Hooray For Earth kills Bowery Ballroom

hoorayforearth

I can always tell I’m about to watch a good show by the amount of ear plugs in the crowd and people, arms crossed, who look more like they are waiting in line at the DMV than a band to appear. This is the telltale giveaway that the “industry” folks have arrived and was definitely the scene at the Bowery Ballroom Saturday night as the Boston turned NY band Hooray For Earth put on a show, touring to support their new album Racy.

“Racy is Hooray For Earth stripped down to its core elements as a music project. It’s music written and directed by one person, performed by a band who’ve been playing together for a long time,” said Noel Heroux, the genius behind the band.

With a controlled, mature loudness, Hooray For Earth captured my attention from the moment they came on stage. Each song felt purposeful and complete with layers of sound and Heroux’s smooth voice tying everything together. And Heroux’s guitar skills – magic. Performed live, the songs from the album feel much bigger than through my speakers at home, filling every inch of the room. [Read more...]

Kiwi legends The Clean played Rough Trade

the-clean

It’s hard to overstate The Clean‘s influence, in a career spanning over 30 years they are arguably the go-to band of New Zealand’s “Dunedin” sound. That they sold out both Rough Trade and Glasslands last week is testament to their enduring popularity; I caught the show at Rough Trade on Thursday.

Their set leaned towards longer, guitar-driven jams, rather than the short and catchy jangle pop with which casual observers may be more familiar (even Tally Ho turned into an extended jaunt). The band have never been the tightest unit in the world, which is certainly part of their charm, but did seem a little under rehearsed with many songs coming to a sudden or unnatural end. Regardless, there were many highlights including the fabulous Getting Older.

Bassist Rob Scott (whose band The Bats are also highly recommended) is the steady hand  that keeps things from going too far off track, while current New York resident Hamish Kilgour’s almost languid drumming style is hypnotic in its own right. As an aside, Hamish’s new band, Roya, opened the show at Glasslands on Friday but I have yet to see them (Roya also features Rahill Jamalifard of Habibi).

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing The Clean four times in total over the years; twice in London and twice in New York (where, as a British person I can sympathise with the Kiwis for being mistaken as Australian). David Kilgour has been making noises recently about how this might be the beginning of the end for the band. From an interview with The Quietus:

…funnily enough this jaunt coming up in the US feels like some kind of last hurrah-style adventure, albeit on the road, but I’ve said that before. I haven’t felt like making any new Clean music deliberately in a studio for a while…

While The Clean haven’t produced anything since Mister Pop in 2009, David Kilgour has released a steady stream of equally good solo material over the last 20 years and has a new album on Merge Records  called End Times Undone. The record contains some finely crafted jangle-pop for which he is known, but it is the Crazy Horse-like guitar fuzz of Down the Tubes and Dropper where the album excels.

The show certainly didn’t feel like they were saying goodbye, so hopefully if they do decide to call it a day we’ll get another send off. With the re-emergence of the Flying Nun record label in New Zealand, coupled with their partnership of NYC label Captured Tracks, it’s an exciting time for newcomers to acquaint themselves with a scene that can rival any other. Perhaps there is no better starting point than The Clean’s newly re-issued Anthology

Places we like: Cadaqués

Cadaqués

credit: Marlene Lam

Slip into Cadaqués on a Monday through Wednesday, when easygoing bartender Greg will set an orange peel ablaze to add some sultry to your drink – matching the aura of this dim and gold-lit tapas bar on Grand St. (near Bedford).

Come for $1 oysters and $4 (surprisingly good) sangria during daily happy hours –including weekends. Come for the delightfully smooth Crèma Catalan, complimentary on Wednesdays. Come for the live jazz on Fridays. But really, come for the tapas. This place delivers on exactly what you’re hoping for every time you enter a tapas place – the ability to flirt with a number of dishes, and indulge in an array of satisfying flavors. Try Garlic Shrimp a la Plancha – where garlic is the ultimate trusty sidekick, not an obnoxious hero – with extra bread to exhaust the sauce, or try the Pan con Tomate to sop up your happy hour indulgence of choice.

They’ll tell you all about how “Cadaqués” is the name of a Spanish Mediterranean town where Dalí had a home–they might even show you some pictures at the bar– but if you order right (go with whatever is recommended) you’ll be too distracted to care after your first bite.

More information about Cadaqués in our restaurant guide.

-Ali Gladstone

REVIEW: Röyksopp Played Output

Royksopp

A lot of bad/good choices were made on Tuesday night when I decided to attend Röyksopp’s DJ set instead of opting for a good night’s sleep before an early morning shoot. Regardless, I’m glad that I was in attendance to see the nordic duo weave seamlessly between classic house tracks into heavier dub-laced selections as the night wore on.

The crowd left a little something to be desired. Upon entering the venue, some drunk kid said to me, “Oh it’s just a DJ set?” to which I responded, “Yeah, but I’m sure it will be great.” To which he responded, “Like great, even if I don’t have drugs?” Mind you, he said this right in front of two security guards. SO YEAH! I guess there’s always someone who’s there for the wrong reasons.

We persevered and were gifted with an atmosphere that (minus the crowd) felt like a true European nightclub. The performance built in strength and volume as Röyksopp played a diverse and varied DJ-set.

[Read more...]

It looks like the Apple Store on Bedford Ave is really happening

applestoreAccording to reports by Gothamist the long rumored Apple Store on North 3rd and Bedford could really be coming to Williamsburg soon. From Gothamist:

The wall between the two stores has been knocked down, creating what could be an Apple-store sized space. The space above the Bagel Store is empty, but there are apartments at 241 Bedford, above King’s. Whisk employee Joanne Saucier says she’s heard the tenants are being pressured to leave, and have been offered a buyout.
“The space where Bagel Store/Kings Pharmacy existed is going to be the Apple store location,” Saucier said in an email. “They’ve already started on it, and the lease was signed about a month ago. We found that out from the owners of the block.”

- @joshmorrissey

New bar alert: Rocka Rolla now open in Williamsburg

rocka-rolla

credit: Gothamist

Rocka Rolla, 486 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg

Rocka Rolla is the latest establishment from the people behind Skinny Dennis. We checked it out last night and its like Skinny Dennis for the classic rock and hair metal set, for those who prefer Van Halen to Merle Haggard. Unfortunately, it won’t have live music like its older brother. That said, it does have food — sausages and fries — which is a plus and an outdoor space with a view. Well, a view of the BQE that is. [Read more...]

Top five shows of the weekend

011107-liturgy15) Black Wine, Brick Mower, The Grand Pantrymen, Sore Saints, Tim Duffy, Brett Davis at Death By Audio
While our resident Don Giovanni specialist and Death By Audio wallflower Chris Quartly already told you all you need to know about this one earlier in the week, there’s no reason not second his sentiment: For $8, this record release bash for Black Wine—featuring an opening set from Brick Mower (whose new album also rules), stand-up comedians, and more—is by far the bargain of the weekend.

Friday, doors at 7pm

[Read more...]

INTERVIEW: Donnie Estopinal of Disco Donnie Presents

donnie

Disco Donnie’s logo is plastered on posters of today’s hottest dance acts. He’s been backing artists like Krewella, Zed’s Dead, Dada Life and Forbes’ 2014 highest grossing DJ, Calvin Harris, since well before they were playing stadiums in the US.

He’s the man behind the magic. He’s the guy whose wife told him to find a real job when the rave scene lost its sparkle in the early 2000s. And he’s the dude who is back on top, bringing you a list of summer and fall music festivals with seriously stacked lineups.

This fall, Disco Donnie (born Donnie Estopinal) is executing a slew of upcoming festivals including Sun City Festival in El Paso, Something Wicked in Houston and Beach Blanket Bingo in Galveston. I had the opportunity to chat with Donnie over tacos last week, and here’s what he had to say about the return of EDM and the recent criticisms and challenges surrounding electronic music festivals.

[Read more...]