Monday, October 17, 2011

The Sheepdogs - Irving Plaza, Oct. 12, 2011

The Sheepdogs at Irving Plaza

It's not often to walk into Irving Plaza to find, of all things, an open bar. Indeed, for such a large crowd, such indulgences are a rarity, especially these days. Suffice to say, I was pleasantly surprised last week when I walked in to the Rolling Stone-sponsored event and was greeted with free beer.

All of this is to say that, by the time the music was set to begin, I was in quite a good mood, both from the beer and the fact that my wallet would remain full. I was, you might say, in the mood for rock.

Rolling Stone had invited two great acts to entertain those of us lucky enough to be there, and I can't stress enough that the first act on the bill, a southern-rock outfit from Saskatchewan known as The Sheepdogs, did not fail to deliver on their intent to rock. Apparently, they were band that came out on top of a popular vote, a "Choose the Cover" competition that ran this summer. These four dudes, decked out in true southen rock fashion, had their images plastered on the cover of America's favorite music magazine. I would have known this prior to the show if I was a subscriber to that particular publication. Guess I'm missing out!

The people have spoken about the Sheepdogs, it looks like, and while I might be one to question the judgment of large groups of people, in this instance they were on the money. The Sheepdogs' set was groovy. I write the word lightly, but I mean it and believe in its essence. Their grooves were almost visible; their aura was pure calm. Confidence is a virtue in this business, and these guys have the confidence to get up on stage and play live rock 'n roll at tempos slower than the average person would think wise.

Seriously, in this day and age, everyone tends to rush their rockingest songs. Who wants to go to a rock show and hear slow music? Right? So with the exception of the occasional power ballad, live versions of songs tend to be speedy, maybe even rushed. This was not the case with the Sheepdogs. I went home and listened to their most recent EP, "Five Easy Pieces," and was confirmed in my suspicions that they were playing their songs live at the same tempo that they had laid down on the record! Imagine my surprise. Can you, even?

Okay, so I wasn't that surprised, but I will say that I was pleased. It's not like their set suffered in the least. These guys can shred, and do so in the spirit of the great ones: The Allmans, Skynyrd. They even had a hint of 70s rock, a little Steely Dan perhaps? Their song "How Late, How Long," was a particular favorite of mine. Great riff, great harmonies. Lead singer and guitarist Ewen Currie has a clear and firm voice, well suited for this kind of music. Both he and guitarist Leot Hanses had confidence in their technique and took great solos. Ryan Gullen on bass and Sam Corbett on drums were rock solid in their holding down of the aforementioned grooves.

By the end of the set, the people were dancing. That makes it twice that the will of the people has been spot-on. I congratulate the collective unconscious of my fellow music fans, and will now learn to listen, sometimes, to things I read in Rolling Stone.

Monday, October 3, 2011



"Found A Star On The Ground"


October 3, 2011 - (Burbank, CA) - THE FLAMING LIPS have recorded a brand new song titled "Found A Star On The Ground," which is undoubtedly the longest single piece of music ever recorded clocking in at a generous 360 minutes. That's six hours of continuous psychedeliscized music with a view to raise 100% of the proceeds to benefit local Oklahoma concerns: The Central Oklahoma Humane Society and The Academy of Contemporary Music at The University of Central Oklahoma. Much has already been outlined in the press but the official details can finally be revealed.

"Found A Star On The Ground," began as possible 25 minute opus but as the band actually began the recording process in Steven Drozd' home studio in Oklahoma City, the ideas began to flow well beyond all scope of epic proportions as one might expect from THE LIPS. A few days of recording blurred into a 4 week off and on process in-between regional and International concert appearances.

It became apparent to the band that this would be the perfect vehicle to foster a charitable component to raise and benefit local foundations that have been close to the hearts of the band for the past several years. The idea arose that THE LIPS could reach out to their fans via their official website and Wayne's by now famous personal Twitter following. For a donation of $100- fans would have their name appear somewhere in the song and feel good about contributing to a pair of worthy causes the band could share with their fans. Sean Lennon recently recorded the long list contributors' names to the recording.

The song itself will be contained within a newly-developed mesmerizing toy, THE STROBO TRIP. This unique devise has been called "A Light & Audio Phase Illusions Toy" to use used in conjunction with "Found A Star On The Ground" to create a complete Lipsian happening to be enjoyed by yourself or with other interesting people or pets. Honestly users, you'll just have to experience this multi-sensory phenomenon for yourselves to understand the concept.

Coyne says, "THE STROBO TRIP by itself is fascinating. I wouldn't be a surprised to hear about some people taking LSD or something, while listening to "Found A Star On The Ground," and playing with THE STROBO TRIP for hours and hours. We hope you'll enjoy them anyway you like."

If a single 6-hour-long song weren't enough, THE STROBO TRIP will also contain two more brand new -and much shorter) songs.

THE STROBO TRIP Track listing:

1. Butterfly, How Long It Takes To Die
2. Found A Star On The Ground
3. Evil Minds

The STROBO TRIP will be available shortly.Keep an eye on for details as they become available.

To date, THE LIPS have raised approximately $20,000 in proceeds from this project to be split equally between The Central Oklahoma Humane Society and The Academy of Contemporary Music at The University of Central Oklahoma. Coyne explains "The homeless animal situation in Oklahoma City is at an all-time high - the worst I've ever seen. A lot of animals are suffering and need help. It's all about being aware of this problem and just one way we can make an immediate impact now for The Central Oklahoma Humane Society. The Flaming Lips love all creatures - it's always been part of our philosophy." As for The Academy of Contemporary Music at The University of Central Oklahoma, Coyne adds, "When we were a young band starting out, we didn't have any kind of outlet to help us make necessary connections. This school helps provide the students with a connection to all aspects of a supportive music community. As technology progresses, this is a way for us to help provide the students with upgraded computers and equipment which as you know becomes obsolete quickly. They need to up to date to keep up with that progression to fuel their ideas in all areas in the creation and knowledge of music and art of music making."

THE FLAMING LIPS are currently on tour:

Oct 24 - Portland, ME @ State Theatre w/Kurt Vile
Oct 25 - Rochester, NY @ Main Street Armory w/Kurt Vile
Oct 27 - Norfolk, VA @ The Norva w/Kurt Vile
Oct 28 - North Charleston, SC @ North Charleston Performing Arts Center
Oct 29 - Asheville, NC @ Moogfest
Nov 12 - Melbourne, Australia @ Harvest Festival w/Portishead, The National, Bright Eyes & more
Nov 13 - Sydney, Australia @ Harvest Festival w/Portishead, The National, Bright Eyes & more
Nov 16 - Adelaide, Australia @ Thebarton Theatre
Nov 17 - Melbourne, Australia @ The Palace Theatre
Nov 19 - Brisbane, Australia @ Harvest Festival w/Portishead, The National, Bright Eyes & more

In between touring, THE LIPS will continue to record new music to come in various unique formats to be released in the coming months. At this time we can confirm the rumors of a single 24-hour-long song are indeed insane and absolutely true. THE LIPS are recording the track this month. While lots rumors, speculations and "facts" have been circulating suffice to say official details will be announced once we really know how, when etc. Stay tuned for details.

About The Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma:

The Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO) is more than a music school, it's a connection. UCO has teamed up with the ACM of London to offer a music education that really is all about the music. Students are taught by accomplished musicians, production experts, and music business professionals, people who have been there. Not only that, but students will also receive master class instruction from some of today's stars from the world of rock, pop, gospel and country music such as Roger Daltrey and Jackson Browne. Through ACM@UCO, students will connect to the music industry through auditions, live performances, industry showcases, as well as a web-based database of talent. At ACM@UCO, our focus is on building the careers of our talented students through preparation and exposure. More info at!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

TV On The Radio, Broken Social Scene; Williamsburg Waterfront, September 8th 2011

Canadian band Broken Social Scene joined Brooklyn-based rockers TV on the Radio for an excellent night of music at the always-beautiful East River State Park in Williamsburg. A light misting of rain did not deter the sold-out crowd in the least, and spirits were high for the smart double-bill, a home court show for TV on the Radio and one of the last shows (for the moment, at least) for Broken Social Scene in New York City.

Broken Social Scene is known for bringing out a small army for their live shows, and last night was no exception. At various points during their set, I counted three guitarists, a bass that made its way around the band, two auxiliary percussionists, a few synths that were also touched by many hands, and something like five horn players: three big saxes, a trombone, and a trumpet. Oh, and one of the guitarists picked up a cornet, more than once. Versatility was a theme of the evening for sure.

It's no joke, hopping around on instruments like that. There is a reason that more bands don't do it at their shows, and that reason is that it's HARD. Bad things can happen on stage when too many people are moving around. As a longtime fan of the band but first time audience member, I was pleased to see that this relative difficulty did not deter them from being the aggressive multi-instrumentalists that they are at heart. Sometimes, playing one instrument the whole show just gets boring.

The band played a very good set to a receptive crowd. They were "opening" but you couldn't tell from their stage demeanor or their sound. They were fully invested in the show and it was clear that the crowd appreciated it. The setlist consisted of a nice selection from their broad catalog, including a Modest Mouse cover and even a brand new song. The horn section was tight and the arrangements were tasteful and effective. Even thought the group, in various forms, has been doing it for years, it felt new and unpredictable.

The same could be said for TV on the Radio. Their set was extremely high energy, and sonically thrilling. Though they refrained from too much instrument hopping, they were stellar nonetheless. The band has certainly evolved over the years in their recorded output, and though the setlist mostly contained cuts from "Dear Science" and "Nine Types of Light," it was clear that they were interested in showcasing their stylistic diversity. They did include "Staring at the Sun," a song from 2003 that was nice to hear live.

The musicianship was as good as you'd expect it to be from a group of consummate professionals like TVOTR. Dave Sitek's guitar work was phenomenal, and Tunde Adebimpe's vocals were clear and bright. Kip Malone has a surprisingly effective falsetto range, and is always impressive on guitar. And as sad as it was that Gerard Smith was absent from the stage, the band dedicated a song (among other things) to the memory of their former bass player, and at no time did it seem that they lacked sincerity.

One of the high points of the entire show was the lighting, which was an excellent mixture of rhythmic design and colorful variety. It was good to see Williamsburg Waterfront utilize their excellent stage and lighting setup, and it really contributed to the the overall enjoyability of the show. Sadly, the sound did not quite live up to the visuals, and I was often left wondering why the bass and kick were drowning out much of the middle register of both acts. A shame, considering how much beautiful mid-range content both bands put in to their songs. It was disappointing, if only for the fact that I heard better sound design last week at the same venue.

Despite that minor setback, it was an excellent show, and it was especially nice to be part of an enthusiastic crowd that was with both bands for the duration of their sets. Fans definitely got their money's worth, and it seemed to me that everyone left pretty happy about the whole thing. It's a nice feeling, isn't it? Doesn't always work out that way. Let's hope for more shows like it in the future.

BSS photo credit - Norman Wong, TVotR - Nine Types Of Light cover art.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bright Eyes, Dr Dog & Real Estate played Brooklyn's Williamsburg Waterfront.

Bright Eyes - Conor Oberst
Williamsburg Waterfront at East River State Park, home to some of the summer's biggest ticketed and free live shows, logged another solidly successful evening of music in the books this past Wednesday with the eclectic combination of Bright Eyes, Dr. Dog, and Real Estate. At first, these three bands seemed like odd choices to fill a bill, as they all bring a different brand of sound and songwriting to the table, but as the evening progressed, it became evident that the bands' differences were indeed the strength of the evening.
This reviewer wants to avoid making generalizations of any kind about the fans of specific bands that bought tickets for this show. That being said, it seems unreasonable (in these thrifty times) to spend forty-plus dollars on a ticket to just see the headliner. Those music appreciators who only made an appearance for Bright Eyes missed out on two solid sets of music, one of which bordered on the brilliant and made the evening well worth the price of admission before Conor Oberst even had a chance to set foot on stage.
Real Estate - Martin Courtney
Real Estate - Alex Bleeker
Real Estate, New Jersey's indie surf-rock darlings, made the most of their opening slot, filling their short set with aural energy. The band was tight, and the (relatively) thin crowd that was planted in front of the stage showed their appreciation for the ensemble effort to make the songs pop. It can be hard for a band to bring significant amounts of energy for an daytime opening slot in the great outdoors, and while one could make the argument that the band appeared listless, this reviewer thinks that they should not be faulted for putting on a sonically pleasing set and leaving the theatrics for the bands on deck.

Dr Dog - Toby Leaman
Dr Dog - Scott Mc Micken
All of which brings us to Dr. Dog, and quite possibly one of the best sets of the summer season. The sun was still shining brightly when the band took the stage, but they immediately set an aggressive and highly energetic tone for their (unfortunately short) set of songs. They played a balanced and thoughtfully arranged selection of songs from "Shame, Shame" and "Fate," their two most recent full lengths, and they played these songs with gusto and precision. Downtime was kept to a minimum, and they managed to play an impressive number of songs in forty-five minutes, even squeezing in an encore of "Heart It Races," their version of the Architecture in Helsinki song that is always a pleasure to hear live. In short, they played the hits, and didn't really stray too far from them, but that simply did not matter. They were, for the entire set, a pure pleasure to watch. This reviewer hesitates to name another band that is capable of that kind of commendable artistry in an opening slot.

Bright Eyes - Conor Oberst
Bright Eyes capped off the evening with a set of songs that was marked by inconsistencies and left the audience pleased but wanting. The band started strong, with frontman Oberst delivering his idiosyncratic lyrics with his trademark vocal delivery. The rest of the band was quite entertaining as well, and they displayed a remarkable amount of versatility, given Mr. Oberst's tendency to write songs in any style that he wants. The other two core members of the band, lead guitarist Mike Mogis and pianist/trumpter Nate Walcott, were consistently impressive throughout the set, and the band was rounded out by excellent percussionists and a synth player.
They drove hard and hit some great numbers in the first half of the set, but things took a turn for the strange about halfway through, with Oberst calling out a song that the rest of the band didn't particularly want to play and was followed by the band and Oberst playing and singing the song rather poorly, drawing it out a few minutes too many. After that, the energy of the set seemed to wane, but things were picked up again as the band closed things out. The best moments of the set were when Oberst and the band played their uptempo, pop-oriented numbers, and when Oberst got to show off his considerable stage presence. Overall, a very enjoyable set. - DH

Photos by Greg Jacquin
Words by Dylan Hume

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Blitzen Trapper - American Goldwing available September 13, 2011 on Sub Pop.

Here's a review of Blitzen Trapper's "American Goldwing" written by Dylan Hume. Band photo by Tyler Kohlhoff.
I want to put it all on the table. I really like Blitzen Trapper. I really like their albums, and I really like their live performances. So it shouldn't be surprising when I tell you that I really like their newest album, "American Goldwing." But I'm also supposed to be thinking critically about music, right? I mean, right. This is a review. So let me be clear: "American Goldwing" is not Blitzen Trapper's best album. Not even close. It may not even be top three.
Does that mean I don't like it? No. Certainly not. But for a band that has put out four records in five years on a big indie label, their musical evolution seems to be, and I want to be careful about how I use this word here, stagnating.
The album starts strong, and is spotty throughout. Some of the uptempo rockers give you that tingling feeling, like the one you got when you heard "Destroyer of the Void" for the first time. Some of the slower, folkier tunes are pleasantly reminiscent of "Furr." In fact, there wasn't really a moment on the record when I wasn't reminded of one of their old records, which, given how good their older records are, isn't really a condemnation of the band. But it does speak to some nebulous flaw, some missing creative enzyme. I wanted something a little bit (just a little bit) new.
Blitzen Trapper's seemingly effortless blend of several distinct tropes from country, rock and folk music suggest that the band is comprised of individuals who are careful listeners and dedicated fans of those artists who first recognized the potential that lay within blurring the lines of genre. I hate to say "You know who I'm talking about," but if you don't know who I'm talking about, you probably shouldn't be listening to Blitzen Trapper in the first place. It is great music if you like other, older great music.
Luckily for me, I love great music, and Blitzen Trapper makes great music. The album is full of great songwriting, period. Lyrically, it's as good as it's ever been, maybe even better than "Furr," which I regard as a high point of lyricism for the entirety of 2008, and not just for Blitzen Trapper.
The album is also full of great musicianship and production. Everything sounds crisp, the band sounds tight. The cuts sound live, more or less, with the exception of a few moments of studio indulgence by the band. These guys are purists. They wouldn't be making these kinds of records if they weren't, and I respect them for it.
But I can't forgive the album for its inconsistencies. These guys are really comfortable making this kind of music. And they've made a lot of it in recent years, and I can't ever see myself telling them to stop. I just happen to think artists should be more comfortable with doing something different. I know I'm probably in the minority here.  I'm going to go listen to the album again, all the while hoping that I'm wrong. - DH
American Goldwing Tracks:
Might Find It Cheap Fletcher Love the Way You Walk Away Your Crying Eyes My Home Town Girl In a Coat American Goldwing Astronaut Taking It Easy Too Long Street Fighting Sun Stranger In a Strange Land
Friday, September 9, 2011  Crystal Ballroom, Portland OR Music Fest North West
Monday, September 12, 2011  Music Millennium, Portland OR in-store @ 8PM!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011  Easy Street (Queen Anne), Seattle WA in-store 7PM!!
Friday, October 7, 2011  Mystic Theater, Petaluma CA w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Saturday, October 8, 2011  Soho Restaurant & Music Club, Santa Barbara CA w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Sunday, October 9, 2011  Belly Up, Solana Beach CA w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Monday, October 10, 2011  Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix AZ w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Tuesday, October 11, 2011  Sol Santa Fe, Santa Fe NM w/Smoke Fairies & Dawes
Thursday, October 13, 2011  Club Dada, Dallas TX w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Friday, October 14, 2011  UTOPIAfest, Utopia TX
Saturday, October 15, 2011  Manship Theatre, Baton Rouge LA w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Sunday, October 16, 2011  Bottle Tree, Birmingham AL w/ Smoke Fairies
Tuesday, October 18, 2011  Variety Playhouse, Atlanta GA w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Wednesday, October 19, 2011  Mercy Lounge, Nashville TN w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Thursday, October 20, 2011  Headliner's Music Hall, Louisville KY w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Friday, October 21, 2011  Orange Peel, Asheville NC w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Saturday, October 22, 2011  Cats Cradle, Carrboro NC w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Monday, October 24, 2011  Black Cat, Washington DC w/ Smoke Fairies & Dawes
Wednesday, October 26, 2011  Webster Hall, New York City NY w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Thursday, October 27, 2011  Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia PA w/ Dawes & Smoke Fairies
Friday, October 28, 2011  Royale (MA), Boston MA w/ Dawes & Belle Brigade
Saturday, October 29, 2011  Mohawk Place, Buffalo NY w/ The Belle Brigade All Ages!
Sunday, October 30, 2011  Opera House (ON), Toronto Ontario w/ Dawes & Belle Brigade
Tuesday, November 1, 2011  Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland OH w/ Dawes & Belle Brigade
Wednesday, November 2, 2011  Calvin College Fine Arts Center, Grand Rapids MI w/ Dawes & Belle Brigade
Thursday, November 3, 2011  Metro, Chicago IL w/ Dawes & Belle Brigade
Thursday, November 3, 2011  Reckless Records (Broadway), Chicago IL In-Store! @ 6PM
Friday, November 4, 2011  First Avenue, Minneapolis MN w/ Dawes
Saturday, November 5, 2011  Turner Hall, Milwaukee WI w/ Dawes & Belle Brigade
Monday, November 7, 2011  Fox Theater (CO), Boulder CO w/ Dawes & Belle Brigade
Thursday, November 10, 2011  Rickshaw Theater (BC), Vancouver Canada w/ Dawes & Belle Brigade
Friday, November 11, 2011  Neptune Theatre, Seattle WA w/ Dawes & Belle Brigade
Sunday, November 13, 2011  McDonald Theatre, Eugene OR w/ Dawes & Belle Brigade
Tuesday, November 15, 2011  Fillmore, The (SF), San Francisco CA w/ Dawes & Belle Brigade

Monday, August 29, 2011

Endless Now by Male Bonding out today, Aug 29

Endless Now by Male Bonding out today, Aug 29
Additional North American Shows Announced
Male Bonding are a noise-pop trio from London. The band’s debut record, Nothing Hurts, was described by Pitchfork as, “…the sound of a fast, fuzzy rock band racing from hook to hook, plowing happily through breakdowns and guitar blasts, springing through scrappy melodies with style. It’s one of the happiest surprises of the year so far.” Today, August 29th, their second effort, Endless Now, is officially available for your purchasing pleasure. Click here to stream the bands new record in its entirety. If you purchase Endless Now, via you will receive a limited edition Male Bonding designed patch. Head over to, and purchase this ripper.

Due to Hurricane Irene, Male Bonding had to cancel their Philadelphia show on Sunday August 28 and moved/reschedule their Brooklyn gig for tomorrow, Tuesday Aug 30, which is now at the Cameo Gallery (previously at Glasslands.) Those of you who reside on the West Coast will be happy to know that the band has announced additional shows on your side of this great nation. See below for a full list of dates. For more information on Male Bonding please visit:

MP3- Bones
MP3- Tame the Sun
Video-Tame the Sun

Video- Bones

Video-Before It’s Gone

Video- What’s That Scene?

Video- Can’t Dream

Male Bonding Tour Dates: 

Aug 29 Mercury Lounge, New York NY 

Aug 30 Cameo Gallery, Brooklyn NY
Aug 31 Brighton Music Hall, Boston MA 

Sep 01 lI Motore, Montreal, QE 

Sep 02 Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, ON 

Sep 03 Magic Stick Lounge, Detroit, MI 

Sep 08 Subtereanean, Chicago, IL 

Sep10 Red Palace, Washington, DC

Oct 21 Media Club, Vancouver, Canada 

Oct 22 Chop Suey, Seattle, WA 

Oct 23 Bunk Bar, Portland, OR

Oct 25 Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, CA 

Oct 29 Satellite (CA), Los Angeles, CA 

St Vincent on The Late Show With David Letterman tonight.

A note from Annie:

Hey Everybody -

I wanted to let you know that I'm going to be performing "Cruel" on the Late Show tonight.

Late Show with David Letterman
Monday, August 29th
11:35PM/10:35PM Central

Be sure to tune in!

X ac.

Tina Tyrell - Photos

Thursday, August 18, 2011



We are pleased to announce that the prolific Cass McCombs is to release his second album this year, Humor Risk, on November 8, 2011.

You can listen to and download the album track, “The Same Thing,” here:

Humor Risk was recorded in various homes and studios in California, New York, New Jersey and Chicago, and was produced by Cass McCombs and Ariel Rechtshaid, with whom he created WIT’S END, and before that, CATACOMBS.

Humor Risk is an attempt at laughter instead of confusion, chaos instead of morality, or, as fellow Northern Californian Jack London said, “I would rather be ashes than dust!”. Musically, it is more rhythm-based, tempos swifter to nearly rocking, than the sparse WIT’S END. Infectious melodies are outlined by a wry lyricism that expresses the stories of characters from McCombs’ native land. Rather than fulfilling the stereotype of the confessional singer-songwriter, he describes the lifestyles and feelings of those that surround him, with more love than judgment: drugs, Scientology, Western America, and so on, in allegorical form. Humor Risk portrays yet another fa├žade of this versatile, incredibly talented and much underrated artist.

Humor Risk will be available on CD, LP and digitally.

To pre-order the album, click here:

The tracklisting for Humor Risk is as follows:

1. Love Thine Enemy

2. The Living Word

3. The Same Thing

4. To Every Man His Chimera

5. Robin Egg Blue

6. Mystery Mail

7. Meet Me At the Mannequin Gallery

8. Mariah (sketch)

What’s been said about WIT’S END:

“what might be his best LP yet . . . a gorgeous album of despair, the most believable evidence yet that McCombs is living up to his own legend” -- Pitchfork [Best New Music]


“Songs so unassuming they sneak up and slay you” -- SPIN


“’Buried Alive,’ and parts of ‘Saturday Song’ and ‘Memory’s Stain’ — creepy-lovely processionals held together with major-minor movement — could go up against anything in pop so far this year.” – The New York Times


“On Wit’s End, he places both himself and the entire singer-songwriter tradition on trial, his personal salvation dependent solely on the purity of personal expression. Clearly, as an artist, he is not making any compromises. He’s not coming home any time soon. But McCombs is making music as if his soul depended on it.” – Tiny Mix Tapes

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sufjan Stevens plays Prospect Park

Sufjan Stevens, Live at the Prospect Park Bandshell, August 2nd 2011

By Dylan Hume

Sufjans Stevens and his band played to a sold-out crowd at the Prospect Park Bandshell Tuesday night. The show, one of the few ticketed events at the bandshell this summer, was a fundraiser for BRIC Arts, the organization that runs the Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival, now in it's 33rd summer season.

The Brooklyn vibe was palpable, to say the least. At one point during his set, Sufjan gestured vaguely eastward, saying, "I live right over there." He wasn't the only one, and the hometown energy of the crowd fed the band as they progressed through their set.

Stevens is known for his lush orchestrations, and last night they were on full display, but the band was impressive in its economy. The ensemble was not too big, and filled out by a complement of two trombonists, two flautists, and two drummers, along with a few other instrumentalists, backup singers, and Sufjan, of course, on guitar and synth. That a band of that (relativiely) moderate size could make such a big sound was remarkable, as was their dynamic range and unfailing precision.

Even more remarkable was the visual aspect of the show. Stevens is a dedicated artist, taking painstaking steps to make sure that every part of his performance is in line with his concepts. The lighting and the artwork displayed on the stage were incredible in scope and meticulous in execution.

Most of songs on Tuesday were from Stevens' 2010 album, "The Age of Adz," which was partly inspired by the work of visual artist Royal Robertson. Stevens gave an homage to Robertson before proceeding with a tremendous visual display of beautiful and haunting projections during "Get Real Get Right." As the show came to its climax during the epic closing number, "Impossible Soul," Stevens appeared on stage wearing suit made primarily from balloons as dozens of enormous, translucent beach balls flooded the audience and four tall, brightly-colored flailing-arm inflatable tube men popped up from nowhere. It might have been overwhelming, if it wasn't so captivating.

And therein lies the one problem with the show as a whole: a tendency toward the schizoid. Stevens clearly wants to do everything all of the time, and is largely successful, but much like the album version of "Impossible Soul," it felt as though he was cramming too many ideas in to a medium that can only take the weight of so many distinct concepts.

Still, the show was one of the most impressive productions I've seen at a live rock concert in a long time. The Celebrate Brooklyn! season should be praised for its diverse lineup of considerable talents, but Tuesday's show was most definitely one of the highlights of the summer.

Friday, July 29, 2011




July 28, 2011- Burbank, CA - New Orleans' rock innovators MUTEMATH have announced that they will launch the Odd Soul Introduction Tour this fall. The tour finds the band, which is Paul Meany (vocals/keyboards), Roy Mitchell-Cardenas (bass/guitar), and Darren King (drums), unveiling songs from their upcoming new album, Odd Soul, which will be released on October 4th by Teleprompt/Warner Bros. Records. MUTEMATH will perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on the night of release.

The Odd Soul Introduction Tour kicks off on September 7th and concludes with a homecoming show in New Orleans on October 21st. The tour revisits intimate venues to provide fans with a unique opportunity to see MUTEMATH up close in many of the clubs they first performed at when starting out nearly seven years ago. A pre-sale for a VIP Package (which includes tickets, a physical and digital copy of Odd Soul, and a digital download of the track "Blood Pressure") has already begun. Regular tickets go on sale to the public on August 5th. Prior to September 7th, MUTEMATH will perform a few select special dates in August. for more details. All upcoming tour dates are listed below.

In other MUTEMATH news, the track "Odd Soul" is currently available to fans in a unique video mixer platform. The mixer, which premiered on digital and social media technology site, features a different video for each part of the song: drums, guitars, bass, vocals, synth, and background vocals. Listeners can solo, mute, and mix "Odd Soul" in real-time creating their own audio and visual mix. Due to varying connection speeds and hardware there are two versions available, a 4-track version meant for users on slower connections and a 6-track version for fans using up-to-date browsers on faster broadband connections. Versions can be chosen by visiting

Odd Soul, which was produced by the band, is the follow-up to 2009's Armistice, which debuted at No. 3 onBillboard's Digital Albums and Alternative Albums chart, No. 4 on the Rock chart, and No. 18 on the Top 200 album chart, and was called a "must-have album" by the New York Post.

08/06 Tulsa, OK Brady District Block Party

08/13 Tokyo, JAPAN Summer Sonic Festival

08/14 Osaka, JAPAN Summer Sonic Festival

08/16 Los Angeles, CA Troubadour (sold-out)

08/20 Mobile, AL Saenger Theatre

08/25 New York, NY Mercury Lounge (sold-out)

09/07 Charleston, SC The Pour House

09/08 Greenville, SC The Handlebar

09/09 Columbia, SC New Brookland Tavern

09/10 Athens, GA 40 Watt

09/12 Raleigh, NC The Pour House

09/13 Wilmington, NC The Soapbox

09/15 Richmond, VA Canal Club

09/16 Charlottesville, VA The Southern

09/17 Poughkeepsie, NY The Loft

09/18 Hartford, CT Webster Underground

09/20 Providence, RI The Met

09/22 Buffalo, NY Mohawk Place

09/23 Burlington, VT Higher Ground

09/24 Albany, NY Pearl Palooza (WEQX)

09/25 Cleveland, OH The Grog Shop

09/27 Ann Arbor, MI The Blind Pig

09/29 Lansing, MI The Loft

09/30 Milwaukee, WI The Rave Bar

10/01 Des Moines, IA Vaudeville, Mews

10/02 Lawrence, KS Bottleneck

10/07 Oklahoma, City, OK The Conservatory

10/08 Waco, TX Common Ground

10/09 San Antonio, TX Endless Music

10/11 Little Rock, AK Revolution Music Room

10/12 Memphis, TN Hi-Tone

10/14 Baton Rough, LA Chelsea's

10/16 Pensacola, FL Deluna Fest

10/17 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbit's

10/19 Knoxville, TN The Square Room

10/20 Birmingham, AL Workplay Theatre

10/21 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks

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Photo Credit: Claire Vogel