PIANOS SATURDAY CMJ 2009

October 26, 2009

DSC_1316LR Beast
Very happy that we showed up early for Beast (and the free bloody marys), because they were awesome. They had great energy for a noon-thirty show, and their lead singer sounded like Edith Piaf plus Amy Winehouse (yeah I know that’s become a negative connotation, but face it–she has great pipes). Hear my favorite song of theirs:

Beast – “Satan” (myspace)

Another great set came from Silverlake darling Local Natives. I was kind of too busy enjoying their set to get any good shots, but check them out. November 17th they play Bowery Ballroom, and on the 29th they play the Varsity in Minneapolis. Listen to them.

Local Natives – “Wide Eyes” (myspace)

Select photos follow.

The Saturday gallery


Without question The XX are the most hyped band of the season. They played the Music Hall of Williamsburg last night to an audience of professional photographers. That’s what happens when five shows in less than the week that is CMJ doesn’t offer enough good chances to take a picture of the group. In all fairness to them, this was their most legitimate venue of the week. UPDATE: The XX played a show mere hours later at the Tribeca Grand Hotel around 1:30AM.

Read the rest of the story…

PIANOS THURSDAY CMJ 2009

October 24, 2009

DSC_1301LR
Show of the day for me was Duchess Says. Hear “Black Flag” or visit their myspace.

Click on for the Thursday gallery…

Fall Mixtape, Vol. 1

October 19, 2009


The weather quickly turned cold and we bypassed normally enjoyable fall weather. As a kid I pictured Indian Summer as a wooden canoe on a lake surrounded by fall foliage. This photo seems to capture that essence I suppose. For me it’s Titanic (“I’m the king of the world!”), meets my dog riding up front.

I’ve rekindled my seasonal love for the Brazilian Girls by digging into their older albums, and this tape’s featured track comes from their self-titled debut:

Lyrics are normally lost on me, but on “Don’t Stop” Sabina Sciubba sings plainly about sex in the least vulgar and most carefree way. They are the kind of lyrics that are so straightforward they look like a joke written down. Songs about doin’ it usually look that way on paper though, this one just does it better than most, with the right amount of sincerity and aplomb.

And now, in the spirit of women-halves hanging out of moving cars…


Thao and The Get Down Stay Down’s second full-length is out (10/13) and the first single is free for download at the Kill Rock Star website. They’re playing Bowery Ballroom on November the 4th, I’ll be there.

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Know Better, Learn Faster

by GeoffI got on the train not sure I would have a ticket. At worst I expected I’d be standing around outside asking for extras, but for once it seemed like everything just worked out. I didn’t have to spend like the Federal Reserve to get a ticket, and I got in for a fraction of the $200-asking prices on Cragslist. For a while I thought the show might not exist except for in some mystical PR bubble, after all why on earth would a band that just played Radio City put on a show in 500-capacity Williamsburg? At some point during the set, Karen O asked how many people were “on the list.” I didn’t know what she meant, I thought that may have been stage speak for “cool,” but then she said “it should be about half of you.” So this show was basically made for FOB’s: friends of the band! Her dad and sister were there, so the reason tickets kept being released randomly over the last two weeks was because they were being released from the band’s list. So in short, the ticket sales were a total farce. This morning I heard that some tickets were actually available at the door–for a “sold out” show.

Karen O does not cease to amaze. She brings the Madison Square Garden show to the small clubs and the music fans, the kind of shows that you can usually only get from Britney, Beyonce and U2. It’s obvious that fans take their cue from her: when she’s out of sight changing capes or putting on masks and jackets the crowd feels lost. There is no Karen O off-night, she brings it every time. Doing a hundred shows in a year will make you seem like you don’t care or like one crowd isn’t especially different from another, but you could never tell that this was KO’s third show in a week. For “Hysteric” she held the mic to everyone in the first row, one at a time, so that they could sing. Who else has so much stage presence that she can command that kind of patience from a crowd of screaming fans? Karen O can make you feel like she’s talking to only you; in the way that Santa Claus or strippers can make a person feel like they’re in the only lap in the world.

by GeoffThe best thing about the MHOW is how intimate it is: it’s half the size of Webster Hall and an even smaller fraction of the size of Terminal 5. The show was similar to the one I saw in May in Minneapolis, being that the material was almost identical, but it still felt incredibly genuine and improvised. Brian Chase was smiling ear-to-ear from start to finish, and after “Maps” in the encore they took requests. The set featured more songs from their EP’s Machine and Isis than usual, I actually think they played a song I didn’t know (“Our Time”)–that doesn’t normally happen. You can see the set list here (at BV). At the end of the show Nick Zinner threw all of his guitar picks into the crowd, and I somehow came away with one of each kind, the proof follows below.

Read on for photos and notes

Hello Brooklyn

September 28, 2009

Brooklyn Bridge by GeoffYesterday, I read a review of a show from my favorite live show reviewer (Jenny B Loves You). There was a line that stood out to me about how MTV had hijacked the associative power of music. That is, instead of remembering the way you first heard a song, you remember the manufactured outfits and dance moves of a music video. Even worse, almost necessarily a music video that the artist had no part in devising.

I discovered this track from a DJ mix tape coming out called Brooklyn Soul featuring Jay-Z over Marvin Gaye classics. Even though it wasn’t the first time I heard it, the image that comes to mind is riding away from the Phoenix show in Central Park Saturday. Funny how driving has so much associative power.

Key Brooklyn references:
“But my bed’s in the sky/While I flatten your bush”

Jay-Z (featuring Lil Wayne and Marvin Gaye) – Hello Brooklyn