The Guillemots Will Make You Love Life

I’m about two steps away from Death’s door, but I just wanted to say that I saw The Guillemots tonight at Bowery Ballroom and I was totally floored by how amazing they were live. I didn’t know any of their songs going into the show, but I fell in love with this band after seeing their spectacular live show. There was so much positive energy floating around that stage that even the most emolicious of us would start to love life after witnessing one of their shows.

The crowd was so bowled over that they demanded two encores…

SETLIST

Window/ We’re Here/ Sea Out/ Who Left/ World Ends/ Love Song/ Trains/ Go Away/ Blue/ Sao Paulo

Seriously, you need to see this band live and listen to their music starting yesterday.

the guillemots bowery

Radio 4, Back In Action

Why is it when I mentioned to everyone that I was seeing NYC’s Radio 4 last week at the Astralwerks offices the overwhelming response was, “Woah, are they still around?” Yes, they are still around and they’ve got a new album, Enemies Like These, dropping in a couple of weeks and they will start touring an european town near you starting in May (June for you Yanks), so act like you heard.

They continue doing what they do best–upbeat shouty dance music. One song in particular caught my ear during their set was the latin-flavored tune “This Is Not a Test” which was accented by bongo beats and the high-pitched chimes of a set of agogo bells. You can take a listen to it over at the Astralwerks site.

radio 4 at astralwerks

I Went to an Indie Rock Show and All I Got Was this Stupid Picture

Tonight I went to the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show at Bowery Ballroom. When I wasn’t up front jumping around and dancing with everyone else, I was leaned up against the wall off to the side. It was then that I noticed two people next to the band equipment full-on making out. I couldn’t believe that no one else noticed so I tapped I.A. on the shoulder and made him look at what was going on.

The couple were kissing and groping beyond anything I’ve ever seen at Bowery Ballroom. I said, “man, I wish I had a flashlight to shine on them!” I.A. pulled out his cell phone and flashed the brightly-lit screen in their direction. They didn’t seem to notice. I told him to put it away, because I was going to take a picture with my flash.

By the time I got my camera set up, the couple had stopped smooching and resorted to dry humping each other, with the girl grinding up against the guy. I hesitated taking a photo several times because what if they noticed and started punching me or something? I.A. suggested doing a photo series: “How sexy is this CYHSY song?” based on the makeout level of the drunk people. I didn’t have the heart to do that (althought it would have been hilarious). But I did eventually take a shot (below).

When I looked at the picture I realized it was a perfect representation of what you typically see at an indie rock show, so I made the following diagram (click to view larger photo):

clap your hand say yeah, anatomy of an indie rock show

More Pregger News: Indiest Baby EVER

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard are engaged and having a baby. This baby is so indie-cool that it’s ALREADY “so over being born.”

First Heath Ledger, now this! Do you think working with the man-pretty Jake Gyllenhaal makes male co-stars immediately grab the nearest woman and impregnate her in order to prove his straightness? I’m just sayin’…

Hopefully this baby will be a boy so they can keep up with the double As and name him Aaron.

Link from Two Hundredth Couch.

Brakes Take Up the Annex

Earlier this week I mentioned that I went to The Rakes afterparty so I could see Brakes. And I did, but I didn’t write anything about it.

First off, the Brakes album was one of my absolute favorite records of last year, so go out and buy it. I always think fondly of that record because I when I received it had no idea that I was going to love it so much.

Anyway, I missed the Brakes performing at Pianos last year, so I was pumped that I was going to get another chance to see them at a tiny venue. When I arrived at the gig, there was a wall of dudes dressed in army jackets with buttonless pocket flaps, white sneakers, and dark blue jeans standing right by the stage–I tried to have a contest with myself to figure out which ones were actually British and which ones were just dressed like they wanted to be British.

When Brakes finally took the stage (an hour after when they were supposed to go on) they were…good. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but live, I think the song that works the best is their ironic dance anthem, “All Night Disco Party,” which kinda makes me sad because you kinda feel like sheepish rocking out to a song that’s basically a tongue-in-cheek razz to music that is just supposed to get people to dance.

Unfortunately they didn’t play “Cheney,” I would have loved to have heard what they would have done w/ that song now that the VP is a natural born face shooter. They ended their set with “Comma Comma Full Stop”–which they only played one time.

brakes at annex

The Cinematics Are the Stuff Stars Are Made Of

If there is one new British band you check this month, let it be The Cinematics. I only found out about their very existance last month, but I nearly choked myself when I found out they’d be playing The Annex tonight.

I had a hunch that they would be pretty good live after having watched their video for “Break”, which is on their Web site. And boy, was I glad that I dragged myself away from a night of “Top Model” and “Top Chef” to go check them out–after all, those shows are going to be rerunning all weekend, but how often do you get to see a very promising young band in a tiny venue before they hit it big?

I cannot express to you how much I think this band has the talent to be a successful and famous group. Seriously, if The Editors can be the next big thing, than The Cinematics can be the next next big thing you haven’t heard of yet.

Lead singer Scott Rinning has an alarmingly pure sounding voice–the clarity and beauty of his vocal quality really draws you into the songs and gives their 80s angular rock sound a distinctive sound. It’s so refreshing to hear someone with a truly pretty voice–something that can be lacking in the day and age of fashionably “ugly-sounding” singers like Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

Although you will definintely be saying “wasn’t this off the last Interpol album?” during some of the songs, I think the music is solid, and thankfully manages to break-free of instant associations to predecessors somewhere through each of their songs. I really credit their ability to sidestep run-of-the-mill Joy Division comparisons to Rinning’s aforementioned beautiful voice…because lord knows if he sang songs with a droning voice The Cinematics would lose a melodic, and upbeat quality to their tunes. They’d probably end up sounding closer to something awful, unimaginative, and depressing like She Wants Revenge.

I don’t want to insult The Cinematics by saying they even remotely sound like She Wants Revenge–because they don’t. I’m just saying that so many bands are using a lot of 80s synth/ pop influences and making horrible uninspired music. But The Cinematics are an example of a band that can sound sorta “retro” but have the sense to do something that is also completely modern and ambitious. Songs like the epic-sounding “Brave” or the dancey “Keep Forgetting” are particular standouts. Also on the plus side, they look absolutely adorable with perfect haircuts and put-together outfits.

Their live show is tight–even though Rinning seemed to have trouble remembering the names of his songs this particular evening, often stating one song name and then immediately correcting himself by saying something like “Dah! I mean ‘Human’!”, but it was kinda cute.

Are they totally re-inventing rock and roll? No. But I think they are a solid band who have fine tunes that are definintely worth you checking out. With the right amount of publicity and buzz this band could really be headed toward stardom. I think they have the goods to go very far.

The Cinematics @ Rothko, NYC. March 22, 2006.

The Cinematics @ Rothko, NYC. March 22, 2006.

Isobel Campbell @ Joe’s Pub: I’m Sure It Was Lovely

Before falling off the face of the Earth last week, I went to go drink overpriced cranberry juice and witness former Belle and Sebastian-er Isobel Campbell perform at Joe’s Pub. Honestly, the night is a haze–even though I was sitting directly in the front, but I do remember thinking Isobel had an absolutely ethreal voice and that the music would be so lovely to sit there and listen to if–unlike me–the didn’t feel like they were going to die at that moment. After it was all over, I made a beeline for the exit–even whisking past Jason of Product Shop NYC, holding up my hand and simply saying, “I think I’m going to throw up.”

Luckily I have the LP that Isobel was out promoting, called Ballad of the Broken Seas, which she recorded with former Queens of the Stoneage member Mark Lanegan, and I can tell you, it’s hauntingly beautiful. The mixture of Isobel’s angelic voice and Mark’s deep, brooding vox is a perfect combo to make for off-kilter, alarmingly complex music. I think of this album as being the musical equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino film like Kill Bill–sexy, a little uncomfortable, but interesting nonetheless.

isobel campbell

isobell campbell

More on Friday’s Shows: Sondre and The Boy Least Likely To

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was originally started last Sunday, but I wasn’t able to finish it until now. Enjoy!

I know I absolutely have to write about the shows I saw on Friday today or else I will never get around to writing about them at all. In a nutshell, the shows were great. It was a wonderful night for pretty music.

I started off by hitting the 8pm show of Sondre Lerche and Paul Brill. Paul Brill wasn’t really my cup of tea, so I’m just going to move on and speak about Sondre. I had just seen Sondre the night before at a performance at the Astralwerks offices, but that gig was very casual, so I was excited to see Sondre perform again–this time without people snacking and chatting a mere 6 yards away from the performance area.

The crowd was extremely attentive–almost to the point of making me uncomfortable. I’m used to being able to “woo” after great solos, but at Housing Works it was so quiet and solemn that it just wasn’t the right place or time to be getting rowdy during songs.

Sondre continued his tradition of adorable between song banter–this time commenting that he had just bought the electric guitar he was playing on that very day! And it was different than the electric guitar he mentioned just buying in Japan during the Astralwerks performance–dear lord, how many guitars does this man own?!

Sondre seemed appreciative of the well-mannered and respectful audience because he mixed things up by not only doing his cover version of Elvis Costello’s “Human Hands,” but also adding in a bit of “The Only Flame In Town” in the middle of the song. But after doing so, Sondre commented that he needed to work on his transitions because he felt that his Elvis medley was far from being smooth-sounding.

As he started strumming strong rock chords for the next song he said, “This is not ‘Summer of ’69’,” to which everyone laughed because the intro to “Sleep on Needles” does in fact sound a little bit like the begining of the famous Bryan Adams tune. I was a little disappointed, because I would have LOVED to have heard a cover version of “Summer of ’69”! No, really. I would have.

He finished the night with doing a brand new song called “Tragic Mirror.”

SET LIST
Everyone’s Rooting for You/ Across the Land/ Dead End Mystery/ The Curse of Being in Love/ Minor Detail/ Dead Passengers/ Days that Are Over/ Human Hands and The Only Flame in Town (Elvis Costello covers)/ Sleep on Needles/ You Know So Well/ (I Wanna) Call It Love/ Two Way Monologue. ENCORE: Tragic Mirror

sondre lerche housing works

By the time Sondre finished it was 10pm, so J. and I booked it all the way to R and R on the West side to catch The Boy Least Likely To. Luckily when we arrived around 10:20, the band still hadn’t gone on yet, so I went around to the side entrance and found a spot in the front near R and S. As we all waited for the black velvet (!?!) curtains to part and reveal the stage, we were subjected to *interesting* dance remixes of U2 and Kasabian.

When TBLLT came onstage the crowd went wild! It wasn’t until later when Cameron told me that TBLLT’s album The Best Party Ever got an 8.5 from Pitchfork that the crowd fanaticism really made sense. It also explained why so many people in the first two rows were wearing dark-framed glasses. I kid, I kid.

The music was upbeat, peppy twee pop–and what would a twee concert be without a complete with a cartoon backdrop hanging across the back of the stage area? The keyboardist munched on cupcakes, the audience blew bubbles, “Eye of the Tiger” was momentarily covered, and the drummer stopped to take pictures of the crowd with his 35mm camera (below). Seriously, if a troupe of rainbow-colored bunnies had come on stage and done a dance, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelash–it was that warm and fuzzy of a performance.

I believe TBLLT played through all of the songs off their album because when the crowd demanded an encore, they came back on stage and said that they’d have to play a song they’d already done at the begining of the set because they simply didn’t have any more tunes to play!

the boy least likely to

For more of my photos of The Boy Least Likely To, head over to my Flickr page.