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

Summer Mixtape Vol. II

August 11, 2009

It’s time for another mix tape. Here’s what we’re listening to:

Friendly Fires – I’m Good, I’m Gone (Lykke Li Cover)
Passion Pit featuring Ellie Goulding – Sleepyhead (Starsmith Remix)*
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Hysteric (acoustic)
Grizzly Bear – Ready, Able
Blue Roses – I Am Leaving
Peter Bjorn and John – Young Folks (featuring Kanye West)
Phoenix – Girlfriend
Bibio – Lover’s Carvings
Kid Sister – Right Hand Hi

*Just a great remix with radically altered vocals. Ellie Goulding (of no prior fame really) has a sharp and delicate voice that seems on the precipice of cracking. The ocean of synth is pretty much opposite the “organic” instrumentation of recently written-about “Let The Beat Build.” Without a doubt this is where pop music is moving [back?].


The extra credit…

Summer Sounds Mixtape I

June 25, 2009

More than any other season, summer seems to naturally grow into its own soundtrack. This kind of natural association that forms between a track or album and a time was the primary motivation for this blog when it began. I really can’t explain why summer is the most likely season to become its own musical genre, maybe it’s major chords, or maybe it’s just sunshine.

So here it is, with as little pretense as possible, after all, a mixtape like this makes itself.

Grizzly Bear and Dead Prez – Two Weeks of Hip-Hop (The Hood Internet Mash-up)
Dirty Projectors – Stillness is the Move
YACHT – Psychic City
The Hundred in the Hands – Dressed in Dresden
Phoenix – Lisztomania (Classixx Remix)
Passion Pit – The Reeling
Santigold – Lights Out (Tepr Emo Remix)
Kleerup featuring Lykke Li – Until We Bleed
Camera Obscura – French Navy
St Vincent – The Party
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

Read the rest of this entry »

One of the best shows of my life. I only recently got It’s Blitz!; but after just one listen I got goose bumps thinking about going to this show. We weren’t the only people holding our breath–when we showed up it was already half full, and by the time Grand Ole Party finished people were pushing and yelling at each other trying to move up. In those 30 minutes of waiting you could feel the crowd’s anticipation. They opened with “Heads Will Roll” and right away people were off their feet, more like an airplane taking off than a rock band. It was like that for an entire set that felt like it passed by in a matter of minutes.

Karen O has spectacular stage presence and everything she did made the people scream. She had a button on the floor that shot off y-shaped confetti, which was just as exciting in-show as it was when we discovered it littering the floor afterward. It was such a great show it’s hard to pick out the highlights, but I especially loved “Cheated Hearts,” “Zero” and “Y Control.”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Faces (on HypeM)


Grand Ole Party opened, and although it’s a name I can’t figure out because it seems so straightforward (GOP right?), they were great. They were a perfect opener for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and had a similarly charismatic lead singer in Kristin Gundred. We couldn’t resist buying their album when she was behind the merch table signing them in person. Looking through the liner notes (I miss those), Blake Sennett is on a few of the San Diego-based group’s tracks, which explains why some of you may have seen them opening for Rilo Kiley in the past.

Grand Ole Party – Bad, Bad Man

I’ve had Fever To Tell and Show Your Bones forever, but I’m now sure that if you haven’t seen them live, you don’t really know what’s on those records.

See the rest of the photos below.

samo lomo

Recounting each particular one would only bring back self-disgust and embarrassment so putrid it makes me shiver, like I’ve just put a lock of hair dripping with curdling and rotten milk on my tongue.

Damn, Thursday is halfway over! Another photo of the same Santa Monica beach to go with another old favorite. I know you’ve got it too.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maps