PYYRAMIDS are what you’d listen to locked in your bedroom in the middle of the night, ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts, a nearly empty bottle of whiskey in hand, kicking out a nameless lover. Drea Smith's throaty voice and Tim Nordwind's (of OK Go) pulsating chords and the booming bass and drums all come together in relentless waves of sound.
And that Sade shirt? Fucking killer.
- Mark Dommu, photos by Josh Milowe
VOTE FOR THE BLUES
GIVE YOURSELF OVER TO SLOW WARM DEATH
Want to hear the music your friends are making in basements, playing in dirty bars and infecting the internet with? That’s the mood you’ll find on Slow Warm Death's new, self-titled LP. Every track is bleeding with loneliness, angst, homicidal rage and aching regret, not to say that it's not a fun record, too. There are definitely some mosh-worthy tracks alongside the ones you could kill yourself to. This is the music of terrible acid trips, days spent skipping work to take painkillers and mornings drinking leftover, half-empty 40s.
Stream Slow Warm Death below:
We don’t know about you, but this ice-cold hellish winter landscape NYC has turned into is driving us crazy. It’s almost too cold to go out…almost, we are Culture Whores after all, nothing stops us from having a good time, not even Mother Nature.
However, if you’re not as brave as we are and are currently experiencing severe cabin fever, throw on FIDLAR's new self-titled debut album. It's loud and rough and mega fucking fun, the perfect soundtrack for a beer-soaked winter dance party.
Check out “Cheap Beer” for a taste:
UNDER THE GUN WITH ROSCO BANDANA
I go and see a fair share of young music in the city. Since I never really know what I’m in for, it’s a hit or miss pursuit. Perhaps I forgot to check out the group’s bandcamp, and I end up spending $12 on a dime-a-dozen indie quartet with too much reverb on their guitars, a drummer who is “killing me loudly,” a bass player who’s always overcompensating, and lyrics that mean the world to the singer but little to the audience, whether we can understand them or not. Or maybe the band is a well-oiled, experienced machine, but the venue’s PA is bogus, there’s no monitors for the musicians, and the gentleman behind the board hit his bowl one too many times to even give a shit. All things considered, you’ve got about a 15 percent chance of coming across a quality band who’s chosen a quality venue and is able to hit it off with the sound guy and an audience full of strangers. All things considered, Rosco Bandana was a total shot in the dark.
A WHOLE NOTHER LEVEL OF AWESOME: DAVID BYRNE AND ST. VINCENT
I can’t get David Byrne everything out of my head: dance moves, vocals, awesome white hair, suspenders, harmonies….need I say more. David Byrne and St. Vincent collaborated on a super-fantastic album Love This Giant, which came out early September. I heard about their tour last June, so my gentleman friend and I argued for about 20 minutes on what tickets to buy; the outdoor show at Williamsburg Park or the intimate show at the Beacon Theater. Because I love a dance party obviously I was adamant about the outdoor show, but he is a music snob (music was part of his double major in college) so he insisted the acoustics would be superior at Beacon theater, and seeing a legend like Byrne in a small venue like that was a once and a lifetime… he was right.
It was hands down the best show I have seen all year, and I go to a lot of shows. First of all, if you don’t like Talking Heads…kill yourself. David Byrne is by far one of the best voices to come out of the 80’s and Annie Clark AKA St. Vincent is all the amounts of weird I love in a great performer (and has a beautiful airy but powerful voice and can WAIL on the guitar). They had a fully choreographed show thanks to Annie B. Parson, who had the six piece brass band complete with trumpets, trombones, a french horn, saxophones, and a tuba strut, sway, pivot, and frolic around the stage with Byrne and Clark. The production alone was badass, honestly when do you get to see David Byrne wiggle his hips while a brass band plays?
The sound of the show was exceptional. Byrne’s voice is so full it could be the seventh member of the brass set, and his harmonies with Clark were smooth and beautiful, they never missed a note. Then of course the brass section, drummer, and keyboardist, along with Clark and Byrne on guitar, were perfectly tight and in tempo. (Fun Fact: Clark is a sick lead guitarist, the kind that makes teenage boys jizz their pants) The light show complimented each song effortlessly, and the energy was electric, so by now if you did not want to get up and dance then your hearing aids were left at home.
No but really, my one criticism of the show was the audience. I know this is a fancy shmancy theater, and most of the people around me were over 40, but that is no reason to stay in your seats for half the show. I know you wanted to dance, I could see it in the way your ass hung at the edge of the seat waiting for the courage to get the fuck up and move. I mean this was after all DAVID BYRNE AND MOTHER FUCKING ST. VINCENT, not Swan Lake. So next time, do yourself, but mostly me, a favor and get off your timid butts and dance like you have never danced before. The reality is the opporturtunity to see David Byrne on tour doesn’t come around that often, and each moment should be enjoyed with everything you’ve got, or else once again, why exist?
They played all 12 songs from the album, threading in Talking Heads classics like "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)" and "Burning Down the House", as well as big hits from St Vincents last album, "Cheerleader" and "Cruel". The show was 90 minutes with a double encore that ended with the classic “Road to Nowhere”, but it still left me wanting so much more. If I wasn’t going away this weekend, I would be on craigslist right now searching for my tickets to Saturday’s show in Williamsburg Park, and get the proper dance party I wanted… but oh well, I can just watch youtube videos and reminisce:
The David Byrne and St. Vincent show was unlike any show I had ever seen. I really hope this wasn’t a one shot deal, because if so then I am determined to get David Byrne to play my wedding…if that ever actually happens.
-SASHA RUDES (of wut if fashion)
ZULU PEARLS KEEP IT COOL ON ‘NO HEROES NO HONEYMOONS’
We have a new album for you to obsess over: last week, Zulu Pearls released their second LP, entitled, No Heroes No Honeymoons. After lead singer, Zach Van Hoozer moved to Berlin, a transformation happened within the band. This alternative, dance craze, endorphin releasing, groove spewing group from D.C. has found a sound that can keep an audience on their toes. Now Berlin based, Van Hoozer and company are back in the U.S. to breaking down walls and barriers in the Northeast with an appearance at NYC’s famed CMJ Festival.
No Heroes No Honeymoons is honing in on what contemporary popular rock music may need – the continuation of heavily distorted guitars and the reincarnation of riff filled, soloing electric pianos, which was once a great phenomena. The record begins with “Keep it Cool,” a beautiful surf rock, arrhythmic dream sequence. As No Heroes No Honeymoons continues, the Pearls urge listeners to get naked and start a revolution. The second song, “Whatever You Want,” has an identifiable flamenco and reggae feel that you can’t help but thank the Gods of music that Sting is no longer music.
The smoldering crash and percussion of cymbals in songs like “Play the Hits” and “Magic Tricks” expose a delicate side of Zulu Pearls that is reminiscent of a matured M. Ward. NHNH has an excellent sense of tension and release and slowly introduces to the world the ambiguity of the word “whatever.”
However, at times, NHNH lacks a recognizable emotional arch, but Van Hoozer’s nonchalant vocal style, which is a cross between the mysterious Devendra Banhart and the growl of Dan Auerbach, makes up for it. Zulu Pearls present themselves as “a rotating clique of international vagabonds.” They have a truly unique, multi-genre sound that should not be overlooked.
If history has taught us anything, you don’t want to miss a band with such a strong melodic and rhythmic sensibility. Check them out while they are in New York this October:
10/16/12 - Pianos, NYC, “Banners” Party
10/17/12 - Pianos, NYC, Tell All Your Friends CMJ Showcase
10/19/12 - Bowery Electric, NYC, Cantora CMJ Showcase
And you can stream the album below, yay for the Interweb!
LISTEN TO THE NEW GRIZZLY BEAR ALBUM
Oh man, the Grizzly Bear album, Shields, is now available to listen to in it’s entirety on NPR's website. This is an album of marvelous complexity and ecclectic sonic beauty, a departure from what Grizzly Bear's been doing but also a perfectly logical and wonderful evolution for their sound. Listen to it NOW.