Tuesday, June 30, 2009

mp3: Dylan Shearer "Dailydoms"

"All Over The Sea"
Encompassing the hypothetical image of Ray Davies driving a dilapidated soap box up the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur, Dylan Shearer sounds world like some Benjamin Button/Jack man-child– world weary, wide-eyed, ambitious, and yet, despite being an "adult," life is filtered through the half-cocked lens of an all-seeing, all knowing young boy fascinated with caterpillars and salamanders. All the youthful sentiment, love and whispery idealism is wrapped up in a mere 1:25 on "Dailydoms", one of the finest tracks I've heard all summer.

Planted/Plants was released by Yik Yak in a handnumbered set of 100 LP's and is long since sold out. However, the tracks are available for download on iTunes and Amazon, and, according to his MySpace page, if you email Mr. Shearer he will send you a copy on CD-R.

Dylan Shearer- Dailydoms

Monday, June 29, 2009

live: Beach Fossils, Real Estate, Girls

"I've Got Wild Eyes"
Friday night at Water St's Monster Island Basement was one of the best lineups of the year, if not for the plethora of future stars then for it's unbriddled cohessiveness. Hats off to Todd P, who, once again, curated a night of near-perfect music from Beach Fossils, Real Estate, Girls and Kurt Vile & the Violators. Hazy surf-psych, lazy beach pop, narcotic Costello grooves and mega-feedback, it was almost as if the boundaries dividing each act bleed into each other, so that the revolving cast of musicians, actually felt like a revovling cast, rather than a drastic 180 degree turn taking . While Girls wowed me for the second night, especially their righteous cover of Vivian Girls "Wild Eyes" and Real Estate showed that they just keep getting tighter and tighter, the real surprise of the night was Beach Fossils, whom, despite being a one-man act on record, really fleshed their sound out nicely for the live performance. The band's short, remarkably clear sounding set include Bobka-favorites "Daydream" and "Vacation," as well as "Lazy Day", which continues Beach Fossils "I'm really baked and it's way too hot to do anything but pass out in the sun" vibe. While I heard muttering that Beach Fossils vocal effect may have been "a little much," I'm going to let it slide, as the warbled-flange is the vocal equivalent to someone muttering strange thoughts in your ear whilst passed out on the beach.

Beach Fossils- Vacation

Real Estate- Black Lake

Girls covering "Wild Eyes" at Cake Shop (Shot by Bill)

Girls "Solitude" (new song)

Friday, June 26, 2009

video: tUnE-YaRdS at Northside Fest

"Breath In Fire, Breath Out Fire"

Absolutely glowing, incredibly intimate video of tUnE-YaRdS performing at Hooves on the Turf showcase during Northside. (Really glad I requested "FIYA.") If you read the Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts, then you know that I thought this was the best set of the entire festival. Gotta thank Sarahana again for throwing a great show. Keep your eyes peeled on Hooves on the Turf for more great mini-films from Ray Concepcion.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

live: Girls at Mercury Lounge

"I've Got A Substance That'll Cure Everything"
Opening with a gorgeous, incredibly surreal version of Michael Jackson's (R.I.P.) "Heal The World," it was clear from the get-go that Christopher Owen and Chet White Jr's band of San Fran pop outsiders were going to deliver on the promise of their incredibly sold out, corsage laden debut 7" single. For a band that has only "officially" released two songs, I hesitate to say that Girls played all the "hits" last night at the Mercury Lounge, but, fact of the matter is, they did.While "Morning Light", "Lust For Life", "Hellhole Ratrace" were presented in all their well-worn, fuzz'd out-wah glory, the highlights of the evening were the unknown jawns the band has been testing at places like The Eagle, a leather-clad gay biker bar in their hometown of San Francisco. It should come as no surprise that cuts like "Substance", "Solitude" and "Alright" embody the entirety of California's musical history; from boxcar blues to groove oriented surf-psyche to opiated balladry, not to mention some of the best use of the whammy bar since Wayne's World, it's almost as if Girls liquefied a century's worth of California music, cooked it in a rusty spoon and shot it directly into the mains of the Mercury Lounge. Maybe its the water because while Brooklyn is considered the hot bed of buzz-worthy indie bands, no one, and I mean no one, in Brooklyn is crafting tracks like "Alright", a funky groove oriented surfabily psyche jam that, as Chris Owens said, doesn't need to be played perfectly, because it's just fun. I have nothing else to say, except if you're reading this and do not show up to Monster Island Basement tonight, well, you are a fool.

Oh, and Girls will release a 10" (not 7") of "Hellhole Ratrace", presumably backed with "Solitude" (and others?) on July 6th. Save the date.

Girls "Carolina" from the Midi Fesitval.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

mix: Bomb The Moon

"In Heaven, Everything Is Fine"
As reported by the Scientific American, NASA will bomb the moon. Seriously. While 1108 people (and counting) would lead you to believe that the moon "sucks" and "needs to be blown up", NASA actually has a pretty decent reason for the bombing: to test and see if water vapor lies under the surface of the moon. If water vapor does exist, it would basically mean that we can set up a base station, aka human colony, on the moon. As one who has been clogging his piggy bank for 25 years in order to take a trip to the moon, I fully support NASA bombing the big circle in the sky. But still, gotta be nerve wrecking to be the guy who presses the button and causes mass destruction. This mix is for that dude– no pressure, none whatsoever.

Bomb The Moon Mix
Spiritualized- Electric Mainline [blast off]
Simian Mobile Disco- Octet (Deerhunter vs. SMD) [enter the atmosphere]
Cold Cave- Our Tears Help The Flowers Grow [begin 'moon bomb' focus]
Crocodiles- I Wanna Kill [the moon must be destroyed]
Electric Prunes- Get Me To The World On Time [anxiety sets in]
Chavez- Unreal Is Here [am i really gonna blow up the moon?]
Pixies- Monkey Gone To Heaven [shut up, it's just the moon. do it already]
Zola Jesus- Lady In The Radiator [calm down. listen to the turbines]
Fever Ray- If I Had A Heart (Instrumental) [set the coordinates. its time]
Flying Lotus- Orbit 405 [5...4...3...2...1]
My Bloody Valentine- Only Shallow [BOOM!]
Mogwai- Thank You Space Expert [a hundred million pieces burst into space]
Emeralds- Up In The Air [moon rock dances with the stars]
Kurt Vile- Beach On The Moon (Recycled Lyrics) [an ode to the moon- R.I.P.]
Charalambides- Memory [remember that time the moon winked at us?]
Antony & the Johnsons- Another World [oh, god, what have i done?!]
Julianna Barwick- Sunlight, Heaven [goodbye cruel world]

DL: Bomb The Moon Mix (PC: Right Click + Save; Mac: Option + Click)

Georges Melies Le voyage dans la lune. One of the best ever.

mp3: His Clancyness

"So Bored"

This morning, just after a coffee/Norse Horse session, I stumbled upon His Clancyness' cover of Wavves "So Bored" on Pitchfork. Barely awake, I thought the lethargic surf sludge of the cover went nicely with the narcotic, submarine whirls of Norse Horse's "Swamp Trotter", but didn't think much else. Until, shortly thereafter, Jonathan Clancyness, aka His Clancyness, sent me an email saying:
"I'm err....His Clancyness
this tune's got a Nite Jewel sample in it...
you might like it.
that's about it.
Indeed, I do. "Nothing and Nowhere To Go" is the sort of slow-motion, stairwell crooning you'd expect to hear echoing from the darkness on the G line near Nassau Ave. Twisted and fuzzy like a bored kid with a package of coricidin, "Nothing and Nowhere To Go" is the embodiment of its title, as if the tune emerged fully formed from a string of lazy afternoons spent trying to kill hapless boredom. Keep an eye on this guy, whose been touring with Women and Banjor or Freakout, both of whom are seemingly influences, though Banjo or Freakout's dub-folk vibe is more representative of His Clancyness' style.

His Clancyness released a cassette (above) on Super Furry Hole in February, but it appears to be sold out. If you happen to live in Italy, try and catch him at a show and bug him about it.

His Clancyness- Nothing and Nowhere To Go

His Clancyness- So Bored (Wavves cover) (via P4K)

mp3: Norse Horse "Swamp Trotter"


Damaged pop and psyche blog No Pain In Pop, which has been consistently killing it for a long while, served up some refreshingly delightful goods yesterday in the form of Norse Horse's "Swamp Trotter." The song, which may have been recorded beneath your favorite swimming hole or rock quarry, weaves like Dean Moriarty driving the Pacific Coast highway high as Pimp C on codeine and wine-spodiodi. All syrupy and gooey, while somehow maintaining a light fluidity that finds the tune meandering through fresh water reefs like a newt, "Swamp Trotter" is focused, and unforced, unraveling like an extended orgasm, that builds and builds and builds until one is so overcome with ecstatic desire that he/she cannot speak. It's tantra, baby.

Family Time is set to put out an EP of Norse Horse material on cassette and CD-R later this month, which also includes the phenomenal "Gangplank Galleon" and "Sleepers", both of which are available for download at No Pain In Pop. (Do it now.) In addition, Norse Horse are beginning to work on "some new songs for a Norse Horse/Ancient Crux split 7" coming out later this year." If you've been digging Ganglians, Predator Vision/Ducktails, and Woods, I highly suggest snagging "Swamp Trotter."

Norse Horse- Swamp Trotter

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

mp3: Sharon Van Etten covers Morrissey

"You're Wasting Your Time"
(photo by sarahana)
Yesterday Pitchfork bestowed a glowing 7.7 on Sharon Van Etten's goose-bump inducing Because I Was In Love. Not surprised in the least that P4K honored Ms. Van Etten, although a little surprised it took so long, it is a well-deserved victory for the NJ-born, Bushwick-based heartbreaker, who has the uncanny ability of silencing any place she plays, no matter how drunk and loud the crowd is. While Sharon has a remarkable amount of well-worn, tear-tested material, I can't recall ever hearing her play a cover live. (Frankly, this may be me having a few too many, or simply being in such awe that I can't remember. Both are quite possible.) Regardless, Sharon contributed a cover of Morrissey's "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" to The Music Slut's "TMS Hearts Moz" compilation. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not the biggest Smiths fan, and I could honestly give two-shits about Morrissey's solo career, but this song, stripped of anything-and-everything but pain and a longing to be understood, plays like a water-logged love note long since lost at sea. It's ragged and torn and can barely be read, but if, when, someone finds it, all sentiment will be understood. Clarity, if one ever needed it.

Sharon Van Etten- The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get

"For You"

Monday, June 22, 2009

mp3: Liechtenstein on WFMU

"Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba"
WFMU's recently launched Free Music Archive has been a great source of new music, especially with the venerable free-form station hosting full sets from Primavera Sound for download. While I'd heard good things about Liechtenstein, I regrettably missed the Swedish trio a few weeks ago when they played NYC. At the time I'd only heard their infectious, Tullulah Gosh retro pop jam "Roses in the Park," which is about as Enter the Free Music Archive, which is hosting the Swedish fuzz-pop act's entire live session from WFMU's Choking on Cufflinks with Michael Goodstein. The set features ten songs that would fit well on an NME (or Slumberland) C-2k9 mix, including "The End of the World" and "On the Tram." Check out the entire show, available for free download, at the Free Music Archive. Then download the Vaselines set from Primavera.

Friday, June 19, 2009

live: Phoenix / Lightspeed Champion

"They'll be nothing to keep me away"
(photo by johnny leather)
Phoenix played Music Hall of Williamsburg last night. Going into the show I couldn't help but dread that my first Phoenix show--something I've been waiting four years for--would be plagued with the far too familiar stoic hipster crowd (also infected: Silver Jews, Jens Lekman singing DJ, Deerhunter). Praise the God(s) this didn't happen. The "Of Montreal" crowd showed up instead, bringing the most energy I've ever seen at a Music Hall show.

Lightspeed Champion started off the late night (Phoenix played Letterman earlier that day, which might explain the late start). They slowly warmed up the crowd, who responded affectionately to a more-rock/less-80's cover of Tears For Fears' "Head Over Heels". It was an above average set that seemed to leave a generous impression on the few hundred anxious Phoenix fans. Unfortunately for Lightspeed Champion, any memorable moments were soon forgotten in the wake of one of the best rock shows I've seen in a while.

Phoenix took the stage shortly after midnight. They came out blazing--opening the night with "Liztomania" before jumping into a handful of singles from It's Never Been Like That ("Long Distance Call", "Consolation Prizes", "Rally"). The "sold-out" crowd (which seemed a little thin thankfully) was fully engaged at this point with all eyes on Thomas Mars and the gang. A handful of new songs got fantastic treatment, and the audience seemed to know all the words.

They encored with an awesome (and slightly re-worked) version of "If I Ever Feel Better" and a nearly ear-damaging rendition of "1901" which included an impromptu refrain in which Thomas Mars sung from the audience. Other standouts included "Sometimes in the Fall" and a killer "Love Like a Sunset".

Phoenix plays Terminal 5 tonight, and if I didn't have an unavoidable engagement, I would seriously consider going back for more.

Phoenix - Sometimes in the Fall (LIVE) [from 2006's It's Never Been Like That (Bonus Disc)]

mp3: Sandbar/ Suntime

"For Once Stars Were Aligned"
Crafting hazey, blissful morning music, Sandbar's tunes feel like waking up at the beach in April, or September, long before, or after the Benny's have come and gone. Soothing and iridescent, "Fresh Life" is the glare of the weary rising sun reflecting off the ocean. It's low tide, so what better time to take a walk out into the water. When the sun is fully awake, it's time to run the outdoor shower and start slanging italian ice. (You may recognize this one from the most recent Bobkast, #27: Polaroids at the Beach.)

"Fresh Life" is the first jam from Sandbar, aka Evan Wyss, who also plays in Suntime with brother Kyle Wyss, who is plays in Blind Man's Colour and also records under the Chromatic Flights moniker. (Lots of heady shit going on in Florida right now.)

In comparison to "Fresh Life", Suntime's "My City's Dead" is a lush lullaby, an ode to sleepy neighborhood's basking in the amber glow of lonely street lamps. It's a sort of stoner's lament, complete with droney warbles, boings, tambourine's, and whispery mantras– a song hypothetically crafted in a candle lit, screened in porch after a ouiji-seance.

While neither Suntime nor Sandbar have officially released anything, Chromatic Flights has three EP's (through Monotonix) available for free download on Archive.org, and Blind Man's Colour will release Season Dreaming (Kanine Records) on August 18th, but if you pre-order the LP now, they'll send you the mp3's asap. (Take a listen here.)

Sandbar- Fresh Life

Suntime- My City's Dead

Thursday, June 18, 2009

live: Bonnaroo

"It's too f*ckin' hot for Santa Claus!"

Midway through Bruce Springsteen's 3.5 hr marathon set Saturday night at Bonnaroo, he descended into the crowd and grabbed posters from fans with song requests scrawled on them. One fan offered a full size picture of Santa Claus to which Bruce responded with the quote above, before he finally relented and busted out a truly inspired rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town". This was just one unexpected and incredible moment in a weekend that was jam packed with them.

Simply put, the 8th Bonnaroo festival was a marvel in every respect. From the huge and diverse lineup, to the smart stage and vendor layout in Centeroo, to the meticulous organization of the campgrounds and the frequent porta-potty cleanings, it is obvious that the Bonnaroo team is a group of seasoned veterans.

And let's not forget the music! Aside from the epic headlining sets by Phish and Bruce (including an instantly legendary collaboration during Phish's set on Sunday), there was enough music to satiate even the most voracious live music fan. In fact, there was almost too much music, to the point where we had to miss a few acts we really wanted to see or else risk succumbing to exhaustion. Of the acts that we did catch, a few really stood out from the rest: Dirty Projectors, Amadou & Miriam, Santigold, Gomez, Bela Fleck & Toumani Diabate, Jessica Lee Mayfield, Elivs Perkins in Dearland, David Byrne were among the highlights. We also really enjoyed the different atmospheres throughout the festival. For example, on Friday, The Other Tent was African themed; on Saturday it transformed into a Bluegrass hoedown. It's also really neat to be able to see an intimate show with 70 other people in a tent (Where Cafe) and then walk a few steps and be in a field with 60,000+ people watching Snoop Dogg!

The only negative thing I have to say about the festival was that I fear that Bonnaroo may have outdone themselves -- who on earth could they possibly put on the bill next year to top this year's lineup?!?


news: Miracle Fortress Readying 2 Releases

"This Thing About You"
(photo by my buffalo heart)
It's June so you can bet that I've been revisiting Miracle Fortress' phenomenal, and frankly, criminally underrated debut Five Roses. Released on Secret City over two years ago, Five Roses is the embodiment of woozy, Beach Boys influenced experimental pop. Careening harmonies, loopy sound collages and ethereal dreamscapes, encased inside the glowing orb of young love and idealism, Graham Van Pelt truly crafted a wondrous record, one that has yet to have been issued on wax. (Why?!) Anyway, I randomly went to Miracle Fortress' MySpace this morning and noticed a note from Mr. Van Pelt giving a few clues to the acts next release.
hi everybody,
new stuff is coming into the light. working very hard at finishing one or two records/ things this summer -- hope to see you soon
sorry it's been so long
There you have it folks, looks like we can expect some new output from the majestic Montreal group in the not so distant future. In the meantime, if you can find the bands limited to 200 7", I highly recommend picking it up (and snagging one for me too!) They might be sold out, as Rough Trade doesn't seem to have them anymore, but you never know. Until then, enjoy this.

Miracle Fortress "Maybe Lately" video

video: Girls "Hellhole Ratrace"

"Wanna Do Some Dancing Too"

If you've ever been to this site before than this clip should need no introduction. Girls will release a 7" for "Hellhole Ratrace" b/w "Solitude" sometime in the near future on True Panther Sounds. They've also completed work on their debut full length, which, hopefully, will come out by the end of the year on True Panther (?). In addition, Girls will be in NYC next week for a shows at the Mercury Lounge, Cake Shop, and a slot on one of the best bills of the year; Monster Island Basement with Real Estate, Beach Fossils, and Kurt Vile & The Violators. Hell fucking yeah.

Check out my Polaroids of Girls from Primavera, as well as a live review of their stellar set from the festival.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

bobkast #27: Polaroids at the Beach

"Leave The City Behind"
(photo by margaret zyro)
Ok, here's the plan: We're all going to quit our day jobs and shack up at my grandparent's beach house for the summer. (They're old and forgot they have a beach house.) Then we'll get sweet jobs like, Ice Cream Man, Italian Ice Guy, Fish Delivery Dude and Badge Checker Chick. We'll live off grilled cheese sandwiches and milkshakes. And margaritas. We'll have unlimited ice cream, and freeze pops. You can buy like 500 freezepops at the gas station for like $5. It's sick. We'll just wear Umbro's every day. No shoes. And it won't even matter when you jump into the ocean with your clothes on at 4 in the morning and your cell phone dies, cause, well, it just won't matter. And well ride bikes. It's gonna be so rad.

Boobkast #27: Polaroid's at the Beach

Quiet Village- Victoria's Secret
Real Estate- Beach Comber
Beach Fossils- Vacation
Holiday Shores- Phones Don't Feud
Ganglians- Lost Word
Strawberry Fair- Give Up
Ducktails- Let's Rock The Beach
Juana Molina- No Llama
The Tough Alliance- Hung Up On A Dream (Zombies cover)
The Ruby Suns- Ole Rinka
High Places- From Stardust to Sentence
The Mayfair Set- Desert Fun
Jacuzzi Boys- Island Ave
The Meanest Boys- I Don't
Ms. Tyree "Sugar" Jones- If You Feel It
Rodriquez- Sugar Man
Reefer- Blue Moon
Sore Eros- Whisper Me
tUne-YaRdS- FIYA
Wilson Simonal- Escola em Luto
Sandbar- Fresh Life
Stag Hare- Allah

Download Bobkast #27: Polaroids at the Beach (PC: Right Click + Save As; Mac; option + click)

mp3: Strawberry Fair "Give Up"

"How Happy I Would Be"
"What is this? Is this Dusty Springfield? Nah, maybe the Heavenly's. Hmmm. Nah, it sounds, I don't know, hmmm. I can't put my finger one it."

I can imagine more than one person thinking this while listening to Strawberry Fair, the stage moniker of Sweden's Jenny Franzén. Franzén crafts insanely chipper, melodic and jangly pop that, for all intents and purposes, sounds like it was crafted by Phil Spector in between sessions with the Ronettes. Her 2008 EP I Can't Do Anything, which I only recently became familiar with, is, um, absolutely adorable in all the right spots; from the subtle bop of the brass section to the girl group harmonies to the gentle jangle of the tambourine, it's all here, and not in the cliche, tongue-in-cheek fashion the Pipette's made so fashionable a few years back. Rather, Strawberry Fair's "Give Up" sounds like something Jens Lekman would put on a mix tape for baking blueberry crumble or canning preserves. With a chorus of "Tell Myself 'Give Up' He Doesn't Like You Anyway/ But How Can I/ When All I Can Think Of Is Him Everyday", "Give Up" is both sweet and sad, but mostly sweet, and one of the finest straight up pop songs I've heard in a long time.

Her label, Alltid Hela Tiden, has also made Strawberry Fair's cover of The Elgins/The Supremes/Chris Clark/The Isley Brothers song "Put Yourself In My Place" available for free download. The cover was originally released on a "3" CD that came with (the now sold out) fanzine Cloudberry 404." Download both "Put Yourself In My Place" and "Give Up" below.

Strawberry Fair- Give Up
Strawberry Fair- Put Yourself In My Place

Monday, June 15, 2009

Northside Recap: Real Estate at DBA

"Searching On The Phone"A no-brainer on the Friday night lineup of the Northside Festival, Real Estate's set at Death By Audio proved why they are one of the most exciting young bands around. When I arrived at DBA they were shoo'ing away badge holders, however, a mere five seconds later they let me in and all was good. Free Ice Cream, Free Beer...what more could you ask for?! Well, in this case, it was a fluid, super tight set of seaside jams courtesy of NJ's finest purveyor's of stoner-shore rock. The band was in good spirits, especially drummer Etienne Duguay, who got the crowd into it real early by pointing, raising the roof and slugging beers during breakdowns, only to return, point on, into the beat. John Norris was there, was impressed and bobbed, knodded and weaved along with the rest of the audience, which for a NYC/BK indie rock show, showed an exceptional amount of movement. (Norris also and interviewed the band for the L Magazine.) While Real Estate played almost all of their catalog, particular highlights including "Pool Swimmers" and "Beach Comber", two winding pop jams that were birthed to be played while driving over the Perth Amboy bridge on a Saturday morning, the salt water ripe in the air.

Real Estate- Black Lake

Friday, June 12, 2009

pics: Northside Fest Night 1

"Nobody Needs Oppression"
Cameo Gallery

Julianna Barwick at Cameo Gallery

Brightblack Morning Light at Studio B

Ducktails at Cameo Gallery

Ducktails at Cameo Gallery

Brightblack Morning Light at Studio B

Thursday, June 11, 2009

tonight: Ducktails & Julianna Barwick

"You Can Find Me At The Mall"
(photo by thepiratehat)
The first show I plan on catching at the inaugural Northside Festival might be the show I'm most excited for; Ducktails and Julianna Barwick at Cameo. Both artists, who I've written about in the past, create ethereal post-gaze soundscapes capable of transporting one to an island, a cloud or some near-purgatorial state where angels feed you grapes from the vine. While Ducktails is often noted for his beach-y atmospherics, I find that his loopy ambience is equally as fitting for a misty, cloudy night like tonight. Ducktails is back in the US after a lengthy European tour, and the release of his Not Not Fun self-titled debut LP, which, if you haven't heard already, is ideal for curing summer hangovers and will come in handy really soon when the garbage starts to stank. Think of it as the poor man's air conditioning.

After Ducktails, Ms. Julianna Barwick, who began singing in her father's church in Oklahoma, will take the stage for a set of tunes, which will hopefully cull from the phenomenal Sanguine and the recently released Florine, which will be out soon in physical form (pre-order here). The show is curated by Men & Women, who are playing after Barwick, but if I didn't know any better I'd say I had a hand in putting this one on, as the pairing is right up my alley. See ya at Cameo!

Ducktails- Live on WFMU
Julianna Barwick- Cloudbank

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

mp3: Dan Deacon at Primavera Sound

"I Got A Rattle Snake Gun"
Admittedly, I'm not a big Dan Deacon fan. Spiderman of the Rings had some choice schizo-freak-out jams but didn't seem to garner repeat listens. I saw Mr. Deacon once a few years back at the Judson Church on Mischief Night, part of a NY Mag scavenger hunt-slash-costume party-open bar, which, for better or worse, also included Chromeo (meh). That night was fun, but I sort-of figured I'd had my "Dan Deacon Experience." That said, Wham City's Mayor had his way with the late-night crowd at Primavera Sound. Not only did he clear the floor, start a "dance off" and provide constant dance-move instruction, but he also managed to conduct a fifteen person ensemble. The ensemble is tight, and I mean tight like a husky dude wearing girls jeans tight, and provided a much needed depth to Deacon's electronics work, which, on its own, just isn't as powerful as fifteen musicians banging away. Fortunately for those not in attendance, the fine folks at WFMU recorded the show and are now hosting it on their recently launched Free Music Archive. Snag it here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

preview: Bonnaroo

"There ain't no place I'd rather be"

In 2006, Rick Farman of Superfly Presents--the fine folks who put together Bonnaroo every year--told the New York Times that he had ambitions to turn the festival into "an iconic event...like Glastonbury or New Orleans Jazz Fest." It seems they're well on their way.

The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, TN, now in its eighth incarnation, takes place June 11-14. Boasting well over 100 performers (many of which have been discussed here on Bobka) covering every genre imaginable, the fest will welcome 80,000 revelers from around the globe to an environment of controlled chaos. Aside from the diverse top-notch musical talent that will be playing throughout the weekend (two nights of Phish and The Boss are this year's headliners), Bonnaroo has also become known for its alternative activities that seem designed to ensure sensory overload, including a comedy tent, cinema tent, arcade, batting cages, and let's not forget the Silent Disco--the surreal club environment in which headphones, not a PA system, are responsible for pumping the music to your brain.

All of this takes place on a huge piece of farmland that is situated perfectly so that it is easily accessible yet still feels like the middle of nowhere. The fantasy-land atmosphere is furthered by the large-scale, visually arresting art installations which often encourage, nay require, audience participation.

And herein lies the secret to Rick Farman and Superfly's success: Bonnaroo is all about the fans. It was started by a group of music lovers and it shows. It is an event/experience rather than just another concert in a big field and it offers tremendous value for the customer.

The Chocolate Bobka team will be in the trenches next week reporting live from the festival ground. Be sure to keep an eye on our Twitter feed for updates throughout the weekend. In the meantime, check the official Bonnaroo site for more information.

A few of the bands playing Bonnaroo this weekend:

Delta Spirit
Passion Pit
Animal Collective
The Dirty Projectors
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Grizzly Bear
Al Green
TV On the Radio
Lucinda Williams
Amadou & Mariam
David Byrne
Beastie Boys
Public Enemy
Girl Talk
The Hood Internet
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
Cotton Jones
Justin Townes Earle
Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
Elvis Perkins in Dearland
Allen Toussaint
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3
Rodqigo y Gabriela
Bon Iver
Of Montreal
Jenny Lewis
The Decemberists
Nine Inch Nails
Elvis Costello
The Mars Volta
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Erykah Badu
Andrew Bird
Jessica Lee Mayfield
Merle Haggard
Okkervil River
Snoop Dogg
Band of Horses
Neko Case

Aziz Ansari
Triumph the Insult Comic Dog
Jimmy Fallon
Todd Barry
Rob Riggle
Michael Showalter
Michael Ian Black
Janeane Garofalo

Monday, June 8, 2009

pics: Polaroids from Primavera Sound

"I'll Tell The World"
Chris + John from Girls during Spiritualized.

John from Girls + golden pom pom girl during "Walk With Jesus."

Vivian Girls on the Pitchfork Stage. "My Baby Wants Me Dead."
Drummer from Girls leaving Vivian Girls

Richard D. James, aka Aphex Twin, murdering the crowd post- MBV.

Dan Deacon clearing the floor late-night.

Dan Deacon Ensemble member, in red M&M costume(?), instructing the crowd.

mp3: Beach Fossils "Vacation", "Daydream"

"Leave The City Behind"
Waking up all foggy on a hazy morning with peanut butter on my breath, espresso penetrating my nasal passage, and Beach Fossils "Vacation" radiating through my ear drums felt like a moment of semi-cosmic clarity. My senses were a buzz, yet, despite the undeniable strength of Stumptown's Hairbender, I still felt like I was drifting through Maya Lin's Wave Field at Storm King, the landscape undulating like an ancient oscillating synthesizer– a rippled world. Beach Fossils, a dreamy bliss pop act from Brooklyn, whose associations with Woodsist, Captured Tracks and Underwater People's places him as part of the neo-Urban sylvan-beach psyche community (Woods, Ganglians, Real Estate, Ducktails), is the sound of escaping into a sun washed Polaroid from Rockaway Beach– the Atlantic to your east, Queens to the west. Beach Fossils have a number of upcoming shows in NYC, including one, appropriately, this Sunday at Fort Tilden in Rockaway Beach. That show, aka Todd P's annual Unamplified BBQ, also features Kurt Vile, Phosphorescent, Shilpa Ray, Real Estate (& Ducktails), Teengirl Fantasy, and, literally, like a hundred more bands. Oh yeah, and it's free. So yeah, you should probably get there if you can. If you can't make it Sunday, do your best to catch Beach Fossils with Real Estate and San Francisco's Girls at the Monster Island Basement on Friday June 26th, which is sure to be one for the ages.

Beach Fossils- Vacation
Beach Fossils- Daydream

Friday, June 5, 2009

live: Holiday Shores @ Spin; Tonight at Shea Stadium

"Put Your Toes In Now"
Playing in a large, cleared office with full length, open windows while posuer-artiste's mingle, drink Michelob Ultra and discuss some seriously hein-dog high school abstracts might not sound like an ideal place to play, but I guess no one told Holiday Shores. The Tallahassee band, whose been in town all week and has been receiving some nice press, played an incredibly effervescent set of refined bedroom jams better suited for backyard BBQ's, where playing washers and drinking really cold, really cheap beer is one's only pre-occupation. That said, the band made the best of their surroundings, aka the Spin Magazine office, by harnessing pure, unadulteratd fun and succesfully flipping any self-important NYC bullshit on its bum. In short, they were great, and their songs sound as good, possibly even better, live– and yes, they were playing with a minimalist drum set, were down a keyboard and some other magic gadgets. Holiday Shores finish their week in NYC tonight with a show at the new Shea Stadium. Originally, this was going to be Holiday Shores and a few others, but with rain putting a damper on Hillstock, the band will be joined by the likes of Michael Jordan, and the Screaming Females, amongst many other Hillstock acts, whose outdoor festival has been moved, you guessed it, indoors.

Holiday Shores will release Columbus'd the Whim on two syllable records on August 4th.

Holiday Shores-Phones Don't Feud (via Fader)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

live: WAVVES at Primavera Sound

"I Won't Make It To 25"
(photos: craig loschmann)
By now you've probably heard a bevy of remarks about Wavves show on the Pitchfork Stage at Primavera Sound. As one who was at the show, up close, and was really enjoying myself, I was sort of shocked to hear about the supposed "meltdown", et all. I may have gotten to the stage right after the awkward sound check/ intro, so maybe I missed the bizarre tone that was set, but I actually thought that Nathan Williams put on the best show I've seen him play so far, which include an early day show at a bar on 110th St and a party in a smokey warehouse in Greenpoint. Photographer Craig Loschmann, who hadn't seen nor heard Wavves before, actually thought it was one of the funnest, best sets of the festival. Maybe we completely missed something, but isn't this exactly what a Wavves show is supposed to be like– drug fueled, failing, teetering on the edge of insanity, a breakdown, barely, if at all, holding it together, and sort of letting it all unravel over the course of, I don't know, say, twenty minutes. After all, it's what makes it a Wavves show. Skate dick punk snarl, too many drugs, a bandmate stuck in the "WTF?!", a crowd who, seemingly, was having equal fun cheering and jeering, and a prominent, often pretentious music magazine using their built-up hype to drive hits– sorta sounds like a weak version of some Rolling Stone exploited Guns N' Roses tour doc. Whatever it was, I think its safe to say that I now like Wavves about 100x more than I did before, which is rather significant considering I wasn't all too excited to hear/see him play after the Top Shop show at the Shank.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

live: Bat for Lashes at Primavera Sound

"I Will Rise"
(photos: craig loschmann)
Like a cobra rising from an earn, Natashia Khan, aka Bat For Lashes, slivers around stage with a presence so captivating one may forget to blink. Fur and Gold was a truly wondrous record, creeping with neo-psychedelia and soul noir, like the soundtrack to a speakeasy murder mystery, best exemplified by "Trophy" and "What's A Girl To Do?", whose video is a beast in and of itself. But "Glass", the first single from Two Suns and the opener of her main stage set at Primavera, finds Khan channeling ancient Mysticism, which Wiki defines as, the "pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, or insight." Basically, see her soon while she's still playing relatively small rooms. It won't be like that for long.

live: Justin Townes Earle

"Black-eyed Suzy she's still losing ground to the heat"

Justin Townes Earle took a break from his 6-month-long tour on Sunday to play a solo acoustic performance to an energetic crowd of about 50 at Drew's in Ringwood, NJ. After opening for his father the night before, JTE's set slowly morphed into a 90-minute storytellers performance covering everything from his water soaked apartment in Crown Heights to picking up chicks outside methadone clinics. He treated the audience to album standards, new songs, covers, and a few ditties he said he was scared to play until now. Justin's knack for storytelling was heightened by his charisma and overall likability. He'll be touring through August in support of his new album, Midnight at the Movies, including two sets at Bonnaroo next weekend.

Justin Townes Earle - Can't Hardly Wait [Replacements cover from 2009's Midnight at the Movies]

Monday, June 1, 2009

live: Girls at Primavera Sound

"I Don't Wanna Die"
(photos: craig loschmann)
Barcelona's Primavera Sound sort of played like a list of bands who have literally been in Brooklyn in the past month. For many acts, including Wavves, Vivian Girls, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Vaselines, Bat For Lashes, and Crystal Stilts, this couldn't have been truer, and as fellow Brooklynite and Vice photographer said to me, "we're really spoiled." Sure, it's NYC and all, but there are still acts that we don't get to see very often, and one band, Girls, made it well worth the trip across the pond. San Francisco's Girls played one of the earliest sets on the P4K stage, coming on right after Women, coincidence...I think not. Humble, visibly anxious, and noting that "This is just the beginning", the psych-revival/drug pop band blasted through a set of new material from their now complete, yes complete, debut full length, which will see the light of day by the end of the year via True Panther. While their biggest show ever, by far, was plagued with some technical difficulties (bad cables), they managed to set aside early problems and showcase mostly unheard new songs in front of the dense Mediterranean crowd. The highlight of their set was the first Girls song I ever heard, "Hellhole Ratrace", which will soon be released on seven inch b/w of "Solitude", a new song the band has yet to play live. With all this Girls output set for the rest of 2009, I think its safe to say that the rest of 2009 is going to be, ahum, "totally rad."