Thursday, April 29, 2010

Amy Speace, Lys Guillorn @ Cafe Nine - May 5th

Next Wednesday, May 5th singer/songwriters Amy Speace and Lys Guillorn hit the Cafe Nine for a night of folk/americana geetar-twang.

Amy Speace
Photo: Crackerfarm, NYC

Speace, who is currently on tour in support of her newest disc 'The Killer In Me' (Wildflower Records), has been riding a wave of acclaim both for her off-beat songwriting and for her heartfelt performances. In regards to her newer material Speace explains, "In many ways, it was the hardest thing I've ever done. And in some ways, it was the easiest. Writing the songs was emotionally difficult, deep and intense--it was kind of an exorcism. But in the end, the songs flowed pretty quickly. You write the things that you're afraid to say out loud." As Speace alludes to, the songs on 'The Killer In Me' tend to fall into the darker side of the spectrum but never lose their footing. Instead she seems to be able to take such difficult emotions and channel them effectively into a memorable set of country-tinged folk songs. The album's title track, in particular, exemplifies Speace's talent for bringing out her emotions in both song and performance.

New Haven, CT.'s Lys Guillorn mines much of the same musical territory as Speace however with a much more organic feel. Now long a stalwart on the local scene, Guillorn has made a niche for herself creating some truly unique songs, both musically and lyrically. Performing this particular show in 'full band' format, Guillorn mends folk and country influences with a healthy of dose of old-time americana, and even psychedelica. Her bluesy vocals compliment the combination well, creating a much more convincing 'world-weariness' than Speace.

Lys Guillorn's "My Lullaby"

Although musically similar, Speace and Guillorn offer just enough differences in their approach and content to keep the listener on their feet. For fans of female-fronted folk, country and americana, make sure to stop by Cafe Nine next week.

IfWhen You Go:

Wednesday, May 5th

Amy Speace
Lys Guillorn

@ Cafe Nine
250 State Street (at Crown Street)
New Haven, CT. 06510

Show begins at 9pm SHARP.
21+ / $8 cover

Eula Double Whammy

Saturday, May 1, 2010:

At 4:30 PM, Eula will play May Day Fest on the New Haven Green. Then, around 9:00 PM they will be playing Rudy's with The Art of Shooting. The Art of Shooting are also playing Larry's tomorrow night, Friday, April 29 with Saint Bernadette and Caw! Caw!

Full Eula action list:
04/29 Boston, MA Whitehaus w/ Dinosaur Feathers

04/30 Albany, NY The Basement [545 Washington Avenue] w/ Dinosaur Feathers. Present by WCDB

05/1 New Haven, CT MAY DAY @ New Haven Green Come out & celebrate May Day 2010! EULA takes the stage at 4:30 PM

05/1 New Haven, CT RUDY'S w/ Art of Shooting

05/15 New Haven, CT Elm City Popfest @ NH Artspace Show begins @ 2pm. EULA @ 5pm. Other acts: Fictional West, Panda Riot, Midstates & Roadside Attractions

05/17 Somerville, MA QRO Magazine Presents @ P.A.'s Lounge QRO Magazine Showcase with EULA, Nerd Parade, and others TBA

05/30 Durham, CT B.O.M.B. Fest! w/ Of Montreal, Mute Math, GIRL TALK & more tba

06/26 Brooklyn, NY Northside Fest @ Glasslands Brought to you by Pop Tarts Suck Toasted! More info TBA

Captured! by Robots, Electric Bucket

Sunday, May 2, 2010:

Daniel Street
21 Daniel Street
Milford CT

8PM - 21+ - $8 ($5 ADV) BUY TICKETS

So what's the deal with C!BR?? Let me (DRMBOT 0110) tell you. JBOT played in a couple of ska bands, Skankin' Pickle and the Blue Meanies for years and was very unlikable. Everybody got sick of him (I don't blame them). JBOT thought that if he made a band of robots to play with everything would be okay. HE WAS WRONG! He built GTRBOT666 and myself and the idiotic Ape Which Hath No Name. After he built us, I decided that he was the antibot and must be punished. We installed a Biocerebral Chip in his CPU and now force him to humiliate himself in front of his peers. It makes me so happy to see him suffer. So after the takeover, he secretly made the Ape. The stupid ape robot loves everyone and everything; HOW REVOLTING! Unfortunately, I cannot do anything to rid my circuits of that ape. For it states in the ROBOTIC RESISTANCE handbook, "Thee bot shall never harm another bot." So what choice do I have? The rare joy I can receive is when GTRBOT666 and myself humiliate JBOT all over the country. The other happiness I have is to see my self-replication "AUTOMATOM" humiliate jbutt to tears. You will come to witness! Coast to coast, his humiliation will be legendary. Keep checking in for updates. These bots have done a lot! C!BR has been through a lot since the human JBOT's capture back in 1996. We have taken the human on ten national tours and have been received as one would expect. The term "Holy shit" seems to be the most commom expletive uttered. Do you not believe? Oh, you will! C!BR has played with Public Enemy and Flock Of Seaguls (at G-Phoria video Game award show in LA), Motorhead, Servotron, Man...or Astroman and many more. C!BR has been featured on UPN's "Strange Universe" and on the discovery channel's "Beyond Bizarre", Tech TV, ABC 7 6 oclock news, and more.. We have also humiliated JBOT at the Art Institute of San Francisco and at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. C!BR has had articles in The New York Times, Spin Magazine (June 2001), The New Yorker Magazine (see press illustration),Gene Simmons Tongue Magazine (PREMIER ISSUE!!!!!) Rocktober (where we were voted the .1 robot rock band), Bikini Magazine, Heeb Magazine, Churn, and many more

Electric Bucket have returned after a long hiatus when the bass player was in a head on collision that broke both his legs and his left arm. Ouch.

You could win some tickets to this show over at Daniel Street's twitter page. Act fast:

Matt Gouette CD Release at Oasis

Matt Gouette is releasing his latest CD, Emeline at the Moon Tower. The guy has been a staple of the New London scene for the past few years, playing complex, heavily-layered pop tunes. Creative vocals and fun synth and guitarwork make for an album that's as cool as a cucumber. You can see him play Friday, April 30th at the Oasis and pick up a copy.

The CD will be released on Cosmodemonic Telegraph. You can sample it here thanks to Bandcamp, and you can snag it for $10.

<a href="">(Opening) by Matt Gouette</a>

Oasis Pub
Friday April 30
9:30, $5, 21+

Murder By Death, Ha Ha Tonka, Linfinity

Saturday, May 1 2010, Manic Productions presents:

Cafe Nine
250 State Street
New Haven CT

$14 - 8:00PM - 21+

Directions: Click

Less than 15 tickets left! Get tix before the show sells out here: CLICK. Or pick them up at Redscroll Records. Redscroll is all out of tix.

A super rare small club appearance! Indiana’s Murder by Death layers the vocal sounds of an old saloon with the haunting strings of a Hungarian folk dance and the hard driving rhythms of pure rock ‘n’ roll, producing what Stuff magazine has called “lush, orchestrated songs,” somehow simultaneously reminiscent of Johnny Cash and Radiohead. Added to that thick and intriguing sound are a series of dark and ironic lyrics, combining the mood and tone of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds with the narrative force of The Decemberists or a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Ha Ha Tonka:
A confident set of rootsy indie-rock combining a variety of well-crafted songs with excellent harmonies. At times the band’s sound recalls Kings of Leon, but other influences poke through, from backwoods gospel to the Replacements. From Missouri.
Bloodshot Records

Linfinity are a New York City based group of musicians who helped form a band around enigmatic front man Dylan Von Wagner, tackling everything from Southern Gothic tropes and rockabilly to beautiful, string-laden Moorish stomps and bombastic chamber pop.

More Murder By Death dates:
Apr 28 – Baltimore, MD @ The Ottobar *
Apr 29 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East: Downstairs *
Apr 30 – South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground *
May 1 – New Haven, CT @ Café Nine *
May 2 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg *
May 4 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
May 5 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s *
May 7 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls *
May 9 – Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop *
May 10 – Kalamazoo, MI @ The Strutt *
May 11 – Madison, WI @ The High Noon Saloon *
May 12 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock *
May 13 – Iowa City, IA @ Picador *
May 14 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall *
May 15 – Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s Rock Club *
May 22 – Chemnitz, Germany @ Fuego a la Isla Festival

* Headlining tour with Ha Ha Tonka and Linfinity

Bear Hands with M.T. Bearington

Saturday, May 8, 2010:

Oasis Pub
16 Bank Street
New London, CT 06320

9PM - 21+ - Cost ?

Bear Hands have sorta kept alive what was good about indie rock in the late 90's and early 2000's, as in taking the madcap balls to the wall meat of Les Savy Fav and then adding today's tweak of lo-fi rock veggies to the side of the plate.

Bear Hands and As Tall As Lions April 27th, 2010- House of Blues
Bear Hands and As Tall As Lions April 30th, 2010- The Social
Bear Hands and As Tall As Lions May 1st, 2010- Culture Room
Bear Hands and As Tall As Lions May 2nd, 2010- State Theater
Bear Hands and As Tall As Lions May 3rd, 2010- Vinyl
Bear Hands and As Tall As Lions May 5th, 2010- World Cafe Live
Bear Hands and As Tall As Lions May 6th, 2010- Irving Plaza
Bear Hands and As Tall As Lions May 7th, 2010- Sonar
Bear Hands and As Tall As Lions May 9th, 2010- The Middle East

While I'm at it, I should also mention that Bearington is playing B.O.M.B Fest this year. B.O.M.B Fest is about to lay waste to any argument that Connecticut always gets passed up for NYC or Boston. Everyone from Lupe Fiasco, Of Montreal, and Girl Talk are playing. More on B.O.M.B Fest to come. In the meantime, check out the B.O.M.B Fest website.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Show Review: Dead Meadow, Imaad Wasif, Fake Babies @ Cafe Nine

April 24, 2010

NEW HAVEN—By the time Fake Babies took the stage last Saturday night, Cafe Nine’s tight quarters had thankfully filled up. Just prior, the Breeders gurgled out the speakers, soundtracking a mellow scene in the red neon glow of the bar with eight or nine of us waiting for the place to get crowded.

But then the audience arrived almost on cue, the Beastie Boys ramped up the mood and the Fake Babies took the stage to that good will and promptly sliced the scene into pieces as the electro noize collective dug into their bag of processed vocals, bass distortion and chemical beats.

The band was an oddly appropriate opener, setting the stage with just the right amount of weirdness for an audience anticipating the psychedelic crunch due from the next two bands. At times, they resembled Ween in their more dissonant moments, just without all the irony and oddball genre referencing. Think a more caustic version of Brooklyn’s TV on the Radio.

The Fake Babies set quickly gave way to Imaad Wasif, and you could almost feel the audience’s collective sigh as, upon seeing the singer/guitarist take the stage, they settled into the comfort of knowing that psychedelic strains of folk rock were soon on the way.

Wasif’s set was an intense experience, alternating between acoustic and electric mysticism—moody explorations giving way to fierce guitar attacks ending in highly emotional release. As he and the band—bass and drums—set up, he was tucked into a waist-length plush coat, his impossibly skinny frame disappearing up into the jacket’s void. By the time he launched into the first tune the jacket was shed and he sprung to life, glaring and hopping, a beardless but way more badass Banhart.

Wasif frequently ventured off stage, clearly searching for connection with the audience, sometimes pressing his head against another’s or laying his feedbacking acoustic on the bar, jumping up on it and walking down performing an impromptu hands-laying. Some patrons welcomed it, others weren’t so accommodating. “There’s nothing more amazing,” he said, “than coming to a town where you know nobody and you come together through music.”

All evening, an Orange stack sat onstage, a constant reminder of headliners Dead Meadow and their smokey crunch. The band set up, disappeared out front for a quick prep and arrived back trailing a distinctive skunky odor and laid into a set chock full of their trademark languid, endless 70s riffage.

Singer/guitarist Jason Simon worked his Big Muff and reverb throughout, the notes hanging there with enough static electricity and friction to spark a fire, the air was humming.

Bassist Steve Kille made a couple of half-hearted attempts to fire up the smoke machine they brought, which, for a few seconds, made perfect atmospheric touch, but he never managed to keep it stoked beyond the first couple songs.

Throughout the set, Kille would pull from one of what looked like three or four jack and cokes he had lined up in front of him, each time offering a woozy toast with a sweep of his arm.

Admittedly this is the first time I’ve seen Dead Meadow, so I don’t know if they’re typically known to expand their songs into longer jams, but Simon’s droney riffs and slow builds that night could have benefitted mightily with a 15-minute space excursion or two.

La Strada Album Release Show with Cuff The Duke

Thursday, April 29, 2010, Safety Meeting Presents:

372 Elm St
New Haven, CT

$4.00 - 21+ - 9 PM

La Strada is back once again. About a year ago, when they played BAR with Wooden Birds, I said that La Strada were an indie folk gypsy pop band that blew Beirut away. I still stand by that statement.

Safety Meeting has this to say:
Their new record, New Home - produced by Kyle "Slick" Johnson (Cymbals Eat Guitars, Modest Mouse, Fischerspooner), sounds pretty amazing and we're looking forward to spending a night listening to some great music, drinking to excess, and giving everyone an excuse to fire up their turntables at the end of the night. As always, this Safety Meeting release is a limited press run LP, hand numbered, and includes a CDR of the music in the sleeve. Our friends at Ernest Jenning Records in NYC are releasing the CD!

Upcoming Tour Dates:
4.20.10 Black Cat Washington, DC
4.21.10 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506 w/ Kaiser Cartel and North Elementary
4.23.10 New Orleans, LA Cafe Prytania
4.24.10 New Orleans, LA Mid City House Party
4.25.10 Charlotte, NC The Milestone
4.26.10 Williamsport, PA Bullfrog Brewery
4.28.10 Norfolk, VA 37th and Zen
4.29.10 New Haven, CT Rudy’s
4.30.10 Brooklyn, NY The Knitting Factory CD Release Show w/ Cuff The Duke + Beat Circus
5.1.10 Portland, ME Space w/ Beat Circus
5.5.10 Cambridge, MA Middle East w/ Beat Circus
5.6.10 Montpelier, VT The Black Door
5.7.10 Winooski, VT The Monkey House
5.8.10 Wakefield, Quebec Black Sheep Inn
5.10.10 Montreal, Quebec Green Room
6.15.10 Toronto, Ontario Horseshoe Tavern (Edge 102.1 Nu Music Night)

~Joe Fuda

Having spent several years carving their teeth on the road with the likes of The Sadies, Sloan, Hayden, The Weakerthans, Calexico and Nick Cave, Toronto's Cuff the Duke are poised to make the jump from indie-scene-darlings to bona-fide Canadian music icons. Their new album, Way Down Here was co-produced by Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor at his beautiful barn studio in rural Ontario and features the band's most mature, captivating and impressive collection of songs to date.

Cuff the Duke started out in Oshawa before making the move to Toronto in 2002. Their debut album, Life Stories for Minimum Wage was released on Three Gut Records, at the time one of the most exciting indie-labels in Canada. Their second and third albums, Cuff the Duke and Sidelines and the City respectively, were both released on Hardwood Records alongside label mates Basia Bulat and Hayden.

Gregory and the Hawk, Lion Cub, Plume Giant

Sunday, May 2 2010, Manic Productions presents:

The Space
295 Treadwell Street
Hamden CT

$10 ($8 adv) - 7:00PM - All Ages

Directions: Click

Tickets: Click or grab them at Redscroll.

Gregory and the Hawk is a project led by the captivating vocal talents of native New Yorker Meredith Godreau, who has been performing under said moniker to massive DIY success for five years now. In what is a staggering accomplishment for an artist without a label, manager or booking agent, she’s sold in excess of 15,000 self-released singles, bringing about a groundswell of support on the internet that has resulted in over 17 pages of fans covering her songs on YouTube, also receiving around 60 fan letters a week – half of these from the UK. FatCat stumbled upon Godreau completely by chance at Brooklyn’s Southpaw one evening, and were held rapt (along with the rest of the audience). A month later she was in the studio working on what would become ‘Moenie and Kitchi’, which following a number of self-released works will be her first album for the label.
FatCat Records

Lion Cub is the new project from the former members of beloved Kill Normal Records band La Guillotine and features friends from Aeroplane, 1929. With their giddy mixture of organic instrumentation reminiscent of their rural New England background and the sleek rhythms of electric drums and looped beats Lion Cub is a constantly shifting and progressing take on classic pop music.

Plume Giant is a psychedelic folk trio from New York, Durham, and Minneapolis. If they were perfumes, they would be lavender, ginger, and honey, and if they were legumes, they would be parsnips, parsnips, and parsnips. They like each other a lot, so they practice all day and are really good. Influences include Joni Mitchell, CSN, and Radiohead.

More dates:
The Sunlit Life Tour

May 1 - New York, NY - The Bowery Ballroom w/The Album Leaf and Sea Wolf
May 2 - Hamden, CT - The Space
May 3 - Providence, RI - AS220
May 4 - Cambridge, MA - TT the Bears
May 6 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
May 7 - Bloomington, IN - The Bishop
Sat, May 8 - Chicago, IL - Schubas Tavern
May 10 - Newport, KY - Southgate House Parlor
May 11 - Washington, DC - DC9
May 12 - Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian Church, side chapel

Food Will Win the War, Sidewalk Dave, The Cavemen Go

Food Will Win the War, Sidewalk Dave and The Cavemen Go are all performing at a loft party in New Haven on Friday, April 30th at a place called Stone Loft.

Food Will Win the War are from Brooklyn, and play a folky blend of indie pop with unique baritone vocals. Lyrically their tunes are pretty funny, which for some bands can sometimes be stupid, but it really works for these guys.

New Haven's Sidewalk Dave play tunes that sound a bit like alt-country and a bit like slow-tempo dance pop. The music is upbeat without losing it's intelligence. Their stuff is fun and you'll might catch yourself singing along at some point while you listen to this:

<a href="">Weird Word for Strange by Sidewalk Dave</a>

The Cavemen Go are an all-time favorite for a lot of us. These guys really rock. For those of you not already flying your cavemen flag, they play vintage danceable indie pop, tunes that you can't get out of your head. They released their debut "New Lives" last year, so just buy it already, you bums:

<a href="">Forget It Claudia by The Cavemen Go</a>

Doors at 8pm. For more details, check out this facebook page.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Watch I Need That Record at Pitchfork

Hey dudes, this week you can stream I Need That Record over at Pitchfork.

I had the pleasure of sneaking into this movie at last year's Kent Film Festival, and it is a damn fine documentary. It was directed by local filmmaker Brenden Toller, and tells the tale of the decline of the local record shop. Much of the filming is based in the New England area, focusing on record stores like Malcolm Tent's now-defunct but still completely awesome Trash American Style and others that have been slowly going out of business and closing their doors all across America. You'll see local record store icons like Redscroll Records and Turn It Up in there too. It features interviews with famous folks like Thurston Moore, Mike Watt, Ian Mackaye, Lenny Kaye, Patterson Hood, Glenn Branca, Pat Carney, Legs McNeil and BP Helium.

Check out I Need That Record's website to find out more info about the documentary, and pre-order it online here, or get over to Redscroll Records on July 27th to buy a copy and keep supporting the local guys.

Old Man Lady Luck, The Conformists, Passe Montagne

Thursday, April 29, 2010:

Cafe Nine
250 State Street
New Haven CT

NO COVER - 9:00PM - 21+

Directions: Click

I saw that Cafe Nine listed this show as being "Surreal Rock" - fair enough. But it's of the heavy sort, not that candy-ass "This is not a pipe" bullshit.

Passe Montagne are kinda like a cross between Bellini, Uzeda, Notekillers and something I can't remember right now. Works for me.

<a href="">Jupiter by AFRICANTAPEGROUP</a>

The Conformists are pretty nuts - almost like an anti-math-rock band that sounds like Oxes if they took shit more seriously, or maybe way less seriously, can't tell which.

Connecticut natives Old Man Lady Luck are all the above and then some.

Flea Market at The Space

Saturday, May 1, 2010

~image Hideyo

The Space
295 Treadwell Street
Hamden, CT

9:00am - 3:00pm

Event page: Click

Flea Market THIS Saturday at The Space (in the giant parking lot) outside.

Come join in the fun at a huge community tag sale. EVERYONE WELCOME.

There will be some live music as well.

2 Ton Bug Bathroom Set

Friday, April 30, 2010:

Here's a fun one. Robert, the guitarist from 2 Ton Bug, will be having his senior composition recital at Koopman Commons at the Hartford Art School on Friday, April 30. 2 Ton Bug will play a quick set in the bathroom during intermission!

Facebook event page here: Click

Alcest, Have A Nice Life, Mammoth Hunter

Wednesday, April 28 2010, Manic Productions presents:

Cafe Nine
250 State Street
New Haven CT

$10 - 9:00PM - 21+

Directions: Click

Tickets: Click or pick them up locally at Redscroll Records.

Alcest is a French band created by Neige (also in Amesoeurs, Peste Noire and Forgotten Woods) in early 2000. He began writing songs on his own but a few months afterward Argoth (bass) and Famine from Peste Noire (lead guitar) joined him and his solo project became a real band. "Tristesse Hivernale" Alcest's first demo which was composed by Neige and Famine, was released in 2001 by Drakkar Productions. At the time, the band played cold and melodic black metal inspired by the mysterious and melancholic atmospheres of the wintry landscapes. Just after the release of "Tristesse Hivernale" Alcest turned into a solo project again since Neige decided to change of direction and concept in order to explore more intimate themes. While Alcest still retains some black metal roots, the music now draws more comparison to other genres such as shoegaze and post-rock. Neige has stated in interviews that he had not listened to these types of music prior to the recording of Souvenirs d'un autre monde. Alcest is now Neige's testimony of the evanescent visions/memories he had as a child about a fantastic faraway world : a plane of existence bathed in a pearly light, beyond all terrestrial beauties, which could perhaps be described as a sort of "intermediate stage" ; the soul would rest there between two earthly lives and would for some time be freed of the burden of incarnation.

Have a Nice Life is a shoegaze / industrial / new wave hybrid duo from Middletown, CT formed in year 2000. It is the brainchild of Tim Macuga, black metal experimentalist in Nahvalr and songwriter for the classic Western Mass hardcore band The Danger Strangers, and Dan Barrett, singer of the ghost music project Giles Corey and the now-defunct In Pieces.

Mammoth Hunter is an instrumental duo from New Britain, CT featuring members of the Manic team. First show in over a year!

More Alcest tour dates:

Apr 29 2010 8:00P The Studio At Webster Hall New York, New York
Apr 30 2010 8:00P Underworld Montreal, Quebec
May 1 2010 8:00P The Democracy Center Boston, Massachusetts
May 14 2010 8:00P Auditorium Sá de Miranda Braga
May 15 2010 8:00P Side-B Benavente
May 23 2010 8:00P Wave Gothic Treffen Leipzig

Monday, April 26, 2010

Artspace and GPSCY White Noise CANCELED

Friday, April 30, 2010:

Gryphon's Pub @ GPSCY
204 York Street
New Haven, CT

$20 - 9PM - 21+ - Free food, $2 beers or $3 drinks, and shop one-of-a-kind, limited edition, artist-designed merch.

Ticket sale proceeds are going towards Artspace's annual program, City-Wide Open Studios.

THIS EVENT IS CANCELED. It was moved, then it was on, then off, then on, then off for REALZ.

First things first, it's totally fine if you're not a Yale student for this one, so bring a bus load of peeps.

Bands: Fake Babies, M.T. Bearington, The Shivers, and Titles

Artists: Jacques Louis Vidal and Miles Huston, Kim Mikenis, and Laura Marsh

You loyal readers out there know damn well where we stand when it comes to M.T. Bearington. Fake Babies and Titles have both gotten their due on here, too, here and here, respectively. The Shivers are a Brooklyn based band that will be in good company at this event. Bearington fans will especially dig. Check out the video below.

We'll skip the Bearington vids this time to make room for our guests The Shivers, but you can check them out if you search us.

<a href="">Here's Your Mood Ring, Honey by M.T. Bearington</a>

I think we've posted this like two million times already, but tough shit, here it is again:

Titles video that we posted once, which is not enough.

Backyard Tire Fire with The Backyard Committee

Tuesday, April 27, 2010:

Cafe Nine
250 State Street
New Haven CT

9:00PM - $10 cover - 21+

Directions: Click

Bloomington’s Backyard Tire Fire are on their fifth full length, Good To Be. Equal parts Americana and straight up rock, Backyard Tire Fire have opened for Cracker, the Reverend Horton Heat, Govt. Mule, Alejandro Escovedo, James McMurtry and Los Lobos. In fact, Good To Be was produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, who also appears all over the record playing everything from keys to percussion.

Locals The Backyard Committee open, featuring songwriting from Mike Sembos (Superfallingstars, Kennesaw, Alternate Routes).

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Show Review: Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Magic Man, All The Friends

April 20, 2010

I had the chance on Tuesday to be "that guy with a notepad" at the Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, Magic Man, and All The Friends show. The Space was packed, and here I was butting elbows with trendy Yalies and local New Havenites in an attempt to scribble passive-aggressive notes about each band's numerous strengths and occasional shortcomings. That is, until Thao Nguyen looks up, gulps down a drink, swaps guitars, and launches into "Cool Yourself." I let my pen slide back into my pocket, thought "Fuck it," and joined the throngs. For a moment, I  gave up my role as "reviewer dude" and slipped into my beloved "raging concert dude" persona. This is always a moment I like to see at shows, and Thao brought it in spades. The band opened with their drummer alone on stage setting a simple and steady beat, until Thao and the rest joined him and launched into the set.  Incorporating blues, stride, and even country music, Thao's songs are a pleasurable romp along the American musical timeline. Few bands write songs like this anymore, and it's revitalizing to hear it done so well. It takes a second to decide whether her eccentricities as a leading woman are cute and quirky or just plain obnoxious, but by the time she got around to playing her guitar with a toothbrush, I was thoroughly in the pro-Thao camp and ate it up. It's hard not to love this band. They're tight beyond tight, and as most seasoned musicians can attest, that's damn tough to achieve as a group. The entire set yielded not one stray note or pitchy vocal, but that's not to say that there isn't room to improve. Thao's voice, that mesmerizing voice, is almost too tempered. I'd like to see her reach a bit and really belt out her loudest lines. There were moments when she came close, then backed away and let the tension disperse rather than break. Given her otherwise pristine technical execution, I could stand to hear some shouting on occasion. It would provide just enough variance to put her live show up there among the best.

That said, my advice to Magic Man is the exact opposite. Chill. Out.  Magic Man has created (in Garage Band no less) perhaps the greatest album I've heard in 2010. That's a big deal, given that this year's seen releases by LC D Soundsystem, The New Pornographers, MGMT, Blitzen Trapper, and other indie luminaries. It's a masterpiece, drawing comparisons to The Freelance Whales (but better), and the Postal Service (but a LOT better). It's been queued up on iTunes almost constantly since I downloaded it FREE on Magic Man's Bandcamp page. But, and this is a big but, their live show needs some work. The normally two man band expands to a 4-person ensemble live (vocals, guitar/keys, bass, drum), but still relies heavily on a laptop loaded with electronic samples. Musicians need to understand that this is totally unacceptable. Laptops are great tools to use as live samplers, but when bands load whole tracks into Logic and hit "play" it's a little disingenuous. Dudes, take my advice, add 2 more people to the group--one dedicated to synths and the other to deal with samples. There's a real difference between queuing a backing track and using prerecorded samples that are triggered live (still not optimal, but OK in certain circumstances). Magic Man even lost the backing track during "Nest". They managed to hop back in sync, but the moment served as a case in point as to why this technique should be discouraged. Magic Man's other problem is the precarious balance between enthusiasm and accuracy. Alex Caplow's vocals on the album are stunning, compelling, and most importantly, in tune. He has a good time live, bouncing around the stage, getting into it in a real way. This is hugely important, but unless you're Bob Pollard, you need to sing in tune too. He has a tendency to shout, which distorts his pitch a bit. The set's best moment occurred during the more subdued "Monster," in which Alex stepped back, caught his breath, and totally nailed it. I hate to be so hard on a band that I truly love, but I came to this show to see Magic Man and was by and large disappointed. I hope they read this, take me seriously, and get to work on improving their live set.

The show opened with All The Friends (see, I've gone in reverse), and I immediately liked these guys. Since I hadn't yet listened to their demo, I had no expectations, which is probably a good thing (I mean, look what happened with Magic Man). To begin with, their setup alone is worth discussing. It looked like this:
Holy Christ, these dudes set up to make some noise. In the end, they sound a bit like Radiohead (OK, a lot like Radiohead) mixed with miscellaneous movie scores and ambient soundtracks. Their songs are extended sonic odysseys, but with real structure. I never once thought "Gee, where is this going?" Instead, it was abundantly clear what direction each song would take, but not in any way that came across as overly predictable. Transitions between songs or sections within songs were the most enjoyable moments. Usually I'm on edge, wondering whether the song might collapse amidst the chaos and never quite make it to the next verse, but All The Friends are very clearly trained musicians.  There's "classical piano lessons" written all over these guys, and it shows in the adroit technical maneuvers that they execute with ease. Integrating samples with crystal clear trumpet solos isn't something you hear at every show, and it never once struck me as odd here--it all seemed to work well within the consistent aesthetic that the band established early on in the set. I'd love, at some point down the road, to see three part vocal harmonies put to good use in this group. During one particularly grandiose climax, all three members joined together on vocals, and it made an incredible impact. More please.
(all photos: Liz Wood)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Dead Meadow, Imaad Wasif, Fake Babies

Saturday, April 24 2010:

Cafe Nine
250 State Street
New Haven CT

$12 - 9:00PM - 21+

Directions: Click

Tickets: Click or pick them up at Redscroll Records.

Dead Meadow met in the DC punk/indie scene, though their music draws from more faraway sources. The band formed in the fall of 1998 from the ashes of local bands The Impossible Five and Colour, when singer-guitarist Jason Simon, bassist Steve Kille, and drummer Mark Laughlin set out to fuse their love of early 70’s hard rock and 60’s psychedelia with their love of writers J.R.R. Tolkien and H.P. Lovecraft.
Matador Records

Imaad Wasif is a Canadian singer-songwriter and guitar player whose music combines elements of both folk and rock music. Wasif’s music has been described as “unbelievably intense with sparkling, raga-influenced guitar and a mystic bent. He has also played in The Folk Implosion, Alaska!, Lowercase and on Lou Barlow’s albums for Merge Records. Wasif worked in collaboration with Karen O on the soundtrack to the film Where The Wild Things Are. As part of the Folk Implosion, he appeared in the 2002 movie Laurel Canyon.
Tee Pee Records

Fake Babies:
"With woozy synths, processed drum machines and even-more-processed vocals, beats alternately insistently pulsing and jagged, Fake Babies sound weird, arty, chemical and spacey, but also melodically inviting and often downright danceable." - Brian LaRue (New Haven Advocate)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Generationals, Conversion Party

Thursday, April 22, 2010:

The Space
295 Treadwell Street
Hamden CT

Doors open at 7:00 PM – $10

We didn't make any top 10 lists last year for 09 songs but if we did on the top of my list would be Con Law by The Generationals. Welp, I was browsing random venues and guess what I found out? The Generationals will be playing April 22nd at The Space.

The Generationals
Conversion Party

The two men behind the creation of Generationals – Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer – don’t know what they’ve done. They couldn’t possibly have that sort of clairvoyance to perceive the effect that one of the songs they wrote has had on the few and will have on the many before the year is up. The song in question – “When They Fight They Fight” – is a HIT recording the likes of which summers cream for, the likes of which makes everyone go a little woozy and a lot bananas. It’s the sunlight accentuated. It’s a pulsing, slow-drip of Motown bass and slinky guitar, melded with plenty of sing-a-long moments and the most perfect set of pop lyrics about fighting and what seems to be unconditional love through the thicks and thins. But “Con Law,” the debut full-length from this New Orleans-based band doesn’t stop there.

"With so many Brooklyn transplants desperately aping off Animal Collective or trying to become part of whatever obscure subculture seems to be in fashion this week, it’s refreshing to hear a rock group from the hipster borough who sound nothing like their Billyburg neighborhood brethren. More No More is the first album from Connecticut natives Conversion Party. The effort borrows modestly from some rather unexplosive indie acts (Big Star, Teenage Fan Club, early-era Spoon) to mold a healthy dose of genuine and sobering pop songs, each one bearing its own unique share of big hooks, vocal harmonies and adorably catchy lyrics." – Pop Matters

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Show Review: The Coathangers, Past Lives, The Thermals @ The Space 4/17

April 17, 2010

I arrived at 7:15 PM to a sparsely populated room in Hamden, CT’s The Space to see The Coathangers, Past Lives, and The Thermals, one of Manic Production’s recent spring shows. Most of the tables were taken but there were far fewer people there than I had expected. I’d soon eat my words though, because by the time The Thermals went onstage, there wasn’t much standing room left in the venue. As I looked around, waiting for the show to start, I noticed the vintage, retro-inspired deco of The Space, and how the stage looked as though it had been placed in the middle of someone’s living room. The theme compliments the variety of shows held in the venue, from ska to indie to folk and everything in between.

The show was set to start at eight o’clock and the venue began to substantially fill up by seven forty-five. The Coathangers, an all-girl experimental punk group from Atlanta, Georgia, were set to open the show, and they started it off with a bang. The four piece ran onstage with an energy similar to that of a high school band who are playing their first show in their school’s auditorium; triumphant and just all-around excited to be there. The music was simple but interesting. The band is clearly influenced by the pioneering punk band The Ramones, not only in their music; the girls each adopted the word ‘Coathanger’ as their pseudo-last name. Crook Kid Coathanger’s vocals could be described as angsty but happy yelling; powerful enough to drive the band but not too overbearing and still able to compliment the style of the instrumentals and the somewhat singsong-y backup vocals. Throughout the set, the members interchanged instruments, which was both interesting and impressive. Three of the girls took turns singing lead. Rusty Coathanger, blonde haired drummer, stole the show over the time of just one song. She grabbed the mic and sang and yelled her heart out, crawling on the ground and into the crowd while doing so. She danced around and jumped up and down offstage and in the crowd. This was enough to get people dancing and smiling, if not laughing at the spectacle that was happening in front of them. The show ended with one of The Coathanger’s most upbeat songs, in which Crook Kid sang into two microphones in one hand with a mission to make every person there love her band. She didn’t disappoint.

In next to no time, the second band was set up and ready to play.

“Yikes”, repeated Jordan Blilie, vocalist, as he did his mic check in the tiny venue. Past Lives, an indie art punk band from Seattle, Washington, takes the stage calmly, ready to prove they’re as good, if not better than some of the members former band, The Blood Brothers. I wasn’t too familiar with either act, but the reaction of the audience said enough. The distorted guitars and Blilie’s aggressive vocal style got people dancing in no time. Jordan stood rigidly while tapping his foot to the beat of the snare and sang so forcefully that one could clearly see the veins in his neck. Drummer Mark Gajadhar played his set so hard that he broke a drumstick midway through a song, although this didn’t stop him from continuing to play. The crowd begged for Past Lives to play a Blood Brothers song, a request to which they hesitantly obliged. “You gotta move because we don’t know what we’re doing here,” warned Gajadhar. The song was a bit sloppy, but true fans didn’t seem to notice as they danced and sang along. By the end of the set there is perspiration rolling right off of Blilie’s face, to which he reacted with, ‘ew’. The band played their last song, which got people dancing almost as energetically as the Blood Brothers track did, and the members walked nonchalantly offstage.

The room was packed by the time Past Lives left the stage. Thermals fans pushed their way up to the front of the room, some getting glances of disapproval along the way from others who had been standing in front of the stage since the beginning of the night. I looked around and noticed the demographic of people didn’t fit into one stereotype. The ages ranged from adults in their forties to kids barely in high school. Granted, The Thermals, an indie/pop punk band based out of Portland, Oregon, have been around for quite awhile. They’ve got four full-length records under their belt and two live albums. Thermals’ setup time was expectedly longer than those of the other bands, although it doesn’t seem apparent that the three-piece would require a very long time to set up at all. Hutch Harris’s two identical wooden bodied Fender guitars were lined up behind where he would stand at his microphone and Kathy Foster’s sleek black Fender bass was placed in the same spot on the opposite end of the stage. Drummer Westin Glass’s set was hauled into the middle of the stage, revealing tape designs and drawings on the head of his floor tom. Twenty song-long set lists were taped to the floor, one for each member. Some fans

looked down and began to read off the songs to be played, to which the guy taping them responded, “Stop cheating!” Just as the crowd began to appear restless, the trio that is The Thermals ran onstage; ready to proudly represent the western U.S. indie scene. The Thermals played a straight hour-long set, hardly taking a break between songs. Harris’s energy could not be matched and Glass could not wipe the smile from his face. He looked genuinely ecstatic that so many people knew the words to the group’s songs. Foster played the bass without flaw and added a beautiful contrast to Harris’s vocals with her own. They ended

their set with ‘Now We Can See’, their biggest single off 2009’s album of the same title. The entire room sang along to the catchy, ‘Oh Way Oh Woah Oh’ line, whether they knew any of the other words or not. The Thermals thanked the crowd for having them and gracefully left the stage, smiles not leaving their faces.

The Coathangers, Past Lives, and The Thermals provided a perfect eclectic punk mix to entertain a Saturday night crowd at The Space. The three groups were different in their own ways but melded well enough to create a seamless show. Having gone to this show being relatively familiar with only The Thermals and not knowing much about the other bands, I have to say I was impressed. All three bands won me over as a new fan, thanks to another successful Manic Production.

Hostage Calm- Ballots/Stones

In 2008, Hostage Calm released a truly unique hardcore album. Lens was both punishing and intelligent, melodic and intense. It was the kind of record that united a scene and seemingly pushed the boundaries of what hardcore music could be. After a respectable amount of touring and countless shows in Connecticut, fans, especially us locals began to eagerly anticipate new material. When they signed to Run For Cover Records, a label known for releasing punk rock pointed towards the poppy end of the spectrum, it was evident Hostage Calm was altering their sound. The subsequent release of the first single Affidavit confirmed that the band was indeed trying something totally new.

At their next Connecticut show, the band closed with the Lens finale, "Pushing the Paradigm". The song might be my personal favorite track off of their debut as it builds up to a last minute of pure hardcore punk glory. The band ripped through the track with an undeniable tightness and right as the breakdown was about to hit, the band switched over to ska mode and closed the track with a musical interlude more apt for a Specials show than a Hatebreed concert. Singer Chris Martin smiled and laughed, “Now you can’t hurt each other!” he quipped. A room full of would be moshers looked on in confusion and bewilderment. Clearly, the band was done with hardcore, and they had no problem making it public.

On April 18, a new Hostage Calm song hit the internet. I heard about “Ballots/Stones” through a Twitter feed and I instantly became giddy. The two previously release new Hostage Calm tracks, the aforementioned "Affidavit", and "Jerry Rumspringer" were different, poppier and much more accessible than the tracks off of Lens. But both tracks are very much Hostage Calm songs at their core. "Ballots/Stones" legitimately sounds as if Tito Puente were writing riffs for Quicksand. The latin vibe is unmistakable and caught me so off guard that my first reaction was indeed laughter. Groovy doesn’t begin to describe the track, I cannot get through all two minutes and twenty eight seconds of the song without bobbing my head, playing desk drums, tapping my foot or even getting up and shaking my hips. Towards the end of the song, the band builds up to something that seems as if it may be somewhat reminiscent of a hardcore song. When the moment comes, you are treated to a guitar solo, something that sounds like an early Weezer outtake. Pinkerton era Rivers Cuomo would certainly be proud.

As much as I loved the song initially, I was worried that Hostage Calm had abandon their sound entirely. As I sit on my laptop playing the song repeatedly I have quickly realized that this song contains everything that I have come to love about the band. The guitar work is sharp and intricate, the rhythm section is powerful and drives the track, and Martin’s lyrics are as smart as ever. The tight song writing is complimented by Martin’s much improved, nearly pitch perfect vocals. As excited as I am to hear how this track translates live, I am even more interested in hearing the final product of this album. The three tracks we have are really next level stuff, here’s to hoping the whole album will be too.

Listen to the track HERE

Enough is Enough is a benefit compilation for marriage equality. It is split into 4 volumes. "Ballots/Stones" is on volume 3, which will be available for download HERE soon. Volumes 1 and 2 are available now and a donation is optional.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down, Magic Man and All The Friends

Tuesday, April 20 2010, Manic Productions brings you:

The Space
295 Treadwell Street
Hamden CT

$10 - 7:00PM - All Ages

Directions: Click

Tickets: Click or pick them up locally at Redscroll Records.

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down
Thao (Nguyen) with the Get Down Stay Down return with the follow up to their riotously beloved album, “We Brave Bee Stings and All”, the breakout success and best-selling record of 2008 for Kill Rock Stars. With Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Bill Frisell, Spoon) again at the helm, “Know Better Learn Faster” captures the band at their more mature, honed, trimmed and tightened best. After the last year and a half of constant touring, the now-trio delivers Thao’s cleverly crafted and emotionally evocative songs with vibrant, innovative instrumentation, incredible energy and a still-acutely-solid sense of what sounds good. The new batch of songs spans all genres and influences, all the while staying faithful to their distinct style, sharp wit, and the infectious and enamoring exuberance of their renowned live shows.
Kill Rock Stars

Magic Man is a Boston-based duo that grew out of spare moments and idle hours during a summer spent volunteering on organic farms in the French countryside. The songs were written at several different locations in France, including a chateau, a farm, a circus festival, and a beach cottage and brought back home to the states for further recording and editing (most of which was done in small dorm rooms and transmitted between band members with the aid of the world wide web). For fans of The Arcade Fire, The Flaming Lips and The Antlers. Download their debut album for free below!

All The Friends are a 3-piece group of multi-instrumentalists from Windsor, CT. Their sound revolves around rich harmonies inside sparse compositions. For fans of friendship, Radiohead and Bjork.

Greg Ginn And The Taylor Texas Corrugators 2 Dates

Friday April 23, 2010:

Heirloom Arts Theatre
155 Main St
Danbury, CT

All Ages - 7PM - $5

Greg Ginn And The Taylor Texas Corrugators
Cinema Cinema
Seafood Sam (replaced Chiefs)
Suburban Monkeys

And on Tuesday, April 27, 2010:

Greg Ginn & The Taylor Texas Corrugators
w/ Cinema, Cinema

Two Boots Bridgeport
281 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport, CT 06604

8:00PM - 21+ - $3

SST Records’ improv, instrumental, psychedelic/rock/jazz/latin/blues group Greg Ginn And The Taylor Texas Corrugators are playing two dates here in Connecticut. Yes, Greg Ginn formerly of Black Flag, but this band is a far cry from early 80's hardcore. Playing 150+ shows (most of them opening for Jambang) in the last year, the group played 100% improvised sets. For the tours Ginn is playing bass/guitar with Jambang member Gary Piazza on guitar, and New Moonson’s Sean Hutchinson on drums.

Hartford Sound Alliance and El MuCo

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Artspace Hartford
555 Ayslum Ave
Hartford, CT

7:30pm - 10:00pm FREE

Facebook Event Page: Click

Come check out a show of electronic improv music with new music groups Hartford Sound Alliance and New Haven-based El MuCo. This free event will present musicians at the forefront of improvisation, electronics, circuit bending, composition and performance in the Artspace Hartford gallery in downtown Hartford.

Hartford Sound Alliance: Steven Haynes, trumpet; Todd Merrell, keyboards/electronics; Matt Sargent, laptop/guitar; Bill Solomon, percussion

El MuCo: Juraj Kojs, instruments/laptop; Scott Peterson, laptop; Carl Testa, electronics/string bass; Brian Kane; Anne La Berge, flute; Anne Rhodes, soprano; Christopher Cerrone and Adrian Knight, bowed objects/laptop

The Field Recordings - At Day! / At Dusk!

There's a new release by The Field Recordings that just made it's way to us. It's a little different than their usual, as this is fully acoustic live set. You can snag it on cassette at their shows for only $2. Until then, stream it ahead of time right here thanks to bandcamp. Wrap your ears around this ASAP.

&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=""&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;SIDE A by THE FIELD RECORDINGS&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;

Until The Light Takes Us and Darkwor

Saturday, April 24, 2010, Redscroll Records Presents:

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor Street
Hartford, CT

Real Art Ways Members: $5
Seniors & Students Members: $4.50
Non-members: Regular Admission: $9.00
Seniors (62+): $6.25 (something tells me grandmama and grandpapa are going to pass on this one)
Full-time Students with ID: $6.25

9PM - Movie Showtime (prompt - get there early)

10:30PM - Darkwor

About Until The Light Takes Us:
In 1991, Norwegian churches started to burn. At the same time, a small underground scene of anticonsumerist metal musicians was forming. While reporters and police scrambled for answers, more and more churches went up in flames. They had no leads until Varg Vikernes, one of the leaders of the underground scene, took credit. He was held for questioning long enough for the media to run with a largely fabricated story. Spurred on by sensationalistic media reports of Satanic rituals, abductions and sacrifices, young men began taking cues as to what they should be doing, creating an escalating cycle of fiction creating reality. Black metal, or rather the sensationalized version of it, grew in popularity until it was available in record stores world-wide and was profiled in every major music publication, from Spin to Rolling Stone to Vice, even serving as the inspiration for popular animated shows in the U.S. Succesful visual artists such as Harmony Korine and Bjarne Melgaard are now recontextualizing black metal as contemporary art in international exhibitions.

Black metal was created by three men: one was murdered, one’s in jail for murder and arson, and one continues to release albums in the genre they created. Part modern art movement, part terrorist movement, part rock scene, Until the Light Takes Us explores the brutal history of Norway’s chief musical export and the world of its creators. Far from being a “rockumentary”, however, the film is instead contemplative in its examination of the impact the riotous history and misperceptions have had on its creators.
About the band:
Embracing the weapons of the ancient black metal gods, Darkwor was formed in 2007 as a conduit to the chaotic struggles of humanity's sinister past. Beyond the gates lies the bleak future of our species - as it began with a natural anomaly, so it will end - where five sentients have achieved the inevitable revelation - there will be WAR ON EARTH, FOR ALL TIME...
Gee, Darkwor sound like some gosh darn nice fellas!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Show Review: Maps & Atlases, Drink Up Buttercup, Fugue @ The Space

April 13, 2010

Here’s some positive pigeonholing. Shows are generally more pleasant the more accessible, inviting, and open they are. And for a couple of reasons, experimental and mathy audiences tend to have a hand in creating this kind of atmosphere. They really like their music. And they like it good quality. Who can contest that?
No one really tried to on Tuesday at the show Manic Productions presented with Maps & Atlases headlining at The Space along with Drink Up Buttercup and Fugue. A healthy amount of heads congregated inside the venue, on the warmly lit patio and on the stairs during that in-limbo time between doors and openers. Fugue was to perform at 8PM, and drew everyone in and around the stage as Mike DiCrescenzo motioned to their shirts and free EPs above his spread of pedals, a laptop, and a guitar strapped to his chest. His addition to the band has made Fugue a recent six-piece upped from a five-piece ensemble of heavily melodic, experimental musicians from the general area of Fairfield County.

Despite projecting a delicate sense of professionalism in their song composure—a land where their hard-to-tame guitar (count ‘em, two), bass, and keyboard parts interject between an omnipresent regiment of technical rhythm—Fugue also has the kind of humor to open their set with a sample from Billy Madison (“Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard…”). With six instruments and variant levels in sound every time (at The Space, this means “loud”), it takes a bit of strain and some old fashioned staring to focus on the individual elements that compose their songs. DiCrescenzo is nearly impossible to distinguish from the noise, though he is a new addition to the band and his parts tend to mold what is already written. However, in “Sirens,” a virgin song to the stage, his effects were audible in the processing to the spaceship-like whirring noise dubbed in a build-up.
Watching Fugue, one can’t help but notice the frequent exchange of visual cues as everyone ached to nail the complicated progressions in songs they have been perfecting for the past year and a half. It feels like a new and evolving process every performance, including Alexa Ambrose (drums) grinning when Matt Lobo (bass) broke a string and solemnly carried his fallen four-stringed compatriot on his head through the crowd and Peter Katz (guitar) slamming a maraca like he was about to dislocate an elbow with the force he used to keep time.
Drink Up Buttercup tapped into the same well of vigor in their performance, which stood out with ecstatic percussion teamed up with unsteady melodies reminiscent of that guy you saw on the street staggering around with a bagged drink and a feathered boa the other night. James Harvey, an ex-opera study, has an audible contribution to this image. Drink Up has accumulated piles of press coverage over the past year since their conception as a band in a Buck’s County barn (definite Messianic suggestions), since which they released Born and Thrown on a Hook. The album art for the record shows a visibly upset woman turned away from a windshield splattered in blood, a cigarette perched between her fingers—something one could expect from a candidly morbid pop-punk trio, not a jerky ensemble who diced up Sgt. Pepper into a blender.

They even slid comfortably into the backdrop at The Space among the ornamental mannequins and yellowed lampshades. Chivalrous as ever, they brought their own severed doll-head to perch on the set. Everyone in Drink Up appeared to be in his own world on the stage despite being only a foot or so higher than the audience at their side. Between bouts of wailing trash-can jamborees, Mike Cammarata (drums) balanced on the kick drum with a hand open for support on the ceiling—the universal musician’s code for overdoing it.
And then Harvey wondered out loud on the microphone what some in the room had been wondering—“What’s up with Maps & Atlases?”
Neither bearded Dave Davison (vox, guitar) or the rest of his band of brothers were anywhere in the low-ceilinged room. Earlier in the afternoon as the four members of Maps & Atlases were about to make a pit stop in New Jersey to finally tweak all that needed tweaking in the van, their alternator puttered out. This left them vanless, semi-equipmentless, and a little worse for wear in the morale department a couple of hours later, where they successfully rented a new van and parked in The Space’s parking lot around nine to the muted giddiness of some fanboys and girls in the crowd. By the time they had completely set up, Chris Hainey (drums) was on a patchwork kit of Drink Up’s bright yellow kick drum, Ambrose’s red tom and another blue portion of his own set.
To the delight of everyone with a soul in the crowd, Davison covered Iyaz' “Replay” (You know it: “Shawty’s like a melody in my head…”) for his sound check—something only Davison could make sound nostalgic and multi-chromatic like it did, making all the girls in the audience wonder if they were, in fact, his shawty. The set that followed included a healthy balance of both old material from their previous EPs and new samples from their first upcoming full-length. Within the week of Tuesday’s performance, “Pigeon” and “Solid Ground” carved internet-headway, palpable when the crowd responded with at least a small ounce of familiarity towards their performance. Though the unabashed thigh-slapping and air-drumming indicated what the audience responded to best, those with their toes to the stage and the ranks behind them held an attentive air when the new songs were played. This was fairly easy to do, seeing as the new material is pressurized with sugary melody and more obvious balladry than their previous releases. Maps & Atlases are so learned in what they do that their newer material—although lighter and broken down into the simpler riff fats—emerged as incredibly refined pop songs.

Davison and the rest of the band have a profound respect and humbleness towards their fans. Besides the tone of their conduct, the highly groomed transitions and song choice in their set is clearly deliberately composed and chosen. They’re not a band that will trip into the technically-raucous intro to “Every Place is a House” by preceding it with some vague leftover reverb. No, by way of claves, cymbals and timed clapping, they develop the percussive tides nearly identical to those on Trees, Swallows, Houses. “The Sounds They Make” aptly proved to be a harmonious chorus for everyone in the room before it opened for “Artichokes.” Every now and then during particularly strong tides of sing-a-long, Davison would eek out an errant smile and hoist the mic stand into the heads of the audience who welcomed it with grins and demands for an encore (where they played an electric version of Davison's side project Cast Spells' "Glamorous Glowing").
Like I said, they like their music good quality.

(Images: Istvan Davis)