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by Gaelen Harlacher

11 Nov 2008


There may have been tension at the polls on Tuesday November 4th but things were running smoothly at this show. Everything ran on time with minimal gaps between bands, something that can really make or break a night for some. Rocket to the Moon kicked things off, followed by Automatic Loveletter, with Cute Is What We Aim For co-headlining with Secondhand Serenade.

Hailing from Buffalo, Cute Is What We Aim For kicked out a high energy performance and kept their political statements short and sweet. Starting with “Doctor”, the second track off their recent Fueled by Ramen release, Rotation, the band’s set was equally divided between new and old material. And as the songs flew off the stage, a few items made their way back onto it—a bra and a package of environmentally friendly animal bedding. Bras on stage are old news, animal bedding—creative.

Between songs Shaant Hacikyan (lead vocals) threw in comments such as “you’ll probably know this one,” and “maybe you’ll know this—it’s new.” Though the crowd knew the words to every song regardless of how new or old it was. According to Hacikyan it was their fourth time playing in the Big Apple and by far the best. Like the first track on Rotation and the last song of their set, “Practice Makes Perfect”.

 

by Roman Kuebler

10 Nov 2008


When Baltimore’s Oranges Band announced that they were headed into the studio to begin work on their new record, having soldiered through personnel changes and struggles at their label, Lookout Records, it seemed like an excellent time to catch up and to allow them to speak for themselves by cataloging the happenings.  Blog entries One through Five tracked them from the very beginning of pulling the band together for the first time in the studio, to laying the album down piece to piece, to looking into just why albums can sometimes take so incredibly long to finish.  In entry six, with the album largely tracked [Editor’s Note: It sounds incredible], Oranges Band frontman Roman Kuebler takes somewhat of a break from writing about the experience of recording to providing the photos that come along with it.—Jon Langmead

THE ALL PHOTO BLOG!

This is the all photo episode.  We had a few guests in while recording this album and I remembered to snap a few pictures here and there (and Dave took a few also).  Thanks to them for their contributions! Listed below the photos are links to their respective musical outputs so visit them and tell ‘em I sent ya. (I’ll get a cut of the profit if you do!)

The tape machine. A Sony JH-24 if you are interested. Use tape y’all, it’s like someone is softly whispering your songs back in your ear as you fall asleep.

Producer/Engineer Adam Cooke through the glass.

Mandy Koch (Karmella’s Game), Shawna Potter (Avec), and kicked out the background vocals for our most wannabe dance-y, ESG, “Steam”-era Peter Gabriel track to date, “When Your Mask Is Your Revealing Feature”. 

Roman does the conducting!  (Really, I was just trying to stay out the way…)

Jim Glass (Impossible Hair) is a straight-up legend! If the Oranges Band album were a play, Jim would be playing the part of Peter Murphy from Bauhaus.

Jim Glass up close and personable. Jim also does an incredible Andy Partridge of XTC, but that would be a different play.

Pat Martin (Oranges Band bass playing dude) is the least intimidating security dude ever, according to his press release. I wish the rest of the staff at the Ottobar were Koala bears.

Pat Martin is ready to field your calls.

I was afraid that my recording blog was a little lacking in technical detail so I include, for those who care about these things, a picture of rack mounted objects with knobs and screens and needles that we probably used to make our album sound so much better.

I think what I really want to do is ONLY play tambourine in bands.  I guess I’ll need to go back in time and join the Shangri-Las… or the Feelies, they had a percussionist, right? Weirdos.

RATSIZE!  We needed gang vocals on one of our songs… so I found a gang called Ratsize. Noel Danger, Matt Gabs, Pat Martin (L-R).

Noel Danger does NOT fuck around when it comes to eating a sub.

I say, “Ok, so the part is ‘OH, YEAH’”. Ratsize says, “OH YEAH!” Easy enough…

Amplifiers for a more technically and electronically rounded experience.

This is how we mix the music in the new millennium.

Jim and Roman… corporate schills!

by Thomas Hauner

5 Nov 2008


The occasion was Cold War Kids’ sophomore album Loyalty to Loyalty tour, but the atmosphere was more akin to recently parted college pals boozing it up like they’d never split up. Their hour and a half long set sampled both old and new repertoire, though you wouldn’t know it by the crowd’s thrilled responses.

Opening with “Every Valley is Not a Lake” off of Loyalty, their sound was epic but unrefined enough to lend itself to the inebriated blues-y timbre that inhabits lead singer Nathan Willett’s vocals. Pounding on the keyboard, Willett matched drummer Matt Aveiro’s throbbing beats, which along with Matt Maust’s pointillistic and driving bass playing made up the majority of the group’s heavy minimalist sound.

They romped through fan favorites like “We Used to Vacation”, “Hospital Beds”, and “Hang Me Up to Dry”. During “Robbers” they took a particularly humbling DIY approach to the lighting, presenting two flashlights (and not even Maglites) to serve as isolated beams randomly moving about while playing in their wandering silhouettes one-handed. Together it emphasized the song’s underlying sense of loneliness and aimlessness.

Other songs also evoked the group’s isolated timbres. “Every Man I Fall For” suggested the warm yet minor sounds of the Stones’ stumbling intro to “Under My Thumb” before ripping into more reverb heavy strums.

The Kids keenly made sure to set Willett’s respective keyboard and piano at opposite and extreme ends of the stage, allowing Maust and guitarist Jonnie Russell the maximum space to thrash and jump unpredictably. The two were also partial to smacking multiple maracas against several cymbals available at the front of the stage.

The audience matched the group’s youthful exuberance (propelled by a Goonies-like pirate backdrop no doubt) with timely handclaps on “Hospital Beds”. But the real pageantry occurred during the encore when a trombone and clarinet player paraded onto the stage to blast some indecipherable notes on finale “Saint John.” Their panache and movements seemed to do enough to add flavor to the already well-loved tune.

by Christian John Wikane

4 Nov 2008


Brooklyn-based soul chanteuse Maiysha headed uptown over the weekend to perform at the Get Out the Vote drive hosted by Congressman Charles B. Rangel in the plaza of the Harlem State Office Building on 125th St. in New York. Hundreds of voters took the “A” train to hear community leaders and musicians lend their voices to a pre-Election Day celebration in support of Senator Barack Obama’s campaign to win the Presidency on 4 November.

Maiysha treated the audience to two tracks off her debut album, This Much Is True (Eusonia, 2008), including the reggae-sway of “U.S.H.” (“United States of Hysteria”) and the album’s first single, “Wanna Be”. In the next few weeks, Maiysha will travel to her native Chicago for another round of promo dates before the New Year.

by Thomas Hauner

3 Nov 2008


It wasn’t Halloween night, but in New York a minimum of three days before and after October 31st is all that’s necessary for costume-induced revelry. And enough fans dressed ambiguously enough that the line between costume and outfit was thin. When MGMT, the duo consisting of keyboardist Ben Goldwasser and guitarist Andrew VanWyngarden, and their supporting band took the stage in matching Three Amigos attire, the crowd roared in delight.

And that was the general trend all night. The crowd clamored in delight every time Goldwasser approached his mic (he didn’t get more animated than that), lead guitarist James Richardson ripped into another fret-shredding solo, and whenever the group’s meandering jams coalesced into danceable beats.

The group seemed at ease on stage despite the surrounding underage regalement and general hysteria. They cruised through the majority of Oracular Spectacular, including their certifiable hits “Electric Feel” and “Time to Pretend”. But they lingered on “The Handshake” and a couple of other tracks, jamming extensively under Richardson’s commanding solos.

Singing has never been VanWyngarden’s strong suit—the album clearly works some auto-tune magic—but it was rough-hewn enough that it suited their ‘60s inspired indie sound well. “Weekend Wars”, however, simply sounds constipated and it did so equally live.

Winding down their set with “Kids”, they set down their instruments singing along to Goldwasser’s mostly solo electronic engineering. But they weren’t quite done and VanWyngarden pressed Richardson to follow his lead with playing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” What followed was a train-wreck of a cover, with VanWyngarden screeching out the vocals in an even loftier falsetto than usual and the bass player struggling to follow Richardson’s chords.

Though MGMT’s innovative psychedelic indie pop sound and songs of fated delusions made for a solid debut album, their only live embellishment was an exhilarating third-party guitarist. (And also their costumes.)

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Double Take: The African Queen (1951)

// Short Ends and Leader

"What a time they had, Charlie and Rosie. They'll never lack for stories to tell their grandchildren. And what a time we had at Double Take discussing the spiritual and romantic journey of the African Queen.

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