Friday, February 29, 2008

awesome song(s) day!, courtesy of stars and sons!

awesome song day! is a spontaneous feature, when i am moved by a song's singular awesomeosity and feel the urge to share its awesomeness with all of you. the song below is awesome.

stars and sons - "if it's good for me" & "comfy now"

download the goat show ep right here, sans payment.

earlier this week, i got an email from michael lord, asking me to give his band stars and sons (uk) a listen, and if i would like a cd. so, i clicked my way over to their myspace to give them a test listen, when i saw that they were being so generous as to give away their debut, the goat show ep, for free, and asking just a pound or two through a paypal button. now, nothing piques my interest like free music, and i downloaded it right then and there.

though stars and sons is a new band, they already seemed to have their own impenetrable mystique (maybe), surrounding mike lord, who is supposedly "dead(ish)." there are pictures of the band on their myspace photo page, but they are all wearing black-and-white xeroxed masks, and they are always alone in the picture. curiouser and curiouser. maybe mike lord isn't actually dead (duh), but actually every member of the band? (although this picture is definitely of a woman.) okay, that isn't a huge stretch, but it's a pretty elaborate deception for a myspace page, and it's very intriguing. it's also quite convenient (if you're digging the mystique deal) that the band is named after a broken social scene song, which makes it not very easy to do any research on them (there are six google entries for "stars and sons" before the band). the most suspicious? the webwaves have been silent since i emailed mike back for more information. who doesn't work a little for free publicity? c'mon - he's totally dead!

all sleuthing and jokery aside, i've really been digging the goat show ep, and not because of the intrigue. stars and sons play baroque, schizoid pop in the vein of nation-mates guillemots, rife with addictive piano, arching and understated vocals, and occasional squealing guitar solos. "if it's good for me" instantly caught my ear, self-mocking and cheesy (my sister thinks it sounds like an 80s montage), and hooked my on the rest of the record. the goat show ep is so unbelievably camp, more so than anything patrick wolf or owen pallett or fyfe dangerfield could dream up, that it has just totally won it's way into my headphones...and my heart. "comfy now" is probably the other best song on the goat show ep, also driven by a manilow-on-crack piano and has one of those super guitar solos, and is lush and abrupt and really, really good. so good, in fact, that it is both free AND worth spending money on, so go download that shit, and give stars and sons some money love via their myspace.

update: ok, i have to retract my statement that stars and sons are camp-er than patrick wolf. i forgot he wore satsumas on the belt of his hot pants at connect.

everything's perfect

i'll tell you what - if you're sick of hearing about team robespierre, you best point your browser elsewhere, because i am so fucking in love with this band that it's scary. in lieu of going to their showpaper benefit tonight (sorry guys, but it's cold and bushwick is far away), i'm gonna rap at all y'all about the excellence of their debut album, everything's perfect. you might remember that i was at its release party (along with matt & kim!), and i really haven't stopped listening to it since. though i've been listening to them for over two months (since i picked up their fake gold sampler at the yeasayer show), i still haven't really nailed down what, exactly, i love about them so much, but i know that i fucking do.

a team robespierre song is, fundamentally, a short debilitating burst of energy, released as a mix of anger and joy that provokes little of the former, and much of the latter. on everything's perfect, they tackle subjects such as gasoline ("gasoline"), the 88th precinct ("88th precinct"), and nuclear fallout ("plutonium pigs"), and, fervently, brooklyn. fiercely proud of their home borough (if you weren't aware, you will be at the end of any team robespierre show, since they announce their origins two to four times during any set), team robespierre is justifiably resentful of its inevitable gentrification, a threat not only to brooklyn's diversity and independent spirit, but also its rent prices. currently, my favorite song on everything's perfect (most of the tracks have been my favorite at one point or another) is "mal de mer," a crude but emphatic call to arms against imported dicks with a cleverly turned chorus: "what we're gonna do is stage a coup / against these pricks they make me sick." the team's diy aesthetic and casual anti-establishmentism is their guiding light, a mindset which their (universally-shared) aversion to work stems from. one of the album's punkier cuts, "ha ha ha," is a ballsy anti-work anthem about wanting to be a hearththrob, and "solid gold" is an glitzy all-keyboard jam about "waiting for our break / so some money we can make." one olfactory byproduct of the team's lifestyle is an irregular showering schedule, which was overpowering in december, is coyly joked about on "death smells" ("death smells / i do too" is the song's closing lyric), but i'm also totally in love with its chorus, the nonsensical "death / smells / zombie / christmas," shouted at customary full volume for no reason other than the joy of it all.

so, in case you're just joining us, i'm a stingy bastard (listen - who else actually tells you when it's worth spending money on an album, instead of just downloading it?), and one thing i always looked for when buying a record is its length. unless i was desperate to have it, i wouldn't bother buying it if it clocked in under, say, 42 minutes, cuz i would totally feel ripped off otherwise. as i've grown older, thankfully, i've learned that length really has little to do with an album's quality, and that my brain can't really listen to more than 50, 55 minutes of the same band straight (i've only listened to illinoise all the way through, like, twice). what really seals the deal is my overwhelming love for everything's perfect, which scoots past at barely 18 minutes long. the single "88th precinct" is their longest tune, at just under three minutes, and only one other track is over two, yet i don't feel shorted. everything's perfect is a full album, and though i do frequently wish it was longer, that's because i don't want the party to stop when it does. one good thing about their preferred song length - it makes it hella easier to dance to. i don't know if i could spazz out as hard as is necessary for longer than three minutes without dying (metaphorically). though team robespierre's songs are short, they rarely feel underdeveloped, and it makes you wonder if it's harder to make an awesome short song than an awesome normal length song. for "black rainbow," a superb track that isn't quite 1:30, all the essential song elements are present, and there's even space for a little improvisation. usually, i find myself thinking that songs are too long, that they drag and my mind wanders, and it's really nice that that isn't the case with everything's perfect. short, sweet, and, i daresay, perfect, it's an easily digestible album that rewards long past its 18 minutes.

lyrically, everything's perfect is exciting, a little ferocious, and totally adorable (in that endearingly self-righteous way), especially because it's hard to decipher a lot of the words without the album's helpful lyric sheet. the ecstatic catharsis that accompanies any public enjoyment of team robespierre's music is what really sells the band though. just look at this photo, one of the many that sums up how intense the team is live. everybody sweats, everybody dances, some people crowd surf, and everyone runs on a lot of fucking adrenaline. i'd like to borrow a line from the hold steady here: "people touching people when they don't even know you," as it defines a live team robespierre experience, a jumbled mess of energy and euphoria. the team's loose approach to instrumentation and avid appreciation for multiple vocalists make their songs perfect for joint band-audience participation, and you will likely find yourself dancing with a member of team robespierre if you're anywhere near the front. their enthusiasm is infectious, yes, but their music is so provocative and addictive that it's hard to tell if the crowd goes more nuts when a member of the team jumps into their midst, or whether their frantic dancing has reached a sustained climax. don't expect to go home fresh and clean after one of their inimitably awesome live shows.

the moral of the story? everything's perfect rocks. go see team robespierre live.

"88th precinct" & "mal de mer"

"88th precinct"

update: good thing i ended up staying home last night. man, that fucking sucks.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

children of the unicorn

when forces out of your control collude and create a band that combines an appreciation for sensitive and poignant artwork, intuitive understanding of humor, and top-notch shtick metal, the best thing for you to do, really, is just turn up the volume. also, have you seen anything half as cool as that tattoo in the past six to eight months? if you have, i'm totally jealous, cuz this tattoo is the mothereffing bomb.

that amazing arm belongs (collectively) to children of the unicorn, a band of self-described "old jaded guys" who remember the intense emotional and kickass power of guitar solos, and are re-spreading the gospel of metal, ironically titled song by ironically titled song. children of the unicorn rock so hard that you can't help but laugh, flick your bic, and unironically raise your hand in the ancient salute of potbellied kiss fans everywhere.

i saw children of the unicorn at highline ballroom a couple weeks ago, and was totally stunned by their set. they performed with a respectable seriousness, considering their outlandish m.o., and had the crowd rocking in no time flat (i think it was due to "night shark"). virtually every children of the unicorn song is the same (something frontman phil costello alluded to with his near-identical song introductions), but they never got stale, mostly because each was better than the last. "night shark" destroyed us, but then there was "icicle dagger" and "rock n' roll (sweet sweet rock n' roll)," and, best of all, "the fire in your pants." these are songs your high school band should have played, if they hadn't been trying so hard to be all mature and score, funny rock songs that run on pure endorphins.

one reason children of the unicorn are so good at what they do is because they have what amounts to an enviable joke-metal pedigree, if you care about such things. costello, drummer joel frost, and cowbellist (yup, you read that right) szuf daddy are also in tragedy, "the tri-state area's # 1 metal tribute to the bee gees," and guitarist dave hill is a noted comedian & metalhead (and wields a mighty mighty axe). outside of children of the unicorn, szuf daddy goes by the name jake szufnarowski, and is the head of rocks off entertainment. i was excited to see children of the unicorn because of the village voice article about szufnarowski, but their description didn't live up to the band's explosive live show.

children of the unicorn play piano's on april 24. tragedy is going to sxsw, so all y'all who will be there, go check 'em out!

get out your faded kiss shirt and suck in your beer gut - metal hasn't been this good since spinal tap!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

leak of the week - volume one (she & him)

even if there's nothing wrong with love, it can still be a painful bitch. just ask zooey deschanel, whose vocal turns on volume one prove her an experienced victim of the human condition. in between starring in a wide and generally beguiling all comers with her big blue eyes, deschanel partnered with americana all-star m. ward for the much-hyped, grammatically-incorrect superduo she & him. lauded since their collaboration was formally announced, she & him's eponymous first release, volume one, is due out on merge on march 18, and (despite merge's murderous efforts to keep a lid on it), leaked last week. but don't go rush out and rustle up a copy - getting your hands on a volume one advance isn't nearly good enough to make breaking the law worthwhile.

of all the significant records that have leaked this year (some counts are as high as sixty), volume one ranks among the most anticipated. especially beloved since 2006's post-war, ward's contribution factored significantly in the hype surrounding she & him, but deschanel's entrance into the independent music mainstream was probably the duo's biggest draw. the album is not divided along the simple lines of vocalist/musician; instead, deschanel sings and wrote most of the album's music, while ward plays and produced it. ward's absence from the songwriting process isn't immediately apparent, though volume one does lack much of his distinctive big band folk vibe, the first of many strikes against it. no music novice herself, deschanel performs with fellow actress samantha shelton under the moniker if all the stars were pretty babies, a small-scale cabaret act that has not released any albums. her voice is well-practiced and clear, but these qualities actually count against her in the end. bereft of accent, huskiness, or, often, sincere emotion, deschanel's vocals are the principal reason volume one fails to grab the ear or engage throughout the brief album. on a personal note, i was really disappointed by the fact that ward is such an irregular vocalist, appearing on only two songs (though he offers minimal backup on "change is hard") when his voice is one of the charismatic in contemporary music.

lyrically and thematically, volume one is a record about love and absence (mostly absent love). opener "sentimental heart" certainly sets the tone, one that is echoed by virtually every song on the album. "i thought i saw your face today" has the chorus "no, i couldn't help but fall in love again," "black hole" features a jaunty melody and "i'm all alone / on a bicycle built for two," and on the lonesome "take it back," deschanel debates "the possibility / of staying in my corner." so, we get it zooey - your love life is a drag. the problem isn't that she can't stop singing about how lovesick she is, it's that she doesn't sound in the least bit interested in her own, purported despair. her voice has no catches, no choking up, and if she's trying to sell us her sadness, it's not worth face value.

she & him suffer most from the lack of palpable emotion in deschanel's voice, an absent element that puts her at odds with the artists she so carefully tries to emulate. deschanel and ward were first drawn together by a mutual love for golden era pop - the ronettes, linda ronstadt, dusty springfield, etc. - and attempts to hearken back to that period, without much success. they tackle smokey robinson's "you really gotta hold on me," ronnie spector's "i was made for you," and the beatles' "i should have known better" by doing little more than putting a saddle on each. "i should have known better" is the only other song that has ward on vocals, and the only one with simulated horse clops, fortunately. the fire and cleverness of post-war has disappeared, replaced with a faux 50s feel that is tired and repetitive by the end of volume one's 36 minutes, a simulation of simple session songs complete with ubiquitous pedal steel.

volume one is not all bad, even if it is considerably less than expectations suggested, and there are even some honest-to-goodness good songs on there. "why do you let me stay here?" was released by merge for a reason - it's probably the album's best song, vocally and musically. it has the calculatedly shambolic feel of "to go home," especially with the addition of melismatic backup vocalists and dogged guitar, and passes by much too quickly. even the pedal steel sounds less tired on "change is hard," another worthwhile track that sounds like a true collaboration between deschanel and her band, with some of her sincerest vocals interwoven with artfully designed instrumentals. i truly like "you really gotta hold on me" for ward's vocals as much as anything else, though this song's production differs significantly from the rest of the album - there's a lot of space in its recording, with echoes and a gravitas that the rest of volume one can't attain.

volume one's brevity is mostly a downside, even if you don't happen to like the record. songs feel short though not underthought; rather, their limited scope allows for little to no experimentation. though billed as a duet, she gets first billing because it's mostly about her - her songs, her voice, her style. on the whole, volume one would be improved with a little more breathing room - even if it is only to separate songs, which are thrown at you rapidfire and without needed intervals between them. "you really gotta hold on me" succeeds due to this aural space; otherwise, i find that the album flits by me without needing attention. the songs blend together, mostly undefined by sincerity or instrumental and production diversity, and, at best, is a background record for coffeeshops or half-listened to radio country.

Friday, February 22, 2008

who needs english? - yelle

it's not every day that i get scooped by the new york times. we both got to foals, but i was totally left in the dust about yelle, france's newest and coolest export. urbaneye gave us the heads-up about the smart-mouthed star in advance of her show on tuesday, her first on american soil, but too late for me. however, the "more than sold out" show seemed by be a writhing success, with as much pompadour as pomp for the wildly enthusiastic crowd.

if there is such a thing as a continental pop niche in the united states, yelle is definitely poised to dominate it. forget the fact that her debut album pop up has no stateside distribution. forget the fact that there are only one or two tracks on the hype machine or a myspace phenom who has been steadily garnering acclaim for two full years, 2008 will be the year yelle takes over over here... maybe. sure, yelle's shows sell out across france and her hip-thrusting houseclash beats (produced by grandmarnier) are well-suited for her trash talk - at least i think they are, because i really don't know.

unlike previous who needs english? artists, yelle falls flat for the monolingual listener. it's no surprise that yelle has been invited to perform on lily allen's bbc show, since they play pretty much the same music. who would be a better fit on lily's show than a trash-talking strong woman made popular by myspace? don't get me wrong, i love lily, but i can't imagine enjoying "not big" if i couldn't understand what it was about, and that's my only hangup with pop up. yelle's english language version of her home page is imperfectly translated, though it's easy to get the gist of it: yelle sings dirty songs about boys, dildos, and the small penis of cuiziner, a member of parisian crew ttc. i'm sure her songs are funny, but this is one of the times when i can't overcome the language barrier. what good are dirty jokes if you don't know when to laugh?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

i'm taking over the podcast-waves

ever think that reading a blog doesn't really tell you enough about the writer's opinion? ever wonder what that blogger sounds like without being able to edit their sentences? yeah, you know you do.

ok, even if that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, how bout some free music as recommended by some excellent blogs around the world, in easily digestible & transportable podcast form? good thing blog fresh radio is here! their weekly broadcasts, hosted by abbey from punk photo and curated by bill from sound bites, are a mix of sweet new tunes and interviews with some of the sharpest music bloggers worldwide. as of yesterday, that list includes mr. mammoth! i talked to them about my new superfaves foals and their new york show last week, and they played the awesome "cassius."

in addition to my few moments of podcast fame, blog fresh radio also talks to the music slut, cubik music, lost in your inbox, and music like dirt.

download this episode of blog fresh radio!

Monday, February 18, 2008

leak of the week - street horrrsing

of all the awesome things about fuck buttons (trust me, there are many), the undeniably awesomest thing about the band is their name. it's got an attention-grabbing expletive, but unlike fellow swear bands, the harshness of the "fuck" is blunted by the benign "buttons," so their name becomes a curiosity, not a curse. and then the questions - what does it mean? is it an imperative? are bandmates andrew hung and benjamin john power commanding us to (as anatomically unlikely as it is), have intercourse with buttons? are they referencing the strange and awesome power of multiple clitorii? or maybe it's an ejaculation of anger, as in "fuck [those goddamn] buttons!" when you say "fuck buttons," is there an exclamation point at the end? maybe it has some relationship to their instrumentation; do none of their noisemaking gadgets have buttons? to tell the truth, i'm happier not knowing, because a) it really has no relevance to fuck buttons' sound, and b) i'm happy with the way i say it, with a great big ! at the end, in an extremely happy voice (unnecessary swearing is a joy), and with the hard "ck" and crisp "tt" bouncing off my tongue. i think i would like fuck buttons even if their music sucked, because their name is so much fun. fortunately, as i said at the beginning of this long-winded and rambling paragraph, their name is only the most awesome thing about fuck buttons, not the only.

street horrrsing is fuck buttons' first LP but their third overall release, distributed by ATP recordings (a label i had hitherto not known the existence of, but with some significant releases under their belts). a few impressive things about fuck buttons: they were tapped for an ATP performance after releasing only two songs, they were picked by pitchfork for their own ATP event (sensing a pattern here?), and, unrelatedly, they're totally amazing. street horrrsing includes all of fuck buttons' previously released material, but sounds fresh regardless. i hesitate at using the term "noise rock" to describe fuck buttons )though that is almost certainly the correct one), because i hear virtually no similarities between their sprawling, gargantuan sound and the often aimless and self-gratifying sonic squeals of other practitioners of that genre. fuck buttons are riveting, engaging and imaginative, musicians who occupy the coveted, and strangely tender, space that exists at the intersection of melody and noise.

i think fuck buttons' secret is rather simple, though that doesn't limit its quality. even while lambasting ears with unbelievable sounds, fuck buttons' noise is always, always musical. a shocking revelation, this. hissy, staticy, feedbacky, yes, but it is never dissonant, never atonal, never pure, alienating noise and volume for its own (unnecessary) sake. fuck buttons' careful mastery of the noise/melody merge not only makes street horrrsing one of the more impressive debut albums i've heard in years, but also means fuck buttons are the best hope for intelligent progressive rock since godspeed you! black emperor (r.i.p.?)

"sweet love for planet earth" is arguably the best song on street horrrsing, which makes it equally arguably the best thing fuck buttons have ever written. this nine minute opus that titled the band's first EP exemplifies the appeal of fuck buttons through the dichotomous juxtaposition of noise and melody, and is remarkably tight and succinct considering its near-epic length. the song opens with tinkly droplets of sound, the musical equivalent to ripples in a pond, and by its fourth minute, "sweet love"'s melody is riding a reverberating crescendo, pulsating with sonic fury, still accompanied by the tender melody that began it. in spite of its intensity (or due to it), "sweet love" has the remarkable ability to bring serentity and calm even as power screams indistinguishably, his voice little more than distorted vowels. like all of street horrrsing, "sweet love" is impeccably balanced, so that the supposedly brutal sounds are never deafening, and always exist in harmony with its more peaceable side.

the best fuck buttons songs are made using the blueprint of "sweet love" without falling victim to simple replication of its enticing formula. "okay, let's talk about magic" is another lengthy work (at ten minutes, street horrrsing's longest) that is ground in hissy volume and constant beating of drums, and accentuated by another dose of possibly-verbal bellowing, with the vocals mixed at a lower volume than the music so that they are merely a different-sounding instrument.

the only fuck buttons song i can readily identify by name is "sweet love for planet earth," and that's not likely to change. without identifying verbal characteristics, street horrrsing blends together into a 50 minutes of zen-like intensity, unhindered by a need for narrative exposition, climax, and denouement. it is constantly, cyclically powerful, a record that has accompanied me on subways, sidewalks, and sleep. don't bother listening to it with your friends; for one thing, they probably won't get it, and for another, you should really absorb it alone, and without interruption. listening to street horrrsing has made me a happier person.

"sweet love for planet earth" & "bright tomorrow"

street horrrsing is expected later this year on ATP recordings.

Friday, February 15, 2008

let's play pretend i posted this on valentine's day

would you trust this man with your love life? apparently, some people do. like the onion a.v. club. they invited sean daley, better known as slug, atmosphere's vocal half, to answer questions about a topic he is an undisputed authority on: love & women. the 14 question piece (in honor of the dubious holiday on february 14) is sassy, a little bit rude, mostly funny, and definitely a good read. read it here. don't forget that atmosphere's new album, when life gives you lemons, you paint that shit gold is due out on rhymesayers in april, and atmosphere recently released the absolutely free strictly leakage album through that same label.

slug: "drama is a helluva drug."

"get it to get her" & "domestic dog"

download strictly leakage from

i'll be lightning

what can you tell about a person's music from just looking at them? well, if they have long scraggly hair and wear faux tribal iconography, they're devendra banhart. if they wear eyeliner and wedding dresses and propose to marry crowds, they're definitely kevin barnes. if they have silly looking, ungroomed beards and noisy pedals, they're bj from parts & labor. and, of course, if they're a new zealander who looks like a leprechaun and plays all the instruments on his debut album and has a kickass live show and simultaneously evokes kurt cobain and jeff tweedy, it's gotta be liam finn.

i was first introduced to the sprightly down under-er during cmj, when he opened for the brunettes at an all-new zealand party, and i was instantly hooked on his hooks. dressed in flannel and ripped jeans, with tousled hair and a full beard, finn looked every inch a garage rocker, a snap judgment confirmed by his free-spirited, rambunctious set. nearly a one man band (finn employs eliza-jane barnes on vocal harmonies & hand percussion), he darted between bass, guitar, and drums to set his loops, and rocked out gratifyingly, if a little unexpectedly. i'm on record as a fan of one man bands, but finn is not your average loopmaster. he is a frenzied punk rocker who doesn't have time for a band, or maybe he just prefers to play everything himself. the point is, don't expect some long drawn-out climactic shit. his songs are tidy little bundles of energy, and if i hadn't seen him perform, i would never have guessed that he does it all himself (including his own vocal harmonies). finn bends the concept of a one man band, eschewing electronicy gadgets for traditional instrumentation and songwriting, and i'll be lightning, finn's debut solo album is an pleasant mix of folk and garage rock.

pleasant, yes, but not always enrapturing. i'll be lightning clocks in at 53 minutes, and the length is a burden, the album's second indistinguishably blurred. it is enjoyably front-heavy, from jangly opener "better to be" and new single "gather to the chapel," languid and serene, to "lead balloon" and "fire in your belly," the latter a gentle lament with the excellent lyric "your heart starts beating like a discotheque" and the former post-club punk. at the outset, i'll be lightning's tracks alternate between garage and folk, but as the album progresses, the rock slowly fades, revived only on "this place is killing me." finn's folky side is solid, but the electric guitar lover in me can't stomach it. another strike against finn's is the lack of catchiness; his garage tunes are jam-packed with hooks, but he seems incapable of crafting similar ones with an acoustic guitar in his fists. an exception is the title track, a progressive choral number with some swell guitar dissonance in the background.

there's too much love and loss in i'll be lightning for it to be much else than an album of regret, no matter how it's arranged. what else could a song called "remember when" imply? finn starts on the right foot, pairing his more melodramatic songs with upbeat numbers, but his sober side wins out around the album's sixth track, "lullaby," and dominates the rest of the record. i like liam finn, and i wish i'll be lightning was an album that lived up the set i saw during cmj - i guess i'll just have to wait for his next one and hope he stays in the garage a little bit longer.

"gather to the chapel" & "lead balloon"

buy i'll be lightning from

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

foals w. team robespierre & the teeth @ bowery ballroom, 2/12/08

manhattanites! i am so disappointed in you! my boroughmates, you have shamed me! foals are a goddamn DANCE BAND. so you DANCE to them, not stand around stock still! i don't understand it at all. a handful of people (literally, five or maybe six) danced during foals' excellent show last night, and there was one only person who danced during team robespierre's set (and it was me, baby!). i know it's rather an easy shot to lambast manhattanites for not dancing, since we never do, but i was/am super bummed. not only by the minimal response to team robespierre (who, as you might recall, made the crowd go apeshit at their death by audio show two weeks ago), but by the practically absolute physical apathy for foals. they're the goddamn headliners, and you can't be bothered to shake your ass a little? can't we stop perpetuating the stereotype truth that the funnest shows are in brooklyn? unfortunately, i guess not.

aside from the embarrassing lack of movement (i'm not kidding - i'm really sad no one was dancing), last night's show was GREAT. i've been listening to foals for a couple months now (and antidotes for a few weeks), but without falling in love with the band; i certainly like their songs ("cassius" isn't the only awesome one) but it feels like foals' recorded material lacks something. i'm not sure what, but it doesn't really matter anymore, because, whatever it was, their lives show has it in fucking spades. the friendly friend over at sound bites warned us that we should expect to see foals' backs, but they've obviously learned a little about performing since cmj; they set up like a horseshoe, but weren't afraid to bust a move (frontman yannis philippakis climbed up off the stage at one point), and rocked out harder than the crowd. foals have enjoyed such a spiraling rise to prominence that their set held few surprises, but many highlights. "cassius," unsurprisingly, was awesome, as were their other singles "balloons," "mathletics," and "hummer" (also unsurprisingly, that's the closest the crowd ever got to dancing). though they were less well-known, i feel like the new antidotes material was more impressive - "heavy water," which yannis introduced as "a song about killing vampires," kicked extreme amounts of ass (grab the mp3 below) as did the live debut of "the race for radio supremacy." set closer "red socks pugie," one of antidotes' best cuts, closed the fantastic set, and foals walked off after clearly stating there would be no encore. after long minutes of cheering and hollering for more (so what, you yell instead of dancing? weak.), and orders from bowery staff (yannis: "they told us it was tradition"), foals returned, somewhat at a loss (they hadn't rehearsed any other songs), but valiantly did a great version of "big big love" before, presumably, passing out from exhaustion. foals are good performers - despite being heavily jetlagged and dazed, they bounded around the stage, postured for the crowd, and vomited from the exertion. it was awesome.

i highly recommend that you go see foals tonight at silent barn, where there are sure to be people who like to dance (it's in brooklyn). i wish i could make it. foals will be playing chop suey in seattle in a few days, and returning to the u.s. in may.

"heavy water"

"the race for radio supremacy"

signs that popular media (as in, media made by the populace) is getting out of control: when a team robespierre show has more photographers than dancers. team robespierre are one of brooklyn's biggest & newest exports, and, naturally, their live shows are expanding from warehouses and basements to more "establishment" venues like bowery ballroom, but this move isn't necessarily welcome (or, actually necessary). their show at mercury lounge was similarly awkward, with little audience participation, but it was easier to overcome there, where all four of team robespierre's vocalists took turn divebombing the crowd. at bowery ballroom last night, the team, minus lead singer tomasz, had incredibly energy, but seemed out of place. i'm happy they're moving up in the world, but stodgy manhattan non-dancing clubs are not the right venue for these guys. ty and rex and mike jumped into the crowd, but even that couldn't incite the masses to move - i'm not trying to boast when i say i was the only person dancing, because i was (i am trying to shame you though). i had a lot of fun (mike handed me the mic during the superawesome "88th precinct"), but, from my perspective, it felt like a farce, and through no fault of team robespierre's. even without tomasz, they spazzed all over the place, and their songs were as short and sweet as ever, but i know as well as they that brooklyn is the place to see them, that magical land where people aren't afraid to boogie a little.

the rumors are that the team will play again at the end of this month at a benefit for showpaper, todd p.'s free list of all all-ages shows, they also play mercury lounge again with crystal castles on march 26.

"black rainbow"

i wish i had a team robespierre video for you guys. fortunately, i was too busy dancing.

i liked the teeth, the night's first openers, a philly punkabilly outfit. they share the style of kickback bands like the m's or blitzen trapper, bands that cop a generational style and infuse it with some contemporary attitude. the teeth weren't wearing suspenders, but they wouldn't have been out of place for their amped-up 50s style rock. i entered during "i love you" (listen to it at their myspace, but believe that it's a ton more zesty live), and definitely started grooving to their sound. this is the kind of music you can take home to meet your mama, and that's no bad thing.

p.s. this is so me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

vs. the snow

basically what it comes down to is how goddamn catchy your songs are. mr. mammoth worships at the altar of pop, and if it can stick in his head, it's probably golden. even with the absurd abundancy of excellent music right now, one album in particular in particular has been on repeat in my skull, and that little gem of scandanavian goodness is vs. the snow by the lk. the lk, whose full title is the love of kevin, colour, chaos, and the sound of k, are electro-pop craftsmen from the fertile ground of sweden, and vs. the snow is 43 gorgeous minutes of airy and transportive glitz.

a collaboration between lindefelt, self-described "abstract sound artist" and fredrik, "pop visionary and songwriter par excellence," the lk are exemplary in a genre that has more than its fair share of quality. fredrik's songs are weightless but dense, rich compositions that are gently blurred by lindefelt's fuzzy noise gadgets and his endearingly accented english. their songs are like brain crack - they hook you from the first moment you hear them. "eurovision" has a deep, almost trance feel, and "tamagotchi freestyle" is exultant and joyous, and "blakboy vs. the snow" is laid back and loungey - this is a well-rounded, diverse album. vs. the snow is a album that digs deep in the electro-pop vein, and emerges with tireless hooks and intelligent sounds.

as a lifelong new yorker, there's one thing i especially love about the lk, and that is their propensity to say "fuck." well, i've only heard it twice, but a) they're pretty well-enunciated and b) they're all the more impressive considering their gauzy electro-pop, a genre not normally known for its expletives. as a tribute to the lk and my love of swear words, the songs below are the "fuck" songs.

"eurovision" & "down by law"
you best buy vs. the snow from kora records.

Monday, February 11, 2008

leak of the week - afterparty babies

to hear rollie pemberton tell it, the life of a 21 year old internationally respected rapper isn't actually all peaches and cream. on afterparty babies, his first album for anti-, pemberton, better known as cadence weapon, bemoans the loneliness of touring, the duplicity of fame, and the somewhat questionable honor of being "an accident." though his debut breaking kayfabe was released in 2005, it wasn't until last year that pemberton really began to get the attention he deserved, due primarily to his uniform rejection of hip hop convention. an album that defied even the most progressive interpretations of the genre with its 8 bit beats and mostly rhymeless flow, breaking kayfabe (a title that references a relatively disguised pro wrestling technique) stretched the fabric of hip hop, and was utterly alluring and almost indigestible. thankfully, if not surprisingly, afterparty babies promises more of the same, only better. pemberton's conversational delivery, a mix of bitter soliloquy and nonchalant fatalism, and his own acerbic and intensely melodic beats have been honed in the two-plus years of touring in support of kayfabe, presenting us again with an album that could very well be unlistenable if it wasn't so brilliant.

the first thing about afterparty babies that really makes an impression (after opening track "do i miss my friends," which consists of pemberton's looped acapella) is the almost unreasonable amount of melody in his beats. almost entirely self-produced (as was kayfabe), babies exemplifies pemberton's wholesale refusal of any conventional beatmaking process. mostly devoid of bass, and intentionally so (he spits "just bought a beat / can't deal with the bass" on "real estate"), babies rolls with melodies so thick as to obscure his own flow, swirling, glitchy vortexes that don't stand still. hip hop production is usually straightforward - one beat for the verse and one for the chorus - but babies relies on unstable sounds that flit between cuts by dj weez-l (cadence weapon's traveling dj) and pemberton's own deviant electronics. "in search of the youth crew," the first track released from the album, is aggressively top-loaded, but it is "limited edition of oj slammer" that exemplifies the exaggerated glitch of babies, harshly inorganic sounds that are not mere complements for pemberton's flat delivery. with only the exception of "do i miss my friends," afterparty babies cements cadence weapon's outsider approach to beatmaking, a radical process that exceeds similar efforts from other IDM artists.

beat-wise, afterparty babies is mostly more of the same of kayfabe, only better produced (and glitchier). pemberton's lyrical maturation is the album's real highlight. a little more brazen and a little more lonely, pemberton has filled out as a lyricist, honing his mostly rhymeless flow and letting free associations inspire him. he talks more trash but seems more wounded - on "do i miss my friends" he tells us "i have friends who don't know my name" - but his hyper-intellectual delivery is impressive, to say the least. throughout babies, he belittles hollywood ("tom cruise and katie holmes was my idea"), pop music ("it used to be 'i wanna be your dog' but now it's 'who let the dogs out?'"), "hip hop hipsters / dearly departed," mocks tattoos for a whole song, and, as so many have done before him, trashed major labels on the anthemic "real estate." most poignant, however, may be "juliann wilding," a person and a song whom pemberton acknowledges as a inspiration for the record. checkered with equal parts charisma and disgust, babies finds pemberton in excellent lyrical form.

get ready to buy afterparty babies when anti- releases it on march 4.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

who needs english? - el guincho

is it too early to start calling albums the person pitch of 2008? cuz if it ain't, alegranza is it, a whirling, joyful vortex of spiraled sounds and looped exuberance that doesn't quite nip at noah lennox's heels in terms of quality, but far surpasses him on the happiness front (for one thing, i'm pretty sure el guincho doesn't have lyric "i don't want us to take pills anymore," though the language barrier prevents me from asserting that). alegranza is the absolutely fantastic debut album from el guincho, a barcelona cum canary islands artist whose jungle rhythms and exotic, worldy sounds have been inspiring a mad dash of bloggerism worldwide. el guincho (his friends call him pablo díaz-reixa, or probably just pablo) has basically ridden a rocket to international fame, going from spanish-blog hype to english-blog HYPE in about three and half weeks (give or take). it's definitely been a good thing for him that alegranza was widely distributed (and promoted) across the internet for free/illegally, as alegranza has found a home in australia/new zealand on oh-my-god-so-cute mistletone records, and el guincho is about to play outside of spain for the first time at the end of march (though we americans still don't get either record-release or live-performance love). fortunately, everyone with an internet connection can, and should, enjoy alegranza, because it's just pretty much fantastic.

alegranza, recorded as a mixture of self-made beats and samples, is a light yet complex record, one that rewards repeated listens with a never-ending trove of sounds (i just heard the sounds of a block on album opener "palmitos park"), but also with an inherently global understanding. díaz-reixa, a canary islands native, is fiercely proud of his heritage, choosing both his performing name and album title from locations there (el guincho is a town on tenerife; alegranza is the northernmost canary island), and i'm willing to put dollars to donuts that his sound is also inspired by his home. all of el guincho's songs are exhilarating, animatedly drawing on african hand drums, budding bhangra, steel pans, schoolyard chanting, and the ever-popular assortment of beeps, boops, and whirrs. though it's probably just as computer-made as person pitch, alegranza's low fidelity and deliberate imperfection (díaz-reixa often sings startlingly off-key) gives it an authentic, organic feel - alegranza is a record better suited for soundtracking a beach party than hipster headphones.

so why doesn't el guincho need english? well, there's the obvious (he sings in spanish), the endemic (more and more non-english music is becoming mainstream), and the practical (thanks to the internet, alegranza can be heard anywhere), and those are some pretty fine reasons, if i do say so myself. if you need more reasons, you just need to sit down and listen to his album in all its colorful revelry - each element of alegranza is as vibrant as the hues in the photo to your left, its joy tangible. too-careful inspection of the album may leave you feeling a little cheated, especially on "antillas," a track that starts strong but ends tiredly, the same loop recycled for its 5 minute duration, but these lapses on díaz-reixa's part are rare. and, if el guincho does have a darker side (maybe he sings "i want us to keep taking pills"?), i don't speak a lick of spanish, so alegranza is just one big party for my ears.

"cuando maravilla fui" & "buenos matrimonios ahí afuera"

good luck finding alegranza on sale - rough trade had 25 copies, but who knows how many are left?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

thao & the get down stay down @ knitting factory tap bar, 2/4/08

hey, remember that we brave bee stings and all record i was talking about last week? by thao and the get down stay down - you must remember it, it just came out on kill rock stars...and, hey, look! it's only four posts down the page! well, if you've forgotten, i really like that album, which is delightfully quirky and irresistibly catchy, and, after the growler's glowing review of her recent london show, i knew i just had to check her (& the get down stay down) out at the knitting factory last night, their first nyc show since the album's release. though death vessel was the headliner, thao was the biggest draw, and i certainly wasn't the only one who was only there for her. opener katie eastburn (of young people) was good without being impressive, her husky voice singing poems over a piano and kick drum. i kinda liked the young people album, but eastburn solo was a little too sedate for my taste; when thao came on, she had to ask the crowd to rise from the floor.

i was really struck by how good a performer thao was, as well as the get down stay down. restrained and nuanced on we brave, thao is engaging and vivacious in person, and her songs were flexible enough to be bent a little. the lazy bluesiness thao affects on the album is totally discarded live, replaced with an obvious burning joy. she wielded her acoustic guitar like a true rock star and clearly enjoyed playing live, a feeling that the audience echoed. "bag of hammers" opened with some badass beatboxing before thao blew the roof off the song, turning the ditty into a straight-up rock song. "travel" took a turn for the best as well, though i think "feet asleep" was the real standout. ironically, album standout "swimming pools" wasn't better live, probably due to the loss of the banjo part, the song's essential crutch. i've always really liked the knitting factory, and the sound last night was as impeccable as ever, thao's voice taking center stage but with everything else mixed perfectly. with a slight bit of reverb, thao's singing filled the room even when she stood back from the mic; there's a beautiful fullness to her voice, slightly husky and rich, that leaves you wanting more (after she closed with "fear and convenience," the crowd begged for one more). thao's nimble fingerwork is impressive as well, but her exuberance was the set's best part. her happiness at being there was tangible, and, while that is by no means the only outstanding part of her act, was alone rewarding enough to make her performance great.

thao & the get down stay down play music hall o' williamsburg with xiu xiu on easter sunday

"feet asleep" (daytrotter session)


Monday, February 4, 2008

hot chip @ highline ballroom, 2/2/08 (groundhog day)

to my great pleasure, i recently started working at highline ballroom, a 750-person capacity venue on 16th street. so i'll be reporting on a lot more shows from that venue, but my visual coverage might suffer - i don't know the ease with which i'll be able to take photographs or shoot video. fortunately, i was able to get a lot for saturday's hot chip show, which, without my real knowledge, was probably the best show in town that night. i was straight in the back, which explains the angle for all the photos and video, and why there aren't any closeups.

this hot chip show, in anticipation of their third full-length, made in the dark, was billed as "intimate," with good reason - the band, which was virtually unknown before 2006, is now one of the hottest indie acts in the world, and highline's tight capacity meant that the show sold out long ago. so that was pretty cool. i've never had much of an interest in the band, but i was excited for the show regardless - i figured a polished act like hot chip must put on a good show. i was also excited when i heard that devlin & darko, spank rock's djs, were opening, courtesy of a hot chip special invitation.

though they proudly hail from baltimore, devlin & darko spun a very 70s-south florida set, with lots of disco and funk flavor. i really liked their sound though i've never really been a spank rock person. not much else to add.

hot chip travels with their own soundman, and they spent hours making sure everything sounded great, so the sound was really impeccable - a lot of bass, but it wasn't overpowering anything else and all the instruments were crystal clear. their set came almost entirely from made in the dark, with only three older songs - "a boy from school," "over & over," and "no fit state" coming from their second album, the warning. though the crowd did go craziest for the old songs, the entire crowd seemed to recognize all, or most, of the band's new ones as well - made in the dark leaked a couple months ago, and it looked like everyone in the room had downloaded a copy.

hot chip were spot on. it was a really good show. don't really feel like writing much today.

"shake a fist" (mp3 and video)
buy made in the dark when it's released tuesday, 2/4/08.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

team robespierre @ death by audio, 2/1/08 (record release party)

i've never been the kind of person who can enjoy live music just anywhere, and i doubt i'm the only one. as you might remember from previous live reviews, i've made a point of discussing the relative merits of any venue i've never been to before, from new york to glasgow, because i think it's the space music is performed in is almost as important as the music itself - after all, if a venue has shitty sound or cramped floor space or allows reckless behavior, that's what's going to draw your attention, no matter how much you love this band. this was only my second time at death by audio, todd p's premiere semi-legal brooklyn venue, but i hope it will be my last. even attending this show was a sort of moral chore, one that i did because its reward (i.e., directly supporting the artists and non-corporate business models) was, well, more rewarding than its process (i.e., actually going to death by audio). ethically, i'm a strong supporter of todd p's efforts to deindustrialize the music industry, promoting niche bands to all-ages crowds (always), and i'm sure he doesn't skimp on paying the bands who play there. however, the ultimate consideration is whether it's about the band or about the viewer. on a grander level, of course the band does, because people who really love them will see them anywhere and love it, but when you go to three, four shows a week, there's a lot less magic in the live experience, and comfort becomes an important criteria.

maybe i'm a little coddled here in new york, where there's a live music venue on every other corner on the l.e.s., and i can choose to see a band based on where they're playing. most bands i'm interested in playing new york at least twice a year, whether back-to-back or months apart, and i do have the relative luxury of saying, "no, i don't really like that venue. i'll see them somewhere else/next time." however, as a fan of team robespierre and, as i said, an ethical supporter of todd p, i put aside my doubts from the last time i was at death by audio and went. what a mistake.

death by audio is not a good venue. certain pitfalls, like the lights and sound (which, if you stand close enough, might actually kill you) can be attributed to, and pardoned by, the venue's shoestring existence; after all, it does seem to double as warehouse space and is definitely not licensed by the city. however, death by audio's reluctance to allow people to congregate outside the venue (which attracts cops) means that its squalid, poorly ventilated, and unbelievably cramped interior was choked with cigarette and marijuana smoke nearly as soon as the show began. new york city banned smoking indoors for a reason, and it would really have been great if death by audio's anti-establishment platform consisted of a little more than blatant health code violations and a large degree of disrespect for its clientele. another thing i absolutely love (loathe) about death by audio is their absurdly unnecessary delay between doors and starting shows. both times i've been, doors have been at 8 and the show hasn't started until after 10. the venue's mostly anarchic setup means that bathroom waits often exceed half an hour, underaged drinking is rampant, and (one of its rare upsides), its liberal in-and-out policy means that you can easily go outside for some desperately-needed fresh air (or walk to the bodega during especially awful sets - see ninjasonik for more). a night at death by audio can turn you from hale & hearty to wheezy & sniffly without breaking a sweat.

sweating is, of course, the mostly ultimate goal of any punk show, and regardless of my personal feelings towards death by audio, it was probably the best place in the city for team robespierre's record release party. after all, the band isn't exactly known to embrace law & order (see "ha ha ha"), and the close confines of death by audio incited the kind of wanton and reckless audience participation team robespierre thrives on. by the time the headliners took the stage, the room was a sauna of body heat, thanks to the noble efforts of the night's three openers, vivian girls, the golden error, and ninjasonik. disappointingly, the quality of the music (of the openers) seemed to decrease as the night wore on, peaking at opposite ends with vivian girls' reverb-y punk and team robespierre's electropunk. i got there towards the end of their set, but dug what i heard, an intelligent blend of post-punk and garage punk. the golden error, on the other hand, played rather unexciting punk-punk, some songs bearing a garage sound but, on the whole, rather derivative. however, they did manage to get the crowd moshing, so that's probably a good sign. ninjasonik were definitely the biggest disappointment of the night - two guys and the world's largest posse smoking blunts on stage over what were actually pretty good beats, but were ruined by their terrible lyrics - i only stuck around for a couple songs (before going to the aforementioned bodega) and felt compelled to leave when they started singing "somebody's gonna get pregnant" ad nauseum. not recommended.

at long last (for such a small stage, it certainly takes a long-ass time to set up between sets), team robespierre came on to absolutely thunderous applause. it's been a great year for these guys, having been literally catapulted from nothing to one of the most legit buzz bands (here's looking at you, vampire weekend) from new york. a year of building up fan bases in dank basements and crowd diving in warehouses with little more than a few mp3s to go on ended last week with the release of their first album, everything's perfect, on impose records - a staggering eighteen minute opus that makes up for its frighteningly short duration with ten of the hardest hitting tracks this side of the hudson. so good, that i don't even mind that half the tracks are from the fake gold sampler that i talked about a couple weeks ago. anyway, the place was totally fucking nuts for team robespierre's set - so crazy that the band scarcely had a chance to engage in their trademark rambunctiousness. vocalists ty and tomasz tried to crowd surf multiple times and just got pushed back towards the stage - the place was so packed (definitely above fire code, but it's not like death by audio HAS a fire code) that there wasn't even room to dance, just to sway back and forth and try to avoid the crowd-surfing bodies. a credit to team robespierre's skill was the number of fellow brooklyn musicians who showed up - i counted matt & kim (of matt & kim) and despot, but i'm sure there were more.

the show was great, and team robespierre were as good as i knew they would be. i'm still psyched to see them opens for foals in two weeks, and though i'm still a little trepidatious about their set at bowery, at least i know i'll have some degree of personal comfort there (no smoking, no ridiculous bathroom lines, and, most importantly, not a ridiculous amount of people so there's actually space to dance). long live team robespierre!

"solid gold"

buy everything's perfect from impose records.

Friday, February 1, 2008

awesome song & dance day! - "break"

awesome song day! is a spontaneous feature, when i am moved by a song's singular awesomeosity and feel the urge to share its awesomeness with all of you. the song below is awesome.

well, i certainly don't need to tell you how much i fucking love anticon., but in case you haven't been paying attention, i do. a lot. the new why? is fucking excellent (no surprises there), but i'm even a little more excited for at war with walls and mazes, the debut album from anticon.'s newest signee, son lux. back in november, i went to see sole at the knitting factory, where son lux opened - their first nyc show. i liked their set a lot, just never got around to writing up the review, though my notes tell me they were really good - they traveled with their own visual-effects operator, which they projected on the wall, were "abstracted & fluid," and had some "maggot brain"-esque funkadelic sounds, and were still "unmistakably glitchy." sounds like a good recipe, no? well, "break," the first album track released to the public, has just had its video released, and it's fucking awesome. directed by finbar mallon (another name i'd kill to have), the video is done with stop-motion and sped-up-motion, and follows the numerous, awesome adventures of pieces of string, imaginatively capturing "break"'s tender dissonance.

peter travers of rolling stone calls it a "must-see."

the previous statement is a lie.

preorder at war with walls and mazes from

we brave bee stings and all

stoically maintaining his total lack of care for that band that is oh-so-popular this week, mr. mammoth wants to tell you about thao nguyen's new album in a friendly, conversational, and possibly mocking fashion. mr. mammoth hopes that that is okay with you.

like most children, thao nguyen was born. twelve years later, she picked up a guitar. unlike many children who played guitar, she didn't use it to get chicks. or give it up after college. no, she stuck with it - thao ain't no quitter. in addition to these inspirational thoughts, she needed something to do at her mother's laundromat. then, some blah blah, she released an ep, was inspired by lilith fair (gag, anyone?), and has a band called the get down stay down. awesome name, no? they have just released their second record, the super cutesy titled we brave bee stings and all, on kill rock stars, and it's way excellent. if you're fact-repping, her first album, like the linen, was totally named for the laundromat.

lots of people will tell you thao nguyen sounds like chan marshall. those people are mostly wrong. she sounds a little like chan marshall, but it's kinda just cuz they both a) are from the south, and b) sing some form of blue music (chan handles the blues, thao the bluegrass). also, on "beat (health, life and fire)," the first track kill rock stars leaked from we brave, thao does kinda channel chan's huskiness, but it doesn't last - the vast majority of we brave are quirky little ditties, sweet and endearingly childish (especially on the distinctive young-kid ballad "big kid table"). thao's sophomore album is her first post-graduation (from william and mary), and is studded with stories of exploration, development and anxiety, all playfully arranged with buoyant banjos and subtle beatboxing (thao's secret talent).

we brave bee stings and all is notable for its disparity of styles as much as its overall enjoyability (definitely a word). "swimming pools," the album's overwhelmingly best track, is heavily steeped in bluegrass picking, while "feet asleep" features a horn section worthy of a honky-tonk circus. the penultimate "travel" is a brisk trot, ear-catching in a field of slow, easy songs, and rewarding from all the pickin' going on.

it's not a stretch to imagine thao & el get down stay down in a brightly-lit lounge somewhere, serenading happy, well-adjusted people with their cheerful anthems, but thao's lyrics sometimes hide behind the perkiness of her tunes. the well-titled "fear and convenience" highlights a sadder side of thao's love life ("i have see fear and convenience / i have never glimpsed romance"), and easy, beatboxed hit "bag of hammers" has what may be the album's best lyrics: "the trick is / you do not get on that interstate bus / the catch is / you stay and see what becomes of us," delivered with thao's characteristically off-putting nonchalance.

there was a time, not too long ago (you may well remember it), when bands actually had to release a full album before the rivers of praise cascaded over their shoulders (ok, last vampire weekend crack of the week), but, even more than that, prove that they could learn and improve over time, incorporating new tricks and talents into their songs. having been through a whole heap together, thao nguyen and the get down stay down have a better working (and songwriting) relationship, and have clearly matured in the two years since like the linen was released. now managed by kill rock stars' ex-honcho slim moon (man, i would kill for that name), thao etc. have written a slick and sensitive folk pop record that will turn as many heads as nod to its catchy beats and mouth its clever lyrics.

thao nguyen & the get down stay down hit new york on feb 4, opening for death vessel at the knitting factory. they play boston on the 3rd, and move on from there. they're also opening for xiu xiu on their national tour.

buy we brave bee stings and all from