Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Duke Spirit @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

The Duke Spirit; Mobius Band; Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers
@ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY - February 16, 2009

Leila Moss is no doubt the center of the Duke Spirit, a ferocious pretty modern rock band from Britain. The whiskey-voiced lead singer carries the front woman mantle with ease, involving the crowd in her vocals, her movements, and her personality. The band behind her play a pretty standard set of driving, loud rock though songs like "Lassoo" of course stand out for their particular hooks. Interestingly, the two ballads played were more impressive than the majority of the hard rockers. Maybe that's where this band's future lies. It should also stick to more of those Western-style songs that Leila seems to like, it lends them a more distinct and successful overall rock sound.

Mobius Band seemed an odd fit to be playing with the Duke Spirit, even though they have played with them before. These New England pop dudes would be a better fit with a band like the Submarines as they share that band's penchant for synth-inflected Indie pop music that also relies on a drummer keeping things grounded. Unlike the Submarines however, Mobius Band doesn't seem to have a radio-ready hit in their catalog yet, though a couple songs did have those elements that showed where this band could go.

Shilpa Ray was once the lead singer of Beat the Devil. Now under her own moniker, Shilpa still belts out that striking rock voice against some rough-edged backdrops and in fact, she made for the exact kind of opener the Duke Spirit needed.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Meet Ida Maria

My first exposure to this Norwegian wunderkind was the effectively gripping ballad "Keep Me Warm". Then came word of the gigs I missed (d'oh!) and NPR's All Songs played the very different sounding overseas hit "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" and it was hello old time good time California garage punk! In other words, she's all rock n 'roll baby:

For what it's worth, she's coming back with Glasvegas next month.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Pains of Being Pure at Heart; Cause Co-Motion! @ Mercury Lounge

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart; Cause Co-Motion!; The Depreciation Guild; ZaZa
@ Mercury Lounge
New York, NY - February 7, 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are a fast-rising distortion-pop band in the vein of the Jesus & Mary Chain, Magnetic Fields, and B-Major Raveonettes but with a clear devotion to putting the pop side of things before the distortion side. It makes for an affable, inviting sound and a feel-good atmosphere - which is important considering how ungodly crowded their shows are, and are certainly going to be.

Cause Co-Motion! is a vintage punk/new wave band. Forget "retro". They are vintage. There is no way to discern that they are not from the late 1970's except by their obvious youth in 2009. The way they pull it off certainly lets them fit onto this distortion bill. The fact that they use their powers for the forces of friendly boppin' about, and not for moshing, is something we should be thankful for. Despite the vintage, there is a definite sense of "now" going on here, which be could also be said of the Pains. The packed crowds consist of whomever, whatever you want to think of them as, but among the area bands getting hyped up the wazoo in the last year, these two certainly merit it.

The Depreciation Guild (great name) and ZaZa are pretty much identical psychedelic distortion bands except ZaZa has a girl, the Guild have a fourth dude, ZaZa stands in front of pieces of art, and the Guild play in front of a screensaver type display on a screen.

Labels: , , , , ,

Trouble & Strife; Wheres Ilva @ Pianos

Trouble & Strife; Wheres Ilva
@ Pianos
New York, NY - February 6, 2009

The lead singer of Trouble & Strife wears an eye patch, a scarf, leather gloves and a leather jacket. He has the face of a kid straight out of Yeshiva. And he wails. The rest of the band play grimey rock n' roll. That's about the sum of it.
Wheres Ilva are essentially a tribute to Steely Dan - the jam side of Steely Dan. Every band could do with more "My Old School" spirit.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Passing of Lux Interior

It's a little creepy - in true Cramps fashion: Just a day after listening to "Uranium Rock", marking the first time I listened to the Cramps in at least a year, maybe two years, word comes that the enigmatic lead singer of the band has died. Sadness abounds.

Labels: ,

Illinois; Giants @ Fontana's

Illinois; Giants
@ Fontana's
New York, NY - February 4, 2008

Boy, Illinois - they are just a little bit of everything aren't they? Country, blues, funk, Indie pop, jam band - every song came from a different genre but it was the same band throughout, no posing going on for one second. And talented gentlemen on top of it, particularly one Chris Shepherd wailing on the guitar. And the way they are reinventing how bands release their music - USB keys released on a weekly basis - may lead to the biggest shake-up in the selling of rock n' roll since Napster.

Giants are the quintessential post-Neil rock band, picking up all the signature sounds that came in the wake of the Bar Band meeting the Folk Rocker. The songs are well-structured, well-crafted, and solidly played. A good lead vocalist really makes it work.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, February 02, 2009

Well This is Unexpected...I Like the New Von Bondies Single

Their live shows are so poor, and the music they were "working on" for all those years sounded awful but what do ya know, the new single, "Pale Bride" is a nice pop-rock number:

Labels: ,

Hold Steady Cover Springsteen OMG; Gaslight Anthem Channel Him on Letterman

Who wants to wait for that damn comp to come out? Stereogum has it.

In other Springsteen-esque news, the Gaslight Anthem were on Letterman.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A Word on Springsteen at the Super Bowl

Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, and the Rolling Stones may have played the Super Bowl, and by sheer talent, Prince may be the best to have ever played it - but Bruce Springsteen just gave the first performance at the Super Bowl to be bigger than the game, the hoopla, and the culture around it. That was great.

Labels: , ,

Clare & The Reasons @ Abrons Arts Center

Clare & The Reasons; Josh Mease
@ Abrons Arts Center
New York, NY - January 31, 2008

"Welcome to our recital. We've been practicing all semester", said Clare Muldaur Machon before her merry misfits played a thoroughly vexing set in the basement auditorium of the Abrons Arts Center, located in the nether regions of eastern Grand Street. The awkward confines of the performance space - a lil' auditorium with a tiny concrete floor - lent a charm to the proceedings. There was talk of performing songs from the upcoming second record but Clare relayed to us that her new songs were being threatened with murder by her old songs, in her dreams that is, so to play it safe they stuck to their usual set. Some sad news: "Can You Car Do That? (I Don't Think So)" will not find a home on the upcoming album. Alas, it will remain a live novelty, much like the car in the song.

Imporant footnote: I have a major crush on the cellist. Is that a cello she's playing? Whatever it is - the upright thing - her. Yeah. Major crush.

Josh Mease is a perfectly pleasant singer-songwriter who mixes Jazz, country, and blues all in the vein of M.Ward's laid-back campfire-on-the-beach style. And while he will probably be surprised to learn this, he should know that his natural, off-the-cuff in-between song banter is pretty darn funny. His debut album comes out in April.

Labels: , , ,