Kidzapalooza’s Rock Star Yoga

Kidzapalooza’s Rock Star Yoga

Kidzapalooza's Rock Star Yoga

Kidzapalooza’s Rock Star Yoga

Having interactive yoga sessions for parents and their broods was one of my favorites! I loved watching new and veteran yogis have a blast with their yoga poses. Kids of all ages rocked sun salutations & meditation from New York’s Sweet Soul Yoga. Little yogis even got to play Yoga Jenga! Each piece had a new pose for everyone to do. Genius!

Yoga teamwork!

Yoga teamwork!

Yoga Jenga!

Yoga Jenga!

Yoga Jenga

Yoga Jenga

That's how you leap like a frog!

That’s how you leap like a frog!


Exitmusic provides the prologue at Mercury Lounge

Brooklyn outfit Exitmusic opened for the sold out School of Seven Bells gig at the Mercury Lounge early Tuesday evening.  Led by the real life couple of Aleksa Palladino (aka Angela Darmody of Broadwalk Empire) and Devon Church, Exitmusic produced the perfect warm-up with songs from their EP From Silence and their forthcoming LP Passage.  A soundtrack of filmy, layered choruses lulled the audience to a seance of crashing guitar riffs.  Opening their set with “The Sea”, Aleksa’s brooding voice delivers a haunting, “It’s the silent seeeeeaaa.”  From there they leaped into “The Modern Age”  where Devon shredded his guitar.

Aleksa was particularly beguiling singing, “Look up the sky’s awake, the sun is shining,” on “The Hours”.  They ended their set with a new song, “Sparks of Light”.  This writer was hoping for their dreamy re-imagining of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” but it was foregone in the short set.

Exitmusic’s debut LP Passage is out May 22nd on Secretly Canadian.  Check out the title track here.  The band is off to SXSW and a US tour that hits NY March 28 at Terminal 5 and May 5 with School of Seven Bells again at Le Poisson Rouge.

Milagres charm the Mercury Lounge

The Brooklyn-based quintet Milagres plugged into Mercury Lounge Thursday night to a welcoming crowd.  The outfit matriculated from NYU, but didn’t form until post-graduation.  Bringing their swooning tunes from their fall release, Glowing Mouth, lead Kyle Wilson’s falsetto burst opened the set with “Gentle Beast”, as the onlookers cheered in delight.  Milagres have a mutable sound that has been compared to Arcade Fire, R.E.M. and even Prince.  On their second song of the night, “To Be Imagined”, Kyle’s vocals reminded me of another Brooklyn troop, The Antlers and Canadian Patrick Watson with similar swooning and crashing cymbals and beats.  On “Fright of Thee”, a more macabre tone is evoked and resembled something Ryan Gosling’s band Dead Man’s Bones might have produced.

Guitarist Eric Schwortz served as speaker for the band chatting with the crowd and gauging interest in Downton Abbey?  Their fans were into it and the atmosphere felt like a room full of friends rather than industry suits witnessing the next big thing.  Eric also informed the audience of their latest track , “Quiet Street”, which premiered on Paste Magazine’s site.  Before concluding the set with “Fifty Fourteeners”, Kyle threw out an open invite to their fans to join them at HiFi , a bar up the street that would be honoring drink deals if they mentioned the gig.  Now that’s a classy band, taking care of its fans.

Set list
Gentle Beast
To Be Imagined
Glowing Mouth
Lost in the Dark
Fright of  Thee
Quiet Street
Here To Stay
For Disposal
50 14ers

Cass McCombs illuminates Bowery Ballroom

To the backdrop of a lit screen resembling digital sequins, Cass McCombs and his band descended onto the stage of Bowery Ballroom.  Despite the glittering panels, Cass and his band were enshrouded in darkness with all overhead lights off.  They rambled into “Love Thine Enemy” from his last album, Humor Risk to start.  With only periodic camera flashes to reveal Cass’s facial expressions, this was a concert where audience members were forced to listen and less about the antics of the artist, not that Cass would oblige.  He leaves his songs to tell his stories.   He barely chatted, only to open with a “hi” and “how’s everyone?” and a thank you with introductions for his band at the tail end.

Borrowing largely from Humor Risk, Wit’s End and Catacombs, Cass and his gang of four melded nicely throughout the set on “My Sister, My Spouse,” “Buried Alive” and “The Same Thing”.  The gents on lap steel and keys really enveloped the wayward nature of the nomad singer-songwriter’s compositions.  Some songs even ensued praise from concert goers as one shouted “That was niiiiice,” after the conclusion of “Harmonia”.   A few deviations from the trio of last albums were “My Master” from the A album, the tribute/protest song “Bradley Manning” and “Angel Blood”, which had been played plenty in the fall 2011 tour and captured by Pitchfork and Daytrotter.

The appropriate swan song of the night had to be “County Line,” which you could feel the crowd anticipating.  NPR labelled “a song for ever time” and that it is.  For Wednesday night’s rendition in New York, the bluesy waltz was stretch for maximum appeal.  The perfect lullaby to send this writer back to her own county line (Kings).

Gem Club dreams at Littlefield

The duo of Christopher Barnes and Kristen Drymala create ethereally slow burning ditties as Gem Club.  With a keyboard and a cello, their songs are cavernous and evoke a sense of longing.  Gem Club’s tunes are the perfect soundtrack for a walk on a cold and foreboding beach, which is not surprising that their song “Red Arrow” was featured on the ABC drama, Revenge.  Hamptons approved.

For their set at Littlefield, they were joined by vocalist Ieva Berberbian.  They quickly gave the thumbs up and started with “Birds” from their self-released six-song EP, Acid and Everything.  Taking from both the EP and their full length Breakers, the audience was transported into a dreamy reverie of piano ballads.  For the track “Breakers”, Kristen delicately tapped colorful foot bells and Chris lamented “the graceless years are gone”.  Chris offered very little chatter between songs, though very thankful for the opportunity to play and open for Califone.   One of the few songs he introduced,  “Acid and Everything” started somewhat in the vein of Radiohead’s “No Surprises” with its loopy piano keys.   The band ended their short 40-minute set with “In Wavelengths”, which has a glorious rendition recorded for a Daytrotter session over the 2011 CMJ festive.

If you haven’t had a chance to witness the slow burn of Gem Club, do yourself a favor and check out their Tiny Desk Concert for NPR’s All Songs Considered.  Guaranteed to leave you in a woozy haze.

Sharon Van Etten warms up Mercury Lounge

On a crisp evening, fans poured into Mercury Lounge to witness a rare, intimate concert with Ms. Sharon Van Etten.  Weeks before her latest LP, Tramp hits stores February 7th, she played to a sold out crowd on Wednesday.   She thanked her fans for giving up their hump day to hang with her.  Amongst her fans in the crowd was one Aaron Dessner of The National, who also helped producer her upcoming release.  Though not in attendance, Sharon’s other fancy friends include TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone (who was given a demo personally from Van Etten) and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, who is her fellow Jagjaguwar label mate.  Girl rolls with fine company.

Covering her new album from side A to B, she began with “Warsaw” and continued in order of the track list.   As most of the songs were very new to her audience (unless they had streamed her performance the day before at The Greene Space for WNYC’s Soundcheck), they piped up for her single “Serpents”.  She had taken the single out for a spin on her first network television appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon a few weeks earlier.   She then went on to introduce the next tune “Kevin’s” as a song about quitting smoking.  Though there was little chatter between SVE and the crowd, she brought out a ukulele and an omnichord.   The latter instrument elicited a cheer of “OMICHORD!”

“All I Can” was well received by the entranced audience.  This reporter overheard one concertgoer say, “I really loved that last song.”  Sharon’s echoey vocals sure do that to listeners.   Her vocals were enhanced especially by bassist/keyboardist Heather Wood Broderick (Horse Feathers, Efterklang) on the second to last song “I’m Wrong”.  Though there was no encore, the crowd left completely satisfied and blessed to witness a true artist on the heels of a breakout.  SVE plays additional New York shows in February:

February 24 – Music Hall of Williamsburg
February 25 & 26 – Bowery Ballroom

Needless to say, not to be missed.

Set list
Give Out
In Line
All I Can
We Are Fine
Magic Chords
I’m Wrong
Joke or a Lie

Pandora Presents: Portugal. The Man at The Bowery in NYC


Portugal. The Man will headline the next live music event in the Company’s new series of free, personalized concerts. The show will take place in New York City on Tuesday, January 17 (today) at the Bowery in New York. This is the second in the personalized concerts series from Pandora. The inaugural concert last month was headlined by Dawes in Portland, Oregon.

Pandora figures the acts for the show by analyzing the local users musical tastes.  Those users that show heavy data sets with the artist chosen are then invited to the show for free.  If a fan didn’t not receive an invitation online, there are a free passes that will be available at the door beginning at 7pm. Doors open at 8pm and the show begins at 9pm.

Pandora Founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren said, “It is exciting to see a central theme of Pandora’s mission come to life, that of helping bands find their audiences and facilitating the joy of discovery for our listeners. As the series continues, we look forward to bringing these personalized live music events to our listeners in cities all across the country.”

Pandora users around the country have access to behind the scenes video and interviews with bands that perform at each show by heading over here:



Over The Rhine at Le Poisson Rouge

On a cool, crisp evening in New York, the fans of Over the Rhine descended into the cellar of Le Poisson Rouge.  The real life couple of Karin Bergquist and Linford Detweiler rose to the stage starting off with “Born” off their 2005 Drunkard’s Prayer album.  The crowd was in for a treat as Karin thanked the masses for coming to their holiday tour.  Getting down to the holiday spirit, Karin crooned “All I Ever Get For Christmas in Blue” with her signature pipes.  Before continuing the festive caroling with “White Horse”, Linford asked his wife if it was true that she once put a plastic horse under the Christmas tree in the hopes it would be a real horse Christmas morning.  Karin admitted she did and that her mother was relieved when there was no Christmas morning miracle.

Then the evening really heated up when the cable to the kick drum shocked the drummer as they started into “I’m On A Roll”.  They dug deep into their 20 years of songwritng to fulfill a request by singing “Suitcase” from their double album Ohio. Though they did treated fans to oldies but goodies, they played a majority from their latest album The Long Surrender, including “The King Knows How”, “Undamned”, “All My Favorite People” and “Rave On”. The pair also debuted a new song “Sacred Ground” and a new as-yet-named holiday tune. Of course they dusted the set with Christmas songs from their previous holiday recording Snow Angels. The true Christmas gift was their Hank Williams cover of “Still in Love With You” with the accompaniment of openers, The Milk Carton Kids.

All I Ever Get For Christmas Is Blue
White Horse
I’m on a Roll
The King Knows How
Sacred Ground (new song)
New Christmas song
Snow Angel
Pull Through
North Pole Man
All My Favorite People

Rave On
Drunkard’s Prayer
Still In Love With You (Hank Williams cover)

Eleanor Friedberger whites out Le Poisson Rouge

On a crisp evening in New York City, Eleanor Friedberger, one half of the brother sister duo The Fiery Furnaces, graced the stage of Le Poisson Rouge, performing selections from her debut solo album, Last Summer, as well as new material. Eleanor opened with the first single “My Mistakes”, donning a full white suit and matching white Keds.  Who said you can’t wear white after Labor Day?

Eleanor peppered her show with new material “a song about falling in love”, “Stare at the Sun”  and the rocking “That Was When I Knew” for the encore.  Her lyrics present sharp narratives with decisive repetition.  It’s especially noticeable live when she chimes “Wrong, wrong, wrong” in the later newbie and even in “Inn of the Seventh Ray” where a broken promise rings over and over in her memories.  She even counted out 2-0-1-0 for “Glitter Gold Year”.

Behind her mint green electric guitar and manicured bangs a la Patti Smith, she was completely comfortable on stage, except a moment before kicking into “Roosevelt Island”. Eleanor had to hold up saying she was tipsy and blamed it on the suit.  Fashion is painful.  She took a mini breather and a sip of her Corona.  All good!

Eleanor was happy to play an early show because she was due to attend a wedding post-concert.  Maybe an explanation for the all white ensemble?  Drawing from her recent album she performed “Scenes from Bensonhurst”, “Early Earthquake” and ended the set with “I Won’t Fall Apart on You”.  The fans at the lip of the stage bopped “on and on and on” to the conclusive song.  Post show, Eleanor got behind the merch table.  Let’s hope she made it in time to that wedding or her white hotness would have been missed for the matrimonial bliss.

First Aid Kit mends and heals Mercury Lounge

The sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg (aka First Aid Kit) arrived upon the stage of Mercury Lounge with matching cosmos patterned dresses.  Johanna strummed the autoharp as the pair began their set with “New Year’s Eve”.  Klara told the crowd that for the evening they would be joined by a Swedish videographer.  The show would be taped for Swedish television.

As the drummer counts off in Swedish, the gals barreled into a new track “Blue” off their forthcoming album, The Lion’s Roar, produced by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Monsters of Folk).  Klara spoke to the technician in Swedish and a fan requested more of the Scandinavian tongue.  Klara asked if anyone knew Swedish and a few “hej’s” were uttered.  She graded us with a C in Swedish.  Fair enough.

It was revealed that oldie, but goodie “Tangerine” was written by a young 14 year old Klara.  From there, the gals treated the audience to a lovely acoustic version of “Ghost Town” sans mics.  Fans joined in singing “And I found myself attached to this railroad track / But I’ll come back to you some day / To you /To you/ To you/ Some day”.  The Söderberg sisters were truly touched by the impromptu sign along.

Though drawing mostly from their last album, The Black and The Blue, fans were introduced to new material including the sweet “Emmylou”.  Their new album The Lion’s Roar hits stateside on January 24, 2012.  In the meantime, they open for Lykke Li tomorrow in the Garden State and will be back in New York on March 28 at Webster Hall.  They also served as backup singers for Lykke Li on David Letterman a few hours before their show tonight.  They didn’t get to shake Dave’s hand unfortunately, but they will be soon enough.

Set list
New Year’s Eve
You’re Not Coming Home Tonight
Hard Believer
In the Heart of Men
Ghost Town
Our Own Pretty Ways
Heavy Storm
The Lion’s Roar

Waltz for Richard
I Met Up With The King

Swede Return: Jens Lekman takes Music Hall of Williamsburg (Night one)

Jens Lekman’s been on the road, but he hasn’t neglected his fans on his “small talk” blog:

“Currently I am on the road and I won’t have time to reply to e-mails. But I made a little FAQ for the most common questions:

Q: Can you get me into the show somehow, maybe you have a guestlist I could be on?
A: No, I couldn’t even get my mum into the show if I wanted to.

Q: It’s my friends birthday the day of your show, can you do a shout-out / sing happy birthday etc etc?
A: That’s really sweet, I wish I had friends like you. But I get this question maybe 20 times per day, so I’ll have to say no to all to be fair. Instead, take your friend out to the show, have an excellent time and then make pancakes in the morning.

Q: What is this topic of the month thing?
A: The topic of the month is the compulsory main subject of your e-mail when you write to me. If you wanna talk about something else you will have to make associations, find reference points. This is mainly because I see our communication as an exchange, not a service, so there needs to be some groundrules to keep it consistent and creative.

Q: What is the topic for October?
A: The topic for the month of October is “Highways”

That delightful exchange was only a snippet of the self-deprecating humor and charm that Jens brought to the first of three sold out shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. The always adorable Jens showcased songs from his latest EP, An Argument With Myself, including the title song and “Waiting for Kirsten”, an ode to stalking Kirsten Dunst in his hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden.  Jens also played crowd favorites from previous albums Oh You’re So Silent Jens and Night Falls Over Kortedala.  “I Saw Her At The Anti-War Demonstration” and “A Sweet Summer’s Hammer Hill” ensued infectious hand claps.

Jens then got nostalgic about his three months living by McCarren Park and how everyone says how great Brooklyn and New York is.  Unfortunately, Jens’s time ended with him taking the Q train to Coney Island for a lonely walk in the cold of November.  He did say he was growing to love Brooklyn again, which lead into his dedication of “The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love ” to the broken hearts.  He stripped down “Black Cab” beautifully to his voice and the slowed down strum of his acoustic guitar.  The rendition might even rival the one he performed for the Black Cab sessions.  “The Opposite of Hallelujah” was an interesting set up with only his drummer Addison Rogers.  Jens pushed a few buttons on his drum machine to create horn players.

Jens returned for not one, but two encores.  Turning the encore into a session for deejay Lekman, he mixed in Ten City’s “That’s The Way Love Is” which caused a dance party.  Opener Geoffrey O’Connor joined in on the encore goodness as well.  For the final tune, it was just Jens under the spotlight crooning “Pocketful of Money” with the audience backing with lulls of “You set my heart on fire.”

Still haven’t gotten enough of your Jens’ fix?  How about you write him at, but remember “only personal matters”.  (He) reads all and responds to most.

Set list
Every Little Hair Knows Your Name
An Argument With Myself
Waiting for Kirsten
I Saw Her in the Anti-War Demonstration
A Sweet Summer’s on Hammer Hill
I Broke Up A Fight
The End of the World Is Bigger Than Love 
You Were in My Dreams
Black Cab
Golden Key interlude
The Opposite of Hallelujah

That’s The Way Love Is (Ten City cover)
Sipping on the Sweet Nectar

**Encore 2**
Maple Leaves
Pocketful of Money

Fool’s Gold shimmers at Mercury Lounge

Late into Thursday evening, Fool’s Gold hit the stage of the Mercury Lounge.  The LA outfit led by Luke Top and Lewis Pesacov, which once had 8 players, has downsized a bit to a quintet.  With the bulk of the set deriving from their latest album Leave No Trace, Lewis started off the night with a twangy instrumental interlude into “Bark and Bite”.  From the new to the oldies but goodies, a heavy bass line throbbed and the saxophone blew into “Nadine”.

Luke didn’t chat much, sticking to the music to entertain the crowd.  “Wide Window” had the crowd clapping along and shuffling about on the dance floor.  Then, saxophonist Brandon Claukins picked up his shakers and went at it to open up “The Dive”.  Luke’s vocal were reminiscent of Morrissey’s over a sunnier composition.  Luke also showed off some of his native tongue singing “Tel Aviv” in Hebrew.   The crowd really got into it when the band went back to their self-titled debut album to jam through “Surprise Hotel”.  As if that wasn’t enough of a treat for fans, they  extended the song which elicited a dance party.

Sadly, Luke announced “Street Clothes” would be their “last” song.  He couldn’t end the set without announcing that  sax player Brandon was celebrating his 21st birthday.  Jokingly, Luke said the tour has really aged him.  It was all in good fun as Brandon later joined Luke at the mic.  So instead of exiting the stage which is a cumbersome endeavor at the cozy venue, the band played one more for the road.  To get in on the Afro_Hebrew dance party, head to Brooklyn Bowl Saturday night, September 24 to get your groove on.

Dirty Beaches crashes into Mercury Lounge

Alex Zhang Hungtai (aka Dirty Beaches) exudes an effortless cool with his rockabilly style while toting an electric guitar.  He looks like he has step out of a Wong Kar-wai film.  (Funnily enough most of Dirty Beaches’ You Tube videos are posted by a wrongkarwei.)  On the early Tuesday evening, Alex gracefully ascended the stage at the Mercury Lounge to set up his various pedals and loops for his set.  He was checked with 10 minutes to spare, so decided to start ahead of schedule.

Expanding from a solo outfit, Dirty Beaches added friends Francisco on saxophone and Jesse on drums and percussions.  Playing the recorded drum beats off loops, Alex and gang rocked through tracks from Dirty Beaches’ recent effort Badlands and new songs.  For instance the newish song “Shake That Thang” rings with an R&B heavy sound set against jarring guitar riffs.  Another new song declared “New York, I love you.”  Alex screamed into his mic.  At the tune’s conclusion, Alex exclaimed, “I love you New York.  I work so hard for you.”

All through the night, Alex was spitting on stage like the old grannies and gramps in neighboring Chinatown.  There was a  few disgusted comments from the crowd, which was funny as Alex complained in his lyrics, ” Why you got to say that shit to me.”

Under the distortion and production of Dirty Beaches’ songs is Alex’s ability to channel a sea of cacophony into a symphony.  Many have asked about his sampling and in his blog, he has replied:

* To all inquires in regards to samples *

I sampled vintage drum machines I couldn’t afford from youtube and other software programs that compiled the drum sound files. All the prior releases before badlands were written by me and played by me. Misc instruments were midi triggered software instruments from: Mellotron, Chamberlin, and Optigans (i.e. Synths, orchestra, flute, strings, horns, choir, etc) The rest are keyboards and guitar. Hope this explains to all the questions in regards to my recording and sampling set up.


Alex seemed genuinely thankful and appreciative of the crowd.  At one point, a fan yelled, “That was so hot!”  He sheepishly replied, “Thank you.”  Indeed the evening was concluded perfectly with fan favorite “Lord Knows Best”.  No encore, but fans didn’t mind so much.  The crowd were loving him and he was truly thankful.

Fruit Bats and Vetiver buddy up at Bowery Ballroom

Subpop labelmates Fruits Bats and Vetiver graced the stage of the Bowery Ballroom for a good ol’ jam session.  Vetiver covered most of their latest release The Errant Charm, much like their set a few months back at Mercury Lounge.  Andy Cabic and crew strummed through the delightfully summery “Everyday” from their last album Tight Knit.  The greatest treat of the set was when Eric Johnson of Fruit Bats joined Vetiver on a cover of Bobby Charles’s “I Must Be In A Good Place Now”.   You knew it was a special night as Andy had previously told Yours Truly, “It’s always great to play this song live in places that you had a great day cause then it just ties them all together.”

The good vibes continued as Fruit Bats took the stage to a rousing welcome, as they open up with “Heart Like An Orange” for their latest Tripper.  Eric relinquished his guitar to croon “Darling you better leave ” as hand claps ensued.  After the experience, Eric quipped that it was the first song singing like Bono sans guitar and comparing his performance to a few David’s – Bowie, Byrne and Matthews.  Band played the first few chords of “Crash Into Me” for laughs.  Though most of the set was peppered with tracks from Tripper, old fans were delighted to hear “Lives Of Crime” as they sang along and bopped about.

The encore was full of love to openers Citay and “super tight bros” Vetiver.  Eric and company jingle jangled into “Primitive Man” from their previous album The Ruminant Band.  Then the dance floor erupted as the kick drum thudded to open “When U Love Someone”.  To top the night, Eric’s falsetto on “You’re Too Weird” left him striped of guitar and hat. It was a easy breezy night of west coast singer songwriter goodness.

Memoryhouse lulls Brooklyn Bowl

Straight off their Fashion Night Out gig for Steven Alan last Thursday, Memoryhouse brought their hazy dream pop to Brooklyn Bowl. Lead vocalist Denise Nouvion declared that it was the first time they had actually played a bowling alley, but seemed charmed by the realization. This duo hailing from Ontario, Canada were an interesting opener to headliners Peter, Bjorn and John.  Many of the audience were there for the trio of Swedes, however the peppering of commentary assured a few new fans emerging after the Canadians’ set.

Evan Abeele was up first of the band to sound check his guitar.  I was disappointed to discover that Denise’s videos would not be shown in the background as in previous concerts.  The videos are almost as much of the band as their languid compositions.  There’s a great example of this at Yours Truly.  Despite the missing videography, the band was in fine form on the eve of the release of their EP “The Years“. They played tracks “Lately”, “Sleep Patterns”, “To The Lighthouse” and “Quiet America” from that album.  They also treated the crowd to some oldies (“Heirloom”) and somewhat new songs (“Walk With Me”).  The duo ended with a cover of My Bloody Valentine’s “When You Sleep”, which was the perfect send off.

You can stream The Years below.  Don’t be surprised if you get drowned in a wave of synth pop.   It’s gloriously refreshing.  New Yorkers catch them this October as they hit the CMJ 2011.

Nicole Atkins sails into Music Hall of Williamsburg

Adopted hometown siren Nicole Atkins brought a bombastic voice that garners comparisons to Roy Orbison. In fact, she’s been known to cover “Crying“.  It’s crazy Columbia let this songstress go because gurl can sang.  In a sea of pop tarts, Nicole’s voice is a refreshing throwback to true artists of years gone by.  As she descended onto the stage of Music Hall of Williamsburg, her band offered her a rousing introduction and she barreled into her first song “Heavy Boots” .  Drenched in black lace and shimmery sequins, Nicole continued with a rocking rendition of “Cry, Cry, Cry”.

Spanning most of her recent album Mondo Amore, she played tracks “This Is For Love”, “Hotel Plaster”, “You Come To Me”, “My Baby Don’t Lie” and “The Tower”.  Carving from ballad to rock, Nicole’s gut wrenching vocals seamlessly navigated between the two.  She sweetly introduced “Hotel Plaster” with a simple “this one’s a slow song” and rollicked into “My Baby Don’t Lie” with hand claps.  For her tried and true fans, she played choice tracks from her previous album Neptune City.  The crowd swayed lovingly to the anthem “Maybe Tonight” , which she had played overseas on the Live on Later with…Jool’s Holland.  She really gave the Brooklyn crowd a treat when she announced the next one was a sing along.  That song being “Brooklyn’s on Fire”.  The audience erupted in unison “FOURTH OF, JULY, BROOKLYN’S ON FIRE”.

Nicole left the audience burning for more and crooned “Neptune City” for her encore.  Though the show wasn’t sold out her fans were rabid for every note sung.  She is regarded by there peers as well, playing with the likes of the Avett Brothers, Cotton Mather and  David Byrne.  On her enduring cover of Cotton Mather’s “Monterrey Honey”, she called Robert Harrison a dear friend.  It’s amazing that Nicole had to start up a Kickstarter campaign to fund her tour, and thankfully she was able to raise all the funds to get on the road to show off her pipes.

Panda Bear brought fireworks to Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Fourth of July weekend and the cool kids were at the sold out Panda Bear show at Music Hall of Williamsburg .  Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox and founding member of Animal Collective)  hit the minimal stage set up to a packed audience ready to groove into Independence Day.   The show was a rare treat as it  was only a handful of shows played this year.  The first reverb sent a ripple of sound into the sea of concert goers.  This concert,  unlike no other I have attended at MHOW, felt more like an music experience.  One to be savored which each  knob turned and note raised.

The audience was swaying to “Last Night at the Jetty”, as Noah sang “Didn’t I / Didn’t I / Didn’t I have a good time?”  I think he got this answer from the fans singing along and dancing to his bittersweet medley.  From the first beats of the drum machine to the strum of guitar chords, Noah was the preacher for the night.  There was little chatter between songs, but no one was complaining.  The music spoke for itself.

As “Slow Motion” played, the experimental film projected slowed down to kinetic snaps of images.  The strobe lights were pulsating.  The crowd was aglow mesmerized by the masterful manipulation of dials and buttons.  The only disappointment of the night was that Noah didn’t return for an encore, but the audience seemed to have had their fill.

Vetiver plugs into Mercury Lounge

Hitting the stage at New York’s Mercury Lounge close to 11 in the evening, Vetiver plugged in and touched down for a quick stateside gig before departing on their European leg.  Lead singer Andy Cabic admitted that they were playing a lot of new tunes for the first time to a nearly sold out crowd.  Their latest studio release The Errant Charm coincidentally (or not) came out last night.  This writer has been a fan since their early days in San Francisco when Andy would jam with one Devendra Banhart.  How the years have evolved Vetiver’s sound and it was evident in last night’s show.

Drenched in electric guitar cadences rather than the strums of an acoustic, Andy and gang ripped through the new album with some choice gems from year’s past.  One choice new tune, “Hard To Break” envelops warm folksy goodness with an evolving and rollicking sound.  Overall the new tracks infuse a warm Californian road trip with a nice stop by the beach.  Vet dug into their last album Tight Knit and hashed out “Sister” and the star single “Everyday”.

And for fans from yore, Andy gave “Luna Sea” a more upbeat take.  An extra special treat came in the form of a cover of The Go-Between’s “Streets of Your Town”, in which the female keyboardist lent lovely backing vocals.  If that wasn’t enough, Andy brought out the 2009 Record Store Day single “Wishing Well” for the encore.

Catch Vetiver at The Bell House in Brooklyn on July 10 as they return from their European tour.  Tickets still available here.  It will be quite the homecoming. And to send it off a nice track from their latest, “Can’t You Tell.”

<span><a href=””>Vetiver – Can’t You Tell</a> by <a href=””>subpop</a></span>

Yellow Ostrich floats into Music Hall of Williamsburg

The crowd at Music Hall of Williamsburg was thin, but that didn’t stop Yellow Ostrich from performing an uplifting 9-song set.  The Brooklyn (via Wiscounsin) outfit started off with the appropriately animal themed “Elephant King”.  Alex Schaaf’s vocals were crisp as he looped samples to create his own chorus of harmonies, which was perfectly exemplified live on their rendition of “Campaign”.   The conversation between band and audience was sparse, however Alex did introduce “Marathon Runner” as a song about a marathon “racer” walking.  The band strummed and drummed through several tracks from their LP “The Mistress” from ” Hold On” to “Daughters”.  A mini dance party erupted when “WHALE” was chimed through with its “oh-oh-oh-oh”.

Yellow Ostrich also debuted two new songs Saturday evening – “Madelyn” and “Shake Down”.  Both tracks display all the promise the blogosphere has been buzzing about for this relatively young trio.  This fledgling band (who essentially was Alex in his dorm room) created an EP dedicated to Morgan Freeman, a reimagining of Radiohead’s Kid A and countless covers of the likes of Beach House, Joanne Newsome, Dirty Projectors, Tallest Man on Earth and The National.  The hype is not to be denied.  Soon enough Yellow Ostrich will be selling out the Music Hall of Williamsburg with their infectious harmonies.

Set list
Elephant King
Marathon Runner
Hold On
Shake Down (new song)

Timber Timbre brings gothic blues to Joe’s Pub

Timber Timbre
Joe’s Pub –  New York
Enter Joe’s Pub and lights are dimmed as Taylor Kirk, Mika Posen and Simon Trottier (aka Timber Timbre) emerge on stage.  Two red lights are illuminated for the rest of the evening.  This friends is the mood for the night.  Dark shadows lulled by the guttural voice of Mr. Kirk, which is reminiscent of one Tom Waits but a little lighter on the raspiness. The Canadian trio begins with “Bad Ritual”, which nicely blends with the clattering dishes in the background.  Mika’s plucks of her violin provided a sweet yet haunting contrast to the deep bass and sharp strums of Taylor’s guitar.


“Keep on Creepin On” could be the new theme song for True Blood.  Feels like you are lurking around Bill’s plantation house.  Timber Timbre’s tunes are dark and cavernous, as Taylor’s vocal echo on “Black Water”.  The band have spoken about how an introductions to Sam Cooke and 50’s dop wop shaped the new record.  You can hear the influences with the incorporation of playful major and minor chords played in repetition on several tracks.

The demeanor of the band is strictly business.  Taylor barely speaks only to indicate the next song isn’t as “romantic” or quick thank you’s.  The audience did not even know the right moments to applaud as if we were going to break some ominous seance.  From the strums of Simon’s lap steel to Mika’s glide of her bow, the pitch grew like chants.  Welcome to the world of Timber Timbre.

The Concretes at Bowery Ballroom

The Concretes
Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY

Twas a bitter, bitter winter’s night in New York City, but Sweden’s The Concretes defrosted the crowd like a good mug of glögg. The kids were bopping to the jaunty tunes of their latest album WYWH, “All Day” and “Good Evening”, as well as back catalog favorites like “Say Something New”.  Former drummer Lisa Milberg has taken over the uneviable task of replacing the lead vocals from the departed Victoria Bergsman (Taken By Trees).  The two tackle songs in a slightly different approach.  While Bergsman sang with a pang of effortless emotion, Milberg relishes the spotlight and brings a light hearted chirp.  WYWM is a bit of a departure from past albums with more emphasis on dance synths, which lends to Milberg’s delivery.  Lisa can also bring it down a notch to melancholy, as she demonstrated with her rendition of “I Wish We’d Never Met”.

This reviewer has quite the affinity to Ms. Bergsman, but I must say Ms. Milberg wins over the latter with her stage presence.  While Victoria would shy away from eye contact, Lisa engaged the New York audience praising the city for having the best dogs.   Alas, don’t expect a transatlantic move for The Concretes.  Lisa confessed she could not handle the copious mimosas at breakfast everyday.

The concert culminated with an encore, in which Lisa covered Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “Military Madness”.  As if that was not enough of a treat, they played old favorite “You Can’t Hurry Love” after title track “WYWH”.  The Concretes are on the upswing post-Bergsman.  Though they probably will always be the former band of Victoria Bergsman, they are craving out a new chapter for the evolving band.

The Concretes bring swede tunes to New York.

There’s been a Swede attack from the dance queen Robyn to folkster Tallest Man on Earth (aka Kristian Mattsson) last year, and 2011 will not let up either with the return of The Concretes. Known for their track “Say Something New” which peppered Target ads, the indie pop outfit has remained relatively quiet for the past few years. With former lead singer Victoria Bergsman’s (now Taken by Trees) departure, Lisa Milberg has stepped up fill the missing slot. Not since 2007’s Hey Trouble have The Concretes produced new tunes, and their latest effort WYWH brings all the winsome goodness you’ve loved them for with a splash of disco waves.

The Concretes bring their infectious melodies to the Bowery Ballroom on Saturday, January 22. Tickets are $15 advance and at the door. Hooray for Earth and The Acrylics open.

Keren Ann rocks Joe’s Pub – Night Two!

Keren Ann
Joe’s Pub – New York, NY

Keren AnnKeren Ann played the second of two sold out shows at Joe’s Pub Thursday night, December 9. Sporting a short coifed bob and in a black romper that only an international jetsetter like herself could pull off on a wintry Manhattan night, Keren Ann warmed up the audience fittingly with “Chelsea Burns”. Playing from a selection of her previous albums and a sprinkling of new gems, the Israeli born chanteuse lulled her enthralled audience.

For those who have not heard of Keren Ann, she manages to captivate an audience with her whispery vocals and that je ne sais quoi of frenchy cool she probably acquired with her Parisan living. If the new do wasn’t an indication, KA has certainly pumped up the volume. At one point, she rocked so hard on “It Ain’t No Crime” that a hanging tamborine crashed to the floor. She traded her acoustic guitar for electric for most of her set, which explains the new album’s more 60’s influenced sound. She debuted new tracks from her upcoming album 101, including the lead single “My Name Is Trouble”, “Sugar Mama” and “Blood On My Hands”.

Don’t worry KA friends, her preciously packaged lyrics of earlier albums were still on display when she played old favorites, “The Harder Ships of the World” and “Not Going Anywhere”. She rollicked “Sailor & Window” before ending the night with a Spanish ditty to send everyone home in a reverie. 101 is released on March 22 in the States. For some more hints to the tracks, she has enlisted the help of illustrator John Mavroudis to conceptualize the lyrics from her forthcoming album until it’s European release. You can get your clues at

Entertainment Schedule for The Marlin Room at Webster Hall for MAY 12TH

Entertainment Schedule for The Marlin Room at Webster Hall for MAY 12TH

Webster Hall New York CityEast Village music legend Lach presents five acts for five bucks every Wednesday night in The Marlin Room at Webster Hall (125 East 11th Street). Doors are at 7pm for ages 18+. Five dollar admission, 2 drink minimum with 3rd drink free.

Coming to Webster Hall on Wednesday May 12th

Lach Presents…5 Acts for 5 Bucks!

7:30- Churchill Downs – is the brainchild of Mike Rechner also know for his groundbreaking work with the Antifolk duo Prewar Yardsale. Mike’s been a featured artist on John Peel’s UK radio show as well as sharing the stage with such Antifolk stars as The Moldy Peaches, Regina Spektor and Paleface.

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Entertainment Schedule for Webster Hall

Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003

Anna Haas

East Village music legend Lach presents five acts for five bucks every Wednesday night in The Marlin Room at Webster Hall. Doors are at 7pm for ages 18+. Five dollar admission, no drink minimum.

Coming to Webster Hall on Wednesday April 28th, Lach Presents…

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The Cringe at the Conflict of Interest Party in New York City

The Cringe
New York Rebel – New York, NY

John Cusimano – Guitar, Vocals
Roto – Lead guitar
Jonny Matias – Bass
Shawn Pelton – Drums


The Cringe New York Rebel - New York, NY 10-19-2009Just a little bit about the Cringe:

Founded by lead singer and guitarist John Cusimano, the Cringe was formed in 2004 around a collection of songs that John had written. Since their inception they’ve had two albums released: Scratch the Surface (2004) and Tipping Point (2007). Plaything, the latest from the Cringe, should be out in late 2009. The Cringe has been touring nationally for several years and shared the stage with the likes of The Raveonettes, The Stills, The New York Dolls, Billy Gibbons of ZZtop, The Doors with Ian Ashbury, Autovaughn, Trances Arc and More).

Tour Dates!!

Oct 20 2009 9:00P
CMJ Official Showcase – The Delancey New York, New York

Oct 21 2009 8:00P
Amnesty International Showcase – Webster Hall – The Studio New York, New York

Oct 25 2009 11:00P
The Khyber Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Nov 4 2009 8:00P
Arlene’s Grocery with The Sketches Nov. Residency New York, New York

Nov 6 2009 9:00P
Trash Bar Brooklyn, New York

Nov 7 2009 8:00P
Kenny’s Castaway New York, New York

Nov 11 2009 8:00P
Arlene’s Grocery with The Sketches Nov. Residency New York, New York

Nov 18 2009 8:00P
Arlene’s Grocery with The Sketches Nov. Residency New York, New York

Photos of the Cringe at the Conflict of Interest Party in New York City:

Underwhelmed lives up to their Name

Rock Band from New York
Reveal (2009)


I am sitting on lots of music to listen to so I decided I am just going to play all the new music in the background while I am working around the house or working in the office…..for the next year or so. Today I received new music from a New York based rock band, Underwhelmed.

I started my album ritual with Underwhelmed’s Reveal cd. I open up all the wasteful plastic wrap around the album. I then check for a booklet, which there wasn’t one, but I am cool with that. Then I seek out all images of the band. I have this thing about needing to know what the artist looks like. I see the group picture of the guys and from a female perspective they are 5 VERY good looking guys that I would love to meet! The entire album is put together so professionally that it drove me to instantly rip the album on the computer to hear what Underwhelmed has to offer.

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Dr. Denis Leary to Release “At the Rehab”

denis leary

Denis Leary is back with a timely new song, “At the Rehab,” skewering the celebrity church of the 21st century – the rehabilitation center. Recorded live with his band The Enablers, Leary calls out by name pop culture icons and their rampant substance abuse to an up-tempo calypso beat. The single will be released on COMEDY CENTRAL Records digitally on March 24th. The single is digital-only and will be available exclusively through iTunes for the first two weeks.

In March, Leary and his band will embark on “The Rescue Me Comedy Tour” – a multi-city tour including Radio City Music Hall and the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. Leary last toured in 1997 coming off a stretch that produced the lauded HBO special, “Lock ‘N Load.” Prior to that, he performed his smash hit one-man show, ”No Cure For Cancer,” which became one of the highest grossing comedy albums of all time.

More news and tour dates after the jump…

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Girl Talk Makes Sweet Sweet Love to a Sold Out Congress Theater

Girl Talk
Congress Theater – Chicago, IL

Girl Talk Congress Theater - Chicago, IL 11/08/2008To cap off my week of really ridiculously good concerts (Kings of Leon, We Are Scientists, The Whigs, and Ghostland Observatory) was the naked DJ himself, Gregg Gillis. Not familiar with that name? Maybe Girl Talk will ring a bell.

Gillis ran onto the sold-out stage of Congress Theater, the biggest show he’s ever played. Starting out in a yellow sweatshirt and some navy sweatpants, he was quickly down to just a pair of boxers shielding our eyes from his cash-and-prizes. It would have been incredibly awkward if Gillis was on stage alone. Thankfully, a small number of fans were allowed on stage with him; not his usual type of show.

Tons more photos and some senseless words after the jump…

Girl Talk Congress Theater - Chicago, IL 11/08/2008For those who are unfamiliar, Gregg Gillis usually gets ‘buck wild’ on stage, in all aspects of the phrase. According to an interview in Filter magazine issue 31, there’s been on-stage sex three times. Whether he’s had sex on stage or he’s watched others, it’s unclear. Either way, I think you get the idea of what a Girl Talk show is like.

Many fans were disappointed to find themselves hindered by a chest-high barrier and a group of security guards acting as though they were protecting Obama himself. The die-hard fans didn’t let anything stand in their way and I saw several people try more than once before finally making it on stage without being grabbed by security. There was even a green man, I mean c’mon guys, isn’t dancing around dressed head to toe in a skin tight lime green spandex suit a free ticket on stage?!

Gillis took several different moments throughout the set to thank the crowd for coming and explain how much the show meant to him. “I’ve been playing shows for eight years and this is by far the biggest fucking show I’ve ever played, thanks for coming out guys” he said at the end of the night as giant balloons were passed around the crowd.

To finish off the night, hundreds of balloons cascaded down from the ceiling popping on contact just before Gillis crowd surfed from the stage all the way back to the sound booth. While the show wou’dve been a bit more kick-ass if everyone was able to frolick around the stage but because the security at Congress are some serious fun-haters, I ended up with some stellar photos and I met some fantastic people in the process.

I don’t think there is any better end to a weekend. Thanks Girl Talk, come back soon!

Photos of Girl Talk:

Laura Warshauer Covers U2’s “One”

We told you about her signing with Island Records and about her new “Sweet 16” video. Now Laura walks the streets of New York City and captures it all on video. The video is played along with her cover of U2’s “One”.

Check the video of “One” from Laura Warshauer:

Laura’s Tour Dates after the jump…

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New York, July 30th, 2008

Peace One Day announced today that a star-studded concert celebrating Peace Day 2008 will be held at the Nokia Theatre Times Square in New York City on September 9th, 2008. Grammy-award winning singers Annie Lennox and Bryan Adams will perform acoustic sets alongside international sensation Natasha Bedingfield. Video messages of Peace from celebrities and artists including Jude Law and Lenny Kravitz, speeches from international luminaries and clips from the acclaimed documentary, The Day After Peace, will add to a remarkable night of entertainment. The New York concert will be filmed and a TV special will be broadcast globally.

Proceeds from the Peace One Day Celebration are earmarked to assist the non-profit organization’s ongoing mission to raise awareness of Peace Day, September 21st annually, and manifest life saving activities on the Day. As a direct outcome of Peace One Day’s campaigning in 2007, parties in Afghanistan recognized Peace Day resulting in 1.4 million Afghanistan children being vaccinated against polio. Last year, 100 million people in 200 countries were engaged in Peace Day activities and in 14 of those countries, efforts were targeted towards providing life-saving activities and medical services on the Day.

Annie Lennox said today, “What I love about Jeremy Gilley and the Peace One Day campaign, is that the whole thing was started by just one individual who is trying to make difference, despite the odds. We all have so much potential, but we don’t tend to realise it, so we take it for granted. The work of Peace One Day encourages and inspires people to think about we can all do, both at individual and “collective” levels. There are better and alternative means to conflict resolution than “killing and maiming the enemy”. Political leaders and power brokers have too much invested in the industry of war, rather than implementing peaceful solutions. What is life without peace? Peace is for the highest good, and as a global community it is one of the things we need to value above everything.”

“We now have a remarkable chance to each do our part to commit to peaceful activities on Peace Day and this day has been proven to save lives,” said Jeremy Gilley, Founder of Peace One Day and writer, producer and director of The Day After Peace, “I am excited to be in New York to celebrate this important day with internationally acclaimed singers like Annie Lennox, Bryan Adams and Natasha Bedingfield.”

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My New Favorite Artist = Ingrid Michaelson

So my Music Publishing teacher came into class after returning from SXSW raving about how his new favorite artist is this girl named Ingrid Michaelson. He proceeded to tell us that he attended a panel discussion in Austin during the music festival where Ingrid’s manager was a guest speaker. He then told us that Ingrid’s manager and lawyer were geniuses when it came to the deals they established in Ingrid’s music career. After breaking down her royalty collections from her CD sales and comparing that amount to what Ms. Michaelson would have received if signed to a major label, I was hooked. I had to know everything about this singer/songwriter who is now a millionaire from doing everything herself without the “help” of a major. So of course I jumped at the chance to interview her and ask her how she pulled it off. Read on to hear what Ingrid Michaelson has to say about the music industry and what it’s like to be the “girl who’s doing it all by herself.”

Promo Photo

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