Bishop Allen @ The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY- November 21, 2009

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Making the trip to The Bell House in Park Slope, Brooklyn is always an adventure. Certainly an unlikely place for a venue amongst the family neighborhood and car washing stations, nestled on a loney street corner stands the venue. One of the nicest places you can attend a rock show was home to Bishop Allen’s last show of the year on Saturday night.

Opening the show were two great acts. The first being New York’s own Darwin Deez. Not really knowing what to expect besides the name being mentioned recently, the band came on doing a ’silly’ (and I mean that in a polite way) dance that brought back memories of seeing The Moldy Peaches on stage back in the day. From the moment they played  the first note of “Constellations” everyone in the room dropped their jaws in amazement. Between the incredible songs came more fun dancing that also featured members of Bishop Allen and Throw Me the Statue in the mix. With pop hooks that will knock you dead and an explosive energy, this is one band to watch out for. Up next was Throw Me the Statue who had a hard act to follow but managed to pull it off. Playing familar tunes like “Lolita,” the band made a nice addition to the lineup.

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Around 10:30 Bishop Allen started to set up. No matter how popular they get, you still see singer/guitarist Justin Rice and guitarist Christian Rudder onstage warming up and tuning their own guitars. The band hit the stage at 11 and opened with the classic tune “Rain,” which immediatly had the band excited and dancing. The level of energy Rice and Co. brings to the stage is phenomenal and somehow, they never miss a note. The list of songs was a nice blend of new and old as they are nearly pass the stage of promoting Grrr (Dead Oceans) full on. The pages turned from the EP project tunes like “Winter Coat,” to Broken String tracks such as “The Monitor,” and ”Click Click Click.” Though when the band broke out the new tunes they came in full force.  Stellar performances of “Dimmer” and “Cue the Elephants” in particular were the highlights of the night and had fans singing at the top of their lungs. Darbie Nowatka (aka the new Mrs. Rice) came from behind the keys and woodblocks to sing a few songs on her own but oddly enough not their newest single for “True or False” in which she showcases her vocals full on. Throughout the night Rice provided the crowd with witty banter which had everyone laughing; “I love New York graffiti. I saw one wall that had on it “Don’t be shy” and “You go girl,” and it reminded me why I love New York so much. It’s very uplifting.” The band closed the set with “Middle Management” which was a perfect way to go out with a bang. It’s good to have you back in New York Bishop Allen. We missed you.

CHECK OUT MORE BISHOP ALLEN AFTER THE JUMP

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Secondhand Sunday: The Moldy Peaches “Lucky Number Nine”

Today is a special edition of Secondhand Sunday that is close to our hearts. The Moldy Peaches ‘Lucky Number Nine.’ I remember the first time I saw the band performing on a local NY show called The Daily Beat. From what I recall, they performed this song and ‘Hulkamaniac’ while wearing rabbit hats and/or footed pajamas and/or capes. Learning the band actually was from the town over and that Kimya Dawson worked at my favorite record store and my mom worked for Adam Green’s dad, my friends and I were blown away. They are hometown heroes if you will. Both have went on to very successful solo careers and a lot of attention from Juno, but sometimes we wish ‘Lucky Number Nine’ would waltz it’s way back onto the stage. Footed pajamas and all.

Watch The Moldy Peaches’ ‘Lucky Number Nine’…..(hooray!)

Devendra Banhart to Release New Album

Fresh from his transition to Warner Brothers/Reprise Records, freak folk  leader Devendra Banhart is set to release his major label debut. I don’t quite recall hearing that he made the jump from his former indie label but kudos to him for branching out. Banhart will release ‘What Will Be’ later this fall but there is no official release date yet. This will be his sixth record and the rumor is that there is an hours worth of material on it. Nice. Below is the tracklisting, and though no new music has really leaked yet, we’re leaving you with an old Banhart video below.

‘What Will Be’  Tracklisting
01 “Can’t Help”
02 “Angelika”
03 “Baby”
04 “Goin’ Back To The Place”
05 “First Song For B”
06 “Last Song For B”
07 “Chin Chin & Muck Muck”
08 “16th & Valencia”
09 “Rats”
10 “Maria Leonza”
11 “Brindo”
12 “Meet Me At The Lookout”
13 “Wiliamdzi”
14 “Foolin'”

Watch ‘Feel Just Like a Child’

Regina Spektor to Release New Album

It has been quite sometime since we’ve heard from songstress Regina Spektor. About to release her new album titled ‘Far’ out June 23rd on Sire Records, Spektor has already reached the number 20 spot on itunes within the first day of preorder. I remember the first time I saw or even heard her play. She opened for The Strokes on their tour for ‘Room on Fire’ at the theater at Madison Square Garden. Then she was just a girl with a keyboard, a snare drum and a voice. Most memorably, she performed a song called ‘Reading Time with Pickle’. It is completely amazing how much she has grown since then.  ‘Far’  like all Regina Spektor albums, is worth picking up.

You can catch Regina Spektor on tour starting in NYC on June 17th. From there she is off to Europe.

‘Far’  Tracklisting

01. The Calculation
02. Eet
03. Blue Lips
04. Folding Chair
05. Machine
06. Laughing With
07. Human Of The Year
08. Two Birds
09. Dance Anthem Of The 80’s
10. Genius Next Door
11. Wallet
12. One More Time With Feeling
13. Man Of A Thousand Faces

Tour Dates for Regina Spektor:

06/17 – New York City – Beacon Theatre
06/26 – UK – Glastonbury Festival
06/29 – London – Serpentine Sessions
07/01 – Paris, France – Le Batacian
07/02 – Cologne, France – Gloria
07/04 – Belgium – Werchter Festival
07/06 – Hamburg – Grunspan
07/07 – Berlin, Germany – Postbahnhof
07/09 – Sweden – Hultsfred Festival
07/11 – Ireland – Oxegen Festival
07/12 – Scotland – T in the Park Festival
07/14 – Amsterdam – Paradiso
07/15 – Milan, Italy – Villa Arconati
07/17 – UK – Latitude Festival

Watch Regina’s Video for ‘Dance Anthem of the 80’s’

Check out Regina Spektor on Myspace

A Modern Mystery Holiday Party with Jim Hix of Casper and the Cookies

Welcome to another installment of a Modern Mystery Holiday Party! Today our guest is Jim Hix!

Jim Hix is the phenomenal guitar player of indie rock darlings, Casper and the Cookies.  The band will release thier much anticipated new record this winter, which I personally cannot wait for. Just hearing a few of the new tracks off of the record like ‘Little King’ has me excited to hear the rest.

Jim was so very kind to take time out and share with us his ‘Top Eight’ for 2008. Very clever indeed. Here is what Jim had to say.

I agreed to write this a few weeks ago, but I have since forgotten what exactly it was I supposed to write.  I’m pretty sure it was a list of eight, but exactly what the list was escapes me now.  So, what I’ve decided to do instead is just go ahead and make just a general list, my TOP EIGHT THINGS OF 2008!!!!

 

 

Now, first, let me put a few qualifiers in here.  Maybe some of this stuff actually came out in 07 or something, I don’t care, this is stuff I was turned on to in 2008 and it felt current enough to me.  I’m going to try and list these things in some kind of order, but for real, it’ll be pretty random. 

 

 

#8:  The Moldy Peaches on the View!

This was real bizarre on many obvious levels, but I have to admit that there was a part of me that was really happy to see the peaches enjoy a little success from their inclusion on the Juno soundtrack, however late and from such bizarre sources, when they appeared on the view in January.  (These feeling, by the way, would not extend to the horrible travel commercial thing that would feature the horrible cover of the mouldy peaches song including a verse changed to, “let’s go swimming with some dolphins!”)  This first time I saw or heard of the mouldy peaches was in 2001 when they opened for the Strokes when I was working at the forty watt.  Their performance that night was awesome plus they left a CD with the cleaning crew that we would jam while mopping the floor for months to come.  I’m afraid they might be one of those bands that’s really good but spawns a ton of horrible bands of imitators, but 08 was the year they got to jam with whoppi.

 

#7  Girl Talk releases Feed the Animals:

Man, people are always talking about a record that you can put on and instantly start a party, well, this is IT to me!  I’ve never really been all about mash-ups before, I honestly really just didn’t care, but this is something really genius and special.  The way that the guy mixes genres and eras in such comfortable and effecting ways blew me away.  Oh yeah, and it was free!  How killer is that, not to mention, of the time. 

 

#6  Vampire Weekend delivers their debut record:

There are always these bands that I hear about for weeks and months that I don’t really hear them, but they’re really popular on the blogs, bands like clap your hands and Boris Yeltsin and such stuff, but vampire weekend, for me, really delivered.  I know they’re huge now and probably not at all cool to like anymore, but I thought their debut was excellent and was happy to see them pop up on MTV and enjoy some mainstream exposure.  I agree, I don’t really care for their image, a combination of north east prep, eighties throwback and intellectualism, but the songs are great.

 

#5  The song Miami Ice by the Icy Demons:

In my perfect world this would have been the biggest hit of the year.  From the crushing opening synth riff, to the delicate harmonies to the pounding interludes, I HEART this song.  It’s one of those songs that from the very first second I heard it, on my friend, Emily’s, myspace page, I loved it and have only grown to appreciate it more over time.

 

#4  The Internet finally takes over EVERYTHING!:

This year, I really basically abandoned all other forms of media.  All the TV shows I want to watch, old or current, are available almost immediately.    Did you know every episode of Southpark ever is available to be streamed for free online, as is  all the frontline PBS documentaries, and Michael More’s latest film.  Did you know there’s a whole other CNN channel broadcast live on the Internet through the CNN  web page?  I watched that on election night to get my results!  Do you know about sites like hype machine and seeqpod where you can stream songs on demand?  The future is hear, people, and all you need do is take advantage!

 

#3 MGMT- Oracular Spectacular:

There’s not a lot more to say than this was and is an AMAZING record.  The songs are just so good.  Period.  I almost always wanna listen to them, and this record, produced by the flaming lips’ own David Fridmann, sounds so great!  If you didn’t get this record, I really recommend you give it a try, I think it’s destined to be a classic!

 

#2 Of Montreal releases the Skeletal Lamping experience onto the world!:

When Of Montreal released Skeletal Lamping earlier this year, some complained that the songs and the sequencing were all over the place.  What they didn’t realize is that the record is only part of the experience.  To truly appreciate Skeletal Lamping, one must see the current Of Montreal live show.  For the uninitiated, let’s just say the show is a bit of a production.  Get on Flickr and look at some pictures, or better yet, watch some live video on youtube.  The pictures and video can’t begin to compare to actually being at a show, but at least you will get an idea of what they’re up to.  I also want to mention the fact that OM released this record in six or seven different formats, experimenting with the business model of selling indie rock records in this post file sharing world we live in now.  The record has been a huge success for them and I’m so proud of them!

 

#1 Election night 2008

I still find myself smiling uncontrollably when I think about the events of early November.  As September and October crept by, I found myself logging on to CNN.com a couple times a day, then more and more until I was basically on there every ten minutes.  It seemed in those last few months of campaigns that had lasted years, I really had the feeling that, far more than usual, the fate of the world really hung in the balance.  To me, this election really served as an indicator of what direction this country might take for the next thirty years or so.  Obama really did represent change for me, and while my preference was clear immediately, I was very invested in how America, at large, was going to vote.  In the end, we all made history, electing the first African American to the white house, effectively closing a chapter and starting a new one in the book that is the history of this country.  I find Barack Obama to be incredibly intelligent and inspirational and now find myself feeling the very unfamiliar tingle that I assume to be patriotism.  It’s so nice when your country can pleasantly surprise you.  I’m actually looking forward to the next four (eight) years and seeing what progress Obama brings to our nation.

 

 

So there you go, my top eight.  I’m sure I forgot some things that should have been on this list, and I’m sure I’m over-hyping some of the things that did make the list, but that was it: my top eight THINGS of 2008.