Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 4/19/13
Thanks for tuning in last night, to those of you who did. I gave away a free Low CD and talked about Iceage a lot. I hope you liked it.
- 1. James Blake - “Overgrown”
- 2. Devendra Banhart - “Mi Negrita”
- 3. Local Natives - “Who Knows, Who Cares”
- 4. Chelsea Light Moving - “Heavenmetal”
- 5. The Front Bottoms - “Twin Size Mattress”
- 6. Great Caesar - “Generations”
- 7. The Thermals - “Faces Stay With Me”
- 8. Somebody’s Basement - “November, 2000 and 12!”
- 9. Telekinesis - “Empathetic People”
- 10. White Lung - “Those Girls”
- 11. Iceage - “Morals”
- 12. Daft Punk - “Get Lucky” (Radio Edit) (feat. Pharrell)
- 13. Silver Jews - “Dallas”
- 14. I Kill Giants - “Collector”
- 15. The Stone Roses - “Made Of Stone”
- 16. Kurt Vile - “Was All Talk”
- 17. Low - “Amethyst”
- 18. Hann Cassady - “Evergreen”
- 19. Bob Dylan - “Sara”
- 20. Sondre Lerche - “Stupid Memory”
- 21. Pure X - “Someone Else”
- 22. The Microphones - “My Roots Are Strong And Deep”
- 23. Titus Andronicus - “Arms Against Atrophy”
- 24. Elvis Depressedly - “Weird Honey”
- 25. Silver Jews - “Death of an Heir of Sorrows”
- 26. 10,000 Blades - “Airstream, 1972”
- 27. David Bello and his God-Given Right - “La La La”
Stream via Spotify:
Elias held my hand and unbuttoned my shirt and touched my face
Is this what Ian dickman feels like
Lewis and his Blog January 2013 Mix
Congratulations! You made it through the first month of 2013. Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it. Honestly, we both do. In celebration of your success at surviving this cruel and confusing world, give a listen to my first Monthly Mix of 2013. If you’re unfamiliar with my monthly mix series, the concept is fairly self-explanatory; every month, I publish a 10 track mix via 8tracks, featuring some of my favorite new music that I heard that month. You can find all of my monthly mixes HERE, at my “Monthly Mix” tag.
This month’s mix features tracks that came out in January, many of which are from forthcoming albums. Stream the entire think at the embedded link below, and read up on each track below that. Thanks for listening and reading!
Permanently-disaffected mumblecore rapper Milo (aka Rory Ferreira) kicked off his new EP Things That Happen At Day with an uncharacteristically hopeful cut that seems to promote self-acceptance even in the face of an unwelcoming world. On “Sweet Chin Music,” Milo waxes poetic about his love for pro wrestling, Delta Force 3, and “egg fried rice and fruits,” occasionally dipping out of his distinctive monotone and into a sumptuous half-sing. He reminds himself, rather soothingly, that he “[doesn’t] feel the need to be the best thing ever.” That self-awareness is not entirely anomalous within Milo’s body of work, but it does stand in stark contrast to the material on his darker accompanying EP, Things That Happen At Night. Pick up both of the records at the HellFyre Club bandcamp page.
2. A$AP Rocky - “Long Live A$AP”
Unlike the lyrically-focused and DIY-motivated Milo, Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky bases almost the entirety of his appeal on image and aesthetic. Frankly, the extremity of this image is what makes Rocky such an interesting figure; he is very much a mirror of rap’s fascinatingly narcissistic cutting edge. “Long Live A$AP” is the title track from his major label debut, a triumphantly hi-fi explosion of a record that manages to say absolutely nothing substantial in the best way possible. The song itself is representative of Long.Live.A$AP as a whole, presenting Rocky as the 2013’s greatest hip-hop paradox. He is, at once, a youthful legend, a geographically-transcendent New Yorker, an underground sellout, and a deeply insecure popular kid, both as self-conscious and self-obsessed as only a true narcissist can be. It’s not conceit if you’re right, and Rocky forces us to wonder just how right he may be. Pick up Long.Live.A$AP via iTunes.
3. Beach Fossils - “Generational Synthetic”
With their forthcoming LP Clash The Truth, Beach Fossils are poised to once again usurp the throne of Brooklyn’s guitar pop scene from their overrated labelmates DIIV, who are led by former Beach Fossils member Zachary Cole Smith. Beach Fossils might not have DIIV’s marketably nihilistic look or vague conceptual coherence, but they make up for it in song quality. “Generational Synthetic” toes the line between pop and punk, and although the singer doesn’t lyrically commit himself like a true punk frontman, there’s enough grit to rock out to. Clash The Truth is out February 19th via Captured Tracks.
4. Bleeding Rainbow - “Pink Ruff”
One part shoegaze, one part noise pop, and one part sugary female vocals, Philadelphia’s Bleeding Rainbow are a delectable duo with a lot of potential. Formerly called Reading Rainbow, the band had to change their name in lieu of a potential lawsuit from PBS, but the name change shouldn’t do much to stop them from winning over your heart. Fans of Dum Dum Girls should enjoy “Pink Ruff,” off their latest LP Yeah Right, for its subtle juxtaposition of garage-rocking minor key power chords and infectious pop melodies. Pick up Yeah Right via Kanine Records now.
5. Iceage - “Coalition”
Iceage’s sophomore LP You’re Nothing leaked well in advance of its release, but if you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon yet, now is the time. Lead single “Coalition” is probably poised to be the consensus standout track on the new record from these Danish, mostly teenage punks, and for good reason. In just over two minutes, the band reaches peak levels of catharsis, thrashing about with dualing guitars and cymbals blaring while frontman Elias Rønnenfelt drags himself out of his usual nihilistic apathy and lashes out in an impressively vigorous display of energy. Like the best moments of their last LP New Brigade, “Coalition” is also deceptively catchy, but this track manages to accomodate aggression and pop sensibility in nearly equal measure. You’re Nothing is out February 19th via Matador.
6. Comadre - “Hack”
The best description I’ve heard of Comadre’s aesthetic is that they “graduated from the Fucked Up school of yelling over what is essentially straight up indie rock.” It’s a true description, but the comparison to Fucked Up ends there; unlike their Canadian contemporaries, this Californian punk group doesn’t seem to take themselves so seriously. Their sound benefits from this looseness, allowing them to experiment with sounds and themes that are generally considered ‘outside’ of the realm of punk. On “Hack,” from their new self-titled record, the vocals are as throat-shreddingly aggressive as anything, but the instrumentals contrast starkly, blending shoegazy guitars with a theremin-reminiscent organ patch. Pick up Comadre via Vitriol Records.
7. Junip - “Line of Fire”
Although I’ve grown increasingly apprehensive about listening to sad singer/songwriters playing solo with acoustic guitars over the past few years, I think I’ll always appreciate the presence of a great songwriter singing over full band instrumentation. For this reason, I like Jose Gonzales’ group Junip more than his solo material, although I appreciate the precedent that he set on his own. Though a great song in its own right, “Line Of Fire” just benefits tremendously from the added texture and energy of the synths, drums, and backing harmonies; they actually make Gonzales’ signature Spanish guitar sound even better. Junip’s self-titled LP is out April 23rd via Mute.
8. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - “So Good At Being In Trouble”
This single from Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s sophomore LP (creatively titled II) is deceptively, subtly infectious. Stripping away some of the more psychedelic aspects of their sound, the group took a decidedly low-key approach on “So Good At Being In Trouble,” an analog R&B jam that harks back to the more soothing, gentler side of 70’s Northern Soul. With an earworm chorus and an arsenal of effects pedals at their disposal, Unknown Mortal Orchestra could have easily turned this cut into an anthemic, festival-ready banger, but they didn’t; this restraint is admirable, even though part of me would like to hear them rock out on this track. II is out now on Jagjaguwar.
9. Yo La Tengo - “I’ll Be Around”
New Jersey stalwarts Yo La Tengo may be the most dependable band in indie rock. Until the release of their new LP Fade, I was hesitant to fully commit myself as a fan, but it’s hard to deny the appeal of their genre-sweeping aesthetic on this record. Fade veers, calmly and tactfully, from the psychedelic heft of “Ohm” to the horn-laden grace of closer “Before We Run,” stopping briefly to catch its breath on tracks like the lovely, gentle “I’ll Be Around.” It’s a mostly acoustic piece with subtle inflections of modulated keyboard — the perfect aesthetic for a great romantic mixtape. It’s a respite on the record, but a highlight in its own right as well. Pick up Fade via Matador Records.
10. Christopher Owens - “Part Of Me (Lysandre’s Epilogue)”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I actually like Christopher Owens debut solo album Lysandre quite a bit more than some of Girls’ material. Girls’ records had the ambition and aesthetic prescience, but Lysandre has the heart. As evidence, look no further than the highlight closing track “Part Of Me (Lysandre’s Epilogue),” a heartbreakingly bittersweet Dylanesque anthem that subverts the guitars and harmonica of “I Want You” into something entirely personal to Owens and yet entirely relatable to us. As a songwriter, Owens’ greatest strength has always been forging this balance, and that above all is what comes through on Lysandre.
Stream the whole mix HERE via 8track. Thanks for listening and reading, and have a great February!
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 1/25/13
Thanks to those of you who tuned in to last night’s broadcast of Left of the Dial. It honestly felt like one of the best shows I’ve had in a long time in terms of playlist quality; maybe this whole ‘losing all the music on my harddrive and rebuilding from scratch’ thing is paying off. Check out the full playlist below and stream the available tracks via Spotify at the embedded link at the bottom. As always, be sure to tune in again next Friday from 6 to 8 PM.
- 1. Hymie’s Basement - “21st Century Pop Song”
- 2. The Dismemberment Plan - “The City”
- 3. Broken Social Scene - “Almost Crimes” (Radio Kills remix)
- 4. Bleeding Rainbow - “Pink Ruff”
- 5. Television - “Venus”
- 6. Hallelujah The Hills - “Get Me In A Room”
- 7. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - “So Good At Being In Trouble”
- 8. Sidewalk Dave - “Cayenne”
- 9. Titus Andronicus - “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With The Flood of Detritus”
- 10. Suns - “Be Good Boy”
- 11. Iceage - “Coalition”
- 12. X - “We’re Desperate”
- 13. Pylon - “Crazy”
- 14. Rilo Kiley - “Portions For Foxes”
- 15. Screaming Females - “Poison Arrow”
- 16. Ducktails - “Ivy Covered House”
- 17. Marti Jones - “The Element Within Her” (Elvis Costello cover)
- 18. My Bloody Valentine - “When You Sleep”
- 19. Purity Ring - “Grandloves”
- 20. Eskmo - “We Are All Terrestrial”
- 21. Nosaj Thing - “Home”
- 22. Small Black - “Photojournalist”
- 23. Waxahatchee - “Peace and Quiet”
- 24. Wye Oak - “Civilian”
- 25. Comadre - “Hack”
- 26. Black Moth Super Rainbow - “Windshield Smasher”
- 27. The Magnetic Fields - “Strange Powers”
- 28. Grouper - “Living Room”
Stream via Spotify:
Video: Iceage - “Ecstasy”
I’m calling it right now: the new LP from Iceage is going to be leagues better than their promising but muddled 2011 debut. For one thing, the LP’s first single “Coalition” was fantastic. Now, with their new single “Ecstasy,” for which they recently released a music video, I can safely consider myself psyched.
Like “Coalition,” this cut is a departure of sorts from the often amelodic brutishness of New Brigade. There is real pop potential here, and although the teenaged band still doesn’t seem to know what to do with their deceptive sense of catchiness, listening to them struggle with it is half the appeal. And yet, whether their jarring aesthetic juxtaposition of trashy cymbals, doomy bass, and downtuned black metal guitars with a truly potent verse melody was intentional is irrelevant; the point is that the conflict it produces is really exciting. If this track were sanitized and tightened up, it could be an Interpol song or something, but it’s not, and that’s what makes it great. By the time the chorus comes in (with Elias Rønnenfelt emotively moaning “Pressure, pressure, oh god no!”), I can resign myself to simply appreciating the refrain’s simpler, more traditional post-punk homage. They’ve already made their mark; now let them revel in it.
Watch the moody punk rock party clip above and throw some shit around your bedroom in celebration.
You’re Nothing drops February 19th on Matador Records. If you’re in Connecticut, you can catch Iceage at Lilly’s Pad in New Haven on April 18th with White Lung and Fins. More info about that show can be found HERE.
Pitchfork Music Festival 2012: Day 3 Recap
I’m sorry for not posting this earlier. I meant to put it up yesterday but I didn’t get around to it. Anyway, the last day of the Pitchfork Music Festival surprised me by how great it was. My apprehension going in was not about the quality of the bands, but rather the quantity — the Sunday lineup was stacked with tons of great bands that I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch all of. Somehow, everything managed to work out nicely, and I ended up seeing more bands on this day than any other.
The day began with a 1:00 PM set by Dirty Beaches, the nostalgic rock & roll project of Alex Zhang Hungtai. Hungtai brought a silent, sunglasses-wearing guitarist along for the show, but his presence couldn’t really be felt until at least 10 minutes into the show. Dirty Beaches began with a lengthy and boring instrumental drone that they really could have done without, but once they kicked into “A Hundred Highways,” the show got a lot more interesting. Although they closed with the rollicking rockabilly number “Sweet 17,” they didn’t play either of their excellent quieter pieces, “True Blue” or “Lord Knows Best.” This was a disappointing start to the day.
As far as I’m concerned, the real kickoff to Day 3 began with the next band. Danish punks Iceage played the green stage, delivering their caustic brand of post-punk with utmost despondency. Numerous technical setbacks during their set only made the teenaged band even more despondent — It was hard to tell what they were saying due to their accents, but I’m pretty sure frontman Elias Rønnenfelt told the crowd to fuck off at least a few times. Nevertheless, the crowd ate it up. Iceage’s set incited the biggest and most intense moshpit at the festival since Japandroids’ set two days before. Iceage are frankly not an amazing band, but their set was loud and aggressive enough to get me into the pit, and ultimately that’s what matters.
Ty Segall Band
Although they didn’t surprise me quite as much as Sleigh Bells the day before, the next act definitely surpassed my expectations from them. The Ty Segall Band, who released their debut album Slaughterhouse this year after a string of Ty Segall “solo” albums, brought a rabid intensity to their live show that I only wish their album could have captured. When they played “Girlfriend,” a gem from 2010’s Melted, I couldn’t help but crowdsurf, eliciting a few surprised “It’s Intern Chris!” shouts from the audience. Damn, this band was just great. Although we missed Thee Oh Sees due to a set time conflict with Ty Segall, we headed over to the blue stage afterwards just in time to catch the second half of The Men’s set. The band performed mostly highlights from their new album Open Your Heart, including an awesome one-two punch of “Turn It Around” and the album’s title track.
The sun was beating down on Union Park by the time The Men wrapped up their set, and what other band’s music befits a sweltering hot summer day than that of Real Estate? We saw a sizable chunk of the New Jersey jangle pop band’s set from afar, and although John and I were itching to get back to the blue stage for Kendrick Lamar, it was really hard to tear ourselves away, even though I’d already seen Real Estate twice before. As it turned out, we probably could have stayed a little longer than we did; in keeping with apparent hip-hop tradition, Kendrick Lamar didn’t go on until well after his appointed set time. When he did go on, the mix was noticeably off and I found it hard to get into his set, even though I’ve really come to love Section.80. Also, Lady Gaga showed up for some reason and was hanging out on the side of the stage during Kendrick’s set. I guess that’s kind of cool.
The end of Kendrick Lamar’s set provided us with ample cool down time, so we headed over to the red stage to camp out for Beach House’s set. Although I’ve enjoyed everything that they’ve put out, I never really identified as a huge Beach House fan before their performance on Sunday. It suffices to say that their set thoroughly changed the way I view them as a band. I was blown away by the precision, the scope, and the sheer weight of their live sound, from Victoria Legrand’s majestic vocals, to Alex Scally’s lucid guitar lines, to the refreshingly real percussive sound of their newly added live drummer. Legrand’s vocals on tracks like “Norway” and 2012 song-of-the-year contender “Lazuli” particularly stood out, floating over the festival crowd like a welcome breeze under a setting sun. As great as Japandroids were on Friday, I’m tempted to say that Beach House’s set was the best out of all the performances at Pitchfork this year.
Frankly, I would have been content to have the festival end then and there, but Beach House did not close out Sunday night. That privilege was reserved for Vampire Weekend, the ludicrously popular indie pop band from New York whose first album, some might recall, is actually pretty good. Thankfully, much of their setlist was culled from that album, from which the band played every track save for “Bryn” and “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance.” The Contra hits were all there too, although they were considerably less enjoyable. The band also debuted a new song, featuring a classical guitar lead and some Elvis Costello-reminiscent vocal theatrics.
Of course, I’m not much of a Vampire Weekend fan, nor was I particularly excited about seeing them play at this festival, but I will admit that I enjoyed their set on Sunday. Standing under the night sky in a newly familiar city, surrounded by real life friends, internet friends, and people whom I didn’t know but I’m sure I would get along with, there was really nothing I’d rather be doing than singing along to “Walcott,” unironically enjoying music that I’d always thought I’d hate. Even though their set (which was full of annoying Ezra Koenig stage banter) reaffirmed everything I’ve always claimed to dislike about Vampire Weekend, I couldn’t help but have fun. I never thought that something associated with Pitchfork would actually bring out the anti-hipster within me, but that’s exactly what happened this weekend.
To check out all of my previous Pitchfork Music Festival coverage, click HERE.
Pitchfork Music Festival 2012: Overall Recap
Well, that was a weekend. This year’s Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago’s Union Park was my first experience with a big out of state festival, and all in all it was an overwhelmingly positive one. Along with my great friend John Branch, I saw a ton of bands — many more than I actually expected to see — and immersed myself in the festival lifestyle to the extent that I genuinely felt at home as I stepped off the El Train platform each morning at the stop outside of Union Park.
Over the course of the past three days, I got the chance to see some of my favorite currently active bands perform. Many surpassed my expectations, delivering electrifying and engaging live sets, while others paled in comparison to their recorded material. Some bands even managed to surprise me with sets that far outshone their records. Overall, the performances were great, and I left the park each day viewing the music of numerous artists in a very different, more positive context.
The community at the festival was also wonderful. For the most part, the loud, snapback-wearing bros stuck to the shadows, coming out in full force only during the sets of acts with larger draws, such as Sleigh Bells and A$AP Rocky. Elsewhere, from the visceral moshpits at Japandroids and Iceage to the massive, silently adulating throng watching Beach House, the crowds were largely engaged and intentful listeners. Even though everyone was ultimately at the festival with the vague motivation of “having a good time,” the music was mostly respected. That made me happy.
Speaking of which, I must say that it was absolutely incredible and awesome (if a bit strange for me) to be approached by so many people who recognized me either from this blog or from The Needle Drop. I got to meet up with a lot of internet friends and met a bunch of new ones who appreciate my work. It’s especially funny to me because I had never been to Chicago prior to this weekend.
Anyway, in the next couple days, I’ll be rolling out recaps of some of my favorite (and least favorite) moments from this year’s festival. To view a complete list of all the bands I saw, head over to the Lewis and his Blog facebook page and check out my complete set of photographs from the festival.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 4/13/12
Apologies for not posting this yesterday. I got caught up in writing the review of that excellent new LP from The Act Of Estimating As Worthless and then had to go to band practice. Anyway, I hope those of you who tuned in to my show on Friday (the thirteenth!) had a good time. Here’s the playlist below, along with a link to stream each song.
- 1. The Get Up Kids - “Holiday”
- 2. Elvis Costello - “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”
- 3. Into It. Over It. - “Discretion & Depressing People”
- 4. Beach House - “Myth”
- 5. Destroyer - “Suicide Demo For Kara Walker”
- 6. Grandaddy - “The Go In The Go-For-It”
- 7. fun. - “All Alone”
- 8. Suns - “I Could’ve Made Time”
- 9. Iceage - “White Rune”
- 10. Refused - “The Deadly Rhythm”
- 11. Titus Andronicus - “Upon Viewing Breughel’s “Landscape With The Fall of Icarus”
- 12. The Arrogant Sons Of Bitches - “Disappointment At The Taco Bell”
- 13. Defiance, Ohio - “Oh, Susquehanna!”
- 14. Laura Stevenson and the Cans - “The Healthy One”
- 15. By Surprise - “Realometer”
- 16. Dikembe - “Scottie Spliffen”
- 17. Jimmy Eat World - “A Praise Chorus”
- 18. Pavement - “The Killing Moon” (Echo & The Bunnymen cover)
- 19. Cloud Nothings - “Stay Useless”
- 20. The Act Of Estimating As Worthless - “My Left Thumb”
- 21. Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s - “Skeleton Key”
- 22. Elliott Smith - “Bled White”
- 23. Local Natives - “Who Knows Who Cares”
- 24. First Aid Kit - “Emmylou”
- 25. Bright Eyes - “On My Way To Work”
- 26. Andrew Jackson Jihad - “Love In The Time Of Human Papilloma Virus”
- 27. Low - “Done”
- 28. The Mountain Goats - “The Mess Inside”
I won’t be doing my show next week because I’ll be going to WQAQ’s Festapalooza (with Titus Andronicus, Bomb The Music Industry!, The Front Bottoms and more!). Find more information about that day long Connecticut festival HERE.
Anonymous asked: yes they're from Sweden
I hesitated because the band I played right before them (Iceage) is from Denmark. Thanks for the confirmation!
If I can add on, people were saying New Brigade was saving punk rock. Punk rock didnt really need saving, and New Brigade was a bit of a bore.
Yeah, that’s exactly what I was trying to get at.
Anonymous asked: I respect your opinion, but if you don't mind me asking what other relatively new punk releases have you listened to? Most of the newer punk records I listen to are Teenage Lobotomy-esque, ie. hardcore european punk, and American pop sounding punk, eg. Joyce Manor and Emily's Army. I think Ice Age have a very distinct and unique 80's punk and gothic sound.
My problem with New Brigade is not its aesthetic, but rather its lack of songwriting quality and consistency. The record has a great sound, but aside from a few stellar moments (“White Rune” and “You’re Blessed” come to mind), I found the songs themselves to be uninteresting.
As for punk records that I listened to this year, I think my top albums list should provide some good examples. By Surprise’s Mountain Smashers was an excellent 90’s indie rock revivalist record with an emotive punk edge. Andrew Jackson Jihad’s Knife Man had some really exciting and adventurous pop-punk influenced moments. Diarrhea Planet’s Loose Jewels was one of the most fun punk albums I’ve heard in a while. Into It. Over It.’s guitar-heavy new LP Proper outclasses every current American pop-punk band. Trash Talk’s Awake EP practically beats me up every time I listen to it.
I think the problem with the kinds of blogs that hyped Iceage so much this year is that they still have a stigma against emo, which is a pretty ignorant thing to have a stigma against these days. Some of the best punk rock of the past three years has been coming from the emo revival scene!
Anonymous asked: Why is New Brigade disappointing to you?
It’s not that it’s a bad record, just that it didn’t live up to the hype. I don’t understand why the album got as much press as it did… It’s as if those blogs that hyped it up so much had never listened to any great modern punk rock before and were surprised that good punk music could exist in 2011.
Summer Shows Recap
Hey everybody, I was recently contacted by someone who writes for my school’s newspaper. She is writing an article about Summer shows, and was asking if I could provide her with some information about the many shows that I’ve seen over the past couple months. I wrote her a very lengthy response, so I figured I would post that here as well, in case any of you want to read it. It’s basically a recap of all the shows I’ve seen, some of which I’ve only covered in passing prior to this.
Anyway, this is what I did this Summer…
For me, the summer concert series really began with B.O.M.B. Fest in late May, which took place in Hartford at the Comcast Theater. The festival wasn’t planned very well, and the lineup featured some really bizarre choices for bands in addition to two really irrelevant headliners, but I did get to see a lot of my favorite indie rock bands that don’t come around here too often. At its best, B.O.M.B. Fest was cool because I got to see my favorite local bands (that friends of mine are actually in), such as Midi & The Modern Dance and The Guru, play with my favorite current nationally touring bands like Titus Andronicus, Free Energy, Man Man, The New Pornographers, and Wavves, although Wavves had a pretty disappointing live set. It was fun to see Weezer too I guess, because I was in the front row and they played a set heavy on material from their debut and their second album Pinkerton, which is one of my favorite albums. Also, this guy Bryce (who plays in Chalk Talk, another band I saw at BOMB Fest), stagedove from backstage during Weezer’s set and actually jumped over me. There’s a hilarious video of that somewhere.
Here it is:
In June I saw two shows that are really worth mentioning. The first one took place at Toad’s Place on June 4th, with Okkervil River headlining and Titus Andronicus and Future Islands opening. I got to meet Patrick Stickles (of Titus) for a third time after meeting him again at BOMB Fest the week before and he remembered my name. It was awesome. Titus’ set was pretty good, but it was the same setlist as their BOMB Fest show, which was disappointing. Okkervil River were fantastic, and played for well over two hours with a set heavy on material from my two favorite albums of theirs, Black Sheep Boy and The Stage Names. Their new songs also sounded really good. HERE are some photos from that night.
On June 11th my friends The Guru played a special show in celebration of the release of their first official full length album Native Sun at The Space in Hamden. People went crazier at that show than I’ve ever seen at that venue. It was such a fun, life affirming experience, and I was so proud of those guys for being so great.
Then on June 18th I saw The Antlers play a really intimate show at The Space. This band has sold out venues like the Music Hall of Williamsburg and the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn so seeing them play at such a small all ages venue was really a treat. I’m a huge Antlers fan and the show was absolutely gorgeous. I know I took photos of the Antlers show but I can’t find them anywhere.
The last show I saw in June was Bomb The Music Industry! at Lilly’s Pad, the small venue upstairs at Toad’s Place. I had seen them once before opening for Titus Andronicus last summer, but this was the first time I had seen them headline. At the time, I wasn’t actually a big fan of theirs. It’s a shame, because they released their new album Vacation a few days later, and I actually love that album. It’s definitely the best thing they’ve released and I love the change in style. The show was pretty fun and energetic though.
I guess July must have been kind of a dry spell for shows for me because I only saw one that month. I wanted to see The Feelies in Milford in July but I was away in North Carolina. I also wanted to see Animal Collective but my ride dropped out. Anyway, on July 1st I saw my favorite band from Connecticut, an atmospheric emotive hardcore/post-rock/whatever band called The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, from Willimantic. It was my fourth time seeing them, and first seeing them in a headlining role. They played at a DIY venue in downtown New Haven called Popeye’s Garage, because it was literally a tiny garage behind the Popeye’s there. Pitchfork BNM’ed punk band Iceage played there a few days earlier. It’s the real deal. Anyway, they had some technical troubles but they played two new songs that are going to be on an upcoming 12” split with Deer Leap, and they sounded fantastic. Also, Football, etc. opened (along with three other bands) and they were really good.
August is only half way over, though, and I’ve already seen four great shows. Sufjan Stevens played at Prospect Park in Brooklyn on August 2nd and 3rd and I was at both of the shows. Collectively, they were my favorite show of all time and the highlight of my summer if not my whole life. Seriously. I wrote a huge review of that show with pictures and stuff on my blog and you should check it out:
Here are some more pictures from both nights.
The first night was breathtaking and full of surprises for me, and the second night was a huge awesome dance party in the pouring rain except it wasn’t shitty dance music, it was Sufjan Stevens and he was amazing.
It was funny coming back from Brooklyn on August 3rd and then going to a completely different show on August 4th. I went back to The Space to see Grown Ups play with a bunch of great bands, but I was mostly there to see The World Is A Beautiful Place… again for the fifth time. I can’t get enough of them. Grown Ups were okay, TWIABP was awesome, and the other openers Legs Like Tree Trunks, Martin Luther King, High Pop, and Deer Leep were also great.
This past tuesday I saw my most recent show, which was pretty funny actually. I’ve seen a lot of punk rock basement shows, but none like this. I’m used to dingy basements and tiny, packed rooms for house shows, like The Cookie Jar in New Haven was before it was retired as a venue. Instead, this show was in a basement in Easton, CT, probably the least punk place in the world. It was at this massive house with fountains and shit. It was hilarious. I brought Jared Eisenberg along because he had never been to a show that wasn’t in a giant arena or something before, and he said that he had a really good time. It was just funny because I was trying to explain what punk was about to him, and then we pull up to this house that is even bigger than his… it was just really funny. But I went because Suns were headlining and releasing their new EP Be Good Boy and because a bunch of other great bands were playing, some of whom I hadn’t checked out before. It turned out to be a pretty awesome punk night after all. Co-Pilots were amazing. Maharati was kind of an oddball choice because they were a hardcore punk band, but they were touring so whatever. Year In Review was kind of a cutesy pop-punk band with 90s roots, and they were pretty good. Ovlov was incredible. They sounded just like a 90s indie rock band like Sebadoh or something and it was really great seeing them play with such admirable apathy. They really didn’t care how they sounded, which worked because they sounded fantastic. Martin Luther King played at this show too, which was their last show before the members all go off to college. It was amazing though, and everybody was really into it. Finally Suns played, and I was surprised at how much I was into it. I went crazy at that show. I wish I had taken pictures. Sometimes those basement punk shows can really be more rewarding than anything else. It’s about losing your sense of self-importance and reveling in the communal acceptance that punk provides. It doesn’t matter that the new Suns EP is ‘just okay’. It was an amazing show, and I loved everyone who came.
Anyway I realize that I just recounted my entire musical summer to you, and I’m sorry that I basically wrote a novel just now, but hopefully that will give you something to go on. Feel free to use whatever, but I guess if you’re going to use pictures or quotes or anything, just source them back to my blog.
Thanks for reading!