I had a friend in high school who in the early 90’s introduced me to what I’ll lamely call here ‘Texas music.’ To me that signifies a big sound with a lot of chaos, bass that sounds like guitars, and guitars that sound like bass, and heavy but not in any way burdensome drums. And probably some vocals buried in there somewhere, too. That all somehow comes together at the end, no matter how many loose ends it took to get there.
The Butthole Surfers were a name I knew through skate magazines, but it was really when this friend let a Nirvana/Jesus Lizard split-single play through that my concept of music at that moment instantly flipped (it would’ve been more appropriate if it’d been a 45 instead of a CD). Just as I was hearing a Nirvana that was rougher and less produced than Nevermind (but more structurally sound than Bleach), I was hit right in the face with “Puss”.
Brooklyn-based singer songwriter, Josh Ritter and his Royal City Band, provided safe harbor from the storm at Brooklyn Steel (309 Frost St) during Sunday’s torrential downpour. The weather was a nice touch for a show supporting Ritter’s ninth full-length studio album, Gathering, an album Ritter has described as a “record full of storms”.
This is Ritter’s 20th year of playing and recording music and his latest album, while marking a departure from some of his more traditional folk roots by incorporating aspects of rockabilly and gospel, remains original, fresh and an organic next step. His songs across these nine albums span the full spectrum of the human experience, allowing his listeners to reach for one during a break up, one when experiencing the giddiness of new love, another when at a crossroads, but all with an undercurrent of optimism that leads you to believe that even when your heart is breaking, there’s a silver lining you just haven’t uncovered yet. It is likely that this is the reason that Sunday’s audience clearly felt such a strong connection to each word and poetic turn of phrase he performed on stage. Returning to Ritter’s music often feels like an old friend draping a warm and comforting blanket around your shoulders.Continue reading →
Chicano Batman packed Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave) for their second night in New York City. The fall tour supports their album Freedom Is Free, released in March. The album is among Billboard’s Best Albums of 2017 So Far and was recorded at Diamond Mine Recordings in nearby Long Island City. The tour kicked off in their hometown of Los Angeles late September, with three sold-out shows at The Fonda Theatre.
Openers Khruangbin & The Shacks started off the evening with mellow vibes and some instrumental tracks that felt almost improvised. The tempo eventually revved up a bit to pump-up the audience in preparation for the energetic headliners. Chicano Batman blends the sounds of soul, Brazilian Tropicalía and a bit of old school R&B.Like the well-dressed performers of their 1970’s predecessors, these are show men. You can see a display of that showmanship in their debut Conan performance filmed earlier this year.Continue reading →
When he was a kid in the San Francisco Bay area, Matt L. Roar’s mom and dad formed a blues band with him on bass, his little brother on sax, mom on the keys and dad on guitar. A guy from their church, who would wear a hat with red lights on it during shows, played the drums. They would perform at watering holes out in the East Bay, and Matt’s dad would dress him up in a big coat and hat as a cheap disguise—to hide the fact that he was only twelve years old and hanging out in a bar. After growing up, playing in hardcore punk bands in San Francisco and the East Bay and later moving to North Brooklyn several years ago, Matt L. Roar is definitely no newbie to the indie music scene.
Equally influenced by a DIY punk ethos, modern rappers like Lil Yachty, oldschool hiphop (Wu Tang and Tribe) and the old timey sounds of Woody Guthrie’s wails, his musical project Golden West Service is an idiosyncratic blend of garage, punk, noise, lo-fi 8-bit and a number of other genres. On GWS’s newly released first full-length album When You Die, he collaborates with a variety of musical friends, including Tim Hellman (OhSees/Flat Worms), who plays guitar on three songs; Evan Smith (Russian Baths) who plays bass on almost the entire record, and Jah Jah Brown (local punk rappers Ninjasonik) does vocals on one of the tracks. His younger brother Aaron Rohrer plays sax on one of the songs, poet Marisa Crawford performs on another and, and friend Andy Del Calvo laid down some drums for the song Blackbird.
We chatted with him about his new album, and the best local venues to see live music (The Gutter, Silent Barn, Trans Pecos and RIP Greenpoint Heights). Continue reading →
It’s always a treat when Thee Oh Sees go on tour and play a few shows in Brooklyn. I always make it a point to go at least once because it’s nothing short of awesome. Thee Oh Sees psyched out the crowd at the Warsaw (261 Driggs Avenue) with dynamic jams with loud-meets-fast-riffs. Continue reading →
The new album, titled TFCF (Theme From Crying Fountain), is the first album since the departure of founding member Aaron Hemphill. The live show will have band members from Bamabara, and will include songs previously recorded but not released by Liars.
We caught up with Andrew during his break between the European and US tours to discuss the making of TFCF – which included a couple years of self-imposed isolation in the Australian bush. We also can’t wait to catch his show in Greenpoint and see first hand what he’s been up to down under.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Greenpointers: You’ve been based in the States for a long time, but wrote this album in Australia. What brought you back there in the first place?
Angus Andrew: There was a lot pulling me back there. I’d wanted to move back there for a long time actually, but it’s very tricky when you are a touring band to be based out there, but eventually… I made the leave… and thankfully got a good amount of time with my dad before he passed away and so it was really a good thing for me to do… I live in a pretty isolated spot which you can only get to by boat.Continue reading →
Dan Croll played to an energetic and dynamic crowd at Brooklyn Bazaar (150 Greenpoint Ave) on Thursday night to promote the release of his second album, Emerging Adulthood. The night opened with The Dig, a New York indie rock band whose sound is a melodic synth-pop that hits hard in all the right places. With two lead singers, the band kept the crowd engaged and intrigued, swapping instruments and sounds from one song to the next. Tired of Love, the name of their tour and also a track on their new album, pulls at your heart in an undeniably relatable way. It’s haunting and captivating and a song that you won’t tire of soon. Their hit I Already Forgot Everything You Said is catchy and memorable, telling the story of a turbulent love between two people that feels familiar yet fresh.
I caught a glimpse of Dan while The Dig was on stage, casually fitting in with the Brooklyn scene wearing his signature black-rimmed glasses. He seemed to be surveying the crowd, the sound, and the feeling in the room as he bobbed his head to the music. And by the time he took the stage, the room—seemingly and suddenly filled with pockets of devout followers and curious listeners alike—gave him an eager reception. Dan Croll’s sound is dynamic, upbeat, energetic, and endearing, with intros that cue you to pay attention and lyrics that keep you there. His new album combines a nostalgic, British rock vibe with the electronic indie pop that hits hard and lasts long and filled the room at Brooklyn Bazaar on Thursday. And, his sound is ambitious, polished to near perfection and bringing strong movement into each song, with words that dance upon light harmonies. His song Bad Boy combines his signature guitar hooks and electronic beats, and had everyone moving and singing along. His popular song From Nowhere showcased his range of talent and also the acoustics of the space, with heavy percussion and melodic dimensions that had the crowd dancing and singing along. Dan Croll is an artist to keep on your radar and in your ears, for a while.
If you missed Thursday’s show, listen to Bloodshot Tokyo by The Dig on Spotify and Dan Croll’s new album Emerging Adulthood. Brooklyn Bazaar has a stacked roster of artists to discover this fall; check out their schedule here and head to this wonderful gem of a venue right in the heart of Greenpoint.
West coast band Oh Sees (recently/formerly/still pretty much known as Thee Oh Sees) are bringing their special blend of crunchy noisy dirty dancy garage rock to Warsaw(261 Driggs Ave) on Saturday September 9th and Sunday September 10th. ($24 tickets here) If you’ve never seen them live, you are in for a bonkersrock out to ultra-legit rock n’ roll. Their jams are sweaty, powerful, and will most likely knock your socks off. They’re currently touring to support their latest album, Orc, which was released at the end of August. It’s total psychedelic garage trash, and that’s a good thing.
Lucky for you, we’re giving away two pairs of tickets to the Warsaw shows, one pair for each night. Fill out this form by 5pm on September 8th for a chance to win. Winners will be selected at random.
Two old-time bands with a lot of hard time put on the road are doing both a matinée and a sold out evening show at St. Vitus (1120 Manhattan Ave) this Sunday (8/27) as part of their Left to Starve summer tour.
Of course calling either band old-time is just asking for a beating, because it’s generally not too safe to antagonize a hardcore punk band (Cro-Mags) nor a metal/hardcore/southern sludge band out of New Orleans (EyeHateGod, or just “EHG” for you texters).
I’m sure both these bands have been jumped by a pack of chin-less white supremacists more than once in the past with the band coming out ahead.
And it’s not right to consider their sound old-time, when that’s changed quite a lot for both bands, and in all the right directions. Continue reading →
Williamsburg-based singer/songwriter, and dark-humored Brad Cantor released his first solo album a couple weeks ago, under the moniker Glass Valley. The 60s and 70s-inpired dreampop album—which takes a few whispery pages from Velvet Underground and Elliott Smith—brings you on one man’s journey as he closes the door on his 30s and enters his 40s. Brad, a self-proclaimed “aging Brooklyn hipster,” wrote 22 songs after a trip to Joshua Tree, where he had time to reflect on the past decade of his life. When he returned to Brooklyn, the songs quickly poured out in an emotional stream of consciousness, and nine of them made it onto his debut album An Intimate Man. There’s a section in the track Young Hip and Old where he croons, “Everything’s gotten boring and we lost our way. Every party feels so forced, we ran out of things to say. The nights got less glamorous as our friends starting dropping off,” reflecting his stunted coming of age in early 2000s Brooklyn.
I chatted with Brad about how, in the music world it’s a little unusual for anyone to release their first album at age 40. “We don’t value older artists,” Brad says. “We don’t value their creativity. We don’t value their experience.” There’s a general consensus that when you’re younger you “embrace the craziness and rash decision making,” and as you age, you slowly shut down the most creative parts of your brain. “Fear makes people say things like that,” Brad says. So while on this album he may be resigning himself to getting older (on Golden Age: “It’s romantic to think that we’ll conquer the world, But most roads lead to rust belt cities, and gray rivers flow to dead ports, while strip malls decay in neglected suburbs. There was never a golden age, but life has a way of making it seem that way”), the brilliantly-executed record as a whole defies the idea that creativity fades after people reach a certain age. Continue reading →