Day Wave, the musical project from the Jackson Phillips, released their first single last year but quickly saw their buzz grow across the blogosphere. This year, one month after the release of their debut EP, Headcase, Day Wave brought his dreamy rock to the sold-out Mercury Lounge in New York City to perform for the first time in the city. Before the doors opened on that August evening, a long line had formed at the venue of people waiting to get in including—surprisingly the group in front of me discussed already having seen Day Wave perform somewhere, so it seems he’s building a fanbase. Before Day Wave took the stage, they had Brooklyn based Surf Rock Is Dead stir up the crowd.
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Andy Shauf‘s most recent album The Bearer of Bad News was released in his home country of Canada in 2012. Yet it was only released in the United States this year. I first heard it ahead of Newport Folk Festival and I immediately recalled the music of Elliot Smith and Nick Drake. Almost the entirety of the album is depressing, but his songs and stories are well crafted. Shauf created Bearer with his modest means, in his own home.
During his set at Newport, Shauf admitted that most of the songs on the album were kind of “downers” before he did one of the happier tunes. While that one ended up receiving a lot of applause, the entirety of his solo set was enjoyable. People raptly listened, sad tunes and all. Afterwards, PopMatters had a chance to speak with Shauf about his songwriting and recording processes after his Newport set, learning a little about this modest musician from Canada.
California band Vintage Trouble are set to release their second studio album 1 Hopeful Rd. this week with some gigs in their home state. But the four piece band was recently in New York to headline a free show that was part of Lincoln Center’s ‘Out of Doors’ series. Vintage Trouble, along with The Skins and Lion Babe, drew a huge crowd to Damrosch Park, one that wound around the block and stayed there till the end since the cordoned off space reached capacity early on. Unfortunately those left outside missed a wild performance.
Vintage Trouble, frontman Ty Taylor, guitarist Nalle Colt, bassist Rick Barrio Dill and drummer Richard Danielson, played a ferocious set of rock that draws from southern roots, blues and other genres to create an even more volatile mix. In one of his brief resting moments, Taylor reflected on how the two genres of music in AFROPUNK are not as dissimilar as one might think. He was of course referencing the AFROPUNK Festival as one of the organizers of this event. AFROPUNK returns to Brooklyn August 22nd and 23rd, and Vintage Trouble will make another appearance there, having played the fest in 2013. Check out our photos from the show below as well as Vintage Trouble tour dates and information on AFROPUNK Brooklyn.
New York’s X Ambassadors, hot off the release of their first album VHS, were booked to open for German duo, Milky Chance at Summerstage in Central Park. They are a quickly growing favorite that I had heard of because they are local. Milky Chance on the other hand, I hadn’t heard of but was curious to check out because they had sold out Summerstage and tickets were commanding 3x times face value at one point. Their music is described as folk with a dash of international flavor, including reggae, and electronic mixed in. The show review over at Pancakes and Whiskey, included a vivid description of their music, “Milky Chance’s sound hit the air like dye on cotton, bleeding together instantly and branching out endlessly.” But, I didn’t quite latch on to what they were creating. Maybe I’m a little too old for tye-dye as my mind was not as accepting of their music. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would thought I would have given the interesting combination of music.
José González is an indie singer-songwriter from Sweden and, with the release of his first proper album Veneer in 2003, he found a lot of fans, particularly as his songs “Crosses” and his cover of the Knife’s “Heartbeat” got a lot of buzz. The album was successful enough that he ended up not following through with his pursuit of a PhD and he has continued to work on a variety of musical projects since then, most recently another solo release, 2015’s Vestiges & Claws. I’ve followed his musical career since that album and, having seen him perform a couple of times in the past year, was looking forward to his Newport set.
Unfortunately, his Harbor stage slot on Saturday 25 July conflicted with Sufjan Stevens on the Fort stage so I knew I couldn’t see it all of González’s performance. But I did get over in time to watch him perform “Line of Fire”, a song he did with Junip, and one of Vestiges’ singles, “Open Book”. The next day, it turned out he was to do a surprise set at a corporate sponsored stage but I arrived there to find a large crowd already spilling out of a small room. I could neither see him nor hear his delicate music very well in part due to louder music from the Quad Stage. The two Newport sets were more intimate than the two recent performances I saw of his in New York, so it would have been a treat to see them entirely. But fortunately, I had spotted González lingering back stage (and talking with Jon Batiste at one point) and had arranged to speak with him about his various musical interests, projects and his birthday show last year.