Grandchildren @ Pianos, NYC – December 2, 2010

Pianos is tiny. Or, I should say, the ground floor showroom where I went is tiny. The front part is taken up by the bar. The upstairs used for other shows and DJ’s. A tiny bar sits tucked into the corner. The modest stage sits plainly against the back wall, with a house drum kit that only moves side to side, never off the stage.

The first band, Diehard, played through their set, rocked a bit, and had a good time. While musically tight, there was something missing. They clearly had the best banter of the night. They were followed by Dinowalrus, a trio of guys who could not decide if they were a dancy electronic band or an ambient indie rock outfit, though they played both well.

Before Dinowalrus could go on, however, the fire alarm kept going off, causing the band to make a song out of the incessant buzzing noise. After that cleared, and Dinowalrus played their set, we still weren’t done with the fire. Someone left their coat too close to a candle, which went up in flames, all while Grandchildren were cramming their many instruments on stage.

While both previous acts fit with relative ease on the stage, Grandchildren and its six members had to pick a spot and sway there. Complete with a drummer, percussionist, two guitarists, bassist and synth player, they broke into their first song, full of ambient noise and tribal drums.

The next thing I knew, it was 45 minutes later and I had been swallowed by a wall of sound. Time passed, moments lingered, everyone in Grandchildren played something like 15 different instruments and I was in awe. While I had heard a handful of songs before, nothing prepared me for their live show. Even through all the space and fuzz of their set, they were incredibly tight. Theirs is the type of music that is better to enjoy than to think “how did they come up with this?”

Lest we think Grandchildren are trying to reinvent Broken Social Scene by throwing 15 of their friends on stage, everyone in Grandchildren plays a significant part. Even the drummer is not just a drummer, as he hops over his drumset, heads to a synth machine, grabs a microphone and belts out lyrics. Or the main vocalist giving his bass to another band member, hopping behind drums and rocking out. And so on down the list.

There is a point in most shows when one realizes who the headliners are, even if unaware before the show started. The opening bands, though playing as well as they can, sound differently than the really polished headliner (though not always). While I enjoyed the sets from Dinowalrus and Diehard, when Grandchildren got up, it was a different sound. All three bands had played with the same set up, the same sound system, yet with Grandchildren it felt complete. If they made mistakes, it was lost within the overall atmosphere of the set.

Grandchildren continue their residency at Pianos the next two Thursdays (the 9th and 16th), with different opening acts. Everyone needs to go see it, to experience something beautiful. I will be back, not to cover it or write articles but to merely enjoy.

Radio Department to Release Singles Compiliation

The Radio Department comes out with a selection of their latest (of the past eight years) and greatest (of those eight years) work: Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 for release on January 25th, 2011.

This “best hits” compilation of sorts of at least their time thus far with Labrador Records is complete with a double disk and some B-sides and rarities mixed in. The Swedish indie label is boding this release as a result of the success of their best selling band. Such success does not come without its obstacles, however. The Radio Department are undoubtedly rock stars, but hesitant – or at least coy – ones at that. Considering their popularity, it seems strange that they have consistently been hesitant to sign contracts, expose themselves to the media and generally skeptical of their acceptance by fans, critics and the rest of the musical community they – whether or not they believe they do or should – belong to.

Until their tour of said album, satiate your need for The Radio Department with the dream-pop track “Never Swallow Fruit” off their just released EP, Never Follow Suit, accompanied perhaps by a candle lit room with an uncontrolled drug of the green variety.

Look out for their tour celebrating this album, including the upcoming New York shows on 11/30 and 12/01 at the Knitting Factory and Bowery Ballroom, respectively.

Cymbals Eat Guitars CANCEL NYC Show Tonight @ Irving Plaza

Cymbals Eat Guitars just announced they will NOT be playing at Irving Plaza tonight as planned. They were going to be opening for The Thermals but had to cancel due to an emergency. Twin Shadow is filling in as the opener.

Read their official statement down below:

We regrettably have to cancel our performance at Irving Plaza tonight. Obviously this is a huge disappointment, but we’ve had a family medical emergency and family comes first. The Thermals show goes on as planned with Twin Shadow filling in for us. Thanks for understanding.



Forest City Lovers Announce New North American Tour

Building off the release of one of their most critically acclaimed albums yet (Carriage), Forest City Lovers have announced new North American tour dates and shot a new music video.

The group will be making stops in their hometown of Toronto and the Big Apple later this month.

You can check out their new video for the song “Tell Me, Cancer” right here. You can find Carriage pretty much anywhere CDs (and records) are sold. Catch Forest City Lovers’ full fall tour schedule after the video.

Can’t get enough? See them…

10/21/10 – Halifax, NS @ Halifax Pop Explosion
10/24/10 – Charlottetown, PEI @ Baba’s Lounge
10/25/10 – Portland, ME @ Apohadian Theater
10/26/10 – Boston, MA @ Temple Sound & Stage
10/28/10 – Baltimore, MD @ Annex Theater
11/5/10 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe
11/10/10 – Rochester, NY @ The Bug Jar
11/11/10 – New York, NY @ Living Room
11/12/10 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Hall
11/13/10 – Binghamton, NY @ Undergrounds (SUNY-Binghamton)

Matt Pond PA “Starting”

Tonight I am going to see one of my favorite bands, Matt Pond PA. Here’s my little secret. For some reason I have NEVER seen MPPA live. This is beyond wierd isn’t it? I’m not exactly sure how this has happened, being I live in New York, as does the band, but we have unfortunate incidents, that every time for the past 5 years, when MPPA took the stage I either already had tickets to another show or I was on vacation. It seemed to be working against me. Good grief Charlie Brown.

I still remember the first time I discovered Matt Pond PA. It was 2005 and I was interning at big record label in Manhattan. Someone got fired, and as the intern I was, I got to clean out their cd collection, and keep what I wanted to, and put the rest in the trash. Nothing caught my eye but this mix someone had made the person oddly titled “Sunsetting.” Looking at the tracklist, I saw the good Matt Pond PA name on there, noticed it being familar, and took it. The song that was on there was “The Butcher,” and in my ever mess of a room, I didn’t listen to the mix for almost two weeks. It wasn’t until Sunday night two weeks later when I was watching Subteranean on MTV2, that they showed the MPPA video for “Closest (Look Out).” I’ve been hooked ever since.

Well tonight is the night that I get to experience first hand, MPPA at the Bowery Ballroom. With the recent release of The Dark Leaves (Polyvinyl), and some of the strongest songs Pond has ever written, it is sure to be an amazing night. Plus I am going to experience it with someone who I love dearly. I think it was all meant to happen at once.

Recently MPPA released the first video for the record, “Starting,” which features the new-ish lineup featuring the lovely Miss Leslie Sisson of the Wooden Birds (which she plays with Pond and Andrew Kenny formerly of American Analog Set), running away from a slow swerving car with glowing orbs. It MPPA fashion, it’s beautiful.

Matt Pond PA “Starting”

Spoon Announce U.S. Tour with Deerhunter

Last week another gigantic buzz album hit stores in the form of Spoon’s Transference (Merge). To celebrate the release of their record, the band is heading out on tour starting this March with friends, Deerhunter. Spoon will travel from Glasglow to California, and are also taking The Strange Boys and Micachu and the Shapes along with them with Deerhunter to take over as openers in the spring. The venues look pretty intimate for the tour, and very classy for the most part. Spoon will be hitting Radio City Music Hall when they come to New York City which is certainly a step up for the band who seems to get bigger and bigger everytime they release a new song. Check out the tour dates below!

02-14 Glasgow, Scotland – King Tut’s
02-15 Manchester, England – Academy 3
02-16 London, England – Electric Ballroom
02-18 Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso
02-19 Cologne, Germany – Luxor
02-20 Berlin, Germany – Frannz Club
03-17 Austin, TX – Stubbs (NPR SXSW showcase) %
03-18 New Orleans, LA – Republic %@
03-19 Birmingham, AL – Workplay Soundstage %@
03-20 Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle %@
03-22 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club %@
03-23 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club %@
03-24 Richmond, VA – The National %@
03-26 New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall %@
03-27 Boston, MA – House of Blues %@
03-29 Toronto, Ontario – Sound Academy %@
03-30 Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theater %@
04-01 Chicago, IL – Aragon Ballroom %^
04-02 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue %^
04-03 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue %^
04-05 Denver, CO – Ogden Theater %^
04-06 Denver, CO – Ogden Theater %^
04-07 Salt Lake City, UT – In the Venue %^
04-09 Seattle, WA – Moore Theater %^
04-10 Seattle, WA – Moore Theater %^
04-11 Vancouver, British Columbia – Orpheum Theater %^
04-13 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater %^

% with Deerhunter
@ with the Strange Boys
^ with Micachu and the Shapes