Before heading to SXSW, U.K. imports, The Brute Chorus, is heading to Piano’s in New York City to play a one night only event (And first ever North American show!) with Sharen. The critically acclaimed Brutes have been gaining attention from the likes of CMJ,, NME, and the BBC, just to name a few. We have an exclusive BRUTE CHORUS Tee Shirt for you to win to show your love for the band. Please E-mail “” with “Brute Chorus Contest” in the subject line. Please give your NAME, ADDRESS and TEE SHIRT size. All entries close Tuesday, March 9th at 11:59pm.

In the meantime, take a peak at this exclusive live video below the group has posted on their IndieGoGo page. Also take time out to donate to these fine lads who are about to head to SXSW. For more info plus a live video of “My Testament,” head HERE.



CMJ Diary: Wednesday October 20th

By Sedera Ranaivoarinosy

Not to going to go into detail, but my life has never been busier. Still, I decided this year I would let it affect my CMJ time as little as possible. Sure, for these first few days, that means no day parties for me, but hey, there’s plenty for me to see at night. So here’s a little run through of last night:

1. Pujol at Santos Party House

Pujol @ Santos, Oct. 20th, 2011

After almost going in the wrong entrance–two shows were happening at the same time–I make it inside Santos while the members of the band are finishing up their mic checks. Not to be stereotypical but Pujol‘s garage rock is not necessarily the type of music you’d necessarily expect to hear out of Nashville, TN. The club was at that point where there are quite a few people around but it’s not so full that you are squished into everyone so the vibe was welcoming but it was maybe still a bit early for a rager. Nonetheless, Pujol brought it: the bass made the ground under my feet shake and I caught myself checking if someone was texting me because the waves of sound were making my jacket vibrate. Cute note: Daniel Pujol ended the set mentioning that it was his sister’s birthday. It didn’t seem like she was in the audience but if I had had that set dedicated to me, I’d be pretty happy.

Next stop was Pianos. On the train over, I saw a contestant from the dance competition So You Think You Can Dance. It felt like an odd intrusion of the mainstream into my evening of indie takeover.

2. Cloud Nothings and Exitmusic at Pianos

Cloud Nothings @ Pianos, Oct. 20th, 2011

Going from Pujol to Cloud Nothings (if you subtract the subway ride from Santos to Pianos) made for a fairly seamless transition, although the Cleveland outfit could have used the clarity of sound Pujol enjoyed at Santos. Needless to say, my ears might not really ever function the same again but that didn’t ruin their performance per se. In fact, there was something kind of pleasant in the way the songs sounded and the flow of the band’s set. From one track to the next, I felt like I was going back through all the various stages of adolescence: the pop-punk “rebel” phase, followed by the angsty, more “hard rock” one and the more exploratory one, represented by more experimental and noisy sounds. Since these days I live running from place to place without much breathing time, that little bit of nostalgic energy was pretty comforting. But next time, I’ll be careful not to stay as close to the speakers.

Exitmusic @ Pianos, Oct. 20th, 2011

The second Exitmusic started playing, the pace changed immediately. While the music I’d heard until then was immediate and very raw, this was carefully calculated and orchestrated. It was obvious from the moment the band stepped on stage; their polished appearance was a long way away from the torn t-shirts and plain old jeans of the previous bands. In some way, it was almost a little intimidating to see how attractive everyone was in the band but bit by bit, that feeling faded away as the music and Aleksa Palladino’s haunting vocals shrouded the room. As the set built up, it was like we were all suspended mid-air, as if carried by the lofty guitars. And then Cold War Kids’ “Hang Me Up To Dry” started playing as they took off their instruments and it was back to reality where class the next day meant no more shows for that night.

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.

Fishing for Answers with Vulture Whale

Vulture Whale may not be a household name yet, but they are surely on the rise to becoming one. One of our newest writers, Joe, had the opportunity of sitting down and having a chat with lead singer Wes McDonald, before their show at Piano’s in New York City last weekend. This band is on fire, literally. Lester Nuby predicted that Piano’s would probably “burn down” before they got there. The night before the Piano’s show the venue the band was playing at had a fire!

Vulture Whale started four years ago in Birmingham, Alabama. Wes and Lester were first in a band together in junior high school and then reestablished the band idea while working on Wes’s solo work. They played mostly cover songs and oddly enough, Lester tended to the drums at this time. Given they have a long history together both in work as well as friendship. The name ‘Vulture Whale’ also has a story of it’s own, though Wes claims that it isn’t all that interesting. For a while the band toured without a name and then came up with Vulture Whale while they were recording in L.A. It was a suggestion from both Wes and Jake. Wes thinks that Lester has a very nice Mike Mills (REM) type back up voice. Lester on the other hand played the show that night with the same guitar he had in junior high; the same guitar from their first band.

Through all of the changes and musical history of the band, Wes remains true to his roots and is not at all discouraged by them. Even though they play indie rock, it’s hard to hide where you come from. “Why fight it?” Wes says. Still living in Birmingham, he and his wife have a 14 month old baby, as he grew up there and still calls it home. Being in a good number of bands and doing solo work on his own, when Wes was in The Ohms he still continued polish his solo material which he was able to fall back on when he left the band. One funny coincidence about the band is that one of the musician’s name was Jeff Buckley. He spent a lot of time clearing up in articles that it was not “That Jeff Buckley!” Lester also had musical success under his belt when he played with the band Verbena from 12 years who mutually decided to part ways and they were dropped by Capitol Records.

When creating songs within the band, the music writing process for Vulture Whale is very organic. Either Lester or Wes come in with a song idea, and the rest of the band then collaborates on it. This brings to life the songs we know and love today. It’s very much a group effort in the studio. For Wes the songwriting process is subliminal. “You just gotta write what you feel sometimes” he says, When asked if he enjoys being in the studio or on tour better, Wes would rather toss the coin on that one, as most musicians seem to do. Though when the topic of what song is his favorite to play live, he quickly answers with “Sum Yung Scientist” because it’s one of the only songs he gets to play lead guitar on. Creating their studio sound onstage is a breeze for the band as they think of performing a fun event rather than one filled with pressure. Constantly playing the songs you wrote onstage only makes it easier Wes claims.

Vulture Whale is currently on Skybucket Records who is owned by their good friend, Travis Morgan. It’s an Alabama based record label where all of the bands play and admire the other local bands on the label. Almost like how Saddle Creek started. There is no better way to cultivate the music scene then to water the seeds and let it grow. Wes’ influences can be seen a little bit in his songs as he is a fan of The Feelies and Massachusetts’ own NRQB. As for new bands, he likes MGMT because “the guy wears a headband”. What’s not to like? All jokes aside, Vulture Whale are very aware of the business of music and how they’ve become popular throughout the world of blogs. The band notices a definite difference in the building of a band’s reputation and agrees that sites like Myspace have opened up a whole new fan base for them which probably wouldn’t have existed otherwise. Wes also has a love for Brit Rock and the band actually has an EP coming out titled ‘Bamboo You,’ which is named as homage to The Rolling Stones record, “Tattoo You.” Even though they have no idea what the future holds, Wes can’t imagine not playing music. If he wasn’t writing songs, he’d be writing a book he says. One thing that is for certain is their new EP comes out in the fall and they will just keep touring and playing.

Check out  Vulture Whale on MYSPACE

Interview by Joe Paolucci

Playtime!: The Everyday Visuals

Welcome to our first installment of  ‘PLAYTIME!’ This has been an idea we’ve been toying around with for quite some time that we have finally launched. Let us explain to you what ‘Playtime!’ is. This will be a segment in which we film some of our favorite bands and artists. Think of it as a version of ‘Take Away Shows’ but on a playground in New York City. Bands will be performing stripped down performances of their songs as life goes on behind them. Sounds nice, huh? Expect a lot more these to come!

Up first is The Everyday Visuals!

Our first episode of Playtime! features Boston’s own, The Everyday Visuals. We took the band to the ABC Playground over the weekend where they performed two songs, ‘Heal Me’ and ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ off their new self titled record.

The Everyday Visuals Perform ‘Heal Me’

The Everyday Visuals Perform ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’

The Everyday Visuals also performed an amazing show at Piano’s that night. An acoustic set if you will. In any situation the band can perform beautifully. Singer/Guitarist Chris Pappas’ voice is haunting and sends chills down your spine even when performing the most upbeat of songs.  You can tell he is a true songwriter and it just comes natural to him. The accompaniment and backing vocals of Joe Seiders, Kyle Fredrickson, and Eli Scheer complete the sound as they play like seasoned musicians with a great deal of soul to them. 

See more photos from The Everyday Visuals at Piano’s after the JUMP