It has been hard for Pete Yorn to make an album that critically surpasses his 2001 debut, Musicforthemorningafter. That record, with it’s scratchy, needle drop intro is ingrained in my memory and a string of hits like “Murray”, “Strange Condition” and “Life on a Chain” was an impressive debut. Since then, Yorn has released five more albums, including this year’s similarly strung together title Arrangingtime, his first in six years. The new album sees Yorn reteaming with his original producer R. Walt Vincent to create a set of warm songs that envelop Yorn’s generally strong lyrics. At Irving Plaza in New York City, Yorn treated fans to a set that drew from his entire catalog, including many of my aforementioned favorites. Check out photos from the show below and catch Yorn on the road as he wraps up his tour.
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RNDM, the band featuring Joseph Arthur, Richard Stuverud and Jeff Ament (of Pearl Jam), went on tour to support their latest album Ghost Riding with a short string of dates across the United States in early March. Ament had been kind enough to speak to PopMatters about the recording process and the band’s expanded sound ahead of the show (in case you missed the interview, you can find it here) and of course we went to check out the versatile group’s performance. Photos are below.
At the same time I was taking the photos, Joseph Arthur’s friend, videographer Ehud Lazin and his crew were capturing the event across multiple cameras. He and the band were kind enough to allow us to premiere the live video of “Trouble” from the Gramercy Theatre show here. Since their RNDM tour ended, Arthur has announced a forthcoming solo record The Family (which is now available for pre-order) and will hit the road later this month. Ament too will be touring, but this time he sets out for arena shows with Pearl Jam, beginning their tour tonight in Florida. Their respective tour dates follow below.
“It used to make me sad, now I just like it,” said the girl next to me during Lower Dens’ set, perfectly summing up everyone’s relationship with indie music. And it was in fact a string of sad days for Jana Hunter and Lower Dens, as their van had been stolen a couple of weeks prior (coincidence or not, in Ted Cruz’s home state). They’re two thirds of the way through their fundraising campaign for getting some of it back—go help out! The set, besides comprising heavily of bass and synth backing tracks that it would have been a pleasure to see performed, was a laid back, Hunter-being-herself playing the tunes kind of set. Happened to be extra special due to her iridescent thrift store shirt, worn, apparently, in honor of Ruban Nielson’s birthday.
Watching Wagakki Band‘s New York City performance last week, one thing was certain. There are few shows like this and half the fun in attending was to see something totally unique. Even the security guards at Irving Plaza were transfixed by the band’s show. Wagakki Band fuse traditional Japanese instruments together with guitars and other “Western” elements to create a powerful show. Even the band’s costumes were a powerful vision. Some were in traditional garb while the drummer(s) appeared to be in plated armor straight out of a Final Fantasy game. Check out exclusive photos of the band’s performance and a video clip below.
Over at New Music Matters, writer Jane Jansen Seymour noted that it was her first time catching the legendary New Order live (as it was mine). I’m not super familiar with their back catalog (outside their hits) but I do appreciate Get Ready and their newest album Music Complete, the two new millennium albums that Gillian Gilbert contributed to. As Seymore aptly noted, “it was clearly the older tunes that the crowd was waiting for to dance and sing along. “Temptation”, “Ceremony”, “Bizarre Love Triangle” and “Age of Consent” were all rolled out, along with “You Silent Face,” the composition that Moby has remarked how it proved electronic music could be beautiful in its own right. The busy projections behind the musicians competed with the audience attention, but acoustically there could be no complaints—the sound was perfectly supplemented by plenty of prerecorded tracks.”
Beyond those New Order hits, the band included, in their encore, two Joy Division songs, “Atmosphere” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, before they ran into curfew and had to cut out before they could conclude with “Blue Monday” (the song was noted on the setlist). They’ve got a few more dates of their US tour still to come before they run the gamut of European festivals in the summer. Check out some photos of Bernard Sumner and the band below.