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The Northside Festival opening night was a hipster frat party in which every dude (and a few dudettes) tried to out-bro the next guy. Instead of shotgunning Budweisers, though, these fresh young things chugged PBRs, moshed, and crowd-surfed.

It was a Wavves show! What did we expect?

Continue reading and look at pics at Sound of the City on…

I snapped pics and wrote about last night’s Dan Deacon at Red Hook Park show for the Village Voice. Check it outtt.

I wrote about the show and took pics for the Sound of the City music blog at Village Voice. Check it outttt.

Last night, Stereogum and Videogum hosted The Gum Bowl at Brooklyn Bowl. The restaurant wasn’t serving food to the lowly public, and I blame that fact for my not great night. The best part about Brooklyn Bowl is the fried chicken!

Not that I don’t love the place, it’s Chuck E Cheese for adults, where a hipster can be a kid. I love those damn leather couches… But every band I see perform there is a let down. And that really saddens me. Last night this was especially too bad, because I really, really love Woods.

They performed well, but their interesting and quirky sound just didn’t come through as strongly as is possible. The last time I saw Woods was at Monkeytown, (RIP), and I was on a comfy couch surrounded by psychedelic projections. Clearly, this was a better setting for this intimate, albeit loud and extreme sounding, band.

The place to catch Woods, and you should do this, is at their annual Woodsist Festival in Big Sur, California. Kurt Vile and Real Estate will be there too, among other amazing acts. SO WORTH IT. Get to California!

Glasslands is always a sweaty mess. Winter, spring, fall, you name it- the two-tiered warehouse across the street from the old Domino Sugar refinery in Williamsburg is on fire all the time. Saturday night was no different.

Read more about Dom, Happy Birthday and a topless lady at Sound of the City.

While Baltimore-based one-man guitar chorus Ecstatic Sunshine never made it to Ridgewood, Queens for Friday’s Silent Barn-hosted benefit for the local DIY broadsheet Showpaper, Dan Friel of experimental Brooklyn act Parts and Labor did….

Read more on Village Voice’s Sound of the City

Folk musicians are often more emotional. Or, they have more connective tissue in their songs: the fibers that bind them to each other and to the audience. Mountain Man, the mainly a cappella folk trio from “all over the United States of America,” is more than emotional. With their music and through their own inter-connectedness, Mountain Man makes you a part of their music.

pic by karp

Last night at the Mercury Lounge you could feel it. The three women, Amelia Randall Meath, Alex Sauser-Monnig and Molly Erin Sarle, didn’t just give and take energy from each other, they took it from the audience as well. But what was most affecting about the performance was actually how affected they themselves were. These women are not just musicians entertaining, they are almost sage like figures who guide those around them through song. Guide those around them to what? To inspiration.

Randall Meath’s father was in attendance, she announced. It was the first time he was to see his daughter perform in the band. She was clearly excited and the second to last song the band performed was a new one she’d written, “Mazda.” As she sang, “Oh, Dad. Oh, Dad…” Sauser-Monnig’s eyes welled with tears. She smiled and sang through the wet in her eyes. The others giggled at their stupendous beauty and bravery. It was a poignant moment that will surely be remembered fondly by all in attendance.

The most remarkable thing about Mountain Man is that each member has her own voice, her own musical styling, which is very apparent in the songs they each write. But yet they are a cohesive unit. They could be The Band.

Saucer-Monnig writes songs on the guitar, relying on the melody made by strings plucked by her fingers. She employs her airy soprano most beautifully on “Loon Song.” She sounds like a loon…

Randall Meath writes stark and dramatic a cappella songs. They are often abstract and feature harmonies so far beyond beautiful they can sound like bodies rubbing together.

Sarle’s songs are sexual. They ooze with sexual lyrics, but mostly they feel ecstacy-laden. You won’t be able to not grip tightly the hand of whomever is next to you. Lyrics from “Arabella”:

“When you wake up, I will be covered in, milky sweat and gray, gray, gray cashmere.”

pic by karp

Maybe it was the energy and excitement of playing a show at the Mercury Lounge, opening for a band they are fond of, The Middle East, or maybe it’s just the way things are when a band falls so perfectly into each other, “opening and closing,” as T.S. Eliot wrote. Last night was the best performance I’ve seen by Mountain Man.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, but especially Mr. Pink, had tongues wagging last night at the Mercury Lounge. The very, very sold-out and highly anticipated performance delivered on all promises: Pink’s swagger and stage persona were intact, his vocals perfectly tweaked out and his songs just as manic as you want them to be.

With the exception of an abbreviated “Round and Round,” (WTF?), the show was a real pleaser. People were screaming, jumping up and down, etc. One person, if memory serves me well, shouted “I just pissed myself!” when Pink walked on stage.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Watch full screen (recommended) at Flickr.

Eardrum has a video of “Bright Lit Blue Skies.

Oddsac, the “Animal Collective movie,” is really horrifying. As in, it’s like, really scary! There are scenes in the just over 50-minute piece (I’ll call it that for lack of a better word) that had me shuddering.

Everyone in the audience last night at the Crosby Hotel in SoHo appeared to be squeamish. The faces in the crowd were as turned up and twisted as my own.

There is no story line, no narrative arc, in Oddsac, which was created by Animal Collective and Danny Perez. The frightfulness you feel comes from eye and ear stimulation. There is one scene at the end which has a pretty clear cut subject matter- a Nosferatu creature lurks in the woods while a family cooks marshmallows over a campfire and then, you guessed it, attacks them.

But what Oddsac lacks in context, continuity and structure, it makes up for in sheer shock value aided by disorienting insanity.

My film going partner was irritated by the piece: “Who’s going to watch that?” “Why make something that nobody will want to see?” But that wasn’t the point.

Avant-garde or experimental art, and i’d like to think art in general, is about the artists necessity to create for themselves, and not about creating something to be consumed by others. Had Animal Collective and Perez made something for the fans, it would have been a wholly different piece.

I don’t think Oddsac is something that people will want to watch again and again, though Perez told the Village Voice that he hopes they will. Animal Collective fans and experimental types will be turned on, surely, but this is not a “fun” music movie.  Sections of the film were just psychedelic images, the swirly colors you see behind your eyes when you’re on drugs. (By the way, don’t watch this on drugs, you WILL freak out.)

Perez also told the Voice what he thinks Oddsac does: “It’s a hodge-podge approach that reflects the level of cultural saturation we’re in in the world.”

So, if we live in a confusing hodgepodge of a time, NOT making sense of it is the answer? It’s an interesting and very artsy perspective.

I’m glad I experienced Oddsac, but I’m not sure I can go for it again.


Vodpod videos no longer available.

DVD is out June 29.

Twin Sister actually sounded a little bit like a different band on Saturday night. Not more grown up, per se, but more confident. In the past four or five months, Twin Sister has gone from good band to great band, and have charmed the ears off some of the harshest critics I know.

It’s not just that Twin Sister has good songs that make you feel like art can make life better. They certainly have that going for them. But what Twin Sister has more than anything, is an electric magnetism that is literally impossible to steer clear of. Once singer Andrea Estella begins with lines like, “I can’t see the other side of your face. But I know that it is mean,” you’re fixated.

“The Other Side Of Your Face” is Twin Sister’s best JAM. It’s a 7-minute crusher of echoes and crashing waves and deep sighs. It builds with insurmountable tension for what feels like forever before exploding out with brilliant colors all over the stage and audience.

“I could try to start over this week. But I can’t change the way I feel.”

The song goes on in psychic bliss and halfway through breaks down. Simple drums and one synth and one plucked guitar string builds and grows and grows and grows. This is moving on the band’s forthcoming EP, Color Your Life, but live it’s a different monster. Not only is Estella’s tiny tattooed frame dancing right in your face, but the jam goes on longer and bursts at the end. The bubble must pop. And it does.

Tortilleria Taqueria Tres Hermanos was filled to the gills, much like the tacos they serve. Covered in veggies and spicy chorizo. An employee of the factory was actually the biggest fan of all. He danced all over, right in Estella’s face for practically the entire performance. Not a care in the world held him back. In a way, that’s what Twin Sister’s music inspires: complete submission.

Twin Sister mostly played their newer, more spaced out shoegazer jams on Saturday. And while guitarist Eric Cardona sang at least one song, most were handled by Estella. This is a band that knows how to feature their talents. Cardona plays his guitar upside down, by the way, which is probably why you’re always aghast at his guitar sounds. So sweet and melodic?! I think he’s left handed… or maybe he’s just crazzzzzy.

If you haven’t seen Twin Sister yet, you must do so very soon. The way they move, the way they perform, what they give you, it’s priceless. And can’t be found anywhere else right now.

Mercury Lounge on April 28. Open Road Rooftop, 350 Grand St. on May 14.

The band was giving away their upcoming EP, but no longer. Pre-order from Infinite Best. You can also get some demo stuff on cassette from the Curatorial Club.

See more photos on Flickr.


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