Featured Shows of the Week! September 24
Born in the Dominican Republic, raised in Florida, and boasting an expansive musical background that includes composing for a touring dance company and fronting a Boston punk group, George Lewis, Jr. put his own multifaceted spin on chillwave when he started making solo bedroom recordings in Brooklyn as Twin Shadow. A born crooner with a nostalgic-yet-bittersweet tone to his voice, Lewis’ music is an amalgamation of everything great about rock’n’ roll. Great melodies, great lyrics, great influences, and…well, just great.
Minus the Bear have always avoided easy classification, preferring to tread their own inimitable path defined by energy and invention. “OMNI,” the Seattle-based band’s fourth full-length recording and debut Dangerbird Records release, sees a stunning evolution to their sound and vision. As evinced by the album’s all-encompassing title, Minus the Bear have merged their myriad influences into a sweeping collection marked by its slinky and sensual melding of city-stomping rock and deep funk grooves. That spirit of sonic lasciviousness is mirrored in the album’s raw take on human sexuality – a theme as intricate and elaborate as the band’s extraordinary music. Boldly experimental yet instantly accessible, “OMNI” is Minus the Bear’s most provocative and potent work to date.
Wild Nothing is the solo project of Virginia born Jack Tatum, whose music is the product of an unhealthy obsession with nostalgia. Equal parts teenage wasteland and inexplicable regret, his songs are the kind that could only be made by the young at heart. Tatum began recording under the moniker Wild Nothing in the summer of 2009 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Upon gathering attention in indie music circles, he was signed with the Captured Tracks record label and began touring with a band. His debut full-length, Gemini, was released in spring 2010 to acclaim from Pitchfork Media and the music editors at Amazon.com.
Best known as the lead vocalist for Stereolab, Laetitia Sadier was born in France and was working as a nanny in the late ’80s when she met McCarthy member Tim Gane at one of the band’s gigs in Paris. She followed Gane to London and the duo formed Stereolab soon after McCarthy disbanded in 1990. The pair was inspired by lounge-pop, bossa nova, film music, and Krautrock, but Sadier’s hypnotic vocals and leftist lyrics made the band’s sound even more distinctive.
Mission South takes the blues on a journey unlike any it has seen. With their blend of skilled songwriting, hard hitting riffs, and powerful vocals, Mission South crafts a sound that is raw, soulful and adventurous.
With a distinct sound uniting hook-soaked pop and blues-drenched rock-n-roll, Hollis Brown is a throwback to an era when music felt fresh, songwriting was revered, and performances routinely inspired. Possessing a seemingly endless supply of infectious melodies and a live show that has attracted a devoted following, Hollis Brown has distinguished itself as essential in the crowded musical landscape of New York City.
Part indie-rock preacher, part wonder-kind, Aucoin’s We’re All Dying To Live is a musical scrapbook compiling over 500 musicians, friends and fans from across Canada. We’re All Dying To Live is a testament to the metamorphic magic of music.
Here’s the situation. In Nashville, there’s an old, decrepit plantation house where three bedraggled but refined, white gentlemen drop beats, craft wordplay, design artwork, and arrange orchestral maneuvers in the dark. The structure is called Joy Mansion, and the men who dwell there staring each other down and exercising their creative rivalry for all it’s worth collaborate under the moniker of Paper Route. Having toured relentlessly with the likes of Passion Pit and mewithoutyou, won hearts and minds with their debut album Absence (2009), paid musical tribute to Lou Reed to the man’s imperturbable face at South by Southwest, and insinuated themselves into pop culture consciousness when their song, “The Music,” appeared in the film (500) Days of Summer, Paper Route have now seen fit to go for broke on the possibility that epic earnestness, lyrical depth, and poetic heft can all coincide within one ridiculously catchy song collection primarily preoccupied with—wait for it–tragedy, disappointment, and loss. Behold The Peace of Wild Things.
Washington, DC’s Ra Ra Rasputin has developed into one of the city’s most recognized local acts. Its synth-driven performances draw a varied crowd of gyrating, captivated fans, spurred on by lead singer Brock Boss’s buoyant on-stage energy and reverberating baritone. In 2010, Ra Ra Rasputin released its self-titled debut album, a collection of animated electro-dance, and followed up with the single “Forward” at the end of 2011. The group has become a staple of the Washington music scene, playing at such venues as the 9:30 Club, Black Cat, DC9, and the Velvet Lounge, and regularly brings its spirited live shows to New York, Baltimore and other cities on the East Coast.
Dance for the Dying is a synth-driven dance-rock quartet that effortlessly fuses the joyful with the melancholy to craft infectiously catchy tunes. Based in Washington, DC, the group was formed after drummer Chris Link found inspiration on a trip to India that set him on a musical mission. Through the power of the internet and mutual acquaintance, he recruited guitarist Joshua Hunter and vocalist M.C. Wolfe in 2009 and the three began crafting original songs while searching for a fourth member to solidify their sound. The band found their man when Guitarist-turned-Bassist Brad Cantor joined the group in 2010. The band has a distinct sound of 80′s and 90′s goth and pop with fast paced rock rhythms. Simply put – Dance for the Dying creates songs you could roller skate to on laser night.
Not to be confused with the New Zealand band of the same name, Crocodiles are an indie rock/noise pop band from San Diego, CA, USA. The group was formed in 2008 by core members Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell after the break-up of their former hardcore bands Some Girls and The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower. Crocodiles’ sound has typically been likened to The Jesus and Mary Chain, Echo & the Bunnymen, and Spacemen 3.
Boucher, born in Vancouver, Canada, came to Montreal in 2006. Her experience as a performer is deeply embedded in the illegal DIY loft culture of Montreal, where Grimes was one of the prominent figures in the scene surrounding Lab Synthèse – a 4600sq ft re-appropriated textile factory. She developed in a scene where punk ethos and pop music collide, resulting in a distinct sense of community, religiosity and psychedelic revelry.
For fresh, upcoming experimental rock artists, a David Byrne collaboration is the holy grail of musical success. The father of the Talking Heads, Byrne has long been seen as the leader of the music oddballs, the unashamed weirdo that made uncool cool. So it’s no surprise that Annie Clark, better known as fidgety cerebral rocker St. Vincent, was overjoyed by the chance to work with Byrne. “I think I’ve reached the pinnacle of who I want to work with,” she said recently. But after three solid LPs in five years, St. Vincent has become pretty established herself. After leaving The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens’ touring band to launch her solo career, Clark has charmed fans with her lucid, sparkling voice and curt guitar riffs. In the meantime, David Byrne was working with a host of young bands. He’s written lyrics for Thievery Corporation and Fischerspooner, and sung on tracks by Baby Elephant, N.A.S.A. and Brazilian Girls. 2009’s Dark Was The Night compilation featured bouncy single “Knotty Pine,” which he recorded and wrote with the Dirty Projectors. And on the deluxe edition of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, Byrne contributed some unearthly yelping vocals to the fantastic bonus track “Speaking in Tongues.” In today’s art-rock world, everyone wants to be eccentric uncle David’s new protégé.
Crystal Castles is an experimental electronic band which formed in 2003 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and consists of producer Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass. They are named after the lyrics “The fate of the world is safe in Crystal Castles” and “Crystal Castles, the source of all power” both from the theme song for She-Ra’s fortress. They are known for their melancholic lo-fi sound and their explosive live shows. Their debut album was included in NME’s “Top 50 Albums of the Decade”.