I suspect it’s not uncontroversial to say we’re all fed up of winter, but sometimes a record comes along that gives us hope for sunnier times (let’s conveniently forget it’s summer down under). Twerps’ latest album, Range Anxiety, is a spring record if ever I heard one and is out now on Merge Records. Needless to say, if you enjoy guitars set to jangle with an unabashed Flying Nun influence, have your wallet at the ready. Tour dates and songs below the jump.
I’ll be taking over this column from Coleman, who has admirably been handing you better plans than you had for the weekend for quite some time now. Your ears might get a bit more of a break from time to time (please, always bring earplugs), but as someone who goes to 150-odd shows a year, I’m hoping you will find the quality of recommendations remain high.
5) Dave Gorman at Subculture
I’m throwing a bit of a curveball to start things off, with a comedy show at Subculture. Dave Gorman is a British comic, and I’m always a bit wary of our humour getting lost in translation (as the saying goes, “a common language separated by two countries”), but Gorman is nerdy and niche enough to hopefully pull in more than just an expat crowd. I went last night and thought he was hilarious. There will be a powerpoint presentation…
Friday and Saturday, 7pm and 9pm both nights (and another 6 performances at the same venue next week).
Just because LA-based singer/songwriter/producer/DJ/Drummer Robert DeLong uses Microsoft Sidewinder controllers, Wii-motes and joysticks during his live shows, doesn’t make him a video game nerd. “I guess I grew up playing Super Nintendo,” DeLong says. “The only game I ever got good at was Tony Hawk Pro Skater II, and now I don’t play video games at all.” You’d never guess that was the case when peering at his elaborate setup, which includes integrated video content, equipment fit to please a world-class gamer and enough tricks up his sleeve to support the idea that he may be the illegitimate child of Inspector Gadget. But then again, I assume DeLong is full of surprises. His calm demeanor and attentive gaze had me assuming he was the quiet kid in class – smart and thoughtful, but his frequent bursts of laughter show he’s bound to undercut with cunning wit when least expected. [Read more...]
Checking out all of these amazing December show announcements reminds me that living in NYC is truly the gift that keeps on giving. With so many great concerts under the imaginary Christmas tree, it’s hard to decide which ones to include in your schedule. That’s okay! I’ve put my thought into it, and after all that’s what really counts.
I’m wrapping up my top picks and gifting them to you in the form of this blog. Sometimes the things you didn’t know you wanted are exactly what you need. These shows are sure to get you amped full of holiday cheer, so start flinging coin because these concert tickets aren’t going to last long.
Justin Currie‘s current US tour just took in his first ever Brooklyn show, at Rough Trade in Williamsburg (20th of September), and also included a stop at City Winery (23rd of September). As singer/songwriter in Del Amitri and now into his third album as a solo artist, Currie has ran the gauntlet in a 30-year career.
A slight mix-up means we end up talking before the show at City Winery on Varick Street instead of Rough Trade, it’s my first time to the venue and while I tend to prefer beer stained walls and sticky floors to refined wooden decor and expensive wine, it’s readily apparent that the venue treats the artists well.
Del Amitri’s self-titled debut album, released in 1985, is begging to be rediscovered by a new generation hungry for arty indie-pop (think Orange Juice meets The Smiths meets Television. I know, I hate lazy reference points too, but it’s as good as all those band’s best moments). If that pricks your interest, at the bottom of this post you can listen to the band’s John Peel session from 1985.
After the debut, Del Amitri’s sound moved in a more traditional direction and they scored a string of top-40 hits in the UK over the course of 5 albums (1989-2002) including Nothing Ever Happens, Always the Last to Know and Tell Her This. In the US, Justin is mostly known for Del Amitri’s top-ten radio hit, Roll To Me; it’s one of those time-old examples of “this song is not really representative of the band’s output”. Regardless, let’s not downplay the beauty of a good pop song, however throwaway it may be. There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and Justin Currie’s ability to write moving lyrics for the lonely, heartbroken, misanthropic and disenfranchised; sprinkled with just enough hope for us all to carry on.
Making a pit stop at Rough Trade isn’t much of a digression from Maxim’s everyday life. “The setup is quite similar to the one at home,” the London-based Singer, DJ and Producer says while browsing through his favorite vinyls, most of which come from the golden eras of reggae and funk. When faced with the task of building his ideal DJ set, Maxim looks to the songs that he enjoys hearing in a gritty club, as well as representing his buddies and collaborators. “I’ve got to include some Massive Attack, so let’s do Protection; they’re good friends of mine,” he says.
The original Prodigy frontman is embarking on a new chapter in his musical career. Coming to the table with a background in electro-rock, it’s not surprising that Maxim is cultivating a following with his own style of Trap. “I want it to be harder, with a more industrial sound,” he says.
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.
New York City ‘multi-national’s’ Folding Legs just came out with new Lee Peterkin directed video for their song “Glorious”. Catch the band’s record release show at Rough Trade in Brooklyn this Friday at 8pm. Get tickets here.
Folding Legs – Glorious