UuughhhH!!!! My teenage heart is breaking over this absolutely perfect video for Best Coast‘s song, “Our Deal” featuring the teenager girl love of my life, Chloe Moretz. Directed by Drew Barrymore, the plot is very Romeo + Juliet meets Grease meets West Side Story.
Best Coast + Chloe + Drew + vague ’50s references + cute boys = OMG4EVA
On Saturday I was lucky enough to be in town for the first ever 4Knots Festival presented by the Village Voice. The 4 Knots fest is the replacement for the now defunct Siren Festival — the VV’s free music event on Coney Island. If memory serves me correct, I had attended each and every Siren Fest during it’s 10 year run. So it was only fitting that I attend the son of Siren.
Trading the tip of Brooklyn for the tip of Manhattan, the 4 Knots fest took place at Pier 17 at the famed South Street Seaport. It was a bit of a relief to find out that 4Knots only had one stage — Siren Fest always had a “Main” stage and a second “Stillwell” stage, which was kind of annoying because you’d find yourself running up and down the boardwalk all day long trying to catch all the different sets — never being able to fully watch all of them.
On top of that, the VIP tents were situated behind the stages — which basically made for the most ginormous clusterf*ck toward the end of the night. By the headlining sets you knew that if you dared leave the pit, you might never get back in — and if you never left, you’d probably be surrounded by a bunch of folks who seemed exceedingly more interested in the free Bud Light than they were in the actual music.
4Knots was far more pleasant — VIP folks were sanctioned off on the Peking ship — off to the side of the stage, leaving the pit for people who actually needed to be there.
I suppose there was a “second stage” of sorts — the 4Knots indoor lounge on Front Street — brilliant because it was indoors with air conditioning, as well as the fact that it was open to the public. Fans of acts like Brahms, Yeasayer, and Dan Deacon could come listen to the celeb DJs spin their favorite tunes while taking photos at the Pop Chips booth, or singing karaoke.
But it wasn’t that bad to be outside — the sun was shining, it was pretty damn hot, but not actually that humid. Couldn’t ask for a better day.
Ok, but enough commentary on the setup — let me just give you the low down on the actual event:
Hands down my favorite act of the day was Titus Andronicus. I had seen Titus Andronicus play a couple times before (in the oxygen-deprived basement of Lit, at MHOW for ATJF ), but never have I seen them truly shine in the way I did this weekend.
The energy, enthusiasm, and love that radiated through the band and the crowd during their set absolutely blew me away. I was genuinely excited by their raucous, explosive set filled with their raw, yet poetic tunes. You could see in the faces of the fans that this band truly MEANS something to them. The devotion I saw in these kids was the kind that can produce involuntary body convolutions. The crowd felt like one giant organism, breathing, singing, cheering, and watching in unison. So many of the kids up front had clear eyes that were fixed on the every move of lead singer Patrick Stickles.
I probably looked like an idiot today. Not only was I wearing a t-shirt with French words on it (in honor of Bastille Day), but I was also walking around with a sh-t eating grin on my face ALL DAY LONG. “Why?” you may ask? Well it was simply a beautiful, glorious day in NYC. The weather was absolutely perfect — low humidity, sunny, high was in the low 80s, AND there was a delightful breeze. And to top it all off, today was the White Stripes’ birthday!
I couldn’t think of a better way to spend such a wonderful day than heading over to Pier 54 to attend the kick-off show of this year’s River Rocks festival at Hudson River Park. Over the years I’ve attended my fair share of River Rocks summer concerts, and they are always a delight to attend. Free music by the water — you really cannot go wrong, can you?
Yes, it’s true that the show started about 30 minutes after it was supposed to, with synthy Canadian dream pop band Austra taking the stage after 7:30pm. Dressed like a bunch of art school hipsters (high-waisted skirts, lace tops, glitter on their faces, huge glasses, neon hot pants, among other fashion statements that would make an American Apparel clerk blush), it’s a bit hard to take this up-and-coming band seriously at first, but make no mistake, Austra is going places.
Their atmospheric pop is a lovely thing to hear indeed — singer-songwriter Katie Stelmanis‘ voice has the ability to sound strong yet quivering, and dripping with emotion. Music that can equally serve as indie dance music AND the soundtrack to an elegant modern ballet, Austra’s sound is complex and compelling, and I urge you to check them out if you don’t know them already.
Headliners tUnE-yArDs were equally amazing. Merrill Garbus is absolutely captivating to watch as she layers and loops her vocal samples, drum beats, and various other organic sounds to create complex soundscapes that definitely get your body moving.
The perfect set of acts for the carefree, fun-loving spirit that should radiate from a free summer concert event. By the end of the night the crowd’s hands were up in the air, people were happy and dancing their little heart outs. There was a beautiful bright summer moon casting a glow over everyone, and the lights of Manhattan and New Jersey twinkled like jewels in the night. Then to top it all off, celebratory fireworks lit up the sky during tUnE-yArDs’ encore song. Continue reading “It’s Such a Perfect Day: Austra and tUnE-yArDs @ Pier 54, July 14, 2011”
Last Thursday I headed over to Castle Clinton at Battery Park to catch the incredible Shara Worden aka My Brightest Diamond.
My first introduction to the seductive stylings of MBD was two years ago at the Dark Was the Night concert at Radio City Music Hall, where I was completely blown away by Shara’s rendition of “Feeling Good.”
So it was no surprise that MBD won me over once again at last week’s free show for the River to River festival. Now a resident of Detroit, this show was a bit of a homecoming for Shara, who lived in New York for a number of years.
Backed by the yMusic chamber ensemble, MBD played all songs of her upcoming album, All Things Will Unwind, and featured three interludes starring MBD friend, dancer Jessica Dessner taking the stage as Shara sat quietly with a creepy old lady mask on.
Definitely never a dull moment at a MBD show, eh? Shara introduced many of the songs with details about her new live in The D — with one particularly funny story about a mouse in her house that she found, trapped, and released out into the wild — only to find a defiant pile of mouse poop waiting for her the very next day.
Another tale described a wonderful group of jazz and blues musicians that used to meet every Sunday at a particular house to have a jam session in front of the lawn. But according to Shara, when the owner of the home died, the house was knocked down (apparently commonplace in Detroit), but the musicians still gather in front of the location of the house and perform on blankets they lay out front.
As usual, MBD’s music is a little over the top, but completely original and refreshing. Beautiful lyrics injected with a wry sense of humor, with incredibly melodious accompaniment by yMusic, the songs made the perfect companion to the lovely evening.
Wow, it’s been just over three years since the last time I saw the Kooks perform live in concert. So I was pretty darn excited to see the British wunderkids at the intimate setting of the Bowery Ballroom.
Just before 10pm, the guys swaggered onto the stage, and the young ladies (let’s call them “Kookies”) in the front of course went mad — screaming and outstretching their arms before a single note was played. When I looked over at Luke Pritchard, I was pleased to see his burning love of V-neck shirts had not been forgotten after all these years — there he was in all his acute angle-loving glory, sporting a red V-neck shirt (seriously, this man has never met a V-neck he couldn’t love), skinny jeans, and boots (obvs.).
The Kooks hit the stage and the crowd went bezerkies.
I don’t know what it is, but there is something so magical about seeing The Kooks live. Without fail, I always have a great time and leave the venue with a smile on my face — and this time was no exception. I started off the show perched in the balcony, but (as anyone who has ever been to a concert with me) about 4 or 5 songs in I could barely contain myself — so I headed down to the floor to be with the “real” fans, and shake my groove thaannng.
The set was a mix of old favorites, like “Naive,” “Seaside” (encore), “Shine On,” and new songs off their forthcoming album, Junk of the Heart, like Lou Reed “Satellite of Love”-esque piano-based B-side “The Saboteur” and the extremely catchy “How D’Ya Like That“.
Capping of a three-day guest run on the Colbert Report (see below), Jack White and Stephen Colbert teamed up once again on Friday to promote Stephen’s new single on Third Man Records, “Charlene II (I’m Over You)” with a special live appearance at the Lot at the Highline (30th Street and 10th Avenue).
Hitting the stage around 12:15pm — the set was extremely short, with Stephen and Jack singing the National Anthem together:
And then Stephen later hitting the stage with the Black Belles to do his soon to be number 1 hit single:
After they did their two songs, Stephen announced that he and Jack would be signing any albums folks bought from the Third Man Rolling Record Store “until as long as it takes — or until we decide to leave.” Hilarious. Was so lucky to be there. They definitely let the good times roll!
I’m sure some of you must’ve been wondering if I’d fallen off the face of the planet and totally forgotten about Jack White now that the White Stripes are dunzo.
No, of course not! But I have to say, with all his little side projects and record label business, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of today’s man in black.
So yes, I have heard the new Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi collaboration, Rome, which features the vocals of one Miss Norah Jones and one Mister Jack White. Yes, some of it does really sound very Broken Bells-ish, but it actually also reminds me a lot of the 1960’s retro sound of Air’s Moon Safari or their work on the Virgin Suicides soundtrack.
Jones singing contributions (as demonstrated on songs like “Black” and “Problem Queen”) are much more grounded than the ethereal vocals of Air’s work and even James Mercer’s work with Broken Bells. Her sounds definitely sound friendlier and more poppy when compared with the tunes where Jack lends his always compelling creepy, shaky, and slightly psychotic sounding voice. Songs sung by Jack, like “The Rose with the Broken Neck” are deliciously dark and sinister sounding.
I recently was reading an article written by my brilliant, beautiful friend Lizzy Goodman for NY Magazine in which three folks (including one Brian Battjer, of I Keep a Diary fame) gave their opinion about Rome, and I was nearly horrified that not one of them picked MY most favorite song off the album as their pick for top tune on the LP!!
Seriously people, Two Against One” (sung by Jack White) is CLEARLY the best song on the record. If you don’t instantly fall in love with this song upon hearing it, then I don’t think we can be friends:
The rushed tempo at the end of the chorus just kills me every time. And of course it’s so perfect that it’s two against one (2 +1 = 3 … Jack’s most favorite number, obvs). The jazzy drum tempo and the ghostly female background vocals just make this tune a freaking slam dunk IMHO.
With the death of LCD Soundsystem and the re-emergence of The Strokes, of late I’ve been reconnecting/running into a lot of folks from what I like to call “the good ol’ days” — people who I met through going to shows, and being in that whole scene, during the early 2000s. For those of you who are younger, you’re not going to understand this, so let me say this very plainly — when you get old, you don’t go out to parties/concerts as much, so you don’t see people randomly all that often.
In any case, I’ve noticed that a lot of these old time friends have all been mentioning to me that they love that I still have my blog, which strikes me as extremely funny. Because telling me that it’s soooo amazing that I still do my blog is basically the internet equivalent of congratulating me on walking down a flight of stairs or being able to chew solid foods (I can still do both of those things — kinda). So yeah, you definitely realize you’ve been in the game for a long time when several folks start giving you props for doing something you don’t even really consciously think about. Don’t get me wrong, I love every person who tells me that, but it’s definitely a bellweather of my continued descent into the abyss of Old.
So as some feeble attempt to somehow rid myself of that mothball-y, musky “old people smell” I’m sure I reek of at this point, I gathered up all my strength to hobble over to the Bowery Ballroom alongside fellow old timer, Melody Nelson, to check out the hot new UK rock goddess import, Anna Calvi.
Maybe The Rapture was a couple days late?
Sitting downstairs until Anna Calvi’s 11PM set time, we reminisced about how during CMJ 2002 I fell asleep on the very black leather couch upon which we were perched, waiting for the late late show by The Walkmen. As I looked around at the crowd, it was a weird mix of lithe Lissy Trullie-type hipsters, bridge and tunnel-y people, and slightly older people of obviously discerning taste. (All the trendy kids must’ve been at the Friendly Fires show at Webster Hall.) The highest ranking celeb of the night was Mr. David Byrne, who was there with daughter Malu Abeni and some of her friends.
When the time came to head upstairs, for some reason it was impossibly hot and sweaty, despite the fact that the venue was not fully packed. But as soon as the lights went down, and the fog machine kicked in, all was forgotten and I was transported into the glamorous, dramatic, and enchanting world of Anna Calvi. Continue reading “Anna Calvi @ Bowery Ballroom – 5/25/11”