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by Jonathan Kosakow

23 Oct 2009


Emmanuel & the Fear
The Living Room, New York City
It takes a lot of ambition to write rock songs that could serve as the score for a dramatic opera, but Brooklyn’s Emmanuel & the Fear do not shy away from it, nor do they fail to live up to the task.  Intricate arrangements for an 11-piece rock orchestra are the driving force behind this band, which provide the groundwork for passionately sung lyrics.  After only a year and a half together, it’s quite a feat to be at such a level of talent, and this accidental audience member is glad the Living Room’s schedule ran 45 minutes late so he could catch the show.

by Vijith Assar

23 Oct 2009


YACHT
DFA Records Showcase
Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn
“We are the new stepchildren of DFA,” is how Jona Bechtolt put it, and he’s right on the money.  The guts and gusto of his band are at times obviously distilled from his label’s parental figure, LCD Soundsystem, but only some of those elements worked.  Chunky industrial kick drum sounds: yes; Travolta-in-Grease programming thereof: no.  Some of the group’s lineage here is questionable, and although mutts typically make great pets, that doesn’t mean you should bother trying to mate a lab with a marmot.

 

James Murphy
DFA Records Showcase
Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn
Uh oh, papa’s home.  I’m still a little astonished that I didn’t spend Murphy’s entire DJ set wishing it was an LCD Soundsystem performance
instead, but he arrived swinging hard with glitzy house, falsetto-laden nu-disco, and golden time capsule obscurities.  Montana Sextet, anybody?  Predictably, the younger contingent bum-rushed the door the moment he started upstaging his new protégés. Let’s hope they stick around next time. I’ll need a crowd for cover in order to get away with stealing his iPod.

by Thomas Hauner

22 Oct 2009


Free Energy
Santos Party House, New York City
“This is all we got tonight,” sang Free Energy in raggedy, homespun harmonies.  It was the sentiment, however, not the vocals, which resonated in their early set.  They played an agreeable synthesis of classic, at times psychedelic, rock (two raging, and dueling, Epiphone Les Pauls) and post-punk dance music (propulsive rhythms and a skinny, dancing front man), instantly becoming the best bar band around without even playing a cover.  Whether their sound could convince a dance floor is dubious, despite their tambourine and cowbell qualifications.  As new additions to the DFA family, though, I’m sure I’ll be proven wrong reasonably soon.

by Caroline Shadood

22 Oct 2009


Pete and the Pirates at Bell House, Brooklyn

Surf City
Bell House, Brooklyn
I hate to slap on labels like “buzz” or “bandwagon,” but when every song intro in some way replicates The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and then develops into a more Japandroids concoction, it’s hard not to.  The resurgence of, often over-calculated, garage music has fully breached Brooklyn boarders, and New Zealand’s Surf City is wallowing in the flood zone.  Though pleasant sounding they lacked innovation, making it harder to appreciate the soothing melodies and hints at surf rock that my ears usually welcome.

by Stephen Stirling

22 Oct 2009


Javelin
Mercury Lounge, New York City
It’s tough to perform electronic music live.  The availability of reliable, touch-sensitive MIDI interfaces has made this somewhat easier, but still, if you don’t have a Daft Punk LED pyramid or a primo sound system it’s difficult to keep people interested if they’re not moving their feet.  But when Javelin began setting up their day-glo boom box collection—which they use to amplify their music using an old FM radio transmitter—I thought for sure they’d have a shot a bucking this trend.  Sadly, it wasn’t to be.  Javelin’s 45-minute set was plagued with sound problems that muddied their infectious brand of dance pop from the start.  Couple that with a dead audience and Tom Van Buskirk feeling the need to rap-sing over several songs that had no lyrics to begin with and I had had enough.  Javelin has a few more CMJ shows this year, but I think they need to take a mulligan on this one.

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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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