Bags
Chapel Hill road warriors Spider Bags have spent four records expressing their queasy, paranoid feelings with punchy garage rock. Last year’s Frozen Letter took the customary sick riffs and sour wit of earlier work and stretched them out to a psychedelic sprawl.
Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N. 6th Street

 

Alden Penner & Michael Cera
The semi-reclusive and kind of angel-voiced Penner, formerly of beloved Canadian indie-pop band The Unicorns, teamed up with Arrested Development star and lo-fi folkie on the down-lo, Michael Cera, to record a concept EP about Canadians living on Mars. Live, the whimsy will be nigh unstoppable.
The Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Avenue

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Ryan Hemsworth
The DJ, remixer, beat-maker, and solo performer from Nova Scotia blurs lines between hazy hip-hop instrumentals, smooth R&B, mellowed-out synth pop hooks, and half-remembered video game themes. Unbound by genre, Hemsworth stays faithful to a daydream of his own design.
Palisades, 906 Broadway

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Ex Hex
Led by undersung multi-instrumentalist Mary Timony (Helium, Autoclave, Wild Flag), Washington, D.C.-based trio Ex Hex released their debut album Rips last year, full of fierce and fast garage-pop anthems. Timony’s vocals are melodic and energetic over screaming guitar licks, less sullen and talk-singy than in previous projects.
Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N. 6th Street

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
The Holydrug Couple
Chilean psych-rockers The Holydrug Couple, made up of members Ives Sepúlveda and Manu Parra, are as spaced-out and dreamy as their name suggests. (Actually, they have a song called “Dreamy,” off their last album, Moonlust). They’re also playing Friday and Saturday at Baby’s All Right.
Alphaville, 140 Wilson Avenue

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Beach Fossils
Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils are known for energetic live shows that bring their atmospheric lo-fi tracks to a fever pitch, something that sets them apart from other lackadaisical janglers like Wavves and DIIV (a spin-off project of former member Cole Smith).
Rough Trade NYC, 64 N. 9th Street

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Frankie Cosmos
Frankie Cosmos is the stage name of 21-year-old Greta Kline (daughter of actors Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates), whose pared-down dream-pop ballads, off last year’s debut Zentropy, fall just short of twee. Kline, who studied poetry and writes wry, clever lyrics, also plays bass in the band Porches.
Rough Trade NYC, 64 N. 9th Street

 

Saturday, June 13th

 
Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

PINS
Lightly melodic but swaggering tough, this Manchester rock band is a growing force. Ready to apply a few tricks they picked up supporting Sleater-Kinney’s British tour, singer/guitarist Faith Holgate and her locked-in gang will perform material from their brand new record, Wild Nights, for the first time in front of a U.S. audience.
Rough Trade NYC, 64 N. 9th Street

 

DJ Premier (w/ full live band)
As one-half of Gang Starr, and producer for a who’s who of megastars including Jay-Z, Kanye West, D’Angelo, Nas, and the Notorious B.I.G., DJ Premier’s legacy is secure. He’s an artist who helped define the sound of American hip-hop. With live drums, bass, and horn arrangements, that sound will come to life like never before.
Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Pusha T
As one half of gritty rap duo Clipse and into his formidable career as a solo MC, Pusha T has been one of hip-hop’s most captivating street-level storytellers, bringing real menace to morally gray depictions of life in and around the drug trade. (This date of House of Vans’ free summer show schedule overlaps with Northside. Limited entry is available to badge holders.)
House of Vans, 25 Franklin Street

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Viet Cong
The self-titled debut from this Calgary band has been the breakout indie-rock record of 2015 so far. The group (featuring members of the tragically cut-short band Women) is a juggernaut of sharp angles and mordant humor. Their songs are bleak but romantic, facing the uselessness of existence with fists balled and tongues in cheek.
Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N. 6th Street (Saturday and Sunday)

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Girl Band
These Irish punks, actually made up of all lads despite their chosen name, set absurd lyrics to a relentless almost militaristic beat. Like The Fall and Liars before them, they whip their non-sequiturs into a frenzy, prolonging the second just before the cult members might start speaking in tongues.
Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 N. 6th Street (Saturday and Sunday)

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Blonde Redhead
Now twenty years into a formidable career in experimental rock, and experienced enough to have come from an era when NYC’s best music still existed primarily in downtown Manhattan, Blonde Redhead continue on. They’ve deliberately changed their moves with each release, veering from sparkling dream pop to dissonant noise and back again.
Warsaw, 261 Driggs Avenue

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Shigeto
Bits of hip-hop, dub, IDM, techno, and ambient all filter through the work of Brooklyn producer Zachary Saginaw, but gently warped like light coming up through a swimming pool. Each successive album he’s put out through influential Michigan label Ghostly International has been more colorful, expressive, and melodic than
the last.
The Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Avenue

 

Sunday, June 14th

 
Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015

The Sun Ra Arkestra
Taking up the enormous legacy of late jazz genius Sun Ra, his cosmic Arkestra continues on. Now led by maestro Marshall Allen, a 91-year-old living legend of the saxophone in his own right, this free-floating crew of seasoned pros in sequined robes tour the globe aiming for outer space.
Rough Trade NYC, 64 N. 9th Street

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Le1f
With futuristic beats and frank, queer subject matter, this Brooklyn rapper is moving the genre forward on multiple fronts. But to pin Le1f’s appeal on long-overdue representation alone is laughable, given the skill and fire he brings. Last year’s Hey EP was his most polished yet, and he’s poised for an even bigger breakout.
Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue

 

Girlschool
Performing continuously for the last 35 years, these London-based headbangers are the longest-running all-female band in the world. Beginning their career as close comrades of Motörhead, Girlschool has outlasted every stylistic blip heavy metal’s ever gone through and continued their riffing on the other side.
St. Vitus, 1120 Manhattan Avenue

 


The Northside “Fringe Festival”

This year’s programming stretches further than ever before, both in sound and neighborhood geography. Adventurous listeners should make it a point to seek out these shows, bringing the schedule’s oddest and most exciting artists to some of the borough’s most vital contemporary venues.

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Experimental x Noise
An opening night dive into the strange corners of Brooklyn music at newly active Bushwick focal point, Aviv. Topped by elder psychedelic wanderers Excepter, the show also spotlights White Suns’ screeching drone, the guitar mesmerism of Baby Birds Drink Milk, the shamanic dance fragments of Mezzanine Swimmers, and Lutkie’s blissful clangs and bellows.
6/11 @ Aviv, 496 Morgan Avenue

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Pitchfork Presents…
In what’s become a distinguished festival tradition, the dominant taste-making publication will again program both weekend nights at Greenpoint metal club Saint Vitus. Friday night’s bill features raw and personal new work by indie-pop veteran Fred Thomas (ex-Saturday Looks Good to Me), plus dark and romantic L.A. rockers Gun Outfit, songstress-with-heart-on-her-sleeve Mitski, and maker of “QUEER NIHILIST REVOLT MUSIK”, Dreamcrusher. Saturday’s sets veer more sinister still with northwestern doom duo The Bell Witch, punishing Quebequois black metal group Akitsa, brutal noise artist Alberich, and a secret guest who’ll fit right into the void.
6/12-13 @ Saint Vitus, 1120 Manhattan Avenue

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Xiu Xiu w/ bottoms & EULA
Jamie Stewart broke new ground in self-destructive goth-pop on Xiu Xiu records that emphasized inner darkness over jet-black outerwear. He’ll perform their songs in his first visit to Bushwick’s DIY scene, joined by abrasive young Brooklyn bands following in his trail—electro-punk drag queens, bottoms, and next wave No Wavers, EULA.
6/13, evening @ Palisades, 906 Broadway

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Fathers of Footwork, vol. 1
Freakishly on-point promoters AdHoc bring dance music history to life, uniting pioneers of Chicago’s footwork movement under one Brooklyn roof. “Footwork” is an aggressively sped-up, stacked-beat style that gained popularity in the 1990s as soundtrack to epic underground dance battles. As original innovators of a still-blooming sound, DJ Spinn, RP Boo, Traxman, and more will take some kids to school.
6/13, late night @ Palisades, 906 Broadway

 

Software Recording Co. Label Showcase
Software was founded in 2011 by Oneohtrix Point Never’s Daniel Lopatin as an electronic and experimental offshoot of local indie imprint Mexican Summer. Their first official Northside showcase features some far-out stuff, including the swooning ambient fuzz of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, the active synth-scapes of Ryan McRyhew’s Thug Entrancer, and GABI’s singular pop vocals.
6/13 @ Aviv, 496 Morgan Avenue

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
GODMODE TURNS 3
The great local label, as likely to release a baffling noise tape as some slick bit of left-field disco, will showcase the breadth of their roster with a massive all-day anniversary celebration in a tiny Williamsburg room. Roaring punk duo Yvette and minimal techno producer Malory are just two wildly differing highlights.
6/13 @ Muchmore’s, 2 Havemeyer Street

 

Delia Gonzalez performs In Remembrance
The DFA Records mainstay switches from the minimal electronic pulses of her collaborations with Gavin Russom to the stately piano composition of her latest solo record, In Remembrance. Composed to accompany film footage of dancers in motion, the music is simple, melancholy and hypnotic. It’ll be the rare modern classical performance on the cozy Greenpoint piano bar’s opulent backroom baby grand.
6/14 @ Manhattan Inn, 632 Manhattan Avenue

 

Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015
Zola Jesus w/ Blanck Mass & Container
Zola Jesus’ operatic voice and dark, dramatic vision for pop music has made her a rising star. She’ll headline this Northside event with opening acts that nod to her experimental roots. Her set will be preceded by a rare U.S. appearance by Fuck Buttons member Benjamin John Power’s shadow rave solo project, Blanck Mass, and the intensely physical industrial dance beats of rising Rhode Island producer, Container.
6/14 @ Warsaw, 261 Driggs Avenue

The post Everything you Need to Know About Northside Music 2015 appeared first on The L Magazine.

Party in the USA: Shamir, Ratchet

Source: The L Magazine » Music

Party in the USA: Shamir, Ratchet

In early LCD Soundsystem singles, the kids were not alright. They annoyed James Murphy with their inability to dance, hook up, or fall in love properly. All they could do was borrow nostalgia and send out irksome mailers, inviting him to parties he thought were lame. LCD’s whole schtick centered on the viewpoint of an old guy who thought he knew better, who’d heard all the great records when doing so required real effort and was forced to interpret their lessons for the masses since none of these lousy kids could be trusted. It’d be interesting to hear his reaction now to something like Ratchet. The debut album from 20-year-old Las Vegan Shamir Bailey grows like a flower from creative soil he tilled a decade ago. “They say I am a big party machine!,” Shamir tells us, quite plausibly. Murphy’s side-eye might be unavoidable, but “the saddest night out in the U.S.A.” this is not.

Shamir’s audible, irrepressible youth is Ratchet’s best quality. It’s the thing that keeps the record’s retro aspects from ever feeling stagnant, or even conspicuously borrowed. He’s only about a year and a half removed from the first positive notices for “If it Wasn’t True,” his first single on Brooklyn’s Godmode label. To hear him now, already lamenting his advanced age is pretty funny. He cops an old-soul wisdom here and there, giving friends and fans relationship advice. But it’s a little goofy when something like, “Just can’t make a thot a wife, no more basic ratchet guys. Listen up I’m saving you from all the hell that you’ll go through!” is about as sage as it gets. Singles like “Make a Scene” and “On the Regular” are much better for being completely unembarrassed by their own silliness. In moments of giddy glee, Shamir practically bounces on the beat. “Hi hi, howdy howdy, hi hi!”

The sound of Ratchet is attributable in part to producer Nick Sylvester. The ex-music writer (Pitchfork, Village Voice), current music producer (Deerhoof’s La Isla Bonita) and label head (Godmode), met Shamir because of his teenage enthusiasm for the local noise-rock band Yvette. Godmode flew him out to record, and released his first EP. Sylvester stayed on as manager, producer, and sometimes band member as he’s moved on to the big-deal trans-atlantic indie imprint XL (home to MIA, Vampire Weekend, and FKA Twigs).  Embedded horns are taken from disco, piano rolls from house music, frantic raygun breakdowns from acidhouse—this is the stuff of a real cross-genre 12” aficionado. Shamir imposes a sense of cohesion just due to personal charisma alone. His remarkable voice will likely be a main point of focus, its high register seeming sightly fantastical. It flutters somewhere closer to feminine than masculine, but calls in question the urge to measure gender so precisely. The tone that naturally leaves his lips is one that naturally suits all sorts of dance music. Why get hung up on it at all?

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On Neon Wings: Sufjan Stevens

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On Neon Wings: Sufjan Stevens

With hindsight, Arcade Fire having long-ago begetten a legion of po-faced men in pork-pie hats, the blockbuster victories of mid-00s indie-rock seem unfortunate. For grown 90s teens, the idea of once-modest college rock winning Grammys and topping shrunken Billboard sales charts was briefly validating. But any series of events that leads to songs by The Lumineers or Edward Sharpe being played at the gym requires a touch of regretful reflection. Of peak indie’s best-known artists, Sufjan Stevens, especially lost something in scaling up. His claim to be working on 50 separate albums tailored to the details of each of our united states was a goof taken too seriously by the press, but also a definitive example of personal music strangled by sort of arbitrary ambition. Though the songs from that period were often beautiful, there’s something off-putting in revisiting them now, a certain unintended smugness in the superhuman size of the task Stevens took on. His strengths as a songwriter are intimacy and empathy. Throwing himself into speculative historical fiction undercut them, suggesting that a stroll through a municipal record or Wikipedia page could provide all the inspiration he’d ever need. Leading orchestras in neon wings and crowding the stage with players, his delicacy was trampled underfoot. 

Carrie & Lowell, his seventh record, is a necessary correction and a practical reintroduction. Its songs are centered around the semi-recent death of Stevens’s oft-absent mother. Though references to these events can be picked out of his “states” records, this one removes the need for speculation. He names this record for his mom and step-dad, and uses their pictures as its album cover. The lyrical references to death and dying are near-constant, to the point that they threaten to overwhelm with morbidity. But it’s not some fashionably goth record, trading in skulls to gain a shade of dark glamor; the simple acknowledgement of eventual death and the grief it leaves behind is used primarily to establish human unity. Limiting the comparison to alt-folk music, Stevens whispering “we’re all gonna die” is somehow a million times warmer than Bonnie “Prince” Billy croaking the almost identical sentiment: “Death to everyone, is gonna come.” It’s not spooky, but it is spooked. 

On an album haunted with specific references to the Oregon-spent summers of Stevens’ youth, a couple acts from overlapping eras of Oregon’s recent rock history are weirdly illustrative. His states songs sometimes flirted with the worst instincts of Colin Meloy’s Decemberists—over orchestrated, too dependent on whimsical concepts, and an exhausting abundance of narrative detail. Carrie & Lowell, with its spare sound and its heart so badly broken, goes back (and trades up) to Elliott Smith. Its instrumental palette is limited to softly insistent strumming, some gentle keys, and Stevens himself. Instead of building to busy chamber pop catharses, those simple elements repeatedly drop away, leaving ambient pools of quiet contemplation. There were collaborators involved in making the record, but they are nearly invisible in effect. Sufjan’s still a big deal, selling out over 3500 seats at the newly renovated King’s Theater in Flatbush for an upcoming show. But entrenched at that rare position, modesty suits him best.

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Friend of Drake: iLoveMakonnen

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Friend of Drake: iLoveMakonnen

Last year, Drake broke his clearly stated “no new friends” policy by buddying up with iLoveMakonnen. When he remixed and featured on the Atlanta rapper’s loopy weeknight party anthem “Tuesday,” he slingshot the song from beloved Internet oddity to marginal mainstream hit. Gracing a DIY producer with a touch of his regal scepter isn’t unusual for the rap superstar; in fact it’s one of the things Drake’s made his reputation on. But where another protege like The Weeknd shares his oversexed yet depressed vibes and Toronto zip code, Makonnen Sheran is a stranger choice. A psychedelic crooner, possibly on mushrooms, is not the most natural night-club wingman? Bringing an exponentially increased number of ears to something as weird as “Tuesday” without altering its basic form might be the most benevolent thing Drake’s done in his mega-famous imperial phase. But it’s easy to see why it might flatter his ego to pal around with Makonnen, the singer is a reflection of a bunch of things Drake continually assures us he is: a hustler, an outsider, an underdog who clawed his way to fame.

Though he may not have become a guy who could sell out subsequent nights at big NYC rooms without Drake’s endorsement (he’ll headline both Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg later this month), there’s reason to believe Makonnen might have broken out on his own eventually. He’s got tons of material spread throughout the Internet: Bandcamp sketches and YouTube videos, blog posts, weird collaborations, and assorted false starts. When taken in aggregate, it makes him seem more odd and formless a pop figure than he is at his best. Any attempt to turn Makonnen into an outsider artist, some sort of Internet-era Wesley Willis, feels wrongheaded. He may sound loose or unguarded, and often more than a little blurred by whatever pills may be on hand, but he never goes all the way to unhinged. His self-titled, self-released EP from last year is successful because it imposed succinct focus without losing that distinct, spacey tone. Lack of a filter can be thrilling, but lack of an editor is usually tiresome.

Drink More Water 5 is Sheran’s latest mixtape, and the first that could be called “post-fame.” As a return to the rough edges of his pre-Drake stuff, it’s understandably less satisfying. As a rapper, Makonnen’s flow can plod, or become repetitive. The wild spontaneity of his freestyling can either delight, or just make his lyrics feel clunky. You can actually hear the sound of a brain reaching out for any old rhyme two seconds before a mouth must release it. But then, a truly infectious song like “Whip It (Remix)” pops up, and any suspicions that he might be a pure novelty can easily be put aside. With more conventional Atlanta rappers Migos and Rich tha Kid keeping the energy level crisp, Makonnen is left to that giddy, trilling hook. He’s got a deep warble of a singing voice that’s naturally compelling even when delivering near-nonsense. Though his stylistic interests seem too varied for him to settle into any one niche, Makonnen would easily justify his next decade in the rap world just popping up to sing hooks on singles that would be more predictable for his absence. Tender weirdos should always be welcome.

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Outside the Box: On Waxahatchee, Courtney Barnett, and Colleen Green

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Outside the Box: On Waxahatchee, Courtney Barnett, and Colleen Green

One of the cooler aspects of alternative rock in the 1990s was its notably better representation for female musicians than previous rock n’ roll eras. Media coverage still tended to be a bit condescending then, thick with “Women Who Rock?!” style novelty pieces. In 2015, the wry, hooky fuzz-bomb style of alt-rock persists, and at this point young women dominate it almost completely. This year has already been thick with superficially similar but subtly varied albums supporting that claim. New Courtney Barnett and Colleen Green records provide charm and crunch in equal measure, while high-profile indie-rock dudes currently seem sequestered in the emotive piano bar of 1970s singer-songwriter roles. (See: Father John Misty, Tobias Jesso, Jr., Sufjan Stevens.) Ivy Tripp, the third record by Brooklyn-via-Philadelphia-via-Alabama band Waxahatchee adds to the mounting mountain of evidence.

The career of Katie Crutchfield, the singer-songwriter behind the project, has had a familiar arc so far: DIY singer-songwriter gets attention for intensely intimate home recordings, gains a cult audience, and, with the certainty that someone’s now listening, starts to flesh out her sound. The 90s concept of a much-anticipated “major label debut” has been muted by a shrunken industry, but a jump up to a happy medium-sized pond like Matador Records or, in Waxahatchee’s case, Merge, comes with a similar sense of increased expectation. Ivy Tripp does deliver a few bigger-sounding electric guitar showcases, the best being breezy single “Under A Rock”. Its intentionally unassuming video betrays an aspiration to fit right into a VHS tape of 120 Minutes episodes no one had the heart to throw out. But the album is messier than that, starting with deep inner-ear feedback and moving through the chaotic digressions of a song like “<”, that’s most exciting when it’s falling apart. Crutchfield’s a twangy singer, more alt-country than often gets mentioned, strong but never sweet. Since her guitar stays murky, the addition of vocal harmony feels like the record’s strongest development. “Slick” still isn’t an apt descriptor, but “lonely” is becoming less of one, too.  

Crutchfield has been a little touchy about all the 90s talk. “Don’t put me in a box,” she recently told a Pitchfork interviewer. “You don’t know what I can do.” But her album’s range is still a bit limited in comparison to her contemporaries. Courtney Barnett’s songs are like carefully pruned New Yorker stories, with an effortless sense of place and more expressive guitar playing. They’re at once more specific and more universal. Colleen Green’s songs are just as pained and painfully honest in their youthful distress as Crutchfield’s, but on her excellent new record I Want to Grow Up, they’re surrounded by a thin candy coating of sharp production and dark humor. Of the three, Green’s songs most mirror peak alt-rock, packing Veruca Salt-grade riffs and Cobain levels of self-loathing. One of her best songs, “Deeper Than Love,” takes a different tack, neatly pairing fear of intimacy with an unchanging krautrock chug that doubles her despair. Smart style evolutions like that are one way to diversify, but there are others. Speedy Ortiz, yet another band in this mold, seems on the verge of leaping past the pack as well. “Puffer,” the latest song shared from their upcoming record, stays noisy but crams that din into the weird asymmetric shapes of early 2000s pop. (It was “supposed to sound like Kelis,” tweeted songwriter Sadie Dupuis.) We’ve already worked out the answers for keeping this stuff fresh, so there’s no penalty for flipping to the back of the book.

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Godmode Records Presents… American Music

Source: The L Magazine » Music

Godmode Records Presents… American Music

At the end of 2014, a limited-run cassette from a small local label cracked this magazine’s top-5 records of the year. That tape was Common Interests Were Not Enough to Keep us Together, a collection of songs from Godmode, the Brooklyn imprint run by producer, musician, and ex-critic Nick Sylvester. Where their earliest releases focused on brooding, bad-natured noise rock, this one let in house, pop, and left-field disco, suddenly announcing Godmode as the most tasteful and varied imprint in the neighborhood. 

American Music is the label’s follow-up  compilation tape. Again it’s filled with un-hyped bands making weird sounds that draw from many eras of pop and experimental music, without leaning too heavily on any single flavor of nostalgia.

A few artists provide repeat highlights. There are two tracks from the wildly under-appreciated locals Courtship Ritual: an old one that reasserts last year’s LP Pith as motel pillow levels of slept on, and a new one that continues to sound like Young Marble Giants as a cabaret act. Then there’s the first new song from local noise duo Yvette since their vicious 2013 record Process. “I Don’t Need Anything From Anybody” smartly resists the shoe-gaze impulse to swallow vocal clarity with guitar fuzz, allowing a song with almost zero empty space to feel weirdly wide-open. It closes on a lovely remix  of “I Know It’s a Good Thing” by Shamir, which cranks up the synth squeals and surrounds his voice with faux-holy ambiance like “Like a Prayer”-era Madonna, making it an elegy for an act who blew up too quick to ever be a label mainstay. (His first album will come out on the bigger XL this spring.) 

There’s killer stuff from bands you’ve never heard of, too. Breeding Program’s “No Time for 69” is an overt electroclash revival that’s appropriately dumb, fun, and trashy. (“I bet computer guys invented 69,” it claims, dubiously.) The disco cuts feel in the moment rather than in quotes, present instead of hiding at a hazy middle distance. House tracks work into their grooves so relentlessly that eventual acid-rave freakouts feel like stress hallucinations from concentrating too hard. When that starts to feel a little formulaic, we get a song like Malory’s “Dah”—so dedicated to minimalism that its increasing intensity comes not from from loosening up but contracting tighter. The dance music is typically very carefully controlled, making brief noise snippets from Excepter, Manikr, and especially Kill Alters so crucial in context. They represent rare, necessary slips into chaos. 

American Music’s varied, but mostly dance-adjacent, sounds closely mirror those that DFA Records made such a huge impact with in the early 2000s, sometimes to the point of distraction.  But the similarities come from overlapping taste and and eclectic philosophy, rather than conscious emulation. It doesn’t resemble the sustained, pill-regulated mood of Johnny Jewel’s After Dark compilations either, structured more like a mixtape made by some clever, moody, more-earnest-than-he-thinks college kid. It top-loads with accessible material, earning credit for the wilder selections that follow. It’s over long, but as a function of its intended format. There’s space to fill, so why not fill it? It’s all pretty great, besides.

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On Tantric Sex as Metaphor: Talking with Jana Hunter of Lower Dens

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On Tantric Sex as Metaphor: Talking with Jana Hunter of Lower Dens

Jana Hunter’s career has already contained multitudes. She started playing lo-fi folk “either twelve or like, thirty” years ago, a by-gone time when being a Beck devotee was unimpeachably hip. Since 2010, Hunter’s been fronting Lower Dens, a band who can execute her songwriting on a grand psychedelic scale. On 2012’s Nootropics they were mid-transformation, becoming a sulking krautrock behemoth.

Next week Lower Dens release their third record, Escape From Evil, and begin a tour at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right. (They’ll come back in summer to play our own Northside Festival, too.) It’s another sharp turn in style, using clean synth-pop sounds to give her still-cerebral lyrics a weirdly uplifting effect. We caught up with Hunter to chat about her songwriting, the attempt to make accessible music that takes inspiration from academic texts on human evil, tantric sex (as a metaphor), and getting out of her own head.


Did you start writing songs in childhood?
I started playing classical music when I was a kid. I first started writing songs, sort of on a lark, when I was fourteen or fifteen. It wasn’t until other people became exasperated with me not taking it seriously that I started to take it seriously.

Was it starting Lower Dens that made you feel like you had a real career?
When I was younger I had this idea that if you were really talented, songs should just kind of come to you. Then you present them to people and they immediately fall in love with them, and then boom, that’s how a career happens! (laughs) I didn’t have any idea how much work goes into successful projects. There were a lot of things I was frustrated about when I was performing solo. As a teenager I was writing songs for personal reasons. I didn’t share them with people because it felt strange to. Touring was miserable for me.

So there were two things happening: One was I needed to change how I wrote music, so that it was meant to be shared with people, and the other thing was that I needed to put a lot more work into it than I was. I feel much more confident at that now than I was going into Lower Dens. It was a very conscious thing.

To what degree was the brighter sound of Escape From Evil an attempt to reach a wider audience?
When you’re having a conversation like this, you are kind of dancing around the word “accessible.” That has come to mean that you’re dumbing things down, or something, I definitely felt that way for a long time. There are smart ways to go about that and then there are condescending ways. What you have in mainstream pop music, it’s not even really written because it will appeal to what people want, it’s so that it’ll get people to spend money. It’s not stupid because people are stupid, it’s stupid because it’s formulaic.

Anyway, I think that it’s important to try to utilize music as a way to bring people together. To me it’s the closest thing to spirituality. There is something very powerful and quasi-magical about bringing people together and getting them to see other people as they see themselves. Pop music makes that possible! If I am writing really obscure, intellectual music I’m satisfying something in myself, but I’m definitely not inviting people in in the same way. I want to do that.

The meaning in the newest stuff isn’t always completely clear, though? I’ve read you say that a song like “To Die in LA” came out of a personal tragedy but without that context… it’s kinda upbeat.
If you are trying to figure out exactly what it means to me, it might be difficult. I’m trying to put something of myself in it and have it be honest emotionally. But I don’t want it to be a really narrow, strict narrative, because I feel like that’s another way of excluding people? It has to be open to interpretation.

What was it about Ernest Becker’s book Escape From Evil that resonated with you, to seem like a good title for this set of songs?
He’s talking about people’s motivations for doing the things that they do. It’s something that I’ve been given to thinking about for a while now. I was thinking about processing relationships that I’ve had and things that I’ve done. In trying to do the things I do really well, I’ve stepped on people, hurt people. I wanted to change that about myself or at least come to terms with it. People try to elongate their lives, and try to leave legacies. In doing those things they end up fucking people over. It’s possible to live your life in a way that benefits you, but doesn’t do that.

This album had a really long gestation process. Is doing heavy tinkering in the studio a drastic change to your usual writing process?
I’ve been writing continuously, working on [the album] continuously since the beginning of 2013. The time that we spent tracking with the entire band was less than 10 days. After that, so much time was spent overdubbing with myself and Chris Coady. If the original parts weren’t just right, we didn’t try to run them through a bunch of effects, we would rerecord them. That was a very different experience for me. I think it frustrated the fuck out of Chris (laughs). But I’m glad we did it.

Do the songs still feel really immediate to you after all that? Is it strange to you that people are just hearing them?
A metaphor came to mind, but it’s a very sexually explicit one, so I don’t know—I mean—yeah, fuck it. It’s like engaging in sex and suspending the moment of orgasm as long as possible. You’re either going to get this explosive ridiculous thing that makes you cry, or it’s going to be,”Oh, you’ve waited too long,” and it’s kind of disappointing. I don’t really know which one is happening yet.

But the tantra is over, you’ve put the lute down?
Yeah. (laughs)

Do you think you’ve become a more natural performer over time?
For sure, and I think that just comes from performance. When I was really young I was taught ways to listen to music and keep a really tight focus on what I was doing even as I was playing it. There’s never a moment where I was playing music where I’m completely lost in it. All the time there’s a part of me paying really close attention to what my voice is doing or how I’m playing guitar.

Is getting more lost in the music something you want?
I go back and forth about that. It’s been really beneficial to me in some ways, but then I’m really also jealous of people who can listen to music and not be breaking it down as they listen to it. Automatically, I’m doing that without trying to. I remember feeling that way by the time I was twelve, listening to music and missing how it had sounded when I was six. •

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CMJ Day One: Thurston Moore’s Penance Tour

Source: The L Magazine » Music

Though my first day of this year’s CMJ Music Marathon was spent at events not included in the festival’s schedule, I’m not sure you can say I “skipped CMJ.” In the midst of a tradition 34 years running, everything that happens in the New York music world this week—be it officially sanctioned showcases, anti-establishment bashes specifically meant to counterprogram against corporate sponsored events, or high-profile acts in town to capitalize on an uptick in interested media outlets—is rolled into an amorphous blob called “CMJ.”…

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Live: Ben Frost and Julianna Barwick Drown The Wick in Sound

Source: The L Magazine » Music


                                                                                  Photos by Devon Banks 

This past Saturday Bushwick’s big, handsome, recently revamped venue The Wick held the first show in the ongoing series, “Tinnitus.” Presented by Pitchfork’s recurring metal column, Show No Mercy, and the long-running producer of heavy events, Blackened Music, its programming focuses on “composers of extreme sound” as a loose organizing principe.…

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Punk Lives at Palisades

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The apocalypse feeling that comes with each fresh closing of a previously thriving Brooklyn DIY spot is tough to deny. While mourning 285 Kent, or wincing at the impending departure of Death by Audio, it can feel like the sad end of something right and just and true.…

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Interview: The Clean Come Back to Brooklyn!

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While the prolonged zombie state of some bands’ reunions can start to bum a guy out, no one with a heart and two ears could be unhappy to see The Clean again. This week, the legendary band, instigators of Dunedin, New Zealand’s wildly influential DIY rock scene of the 1980s, play two Brooklyn shows; one tonight at Rough Trade, one at Glasslands tomorrow.…

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Live: FKA Twigs Conquers Webster Hall

Source: The L Magazine » Music



Tahliah Barnett, the artist currently known for being Formerly Known As Twigs, played her second ever New York City show last night to an unusually large, sold-out Webster Hall crowd, who absolutely fucking adored her. There’s been a steady uptick in the London-based singer’s profile since the release of her first EP in December of 2012.…

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Tickets on Sale Now for Fool’s Gold Day Off With Danny Brown, French Montana and So Many More

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Fool's Gold Day Off header-FINAL

If you recall, Fool’s Gold Day Off (aka the biggest party of the summer, aka your best chance of becoming BFFs with Danny Brown) returns to 50 Kent (Kent Ave. and North 12th St.) on September 1 before it spins off into a multi-city mega-tour hitting Toronto, L.A., Atlanta and Miami this fall.

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Major News: “Fool’s Gold Day Off” Returns to Brooklyn at 50 Kent

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Fool's Gold Day Off header-FINAL

It’s back. Since 2010, Labor Day’s greatest tradition (eating potato salad in the Hamptons isn’t a tradition) is dancing up a sweat at the New York installment of Fool’s Gold Day Off, the all-day, feel-good, can-this-really-be-happening concert curated by its titular Brooklyn-based record label.…

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Grimes, How to Dress Well, and the Perils of Poptimism

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When Grimes’ first new song in two years hit the Internet a couple weeks ago, it was furiously marketed as a track Rihanna rejected, a PR move with obvious SEO appeal and rank cynicism. For Grimes’s Claire Boucher, it seemed unintentionally self-depricating.…

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Live: White Lung Made a Mosh Pit of Saint Vitus

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Several songs into White Lung’s set, a young woman in the crowd near me started throwing frantic, undirected air punches. Fists swirled up and around her in wild loops that connected occasionally, semi-randomly to surrounding arms and shoulders.…

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Singeth the Raven “Nevermore”

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I didn’t even know there would be another piece of music. The main attraction in last night’s program at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater was The Raven, a relatively short new vocal work by Toshio Hosokawa based on the Poe poem, part of the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial celebration (presented by Gotham Chamber Opera).…

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Behind the Noose: A Q & A with The Haxan Cloak

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For a guy who made a concept record following a soul’s escape from a post-death body falling into decay, Bobby Krlic is a pretty chipper. Excavation, the critically acclaimed album he released last year under his recording name, The Haxan Cloak, is a beautifully dark and mildly terrifying thing.…

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Art and the Academy: Red Bull Elevates the Corporate Music Festival

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Tonight, dance crews representing four different styles and eras of club music will take over Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Bazaar, filling every corner of that big room with competing beats and the weirdly specific gyrations each might trigger. Like many dance-floor freak outs before it, this one will be fueled by Red Bull.…

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